Syrian rebels 'beheaded Christian and fed him to dogs'



HE HAD just got married and his wife was about to give birth but this did not save Andrei Arbashe, a young Christian, from a horrific fate at the hands of rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad's regime earlier this month. 

"They beheaded him, cut him into pieces and fed him to the dogs," said Agnes-Mariam de la Croix, mother superior of the Monastery of St James the Mutilated between Damascus and Homs.

Forget the familiar Arab spring narrative about down-trodden masses taking on the forces of evil: the Syrian conflict appears to have entered a darker phase in which the rebels are committing atrocities against innocent civilians. It does not bode well for peace.

The people who chopped up Arbashe did not seem to need much of a motive: his brother had apparently been overheard complaining about the rebels behaving like bandits.

Sister Agnes-Mariam, who has been keeping a macabre scorecard of such atrocities, believes that his fault, in the eyes of his killers, was his Christian faith.


"The uprising has been hijacked by Islamist mercenaries who are more interested in fighting a holy war than in changing the government," she told The Sunday Times on a recent visit to Paris. "It's turned into a sectarian conflict," she added. "One in which Christians are paying a high price."

A highly educated Carmelite nun of Palestinian and Lebanese descent, Sister Agnes-Mariam fled Syria over the summer after being warned that she was on the rebels' "blacklist" for abduction.

She has been on an international tour since then to warn the world about the uprising's "extremist" drift as the conflict turns into a magnet for Islamist mercenaries from all over the world, including Britain.

The sectarian twist to the conflict has raised fears of Christian communities being destroyed as they have been in neighbouring Iraq and other parts of the Middle East. Once the cradle of Christianity, the region today is turning into its grave, with Christians dwindling to a minority even in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem, Christ's birthplace.

As the prospect of reconciliation between Syria's ruling, minority Alawite sect and the overwhelmingly Sunni opposition grows more remote, 2m Christians are caught in the middle like "filling in a sandwich", said Agnes-Mariam.

Some 300,000 have been displaced by the conflict. The better off have fled abroad but many more were driven from their homes at gunpoint, said the nun: 80,000 were forced out of the Homs region alone, she maintained.

One graphic example of the rebels' strategy, she said, was their attack on the northern town of Ras al-Ayn on the Turkish border last month. They began it by entering the Christian quarter, telling people to leave and looting their houses.

"More than 200 families were driven out in the night," she said. "Some of the refugees were abducted and their families had to pay ransom."

Various Christian villages are living under the threat of "invasion" by rebels, meaning they will be expelled from their homes - or worse.

"People are afraid," she said. "Everywhere the death squads stop civilians, abduct them and ask for ransom; sometimes they kill them. The destruction is everywhere."

Just as the Egyptian Arab spring turned into a winter of discontent for the Coptic Christian community under an ascendant Muslim Brotherhood, few expect Syria's upheaval to improve the lot of Christians if the opposition's national coalition, which is recognised by 130 countries as the legitimate government of Syria, takes power.

One of its most effective fighting forces is the Jabat al-Nusra, which has an ideology similar to al-Qaeda's.

"They want to impose sharia," said Agnes-Mariam, 60. "It's a scandal that the free and democratic world is supporting extremists," she added in a reference to western backing for the coalition.

Some have accused her of being a propagandist for the dictator Assad: her claim that rebel forces were responsible for the Houla massacre in which more than 100 civilians died, half of them children, has been challenged by a United Nations commission of inquiry, which blamed the regime.

But she is by no means alone in expressing concern about the involvement of jihadist groups in the uprising. Secular revolutionaries have also raised the alarm. Some groups have stopped their followers from proclaiming "Christians to Beirut, Alawites to their graves", a popular chant at the start of the uprising.

The nun believes in a "hidden will" to empty the Middle East of its Christians. The Christians, she adds, have nothing against Islam. "We've been living with them [Muslims] for centuries," she said.

She plans to return to Syria soon to support a movement called Musalaha (Reconciliation), which rejects sectarian violence and includes members of all ethnic and religious communities who are tired of the war.

They have their work cut out for them, however.

"What have things come to?" she sighed, contemplating news of the latest horror, a video clip in which an 11-year-old boy is seen slicing off the head of a man in his fifties.

"I fear for our future."


The Sunday Times
by: MATTHEW CAMPBELL
December 30, 2012

WAR AGAINST SECULAR SYRIA

VISION IS REQUIRED TO PREVENT A ‘MEDIA AND HUMANITARIAN WAR’ AGAINST SECULAR SYRIA; SUCH A WAR WILL INEVITABLY IMPACT ON AUSTRALIA

1. President Bashar al-Asad is regularly denounced in our media about beyond the clichés, what do we know about him? U.S. academic David Lesch informs us in his book “New Lion of Damascus” that Basher al-Asad spent 18 months training as an ophthalmologist in London and was considered a highly intelligent and compassionate doctor. Rallies in Syria and Australia show that he remains a very popular leader. There is strong vocal support for the reform package he has introduced. The reforms ensure that Syria remains an independent secular country, not tied to any oil-rich Islamic Gulf monarchy or the US, and that the monopoly the Baath Party has had on power for many decades is broken. Syria could become a democracy within the next 6 months, given a chance. 

(Is there a more credible, compassionate, democratically inclined and popular leader waiting in the wings with a magic wand given to him/her by NATO, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, or the US?) 

2. Former M16 agent and British diplomat, Alastair Crooke, has warned against the West’s use of radical Islamic insurgents in Syria, many brought in from outside the country. Sheik Qaradawi, a very popular cleric based in Qatar who has a regular program on Al-Jazeera, issued a fatwa against the Syrian government in March. The calls of such radical clerics to overthrow the Syrian government incite violence. One chant at anti-government demonstrations has been, “Send Christians to Beirut and Alawis to their graves”. There have been hundreds of brutal killings and abductions of people from all religious backgrounds, but particularly from the minority communities. (These stories are known by many Syrian Australians.) Can people inspired by the extremist clerics be tamed by the West? What will the response of radical elements in the Australian Muslim community be to such calls? Muslim extremists around the world are being emboldened by the support the West gives fundamentalist clerics. 

(NB: Sheik Qaradawi has praised Hitler in the past. See reference list.) 

3. The US, the UN, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany and Turkey are leading a ‘humanitarian war’ against Syria. Yet the rights of civilians killed by militia and soldiers killed and mutilated by men yelling out “God is great” are given virtually no attention by human rights organisations or our media. The Syrian army and security forces must inevitably be guilty of human rights abuses, but there must be a much more thorough examination of the ‘war’ the army has been waging with armed men since March. There are many innocent victims of this ‘war’ that are not being acknowledged and their killers are not being condemned by the outside world. The UN’s latest body count for Syria is 3,500 dead. There has to be scrutiny of the circumstances in which these people were killed. How many were civilians killed by militia? How many were soldiers killed by snipers, in ambushes, or in battle? The UN figure is no justification for a war that will impact on 22 million lives. 

4. In this ‘media and humanitarian war’, unlike the lead up to the war in Afghanistan, scant attention is given the status of Syrian women and the rights and freedoms they have. Their lives are more comparable to those of women in Australia than to the lives of women in the Gulf countries which target Syria. War fuelled by an extremist ideology must put at great risk not only women’s lives, but also their rights and freedoms. Which generation will be able to retrieve these freedoms? 

