Questioning the Syrian “Casualty List”

“Perception is 100 percent of politics,” the old adage goes. Say something three, five, seven times, and you start to believe it in the same way you “know” aspirin is good for the heart.

Sometimes though, perception is a dangerous thing. In the dirty game of politics, it is the perception – not the facts of an issue – that invariably wins the day.

In the case of the raging conflict over Syria, the one fundamental issue that motors the entire international debate on the crisis is the death toll and its corollary: the Syrian casualty list.

The “list” has become widely recognized – if not specifically, then certainly when the numbers are bandied about: 4,000, 5,000, 6,000 – sometimes more. These are not mere numbers; they represent dead Syrians.

But this is where the dangers of perception begin. There are many competing Syrian casualty lists with different counts – how does one, for instance gauge if X is an accurate number of deaths? How have the deaths been verified? Who verifies them and do they have a vested interest? Are the dead all civilians? Are they pro-regime or anti-regime civilians? Do these lists include the approximately 2,000 dead Syrian security forces? Do they include members of armed groups? How does the list-aggregator tell the difference between a civilian and a plain-clothes militia member?

Even the logistics baffle. How do they make accurate counts across Syria every single day? A member of the Lebanese fact-finding team investigating the 15 May 2011 shooting deaths of Palestinian protesters by Israelis at the Lebanese border told me that it took them three weeks to discover there were only six fatalities, and not the 11 counted on the day of the incident. And in that case, the entire confrontation lasted a mere few hours.


How then does one count 20, 40, or 200 casualties in a few hours while conflict continues to rage around them?

My first port of call in trying to answer these questions about the casualty list was the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which seemed likely to be the most reliable source of information on the Syrian death toll – until it stopped keeping track last month.

The UN began its effort to provide a Syrian casualty count in September 2011, based primarily on lists provided by five different sources. Three of their sources were named: The Violations Documenting Center (VDC), the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) and the Syrian Shuhada website. At that time, the lists varied in number from around 2,400 to 3,800 victims.

The non-UN casualty list most frequently quoted in the general media is the one from the Syrian Observatory – or SOHR.

Last month, SOHR made some headlines of its own when news of a rift over political viewpoints and body counts erupted. Two competing SOHRs claimed authenticity, but the group headed by Rami Abdul Rahman is the one recognized by Amnesty International.

OHCHR spokesman Rupert Colville stated during a phone interview that the UN evaluates its sources to check “whether they are reliable,” but appeared to create distance from SOHR later – during the group’s public spat – by saying: “The (UN) colleague most involved with the lists...had no direct contact with the Syrian Observatory, though we did look at their numbers. This was not a group we had any prior knowledge of, and it was not based in the region, so we were somewhat wary of it.”

Colville explains that the UN sought at all times “to make cautious estimates” and that “we have reasonable confidence that the rounded figures are not far off.”

While “also getting evidence from victims and defectors – some who corroborated specific names,” the UN, says Colville, “is not in a position to cross-check names and will never be in a position to do that.”

I spoke to him again after the UN decided to halt its casualty count in late January. “It was never easy to verify, but it was a little bit clearer before. The composition of the conflict has changed. It’s become much more complex, fragmented,” Colville says. “While we have no doubt there are civilian and military casualties...we can’t really quantify it.”

“The lists are clear – the question is whether we can fully endorse their accuracy,” he explains, citing the “higher numbers” as an obstacle to verification.

The Casualty Lists Up Close: Some Stories Behind the Numbers

Because the UN has stopped its casualty count, reporters have started reverting back to their original Syrian death toll sources. The SOHR is still the most prominent among them.

Abdul Rahman’s SOHR does not make its list available to the general public, but in early February I found a link to a list on the other SOHR website and decided to take a look. The database lists the victim’s name, age, gender, city, province, and date of death – when available. In December 2011, for instance, the list names around 77 registered casualties with no identifying information provided. In total, there are around 260 unknowns on the list.

Around that time, I had come across my first list of Syrians killed in the crisis, reportedly compiled in coordination with the SOHR, that contained the names of Palestinian refugees killed by Israeli fire on the Golan Heights on 15 May 2011 and 5 June 2011 when protesters congregated on Syria’s armistice line with Israel. So my first check was to see if that kind of glaring error appears in the SOHR list I investigate in this piece.

To my amazement, the entire list of victims from those two days were included in the SOHR casualty count – four from May 15 (#5160 to #5163) and 25 victims of Israeli fire from June 5 (#4629 to #4653). The list even identifies the deaths as taking place in Quneitra, which is in the Golan Heights.

It also didn’t take long to find the names of well-publicized pro-regime Syrians on the SOHR list and match them with YouTube footage of their funerals. The reason behind searching for funeral links is that pro-regime and anti-regime funerals differ quite starkly in the slogans they chant and the posters/signs/flags on display. Below, is a list of eight of these individuals, including their number, name, date and place of death on the casualty list – followed by our video link and further details if available:

#5939, Mohammad Abdo Khadour, 4/19/11, Hama, off-duty Colonel in Syrian army, shot in his car and died from multiple bullet wounds. Funeral link.

#5941, Iyad Harfoush, 4-18-11, Homs, off-duty Commander in Syrian army. In a video, his wife says someone started shooting in the mostly pro-regime al Zahra neighborhood of Homs – Harfoush went out to investigate the incident and was killed. Funeral link.

#5969, Abdo al Tallawi, 4/17/11, Homs, General in Syrian army killed alongside his two sons and a nephew. Funeral footage shows all four victims. The others are also on the list at #5948, Ahmad al Tallawi, #5958, Khader al Tallawi and #5972, Ali al Tallawi, all in Homs, Funeral link.

#6021, Nidal Janoud, 11/4/11, Tartous, an Alawite who was severely slashed by his assailants. The bearded gentleman to the right of the photo, and a second suspect, are now standing trial for the murder. Photo link.

#6022, Yasar Qash’ur, 11/4/11, Tartous, Lieutenant Colonel in the Syrian army, killed alongside 8 others in an ambush on a bus in Banyas, Funeral link.

#6129, Hassan al-Ma’ala, 4/5/11, policeman, suburbs of Damascus, Funeral link.

#6130, Hamid al Khateeb, 4/5/11, policeman, suburbs of Damascus, Funeral link.

#6044, Waeb Issa, 10/4/11, Tartous, Colonel in Syrian army, Funeral link.

Besides featuring on the SOHR list, Lt. Col. Yasar Qashur, Iyad Harfoush, Mohammad Abdo Khadour and General Abdo al Tallawi and his two sons and nephew also appear on two of the other casualty lists – the VDC and Syrian Shuhada – both used by the United Nations to compile their numbers.

Nir Rosen, an American journalist who spent several months insides Syria’s hot spots in 2011, with notable access to armed opposition groups, reported in a recent Al Jazeera interview:


“Every day the opposition gives a death toll, usually without any explanation of the cause of the deaths. Many of those reported killed are in fact dead opposition fighters, but the cause of their death is hidden and they are described in reports as innocent civilians killed by security forces, as if they were all merely protesting or sitting in their homes. Of course, those deaths still happen regularly as well.”

“And, every day, members of the Syrian army, security agencies and the vague paramilitary and militia phenomenon known as shabiha ["thugs"] are also killed by anti-regime fighters,” Rosen continues.

The report issued in January by Arab League Monitors after their month-long observer mission in Syria – widely ignored by the international media – also witnessed acts of violence by armed opposition groups against both civilians and security forces.

