Archive | August 20th, 2011

Letter to the PRESIDENT

August 19, 2011

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, DC

Dear President Obama:

We commend you for your administration’s statement that “the future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way… For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.”

We are concerned, however, that unless urgent actions are taken by the United States and its allies, the Assad regime’s use of force against the Syrian people will only increase and the already significant death toll will mount.

As you have stated previously, the Arab Spring presents an opportunity to “pursue the world as it should be” rather than continuing to “accept the world as it is.”  There is perhaps no place where this is truer than Syria.

The regime of Bashar al-Assad and that of his father which preceded him, have brutally repressed the Syrian people for decades, imprisoning, torturing, and killing those who attempted dissent.  In recent years, Syria has formed increasingly close ties with Iran, jointly supporting terrorist groups with funds and weaponry used to terrorize American allies in the region.  For years, the Assad regime pursued a covert nuclear program with North Korean assistance, which could have led to a disastrous cascade of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.  Finally, by facilitating foreign fighters’ transit through Syrian territory, the Assad regime contributed to the death and injury of thousands of American troops serving in Iraq over the last eight years.

The tactics used by the current regime make clear now more than ever that a post-Assad Syria is in America’s interest.  We commend you for adding your uniquely powerful voice to the chorus of foreign leaders in calling for Assad’s departure. We appreciate the executive order issued today that freezes Syrian government assets in the U.S.’s jurisdiction and prohibits new investment in Syria by U.S. persons or the exportation or sale of any services to Syria by U.S. persons. We commend you for freezing imports of Syrian petroleum products and prohibiting U.S. persons from transacting business related to Syrian-origin petroleum products. The actions send a strong message of support to the Syrian people in their quest for freedom.

We believe there is more than can be done. Specifically, we urge you to:

•    Work with our European allies to tighten the sanctions regime against Syria.  Particular attention should be paid to potential multilateral energy sector sanctions as well as the passage of energy sanctions bills recently introduced in the House of Representatives and Senate.

•    Encourage Germany, Italy, and France, which are the main buyers of Syrian oil, to terminate their purchases of Syrian crude; forcefully urge energy trading firms from Switzerland, Holland, and elsewhere to stop their sales of refined petroleum products to Syria; and pressure European, Russian, Chinese, and Indian companies to freeze their investments in Syria’s energy sector and the transfer of any energy-related technology, goods, and services.

•    Sanction any person assisting Syria in the development of energy pipelines as well as insurance firms, shipping companies, financing entities, ports managers, and other persons active in supporting Syria’s energy sector.

•    Implement measures against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps individuals and entities doing business in Syria.  Expand sanctions against Syrian persons who are involved in human rights abuses, support for terrorism, and supporting Syria’s proliferation activities.  Sanction those international companies doing business with these designated Iranian and Syrian individuals and entities.

•    Sanction the Syrian Central Bank in order to freeze the Assad regime out of the global financial system and inhibit the ability of the regime to settle oil sales and other financial transactions. It is important to ensure that the Central Bank of Syria does not facilitate trade for any sanctioned Syrian banks, businesses and persons.

•    Work with our European allies to follow your lead in sanctioning the Commercial Bank of Syria and the Syrian Lebanese Commercial Bank.

•    Sanction international persons involved in the purchase, issuance, financing or the facilitation of Syrian sovereign debt, including energy bonds, which the Assad regime may use to circumvent investment-related sanctions in order to raise capital for its energy sector.

•    Engage Syrian opposition figures outside the country and ensure that all available aid and assistance, including secure communications and Internet circumvention technology is being made available to these groups.

•    Leverage the International Atomic Energy Agency’s referral of Syria to the United Nations Security Council for its violation of its nonproliferation obligations to press for additional sanctions against Damascus.

•    Recall Ambassador Robert Ford from Damascus unless he is clearly charged with aiding the transition to democracy in Syria.

Mr. President, the opportunity presented by recent developments in Syria and the broader region is momentous.  As you said in May, “we cannot hesitate to stand squarely on the side of those who are reaching for their rights, knowing that their success will bring about a world that is more peaceful, more stable, and more just.” Supporting Syrians to rid themselves of Assad’s yoke would also have broader game-changing implications on peace and stability in the Middle East. It would deny Iran the use of its major ally as a proxy for terrorism, stem the flow of Syrian arms to Hezbollah, reduce instability in Lebanon, and lessen tensions on Israel’s northern border.

This is a significant moment where many of our allies and partners in Europe and the region are in agreement that the Assad atrocities must stop now. They are poised to act. Now is the time to continue placing the United States firmly on the side of the Syrian people.  We urge you to grasp this opportunity and increase your administration’s efforts to ensure that the brave people taking to the streets in Syria are soon able to enjoy the fruits of freedom that we in the West hold so dear.

