No war is ever won nor does it actually end

We have entered an age of constant conflict…. Only the foolish will fight fair.

It seems to be a worldwide given that senior politicians and military personnel make use of the revolving door when they retire from politics, and mostly it involves getting highly-paid directorships in arms manufacturing and other defence-related businesses.  Britain’s record is as good as it gets – depending on your interpretation of ‘good’.

Prime Ministers don’t help.  David Cameron likes travelling abroad with an escort of arms manufacturers and dealers, taking them to Cairo’s Tahrir Square only days after Mubarak fell.  Late last year he was in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Jordan, drumming up business for arms manufacturers while telling the world he is on the side of peace and democracy, neither of which he appears to care for when money is on the table.

None of these people recognise that international law says a state can only wage war on another state if the second state has physically attacked the first – not threatening the state or their interests or by possessing weapons of mass destruction – which we sold them.  They get round all that by drafting a UN resolution which allows them to ‘intervene’ in the name of peace.  Or they do it under the umbrella of Nato, which seems to have greatly increased the area covered by the North Atlantic.  Or they give themselves fancy titles like ISAF (International Security Assistance Force).  And they hope that no one notices that all of this is illegal, that they are interfering in countries that are truly no threat to our safety but are often resource rich.

Since 9/11 and the illegal ‘war on terror’ no war is ever won nor does it actually end.  It simply migrates.  So we went into Afghanistan, then Iraq, then turned our attention back to Afghanistan.  Drones took the war into Yemen and Pakistan, then into Somalia.  We took sides in Libya, provided ‘support’ including illegal boots on the ground and arms to the rebels, and reduced much of Tripoli and Misrata to rubble with air strikes.  We took sides again over Syria, supporting the terrorists (a dodgy term this, seeing that many of the fighters hold non-Syrian passports) against ‘the regime’ although we haven’t yet sent in troops.  There are constant mutterings about Iran.  And now Mali – and more innocent civilians will be killed, not by their own people but by French air strikes.

President Hollande is worried about Islamists ‘on Europe’s doorstep’.  Unless Europe has expanded since I last looked, his geography is a little at fault.  I’d interpret ‘on Europe’s doorstep’ as being something that was literally on the border of a European state, which Mali isn’t, although it had the misfortune of being a French colony.  But on our doorstep?  No.

Admittedly Europe, in its imperial and colonial heyday, treated Africa as its backyard, much as the US has treated South and Central America.  Most people’s backyards used to contain the outside toilet and a vegetable patch.  In the colonial backyards we still dump our rubbish but instead of potatoes we did, and still do, dig for gold, diamonds, oil and other goodies to put on the corporate plate.

Of course, the UK was only ‘helping’ France by providing transport planes, planes which had to be diverted from their commitments to Afghanistan, because we really don’t have the equipment to fight all these wars.  No troops on the ground, oh no, no!  Ah… well… maybe some to help train the government forces.  Haven’t we heard that before?  Where next?  Which country will be accused of housing ‘Al Qaeda’ or other ‘Islamist rebels’?  Hardly had one asked the question when the crisis in Algeria reared its head.  We have to get involved now – after all we have nationals working at the In Amenas gas plant, prompting Hilary Clinton to come out with the very silly statement that, as hostages’ lives were in danger, ‘utmost care must be taken to preserve innocent life.’  When did that ever truly bother Western leaders as they sent in the drones?  But, of course, it is only our innocent lives that matter.

So, from Mali to Algeria, to the whole of North Africa?  Cameron, Prime Ministerial as ever, said that a diplomatic response would not be enough to tackle the growing terrorist threat in North Africa, and that Britain faced ‘a large and existential threat from organizations like Al Qaeda in the Magreb’.  Didn’t Tony Blair tell us that Saddam posed a ‘real and existential threat to Britain’?  Has it not occurred to people like Cameron and Clinton that much of the problem (apart from the West’s desire to control other people’s resources) has been their love of sending in the troops rather than diplomats? One thing you can be sure of – those dreaded people we are waging war upon will probably, at some point, have been supplied with our weapons.

Much as I loathe any fundamentalist religion, I can well understand why each military involvement by the West in other predominantly Muslim states produces more fundamentalists, more so-called terrorists – and the term Islamist to denote ‘terrorists’ is insulting to Muslims everywhere.  I am getting dizzy.  It isn’t just our politicians revolving from post to job, or armies from state to state and ‘war’ to ‘war’.  I am dizzy from the lies they all tell, the propaganda they repeat about each place they are planning to interfere in, the needless killing with the arms they’ve made and sold, and the ruined countries they carelessly leave behind them on their merry-go-round.

