UK PM’s husband’s Capital Group is largest shareholder in BAE, shares soared after Syrian airstrikes

From RT
April 18, 2018

Philip May, husband of the UK prime minister, works for a company that is the largest shareholder in arms manufacturer, BAE Systems, whose share price has soared since the recent airstrikes in Syria.

The company, Capital Group, is also the second-largest shareholder in Lockheed Martin – a US military arms firm that supplies weapons systems, aircraft and logistical support. Its shares have also rocketed since the missile strikes last week.

The fact has not gone unnoticed by some on Twitter, who agree that BAE Systems has done very well out of the UK-US-France allied airstrikes on Syria, which were sanctioned by Theresa May. It has been reported that the UK’s contribution to military strikes was to fire eight ‘Storm-Shadow’ missiles at an alleged chemical weapons facility, each of which cost £790,000 ($1.13 million) – totaling £6.32 million ($9 million). The missiles were manufactured by BAE Systems.

Theresa May’s husband has worked as a relationship manager for the research investment company Capital Group since 2005. The Tory-BAE links go even deeper, however. The former chancellor of the exchequer and present editor-in-chief at the Evening Standard, George Osborne’s other employer Black Rock is the fifth-largest shareholder in BAE System.

Figures revealed as of March 31, 2018 reveal that the Capital Group has amassed over 360,000 shares in the company, up over 11 percent on the previous quarter, which may have contributed to a hefty rise in BAE’s share price, which currently stands at around 600p.

For the full article:

https://www.rt.com/uk/424392-may-husbands-capital-group/

See also:

https://www.rt.com/uk/430566-trump-detention-philip-may/

Philip May and family profit from Trump’s caging of children in detention centers

Andre Vltchek: Why I reject Western courts and justice

From Global Research

By Andre Vltchek

June 23, 2017

There is a small courthouse from the ‘British era’, standing right in the center of Hong Kong. It is neat, well-built, remarkably organized and some would even say – elegant. 

Earlier this year I visited there with an Afghan-British lawyer, who had been touring East Asia for several months. Hong Kong was her last destination; afterwards she was planning to return home to London. The Orient clearly confused and overwhelmed her, and no matter how ‘anti-imperialist’ she tried to look, most of her references were clearly going back to the adoptive homeland – the United Kingdom.

“It looks like England,” she exclaimed when standing in the middle of Hong Kong. There was clearly excitement and nostalgia in her voice.

To cheer her up even more, I took her to the courthouse. My good intentions backfired: as we were leaving, she uttered words that I expected but also feared for quite some time:

“You know, there are actually many good things that can be said about the British legal system.”

*

I thought about that short episode in Hong Kong now, as I drove all around her devastated country of childhood, Afghanistan. As always, I worked without protection, with no bulletproof vests, armored vehicles or military escorts, just with my Afghan driver who doubled as my interpreter and also as my friend. It was Ramadan and to let him rest, I periodically got behind the wheel. We were facing countless detentions, arrests and interrogations by police, military and who knows what security forces, but we were moving forward, always forward, despite all obstacles.

From that great distance, from the heights of the mountains of Afghanistan, the courthouse in Hong Kong kept falling into proportion and meaningful perspective.

It was surrounded by an enormous city, once usurped and sodomized by the British Crown. A city where ‘unruly locals’ were being killed, tortured, flogged and regularly imprisoned.

And it was not only Hong Kong that has suffered: the entire enormous country of China with one of the oldest and greatest cultures on Earth had been brutally ransacked, including its splendid capital – Beijing – that was invaded and almost totally destroyed by the French and British troops. For a long period, China was divided, humiliated, impoverished and tormented.

But the courthouse, a little neat temple of colonialist justice, now stood in the middle of the once occupied city, whispering about the days when it offered certainty and pride to all those who came to Hong Kong as colonizers, as well as to all those who served and licked the boots of their British masters.

The courthouse was providing confidence to people who were longing for one, just as they did during the grotesque and perverse days, as well as now.

Behind its walls ruled clearly defined and meticulously obeyed spirit of fairness: if one’s chicken got slaughtered, or if one’s tricycle god smashed by a hammer of a mad shopkeeper, the legendary British justice was administered promptly and properly.

Some people would argue, of course, that the entire colonialism was unjust, that the killing of tens of millions of people in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere was much more noteworthy than settling fairly and justly some domestic or real estate dispute. Such voices, however, have been always quickly silenced, or bought (with money, diplomas, or other means).