Sincerely,

Khairi Abaza, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Ammar Abdulhamid, pro-democracy Syrian activist

Hussain Abdul-Hussain, Kalimah Institute

Elliott Abrams, Council on Foreign Relations

Amr Al-Azm, Member, Executive Committee, Antalia Committee and Professor, Shawnee State University

Tony Badran, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Bassam Bitar, Former Diplomat in the Syrian Embassy (Paris)

Max Boot, Council on Foreign Relations

Toby Dershowitz, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Michael Doran, Brookings Institution

Mark Dubowitz, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Jamie Fly, Foreign Policy Initiative

Reuel Marc Gerecht, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Michael Makovsky, Bipartisan Policy Center

John Hannah, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

William Inboden, University of Texas-Austin

Frederick W. Kagan, American Enterprise Institute

Robert Kagan, Brookings Institution

William Kristol, Weekly Standard

Robert J. Lieber, Georgetown University

Bashar Lutfi, Northwest Medical Center

Clifford D. May, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Honorable Robert C. McFarlane, Former National Security Advisor

Jonathan Schanzer, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Randy Scheunemann, Orion Strategies

Gary Schmitt, American Enterprise Institute

Lee Smith, Foundation for Defense of Democracies and The Weekly Standard

Henry Sokolski, Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
Leon Wieseltier

Ambassador R. James Woolsey, Former Director of Central Intelligence, Chairman of the

Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Robert Zarate, Foreign Policy Initiative

Posted in USAComments Off on Letter to the PRESIDENT

Zionists now feign care for the Syrian people

NOVANEWS

President Barack Obama said yesterday that he wants to see Syrian President Bashar al-Assadstep down from office, and promised to implement more sanctions on the Syrian regime. But conservatives in Washington have several additional ideas for how to up the pressure on Assad.

Thirty-two mostly conservative national security experts wrote a letter to Obama today on the letterhead of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies commending him for calling on Assad to step down and urging him to quickly ramp up the pressure on his regime. “We are concerned… that unless urgent actions are taken by the United States and its allies, the Assad regime’s use of force against the Syrian people will only increase and the already significant death toll will mount,” the letter said.

The signatories want Obama to push hard for multilateral energy sector sanctions and to advocate for the passage of new Syria sanctions legislation, which was introduced in Congress earlier this month. They also think the administration should encourage Germany, Italy, and France to stop buying Syrian oil, forcefully urge energy trading firms from Switzerland, Holland, and elsewhere to stop selling Syria refined petroleum products, and sanction any person involved in Syrian pipeline construction, including insurance firms, shipping companies, financing entities, and ports managers.

They also want harsher sanctions on Syria’s central bank, punishment for anybody who buys Syrian debt, additional U.N. sanctions based on Syria’s record of weapons and nuclear proliferation, and the recalling of U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford.

The letter reminded the president that the fall of the Assad regime would not only be a boon for the Syrian people, but also have “game-changing implications” for the balance of power in the Middle East. “It would deny Iran the use of its major ally as a proxy for terrorism, stem the flow of Syrian arms to Hezbollah, reduce instability in Lebanon, and lessen tensions on Israel’s northern border,” the signatories wrote.

The group commended Obama’s new executive order that requires the immediate freeze of all Syrian government assets that fall under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibits U.S. citizens from doing any business with the Syrian government. The new sanctions also ban the import of Syrian petroleum products into the United States, and ban Americans from doing business with Syrian petroleum companies.

The signers include former NSC Middle East official Elliott Abrams, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Max BootWeekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol, AEI’s Fred Kagan, the Brookings Institution’s Bob Kagan, former National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane, former CIA DirectorJames Woolsey, top GOP consultant Randy Scheunemann, and former NSC official Jamie Fly, now executive director of the Foreign Policy Initiative.

The calls for Ford’s recall have been echoed in both the House and Senate. House Foreign Relations Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) yesterday praised the administration’s move but reiterated her call for Ford for come back to Washington.

Several nations such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have recalled their ambassadors from Damascus but the Obama administration argues that Ford’s activities on the ground, including a recent visit to protests in Hama, are helping the opposition. Ros-Lehtinen disagrees.

“It is also important that the administration take the next step in ending its engagement policy and reverse its mistake of sending a U.S. ambassador to Syria,” she said in a statement. “The continued presence of an ambassador in Damascus sends a mixed message to the Syrian regime and gives legitimacy to Assad and his cronies.”

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Zionists now feign care for the Syrian people

Amnesty International

NOVANEWS

Why has Amnesty International been silent in the last few months when Israel has been killing Palestinian civilians?  “Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups must refrain from indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks harming civ

Amnesty: Israelis, Palestinians must refrain from harming civilians 

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups must refrain from indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks harming civilians, Amnesty International said Friday.

“The civilian deaths and injuries over the last two days in Israel and Gaza are deeply alarming and the escalating attacks underline the need for both sides to the conflict to take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian casualties,” said Malcolm Smart, director of Amnesty’s Mideast program.

“Palestinian armed groups must immediately cease firing indiscriminate rockets into Israel,” said Smart.

“For their part, Israeli forces must comply with the same rules of international humanitarian law, which prohibit attacks on civilians and indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks. All parties must distinguish between civilians and military targets,” Smart said in a statement.

ilians, Amnesty International said Friday.”

Posted in Human RightsComments Off on Amnesty International

NATO Libyan Council defines Libya as a Western country located in Europe

NOVANEWS

“There is no assertion anywhere in the document that Libya is an “Arab state”, and this omission cannot be anything but deliberate.

