Archive | Middle East

Syria’s Eastern Ghouta: Catastrophic Situation or Heinous Disinformation Campaign?


More than 400,000 civilians of Syria’s Eastern Ghouta are still besieged and face the worsening humanitarian situation, said Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, during a regular briefing at the UN Headquarters in New York on November 7.

The cease-fire regime has been established there since July 2017, as this area is one of four de-escalation zones. At the same time, Eastern Ghouta is occupied by various militant groups as Jaysh Al-Islam, Faylaq Al-Rahman, and Jabhat Al Nusra.

The humanitarian aid from the Syrian government, Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), UN and Russia on a regular basis is delivered to Eastern Ghouta despite regular provocations and mortar shillings of the militants.

Not so long ago, on November 12, joint UN and SARC humanitarian convoy of 24 trucks arrived in Duma, Eastern Ghouta. Two weeks earlier, on October 30, 49 trucks loaded with vaccines, food, drinking water, and necessities made it to the areas of Kafr Batna and Sacqba to help more than 40,000 people.

Earlier, on September 24, another humanitarian convoy with the assistance of Russia entered Eastern Ghouta. The convoy delivered food, medicine and warm clothes for the locals. Later, it became known that most of the supplies had not reached civilians and fell into the hand of Faylaq Al-Rahman and al-Nusra militants, who took all the goods to their warehouses.

Consequently, it is exactly the militants who aggravate the humanitarian situation in Eastern Ghouta, what has been exactly mentioned by Dujarric. In fact, the militants deprived seriously ill women and children of the opportunity to get daily necessities and medicine. It seemed that the United States works hard to achieve exactly this goal: the White House administration has made every effort to deliver humanitarian aid to the starving militants.

By the way, without going into too much detail, the Western Mass Media has supported the disinformation campaign of the opposition militants on Facebook and Twitter going by the name #AssadBesiegesGhota.

The authors of the campaign created a series of short messages, tweets, photos, and videos, which mainly depict sick and malnourished children with only one purpose – to evoke feelings of pity and compassion among users of social networks around the world.

This action was initiated to show the world community that the people of Eastern Ghouta suffer from hunger. The West tries to make Bashar Assad and the Syrian Arab Army guilty instead of the militants who control the region.

However, the disinformation campaign is gaining further momentum. On November 13, the second phase of the campaign with the hashtag #BreakGhoutaSiege.

Most likely, the aim of the campaign is to make the Syrian government lift the siege on Eastern Ghouta. For its part, Assad’s government believes that the siege on Eastern Ghouta is a necessary measure since if withdrawn, militants will be able to obtain weapons and ammunition from their Western sponsors, regroup or leave the area under the guise of civilians.

Despite the scale of the disinformation campaign, it won’t affect the conduct of a successful counter-terrorism operation in Eastern Ghouta. The residents of the Damascus countryside are tired of living next door to militants and hope for the assistance of the Syrian government.

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America’s “Killing Fields” in Yemen


America’s “Killing Fields” in Yemen: Children are Dying, Engineered Starvation, US Enforced Blockade on Food and Medicine

Megadeaths from America – Yemen Is the Worst Case Among Many

“Let me be clear: The use of starvation as a weapon of war is a war crime.” – UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, January 15, 2016, warning the warring parties in Syria

“People are dying; children are suffering not as a result of an accident of war, but as the consequence of an intentional tactic – surrender or starve. And that tactic is directly contrary to the law of war.” – US Secretary of State John Kerry, February 1, 2016, denouncing atrocities in Syria


As Americans get ready for Thanksgiving 2017 over-eating, their government is on the verge of successfully starving millions of Yemenis to death by siege warfare. The US naval blockade of Yemen has been unrelenting since March 2015. The US Navy is an essential element of this perpetual war crime, this endless assault on a civilian population of about 25 million. This is the kind of collective punishment of innocents that we once put Nazis on trial for at Nuremberg. The US Department of Defense Law of War Manual, however, advises (section 5.20.1, page 315) that: “Starvation is a legitimate method of warfare.” So now the US is a blithe mass-murdering state with impunity, qualities hardly ever mentioned in the world’s freest media (with one remarkable exception in Democracy NOW, where coverage of Yemen has been excellent at least since 2009).

Well, never mind, at least Taylor Swift’s reputation is soaring and everyone gets to throw figurative rocks at Roy Moore, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and other serial predators. Predator is also the name of one of the US drones that the US President sends to assassinate people who may or may not have done anything wrong, but who showed up at the wrong time on the wrong list, and what more due process do those un-white foreign people deserve anyway? You don’t hear Congress complaining, do you? Or mainstream media? Or the courts? This is beyond bipartisan thrill killing, this is national consensual mass murder.

OK, to be fair, there has been some tepid, insincere, sporadic objection to wiping out millions of innocent people. Why, just as recently as October 10, The New York Times ran an op-ed article – NOT an editorial – that began with a pretty fair summary of the carnage being visited on Yemen by the US and its allies:

Imagine that the entire population of Washington State — 7.3 million people — were on the brink of starvation, with the port city of Seattle under a naval and aerial blockade, leaving it unable to receive and distribute countless tons of food and aid that sit waiting offshore. This nightmare scenario is akin to the obscene reality occurring in the Middle East’s poorest country, Yemen, at the hands of the region’s richest, Saudi Arabia, with unyielding United States military support that Congress has not authorized and that therefore violates the Constitution.

The headline on this op-ed piece is “Stop the Unconstitutional War in Yemen,” which is something of a deception since the war is truly criminal by any standard of international law and its “unconstitutionality” is but one aspect of its overall criminality. Like the Times, the authors of the op-ed have yet to face the raw criminality of the aggressive war on Yemen. The authors are three members of Congress, two Democrats, Ro Khanna of California and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin, together with a rare Republican of some integrity, Walter Jones of North Carolina. But they do not call out the gross criminality of American siege warfare against Yemen, they come hat in hand arguing that the war is unconstitutional because Congress hasn’t approved it formally. Congress has approved it with silence. No party leadership on either side has joined with these three in their gentle effort to “Stop the war.” These three Congress members, with Republican Thomas Massie, were the original sponsors of the House resolution introduced September 27, as a hint “to remove United States Armed Forces from unauthorized hostilities in the Republic of Yemen.” The resolution has so far gathered an additional 42 co-sponsors (one more Republican) from the House’s 435 members. One measure of where we are as a country is that something as bland and incomplete as this resolution is seen somehow as a radical act that gets little support in Congress or coverage in the media, where the forced starvation of millions of people is not a big issue.

Yemen is a nation under siege from the air with daily bombings. The Saudis and their allies control the air over Yemen, which has almost no air force and almost no air defenses. Nothing flies in or out of Yemen without Saudi permission, which is rarely given, even for food or medical supplies. The Saudi air force could not function without American support. US military forces select targets, provide intelligence, re-fuel Saudi jets in mid-air and repair them on the ground. Every bomb that falls on Yemen has American fingerprints on it, especially the cluster bombs (another war crime) made in America.

Yemen is a nation under siege from the water, where the US Navy enforces a blockade not only of food, medicine, and other humanitarian relief coming in. The US Navy also turns back Yemenis trying to flee, essentially reducing their choices to risking drowning or starvation. And thanks to the effectiveness of the blockades, there is a massive risk of cholera in Yemen as well, as the US and its allies deliberately wage biological warfare in Yemen as well.

