2016: The Year the Globalist War on Reality Began to Crumble – By Rob Slane

One of my favourite quotes of the 21st century is this gem from George W Bush’s Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff, Karl Rove:

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

When I say a favourite, I am by no means endorsing it. Quite the opposite. I like it because it so wonderfully encapsulates the arrogance of the Globalists, and what they have been up to for the last couple of decades or so. They have indeed been “creating” their own reality, and they have done so in ways that ordinary people hardly have a chance of working out what they’re up to. By the time we start to catch on, they’ve already moved on with their crazed dialectic, and are busy creating their next new reality.

Of course these realities are just lies. Could be the idea that a certain tinpot dictator was in reality so powerful and possessed such an arsenal of non-existent weapons that our very survival was at stake. Could be the idea that another tinpot dictator was about to slaughter masses of innocents and so we must do something about him. Could be the idea that you don’t need a “wife” in a marriage. Could be the idea that men can morph into women. Could be the idea that the Wahhabis that have infiltrated and terrorized Syria for the last five years are “moderate.”

But the problem with telling lies on these monstrous levels is that eventually more and more people will catch on to what you’re up to. They might not all agree on all the things I have mentioned above, and they might not catch up at the same time, but you go on piling lie upon lie, deception upon deception, year after year, and slowly but surely there will be an increasing unease and deep suspicion that something is up.

And when that happens, the vacuum that has been created by those who should be telling the truth – Government – and those who should be holding them to account when they don’t – the media – will be filled by others. Some will come from the left, others from the right, if indeed those terms still have any meaning. Some of those attempting to fill the vacuum will be charlatans, ready to pump out anything to get attention. Others will be sincere people, desperately concerned about what is happening, and attempting to do all they can to get the truth past the cultural gatekeepers to anyone who will hear it.

And as the elites and their Global Pravda Network continue to create their own realities, and as both truth-tellers and fake-tellers fill the vacuum they have left, the man in the street can be forgiven for wondering what on earth is going on. Have we taken leave of our senses? What is true and what is fake? I can no longer tell!

2016 was the year when all this started to come to a head. It was the year when the parallel universe created by the cabal of globalist, elitist, neo-Trotskyists, was revealed as never before, with three major issues exposing them like never before.

The first was of course Brexit. Let’s call it the First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Globalist Elites. They just didn’t see it coming. Didn’t plan for it because it couldn’t happen. Could it?

The Second Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment was of course the defeat of the most corrupt presidential candidate in US history. If Brexit was a storm, this was a hurricane.

And the Third Blast was the recent defeat of “moderate” fanatics in Eastern Aleppo – the ones that have been armed and funded by a cabal of “moderate” Islamists, including the House of Saud and backed by the US, France and Britain, with the sole purpose of destroying yet another sovereign state.

A triple blow to the Global Elites. Of course they recognized their chastening, being ‘humble’ sorts, and gracefully slunk off into obscurity to raise their families and tend their gardens. Oh no, that wasn’t them, was it? Actually, what they did was to double-down, triple-down – no make that ‘centupled-down’ – on their War on Reality.

Those claims of Brexit being purely about bigotry, hatred and stupidity are now beginning to look rather quaint. We’ve moved on since then and new realities are being created almost on a daily basis. Only the other day, Ben Bradshaw, who is apparently an MP, stood up in the House of Commons and claimed that the Brexit vote was probably down to Russian hackers. Nobody laughed at him. Get that, bigoted, hateful Leave voter? You didn’t vote the way you did because you dislike the successor state to the USSR – the EU – you did it because the Russian President put you up to it.

Of course returning from the bizarro universe inhabited by the likes of Mr Bradshaw and his chums, the reality was that that Russian President happened to be one of the few major world politicians who didn’t interfere. Frau Merkel did. And so too did that chap who came across the Atlantic to scold us for thinking about voting against the elites, and then threatened to make us go to the back of the queue like naughty schoolchildren. Since his intervention undoubtedly had the opposite effect to the one intended, we can only conclude he must be a Russian agent.

And with the election of Donald Trump in America, after catching their breath and taking time-out with the crayons and playdoh, they went into overdrive and have now managed to lose their collective marbles. Russian hackers here, Russian hackers there, Russian hackers everywhere. They’re interfering with our election. It’s proven. The CIA says so. And given their track record of not lying us into war, and of not running an institutionalized torture programme, and of not interfering in the elections and statehood of other countries since the 1950s, well you’ve just got to believe them.

Except those of us who like a little bit of proof with our pudding are still waiting for what used to be called “evidence.” It’s a quaint old concept, I grant you, but some of us still like the idea. Hot air and insinuations are really no substitute, and presumably the FBI and the Department of National Intelligence would agree, since both have refused to back the CIA’s claims. Could it be because, as these ex-CIA analysts and the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, convincingly insist, it was an inside job and not a hack?

But no matter, the die is cast, the new reality has been created, and there are now literally millions who believe insinuation to be fact, and they’ve somehow forgotten that the substance of the DNC hack was to show that the DNC was subverting the US election process.

And so as we approach the end of this most tumultuous of years, everything that threatens the globalist project is now labelled Fake News. Tread carefully folks. Question the motives of the neo-Trotskyist regime changers in Syria, or the trustworthiness of the CIA, and you could find yourself labelled a Russian agent faster than you can say Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

The funniest example of the “exposure of Fake News” turned out to be 2016’s prime instance of “Fake News.” In November, the Washington Post ran an article where they referenced a group of “anonymous experts” called PropOrNot, who had gathered a list of 200 websites that were “disseminating Russian propaganda.” Reading through their list is a somewhat hilarious exercise, especially as it includes (irony alert) ex-KGB agents such as former congressman, Ron Paul; the Catholic libertarian Lew Rockwell; former US Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy under Ronald Regan, Paul Craig Roberts; David Stockman, Director of the Office of Management and Budget again under Ronald Regan; and one of the few remaining proper journalists in the US, Robert Parry.

I read these chaps regularly. I like a lot of what they write, even though I might disagree with some of what they say. They are dissidents. They question things that the Globalists don’t want questioned, and they give a perspective on things than the Globalist Pravda Network tries to hide. I’m very thankful for their websites. Yet according to the Global Pravda Network, we shouldn’t be reading them. They’re dangerous. They’re fake. Blah, blah, blah.

And so as we come to the close of 2016, in one sense I am quite fearful. The Globalist Elites have had a massive three-fold shock, and it has gone to their head. They are angry and they’re not going to let this go. Right now they’re trying to engineer some form of coup against Donald Trump, and they’re hitting back with every trick in their Alinsky-inspired book of creating new realities. They’re just not going to make it their New Year’s resolution to forget about their little project to run the world through any means possible, on the contrary, they are about to crank up the dial on their Fake News amplifier to an Ear Splitting level. Expect to see increasing calls for censorship in 2017. Expect to be softened up by the Globalist Elites and their Global Pravda Network to accept their realities, and to agree to the censorship of dissenting voices. All for your sake and your security of course.

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TOTAL CEASE FIRE IN SYRIA EXCLUDES ISIS, NUSRA AND THEIR ALLIES – By Ziad Fadel

ULTIMATUM TO TERRORISTS AT WAADI BARADAA; TIGER FORCES TO PALMYRA AREA

 

DAMASCUS:

The Supreme Command of the Syrian Arab Armed Forces has just announced a comprehensive cease fire all across Syrian land effective at zero hour (12:00 a.m.) on December 30, 2016.  The cease fire will not, however, include ISIS, Nusra/Alqaeda or any affiliates (e.g. Ahraar Al-Shaarm) of these two terrorist groups.

I wrote yesterday about Waadi Baradaa and the terrorist move to cut off water to the citizens of the capital.  Today, the Syrian Army High Command gave the terrorists an option which will not be held out for very long:  agree to remove yourself from the area of Waadi Baradaa, turn over all medium to heavy weapons and get on green buses for Idlib.  If they do not do this, the army has promised to exterminate them.  As of right now, water reserves have proved sufficient for the population and, therefore, the acts of these savages will have little impact on anything.

__________________________________________

HOMS:

 

Al-Sa’an Al-Aswad:  A Nusra/Alqaeda C&C center was annihilated by SAA artillery today killing 7 rodents:

Muhammad Al-Dhaheek (Abu ‘Ubayda)

‘Abdul-Razzaaq Al-Afandi

The other 5 were reportedly foreigners.

 

Jabal Al-Kinn:  Another Nusra/Alqaeda base near Al-Rastan 20kms north of the Homs City was destroyed with 11 vehicles and numerous casualties reported. I have no further details.

 

Tal Al-‘Awaameed:  In the area of Al-Qaryatayn in East Homs, ISIS took the blow this time.  An armored APC with 6 rodents was incinerated by a Kornet rocket.

 

Shareefa Village:  In a major operation by the SAA against ISIS to extirpate the terrorist group from the area as a prelude to the assault on Palmyra, the SAA advanced remarkably in that direction today destroying over 20 vehicles, and countless weapons and ammo, and killing an estimated 70 vultures.

 

Tayfoor AB (T-4): 53 ISIS vermin were killed in this area.  The SAA confirms destroying 3 tanks, 1 armored car, 2 cannons and 5 pickups with 23mm cannons.

 

NOTE TO READERS:  Elements of the Tiger Force are reportedly rushing to the Palmyra area from Aleppo on the backs of trucks.    

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DER’AH:

Tafass:  This area is infested with terrorists from the group called “Jaysh Al-Mu’tazz” (The Army of Al-Mu’tazz) .  To show you how ignorant people are in this area of Syria we need to give you a little background into history.  The 14th Caliph of the Abbasid Empire was Al-Mu’tazz.  He took the throne after his brother lost it earlier due to Turkish machinations.  He took the throne at the age of only 19 years and ruled for only 4 after which he was assassinated by unpaid, disgruntled Turk soldiers.  This is the Al-Mu’tazz the terrorist group wants to emulate.  Yawn.

Today the Syrian Army killed a group of their main field commanders destroying an armed, remotely-controlled aerial drone provided by the Zionist Settlers and a C&C which was, conveniently, surrounded by 4 pickups with 23mm cannons.  They were collateral damage.

 

Der’ah City:  Southwest of the Sayda Carpet Factory, the SAA found and killed these rodents:

‘Aatallaah Qutayfaan

Meelaad Hamdaan

Faadi Muhaymeed (I suspect his name is really “Mahaameed”) 

 

Also, the SAA destroyed a transport truck south of the steel factory.

 

In addition to all this fun, the SAA also monitored an area near the Post Office where Nusra/Alqaeda was preparing another drone for use against the citizens of Syria.  The army destroyed the gadget without harming any civilians.  No other details.

 

Al-Ghaariyya Bridge:  SAA struck Nusra/Alqaeda and killed several rodents.