5. A critical question in this discussion concerns where Australian journalists and politicians get their ‘trusted information’ on Syria. What determines their views: wide reading and in-depth analysis, the canvassing of many different opinions, or the stories of a few? A rally of Syrian Australians in support of President al-Asad and peaceful reform attracted hundreds of people in Melbourne last Sunday, but no media representatives attended. In contrast, a meeting organized the same evening by people opposed to the Syrian president attracted Syrian, Lebanese, Egyptian, Libyan, and Somali Australians and a Victorian Greens MP. The MP spoke to the meeting and applauded the video which preceded her talk, a video which many dispassionate people would have considered crude propaganda. The opposition wants the Syrian Embassy closed. She advised the participants to write letters to their local MPs, to befriend them, to tell their stories. She explained that three men from the Syrian Australian community had befriended her and she calls them whenever she wants “information” about Syria, which she duly passes onto people. Are Senator Bob Brown’s statements on Syria determined by the stories and political views of three men? 

6. Amnesty International is at the forefront of the propaganda and humanitarian war against Syria. The recent appointment of Suzanne Nossel as the new Executive Director of Amnesty International USA should be raising eyebrows. Ms Nossel has worked for the US administration in the UN and Washington, and her paper on “Smart Power” apparently inspired Hilary Clinton in her 2009 Senate confirmation hearing. http://aeconomics.blogspot.com/2009/02/smart-power.html (One analysis of ‘smart power) 


7. In regard to the Arab League, the countries pushing the suspension of Syria - oil-rich Qatar and Saudi Arabia – appear to have corrupted the League’s decision-making process. While countries such as Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Brazil, India, South Africa, Russia and China maintain support for Syria, it appears that in Australia, many journalists and politicians have decided we are at war with Syria as there is virtually no serious debate about the isolation of 22 million people. Yet, a war in Syria would inevitably impact on Australia. Already, tension, fear, and acts of aggression have been reported within the community. In the long-term, if nothing is done to curb the rhetoric of war and prevent the war itself, hundreds of thousands are likely to be killed and countries around the world will have to accept millions more desperate refugees. 


REFERENCES:

Books:

· “The New Lion of Damascus: Bashar Al-Asad and Modern Syria”, by David Lesch (2005) 

· “Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East” by Patrick Seale, University of California Press (1988) 

Articles (online): 
Seumas Milne, “War on Iran has already begun.Act before it threatens all of us” 7 Dec 2011 http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/dec/07/iran-war-already-begun

Tony Cartalucci “Humanitarian concerns "dressing up" the military conquest of Syria.” (re UN report on Syria), 29 November 2011 http://info-wars.org/2011/11/28/un-report-on-syria-based-on-witness-accounts-outside-of-syria/

UN Human Rights Council Report on Syria, 23 November 2011 http://nationalpostnews.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/a-hrc-s-17-2-add1.pdf

Jeremy Salt,”The Road to hell: Libya and now Syria”, 3 Dec 2011 (an analysis of UN Human Rights Report) http://palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=17293

Alastair Crooke, “Syria and Iran: the great game”, The Guardian, 4 November 2011 http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/nov/04/syria-iran-great-game

William Engdahl discusses US “Greater ME Plan”, analysis of “Arab Springs” and US economy, building a military bastion in ME;Russia ‘stabilizing role’; etc. 3 Nov 2011 http://www.disclose.tv/action/viewvideo/81429/William_Engdahl___Arab_Spring_a_western_ploy_to_control_Eurasia___Irina_Galushko__RT_/

Wayne Madsen, “US Ambassador to Syria in charge of recruiting Arab/Muslim death squads”, 12th September 2011 http://www.opinion-maker.org/2011/09/u-s-ambassador-to-syria-in-charge-of-recruiting-arabmuslim-death-squads/#

Press TV report on Sibel Edmond, FBI whistle blower, claim, “US training Syrian rebels in Turkey”, 9th December 2011 


Paul Stenhouse, “For Democracy to thrive, Bashar Al-Asad needs a chance”, The Australian, 13 October 2011 http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/for-democracy-to-thrive-bashar-al-assad-needs-a-chance/story-e6frg6ux-1226165234200

Ibrahim al-Amin, “A Revolution against Resistance?”, Al-Akhbar English, 4 December 2011 


Telegraph, “Syria: Fall of Bashar al-Assad will bring war to ME, warns Iraq” 4 December 2011 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/8934317/Syria-fall-of-Bashar-al-Assad-will-bring-war-to-Middle-East-warns-Iraq.html

Eric Margolis, “Syrian Time Bomb”, 28 November 2011 http://www.ericmargolis.com/political_commentaries/syrian-time-bomb.aspx

··Jeremy Salt, “Truth and Falsehood in Syria”, Counterpunch, 17 October 2011 http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article29321.htm

Jeremy Salt, “Turkey’s Syrian Ambit:New War in the Making” , 27 November 2011 http://www.intifada-palestine.com/2011/11/turkey%E2%80%99s-syrian-ambit-new-war-in-the-making/

Interview with Gilbert Ashcar, Brit academic, regarding Qatar, Al-Jazeera, Syria &ME March 26, 2011 http://warincontext.org/2011/03/26/qatar-al-jazeera-and-the-middle-east/

Fiona Hill, “Syrians deserve a better deal”, New Matilda, 17 November 2011 http://newmatilda.com/2011/11/17/syrians-deserve-better-deal

Jonathan Steele, “Syria needs mediation, not a push into all-out civil war” 17 November 2011 http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/nov/17/syria-mediation-arab-league-assad
RT Question More, 2 Dec 2011. “Libyan in(ter)vention: False facts fatal for Gaddafi” (The ‘humanitarian’ war against Libya based on false or flimsy evidence.) http://rt.com/news/lybia-gaddafi-war-evidence-833/

Paul Wood, BBC reporter, 26th November 2011 (NB His 8th December report on SBS News referred to killing of 4,000 people, but no mention of deaths of soldiers.) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-15905970

Tony Cartalucci, “Turkey Accused of Killing Kurd Leader – Trying to Trigger Civil War in Syria”, 9th October, 2011http://www.infowars.com/turkey-accused-of-killing-kurd-leader-trying-to-trigger-civil-war-in-syria/ 

Alastair Crooke, “Ticking Clocks and Accidental War”, 14 October 2007 http://conflictsforum.org/2007/ticking-clocks-and-accidental-war/

Susan Dirgham, “Fear and Horror in Syria”, October 2011 http://pool.abc.net.au/media/fear-and-horror-syria-one-persons-account

Susan Dirgham, “Questions must be asked and answered”, May 2011 http://pool.abc.net.au/media/syria-questions-must-be-asked-and-answered

SANA, “Armed groups attack family in Hama” December 1, 2011 http://www.sana.sy/eng/337/2011/12/01/385323.htm

ChamPress (News outlet in Syria) http://www.champress.net/

Cham Press, “Media sources details of a conspiracy by Bandar Bin Sultan (former Saudi Ambassador to US and arms dealer) and Feltman (former US ambassador to Lebanon) to “destroy” Syria”, 28 March 2011 http://www.champress.net/index.php?q=en/Article/view/86507

Michael A. Ledeen, “The War on Terror Won’t End in Baghdad”, 4 Sept 2002, from The Wall Street Journal, republished on webpage of American Enterprise Institute http://www.aei.org/article/foreign-and-defense-policy/regional/middle-east-and-north-africa/the-war-on-terror-wont-end-in-baghdad/

Bernard Chazelle, “Bush’s Desolate Imperium” Counterpunch, Feb 2004 


RT, “West’s Policies on Syria could ignite WW3”, Dec 2011, including interview with US analyst Lawrence Freeman (The international community needs to act as a mediator.) 

