How we can oppose the Assad regime and Western intervention at the same time

Israel/Palestine
on 191 Comments
Assad

Assad

The purpose of this article is to answer two very legitimate questions:

1. How can one oppose the the Syrian regime, its leader and its policies without accepting the narrative that such an opposition necessitates an agreement to American and Western ambitions to interfere in internal Syrian affairs either directly or indirectly?

2. Why is it necessary to attribute the blame to the Syrian regime first and foremost before addressing the shortcomings of the opposition, and the war crime and crimes against humanity committed by some elements in it?

The First Question

I had previously argued on my blog that an intervention in Syria is very ill-advised, for it allows a power that has absolutely no interest in advancing human rights and dignity in Syria to enter a land that it has no business being in. I have also argued that despite American denial of any interest to commit ground troops on Syrian soil, intervention is not necessarily restricted to an action of this sort. The Americans have been intervening in Syria ever since this revolution turned into a bloody conflict between the regime and the opposition over two and a half years ago. They have covertly and overtly armed groups with absolutely no attention as to who is actually receiving these weapons. And as we learned later, groups such as the Al-Qaeda affiliated ISIS and others have been on the receiving end of these weapon supplies.

Interestingly, though, those who were opposed to an American intervention in Syria only appeared around August last year. When Obama was considering a limited strike on Syria that would weaken the regime and tip the scale in favor of the opposition forces, self-proclaimed activists emerged out of nowhere in big numbers demanding that the Americans stay out of Syria. The question that was asked around that time was: where were these activists when the Americans were covertly supplying rogue elements with weapons? Why is it that they were only interested in this issue only when direct intervention became closer to becoming a reality? And could it be that their opposition to an intervention is a result of their support for the regime or a blind ideological opposition to anything American, and not a genuine interest in decreasing the death toll within civilian ranks?

In the Syrian case (and probably most cases) binaries must be wholly rejected. One can oppose the regime and oppose disingenuous American plans in Syria at the same time. Both the American military and the Syrian military share one very evident characteristic: they both have the supreme capability to sacrifice innocent civilian lives in order to advance narrowly defined egoistic interests. And in the American case we have seen that in Yemen, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Laos and many other areas around the world.

So if we know this, if we know that the regime, and most importantly brigades headed and commanded by Maher El-Assad, are capable of causing so much death and carnage; and if we know the American history of military interventions and invasions, why is it that big of a deal when one says that he is opposed to both the regime and the Americans at the same time?

If we are supremely opposed to any tactic that could cause more bloodshed, why does one have to be forced to choose between being supportive of the regime or being supportive of the Americans? This is an unnecessary binary, and I believe that those who demand that we make a choice are either adamantly supportive of American ambitions in the region (right wing maniacs in Washington and the Zionists) or adamantly supportive of the regime (Assadist, Baathists and some leftists in Palestine). Because this binary is unnecessary, and because the only principle that matters is the utmost rejection of death and killing at any cost, then activists should accumulate the courage to make it extremely clear that they are opposed to the Syrian regime and that they support demands to remove it without accepting the American narrative that the only way that this can be done is by using their help.

To Assad we must say “you must go” and to Obama we must say “stay out of Syria.”

The Second Question

To answer this question, I propose a principle that is generally defensible: in the modern form of a nation-state as it is generally defined, the primary responsibility of securing the welfare of its citizens falls upon the government. The government is viewed to be endowed with the responsibility of making sure that citizens are able to live free and prosperous, and that conditions must be maintained towards the attainment of such a state of living. When a government begins to violate the rights and freedoms of its citizens in order to advance the the interests of the few, the government stops being representative of the people and their aspirations, and a point can be reached whereby such a government loses legitimacy in its entirety.

In the case of Syria, the Assad regime has had over four decades in order to create such conditions. It is true that this country has had to sustain the influx of Palestinian refugees in 1948, and had to deal with an aggressive enemy to the South, and had to cope with a ‘post-colonial’ social and economic structure, and had to be one of the many battlegrounds for the proxy war between the Soviet Union and the United States. However, despite these conditions and setbacks, the Assad regime made absolutely no effort to demonstrate that they have any intention to enhance the welfare of the Syrian citizens and their Palestinian guests.

Instead the Assad regime began to: actively jail dissidents; impose restrictions upon journalists; prevent the possibility of any economic prosperity; concentrate Syrian wealth in the hands of the few (mainly the Assad and the Makhlouf families; cause the displacement of the Kurds, the Armenians, the Ismailis, the Druze and many other minorities; execute with utter disregard to all moral values the Hama massacre and many other massacres against the Palestinians in Lebanon (Tel EL-Zaater being the most prominent of which); oppress the Lebanese throughout the occupation of their country; and was, arguably, complicit in the continuation of the occupation of the Golan Heights (in fact, history demonstrates that the Assad regime made absolutely no effort to retrieve this occupied piece of Syrian land).

When the protests began in Syria over three years, there was no ISIS, or Jabhat El-Nusra, or FSA or SNC or any other form of organized opposition. There was only a group of enthusiastic Syrian men and women who wanted nothing more than reforms. To their misfortune, they were faced with bloody crackdowns that dragged the country into a bloody civil conflict.

So if the government is the one responsible for the protection of its civilians, and if the government decides that the best policy is to crush any form of opposition mounted by these civilians (before the degeneration into a bloody conflict), why should the blame be assigned to the consequences of government actions, instead of it being assigned to the government? In other words, why should we blame the opposition and bloody elements in ISIS first when these two are a direct and unfortunate result of Syrian government policy? The answer is: we should not.

No argument can be made against holding the opposition groups accountable for what they do. In fact, it is more that necessary to expose all of their shortcomings especially when that amounts to war crimes and crimes against humanity (for example, the beheading of armless Alawite civilians are all over the internet). However, we must realize and understand very clearly that if it was not for the regime, and its lack of competence, these elements would not even exist in the first place.

About Omar Chaaban

Omar Chaaban is a Palestinian activist based in Vancouver, BC. He holds a BA in International Relations from the University of British Columbia and focuses on Syria and Palestine. Visit his blog: http://omar-chaaban.blogspot.ca, and follow him on: @al3isawy.

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191 Responses

  1. Donald
    January 24, 2014, 12:40 pm

    Good post. I have one nitpick–

    “The question that was asked around that time was: where were these activists when the Americans were covertly supplying rogue elements with weapons? Why is it that they were only interested in this issue only when direct intervention became closer to becoming a reality? And could it be that their opposition to an intervention is a result of their support for the regime or a blind ideological opposition to anything American, and not a genuine interest in decreasing the death toll within civilian ranks? ”

    Direct intervention would be worse than indirect intervention. If the US bombs a country in order to tip the scales, it becomes a matter of “credibility”–that’s how the Beltway crowd thinks. If the bombing didn’t work, either Obama looks like an ineffectual fool or he escalates. With those choices, politicians often choose escalation. So that’s why people in the antiwar left really focused on Syria when Obama was saber-rattling. But if you are saying that we should have been more strong in our opposition to American aid to Syrian rebels, while also opposing Assad, then I can’t argue with you.

  2. DICKERSON3870
    January 24, 2014, 1:22 pm

    RE: “How can one oppose the the Syrian regime, its leader and its policies without accepting the narrative that such an opposition necessitates an agreement to American and Western ambitions to interfere in internal Syrian affairs either directly or indirectly?” ~ Omar Chaaban

    MY COMMENT: I initially supported the intervention in Libya, but soon afterwards, I began to regret my support after seeing the way the U.S. and its allies flagrantly, grotesquely, and shamelessly abused the UN Security Council resolution on Libya (authorizing member states to establish and enforce a no-fly zone) in order to instead pursue their own “regime change” agenda. Consequently, as I see it, the U.S. and its NATO allies absolutely cannot be trusted to intervene in Syria in a responsible manner.
    Because the U.S and its NATO allies so badly abused “responsibility to protect” (R2P or RtoP) in regards to Libya (much like they abused the right to defend themselves by invading Iraq), I simply cannot support any intervention in Syria by the U.S. under any circumstances, no matter how seemingly deserving the purported beneficiaries of such intervention might be.

  3. W.Jones
    January 24, 2014, 1:34 pm

    The first question is relatively easy to answer (How can one oppose Assad and also Western “meddling”). One can simply say that they are against both the secular regime and the West supplying the Opposition, and then speak out against both.

    The Opposition does receive funding from the West and works together much with it. I would add that Turkey to some extent counts as the West, as it is a NATO member. In any case, the oppositionists are located in Exile in the West, get funding from there, get logistic support from there, etc. So one can oppose their decision to get this support.

    A problem with this though is that without Western help, armed opposition to Assad will be much weaker. Granted, one does not have to support armed opposition.

    So whether one should support Assad’s removal, or should support armed rebellion is a different question. Could someone oppose Assad based on his current policies, and yet be willing to promote reform and reconciliation with Assad? Or would that not be “opposition”? Can I oppose Obama for drone attacks and domestic spying, and push for reform within the current US political system?

    As the Second Question, while you can blame Assad for the current problems before blaming the opposition, it is not necessary to do so. In terms of direct responsibility for a war crime, the responsible party is obviously the one who carried out that war crime directly, and thus can be the first one to blame.

    So if Assad uses an alleged gas attack on a village where there are some fighters and causes massive casualties, then obviously Assad is responsible “first” in the direct sense. But if fundamentalist insurgents take over a village and massacre it, then the insurgents are directly responsible. So in some cases in the Syrian Civil War the regime is first and directly responsible, while in other cases insurgents are. Because of the range of crimes and their direct perpetrators, it is an “unnecessary” overgeneralization to blame the regime for them “first and foremost.”

    What about the fact that Assad’s regime was in power before the insurgency? In fact, the current problems can be traced to the time before Assad, with imperial designs and conquest of the Middle East, including of Syria, the way the borders were drawn, and even to previous conflicts between Shiites and Sunnis, as well as conflicts over whether the State in Syria should be democratic, secular, religious, pro-empire, anti-imperialist, or independent.

    These broader problems and range of social forces existed before Assad, and continued while he was in power. Syria is much smaller than the West and than its less secular neighbors, and Assad’s own religious group makes only a minority of Syria, and all of these factors limit Assad’s abilities for decision-making, as well as those of any government that chose to be secular and independent of the West.

    Meanwhile, the opposition includes not just liberal democracy activists, but interventionists, fundamentalists, and foreign proxy forces, which pre-existed Assad’s coming to power. In fact, considering how low of a vote liberal secular groups received in Egypt, and the fact that the Local Coordinating Committees are made of 100-200 people, while the Syrian National Council is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood (I am not labeling it as extremist however), I would question how big a portion advocates of non-theocratic liberal parliamentarism are in numbers among the opposition.

    So as to the chronological argument, although Assad’s regime had decades to democratize, the regime was not really the only player in determining the country’s fate. It is much easier to run a secular, independent democracy when all the foreign and domestic forces accept with your secular, independent political system. This is not to deny blame to Assad, but to say that it is not “necessary” to blame him “first and foremost.”

  4. Danaa
    January 24, 2014, 1:40 pm

    Here is another hit piece from Omar, a true friend to al-quada, and a concern troll for the Syrian people (and to palestinians, of course).

    Same lies, distortions and and talking points promulgated by so-called “liberals” and “friends” to Palestinians, a campaign no doubt by Saudi financed well-oiled “Hasbarbara” campaign.

    I can’t believe that Mondoweiss is giving AGAIN! a forum for this sleazy trojan horse – two of them today – without as much as a single nod to those who actually care about the people – Syrian, Palestinian, Kurds, lebanese.

    I said, I thought, all there was for me to say, on the previous propaganda pieces, but here we are again. Will await the smart other commentators who have done so very well to debunk the disingenuous talking points before to step, one more time, into the fray, before stepping into the substance of this post, such as it is.

    Phil, Adam – it is high time for an opposing piece, or is this place becoming another “Gaurdian” that has never seen a color “revolution it did not support?

    What’s next? supporting the “revolution” in Ukraine? a country that dared resist the neoliberal agenda? dared to walk away from a trade deal that was bound to hurt the majority of the people?

    • Annie Robbins
      January 24, 2014, 1:53 pm

      3 articles in 4 days danaa. not sure what’s up w/that. and did you dig his “self proclaimed activist” lingo? i guess that would be us and the rest of the american public who screamed NO when obama said he was going to bomb syria. what is the difference between being an ‘activist’ (his bio) and a “self proclaimed activist” anyway? and curious minds wonder why opposition the takfiris isn’t part of his equation. or doesn’t he think they really matter in syria. very strange.

      • W.Jones
        January 24, 2014, 2:29 pm

        Annie,

        Are you aware that the much touted LCCs, the foot soldiers of the Arab Spring, work with 100-200 people? I like the LCCs, but how are we basing our view of the insurgency on them? Which is the mass Syrian opposition organization that supports religious tolerance, strongly opposes abuses, and wants democracy?

        Assad= secular, authoritarian, independent, has support in Syria.

        What part of the insurgency with serious numbers = secular OR democratic OR independent?

      • Bandolero
        January 24, 2014, 7:24 pm

        W.Jones

        Are you aware that the “LCC activists” are paid agents of the American and British governments to further their Israel-friendly political goals in Syria?

      • Annie Robbins
        January 25, 2014, 2:55 pm

        what’s an LCC?

      • Walid
        January 25, 2014, 3:34 pm
      • Danaa
        January 24, 2014, 2:43 pm

        Annie, I’m with you on this. I note also the letter on behalf of a UN agency that appeared today. All of this just as Geneva II is moving forward to nowhere.

        I saw some pieces along similar veins in other liberal oriented blogs, all carrying Arabic names. All using this newly coined “activist” lingo as something of a scarlet letter?

        When we see a meme repeated – always in impeccable English – it’s time to take note of an agenda behind it. There are great minds behind the scenes composing these articles aiming squarely at the “left”. I, for one, would like to see evidence of Omar’s other oeuvre prior to this post. If anyone – or Omar himself – can direct me to those, I’d be much obliged.

      • Donald
        January 24, 2014, 4:40 pm

        “curious minds wonder why opposition the takfiris isn’t part of his equation. or doesn’t he think they really matter in syria”

        He talks about the rebels in the last paragraph, says they should be held accountable for what they do and says they are guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Earlier he criticized the US for supplying weapons which ended up in al qaeda hands.

      • Danaa
        January 24, 2014, 4:57 pm

        Donald, that critique of the so-called “rebels” (cf. foreign paid terrorists) is just for show. That’s what I mean by the Trojan horse argument. You need to look at the entirety of this piece to catch the real agenda. Still, looks like you fell for it and may be that was the goal.

      • W.Jones
        January 25, 2014, 4:39 pm

        Annie,

        The Local Coordinating Committees were groups of activists set up to coordinate demonstrations and liberal democratic oppositional information in Syria at the same time as the other Arab Spring changes occurred. In the Arab Spring countries such groups of activists coordinated protests.
        The NY Times wrote about them here:
        http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/01/world/middleeast/01syria.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

        The LCCs are often put forth as a main group of the Arab Spring organizers in Syria. (see eg. the prominence given them on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syrian_Revolution_General_Commission) This is true as concerns the democratic protests in my opinion. They had a network in various cities that coordinates. They get funding from the US as Bandolera says, but I don’t consider that bad, and end to like it as a general rule if democratic groups are being funded.

        However I was surprised to learn that there are only 100-200 people working with them, in that NY Times article, when instead I imagined that they were playing a major role in administering communities and in the political aspect of the insurgency. So although I have some sympathy for the LCCs, it is very hard to use them to judge the insurgency because of how surprisingly small they are.

        The main reason I became curious about them is because I wish someone would tell me who the main democratic, tolerant, largescale force is supposed to be in the Syrian insurgency. Is there a grassroots progressive, leftist organization there, or am I just eating in a cowfield to think that?

        On another note, you may finding interesting the RT article suggesting 8 reasons why Syria would be targeted:
        http://rt.com/op-edge/syria-world-hate-message-604

        Finally, I miss the days when there was a green line on the messages in the comment section that would point me to messages I’ve missed.

        Peace.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 25, 2014, 9:10 pm

        thank you for answering w.jones. and please write phil and adam about those green buttons!

    • W.Jones
      January 24, 2014, 2:39 pm

      Danaa,

      Why not research it and write one?

      • Danaa
        January 24, 2014, 6:08 pm

        W. Jones- I would if I did not have a pressing deadline next week. Once that’s come and gone anything is possible. I do however understand the urgency all too well.

      • W.Jones
        January 24, 2014, 7:06 pm

        Danaa,

        I get the idea that we are seeing democratic opposition movements in the Mideast, that pushed for democratization and/or regime change. Sure, I can be in favor of a democratization in Syria, and it is hard to oppose it if that is all there is. I think one really can make an argument similar to what “they” are proposing- democratic, nonfundamentalist opposition, even rebellion.

        The thing is, “they” are generalizing about the insurgency. It is hard for me to support it when I have an uncomfortable sense, however vague and uninformed, that much of the insurgency is fundamentalist. “They” are talking like we are in 2010 and it is an opposition to an all-powerful regime. In reality, the insurgency is also a political entity at this point, in control of territory and ruling it for 2 years. And I really have a vague sense that in those places we are not seeing elections but military rule. So if you are going to generalize about the insurgency, the insurgency is no better than Assad, if not worse. This is not even to get into my feeling that we have been getting a “mildly cleaned”, biased version of events in Syria from Day One, just as our news has been biased on the Middle East for the last 15 years or more.

        And it looks like a repeat of Iraq’s sectarianism and Libya’s chaos, which I do not like. I think Saddam was bad and Gaddafi was pretty problematic, but I don’t think what they have now is much better. Where are the articles and conferences about continuing to spreading the Arab Spring to Libya and Iraq? Why, once regime change has occurred and pro-western forces in power, are there to be no more democratic rebellion in those places?

      • Shingo
        January 24, 2014, 8:58 pm

        I agree Danaa.

        He says the crimes of the rebels need to be condemned but that such such details have to be relegate to the back burner in favor of focusing on Assad’s crimes and insisting that the pre condition for Assad’s removal is non negotiable.