Lesley Docksey is the editor of Abolish War, the newsletter of the Movement for the Abolition of War (MAW).

Lesley Docksey

B.N

Palestine: “The view of these children will never leave my mind, it is just too horrible."

 "Ever since I was a child I loved the work of the Civil Defense. I would follow the fire trucks through the streets on my bicycle”, says Jamal Sehwail (55), who is now the Director of Evacuation and Development in Gaza’s Civil Defense. “I am in charge of complex incidents, for example where cooperation between fire fighters, paramedics and rescue workers is necessary”, explains Jamal.

According to nsnbc,  “I am also responsible for the maintenance and development of our equipment and facilities, Jamal added, Due to the closure we are lacking resources and supplies but we manage to deal with the situation creatively. For example, we are now able to produce our own fire extinguishing foam and face screens for the fire fighters."

During Israel’s most recent military offensive on the Gaza Strip, which lasted from 14 to 21 November 2012, Jamal coordinated several rescue and recovery operations. According to PCHR investigations 171 civilians were killed and more than 1,250 were injured, of whom 650 sustained moderate to severe injuries.

Jamal speaks about the conditions under which he and his colleagues had to work:

"The last war was very difficult; the bombing went on continuously and was very intense. Journalists were targeted. It was a war to instill fear into the people. We remember what happened in the 2008-2009 war."

Jamal refers to incidents over the past years, especially during ‘Operation Cast Lead’, Israel’s 27 December 2008 – 18 January 2009 offensive on the Gaza Strip in which 1,419 Palestinians were killed.

"Paramedics, journalists, and us, civil defense staff, are supposed to be protected under the Fourth Geneva Convention. But we are attacked by the army nonetheless. In reality the Geneva Conventions do not exist. Israel has conveyed that message very clearly to us by targeting our staff and buildings; there is no safety from the Israeli army attacks. Whenever tensions rise we have to evacuate our offices because we know they might be targeted. We live in constant worry and never take a break from our work. We are always on call which means we might have to leave our home in the middle of the night if anything happens."

During the last offensive Jamal and his colleagues worked around the clock to save lives. Some memories of those days will stay with them forever. Jamal remembers one incident most vividly; the attack on the Dalou family:

"I was working in an apartment tower in Gaza that had just been bombed when I saw a rocket come from the sky a few hundred meters away. I heard a huge explosion and immediately rushed to the home that was hit by the bomb. My colleagues and I spent three days there trying to recover people from under the remains of the house. The children we found dead were in the same age as my children. After the war we found two remaining bodies, including one of a girl. The most difficult thing I have to do during my work is pulling children from under the rubble. The view of these children will never leave my mind, it is just too horrible."

There is no psycho-social support for Jamal and his colleagues in order to deal with their trauma. “After a war we speak about our experiences”, says Jamal.

“We talk to each other; that is the only way we can psychologically deal with it. We also thank all members of our team and visit the families of our colleagues who were injured or killed."

Since 2007 Jamal has participated in around 1,500 rescue operations. He says “The rescuing of people and recovering of bodies remains in my memory like a film, even though I often don’t know the names of the victims."

The targeting and severe injuring or killing of civilians, a protected person, is a war crime, as codified in Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and Articles 8(2)(a)(i) and (iii) Article 8 (2)(b)(i) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

H.SH

US and Nato revisit Nazi military tactics in Iran and Syria

The siege of Leningrad is still considered the most lethal siege in world history, a shocking “racially motivated starvation policy”, described as: “an integral part of Nazi policy in the Soviet Union during World War 11.”

The 872 day siege began on 8th September 1941 and was finally broken on 27th January 1944. It is described  as: “one of the longest and most destructive sieges in history and overwhelmingly the most costly in casualties.” Some historians cite it as a genocide. Due to record keeping complexities the exact number of deaths resultant from the blockade’s deprivations are uncertain, figures range from 632,000 to 1.5 million.

Sieges now extend to entire countries, they have become the torture before the destruction. And they are not counted in long days, but in long years. Iran thirty three years, Iraq thirteen-plus years. Ironically the disparity in the deaths in Iraq resultant from that siege, mirror near exactly what was considered a “genocide” in Leningrad.

Syria has been subject to EU “restrictions” since 2011, ever more strangulating, with near every kind of financial transaction made impossible by May 2011- when “restrictions” were also placed on President Assad himself, all senior government officials, senior security and armed forces Heads. The list of that denied is dizzying (i.) By February 2012, assets of individuals were froze

, as those of the Central Bank of Syria.

