After Peace Talks Fail, Saudi Coalition Reverts to Scorched-Earth Campaign Against Civilians in Yemen – by Ahmed Abdulkareem – MINT PRESS

The Forgotten War

Yemen Hodeida

After UN-brokered peace talks between Yemen and the Saudi coalition in Geneva failed last week, the Saudi-led coalition renewed its offensive to capture Yemen’s strategic port of Hodeida, leaving scores of dead civilians in its wake.

HODEIDA, YEMEN — Not long after UN-brokered peace talks between Yemen and the Saudi coalition in Geneva failed last week, the Saudi-led coalition renewed its offensive to capture Yemen’s strategic port of Hodeida. The attacks targeted internally displaced persons, vital facilities and infrastructure– continuing a scorched earth campaign that has left scores of dead civilians in its wake.

“Please doctor, save my mother, she will die!” begged nine-year-old Mohammed as he and his brother Amran stared at their dead mother, who died from injuries sustained when a Saudi airstrike hit their family car Friday on the highway between Hodeida and Sana’a in the Kilo 16 district on the outskirts of Hodeida. The family was attempting to flee to Sana’a.

Lying in blood-stained clothing on a bed in Hodeida Hospital’s emergency room, Mohammed, who hung on to his mother’s purse despite the shrapnel in his hand, recounted the events which led him there:

 

We were moving furniture from our home in Kilo 16 to the truck. When a bomb suddenly hit us. My mother was killed and I, my brother and sister were wounded.”

At least 10 civilians, including women and children, were killed and dozens injured by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in Hodeida and Sadaa on Friday. Just two days prior, coalition aircraft bombed Hodeida’s Kilo 16 district, killing 15 civilians and injuring dozens more, most of whom were hit when they were forced to flee down the only road that links Sana’a and Hodeida.

The deadly attacks come after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended the Saudi coalition following international pressure after the coalition targeted a school bus full of children.

In a written memo, Pompeo ‘certified’  that the Gulf monarchies waging the war in Yemen were taking “sufficient steps to protect civilians.”

The governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are undertaking demonstrable actions to reduce the risk of harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure resulting from military operations of these governments.”


Read | Pompeo’s unclassified memo on US Military aid to the Saudi coalition


Despite Pompeo’s statements, attacks on civilians show little sign of abatement.

In another fresh attack by the U.S.-backed coalition, ten civilians including women and children were killed when Saudi airstrikes targeted their family home in the village of Hwara in the Ganiyah district on Monday. Three journalists and a guard were also killed when Saudi airstrikes targeted the Hodeida Radio building Sunday, and two were people were killed and one severely injured after a fishing boat off the island of Al-Sawaba was targeted on Saturday.

 

The worst may be yet to come

Five hundred meters south of Kilo 16, where Mohammed family was hit, local mercenaries employed by the Saudi coalition shelled a United Nations World Food Program (WFP) food silo inside the Yemen Company for Flour Mills and Silos (YCFMS).

The UN food storage facility held large quantities of wheat for the WFP and was responsible for milling about a quarter of the wheat flour the agency distributes to some of the hungriest people in the country, according to the UN.

Speaking to reporters in Geneva on Friday, WFP spokesman Herve Verhoosel said:

Humanitarian workers, infrastructure and food supplies have been targeted in recent days, as clashes are still ongoing near the Red Sea Mills silos, a critical facility for WFP operations. A mortar shell launched by an unidentified armed group also hit a WFP warehouse in Hodeida city, holding enough food to assist 19,200 people, wounding a guard at the warehouse. The fighting could impact WFP’s ability to supply up to 3.5 million people in dire need in northern and central Yemen for a month.”

Earlier, the chairman of Ansar Allah`s (Houthi’s) Supreme Revolutionary Committee, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, warned in a Twitter post that Riyadh had plans to attack food storage facilities and silos across Hodeida under the false pretext that they were being used to store weapons.

The Ministry of Public Health and Population, based in Sana’a, also warned in a statement that the Saudi-led coalition wanted to target UNICEF food stores and World Food Program grain silos in Hodeida, to “push Yemenis to starvation by various means.”

This comes amidst a worsening famine in Yemen which has left thousands of families in many provinces, including Hodeida, with nothing to eat, leaving some to resort to eating the leaves off of trees in an attempt to stave off starvation.

 

Fleeing becomes almost impossible

Like hundreds of families, Mohammed lost his mother when they were driving the Kilo 16 thoroughfare linking the port city of Hodeida to the capital, Sana’a. Serving as the only major road to Sana’a, the thoroughfare has left civilians exposed to deadly coalition attacks as they attempt to flee the fighting in Hodeida.

Houthi Yemen Kilo 16

The road has been difficult to traverse since June 13, when forces from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates launched a wide-ranging operation to capture Hodeida’s strategic seaport. With airports closed thanks to a coalition blockade, there are no humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to flee or ambulance crews to transport the wounded to Sana’a. The coalition has also blocked internet access across most of Hodeida, making it almost impossible for residents to contact the outside world.

The coalition claims its attacks on the Kilo 16 thoroughfare are intended to cut off the Houthis’ main supply route but have provided no evidence to back their claim. The Houthis likely do not rely on the asphalt road where they could easily be spotted and targeted by coalition aircraft.

The fighting for Hodeida has effectively shut down the main artery linking the port city to the rest of the country, Save the Children charity said Thursday.

Tamer Kirolos of Save the Children said “it’s quite literally a matter of life and death” for the main road linking Hodeida to the capital Sana’a to remain open adding”

This year alone we expect some 400,000 children under five to suffer from severe acute malnutrition … Unless supply routes remain open this figure could increase dramatically, putting the lives of thousands of children at risk from entirely preventable causes.”

For its part, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has called for the port of Hodeida and the arteries that lead to and from it to remain open. NRC spokesman Jan Engelan said:

Hodeida is not a trophy and its citizens are not toys … A single act of force to disrupt the flow of supplies from Hodeida would be a deadly blow for millions.”

Aid agencies in Yemen have identified close to 500,000 people who had fled their homes in Hodeida between June and August, the NRC said. So far in September, 55,000 people have been displaced across Hodeida, it added, but a large number of civilians are still trapped in their homes.

 

In Hodeida, No guarantee of safety 

UN humanitarian coordinator, Lise Grande, said in a statement on Thursday:

The situation has deteriorated dramatically in the past few days. Families are absolutely terrified by the bombardment, shelling and airstrikes, as the lives of 300,000 inhabitants hang in the balance in the port city.”

“People are struggling to survive,” said Grande. “More than 25 percent of children are malnourished; 900,000 people in the governorate are desperate for food; and 90,000 pregnant women are at enormous risk.”

Indeed, a family who refused to flee Hodeida were targeted by a Saudi coalition airstrike on Friday, leaving one family member dead and many others wounded. The family, who resided in Hodeida’s al-Zurah district, didn’t have the means to escape the fighting and feared airstrikes targeting the roads leaving Hodeida.

