Dead children, the Syrian-American Medical Society (SAMS) and its friends

From New Eastern Outlook

by Henry Kamens

24/08/2016

In civil war situations, such as the conflict in Syria, sides routinely make conflicting claims. It is hard to see who is telling the truth unless you have access to actual intelligence and a front row seat. But it becomes easier to see what is really happening by watching the mainstream news and comparing it to reality.

Let us take the recent Democracy Now interview with Dr. Zaher Sahloul, the former President of the Syrian American Medical Society. This accompanied the global media coverage of the bombed, bloodied and beaten little boy from Aleppo, apparently rescued from what was left of a makeshift refugee camp. At one time Democracy Now was a respected alternative media site. Unfortunately, this article and the circumstances of its writing suggest that it has bought into the system it once stood up to.
Gut ruling head
The article includes this quote, designed to be as emotive as possible:
“I’ve just had to watch a woman lose three of her children, who were killed—OK?—and crying over their dead bodies. Thirty people just got killed not far from here in place called Shaar [inaudible]. We were just there yesterday. In a marketplace, 30 people just got killed. So, we’ve had so many dead bodies. You can hear what’s going on here. So, my dear brothers and sisters … We need to get the message out right now: Hospitals are being targeted; People are being killed. OK? And war crimes are being committed. We need a no-fly zone in Syria. We need everybody to start voting for a no-fly zone. This is a massacre going on. This is genocide.”
These sort of reports are emerging daily from Syria. But the wave of recent killings of children by Saudi forces is overlooked. Why? For the same reason that all these reports don’t mention how the war in Syria started and how the hodgepodge of antigovernment fighters and terrorist groups which have escalated are funded.
The article fails to mention why the Syrian government is fighting terrorists in the first place. The questions the doctor is asked are also revealing, as is the use of key terms such as barrel bombs, WMD, no fly zone, UN, etc, which never used to be a hallmark of Democracy Now coverage. Like others, the article is designed to get us so upset that we don’t want to look any further. It uses dead children as a means of stifling any debate about why they are dying: we are expected to get angry at those we are told to get angry at, to prevent us getting angry about anyone else.

This interview raises many flags, firstly in its timing, during the countdown to the US presidential elections, and then in the context of Iran and Russia now closely collaborating in the war on terror. An agreement has recently been reached for Russia to make bombing raids against US-backed terrorists in Syria from Iranian territory. This is what the West says it wants, fight terrorism, but in reality does everything to prevent. Getting us angry about “foreign bombers” killing children is merely another way of trying to prevent the War on Terror, which the US started, ever actually taking place.