Cargo flights by Syrian carriers to the EU were also barred, as was trade in gold, precious metals and diamonds – anything which might translate in to hard cash, without which neither individuals or countries can purchase the most basic essentials.

By July 2012 Syrian Arab Airlines and even Syria’s Cotton Marketing Organisation had joined the EU’s victims.

America of course, had been way ahead of the game, with the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Act (ii) signed in to law on 12th December 2003, the year of Iraq’s comprehensive US-led destruction. Thus the mighty USA’s personal siege on under twenty one million people, is now entering its tenth year.

By last August, as with Iraq before it, the inability to trade meant that, as ever, the now Nobel Peace Prize winning EU and the policies of the Nobel Peace Prize winning US President, were targeting Syria’s most vulnerable.

Many pharmaceutical companies had closed, resulting in severe shortages of medication for chronic diseases and the casualties of the insurgency, according to the World Health Organization (iii.) Prior to the US-UK-EU-NATO supported insurgency, Syria had produced ninety percent of its drugs and medication needs.

However : “ … production has been hit by the fighting, lack of raw materials, impact of sanctions and higher fuel costs.” Further, near all pharmaceutical plants were located in areas of heaviest fighting, Aleppo, Homs and Damascus provinces and have suffered “substantial damage.” The result is: “a critical shortage of medicines”, according to WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic.

“Drugs for tuberculosis, hepatitis, hypertension, diabetes and cancer are urgently needed, as well as haemodialysis for kidney diseases.”

Banks run out of cash and the 2012 wheat harvest is likely to have been wrecked because of the shortage of labour, according to U.N. agencies. In the Middle East bread is still truly the “staff of life.” The all mirrors Iraq, even down to the wheat harvest – in Iraq those bombing the country over thirteen years until the invasion, dropped flares on the harvested wheat and grains, reducing tentative bread security to ashes.

Syria struggles to meet it’s annual grain imports of around four million tons, because of a superb sleight of hand by the siege imposers. Essential foods are exempt from sanctions, but moneys are frozen, thus the wherewithal to trade. The country is ever potentially hours away from a bread crisis.

In 2011 Syria’s own harvest was hit by blight, water shortages and conflict. In December 2012 Iran sent consignments of flour to Syria, temporarily easing the bread crisis, but the siege under which Iran struggles is also of enormity – and shamefully under reported in the West.

As Iran shipped flour to Syria, Iran’s Health Ministry was approaching India for a life saving list of denied medications, for the most critical conditions in patients. Vital items denied included: “drugs to treat lung and breast cancers; brain tumours; heart ailments; infections after kidney, heart and pancreas transplants; meningitis in HIV patients; arthritis; bronchitis and respiratory distress in newborns; and epilepsy.” (iv)

And here again is that sleight of hand: “Although trade in medicine is exempt from international sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council and the unilateral sanctions announced by the US and EU, Western banks have been declining to handle transactions.” (Emphasis mine.)

Targeting the sick is the action of the criminally insane. For targeting the newborn surely no expression has been conceived, except by Madeleine Albright when referring to Iraq’s sanctions related, half million child deaths: “ … we think the price is worth it.” It was not a slip of the tongue, it was clearly to be the New World Order.

This partial list of medications unobtainable by Iran should be put on a wall of shame in Washington and all those Nobel winning EU capitol cities:

“Denied include chemotherapy; drugs used to prevent infections in kidney, heart and pancreas transplant patients and in AIDS treatment. Treatments for colon cancer; cell lung cancer; cancerous brain tumours; chemotherapy drugs for lung, ovarian and testicular cancer; treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphona.”

Also: “treatment for breast cancer therapy; a range of chemotherapy drugs; treatment for life threatening recurring heart conditions; specific meningitis treatments; drugs for respiratory distress in the new born; anti-convulsion treatments for epileptic seizures; wide spectrum treatment for heart ailments.”

Additionally:

“Nitroglycerine for angina and coronary artery disease; treatment for septicaemia and bacterial meningitis; medication to reduce risk of premature birth; treatments for acute bronchitis, pneumonia, bone infections, gynaecological infections and those of urinary tract.”

Nimidopine which reduces the risk of damage after bleeding inside the head, is also on the list. How fortunate Madam Clinton did not suffer her alleged brain-adjacent clot in Iran.

Last October Iran’s Head of The Foundation for Special Diseases, Fatemeh Hashemi, stated that six million patients were potentially at risk as a result of sanctioned medications (v.) A holocaust for-warned – and met by that murderous “international community” with near silence.