Yemen is a nation under siege on the ground. The Saudis control Yemen’s northern border, which has been under dispute between the two countries for decades. Nothing crosses the border into Yemen without Saudi permission, mostly granted to artillery fire. Little effectual return fire comes from Yemen. Yemen’s eastern border is with Oman, which is a friendly state. In between Oman and Yemeni population centers in the west, the territory is mostly controlled by al Qaeda and ISIS, with the Saudi-backed puppet regime tucked in around Aden. All of those forces oppose the Houthis in control of the northwest, which has been their homeland for centuries. Just to be clear: the US is deliberately starving a population that is fighting al Qaeda and Isis.

With its recent governmental purges, Saudi Arabia maybe have become the second most dangerous nation in the world. Not to worry, the USA is still Number One. But the US/Saudi axis can hardly be much better news for the region than it is for Yemen.

On November 8, the United Nations and some twenty international relief agencies issued a statement of alarm at and opposition to the US/Saudi-enforced siege on Yemen. The human cost of two and a half years of US/Saudi aggression is already unforgivably punishing and cruel. Now the US/Saudi siege threatens unprecedented catastrophe:

There are over 20 million people in need of humanitarian assistance; seven million of them are facing famine-like conditions and rely completely on food aid to survive. In six weeks, the food supplies to feed them will be exhausted. Over 2.2 million children are malnourished, of those, 385,000 children suffer from severe malnutrition and require therapeutic treatment to stay alive. Due to limited funding, humanitarian agencies are only able to target one third of the population (7 million)…. outbreaks of communicable diseases such as polio and measles are to be expected with fatal consequences, particularly for children under five years of age and those already suffering from malnutrition … the threat of famine and the spread of cholera … deadly consequences to an entire population suffering from a conflict that it is not of their own making.

Also on November 8, the day of the statement of alarm, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock briefed the UN Security Council on the crisis in Yemen. The briefing was secret, on the request of Sweden. After the briefing, Lowcock met with reporters. He warned that, unless there is a significant, massive humanitarian response soon:

There will be a famine in Yemen. It will not be like the famine that we saw in South Sudan earlier in the year where tens of thousands of people were affected. It will not be like the famine which cost 250,000 people their lives in Somalia in 2011. It will be the largest famine the world has seen for many decades, with millions of victims.

The aggression against Yemen has been a nexus of war crimes from the beginning, when it was sanctioned by the Obama administration to appease Saudi peevishness over international peacemaking with Iran on nuclear development. For almost three years, Yemen has been a holocaust-in-the-making, with this difference: turning most of the country into a death camp, with America’s blessing and collusion. Repubs will choose to confirm 300 unqualified judges before they’ll choose to intervene in one criminal war, and mostly Democrats will not seriously object to either choice.

If the United States doesn’t kill you, it’s perfectly happy to let you die (what health care?). The question – with hope embedded – is whether most Americans support the legal reign of terror that is Pax Americana. Given US treatment of Americans from Ferguson to Flint to Standing Rock to Puerto Rico, the prospect is grim.

Posted in Saudi Arabia, Yemen0 Comments

Referendum Blues Redux: Kurdistan, Catalonia and the Nazi regime

Referendum Blues Redux: Kurdistan, Catalonia and Israel

BFFs: Kurdish Regional Government President Massoud Barzani making plans with Israeli leader Bibi Netanyahu.

Dr Can Erimtan
21st Century Wire

Identity Politics and the Spectre of Micro-Nations

The recent referenda that have taken place in Spain (1 October 2017) and Iraq (25 September 2017) have managed to upset the status quo considerably. The first referendum did not trigger, but greatly augmented the momentum carried by the votes cast in Italy’s Lombardy and Veneto subsequently (23 October 2017), votes cast in favour of “greater autonomy.”

One of the most vocal proponents of these Italy-based movements towards self-reliance and particularly fiscal probity, the political scientist Professor Marco Bassani, recently said that “the disintegration of this kind of European order,” as encapsulated in the EU as a supposedly happy union of nations and states, is now on the cards. instead, Bassani argued that “[t]here will be a confederation in Europe . . . in like 10-15 years from now, but not based on the nation-states that we know” now, even predicting that “[t]here might be easily 35 to 45 new countries coming up” in Europe – micro-nations and independent regions and/or domains, arguably. And the theoretical basis of such Europe-wide splinter entities is furnished by an 18-page tract published in 1992 by the Dutch beer tycoon Freddy Heineken (1923-2002): The United States of Europe (a Eurotopia?). The journalist and map-expert Frank Jacobs puts it like this: “[t]he theory behind Heineken’s idea is that a larger number of smaller member-states would be easier to govern within a single European framework than a combination of larger states competing for dominance. [And, in turn,] Heineken might [himself] have been inspired by the work of Leopold Kohr [1909-94],” an Austrian philosopher whose most influential work is a book entitled The Breakdown of Nations (1957) –  a text arguing that the whole of Europe should be “cantonized,” into small-scale political units as supposedly common in the pre-nation state era. But these cantonization efforts would not really serve the common people or regular citizens of Europe. They would rather benefit the large corporations running the show behind the scenes in true post-democratic fashion, employing the concept coined by Professor Colin Crouch in the year 2000. Still, the ubiquity of identity politics in the contemporary world as well as a universal love of the underdog leads many to support separatist movements and other forms of micro-nationalism, and the formation of micro-nation states.

The Paris-based Irish journalist and political analyst Gearóid Ó Colmáin correctly points out that the “rule by the dictatorship of [a] financial oligarchy” constitutes “fascism” and hence his contention that “[t]rans-national financial elites want to make the European Union into the political representation of their power.” And hapless Euro-citizens all around pledge their support for ever smaller and ever more minute identities longing for freedom and independence, not realising that a “return to Europe’s medieval micro-states” basically constitutes “the best way of creating a supranational European federation,” ruled by moneyed puppet-masters operating ‘behind the curtain.’

From Catalonia to Kurdistan

One should not forget, however, that the nation-state is but a relatively recent phenomenon, appearing in the aftermath of the French Revolution (1789) and subsequently dominating first Europe and then the rest of the world till today. But a nation-state is nothing but a political and social construct, corresponding to a ‘imagined community,’ to use Benedict Anderson’s 1983 coinage, inscribed upon a ‘geo-body.’ The latter phrase was, in turn, coined by Thongchai Winichakul to denote the ‘most concrete identification’ of nation’s dreams and aspirations, effectively tangible on the ground and plainly visible on a map. In the 21st century, previously seemingly unitary nations seem to splinter easily into its component micro-ethnicities and other socio-cultural identities and/or communities. In this context, John Feffer‘s words that “[f]rom Catalonia to Kurdistan, long simmering regions are clamoring for their own state” appear significant though somewhat misleading. As a distinct ethnic group the Kurds (c. 30 million) at present live dispersed over about four different states in the region (from Turkey over Syria to Iraq and Iran), with additionally a sizeable portion of Kurds (c. 11 million) actually inhabiting the West (Canada, U.S. and Europe).

Originally, ‘Kurdistan’ was but an ethnic geo-body embedded in larger state structures (basically, the Ottoman and Safavid/Qajar states in early modern times), a geo-body lacking its own sovereign administrative organisation though. In the aftermath of the Great War (or World War I, 1914-18) and the Ottomans’ surrender, the Treaty of Sèvres (10 August 1920), in line with Woodrow Wilson’s ‘Fourteen Points‘ (8 January 1918), contains a “Section” which stipulates the creation of a “Committee” to “draft . . . a scheme of local autonomy for the predominantly Kurdish areas lying east of the Euphrates, south of the southern boundary of Armenia . . . and north of the frontier of Turkey with Syria and Mesopotamia” (Section III, Article 62). And moreover, the next article even holds that the “Turkish Government hereby agrees to accept and execute the decision . . . within three months” (Section III, Article 63).

