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John Kerry Lipsticks the Syrian War Pig

The humanitarian crisis in Syria is an indictment of the United States, Britain and the other major powers that have deliberately stoked the sectarian civil war, and given support to a rag-tag opposition, dominated by reactionary Islamist tendencies, in a bid to oust the Assad regime and install a pliant puppet government. The US and its allies cynically exploit the social disaster they have helped create, in order to intensify the push to remove Assad. Oliver Campbell

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The top geopolitical tragedy in 2012 is bound to remain the top geopolitical tragedy in 2013: the rape of Syria. Pepe Escobar

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On February 28, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said Kerry backs anti-government terrorists. He wants Assad ousted faster. He's involved in doing what he won't admit. He's sending "military vehicles and armors" to death squad killers. He "neglected any stance that helps the political dialogue, and he only promised to back the armed groups in a way that encourages them to continue their criminal acts of killing, terrifying the innocent citizens, and destroying the government institutions." Doing so makes him complicit in crimes of war and against humanity. He was earlier as Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman. He's a longtime insider. He threatens world peace. He prioritizes war. He risks global conflict doing so. Washington's actively arming, funding, training, and directing anti-Syrian government terrorists. It's been ongoing since conflict erupted. America planned, instigated, and directs it. Syria is Washington's war. Stephen Lendman

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Over one million Syrians have fled the bloodbath occurring in their country. Over 70,000 Syrians have died. These totals were reported on the NewsHour tonight.

Then my head began to throb with cognitive dissonance, once again triggered from the pro-war propaganda pouring from my tv NewsHour screen.

New Secretary of State John Kerry (far far away in age and ideology from his "Vietnam Vets against the War" days) was hitting hard the word “humanitarian” as in aid for Syrian rebels which in realpolitik means more direct (as opposed to behind the scenes) hands-on US/NATO Warmachine involvement in the Syrian “regime change” campaign for ultimate profiteering and plundering of and destruction of this Iranian ally with the help of anti-democracy, crony, Mid-East petro-monarchy pals.

The anti-Assad regime campaign has involved the covert US and NATO support of Al Qaeda-linked jihadists (this played down or ignored by US media). The Al Qaeda-linked jihadists, maybe even some of the same fighters who killed our troops in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere, are working side by side with the CIA and our proxy and crony funnelers of massive military support (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Jordan, etc.). "The ends justify the means” is the modus operandi of this imperialist ethical freakshow for power and plunder.

The result has been insane levels of destruction perpetrated on the citizens of Syria, reminiscent of the plight of the Libyan citizens, caught in the cross-fire of the brutal Assad regime and the brutal and nefarious coalition of foreign players who are exploiting not rescuing Syrian citizens. The troubles of the Syrian citizens have multiplied many times over by the faux-friendly interveners.

More "help", promised by Secretary Kerry, guarantees more violence to come.

Diplomacy and genuine humanitarian concern are so not a part of the US or NATO toolbox. In their proxy war with Russia and China, they are obsessed with the disempowerment of Iran and thus the convenient destruction of Syria, Iran's ally.

Of course U.S. Republican warhawks are critical that Obama has held off too long on direct, out of the shadows intervention. This framing of Obama as "reluctant" just adds to the sirens of media-generating cognitive dissonance. Peace and diplomacy don't have a chance. War vs. supposedly and hypocritically spun "less war"? Never the framing that pre-emptive or clandestine involvement in civil strife in other countries constitutes war criminality.

Obama's reluctance I trust does not involve his own respect for international law. He has been no doubt concerned that most US citizens would give a serious crap, the majority of them, that the US and allies have been working with Al Qaeda-linked jihadists for the regime change of yet another sovereign country, especially after the tip of the iceberg of "NEAR" revelations of the blowback of Al Qaeda-linked jihadists and US/NATO "ends justifies the means" bed-mating with the Benghazi travesty.

Obama keeps on with his lucky discoveries that most consciences of U.S. citizens are firmly and seemingly permanently on the proverbial shelf. Most American citizens care as much about the fate of the hapless citizens of Syria as they do the fate of whistleblower Bradley Manning and his sacrifice to expose mass U.S. war criminality.

Meh.

What follows are some enlightening realpolitik revelations about the tragic Syrian war and the U.S. role.

Chris Marsden in "US moves towards open arming of Syrian opposition":

“The duplicity of the US and its European allies is made necessary by an attempt to preserve the illusion that they are seeking a diplomatic solution. Kerry even complained to the SNC that its boycott was undermining him on the eve of a meeting with Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, in Berlin Tuesday.

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“Whatever diplomatic noises are made, Washington is pushing for regime change in Syria, working through its proxies: Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. On Tuesday, delegates from the Friends of Syria International Working Group, meeting in Sofia, called for sanctions to be imposed by “all members of the international community, especially members of the United Nations Security Council”— targeting Russia and China for their opposition to such measures.

