Syria fears Libya’s fate



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Vídeos:

Análise de M. Chossudovsky: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkzS53BwlVQ

Análise de James Corbett: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVQ7gYyGIH4

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/08/26/55202767.html

Syria fears Libya’s fate





Gribkov Oleg , Natalya Kovalenko

Damascus fears that NATO may redeploy its forces to Syria after the termination of its military campaign in Libya. If this happens, Syria’s prospects for democratic development will be killed stone dead, according to both left-wing and liberal groups of that country’s moderate opposition.

Member of the Syrian Communist Party’s political bureau Najmeddin Khreit is sure the time is ripe for reforms in his country. Even though its economic situation is better than in other riot-stricken Arab countries, the life of ordinary people is becoming increasingly difficult. Yes, unemployment rates are not as high as in Egypt or Tunisia but they keep growing, especially among the youth, and have eroded the society alongside a simultaneous increase in corruption. Our frozen political system, Najmeddin Khreit says, prevented us from having a free discussion of all the problems and ways to solve them.

The last few months witnessed a launch of democratic changes but even leaders of the ruling Baath Party recognize that it was already late for reforms. The situation only escalated when the regime’s radical opponents appealed to arms, Najmeddin Khreit explains.

"For the sake of our homeland and its interests, all Syrians have to join efforts and help the country out of the crisis. The most urgent objective is to stop violence on both sides because it can only generate more violence in response. Of course, armed anti-government groups should cease their raids. The authorities need to promptly start a broad dialogue with the opposition and also cope with the issue of partially released political prisoners. These measures will create conditions for doing away with the crisis if taken without delay, in view of the world’s alarming situation," Najmeddin Khreit said.

Nearly the same ideas were outlined by authoritative Syrian human rights activist Salim Kheirbek in his recent letter to President Bashar al-Assad. Kheirbek, who spent 13 years in prison for his beliefs, possesses quite a variety of awards for his activity. He said presidential administration officials were favorably disposed when receiving his letter and even met with him several times. Salim Kheirbek is sure reforms should not be delayed and shared his view with our correspondent. Being a graduate of the Moscow-based Peoples’ Friendship University, he has a good command of Russian.

"With Gaddafi’s rule about to end, NATO will most likely send its forces to Syria. Our president believes they are preparing for an attack against us, which will hardly facilitate democratic changes. I have no idea of what will happen to Syria in such a case," Salim Kheirbek says.

Damascus is anxiously following the developments in Libya. Neither Syrian leaders nor constructive opposition want a repetition of the Libyan scenario which will cost a lot to ordinary citizens, like any of the NATO-masterminded campaigns.



http://resistir.info/chossudovsky/siria_09ago11.html

Original em inglês: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=25955


Uma "guerra humanitária à Síria? Escalada militar. Rumo a uma guerra mais vasta no Médio Oriente-Ásia Central?


por Michel Chossudovsky

"Quando retornei ao Pentágono em Novembro de 2001, um dos oficiais militares superiores teve tempo para uma conversa. Sim, ainda estamos em vias de ir contra o Iraque, disse ele. Mas havia mais. Isto estava a ser discutido como parte de um plano de campanha de cinco anos, disse ele, e havia um total de sete países, a principiar pelo Iraque e então a Síria, Líbano, Líbia, Irão, Somália e Sudão".

General Wesley Clark

Uma prolongada guerra no Médio Oriente e Ásia Central tem estado nos planos do Pentágono desde meados da década de 1980.

Como parte deste cenário de guerra prolongada, a aliança EUA-NATO planeia travar uma campanha militar contra a Síria sob um "mandato humanitário" patrocinado pela ONU.

A escalada é uma parte integral da agenda militar. A desestabilização de estados soberanos através da "mudança de regime" está estreitamente coordenada com o planeamento militar.

Há um roteiro militar caracterizado por uma sequência de teatros de guerra EUA-NATO.

Os preparativos de guerra para atacar a Síria e o Irão têm estado num "estado avançado de prontidão" durante vários anos. O "Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act" , de 2003, classifica a Síria como um "estado vilão", como um país que apoia o terrorismo.

Uma guerra à Síria é encarada pelo Pentágono como parte da guerra mais vasta dirigida contra o Irão. O presidente George W. Bush confirmou nas suas Memórias que havia "ordenado ao Pentágono planear um ataque a instalações nucleares do Irão e [havia] considerado um ataque encoberto à Síria" ( George Bush's memoirs reveal how he considered attacks on Iran and Syria , The Guardian, November 8, 2010)

Esta agenda militar mais vasta está intimamente relacionada com reservas estratégicas de petróleo e rotas de pipelines. Ela é apoiada pelos gigantes petrolíferos anglo-americanos.

O bombardeamento do Líbano em Julho de 2006 fez parte de um "roteiro militar" cuidadosamente planeado. A extensão da "Guerra de Julho" ao Líbano também à Síria foi contemplada pelos planeados militares estado-unidenses e israelenses. Ela foi abandonada após a derrota das forças terrestres israelenses pelo Hezbollah.

A guerra de Julho de 2006 de Israel contra o Líbano também pretendia estabelecer controle israelense sobre a linha costeira a Nordeste do Mediterrâneo incluindo reservas offshore de petróleo e gás em águas territoriais libanesas e palestinas.

Os planos para invadir tanto o Líbano como a Síria têm permanecido nas mesas de planeamento do Pentágono apesar da derrota de Israel na guerra de Julho de 2006. "Em Novembro de 2008, cerca de um mês antes de Tel Aviv ter começado o seu massacre na Faixa de Gaza, os militares israelenses efectuaram exercícios para uma guerra em duas frentes contra o Líbano e a Síria chamada Shiluv Zro'ot III (Crossing Arms III). O exercício militar incluiu uma maciça invasão simulada tanto da Síria como do Líbano" (Ver Mahdi Darius Nazemoraya, Israel's Next War: Today the Gaza Strip, Tomorrow Lebanon? , Global Research, January 17, 2009)

A estrada para Teerão passa por Damasco. Uma guerra promovida pelos EUA-NATO contra o Irão envolveria, como primeiro passo, uma campanha de desestabilização ("mudança de regime") incluindo operações de inteligência encoberta em apoio de forças rebeldes dirigida contra o governo sírio.

Uma "guerra humanitária" sob o lema de "Responsabilidade para proteger" ("Responsibility to Protect", R2P) dirigida contra a Síria também contribuiria para a desestabilização em curso do Líbano.

Se se desenvolvesse uma campanha militar contra a Síria, Israel seria directa ou indirectamente envolvido nas operações militares e de inteligência.

Uma guerra à Síria levaria à escalada militar.

Há actualmente quatro diferentes teatros de guerra: Afeganistão-Paquistão, Iraque, Palestina e Líbia.

Um ataque à Síria levaria à integração destes teatros de guerra separados, conduzindo eventualmente a uma guerra mais vasta no Médio Oriente e Ásia Central, abarcando toda a região desde o Norte de África e o Mediterrâneo até o Afeganistão e o Paquistão.

O movimento de protesto agora em curso destina-se a servir de pretexto e justificação para uma intervenção militar contra a Síria. A existência de uma insurreição armada é negada. Os media ocidentais em coro descreveram os acontecimentos recentes na Síria como um "movimento de protesto pacífico" dirigido contra o governo de Bashar Al Assad, quando a evidência confirma a existência de uma insurgência armada integrada por grupos paramilitares islâmicos.