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NEWS AND COMMENT:

Alex Kharegi sends us this insightful article exposing the MSM lies about Aleppo:

http://alwaght.com/en/News/79967/What-Western-Media-Hides-about-Aleppo-Militants

Patrick Henningsen takes us on a video-tour of Aleppo with a poem read in the background by a Syrian citizen:

https://21wire.tv/2016/12/28/exclusive-video-walkthrough-aftermath-old-city-east-aleppo/

John Esq. sends me this interview with Aleppo’s children.  I think its Vanessa Beeley:

https://www.facebook.com/ziad.abufadel1/posts/1232588396833974

 

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PHOTO OF THE DAY FROM KHALED NAWAZ AL-NOURI:

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing, suit and text

 

TOTAL CEASE FIRE IN SYRIA EXCLUDES ISIS, NUSRA AND THEIR ALLIES; ULTIMATUM TO TERRORISTS AT WAADI BARADAA; TIGER FORCES TO PALMYRA AREA by Ziad Fadel

The truth about Aleppo you won’t see in MSM: Victory Tribute – By Syrian Girl

© Via YouTube/SyrianGirlpartisan

A side you will never see from the pro-al-qaeda Western mainstream media. They want you to believe that Aleppo has “fallen”. Aleppo hasn’t fallen, she has risen like a phoenix! This is a victory as historical as Stalingrad.

We made this video to offer thanks to all those who supported us, to honor the heroes who resisted and validate the Syrian people’s right to real freedom from Western-sponsored tyranny.

Source: SyrianGirlpartisan

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Bolivian actress Carla Ortiz exposes what went wrong with Western media coverage of Syrian conflict – By Sputnik

© Carla Ortiz
Carla Ortiz in Syria.

Popular Bolivian actress and author of a documentary on the Syrian conflict revealed the nature of many mistakes made by Western media in its coverage of the events that transpired in Syria during the last few years.

Famous Bolivian actress Carla Ortiz first traveled to Syria in March 2016 to film a documentary about the role of women in the Syrian conflict. In 8 months she traversed three quarters of Syria’s territory, visiting areas controlled by the Syrian army and by insurgents, meeting with government supporters and opposition members alike.

Ortiz told Sputnik Mundo that the West made a serious mistake by buying into a myth that the Middle East exists in a state of perpetual conflict, that it’s some kind of ‘situation normal’ for the region.

“As a result, we turned away from these people, thought that helping them would be a lost cause. In our desperation we put our trust in activists and human rights organizations which claimed that they are present in the conflict zone but failed to adequately relay the situation there. Contrary to a popular belief, there is a moderate opposition in Syria: they are people who, during the onset of the conflict, asked for reforms and not their president’s resignation,” Ortiz said.

© Carla Ortiz

She also remarked that it appears as if the Western media agencies, perhaps even with good intentions, continue to deliberately use propaganda when it comes to the Syrian conflict. Be that as it may however, Ortiz pointed out that she hasn’t seen a single Western reporter in areas of the country where the fighting takes place.

“On all of the six fronts of the Syrian war that I’ve been to, including eastern Aleppo, I’ve never seen any foreign reporters save for those from Russia Today. So how can people who’ve never been there cover the battle for the city’s liberation or report that Aleppo is in flames? I’ve been in a firefight and can relay my experience, but where do they get their stories?” she said.

As Ortiz ruefully concluded, influential media agencies tend to avoid answering such questions; they keep focusing on the military conflict, using civil war references, but neglect to mention foreign gangs that became the source of destabilization.

“We’ve made many mistakes. We succumbed to the news without verifying their sources,” Ortiz said.

The Voice of Syria documentary filmed by the actress and her crew relays the story of the war in Syria “told by real people, citizens”, according to Ortiz. The movie is expected to be released in Syria and in Bolivia on June 2017.

TERRORIST CRIMINALS IN DISARRAY AS SYRIAN ARMY MOUNTS NEW OFFENSIVE IN NW DAMASCUS – By Ziad Fadel

O BRAVE NEW WORLD THAT HAS SUCH WRETCHES IN IT;“A GIFT FROM QATAR” IN WEAPONS USED TO KILL SYRIANS

 

Image result for hijab syrian opposition

Riyaadh Hijaab who was last seen waiting tables in Amman, Jordan, is a sorry remnant of the scum he used to be when he betrayed his own country.

 

There can be no question any longer that major changes in the year 2016 will impact decisively on conditions in 2017.  The most significant changes can be listed as follows:

1.  The Syrian Army is no longer burdened by antiquated weapons systems.  Whatever the cost, be it a lifetime lease on the naval base at Tartous, or mortgaging Syria’s newly-found natural gas reservoirs, the fact remains that Syrian Army weapons rank at the highest level today of technology, maintenance and effectiveness.  All of this has led to a concatenation of critical victories crowned by the very recent liberation of Aleppo.

2.  Russia has found the perfect balance for its foreign policy In the Levant.  The Russians, rather than fall into a quagmire similar to that of Afghanistan, have chosen the route of empowering its ally, Syria, by providing advanced weapons systems heretofore unseen in the area, improving the SAA’s ability to control the battlefield while testing the efficacy of their own technology.  The way Moscow has maneuvered in Syria to support a crucial ally has been nothing short of brilliant.  While it is true that Russians have died fighting alongside the SAA, the numbers of Russian fatalities are extremely low.

3.  The United States has become increasingly isolated politically in the Levant.  Negotiations for an end to the conflict are taking place between Russia, Iran and Turkey.  The U.S. and NATO were not invited.  With Donald Trump coming into office on January 20, 2017, all sides, including the terrorists expect a sea change in Washington’s policies toward the Syrian administration, Alqaeda, Saudi Arabia and NATO.  Obama pursued a goal so repugnant it can be said that he would best be prosecuted as a war criminal and criminal against humanity – not the Nobel Peace Prize-winning neophyte who brought nothing but shame and disgrace to the award and the Nobel Institution.  Pretending all the while to support liberation movements, he managed to corner himself in a maze whose angles he could not negotiate without coming face-to-face with the grim truth that he was complicit in empowering Alqaeda and supporting mass-murdering degenerates who spat invective and imprecations at his own army – calling his soldiers “apostates”, “infidels” and “enemy” – as they tried to give help to the masked savages whose purpose was not to liberate the people of Syria from a secular form of government, but, instead, to overthrow a government which preferred dealing with Iran rather than Qatar or their mephitic Wahhabist cousins in Saudi Arabia.  Obama’s departure is a welcome breath of fresh air in an atmosphere dominated by the odor of Sarin gas which he provided to the terrorists.

4.  The Mainstream Media or the Corporate Media in the West has failed miserably in promoting the narrative that the “opposition” in Syria was made up of “moderates” seeking freedom from an authoritarian dynasty emerging from a mountain bastion on the coast populated by a strange minority linked to Iran.  Whether it came to encouraging greater American involvement in the war in Syria, as the traitor Neo-Cons wanted, or transferring advanced weapons to the terrorists, the MSM could not convince the public or the Congress to back such a fool’s errand.  The MSM, defiled by its own hypocrisy and ties to Zionism, could not but create its own antithesis in the “Alternative Media” to which millions began to switch once the cat was out of the bag and MSM reporters appeared to be, more and more akin to professional liars or snake-oil salesmen.  The confrontation with Trump is emblematic of where the MSM now stands.

5.  It was Robert Ford’s and Saudi Arabia’s strategy to create a refugee crisis in Syria.  While Robert Ford, the USA’s former ambassador to Damascus,  has been almost exclusively a failure in everything he tried to promote, he was totally successful in killing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in Syria and creating the “refugee crisis” which threatens to overwhelm the capabilities of the EU.  By pushing Syrians out of their country into neighboring states like Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, Ford and his minions would expose Dr. Assad’s vulnerabilities, by making his government appear helpless and ineffective in defending the citizenry.  Or so Robert Ford thought.  This peculiar narrative was picked up by phony academics, like Joshua Landis whose website, “Syria Comment” was described as “influential” even though nobody read it because it was focused on a single fallacy, to wit, that everything in Syria was inextricably tied to “sectarianism”.  As it turned out, the sectarianism about which he wrote was belied by the very nature of the Assad administration, so inclusive that even the First Lady, was a Sunni.  The argument that a minority sect ruled Syria has been turned upside down.

What Ford did not understand was that the refugees whom he created represented the very worst specimens of Syrian society.  Like a monster emerging from the sea to destroy a great capital, as in the Toho Studio movies of Japan, the refugees inundated Europe with rapists and thieves, young men of military age who were either in the throes of boundless concupiscence or sleeper agents for the same terrorists Obama was arming, training and funding.  If Angela Merkel loses the next elections, she might want to send Robert Ford a “thank you” letter for his involvement in her own Katastrophe.  The EU experiment with an “a bras ouverts” policy is now viewed as the next worst thing to the re-emergence of the Bubonic Plague.  Marine Le Pen, no stranger to decisive actions, will probably send them all up the Seine, all the way to Coventry.

And now, the same refugees are beginning to return to their homes.  The Assad government played this one deftly.  With one swift pirouette of the heel of his hand, Dr. Assad signed a law permitting the enemies of the state to return to society through an amnesty program many of our readers thought was ingenuous.  As it turned out, tens of thousands of otherwise malignant street Arabs were reprogrammed into productive citizens, some even joining the antiterrorist militias who are fighting Robert Ford’s cannibals.

6.  Iran will win the war between it and its Saudi enemy.  Already, an arc which can be called the “Fatimid Crescent” is enveloping Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine.  Only 2 obstacles exist which can block Iran’s massive appearance on the economic stage with the finalization of its natural gas pipeline across Iraq to the coast of Syria:  ISIS in Iraq and a coalition of terrorism in Syria consisting of ISIS, Alqaeda and American-supported terrorists who will be awarded newer weapons by the outgoing Obama regime as a final au revoir to a failed foreign policy program.  Turkey is seething due to its own failure to oust Dr. Assad.  So long as the present Syrian government exists, Qatar will not be able to extend its own pipeline across Arabia through Jordan, through an Assad-less Syria to Turkey.  Erdoghan’s plan to improve his odds of joining the EU was pinioned on this eventuality – an eventuality which is growing increasingly improbable by the day.  With Iran benefiting from its new de-isolation; with new airliners and an oil market positioning for increased profits, expect to see Iran flex even more muscle as it muscles in on Saudi territory.

7.  Even with new weapons, expect to see the terrorist groups fighting themselves more than the Syrian Army.  So many terrorist leaders have been killed that it seems almost impossible for them to replace this sizeable cadre of seasoned field commanders.  It is most likely that the terrorist groups will fight over turf, not because they are angling to lock horns with the Syrian Army, but rather, to elbow out competitors for financial gain.  As this war evolves over such diverse things as fruits and vegetables, drugs and weapons, Syrian citizens, who might have been sympathetic to the “opposition” cause, will become disillusioned and inimical to the American and Saudi supported Islamist rodents.  We foresee an increase in the number of militia in 2017 occasioned by new volunteers.

8.  The “opposition”, which was mostly based in the hotels of Europe,  will cease to exist.  The United States under Trump will view this cobbled mass of bloodsuckers as nothing more than desiccated nematodes useless for fishing or stirring soil.  They have overstayed their welcome and have given the Saudis and Qataris nothing more than a needless write-off in their own countries which have no taxes.  All the names you have read about in SyrPer and elsewhere, George Sabra, Khaled Khoja, Nizar Nayyouf, Ghassaan (Shitto) Hitto, Michel Kilo, Qadri Jamil, Riyaadh Hijaab and all the rest of those shameless freeloaders, will become like trivia stashed deep in your most unused neural cells.

