Monday, February 6, 2012

Run-up to proxy war over Syria; Syria and those 'disgusting' BRICS....LOL

In fact there is nothing amazing in an insurrection going on when it is fueled from the outside. Anyone who read newspapers at the time the Soviet Union still tried to export its ideology knows that it is virtually impossible to squash an insurrection that is supplied and funded from the outside. The real amazing fact is that Western countries have fallen so deep that they are doing this kind of things. It reminds me of the scene at the end of George Orwell's Animal Farm where the pigs (the former liberators) have become indiscernible from the humans (the former oppressors).

Tabler and Slaughter mention Hama 1982. Are they even aware that that bloodbath happened in reaction to a well organized murder campaign by the Muslim Brotherhood? It is no excuse. But it does indicate that we should be very careful who we support as a replacement for Assad the assassin in Chief who worked very closely with CIA and the infamous White House Murder INC, in the Levant assassinations since 2000....but now has fallen out of favors with the Zioconned World.....

Run-up to proxy war over Syria; Syria and those 'disgusting' BRICS....LOL
By M K Bhadrakumar

If a date needs to fixed marking the end of "post-Soviet era" in world politics, it might fall on February 4, 2012. Russia and China's double veto of the Arab League resolution on Syria in the United Nations Security Council constitutes a watershed event.

Curiously, the secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Anders Fogh Rasmussen chose the same day as the veto in New York to snub Russia; saying that that the alliance would have the first elements of the US's missile defense system (ABM) up and running in Europe by the alliance's summit in May in Chicago, no matter Moscow's objections.

The first double veto by Russia and China on the Syrian issue in the United Nations Security Council last October was a coordinated move that sought to scuttle a resolution that might be seized by the Western alliance to mount a military operation in Syria. But the repeat double veto on a motion pressing Syria's President Bashar al-Assad to abandon power conveys a much bigger meaning.

Makings of proxy war
The Syrian situation has evolved since October and has surged as a geopolitical struggle over the future of the Iranian regime, control of the Middle East's oil and the perpetuation of the West's preponderant influence in that region. Russia and China sense that they could be booted out of the Middle East.

With the double veto, the only option available for the US and its allies in Syria is to flout both international law and the UN charter and overthrow the regime in Damascus. Indeed, the option exists to backtrack from the path of covert intervention, but it is a remote possibility. According to former Central Intelligence Agency officer Philip Giraldi, writing in the current issue of The American Conservative magazine:
Unmarked NATO warplanes are arriving at Turkish military bases close to Iskenderum on the Syrian border, delivering weapons from the late Muammar Gaddafi's arsenals as well as volunteers from the Libyan Transitional National Council who are experienced in pitting local volunteers against trained soldiers, a skill they acquired confronting Gaddafi's army. Iskenderum is also the seat of the Free Syrian Army, the armed wing of the Syrian National Council. French and British special forces trainers are on the ground, assisting the Syrian rebels while the CIA [Central Intelligence Agency] and US Spec Ops are providing communications equipment and intelligence to assist the rebel cause, enabling the fighters to avoid concentrations of Syrian soldiers.
Giraldi adds that the CIA analysts themselves are "skeptical regarding the approach to war", as they know that the frequently cited United Nations account of civilians killed is based largely on rebel sources and uncorroborated. The CIA has "refused to sign off on the claims" of mass defections from the Syrian Army. Likewise, accounts of pitched battles between deserters and loyal soldiers "appear to be a fabrication, with few defections being confirmed independently".

If Washington knows the ground realities in Syria, Moscow and Beijing know them, too. Thus, a test of will is developing over Syria. The US and its allies and Turkey can raise the pitch of the overt operations. But Russia can also raise the political and military 'cost' of the covert war. Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said over the weekend that Moscow will "do its utmost to avert a heavy-handed interference in Syria", although it "cannot prevent a military intervention in Syrian affairs if this decision is made by any country."

On the other hand, the West does not accept Russia as an arbiter in Syria and is bent on frustrating Moscow's repeated attempts to bring the Syrian factions and government to political dialogue. Moscow senses that President Bashar Al-Assad's political standing is weakening while the West calculates that the Russian stance becomes increasingly untenable.