Certainly, the British Crown has been busy subjugating entire countries and continents, murdering innocent people, freely plundering and enslaving men, women and children. Tens of millions died in the British-triggered famines alone, on the Sub-Continent and elsewhere. But that was done “outside” the legal framework, and it was never fit to be discussed publicly in a ‘polite society’, by both the English people as well as by the émigré elites.

Now the UK has been absorbed by the ‘great’ Western Empire, governed by its offspring. Global genocides continue to murder millions. For those, no one gets punished, while the fines for speeding or not wearing seat belts are getting transparently dispersed among the servile citizens of the British Isles.

You kick your dog in public, and you could get arrested, then fined, or perhaps even thrown into jail. You shout at your girlfriend, she runs to police, and they open a ‘criminal investigation’ against you.

You shoot a few missiles at some independent country, killing dozens of innocent people, and it is business as usual. You overthrow some ‘unruly’ African government, and no court of justice, local or international, would even bother to hear the case against you, properly and seriously.

Continue reading

Iranian Foreign Minister responds to the amassing of U.S. and British troops at the Syrian-Jordanian border

May 9th, 2017 – Fort Russ News –
– Al Mayadeen – – translated by Samer Hussein –
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded to the news about amassing of the British, American and Jordanian troops at the Syrian-Jordanian border, noting that any military act of aggression against Syria, will result in an absolute failure.
“Any of such actions, now or in the future, are doomed to fail”, Zarif was heard saying.
Yesterday, reports came about the huge gathering of the British, American and Jordanian troops at the Syrian-Jordanian border, suggesting the approaching zero hour of confrontation.
According to the reports, hundreds of American, British and Jordanian troops are being gathered in the area at the Syrian-Jordania border and parallel with Khirbet Awad, located in the southern Syrian province of As Suwayda, Tell Shihab in Syria’s Daraa province and the Ramtha border crossing. Dozens of troops, British tanks of the Challenger brand and a number of Cobra and Black Hawk helicopters were spotted, in addition to about 2300 jihadists whom the US and UK forces trained in Jordan. 
About 4000 more jihadists are reportedly being trained in Al Tanf area at the Syrian-Jordanian border.
It is also being rumoured that the British and US forces are allegedly trying to take control over the southern Syrian-Iraqi border so that the two countries would no longer be able to coordinate each other directly in their fight against terrorism.

Chilcot Report ignores secret US/UK Operation Southern Force air war against Iraq

Global Research, July 26, 2016
Antiwar.com 26 July 2016

The Chilcot Inquiry, set up to look into the British role in the war in Iraq, reported on July 6, and although it was overshadowed by the political fallout from the Brexit vote to leave the European Union, received a largely favorable reception from the media and commentators. It is unclear why those commentators judged it to be “hard-hitting” because in terms of its conclusions all it did was tell us what we already knew.

Then British Prime Minister Tony Blair pursued a war that was arguably illegal has had disastrous consequences, not least for the 179 British servicemen and women killed and their loved ones, but also for Iraq, its people and the fight against terrorism.

I was staggered by the rush to say the report was hard hitting. It wasn’t. It simply laid out the facts in a narrative format and let the reader decide. Those facts were of course damning but I struggle to find anything in the report that a well informed reader of British newspapers wouldn’t already know.

It was a very workmanlike narrative of what happened taken from secret documents and witness testimony and therefore providing far more detail than had been previously available but it was not anything like a proper inquiry in the real sense. It was more like a neutral court report than the solid analysis which was required, and what we actually got from the curiously much derided Butler report.

As a result of the Chilcot’s failure to carry out any detailed analysis of the evidence presented to his inquiry, it completely missed the extensive and conclusive evidence of a ten-month illegal air war by Britain and the U.S. designed to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an excuse to go to war in Iraq.

All modern wars begin with an air war in which the enemy positions on the ground are “softened up” to make them easier to overcome. The Iraq War was no different in many ways. Except there was a difference. George W. Bush and Tony Blair didn’t tell us it was happening.

So why does this matter now?

It matters because the Iraq War didn’t begin on March 20, 2003 as everybody thought, it began ten months earlier on May 20, 2002 when the allies started the secret air war. It was definitely illegal because it started six months before the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1441 which Tony Blair’s government later used to claim the war was legal.