9.  Saudi Arabia can’t feed its own population.  You don’t have to be Marxist to figure out that food is important.  Even worse off are the foreign workers who have not been paid for 6 months.  Worse news for the Saudi clan of nincompoops is that Trump doesn’t seem to care much about them.  This is going to be a very bad year – the final year for these syphilis-ridden cockroaches.  No more money for Ahraar Al-Shaam, Jaysh Al-Islam and Alqaeda.  Qatar will have to pick up the slack if it’s willing to tamper with its newly established relations with Moscow.

In conclusion, 2017 will be the year when all the trump cards will be dealt to Dr. Assad.  Through sheer willpower, he has defeated all the shallow and reckless plans to oust him.  His victory will be historic.

_______________________________________________

DAMASCUS:

 خبر وتعليق...الإرهاب ينتحر على أبواب دمشق

Ahraar Al-Shaam is known for many things: beheadings, rape, blackmail, shakedowns, extortion and other actions consistent with its ideology of nihilism.  For a while, as it controlled some parts of the capital’s water supply, it actually cooperated with the government in permitting engineers and technicians to contginue the flow of water to all parts of Damascus.  However, as the group has suffered massive losses in rats and materiel over the last few months, it has opted to cut off the flow of water to the great city from 3 primary sources: Waadi Baradaa, Baseema and ‘Ayn Al-Khudhur.   The only explanation for this sudden change of rat heart is the knowledge that the Syrian Army has been crushing its forces everywhere in Syria, especially in Aleppo where Ahraar Al-Sham took a real drubbing.

As of yesterday, the SAA has mounted a ferocious air and ground attack on all Ahraar Al-Sham positions at Waadi Baradaa and has destroyed completely their command-control center there.  Witnesses report a large column of tanks and armor moving up to Waadi Baradaa.  In the meantime, engineers have found replacement water from reserves and other sources .

 

Al-Shifooniyya:  The SAA’s artillery corps struck a meeting held here whose sole purpose was to plan new attacks on SAA outposts and checkpoints.  Scores were killed but no details are available.  Also, at Douma, the SAAF was quite active.

______________________________________________

HOMS:

تدمير مقرات لأحرار الشام في ريف حمص .. واستهداف اجتماع للمسلحين في الشيفونية

Umm SharshoohAhraar Al-Shaam must be very ticked right now.  Yesterday, the SAA artillery achieved a direct hit on a nest of vultures killing these as they were sending out orders from their c&c.  Besides the listed vermin, a 4-wheel drive pickup with 23mm cannon and a mortar launcher were destroyed:

Ahmad Saalih Turki

Mousa Akram

Khaalid Muhammad Al-Jabal

________________________________________

AL-SUWAYDAA`:  Yesterday,the SAA and PDC foiled a miserable attempt by ISIS in Eastern Al-Suwaydaa` on the road between Sa’ad Village and Al-Qassr to infiltrate their vermin to Tal Banaat Ba’eer northeast of the provincial capital.  It was a disaster for ISIS as its rodents found out when they entered a small valley rife with sharpshooters and light artillery.  Estimates of dead and wounded are between 10 and 30.

 

 

______________________________________________

AL-RAQQA:

Indian National Killed in Syria While Fighting for ISIS

Indian imbecile and catamite, Imaan Na’eem Tandil (a/k/a “Abu ‘Umar Al-Hindi”) (From Alalam)

 

The bozo, pictured above pointing heaven-ward,  should have had his eyes facing the ground upon which he was standing since that’s more likely a destination for professional creeps from India.  He was sent straight to Hades west of the Tabaqa Dam by artillery fire from the SDF.  He’s not smiling anymore. What a degenerate.

___________________________________________

HAMA:  A few days ago, Jund Al-Aqsa kidnapped several Faylaq Al-Sham rodents and threw them into some kind of cage after stripping them of all their weapons.  Faylaq Al-Sham responded by calling all allied pests, such as Nusra/Alqaeda, to intervene and “correct” the other groups behavior which was described as “barbarous”.   The Faylaq Al-Sham group also described the barbarousness of the other group as “catastrophic”.  Now, don’t forget that Jund Al-Aqsa is a branch of Alqaeda/Nusra and joined up after a war with Ahraar Al-Sham.  Te hee hee.

___________________________________________

ALEPPO:

 

Nasrullaah Village:  North of the Air Force College near Dayr Haafir, the SAA killed over 15 ISIS hyenas.

 

Rasm Al-Kimaa:  SAA defenders killed several ISIS rodents in 3 four-wheel pickups with 23mm cannons.

 

As of 12-28-16, the SAA has dismantled IEDs and mines from 966 hectares of East Aleppo.

 

In Al-Zaydiyya Quarter, the SAA and Russian officers uncovered an arsenal loaded with “gifts from Qatar” stamped on them.  Need more proof?

 

__________________________________________

NEWS AND COMMENT:

Tony Gratrex sends this article from Thierry Meyssan about the need to liberate Idlib and other things:

http://www.voltairenet.org/article194709.html

 

O BRAVE NEW WORLD THAT HAS SUCH WRETCHES IN IT; TERRORIST CRIMINALS IN DISARRAY AS SYRIAN ARMY MOUNTS NEW OFFENSIVE IN NW DAMASCUS; “A GIFT FROM QATAR” IN WEAPONS USED TO KILL SYRIANS by Ziad Fadel

Russia: Mass Graves Full Of Tortured Civilians Discovered In Eastern Aleppo – By MintPress News Desk

‘The results of only an initial survey of Aleppo neighborhoods abandoned by the so-called “opposition” will shock many,’ stated a representative of the Russian Ministry of Defense.

Syrian army soldiers march through the streets in the Ansari neighborhood, east Aleppo, Syria, Friday, Dec 23, 2016. (SANA via AP)

ALEPPO, Syria — Russian military forces have discovered mass graves in eastern parts of the Syrian city of Aleppo, with many of the bodies reportedly showing signs of torture.

Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, a spokesperson for the Russian defense ministry, announced the horrifying discovery on Monday. “Many of the corpses were found with missing body parts, and most had gunshot wounds to the head,” he said, according to RT, a Russian state-owned news network.

Until recently, the eastern portion of Aleppo, once Syria’s largest city and industrial and financial center, was under the control of so-called “moderate” rebels, many of whom have received both intelligence and material support from the United States and its allies in the Middle East.

Last week, Russian and Syrian military forces oversaw the evacuation of civilians from eastern Aleppo. Prior to that, the rebel-held portion of the city had been controlled by two main factions, Jabhat al-Nusra, a terrorist group with ties to al-Qaida also known as the Nusra Front, and Ahrar al-Sham, another extremist group that receives U.S. support despite being designated a terrorist organization.

In an apparent attempt to court the U.S. government by distancing itself from al-Qaida, the Nusra Front recently attempted to “rebrand” itself. Despite efforts to market themselves as kinder, gentler terrorists, the group has continued to commit atrocities, including burning buses intended to be used in the evacuation and even blocking food aid from reaching Aleppo’s starving residents. WikiLeaks’ archive of diplomatic cables reveals that the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia have sought to overthrow the government of Syrian leader Bashar Assad since at least 2006, and support for extremist fighters remains a key part of that strategy.

Konashenkov promised a full investigation into the war crimes of rebel forces in Aleppo, suggesting in his statement that the results would surprise many people who receive their news from Western mainstream media sources. He said:

“The completion of a uniquely large-scale humanitarian operation by the Russian Center for Reconciliation in Aleppo will destroy many of the myths that have been fed to the world by Western politicians. The results of only an initial survey of Aleppo neighborhoods abandoned by the so-called ‘opposition’ will shock many.”

Russian forces also found massive stockpiles of weaponry abandoned by fleeing rebel groups. “In one small area, three tanks, two cannons, two multiple rocket launchers and numerous homemade mortars were found,” reported RT.

Throughout the civil war, weaponry and equipment provided by the United States and its allies, nominally intended for so-called “moderate” groups like the Free Syrian Army, has instead ended up in the hands of terrorist groups like the Nusra Front. A BBC report from December of 2015 referred to the shipments of supplies from the West as a “Wal-Mart” for extremists.

While journalists on the ground have documented atrocities carried out by rebel groups throughout the Syrian conflict, the mainstream media has focused almost entirely on reports of war crimes committed by the Syrian government, even though many of those reports are impossible to verify.

False news about Syria has continued to proliferate in recent days, including reports of genocide carried out by the Syrian government that featured fake or recycled photos.

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Israel’s hysteria is solidifying its status as a rogue nation – By Philip Weiss

President Obama’s decision to allow passage of a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements as illegal has done more to change the shape of the conflict than any other action in the last ten years, even than Israel’s massacres in Gaza. He has nudged Israel, and the media, toward recognition of the country’s new status, as a rogue state; he has split the Israel lobby right down the middle, or down the side anyway; and he has given huge impetus to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS).

That is why Israeli leaders are going crazy this weekend, flinging accusations against the president on the cable networks and national news too. Because what Obama did is so meaningful.

Israel’s supporters long claimed that Israel only makes progress if you embrace it and tell Israel you love it. (Dennis Ross says this all the time.) Obama heeded that advice for years and got nothing. Now he has made one gesture against Israel, and the progress in a few days is amazing.

The media are talking about settlements as never before. Every time I turn on National Public Radio, I hear a story about the settlements. It is about time our country talked about the occupation, as it approaches its jubilee year. And any reasonable person hearing this discussion accepts the simple truth of the U.N. resolution: Israel should not have transferred its population into territories conquered by war. It has destroyed the two-state solution by colonizing the 22 percent of the original territory that the two-state solution treated as Palestinian.

The hysteria against the resolution from Israeli leaders is a reminder to even-moderately-well-informed Americans of ideas that were once heresies but are now hardening into public attitudes here: We give these people tens of billions of dollars and they act like spoiled brats. They have ignored our presidents’ warnings for decade after decade and thumbed their noses at critics because they have the powerful Israel lobby at their beck and call.

Now the place is exposed as never before for Americans, and guess what – that country is haywire! Their prime minister is having a tantrum about American betrayal and non-friendship at his Cabinet meeting, even as they take our $38 billion. His chief diplomat berates President Obama and Ben Rhodes as liars on MSNBC, and does small talk about the Miami Dolphins. These people don’t have a clue: the entire world is against them; the vote was 14-0-1.

Obama’s Failure to Veto signals to Americans that U.S. policy is not going to be dictated by the Israel lobby any more, or at least this once. Certainly the lobby is now split. The centrist and right wing groups that dominate the leadership are all appalled by Obama’s decision and issuing denunciations. The ADL is “outraged” and “incredibly disappointed,” the Conference of Presidents and AIPAC are boiling. The Trump-addled Zionist Organization of America is accusing our president of anti-Semitism.

