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Category: Syria (Page 1 of 4)

Manchester and The Foreign Policy Connection

Theresa May tries to present a ‘prime ministerial’ front after the Manchester bombing. She accuses Jeremy Corbyn of saying that terror attacks in Britain are ‘our own fault’. He didn’t say this of course, in fact Corbyn gave a speech that was rather wonderful and all about bringing the nation together. It was the speech of a national leader and is well worth listening to here,

and listening to and reading on the Mirror website.

In his speech Corbyn promises:

There will be more police on the streets under a Labour Government. And if the security services need more resources to keep track of those who wish to murder and maim, then they should get them.

We will also change what we do abroad. Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries, such as Libya, and terrorism here at home.

He continues:

That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children. Those terrorists will forever be reviled and implacably held to account for their actions.

But an informed understanding of the causes of terrorism is an essential part of an effective response that will protect the security of our people, that fights rather than fuels terrorism.

Protecting this country requires us to be both strong against terrorism and strong against the causes of terrorism. The blame is with the terrorists, but if we are to protect our people we must be honest about what threatens our security.

Those causes certainly cannot be reduced to foreign policy decisions alone. Over the past fifteen years or so, a sub-culture of often suicidal violence has developed amongst a tiny minority of, mainly young, men, falsely drawing authority from Islamic beliefs and often nurtured in a prison system in urgent need of resources and reform.

And no rationale based on the actions of any government can remotely excuse, or even adequately explain, outrages like this week’s massacre.

But we must be brave enough to admit the war on terror is simply not working. We need a smarter way to reduce the threat from countries that nurture terrorists and generate terrorism.

That’s why I set out Labour’s approach to foreign policy earlier this month. It is focused on strengthening our national security in an increasingly dangerous world.

We must support our Armed Services, Foreign Office and International Development professionals, engaging with the world in a way that reduces conflict and builds peace and security.

Seeing the army on our own streets today is a stark reminder that the current approach has failed.

So, I would like to take a moment to speak to our soldiers on the streets of Britain. You are doing your duty as you have done so many times before.

I want to assure you that, under my leadership, you will only be deployed abroad when there is a clear need and only when there is a plan and you have the resources to do your job to secure an outcome that delivers lasting peace.

That is my commitment to our armed services.

This is my commitment to our country. I want the solidarity, humanity and compassion that we have seen on the streets of Manchester this week to be the values that guide our government. There can be no love of country if there is neglect or disregard for its people.

I think this was a defining speech. It defines Jeremy Corbyn as a leader and it defines a better and more honest vision for Britain. Much of the mainstream media however reacded with a kind of knee-jerk condemnation along the lines of Thresa May, pretending that they believed that Corbyn was an apologist for terrorism or at least arguing that although he might be partially right it was not the right thing to say as it was giving comfort to the enemy.

An assumption that people seemed to be making whether they were supportive of or against Corbyn’s speech is that he was saying that because we bombed Iraq and Libya and are bombing in Syria. Corbyn does not if fact say this at that is not the reality. The reality is that the strain of Islam with political and jihadist aspirations that Isis represents, (Wahabbism/Salafism), has been around for a long time and secular governments like those of Sadaam and Gaddafi were keeping them in check because they were seen to be opposed to secular states. When we bombed Iraq and acted as an airforce for Islamists in Libya we destroyed the infrastructure of those countries and set free the jihadist. We are currently supporting anti-Assad forces in Syria and so doing the same to that country as we did to Libya and Iraq. It is not the people who we bombed who are bombing us, it is the jihadists we set free to destroy their countries that are bombing us.

The West has been supporting jihadists since at least the early 1980’s when the US backed jihadists against the Soviet sponsored secular goverenment of Afghanistan.

As a result of this support Afghanistan eventually fell into the hands of the medievalist Taliban. From 2001 the US and their allies have imposed more suffering on the Afghan people in a supposed war against the terrorist group allegedly responsible for the attacks of 9/11.

In 2003 the US and its allies went to war with the Iraqi government of Sadaam Hussain after alleging that he had ‘weapons of mass destruction’ and was a threat to his neighbours. No such weapons were found but Iraq’s political and social infrastructure was destroyed and the country was occupied and exploited by western corporations. In place of a stable, if brutal, secular government keeping a lid on the political aspirations of religionists the Western occupiers turned governance over to a Shia dominated government at odds and at war with a Sunni resistance that came to be dominated by the fanatics that became known as Isis or Isil or Daesh.