Libya: no longer an ‘Arab state’

This week the Libyan National Transitional Council issued its “Draft Constitutional Charter” – a sort of provisional constitution for the country in the immediate aftermath of the fall of Gaddafi.

The Project on Middle East Democracy lists some of its specific provisions here, but a more revealing exercise is to compare and contrast the NTC’s document with the Libyan constitution issued in 1969, shortly after Gaddafi’s revolution.

Article 1 of the 1969 constitution says:

“Libya is an Arab, democratic, and free republic in which sovereignty is vested in the people. The Libyan people are part of the Arab nation. Their goal is total Arab unity. The Libyan territory is a part of Africa. The name of the country is the Libyan Arab Republic.”

Article 1 of the NTC’s draft begins:

“Libya is an independent democratic state wherein the people are the source of authorities …”

There is no assertion anywhere in the document that Libya is an “Arab state”, and this omission cannot be anything but deliberate. The nationalism and pan-Arabism of the Gaddafi era have gone.

This is also a recognition of the country’s diversity – in particular its marginalised Amazigh (Berber) communities. Unlike Morocco however (which has now recognised Amazigh as an official language), Arabic will remain the only official language in Libya “while preserving the linguistic and cultural rights of all components of the Libyan society”.

A much-debated question is to what extent the NTC has an Islamist character. Article 1 of the NTC document says “Islam is the religion of the state” – though it should be noted that Gaddafi’s 1969 constitution says the same (as do the constitutions of most Arab states).

Personally, I don’t think states should have a religion but, since this is such an established idea within the constitutional frameworks of the Muslim world, its inclusion is not surprising.

Somewhat more troubling is the statement that Islamic jurisprudence (sharia) will be “the principal source of legislation”. The exact role of sharia in legislation – and how to express it in the constitution – has long been a bone of contention in Arab countries. The form of words adopted by the NTC (“the principal source of legislation”) is a moderately strong one, borrowed from Egypt, though not as strong as it might be.

For comparison, sharia is “the source of all legislation” in Yemen. In Oman it is “the basis of legislation” while in Bahrain, Kuwait, Syria and Qatar it is “main source of legislation” (note the indefinite article).

The Iraqi constitution, approved by a referendum in 2005, specifies Islam as “a fundamental source of legislation” and says that “no law that contradicts the established provisions of Islam may be established.” It also, rather confusingly, says that no law must contradict “the principles of democracy” or “the rights and basic freedoms stipulated in this constitution”.

The Sudanese constitution (issued before the south seceded) establishes no official religion as such. It merely says that “Islam is the religion of the majority of the population”. Article 65, however, specifies “the Islamic Sharia” as the source of law, along with “national consent through voting, the constitution and custom”, though it also goes on to say that “no law shall be enacted contrary to these sources”.

The NTC document adds that non-Muslims in Libya will be allowed to practise their religion and, as in Egypt and several other Arab countries, it talks of different personal status laws for different religions. This might sound fair in theory, but experience in Egyptand elsewhere has shown that attempting to operate different personal status laws for members of different religions is a minefield.

Other parts of the NTC document talk about democracy, a multi-party system, equal rights, freedom of expression, independence of the judiciary, etc. Women will have the right to participate “entirely and actively in political, economic and social spheres”.

Taken as a whole (and with the reservations noted above), the document has quite a lot to commend it – but so too did Gaddafi’s 1969 constitution. The proof of the pudding will be in the eating.

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The nationalism and pan-Arabism of the Gaddafi era have gone.”

Posted in LibyaComments Off on NATO Libyan Council defines Libya as a Western country located in Europe

The New Egypt: II

NOVANEWS

All those Zionist hoodlums who who hoped that the Egyptian uprising had no foreign policy goals would be sobbing more over Mu-Barak’s downfall now.  The April 6th youth movement has even called for the expulsion of the US and Zionist ambassadors from Cairo.  The Egyptian media (print and TV) are full of denunciations of IsraHell.  It was quite a show: the Rush Limbaugh of the Mubarak regime, the TV talk show host, `Amru Adib, even joined in the chorus of denunciations of IsraHell, although he has a long history of parroting Mubarak regime and is hated by Egyptian revolutionaries.

All the political personalities of the new Egypt have joined in, as was indicated in the New York Times today.  The Military Council, of course, is a tool of US: it has to balance its fake attempt to appease the Egyptian public while still serving US/Zionist/Saudi interests.  It is not an easy task and this explains the shifts in the position of the Egyptian government in the last 24 hours.  The Egyptian ambassador was withdrawn, and then orders came from Washington, and the decision was rescinded.

Posted in EgyptComments Off on The New Egypt: II

News Fabrication in Time magazine: how Hizbullah fighters have a habit of confession to Nicholas Blanford

NOVANEWS

This is not the first time.  I have mentioned that only weeks ago, Nicholas Blanford interviewed “a Hizbullah fighter” who bragged to him about weapons’ smuggling operation in South Lebanon.  I commented on this at the time and said that it is so obviously a fabrication: worse than when Christopher Hitchens had claimed that he ran into Abu Nidal in a cafe–CAFE FOR POTATO’s SAKE–in Baghdad.  But Nicholas Blanford’s services to the Hariri cause is not new: he wrote a whole book on Hariri, nothing but a vulgar and crude hagiographic account of his life based entirely on Hariri sources.

