Category Archives: Jordan

More on Israel and Its Neighbors, or How Christians Invented Suicide Bombing

Jason Y: So do you think Israel is more hated by its neighbors and people it oppresses than by the neighbors of Apartheid South Africa and the people it oppressed? Possibly the settler colonies run by Europeans had a mix of NAM’s who either liked them or didn’t. Perhaps Israel is unable to win any friends at all among NAM’s.

It’s because of how they act! South Africa, same thing. Look at how they acted.

First of all, about half of Israeli Jews are affectively NAM’s themselves! 50% of the Jewish population of Israel are Mizrachi Jews. These are the Jews of the Arab World. They are pretty much just Arabs who happen to be Jewish. Their culture is Judeo-Islamic as the Ashkenazi culture is Judeo-Christian. They lived around Muslims so long that they become rather Islamicized culturally.

Most of them have become some of the most fanatical Israelis of them all, but that’s another story, and they’re not all like that. They are caught between two worlds. They really are just Arabs who practice a different religion like Arab Christians. They have  IQ’s to match. Their IQ’s are ~90. Apparently they never went through the brutal selection for intelligence that occurred under Talmudic Ashkenazi Jews from 1000-1800. High Jewish IQ is the result of a direct selection for intelligence. However, now most of them ferociously deny being Arabs to the point where if you call a Mizrachi Jew an Arab, you might get punched.

There are not many non-Jews over there who liked Israel. There are practically no Arabs who like them. No Iranians like them. Even Turks and Greeks hate them, and they are not even in the neighborhood.

The Israelis are bullies. Have you ever noticed what happens when bullies bully lots of victims for long periods of time leaving the victims with no way whatsoever to fight back? The amount of absolutely insane and frequently homicidal rage that builds up in victims that are not allowed to fight back is terrifying. This is what is going on with the Arabs and Israel.

There some Israeli Druze who fight in the Israeli Army. Why the Israeli Druze support Israel, I have no idea because the Syrian, Lebanese and Golan Druze hate them with insane fervor. And Druze are so weird that if you ask me, they’re not even Muslims. That religion is completely outside of Islam for all intents and purposes, and Druze are very secular people.

Many Israeli Bedouins have sided with Israel for some crazy reason even though the Israelis treat them horrifically.

The Maronites in Lebanon have long been Israeli allies for complex reasons. For one, they hate Arabs with a passion, especially Muslim Arabs, and they insist that they are not Arabs, even though they are. They say they are “Phoenicians.” It’s bull.

The Gamalist Maronites are the people who first brought fascism to Lebanon. I mean the real deal. The ancestors of the present day leaders were open Nazi sympathizers. One had Nazi flags in his locker at school. I suppose they hate Arabs and Muslims and Israelis do too, so there’s your alliance. For many years, they served as a proxy army for Israel in Israeli-occupied South Lebanon. Many of them went to Israel after the occupation ended because they were afraid they would be killed as traitors in their own country. Incidentally, this Occupation is what created Hezbollah. That’s right. Hezbollah is Israel’s baby.

Now since then, this group of Maronites still hates Hezbollah, but things have calmed down. In the 1996 Israel-Lebanon War, the Maronites were officially neutral. Mostly they set up checkpoints outside their neighborhoods. They said they were defending them against Hezbollah. After that war had gone on for a while, even the neutral and formerly pro-Israel Gamalist Maronites started getting mad, and they said if they wear did not stop soon, they would take up arms against Israel themselves. They said they would not fight with Hezbollah but instead would fight separately.

A separate group of Maronites, the Aounists, are in an alliance with Hezbollah for some years now. So about half of even the Maronites in Lebanon are allied with Hezbollah!

During that war, the Israeli army went into a Christian village in South Lebanon in the middle of the night. They got about halfway into the village. The Lebanese Army was in the village and knew the Israelis were there but refused to come out and fight. That’s because the Lebanese Army is pretty useless.

The village appeared to be deserted. Every light in town went off when the Israelis came in and the whole place went dead silent. It was rather eerie. The Israelis got halfway inside the village, when out of nowhere the whole village opened fire on them with automatic weapons out of complete darkness. The Israelis rapidly retreated from this village. This village is 100% Greek Orthodox Christians.

There is a party with its own army called SSNP which is pretty much the party and army of the Greek Orthodox Christians in the region. It was SSNP who opened up on the Israelis. The SSNP are some of the most crazed and fanatical Israel-haters of them all, and they’re all Christians! During the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, we saw mass suicide bombings for the first time. For some time, almost all of these suicide bombings were the work of SSNP fighters, often women. So you see that the suicide bombing phenomenon was largely started by Christians! If you want to know why the SSNP hate Israel so much, it’s because they are some of the craziest Arab nationalists of them all.

Israeli officers work alongside Turkish, US, British, Saudi, and Qatari officers inside Syria alongside Saudi, Qatari, US, British and Jordanian officers in Jordan to help the Syrian rebels. One of the main groups that those officers are helping in Jordan and Syria is Al Qaeda.

That’s one of the reasons Arabs on the street often hate the Saudi, Qatari, and Jordanian governments – they work with the Israeli military.

The Israelis and the Saudi Royal Family have long had some crazy alliance. I have no idea what it’s all about.

The Israelis and Jordan have some sort of an alliance.

Egyptian and Israeli officers work together in the Sinai at the Gaza border. That’s one reason a lot of people hate Sisi. His army works with the Israeli military.

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Oil, Power and Money: ‘Assad Must Go’ That’s Been Washington’s ‘Regime Change’ Mantra from The Get-Go,” by Mike Whitney

Via Global Research.

The Syrian War is really all about a pipeline! While there are other things at stake here including checking Iran and disrupting the Shia Crescent of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Hezbollah for the Gulf states, Jordan, Turkey and especially Israel, that’s not why we started this war. The whole war is over a damned pipeline. Almost all wars are really about money at the end of the day. Briefly, Qatar wanted to put a pipeline through Jordan, the eastern part of Syria and Turkey to deliver Qatari gas to Europe. This pipeline would have also stopped another pipeline by the Gulf states’ deadly rival, Iran.

This pipeline would have shipped Iranian gas through Northern Iraq, Northeastern Syria and Turkey to Europe in order to ship Iranian gas to Europe. Whoever wins the pipeline sweepstakes gets a lot of money and also ups their influence in the deadly game of chess being played over there between the Gulf states and who they see as their worst enemy, Iran. The Iranian pipeline had to be stopped, and the Qatari pipeline had to be put in. As soon as Assad rejected the Qatari pipeline going across his land, the US, Qatar, UAE, and Saudi Arabia all met and decided to foment a rebellion to take down Assad. Sure there are other goals here, but the Number 1 goal is the pipeline. Everyone needs to keep that in mind. At the end of the day, it’s usually all about money? What’s all about money? Everything.

Oil, Power and Money: “Assad Must Go”

That’s Been Washington’s “Regime Change” Mantra from The Get-Go

us-syria flags

Secret cables and reports by the U.S., Saudi and Israeli intelligence agencies indicate that the moment Assad rejected the Qatari pipeline, military and intelligence planners quickly arrived at the consensus that fomenting a Sunni uprising in Syria to overthrow the uncooperative Bashar Assad was a feasible path to achieving the shared objective of completing the Qatar/Turkey gas link. In 2009, according to WikiLeaks, soon after Bashar Assad rejected the Qatar pipeline, the CIA began funding opposition groups in Syria. — Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Why the Arabs Don’t Want Us in Syria, Politico.

The conflict in Syria is not a war in the conventional sense of the word. It is a regime change operation, just like Libya and Iraq were regime change operations.

The main driver of the conflict is the country that’s toppled more than 50 sovereign governments since the end of World War 2  (see Bill Blum here.) We’re talking about the United States of course.

Washington is the hands-down regime change champion, no one else even comes close. That being the case, one might assume that the American people would notice the pattern of intervention, see through the propaganda and assign blame accordingly. But that never  seems to happen and it probably won’t happen here either. No matter how compelling the evidence may be, the brainwashed American people always believe their government is doing the right thing.

But the United States is not doing the right thing in Syria. Arming, training and funding Islamic extremists — that have killed half a million people, displaced 7 million more and turned the country into an uninhabitable wastelands –is not the right thing. It is the wrong thing, the immoral thing. And the US is involved in this conflict for all the wrong reasons, the foremost of which is gas. The US wants to install a puppet regime in Damascus so it can secure pipeline corridors in the East, oversee the transport of vital energy reserves from Qatar to the EU, and make sure that those reserves continue to be denominated in US Dollars that are recycled into US Treasuries and US financial assets. This is the basic recipe for maintaining US dominance in the Middle East and for extending America’s imperial grip on global power into the future.

The war in Syria did not begin when the government of Bashar al Assad cracked down on protesters in the spring of 2011. That version of events is obfuscating hogwash.  The war began in 2009, when Assad rejected a Qatari plan to transport gas from Qatar to the EU via Syria. As Robert F Kennedy Jr. explains in his excellent article “Syria: Another Pipeline War”:

The $10 billion, 1,500 km pipeline through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Turkey….would have linked Qatar directly to European energy markets via distribution terminals in Turkey… The Qatar/Turkey pipeline would have given the Sunni Kingdoms of the Persian Gulf decisive domination of world natural gas markets and strengthened Qatar, America’s closest ally in the Arab world. ….

In 2009, Assad announced that he would refuse to sign the agreement to allow the pipeline to run through Syria “to protect the interests of our Russian ally…”

Assad further enraged the Gulf’s Sunni monarchs by endorsing a Russian approved “Islamic pipeline” running from Iran’s side of the gas field through Syria and to the ports of Lebanon. The Islamic pipeline would make Shia Iran instead of Sunni Qatar the principal supplier to the European energy market and dramatically increase Tehran’s influence in the Mideast and the world…

Naturally, the Saudis, Qataris, Turks and Americans were furious at Assad, but what could they do? How could they prevent him from choosing his own business partners and using his own sovereign territory to transport gas to market?

What they could do is what any good Mafia Don would do; break a few legs and steal whatever he wanted. In this particular situation, Washington and its scheming allies decided to launch a clandestine proxy-war against Damascus, kill or depose Assad, and make damn sure the western oil giants nabbed the future pipeline contracts and controlled the flow of energy to Europe. That was the plan at least. Here’s more from Kennedy:

Secret cables and reports by the U.S., Saudi and Israeli intelligence agencies indicate that the moment Assad rejected the Qatari pipeline, military and intelligence planners quickly arrived at the consensus that fomenting a Sunni uprising in Syria to overthrow the uncooperative Bashar Assad was a feasible path to achieving the shared objective of completing the Qatar/Turkey gas link. In 2009, according to WikiLeaks, soon after Bashar Assad rejected the Qatar pipeline, the CIA began funding opposition groups in Syria.