In 2011 the US, the UK and France used a pretext of humanitarian concern to get UN authorisation to protect rebels in Libya from Gaddafi against whom they were waging a civil war. The mandate was to protect civilians from Gaddafi but the US, UK and France started bombing Gaddafi forces and effectively acting as an air force for the rebels. After the death of Gaddafi the Western powers handed over control to a government that was not strong enough to keep the country together as different groups vied for power. Salafist elements seem to have flourished in the chaos. The Manchester bomber Salman Abedi was a British born member of a Libyan Salafist family, he and they had connections to the Salafists and to Daesh in Libya.

2011 also marked the beginning of the Syrian conflict, a brutal war in which regional powers, notably Saudia Arabia, Qatar and Turkey have supported an armed and predominently Salafist opposition to the government od Bashar al Assad. This armed opposition also got support from the West and without the intervention of Russia would have overrun the government forces and very likely thrown Syria into the kind of chaos we see in Libya.

Why the West supports Salafist terrorism against secular states is best left to another ramble but there is clear evidence that it does. Why then, if we have been enabling them, do Salafist terrorists attack targets in the UK and Europe? It’s because that’s what they do. They carry within them the virus of hate and intolerance, intolerance not only for the secular states in the Middle East that we have armed them to destroy, but for any secular state.

Demonising Assad

In the course of a discussion on Syria someone cited an Independent article from 2015 claiming that ‘More Syrian refugees say they are fleeing from President Assad than Isis’.

Graphs in national newspapers based on surveys purporting to come from reputable institutions look impressive but when I clicked on a link that looked at though it was to the ‘Berlin Social Science Centre’ I landed on a google doc which informed me that:

1 “The survey was conceived, implemented and evaluated with the assistance of Heiko Giebler, social scientist at the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB), department for Democracy and Democratization +49 30 25491 513”

(To be explicit the data was not from the BSSC but from ‘a group of organisations’ that was somehow helped by an individual employed there.)

2. “The group of organisations supporting the survey are Planet Syria, Adopt a Revolution and The Syria Campaign”

3. Of the 889 respondents 78% were in the 16 – 35 age group, 88% were male and 61% had no children. This does not represent a normal population distribution and any conclusions drawn from the survey must be considered invalid.

It is shameful that a national newspaper uses such data unquestioningly but it should not be entirely surprising. There is a disinformation campaign being conducted against Assad. A January 2014 Guardian article refers to the ‘Caesar photographs’ that claim to provide ‘clear evidence’ of systematic killing of 11,000 detainees. This ‘evidence’ is challenged and the allegations pretty thoroughly refuted in a Counterpunch article. An Amnesty International article published in February of this year makes similar claims of widespread torture but this has been debunked in articles like this from the Land Destroyer blog. I have no idea of how much Assad and his government are really guilty of but unsubstantiated allegations like the Caesar and Saydnaya allegations become part of the mythos demonising Assad. Mud sticks, as it is intended to.

I have been accused of ‘supporting a dictator’. I want to make the following clear:

I don’t support Assad but I don’t support people from outside of Syria demanding that ‘Assad must go’.

I don’t accept that every accusation against Assad and the Syrian government is true just because western mainstream media and politicians (or anyone else left or right) authoritatively say that it is. I reserve the right to challenge assertions and check the facts presented to support those assertions.

I support the right of the Syrian people to choose their own leader and destiny without anyone telling them that they can’t have that one.

I support free and fair elections and the democratic choice of the Syrian people.

In the end I have no first hand knowledge of the situation, the best I can do is listen to what others who have greater access to knowledge are saying and make some assessment based on the consistency and credibility of what they present and what I already understand about the context. I am always willing to be challenged and corrected on anything that I claim.

Facts Matter

US Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is asked in this interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer if she believes the Russian narrative over that of the Pentagon. She responds that what she or anyone else ‘believes’ is irrelevant, what matters is the facts and the fact is that a US president took an illegal action on the basis of an unsubstantiated claim.

Blitzer’s talk about Pentagon radar data is disingenuous as he should know that this information was shared by the Russians prior to the attack.

Trump Attacks

This video contains imagery of children gasping for air as a result of a purported chemical attack. It is presented as an atrocity of war. It is distressing. The aftermath of any act of war is distressing. Images of children with limbs blown off would be no less distressing. The video of a child having his head sliced off by terrorists would be no less distressing. This video is presented as a special case, as specially atrocious, for a reason.