Desde o início do movimento de protesto em Daraa, em meados de Março, tem havido troca de tiros entre a polícia e as forças armadas por um lado e pistoleiros armados por outro. Actos incendiários contra edifícios governamentais também foram cometidos. No fim de Julho, em Hama, foi ateado fogo a edifícios públicos como o Tribunal e o Banco Agrícola. Notícias de fontes israelenses, se bem que descartando a existência de um conflito armado, reconhecem no entanto que "manifestantes [estavam] armados com metralhadoras pesadas s" ( DEBKAfile , August 1, 2001. Relatório sobre Hama, ênfase acrescentada)



"Todas as opções sobre a mesa"

Em Junho, o senador estado-unidense Lindsey Graham (que actuou no Comité de Serviços Armados do Senado) sugeriu a possibilidade de uma intervenção militar "humanitária" contra a Síria tendo em vista "salvar as vidas de civis". Graham sugeriu que a "opção" aplicada à Líbia sob a resolução 1973 do Conselho de Segurança da ONU deveria ser considerada no caso da Síria.

"Se fez sentido proteger o povo líbio contra Kadafi, e fez porque estava em vias de ser massacrado não houvéssemos enviado a NATO quando ele estava nos arredores de Bengazi, a questão para o mundo [é], chegamos a esse ponto na Síria, ...

Podemos ainda não estar aí, mas estamos a ficar muito próximos, de modo que se você realmente se importa acerca da protecção do povo sírio em relação à carnificina, agora é o momento de deixar Assad saber que todas as opções estão sobre a mesa" (CBS "Face The Nation", June 12, 2011)

A seguir à adopção da Declaração do Conselho de Segurança da ONU referente à Síria (03/Agosto/2011), a Casa Branca apelou, em termos nada incertos, à "mudança de regime" na Síria e ao derrube do presidente Bashar Al Assad:

"Não queremos vê-lo permanecer na Síria a bem da estabilidade e, ao invés, nós o vemos como a causa da instabilidade na Síria", disse o porta-voz da Casa Branca Jay Carney aos repórteres na quarta-feira.

"E pensamos, francamente, ser seguro dizer que a Síria seria um lugar melhor sem o presidente Assad", (citado em Syria: US Call Closer to Calling for Regime Change, IPS, August 4, 2011)

Sanções económicas amplas muitas vezes constituem um sinal precursor da intervenção militar total. Uma lei patrocinada pelo senador Lieberman foi apresentada no Senado tendo em vista autorizar sanções económicas gerais contra a Síria. Além disso, numa carta ao presidente Obama no princípio de Agosto, um grupo de mais de sessenta senadores dos EUA apelava à "implementação de sanções adicionais... tornando claro para o regime sírio que ele pagará um custo cada vez maior pela sua repressão ultrajante".

Estas sanções exigiriam bloquear transacções bancárias e financeiras bem como "acabar com compras de petróleo sírio e cortar investimentos no sector do petróleo e do gás da Síria". (Ver Pressure on Obama to get tougher on Syria coming from all sides , Foreign Policy, August 3, 2011).

Enquanto isso, o Departamento de Estado dos EUA também se encontra com membros da oposição síria no exílio. Também foi canalizado apoio encoberto aos grupos armados rebeldes.



Encruzilhadas perigosas: Guerra à Síria. Cabeça de ponte para um ataque ao Irão
A seguir à declaração de 3 de Agosto do presidente do Conselho de Segurança da ONU dirigida contra a Síria, o enviado de Moscovo junto à NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, advertiu dos perigos de escalada militar:

"A NATO está a planear uma campanha militar contra a Síria para ajudar o derrube do regime do presidente Bashar al-Assad com o objectivo de longo alcance de preparar uma cabeça de ponte para um ataque ao Irão...

"[Esta declaração] significa que o planeamento [da campanha militar} está a caminho. Ela poderia ser uma conclusão lógica daquelas operações militares e de propaganda, as quais têm sido executadas por certos países ocidentais contra a África do Norte", disse Rogozin numa entrevista ao jornal Izvestia ... O diplomata russo destacou o facto de que a aliança tem como objectivo interferir apenas com os regime "cujas visões não coincidem com aquelas do Ocidente".

Rogozin concordou com a opinião expressa por alguns peritos de que a Síria e depois o Iémen poderiam ser os últimos passos da NATO no caminho para o lançamento de um ataque ao Irão.

"O nó corrediço em torno do Irão está a endurecer. O planeamento militar contra o Irão está em andamento. E nós certamente estamos preocupados acerca de uma escalada numa guerra em grande escala nesta enorme região", disse Rogozin.

Tendo aprendido a líção líbia, a Rússia "continuará a opor-se a uma resolução violenta da situação na Síria", disse ele, acrescentando que as consequências de um conflito de grande escala na África do Norte seriam devastadoras para todo o mundo. Beachhead for an Attack on Iran": NATO is planning a Military Campaign against Syria , Novosti, August 5, 2011)



Planos militares para um ataque à Síria

A advertência de Dimitry Rogozin foi baseada sobre informação concreta conhecid e documentada em círculos militares, de que a NATO está actualmente a planear uma campanha militar contra a Síria. Em relação a isto, um cenário de ataque à Síria actualmente está em estudo, envolvendo peritos militares franceses, britânicos e israelenses. De acordo com antigo comandante da Força Aérea Francesa (chef d'Etat-Major de l'Armée de l'air) General Jean Rannou, "um ataque da NATO para incapacitar o exército sírio é tecnicamente factível".

"Países membros da NATO começariam com a utilização de tecnologia de satélite para identificar defesas aéreas sírias. Poucos dias depois, aviões de guerra, em número maior do que na Líbia, decolariam da base do Reino Unido em Chipre e gastariam umas 48 horas destruindo mísseis terra-ar (SAMs) e jactos sírios. A aviação da Aliança começaria então um bombardeamento ilimitado de tanques sírios e tropas terrestres.

O cenário é baseado em analistas militares franceses, na publicação especializada britânica Jane's Defence Weekly e na estação de TV Canal 10, de Israel.

Considera-se que a Força Aérea Síria represente uma ameaça pequena. Ela tem cerca de 60 MIG-20 de fabricação russa. Mas o resto – uns 160 MIG-21s, 80 MIG-23s, 60 MIG-23BNs, 50 Su-22 e 20 Su-24MKs – está ultrapassado.

... "Não vejo quaisquer problemas puramente militares. A Síria não tem defesa contra sistemas ocidentais ... [Mas] seria mais arriscado do que a Líbia. Seria uma operação militar pesada", disse Jean Rannou, ex-chee da Força Aérea Francesa, ao EUobserver. Acrescentou que a acção é altamente improvável porque a Rússia vetaria um mandato da ONU, os activos da NATO estão tensionados no Afeganistão e na Líbia e os países da NATO estão em crise financeira. (Andrew Rettman, Blueprint For NATO Attack On Syria Revealed , Global Research, August 11, 2011)



Um roteiro militar mais vasto

Se bem que a Líbia, a Síria e o Irão façam parte do roteiro militar, esta deslocação estratégica se executada ameaçaria também a China e a Rússia. Ambos os países têm investimento, comércio e acordos de cooperação militar com a Síria e o Irão. O Irão tem o estatuto de observador na Organização de Cooperação de Shangai (Shanghai Cooperation Organization, SCO).

A escalada é parte da agenda militar. Desde 2005, os EUA e seus aliados, incluindo os parceiros da América na NATO e Israel, foram envolvidos na instalação extensa e na acumulação de sistema de armas avançadas. Os sistemas de defesa aérea dos EUA, países membros da NATO e Israel estão plenamente integrados.