William Blum, “USrael and Iran”, 3 Dec 2011, http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article29880.htm#.Ttsg77QiSHU.email

Amnesty calls for Syria to be referred to International Criminal Court, 27 April 2011 http://www.amnesty.org.au/news/comments/25453/

Israel’s intentions re Syria and region? “Israel coming unhinged? A loose cannon in a volatile region” by Sharmine Narwani, Oxford Uni, Article in Huff Post Feb 7, 2010 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sharmine-narwani/israel-coming-unhinged-a_b_451283.html

Interview with Robert Fisk re the ‘truth’ and ‘reality’ about war, reference to Iraq war, April 2008 



Who is Michael Ledeen, US commentator who beats the drums of war? (See video link below to see his interview with Lee Smith re Iran and Syria.) 


Youtube Videos: 

Youtube: “Mother Agnes Merriam Al-Saleeb From The Catholic Media Center In Syria.wmv” November 2011 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R58xkl6IFGU

Interview of reporter after press conference given by Syrian Foreign Minister, 28 November 2011 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVHTdIXNZVE&feature=related

Michael Ledeen and Lee Smith, senior editor at the Weekly Standard, discuss Iran and Syria on PJTV, 10th December (PJTV - aimed at “keeping America strong, safe and free”) 


RT, discussion with Dr Rania Masri, Lebanese academic, about Arab League decision re sanctions on Syria, 27 Nov 2011 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDXvfNTQNZ4

Interview with Dr Wilfred Tarpley re NATO-CIA destabilization of Syria, 29 November 2011 http://sgtreport.com/2011/11/dr-webster-tarpley-the-nato-cia-destabilization-of-syria-is-under-way/

RT, Report on Arab League vote on sanctions, Interviews with various commentators, 17 November 2011 http://counterpsyops.com/2011/11/17/bloody-civil-war-at-hand-as-syria-under-ultimatum-video/

Cleric Al Qaradawi, President of International Union of Muslim Scholars, gives support to Syrian National Council (opposition outside Syria; his support effectively encourages jihadists to go to Syria to fight army, which is what is happening) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_5IjdgqdMg&feature=related

Youtube: “Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi : The scum who started it” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMrUM7M2hFY

On Al-Jazeera, “Sheik Qaradawi blesses the Syrian revolution” (Arabic, March 2011) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqCdKiydvtg

· Youtube: “Syrian Sunni Cleric Threatens: "We Shall Mince [The Alawites] in Meat Grinders" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bwz8i3osHww&feature=related

Mother of Sari Saoud interviewed after the killing of her son, November 2011 


Youtube: “Al Qaradawi praising Hitler's anti-Semitism” Feb 2009 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HStliOnVl6Q

Youtube: “Syria under threat”, Melbourne rally, 25 September 2011 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eS2bM0ruWSo

George Carlin (US comedian), “We like War”, 8 Oct 2007, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDkhzHQO7jY

Propaganda in the American press, “How to brainwash a nation”; the work of Edward Bernays, CIA and coups, terror campaigns 

Interviews with President al-Asad 
John Simpson, January 7, 2008 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PwFBqiH6As

Charlie Rose, 27 May 2010, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3G4LrDSkuA

Rear Vision
ABC Radio National, Rear Vision, “Democracy in Iraq?” 23 November (A useful resource as it is a reminder of the complexity of the region and the difficulties faced by governments and people trying to fast-track ‘democracy’)

360 Documentaries
Inside Syria, a report by Reece Erlich inside Syria, 10 December, 2011. (This has the voices of Syrian people expressing different views so it is valuable for that reason alone. However, Erlich does not give attention to the killings of soldiers from beginning or the terror of the ‘militia’. These things must have been referred to by many of the people interviewed; they are the main topic of conversation in the Australian Syrian community who learn about the killings, abductions and terror from their family in Syria and satellite TV. Nor does Erlich refer to the fatwas of extremist clerics and their implications for the conflict. The introduction to the report also presents the official US and allies view: “4,000 demonstrators killed by the military”.)

Australians For Syria requests that the 46th ALP National Conference:

1. Condemns 

· Violence against innocent civilians in Syria whether it is perpetrated by members of the army, security forces or jihadists, militants or armed rebels 
· The fatwas issued by radical clerics, such as Sheik Qaradawi, against the Syrian government 
Such fatwas incite violence and they encourage jihadists to travel to Syria to kill soldiers and civilians in the most brutal of ways; the fatwas can lead to genocide against Syrian minorities, particularly Christians and Alawis. The fact that these fatwas are not condemned encourages extremism in our communities 
Any attempt to pressure through violence or intimidation the significant population of Syrian Christians to leave their homeland 

· Outside interference in Syria's affairs, including the support of violence against the Syrian government and inevitably against its people 
· Conditions which can lead to the creation of a failed state and a decades’ long civil war and the resultant refugee problem 
· Sanctions against Syria which strangle the economy and significantly increase hardships experienced by millions of families in Syria 
· Sanctions which physically isolate the country and so make travel in and out of Syria extremely difficult, thus stranding hundreds if not thousands of Syrian Australians in communities which have either already experienced terror or which have reason to fear it. 

2. Supports 

· A peaceful transition to political reform in Syria 
· On-going serious dialogue between the Syrian government, political parties in Syria, and representatives of opposition groups 
· Resources to be allocated to an open investigation of the crisis facing Syria and of the Syrian Australian community’s response to the crisis 
· A group of Australians with ‘an open mind’ (eg Kerry O’Brien) to visit Syria as soon as possible so as to investigate the crisis first hand and report on it 


Note: There are hundreds of Syrian and Lebanese Australians who are very active in the Australian Labor Party who support peaceful reform in Syria and strongly object to the interference of outsiders in the affairs of this sovereign nation. Many of these people have family or friends in Syria who have been affected by the violence of militants in Syria. The young uncle of one of our members was killed in April by militants, but Al-Jazeera reported that the army was responsible for his death. We hope delegates to the Labor Party National Conference are encouraged by our information sheets to make a serious effort to discover the complex truths of Syria. Understanding Syria today and voicing our concerns can help Australia tomorrow. 

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The United Nations Defends NATO’s Premeditated Genocide in Syria


As long-planned sectarian bloodbath unfolds, UN deceitfully labels atrocities as “reprisals.”

As early as 2007,  it was reported that the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, together were not only organizing, funding, training, and arming militants directly linked to Al Qaeda to be used against Syria and Iran, but knew well in advance that by doing so, they would trigger an unprecedented “cataclysmic conflict” driven by sectarian extremism. Not only was such sectarian violence expected, it was desired ahead of redrawing a new map for the Middle East – one that favored Western corporate-financier and geopolitical interests, while keeping the region weak, divided, and infighting.

Now, the UN is feigning indignation over the inevitable, increasingly overt sectarian nature of the so-called “Free Syrian Army” and its so-called “rebellion.” Entire communities of minorities face extermination. To blunt the impact this will have on public opinion, UN special adviser on the prevention of genocide, Adama Dieng has preemptively stated:

“I am deeply concerned that entire communities risk paying the price for crimes committed by the Syrian government.”



According to Reuters’ article, “U.N. anti-genocide envoy: Syria minorities face reprisal risk,” the genocide NATO and its allies are arming, funding, and willfully fueling is merely “reprisals.” What Reuters doesn’t report is that US, Saudi, and Lebanese officials had for years warned that US foreign policy, started under Bush and continued in earnest under Obama, would trigger this very sort of sectarian violence – driven by Al Qaeda-style fanaticism, not “reprisals.”