Although the video says clearly that, while the US blames the incident on the Syrian government, this is denied by the Syrian government and the Russians blame it on an inadvertent strike on a terrorist held chemical munitions factory, the impression we come away with is that the culpable party is the Syrian government and that ‘something must be done’. For something to be done we must understand what is happening here and too many of us do not.

I don’t know whether the chemical incident was the result of a conventional attack that struck a terrorist chemical gas repository and released the toxins, as the Russians say or if it was staged in some way by the terrorists and their backers. I tend to believe that the latter scenario is correct given the quality of the video production and the immediate and seemingly coordinated response by the US and their allies.

What I do not believe, and what defies common sense and circumstantial evidence, is that the Syrian government deliberately used a weapon whose use would give the excuse for action against them. I doubt that President Trump believes this because, despite his many flaws, he recognises a scam when he see one (who better?). Trump’s speech about being flexible changing his mind felt to me like that of a captive with a gun at his back.

Whatever Trump’s motivation we must not fall for this. We must not allow anyone we know to fall for this. This is part of the imperialist modus operandi, name something as an atrocity or potential atrocity and then go to war committing far worse atrocities that the one they named. Those who the ‘gods’ would destroy they first defame as mad or bad.

Idlib is a terrorist stronghold supported by the US, UK and Israel. They will not allow the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) to retake it. Also they will not permit a resolution to the Syrian conflict that leaves Bashar al Assad as president and Syria as a whole and independent secular state. As the conflict moves towards its end state Syria’s enemies become anxious to frustrate that resolution.

Following his speech Trump launched an attack on a Syrian airbase.

Ray McGovern a former CIA analyst summarises the facts:

On 4 April 2017, the town of Khan Shaykhun in the Idlib Governorate of Syria, was struck by a heavy airstrike followed by massive civilian chemical poisoning.

At the time of the attack the town was under the control of Tahrir al-Sham,formerly known as the al-Nusra Front.

The President of the United States, Donald Trump, as well as the UK Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, blamed the attack on the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad, while the Russian and Syrian governments said it was caused by the Syrian Air Force’s destruction of a nearby rebel-operated chemical weapons warehouse.

In response, the United States launched 59 cruise missiles at Shayrat Air Base, which U.S. Intelligence believed was the source of the attack.

Ray McGovern

McGovern argues that this is what most likely happened:

The Russians briefed the United States on the proposed target. This is a process that started more than two months ago. There is a dedicated phone line that is being used to coordinate and deconflict (i.e., prevent US and Russian air assets from shooting at each other) the upcoming operation.

The United States was fully briefed on the fact that there was a target in Idlib that the Russians believes was a weapons and explosives depot for Islamic rebels.

The Syrian Air Force hit the target with conventional weapons. All involved expected to see a massive secondary explosion. That did not happen. Instead, smoke, chemical smoke, began billowing from the site. It turns out that the Islamic rebels used that site to store chemicals, not sarin, that were deadly. The chemicals included organic phosphates and chlorine and they followed the wind and killed civilians.

There was a strong wind blowing that day and the cloud was driven to a nearby village and caused casualties.

We know it was not sarin. How? Very simple. The so-called “first responders” handled the victims without gloves. If this had been sarin they would have died. Sarin on the skin will kill you.

Surrender or Subterfuge

Hands up in surrender? She says “The days of Britain and America intervening in sovereign countries in an attempt to remake the world in our own image are over”. I have no idea whether Theresa May means it or whether Trump means it but this is like murderers saying that they’re not going to murder anymore. It’s a confession. Not a statement of regret or an admission of guilt but a confession that their states have been complicit in sowing chaos and destruction that has resulted in the deaths and maimings of hundreds of thousands and the undermining of their security and wellbeing. Trump and May might blame previous administrations but they are representatives of a rabidly murderous system whose crimes are obvious to anyone who looks even a little under the lies and distortions of a western media that has largely acted as the propaganda arm of a rapacious Anglo-American empire.

Story in The Duran.

Complex and Simple

It’s been said that situation in Syria is complex and that there are no ‘good guys’ and I understand that there is corruption and lies on all sides. This however does not mean that all sides are equally corrupt or that they lie equally. More importantly it does not mean that their actions are equally harmful to ordinary people. If I were, for example, a Syrian woman I would much prefer to live under a Ba’athist dictatorship where I wasn’t able to publicly criticise the president but could drive, be educated for any role, practice any religion, show my face and hair as I pleased rather than under a Wahabbist caliphate where I could do none of these things and still not be able to criticise the leadership. It is for this reason that many, I would say the majority of, Syrians support their government and it is why I also support them and their allies rather than the ‘armed opposition’. Although there are complexities there are also simplicities.