The West has chosen to ignore China's stance. Obviously, the West is dismissive about the dragon's pretensions in the Middle East, whereas it takes the bear seriously, given its vast experience historically in the affairs of that region. So, the West's propaganda barrage is pitting Russia as a hurdle to democratic reforms and change in the Middle East. The US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice chose her words carefully while grandstanding that she felt "disgusted" at Russia's veto.

Russia is determined not be drawn into proxy wars which are a drain on resources, but the West is comfortable since the fabulously wealthy Qatari emir is prepared to bankroll operations. Again, ditching a traditional ally in the heat of the night could seriously dent Russia's image in the Middle East at a historic juncture where a renewed geopolitical struggle is just about commencing, which would have long-term global impact. Keeping Russia, an energy powerhouse, from developing bonhomie with the oil-rich Persian Gulf oligarchies has been a priority in Western strategies through the past several decades.

To be sure, Lavrov and the head of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Mikhail Fradkov are proceeding to Damascus on Tuesday. The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday, "Russia, in consultation with other countries, is firmly set to seek the quickest stabilization of the situation in Syria along the paths of the quickest implementation of long-overdue democratic transformations."

The statement welcomed a continuance of the Arab League observer-mission to Syria, "which has proved its efficiency as a factor in de-escalating the violence." The sense of urgency is palpable, but the West is certain to block Lavrov's mission.

But the West is also unsure about pushing the envelope since its proxy, Burhan Ghalioun of the so-called Syrian National Council (a Syrian exile and academic in Sorbonne University) as yet finds little acceptance within Syria. Even his return to Damascus is problematic. And all this while the civil war is spreading inside Syria. Thus, the situation is fast acquiring the makings of a Cold War-era proxy war.

The backdrop is also fraught with disturbing parallels. China has come under US pressure with the latter's declaration of its "strategic turn" to Asia.

'Russia-China concerns'
Following the setting up of a US military base in Australia, Washington is currently engaged in talks with Manila to increase the American military presence in Southeast Asia. Manila is open to hosting American ships and surveillance aircraft, holding joint military exercises and asking the US back two decades after American forces were evicted from the Subic Bay, their biggest base in the Pacific.

At the annual Munich security conference over the weekend, Beijing registered its displeasure. Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun warned "countries outside Asia" to desist from attempts to "deliberately highlight the military and security agenda, create tension or strengthen military presence or alliance" in the region or "impose their will on Asia". He asserted, "The Asian way should be respected" and he warned against "any attempt to twist international rules." Zhang underlined that the rise of Asia "signals a move towards greater balance in the international power structure."

Significantly, the Beijing newspaper, The Global Times also pointed out recently that the US's belligerent projection of military might increasingly leaves Beijing and Moscow with no choice but to react. It said:
So far Moscow and Beijing are relatively restrained, though NATO seeks to expand its strategic presence in East Europe and US strengthening its military alliances in Asia. But the two cannot fall back forever. For Beijing and Moscow alike, ties with the US have been stressful. The two don't want to set off external doubts in their heated relations. But in both countries, an increasing number of people now advocate a Moscow-Beijing 'alliance'. The two do have countermeasures against the US, and they are capable of deterring US allies. If they are really determined to join hands, the balance of power on many world issues will begin to shift.
Equally, Moscow's ties with the West have deteriorated. The US-Russia talks on the ABM are in deadlock. Washington rejects Moscow's plea for a legally binding guarantee that the US's ABM deployments in Europe will not impact Russia's strategic deterrent.

Dmitry Rogozin, Russia's deputy prime minister, said in Moscow recently that the US and its NATO allies at present have 1,000 missiles capable of intercepting Russia's intercontinental ballistic missiles, covering all European Russia up to the Ural mountains. He said:
There are no guarantees that after the first, second, and third phases [of the US' ABM project] are completed, there will be no fourth, fifth and sixth. Do you really think they will halt all their technologies after 2020? That's nonsense! They will go ahead with developing and boosting technical parameters of their interceptor missiles and performance capabilities of their warning [missile defense] systems ...

