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April 2012 Reference Lists

April 2, 2012

Updates: April 30

This page presents links to videos and articles mostly published or noted in April 2012.  However, for an understanding of what is occurring in Syria,  there is excellent analyses on other pages of the blog which date back to almost the beginning of the crisis.  Hard work is needed to understand the Middle East, especially now when there is a ‘propaganda and humanitarian war’ being waged against Syria and there is the ‘fog of war’.

Excerpts from articles will be presented.  It is hoped that visitors to the blog will have the time to check out the complete article.

Note it may be necessary to copy and paste the link in order to access it.

On this page, there are more images of Syrians taken from Syrian satellite TV. Much discussion and debate is taking place in Syria in regard to how to move the country forward peacefully. It can be assumed the overwhelming majority of Syrians want a peaceful transition to democracy without the interference of outsiders. (Which is what any population would want, isn’t it?)  Many of the people in the images are involved in the efforts to take the country forward.

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For an indication of the effects of terror on ordinary people in Syria, it is really necessary to see the faces and hear the voices of the people themselves. This can be done by going to Syrian TV. But below are links which indicate what Syrians are confronting.

http://www.champress.net/index.php?q=en/Article/view/116913

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOq-0ZGk1qk

Revolution Racketeers: Industrial terrorism in Syria

Russia – which is a major backer of Kofi Annan’s peace plan – has again criticized Syria’s government and its rebels for breaking the ceasefire. The Foreign Ministry in Moscow also accused some opposition fighters, who refuse to lay down arms, of resorting to outright terrorism. And, as Oksana Boyko discovered, those still at large have little patience for neutrality.

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ABC RADIO NATIONAL COUNTERPOINT 30 April 2012

Interview with John Bradley, ME expert, fluent Arabic speaker, author and correspondent. In this interview, Bradley talks at length about the ‘revolution’ in Tunisia and ‘democracy’ in Egypt.

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/counterpoint/arab-spring/3976176

The Arab Spring put the Arab world firmly on the path to democracy and a better future, didn’t it? Well, maybe not. It was certainly led by liberals and they rallied the Arab masses but then they were drowned out by the slogans of the better organised and more popular radical Islamists.

Interviews with John Bradley have been noted on this blog previously:

The World Today – How Islamists hijacked the Arab Spring 20/02/2012

http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2012/s3434650.htm

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http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/26/us-syria-russia-idUSBRE83P14S20120426

Russia accuses Syrian rebels of using “tactics of terror”

By Thomas Grove and Steve Gutterman   MOSCOW | Thu Apr 26, 2012 1:51pm EDT

bel attacks and accused foreign states of arming the rebels. “Many Western governments, and not just Western … are helping the Syrian opposition with weapon

(Reuters) – Russia accused Syrian rebels on Thursday of using terror tactics and suggested they were more to blame for ceasefire violations than President Bashar al-Assad’s troops.

The remarks by the foreign ministry differed from assessments by Western states which have been calling on government forces to end attacks and withdraw from cities and towns under a U.N.-backed truce.

“We call upon the Syrian side to carry out in full its obligations…” Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told a weekly briefing. “Nonetheless … there is another side in Syria, opposition groups, which have in essence shifted to tactics of terror on a regional scale.”……

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The ABC, for example, relies heavily still on the figures and claims of anonymous ‘activists’.   Little attention is paid to credible reports in Syrian news in regard to the killings of security personnel and civilians. An Australian lost his brother just this week; he was killed by a sniper in Homs. This is unlikely to be reported in our media and Australians generally will remain oblivious to the horrors that Syrians have been facing for one year.  The recent suicide and car bombs are spreading even more fear and terror.
Law-enforcement martyrs of al-Midan terrorist blast laid to rest…16 army and law-enforcement members escorted to final resting place
Armed groups assassinate physician, Lieutenant Colonel in Daraa, a Colonel and Warrant Officer in Hama  
DARAA, HAMA- In the framework of targeting the national and scientific expertise and intellectuals, an armed terrorist group on Monday assassinated Doctor Adnan Tawfik al-Samitt in Daraa.SANA reporter quoted a source at Daraa Province as saying that the armed terrorist group shoot dead Dr. al-Samitt with their machineguns near his house at al-Qusour Neighborhood in Daraa city.In the same context, the source added that another armed terrorist group randomly opened fire in al-Na’emeh village in Daraa countryside with the aim of intimidating the citizens and preventing them from going to their jobs. 
  

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How the information warlords define the concept of terrorism in the case of Syria
by Amal Saad-Ghorayeb


So after today’s suicide bombing by opposition forces (most likely the same al-Qaeda linked/inspired groups that have claimed responsibility for previous terrorist attacks), here’s how the news wires covered the attack:
Associated Press: “The regime blamed Friday’s attack on unspecified “terrorists” – the term it uses to describe opposition forces that it says are carrying out a foreign conspiracy.”
AFP: “The report blamed “terrorists,” the term used by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime to refer to the armed opposition…Assad’s regime has repeatedly blamed “armed terrorist groups” for the violence, and for failing to abide by a putative ceasefire that went into force on April 12.”
First of all, there is the ever-present, and borderline sarcastic, reference to how the regime perceives the armed opposition as carrying out a “foreign conspiracy”. So Turkey’s hosting and arming of the opposition and FSA, and the US and other “Friends of Syria’s” declared intent [if not after-the-fact acknowledgement] to arm these groups, should not be interpreted by the regime as a foreign conspiracy to overthrow it, nor should Israeli officials’ admissions of meeting with elements in the Syrian opposition, or France’s saber-rattling for military intervention. By extension, groups receiving this aid are not involved in this conspiracy and the regime’s depiction of them as such is surely delusional. Well, to some extent it is injudicious of the Assad regime to continue to refer to what is an openly belligerent US-western-Turkish-Arab-Israeli-al-Qaeda war against it as a hidden conspiracy. It is anopenly declared  foreign war on Syria, and not an ill-concealed foreign conspiracy………

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A very feisty Malalai Joya, a former member of the Afghan parliament, was interviewed by ABC’s Lateline program.  The interviewer seems nonplussed as Joya condemns NATO, the US, and even Australia for occupying her country.
http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/msg/1335605330.html

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Al-Akhbar English

Damascus: The Protocols of Annan’s Plan  By: Nicolas Nassif
Published Tuesday, April 24, 2012

http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/damascus-protocols-annan%E2%80%99s-plan

According to close observers, Damascus’ response to the peace plan proposed by the UN-Arab League Special Envoy to Syria Kofi Annan is proving to be positive. When asked, government officials express a willingness to provide the necessary support for the plan, as long as there is a commitment to work with the Syrian state.

