ALEPPO: Open Letter to French President Hollande ~ from Pierre Le Corf

I use the term « terrorist » because there are no rebels in Aleppo, at least nothing that could allow us to consider them as such. It is irresponsible to continue qualifying them as rebels in Syria while we list them as terrorist organizations in France.

On the White Helmets which actor George Clooney supports:

The « White Helmets » the French government financed among others like UK and that we received at the Élysée are, for most of them, first aid workers by day and terrorists by night, or vice versa. They pledge allegiance to Jabhat al-Nosra (Al-Qaeda), as shown by documents found after their departure and as civilians testify. The majority of their teams rescued fighters first, and civilians every once in a while.

A noteworthy feature is that each team had a cameraman, and the team of rescuers helped only while the camera was filming. A lot of civilians have told me that others had stayed under the rubbles because the rescuers refused to go there. Others told me the rescuers even staged fake attacks, fake bombings, fake wounds and interventions.

January 27, 2017


by Pierre Le Corf

Mr President,

Today, I question all the values I have been raised with, the values of a country I love, my country: France. I am writing to you as a French citizen who arrived without any preconceived ideas in Syrian territory and lives in what was previously known as Western Aleppo, now Aleppo. I am a politically neutral humanitarian, and I have been here for a year.

The situation I am in is tough. First of all, because I am the only French citizen living here, which makes me an easy target because of the testimony I offer that often goes against the official line. Second of all, because what we witness here everyday is outraging and hard to talk about. I have been the witness of a massacre and humanitarian crisis in which we, as a nation, are actors and even backers by supporting terrorism. I address this message to you, and to all the others who could have the decision making power to make peace and make all civilian populations a priority.

Every single day, I had to face death as everyone else in this city. The mission I gave myself led me to visit families living close to the ones we have been labeling as « opponents » since the beginning of the conflict. However the only elements I witnessed were black flags – and I have pictures – on all of the front-lines. These signs are the symbols used by the groups that France has been fighting against for years.

Today, the Syrian people stands united to fight not against the government but against terrorist groups, no matter what we call them to hold them accountable for their actions or the reason they have to exist. These terrorist groups are named Al-jaïch al-hour (Free Syrian Army), Jabhat al-Nosra (or Fatah al-Cham, branch of Al-Qaïda), Jaïch al-Islam, Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki, Brigade Sultan Mourad, etc. An anti governmental opposition exists, as for every government. This opposition is more or less peaceful, but represents a minority of the population. Since the beginning of the conflict and until now, almost all the forces on the ground that have kept bombarding Aleppo are armed fighters belonging to terrorist groups.

I use the term « terrorist » because there are no rebels in Aleppo, at least nothing that could allow us to consider them as such. It is irresponsible to continue qualifying them as rebels in Syria while we list them as terrorist organizations in France. The terrorists have been forced out with their weapons following agreements with the government and « all » went to Idlib, an area now almost entirely occupied by fighters and their families. However, many of the terrorists left Idlib to come back to Aleppo to resume bombings and suicide attacks, here as everywhere else in Syria.

I have evidence for everything I am writing. For months I have been gathering the testimonies of civilians on video and on paper, independently of their religion or political opinion and without any member of the military or government around. I publish these testimonies and occasionally give them to a UN Commission of Inquiry in charge of studying terrorist attacks and crimes, while putting the commission in contact with witnesses.

We have directed the attention of the public opinion and the bombing of zones in which were a minority of opponents but a majority of terrorists. Civilians were dying every day in these zones, without us saying that the majority of civilians in Eastern Aleppo could not run away because they were held back by the terrorists. It is by trying to run away by using the humanitarian corridors organized by the Russian and Syrian governments that many civilians were targeted and killed by armed forces (corridors indicated one to two days earlier, with precisions on the time of opening by a text message directed to all mobile phone owners using the syrian networks MTN and Syriatel, including me). Thankfully, thousands of civilians were able to make it out alive by using alternative routes, sometimes even passing through mined zones.

Few are the media which stated that these civilians were used as human shields, which the testimonies corroborate. Medias have preferred describing them as caught in the crossfire of a fight opposing revolutionary armed forces to their government, while this government was protecting its people against terrorists who are primarily foreign mercenaries. They came to Syria heavily armed and are fanatics for whom human lives hardly matter. To talk only about Aleppo, these mercenaries invaded the surroundings and the center of the city, shelling the population of Western Aleppo every day and allowing themselves to murder civilians in the eastern part of the city for no reason.

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‘Bloody massacres’: Syria appeals to UN after French & US airstrikes ‘kill over 140 civilians’

From RT

https://www.rt.com/news/352255-france-syria-civilians-dead/video/

Syria is demanding the UN take action after it says French war planes killed more than 120 civilians during airstrikes on Tuesday near the Turkish-Syrian border. The deaths came just a day after US air assaults killed a further 20 people in Manbij.

Damascus wants the organization to look into atrocities committed by France, which is a member of the US-led international coalition, after it targeted the village of Toukhan Al-Kubra, located near the Turkish-Syrian border and the city of Manbij.

“The French unjust aggression claimed the lives of more than 120 civilians, most of them are children, women and elderly, in addition to tens of wounded citizens, the majority of them are also children and women as reports say that the fate of scores of other civilians who still under debris are unknown too,” the Syrian Foreign Ministry wrote, as cited by the Syrian Arab News Agency.

The mass death toll in Toukhan Al-Kubra came just a day after US war planes killed around 20 people, mainly women and children, while many more were injured in and around the city of Manbij, the Foreign Ministry states.

“The government of the Syrian Arab Republic condemns, with the strongest terms, the two bloody massacres perpetrated by the French and US warplanes and those affiliated to the so-called international coalition which send their missiles and bombs to the civilians instead of directing them to the terrorist gangs… Syria also affirms that those who want to combat terrorism seriously should coordinate with the Syrian government and army,” the ministry added.

In the letter, the Syrian Foreign Ministry added that it condemns the continued support by the US, France, Saudi Arabia, the UK and Qatar to terrorist organizations such as Al-Nusra Front and Jaish Al-Islam, despite these groups having clear links to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and Al-Qaeda.

MANBIJ: 20 JUL 2016. 0130 UTC. Heavy airstrikes continue. Nat’l Hospital taken. Fighting in W urban areas.

The human rights watchdog Amnesty International also hit out at the US-led coalition, saying that it needs to do more to prevent the deaths of civilians.

“Anyone responsible for violations of international humanitarian law must be brought to justice and victims and their families should receive full reparation,” Amnesty’s interim Middle East director Magdalena Mughrabi said, as cited by Reuters.

A spokesman for the US Department of Defense says that it is aware of the loss of civilian life in Syria.

“We are aware of reports alleging civilian casualties near Manbij, Syria, recently. As with any allegation we receive, we will review any information we have about the incident,” Matthew Allen said in a statement.

“We take all measures during the targeting process to avoid or minimize civilian casualties or collateral damage and to comply with the principles of the Law of Armed Conflict,” he added.

The US-led coalition has been providing air support to the rebel group the Syrian Arab Coalition, which is involved in heavy fighting around the city of Manbij, currently under the control of Islamic State.

The terrorist group has been in control of the city since it seized large swathes of Syria and Iraq in the summer of 2014.

In an interview with NBC News last week, Syrian President Bashar Assad said that the US is not interested in defeating terrorists in Syria as it really wants “to control and use them.”

Western leaders support terror groups in Syria, get extremism at home – Assadhttp://on.rt.com/7iiq 

“The reality is telling that, since the beginning of the American airstrikes, terrorism has been expanding and prevailing,” he told the channel, specifying that “during the American and alliance airstrikes, ISIS was expanding and taking over new areas in Syria.”

“It’s about being serious, having the will. The United States doesn’t have the will to defeat the terrorists. It had the will to control them and to use them as a card, like they did in Afghanistan. That will reflect on the military aspect of the issue,” Assad said.

https://www.rt.com/news/352255-france-syria-civilians-dead/

‘Beyond a massacre: France deliberately bombed Syrian civilians after Nice attack’

The Dresden bombing during World War II was retaliation. The firebombing of Japanese cities by the United States was to terrorize civilians. The pattern keeps repeating.

From RT

Interview with Marwa Osman
July 20, 2016

Western coalition forces knew they were attacking an area inhabited by civilians and yet they carried out a bombing. How can 30 airstrikes be a mistake? How can they all be a mistake, political commentator Marwa Osman asked RT.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry has written to the UN blaming US and French warplanes for the deaths of more than 100 civilians near the city of Manbij.

The alleged French act of aggression claimed the lives of more than 120 civilians, most of them children, women and elderly. The fate of scores of other civilians still under the debris is unknown. The letter also mentioned the French air strikes came a day after US warplanes conducted a bombing raid, which Damascus claims killed 20 other civilians.

RT: In January, the US-led coalition was reportedly (as claimed by CNN) prepared for up to 50 civilian deaths when it decided to target an ISIS cash vault. Can the risk of so-called collateral damage be justified for the greater good?