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Seymour Hersh writing for the New Yorker, wrote in his 2007 article, “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” that:

“To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.” -The Redirection, Seymour Hersh (2007)

Hersh’s report would continue by stating:

“the Saudi government, with Washington’s approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad, of Syria. The Israelis believe that putting such pressure on the Assad government will make it more conciliatory and open to negotiations.” -The Redirection, Seymour Hersh (2007)

Further admissions of a joint US-Israeli-Saudi conspiracy against Syria included:

“…[Saudi Arabia's] Bandar and other Saudis have assured the White House that “they will keep a very close eye on the religious fundamentalists. Their message to us was ‘We’ve created this movement, and we can control it.’ It’s not that we don’t want the Salafis to throw bombs; it’s who they throw them at—Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians, if they continue to work with Hezbollah and Iran.” -The Redirection, Seymour Hersh (2007)

In regards to sectarian extremism in particular it was forewarned that:

“Robert Baer, a former longtime C.I.A. agent in Lebanon, has been a severe critic of Hezbollah and has warned of its links to Iranian-sponsored terrorism. But now, he told me, “we’ve got Sunni Arabs preparing for cataclysmic conflict, and we will need somebody to protect the Christians in Lebanon. It used to be the French and the United States who would do it, and now it’s going to be Nasrallah and the Shiites” -The Redirection, Seymour Hersh (2007)

Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah was also featured in Hersh’s report and had also warned of imminent and spreading sectarian war purposefully stoked by the West:

Nasrallah said he believed that President Bush’s goal was “the drawing of a new map for the region. They want the partition of Iraq. Iraq is not on the edge of a civil war—there is a civil war. There is ethnic and sectarian cleansing. The daily killing and displacement which is taking place in Iraq aims at achieving three Iraqi parts, which will be sectarian and ethnically pure as a prelude to the partition of Iraq. Within one or two years at the most, there will be total Sunni areas, total Shiite areas, and total Kurdish areas. Even in Baghdad, there is a fear that it might be divided into two areas, one Sunni and one Shiite.”

He went on, “I can say that President Bush is lying when he says he does not want Iraq to be partitioned. All the facts occurring now on the ground make you swear he is dragging Iraq to partition. And a day will come when he will say, ‘I cannot do anything, since the Iraqis want the partition of their country and I honor the wishes of the people of Iraq.’ ”

Nasrallah said he believed that America also wanted to bring about the partition of Lebanon and of Syria. In Syria, he said, the result would be to push the country “into chaos and internal battles like in Iraq.” In Lebanon, “There will be a Sunni state, an Alawi state, a Christian state, and a Druze state.” But, he said, “I do not know if there will be a Shiite state.”

The UN once again is abusing its own self-appointed authority by excusing and spinning premeditated sectarian genocide designed to advance a documented conspiracy admitted to years ago. More recently, this conspiracy to destroy Syria through engineered and purposefully protracted violence was documented further by the very corporate-financiers themselves amongst the pages of reports turned out by their own policy think-tanks.

The Brookings Institution in their “Middle East Memo #21: Saving Syria: Assessing Options for Regime Change (.pdf),” openly stated they sought to “bleed” Syria in purposefully protracted violence:

“The United States might still arm the opposition even knowing they will probably never have sufficient power, on their own, to dislodge the Asad network. Washington might choose to do so simply in the belief that at least providing an oppressed people with some ability to resist their oppressors is better than doing nothing at all, even if the support provided has little chance of turning defeat into victory. Alternatively, the United States might calculate that it is still worthwhile to pin down the Asad regime and bleed it, keeping a regional adversary weak, while avoiding the costs of direct intervention.” -pages 8-9, Assessing Options for Regime Change, Brookings Institution.

Such documents completely contradict the public statements issued by the West, which attempt to portray their involvement in Syria as motivated by “humanitarian concerns,” “moral imperatives,” and the “promotion of democracy.” In reality, the goal is to prolong the violence as long as possible, expedite the loss of life, and to destroy the nation by fueling violent militants – just as it was the plan in 2007 when Hersh penned “The Redirection.” The sectarian component of the current conflict is not an unexpected result of violence that began only in 2011, it was an integral part of the West’s foreign policy since 2007.

The sectarian genocide in Syria was purposefully engineered by Western policy makers, and now is willfully covered up, spun, and excused by the UN and the Western mass media alike.


Global Research, December 21, 2012
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Against Left Opportunism: Syria & Anti-Imperialism


The time has come for the left in the United States to make a choice.

Either it can continue to play into the hands of Western imperialism through its bizarre, undying support for the Syrian rebellion, or it can break decisively from opportunism and consistently uphold Syria’s right to self-determination by supporting President Bashar al-Assad.

NATO’s ruthless assault on Libya proved that all of the Western polemics in the world could not conjure a workers revolution into existence that opposed both Colonel Muammar Qaddafi and NATO. It proved that the call to support the rebellion while also condemning Western aggression was worse than taking no position at all. Liberals and opportunists in the US spent more time criticizing Qaddafi than they did organizing actual resistance to the horrific actions of their own government in Libya, and ultimately they supported the Obama administration’s so-called “humanitarian intervention,” if not in words than certainly in deeds.

With President Barack Obama winning a second term handily over Mitt Romney, the administration no longer has the disincentive towards war with Syria and Iran that it did a little over a month ago. Xinhua and RT challenge the narrative put forward by the Western media about the progress of the Syrian rebellion, arguing that they are essentially locked in a stalemate on the ground coupled with a worsening international situation. CNN, on the other hand, runs stories titled “Syria endgame in sight: ‘We welcome this fight’” that claim a rebel victory is within reach.

Washington tipped its hand last week in revealing the purpose of the propaganda war: Accusing a supposedly desperate Assad of planning to use chemical weapons. Imminent victory for the rebellion is an important component of the pro-war narrative because it gives Assad, by all accounts a rational world leader, a motive for planning a patently irrational action. While the US is in a less advantageous position internationally to launch an assault on Syria than they were ten years ago with Iraq, the possibility of invasion has never been greater.

This is the larger context of the US left’s positions, and it’s shocking how little hue and cry there is over imminent war with Syria. Takis Fotopoulos, the famed Greek left-libertarian political philosopher behind the “inclusive democracy” concept, perfectly describes the phenomenon of leftist support, explicit or tacit, for the criminal attacks on countries like Libya and Syria. In the Winter/Spring 2011 issue of The International Journal of Inclusive Democracy, he wrote of the “degenerate left” in the United States. We will quote him at some length:

"The world mass media controlled by the transnational and Zionist elites, crucially assisted this time by the “alternative” world media (from Aljazeera — which has become the unofficial channel of the “revolutionaries” and the transnational elite — to the Iranian Press TV), have played a very important role in creating the illusion of a monolithic “world against the tyrant”, which was not created during all the previous criminal wars of the transnational elite (see Section 4).
This has had very important implications as regards the stand of the Left (statist, libertarian, Green, etc.), who have mostly sided with the “revolutionaries”, if not with the criminal campaign itself! Furthermore, it has not just been the reformist Left who have sided with the new criminal campaign, as they have done in the past. This time, a very significant part of the anti-systemic Left have also indirectly been in favour of this war, through their support for the so-called “revolutionaries” in Libya. This has created (or perhaps revealed) a new kind of degenerate “Left” who, instead of demystifying the systemic propaganda, as used to be their traditional role, have directly or indirectly been supporting it, justifying the conclusion I derived ten years ago about the end of the traditional antisystemic movements. (1) "

We are eager to read Fotopoulos’ new book, Redesigning the Middle East: The Arab “Revolutions”, Counter-Revolution in Iran and Regime Change, which promises to explore this concept further.