Damascus’ cooperation is based on several factors:……

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Editor’s note: It took a brave Julian Assange to interview Hassan Nasrallah. Yet, it seems extraordinary that others haven’t sought his opinions before today. People across the Middle East have been well aware of Nasrallah’s views for many years. Why are they virtually ‘censored’ in the West? Do we need protection from them?  Are we as infantilized as any population, just more cheerily so?  Does everything have to be interpreted and filtered for us?  (Robert Fisk has used the term ‘infantalized‘ in regard to the ME and also US politics. In 2008, he spoke about the media in the US not being willing to challenge power: http://current.com/groups/politics/89376159_the-deadly-infantilization-of-american-politics-robert-fisk-and-patricia-degennaro-on-grittv.htm  NB: Robert Fisk, himself, seems reliant on the swinging views of his friend Walid Jumblatt for his public opinions on Syria, but for many he continues to get enough credit  for his criticism of the US, Israel etc, for him to be considered a trusted source on any issue. )

Julian Assange’s The World Tomorrow: Hassan Nasrallah (E1)

Published on Apr 17, 2012 by RussiaToday

Hezbollah urged the Syrian opposition to engage in dialogue with Assad’s regime, but they refused. Hezbollah leader Sayyid Nasrallah confirmed this in his first interview in 6 years, the world premiere of Julian Assange’s ‘The World Tomorrow’ on RT.

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Editor: Another interview you are unlikely to see on Australian TV.   Would it be treason to present the views of “Syrian Girl” on Australian TV?

James Corbett – Love Bombs for Syria – Syrian Girl on Intervention and Hypocrisy, April 15 2012

http://information-machine.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/james-corbett-love-bombs-for-syria.html

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Editor: Stephen Lendman doesn’t mince words in this article below. It may seem partisan and unacceptable to many, but for Syrians who confront the fear of bombs, abduction and death on a daily basis while the world is silent, or at best ignorant, Lendman’s expression is tame. We should all be shouting “Stop this madness” from roof tops.

Media Scoundrels Promote War on Syria  By Stephen Lendman

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article31166.htm#.T5dcrR6DYvI.email

April 23, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — Syria’s a battle zone. Western generated violence is to blame, not Assad. America’s media scoundrels claim otherwise. They want him ousted by any means, including war.

An April 9 Wall Street Journal commentary said “Syrian government forces (keep) bombing and killing….” Assad “reneged on (his) promises to end the bloodshed.”

Washington “and its allies (are) doing little or nothing to depose (his) regime. (The) illusion of diplomatic progress serves as cover for the Assads of the world to do more killing. Your move, President Obama.”

Like all scoundrel media commentators, Journal contributors blame victims, not villains. Their readers are betrayed, not informed.

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Editor: In the Australian media, there is rarely serious reference to SANA or other official news from Syria, while there is increasing reliance on refugees in Turkey for their assessment of what is occurring in Syria.  But there are news reports coming out of Syria which demand attention.  As there were one year ago.  22 million people still live in Syria.  Their stories demand telling.

Armed Criminal Groups Shot and Mutilated Army Officer and His Family  Apr 19, 2011

Syrian Inventor Issa Abboud Martyred by Criminal Armed Gangs

http://www.sana.sy/eng/21/2011/04/19/342253.htm

And today:

Armed groups assassinate physician, Lieutenant Colonel in Daraa, a Colonel and Warrant Officer in Hama   April 25 2012

http://www.champress.net/index.php?q=en/Article/view/117578

DARAA, HAMA- In the framework of targeting the national and scientific expertise and intellectuals, an armed terrorist group on Monday assassinated Doctor Adnan Tawfik al-Samitt in Daraa.

SANA reporter quoted a source at Daraa Province as saying that the armed terrorist group shoot dead Dr. al-Samitt with their machineguns near his house at al-Qusour Neighborhood in Daraa city.

In the same context, the source added that another armed terrorist group randomly opened fire in al-Na’emeh village in Daraa countryside with the aim of intimidating the citizens and preventing them from going to their jobs.

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Monitoring or spying mission to Syria    25 April 2012  

They were in the closed Council chambers for hours first taking in Annan’s briefing and then working on the situation in Sudan. When the UN Security Council emerged acting President for April Susan Rice offered pure statistics from UN Peacekeeping boss Herve Ladsous.

The 300 monitors to be sent to Syria were mandated by Security Council resolution last Saturday. The ink was hardly dry when Rice threatened Syria with “further measures” if the Assad government doesn’t comply with Annan’s six-point plan.

Syrian ambassador Bashar Ja’Afari has spoken repeatedly of states working for the failure of that plan and on Tuesday Rice again indicated she was ready for Syria to fail.

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Editor: You would expect it to be headlines in Australia: “50,000 Syrians forced from their homes by extremists”.  Imagine if it were 50,000 Sydneysiders, or Londoners?  Note, everyone is a potential victim of extremist violence.  The clerics who incite it encourage their followers to kill anyone who gets in the way of destroying the ‘heretical’ Syrian government.  So victims include people taking part in council elections, doctors, professors, imams;  if they can be described as being ‘pro-regime’ their sect is irrelevant. (Where is the West’s support for ‘moderate’ Muslims?)

Israel Today Magazine

Syrian Christians: The Revolution’s Unsung Victims April 5th 2012

http://www.israeltoday.co.il/tabid/178/nid/23182/language/en-US/Default.aspx

The international community and global media are focusing a lot of attention of late on the brutal tactics being employed by the forces of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad as he battles a year-long insurgency that has recently blossomed into full-scale civil war. In the process, the Syrian opposition forces, collectively known as the Free Syrian Army, have been primarily portrayed in a positive light.

But a trickle of reports from sources in embattled Syrian towns reveal that the Sunni-led revolutionaries are guilty of at least as many war crimes as Assad, especially against the country’s Christian minority.

In the latest issue of Israel Today, we wrote about how Syria’s minority communities actually prefer Assad, who is himself from the small Alawite Muslim minority. They fear the alternative, which is rule by a Sunni majority that will likely align itself with the Muslim Brotherhood and other regional radicals.

Their fears appear increasingly justified.….