The fact that the missile defense system can hit strategic missiles and the fact that those bases and fleet are deployed in northern seas demonstrate the obvious anti-Russian nature of the [US] missile defense.
Clearly, the Russian and Chinese double veto on the Syrian resolution represents a coordinated move to challenge the US on its triumphalist march from Libya toward Syria and Iran. Lavrov spoke to his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechen just before the voting in the Security Council. While casting his veto, Chinese ambassador to the UN Li Baodong said, "China supports the revised proposals raised by Russia."

Xinhua news agency commented that the double veto "aimed at further seeking peaceful settlement" in Syria and "preventing possible drastic and risky solutions". It pointedly explained the "Russia-China concerns" over Syria. The Chinese commentaries highlight that "globalization has dedicated a new logic in international relations" and Syria is a key theater for the West's agenda to make the Middle East their sphere of influence....

Syria and those 'disgusting' BRICS....LOL
By Pepe Escobar

A Greek choir of the "disgusted" and the "outraged" predictably greeted BRICS members Russia and China double veto to the United Nations Security Council resolution imposing regime change in Syria. The resolution was backed by that haven of democracy, the GCC League, the organization controlled by the six monarchies/emirates of the Gulf Cooperation Council formerly known as the Arab League.

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the double veto a "travesty". Then Clinton duly incited "friends of democratic Syria" to keep working for regime change, which was the object of the resolution. The copyright for this idea is held by the liberator of Libya, neo-Napoleonic French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who said Paris was already working to create a NATOGCC "Friends of the Syrian People Group" in charge of implementing the Arab League's regime change plan.

Right on cue, Paris puppet Burhan Ghalyun, the head of the Syrian National Council (SNC) - the opposition umbrella group - also summoned these countries "friendly to the Syrian people". Everybody knows who they are; the US, Britain, France, Israel and GCC members Qatar and Saudi Arabia. With "friends" like these, the "Syrian people" certainly don't need enemies.

Those 'disgusting' BRICS
United States ambassador to the UN Susan Rice - a top cheerleader of R2P, also known as humanitarian bombing - called the double veto "disgusting".

Even the venerable stones of the Umayyad mosque in Damascus know that only Washington has the right to wield veto power at the UN - overwhelmingly to protect the state of Israel's right to kill Palestinian men, women and children with tanks and shelling without bothering about pesky UN resolutions. [1]

Russia, vocally - and China, silently - had been adamant for weeks; forget about a UN resolution for regime change in Syria, or worse yet, opening the doors for a Libya-style NATO humanitarian bombing.

Russia has its own geopolitical reasons to consider Syria a red line; Syria hosts Russia's only naval base in the Mediterranean, in the port of Tartus; and Syria buys Russian weapons. But in fact all the five BRICS - plus the overwhelmingly majority of the developing world - are in synch; forget about regime change-enabling UN resolutions, promoted by the usual suspect Western trio US-Britain-France and - the summit of hypocrisy - devised by the "democratic" House of Saud and Qatar.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will be in Damascus this Tuesday to meet with President Bashar al-Assad and discuss a serious plan to try to end the bloodshed. Lavrov has calmly explained the reasons for the Russian veto.

He had sent Russian amendments to the draft resolution directly to Clinton; "The rationality and objectivity of these amendments should not cause anyone's doubt." But to no avail; the resolution remained "unilateral" - demanding nothing from Syrian anti-government armed groups. Lavrov stressed, "No president with self-respect, no matter how treated, will agree to surrender inhabited localities to armed extremists without resistance." Imagine if Homs was in Texas.

Still, the SNC now holds Moscow and Beijing "responsible for the escalating acts of killing and genocide", and facilitators of a "license to kill". Lavrov is imperturbable; "We have repeatedly said that we are not protecting Assad but international law. The prerogative of the UN Security Council does not envision interference in internal processes."

Homs: Who's killing whom?
Syria's UN ambassador Bashar Ja'afari strongly denied the opposition's accusation of regime forces bombing the Khadiliya neighborhood in Homs with tanks and artillery and killing over 200 people - arguing that "no sensible person" would launch such an attack the night before the UN Security Council was discussing a resolution. Without any preliminary investigation, France called it a "massacre" and a "crime against humanity". Like France's performance during the Algerian war?