The point is, by not putting forth a consistent, unified, principled anti-imperialist position on the Libyan or Syrian question, the left aids and abets Western imperialism. One cannot call the US left’s willingness to hitch its wagon onto any protest movement, regardless of its composition or political context, anything but the most degenerate form of opportunism. Just as in Libya, the Syrian rebellion today has generally worked with the West and its puppet states towards the overthrow of a nationalist, anti-imperialist government since the beginning. Thanks to news services like RT, even Western leftists have had access to this information from day-one, and yet they cannot be bothered to sacrifice some vague notion of “principle” and support Assad and Syrian self-determination. As we will see, this opportunism has run the gamut from outright support to more insidious forms.

Like Libya, Syria Reveals Opportunism in the US Left

A cruise-missile leftist blog called The North Star raised the ire of a number of leftist groups in the US when they posted an article entitled “Lybia and Syria: When Anti-Imperialism Goes Wrong.” The piece took left-opportunism to a new level by openly calling on leftists to support the demand by the Syrian opposition for Western imperialist intervention. In subsequent pieces, the author, Pham Binh, heavily criticized the Cliffite-Trotskyite International Socialist Organization (ISO) for “quietly [abandoning] its support for the Libyan revolution once the going got tough and NATO’s F-16s got going.” (2) For Binh, the ISO’s clumsy and ham-handed justification for supporting the Libyan rebels but not the NATO intervention of 2011 was “the anti-imperialism of fools,” but not because they supported the invasion. Rather, Binh criticizes the ISO for not actively supporting the NATO airstrikes to bring down Colonel Muammar Qaddafi’s government, claiming that leftists should support the ‘Arab spring’ – itself a completely empty term employed by the West to blur the line between popular uprisings, like those in Egypt and Tunisia, and the imperialist-instigated plots against Libya and Syria – “no matter what side the U.S. government eventually decides to back.” (2)

This bizarre episode of explicit opportunist support for imperialism provoked many strong responses from other left groups around the world. Directly responding to both The North Star and the ISO’s own left-opportunist view of the Syrian question, Mazda Majidi of the Party for Socialism & Liberation (PSL) wrote a fantastic piece for Liberation News entitled “When justifying imperialist intervention “goes wrong” Cruise-missile socialists.

At Return to the Source, we see no reason to reinvent the wheel, and we unite with the criticisms of Binh’s piece levied by Majidi and the PSL. We encourage any and all Marxist-Leninists interested in this debate to read the aforementioned article.

Unlike Libya, however, the question of the Syrian ‘rebellion’ is still at the forefront of the struggle against imperialism. anti-imperialists must resolutely struggle against the possibility of a Western military invasion of Syrian and rigorously combat the left-opportunist elements – like the ISO and The North Star – which seek to give cover to an invasion.

In terms of honesty, logic, and consistency, The North Star gets high marks. Polemic-trading between The North Star and the ISO should not blur the fact that both of these groups view the so-called ‘Syrian rebellion’ in the same way: a genuine popular people’s movement against the so-called “Assad dictatorship.” This is crucial to understanding the common tie between the ISO and The North Star, which is left-opportunism and social imperialism. Majidi notes this in the PSL’s response, saying that ”[they] accept all the same premises: that the Libyan government had no significant base of support and that the revolt was a popular “revolution” with an “understandable” desire for foreign help.” (4)

However, The North Star accepts the logical conclusion of its support for the so-called ‘Syrian rebellion’, while the ISO fallaciously tries to have their cake and eat it too. In perhaps the most bizarre piece put forward by the ISO, author Paul D’Amato presents its position “to support the revolutions in Libya and Syria against dictatorial regimes, while at the same time opposing intervention by the U.S. and its imperialist allies.” He follows up these mutually contradictory positions by saying that “some of us who haven’t lost our heads,” (!) presumably the ISO, “still consider imperialism to be the greatest enemy of both the revolutions of the Arab Spring and national self-determination in the Middle East.” (5)

D’Amato’s seems uncomfortable for the duration of the article as he attempts to distinguish the stance of the ISO from The North Star. The reason for D’Amato’s discomfort is that Binh’s piece on The North Star is just a more honest and logical presentation of the ISO’s own horrendous position: tactical support for imperialism.

It becomes evident in D’Amato’s piece, along with two follow-up pieces further articulating the ISO’s left-opportunist position, that the ISO supports an imaginary ‘rebellion’ in Syria. Lee Sustar of the ISO blatantly denies facts now acknowledged by the Western media in his August 16, 2012 screed entitled “What is the future of the Syrian revolution?” We quote Sustar at some length to give the reader a sense of scale for the ISO’s delusion:

"SocialistWorker.org has been among publications on the left that have supported the Syrian revolution while criticizing leading elements of the Syrian National Council (SNC) for their attempts to make alliances with imperialism. Key members of the SNC have called for stepped-up intervention by Western powers, such as military action to establish safe havens for refugees on Syrian territory or the imposition of a no-fly zone to neutralize Assad’s air power. 
But for Rees and some others on the left, that’s enough to write off not only the SNC and the Free Syrian Army (FSA), but also the Local Coordinating Councils (LCCs) that have organized heroic mass resistance for more than a year and half despite the most savage repression–mass arrests, torture, artillery attacks on civilian areas, massacres and, now, aerial bombardment. 
Is it really the case that one of the most inspiring, self-organized revolutionary movements in recent decades has degenerated into a pliable tool of the West? Are we looking at a repeat of Libya, where NATO air strikes played the decisive role in turning the tide in the civil war? Are ultra-sectarian Islamist forces–backed by the Saudis and Qataris–becoming a dominant force? 
The answer is no. While imperialist forces are angling to install a post-Assad leadership to their liking–a preferably a military strongman, as Reuters reported–the revolutionary movement has continued to develop in response to the struggle in Syria itself.
Moreover, there are well-documented divisions within the SNC and the FSA–and criticisms of both from grassroots Syrian revolutionary forces on the ground in the LCCs. And does it make any sense to equate an SNC leader who calls for a no-fly zone and meets with State Department officials with a farmer who distributes AK-47s smuggled in from Turkey in order to defend a village from Syrian army tanks?"

Notice how Sustar actually avoids answering the serious indictments of the so-called ‘Syrian rebellion’ that he himself brings up via rhetorical questions. All he can muster is some flaccid claim that “the revolutionary movement has continued to develop in response to the struggle in Syria itself,” (?) and that “there are well-documented divisions within the SNC and the [Free Syrian Army].” (6)

Of course there are divisions in the ‘rebellion’! There were the same divisions in Libya between the comparador bourgeois elite and the Islamist elements connected to al-Qaeda. This isn’t the point, though. The point is that both of these interests, which have comfortably coalesced in Syria as they did in Libya, are the unquestionable leading forces for the ‘rebellion’. US officials, who are now openly collaborating with al-Qaeda to bring down the Syrian government, now admit that the radical Islamist network “has advanced beyond isolated pockets of activity in Syria and now is building a network of well-organized cells.” (7) With several hundred militants operating in Syria, the Associated Press writes that US officials “fear the terrorists could be on the verge of establishing an Iraq-like foothold that would be hard to defeat if rebels oust President Bashar Assad,” a peculiar concern for the US to hold if the ISO’s ‘local coordinating committees’ were in the driver’s seat separate from al-Qaeda and Islamists. (8) In trying to downplay their numbers, Sustar neglects the stark reality that Islamists “are using their experience in coordinating small units of fighters in Afghanistan to win new followers,” allowing them to take control of many so-called ‘independent’ groups of ‘rebels’ that the ISO claims to support. (9)