International human rights groups say Saudi Arabia has committed war crimes by using unconventional weapons, conducting hundreds of airstrikes on residential areas, and hitting civilian targets across Yemen.

 

Death from above & everywhere else

Back in Hodeida Hospital’s emergency room, doctors struggle to save Mohammed and Amran after their family car was targeted in a coalition airstrike while trying to flee Hodeida via the Kilo 16 thoroughfare. The boys, both in a great deal of pain owing to serious injuries to their heads, hands and back, risk death from the chronic shortage of medical supplies in Yemen owing to a complete Saudi coalition blockade of the countries airports, seaports and roads.  The blockade has been in effect since the coalition campaign began in 2015.

To make matter worse, over 1,250 days of near-constant airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition have reduced Yemen`s hospitals and clinics to rubble and short-circuited its electricity service, while the ruinous blockade has depleted the country’s supply of food and life-saving medicine.

Yemen Famine

Hopes of a UN-brokered agreement to lift the blockade were crushed last week when peace talks between Yemen and the coalition fell through after the UN refused to facilitate the transfer of wounded patients to hospitals outside of Yemen for treatment and to guarantee the safety of a Houthi delegation attending the talks slated to take place in Geneva.

“If the Sana’a negotiating delegation had been allowed to travel to Geneva, I could have saved my father,” said Ahmed Abdul Qadeer. His father, who required a kidney transplant not available in Yemen, was one of several patients scheduled to travel with the Sana’a delegation on September 5.

The United Nations said on Saturday that the situation of children in Yemen is getting worse, not better. Globally, Yemen ranks first in the number of children in need of humanitarian aid. Over 11 million children — 80 percent of the country’s children — are in desperate need of assistance. Social services are barely functioning as the country is on the verge of collapse.

The U.S.-backed military campaign has not only affected children. Civilians across Yemen have suffered immensely from the campaign, which has left thousands of civilians dead, destroyed the country’s infrastructure, and created the conditions for the world’s worst cholera epidemic.

 

Yemen’s resistance shows no sign of surrender

Despite Saudi-led coalition claims of complete control over the Kilo 16 district, including to the main road, Mohammad al-Bukhaiti, a top figure in the Houthi Supreme Political Council, appeared on video Thursday on the Kilo 16 thoroughfare denying that claim.

In June, coalition forces tried to overrun Hodeida but were blocked by fierce resistance put up by Houthi fighters as well as local residents, who took up arms against coalition incursion.

Although the coalition has received substantial intelligence, logistical aid and advanced weaponry from United State, it has continued to plow ahead blindly. More than three years and hundreds of thousands dead and injured later, the coalition is no closer to achieving its goals than it was when it began its bloody campaign.

For their part, the Houthis, who comprise a major component of Yemen’s resistance movement Ansarullah, show no sign of surrender and still control Sana’a and most other major cities, thwarting Saudi Arabia’s efforts to dislodge them in favor of a government more amenable to Saudi policy.

In light of the stalemate and the horrific destruction and loss of life, the Geneva peace talks between should be rekindled. “At least, let Mohammed along with millions of children live in safety as America’s children do, and save what can be saved,” Mohammed and Amran’s father told MintPress.

Top Photo | A girl and her family stand in a school where she and her family were evacuated amid fighting in Hodeida, Yemen. Abdul Jabbar Zeyad | Reuters

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Saudi-Led Coalition Ministers of Information Meeting Probes Ways to Block Critical Coverage of Yemen War – By Ahmed Abdulkareem (SOTT)

Saudi-Led Coalition Ministers of Information Meeting Probes Ways to Block Critical Coverage of Yemen War

Well-known Yemeni activist and journalist Rand Al-Adimi told MintPress that dozens of journalists and outlets have been blacklisted, adding that “the Saudi-led coalition blacklisted my name, adding it to a list of journalists who threaten their genocide.”

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA — “That was the last time I saw Hashem,” recounted Mohammed Al Humran, a local Yemeni journalist, as he told MintPress how his 21-year-old son Hashem was killed in a double-tap airstrike while filming Saudi bombing raids in Dahian, north of Sadaa.

Hashem was one of the 180 journalists who have been killed in Yemen by Saudi-coalition forces, according to a report by the Union of Yemeni Journalists.

Since the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition’s war on Yemen began on March 26, 2015, journalists have been a preferred target, a fact that Saudi Arabia doesn’t shy away from acknowledging. Former coalition spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri said in a March 2015 press conference that opposition media outlets would be targeted by the coalition and just three weeks ago, at a press conference in Riyadh, the Saudi-led coalition’s spokesman reiterated Saudi Arabia’s willingness to target journalists. MintPress News journalist Ahmed AbdulKareem was injured by a Saudi airstrike in 2015 while covering clashes near the Yemen-Saudi Arabia border.

Although the coalition’s war in Yemen barely registers in the international mainstream news, the Saudi coalition and its allies have been desperate to curb negative coverage of the war, which the U.N. has called the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.  

Aside from a coalition-imposed moratorium on foreign journalists entering Yemen, a recent report by the Yemeni Media Union highlights a great deal of coalition activity aimed at controlling the narrative surrounding the unpopular war, including:five cases of cloning ‘tv’ channels, 22 cases of destruction of ‘media’ facilities, 30 cases of targeting radio and television broadcasting centers, seven cases of suspension from broadcasting on Arabsat and Nilesat, and seven cases of blocking and disturbing channels.”

Despite the coalition’s efforts, ongoing work by local journalists and attention from international human-rights organizations continues to draw the ire of coalition leadership, who recently held a meeting of the coalition’s Ministers of Information in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to discuss strategies to curb what they see as a threat posed by local and international media.

 

Ministers of Information meeting in Jeddah

According to a source present in the meeting, officials named MintPress News, along with other media, as a threat to their ongoing military operation in the port of Hodeida and developed a number of strategies to stem the flow of information from the frontlines of war. The source, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation, went on to say:

They plan to target all media present on Yemen’s coast, especially in Hodeida, including local radio and broadcasting stations and transmission networks … they also plan to use radio transmissions broadcast from Saudi coalition battleships off of Yemen’s coast to broadcast propaganda and psychological warfare to residents and fighters.”  

One of the strategies discussed in the meeting was using intimidation tactics to “force residents of Hodeida and surrounding regions to flee until the area effectively turns into a military zone,” a source told MintPress. According to Abdul-Wahab al-Sharif, director of Yemen’s National Commission for Humanitarian Affairs, over 13,000 families have already been displaced since June 14 when the coalition began its putsch to seize control of Hodeida.

Moreover, the Saudi-led coalition plans to wield its considerable influence in the Middle East to push for further blocks of critical coverage of the war on NileSat and ArabSat, two of the largest satellite television providers in the region. The coalition has already been able to pressure regional providers to impose limited bans on the Lebanon-based Al-Manar and Al Mayadeen television channels over their coverage of the war and, according to the Union of Yemeni Journalists, have been able to shut down all local television broadcasts from inside of Yemen a total of seven times since the war began in 2015.