Not shooting the messenger

Dr. Zaher Sahloul was a classmate of Bashar al-Assad in medical school but is now a critical care specialist in Chicago. He has visited Aleppo five times since the war began, but is observing the situation from a US vantage point.
This smooth-talking humanitarian seems happy to recount horrific stories of maiming and killing in graphic detail, as long as he can blame Assad and the Russians. Last week he addressed the UN Security Council on the humanitarian crisis in Syria, making the same points. In the US doctors are often scared of making public statements, much less prescribing medicines, for fear of malpractice suits. So if a US doctor makes a public statement someone is watching his back.
Dr. Sahloul works in the US, which has a vested interest in the Syrian conflict. Is it conceivable that he would be called to address the UN Security Council if he wasn’t spouting an agreed line?
Sahloul’s Democracy Now interview was conducted CNN-fashion, meaning that he did not respond to questions posed on the spot but released a carefully scripted text which the questions were adjusted to fit. The details about babies being tossed from incubators in Kuwait, and those not killed by barrel bombs surviving on cat food and grass, are revealed in such a way that they are unlikely to be spontaneous recollections. Nor do these “memories” remind Dr. Sahloul of the beheading of innocent children by the IS, which they might be presumed to do if child welfare was his concern.
If Dr. Sahloul wanted to stop the killings he would question who stands behind this terrorism – the US, Saudi Arabia and Turkey – but he does not do so. It can be assumed that he is interested in ending all the killings as he has addressed the UN Security Council, which claims a peace promotion remit. But there is no mention anywhere of stopping the terrorists, only of stopping Assad, thus allowing terrorist atrocities against children to continue unabated.
Mouths we are fed
CNN has responded to the Democracy Now interview by claiming that the killing of children in Aleppo was done by a pro-regime militia force made up mostly of Palestinians. It is also CNN which is parading that poor little boy all over the media, apparently in confirmation of Dr. Sahloul’s claims.
We are used to seeing CNN reports exposed as manipulation. Unfortunately for this little boy, these reports appear to be part of this tradition. There is ample evidence that much of the reporting on Syria by “legitimate sources” is carefully manipulated.
For instance, CNN is quoting the Syrian-American Medical Society as claiming that US-trained doctors are being harassed when they return to Syria. This is denied by even the US Embassy, which says there have been no reports of this, and by a Wikileaks cable.
In fact the US medical establishment has continued to support the maintenance of bilateral relations with the Syrian medical community, in spite of the war and this alleged harassment. Dr. Sahloul’s comments, which are entirely consistent with the US political position in that conflict and obscure the humanitarian concerns which emerge from the behaviour of both sides, give us a clue as to why. The US is using this open access attitude of the Assad government as a means of getting MDs into the country to conduct intelligence and PR work. This is borne out by the use of Syrian doctors to obtain evidence of Assad’s use of chemical weapons, as reported by the Guardian.
SAMS claims to be an apolitical, non-profit organisation founded by American medical professionals of Syrian descent. Its alleged objective is to share best medical practices with local hospitals and medical schools and donate medical care to needy Syrians. This work necessarily involves going into secure facilities in conflict zones.
As the work of other US aid agencies has long demonstrated, such aid is ultimately designed to secure allegiance to the US. Providing such aid buys the US a green light for whatever it wants to do, rather than serving its ostensible humanitarian purpose.
According to its own website SAMS is provided with full support by the US State Department, millions of dollars’ worth of it. The website even includes a video by US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Powers, hailing SAMS as one of her “personal heroes.”
Furthermore, Dr. Sahloul is said by those who know him in Chicago to be a member of the Muslim Brotherhood himself. His alleged medical work would be the perfect cover for providing support to terrorist organisations which seek to divide and destroy Syria. All he has done with his Democracy Now interview is confirm that repeating the State Department’s unfounded narratives regarding “barrel bombs” and the use of “chlorine gas” by the Syrian government is a tactic used by the US to further this end.
Assad knows very well that these medics are working for US intelligence. He also knows the headlines that would follow him if he refused them entry. He calculates that whatever the doctors can do will harm him less than denying them access would. This is very embarrassing for the US, as it demonstrates Assad doesn’t have as much to hide as the US wants to think, and so he is happy to continue allowing these “revelations” to take place, while real doctors actually treat the war victims on a daily basis.
What’s in a name?
At least on the surface, Dr. Zaher Sahloul believes in what he is doing. However there is further reason to doubt that his actions are prompted by either medical considerations or support for his native or adopted country.
In 2009, before this war began, Syria embarked on a process of “economic liberalisation,” as favoured by the US, and “previously disallowed businesses” were suddenly permitted and encouraged by the Syrian Government. According to an article published in The National on February 9, 2009 one such business had just been founded by a certain Zhouheir Yassar Sahloul, described as “the most powerful rogue trader in Syria.”
As the head of the country’s largest money changing enterprise, Sahloul was the link between Syria’s struggling, isolated economy and its huge diaspora, which still remits billions of dollars a year to families back home. In a country saddled with strict foreign exchange laws, it was Mr Sahloul’s agents who ensured Syrian merchants were supplied with enough hard currency to do business with partners overseas.
At the same time Yassar Sahloul and Sons were licensed as foreign exchange traders, Dr. Sahloul and his SAMS were building hospitals in Syria, on the basis of the same “regulatory relaxation.” This might explain why Yassar Sahloul also established a more formal mechanism for handling capital inflows, an Islamic bank with a capital base of US$100 million (Dh367m). It also chimes in with his reported ambition to make Yassar Sahloul and Sons the holding company for a diversified concern including “shipping and property investment assets as well as banking and finance,” as hospitals are valuable properties whose worth only increases the more customers they serve.
These two Sahouls may or may not be immediately related. What we know about the one who stayed behind is his present business address, which is in Aleppo, and that in 2006 he was an Informal Financial Intermediary who participated in a “Feasibility Study to develop new options for private sector investment financing in the Syrian Arab Republic.
A Zuher Sahloul Construction Company was active during the lead up to the war in Syria. According to a Wikileaks cable:
“As Washington policy makers consider ways to pressure the regime, one possibility would be to go after President Assad’s money-men. Four individuals Assad uses to make and move money are Zuhair Sahloul, Nabil Kuzbari, Assad’s uncle Mohammad Makhlouf, and his father-in-law, Fawas Akhras. Each is important to Assad and each plays a somewhat different role in facilitating regime graft.”
In short, “(S) Sahloul (AKA Abu Shafic) is the most important black-market money changer in Syria. When the Syrian Pound (SYP) devalued precipitously in the fall of 2005, the SARG gave Sahloul an office in the Central Bank and access to its hard currency reserves so he could intervene in the black market to stabilize the currency. NB: Sahloul was surprisingly effective, and within weeks the SYP appreciated 20 percent, allowing Sahloul in the process a handsome profit for both himself and a handful of regime-insiders. End note.) Sahloul moves Assad’s money using his own network and his access to Hawalis worldwide. A Sahloul intimate bragged to us recently that Sahloul could move ten million dollars anywhere in the world in 24 hours.” 
If Washington insiders are dealing with someone called Sahloul, from Syria, who is involved with the regime they have targeted they are not going to let someone else called Sahloul address the UN Security Council, or build hospitals in Syria, without conducting background checks. It is not an unusual surname, but not a very common one either. Whatever the US knows about the good doctor it knows he is not going to compromise its dealings with the other Sahloul, the one in Aleppo. He is, at the very least, a safe person to send to face the press.
End of the line
There is a lot more to the story of the little boy from Aleppo than meets the eye. But we are being encouraged not to look further, and rely on our emotional response. We are led to look for someone to blame, and then, by coincidence, told exactly who without any complications entering the picture.
The victims of Aleppo deserve better than to suffer for the sake of a set up. So does everyone who sees this story. But given that Yassar Sahloul was one of those promoting the protests in Damascus which led to the civil war, is it any wonder things are turning out how they are?