        He sounds like the FSA’s version of Abe Foxman.

    • Rusty Pipes
      January 24, 2014, 4:37 pm

      I hope that Walid has been convinced to write a piece. In the past week, this site has been overwhelmed with Syrian opposition propaganda.

      In fact, as the third anniversary of the Arab Spring approaches, it would be worthwhile for Americans involved in Palestinian solidarity to reflect on the role of Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Jazeera and Hamas (especially Khaled Meshal) in the pro-insurgency narrative among some Palestinians and their supporters, as well as how the role of the Lobby’s Islamophobia campaigns and FBI surveillance and intimidation of Muslim and Arab American communities have played a role in the conversation (or lack of it) about Syria among American peace activists.

      • Donald
        January 24, 2014, 4:51 pm

        “In the past week, this site has been overwhelmed with Syrian opposition propaganda.”

        As opposed to the pro-Syrian government propaganda in the comments?

        Anyway, since Omar has clarified that he doesn’t want American intervention either directly or indirectly, I don’t quite see the problem with him pointing out that the Syrian regime has a human rights record that would make a buzzard puke, especially when he also admits that the opposition has committed “crimes against humanity”. His words.

      • Danaa
        January 24, 2014, 5:05 pm

        Donald, so, you and Omar agree that the ones you refer to as “opposition” (but is really for the most part foreign Jihadists paid and armed by Saudi Arabia/Quatar) are guilty of “crimes against humanity”. So, how are you going to hold the saudi and Quatar regimes to account? bring whatever his name – Abdullah or something (hard to keep score of the House of saud members with their 10,000 prices and princesses) to the hague? how about the CIA equipped and managed terrorists in Jordan? who you gonna try for “crimes against humanity”? your own CIA director? Obama?

        I do understand the point here is to draw a false equivalence – Assad = terrorists. wanton cannibal beheaders here – torturer assad there. same thing, right?

        I am however impressed with how impressed you are with the convoluted sophistry employed by “Omar”. Again, et me ask – who is Omar? where else has he been published? can we see more of his writings? why do he and tala choose not to engage with commenters here who disagree?

        inquiring minds want to know, that’s all.

      • Donald
        January 24, 2014, 9:14 pm

        “I do understand the point here is to draw a false equivalence”

        Of all the phrases trotted out in such contexts, “false equivalence” is the one that should immediately raise red flags. It’s nearly always used in a way meant to imply that the speaker has some grand overview that enables him or her to see the deeper meaning of events, and what it all boils down to is this–some atrocities matter and others don’t. It used to be that I’d see this being used by apologists for the US and Israel, attacking people who pointed out the crimes committed by the US or its allies or Israel, because it was “false equivalence” to compare the crimes of our enemies with what we did. Nowadays it seems to have been picked up by lefties.

        The funny thing is I don’t doubt for one second that if Syria were aligned with the US and Israel (and while that is impossible to imagine now, it is hardly out of the question for the US and Israel to be aligned with oppressive Arab dictatorships like the Saudis), everyone would switch sides. The people in the mainstream who downplay rebel atrocities and play up Assad’s would do the opposite, and lefties who uphold the heroic struggle against Islamic fanaticism would become cheerleaders for the anti-imperial struggles of the heroic rebel fighters and downplay their atrocities. The actual atrocities and the evidence for them wouldn’t have to change at all–just the alignments and people would be shouting “false equivalence”, but with the exact opposite meaning.

        Orwell wrote about this a lot, but most famously in “Notes on Nationalism”.

        As for Omar, I have no idea who he is, whether he is sincere or a paid nefarious agent of the Saudis sent here to demoralize the Mondoweiss comment section by agreeing with us that US intervention would be a terrible mistake, while arguing that the Assad regime is terrible and caused the civil war, even if the rebels are also guilty of crimes against humanity. So far as I can tell, what he has done is show a certain moral inconsistency in some antiwar lefties, but there is absolutely nothing new about that.

        As for war crimes, nothing will be done unless the West can get hold of its demon figures in this war. They’ll imprison Assad if they can and won’t go after the Saudis. If that’s what you’re asking. It doesn’t mean that both sides aren’t guilty–it just means that the West only uses human rights law for its own purposes.

        Incidentally, As’ad AbuKhalil liked the post. Not that I necessarily agree with him on every issue. But he is usually highly critical of the West and reporters like Anne Barnard of the NYT for their pro-rebel bias.

        link

      • Donald
        January 24, 2014, 9:58 pm

        I’ll say a few more things and then leave.

        I don’t know which side actually kills more people-if I were Syrian I wouldn’t want the fanatics to win and if I were Syrian I wouldn’t want Assad’s military to be shooting or bombing civilian areas or torturing people, sometimes to death. I recall a time when lefties criticized the Bush administration for sending Arar to Syria where it was certain he’d be tortured. He was. Oh, well, just torture. The statistics that come out of Syria are strange. What’s clear is that both sides kill civilians. It seems likely that of the millions of refugees you’d probably find a very large number who would curse Assad’s name and when people are bombed and attacked by their own government, it’s also likely that some of them will take up arms even without being Islamists.

        There’s no need for Western peace activists get so absorbed in picking sides in someone else’s civil war. It’s enough to oppose any form of American intervention, direct or indirect. One didn’t have to like or admire or respect Saddam Hussein to say that American sanctions and the American invasion inflicted massive amounts of suffering on innocent Iraqis. But for some reason even antiwar types sometimes get caught up in playing strategic analyst and who is allegedly doing what to whom and once you go down that road then it apparently seems important to point out that this set of atrocities committed by this side isn’t nearly as important as that set of atrocities committed by that other side, because, you know, Big Picture and False Equivalence.

        Also, you know, the whole idea of supporting universal human rights is just shot to hell if one starts playing dressup Henry Kissinger. The Israel apologists can just say, as some do, that all is fair in war and it’s hypocritical to single Israel out if we excuse similar behavior in others.

        Okay, I’m done.

      • Walid
        January 25, 2014, 3:25 pm

        “… I recall a time when lefties criticized the Bush administration for sending Arar to Syria where it was certain he’d be tortured. ” (Donald)

        Donald, this week’s Mondoweissers’ pet peeve ended up having the Canadian Government pay Arar $10 million for its wrong call. From the Winnipeg Free Press:

        “Canadian Maher Arar sees hypocrisy in U.S. outrage
        By: David Kenner
        Posted: 01/23/2014 3:19 PM | Comments: 0

        BEIRUT — As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivered his opening remarks at the Syria peace talks in Switzerland on Wednesday, he expressed outrage at new revelations of the brutal tactics perpetrated by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime. Evidence of the execution of thousands of Syrians in Assad’s prisons, Kerry said, represented “an appalling assault, not only on human lives, but on human dignity and on every standard by which the international community tries to organize itself.”

        Kerry was referring to a report released this week based on the testimony of a defector within the Syrian military police, which seem to provide evidence of the systematic torture of thousands of detainees in Assad’s prisons. The defector, known only by the code name Caesar, provided roughly 55,000 images showing dead prisoners bearing the tell-tale signs of strangulation, brutal beatings, and starvation. The Assad regime’s enforcers had obsessively photographed the murdered men and kept track of them by reference numbers — in order, the report claimed, to prove to senior officials that the executions had been carried out.

        Maher Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian telecommunications engineer, hasn’t been able to look at these images, or the other pictures and videos streaming out of his native country over the past three years. They brought with them flashbacks from his own experience: In 2002 and 2003, he was Prisoner No. 2 in an underground cell at Syrian military intelligence’s Palestine Branch in Damascus, where he was beaten and whipped with two-inch thick electrical cables until he gave into his interrogators’ demands and falsely confessed to having been trained at a terrorist camp in Afghanistan.

        The only mystery for Arar is why Americans are shocked at reports of torture in Syrian prisons. “What surprises me is the reaction of some people in the West, as if it’s news to them,” he told Foreign Policy. “As far back as the early 1990s… the State Department reports on Syria have been very blunt — the fact is, Syria tortures people.”

        It’s a history that the U.S. government knows all too well — because, at times, it has exploited the Assad regime’s brutality for its own ends. Arar was sent to Assad’s prisons by the United States: In September 2002, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) detained him during a layover at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. U.S. officials believed, partially on the basis of inaccurate information provided by Canada, that Arar was a member of al-Qaida. After his detention in New York, Arar was flown to Amman, Jordan, where he was driven across the border into Syria.

        “Successive U.S. administrations may not agree with the politics of Bashar al-Assad, but when you have a common enemy called al-Qaida — that changes everything,” Arar said. “[S]ince 9/11, Assad’s regime has been used for what the media now calls ‘torture by proxy.’ ”

        In Arar’s case, however, he had no actual ties to al-Qaida to confess. He was eventually released in October 2003, and both Syria and Canada admitted that they had no evidence tying him to terrorism. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a formal apology to Arar, and announced that the government would pay him a settlement of almost $10 million for his ordeal. Arar currently resides in Canada…”

        http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/analysis/Canadian-Maher-Arar-sees-hypocrisy-in-US-outrage-241711241.html

      • Rusty Pipes
        January 24, 2014, 5:37 pm

        Donald, one of this site’s goals is to highlight the biased coverage of Israel/Palestine and the Israel Lobby in American MSM. The Israel Lobby does not push an agenda solely about Israel, but about American foreign policy throughout the Middle East. Neocon pundits and thinktanks have made no secret about their long term goals for re-shaping the Middle East (as I wrote about in a piece a year ago). One has to be no more pr0-Assad to oppose US intervention in Syria than one had to be pro-Hussein to oppose US intervention in Iraq. Of course, if one’s only source about Syria is American MSM (or even Qatar-owned AlJazeera), then any contrary information might sound like propaganda.

      • Walid
        January 25, 2014, 5:21 pm

        “In the past week, this site has been overwhelmed with Syrian opposition propaganda.”

        Rusty, I mentioned it elsewhere that there was more to what’s been going on in Syria than meets the eye. Everyone agrees that the Syrian regime is a far cry from being an exemplary one, but given it could have been replaced by liver-eating cannibals, it was still far better than what was being proposed by the Western and Gulf powers. The regime asked for it though with the bogus revision to the constitution that really didn’t yield anything substantially new. It was trying to pull the wool over the people’s eyes with a few cosmetic changes.

        The power play in the current crisis was at first between Saudia that had always viewed itself as the leader of all Arabs and Qatar that was flexing its muscles to outplay Saudia for the lead role as each was backing a faction. The game between them had started in Libya when Qatar sent its F16’s to join the NATO attacks, then on to Egypt to help the Brothers with Jazeera and then in Syria again with Jazeera and the satellite mobile camera phones. Saudia finally succeeded in squeezing Qatar out of the game and that may have had something to do with the changing of the guard in Qatar. A lot of stuff is happening all over the place and you can’t be looking at any of the problems of any of these countries from too close, as everyone is doing here about Syria and getting confused as to which are the good guys and which are the bad. It’s like at a hockey game where if you’re too close to the ice, you hardly get to see more than 10% of what’s really going on. To understand what’s happening in Syria, you have to take into account what’s happening in all the neighbouring countries. Now the disintegration of Egypt seems to have started; can’t help think it’s part of the master plan that began back in Afghanistan right after 9/11. The big losers in all these games are going to be the Palestinians.

    • Keith
      January 24, 2014, 7:55 pm

      DANAA- “I can’t believe that Mondoweiss is giving AGAIN! a forum for this sleazy trojan horse….”

      I am not all that surprised. Something for you to puzzle over. First, that “open letter” post on January 20th, one of the signatories was Mondoweiss own Bekah Wolf. Remember her? Second, a google search indicates that there is some sort of Twitter connection between Bekah Wolf, Omar Chaaban, and Ali Abunimah. I am not familiar with Twitter, however, both Omar and Bekah have icons displayed on Ali Abunimah’s Twitter page.

      As for the Ukraine, whenever a “liberal” Democrat makes war, he can count on the support of his fellow liberals as long as he dresses it up as “humanitarian.” Look at Clinton in Yugoslavia, Obama in Libya and now Syria, and perhaps a “color” regime change (or at least policy surrender) in the Ukraine. Liberals love war and support empire, but need the liberal media to lie to them to salve their conscience. The white man’s burden is basically a liberal phenomenon. Also, be wary of the NGOs. They are the modern equivalent of the missionaries. Do-gooders for empire!

    • Walid
      January 25, 2014, 9:56 am

      Yo Danaa, want to look into his eyes?

      http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/archives/015801.html

      Small blurb picked up from Wiki (at the end of the article):

      Statements by Omar Shaban

      On June 30, 2009, Omar Shaban, CAF’s executive vice-president for Western Canada, allegedly wrote on his Facebook page that Canada was a “genocidal state” and referred to Canada’s national holiday as “Fuck Canada Day” and added that “It’s finally Canada Day…Couldn’t be more ashamed to be Canadian.” The CAF subsequently released issued a press release disassociating itself from Shaban’s comments and stating that his words “in no way reflect of CAF nor its feelings towards Canada.”[77][78][79][80] Mohamed Boudjenane, the CAF’s executive director, later stated that Shaban’s comments were a “stupid faux pas.” Shaban, who refused to back down from his comments, subsequently resigned from the CAF.[81]

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Arab_Federation#Statements_by_Omar_\hShaban

      • Walid
        January 25, 2014, 10:20 am

        More fun and games for Danaa, makes you wonder why he changed his name from ; from an “S” to a “C” in Chaban, from the Propagandist Blog:

        Who Is The Bully Here? The Irony Of Omar Shaban

        Jonathon Narvey
        November 26th, 2010
        omar shaban stopwar george galloway palestinian ubc lebanon canadaSolidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) President Omar Shaban, who spoke at StopWar’s George Galloway event in Vanouver this week, has allegedly tried to bully the Alma Mater Society President at his university. The Ubysee reports:

        AMS President Bijan Ahmadian had security escort Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) president Omar Shaban from his office Wednesday, as the controversy surrounding a proposed $700 donation to a Canadian flotilla to Gaza from an AMS club continue to mount.

        “Shaken from the physical intimidation by the SPHR President at my office today. Had to call security to remove him!” tweeted Ahmadian after the incident.

        Ironically, This comes on the heels of an Op Ed by Shaban just last week in the Canadian Charger entitled “Bullying Palestinian students at Canadian universities should stop”.

        Was “Bullying” in the title of that Op Ed an adjective or a verb? It seems to make all the difference here.

        Shaban first came to national attention when he was still working for the Canadian Arab Federation. On Canada Day in 2009, he chose to post “Fuck Canada Day” on his Facebook page, called Canada a “genocidal state,” and said he “couldn’t be more ashamed to be Canadian.”

        Shaban resigned from CAF when caught out by Tarek Fatah and others, but refused to apologize to offended Canadians (though in a classic bit of distraction, he did apologize to Canadian First Nations, even though First Nations spokespeople like Phil Fontaine were fully on board with the celebrations. Weird).

        Jonathon Narvey is the Editor of The Propagandist

        http://www.propagandistmag.com/2010/11/26/who-bully-here-irony-omar-shaban

      • Taxi
        January 25, 2014, 10:31 am

        Cool research, Sherlock Walid!

      • Walid
        January 25, 2014, 10:31 am

        And From the Toronto Sun:

        The Canadian Arab Federation moved to distance itself from one of its own executives who resigned yesterday after he apparently posted “F— Canada Day” on his Facebook page, called Canada a “genocidal state,” and said he “couldn’t be more ashamed to be Canadian.”

        The tirade on Omar Shaban’s profile stirred up a firestorm of controversy and put CAF leaders in damage-control mode as they were quick to condemn the posting on the social networking site.

        Just after 8:30 last night, Shaban, 23, resigned his post as the CAF’s executive vice-president for Western Canada, CAF national president Khaled Mouammar confirmed.

        “There was a big outcry from our member organizations and it was felt that he had to correct that,” Mouammar said. “He decided that the best thing for him to do was to resign.”

        ‘Ashamed’

        Shaban didn’t return requests from the Sun for interviews and to verify that the comments on his personal Facebook status update were indeed his writings. But his Facebook page spoke volumes.

        “It’s finally Canada Day … Couldn’t be more ashamed to be Canadian,” he wrote, apparently in reference to Canada’s treatment of the native population.

        Mouammar said the comments don’t reflect the views of the CAF, a group that represents more than 40 Arab organizations across the country.

        Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress and a media commentator who has been critical of the CAF in the past, called the comments “hateful” and that Canadians shouldn’t tolerate it.

        “This hateful attitude towards Canada is a direct result of how some politicians and police have refused to stand up to Islamists, either out of fear or for electoral expediency,” Fatah said.

        According to the CAF website, Shaban was born in Canada in 1986 and was raised in Lebanon where his family lived in the Nahr El-Barid refugee camp for a short time.

        http://www.torontosun.com/news/canada/2009/07/02/9997971-sun.html

      • Taxi
        January 25, 2014, 10:54 am

        “Nahr El Barid”… well, say no more, say no more.

        Nahr = river
        El = the
        Barid = cold
        Therefore Nahr El Barid = The Cold River.

        Brrrrrr!

      • Danaa
        January 25, 2014, 2:36 pm

        Thanks Walid for the ferreting out some of of the mystery of Omar. One would be interested to know how he came to peddle the Syria angle — perhaps a little gravy train happened to come along?

        Clearly our Omar made more than a few “missteps’ along his ‘activist’ career. Looks to me like someone who may be ripe for hitching a ride on a little bandwagon. The psychological profile is a fit.

      • Keith
        January 25, 2014, 3:45 pm

        DANAA- “Looks to me like someone who may be ripe for hitching a ride on a little bandwagon. The psychological profile is a fit.”