But liberal Zionist groups have never been so happy. Peace Now, the New Israel Fund, and J Street are supporting President Obama. They do so because their own base is highly critical of Israel – American Jews support action against settlements – and because the Democratic Party base is even further to the left; and so Israel has become a partisan issue at last, with real debate.

The potential loss of the lobby’s undying support is what so electrifies the Israeli political classes right now. As Shmuel Rosner rightly observes, echoing Walt and Mearsheimer of 10 years ago, America is all that Israel has. Its entire foreign policy is a domestic policy: pressure tactics carried out by the lobby on American politicians and media, resulting in a uniformly-supportive policy. Those pressure tactics having failed, Israelis are in full crisis mode.

These people are hysterical for a good reason. They are losing the most important thing they have to maintain the status quo of Jewish supremacy and apartheid, an order that serves the bulk of Israeli society.

They know that Obama’s defection could have great consequences. It could lead to Palestinian actions in international fora. It will give enormous encouragement to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, because Obama’s action is perceived by Israel’s supporters as a mild form of BDS – so why not try the hard stuff?

The consequences are already evident in Israeli society. The Jewish left is correctly accusing the right of isolating Israel. “Bibi” is now BBDS, per a liberal messaging campaign. The right seems determined to isolate Israel even more. Even rightwing Israelis are speaking out against Netanyahu.

A shakeup is happening inside Israeli Jewish society and its political structure that might actually change the country’s direction. It has long been my bet that an Israeli leader is going to emerge who says, “World, we hear you. We are making changes.” I believe that day is approaching more rapidly than people think, and Obama can claim some of the credit. (Though what effect those changes will have is a different question.)

The questions for students of US politics are: How will Trump change Obama’s orientation? And why didn’t Obama act sooner?

Obama vetoed a similar resolution in 2011 because of the Israel lobby; because he was being hounded by establishment Jewish voices who were saying that he was being too tough on Israel, and he could not afford to ignore them as he approached his reelection year. It’s that simple. Presidents take actions in their final months because they finally have some political autonomy.

As for Trump, he also can claim credit for the UN Resolution. If he had not won and not appointed David Friedman, a settler hero, to be his ambassador to Israel, and Steve Bannon, a white nationalist, as a White House strategist, we would be seeing an entirely different political terrain. Hillary Clinton would be the president-elect, and her traditional/conservative Democratic/Jewish establishment fear of alienating her megadonor Haim Saban would have caused President Obama to veto the resolution in the name of continuity. The lobby would be coalescing around right-centrist articles of faith, such as: Settlements are an obstacle to peace, but that’s all. As it is, Saban, and the Democratic Party’s dependence on rich elites, is blamed for the election debacle; and Saban has lost influence.

But will Trump reverse Obama’s actions re settlements? I don’t know. His tweets have actually been careful on this subject; suggesting that he might take Obama’s side against the spoiled child of Israel. Whatever Trump does, the lobby will continue to fragment. That is the larger process at work, and it is good news for Americans and Israelis and Palestinians.

Comment: Israeli society has been experiencing a peak of social hysteria for decades. During such times, people become increasingly egotistical, immune to the suffering of others (even contemptuous of it), and they lose the ability to think correctly; they select and substitute information, which leads them to come to incorrect conclusions about reality, and thus make stupid choices. The same goes for their moral reasoning. Only in a state of heightened social hysteria can people believe that the colonies are not wrong, that there is “no such thing” as a Palestinian, that Israel is good because God gave them the land, etc. Every major Israeli belief about themselves and their history is a lie.

Unfortunately for Israelis, and those who live near to them, such a state of affairs is a recipe for disaster. If it doesn’t lead to full-blown totalitarianism, it can lead to civil war, revolution, or any other method of destruction.

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Zakharova: Passage of 2017 NDAA by Obama ‘directly threatens’ security of Russian military in Syria – by Maria Zakharova

We have noted that the National Defence Authorisation Act for Fiscal Year 2017, which President Barack Obama signed on December 23, just as similar documents adopted in the past years, includes numerous instructions to the Pentagon on a policy regarding Russia. For example, it reaffirms the ban on military cooperation with Russia until it is certified that “the Russian Federation has ceased its occupation of Ukrainian territory and its aggressive activities that threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation” and “is abiding by the terms of and taking steps in support of the Minsk Protocols regarding a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine.”

The persistent efforts to condition bilateral military ties on the settlement of the crisis in Ukraine are surprising. Our US partners should have long ago accepted obvious facts: the Crimeans’ decision to reunite with Russia and the deplorable situation in Ukraine are not the result of the mysterious “Russian aggression” but direct consequences of the state coup in Kiev nearly three years ago, the coup that received ideological support and was supervised by the current US administration. Instead of accusing Russia of failure to comply with the Minsk Agreements, to which Russia is not a party, Washington should rein in its Ukrainian clients, who are obviously not interested in a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Donbass.

Furthermore, it is unclear how Russia can threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of NATO member states, when it is our American partners and their allies who have enhanced their military activities, expanding the territory of the alliance and moving their military capabilities closer to Russian borders. It is not surprising that we have to take this into account when planning our military development.

A large section of the Act is devoted to ballistic missile defence (BMD). In the past, the US BMD system was designed to respond to limited strikes at the United States, whereas now its task is to provide “an effective, robust layered defence” against a ballistic missile threat. In other words, Washington has abandoned the tall story about a nuclear threat allegedly coming from Iran and North Korea, which it used to justify the need to deploy anti-missiles, and has clearly indicated that its plans are much broader and are designed to disrupt its nuclear parity with Russia and to achieve unilateral advantages in this strategic sphere.

However, the ban on cooperation with Russia can be waived if “the waiver is in the national security interest of the United States.” The issue concerns cooperation under arms control agreements and military operations in Afghanistan. This selective approach cannot be effective, as we have seen in Syria, where our American partners refused to maintain full-fledged counterterrorism cooperation with Russia.

Instead of joining forces to cut short the sway of all forms of extremism there, as we suggested long ago, Washington has decided to deliver military assistance to anti-government groups, which are not much different from the terrorist cutthroats. Now the new Act openly stipulates the possibility of supplying them with weapons, including portable air defence missile systems.

The Obama administration is bound to see that these weapons will soon find their way to the jihadists with whom the alleged “moderate opposition” has been acting hand in glove. Maybe that is what the United States hopes will happen, because it has been sponsoring Jabhat al-Nusra, a terrorist group and a branch of al-Qaeda. This can only be described as sponsoring terrorism.

This US decision directly threatens the aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces, other Russian military personnel and the Russian Embassy in Syria, which has been shelled more than once. This is why we view this as a hostile decision.

The Act also includes other provisions that affect Russian interests, including the groundless claims of alleged Russian violations of the INF Treaty and concerns about our compliance with the New START Treaty and the Open Skies Treaty. Most importantly, the above allegations are used as justification for the accelerated development of conventional prompt global strike weapons. In other words, Washington is publicly engaging in sabre rattling.

It is surprising that the National Defence Authorisation Act authorises the US President to impose “sanctions with respect to any foreign person the President determines” to be responsible for human rights violations. President Obama has globalised the infamous Magnitsky Act (2012), thereby dooming the United States to problems in relations not just with Russia but also with the rest of the world. It is an old foreign policy tradition of Washington to use human rights to put pressure on undesirable governments. But the new Authorisation Act has openly given the Pentagon the power to spread US-style democracy across the planet.

Overall, it appears that the Authorisation Act has been adopted by the outgoing Obama administration, which is hastily introducing new sanctions against Russia, to create problems for the incoming Trump administration and complicate its relations on the international stage, as well as to force it to adopt an anti-Russia policy. This policy has brought the current US administration, which believed that Russia would bow to pressure, into a dead end. We hope the new administration will be more sagacious.

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Manufactured Discontent: Syrian People Never Desired Revolution – By Stephen Gowans

Apparently, the US Left has yet to figure out that Washington doesn’t try to overthrow neoliberals. If Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were a devotee of the Washington Consensus – as Counterpunch’s Eric Draitser seems to believe – the United States government wouldn’t have been calling since 2003 for Assad to step down. Nor would it be overseeing the Islamist guerilla war against his government; it would be protecting him.

There is a shibboleth in some circles that, as Eric Draitser put it in a recent Counterpunch article, the uprising in Syria “began as a response to the Syrian government’s neoliberal policies and brutality,” and that “the revolutionary content of the rebel side in Syria has been sidelined by a hodgepodge of Saudi and Qatari-financed jihadists.” This theory appears, as far as I can tell, to be based on argument by assertion, not evidence.

A review of press reports in the weeks immediately preceding and following the mid-March 2011 outbreak of riots in Daraa—usually recognized as the beginning of the uprising—offers no indication that Syria was in the grips of a revolutionary distemper, whether anti-neo-liberal or otherwise. On the contrary, reporters representing Time magazine and the New York Times referred to the government as having broad support, of critics conceding that Assad was popular, and of Syrians exhibiting little interest in protest. At the same time, they described the unrest as a series of riots involving hundreds, and not thousands or tens of thousands of people, guided by a largely Islamist agenda and exhibiting a violent character.

The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood tried to overthrow Hafez al-Assad from 1976-1982.

Time magazine reported that two jihadist groups that would later play lead roles in the insurgency, Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham, were already in operation on the eve of the riots, while a mere three months earlier, leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood voiced “their hope for a civil revolt in Syria.” The Muslim Brothers, who had decades earlier declared a blood feud with Syria’s ruling Ba’athist Party, objecting violently to the party’s secularism, had been embroiled in a life and death struggle with secular Arab nationalists since the 1960s, and had engaged in street battles with Ba’athist partisans from the late 1940s. (In one such battle, Hafez al-Assad, the current president’s father, who himself would serve as president from 1970 to 2000, was knifed by a Muslim Brother adversary.) The Brotherhood’s leaders, beginning in 2007, met frequently with the US State Department and the US National Security Council, as well as with the US government-funded Middle East Partnership Initiative, which had taken on the overt role of funding overseas overthrow organizations—a task the CIA had previously done covertly.

Washington had conspired to purge Arab nationalist influence from Syria as early as the mid-1950s, when Kermit Roosevelt, who engineered the overthrow of Iran’s prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh for nationalizing his country’s oil industry, plotted with British intelligence to stir up the Muslim Brothers to overthrow a triumvirate of Arab nationalist and communist leaders in Damascus who Washington and London perceived as threatening Western economic interests in the Middle East.

Washington funnelled arms to Brotherhood mujahedeen in the 1980s to wage urban guerrilla warfare against Hafez al-Assad, who hardliners in Washington called an “Arab communist.” His son, Bashar, continued the Arab nationalists’ commitment to unity (of the Arab nation), independence, and (Arab) socialism. These goals guided the Syrian state—as they had done the Arab nationalist states of Libya under Muammar Gaddafi and Iraq under Saddam. All three states were targeted by Washington for the same reason: their Arab nationalist commitments clashed fundamentally with the US imperialist agenda of US global leadership.

