Syrian Authorities Discover Cache of Western, Israeli Weapons in Homs – Report – By SPUTNIK

 

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The Syrian army has on multiple occasions stumbled upon caches of weapons and ammunition made in western countries and Israel while performing sweeping operations in provinces, liberated from terrorist and militant groups.

While performing a mop up operation in the northern part of Homs, Syrian authorities discovered a weapons cache, which contained various weaponry and ammunition, Syrian news agency Sana reported. According to the media outlet, the cache was left behind by “terrorists” and contained 14.5mm machine guns, sniper modifications of FAL rifles produced in unspecified western countries, assault rifles, Israeli-made grenades and different types of ammunition.

READ MORE: WATCH as Syrian Army Uncovers Massive Haul of Western-Made Weapons for Rebels

This is not the first time Syrian authorities have found caches full of foreign-made weapons left behind by terrorists and militants. In July the Syrian Army reportedly found RPG launchers, shells, gasmasks, minesweepers, mortars, heavy machine gun emplacements and TOW launchers produced in the US among the weapons that fighters in Daraa province handed over under a reconciliation agreement. These weapons were reportedly supplied by the US to the Free Syrian Army.

READ MORE: Syrian Army Reportedly Finds NATO, Israeli-Made Weapons in Daesh Arsenal (VIDEO)

Among the weapons handed over in May by terrorists from towns south of Damascus Syrian authorities found models produced in Israel. The Syrian Army also found NATO and Israeli-made weapons in former Daesh* depos discovered in the Deir ez-Zor Governorate.

Bombardment of Syria’s Ghouta endangers aid convoy: UN – By CGTN

Politics
CGTN

2018-03-09 22:51 GMT+8

An emergency aid delivery crossed front lines into the besieged rebel enclave of eastern Ghouta on Friday but ran quickly into danger from renewed shelling, the top UN official in Syria said, amid a fierce government offensive.

The convoy was carrying food that could not be offloaded on Monday when fighting forced an earlier delivery to leave early, and the latest shelling came despite safety assurances, UN resident coordinator Ali al-Za’tari said.

In less than two weeks, the Syrian army has retaken nearly all the farmland in eastern Ghouta under cover of near ceaseless shelling and air strikes, leaving only a dense sprawl of towns – about half the territory – still under insurgent control.

Wreckage of structures in Arbin town, which has been under siege of Assad Regime, in Eastern Ghouta region, Damascus, Syria on March 09, 2018. /VCG Photo

E Ghouta residents are suffering

The onslaught has killed more than 1,000 people, the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said on Thursday. The war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, on Friday gave a death toll of 940 civilians in the campaign.

For eastern Ghouta’s civilians, trapped in underground shelters but deprived of food and water, there is a constant dilemma – whether to seek supplies or stay inside.

Damascus and Moscow have both said the assault is needed to stop rebel shelling of the nearby capital Damascus and end the rule of Islamist insurgents over civilians in eastern Ghouta.

But UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein has said, in comments criticized by Syria’s government, that the assault was “legally, and morally, unsustainable.”

The Observatory said there had been no air strikes on eastern Ghouta’s towns overnight for the first time since the government ground offensive began around 10 days ago.

Syrian Red Crescent trucks carry humanitarian aid in the Syrian town of Douma in the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta on March 9, 2018. /VCG Photo‍

But soon after the convoy of 13 trucks carrying food parcels crossed into eastern Ghouta, the Observatory and a witness in Douma said air strikes had resumed.

The food parcels were supposed to be delivered on Monday when another aid convoy entered Douma, but the fighting and bombardment then forced it to leave early without unloading all its supplies.

‘One meal in several days’

“The situation is relatively good today. The bombing eased for a bit and is no longer intense,” said Bilal Abu Salah, a resident of Douma, before the resumption of air strikes. But he added that shortages remain acute, causing great hardship.

“Entire families eat one meal in several days,” he said.

UN aid agencies have pleaded with the Syrian government and its ally Russia to halt the campaign and allow access for humanitarian deliveries.

Wounded children receive medical treatment at a field hospital in Damascus, Syria on March 08, 2018. /VCG Photo 

The United Nations estimates that 400,000 people live in rebel-held areas of eastern Ghouta. The government and Russia’s military have opened what they say are safe routes out of the enclave, but no inhabitants are known to have left yet.

Damascus and Moscow accuse the insurgents of shooting at civilians to prevent them fleeing the fighting into government areas. Rebels deny this and say the area’s inhabitants have not crossed into government territory because they fear persecution.

The terror of the bombardment and the increasingly unbearable living conditions may push people to brave the fighting and flee, according to one resident of Douma.

Medical facilities have been hit in air strikes, adding to shortages of equipment that have made it harder to treat the wounded. On Friday the World Health Organization said attacks on medical facilities in Syria were on the rise.

State television reported on Friday morning that the army had control over the village of Beit Sawa, where rebel officials on Thursday said insurgents had recaptured some positions. Government forces will now advance along other fronts, it said.

Source(s): Reuters

$200bn to reconstruct war-torn Syria… the US and its partners should pay – By Finian Cunningham

Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.
 
$200bn to reconstruct war-torn Syria… the US and its partners should pay
With Syria’s nearly seven-year war now virtually over, the process of rebuilding the devastated country comes to the fore, with the financial cost of that effort put at $200 billion. Who pays for it?

When you view the ruins of Aleppo alone, Syria’s second biggest city, plus the carnage across the entire country, from towns, villages, bridges, roads, public utilities, hospitals, schools, and so on, the real figure for reconstruction could be far higher than $200 billion.

Then there is the inestimable cost of human suffering and families decimated. All told, the reparations could amount to trillions of dollars.

Syria’s war was no ordinary civil war, as Western mainstream media tended to mendaciously depict it.

From the outset, the conflict was one of an externally driven covert war for regime change against the government of President Bashar Assad. The Arab Spring unrest of 2011 provided a convenient cover for the Western plot to subvert Syria.

The United States and its NATO allies, Britain, France, and Turkey, were the main driving forces behind the war in Syria, which resulted in up to 400,000 deaths and millions of citizens displaced from their homes. Other key regional players sponsoring the campaign against the Syrian government were Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Israel.

Most of the militants who fought in Syria to overthrow the state authorities were not Syrian nationals. Self-styled jihadists from dozens of countries around the world made their way to Syria, where they were funded, armed and directed by covert forces from Western and Arab states.

The barbarian-like gravitation to Syria indicates the degree to which the effort to overthrow the Syrian government was orchestrated by foreign powers.

This was a planned, concerted project for regime change. The systematic violence imposed on Syria was very arguably due to an international criminal conspiracy perpetrated by the US and all of the above “partners.” The case can, therefore, be made for criminal responsibility.

That, in turn, means that financial reparations and damages can be sued by the Syrian state against those foreign powers which waged the war, albeit indirectly through proxy militant groups.

The bitter irony though is that the US and its Western allies are reportedly using Syria’s war-torn plight as leverage to pursue their political objective of ousting Assad. What these powers could not achieve on the battlefield with their terrorist mercenaries they now seem to be pursuing through their dominance over international financial institutions.

The Washington DC-based International Monetary Fund estimates the reconstruction of Syria’s devastated infrastructure will cost $200 billion. (As noted above, that’s probably a gross underestimate.)

As Bloomberg News reported last week: “The US and its European and Arab partners have for years insisted that Assad must go and are now using the carrot of funding for rebuilding the shattered nation in a final attempt to pressure the Syrian leader. The International Monetary Fund estimates the cost of reconstruction at $200 billion, and neither of Syria’s main allies, Russia and Iran, can afford to pick up the bill.”

It’s a moot point whether Russia and Iran cannot afford to help rebuild Syria. Who’s to say that those two powers along with China and other Eurasian nations could not club together to create a reconstruction fund for Syria, independent of Western countries and their Arab client regimes?

However, regardless of the source of funding for Syria, what Russia, China, Iran and other key international players should push for at the United Nations and other global forums such as the Non-Aligned Movement is the repudiation of Western efforts to link financial aid to future political change in Syria.

Alexander Lavrentiev, Russia’s envoy steering the peace process in Syria, has reiterated Moscow’s position that the political outcome for Syria must be determined by the Syrian people alone, free from external influence. That is also the position of several UN resolutions.

Lavrentiev says Bashar Assad should be free to run in next year’s presidential election if he chooses to and that it is unacceptable for the US and its allies to try to use financial aid as a bargaining tool.

“It’s a simplistic approach when some Western countries say that they’ll give money only when they see that the opposition comes to power or their interests are fully accommodated,” said the Russian envoy.

It’s not merely unacceptable for such Western conditioning. It’s outrageous. Far from quibbling about financial aid to Syria, the debate should be broadened out to hold governments to account for the destruction and loss of life in Syria.

To establish responsibility is not a mystery. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey are known to have poured money and weapons into dozens of jihadist-styled groups, including Ahrar al-Sham and Jaysh al Islam under the umbrella of the Islamic Front or Army of Conquest. The precise distinction – if any – between these groups and the internationally proscribed terror organizations of Nusra Front (Hayat Tahrir al-Sham) and Daesh (Islamic State) is elusive and probably negligible.

American, British and French special forces are known to have trained militants under the faux banner of “moderate rebels” and “Free Syrian Army,” even when there is evidence these same groups were cooperating with Al-Qaeda-type extremist networks. Under President Barack Obama, the US government funneled $500 million into training “rebels” in Syria. Trump earlier this year closed down CIA training operations. This is, in effect, an admission of culpability by Washington of fueling the war.

The Americans and British forces were up to recently training the militant group Maghawir al Thawra at Al Tanf base on the Syrian-Iraqi border. The American government also funded another jihadist group Nour al-Din al Zenki, which came to notoriety in a video showing their members beheading a Palestinian boy.

Weapons caches recovered by the Syria Arab Army after the liberation of ISIS strongholds in Deir ez-Zor also show stockpiles of US-made arms and other NATO munitions, including anti-tank missiles.

The Western governments openly funded the fake emergency responders – the so-called White Helmets – who worked hand-in-hand as a propaganda front for Al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front. 

There have been systematic links between Western governments, their regional client regimes and the terror proxies who carried out the dirty war on their behalf in Syria over the past seven years.

It is an insult upon injury for Western governments to impose constraints on financial aid to Syria. Furthermore, the economic costs of reconstruction should not be levied on the Syrian people. Those costs should be paid in full by Washington and its partners who engaged in a criminal war on Syria.

Surely, Syria, Russia, Iran and other allied governments should form an international prosecution case for war crimes.

