(Prison Planet) Alleged hacked emails from defense contractor Britam reveal a plan “approved by Washington” and funded by Qatar to stage a chemical weapons attack in Syria and blame it on the Assad regime, fulfilling what the Obama administration has made clear is a “red line” that would mandate US military intervention.
The leaked emails, obtained by a hacker in Malaysia, feature an exchange (click here for screenshot) between Britam Defence’s Business Development Director David Goulding and the company’s founder Philip Doughty;
We’ve got a new offer. It’s about Syria again. Qataris propose an attractive deal and swear that the idea is approved by Washington.
We’ll have to deliver a CW to Homs, a Soviet origin g-shell from Libya similar to those that Assad should have. They want us to deploy our Ukrainian personnel that should speak Russian and make a video record.
Frankly, I don’t think it’s a good idea but the sums proposed are enormous. Your opinion?
The fact that the plan involves delivering a CW (chemical weapon) that is “similar to those Assad should have,” clearly suggests that the idea is to stage a false flag chemical weapons attack that could be blamed on Assad by Gulf states like Qatar and NATO powers.
If the claim that such as plot was “approved by Washington” can be verified, then the Obama administration is complicit in a war crime.
According to Cyber War News, which details the process of how the emails were hacked and includes screenshots of the leaked documents, the hack also uncovered, “extremely personal information,” including copies of passports of Britam employees, some of whom appeared to be mercenaries.
A full list of all the hacked documents can be found here. One software systems administrator who analyzed the ‘header’ details from the email in question concluded, “I have to admit that the email does indeed look genuine….all these facts check out. So with Mythbusters objectivity I have to call this one plausible.”
Last year, reports began to circulate that that US-backed rebel fighters in Syria had been given gas masks and were willing to stage a chemical weapons attack which would then be blamed on the Assad regime to grease the skids for NATO military intervention.
Soon after in August, President Barack Obama warned that the use or even transportation of chemical weapons by the Assad regime would represent a “red line” that would precipitate military intervention. French President Francois Hollande followed suit, stating that the use of such weapons “Would be a legitimate reason for direct intervention.”
At around the same time, a source told Syrian news channel Addounia that a Saudi company had fitted 1400 ambulance vehicles with anti-gas & anti-chemical filtering systems at a cost of $97,000 dollars each, in preparation for a chemical weapons attack carried out by FSA rebels using mortar rounds. A further 400 vehicles were prepared as troop carriers.
The attack would be blamed on the Syrian Army and exploited as an excuse for a military assault. A March 2012 Brookings Institution report entitled Saving Syria: Assessing Options For Regime Change outlined this very scenario – where a manufactured humanitarian crisis would be cited as justification for an attack.
Yesterday, Israel’s vice premier Silvan Shalom told reporters that if Syrian rebels obtained chemical weapons from stockpiles belonging to the Assad regime, such a development would force Israel to resort to “preventive operations,” in other words – a military strike on Syria.
In December, a shocking video emerged of Syrian rebels testing what appeared to be a form of nerve gas on rabbits, bolstering claims that the rebels had already obtained chemical weapons.
As Tony Cartalucci also highlights, “Mention of acquiring chemical weapons from Libya is particularly troubling. Libya’s arsenal had fallen into the hands of sectarian extremists with NATO assistance in 2011 in the culmination of efforts to overthrow the North African nation . Since then, Libya’s militants led by commanders of Al Qaeda’s Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) have armed sectarian extremists across the Arab World, from as far West as Mali, to as far East as Syria.”
Last month, 29 different US-backed Syrian opposition groups pledged their allegiance to Al Nusra, an Al-Qaeda-affiliated group which, as the New York Times reported, “killed numerous American troops in Iraq.
Numerous reports confirm that Al Nusra is the leading front line fighting force in Syria and is commanding other rebel groups. Given their prominent role, allied with the fact that the terror group has been responsible for numerous bloody attacks in Syria, the notion that the Obama administration would approve a plot that could see chemical weapons fall into the hands of Al-Qaeda terrorists could represent a foreign policy scandal even bigger than Benghazi-Gate.
In a related story, the Syrian Electronic Army, a separate hacktivist group, continues to release hacked files and emails from numerous sensitive foreign ministry and military websites belonging to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, including emails sent between these countries.
By Khaled Yacoub Oweis
and Stephen BrownPosted 2013/02/02 at 10:15 am EST
MUNICH, Feb. 2, 2013 (Reuters) — The leader of the Syrian opposition was expected to meet U.S., Russian and U.N. officials on Saturday at a Munich conference which may provide a rare chance to overcome differences on how to end Syria’s civil war.
U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden, head of the Syrian National Coalition Moaz Alkhatib, U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held a round of meetings – but apparently not all at the same table, as the opposition had hoped.
Biden lamented the lack of international agreement – between Washington and Moscow in particular – on how to resolve Syria’s crisis. But he said nobody could doubt “the increasingly desperate plight of the Syrian people and the responsibility of the international community to address that plight”.
Government forces and rebels clashed again in several areas of Syria including around Damascus but there were no reports of casualties, according to activists and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Biden stressed the need to make the Syrian opposition “more inclusive and cohesive”, as dramatized by a challenge on Friday to Alkhatib’s authority after he broke ranks to say he would be willing to meet Syrian officials to discuss a transition if political prisoners arrested in the revolt were freed.
The Syrian opposition had raised hopes that there could be three-way or four-way meetings at the Munich Security Conference with the United States, Russia and United Nations on Saturday, but U.N. and Russian officials rushed to play this down.
“Media reports of a meeting in Munich in the format of Lavrov-Biden-Brahimi and Syrian opposition representative Alkhatib do not correspond with reality,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said.
Russia’s Interfax news agency cited a Russian source as saying that Lavrov would meet Alkhatib.
Syrian National Coalition politburo member Sadereddine al Bayanouni from the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, who was part of the Syrian opposition delegation in Munich, told Reuters he would also attend the meeting with Biden.
“We will explain our views to them and see,” he said.
Syrian opposition figure Hassan Bali, in Munich as an independent observer, called the meeting with Biden “a big signal from the Americans” that they were upgrading support for the rebels. But there was no immediate word from the U.S. delegation on whether that was the case.
February 1, 2013
A Lebanese security official said Friday Israeli warplanes have flown over southern Lebanon.
The official said the flights were seen heading from southern Lebanon toward the eastern Bekaa Valley that borders Syria. He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
Israel Radio Friday cited a Lebanese media report that claimed Israeli jets were conducting imaging missions over several sites in the south.
Israel had no comment.
DAMASCUS, (SANA) – Foreign and Expatriates Ministry sent two identical letters to President of UN Security Council (UNSC) and UN Secretary-General on the Israeli attack which targeted the Scientific Research Center in Jamraya in Damascus Countryside.
The Ministry said that Israeli warplanes violated the Syrian airspace on Wednesday dawn, January 30th, 2013 sneaking from the north of Al-Sheikh Mountain, flying at a low altitude and below radars, and heading to Jamraya in Damascus Countryside where a branch of a scientific research center is located and bombarded the location.
The letters added that the bombardment resulted in the martyrdom of two personnel and the injury of five others, causing huge material damage and destruction to the building, in addition to a vehicular development center and a garage before sneaking away in the same way.
The Ministry stressed that the reports aired by some media outlets claiming that the Israeli warplanes targeted a convoy heading from Syria to Lebanon are baseless.
It stressed that this aggression comes after the failed attempts of the armed terrorist groups for months to seize the location and after Israel in cooperation with the enemies of the Syrian people used their tools to strike vital and military selected sites in the Syrian state as those tools, and Jabhat al-Nusra on top, managed to attack some of these sites which included air defenses and vital points during the past months and failed to attack many others.
Strike on convoy heading to Lebanon was diversion
Paul Joseph Watson
February 1, 2013
A western diplomat has told the Iraqi daily Azzaman that the real target of Israel’s attack on Syria was a facility housing 3,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and that reports about a weapons convoy on its way to Lebanon being hit were merely a diversion.
Shortly after news of the air strike emerged yesterday, reports centered around the target being a convoy of lorries carrying weapons into Lebanon. However, Syrian authorities disputed this narrative, claiming instead that a research facility northwest of Damascus had been destroyed.
It now appears the Syrian version of events has been vindicated after a western diplomat told the Iraqi daily Azzaman that eight guided missiles were used to hit a scientific research facility in Jamraya.
The facility was being guarded by 3,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards as well as Russian experts, reports the Jerusalem Post, adding that the attack actually took place 48 hours before it was reported and that, “the report about a strike on a convoy to Lebanon was probably meant to divert attention away from the main objective of the operation.”
The research facility being the real target would also correlate with reports that the facility was on fire two days before news about the air strike was released.
The fact that the research facility was hit with zero resistance from Syrian air defense is extremely noteworthy given that the site is located just 12 kilometers away from the presidential palace in Damascus.
The Azzaman report adds that information about the facility was obtained as a result of intelligence gathered by Israeli agents inside Iran.
In the aftermath of the attack, which killed two people and injured five, Israeli military officials have indicated that more air strikes may be coming, much to the chagrin of Russia who compared bitterly about the attack and even flew a Mig-31 near Israel in an aggressive move.
