Thursday, September 8, 2011

Target Syria

By Ghali Hassan

07 September, 2011

Counter Currents

The United States is watching the violence in Syria "with horror”, said White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney recently. The “horror”, of course, is the result of ongoing U.S. interference in Syria's internal affairs aimed at destabilising Syria.

The U.S.-sponsored armed insurrection in Syria is a carbon copy of the U.S.-sponsored armed insurrection in Libya. It is designed to remove a nationalist government and replaced it with a puppet regime subservient to U.S.-Israel dictates, willing to serve U.S.-Israel Zionist interests. The imposition of sanctions by the U.S. and the European Union (EU) against Syria is part of a concerted propaganda campaign to demonise President Bashar al-Assad and his government.

Like Libya, Syria is not a U.S.-controlled client state and therefore Syria is subjected to U.S.-Western destabilisation policy. The Syrian Government is a nationalist government led by the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party. Syria remains one of only a few independent Arab nations that have no “peace” treaty with, and have refused to recognise, the fascist state of Israel.

While the Syrian Government has somehow succumbed to U.S.-Western threats in recent time, for decades, the Syrian Government has supported legitimate Palestinian causes and stood against U.S.-Israel Zionist expansion in Palestine and in Lebanon. Syria is a frontline country (bordering Israel) that lies strategically between Iraq and Israel, making it a prime candidate for U.S.-Israel destabilisation policy. A “regime change” in Syria will see the U.S. and Israel in total control of the Middle East through a network of despotic and weak rulers. Palestinians will lose their only support and Iran's relation in the region will be curtailed.

It is time for al-Assad to “get out of the way”, said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in flagrant violation of Syria sovereignty. Her message is aimed at the pro-U.S. despotic regimes, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait, to toe the U.S. line of isolating Syria. As always, the Saudis led the pack and recalled their ambassador in Damascus and allowed leaders of the insurrection access to their media outlets.

On September 2nd, Hillary Clinton urged other governments (U.S. allies) to impose more sanctions against Syria to force President al-Assad to leave power. “The violence must stop, and [President al-Assad] needs to step aside”.

“Just as we have done in Libya, we are also encouraging the Syrian opposition to set forth their own roadmap for a tolerant, inclusive, and democratic path forward, one that can bring together all Syrians, Christians, and [Muslims]“. You wonder how American politicians get away with this kind of hypocrisy.

“U.S. imperialism and all the old regimes tied to it in the region are trying desperately to manage and contain the unfolding mass upheaval into channels that do not threaten imperialist domination of the region”, writes Sara Flounders of International Action Centre .

With the mainstream capitalist media in full swing distorting facts on the ground and demonising the Syrian Government, the prelude to war on Syria has already begun. In fact, none of the war crimes against Libya by U.S.-NATO army would have been possible without the one that preceded them; “crimes against peace”, fabricated and disseminated by propaganda organs like the BBC, Al-Jazeera, CNN and racist journalists and propagandists.

Libya as a Template

The pretext of “humanitarian” intervention with deadly bombs and missiles to “protect civilians” and justify U.S.-NATO military aggression against Libya has been exposed as an ugly lie. [1]. Thousands of innocent Libyan civilians were murdered by U.S.-NATO aerial bombings, missiles and U.S.-NATO-backed armed gangs.

Only fools buy into Western propaganda of “concern” for the human rights of dark-skinned people in Libya and elsewhere. If that were the motivation, American politicians and their Western allies would be at war with themselves for what they are doing to innocent civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine. They are guilty of war crimes and should be put on trial. Moreover, where was U.S.-NATO army in 2009 when Israeli criminals killed more than 1,400 defenceless Palestinians, most of them women and children in the besieged Gaza Camp? They armed Israel to commit crimes.

Both, the U.S-NATO military aggression against Libya and the ongoing interference in Syrian affairs is part of an established propaganda campaign to manipulate the public and more importantly provides a diversion away from the deepening economic and social crises in the U.S. and Europe.

