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Saturday, May 04, 2013

Israel and Syria

Apparently, Israel launched airstrikes against targets in Syria last night. The initial reports indicated that the targets were chemical weapons facilities -- a claim which anyone with any sense regarded with extreme caution. CNN:
Both officials said there is no reason to believe Israel struck at a chemical weapons storage facilities. The Israelis have long said they would strike at any targets that prove to be the transfer of any kinds of weapons to Hezbollah or other terrorist groups, as well as at any effort to smuggle Syrian weapons into Lebanon that could threaten Israel.
The NYT has now said that the target was missiles from Iran, allegedly being readied for transfer to Hezbollah, although I would put that last bit in the "Yeah, right" category. Assad has been fighting a civil war for two years, and his chances of survival look slimmer by the day. The guy has other things on his mind (and other uses for those missiles) than helping Hezbollah attack Israel.

When you think about Syria, the important factors are these:

1. Always remember that the Nusrah Front -- the anti-Assad rebels being supported by the U.S. -- pretty much is Al Qaeda. On the Sunday talk shows, you'll hear a lot of talk about the need to support "moderate" rebels in Syria, but this is just bluff.

2. The claims that Syria has already used chemical weapons are dubious at best. Consider the source. A little more than a week ago, Lew Rockwell (yes, yes, I know) published a good discussion of these reports:
They wouldn't falsify those, would they? It's not like they have a history of faking reports to suit their goals of drawing the US into the conflict...do they?
Reading between the lines in such a situation is very important. What Hagel said was that the US intelligence community has determined “with varying degrees of confidence" that the Syrian government used chemical weapons (based on samples collected by the Syrian rebels). What this means in English -- and here I am forced to speculate based on what we know from the "footnote" taken by the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) on the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, which turned out to be absolutely correct -- is that some zealots in the intelligence community ran with this dubious intelligence passed on by Israel and "produced" by the insurgents like they ran with the yellowcake and the aluminum tubes lies on Iraq in the run-up to the war. Cooler heads (and my money is on INR, and not only because they have been right on the mark in the past but also because I am familiar with their independent streak and track record) screamed to the hilltops that this analysis was bogus, thus providing the "varying" degrees of confidence cited by Hagel.

Varying degrees of confidence likely means that INR believes the conclusion is garbage...
Let's get back to point one, above: Marcy Wheeler notes that the FBI, up to its usual entrapment shennanigans, has gone after a young fellow named Abdalla Ahmad Tounisi. His crime? He wanted to join the Al Qaeda-linkd Nusra Front and help topple Assad.

But those are the same people we are supporting!

A short while ago, Marcy also showed us the fascinating tale of Eric Harroun, a likely CIA recruit arrested for fighting with Nusrah. He, too, was charged with using "weapons of mass destruction," even though he never had anything to do with the sort of devices we normally think of when that term is used. (Shades of the Tsarnaev brothers!) Harroun is still in jail awaiting trial.

As the Harroun case demonstrates, the U.S./Nusrah/Al Qaeda linkages are absolutely mad. Americans would be outraged by this alliance if our media told the public the full truth. Make no mistake: Assad is a dictator who deserves to be toppled. But do we really have reason to believe that his replacement will be better?
Comments:
I don't believe it's an American's place to assert which Arab leader "deserves to be toppled."

Not after Iraq, and regardless of your ideology. You might qualify it, with, "if I could assemble the opposition, make the Syrians in toto aware of who they are, poll the Syrian citizens as to their agreement or not, and assure them the opposition would make their lives better and use the proper tactics to topple" etc etc.

Of course this is beyond any American's ability.

Much of the media is subtly conceding by the way, the government has much more staying power than you seem to believe.

Not ensuring the veracity of the perspective by Syrian Perspective blog, but it has become confident the tide has turned.


 
I don't believe it's an American's place to assert which Arab leader "deserves to be toppled."

Not after Iraq, and regardless of your ideology. You might qualify it, with, "if I could assemble the opposition, make the Syrians in toto aware of who they are, poll the Syrian citizens as to their agreement or not, and assure them the opposition would make their lives better and use the proper tactics to topple" etc etc.

Of course this is beyond any American's ability.

Much of the media is subtly conceding by the way, the government has much more staying power than you seem to believe.

Not ensuring the veracity of the perspective by Syrian Perspective blog, but it has become confident the tide has turned.
 