Kurdish populations and settlements in the Middle East (Source: Medya Magazine)

From Minority to Micro-Nation: Kurdistan

The emergence of an Anatolian resistance movement led by Mustafa Kemal (to be known as Atatürk, 1881-1938) and the Turkish victory over the Greek invaders in 1922 was to usher in peace negotiations leading to the signature of the Treaty of Lausanne (20 November 1922-24 July 1923) – a treaty which made the earlier agreement null and void, quashing Kurdish hopes for an independent state.

On the other hand, Lausanne sanctioned the formation of the Republic of Turkey as a Turkish nation-state (29 October 1923), a nation-state that effectively employed social engineering and official propaganda to absorb any and all ethnic groups and sub-groups into the Turkish mainstream. Within this wider framework, the Kurds, however, constituted the one major exception and remained steadfastly beholden to their own ethnic and linguistic identity. As a result, though Turkey still houses the largest Kurdish minority on its soil, state repression and persecution of Kurds remained a constant throughout the Kemalist era (1923-2002), and from 1984 onwards the Kurdish Workers’ Party (or PKK) commenced an armed struggle against the Ankara government. The eminent Kurdish specialist Mesut Yeğen opines that the “Turkish state’s engagement with the Kurdish question [traditionally] stood on three pillars: assimilation, repression and containment.”

In the 21st century the advent of the overtly Islamic Justice and Development Party (or AKP), founded and led by the charismatic Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (aka the Prez since August 2014), seemed to offer a glimmer of hope. On 12 August 2005, then-Prime Minister Erdoğan gave a memorable speech in the south-eastern city of Diyarbakır (known as Amed in Kurdish), where his words signalled a veritable paradigm shift with regards to Turco-Kurdish relations. In fact. Tayyip Erdoğan became the first Turkish politician ever to speak of a “Kurdish problem,“ whereras previously politicians and public figures alike had shied away from using the term or even acknowledging the existence of the Kurds as a separate ethnic group in Turkey. In fact, the AKP leader went a whole lot further, as he declared that “[p]roblems do not have partial owners. All problems, be they Turkish, be they Kurdish, be they Circassian, be they Abkhaz, be they Laz, are the common problems of the citizens of the Republic of Turkey . . . For everyone is the creation of the same soil, [everyone is] a human being [created by the same soil], this is what it means to be a [nation of] people.“

These words spoken by Tayyip Erdoğan early in his career on the national stage contained a first hint at what I have termed the AKP ‘Policy of Sunnification,’ as a programme containing every Turkish Islamist’s dream of expunging Atatürk’s legacy and returning the one true religion (or din-i mübin, in Turkish) to its supposedly rightful place in Turkish society and politics – a policy that really came into its own after the year 2010, I would suggest. The main goal of this policy was (and still is) to transform the Turkish citizenry into homogenous body of Hanafi Sunni Muslim believers, united in their faith ordained by the Directorate of Religious Affairs (or Diyanet, in Turkish) and living happily together within the spatial boundaries of the geo-body of the Republic of Turkey. In this way, the noun ‘Turk’ as a short-hand for Turkish citizen (as explained in the Turkish Constitution, Article 66) would become synonymous with ‘Muslim.’ In the context of this particular AKP programme the Kurds play an important role. Public opinion in the West, hyper-sensitivised by the higher-mentioned ubiquity of identity politics in the contemporary world, is well-acquainted with the plight of the Kurds in Turkey, and regards them as a persecuted ethnic ‘minority,’ deserving of support and sympathy. In reality, though, Turkey is home to a great many ethnicities and sub-ethnicities or ‘minorities,’ if you will, as I explained at length in 2013. I would argue that the AKP leadership regarded solving the  ‘Kurdish problem’ as containing the key to unlocking the whole of Turkey’s citizenry’s Islamic identity. The AKP leadership’s preoccupation with Turkey’s Kurds also led to a rapprochement with the Kurdish Regional Government (or KRG) in Northern Iraq, with the National Security Council (or Milli Guvenlik Kurulu/MGK), convening in 24 April 2008, to suggest enhancing relations with “all Iraqi groups” and subsequently, Murat Özçelik (then-Turkey’s Special Envoy to Iraq) and the future wily FM Ahmet Davutoğlu (at the time acting as the PM’s chief advisor for foreign affairs) meeting the KRG President Masoud Barzani in October.

Some ten months later, on 11 August 2009, Tayyip Erdoğan gave yet another speech – a speech that inititated the National Unity and Brotherhood Project and the so-called Democratic Overture, which carried the formulation of a bona fide Peace Process in its wake. The AKP MP Aydın Ünal, who has acted as Erdoğan’s speech writer for the duration of eight years, has compared this particular speech to Mustafa Kemal’s address to mark the opening of the nation’s parliament on 23 April 1920. Whereas the latter’s words gave rise to the establishment of the Republic in three years’ time, Tayyip Erdoğan’s were meant to usher in peace and security as well as a happy co-habitation of Kurds and Turks within the confines of the state established by Mustafa Kemal.

Less than three years later, on 21 March 2013, during the Nowruz (or traditional new year’s festival, spelt Nevruz, in Turkish) celebrations in the south-eastern city of Diyarbakır (known as Amed in Kurdish) “the imprisoned terrorist [PKK] leader Abdullah Öcalan (Apo)“ had a “written message, a letter, broadcast publicly to a crowd of hundreds of thousands“ gathered there. Apo’s words were unequivocal: “Let guns be silenced and politics dominate . . . The stage has been reached where our armed forces should withdraw beyond the borders . . . It’s not the end. It’s the start of a new era.” And, two days later the PKK announced its ceasefire. The following two years were marked by a conspicuous absence of terror attacks in Turkey. At the time, the KRG President Massoud Barzani was also highly supportive of these developments, calling the Peace Process a “vindication of our long-standing policy that the Kurdish question is a political issue and that this question cannot be resolved through armed or military means.” As a result, cosy relations between Ankara and Erbil ensued, with “hundreds of Turkish companies present in Northern Iraq” and the flow of “billions of dollars in trade.” And more importantly, with AKP-led Ankara benefitting greatly from the KRG’s underground oil and gas wealth, much to the Baghdad government’s chagrin and even Washingon’s objections. Back in April 2013, I wrote that the KRG’s “lucrative oil exports seem to have persuaded [AKP-led] Ankara that peace at home can only lead to peace abroad, paraphrasing Atatürk’s well-known dictum.”

As a corollary, on 26 June 2014, the AKP government submitted a six-article bill, entitled “Draft Law to End Terror and Strengthen Social Integration.” At the time, the then-Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay stated publicly that the Peace “[P]rocess is approaching a stage where problems will be solved, violence will end, people will leave their arms and come down from the mountains and live a normal social life with rehabilitation.”

