Moscow expects Washington to shortly assume stance on Syria — expert

MOSCOW- Russia expects that US President Donald Trump will soon make the decision as to Washington’s stance on the Syrian settlement, a senior political adviser to the UN special envoy for Syria told reporters on Monday, Tass reported.

"Maybe this will happen after a G20 meeting or after a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin," Vitaly Naumkin said. "He has clearly formulated a bid to cooperate not only with Russia, but also with all who can fight against terrorists," said Naumkin, director of the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

A crime against humanity

From the very beginning of the crisis in Syria, the armed terrorist groups have been committing atrocious crimes against Syrian people and their public and private properties. ISIS, al-Nosra Front and their affiliates have been killing innocent people and destroying the infrastructure of the country capitalizing on the financial and military support offered by Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Cutting off water supply in Damascus is a war crime and a crime against humanity which comes in a series of violations of the international law and a series of criminal acts perpetrated by armed terrorist groups in the main Syrian cities, particularly in Damascus and Aleppo.

The U.S. allied itself with vicious dictators

The U.S. allied itself with vicious dictators to overthrow Syria’s govt: US Senator

Senator Richard H. Black is a republican member of the US Senate whom made headlines in 2016 for his trip to Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad. He is a former Marines' pilot that at one time held a Top Secret security clearance. He received his education at the University of Florida (B.S.B.A., accounting; J.D.); postgraduate legal studies, TJAGSA, University of Virginia Campus, Army War College. Prior to accepting a commission as a Major in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps (JAG) he was a practitioner of law in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Formerly, Black was a Member of the Virginia House of Delegates: 1998-2006; he was elected to the Virginia state Senate in 2012, where he continues his service today. In an exclusive interview with khamenei.ir, conducted by Catherine Shakdam*, Mr. Black answers questions on the issue of Syria, JCPOA and more:

Senator, Washington recently announced this December that it would extend all sanctions against Iran for another decade. How do you understand this development?      

First I would like to express my condolences on the passing of former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani; as he is being remembered for bringing great hope to the people of Iran. I know his loss is heartfelt by all Iranians.

President Obama expended enormous political capital to execute the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).   Once approved, that became the basis for a UN Security Council Resolution that lifted the UN’s nuclear-based sanctions against Iran. That has freed all members of the UN to resume trading with Iran.

As a consequence, several major corporations entered into massive contracts with Iranian companies. Multibillion-dollar contracts were signed with Boeing and Airbus for passenger airliners; with the French oil company, TOTAL, for major oil field development; and with Schlumberger, for heavy oilfield equipment.  None of these contracts will be directly affected by the recent U.S. congressional action.  Consequently, unless the incoming Trump administration takes some unexpected action, Iran should benefit considerably from the JCOPA.

This December, the U.S. Congress voted overwhelmingly to extend the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) for an additional 10-year period.   The Obama Administration  said it  didn’t believe the extension violates the JCPOA, although President Obama clearly did not want Congress to extend the ISA.   However, he could not block the action because the vote in Congress was so overwhelming against him.

Although the President has great flexibility in implementing the U.S. sanctions, the ISA extension will make it more difficult for U.S. companies to trade with Iran. Also, because of America’s control of the global banking system, the U.S. could potentially discourage other countries from trading with Iran even though the JCPOA has lifted legal restrictions on them.  

 Senator, you have come out as the foremost defender of Syria’s right to political determination, pointing to the nefarious nature of the Syrian war narrative – such as it is peddled by mainstream media. What prompted you to speak up against the Syrian war? And do you believe that perpetual war has become an end in itself?

When foreign nations took covert actions that started the war in Syria, Syria was one of the five safest counties on earth; it had enjoyed 40 years of peace with Israel; it was financially strong and had no debts to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or World Bank;  its literacy rate was high and rising rapidly; it had impressive women’s rights and an exceptional degree of religious freedom.  In 2009, 51 per cent of Syrian university graduates were women. Many people saw President and Mrs. Assad as youthful, idealistic reformers, who dreamt of modernizing Syria and eliminating corruption.   Syria was a model for Arabic advancement into the modern world.  President Assad said that his greatest challenge was defending sectarianism against extremism, and that proved to be the case.

 The war against Syria was a war of aggression , instigated by foreigners attacking a neutral, nonbelligerent country.  What was especially galling to me, is that the U.S. and Great Britain were training terrorists in Jordan,  Qatar,  Turkey  and Saudi Arabia,  and that we were arming  and funding al Qaeda—the  same force that attacked the Twin Towers and Pentagon on 9-11.  Our covert assistance to al Qaeda, which had murdered 3,000 Americans, was treason of breathtaking dimensions.

If we succeeded in installing a Wahhabi government in Damascus, I knew that Christians, Alawites, Shiites and many Sunnis faced execution or enslavement.  Saudi Arabia and Turkey were determined to dictate Syria’s form of government, and that government would be severe and brutal.  Syrians would have no voice in their government; after six years of foreign intervention, not one “rebel” was ever popular with the Syrian people who voted overwhelmingly to re elect President Assad in 2014.  Syrians remain intensely loyal to their president.

 If the Gulf States, the U.S., U.K., France, and NATO forced Syrians to submit to a vicious puppet regime,  millions would have been murdered or enslaved in a bloodbath similar to Turkey’s Armenian Genocide, which murdered 1.5 million Christians. 

 The United States allied itself with vicious dictators to overthrow Syria’s government. To accomplish the overthrow, the US, Great Britain, and France, together with Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, armed, trained and gave diplomatic support to al Qaeda and a host of related terror groups.   Saudi Arabia and Qatar funded ISIS, and Turkey was the principal ally and trading partner of ISIS for years.  Even then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton secretly discussed Saudi Arabia’s and Qatar’s pivotal role in global terrorism. 

In summary, the war on Syria was designed to unleash a bloodbath to empower terrorists.  It was waged to advance sinister goals of tyrants in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey.  It was deeply immoral and U.S. participation in the war against Syria was unjust.  I believed it must be stopped, and I have tried to do that.

Ignoring international condemnation, Zionists press ahead with settlement activities

From the very beginning of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, successive Israeli governments resorted to constructing settlement blocks to absorb the thousands of incoming Jewish settlers.

Another sinister objective behind the Israeli expansionist policy was to change the demographic and geographic status of the Palestinian territories.

Despite the wide-scale international condemnation and the landmark UN Security Council which calls on Israel to immediately halt its expansionist settlement policy, Israel plans to construct thousands more illegal settler units on occupied Palestinian territories in flagrant defiance of the UN Security Council resolution, which decried the Tel Aviv regime’s policy of settlement expansion and demanding the halt of such activities.

A strategic juncture in the future fight against terrorism

The restoration of security and stability to Aleppo is a victory which forms a strategic juncture and important turning point in the fight against terrorism, from one point, and a blow to the terrorist project and its supporters from another.

This important step affirms the capability of the Syrian army and its allies to terminate the war against terrorist organizations and establishes a new era to expel terrorism from all Syrian territories.