O papel de Israel e da Turquia

Tanto Ancara como Tel Aviv estão envolvidos no apoio à insurgência armada. Estes esforços são coordenados entre os dois governos e suas agências de inteligência.

O Mossad de Israel, segundo relatos, tem proporcionado apoio encoberto a grupos terroristas radicais Salafi, os quais se tornaram activos no Sul da Síria no início do movimento de protesto em Daraa em meados de Março. Relatos sugerem que o financiamento para a insurgência Salafi está a vir da Arábia Saudita. (Ver Syrian army closes in on Damascus suburbs , The Irish Times, May 10, 2011)

O governo turco do primeiro-ministro Recep Tayyib Erdogan está a apoiar grupos de oposição sírios no exílio e ao mesmo tempo também a apoiar os rebeldes armados da Fraternidade Muçulmana no Norte da Síria.

Tanto a Fraternidade Muçulmana síria (cuja liderança está exilada no Reino Unido) como o proibido Hizb ut-Tahrir (o Partido da Libertação) estão por trás da insurreição. Ambas as organizações são apoiadas pelo MI6 britânico. O objectivo confessado tanto da Fraternidade como do Hisb-ut Tahir é essencialmente desestabilizar o Estado secular da Síria. (Ver Michel Chossudovsky, SYRIA: Who is Behind the Protest Movement? Fabricating a Pretext for a US-NATO "Humanitarian Intervention" , Global Research, May 3, 2011).

Em Junho, tropas turcas transpuseram a fronteira e entraram no Norte da Síria, oficialmente para resgatarem refugiados sírios. O governo de Bashar Al Assad acusou a Turquia de apoiar directamente a incursão de forças rebeldes no Norte da Síria.

"Uma força rebelde de mais de 500 combatentes atacou uma posição do Exército sírio dia 4 de Junho no Norte da Síria. Eles disseram que o objectivo, uma guarnição da Inteligência militar, foi capturada num assalto de 36 horas no qual foram mortos 72 soldados em Jisr Al Shoughour, próximo à fronteira com a Turquia.

"Descobrimos que os criminosos [combatentes rebeldes] estavam a utilizar armas da Turquia e isto é muito preocupante", disse um oficial.

Isto assinalou a primeira vez que o regime Assad acusou a Turquia de ajudar a revolta. ... Oficiais disseram que os rebeldes pressionaram o Exército sírio desde Jisr Al Shoughour e então tomaram a cidade. Disseram que edifícios governamentais foram saqueados e queimados antes da chegada de outra força de Assad. ...

Um oficial sírio que conduziu a operação disse que os rebeldes em Jisr Al Shoughour consistiam de combatentes alinhados com a Al Qaida. Afirmou que os rebeldes empregaram um conjunto de armas e munições turcas mas não acusou o governo de Ancara de fornecer o equipamento". ( Syria's Assad accuses Turkey of arming rebels , TR Defence, Jun 25 2011)



O acordo de cooperação militar Turquia-Israel

A Turquia e Israel têm um acordo de cooperação militar o qual está ligado de um modo muito directo com a Síria bem como com a estratégica linha costeira sírio-libanesa do Mediterrâneo oriental (que inclui as reservas de gás no offshore da costa do Líbano e rotas de pipelines).

Já durante a administração Clinton, iniciou-se uma aliança militar triangular entre os EUA, Israel e Turquia. Esta "tripla aliança", a qual é dominada pela US Joint Chiefs of Staff, integra e coordena decisões de comando militar entre os três países relativas ao conjunto do Médio Oriente. É baseada nos estreitos laços militares respectivamente de Israel e Turquia com os EUA, a par de um forte relacionamento bilateral entre Tel Aviv e Ancara.

A tripla aliança também é complementada pelo acordo de cooperação militar NATO-Israel de 2005, o qual inclui "muitas áreas de interesse comum, tal como o combate contra o terrorismo e exercícios militares conjuntos. Estes laços de cooperação militar com a NATO são encarados pelos militares israelenses como meios para "potenciar a capacidade de dissuasão de Israel em relação a potenciais ameaças inimigas, principalmente do Irão e da Síria". (Ver Michel Chossudovsky, "Triple Alliance": The US, Turkey, Israel and the War on Lebanon, August 6, 2006)

Enquanto isso, o recente remanejamento de altas patentes da Turquia reforçou a facção pró islâmica no interior das forças armadas. No fim de Julho, o Comandante em Chefe do Exército e chefe da Joint Chiefs of Staff da Turquia, general Isik Kosaner, resignou juntamente com os comandantes da Marinha e Força Aérea.

O general Kosaner representava uma posição amplamente laica dentro das Forças Armadas. Para substituí-lo o general Necdet Ozel foi nomeado como comandante do Exército.

Estes desenvolvimentos são de importância crucial. Eles tendem a apoiar interesses dos EUA. Eles também apontam para uma mudança potencial dentro das forças armadas em favor da Fraternidade Muçulmana incluindo a insurreição armada no Norte da Síria.

"Novas nomeações fortaleceram Erdogam e o partido dominante na Turquia... O poder militar é capaz de executar projectos mais ambiciosos na região. Prevê-se que em caso de utilização do cenário líbio na Síria seja possível que a Turquia peça intervenção militar". ( New appointments have strengthened Erdogan and the ruling party in Turkey: Public Radio of Armenia , August 06, 2011, ênfase acrescentada)



A extensa Aliança Militar da NATO

O Egipto, os estados do Golfo e a Arábia Saudita (dentro da aliança militar estendida) são parceiros da NATO, cujas forças podiam ser deslocadas numa campanha dirigida contra a Síria.

Israel é um membro da NATO de facto após o acordo assinado em 2005.

O processo de planeamento militar dentro da aliança extensa da NATO envolve coordenação entre o Pentágono, a NATO, as Forças Armadas de Israel (IDF), bem como o envolvimento militar activo de estados árabes, incluindo Arábia Saudita, os estados do Golfo e o Egipto: ao todo, dez países árabes mais Israel são membros do The Mediterranean Dialogue e da Istanbul Cooperation Initiative.

Estamos em encruzilhadas perigosas. As implicações geopolíticas são de extremo alcance.

A Síria tem fronteiras com a Jordânia, Israel, Líbano, Turquia e Iraque. Ela estende-se através do vale do Eufrates, está nos cruzamentos dos principais cursos de água e rotas de pipelines.

A Síria é uma aliada do Irão. A Rússia tem uma base naval no Noroeste da síria (ver mapa).

O estabelecimento de uma base em Tartus e o avanço rápido da cooperação em tecnologia militar com Damasco torna a Síria cabeça de ponte instrumental da Rússia e um baluarte no Médio Oriente.

Damasco é um aliado importante do Irão e inimigo irreconciliável de Israel. Não é preciso dizer que o surgimento da base militar russa na região certamente introduzirá correcções na correlação de forças existente.

A Rússia está a tomar o regime sírio sob a sua protecção. Isso quase certamente azedará as relações de Moscovo com Israel. Pode mesmo encorajar o vizinho regime iraniano e torná-lo menos manejável nas conversações do programa nuclear. (Ivan Safronov, Russia to defend its principal Middle East ally: Moscow takes Syria under its protection , Global Research July 28, 2006)



Cenário III Guerra Mundial

Durante os últimos cinco anos, a região Médio Oriente-Ásia Central tem estado em pé de guerra.

A Síria tem capacidades de defesa aérea significativas, assim como de forças terrestres.

