Assad in Person: Confident, Friendly, No Regrets

Assad in Person: Confident, Friendly, No Regrets

By ANNE BARNARD NOV. 1, 4,  2016

 DAMASCUS, Syria — The guns were silent atop Mount Qasioun and the lights on its slopes twinkled over Damascus as President Bashar al-Assad of Syria welcomed a group of Western visitors into his French-Ottoman palace on Monday night, presenting himself as a man firmly in control of his country.

He radiated confidence and friendliness as he ushered a group of British and American journalists and policy analysts into an elegant wood-paneled sitting room where he claimed that the social fabric of Syria was stitched together “much better than before” a chaotic civil war began more than five years ago. It was as if half his citizens had not been driven from their homes and nearly half a million had not been killed in the bloody fighting for which he rejected any personal responsibility, blaming instead- as a matter of fact- the United States and Islamist militants.

“I’m just a headline — the bad president, the bad guy, who is killing the good guys,” Mr. Assad said. “You know this narrative. The real reason is toppling the government. This government doesn’t fit the criteria of the United States.”

Female Taxi Driver Asserts 'Aleppo Was Like Paris before War'

Two days ago, the only female taxi driver in Aleppo city told RT's reporter that the city was like Paris before the crisis, hoping that Syria will be rebuilt to its former glory.

Emenour, 52, who is a mother and grandmother, said: " “Five years ago before the war, Aleppo was like Paris, even more beautiful. Now look at this destruction. It was so majestic and now it’s all ruined. But we will rebuild it all. And most importantly, soldiers will go back to their families and their mothers."

She has lost her eldest son and husband in the war on Syria and her house has been destroyed in shelling. Now, she is living with several cats in an apartment given to her by the Syrian government.

A year of Russian anti-ISIS ops in Syria: 5 key milestones

Precisely a year ago Moscow joined the campaign in Syria at the request of Damascus. While killing thousands of terrorists, Russia suffered military losses, but became one of the driving forces behind attempts at the national reconciliation process, a report by RT said.

On September 30, 2015 Russian jets conducted their first strikes against terrorist targets in Syria, hitting so-called Islamic State (IS, formerly known as ISIS/ISIL) positions near the cities of Homs and Hama.

By that time the US-led coalition had been already active in Syria for over a year. Yet Russia became the only state which received an official request from Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to conduct air strikes in the country. The Russian jets operated from the Hmeimim air base located in Syria’s Latakia Governorate.

The Aleppo Poster Child, Propaganda Picture to Justify Escalation of US-Led War

Washington’s media presstitutes are using the image of the child to bring pressure on Russia to stop the Syrian army from retaking Aleppo.

Washington wants its so-called "moderate rebels" to retain Aleppo so that Washington can split Syria in two, thereby keeping a permanent pressure against President Assad.

As for the little boy in the propaganda picture, he does not seem to be badly injured. Let us not forget the tens of thousands of children that Washington’s wars and bombings of 7 Muslim countries have killed without any tears shed by CNN anchors, and let us not forget the 500,000 Iraqi children that the United Nations concluded died as a result of US sanctions against Iraq, children’s deaths that Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said were worth it.

In bid to save proxy forces in Syria, US discusses pact with Russia

United States Secretary of State John Kerry met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow Thursday evening for discussions over a US-Russian military pact in relation to Syria. The pact had been proposed by the Obama administration in early July.

The Obama administration is, in words at least, holding out the offer of a common front against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the Al Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate. The White House proposal includes the establishment of a joint US-Russian command center, located in the US-allied Kingdom of Jordan, which would run “integrated operations,” supposedly coordinating military and intelligence operations in Syria.

Since Russia launched its bombing campaign in Syria in September 2015, Washington has accused it of focusing on the so-called moderate opposition, elements armed and funded by the CIA and US regional allies, who are in most cases in alliance with the Syrian Al Qaeda affiliate and encamped directly alongside it. Moscow’s repeated requests for the Pentagon to provide coordinates for the so-called moderates so that it could avoid striking them have until now invariably been rejectedIn exchange for the proposed American collaboration, Russia would scale back its bombing campaign, insist that Assad end most operations by the Syrian Air Force and accept a military cooperation agreement that would give Washington some degree of control over the targeting of Russian strikes.

In comments to media, the two, Kerry and the Russian president, issued dubious assurances that an agreement, in some form, is at hand. Putin expressed “hope” that “progress” and “possible headway” would emerge from the talks.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to make some genuine progress that is measurable and implementable and that can make a difference in the course of events in Syria,” Secretary Kerry said.