(U.S. readers might also care to note that it started five months before Congress passed the so-called Iraq Resolution which authorized military action against Iraq.)

The secret air war, codenamed Operation Southern Force, was carried out under cover of the UN-authorized operation under which U.S. and RAF aircraft patrolled a so-called no-fly zone over southern Iraq to protect the Shia majority from Saddam’s forces.

Lt.-Gen. Michael Moseley, the U.S. Air Force commander of allied air operations over Iraq, told a conference at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada in July 2003 that during Operation Southern Force allied aircraft dropped more than 600 bombs on “391 carefully selected targets.”

British and U.S. officials claimed at the time that the reason behind the increased air strikes carried out in the southern no-fly zone, was an increase in Iraqi attacks on allied aircraft. But Lt.-Gen. Moseley said the bombing of Iraqi positions in southern Iraq paved the way for the invasion and was the reason the allies were able to begin the ground campaign without first waging an extensive air war as they had done during the 1991 Gulf War.

Planning for the illegal air war began shortly after Tony Blair attended a summit with George Bush at the U.S. President’s ranch in Crawford, Texas on April 6 and 7, 2002. Chilcot confirmed evidence from a Cabinet Office Briefing Paper leaked to me as part of the “Downing Street Memos” back in the spring of 2005 that Mr. Blair agreed at Crawford “to support military action to bring about regime change” in Iraq.

The British Prime Minister didn’t waste any time sorting out what would happen next. Chilcot records that the very next day, April 8, 2002, Geoff Hoon, the U.K. Defense Secretary, called in Chief of Defense Staff Admiral Sir Michael Boyce (now Lord Boyce) and the Permanent Undersecretary at the Ministry of Defense (MoD) Sir Kevin Tebbit to discuss “military options” in Iraq.

Ten days later, Air Marshal Brian Burridge, Deputy Commander of RAF Strike Command, was sent to the U.S. to act as liaison with General Tommy Franks, commander of the U.S. Central Command, who would lead the invasion force. Now Sir Brian, he told the Chilcot Inquiry that he had a meeting with Gen. Franks shortly after arriving at Central Command’s headquarters in Tampa, Florida, discussing the no-fly zones over Iraq “at some length.”

Nine days later, on April 26, Franks flew to London with Burridge for discussions with the U.K. defense chiefs. The Chilcot Report says they talked about the patrols of the no-fly zones with details of the discussions “circulated on very limited distribution.”

A week later, there was a top secret meeting in 10, Downing St. chaired by Blair and attended by Hoon, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and Adm. Boyce. The Chilcot Report notes briefly that “Mr. Blair had a meeting on Iraq with Mr. Straw, Mr. Hoon and Adm. Boyce on 2 May but there is no record of the discussion.”

It’s worth pointing out that the Downing Street note which describes that key meeting in such brazenly bare detail was initially provided to the Butler Inquiry which first looked at the intelligence provided to back the war in Iraq in 2004. So the cover-up goes back at least to then and in reality far beyond.

Three days later after that secretive Downing Street meeting, Donald Rumsfeld, U.S. Defense Secretary, flew to London for talks with Mr. Hoon, following which British officials announced changes to the rules of engagement in the no-fly zones making it easier for allied aircraft to attack Iraqi military positions.

Simon Webb, then Mod policy director, told the Chilcot inquiry that the Americans had proposed “changing the nature of the no-fly zone, quite a lot of which we were persuaded about but which a part of we weren’t persuaded about … and stood aside from.”

As one of the Mod’s most senior civil servants, Webb was spouting the sort of doublespeak of which the writers of BBC Television’s Yes, Minister would have been very proud. The key words there are not “stood aside from” but “quite a lot of which we were persuaded about.”

On 20 May 2002, allied aircraft began ramping up the number of attacks on Iraqi positions. Throughout the first few months of 2002, they had dropped barely any bombs on Iraq. But answers to parliamentary questions asked by Liberal Democrat MP Sir Menzies Campbell (now Lord Campbell), reveal that during those last ten days of May alone, U.S. and U.K. aircraft patrolling the southern no-fly zone dropped 7.3 tons of bombs on Iraqi positions.

Far from standing aside, as Webb claimed in his testimony to the Chilcot Inquiry, RAF aircraft dropped more than two thirds of those bombs, a total of 4.9 tons.