Marwa Osman: They blatantly call it ‘collateral damage’ when it is lives of the Syrian people which are being lost here. No one is talking about this, about the grave lives of the people who are living in Syria because of this coalition, because of the support this coalition has been giving to all sorts of groups. We already saw that the same thing in the French bombing, we saw the same thing that happened in a school in Iraq’s Nineveh massacre of 36 children after ISIS claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks. And now after the Nice attack, we see this in Syria. This is beyond unacceptable, this is beyond a massacre. They knew that this is an inhabited area by civilians and yet they did it. How can 30 airstrikes be a mistake? How can they all be a mistake? This is unacceptable…

RT: How is it possible the US claims it doesn’t know anything about this airstrike and that they’re still gathering information?

MO: They’re still gathering information? How come they did an airstrike without the information? I am sorry but we are not idiots. Our minds are not somewhere backwards. We know what is happening. We know that every flight that is being made costs more than $200,000 for a jet to go up in the air. And I am very sure that any state that gets a jet up in the air to bomb someone knows exactly what they are bombing. What they did is a… retaliatory move, a fast move just to breed blood in the streets of Syria just to say to the French and the US public: “Look, we are fighting ISIS.” This is not how they fight ISIS. They fight ISIS by stopping the Turkish state from opening its borders where they infiltrate, by stopping the funding, by stopping the arming and by stopping the so-called moderate rebels who yesterday killed a 12-year-old boy. These are the moderates of the US. The US recognizes the support for this Nour al-Din al-Zenki brigade that killed the boy. And trust me, they know who they are because today they told them: “We are going to stop the funding if you continue doing this.” They have been doing this for the past five years. They know everything that is going on. I surely appreciate what the Syrian government is doing by sending this message to the UN but this is not enough… This is definitely not enough. Syrians are suffering; they are dying by the hundreds. People need to wake up and see what their governments are doing and stop them. Because it is their tax payments that are causing the suffering over the world, especially in Syria and Iraq. I am very sure that they know who they are fighting and bombing, but they just pretend that they don’t know.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

US-led Coalition warplanes have carried out an air-raid on Tokhar village north of killing 10s of civilians

RT: Do you think there will be an independent and transparent investigation of the incident? Will those responsible be held accountable?

MO: The 9/11 didn’t have any sort of a real investigation, do you think any investigation inside of Syria will come up with some sort of solution or conclusion that will give a closure to the people that lost their family members? No, I don’t think that is going to happen any time. They are not even going to pay a dollar to make this investigation happen…

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/352283-syria-us-france-bombing/

 

 

Petition to get France out of NATO

From Fort Russ

Sortirdelotan.fr, May 28, 2016

Here at Fort Russ, we do not expect that signatures outside of France will be of use, but it seemed that Fort Russ readers would be interested in knowing of this project and in reading its rationale… 

Translation by Tom Winter

Headline:
“At Warsaw they are getting set for war. Let’s get out of NATO!

“The next NATO summit in Warsaw July 8 and 9, just one more provocation against Russia. With this appeal, the signatories mean to say “STOP” to this nuclear escalation before something undoable gets done”

Text:
The hour is grave. A new missile crisis is brewing against Russia, a mirror image of the 1962 missile crisis when the Soviet Union deployed missiles in Cuba, at the very portals of the United States. The situation has gotten upside down: then NATO was struggling against the Warsaw Pact; today it meets in Warsaw!

Therefore, we the undersigned, find that we are faced with a provocative policy of encirclement:

1. continuous expansion of NATO to Russia’s borders, despite the guarantees given by the West to Gorbachev in 1989 that this would not happen;

2. deployment of the Aegis missile defense shieldin Romania, Poland, Turkey, and Spain. Featuring MK41 launch systems, these weapons can be used for defense missions (anti-aircraft, anti-submarine, anti-ship), but also for attack missions against ground targets;

3. deployment in the Baltic countries, Poland, and Romania, by rotation, of four regiments of a thousand men each with permanent military equipment;

4. constitution of a “northern” front against Russia, bringing together NATO members (Denmark, Iceland and Norway) or its Partnership for Peace (Sweden and Finland).

To end this menace we demand:
1. That the French government use the “policy of the empty chair” at the upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw;

2. that it announce its decision to leave the organization that no longer has any raison d’être. 

We call on France to create the conditions for a return to an order of peace in the world, based on “win-win” cooperation proposed by the BRICS, which Europe and the United States have an interest in joining.

Let us mobilize today all those means that we have committed in the twentieth century for war, for peace through mutual development!

http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/05/petition-to-get-france-out-of-nato.html

Emails on Hillary Clinton’s rape of Libya reveal French government’s crimes; Where are the trials for Clinton and Sarkozy?

“…an April 2011 email sent to Hillary with the subject line ‘France’s client and Qaddafi’s gold’ tells of less noble ambitions.The email identifies French President Nicholas Sarkozy as leading the attack on Libya with five specific purposes in mind:

  • to obtain Libyan oil,
  • ensure French influence in the region,
  • increase Sarkozy’s reputation domestically,
  • assert French military power, and to
  • prevent Gaddafi’s influence in what is considered ‘Francophone Africa.’

Most astounding is the lengthy section delineating the huge threat that Gaddafi’s gold and silver reserves, estimated at “143 tons of gold, and a similar amount in silver,” posed to the French franc (CFA) circulating as a prime African currency.

[from the email]’… this was one of the factors that influenced President Nicolas Sarkozy’s decision to commit France to the attack on Libya.'”

Hillary’s Dirty War in Libya: New Emails Reveal Propaganda, Executions, Coveting Libyan Oil and Gold
Global Research, January 05, 2016
Levant Report 4 January 2015

The New Year’s Eve release of over 3000 new Hillary Clinton emails from the State Department has CNN abuzz over gossipy text messages, the “who gets to ride with Hillary” selection process set up by her staff, and how a “cute” Hillary photo fared on Facebook.

But historians of the 2011 NATO war in Libya will be sure to notice a few of the truly explosive confirmations contained in the new emails: admissions of rebel war crimes, special ops trainers inside Libya from nearly the start of protests, Al Qaeda embedded in the U.S. backed opposition, Western nations jockeying for access to Libyan oil, the nefarious origins of the absurd Viagra mass rape claim, and concern over Gaddafi’s gold and silver reserves threatening European currency.

Hillary’s Death Squads

A March 27, 2011 intelligence brief on Libya, sent by long time close adviser to the Clintons and Hillary’s unofficial intelligence gatherer, Sidney Blumenthal, contains clear evidence of war crimes on the  part of NATO-backed rebels. Citing a rebel commander source “speaking in strict confidence” Blumenthal reports to Hillary [emphasis mine]:

Under attack from allied Air and Naval forces, the Libyan Army troops have begun to desert to the rebel side in increasing numbers. The rebels are making an effort to greet these troops as fellow Libyans, in an effort to encourage additional defections.

(Source Comment: Speaking in strict confidence, one rebel commander stated that his troops continue to summarily execute all foreign mercenaries captured in the fighting…).

While the illegality of extra-judicial killings is easy to recognize (groups engaged in such are conventionally termed “death squads”), the sinister reality behind the “foreign mercenaries” reference might not be as immediately evident to most.

While over the decades Gaddafi was known to make use of European and other international security and infrastructural contractors, there is no evidence to suggest that these were targeted by the Libyan rebels.

There is however, ample documentation by journalists, academics, and human rights groups demonstrating that black Libyan civilians and sub-Saharan contract workers, a population favored by Gaddafi in his pro-African Union policies, were targets of “racial cleansing” by rebels who saw black Libyans as tied closely with the regime.[1]

Black Libyans were commonly branded as “foreign mercenaries” by the rebel opposition for their perceived general loyalty to Gaddafi as a community and subjected to torture, executions, and their towns “liberated” by ethnic cleansing. This is demonstrated in the most well-documented example of Tawergha, an entire town of 30,000 black and “dark-skinned” Libyans which vanished by August 2011 after its takeover by NATO-backed NTC Misratan brigades.

These attacks were well-known as late as 2012 and often filmed, as this report from The Telegraph confirms:

After Muammar Gaddafi was killed, hundreds of migrant workers from neighboring states were imprisoned by fighters allied to the new interim authorities. They accuse the black Africans of having been mercenaries for the late ruler. Thousands of sub-Saharan Africans have been rounded up since Gaddafi fell in August.

It appears that Clinton was getting personally briefed on the battlefield crimes of her beloved anti-Gaddafi fighters long before some of the worst of these genocidal crimes took place.

Al-Qaeda and Western Special Forces Inside Libya

The same intelligence email from Sydney Blumenthal also confirms what has become a well known theme of Western supported insurgencies in the Middle East: the contradiction of special forces training militias that are simultaneously suspected of links to Al Qaeda.