 

Taking the fight online

The coalition also intends to take its media blitz to the internet. During the meeting in Jeddah, plans were discussed to push for the blocking or removal of social-media pages and online activity of journalists covering the war. The social-media profiles of hundreds of Yemeni activists have already been blocked since the war began. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have a well-established history of shuttering access to social media platforms and banning the coverage of certain topics within in their own borders; and, according to Freedom House, “Saudi Arabia has one of the most censored media environments in the world.”

A source who attended the meeting in Jeddah told MintPress that “Saudi Arabia and the UAE also discussed plans to publish fabricated news stories claiming Houthi fighters mined the port and intentionally deployed their fighters to residential areas,” in a bid to justify the heavy civilian losses that have come as a result of their operation. Plans to increase pro-Saudi and UAE narratives using paid commenters and social-media users were also discussed.  Both countries have used paid online trolls to target known Yemeni activists and journalists in the past.

 

Blacklisting critical coverage

Journalists providing coverage of the war have also been subject to harassment by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, often being blacklisted or threatened if they refuse to curb their reporting.  A Yemeni journalist embedded with Houthi forces told MintPress on condition of anonymity that he received a strange phone call from someone claiming to be from the ‘Coalition Operations Room:’

I got a call days ago from an unidentified person who said he was from the Coalition Operations Room. He told me I should leave the Houthis and join the coalition; he promised me legitimacy and financial advantages and told me I would be targeted if I didn’t comply.”

Well-known Yemeni activist and journalist Rand Al-Adimi told MintPress that dozens of journalists and outlets have been blacklisted, adding that “the Saudi-led coalition blacklisted my name, adding it to a list of journalists who threaten their genocide.”  Al Adimi runs a website covering the coalition’s war on Yemen with a special focus on her home province of Taiz.

A source who was attending the meeting in Jeddah confirmed that the harassment campaign was one of the strategies discussed in the meeting.

Local journalist and fixer Hussein al Bukhaiti isn’t deterred by news of the coalition’s efforts to step up attacks on the media. In fact, he recently traveled deeper behind the frontlines of the battle for Hodeida, hoping to capture images and videos that provide evidence to counter Saudi-coalition claims.  He told MintPress,

The coalition Ministers of Information meeting will not affect Yemeni journalists and activists; what those ministers couldn’t do in past three years they can not do in the coming days. The meeting have actually made us more determined to fight back by all means and tools available.”  

Top Photo | Information Ministers from the Saudi-led coalition speak during a meeting probing ways to curb critical coverage of their war on Yemen in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. June 24, 2018. Ghazi Mahdi | AN

Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media.

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Astana Peace Process: Time to Make China Fourth Guarantor State – By Peter KORZUN – (Strategic Culture Foundation)

Astana Peace Process: Time to Make China Fourth Guarantor State

In January, Russia hosted the Congress of Syrian National Dialog in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. It has been the most representative forum thus far to discuss the conflict in Syria. Moscow invited Beijing to take part in the event as an observer. The Russian government believes that China is too important to be denied a role in the process of bringing peace to that war-torn country.

Post-war Syria is a scene of devastation. The creation of de-escalation zones has worked well to establish a cease-fire and a pause to catch one’s breath before the work of reconstruction begins. The Western powers are very unlikely to help rebuild Syria as long as Assad’s government, which is backed by Russia and Iran, remains in power. Legislation that has been dubbed the “No Assistance for Assad Act” has passed the US House of Representatives and has been read twice in the Senate. The bill seeks to channel US aid exclusively to the parts of Syria outside the control of the government.

The West’s reluctance to help rebuild Syria makes China a viable alternative. It is ready to contribute, which is a very welcome development. Chinese businessmen are already in Syria, exploring the opportunities for investment. Beijing has announced a plan to build a $2 billion industrial park for 150 Chinese companies. It has launched the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a multi-billion, massive, intercontinental infrastructure development project, which includes Syria as a transit partner. China is for future investments around the world and Syria could be the beneficiary of much of that. It could also be used to assist Russia, Iran, and Turkey, the Astana process guarantor states.

China provides military and other forms of assistance to Syria. It has a vested interest in the settlement of the conflict, because stability in Syria reduces the risk that mercenaries from Xinjiang will return home to mount terrorist attacks. Last year, about 5,000 ethnic Uyghurs from that province traveled to Syria to train and fight for various militant groups. The normalization of the situation would prevent the country from becoming a haven and training ground for China’s Muslim extremists. But no stability is achievable in Syria without improved living standards.

Beijing has been playing a low-key yet active role in the peace process, without military involvement. It has joined Russia to veto several UN proposals put forward by the West that would sanction the Syrian government.

If China became the fourth full-fledged guarantor state for the Astana process, the peace effort could expand to bring in other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), including India and Pakistan. These states have never taken sides in Syria’s conflict, and thus could be trusted to act as impartial mediators. Iran is an observer and Turkey is a partner in the dialog. Egypt and Syria have also submitted applications to be granted observer status. Cairo is considering the possibility of sending its forces to Syria. With so many members involved in the conflict, the SCO could launch a comprehensive, international peace initiative based on the Astana process.

If some progress were made, Syria could obtain a status in the group that would be a stepping stone to full-fledged membership. The SCO could speak with one voice at the UN-brokered Geneva talks. The Shanghai Organization could solve the Syrian conflict without the West imposing its own rules of the game. Such a political breakthrough would greatly facilitate the implementation of China’s BRI, with all the major actors participating in the project. The SCO’s clout would grow immensely. Europe would benefit as well, if an SCO-brokered peace halted the flow of refugees.

China and Russia are also members of BRICS, another powerful group with growing prominence on the world stage. Three out of the five BRICS states – Russia, India, and China – are members of the Shanghai group. Brazil and South Africa would boost their global clout by joining in an SCO-BRICS peace effort in Syria. It’s important that the Syrian government view the BRICS coalition as a legitimate player. The participation of BRICS and SCO in the settlement process would transform the international system into a more multilateral configuration. This would also be in line with the concept of Responsibility to Protect (R2P), which was adopted by the UN in 2005. Syria is the right place to demonstrate that R2P is more than an empty phrase.

In theory, there may be reservations about bringing China in to act as the fourth guarantor state in the Astana process, but the advantages clearly outweigh any doubts. It would be a good thing for Beijing to play a greater role in the political efforts.

No peace will come if Syria is not rebuilt. The post-war reconstruction is too much for anyone to take on alone. It needs to be a comprehensive, international endeavor. This is a good opportunity for the SCO and BRICS to transform themselves into real international actors tackling urgent problems. Expanding the effort to bring peace to Syria is kind of a chain reaction that could be set in motion by bringing in China. This would be a step in the right direction toward resolving the conflict.