Repeat: “the moment Assad rejected the Qatari pipeline”, he signed his own death warrant. That single act was the catalyst for the US aggression that transformed a bustling, five thousand-year old civilization into a desolate Falluja-like moonscape overflowing with homicidal fanatics that were recruited, groomed and deployed by the various allied intelligence agencies.

But what’s particularly interesting about this story is that the US attempted a nearly-identical plan 60 years earlier during the Eisenhower administration. Here’s another clip from the Kennedy piece:

During the 1950′s, President Eisenhower and the Dulles brothers … mounted a clandestine war against Arab Nationalism — which CIA Director Allan Dulles equated with communism — particularly when Arab self-rule threatened oil concessions. They pumped secret American military aid to tyrants in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon favoring puppets with conservative jihadist ideologies which they regarded as a reliable antidote to Soviet Marxism….

The CIA began its active meddling in Syria in 1949 — barely a year after the agency’s creation…Syria’s democratically elected president, Shukri-al-Kuwaiti, hesitated to approve the Trans Arabian Pipeline, an American project intended to connect the oil fields of Saudi Arabia to the ports of Lebanon via Syria. (so)… the CIA engineered a coup, replacing al-Kuwaiti with the CIA’s handpicked dictator, a convicted swindler named Husni al-Za’im. Al-Za’im barely had time to dissolve parliament and approve the American pipeline before his countrymen deposed him, 14 weeks into his regime…..

(CIA agent Rocky) Stone arrived in Damascus in April 1956 with $3 million in Syrian pounds to arm and incite Islamic militants and to bribe Syrian military officers and politicians to overthrow al-Kuwaiti’s democratically elected secularist regime….

But all that CIA money failed to corrupt the Syrian military officers. The soldiers reported the CIA’s bribery attempts to the Ba’athist regime. In response, the Syrian army invaded the American Embassy taking Stone prisoner. Following harsh interrogation, Stone made a televised confession to his roles in the Iranian coup and the CIA’s aborted attempt to overthrow Syria’s legitimate government…(Then) Syria purged all politicians sympathetic to the U.S. and executed them for treason.  (Politico)

See how history is repeating itself? It’s like the CIA was too lazy to even write a new script, they just dusted off the old one and hired new actors.

Fortunately, Assad –with the help of Iran, Hezbollah and the Russian Airforce– has fended off the effort to oust him and install a US stooge. This should not be taken as a ringing endorsement of Assad as a leader, but of the principal that global security depends on basic protections of national sovereignty, and that the cornerstone of international law has to be a rejection of unprovoked aggression whether the hostilities are executed by one’s own military or by armed proxies that are used to achieve the same strategic objectives while invoking  plausible deniability. The fact is, there is no difference between Bush’s invasion of Iraq and Obama’s invasion of Syria. The moral, ethical and legal issues are the same, the only difference is that Obama has been more successful in confusing the American people about what is really going on.

And what’s going on is regime change: “Assad must go”. That’s been the administration’s mantra from the get go. Obama and Co are trying to overthrow a democratically-elected secular regime that refuses to bow to Washington’s demands to provide access to pipeline corridors that will further strengthen US dominance in the region.  That’s what’s really going on behind the ISIS distraction and the “Assad is a brutal dictator” distraction and the “war-weary civilians in Aleppo” distraction. Washington doesn’t care about any of those things. What Washington cares about is oil, power and money. How can anyone be confused about that by now?  Kennedy summed it up like this:

We must recognize the Syrian conflict is a war over control of resources indistinguishable from the myriad clandestine and undeclared oil wars we have been fighting in the Mid-East for 65 years. And only when we see this conflict as a proxy war over a pipeline do events become comprehensible.

That says it all, don’t you think?

Mike Whitney, lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

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“US Ponders Whether to Go to War with Russia to Salvage Al Qaeda in Syria,” by Eric Zuesse

Via Global Research.

I would say that just about everything you read below is 100% correct. Of course every word below is directly contrary to the lying narrative of the Syrian War being propagated by the US propaganda system.

The first incident discussed is the “accidental” US bombing of Syrian forces in Deir ez Zour, killing 80 Syrian soldiers. Except it was no accident.

Next he talks about an attack on a UN aid convoy in Aleppo for which the US immediately blamed Russia and Syria and then Russia. The truth is that neither Russia nor Syria attacked that convoy and it was not a UN convoy anyway, instead it was a Red Crescent. As a matter of fact, that convoy attack was an actual US false flag attack presumably ordered by Ashton Carter yet again as in the previous assault on the Syrian Army at Deir ez Zour.

The reason was that the cooperation deal between the US and Russia to jointly attack Al Qaeda in Syria, which the Pentagon and CIA were mutinying against, was dependent on a clause that said that they needed to cooperate on aid to besieged areas and that any attacks on aid convoys would immediately kill the deal. Wa-la! Suddenly there is a mysterious attack on an aid convoy and no one knows who did it, which coincidentally just so happens to kill the Russia-US cooperation deal!

I will go into my evidence proving without a doubt that this was a false flag attack in a later post.

Later he discusses how the US has been supporting Al Qaeda in Syria for years now mostly via its allies Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and especially Turkey. As a matter of fact, recent excellent evidence proves that the US actually has military advisors on the ground in Syria working directly with Syrian Al Qaeda!

About the “Gulf” threatening to up its arms provisions to the rebels, for “Gulf”  read Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and of course the US. This is how it works. The US gives weapons shipments to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. These three countries then ship the weapons into Syria. It is done this way so the US will not be directly responsible for arming the rebels.

It is true that the US and its allies are threatening to arm Al Qaeda and the rest of the jihadists with SAM’s to shoot down jets, which means Syrian and surely Russian jets too. So the US is now effectively getting ready to shoot down Russian warplanes in order to save Al Qaeda!  I cannot stress how irresponsible it is to give Al Qaeda and the rest of the maniacs SAM’s. They can easily use them to shoot down passenger jets. Also ISIS will surely get some of these SAM’s as ISIS gets quite a few of the weapons that come into Syria. So the US is now threatening to arm Al Qaeda and ISIS with surface to air missiles which can be used to shoot down passenger jets. How insane!

It is probably correct that Russia is using the same technique to attack the rebels in Syria as it used in Chechnya, that is, exterminating the rebels along with their civilian supporters. In Chechnya, they destroyed whole neighborhoods housing rebels along with their civilian supporters.

That is a war crime, correct, but US allies do the same thing.

It appears that Mr. Putin and Mr. Assad fight wars in a very dirty way.

And yes, Pentagon spokesman Kirby is indeed threatening to kill Russian soldiers in Syria but also threatening to launch attacks in Russian cities. Presumably these attacks will be done by some of our pet jihadists that we have been using against our enemies since the Afghan War in 1979 when the US-Wahhabi alliance began.

Moon of Alabama (one of the greatest blogs out there) is correct when he says that the only reason that the US has been negotiating all of these ceasefires with Syria and Russia is in order to buy time to rearm Al Qaeda and the rest of the rebels. One long-lasting ceasefire was used to flood the rebels with guns along with 3,000 new men. The US has never been serious about these ceasefires.

And yes, Russia is saying that if the US attacks Syrian forces anywhere in Syria, Russia will consider it an attack on Russian forces. This is because Russia states that there are Russian forces embedded with Syrian troops all over Syria, so any US attack on Syrian troops presumably endangers Russian forces also. I believe it is true that Russians are embedded all over Syria with the SAA. I also believe that there is a large force of 3,000 Russian soldiers to the southeast of Aleppo. I am not sure exactly what they are doing there, but they are there all right. There are a lot more Russian troops in Syria than most people think. It’s not just a few Air Force pilots.

And Russia has indeed placed S-300 and S-400 antiaircraft missiles in Syria for the purpose of shooting down US or other aircraft that attack Syrian troops. These are the most advanced anti-aircraft missiles on Earth with an incredibly long range and I believe that they are perfectly capable of taking down a USAF plane. In addition, Russia placed S series anti-aircraft battery in Tartus which specifically targets cruise missiles. Yes, it can shoot a US cruise missile right out of the sky.

 

US Ponders Whether to Go to War with Russia to Salvage Al Qaeda in Syria

 

Members of Al Qaeda's Nusra Front gesture as they drive in a convoy touring villages in the southern countryside of Idlib

Sources that will be provided here, document the historical narrative now occurring toward all-out war between the US and Russia, up till the present, as that history will be introduced in the following two paragraphs (the first paragraph for background, and the second for a summary of the documentation that will then constitute the main body of the present report):

FOR BACKGROUND:

The US government (Barack Obama) was being led by the Saudi royal family, who own Saudi Arabia, in selecting members for the so-called ‘peace negotiations’ with Russia on the Syrian conflict, and those ‘negotiations’ broke up because the US refused to stop backing Al Qaeda in Syria. As I reported and documented on 6 May 2016:

«These talks broke down on April 18th because Al Nusra was facing imminent defeat in the key city of Aleppo, and because such a defeat was unacceptable to Mohammed Alloush, the Saudi agent, and head of the Saudi-Wahhabist group, the Army of Islam. He was selected by King Saud to lead the rebel side at Syria’s peace negotiations».

FOR SUMMARY OF THE FOLLOWING REPORT:

Al Qaeda in Syria (which used to call itself «Al Nusrah») has been leading the US proxy army of jihadists trying to replace Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria, but now that Russia and the US have broken off negotiations after the US bombed the Syrian army in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor on September 18th, Russia and the United States are gearing up for war against each other in Syria.

Both Russia and Syria have now quit trying to work any longer with the United States to defeat Al Qaeda in Syria — they’ve had enough of America’s protecting Al Qaeda in Syria; they are laying down the gauntlet to the US regime, and are saying that the US regime can henceforth choose either to leave Syria (which it has invaded by its illegal entry into Syria), or else to go to war against both Syria and Russia there, because Syria and Russia will no longer continue to be deterred by US pretenses about its support of alleged ‘moderate rebels’, no longer deterred from Syria’s and Russia’s joint goal of destroying all jihadists in Syria, including Al Qaeda there — America’s actually key proxy-force on the ground trying to replace Assad.

* * *

Now will be presented the documented recent developments producing this historic break towards World War III. We start with America’s bombing of the Syrian Army, and continue up through to October 7th:

On 18 September 2016, Reuters headlined, «US-led forces strike Syrian troops, prompting emergency U.N. meeting», and reported that, «The United States military said the coalition stopped the attacks against what it had believed to be Islamic State positions in northeast Syria after Russia informed it that Syrian military personnel and vehicles may have been hit. The United States relayed its ‘regret’».