I know that not only the mainstream media lies and I try to assess both mainstream and non-mainstream news and commentary by looking at source, internal consistency, evidence and context. One of my main concerns is that we are bombarded with propaganda and do not treat all sources with sufficient scepticism. It is the special power of the mainstream media that makes them deserving of more criticism not their special mendacity though of course there are sources in the mainstream and the non-mainstream media and among politicians that we will trust more than others.

Among the sources that I trust with regard to reporting on Syria are independent journalists Eva Bartlett and Vanessa Beeley, Church of England priest Andrew Ashdown, RT reporter, Lizzie Phelan and researcher Tim Anderson. Truth to be told, I greatly admire these people.

With regard to politicians, I cannot say that I trust any of them. But what is of importance with regard to Syria is not the moral rectitude or democratic credentials of Assad and Putin versus those of Obama, May, Hollande etc. What matters is the degree to which they are helping or harming the Syrian people and in the evidenced judgement of those individuals I have named, it is Assad and his allies who are currently working for the good of the Syrian people while the rebels, foreign mercenaries, and their US, UK and regional backers are working to harm them.

Syria: The Third Time

I was re-reading a BBC article from September 2016 about the findings of a UK parliamentary committee, the foreign affairs committee, criticising ‘the intervention by Britain and France that led to the overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011’.

BBC diplomatic correspondent James Landale summarises the report:

This report is effectively Parliament’s attempt at a Chilcot inquiry into the Libyan intervention, only quicker and shorter.
And the criticism is weighty: the government’s poor intelligence about the threat to civilians in Benghazi, its lack of awareness of Islamist elements among the rebels, the policy drift from saving lives to getting rid of Gaddafi, and David Cameron’s lack of strategy for what should happen next.

The subtext is that the lessons of Iraq were ignored.

Yet in truth the report also reveals the uncertainty among policymakers about military intervention, torn between avoiding another Srebrenica-style massacre when the West turned a blind eye to the killings of Muslims by Bosnian Serbs in 1995 and the need to avoid another Iraq-style intervention when Western countries got bogged down in an internal conflict.

What happened in Libya was a half and half policy, of intervention without occupation. And it is a model that did not work.

Crispin Blunt, chairman of the committee, told the BBC: “We were dragged along by a French enthusiasm to intervene, and the mission then moved from protecting people in Benghazi, who arguably were not at the kind of threat that was then being presented…

“Indeed, on the basis of the evidence we took, the threat to the people of Benghazi was grossly overstated.”

The committee said “political options” were available once Benghazi had been secured – including through ex-PM Tony Blair’s contacts with Gaddafi – but the UK government “focused exclusively on military intervention”.

I found this very sad. I had read this before and probably posted a comment about it on Facebook. But let’s look at the enormity of this finding and its implication. To be sure the government rejected the report. We read:

The Foreign Office defended the intervention.

“Muammar Gaddafi was unpredictable and he had the means and motivation to carry out his threats,” a spokesman said.

“His actions could not be ignored and required decisive and collective international action. Throughout the campaign we stayed within the United Nations mandate to protect civilians.

“After four decades of Gaddafi misrule, Libya undoubtedly faces huge challenges. The UK will continue to play a leading role within the international community to support the internationally recognised Libyan Government of National Accord.”

Asked whether Prime Minister Theresa May disagreed with the report’s findings, Mrs May’s spokeswoman said: “The PM is clear on the reasons why action was taken in Libya.”
The alternative, she added, “would have been to stand by and witness another massacre of civilians”.

But there was a massacre of civilians, a catalog of atrocities, perpetrated by the ‘rebels’ on the ground and NATO from the air. We read in this March 2016 Salon article:

Today, Libya is in ruins. The seven months of NATO bombing effectively destroyed the government and left behind a political vacuum. Much of this has been filled by extremist groups.

Millions of Libyans live without a formal government. The internationally recognized government only controls the eastern part of the country. Rivaled extremist Islamist groups have seized much of the country.

Downtown Benghazi, a once thriving city, is now in ruins. Ansar al-Sharia, a fundamentalist Salafi militia that is designated a terrorist organization by the U.S., now controls large chunks of it. ISIS has made Libya home to its largest so-called “caliphate” outside of Iraq and Syria.

Thousands of Libyans have been killed, and this violent chaos has sparked a flood of refugees. Hundreds of thousands of Libyan civilians have fled, often on dangerous smuggling boats. The U.N. estimates more than 400,000 people have been displaced.