A Síria tem estado a reforçar seu sistema de defesa aéreo com a entrega de mísseis russos Pantsir S1. Em 2010, a Rússia entregou à Síria o sistema míssil Yakhont. Os Yakhont, a operarem na base naval Tartus, da Rússia, "são concebidos para combaterem navios do inimigo à distância de até 300 km". ( Bastion missile systems to protect Russian naval base in Syria , Ria Novosti, September 21, 2010).

A estrutura das alianças militares dos lados EUA-NATO e Síria-Irão-SCO, respectivamente, sem mencionar o envolvimento militar de Israel, o complexo relacionamento entre a Síria e o Líbano, as pressões exercidas pela Turquia na fronteira Norte da Síria, apontam iniludivelmente para um perigoso processo de escalada.

Qualquer forma de intervenção militar patrocinada pelos EUA-NATO contra a Síria desestabilizaria toda a região, conduzindo potencialmente à escalada numa vasta área geográfica, estendendo-se desde o Mediterrâneo Oriental até a fronteira Afeganistão-Paquistão com o Tajiquistão e a China.

No futuro próximo, com a guerra na Líbia, a aliança militar EUA-NATO está excessivamente tensa em termos de capacidades. Apesar de não prevermos a implementação de uma operação militar EUA-NATO no curto prazo, o processo de desestabilização política através do apoio encoberto a uma insurgência rebelde provavelmente continuará.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=26043

The Pentagon's "Salvador Option": The Deployment of Death Squads in Iraq and Syria
by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky
This present essay (Part II below) focusses on the history of the Pentagon's "Salvador Option" in Iraq and its relevance to Syria.

The program was implemented under the tenure of John D. Negroponte, who served as US ambassador to Iraq (June 2004-April 2005). The current ambassador to Syria, Robert S. Ford was part of Negroponte's team in Baghdad in 2004-2005.  




Syria: Overview and Recent Developments

The Western media has played a central role in obfuscating the nature of foreign interference in Syria including outside support to armed insurgents. In chorus they have described recent events in Syria as a "peaceful protest movement" directed against the government of Bashar Al Assad, when the evidence amply confirms that Islamic paramilitary groups have infiltrated the rallies.

Israel's Debka Intelligence news, while avoiding the issue of an armed insurgency, tacitly acknowledges that Syrian forces are being confronted by an organized paramilitary:

"[Syrian forces] are now running into heavy resistance: Awaiting them are anti-tank traps and fortified barriers manned by protesters armed with heavy machine guns." DEBKAfile,

Since when are peaceful civilian protesters armed with "heavy machine guns" and "anti-tank traps"? 

Recent developments in Syria point to a full-fledged armed insurgency, integrated by Islamist "freedom fighters" covertly supported, trained and equipped by foreign powers. According to Israeli intelligence sources:

NATO headquarters in Brussels and the Turkish high command are meanwhile drawing up plans for their first military step in Syria, which is to arm the rebels with weapons for combating the tanks and helicopters spearheading the Assad regime's crackdown on dissent. Instead of repeating the Libyan model of air strikes, NATO strategists are thinking more in terms of pouring large quantities of anti-tank and anti-air rockets, mortars and heavy machine guns into the protest centers for beating back the government armored forces. (DEBKAfile, NATO to give rebels anti-tank weapons, August 14, 2011, emphasis added)

The delivery of weapons to the rebels is to be implemented "overland, namely through Turkey and under Turkish army protection....Alternatively, the arms would be trucked into Syria under Turkish military guard and transferred to rebel leaders at pre-arranged rendez-vous." (Ibid, emphasis added)

According to Israeli sources, which remain to be verified, NATO and the Turkish High command, also contemplate the development of a "jihad" involving the recruitment of thousands of Islamist "freedom fighters", reminiscent of  the enlistment of  Mujahideen to wage the CIA's jihad (holy war) in the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war:

Also discussed in Brussels and Ankara, our sources report, is a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels. The Turkish army would house these volunteers, train them and secure their passage into Syria. (Ibid, emphasis added)

These various developments point towards the possible involvement of Turkish troops inside Syria, which could potentially lead to a broader military confrontation between Syria and Turkey as well as a full-fledged "humanitarian" military intervention by NATO.  

In recent developments, Islamist death squads have penetrated the port city of Latakia's Ramleh district, which includes a Palestinian refugee camp of some 10,000 residents. These armed gunmen which include rooftop snipers are terrorizing the local population.

In a cynical twist, the Western media has presented the Islamist paramilitary groups in Latakia as "Palestinian dissidents" and "activists" defending themselves against the Syrian armed forces. In this regard, the actions of armed gangs directed against the Palestinian community in Ramleh  visibly seeks to foment political conflict between Palestine and Syria. Several Palestinian personalities have sided with the Syrian "protest movement", while casually ignoring the fact that the "pro-democracy" death squads are covertly supported by Israel and Turkey. 

Turkey's foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu has intimated that Ankara could consider military action against Syria if the Al Assad government doesn't cease "immediately and unconditionally" its actions against "protesters". In a bitter irony, the Islamist fighters operating inside Syria who are terrorizing the civilian population, are trained and financed by the Turkish Erdogan government.

Meanwhile, US, NATO and Israeli military planners have outlined the contours of a humanitarian military campaign, in which Turkey (the second largest military force inside NATO)  would play a central role.

On August  15, Tehran reacted to the unfolding crisis in Syria, stating that "events in Syria should be considered only as internal affairs of that country and accused the West and its allies with trying to destabilize Syria, in order to make the case for its eventual occupation". (Iran Foreign Ministry Statement, quoted in  Iran urges West to stay out of Syria's ‘internal matters'  Todayszaman.com, August 15, 2011)

We are at dangerous crossroads:

Were a military operation to be launched against Syria, the broader Middle East Central Asian region extending from North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border with China would be engulfed in the turmoil of an extended war. A war on Syria could evolve towards a US-NATO military campaign directed against Iran, in which Turkey and Israel would be directly involved.



It is crucial to spread the word and break the channels of media disinformation. 

A critical and unbiased understanding of what is happening in Syria is of crucial importance in reversing the tide of military escalation towards a broader regional war.

Michel Chossudovsky, August 16, 2011

Background: America's Ambassador Robert S. Ford Arrives in Damascus (January 2011)

US Ambassador Robert Ford arrived in Damascus in late January 2011 at the height of the protest movement in Egypt. 

America's previous Ambassador to Syria was recalled by Washington following the 2005 assassination of former Prime minister Rafick Hariri, which was blamed, without evidence, on the government of Bashar Al Assad.

The author was in Damascus on January 27, 2011 when Washington's Envoy presented his credentials to the Al Assad government. (See photo below).

At the outset of my visit to Syria in January 2011,  I reflected on the significance of this diplomatic appointment and the role it might play in a covert process of political destabilization. I did not, however, foresee that this process would be implemented within less than two months  following the instatement of Robert S. Ford as US Ambassador to Syria.

The reinstatement of a US ambassador in Damascus, but more specifically the choice of Robert S. Ford as US ambassador, bears a direct relationship to the onset of the protest movement in mid-March against the government of Bashar al Assad.

Robert S. Ford was the man for the job. As "Number Two" at the US embassy in Baghdad (2004-2005) under the helm of Ambassador John D. Negroponte, he played a key role in implementing the Pentagon's "Iraq Salvador Option". The latter consisted in supporting Iraqi death squadrons and paramilitary forces modelled on the experience of  Central America. 