Russia’s Sputnik News then bannered on the 18th, «Russian FM: Lethal US Strike on Syrian Army ‘Borders on Connivance With Daesh’», and reported that, «The Russian Foreign Ministry released a sternly worded statement following a tense 24-hours of diplomacy after an allegedly ‘unintentional’ US airstrike killed 80 Syrian Army forces ‘paving the way’ for a Daesh offensive». («Daesh» is a synonym for ISIS.)

Russia’s RIA News agency headlined on the 18th, «Assad Advisor Explains How the USAF [US Air Force] Might Coordinate with IG [another synonym for ISIS]», and reported that, «As soon as Washington struck [Assad’s forces], terrorists launched a ground attack [on Assad’s forces]. [It] hit exactly on the territory that was occupied by the Syrian army».

Later on the 18th, Russian Television headlined «‘Unbelievable’ that US strike on Syrian army was mistake – fmr MI5 agent», and reported that a former intelligence officer for Britain’s MI5, Annie Machon, said: «I find it slightly unbelievable that the Americans could hit this target thinking this was ISIS… So it seems just strange that the Americans are just saying it was a bit of a mistake». She asserted that, in the unlikely event the US really believed that it was supporting «so-called moderate groups» (as she put it) in Syria, «Americans are dealing with fire,» because the so-called ‘moderate rebels’ often defect to jihadist groups and bring along with them the weapons that the US had provided.

This US assistance to Al Qaeda in Syria — Al Nusrah — has been reported for years, by many independent sources, such as in Seymour Hersh’s two separate reports about Obama’s lies regarding Al Nusrah’s being the actual source of the 21 August 2013 sarin gas attack that Obama was blaming on Assad’s government. In fact, on 16 August 2016, the US government even admitted that in Syria «We’re not focused on the former al-Nusra Front. We’re focused on Daesh [ISIS], and that’s what we’re fighting». Even while the US was working with Russia and Syria to kill ISIS in Syria, the US refused to cooperate in attacking Al Qaeda there.

Here was the report, also on September 18th, from Ziad Fadel, a Syrian-born US lawyer (in Michigan) who has many sources in Syria, and who writes for his own popular news-site about this war, the «Syrian Perspective» site, based upon his constant contacts with those Syrians:

«DAYR EL-ZOR:

To be specific, at the Al-Tharda Mountain which is still occupied by the Syrian Army – no thanks to the exceptional talent of the Americans for bungling or outright treachery, yesterday, the United States Air Force, flying out of Habbaaniyya AB in Iraq, with 2 F-16s and 2 A-10 Thunderbolts, crossed the Syrian border without permission and entered Syrian airspace without so much as a hint to the government in Damascus, which might have asked the Americans: WHAT IS YOUR TARGET GOING TO BE? And if the Americans responded with something like: ‘Those ISIS terrorists on Al-Tharda Mountain’, the Syrian government might have said: ‘Oh, no. Don’t do that. Our army is on that mountain.’ And the whole mess could have been averted. 62 Syrian soldiers would still be alive……. We will not forget».

He further reported that,

«an enraged Syrian Army with the help of the PDC and Shu’aytaat Tribal militias, acting under the tenacious and ferocious aerial support of both the SAAF [Syrian Arab Air Force] and RuAf [Russian Air Force], quickly restored army control over all Al-Tharda Mountain inflicting at least 100 casualties on the terrorist filth, destroying 10 vehicles, 6 of which were pickups with 23mm cannons. The air forces are continuing assaults today all around the area of Al-Tharda, Panorama and Al-’urfi».

On September 20th, the Wall Street Journal headlined, «US Believes Russia Bombed Syrian Aid Convoy». But the next day, Britain’s Guardian reported that, «US is not revealing what evidence it has to support claim Moscow was responsible». (Russia denied that it had anything to do with that bombing. Whether the US did it is still not known.)

On September 26th, SANA, the Syrian government’s news agency, bannered, «Al-Moallem: The US wanted to lie and change facts regarding what the Syrian government is doing, but it failed», and reported that: «Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem stressed that the United States, France, and Britain called for a UN Security Council session on Syria this Sunday [September 23rd] in an attempt to support terrorist organizations in Syria… He stressed that the aggression of the US-led coalition on a Syrian Arab Army position in Tharda Mountain in Deir Ezzor was deliberated and in coordination with ISIS, as ISIS rushed to take control of the area only one hour after the aggression».

Also on the 26th, Reuters bannered «Gulf may arm rebels now Syria truce is dead: US officials» and reported the likely sharp escalation of support by the oil kingdoms, for the anti-Assad forces, and asserted «the possibility that Gulf states might arm Syrian rebels with shoulder-fired missiles to defend themselves against Syrian and Russian warplanes, US officials said». This report indicated that the US and its allies were now planning to (either by their own forces or by their proxies who are actually led by Al Qaeda there) shoot down Russian and Syrian planes in Syrian air space. Reuters was reporting efforts by the Sauds and their friends, to pressure a reluctant Obama into joining with them in an all-out war against both Russia and Syria, in Syria.

On September 28th, The New York Times bannered, «Russia’s Brutal Bombing of Aleppo May Be Calculated, and It May Be Working» and reported that:

The effects of Russia’s bombing campaign in the Syrian city of Aleppo — destroying hospitals and schools, choking off basic supplies, and killing aid workers and hundreds of civilians over just days — raise a question: What could possibly motivate such brutality?

Observers attribute Russia’s bombing to recklessness, cruelty or Moscow’s desperate thrashing in what the White House has called a «quagmire».

But many analysts take a different view: Russia and its Syrian government allies, they say, could be massacring Aleppo’s civilians as part of a calculated strategy, aimed beyond this one city.

The strategy, more about politics than advancing the battle lines, appears to be designed to pressure rebels to ally themselves with extremists, eroding the rebels’ legitimacy; give Russia veto power over any high-level diplomacy; and exhaust Syrian civilians who might otherwise support the opposition.

This report didn’t mention another possible explanation for what Russia was doing there: the goal might simply be to exterminate the jihadists who had been imported into Syria by the US and its allied Arabic royal families, during five years of such ‘civil war’, in the few areas of Syria where even the vast majority of the local Syrian residents prefer Shariah law and thus favor the overthrow of the highly secular, ideologically non-religious, Assad government.

Those areas of Syria are identifiable by this Western-sponsored poll that had been taken of the Syrian population during July 2015, where, for example, on page 4, Assad’s support is the lowest in Raqua, Idlip, Daraa, Der’-Zor, Sewedaa, and Hasakeh; and, on page 7, Nusra’s support is by far the highest in Aleppo, but also relatively high in Rural Damascus, Hasakeh, Der’-Zor, Homs, and Daraa.

This technique of defeating jihadists — exterminating them and their supporters — was the way that Putin had solved the Saudi-led insurgency by jihadists in Russia’s own Chechnya region (who had been backed by both the CIA and the Sauds): exterminating everyone in the fanatical neighborhoods. It also served as a model in Tatarstan, preventing jihadism there.

Just as the United States participated in the firebombing of Dresden, and carried out the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and slaughtered many non-combatants in the process, Russia destroys entire jihadist-supporting neighborhoods, not only the jihadist mercenaries who have taken over control there (and who have either killed or driven out any residents who oppose them). The reason that The New York Times doesn’t mention such an explanation is that it doesn’t fit what the White House is saying about the matter; it fits instead with what ‘the enemies’ (Assad and Putin) are saying they’re doing. In fact, the NYT report went so far as to actually sub-headline «Blurring Rebels and Jihadists» and assert that, «Aleppo is a metaphor for the larger war.

The northern Syrian city is one of the few remaining strongholds for non-jihadist rebel groups». Even the Western-sponsored poll in July 2015 showed that to be the exact opposite of the reality. Although the NYT said this, the United States government itself had already asserted the opposite: on 20 April 2016, the Pentagon’s official spokesperson on the Syrian war, Steve Warren, said «It’s primarily al-Nusra who holds Aleppo». 

So, the regime sometimes has problems keeping its narrative together (sometimes its press-mouthpieces such as the NYT go even beyond the government’s own lies), but they needn’t really worry much when they slip up like that and state the truth, because, after all, The New York Times reaches far more Americans than does a flunky at an official press conference, and everybody who is involved in the cons knows what the intended story-line is supposed to be (i.e.: Russian government bad; US government good), so such elementary slip-ups are rare, and inconsequential. (But the Pentagon spokesperson, Steven Warren, might miss his next promotion for that error, honesty.)

In other words: the US is allied with Al Qaeda in Syria.

On September 28th, US State Department spokesperson John Kirby was asked in a press conference, «What makes you think that the Secretary’s [John Kerry’s] threat to begin to take steps to suspend cooperation if the Russians don’t act to stop the violence immediately is likely to get the Russians to actually stop the violence?»

Like any professional ‘news’ ‘reporter’ for the regime, this questioner posed his question with the underlying assumption «Russian government bad» «American government good». Mr. Kirby, likewise very professional as a propagandist, replied, «you’d have to ask Foreign Minister Lavrov» (in the ‘enemy’ camp). Then, the ‘journalist’ prodded Kirby further, and Kirby said, «we thought that that could help us advance the fight against a group like al-Nusrah in particular».

He was presenting the US as if it had been against, instead of for, Al Qaeda in Syria. (Actually, Obama is committed to, and highly dependent upon, Al Qaeda in Syria in order to overthrow Assad.) A ‘journalist’ asked: «Can you foresee any options that the US Government could take, short of full-scale warfare and invasion, that would actually stop the Russian/Syrian onslaught on Aleppo?» Then that was refined to «What are the consequences for Russia?» And, finally, after much to-and-fro, and with obvious great reluctance, Kirby handed to the assembled dogmeat-hungry ‘journalists’:

The consequences are that the civil war will continue in Syria, that extremists and extremists groups will continue to exploit the vacuums that are there in Syria to expand their operations, which will include, no question, attacks against Russian interests, perhaps even Russian cities, and Russia will continue to send troops home in body bags, and they will continue to lose resources – even, perhaps, more aircraft.

The US State Department is now officially threatening Russia with war — not only on the proxy-battlefields of Syria, but «perhaps even Russian cities». Was that historic announcement headlined as such in the American ‘news’ media? In such a country, one can’t blame the public for sleepwalking into global annihilation, if that’s where we go.

On October 1st, German Economic News headlined «Großmächte treiben in Syrien auf einen globalen Krieg zu» or «Great Powers Driving in Syria on to a Global war,» and reported that:

The battle for Aleppo can evolve into a direct war between the US and Russia. The situation is extremely dangerous.

The international and Islamist mercenaries are, according to the Syrian army leadership, preparing a counteroffensive against the Syrian army in Aleppo. As al-Masdar news reports, thousands of mercenaries are assembling in the south and west of the city to expel from Aleppo the Syrian army. 