        Once again you and I are in complete agreement. This guy reeks of opportunistic self-promotion. Not all that unusual, regrettably. Since you brought up the Ukraine on another comment, you might enjoy the following quote:

        “After the WWII, the remainder of pro-Hitler Galician SS fighters were adopted by US Intelligence, re-armed and turned into a guerrilla force against the Soviets. They added an anti-Russian line to their two ancient hatreds and kept fighting the “forest war” until 1956, and these ties between the Cold Warriors have survived the thaw…After 1991, when the independent Ukraine was created, in the void of state-building traditions, the Galicians were lauded as ‘true Ukrainians’, as they were the only Ukrainians who ever wanted independence….Memorials of Galician Nazi collaborators and mass murderers Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych peppered the land, often provoking the indignation of other Ukrainians. The Galicians played an important part in the 2004 Orange Revolution as well” (Israel Shamir)
        http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/12/20/what-really-happened-in-ukraine/

      • Sibiriak
        January 26, 2014, 1:34 am

        Keith:

        Since you brought up the Ukraine on another comment, you might enjoy the following quote…

        Good article. But was it too categorical in declaring a Putin victory? How do you see the current situation playing out?

      • Keith
        January 26, 2014, 4:33 pm

        SIBIRIAK- “But was it too categorical in declaring a Putin victory?”

        Not at the time the article was written. Up until then, Russia had suffered defeat after defeat as NATO moved eastward in seemingly unstoppable fashion. Ukraine is seen as critically important in empire’s attempt to keep Russia weak and isolated. In “The Grand Chessboard,” Zbigniew Brzezinski claims that “Ukraine…is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps transform Russia.” (p46)

        Sibiriak: “How do you see the current situation playing out?”

        Hard to say. Let us review some history. First, remember that Eastern Europe embraced nationalism later than Western Europe, hence, their national identity is less firmly established with rival groups still vying for power. Nazi Germany was able to take advantage of this to develop networks of Nazi collaborators during World War II. The General in charge was Reinhard Gehlen who went to work for the CIA after the war, maintaining these fascist networks as anti-communist “freedom fighters.” Gehlen later became the first director of the West German BND (CIA equivalent).

        The pro-Western orientation of most of the post Soviet republics was greatly facilitated by Western NGOs who received funding and training from US Aid, Soros Foundation, etc. These provided much of the driving force and direction of the color revolutions which transformed Eastern Europe in conformity with imperial objectives. Ukraine’s Orange Revolution is discussed in the linked article. The current riots are extremely violent and intended to bring down the government. The “protesters” are throwing Molotov cocktails, etc. Below is a current link to videos of the violence in which police casualties outnumber those of the rioters.
        http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/rick-rozoff-on-the-violent-protest-in-ukraine/#more-157418

        In conclusion, it would appear that empire is prepared to bring anarchy and destruction to the Ukraine rather than tolerate any sort of alignment between the Ukraine and Russia. How it will turn out is difficult to say, however, it should be noted that the US is a warfare state, violence and destruction is what we do. Empire appears to be on a rampage. You are either with empire or against empire, and if you are not with empire you can expect to be attacked.

      • Keith
        January 25, 2014, 3:34 pm

        WALID- Omar Chaaban wrote: “It’s finally Canada Day…Couldn’t be more ashamed to be Canadian….Fuck Canada Day”

        I agree with the sentiment even as I question the effectiveness, indeed sincerity, of his tactic. I don’t think his associating himself dressed in traditional Palestinian head covering, unshaven, etc, with his vulgar slur does the Palestinians any good. Perhaps that was the intent. Having said that, I hope no one suffers from the misconception that Canada is some liberal civil rights paradise. No longer the refuge for Vietnam war resisters, Canada has swung way to the right and, under Harper, is well to the right of the US (believe it or not). Thanks to the tar sands boom, Canada resembles a petro state, Harper a strongman who runs over native rights. Putting all of that aside to focus on the Middle East, I offer a few quotes to emphasize Canada’s absurdly strong pro-Israel bias.

        “In announcing the trip last month at a Jewish National Fund dinner, where he was being honored, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper called Israel “a light of freedom and democracy in what is otherwise a region of darkness” and pledged that the Jewish state “will always have Canada as a friend.”

        “Harper was the first Western leader to cut aid to the Palestinian Authority following Hamas’ 2006 election in Gaza and the first to withdraw from the second UN World Conference Against Racism, known as Durban II, saying the event would “scapegoat the Jewish people.”
        http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-features/1.569292

        “The one-sided extremism of the Conservative government’s support for Israel just keeps growing. The latest example is Ottawa helping convince the European Union to list Hezbollah’s military wing as a “terrorist” organization. After that decision was taken, Foreign Minister John Baird declared, “We are thrilled that the European Union unanimously has agreed to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. We’ve been pushing for this.”
        http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/08/15/canadas-one-sided-israel-extremism/

        “In 2008 Canada and Israel signed a wide-ranging public security agreement, and, for the first time in its history, in 2011 Israel named a defence attaché to Ottawa. Until at least the end of 2010 the Canadian embassy in Tel Aviv served as Israel’s Contact Point Embassy to NATO, the military alliance of Western nations. The embassy served as the liaison between Israel and NATO, assisting with visits of NATO officials to Israel. According to internal government documents examined by The Dominion, Ottawa worked to strengthen Israel’s partnership with the military alliance, helping its “pursuit of a Status of Forces Agreement, getting access to the NATO Maintenance Supply Agency, [redacted].”

        “In February 2010 deputy foreign minister Peter Kent implied that Canada already considered Israel a member of NATO, which operates according to the principle that an attack on any member is considered an attack against all members. Reflecting the alliance’s purported principle, Kent said “an attack on Israel would be considered an attack on Canada” and in July 2011 defence minister Peter MacKay reiterated this position privately. According to briefing notes uncovered by CBC he told Israel’s top military commander, Gabi Ashkenazi, that “a threat to Israel is a threat to Canada.” (Yves Engler)
        http://dissidentvoice.org/2013/05/canadian-fealty-to-israeli-militarism/

      • Walid
        January 26, 2014, 1:35 pm

        Keith, Harper also had Canada suspend it’s annual 16 million contribution to UNRWA on the premise that some of that money may somehow be benefiting Hamas but eventually resumed to paying that amount directly to the PA as part of its as part of its “infrastructures building”. In the last few years, Canada has sent directly to the PA about 300 million After all, the PA is heavily involved in policing Israel’s borders for it.

        The public security agreement with Israel of 2008 is a carbon copy of the one signed the previous year with the US. In short, the agreement places Israel security personnel at key Canadian international airports to help “train” with the screening process. That agreement gave rise to further agreements such as the with with the US making it party to America’s no-fly policy.

    • LeaNder
      January 26, 2014, 8:49 am

      Dana, I couldn’t agree more. He is not really answering the first question, beyond using it to make his points. I admittedly avoided reading this yesterday. And for whatever reason, maybe since he is based in Vancouver, this guy gives me pretty much the same core impressions as Mohammad from Vancouver a couple of years ago.

      Why is it that they were only interested in this issue only when direct intervention became closer to becoming a reality?

      This is such nonsense, it is not even worth responding to it. To object to “covert” activities you would need to have proof first that they are happening at all. That is the whole point of covert operations. You cannot usually fight rumors and suspicions.

      I waited quite a long time to at all read this guy, but so far I have seen fitting responses by Dickerson and Jones. Donald’s almost automatic bad conscience seems to be exquisitely what is aimed at in the first pseudo response to a question that shouldn’t be dealt with lightly.

    • Walid
      January 27, 2014, 2:05 am

      “… Same lies, distortions and and talking points promulgated by so-called “liberals” and “friends” to Palestinians, a campaign no doubt by Saudi financed well-oiled “Hasbarbara” campaign.” (Danaa)

      Can’t blame the Saudis for everything.

      From Canada’s National Post last summer:

      “Canada has given more than $5.3-million to the Syrian opposition to set up pirate radio, train bloggers and document war crimes by the Syrian government, the National Post has learned.

      The information, provided by a senior source at the Department of Foreign Affairs, shows Canada has been working with the U.S. and Britain to help rebels inside the war-torn country counter the propaganda put out by Bashar al-Assad’s state-controlled media.

      The funding from Ottawa — which was disbursed through the Canadian Stabilization & Reconstruction Task Force — was paid in two tranches: $1-million in April, 2012; and the remainder in the fall of 2012.

      The biggest chunk, $1.8-million, went to a P-CAT — for planning for a civil administration and transition, a U.S. initiative developed in Afghanistan that helps local leaders to prepare for post-war government.”

      http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/08/31/canada-has-given-5-3m-to-syrian-opposition-to-support-rebel-efforts-to-counter-assads-propaganda-source/

  5. Reds
    January 24, 2014, 2:00 pm

    I disagree with some of the stuff the writer has present.

    1. U.S. Meddling in Syria actually started even before any blood was spilled. It’s ambassador who was appointed to Syria was seen running around the country sparking and supporting protest.

    2. The writer says that the U.S. Didn’t look at who the U.S. Was arming. Actually the U.S before the war broke out sold billions of arms to the Saudis and Gulf states and it’s highly doubtful they weren’t aware as to who thee countries were going to arm. Even when reports came out extremist were being funded and armed the U.S vehemently denied it. Often times going so far to claim the Saudis were only helping the more moderate faction.

    3. The writer questions the people who came out against bombing Syria? Asking where were they before when the U.S was arming the rebels? This is pretty simple to answer. They never left, and the U.S. Government kept denying they were doing such. The outrage was there and finally boiled over in which the media and government had to cover it. It’s similar to the outrage about the NSA . One like the writer could say ‘where were the people who are now protesting the NSA abuse before?”

  6. Justpassingby
    January 24, 2014, 2:00 pm

    I liked your first article but now you are getting biased Omar.

    Fact is that Assad DID create reforms but the opposition just wanted to take power and that with violence. And extremist groups were created BEFORE the uprising too.

    I think you should admit your political views before making another article here on MW.

    • puppies
      January 24, 2014, 7:59 pm

      Screw the propaganda peon. He is paid by the word by big PR U/UK agencies.
      The root of this problem on MW is MW itself: It didn’t have to expand the space offered to such obvious US and Zionist propaganda. Four times in a row.

  7. Reds
    January 24, 2014, 2:05 pm

    ” And as we learned later, groups such as the Al-Qaeda affiliated ISIS and others have been on the receiving end of these weapon supplies”

    Many already knew this if one was reading or listening to world news sources. The reason many Americans didn’t should be laid squarely on our media who lied by omission and covered up these facts. Let’s not forget that Al nusra was receiving arms.

    The simple fact that our media and government throughout the past 3 yrs had to lie or hide information about the rebels should be a red flag that something doesn’t smell right.

  8. David Nelson
    January 24, 2014, 2:12 pm

    Don’t you have livers to eat, Omar?

    Maybe the reason the American public did not support you cannibals is because we are sick of your intolerance, sick of your lies, and sick of your insurrection. Yours is not a revolution, a revolution needs no help, a revolution is momentum and your side has none. This conflict has been manufactured from the beginning, whatever grievances Syrians may have have been tragically magnified by your insurrection.

    No more wars for ME dictators. No more wars for would be dictators, no more wars for cannibals.

    You have not defeated Assad, so quit asking us to behave as if you did.

    • David Nelson
      January 24, 2014, 3:17 pm

      “This transcript verifies the allegation of Saudi Government support of ISIS in Syria. While mainstream media has never directly acknowledged this fact, this evidence directly ties the ruling Al Saud family with terrorist and extremist organization fighting in Syria.”

      http://networkedblogs.com/T9qj3

      Omar is asking American citizens and liberals of the world to support wahhabi terrorism. We get thrown in jail for that, don’t you know Omar?

      • piotr
        January 24, 2014, 10:11 pm

        Perhaps in Canada the government is less fascistic in that respect. Also, being a paid Washington lobbyists for al-Qaeda is legal if this is for the benefit of groups operating in Syria. You get larger problems by faking Ph. D. (somehow they do not allow for that EVEN when it benefits freedom fighters). Obviously, David is not familiar with the intricacies of American law.

  9. Reds
    January 24, 2014, 2:15 pm

    I’ll also like to point out though Assads a brutal dictator he did make efforts to push the country to something closer to a democracy before the bloodshed started follow and was soundly rejected at the urging of the U.S. Assad must go. And the brutal Saudi Arabia who itself helped stomp out protesters in Bahrain are supporting and funding the rebels are for the Noble cause of democracy and somehow not for an extremist Sunni element taking over should be admitted by the U.S. If we’re being honest. But to state such would change the whole narrative that the U.S. Been trying to push.

    P.S.

    I personally think Assad should go but personally also think the ones in power of the rebel side are equally full if crap as what there do once in charge. Peace talks need to happen but sadly Assad has to be part of them for it to happen. Maybe then after he can get the boot.

    • W.Jones
      January 24, 2014, 7:15 pm

      If Syria’s regime cracked down on Palestinian refugees a few decades ago it can’t be all good. If the Clean Break document wants to punish Assad with insurgency, can he be all bad?

  10. lysias
    January 24, 2014, 2:52 pm

    When a government begins to violate the rights and freedoms of its citizens in order to advance the the interests of the few, the government stops being representative of the people and their aspirations, and a point can be reached whereby such a government loses legitimacy in its entirety.

    Perhaps those who most benefit from the Baathist regime in Syria can be called “few”, but the number of people who substantially benefit, if only by being spared from being massacred if the other side wins, is surely more than a few: not just the Alawites, but the Christians, the Druze, other Shiites. And it isn’t clear how the Kurds would fare under opposition rule.

    One wonders why our media don’t make clear to the American public what a disaster an opposition victory would be for the Christians of Syria.

    We already caused the decimation of a large Christian population when we toppled Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime in Iraq. Must we really do it again?

  11. Tony Logan
    January 24, 2014, 2:56 pm

    Omar Chaaban’s whole framing of the issues for US citizens, Canadians, Australians, West Europeans is absolutely a gross and vulgar stupidity in itself. He asks us…

    ‘How we can oppose the Assad regime and Western intervention at the same time?’

    Who said that we should do this? Why should we do this? Isn’t our one, AND OWN primary duty to simply create and build an antiwar movement here in our own countries? Is that not the best way to create solidarity with liberation movements world wide? In short, who inserted the idea that we need, for some supposed reason, to become cheerleaders from our own countries for an opposition, we’ll really never know much about, to the Assad government in power in Syria there?

    There are already cheerleaders for overthrowing the Assad government in Syria. Perhaps Omar Chaaban, unlike myself, didn’t happen to notice that John Kerry of the Democratic Party, is one prominent cheerleader of the opposition? Does he think that it is our supposedly equal??? duty, to join alongside Kerry and the US State Department, to cheerlead for the overthrow of the Assad government by the opposition (I read Pentagon here, and Chaaban evidently doesn’t!)? Why?

    Further, Chaaban asks us to stay stupid and play stupid with his opinion piece. We, like him, are all supposed to pretend that the attack on the Assad regime has nothing to do with the ongoing US/ Western European, Israeli attack on Iran. We are all supposed to play stupid about that, just as the corporate propaganda press wants us to! Well, Omar, I’d rather not, Sir. Why are you doing so?

    Since Chaaban insists also on asking us stupid questions and then giving us ridiculous answers to his silly queries, let me just answer one of his questions for us…. It is easy to do, Omar.

    ‘… those who were opposed to an American intervention in Syria only appeared around August last year. When Obama was considering a limited strike on Syria that would weaken the regime and tip the scale in favor of the opposition forces, self-proclaimed activists emerged out of nowhere in big numbers demanding that the Americans stay out of Syria. The question that was asked around that time was: where were these activists when the Americans were covertly supplying rogue elements with weapons?’

    ANSWER- Many ‘activists’ were simply completely demobilized by their own partisan support of the Democratic Party. In fact, perhaps we should rather call these folk ‘auto-deactivists’ since they are always too busy voting DP instead of ever building a real movement to stop the Pentagon’s wars. So we have no big mystery, Omar. And there are no ‘big numbers’ of activist ’emerging out of nowhere’ on this issue. Is Chaaban hallucinating?

    ‘… could it be that their opposition to an intervention is a result of their support for the regime or a blind ideological opposition to anything American, and not a genuine interest in decreasing the death toll within civilian ranks?’

    ANSWER- No. No. And No. The demobilization was due to Democrats sitting and waiting for good to come from a Democratic Party president. Surprise though! That didn’t happen and it won’t happen! But that should not lead anybody, like Chaaban, to come up with such ridiculous conclusions disguised as ‘questions’ to us. Shame on him for playing the fool, and trying to play us for fools as well.

    • LeaNder
      January 26, 2014, 11:51 am

      We, like him, are all supposed to pretend that the attack on the Assad regime has nothing to do with the ongoing US/ Western European, Israeli attack on Iran. We are all supposed to play stupid about that, just as the corporate propaganda press wants us to! Well, Omar, I’d rather not, Sir. Why are you doing so?

      good point, Tony. Syria was always a step along the route to take Iran. I vividly remember, first let’s take Syria–kind of on the way–and then let’s take Iran, as a theme in Mr. Faster Please, Ledeen. So nothing really new here.

      That Iran has to be kept out of Geneva shows exactly what this is about.

      Concerning your points about fooled by Obama or generally a democratic president, versus one of the GOP, Yes, yes. The huge US military budget needs to get causes to remain at that level. It’s about the economy stupid. And national interests. ;)

  12. Shingo
    January 24, 2014, 3:22 pm

    What about the fact that Assad’s regime was in power before the insurgency?

    Same old pro Al Qaeda, pro interventionist talking points.

    The plans to overthrow Assad were reported by Sy Hersh in his 2007 piece called the misdirection. That means the US and Saudi Arabia were funding Al Qaeda type jihadists 4 years before there was any kind of uprising.

    Sexindly, the aim that opposition to the rebellion only sprung up in August is also BS. Hillary Clinton herself expressed doubts at least a year earlier when she posed the question as to whether the US should be backing Al Qaeda and whether we wanted to mid wove the creation of a state run by such savages.

    Omar is a pathetic and shameless propagandist.

  13. Shingo
    January 24, 2014, 3:31 pm

    To Assad we must say “you must go” and to Obama we must say “stay out of Syria.”

    No Omar. To foreign propagandists like you wer should say “stay the hell put and mind your own business” and to Obama we say “let the Syrians decide by a referrendum” what they want.