On The 2nd Anniversary Of Saudi Arabia’s Aggression, Heroic Yemenis March In Their Millions To Condemn War & Siege – By Jonathan Azaziah

by Jonathan Azaziah

Yesterday witnessed one of the largest antiwar, anti-Saudi demonstrations in history as MILLIONS UPON MILLIONS of Yemenis converged on the city blocks of their capital city Sanaa to mark 2 years of war, siege and ruin at the hands of the House of Saud. The murderous tyrants in Riyadh have launched around 90,000 air strikes on the people of Yemen since March 26th, 2015. They’ve murdered over 15,000 Yemenis and wounded tens of thousands more. And thanks to their all-out, air-land-and-sea blockade on the the whole of Yemen–a blockade mind you that is being assisted in full by ‘Israel’ and all major Western states, including America, Canada, the UK and France–more than 17 million Yemenis are either starving or “food insecure”, i.e. on the brink of starvation. What we are witnessing here in the poorest state in the Arab world (and among the poorest states in the entire Islamic world) is the greatest humanitarian crisis on Earth today and a crime against humanity that runs parallel to what Empire Zionica did to Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

BUT STILL THE YEMENI PEOPLE REBUKE DYING IN FAVOR OF SKYING. Indeed, this is what is most remarkable of all. So much death and destruction, chaos and carnage, horror and spilled hemoglobin all around them but the lions and lionesses of Yemen march and chant the slogan inaugurated by Sayyed Hussein al-Houthi (R.A.) like there is no tomorrow: “God is Great! Death to America! Death to ‘Israel’! Curse be on the Jews! Victory to Islam!” This scream of defiance echoes in the demonic brains of the GCC tyrants and their Zio-Imperialist controllers in “Tel Aviv” and Washington. Valiant and steadfast, Yemen wills itself out of the jaws of oblivion time and time again to raise the banner of resistance to Heaven’s rafters. You would think with so much suffering permeating Yemeni society, the Yemeni Islamic Resistance would have been long defeated by now but the opposite is in fact true.

730 days of war and Ansarullah’s missile-firing capabilities are stronger than ever, their maneuverability is stronger than ever, their morale is higher than ever, all of its commanders and leaders remain touched and their popularity is through the roof. Dönmeh Al-Saud on the other hand is spending so much money it has had to take austerity measures on the “home front”–quotations apply because Arabia/Al-Hijaz does not belong to the Saudi “royals” but rather is occupied by them–it has seen the UAE, Academi and Dyncorp driven from Yemen in humiliation, its casualties are over 10,000 and it has lost territory in Jizan, Asir and Najran. The toll Saudi Arabia’s invasion has taken on Yemenis is catastrophic no doubt, and immediate humanitarian assistance is required, but in asymmetrical terms, Ansarullah has already achieved total victory over the despotic Wahhabi enemy and this is a triumph to be celebrated for all-time. Yes, the great Egyptian revolutionary Gamal Abdel Nasser (R.A.) helped inflict defeat on Saudi Arabia in the 60s, also in Yemen coincidentally enough, but that was a proxy fight. What the Houthis have accomplished is unprecedented in the two centuries that Al-Saud has wreaked havoc on the land where Islam was born.

Notice the sea of Yemeni flags in the absolutely epic protest. Men, women, children, elderly, disabled, civilians, politicians, clerics, moujahideen and soldiers were all present. Sunnis, Shi’a and Sufis too. This was the embodiment of everything Yemen is and everything that Al-Saud failed to transmogrify Yemen into. A unified state and an even more unified society standing as one to combat a most wretched enemy. The vile tactics of divide and rule did not (and will not) work in Yemen. The usurping Zionist entity’s dream of controlling Bab el-Mandeb and implementing the ethno-sectarian regime laid out in Oded Yinon’s “A Strategy For ‘Israel’ In The 1980s” has flopped on its hideous, six-pointed-star-encrusted face. And most tellingly, despite the fact that there were millions on the street, that Saudi Arabia’s crimes against humanity are certified and verified, that Western ZOGs are complicit in this genocide and that ‘Israel’ is the strategic mastermind of all of it, the mainstream media was nowhere to be found, instead choosing to report about a few thousand Soros-paid, NED-controlled stooges chanting against Vladimir Putin on the streets of Moscow. Zio-MSM has been the central cog in the war machine against Syria and the same can be said for Yemen. The complicity (and duplicity) of these agents of deception is truly unique to this epoch.

With the “Arab” petrodollar monarchies led by Saudi Arabia against them, the global press lying about them or ignoring them, “The Ummah” brainwashed and apathetic towards them and nobody but Iran, the Syrian Arab Republic, Hizbullah, Sheikh Zakzaky of Nigeria and a handful of REAL activists scattered across the world speaking up in defense of them, Yemenis remain unbroken and upright two years into this Zionist-planned aggression. May peace return to their ancient civilization soon. ALLAH (SWT) knows they need it and deserve it after delivering blow after blow to the Takfiri Kingdom of Darkness on behalf of every single living, breathing creature on this planet. Striking Star Salute o’ Yemenis! The people of Mouqawamah are forever in awe of you! And history will remember you as CHAMPIONS! #LongLiveYemen #LongLiveAnsarullah #DeathToSaud

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SAUDI ARABIA BEHIND NEW DOUBLE SUICIDE BOMBINGS; SYRIAN AIR DEFENSE SHOOTS DOWN ZIONIST AIRCRAFT – By Ziad Fadel

SYRIAN ARMY THROTTLES ISIS AT AF ACADEMY IN ALEPPO; SAA LIBERATES WAADI AHMAR NEAR PALMYRA; SAUDIS WALLOWING IN THE SLIME OF DEFEAT

 

DAMASCUS:

Evidence is piling up giving us a macabre picture of a Saudi Arabia gripped by desperation and panic as the talks in Astana and the projected talks in Geneva begin producing concessions from the treasonous opposition. On March 14-15, 2017, in a much-publicized suicide operation, Alqaeda, with Saudi Arabian “planning” struck the Old Palace of Justice and a restaurant in central Damascus. These operations followed more suicide attacks on the capital which have now been linked (without any doubt) to the criminal regime of the Wahhabist cockroaches. Because of the attack last week, the security services were on double-alert as intelligence agencies were predicting Saudi Arabia’s frenzied effort to shift the talks in Astana toward a deal to be brokered by the shiftless hyenas of the Arabian Peninsula. The Saudis are desperate to have a role to play even as they see their influence whittled down to nothing more than a used toothpick.

Domestic security services suspected a young male as he hurriedly made his way toward the Palace of Justice where, typically, Syrian lawyers gather to discuss their cases over cigarettes and coffee. The terrorist saw that his presence was the subject of security concern and lunged at the guards who were standing outside the main entrance to the building. The guards did their job and fired at the murdering monkey whose only purpose now was to detonate his explosive belt to kill as many people as possible. Security agents also fired at the psychopath riddling him with bullets. Because he appeared to be affected by drugs, he was able to rush the door of the building and press the igniting mechanism killing 2 guards and 15 attorneys seated inside.