But to Blanford’s eternal embarrassment, he wrote that book when the Hariri family was convinced that the Syrian regime alone was behind the assassination of Hariri.  So I am expecting a second volume in which a whole new narrative would be dictated to Blanford. (By the way, Hariri family commissioned translations of that book by Blanford and gave it out for free in bulk–that is how professional the book was).

Now, Blanford outdoes himself, big time.  In an act of journalistic self-destruction, he bizarrely claims that he interviewed one of the four members of Hizbullah who were accused of the Hariri murder.  I mocked this story on my Facebook yesterday as soon as I saw it in the press.  It is not believable on any level.  I did not have to wait for today’s official Hizbullah denial that any of this ever took place.  But the denial went even further: apparently, Blanford has claimed that he “stumbled” upon one of the four (as if the pictures of the four released by the court are consistent with their images today–Al-Akhbar’s chief security correspondent, Hasan `Ullayq asserted that Mustafa Badr Ad-Din looked nothing like his picture.  Just remember that `Imad Mugniyyah, we now know, looked nothing like the international pictures released by US and Israel of him) while on his way to interview a Hizbullah official.

But Hizbullah denied that the guy ever interview any of its officials.  It has become a specialty of Blanford to rely on unnamed Hizbullah members who love to rush information and secrets to him, although he has a reputation for being a Hariri court reporter and for vomiting the same Israeli propaganda talking points that one reads in Israeli military communiques.  As is known, Blanford specialized in giving specific estimates of Hizbullah missile capabilities, which match Israeli estimates.  But forget about all this: any of my students who ever wrote a research paper on Hizbullah would dismiss this story in Time magazine as a fabrication.  I mean, say what you want about Hizbullah, call its all the bad names in the book, but it is a most secretive and highly disciplined party.

There has never ever been cases of people in the intelligence-military apparatus of the party talking or leaking to the press.  That is just not their style and they would be dismissed for such infraction.  This is why this story can be dismissed by any expert on Hizbullah.  And if they want to talk and confess, why do they choose to do that to Blanford, of all people.  Of course, there is a possibility that Blanford is so naive and knows little of his subject that he is often duped by people posing as Hizbullah members of fighters.  But a real Middle East correspondent would be skeptical if someone approached him and talked to him as one of the four wanted men, whose pictures (dated) were released by Interpol.

When I was a consultant for NBC News back in the 1980s, there were various crooks in Beirut who would approach US and British Middle East correspondent with tapes and videos of hostages held in Beirut.  And those Middle East correspondents would shell out a thousand, and often more, in return for those “documents”.  The crooks would insist that tapes won’t be delivered until money is delivered first.  Tomorrow, I won’t be surprised if a man without a beard approaches Blanford and claims that he is Hasan Nasrallah himself and offers to confess the murder of Hariri to him.  I mean, how crazy is that?  (thanks Laure)

PS This “report” in Time is now being mocked on Lebanese websites and FB and Twitter.  But one Lebanese did come to the rescue of Blanford to support him: none other than Sa`d Hariri–kid you not.

Posted in LebanonComments Off on News Fabrication in Time magazine: how Hizbullah fighters have a habit of confession to Nicholas Blanford

Dubious Evidence Zio-Nazi Bus Attackers Based in Gaza

NOVANEWS

All those Zionist hoodlums who who hoped that the Egyptian uprising had no foreign policy goals would be sobbing more over Mubarak’s downfall now.  The April 6th youth movement has even called for the expulsion of the US and Zionist ambassadors from Cairo.  The Egyptian media (print and TV) are full of denunciations of Zionist.  It was quite a show: the Rush Limbaugh of the Mubarak regime, the TV talk show host, `Amru Adib, even joined in the chorus of denunciations of Zionism, although he has a long history of parroting Mubarak regime and is hated by Egyptian revolutionaries.

All the political personalities of the new Egypt have joined in, as was indicated in the New York Times today.  The Military Council, of course, is a tool of US: it has to balance its fake attempt to appease the Egyptian public while still serving US/Zionist/Saudi interests.  It is not an easy task and this explains the shifts in the position of the Egyptian government in the last 24 hours.  The Egyptian ambassador was withdrawn, and then orders came from Washington, and the decision was rescinded.

Following deadly  attacks on Zio-Nazi army, Nazi Air Force kills 9 in Gaza despite lack of evidence connecting attackers to the Strip

Not only that, but those in charge didn’t seem to get their act together, and a disagreement has seen the light of day.

Posted in GazaComments Off on Dubious Evidence Zio-Nazi Bus Attackers Based in Gaza

Nazi’s in Gaza

IsraHell bombs Gaza. again.

Mona Elfarra writes from Gaza:Adolf Hitler giving the Nazi salute during a rally in 1939.

Gaza -August 18th -2011               Naziyahu giving the Nazi salute

Dear Friends

I am ok.