Blumenthal relates that “an extremely sensitive source” confirmed that British, French, and Egyptian special operations units were training Libyan militants along the Egyptian-Libyan border, as well as in Benghazi suburbs.

While analysts have long speculated as to the “when and where” of Western ground troop presence in the Libyan War, this email serves as definitive proof that special forces were on the ground only within a month of the earliest protests which broke out in the middle to end of February 2011 in Benghazi.

By March 27 of what was commonly assumed a simple “popular uprising” external special operatives were already “overseeing the transfer of weapons and supplies to the rebels” including “a seemingly endless supply of AK47 assault rifles and ammunition.”

Yet only a few paragraphs after this admission, caution is voiced about the very militias these Western special forces were training because of concern that, “radical/terrorist groups such as the Libyan Fighting Groups and Al Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) are infiltrating the NLC and its military command.”

The Threat of Libya’s Oil and Gold to French Interests

Though the French-proposed U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 claimed the no-fly zone implemented over Libya was to protect civilians, an April 2011 email sent to Hillary with the subject line “France’s client and Qaddafi’s gold” tells of less noble ambitions.

The email identifies French President Nicholas Sarkozy as leading the attack on Libya with five specific purposes in mind: to obtain Libyan oil, ensure French influence in the region, increase Sarkozy’s reputation domestically, assert French military power, and to prevent Gaddafi’s influence in what is considered “Francophone Africa.”

Most astounding is the lengthy section delineating the huge threat that Gaddafi’s gold and silver reserves, estimated at “143 tons of gold, and a similar amount in silver,” posed to the French franc (CFA) circulating as a prime African currency. In place of the noble sounding “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) doctrine fed to the public, there is this “confidential” explanation of what was really driving the war [emphasis mine]:

This gold was accumulated prior to the current rebellion and was intended to be used to establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan golden Dinar. This plan was designed to provide the Francophone African Countries with an alternative to the French franc (CFA).

(Source Comment: According to knowledgeable individuals this quantity of gold and silver is valued at more than $7 billion. French intelligence officers discovered this plan shortly after the current rebellion began, and this was one of the factors that influenced President Nicolas Sarkozy’s decision to commit France to the attack on Libya.)

Though this internal email aims to summarize the motivating factors driving France’s (and by implication NATO’s) intervention in Libya, it is interesting to note that saving civilian lives is conspicuously absent from the briefing.

Instead, the great fear reported is that Libya might lead North Africa into a high degree of economic independence with a new pan-African currency.

French intelligence “discovered” a Libyan initiative to freely compete with European currency through a local alternative, and this had to be subverted through military aggression.

The Ease of Floating Crude Propaganda

Early in the Libyan conflict Secretary of State Clinton formally accused Gaddafi and his army of using mass rape as a tool of war. Though numerous international organizations, like Amnesty International, quickly debunked these claims, the charges were uncritically echoed by Western politicians and major media.

It seemed no matter how bizarre the conspiracy theory, as long as it painted Gaddafi and his supporters as monsters, and so long as it served the cause of prolonged military action in Libya, it was deemed credible by network news.

Two foremost examples are referenced in the latest batch of emails: the sensational claim that Gaddafi issued Viagra to his troops for mass rape, and the claim that bodies were “staged” by the Libyan government at NATO bombing sites to give the appearance of the Western coalition bombing civilians.

In a late March 2011 email, Blumenthal confesses to Hillary that,

I communicated more than a week ago on this story—Qaddafi placing bodies to create PR stunts about supposed civilian casualties as a result of Allied bombing—though underlining it was a rumor. But now, as you know, Robert Gates gives credence to it. (See story below.)

Sources now say, again rumor (that is, this information comes from the rebel side and is unconfirmed independently by Western intelligence), that Qaddafi has adopted a rape policy and has even distributed Viagra to troops. The incident at the Tripoli press conference involving a woman claiming to be raped is likely to be part of a much larger outrage. Will seek further confirmation.

Not only did Defense Secretary Robert Gates promote his bizarre “staged bodies” theory on CBS News’ “Face The Nation,” but the even stranger Viagra rape fiction made international headlines as U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice made a formal charge against Libya in front of the UN Security Council.

What this new email confirms is that not only was the State Department aware of the spurious nature of what Blumenthal calls “rumors” originating solely with the rebels, but did nothing to stop false information from rising to top officials who then gave them “credence.”

It appears, furthermore, that the Viagra mass rape hoax likely originated with Sidney Blumenthal himself.

 Note

[1] The most comprehensive and well-documented study of the plight of black Libyans is contained in Slouching Towards Sirte: NATO’s War on Libya and Africa (publ. 2012, Baraka Books) byMaximilian Forte, Professor Anthropology and Sociology at Concordia University in Montréal, Québec.

French lawyer asks every MP to impeach Hollande for war crimes in Donetsk, Syria

Why not President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Senator John McCain?

From Fort Russ

Deposition of Anna Touve

  Egalité-Reconciliation, December 11, 2015
  Translated from French by Tom Winter, December 18, 2015

Original title: Impeachment procedure, François Hollande, President of the Republic:
Communiqué of Master Viguier and testimony of victims

Here is the press release of Damien Viguier, Esq. 
Criminal policy in Syria and Donbass: Hollande impeachment Paris, December 11, 2015 – 

Two women, victims in Syria and in Donbass, speaking through their lawyer, have addressed a request to each French parliamentarian to bring François Hollande before the High Court. 

One of these two women, the one from Syria, was raped in front of her husband, the other, a resident of Donbass, saw her house blown up in a bombing that killed her husband and two of her children, and wounded her two other children, and made her lose an arm. 

These criminal acts are the direct consequences of the actions of François Hollande. One tenth of parliamentarians either House may take the initiative for impeachment proceedings against François Hollande by filing a Motion for a resolution calling for a session of the High Court.

MPI TV broadcast Mr. Viguier’s the call to impeach Francois Hollande: 

Video
Master Damien Viguier interrogates a young Syrian woman who was kidnapped, beaten, and raped by “moderate rebels,” supported and armed by France:
Master Damien Viguier interrogates a young mother from Ukrainian Donbass whose family was decimated by the shells of the “loyalist” army supported by France:
Master Damien Viguier sent the following letter to MPs: 
Sir, 
I appeal to the representative of the nation, in the name of Madame Anna Touve, a Ukrainian national, civilian residing in Donetsk, and in the name of a young woman, also a civilian, residing in Damascus (Syria), who, for understandable reasons, remains anonymous. On May 26, 2015 in Gorlovka (Donbass) Touve, Anna lost her husband and two of her children in the explosion of shells fired by the militias of the Kiev regime.

Seriously injured, she lost her left arm. As for the young Syrian woman, she was assaulted in 2013, at her home, raped and tortured in the presence of her husband by so-called rebels against the Syrian regime.

My two clients are the victims of a certain conception of international relations. In accordance with the principles of law, it is the senior military or political officials who must be punished, and by the State to which they belong.

Regarding Donbass, François Hollande has supported and encouraged a de facto regime that took power illegally, by violence, in Kiev. And therefore he bludgeoned any attempt at liberation on the part of the eastern regions of Ukraine. He does not cease encouraging abuses against the people of Donbass.

Regarding Syria, this same François Hollande, since taking office, has unceasingly kept up the offensive against the Syrian state. He has acknowledged arms shipments to the “rebels.” 

And the statements of his foreign minister, including “the Al-Nusra Front did a good job,” statement, were said by the administrative courts, to note the foreign policy of France.

These facts correspond to the definition that is given of crimes against peace, and of a crime of war. And there is certainly a case of complicity in the crimes committed. The question arises, before history, of our responsibility to all, confronted as we are with the atrocities committed by those who clearly abuse their position and turn aside from the mission that has been entrusted to them.

According to Article 68 of the Constitution, and the Organic Law of November 24, 2014, in the case of breach of the duties of a President of the Republic, manifestly incompatible with the exercise of a mandate, a High Court may order the dismissal of the head of state. The initiative for this procedure is yours: one tenth of the parliamentarians of one or the other chamber deposit on the desk of their assembly a reasoned resolution for impeachment and calling the High Court to a meeting.

Therefore Anna Touve and the young Syrian woman appeal to you and urge you, Mr Deputy, kindly take the initiative. For them, yes, but for all the civilians, the wounded, the prisoners, the women, the children, the elderly, who are suffering in their flesh because of a criminal policy of boundless cynicism and utter unscupulousness that certain politicians are conducting.

I stand at your entire dispositon, to provide you with all clarifications and any details that you consider useful. I beg you to accept, Sir, the assurances of my highest consideration. 

                                        — Damien Viguier

Translator note: There are many applauding comments, e.g. “Nixon got dumped for 100 times less”

http://www.fortruss.blogspot.com/2015/12/french-lawyer-asks-every-mp-to-impeach.html

Military operations in preparation in and around Syria. Calm before the storm?