Sacrificing the Peace Process

But all good things come to an end, and due to political circumstances and, arguably,  electoral misfortunes, in the summer of 2015, the Prez and his AKP henchmen anew unleashed Turkey’s military might: “as if by happy coincidence, the terror threat posed by Kurdish nationalism and the PKK once again reared its ugly head forcing Turkey to take retaliatory military measures, inside the country as well as across the border on the grounds of the KRG in Northern Iraq. At the same time, next door’s not so civil war in Syria managed to insert itself into Turkey’s frame as well, targeting the local Kurds and their political party the HDP [or The Peoples’ Democratic Party]. The terror attacks in Suruç (20 July 2015) and Ankara (10 October 2015) were quickly blamed on the Islamic State (IS) and led to a concerted government crackdown on sleeper cells in such diverse locations as Diyarbakır and Pendik. Even though the country’s Kurds and the HDP had been the primary targets of the IS attacks on Turkish soil, the main beneficiary was nevertheless the AKP. Over and again, Tayyip Erdogan spoke publicly about the fact that the PKK and its Syrian ally the PYD [or Democratic Union Party, active in Syria] were the same as the Caliph and his IS. The Prez convincingly equated ‘Kurdish terrorists’ with ‘Islamist freedom fighters’ in the minds of his many listeners at home as well as abroad so that they saw no option but to vote for stability over insecurity, thereby assuring a landslide return to power of the AKP” on 1 November 2015.

Turkey’s Kurds vis-à-vis Iraq’s Kurds

I would argue that the real reason behind the failure of the much-vaunted Peace Process is to be found in the outcome of the arguably inconclusive elections of 7 June 2015, necessitating a re-run five months later. Following the June elections, the AKP did not possess a large enough mandate to form a government on its own, yet coalition talks failed to get underway, with the mainly Kurdish HDP gaining access to parliament, much to the chagrin of nationalists and Islamists alike. As a result, on 20 August, Turkey’s Supreme Election Commission (or YSK) suggested that an election re-run be held on November, 1st.

At the time, many Kurds and their sympathisers as well as critics of Erdoğan regarded the recent IS attacks as somehow orchestrated by the AKP government, claiming the existence of close tiesuniting both enemies of Bashar al-Assad, “ties that could very well go beyond a mere tactical alliance and instead be based on ideological commonalities.“ Following the Suruç suicide attack, the HDP issued a statement imploring its supporters to ‘constitute a peace block opposed to ISIS [or the IS]. It is the [AKP-led] government that is responsible for any kind of security breach,’ allowing the suicide bomber to enter the Amara Cultural Centre in the small Turkish town of Suruç and kill more than 30 innocents. The HDP declaration next minces no words: “[t]oday we have witnessed once more what this army of rapists and barbarians that has lost its human dignity is capable of . . . All the countries and regimes supplying ISIS [or the IS] and other armies of rapists with support are accessories to this barbarity. The leaders in Ankara who are stroking the head of ISIS [ or the IS, as we speak and who] have even flung threats at the HDP, who remain silent in the face of ISIS [or the IS], [and] who are even afraid to raise their voices, [they] are accomplices to this barbarity’.“ In fact, two days prior to polling day on June, 7th, “[t]wo blasts ripped through a Kurdish rally” in Diyarbakır, “killing two people and injuring more than 100.” In the aftermath of the blasts “armored police vehicles arrived with a fusillade of tear gas before a single ambulance was in sight,” according to witness as reported by Caroline McKusick. The perpetrators of the attack were never apprehended, and at the time, the news agency Reuters reported that “Demirtas has said his party has been the target of more than 70 violent attacks during the campaign.” A little more than a month after the June elections,  the Suruç terror attack occurred (20 July 2015) and two days later (22 July 2015), two police officers were shot dead in the town of Ceylanpınar – the attack was claimed by the PKK, stating that  the killings were “retaliation” for the Suruç bombing. It seems possible to detect a certain pattern in this succession of provocations and counter-provocations, which could lead one to conclude that Tayyip Erdoğan and his AKP henchmen willingly sabotaged the Peace Process in order to gain electoral success, leaving Turkey’s Kurds high and dry as a result.

But south of the border, in the KRG, President Barzani had already announced in 2014 that a referendum on Kurdish independence in northern Iraq would be held. At that stage, Barzani told the press that he “can’t fix a date right now but definitely it’s a question of months. But of course it must be decided by parliament.” And now, three years later, that day has finally come and gone: 25 September 2017. The Baghdad government vehemently opposed the referendum, and was joined by Ankara and Tehran. And last month, a serious crisis seemed imminent with military conflict a distinct possibility – I even wrote that “all-out ethnic war could just be around the corner now.” Particularly, as the Kurds had occupied the oil-rich city of Kirkuk in the wake of the Islamic State’s dramatic appearance on the scene, effectively annulling the Sykes-Picot-ordained reality on the ground. But, contrary to expectations, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters abandoned the city without a fight. So that in the end, it seems that outside pressure exerted behind the scenes must have prevailed, and on Wednesday, 25 October 2017, the KRG released a statement offering “to freeze the results of [the] earlier referendum on independence as part of an offer to defuse the crisis with the Iraqi central government in Baghdad, as reported by Reuters. The news agency added that the “statement also called for an immediate ceasefire and a halt to all military operations in the northern region [of Iraq’s territories]. The KRG called for an open dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad based on the country’s constitution.”

In response, Iraq’s PM Haider al-Abadi (image, left) declared that his government “won’t accept anything but its cancellation and the respect of the constitution.” This probably means that a protracted war of words lies ahead and its outcome is as yet uncertain. In the midst of this turmoil, President Barzani’s term of 12 years had been extended for another two, but in the aftermath of the failed referendum, Barzani indicated that he would (eventually) step down as KRG president. As a result, it seems that the Baghdad government has prevailed, preserving the state’s territorial integrity while re-acquiring the lands occupied by the Caliph and his IS.

In a similar vein, Spain’s government is now cracking down on the Catalan independence movement, with Madrid imposig direct rule over the breakaway region and the Catalan parliament unilaterally declaring independence on Friday, 27 October 2017. But rather than resigning like his Kurdish counterpart, the Catalan President Carles Puigdemont remained defiant, flying to Brussels yet indicating that he is not seeking political asylum while remaining vocal in his opposition to the Madrid government.

A Second and Third Israel?!??

The KRG’s neighbours have together formed a united front against the formation of an independent Kurdistan, that could have had a possible domino effect in its wake affecting Turkey and Iran, as well as Syria, and thus potentially lead to the emergence of a Greater Kurdistan.

Other regional players, though, seem more favourably inclined towards such a development – or, rather one player, namely the state of Israel. Prior to the referendum, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (or Bibi) stating unequivocally that “the Kurds have been and will continue to be reliable and long-term allies of Israel since they are, like us, a minority group in the region.” As worded by the always knowledgeable Seymour Hersh in 2004, “[t]hroughout the nineteen-sixties and seventies, Israel actively supported a Kurdish rebellion against Iraq, as part of its strategic policy of seeking alliances with non-Arabs in the Middle East.”

And more recently, following the ill-fated Bush invasion of Iraq in 2003, Israel has been actively supporting the Kurds in the north, in order to attain strategic leverage regarding Iran in the east and, at the same time, giving in to the attraction exerted by the KRG’s underground oil and gas wealth. In view of these dangerous-yet-largely-unseen links, Iraqi Vice President Nouri al-Maliki has recently unambiguously declared that Iraq “will not allow the creation of a second Israel in the north” of the country. At the same time, though, the State of Israel is also very much in favour of other secessionist movements: The writer and geopolitical analyst Manuel Galiana Ros, for instance, indicates that there has been a long-standing link between Israel and Catalonia, adding that the Catalan “local police are trained in Israel by the Mossad.” Back in 2012, the HaaretzEnglish editor Adar Primor declared categorically that “Catalonia will soon be the state of the Catalan people, [just as] Israel is first and foremost the state of the Jewish people.”

