Lendman : Syria Roulette
In Las Vegas, the house seldom loses.
Rarely are dirty Washington schemes foiled.
It’s playing hardball against Syria.
It’s dirty hands are all over months of violence.
In a July 18 press briefing, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell refused to condemn Wednesday’s cold-blooded killings.
Syrian Defense Minister Dawood Rajiha, his deputy General Asef Shawkat, and Assistant Vice President General Hassan Turkmani died.
A terrorist bombing killed them at Damascus National Security headquarters. At the time, a ministerial, military, and security meeting was in progress. Others attending were injured.
Pressed for an answer on whether the Obama administration believes killing high-level Syrian officials is good or bad, he stressed only that Washington is:
“focused on ending the bloodshed. It is the Assad regime that, in slaughtering its own people, has created these chaotic conditions….(W)e want a peaceful, orderly transition.”
In other words, cold-blooded murder is OK as long as it advances America’s imperium. Uncooperative countries will be ravaged. Body counts don’t matter. Top officials are fair game. So are all imaginable lawless tactics.
Washington’s dirty hands are all over Wednesday’s attack. Death squad diplomacy is prioritized. Hillary Clinton warned about a price to be paid.
Unexplained was that it’s far beyond murdering officials. Turning Syria into a charnel house is planned. Daily death squad killings increase body counts. Western and perhaps Qatari special forces as well as intelligence operatives direct them.
Satellite and other communications aid them. Taking the battle to Damascus streets ups the stakes. Scurrilous propaganda conveys the impression that the Assad’s government is collapsing. Insurgent attacks alone can’t defeat him.
Only body counts increase. Civilians and security forces suffer most.
All sorts of spurious reports circulate. Fake videos are used. Al Jazeera uses footage produced on a Qatar sound stage. Isolated images distort the larger picture. Disreputable sources are cited.
Al Jazeera claimed “the latest developments” reflect a “turning point” in the conflict. “The prestige of the regime has been shattered. Losing control of Damascus (means) the regime is slowly losing its grip over the country.”
Washington and/or NATO countries designated Syria’s capital fighting “Operation Damascus Volcano.” They call it a full-scale offensive. Insurgent commander Qassem Saadeddine said “(t)here is no going back. The Damascus battle has priority for us. We have started the operation to liberate Damascus.”
Without elaborating, he said “expect surprises.”
Washington’s longstanding plans involve destroying, not liberating, Syria. Claimed end game operations in Damascus is propaganda. Media scoundrels repeat it. At issue is winning the information war, intensifying death squad attacks, and sustaining conflict on the ground.
After defecting, Syria’s former Iraq ambassador, Nawaf Fares, made spurious accusations. He’s in the tank for Washington.
He claimed Syrian officials told him to enlist “Jihadi units” to fight US forces in Iraq. Most recently he suggests Assad used chemical weapons in Homs.
He admits he can’t confirm it, but believes Assad will use them if threatened.
Security Council Showdown
On July 19, Britain, America, France, Germany, Portugal, and Ireland tabled a resolution for consideration. Eleven nations voted aye. Others besides sponsoring countries included Azerbaijan, Colombia, Guatemala, India, Morocco, and Togo. South Africa and Pakistan abstained.
Russia and China vetoed it. Invoking UN Chapter VII, it effectively declared war.
Moscow and Beijing acted responsibly. They did so for the third time. They want conflict resolution not bombs away. They need to go further. Hopefully they’ll get more assertive.
At issue is forthrightly denouncing Washington’s war on Syria. Drawing a line in the sand is crucial. Raging conflict can’t be tolerated. Arming and otherwise supporting their Syrian ally is vital.
The entire region’s up for grabs. Both countries have vital interests at stake. Only they can protect them. Months of diplomacy failed. Realpolitik dictates assertive action. Washington understands it. It won’t risk war at this time with either country.