Islamists force 50,000 Christians to flee from Syrian city of Homs  by OCP on April 17, 2012

http://theorthodoxchurch.info/blog/news/2012/04/islamists-force-50000-christians-to-flee-from-syrian-city-of-homs/

….. Christians in Homs were reportedly told that if they did not leave immediately, they would be shot. Then, pictures of their bodies would be sent to the pro-Syrian-regime-change Al Jazeera — a media broadcaster controlled by the dictatorship ruling Qatar — with a message claiming that forces loyal to Assad had murdered them.….

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Editor: Sharmine Narwani deserves attention in the Australian media. But gets none. We live in a village; we don’t want anyone to point out the village may be wrong in its assumptions about the world outside.

Al-Akhbar English

Western Journalist: Visa Denied  By Sharmine Narwani – Sat, 2012-04-21

http://english.al-akhbar.com/blogs/sandbox/western-journalist-visa-denied

……right now, I honestly cannot think of a group of people less capable of verifying things in Syria than western journalists. And it is not because they aren’t physically there or can’t string together more than two words in Arabic. It is largely because they feast at the trough of their own governments’ narratives on All Things. Western journalists are heady with a sense of righteousness leached from the oxymoronic “western values” shoved down our collective throats. Those same western values that demand “accountability” and “transparency” from all nations – while offering cover for western governments to hack their way through Muslim and Arab bodies in endless “national security” wars.

…..With the exception of a few proud holdouts, western media has made a beeline for the sexy story in Syria – which is essentially the fairytale of the “Arab Spring” with a little twist: Bad regime, good activists – but kick out this dictator and it’s a three-for-one, with Iran and Hezbollah tossed in as a bonus.

There are only three guiding rules for most western journalists inside or outside of Syria: 1) only quote anti-regime populations, 2) do not seek out independent domestic opposition figures, 3) evidence is unimportant, as long as you loosely “source” it:

They head straight for the Syrian activist, the anti-regime demonstration, the man with the gun in a “hot spot.” These are one side of the Syrian story, for sure. But you will not find mainstream western journalism broadcasting a pro-regime rally of tens of thousands, the national flag painted on the faces of Assad supporters – young and old – waving posters of their president. Pro-regime Syrians, a majority of whom voted in a national referendum in February to adopt constitutional reforms, are never interviewed by these reporters.

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STOP THE WAR COALITION

Will sheep fly in Syria if imperial princess Hilary Clinton gets her way? By Saul Landau
20 April 2012

http://stopwar.org.uk/index.php/middle-east-and-north-africa/1359-will-sheep-fly-in-syria-if-imperial-princess-hilary-clinton-gets-her-way

The Syrian conflict continued to boil — or boil over — when Syrian troops fired across the Turkish border on April 9, apparently killing either fleeing refugees or armed combatants.

Then the UN team entered and began monitoring a shaky ceasefire – shaky because the Syrian National Council in exile and their backers in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Washington and western capitals don’t want the fighting to stop. They want to overthrow the Assad government by force and violence.

However, despite continued words of caution from the Pentagon and White House about getting into another messy Middle East war, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton pressed for more intervention.

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Know secular Syria through seeing and hearing the voices of Syrians

This video is in Arabic, but that should not prevent an understanding of the ‘life pulse’ of it.  It a video of a Maronite church service in Damascus attended by imams.  There are interviews with an imam, priest, and members of the congregation.

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Sharmine Narwani has been referenced regularly on this blog.  She is making a courageous and committed effort to analyze the crisis in Syria from many perspectives and (this editor believes) with integrity. She was in Damascus in January and reported on conversations she had with members of opposition groups within Syria.

This interview is relatively short but an excellent summary of some of the key issues around Syria today.

Information and misinformation on Syria

12 April 2012

http://www.english.rfi.fr/middle-east/20120412-events-syria-and-medias

By Rosslyn Hyams

Sharmine Narwani, a senior associate at Saint Anthony’s College, Oxford, and contributor to the English edition of Al-Akhbar, an online arabic newspaper questions the way that information has been circulating about what’s been going on in Syria for the past 13 months. And the effect that it has had on the situation.

One article by Sharmine Narwani referred to previously on this blog is Questioning the Syrian “Casualty List”    Feb 28 2012

http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/questioning-syrian-%E2%80%9Ccasualty-list%E2%80%9D

It may help to read that in conjunction with this short report from Dr Bashar Ja’afara.

30 March 2012  A Letter from Syrian Ambassador to the UN presenting figures of those killed by ‘armed terrorist groups’ in Syria.

http://www.syrianyouth.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Bashar-Al-Jaafari-Letter-to-UN.pdf

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Unfortunately, Australian investigative reporting in regard to Syria is almost non-existent. There is reporting, but it is generally not balanced or seriously investigative.  Therefore, reporting of any substance often needs to be sourced from outside Australia.

Syria: Saving or Sinking-News Analysis-04-12-2012

600 A.M. Syrian time: All appeared quiet in Syria: UN Arab League Envoy Kofi Annan’s ceasefire deal seemed to have worked. Hours later: 2 incidents of violence: One officer dead, 24 others, injured, with a number of law enforcement officers injured in another incident, blamed on an armed terrorist groups with explosive devices. The Assad government has time and again blamed these groups for being part of the problem: Groups armed by some Arab countries, like Qatar and Saudi Arabia, with financial support from both Arab and Western countries, like the US and France.

This edition of News Analysis discusses the situation in Syria

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War photographer Paul Conroy refers to a video clip presented by ‘activists’ in Syria which was of a Mexican drug cartel.

Reporters ‘have to go in’ to Syria – injured photographer

BBC HardTalk

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/hardtalk/9712785.stm

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John Bradley, an expert on the Arab Spring, appears to have only been interviewed once on ABC Australia. http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2012/s3434650.htm   Is this because his expert opinion differs from the single narrative of many established commentators?  (Two of these interviews are from January, but were not published on this blog at till now.)

This first interview is just over 5 minutes long. Another must-listen to interview.

John R. Bradley / Russia Today — Syria and the Wahhabi Counterrevolution

http://firstpost.com/topic/place/syria-john-r-bradley-russia-today-syria-and-the-wahhabi-coun-video-nPoIskYLjXY-15-30.html

JOHN R. BRADLEY / Fox News – After the Arab Spring

26 January

Interview with John R. Bradley on Fox & Friends about his new book After the Arab Spring: How Islamists Hijacked the Middle East Revolts (Palgrave Macmilan, 2012). More info: http://johnrbradley.wordpress.com/

‘Syria on its knees – prelude to NATO invading Iran’

21 January 2012

http://rt.com/news/syria-nato-iran-russia-149/

The idea of the Syrian opposition dancing to a foreign tune has been floated by John R. Bradley, author of the book, After the Arab Spring. He says NATO members are committed to toppling the regime and will make Iran their next target.