Henry Kamens, columnist, expert on Central Asia and Caucasus, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.
http://journal-neo.org/2016/08/24/dead-children-the-syrian-american-medical-society-sams-and-its-friends/

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Six giant corporations control the media, and Americans consume 10 hours of ‘programming’ a day

Global Research, May 31, 2016
Media-War

If you allow someone to pump hours of “programming” into your mind every single day, it is inevitable that it is eventually going to have a major impact on how you view the world.  In America today, the average person consumes approximately 10 hours of information, news and entertainment a day, and there are 6 giant media corporations that overwhelmingly dominate that market. 

In fact, it has been estimated that somewhere around 90 percent of the “programming” that we constantly feed our minds comes from them, and of course they are ultimately controlled by the elite of the world.  So is there any hope for our country as long as the vast majority of the population is continually plugging themselves into this enormous “propaganda matrix”?

Just think about your own behavior.  Even as you are reading this article the television might be playing in the background or you may have some music on.  Many of us have gotten to the point where we are literally addicted to media.  In fact, there are people out there that become physically uncomfortable if everything is turned off and they have to deal with complete silence.

It has been said that if you put garbage in, you are going to get garbage out.  It is the things that we do consistently that define who we are, and so if you are feeding your mind with hours of “programming” from the big media corporations each day, that is going to have a dramatic affect on who you eventually become.

These monolithic corporations really do set the agenda for what society focuses on.  For example, when you engage in conversation with your family, friends or co-workers, what do you talk about?  If you are like most people, you might talk about something currently in the news, a television show that you watched last night or some major sporting event that is taking place.

Virtually all of that news and entertainment is controlled by the elite by virtue of their ownership of these giant media corporations.

I want to share some numbers with you that may be hard to believe.  They come directly out of Nielsen’s “Total Audience Report“, and they show how much news and entertainment the average American consumes through various methods each day…

Watching live television: 4 hours, 32 minutes

Watching time-shifted television: 30 minutes

Listening to the radio: 2 hours, 44 minutes

Using  a smartphone: 1 hour, 33 minutes

Using Internet on a computer: 1 hour, 6 minutes

When you add all of those numbers together, it comes to a grand total of more than 10 hours.