The Western media has misled public opinion on the nature of the Arab protest movement by failing to address the support provided by the US State Department as well as US foundations (including the National Endowment for Democracy (NED)) to selected pro-US opposition groups. Known and documented, the U.S. State Department "has been been funding opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad, since 2006. (U.S. admits funding Syrian opposition - World - CBC News April 18, 2011)

The protest movement in Syria was upheld by the media as part of the "Arab Spring", presented to public opinion as a pro-democracy protest movement which spread spontaneously from Egypt and the Maghreb to the Mashriq. The fact of the matter is that these various country initiatives were closely timed and coordinated. Michel Chossudovsky, The Protest Movement in Egypt: "Dictators" do not Dictate, They Obey Orders, Global Research, January 29, 2011)

There is reason to believe that events in Syria, however, were planned well in advance in coordination with the process of regime change in other Arab countries including Egypt and Tunisia.

The outbreak of the protest movement in the southern border city of Daraa was carefully timed to follow the events in Tunisia and Egypt.

It is worth noting that the US Embassy in various countries has played a central role in supporting opposition groups. In Egypt, for instance, the April 6 Youth Movement was supported directly by the US embassy in Cairo



Who is Ambassador Robert Stephen Ford?

Since his arrival in Damascus in late January 2011, Ambassador Robert S. Ford played a central role in laying the groundwork as well as establishing contacts with opposition groups. 

A functioning US embassy in Damascus was seen as a precondition for carrying out a process of political destabilization leading to "regime change". 

Ambassador Robert S., Ford is no ordinary diplomat. He was U.S. representative in January 2004 to the Shiite city of Najaf in Iraq. Najaf was the stronghold of the Mahdi army

A few months later he was appointed "Number Two Man" (Minister Counsellor for Political Affairs), at the US embassy in Baghdad at the outset of John Negroponte's tenure as US Ambassador to Iraq (June 2004- April 2005). Ford subsequently served under Negroponte's successor Zalmay Khalilzad prior to his appointment as Ambassador to Algeria in 2006.

Negroponte's mandate as US ambassador to Iraq (together with Robert S. Ford) was to coordinate out of the US embassy, the covert support to death squads and paramilitary groups in Iraq with a view to fomenting sectarian violence and weakening the resistance movement. Robert S. Ford as "Number Two" (Minister Counsellor for Political Affairs) at the US Embassy played a central role in this endeavor.

To understand Robert Ford's mandate in both Baghdad and subsequently in Damascus, it is important to reflect briefly on the history of US covert operations and the central role played by John D. Negroponte.

Negroponte and the "Salvador Option"

John Negroponte had served as US ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985. As Ambassador in Tegucigalpa, he played a key role in supporting and supervising the Nicaraguan Contra mercenaries who were based in Honduras. The cross border Contra attacks into Nicaragua claimed some 50 000 civilian lives.

During the same period, Negroponte was instrumental in setting up the Honduran military death squads, "operating with Washington support's, [they] assassinated hundreds of opponents of the US-backed regime." (See Bill Vann, Bush Nominee linked to Latin American Terrorism, by Bill Vann, Global Research, November 2001, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/VAN111A.html)

"Under the rule of General Gustavo Alvarez Martnez, Honduras's military government was both a close ally of the Reagan administration and was "disappearing" dozens of political opponents in classic death squad fashion.

In a 1982 letter to The Economist, Negroponte wrote that it was "simply untrue to state that death squads have made their appearance in Honduras." The Country Report on Human Rights Practices that his embassy sent to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee took the same line, insisting that there were "no political prisoners in Honduras" and that the "Honduran government neither condones nor knowingly permits killings of a political or nonpolitical nature."

Yet according to a four-part series in the Baltimore Sun in 1995, in 1982 alone the Honduran press ran 318 stories of murders and kidnappings by the Honduran military. The Sun described the activities of a secret CIA-trained Honduran army unit, Battalion 316, that used "shock and suffocation devices in interrogations. Prisoners often were kept naked and, when no longer useful, killed and buried in unmarked graves."

On August 27, 1997, CIA Inspector General Frederick P. Hitz released a 211-page classified report entitled "Selected Issues Relating to CIA Activities in Honduras in the 1980's." This report was partly declassified on Oct. 22, 1998, in response to demands by the Honduran human rights ombudsman. Opponents of Negroponte are demanding that all Senators read the full report before voting on his nomination. to the position of US Permanent Representative to the UN}" (Peter Roff and James Chapin, Face-off: Bush's Foreign Policy Warriors, Global Research November 2001, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/ROF111A.html 

John Negroponte- Robert S. Ford. The Iraq "Salvador Option"

In January 2005, following Negroponte's appointment as US ambassador to Iraq, the Pentagon confirmed in a story leaked to Newsweek  that it was "considering forming hit squads of Kurdish and Shia fighters to target leaders of the Iraqi insurgency in a strategic shift borrowed from the American struggle against left-wing guerrillas in Central America 20 years ago". (El Salvador-style 'death squads' to be deployed by US against Iraq militants - Times Online, January 10, 2005)

John Negroponte and Robert S. Ford at the US Embassy worked closely together on the Pentagon's project. Two other embassy officials, namely Henry Ensher (Ford's Deputy) and a younger official in the political section, Jeffrey Beals, played an important role in the team "talking to a range of Iraqis, including extremists". (See The New Yorker, March 26, 2007).  Another key individual in Negroponte's team was James Franklin Jeffrey, America's ambassador to Albania (2002-2004). Jeffrey is currently the US Ambassador to Iraq.

Negroponte also brought into the team one of his former collaborators Colonel James Steele (ret) from his Honduras heyday: 

Under the "Salvador Option," "Negroponte had assistance from his colleague from his days in Central America during the 1980's, Ret. Col James Steele. Steele, whose title in Baghdad was Counselor for Iraqi Security Forces supervised the selection and training of members of the Badr Organization and Mehdi Army, the two largest Shi'ite militias in Iraq, in order to target the leadership and support networks of a primarily Sunni resistance. Planned or not, these death squads promptly spiralled out of control to become the leading cause of death in Iraq.

Intentional or not, the scores of tortured, mutilated bodies which turn up on the streets of Baghdad each day are generated by the death squads whose impetus was John Negroponte. And it is this U.S.-backed sectarian violence which largely led to the hell-disaster that Iraq is today. (Dahr Jamail, Managing Escalation: Negroponte and Bush's New Iraq Team,. Antiwar.com, January 7, 2007)

John Negroponte described Robert Ford while at the embassy in Baghdad, as "one of these very tireless people ... who didn’t mind putting on his flak jacket and helmet and going out of the Green Zone to meet contacts."  Robert S. Ford is fluent in both Arabic and Turkish. He was dispatched by Negroponte to undertake strategic contacts:

[O]ne Pentagon proposal would send Special Forces teams to advise, support and possibly train Iraqi squads, most likely hand-picked Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shiite militiamen, to target Sunni insurgents and their sympathizers, even across the border into Syria, according to military insiders familiar with the discussions. It remains unclear, however, whether this would be a policy of assassination or so-called "snatch" operations, in which the targets are sent to secret facilities for interrogation. The current thinking is that while U.S. Special Forces would lead operations in, say, Syria, activities inside Iraq itself would be carried out by Iraqi paramilitaries. (Newsweek, January 8, 2005, emphasis added)

The plan had the support of the US appointed Iraqi government of Prime Minister Iyad Allawi:

The Pentagon declined to comment, but one insider told Newsweek: “What everyone agrees is that we can’t just go on as we are. We have to find a way to take the offensive against the insurgents. Right now, we are playing defence. And we are losing.”