On October 3rd, Zero Hedge headlined, «US Suspends Diplomatic Relations With Russia On Syria», and quoted Kirby saying «This is not a decision that was taken lightly» but «Unfortunately, Russia failed to live up to its own commitments, including its obligations under international humanitarian law».

On October 5th, the «Moon of Alabama» blogger bannered, «Is Fighting Al-Qaeda In Aleppo Good Or Bad? — US Unable To Decide», and he expressed (and documented) the view that the only reason why Kerry and the rest of the Obama Administration had pretended to negotiate with Russia regarding Syria was in order to buy time to enable enough US weapons to be delivered to Al Nusra and its allies in Syria so as to be able to conquer the nation.

Also on October 5th, Morning Consult headlined «Congress Must Vote on Bombing Assad Regime, Lee Tells Obama», and reported that, «If the Obama administration wants to bomb the Assad regime, it must first get a declaration of war from Congress, Sen. Mike Lee said… ‘Should President Obama move ahead without authorization, then Congress must be called back into session to fulfill its obligation to debate and determine whether our nation should once again go to war’». Of course, if America does «once again go to war,» it will be war this time against Russia, and it will be unprecedented, in many ways, perhaps even final (which would be extremely «unprecedented»).

Also on October 5th, Britain’s Daily Mail bannered «Russia claims nuclear war could be imminent as it evacuates 40 MILLION people in drill and warns that ‘schizophrenics from America’ could attack», and reported that:

Russia is evacuating more than 40 million people in drills to prepare for nuclear war after Putin’s Ministry of Defence warned of ‘schizophrenics from America sharpening atomic weapons for Moscow’. 

Citizens have been told a war with the West could be imminent and Kremlin officials have said underground shelters have been built to house 12million people. 

The massive evacuation drill started yesterday and will last three days.

On October 6th, Russian Television bannered «‘S-300, S-400 air defenses in place’: Russian MoD warns US-led coalition not to strike Syrian army», and reported that Russia’s Defense Ministry said that «any missile or air strikes on the territory controlled by the Syrian government will create a clear threat to Russian servicemen», as a consequence of which the American invading forces would be shot down.

Also on October 6th, Al Masdar News headlined «Point of No Return as Islamist Rebels Lose More Ground in Aleppo City», and reported that «Islamist rebels of the [Nusra-allied and trained] Fatah Halab coalition have little prospect of breaking the [Syrian Arab Army — Syrian government] SAA imposed siege of eastern Aleppo».

Also on October 6th, Ireland’s RTE bannered «UN Security Council to Meet on Syria — Diplomats», and reported:

The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting tomorrow on Syria after a UN envoy warned that eastern Aleppo may be totally destroyed in the next few months by the Russian and Syrian air campaign.

Russia requested the meeting to hear from UN envoy Staffan de Mistura, who will brief the council via video conference from Geneva at 1400 GMT, diplomats said.

Mr De Mistura earlier took aim at Russia, suggesting that Moscow was indiscriminately bombing a city with hundreds of thousands of civilians to flush out just a few hundred jihadists.

«We are talking about 900 people, basically, who are becoming the main reason for which there is 275,000 people actually being attacked», he said.

Would this, he asked, be the excuse for «the destruction of the city?»

«In maximum two months, two-and-a-half months, the city of eastern Aleppo may be totally destroyed,» he told reporters.

The envoy urged fighters from the former Al-Nusra Front – which renamed itself Fateh al-Sham Front after breaking with Al-Qaeda – to leave Aleppo under a deal to halt the regime’s attacks on the city.

«If you decide to leave with dignity … I am personally ready to physically accompany you», Mr de Mistura said.

Security Council members were discussing a French-drafted UN resolution calling for a ceasefire in Aleppo.

On Friday, October 7th, Reuters headlined «Assad offers rebels amnesty if they surrender Aleppo», and reported that, «Rebels holed up in Aleppo can leave with their families if they lay down their arms, President Bashar al-Assad said on Thursday, vowing to press on with the assault on Syria’s largest city and recapture full control of the country».  He was willing to allow the estimated 900 Nusra-allied fighters, «inside Aleppo’s rebel-held eastern sector» to escape, in order for Aleppo’s jihadist-controlled area to avoid being totally destroyed by bombing. «However, rebels said they had no plan to evacuate Aleppo, the last major urban area they control, and denounced the amnesty offer as a deception».

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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The Hell with the Pentagon

As the agency which enforces US foreign policy at gunpoint, the Pentagon has always blown.

First of all, there is no such thing as the Defense Department. When has the Pentagon ever defended the country? Pearl Harbor? They did a fine job there, huh?

Obviously the task of the Pentagon is not to defend the US mainland, which is all it ever ought to do anyway.

Its task is to running around the world starting wars and killing people in other countries. Leaving aside whether that is sometimes a good idea (and I think it is,) what’s so defensive about that?

The real name of the Pentagon is the War Department.That’s what it was always called until World War 2, which the War Department won. After that in a spate of Orwellian frenzy, we named an army of aggression an army of self-defense and comically renamed its branch the Defense Department.

It’s like calling cops peace officers. You see anything peaceful about what a cop does in a typical day? Neither do I?

There was a brief glimmer of hope there in WW2 when we finally starting killing fascists and rightwingers instead of sleeping with them, but the ink was barely dry on the agreements before we were setting up the Gladio fascists, overthrowing Greek elections and slaughtering Greek peasants like ants.

Meanwhile it was scarcely a year after 1945 when the US once again started a torrid love affair with fascism and rightwing dictators like we have always done. We were smooching it up right quick with Europe’s fascists, in this case the former Nazis of Germany (who became the West German elite), Greek killer colonels, Mussolini’s heirs, actual Nazis in Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, Jew-Nazis in Palestine, Franco (who we never stopped sleeping with anyway), Salazar, the malign Mr. Churchill, the true repulsive Dutch royalty and disgusting European colonists the world over, who we showered with guns and bombs to massacre the colonized.

In 1945, a war against fascism, reaction, Nazism and malign colonialism had ended, and for some reason America had fought against these things instead of supporting them as usual.

1946, and we were back in old style again, hiring Nazis by the busload for the CIA, overthrowing democratic governments and putting in genocidal dictatorships, becoming butt buddies with fascist swine everywhere.

So you see we have always pretty much sucked. World War 1 was fought amidst one of the most dishonest propaganda campaigns the world had ever seen, the Korean War was a Godawful mess where we turned North Korea to flaming rubble with the population cowering in caves while slaughtering 3 million North Koreans.

The horrific catastrophe called the Indochinese Wars, such as the Vietnam War, the Secret War in Laos and the Cambodian Massacre, where we genocided 500,000 Cambodians with bombs, driving the whole place crazy and creating the Khmer Rogue.

Panama and Grenada were pitiful jokes, malign, raw, naked imperialism at its worst.

The Gulf War was a brief return to sanity but turkey shoots are sickening.

Of course that followed on with the most evil war in US history, the Nazi-like war on aggression called The War on the Iraqi People (usually called the Iraq War), the Afghan rabbit hole which started out sensibly enough but turned into another Vietnam style Great Big Mess.

I suppose it is ok that we are killing Al Qaeda guys and I give a shout out to our boys over there fighting ISIS or the Taliban and Al Qaeda in South-Central Asia, Somalia and Yemen. Some people need killing.

But I sure don’t feel that way about their superiors, the US officers who fund and direct ISIS, Al Qaeda, etc. out of an Operations Center in Jordan with Jordanian, Israeli (!), Saudi, UAE, and Qatari officers.

And it was very thoughtful of the Pentagon to cover up the Ukrainian Air Force shootdown of the jetliner which we saw on the radar of our ships in Black Sea.

And it was nice of the US to relay the flight path of the Russian jet to the Turks 24 hours in advance so they could shoot down that Russian jet and kill that pilot.

One hand giveth and the other taketh away. For every good thing we do in Syria and Iraq, we do 10 or 20 bad things. Pretty much the story of the Pentagon.

Sure if you fought in WW2 or one of the few other decent wars, you have something to be proud of, and I can even say, “Thank you for your service,” but the main thing is that you signed up for the rightwing army of the rich that is dead set against the people and popular rule everywhere on Earth. Sure, it’s a great army, professional, super-competent and deadly, but it’s generally tasked with doing lousy things. Why anyone would sign up for that reactionary nightmare of an institution is beyond me. America needs to level the Pentagon and put in a true People’s Army instead. Like that would ever happen.

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Some Little-Known Truths about Arabs

Lin writes:

To Pranav:

…To me, (Sunni) Islam is basically an Arab/pan-Arab civilizational push, or it’s just a veneer over Arabized power. Let me recollect what I posted here before:

1) Arabic is said to be language of Paradise.

2) Arabs are said to be a superior race.

Superiority of the race of Arabs over non-Arabs

3) Though faggotry is condemned, large % of Arab/Muslims are closet fags as long as the closet is tightly shut and doesn’t embarrass the establishment.

4) The strictest sect of Islam, the Wahhabi Saudis, allied with the British and French kufirs during WW1 to topple the Ottoman Turk Caliphate, treason of the worst kind I must say, yet they consider themselves guardians of Islam. What a farce and shame.

I personally don’t think the Sunni Arabs have much of an economic future (Persians could be an exception that their Shiite Islam is more flexible, like they allowed sex change). I also foresee an Euro/Mediterranean Jihad One, after which the Middle East will be further fragmented…

Most of this is correct.

Sunni Islam is indeed an Arab or Pan-Arab civilizational project, and it is also a thin veneer over Arabized power. In addition, it is a vehicle for Arab supremacy.

1 is correct. They do speak Arabic in Paradise, and the only true Qurans are those written in Arabic, for God transmitted the Quran to Mohammad in Arabic. There are many translations of the Quran into all sorts of languages, but many Muslims consider them to be nearly illegitimate, as the only proper Quran is the one written in Arabic.

2 is also correct. If you go to Islamic sites on the web, you will see articles along the lines that Arabs are a superior to non-Arabs. No doubt all of these sites were written by Arabs, but nevertheless, Islam is a sort of an Arab Supremacist religion.

3 is true, but some Islamic countries tolerate it more than others.

4 is sadly true, and it is quite a blight on the Saudis’ claim to be the ultimate in hardline Islamists. Instead they seem traitors to the umma.

I personally don’t think the Sunni Arabs have much of an economic future (Persians could be an exception that their Shiite Islam is more flexible, like they allowed sex change).

I do not know what to say about this. The Sunni Arabs are definitely sitting on a lake of oil and gas that isn’t going away soon. Some of the Gulf countries have started to branch out away from an oil rentier economy. Dubai is now an international port city, one of the largest on Earth.