In response, Syrian Ambassador Ali Abdul Karim Ali warned that Syria may take “a surprise decision to respond to the aggression of the Israeli warplanes.”
Iranian lawmaker Mohammad Hassan Asafari also remarked that Syria had a legal right to respond to the attack, while Syria complained to the United Nations after Russia characterized the Israeli strike as a “gross violation of the UN charter.”
Iran: Israeli assault on Syria will have “serious consequences”
DEBKAfileJanuary 31, 2013, 4:19 PM (GMT+02:00)
Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian warned of “serious consequences for Tel Aviv” from Israel’s air strike on a military site near Damascus Wednesday. He called on the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon to adopt an effective and practical measure against the attack. Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi called the attack a “blatant violation … in line with the policy of the West and the Zionists.”
By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, January 31, 2013 7:39 EST
Israel was on Thursday tightlipped over Syrian claims it had bombed a military site near Damascus, while stressing that any transfer of advanced weaponry to Lebanon’s Hezbollah would cross a red line.
Israeli officials and the military refused to confirm or deny any involvement in the alleged attack and had no comment on separate reports from security sources that its warplanes had struck a weapons convoy along the Syria-Lebanon border.
The Syrian army said an Israeli strike, which took place early on Wednesday, had targeted a “scientific research centre” near Damascus, with local residents telling AFP it was a non-conventional weapons research centre.
Israel has frequently warned that if Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons fell into the hands of Hezbollah, it would be a casus belli.
But it has also raised the alarm over long-range Scud missiles or other advanced weaponry, such as anti-aircraft systems and surface-to-surface missiles, being transferred to the Lebanese militia.
The strike made headlines across the Israeli press on Thursday, with officials and commentators quick to stress that Israel would never allow the transfer of sophisticated weaponry to Hezbollah, a close ally of both Syria and Iran.
“The best thing that Israel has been hoping for for a long time is that the West will take control of these weapons,” said Tzahi HaNegbi, an MP from the ruling Likud party, who is known as a close confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“But the world is not ready to take such a decision as it did in Libya or Iraq, so Israel finds itself facing a dilemma which we alone can resolve,” he told army radio, indicating that Israel was left with no choice but to take preventative action.
“Israel has always said that if sophisticated weapons coming from Iran, North Korea and Russia fell into the hands of Hezbollah, it would cross a red line,” he said.
“Israel cannot accept that advanced weapons fall into the hands of terrorist organisations,” he stressed.
Dan Harel, a former deputy chief-of-staff in the Israeli military, said that if Hezbollah or other militant groups got their hands on such weaponry, it would change the strategic balance of force in the region.
“We are not ready to accept that Hezbollah changes the balance of force,” he told army radio.
“We have said it many times in the past. If Israel did do what is claimed, it was to maintain the military balance with Hezbollah,” he said.
Published: 31 January, 2013, 12:14
The Russian Foreign Ministry has issued a statement expressing deep concern over Israel’s airstrike on Syria saying that it violates the UN Charter.
The Ministry website says; if this information is confirmed that would mean that we have to deal with unprovoked attacks on the territory of a sovereign state which is inadmissible, whatever objectives are declared as a justification.
Russian diplomats are taking urgent measures to clarify the situation and to establish the details of the incident.
Russia has again called upon the international community to stop the violence in Syria, prevent foreign intervention in the conflict, and assist the start of a nationwide dialogue based on the Geneva agreements.
Syrian military command reported that Israeli aircraft bombed a research facility near the country’s capital Damascus on Wednesday killing two people and wounding five. The statement called the attack a “blatant act of aggression” and blasted Israel for supporting Syrian terrorists.
So far, the Israel has refused to comment, but unnamed sources in the US have told news agencies that the Israeli Air Force did strike a truck convoy on the Syria-Lebanon border that supposedly carried anti-aircraft weapons. Lebanese media has reported a number of air raids conducted by Israel war planes over its territory but said nothing about any strikes.
If confirmed, the air strike will be Israel’s first attack on a Syrian target since 2007 when the Israeli Air Force destroyed what they thought to be an almost complete nuclear reactor in the east of the country, near the border with Iraq. Syria denied the site was a nuclear facility.
Wednesday’s alleged attack would also be Israel’s first direct intervention into the almost-two-year Syrian crisis caused by the standoff between President Bashar Assad and an armed opposition supported by radical Islamists.
Russia has repeatedly called upon the international community to help stop the violence by forcing the opposing sides to negotiation table. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says it was the opposition that rejected talks in Syria adding that the crisis would end when the opposition abandons its obsession with ousting Assad, and if this does not happen the fighting will continue and more people will die.
At the same time, Lavrov pointed out that the Russian point of view was that preserving or deposing President Assad’s regime was not a priority. What really mattered, he said, is an immediate stop to the bloodshed and the stabilization of the situation in Syria.
No Obama, Americans Aren’t Committed to Aiding Terrorists in SyriaEric Blair
On Tuesday President Obama announced more aid to Syrian rebels to the tune of $155 million, bringing the total amount sent so far to $365 million.
The statement from Obama’s White House reads “The relief we send doesn’t say “Made in America,” but make no mistake—our aid reflects the commitment of the American people.”
Which Americans? Do they know the aid money is going to radical Islamic terrorists who seek to overthrow a moderate leader? I wonder if the rebels will keep the Chili’s Restaurant in Syria after the “barbaric” Assad regime falls.
This new announcement of aid was laced with flowery propaganda and bald-faced lies to make Americans okay with giving over $1 per taxpayer to Syrian rebels.
First the propaganda:
For nearly two years, the Assad regime has waged a brutal war against the Syrian people—murdering innocent men, women and children, in their homes, in bread lines, and at universities.
Do innocent people die in civil wars? Of course, but this is clearly meant to make the American people hate Assad when the exact same statement, or worse, can be made about the rebels.
In the face of this barbarism, the United States has joined with nations around the world in calling for an end to the Assad regime and a transition that leads to a peaceful, inclusive and democratic Syria, where the rights of all Syrians are protected.
I’m sure the rights of all Syrians will be protected like those of Libyans once the Islamic radicals that our aid goes to take over the country.
We’ve worked to isolate Assad and his regime; impose sanctions that starve the regime of funds; recognize the Syrian Opposition Coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people; call for accountability for perpetrators of atrocities; and provide humanitarian relief to Syrians in need.
Those sanctions starve more than the regime who still lives in luxury. What he really means is he starved out the poor in Syria and is now offering them crumbs to look heroic. And what Obama means by “democracy” in the previous statement is propping up the leaders that the West (not the people) recognize as legitimate.
Now for the lies:
American aid means food and clean water for millions of Syrians. American aid means medicine and treatment for hundreds of thousands of patients in Damascus, Dar’a and Homs. It means immunizations for one million Syrian children. American aid means winter supplies for more than half a million people in Aleppo, Homs and Dayr az Zawr.
I’m sorry, but I have to laugh. We are going to take care of “millions” with $155 million dollars? What’s that about $2 a person for one day if that money was actually meant to reach the suffering people in Syria? Give me a freaking break.
We all know exactly where the money is going. It’s flowing right to the weapons and dinner tables of the foreign Jihadists in Syria who commit far worse human rights catastrophes than Assad. We know the money is going to support global empire, the toppling of another sovereign central bank, and future aggression towards Iran.
So, no Obama, you don’t have the commitment from me or any other Americans bright enough to see through your lies.
DEBKAfile Special Report January 31, 2013, 9:51 AM (GMT+02:00)
The Syrian announcement of an Israeli air strike on a military site near Damascus Wednesday, Jan. 30, drew strong condemnation from Moscow the next day: “Such action if confirmed would amount to unacceptable military interference in the war-ravaged country,” said the statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry Thursday. “If this information is confirmed, then we are dealing with unprovoked attacks on targets on the territory of a sovereign country, which blatantly violate the UN Charter and is unacceptable, no matter the motives to justify it.”
Israel has made no comment on the Damascus statement which described in detail an Israeli air strike against a “military research institute” near the capital. Witnesses say it was a plant for manufacturing “unconventional weapons.” The facility was destroyed and two staff members killed.
Lebanese sources later reported a Russian Mig-31 fighter had crossed over Sinai Wednesday in the direction of Israel. It veered west over the Mediterranean after encountering an Israeli warning not to intrude into its air space and continued flying over Lebanon.
debkafile’s military sources say that the only external military force in the eastern Mediterranean region is a fleet of 18 Russian warships, which includes landing-craft – among the largest in the Russian Navy – with 2,000 marines aboard.
According to various Middle East sources, the Syrian report of an Israeli air strike has touched off high military alerts across the region. Syria has put its Golan forces on the Israel border on combat readiness and the Lebanese and Jordanian armies are on alert. So too are the Russian fleet opposite Syria and the Lebanese army.
Our military sources report that Turkish units on the Syrian border are on high preparedness although Ankara played down the reports of the Israeli air strike in Syria, uncomfortable over the fact that the Israeli Air Force was the first external power to intervene directly in the Syrian conflict.
So too are the US air force units stationed at the Turkish Incerlik air base, the US special forces deployed at the Jordanian Mafraq air facility and the American, German and Dutch Patriot missile interceptors deployed in Turkey opposite Syria. Israel has been on high alert since last week.