­“[Syrian opposition is] under huge pressure from outside powers who want these talks [between the Assad regime and the opposition] to fail even before they begin – most obviously NATO,” he told RT. “NATO is determined to bring the Assad regime to its knees as a prelude to invading Iran.”

Bradley points out that two Arab states play a particularly important role in NATO’s plans for Syria. These are Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

“Saudi Arabia is financially and politically backing the civilian opposition [in Syria], and Qatar has been widely reported to be funding and arming the jihad rebels who were leading this insurrection,” he said. “We can be absolutely sure that this is nothing to do with human rights when it comes to the West’s concern, and even more sure when it comes to the concern of Saudi Arabia. This is how preposterous the Western media coverage is, of this uprising.”

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This blog is recommended for an alternative analysis of news reports.

MOON OF ALABAMA

The Live Videos Of The “Shelling Of Homs” Are Staged

April 14, 2012

http://www.moonofalabama.org/

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SIX WAYS THE MEDIA HAS MISREPORTED SYRIA

19 March 2012

http://www.syrianyouth.com/495_six-ways-the-media-has-misreported-syria.html

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Faux-Feminist’s Ridiculous “Women Under Siege” Syria Map
CIA Asset Gloria Steinem’s “Women Under Siege” Joins Syrian Propaganda Campaign.
by Tony Cartalucci

http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/faux-feminists-ridiculous-women-under.html

April 14, 2012 – Ironically, faux-feminist Gloria Steinem’s “Women Under Siege’s” latest campaign to demonize the Syrian government in tandem with the US State Department and its vast stable of media and intelligence assets, stands to set the stage for extremist ideologues to overrun Syria, ending its secular society and entirely stripping away the “women’s rights” Steinem claims to have spent a lifetime fighting for…..

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‘Syrian ‘opposition’ – West-controlled proxy paramilitary’

13 April 2012

http://rt.com/news/syria-opposition-proxy-paramilitary-948/

With Syria halting military operations as part of a UN-brokered ceasefire, Western powers have been saying they do not trust the government to uphold the armistice. Experts believe the US and its allies are pursuing their own agenda: regime change.

Michel Chossudovsky, Director of the Center for Research on Globalization, noted that Susan Rice, the US Ambassador to the UN, was wrong in saying that Russia and China had blood on their hands.

“NATO has blood on their hands,” he told RT. “The United States has blood on their hands. Why? Because they have supported an armed insurgency from the onset in March 2011. It is known and documented that this so-called opposition is, in fact, a proxy paramilitary formation, which is supported by the Western military alliance.”

He also noted that there is well-documented evidence to support the fact that most civilian casualties were attributable to terrorist acts by opposition gunmen and paramilitary forces. 

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Free Syrian Army Terrorists Expose Each Other, Murder, Rape and Pillage

published on April 12

An interesting clip showing a free Syrian Army commander denouncing the rape, pillage and murder of other Free Syrian Army members. Later he is killed by Free Syrian Army commander. This reminds me of the mysterious murder of Libyan rebel commander Abdel Fatah during NATO’s intervention into Libya. But is obvious that it just Al Qaeda acting as Al Qaeda both in Libya and Syria.

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Syrian Australians react to latest fighting 10 April 2012

http://www.sbs.com.au/podcasts/Podcasts/radionews/episode/210781/Syrian-Australians-react-to-latest-fighting

This SBS radio program presents short interviews with two locals:

Groups representing the Syrian community in Australia have widely different reactions to the latest fighting in Syria.

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Armed men violating Syria’s ceasefire: Report

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2012/04/13/armed-men-violating-syria-ceasefire-report.html
News | 13.04.2012 | 05:50

Reports from Syria say that anti-government armed groups are violating a ceasefire brokered by the joint UN-Arab league peace envoy Kofi Annan.

Syrian state TV reported on Thursday that armed men assassinated a local government official in al-Mazareeb town.

Meanwhile, armed terrorists also killed an army officer and injured 24 others after they targeted a military bus with an explosive device in Syria’s second largest city of Aleppo.

In a similar incident, armed terrorists targeted a law-enforcement vehicle with an explosive device at Wadi Haj Khaled region in Idleb on Thursday, injuring a number of officers.

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What’s goin’ on at the Turkish-Syrian border?

By Pepe Escobar    April 11, 2012

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article31052.htm#.T4ZzWvA4uZU.email

There is a video [1] that could be loosely translated as “Terrorist Turkish border opening fire on the Syrian side” that pretty accurately sums up what’s going on at the ultra-volatile geopolitical hotspot of the moment.

The voice over says, “This is the Syria-Turkey border, and this is an operation of the Free Syrian Army [FSA] … The Gate [that would be the Syrian side of the border, housing the Gate checkpoint] is going to be seized.”

What this means is that Turkey is sheltering the FSA right on the border, only a few meters – and not kilometers – away from Syrian territory. Way beyond hosting a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) command and control center in Iskenderun for months now – a fact already reported by Asia Times Online – Turkey has now advanced right to the border, enabling a back-and-forth by heavily weaponized guerrillas/mercenaries to attack a sovereign state.

Imagine a similar scenario happening, say, at a Mexican-US border in Arizona or Texas.

This can be seen as a very peculiar Ankara interpretation of “safe havens” and “humanitarian corridors” as outlined by what can be seen as the prime blueprint for regime change in Syria: a report [2] by the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution, authored by the usual cocktail of Israeli firsters and Qatar-affiliated Middle East “experts”.

The truth about what happened on the Syrian-Turkish borders.

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This news report is a reminder of the assassinations which have been taking place across Syria for up to 12 months, but which are rarely reported in the Australian media.  An imam, teachers, doctors, candidates in council elections, members of political parties are just some of the people who have been assassassinated in Syria.

Terrorists confess to assassinating Grand Mufti’s son Saria Hassoun, looting and stealing private properties

http://www.champress.net/index.php?q=en/Article/view/117732

Terrorists Ahmad al-Maloul and Ghassan al-Maloul on Friday confessed to assassinating Saria Badreddin Hassoun, son of Syria’s Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun.