About the rest of the Sunni Arab states, I do not know what to say. Iraq, Syria, and Libya appear to be failed states right now, and Yemen is turning into one awful fast. There is some violence in Egypt, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan and Lebanon, but state structures appear to be largely intact. Palestine is a war zone and increasingly so is the Sinai.

Indeed the Shia do not appear to be going on jihad now or anytime soon. They do not believe in offensive jihad like the Sunnis do, and Shiism is quite a bit more progressive than Sunnism. Like Catholicism with its Pope, Shiism has its clergy. As the Pope and Vatican continue to update Catholicism to keep up with a changing world, the Ayatollahs and clergy in Lebanon and Iran do the same with Islam. The clergy in the latter two lands are surprisingly progressive, but those in Iraq, not so much. I know little about the Houthi Shia in Yemen.

The only people involved in the global jihad right now are radical Sunnis. The Shia, instead of being involved in this project, are victims of it, as global jihadists see the Shia as heretics to be killed on sight if not exterminated altogether. So the Shia, like the Arab Christians, are literally fighting for their lives against global jihad and are much more victimized by it than the Christian West is. Almost all terrorism in the world today is committed by Sunnis. In fact, the Shia are responsible for little terrorism outside of attacks on Israelis outside of Israel. There is some state terrorism being practiced by the Shia Iraqi state against Iraqi Sunnis.

I also foresee an Euro/Mediterranean Jihad One, after which the Middle East will be further fragmented…

I have no idea if this is going to occur, but it seems like it already is at a low to high variable level, right? Surely the Tunisian, Libyan, Egyptian, Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian parts of the Mediterranean are heating up, and a few are out and out jihad war zones right now. Turkey is increasingly starting to resemble the beginnings of a war zone. Terrorism in Europe is at a fairly low level, but the few attacks have been spectacular and there is a steady drumbeat of low level attacks happening in the background.

Comments along with your own predictions are welcomed.

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Tolerance for Male Homosexuality in the Muslim World

Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Gulf countries tolerate it well, and it is said to be epidemic in places like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. There is also quite of bit of it in Syria, Egypt and Morocco.

It is not tolerated at all in Iran, Iraq, or Shia Lebanon, as Shia Islam is much more condemning of male homosexuality than Sunni Islam.

It is not that Sunni Islam necessarily is more tolerant of male homosexuality but that there is more variation in the Sunni world.

Palestine is not tolerant of male homosexuality at all, as gay men are frequently killed there. They are also commonly killed in Iraq and Iran. Syria used to be relatively more tolerant, but the parts of Syria taken over Islamists are very intolerant of gay men to the point where they are murdering them.

I have no data on male homosexuality in Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Jordan or Sunni Lebanon.

I also know nothing about it in the Muslim Sahel, Horn of Africa and West Africa.

I know nothing about male homosexuality in Muslim Europe such as Bosnia and Albania, although I assume it is more tolerated there than elsewhere.

Turkey is a mixed bag, as there is said to be a lot of male homosexuality, but it is also officially not tolerated. Sort of a don’t ask, don’t tell thing.

I know nothing of male homosexuality in the Caucasus, Muslim Russia, the Stans, India and Xinjiang.

I do not know what it was like before, but a lot of gay men are being murdered now in Bangladesh. I think there have been 30-40 such murders in the past couple of years. Gay rights advocates rather than gay men in general have been targeted.

I also know nothing about male homosexuality in Muslim Thailand, Muslim Burma, Muslim Cambodia, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and the Southern Philippines. Male homosexuality is pretty well tolerated in Thailand and the Philippines, but I am not sure how ok it is in the Muslim parts of those nations.

Admittedly I am not the best person to ask about the situation for male homosexuality and gay men in the Muslim World.

Any further information would be interesting.

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ISIS: Made in America

Here.

I have probably read hundreds of pages on this matter recently, and I still do not know what to make of it. I think this whole “War on ISIS:” is fake.

ISIS is armed by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. The US shovels weapons to those three countries and then they give them to ISIS. ISIS is also supported by the UAE. The weapons are stockpiled in Turkey and then driven across the border to ISIS. Also I believe a lot of weapons are shipped to ISIS via Jordan.

The US knows full well that its own allies are supplying ISIS with weapons and that its ally Turkey is the main stockpile for the weapons. It knows that Turkey ships the weapons and supplies across the border to ISIS. Erdogan’s brother was the man running the ISIS oil smuggling out of Eastern Syria. The oil was smuggled out of East Syria to Turkey where it was then shipped to Israel. The Turkish government was neck deep in this. Erdogan’s sister was running a hospital that took care of wounded ISIS fighters.

If the US is fighting a war against ISIS, then why isn’t it stopping Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Turkey from supplying ISIS? Why aren’t we bombing the ISIS training camps and supply depots in Turkey. Last November, a German photojournalist shot video of a column of 100 trucks heading over the Turkish border carrying men, supplies, weapons, etc. going directly into ISIS territory.

Conclusion? We are not even fighting a war on ISIS at all! If we are, why are we not targeting their supply chain? The whole war against them is fake.

We must be keeping ISIS around for some reason. Probably we are keeping them around as a noose around the neck of Assad. ISIS is a great way to bleed Assad on the battlefield and threaten his regime. At the same time, if you hit Syria, you also hit Iran and Hezbollah. Iran and Hezbollah are also getting bloodied on the battlefield in Syria. So ISIS is a great way to bloody, weaken and threaten Assad and to bloody and weaken Hezbollah while possibly threatening them in the future (Al Nusra is already fighting battles with the Lebanese military and Hezbollah in Northern Lebanon.) ISIS is also useful to bleed and weaken Iran and its allies like the Yemeni Houthis.

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An Analysis of the Iraqi Resistance Part 4 – Foreign Assistance

I have decided to publish my most recent work, An Analysis of the Iraqi Resistance, on my blog. Previously, this piece was used for the research for “An Insiders Look at the Iraqi Resistance” a major piece that appeared on the Islamist website Jihadunspun.com (JUS got the copyright but I did the research). That long-running top-billed piece is now down, but it is still archived on Alexa here . Note that this material is copyrighted and all reproduction for profit is forbidden under copyright laws.

For information about reprinting or purchasing one-time rights to this work, email me. This article is an in-depth analysis of the Iraqi resistance and is continuously being revised. It is presently 58 pages long in total. It lists all known Iraqi resistance groups who have ever fought in Iraq since the fall of Baghdad until 2005 and includes a brief description and analysis of each group. There are separate sections covering Size, Tendencies, Motivations, Structure, Foreign Assistance, Foreign Fighters, Regional Characteristics, Regions, Cities or Towns Controlled by the Resistance, Major Attacks and List of Groups by Tendency.

The article was intended to be a political science-type analysis of the Iraqi Resistance, and I tried not to take sides one way or the other. I used a tremendous amount of source material, mostly publicly available news reports from the Internet. Obviously, in an area like this you are dealing with a ton of disinformation along with the real deal, so I spent a lot of time trying to sort out the disinfo from the relative truth.

The problem is that one cannot simply discount sources of information such as Israeli and US intelligence, US military reports, reporting from the resistance itself, Islamist websites, etc. Of course these sources are loaded with disinfo and false analysis, but they also tend to have a lot of truth mixed in as well. In writing a piece like this, you pull together all the sources and get sort of a “Gestalt” view of the situation. When you examine all the sources at once in toto, you can kind of sort out the disinfo from the more factual material. Admittedly it’s a hit or miss game, but that’s about as good as we can do source-wise in the inherently hazy subject area of an underground guerrilla war.

Interviews with resistance cadre by the mainstream Western media were given particular prominence in this piece.

FOREIGN ASSISTANCE

Syria: Although US propaganda has made much of the Syrian connection to the Iraqi insurgency, there does appear to be some truth there. Various Iraqi guerrilla groups have claimed that they get assistance, in one way or another, from Syria. MA claims they get money from Syria. Whether he meant the Syrian state or non-state actors in Syria is not known. The Martyr Khattab Brigade of foreign fighters claims to have a training camp in Syria. A cell in Baghdad claimed that Syrian intelligence operates in Iraq, but was unclear on their exact role.

Another group in Baghdad said they got weapons from Syria. They did not specify whether the weapons came from the state or non-state actors. Apparently, fighters and weapons are still able to cross various borders, including the Syrian border, into Iraq to help the insurgency. For a long time, the Syrians were not only doing little to stop the cross-border traffic in fighters and money into Iraq, most of which was being run by local Bedouin tribesmen, but they were possibly even helping these Bedouins run the traffic. More recently, the official support from the Syrian regime seems to have been dramatically reduced or even ended, but the Syrian hands-off attitude is little changed.

The official Syrian security presence at the border has been beefed up and makes some cursory efforts at stopping traffic, but reports indicate that they are easily bribed into looking the other way. The Syrian state does not seem to be actively involved in the cross-traffic anymore, but they do not appear to be doing much to stop it either. There seems to be a “look the other way” attitude in place instead. Fighters, weapons and money come from Syria, but it the available evidence suggests non-Syrian state actors (possibly the local Bedouin tribes or the insurgent groups themselves), not Syrian state actors, who are running the weapons and men across.

In 1-04, reports indicated that much of Syria’s northeast border area with Iraq had become something of an open-air arms market. The arms traffic was going across the Ninewa Province border with few difficulties. In addition to guerrilas, pro-Coalition Kurdish forces in northern Iraq such as the PUK were amongst the customers. As of 2-04, guerrilas in Baghdad continued to report significant quantities of weaponry being smuggled over the Syrian border and into Baghdad.

There have been numerous reports of Syrian fighters fighting in Iraq long after the fall of Baghdad. They seem to be especially notable around the Fallujah-Amiriyah-Ramadi region and over by the Qaim-Husaybah border region. guerrilas in the Qaim area reported in late 2003 that there were a significant number of Syrians fighting in the insurgency there. In December 2003, a Syrian woman was arrested in Basra with bomb parts as part of a conspiracy to bomb the port there.

Most recently, in 5-04, an AP reporter encountered a force of hardline Syrian jihadis in the Jolan District of Fallujah after the US withdrawal. They were extremely hardline Sunni Islamists reminiscent of the most hardline Syrian Muslim Brotherhood elements. In late 2003, guerrilas reported that Syrian students in Baghdad seemed to have suspiciously large amounts of cash on them, and that a number of these students, along with other foreign students similarly awash with suspicious cash, were supporting the insurgency financially. No one seemed to know where the Syrian students’ cash came from, or that of the other foreign students, for that matter.

So far, ~200 Syrians have been arrested so far on charges of insurgency in Iraq. Clearly, Syrians and other foreign fighters are fighting in Iraq. I estimate the size of this group as no more than 3-5% of the total insurgency. Clearly, men and weapons come over the Jordanian, Syrian, Kuwaiti, Saudi and Iranian borders into Iraq. At the moment, there is little to implicate the Syrian state in this traffic other than that they do not seem to be doing a lot to stop the traffic. One may indeed argue, why should they? A strong case could be made that this is a US problem. Policing the Iraq-Syria border for unwanted traffic is the responsibility of the US.

