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Today’s Syrian 'Freedom Fighters' Were Yesterday’s Troop-Killing 'Terrorists'

Bill Van Auken in wsws in May wrote:

Washington’s closest allies in the Arab world, the dictatorial feudal monarchies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, set up a $100 million fund to place FSA members directly on their payroll, while the US announced it was sending “non-lethal” aid to these same forces, including sophisticated communications equipment, night vision goggles and US intelligence.

None of this has had the desired effect. The FSA has barely put up token resistance to the Syrian military in most areas, and there is no sign of mass popular support for the Syrian National Council.

So now comes the turn to terrorist bombings. The explosions ...

The aims of this campaign are to terrorize the Syrian people and, together with the unilateral US and European Union sanctions, paralyze the country’s economy, creating conditions for a social and political implosion. At the same time, it is designed to prove that the United Nations cease-fire agreement brokered by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan is unworkable.”

Hear that? Shock and awe, foreplay for disaster capitalism. THE POINT IS TO TERRORIZE THE SYRIAN PEOPLE. To BREAK the country for a craven and imperialist agenda of a circling cabal of war-criminal nations.

Van Auken continues:

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Thursday acknowledged “an Al Qaeda presence in Syria,” ....


If Al Qaeda elements are collaborating with US imperialism in mounting a terror campaign in Syria, it will not be the first time. The top commander of the militias that were backed by the US and NATO in the war for regime change in Libya, Abdel Hakim Belhadj, had previously been abducted, renditioned and tortured by the CIA because of his role in the Islamist terrorist group.

These same Libyan elements are now playing a prominent role in arming and training the US-backed armed “opposition” in Syria as well as sending fighters directly into the country.

The cynical cold war cliché that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” does not begin to cover the US role in Syria, where these elements fulfill both roles simultaneously. On the one hand, Washington is backing Al Qaeda-linked forces in a campaign to topple the Assad regime, while on the other, it is preparing to use their presence in the country as a pretext for US military intervention.

So, let’s see. How vilely Orwellian is all this? We are sponsoring Al Qaeda-tied thugs for their useful terrorism, never to be called out by a propaganda-obliging media, but at the same time using the presence of “Al Qaeda” to induce UN and world opinion to justify “official” military intervention for corporate-agenda “regime change” in Syria, after so very much unofficial intervention already going on by predatory bullying Western and collaborating bullied and/or opportunistic Middle Eastern nations to destabilize and demonize Syria.

And during a US election year, with so much media-buzz denouncing the dangerousness of the Republican candidate for president, why not let the best liar in the world play a major conductor to such evil orchestration, Barack Obama. With plenty of help from his other not really so humanitarian-oriented friends in this country and elsewhere.

Here’s a tiny sample of reality offered by Van Auken today involving the aftermath of the July 18th terrorist bombing that killed several Syrian government officials including Assad’s brother-in-law. A terrorism incident which has been used diabolically by Western countries to clamor even more loudly for their invitation to militarily intervene!

Meanwhile, elements of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) seized control of border crossings into both Iraq and Turkey. The Iraqi government reported the seizure of four border crossings into Anbar and Nineveh Provinces. Iraqi Deputy Interior Minister Adnan al-Assadi told the AFP news agency that at one border crossing, FSA gunmen seized a Syrian lieutenant colonel, cutting off his arms and legs, and then “executed 22 Syrian soldiers in front of the eyes of Iraqi soldiers.”

Did you manage to catch that? "CUT OFF his arms and legs?" Then "EXECUTED 22 Syrian soldiers." But -- what the hey -- such conduct is perpetrated by one of our proverbial “bastards”. Something to be covered up and lied about, of course. No biggie.

Again, these imperialist nations circling Syria have been and still are sponsoring some of the SAME terrorists who have killed multiple US and NATO troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. I guess this is all about "looking forward" again in criminal-accountability-free, ends-justifies-the-means global amoral gamesmanship.

But let’s all listen to MSNBC and even the NewsHour generalize about the good guys and the bad guys in Syria. Granted there are atrocities on BOTH sides! But why are we being asked to naively trust there are noble intentions from the relentless, moneyed and massive-weaponed West so “covertly” involved for so long now in externally forcing regime change in Syria, now brazenly insisting on the right to overtly and officially do it? Thanks to the craven, myopically propagandized reports of corporate media, grotesque violations of international law and deadly, insane incidents of savage and mass collateral damage aren't being called out.

The spirit of the Arab Spring has been co-opted. It has been manipulated. Corporate overlords have captured our government and to hell with the lower 99%. They also intend to capture the whole wide world, and to hell with the lower 99% there, too. They are so well on their way.

An organic rebelliousness among the Syrian citizens has been destroyed with the corporate media pretending it is incredibly still being championed by governments pimped out to oligarchical overlords. The agenda of the US, NATO countries, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Israel, with their regime-changing on the ground in Syria coalition of dangerous, often imported dissidents and old time destabilizing CIA assets, sponsored by extreme levels of money, weapons, training and shameless propaganda, is so far from humanitarian I can smell the satanic sulphur from here.