Global Research, December 16, 2015
Voltaire Network 14 December 2015

The Western Press doesn’t have much to say about the military operations in Syria, except to affirm, without the slightest proof, that the Coalition is successfully bombing Daesh jihadists while the Russians continue to kill innocent civilians. It is in fact difficult to form a reasonable idea of the current situation, particularly since each side is readying its weapons in preparation for a wider conflict. Thierry Meyssan describes what is going on.

The silence surrounding the military operations in Iraq and Syria does not mean that the war has ground to a halt, but that the different protagonists are preparing for a new round of hostilities.

The Coalition forces

On the imperial side, there reigns a state of total confusion. With regard to the contradictory declarations by US leaders, it is impossible to understand Washington’s objectives, if indeed there are any. At the very best, it would seem that the United States are allowing France to take certain initiatives at the head of one part of the Coalition, but even there, we do not know their real objectives.

Of course, France declares that it wants to destroy Daesh in retaliation for the attacks of the 13th November in Paris, but it was already saying so before these attacks took place. Their earlier declarations were the stuff of public relations, not reality. For example, the Mecid Aslanov, property of Necmettin Bilal Erdoğan’s BMZ Group, left the French port of Fos-sur-Mer on the 9th November 2015, having just delivered, in total impunity, a cargo of oil which it claimed had been extracted in Israël, but which in reality had been stolen by Daesh in Syria. There is nothing to indicate that the situation is any different today, or that we should begin taking the official declarations seriously.

French President François Hollande and his Minister of Defence Jean-Yves Le Drian visited the aircraft-carrier Charles-De-Gaulle, off the coast of Syria, on the 4th December. They announced a change of mission, but gave no explanation. As Army Chief of Staff General Pierre de Villiers had previously stated, the ship was diverted to the Persian Gulf.

The aeronaval Group constituted around the Charles-De-Gaulle is composed of its on-board aerial Group (eighteenRafale Marine, eight modernised Super Etendard, two Hawkeye, two Dauphin and one Alouette III), the aerial defence frigateChevalier Paul, the anti-submarine frigate La Motte-Picquet, the command flagship Marne, the Belgian frigate Léopold Ier and the German frigate Augsburg, and also, although the Minister of Defence denies it, a nuclear attack submarine. Attached to this group, the stealth light frigate Courbet remained in the western Mediterranean.

The European forces have been integrated into Task Force 50 of the USNavCent, in other words the US Central Command fleet. This unit now comprises about sixty ships.

The French authorities have announced that rear-admiral René-Jean Crignola has taken command of this international force, without mentioning that he is placed under the authority of the commander of the 5th Fleet, rear-admiral Kevin Donegan, who is himself under the authority of General Lloyd J. Austin III, commander of CentCom. It is in truth an absolute rule of the Empire that the command of operations always falls to US officers, and that the Allies only occupy auxiliary positions. In fact, apart from the relative promotion of the French rear-admiral, we find ourselves in the same position as last February. We have an international Coalition which is supposed to be fighting Daesh, and which – for an entire year – has certainly multiplied its reconnaissance flights and destroyed Chinese oil installations, but without having the slightest effect on its official objective, Daesh. Here too, there is no indication that anything will change.

The Coalition has announced that it has carried out new bombing missions and destroyed a number of Daesh installations, but these allegations are unverifiable and even more doubtful insofar as the terrorist organisation has not made the slightest protest.

From this disposition, we may conclude that France may elaborate its own strategy, but that the United States can re-assert control at any time.

The terrorist forces

We could deal here with the terrorist organisations, but that would involve pretending, like NATO, that these groups are independent formations which have suddenly materialised from the void, with all their salaries, armement and spare parts. More seriously, the jihadists are in fact mercenaries in the service of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar – it seems that the United Arab Emirates have almost completely withdrawn from this group – to which we must add certain multinationals like Academi, KKR and Exxon-Mobil.

Turkey continues its military deployement in Bachiqa (Irak), in support of the Kurdish forces of illegitimate President Massoud Barzani who, although his mandate is terminated, refuses to leave power and organise new elections. When the Iraqi government demanded that Turkey remove its troops and tanks, Ankara responded that it had sent its soldiers to protect the training forces deployed in Iraq according to an earlier international agreement, and that it had no intention of withdrawing them. It then added even more, bringing the number of troops involved to at least 1,000 soldiers and 25 tanks.

Iraq referred its case to the United Nations Security Council and the Arab League, without provoking the slightest reaction anywhere.

Turkey and the ex-governor of Mosul, Atheel al-Nujaifi, would like to be present when the city is taken from Daesh, hoping to be able to prevent it from being occupied by the Popular Mobilisation Forces (al-Hashd al-Shaabi), the great majority of whom are Shia.

It’s clear that everyone is dreaming – illegitimate President Massoud Barzani believes that no-one will question his annexation of the oil fields of Kirkuk and the Sinjar mountains – the leader of the Syrian Kurds, Saleh Muslim, imagines that he will soon be President of an internationally-recognised pseudo-Kurdistan – and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan presumes that the Arabs of Mosul long to be liberated and governed by the Turks, as they were under the Ottoman Empire.

Furthermore, in Ukraine, Turkey has deployed the International Islamist Brigade that it officially created last August. These jihadists, who were extracted from the Syrian theatre, were divided into two groups as soon as they arrived in Kherson. Most of them went to fight in Donbass with the Cheikh Manour and Djokhar Doudaïev Brigades, while the best elements were infiltrated into Russia in order to sabotage the Crimean economy, where they managed to cut all electricity to the Republic for 48 hours.

Saudi Arabia united its mercenaries in Riyadh in order to constitute a delegation in readiness for the next round of negotiations organised by the NATO Director of Political Affairs, US neo-Conservative Jeffrey Feltman.

The Saudis did not invite the representatives of Al-Qaïda, nor those of Daesh, but only the Wahhabist groups who are working with them, like Jaysh al-Islam or Ahrar al-Sham. Therefore, in theory, there were no « terrorist groups », as listed by the UNO Security Council, present at the conference. However, in practice, all the participants were fighting with, in the name of, or alongside Al-Qaïda or Daesh without using their label, since most of these groups are directed by personalities who once belonged to Al-Qaïda or Daesh. Thus, Ahrar al-Sham was created just before the beginning of the events in Syria by the Muslim Brotherhood and the principal leaders of Al-Qaïda, drawn from personalities close to Osama bin Laden.

Continuing to act as they had before the Russisan intervention, the participants agreed to a « political solution » which would start with the abdication of the democratically-elected President Bachar el-Assad, and continue with a sharing of power between themselves and the Republican institutions. Thus, although they have lost all hope of a military victory, they persist in counting on the surrender of the Syrian Arab Republic.

Since the representative of the Syrian Kurds was not invited to the conference, we may conclude that Saudi Arabia considers the project for a pseudo-Kurdistan as distinct from the future of the rest of Syria. Let us note in passing that the YPG has just created a Syrian Democratic Council in order to reinforce the illusion of an alliance between Selah Muslim’s Kurds and the Sunni and Christian Arabs, when in reality, they are fighting each other on the ground.

In any case, there is no doubt that Riyadh is supporting Turkey’s efforts to create this pseudo-Kurdistan as a place of banishment for « its » Kurds. Indeed, it is now confirmed that Saudi Arabia supplied the logistical aid necessary for Turkey to guide the air-air missile which shot down the Russian Soukhoï 24.

Finally, Qatar is still pretending that it has not been involved in the war since the abdication of Emir Hamad, two years ago. Nonetheless, proof is accumulating of its secret operations, all of which are directed not against Damascus, but against Moscow – thus, the Qatari Minister of Defence, in Ukraine at the end of September, bought a number of sophisticated Pechora-2D anti-air weapons which the jihadists could use to threaten Russian forces. More recently, he organised a false-flag operation against Russia. Still in Ukraine, at the end of October, he bought 2,000 OFAB 250-270 Russian fragmentation bombs and dispersed them on the 6th December over a camp of the Syrian Arab Army, in order to accuse the Russian Army of blundering. In this case too, despite the proof, there was no reaction from the UNO.

The patriotic forces

The Russian forces have been bombing the jihadists since the 30th September. They plan to continue at least until the 6th January. Their action is aimed principally at destroying the bunkers built by these armed groups and the totality of their logistical networks. During this phase, there will be little evolution on the ground other than a withdrawal of jihadists towards Iraq and Turkey.

The Syrian Arab Army and its allies are preparing a vast operation for the beginning of 2016. The objective is to provoke an uprising of the populations dominated by the jihadists, and to take almost all the cities in the country simultaneously – with the possible exception of Palmyra – so that the foreign mercenaries will fall back to the desert. Unlike Iraq, where 120,00 Sunnis and Ba’athists joined Daesh only to exact revenge for having been excluded from power by the United States in favour of the Chiites, rare are the Syrians who ever acclaimed the « Caliphate ».