Bashar al-Assad’s refusal to renounce Arab nationalist ideology dismayed Washington, which complained about his socialism, the third part of the Ba’athists’ holy trinity of values. Plans to oust Assad—based in part on his failure to embrace Washington’s neo-liberalism—were already in preparation in Washington by 2003, if not earlier. If Assad was championing neo-liberalism, as Draitser and others contend, it somehow escaped the notice of Washington and Wall Street, which complained about “socialist” Syria and the country’s decidedly anti-neoliberal economic policies.

A Death Feud Heats Up With US Assistance

In late January 2011, a page was created on Facebook called The Syrian Revolution 2011. It announced that a “Day of Rage” would be held on February 4 and 5. [1] The protests “fizzled,” reported Time. The Day of Rage amounted to a Day of Indifference. Moreover, the connection to Syria was tenuous. Most of the chants shouted by the few protesters who attended were about Libya, demanding that Muammar Gaddafi—whose government was under siege by Islamist insurrectionists—step down. Plans were set for new protests on March 4 and March 5, but they too garnered little support. [2]

Time’s correspondent Rania Abouzeid attributed the failure of the protest organizers to draw significant support to the fact that most Syrians were not opposed to their government. Assad had a favorable reputation, especially among the two-thirds of the population under 30 years of age, and his government’s policies were widely supported. “Even critics concede that Assad is popular and considered close to the country’s huge youth cohort, both emotionally, ideologically and, of course, chronologically,” Abouzeid reported, adding that unlike “the ousted pro-American leaders of Tunisia and Egypt, Assad’s hostile foreign policy toward Israel, strident support for Palestinians and the militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah are in line with popular Syrian sentiment.” Assad, in other words, had legitimacy. The Time correspondent added that Assad’s “driving himself to the Umayyad Mosque in February to take part in prayers to mark the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, and strolling through the crowded Souq Al-Hamidiyah marketplace with a low security profile” had “helped to endear him, personally, to the public.” [3]

This depiction of the Syrian president—a leader endeared to the public, ideologically in sync with popular Syrian sentiment—clashed starkly with the discourse that would emerge shortly after the eruption of violent protests in the Syrian town of Daraa less than two weeks later, and would become implanted in the discourse of US leftists, including Draitser. But on the eve of the signal Daraa events, Syria was being remarked upon for its quietude. No one “expects mass uprisings in Syria,” Abouzeid reported, “and, despite a show of dissent every now and then, very few want to participate.” [4] A Syrian youth told Time: “There is a lot of government help for the youth. They give us free books, free schools, free universities.” (Hardly the picture of the neo-liberal state Draitser paints.) She continued: “Why should there be a revolution? There’s maybe a one percent chance.” [5] The New York Times shared this view. Syria, the newspaper reported, “seemed immune to the wave of uprisings sweeping the Arab world.” [6] Syria was distemper-free.

© Reuters
The uprising that spread all over Syria was sparked in the ancient town of Deraa

But on March 17, there was a violent uprising in Daraa. There are conflicting accounts of who or what sparked it. Time reported that the “rebellion in Daraa was provoked by the arrest of a handful of youths for daubing a wall with anti-regime graffiti.” [7] The Independent’s Robert Fisk offered a slightly different version. He reported that “government intelligence officers beat and killed several boys who had scrawled anti-government graffiti on the walls of the city.” [8] Another account holds that the factor that sparked the uprising in Daraa that day was extreme and disproportionate use of force by Syrian security forces in response to demonstrations against the boys’ arrest. There “were some youngsters printing some graffiti on the wall, and they were imprisoned, and as their parents wanted them back, the security forces really struck back very, very tough.” [9] Another account, from the Syrian government, denies that any of this happened. Five years after the event, Assad told an interviewer that it “didn’t happen. It was only propaganda. I mean, we heard about them, we never saw those children that have been taken to prison that time. So, it was only a fallacious narrative.”[10]

But if there was disagreement about what sparked the uprising, there was little disagreement that the uprising was violent. The New York Times reported that “Protesters set fire to the ruling Ba’ath Party’s headquarters and other government buildings…and clashed with police….In addition to the party headquarters, protesters burned the town’s main courthouse and a branch of the SyriaTel phone company.” [11] Time added that protesters set fire to the governor’s office, as well as to a branch office of a second cellphone company. [12] The Syrian government’s news agency, SANA, posted photographs of burning vehicles on its Web site. [13] Clearly, this wasn’t a peaceful demonstration, as it would be later depicted. Nor was it a mass uprising. Time reported that the demonstrators numbered in the hundreds, not thousands or tens of thousands. [14]

Assad reacted immediately to the Daraa ructions, announcing “a series of reforms, including a salary increase for public workers, greater freedom for the news media and political parties, and a reconsideration of the emergency rule,” [15] a war-time restriction on political and civil liberties, invoked because Syria was officially at war with Israel. Before the end of April, the government would rescind “the country’s 48-year-old emergency law” and abolish “the Supreme State Security Court.” [16]

Why did the government make these concessions? Because that’s what the Daraa protesters demanded. Protesters “gathered in and around Omari mosque in Daraa, chanting their demands: the release of all political prisoners…the abolition of Syria’s 48-year emergency law; more freedoms; and an end to pervasive corruption.” [17] These demands were consistent with the call, articulated in early February on The Syrian Revolution 2011 Facebook page “to end the state of emergency in Syria and end corruption.” [18] A demand to release all political prisoners was also made in a letter signed by clerics posted on Facebook. The clerics’ demands included lifting the “state of emergency law, releasing all political detainees, halting harassment by the security forces and combating corruption.” [19] Releasing political detainees would amount to releasing jihadists, or, to use a designation current in the West, “terrorists.” The State Department had acknowledged that political Islam was the main opposition in Syria [20]; jihadists made up the principal section of oppositionists likely to be incarcerated. Clerics demanding that Damascus release all political prisoners was equal in effect to the Islamic State demanding that Washington, Paris, and London release all Islamists detained in US, French and British prisons on terrorism charges. This wasn’t a demand for jobs and greater democracy, but a demand for the release from prison of activists inspired by the goal of bringing about an Islamic state in Syria. The call to lift the emergency law, similarly, appeared to have little to do with fostering democracy and more to do with expanding the room for jihadists and their collaborators to organize opposition to the secular state.

A week after the outbreak of violence in Daraa, Time’s Rania Abouzeid reported that “there do not appear to be widespread calls for the fall of the regime or the removal of the relatively popular President.” [21] Indeed, the demands issued by the protesters and clerics had not included calls for Assad to step down. And Syrians were rallying to Assad. “There were counterdemonstrations in the capital in support of the President,” [22] reportedly far exceeding in number the hundreds of protesters who turned out in Daraa to burn buildings and cars and clash with police. [23]

By April 9—less than a month after the Daraa events—Time reported that a string of protests had broken out and that Islam was playing a prominent role in them. For anyone who was conversant with the decades-long succession of strikes, demonstrations, riots, and insurrections the Muslim Brotherhood had organized against what it deemed the “infidel” Ba’athist government, this looked like history repeating itself. The protests weren’t reaching a critical mass. On the contrary, the government continued to enjoy “the loyalty” of “a large part of the population,” reported Time. [24]

Islamists played a lead role in drafting the Damascus Declaration in the mid-2000s, which demanded regime change. [25] In 2007, the Muslim Brothers, the archetypal Sunni political Islamist movement, which inspired Al-Qaeda and its progeny, Jabhat al Nusra and Islamic State, teamed up with a former Syrian vice-president to found the National Salvation Front. The front met frequently with the US State Department and the US National Security Council, as well as with the US government-funded Middle East Partnership Initiative, [26] which did openly what the CIA once did covertly, namely, funnel money and expertise to fifth columnists in countries whose governments Washington opposed.

By 2009, just two years before the eruption of unrest throughout the Arab world, the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood denounced the Arab nationalist government of Bashar al-Assad as a foreign and hostile element in Syrian society which needed to be eliminated. According to the group’s thinking, the Alawite community, to which Assad belonged, and which the Brothers regarded as heretics, used secular Arab nationalism as a cover to furtively advance a sectarian agenda to destroy Syria from within by oppressing “true” (i.e., Sunni) Muslims. In the name of Islam, the heretical regime would have to be overthrown. [27]

A mere three months before the 2011 outbreak of violence in Syria, scholar Liad Porat wrote a brief for the Crown Center for Middle East Studies, based at Brandeis University. “The movement’s leaders,” the scholar concluded, “continue to voice their hope for a civil revolt in Syria, wherein ‘the Syrian people will perform its duty and liberate Syria from the tyrannical and corrupt regime.'” The Brotherhood stressed that it was engaged in a fight to the death with the secular Arab nationalist government of Bashar al-Assad. A political accommodation with the government was impossible because its leaders were not part of the Sunni Muslim Syrian nation. Membership in the Syrian nation was limited to true Muslims, the Brothers contended, and not Alawite heretics who embraced such foreign un-Islamic creeds as secular Arab nationalism. [28]

That the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood played a key role in the uprising that erupted three months later was confirmed in 2012 by the US Defense Intelligence Agency. A leaked report from the agency said that the insurgency was sectarian and led by the Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda in Iraq, the forerunner of Islamic State. The report went on to say that the insurgents were supported by the West, Arab Gulf oil monarchies and Turkey. The analysis correctly predicted the establishment of a “Salafist principality,” an Islamic state, in Eastern Syria, noting that this was desired by the insurgency’s foreign backers, who wanted to see the secular Arab nationalists isolated and cut-off from Iran. [29]

Documents prepared by US Congress researchers in 2005 revealed that the US government was actively weighing regime change in Syria long before the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011, challenging the view that US support for the Syrian rebels was based on allegiance to a “democratic uprising” and showing that it was simply an extension of a long-standing policy of seeking to topple the government in Damascus. Indeed, the researchers acknowledged that the US government’s motivation to overthrow the secular Arab nationalist government in Damascus was unrelated to democracy promotion in the Middle East. In point of fact, they noted that Washington’s preference was for secular dictatorships (Egypt) and monarchies (Jordan and Saudi Arabia.) The impetus for pursuing regime change, according to the researchers, was a desire to sweep away an impediment to the achievement of US goals in the Middle East related to strengthening Israel, consolidating US domination of Iraq, and fostering open market, free enterprise economies. Democracy was never a consideration. [30] If Assad was promoting neo-liberal policies in Syria, as Draitser contends, it’s difficult to understand why Washington cited Syria’s refusal to embrace the US agenda of open markets and free enterprise as a reason to change Syria’s government.

