Tag Archive | "IRAN-USA"

Iran checkmates US, I$raHell


NOVANEWS

Iran checkmates US, Israel
By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline 

The announcement in Tehran on Saturday regarding the successful test of a ballistic missile with a range of 2000 kilometers and capable of carrying multiple warheads to hit different targets phenomenally shifts the military balance in the Middle East.

Israel and the roughly 45,000 US troops deployed to the Middle East – Jordan (1500 troops), Iraq (5200), Kuwait (15000), Bahrain (7000), Qatar (10000), UAE (5000), Oman (200) – fall within the range of the latest Iranian missile. Iran has demonstrated a deterrent capability that deprives the US and Israel of a military option.

The missile test signals Tehran’s strategic defiance of the US, after President Donald Trump’s outrageous remarks against Iran in his address to the UN GA. From this point, Trump has to be very careful about tearing up the Iran nuclear deal. Any such rash act by Trump or the lawmakers in the Congress (imposing new sanctions) can be seized by Tehran to resume its previous nuclear program, which would have far-reaching implications, given its missile capabilities.

President Hassan Rouhani took a tough line after returning to Tehran from New York. He warned that if Trump violated the nuclear deal, “we will be firm and all options will be before us.” Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif told New York Times tauntingly that if the US wanted to re-negotiate the nuclear deal, Tehran too will insist on re-negotiating every single concession it made – “Are you prepared to return to us 10 tons of enriched uranium?”

Rouhani made a strident speech at a military parade on Friday in Tehran underscoring that Iran did not need any country’s permission to bolster its missile capability. He added, “The Iranian nation has always been after peace and security in the region and the world and we will defend the oppressed Yemeni, Syrian and Palestinian people whether you like it or not.”

“As long as some speak in the language of threats, the strengthening of the country’s defense capabilities will continue and Iran will not seek permission from any country for producing various kinds of missile,” Defence Minister Amir Hatami said in a statement Saturday.

What emerges is Iran’s determination to consolidate its influence in Syria. The US will have to carefully weigh the repercussions before making any intervention (which Israel is pressing for.) Again, Iran may establish a long-term presence in Syria. The Iran-supported battle-hardened Shiite militia fighting in Iraq and Syria is a veritable 100,000-strong army and Iran is in a position to force the eviction of US forces from Iraq and Syria.

The Trump administration must take with the utmost seriousness the thinly veiled threat by the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari on Wednesday (while reacting to Trump’s UN speech) – “The time has come for correcting the US’ miscalculations. Now that the US has fully displayed its nature, the government should use all its options to defend the Iranian nation’s interests. Taking a decisive position against Trump is just the start and what is strategically important is that the US should witness more painful responses in the actions, behavior and decisions that Iran will take in the next few months.”

The ballistic missile test followed within 3 days of Gen. Jafari’s threat. Equally, the timing of the missile test can be seen against the backdrop of the referendum being planned for September 25 by the Kurds of northern Iraq, seeking an independent Kurdistan. Tehran is in no doubt that the Kurdistan project is a US-Israeli enterprise to create a permanent base in the highly strategic region with the objective of destabilizing Iran and undermining its regional surge in Syria and Iraq.

Unsurprisingly, Israel is furious about Iran’s missile test. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman called it a “a provocation and a slap in the face for the United States and its allies — and an attempt to test them.” Clearly, Israel is in panic that Iran is steadily, inexorably outstripping it as the number one regional power in the Middle East. However, beyond rhetoric, Israel cannot do much about Iran’s surge.

Israel foolishly instigated Trump to provoke Tehran just at this juncture when he is barely coping with the crisis in Northeast Asia. A containment strategy against Iran is no longer feasible. Wisdom lies in the Trump administration engaging Iran in a constructive spirit to influence its regional policies. Threats never worked against Iran. Time and again they’ve proved to be counterproductive.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, IranComments Off on Iran checkmates US, I$raHell

Iran Slams US Report on Country’s Religious Freedom for Biased Coverage


NOVANEWS

A picture taken on January 18, 2016 shows vehicles driving on a street in front of the Azadi Tower in the capital Tehran

© AFP 2017/ ATTA KENARE

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi stated that US report on religious freedom portrayed a distorted and politicized image of religious freedom conditions in the country.