To understand what's at stake, it's crucial to keep in mind who's defecting from the Syrian army. Syria's top military - also members of the Ba'ath Party - are almost all Alawis, the folk Shi'ite sect (10% of the overall population). They are not defecting.
The defectors are overwhelmingly Sunni troops (70% of the overall population); they are forming militias, Libya-style, heavily infiltrated by mercenaries weaponized by the GCC, and fighting government troops. The government's response has been to target the neighborhoods where the families of these defectors live. The center of Homs nowadays is controlled by the rebels.

So what's really happening on the ground in Homs? Here are sections from a crucial e-mail sent by a trusted Syrian Christian source:
Many Syrians are ecstatic about the double veto but Homs is very worrying. The opposition spread news about a massacre just before the vote and they quoted numbers in the hundreds ... unbelievably quoted by all news channels (all based on "activists") without any verification, only to bring the number down to something like 33 later. They never showed any bombing or taking people under rubble or any injured people ... just clean-bodied men with their hands and feet tied up and shot mostly once and only in their underwear. Whatever the Syrian government has in its arsenal it seems there are very intelligent bombs that can strip and tie up people then shoot them in the head!!

The thing that we know fully well is that there are no army presence in Homs. My parents left the city then came back Saturday morning on the day of the alleged massacre and there was nothing. They usually call a hotline (115) and ask if the roads are safe and security operator will tell you to come to Homs or not. This time they told them to come and indeed there was nothing to be seen or heard. This of course doesn't mean that most of the city and particularly the old city is under the control of the gunmen. Our old neighborhood where I grew up (the Christian Bustan al-Diwan) was completely taken over by the gunmen. YouTube videos show how the FSA cleared the army roadblock in the previous neighborhood (Bab al-Dreib) and then proceeded to destroy the one guarding our neighborhood.

People in my neighborhood did not complain of any major harassment or problem, however the "revolutionaries" did indeed break into a couple of homes that their people left either days earlier or at the time, also into a school, Homs Newspaper (operated by the Orthodox church for more than 100 years) and a few other restaurants but no other complaints. I mean, considering what these FSA do to Alawites, then the Christians are really getting very fair treatment so far.

What many believe now is that the bodies shown tied up and shot in Khalidiya and which are alleged to be "men, women and children" killed by a bombardment of the Syrian army were nothing but kidnapped Syrian soldiers. Add to them kidnapped Alawites who were not liberated (or actually exchanged). When the FSA kidnap some people, Alawites started to kidnap in return to exchange the prisoners. This doesn't always work and some people who weren't "exchanged for" turned up dead in Khalidiya.

All in all up to this point there really isn't any offensive by the Syrian army on the city. The rebels continue to attack other checkpoints. People are completely in the dark as to what the government is thinking regarding Homs. It's devastating for me to see my neighborhood become another battleground and many of my friends leaving.
All this dovetails with an explanation by fine journalist Nir Rosen, author of the indispensable Aftermath: Following the Bloodshed of America's Wars in the Muslim World ; Homs is essentially a question of rebels seizing government checkpoints - and government forces shelling a few neighborhoods with mortars. According to Rosen:
There was no fighting in Homs, just shelling from these safe locations (from the point of view of the regime), suggesting they are unable to actually attack Khalidiya with regime fighters ... No opposition fighters were killed in the attack. And up to 130 people in Khaldiyeh were killed and 800 wounded (like I said not fighters). Now that's a lot of people but if you were watching the news ... you would think that Homs was destroyed while in fact this attack can also be seen as a sign of the regime's weakness in the city.
Compare this with my Syrian source worried that "people are completely in the dark as to what the government is thinking regarding Homs".

Imagine an armed insurrection in a mid-sized city in the US; the whole world saw how peaceful Occupy Wall Street was dealt with by billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg. The "disgusting" BRICS have made it clear; there will be no NATOGCC humanitarian bombing of Syria. But NATOGCC may be succeeding in its plan B: to plunge Syria into civil war.

1. Here's a
partial summary of US vetoes at the UN.