The Report states: “In Homs, Idlib and Hama, the observer mission witnessed acts of violence being committed against government forces and civilians...Examples of those acts include the bombing of a civilian bus, killing eight persons and injuring others, including women and children...In another incident in Homs, a police bus was blown up, killing two police officers.” The observers also point out that “some of the armed groups were using flares and armour-piercing projectiles.“

Importantly, the report further confirms obfuscation of casualty information when it states: “the media exaggerated the nature of the incidents and the number of persons killed in incidents and protests in certain towns.”

On February 3, the eve of the UN Security Council vote on Syria, news broke out that a massacre was taking place in Homs, with the general media assuming it was true and that all violence was being committed by the Syrian government. The SOHR’s Rami Abdul Rahman was widely quoted in the media as claiming the death toll to be at 217. The Local Coordination Committees (LCCs), which provide information to the VDC, called it at “more than 200,” and the Syrian National Council (SNC), a self-styled government in absentia of mainly expats, claimed 260 victims.

The next day, the casualty count had been revised down to 55 by the LCCs. (link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-16883911)

Even if the count is at 55 – that is still a large number of victims by any measure. But were these deaths caused by the Syrian government, by opposition gunmen or in the crossfire between the two groups? That is still the question that needs to break through the deafening narratives, lists, and body counts.

In International Law, Detail Counts

While the overwhelming perception of Syrian casualties thus far has been that they are primarily unarmed civilians deliberately targeted by government forces, it has become obvious these casualties are also likely to include: Civilians caught in the crossfire between government forces and opposition gunmen; victims of deliberate violence by armed groups; “dead opposition fighters” whose attire do not distinguish them from regular civilians; and members of the Syrian security forces, both on and off duty.

Even if we could verify the names and numbers on a Syrian casualty list, we still don’t know their stories, which if revealed, may pose an entirely different picture of what is going on in Syria today

These questions are vitally important to understand the burden of responsibility in this conflict. International law provides for different measures of conflict: the two most frequently used gauges for this are the Principle of Necessity, i.e., using force only when it is necessary, and the Principle of Proportionality, i.e., the use of force proportional to the threat posed.

In the case of Syria – like in Bahrain, Yemen, Egypt and Libya – it is widely believed that the government used unnecessary force in the first instance. Syrian President Bashar Assad, like many of these Arab rulers, has as much as admitted to “mistakes” in the first months of protests. These mistakes include some shooting deaths and detaining a much larger number of protesters than expected, some of whom were allegedly tortured.

Let us assume, without question, that the Syrian government was over zealous in its use of force initially, and therefore violated the Principle of Necessity. I tend to believe this version because it has been so-stated by the Arab League’s observer mission – the first and only boots-on-the-ground monitors investigating the crisis from within the country.

However – and this is where the casualty lists come in – there is not yet nearly enough evidence, not by any measure acceptable at a court of law, that the Syrian government has violated the Principle of Proportionality. Claims that the regime has used disproportionate force in dealing with the crisis are, today, difficult to ascertain, in large part because opponents have been using weapons against security forces and pro-regime civilians almost since the onset of protests.

Assuming that the number of casualties provided by the UN’s OHCHR is around the 5,000-mark, the last official figure provided by the group. The question is whether this is a highly disproportionate number of deaths when contrasted directly with the approximately 2,000 soldiers of the regular Syrian army and other security forces who have been reportedly killed since April 2011.

When you calculate the deaths of the government forces in the past 11 months, they amount to about six a day. Contrast that with frequent death toll totals of around 15+ each day disseminated by activists – many of whom are potentially neither civilian casualties nor victims of targeted violence – and there is close to enough parity to suggest a conflict where the acts of violence may be somewhat equal on both sides.

Last Sunday, as Syrians went to the polls to vote on a constitutional referendum, Reuters reports – quoting the SOHR – that 9 civilians and 4 soldiers were killed in Homs, and that elsewhere in Syria there were 8 civilian and 10 security forces casualties. That is 17 civilians and 14 regime forces – where are the opposition gunmen in that number? Were none killed? Or are they embedded in the “civilian” count?

Defectors or Regular Soldiers?

There have also been allegations that many, if not most, of the soldiers killed in clashes or attacks have been defectors shot by other members of the regular army. There is very little evidence to support this as anything more than a limited phenomenon. Logically, it would be near impossible for the Syrian army to stay intact if it was turning on its rank-and-file soldiers in this manner – and the armed forces have remained remarkably cohesive given the length and intensity of the conflict in Syria.

In addition, the names, rank and cities of each of the dead soldiers are widely publicized by state-owned media each day, often accompanied by televised funerals. It would be fairly simple for the organized opposition to single out by name the defectors they include on their casualty lists, which has not happened.

The very first incident of casualties from the Syrian regular army that I could verify dates to 10 April 2011, when gunmen shot up a bus of soldiers travelling through Banyas, in Tartous, killing nine. This incident took place a mere few weeks after the first peaceful protests broke out in Syria, and so traces violence against government forces back to the start of political upheaval in the country.

“Witnesses” quoted by the BBC, Al Jazeera and The Guardian insisted that the nine dead soldiers were “defectors” who had been shot by the Syrian army for refusing orders to shoot at demonstrators.

Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, debunked that version on his Syria Comment website. Another surviving soldier on the bus – a relation of Lt. Col. Yasar Qashur, #6022 on the SOHR list, whose funeral I link to above – denied that they were defectors too. But the narrative that dead soldiers are mostly defectors shot by their own troops has stuck throughout this conflict – though less so, as evidence of gunmen targeting Syrian forces and pro-regime civilians becomes belatedly apparent.

The VDC – another of the UN’s OHCHR sources for casualty counts – alleges that 6,399 civilians and 1,680 army defectors were killed in Syria during the period from 15 March 2011 to 15 February 2012. All security forces killed in Syria during the past 11 months were “defectors?” Not a single soldier, policeman or intelligence official was killed in Syria except those forces who opposed the regime? This is the kind of mindless narrative of this conflict that continues unchecked. Worse yet, this exact VDC statistic is included in the latest UN report on Syria issued last week.

Humanitarian Crisis or Just Plain Violence?

While few doubt the Syrian government’s violent suppression of this revolt, it is increasingly clear that in addition to the issue of disproportionally, there is the question of whether there is a “humanitarian crisis” as suggested by some western and Arab leaders since last year. I sought some answers during a trip to Damascus in early January 2012 where I spoke to a select few NGOs that enjoyed rare access to all parts of the country.

Given that words like “massacre” and “slaughter” and “humanitarian crisis” are being used in reference to Syria, I asked International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Spokesman Saleh Dabbakeh at the time how many calls for urgent medical assistance his organization had received in 2011. His response was shocking. “Only one that I recall,” said Dabbakeh. Where was that, I asked? “Quneitra National Hospital in the Golan,” he replied, “last June.” This was when Israeli troops fired on Syrian and Palestinian protesters marching to the 1973 armistice line with the Jewish state. Those same protesters that ended up on SOHR’s casualty list.

A Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) worker confirmed that, recalling that his organization treated hundreds of casualties from the highly-publicized incident.

As the level of violence has escalated, however, the situation has deteriorated, and the ICRC now has received more calls for medical assistance – mainly from private hospitals in Homs. The SARC today has nine different points in Homs where it provides such assistance. The only two places they do not currently serve are the neighborhoods of Bab Amr and Inshaat “because the security situation does not allow for it – for their own safety, there is fighting there.”