The prevailing estimate in military and intelligence circles in Washington and NATO capitals is that the Israeli air attack on the Syrian military site near Damascus was but the opening shot for the coming round of military blows they expect to be exchanged in the near future between Israel, Syria and Hizballah, with Iran possibly waiting in the wings for a chance to pitch in.
By Tony Cartalucci
January 31, 2013
Israel has conducted airstrikes in Syria based on “suspicions” of chemical weapon transfers, in a flagrant violation of the UN Charter, international law, and in direct violation of Syria’s sovereignty.
The Guardian in its report titled, “Israel carries out air strike on Syria,” claims:
“Israeli warplanes have attacked a target close to the Syrian-Lebanese border following several days of heightened warnings from government officials over Syria’s stockpiles of weapons.”
It also stated:
“Israel has publicly warned that it would take military action to prevent the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons falling into the hands of Hezbollah in Lebanon or “global jihadists” fighting inside Syria. Israeli military intelligence is said to be monitoring the area round the clock via satellite for possible convoys carrying weapons.”
In reality, these “global jihaidists” are in fact armed and funded by the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel since at least as early as 2007. They are also in fact the direct beneficiaries of Israel’s recent aggression.
The Israeli “suspicions” of “weapon transfers” of course, remain unconfirmed, because the purpose of the attack was not to prevent the transfer of “chemical weapons” to Hezbollah in Lebanon, but to provoke a wider conflict aimed not at Israel’s defense, but at salvaging the West’s floundering proxy terrorist forces inside Syria attempting to subvert and overthrow the Syrian nation.
The silence from the United Nations is deafening. While Turkey openly harbors foreign terrorists, arming and funding them with Western, Saudi, and Qatari cash as they conduct raids on neighboring Syria, any Syrian attack on Turkish territory would immediately result in the United Nations mobilizing.
Conversely, Turkey is allowed, for years, to conduct air strikes and even partial ground invasions of neighboring Iraq to attack Kurdish groups accused of undermining Turkish security. It is clear the same double standard has long applied to Israel.
It must be remembered that as far back as 2007, it was admitted by US, Saudi and Lebanese officials that the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia were intentionally arming, funding, and organizing these “global jihadists” with direct ties to Al Qaeda for the explicit purpose of overthrowing the governments of Syria and Iran.
Reported by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his New Yorker article, “The Redirection,” it was stated (emphasis added):
“To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran.
The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”
“The policy shift has brought Saudi Arabia and Israel into a new strategic embrace, largely because both countries see Iran as an existential threat.They have been involved in direct talks, and the Saudis, who believe that greater stability in Israel and Palestine will give Iran less leverage in the region, have become more involved in Arab-Israeli negotiations.”
Additionally, Saudi Arabian officials mentioned the careful balancing act their nation must play in order to conceal its role in supporting US-Israeli ambitions across the region:
“The Saudi said that, in his country’s view, it was taking a political risk by joining the U.S. in challenging Iran: Bandar is already seen in the Arab world as being too close to the Bush Administration. “We have two nightmares,” the former diplomat told me. “For Iran to acquire the bomb and for the United States to attack Iran. I’d rather the Israelis bomb the Iranians, so we can blame them. If America does it, we will be blamed.””
It may interest readers to know that while France invades and occupies large swaths of Mali in Africa, accusing the Qataris of funding and arming Al Qaeda-linked terrorist groups in the region, France, the US, and Israel are working in tandem with the Qataris to fund and arm these very same groups in Syria.
These are part of the brick and mortar manifestation of the conspiracy documented by Seymour Hersh in 2007.
The Wall Street Journal, also in 2007, reported on the US Bush Administration’s plans of creating a partnership with Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood, noting the group is the ideological inspiration for linked terror organizations including Al Qaeda itself. In the article titled, “”To Check Syria, U.S. Explores Bond With Muslim Brothers,” it states:
“On a humid afternoon in late May, about 100 supporters of Syria’s largest exile opposition group, the National Salvation Front, gathered outside Damascus’s embassy here to protest Syrian President Bashar Assad’s rule. The participants shouted anti-Assad slogans and raised banners proclaiming: “Change the Regime Now.”
The NSF unites liberal democrats, Kurds, Marxists and former Syrian officials in an effort to transform President Assad’s despotic regime. But the Washington protest also connected a pair of more unlikely players — the U.S. government and the Muslim Brotherhood.”
The article would also report:
“U.S. diplomats and politicians have also met with legislators from parties connected to the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, Egypt and Iraq in recent months to hear their views on democratic reforms in the Middle East, U.S. officials say. Last month, the State Department’s intelligence unit organized a conference of Middle East experts to examine the merits of engagement with the Brotherhood, particularly in Egypt and Syria.”
It describes the ideological and operational links between the Brotherhood and Al Qaeda:
“Today, the Brotherhood’s relationship to Islamist militancy, and al Qaeda in particular, is the source of much debate. Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders cite the works of the Brotherhood’s late intellectual, Sayyid Qutb, as an inspiration for their crusade against the West and Arab dictators. Members of Egyptian and Syrian Brotherhood arms have also gone on to take senior roles in Mr. bin Laden’s movement.”
Yet despite all of this, the US, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, along with Israel and Turkey are openly conspiring with them, and have now for years been arming and funding these very sectarian extremist, terrorist groups across the Arab World, from Libya to Egypt, and now in and around Syria.
Israel’s fears of these terrorists acquiring “chemical weapons” is absurd. They have already acquired them with US, NATO, British, Saudi, Qatari and even Israeli help in Libya in 2011. In fact, these very Libyan terrorists are spearheading the foreign militant groups flooding into Syria through the Turkish-Syrian border.
What Israel’s strike may really mean.
Indeed, Israel’s explanation as to why it struck neighboring Syria is tenuous at best considering its long, documented relationship with actually funding and arming the very “global jihaidists” it fears weapons may fall into the hands of. Its fears of Hezbollah are likewise unfounded – Hezbollah, had it, the Syrians, or the Iranians been interested in placing chemical weapons in Lebanon, would have done so already, and most certainly would do so with means other than conspicuous convoys simply “crossing the border.” Hezbollah has already proven itself capable of defeating Israeli aggression with conventional arms, as demonstrated during the summer of 2006.
In reality, the pressure placed on Syria’s borders by both Israel and its partner, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Turkey in the north, is part of a documented plan to relieve pressure on the Western, Israeli, Saudi-Qatari armed and funded militants operating inside Syria.
The above mentioned, Fortune 500-funded (page 19), US foreign-policy think-tank, Brookings Institution – which has blueprinted designs for regime change in Libya as well as both Syria and Iran – stated this specifically in their report titled, “Assessing Options for Regime Change.”
Image: The Brookings Institution, Middle East Memo #21 “Assessing Options for Regime Change (.pdf),” makes no secret that the humanitarian “responsibility to protect” is but a pretext for long-planned regime change.
Brookings describes how Israeli efforts in the south of Syria, combined with Turkey’s aligning of vast amounts of weapons and troops along its border to the north, could help effect violent regime change in Syria:
“In addition, Israel’s intelligence services have a strong knowledge of Syria, as well as assets within the Syrian regime that could be used to subvert the regime’s power base and press for Asad’s removal. Israel could posture forces on or near the Golan Heights and, in so doing, might divert regime forces from suppressing the opposition. This posture may conjure fears in the Asad regime of a multi-front war, particularly if Turkey is willing to do the same on its border and if the Syrian opposition is being fed a steady diet of arms and training. Such a mobilization could perhaps persuade Syria’s military leadership to oust Asad in order to preserve itself. Advocates argue this additional pressure could tip the balance against Asad inside Syria, if other forces were aligned properly.” –page 6, Assessing Options for Regime Change, Brookings Institution.
Of course, airstrikes inside Syria go beyond “posturing,” and indicate perhaps a level of desperation in the West who appear to have elected their chief villain, Israel, to incrementally “intervene” just as they had planned in regards to attacking Iran – also documented by Brookings in a report titled, “Which Path to Persia?”
In regards to Iran, in Brookings’ “Which Path to Persia?” report, it states specifically (emphasis added):
“Israel appears to have done extensive planning and practice for such a strike already, and its aircraft are probably already based as close to Iran as possible. as such, Israel might be able to launch the strike in a matter of weeks or even days, depending on what weather and intelligence conditions it felt it needed. Moreover, since Israel would have much less of a need (or even interest) in securing regional support for the operation, Jerusalem probably would feel less motivated to wait for an Iranian provocation before attacking. In short, Israel could move very fast to implement this option if both Israeli and American leaders wanted it to happen.
However, as noted in the previous chapter, the airstrikes themselves are really just the start of this policy. Again, the Iranians would doubtless rebuild their nuclear sites. They would probably retaliate against Israel, and they might retaliate against the United States, too (which might create a pretext for American airstrikes or even an invasion).” –page 91, Which Path to Perisa?, Brookings Institution.
And in this statement we can gather insight behind both Israel’s otherwise irrational belligerent posturethroughout its brief history, as well as its most recent act of unprovoked aggression against Syria. Israel’s role is to play the “bad guy.” As a regional beachhead for Western corporate-financier interests, it provides a “foot in the door” to any of the West’s many desired conflicts. By bombing Syria, it hopes to provoke a wider conflict – an intervention the West has desired and planned for since it tipped off Syria’s violent conflict in 2011.
