How America armed terrorists in Syria

From Consortium News

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” to curb weapons going to Al Qaeda-linked jihadists in Syria, has attracted only 14 co-sponsors pointing to hypocrisy in the “war on terror,” as Gareth Porter explained at The American Conservative.

By Gareth Porter
June 23, 2017

Three-term Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a member of both the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, has proposed legislation that would prohibit any U.S. assistance to terrorist organizations in Syria as well as to any organization working directly with them. Equally important, it would prohibit U.S. military sales and other forms of military cooperation with other countries that provide arms or financing to those terrorists and their collaborators.

President Barack Obama walks along the Colonnade at the White House with then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Dec. 7, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Gabbard’s “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” challenges for the first time in Congress a U.S. policy toward the conflict in the Syrian civil war that should have set off alarm bells long ago: in 2012-13 the Obama administration helped its Sunni allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar provide arms to Syrian and non-Syrian armed groups to force President Bashar al-Assad out of power. And in 2013 the administration began to provide arms to what the CIA judged to be “relatively moderate” anti-Assad groups — meaning they incorporated various degrees of Islamic extremism.

That policy, ostensibly aimed at helping replace the Assad regime with a more democratic alternative, has actually helped build up al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise al Nusra Front into the dominant threat to Assad.

The supporters of this arms-supply policy believe it is necessary as pushback against Iranian influence in Syria. But that argument skirts the real issue raised by the policy’s history.  The Obama administration’s Syria policy effectively sold out the U.S. interest that was supposed to be the touchstone of the “Global War on Terrorism” — the eradication of al Qaeda and its terrorist affiliates. The United States has instead subordinated that U.S. interest in counter-terrorism to the interests of its Sunni allies. In doing so it has helped create a new terrorist threat in the heart of the Middle East.

The policy of arming military groups committed to overthrowing the government of President Bashar al-Assad began in September 2011, when President Barack Obama was pressed by his Sunni allies — Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar — to supply heavy weapons to a military opposition to Assad they were determined to establish. Turkey and the Gulf regimes wanted the United States to provide anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to the rebels, according to a former Obama administration official involved in Middle East issues.

Obama refused to provide arms to the opposition, but he agreed to provide covert U.S. logistical help in carrying out a campaign of military assistance to arm opposition groups. CIA involvement in the arming of anti-Assad forces began with arranging for the shipment of weapons from the stocks of the Gaddafi regime that had been stored in Benghazi.

Shipments from Benghazi

CIA-controlled firms shipped the weapons from the military port of Benghazi to two small ports in Syria using former U.S. military personnel to manage the logistics, as investigative reporter Sy Hersh detailed in 2014. The funding for the program came mainly from the Saudis.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before Congress on Jan. 23, 2013, about the fatal attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11. 2012. (Photo from C-SPAN coverage)

A declassified October 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency report revealed that the shipment in late August 2012 had included 500 sniper rifles, 100 RPG (rocket propelled grenade launchers) along with 300 RPG rounds and 400 howitzers. Each arms shipment encompassed as many as ten shipping containers, it reported, each of which held about 48,000 pounds of cargo.

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Project Censored: News media cover-up of reason for war on Syria — a natural gas pipeline route

Project Censored publishes a book annually of the top 25 unreported or under-reported news stories for the year. This year, the story of a major reason for the Syrian conflict was #8.

8. Syria’s War Spurred by Contest for Gas Delivery to Europe, Not Muslim Sectarianism

At least four years into the crisis in Syria, “most people have no idea how this war even got started,” Mnar Muhawesh reported for MintPress News in September 2015.

In 2011–12, after Syrian president Bashar al-Assad refused to cooperate with Turkey’s proposal to create a natural gas pipeline between Qatar and Turkey through Syria, Turkey and its allies became “the major architects of Syria’s ‘civil war.’” The proposed pipeline would have bypassed Russia to reach European markets currently dominated by Russian gas giant Gazprom. As a result, Muhawesh wrote, “The Middle East is being torn to shreds by manipulative plans to gain oil and gas access by pitting people against one another based on religion. The ensuing chaos provides ample cover to install a new regime that’s more amenable to opening up oil pipelines and ensuring favorable routes for the highest bidders.”

In 2012, the US, UK, France, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, along with Turkey, began to organize, arm, and finance rebels to form the Free Syrian Army, consistent with long-standing US plans to destabilize Syria. These nations formed a pact, “The Group of Friends of the Syrian People,” that implemented a sectarian divide and conquer strategy to overthrow President Assad. “It’s important to note the timing,” Muhawesh wrote. “This coalition and meddling in Syria came about immediately on the heels of discussions of an Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline that was to be built between 2014 and 2016 from Iran’s giant South Pars field through Iraq and Syria. With a possible extension to Lebanon, it would eventually reach Europe, the target export market.” As MintPress News reported, access to oil and gas—not sectarian differences—is the underlying cause of the violent conflict and humanitarian disaster in Syria. “The war is being sold to the public as a Sunni-Shiite conflict” by the Friends of Syria because, if the public understood the economic interests at stake, “most people would not support any covert funding and arming of rebels or direct intervention.”

Based on secret US cables revealed by WikiLeaks, Muhawesh reported that “foreign meddling in Syria began several years before the Syrian revolt erupted.” US State Department cables from 2006 documented plans to instigate civil strife that would lead to the overthrow of Assad’s government. The leaks revealed the United States partnering with nations including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, and Egypt to fuel Sunni-Shiite sectarianism to divide Syria.

Although there is plenty of coverage in US corporate media about the violence in Syria and the refugee crisis that is sweeping Europe and reaching North America, this coverage has failed to address the economic interests, including control of potentially lucrative gas pipelines, that motivate the US and its allies.  (US corporate news coverage of the Ukraine crisis was comparable in that it too downplayed geopolitical oil interests as a source of tension among Russia, the US, and their respective allies, as Nafeez Ahmed has reported. See “US Media Hypocrisy in Covering Ukraine Crisis,”Censored story #9 from Censored 2015.) Instead, corporate news coverage has characterized the conflict in Syria as a battle for democracy that has been hijacked by Sunni-Shiite interests. For example, Oren Dorell of USA Today identified “a mind-boggling and dangerous stew of shifting and competing alliances” involved in the Syrian conflict—including groups categorized as progovernment, antigovernment, anti-Islamic State, and “other fighters”—but he did not address the gas interests that, according to Muhawesh’s reporting, ultimately underpin the conflict. Instead, much of what passes for news coverage in the corporate press adheres to a pattern that Muhawesh identified and critiqued as simplistic and “Orientalist,” framing conflict in the Middle East and especially Syria as sectarian in order “to paint the region and its people as barbaric.”