MOSCOW(Sputnik) — Tehran criticized the US report on religious freedom for “unfounded and biased” coverage of the situation in the country, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said in a statement on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the US Department of State issued an International Religious Freedom Report for 2016. Comprising an overview of the situation with violations on religious grounds, the document alleged that Iranian authorities harassed and arrested representatives of religious minorities, such as Bahais, Christians, Sunni Muslims and others, adding that over 300 members of such groups remain imprisoned for their religious activities or beliefs.

“This report has once again portrayed a distorted and politicized image of religious freedom conditions in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Qassemi said in a statement, published on the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s website.

Qassemi stressed the necessity of avoiding politicizing the issue of religion and religious diversity, otherwise it could lead to the escalation of inter-religious crises.

“In order to settle religious differences and getting them [religions] closer to each other, one should strongly avoid politicizing the issue… The US administration seems to have forgotten about this important goal and is only trying to take political advantage of the existing religious diversity in some countries in the world,” the statement read.

The 2015 report claimed that non-Muslims and non-Shia faced societal discrimination with at least 250 members of minority religious groups remained imprisoned.

Related:

Russian FM Calls New US Sanctions Against Iran ‘Illegitimate in Principle’
Tehran Slams US Claim on ‘Dangerous’ Flying Maneuvers by Iranian Drone in Gulf
Iran Allocates $520Mln for Missile Program in Response to US Sanctions – Reports
Russia Regrets US Questioning Agreements on Iran Nuclear Deal – Foreign Minister

Posted in USA, IranComments Off on Iran Slams US Report on Country’s Religious Freedom for Biased Coverage

Embraer still waiting US approval for Iran plane sales


NOVANEWS

Image result for Embraer LOGO

Brazil’s regional jet maker Embraer says it is still waiting for an approval by the US Treasury Department for sales of aircraft to Iran.

The company was quoted by the media as saying that it remained “active and optimistic” with regards to its plans to sell planes to the Islamic Republic.

It added that providing the required funds for the planned sales to Iran was not so much the issue as gaining licenses from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Treasury, the Aviation Week news website reported.

Iran in February 2016 confirmed that it had ordered 50 planes from Brazil’s Embraer, the world’s third biggest commercial aircraft manufacturer.

The confirmation was made by Mohammad Bagher Nobakht, the country’s government spokesman who emphasized that the deal with Embraer will be a hire purchase contract.

Reports later said the Brazilian company was considering a plan to sell its E-195 jets to Iran through a deal which would be worth above $1 billion.

The company requires an OFAC license for the sale to Iran of sensitive jet engine technology in its planes.

Sales of Embraer planes to Iran featured in trade talks between the Islamic Republic and Brazil during a visit to Tehran by Trade Minister Armando Monteiro.

Two major Iranian carriers – ATA and Kish Air – have already announced plans to purchase planes from the Brazilian company.

Apart from selling planes, Minister Monteiro also discussed potential sales of taxis, buses and trucks with Iranian officials during his visit to Tehran, the media reported.

Posted in USA, Brazil, IranComments Off on Embraer still waiting US approval for Iran plane sales

Iran asks US to stop arming ‘main terror sponsors’


NOVANEWS
Image result for US terror sponsors CARTOON

Iran has urged the US to stop supplying arms to “main sponsors of terrorism” after President Donald Trump clinched a massive military deal with Saudi Arabia on his first visit to the Middle East.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi called on Washington on Monday to abandon its “policy of warmongering, meddling, Iranophobia and sales of dangerous and useless weapons to the main sponsors of terrorism.”

“Unfortunately, under the hostile and aggressive policies of the American statesmen, we are witnessing a renewed strengthening of terrorist groups in the region and miscalculation of the dictatorships which support these groups,” he said.

Qassemi hit out at Trump’s accusations that Iran was funding, arming and training “terrorists, militias and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region.”

“Once again, by his meddling, repetitive and baseless claims about Iran, the American president tried to encourage the countries of the region to purchase more arms by spreading Iranophobia,” the spokesman said.

“It is surprising that Iran is being accused of destabilizing the region by a country which has been an accomplice to the Zionist regime’s crackdown on the oppressed Palestinian nation through all-out arms, financial and intelligence support for decades,” Qassemi said.