    It was very revealing at Geneva II this week that the US and Syrian opposition kept talking about “the Syrian people”, yet when the Assad representatives suggested putting the matter to a referrendum by the Syrisn people, both the US and opposition rejected the idea.

    Omar doesn’t care about Syrians. He thinks he knows what is good for them and what us best for them – Syrian popular opinion be damned.

    • W.Jones
      January 24, 2014, 7:23 pm

      Why does Assad “have” to go? Isn’t he a western-trained medical professional who got appointed because his government needed him? ie. it was not exactly his number one career choice. Perhaps he could make democratic reforms if there was no fundamentalist opposition?

      I am not saying I am ruling out government change, but why does it “have” to be so? Because his government has made mistakes in the past? People do realize that the opposition is not the only entity out there that wants regime change?

  14. Shingo
    January 24, 2014, 3:44 pm

    When a government begins to violate the rights and freedoms of its citizens in order to advance the interests of the few, the government stops being representative of the people and their aspirations, and a point can be reached whereby such a government loses legitimacy in its entirety.

    How is it that Omar doesn’t feel this should apply to the opposition, who are dominated by extremists who want to turn Syria into a Taliban type theocracy and impose extreme versions of Shariah law?

    However, despite these conditions and setbacks, the Assad regime made absolutely no effort to demonstrate that they have any intention to enhance the welfare of the Syrian citizens and their Palestinian guests.

    Neither has Jordan, Bahrain or Saudi Arabia. So unless Omar is willing to call for the overthrow of those regimes too, then he is nothing but a hypocrite and a shameless propagandist.

    When the protests began in Syria over three years, there was no ISIS, or Jabhat El-Nusra, or FSA or SNC or any other form of organized opposition.

    Another lie. ISIS existed long before and the US and Saudi Arabia were already arming and funding jihadist groups in Lebanon and Jordan and the Saudis were already prepared to move rebel fighters from Lybia into Syria to join the fray.
    Yes, it is true that Assad was wrong to crush the original demonstrations and calls for reform, but the opposition was soon sabotaged by foreign interests who have no concern with how much destruction they can impose on Syria.

    In other words, why should we blame the opposition and bloody elements in ISIS first when these two are a direct and unfortunate result of Syrian government policy? The answer is: we should not.

    The lies continue. ISIS is NOT the direct and unfortunate result of Syrian government policy, it is the direct and unfortunate result of US government policy when it attacked and invaded Iraq. Jabhat El-Nusra is NOT the direct and unfortunate result of Syrian government policy, it was created by Saudi Arabia.

    This propaganda puff piece does not pass the smell test.

    Epic fail!!

  15. HarryLaw
    January 24, 2014, 3:54 pm

    “However, we must realize and understand very clearly that if it was not for the regime, and its lack of competence, these elements would not even exist in the first place.” It cannot be argued that this large mostly Islamist army, [some put their strength at close to 100,000] is being armed and funded by the most reactionary state in the world Saudi Arabia, with the support of “the West”, the opposition refuse to talk to the Assad government with a view to holding elections, and for Syrians alone to decide who governs them, their ideas are similar to the Saudis, no democracy, imposed Sharia Law and discrimination [probably worse] against all minorities, that is why the opposition want to be installed in power, shame on you Omar Chaaban. The attacks on Syria and the support of the West is part of the familiar war on the “so called axis, or arc of extremism” Syria, Hezbollah and Iran, in the case of the GCC countries it is sectarian, and fear of losing their crowns, in the case of the West it is the arc’s resistance to Israeli aggression. The only hope for Syria is if Assad prevails and holds elections, hopefully with opposition agreement.

    • W.Jones
      January 24, 2014, 4:26 pm

      Actually, I think that if the insurgency really was democratic and tolerant religiously, the US would be backing them a lot more and stronger. The fact that the US has not is further evidence, in my mind, that there is a problem with the insurgency from a liberal perspective. I think that if the US expected to get a liberal, pro-western government in power or at least over the territory, they would be giving the insurgents/proxy forces more power and good press, because they could expect it to be amenable to the West.

      The events of Libya, Afghanistan, and Iraq, although suppressing regional opposition, have not been all roses either. Based on past trajectory, that is what removing Assad with the current balance of forces does- replicate those experiences.

      At best, one could say that he/she supports the democratic, liberal, tolerant forces inside the insurgency., but not the rest of the insurgency. And how strong is that “rest of the insurgency”?

  16. Danaa
    January 24, 2014, 5:12 pm

    Omar Chaaban: “In other words, why should we blame the opposition and bloody elements in ISIS first when these two are a direct and unfortunate result of Syrian government policy? The answer is: we should not.”

    To support harrylaw’s comment above: who in their right mind can possibly argue that ISIS was a “response” to Syrian government policy? what policy did ISIS object to in particular? Assad’s secularism?

    And how can anyone project upon these extreme foreign islamists some kind of a democratic impulse, when everyone who knows anything, and is not part of the propaganda machine, understands that ISIS, like Al Nusra and the other 100 or so islamist groups, are financed, supported, armed and controlled by Saudi Arabia?

    Has Omar looked into what ISIS says it actually wants? a wahabist state, right ?- and even not far enough. What they plan – according to their own people – is a wholesale purge of Shiites and Christians and, if possible, Kurds and other sects – all for the purpose of establishing a pan-islamic sunni/salafist caliphate . So what now, have they become democratic ‘revolutionaries” all of a sudden? member-in-good-standing of the family of nations? lovable freedom fighters? Che Guevaras in the making?

    People who read this calumnious, unctuous piece and nod their heads in agreement here and there (like Donald) should at least pause when they get to this sentence. If that’s not a dead-on giveaway of the agenda behind, I don’t know what is.

  17. talknic
    January 24, 2014, 5:52 pm

    Whether we like them or not, democracy, dictatorship or fascists, all governments have a primary duty and right to maintain order against armed militants on behalf of the majority of the population. Until such time as a unified opposition majority opposition emerges and appeals for assistance, the UN and its Member states have no right what so ever to intervene.

    The tipping point of a majority uprising is a hard call, but until such an opposition does emerge, noses out! At best foreigners should only attempt to assist the innocent victims.

    One hopes that sanity will eventually prevail and some agreement can be worked out whereby the will of the people can be exercised thru elections. The best hope for that at the moment is for the Syrian government to maintain order, because the opposition is in disarray

    BTW All the surrounding countries bar one, have accepted refugees and its token medical assistance pales into insignificance with that provided by its neighbours to the hundreds of thousands of they’ve given refuge to.

    The Syrian regime has at least allowed people to flee the war zone. In Gaza, the Occupying Power gave innocent victims the choice of fleeing only to somewhere else in the war zone by having ALL the border crossings closed, including those with Egypt. They couldn’t even flee into the sea!

    • just
      January 24, 2014, 7:04 pm

      Agree completely, talknic.

      • just
        January 24, 2014, 7:22 pm

        The “removal” of President Assad is up to the Syrian people……not any “foreign fighters” or opportunists… not ANY foreign interventionists… and that includes the West and Israel.

        That’s my pov, and I would bet that any regular Syrian would back me on that. Every single nation’s people that we have ‘touched’ (interfered with our foul, cruel and greedy agenda) in the region has suffered immeasurably because of our legendary hypocrisy and awful machinations.

        It’s not so artfully disguised anymore at all.

    • kalithea
      January 24, 2014, 11:17 pm

      “The Syrian regime has at least allowed people to flee the war zone. In Gaza, the Occupying Power gave innocent victims the choice of fleeing only to somewhere else in the war zone by having ALL the border crossings closed, including those with Egypt. They couldn’t even flee into the sea!”

      Excellent observation and truth. Truth always blows hypocrisy out of the water.

  18. ToivoS
    January 24, 2014, 6:16 pm

    Omar writes: When the protests began in Syria over three years, there was no ISIS, or Jabhat El-Nusra, or FSA or SNC or any other form of organized opposition.

    Not true. Armed gangs began appearing in those early demonstrations within days. There were a number of indications that an Islamist underground had been preparing for this day for some time. Almost certainly, the Saudis were supporting them before the war erupted.

    Also speaking of Saudis, do note that Omar doesn’t have a word to say about them. He spends all of his efforts denouncing Western intervention, but nothing about Saudi intervention. There would no war today without Qatar and Saudi support.

    • Bandolero
      January 24, 2014, 6:58 pm

      Omar writes: When the protests began in Syria over three years, there was no ISIS, or Jabhat El-Nusra, or FSA or SNC or any other form of organized opposition.

      Ahrar Al Sham, one of the most powerful of the armed anti-government groups in Syria, was founded when? Quote TIME:

      “Abu Zayd” is a 25-year-old Shari’a graduate who heads one of the founding brigades of Ahrar al-Sham, a group that adheres to the conservative Salafi interpretation of Sunni Islam. … The Ahrar started working on forming brigades “after the Egyptian revolution,” Abu Zayd said, well before March 15, 2011, when the Syrian revolution kicked off with protests in the southern agricultural city of Dara’a.

      Omar and Mondo Weiss are peddling hasbara lies to justify terrorist acts against the Syrian government.

      Who believes Omar’s Al Jazeera story, that the policemen killed at the very first day of demanstrations in Syria were killed by other policemen because they refused to fire on peaceful protesters?

      • Annie Robbins
        January 25, 2014, 9:58 am

        Omar writes: When the protests began in Syria over three years, there was no ISIS, or Jabhat El-Nusra, or FSA or SNC or any other form of organized opposition.

        hm, i made attempts in emails to informed the editors of some of the many *cough* inaccuracies in the text.

        Omar and Mondo Weiss are peddling hasbara lies to justify terrorist acts against the Syrian government.

        i would urge people to write phil and adam.

    • Rusty Pipes
      January 24, 2014, 8:51 pm

      “There would no war today without Qatar and Saudi support” — especially financial support — as well as Turkish and Jordanian support for training and housing fighters and Lebanese March 14 logistical support for transporting fighters and weapons. Google Lebanese Parliamentarian Okab Sakr, for his role in coordinating weapons and fighters from Libya through Turkey to fight in Syria. The MSM has been claiming that in recent months, the fighting has been “spilling over” from Syria into neighboring countries. For several of these neighbors, the takfiris whose recruitment and passage into Syria were aided by conservative Sunni leaders (Erdogan, March 14), their being pushed back over the borders has created problems for these leaders among their citizenry.

      • ToivoS
        January 25, 2014, 4:13 am

        Interesting you mention the March 14th movement twice. It should be noted that this political coalition is supported by Saudi money. I would guess that Jordan is also very dependent on Saudi money. The Turks on the other hand are more difficult to understand.

      • MHughes976
        January 25, 2014, 5:17 am

        I think it’s an understandable and natural objective for any Turkish government to reverse the verdict of WW1 and restore the Ottomans’ dominant position in the ME. With a client regime in Syria Turkey, with its large population and tradition of moderate Islam, would be overhanging the oilfields and become a very important player.

      • Walid
        January 25, 2014, 9:17 am

        The whole picture is difficult to understand; the Turks are in it for the sake of the Brothers, or so it seems. The Brothers were the ones mostly persecuted going back to the days of Assad Sr, the attempt on his life and the subsequent massacre of the 1000 Brothers in their cells at Tadmor Prison, which was followed a year or so later with the wholesale massacre of the Brothers’ town of Hamma. Erdogan and Company are or were very mild Wahabist Brothers. Qatar, which is also of the same moderate Wahabism as the Brothers was in it for the very same reason; it’s a given that at Jazeera, the staff is almost totally comprised of Brothers and it explains what all those choreographed videos were about. After Mubarak fell and Egypt’s coffers were empty, Morsi called on Saudia for a helping hand was flatly turned down. Qatar then rushed in with a 4 billion quick loan. When Morsi was taken down, Saudia came rushing back with a 10 billion advance, the first 3 billion to be repaid back to Qatar to remove it totally from the Egyptian landscape.

        There is a lot of stuff going on in the background and away from the Syrian theater and it goes beyond into Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Tunisia, Libya and so on, but it’s all part of the same game countries are playing with each other. Assad is just a fixture in the scheme of things that’s also being played by the US, France, UK and Russia. It’s not simply about good and bad rebels or how much the Syrian regime is or isn’t a tyrant.

      • Taxi
        January 25, 2014, 9:21 am

        Come on, Walid, there is no such thing as “moderate Wahabism”!!!!!!!

        There’s only overt, or covert wahabism.

      • Bandolero
        January 25, 2014, 1:12 pm

        Walid

        Regarding Turkey it seems to me that you’re right about Erdogan was or is all into regime change in Syria due to his preference for the brothers. As Assad once remarked that seems to be why Erdogan didn’t say a peep when Israel bombed Hisbollah in Lebanon in 2006 and why he went furious when Israel bombed the Hamas brothers in 2008/2009.

        However, Turkey is more than Erdogan and even the AKP is more. President Abdullah Gül seems to be closer to the Saudi regime than to the brothers.

        The Hizmets led by US-based TV preacher Fethullah Gülen, who are, or maybe today one might already say, were a powerful faction in the AKP seem to cooperate very close with the neocons and the Zionist lobby in Washington, and they almost seem to completely share most of their views, strongly hawkish on Syria and Iran, and angry about Turkish problems in relations with Israel, what makes a strong argument that the Gülenists are a proxy force of Israel and the CIA. The Turkish nationalists dream of restoring the Ottoman empire in another name, and without getting Syriaunder their control it’s impossible. The only major party in Turkey which was rather strongly opposed was the Republican CHP, whose leader seems more or less to share the Syrian governments view on the conflict. But much of that party has traditionally strong ties to the EU, US and Israel, so that party was under heavy pressure to accept the desastrous Turkish policy, too.

        Today, after Turkey and it’s friends lost the not-so-covert covert war against Syria, of course, much of the positions changed, and heavy bickering inside the Turkish war coalition started. In that light, the Turkish defeat in it’s proxy war against Syria, I’ld see rivalries between Gül and Erdogan, and the heavy handed fighting between Gülen and Erdogan. In my view, the current infighting in Turkey is all about who will get the blame for the horrible policy that resulted in a terrible costly defeat.

      • Walid
        January 25, 2014, 2:52 pm

        Taxi, the former Emir of Qatar used to describe himself as one. If you’ve been to Qatar, you surely saw women driving and going all over the place without being escorted and working in all fields. That’s a far cry from the Wahabism of Saudi Arabia. BTW, last spring, Qatar authorized the sale of porc products in controlled outlets.

        From a Wikileaks:

        “… Even though Amirs of Qatar have referred to themselves and
        their subjects as “Wahabi,” use of this term is increasingly
        pejorative in Qatar today. While most Qataris, if pressed,
        would identify themselves as Salafis, they generally do not
        label themselves as anything other than Muslims. The tone
        for the country, and its religion, emanates from the Amir.
        The current Amir several years ago made a point of using the
        Wahabi term as a descriptor in public, but his director of
        communications at the time believes he did so to make clear
        to Saudi Arabia that Qatar alone would dictate the terms of
        its religious practices and the vocabulary used to describe
        them. In comparison to its Saudi neighbors, Qatar has
        increasingly chosen to define its religious practices in
        progressive and inclusive terms. End Summary.

        QATARIS: TOLERANT AND MODERATE MUSLIMS
        —————————————

        2. (C) Frequent reference is made in the press and on the
        Internet to Qatar’s brand of Islam as Wahabi, the prevailing
        current in Saudi Arabia. Yet Qatari society is starkly
        different from its Saudi neighbor. Qatari women in large
        numbers cover their faces and hair, but they are not required
        by law to do so. They are allowed to drive cars. Alcohol is
        available in hotels and at state liquor outlets, and even
        during Ramadan can be found in hotel minibars. Restaurants
        and stores remain open during the call to prayer. Women and
        men work alongside each other in the workplace. In short,
        Qatar looks anything but Wahabi when compared to Saudi
        Arabia. What should we make of the differences, and how do
        Qataris see themselves as Muslims?

        http://www.wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/07DOHA1052_a.html

      • Taxi
        January 25, 2014, 4:01 pm

        Walid,

        Have not been to Qatar – don’t intend to – actually prefer a poke in the eye to going. But I do have close friends who worked and lived there for a couple of years. I’m told that their society is not “moderate” whatsoever. They only have bars etc because they’re capitalists who need to woo westerners into their country – attempting to be a mini Dubai. But there is nothing “moderate” about wahabism wotsoever, regardless of what the ehm His Highness the Emir of Qatar thinks of himself.

      • Walid
        January 26, 2014, 11:32 am

        Bandolero, thanks for the details on Turkey. Things had been great between it and Syria with the open-borders policy and trade was flourishing both ways. Their commercial treaty was about to be joined by Iran and then by Lebanon and it would have made a great regional pact and a great alternative for Turkey that finally understood it wasn’t going to make into the E-U. Then out of nowhere, something snapped in Turkey and Ahmet David Oglu went around preaching about his neo-Ottoman economic empire and it turned on Syria with a vengeance but most oddly, before the first bullet was fired in the rebellion, the border tent cities had been set up and staffed in preparation of the refugees that would eventually flow in. Now something again seems to have snapped in Turkey and it no longer wants to play in the Syrian rebellion. Maybe it has something to do with all those internal squabbles you described. In the last 2 weeks, Turkey has been actually stopping truck shipments of arms from its territory into Syria and has shut its borders tights against rebel infiltration as well as refugees crossing over. Maybe a fear of refugees becoming permanent fixtures in Turkey and maybe a fear that the throat-slashing fanatics once chased out of Syria would migrate to Turkey.

      • Walid
        January 26, 2014, 12:24 pm

        Taxi, Qatar is a great place to visit if only to discover all the many good things the people have done with their wealth. Progress-wise, it’s light years ahead of the Lebanon you know, but for tourists, there is very little to see there. Phil has been there a few years ago on an invitation and wrote a bit about it here. But you’re lucky as being with a UK or US passport, you can pop in without a visa, otherwise it’s next to impossible to get a visa.

  19. gamal
    January 24, 2014, 6:22 pm

    hamza namira “wa ollek eh”, with english sub’s

    http://youtu.be/fS7Hv43EkZw

    • W.Jones
      January 24, 2014, 9:03 pm

      Excellent movie, Gamal.