Not only should Washington, London, Paris and others be made to pay damages. Political and military leaders from these countries should be placed in the dock to answer personally for crimes against the Syrian people. To allow impunity is to let Washington and its rogue cohorts keep repeating the same crimes elsewhere, over and over.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

WORLD IS WILDER AND WOOLLIER AS SYRIA PREPARES FOR WAR WITH THE ZIONIST APARTHEID STATE – By Ziad Fadel

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Wilder and woollier indeed. We have already discussed, in a separate piece,  the rampant dysfunctional ism infecting so many governments today. The U.S., arguably the world’s greatest power, is led by a functioning maniac who lives in a cocoon of self-deceit and delusion.  Prideful and addicted to braggadocio, he is hell-bent on proving that he differs from other leaders whom he calls “politicians” in that he “does what he says he is going to do’.  Today’s scandal du jour is his threat to move the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  World leaders normally take these kinds of American threats as a form of posturing, but, with Trump, who is universally viewed as a loose cannon, the threat has a certain resonance. Trump’s administration is geared to serve up Rabelaisian abominations.  The American ambassador to the Zionist Entity is a dyed-in-the-wool Zionist.  The president’s own son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been revealed to be a founder of an organization supporting illegal settlements on the West Bank, and is, by all accounts, a raving Zionist psycho with Russian DNA.

Now that the U.S. is out of the peace-making business, thanks to Mr. Trump’s gesture to the Zionist settlers, he can begin preparing for a new kind of Middle East where he doesn’t have to worry about humanitarian issues or matters of conscience.  No, he’s just going to do what is in the best interests of America, to wit: occupy lands belonging to other countries with or without their governments’ consent; sell vast amounts of weapons to his tyrannical allies; muscle in on anything that smacks of natural assets needed by the U.S.; kill any self-respect the Arabs still have; and, to his surprise, watch his plans for domination sink in the historic swamp of misdeeds along with the Zionist Abomination which controls his regime and his nation.

Besides selling billions of dollars of missiles and ordnance to the crackpot Saudi Arabian pedophiles so they can continue their illegal and genocidal war against the Yemenis, Trump is hankering for new wars against North Korea and Iran, both powerful nations with the ability to sink American ships, not to mention defend their own lands with fanatical tenacity.  Trump is trying to deflect attention from the probe conducted by Robert Mueller and he might actually open up new wars to accomplish exactly that end.  He promised no new foreign wars as he was campaigning for the White House.  That campaign promise has turned out to be a flagrant lie.

My new source, Chris, now tells me that the U.S. has been building a massive underground military complex just north of the Jordanian capital of Amman.  Chris has tied this monstrous base to the Halliburton company which used to be run by historical coward, draft dodger and war-monger, Dick Cheney.  When the people of Jordan find out about this base whose purpose is to enshrine American occupation of the Arab World, they might finally go berserk and depose the Tom Thumb tyrant who is calmly frittering away what dignity they might still have.

The base just north of the Jordanian capital is an attestation to the unwillingness of the CIA, the Mossad and the Saudi “Intelligence” service to accept defeat in Syria. It’s that pesky Iranian plan to extend a gas pipeline across Iraq to the Syrian littoral that is fueling this rampant obstinacy.  But, there’s more to it than that, Chris says.

Chris insists that much of the planning aimed at deposing Dr. Assad was related to the vast oil reserves discovered below the ground of the Golan Heights which the Zionists are keen on exploiting in their own cupiditous and malicious way.  They have granted an American company, Genie Energy (based in New Jersey), the rights to extract the oil.  Genie Energy is owned by Dick Cheney, Jacob Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch, all major shareholders.  According to an article, written by Michael B. Kelley for the Business Insider periodical, they were granted a 153 square mile area in the southern part of the Heights.  The transfer of the oil, via pipeline, will inevitably involve Halliburton, the company once headed by Dick Cheney.

So, what will Jordanians do when Trump announces today, Wednesday, December 6, that he intends to recognize Zionism’s claim to Jerusalem and move the U.S. embassy there?  What will they do knowing that their own miserable king has tried to dissuade the indissuadable Trump from this incredible mockery of international law and U.N. agreements?  Gee, I don’t know.  But, what I do know is that this so-called king, his father before him and his grandfather were all traitors to the Arab people.  And a leopard cannot change his spots.

The decision has been made to forcibly oust Dr. Assad using non-proxy forces.  The past reliance on proxies has resulted in abject failure. In order for the ouster to happen, several ducks have to be placed in a row.

The first segment of this plan is to keep American forces, at all costs, on the ground in Iraq and Syria.  As many of you have heard, the Pentagon has recklessly averred that it intends to keep American troops in Syria for as long as it takes to support American interests, whatever that means.  It is our belief that the U.S. is building up its forces in Syria to offset the expected loss of the Turkish base at Incirlik where the Americans, British and French hatched their plans to enslave the Arab people.  Not only that, the new underground base Chris pointed to in Jordan is, evidently,  being developed to offset the expected loss of the American base at ‘Udeid in Qatar as Doha continues to expand its ties to Iran while downsizing its interest in its Persian Gulf alliances.  King Abdullah II of Jordan is privy to all this treachery.  But, he is a good actor, like his father.

The U.S. has to stay in Syria too because the Kurds are vulnerable to the Syrian, Iraqi and Turkish armies.  The Americans think that by merely being there, no combination of forces would dare to challenge the ostentatious pretensions of the American military.  Oh, yeah?  The Taliban have been fighting the U.S. for going on 16 years with no end in sight.  Just wait until Afghan and Iraqi militias start an insurgency against the U.S. in Syria with attendant body bags piling up on the tarmacs of runways.  So much for Trump’s promises of no more foreign entanglements.

The Kurds have a deeper and more significant role to play in Syria than what meets the eye.  You see, the Kurds who are mostly Syrian, can give the U.S. the fig leaf of legitimacy it needs to justify its presence in Syria.  The Kurds, for their part can be employed to claw away at Iranian power at the corridor Tehran plans to use for both the pipeline and the avenue to arm HZB.  With the U.S. enmeshed and embedded with the Kurds, it is believed at the Pentagon that no effort will be made to destabilize this preposterous plan without triggering an American military response.  This is how foreign wars get started and Trump doesn’t have a clue.

According to Chris, the Deep State involves many actors, all of whom have an interest in the ouster of Dr. Assad and the Ba’ath Party.  Companies like Halliburton, Monsanto, Blackwater (Academi), Lockheed-Martin, Wackenhut and DynCorp are all part of the same vast interlocking network of Cabalists determined to greedily secure all the wealth of the Middle East for the sake of the Zionist Entity.  They don’t care about ISIS or Al-Qaeda.  Those are merely the pawns they employ to encircle their prey before devouring it. The leader of ISIS for that matter, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdaadi, was programmed in Tel Aviv by Mossad and CIA psycho-neurologists after he was released from prison in Iraq.  I wrote extensively about this matter in a previous post but few picked up on it even though I was the writer who disclosed to the world that the leadership of ISIS was top heavy with former Sunni officers in Saddam’s army before they were cashiered by L. Paul Bremer.

For the ducks to be in row, the Saudi operations HQ has to be in sync with both the Jordanian and Zionists ones.  While Jordan has had much experience coordinating with the Mossad, the Saudis are still relative neophytes in this kind of world.  For the Saudis to be able to play their part effectively, Mossad agents, now reportedly in Amman, have started a virtual university course for spooks aimed at the Saudi traitors.  They are being taught communications and spotting, handling agents and assassination techniques.  I have received some reports that the coursework is not going well due to the utter emptiness of the Wahhabist mind.  Yet, down the road, a decision will be made to pursue the goals of the American Deep State with or without KSA.

The Yemen crisis has to be resolved.  It is eating up too much of KSA’s time and assets.  This is why the Saudi government has decided to participate in what is essentially a war of extermination to bring the Zaydi’s to their knees.  However, if history teaches anything about Arabia Felix, it’s that the people there in Yemen are as obstinate as their rocks.  The Saudis will kill many children, but, they will eventually have to concede defeat, a concession that will not augur well for the Saudi-Jordanian-Zionist alliance.

The Saudis have to resolve their differences with Qatar.  To be candid, I have wondered aloud about why this conflict even exists.  If the entire matter has something to do with financing and organizing terrorism in Syria, the record is replete with Saudi complicity in precisely that king of activity.  Why would KSA, now under the heel of MBS, create a new crisis based on a falsehood?  It might be that the Saudis were concerned about a war crimes charge or were fearful that the Syrians would take the effort to unseat Dr. Assad very hard.  These are mere possibilities to explain the aberrant political behavior of the Saudis. But, if they fail to end this conflict with Qatar, the shadow of Iran will once again fall on the gulf with one key member firmly in the Iranian camp.

As I have written before, Qatar has, evidently,mended relations with Tehran by securing access to that infamous pipeline.  If that is so, it may be that such collusion with a sworn enemy is driving the Saudis to point an accusatory finger at Doha when that finger may just as well be pointed back at them.  Ironic, isn’t it?

The plan also calls for a Zionist army at the very top of its game.  Recent maneuvers in the Golan and the Galilee are demonstrating that the enemy is planning an multi-pronged attack on Hizbollah and the Syrian army.  If that is so, the Zionist high command has to take into consideration the probability that both HZB and the SAA are going to fire a vast arsenal of missiles at the cities of Occupied Palestine.  The Iron Dome is simply not geared to intercept 100 missiles every minute which is exactly what both HZB and the SAA are going to do.  The Iron Dome will be overwhelmed. And if Iran begins to fire missiles at the Zionist Apartheid State, that’s all the merrier.  And, yet, that is precisely what the Saudis are hoping for: a massive, possibly nuclear, reaction from Mileikowski’s military.  That may be the only scenario which would give KSA and its fledgling nincompoop, MBS, a victory over Iran.

That the Zionist Settler State would involve itself in an apocalyptic scenario like the one described is difficult to believe.  However, unless the Zionists can find a better methodology to rid the Fertile Crescent of Iranian ambitions, this is all they have.  To be sure, they might try an attack focused on HZB only as a way to avoid creating an inferno which would engulf them also and lead to the destruction of their state.  But, it is hard to see how an attack on HZB would not spiral out of control and bring in actors like the Syrian Army, Iran’s IRGC or, even, Russia.

With Americans, Saudis and Zionists working together with the hapless Jordanians, one can see where this is all going to lead.