And keep in mind that going to movie theaters, playing video games and reading books are behaviors that are not even on this list.

What in the world are we doing to ourselves?

The combination of watching live television and watching time-shifted television alone comes to a total of more than five hours.

If you feed five hours of something into your mind day after day, it is going to change you.  There is no way around that.  You may think that you are strong enough to resist the programming, but the truth is that it affects all of us in very subtle ways that we do not even understand.

And as I mentioned above, there are just six giant corporations that account for almost all of the programming that we receive through our televisions.  Below is a list of these six corporations along with a sampling of the various media properties that they own…

Comcast

NBC
Telemundo
Universal Pictures
Focus Features
USA Network
Bravo
CNBC
The Weather Channel
MSNBC
Syfy
NBCSN
Golf Channel
Esquire Network
E!
Cloo
Chiller
Universal HD
Comcast SportsNet
Universal Parks & Resorts
Universal Studio Home Video

The Walt Disney Company

ABC Television Network
ESPN
The Disney Channel
A&E
Lifetime
Marvel Entertainment
Lucasfilm
Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
Disney Mobile
Disney Consumer Products
Interactive Media
Disney Theme Parks
Disney Records
Hollywood Records
Miramax Films
Touchstone Pictures

News Corporation

Fox Broadcasting Company
Fox News Channel
Fox Business Network
Fox Sports 1
Fox Sports 2
National Geographic
Nat Geo Wild
FX
FXX
FX Movie Channel
Fox Sports Networks
The Wall Street Journal
The New York Post
Barron’s
SmartMoney
HarperCollins
20th Century Fox
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Blue Sky Studios
Beliefnet
Zondervan

Time Warner

CNN
The CW
HBO
Cinemax
Cartoon Network
HLN
NBA TV
TBS
TNT
TruTV
Turner Classic Movies
Warner Bros.
Castle Rock
DC Comics
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
New Line Cinema
Sports Illustrated
Fortune
Marie Claire
People Magazine

Viacom

MTV
Nickelodeon
VH1
BET
Comedy Central
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Home Entertainment
Country Music Television (CMT)
Spike TV
The Movie Channel
TV Land

CBS Corporation

CBS Television Network
The CW (along with Time Warner)
CBS Sports Network
Showtime
TVGN
CBS Radio, Inc.
CBS Television Studios
Simon & Schuster
Infinity Broadcasting
Westwood One Radio Network

Fortunately, those enormous media conglomerates do not have quite the same monopoly over the Internet, but we are starting to see a tremendous amount of consolidation in the online world as well.  Just check out these numbers

Overall, the top 10 publishers — together owning around 60 news sites — account for 47% of total online traffic to news content last year, with the next-biggest 140 publishers accounting for most of the other half, SimilarWeb found.

The biggest online news publisher for the U.S. audience was MSN, owner of MSN.com, with just over 27 billion combined page views across mobile and desktop, followed by Disney Media Networks, owner of ESPN and ABC News, with 25.9 billion.

The battle for the future of this nation is a battle for the hearts and minds of individuals.

And it is hard to see how things will be turned in a dramatically different direction as long as most of us are willingly feeding our hearts and minds with hours of “programming” that is controlled by the elite each day.

The good news is that there are signs of an awakening.  More Americans than ever are becoming disenchanted with the mainstream media, and this is showing up in recent survey numbers.  Here is one example

Trust in the news media is being eroded by perceptions of inaccuracy and bias, fueled in part by Americans’ skepticism about what they read on social media.

Just 6 percent of people say they have a lot of confidence in the media, putting the news industry about equal to Congress and well below the public’s view of other institutions.

As Americans (and people all over the world) have lost confidence in the mainstream media, they have been seeking out other sources of news and entertainment.  This has greatly fueled the rise of the alternative media, and the dozens of websites all over the Internet where this article will ultimately be published are examples of this explosion.

You can only enslave people for so long.  Ultimately, they will want to break free of the chains that are holding them back and they will want to find the truth.

In this day and age, it is absolutely imperative that we all learn to think for ourselves.  If you find that you are still addicted to the “programming” that the giant media corporations are feeding you, I would encourage you to start unplugging from the matrix more frequently.