During a phone call last Thursday, one NGO officer, explained that the measure for a “humanitarian crisis” is in level of access to basic staples, services and medical care. He told me off the record that “There is a humanitarian crisis in (i.e.) Baba Amro today, but not in Syria. If the fighting finishes tomorrow, there will be enough food and medical supplies.”

“Syria has enough food to feed itself for a long time. The medical sector still functions very well. There isn’t enough pressure on the medical sector to create a crisis,” he elaborated. “A humanitarian crisis is when a large number of a given population does not have access to medical aid, food, water, electricity, etc – when the system cannot any longer respond to the needs of the population.”

But an international human rights worker also cautions: “the killing is happening on both sides – the other side is no better.”

People have to stop this knee-jerk, opportunistic, hysterical obsession with numbers of dead Syrians, and ask instead: “who are these people and who killed them?” That is the very least these victims deserve. Anything less would render their tragic deaths utterly meaningless. Lack of transparency along the supply-chain of information and its dissemination – on both sides – is tantamount to making the Syrian story all about perception, and not facts. It is a hollow achievement and people will die in ever greater numbers.

Sharmine Narwani is a commentary writer and political analyst covering the Middle East. You can follow Sharmine on twitter @snarwani.

Truth and Falsehood in Syria


23 Reasons Why We Should be Careful About Uncritically Accepting Western Views of the Syrian Insurrection

As insurrection in Syria lurches towards civil war, the brakes need to be put on the propaganda pouring through the Western mainstream media and accepted uncritically by many who should know better. So here is a matrix of positions from which to argue about what is going on in this critical Middle Eastern country.
1. Syria has been a mukhabarat (intelligence) state since the redoubtable Abdel-Hamid Al-Serraj ran the intelligence services as the deuxième bureau in the 1950s. The authoritarian state which developed from the time former Syrian president Hafez Al-Assad took power in 1970 has crushed all dissent ruthlessly. On occasion it has either been him or them. The ubiquitous presence of themukhabarat is an unpleasant fact of Syrian life, but as Syria is a central target for assassination and subversion by Israel and Western intelligence agencies, as it has repeatedly come under military attack, as it has had a large chunk of its territories occupied, and as its enemies are forever looking for opportunities to bring it down, it can hardly be said that the mukhabarat is not needed.
2. There is no doubt that the bulk of the people demonstrating in Syria want a peaceful transition to a democratic form of government. Neither is there any doubt that armed groups operating from behind the screen of the demonstrations have no interest in reform. They want to destroy the government.
3. There have been very big demonstrations of support for the government. There is anger at the violence of the armed gangs and anger at external interference and exploitation of the situation by outside governments and the media. In the eyes of many Syrians, their country is once again the target of an international conspiracy.
4. Whatever the truth of the accusations made against the security forces, the armed groups have killed hundreds of police, soldiers and civilians, in total probably close to 1,000 at this stage. The civilian dead include university professors, doctors and even, very recently, the son of the grand mufti of the republic. The armed gangs have massacred, ambushed, assassinated, attacked government buildings and sabotaged railway lines.
5. Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has a strong base of personal popularity. Although he sits on top of the system, it is misleading to call him a dictator. The system itself is the true dictator. Deeply rooted power in Syria — entrenched over five decades — lies in the military and intelligence establishment, and to a lesser degree in the ruling Baath Party structure. These are the true sources of resistance to change. The demonstrations were Al-Assad’s opportunity to pass on the message, which he did, that the system had to change.
6. In the face of large-scale demonstrations earlier this year, the government did finally come up with a reform programme. This was rejected out of hand by the opposition. No attempt was even made to test the bona fides of the government.
7. 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, has been going on virtually since the beginning.
8. The armed groups are well armed and well organised. Large shipments of weapons have been smuggled into Syria from Lebanon and Turkey. They include pump action shotguns, machine guns, Kalashnikovs, RPG launchers, Israeli-made hand grenades and numerous other explosives. It is not clear who is providing these weapons but someone is, and someone is paying for them. Interrogation of captured members of armed gangs points in the direction of former Lebanese prime minister Saad Al-Hariri’s Future Movement. Al-Hariri is a front man for the US and Saudi Arabia, with influence spreading well beyond Lebanon.
9. Armed opposition to the regime largely seems to be sponsored by the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. In 1982, the Syrian government ruthlessly crushed an uprising initiated by the Brotherhood in the city of Hama. Many thousands died, and part of the city was destroyed. The Brotherhood has two prime objectives: the destruction of the Baathist government and the destruction of the secular state in favour of an Islamic system. It is almost palpably thirsting for revenge.
10. The armed groups have strong support from outside, apart from what is already known or indicated. Exiled former Syrian vice-president and foreign minister, Abdel-Halim Khaddam, who lives in Paris, has been campaigning for years to bring down the Al-Assad government. He is funded by both the EU and the US. Other exiled activists include Burhan Ghalioun, backed by Qatar as the leader of the “National Council” set up in Istanbul. Ghalioun, like Khaddam, lives in Paris and like him also, lobbies against the Al-Assad government in Europe and in Washington.
Together with Mohamed Riyad Al-Shaqfa, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, he is receptive to outside “humanitarian intervention” in Syria on the Libyan model (others are against it). The promotion of the exiles as an alternative government is reminiscent of the way the US used exiled Iraqis (the so-called Iraqi National Congress) ahead of the invasion of Iraq.
11. The reporting by the Western media of the situations in Libya and Syria has been appalling. NATO intervention in Libya has been the cause of massive destruction and thousands of deaths. The war, following the invasion of Iraq, is yet another major international crime committed by the governments of the US, Britain and France. The Libyan city of Sirte has been bombarded day and night for two weeks without the Western media paying any attention to the heavy destruction and loss of life that must have followed. The Western media has made no attempt to check reports coming out of Sirte of the bombing of civilian buildings and the killing of hundreds of people. The only reason can be that the ugly truth could well derail the whole NATO operation.
12. In Syria the same media has followed the same pattern of misreporting and disinformation. It has ignored or skated over the evidence of widespread killings by armed gangs. It has invited its audience to disbelieve the claims of government and believe the claims of rebels, often made in the name of human rights organisations based in Europe or the US. Numerous outright lies have been told, as they were told in Libya and as they were told ahead of the attack on Iraq. Some at least have been exposed.
People said to have been killed by state security forces have turned up alive. The brothers of Zainab Al-Hosni claimed she has been kidnapped by security forces, murdered and her body dismembered. This lurid account, spread by the TV channels Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya amongst other outlets, was totally false. She is still alive although now, of course, the propaganda tack is to claim that this is not really her but a double. Al-Jazeera, the British newspaper The Guardian and the BBC have distinguished themselves by their blind support of anything that discredits the Syrian government. The same line is being followed by the mainstream media in the US. Al-Jazeera, in particular, having distinguished itself with its reporting of the Egyptian revolution, has lost all credibility as an independent Arab world news channel.
13. In seeking to destroy the Syrian government, the Muslim Brotherhood has a goal in common with the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia, whose paranoia about Shia Islam reached fever pitch with the uprising in Bahrain. WikiLeaks has revealed how impatient it was for the US to attack Iran. A substitute target is the destruction of the strategic relationship between Iran, Syria and the Lebanese Shia group Hizbullah. The US and the Saudis may want to destroy the Alawi-dominated Baathist regime in Damascus for slightly different reasons, but the important thing is that they do want to destroy it.
14. The US is doing its utmost to drive Syria into a corner. It is giving financial support to exiled leaders of the opposition. It has tried (and so far failed, thanks to Russian and Chinese opposition) to introduce an extensive programme of sanctions through the UN Security Council. No doubt it will try again, and depending on how the situation develops, it may try, with British and French support, to bring on a no-fly zone resolution opening the door to foreign attack.
The situation is fluid and no doubt all sorts of contingency plans are being developed. The White House and the State Department are issuing hectoring statements every other day. Openly provoking the Syrian government, the US ambassador, accompanied by the French ambassador, travelled to Hama before Friday prayers. Against everything that is known about their past record of interference in Middle Eastern countries, it is inconceivable that the US and Israel, along with France and Britain, would not be involved in this uprising beyond what is already known.
15. While concentrating on the violence of the Syrian regime, the US and European governments (especially Britain) have totally ignored the violence directed against it. Their own infinitely greater violence, of course, in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and other places doesn’t even come into the picture. Turkey has joined their campaign against Syria with relish, going even further than they have in confronting the Syrian regime.
In the space of a few months Turkey’s “zero problem” regional policy has been upended in the most inchoate manner. Turkey eventually lent its support to the NATO attack on Libya, after initially holding back. It has antagonised Iran by its policy on Syria and by agreeing, despite strong domestic opposition, to host a US radar missile installation clearly directed against Iran. The Americans say the installation’s data will be shared with Israel, which has refused to apologise for the attack on the Turkish ship the Mavi Marmara, plunging Israeli-Turkish relations into near crisis. So from “zero problems”, Turkey now has a regional policy full of problems with Israel, Syria and Iran.
16. While some members of the Syrian opposition have spoken out against foreign intervention, the “Free Syrian Army” has said that its aim is to have a no-fly zone declared over northern Syria. A no-fly zone would have to be enforced, and we have seen how this led in Libya to massive infrastructural destruction, the killing of thousands of people and the opening of the door to a new period of Western domination.
17. If the Syrian government is brought down, every last Baathist and Alawi will be hunted down. In a government dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, the status of minorities and women would be driven back.
18. Through its Syria Accountability Act, and through sanctions which the EU has imposed, the US has been trying to destroy the Syrian government for 20 years. The dismantling of unified Arab states along ethno-religious lines has been an aim of Israel’s for decades. Where Israel goes, the US naturally follows. The fruits of this policy can be seen in Iraq, where an independent state in all but name has been created for the Kurds and where the constitution, written by the US, separates Iraq’s people into Kurds, Sunnis, Shias and Christians, destroying the binding logic of Arab nationalism. Iraq has not known a moment’s peace since the British entered Baghdad in 1917.
In Syria, ethno-religious divisions (Sunni Muslim Arab, Sunni Muslim Kurd, Druze, Alawi and various Christian sects) render the country vulnerable in the same way to the promotion of sectarian discord and eventual disintegration as the unified Arab state the French originally tried to prevent coming into existence in the 1920s.
19. The destruction of the Baathist government in Syria would be a strategic victory of unsurpassed value to the US and Israel. The central arch in the strategic relationship between Iran, Syria and Hizbullah would be destroyed, leaving Hizbullah geographically isolated, with a hostile Sunni Muslim government next door, and leaving Hizbullah and Iran more exposed to a military attack by the US and Israel. Fortuitously or otherwise, the “Arab spring” as it has developed in Syria has placed in US and Israeli hands a lever by which they may be able to achieve their goal.
20. It is not necessarily the case that a Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government in Egypt or Syria would be hostile to US interests. Wanting to be seen as a respectable member of the international community and another good example of “moderate Islam”, it is likely and certainly possible that an Egyptian government dominated by the Brotherhood would agree to maintain the peace treaty with Israel for as long as it can (i.e. until another large scale attack by Israel on Gaza or Lebanon makes it absolutely unsustainable).
21. A Syrian government dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood would be close to Saudi Arabia and hostile to Iran, Hizbullah and the Shia of Iraq, especially those associated with the Shia leader Muqtada Al-Sadr. It would pay lip service to the Palestine cause and the liberation of the Golan Heights, but its practical policies would be unlikely to be any different from the government it is seeking to destroy.
22. The Syrian people are entitled to demand democracy and to be given it, but in this way and at this cost? Even now, an end to the killing and negotiations on political reform are surely the way forward, not violence which threatens to tear the country apart. Unfortunately, violence and not a negotiated settlement is what too many people inside Syria want and what too many governments watching and waiting for their opportunity also want. No Syrian can ultimately gain from this, whatever they presently think.
Their country is being driven towards a sectarian civil war, perhaps foreign intervention and certainly chaos on an even greater scale than we are now seeing. There will be no quick recovery if the state collapses or can be brought down. Like Iraq, and probably like Libya, looking at the present situation, Syria would enter a period of bloody turmoil that could last for years. Like Iraq, again, it would be completely knocked out of the ring as a state capable of standing up for Arab interests, which means, of course, standing up to the US and Israel.
23. Ultimately, whose interests does anyone think this outcome would serve?