For Syria and its allies – the goal now must be to deter further Israeli aggression and avoid wider conflict at all costs. If NATO’s proxy terrorist forces are as weak as they appear – incapable of tactical or strategic gains, and tapering off into desperate terrorist attacks, it is only a matter of time before NATO’s campaign grinds to a halt.As mentioned before, such a failure on NATO’s part will be the beginning of the end for it, and the Western interests that have been using it as a tool to achieve geopolitical hegemony.
Israel should be expected to commit to increasingly desperate acts to provoke Syria and Iran – as its leadership represent directly corporate-financier interests abroad, not the Israeli people, or their best interests (including peace and even survival). For the people of Israel, they must realize that their leadership indeed does not represent them or their best interests and is able, willing, and even eager to spend their lives and fortunes in the service of foreign, corporate-financier interests and global hegemony.
Tony Cartalucci is the writer and editor of the Land Destroyer Blog
January 31, 2013 – SYRIA – Israeli warplanes struck targets Wednesday outside Damascus, the Syrian capital, according to Syrian and Western reports, amid rising international fear that President Bashar Assad will lose control of his nation’s stockpiles of chemical and advanced weapons. A Western official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the airstrike hit a truck convoy believed to be carrying anti-aircraft weapons for Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon. The shipment was thought to have included Russian-made SA-17 missiles, the official said. If such weapons were obtained by the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, it could weaken Israel’s regional military power and hinder its ability to launch airstrikes in Lebanon. Syrian state media, while also reporting an Israeli airstrike, denied that the target was a weapons shipment for Hezbollah, instead claiming that a military research facility and adjacent building had been destroyed. It said two people were killed and five were injured in the dawn attack. Syria did not say what kind of research took place at the center in Jamraya, northwest of the capital. Israeli officials declined to comment on the reports. But such a strike would mark Israel’s most aggressive military action in Syria during the nearly two-year uprising against Assad’s rule. Israeli officials have been sounding alarms in recent days that Syria’s weapons might fall into the hands of militant groups that could use them against Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raised that concern during a Cabinet meeting this week and officials have repeatedly said that any transfer of Syria’s dangerous weapons outside the country might trigger a military response. Israel has tried to steer clear of the Syrian conflict, fearing that any actions it might take, such as supporting opposition forces or launching a military strike, could backfire or become propaganda fodder for Damascus. Syrian officials have long charged that U.S. and “Zionist” forces are behind the rebellion against Assad. Each side in the Syrian conflict has portrayed itself as an implacable enemy of Israel. There is also fear that an Israeli strike could draw others into the Syrian conflict. Iran, Syria’s close ally, said this week that any foreign attack against Syria would be regarded as an attack on Iran. In addition to chemical weapons, Israeli officials have been particularly worried about Syria’s stockpile of SA-17 antiaircraft missiles. Israel often refuses to confirm or deny its activities in the region, partly out of a belief its silence might reduce the pressure on its enemies to respond. In recent weeks, Israelis warned that Assad is losing control over his chemical weapons and that military action might be taken. Amid the renewed warnings, Israelis living in the northern part of the country near the borders with Syria and Lebanon have been swarming into post offices and other distribution centers to pick up government-issued gas masks. Israel relocated two of its five Iron Dome missile-interception systems to the northern part of the country; though military officials said the move was not related to fear of impending attacks.
DEBKAfile January 31, 2013, 7:40 PM (GMT+02:00)
The White House on Thursday warned Syria not to transfer weapons to Hizballah, as tensions mounted following reported Israeli raids on a Syrian military site. “Syria should not further destabilize the region by transferring weaponry to Hizballah,” said Ben Rhodes, a US deputy national security advisor.
January 31, 2013
The Syrian announcement of an Israeli air strike on a military site near Damascus Wednesday, Jan. 30, drew strong condemnation from Moscow the next day:
“Such action if confirmed would amount to unacceptable military interference in the war-ravaged country,” said the statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry Thursday.
“If this information is confirmed, then we are dealing with unprovoked attacks on targets on the territory of a sovereign country, which blatantly violate the UN Charter and is unacceptable, no matter the motives to justify it.”
Israel has made no comment on the Damascus statement which described in detail an Israeli air strike against a “military research institute” near the capital. Witnesses say it was a plant for manufacturing “unconventional weapons.” The facility was destroyed and two staff members killed.
Lebanese sources later reported a Russian Mig-31 fighter had crossed over Sinai Wednesday in the direction of Israel. It veered west over the Mediterranean after encountering an Israeli warning not to intrude into its air space and continued flying over Lebanon.
Isabel Kershner, Micahel R. Gordon and Rick Gladstone
New York Times
January 30, 2013
Israeli warplanes carried out a strike deep inside Syrian territory on Wednesday, American officials reported, saying they believed the target was a convoy carrying sophisticated antiaircraft weaponry on the outskirts of Damascus that was intended for the Hezbollah Shiite militia in Lebanon.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Israelis had notified the Americans about the attack, which the Syrian government called an act of “Israeli arrogance and aggression” that raised the risks that the two-year-old civil conflict in Syria could spread beyond the country’s borders.
In a statement, the Syrian military said a scientific research facility in the Damascus suburbs had been hit and denied that a convoy had been the target.
January 30, 2013
Israeli warplanes have attacked a target on the Syrian-Lebanese border, according to unconfirmed reports, after several days of heightened warnings from government officials over Syria’s stockpiles of chemical weapons.
The Reuters news agency cited a western diplomat and a security source as saying there had been “a hit” in the border area. The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said it had no comment on the report.
The report followed claims in the Lebanese media that IDF fighter planes had flown sorties over Lebanon’s airspace from Tuesday afternoon until Wednesday morning.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The international envoy to Syria told the Security Council on Tuesday that “Syria is being destroyed bit by bit” and his mediation effort cannot go forward unless the council unites to push the Syrian government and opposition forces toward some compromise.
The Security Council has been divided over Syria for months, with the United States, Britain, France and other Western powers backing the armed opposition and pushing for resolutions that raised the threat of sanctions. Three times, Russia and China have cast vetoes to block those resolutions.
Brahimi blamed both Syrian President Bashar Assad‘s government and the Western-backed opposition forces.
“Objectively, they are cooperating to destroy Syria. Syria is being destroyed bit by bit. And in destroying Syria, the region is being pushed into a situation that is extremely bad, and extremely important for the entire world,” Brahimi said.
He said that is why the Security Council has a duty to overcome its divisions.
Israeli fighter jets targeted a military research center near Damascus early on Wednesday morning, the Syrian army said. The statement follows earlier reports of an Israeli airstrike on a convoy with Syrian weapons heading to Lebanon.
The Syrian army’s general command has issued a statement, saying an airstrike was launched by the IAF targeting a military research center in Jamraya, rural Damascus.
“Israeli fighter jets violated our air space at dawn today and carried out a direct strike on a scientific research center in charge of raising our level of resistance and self-defense,” the army statement said as cited by SANA.
The strike caused material damage to the center and a nearby building, killing two workers and wounding five others, the statement added. The Israeli warplanes were flying low under the radars and “snuck in from the north of Al-Sheikh Mountain” according to the report. It called the strike a “blatant act of aggression” against Syria and accused Israel of supporting terrorist activity in the country.
Earlier there were reports in the media of an attack by Israeli jets on Wednesday morning striking a target on the Syrian-Lebanese border amid repeated violations of Lebanese airspace. A US government official has confirmed reports that Israeli warplanes targeted a convoy headed from Syria to Lebanon, the Associated Press says.
The Syrian military however has denied this, saying there was no Israeli strike on a convoy of trucks on its border.
However, it was “possible” that the convoy was near the large military site when it came under attack, diplomatic sources told Reuters.
Although it has not yet been confirmed whether an airstrike indeed targeted a military site near Damascus, experts believe that after months of constant rebel attacks on Syrian air defense systems an airstrike would make sense.
“It finally makes sense because the rebels or as they like to call themselves the revolutionaries, they have been attacking air defense bases near Damascus for the past seven months,” Dr Ali Mohamad, editor in chief of the Syria Tribune news website told RT.
“They’ve managed to attack the S-200 base and over four SM-2 and SM-3 bases. Now this followed by an airstrike from Israel. So it all adds up, it makes sense. It only shows that Israel has a great interest in the instability in Syria and that it is being helped by groups of armed rebels in Syria.”
On 17 August 2012, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius stated: “After hearing the harrowing testimonies of the people here (…) when we hear all that, and I weigh my words: M . Bashar al-Assad does not deserve to be on earth.”
Contrary to the most basic diplomatic principles, such remarks were interpreted as a call for murder on the part of a country that has abolished the death penalty.
Fabius’ new communications directives ban the use of the family name of the President of the Syrian Arab Republic Bashar al-Assad. In all their public statements, the minister and his spokesman now refer to him informally as “Bashar”.
Israeli Air Force chief: Syria is falling apart
DEBKAfileJanuary 29, 2013, 3:42 PM (GMT+02:00)
IAF commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel said: Syria is falling apart and no one can tell what tomorrow may bring. We can’t say war will break out tomorrow but we need to be ready for anything. He spoke Tuesday in Herzliya.