The resolution’s text in part said “the situation constitutes a threat to international peace and security.”
UN Charter Chapter VII was invoked. It authorizes measures ranging from economic sanctions to blockades or direct military intervention if other measures fail.
It endorsed the June 30 Geneva agreement text. It called for ending armed conflict, implementing Annan’s peace plan, adhering to provisions of Security Council Resolutions 2042 and 2043, releasing detainees, permitting humanitarian access to areas needing help, and other steps to be taken.
It called for Syrian-led political transition. Its guidelines included establishing a firm timeline. It urged avoiding further bloodshed and violence.
It ignored what Assad already accomplished. In February, Syrians overwhelmingly supported new constitutional provisions by national referendum. Despite opposition boycotts and violence, 89.4% of eligible voters approved it. Another 9% opposed, and 1.2% of ballots were declared invalid.
Among other reforms, political pluralism was established for the first time. So were presidential term limits and press freedom.
On May 7, first time ever parliamentary elections were held. It was a milestone political event. Independent candidates participated.
Turnout was high. Voting went smoothly. Independent monitors called the process open, free and fair. Ba’ath party members won a 60% majority. Opposition party members were also elected.
Demanding a repeat of what’s accomplished responsibly is unconscionable. Thursday’s resolution also called for implementing Annan’s peace plan, withdrawing troops from populated areas, and effectively surrendering unilaterally.
Other provisions extended the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) another 45 days, made Syrian authorities responsible for “its full unimpeded, and immediate freedom of movement,” allowed UN member states the right to provide “appropriate air transportation assets,” and permitted “unobstructed communications.”
Failure of Syrian compliance within 10 days called for implementing Chapter VII, Article 41. It triggers measures short of armed intervention.
They “may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations.”
Provisions also called for “assess(ing) the implementation of this resolution and to consider further steps as appropriate.”
Implied was implementing Chapter VII Article 42 measures. They “may include demonstrations, blockade, and other operations by air, sea, or land forces of Members of the United Nations.”
If conflict resolution isn’t achieved, subsequent articles authorize force. Article 46 calls for “(p)lans for the application of armed force (to) be made by the Security Council with the assistance of the Military Staff Committee.”
Washington and key NATO partners endorse it. Russia and China stand firmly opposed. Following their veto, Western UN envoys denounced them. Moscow UN envoy Vitaly Churkin called their comments “unacceptable.”
He accused them of putting their own geopolitical interests ahead of the Syrian people. The Security Council has until midnight Friday to decide whether UNSMIS’ mandate will be renewed.
Russia proposed a resolution extending its mission 90 days with no sanctions. Churkin said Western countries stonewalled him. As a result, Moscow won’t ask for a Security Council vote.
Vladimir Putin earlier ruled out Libya 2.0. Moscow also said adopting the West’s resolution would “direct(ly) support” insurgent mercenaries.
Western and regional states already supply weapons, other equipment, funding, training, and direction. Expect stepped up efforts ahead.
Washington and key NATO partners reflect gross hypocrisy. They bear full responsibility for ongoing violence. Calling off their dogs can end it. Resolutions are sham cover for imperial lawlessness.
Expect daily bloodshed to continue. Assad will be wrongfully blamed. He’s doing his job responsibility. Conflict resolution is nowhere in sight.
A Final Comment
Two previous articles exposed the ICRC’s imperial agenda. It’s a predatory NGO profiteer. It’s closely linked to Western political and intelligence interests. It falsely called Syrian violence a civil war “subject to the rules of international humanitarian law.”
There’s nothing civil about Washington’s war on Syria. It rages. The laws of war apply. ICRC’s statement changed nothing.
Nonetheless, media scoundrels jumped on ICRC’s declaration. The Wall Street Journal headlined an editorial “The Syrian Civil War.”
Allegations of Syrian war crimes were raised. Syrians now suffer the consequences it said. The region’s stability is at risk. Washington, other Western, and regional nations have options. The longer they wait, “the harder it becomes to shape the outcome in Syria.”