Mnar Muhawesh, “Refugee Crisis & Syria War Fueled by Competing Gas Pipelines,” MintPress News, September 9, 2015, http://www.mintpressnews.com/migrant-crisis-syria-war-fueled-by-competing-gas-pipelines/209294/.

Student Researcher: Salah Mouazen (Citrus College)

Faculty Evaluators: Andy Lee Roth and Lanette Granger (Citrus College)

8. Syria’s War Spurred by Contest for Gas Delivery to Europe, Not Muslim Sectarianism

To find out more information on this year’s stories and order the book: http://www.projectcensored.org

French say Assad must go, President Assad responds “No thanks, Get serious”

Global Research, November 20, 2015
Activist Post 19 November 2015
assad Paris

Even after the Paris attacks, an elaborate false flag operation that saw well over a hundred innocent civilians brutally murdered by the hands of ISIS-linked NATO patsies (and apparently unwilling patsies), the French government is holding to the nonsensical line that Bashar al-Assad, the number one enemy of ISIS, must step down and relinquish power.

France’s President Francois Hollande recently stated that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could never be part of the solution because he was part of the problem, despite the fact that the problem was one that was created by the hands of NATO countries, notably France itself.

Indeed, before the crisis even got fully underway in Syria in 2011, France and the rest of NATO were already deeply engaged in divvying up the spoils of war in Libya, a country that NATO and France helped destroy and return to the living standards of a time before civilization.

Thus, Assad was quite right when he responded to a question about Hollande’s statement by asking, “was Hollande assigned by the Syrian population to speak on their behalf?” Of course he wasn’t. And neither was Obama or Merkel or Cameron. Nor was anyone else (although Putin seems to be doing a pretty good job of doing so at the moment).

Regardless, as Assad points out, it is an act of unmitigated arrogance to suggest that the government of France, which is not even popular at home, has the moral or legal right to deem and determine the government of the Syrian people, particularly when the Syrian people have demonstrated time and time again that Bashar al-Assad is their preferred leader.

Assad was also quite right to call out France and Hollande, as well as the entire Western world, on their crocodile tears being shed over the “Syrian people” and their “human rights” when these same nations are allies with some of the most brutal, autocratic, and un-democratic nations on the face of the earth such as the Gulf State Feudal monarchies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Furthermore, it is entirely hypocritical and intentionally deceptive for France to ever complain about anyone being part of the problem when it comes to the acts committed by ISIS since France itself has played a major role in the funding, arming, training, and directing of ISIS fighters on the ground in Syria under a myriad of names and guises.

It is this very reason that Assad responded to the question of what message he may have for Hollande and Foreign Minister Fabius by saying “My message to Hollande and Fabius – be serious when you talk about fighting terrorists.”

But, of course, Holland and Fabius are not serious about fighting terrorists and they never have been. If they were, they would never have funded them in Syria and they would never have demanded that Assad, the mortal enemy of ISIS, step down. Indeed, they would never have allowed ISIS terrorists to run rampant with their plans at Charlie Hebdo or the Bataclan when it was clearly within the power of French intelligence to stop the attacks. France would have long ago demanded that the Jarablus corridor in Northern Syria on the Turkish border be closed. But France, Hollande, and Fabius never did any of those things. In fact, they have consistently done the opposite, proving that France is serious about imperialism, not fighting terror.

Below is the transcript of Assad’s interview with the French Magazine Valeurs Actuelles, so that readers may understand the position of the Syrian President and the cognitively dissonant nature of the propaganda coming from the West regarding both ISIS and Assad.

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Interview with Bashar Al-Assad of Syria with Valeurs Actuelles:

Question 1: I want to have your comment on this: when our President Mr. Hollande, said that President Assad couldn’t be the solution because he was part of the problem. Does this represent a general view for you, and how you see this? What’s your reaction?

President Assad: First, the first part of my reaction is: was Hollande assigned by the Syrian population to speak on their behalf? That is the first question. Would you as a French citizen accept a similar comment from any other politician in this world, to say that President Hollande shouldn’t be the French President? Isn’t it a humiliation to the French people? We look at it the same way. It’s a humiliation to the Syrian people when he says such a thing. Doesn’t it mean that he doesn’t recognize them?

Second, for France as a country that’s always proud of its traditions and the principles of the French Revolution and maybe democracy and human rights, the first principle of that democracy is that peoples have the right to decide who leads them. So, it’s a shame on him, for somebody who represents the French population, to do and say something which is against the principles of the French republic and the French people. Second, it’s a shame on him to try to humiliate a population with a civilized, long, deep history for thousands of years like the Syrian people. So, that’s my reaction, and I think it will not affect the facts in Syria, because the facts will not be affected by certain statements.

Question 2: If you had a message, one message, for Mr. Hollande and Mr. Fabius, especially after what happened yesterday in Paris? Is it “please cut your relations urgently with Qatar and Saudi Arabia?”

President Assad: My message to Hollande and Fabius.. be serious when you talk about fighting terrorists

First of all, this message has many aspects. The first part of this message is a question: are they independent to send them a message they can implement? Actually, the French policy these days is not independent of the American one. This is first. So, sending a message will lead nowhere. In spite of that, if I have a hope that there will be some political change in France, the first one is go back to the real, independent, friendly politics of France toward the Middle East and toward Syria. Second, be away from the American, how to say, methodology, of double standards. So, if you want to support the Syrian people – allegedly – regarding democracy and freedom, it’s better to support the Saudi people first.