By Louis Charbonneau
UNITED NATIONS | Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:45pm EST
(Reuters) – U.N.-Arab League mediator Lakhdar Brahimi warned the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may be able to cling to power for now but the country is “breaking up before everyone’s eyes,” diplomats told Reuters.
Brahimi appealed to the 15-nation council to overcome its deadlock and take action to help put an end to the Syrian civil war. However, it was not clear whether his latest report, which diplomats said was his bleakest since his appointment last year, would persuade Russia to agree to support concrete U.N. steps to try to halt the bloodshed.
Brahimi suggested that attempts to end the 22-month-old conflict, which has claimed more than 60,000 lives according to U.N. figures, had not progressed in the last two months. He said it was up to the Security Council to end its impasse.
“The country is breaking up before everyone’s eyes,” Brahimi was quoted as saying by diplomats inside the closed-door meeting. “Only the international community can help and first (and) foremost the Security Council.”
“I told the council that I’m embarrassed to be repeating the same thing,” Brahimi told reporters after the meeting. “Syria is being destroyed, bit by bit.”
He said the principles of a political transition in Syria, agreed to at talks among major world and regional powers in Geneva in June last year, could form the basis for a Security Council plan of action.
“In the Geneva communique the meaning of full executive powers (for a transitional government) must be clarified, but it clearly means that Assad should have no role in the transition,” one diplomat quoted Brahimi as saying.
January 28, 2013
A scandal around Britam Defense implicates the US and Britain in preparing a large-scale provocation in Syria.
The news about the security breach of the military contractor Britam Defense was not reported by any Western media outlet. Instead it was shared through blogs, communities of hackers and social platforms.
When it comes to the international matters, RedHotRussia is more interested in the opinions of Russian netizens about them, than in the veracity of the information itself.
Anyway, I will first recap the news itself, afterwards translate an article from “Komsomolskaya Pravda” to show how it was presented in one of Russia’s major newspapers and finally translate the comments of Russian netizens.
A German hacker went fishing around the servers of Britam Defense – a private military contractor, which provides such services as securing of oil production and transportation.
The hacker found a relatively insecure email server in Malaysia, and uncovered a whole host of documents from Britam Defence.
One particular email was of special interest. In it Dave Goulding reminded his fellow co-founder Phil Dougherty about an offer made by Washington via a group of Qataris: to transport what seemed to be a Soviet era chemical weapon into Syria, using sub contracted Russian speaking Ukrainian mercenaries.
We’ve got a new offer. It’s about Syria again. Qataris propose an attractive deal and swear that the idea is approved by Washington.
We’ll have to deliver a CW to Homs, a Soviet origin g-shell from Libya similar to those that Assad should have.
They want us to deploy our Ukrainian personnel that should speak Russian and make a video record.
Frankly, I don’t think it’s a good idea but the sums proposed are enormous. Your opinion?
The fans of conspiracies and hackers started discussing whether the documents were genuine or fake.
Eventually, the community of hackers came to conclusion that the whole case was either genuine or VERY elaborate hoax with thorough attention to little details.
Without trying to understand all of the technical details, I will relay the widely circulating opinion of one software systems administrator (going on Reddit under the nickname of KungFu Spider) who checked the mail.
OK, last post – the plot thickens!!!
After looking at the email headers (see below), I have to admit that the email does indeed look genuine.
The email was sent from “18.104.22.168″ which is a BT Wholesale ADSL IP address.
From there it was then relayed via “smtp.clients.netdns.net [22.214.171.124]“
Finally it was delivered to a local mailbox on that server.
I hate to admit it, but all these facts check out. So with Mythbusters objectivity I have to call this one plausible.
I just really hope I don’t get a visit from the plods for this ill advised sleuthing.
The following path-breaking analysis was first published by Global Research in November of 2006
“Hegemony is as old as Mankind…” -Zbigniew Brzezinski, former U.S. National Security Advisor
The term “New Middle East” was introduced to the world in June 2006 in Tel Aviv by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (who was credited by the Western media for coining the term) in replacement of the older and more imposing term, the “Greater Middle East.”
This shift in foreign policy phraseology coincided with the inauguration of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Oil Terminal in the Eastern Mediterranean. The term and conceptualization of the “New Middle East,” was subsequently heralded by the U.S. Secretary of State and the Israeli Prime Minister at the height of the Anglo-American sponsored Israeli siege of Lebanon. Prime Minister Olmert and Secretary Rice had informed the international media that a project for a “New Middle East” was being launched from Lebanon.
This announcement was a confirmation of an Anglo-American-Israeli “military roadmap” in the Middle East. This project, which has been in the planning stages for several years, consists in creating an arc of instability, chaos, and violence extending from Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria to Iraq, the Persian Gulf, Iran, and the borders of NATO-garrisoned Afghanistan.
The “New Middle East” project was introduced publicly by Washington and Tel Aviv with the expectation that Lebanon would be the pressure point for realigning the whole Middle East and thereby unleashing the forces of “constructive chaos.” This “constructive chaos” –which generates conditions of violence and warfare throughout the region– would in turn be used so that the United States, Britain, and Israel could redraw the map of the Middle East in accordance with their geo-strategic needs and objectives.
New Middle East Map
Secretary Condoleezza Rice stated during a press conference that “[w]hat we’re seeing here [in regards to the destruction of Lebanon and the Israeli attacks on Lebanon], in a sense, is the growing—the ‘birth pangs’—of a ‘New Middle East’ and whatever we do we [meaning the United States] have to be certain that we’re pushing forward to the New Middle East [and] not going back to the old one.”1 Secretary Rice was immediately criticized for her statements both within Lebanon and internationally for expressing indifference to the suffering of an entire nation, which was being bombed indiscriminately by the Israeli Air Force.
The situation in Syria is evolving according to the most unfavorable scenario. The opposition has met the President Bashar Assad’s proposals for peaceful resolution of the crisis with Aleppo University bomb attacks. Another diplomatic provocation is in the works in response to the Russian and Chinese efforts aimed at finding ways for peaceful resolution of the crisis.
Voltaire Network | Moscow (Russia)
On January 14, 2013 Switzerland asked the United Nations Security Council to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which prosecutes people for genocide and war crimes. It had applied great effort to make 54 more states join the move , including five members of United Nations Security Council (Great Britain, France, Australia, Korea, and Luxemburg). Though the major part of other Security Council members abstained from putting their signatures on the letter, it was more of a ruse on their part because they had called for the referral before.
Let’s note: Brazil, South Africa and India are no more UN Security Council members since January 2013. These countries had stood for peaceful solution, perhaps not always very consistently, but they had.  Thus there are two states left that oppose the idea – Russia and China. The letter has been submitted to the UN Security Council for consideration and the move is aimed at launching a phase of diplomatic provocation against two Council’s members – the Russian Federation and the Chinese People’s Republic.
Now let’s have a look at the legal arguments used to support the move urging the referral of the Syrian crisis to the International Criminal Court. The major legal problem is that Syria is not a party to the Rome Statute, which set up the International Criminal Court, so the only way the court can investigate the situation is if it receives a referral from the Security Council. But this right is established by the International Criminal Court’s Statute, not by the United Nations Charter. It signifies that the United Nations Security Council can refer to the International Criminal Court only the parties to the Statute. Any other interpretation contradicts the norms of interstate legal relations, especially the principle of sovereign equality. To recognize that article 13b of the International Criminal Court’s Statute can be applied against the state that is not a party to it is tantamount to shaking the very foundation of international law. Recognizing as legal an action making an independent state become a party to an international agreement (the International Criminal Court’s Statute) against its will is a flagrant violation. It should be noted that the United Nations Security Council has been involved twice in such acts of coercion – against Sudan and Libya. It has done it on purpose, not because it failed to go into «legal details».
Today we are facing the situation when global legal norms are being intentionally trampled on. This is a committed policy of the West aimed at creating a parallel international law. There is a number of violations of international law basic provisions by the United Nations Security Council members, which are parties to the Rome Statute. For instance, upon the insistence of these very countries, the United Nations Security Council’s draft resolutions contained clauses stipulating that the International Criminal Court was forbidden to spread its jurisdiction upon their citizens. If the International Criminal Court were really independent it would be obliged to ignore the clauses and to launch a really impartial investigation into the issue according to the Court’s Statute. Inevitably the inquiry would have led to bringing charges against the NATO members responsible for mass bombings of civilians in Libya.
Now, when President Vladimir Putin is back to reign supreme in the Russia’s foreign policy, the Russian Federation rejects the referral of Syria to the International Criminal Court. Today it stands to defend the Syrian people and global legal norms as one of the most important values of the contemporary civilization.
A screenshot of the RT report on US military supplies to the terrorist groups acting in Syria.