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“The discussion of increased aid came against a background of media reports—most prominently in the New York Times —that arms shipments to the opposition were on the increase, funded by Gulf states and in some cases originating in Croatia and other eastern European states.

“The weapons were reportedly shipped via Jordan and Turkey. David Ottaway of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars said, “I think it’s a US-Jordanian-Saudi operation—the same three groups that have worked together in the past trying to overthrow Saddam Hussein. I do not think Jordan would be doing this on its own.”

“Indeed, we procured new anti-aircraft and heavy defensive weapons donated from Arab and non-Arab countries recently,” Louay Almokdad, political and media coordinator for the Free Syrian Army, told CNN Sunday.”

Oliver Campbell in "Syrian civil war creates worsening humanitarian crisis":

“Statistics released by the UN and various aid agencies have highlighted the devastating social impact of the two-year Syrian civil war, fuelled by the intervention of the US and its allies. An estimated four million people, or 20 percent of the population, are in need of humanitarian assistance, and more than two million people are internally displaced, amid fears that both numbers will rise sharply as the conflict continues.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) last week revealed that 5,000 Syrians were fleeing the country every day, the highest number since the war began. Almost 800,000 Syrians have now left the country, or registered as refugees.

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[as quoted above] The humanitarian crisis in Syria is an indictment of the United States, Britain and the other major powers that have deliberately stoked the sectarian civil war, and given support to a rag-tag opposition, dominated by reactionary Islamist tendencies, in a bid to oust the Assad regime and install a pliant puppet government. The US and its allies cynically exploit the social disaster they have helped create, in order to intensify the push to remove Assad.

Alex Lantier in "US blocks UN resolution condemning Damascus terror bombings":

“The death toll of the bombings, which came amid the ongoing US-led proxy war to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, rose to 83 yesterday, with over 200 wounded. Some 22 people died in three car bombings in northern Damascus. The main car bomb in central Damascus near the ruling Baath Party headquarters and a school killed 63, including many children.

“Though no one has taken responsibility for the bombing, it is widely suspected to be the work of the Al Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda-linked group active in the US-backed opposition to Assad, which recently declared that it would launch an offensive to “liberate Damascus.”

“When Russian officials presented a UN Security Council Resolution condemning the Damascus terror bombings, the US delegation refused to pass it. Whatever tactical differences exist in Washington over how extensively to arm Al Qaeda and the broader, Islamist-dominated Syrian opposition, the US government stands behind terrorism and mass murder as tools of its Middle East policy.”

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The Syrian National Coalition, the Western-backed opposition umbrella group, descended into absurdity as it blamed the bombings on Assad. Yesterday it issued a statement on its Facebook page: “The terrorist Assad regime bears the most responsibility for all the crimes that happen in the homeland, because it has opened the doors to those with different agendas to enter Syria and harm its stability, so it can hide behind this and use it as an excuse to justify its crimes.”

It is well known that the opposition forces are carrying out terror bombings and stoking a sectarian civil war with the support of the US and its European and Middle East allies. In December, when the US State Department finally designated the Al Nusra Front as a terrorist group, it admitted that Al Nusra had carried out nearly 600 terror bombings in Syria over the previous year.

The anti-Assad opposition has received hundreds of millions of dollars from the Western-backed Saudi and Qatari monarchies. The day before the bombing, Qatar’s Al Thani monarchy gave another $100 million to the opposition. Such funds go to pay for weapons and salaries for opposition fighters, many of whom are mercenaries of the ultra-conservative Persian Gulf petro-monarchies.

The backing given by the US government at the UN to terrorist acts of mass murder highlights the fraudulency of the “war on terror.” Administrations, both Democratic and Republican, cited the threat of Al Qaeda to justify fundamental assaults on democratic rights: the virtual elimination of restrictions on electronic surveillance, the use of torture, and, ultimately, the US president’s right to order extra-judicial murders by drone strikes.

These policies were not dictated by principled opposition to terrorism, but by the cynical pursuit of US imperialist interests. In Syria, this has meant an unstable collaboration between Washington and Al Qaeda. The Assad regime is a key ally of Iran, a country with massive oil reserves that is currently the main obstacle to US neo-colonial hegemony in the Middle East. To topple the Syrian regime and increase pressure on Iran, Washington was more than willing to politically support terror operations.

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After consultations with Chinese officials, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denounced the US vote on the Syria terror bombing at the UN Security Council. He said, “We believe these are double standards, and see in it a very dangerous tendency by our American colleagues to depart from the fundamental principle of unconditional condemnation of any terrorist act—a principle which secures the unity of the international community in the fight against terrorism.”