On the 21st and 22nd November, in the Mediterranean, the Russian army took part in excercises with its Syrian ally. As a result, the airports of Beirut (Lebanon) and Larnaca (Cyprus) were partially closed. On the 23rd and 24th November, the firing of Russian missiles on Daesh positions within Syria provoked the closing of the airports at Erbil and Sulaymaniyah (Iraq). It seems that in reality, the Russian army may have been testing the possible extension of its weapon that inhibits NATO communications and commands. In any case, on the 8th December, the submarine Rostov-on-Don fired on Daesh installations from the Mediterranean.

Russia, which disposes of the air base at Hmeymim (near Lattakia), also uses the air base of the Syrian Arab Army in Damascus, and is said to be building a new base at al-Shayrat (near Homs). Besides this, some high-ranking Russian officers have been carrying out scouting missions with a view to creating a fourth base in the North-East of Syria, in other words, close to both Turkey and Iraq.

Finally, an Iranian submarine has arrived off the coast of Tartus.

Hezbollah, who demonstrated their capacity to carry out commando operations during their liberation of the Sukhoï pilot held prisoner by militias organised by the Turkish army, are preparing the uprising of Shia populations, while the Syrian Arab Army – which is more than 70% Sunni – is concentrating on the Sunni populations.

The Syrian government has concluded an agreement with the jihadists of Homs, who have finally accepted to either join up or leave. The area has been evacuated under the control of the United Nations, so that today, Damascus, Homs, Hama, Lattakia and Der ez-Zor are completely secure. Aleppo, Idlib and Al-Raqqah still need to be liberated.

Contrary to peremptory affirmations by the western Press, Russia has no intention of leaving the north of the country to France, Israël and the United Kingdom so that they can create their pseudo-Kurdistan. The patriot plan forsees the liberation of all the inhabited areas of the country, including Rakka, which is the current « capital of the Caliphate ».

This is the calm before the storm.

US, France, and Britain: The destruction of Syria is the plan

Global Research, December 07, 2015
RT 5 December 2015

syria-war-plane

Since Russia stepped up to the plate, suddenly western countries can’t wait to bomb ISIS. Are they now there to get the job done? Or are they there to stop Russia increasing its influence, and to make sure it doesn’t succeed where they failed?

The world is falling over itself to bomb Syria.

The following statement from Reuters summarizes the situation:

“Most of the world’s powers are now flying combat missions over Iraq and Syria against Islamic State. But any consensus on how to proceed has been thwarted by opposing policies over the 4-year-old civil war in Syria, which has killed 250,000 people, driven 11 million from their homes, left swathes of territory in the hands of jihadist fighters and defied all diplomatic efforts at a solution.”

While it may seem to the outside observer that this catalogue of mayhem is the result of incompetence, to me – on the contrary – it is evidence of things going to plan.

I have never, thus far, seen a war the ruling elite clearly wanted to happen not happen.

Here, as in all other cases, there has been a bit of hand-wringing, some crying, some protests, some moving speeches. But like the morality plays of medieval times, after enjoying the sermon dressed as entertainment, life has inevitably carried on as normal with the barons raping and pillaging and everyone else having to put up with that reality.

Destruction of Syria is the plan

This time the plan – at least judging from the outcomes – is to destroy Syria.

Syria has been anathema to the self-appointed arbiters of righteousness: the ‘international community’, that coterie of hypocrites which arrogates to itself the monopoly on meting out death to those who won’t get with the program.

This group dislikes Syria which has had an uncompromising stance towards Israel and an independent financial system, and is using the chance to destroy it to flood Europe with refugees, thus further debasing the makeup of its constituent nations, and simultaneously justifying a lockdown in those countries.

Enter Putin

Everything was going swimmingly until Putin stepped in.

While many in the West who have grown jaundiced at the obvious usurpation of our governments by outside interests ascribe almost saint-like motivations to Putin, I do not. He is a superb strategist. Exactly what he is strategizing for is not clear yet.

What is clear is that his move into Syria threw a spanner in the works of a status quo the US was quite happy with: growing terrorism and mayhem in Syria and spreading nicely to Europe.

Assad himself said a few days ago to the BBC (courtesy of Czech Television) that ISIS was growing smaller after Russian bombing intervention whereas moves by other countries served only to strengthen ISIS and increase their recruitment.

He added: “The facts are telling.”

So what do the facts tell?

They tell us that Russia is the only country involved to date which has the removal of ISIS as an actual goal.

Russia is also the only country with a legitimate mandate under international law.

In addition, ISIS was most eloquently outed by author and journalist Gearóid Ó Colmáin on Russia Today as a US creation.

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In this scenario, the reason for further western efforts in the region is looking increasingly like an attempt to prevent Russia from routing its assets or achieving the informational coup that would follow.

France and Britain milking the crises

The propaganda war is hotting up, with western press issuing unsubstantiated and emotional surmise as news.

Meanwhile, the French and the British are now, of course, bombing Syria.

At home, the French government not only voted to bomb but enacted ‘emergency’ powers at the same time. And Holland wants to change the constitution to extend these powers.

The Telegraph states: “The draft “Protection of the Nation” bill […] would extend the right to strip French citizenship from dual nationals convicted of terrorism offences by also including people born in France.

It would also prolong certain powers after a state of emergency was lifted.

No time limit will be inscribed in the constitution under the new proposals. As is currently the case, parliament will decide how long a given state of emergency should last.”

This all looks so like a dictator’s wet dream, it takes an effort of will to believe it has not been planned this way.

And a man no less respected than Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, formerly Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, has raised legitimate questions about the official line on the Paris attacks.

He says:

“European peoples want to be French, German, Dutch, Italian, Hungarian, Czech, British. They do not want their countries to be a diverse Tower of Babel created by millions of refugees from Washington’s wars.

To remain a nationality unto themselves is what Pegida, Farage, and Le Pen offer the voters.

Realizing its vulnerability, it is entirely possible that the French Establishment made a decision to protect its hold on power with a false flag attack that would allow the Establishment to close France’s borders and, thereby, deprive Marine Le Pen of her main political issue.”

The same event, of course, justifies France’s bombing of Syria.

The British government for its part – despite some theatrical hand-wringing – has got on the bandwagon and opted to join in whatever further criminality the US has planned in Syria.

As though to justify the decision, the Telegraph breathlessly informs us that ISIS (or ISIL as it calls it) is planning to attack the UK “next”.

It says: “There are unconfirmed reports that Isil has decided that the next target of an attack will be Britain.

European security agencies, citing specific intelligence that had been obtained, stated that British Isil operatives in Syria and Iraq were being tasked to return home to launch an attack, CNN reported.”

This is the level of the propaganda now: CNN reports security agencies who say that a terrorist group whose name changes every five minutes might be sending members to Britain to do harm.

But this is unconfirmed.

The real reason for this war

I’m going to simplify things: the Plan for a New American Century – a document which was created by neoconservative warmongers in or close to power under George Bush Jr. – listed countries which it wanted the US to attack, namely: North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria.

The journal-neo.org site states:

“[all were] pinpointed as enemies of the U.S. well before the illegal war in Iraq in 2003, as well as the illegal 2011 war in Libya and the ongoing proxy war in Syria.”

Retired US General Wesley Clarke went on record in 2007 stating that the fix was in: the U.S. had unilaterally decided to destroy Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran.

This is not some wild-eyed conspiracy theorist. Clarke was a four-star general, and the man who commanded Operation Allied Force in the Kosovo War during his term as the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe of NATO from 1997 to 2000.

The pretense of choice

Any objective assessment of who benefits from attacks upon the countries Clarke mentioned would not include any European country – or even the U.S. for that matter.

But the subtext is clear: if Europeans don’t want to take part, terrorist attacks will be allowed or contrived until they acquiesce.

In short: the ruling elite wants this war. Our pretend governments voted it through on the nod. And we the people will have to deal with the fallout and put up with random terrorist acts if we wake up and speak out about how this charade is rigged.

At the same time, the people of Syria are subject to bombing raids by the US, France and the UK – none of which have any invitation from the legitimate government of that country – actions which, properly speaking, are acts of war against the country the perpetrators claim to want to help.

My prediction: the clean-up operation Russia initiated and Assad approves of will be made to fail; terrorism will increase and spread into Europe; and mass immigration from Syria and that area to Europe will continue; and acts of terrorism on European soil will magically justify endless war, internal lock-down, wholesale surveillance, detention without trial, and troops on the street.

And this – in the absence of hard evidence based in action to the contrary – I can only see as the actual plan.

Do you remember voting for that?

No, nor do I.

US-NATO ground forces, escalation in Syria leading to global war

Global Research, December 05, 2015
turkey-syria

The recent developments show significant changes in the strategy of the Western countries involved in the Syrian conflict. The US has sent ground forces, including special operations units, into the region. French Air Force has sharply increased the number of sorties, and France’s rapid-reaction troops and naval units are being moved closer to Syria.

The United Kingdom has also begun to participate in the US-led anti-ISIS coalition strikes on Syrian soil. Likewise Germany has begun to deploy its aircraft and relocating almost 1200 quick-reaction troops to the Syria-Iraq battlefield. Turkey is deploying a large military attack force, including a number of armored units, at the border with Syria. It seems that NATO powers have realized the strategy aimed at Assad’s ouster by a diverse range of militant groups including ISIS which is backed by Turkey and the US has failed.