by JEREMY SALT
Jeremy Salt is an associate professor of Middle Eastern history and politics at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey.

Despicable is Hillary Clinton



Hillary Clinton is an interesting case study. She started four years ago as a charming Secretary of State, the smile on the snout to wipe out the snarl of her predecessor, Condoleezza Rice and four years on, she appears on camera butch, a trucker-type probably complete with tattoos, insolent, inconsequential and incompetent. We now understand Bill.

What happened to Hillary Clinton?

Her credentials for the position of Secretary of State were never that great; let us be honest: someone who lied on camera for all to see about getting off an aircraft in the middle of a war zone in Bosnia in the 1990s when in fact she arrived to a red-carpet welcome, complete with band playing... Since when is a red carpet and a band a war zone?

Right...

And now, the Chief of Diplomacy of the United States of America imitates her representative at the UNO, Susan Rice, in insolence, calling Russia and China "despicable" for spoiling her war plans in Syria (and beyond).

Insolence is indeed the mainstay and the keyword behind US diplomacy, intrusion ditto and hypocrisy has to be the toothpick in the throat of those who try to expound Washington's virtue on the world stage. And let us be perfectly frank. Hillary Rodham Clinton had a very easy passage before her as the outwardly visible sidekick of Barack Obama, elected after eight years of a Bush regime which confirmed all the worst nightmares of the conspiracy theorists. Did she pull it off? No she didn't.

For someone in her position, to label the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China as "despicable" because they exercised their right to block NATO's evil desire to make another Libya out of Syria, is a clear sign of how low US diplomacy has sunk. In fact, it is difficult to discern which of the last three Secretaries of State is worse: Colin Powell, with his lies at the UNO about Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction; Condoleezza Rice, with her justification of Georgia's murderous attack against Russians and now Hillary War Zone Clinton, responsible for Libya and desperate to press further eastwards as she holds the hands of those whose human rights records are...in a word...despicable.

Despicable are those Gulf Royals, unelected, but in power, and accepted without a word of contestation by Clinton and Obama and company, some of whom allegedly go to Morocco and perform the most horrific sexual crimes with boys and girls...despicable are the leaders of the Gulf States favourable to the USA and its allies siphoning off their resources, which have carried out the most draconian measures against their citizens.

No mention from despicable Hillary War Zone Clinton.

Despicable is the United States of America and its policy of torture flights, on which CIA operationals carried out barbaric acts against detainees; despicable it is to flout international law, invade sovereign states and destroy their civilian infrastructures with military hardware.