They have started shelling Gaza City and different parts of the Gaza Strip. The first attack was so close to my building, the F16 hit Almuntada; they have also attacked the north of the city. Already 6 people have been injured and one killed(6 were killed few hours earlier on ). I can hear and see the emergency vehicles on their way to the site of the shelling. My computer is not working so I am using [my guest]’s laptop – bad timing. It is sad to see the families below the building in panicking and running outside of the sea resort.

The second shelling was against the police building (Arafat police headquarters), so close to the Red Crescent building. The operation is expected to be accelerated and the UN has evacuated its employees. I am trying to calm down while receiving many calls from friends and family checking on me. I have asked [my guest] to leave to the west bank tomorrow; she was due to leave on Sunday. I am relieved it is the end of her visit, and she has accomplished her practicum.
Netanyahu exports the internal Israeli political turmoil to an external situation.

With love and solidarity
Mona

Mona’s point about Israel exporting the Israeli internal turmoil is spot-on. Others have discussed the sheer racist barbarity of Israel bombing Gaza because it was attacked by “Arabs” of some kind. Here is what happens when you use bombs:

AbuSamra2

AbuSamra

These are of Mahmoud Abu Samra. He was 13 years old, from Al-Qastena School, in northern Gaza. I almost wrote, there will be more. But reality goes faster than I can type. There already are more. And today I’m interested in what they, the Egyptian people, will say and more important, what they will do.

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Make No Mistake: Nazi NATO committed War Crimes in Libya

Nazi NATO massacre in Zliten, August the 8th/9th 2011.

This Global Research video was produced and directed in Tripoli by a team of committed journalists, researchers and cameramen, who decided to defy the consensus of the Western media which consists in spreading lies and misleading public opinion.

This video reveals the crimes committed by Nazi NATO, as well as those committed by the Western Zionist media, which has decided to obfuscate the casualties and human suffering of the Libyan people and uphold the humanitarian fiction of Nazi NATO’s R2P mandate.

Zionist War propaganda is defined under international law as a war crime.

A large number of casualties occurred in the city of Zliten, in the district of Misurata. In Zliten, 85 people were killed including 33 children, 32 women, and 20 men as a result of Nazi NATO’s deliberate targeting of residential areas and civilian infrastructure. Many of the injured civilian victims are in critical condition and near death.

Zliten has been under constant NATO bombardment for several days. The recent Nazi NATO attacks started at about 11:30 p.m. EET on August 8, 2011. At least 7 civilian homes belonging to local farmers were destroyed, killing entire families. In all 20 families were the targets of the Nazi NATO bombings.

This video exposes the media’s role of covering up the truth. The mainstream media did not report about this properly or accurately. The media did this to whitewash Nazi NATO’s war crimes against the Libyan people.

Posted in LibyaComments Off on Make No Mistake: Nazi NATO committed War Crimes in Libya

A ”Humanitarian War” on Syria? Military Escalation. Towards a Broader Middle East-Central Asian War?

NOVANEWS
Part I of a three part series
by Michel Chossudovsky
 


“As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia, and Sudan.”

General Wesley Clark


PART I I

 

An extended Middle East Central Asian war has been on the Pentagon’s drawing board since the mid-1990s.

As part of this extended war scenario, the US-NATO alliance plans to wage a military campaign against Syria under a UN sponsored “humanitarian mandate”.

Escalation is an integral part of the military agenda. Destabilization of sovereign states through “regime change” is closely coordinated with military planning.

There is a military roadmap characterised by a sequence of US-NATO war theaters.

War preparations to attack Syria and Iran have been in “an advanced state of readiness” for several years. The Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003  categorizes Syria as a “rogue state”, as a country which supports terrorism. 

A war on Syria is viewed by the Pentagon as part of the broader war directed against Iran. President George W. Bush confirmed in his Memoirs that he had “ordered the Pentagon to plan an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities and [had] considered a covert attack on Syria” (George Bush’s memoirs reveal how he considered attacks on Iran and Syria, The Guardian, November 8, 2010)

This broader military agenda is intimately related to strategic oil reserves and pipeline routes. It is supported by the Anglo-American oil giants.

 

The July 2006 bombing of Lebanon was part of a carefully planned “military road map”. The extension of “The July War” on Lebanon into Syria had been contemplated by US and Israeli military planners. It was abandoned upon the defeat of Israeli ground forces by Hizbollah.

Israel’s July 2006 war on Lebanon also sought to establish Israeli control over the North Eastern Mediterranean coastline including offshore oil and gas reserves in Lebanese and Palestinian territorial waters.

The plans to invade both Lebanon and Syria have remained on the Pentagon’s  drawing board despite Israel’s setback in the 2006 July War:

“In November 2008, barely a month before Tel Aviv started its massacre in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli military held drills for a two-front war against Lebanon and Syria called Shiluv Zro’ot III (Crossing Arms III).  The military exercise included a massive simulated invasion of both Syria and Lebanon” (See Mahdi Darius Nazemoraya, Israel’s Next War: Today the Gaza Strip, Tomorrow Lebanon?, Global Research, January 17, 2009)

The road to Tehran goes through Damascus. A US-NATO sponsored war on Iran would involve, as a first step, a destabilization campaign (“regime change”) including covert intelligence operations in support of rebel forces directed against the Syrian government.  