According to the initial scenario implemented by the West, ISIS and other militant groups, deceitfully called the moderate opposition, were to carry out a Libya-like scenario in Syria and oust or preferably kill Assad and plunge the whole country into chaos. Then the US-led coalition would start a full-scale military operation to stop the terrorists threatening the “moderate opposition” in Syria, deploy NATO forces on the ground and take control of the crucial oil and logistic infrastructure. Western oil corporations supported by NATO would then restore the state of affairs as it existed more than 40 years ago. Syria would fall victim to total exploitation by overseas powers. The Mediterranean would become Alliance’ internal lake.

Now it’s clear that Syria won’t fall under terrorist group pressure. The Syrian forces backed by Russia and Iran are gaining momentum, recapturing cities and facilities earlier controlled by militants. The NATO allies urgently need a new plan to hold control at least of the northern oil corridor from Iraq and try to take advantage of this opportunity to involve Russia in a long expensive war, in other words, to accomplish that which they failed to do in Ukraine. It means that the NATO contingent must occupy crucial infrastructure including oilfields before the Syrian government forces liberate it. Anti-government, meaning anti-Russian and anti-Iranian, forces would be established in parts of divided Syria. The need for an excuse to implement the changed approach could be the reason why the Nov.13 Paris attack wasn’t prevented by the Western special services.

The implication of the Western plan to divide Syria in a number of vassal entities leads to 3 main scenarios:

1)   Military buildup and escalation in the region could lead to open military conflict between NATO and the alternative anti-ISIS coalition that is led by Russia. This regional conflict could easily lead to a global war. Moreover, Turkey, a NATO member state, has already shown that it’s ready to escalate the situation to defend its illegal oil business linked with ISIS.

2)    If the Syrian Arab Army with support by militia forces, Iran, and Russia isn’t able to show a significant success on the battlefield, Syria could be easily divided by the Western-backed ground forces supported by NATO airpower and intelligence assets. A direct military intervention to take control of the oil structure and crucial logistical points also remains possible. Even if NATO and its regional allies successfully take control of a significant part of the country, this escalation is unlikely to be avoided. The situation will become more acute due to the establishment of an aggressive puppet regime on the Syria’s territory. Considering that the alternative anti-ISIS coalition won’t lay down its arms, an open conflict could be easily provoked by the interested powers.

3)   If the Syrian government forces supported by Russia and Iran take control of the country’s key areas, the US-led coalition will face the fact that Syria is de-facto liberated from terrorist groups. It could prevent a direct military intervention by NATO. In this case, the NATO countries would strengthen their presence in Iraq and use it as a foothold to launch further destructive actions against Syria. However, it’s the safest scenario most likely to avoid a global escalation.

Interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad; “Britain and France were the spearheads in supporting the terrorists in Syria”

Global Research, December 06, 2015
SANA News 6 December 2015

Damascus – President Bashar al-Assad gave an interview to The Sunday Times in which he said Britain and France have neither the will nor the vision on how to defeat terrorism and their airstrikes against ISIS will yield no results, but will rather be illegal and harmful in that they will help in spreading terrorism.

The following is the full text of the interview:

 Question 1:  Thank you for seeing us Mr President.  As you know, the British government today will be voting on whether it will join the coalition airstrikes against ISIS. Is Britain right to join airstrikes against ISIS in Syria? And do you welcome its involvement; and will it make things worse or not make a change?

President Assad:  If I want to let’s say, evaluate a book, I cannot take or single out a phrase from that book to evaluate the whole book.  I have to look at the headlines, then the titles of the chapters and then we can discuss the rest of the book.  So, what we are talking about is only an isolated phrase.  If we want to go back to the headline, it is “the will to fight terrorism.”  We know from the very beginning that Britain and France were the spearheads in supporting the terrorists in Syria, from the very beginning of the conflict.  We know that they don’t have that will, even if we want to go back to the chapter on military participation with the coalition, it has to be comprehensive, it has to be from the air, from the ground, to have cooperation with the troops on the ground, the national troops for the interference or participation to be legal.  It is legal only when the participation is in cooperation with the legitimate government in Syria.  So, I would say they don’t have the will and they don’t have the vision on how to defeat terrorism.

And if you want to evaluate, let’s evaluate from the facts.  Let’s go back to the reality on the ground.  Since that coalition started its operation a year or so, what was the result? ISIS and al-Nusra and other like-minded organizations or groups, were expanding, expanding freely.  What was the situation after the Russians participated in fighting terrorism directly?  ISIS and al-Nusra started shrinking.  So I would say, first they will not give any results.  Second, it will be harmful and illegal, and it will support terrorism as what happened after the coalition started its operation a year or so, because this is like a cancer.  You cannot cut the cancer.  You have to extract it.  This kind of operation is like cutting the cancer that will make it spread in the body faster.

Question 2:  Are you saying, just to clarify two things, are you saying that the British, if the British join the intervention, that includes also the other coalition, with that intervention you see that is illegitimate from an international-law perspective?

President Assad:  Definitely, definitely, we are a sovereign country.  Look at the Russians, when they wanted to make this alliance against terrorism, the first thing they did was they started discussions with the Syrian government before anyone else.  Then they started discussing the same issue with other governments.  Then they came.  So, this is the legal way to combat any terrorist around the world.

Britain and France helped in the rise of ISIS and al-Nusra in this region

Question 3:  You say that France and Britain are responsible for the rise of terrorism here. But they were not responsible for the rise of ISIS, for example, is not that a little bit a harsh accusation?

President Assad: Let’s start from what Blair said.  He said that invading Iraq led to the rise of ISIS.  And we know that ISIS started publically, announcing itself as a state in Iraq in 2006, and the leader was Abu Mosaab al-Zerqawi.  He was killed by American strikes; and they announced that they killed him.  So, they know he existed and they know that IS in Iraq at that time had existed; and that it moved to Syria after the beginning of conflict in Syria because of the chaos that happened.  So, they confess.  British officials confessed, mainly Blair; and the reality is telling, that they helped in the rise of ISIS and al-Nusra in this region.

President al-Assad-Sunday Times-interview 3

Question 4:  In your view, does al-Qaida’s branch in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra, pose an equal or a greater long-term threat to the West than ISIS? And as such, is Britain’s Prime Minister, Cameron, going after the wrong enemy? I.e. he is going after ISIS instead of going after al-Nusra.

President Assad: The whole question is about the structure, and the problem is not about the structure of the organization.  It is about their ideology.  They do not base their actions on the structure, they base them on their dark, Wahhabi deviated ideology.  So, if we want to evaluate these two, the difference between the two, there is no difference because they have the same ideology.  This is one aspect.  The other aspect, if we want to talk about their grassroots, their followers, their members, you cannot have this distinction, because they move from one organization or one group to another.  And that is why sometimes they fight with each other, for their vested interests, on a local and small scale.  But in reality they are cooperating with each other on every level.  So, you cannot tell which is more dangerous because this is one mentality.  It is like if you say the first one is al-Qaida and the second one is al-Qaida.  The difference is the label, and maybe some other trivial things.

Question 5:  Last week, a key part of Cameron’s argument for extending UK airstrikes to Syria was a number that he used – 70 thousand moderate rebels – that he mentioned “don’t belong to extremist groups”, but are already on the ground, who the west can use to help them in the fight of ISIS. As far as you know, which groups are included in the 70 thousand? Are you aware of 70 thousand moderate rebels in Syria?

President Assad: Let me be frank and blunt about this.  This is a new episode in a long series of David Cameron’s classical farce, to be very frank.  This is not acceptable.  Where are they?  Where are the 70 thousand moderates that he is talking about?  That is what they always talk about: moderate groups in Syria.  This is a farce based on offering the public factoids instead of facts.

The Russians have been asking, since the beginning of their participation two months ago.  They have said: where are those moderates?  No one gave them an answer.  Actually, since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, there were no moderate militants in Syria.  All of them were extremists.  And in order not to say I am just giving excuses and so on, go back to the internet, go back to the social networking sites.  They uploaded their atrocities’ videos and pictures, with their faces and their rhetoric.  They use swords, they do beheadings; they ate the heart of a dismembered innocent person and so on.

And you know, the confession of a criminal is the incontrovertible fact.  So, those are the 70 thousand moderates he is taking about.  It is like if we describe the terrorists who committed the attack in Paris recently, and before that in Charlie Hebdo, and before that in the UK nearly ten years ago, and in Spain before that, and the 11th of September in New York, to describe them as moderate opposition.  That is not accepted anywhere in this world; and there is no 70 thousand, there is no 7 thousand, he does not have, maybe now ten of those.

Question 6:  Not even the Kurds and the FSA for example, the free Syrian army?

President Assad: The Kurds are fighting the terrorists with the Syrian army, in the same areas.