Despicable it is to maintain concentration camps, a festering wound on the collective face of humanity and a profound insult to human decency. Despicable it is to sodomise detainees; despicable it is to urinate in food, despicable it is to deprive detainees of sleep, despicable it is to water-board people, despicable it is to force Moslems to eat pork.

Despicable is Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, where the worst human rights violations in Latin America are perpetrated by the United States of America; despicable was Abu Ghraib concentration camp in Iraq, where the great American heroine Lynndie England was let loose on people who had been imprisoned without charge but hey! "just havin' fun". Despicable it is to detain people without due process, without access to a lawyer, without access to family visits and without even an accusation.

Despicable it is to arm terrorists overseas, as was the case in Libya and as is the case in Syria. Despicable, then, if we analyse with a modicum of intelligence, is Hillary R. Clinton and the hellhole that she represents.

To prove my point, in how many of the human rights violations mentioned above were Russia and China involved?

None.

Thank you. I rest my case. Hillary War Zone Liar Clinton: YOU are despicable.

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Pravda.Ru
26.02.2012

Commonsense Thesaurus of Liberal Terminology


Syria: The war machine devours its propagandists


BY VIKTOR REZNOV – FEBRUARY 23, 2012

Syria: Journalists Remi Ochlik and Marie Colvin killed by own duties of propaganda.


Again, two embedded journalists were allegedly killed in Syria, another two from the West. Remi Ochlik, a photographer, and the Sunday Times reporter Marie Colvin, who had also reported for CNN. Of course, CNN claimed, without any hesitation, that they had been killed by bombs of the Syrian government on Homs.

The French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, a representative of the filthiest of them in the West, who is responsible for the illegal war against Libya and Syria, and also has a new hobby as Russia-basher, said also, that the photographer, Remi Ochlik, was killed by bombs.

The language rules remember without any coincidence, to the language (false propaganda) about the “bombing of their own people” in Libya. The pattern is always the same.

The Syrian information ministry had no knowledge that both “journalists” allegedly stayed in the Syrian city of Homs. As recently with the death of the French journalist Gilles Jacquier (who was killed by the so-called Free Syrian Army / FSA), the West initially spreads non-confirmed information in unison:

The Syrian government bombards “its own people” cold-blooded, although Western media has to admit in the same time, that they have no independent information. A contradiction, which is typical for (false) propaganda.

As it turned out later, the French journalist Jacquier (was disguised as a journalist, but has been a Agent of the French Intelligence Service) was killed by grenades of the “Free Syrian Army” (FSA).

So Jacquier died of grenades by the Western-backed armed groups, which attacked peaceful pro-Assad protesters and take responsibility for civilian deaths and injuries – there was no correction or outcry about it. Syrians are just second-class victims for the Western media and governments.

Despite these incidents and a report which reveals the truth (observer mission of the Arab League), CNN, the channel of Colvin, still lies like a trooper. CNN continues to use lies for false propaganda, without any hesitation. Just as BBC, Sky News, ARD, ZDF and a lot of other state media channels.

“The Syrian regime has restricted the access to Syria for foreign journalists, which makes it impossible to verify a lot of the reports by the opposition or the government. But some journalists went to Syria (e.g. smuggler route from Lebanon) without knowledge of the Syrian government.”

The official rebuttal: As the Observer Mission of the Arab League reported, hundreds of journalists from the West are in Syria and are also accredited by the government. Here on page 10 (PDF) they are listed by name. The information of the report of the observer mission about the Western media:

“69. Such fabricated reports have helped to increase tensions among the Syrians, and also undermines the work of the observers.”

CNN – A liar will not be believed even when he speaks the truth.

One of the problems of the West is, that independent observers and journalists (e.g. a report by a independent French delegation – French / English) report the truth, they also refute the false propaganda machinery of the West.

These independent observers and journalists also argue for an immediate ceasefire and negotiations without any preconditions. But this is rejected by the West and its “opposition groups”, “activists”, “councils” and armed gangs. The goal is clear: war.

Syria: These dead are useful for whom?

Independent journalists and observers should be kept outside of Syria, so that they are not able to report on the impending major attack and the ongoing covert war. The so-called “embedded journalists” are the only one which should deliver “interpretation of the situation” in Syria.

Colvin and Ochlik are – as already Jacquier – unintended victims of the war hysteria of the West.

But they are also victims of the propaganda machine, of the side, which they had fought for. Away from the propaganda and crocodile tears, which usually dry quickly in the West, let’s have a look at the actual works of the photographer Ochlik and the reporter of Murdoch’s Sunday Times, Marie Colvin.

Ochlik was in Libya as a photographer, embedded on the side of NATO; he reported about the celebrated rebels and put all the NATO bandits and al-Qaeda thugs into heroic poses for his reports for the West. His journalistic responsibility ranged unfortunately not up to the side of the victims of the NATO war.

Also Colvin was responsible for the spread of the (false) information about the “bombing of their own people” in Libya.

Colvin used this propaganda as well as the reports about the weapons of mass destruction from Saddam Hussain, as the report of “Saddam`s nuclear bomb” in December of the year 2000 shows.

Our sincere condolences to the bereaved families. Once again, cog in the propaganda and war machine became victims itself.

May their death be a reminder. There is nothing more important than peace. Cease-fire and negotiations should take place now, without preconditions and a hypocritically stance of the West. Stop the war against Syria.

Source: http://hinter-der-fichte.blogspot.com

More than 14 million Syrians participate in constitutional referendum

Idiotic lockstep ziofascist media is calling these measures both a mockery or laughable. I think anyone seeing the exact provisions detailed here can determine for themselves that the ones who are laughable and making a mokery of themselves are the ziofasct media and the fascist imperialists they blindly serve, regurgitating such utter stupidity and lies. But they will go ahead, ship in more terrorists to kill people, drain their entire economies to do so, stomp their feet that Assad must go, and above all call the other side unreasonable while it is they who are being entirely unreasonable.



Some 14,600,000 Syrians are able to participate in Sunday's referendum on the 26th in which a new draft constitution will be submitted for the approval of the population, said the Deputy Minister of the Interior for Civil Affairs, General Hassan Jalali.

The highlight of Jalali's press statements was that 13,000 schools and 835 classrooms will have voting stations installed, including at border crossings and airports, to facilitate that everyone can exercise their right to vote.

He explained that the election will be overseen by a central committee to be chaired by Interior Minister and his two vice-ministers.

A new Constitution is the cornerstone of a comprehensive reform package that President Bashar al-Assad offers since it will legitimize the creation of other new parties - seven have already been authorized, as well as the separation of state powers, the conduct of elections and decentralization of local governments, among others.

The draft constitution envisages that the state system is based on political pluralism and that power is exercised through the democratic vote, and defines the functions and independence in their activities in the government: executive, judicial and legislative.

Among other proposals, the bill stipulates that the President henceforth be elected by universal and secret elections every seven years and can only aspire to one second term, as candidates above 40 years have to register with the Supreme Court and have the written support of at least 35 National Assembly deputies.

Legislators also will be elected in national elections for four year terms.

It also provides that the society will be based on solidarity and respect for the principles of social justice, freedom, equality and preservation of the human dignity of each individual, and that citizens have equal rights and duties without discrimination on the grounds of sex, origin, language, religion or creed.

The State will also ensure the freedom of the press, printing and publications, as well as the independence of the media in accordance with the law governing this sector.