A “humanitarian war” under the logo of “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) directed against Syria would also contribute to the ongoing destabilization of Lebanon. 

Were a military campaign to be waged against Syria, Israel would be directly or indirectly involved in military and intelligence operations.

A war on Syria would lead to military escalation.

There are at present four distinct war theaters: Afghanistan-Pakistan, Iraq, Palestine and Libya.

An attack on Syria would lead to the integration of these separate war theaters, eventually leading towards a broader Middle East-Central Asian war, engulfing an entire region from North Africa and the Mediterranean to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The ongoing protest movement is intended to serve as a pretext and a justification to intervene militarily against Syria. The existence of an armed insurrection is denied. The Western media in chorus have described recent events in Syria as a “peaceful protest movement” directed against the government of Bashar Al Assad, when the evidence confirms the existence of an armed insurgency integrated by Islamic paramilitary groups.

From the outset of the protest movement in Daraa in mid-March, there has been an exchange of fire between the police and armed forces on the one hand and armed gunmen on the other. Acts of arson directed against government buildings have also been committed. In late July in Hama, public buildings including the Court House and the Agricultural Bank were set on fire. Israeli news sources, while dismissing the existence of an armed conflict, nonetheless, acknowledge that “protesters [were] armed with heavy machine guns.” (DEBKAfile August 1, 2001. Report on Hama, emphasis added)

“All Options on the Table”

In June, US Senator Lindsey Graham (who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee) hinted to the possibility of a “humanitarian” military intervention directed against Syria with a view to “saving the lives of civilians”. Graham suggested that the “option” applied to Libya under UN Secuirty Council resolution 1973 should be envisaged in the case of Syria:

“If it made sense to protect the Libyan people against Gadhafi, and it did because they were going to get slaughtered if we hadn’t sent NATO in when he was on the outskirts of Benghazi, the question for the world [is], have we gotten to that point in Syria, …

We may not be there yet, but we are getting very close, so if you really care about protecting the Syrian people from slaughter, now is the time to let Assad know that all options are on the table,” (CBS “Face The Nation”, June 12, 2011)

Following the adoption of the UN Security Council Statement pertaining to Syria (August 3, 2011), the White House called, in no uncertain terms, for “regime change” in Syria and the ouster of President Bashar Al Assad:

“We do not want to see him remain in Syria for stability’s sake, and rather, we view him as the cause of instability in Syria,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Wednesday.

“And we think, frankly, that it’s safe to say that Syria would be a better place without President Assad,” (quoted in Syria: US Call Closer to Calling for Regime Change, IPS, August 4, 2011)

Extended economic sanctions often constitute a leadup towards outright military intervention.

A bill sponsored by Senator Lieberman was introduced in the US Senate with a view to authorizing sweeping economic sanctions against Syria. Moreover, in a letter to President Obama in early August, a group of more than sixty U.S. senators called for “implementing additional sanctions… while also making it clear to the Syrian regime that it will pay an increasing cost for its outrageous repression.”

These sanctions would require blocking bank and financial transactions as well as “ending purchases of Syrian oil, and cutting off investments in Syria’s oil and gas sectors.” (See  Pressure on Obama to get tougher on Syria coming from all sides – Foreign Policy,  August 3, 2011).

Meanwhile, the US State Department has also met with members of the Syrian opposition in exile. Covert support has also been channelled to the armed rebel groups.

Dangerous Crossroads: War on Syria. Beachhead for an Attack on Iran

Following the August 3 Statement by the Chairman of the UN Security Council directed against Syria, Moscow’s envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin warned of the dangers of military escalation:

“NATO is planning a military campaign against Syria to help overthrow the regime of President Bashar al-Assad with a long-reaching goal of preparing a beachhead for an attack on Iran,…

“[This statement] means that the planning [of the military campaign] is well underway. It could be a logical conclusion of those military and propaganda operations, which have been carried out by certain Western countries against North Africa,” Rogozin said in an interview with the Izvestia newspaper… The Russian diplomat pointed out at the fact that the alliance is aiming to interfere only with the regimes “whose views do not coincide with those of the West.”

Rogozin agreed with the opinion expressed by some experts that Syria and later Yemen could be NATO’s last steps on the way to launch an attack on Iran.

“The noose around Iran is tightening. Military planning against Iran is underway. And we are certainly concerned about an escalation of a large-scale war in this huge region,” Rogozin said.

Having learned the Libyan lesson, Russia “will continue to oppose a forcible resolution of the situation in Syria,” he said, adding that the consequences of a large-scale conflict in North Africa would be devastating for the whole world. “Beachhead for an Attack on Iran”: NATO is planning a Military Campaign against Syria, Novosti, August 5, 2011)

Dmitry Rogozin, August 2011

 

Military Blueprint for an Attack on Syria

Dimitry Rogozin’s warning was based on concrete information known and documented in military circles, that NATO is currently planning a military campaign against Syria. In this regard, a scenario of an attack on Syria is currently on the drawing board, involving French, British and Israeli military experts. According to former Commander of the French Air Force (chef d’Etat-Major de l’Armée de l’air) General Jean Rannou, “a  NATO strike to disable the Syrian army is technically feasible”:

“Nato member countries would begin by using satellite technology to spot Syrian air defences. A few days later, warplanes, in larger numbers than Libya, would take off from the UK base in Cyprus and spend some 48 hours destroying Syrian surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and jets. Alliance aircraft would then start an open-ended bombardment of Syrian tanks and ground troops.