In recent years, the US “has been complicit in the massacre of the defenseless Yemeni people through arming certain Arab regimes in the Persian Gulf,” he added.

The official touched on US role in “creating and cultivating Takfiri-terrorist currents, including Daesh” and strongly criticized “deceitful stances, meddlesome statements, and destructive measures” of the new US administration.

Such measures, he said, are aimed at “confronting people’s rule on their destiny in the regional countries and consolidating the position and superiority of the Zionist regime.”

“US support and that of its regional allies for terrorists is so obvious that their escape forward and accusations of terrorism support against others have no buyers,” Qassemi said.

“If financial, arms and intelligence resources of Daesh, Nusra Front and other terrorist groups are cut, they will be finished easily. They resist because these countries’ support for the terrorists continues,” he added.

His remarks came a day after Trump ended his visit to Saudi Arabia where arms deals worth $110 billion were signed.

Qassemi said, “Regional countries, instead of spending billions of dollars from their people’s assets on an illusory American support, had better think about the real stability, welfare, tranquility and peace of their people and spend these exorbitant sums on development and constructive regional cooperation.”

Qassemi deplored that “certain regional countries, instead of depending on the power of their people and regional cooperation capacities, have set heart on the support of big powers.”

Those countries, he said, “are paving the way for vital infrastructures of the regional countries to weaken and collapse, a case in point being the deplorable situation of Yemen and destruction of Syrian infrastructures by Takfiri terrorists.”

Trump’s accusations against Tehran came shortly after Hassan Rouhani was re-elected president.

Qassemi said the US and its allies “should know that Iran, as a democratic, stable and powerful country enjoying popular support, is a harbinger of peace, tranquility and good neighborliness in the region and a front-runner in the global fight against violence and extremism,” and that Tehran would not go off this course with the hostile rhetoric of those countries.

Posted in USA, IranComments Off on Iran asks US to stop arming ‘main terror sponsors’

Iran Sanctions 15 US Firms, Blasts I$raHell Ties and Imperialism


NOVANEWS
  • A man carries a giant flag made of flags of Iran, Palestine, Syria and Hezbollah, while marking the Islamic Revolution anniversary, Tehran, Feb. 11, 2016.
    A man carries a giant flag made of flags of Iran, Palestine, Syria and Hezbollah, while marking the Islamic Revolution anniversary, Tehran, Feb. 11, 2016. | Photo: Reuters.

A senior Iranian lawmaker said Iran would consider a bill branding the U.S. military and the CIA as terrorist groups.

As provocative aggression against Iran amps up under U.S. President Donald Trump, Iran has responded by announcing sanctions against 15 U.S. firms, citing ties to apartheid Israel and other rampant human rights abuses in the region.

RELATED: US to Impose Provocative New Sanctions on Iran

According to the state-run news agency IRNA, Iran’s foreign ministry said the companies had “flagrantly violated human rights” and cooperated with Israel in its “terrorism” against Palestinians.

The sanctions bar the companies from making any agreements with Iranian firms, a seizure of their assets, as well as banning visas for its former and current directors.

The Iranian move came two days after the United States imposed sanctions on 11 companies or individuals from China, North Korea or the United Arab Emirates for technology transfers that could boost Tehran’s ballistic missile program.

Dozens of Iranian entities have also been subjected to U.S. sanctions following an Iranian missile test in February. In addition, a bill announced Thursday by U.S. senators is set to place more restrictive sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile launches and other non-nuclear activities.

The companies on Iran’s sanctions list include Bent Tal, United Technologies Products, ITT Corporation, Raytheon, Re/Max Real Estate, Magnum Research Inc., Oshkosh Corporation, Kahr Arms and Elbit Systems.

RELATED: Israeli PM to Lobby Trump for Sanctions on Iran in US Visit

A senior Iranian lawmaker also said Iran would consider a bill branding the U.S. military and the CIA as terrorist groups if the U.S. Congress designates Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization.

Back in January, when Trump announced his first travel ban on Iran and six other Muslim-majority countries, Iran responded by announcing a retaliatory ban on U.S. citizens.

“While respecting the American people and distinguishing between them and the hostile policies of the U.S. government, Iran will implement the principle of reciprocity until the offensive U.S. limitations against Iranian nationals are lifted,” a Foreign Ministry statement said at the time.