Mehrnaz Shahabi (vi) also encapsulates the captives in this Age of the Siege:

“Iran (made) ninety seven percent of its needed drugs domestically … The devalued currency means that raw materials imported for drug production are now a lot more expensive.

“In many cases, the raw material cannot even be paid for because of the banking sanctions, particularly as the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) in compliance with the EU sanctions, has stopped its electronic communication services for Iranian financial institutions and transactions from Iran.”

Thus, as Syria, domestically produced drugs are near unavailable.

Additionally: “The most advanced life-saving drugs cannot be made in generic form.These include drugs for heart disease, lung problems, kidney disease and dialysis, multiple sclerosis, thalassaemia, haemophilia and many forms of cancer.”

Cancers in Iran have soared and a “cancer tsumani” is predicted by 2015. Since Iran borders and breathes the same air as Iraq, it would not be unreasonable to assume that as Iran is punished for its nuclear industry, America and Britain’s, in the form of the depleted uranium weapons used in Iraq, bears some responsibility for another health tragedy of enormity.

“All of the surgeries for thousands of haemophilic patients have been cancelled because a shortage of coagulant drugs. A 15-year-old child died at the end of October due to the absence of coagulant medication. The head of Iran’s Hemophilia Society has said, stating: ‘This is a blatant hostage-taking of the most vulnerable people by countries which claim they care about human rights. Even a few days of delay can have serious consequences like hemorrhage and disability.’ ”

As the New Year was celebrated across Europe and the “Land of the Free”, the Syrian Upper Mesopotamia Archbishop, Jaques Behnan Hindo, was writing an urgent appeal to the Presidency of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

In a situation which he warned: “could soon become catastrophic”, he said supply routes were halted and: “every economic activity appears paralyzed (causing) depletion of vital goods, and soaring prices.

“The lack of fuel prevents heating homes and leads to the complete closure of all agricultural activities, just as the planting season begins.

“The grain silos were looted and wheat was sold to Turkish traders who conveyed it in Turkey, under the gaze of the Turkish customs officers.”

It is impossible not to reflect that NATO ally Turkey is the equivalent of the bombing flame droppers on the Iraqi harvests.

In addition to the plundered, grain, the Archbishop denounced the gradual disappearance of other vital products including, as Iraq, baby milk.

Archbishop Hindo also sent an appeal to Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki: “Please help us as quickly as possible, by sending 600 fuel tanks, 300 tanks of gasoline and some tons of flour.

“The first victims are the children. You experience in your body, in your soul – and in the children all the injustice”, caused by draconian, life threatening, illegal, collective punishment on a nation’s people, yet again starting with the unborn, the newborn, and the barely crawling.

At the end of WW11, Leningrad (now Saint Petersberg) was awarded the status of Hero City for collective unwavering courage, resistance and inventiveness under Nazi atrocities.

The world is surely in need of the status of Hero Country for those who exhibit the same courageous qualities against those nations who emulate the same atrocities.

By Felicity Arbuthnot/  US and Nato revisit Nazi military tactics in Iran and Syria

The siege of Leningrad is still considered the most lethal siege in world history, a shocking “racially motivated starvation policy”, described as: “an integral part of Nazi policy in the Soviet Union during World War 11.”

The 872 day siege began on 8th September 1941 and was finally broken on 27th January 1944. It is described  as: “one of the longest and most destructive sieges in history and overwhelmingly the most costly in casualties.” Some historians cite it as a genocide. Due to record keeping complexities the exact number of deaths resultant from the blockade’s deprivations are uncertain, figures range from 632,000 to 1.5 million.

Sieges now extend to entire countries, they have become the torture before the destruction. And they are not counted in long days, but in long years. Iran thirty three years, Iraq thirteen-plus years. Ironically the disparity in the deaths in Iraq resultant from that siege, mirror near exactly what was considered a “genocide” in Leningrad.

Syria has been subject to EU “restrictions” since 2011, ever more strangulating, with near every kind of financial transaction made impossible by May 2011- when “restrictions” were also placed on President Assad himself, all senior government officials, senior security and armed forces Heads. The list of that denied is dizzying (i.) By February 2012, assets of individuals were frozen, as those of the Central Bank of Syria.

Cargo flights by Syrian carriers to the EU were also barred, as was trade in gold, precious metals and diamonds – anything which might translate in to hard cash, without which neither individuals or countries can purchase the most basic essentials.