The diplomatic provocations are accompanied by new military preparations… On January 10, 2013 British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the European Union must start arms deliveries to the Syrian «opposition». According to him, such deliveries would not violate neither internal legislations of the European Union members, nor international law. Actually it is not true. Today a ban on arms deliveries to Syria is valid in Europe. That is, the actions Mr. Hague is calling for constitute a blatant violation of the European Union members’ home rules. Though there is a proposal made that envisages the way to get rid of the impediment: it suggests that the established embargo be reconsidered not in 12 months (as conditioned previously) but in 3 months – that is this March. Dealing with international law is a more complicated task. It’s not as easy to change as the countries’ home legislations. Arms deliveries are forbidden by a number of the United Nations General Assembly’s resolutions, for instance: the resolution # 2625 (1970), which states that, «Every State has the duty to refrain from organizing, instigating, assisting or participating in acts of civil strife or terrorist acts in another State or acquiescing in organized activities within its territory directed towards the commission of such acts, when the acts referred to in the present paragraph involve a threat or use of force». In 1986 the International Court of Justice ruled in favor of Nicaragua and against the United States. The Court held that the U.S. had violated international law by supporting the Contras. It unambiguously ruled that the fact of arms deliveries to rebel groups by another state was an act of violation. The ruling said there was no global norm allowing an armed intervention of a state pursuing the goal of supporting opposition forces in another country. It’s not without a reason the «theories» like «the concept of humanitarian intervention» or «the concept of responsibility to protect» started to appear and multiply. All these speculative concoctions have no legal ground whatsoever – this view is supported by the majority of the countries in the world expressed in the Joint Declaration of the 130 member strong Group of 77 adopted in 2000, that says, «We reject the so-called «right» of humanitarian intervention, which has no legal basis in the United Nations Charter or in the general principles of international law».
Reading the foreign publications devoted to international law one can see the intensive search for getting around the global norms is already underway. For instance, it is suggested that the civil war in Syria be considered as «a struggle of the Syrian people for self-determination». A weak argument if you take into account the international definition of self-determination. It would be more correct to talk about the Arab people, who have realized their right for self-determination a long time ago. Talking about the Syrian people, no way can they fight for self-determination possessing their own state. There is one more proposal on how to go around the rules. It calls for enhancing the level of Syrian opposition recognition by the European Union from the «the legitimate representative of the Syrian people» to «legitimate government of Syria». It’s obvious, these «exercises» are amoral, and they call for illegitimate actions. But is it the first time they try to use international law for justification of their nefarious actions?
* * *
Syria is to continue its fight against foreign aggression, as well as Russia is to stand up to the new provocation in the United Nations Security Council. Russia’s stance is supported by international law. It has everything it needs to prove it in case another draft resolution, though doomed in advance to get adopted, is submitted to the United Nations Security Council.
«This Fox has a longing for grapes:
He jumps, but the bunch still escapes.
So he goes away sour;
And, ’tis said, to this hour
Declares that he’s no taste for grapes»
Jean de la Fontaine, The Fox and the Grapes
The Center for A New American Security (CNAS) published a study on the possible changes in Syria and how to defend U.S. and Israeli interests according to different scenarios. Given the considerable influence that the CNAS exerts on the Obama administration, in general, and on the current Pentagon, in particular, this study deserves special attention.
The author, Melissa G. Dalton, stands on a vision of the events relayed by the media (an “Arab Spring” revolution crushed by a dictator), disconnected from reality. In addition, her study overlooks the cultural and historical specificities of Syria. Finally, and most importantly, she makes no mention of the regional (remodeling of the Greater Middle East) and global (oil control) strategy of the United States. And yet she is familiar with Syria where she lived and which she observed like a hawk on behalf of the U.S. Military Intelligence (DIA). Therefore, this study should not be taken for an analysis of the forces at play, but rather as a foreboding of adjustments which the official rhetoric may be constrained to make.
Five different scenarios are examined:
death of Bashar al-Assad followed by a period of instability;
transfer of power to the opposition (by foreign intervention or military coup);
takeover by the opposition;
continuation in power of al-Assad;
The interest of this study lies in the fact that it promotes the continuation in power of a weakened President Assad as the least bad outcome for Washington and Tel Aviv. Hence, we may infer that the CNAS, implicitly acknowledging the failure of the attempts at regime change, seeks to justify an imminent U.S. withdrawal.
Asad Under Fire; Five Scenarios for the Future of Syria, by Melissa G. Dalton. Center for A New American DSecurity. September 2012 (14 pp., 1,2 Mo).
During a meeting with Syrian Grand Mufti Sheikh Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun in Tehran on Tuesday, Ahmadinejad said victory is actually secured through insistence on righteousness, and God assists those with unswerving commitment to virtue.
He stated that the Iranian nation feels sympathetic and supportive towards Syrians, adding that the Syrian nation will surely survive the current hard time in their country and will successfully thwart all hegemonic plots as the era of arrogance and conceit is over.
The Iranian president went on to say that forces of imperialism have ulterior motives behind the motto of liberty, democracy and human rights.
He said Israel has no chance of survival, and Syrians together with other nations in the Middle East will hopefully earn their esteem, tranquility and pride in the absence of the Israeli regime.
“Mentors, masters and proprietors of Israel have come to realize that they should not support Israel any longer. Injustice will be willingly eliminated and world nations will live in justice and kindness,” Ahmadinejad said.
Hassoun pointed to enemies’ pressures and sanctions on Iran and Syria, saying that both nations are in the resistance front against Israel.
He also underlined the need for increased vigilance among the world’s Muslims to foil plots devised by the global arrogance, which seeks to create sectarian violence and shatter unity among Muslims.
by Monica Davis
The bloodletting in Syria continues, as war crimes roll through the nation like the proverbial hot knife slicing through butter. Local mdia annocuncd that another group of victims was just found–shot in the head with their hands tied behind their backs.
Syria has become an international killing groud, as foreign governments insert money, manpower and guerilla fighters into the Syrian conflict.
Newswires are reporting another grisly discovery: 66 dead victims who were found in a ditch, bound and shot in the head. It’s just another massacre in a civil war that governments, terrorists and fanactics around the world continue to fuel.
DEBKAfile Special Report January 29, 2013, 5:54 PM (GMT+02:00)
Israeli Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel warned Tuesday, Jan. 29, that Syria is falling apart and no one knows what the next day may bring: “War may not break out tomorrow,” he said, “but we stand ready for any eventuality.”
If war is not expected tomorrow, why have Israel’s armed forces, including the air force, been on their highest level of preparedness since Friday, Jan. 25? The Syrian crisis may not technically fit the description of a state of war. However, the violent turbulence in that country may at any time spill over the border into hostilities in some shape or form.
The “no comment” stance on the Syrian civil war, long held by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak is untenable and pointless, especially after the latter cut short an overseas family trip to be flown home in a hurry Saturday.
No one believes the official explanation that the three Iron Dome anti-missile batteries stationed over the weekend in northern Israel – in the sight of many thousands of local dwellers – are there for a preplanned routine test – least of all after a senior Israeli officer told AFP that large Hizballah forces are parked at Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons stores poised ready to seize them.
If this happens, said the officer, “A decision to attack Syria or Lebanon will need to be implemented immediately.”
This is beginning to sound as though the politicians and the generals are not on speaking terms.
Gen. Eshel’s comment came hard upon the grave warning issued earlier Tuesday by Egypt’s army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who is also the defense minister. “The political strife is pushing the state to the brink of collapse,” he said on the sixth day of turbulent protests across the country at the cost of more than 60 lives.
Gen. El-Sissi reacted to the chaos and lawlessness engulfing Egypt. The government headed by President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood is no longer a functioning administration. They have been reduced to the single task of fighting to hang onto power.
None of the forces of law and order – the army, internal security, police – are willing to clash head-on with the opposition protesters rampaging on the streets of the main cities including Cairo. Some towns have descended into chaos and some outlying areas in this country of 90 million are no longer receiving regular food and water supplies.
The Egyptian defense minister’s warning may be taken two ways:
1. As a last warning to the Muslim Brotherhood and the opposition on the streets that this is the eleventh hour and if they don’t step back from their confrontation, the military will be forced to seize power to save the country.
2. Alternatively, that the army will not interfere and will stand aside for now, while warning that a civil war in Egypt would be more extensive and calamitous than the vicious conflict bringing Syria to ruin in the last two years.
As the two countries teeter on the brink of catastrophe, Gen. Eshel’s dry forecast of doom correctly noted that no one knows what tomorrow will bring.
However, Israel is coming face to face with its worst fear: being hemmed in by a blazing ring of hopeless conflicts just across its borders: Syria and Lebanon in the north; Egypt in the west and south; and Jordan under threat.
By John Irish
and Oliver Holmes
Posted 2013/01/24 at 5:55 pm EST
PARIS/BEIRUT, Jan. 24, 2013 (Reuters) — France said on Thursday there were no signs that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is about to be overthrown, something Paris has been saying for months was just over the horizon.
The uprising against Assad’s rule is now almost two years old. 60,000 Syrians have been killed and another 650,000 are now refugees abroad, according to the United Nations.
France, a former colonial ruler of Syria, has been one of the most vocal backers of the rebels trying to topple Assad and was the first to recognize the opposition coalition.
“Things are not moving. The solution that we had hoped for, and by that I mean the fall of Bashar and the arrival of the (opposition) coalition to power, has not happened,” Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in his annual New Year’s address to the press.
Fabius told RFI radio in December “the end is nearing” for Assad. But on Thursday, he said international mediation and discussions about the crisis that began in March 2011 were not getting anywhere. “There are no recent positive signs,” he said.
He said Syrian opposition leaders and representatives of some 50 nations and organizations would meet in Paris on January 28 to discuss how to fulfill previous commitments.
Assad has resisted all attempts at forcing him to step down and has led a ruthless crackdown on what he calls a foreign-backed terrorists.