Posted in USA, IranComments Off on Iran Sanctions 15 US Firms, Blasts I$raHell Ties and Imperialism

Eleven Ominous Signs That We Are Racing Towards War with Iran


USA Iran

War with Iran is in the cards as the administration of US President Donald Trump takes an overly aggressive stance against the Islamic Republic. Without doubt, the 2016 US presidential election left the nation deeply divided and polarized. Trump has been in office for around 3 weeks and there are still many people protesting against him. His brash style and EOs (Executive Orders) have some horrible unintended consequences, such as his 90-day immigration order (called a “Muslim ban” by some) resulting in a 5-year-old getting handcuffed and separated from his parents. Amidst all of this engineered disorder, there is a serious danger lurking: Trump is taking the US on a sure course to war with Iran. Trump said on numerous occasions throughout his campaign that he would not rule out the use of nuclear weapons, and on Feb. 2nd 2017 he warned Tehran that “nothing is off the table.”

Why Iran?

Before we get to the all the signs indicating that war with Iran is on the books, it is important to remember why the US and its masters are targeting Iran. Firstly, Iran has become the arch-enemy of the Saudi-Israeli alliance because it is the one country militarily and economically strong enough to challenge their dominance of the Middle Eastern region. There is no love lost between Israel and Iran, who have traded insults and threats for decades; meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and Iran are home to the 2 sides of the Sunni-Shia conflict within the Muslim world (Saudi Arabia – Sunni, Iran – Shia). Trump is a Zionist down to his very bone marrow and DNA, and evidently also afraid to take on the Saudis who were conspicuously omitted from EO immigration ban of 7 nations.

Secondly, Iran has been openly supportive of the fight against Zionism (by funding Hezbollah in Lebanon) and against the Sunni extremist group ISIS (the pet Frankenstein of the US). The US now under Trump has accused Iran as being the biggest sponsor of terrorism in the world, but this is completely untrue. Iran has been a counterweight to radical Sunni Islam, extremism and violence.

Anthony Freda Art

Thirdly, Iran has forged a tight alliance with Russia and China in defiance of the Zionist-Anglo-American New World Order which seeks to impose a unipolar One World Government on the world, with the international bankers at the helm. Iran remains one the few countries in the world without a Rothschild-owned central bank. It refuses to bow to the will of the US or to allow the US to place its imperial military bases within its territory.

The following 11 signs below show that war with Iran is, unfortunately, shaping up to fast become a reality unless people quickly wake to to the game plan:

War with Iran Sign #1: Which Path to Persia? US follows the Zionist Think Tank Plan

The Brookings Institution is another PNAC-neocon-Zionist (and with links to Zbigniew Brzezinski) think tank which drives US foreign policy. In its 2009 analysis paper Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy toward Iran, it advocated the US make a deal with Iran, then renege on the deal (making it look like Iran was refusing something very reasonable), and then attack Iran with support from the international community:

 … any military operation against Iran will likely be very unpopular around the world and require the proper international context — both to ensure the logistical support the operation would require and to minimize the blowback from it. The best way to minimize international opprobrium and maximize support (however, grudging or covert) is to strike only when there is a widespread conviction that the Iranians were given but then rejected a superb offer — one so good that only a regime determined to acquire nuclear weapons and acquire them for the wrong reasons would turn it down. Under those circumstances, the United States (or Israel) could portray its operations as taken in sorrow, not anger, and at least some in the international community would conclude that the Iranians “brought it on themselves” by refusing a very good deal. – pg. 39

(Hat tip to Tony Cartalucci for alerting people to this years ago.)

War with Iran Sign #2: Iran on the “Muslim Ban” List but Saudi Arabia Is Not on the List

I have talked about the so-called “Muslim ban” in an earlier article where I made the point that technically it’s not a Muslim ban. However, here I want to emphasize that if the real point of the travel ban were to stop terrorists, then why on Earth is Saudi Arabia not on the list? Trump referenced 9/11 when talking about this travel ban, and even according to the official 9/11 narrative (a fairy tale no doubt, but this is what some people believe), Saudi Arabia was the source of 15 of the 19 alleged hijackers! However, the US and Saudi Arabia have many deals involving weapons, oil, petrodollars, US military bases, funding and training of ISIS and more, so I guess it’s a little too truthful and inconvenient to put them on the list. Ditto for Israel. Saudi Arabia and Israel export the most terrorism, but it’s Iran that makes it on the list …