____________________________________________

NEWS AND COMMENT:

Wanna know who killed ‘Ali ‘Abdullah Saleh of Yemen?  Read this critically important article about collusion between the ragheaded Ayraabs of the Gulf and the Zionist Apartheid State:

https://ahtribune.com/world/north-africa-south-west-asia/war-on-yemen/2041-ali-abdullah-saleh.html

Good article from John Esq. about why the Syrian Army has remained loyal to the central government.  There are some errors such as ascribing to Muhammad Al-Khawli a Sunni identity.  Of course, he was a fellow Alawite during President Hafiz Al-Assad’s days but was dumped after the Nizaar Hindaawi Affair:

http://nationalinterest.org/feature/why-assads-army-has-not-defected-15190

Want to read the details of the great American-backed victory in Al-Raqqa?  Get it all here while it’s hot:

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2017-12-07/defector-says-thousands-of-islamic-state-fighters-left-raqqa-in-secret-deal

Sharmine’s article about why U.S.brokered talks are inevitably farcical:

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/in-syria-peacemaking-is-no-longer-made-in-america/

Assad visits Putin in Sochi, expresses heartfelt thanks to Russia for saving Syria – By Alexander Mercouris

© Sputnik/ Mikhail Klimentyev

President Assad of Syria has come unexpected to the Russian resort city of Sochi, where he is having high level talks with Russia’s President Putin and with Russia’s senior military leadership.

This is the second trip President Assad is known to have made to Russia since Russia intervened militarily in Syria in September 2015. The first trip came in late October 2015, shortly after the Russian military intervention began. Of course there may have been – and probably have been – other secret Assad trips to Russia, which have not been announced.

At the time of Assad’s first trip to Moscow the situation in Syria remained very fraught. The Jihadi rebels still held eastern Aleppo and had effectively surrounded the rest of the city and were pressing on the remaining territories the Syrian government still controlled along the coast. Further east the whole of central and eastern Syria had fallen under the control of ISIS, which had recently captured Palmyra. The Syrian military was over-stretched and exhausted, and in urgent need of time and help to sort itself out.

In summary, President Assad came to Moscow in October 2015 a drowning man to whom the Russians had just thrown a lifeline.

The situation is totally transformed today.

Not only has eastern Aleppo been liberated and the whole of Aleppo secured, but the authority of the Syrian government has been restored along the whole of Syria’s western coast with only the province of Idlib and a few pockets of territory still under Jihadi control.

In central and eastern Syria ISIS has been broken. Palmyra is now conclusively liberated, the siege of Deir Ezzor has been broken and the city cleared of ISIS, and following the liberation of Albukamal ISIS no longer controls any large or important towns in Syria, and has been reduced to a rural insurgency.

In the meantime the Syrian army has been expanded, retrained and re-equipped into a far more formidable force than it was before.

Though there are different estimates of the precise extent of the territory controlled by the Syrian government, when Assad came to Moscow in October 2015 the territories under the Syrian government’s control consisted of a small belt of territory along Syria’s western coastline, whereas now the greater part of Syria is once more indisputably under the Syrian government’s control.

In summary, Putin was fully justified in saying to Assad at the start of the summit today that

……the Syrian people, despite a very difficult ordeal, are gradually moving towards the final and inevitable defeat of the terrorists.

Why then is President Assad in Russia today?

The obviously very carefully prepared and pre-scripted comments Putin and Assad made to each other at the start of their meeting shows that with the war winding down the Russians want to consult with Assad about the political negotiations to achieve a Syrian settlement which are about to restart. Putin in fact said as much

Mr President, as you know, I will meet with my colleagues – the presidents of Turkey and Iran – here in Sochi the day after tomorrow. We have agreed to hold additional consultations with you during our meeting. Of course, the main subject on the agenda is a peaceful and lasting political settlement in Syria after the routing of the terrorists.

As you know, in addition to the partners I have mentioned we are also working closely together with other countries, such as Iraq, the United States, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. We maintain constant contact with these partners.

I would like to talk with you about the basic principles of the political process and the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, the idea of which you have supported. I would like to hear your opinions on the current situation and development prospects and your views on the political process, which should ultimately be implemented under the UN auspices. We also hope that the UN will join the [political] process at its final stage. (bold italics added)

Here it is necessary to make some comments about the speech President Assad made recently, which was discussed at length by my colleague Adam Garrie.

In the speech President Assad spoke of an ideology of Arabism, which as my colleague Adam Garrie correctly says is consistent with the Baathist ideology of Syria’s ruling party.

As Adam Garrie correctly says, what President Assad was doing in his speech was charting a future course for Syria and potentially for the whole Arab world which whilst in no sense opposed to Islam nonetheless looks to transcend sectarian and confessional differences on behalf of a united Arab nation.

It was in other words an emphatic restatement of the ideology of Arabism which has been around in the Arab world since the 1950s and which remains the prevailing ideology in Syria to this day.

President Assad is not however an ideologist but a practical politician, and the primary audience for his speech was not in my opinion Arab public opinion – which is already very familiar with all these arguments – but the Russians, with whom he currently must deal.

Briefly, what President Assad was saying in his speech was that Syria should retain its Arab identity, and should not make excessive concessions to the Kurds and to Syria’s various confessional groups.

He specifically ruled out changes to the official names of the country and the army, and said they should continue to be called the ‘Syrian Arab Republic’ and the ‘Syrian Arab Army’ and not become the ‘Syrian Republic’ and the ‘Syrian Army’.

The Russians – or at least some of them – have by contrast tentatively floated ideas of Syria doing precisely those things – of creating some sort of federal structure that would grant some form of political or cultural autonomy to the Kurds and to the country’s confessional groups, with the names of the country and the army being changed to the “Syrian Republic” and the “Syrian Army” – which President Assad said in his speech would be wrong and appeared to rule out.

The meeting between Assad and Putin appears to be intended to argue out these points, in preparation for the negotiations for the final settlement of the Syrian conflict which are about to start.

The meeting in Sochi also however has a military dimension. Putin often uses his Sochi residence as a venue for the large-scale conferences of top experts to discuss national policies which form an essential part of his governing style.

On 17th November 2017 – shortly before Assad arrived in Sochi – a major conference began there bringing together Russia’s senior military and the leaders of its defence industries to discuss the State Armaments Programme, which will shape the development of Russia’s armed forces up to 2025. The Kremlin’s website has published Putin’s introductory comments to the conference, which is apparently still continuing.

The Kremlin website shows that Putin arranged for Assad to participate in this conference

Meeting with senior officials of the Defence Ministry and the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces

Vladimir Putin: I have asked the President of Syria to attend our meeting.

I want him to see those who have played the key role in saving Syria.

Of course, Mr Assad knows some of you personally. He told me at our talks today that the Russian Army has saved Syria as a state. Much has been done to stabilise the situation in Syria. I hope that we will close the chapter on the fight against terrorism in Syria, although some seats of tension will remain or will flare up again…… (bold highlighting in the original)

At one level this is an extraordinary honour to the Syrian President. However there are obviously practical dimensions as well.

Firstly, there is the obvious wish to have President Assad give his personal thanks to the Russian military which saved him and Syria from destruction. However it is a certainty that future military cooperation was also discussed.

This will obviously include discussions on the ongoing military operations to bring the Syrian war to a final end. However it is a certainty that Syrian-Russian military cooperation beyond the war’s end will be discussed as well.

With Syria set to host a very large complex of Russian military bases, and with the Syrian military needing to be reconfigured and re-equipped to face the challenges of ‘peace’ (which in the Middle East is never truly peace) there will be much to talk about.

Comment: President Assad’s words to the participants of the military conference:

President of Russia Vladimir Putin and I have just held talks. I have conveyed to him, and on his behalf to the Russian people, our gratitude for Russia’s efforts to save our country.

I would like to highlight the contribution of the Russian Armed Forces and the sacrifices they have made to achieve this goal. I was very glad to learn that you, those of you who were directly involved in the operation [in Syria] and who commanded the activities of the Russian Armed Forces in Syria will be present here today.

The operation barely started when I met with President Putin in Moscow two years ago. In the two years since then we can see the success that has been achieved thanks to cooperation between the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Syrian Army. Nobody can deny this success in the fight against terrorism now. Thanks to your actions, as well as the actions of the Syrian Army and our allies, many Syrians have returned home.

Speaking on behalf of the Syrian people, I would like to express our gratitude for what you have accomplished. We will never forget this. Also, I would like to thank personally President Vladimir Putin, [Defence Minister] Sergei Shoigu and [Chief of the General Staff] Valery Gerasimov for their direct involvement in this operation.

Thank you very much.

What Putin and Russia did for Syria is by no exaggeration an act of true heroism. While the U.S. and NATO have brought nothing but chaos and destruction to the region, Russia has saved Syria from that fate. It’s amazing that this fact is not widely recognized. Instead, Russia is demonized in the west. But that is okay. Heroes don’t need praise. They just get the job done, and fight the monster of chaos.

Arabism for the 21st century: President Bashar al-Assad’s most important speech on the future of Syria and the Middle East – By Adam Garrie (The Duran)

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

President Bashar al-Assad has powerfully articulated the importance of renewed Arabism for a new era.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has given one of the most important speeches of his political career before the Arab Forum for Confronting the Zionist-US Reactionary Alliance and Supporting the Resistance of the Palestinian People, in Damascus.

President al-Assad’s speech emphasised the importance of Arabism for the 21st century as the only proven school of thought and method of government that is capable of uniting peoples across the Arab world in a spirit that cherishes ancient traditions and allows for all varieties of modern progress.

In many ways, it helps to think of al-Assad’s wide ranging speech as the pan-Arab version of President Xi Jinping’s thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.

Key Points

President al-Assad made the follow major points in this speech

  • Arabism is a movement to unite the peoples of a common Arabic speaking region against imperialism, American financial globalism/hegemony and Zionism, a movement which represents the final stage settler colonial ideology in the Arab world.
  • Arabism is under attack from many sides, yet it is the unifying thought of Arabism in the Syrian Arab Republic which has helped to unite the populace behind the Syrian Arab Army in a show of a people’s will that has achieved victory against imperialism and the terrorist proxies of imperialism and Zionism.
  • There is no intellectual or spiritual conflict between Arabism and Islam, nor between Arabism and Christianity. Both complement each other by allowing a civilised atmosphere wherein people can celebrate their individual and family traditions while still playing a constructive role in a unifying modern state which elevates the material condition of the people.
  • Arabism rejects ethno-nationalism while the enemies of Arabism use both religious extremism and ethno-nationalism to undermine unity through sectarianism. Ararbism by contrast emphasises unity based on a shared Arabic language and a shared geography.
  • The more Arabism is conspired against, the more it is important for Arabists to remind the wider world that Arabism has been the only successful unifying and peaceful force in the Arab world, where other sectarian ideologies have served only to weaken Arab resistance to imperialism, Zionism and terrorism, while downgrading the condition of the people.

The background:

Zaki al-Arsuzi

Arab Nationalism emerged as a distinct liberation movement in the Arab world in the first half of the 20th century. The Ba’athist movement was among the first and most successful schools of thought in defining Arab Nationalism or Arabism during the decades when Arabs were fighting for their independence against the European colonialism which flowed from the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916.