The foreign affairs committee report presents this as an error, a ‘half and half policy’ to prevent a massacre while not being bogged down in an occupation, in short, a well-intentioned intervention based on false or dubious premises that went tragically wrong. It was no such thing. The assault on Libya was a cold and deliberate war crime, the murder of a nation that entailed several other deliberate war crimes. The individuals most responsible for this were David Cameron, Nicolas Sarkozy, Barack Obama and, perhaps most culpable of all, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The Salon article notes that:

… the facts show that [Clinton] did not just push for and lead the war in Libya; she even went out of her way to derail diplomacy.

Little-discussed secret audio recordings released in early 2015 reveal how top Pentagon officials, and even one of the most progressive Democrats in Congress, were so wary of Clinton’s warmongering that they corresponded with the regime of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi in hopes of pursuing some form of diplomacy.

Qaddafi’s son Seif wanted to negotiate a ceasefire with the U.S. government, opening up communications with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Clinton later intervened and asked the Pentagon to stop talking to the Qaddafi regime.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich wrote a letter to Clinton and Obama in August 2011, warning against the war. “I have been contacted by an intermediary in Libya who has indicated that President Muammar Gadhafi is willing to negotiate an end to the conflict under conditions which would seem to favor Administration policy,” the Democratic lawmaker said. His plea was ignored.

A Pentagon intelligence official told Seif Qaddafi that his messages were falling on deaf ears. “Everything I am getting from the State Department is that they do not care about being part of this,” he explained.

“Secretary Clinton does not want to negotiate at all,” the U.S. intelligence official added.

And not negotiate is indeed what she did. In fact, after Qaddafi was brutally killed — sodomized with a bayonet by rebels — Clinton gloated live on TV, “We came, we saw, he died!”

No error, but cold, deliberate murder, not of one man, but of a whole nation.

Yet there are those who regret that Hillary Clinton is not the US President Elect. There are those who say that she was not elected because she is a woman or that Trump appealed to white racism. If this were true, and I do not believe it is, then we should all, for once, be grateful to sexists and racists.

Hillary Clinton sought the destruction of Syria on false premises as she had sought and engineered the destruction of Libya on false premises and as she had supported the war against Iraq which was prosecuted under false premises. Listen to her opening statement in this clip of a debate with Trump “Well”, she begins, “the situation in Syria is catastrophic”. She goes on the blame the ‘Assad regime’ and its Russian allies:

When Aleppo was retaken by the Syrian Arab Army and its Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah allies in December we did not see the massacres of civilians that Clinton and much of the US and UK mainstream media predicted instead we saw people relieved, celebrating their liberation from the oppression of the terrorists that Clinton, Obama, Cameron and Hollande had enabled. I highly recommend that you watch this short French documentary featuring interviews with the people of Aleppo:

Bashar al Assad said, of the liberation of Aleppo, that it was a pivotal moment in history, not just for Syria but for the world. I hope Assad is correct that the Liberation marks the moment when the world, enough of the world, clearly sees the pattern and sees through the lies of the Camerons, Obamas, Sarkozys, Clintons, Hollands and their cohorts. These are not respectable people, they are not at all decent and their intentions are not good, their intentions are evil and their actions are evil and the consequences of their actions are evil. I don’t like saying this because these people are our leaders and are supported by our democratic representatives and our political structures, by our whole political and media establishment. What does this say about our structures, our beliefs?

There is a saying ‘Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.’ The first time I have been fooled, the second time I am a fool. But fool me thrice? The third time I must be an accomplice.

Should We Kill All Alawites?

Al Jazerra, Faisal Qasim host in 2015 calls for the extermination of all Alawites in Syria. Fortunately his guest Abdul Messiah puts the opposing case very well. Qasim is horrific, like an extreme version of Katie Hopkins and it speaks volumes that the Qatari Al Jazeera allows him to host a programme. This is what the Syrian government and people are up against and what the US and UK governments, among others have been supporting.

Aleppo Celebrates

At the beginning of December the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and their allies complete their liberation of East Aleppo from the terrorists who have occupied it for almost four years.

The majority of the media in the US and UK continue to portray Assad as the bloody handed ‘Butcher of Damascus’ indiscriminately slaughtering civilians in his war against the heroic anti-Assad ‘rebels’. This cartoon, showing a concerned US trying to reason with China and Russia who are seen as enabling Assad, is particularly ironic as it is the groups Assad is fighting that actually do behead people.