    • W.Jones
      January 25, 2014, 1:10 pm

      A Middle Eastern Coptic friend told me that this movie deals with Egypt but that it applies to Syria too. He gave me this prayer for the Syrian army:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LCHGitYPS8

      I think Christians there feel threatened by the fundamentalist forces, in a way analogous to the situation of Christians in Iraq where there are hundreds of thousands of Christian refugees.

      Peace.

  20. Keith
    January 24, 2014, 7:10 pm

    OMAR CHAABAN- “To Assad we must say “you must go” and to Obama we must say “stay out of Syria.”

    Stay out of Syria? How about stop the murderous imperial regime change efforts and get out of Syria.

    Assad must go? You obviously are doing your best to gather liberal support for imperial regime change. You appear to be a nominal human rights activist who covets a symbiotic relationship with the elite power structure by channeling the opposition in ways which support imperial regime change in the name of humanitarianism. Once again, it is a matter of “get out” not “stay out.”

    Omar Chaaban: “…a point can be reached whereby such a government loses legitimacy in its entirety.”

    For a Palestinian living in Vancouver, you seem curiously smitten with the white man’s burden. It is not for you or me to judge the legitimacy of the government of Syria, or what kind of government is even possible in view of the legacy of colonialism, neoliberal globalization and the machinations of empire and the Gulf monarchies. What we can say, however, is that this intervention has resulted in the loss of over 100,000 lives and the destruction of the country. This intervention should be stopped immediately and all military aid to these terrorists stopped and all foreign fighters removed.

    Since you live in Vancouver, you might get involved in trying to stop the mining of Alberta’s tar (oil) sands. Thanking you in advance.

    • Taxi
      January 25, 2014, 3:47 pm

      “For a Palestinian living in Vancouver, you seem curiously smitten with the white man’s burden.”

      He’s no Palestinian. Wahabis reject nationality. It’s called Wahabism Without Borders, Keith.

  21. Bandolero
    January 24, 2014, 7:18 pm

    Here are some links for those who are interested in understanding a bit background:

    In 2002 George W Bush started a programme for supporting civil “activists” for regime changes in the arab world. It’s called MEPI:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_East_Partnership_Initiative

    Civil acivists blaming the government for terrorist acts committed by terrorists are a key element inwars of aggressions using the method of “4th generation warfare”:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth-generation_warfare

    After some years, the MEPI programme was deep enoungh entrenched in socities to give the attack order. Barack Obama gave the order for a serious of bloody regime changes using “4th generation warfare” commonly known as “arab spring” in his Presidential Study Directive 11 signed in August 2010:

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2011/03/06/obamas_calculated_gamble_109123.html

    For those who want to study methods to be applied, here are some illustrative examples:

    http://wikispooks.com/wiki/File:Special-forces-uw-tc-18-01.pdf

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpXbA6yZY-8

    The main attack method used is quite simply: pay some terrorists to kill some people of all spheres of society, especially peaceful activists, and then use activists and the main stream media to blame the government for it. Many people will be enraged and blame the government for the crimes committed by foreign paid or inspired 4th generation warfare terrorists. If such serial false flag terrorism doesn’t lead to regime change by itself it provides at least a credible pretext for direct military intervention as it was carried out in Libya when in March 2011 a NATO manoveur against a fictional “Southland” started in October 2010 went live.

    So, why should anybody not defend the Syrian government against a preplanned unconventional war of aggression run mostly by friends of it’s foe, the apartheid state of Israel, that already cost the life of about a 100k people?

    • Annie Robbins
      January 25, 2014, 2:28 pm

      In 2002 George W Bush started a programme for supporting civil “activists” for regime changes in the arab world. It’s called MEPI:

      link to en.wikipedia.org

      omg u don’t say! cheney’s daughter in charge of ‘democracy building’ in syria back in the days! how could anyone forget that?! but what about this completely unsourced allegation by the author:

      The Americans have been intervening in Syria ever since this revolution turned into a bloody conflict between the regime and the opposition over two and a half years ago.

      ???

      i think the only embed is to his own blog. at least if he sourced these allegation we could understand where he picks up his logic. some of us were around back in the olden days when he was in junior high school, following events. it boggles the mind these jr analysts are posting here unsource, a luxury not even afforded to me. it’s simply stunning.

      • Bandolero
        January 25, 2014, 5:29 pm

        Annie

        I don’t think it’s Cheney’s daughter is in charge of the war against Syria.

        I think, on the political front the US guy in charge is Robert Stephen Ford. This one:

        http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-salvador-option-for-syria-us-nato-sponsored-death-squads-integrate-opposition-forces/31096

        On the military side I think the retired US Army Major General Paul E. Vallely plays a big role in the war against Syria:

        http://english.farsnews.com/player.aspx?nn=13921023001401

        I think I don’t need to stress that he is “a good friend” of Israel. Quote Wikipedia:

        Vallely is also a supporter of the Jerusalem Summit organization and an advocate of the organization’s proposal to “relocate”/”resettle” Palestine and the Palestinian people to surrounding Arab countries as a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and to bring about the organization’s belief “that one of the objectives of Israel’s divinely-inspired rebirth is to make it the center of the new unity of the nations, which will lead to an era of peace and prosperity, foretold by the Prophets.”

        If you, the Mondo Weiss people, would like it, I would write an article for Mondo Weiss, about some of the neocon and Israeli background of that war going on in Syria. As you see in my comments above I am aware of lot’s of sources regarding Syria the MSM usually like to suppress. I won’t say my view, or the Syrian government’s view, the Iranian and the Hezbollah view on the facts, is the only correct view, but I think, it would be useful for readers to know at least what that view is. As I see in articles and comments in MW, the view of the Iran-led axis of resistance on that conflict seems to be widely unknown here. And yes, I think, I can express myself in a way that that view would not be totally absurd and offensive to other readers, but rather give food for reason and discussion. I find it very important to build up understanding – it’s a different thing than agreement – for such a view in the Palestine solidarity community. The lack of understanding for the views of the other party costs many human lives in the case of Syria.

        If you’ld like to get an article draft of mine on the topic of war in Syria and the Zionist background I see in this bloody story, please answer me in a comment here. My email is defunct due to zionist spam flooding.

      • Danaa
        January 26, 2014, 1:08 pm

        Bandolero, I think you should absolutely write up such a post and just submit it. people are hungry for more accurate information about the players inside and outside Syria, at least those people who are interested in this dastardly exercise of deliberate regime change perpetrated by neocon Empire “builders’ (or should we call them “America destroyers”?).

        Your reply to me below mentions the extremist FSA (Fake Syria Army) commander Zahran Alloush (sp?) as the likely responsible party for that CW attack. I certainly would like to hear more about what you have on this character, whose name I did not hear before. Who has been funding him and since when?

        I have no doubt, based on comments I saw from you, that you can offer a good account of the goings-on as impartially as is feasible (under the foggy current circumstances nothing anyone says will be accepted as totally imparial but that’s just saying life is as it is). In any case, annie may or may not pop back into this comment section – it’s definitely fatigue inducing.

      • Taxi
        January 26, 2014, 5:45 pm

        Bandolero,

        I urge you please to write an article about Syria.

        You are a brilliant researcher and thinker – better than me – and I want to know what you know.

        I have faith that MW will publish it. Just write it and submit it to Phil or annie.

        MW needs well-versed writers on Syria. On Egypt and Lebanon too, as it happens.

      • just
        January 26, 2014, 6:08 pm

        Please do write that article, Bandolero.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 28, 2014, 7:36 pm

        bandolero, please excuse my late response to your comment although i was alerted to it via email. personally, i would very much like an article of this nature on MW and that’s something i can discuss with phil and adam who make all editorial decisions here. please write me at @ annie at mondowiess.net

        edit: and i didn’t mean to imply cheney’s daughter was in charge of starting the war. i just meant it was a big story back in the day about his daughter heading up some syria group. i think the bugdet was a measley 400 million just to put feelers out of something. in the msm.

      • Bandolero
        January 29, 2014, 2:32 am

        Annie

        Thank you for your reply.

        I’ll try to piece an article together, contact you via email and then we’ll see further.

        It may take some days.

        Bandolero

    • lproyect
      January 26, 2014, 2:24 am

      After some years, the MEPI programme was deep enoungh entrenched in socities to give the attack order. Barack Obama gave the order for a serious of bloody regime changes using “4th generation warfare” commonly known as “arab spring” in his Presidential Study Directive 11 signed in August 2010…

      My understanding is that Obama was orchestrating the “arab spring” in order to build up al-Qaeda in the Middle East. Everybody knows that he is really a Muslim and a Salalfist at that. Just check Alex Jones and Moon of Alabama for more information on that.

      • Bandolero
        January 26, 2014, 1:38 pm

        lproyect

        My understanding is that Obama was orchestrating the “arab spring” in order to build up al-Qaeda in the Middle East.

        No, that seems not to have been the reasons. To me, the reasons for Obama ordering in August 2010 to unleash the “Arab Spring” seem to have been:

        – Shortly before, Obama’s central foreign policy effort – which he laid out in his Cairo speech – collapsed. Peace talks on the 2 state solution between Israel and the PLO lead to nowhere. Up to then, Obama’s idea was first solving the I/P-conflict and then, after this obstacle was resolved and the region would have become peaceful, he planned to “encourage” the Arab states to move in direction of democracy. After the I/P peace talks collapsed he decided to start the “democratization” of the Arab States before the I/P talks would succeed, likely in the hope, that democratic arab states would built up a good environment to make the I/P 2 state talks a success in the end, too.

        – In July at latest, the Obama administration learned that Wikileaks was in possession of many many secret US diplomatic cables. It was clear that soon the world would read in great detail about the machinations of the US “diplomacy,” their support for arab dictators, their betraying of one doctator for the other and so on. The US feared, that this may lead to uncontrollable change in some arab states, like in Tunisia and Egypt, where people unfriedly to the US might come to power by a revolution or so, because these dictatorial regimes were really, really unpopular with their people. So, when Obama ordered to unleash the arab spring in August 2010, it may be argued, that the US just went one step in front of a development anyway seen as inevitable by the US. US-backed “color revolutions cum military coup d’etat” would have the potential for the US to keep it’s influence in the region. Read this argument in the article I linked above on Presidential Study Directive 11:

        “We have a core interest in stability through political and economic change. The status quo is not stable,” explains Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser.

        Israel and the Israel Lobby in Washington backed the order to unleash the arab spring because it got promised the “democratisation” of Libya and Syria – in other words, gettiong rid of Gaddafi and Assad, what Israel aspired for a very long time for. And then, in 2012, were already US elections, and Obama therefore had to go along with most of what Israel and the lobby wanted, and what Obama really wanted didn’t play much of a role in most of the year 2012. However, Netanyahu was very angry with Obama anyway, because he hadn’t already bombed Syria, so Netanyahu backed Romney in an unsuccessful bid to oust Obama. Now Obama returns the favor: the Iran deal and the Syria CW deal really enrages Netanyahu, because it will alter the strategic landscape of the middle east in favor of Iran, but Obama proceeds with that anyway. Paybacks a bitch!

        Next logical step would be that after the failure of the current 2SS I/P talks Obama declares that it was Israel’s fault, and therefore there have to be consequences against Israel.

      • Shingo
        January 27, 2014, 4:22 am

        Next logical step would be that after the failure of the current 2SS I/P talks Obama declares that it was Israel’s fault, and therefore there have to be consequences against Israel.

        I doubt he’ll go that far or be that overt. He will likely said he tried and walk away, while giving the EU the green light to impose sanctions.

      • Sibiriak
        January 27, 2014, 6:53 am

        Bandolero:

        …Obama declares that it was Israel’s fault, and therefore there have to be consequences against Israel.

        Dream on.

      • Bandolero
        January 26, 2014, 1:55 pm

        lproyect

        One more: who backed the rise of Al Qaeda in Syria?

        Read here an article from August 2012 in the Wapo where figures close to Israel seemed to be very happy with Al Qaeda operating in Syria:

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/in-syria-group-suspected-of-al-qaeda-links-gaining-prominence-in-war-to-topple-assad/2012/08/19/c7cffd66-ea22-11e1-9ddc-340d5efb1e9c_story.html

        The people close to Israel loved Al Qaeda in Syria, because they deemed them “good figthers.”

        After Obama listed the Nusra Front as terror organisation in December 2012, when he had won the election against Netanyahu’s candidate Romney, a WINEP propagandist on Al Jazeera even called it wrong. He said something like, that of course the Nusra Front are terrorists, but it was wrong to list them as such, because they are useful to overthrowing the Syrian government, and listing them as terrorists would weaken that effort.

        My conclusion: the Nusra Front got help from pro Israel forces, at least in terms of PR, but maybe also in other terms.

        But, of course, now that Al Qaeda is a major obstacle for regime change in Syria, the same pro Israel forces that lauded Al Qaeda a year and a half ago now try to blame the rise of Al Qaeda in Syria on Assad, saying things like Al Qaeda in Syria is a secret proxy of Assad.

      • Shingo
        January 27, 2014, 2:26 am

        My conclusion: the Nusra Front got help from pro Israel forces, at least in terms of PR, but maybe also in other terms.

        Actually this started way back in 2007, which Sy Hersh documented in his report, “The Redirection”.

  22. Inanna
    January 24, 2014, 10:06 pm

    I didn’t read beyond the fourth paragraph. Why? Because the author is lying to a western audience, betting on their ignorance of civil society in Syria that has been both anti-Assad and anti-imperialist for years. He neglects to mention the grass-roots opposition to the Assads that has existed for years, people who have put their lives on the line, people who have been imprisoned, tortured, killed and disappeared. People like Haytham al-Manna from the National Coordinating Body and many others who want real change Syria from Assad but don’t see violence, sectarian rule and ripping their country apart as the way forward. What the author will not tell you is that there are other oppositions to the government and he won’t tell you because he is pushing the propaganda for a Saudi/American policy that real opposition to authoritarianism in the Middle East will not support.

    • Shingo
      January 24, 2014, 10:11 pm

      What the author will not tell you is that there are other oppositions to the government and he won’t tell you because he is pushing the propaganda for a Saudi/American policy that real opposition to authoritarianism in the Middle East will not support.

      Great post.

      And what he is also neglecting to mention is that the opposition he supports don’t have a hope in hell of getting their way without foreign fighters and support from the Saudis and their allies.

      So while he pretends to agree that there should be no Western intervention, he doesn’t have a problem with Saudi Arabia, Qatar etc funding the extremists.

    • gamal
      January 25, 2014, 1:43 am

      “What the author will not tell you is that there are other oppositions to the government and he won’t tell you because he is pushing the propaganda for a Saudi/American policy that real opposition to authoritarianism in the Middle East will not support.”

      http://youtu.be/MXdOoIav9b8

      • gamal
        January 25, 2014, 2:13 am

        is that a nazi salute i spy in the linked video, 4 may have to banned, the “not-a-zionist” is of course merely a sub-species of the far more numerous “not-an-imperialist”, i cant decide which one of the 1000 or so armed and mutually antagonistic groups i support, Zawahiri is exasperated by the in-fighting and predictably whining.

        http://youtu.be/P9uzOQTHwy4

        Redesigning the Middle East
        The Arab “Revolutions,” Counter-Revolution in Iran and Regime Change

        by Takis Fotopoulos

        – See more at: http://www.betterworldbooks.com/redesigning-the-middle-east-id-0985271078.aspx#sthash.G4YLFFba.dpuf

        This book seeks to demystify the causes of the ongoing Arab “revolu tions” that have been completely distorted by the first real ‘media wars’ in history, compared to which the media war launched on the occasion of the Iraq invasion seems just a dress re hearsal. Libya and Syria represent the first cases of a complete manipulation of the ‘world community’ by the world mass media–directly or indirectly controlled by the transnational elite-which, almost unanimously, have distorted not just the real aims and ultimate causes of the military campaigns, as used to be the case in the past, but also have even generated the very ‘facts’ leading to them. These ‘facts’ have, in turn, been used to provide the immediate formal causes for the campaigns themselves. It demonstrates that the ultimate aim in all the cases of the Arab “revolutions” has been to secure the full integration of all Arab regimes into the internationalized market economy (‘neoliberal globalization’), either through a pseudo-democratization of existing client regimes (Tuni sia, Egypt) or through regime-change, following a NATO attack (Libya), with a similar fate clearly prescribed for Syria and Iran. However, what is the most significant unifying element in all these cases is not so much the ultimate aim of the transnational elite but the means used to achieve it. These means constitute a perfection of the practice for implementing regime change used by the West in the last two decades or so in East Europe through a series of instigated ‘color revolu tions’. The exploitation by the transnational elite of various social divisions in the countries concerned provided US-controlled local armies the opportunity to consolidate the integration of those countries into the internationalized market economy by facilitating the emergence of a different political personnel (Tunisia, Egypt). Alterna tively, in Libya, the transnational elite used NATO power itself to impose a client regime in place of a non-client one. A new characteristic of the Arab “revolutions was the stand of the ‘liberal Left,” which faithfully adopted the propaganda campaign of the transnational elite reproduced by the world mass media. Unlike in Afghanistan and Iraq, where the ‘liberal Left’ was mostly divided vis-a-vis the transnational elite, in the case of the Arab ‘revolutions’ it has uncritically supported the Arab insurrections, without making the necessary distinctions between them.

        – See more at: http://www.betterworldbooks.com/redesigning-the-middle-east-id-0985271078.aspx#sthash.G4YLFFba.dpuf

        http://youtu.be/P9uzOQTHwy4

      • W.Jones
        January 25, 2014, 2:19 pm

        Gamal,

        PBS is running a show this Sunday on Orthodox Christian charity work among Syrian refugees in Jordan:
        http://oca.org/news/headline-news/iocc-to-be-featured-on-pbs-sunday-january-26

        The charities do not like what is happening in Syria.

