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Syria

Is The US Waking Up To The Insanity of its Syria Policy?

Hayden

Former CIA Director, Gen. Michael Hayden, told a Jamestown Foundation conference this week that among the three outcomes he sees possible for the ongoing Syrian war he now believes that a victory by the Syrian government might be the "best option."

Option one, according Hayden, who also led the NSA, is an increasingly brutal war between Shiite and Sunni factions, and option two is a dissolution of the country. Facing this, he said he is "trending toward option three," the survival of Assad and the victory of the Syrian military over the insurgents.

His conclusion comes in the same week as the US government has suspended its assistance to the insurgents in Syria because the equipment is ending up in the hands of extremist groups.
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Sinister Fruits of The West's Alliance with Jihad Warriors in Syria

Syria Jihadists

After suffering one military defeat after another, the Syrian radical opposition, backed by the support of the West and the monarchies of the Persian Gulf, are increasingly retaliating cruelly against the civilian population. The jihadists seize towns and cultural and religious sites which up to that point had remained outside the combat zone, loudly proclaiming their victories.

For example, in response to the advance of the government army into the Qalamoun mountains between Damascus and Homs, where a powerful group of rebels had gathered for a sudden advance on the capital from the north (this group grew from 5,000 men a year ago to 20,000 in November of this year), the jihadists once again rushed into the nearby Christian town of Maaloula.

After vandalizing and desecrating the ancient churches, on December 2 they took 12 nuns from the Orthodox convent of St. Thecla hostage, hiding them in the city of Yabrud, which is held by the rebels. The rebels stated that they would burn the convent and kill the hostages, including the abbess, Mother Pelagia Sayyaf, after which the army retreated.
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The Unwelcome Return of Navi Pillay

Navi Pillay

You could very well say that Navi Pillay was more than anyone else the person responsible for NATO’s disastrous invasion of Libya. As UN Human Rights Commissioner she chaired that fateful meeting in February, 2011 where Libyan NGO leader Soliman Bouchuiguir was allowed to repeat incredible tales about the “massacres” taking place in Libya – tales he openly admitted after the NATO invasion he had just made up. “There is no evidence,” he exclaimed when asked after the invasion to back up his claims, which were the basis of the chain of events that led to NATO bombing.

The first link in that chain was the UN Human Rights Commission hearing chaired by Pillay, where Bouchuiguir’s lies led to the suspension of Libya from that body and the referral of the Libya issue to the UN Security Council. At the hearing, Pillay took her cue from the falsifier Bouchuiguir, exclaiming that, “The Libyan leader must stop the violence now.” Eventually the Security Council passed Resolution 1973, cracking the interventionist door to Libya, which NATO very soon kicked open.
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Syria’s Mother Agnes Mariam: In Her Own Words

Mother Agnes Church

American national security journalist Jeremy Scahill and leftist British columnist Owen Jones announced recently that they would not share a platform with a Palestinian-Lebanese nun at the Stop The War Coalition’s November 30 UK conference.

Neither Scahill nor Jones provided any reason for their harsh “indictment” of Mother Agnes Mariam, who has worked tirelessly for the past few years on reconciliation in war-torn Syria, where she has lived for two decades.

The journalists – neither of whom have produced any notable body of work on Syria – appear to have followed the lead of a breed of Syria “activists” who have given us doozies like “Assad is about to fall,” “Assad has no support,” “the opposition is peaceful,” “the opposition is unarmed,” “this is a popular revolution,” “the revolution is not foreign-backed,” “there is no Al Qaeda in Syria,” “the dead are mostly civilians,” and other such gems.

For some of these activists, anything short of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s departure is no solution of any kind. Mother Agnes Mariam, whose Mussalaha (Reconciliation) movement inside Syria works specifically on mediation, dialogue, and the promotion of non-violence, is unmoved by black-and-white solutions: Reconciliation, after all, is a series of political settlements forged on both local and national levels. There are only compromises there, not absolute gain. She doesn’t actually care who leads Syria and who wins or loses, providing the choice comes from a Syrian majority.
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Obama Сhanges Direction in the Middle East

Obama Talks Rouhani

The politics of the Middle East are undergoing a period of great turbulence emanating out of the changes in direction of the regional policies pursued by the United States. When the ship makes a turnaround, it has to be over an arc, and it is now possible to discern the reset of the compass.

This is primarily being felt in the Obama administration’s rethink on the Syrian conflict and its decision to constructively engage with Iran. Neither is an afterthought, but rather they took time to mature…

To take Syria first, Leslie Gelb, President Emeritus at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York needs no introduction as an influential voice in the US foreign policy establishment. His views on the Syrian conflict will always merit attention – especially when aired through the Voice of America.
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Quitting Over Syria

No War Syria

The release of the White House “Government Assessment” on August 30, providing the purported evidence to support a bombing attack on Syria, defused a conflict with the intelligence community that had threatened to become public through the mass resignation of a significant number of analysts. The intelligence community’s consensus view on the status of the Syrian chemical-weapons program was derived from a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) completed late last year and hurriedly updated this past summer to reflect the suspected use of chemical weapons against rebels and civilians.