News out of Syria uses pictures and interviews with children in ‘rebel’ held sections of Aleppo to justify claims that the Syrian government and the Russians are committing war crimes in their bid to oust ‘moderate rebels’. These reports are biased and designed to garner support for US attacks against Syrian and Russian forces or at least to get the Russians to back down in the face of direct confrontation with US and allied forces.

There is very little evidence that there are any ‘moderate rebels’ in the disputed East Aleppo, rather they are ‘takfiri’ extremists of the worst kind. These extremists are supported by the US and UK governments and by our political and media establishments. In the following video posted by ‘Syrian Girl’ (Maram Susli) these monsters show their true colours as they prepare to behead a 12 year old boy.

You will hear calls of ‘takfir’; Wikipedia notes “In Islamic law, takfir or takfeer (Arabic: تكفير‎‎ takfīr) refers to the practice of excommunication, one Muslim declaring another Muslim as kafir (non-believer). The act which precipitates takfir is termed the mukaffir. An ill-founded takfir accusation is a major forbidden act.”

That the war caused devastation in Aleppo is obvious but the videos of people leaving the areas of Aleppo that the SAA has retaken show people who seem happy with what has happened.

At the same time we see videos and tweets from inside rebel held Aleppo suggesting that the SAA and pro-Assad militias are going around killing civilians:

Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the United Nations gives this extraordinary performance characterising what is supposedly happening in Aleppo as one of those events that defines modern evil. She castigates the Syrian, Russian and Iranian governments for supporting this evilower’s :

Power’s rant is part of a narrative that sees Assad’s ‘regime’ as wholly responsible for the 400,000 plus deaths in Syria’s conflict. This is the accusation that Jon Snow of Channel 4 levels at Bouthaina Shaaban, Bashar al Assad’s media advisor:

Shaaban argues that the war is not the fault of the Syrian government. Terrorists are coming for all over the world with the support of western governments. Her point is difficult to deny unless we ignore this evidence of a US plan to take down several Middle East countries including Syria:

1. First testimony from General Wesley Clark that Syria was on a list of seven countries that the US planned to overthrow:

2. Testimony for former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas that the UK was involved in plotting against the Syrian government:

3. US Vice President Joe Biden says that Daesh (Isis/Isil) was created through funding and support from America’s allies Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. He suggests that they have now seen the danger and have stopped funding Daesh and the more extreme armed opposition, that they are now in alliance with the US to stop Daesh. Still he says:

“Our allies in the region are our largest problem in Syria.”

4. General Michael Flynn a former US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) chief admits that his agency in 2012 concluded that the Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda in Iraq were the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria and that in 2012 the US was helping coordinate arms transfers to those same groups.

Flynn believes that the US should have supported the Free Syrian Army (FSA) more strongly at the beginning of the insurgency and that it was the failure to do so that led to the insurgency becoming dominated by these ‘more extreme’ elements. Flynn admits the US intention to bring down the Syrian state and implies that he shared this intention but he is critical of the Obama administration for failing to take more robust action earlier and for then supporting the extremists.

It is wholly evident that it is the US and its allies rather than the Assad administration that are primarily responsible for the conflict and its consequences for Syria and Syrian people. But the mainstream media narrative is that the US is interested only in preventing an impending humanitarian disaster being perpetrated by Assad and his allies. This Vox video is typical of that narrative:

But the narrative, always threadbare, has been exposed by commentators like Ben Swan:

As independent journalists like Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett and Anglican priest Andrew Ashdown report from Aleppo we hear from people who have been held hostage by the so called rebels. They tell horror stories of their treatment under the terrorists and thank the Syrian Arab Army for their liberation. We see video after video of Aleppo citizens celebrating:

Eventually the joy of Syrians at the liberation is undeniable. We see Syrian Christians celebrating Christmas together with Syrian Muslims.

Free Women of Syria

Please view this documentary. And ask why the governments of France the UK and the US have supported the people who would collude with terrorists and the likes of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to take away the freedom of Syrian women to learn and to express themselves.

Why does Peter Tatchell press Jeremy Corbyn to condemn the Russian and Syrian governments for fighting the so called ‘rebels’ when these rebels intend and do harm to women and their freedoms? Why do we not press Corbyn, to remember that he is not only the Labour Party leader but, by default, the UK’s de facto moral leader, and to acknowledge and denounce the UK’s support for terrorists? It is not enough to condemn ‘all bombing’.

We should ask also why so many people hate the Syrian government. Could it be that what they really hate is the freedoms of the Syrian people?

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