At the Al-Rabwa Neighborhood, security agents were pursuing three savages after determining they were not Syrian. At a restaurant frequented by families with children, the suicide bomber detonated his belt while the other 2 were captured. 25 people, mostly women and children, were killed by this sociopath. During interrogation, the terrorists admitted to being tasked for this operation in Jordan with Saudi officers providing the necessary instructions and the safe house (run by Nusra/Alqaeda) so that they could be prepared for their murder-spree. They were also provided with Captagon which they carried in their shirt pockets.

شهداء وجرحى في تفجيرات إرهابية استهدفت قصر العدل ومطعم في دمشق

http://www.fort-russ.com/2017/03/second-terrorist-attack-in-damascus-in.html

http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=33.510437&lon=36.299788&z=18&m=b&search=Palace%20of%20Justice%20

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HOMS: SYRIAN ARMY TAKES CONTROL OF WADI AHMAR:

Waadi Ahmar: This area is east of Palmyra. It has been deloused by the Syrian Army as of March 15, 2017. The SAA engineers have completely removed and dismantled mines and IEDs.

Hawsh Hadhad and Hawsh Shamsi in the area of Talbeesa: SAA Special Operations units stunned the sleeping vermin of Alqaeda/Nusra this morning as they raided a command-control base and a vehicle depot. The SAA killed 4 rodents and wounded scores. 5 vehicles were destroyed.

PALMYRA AREA: Do not believe the Zionist lies. Their aircraft were not targeting a convoy of trucks carrying ground-to-ground missiles bound for Hizbollah bases in the Lebanon. In fact, the bombers were targeting Syrian Army operations near Palmyra, specifically those having to do with removal of rats from oil and gas fields which ISIS desperately needs to keep its cash flow viable. 4 Zionist F-16s took off from Occupied Palestine at approximately 2:35 a.m. and flew into Syrian airspace at about 2:40 a.m. right over the town of Al-Burayj. SAA radar picked up the jets and orders were issued to track them. When the F-16 rat pilots saw that they were being pursued, they called off the operation fearing a crash on Syrian soil and returned toward Occupied Palestine. Just as they were about to enter Zionist occupied airspace over the Galilee, 2 SA-5 (“Gammon” or S-200) anti-aircraft missiles were fired with one striking the lead bomber and the other exploding near another. The rodent pilots were able to eject safely and landed in Palestine.

Related image

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ALEPPO:

Air Force Academy: South of the academy, the SAA foiled another pathetic ISIS attempt to gain ground at Al-Qutbiyya and Umm Arkeela. Ground assessment put the number of dead rodents at 4 with 13 wounded.

This just in, the SAA has liberated Rasm Al-Hirmil and Rasm Al-Kuroom north of Dayr Haafir in northeast Aleppo.

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DER’AH: LT. GEN. ‘ALI ‘ABDULLAH AYYOOB, CHIEF OF THE SYRIAN GENERAL STAFF,  INSPECTS TROOPS IN DER’AH AT THE REQUEST OF THE SYRIAN PRESIDENT:

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NEWS AND COMMENT:

Absolutely fantastic article by Sharmine Narwani about the dynamics which might get the U.S. and Iran into war:

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-dangerous-reality-of-an-iran-war/

Samer sends this one about water coming to Aleppo very soon:

http://www.fort-russ.com/2017/03/syria-army-gains-more-ground-aleppo-to.html

Brandon writes more about the incomparable Eva Bartlett and her quest for the truth. A must-read:

http://www.activistpost.com/2017/03/canadian-journalist-eva-bartlett-exposes-media-syria-misinformation.html

 

SAUDI ARABIA BEHIND NEW DOUBLE SUICIDE BOMBINGS; SYRIAN AIR DEFENSE SHOOTS DOWN ZIONIST AIRCRAFT; SYRIAN ARMY THROTTLES ISIS AT AF ACADEMY IN ALEPPO; SAA LIBERATES WAADI AHMAR NEAR PALMYRA; SAUDIS WALLOWING IN THE SLIME OF DEFEAT by Ziad Fadel

UN Report on Syrian War Crimes is a Bad Joke – Author: Jim Dean

 

4353423434“Diplomacy is the art of telling people to go to hell in such a way that they ask for directions.” ~ Winston Churchill

The UN announced its Syrian War Crimes report at a bizarre press conference on March 1st. The report received light coverage on that day and then immediately died, sparing all those in the world who had missed it, because it was an embarrassment to that organization.

I could hardly believe, with Aleppo having been free for some time, that the UN could have produced such a muddled and convoluted report. It began by stating that victims on both sides had fallen victim to war crimes by all parties. By throwing out this blanket accusation, chairperson Paulo Pinheiro was giving cover to ISIS by saying they were no worse than the Syrian government.

Obviously, the good chairperson did not go to Aleppo after the battle to talk to those on the East and West sides, but signed his name to this monstrosity of a report. All the independent media I have seen since the battle was over reported the vast majority of the people were thrilled that the city was back under Syrian government control, and that the jihadis, who were the real ones who had them under a ruthless Sharia Law siege, had departed with their families to Turkey and Idlib.

The UN viewed that the taking of the city, which ended the fighting that would have continued the civilian killing indefinitely, was really a war crime because the city had been “put under siege” by the Assad government. Incredibly, there is no mention of the terrorists and their opposition supporters having put the city under siege.

And when a difficult negotiation to avoid a fight to the last man of the jihadis and their civilian human shields they had kept with them succeeded in luring the jihadis out of Aleppo, with some going to Turkey and others to Idlib, rather than celebrate this accomplishment, Pinheiro called it a war crime because it was a “forced evacuation.” Creative perception management, if ever there was.

I think Mr. Pinheiro’s report is a war crime. In any other arrangement to separate the jihadis and their families from the city, they would have all been killed, and taking as many Syrians with them as they could in their mass suicide. Witness reports claim that most of ISIS inside the city were foreign fighters anyway, and terrorists don’t come under the laws of war, by their own hand.

The report goes on to repeat the long litany of charges we have heard all through the war, that the limited Syrian air force with its older planes and difficult supply lines had nothing better to do than waste precious air sorties by randomly killing non-combatants, so more ISIS fighters could remain alive to kill more Syrian soldiers. Many of the schools and medical facilities were ISIS command centers, and they only provided coverage to ISIS family members.

Using such facilities, which often have been abandoned for weapons and ammo storage, has been a staple tactic for the terrorists and their Western government supporters. When Doctors Without Borders (DWB) put out their initial report, they claimed that certain hospitals had been bombed, yet later analysis revealed there were no hospitals in those towns. VeteransToday did a background check on DWB and found it to be an intelligence front for the French, which is nothing new, as a substantial part of the NGOs working in Syria functioned not only as Intel fronts, but some ran a major supply line for the jihadi terrorists, especially the Red Crescent out of Turkey. Running supply lines is a war crime in itself, yet I cannot find a single report where the UN was able to discover how relief convoys became major arteries to the Syrian insurgents.

But it gets even worse, when the report spotlights the UN/Syrian Arab Red Crescent aid convoy that was attacked southeast of Aleppo. Initially, the UN had said the perpetrators were undetermined, but by report time, someone had decided to blame the Syrian Air Force. We are told a fantasy tale of a three-stage attack, beginning with helicopter barrel bombing, then bombing by planes, and then the planes coming down to strafe the survivors.