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“Problems” and “Solutions”

Discuss Severaid’s quote and my examples given below, agreeing, disagreeing or expanding on the notion.

The chief cause of problems is solutions

– Eric Sevareid

I think this guy is onto something.

Examples:

War on Terror – Solution was all out war on “terrorism” – really just disobedient Muslim states and some international guerrilla/terrorist groups.

The “solution” did not solve the problem at all, and in fact it made it much worse and introduced quite a few new problems.

The “solution” to the “Muslim terrorism problem” did nothing to alleviate the problem, and the problem only expanded massively, in the process destroying much of the secular Muslim world and replacing it with ultra-radical, armed and ultraviolent fundamentalists. Several new failed states were created out of functioning but authoritarian secular regimes.

A wild Sunni-Shia war took off with no end in sight. A new Saudi-Iran conflict expanded to include all of the Sunni world against Iran and some Shia groups.

The policy was incoherent – in places (Palestine, Iraq, Syria, and Libya) secular nationalists were overthrown and replaced with radical fundamentalist regimes (Iraq, Palestine) or failed states teeming with armed fundamentalist actors (Yemen, Somalia, Palestine, Libya, Iraq, Syria, and Mali). In other places, fundamentalist regimes were overthrown and secular nationalists were put in (Egypt).

We alternately attacked and supported radical groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS. An awful Russia-Turkey conflict took off on the Middle east with the US and NATO siding with Al Qaeda and ISIS supporting Turks. The US attacked and armed fundamentalists to attack Shia Iranian, Hezbollah and Houthi armies waging all out war on Al Qaeda and ISIS. In Yemen we actively attacked the Shia who were fighting Al Qaeda while supporting Al Qaeda and fundamentalist Sunnis with intel and weaponry.

Some Kurds were called terrorists and support was given to those attacking them. Other Kurds were supported in their fight against ISIS. In actuality, all of these Kurd represented the same entity. There really is no difference between the PKK, the YPG and the rulers of the Kurdish region. Meanwhile, Kurds fighting for independence were supported in Iran and Syria and attacked in Turkey though they were all the same entity.

Billions of US dollars and thousands of US lives were wasted for essentially no reason with no results or actually a worsened situation. Russia, one of the most effective actors in the war against Al Qaeda and ISIS, was declared an enemy and attacks on them by our allies were cheered on.

A horrible refugee crisis was created in Europe.

Muslim populations in the West were substantially radicalized.

Instead of ending Islamic terrorism, Islamic terrorist, conventional and guerrilla attacks absolutely exploded in the Middle East and to a lesser extent in Europe, Canada, Australia and the US. It also exploded in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Lebanon, Thailand, the Philippines and of course Syria and Iraq. There was considerable fighting and terrorism in Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Morocco and Jordan. The Palestinians ended up much better armed than before and the conflict exploded into all out war on a few occasions.

Terrorism and guerrilla war exploded in Mali, Nigeria, Cameroon, Somalia and Kenya with some new attacks in Niger, Mauritania, Chad and Uganda. Somalia took a turn for the worse as a huge Al Qaeda force set up shop there and the country turned into the worst failed state ever with nothing even resembling a state left and the nation furthermore split off into three separate de facto nations.

The “solution” failed completely and simply ended up creating a whole new set of problems that were vastly worse than the original problem for the which the solution was directed.

Technology: Technology itself could be regarded as a lousy fix to many problems.

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“History of US-NATO’s ‘Covert War’ on Syria: Daraa March 2011 Another Islamist Insurrection,” by Tim Anderson

This is an excellent article that lays out what I had always expected, that what everyone believes, that the Syrian Civil War started when “Assad” opened fire on peaceful protests, is a great big fat lie.

Here is what really happened:

In February, a true peaceful reform movement began in Syria. This movement had begun as early as 2005 and involved secular protesters opposing corruption and the Baath Party’s monopoly on power (Wikstrom 2011; Otrakji 2012). This was a legitimate movement.

These protests continued for some time, possibly a month, with little drama. The protesters made some early demands, and Assad quickly tried to appease them by making a number of the changes that they had asked for. But by the time he had made the changes, the protests had been hijacked by Islamists who were not appeased by the changes and insisted that the regime must go (al-Khalidi 2011).

Only one month went by before some teenagers were arrested in Deraa by local authorities for writing the North African-influenced graffiti, “The people want to overthrow the regime.” They were reportedly abused by the local Deraa police. Assad intervened, the governor was fired and the teenagers were released.

There were reports early on that either these or some other teenagers had been tortured to death by “Assad.” Obviously these boys were not tortured to death.  There is a confirmed report of one teenage boy who was indeed tortured to death which was widely blamed on “Assad,” but he was later found to have been killed by the armed opposition.

On March 17-18, violence broke out at protests in Deraa. The Western media says that peaceful protests in Deraa were attacked by government snipers on rooftops who started shooting the peaceful protesters. This is the line that everyone knows about. However, it is completely untrue.

What really happened is laid out below. There were protests in Deraa on these days along with large pro-government protests – the presence of large pro-government protests is another lie that is spread by omission by the Western press – the media says that all early protests were anti-government, however, even from the very start, the large anti-government protests were almost inevitably met by equally large pro-government protests.

Actually, the police at these rallies in Deraa were armed with only riot gear. Army forces were present, but they were not at the rally itself, instead they were on the outskirts of town. At some point during the rally, all Hell broke loose. Unknown snipers began firing from the Al-Omari Mosque. It is important to note that these mysterious snipers opened fire on both protesters and police.

Yes, a number of protesters were indeed killed and injured at these rallies, but quite a few police were also killed an wounded by these very same snipers. It is absolutely not possible that “Assad” would have mysterious snipers open fire on both protesters and police, killing both.

Why would “Assad” open fire on his own police, killing and wounding them? It is senseless. There is an interview with a Syrian police officer who was at that rally on Youtube in which he states that the police had only riot gear and that snipers shot both police and demonstrators. He  states the numb er of killed and wounded among the police.

It was later determined after police raided the al-Omari Mosque that the snipers were Muslim Brotherhood people firing from the roof of the mosque with weapons that had been smuggled in from Saudi Arabia.

In fact, shipments of these arms had been seized at the Iraq-Syrian border by border guards earlier. They had been bought in Baghdad and were on their way to Muslim Brotherhood people in Syria (Reuters 2011). The weapons were paid for by Saudi Arabia. It was these weapons shipments that were later used in the shootings at the demonstrations.

You notice that snipers opened fire on both police and protesters. This exact same thing happened in Ukraine when Maidan people paid snipers to come from Lithuania and open fire on both the Berkut police and the demonstrators.

As soon as the shooting started, other violence ensued. The same day that the mysterious snipers opened fire from the al-Omari Mosque, Baath Party Headquarters and the local police station were burned down (YaLibnan 2011, Queenan 2011). Medical teams came to the site to help injured protesters and police but were fired on by by the MB snipers. Members of an ambulance team and a doctor were killed.

Even several days after these attacks, Assad was trying to calm things down. Assad issued an order that live ammunition should not be used even if security forces themselves were coming under attack.

Funerals for demonstrators followed the killings in Deraa. At every one of these funerals, mysterious snipers opened fire on both police and demonstrators (Maktabi 2011). Once again, why would “Assad” kill and wound his own police officers?

Early reports mostly from the Qatar-owned Al Jazeera stated that it was snipers working for the government who fired on the crowds (Al Jazeera 2011b). However, these reports made no sense, as Syrian police would never shoot at their own people, and anyway, they were only armed with riot gear. The Western press soon picked up on the line that it was “Assad” who was shooting at the protesters and police.

Saudi government officials later confirmed that the Saudi government has sent arms to the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and that Saudi arms had been used by shooters at the al-Omari Mosque (Truth Syria 2012).

Only a week later, the “peaceful protesters” were already heavily armed and were carrying out attacks on the army. An army patrol was ambushed outside Deraa at the beginning of April only two weeks after the Deraa events, and 19 Syrian troops were killed (Narwani 2014). However, Assad ordered this attack covered up because he did not want to inflame tensions even further. For sometime after that, the government refused to comment on deaths of security forces.

The problem with the government cover up of security forces’ deaths was that while this cover up was going on, the Western media was reporting all of the deaths in this early conflict as “protesters” killed by the army (Khalidi 2011). In other words, if armed rebels killed 19 Syrian army troops at an ambush, the entire Western press would report this as “19 peaceful protesters were killed by the Syrian army.”

All through April, 88 Syrian troops were killed all over Syria by armed rebels. The government covered up all of these killings, and every one of these deaths was reported by the Western press as “Syrian troops killing peaceful protesters.”  The Western media blacked out all of these reports and simply refused to acknowledge them.

Reports soon came out, spread by the CIA-linked Human Rights Watch, that Syrian soldiers were being shot by other Syrian troops for refusing to fire on protesters (HRW 2011b). Even the extremely biased Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a one-man operation run by a Syrian exile out of London, said that reports of Syrian forces killing their own for refusing to fire on protesters were false. Nevertheless, the Western media was awash with reports of Syrian troops firing on their own who refused to obey orders to open fire on protesters.

The armed rebels soon set provocateurs loose to destroy and damage Sunni mosques throughout Syria. One jihadist from Tunisia admitted that he had been hired by the rebels to write graffiti on Sunni mosques saying, “There is no God by Bashar” (Eretz Zen 2014). This is a sacrilegious slogan made in an attempt to encourage Sunni soldiers in the Syrian army to defect. This interview can be found on Youtube.

By this time, there was a war on. Quite a few on both sides, both rebels and the Syrian army, were suffering casualties. Every day rebel sources gave a figure for the number killed that day with no explanation. Most of these deaths were of armed rebels and Syrian army forces, but they were all reported by the opposition as “peaceful protesters killed by the Syrian army.” The Western media followed suit and did the same, reporting all casualties of armed fighters on both sides as peaceful civilian protesters.

Since all of the many casualties among the armed groups were reported in the West as peaceful protesters, US officials began making loud demands that Assad step down because supposedly he was the one slaughtering all these peaceful protesters (Shaikh 2011, FOX News 2011).

For the next several months, every time a protest took place, armed Islamists appeared in the crowd and soon opened fire on security forces (Jaber 2011). Security forces would often fire back at the armed elements in the crowd and there would often be killed and wounded on both sides.

A vicious sectarian element was present in the protests from early on. By May, there were already chants of “Christians to Beirut, Alawites to the grave!” (Blanford 2011). Soon this sectarian chant was heard at every protest.