Hit squads would be controversial and would probably be kept secret.

The experience of the so-called “death squads” in Central America remains raw for many even now and helped to sully the image of the United States in the region.

.... John Negroponte, the US Ambassador in Baghdad, had a front-row seat at the time as Ambassador to Honduras from 1981-85.

Death squads were a brutal feature of Latin American politics of the time. In Argentina in the 1970s and Guatemala in the 1980s, soldiers wore uniform by day but used unmarked cars by night to kidnap and kill those hostile to the regime or their suspected sympathisers.

In the early 1980s President Reagan’s Administration funded and helped to train Nicaraguan contras based in Honduras with the aim of ousting Nicaragua’s Sandinista regime. The Contras were equipped using money from illegal American arms sales to Iran, a scandal that could have toppled Mr Reagan.

It was in El Salvador that the United States trained small units of local forces specifically to target rebels.



The thrust of the Pentagon proposal in Iraq, according to Newsweek, is to follow that model and direct US special forces teams to advise, support and train Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shia militiamen to target leaders of the Sunni insurgency.

It is unclear whether the main aim of the missions would be to assassinate the rebels or kidnap them and take them away for interrogation. Any mission in Syria would probably be undertaken by US Special Forces.

Nor is it clear who would take responsibility for such a programme — the Pentagon or the Central Intelligence Agency. Such covert operations have traditionally been run by the CIA at arm’s length from the administration in power, giving US officials the ability to deny knowledge of it. (Times Online, op cit, emphasis added)

Under Negroponte's helm at the US Embassy in Baghdad, a  wave of covert civilian killings and targeted assassinations was unleashed. Engineers, medical  doctors, scientists and intellectuals were also targeted. The objective was to create factional divisions between Sunni, Shiite, Kurds and Christians, as well as weed out civilian support for the Iraqi resistance. The Christian community was one of the main targets of the assassination program.

The Pentagon's objective also consisted in training an Iraqi Army, Police and Security Forces, which would carry out a homegrown "counterinsurgency" program (unofficially) on behalf of the U.S.

The Role of General David Petraeus

A "Multi-National Security Transition Command Iraq" (MNSTC) was established under the command of General David Petraeus with the mandate to train and equip a local Iraqi Army, Police and Security forces. General David Petraeus's (who was appointed by Obama to head the CIA in July 2011), assumed the command of the MNSTC in June 2004 at the very outset of Negroponte's tenure as ambassador.

The  MNSTC was an integral part of the Pentagon's "Operation Salvador Iraq" under the helm of Ambassador John Negroponte. It was categorized as an exercise in counterinsurgency. At the end of Petraeus' term, the MNSTC had trained some 100,000 Iraqi Security Forces, police, etc., which constituted a body of local military personnel to be used to target the Iraqi resistance as well as its civilian supporters.



From Baghdad to Damascus: The Syria "Salvador Option"

While conditions in Syria are markedly different to those in Iraq, Robert S. Ford's stint as "Number Two Man" at the US Embassy in Baghdad has a direct bearing on the nature of his activities in Syria including his contacts with opposition groups.  

In early July, US Ambassador Robert Ford travelled to Hama and had meetings with members of the protest movement (Low-key U.S. diplomat transforms Syria policy - The Washington Post, July 12, 2011). Reports confirm that Robert Ford had numerous contacts with opposition groups both before and after his July trip to Hama. In a recent statement (August 4), he confirmed that the embassy will continue "reaching out" to opposition groups in defiance of the Syrian authorities. 

General David Petraeus: President Obama's New Head of the CIA

Obama's newly appointed CIA head, David Petraeus who led the MNSTC  "Counterinsurgency" program in Baghdad in 2004 in coordination with Ambassador John Negroponte, is slated to play a key intelligence role in relation to Syria --including covert support to opposition forces and "freedom fighters", the infiltration of Syrian intelligence and armed forces, etc.  These tasks would be carried out in liaison with Ambassador Robert S. Ford.  Both men worked together in Iraq; they were part of  Negroponte's extended team in Baghdad in 2004-2005. 



PART III 

Syria's Death Squads and Islamist "Freedom Fighters"

(forthcoming)

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=26351
The Al Qaeda Insurgency in Syria: Recruiting Jihadists to Wage NATO's "Humanitarian Wars"
by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

What triggered the crisis in Syria?

It was not the result of internal political cleavages, but rather the consequence of a deliberate plan by the US-NATO alliance to trigger social chaos, to discredit the Syrian government of Bashar Al Assad  and ultimately destabilize Syria as a Nation State.  

Since the middle of March 2011, Islamist armed groups covertly supported by Western and Israeli intelligence have conducted terrorist attacks on government buildings and acts of arson.

Amply documented, trained gunmen and snipers have targeted the police, the armed forces as well as unarmed civilians.  

The objective of this armed insurrection is to trigger the response of the police and armed forces, including the deployment of tanks and armored vehicles with a view to eventually justifying a "humanitarian" military intervention, under NATO's  "responsibility to protect" mandate.  

The Nature of the Syrian Political System

There is certainly cause for social unrest and mass protest in Syria: unemployment has increased in recent years, social conditions have deteriorated, particularly since the adoption in 2006 of sweeping economic reforms under IMF guidance. The later include austerity measures, a freeze on wages, the deregulation of the financial system, trade reform and privatization. (See IMF Syrian Arab Republic — IMF Article IV Consultation Mission's Concluding Statement, http://www.imf.org/external/np/ms/2006/051406.htm, 2006).

Moreover, there are serious divisions within the government and the military. The populist policy framework of the Baath party has largely been eroded. A faction within the ruling political establishment has embraced the neoliberal agenda. In turn, the adoption of IMF "economic medicine" has served to enrich the ruling economic elite. Pro-US factions have also developed within the upper echelons of the Syrian military and intelligence.

But the "pro-democracy" movement integrated by Islamists and supported by NATO and the "international community" did not emanate from the mainstay of Syrian civil society.

The protests largely dominated by Islamists represent  a very small fraction of Syrian public opinion. They are of a sectarian nature. They do no address the broader issues of social inequality, civil rights and unemployment.

The majority of Syria's population (including the opponents of  the Al Assad government) do not support the "protest movement" which is characterised by an armed insurgency. In fact quite the opposite.

Ironically, despite its authoritarian nature, there is considerable popular support for the government of President Bashar Al Assad, which is confirmed by the large pro-government rallies.

Syria constitutes the only (remaining) independent secular state in the Arab world. Its populist, anti-Imperialist and secular base is inherited from the dominant Baath party, which integrates Muslims, Christians and Druze. It supports the struggle of the Palestinian people. 

The objective of the US-NATO alliance is to ultimately displace and destroy the Syrian secular State, displace or co-opt the national economic elites  and eventually replace the Syrian government of Bashar Al Assad with an Arab sheikdom, a pro-US Islamic republic or a compliant pro-US "democracy".

The role of the US-NATO- Israel military alliance in triggering an armed insurrection is not addressed by the Western media. Moreover, several "progressive voices" have accepted the "NATO consensus" at face value: "a peaceful protest" which is being "violently repressed by the Syrian police and armed forces". 



The Insurgency is integrated by Terrorists

Al Jazeera, the Israeli and Lebanese press confirm that "the protesters" had burned the headquarters of the Baath Party and the court house in Daraa in mid-March, while at the same time claiming that the demonstrations were "peaceful".  

Terrorists have infiltrated the civilian protest movement. Similar acts of arson were carried out in late July in Hama. Public buildings including the Court House and the Agricultural Bank were set on fire. 