As we all know, in March 2011 the U.S. and its allies imposed sanctions against Libya, depriving Libyans of adequate supplies of food, water and medicines. Immediately after, the U.S.-NATO army began a campaign of terrorising the Libyan population using massive air power. In addition, U.S.-NATO military leaders continue to guide and provide air cover to the armed gangs (“rebels”) to create chaos and mayhem across Libya.

Curtis Doebbler, a renowned international human rights lawyer explains: “This was accomplished by the spurious actions of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, who issued special passes to the former Libyan diplomats after their government had withdrawn their credentials. Bypassing the UN General Assembly's Credentials Committee and well-established protocol, the UN secretary-general for the first time in the world body's history personally favoured one side in what was by now a civil war.

“The secretary-general apparently in pocket, the Libyan government's voice silenced, the UN could move to vote on a series of resolutions that would finally result in the authorisation of the West to use force against Libya.”[2].

The ‘United” Nations (UN), the “International Criminal Court” (ICC) and the mainstream media, including the outrageous Al-Jazeera , DemocracyNow and several Internet propaganda organs such as ZNet Communication and the fascist Juan Cole's “Informed Comment” did their best to justify U.S.-NATO military aggression and cover-up the most barbaric crimes, even by Nazis' standards, against an entirely defenceless small nation of six million people. A peaceful and tolerant nation with the highest score on the UN's Human Development Index (HDI) of all African countries has been deliberately destroyed in a barbaric fashion. The mainstream media and war propagandists are guilty of war crimes.

In an extremely rare departure from its usual anti-Arabs and pro-U.S. propaganda, the Guardian of London comments:

“If stopping the killing had been the real aim, NATO states would have backed a ceasefire and a negotiated settlement, rather than repeatedly vetoing both. Instead, after having lost serious strategic ground in the Arab revolutions, the Libyan war offered the US, Britain and France a chance to put themselves at the heart of the process while bringing to heel an unreliable state with the largest oil reserves in Africa”. (Seamus Milne, the Guardian , 24 August 2011).

Colonel Muammar al-Qadhafi was willing to negotiate a peaceful solution, but after more than four decades of dealing with al-Qadhafi, U.S.-NATO leaders rejected any peaceful negotiation. The control of Libya was the goal and peace did not meet that goal.

The overwhelming majority of the Libyan population are against the violence unleashed by the armed gangs and NATO bombings which is the only thing that sustains the gangs' violence. U.S.-NATO bombings of Libya “are in derogation of international law, actions that are criminal in terms of their consequences: the killings of children, the killing of people in their own homes, and this has been well documented”, said Michel Chossudovsky of Global Research in Montréal. Colonel al-Qadhafi enjoys 70 per cent of popular support across Libya.

In Libya, unlike in Tunisia, Egypt and Bahrain, there are no popular peaceful uprisings; it is a Western-backed armed insurrection. The so-called Transitional National Council (TNC), the Western-backed “Libyan rebels”, is a collection of expatriate criminals, C.I.A. operatives (“al-Qaeda”), xenophobic and racist hoodlums, and religious extremists. They are not peaceful ordinary Libyans struggling for democracy and human rights. They are U.S.-NATO ground forces.

According to the Guardian (25 August 2011):

“British and French special forces along with special forces from Qatar and some eastern European states are on the ground in eastern Libya, calling in air strikes and helping co-ordinate [armed gang] units as they prepare to assault Sirte, the last coastal town still in the hands of pro-Muammar Gaddafi forces”.

The armed gangs were financed, trained and armed by the U.S. and U.S. allies. Once they succeed, the U.S. will use the gangs as a façade of “democratic” government to control the country. There is hard evidence of mass killings of non-combatants, detainees and the wounded by the U.S.-NATO backed armed gangs.

For six months Libya was subjected to a barbaric U.S.-NATO military siege. U.S.-NATO aggression has been responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity. According to NATO's own record, over 21,000 air missions have been flown over Libya, including 8,000 combat sorties by U.S.-NATO warplanes destroying hospital, schools, homes, water supply and communication. Thousands of innocent civilians have been killed. The country's civilian's infrastructure, including hospitals, schools, water supply plants and roads have been destroyed and ruined. On 09 August 2011, a criminal attack by the U.S.-NATO army killed 85 innocent Libyan civilians, including 33 children, 32 women and 20 men.