    • ToivoS
      January 25, 2014, 1:59 am

      Interesting comment Inanna. I certainly have no inside knowledge of Syria but I have been reading the Angry Arab for some time who has described those anti-Assad and anti-imperialist forces you refer to. He is unrelenting in his criticism of Assad and those imperialist forces that define the current opposition. It seems quite clear that Syria no choice right now except to defeat the foreign militias that have invaded that country. Maybe later a real opposition could emerge.

  23. piotr
    January 24, 2014, 10:29 pm

    The post: To Assad we must say “you must go” and to Obama we must say “stay out of Syria.”

    As we are “rejecting binaries”, there is also an option of not saying anything. What is the point of saying “you must go” if saying so will have no impact on the situation one way or another? What is the point of saying “you must go” if we have no faintest assurance that this would improve the lot of Syrians, and there are significant reasons to believe that it would become worse (recent history of Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya)?

    The author stays on the level of exalted generalities so it is difficult to figure out the actual position. Should “the West” stay out of Syria so GCC would competently support the opposition, while heavily bribing the Turks to cooperate? It is not clear if the absolute monarchs of GCC can export democracy, but it is clear that they brook no such nonsense at home. Perhaps the sole purpose of the author is to put the a check mark on the point of the agenda “Developing and adopting correct position on Syrian crisis by all three members of our chapter of Revolutionary Socialists of Western Canada”.

    • OlegR
      January 26, 2014, 8:40 am

      /Perhaps the sole purpose of the author is to put the a check mark on the point of the agenda “Developing and adopting correct position on Syrian crisis by all three members of our chapter of Revolutionary Socialists of Western Canada”./

      Isn’t it more or less the whole purpose of debates in the comments section to these
      posts ?

  24. puppies
    January 24, 2014, 10:33 pm

    Just a little reminder. In fact the general framework is simple enough. Who is murdering more people is not a relevant question: this is a civil war and all sides are compelled to do the maximum possible damage, period. All I want to know is whose victory will favor the Zionist-American imperial design. The current situation being what it is, one more tilt in favor of the global warmongers will land us worldwide in a situation way worse than 1936.

  25. kalithea
    January 24, 2014, 10:40 pm

    To me, what really diminishes this so-called revolution is the enormous stake that Qatar and especially the Saudis have in this civil war. These are two monarchies that are untrustworthy and corrupt in every way and the staggering contrast between their opulence and the basic reality of Syrians they claim to care so much about sickens me to the core. And this piece smells to me like nothing more than Saudi/Qatari-laced propaganda.

    These Saudi and Qatari thugs and (the-enemy-of-my-enemy-friends), their Zionist counterparts, have covertly stoked the fires in Syria from DAY ONE and before. No one has a greater egocentric interest in this fight than these three. So don’t gimme that this so-called revolution was started by plain ol’ Syrian people’s discontent!

    And I find it laughable that this individual whines over the fact that Assad failed to recover Syrian territory from Israel when the Saudis have sat back on their thrones for decades and allowed Palestinians to suffer in misery while their land shrinks using them as pawns in their power game just like they’re using the Syrian people.

    Now in order to predict the future of Syria if Assad is “simply” removed; why don’t we look to the right in Iraq and to the left in Egypt and Libya, only multiply the chaos, injustice and bloodshed by 50% or more! How does this outcome benefit the Syrian people???

    Oh and I’m so glad you were honest enough to mention the barbarity of the opposition side because that too will play a key role in the future of Syria.

  26. Jay Kay
    January 25, 2014, 12:27 am

    I love when biased, pro-revolution keyboard activists attempt to sound objective and rational #fail.

    Do you understand why you sound hypocritical? The problem with you is that you acknowledge the fact that the west has been arming the opposition since the beginning of the so-called revolution, it’s been salivating to intervene in Syria much like it did in all the other countries you mentioned with no humanitarian intentions whatsoever, and Al Qaeda affiliated groups make up a big chuck of the opposition, yet you still claim it’s a homegrown revolution where the opposition can go on committing all sorts of horrendous crimes against humanity as long as we can dump it on the authoritarian Syrian government. Things don’t work this way. A homegrown genuine revolution that aspires for rights and freedoms isn’t supposed to sacrifice the sovereignty and security of its country. There’s no excuse for so called “innocent” “freedom fighters” to bring into their country colonial powers and Al Qaeda terrorists claiming they’ve been oppressed for 50 years so it’s ok to do so. It’s by no means ok and there’s no way in hell we can justify such treachery by blaming it on the Syrian regime. Quit using your opposing views of the syrian government’s policies as a hanger for the crimes of the opposition and try to actually be objective by holding the opposition accountable for this mess much like you hold Assad accountable.

    No, Omar. By no means do you have a right to tell the Syrian people what they’re supposed to do and you don’t have the right to demand the departure of Assad either simply because it’s up to Syrians to decide and your opinion of Assad is irrelevant to us and to the future of our country.

    I would comment on the loads of non-sense and blatant lies that can be easily refuted but that would be a waste of time since the problem here is your understanding of the Syrian crisis itself. You make me question that BA you have.

  27. Taxi
    January 25, 2014, 3:27 am

    Omar,

    I didn’t bother reading your wahabi article – just the comments.

    So far, only dandy Donald is swallowing your despicable propaganda.. This means that at this stage and hereafter, you should just stfu cuz we ain’t buying into wahabism!

    Whoever supports the so-called opposition, is a wahabi rent boy!

  28. Taxi
    January 25, 2014, 4:48 am

    One more thing:

    I urge everyone on MW to boycott responding to any more of the Omar’s and Talalas’s pro wahabi articles (if you can call them that).

    Let Donald be stuck in the saudi echo-chamber with the aforementioned “activists”.

    • Bandolero
      January 25, 2014, 1:37 pm

      Taxi

      I urge everyone on MW to boycott responding to any more of the Omar’s and Talalas’s pro wahabi articles (if you can call them that).

      I urge everyone to counter the lies. The “4th generation warfare” or “unconventional warfare” strategy with which Syria is attacked, bases itself on silencing the pro-Syrian voices. Therefore the anti-Syrian war coalition used and still uses very tough measures to suppress the Syrian governments view:

      – “rebels” intimidate, attack, kidnap and gruesomely execute Syrian journalists
      – GCC countries and Morsis Egypt banned Syrian TV from arab satellites
      – foreign military experts help “rebels” jamming airwave Syrian TV signals
      – some very capable intel agency which pretty looks like that it can only be the NSA runs very intense DDoS attacks against all Syrian news websites
      – the zionist bosses of the major western satellite companies banned also Iranian channels from transmission

      Silence from the pro-Syrian side so that the pro-Syrian view is not known, is exactly what the Zionist masters behind this bloody and dirty unconventional war against Syria want and need to succeed.

      The lies peddled are directly responsible for bloodshed in Syria, and especially from supposedly pro-Palestinian sources they are extremely damaging, because unlike the usual western MSM hasbara pro-Palestinian have a kind of credibility within Syria, and therefore war propaganda lies of the Zionist backed factions in this context here are even more damaging than in the MSM.

      So I urge everyone not to be silent and counter the lies, especially false and unproven allegations against the Syrian government.

      Btw: has anyone noticed that the CW missiles, that Syria’s army allegedly fired in Ghouta, could fly hardly more than two kilometers, so it can now be said for sure the US government claim that they were fired from within government controlled territory was nothing than a big lie?

      • Taxi
        January 25, 2014, 3:34 pm

        Quite right you are, Bandolero and Jonesy.

        I’m sitting in the south Lebanon and I’m hearing plenty of pro-Syrian human and media chatter all the time, and I’m also hearing plenty of anti-Syria propaganda too, but not from people: only from the net and some TV media. I’ve not come into personal contact with anybody who is not pro-Syria. I’m in an environment that’s actually saturated with vocal pro-Syria supporters – I forget that MW readers, to a certain extent, are kept on the darker side of the moon with regards to pro-Syria sentiments – therefore the absolute need to counter the deceptions and gagballs in western outlets.

        Awwwshooosh! Forget my boycott call out then – let’s dive right in and shred the dastardly lies to smithereens!

    • W.Jones
      January 25, 2014, 2:16 pm

      Taxi,

      I am partly glad that it was published on Mondoweiss because it gives us a chance to discuss it.

    • Shingo
      January 25, 2014, 4:06 pm

      I agree Taxi,

      But on the other hand, this BS has to be debunked and countered. These wahabi rent boys are spamming the blogs left right and centre to try and sway public opinion and it needs to be smacked down.

      I am still curious as to why Adam and Phil seem to have rented the space on MW to the pro Saudi, pro Al Qaeda propagandists for the past few weeks.

  29. Danaa
    January 25, 2014, 2:59 pm

    Bandolero “has anyone noticed that the CW missiles, that Syria’s army allegedly fired in Ghouta, could fly hardly more than two kilometers, so it can now be said for sure the US government claim that they were fired from within government controlled territory was nothing than a big lie?”

    Well, wouldn’t ya know – the clamor against Assad the chemical weapon user has all but died down in the western press. Hardly a word of it in and around Geneva. This last report by the rocket experts was the last nail in the coffin of that False flag operation.

    But here’s the rub: since we now have proof that at least one of the rockets was not fired by the government, the question that remains is – who did perpetrate that attack and how come there’s no clamor any longer for holding parties responsible? after all, we all agree people died (even if the exact number is in dispute). So who was killed and who done it so cynically for propaganda value? I, for one, believe we shouldn’t let go of these very troubling issues.

    And I agree with you that efforts should be made to counter the obvious propaganda peddled by the likes of Omar – especially when they are published on a Palestinian solidarity and human rights oriented web site lie this one.

    • Bandolero
      January 25, 2014, 10:51 pm

      Danaa

      “who did perpetrate that attack”

      I find the obvious answer quite easy: the culprit was the “chemical brigade” of “Liva Islam” headed by the extremist “FSA” commander Zahran Alloush.

      If you like – and read my comments here – after hours and hours in the moderation loop – I can give you plenty of evidence that Zahran Alloush and his gangs shoud be prime suspects for that mass murder.

      • Shingo
        January 26, 2014, 6:50 pm

        I find the obvious answer quite easy: the culprit was the “chemical brigade” of “Liva Islam” headed by the extremist “FSA” commander Zahran Alloush.

        Fascinating Bandolero.

        Can you please point to the evidence that leads you to make this conclusion? I would love to see it. So far we’ve seen ample evidence that suggests Assad was not responsible, but little that pins the responsibility on any rebel faction.

        I can give you plenty of evidence that Zahran Alloush and his gangs shoud be prime suspects for that mass murder.

        Yes please!

      • Bandolero
        January 29, 2014, 2:22 am

        Shingo

        In place of a that I reply here in the MW comments, have a look at this fresh blog entry on Zahran Alloush and his connection to the CW attack in Ghouta:

        Zahran Alloush – Prime suspect for the CW attack in Ghouta

      • Shingo
        January 29, 2014, 2:59 am

        Thank you very much Bandolero. Fascinating link. I’ll go through it thoroughly.

  30. OlegR
    January 26, 2014, 8:43 am

    Wow, there be crazy people around these parts.

    Besides Donald he actually makes sense in his comments.
    And Piotr who i think usually comes here to troll in subtle sort of way.

    I wonder where is Shmuel on this issue.

    • Shmuel
      January 26, 2014, 10:26 am

      I wonder where is Shmuel on this issue.

      Glad to see that you hang on my every word, but I have nothing to add, beyond pointless motherhood statements.

      • bintbiba
        January 29, 2014, 6:08 am

        Ole’ Shmuel!! :-)

  31. lproyect
    January 26, 2014, 3:51 pm

    You people should be aware that the Arab left agrees with Omar rather than you. This statement includes not only respected leftist intellectuals like Tariq Ali and Ilan Pappe but a virtual who’s who of Arab intellectuals and writers:

    http://pulsemedia.org/2013/04/29/solidarity-with-syria/

    Your comments are isolated to a sector of the left that is in the Global Research/WSWS.org orbit and is exclusively non-Arab. For all the talk of Mondoweiss publishing a rebuttal to Omar, I’ll bet that if it appears, it will be written by a non-Arab. Even in the case of the Angry Arab, who shares your animosity to the rebels, you will not find the same sort of partisanship for Bashar al-Assad on display here. Frankly, this hysteria over al-Qaeda, the burqa and Sharia law, etc. could have been written by Christopher Hitchens who at least had the merit of being a lively writer.

    • just
      January 26, 2014, 4:18 pm

      Speaking as one, and only one, of “you people”, I read your link and nowhere in it do the authors support interlopers or mercenaries or foreign fighters.

      “Given that regional and world powers have left the Syrian people alone, we ask you to lend your support to those Syrians still fighting for justice, dignity, and freedom, and who have withstood the deafening sounds of the battle, as well as rejected the illusions sold by the enemies of freedom.

      As intellectuals, academics, activists, artists, concerned citizens, and social movements we stand in solidarity with the Syrian people to emphasize the revolutionary dimension of their struggle and to prevent the geopolitical battles and proxy wars taking place in their country. We ask you to lend your support to all Syrians from all backgrounds asking for a peaceful transition of power, one where all Syrians can have a voice and decide their own fate.”

      They support the Syrian people, as I do.

      • Shingo
        January 26, 2014, 6:35 pm

        They support the Syrian people, as I do.

        Which Syrian people do you support Just? The 30% who are siding with the rebels or the 70% who want Assad to prevail?

      • just
        January 26, 2014, 7:11 pm

        The Syrian people need to be in charge of their own destiny– I don’t get to choose.

      • Shingo
        January 26, 2014, 8:02 pm

        The Syrian people need to be in charge of their own destiny– I don’t get to choose.

        You are choosing which Syrians you chose to support.

    • puppies
      January 26, 2014, 4:37 pm

      @Lproyect – Who gives a damn about “left” and “right” anymore except a couple of superannuated groupies? Only things to consider: what exactly is each aiming at, is it credible, and who the hell is paying? In the case of Syria these points are clear enough and the usual noise of “it’s verrrrry complicated” doesn’t work. Especially when the usual “leftist” interventionist warmongers start popping up just as the US-Israeli side is losing terrain.

    • Keith
      January 26, 2014, 5:19 pm

      LPROYECT- “You people should be aware that the Arab left agrees with Omar rather than you. This statement includes not only respected leftist intellectuals like Tariq Ali and Ilan Pappe but a virtual who’s who of Arab intellectuals and writers:”

      I am sure that if they agree with you that you would claim that they were “a virtual who’s who of Arab intellectuals and writers.” I am more concerned with the facts on the ground than any testimonial argument. I am sure that the US State Department would be happy to provide additional testimonials. As for Tariq Ali, your information is dated. More recent events have caused him to reevaluate. I provide a more recent quote and link. I also provide an additional two recent quotes from left anti-imperialist intellectuals. The reality behind this imperial assault on Syria is rather obvious to those willing to see.

      “But much has changed since the beginning. The Syrian Left, among which I count many friends, old and new, is weak and could not retain control of the mass movement anywhere. They were strong in Aleppo and parts of Damascus but were soon overtaken by the Muslim Brotherhood and groups to its Right, backed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Deserters from Assad were taken over by Turkey and France. So the character of the uprising changed by the end of the first twelve months. How can one not register this fact? The relationship of the forces today does not favour any secular or progressive groups. To pretend otherwise is to be blinded by illusions or the requirements of intra-sectarian left politics.” (Tariq Ali)
      http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/11/01/on-libya-the-arab-spring-and-syria/

      “With Al-Qaida now among its allies, and US-armed coupmasters secure in Cairo, the US intends to crush the last independent states in the Middle East: Syria first, then Iran. “This operation [in Syria],” said the former French foreign minister Roland Dumas in June, “goes way back. It was prepared, pre-conceived and planned.” (John Pilger)
      http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/09/11/the-biggest-lie/

      “U.S. strategists care little about the fact that, in their quest to oust the Syrian President, they have created an unholy alliance between the U.S. and its Wahhabi allies from Saudi Arabia and al-Qaeda as their “boots on the ground.” It is an alliance that ensures that, should the Al-Assad government fall, the Syrian people will either live under totalitarian fundamentalist Wahhabi rule or see their country disappear as a coherent state and into warring factions.” (Ajamu Baraka)
      http://www.zcommunications.org/syria-peace-conference-the-obama-s-administration-orwellian-subterfuge-by-ajamu-baraka.html

      • Shingo
        January 26, 2014, 6:39 pm

        Nicely done Keith. It’s only too easy to destroy these propagandistic arguments.

      • Sibiriak
        January 26, 2014, 7:22 pm

        Keith, good post.

        [Tariq Ali:] soon overtaken by the Muslim Brotherhood and groups to its Right, backed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

        Qatar and Saudi Arabia– two interventionist states that are not mentioned even a single time in Chaaban’s intellectually dishonest, casuistic analysis.

    • Shingo
      January 26, 2014, 6:33 pm

      You people should be aware that the Arab left agrees with Omar rather than you. This statement includes not only respected leftist intellectuals like Tariq Ali and Ilan Pappe but a virtual who’s who of Arab intellectuals and writers:

      It’s clear they were referring to the initial demonstrations in March 2011, which were genuine in their opposition to the Assad regime. If you’d asked anyone here how they felt about Assad’s violent response to the protests, they would have agreed.

      But even those like me who believed at the time that Assad deserved to go, have realized that the demonstrations have been high-jacked by the Saudis, and therefore are opposed to their intervention and goals to impose a Taliban like Salafist extremist society on Syria.

      As Keith has explained, recent events and revelations have caused even Assad’s critics to reevaluate.

      For all the talk of Mondoweiss publishing a rebuttal to Omar, I’ll bet that if it appears, it will be written by a non-Arab.

      Given that 70% of Syrians support Assad in this conflict, I’ll bet you are wrong. That 70% figure includes many who were not partisanship for Bashar al-Assad, but in facts, critics, but quickly came to realize that their fete with Assad was preferable to that under the cannibals that you support.

      Frankly, this hysteria over al-Qaeda, the burqa and Sharia law, etc. could have been written by Christopher Hitchens who at least had the merit of being a lively writer.

      Frankly, you have no idea what you are talking about. Christopher Hitchens was a pro imperialist, pro intervention neocon who embraced the notion of creative destruction.