The violence going on in Syria thanks to “our thugs” has caused the Syrian citizens out of sheer terror to be all the more dependent on the governance of a tyrannical Assad regime. These citizens are caught in a horrifying cross-fire. Just as the citizen victims of Libya, but Libya did not have the formidable military force that Syria has, so the bloodbath will be more prolonged. But, let’s face it, the faux-humanitarian countries such as our own don’t give a serious shit. Life is cheap in this Post-Morality, economic and military opportunistic terrorism war-game playing global anti-village. So let the war-criminal leaders and their sycophant media spin on.

Let’s look at some statistics you won’t hear cited in the corporate media. At least without any moral or rational connecting of the dots about what hegemony is wreaking on the lives of hundreds of thousands of REAL human beings. Not a fantasy Orwellian narrative being shoved down the throats of the far safer American and global peoples about who is wearing the white and black hats in Syria. Disinformed and ignorant so many of us are, willingly bobbling our heads to the ferocious media line of mendacity, despite, come on, folks, those inner sirens of cognitive dissonance. I mean, no deja vu vibrations about what went down in our pre-emptive and falsely-justified attack on Iraq, with the devastation still continuing? You think only Republicans lie big? I used to think that. That’s over. Democrats have just as much blood on their hands. More, statistically speaking!

The UN estimates that in the last 15 months over 10,000 Syrians have died.

Bill Van Auken serves up some fresh and astonishing insights and statistics that should give us all pause about the status of so many hapless citizens of Syria as of today.

The fighting has paralyzed much of the life of Damascus, which until last week had been spared much of the violence seen elsewhere in the country, outside of a series of suicide bombings. Public transpiration was reported largely shut down and garbage was piling up in the streets.

The armed clashes have also triggered an exodus of Damascenes, who are seeking refuge across the border in Lebanon. A spokesperson for the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, reported Friday that as many as 30,000 people had fled into Lebanon over the previous 48 hours.

UNHCR said that the total number fleeing the fighting and applying for refugee status in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan had risen to 120,000. Many more are believed to have left Syria without seeking such status.

Buses and planes have also brought thousands of the 1.4 million Iraqis who had sought refuge in Syria from the bloodbath unleashed on their country by the US war and occupation, back to Iraq.

The Syrian Arab Red Crescent estimates that one million Syrians have been internally displaced by the violence as of last week.


Van Auken explains the game succinctly.

The cynical cold war cliché that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” does not begin to cover the US role in Syria, where these elements fulfill both roles simultaneously. On the one hand, Washington is backing Al Qaeda-linked forces in a campaign to topple the Assad regime, while on the other, it is preparing to use their presence in the country as a pretext for US military intervention.


Thus, the pretexts for the US invasion of Iraq are reprised in a perverse new form. The presence of Al Qaeda, backed by Washington, and the supposed existence of “weapons of mass destruction” in Syria must be answered with US military intervention.

The campaign to topple Assad, Tehran’s principal ally in the region, is meant to isolate Iran, which is viewed by Washington as a main obstacle to its assertion of hegemony over the oil rich and strategically vital regions of the Persian Gulf and Central Asia.

Behind all the pretexts of Al Qaeda, chemical weapons, “democracy” and humanitarianism, US imperialism is preparing new wars of aggression which threaten horrific consequences throughout the Middle East and beyond.

I remember as a little kid hearing the adults talk about the “domino theory,” how communist countries were hungry to ruthlessly dominate the globe and the good old United States was doing all it could to thwart such a demonic plan from happening. Now as an adult, it is my own predatory and unscrupulous country that is a violent world bully.

Even more terrifying is that most of my fellow countrymen are choosing not to notice!


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Submitted by jawbone on

His articles showing that what he saw did not match the Narrative favored by Western powers were not published, he writes.

The Fog of Civil War" by Stephen Starr.

PAPHOS, Cyprus – In Jdaydieh Artouz, a town 11 miles southwest of Damascus that is home to a mix of Sunnis, Christians, and Alawites, protests have been taking place almost daily for well over a year. Yet the security forces, centered at a police station a few hundred yards up the street from where the protesters regularly gather, have largely ignored them. One wet, cold January night while out to pick up some sharwama sandwiches, I watched cars with Bashar al-Assad's face emblazoned across the rear window pass within inches of the indomitable demonstrators. Neither side appeared perturbed. With the exception of isolated incidents in which several protesters were killed, the town remained peaceful throughout the uprising -- that is until Thursday, July 19, when rebel fighters fired RPGs at the police station, killing five officers.

I lived in this town for the first 11 months of the uprising, I tried, and failed, to get articles published questioning why the regime tolerated protests or allowed free assembly in some areas, but not others. These incidents didn't fit the narrative that all protests were being violently quashed. The majority, of course, were -- and often brutally -- but the full picture was unnervingly complex.

Yet because anti-regime activists succeeded where I did not, the story of Jdaydieh Artouz has been distorted, almost beyond recognition. .... (My emphasis)

Via b at MoonofAL.

While moseying around Foreign Policy I also found this article by Stephen Walt: Why They Hate Us (II): How many Muslims has the US killed in the last 30 years?