Question 7:  But they are also being supported and armed and trained and backed by the Americans to also launch, to fight …

President Assad:  Mainly by the Syrian army, and we have the documents.  We sent them armaments, because they are Syrian citizens, and they want to fight terrorism.  We do the same with many other groups in Syria, because you cannot send the army to every part of Syria.  So, it is not only the Kurds.  Many other Syrians are doing the same.

Question 8: U.S. Secretary of state John Kerry said last Friday that the Syrian government could cooperate with the opposition forces against the ISIS even if president Assad is still in office, but he said that this would be so difficult if the opposition fighters, who have been fighting the Syrian president, don’t have a faith that the Syrian president will eventually leave power.

Kerry also said that concerning the timing of leaving office, the answer is it is not obvious whether he will have to leave.

Meanwhile, the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told Le Progres Newspaper on Saturday that he no longer believes that President Assad’s departure is essential to any political transition in Syria, adding that the political transition does not mean that President Assad should step down before it but there should be future insurances.

My question: Do you intend to complete your presidential term until 2021 or do you expect a referendum or presidential elections prior to that date? And if so, when can these elections be held? And what can make you decide to hold them? And if they are held, is it certain that you will be running for election? What can influence your decision?

President Assad: The answer depends on the context of the question. If it is related to a settlement in Syria, then early elections have nothing to do with ending the conflict. This can only happen by fighting terrorists and ceasing Western and regional support for terrorists…Early elections will only be held as part of a comprehensive dialogue about future by the political powers and the civil society groups in Syria.

Thus, it is not about the will of the President, but rather the will of the Syrian people…It is about a political process. If this process is agreed on, then I have the right to run for elections like any other Syrian citizen…My decision in this case will be based on my ability to deliver on my commitments…and on whether I have the support of the Syrian people or not….Anyway, It is early to talk about this, because as you know, this process was not agreed upon yet.

President al-Assad-Sunday Times-interview 2

Question 9:   Do you think ISIS can be defeated by airstrikes alone?

You cannot defeat ISIS through airstrikes alone without cooperation with forces on the ground

President Assad:  Did the coalition defeat them by airstrikes during the last year or so?  It didn’t.  Did the Americans achieve anything from the airstrikes in Afghanistan?  They achieved nothing.  Did they achieve anything in Iraq since the invasion in 2003?  Nothing.  You cannot defeat ISIS through airstrikes alone, without cooperation with forces on the ground.  You cannot defeat them if you do not have buy-in from the general public and the government.  They cannot defeat ISIS by airstrikes; they are going to fail again.  The reality is telling.

Question 10:     If the international coalition refuses, as it has so far, to coordinate with the Syrian Army, or with the local troops on the ground, what is your next plan?  I mean do you have a plan B beyond what is going on?  How do you plan to end this war?

President Assad:  This coalition is illusive, it’s virtual, because it has not made any achievements in fighting terrorism on the ground in Syria.  Since an illusion doesn’t exist, let’s not waste time with the ‘before and after.’  From the very beginning we started fighting terrorism irrespective of any global or world powers.  Whoever wants to join us is welcome, and whether they join us or not, we are going to continue.  This is our plan. It is the only plan we have and we will not change it.

Question 11:  Are you calling on them to ask the Syrian government to coordinate and cooperate with the Syrian army and the Syrian air force in the fight against terrorists?

President Assad:  We are very realistic.  We know that they are not going to do so and that they don’t have the will.  This is more about international law than anything else.  Is it possible that western governments, or regimes, don’t know the basics of international law, that they don’t understand the meaning of a sovereign state or that they haven’t read the UN Charter?  They have no respect for international law and we didn’t ask for their cooperation.

Question 12:  But would you like them to?

President Assad:  If they are ready – serious and genuine – to fight terrorism, we welcome any country or government, any political effort.  In that regard we are not radical, we are pragmatic.  Ultimately, we want to resolve the situation in Syria and prevent further bloodshed.  That is our mission.  So, it’s not about love or hate, accepting or not, it is about reality.  Are they truly ready to help us fight terrorism, to stop terrorists coming into Syria through their surrogate governments in our region, or not?  That is the real question.  If they are ready, we will welcome them.  This is not personal.

Question 13:  Do you think it is possible for you, in Syria, and for your allies – Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and other allies – to defeat ISIS militarily; and if so, how long do you think it might take?

President Assad:  The answer is based on two factors: our capabilities on the one hand, and the support the terrorists receive on the other.  From our perspective, if you were to remove the support these groups get from various countries in our region and the West in general, it will take a matter of months to achieve our mission.  It is not very complicated, the solution is very clear to usHowever, these groups have unlimited support from these countries, which makes the situation drag on, makes it more complicated and harder to resolve.  This means our mission will be achieved at a much higher price, which will ultimately be paid by Syrians.

Question 14:  But there has already been a high price: over 200,000 people have been killed.

President Assad:  You are right, and that is a consequence of the support I referred to.

Question 15:  But a lot of it is also blamed on the Syrian government and the Syrian use of force, sometimes indiscriminate or unnecessary force in certain areas that has brought about a large number of people killed.  How do you respond to that?

President Assad:  First, all wars are bad.  There is no such thing as a good war.  In every war there are always too many innocent casualties.  These are only avoidable by bringing that war to an end.  So it is self-evident that wars anywhere in the world will result in loss of life.  But the rhetoric that has been repeated in the West for a long time ignores the fact that from day one terrorists were killing innocent people, it also ignores that fact that many of the people killed were supporters of the government and not vice versa.  As a government, our only countermeasure against terrorists is to fight them.  There is no other choice.  We cannot stop fighting the terrorists who kill civilians for fear of being accused by the West of using force.

Question 16: Let us talk about the role of Russia.  How important has the role of Russia been?  Was Syria about to fall had Russia not intervened when it did at the time?

Russia and Iran’s support played important part in Syria’s steadfastness against terrorism

President Assad: The Russian role is very important.  It has had a significant impact on both the military and political arena in Syria.  But to say that without this role, the government or the state would have collapsed, is hypothetical.  Since the very beginning of the conflict in Syria, there were bets on the collapse of the government.  First it was a few weeks, then it was a few months and then a few years.  Every time it was the same wishful thinking.  What is definite is that the Russian support to the Syrian people and government from the very beginning, along with the strong and staunch support of Iran, has played a very important part in the steadfastness of the Syrian state in the fight against terrorism.

Question 17: You mean the previous one, or the recent military intervention?

President Assad:  No, the whole support; it is not only about their participation.  Their support from the very beginning in all aspects: political, military and economic.

Question 18: How and why did Russian involvement come about now?  And can you give us some details of the discussions between you and President Putin that brought it about?  Who took the first step?  Did you ask, or did they offer?

The Russians want to protect Syria, Iraq, the region, themselves and even Europe

President Assad:  You will have to ask the Russians why they got involved.  But from our perspective, since the Western coalition started in Syria, ISIS has expanded, al-Nusra has expanded and every other extremist and terrorist group has expanded and captured new territory in Syria and Iraq.  The Russians clearly saw how this posed a threat to Syria, Iraq and the region in general, as well as to Russia and the rest of the world.  We can see this as a reality in Europe today.  If you read and analyse what happened in Paris recently and at Charlie Hebdo, rather than view them as separate incidences, you will realize something very important.  How many extremists cells now exist in Europe?  How many extremists did you export from Europe to Syria?  This is where the danger lies.  The danger is in the incubator.  The Russians can see this very clearly.  They want to protect Syria, Iraq, the region, themselves and even Europe.  I am not exaggerating by saying they are protecting Europe today.

Question 19: So, did they come to you and say we would like to be involved? Or did you ask them: could you help us?

President Assad:  It was an accumulative decision; it didn’t happen by me having this idea or them having another.  As you know, our relationship with the Russians goes back more than five decades, and they have always had military staff in Syria: call them experts or by any other name.  This cooperation accelerated and increased during the crisis.  Their teams are here and can see the situation real-time with us.  This kind of decision doesn’t start from the top down, but rather from the bottom up.  There is a daily political and military discussion between our two countries.  When it reached a presidential level, it was mature enough and ready for the decision to be made quickly.

Question 20: But there must have been a point when they said: we think, or with your agreement, we think that we should actually now physically get involved.

President Assad: Again, this was started at the lower levels.  These officials jointly agreed that it was necessary to get involved and each party discussed it with their leaders.  When it reached the stage of discussion between us, I mean between President Putin and I, we focused our discussions on the how.  Of course this did not happen directly as we had not yet met and it’s impossible to discuss these issues on the phone.   It was mediated through senior officials from both sides.  That is what happened.  In terms of procedure, I sent a letter to President Putin which included an invitation for their forces to participate.

Question 21:  So you asked president Putin having been advised by your officials.

President Assad:  Exactly, after we reached that point I sent President Putin a formal letter and we released a statement announcing that we had invited them to join our efforts.  Let’s not forget that President Putin had already taken the step when he said he was willing to create a coalition.  My response to this was that we are ready if you want to bring your forces to participate.