The scenario is based on analysts in the French military, from the specialist British publication Jane’s Defence Weekly and from Israel’s Channel 10 TV station.

The Syrian air force is said to pose little threat. It has around 60 Russian-made MiG-29s. But the rest – some 160 MiG-21s, 80 MiG-23s, 60 MiG-23BNs, 50 Su-22s and 20 Su-24MKs – is out of date.

….”I don’t see any purely military problems. Syria has no defence against Western systems … [But] it would be more risky than Libya. It would be a heavy military operation,” Jean Rannou, the former chief of the French air force, told EUobserver. He added that action is highly unlikely because Russia would veto a UN mandate, Nato assets are stretched in Afghanistan and Libya and Nato countries are in financial crisis. (Andrew Rettman, Blueprint For NATO Attack On Syria Revealed, Global Research, August 11, 2011)

The Broader Military Roadmap

 

While Libya, Syria and Iran are part of the military roadmap, this strategic deployment if it were to be carried out would also threaten  China and Russia. Both countries have investment, trade as well as military cooperation agreements with Syria and Iran. Iran has observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Escalation is part of the military agenda. Since 2005, the US and its allies, including America’s NATO partners and Israel, have been involved in the extensive deployment and stockpiling of advanced weapons systems. The air defense systems of the US, NATO member countries and Israel are fully integrated.


The Role of Israel and Turkey

Both Ankara and Tel Aviv are involved in supporting an armed insurgency. These endeavors are coordinated between the two governments and their intelligence agencies.

Israel’s Mossad, according to reports, has provided covert support to radical Salafi terrorist groups, which became active in Southern Syria at the outset of the protest movement in Daraa in mid-March. Reports suggest that financing for the Salafi insurgency is coming from Saudi Arabia. (SeeSyrian army closes in on Damascus suburbs, The Irish Times, May 10, 2011).

The Turkish government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan is supporting Syrian opposition groups in exile while also backing the armed rebels of the Muslim Brotherhood in Northern Syria.

Both the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (MB) (whose leadership is in exile in the UK) and the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir (the Party of Liberation) are behind the insurrection. Both organizations are supported by Britain’s MI6. The avowed objective of both MB and Hizb-ut Tahir is ultimately to destabilize Syria’s secular State. (See Michel Chossudovsky, SYRIA: Who is Behind The Protest Movement? Fabricating a Pretext for a US-NATO “Humanitarian Intervention”, Global Research, May 3, 2011).

In June, Turkish troops crossed the border into northern Syria, officially to come to the rescue of Syrian refugees. The government of Bashar Al Assad accused Turkey of directly supporting the incursion of rebel forces into northern Syria:

“A rebel force of up to 500 fighters attacked a Syrian Army position on June 4 in northern Syria. They said the target, a garrison of Military Intelligence, was captured in a 36-hour assault in which 72 soldiers were killed in Jisr Al Shoughour, near the border with Turkey.

“We found that the criminals [rebel fighters] were using weapons from Turkey, and this is very worrisome,” an official said.

This marked the first time that the Assad regime has accused Turkey of helping the revolt. … Officials said the rebels drove the Syrian Army from Jisr Al Shoughour and then took over the town. They said government buildings were looted and torched before another Assad force arrived. …

A Syrian officer who conducted the tour said the rebels in Jisr Al Shoughour consisted of Al Qaida-aligned fighters. He said the rebels employed a range of Turkish weapons and ammunition but did not accuse the Ankara government of supplying the equipment.” (Syria’s Assad accuses Turkey of arming rebels, TR Defence, Jun 25 2011)

Denied by the Western media, foreign support to Islamist insurgents, which have “infiltrated the protest movement”, is, nonetheless, confirmed by Western intelligence sources. According to former MI6 officer Alistair Crooke (and high level EU adviser): “two important forces behind events [in Syria] are Sunni radicals and Syrian exile groups in France and the US. He said the radicals follow the teaching of Abu Musab Zarqawi, a late Jordanian Islamist, who aimed to create a Sunni emirate in Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria called Bilad a-Sham. They are experienced urban guerillas who fought in Iraq and have outside finance. They infilitrate protests to attack Assad forces, as in Jisr al-Shagour in June, where they inflicted heavy casualties.” (Andrew Rettman, Blueprint For NATO Attack On Syria Revealed, Global Research, August 11, 2011, emphasis added).

The former MI6 official also confirms that Israel and the US are supporting and financing the terrorists: “Crooke said the exile groups aim to topple the anti-Israeli [Syrian] regime. They are funded and trained by the US and have links to Israel. They pay Sunni tribal chiefs to put people on the streets, work with NGOs to feed uncorroborated stories of atrocities to Western media and co-operate with radicals in the hope that escalating violence will justify Nato intervention.” (Ibid, emphasis added).