Ba’athism emphasised the importance of Islam and Christianity living in harmony with the socialist principles of anti-colonialism, economic development through a more equitable distribution of national resources and wealth, a modernisation of Arab armies for self-sufficient defence, an emphasis on the common language of Arabic amongst all peoples in the region, a tolerance for all religious and ethnic minorities, the social emancipation of women, a rejection of all sectarianism movements and retrograde extremist movements.

The three most important founders of Ba’athism were first and foremost for Syria, the Lattakia-born Zaki al-Arsuzi as well as Michel Aflaq and Salah al-Din al-Bitar.

Zaki al-Arsuzi’s book, the The Genius of Arabic in its Tongue, helped explain why Ba’athism is based not only on the unique characteristics of the Arab peoples, but how the Arabic language has helped shape a unique society with social outlooks that are less dogmatic than those from European cultures.

The liberation of Syria

Ba’athist leaders celebrate the 8 March Revolution

After experimenting in a union with Nasser’s Arabist Egypt, the United Arab Republic between 1958 and 1961, Syria’s penultimate embrace of modern Arabism came during the 8 March Revolution of 1963. Here, the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party came to power in Damascus and worked on building a revolutionary programme of emancipation from colonial lethargy as well as a foreign policy which defended Arab interests against interlopers, colonists and outside threats.

After a turbulent 1960s, things grew stable and peaceful in 1970 when the new President Hafez al-Assad become the leader of the country. President Hafez al-Assad ushered in The Corrective Movement which successfully stabilised Syria’s internal politics, eliminated terrorist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and ushered in the highest living standards in modern Syrian history by the global standards of the era.

President Hafez al-Assad (1970-2000)

Islam, Christianity and Arabism going forward

President Bashar al-Assad injected a calming and assuring wisdom into a debate that is often hijacked by egotists and those purposefully spreading disinformation. The Syrian President stated that there has never been any schism, conflict nor contradiction between the values of Islam and Christianity and those of Arabism. Arabism stresses the unity, shared historic and present cultural bonds between Arabic speaking peoples. As the Noble Quran is written in Arabic, this demonstrates the harmonious nature of secular Arabism with the religion of Islam. Both are strengthened when seen as unifying forces and both literally speak a common language.

President al-Assad said that Christianity’s relationship with Arabism is equally strong, but that ever since the 1920s, when the British Empire funded and helped to found the regressive Muslim Brotherhood, the enemies of the Arab peoples have attempted to use Islam as a means of destroying Arab societies where its correct interpretation is one of unity, peace and wisdom.

Assad meets with Orthodox Christian leaders

Arabism versus imperialist/globalist aggression against peace loving peoples

Today, American financial globalism has taken the place of British Imperialism as the foremost existential threat to Arabism. President al-Assad explained that the enemies of Arabism seek to destroy any thought that helps to unify the Arabs in order to mould them into machines rather than free thinking men and women, in the system of US led financial globalism. A strong, unifying movement like Arabism is a demonstrative alternative to US neo-liberal/anti-cultural globalism, which is the reason that those in Washington and its de-facto satellite states are so keen on destroying Arabism and provoking sectarianism war against it.

Many commentators remark that some of the causes of the foreign led and instigated conflict in Syria include the Qatari regime’s desire to build pipeline through Syrian territory, the Zionist Yinon Plan to conquer and destroy large parts of the Arab world and the Wahhabi Saudi plan to effective divide and rule the rest of Syria as a regressive Takfiri fiefdom, all with assistance from the US and European aggressors.

While these are all the specific causes of the present conflict, the overarching reason is that which historically and indeed presently, has prevented these illegal moves against the sovereignty, dignity and unity of the Syrian Arab Republic. The imperialist and Zionist powers do not need to wage war against weak, sectarian and extremist Arab states because such states have already been effectively weakened into a position where national wealth and dignity is surrendered without a fight. Instead, it is states with strong Arabist identities and a sense of independence that in the eyes of the imperialist and Zionists, must be broken in order to be exploited.

President al-Assad pointed out that this is what the imperial powers did in Libya, but that the same method did not work against Syria because of the political conditions established in the Syrian Arab Republic.

It is impossible to reject imperialism if one rejects Arabism. There is no logical, practical or workable peaceful alternative to preserving freedom in the Arab world apart from Arabism. Syria’s success in vanquishing her enemies has been primarily due to the strength of Arabism in creating popular unity against a multi-front onslaught.

The Syrian Arab Army as an expression of popular will

President Bashar al-Assad remarked that some provocateurs want to take away the title “Arab” from the Syrian Arab Army (SAA). He remarked that such moves are foolish. In calling itself an Arab Army, the SAA has manged to unite all Syrians in spite of any ethnic or religious affiliation behind a common principle of sovereignty for all the peoples of Syria.

If this unifying concept was removed, the Army would merely be a mercenary force-a kind of corporate body that could not mobilise the will of the people. If the people were not behind the Army, it would not have been able to preserve Syria as it has done, even before its non-Arab allies such as Iran and Russia helped to finish the job.

Syrian arab army soldiers

The importance of Palestine

The occupier entity represents the last breath of colonial tyranny in the Arab world and one which relies on the promotion of anti-Arabist propaganda in order to cultivate power. President al-Assad stated that Arab unity necessitates support for Palestinian liberation as anything else would be a rejection of the unity of Arabic speaking peoples throughout the region.

This explains why it is in the Zionist interest to promote sectarian groups whose goals is to weaken pan-Arab unity and exploit local differences, rather than allowing Arabs to focus on creating a peacefully unified realm.

In this sense, Palestine will also be an implicit factor in Arabism, so long as it remains occupied.

Official report and reproduction of President al-Assad’s speech:

Below is the entire official report and transcribed quotations from President al-Assad’s speech,

DAMASCUS, (ST)- President Bashar Al-Assad has stressed that “hitting national belongingness weakens our first defense line, as a society, against cultural and intellectual invasion attempts that seek turning us into helpless machines that act according to foreign-prepared plans.”

President Al-Assad made the remarks during his meeting on Tuesday with participants in the Arab Forum on Confronting the US-Zionist reactionary Alliance and Supporting the Palestinian People’s Resistance currently held in Damascus with the participation of Arab national forces and figures.

“Arabism is a cultural concept that involves all ethnic groups, religions and communities. It is a civilized status to which all who once existed in the region, without exceptions, contributed, said President Al-Assad, adding that “the Arab language and Arab nationalism unite all these ethnic groups, communities and religions and at the same time preserve the privacy of each of them”.

President Al-Assad went on to say that solving the problems facing the Arab nation and restoring brightness to national thinking necessitates hard work as to explain some concepts through which our nation was targeted, including attempts to hit the relation between Arabism and Islam and to put Arab nationalism in a situation of confrontation with other nationalities.

He affirmed the need to clarify the idea that there is no contradiction between belongingness to Arabism and belongingness to Islam as they enhance one another, noting the importance of refuting the ethnic orientation which opposes the national one, particularly in the light of the incessant attempts to divide the region’s countries on ethnic basis. This can be done, the president said, through stressing the idea that Arabism includes all ethnic groups, religions and communities, thus Arab heritage and culture is the accumulation of the heritage and cultures of all the peoples who lived in this region throughout ancient and modern history.

President Al-Assad pointed out that national action was also influenced by another factor, which is the policies of some Arab governments which acted against the interests of the Arab peoples by serving foreign schemes and facilitating aggression on other Arab countries, thereby creating a negative reaction by many people towards nationalism and Arabism.

“Here we must differentiate between belongingness to identity and belongingness to a certain political system which we reject its policies,” the president said.

“Arabism and national thinking have continuously been accused by their enemies of backwardness and of being old-fashioned in an age overwhelmed by globalization in order to turn us into tools to serve the interests of huge financial institutions led by the United States,” President Al-Assad asserted, noting the need to adhere to identity and to support openness and development ideas as to confront this challenge.

President Al-Assad clarified that the main goal of the war to which Syria has been exposed for seven years is to return the country and the entire region centuries back through targeting the national feeling and belongingness to this region and through putting the Arabs in front of two options: either to give up their identity and subjugate to foreign powers or adopt the extremist thinking and turn Arab societies into conflicting entities.

The president affirmed that the ongoing war, despite the huge destruction it caused to Syria, couldn’t weaken the faith of the Syrian people in the inevitability of victory over terrorism and its internal and external tools through the sacrifices of the hero Syrian army and the popular support for this army. It also couldn’t break the Syrians’ will to keep adherent to their identity, doctrine and national belongingness.

President al-Assad began his speech by welcoming the participants in the Forum which discusses important pan-Arab issues, as pan-Arabism constitutes identity and affiliation as well as being the past and present of peoples and the basis of their existence.

He said that the participants are now in Syria during the war imposed on it, and that there was a general view that the storm that affected several Arab states including Syria, Libya, Yemen, and Iraq to some degree and the ensuing destruction seek to set the region back by centuries, but the main goal wasn’t destruction as what was destroyed can be rebuilt; rather the goal was undermining the Arab people’s sense of affiliation and belonging to their environment, geography, history, principles, and pan-Arabism.

His Excellency said that undermining pan-Arab affiliation means undermining the first line of defense against any attempts at a cultural or intellectual invasion that seeks to turn people into mere machines with no will that move according to plans made abroad.

“But at the same time, as this Arab Spring as it was called by the enemies, aimed at undermining affiliation, without the weakness of pan-Arab affiliation and the weakness of pan-Arab sentiment, this ‘spring’ wouldn’t have been able to start in our Arab region, because segments of our societies have regrettably, through the course of time, after losing this affiliation were ready to move in other directions,” President al-Assad said, adding that these segments went in two directions when the events began: either throwing themselves into the hands of foreigners, regardless of which foreign country, or embracing Islamist extremism as a replacement for the Arab identity, despite it being an abnormal and deviant identity that has nothing to do with Islam or any religion.

“In summation, the enemies succeeded during past decades in making the situation reach its current state and succeeded in undermining society partially, dividing this society into groups, some of them distant and some of them discordant, and others are contentious and conflicting,” he said.

“On the other hand, these meetings and pan-Arab work has persisted throughout these decades, with tens and maybe hundreds of meetings being held, but the result today is that the situation for the pan-Arab condition on the Arab arena is much weaker than it was decades ago. So, do we meet again to add another meeting to a group of meetings? Do we meet to reminisce about the good days or lament bad luck or to glorify something that isn’t living its best days which is the pan-Arab condition? Are we meeting just to issue political statements, despite these being important? It’s necessary to talk politics and issue statements and take positions regarding what is happening constantly, but political statements alone cannot restore the luster of this condition we are talking about now.”