This insurgency is directed against the secular State. Its ultimate object is political destabilization and regime change. The hit squads of armed gunmen are involved in terrorist acts directed against both Syrian forces and civilians.

Civilians who support the government are the object of threats and intimidation. Pro-government civilians are also the object of targetted assassination by armed gunmen: 

In Karak, a village near Dara’a, Salafis forced villagers to join anti-government protests and remove photos of President Assad from their homes. Witnesses reported that a young Muslim man who refused to remove a photo was found hanged on his front porch the next morning.

“People want to go out and peacefully ask for certain changes, but Muslim Salafi groups are sneaking in with their goal, which is not to make changes for the betterment of Syria, but to take over the country with their agenda,” (International Christian Concern (ICC), May 4, 2011, emphasis added)

In late July, terrorists  attacked a train travelling between Aleppo and Damascus:

 "The train was carrying 480 passengers... The terrorists dismantled the rails which caused the accident... The leading carriage was burnt... Other carriages were derailed and turned over onto their sides... (quoted in Terrorists attacked a train traveling from Aleppo to Damascus - YouTube, Truth Syria). Most of the passengers on the train "were children,  women and patients who were traveling to undergo surgeries."( Saboteurs Target a Train Traveling from Aleppo to Damascus, Driver Martyred - Local - jpnews-sy.com, July 24, 2011)

The Recruitment of Mujahideen: NATO and Turkey

This insurgency in Syria has similar features to that of Libya: it is integrated by paramilitary brigades affiliated to Al Qaeda. Recent developments point to a full-fledged armed insurgency, integrated by Islamist "freedom fighters" supported, trained and equipped by NATO and Turkey's High Command.

According to Israeli intelligence sources:

NATO headquarters in Brussels and the Turkish high command are meanwhile drawing up plans for their first military step in Syria, which is to arm the rebels with weapons for combating the tanks and helicopters spearheading the Assad regime's crackdown on dissent. Instead of repeating the Libyan model of air strikes, NATO strategists are thinking more in terms of pouring large quantities of anti-tank and anti-air rockets, mortars and heavy machine guns into the protest centers for beating back the government armored forces. (DEBKAfile, NATO to give rebels anti-tank weapons, August 14, 2011)

A NATO-led intervention is on the drawing board. According to military and intelligence sources, NATO, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have been discussing "the form this intervention would take".



Shift in Turkey's Military Command Structure

In late July, the Commander in Chief of the Army and head of Turkey's Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Isik Kosaner, resigned together with the commanders of the Navy and Air Force. General Kosaner represented a broadly secular stance within the Armed Forces. General Necdet Ozel has been appointed as his replacement as commander of the Army and head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

These developments are of crucial importance. They point to a shift within Turkey's military high command in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood including enhanced support to the armed insurrection in Northern Syria.

Military sources also confirm that Syrian rebels "have been training in the use of the new weapons with Turkish military officers at makeshift installations in Turkish bases near the Syrian border." (DEBKAfile, NATO to give rebels anti-tank weapons, August 14, 2011)

The delivery of weapons to the rebels is to be implemented "overland, namely through Turkey and under Turkish army protection....Alternatively, the arms would be trucked into Syria under Turkish military guard and transferred to rebel leaders at pre-arranged rendez-vous." (Ibid, emphasis added)

These various developments point towards the possibility of the direct involvement of Turkish troops in the conflict, which could potentially lead to a broader process of military confrontation between Syria and Turkey, as well as the direct involvement of Turkish troops inside Syria. 

A ground war involving Turkish troops would involve sending troops into Northern Syria and  "carving out a military pocket from which Syria's rebels would be supplied with military, logistic and medical aid." (Assad may opt for war to escape Russian, Arab, European ultimatums, http://www.debka.com/article/21255/  Debkafile, August 31, 2011).

As in the case of Libya, financial support is being channelled to the Syrian rebel forces by Saudi Arabia. "Ankara and Riyadh will provide the anti-Assad movements with large quantities of weapons and funds to be smuggled in from outside Syria" (Ibid).

The deployment of Saudi and GCC troops is also contemplated in Southern Syria in coordination with Turkey (Ibid):

Recruiting Thousands of Jihadists

NATO and the Turkish High command, also contemplate the development of a jihad involving the recruitment of thousands of "freedom fighters", reminiscent of  the enlistment of  Mujahideen to wage the CIA's jihad (holy war) in the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war:

Also discussed in Brussels and Ankara, our sources report, is a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels. The Turkish army would house these volunteers, train them and secure their passage into Syria. (Ibid, emphasis added)

This recruitment of Mujahideen to fight NATO's humanitarian wars (including Libay and Syria) is well underway. Some 1500 jihadists from Afghanistan trained by the CIA were dispatched to fight with the "pro-democracy" rebels under the helm of "former" Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) Commander  Abdel Hakim  Belhadj: 

“Most of the men have been recruited from Afghanistan. They are Uzbeks, Persians and Hazaras. According to the footage, these men attired in the Uzbek-style of shalwar and Hazara-Uzbek Kurta were found fighting in Libyan cities.” (The Nation, Pakistan,

The Libyan model of rebel forces integrated by the Islamic brigades together with NATO special forces is slated to be applied in Syria, where Islamist fighters supported by Western and Israeli intelligence have already been deployed. 



The Triggering of Factional Divisions within Syrian Society

Syria is a secular state where Muslims and Christian have shared a common heritage from the early Christian period and have lived together for centuries.

Covert support is channelled to the jihadist fighters, who in turn are responsible for acts of sectarian violence directed against Alawite, Christians and Druze. In early May, as part of the anti-government "protest movement", armed gunmen were reported to have attacked Christian homes in Daraa in Southern Syria:

In a Christian village outside of Dara’a, in southern Syria, eye witnesses reported that twenty masked men on motorcycles opened fire on a Christian home while shouting malicious remarks against Christians in the street. According to another ICC source in Syria, churches received threatening letters during the Easter holidays telling them to join Salafi protestors or leave.

 Last week in Duma, a suburb of Damascus, Salafis chanted, “Alawites to the grave and Christians to Beirut!” according to an ICC source and Tayyar.org, a Lebanese news agency. Christians in Syria are concerned that the agenda of many hard-line Islamists in Syria, including the Salafis, is to take over the government and kick Christians out of the country. “If Muslim Salafis gain political influence, they will make sure that there will be no trace of Christianity in Syria,” a Syrian Christian leader told ICC.

“We want to improve life and rights in Syria under this president, but we do not want terrorism. Christians will be first to pay the price of terrorism. ... What Christians are asking for is the realization that when changes are happening, it should happen not under certain agendas or for certain people, but for the people of Syria in a peaceful way under the current government.” Aidan Clay, ICC Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, “Unlike in Egypt, where Christians predominantly supported the revolution that removed President Hosni Mubarak from power, Syrian Christians have desired peace while demanding greater freedoms under the current government. Christians anticipate that only chaos and bloodshed will follow if Salafi demands are met. We urge the U.S. government to act wisely and carefully when developing policies that have deep political ramifications for Syria’s minorities by not indirectly supporting a foothold to be used by Salafis to carry out their radical agenda.”

(Syrian Christians Threatened by Salafi Protestors, Persecution News, International Christian Concern (ICC), May 4, 2011)

The attacks on Christians in Syria are reminiscent of the death squadron killings directed against Chaldean Christians in Iraq.  