The report maintained that there were some indications that the regime was using chemicals, while conceding that there was no conclusive proof. There was considerable dissent from even that equivocation, including by many analysts who felt that the evidence for a Syrian government role was subject to interpretation and possibly even fabricated. Some believed the complete absence of U.S. satellite intelligence on the extensive preparations that the government would have needed to make in order to mix its binary chemical system and deliver it on target was particularly disturbing. These concerns were reinforced by subsequent UN reports suggesting that the rebels might have access to their own chemical weapons. The White House, meanwhile, considered the somewhat ambiguous conclusion of the NIE to be unsatisfactory, resulting in considerable pushback against the senior analysts who had authored the report.
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Syria Analysts, Impartial? Not likely!

Kagan ISW

As is evident with the vast majority of coverage on the Middle East, the analysis used to bolster media narratives on Syria is predominantly derived from paid “think-tank” commentators posing as objective scholars. To the discerning reader, this dynamic of the mass media relying on dubiously attached “analysts” is in itself nothing new.

In an op-ed titled “The Sham Terrorist Expert Industry”  journalist Glenn Greenwald offers a compelling in-depth critique of the dominant clique of highly ideological “analysts” pervasive within the realm of US national security and foreign policy media. This “clique” – whose primary objectives are to propagate policies of the states or corporations that created the institutions they work for – has extended into the majority of western “analysis” on the Middle East, not least in regard to the Syrian conflict. Indeed, in many cases the analysts and supposed experts covering Syria are employed by the very same dominant institutions (WINEP, et al), and sit in the very same offices, as the frauds in Greenwald’s aforementioned article.
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Al-Qaeda’s Corridor Through Syria

Syria Rebels

On Tuesday night, suicide bombers and gunmen attacked Iraqi checkpoints along Highway 11, which runs from Baghdad to Syria via Ramadi. They bombed the checkpoint at Rutba as well as points just west of Ramadi. Thirty-seven people were killed in these attacks, a majority of them security officers. Highway 11 is Iraq’s southern route into Syria. The other road from Baghdad to Syria is Highway 12, which runs from Ramadi northwards to the towns of Anan and Rawah, along the Euphrates River and into the Syrian city of Raqqa. Last week, gunmen of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) attacked the towns of Anan and Rawah, destroying a bridge and trying to destroy the electricity transmission towers. The Iraqi army was able to deter the ISIS attack on Rawah, and so held off ISIS’s attempt to take the towns that would give it effective control of Highway 12. Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq said that last week’s attack was a “hopeless attempt by al Qaeda [ISIS] to establish a foothold in Iraq.” It seems likely that ISIS decided to try and take Highway 11 after its attack on Highway 12 was repulsed.
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British Press Shills for Syria War With 'Baby Snipers' Story

Baby Bullet

The Times of London yesterday published a sensational Syria story based on an interview with British doctor David Nott, who had volunteered his medical expertise in Syria over the past several weeks. Dr. Nott said that he had seen several pregnant women come in with abdominal wounds. He speculated that snipers must have been playing some sort of game where they would target the fetuses of pregnant women -- a grisly business to be sure.

Said Dr. Nott:
It seemed to me that it was some sort of a game they (the snipers) were having with each other... One day we'd have pregnant women being brought in with gunshot wounds to the uterus. Not just one or two, but seven or eight, which meant to me they (the snipers) must be targeting pregnant women.
Nott "heard local rumors" that these snipers, who seemed were playing a game, were Chinese or Azeri mercenaries fighting with Assad's government forces.
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The OPCW wins Nobel by default

Obamasyria

The award of the Nobel Peace Prize has gone to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons based in The Hague. This has come as a surprise – even to the OPCW. So far, according to the OPCW’s own records, only Albania and India have completely destroyed their chemical weapon stockpiles. The OPCW has a long way to go and why now?

The answer lies in a five-letter word – Putin. The OPCW got the Nobel by default. The only way to dodge the claim of Russian president Vladimir Putin for a Nobel was to sidestep gingerly and instead to award his contribution in the abstract. That explains the metaphysics of the decision to honor the OPCW. 

Looking back at the entire year behind us, it is clear that international security came to a flashpoint on August 30 when the United States president Barack Obama threatened to launch a “limited, narrow act” against Syria – shorn of diplomatese, when he threatened to launch a militarily attack against Syria. To cut short a dramatic story played out on the world stage over the next ten-day period, Russian president Vladimir Putin’s timely initiative to bring Syria’s chemical weapons under international control compelled Obama to come back to the path of negotiations.
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