Does this now mean that Israel, as a state founded to house the Jewish people from across the globe in the midst of the Arab world, is actively looking for and supporting other minority nations close by and farther afield?!?  And how would the people of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Turkey, and Spain feel about such unseen machinations liable to upset their daily lives and the continuation of peaceful relations?!??  Or, is Israel merely following the tide of the times, advocating the emergence of micro-nations and independent regions and/or domains, and in doing so lending credence to its own ethno-religious claim to a homeland – while corresponding to ever more minute identities propagated for the benefit of some unseen interests trying to divide and rule the world?

Yet, in both cases the timing seemed off, and the requirements of nation states prevailed over micro-aspirations and Zionist  machinations behind the scenes . . . for now.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, Iraq0 Comments

Syria Has Shown That Stop the War UK is Not Fit for Purpose


The looming war in Lebanon

Stop the War            Coalition 

Following the defeat of Isis in Syria and Iraq, the war machine in the Middle East is rapidly shifting its focus onto a new flashpoint. Having forced a resignation of the Lebanese Prime Minister, the Saudis and Israel appear to be preparing for war against Iran’s ally Hezbollah in Lebanon.

This partial shift of focus does not mean that the war in Syria is over. But the failure of the intervention in Syria to defeat Assad is increasing the resolve of the Saudis and of Israel to strengthen their grip on the region by defeating Iran’s other ally Hezbollah. Donald Trump’s backing is encouraging these belligerent moves.

Israel’s military leadership has been talking of huge aerial bombardment against Hezbollah, which would lead to great casualties. This could also lead to the intervention of Russia and Iran, which could result in a war of immense proportions. The British government would no doubt try to persuade the public that the intervention in Lebanon is justified, and would probably offer some form of support to it.


Syria Has Shown That Stop the War UK is Not Fit for Purpose


Barbara McKenzie

21st Century Wire

This is a sequel to Stop the War, Libya and the CPGB-ML, which considered the response of the UK’s Stop the War Coalition to NATO’s plans for regime change in Libya.

The war on Syria began in much the same way as that for Libya: romantic talk of the Arab Spring, and claims of peaceful protests ruthlessly put down by a dictator with hitherto unsuspected genocidal tendencies. However the non-NATO aligned members of the Security Council, on the one hand, and a high proportion of the general public on the other, had learned from the disastrous consequences of Russia and China’s acquiescence to a no fly zone in Libya, and thus moves to introduce one for Syria, either with or without the agreement of the Security Council, have so far failed.

The purpose of the Libyan war, i.e. the overthrowing of Gaddafi, was achieved within a few months thanks to NATO’s bombing campaign; the lack of such action on the part of NATO and its allies has enabled the Syrian to withstand the terrorist onslaught, with the Russian participation a game-changer. The protracted nature of the conflict has enabled and encouraged research into the facts of the war, with extensive evidence available on essential points, in particular:

1: Forced regime change in Syria had been planned for years by US and allies (see Wesley Clarkon US intentions in 2001, the Clinton emails from 2006 and the revelation by French Minister Dumas relating to NATO plans for Syria in 2009).

2: Syrians had little taste for a revolution in Syria: no-one in Damascus turned out for a pan-Arab Day of Rage on 4 February 2011, while in those early days there were huge demonstrations in favour of the government and Bashar al Assad in Damascus and Aleppo.

3: The early protests, notably in the provincial town of Dara’a, were violent from the outset, with a stiffening of foreign terrorists imported from Libya. There is extensive eyewitness testimony to that violence, including that of Jesuit priest Father Frans der Lugt (murdered in April 2014), of soldierscalled to the famous protest in Dara’a on 15 March 2011, and of civil defence workers.

4: The heavy involvement of outside governments in the war, with NATO powers such as the US, the UK and France, and Arab states like Saudi Arabia and Qatar spending enormous sums on training, arming and funding militants and financing foreign mercenaries; the role of Turkey in the movement of prospective jihadis and trade with militant groups like ISIS cannot be overstated.

5: The barbaric nature of the extremists, native and foreign, who owned the insurrection.

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In ‘The cause and instigation of the war on Syria, which references many essential primary sources, Angelis Dania concludes:

The fact that the US was plotting regime-change in Syria with the use of false propaganda should colour every report on events in Syria, subjecting them to the need for review in light of the now established pre-existing US regime-change campaign.’

Many who found the idea of overthrowing the extremely oppressive regimes of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, or at best undemocratic and unpopular government of Egypt were disillusioned when they realised that regime change was only meant to happen in countries not aligned with the West. The Stop the War leadership, however, whose remit somehow expanded from opposing war to active concern with the internal affairs of other countries, has continued to support in principle the concept of the Arab Spring.

Stop the War’s Position on Syria

Over the years Lindsay German has written a number of articles reiterating the organisation’s position, almost always with a note of apology for not supporting the war on Syria, e.g. There is no hypocrisy in our stance on Syria November 2012.   Stop the War’s official position on Syria, in simple terms, is that it is opposed to external intervention. The leadership have constantly opposed all proposals by the UK government for a no-fly zone or a bombing campaign in Syria, and occasionally objected to external intervention in more general terms.

Accordingly STW protests have been organised in response to any specific proposal that would entail bombing Syria, such as when it was claimed that the Syrian government had crossed Obama’s red line by using chemical weapons in East Ghouta in August 2013. (The sarin attack was a false flag by insurgents, probably Liwa al Islam, an earlier incarnation of Jaish al Islam , see for example the WhoGhouta investigation.)

PROTEST 15 JUNE 1PM US EMBASSY GROSVENOR SQ LONDON. Stop US and UK military intervention in 

Protests were held in December 2015 before and after the British government voted to ‘bomb ISIS’ in Syria.

After Russia joined the war, condemnation of Russia was emphasised, e.g. StWC Statement on Syria ‘We oppose all of these interventions, including the current Russian bombing of Aleppo’, and With or without UN agreement, bombing Syria by Russia or UK should be opposed.

‘Stop the War is against Russia’s attacks on Syria. We think they should stop immediately. And we would welcome less hypocrisy from those who have supported US and allied bombing over the last year.’

Stop the War’s record in terms of protest and publications shows that its primary focus is to oppose blatant warmongering such as invasion and bombing campaigns. However STW has on occasion acknowledged, condemned, and even protested against less overt interventions.

Britain secretly equipping  rebels and SAS teams understood to be “slipping into Syria on missions”: 

Britain secretly equipping Syrian rebels with latest satellite phones to help topple Assad

The supply of the handsets, designed to withstand rugged environments, is part of the Foreign Office’s mission to mould militias into a coalition capable of governing the country.

The first step to ending the war in  is stopping western intervention:  

The demonstration outside the US embassy on 15 June 2013 was directed against the ‘new’ Obama initiative to arm the rebels in Syria.

PROTEST 15 JUNE 1PM US EMBASSY GROSVENOR SQ LONDON. Stop US and UK military intervention in 

In November 2016, STW published Abigail Watson’s article on the role of the SAS in Syria, The UK’s Not So Secret War in Syria, and a few weeks later when action in Aleppo was being mooted by the British government, German acknowledged,

‘It is foolish in the extreme to believe that really the west and its Middle East allies are not doing anything to help the opposition. That simply flies in the face of the facts including money, arms, special forces.’