In the end, you will be glad that you did.

Malaysian Airlines MH17: CNN shows 30 mm cannon bullet discovered in wreckage

By Sam Nejad
Global Research, May 02, 2015

We’ve seen several photographs of the Malaysian Airlines MH17 cockpit remains on the ground in Eastern Ukraine. They show numerous 30mm entry & exit cannon holes. These have been fobbed off by the propaganda media as ‘shrapnel’ damage from a BUK ground to air missile.

The consistent circularity and size corresponding to 30mm bullet holes, or the fact that they are concentrated on the cockpit doesn’t bother apologists who have an agenda to promote.

In a CNN report (see below) there is footage of Donbass militia looking at the newly fallen wreckage of MH17, some of it still on fire. The video was broadcast by CNN. As the images run past us a barely noticeable item is briefly in view of the camera:

A combatant spots something amongst the debris. He bends down to pick it up. What he has retrieved is a 30mm bullet that was in the fallen material.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDtqf0cqOCE

The bullet is in view only for 3 seconds; from 1′ 36″ to 1′ 39″. And the way it was casually passed by the camera lens for so short a time indicates that the man who found it took it for granted that the plane was shot at by the trailing fighter jet(s).

This was within minutes of the shooting down, and before the mass media propaganda machine started its deception a few hours later about a rebel or Russian launched BUK missile. So the Donetsk combatant would not have known the significance of the 30mm cannon bullet he was holding.

Previously, Global Research has published articles showing the bullet holes and witness evidence about the downing of MH17 [1], but so far as I am aware no video clips have been noticed showing the damning evidence of this 30mm bullet.

A quick search of Global Research [1] and any web search engine [2] will give numerous links to evidence and photographs of the bullet holes, as well as witnesses who saw the fighter jet(s). This, together with the flight route diverted directly over the battle area indicates a premeditated plan to bring the plane down.

As to whether air to air missiles were fired from the fighter jet(s) or a bomb had been planted in the plane, those could well have been additional factors. But we now know for certain that the plane was machine gunned by fighter jets. The bullet holes in the cockpit, and now this 30mm bullet in plain view proves it.

One is left to wonder, what kind of irrational psychopaths would order such a murderous act, what brain-dead automatons would carry it out, and what supine and servile corporate mainstream media would try to deflect attention from the perpetrators and blame other parties.

Notes:

[1]  http://www.globalresearch.ca/who-was-behind-the-downing-of-mh17-osce-monitor-mentions-machine-gun-bullet-holes-in-mh17-no-evidence-of-missile/5394693

http://www.globalresearch.ca/dutch-safety-board-report-dsb-malaysian-mh17-was-brought-down-by-a-large-number-of-high-energy-objects-contradicts-us-claims-that-it-was-shot-down-by-a-russian-missile/5400526

http://www.globalresearch.ca/evidence-is-now-conclusive-two-ukrainian-government-fighter-jets-shot-down-malaysian-airlines-mh17-it-was-not-a-buk-surface-to-air-missile/5394814

http://www.globalresearch.ca/another-mh17-cover-up-hiding-a-key-autopsy/5421386

http://www.globalresearch.ca/how-the-malaysian-airlines-mh17-boeing-was-shot-down-examination-of-the-wreckage/5435094

[2]  https://www.google.com.au/search?q=MH17+30mm+bullet

http://www.globalresearch.ca/malaysian-airlines-m17-canon-bullet-discovered-in-mh17-wreckage/5446724

Syrian war started March 2011. Who was behind the protest movement? Fabricating a pretext for a US-NATO “humanitarian intervention”

Snipers firing on police and protestors. Repeating themes.

Global Research, Re-posted March 15, 2015
By Prof Michel Chossudovsky
Originally posted May 3, 2011

Four Years Ago, March 17, 2011:

SYRIA: Who is Behind The Protest Movement? Fabricating a Pretext for a US-NATO "Humanitarian Intervention"

Was it a Protest movement or an Armed insurrection integrated by US-Israeli supported death squads?

This article first published in May 2011 recounts the events of March 17-18, 2011 in Daraa, a small border town with Jordan.