Political factions within Lebanon are also involved. Lebanese intelligence has confirmed the covert shipment of assault rifles and automatic weapons to Salafi fighters. The shipment was carried out by Saudi-backed Lebanese politicians.

The Israel-Turkey Military Cooperation Agreement

 

Israel and Turkey have a military cooperation agreement which pertains in a very direct way to Syria as well to the strategic Lebanese-Syrian Eastern Mediterranean coastline (including the gas reserves off the coast of Lebanon and pipeline routes).

Already during the Clinton Administration, a triangular military alliance between the US, Israel and Turkey had unfolded. This “triple alliance”, which is dominated by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, integrates and coordinates military command decisions between the three countries pertaining to the broader Middle East. It is based on the close military ties respectively of Israel and Turkey with the US, coupled with a strong bilateral military relationship between Tel Aviv and Ankara. ….

The triple alliance is also coupled with a 2005 NATO-Israeli military cooperation agreement which includes “many areas of common interest, such as the fight against terrorism and joint military exercises. These military cooperation ties with NATO are viewed by the Israeli military as a means to “enhance Israel’s deterrence capability regarding potential enemies threatening it, mainly Iran and Syria.” (See Michel Chossudovsky,”Triple Alliance”: The US, Turkey, Israel and the War on Lebanon, August 6, 2006)

Meanwhile, the recent reshuffle within Turkey’s top brass has reinforced the pro-Islamist faction within the armed forces. In late July, The Commander in Chief of the Army and head of Turkey’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Isik Kosaner, resigned together with the commanders of the Navy and Air Force.

General Kosaner represented a broadly secular stance within the Armed Forces. General Necdet Ozel has been appointed as his replacement as commander of the Army the new army chief.

These developments are of crucial importance. They tend to support US interests. They also point to a potential shift within the military in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood including the armed insurrection in Northern Syria.

“New appointments have strengthened Erdogan and the ruling party in Turkey… [T]he military power is able to carry out more ambitious projects in the region. It is predicted that in case of using the Libyan scenario in Syria it is possible that Turkey will apply for military intervention.” ( New appointments have strengthened Erdogan and the ruling party in Turkey : Public Radio of Armenia, August 06, 2011, emphasis added)

MB Rebels at Jisr al Choughour

Muslim Brotherhood Rebels at Jisr al Shughour Photos AFP June 16, 2011

[Note: this photo is in many regards misleading. Most of the rebel gunmen are highly trained with modern weapons.]

The Extended NATO Military Alliance

 

Egypt, the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia (within the extended military alliance) are partners of NATO, whose forces could be deployed in a campaign directed against Syria.

Israel is a de facto member of NATO following an agreement signed in 2005.

The process of military planning within NATO’s extended alliance involves coordination between the Pentagon, NATO, Israel’s Defense Force (IDF), as well as the active military involvement of the frontline Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Egypt: all in all ten Arab countries plus Israel are members of The Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative.

We are at a dangerous crossroads. The geopolitical implications are far-reaching.

Syria has borders with Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq. It spreads across the valley of the Euphrates, it is at the crossroads of major waterways and pipeline routes.

Syria is an ally of Iran. Russia has a naval base in North Western Syria (see map).

Establishment of a base in Tartus and rapid advancement of military technology cooperation with Damascus makes Syria Russia’s instrumental bridgehead and bulwark in the Middle East.

Damascus is an important ally of Iran and irreconcilable enemy of Israel. It goes without saying that appearance of the Russian military base in the region will certainly introduce corrections into the existing correlation of forces.

Russia is taking the Syrian regime under its protection. It will almost certainly sour Moscow’s relations with Israel. It may even encourage the Iranian regime nearby and make it even less tractable in the nuclear program talks.( Ivan Safronov, Russia to defend its principal Middle East ally: Moscow takes Syria under its protection, Global Research July 28, 2006)

World War III Scenario

For the last five years, the Middle East-Central Asian region has been on an active war footing.

Syria has significant air defense capabilities as well as ground forces.

Syria has been building up its air defense system with the delivery of Russian Pantsir S1 air-defense missiles. In 2010, Russia delivered a Yakhont missile system to Syria. The Yakhont operating out of Russia’s Tartus naval base “are designed for engagement of enemy’s ships at the range of up to 300 km”. (Bastion missile systems to protect Russian naval base in Syria, Ria Novosti,  September 21, 2010).

The structure of military alliances respectively on the US-NATO and Syria-Iran-SCO sides, not to mention the military involvement of Israel, the complex relationship between Syria and Lebanon, the pressures exerted by Turkey on Syria’s northern border, point indelibly to a dangerous process of escalation.

Any form of US-NATO sponsored military intervention directed against Syria would destabilize the entire region, potentially leading to escalation over a vast geographical area, extending from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border with Tajikistan and China.

In the short run, with the war in Libya, the US-NATO military alliance is overextended in terms of its capabilities. While we do not forsee the implementation of a US-NATO military operation in the short-term, the process of political destabilization through the covert support of a rebel insurgency will in all likelihood continue.

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