The president was shown on Syrian state television on Thursday visiting a mosque to celebrate the birth of Prophet Mohammad. Assad shook hands with government members and smiled but did not make a speech.
Meanwhile, Syrian army forces bombarded opposition-held areas of the country with artillery and air strikes and insurgents clashes with infantry, opposition activist said.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights which monitors violence in Syria, said that six civilians, including a woman and two children, were killed in Homs on Thursday when a plane bombed their house.
On the southwestern edge of the capital, artillery hit the rebel-held district of Daraya, residents in Damascus said.
“There was very loud shelling overnight from the mountain onto Daraya,” said a resident of central Damascus. Assad’s army has used the Qasioun mountain range to the west of Damascus as high ground to shell opposition districts.
“(The explosions) sounded like huge trucks falling from the sky, one huge truck at a time,” the resident said on condition of anonymity. “I felt my windows shake.”
The army and insurgents have been stuck in a military stalemate for weeks, but rebels have been able to capture some military bases.
This week, rebels took control of a missile base in the country’s north, according to opposition footage, potentially gaining access to powerful long-range weapons.
Terence P. Jeffrey
Jan 23, 2013
Retired Army Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin—who is the former commander of the U.S. Special Forces Command, the former deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence and who, in the 1990s, worked with the CIA—told CNSNews.com in a video interview last week that he believes it is a reasonable supposition that the U.S. was supporting or planning to support the Syrian rebels via Benghazi, Libya.
The CIA, however, says Boykin’s supposition is erroneous and that the U.S. was not conducting or planning covert action to support Syrian rebels through Benghazi.
“These assertions are both baseless and flat wrong,” a CIA spokesperson told CNSNews.com on Tuesday.
Boykin, who retired from the Army in 2007, believes that such an action, or planned action, would help explain why Amb. Chris Stevens was in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, visiting that city for the first time since he had departed from it in November 2011 after having served there as a special envoy to the Libyan rebels who overthrew the Qaddafi regime.
The militants were repelled in the northern city of Aleppo and a suburb of Damascus on Wednesday.
The Syrian forces managed to destroy several militant bases in Aleppo and carried out operations against a number of militants’ hideouts around the capital.
Earlier in the day, the Syrian Foreign Ministry called on the United Nations to condemn the terrorist attacks across the country, blaming the foreign-sponsored militants for the violence in the Arab country.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of security personnel, have been killed in the violence.
The Syrian government says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants fighting the Syrian government are foreign nationals.
And several international human rights organizations have accused the foreign-sponsored militants of committing war crimes.
The top Russian diplomat cited the opposition’s “obsession” with the push for to oust Assad as a blow to the peace efforts by the former UN peace envoy for Syria Kofi Annan and his successor Lakhdar Brahimi.
“For now, everything is running up against the opposition’s obsession with toppling Bashar Assad’s regime,” Lavrov told reporters in Moscow on Wednesday.
“As long as this irreconcilable position remains in place, nothing good can happen. Armed actions will continue and people will die,” he added.
The Russian foreign minister pointed the finger of blame at the Syria National Coalition, whose fundamental objective is said to be the overthrow of the Syrian government.
The 70-member coalition was formed in November 2012 with Western and Arab backing in Qatar after opposition groups signed a unity agreement, under pressure from the United States, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, to form a new coalition against Assad’s government.
The Syrian government has described the so-called National Coalition as a foreign-backed structure formed to destroy Syria.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of security forces, have been killed in the turmoil.
The Syrian government says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.
Published: 23 January, 2013, 19:49
Syrian rebels have looted and burned minority religious sites in Northern Syria, US-based Human Rights Watch says. The attacks highlight the increasingly sectarian nature of the conflict as the bloodshed continues unabated.
The three incidents took place in November and December of last year in religiously mixed areas.
Rebels looted two Christian churches in separate villages in the relatively peaceful western governorate of Latakia, local witnesses told the rights watchdog.
They also destroyed a Shiite ‘husseiniya’ – a religious site devoted to Hussein, a martyr in Shiite tradition – in Idlib governorate.
In all three cases, Human Rights Watch found evidence showing the attacks on the religious sites were directly connected to the areas coming under the control of the armed rebels.
After rebels took control of Jdeideh village in Latakia on December 11, a local resident told the group gunmen broke into and stole from the church, letting off multiple rounds inside which caused structural damage. Damage to the sealed-off church, including broken windows and evidence of forced entry, were observed by the group a week after the attack.
The priests’ quarters next to the church were also appropriated by rebel gunmen, who used it as a base to fire upon government forces in a neighboring village. A resident said medicine had been stolen from a clinic belonging to the church, homes had been looted and civilians were kidnapped, at times for ransom.
In the village of Ghasaniyeh, gunmen broke into another church, stealing gas and diesel fuel in late November. A cross had been left on the floor, but apart from the forced entry, no other damaged was observed.
“While the motivation for the church break-ins may have been theft rather than a religious attack, opposition fighters have a responsibility to protect religious sites in areas under their control from willful damage and theft,” Human Rights Watch said.
The destruction of the Shia holy site was carried out on December 11 after rebels took control of Zarzour village.
A video published on YouTube the following day purportedly showed armed rebel celebrating the expulsion of government forces from the village as a fire rages in the Shia mosque.
One rebel, identifying himself as a member of the Amr bin Ma’ad Yakrib al-Zubaydi Brigade, proclaims the “destruction of the dens of the Shiites and Rafida,” a derogatory term used against the Muslim denomination.
Rebel fighters claimed government forces torched the mosque before leaving, but two local residents said anti-government forces set the fire upon seizing the town.
Human Rights Watch independently confirmed that the damage to the site had been deliberate, lending credence to the video’s authenticity. The investigators witnessed that the windows at the site had been shattered, prayer stones were strewn across the floor, religious posters had been ripped off the walls, and charred items lay in a pile on the floor, indicating “they were piled on top of one another and deliberately set on fire.”
“The destruction of religious sites is furthering sectarian fears and compounding the tragedies of the country, with tens of thousands killed,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.
“Syria will lose its rich cultural and religious diversity if armed groups do not respect places of worship. Leaders on both sides should send a message that those who attack these sites will be held accountable,” she continued.
Multiple reports of attacks on minority religious sites have surfaced in Syria as the armed conflict to out Syrian President Bashar Assad has killed more than 60,000 people and driven over 650,000 out of the country, according to UN estimates.
The 22-month-old rebellion has taken on increasingly sectarian dimensions, as primarily Sunni Muslim rebels have battled pro-government Alawites – an offshoot of Shiite Islam – and many Christians who link their survival to that of the Assad government.
Christians have increasingly viewed the current government as a guarantor of their religious freedoms. Religious persecution faced by Egyptian and Iraqi Christians in the wake of regime change has only increased fears that religiously tolerant Syria will be transformed by Islamist elements of the opposition.
Such sentiments have put them in the crosshairs of rebel fighters.
In August, Syria’s state news agency SANA reported a massacre in nearby Jandar village which left 16 civilians, mostly Alawites and Christians, dead.
In June, at least 9,000 Christians from the western Syrian city of Qusayr neighboring Homs were reportedly forced to seek refuge after an ultimatum from a local military chief of the armed opposition.
In March, sources inside the Syrian Orthodox Church have claimed the systematic “ethnic cleansing of Christians” by the Free Syrian Army was taking place in Homs.
A letter sent to Agenzia Fides – the Vatican’s press agency – by Orthodox sources in Syria said that “Militant armed Islamists…have managed to expel 90 per cent of Christians in Homs and confiscated their homes by force.”
Agnes Mariam, a local Christian leader in Syria, told RT in September that the persecution of Christians was a reflection of how their faith had excluded them from Islamist elements within the opposition.
“The Christians have been discriminated against not because they are Christians, but because by being Christians they couldn’t participate in Islamist demonstrations. Sometimes, this led to severe violence against them. You know, we had more than 200,000 Christians that had to flee out [of Syria] because of this ambiguous position.”
Syrian government soldiers clashed with militants in the northwestern city of Aleppo as anti-government forces set fire to a gas station in Aleppo’s suburbs.
They also attempted to storm the airport in the city but were confronted by army troops and were forced to flee with a number of casualties.
Elsewhere, clashes broke out on the outskirts of the capital, Damascus, and the western city of Hama.
The army also diffused several explosive devices planted on a road near the western city of Homs.
Meanwhile, the Syrian state TV aired pictures of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who attended mass prayers at a mosque in Damascus to mark the birthday of Islam’s Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).
Everything happens as though the abandonment of French demands for a UN mandate on “Syrian liberated areas” had immediately been replaced by neo-Ottoman ambitions.
Strangely Veysel Dalmaz is no longer subordinated to his department of origin, but has been attached directly to the cabinet of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The war in Syria appears to be increasingly remote-controlled from abroad. Almost all states in the region seem to be involved to varying degrees, with Qatar providing the lion’s share of the funds going to the Free Syrian Army. However, the investment has generated disappointing returns. To avoid its funds from going up in smoke, Qatar has decided to dole them out on the basis of the actions carried out. As a result, the ASL began staging its most spectacular and deadly attacks to the detriment of its real military objectives.
Voltaire Network | Moscow (Russia)
The “Arab Spring” instigated by Qatar and its allies in Syria is slowly but surely beginning to subside, and the real people behind the terrible spectacle known as the “Syrian Revolution” are being mercilessly and cynically exposed.