If you have a problem about democracy with the Syrian state, how could you have good relations and friendship with the worst states in the world, the most underdeveloped states in the world which are the Saudi and Qatari states? So, this contradiction doesn’t give credibility.

Third, it’s natural for any official to work for the sake and interest of his people. The question that I ask in any message is: did the French policy during the past five years bring any good to the French people? What is the benefit? I’m sure the answer is no, and the proof of that answer is what I said a few years ago, that messing with the fault line in Syria is messing with an earthquake that will reverberate in the rest of the world, first of all in Europe because we are the backyard of Europe, geographically and geopolitically, so that time they said “are you threatening?” I didn’t, and Charlie Hebdo happened at the beginning of this year, and I said after that incident that this is only the tip of the iceberg, and what happened yesterday is another proof. So, they need to change their policy toward the interests of their people, and this is where we’re going to have the same interests with the French population, mainly fighting terrorism. So, the final message is: be serious when you talk about fighting terrorists. That’s my message.

Question 3: French experts say that terrorists are certainly being trained in the Middle East, and we have a lack of information. What would be necessary to have that kind of cooperation between Paris and Damascus?

President Assad: You need first of all seriousness. If the French government is not serious about fighting terrorism, we wouldn’t waste our time cooperating with a country, or a government, let’s say, with an institution that is supporting terrorism. First of all, you need to change your policy, to have one standard regarding this and not multiple standards, and to have that country be part of an alliance with countries that only fight terrorism, not countries that support terrorism and are fighting terrorism. This is a contradiction. So, these are the first basics of having any cooperation. We would like to have this kind of cooperation, not only with France, but with any country, but this cooperation needs an atmosphere. It needs certain criteria, and needs certain conditions.

Question 4: And in the future, if the government changes, would it be possible?

President Assad: In politics you don’t have friendship and emotions, you have interests. That’s my role as a politician, and that’s their role as politicians in your country. It’s not whether they like Assad or don’t like him, it’s not whether I like Hollande or not. It’s not about that. My job is about what is best for the Syrians, and what is best for the French, that’s our job. So, in the future we don’t have a problem. The problem is the policies, not the emotions.

Question 5: You just met President Putin. I mean, I don’t want to ask you what he said to you, but I want to ask you; when somebody said that Putin is the last guy who defends the West, would you say that? That Putin is the last head of state who defends the Christian-Western civilization?

President Assad: So he defends Western Europe?

Question 6: Exactly.

President Assad: When you talk about terrorism, it’s one arena; it’s not the Syrian, Libyan, Yemeni and French arenas. It’s one arena. So, the incentive behind the Russian coalition that they announced a few months ago before they sent their military to Syria, is that if we don’t fight terrorism in Syria, or maybe in other parts of the world, it will be hitting everywhere including Russia, so that’s correct. When you fight terrorism in Syria, you’re defending Russia and defending Europe and defending other continents. That’s correct. This has been our view for decades now, since we have been fighting against the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood in the 1970s and 1990s. We had that impression, we always asked for an international coalition for fighting terrorism because terrorism doesn’t recognize political borders, doesn’t care about procedures. No matter what procedure you took in France after Charlie Hebdo, what happened yesterday proves that theory. So, that’s correct and that’s very precise; whoever fights terrorism, not only Putin, whoever fights terrorism somewhere, will protect the rest of the world.

Question 7: There is a conference in Vienna about Syria, and also tomorrow in Ankara with the G20, and at several times different presidents have said “the solution is Bashar Assad has to leave Syria.” Are you ready, personally, to leave power if it could be the best solution to protect Syria?

President Assad: This is a two-part question. The first part, is there anything I have to do in response to any foreign request? My answer is no. I will not do it, no matter what that request is; small, big, important, not important, because they have nothing to do with the Syrian decision. The only thing they did so far is to support terrorists in different ways, by [providing an] umbrella and by direct support. They could only create problems; they are not part of the solution. Those countries, whoever supports terrorists, are not part of the solution in Syria. So, whatever they say, we don’t respond because we don’t care about them, to be frank.

Second, for me, as a Syrian, I have to respond to any Syrian will. Of course, when I talk about Syrian will, there must be a kind of consensus, the majority of the Syrians, and the only way to know what the Syrians want is through the ballot box. This is second. Third, for any president, to come and go, in any state that respects itself, respects its civilization and respects its people, is through a political process that reflects the constitution. The constitution will bring the president and the constitution will make him leave, through the parliament, through elections, through referendum, and so on. This is the only way for the president to come and go.

Question 8: What are all these talks about that the only solution not only for Syria; Iraq and Lebanon: partition? We hear much, you know, this is what you talk about, secular and sectarian. But there is a lot of talk everywhere, you know that better than us, about Syria with the coast, and Iraq too, and Lebanon. What is you feeling about that?

President Assad: The impression that they try to give in the Western media is that the problem in this region is a civil war between different components, religions, and ethnicities that don’t want to live with each other. So, why don’t they divide their country? This is where they can stay. Actually, the problem is not like this, because now, under the government’s control in Syria, you can see that all these components live with each other a normal life, a natural life. So, if you want to make division, you have to create clear lines between the components, whether between sects, or between ethnicities. In that case, if you’re going to have that situation, if the region reaches that situation, I will tell you that the situation is going to be small states fighting with each other, never-ending wars for maybe centuries. Any situation like this means constant wars. For the rest of the world it means more sources of exporting instability and terrorism around the world. That’s the situation. So, this is a very dangerous way of thinking. We don’t have the incubator now, the social incubator for such partition. Actually, if you ask any Syrian now, whether they are with the government or against the government, they will tell you that we are supporting the unity of Syria.

Question 9: You spoke about the constitution. In several months, you will have elections inside Syria. Are you ready to have international observers for these elections?

President Assad: Yes, but we said international observation doesn’t mean UN organizations that have no credibility, to be frank, because they are under the control of the Americans and the West in general. So, when you talk about international observation or participation or cooperation, it means certain countries around the world that were not biased during the crisis, that didn’t support the terrorists, didn’t try to politicize their position toward what’s happening in Syria. Those are the countries that can participate in such coordination or observation, but we don’t have a problem with the principle.