      • yonah fredman
        January 26, 2014, 8:24 pm

        Shingo writes: Given that 70% of Syrians support Assad in this conflict, Stop. Please link to something that backs up this figure. And it could be that given the choice between el Qaeda and assad that 70% approve Assad, or given the choice between another ten years of civil war and Assad that 70% approve of Assad, but if this is a telephone survey, on what basis do you think that a population ruled by a regime as oppressive as the Assad regime can be surveyed accurately?

      • Shingo
        January 26, 2014, 10:16 pm

        Please link to something that backs up this figure.

        Poll: 70% Of Syrians Support Assad, Says NATO
        http://beforeitsnews.com/middle-east/2013/06/poll-70-of-syrians-support-assad-says-nato-2452134.html

        NATO data: Assad winning the war for Syrians’ hearts and minds
        http://www.worldtribune.com/2013/05/31/nato-data-assad-winning-the-war-for-syrians-hearts-and-minds/
        Most Syrians back President Assad, but you’d never know from western media
        http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/jan/17/syrians-support-assad-western-propaganda

        Syria war continues due to President Assad high popularity: Poll
        http://www.islamicinvitationturkey.com/2013/09/03/syria-war-continues-due-to-president-assad-high-popularity-poll/

        but if this is a telephone survey, on what basis do you think that a population ruled by a regime as oppressive as the Assad regime can be surveyed accurately?

        On the basis that the opposite is true.

        The fact that Syria’s minorities and secular population are backing Assad because they know they are toast under Sharia. Like I said, even a good percentage of Assad’s critics are among those who prefer him over the rebels.

      • lproyect
        January 27, 2014, 9:33 am

        I always get a chuckle out of the bottom-feeding of the Baathist supporters. Shingo provides a link to the 70% claim that in turn links to worldtribune.com. Here’s some info on that “newspaper”:

        http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2003/09/08/030908ta_talk_mcgrath

        In fact, the World Tribune is not published in the United Kingdom, nor is it, to be precise, a newspaper. It is a Web site produced, more or less as a hobby, in Falls Church, Virginia, and is dedicated to the notion, as its mission statement explains, that “there is a market for news of the world and not just news of the weird.” (Nonetheless, the site includes a prominent feature, Cosmic Tribune, with an extraterrestrial focus, and it links to a Mafia journal called Gang Land News.) Its editor and publisher, Robert Morton, is an assistant managing editor at the Washington Times and a former “corporate editor” for News World Communications, the Times’ owner and the publishing arm of the Unification Church, led by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon. (Morton and his wife, Choon Boon, are themselves followers of the Reverend Moon.) Among the World Tribune’s other recent half-ignored scoops are that Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for last month’s blackout and that a North Korean defector stressed, during a meeting in July with White House officials, the need for a preëmptive military strike against Kim Jong Il.

      • yonah fredman
        January 28, 2014, 1:56 am

        This response was placed here by mistake, I have found the right spot for it below.

      • talknic
        January 26, 2014, 10:20 pm

        @ yonah fredman “Please link to something that backs up this figure”

        Is NATO ok? https://www.google.com.au/search?q=NATO%2070%%20of%20Syrians%20support

      • yonah fredman
        January 26, 2014, 11:04 pm

        No, Nato is not okay. this was not a real poll.

        “The sources said no formal polling was taken in Syria, racked by two
        years of civil war in which 90,000 people were reported killed. They said
        the data came from a range of activists and independent organizations that
        were working in Syria, particularly in relief efforts.”

        This is not a real poll. A poll has a scientific basis. This does not. Anecdotal evidence, which is what this is, may indicate the reality, but it is not a poll and using a figure of 70% implies a real poll. this is not that.

      • talknic
        January 27, 2014, 12:53 am

        @ yonah fredman “..this was not a real poll”

        Uh huh. A poll is the only way to get data. WOW!!

        Say ….. I wonder if statisticians know about your amazingly naive theory…

      • Sibiriak
        January 27, 2014, 1:06 am

        yonah fredman:

        No, Nato is not okay. this was not a real poll.

        You are right, its not a “real poll”. But, surely you will admit that, while not conclusive, it does constitute compelling evidence?

        NATO has been studying data that told of a sharp rise in support for Assad. The data, compiled by Western-sponsored activists and organizations,
        showed that a majority of Syrians were alarmed by the Al Qaida takeover of the Sunni revolt and preferred to return to Assad, Middle East Newsline reported.

        “The people are sick of the war and hate the jihadists more than Assad,” a Western source familiar with the data said. “Assad is winning the war mostly because the people are cooperating with him against the rebels.

        […]A report to NATO said Syrians have undergone a change of heart over the last six months. The change was seen most in the majority Sunni community, which was long thought to have supported the revolt.

        “The Sunnis have no love for Assad, but the great majority of the community is withdrawing from the revolt,” the source said. “What is left is the foreign fighters who are sponsored by Qatar and Saudi Arabia. They are seen by the Sunnis as far worse than Assad.”

        1) That there has been a major “change of heart”, apart from the exact figures, seems eminently reasonable.

        2) NATO and Western sponsored activists and organizations are clearly not pro-Assad, which lends credibility to the report.

      • Bandolero
        January 27, 2014, 2:09 am

        The question how many percent of the Syrian population support Bashar Assad is hypothetical, depends on how the question is asked and – in reality – it doesn’t matter .

        What is undisputed is that there is a huge chunk of the Syrian population that supports Bashar Assad, personally, and the system and ideology he represents. What these people want mostly is the return of safety and stability. Bashar Al Assad is seen as a guarantor that terrorism will be defeated. If Bashar Al Assad would not stand for reelection, what is quite possible, his logical replacement I would see as someone like defense minister Fahd Jassem al-Freij, who would be seen by this constituency as guarantee that the fight against terrorism will be won, and that is what matters for this constituency. Also, Bashar Al Assad is immensely popular in the Syrian Army, and that matters a lot. If Bashar Al Assad would “go” whoever would replace him had to be acceptable for the army. Al-Freij obviously would meet this criterion.

        Why doesn’t it matter how many percent in Syria support Bashar Assad? Because in a democracy it’s not the percent of support what makes a president, but winning an election. Those who dislike Bashar Al Assad and the system he represents have hardly a chance in an election because they are completely divided.

        As I see it the Syrian Kurds mostly see Abdullah Öcalan as their real leader, but since he is imprisoned in Turkey, they largely unite behind PYD chairman Saleh Muslim. However, the Kurdish constituency is far too small to win a national election in Syria. If there would be a run-off ballot between, say Assad and one oppositional opponent it is far from clear that the oppositional candidate would get the Kurdish votes. It’s likely fair to say that it would depend on the candidate and it’s programme whether the Kurds would see him better or worse than Assad.

        And there starts the real problems for the opposition. A big chunk of the constituency of “the opposition” (TM) seems to reject democracy altogether, but wants instead an “ultra-conservative” sharia state like Saudi Arabia or the taliban emirate of Afghanistan. Their heroes are people like Abdullah Azzam and Osama Bin Laden. That chunk of the “opposition” believes in fighting jihad for overthrowing the “apostate” (their view) or tyrannical “regime”, but these people, lot’s of rural tribal people seem to be among them, will likely reject to vote for any candidate in any election.

        Another chunk of “the oppostion” wants a liberal democracy of a western type or a Turkish brotherhood democracy and – usually – be good friend with the US. That’s the potential constituency of the SNC. That constituency likes islam, but it wold vote, but it seems far too small to win. It’s main strongholds seems to be the refugee camps in Turkey and Jordan and along the borders. The current top SNC leader Ahmed Jarba is fairly unpopular, even with his own constituency. A more popular or charismatic leader like Moaz al-Khatib could have been one seems not to be in sight. Whoever as a candidate wants to win a presidential election would have to square the circle many times to tap into diffrent constituencies: be islamic enough to get the brotherhood votes and be liberal enough to get the liberal and kudish votes, be sympathetic to the secular revolutionary struggle and to the islamic jihad, and at the same time be realiable in the fight against terrorism so the army will back him if elected as president. Hassan Aboud plays a quite popular middle role between revolutionaries and jihadis right now, but as soon as he would take part in an election he would lose the jihadi support.

        I really can’t see how any opposition candidate could square all these circles to beat any Baath candidate. The Baathists – be that Bashar Al Assad or someone else – have their huge constituency and will outreach to all other constituencies, to the Kurds, to the tribes, to the islamists, to the liberals and so on. The Baathists have – unlike the opposition – quite some experience in this squaring the circles exercise.

        So I see currently absolutely no chance for any oppositional candidate to win an election in Syria against the Baath party. If Bashar Al Assad runs, I find it not unlikely that he gets a much higher percentage as 70%. And the “opposition” knows that and therefore will boycott elections, so in the end Assad – if he runs – will get something like 95% and the Western liberals will scream foul.

      • Walid
        January 27, 2014, 3:13 am

        When the fighting started, there were massive public gatherings in every Syrian city and town to show support for Assad. But when the rebels started the bombings, especially the suicide ones and the army retaliated heavily, people began staying home and the demonstrations totally stopped. It’s a given that some had been coerced into attending, but not known was how of many did it in fear of reprisals. I’m sure the majority attended because they were relatively happy with Assad as President. Not so sure about the much poorer people living in the remote areas that didn’t have much to cling to other than their deep attachment to their fundamentalist religion and these were the ones that were easily recruited to join the rebellion. But the majority of Syrians are without doubt with Assad staying for whatever reason.

      • Shingo
        January 26, 2014, 11:45 pm

        This does not. Anecdotal evidence, which is what this is, may indicate the reality, but it is not a poll and using a figure of 70% implies a real poll. this is not that.

        So what? The reason I raised these numbers is because it proves that anyone who claims to speak for or have the interests of the Syrian people in mind are talking out of their hat.

        So unless you are arguing that the figures are misleading or baseless, you are just trolling.

      • seafoid
        January 27, 2014, 3:47 am

        @ Walid

        Maybe Pew could poll Syrians with the question- do you fancy your country going the way of Iraq for the sake of Saudi bism al tareeq al wahabi

        Second question – do you agree with the Saudis that you are worse than a dog.

      • Walid
        January 27, 2014, 5:14 am

        “… do you fancy your country going the way of Iraq ”

        Who do you think made Iraq go that way?

      • Danaa
        January 27, 2014, 6:36 am

        Seafoid “worse than a dog”

        Bad Saudi analogy (like every other “intellectual product else they “provide”. Well, oil is not really smart just fungible).

        First Rule of the Universe: All humans are worse than all dogs. Even the so-called bad doggies are mostly better than the “good” humans (what’s that). And if you ever had a dog you know what I mean.

        But there’s more! All dogs are worse than all cats, which are a totally superior species by any account. That’s the second Rule of you-know-who.

        And there’s definitve proof: only cats ever got the better of me. Though I might, just might, make way for a dog, that is, if it’s a German Shepherd or an Alaskan or a cute something-or-other. Or if the poor thing has been somehow disabled, then only vets are certified as saints with the rest of humans hideous sinners (yes, me too). How do I know? just trust me….?

        Ok, this was a brief semi-comic interlude (with more truth than comedy, alas).

        But interlude or not, no one should carry Doggies’ names in vein, Saudis included. Remember the anagram! dog = god. And if it were a cat who is in any way mal-mentioned, oh well, that means the end of the world is near…..and this end may not even start in Syria.

      • seafoid
        January 27, 2014, 7:31 am

        @ Walid

        Prime culprits were the Yanks. They had no idea what they were doing. But then the sectarian slaughter got going and the Saudis and Iranians weighed in.

        Apparently the Shia death squads were already at work by the time the Marines got to Baghdad.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if the fundis tried to blow up Sayida Zeinab (very holy shia site) in Damascus (sunni territory) , like they did with the al askari mosque in Samarra (sunni territory) , one of the holiest to the Shia, in 2006. .

        I hate fundis.

      • yonah fredman
        January 27, 2014, 11:33 pm

        A couple facts regarding Assad should be stated. One: He has never won a real election. Two: Before the revolt which began with demonstrations three years ago, Syria was rated one of the most oppressive regimes in the world.

        It is credible that most Syrians want the civil war to stop. Now that it is clear that the civil war will not have a clear winner and given that the alternative to Assad is “unending” civil war, they prefer Assad to that kind of alternative. If this is the statement, then it would be true. If you include the context of what Syrians wanted on day one of their demonstrations then you could say that given the choice between Al Qaeda and Assad that the Syrians prefer Assad. But without the context, the statement was misleading.

      • seafoid
        January 28, 2014, 12:02 am

        “He has never won a real election.”

        WJ- neither have AIPAC FFS

        The Alawis are a Shia version of the Jews. Middle East cult, very secretive, wary of outsiders- I could go on…

      • talknic
        January 28, 2014, 1:15 am

        @ yonah fredman “A couple facts regarding Assad should be stated” Yes, like the fact that up until armed rebellion the Syrian Government were assisting in the restoration of synagogues in Syria for the Syrian Jews. They’re the Jews we’re told by apologists for Israeli intransigence don’t exist in any Arab state !

        .

      • yonah fredman
        January 28, 2014, 1:57 am

        talknic- For someone so keen on picking up on Zionist propaganda you seem to have no discernment whatsoever regarding Syrian propaganda. Ask any Jew whose roots are in Syria and who left there over the last 40 or 50 years how life was in Syria and I don’t think the propaganda you are swallowing and spewing would stand any truth test.

      • seafoid
        January 28, 2014, 4:27 am

        WJ

        Were all the Jews in Syria brainwashed like they are in Disneyland today ? Were they taught from age 4 that everyone hates them?

      • talknic
        January 28, 2014, 5:31 am

        @ yonah fredman ” you seem to have no discernment whatsoever regarding Syrian propaganda”

        Sorry I don’t do propaganda. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4025681,00.html

        “Ask any Jew whose roots are in Syria and who left there over the last 40 or 50 years how life was in Syria”

        Best to ask those who still live there, it’s not like they’re captive. Like our Iranian Jewish fellows, who refused money to move to Israel… Some folk do like to live in their actual homeland.

      • W.Jones
        January 28, 2014, 3:05 pm

        seafoid

        Why did you address your message of January 28, 2014, to WJ?

      • yonah fredman
        January 29, 2014, 12:16 am

        w. jones- my nom de blog used to be wondering jew and thus some people call me that or its initials wj. sorry, that my nom de blog’s initials match yours.

    • Shingo
      January 27, 2014, 4:42 pm

      I always get a chuckle out of the bottom-feeding of the Baathist supporters. Shingo provides a link to the 70% claim that in turn links to worldtribune.com. Here’s some info on that “newspaper”:

      Wow, talk about how NOT to address the topic. I povided 3 links that came up from a Google search, one of which was from the Guardian, which our resident cannibal, head cutting, suicide bombing fanboy completely ignores – choosing instead to go off on completely irrelevant tangents to discredit one of the sources.

      The worldtribune.com apparently having some dubious links or alleged reports that sound less than credible, which is must surely redefine the art fo scraping the bottom of the barrel.

      So to sum up lproyect’s thesis, the fact that the worldtribune.com reported the findings of the NATO poll, the poll never happened. Of course, based on lproyect’s argument, any report that appears in the worldtribune.com and other mainstream papers must similarly cease to exist.

      • lproyect
        January 28, 2014, 12:14 pm

        Shingo, you really are a card. That Guardian article by Jonathan Steele you cited neglects to mention that the Doha poll consisted of just 97 internet users in Syria among a population of more than 20 million. Who are you trying to kid with this stuff? The people commenting here who agree with you? That’s called preaching to the choir.

      • Walid
        January 28, 2014, 2:43 pm

        Iproyect, if the 97 Internet users don’t impress you, how about a poll of half a million people from all the Middle East; the results were announced today. It was conducted by al-Mayadeen TV and the question asked of the people was who they’d pick as the person of the year.

        The person that was most picked by the people was Bashar al-Assad. Second came Sultan Qaboos of Oman, third was Nuri al-Maliki and fourth was Putin.

      • lproyect
        January 28, 2014, 3:48 pm

        Well, if you want to cite al-Mayadeen TV as an impartial source in light of its reputation as being partial to Hizbollah and having journalists like Sami Kulaib, whose wife Luna Shibl is the media advisor to Syrian President Bashar Assad, be my guest. I have learned long ago that Baathist propagandists are shameless and you are no exception.

      • Walid
        January 29, 2014, 4:25 am

        Iproyect, your problems with Syria go beyond polls. A party that is partial to Hizbullah doesn’t necessarily make it unreliable. If you knew what was behind the creation of Mayadeen, you’d have a better understanding of its integrity, but putting me in the same category as Baathists or making me a fan of Assad shows your imbecilic side. BTW, I didn’t vote but had I voted, my choice by far would not have been Assad.

      • W.Jones
        January 28, 2014, 3:03 pm

        Louis,
        Thanks for posting to give a different perspective. Certainly in Syria there are a range of groups at work. Understanding how they come together, while supporting democratic change and religious tolerance, as well as Syrian independence from outside control are important goals.

        I think that your writing in support of democratic activists, as well as the writings of those opposed to fundamentalism and regional domination, are all important.

        All the best.

      • Walid
        January 29, 2014, 4:22 am

        Who is Louis?

        Forget it, I figured it out.

      • Shingo
        January 28, 2014, 3:04 pm

        That Guardian article by Jonathan Steele you cited neglects to mention that the Doha poll consisted of just 97 internet users in Syria among a population of more than 20 million. Who are you trying to kid with this stuff?

        Wher did you make that up? From the poll linked to in the article:

        The poll conducted by YouGov Siraj questioned more than 1,000 people in the Arab world between December 14 and 19.

        It seems that not only are you a liar, but illiterate too – just the way the Safists like it.

        Also, are you standing by your argument that because the tribune reported the NATO poll, it therefore does not exist?

        Epic fail….just like your beloved head chopping, suicude bombing cannibal heros.

        Enjoy the fava beans.