“We are facing a real problem with many aspects, and dealing with just one aspect and disregarding other aspects means that we won’t reach any results and these meetings will remain vocal platforms that have no effect,” President al-Assad said.

His Excellency said that we should start with the problem, discussing it and its solution or cure and the possible methods to reach this cure, and this requires focusing primarily on weaknesses and the methods used by the enemies of pan-Arabism, which will help find a way to deal with each aspect, because what is currently happening isn’t sudden; it is the result of long-term accumulation over decades, and its effects today on societies are deep and wide-scale.

He stressed that this issue isn’t superficial or transient, as the West was skilled in its performance and in setting traps, but the Arabs were good at falling into these traps, noting that the West built its plans on realities and facts and was active, while Arabs always based their visions on sentiments and were emotional.

“Therefore, as I am addressing a pan-Arab conference, I have to discuss some points I consider a priority, and perhaps your conference can form a more comprehensive and in-depth vision through its discussions. So, I will discuss some headlines before talking about anything related to the crisis or policy,” President al-Assad said.

He pointed out that the first major problem facing pan-Arab work is undermining the relationship between Islam and Arabism, as some have accused Arabism of being secular or atheist, tying these three concepts together and telling the simple citizens that they have to choose between faith and atheism, and naturally they chose faith, and therefore they would stand against any affiliation other than faith and Islam, so Arabism is part of the affiliation they moved away from due to this way of thinking or this incorrect marketing of the relation between Arabism and Islam.

His Excellency noted that the first to spearhead this method were the so-called Muslim Brotherhood, who were planted by the English during the first half of the 20th century in Egypt and later moved to other areas, and throughout time they spearheaded everything that opposes the interests of the Arab people and pan-Arab affiliation.

President al-Assad said that there’s an organic connection between Arabism and Islam, and there is certainly no contradiction between them, stressing that it is wrong to believe that one can either be an Arab or a Muslim.

“So, undermining this relation through Islamic extremism undermines Arabism. They diverted Islam and pushed it towards extremism. It separated itself from Arabism, and Islam and Arabism became weaker. Someone might ask why I’m talking about Arabism and Islam and not Arabism and Christianity. I would say that of course this is the same relationship; the relationship between nationalism and religion, but colonialism and enemies of pan-Arabism didn’t work in this direction, rather they focused on Arabism and Islam,” he explained.

President al-Assad moved on to the second point, saying that pan-Arabism was put against other “nationalities,” and discussing the nature of these nationalities requires separate discussions, but some of these nationalities existed in a diverse region throughout history and they never fought among themselves, so why is this conflict emerging now? This is happening because as Arab states won their independence, colonialism sowed the seeds of sedition among those nationalities and these seeds were nurtured by enemies of pan-Arabism and even some proponents of pan-Arabism through their superficial thinking and ignorant performance.

His Excellency said that this seed has grown and gained root and dealing with it now requires double efforts, adding that this enemies of pan-Arabism achieved this by giving pan-Arabism an ethnic nature, saying that it is exclusive to the Arab ethnicity, and if one doesn’t belong to it then they need to find an identity elsewhere, thereby creating a rift between groups that have coexisted throughout history, and creating a hidden sentiment that we are living together due to political borders and conditions, and when these changes everyone goes their separate ways.

“They focused on the ethnic issue and took away from pan-Arabism the most important civilized aspects in it which are related to the cultural aspect, language, geography, history, and other things,” he added.

President al-Assad said that another cumulative factor linked to political conditions in the Arab world has affected pan-Arab world, and this factor is the result of the bad political work by some Arab states which existed prior to the war but appeared more prominently as the events began, particularly when Arab states and the Arab League provided cover for the intervention and destruction of Libya, then tried to do the same in Syria, but the political conditions had shifted by then so these attempts weren’t exactly successful.

“However, this role pushed many citizens in several places and here in Syria in particular, to say that if this is pan-Arabism and Arabism, then we don’t want them. If these are the Arabs, then we don’t want to be Arabs, we want to be anything else. Well, what is alternative? There is no alternative. These people are reacting to the conspiring by some Arab states on other Arab states or peoples of causes, and didn’t differentiate between affiliation to a specific identity and affiliation to a political system,” he said, adding that there were reactions towards Arab causes like the Palestinian cause due to the betrayal by some Palestinians of Arab states and peoples that hosted them and defended them, eliciting a reaction, and there were many who said “the whole Palestinian cause can go to Hell,” which indicates the immaturity of the sense of affiliation among these people.

His Excellency went on to address another important point which is that pan-Arabism had been accused of being synonymous with backwardness, which is a hypothesis posed in the 19th century and early 20th century, particularly with the coming of the age of globalization, satellite channels and the internet, which, according to that hypothesis, means that we live in a single world with single principles, interests, and economy, so any form of nationalism is a backwards idea.

“Of course, this is the idea posed by globalization which ultimately aims at having us all belong to the financial institutions that lead the world which are practically centered in the United States, through which they lead politics, economy, and everything else,” President al-Assad said, adding that they tried to claim that Arabism is a passing fad, which is similar to what happened with the fall of the Soviet Union when they wanted to portray socialism and communism as backwards concept.

“Now, after around two and a half decades, things have started to change and inferiority complexes went away. For us in Syria, we never suffered from this inferiority complex at any time, and we used to tell them that even if this language is the language of the 20th or 19th centuries, even if it’s the language of the 1st or 10th century, we will speak it today, tomorrow, and the day after, and we won’t have an inferiority complex. On the contrary, events have proven that the lack of this identity was one of the biggest problems, and adhering to it today is necessary,” he asserted.

His Excellency moved on to address pan-Arab work and the existing political movements, figures, parties, and conferences that have been working for decades under difficult circumstances, as while Syria has been supporting pan-Arabism for many decades, there has been a growing animosity towards pan-Arab work in other states, because this work often made political positions on various Arab causes that embarrassed certain states.

President al-Assad said that there are many people in society who belong to pan-Arabism but disagree with us politically, or have other political visions, or don’t like being involved in the work of political parties, and for them their pan-Arab affiliation is a social and civilized affiliation, adding “This begs the question: where are the non-political aspects of our pan-Arab work? This is a very important aspect.”

His Excellency said that Arabism is a civilized condition, and the most important thing in the civilized condition is the culture it bears, and culture is expressed by language. Without language, the culture turns into a large generator which generates a lot of electricity, but there will be no wires in order to transport this electricity towards the city, factories, or any other place.

“Here in Syria, there is no big problem that we suffer from. After all, education in Syria, including all university stages and others, is in the Arabic language. We support foreign languages, but the Arabic language remains the basis because we understand the meaning of the language,” the President added, stressing that cultural alienation and the dissolution of cultures begins with languages then spreads to other aspects.

President al-Assad said that Syria has suffered from war for seven years, and war weakens any country no matter how strong or large it may be, and this war has exhausted Syria, but it didn’t cause it to collapse. More importantly, it didn’t affect the Syrians’ confidence in the inevitability of victory over terrorism.

“The essence of that war is two groups: first is the persons who lost their affiliation, mainly, the pan-Arab affiliation and the national affiliation. They have lost their identity, the ethics, and with them they lost the homeland. This is the basis that the foreign side depended on. We can talk about conspiracies for days, but these conspiracies would have never found a place in Syria without the existence of these groups.”

“On the other hand, the other group is mainly the Syrian Arab Army, which has fought and made great sacrifices in order to keep this homeland safe,” His Excellency said, adding that the Syrian Arab Army, before being a national army, is an army that was based on a clear creed which was established throughout decades, stressing that no army would have withstood such a war no matter how much external support it got without having popular support.

“This point, which is the strength of the army through its creed, was understood by our enemies. All political work in conferences and talk of transitional governments and federalism, and all the terms you hear can be summed up with a single thing that was required, which is undermining this concept, the army as a symbol” he said, adding that they target the institutions and society as well, because we are talking about one creed, and all the war was working towards abandoning the notion of pan-Arabism starting with the constitution, to name Syria as just “the Syrian state” and to make its army “Syrian.”

“What was the headline they have put? A professional army, which means that the army which carried out all those battles is an army of amateurs, a group of amateurs who liked the game of war and went to fight just because they want to fight anyone, just as a hobby! This is what they are trying to market. For them, the professional army is the army which stays inside the country and waits for a signal from outside in order to move with coups against national governments. According to them, the professional army is that which covers the proxy governments when they relinquish sovereignty and work against the people,” President al-Assad said.

“Today, I affirm after 7 years of sacrifices, that we wouldn’t think for even a second to make concessions about creed and Syria’s pan-Arab affiliation just to appease the rejects of the 21st century of the Muslim Brotherhood and Daesh or al-Nusra, or any other groups, whether outlaws or the groups which work in the interests of the Americans and the West in our region,” His Excellency said.

The President said that if we want to improve the pan-Arab work and see results, this requires coming together and discuss various issues through dialogue, noting that in the past, proponents of pan-Arabism have not held dialogue with others; only with each other, adding “I believe that the starting point begins with dialogue with other groups that went astray, those others that put themselves or who were put by conditions in a place that contradicts their natural belonging and in a place that contradicts their interests and the interest of their homeland without their knowledge, in most cases. Recovering those is the start of the correct work in order to reinforce the pan-Arab work.”

President al-Assad said that such people are like cancerous cells that were originally normal cells that were changed due to various circumstances to become enemies of normal cells in the body, and they are fuel for a poisonous concoction made by the West, but we have to counteract this poison through dialogue.

“First, we have to address the group which is convinced about the contradiction between Islam and Arabism, we have to tell them that there is no contradiction between these two concepts, both flow into the other, both reinforce the other,” he said, stressing they cannot separate the Arabism of Prophet Mohammad from his religion, nor can they separate the religious context of the Quran from the Arabic language, so how can they separate Arabism from Islam?

“It is necessary now to refute the ethnic concept. There are people who talk about federalism, nationalism, and federalism on national basis. We have to assert that the concept of Arabism is an inclusive civilized concept that includes everyone, which means that Arabism is greater than being ethnic, the cultural concept includes everyone, includes all ethnicities, religions, and sects,” President al-Assad said, asserting that Arabism is a civilized condition to which everyone in the region contributed, making it the sum of heritage and cultures of all the peoples who lived in the area throughout old and modern history.

“The most important thing is the language that brings us all together. We all speak Arabic in this region, not other languages, even if there are other languages. .Therefore the Arabic language and pan-Arabism is what brings all religions, sects and ethnics together, and at the same time preserves the characteristics of each one,” he added, noting that after terrorism failed in the region, the enemies started focusing on ethnicities and nationalities.