Question 10: We talked about Qatar and Saudi Arabia, but we didn’t talk about Turkey, and they let go in Europe hundreds of thousands of refugees, and it seems that they let go in Syria jihadists. So, what is the role of Turkey?

President Assad: The most dangerous role, in the whole situation, because Turkey offered all kinds of support to those terrorists, and all the spectrums of the terrorists. Some countries support al-Nusra Front, which is Al Qaeda, some other countries support ISIS, while Turkey supports both, and other groups at the same time. They support them with, how to say, human resources, they recruit. They support them with money, logistics, armaments, surveillance, information, and even the maneuvers of their military through their borders during the fights in Syria. Even the money that’s being collected from the rest of the world passes through Turkey, and the oil that ISIS sells is through Turkey, so Turkey is playing the worst part of our crisis.

Second, that’s related directly to Erdogan himself and Davutoglu, because they both reflect the real ideology that they carry in their hearts, which is the Muslim Brotherhood ideology.

Question 11: You think he is Muslim Brotherhood?

President Assad: Not necessarily to be organized, but the mentality, a hundred percent. He cares a lot about politicized Islam which is the opportunistic part of Islam which is not Islam actually. That’s how we look at it, because you shouldn’t politicize religion. So, it’s related directly to him, to his will to see the Muslim Brotherhood governing in the rest of the Arab world so that he can control them as a sultan, but actually more as an imam, not a sultan. That is what Turkey is playing.

Question 12: You know we are in a situation right now, yesterday night and before, Charlie Hebdo, and before and before. You said that, but I want your confirmation; you think that France cannot fight terrorism if it stays with its links with Qatar and Saudi Arabia?

President Assad: Yes. In addition, you cannot fight if you don’t have relations with the power that’s fighting ISIS or terrorism on the ground. You cannot fight terrorism while you follow or pursue the wrong politics that, at the end, in the end result, support terrorism directly or indirectly. If you don’t have all these things, no, you cannot, and we don’t think that they can, so far.

Journalists: Thank you very much, Mr. President, for this interview.

President Assad: Thank you for coming.

Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President. Turbeville has published over 500 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/french-say-assad-must-go-president-assad-responds-no-thanks-get-serious/5490262

Bashar Al-Assad Interview: “Al Qaeda was created by the Americans with the help of Saudi Wahhabi money”. Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar support ISIS

By SANA
Global Research, November 20, 2015
TV Channel RAI UNO 19 November 2015

Damascus, SANA-President Bashar al-Assad gave an interview to Italian TV channel RAI UNOBelow you will find the full transcript of this interview:

Question 1: Mr. President, thanks for the opportunity of talking to you. Let’s start from Paris. How did you react to the news coming from Paris?

President Assad: We can start by saying it’s a horrible crime, and at the same time it’s a sad event when you hear about innocents being killed without any reason and for nothing, and we understand in Syria the meaning of losing a dear member of the family or a dear friend, or anyone you know, in such a horrible crime. We’ve been suffering from that for the past five years. We feel for the French as we feel for the Lebanese a few days before that, and for the Russians regarding the airplane that’s been shot down over Sinai, and for the Yemenis maybe, but does the world, especially the West, feel for those people, or only for the French? Do they feel for the Syrians that have been suffering for five years from the same kind of terrorism? We cannot politicize feeling, feeling is not about the nationality, it’s about the human in general.

Question 2: There’s Daesh behind that. But from here, from this point of view, from here from Damascus, how strong Daesh is? How do you think we can fight terrorists on the ground?

President al-Assad: ISIS has no incubator in Syria 

President Assad: If you want to talk about the strength of Daesh, the first thing you have to ask is how much incubator, real incubator, natural incubator, you have in a certain society. Till this moment, I can tell you Daesh doesn’t have the natural incubator, social incubator, within Syria. This is something very good and very assuring, but at the same time, if it’s becoming chronic, this kind of ideology can change the society.

Question 3: Yes, but some of the terrorists were trained here, in Syria, just a few kilometers from here. What does it mean?

President Assad: That’s by the support of the Turks and the Saudi and Qatari and of course the Western policy that supported the terrorists in different ways since the beginning of the crisis, of course, but that’s not the issue. First of all, if you don’t have the incubator, you shouldn’t worry, but second, they can be strong as long as they have strong support from different states, whether Middle Eastern states or Western states.

Question 4: Mr. President, there are speculations in the West, that say that you were one of who supported Daesh in the beginning of the crisis, because of dividing the opposition, because of dividing the rebels. How do you react?

President al-Assad: Al Qaeda was created by the Americans

President Assad: Actually, according to what some American officials said, including Hillary Clinton, Al Qaeda was created by the Americans with the help of Saudi Wahabi money and ideology, and of course, many other officials said the same in the United States. And ISIS and al-Nusra, they are offshoots of Al Qaeda. Regarding ISIS, it started in Iraq, it was established in Iraq in 2006, and the leader was al-Zarqawi who was killed by the American forces then, so it was established under the American supervision in Iraq, and the leader of ISIS today, who is called Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, he was in the American prisons, and he was put in New York in their prisons, and he was released by them. So, it wasn’t in Syria, it didn’t start in Syria, it started in Iraq, and it started before that in Afghanistan according to what they said, and Tony Blair recently said that yes, the Iraqi war helped create ISIS. So, their confession is the most important evidence regarding your question.

Question 5: Mr. President, watching the map of Syria, it seems that Syrian-Iraqi borders doesn’t exist anymore. Which part of Syria do you really control at the moment?

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President Assad: If you’re talking geographically, it’s changing every day, but the most important thing is how much of the population are under the government’s control. Actually, most of the area that’s being controlled by the terrorists has been evacuated either by the terrorists, or because the people fled to the government control. There’s the question of how much of the Syrian population still supports the government? Militarily, you can win ground, you can lose some area, but anyway the army cannot exist everywhere in Syria. But looking to the map that you described, and what I see from time to time in the Western media, when they show you that the government controls 50% or less of their ground, actually 50 or 60% of Syria is empty ground, where you don’t have anyone, so they put it under the control of the terrorists, while it’s empty, fully empty.