While Stop the War publicly opposes intervention in Syria, the organisation claims that it does not support ‘Assad’, and is extremely defensive in the face of accusations, real or imagined, that STW might be made up of ‘Assad apologists’. Lindsay German’s Does Opposing Western Intervention in Syria Make the Anti-war Movement “Assad Apologists”? ensures distance from the Syrian government by referring to it as the ‘regime’, ‘Assad’s regime’, and ‘Bashar al Assad’s regime’ – terms favoured by the Syrian government’s opponents.

Stop the War supports a political solution in Syria. The Syrian government have a policy of offering amnesty to insurgents who want to come in from the cold, and Russia has been administering a Centre for Reconciliation to facilitate this. This is not what Stop the War has in mind; rather it looks to negotiations in Geneva which attribute the status of legitimate opposition to groups allied with ISIS and al Nusra, such as Jaish al Islam and Ahrar al Sham.

Many STW officers openly support the ‘revolution’ in Syria, and gloss over the responsibility of the UK and other external governments for the insurgency. In December 2015 Stop the War published a statement drafted by John Rees, setting out the organisation’s official position on Syria. Once again, the statement starts out on the defensive.

For avoidance of doubt: the positions of Stop the War Coalition

The Stop the War Coalition is under unprecedented attack because of its opposition to the bombing of Syria and because attacks on it are perceived to weaken Jeremy Corbyn. Here in straight forward terms are our views on some issues now being routinely misrepresented by the Tory government, the right of the Labour Party and sections of the media.

1. The STWC has never supported the Assad regime. Just as we never supported the Taliban, Saddam Hussein or Colonel Gaddafi. Only in the minds of ‘them or us’ pretend patriots does the opposition to our own government’s wars mean support for dictators or terrorists. Our case has always been that war will worsen the problem and not solve it. We were right in that analysis in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

2. The STWC has never supported Russian intervention in Syria and issued a statement opposing the bombing as soon as it began.

3. The STWC does believe that it is the people of Syria who are the only ones who should decide the fate of their country free of all great power and regional power interference.

4. The STWC is utterly opposed to the IS as a totally reactionary and, in the Arab Spring, counter revolutionary force.

5. The STWC believes that the invasion and dismemberment of Iraq, and western support for Saudi Arabia, were and are instrumental in the creation of the IS.

6. The STWC does not support calls for western invention, including an air war to establish a no fly zone, whether those calls emanate from Syrian exiles or anyone else, just as we did not support such calls from anti-Taliban or anti Saddam Afghans or Iraqis. Syrians do not all speak with one voice but many are opposed to western bombing.

7. The STWC concentrates on campaigning against UK government policy because this is where we are citizens and voters. […]

STW priorities are only marginally different from Barak Obama’s [emphasis added]:

1: The first point, reiterated in the sixth, is to voice opposition to Bashar al Assad, comparing him, furthermore, to Saddam Hussein and the Taliban.

2: The second is to criticise Russia for its involvement in the war.

3: Rees twice mentions ISIS, the fall guy when it comes to jihadi barbarism, but does not mention al Nusra, Jaish al Islam, or any other of the vicious gangs operating in Syria.

4: In December 2015, by which time the character of the ‘moderate opposition’ was well known, he is still talking about the ‘Arab Spring’ and ‘revolution’.

5: The necessary condition for the Syrian war, i.e. the role of the UK and its allies, is only mentioned in the last two points, and then in relatively mild terms.

Lindsay German produced another position statement in October 2016, Stop all intervention in Syria and let the people decide their future, which was consistent with everything said over the previous years: the Coalition did not support ‘Assad’ (i.e. the legitimate government of Syria) or Russia, and was opposed to a no-fly zone and the sale of arms – other interventions by the Western powers are ignored here. German claims: We do not take a position on the internal politics of Syria, and believe that this is a question for the Syrian people alone. Much of the article was self-promotion and self-congratulation.

We did not stop the war in Iraq, but we have helped to shift opinion in this country against further wars. It could be argued that Chilcot would never have happened without an anti-war movement.’

Problems with Stop the War’s approach to Syria

Don’t bomb Syria‘ is a totally inadequate response to the war on Syria.

In August 2013, pursuant to the false flag chemical attack by extremists on Ghouta, the British government voted on the question of officially going to war with Syria. The Stop the War Coalition mobilised demonstrations against the proposal, which was lost. Lindsey German penned a  self-complacent article, A partial victory, but a victory, 30 August 2013:

British MPs’ arguments and information were influenced by a strong public opinion against such a war, itself a product of a mass movement which didn’t stop a war ten years ago but has prevented a further one now. […] Britain will play no part in any Syrian intervention.

German’s article totally disregards the role of Britain in the Syrian war.  The NATO countries and their allies have consciously endeavoured to carry out their plan to achieve regime change in Syria, contrary to the will of the Syrian people, by pouring billions into funding and arming terrorists. Turkey has funneled thousands, or more probably hundreds of thousands, of jihadists through to Syria and in return bought from ISIS stolen Syrian oilantiquities and Aleppo’s factories.

The United Kingdom, moreover, has a large budget for propaganda projects specifically designed to create support for a no fly zone, such as the fake humanitarian outfit the White Helmets, staffed by members of vicious gangs like al Zinki, seven year old Bana who tweeted in perfect English from Aleppo, calling for WWIII in order to ‘save Aeppo’, and fake research organisations like the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, essentially one man in a house in Coventry, but cooperating with the British Foreign Office.

Stop the War’s protests against active intervention are clearly inadequate when it is turning a blind eye to the material and moral support given to the terrorist groups in Syria, and to the propaganda designed to achieve compliance with a no-fly zone.

‘Russian bombing’

Dreadful reports from Aleppo. @STWuk want to see an end to bombing and brutality on all sides in Syria.

Stop the War’s position is that with or without UN agreement, bombing Syria by Russia or UK should be opposedStop the War is against Russia’s attacks on Syria. We think they should stop immediately.

If there were no external intervention, no funding and arming of terrorists, including hundreds of thousands of foreign mercenaries, there would be no Syrian war. Russia, Iran, Iraq and Hezbollah are all militarily involved in the Syrian war, on the invitation of the Syrian government, as a response to external intervention. They are defending Syria against barbaric extremists who are loathed by the Syrian people. The involvement of Russia, Hezbollah and other Syrian allies is consistent with international law and has been absolutely vital for the country’s survival. To put the Russian contribution to defending Syria on a par with the illegal intervention and support for terrorism by NATO and its allies is the height of dishonesty.

Obama’s much vaunted campaign against Daesh in Syria only saw ISIS and associated groups grow and flourish. The presence of a US air force did nothing to prevent ISIS convoys cross the desert from Iraq and take Raqqa and Palmyra. On the other hand, the attack by NATO forces on Syrian troops protecting the besieged town of Deir ez Zor caused the loss of more than 60 Syrian lives and facilitated ISIS advancement. (Many people, including the Syrian government, believe NATO consciously provided ISIS with air cover according to a pre-arranged plan, though this is denied by NATO.)