The Daraa “protest movement” on March 17-18 had all the appearances of a staged event involving covert support to Islamic terrorists by Mossad and/or Western intelligence.

Government sources pointed to the role of radical Salafist groups (supported by Israel).

In chorus, the Western media described the events in Daraa as a protest movement against Bashar Al Assad.

In a bitter irony, the deaths of policemen were higher than those of “demonstrators”.

In Daraa, roof top snipers were targeting both police and demonstrators.

Reading between the lines of Israeli and Lebanese news reports (which acknowledge the police deaths) a clearer picture of what happened in Daraa on March 17-18 had emerged. The Israel National News Report (which can not have be accused of being biased in favor of Bashar al Assad) confirmed that:

“Seven police officers and at least four demonstrators in Syria have been killed in continuing violent clashes that erupted in the southern town of Daraa last Thursday. … and the Baath Party Headquarters and courthouse were torched, in renewed violence on Sunday. (Gavriel Queenann, Syria: Seven Police Killed, Buildings Torched in Protests, Israel National News, Arutz Sheva, March 21, 2011, emphasis added)

The Lebanese news report also acknowledged the killings of seven policemen in Daraa.

[They were killed] “during clashes between the security forces and protesters… They got killed trying to drive away protesters during demonstration in Dara’a”

The Lebanese Ya Libnan report quoting Al Jazeera also acknowledged that protesters had “burned the headquarters of the Baath Party and the court house in Dara’a” (emphasis added)

These news reports of the events in Daraa confirmed that from the very outset this was not a “peaceful protest” as claimed by the Western media. There was evidence of acts of arson directed government buildings as well sniper firing from rooftops, shooting at police and demonstrators, similar to what occurred in late February 2014 in Maidan square. Moreover, from an assessment of the initial casualty figures (Israel News), there were more policemen than demonstrators who were killed.

This is significant because it suggests that the police force may have initially been outnumbered by a well organized armed gang of professional killers.

What was clear from these initial reports is that many of the demonstrators were not demonstrators but terrorists involved in premeditated acts of killing and arson.

The title of the Israeli news report summarized what happened: Syria: Seven Police Killed, Buildings Torched in Protest

The US-NATO-Israel agenda consisted in supporting an Al Qaeda affiliated insurgency integrated by death squads. President Bashar al Assad was then to be blamed for killing his own people.

Does it Sound familiar?

The same “false flag” strategy of killing innocent civilians was used during the Ukraine Maidan protest movement. 

A year ago, on February 20th, 2014, professional snipers were shooting at both demonstrators and policemen with a view to accusing president Viktor Yanukovych of “mass murder.”

It was subsequently revealed that these snipers were controlled by the opponents of president Yanukovych, who are now part of the coalition government. 

The “humanitarian mandate” of the US and its allies is sustained by diabolical “false flag” attacks which consist in killing civilians with a view to breaking the legitimacy of governments which refuse to abide by the diktats of Washington and its allies.

Michel Chossudovsky, March 15, 2015

SYRIA: Who is Behind The Protest Movement? Fabricating a Pretext for a US-NATO “Humanitarian Intervention

by Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, May 3, 2011

There is evidence of gross media manipulation and falsification from the outset of the protest movement in southern Syria on March 17th [2011].

The Western media has presented the events in Syria as part of the broader Arab pro-democracy protest movement, spreading spontaneously from Tunisia, to Egypt, and from Libya to Syria.

Media coverage has focussed on the Syrian police and armed forces, which are accused of indiscriminately shooting and killing unarmed “pro-democracy” demonstrators. While these police shootings did indeed occur, what the media failed to mention is that among the demonstrators there were armed gunmen as well as snipers who were shooting at both the security forces and the protesters.

The death figures presented in the reports are often unsubstantiated. Many of the reports are “according to witnesses”. The images and video footages aired on Al Jazeera and CNN do not always correspond to the events which are being covered by the news reports.

Alawite Map

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

With a government dominated by the minority Alawite (an offshoot of Shia Islam), Syria is no “model society” with regard to civil rights and freedom of expression. It nonetheless constitutes the only (remaining) independent secular state in the Arab world. Its populist, anti-Imperialist and secular base is inherited from the dominant Baath party, which integrates Muslims, Christians and Druze. Continue reading