In confessions broadcast by the Syrian TV, the two terrorists also confessed to killing Dr. Mohammad al-Omar, History professor at Ebla University and committing several acts of looting and robbery.

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Although this article by Paul Roberts is not specifically related to Syria, it is a reminder of the divisions within the American public arena in regard to the US role in the world and its war mongering.

Washington Leads World Into Lawlessness

By Paul Craig Roberts

April 13, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — The US government pretends to live under the rule of law, to respect human rights, and to provide freedom and democracy to citizens. Washington’s pretense and the stark reality are diametrically opposed.

US government officials routinely criticize other governments for being undemocratic and for violating human rights. Yet, no other country except Israel sends bombs, missiles, and drones into sovereign countries to murder civilian populations. The torture prisons of Abu Gahraib, Guantanamo, and CIA secret rendition sites are the contributions of the Bush/Obama regimes to human rights.

Washington violates the human rights of its own citizens. Washington has suspended the civil liberties guaranteed in the US Constitution and declared its intention to detain US citizens indefinitely without due process of law. President Obama has announced that he, at his discretion, can murder US citizens whom he regards as a threat to the US.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. http://www.paulcraigroberts.org

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Turkish opposition slams government over Syria “warmongering”

14 April 2012

http://www.todayszaman.com/news-277303-turkish-opposition-slams-government-over-syria-warmongering.html

“The Turkish Republic has never done as much warmongering as it has today,” leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said at a CHP party meeting on Thursday. He said his party doesn’t endorse interfering in the domestic affairs of another country and said they reject intervening in a struggle between authorities and opposition in a foreign nation.

………Criticizing Turkey’s Syrian policy, Kılıçdaroğlu asserted that the Turkish government was beating the war drum. He added that Turkey’s relations with Iraq, Iran and Syria have worsened because of the government’s interference in the domestic politics of these countries and that this in turn has downplayed Turkey’s ambition to become a regional power. The CHP leader accused the government of taking sides in the conflict and urged the ruling party to invite Iran, Russia and groups from Syria to Turkey for talks if it wants peace not war.

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McCain and Lieberman Meet With the Free Syria Army

By Josh Rogin

April 10, 2012

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article31050.htm#.T4U-5Hly-fg.email

Cowboys in Turkey fomenting war and supporting the propaganda necessary for it.

Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) are on a surprise trip to the Turkish-Syrian border to meet with leaders of the Free Syria Army and visit Syrian refugees, who have been under attack by Syrian government forces.

The senators’ trip was not associated with the efforts of U.N. envoy Kofi Annan, whose cease-fire agreement seems to have failed to stop the violence. McCain and Lieberman said in a statement that Syrian President Bashar al Assad has violated the terms of Anann’s cease-fire and that the only practical way forward is to arm the Syrian opposition.

“We respect Mr. Annan’s desire to find an end to the killing in Syria. Unfortunately, Bashar al-Assad does not share this goal. That fact has been clear to many of us for months, but it should now be undeniable for everyone,” the senators said. “Indeed, reports indicate that Assad has used the time provided by the recent diplomatic initiative to kill up to 1,000 additional men, women, and children in Syria. And just yesterday, Syrian forces fired across the border with Turkey, killing and wounding people in a refugee camp on Turkish territory.”

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The Anti-Empire Report

http://killinghope.org/bblum6/aer104.html

April 6th, 2012
by William Blum
http://www.killinghope.org

Putting Syria into some perspective

The Holy Triumvirate — The United States, NATO, and the European Union — or an approved segment thereof, can usually get what they want. They wanted Saddam Hussein out, and soon he was swinging from a rope. They wanted the Taliban ousted from power, and, using overwhelming force, that was achieved rather quickly. They wanted Moammar Gaddafi’s rule to come to an end, and before very long he suffered a horrible death. Jean-Bertrand Aristide was democratically elected, but this black man who didn’t know his place was sent into distant exile by the United States and France in 2004. Iraq and Libya were the two most modern, educated and secular states in the Middle East; now all four of these countries could qualify as failed states.

These are some of the examples from the past decade of how the Holy Triumvirate recognizes no higher power and believes, literally, that they can do whatever they want in the world, to whomever they want, for as long as they want, and call it whatever they want, like “humanitarian intervention”. The 19th- and 20th-century colonialist-imperialist mentality is alive and well in the West.

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Syrian rebels ‘using Turkish refugee camps as base’

10 April, 2012,

http://rt.com/news/rebels-refugee-camp-attack-665/

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Syrians talk of their lives and futures — They invite Americans to Syria

This is a short video uploaded on Youtube before the crisis in Syria. It is an interview with Syrian university students in a cafe in downtown Damascus.  War in Syria would transform their lives completely, the young men’s and the young women’s.  People who imagine they know what is best for Syria should ask Syrians. If that is not possible, then the next best thing is to look at them, listen to them, and imagine their responses.

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Arm the Free Syrian Army Now
9:15 AM, Mar 8, 2012 • By DAVID SCHENKER

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/arm-free-syrian-army-now_633315.html?page=1

This is a writer who is direct in his support of a war in Syria. It was written more than one month ago but this editor has only recently been directed to it. It helps show how enormous are the efforts of good men and women to bring peace to Syria when cowboys only want war and more of it. David Schenker is Aufzien fellow and director of the Program on Arab Politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He writes as if a US led war is a clean, good war, and assassinations of leaders is a good thing.

Rather than leading from behind and delegating the task of equipping of the FSA to less-discriminating states, like Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the Obama administration should take a lead role in supplying the FSA and mitigate potential leakage of weapons to nihilistic Islamists. At the same time, by providing materiel to these forces in a systematic manner, Washington can help transform these disparate franchise opposition units into a more disciplined and united force tied to a centralized command. Moreover, working closely with the FSA now will establish relationships that can help avoid a Libya scenario—where independent militias continue to run amok—and potentially enable Washington to better shape the post-Assad environment.

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Tragedies of liberal interventionist thinking in Syria and elsewhere

Posted by Helena Cobban
April 6, 2012

http://justworldnews.org/archives/004257.html

This article asks some questions of those who support US,NATO views on Syria. Here’s an excerpt:

….I truly do not understand how liberal universalists in the west, whose views, representations, and analyses of what is happening in Myanmar/Burma in these months are so uniformly calm and supportive of the wrenchingly negotiated transition to greater democracy there absolutely never stop to ask whether a similar process may not also be the best thing for Syria today (as it was for South Africa, 20 years ago.)