Russian air-cover enabled the Syrian Arab Army and its allies to retake Palmyra in March 2016, though not before the museum curator was murdered as an ‘Assad stooge’ and extensive damage was done to the historic site.  Russian assistance helped liberate Aleppo from ISIS and al Qaeda affiliated gangs, who were terrorising eastern Aleppo and shelling western Aleppo, causing horrific casualties. Since then Russia has provided extensive humanitarian aid to Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria, ranging from food aid and mobile hospitals to demining eastern Aleppo. Stop the War, however, wants to see an end to Russian involvement in Syria.

Stop the War accepts the NATO narrative on Syria without question

Stop the War’s leadership specialises in producing flabby articles devoid of content: there is no new information, no analysis, just NATO’s discredited mantras of popular revolution, moderate rebels and wicked despot Bashar al Assad. Much of the space is taken up in apologising for not supporting invasion or a no-fly zone, or claiming that STW is not pro-Assad. Given that Stop the War never addresses an alternative and more valid concern, i.e. whether the Syrian government is right to resist an externally sponsored insurgency, its protestations of not being pro-Assad have to be seen as a dishonest ploy.

While Lindsay German satisfies herself with referring disparagingly to the ‘Assad regime’ and becoming indignant if anyone suggests that STW should (heaven forbid) support Syria against an immoral and illegal war driven by, amongst others, the United Kingdom, other officers of Stop the War are openly hostile to the Syrian government, for example chairman Murad Qureshi:

Syria revolution four years on: Don’t bet against President Assad – a ruler willing to see his country destroyed 

Syria revolution four years on: Don’t bet against President Assad – a ruler willing to see his…

How has Bashar Hafez al-Assad survived these past four years? Ever since the Syrian revolution of 2011, his overthrow has been predicted by the greatest statesmen of our day, by the finest journali…

You’ll find that you don’t have the National Socialists in Syria but you’ll find the Baath Party which Alawites like Assad belong too.

and John Rees:

@MsIntervention @STWuk Assad is a butcher responsible for tens of thousands of deaths. And Blair for over million Iraqi’s …do the maths

George Galloway: Assad must go. No place for dictatorship. But we are not swapping Assad for US dictatorship.  

Stop the War’s position is essentially the bogus ‘third way’: while it opposes direct bombing, and occasionally complains about the better publicised aspects of direct intervention, it assumes the validity of the regime change narrative. Despite the wealth of contrary evidence, at no point does STWC question the NATO narrative of a legitimate uprising and an illegitimate government.

There has been an enormous amount of research carried out on the subject of the Syrian war, by people alert to the inconsistencies in the NATO narrative, who have wanted to find out the truth. Some of these people have traveled to Syria more than once, and recently. 21st Century Wire alone has published over 100 articles on the Syrian war. The articles contain a wealth of references, photographic and video evidence, and testimony from Syrians.

STW has not published, promoted or referenced, either in its homepage or via social media, a single article that gives an assessment of the facts that differs from that of the corporate media.

Mother Agnes Mariam

Stop the War has continued to suppress alternative views on Syria as it did with Libya. Most notable was the shocking incident when STW, under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, allowed the likes of Owen Jones and Jeremy Scahill to bully Mother Agnes Mariam out of speaking at the 2013 Anti-War Conference in London.

Mother Agnes Mariam el-Salib, mother superior of St. James Monastery in Qara, Syria, is a nun who has worked in Syria for over 20 years. She has spoken out about the Syrian ‘revolution’, warning of the danger that religious minorities in Syria face from Western-backed extremists. She also queried the charge that the Syrian government was responsible for the sarin attack on Ghouta, having carried out her own research into the matter. Mother Agnes was interviewed by RTin September 2013.

Mother Agnes was invited by Stop the War to speak at the International Anti-War Conference held on 30 November 2013. A campaign was orchestrated by hardline proponent of the war on Syria Mohammed Idrees Ahmad and others to ‘deplatform’ Mother Agnes, with pressure applied on other invited speakers primarily via social media.

View image on Twitter

@jeremyscahill Please don’t share platform with leading Assad propagandist Mother Agnes at the @STWuk gathering.

 Owen Jones and Jeremy Scahill eventually declared that they would not share a platform with Mother Agnes, and at that point Mother Agnes voluntarily withdrew.
 Owen Jones explained his actions on his own blog, Mother Agnes, Syria and free speech, relying on an article by an obscure pro-jihadist group, Syrian Christians for Peace.  His principle objection to Mother Agnes, aside from the fact of her being an ‘Assad supporter’ (read ‘opponent of the war on Syria’), is that she queried attribution of the Ghouta chemical attack to the Syrian government. According to Jones:

‘Mother Agnes is perhaps most infamous for publishing a 50-page report claiming that the video footage of the Ghoutta massacre was faked, that the children suffocating to death had been kidnapped by rebels and were actually sleeping or “under anaesthesia”’.

Owen Jones does not give a link to Mother Agnes’s report, and for good reason, as it gives the lie to his accusation.

 ‘The chemical attacks which took place in East Ghouta on August 21, 2013 could be the most horrific false flag operation in history.

‘To date, available evidence indicates that numerous children were killed by “opposition rebels”, their bodies manipulated and filmed with a view to blaming the Syrian government for the attacks, thus sparking outrage and galvanizing worldwide public opinion in favor of another bloody, imperial US-led war.’  Mother Agnes Mariam

The UN report on the Ghouta attack does not ascribe blame, and well before the conference doubts had been expressed on the likelihood of the culprits being the Syrian government, on both technical and political grounds. On 13 September Sharmine Narwani and Radwan Mortada analysed the weaknesses of the UN report Questions Plague UN Syria Report on Syria, while WhoGhouta published a Summary of Conclusions on 24 September, which pointed the finger at insurgents.  Any fair person would have applauded, rather than condemned, Mother Agnes for querying the claims of the corporate press that ‘Assad’ was responsible for the attack.

Owen Jones also relies on the Open Letter to Stop the War Coalition penned by Idrees Ahmad. The striking feature of this letter is that most or all of the signees, for example, including Peter Tatchell, Mary Rizzo, Louis Proyect and Ahmad himself, support active intervention in Syria against the government including a no-fly zone. Jones chooses to identify with active proponents of the war on Syria rather than those who oppose it.

@OwenJones84 the NCC is the “only group to have called for open dialogue with the Syrian government”, unlike you who won’t talk to a nun.

@theLemniscat Er – I entirely supported a negotiated peace. I just don’t want to make common cause with Mother Agnes at anti-war event

Owen Jones was not asked to ‘make common cause with Mother Agnes’, except insofar as they were both presumed to oppose imperialist wars. As the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), has pointed out:

Jones has shared platforms with Labour politicians who were key architects of the invasions and genocides in Iraq and Afghanistan – some of the worst crimes of the modern era.

Stop the War itself kept its response to Mother Agnes’s withdrawal to a minimum, though taking care to reassure Jones and Scahill:

UPDATE: Mother Agnes has withdrawn from 30 Nov International Anti-war Conference:  @OwenJones84@jeremyscahill

brief statement was published that managed to be both bald and dishonest.

We have always provided a platform for a diversity of opinions within a broad anti-war perspective. We hope that we can now build the conference as a strong focus for opposition to war and imperialism.

This is patently false: once Mother Agnes was removed from the equation, there was no-one present to put forward the perspective of the legitimate Syrian government, and the conference was dominated by people who essentially support the war on Syria.

The implications of the deplatforming of Mother have been addressed by a number of commentators, including Neil Clark and the indefatigable Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist).