Question 6: Yes, I spoke about the borders between Syria and Iraq.

President Assad: Exactly. After Damascus toward Iraq, it’s empty space, it’s empty area, so you cannot talk about its control. But regarding the borders, it’s only related to the terrorists; it’s related to the governments that supported the terrorists like the Turkish government first of all, and the Jordanian government. Both governments support terrorists, that’s why you have loose borders, because when you want to have controlled borders, it needs to be controlled from both sides, not from one sides.

Question 7: Well, the last weekend there have been two very important meetings talking about the situation in Syria, in Vienna and in Antalya. Most countries are talking about the transition in Syria. There are different positions, but basically most of the countries agree with the idea of elections in 18 months. But they also say that in the meantime, basically, you should leave. What’s your position about that?

President al-Assad: The main part of Vienna statement is that everything regarding the political process is about what the Syrians are going to agree upon

President Assad: No, in the statement there is nothing regarding the president. The main part of Vienna is that everything that is going to happen regarding the political process is about what the Syrians are going to agree upon, so the most output of that phrase is about the constitution, and the president, any president, should come to his position and leave that position according to constitutional procedures, not to the opinion of any Western power or country. So, as long as you are talking about the consensus of the Syrians, forget about the rest of Vienna. Regarding the schedule, that depends on the agreement that we can reach as Syrians. If we don’t reach it in 18 months, so what? You have many things that I think are trivial now, or let’s say, not essential. The most important part is that we’re going to sit with each other then we’re going to put our schedule and our plan as Syrians.

Question 8: I understand, but do you consider it an option, the possibility to leave power? I mean, do you imagine an electoral process without you?

President Assad: It depends. What do you mean by electoral? Do you mean at the parliament or the president?

Question 9: At the parliament.

President Assad: At the parliament, of course, there’s going to be parliamentarian elections because the parliamentarian elections is going to show which power of the political powers in Syria has real weight among the Syrian people, which one has real grassroots. Now, anyone can say “I’m opposition.” What does it mean, how do you translate it? Through the elections, and the seat that they can get in the parliament will tell how much they can have in the coming government, for example. Of course, that will be after having a new constitution. I’m just putting a proposal, for example, now, I’m not giving you the thing that we have agreed upon yet.

Question 10: And about the presidential [elections]?

President Assad: The presidential… if the Syrians, in their dialogue, they wanted to have presidential elections, there’s nothing called a red line, for example, regarding this. But it’s not my decision. It should be about what the consensus is among the Syrians.

Question 11:But, there could be someone else that you trust, participating in the process of elections instead of you.

President Assad: Someone I trust? What do you mean by someone I trust?

Question 12: I mean someone else in which you trust that can make this job.

President Assad: [laughs] Yeah, but it looks like talking about my private property, so I can go and bring someone to put in my place. It’s not a private property; it’s a national issue. A national issue, only the Syrians can choose someone they trust. Doesn’t matter if I trust someone or not. Whoever the Syrians trust will be in that position.

President al-Assad: Terrorists are main obstacle of any real political advancement

Question 13: Let me see if I understood well. Which is the real timetable, which is exactly your timetable, I mean the realistic timetable to get out of this crisis?

President Assad: The timetable, if you want to talk about schedule, this timetable starts after starting defeating terrorism. Before that, there will be no point in deciding any timetable, because you cannot achieve anything politically while you have the terrorists taking over many areas in Syria, and they’re going to be – they are already they main obstacle of any real political advancement. If we talk after that, one year and a half to two years is enough for any transition. It’s enough. I mean if you want to talk about first of all having a new constitution, then referendum, then parliamentarian elections, then any kind of other procedure, whether presidential or any other thing, doesn’t matter. It won’t take more than two years.

Question 14: There’s something else about the opposition; in these years, you said that you couldn’t consider as an opposition those who are fighting. Did you change your mind?

President Assad: We can apply that to your country; you don’t accept any opposition that are holding machineguns in your country. That’s the case in every other country. Whoever holds a machinegun and terrorizes people and destroys private or public properties or kills innocents and whoever is a terrorist, he’s not opposition. Opposition is a political term. Opposition could be defined not through your own opinion; it could be defined only through the elections, through the ballot box.

Question 15: So what do you consider opposition at the moment? Political opposition?

President Assad: I mean, ask the Syrians who they consider opposition. If they elect them, they are the real opposition. So that’s why I said we can define, we can give definition to this after the elections. But if you want to talk about my own opinion, you can be opposition when you have Syrian grassroots, when you belong only to your country. You cannot be opposition while you are formed as person or as entity in the foreign ministry of another country or in the intelligence building of other countries. You cannot be a puppet, you cannot be a surrogate mercenary; you can only be a real Syrian.

President al-Assad: Every Syrian citizen who leaves this country, is a loss to Syria

Question 16:Now in Europe, in Italy, we see so many Syrians coming, Syrian refugees, they are refugees. What would you like to tell these fleeing people, to you escaping people?

President Assad: Of course I would say everyone who leaves this country, is a loss to Syria. That’s for sure, and we feel sad, we feel the suffering, because every refugee in Syria has a long story of suffering within Syria, and that’s what we should deal with by asking the question “why did they leave?” For many reasons. The first one, the direct threat by terrorists. The second one is the influence of terrorists in destroying many of the infrastructure and affecting the livelihood of those people. But the third one, which is as important as the influence of terrorists, is the Western embargo on Syria. Many of those, if you ask him “do you want to go back to Syria” he wants to go back right away, but how can he go back to Syria while the basics of his life, his livelihood, has been affected dramatically, so he cannot stay in Syria. The embargo influence of the West and the terrorist influence has put those people between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Question 17: But don’t you feel in any way responsible for what has happened to your people?

President Assad: You mean myself?

Question 18: Yes.