Even the US government acknowledges divisions in the rebellion. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s remarks in late October that withdrew support for the Syrian National Council (SNC1) reflects Washington’s growing alarm at the presence of al-Qaeda militants on the ground, who have little to no loyalty to the Syrian exile elite. Independent scholar Stephen Gowans explains this phenomenon in a November 2, 2012 article:
"Uprisings aimed at overthrowing governments are often divided between militants who do the heavy lifting on the ground and politicians who lead the fight in the political sphere. Outside powers scheme to anoint an acceptable politician as a leader-in-waiting to step into the void if and when the current government is toppled. The leader must be both acceptable to his or her foreign backers and to the militants on the ground." (8)
Gowans goes on to explain that the strong presence of exiled Muslim Brotherhood members – consistent opponents of Assad’s secular Ba’athist government in Syria – prevented the SNC1 from gaining the loyalty of the rebels on the ground. Indeed, the Obama administration and the faux-socialist Hollande government in France have gone back to the drawing board in supporting the rise of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC2), which hopes to garner the loyalty of the various sectarian elements in the Syrian rebellion.

Rest assured, though, Washington’s hesitance to commit to the SNC1 has nothing to do with minimizing a “revolutionary alternative” or the ‘local coordinating committees’ within the Syrian rebellion, as the ISO might claim. Gowans further explains that the impetus to the new SNC2′s formation “is to marginalize the influence of the Jihadists, many though not all of whom have spilled into Syria from other countries, bent on overturning a secular regime led by a president whose Alawi faith they revile as heretical. If the Jihadists can be sidelined, Washington may be able to funnel arms to “acceptable” militant groups, without fear of their being used later against US targets.” (8) Secular, “anti-imperialist” rebel groups are not a substantial factor in Washington’s calculus for intervention, despite what the ISO would have its members believe, because the truly anti-imperialist groups in Syria, like the two communist parties, critically support the Assad government.

Appalling as it may be, The North Star’s position is simply a more honest rendering of the same opportunist position taken by the ISO. It approaches the Syrian question not from a perspective of dialectical materialism, but from a perspective of craven idealism. The opportunists in the US left cannot view the Syrian rebellion in any terms other than a metaphysical struggle against tyranny. They buy wholesale the reports of retaliatory violence by the Syrian security forces in order to characterize Assad as a tyrant, and in doing so, they confound the central contradiction facing the Syrian people: the contradiction between imperialism and national liberation.

Ironically, Leon Trotsky – the ideological godfather of the ISO – may have put it best in a 1938 interview, when he said, “Truly, one must have an empty head to reduce world antagonisms and military conflicts to the struggle between fascism and democracy. Under all masks one must know how to distinguish exploiters, slave-owners, and robbers!” (9) It’s a testament to the absurdity of the US left’s opportunism that we now say, in this particular moment, D’Amato and Sustar could learn a lot from reading Trotsky!

Perhaps the most confounding question of all for the ISO is this: Where is their coverage of the ‘Libyan revolution’ now? Now that the rebels that were supposedly independent of the West have ascended to power, what happened to the ISO’s enthusiasm and the phrase-mongering about ‘democratic rights’? An ever-defiant ISO published an attempt at summating the lessons of the ‘Libyan revolution’ shortly after the fall of Tripoli. ISO leader Alan Maass, in an article titled, “Who really won in Libya?” writes, “Qaddafi deserved to be overthrown. But the circumstances of his downfall are an advance for imperialism–which means a setback for the struggle to extend democracy and freedom.” (10)

One almost expects to hear a Homer Simpson-esque “Doh!” at the end of the article, as if to say, what a shame that the US compromised the integrity of another revolution! The ISO did nothing but apologize for the crimes of the Libyan rebels – shamefully downplaying and apologizing for the lynching of black African migrants – and ignore the long-standing evidence that the rebellion was instigated and supported by Western imperialist countries from the beginning. And then they act surprised when NATO attacks Libya at the request of those same rebels for whom they pledged support.

If the ISO had published a thoughtful, reflective piece that asked honest, hard questions about the flaws with their line in Libya, they might have earned a little credibility. Instead, they applied their tautological ideology to Syria and doubled-down on their support for the foreign-backed rebellion, whose ties to the West are even more documented than those of the Libyan rebels.

The ISO may be the most peculiar of all the US left sects, but their position was echoed by countless liberal publications and thinkers, including The Nation, ZNet, and the academic Immanuel Wallerstein. Sadly, these groups and individuals have learned nothing from the Libyan experience and continue to support the Syrian rebellion, even in the face of renewed US aggression.

Opportunism in the Western Left

Although opportunism has led many groups in the US left down the path of social imperialism – socialist in word, imperialism in deed – this perverse trend extends far beyond to the US to many of the so-called “left” groups in Western Europe.

SYRIZA, the Greek coalition of ostensibly leftist groups, has enjoyed the support of many on the US left vis-a-vis the Communist Party of Greece (KKE). The so-called “Coalition of the Radical Left” exposed its opportunism to the people of Greece in its continued acceptance of the Eurozone, despite its verbal commitment to opposing austerity. However, SYRIZA has quietly worked with the other conservative parties in Greece to support the Syrian rebels and argue for Greek intervention into the conflict. On September 12, 2012, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras “expressed his concerns about the developments in Syria and the need for Greece to “intervene” in order for the EU to enhance assistance so Greece can host refugees fleeing the violence in the country.” (11) During the duration of NATO’s attack on Libya, SYRIZA leaders made nary a statement whatsoever and made only a vague reference to the criminal assault in a statement to the Coalition Against NATO/G8 rally on May 20, 2012.

We contrast SYRIZA’s opportunism with the plethora of statements by the KKE against Greek involvement in aggression towards Syria and Iran. (12) KKE consistently upholds proletarian internationalism and is strongly critical of any attempts by its own government to intervene in Syria. SYRIZA, instead, has broken their opportunistic silence during the assault on Libya and crossed the threshold into the territory of social imperialism, calling openly for Greek intervention in Syria.

SYRIZA is but one example of the increasingly prevalent role that so-called “left” parties and movements are playing in supporting imperialism. Much ado was made of France electing a ‘socialist’ President, François Hollande, earlier this year. Playing into the historical trend of social democracy towards supporting imperialism – the major schism in the Second International that Lenin fought against – Hollande has doubled-down on the increasingly hawkish policies of former President Nicholas Sarkozy and supported the Syrian rebels at every juncture. To date, France’s so-called ‘socialist’ government has supported the reactionary terrorist rebellion more prolifically than the United States!

France now delivers money and arms to proxies along the Turkish border that are subsequently funneled to the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which has primarily directed the terrorist activity of the rebellion in Syria. (13) The Guardian reports that Hollande’s support has even ”reached Islamist groups who were desperately short of ammunition and who had increasingly turned for help towards al-Qaida aligned jihadist groups in and around Aleppo.” (13) Going further than the United States, Hollande recognized the SNC1 as the legitimate government of Syria and has called for the Syrian opposition to begin forming a “provisional government.” (14)

Of course, every Marxist-Leninist should expect social-democrats like Hollande and SYRIZA to function as part of the capitalist system. However, the vanguard role that a nominally ‘socialist’ government is playing in spearheading imperialist aggression towards Syria is particularly striking in this period. Hollande and SYRIZA are opportunists, but the similarities in their positions on Syria with elements of the left in the US are incredibly disturbing.