Throughout the summer of 2002, both British and U.S. aircraft continued to bomb southern Iraq under cover of the no-fly zone while Blair and Hoon insisted that nothing was happening. The Defense Secretary told a cabinet meeting on 20 June 2002 that “except for continuing patrols in the no-fly zones, no decisions have been taken in relation to military operations in Iraq.”

During defense questions in the House of Commons on Monday 15 July 2002, Hoon told Labour MP Alice Mahon that: “Absolutely no decisions have been taken by the British Government in relation to operations in Iraq or anywhere near Iraq … I can assure the House that any such decision would be properly reported to the House.”

The next day, Blair appeared before the Parliamentary Liaison Committee. Asked if the U.K. was “preparing for possible military action against Iraq,” Blair replied: “No, there are no decisions which have been taken about military action.”

Tony Blair and his Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon were able to claim throughout 2002 that no decision had been taken on military action because the truth of what was taking place in southern Iraq under cover of the UN-authorized no-fly zones was kept on an extremely tight “need to know” basis. Even fairly senior British officials believed the increased air strikes were simply the result of the relaxation of the rules of engagement.

A week later, on Tuesday 23 July 2002, Blair was due to have a meeting with his war cabinet. In preparation for that meeting, the Cabinet Office produced a briefing paper which was one of the Downing St. Memos leaked to me when I was on the Sunday Times. It warned the participants that: “When the Prime Minister discussed Iraq with President Bush at Crawford in April he said that the U.K. would support military action to bring about regime change.”

This represented a problem for British policy-makers, the Cabinet Office briefing paper said.

“We need now to … encourage the U.S. Government to place its military planning within a political framework, partly to forestall the risk that military action is precipitated in an unplanned way by, for example, an incident in the no fly zones,” the briefing paper said. “This is particularly important for the U.K. because it is necessary to create the conditions in which we could legally support military action.”

This is all the evidence we need to show that the air war was illegal. Those conditions in which Britain could legally support military action did not yet exist. They had to be created. So although it was clearly not known to the officials who drafted the briefing paper, RAF aircraft and for that matter RAF servicemen were already involved in military action against Iraq which was not legal under the U.K. interpretation of international law.

The minutes of that war cabinet meeting on July 23 became best known for comments by Sir Richard Dearlove, the then head of MI6, who had just returned from a trip to Washington DC to see his CIA counterpart George Tenet. He told the meeting that the intelligence was being “fixed around the policy” in America.

But Hoon said something even more interesting. U.S. aircraft overflying southern Iraq had begun “spikes of activity to put pressure on the regime.” He did not mention that RAF aircraft were also taking part in the attacks. Presumably some of his colleagues in the war cabinet were unaware of that fact and the lack of an official record for the May 2 meeting suggests that both Blair and Hoon thought it sensible not to have the British participation on record.

The attacks continued through June, July and August with both U.S. and British aircraft carrying out increased bombing but nevertheless failing to provoke the Iraqis into a reaction which might give the allies an excuse for war.

The attacks needed to be ramped up still further.

On September 5 2002, more than 100 allied aircraft, both U.S. and British, attacked an Iraqi air defense facility in western Iraq on September 5, 2002, in what was believed to be a prelude to the infiltration of special forces into Iraq from Jordan. The RAF saw it as such a success that it was reported on the front page of the official publication RAF News.

During September, allied aircraft dropped 54.6 tons of munitions on southern Iraq of which 21.1 tons were dropped by RAF aircraft. In October, they dropped 17.7 tons of which 11.4 tons, roughly two-thirds, were British.

The Iraq Resolution authorizing U.S. military action against Iraq was not passed by Congress until the early hours of October 11, 2002, five months after the start of Operation Southern Force, the secret air war preparing the way for the invasion.

UN Security Council Resolution 1441, which the U.K. Government would later claim made the war legal, was not passed until November 8, 2002, six months after the secret air war began.

It was not until March 17, 2003 that British Attorney-General Lord Goldsmith formally confirmed that military action was legal on the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 1441. A day later, the British parliament backed U.K. military action in Iraq.

Two days, later allied troops invaded Iraq. It was and remains widely regarded as the start of the Iraq War. Only a very few people knew that was not the truth. The war had begun ten months earlier on 20 May 2002 when British and American aircraft began bombing the 391 “carefully selected” targets assigned to Operation Southern Force, the illegal joint British and American bombing campaign that Chilcot completely missed.