Whatever promises are made by the White House, it is impossible to believe that the US will engage in a serious joint bombardment with Russia against Al Nusra. Such a campaign would devastate the leading anti-Assad formation, closing the book on the insurgency fomented against Damascus by Washington.

According to Faisal Itani of the Atlantic Council, “combined attacks against Nusra would effectively end the Syrian opposition, cementing Mr. Assad’s grip on power.”

The Nusra group has functioned as an instrument of the US war plan since the beginning of the imperialist-orchestrated insurgency in 2011. Al Nusra has emerged as “one of the most effective anti-Assad forces,” and the proposed deal would “bring American firepower to bear against the strongest anti-Assad military force and a sometime partner of Washington’s allies,” the New York Times reported on Friday.

The White House proposals represent a tactical maneuver, aimed at salvaging the remnants of the anti-Assad forces, the backbone of which is composed of ISIS and the Al Qaeda-linked Nusra fighters.

Nonetheless, the fact that the Obama administration has offered such a deal is significant in itself, powerfully underscoring the disastrous position of the American-backed forces on the ground. The Russian-backed Syrian military is tightening the noose around the American-backed opposition forces, and Syrian Army units are encircling opposition militias inside the key city of Aleppo, trapping hundreds of thousands of civilians in the process.

A US-Russian coordination pact would enable Washington to manage and constrain the Russian air campaign, in a last-ditch effort to preserve some portion of the opposition until after the upcoming 2016 US elections. Once the political hurdle of the election has passed, a newly installed presidential administration will have a free hand to escalate the war, renewing the push against Damascus through fresh deployments of US ground troops and an intensified air campaign.

Whatever the twists and turns in its short-term policy, the American ruling class will never willingly accept the re-stabilization of the Assad government or indeed the consolidation of any Russian-aligned regime in Damascus, which Washington views as an obstacle to US hegemony in the Middle East.

Factions of the US elite clearly remain committed to the violent overthrow of Assad, and deeply hostile to any compromise with the Putin government. As the Times noted Friday, the Obama plan “has generated deep unease at the Pentagon and in some quarters of the State Department.”

By Thomas Gaist

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/07/16/ussy-j16.html

 

M.A.

 

The West’s ‘Massacre of the Innocents’ in Syria

On the 12th of May a massacre was committed in the town of al-Zara in the southern countryside of Hama, Syria. Women and children were slaughtered by Takfiri death squads branded by the Western media as ‘moderate rebels’. There was no mention of the massacre in the Western press. There was no need to mention it because it was of no use to them. Often, the Western-backed terrorists film their massacres or post pictures of the dead children on social media. These pictures are then displayed across all the front pages of corporate newspapers and flashed across television screens. People’s emotions are aroused.

Al-Nusra being presented to West as ' moderate'

After splitting with Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra is being presented to the West as a moderate force. It’s nothing of the sort. The jihadist force's reputation is being cleaned up, to suggest it is deserving of CIA support

So ol‘ Doc Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s chief executive successor, has told the Syrian Jabhat al-Nusra that it can dissociate itself from Al-Qaeda. Good public relations: Nusra doesn’t like the Isis “caliphate” very much, but as long as it remains a Qaeda clone, it can’t get off America’s terrorist list and qualify to join the (non-existent) 70,000 Syrian “moderates” dreamed up by David Cameron and a lot of American television networks.

Qatar's relations with Nusra raises questions. It denies direct ties with the group, and yet six months ago the Qatari Al-Jazeera channel interviewed Nusra’s leader, Mohamed al-Jolani, who said that it had nothing against Christians, Alawites or Americans.

Have no doubts about the Qatar link. Nusra boys have just released three Spanish journalists held in northern Syria for the past 10 months, after which the Qatari state news agency boasted that the Qatari authorities were involved in freeing them. You bet they were. Had the unlucky three fallen into the hands of those other morbid sons-of-the-desert, Isis (for whom many Saudis seem to have an unhappy affection), then the reporters would have had their throats cut on videotape against a soundtrack of yet more mushy "nasheed" music. 

When a group of Christian nuns fell into Nusra hands in Syria in 2013, Qatar helped to bail them out via Lebanon – at a reported price of more than $1m a nun – and was duly thanked by the Lebanese security authorities. If readers are getting a little bit suspicious, perhaps wondering if the Qataris are trying to take over the armed Syrian opposition from Isis and its Saudi Salafist brothers, they may well be right.