War with Iran Sign #3: Iran Dumps the US Dollar

The US economic system is propped up by the petrodollar, i.e. the willingness of foreign nations to transact oil in US dollars, which means they have to hold, use and exchange US dollars, which keeps up a global demand for them. The US has benefited greatly from this system. When many transactions are in US dollars, and the US controls how many dollars are in circulation, (and therefore what each dollar is worth), they can actually control what they owe or are owed. Iran has formally announced it is ditching the US dollar for oil transactions as of March 21st, 2017. This is massive news! Many have reported that the real reason for the invasion of several Middle Eastern countries over the last 2-3 decades was due to their desire to abandon the petrodollar (e.g. with Libya’s gold in 2011).

April 21 2017 – Trigger Event for the US Dollar? (Ad)

War with Iran Sign #4: National Security Advisor Flynn Puts Iran “On Notice” for Missile Test (Lie #1)

Trumps’s National Security Advisor Michael Flynn tried to argue that a recent ballistic missile test conducted by Iran violated the P5+1 and United Nations backed nuclear deal. Flynn tried to claim that it broke UN Resolution 2231 which is known as JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action). It states:

 Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology, until the date eight years after the JCPOA Adoption Day or until the date on which the IAEA submits a report confirming the Broader Conclusion, whichever is earlier.

Tehran confirmed the launch but denied it had broken any agreement, because the ballistic missile involved was conventional and not nuclear, and so not subject to the Security Council resolution. “The missile issue is not part of the nuclear deal,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Iran’s missiles are “not designed for the capability of carrying a nuclear warhead” but rather are “designed to carry a normal warhead in the field of legitimate defense,” he said.

Wars are usually started with deception and lies. This assertion by Flynn – who produced no evidence to back up that Iran was using a nuclear missile not a conventional one – is the first lie on the way to what the globalists want: war with Iran.

War with Iran Sign #5: US Lies About Destroyed Saudi Frigate (Lie #2)

The second lie came with the White House attributing a missile attack on a Saudi ship by Yemeni Houthi Rebels. Press Secretary Sean Spicer falsely accused Iran of attacking a US naval vessel. There’s just a few (gigantic) problems with this accusation, which is actually a bald-faced lie. Firstly, the vessel was actually a Saudi ship, not a US ship. Secondly, the attackers were Houthi rebels from Yemen, not Iranians. Thirdly, the White House produced no evidence that Iran was assisting the Houthi rebels. Saying that Iran attacked a US ship when the Houthi attacked a Saudi ship is a complete and utter lie.

War with Iran Sign #6: Iran is World’s “Biggest State Sponsor of Terrorism” (Lie #3)

New Secretary of Defense General ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis come out with lie #3 on the way to war with Iran, by calling the Islamic Republic the “biggest state sponsor of terrorism.” Unfortunately for him Saudi Arabia and Israel (as mentioned earlier) are already vying for that title, behind the USA itself. Just check out how many countries the CIA has destabilized through subversions, coups and assassinations.

War with Iran Sign #7: Iran Hit with New Sanctions

Trump hit Iran with new sanctions on Feb. 3rd, 2017. However, although Trump and some of his cabinet are vehemently anti-Iran, the sanctions were already in place before he came to office:

The White House said on Friday that the Iran sanctions were “in the pipeline” before Trump was sworn in as president on January 20, but were activated in light of recent events. “These kinds of sanctions don’t happen quickly but I think the timing of them was clearly in reaction to what we’ve seen over the last couple days,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters. “We knew we had these options available to us because they had been worked through the process … They were in the pipeline.”

War with Iran Sign #8: New US Ambassador to UN Haley Takes Strong Anti-Russian Stance

Trump continues to defend Putin and Russia, although his cabinet and staff apparently haven’t gotten the message. Russia and Iran are, of course, in a binding military alliance along with China, so to attack any of them is to attack all of them. US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley used her opening speech at the UN to trot out the same old lies, read from the anti-Russia playbook and condemn Russia for its supposed “annexation” of Crimea – you know, the one where over 96% of Crimeans voted voluntarily to rejoin Russia. She even tweeted her a portion speech (above) just to make sure her masters saw she was dutifully toeing the line.