Similarly, the State must provide women all the opportunities that enable them to contribute fully and effectively in political, economic, social and cultural life, and work to eliminate the restrictions that prevent their participation in building the community.

Idiotic lockstep ziofascist media is calling these measures both a mockery or laughable. I think anyone seeing the exact provisions detailed here can determine for themselves that the ones who are laughable and making a mokery of themselves are the ziofasct media and the fascist imperialists they blindly serve, regurgitating such utter stupidity and lies. But they will go ahead, ship in more terrorists to kill people, drain their entire economies to do so, stomp their feet that Assad must go, and above all call the other side unreasonable while it is they who are being entirely unreasonable.
Translated from the Portuguese version by:
Lisa Karpova
Pravda.Ru

News About Syria: Information or Propaganda?

An excellent interview!


Sharmine Narwani: Many opposition leaders want end to militarization on both sides as GCC and US neo-cons call for arming opposition.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have chosen the side of Empire in the Washington-backed belligerency


Global Research, February 21, 2012


“Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have chosen sides in the Washington-backed belligerency – the side of Empire.” Syria has no choice but to secure every square foot of its territory. “Faced with the certainty of superpower-backed attack under the guise of ‘protecting’ civilians in “liberated” territory, Syria cannot afford to cede even one neighborhood of a single city – not one block! – or of any rural or border enclave, to armed rebels and foreign jihadis.”

The largest imperial offensive since the Iraq invasion of March, 2003, is in full swing, under the banner of “humanitarian” intervention – Barack Obama’s fiendishly clever upgrade of George Bush’s “dumb” wars. Having failed to obtain a Libyan-style United Nations Security Council fig leaf for a “humanitarian” military strike against Syria, the United States shifts effortlessly to a global campaign “outside the U.N. system” to expand its NATO/Persian Gulf royalty/Jihadi coalition. Next stop: Tunisia, where Washington’s allies will assemble on February 24 to sharpen their knives as “Friends of Syria.” The U.S. State Department has mobilized to shape the “Friends” membership and their “mandate” – which is warlord-speak for refining an ad hoc alliance for the piratical assault on Syria’s sovereignty.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are swigging the ale with their fellow buccaneers. These “human rights” warriors, headquartered in the bellies of empires past and present, their chests shiny with medals of propagandistic service to superpower aggression in Libya, contribute “left” legitimacy to the imperial project. London-based Amnesty International held a global “day of action” to rail against Syria for “crimes against humanity” and to accuse Russia and China of using their Security Council vetoes to “betray” the Syrian people – echoing the war hysteria out of Washington, Paris, London and the royal pigsties of Riyadh and Doha. New York-based Human Rights Watch denounced Moscow and Beijing’s actions as “incendiary” – as if it were not the empire and its allies who were setting the Middle East and Africa on fire, arming and financing jihadis – including hundreds of veteran Libyan Salafists now operating in Syria.

Under Obama’s “intelligent” (as opposed to “dumb”) imperial tutelage, colonial genocidaires like France now propose creation of “humanitarian corridors” inside Syria “to allow NGOs to reach the zones where there are scandalous massacres.” NATO flatly rejected such a corridor in Libya when sub-Saharan Africans and black Libyans were being massacred by militias armed and financed by the same “Friends” that now besiege Syria.

Turkey claims it has rejected, for now, the idea of setting up humanitarian “buffer zones” along its border with Syria – inside Syrian territory – while giving arms, training and sanctuary to Syrian military deserters. In reality, it is Syrian Army troop and armor concentrations on the border that have thwarted the establishment of such a “buffer” – a bald euphemism for creating a “liberated zone” that must be “protected” by NATO or some agglomeration of U.S.-backed forces.

NATO, which bombed Libya non-stop for six months, inflicting tens of thousands of casualties while refusing to count a single body, wants desperately to identify some sliver of Syrian soil on which to plant the “humanitarian” flag of intervention. They are transparently searching for a Benghazi, to justify a replay of the Libyan operation – the transparent fact that prompted the Russian and Chinese vetoes.

Faced with the certainty of superpower-backed attack under the guise of “protecting” civilians in “liberated” territory, Syria cannot afford to cede even one neighborhood of a single city – not one block! – or of any rural or border enclave, to armed rebels and foreign jihadis. That road leads directly to loss of sovereignty and possible dissection of Syria – which western pundits are already calling a “hodge-podge” nation that could be a “failed state.” Certainly, the French and British are experts at carving up other people’s territories, having drawn the national boundaries of the region after World War One. It is an understatement to say that Israel would be pleased.

With the Syrian military’s apparent successes in securing most of Homs and other centers of rebellion, the armed opposition has stepped up its terror tactics – a campaign noted with great alarm by the Arab League’s own Observer Mission to Syria, leading Saudi Arabia and Qatar to suppress the Mission’s report. Instead, the Gulf States are pressing the Arab League to openly “provide all kinds of political and material support” to the opposition, meaning arms and, undoubtedly, more Salafist fighters. Aleppo, Syria’s main commercial and industrial city, which had seen virtually no unrest, was struck by two deadly car bombs last week – signature work of the al-Qaida affiliate in neighboring Iraq.

The various “Friends of Syria,” all nestled in the U.S./NATO/Saudi/Qatar cocoon, now openly speak of all-out civil war in Syria – by which they mean stepped up armed conflict financed and directed by themselves – as the preferred alternative to the protracted struggle that the regime appears to be winning. There is one caveat: no “Western boots on the ground in any form,” as phrased by British Foreign Secretary William Hague. It is the Libya formula, and might as well have come straight from Barack Obama’s mouth.

Syria is fighting for its national existence against an umbrella of forces mobilized by the United States and NATO. Of the 6,000 or so people that have died in the past 11 months, about a third have been Syrian soldiers and police – statistical proof positive that this is an armed assault on the state. There is no question of massive foreign involvement, or that the aim of U.S. policy is regime change, as stated repeatedly by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (“Assad must go,” she told reporters in Bulgaria).

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have chosen sides in the Washington-backed belligerency – the side of Empire. As groups most often associated with (what passes for) the Left in their headquarters countries, they are invaluable allies of the current imperial offensive. They have many fellow travelers in (again, what passes for) anti-war circles in the colonizing and neo-colonizing nations. The French “Left” lifted hardly a finger while a million Algerians died in the struggle for independence, and have not proved effective allies of formerly colonized people in the 50 years, since. Among the European imperial powers, only Portugal’s so-called Carnation Revolution of 1974, a coup by young officers, resulted in substantial relief for the subjects of empire: the withdrawal of troops from Portugal’s African colonies.

The U.S. anti-war movement lost its mass character as soon as the threat of a draft was removed, in the early Seventies, while the United States continued to bomb Vietnam (and test new and exotic weapons on its people) until the fall of Saigon, in 1975. All that many U.S. lefties seemed to want was to get the Republicans off their backs, in 2008, and to Hell with the rest of the world. Democrat Barack Obama has cranked the imperial war machine back into high gear, with scarcely a peep from the “Left.”

There was great ambivalence – the most polite word I can muster – among purported leftists in the United States and Europe to NATO’s bombardment and subjugation of Libya. Here we are again, in the face of existential imperial threats to Syria and Iran, as leftists temporize about human rights while the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world today” blazes new warpaths.

There is no such thing as an anti-war activist who is not an anti-imperialist. And the only job of an anti-imperialist in the belly of the beast is to disarm the beast. Absent that, s/he is useless to humanity.