It all sounded like a B-grade movie, yet later the report lists almost 300 interviews and sources, but does not list who they were, or what events they were witnesses to. Save your energy looking for any detailed witness testimony. There is none in the UN report.

There are some glaring problems with the convoy attack story. First, the Syrian Air Force does not fly helicopter barrel bombing at night because they cannot see. The same goes for the Syrian planes. They are not equipped for night bombing, only the Russian planes were. And last, the story of the planes coming down to strafe at night is ludicrous, as is the UN claim that all the witness accounts of the event were consistent.

This is never the case in an incident as described. People on the ground are terrified, running for cover, tending to wounded, they are not all standing up trying to ID whether planes or helicopters, what kinds and who they belonged to. Any interrogator would have told Mr. Pinheiro that when all the witnesses claim to have seen exactly the same thing, that is a strong indication of a concocted story.

The force evacuation war crimes charge is revisited in the report in the context that civilians should never be blocked from returning to their homes [in Aleppo]. This seemed astounding, as civilians were trying to get off the battlefield and out of the city to escape the fight to the death scenario that had been expected, including being used as human shields by the terrorists.

Those lucky enough to get out were able to reach aid facilities in safe areas that were at least able to get them registered on survivor lists, fed, and temporary housing found, while the city went through the difficult process of de-mining, and getting the destroyed utilities running again, especially in the East.

Fantasy by Omission

Missing from the UN report was how the Russian Special Forces Arabic branch had infiltrated East Aleppo and operated for months before the final battle. Their task was to remove the jihadi command structure via targeted killings, using tactics from long-range snipers, to “tagging” their vehicles at night, so special bombs could hone in on their signal while moving.

These special ops teams laser targeted ammo dumps and command structures, using state of the art munitions from the Russian Air Force inventory that zeroed right in on the target to reduce bombing error. As the jihadi commanders were knocked off, they were led to believe they were being killed by rival groups, which ignited intra-warfare among them.

It was at this point that the final push was made on East Aleppo, when the jihadi command structure was either dead or in chaos. Large sections of the city were taken, sometimes in just a few days, due to the jihadis giving ground to shorten their defensive perimeter while squabbling over resource logistics.

None of this is in the UN’s la-la-land report. Nor is there a word about the US, Saudi Arabia, Gulf States, Turkey and Israel having supported the terrorists in Syria, when aiding and abetting terrorism is a grand slam felony. It can even get you bombed or droned.

So now what does the UN want to do? It seems it wants to make a big name for itself by hunting down the individuals that did the convoy attack. But if it turned out to have been a false flag by the Israelis, Turkey, or Saudi Arabia, do you think the UN will do anything? Of course they won’t.

The UN report was a disgrace, and the public deserves a refund. We already knew that lots of war crimes had been committed, and we knew who the biggest killers were. And we knew the UN is not really interested in taking any action against them, for a variety of reasons. We will not let Syria be scapegoated like this, being compared as equivalent to the terrorists. Shame on you Mr. Pinheiro.

Jim W. Dean, managing editor for Veterans Today, producer/host of Heritage TV Atlanta, specially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.
http://journal-neo.org/2017/03/16/un-report-on-syrian-war-crimes-is-a-bad-joke/

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Newly Declassified CIA Report Exposes Over 25 Years Of U.S. Plans To Destabilize Syria – By Whitney Webb

A CIA report, drafted in 1986, details the agency’s “purposely provocative” analysis of the regime’s vulnerabilities and the potential to destabilize and oust then-President Hafez al-Assad.

Anti-Assad protesters burn a picture of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with 'Corruption' written across his face. (AP/Kostas Tsironis)

SYRIA — While the nearly seven-year-long sectarian “civil war” in Syria is widely believed to have started in 2011, revelations in recent years have shown that the sectarian war that has sunk Syria into chaos actually precedes the “official” start of the conflict.

In 2010, Wikileaks published hundreds of thousands of classified State Department cables, including a 2006 cable showing that destabilizing the Syrian government was a primary goal of U.S. policy in the Middle East. The ultimate intention was to topple Iran, one of Syria’s closest allies. The cable revealed that the U.S.’ goal at the time was to undermine the Syrian government by any means available.

In addition, retired United States Army General Wesley Clark’s bombshell interview with Democracy Now exposed the existence of plans for regime change in Syria that date as far back as 2001. Now, a newly declassified document from the Central Intelligence Agency has shown that these regime change efforts date back even further to the late 1980s – and potentially even earlier.


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The declassified document was written in July, 1986 by the Foreign Subversion and Instability Center, a part of the CIA’s Mission Center for Global Issues, and is titled “Syria: Scenarios of Dramatic Political Change.” As the document itself states, its purpose is to analyze – in a “purposely provocative” manner – “a number of possible scenarios that could lead to the ouster of President Assad [Bashar al-Assad’s father, Hafez] or other dramatic change in Syria.”

The report’s meager distribution list suggest it was considered by top officials in the Reagan administration, specifically because it was distributed to national security chiefs, not entire agencies. It was also distributed to a handful of key players in U.S.-Syria relations, such as former Ambassador to Syria William Eagleton.

Though the document itself officially predates the current Syrian conflict by nearly 25 years, much of its analysis brings to mind recent events in Syria, particularly those that led to the outbreak of war in 2011. Chief among these is the rise of factionalism between Sunni Muslim elements against the ruling Alawi minority (a Shi’ite sect), as well as the potential to counter Russian influence in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. These similarities suggest that U.S. regime change efforts in Syria date back to well over 30 years ago – proof of the persistent imperialist elements that consistently guide U.S. foreign policy.

 

The Rise of Factionalism and Sectarian Conflict in Syria

A Free Syrian Army fighter from the Al-Faruk brigade, center, steps on a portrait of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Sept. 22, 2012 (AP/Hussein Malla)

Of all the named “individuals and groups that might impel or impede takeover attempts” that are recognized by the CIA, Syria’s Sunni population ranks highest among them. The CIA notes that “factionalism plagues the political and military elite” as the ruling Alawi minority “is deeply resented by the Sunni majority it dislodged from power two decades ago.” The document also states that “a renewal of communal violence between Alawis and Sunnis could inspire Sunnis in the military to turn against the regime.”

At the time, the document continues, Sunnis “made up 60 percent of the Syrian officer corps but [were] concentrated in junior officer ranks,” with the majority of enlisted men being primarily Sunni conscripts. Furthermore, the document notes that if the Syrian government were to overreact to “minor outbreaks of Sunni dissidence,” large-scale unrest could be triggered – “setting the stage for civil war.”

The CIA also makes its strong preference for a Sunni-led government in Syria quite clear, stating that “U.S. interests in Syria probably would be best served by a Sunni regime,” particularly one led by Sunni “business-moderates” who would “see a strong need for Western aid and investment.”