As for those who renounced Arabism as a reaction to the performance of some Arab states, President al-Assad stressed that the conspiring by these states against Arab causes and the Arab people doesn’t mean that these states belong to Arabism, and affiliation to an identity doesn’t mean affiliation with a political system.

“If they conspire against us, this doesn’t mean that we should run away from the concept and true affiliation and turn things over to those who have nothing to do with Arabism or religion or the societies of this region in everything they did,” he said, stressing that the lack of affiliation doesn’t serve anyone, because the current problems such as sectarian and ethnic division are mainly caused by the lack of pan-Arab sentiment, because people instinctively seek affiliation, and when an encompassing one is absent, they will seek other, smaller ones that lead to the division of minds, geography, and homelands.

“As for linking Arabism to backwardness, we must be the leaders in supporting development ideas, and to have a program that suits this age and suits the interests of the peoples,” the President concluded.

Concluding thoughts:

Arabism stands at a crossroads that many find worrying. On the one hand, Arabism is the force of popular will which helped to mobilise the Syrian resistance during the 7 year conflict. On the other hand, the propaganda of terrorists with the backing of foreign powers, have helped to sow discord across the Arab world.

President al-Assad emphasised that now is the time not to retreat from the only successful model for the Arab world, but to redouble support for it and to peacefully explain to all those who have “gone astray” that Arabism is not for one group or another but for all. Through going out and fighting the propaganda of those who seek division, sectarianism, racism and violence, supporters of the Arabist idea, can help demonstrate that for all those who seek peace, prosperity and dignity above conflict, depression and imperial submission, there is no alternative as there never has been.

It is also important that those outside of the Arab world understand that Syria’s battle, while one which benefits global civilisation, is one being fought in the specific context of a long history of Arab nationalism. Syria does not exist for the benefit of foreigners, but for the benefit of her people and the wider Arab community. Syria is of course, a partner to all sincerely friendly nations ranging from Russia and China, to Iran and the DPRK. However, a great deal of non-Arabic analysis on Syria tends to view the conflict in selfish terms which represent an unconscious colonial mentality. A lot of this is a sad reflection on the background of those authoring such narrow minded “analysis”. One cannot wish Syria well, without understanding the nature of her political system and consequently, why any external alteration to this system will have made Syria’s military victories, ultimately useless.

The future of the Syrian Arab Republic will not depend on the support of groups and individuals merely cheering on the Syrian Arab Army for selfish reasons, without care for the future of the Arab Republic. Syria’s future depends on those who see Arabism as an inseparable element vis-a-vis Syria’s society, laws and national character.

I have little doubt that yesterday’s address will go down as the most important speech of President Bashar al-Assad’s political career, to-date.

In this speech, al-Assad not only clarified the future trajectory of the Syrian Arab Republic as a force for peace and stability in the region, but one which draws upon its revolutionary history to create an ever more progressive environment in the future.

Bashar al-Assad understands the goals and methods of the enemies of Arabism and has clearly articulated how to best preserve the achievements of the Syrian Arab Republic in a new era.

This transformative speech means that al-Assad is not only a defender of Syrian freedom and security but a defender of the Arabist ideals whose cause of peace, unity and civilisation are ideals the world can aspire to learn from, even beyond the borders of the Arab world.

Peace on you, o Syria! – By PRAVDA

29.09.2017
 
Peace on you, o Syria!. 61365.jpeg

The following are not words of mine but from my dear friend Ouday, the old Syrian who was so much busy for his homeland Syria since the beginning of the war that struck and almost destroyed her. They seemed to me being poetic words, almost a loving chant to whom you who love so deeply, perhaps just to a dreamy woman seen with eyes full of the poetic experience of a millennial culture. So, for this time, no geopolitical, economic, historical or military analysis: only the old Ouday’s words and his beloved Syria…

“Carry your mind on the legendary flying carpet of Arab fairy tales, through space and time…

My journey begins at Ugarit, 7,000 years ago, where man started writing for the first time. I can then hear the immortal verses of the Ugaritic poet: verily, I tell you, come to me, that this land is not a land of war, for my law does not allow it. Verily I say unto you, this land is a land of pruning, of plowshares, and of culture.

I fly on the Mounts of Taurus, where still hangs the scepter of Marco Crasso,  who was killed by the Partis, ruled by General Surena following the slaying of a Syrian. My carpet flies fast and fast I arrive to the mountain Laodicean, the bald mountain, where Eraclio I was defeated by the Syrians, where the wind still whispers the words of the Byzantine emperor defeated: peace on you o Syria, my eyes will not see you never again!

And then on Tartus, where there is the largest underground water tank, even bigger than that of Istanbul. From above I see the Arados Island, gently lying in the clear sea, a land of Phoenician sailors and I hear their prayers rise from the Temple of Amrit.

Again I come to Banias Castle, the uncatchable fortress of the Assassins, from whose tower the adepts of the sect thrown themselves following the orders of their boss, to show him his loyalty.

I fly over Safita’s sky, from whose tower you could see the Templar’s Castle, near Homs, point out the danger that came from the hinterland. The same castle that saw the defeat of the Templars by Saladin and which is still called today Krak of the Knights.

My carpet goes to East, to Hama, the capital of Orontes, and then my spirit embraces the poet of philosophers, the philosopher of the poets, Abou at Aalaa Almaarri, the inspirer of the great poet Dante for his Comedy became Divine. And still in the east, toward Palmyra, the reign of the revolutionary queen Zenobia.

I fly again, this time to North, to Aleppo, for centuries destination of great caravans every day and from my privileged position I can see the spectacle of ten thousand camels crowded inside the Citadel and hear from within its walls the glory of Baghdad, the stories of The Thousand and One Nights. Aleppo, in which Citadel is engraved with letters of light on golden pages, the verse of Al-Mutanabbi, the Alawit poet, who reads it: fast fillies, night and desert know me. As I know the sword, the spear, the inkwell and the pen.

 

My journey continues and my magic carpet leads me to the South, to Homs, the hometown of Giulia Domna, mother of Siro-Roman emperors, wife of Settimio Severo, founder of the Severi dynasty. And I can only remember her fairy weddings in the eternal city of Rome.

And further to South, to Maaloula, at the monastery of San Sergio, where there is the first Christian altar, a pagan time, the only one with canals for the drainage of the blood of human sacrifices at the time of paganism.

And here to overfly the splendid river Euphrates, which with its generous floods gave life to the most fertile land of the whole planet and where you can still see the shadow of the goddess Ashtar, Aphrodite for the Hellenists, Venus for the Romans, who protects the Dam of the Revolution, built in the twentieth century with the sweat and arms of the Socialist Revolutionaries. It is Adonis, his beloved bridegroom, to accompany me to the final destination of my journey, the glorious Damascus.

And there, is Damascus, wonder of wonders, the oldest city in the world, described in the Bible and first celebrated by all the pagan gods. I come to earth this time, to touch the soil of Damascus, to feel the smell of incense, to breathe the same air that breathed Saints, Blessed and Martyrs. They breathed the ancestors of those who chased Gauls, Ottomans and Crusaders.

I visited the tomb of John the Baptist, where 80 years after the death of Christ, a church was built, then replaced by the first and largest architectural work of the Islamic world, under that empire that expanded itself in the East to the Chinese Great Wall Chinese and in the West to Spain. Even today in Andalusia you can savor, in the hot evenings, the perfumes of the Syrian gardens.

It is at the gates of Damascus that Philip, the Roman emperor, built his little Rome with the amphitheater and the baths.

Here the prophet Muhammad’s camel stopped before the divine message when he met the Christian monk Buhaira in his convent.

And I still linger at the mausoleum of Ruqayyah, where, with the martyrdom of the Imam Hussein, his sons and followers, blood has won the sword.

This is Syria in the books of History.

Lighthouse for saints, poets, riders, sailors, scientists, philosophers, conquerors, merchants, oppressed and oppressors.

And I look at Syria today, the Syria of young Bashar Al-Assad.

Where you can still feel the scent and the palpitations of Socialism.

The Socialism of Nasser, Chavez, Morales, Castro.

And where you can still heard the beating of the heart and the blood of millions of Algerian martyrs, the heroes of the struggle for liberation from the French occupation.

Where still waving triumphant the green flags of the Great Jamahiriya and the heart of the great African statesman and martyr Mu’ammar Gaddafi, student of the valiant leader Jamal Abd al-Nasser.

It is the Syria of Assad father and Assad son, Men at the time of the slaves.

As Italian-Syrian, I feel myself as the reincarnation of Apollodorus the Damascene, whose spirit lives in good and evil in every Syrian in the world. Apollodorus, the favorite of the Emperor Trajan, for whom he built the Trajan Bridge on the Danube after the conquest of Dacia. And again the Port, the Column, the Forum, the Trajan Baths. The Arch of Trajan in Benevento and the homonym that rises on the pier of the port of Ancona, also work of Apollodorus. To which is also the last finishing touch of the Roman Pantheon.

The Syrians are like Apollodoro, not so much in art as in the deep rebellious spirit; he did not hesita a moment, the great architect, to criticize the architectural works of the new Emperor Hadrian, coming to tell him explicitly: you do not understand anything of these things. Words that caused to him the exile and shortly after the death.

To conclude, I want to confirm the words spoken by Roman poets: Orontes is a tributary of the Tiber.

 

The momentous Syrian victory in Deir Ezzor – By Hugo Turner (Global Research)

© Agence France-Presse
Syrian soldiers raise their weapons while holding a picture of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Deir Ezzor in 2011.

The Syrian Arab Army have achieved yet another dramatic victory this time lifting the ISIS siege of the heroic city of Deir Ezzor. For years Deir Ezzor has been surrounded by enemies and under siege first by the FSA and Al Nusra and then by ISIS. They have withstood repeated attacks by the US-NATO air force most infamously last fall when the Americans bombed Deir Ezzor right after agreeing to a ceasefire, a treacherous move that paved the way for a nearly successful ISIS offensive to capture the city. The brave defenders of Deir Ezzor withstood these endless attacks becoming a symbol of the heroic resistance of all of Syria. For years Syrians and their friends around the world have dreamed that one day this siege would be lifted. Our dreams have finally come true and faster then anyone could have imagined.

The liberation of Deir Ezzor from ISIS siege is the culmination of months of dramatic SAA victories against ISIS. Now we dream that a final victory may be near in Syria. Once again the SAA and their allies Hezbollah, Russia, and Iran have stunned the world. The empire of Chaos is in a panic. Netanyahu of Israel is hysterical with rage attempting to spoil the victory in Deir Ezzor with yet another of it’s illegal and cowardly air strikes on Syria. The whole strategic balance of the world is changing before our eyes. And it is all due to the enormous courage of the Syrian people who have withstood this dirty war launched by seemingly half the world on their country. Syria has resisted the US, Israel, the British, the Saudis, Qatar, Turkey, UAE, Kuwait, France, Germany, and the rest of the GCC/NATO lackeys that make up the the Axis of Chaos. They have resisted armies of fanatical, brutal, killers recruited across the middle east, Africa, Europe, and Central Asia. They have defeated a CIA trained horde of torturers, rapists, slavers, cannibals, and of course killers. Has any country in history battled against the odds Syria has faced? Is the victory in Deir Ezzor the most glorious in human history?