As we used to say: You are part of the solution – or you are part of the problem. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are part of the problem.

Glen Ford, BAR executive editor, can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com

Glen Ford is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Glen Ford
-------------


Source: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29422

The last Turkish-'Israeli' tango in Syria


20.02.2012
By Dr Saeb Shaath


Turkey as a member of NATO has a longstanding joint military-intelligence agreement with 'Israel' which is explicitly directed against Syria. A 1993 Memorandum of Understanding led to the creation of (Israeli-Turkish joint committees) to handle "regional threats". Turkey and Israel agreed to cooperate in gathering intelligence on Syria, Iran, and Iraq and to meet regularly to assess terrorism and Syria, Iran, and Iraq military capabilities.
Supporters of Syrian Government demonstrate in the southern Turkish town of Antakya

The position of the Turkish government on Syria is not popular in Turkey. Thousands of Turkish citizens protested on Friday 18th Feb at the gates of the Presidential Palace in Ankara, during the meeting between Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Secretary General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen, denouncing the Turkish government's conspiring with the NATO and the US against Syria.

Confessions of 40 Turkish intelligence officers captured in Syria

A diplomatic crisis erupted between Turkey and Syria when more than 40 Turkish intelligence officers were captured by the Syrian army. Over the past week, Turkey has been conducting intensive negotiations with Syria in order to get them back. Syria insists that their release will be conditioned on the extradition of Syrian officers and soldiers that defected and are currently in Turkey.

Syria also stressed that its continuation of the negotiations with Turkey is subject to Turkey's blockade of weapon transfers and passage of soldiers from the rebels' "Free Syria Army" through its territory. Syria demanded that Iran sponsor the negotiations of releasing the Turkish officers, Turkey rejected Syria's demands.

Syria, on the other hand, has recently published confessions it gathered from the captured Turkish officers. Their confessions concluded that they were trained by 'Israel's' Mossad, and were instructed to carry out bombing campaigns to destabilize the country from within. The captured Turkish officers said that the "Mossad also actively engaged in training soldiers from the Free Syria Army, and that Mossad agents came to Jordan in order to train al-Qaida officials to send to Syria to carry out attacks".

Meanwhile, Jordan's Al-Helal News website reported that units from the Royal Desert Forces operating in the north western desert area managed to arrest a number of non-Jordanians who were trying to enter Syria illegally, finding automatic firearms in their possession.

Assistant Director of Jordanian General Security and Commander of the Royal Desert Forces, Lt. Gen. Mohammad Khalaf al-Sayyed, said that seven men carrying AK-47 rifles were arrested. All of them are not from Jordan, and those people were arrested by the authorities while they were trying to enter a neighbouring country illegally, the official said.

Attacking Syria

Armed insurgents belonging to radical Islamist groups are crossing the border from Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, some Libyans fighters have been captured. Last week's double attack on Aleppo was blamed on al Qaida whose objective is to destabilize the Syrian State. Anti-government violence followed, local residents trapped between warring sides, civilian casualties mount.

Radical Islamic groups, who are working on inflicting heavy casualties and many deaths among security forces and civilians, are intensifying their efforts to provide Turkey, NATO, 'Israel' and partners with a justification for humanitarian intervention; under the principle "Responsibility to Protect", they believe that would provide the western alliance with an opportunity to use the UN-GA latest statement on Syria and interpret it in a way to serves their objective of attacking Syria. (UN-GA latest statement on Syria ignores the fact that International law prohibits interfering in the internal affairs of other nations, including determining the legitimacy of their leaders)

The war planners have to go back to their own drawing board, and to add to their military assessment that they are not dealing with a weak or an isolated country. Syria has demonstrated its strength in countering, containing and defeating large parts of the Radical Islamic groups. Syria showed the western alliance that it was in a strategic alliance with powerful global partners who were prepared to get involved in defending it. Syria's partners perceive destabilizing Syria as a direct threat to their own national security.

The Turkish demonstrators carrying a banner reads"Stop/end the imperialist intervention to Syria and the Middle East"

Dr Saeb Shaath is an Author, a Middle East Political Expert, public speaker on Middle Eastern affairs, a frequent guest on Press TV, other TV and Radio shows.

His book The Arabian States of the Gulf and International Oil Monopolies, Published in Arabic language 1987 and banned by most of the Arab Regimes; considered as a gospel to most revolutionaries and resisting movements in the Arab world. He is the founder of the alternative news network http://saebpress.com.

Resolution on Syria Biased, Non-Objective Breaching UN Credibility

Feb 17, 2012


NEW YORK, (SANA) - Syria's Permanent Envoy to the UN Bashar al-Jafari said that putting Syria's issue in the framework of three different items during 10 days to vote at the UN General Assembly stresses that Syria is being targeted in principle, not for any other reason, within a procedural stumble and clear violations committed in this regard.

"This measure poses a threat to the credibility of the General Assembly in dealing with important issues regarding the sovereignty of member states," al-Jafari added in a speech at a UNGA meeting on Syria Thursday .

He underlined that the draft resolution on Syria is distinctively biased and has no relation to what is happening in Syria, but those who submitted the draft rejected to insert any negotiable amendments to it, including the amendments which call on the opposition to move itself away from the armed groups.

"They intended not to hold the armed terrorist groups responsible for the attacks against the state institutions and civilians, or even a mere condemnation of those attacks including the suicide attacks that hit Damascus and Aleppo," al-Jafari said.

He stressed that the draft presenters deliberately ignored the serious reforms taken in Syria including the new draft constitution, adding that the draft adopted unbalanced resolutions issued by the Arab League which complicates the situation instead of solving it.

"Those resolutions violate the Syrian sovereignty guaranteed by the UN Charter and all international laws," the Syrian Envoy said, pointing out that it turns blind eye to the ongoing reforms in Syria and does not hold the armed terrorist groups accountable for the terrorist attacks carried out against the State and citizens.

The Permanent representative of Syria described the presented draft resolution as 'biased' , 'non-objective, and 'has nothing to do with the ongoing on the ground' in Syria, pointing out that the passing of such a resolution would but support the extremists and terrorists, complicate the situation and spread violence to the entire region instead of solving the crisis peacefully.

al-Jafari blasted the negative role played by the league of Arab States- a tool in the hands of US-western powers, in supporting the terrorist groups against the Syrian security and stability at the service of Israel as to control the Middle East, liquidate the Palestinian Cause, and swallow the occupied Arab territories.

Dr. al-Jafari underscored the Syrian determination to press ahead with the accelerated implementation of the defined all-out comprehensive reform, serious call on all to actively participate in the comprehensive national dialogue, and to continue protecting the Syrian People and their interests as well as the security and stability of Syria.

Dr. al-Jafari cast doubts over the real intentions of the countries which backed the draft resolution, adopted later on with 137 votes in favor, 12 against, and 17 abstentions, asserting that such countries are in fact launching concrete media and political war against Syria providing every logistic, financial and political support to the armed terrorist groups in Syria and not to mention the political cover provided internationally for these groups by these countries!

Syria's Permanent Representative to the UN reiterated last week that "Syria has the right to protect its citizens, combat terrorism and armed violence and put an end to them," asserting that "the Syrian leadership spared no effort in responding to legitimate reform demands and issued a reform program based on political plurality. Al-Jafari stressed Syria's commitment to the comprehensive reform process despite all attempts to thwart it through the ferocious campaign against Syria.