      • lproyect
        January 28, 2014, 3:40 pm

        Shingo, when will you learn that I have heard all these Baathist talking points before and know how bogus they are? Yes, a 1000 people were polled but 81 percent said that Bashar al-Assad had to go. Here’s the lowdown on that poll:

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17155349

        It was an internet survey of the Arab world by YouGov Siraj in December. It covered just more than 1,000 people in 18 countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

        The central question was: “In your opinion should Syria’s President Assad resign?”

        Across the whole region, the overall finding was that 81% of people polled thought President Assad should go.

        But the polling company also stated: “Respondents in Syria are more supportive of their president. 55% do not believe Assad should resign.”

        Looking closely at the survey report, it does not say explicitly how many of the 1,000 people who responded were from Syria. But it does say that 211 were polled in the Levant region, 46% of whom were in Syria.

        Doing the sums, this suggests that only 97 people took part. When the BBC checked with YouGov Siraj for the exact breakdown, the company said that in fact there were 98 respondents from Syria (the difference arising from the fact that averages given in the survey report were rounded).

        This is a very low sample according to the managing director of survey company ORB, Johnny Heald, who has been carrying out polls in the Middle East for many years.

        “When we poll and we want to find out what Libyans think, or what Syrians think, we would rarely do anything less than 1,000 interviews,” he says.

        “One thousand is the generally accepted industry minimum to be able to speak confidently about what people from a particular country think about an issue.

        “If you say that this poll covers people from 18 countries, then that’s fine. But you need to be very careful when you interpret the findings.

        “It is not good to say that 55% of Syrians, for example, think that Assad should stay when only 97 people were asked that question.”

        But he has another criticism – according to UN figures, only 18% of people in Syria have access to the internet, which means that the sample polled is biased towards those who can get online.

        The people who conducted the survey at YouGov Siraj, the Dubai-based arm of a UK polling company, say the poll was not intended to be representative of all Syrians.

        They too say the sample was too low for this and that internet penetration in the country is not good enough.

        This is why they referred to “respondents from Syria” rather than referring to “Syrians”, they say.

      • Shingo
        January 28, 2014, 4:35 pm

        Well, if you want to cite al-Mayadeen TV as an impartial source in light of its reputation as being partial to Hizbollah and having journalists like Sami Kulaib, whose wife Luna Shibl is the media advisor to Syrian President Bashar Assad, be my guest.

        I see, so al-Mayadeen TV is implicated because the wife of one journalist happens to be a media advisor to Assad. I guess when you have so little to go on, you have no choice but to scrape the bottom of the barrel.

        And it’s obvious you are avoiding the NATO poll altogether. It’s fun watching you tap dance.

        And still nothing to say about the fact you got the numbers of participants wrong from the Doha poll by a factor of more than 10. Too funny.

        I have learned long ago that Baathist propagandists are shameless and you are no exception.

        Yes you are leading by example and setting the new standard for shameless propaganda. You won’t even acknowledged that the Arab sources you initially mentioned have changed their stance on the Syrian war.

        As for impartial sources, I take it you have no problem with Al Jazeera.

        Every point you have made has been resoundingly debunked. You’re obviously another Zionist/Saudi stooge.

      • lproyect
        January 28, 2014, 5:51 pm

        Shingo, there is no “NATO poll”. There is only a worldtribune.com article that refers to such a poll. I invite everybody who take Shingo seriously to try to find anything that corroborates such a poll outside of worldtribune.com, the Moonie newspaper that covers the UFO beat as well. All of the articles that refer to this “70 percent” business all point to the worldtribune.com article. That is a fact. If you don’t care about the facts, naturally you’d be aligned with a dictatorship built on lies.

      • Sibiriak
        January 29, 2014, 3:30 am

        lproyect says:

        Shingo, there is no “NATO poll”. There is only a worldtribune.com article that refers to such a poll.

        That seems to be true. And the worldtribune.com article does not identify any source for the alleged NATO data. Until a reliable source is identified, I can’t put any credence in it.

      • Shingo
        January 28, 2014, 4:51 pm

        Well, if you want to cite al-Mayadeen TV as an impartial source in light of its reputation as being partial to Hizbollah and having journalists like Sami Kulaib, whose wife Luna Shibl is the media advisor to Syrian President Bashar Assad, be my guest.

        I see, so al-Mayadeen TV is implicated because the wife of one journalist happens to be a media advisor to Assad. I guess when you have so little to go on, you have no choice but to scrape the bottom of the barrel.

        And it’s obvious you are avoiding the NATO poll altogether. It’s fun watching you tap dance.

        And still nothing to say about the fact you got the numbers of participants wrong from the Doha poll by a factor of more than 10. Too funny.

        I have learned long ago that Baathist propagandists are shameless and you are no exception.

        Yes you are leading by example and setting the new standard for shameless propaganda. You won’t even acknowledged that the Arab sources you initially mentioned have changed their stance on the Syrian war.

        As for impartial sources, I take it you have no problem with Al Jazeera.

        Every point you have made has been resoundingly debunked. You’re obviously another Zionist/Saudi stooge.

      • Shingo
        January 29, 2014, 3:13 am

        Shingo, when will you learn that I have heard all these Baathist talking points before and know how bogus they are?

        Sorry dude, but once again, you are standing with your pants down in public holding onto thin air. What you haven’t learned is how to counter new data as it emerges.

        This is an op-ed and even that poll is outdated anyway. Even stronger results were found from the NATO poll which actually put Assad’s approval ratings over 70% and the approval of the rebels at less than 10%.
        So which any way you spin it, the results leave copious amounts of egg on your face.

        But speaking of talking points, do you have any prepared to counter the findings of the NATO poll or has your Salafist mother ship not produced those for you?

        As I said earlier dude, Epic fail!!

      • Shingo
        January 29, 2014, 3:23 am

        Shingo, there is no “NATO poll”.

        Actually it is a poll and the worldtribune.com is not the only report that refers to it as such.

        I invite everybody who take Shingo seriously to try to find anything that corroborates such a poll outside ofworldtribune.com, the Moonie newspaper that covers the UFO beat as well.

        I invite everybody who takes lproyect seriously to not laugh at him after perousing the countless links to the poll.

        I can’t wait for your theory as to how Huffingtonpost, Guardian, or Asia Times is aligned and linked with Assad.

        In May 2013, the US-based World Tribune reported, based on NATO data, that 70% of Syrians support Assad. The same piece suggested that 20% of Syrians surveyed felt neutral about the conflict, and only 10% supported the opposition.
        http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/sophie-stewartbloch/syria-conflict-assad_b_4507894.html

        Or the Guardian.
        Information reportedly given to Nato in May found 70% of Syrians supporting the Assad regime. Another 20% were deemed neutral and the remaining 10% expressed support for the rebels. That was at a time of intensifying debate about whether western countries should arm the rebels.
        http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/02/syria-crisis-questions-answered

        Or Asia Times.
        Well, the “Syrian people” have spoken. Roughly 70% support the government of Bashar al-Assad. Another 20% are neutral. And only 10% are aligned with the Western-supported “rebels”, including those of the kidnapping, lung-eating, beheading jihadi kind.
        http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MID-03-050613.html

        Funny thing though, I can’t seem to find too many articles from either of these outlets covering the UFO beat.

        Once again. EPIC FAIL!!

        If you don’t care about the facts, naturally you’d be aligned with a dictatorship built on lies.

        Well, you don’t seem to be interested in the fact either, but you aligned with cannibalistic, head chopping, suicide bombing fanatics.

      • Sibiriak
        January 29, 2014, 4:31 am

        Shingo:

        Or the Guardian. […]Or Asia Times.

        I don’t necessarily disagree with you about Syrian attitudes toward Assad, but neither of those articles gives any source for the NATO report. The Guardian only refers to “information reportedly given to Nato”, and Pepe Escopar gives no source whatsoever. Perhaps a legitimate, verifiable source does exist, but I Googled for a while and could not find any source other than the worldtribune.com article which names no sources. The NATO report was never released, and there is no way of confirming that it exists and contains what these articles say it does.

        Your argument does not depend on this alleged NATO report, so I would consider dropping it unless a reliable source can be identified.

      • Shingo
        January 29, 2014, 5:45 am

        I don’t necessarily disagree with you about Syrian attitudes toward Assad, but neither of those articles gives any source for the NATO report.

        You have a point, but Escobar has pretty impeccable sources, so I doubt he would have cited it without checking – same for the Guardian.

        And yes, it is true that my argument does not rely on the NATO report, but the findings are consistent with other polls and surveys.

  32. MHughes976
    January 26, 2014, 4:26 pm

    Syrians have the same rights as everyone and deserve constitutional government and the rule of law and freedom from religious discrimination. I don’t see a force capable of providing those things, least of all western intervention.

  33. Danaa
    January 26, 2014, 10:35 pm

    Kudos to all who provided such excellent links – Keith, Bandolero, Shingo and others (sorry if I forgot to list a name). I found the information and the arguments presented here invaluable. If only we had a fraction of the knowledge accumulated by people here displayed by the MSM (any member thereof)!

    Since we have not yet had any official rebuttal of the propaganda pieces by Omar, Talal et al, let’s take stock of who are those on these comments pages who support Al Qaeda in place of Assad and appear to be singing – not quite harmoniously – from the same song book:

    lproyect, Yonah Friedman, OlegR, yrn and in the back-up chorus – the Donald.

    Funny how not one of the ones we know as ziobots or congenital fence sitters or whatever other role has been assigned to them (sometimes self-generated subroutine), had anything bad to say about the composition, behavior and criminality of the “rebels’. or the not-so greatness of the saudi wahabists who fund, arm and incite the Jihadist zombie armies. Why, a truer group of bleeding heart humanitarians has not been seen in these environs for oh so many moons. Yes, I noticed that hophmi is missing in action. Perhaps under the weather?

    Sometimes, we may not know all there is to know about who is acting out what role behind the scenes. But much can be surmised from the opinions and missives projected through shadow mirrors of them who we do know. If yrn is with the ‘rebels’ and YF calls out the humanitarianism of ISIL (in not so many words), and Lproject is storming the barricades to bring down the tyrant Assad, and Donald bleeds for the terrorists keeping Yarmouk residents hostage, what is it they all know that we don’t? or rather, what does it tell us of the instructions coming down which pipes and who exactly may be issuing them (sometimes under that sweet humanitarian subterfuge)?

    That being said I have no doubt that hophmi will not be long to join the choir. He must have been off quibbling with some of those instructions. Perhaps a momentary pang (one could dream, couldn’t one?)? or an H1N1 side effect?

    • yrn
      January 27, 2014, 8:56 am

      Dana
      Show me where I ever said I am with the ‘rebels’ .
      Your Assumption are based on what ?.
      I am Against butcher Assad and completely Against “the rebels”.
      They are both Butchers, competing who butchers more.
      I just mention that your “pseudo humanitarian” attitude is at it’s best.

      You support the butcher Assad.
      That’s the issue.

      • yrn
        January 27, 2014, 9:02 am

        Dana
        “Funny how not one of the ones we know as ziobots or congenital fence sitters or whatever other role has been assigned to them (sometimes self-generated subroutine), had anything bad to say about the composition, behavior and criminality of the “rebels’. or the not-so greatness of the saudi wahabists who fund, arm and incite the Jihadist zombie armies.”

        Your Propaganda just get’s to the highest limit.
        I am against, condemn., disgusted, find every word in the dictionary to Sully,smirch the behavior and criminality of the “rebels’. or the not-so greatness of the saudi wahabists who fund, arm and incite the Jihadist zombie armies.”

        GET IT INTO YOUR HEAD.

      • talknic
        January 29, 2014, 12:57 am

        @ yrn >“I am against, condemn., disgusted, find every word in the dictionary to Sully,smirch the behavior and criminality of the “rebels’. or the not-so greatness of the saudi wahabists who fund, arm and incite the Jihadist zombie armies.”

        Sully way dude http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/27/us-usa-syria-rebels-idUSBREA0Q1S320140127

      • Shingo
        January 27, 2014, 4:43 pm

        You support which ever butcher happens to be elected in Israel Yrn. You might want to be careful with that glass house of yours.

      • Shingo
        January 28, 2014, 12:44 am

        He has never won a real election. Two: Before the revolt which began with demonstrations three years Syria was rated one of the most oppressive regimes in the world.

        Both irrelevant to the debate. We were debating what the will of the Syrian people is, and those who claim to be speaking on their behalf. Polls show that less than 10% of Syrians support the rebels and US/Saudi backed intervention.

        If this is the statement, then it would be true. If you include the context of what Syrians wanted on day one of their demonstrations then you could say that given the choice between Al Qaeda and Assad that the Syrians prefer Assad. But without the context, the statement was misleading.

        I made this statement from the beginning. The fact is however that there is no viable political opposition anyway.

    • yrn
      January 27, 2014, 9:06 am

      Dana

      What you don’t get, is that you the one who want’s to call himself a humanist, supports the butcher Assad.
      Giving all the excuses from your sick ideology, that defends butchering and killings in the name of your Agenda.
      Based on your sick rational,killing people to defend your Agenda is OK.

      • Shingo
        January 28, 2014, 7:09 am

        What you don’t get, is that you the one who want’s to call himself a humanist, supports the butcher Assad.

        No, what you don’t get yrn, is that not wanting cannibal, suicide bombing, head chopping types to take over Syria does not equal supporting Assad.

        Or should we call you a Baruch Goldtstein fan boy because you and he both support Israel?

    • yonah fredman
      January 28, 2014, 2:07 am

      Danaa- The forces fighting Assad are unsavory characters with a regressive outlook on how a country should be ruled. If you polled the Syrian people, meaning all those living in Syria and in the refugee camps outside of Syria housing Syrian refugees, I have little doubt that a large majority would support free elections rather than Assad’s rule. But in fact this is not the choice they are being given. They have three choices: civil war, Assad and the jihadists.

      Obviously civil war is terrible. I think it is also clear that Assad is terrible and the jihadists are terrible as well.

      Yet I have read here (not you, but someone) that Assad is the legitimate ruler of Syria. This may be technically true in that Syria is a sovereign state and the accepted current leader of Syria is Assad. But without balancing out these statements with facts regarding the oppressiveness of his regime and the fact that he has never been elected by fair elections, those who make statements calling his rule of Syria as legitimate are merely spouting propaganda.

      I really don’t know enough about Syria, but please if anything I have stated here does not fit with the facts, let me know.

      • puppies
        January 28, 2014, 4:04 am

        Friedman – “The forces fighting Assad are unsavory characters with a regressive outlook on how a country should be ruled.”
        Wow! I didn’t expect to agree with you about the Israelis.

      • Shingo
        January 28, 2014, 5:39 am

        If you polled the Syrian people, meaning all those living in Syria and in the refugee camps outside of Syria housing Syrian refugees, I have little doubt that a large majority would support free elections rather than Assad’s rule.

        That’s assuming the 2 are mutually exclusive. There is every likelyhood that Assad would win a free election, seeing as he actually knows how to run a state. He might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but after the chaos of of the last 3 years, the Syrians might value security over liberty.

      • yonah fredman
        January 29, 2014, 12:13 am

        Shingo writes- there is every likelihood that Assad would win a free election, seeing as he actually knows how to run a state.

        Man, Shingo, sometimes I doubt myself, but lucky you, you don’t have that problem. You allow yourself to write whatever shit pops into your head. Every likelihood that assad would win a free election? Baloney with cow pucks as a condiment. Do you really think that people will vote for Assad. (They won’t get a chance to vote, so this is one of those hypotheticals,) but based on what. Every likelihood. Based on what? You don’t care what you write, do you?

      • Taxi
        January 29, 2014, 1:22 am

        wandering jew/ynah fredman,

        Shingo is right. Bashar would win by a landslide if elections were held today. The so-called Syrian opposition know this and fear it – otherwise they’d be rushing to sign a cease-fire agreement in Geneva so that the voting process can begin. The glaring facts remain, the opposition are losing on the battlefields and also losing the hearts and minds of the Syrian people.

        Also, if there really was a majority of Syrians against Bashar, the opposition wouldn’t be inviting global jihadists into Syria to help them fight against Bashar. What is going on in Syria is not a civil war, or an Arab Spring revolution, it’s a foreign invasion by an army of alqaida terrorists, supported by a minority of Syrians, most of whom are not residents of Syria. There are some 72 different nationalities, including American and European ones, fighting in Syria against Bashar – and your average Syrian knows this, is outraged and is utterly rejecting the blatant war crime.

        Now you can go on denying the realities of Syria all you like; you can poo-poo the Nato poll and the recent Almayadeen poll that squarely puts Bashar at the top of the popularity charts in the Arab world all you like. But the fact remains: if Bashar was really as unpopular in Syria as you say, by now, three years into the violent conflict, he’d be like Saddam was: hiding in a spider hole, alone, somewhere in the wilderness of the Levant. But Bashar is not hiding like that because he’s assured his people are supporting him in his mission to defend his country from foreign jihadist invaders.

        What is happening in Syria isn’t even about Bashar and removing him from power; it’s about a zio-saudi plan to systematically shred up the whole of Syria so it is no more. It’s about killing the actual country and not just removing it’s leader. And you think most Syrians would support this? Even the Syrian civilians who are against Bashar don’t support this diabolical plan in a million years.

        http://friendsofsyria.co/

      • Shingo
        January 29, 2014, 3:02 am

        Man, Shingo, sometimes I doubt myself, but lucky you, you don’t have that problem.

        Actually I do and it’s not that I made such a prediction flippantly. I doubt Assad would have won a free and democratic election prior to 2011, but in light of what has happened, he’d be a near certainty.

        Do you really think that people will vote for Assad.

        Yes, and even you have been forced to admit that under the current circumstances, the majority of Syrians would prefer him to the what the opposition has planned for them.

  34. just
    January 26, 2014, 11:20 pm

    YF: “No, Nato is not okay.”

    fine– be sure to tell every Israeli that.

    tell Israel not to proclaim nor pretend to be a “western democracy” either.

  35. lproyect
    January 29, 2014, 9:08 am

    Shingo, you still don’t get it. When the Guardian says “reportedly”, it was referring to the worldtribune.com article. That is the source of the 70 percent figure–period. Also, you really are quite funny in quoting Pepe Escobar on this. You might as well have quoted yourself.

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