For the next year, Human Rights Watch (the voice of the CIA) and other liars reported that the vast majority of the casualties were peaceful protesters (Clinton 2011). In fact by early 2012, a good report showed that of 5,000 casualties, 50% were security forces (OHCHR 2012: 2, Narwani 2014).

The lie was spread, spearheaded by Human Rights Watch, the protests had been overwhelmingly peaceful until September 2011 (HRW 2011a, HRW 2012), when supposedly so many peaceful protesters had been killed that the protest movement was forced to take up arms to defend itself (Allaf 2012).

A Big Lie had been laid down. Even today, the vast majority of people who know about the Syrian Civil War say that the war started when the Syrian government opened fire on repeatedly on peaceful protesters, killing so many of these unarmed innocents that eventually by September 2011, the peaceful protesters were forced to take up arms as they had no other choice.

History of US-NATO’s “Covert War” on Syria: Daraa March 2011

Another Islamist Insurrection

By Prof. Tim Anderson
Global Research, November 29, 2015

 

 The following text is Chapter IV of  Professor Anderson’s forthcoming book entitled The Dirty War on Syria, Global Research Publishers, Montreal, 2016 (forthcoming).
arms-seized-by-Syrian-security

Arms seized by Syrian security forces at al Omari mosque in Daraa, March 2011. The weapons had been provided by the Saudis. Photo: SANA

“The protest movement in Syria was overwhelmingly peaceful until September 2011”- Human Rights Watch, March 2012, Washington

“I have seen from the beginning armed protesters in those demonstrations … they were the first to fire on the police. Very often the violence of the security forces comes in response to the brutal violence of the armed insurgents” – the late Father Frans Van der Lugt, January 2012, Homs Syria

“The claim that armed opposition to the government has begun only recently is a complete lie. The killings of soldiers, police and civilians, often in the most brutal circumstances, have been going on virtually since the beginning”. – Professor Jeremy Salt, October 2011, Ankara Turkey

A double story began on the Syrian conflict, at the outset of the armed violence in 2011 in the southern border town of Daraa. The first story comes from independent witnesses in Syria, such as the late Father Frans Van der Lugt in Homs. They say that armed men infiltrated the early political reform demonstrations to shoot at both police and civilians.

This violence came from sectarian Islamists. The second comes from the Islamist groups (‘rebels’) and their western backers. They claim there was ‘indiscriminate’ violence from Syrian security forces to repress political rallies and that the ‘rebels’ grew out of a secular political reform movement.

Careful study of the independent evidence, however, shows that the Washington-backed ‘rebel’ story, while widespread, was part of a strategy to delegitimize the Syrian government, with the aim of fomenting ‘regime change’. To understand this it is necessary to observe that prior to the armed insurrection of March 2011 there were shipments of arms from Saudi Arabia to Islamists at the al Omari mosque. It is also useful to review the earlier Muslim Brotherhood insurrection at Hama in 1982 because of the parallel myths that have grown up around both insurrections.

US intelligence (DIA 1982) and the late British author Patrick Seale (1988) give independent accounts of what happened at Hama. After years of violent sectarian attacks by Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood, by mid-1980 President Hafez al Assad had ‘broken the back’ of their sectarian rebellion which aimed to impose a Salafi-Islamic state. One final coup plot was exposed, and the Brotherhood ‘felt pressured into initiating’ an uprising in their stronghold of Hama. Seale describes the start of that violence in this way:

At 2am on the night of 2-3 February 1982 an army unit combing the old city fell into an ambush. Roof top snipers killed perhaps a score of soldiers … [Brotherhood leader] Abu Bakr [Umar Jawwad] gave the order for a general uprising … hundreds of Islamist fighters rose … by the morning some seventy leading Ba’athists had been slaughtered and the triumphant guerrillas declared the city ‘liberated’ (Seale 1988: 332).

However the Army responded with a huge force of about 12,000, and the battle raged for three weeks. It was a foreign-backed civil war with some defections from the army. Seale continues:

As the tide turned slowly in the government’s favour, the guerrillas fell back into the old quarters … after heavy shelling, commandos and party irregulars supported by tanks moved in … many civilians were slaughtered in the prolonged mopping up, whole districts razed (Seale 1988: 333).

Two months later a US intelligence report said: ‘The total casualties for the Hama incident probably number about 2,000. This includes an estimated 300 to 400 members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s elite ‘Secret Apparatus’ (DIA 1982: 7).

Seale recognizes that the Army also suffered heavy losses. At the same time, ‘large numbers died in the hunt for the gunmen … government sympathizers estimating a mere 3,000 and critics as many as 20,000 … a figure of 5,000 to 10,000 could be close to the truth’ He adds:

‘The guerrillas were formidable opponents. They had a fortune in foreign money … [and] no fewer than 15,000 machine guns’ (Seale 1988: 335). Subsequent Muslim Brotherhood accounts have inflated the casualties, reaching up to ‘40,000 civilians’, thus attempting to hide their insurrection and sectarian massacres by claiming that Hafez al Assad had carried out a ‘civilian massacre’ (e.g. Nassar 2014).

The then Syrian President blamed a large scale foreign conspiracy for the Hama insurrection. Seale observes that Hafez was ‘not paranoical’, as many US weapons were captured and foreign backing had come from several US collaborators: King Hussayn of Jordan, Lebanese Christian militias (the Israeli-aligned ‘Guardians of the Cedar’) and Saddam Hussein in Iraq (Seale 1988: 336-337).

The Hama insurrection helps us understand the Daraa violence because, once again in 2011, we saw armed Islamists using rooftop sniping against police and government officials, drawing in the armed forces, only to cry ‘civilian massacre’ when they and their collaborators came under attack from the Army. Although the US, through its allies, played an important part in the Hama insurrection, when it was all over US intelligence dryly observed that: ‘the Syrians are pragmatists who do not want a Muslim Brotherhood government’ (DIA 1982: vii).

In the case of Daraa and in the attacks that moved to Homs and surrounding areas in April 2011, the clearly stated aim was once again to topple the secular or ‘infidel-Alawi’ regime. The front-line US collaborators were Saudi Arabia and Qatar and then Turkey. The head of the Syrian Brotherhood, Muhammad Riyad Al-Shaqfa, issued a statement on 28 March which left no doubt that the group’s aim was sectarian.

The enemy was ‘the secular regime,’ and Brotherhood members ‘have to make sure that the revolution will be pure Islamic, and with that no other sect would have a share of the credit after its success’ (Al-Shaqfa 2011). While playing down the initial role of the Brotherhood, Sheikho confirms that it ‘went on to punch above its actual weight on the ground during the uprising … [due] to Turkish-Qatari support’, and to its general organizational capacity (Sheikho 2013).

By the time there was a ‘Free Syrian Army Supreme Military Council’ in 2012 (more a weapons conduit than any sort of army command), it was said to be two-thirds dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood (Draitser 2012). Other foreign Salafi-Islamist groups quickly joined this ‘Syrian Revolution’. A US intelligence report in August 2012, contrary to Washington’s public statements about ‘moderate rebels’, said:

The Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood and AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq, later ISIS] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria … AQI supported the Syrian Opposition from the beginning, both ideologically and through the media (DIA 2012).

In February 2011 there was popular agitation in Syria to some extent influenced by the events in Egypt and Tunisia. There were anti-government and pro-government demonstrations and a genuine political reform movement which for several years had agitated against corruption and the Ba’ath Party monopoly. A 2005 report referred to ‘an array of reform movements slowly organizing beneath the surface’ (Ghadry 2005), and indeed the ‘many faces’ of a Syrian opposition, much of it non-Islamist, had been agitating since about that same time (Sayyid Rasas 2013).

These political opposition groups deserve attention in another discussion (see Chapter Five). However only one section of that opposition, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Salafists, was linked to the violence that erupted in Daraa. Large anti-government demonstrations began, to be met with huge pro-government demonstrations.

In early March some teenagers in Daraa were arrested for graffiti that had been copied from North Africa ‘the people want to overthrow the regime’. It was reported that they were abused by local police, President Bashar al Assad intervened, the local governor was sacked, and the teenagers were released (Abouzeid 2011).

Yet the Islamist insurrection was underway, taking cover under the street demonstrations.

On 11 March, several days before the violence broke out in Daraa, there were reports that Syrian forces had seized ‘a large shipment of weapons and explosives and night-vision goggles … in a truck coming from Iraq’. The truck was stopped at the southern Tanaf crossing, close to Jordan. The Syrian Government news agency SANA said the weapons were intended ‘for use in actions that affect Syria’s internal security and spread unrest and chaos.’

Pictures showed ‘dozens of grenades and pistols as well as rifles and ammunition belts’. The driver said the weapons had been loaded in Baghdad and he had been paid $5,000 to deliver them to Syria (Reuters 2011). Despite this interception, arms did reach Daraa, a border town of about 150,000 people.

This is where the ‘western-rebel’ and the independent stories diverge, and diverge dramatically. The western media consensus was that protesters burned and trashed government offices, and then ‘provincial security forces opened fire on marchers, killing several’ (Abouzeid 2011). After that, ‘protesters’ staged demonstrations in front of the al-Omari mosque but were in turn attacked.

The Syrian government, on the other hand, said there were unprovoked attacks on security forces, killing police and civilians, along with the burning of government offices. There was foreign corroboration of this account. While its headline blamed security forces for killing ‘protesters’, the British Daily Mail (2011) showed pictures of AK47 rifles and hand grenades that security forces had recovered after storming the al-Omari mosque.

The paper noted reports that ‘an armed gang’ had opened fire on an ambulance, killing ‘a doctor, a paramedic and a policeman’. Media channels in neighboring countries did report on the killing of Syrian police on 17-18 March.

On 21 March a Lebanese news report observed that ‘Seven policemen were killed during clashes between the security forces and protesters in Syria’ (YaLibnan 2011), while an Israel National News report said ‘Seven police officers and at least four demonstrators in Syria have been killed … and the Baath Party Headquarters and courthouse were torched’ (Queenan 2011). These police had been targeted by rooftop snipers.

Even in these circumstances the Government was urging restraint and attempting to respond to the political reform movement. President Assad’s adviser, Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban, told a news conference that the President had ordered ‘that live ammunition should not be fired, even if the police, security forces or officers of the state were being killed’.

Assad proposed to address the political demands such as the registration of political parties, removing emergency rules and allowing greater media freedoms (al-Khalidi 2011). None of that seemed to either interest or deter the Islamists.

Several reports, including video reports, observed rooftop snipers firing at crowds and police during funerals of those already killed. It was said to be ‘unclear who was firing at whom’ (Al Jazeera 2011a), as ‘an unknown armed group on rooftops shot at protesters and security forces’ (Maktabi 2011).