High-ranking officials in Qatar who wished to remain anonymous told Arabic news agencies that the Qatar monarchy was becoming increasingly disillusioned with the Syrian rebels and the Syrian opposition. Widespread instances of bribery and the dissipation of funds by rebel leaders, who are “spending more and more of their time in hotels in Turkey, Europe, countries in the Gulf and Egypt” instead of performing combat missions, are responsible for this change in attitude towards those behind the Syrian revolution.
Both newly-organised and veteran Syrian opposition coalitions have long preferred to keep the billions of dollars provided by the Qatar monarchy for the battle against the Syrian government in their own personal bank accounts in the USA and other countries. After receiving enormous sums of money, meanwhile, several leaders of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have disappeared for good, virtually breaking all ties with the revolution. For this reason, donors in Qatar decided several months ago that they would only finance specific military operations in Syria, which in turn led to an increase in the number of ostentatious, and therefore weak, attacks.
These attacks did not secure any military victories for the Syrian opposition, but they meant that money could carry on being siphoned off from Qatar and ensured much-needed publicity in the media. And while the leaders were enjoying the high life, rank-and-file rebels were getting less than 200 dollars a month. The leaders’ conniving lust for money was perfected to such an extent that Qatar was soon being provided with lists of non-existent rebels claiming salaries. This money was then also pushed firmly down into the pockets of high-ranking officials.
In addition, some of the actions of mercenaries towards the local population have already caused serious dissatisfaction and led to conflicts not only with the citizens themselves, but also fighters from the FSA who, as native Syrians, find the behaviour of the mercenaries completely unacceptable, especially those operating under the auspices of al-Qaeda. In terms of mental health, the atrocities are reaching an inexplicable level: the Arabic media are reporting eyewitness accounts of how mercenaries are forcing parents to hand over their young sons and daughters to creatures who have lost all trace of humanity.
Partners | Beirut (Lebanon)
By Ghaleb Kandil
From what has came out from the tripartite meeting in Geneva between the Russians, the Americans and the international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, Friday, January 11, it is clear that the refusal of the United States to recognize the failure of the universal war that they launched against Syria and its president Bashar al-Assad, is a major obstacle that prevents a political solution to the Syrian crisis.
It is Washington that has sabotaged all initiatives by refusing to engage through the Security Council to stop arming and financing armed groups in Syria. This is due to the fact that it is the U.S. who managed the war in Syria, set up operating rooms in Turkey, whose members are CIA agents responsible for coordinating international and regional efforts to mobilize terrorists around the world to send in Syria. U.S. officials publicly boast of providing modern communication equipment to armed gangs, and they expressed no regret, even after acknowledging that much of this equipment has fallen into the hands of al-Qaida fighters of al-Nosra Front, an organization they late put on their terrorist list, on which they could include other groups shortly, why they do not change their position on commitments to stop the violence.
As clear commitments to stop military and financial support to terrorist groups are not officially taken in the Geneva meetings, it means that the U.S. administration is determined to continue the war of attrition against the state Syria in the coming months. The United States, who are unable to bear the human and material losses in a direct confrontation, know that the Syrian national state, which has shown a remarkable strength throughout the war, will be even more determined to preserve its political independence after the end of fighting. It is for this reason that Washington binds the establishment of mechanisms for stopping the war to the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad, who is a popular leader, tough, with patriotic choices. If he is to be ousted in the current circumstances, it will open the way to new balances which may put the Syrian army and people away from a truly independent Syria. The axis of the resistance will be, then, seriously weakened.
Lakhdar Brahimi’s comments are below the level of debate, because the international envoy has long been the spokesman for the United States and the West. On the other hand, the strong position of Russia, supported by the Brics countries, especially China and Iran, is motivated by the reality that Syria is the first line of defense for all independent forces that oppose unilateral U.S. hegemony. Assad is the symbol of this reality. Asking for his resignation is like demanding the departure of Fidel Castro in Cuba of the sixties.
Bashar al-Assad has the support of a large majority of Syrians, who see in him the hope of a better future. Its closest allies know that the Syrian president bases all decisions on the Syrian national interest, and no power on earth can force a leader supported by his people to change his decisions. The true friends of Syria are well aware that the battle has now surpassed the reforms, although they are important. These reforms have indeed become, after the last speech Assad, the work program of the government. In fact, the challenge is about the existence of Syria as a free, sovereign and independent, state, active and influential in its geopolitical environment.
Sooner or later, Washington will fall and Assad will proclaim victory in the most ferocious war ever launched against a country in modern history. The statements of Brahimi after the last meeting in Geneva, that the solution must be political in Syria, is a recognition of the strength of the Syrian state.
Partners | Beirut (Lebanon)
By Pierre Khalaf
The timing chosen by President Bashar al-Assad to propose a plan to end the crisis is not trivial. It coincided, first, with successive defeats for the armed groups, which destroyed the illusions of the United States and its European and Arab auxiliaries, distorting all their calculations, and then with information about a Russian-American meeting, mid-January, to discuss the results of the last visit to Syria of the international envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi. Mr Brahimi has already heard from President Assad the headlines of the principles that he has developed Sunday at the House of Culture and Arts, in a speech, in presence of hundreds of enthusiastic supporters. These inalienable principles include the following: the sovereignty and political independence of Syria are not negotiable, therefore, Damascus will not accept any condition imposed from outside; any solution must reflects the will of the Syrians.
In his first speech since June 3, 2012, Mr. Assad was inflexible, ensuring that the conflict was not between the government and the opposition, but between “the Nation and its enemies” who want the partition of the country. Claiming not to have found so far a “partner” for this and refusing to negotiate with “gangs who take their orders from abroad”, he proposed a three-stage plan. But before any dialogue, countries funding terrorists should “commit to stop”, and armed men to put an end to their terrorist operations, he said, denouncing “a state of war in all sense of the word”. Once these commitments achieved, the army will immediately cease its operations, “while retaining the right to respond,” he added.
Only under these conditions a “national dialogue conference” will be opened, he said. This conference will prepare a “National Charter” to be submitted to referendum and a new parliament and a new government will emerge from the polls. Any transition must “be done according to the terms of the constitution,” he said, referring to elections.
Mr. Assad plan therefore provides three stages, which should soon be officially presented by the government to be included in a “National Charter” to be drafted by all parties before being submitted to a referendum:
Step 1: Countries arming terrorists undertake to stop the funding; cessation of terrorists operations, will help the return of refugees, and then, the Syrian army will immediately put an end to its operations, while retaining the right to respond to threats against national security; setting up a mechanism to monitor stakeholder engagement, including with regard to border control.
Step 2: Held under the auspices of the government, a conference of national dialogue involving all forces, will draft a National Charter defending the sovereignty of Syria, unity and territorial integrity, and rejecting interference, terrorism and violence. This charter must then be submitted to a referendum; parliamentary elections followed by the formation of a government extended to all segments of society, in accordance with the Constitution, in charge of enforcing the National Charter.
Step 3: Formation of a government under the Constitution; a conference of national reconciliation and general amnesty for all persons detained as a result of events; infrastructures rebuilding.
As President Assad expected, the so-called opposition represented by the Syrian National Coalition immediately rejected the plan, saying that the President wants to choose its partners and seek to stay in power. The Coalition spokesman, Walid al-Bunni, told AFP in Beirut that the opposition wanted “a political solution, but the goal is for the Syrians to overthrow (Mr. Assad)”.
President Assad said that anyway, this plan was not directed to “those who will reject it immediately, but to the true patriots who have Syria’s interests in mind”. “It is useless to argue with those who take their orders from abroad, it is best to speak directly with the master rather than the slave”, he said on Sunday.
The Assad initiative comes as the United States seem to have resigned to the failure of all the pressures, sanctions and military offensives for the departure of the Syrian President. On December 29, Russia said Assad intended to remain in power until the end of his term and it was impossible to dissuade him.
During his visit to Damascus late December, Lakhdar Brahimi spoke of a plan “based on the Geneva Declaration,” providing for a cease-fire, the formation of a government with full powers and elections. The Geneva Declaration dated June 2012 provided for a transitional government but did not refer to the departure of Mr. Assad. Mr. Brahimi found this plan likely to be accepted by the international community. Damascus responded by saying welcome any initiative through dialogue.
After several meetings between Moscow and Washington, and several rounds of Mr. Brahimi, the diplomatic ballet intensifies in the region. Riyadh and Cairo have called for a “peaceful settlement” defined by the Syrians themselves. The head of the Iranian diplomacy goes for its part January 9 to Cairo, to meet the Egyptians and Mr. Brahimi.
All these diplomatic activities come as on the ground, the Syrian army has achieved significant successes in the areas of Daraya, Moadhamiyya, Eastern Ghouta, where hundreds of rebels, including foreign fighters, were killed. The so-called “offensive for the liberation of Damascus”, launched in late November, has once again turned into a disaster for the rebels, who have lost thousands of men without being able to achieve any success in the field. In the region of Aleppo, fronts line stabilized. Slowly, the army is trying to retake control of parts of the metropolis still occupied by al-qaïdistes Front Nosra. Same in Homs, where the last rebels are completely surrounded in a little reduced.
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