Lenin, Syria, and the Struggle Against Opportunism

As Social-Democratic parties across Europe got behind their own bourgeois governments in lockstep during the First World War, Lenin was one of the harshest critics of what he termed “social chauvanism,” which was the placing of national interests above proletarian internationalism through the use of socialist phrases. Indeed, the distinguishing feature of the Bolsheviks was their consistent opposition to the First World War and the imperialist crimes of their own government.

Reading Lenin’s attacks on social chauvanism in 2012 will draw obvious analogies to SYRIZA, Hollande, and opportunist elements of the US left in the mind of astute readers. We will quote from his 1915 essay, Social Chauvanist Policy Behind a Cover of International Phrases at some length:
"To influence the workers, the bourgeois must assume the guise of socialists, Social-Democrats, internationalists, and the like, for otherwise they can exert no influence. The Rabocheye Utro group disguise themselves; they apply plenty of paint and powder, prettify themselves, cast sheep eyes all around, and go the limit! They are ready to sign the Zimmerwald Manifesto a hundred times (a slap in the face for those Zimmerwaldists who signed the Manifesto without combating its timidity or making reservations!) or any other resolution on the imperialist nature of the war, or take any oath of allegiance to “internationalism” and “revolutionism” (“liberation of the country” in the censored press being the equivalent of “revolution” in the underground press), if only—if only they are not prevented from calling upon the workers to participate in the war industries committees, i.e., in practice to participate in the reactionary war of plunder (“a war of defence”). 
Only this is action; all the rest is words. Only this is reality; all the rest is phrases. Only this is needed by the police, by the tsarist monarchy, Khvostov and the bourgeoisie. The clever bourgeois in countries that are cleverer are more tolerant of internationalist and socialist phrases if only participation in defence is assured, as is evidenced by comment in the French reactionary press regarding the London Conference of the socialists of the “Triple Entente”. With the socialist gentry, one of these papers said, it’s a kind of tic douloureux, a species of nervous malady which forces people involuntarily to repeat the same gesture, the same muscular movement, the same word. It is for that reason, the paper said, that “our own” socialists cannot speak about anything without repeating the words, “We are internationalists; we stand for social revolution”. This is not dangerous, the bourgeois paper concludes, only a “tic”; what is important to “us” is their stand for the defence of the country.
That is how the clever French and British bourgeois reason. If participation in a war of plunder is defended with phrases about democracy, socialism, etc., is this not to the advantage of rapacious governments, the imperialist bourgeoisie? Is it not to the master’s advantage to keep a lackey who swears to all and sundry that his master loves them, and has dedicated his life to their welfare? (15)"

The particulars have changed, but the general opportunist trend that Lenin observed in Social Democratic parties has re-emerged in 2012. Groups like the ISO and intellectuals like Wallerstein assert that their support for the Libyan or Syrian rebels is a part of some greater move towards ‘democracy’ or ‘revolution’. Central to the ISO’s argument for supporting the Libyan rebels, even after the NATO intervention, was constantly repeating the phrase, “Arab Spring,” and waxing on about how the rebellion in Libya was part of a larger revolutionary movement sweeping away “dictators” in the Arab world.

Reality collided with their idealist phrase-mongering, and the ISO tacitly supported the criminal assault on Libya by ruthlessly demonizing Qaddafi, first and foremost. Today, as opportunist groups on the US left call for the toppling of Assad – whether they take the next logical step and call for outright intervention, like The North Star, or veil it, like the ISO – we are witnessing a similar trend.

Just as Lenin and the Bolsheviks combated social chauvanism through ideological struggle, so too much genuine revolutionaries in the US and Western Europe combat the opportunist elements that functionally support US imperialism. There can be no more mixed messages; no more social democrats playing the role of imperialist cheerleaders. The anti-war left in the US must firmly embrace anti-imperialism and begin building resistance to war with Syria that includes upholding Syria’s right to self-determination.

Victory to Assad and the Syrian people!

Hands Off Syria!

For Return to the Source’s essay on supporting nationalist governments, like that of Assad, please refer back to Marxism & Bourgeois Nationalism.

Posted by Vincesherman
10 December 2012
——

(1) Takis Fotopoulos, The International Journal of Inclusive Democracy, Winter/Spring 2011, “The pseudo-revolution in Libya and the Degenerate “Left”,” http://www.inclusivedemocracy.org/journal/vol7/vol7_no1_takis_Libya_part1_pseudo_revolution.html

(2) Pham Binh, The North Star, July 18, 2012 “The Anti-Imperialism of Fools and the Syrian Spring,” http://bit.ly/OZaabI

(3) Reuters, Published on The Guardian (UK), August 20, 2012, “Barack Obama warns Syria over use of chemical or biological weapons,” http://bit.ly/Qj7N3s

(4) Mazda Majidi, Liberation News, July 17, 2012, “When justifying imperialism ‘goes wrong’: Cruise Missile Socialism,” http://bit.ly/LwSIPl

(5) Paul D’Amato, SocialistWorker, July 16, 2012, “Siding with the greatest purveyor of violence,” http://bit.ly/NY0VLe

(6) Lee Sustar, SocialistWorker, August 16, 2012, “What is the future of the Syrian revolution?” http://bit.ly/PmC19d

(7) Associated Press, August 11, 2012, “US officials: Al-Qaeda spreading in Syria,” http://bit.ly/NZqtqW

(8) Stephen Gowans, what’s left, November 2, 2012, “Will Damascus Survive Washington’s Latest Attempt to Impose a Puppet Government on Syria?” http://bit.ly/U5FnSz

(9) Leon Trotsky, “Anti-Imperialist Struggle is Key to Liberation,” September 1938, http://bit.ly/UpGian

(10) Alan Maass, Socialist Worker, “Who Really Won in Libya?” August 23, 2011, http://bit.ly/qJbLQG

(11) Al Yunaniya, September 12, 2012, “SYRIZA leader says Greece should host refugees from Syria,” http://bit.ly/Z2TqcY

(12) Communist Party of Greece, May 31, 2012, “NATO and EU are Preparing for Bloodshed,” http://bit.ly/K3QgM0

(13) Martin Chulov, The Guardian, December 7, 2012, “France funding Syrian rebels in new push to oust Assad,” http://bit.ly/VoCLdr

(14) Julian Borger, The Guardian, August 27, 2012, “François Hollande calls on Syrian rebels to form provisional government,” http://bit.ly/SJyvXW

(15) VI Lenin, December 1915, Social Chauvanist Policy Behind a Cover of International Phrases, http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1915/dec/21.htm


30 Countries Engaged in Full-fledged War against Syria

25 December 2012



According to Iranreview at present, about 30 countries are directly or indirectly responsible for the prolongation of the ongoing crisis in Syria. This is the main reason why despite "outward” efforts by the United Nations, the crisis in the Arab country is expanding in dimensions with every day passing by.

Out of those 30 countries, there are a few countries which play a special role in this regard with the United States, as usual, being ahead of other warmongers by a great distance. During the past one year and nine months, Washington has spared no effort, from sending financial aid and weapons to providing insurgents with intelligence, to help make the Syrian opposition triumphant.

At first, the United States, through its Department of Treasury, allowed an organization called "Syrian Support Group” to raise fund from the American citizens in order to provide weapons to the Syrian opposition. This proposition also allowed the group to provide its members with logistic, communication and financial support despite tough sanctions imposed on Syria by the United States. Of course, this is apart from 105 million dollars which has been provided to the Syrian opposition as humanitarian aid by the United States.