Other media scoundrels hype the same theme. Doing so doesn’t resolve conflict. It furthers it. Washington planned it that way.
It won’t quit until Syria is ravaged and destroyed. “Liberation” following “humanitarian intervention” will be claimed. That’s been the scheme from the get-go.
On July 19, Russia and China vetoed a Western resolution on Syria. Invoking UN Charter Chapter VII, it effectively authorized war.
Recriminations followed Thursday’s vote. At the State Department’s July 19 press briefing, spokesman Patrick Ventrell said:.
“We think (Moscow and Beijing’s veto was) deplorable, and certainly we’re not pleased with the outcome of the vote.”
“Having said that, we’re going to remain focused on all elements of our national security strategy in terms of keeping the pressure on the Assad regime (for the) kind of political transition” Washington demands.
Asked about America’s next step, he said “Assad is not going to stay in power, and there is going to be a change to a new government.”
Pressed on if Washington planned circumventing UN authority, he admitted that “avenues outside of the Security Council” are being considered.
He barely stopped short of saying if other methods fail, war is the final option.
Asked what he knew about the Bulgarian bombing incident, he said US officials are involved in investigating it.
He stressed that “Israel and Israeli citizens are targets of vicious acts of terrorism.” He ignored what appears like another Mossad false flag.
He said nothing more about his previous day dismissiveness over the July 19 cold-blooded murder of Syrian officials. US-backed death squads killed them. A state funeral paid final respects.
Comments from American officials reflect outrageous imperial arrogance. Ventrell is no exception.
Russia responded harshly in response to criticism from Washington and other Western nations. Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said:
“Attempts by certain Western countries to hold Russia responsible for an escalation in the violence in Syria over its refusal to back a resolution containing threats of sanctions against the Syrian authorities are totally unacceptable.”
He also condemned a July 19 House of Representatives “revenge” vote. Members voted 407 – 5 for an amendment to the FY 2013 Department of Defense Appropriations Act (HR 5856).
It punished Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport. It lost its Pentagon contract. Jim Moran (D. VA) introduced the measure. He called it wrong to partner with “lords of war” supplying arms to Syria.
He lambasted Pentagon officials for awarding the contract. It called for selling 10 Mi-17 attack helicopters to Afghanistan’s military.
America plays hardball. If Russia and China don’t acknowledge who’s boss, expect tougher recrimination ahead.
Vladimir Putin stressed several times he won’t tolerate Libya 2.0. His June 2 “Russia and the Changing World” article said:
“(W)e intend to be consistent in proceeding from our own interests and goals rather than decisions dictated by someone else. Russia is only respected and has its interests considered when the country is strong and stands firmly on its own feet.”
Civilization requires respecting the “inalienable right to security for all states, the inadmissability of the excessive use of force, and the unconditional observance of the basic principles of international law.”
“To neglect any of these principles can only lead to the destabilization of international relations.”
He deplored America’s offensive missile shield near Russia’s borders. “Regrettably, our Western partners are unresponsive and have simply brushed our concerns aside,” he said.
He stressed the importance of the UN “and its Security Council to effectively counter the dictates of some countries and their arbitrary actions in the world arena.”
“Nobody has the right to usurp the prerogatives and powers of the UN, particularly the use of force with regard to sovereign nations.”
He pointedly referred to Washington and NATO. He denounced what he called “humanitarian operations” and “missile-and-bomb democracy.”
“It seems that NATO members, especially the United States, have developed a peculiar interpretation of security that is different from ours.”
“No one should be allowed to employ the Libyan scenario in Syria. The international community must work to achieve an internal Syrian reconciliation.”
“It is important to achieve an early end to the violence no matter what the source, and to initiate a national dialogue – without preconditions or foreign interference and with due respect for the country’s sovereignty.”