‘Mother Agnes has single-handedly demonstrated that Stop the War is not about stopping the war; it is about keeping the anti-war movement within limits that are acceptable to the imperialist warmongers. It is about the warmongers keeping the masses of anti-war activists under tight control.’ CPGB-ML

Is the Stop the War leadership genuinely opposed to a no-fly zone in Syria?

Although the official policy of STW is to oppose external intervention in Syria, the behaviour of its officers contradicts this. Counterfire, which was founded by Stop the War officers and is closely linked to STW, has promoted Syria Burning by Robin Yassin Kassab and Leila al Shami, both of whom seek a no-fly zone in Syria.

In January 2012, John Rees interviewed two guests on his show In Islam: Iman Mujahed, an Irish woman married to a Syrian and the British Moussab Azzawi. Thus neither of the guests were Syrian, both supported the ‘revolution’, and both wanted external intervention. Moussab Azzawi asked for a humanitarian corridor, buffer zone, and a no-fly zone, Mujahed’s priority was a buffer zone, but she has no objections to a no-fly zone. The purpose of the interview, in fact, was to promote a no-fly zone in Syria on the Libyan model.

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The British Foreign Office has invested heavily in propaganda projects relating to Syria that are specifically designed to gain acceptance for a no-fly zone from the public, in particular the White Helmets.  Stop the War makes no attempt to expose these scams: their position on the White Helmets, for example, is simply that they have no position.

I really don’t want you to follow me, would just prefer if you’d answer my question about whether you condemn smear on white helmets @STWuk

@STW doesn’t take a position on the White Helmets.

That the Foreign Office is funding a supposed humanitarian organisation which blatantly supports Foreign Office policy should be a red flag. However, even if one naively assumes that the organisation’s primary purpose is humanitarian, any anti-war movement should condemn the White Helmets’ calls for a no-fly zone. Stop the War has not done this.

In September 2015 Stop the War was involved in the organisation of a march in support of refugees; Jeremy Corbyn was in attendance as the newly elected leader of the Labour Party. Primary responsibility for the march was claimed by Syrian Solidarity UK (SSUK). SSUK supports the ‘revolution’ in Syria and seeks a no-fly zone in Syria. FSA (Free Syrian Army) flags, anti-Assad slogans and demands for a no-fly zone featured prominently. Jeremy Corbyn appeared on the same platform as SSUK’s Clara Connolly, who used an event in support of refugees to plug the White Helmets and to demand a no-fly zone (which would inevitably mean more refugees), and he stood right alongside Abdulaziz Almashy, co-founder of SSUK, who was wearing an FSA scarf.

So while Owen Jones refused to appear on a platform with Mother Agnes Mariam, who never spoke anything but the truth about Syria, Jeremy Corbyn shared a platform with open supporters of a no-fly zone in Syria and of the FSA, which was already known to be associated with al Nusra, ISIS, the use of chemical weaponscannibalism and all manner of other atrocities (see also Eva Bartlett’s The Non-Useful Atrocities,  or even the Daily Mail).


Jeremy Corbyn may not have fully understood the implications of his presence on this platform, however SSUK and Stop the War officers like John Rees certainly would have.  Genuine opponents of the war, who should have objected strongly, are the very people who hope Corbyn will rescue the country from the Tories, the Blairites and austerity – thus they remain silent, not just about this incident, but about Stop the War’s shortcomings in general and the implications of Corbyn’s ties to the organisation.

Stop the War is not fit for purpose

A feature of the debate over the wars on Libya and Syria has been the participation of those who have claimed to oppose external military intervention in those countries but at the same time facilitate that intervention by expressing sympathy for the ‘revolutionaries’ and vilifying the respective governments. Common characteristics include:

  • Support for the long-discredited Western construct of a ‘popular revolution’ in Syria
  • Demonisation of Bashar al Assad (and before him Muammar Gaddafi)
  • Condemnation of Russian support for Syria
  • Positioning themselves as being the only anti-war alternative
  • Repeated apology for not supporting a no-fly zone
  • Total blanking of research which questions the NATO narrative
  • Neither confirming nor questioning the validity of scams such as the White Helmets.

Stop the War shares all these characteristics with other organisations and individuals who function as gatekeepers in the context of the Syrian war. Its leadership has ensured that the movement has been reduced to the role of controlled opposition, deflecting the rank and file by focusing on overt intervention and ignoring the realities of Western imperialism in Syria.

‘What we need to understand is that, whether accidentally or on purpose, StW’s leaders always manage to come down on the side of imperialism, helping to demonise the victims of imperialist aggression and to neutralise the opposition to imperialist war at home.’  CPGB-ML

See also:

Eva Bartlett:
Syria Dispatch: Most Syrians Support Assad, Reject Phony Foreign ‘Revolution’

Deconstructing the NATO Narrative on Syria

Michel Chossudovsky:

Five Years Ago: The US-NATO-Israel Sponsored Al Qaeda Insurgency in Syria. Who Was Behind The 2011 “Protest Movement”?

Syria: Hospitals Russia accused of bombing don’t exist

Vanessa Beeley and Steve Ezzedine:
The Syria White Helmets Exposed as US UK Agents Embedded with Al Nusra and ISIS

Vanessa Beeley:
Journey To Aleppo Part I: Exposing The Truth Buried Under NATO Propaganda.

… Part II here





Posted in Middle East, UK0 Comments

Zionist ”Arab” League to Hold Urgent Meeting on Iran as Saudis Reportedly Mobilize Fighter Jets


Arab League to Hold Urgent Meeting on Iran as Saudis Reportedly Mobilize Fighter Jets

F-15 warplanes of the Saudi Air Force fly over the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh during a graduation ceremony at King Faisal Air Force University. (AP/Hassan Ammar)

As many astute pundits have pointed out, it’s now “blame Iran time” according to the official Saudi (and allies) narrative of events in order to set the stage for public support for potential military action against Iran.

Posted in Middle East, Iran, Saudi Arabia0 Comments

Nazi Plans Further Attacks on Syria, Hezbollah, as Lebanon War Talk Grows


Image result for Hezbollah LOGO

“If Saudi Arabia is deliberately stoking the flames between the sides, (war) becomes a tangible danger,” Israeli commentator Amos Harel said.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, Syria0 Comments

Anatomy of a Purge: MBS’s Actions, Saudi Arabia’s Crisis and the Coming Collapse

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

Anatomy of a Purge: MBS’s Actions, Saudi Arabia’s Crisis and the Coming Collapse

Understanding the man and the reasons behind the Saudi purge.

Posted in Saudi Arabia0 Comments

Rania Masri on Saudi Arabia and Kidnapping of Lebanese Prime Minister


Hariri has essentially been held incommunicado for over a week, even though a few heads of state have apparently been allowed to see him under the supervision of Saudi authorities.

Posted in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia0 Comments

Setting the Stage for War: US Air Force Says Missile Targeting Saudi Arabia was Iranian


Image result for SAUDI WAR CARTOON

The US Air Force claims that “the ballistic missile fired by Yemeni rebels that targeted the Saudi capital was from Iran and bore “Iranian markings.”

Posted in USA, Saudi Arabia0 Comments

Report: Notorious Zio-Wahhabi Power Broker Bandar bin Sultan Arrested in Purge


Report: Notorious Saudi Power Broker Bandar bin Sultan Arrested in Purge

Saudi Arabia’s most famous arms dealer, longtime former ambassador to the US, and recent head of Saudi intelligence – was among those detained as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s so-called “corruption purge.”

Posted in Saudi Arabia0 Comments

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November 2017
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