To underscore the point that the protests lacked broad popular support, on April 22, more than a month after the Daraa riot, the New York Times’ Anthony Shadid reported that “the protests, so far, seemed to fall short of the popular upheaval of revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia.” In other words, more than a month after only hundreds—and not thousands or tens of thousands—of protesters rioted in Daraa, there was no sign in Syria of a popular Arab Spring upheaval. The uprising remained a limited, prominently, Islamist affair. By contrast, there had been huge demonstrations in Damascus in support of—not against—the government, Assad remained popular, and, according to Shadid, the government commanded the loyalty of “Christian and heterodox Muslim sects.” [31] Shadid wasn’t the only Western journalist who reported that Alawites, Ismailis, Druze and Christians were strongly backing the government. Times’ Rania Abouzeid observed that the Ba’athists “could claim the backing of Syria’s substantial minority groups.” [32]

The reality that the Syrian government commanded the loyalty of Christian and heterodox Muslim sects, as the New York Times’ Shadid reported, suggested that Syria’s religious minorities recognized something about the uprising that the Western press under-reported (and revolutionary socialists in the United States missed), namely, that it was driven by a sectarian Sunni Islamist agenda which, if brought to fruition, would have unpleasant consequences for anyone who wasn’t considered a “true” Muslim. For this reason, Alawites, Ismailis, Druze and Christians lined up with the Ba’athists who sought to bridge sectarian divisions as part of their programmatic commitment to fostering Arab unity. The slogan “Alawis to the grave and Christians to Beirut!” chanted during demonstrations in those early days” [33] only confirmed the point that the uprising was a continuation of the death feud that Sunni political Islam had vowed to wage against the secular Arab nationalist government, and was not a mass upheaval for democracy or against neo-liberalism. If indeed it was any of these things, how would we explain that a thirst for democracy and opposition to neo-liberalism were present only in the Sunni community and absent in those of religious minorities? Surely, a democratic deficit and neoliberal tyranny, if they were present at all and acted as triggers of a revolutionary upsurge, would have crossed religious lines. That Alawites, Ismailis, Druze and Christians didn’t demonstrate, and that riots were Sunni-based with Islamist content, points strongly to the insurrection, from the very beginning, representing the recrudescence of the long running Sunni jihadist campaign against Ba’athist secularism.

“From the very beginning the Assad government said it was engaged in a fight with militant Islamists.” [34] The long history of Islamist uprisings against Ba’athism prior to 2011 certainly suggested this was very likely the case, and the way in which the uprising subsequently unfolded, as an Islamist-led war against the secular state, only strengthened the view. Other evidence, both positive and negative, corroborated Assad’s contention that the Syrian state was under attack by jihadists (just as it had been many other times in the past.) The negative evidence, that the uprising wasn’t a popular upheaval against an unpopular government, was inhered in Western media reports which showed that Syria’s Arab nationalist government was popular and commanded the loyalty of the population.

By contrast, anti-government demonstrations, riots and protests were small-scale, attracting far fewer people than did a mass demonstration in Damascus in support of the government, and certainly not on the order of the popular upheavals in Egypt and Tunisia. What’s more, the protesters’ demands centered on the release of political prisoners (mainly jihadists) and the lifting of war-time restrictions on the expression of political dissent, not calls for Assad to step down or change the government’s economic policies. The positive evidence came from Western news media accounts which showed that Islam played a prominent role in the riots. Also, while it was widely believed that armed Islamist groups only entered the fray subsequent to the initial spring 2011 riots—and in doing so “hijacked” a “popular uprising”— in point of fact, two jihadist groups which played a prominent role in the post-2011 armed revolt against secular Arab nationalism, Ahrar- al-Sham and Jabhat al-Nusra, were both active at the beginning of 2011. Ahrar al-Sham “started working on forming brigades…well before mid-March, 2011, when the” Daraa riot occurred, according to Time. [35] Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, “was unknown until late January 2012, when it announced its formation… [but] it was active for months before then.” [36]

Another piece of evidence that is consistent with the view that militant Islam played a role in the uprisings very early on—or, at the very least, that the protests were violent from the beginning—is that ‘”there were signs from the very start that armed groups were involved.” The journalist and author Robert Fisk recalled seeing a tape from “the very early days of the ‘rising’ showing men with pistols and Kalashnikovs in a Daraa demonstration.” He recalls another event, in May 2011, when “an Al Jazeera crew filmed armed men shooting at Syrian troops a few hundred metres from the northern border with Lebanon but the channel declined to air the footage.” [37] Even US officials, who were hostile to the Syrian government and might be expected to challenge Damascus’s view that it was embroiled in a fight with armed rebels “acknowledged that the demonstrations weren’t peaceful and that some protesters were armed.” [38] By September, Syrian authorities were reporting that they had lost more than 500 police officers and soldiers, killed by guerillas. [39] By late October, the number had more than doubled. [40] In less than a year, the uprising had gone from the burning of Ba’ath Party buildings and government officers and clashes with police, to guerrilla warfare, involving methods that would be labeled “terrorism” were they undertaken against Western targets.

Assad would later complain that:

“Everything we said in Syria at the beginning of the crisis they say later. They said it’s peaceful, we said it’s not peaceful, they’re killing – these demonstrators, that they called them peaceful demonstrators – have killed policemen. Then it became militants. They said yes, it’s militants. We said it’s militants, it’s terrorism. They said no, it’s not terrorism. Then when they say it’s terrorism, we say it’s Al Qaeda, they say no, it’s not Al Qaeda. So, whatever we said, they say later.” [41]

The “Syrian uprising,” wrote the Middle East specialist Patrick Seale, “should be seen as only the latest, if by far the most violent, episode in the long war between Islamists and Ba’athists, which dates back to the founding of the secular Ba’ath Party in the 1940s. The struggle between them is by now little short of a death-feud.” [42] “It is striking,” Seale continued, citing Aron Lund, who had written a report for the Swedish Institute of International Affairs on Syrian Jihadism, “that virtually all the members of the various armed insurgent groups are Sunni Arabs; that the fighting has been largely restricted to Sunni Arab areas only, whereas areas inhabited by Alawis, Druze or Christians have remained passive or supportive of the regime; that defections from the regime are nearly 100 per cent Sunni; that money, arms and volunteers are pouring in from Islamic states or from pro-Islamic organisations and individuals; and that religion is the insurgent movement’s most important common denominator.” [43]

Brutality as a Trigger?

Is it reasonable to believe that the use of force by the Syrian state sparked the guerrilla war which broke out soon after?

It strains belief that an over-reaction by security forces to a challenge to government authority in the Syrian town of Daraa (if indeed an over-reaction occurred) could spark a major war, involving scores of states, and mobilizing jihadists from scores of countries. A slew of discordant facts would have to be ignored to begin to give this theory even a soupcon of credibility.

First, we would have to overlook the reality that the Assad government was popular and viewed as legitimate. A case might be made that an overbearing response by a highly unpopular government to a trivial challenge to its authority might have provided the spark that was needed to ignite a popular insurrection, but notwithstanding US president Barack Obama’s insistence that Assad lacked legitimacy, there’s no evidence that Syria, in March 2011, was a powder keg of popular anti-government resentment ready to explode. As Time’s Rania Abouzeid reported on the eve of the Daraa riot, “Even critics concede that Assad is popular” [44] and “no one expects mass uprisings in Syria and, despite a show of dissent every now and then, very few want to participate.” [45]

Second, we would have to discount the fact that the Daraa riot involved only hundreds of participants, hardly a mass uprising, as Time’s Nicholas Blanford reported.[46] Similarly, the New York Times‘ Anthony Shadid found no evidence that there was a popular upheaval in Syria, even more than a month after the Daraa riot.[47] What was going on, contrary to Washington-propagated rhetoric about the Arab Spring breaking out in Syria, was that jihadists were engaged in a campaign of guerilla warfare against Syrian security forces, and had, by October, taken the lives of more than a thousand police officers and soldiers.

Third, we would have to close our eyes to the fact that the US government, with its British ally, had drawn up plans in 1956 to provoke a war in Syria by enlisting the Muslim Brotherhood to instigate internal uprisings. [48] The Daraa riot and subsequent armed clashes with police and soldiers resembled the plan which regime change specialist Kermit Roosevelt had prepared. That’s not to say that the CIA dusted off Roosevelt’s proposal and recycled it for use in 2011; only that the plot showed that Washington and London were capable of planning a destabilization operation involving a Muslim Brotherhood-led insurrection to bring about regime change in Syria.

We would also have to ignore the events of February 1982, when the Muslim Brothers seized control of Hama, Syria’s fourth largest city. Hama was the epicenter of Sunni fundamentalism in Syria, and a major base of operations for the jihadist fighters. Galvanized by a false report that Assad had been overthrown, Muslim Brothers went on a gleeful blood-soaked rampage throughout the city, attacking police stations and murdering Ba’ath Party leaders and their families, along with government officials and soldiers. In some cases, victims were decapitated [49] a practice which would be resurrected decades later by Islamic State fighters. Every Ba’athist official in Hama was murdered. [50]

The Hama events of 1982 are usually remembered in the West (if they’re remembered at all), not for the atrocities carried out by the Islamists, but for the Syrian army’s response, which, as would be expected of any army, involved the use of force to restore sovereign control over the territory seized by the insurrectionists. Thousands of troops were dispatched to take Hama back from the Muslim Brothers. Former US State Department official William R. Polk described the aftermath of the Syrian army assault on Hama as resembling that of the US assault on the Iraqi city of Fallujah in 2004, [51] (the difference, of course, being that the Syrian army was acting legitimately within its own sovereign territory while the US military was acting illegitimately as an occupying force to quell opposition to its occupation.) How many died in the Hama assault, however, remains a matter of dispute. The figures vary. “An early report in Time said that 1,000 were killed. Most observers estimated that 5,000 people died. Israeli sources and the Muslim Brotherhood”—sworn enemies of the secular Arab nationalists who therefore had an interest in exaggerating the casualty toll—”both charged that the death toll passed 20,000.” [52] Robert Dreyfus, who has written on the West’s collaboration with political Islam, argues that Western sources deliberately exaggerated the death toll in order to demonize the Ba’athists as ruthless killers, and that the Ba’athists went along with the deception in order to intimidate the Muslim Brotherhood. [53]

As the Syrian army sorted through the rubble of Hama in the aftermath of the assault, evidence was found that foreign governments had provided Hama’s insurrectionists with money, arms, and communications equipment. Polk writes that:

“Assad saw foreign troublemakers at work among his people. This, after all, was the emotional and political legacy of colonial rule—a legacy painfully evident in most of the post-colonial world, but one that is almost unnoticed in the Western world. And the legacy is not a myth. It is a reality that, often years after events occur, we can verify with official papers. Hafez al-Assad did not need to wait for leaks of documents: his intelligence services and international journalists turned up dozens of attempts by conservative, oil-rich Arab countries, the United States, and Israel to subvert his government. Most engaged in ‘dirty tricks,’ propaganda, or infusions of money, but it was noteworthy that in the 1982 Hama uprising, more than 15,000 foreign-supplied machine guns were captured, along with prisoners including Jordanian- and CIA-trained paramilitary forces (much like the jihadists who appear so much in media accounts of 2013 Syria). And what he saw in Syria was confirmed by what he learned about Western regime-changing elsewhere. He certainly knew of the CIA attempt to murder President Nasser of Egypt and the Anglo-American overthrow of the government of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh.” [54]

In his book “From Beirut to Jerusalem”, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote that “the Hama massacre could be understood as, ‘The natural reaction of a modernizing politician in a relatively new nation state trying to stave off retrogressive—in this case, Islamic fundamentalists—elements aiming to undermine everything he has achieved in the way of building Syria into a 20th century secular republic. That is also why,” continued Friedman, that “if someone had been able to take an objective opinion poll in Syria after the Hama massacre, Assad’s treatment of the rebellion probably would have won substantial approval, even among Sunni Muslims.” [55]

The outbreak of a Sunni Islamist jihad against the Syrian government in the 1980s challenges the view that militant Sunni Islam in the Levant is an outcome of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq and the pro-Shi’a sectarian policies of the US occupation authorities. This view is historically myopic, blind to the decades-long existence of Sunni political Islam as a significant force in Levantine politics. From the moment Syria achieved formal independence from France after World War II, through the decades that followed in the 20th century, and into the next century, the main contending forces in Syria were secular Arab nationalism and political Islam. As journalist Patrick Cockburn wrote in 2016, “the Syrian armed opposition is dominated by Isis, al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham.” The “only alternative to (secular Arab nationalist) rule is the Islamists.” [56] This has long been the case.