The disputed South China Sea area.

War with Iran Sign #9: New Secretary of State Tillerson: US Should Prevent China from Using South China Sea

The Trump Administration’s warmongering is not limited to Iran and Russia. China has also been on the receiving end of some threats. Secretary of State and oil man Rex Tillerson stated that China should not be given access to the artificially created islands in the South China Sea (despite the fact they claim ownership over that area, and the US clearly has none). This is what Tillerson said:

The island building in the South China sea itself, in many respects, in my view, building islands and then putting military assets on those islands, is akin to Russia’s taking of Crimea … we’re going to have to send China a clear signal that first, the island building stops, and second, your access to those island is also not going to be allowed.

War with Iran Sign #10: Trump Strategist Steve Bannon: There Will be a War with China in the Next 10 Years

Many consider chief strategist Steve Bannon the brains behind Trump. In the quotes below, he essentially calls Trump a tool and prophesies that there will be a war with China in the next 5-10 years:

“Trump is a blunt instrument for us … I don’t know whether he really gets it or not.” – Bannon to Vanity Fair

Here is Bannon on Breitbart Radio:

Bannon: “There are now some 89 million members of the Chinese Communist Party … [who still believe that] political power grows out of the barrel of a gun. Once you understand that, you understand why they are trying to build these islands in the South China Sea, why they are rattling their arms and aiming at Taiwan.”

Radio host: “We’re going to war in the South China in 5-10 years, aren’t we? …”

Bannon: “Absolutely, and that’s one of the reasons why I have to give a tip of the hat to this (Obama) Administration for sending a carrier to the South China Sea …” – Bannon on Breitbart Radio

Bannon was referring to Obama’s Pivot to Asia which began the encircling of China.

War with Iran Sign #11: Unified Trident – US War Games Off Iranian Coast

To top it all off, 4 countries (US, UK, France and Australia) conducted a joint naval operation named Unified Trident just off the Iranian Coast. A British Navy commander tried to claim the timing and location of this was just coincidental:

“It’s not a show of force to the Iranians at all,” Wallace said. “The reason we are doing this exercise, and I’ll stress this over and over again, is because it’s easier to do here than it would be anywhere else. It’s a key opportunity to bring ships together, to exercise together and to operate together. The fact that it’s in the [Persian] Gulf is coincidental, really.”

The signs are ominous that the long-held agenda of initiating war with Iran is speeding up under Trump. With enough public awareness of the agenda, and the lies used to promote it, it can be stopped. Otherwise, similar to Syria, it may be used to trigger World War 3, since any conflict with Iran will necessarily bring the US, Russia and China into direct military confrontation.

 

Sources:

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Iran has been “Implacable in the Rejection of Washington’s Destructive Role in Syria”


iran syria

Professor Tim Anderson is a distinguished author and senior lecturer of political economy at the University of Sydney, Australia.  In an interview with Khamenei.ir, he answers questions about the Syrian crisis, the Astana peace talks as well as the role of Iran, Russia and Turkey in the peace process.

The following is the full text of the interview:

How would the “Astana Talks” help solve the crisis in Syria?

I believe the Astana talks provide another opportunity for the terrorist groups and their backers to give up their useless and destructive path. What has been most significant is that those armed groups which have chosen to attend must confront Syria, Russia, Iran and Turkey, with the USA, al Saud, Qatar, Britain and France excluded. That is a step closer to reality, as the latter group has only played a destructive role, up until now, while the former group is dominated by those in alliance with the Syrian alliance. Turkey alone at Astana represents the sponsors of the al Qaeda groups. Further, the NATO-GCC terrorists come as armed groups and not with the pretence of being a political ‘opposition’. If the armed groups (e.g. ‘Jaysh al Islam’) agree to put down their arms, that will leave the banned terrorist groups more isolated. If they do not agree, no-one can say they were not given an opportunity. What I call the Syrian Alliance (principally Syria, Hezbollah, Iran and Russia) will be seen to have made every effort to avoid bloodshed.

Has Turkish involvement been helpful in recent months?