Why is Syria’s current government uniquely picked out by these so-called liberals as worthy of their rage, anger, and militarized “intervention” when those other authoritarian regimes, actually, committed far worse abuses against their citizens over the course of many decades?

Why the racism that is deeply embedded in these kinds of judgments?

And yes, “Avaaz”, I am speaking about you, too.

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UN Blacks Out Syria’s Speech, Ban’s Amateur Hour & Minute of Silence? 

5th April 2012

Editor’s note: The new President of the General Assembly is the Qatari ambassador to the UN.  This is very unfortunate timing when it is Qatar in particular (with Saudi Arabia and Turkey) which is pushing hard to topple the Syrian government by supporting armed groups and by giving a voice on Al-Jazeera to calls from extremists such as Sheik Qaradawi (recently banned from France and the UAE) to ‘good Muslims’ to overthrow the ‘heretical’ government. Here is a report from Press TV about the 5 April suppression of Bashar Ja’afari’s speech in the UN General Assembly, as well as Kofi Annan’s enunciation of Syria’s problem in dealing with continuing militant assaults and its willingness to support his plan for peace:

Syria adopts Kofi Annan’s six-point plan, west and allies still seek regime change

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/234821.html

Syrian ambassador to the UN Bashar Ja’Afari worked all day at the UN Thursday trying to convince the world of his government’s commitment to Special Envoy Kofi Annan’s six-point plan.The problem he says is that many countries don’t like Annan’s plan because they want regime change in Syria.

Ja’Afari is referring to an informal meeting Thursday morning called by the President of the General Assembly Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser of Qatar a country that’s bankrolling armed gangs in Syria.

The meeting began in an open format with cameras rolling with Special Envoy Annan appearing from Geneva via closed circuit TV and saying that the Assad government has given its full cooperation on all points.

Annan added that the Assad government had reassured him that no new forces would be sent into those areas.

Nasser and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon then spoke placing most of the responsibility for peace on the government without much regard to armed groups.

As Ambassador Ja’Afari tried to respond Nasser closed the meeting and threw out reporters.

Inner City Press journalist alerted the world to the media black out so press corps at UN couldn’t view the speech of the Syrian ambassador:

http://innercitypress.com/syria1blackout040512.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRaRV4hc_wA&feature=youtu.be

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qz2tGiTxHBc&feature=relmfu

For Dr Ja’afari’s complete press conference at the UN after the end of the meeting at the General Assembly:

http://www.unmultimedia.org/tv/webcast/2012/04/press-conference-bashar-jaafari-syria-on-the-situation-in-syria.html

Lavrov: Annan plan should not be foiled with threats and ultimatums

http://www.champress.net/index.php?q=en/Article/view/117116

MOSCOW- Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, declared Thursday that whatever steps related to the Syrian issue should be directed as to contribute to making a success of the UN Envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan’s plan.

In a statement in capital of Kirghizia, Bishkek, Minister Lavrov pointed out that Annan’s plan, already accepted by the Syrian Government, and which started implementing it, should not be foiled with threats and ultimatums.

The veteran Minister criticized the calls made by the so-call ‘friends of Syria’ participants on the opposition as to take stances contrary what Annan’s plan stipulated.

Minister Lavrov announced that Russia might vote for a UN Security Council statement on Syria, in case such a statement was not to include threats or ultimatums and if it were to contribute to the implementation of Annan’s plan.

Bogdanov:Calls to Arm the Opposition Unacceptable, Inappropriate and Contrast Entirely with Annan’s plan

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AL-AKHBAR

http://english.al-akhbar.com/blogs/sandbox/surprise-video-changes-syria-timeline

Surprise Video Changes Syria “Timeline”

by Sharmine Narwani  4 April 2012

Of all the myths obstructing the honest portrayal of events in Syria this past year, none has been more fiercely guarded by regime-change advocates than this one stark falsehood:

Myth – the Syrian regime has only been shooting unarmed, peaceful protestors until very recently when opposition groups finally decided to arm themselves in self-defense.

On the contrary, there is clear evidence that armed groups have targeted and killed security forces and civilians from within weeks of the first small protests in March 2011. An earlier investigative piece I wrote on the Syrian casualty lists identifies the shooting deaths of nine Syrian soldiers in Banyas on April 10, 2011 as one important timeline marker for premeditated opposition violence.

Ignoring this vital piece of information about the security landscape has helped shape a fundamentally flawed narrative of events in Syria. Furthermore, this false storyline has directly contributed to the escalation of the crisis by inciting rage against the “one-sided” violence of the regime, and emboldening opponents with a misplaced “righteousness” that kills legitimate debate on Syria…………….

(Support for the thesis of this article can be found at http://pool.abc.net.au/media/syria-questions-must-be-asked-and-answered )

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This is a long, detailed analysis of the crisis in Syria with particular focus on the President. It is worth the work. Like most serious analyses of the ‘propaganda, humanitarian and religious war’  against Syria, it is not in the mainstream media. Shame. (Didn’t regular reporters read Orwell or ‘The Quiet American’, Chomsky or ‘Catch 22’, or war poets; or listen to Bob Dylan and Joan Baez? Weren’t they inspired by their English teacher to do great things when they grew up? )

http://creativesyria.com/syriapage/?p=150

The real Bashar Al-Assad

Monday, April 2nd, 2012 | A post by Camille Otrakji

Among the main pillars of the case for a revolution against President Assad is the assumption that he has little support among his people, he is not compatible with moral standards shared by other members of the international community and he does not have what it takes to lead Syria anyway.

Yet, many journalists who visited Syria admit that Assad still enjoys significant popular support and his qualities and his job performance over the years received over the top, bi-polar reviews. In the words of his adversaries, Assad is “internationally respected“, “charming“, “attractive“, “fascinating“, “skilled“, “triumphant“, “most popular“, and in total control … or not in control, “weak“, “delusional“, most hated, “evil moron“, or even Hitler-evil

There is much more material to choose from. Google search returned tens of millions of results for “Bashar al Assad”, higher than Egypt’s “Hosni Mubarak”, “King Abdullah” of Saudi Arabia, long-time Israeli Prime Minister “Benjamin Netanyahu”, or Turkish Prime minister “Erdogan”.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said “We all have a responsibility to work for a resolution of this profound and extremely dangerous crisis that has potentially massive repercussions for the region and the world.” The crisis in Syria could quickly escalate into civil wars in Syria and a number of its neighbors, a massive regional war between the Sunni and Shia alliances, or the return of the cold war. All of which will severely impact global economy.