President Assad: The only thing that we did since the beginning of the crisis is fighting terrorism and supporting dialogue. What else can we do? Does anyone oppose the dialogue? Does anyone oppose fighting terrorism? If you want to talk about the details, and about propaganda in the West, we shouldn’t waste our time. It’s just propaganda, because the problem from the very beginning with the West is that they don’t need this president, they want this government to fail and collapse, so they can change it. Everybody knows that. The whole Western game is regime-change, regardless of the meaning of regime; we don’t have a regime, we have a state, but I’m talking about their concept and their principle. So, you can blame whoever you want, but the main blame is on the West who supported those terrorists who created ISIS in Syria and created al-Nusra because of the umbrella that they gave to those terrorist organizations.

Question 19: So no responsibility?

President Assad: Of course, as a Syrian, no, I’m not saying that we don’t do mistakes. You have mistakes on the tactical level that you do every day in your work, and you have strategies. And the strategies, we adopted these two approaches, but on the tactical level, you do many mistakes every day. Every Syrian is responsible for what happened. We are responsible as Syrians, when we allow these terrorists to come to Syria, because of some Syrians who have the same mentality, and some Syrians who accepted to be puppets to the Gulf states and to the West. Of course we’re taking responsibility, while if you want to talk about my responsibility, it’s something you talk about details. I mean it’s difficult to judge now.

Question 20: I would like to ask you: how was your trip to Moscow?

President Assad: It was a trip to discuss the military situation, because it happened nearly two weeks after the Russians started the airstrikes, and to discuss the political process, because it was, again, a few days before Vienna 1. It was very fruitful, because the Russians understand very well this region, because they have historical relations, they have embassies, they have all kinds of necessary relations and means to play a role. So, I can describe it by fruitful visit.

Question 21: From Rome, from the Vatican, the Pope said that killing in the name of God is a blasphemy. And the question, first of all, is this war really a war of religion?

President Assad: No, actually, no. It’s not a religious war. It’s between people who deviated from the real religion, mainly of course, Islam, towards extremism, which we don’t consider as part of our religion. It’s a war between the real Muslims and the other extremists. This is the core of the war today. Of course, they give it different titles; war against Christians, war about other sects. This is only headlines the extremists use to promote their war, but the real issue is the war between them and the rest of the Muslims, the majority who are mainly moderate.

Question 22: Even if they kill in the name of God? They kill saying Allah Akbar?

President Assad: Exactly, that’s how they can promote their war. That’s why they use these holy words or phrase, in order to convince the other simple people in this region that they are fighting for Allah, for God, which is not true. And some of them, they use it with knowing that this is not true, and some of them are ignorant and they believe that this is a war for God. That’s the deviation, that’s why I said it’s a deviation; they are people who deviated from real Islam with knowing or without knowing.

Question 23: And what about the future of Christian people in Syria, in your country?

President Assad: Actually, this region, I think most of the Italians and many in the West know that this is a moderate region, a moderate society, especially Syria, whether politically or socially and culturally, and the main reason why we have this moderation is because we have this diversity in sects and ethnicities. But one of the most important factors is the Christian factor in the history of Syria, especially after Islam came to this region14 centuries ago. So, without them, this region will move more toward extremism. So, their future is important, but you cannot separate it from the future of the Syrians, it’s not separated. I mean, if you have a good future for the Syrians, the future of every component of our society will be good, and vice versa.

Question 24: Okay, so there’s a future for them here, because there seems to be a target in this war on Christian people.

President Assad: Not really, actually the number of Muslims that have been killed in Syria is much, much more than the Christians, so you cannot say there’s a target. Again, it’s only used by the extremists in order to promote their war, that it’s against the “atheists” and it’s for God and so on, but in reality, no.

Question 25: Mr. President, before the end of this interview, let me ask you one more question. How do you see your future? Do you consider the more important the future of Syria, or you staying in power?

President Assad: It’s self-evident; the future of Syria is everything for us. I mean, even my future cannot be separate, as a citizen. As a citizen, if my country is not safe, I cannot be safe. If it’s not good, I cannot have a good future, so that’s self-evident. But again, if you want to put them against each other, it’s like saying “if the president is here, the future of Syria is bad. If the president leaves, the future of Syria is good.” That’s the Western propaganda. Actually, that’s not the case within Syria. Within Syria, you have people who support that president, you have people who don’t support that president, so when my future is good for Syria, if the Syrian people want me as president, the future will be good. If the Syrian people don’t want me, and I want to cling to power, this is where for me being as president is bad. So it’s very simple. So, we don’t have to follow the Western propaganda to answer according to that propaganda, because it’s disconnected from reality. I have to answer you according to our reality.

Journalist: Okay, thank you, Mr. President. Thank for this opportunity.

President Assad: Thank you for coming to Syria.

Qatar threatens military intervention in Syria in support of al Qaeda terrorists

Global Research, October 22, 2015
Sputnik news 21 October 2015
qatar

Qatar which has been a major sponsor of jihadist groups fighting in Syria for years, now is actively considering a direct military intervention in the country, according to its officials.

Throughout Syria’s bloody civil war, the government of Qatar has been an active supporter of anti-government militants, providing arms and financial backing to so called “rebels.” Many of these, like the al-Nusra Front, were directly linked to al-Qaeda. That strategy has, of course, done little to put a dent in terrorist organizations in the region.

But as Russia enters its fourth week of anti-terror airstrikes, Qatar has indicated that it may launch a military campaign of its own.

“Anything that protects the Syrian people and Syria from partition, we will not spare any effort to carry it out with our Saudi and Turkish brothers, no matter what this is,” Qatar’s Foreign Minister Khalid al-Attiyah told CNN on Wednesday, when asked if he supported Saudi Arabia’s position of not ruling out a military option.

“If a military intervention will protect the Syrian people from the brutality of the regime, we will do it,” he added, according to Qatar’s state news agency QNA.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad was fast to warn the Middle Eastern monarchy that such a move would be a disastrous mistake with serious consequences.

“If Qatar carries out its threat to militarily intervene in Syria, then we will consider this a direct aggression,” he said, according to al-Mayadeen television. “Our response will be very harsh.”

Still, Attiyah stressed that Qatar is also considering a more diplomatic solution to the crisis in Syria.