Clara Weiss in "Syria’s civil war destabilising the Caucasus":

With the intensification of the Syrian civil war and preparations for war against Iran, the imperialists are very deliberately playing with fire. The Syrian conflict and a war with Iran would enflame the entire Middle East, the Caucasus and Central Asia. The aim of both wars is to destabilise the entire region and incite ethnic conflicts in order to weaken the position of China and Russia, and to prepare the ground for a new division of these resource-rich areas among the imperialist powers.

Ben Schreiner in "U.S. Policy Shift on Syria: Edging Closer to Direct Military Intervention":

The – perhaps – unlikely driver of the reported shift in U.S. policy on Syria has been none other than new Secretary of State John Kerry.  The very man many continue to insist on mislabeling a dove.

Speaking as early as February 13, Secretary of State Kerry proclaimed that there were “additional things that can be done” to force Syrian President Bashar al-Assad aside.  And on Monday, Kerry again went on to reiterate that the West was “determined to change the calculation on the ground for President Assad.”

“We are examining and developing ways to accelerate the political transition that the Syrian people want and deserve,” Kerry commented further.

Although a policy change for the Obama administration, advocating for a more direct role for the U.S. in Syria has long been Kerry’s position.  As Kerry commented in May of 2012: “The concept of a safe zone is a reality and worth the discussion. The concept of working with the Turks and the Jordanians, if everybody is on the same page, there could be some [military] training [of the opposition forces]. If we can enhance the unity of the opposition, we could consider lethal aid and those kinds of things.”

In the same interview Kerry went on to voice support – under the right conditions – for “U.S.- or NATO-led airstrikes on the Syrian military.”

This should come as no surprise given Kerry’s previous support for U.S. bombing campaigns in Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya.  Some dove!  Of course, the American foreign policy establishment as a whole has steadily veered toward a greater affinity for missile and bomb diplomacy.

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The U.S. role in the Saudi arms flow, the Times reports, “is not clear.”  Yet, it is hard to fathom that such shipments were not sanctioned by Washington, given the close military ties the U.S. maintains between those involved.  After all, Saudi Arabia remains one of the larger recipients of U.S. foreign aid and one of the largest purchasers of U.S. arms.

 

The Pentagon, meanwhile, maintains “a robust military-to-military relationship with Croatia,” providing the Croatian military with “training, equipment, equipment loans, and education in U.S. military schools.”  And U.S. military aid to Jordan tops $300 million a year.

Moreover, the U.S. has had upwards of 150 military planners stationed along the Jordanian border with Syria since last summer, where the Croatian arms are reported to have passed into rebel hands.  It has long been reported that the CIA is overseeing the arms shipments to Syrian rebels from within Turkey.

The U.S. is thus already well entangled in the Syrian war – albeit if by the use of proxy forces.

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This realization has even left some in the West to admit that Assad still retains a sizable base of domestic support.  As former U.S. diplomat Karen AbuZayd commented in a recent interview with CBC Radio, “there’s quite a number of the population, maybe as many as half, if not more, who stand behind him [Assad].”

Thus, we see the exiled Syrian opposition – long opposed to dialogue – now hinting at a new willingness to engage in negotiations with the Syrian regime.  Yet, the U.S. continues to insist that any political dialogue must be preempted by regime change.

As State Department spokesperson Patrick Ventrell commented on Wednesday, “the [political] process has to include Assad leaving, but it’s really up to the Syrian people.”  Another example of the limits of America’s democratic ideals, as we see that the choice for the Syrian people begins and ends with supporting Washington’s agenda.

Pepe Escobar in "For whom the Syrian bell tolls".

The top geopolitical tragedy in 2012 is bound to remain the top geopolitical tragedy in 2013: the rape of Syria.

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Qatar unloaded tons of weapons "like candy" (according to a US arms dealer) in "liberated" Libya. Only after the Benghazi blowback did the Pentagon and the State Department wake up to the fact that weaponizing the Syrian rebels may be, well, the road to more blowback. Translation: Qatar will keep unloading tons of weapons in Syria. The US will keep "leading from behind".

Expect more horrible sectarian massacres as the one in Aqrab. Here is the most authoritative version of what may have really happened. This proves once again that what the NATOGCC "rebels" are actually winning is the YouTube war. So expect more massive, relentless waves of spin and propaganda - with Western corporate media cheerleading of the Syrian "freedom fighters" putting to shame the 1980s jihad in Afghanistan.

Expect more major distortions of context, as when Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said, "The fighting will become even more intense, and [Syria] will lose tens of thousands and, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of civilians... If such a price for the removal of the president seems acceptable to you, what can we do? We, of course, consider it absolutely unacceptable."