Contributions of the US statesmen to the Syrian opposition were not limited to funds and arms. The American and British intelligence services, using advanced spy satellites, provided the enemies of the US President Bashar Assad with critical intelligence on the Syrian government.

Interestingly, the United States has openly announced that it has plans to train Syrian militants. Announcing this in a press conference, spokeswoman of the US Department of State Victorian Nuland stated that the US Department of State had offered plans for the training of the Syrian militants, which aim to help with the overthrow of the incumbent Syrian government and the management of those regions which are occupied by the opposition forces.

In addition, the United States is actually controlling the operational room which it has set up in Turkey’s Azena region. In fact, three countries, that is, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have established a military base in Azena region, which is only 100 kilometers to the north of the common border with Syria in order to facilitate collection and dispatch of military and logistic aid to the armed opposition inside Syria. According to available reports, Turkey and the United States run a joint military base in that region and it also seems that the famous Incirlik air base also supervises missions which aim to deliver arms and equipment to the Syrian opposition.


Britain: Sending More Arms to Syrian Insurgents

Britain is another Western country which has done its utmost to topple the Syrian government. Like other enemies of Assad, London at first worked covertly to give arms to the Syrian opposition, but is currently doing that quite openly. It was in line with this policy that the British Prime Minister David Cameron has come up with new plans one of which is to equip the Syrian opposition with more weapons.

It was also for this reason that he offered proposals for a basic change in the European Union’s policies toward Syria with the final goal of providing the Syrian opposition with necessary weapons. Of course, the apparent cover is recognizing the right of the coalition of the Syrian opposition groups to defend themselves. The British prime minister had earlier announced that London is helping Syria’s anti-government armed opposition by providing them with armored vehicles, telecommunication equipment and medical assistance.

In addition to 13 million pounds which has been granted to the Syrian insurgents by Britain in aid, the country has also provided the Syrian opposition with great amounts of intelligence assistance as well. This was first disclosed by the daily Sunday Times in an article which said the British intelligence service helps the Syrian opposition with the information about every move of the Syrian army troops.

According to this report, the British spies who are based in Cyprus collect the intelligence before passing it on to the American and Turkish sources. Finally, the Turkish sources relay that information to the Syrian insurgents.

Interestingly, Britain has never left the Syrian opposition alone and the forces of the former Special Air Service (SAS), have been used to train the leaders of the Syrian insurgents.


France to Give Heavy Artillery to Syrian Insurgents

France, which has currently turned into the most ardent supporter of the armed opposition in Syria, is now directly helping insurgent groups around the city of Aleppo.

During the past months, the French statesmen have provided armed groups in Syria with enormous financial aid in order to enable them to buy more weapons and support their military operations. Paris has also noted that it is considering supplying the Syrian insurgents with heavy artillery. Interestingly, the Syrian opposition has such a high hope in receiving support from France that armed groups in the cities of Deir ez-Zor, Aleppo, and Idlib have requested anti-aircraft guns as a result of which Paris may change its views in this regard.

France, like the United States and Britain, has accepted to train the Syrian insurgents. The Turkish daily Milliyet had recently noted in a report that France has dispatched its military trainers to Turkey and Lebanon in order to train armed opposition groups fighting in Syria.


Israel Dreams of Disintegration of Syria

Israel, for its turn, has done its best to bring the Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government to its end. This is of such a vital importance to Israelis that Tel Aviv leaders sent Israel’s deputy minister for development to Bulgaria as the official representative of the Israeli regime in order to meet with the Syrian opposition.

Israelis have spared no military, arms, and political support for the Syrian insurgents and have even given them advanced technology to overcome the supporters of Assad. They even look beyond the overthrow of Assad and have aimed for the disintegration of Syria into smaller states. This point was recently mentioned by the Israeli daily Jerusalem Post which wrote that by fanning the flames of sectarian strife which will ultimately lead to full-blown civil war, the Arab Republic of Syria can be broken down and Damascus, a staunch enemy of Israel, will be brought to its knee.

The leaders of the Israeli regime maintain that one of the scenarios which have been contemplated for the disintegration of Syria and turning the Arab country into a number of smaller secular and multiethnic societies is to create Sunni, Alawite Shia, Kurdish, and Druze states. This is why an Israeli army commander told the United Press International that Tel Aviv strongly believes that there is high possibility that Syria will be divided to give birth to smaller sectarian states in its place.

He alleged that if the current situation in Syria continued, the country would be divided into four distinct regions: a Kurdish region in the north; a second region dominated by Alawite Shias along the Mediterranean coasts of the two cities of Tartus and Lattakia, as well as two Sunni- and Druze-dominated regions in Jabal al-Druze region.


Qatar Asks the United Nations to Help the Syrian Insurgents

Of course, international political players have not been alone in their effort to topple Bashar Assad and have been assisted by their regional allies as well. Qatar is one of those allies and has emerged as the most important source of money and weapons for the Syrian insurgents.


The interesting point is that the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani has clearly announced that his country will use all possible means to help armed insurgents in Syria. The country has even asked the United Nations to lend its support to provision of financial and arms support to the Syrian opposition.

The Lebanese daily Aldiyar recently published an article saying that a network of Qatari and Lebanese spies and intelligence agents are transferring huge amounts of money and ammunitions from Lebanon to Syria. The important point, the daily added, is that the transfer is being made under the oversight of the British and French intelligence agencies.



Saudi Arabia Organizing Military Efforts against Syria

Saudi Arabia is another regional country which has provided the Syrian opposition with ample support by supplying them with arms and money. In addition to sending arms and financial aid which has become quite commonplace among the supporters of the Syrian opposition, Riyadh has also arranged secret meetings in the city of Jeddah. The main topic discussed in those meetings has been to organize military activities against the government of Bashar Assad in Damascus.

According to decisions made in those meetings, about 3,000 Syrian youth who oppose the Syrian government will be taken to Tabuk region in Saudi Arabia in order to undergo necessary military training before returning to Syria as insurgents.

Interestingly, retired officers of Saudi army will oversee training of these people who will complete crash courses on street war and fighting in difficult mountainous terrain, in addition to passing special courses, especially on how to attack checkpoints. Some of them will also learn how to attack military centers, hurl grenades, and use sniper guns.



Turkey, the Main Place for Training Syrian Insurgents

Out of all regional countries, Turkey, which has the longest common border with Syria, plays the most important role for overthrowing Assad’s government. In fact, Ankara has joined hands with Saudi Arabia and Qatar to establish a secret operational center on its soil in order to facilitate support and assistance for the Syrian insurgents.

The interesting point is that according to some documents and available evidence, the makeshift camp established on the Turkish border with Syria apparently to lodge the Syrian refugees is, in fact, a cover for the training of the Syrian insurgents. In addition, Turkey has opened its borders and airports to Syrian terrorists fighting against the government in Damascus. As a result, the Syrian government has so far, sent two letters of protest to the United Nations Security Council and the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon criticizing this issue and describing Turkey’s measures as blatant violation of international law.

Of course, none of these outlandish measures will actually seem unexpected when taking into account what the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an address to the nationwide congress of the Justice and Development Party. "We will do whatever a brother would do [for his brother] and will continue to provide Syrian people with logistical support,” he said.

All these facts prove that Syria is, in fact, engaged in a full-blown external war which is being waged by insurgents. It is interesting that all countries involved in Syria war have mentioned establishment of democracy in Syria as pretext for their measures and have created a blood bath in the country in order to achieve that goal.