This assessment, as the Libertarian Institute has pointed out, is “remarkably consistent” with more recent events, particularly those that have defined Syria’s current conflict, which is often misleadingly described by many media outlets as a “civil war.” For instance, opposition forces who have been fighting to overthrow the Assad regime for the better part of seven years are almost entirely composed of Sunnis.

According to the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, “the Syrian opposition, especially its armed current, is a Sunni enterprise.” Sunni factionalism, the CTC further notes, is “driving large segments of the opposition to the [Assad] regime.” In 2014, the Guardian noted that the opposition forces were “almost exclusively Sunni.”

Pro-Syrian government demonstrators hold Baath party flags and a picture of President Bashar Assad at a rally at Sabe Bahrat Square to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the foundation of the Ruling Baath Arab Socialist Party in Damascus, Syria, Saturday, April 7, 2012. (AP Photo Bassem Tellawi)

In addition, Bashar al-Assad’s crackdown on protests in 2011, particularly initial protests in the city of Daara, are often credited with inspiring opposition supporters to take up arms to “oust loyalist [pro-government] forces from their areas.” According to the BBC, Assad’s crackdown on protests between March and May of 2011 left over 1,000 dead, though “unnamed human rights activists” were often the sources for such figures, suggesting that such statistics may be inaccurate.

The document also notes that factionalism among the Alawis could also be a destabilizing force in the country. It says the Alawi-dominated Syrian military could play a role in Assad’s ouster, stating that the Syrian “military’s strong tradition of coup plotting – dormant since Assad took control in 1970 – could re-assert itself.” Military discontent, the CIA asserts, could arise if Assad were to suffer a major defeat at the hands of Israel, particularly if Assad attempted to reclaim the Syrian Golan Heights.

Syria and Israel have been in a continuous state of conflict since 1967, when Israel first occupied the Golan Heights during the Six-Day War. In addition, the CIA notes the potential for in-fighting among the Alawi elite, particularly over Hafez al-Assad’s brother Rifaat – a controversial figure in Syrian politics.

These conflicts within the Alawite ruling class were mentioned extensively in a 2006 State Department cable, where “some long-standing vulnerabilities and looming issues that may provide opportunities to up the pressure on Bashar and his inner circle” were discussed at length.

Some intra-elite conflicts among the Alawis mentioned in the 1986 document are also explicitly mentioned in the 2006 cable, such as the numerous controversies surrounding Bashar al-Assad’s uncle, Rifaat al-Assad. However, despite likely attempts to exploit these vulnerabilities in the current conflict, the rise of Sunni opposition forces has kept the Alawi faction largely united out of necessity – particularly as the Alawis have been forced to face down an old foe, the Muslim Brotherhood.

 

The Muslim Brotherhood and U.S.-Backed Regime Change

Highly ranking Muslim Brotherhood official Abdul-Majeed Zneibat, left, listens as Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, right, talks to reporters in Damascus, Tuesday Jan, 31, 2006 . (AP/Bassm Tellawi).

While the document devotes significant space to discussing the potential for induced sectarian violence, the faction identified as most likely to successfully destabilize the Assad-led Alawi regime is the Muslim Brotherhood. First founded in Egypt in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood has spread throughout the Middle East, gaining influence in multiple countries.

Several countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Russia, Syria, and the U.A.E., now classify the Brotherhood as a terrorist group. Despite its widespread recognition as such, the CIA’s relationship with the Brotherhood, which dates back to the 1950s, continues into the present.

In the CIA’s 1986 report, the Muslim Brotherhood is explicitly identified as having the strongest capacity for leading any Sunni opposition against the Alawis and its associated Ba’ath political party. The report notes that “the Brotherhood’s role was to exploit and orchestrate opposition activity by other organized groups […] These groups still exist, and under proper leadership they could coalesce into a large movement.” Later on, it notes that “remnants of the Muslim Brotherhood – some returning from exile in Iraq – could provide a core of leadership” for a potential Sunni dissident movement.

Also interesting is the fact that the 1986 document mentions the Brotherhood as being part of a long-term future scenario, as the crushing of a Brotherhood-led revolt in the early 1980s led most of its Syrian members to be exiled or forced underground. Nearly three decades later, it should come as no surprise that the Brotherhood has held a leading role in the creation and militarization of the Syrian opposition throughout the current conflict.

When the Syrian opposition began to militarize in 2011 after receiving arms from the CIA and other NATO-allied intelligence agencies, the Syrian National Council emerged as the face of what was essentially Western-backed “rebel” forces working to overthrow Assad. The Carnegie Middle East Center, in its article on the Brotherhood, stated that it was “the most influential Islamist component within the council.” From 2011 to 2015, the CIA funneled over $1 billion per year training and arming opposition “rebels” in Syria. The program still continues, though it was reduced by 20% in 2015.

In 2012, when the Supreme Military Command of the opposition was established in Syria, Reuters noted that the Muslim Brotherhood dominated its leadership: “The unified command includes many with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and to Salafists … it excludes the most senior officers who have defected from Assad’s military.” The decision to give the Brotherhood a major role in the command was realized at talks attended by security officials from the U.S., UK, France, the Gulf Monarchies and Jordan.

Also in 2012, Brotherhood spokesperson Mahmoud Ghozlan called on “Arab, Islamic and international governments” to intervene in Syria “to bring down the [Assad] regime. “The Carnegie Middle East Center said “since the beginning of the revolution, the Brotherhood has maintained that foreign intervention is the only possible solution to the crisis in Syria,” suggesting that the Brotherhood is actively seeking foreign military intervention to oust Assad, a goal it shares in common with the CIA.

Incidentally, 2012 also saw direct cooperation between the Brotherhood and the CIA. The New York Times reported:

 “CIA officers are operating secretly in Southern Turkey helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms…by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries including Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood.”

This, of course, allowed the Brotherhood to choose which of Syria’s many rebel groups to arm, likely favoring Islamist counterparts who were ideologically similar to the Brotherhood.

But despite the fact that the Syrian opposition is chiefly composed of fundamentalist Sunnis and has elements of the Muslim Brotherhood in key leadership roles, the expected consequences of fomenting Sunni dissent against the Assads have not gone exactly as the 1986 report anticipated.

For instance, key segments of Syria’s Sunni majority have remained supportive of Assad, particularly middle and upper-class Sunnis, as well as the Sunni business and merchant classes. In addition, many Sunnis – from the U.S. military’s perspective – likely feel more threatened by the armed opposition than the Assad regime, despite any misgivings they may have with the current ruling party. Sunnis have also been well-represented in pro-government militias, such as the National Defense Force.

 

Countering Russia through Syria

Syrian President Bashar Al Assad (left) and his Russian counterpart Vlamidir Putin (right)

Though Syria is the focus of this newly declassified report, the role of the Soviet Union – i.e. Russia – figures prominently in its discussion of Syria’s political landscape and potential vulnerabilities. The report notes that “Syria is the centerpiece of Moscow’s influence in the Middle East.”