A. The practical benefit of Turkey’s recent engagement was seen in the relatively orderly evacuation of east Aleppo. That helped a more rapid liberation of that part of the city, with the deportation of several thousand terrorists and their families to their temporary position in Idlib, and the freeing of around 90 thousand civilian hostages. Turkey’s role in that effective surrender was important, as the Turkish state had become the chief sponsor of the armed groups. On the other hand, it seems likely that Turkey’s leadership also backed subsequent attacks on Syria by DAESH (for example in Deir Ezzor) and the al Nusra-led groups (though they have been busy killing themselves in Idlib, as a result of recriminations over their defeat in Aleppo), in an attempt to strengthen Mr. Erdogan’s hand against Russia, Syria and Iran at the Astana talks. Turkey’s leadership has been forced to the diplomatic table, both by military defeats of its proxy armies on the ground and through the important strategic relationships Turkey maintains with Russia and Iran. The Syrian Government, at this stage, has no real relationship with Turkey’s Government; but some sort of relationship between these neighbors must be rebuilt. Unfortunately for the people of Turkey, the violent recriminations seen in Idlib (it is said that almost 2,000 have been killed by the sectarian infighting) seem likely to keep passing into Turkey, as the terror groups are driven out of Syria.

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Why do Syrian negotiators in “Astana Talks” want rebels to lay down their arms in exchange for an amnesty deal? Is it legitimate?

A. It is certainly true that many Syrian resent the amnesties given to former Syrian fighters, whom they regard as mercenaries and terrorists. We know that the [Persian] Gulf monarchies and some NATO states have paid them higher salaries than Syrian soldiers, with DAESH fighters on the highest salaries. Many Syrians regard these traitors as no better than their foreign terrorist partners. However the Syrian Government’s practice, at least since 2012, has been to remove as many Syrians as possible from the conflict through a ‘reconciliation’ process, recognizing that they must address a post-war legacy of bitterness. Many thousands have already taken advantage of this process. For the same ‘reconciliation’ reasons the Syrian Army has not ‘carpet bombed’ al Qaeda held areas such as Douma in rural east Damascus. The bloodshed must be minimized. The post war ‘reconciliation’ challenge that the government of President Bashar al Assad must face is similar to, but much greater than, the healing process attempted by his father after the Muslim Brotherhood’s failed insurrection in Hama, back in 1982.

A member of the rebel delegation in “Astana Talks” told AFP on Monday that the group would agree to have Russia serve as a guarantor of the current ceasefire but not Iran; why are they so hostile toward Iran?

A. This seems a combination of the recognition of simple power politics, combined with al Saud style sectarian ideology. The sectarian groups, with little skill in politics or diplomacy, must recognize the military power of Russia, while hoping that Russia will eventually withdraw. Iran, on the other hand, is seen as central to the region and is constantly demonized in pseudo-religious terms by al Saud’s Wahhabi clerics.

There is another factor. The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, since 1978, has been implacable in its support of Syria and in the rejection of the destructive role of Washington in the region. The Government of Russia, on the other hand, while maintaining support for international law and the rejection of terrorism, has seemed more diplomatically flexible. Russia constantly refers to the USA – the chief architect of all the Middle East wars and the massive terrorism – as its ‘partner’, in an attempt to resolve wider issues of geo-politics. As part of this approach Moscow has paid perhaps exaggerated attention to armed groups which have very little support within Syria. The latest version of that effort includes the circulation of a text (apparently created with very little Syrian involvement) which appears to suggest some drastic changes to Syria’s constitution. While such ideas (removal of the Presidential system, federalization, removal of the ‘Arab’ status of the Republic) may come to nothing, if and when they subjected to a Syrian vote, the process does seem to be testing the limits of diplomacy. It is not clear to what extent the Syrian Government would accept any such proposals. At worst this might maintain unrealistic expectations on the part of the armed groups and their sponsors; at best it might encourage a face saving retreat, helping resolution of the conflict.

Professor Tim Anderson is a distinguished author and senior lecturer of political economy at the University of Sydney, Australia. 

Government propaganda and NGO misinformation have coloured the story of the war on Syria from its inception. Stepping in to set the record straight, Dr. Tim Anderson explores the real beginnings of the conflict, the players behind it, and their agenda in his new book, “The Dirty War on Syria: Washington, Regime Change and Resistance.”

ISBN Number: 978-0-9737147-8-4

Year: 2016

Pages: 240

List Price: $23.95

Special Price: $15.00 

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16171819202122
23242526272829
3031