“We do not fear any confrontation, and thus we will call for dialogue from a position of strength because we believe in peace and the shortest path to peace is through direct dialogue,” he told CNN.

In its own campaign against the self-proclaimed Islamic State terrorist group, Moscow has repeatedly stressed that maintaining the legitimate Syrian government is the only way to stabilize the region. Foreign intervention in toppling Middle Eastern governments is largely to blame for the rise of IS in the first place, and support for “moderate” rebels only fuels that chaos.

Earlier on Wednesday, Russian parliamentary speaker Valentina Matvienko stressed that Moscow and Damascus are open to expanding diplomatic dialogue with other interested parties.

“We will be glad if this dialogue will be joined by other participants, because there is no military solution to the conflict [in Syria],” she told reporters.

The war on Yugoslavia and the U.S. regime change model — the real face of American “diplomacy”

“The lethality of American ‘diplomacy’ and the uncountable costs that can be incurred from resisting Washington’s will.”

From Sputnik, March 25, 2014
By Andrew Korybko

The 16th anniversary of NATO’s War on Yugoslavia gives cause to reflect on what American ‘diplomacy’ is really all about.

The US has long trumpeted itself as the only paragon of virtue and ‘defender of freedom’ in the world, going into overdrive with this message in the years following the Cold War. Millions of people were duped during this time, but their illusions were quickly dispelled after the 1999 War on Yugoslavia.

This tragedy exposed the true face of American ‘diplomacy’ as a duplicitous front for pursuing predetermined geopolitical ends. The war wasn’t so much about a ‘humanitarian intervention’ (the reality surrounding which was grossly exaggerated by the Western media) as it was the establishment of a pro-Western proxy state in the heart of the Southern Balkans.

The War on Yugoslavia also marked a turning point where the US began ramping up its aggression all across Eurasia and perfecting the first actual version of Hybrid Warfare.

Uncle Sam’s Sins

The US did a lot of horrible things during its War on Yugoslavia, but here’s three of the most audacious:

Supporting Terrorism:

The so-called ‘Kosovo Liberation Army’ (KLA), the armed wing of Albanian nationalists fighting in the Serbian province of Kosovo, was deemed a terrorist organization by the Yugoslav authorities. UNSC Resolution 1160, which was supported by the US, even condemned the group for its terrorist activity and urged it to immediately halt such actions. Be that as it may, the KLA served an decisive role in destabilizing Serbia, and was thus not only supported by the US throughout the conflict, but its leader Hashim Thaci was even recognized by Washington as the province’s ‘Prime Minister’ afterwards.

Lying to the World:

The US tried to convince the world that the Albanians in Kosovo were experiencing genocide at the hands of the Serbs, but this was nowhere near the reality on the ground. Although some Albanians were certainly killed during their violent uprising against the federal government, Serbs were too, and neither demographic experienced the ‘tens of thousands’ of deaths that the State Department evoked as the US’ excuse for bombing Yugoslavia.

Tens of thousands of more people have died during Mexico’s drug war in recent years, for example, but America’s southern neighbor has yet to experience a ‘humanitarian intervention’.

Bombing Civilian Infrastructure:

The US-led NATO bombing campaign killed hundreds of civilians and destroyed apartment buildings, farms, schools, hospitals, churches, and bridges. The Pentagon’s explanation for such horrors (when it chose to address them) was that its ‘precision-targeted munitions’ malfunctioned, but the surviving victims refused to believe this.

BONUS: Bombing China And Getting Away With It:

The US hit the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade (officially recognized as the sovereign territory of the country, as is any state’s embassy abroad) on 7 May, 1999, killing 3 people and injuring about 20 others. One need only imagine the militant response from the Pentagon if the shoe was on the other foot.

The Foreign Policy Toolkit

The War on Yugoslavia represented the first testing ground for the application of the US’ integrated regime change strategy, however sloppily applied. It combined the following characteristics that would later be developed and perfected in forthcoming conflicts:

Unconventional War:

In order to stir up chaos and create a pretext for an ultimatum and eventual military intervention, the US supported the KLA during its terrorist war in the Serbian Province of Kosovo.

Ultimatum:

The US gave President Milosevic the ultimatum to pull all Yugoslavian police and army forces out of Kosovo Province or face the pulverizing consequences.

Conventional Intervention:

The destabilization came to a dramatic climax when NATO launched its ‘humanitarian intervention’ against Yugoslavia, which ultimately led to its fragmentation and destruction.

Color Revolution:

American intelligence services and Gene Sharp’s teachings organized and directed the Bulldozer Revolution of October 2000, which has since been acknowledged as the first Color Revolution.

Nowadays, the methods above have been perfected and patterned in the following order:

1. Ultimatum:

The US gives an explicit/public or implicit/behind-the-scenes ultimatum to a targeted country or leader. If they refuse and a ‘palace coup’ can’t be pulled off, then the next step is initiated.

2. Color Revolution:

This ‘street coup’ attempt seeks to oust the targeted country’s leadership through the carefully constructed façade of ‘people’s power’, whereby the international media is fed the misleading impression that the majority of a country’s citizens are revolting against their government. Other than the ultimatum or conventional coup, it’s the most cost-effective tool for regime change.

3. Unconventional War:

The third step can be evoked in the midst of the second one before turning into its own full-fledged destabilization when the Color Revolution fails. It capitalizes off of some of the social infrastructure built during the street coup attempt, and then arms the participants and encourages them to commit to terrorism and insurgency in overthrowing their government. Foreign mercenaries can also be involved.

4. Conventional Intervention:

While the previous two steps typically involve a deep level of covert commitment, the final step purposely brings the external destabilizer’s actions into the open by initiating an open war. This is the most expensive form of regime change, but is always clothed in grand ‘humanitarian’ or ‘democratic’ rhetoric to hide its true intent.

Where Are They Now?

Let’s take a look at the most notable example of each stage of the US’ regime change template and see how these countries have since coped with the Hybrid War waged against them:

Steps 1-2: Ukraine

The implicit ultimatum against President Yanukovych was that he had to sign the EU Association Agreement, and when he delayed doing so at the last minute, a Color Revolution was unleashed against him. In some ways, the urban terrorism of EuroMaidan even fulfills the requirements for Step 3.