Yet Al Jazeera (2011b) owned by the Qatari monarchy, soon strongly suggested that that the snipers were pro-government. ‘President Bashar al Assad has sent thousands of Syrian soldiers and their heavy weaponry into Derra for an operation the regime wants nobody in the word to see’, the Qatari channel said. However the Al Jazeera suggestion that secret pro-government snipers were killing ‘soldiers and protesters alike’ was illogical and out of sequence. The armed forces came to Daraa precisely because police had been shot and killed.

Saudi Arabia, a key US regional ally, had armed and funded extremist Salafist Sunni sects to move against the secular government. Saudi official Anwar Al-Eshki later confirmed to BBC television that his country had sent arms to Daraa and to the al-Omari mosque (Truth Syria 2012). From exile in Saudi Arabia, Salafi Sheikh Adnan Arour called for a holy war against the liberal Alawi Muslims, who were said to dominate the Syrian government: ‘by Allah we shall mince [the Alawites] in meat grinders and feed their flesh to the dogs’ (MEMRITV 2011).

The Salafist aim was a theocratic state or caliphate. The genocidal slogan ‘Christians to Beirut, Alawites to the grave’ became widespread, a fact reported by the North American media as early as May 2011 (e.g. Blanford 2011). Islamists from the FSA Farouq Brigade would soon act on these threats (Crimi 2012). Canadian analyst Michel Chossudovsky (2011) observed: ‘The deployment of armed forces including tanks in Daraa [was] directed against an organized armed insurrection, which has been active in the border city since March 17-18.”

After those first few days in Daraa the killing of Syrian security forces continued but went largely unreported outside Syria. Nevertheless, independent analyst Sharmine Narwani wrote about the scale of this killing in early 2012 and again in mid-2014. An ambush and massacre of soldiers took place near Daraa in late March or early April. An army convoy was stopped by an oil slick on a valley road between Daraa al-Mahata and Daraa al-Balad, and the trucks were machine gunned.

Estimates of soldier deaths from government and opposition sources ranged from 18 to 60. A Daraa resident said these killings were not reported because: ‘At that time, the government did not want to show they are weak and the opposition did not want to show they are armed’. Anti-Syrian Government blogger Nizar Nayouf records this massacre as taking place in the last week of March. Another anti-Government writer, Rami Abdul Rahman (based in England and calling himself the ‘Syrian Observatory of Human Rights’) says:

‘It was on the first of April and about 18 or 19 security forces … were killed’ (Narwani 2014). Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad, himself a resident of Daraa, confirmed that: ‘this incident was hidden by the government … as an attempt not to antagonize or not to raise emotions and to calm things down – not to encourage any attempt to inflame emotions which may lead to escalation of the situation’ (Narwani 2014).

Yet the significance of denying armed anti-Government killings was that in the western media all deaths were reported as (a) victims of the Army and (b) civilians. For well over six months, whenever a body count was mentioned in the international media, it was usually considered acceptable to suggest these were all ‘protesters’ killed by the Syrian Army.

For example, a Reuters report on 24 March said Daraa’s main hospital had received ‘the bodies of at least 37 protesters killed on Wednesday’ (Khalidi 2011). Notice that all the dead had become ‘protesters’ despite earlier reports on the killing of a number of police and health workers.

Another nineteen soldiers were gunned down on 25 April, also near Daraa. Narwani obtained their names and details from Syria’s Defence Ministry and corroborated these details from another document from a non-government source. Throughout April 2011, she calculates that eighty-eight Syrian soldiers were killed ‘by unknown shooters in different areas across Syria’ (Narwani 2014).

She went on to refute claims that the soldiers killed were ‘defectors’ shot by the Syrian army for refusing to fire on civilians. Human Rights Watch, referring to interviews with 50 unnamed ‘activists’, claimed that soldiers killed at this time were all ‘defectors’, murdered by the Army (HRW 2011b).

Yet the funerals of loyal officers shown on the internet at that time were distinct. Even Rami Abdul Rahman (the SOHR), keen to blame the Army for killing civilians, said ‘this game of saying the Army is killing defectors for leaving – I never accepted this’ (Narwani 2014). Nevertheless the highly charged reports were confusing.

The violence spread north with the assistance of Islamist fighters from Lebanon, reaching Baniyas and areas around Homs. On 10 April nine soldiers were shot in a bus ambush in Baniyas. In Homs, on April 17, General Abdo Khodr al-Tallawi was killed with his two sons and a nephew, and Syrian commander Iyad Kamel Harfoush was gunned down near his home.

Two days later, off-duty Colonel Mohammad Abdo Khadour was killed in his car (Narwani 2014). North American commentator Joshua Landis (2011a) reported the death of his wife’s cousin, one of the soldiers in Baniyas. These were not the only deaths but I mention them because most western media channels maintain the fiction to this day that there was no Islamist insurrection and the ‘peaceful protesters’ did not pick up arms until September 2011.

Al Jazeera, the principal Middle East media channel backing the Muslim Brotherhood, blacked out these attacks and also the reinforcement provided by armed foreigners.

Former Al Jazeera journalist Ali Hashem was one of many who resigned from the Qatar-owned station (RT 2012), complaining of deep bias over their presentation of the violence in Syria. Hashem had footage of armed men arriving from Lebanon, but this was censored by his Qatari managers. ‘In a resignation letter I was telling the executive … it was like nothing was happening in Syria.’ He thought the ‘Libyan revolution’ was the turning point for Al Jazeera, marking the end of its standing as a credible media group (Hashem 2012).

Provocateurs were at work. Tunisian jihadist ‘Abu Qusay’ later admitted he had been a prominent ‘Syrian rebel’ charged with ‘destroying and desecrating Sunni mosques’, including by scrawling the graffiti ‘There is no God but Bashar’, a blasphemy to devout Muslims. This was then blamed on the Syrian Army with the aim of creating Sunni defections from the Army. ‘Abu Qusay’ had been interviewed by foreign journalists who did not notice by his accent that he was not Syrian (Eretz Zen 2014).

US Journalist Nir Rosen, whose reports were generally critical of the Syrian Government, also attacked the western consensus over the early violence:

The issue of defectors is a distraction. Armed resistance began long before defections started … Every day the opposition gives a death toll, usually without any explanation … Many of those reported killed are in fact dead opposition fighters but … described in reports as innocent civilians killed by security forces … and every day members of the Syrian Army, security agencies … are also killed by anti-regime fighters (Rosen 2012).

A language and numbers game was being played to delegitimize the Syrian Government (‘The Regime’) and the Syrian Army (‘Assad loyalists’), suggesting they were responsible for all the violence. Just as NATO forces were bombing Libya with the aim of overthrowing the Libyan Government, US officials began to demand that President Assad step down.

The Brookings Institution (Shaikh 2011) claimed the President had ‘lost the legitimacy to remain in power in Syria’. US Senators John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Joe Lieberman said it was time ‘to align ourselves unequivocally with the Syrian people in their peaceful demand for a democratic government’ (FOX News 2011). Another ‘regime change’ campaign was out in the open.

In June, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton dismissed the idea that ‘foreign instigators’ had been at work, saying that ‘the vast majority of casualties have been unarmed civilians’ (Clinton 2011). In fact, as Clinton knew very well, her Saudi Arabian allies had armed extremists from the very beginning. Her casualty assertion was also wrong.

The United Nations (which would later abandon its body count) estimated from several sources that by early 2012, there were more than 5,000 casualties and that deaths in the first year of conflict included 478 police and 2,091 from the military and security forces (OHCHR 2012: 2; Narwani 2014). That is, more than half the casualties in the first year were those of the Syrian security forces.

That independent calculation was not reflected in western media reports. Western groups such as Human Rights Watch along with US columnists (e.g. Allaf 2012) continued to claim even after the early 2012 defeat of the sectarian Farouq-FSA in Homs and well into 2012 that Syrian security forces had been massacring ‘unarmed protesters’, that the Syrian people ‘had no choice’ but to take up arms, and that this ‘protest movement’ had been ‘overwhelmingly peaceful until September 2011’ (HRW 2011a, HRW 2012). The evidence cited above shows that this story was quite false.

In fact, the political reform movement had been driven off the streets by Salafi-Islamist gunmen, over the course of March and April. For years opposition groups had agitated against corruption and the Ba’ath Party monopoly.

However most did not want destruction of what was a socially inclusive if authoritarian state, and most were against both the sectarian violence and the involvement of foreign powers. They backed Syria’s protection of minorities, the relatively high status of women and the country’s free education and health care, while opposing the corrupt networks and the feared political police (Wikstrom 2011; Otrakji 2012).

In June reporter Hala Jaber (2011) observed that about five thousand people turned up for a demonstration at Ma’arrat al-Numan, a small town in northwest Syria, between Aleppo and Hama. She says several ‘protesters’ had been shot the week before, while trying to block the road between Damascus and Aleppo. After some negotiations which reduced the security forces in the town, ‘men with heavy beards in cars and pick-ups with no registration plates’ with ‘rifles and rocket-propelled grenades’ began shooting at the reduced numbers of security forces.

A military helicopter was sent to support the security forces. After this clash ‘four policemen and 12 of their attackers were dead or dying. Another 20 policemen were wounded’. Officers who escaped the fight were hidden by some of the tribal elders who had participated in the original demonstration. When the next ‘demonstration for democracy’ took place, the following Friday, ‘only 350 people turned up’, mostly young men and some bearded militants (Jaber 2011). Five thousand protesters had been reduced to 350 after the open Salafist attacks.

After months of media manipulations disguising the Islamist insurrection, Syrians such as Samer al Akhras, a young man from a Sunni family who used to watch Al Jazeera because he preferred it to state TV became convinced to back the Syrian government. He saw first-hand the fabrication of reports on Al Jazeera and wrote, in late June 2011:

I am a Syrian citizen and I am a human. After 4 months of your fake freedom … You say peaceful demonstration and you shoot our citizen. From today … I am [now] a Sergeant in the Reserve Army. If I catch anyone … in any terrorist organization working on the field in Syria I am gonna shoot you as you are shooting us. This is our land not yours, the slaves of American fake freedom (al Akhras 2011).

References:

Abouzeid, Rania (2011) ‘Syria’s Revolt, how graffiti stirred an uprising’, Time, 22 March.

Al Akhras, Samer (2011) ‘Syrian Citizen’, Facebook, 25 June, online: https://www.facebook.com/notes/sam-al-akhras/syrian-citizen/241770845834062?pnref=story

Al Jazeera (2011a) ‘Nine killed at Syria funeral processions’, 23 April, online: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2011/04/20114231169587270.html.

Al Jazeera (2011b) ‘Deraa: A city under a dark siege’, 28 April, online: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2011/04/2011427215943692865.html.

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