Towards a Syrian Government in Exile. The Formation of a National Salvation Council (NSC) Modelled on Libya's Transitional Council (TC)

A first step towards establishing a  provisional government in exile was envisaged at a so-called National Salvation Conference in Istanbul (July 16, 2011) integrated by some 300 Syrians in exile. This conference venue led to the formation of a National Salvation Council (NSC), composed of 25 members, modelled on Libya's Transitional Council. 

"Those present finally agreed on an initiative that will select 25 from 300 present in Istanbul and 50 more from inside Syria, resulting in a 75 member council to represent the current uprising. This 75 member council will also work towards forming a national unity government that can guide Syria in a transitory period, should the regime fall. This transitory period will seek to administer a road-map that re-structures the Syrian state from a dictatorship, dismantling a police state, to a representative democracy. However, those present have refused the idea of forming a shadow government at this moment...." Syrian opposition conference in Istanbul and the formation of a joint council Syria Revolts, July 18, 2011)

The NSC envisaged the formation of an 11 member "Cabinet", which could act as a de facto provisional government in the case of a "regime collapse". The NSC is dominated by the outlawed Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and Liberals from the Syrian exile community. Syrian exiles vote for 'transitional government', Sidney Morning Herald, July 19,  2011) 



The Central Role of General David Petraeus: President Obama's New Head of the CIA

Obama's newly appointed CIA head, David Petraeus who led the MNSTC  "Counterinsurgency" program in Baghdad in 2004 in coordination with Ambassador John Negroponte, is slated to play a key intelligence role in relation to Syria --including covert support to opposition forces and "freedom fighters", the infiltration of Syrian intelligence and armed forces, etc.  These tasks would be carried out in liaison with Ambassador Robert S. Ford.  Both men worked together in Iraq; they were part of  Negroponte's extended team in Baghdad in 2004-2005. 

According to reports, General Petraeus, travelled to Turkey in mid July to meet members of the National Salvation Council.  The meeting organized by Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu took place immediately following the National Salvation Conference (July 16-18, 2011): "[T]he source noted that Petraeous stressed his support during the meeting for the idea of establishing an exile-government, a government which is led by the Muslim Brotherhood and their allies and assisted by American military officials..." (See The Syrian Opposition and the CIA - Another Evidence of Treason - YouTube).

While Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's official visit to Turkey coincided with the holding of the National Salvation Conference, there was no confirmation that Clinton had met up with members of the NSC. Officially, Hillary Clinton met members of the Syrian opposition "for the first time" on August 2nd. (Syria Opposition Meets With Clinton - WSJ.com, August 3, 2011).



The Role of the Western media

The Western media has played a central role in obfuscating the nature of foreign interference in Syria including outside support to armed insurgents. In chorus they have described recent events in Syria as a "peaceful protest movement" directed against the government of Bashar Al Assad, when the evidence amply confirms that Islamic paramilitary groups are involved in terrorist acts. These same Islamic groups have infiltrated the protest rallies.

Western media distortions abound. Large "pro-government" rallies (including photographs) are casually presented as "evidence" of a mass anti-government protest movement. The reports on casualties are based on unconfirmed "eye-witness reports" or on Syrian opposition sources in exile. 

Sham News and the London based Syria Observatory for Human Rights are profusely quoted by the Western media as a "reliable source" with the usual disclaimers.

Israel's Debka Intelligence news, while avoiding the issue of an armed insurgency, tacitly acknowledges that Syrian forces are being confronted by an organized paramilitary:

"[Syrian forces] are now running into heavy resistance: Awaiting them are anti-tank traps and fortified barriers manned by protesters armed with heavy machine guns." DEBKAfile,

Since when are peaceful civilian protesters armed with "heavy machine guns" and "anti-tank traps"? What we are dealing with is a trained paramilitary.

While Shaam News is quoted as the source of Associated Press reports and photos, Sham News (SNN) is not a recognised news agency. SNN describes itself as "a group of patriotic Syrian youth activists demanding the freedom and dignity for the Syrian people  ..." with pages on Facebook and Twitter. See Shaam News Network

An Associated Press photo of a mass rally in Hama indicates the following disclaimer 

The Associated Press is unable to independently verify the authenticity, Content,  location or date of this handout Photo. Photo: HO / Shaam News Network.

Yet these same unconfirmed photos are used profusely in the mainstream media.   

The absence of verifiable data, however, has not prevented the Western media from putting forth "authoritative figures" on the number of casualties: "Over 1,600 dead, 2,000 wounded (Al Jazeera, July 27) and nearly 3,000 disappearances (CNN, July 28)."

What are the sources of this data? Who is responsible for the casualties?

The US Ambassador Robert S. Ford candidly stated to a Senate Committee hearing that: "The most dangerous weapon I saw was a sling-shot".

And that sling-shot catch phrase, which is an outright lie, has been quoted profusely to uphold the non-violent character of the protest movement as well provide a "humanitarian face" to Ambassador Robert S. Ford, lest we forget, who was part of Negroponte's plan to set up death squadrons in Iraq modelled on El Salvador and Honduras. 

The Lie becomes the Truth.

Responsibility of the Syrian Government

The Syrian government, its military and police force, bear a burden of responsibility in the way they have responded to the insurgency which has resulted in deaths of civilians and police. But this issue, which is the object of open discussion in Syria, cannot be meaningfully addressed without analyzing how the US and its allies have supported and financed an insurrection integrated by Islamist paramilitary groups and death squads.

The primary responsibility for the civilian deaths rests with Washington, Brussels and Ankara, which have supported the formation and incursion of Islamist "Freedom Fighters". They have also facilitated the financing and delivery of weapons to the insurgents.

Since the existence of an armed insurgency (supported by foreign powers) is not acknowledged by NATO governments and the Estern media, pari passu these deaths are attributed without further explanation solely to government forces "shooting on defenseless civilians" or government forces shooting at police defectors... 



Dangerous Crossroads: Towards a Broader Middle East Central Asian War

Escalation is an integral part of the military agenda. Destabilization of sovereign states through "regime change" is closely coordinated with military planning. There is a military roadmap characterised by a sequence of US-NATO war theaters.

War preparations to attack Syria and Iran have been in "an advanced state of readiness" for several years.

US, NATO and Israeli military planners have outlined the contours of a "humanitarian" military campaign, in which Turkey (the second largest military force inside NATO) would play a central role.

In recent developments, Turkey has intimated that Ankara is considering military action against Syria if the Al Assad government doesn't cease "immediately and unconditionally" its actions against "protesters". In a bitter irony, the Islamist fighters operating inside Syria who are terrorizing the civilian population, are trained and financed by the Turkish Erdogan government.

These veiled threats point towards the possible involvement of Turkish troops inside Syria, which could evolve towards a full-fledged "humanitarian" military intervention by NATO.

We are at dangerous crossroads. Were a US-NATO military operation to be launched against Syria, the broader Middle East Central Asian region extending from North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border with China would be engulfed in the turmoil of an extended regional war.

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

An attack on Syria would lead to the integration of these separate war theaters, eventually leading towards a broader Middle East-Central Asian war.

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

A war on Syria could evolve towards a US-NATO military campaign directed against Iran, in which Turkey and Israel would be directly involved. It would also contribute to the ongoing destabilization of Lebanon.

It is crucial to spread the word and break the channels of media disinformation.

A critical and unbiased understanding of what is happening in Syria is of crucial importance in reversing the tide of military escalation towards a broader regional war.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/09/01/tribunal-concealed-evidence-al-qaeda-cell-killed-hariri/
U.S. Wants to Finger Hezbollah, So…



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