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http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/ngos-not-beyond-reproach-6719

Unmasking the Democracy Promoters

by Robert W. Merry

This article is a critical look at the shutting down of US NGO offices in Egypt and the UAE.

….The Steven Lee Myers article in the Timesreflects the general view that these NGO activists are merely doing what comes naturally to those who believe American democratic structures represent universal values that should be embraced universally throughout the world.

But the arrogance of many of these people is almost guaranteed to be incendiary in target countries. Consider the words of Michael McFaul, once the NDI’s representative in Russia. “We’re not going to get into the business of dictating [Russia’s] path [to democracy],” he said. “We’re just going to support what we like to call ‘universal values’—not American values, not Western values, universal values.” Who, one might ask, is the arbiter of such universal values, and how does one get appointed as crusader in their behalf? To get an answer you would have to travel to Russia, where McFaul now serves as U.S. ambassador.

One contrarian voice on this issue is Patrick J. Buchanan, the conservative commentator (and member of the TNI advisory council), who argues that such activity is not only wrong but harmful to American interests. He asks: “Does the United States interfere in the internal affairs of nations to subvert regimes by using NGOs to funnel cash to the opposition to foment uprisings or affect elections? Are we using Cold War methods in countries with which we are not at war—to advance our New World Order?”  He replies: “So it would seem.” ….

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There must be an examination of the role and intent of Saudi Arabia and Qatar in arming groups to cause civil strife in Syria, to kill.  People in Syria have so many more social and political freedoms than people in Saudi Arabia do in those two countries. So what is their justification for their desire to destroy the Syrian government and why do Western countries, notably the US, the UK and France, ally themselves with these countries?

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/ND06Ak01.html

Saudi Arabia’s Syrian jihad
By Joshua Jacobs

If there was any doubt as to Saudi intentions in Syria, that veil was ripped away on Sunday at the Istanbul “Friends of Syria” conference. The Saudis and their Gulf allies spearheaded an effort to create a formalized pay structure for the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and privately ruminated on the possibility of setting up official supply conduits to forces fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. This decision went much further than what the West, or even neighboring Turkey, seemed willing to embrace.

Arour Adnan is one extremist cleric broadcasting from Saudi Arabia:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bwz8i3osHww&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nk1-tA2HvM8&feature=related

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Editor’s note: Articles which can further the discussion on Syria are presented on these pages; this does not mean that the arguments of their writers is necessarily accepted by the editor.  For example, this writer is critical of US policy regarding Syria, but, nevertheless, plays safe by sticking to the mainstream media mantra as far as President Assad goes.

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/04/syria-america-steps-onto-the-slippery-slope/255372/

Syria: America Steps onto the Slippery Slope

by Robert Wright, 2 April 2012

Today’s award for the most euphemistic lead paragraph goes to the New York Times. Paraphrasing Hillary Clinton, the Timessays the U.S. has agreed to “send communications equipment to help rebels organize and evade Syria’s military.”

It might be nice if there were communications equipment whose use is inherently confined to evasive maneuvers. But I’m not aware of any. Inevitably, the equipment we’re giving the rebels will help them organize as they attack Syria’s military, not just as they retreat. It may even help them attack Syrian civilians who share the Alawite ethnicity of Syrian president Bashar al Assad. (Rebel attacks on Alawite civilians took place during the siege of Homs.) What’s more, according to the Syrian National Council, this “communications equipment” is going to include night-vision goggles–and I doubt it’s just nighttime evasions that the rebels have in mind.

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A lengthy analysis of the recent “Friends” of Syria meeting. The author has been to Syria very recently, so his article is well worth reading.

http://www.voltairenet.org/The-Syrian-debacle

SECOND “FRIENDS” OF SYRIA CONFERENCE IN ISTANBUL

The Syrian debacle

by Thierry Meyssan  5 April

On 27 March 2012, President Bashar al-Assad traveled to Homs where he visited the district of Baba Amr, the location where Syrian Takfirists [1] and foreign fighters had set up for one month an independent Islamic Emirate. He promised the displaced residents that the State would rebuild their homes “much better than before,” and they could soon return home. Thousands of people, mostly Sunni, had been forced to escape to avoid falling under the Islamists’ dictatorship. In their absence, the houses were pillaged and hundreds of them were blown up by rebels, when not already destroyed during the fighting.

Bashar al-Assad, who continues to be the most popular head of state in the Arab world, met with Homs dwellers, but refrained from the traditional walkabout due to the likely presence of isolated terrorists.

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The Guardian

The Arab spring has shaken Arab TV’s credibility  

, Tuesday 3 April 2012

Their biased coverage is undermining viewers’ faith in the Middle Eastern satellite channels that sprang up in the 1990s and 2000s

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/apr/03/arab-spring-arab-tv-credibility?CMP=twt_gu

Ali Hashem was interviewed by Russia Today in March soon after he resigned from Al-Jazeera. That interview was most revealing about the propaganda war against Syria and Propaganda and War in the 21st Century.

http://rt.com/news/hashem-al-jazeera-resignation-523/

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Editor’s note: It seems the US believes the crude “media and humanitarian” war against Syria has had its desired effect; the US and its allies are now going public with their support to fighters who will spread fear and terror in Syria, and kill. They trust people outside Syria will do nothing more than watch, turn their heads away or simply tutt tutt.  They plan to manufacture a full-blown civil war in Syria hoping the world will not notice their contribution to the violence and terror.  They plan to dismember Syria.

For an analysis of the April 1st ‘Friends of Syria’ meeting in Istanbul, the blog AMERICAN EVERYMAN (see link) is recommended over mainstream media:

Obama Takes a Page from Reagan – Free Syrian Army are Now His Contras

http://willyloman.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/obama-administration-takes-a-page-from-reagan-free-syrian-army-are-now-his-contras/

Posted on April 2, 2012 by willyloman

by Scott Creighton

Out of control warmonger Hillary Clinton is stepping up her efforts to force regime change in yet another country despite the horrific results of her previous “victory” in Libya.  The silence from the antiwar fauxgressives is deafening.

In spite of the fact that Assad has agreed to a new peace plan with the so-called “rebels” in Syria, with a smile on her face reminiscent of the crazed glee she showed after Gadhafi was brutally murdered in Libya, Hillary Clinton answered questions dutifully read by an ABC “reporter” after her Orwellian named “Friends of Syria” conference yesterday.