Nowadays, the country lies in ruin and bankruptcy, and the oligarchs (Poroshenko and Kolomoiskyi) are poised to fight a fratricidal war amongst themselves at the expense of more Ukrainian lives.

Steps 1-3: Syria

President Assad refused to allow a gas pipeline from pro-American Qatar to transit Syrian territory en route to the Mediterranean, preferring instead to opt for the Friendship Pipeline with Iraq and Iran. As a punishment, Syria was thus dragged into the theater-wide ‘Arab Spring’ Color Revolutions spearheaded by the US, but when the people resolutely stood by their democratically elected leadership and secular authorities and refused to allow the street coup to succeed, an Unconventional War was unleashed on the country.

As it stands, the most notorious terrorists from every corner of the world have infested the country, slaughtering tens of thousands of innocent people and turning entire cities to rubble in their four-year-long rampage.

Steps 1-4: Libya

Muammar Gaddafi refused to fully integrate his country into the EU-led ‘Union For the Mediterranean’, instead choosing to remain an observer member. Despite having surrendered Libya’s weapons of mass destruction during an earlier ultimatum in 2007, Gaddafi’s reluctance to move forward with Euro-Mediterranean integration made him a marked man.

The US-organized ‘Arab Spring’ Color Revolutions subsequently targeted him in 2011, and events in the country quickly spiraled into Unconventional Warfare as terrorists surged into the main cities and started killing civilians and government representatives.

NATO decided to commence a bombing campaign against the country shortly thereafter under a false ‘humanitarian intervention’ pretext, which consequently destroyed the state’s social and physical infrastructure and turned it into the fearsome terrorist battleground that it is today.

Remember, these above-cited tragedies would not have been possible had it not been for the US’ War on Yugoslavia and the ‘perfection’ of the regime change techniques that were first applied there. It is for this reason that the memory of 24 March should serve as a somber reminder each year of the lethality of American ‘diplomacy’ and the uncountable costs that can be incurred from resisting Washington’s will.

http://sputniknews.com/columnists/20150324/1019950056.html

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-war-on-yugoslavia-the-real-face-of-american-diplomacy/5438961

Defending the dollar imperialism: gas-dollar link drives Ukraine war

By Mike Whitney
Counterpunch, December 1, 2014

“The Fed’s ‘need’ to take on an even more active role as foreigners further slow the purchases of our paper is to put the pedal to the metal on the currency debasement race now being run in the developed world — a race which is speeding us all toward the end of the present currency regime.”
Stephanie Pomboy, MacroMavens

“No matter what our Western counterparts tell us, we can see what’s going on. NATO is blatantly building up its forces in Eastern Europe, including the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea areas. Its operational and combat training activities are gaining in scale.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin

If there was a way the United States could achieve its long-term strategic objectives and, at the same time, avoid a war with Russia, it would so. Unfortunately, that is not an option, which is why there’s going to be a clash between the two nuclear-armed adversaries sometime in the near future.

Let me explain: The Obama administration is trying to rebalance US policy in a way that shifts the focus of attention from the Middle East to Asia, which is expected to be the fastest growing region in the coming century. This policy-change is called the “pivot” to Asia. In order to benefit from Asia’s surge of growth, the US plans to beef up its presence on the continent, expand its military bases, strengthen bilateral alliances and trade agreements, and assume the role of regional security kingpin. The not-so-secret purpose of the policy is China “containment”, that is, Washington wants to preserve its position as the world’s only superpower by controlling China’s explosive growth. (The US wants a weak, divided China that will do what it’s told.)

In order to achieve its goals in Asia, the US needs to push NATO further eastward, tighten its encirclement of Russia, and control the flow of oil and gas from east to west. These are the necessary preconditions for establishing US hegemonic rule over the continent. And this is why the Obama administration is so invested in Kiev’s blundering junta-government; it’s because Washington needs Poroshenko’s neo Nazi shock troops to draw Russia into a conflagration in Ukraine that will drain its resources, discredit Putin in the eyes of his EU trading partners, and create the pretext for deploying NATO to Russia’s western border.

The idea that Obama’s proxy army in Ukraine is defending the country’s sovereignty is pure bunkum. What’s going on below the surface is the US is trying to stave off irreversible economic decline and an ever-shrinking share of global GDP through military force. What we’re seeing in Ukraine today, is a 21st century version of the Great Game implemented by political fantasists and Koolaid drinkers who think they can turn the clock back to the post WW2 heyday of the US Empire when the world was America’s oyster. Thankfully, that period is over.

Keep in mind, the glorious US military has spent the last 13 years fighting sheep herders in flip-flops in Afghanistan in a conflict that, at best, could be characterized as a stalemate. And now the White House wants to take on Russia?

Can you appreciate the insanity of the policy?

This is why Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel was sacked last week, because he wasn’t sufficiently eager to pursue this madcap policy of escalating the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine. Everyone knows it’s true, the administration hasn’t even tried to deny it. They’d rather stick with foam-at-the-mouth buffoons, like Susan Rice and Samantha Powers, then a decorated veteran who has more credibility and intelligence in his little finger than Obama’s whole National Security team put together.

So now Obama is completely surrounded by rabid warmongering imbeciles, all of whom ascribe to the same fairytale that the US is going to dust-off Russia, remove Assad, redraw the map of the Middle East, control the flow of gas and oil from the ME to markets in the EU, and establish myriad beachheads across Asia where they can keep a tight grip on China’s growth.

Tell me, dear reader, doesn’t that strike you as a bit improbable?

But, of course, the Obama claque think it’s all within their grasp, because, well, because that’s what they’ve been told to think, and because that’s what the US has to do if it wants to maintain its exalted position as the world’s lone superpower when its economic significance in the world is steadily declining. You see, here’s the thing: The exceptional nation is becoming more unexceptional all the time, and that’s what has the political class worried, because they see the handwriting on the wall, and the writing says, “Enjoy it while it lasts, buddy, cuz you ain’t gonna be numero uno much longer.” Continue reading