Intelligence beast reporter Michael Smith broke the story of the secret “Downing Street Memos” in 2005. This article was originally published on Michael Smith’s blog.

Who owns the Zika virus?

Global Research, February 03, 2016

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Zika virus a global health emergency on Monday (February 1) without providing much detail on the disease. So here are some facts until we receive more information:

This sexually-transmitted virus has been around for 69 years and is a product of two companies: LGC Group (headquartered in the UK) and ATTC (headquartered in the US).

The LGC Group is:

“…the UK’s designated National Measurement Institute for chemical and bioanalytical measurements and an international leader in the laboratory services, measurement standards, reference materials, genomics and proficiency testing marketplaces.”

One of its branches, LGC Standards, is:

“…a leading global producer and distributor of reference materials and proficiency testing schemes. Headquartered in Teddington, Middlesex, UK, LGC Standards has a network of dedicated sales offices extending across 20 countries in 5 continents and more than 30 years experience in the distribution of reference materials. These high quality products and services are essential for accurate analytical measurement and quality control, ensuring sound decisions are made based on reliable data. We have an unparalleled breadth of ISO Guide 34 accredited reference material production in facilities at 4 sites across the UK, the US and Germany.”

LGC Standards entered into a partnership with ATCC, of which the latter is:

“…the premier global biological materials resource and standards organization whose mission focuses on the acquisition, authentication, production, preservation, development, and distribution of standard reference microorganisms, cell lines, and other materials. While maintaining traditional collection materials, ATCC develops high quality products, standards, and services to support scientific research and breakthroughs that improve the health of global populations.”

This “ATTC-LGC Partnership” is intended to facilitate:

“the distribution of ATCC cultures and bioproducts to life science researchers throughout Europe, Africa, and India and […] to make access to the important resources of ATCC more easily accessible to the European, African, and Indian scientific communities through local stock holding of more than 5,000 individual culture items supported by our local office network delivering the highest levels of customer service and technical support.”

And who owns the patent on the virus? The Rockefeller Foundation!

Source: http://www.lgcstandards-atcc.org/products/all/VR-84.aspx?geo_country=es#history

Why has the issue of patent ownership of the Zika virus not been the object of media coverage?

Lest we forget the words of David Rockefeller in an address to a Trilateral Commission meeting in June of 1991

“We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost 40 years. … It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supernational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.”

Is the ownership of the Zika Virus by the Rockefeller Foundation part of that agenda of “supernational sovereignty [dominated] by an intellectual elite and world bankers…”?

Of significance, the Zika virus is a commodity which can be purchased online from the ATCC-LGC for $599.00, with royalties accruing to the Rockefeller Foundation.

The original source of this article is Global Research

Londoners march on Downing Street to decry UK intervention in Syria (VIDEO)

From RT
December 13, 2015
Protestors in London, Britain December 12, 2015 take part in a demonstration against bombing Syria © Neil Hall

Protestors in London, Britain December 12, 2015 take part in a demonstration against bombing Syria © Neil Hall / Reuters

Thousands of people have marched in London to protest against UK intervention in Syria and the airstrikes which have recently been launched. Anti-war activists also demanded a full stop to other UK military campaigns abroad.

Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire brings a message to the UK from Syrian children

From Stop the War Coalition

By Mairead Maguire
07 December 2015

Syrian children who have suffered so much from violence and war in their young lives, send a message: ‘UK please do not bomb our country’.

Children of Homs

On 28 November 2015, Mairead Maguire visited a school in Homs, where children have suffered from violence and war.


Mairead Maguire was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her work in promoting peace in Northern Ireland. She has since won many awards for her tireless campaigning for peaceful resolution to conflicts round the world, particularly in the Middle East.

On 2nd December, 2015 the United Kingdom Parliament voted to bomb Syria and the world watched as British planes, equipped with the latest bombs aptly named ‘Brimstone’ are dropped on Syrian targets and country.

On 28/ll/2015 during my visit to Homs and at a school in the heart of Old Homs, Syrian children who have suffered so much from violence and war in their young lives, send a message: ‘UK please do not bomb our country, we love Syria’.

Having returned from my third visit to Syria, the message from the Syrian people is, they do not want outside military interference in their country, they want through peace and reconciliation to stop all violence and build a just and peaceful Syria, and they are already doing this themselves.

Children of Homs

Syrian children send a message: ‘UK please do not bomb our country, we love Syria’.

Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate. www.peacepeople.com

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Join Stop the War now »

http://www.stopwar.org.uk/index.php/news/nobel-peace-laureate-mairead-maguire-brings-a-message-from-syrian-children

 

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.

<iframe width=”690″ height=”400″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/L7GAbVhjTSw&#8221; frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen><!–iframe>

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.

David Cameron wants to bomb and “reconstruct” Syria with billions to enrich UK contractors

Global Research, December 05, 2015
The Canary 3 December 2015
rubble syria bombing us

David Cameron has announced that at least one billion pounds from UK taxpayers will go to fund the ‘reconstruction’ of Syria after it has been pummeled by British bombs. The lunacy of pledging to rob the public purse to repair the damage Cameron is so hell-bent on creating is breathtaking. That is until you examine who the plan makes sense for: Cameron’s much loved British companies.

On 26 November, Cameron made a statement on his proposals for bombing Syria to the House of Commons. In his statement he addressed the following:

The House is rightly also asking more questions about whether there will be a proper post conflict reconstruction effort to support a new Syrian government when it emerges, and Britain’s answer to that qusetion is absolutely yes. I can tell the House that Britain will be prepared to contribute at least another billion pounds for this task.

This is, of course, a direct insult to the British population, who have been forced to endure a crippling amount of cuts to public services in the name of ‘essential’ austerity. However, it is glaringly obvious by now that the Tory party’s austerity program is nothing more than an ideological instrument to re-order society.

 

Part of this ideology resides in bringing about a British business boom, and Cameron is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that happens. It is why corporation tax has been consistently lowered by his government – leading to companies loving these little isles as they pay next to nothing to trade here.

It’s also why Cameron sees opportunity in the tragedy of Syria. For all his fire and brimstone talk of destroying jihadi “monsters”, he is counting on benefits for the British contractors carrying out the extensive work necessary to rebuild Syria after RAF bombers, and those of numerous other countries, have decimated it.

There is a precedent for this: the Iraq war. Multiple companies profited from the illegal invasion of Iraq, many of them British. An article in Business Pundit details the most vicious of these profiteers, here’s a selection of the UK’s beneficiaries:

Aegis

A security and risk management company who landed a £250 million contract to coordinate all of Iraq’s private security operations, which led to them being rejected for membership of trade organisation International Peace Operations Association.

The bank bought a 70% controlling stake in Dar es Salaam Investment Bank, which had gathered $91 million worth of assets by 2008. Daesh (ISIS) is already known to have seized control of banks in the areas they maintain, which would open up a lucrative opportunity for western banks should they be defeated.

Erinys

A London-based private security company who landed a $90 million contract to secure Iraq’s oil fields. Daesh has huge reserves of oil that power it financially, and which would need protecting once wrestled from its control.

Armor Holdings

Not a UK-based company, but it was acquired by BAE Systems in 2007 – a subsidiary of BAE Systems plc, based in the UK. Armor Holdings provided military and personnel safety equipment for the Iraq war, and saw its profits increase by over 2,000% between 2001 and 2008.

Aside from the businesses set to reap the benefits of a Syria in ashes, there are those who will benefit from creating those ashes – namely defence companies. BAE Systems  is one of the military manufacturers that will see a rise in profits from any decision to continue along the western warpath. In fact, BAE announced this year that its profits were up £500 million in 2013, having gained contracts worth over £10bn from the US and UK governments for three consecutive years, according to the BBC.

That corporate behemoths like BAE Systems benefit from the ‘war on terror’ is no accident, and it’s a result Cameron is banking on. As investigative reporter James Risen lays out so well in his book Pay Any Price, many have recognised the opportunities this never-ending war has created, both in the battles abroad, and the enhanced security measures we find on our own doorsteps:

As trillions of dollars have poured into the nation’s new homeland security-industrial complex, the corporate leaders at its vanguard can rightly be considered the true winners of the war on terror.

The first step in tackling this, is to recognise it. If we face the true motivation of our government’s actions, we are able to challenge it.

Cameron’s claims about why he wants to bomb Syria have already been widely debunked, even by members of his own party. His position on who he is doing it for should also be challenged. It is not the Syrian people. They will undoubtedly suffer from further bombing. It is not UK citizens, who will see the threat of terrorism at home further increase. Is it these giant industries, with their lobbyists and political donations, that Cameron actually holds closest to his heart?

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.