Oh, ye of little faith, Joseph! Don't you know that Jesus wants a big bad war in the middle east? ;>)
 
Ben Hubbard, a New York Times reporter writing on April 27, 2013, had this to say:

" Across Syria, rebel-held areas are dotted with Islamic courts staffed by lawyers and clerics, and by fighting brigades led by extremists. Even the Supreme Military Council, the umbrella rebel organization whose formation the West had hoped would sideline radical groups, is stocked with commanders who want to infuse Islamic law into a future Syrian government.

Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of....The Islamist character of the opposition reflects the main constituency of the rebellion."

He goes on to say that the openly al Qaeda aligned al Nusra (made up mostly of foreign fighters) and Ahrar al-Sham (the main Syrian Sunni jihadist group) constitute the most effective fighting elements, control most of the heavy weaponry, and exert the overwhelming political control of insurgency controlled areas.

This is a jihadist war being backed by the West. There are no signs of any significant secular element remaining in the Syrian uprising.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/28/world/middleeast/islamist-rebels-gains-in-syria-create-dilemma-for-us.html
http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com.au/2013/04/nyt-nowhere-in-rebel-controlled-syria.html
 
Syria is an example of Hillary Clinton's (and now John Kerry's) vision for the Middle East. Tired of dealing with internal bickering between various Syrian rebel groups, she assembled the Syrian Opposition Council (SOC) in Nov 2012 in Doha, Qatar. The main opposition group in Syria, the National Coordinating Committee, refused to participate on the grounds that the plan under consideration was being imposed by outsiders, principally the US. The SOC is the group now accepted by the US, the EU and other Western nations as the legitimate government in waiting of the Syrian people.

With assistance from the US and Middle East nations backing the Syrian insurgency the SOC drew up the DOHA Protocol, which outlines the policy commitments of any incoming SOC government. All Syrian energy and defense contracts with Russia, China and Iran are to be simply torn up and new contracts handed out to Saudi states, Turkey, the EU and the US. All war reconstruction contracts are to be given to the UAE and Qatar, which also gets a gas pipeline access to Europe. Israel is to get a water supply pipeline from Turkey and Syria agrees to break off all relations with Hezbollah and Palestinian resistance movements. Syria will assert its right to sovereignty over the Golan only by political means and any peace agreements will be negotiated and signed under the auspices of the US and Qatar (giving Israel virtual political control over the Golan Heights). Turkey gets some border villages and Syria agrees to expel all members of the Workers Party of Kurdistan, adding its name to a list of terrorist organizations, to hand over those members wanted by Turkey (likely to be tortured, certainly to be imprisoned) and to ban any idea of a Kurdish national movement (Kurds make up 10% of Syria's population).

The key elements of Syria's economic and political alliances are being set, not by the Syrian people, but by foreign nations. The Syrian people have never expressed these desires but it is the price being extracted by the US and the Saudis for Western backing of favored Syrian rebels. This is what, I suppose, Hillary Clinton would refer to as a "democracy movement" and the "will of the people". It's nothing of the kind. It's a foreign takeover.
 
NATO was supporting al Qaeda forces in Libya and now in Syria. It has little to do with tyrants and everything to do with US support for Sunni radicals to achieve geopolitical aims. That's not me saying it. That's the conclusions that can safely be drawn from of a detailed 2008-9 study by military students at the US West Point Academy. They showed that the insurgents that later formed the basis of the Libyan uprising (and were armed, protected and directed by NATO) were from the same jihadist groups that had been shuttled into Iraq by Syrian jihadists, and that they formed the basis of the al Qaeda insurgency against Iraqi Coalition forces. The detailed West Point study makes it clear that Sunni jihadists in Libya were massively represented in Iraq, that they came from regions that were the centre of the later Libyan uprising and that they were known as jihadists and actively backed by NATO in that uprising. Those same forces have now relocated into Syria and joined with Sunni radicals there (the same ones who had assisted their previous passage into Iraq), occupying the Syrian territory where 'insurgents' have reportedly been most successful. When you add to that multiple accounts from Syrian locals, even local protestors against Assad, of abuses committed by imported jihadist forces, then the conclusion is inescapable: while both Libya and Syria had local insurgency protests, a large number of these 'insurgents' have been known Sunni jihadist forces -- al Qaeda -- actively and knowingly supported by the US, Saudi Arabia and NATO.

http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/nato-using-al-qaeda-rat-lines-to-flood.html
http://www.scribd.com/doc/111001074/West-Point-CTC-s-Al-Qa-ida-s-Foreign-Fighters-in-Iraq
 
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