The report also explicitly mentions several key points regarding Russia and Syria’s strategic relationship, saying the “continuation of Alawi dominance would be most beneficial to Soviet interests,” adding that “if the Sunnis gained power, Moscow’s position would be weaker.”

Also mentioned was the fact that almost all of Syria’s arms come from Moscow and Eastern Europe and that “the Soviets deliver more weapons to Syria than to any third world client.” This “vested interest in major policy shifts or changes in Syrian leadership” would prompt Russia to intervene in Syria, the report added.

Of course, Russia – once Assad’s regime was under threat from opposition forces – did intervene to protect its interests in Syria. Starting an aerial bombing campaign against “moderate” and terrorist-linked rebels in 2015, Russia soon became a central part of the conflict and Assad’s greatest ally in his fight to retain power. Incidentally, Russia’s role in Syria has become the launching pad for U.S. obsession with Russian “interference” and “aggression” in recent years, which has led the U.S. and Russia to have their worst diplomatic relations since the height of the Cold War.

The CIA has been very eager to foment domestic anti-Russian hysteria. The mention of Moscow in the 1986 report on Syria suggests that the current U.S.-led effort to destabilize Bashar al-Assad’s regime is at least partially motivated by its long-standing goal of isolating Russia and mitigating its influence internationally.

 

Looking Beyond Syria

Syrian rebels attend a training session in Maaret Ikhwan near Idlib, Syria.

One of the most overlooked aspects of the report is its mention of nations other than Syria, particularly Russia. In addition, the document’s cover letter, penned by the Director of the Global Issues Mission Center, tells the individuals named in its distribution list that they will “receive similar papers on other countries as they are completed.”

The fact that the CIA has a center dedicated to “foreign subversion and instability” – as well as the CIA’s documented penchant for regime change – confirms that the decades-long effort to destabilize Syria parallels the agency’s efforts to destabilize other regimes throughout the world in order to replace them with governments they believe to be more sympathetic to U.S. interests.

These destabilization efforts are often carried out with little, if any, regard to their impact on civilians who are often caught in the crossfire. As the 1986 report and the 2006 cable both note, the Assads brought periods of “unprecedented stability” to Syria.

The CIA and U.S. government have nevertheless chosen to pursue an agenda of destabilization. Nearly seven years later, the death toll in the West’s efforts to oust Assad is set to top half a million and has helped to create the largest refugee crisis since World War II.

 

Read the full declassified CIA report Syria: scenarios of dramatic political change below:

 

 

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Saudi Arabia reportedly offering large bribes to Syrian MPs to oppose Assad – By SPUTNIK

© REUTERS/ Mukhtar Kholdorbekov

Saudi Arabia attempted to bribe parliamentarians in order to persuade them to oppose the Syrian government, an MP tells Sputnik.

Mohammed Kheir Jasim al-Nadir said that while some Syrian leaders have indeed taken bribes from Saudi Arabia and stayed in the country, he refused the offer and went to serve Syria instead.

“Saudi Arabia offered us money to break away from Assad and oppose the Syrian government. We were offered it (the bribe) at the house of the Syrian ambassador to Riyadh Mahdi Dakhlallah,” al-Nadir said.

“They tempted us with houses and money. They gave us a blank check which could be filled out with any sum, if we announced a U-turn. But, as they say, a person who is good does the right thing for their country, for their people. Nobody can be separated from their people, nobody can abandon their homeland. We are with Syria, with our land, with the valiant Syrian army.”

“Unfortunately, some Syrian leaders left for Saudi Arabia because of money. I had a Saudi passport, but I left everything and went to Syria,” al-Nadir said.

Earlier this week representatives of the Syrian government and opposition factions meet in Astana for talks brokered by Moscow, Ankara and Tehran, following a ceasefire in the crisis-torn country endorsed by the UN Security Council on December 31, 2016.

As the talks ended on Tuesday, Syrian government and opposition representatives signed a declaration on a ceasefire monitoring mechanism to uphold the nationwide ceasefire agreement.

Russia, Iran and Turkey also decided to establish a trilateral mechanism to monitor the ceasefire in Syria as result of the Astana talks, which are to be followed by a UN-mediated meeting in Geneva expected to take place on February 8.

Comment: What a surprise!

Yemenis hold mass protest to condemn Saudi carnage in Sana’a – By John Astrid

13 October 2016
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Thousands of Yemenis have taken to the streets of the capital, Sana’a, to denounce a recent Saudi airstrike that left hundreds of civilians dead or injured and prompted global condemnations.

 
Carrying flags and placards, the demonstrators gathered outside the United Nations office in Sana’a on Sunday to express their outrage at the Saudi aggression against their country.
The protest rally was called by Yemen’s Supreme Political Council on Saturday.
More than 140 people were killed and over 525 wounded on Saturday, when the Saudi airstrike hit a community hall in southern Sana’a, where a funeral for the father of Interior Minister Jalal al-Roweishan was being held.
The Saudi missiles tore through the hall with hundreds of body parts left strewn in and outside the building.
The death toll was one of the largest in a single incident since March 2015, when the Riyadh regime began its deadly campaign to crush the Houthis and their allies and restore power to resigned president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
Sana’a Mayor Abdel Qader Hilal was reported to be among the victims of Saturday’s assault.
In another development on Sunday, Hamza al-Houthi, a senior member of the Houthi Ansarullah movement, accused the Saudi kingdom of trying to hide its crimes in Yemen to prevent the international bodies from decrying its misdeeds.
“Saudi Arabia’s denial of its crimes in Yemen at this time is a tactic used to cover them up and prevent investigative committees from exposing the dimensions of these crimes,” Houthi said.
The scenes of bombardment broadcast on TV are strong proof of the Saudi crimes in Yemen, Houthi further pointed out.
The official also called on the international community, with the United Nations at the helm, to take a practical and explicit measure in response to the attack.
The comments come after Saudi military spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri refused to take responsibility for the fatal aerial assault in Yemen, saying an investigation must be launched into the incident.
He also warned that the Yemeni forces would take revenge against the aggressors.

Yemen steps up retaliatory raids

Following the deadly raid, Yemeni forces began a new series of retaliatory air attacks against Saudi military positions in the kingdom’s border areas.
According to Yemen’s al-Masirah television, Yemeni armed forces fired missiles at the al-Karas military base in Saudi Arabia’s southwestern region of Jizan, killing some 25 Saudi troops and injuring tens of others.
A number of Saudi military vehicles were also destroyed in the operation.
The Yemeni army launched Katyusha missiles at a gathering of Saudi forces at another military position in Jizan.
Yemeni snipers also killed a Saudi soldier at the Matha’an military base in the same region.
Inside the Arab country, the Yemeni army’s artillery fire hit a gathering of pro-Saudi militants in Ta’izz Province, with no reports of casualties.
On April 19, Reuters cited unnamed diplomats as saying that around 400 Saudi soldiers and border guards had died ever since Saudi Arabia started the war against Yemen.
Saudi military officials say that they will not release figures on the number of military casualties until after the onslaught is over, according to the report.
Original article
See more articles by Jason Astrid 
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