Brigadier General Issam Zahreddine of the Syrian Arab Army

Only a few short months ago it was unclear whether Deir Ezzor would survive long enough for the SAA to lift the siege. ISIS launched offensive after offensive and with the help of the earlier US air strikes ISIS even managed to cut the city in half last January. Then even more desperate offensives followed and ISIS made some dangerous strategic gains. ISIS always began every offensive with their trademark suicide truck bomb attacks. However the SAA managed to crush these ISIS offensives turning the town into the graveyard of ISIS. The SAA were under the command of the legendary Major General Issam Zahreddine who has lead the defense of the city since July of 2014. Every day for over 1000 days the SAA, Hezbollah and the local national defense forces were on the front lines defending the cities’ 100,000 residents from ISIS. The civilians were equally heroic in withstanding years of siege especially the defiant women of Deir Ezzor who braved kidnappers, snipers and rocket attacks to find food for their families. Their husbands were often dead or fighting on the front lines and it was the stubborn bravery of the women of Deir Ezzor that allowed the city to survive the siege. The people of Deir Ezzor withstood untold suffering their electricity was cut off, food was scarce, medicine hard to find. Thanks to the treacherous attack of the US air force ISIS was able to seize the towns clean water supply and the town was forced to drink polluted river water to survive. Rockets, artillery, mortars and sniper fire terrorized them like so many Syrians who have survived these terrorist sieges. They lived in constant fear that ISIS might capture the city. Despite all this they remained defiant determined to resist to the end. I’ll never forget the sight of hundreds of Syrian mothers, and grandmothers armed with Ak-47s and warning ISIS they would fight to the death to defend their families. Thankfully due to bravery of the SAA and their allies it never came to that and against all the odds the city resisted every attempt to capture it. In the end they were defending the city with only 2 tanks and artillery that were long past their life expectancy after being fired so many times without replacement.

The victory at Deir Ezzor is the culmination of months of SAA offensives that have liberated thousands of square kilometers in the past few months. To the North expanding on the victory in Aleppo the SAA steadily advanced east towards and then past Raqqa. To the south of them was a huge swath of Syrian territory occupied by ISIS separating them from the SAA territory extending into Palmyra. In a stunning series of victories the SAA managed to cut this ISIS pocket off from it’s supply lines divide it in two and completely encircle them liberating a huge amount of territory and opening the way for the final push towards Deir Ezzor. Those who followed the amazing victories of the NAF during the war in Ukraine could not help but recognize the brilliant behind the scenes role Russian Spetsnaz advisers played in the recent SAA victories. ISIS is still desperately resisting it’s inevitable defeat but it is clear that the SAA, Hezbollah and Russia have dealt it a decisive defeat in Syria. These victories owed much to Syria’s elite Tiger Forces who also played a decisive role in both the victory in Aleppo and the end of the siege of Deir Ezzor. In a war where battles have raged for weeks over a tiny village or even a single building the SAA have managed to liberate thousands of miles in recent weeks. Once again the SAA have accomplished the impossible.

© SouthFront
This map provides a general look at the military situation in central Syria as government forces are rapidly advancing against ISIS in the province of Deir Ezzor. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies have crossed the Euphrates River and are now developing momentum on its eastern bank as of September 19, 2017.

It is no wonder Syria’s enemies are acting even crazier then usual. The US has sent it’s SDF Kurdish mercenaries to try to block further SAA advances. The Kurds would be wise to break out of their servitude to the empire soon before the Americans provoke some terrifying disaster. At the same time the US is trying to embroil the Kurds with a war with the SAA. Rumor has it the US has already made plans to abandon them to their fate. In the week before the siege on Deir Ezzor was broken, the US sent it’s helicopters in to evacuate certain key ISIS commanders, exposing yet again that ISIS is merely a tool of the CIA and it’s allied intelligence agencies. In revenge Russia bombed ISIS with a thermobaric bomb and has been showing off it’s cruise missiles in devastating attacks on ISIS which are also a warning to the US and it’s SDF pawns. The US responded to the liberation of Deir Ezzor by bombing a nearby refugee camp killing Syrian children in a criminal and cowardly attack. The US is also in an ever intensifying panic over Russia although it seemed impossible for the anti-Russian Hysteria to grow even crazier. They are locked in a diplomatic war with Russia expelling each others diplomats and installing more harsh sanctions on Russia, Iran, North Korea and Venezuela. They are targeting RT and Sputnik. It has gotten so out of control that USA Today foolishly attacked my blog for exposing the fascist coup in Ukraine. It was part of the latest Russian propaganda Hysteria backed by the CIA/BND Front the German Marshall Fund and it’s Alliance for Securing Democracy’s Hamilton 68 Project which spies on 600 pro-Russian twitter accounts or as they call them “Kremlin controlled bots and trolls.” Basically anyone who opposes fascist Ukraine or the schemes to have Al Qaeda and ISIS destroy Syria is now being labeled a Russian propagandist regardless of whether they are Americans, Canadians or western Europeans and are accused of destroying democracy by informing the public. This arrogant NATO think tank believes the only way “to secure democracy” is to destroy free speech. Luckily they are far too late to prevent the world from realizing the criminal nature of American Foreign Policy which brings destruction, misery, poverty, and war to the entire planet.

Syria’s other enemies are also in a panic. Netanyahu of Israel made himself into a global laughingstock when he traveled to Russia to beg Putin to stop the SAA advances which he insanely believed was Iranian expansionism. Putin told him Iran was a Russian ally and they say Netanyahu flew into a rage and threatened to bomb Assad’s presidential palace. He had to content himself with yet another illegal Israeli bombing. Still Israel remains dangerous and unpredictable and is in a panic over the fact that Hezbollah has only grown stronger during the war on Syria. Hezbollah achieved a major victory in the Qalamoun mountains, finally cleaning out a nest of ISIS terrorists who were forced to evacuate in busses to their ever shrinking territory in Eastern Syria. The Saudis are feuding with the Qataris while they continue their US-UK-NATO backed genocidal war on Yemen. Meanwhile the whole world is wondering whether mad emperor Trump will embroil the world in a nuclear war over North Korea. I predict that the whole thing is just an embarrassing bluff, another humiliation for the Empire of Chaos. Still the US is on the attack everywhere in the world. It’s latest coup plot in Venezuela has met a humiliating defeat the fascist opposition discredited themselves with their reign of terror and Venezuela has voted to further advance the Bolivarian Socialist Revolution.

Meanwhile in Syria they are celebrating and rebuilding, Syrian’s forced to flee as refugees are now returning home now that the NATO death squads have been driven out of so much of the country. Where two years ago there was a gloomy determination now Syrians are again dreaming of the bright future ahead when they have rebuilt their country. The liberation of Deir Ezzor was celebrated across Syria especially in Deir Ezzor itself. Now that the SAA have broken the siege food and medical supplies can finally enter the town and children can now go to school without fear of being shot by snipers. Everywhere in Syria people are dreaming of a final victory and the return of peace. Unfortunately the war is far from over but Syria has become an inspiration to the world a symbol of heroism and resistance. In the face of all the Axis of Chaos could throw at them the armies of terrorists, NATO bombers, the US marines, the CIA plots, the billions in weapons, the sanctions and the propaganda war Syria refused to surrender. A lesson to everyone resisting the empire of chaos: remember Syria and never stop fighting.

Sources

ANNA news Documentary on life in Deir Ezzor under ISIS Siege

ANNA News Documentary on Lifting the ISIS Siege of Deir Ezzor

The latest from Deir Ezzor as SAA continue their offensive

Sharmine Narwani on Israel’s Panic over SAA victory

Dr. Shaaban: On the Syrian Victory

Flashback to the my article on the treacherous US bombing of Deir Ezzor

Russia and Syria create joint air defense system – By TASS

August 25, 17:15 UTC+3

Russia’s air defense group in Syria includes a radio engineering battalion, a battery of Pantsir-S units and the S-400 air defense missile systems

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© Vadim Savitsky/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP

KUBINKA /Moscow region/, August 25. /TASS/. A unified air defense system has been set up in Syria thanks to efforts of Russian and Syrian military experts, Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander of the Russian Aerospace Forces Major-General Sergey Meshcheryakov told a round table dedicated to the Syrian experience at the Army-2017 International Military-Technical Forum.

“Today, a unified integrated air defense system has been set up in Syria. We have ensured the information and technical interlinkage of the Russian and Syrian air reconnaissance systems. All information on the situation in the air comes from Syrian radar stations to the control points of the Russian force grouping,” he said.

The Russian air defense group in the Hmeymim airfield area includes a radio engineering battalion, a battery of the Pantsir-S air defense missile and gun systems and the S-400 air defense missile systems.

“These air defense missile systems are capable of destroying targets within a range of up to 400 kilometers at an altitude of up to 35 kilometers,” Meshcheryakov said.

 

He added that the Russian Aerospace Forces had inflicted substantial damage on the Islamic State (outlawed in Russia) terrorist infrastructure by destroying their ammunition and fuel depots, weapons and military equipment repair plants and significantly worsening militants’ logistics support and their ability to quickly redeploy reinforcements.

“Thanks to regular airstrikes against the oil infrastructure and the destruction of oil convoys, substantial economic damage has been inflicted on the enemy as well,” Mescheryakov concluded.

More:
http://tass.com/defense/962057

The Conflict In Syria Was Always Israel’s War Because Israel has staked first its survival and ultimately its growth into a dominant regional power on the disunity of its neighboring nations – By Whitney Webb

ISRAELHONDURASCRIMES

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After years of fomenting the Syrian conflict from the shadows, the U.S. has recently seemed to back away from its push to militarily intervene in the embattled nation, instead choosing to focus its saber-rattling and destabilization efforts on other theaters. The consequence of this has seemingly been the winding down of the long-running conflict, now entering its seventh year.

Buoyed by Russia, Iran and Lebanon, the Syrian government led by President Bashar al-Assad has managed to retake vast swaths of territory, all while surviving and growing stronger over the course of a largely foreign-funded onslaught. As a result, many of the governments that were instrumental in funding and arming the so-called “moderate” opposition have begun to extricate themselves, unwilling to further test the resilience of Assad or the Syrian people.