Finally, we would also have to ignore the fact that US strategists had planned since 2003, and possibly as early as 2001, to force Assad and his secular Arab nationalist ideology from power, and was funding the Syrian opposition, including Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups, from 2005. Accordingly, Washington had been driving toward the overthrow of the Assad government with the goal of de-Ba’athifying Syria. An Islamist-led guerilla struggle against Syria’s secular Arab nationalists would have unfolded, regardless of whether the Syrian government’s response at Daraa was excessive or not. The game was already in play, and a pretext was being sought. Daraa provided it. Thus, the idea that the arrest of two boys in Daraa for painting anti-government graffiti on a wall could provoke a major conflict is a believable as the notion that WWI was caused by nothing more than the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

Socialist Syria

Socialism can be defined in many ways, but if it is defined as public-ownership of the commanding heights of the economy accompanied by economic planning, then Syria under its 1973 and 2012 constitutions clearly meets the definition of socialism. However, the Syrian Arab Republic had never been a working-class socialist state, of the category Marxists would recognize. It was, instead, an Arab socialist state inspired by the goal of achieving Arab political independence and overcoming the legacy of the Arab nation’s underdevelopment. The framers of the constitution saw socialism as a means to achieve national liberation and economic development. “The march toward the establishment of a socialist order,” the 1973 constitution’s framers wrote, is a “fundamental necessity for mobilizing the potentialities of the Arab masses in their battle with Zionism and imperialism.” Marxist socialism concerned itself with the struggle between an exploiting owning class and exploited working class, while Arab socialism addressed the struggle between exploiting and exploited nations. While these two different socialisms operated at different levels of exploitation, the distinctions were of no moment for Westerns banks, corporations and major investors as they cast their gaze across the globe in pursuit of profit. Socialism was against the profit-making interests of US industrial and financial capital, whether it was aimed at ending the exploitation of the working class or overcoming the imperialist oppression of national groups.

Ba’ath socialism had long irritated Washington. The Ba’athist state had exercised considerable influence over the Syrian economy, through ownership of enterprises, subsidies to privately-owned domestic firms, limits on foreign investment, and restrictions on imports. The Ba’athists regarded these measures as necessary economic tools of a post-colonial state trying to wrest its economic life from the grips of former colonial powers and to chart a course of development free from the domination of foreign interests.

Washington’s goals, however, were obviously antithetical. It didn’t want Syria to nurture its industry and zealously guard its independence, but to serve the interests of the bankers and major investors who truly mattered in the United States, by opening Syrian labor to exploitation and Syria’s land and natural resources to foreign ownership. Our agenda, the Obama Administration had declared in 2015, “is focused on lowering tariffs on American products, breaking down barriers to our goods and services, and setting higher standards to level the playing field for American…firms.”[57] This was hardly a new agenda, but had been the agenda of US foreign policy for decades. Damascus wasn’t falling into line behind a Washington that insisted that it could and would “lead the global economy.”[58]

Hardliners in Washington had considered Hafez al-Assad an Arab communist, [59] and US officials considered his son, Bashar, an ideologue who couldn’t bring himself to abandon the third pillar of the Ba’ath Arab Socialist Party’s program: socialism. The US State Department complained that Syria had “failed to join an increasingly interconnected global economy,” which is to say, had failed to turn over its state-owned enterprises to private investors, among them Wall Street financial interests. The US State Department also expressed dissatisfaction that “ideological reasons” had prevented Assad from liberalizing Syria’s economy, that “privatization of government enterprises was still not widespread,” and that the economy “remains highly controlled by the government.” [60] Clearly, Assad hadn’t learned what Washington had dubbed the “lessons of history,” namely, that “market economies, not command-and-control economies with the heavy hand of government, are the best.” [61] By drafting a constitution that mandated that the government maintain a role in guiding the economy on behalf of Syrian interests, and that the Syrian government would not make Syrians work for the interests of Western banks, corporations, and investors, Assad was asserting Syrian independence against Washington’s agenda of “opening markets and leveling the playing field for American….businesses abroad.” [62]

On top of this, Assad underscored his allegiance to socialist values against what Washington had once called the “moral imperative” of “economic freedom,” [63] by writing social rights into the constitution: security against sickness, disability and old age; access to health care; and free education at all levels. These rights would continue to be placed beyond the easy reach of legislators and politicians who could sacrifice them on the altar of creating a low-tax, foreign-investment-friendly business climate. As a further affront against Washington’s pro-business orthodoxy, the constitution committed the state to progressive taxation.

Finally, the Ba’athist leader included in his updated constitution a provision that had been introduced by his father in 1973, a step toward real, genuine democracy—a provision which decision-makers in Washington, with their myriad connections to the banking and corporate worlds, could hardly tolerate. The constitution would require that at minimum half the members of the People’s Assembly be drawn from the ranks of peasants and workers.

If Assad was a neo-liberal, he certainly was one of the world’s oddest devotees of the ideology.

Drought?

A final point on the origins of the violent uprising in 2011: Some social scientists and analysts have drawn on a study published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences to suggest that “drought played a role in the Syrian unrest.” According to this view, drought “caused crop failures that led to the migration of as many as 1.5 million people from rural to urban areas.” This, in combination with an influx of refugees from Iraq, intensified competition for scarce jobs in urban areas, making Syria a cauldron of social and economic tension ready to boil over. [64] The argument sounds reasonable, even “scientific,” but the phenomenon it seeks to explain—mass upheaval in Syria—never happened. As we’ve seen, a review of Western press coverage found no reference to mass upheaval. On the contrary, reporters who expected to find a mass upheaval were surprised that they didn’t find one. Instead, Western journalists found Syria to be surprisingly quiet. Demonstrations called by organizers of the Syrian Revolution 2011 Facebook page fizzled. Critics conceded that Assad was popular. Reporters could find no one who believed a revolt was imminent. Even a month after the Daraa incident—which involved only hundreds of protesters, dwarfed by the tens of thousands of Syrians who demonstrated in Damascus in support of the government—the New York Times reporter on the ground, Anthony Shadid, could find no sign in Syria of the mass upheavals of Tunisia and Egypt. In early February 2011, “Omar Nashabe, a long-time Syria watcher and correspondent for the Beirut-based Arabic daily Al-Ahkbar” told Time that “Syrians may be afflicted by poverty that stalks 14% of its population combined with an estimated 20% unemployment rate, but Assad still has his credibility.” [65]

That the government commanded popular support was affirmed when the British survey firm YouGov published a poll in late 2011 showing that 55 percent of Syrians wanted Assad to stay. The poll received almost no mention in the Western media, prompting the British journalist Jonathan Steele to ask: “Suppose a respectable opinion poll found that most Syrians are in favor of Bashar al-Assad remaining as president, would that not be major news?” Steele described the poll findings as “inconvenient facts” which were” suppressed “because Western media coverage of the events in Syria had ceased “to be fair” and had turned into “a propaganda weapon.”[66]

Sloganeering in lieu of politics and analysis

Draitser can be faulted, not only for propagating an argument made by assertion, based on no evidence, but for substituting slogans for politics and analysis. In his October 20 Counterpunch article, “Syria and the Left: Time to Break the Silence”, he argues that the defining goals of Leftism ought to be the pursuit of peace and justice, as if these are two inseparable qualities, which are never in opposition. That peace and justice may, at times, be antithetical, is illustrated in the following conversation between Australian journalist Richard Carleton and Ghassan Kanafani, a Palestinian writer, novelist and revolutionary. [67]

C: ‘Why won’t your organization engage in peace talks with the Israelis?’

K: ‘You don’t mean exactly “peace talks”. You mean capitulation. Surrendering.

C: ‘Why not just talk?’

K: ‘Talk to whom?’

C: ‘Talk to the Israeli leaders.’

K: ‘That is kind of a conversation between the sword and the neck, you mean?’

C: ‘Well, if there are no swords and no guns in the room, you could still talk.’

K: ‘No. I have never seen any talk between a colonialist and a national liberation movement.’

C: ‘But despite this, why not talk?’

K: ‘Talk about what?’

C: ‘Talk about the possibility of not fighting.’

K: ‘Not fighting for what?’

C: ‘No fighting at all. No matter what for.’

K: ‘People usually fight for something. And they stop fighting for something. So you can’t even tell me why we should speak about what. Why should we talk about stopping to fight?’

C: ‘Talk to stop fighting to stop the death and the misery, the destruction and the pain.’

K: ‘The misery and the destruction the pain and the death of whom?’

C: ‘Of Palestinians. Of Israelis. Of Arabs.’

K: ‘Of the Palestinian people who are uprooted, thrown in the camps, living in starvation, killed for twenty years and forbidden to use even the name “Palestinians”?’

C: ‘They are better that way than dead though.’

K: ‘Maybe to you. But to us, it’s not. To us, to liberate our country, to have dignity, to have respect, to have our mere human rights is something as essential as life itself.

To which values the US Left should devote itself when peace and justice are in conflict, Draitser doesn’t say. His invocation of the slogan “peace and justice” as the desired defining mission of the US Left seems to be nothing more than an invitation for Leftists to abandon politics in favor of embarking on a mission of becoming beautiful souls, above the sordid conflicts which plaque humanity—never taking a side, except that of the angels. His assertion that “no state or group has the best interests of Syrians at heart” is almost too silly to warrant comment. How would he know? One can’t help but get the impression that he believes that he, and the US Left, alone among the groups and states of the world, know what’s best for the “Syrian people.” Which may be why he opines that the responsibility of the US Left, “is to the people of Syria,” as if the people of Syria are an undifferentiated mass with uniform interests and agendas. Syrians en masse include both secularists and political Islamists, who have irreconcilable views of how the state ought to be organized, who have been locked in a death feud for more than half a century—one helped along, on the Islamist side, by his own government. Syrians en masse include those who favor integration into the US Empire, and those who are against it; those who collaborate with US imperialists and those who refuse to. In this perspective, what does it mean, to say the US Left has a responsibility to the people of Syria? Which people of Syria?