Al-Jafari, in his speech at the UN General Assembly today, said that the war launched by some international and regional powers against Syria aims at undermining Syria, and never for carrying out reforms in Syria, expressing Syria's delegation objection to the meeting of the UN General Assembly to discuss the report of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights about the situation of human rights in Syria, calling for cancelling the session as it constitutes "a substantial legal violation of the UN General Assembly's regulative procedures in this regard."

Syria's Permanent Representative to the UN said that the terrorists and those who support them seek to destroy the structure of Syria in order to spread the so-called creative chaos, addressing those involved in shedding the Syrian blood to stop conspiring against Syria and help Syria combat terrorism and carry out reforms.

"How can the UN combat terrorism while some of the UN member states fund and send terrorists to Syria," said al-Jafari, adding the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council are part of the problem and not of the solution.

al-Jafari added that Syria sacrificed thousands of innocent victims for the sake of restoring stability and security to its citizens.

He pointed out that the UN Human Rights Council based its report on unilateral misleading and fabricated media information, and not on '' the results on the ground, visits and discussions with the Syrian Government and the Syrian national Committee, created by the Syrian Government to investigate violations of human rights''.

The Permanent Representative of Syria to UN explained in his landmark speech some examples of the terrorist acts perpetrated by the armed terrorist groups in Syria, with particular focus at those perpetrated by al-Qaeda terrorism, citing some suicide attacks carried by al-Qaeda in Damascus and Aleppo, and some assassinations of Syrian intellectuals, scientists, and doctors by the armed terrorist groups.

"I say to all those involved in shedding the blood of the Syrian People: stop shedding the blood of the Syrian People, stop conspiring against Syria, help this People and the Syrian Government to combat terrorism and to meet the just demands of the Syrians for reforms,'' added al-Jafari reminding all present in the hall of the 2006 UN comprehensive Strategy for combating terrorism.

''How can the UN combat the terrorism of al-Qaeda, while some UN members finance, patron al-Qaeda and send fighters from al-Qaeda to carry out terrorist operations in Syria?'' wondered al-Jafari, lashing out at the UN General Assembly Chairman non-condemnation of the terrorist operations against the Syrians and at yesterday's Arab League decision to support the Syrian opposition of which some carry weapons and terrorist attacks against the Syrians.

"Those who took yesterday's decision in Cairo encourage terrorism in Syria, which is in contradiction with the UN Security Council resolution N. 1624 for the year 2005, prohibiting instigation for terrorism and terrorism financing,'' declared Dr. al-Jafari.

al-Jafari pointed out, for example, that some terrorist groups in the city of Homs, booby-trapped buildings and exploded them when security preservation personnel entered these buildings, not to mentions the tens of arbitrary killings, rape, kidnapping and mutilations of the Syrians by members of the terrorist armed groups.

The Permanent Representative of Syria to the UN reiterated its adherence to the all-out national dialogue as the right and sole way to go forward in the ongoing reforms, pointing out that the new Constitution of Syria to be put to popular referendum on February the 26th.

On his part, Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, the Permanent representative of Russia to the UN asserted that the solution of the crisis in Syria necessitates respect for two basic principles: cessation of violence by all sides, and start of a political process led by the Syrians themselves.

Churkin, whose Country voted against the said resolution, underscored that the resolution does not meet the demands for the abovementioned two basic principles.

The Representatives of China, Democratic Republic of Korea, Venezuela and of Iran called for a peaceful political solution to the crisis in Syria in the interest of the Syrian People evading foreign interference, full respect to the sovereignty, and independence of Syria, and full respect to the right of self defense by the Government of Syria in the face of the armed terrorist groups.

Source: http://sana.sy/eng/22/2012/02/17/401037.htm

Global Media Promotes Syrian “Activist” Begging For Military Invasion


‘Syria Danny’ – British citizen used as poster child for war propaganda

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
Monday, February 13, 2012

The global mainstream media is feverishly creating a poster child for the planned invasion of Syria, by affording a British citizen who claims to be a Syrian “activist” endless air time during which he constantly begs for a U.S., Israeli or NATO-backed bombing campaign to depose President Bashar Assad.

Given the title ‘Syria Danny’ – full name Danny Abdul Dayem – this British citizen of Syrian descent has been featured repeatedly by the likes of CNN, BBC and Sky News in segments that amount to mini-documentaries more than news items. In the segments, Danny repeats the same talking points about how the Syrian people are in desperate need of a UN, U.S. or NATO-backed invasion in order to prevent further bloodshed.

The corporate media has featured Danny’s interviews and You Tube videos, in which he shows dead bodies of Syrians allegedly killed by Assad’s forces, with very little if any qualification, largely presenting Danny’s unsubstantiated claims as gospel truth.

Compare this to the press coverage of the Arab League’s report, which was almost completely ignored after it came to the conclusion that the violence in Syria was being exaggerated and that both sides of the conflict were culpable for the violence.

Testimony from Syrians alleging murder and brutality on behalf of opposition rebels, such as last week’s terror attack in Aleppo, has also been completely censored by western news networks.

Danny’s first major appearance was on BBC News back in September. Since then he has appeared on just about every corporate media network on an almost daily basis imploring western powers to launch a military invasion to “help” the Syrian people.

Asked by CNN if the United States should invade Syria, Danny responded, “They can help, we’ll take help from anyone, Israel, we don’t care…this regime needs to be threatened, it needs to be attacked,” adding that the only way to stop Assad would be “an attack, an army attack, a no fly zone, that the UN hit all our air bases.”


Danny has also used his plentiful air time to repeatedly stress that Syrian rebels are not backed by Al-Qaeda, despite the same Al-Qaeda terrorists who helped overthrow Gaddafi in Libya being airlifted into Syria by NATO forces, in addition to Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri’s public support for Syrian rebel forces.

Observers have noticed that Danny’s accent seems to change from time to time, on one occasion sounding distinctly British and the next Middle Eastern. A photo taken from his Facebook page shows him posing on top of a seized Syrian army tank.

Little is known about ‘Danny’ and he seems to have appeared out of nowhere, leading some to suspect that he is an actor, a British intelligence operative or both. The fact that the corporate media has lavished attention on his every word underscores how, whether wittingly or unwittingly, he is being used as a poster child for war propaganda in preparation for western-orchestrated regime change in Syria.

As the independent Arab League report made clear, Syria is in a state of civil war with indiscriminate violence being perpetrated by both sides. For the media to label the rebel forces who are bombing government buildings and killing Syrian troops as “activists” would be like calling Occupy Wall Street members “demonstrators” if they started shooting cops and firing rocket-propelled grenades into the New York Stock Exchange.

The media would call them “terrorists” and yet despite continued terror attacks perpetrated by rebels in Syria the corporate press continues to characterize them as innocent victims of a genocidal regime.

As we highlighted last week, the mainstream media, particularly leftist outlets like the UK Guardian, are increasingly facing questions from their own readers about why a state of civil war is being misrepresented as a barbaric assault by one side only.

The corporate media has dispensed with any pretense of objectivity and has thrown its weight behind framing events in Syria as a one-sided affair, prostrating itself as a platform for shadowy Syrian “activists” who could just as easily be working from within the British Foreign office. Indeed, newspapers have already been caught presenting propaganda from groups with direct ties to British intelligence as evidence of atrocities committed by Assad’s forces.


Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a regular fill-in host for The Alex Jones Show and Infowars Nightly News.

Source:  http://www.prisonplanet.com/global-media-promotes-syrian-activist-begging-for-military-invasion.html