As the attacks on the Libyan capital Tripoli – with a population of 2 million – approached, the number of U.S. air attacks on Libyan air defences, ground forces and other targets has nearly doubled during the 12 days up to August 20, compared with air attacks in the first 132 days. Eric Schmitt and Steven Lee Myers of the New York Times observed:

“Through Saturday [20 August 2011], NATO and its allies had flown 7,459 strike missions, or sorties, attacking thousands of targets, from individual rocket launchers to major military headquarters. The cumulative effect not only destroyed Libya's military infrastructure but also greatly diminished the ability of Colonel Qaddafi's commanders to control forces, leaving even committed fighting units unable to move, resupply or coordinate operations”. ( NYT , 21 August 2011). Indeed, it was the heaviest bombardment to date. Once the way was cleared, the armed gangs stormed the Capital, inflicting mass atrocities against the civilian population.

A Libyan eyewitness told Kim Sengupta of the Independent (24 June 2011): “The [armed gangs] are saying they are fighting government troops here, but all those getting hurt are ordinary people, the only buildings being damaged are those of local people. There has also been looting by the rebels, they have gone into houses to search for people and taken away things. Why are they doing this?” In another piece in the Independent (27 June 2011), Sengupta exposes another criminal character of the Western-backed armed gangs. She writes, “the mounting number of deaths of men from sub-Saharan Africa at the hands of the rebels, lynchings in many cases, raises disturbing questions about the opposition administration, the Transitional National Council (TNC) taking over as Libya's government, and about Western backing for it”.

The U.S. and its allies will back any group of criminals as long as they serve their imperialist interests. It is important to remember that the so-called “Independent” is one of the most anti-Arab propaganda mouthpieces of all the racist British newspapers. As the Independent on Sunday editorial reveals: “This newspaper supported NATO military intervention, and Britain's part in it, when it began in March, but it was a choice between hard and complex options – and so it remains”. ( Independent on Sunday , 28 August 2011).

The aggression against Libya was in flagrant violation of international law and UN Security Council Resolutions, including Resolutions 1973 adopted in March to “use all means necessary to protect Libyan civilians”. There was no legal mandate to attack Libya and start a war. The sovereign Government of Libya committed no crimes.

It is clear that the aim of U.S.-NATO powers is to divide Libyans in order to seize control of Libya's financial assets and oil reserves and strengthening imperialism's grip on Libya and set the stage of the re-colonisation of Africa. It is a broad daylight robbery.

"In 1950, Libyans saw their country deliberately divided by Britain and France, and [the] seeds of division planted among them”, writes the renowned Canadian Middle East scholar, Henri Pierre Habib. After more than four decades of “independence”, the old seeds of division have germinated.

Meanwhile, U.S. politicians are blessed by what they are doing in Libya (violent aggression) and see it as a template to implement around the world. “It is a good indication of the kind of partnership and alliances that we need to have for the future if we are going to deal with the threats that we confront in today's world,” said U.S. Defence Secretary, Leon E. Panetta. In other words, the aggression against Libya will be used as a template to commit future aggression against other nations, such as Syria.

Syria Could be Next

The destabilisation campaign against Syria has been in the making for several years. The Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003 was part of campaign to destabilize Syria and demonize President al-Assad. In 2005, the U.S. and its allies accused the Syrian Government of the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. As revealed by Kurt Nimmo: “[i]n late 2005, Richard Perle, at the time described as the Prince of Darkness, attended a meeting at the home of Farid Ghadry, the head of the Syrian Reform Party. Ghadry had met with Dick Cheney to strategize about regime change in Syria. He told the Wall Street Journal that Perle's pal Ahmad Chalabi ‘paved the way in Iraq for what we want to do in Syria'”. The aim is to topple the current Syrian Government and replace it with a pro-U.S. and pro-Israel dictatorship. [3].

The campaign intensified in early February 2011 and during the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. In all cases, the U.S. and its allies very quickly intervened to shape and control the uprisings for their own imperialist interests. Democracy and human rights are irrelevant to Western imperialist powers. In fact, they despise anything to do with democracy and human rights. The U.S. arms and supports a number of brutal dictatorial regimes throughout the world with a criminal record on human rights.