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How to solve this tragedy? No one seems to be listening to Syrian Vice President Farouk Al-Sharaa. In this interview with Lebanon's Al-Akhbar, he stresses "the threat of the current campaign to destroy Syria, its history, civilization, and people... With every passing day, the solution gets further away, militarily and politically. We must be in the position of defending Syria's existence."

He does not have "a clear answer to what the solution may be". But he has a road map: Any settlement, whether starting with talks or agreements between Arab, regional, or foreign capitals, cannot exist without a solid Syrian foundation. The solution has to be Syrian, but through a historic settlement, which would include the main regional countries, and the members of UN Security Council. This settlement must include stopping all shapes of violence, and the creation of a national unity government with wide powers. This should be accompanied by the resolution of sensitive dossiers related to the lives of people and their legitimate demands.

This is not what the NATOGCC compound wants - even as the US, Britain, France, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are all engaged in their own divergent agendas. What the NATOGCC war has already accomplished is one objective - very similar, by the way, to Iraq in 2003; it has completely torn the fragile Syrian social fabric to shreds.

That is disaster capitalism in action, phase I; the terrain is already prepared for a profitable "reconstruction" of Syria once a pliable, pro-Western turbo-capitalism government is installed.

Yet in parallel, blowback also works its mysterious ways; millions of Syrians who initially supported the idea of a pro-democracy movement - from the business classes in Damascus to traders in Aleppo - now have swelled the government support base as a counterpunch against the gruesome ethnic-religious cleansing promoted by the "rebels" of the al-Nusrah kind.

Yet with NATOGCC on one side and Iran-Russia on the other side, ordinary Syrians caught in the crossfire have nowhere to go. NATOGCC will stop at nothing to carve - in blood - any dubious entity ranging from a pro-US emirate to a pro-US "democracy" run by the MB. It's not hard to see for whom the bell tolls in Syria; it tolls not for thee, as in John Donne, but for doom, gloom, death and destruction.

Pepe Escobar in "Syria: A jihadi paradise":

As for British claims that "the international community can provide support to a future transitional authority", that doesn't cut much slack among war-weary informed Syrians - who know this civil war has been funded, supplied and amply coordinated by the West, as in the NATO component of the NATOGCC compound.

They smell a - Western - rat in the obsessive characterization of everything in Syria as a sectarian war, as they see how loads of influent Sunnis have remained loyal to the government.

They smell a - Western - rat when they look back and see this whole thing started just as the US$10 billion Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline (crucially bypassing NATO member Turkey) had a chance to be implemented. This would represent a major economic boost to an independent Syria, an absolute no-no as far as Western interests are concerned.

The Obama 2.0 administration - and Israel - would be more than comfortable with the MB in power in Syria, following the Egyptian modus operandi. The Brotherhood promotes the idea of a "civil state"; one just has to check the few "liberated areas" across Syria to detect rebel civility inbuilt in hardcore Sharia law and assorted beheadings.

Yet what the NATOGCC compound and Israel really want is a Yemeni model for Syria; a military dictatorship without the dictator. What they're getting instead, for the foreseeable future, is Jihadi Paradise.

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Submitted by Hugh on

The situation in Syria is complicated. One of the attractions of the secular Baathist party which ruled in both Syria and Iraq was that it allowed members of a minority, the Sunnis in Iraq and the Alawites in Syria, to gain control of the state apparatus. The situation of the Alawites is especially precarious because they comprise only 5-10 percent of the Syrian population. Once their military power is broken they will be extremely vulnerable and open to reprisals and ethnic cleansing. You can argue that the Assads monopoly on power brought this on the Alawites. But this is the situation. As a dictator Bahir Assad would likely have been intransigent. However, the ethnic (actually religious) animosity explains the instransigence of the Alawite community as a whole. They have nowhere to go if they lose. Again they are looking at not just a loss of power but ethnic cleansing. And of course, it isn't just the Alawites. Syria has numerous religious and truly ethnic minorities which felt more comfortable with and tied their fates to the Alwawite power structure. If the Alawites fall, they could fall to and see their communities persecuted and cleansed as well.

Kleptocratic regimes like ours do not do humanitarian interventions. It's a contradiction in terms. But another tell is that there has been no discussion of the aftermath of this intervention. And by the way long before Libya and Benghazi, Middle East and South Asia hands warned of the dangers of allying with jihadists in undermining the USSR's occupation of Afghanistan. Expulsions, persecution, and ethnic cleansing will almost certainly destablize the country and leave it in chaos and in a semi-failed state for years. Yet no efforts beyond the rhetorical are being made to guard against this.

Unless something changes, Syria's future will look a lot like this. Ethnic cleansing in a semi-failed state and a dangerous source of jihadist extremism. It could well destabilize Lebanon. It will cease to be a creditable threat to Israel on the state level but be a bigger threat on the non-state terrorist level. Ditto for Iraq. And it will effectively lose the Golan forever.

Hugh