She made it perfectly clear that the Obama administration’s position was regime change no matter what. Don’t forget, Syria just implemented serious reforms in the country a few months ago and are holding free elections in a couple weeks. None of that matters to the democracy hating Clinton crew. The LAST thing they want to see is the people of Syria vote for keeping Assad after all their propaganda and terrorist mercenary efforts to destabilize the country………..

Regarding the ‘Free Syrian Army’ there is almost no critical analyses of them in the mainstream media. This blog has referred to their crimes before.  Here are two articles not presented which bring attention to them.

Syria: Free Syrian Army accused of displacing Lebanese

http://www.muslimnews.co.uk/news/news.php?article=21759

Ethnic Cleansing of Syrian Christians

http://frontpagemag.com/2012/03/29/ethnic-cleansing-of-syrian-christians/

And there need to be reminders of the ‘media war’ against Syria. This is one analysis not presented on this blog previously:

Mainstream media self-censorship

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmlu_4ptswQ

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US Moves Towards Intervention in Syria,  60 nations pledge to pay, support Syrian rebels

-Published on Sunday, April 1, 2012 by Common Dreams

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/04/01

The United States has pledged to provide money and communications assistance to rebels in Syria, who have been clashing with the Syrian government.

World leaders gather to discuss the clashes in Syria (Photo: Associated Press) At least 60 nations, including the US, have pledged $100 million to pay opposition fighters in Syria, according to the New York Times. The Obama administration has also agreed “to send communications equipment to help rebels organize and evade Syria’s military.”

This would mark the second time since Arab nations began uprisings against their governments in early 2011 that the US has taken such a direct role in an Arab conflict. The United States took an interventionist role in Libya last year — who like Syria had a testy diplomatic relationship with the US.

The United States has not intervened on behalf of pro-democracy activists in countries where they have strong geopolitical relationships with the government, such as Yemen and Saudi Arabia. This has led critics to allege that the United States intervenes in the name of geopolitical self-interest, and not a commitment to democracy or human rights in the region. Many have expressed opposition to US intervention in Syria.

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Friends of Syria call for timetable on change

In this report from the ABC’s THE WORLD TODAY, there is no reference to the armed ‘ opposition’ needing to put down their arms and sit at the peace table.

http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2012/s3468715.htm

RACHAEL BROWN: Addressing the summit of more than 80 nations Mrs Clinton said it’s unlikely president Assad will ever implement the peace plan he agreed on with the UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.

HILLARY CLINTON: Bashar al-Assad has so far refused to honour his pledge. There is no more time for excuses or delays, this is a moment of truth.

WILLIAM HAGUE: Everything the Assad regime has done looks like stalling for time.

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Editor: Is the country which produced Tolstoy and Solzhenitsyn producing more balanced journalism now than the West?

Friends of Syria recognize SNC as ‘legitimate representative’

http://rt.com/news/friends-syria-istanbul-meeting-966/

………. Moscow, which opted not to attend the conference, views the gathering as one-sided and questions its ability to push for dialogue.

There have also been charges that talks of arming the Syrian opposition discourage the peace process.

Moscow has pointed out that whatever the conference decides, it cannot speak on behalf of the international community or judge the implementation of Annan’s plan. Nor, the Kremlin says, can it be a replacement for the UN Security Council.

This means that without the support of the UN Security Council, any substantial decisions on Syria are highly unlikely.

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What should receive prominence in this discussion is Iraq’s stand. Iraqis know better than most what war brings to a country and the deceit of the US and its allies. It also knows that a war in Syria will impact on the whole region.

Maliki uses Syria to slam Qatar, Saudi Arabia

http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=51523

Iraq’s prime minister on Sunday slammed Sunni-ruled Qatar and Saudi Arabia’s stance on arming Syrian rebels, as Doha hosted Baghdad’s fugitive vice president who is accused of running a death squad.

Nuri al-Maliki’s remarks were the latest in a dramatic cooling of ties between Qatar and Iraq, which have sharply disagreed on how to respond to President Bashar al-Assad’s year-long deadly crackdown on dissent in Syria.

The United Nations says that more than 9,000 people have been killed since the crackdown began in mid-March last year.

The Syria issue has split the Arab world, with hardline states including Qatar and Saudi Arabia advocating arming Syrian rebels and calling for Assad’s departure, while others including Iraq want to see a political solution.

“We reject any arming (of Syrian rebels) and the process to overthrow the (Assad) regime, because this will leave a greater crisis in the region,” Maliki said at a news conference.

“The stance of these two states is very strange,” he said in apparent reference to Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

“They are calling for sending arms instead of working on putting out the fire, and they will hear our voice, that we are against arming and against foreign interference.”

“We are against the interference of some countries in Syria’s internal affairs, and those countries that are interfering in Syria’s internal affairs will interfere in the internal affairs of any country,” the Iraqi leader added.

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For an analysis of the complex reality of Syria, go to this most recent article by Dr Fiona Hill. It is on an ABC site, so hopefully ABC journalists will have access to it and it may lead to some balance in reporting and commentary on Syria.

THE DRUM OPINION, 2 April 2012

Whose revolution is this, anyway?

by Dr Fiona Hill

http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3926840.html

Just as the villages of Damascus countryside and suburbs of Homs and Idlib were commandeered for the past several months by armed opposition, with appalling consequences, now Damascus suburbs have roadblocks by armed militia. Fear casts a long shadow across Syria now that not even the capital is safe from such dangerous scenarios.

There have been many acts of terror in Syria this past 12 months by revolutionaries who identify themselves variously as the ‘Free Army’, Salafists, Takfiris, or Al Qaeda. They are joined in their abductions, extortions, destruction of infrastructure and killing of soldiers, police, and civilians who defy them – as reported to me by trusted sources and as confirmed by the Arab League Observer Mission by smuggling rings ruthlessly defending their territory and by a rag-tag of common criminals and mercenaries.

Members of the international alliance called ‘Friends of Syria’ refuse to acknowledge this element in Syria’s crisis and, more disturbingly, continue to provide arms and guerrilla trainers on the ground.

Instead they remain wedded to the evil dictator – good democracy protester motif, conflating the armed opposition with the many and varied active political opponents of the Syrian government who do not carry arms. Indeed to mention atrocities committed by the ‘Free Army’ is to attract accusations of being slavishly pro-Assad or a government lackey.

This outdated motif, and simple-minded attitude, is an insult to the Syrian people in all their political orientations.

IMAGES OF SYRIANS (nearly all the images have been taken from Syrian TV, April 2012 )

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