From the outset, the Syrian rebellion was a U.S.-sponsored armed uprising against the Syrian Government. You wonder why the French and American ambassadors to Syrian travelled to the City of Hama to show solidarity with the armed-insurrection while for decades their own governments have refused to show the slightest solidarity with the Palestinians under Israeli fascist repression.

According to Lebanese newspapers, shipments of high quality arms to the “rebels” (armed gangs) through Jordan and northern Lebanon have been intercepted by Lebanese army intelligence. According to Army investigators, ties between the smugglers and Lebanese political parties allied with Saudi Arabia and the U.S. have been uncovered. The revelations provide evidence that the insurrection is a U.S.-backed insurrection aimed at toppling the government of Syria.

Furthermore, the Washington Post reported (18 April 2011) that, the U.S. (through its allies in the region) is secretly financing and arming the opposition to topple President al-Assad. “The U.S. money for Syrian opposition groups, including a satellite TV channel to disseminate false propaganda, began flowing under President George W. Bush and has continued under President Obama, even as his administration sought to build relations with President al- Assad”. Hence, the U.S.-sponsored armed resurrection has been in the making for some time, just waiting for the right moment.

According to Israel's Intelligence news DEBKA (15 August 2011): “Large caches of weapons including anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, mortar bombs and heavy machine guns will be sent via ground to criminal gangs in major Syrian cities witnessing unrest. On Saturday 03 September 2011, armed gangs killed six Syrian soldiers and three civilians in an ambush in central Syria. A further 17 people were wounded as gunmen ambushed the bus near Hama ( BBC News , 03 September 2011).

Furthermore, Al-Akhbar reported that Lebanese Army investigators have uncovered a connection between the smugglers of weapons to the Syrian opposition and the 14 March alliance of former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who is backed by the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia. “The central idea was to foment unrest in a well circumscribed area and to proclaim the establishment of an Islamic emirate that would serve as a platform for the dismemberment of the country”, writes Thierry Meyssan, French intellectual and founder of Voltaire Network .

The so-called opposition groups and the media were financed by NGOs and the C.I.A. through USAID, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and Freedom House. NED and NGOs are now used by the CIA as the preferred way to overthrow legitimate governments. Meanwhile, the majority of Syrians from all political persuasions oppose any outside interference, including foreign military intervention, and President al-Assad remains popular. According to a CNN Arabic poll, conducted in 2009, President al-Assad is one of the most popular leaders in the Arab world.

As in Libya, the truth has been turned on its head in Syria. The mainstream media distorted events on the ground in Syria to propagate a U.S.-sponsored armed-insurrection as a “popular uprising” that needs “humanitarian intervention” with deadly bombs and missiles. The media continue to fabricate endless news of endorsing new war of aggression against Syria and downplaying the violence against the government while amplifying the size of the anti-government protests and sensationalizing the death of protesters. Moreover, President al-Assad's commitment to reforms through a National Dialogue has no space in the mainstream capitalist media.

As Pierre Piccinin observes:

“This portrayal of Syria in full scale revolution and of a Baath Party on the brink do not correspond in any way whatsoever to the reality of the situation; that the government holds control and what is left of the protests have in effect splintered and become considerably marginalised”.

Indeed, the security situation right now is much better and the Government of President al-Assad is on a solid ground. As mentioned earlier, the propaganda campaign was designed as a prelude to war.

Finally, like all countries, Syria may be not perfect, but it is up to the Syrian people to decide what kind of reforms they need without foreign interference in their nation's affairs. Outside pressure on the U.S. government and its allies has to be mobilised to try and prevent Syria becoming a target for another U.S.-NATO military aggression.


[1] Maximilian Forte, The Top ten Myths on the War against Libya, CounterPunch , 31 August 2011.

[2] Curtis Doebbler, Libya: Who wins? Al-Ahram Weekly , 2011, 1042.

[3] Kurt Nimmo, Cables Reveal State Department, CIA, NGOs Fomented Syrian Unrest , , 18 April 2011.

Ghali Hassan is an independent political analyst living in Australia.

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