I would have thought that the responsibility of the US Left is to working people of the United States, not the people of Syria. And I would have imagined, as well, that the US Left would regard its responsibilities to include disseminating a rigorous, evidence-based political analysis of how the US economic elite uses the apparatus of the US state to advance its interests at the expense of both domestic and foreign populations. How does Washington’s long war on Syria affect the working people of America? That’s what Draitser ought to be talking about.

NOTES

1 Aryn Baker, “Syria is not Egypt, but might it one day be Tunisia?,” Time, February 4, 2011

2 Rania Abouzeid, “The Syrian style of repression: Thugs and lectures,” Time, February 27, 2011

3 Rania Abouzeid, “Sitting pretty in Syria: Why few go backing Bashar,” Time, March 6, 2011

4 Rania Abouzeid, “The youth of Syria: the rebels are on pause,” Time, March 6, 2011.

5 Rania Abouzeid, “The youth of Syria: the rebels are on pause,” Time, March 6, 2011

6 “Officers fire on crowd as Syrian protests grow,” The New York Times, March 20, 2011

7 Nicholas Blanford, “Can the Syrian regime divide and conquer its opposition?,” Time, April 9, 2011

8 Robert Fisk, “Welcome to Dera’a, Syria’s graveyard of terrorists,” The Independent, July 6. 2016

9 President Assad to ARD TV: Terrorists breached cessation of hostilities agreement from the very first hour, Syrian Army refrained from retaliating,” SANA, March 1, 2016

10 Ibid

11 “Officers fire on crowd as Syrian protests grow,” The New York Times, March 20, 2011

12 Rania Abouzeid, “Arab Spring: Is a revolution starting up in Syria?” Time, March 20, 2011; Rania Abouzeid, “Syria’s revolt: How graffiti stirred an uprising,” Time, March 22, 2011

13 “Officers fire on crowd as Syrian protests grow,” The New York Times, March 20, 2011

14 Rania Abouzeid, “Arab Spring: Is a revolution starting up in Syria?,” Time, March 20, 2011

15 “Thousands march to protest Syria killings”, The New York Times, March 24, 2011

16 Rania Abouzeid, “Assad and reform: Damned if he does, doomed if he doesn’t,” Time, April 22, 2011

17 “Officers fire on crowd as Syrian protests grow,” The New York Times, March 20, 2011

18 Aryn Baker, “Syria is not Egypt, but might it one day be Tunisia?,” Time, February 4, 2011

19 Nicholas Blanford, “Can the Syrian regime divide and conquer its opposition?” Time, April 9, 2011.

20 Alfred B. Prados and Jeremy M. Sharp, “Syria: Political Conditions and Relations with the United States After the Iraq War,” Congressional Research Service, February 28, 2005

21 Rania Abouzeid, “Syria’s Friday of dignity becomes a day of death,” Time, March 25, 2011

22 Rania Abouzeid, “Syria’s Friday of dignity becomes a day of death,” Time, March 25, 2011

23 “Syrie: un autre eclarage du conflict qui dure depuis 5 ans, BeCuriousTV , » May 23, 2016, http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-aleppo-doctor-demolishes-imperialist-propaganda-and-media-warmongering/5531157

24 Nicholas Blanford, “Can the Syrian regime divide and conquer its opposition?” Time, April 9, 2011

25 Jay Solomon, “To check Syria, U.S. explores bond with Muslim Brothers,” The Wall Street Journal, July 25, 2007

26 Ibid

27 Liad Porat, “The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and the Asad Regime,” Crown Center for Middle East Studies, Brandeis University, December 2010, No. 47

28 Ibid

29 http://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Pg.-291-Pgs.-287-293-JW-v-DOD-and-State-14-812-DOD-Release-2015-04-10-final-version11.pdf

30 Alfred B. Prados and Jeremy M. Sharp, “Syria: Political Conditions and Relations with the United States After the Iraq War,” Congressional Research Service, February 28, 2005.

31 Anthony Shadid, “Security forces kill dozens in uprisings around Syria”, The New York Times, April 22, 2011

32 Rania Abouzeid, “Syria’s Friday of dignity becomes a day of death,” Time, March 25, 2011

33 Fabrice Balanche, “The Alawi Community and the Syria Crisis Middle East Institute, May 14, 2015

34 Anthony Shadid, “Syria broadens deadly crackdown on protesters”, The New York Times, May 8, 2011

35 Rania Abouzeid, “Meet the Islamist militants fighting alongside Syria’s rebels,” Time, July 26, 2012

36 Rania Abouzeid, “Interview with official of Jabhat al-Nusra, Syria’s Islamist militia group,” Time, Dec 25, 2015

37 Robert Fisk, “Syrian civil war: West failed to factor in Bashar al-Assad’s Iranian backers as the conflict developed,” The Independent, March 13, 2016

38 Anthony Shadid, “Syria broadens deadly crackdown on protesters”, The New York Times, May 8, 2011

39 Nada Bakri, “Syria allows Red Cross officials to visit prison”, The New York Times, September 5, 2011

40 Nada Bakri, “Syrian opposition calls for protection from crackdown”, The New York Times, October 25, 2011

41 President al-Assad to Portuguese State TV: International system failed to accomplish its duty… Western officials have no desire to combat terrorism, SANA, March 5, 2015

42 Patrick Seale, “Syria’s long war,” Middle East Online, September 26, 2012

43 Ibid

44 Rania Abouzeid, “Sitting pretty in Syria: Why few go backing Bashar,” Time, March 6, 2011

45 Rania Abouzeid, “The youth of Syria: the rebels are on pause,” Time, March 6, 2011

46 “Can the Syrian regime divide and conquer its opposition?” Time, April 9, 2011

47 Anthony Shadid, “Security forces kill dozens in uprisings around Syria”, The New York Times, April 22, 2011

48 Ben Fenton, “Macmillan backed Syria assassination plot,” The Guardian, September 27, 2003

49 Robert Fisk, “Conspiracy of silence in the Arab world,” The Independent, February 9, 2007

50 Robert Dreyfus, Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Fundamentalist Islam, Holt, 2005, p. 205

51 William R. Polk, “Understanding Syria: From pre-civil war to post-Assad,” The Atlantic, December 10, 2013

52 Dreyfus

53 Dreyfus

54 William R. Polk, “Understanding Syria: From pre-civil war to post-Assad,” The Atlantic, December 10, 2013

55 Quoted in Nikolas Van Dam, The Struggle for Power in Syria: Politics and Society under Asad and the Ba’ath Party, I.B. Taurus, 2011

56 Patrick Cockburn, “Confused about the US response to Isis in Syria? Look to the CIA’s relationship with Saudi Arabia,” The Independent, June 17, 2016

57 National Security Strategy, February 2015

58 Ibid

59 Robert Baer, Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude, Three Rivers Press, 2003, p. 123

60 US State Department website. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3580.htm#econ. Accessed February 8, 2012

61 The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, September 2002

62 National Security Strategy, February 2015

63 The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, March 2006

64 Henry Fountain, “Researchers link Syrian conflict to drought made worse by climate change,” The New York Times, March 2, 2015

65 Aryn Baker, “Syria is not Egypt, but might it one day be Tunisia?,” Time, February 4, 2011

66 Jonathan Steele, “Most Syrians back President Assad, but you’d never know from western media,” The Guardian, January 17, 2012

67 “Full transcript: Classic video interview with Comrade Ghassan Kanafani re-surfaces,” PFLP, October 17, 2016

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From Silvia Iranova by email

Al-Sukkari Quarter:  A truck rigged to explode was identified with the help of local citizens.  They were suspicious because the truck, which was relatively new, was simply left behind by a driver who, as it turns out, was one of the evacuated rodents.  SAA engineers discovered the truck contained over 2 tons of TNT and C-4.  Once dismantled, all explosives were taken to a military area and kept for use in killing Saudis and Chechens.

It horrifies me to tell you that the foreign spies who were holed up in Aleppo were allowed to leave with the other terrorist evacuees. This was a deal struck by the Russians and Iranians in in spite of the SAA’s objections.  As you know, 100+ Syrian soldiers were murdered by the terrorists even though they were hostages over whom the SAA conditioned any evacution.  I am deeply ashamed to have to tell you this.  It’s not a happy day for us.

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DAMASCUS:

You all remember the louse who sent his 12 year-old daughter to her death in a suicide operation in Damascus which we covered?  Well, he’s now roasting in Hell thanks to a member of his own group.  That some Muslims actually view this monster as some kind of hero is testament to their idiocy which has stuffed Islamic culture in the abyss of history since the fall of the Abbasid Caliph, Al-Musta’sim.   He was known as Abu Nimr (Father of “the Tiger”).  This tiger, though, is burning bright in the bowels of Hades. 

Doumaa:  We are pleased to also announce the timely death of another rodent by the name of ‘Ali Kabkab of the Jaysh Al-Islam.  He was also known as “Abu Fahd”, (Father of the “Panther”).  He was killed by an SAA artillery strike while molesting 2 of his comrades who also, mercifully, were sent to Hell with him.

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HOMS: 

The terrorists of ISIS are obsessed with the Tayfoor (T-4) AB in the eastern sector of the province.  But, every time they attack, they are repelled and find themselves pursued by a relentless Syrian Army.  The army is now advancing considerably in the area of the Black Hills (Al-Tulool Al-Sood) and most notably in the areas of Al-Shareefa Village southwest of Palmyra.  So far, they have destroyed an armored car with 3 rodents in it and another 12 rats following along.  The number of wounded is estimated at 50.

Talbeesa Area:  SAA artillery hit pay dirt in the southern part of Al-Mashjar Neighborhood in the southern part of the town.  A rocket launcher was destroyed along with a 12.5 mm cannon.  The number of killed and wounded is 25+ based on intercepted communications of Ahraar Al-Shaam:

Ahmad ‘Abdul-Waahid

Ahmad Al-Bateesh

Saalih Sulaymaan

Muhammd Dughaymish

‘Abdullah Al-‘Utook

The rest were all foreigners. 

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DERA’H: 

 

In the town of Al-Sanamayn, over 500 individuals, who once sought the destruction of their own country,  passed the test for amnesty.  About 150 of the 500 were actual card-carrying terrorists.  They have now surrendered all weapons to the Syrian Arab Army.  Those who were AWOL or draft dodgers have signed papers permitting them to complete their military service with the right side. 

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NEWS AND COMMENT:

The president also visited the shrine at Our Lady of Saydnaayaa.  See it in this video sent by Silvia:

 https://www.facebook.com/tOPeTEGZ/videos/1378182078880775/

Here’s the first moment the president and first lady arrive at the orphanage:

https://www.facebook.com/AsmaalAssad.FirstLady/videos/1714460838579966/

Hans Helffer sends this video showing Aleppo residents returning home:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlMaMFc0Q48

 

SAA DISMANTLES 2 TONS OF EXPLOSIVES IN A RIGGED TRUCK IN ALEPPO; THE FOREIGN TERRORIST ENABLERS WERE ALLOWED TO LEAVE ALEPPO IN DEAL; by Ziad Fadel

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