Question 22:  So, what forces have been deployed? I am talking about Russian forces. There have been reports, for example, of a thousand ground troops plus Special Forces, is this correct? Is there anytime when you think that the Russians will be involved in Syria, not just by air but with ground troops as well?

President Assad:  No, so far there is no such thing.  There are no ground troops except for the personnel that they send with their military staff and airplanes to guard the airbase, and that is natural.  They don’t have any ground troops fighting with Syrian forces at all.

Question 23:  And there is no plan for that?

President Assad:  We have not discussed that yet, and I don’t think we need it now, because things are moving in the right direction.  The Russians may consider it with time or under different circumstances, but for the moment, this has not been discussed.

Question 24: There was a report, or a hint, that Syria might be receiving S-300 from the Russians, and the S-300 will allow Syria to protect its airspace. Is this something, for example, that Syria will use against the US-led coalition’s air force, even if Britain was involved, since their warplanes are in Syrian skies, as you said earlier, without official or sovereign permission. As Syria will receive S-300, then will it use this to impose, if you want, protection of its skies and impose a way to tell the coalition that you have to actually directly deal with us, or coordinate with us on the ground?

We will use any means available to us to protect our airspace

President Assad:  That is our right and it is only to be expected that we prevent any airplane from violating our airspace.  That is completely legal.  We are going to use any means available to us to protect our airspace.  It is not about that armament in particular.  Any air defense we have is for that reason.

Question 25:  Do you have that defense at the moment?

President Assad:  No. So far we don’t have it.

Question 26:  If you get that defense?

President Assad:  Any defense systems we are going to have are for that purpose.  If we are not going to protect our airspace, then why buy such armaments in the first place?  That is self-evident.

Question 27:  And if you get it …

President Assad: Not at the moment; it is not our priority now.  Our priority is fighting the terrorists on the ground.  This is the most important danger now.  Of course we are keen to protect our airspace and prevent foreign interference in our internal affairs, militarily or other.  But the priority now is to defeat the terrorists.  By defeating the terrorists, some of whom are Syrians, we can move further in protecting the whole country from foreigners.  It is a matter of priorities.

Question 28:  But I meant about the actual coalition airplanes that are actually flying over Syria. So, that is not a priority either at the moment?

President Assad:  No, not at the moment.  At the moment the priority is fighting terrorism.

Question 29:  If Saudi Arabia were to invite you for serious discussions on the future of Syria, would you accept such an invitation? Or have relations between Syria and Saudi Arabia been severely severed that you would never consider that?

President Assad:  No, there is nothing impossible in politics.  It is not about whether I accept or not, but rather about the policies of each government.  What are their policies towards Syria? Are they going to keep supporting the terrorists or not? Are they going to continue playing their dangerous games in Syria, Yemen and other places?  If they are ready and willing to change their policies, especially with regard to Syria, we don’t have a problem meeting with them.  So it is not about the meeting or whether we go or not, the issue is their approach to what is happening in Syria.

Question 30:  Do you expect any results from the talks in Vienna?  And what would be the shape of any possible deal that you see coming out of Vienna?

President Assad:  The most important clause in the Vienna communique is that the Syrians should come together to discuss the future of Syria.  Everything else is an accessory.  If you don’t have that main part, the accessories are of no use.  So, the only solution is for us to come together as Syrians.  Vienna itself is a meeting to announce intentions; it is not the actual process of siting down and discussing the future.  So, the question is not what results from Vienna, but rather what we Syrians are able to achieve when we sit down together.

Question 31:  But do you realize that some of the opposition’s leaders, and I’m talking about opposition figures who have been against taking up arms and what have you, but are also afraid of coming to Syria, because the moment they land in Syria, they will be arrested by the security officers and put in prison. And it has happened to others.

President Assad:  No, it has never happened.  There is an opposition in Syria, and they are free to do whatever they want.

Question 32:  No, I mean the external opposition. For example, somebody like Haitham Mannaa, cannot come back.

President Assad:  We have clearly stated that when there is a gathering in Syria, which they want to attend, we guarantee that they will not be arrested or held.  We have said this many times.  We don’t have any problems in this regard.

President al-Assad-Sunday Times-interview 1

Question 33:  Now, Saudi Arabia invited 65 figures, including opposition leaders, even rebel commanders, businessmen, religious figures for a meeting in Saudi Arabia to present a united front in preparation for the January Vienna talks. Yet, the Syrian government, which is the other major element in this whole thing for the future of Syria, has not been seen to be involved with the opposition. Are you conducting any talks with the opposition? Have you reached any consensus with them?

President Assad:  We have direct channels with some opposition groups; but others cannot communicate with us because they are not allowed to do so by the governments that control them.  From our perspective, we are open for discussions with every peaceful opposition party.  We don’t have any problems.  With regards to the meeting in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi’s have been supporting terrorism directly, publically and explicitly.  That meeting will not change anything on the ground.  Before the meeting and after the meeting Saudi Arabia has been supporting terrorists and will continue to do so.  It is not a benchmark or a critical juncture to discuss.  It will not change anything.

Question 34:  Do you see that anytime, in the future, that in order to protect Syria, or in order to save Syria, or to get the Syria process moving, that you might see yourself sitting with certain groups, one group, or certain groups, that perhaps now you deem terrorist, but in the future, it might be feasible that you would agree to negotiate with them because it would do well for the future?

President Assad:  We already have; since the very beginning one of the pillars of our policy, was to start a dialogue with all parties involved in the conflict, whether they were in Syria or not.  We negotiated with many terrorist groups, not organizations – to be very precise, who wanted to give up their armaments, and return to normal life.  These negotiations led to many amnesties being issued and has proven to be very successful in several areas.  Furthermore, some of these fighters have joined the Syrian Army and are now fighting with our forces.  So yes, we are sitting down with those who committed illegal acts in Syria, whether political or military, to negotiate settlements on the condition that they give up their arms and return to normal life.  This doesn’t mean that we negotiate with terrorist organizations like ISIS, al-Nusra and others. This is what I meant by groups, those who want out of the fight, regret their choices and want to have their lives back.

Question 35:  The rebels call them barrel bombs. You refuse to refer to them as barrel bombs. Irrespective of the name, these were indiscriminate. Do you accept that Syria used indiscriminate bombs in some areas, which resulted in the death of many civilians?

President Assad:  Let us suppose that this part of the propaganda is true, which it isn’t.  But for the sake of argument, let us ask the same question regarding the different attacks committed by the Americans and the British with their state-of-the-art airplanes and missiles in Afghanistan and in Iraq, not only after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, but also during the first Gulf war in 1990.  How many civilians and innocent people were killed by those airstrikes with these very high precision missiles?  They killed more civilians than terrorists.  So, the issue is not these so-called barrel bombs and this evil president killing the good people who are fighting for freedom.  This romantic image is not the case.  It is about how you use your armaments, rather than the difference between so called barrel bombs and high precision missiles.  It is about how you use these weapons, what kind of information you have and your intention.  Do we have the will to kill innocent people?  How is that possible when the state is defending them?  By doing so, we are pushing them towards the terrorists.  If we want to kill people, for any reason, innocent people or civilians, that will play directly into the hands of the terrorists.  And this is against our interests.  Are we going to shoot ourselves in the foot? That is not realistic and not logical.  This propaganda cannot be sold anymore.

Question 36: Mr President, the final question. As president of the country, and you always lead the military and everything. Do you, even if by default, not bear responsibility for some of the things that happened in Syria?

President Assad: I’ve been asked this question many times especially by western media and journalists.  The aim of the question is to corner me between two answers: if I were to say I was responsible, they would say look the President bears responsibility for everything that happened, if I were to say I am not responsible, they would say this is not true, you are the president, how can you not be responsible.

Question 37:  Because you are the head, like in a family …

President Assad:  Let me continue, that was only an introduction to my answer.  It is very simple.  Since the very beginning, we built our policy around two pillars, engaging in dialogue with everyone, and fighting terrorism everywhere in Syria.  Now, if you want to talk about the responsibility, you have to discuss many aspects of the conflict, and the reason why we are here today in this difficult and dire situation in Syria.  If I am to claim responsibility, do I also claim responsibility for asking the Qataris to pay the terrorists money?  Or for the Saudis to fund their activities?  Or for western governments allowing their terrorists to come to Syria?  Do I claim responsibility for asking western governments to offer a political umbrella to those terrorists and label them as moderates?  Or for the western embargos on the Syrian people?  This is how we have to discuss it.  We cannot simply say, that he takes responsibility or not.  We have to talk about every part; we have to differentiate between the policy decisions and the practices, between the strategy and the tactics.  So, it is very complicated to evaluate it.  Additionally, if you want to evaluate who bears responsibility in Syria, it could happen at the end of the war, when you can investigate the whole story before, during and after.

Interviewer:  Mr President, thank you very much.