He warned America and NATO partners not to circumvent Security Council authority. He expressed concern about possible war on Iran and “disastrous” consequences if it happens.
“He’s equally worried about Syria. He said US/Russian relations “continue to ebb and flow.”
“The instability of the partnership with America is due in part to the tenacity of some well-known stereotypes and phobias, particularly the perception of Russia on Capitol Hill.”
He said relations with America depend on “principles of equal and mutually respectful partnership.” He knows Washington doesn’t respect these notions.
Meanwhile on July 20, the Security Council unanimously extended UNSMIS monitors another 30 days. Failure to agree would have ended their mandate at midnight EDT.
The measure says further extensions depend on future Secretary-General reports, whether the Security Council confirms no further heavy weapons use, and significantly less violence overall.
Britain proposed the resolution. It’s offensive, one-sided, and resolves nothing. It’s UN envoy and Washington’s called it a “last chance” to keep observers on the ground.
Expect nothing positive between now and late August. Washington, key NATO partners, and regional allies won’t allow it.
At the same time, Western efforts target credible reporting from Syria. SANA state media is repeatedly hacked. On July 20, its web site can’t be accessed. On July 14, it headlined “SANA Website Attacked to Prevent it from Conveying Truth of Events in Syria,” saying:
Foreign elements attack the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA). Doing so blocks credible news and information reporting.
“After the failure of several attempts to hack the website and publish fabricated news on it, foreign sides targeted the website with a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS attack).”
SANA publishes daily news and articles in English, French, Russian, Chinese, Spanish, Turkish and Arabic. On July 19, it was unavailable. Days earlier it couldn’t be accessed.
On July 20, it was up only for a short time. It’s struggling to keep operating despite relentless efforts to silence it. Other Syrian media have also been attacked. If they had nothing important to say, they’d be ignored.
Meanwhile, scoundrel media war on Syria continues relentlessly. On July 18, The New York Times headlined “Washington Begins to Plan for Collapse of Syrian Government,” saying:
“Pentagon officials were in talks with Israeli defense officials about whether Israel might move to destroy Syrian weapons facilities.”
Obama’s national security adviser, Thomas Donilon, discussed plans with Israeli officials last weekend. Obama tried pressuring Putin by phone. A White House statement said significant differences remain between the two leaders.
On July 18, a Times editorial headlined “Assassination in Damascus” practically gloated about it, saying:
Assad wages “bloody war against his people..convinced he (can) weather the storm.” In other words, murdering top officials is fair game to prove him wrong.
Russia was also denounced for “abetting Mr. Assad’s killing spree by supplying him with helicopters (and) stubborn(ly) support(ing him).”
Suppressed was Washington’s complicity in supplying Western-recruited deaths squads with heavy weapons, munitions, funding, training, and direction.
On July 18, a Washington Post editorial headlined “Syria’s nerve agents,” saying:
Killing Syrian officials “blew a hole in (Assad’s) regime (and) could lead to the government’s loss of control over territory.”
Syria’s alleged chemical stockpile was stressed, their weaponization, and possible use. Israel’s security was highlighted.
The editorial omitted mention of Israel’s nuclear, biological and chemical arsenal. It used chemical, depleted uranium, and other terror weapons against Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza during Cast Lead. Media scoundrels say nothing.
Syria threatens no one. Israel menaces humanity. So does America. Issues this important are suppressed. Fingers repeatedly point the wrong way.
Media scoundrels betray their readers and viewers. Condemn them. Ignore them. Get real news and information. Learn what’s going on.
Understand real, not fake, global threats. Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and other states are victims. So are people everywhere wanting to live free.
Washington, key NATO partners, Israel, and rogue Arab League states threaten it. Ending their scourge is humanity’s only chance.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
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Posted by Stephen Lendman on Jul 21 2012, With 0 Reads, Filed under Editors' Picks, Middle East Conflicts, News From the Region, War. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.