With some anticipating the long-awaited conclusion of the Syrian conflict, recent threats from Israel’s government to assassinate Assad by bombing his residence seemed to appear out of the blue. According to the Jerusalem Post, a senior Israeli official accompanying Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a recent visit to Russia warned the Kremlin that if Iran continues to “extend its reach” in Syria, Israel would bomb the presidential palace in Damascus.

 

Israel’s comments should come as no surprise, however, as the foreign-funded and manufactured conflict in Syria was always Israel’s war. The only real surprise is Israel’s growing isolation in pushing for the further escalation of the conflict.

 

WikiLeaks sheds light on the origins of the war

Though it has successfully avoided being labeled a major player in the effort to oust Assad, Israel has long been the mastermind of the plan, which stems in large part from the long-standing hostilities between the two nations as well as Israel’s own regional ambitions. State Department diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks have shown that in 2006, five years before the conflict in Syria manifested, the government of Israel had hatched a plan to overthrow the Assad government by engineering sectarian strife in the country, creating paranoia within the highest-ranks of the Syrian government, and isolating Syria from its strongest regional ally, Iran.

Israel then passed this plan along to the United States, which would then involve Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and Egypt in fomenting the “breakdown” of the Assad regime as a way of weakening both Iran and Hezbollah — with the effect of empowering both Israel and the Gulf monarchies, two seemingly disparate forces in the region that are becoming increasingly allied.


Related | As Syria Nears Victory Against Rebels, Israel Begins To Panic


Leaked emails belonging to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton further reveal Israel’s role in covertly creating the conflict and its clear role in securing the involvement of the U.S. and other nations in executing its plan for Assad’s removal. One email, forwarded by Clinton to her advisor Jacob Sullivan, argues that Israel is convinced that Iran would lose “its only ally” in the region were Assad’s government to collapse.

It further stated that “The fall of the House of Assad could well ignite a sectarian war between the Shiites and the majority Sunnis of the region drawing in Iran, which, in the view of Israeli commanders would not be a bad thing for Israel and its Western allies.” This possible sectarian war was perceived as a potential “factor in the eventual fall of the current government of Iran.”

Another Clinton email released by WikiLeaks stated”

The best way to help Israel deal with Iran’s growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad,”

Adding

Bringing down Assad would not only be a massive boon to Israel’s security, it would also ease Israel’s understandable fear of losing its nuclear monopoly.”

The email also notes:

A successful intervention in Syria would require substantial diplomatic and military leadership from the United States” and states that “arming the Syrian rebels and using western air power to ground Syrian helicopters and airplanes is a low-cost high payoff approach.”

Read the full Wikileaks release below:

Stated plainly, the U.S.’ decision to spend over $1 billion until 2015 to arm Syria’s terrorist-linked “rebels” — and to invoke the assistance of Wahhabi terrorism exporters like Saudi Arabia and Qatar in funneling weapons and funds to these same groups — was spurred by Israel, which not only drafted the original blueprint for the Syrian conflict but guided U.S. involvement by exerting its powerful influence over the foreign policy of that country.

 

Aiding the Rebels

Two men, not specified which group of rebels, ride a motorcycle towards an abandoned UN base at Syria's Quneitra border crossing between Syria and the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Israel did more, however, than covertly instigate and guide the funding of opposition “rebels” — having secretly funded and aided opposition groups, including ones with overt terrorist affiliations, over the course of the six-year-long conflict.

Israeli involvement in direct funding and aiding the Syrian “rebels” was suspected for years before being officially made public by the Wall Street Journal in June of this year. The report revealed that Israel, since the beginning of the conflict, had been “supplying Syrian rebels near its border with cash as well as food, fuel, and medical supplies for years, a secret engagement in the enemy country’s civil war aimed at carving out a buffer zone populated by friendly forces.” Israel has also frequently brought wounded “rebels” into Israel for medical treatment, a policy it often touts as a “humanitarian effort.”

These “friendly” forces were armed groups that formed part of or were allied with al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch, known for committing atrocities against thousands of Syrian civilians and slaughtering religious and ethnic minorities. Since 2013, al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist groups have dominated the “eight-square-kilometer separation zone on the Golan.” Israel has stated officially that these fighters are part of the U.S. coalition-supported Free Syrian Army (FSA). However, it has long been known that the vast majority of the groups comprising FSA have pledged allegiance to the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front, and that those who still fight under the FSA banner meet with al-Nusra on a daily basis.

Netanyahu looks at a Syrian rebel fighter being treated in an IDF field hospital. (Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Israel’s support for terrorist groups went far beyond medical treatment, food supplies and cash. The Israeli army was also found to have been in regular communication with these terrorist groups and even helped “pay salaries of fighters and buy ammunition and weapons.” In addition, when the positions of the “rebel” groups it funded, armed and paid were in danger of being overtaken by Syrian government forces, Israel stepped in to directly bomb Syrian targets. For instance, in June, Israel attacked several Syrian military positions after claiming a stray mortar had landed within the boundaries of the Golan Heights, part of Syria that has long been occupied by Israel. However, the attack tellingly coincided with Syrian army advancements against the “rebel” groups that Israel has long cultivated as part of the so-called “buffer zone.”

Furthermore, Israel has launched attacks inside Syria “dozens and dozens of times,” according to a recent admission by Netanyahu. Earlier this year, Israel also threatened to “destroy” Syrian air defenses after the Syrian army fired missiles at Israeli warplanes striking targets within Syria.

Also very telling has been Israel’s position on Daesh (ISIS). In June of last year, Israel’s military intelligence chief, Major General Herzi Halevi, openly stated that Israel does not want to see Daesh defeated in Syria — expressing concern about the offensives against Daesh territory and lamenting their “most difficult” situation. Prior to Halevi’s comments, Israeli officials had regularly noted that Daesh conquering the whole of Syria would be preferable to the survival of the Assad government. These comments have been echoed by Israeli and NATO-affiliated think tanks, one of which called Daesh “a useful tool in undermining” Iran, Hezbollah, Syria and Russia — despite Daesh’s barbaric tactics, war crimes, enslavement of women and ethnic cleansing efforts.

 

Israel’s larger geopolitical agenda

An old Israeli tank sits in a position in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights near the border with Syria,Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015.

Though Israel’s support of Wahhabi terrorists like Daesh (ISIS) and al-Nusra may seem counter-intuitive, Israel’s overarching purpose in expelling Assad from power is based on strategic geopolitical and economic goals that Israel is determined to meet at any cost. While Israel frequently mentions Iran as the pretext for its involvement in Syria, the strongest motivators for Israel’s participation in the destruction of its northern neighbor are oil and territorial expansion.

One of Israel’s clearest reasons for being interested in the destabilization of Syria is its ability to assert further control of the Golan Heights, an area of Syria that Israel has illegally occupied since 1967 and annexed in 1981. Despite filling the area with illegal settlements and military assets, Israel has been unable to convince the international community, and even its close allies such as the U.S., to recognize its sovereignty over the territory. However, the conflict in Syria has proven beneficial to this end, allowing Israel to send even more settlers into the Golan, an estimated 100,000 over five years.


Related | Nearly 3,500 Israeli Settlement Homes Built On Private Palestinian Land


Israel is largely interested in gaining control over the Golan for economic reasons, owing to the occupied territory’s oil reserves, which are estimated to contain “billions of barrels.” Under the cover of the Syrian conflict, the Israeli branch of an American oil company — whose investors include Dick Cheney, Jacob Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch — has been drilling exploratory wells throughout the region, as the Heights’ uncertain territorial status prevents Israel from financially exploiting the resource.

Despite the prohibitions of international law, Israel is eager to tap into those reserves, as they have the potential to “make Israel energy self-sufficient.” Israel has even offered, per the Galant plan, to “rebuild” Syria with billions in U.S. taxpayer dollars in exchange for the Golan Heights — though the plan received a tepid reception from all involved parties other than Israel itself.

As its stands, Assad’s removal and replacement with a government friendly to Israeli and Western interests is Israel’s only real means of claiming the Golan Height’s energy resources for itself.

 

Pawns blocking Israel’s endgame

An Iraqi Kurd reads a copy of the magazine Israel-Kurd on a street in Irbil, Iraq in 2009. (Azad Lashkari/Reuters)

Aside from the oil and the territory it seeks to gain in the Golan Heights, Israel is also seeking to expand well beyond that territory in order to more widely exert its influence and become the region’s “superpower.” This ambition is described in the Yinon Plan, a strategy intended to ensure Israel’s regional superiority in the Middle East that chiefly involves reconfiguring the entire Arab world into smaller and weaker sectarian states. This has manifested in Israel’s support for the partition of Iraq as well as Syria, abetted by its support for the establishment of a separatist Kurdish state within these two nations.


Related | Israel Calls For Partition Of Iraq, Creation Of New Kurdish State


This goal, in particular, largely explains Israel’s obsession with curbing Iranian influence in the Middle East, whether in Syria or elsewhere. Iran – more than any other nation in the region – is the most likely to threaten the “superpower” status that Israel seeks to gain for itself, as well as Israel’s loss of monopoly as the region’s only nuclear power.

Given Israel’s compound interests in seeing the removal of Assad and the partition of Syria, it is hardly surprising that Israeli political rhetoric has reached new heights of saber-rattling as Tel Aviv becomes increasingly concerned that the conflict it masterminded could backfire. Prior to the explosive comments regarding Israeli threats to bomb Assad’s residence, an anonymous Israeli government minister blamed the U.S. for backing out of Syria, a move he argued sacrificed Israeli interests:

The United States threw Israel under the bus for the second time in a row. The first time was the nuclear agreement with Iran, the second time is now that the United States ignores the fact that Iran is obtaining territorial continuity to the Mediterranean Sea and Israel’s northern border [through Syria].”

Not only that but Israel has recently vowed to “nullify” the ceasefire deal brokered between Russia and the U.S. with Syrian and Iranian support if it fails to comply with Israel’s needs — an ultimatum based on rather subjective terms given that “Israel’s needs” are hardly static. Israel’s response again shows the perception among officials in Tel Aviv that the Syrian conflict is of primary importance to Israeli geopolitical interests.

Furthermore, given that the response suggested so far by Israeli officials – on more than one occasion – has been to assassinate Syria’s democratically-elected President – the contemplated means of Israel “nullifying” the ceasefire deal will likely have explosive implications. Israel — apparently refusing to accept that the conflict it orchestrated is not going, and may not end, as planned — is now willing to escalate the situation militarily, with or without allies, resorting to dangerous brinkmanship with global implications.

Top photo | Israeli tourists watch smoke rising near the Syrian-Israeli border as the fighting Syrian army fights to regain control of the Quneitra border crossing from rebel groups. (Atef Safadi/EPA)

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