By July 2012 Syrian Arab Airlines and even Syria’s Cotton Marketing Organisation had joined the EU’s victims.

America of course, had been way ahead of the game, with the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Act (ii) signed in to law on 12th December 2003, the year of Iraq’s comprehensive US-led destruction. Thus the mighty USA’s personal siege on under twenty one million people, is now entering its tenth year.

By last August, as with Iraq before it, the inability to trade meant that, as ever, the now Nobel Peace Prize winning EU and the policies of the Nobel Peace Prize winning US President, were targeting Syria’s most vulnerable.

Many pharmaceutical companies had closed, resulting in severe shortages of medication for chronic diseases and the casualties of the insurgency, according to the World Health Organization (iii.) Prior to the US-UK-EU-NATO supported insurgency, Syria had produced ninety percent of its drugs and medication needs.

However : “ … production has been hit by the fighting, lack of raw materials, impact of sanctions and higher fuel costs.” Further, near all pharmaceutical plants were located in areas of heaviest fighting, Aleppo, Homs and Damascus provinces and have suffered “substantial damage.” The result is: “a critical shortage of medicines”, according to WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic.

“Drugs for tuberculosis, hepatitis, hypertension, diabetes and cancer are urgently needed, as well as haemodialysis for kidney diseases.”

Banks run out of cash and the 2012 wheat harvest is likely to have been wrecked because of the shortage of labour, according to U.N. agencies. In the Middle East bread is still truly the “staff of life.” The all mirrors Iraq, even down to the wheat harvest – in Iraq those bombing the country over thirteen years until the invasion, dropped flares on the harvested wheat and grains, reducing tentative bread security to ashes.

Syria struggles to meet it’s annual grain imports of around four million tons, because of a superb sleight of hand by the siege imposers. Essential foods are exempt from sanctions, but moneys are frozen, thus the wherewithal to trade. The country is ever potentially hours away from a bread crisis.

In 2011 Syria’s own harvest was hit by blight, water shortages and conflict. In December 2012 Iran sent consignments of flour to Syria, temporarily easing the bread crisis, but the siege under which Iran struggles is also of enormity – and shamefully under reported in the West.

As Iran shipped flour to Syria, Iran’s Health Ministry was approaching India for a life saving list of denied medications, for the most critical conditions in patients. Vital items denied included: “drugs to treat lung and breast cancers; brain tumours; heart ailments; infections after kidney, heart and pancreas transplants; meningitis in HIV patients; arthritis; bronchitis and respiratory distress in newborns; and epilepsy.” (iv)

And here again is that sleight of hand: “Although trade in medicine is exempt from international sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council and the unilateral sanctions announced by the US and EU, Western banks have been declining to handle transactions.” (Emphasis mine.)

Targeting the sick is the action of the criminally insane. For targeting the newborn surely no expression has been conceived, except by Madeleine Albright when referring to Iraq’s sanctions related, half million child deaths: “ … we think the price is worth it.” It was not a slip of the tongue, it was clearly to be the New World Order.

This partial list of medications unobtainable by Iran should be put on a wall of shame in Washington and all those Nobel winning EU capitol cities:

“Denied include chemotherapy; drugs used to prevent infections in kidney, heart and pancreas transplant patients and in AIDS treatment. Treatments for colon cancer; cell lung cancer; cancerous brain tumours; chemotherapy drugs for lung, ovarian and testicular cancer; treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphona.”

Also: “treatment for breast cancer therapy; a range of chemotherapy drugs; treatment for life threatening recurring heart conditions; specific meningitis treatments; drugs for respiratory distress in the new born; anti-convulsion treatments for epileptic seizures; wide spectrum treatment for heart ailments.”

Additionally:

“Nitroglycerine for angina and coronary artery disease; treatment for septicaemia and bacterial meningitis; medication to reduce risk of premature birth; treatments for acute bronchitis, pneumonia, bone infections, gynaecological infections and those of urinary tract.”

Nimidopine which reduces the risk of damage after bleeding inside the head, is also on the list. How fortunate Madam Clinton did not suffer her alleged brain-adjacent clot in Iran.

Last October Iran’s Head of The Foundation for Special Diseases, Fatemeh Hashemi, stated that six million patients were potentially at risk as a result of sanctioned medications (v.) A holocaust for-warned – and met by that murderous “international community” with near silence.

Mehrnaz Shahabi (vi) also encapsulates the captives in this Age of the Siege:

“Iran (made) ninety seven percent of its needed drugs domestically … The devalued currency means that raw materials imported for drug production are now a lot more expensive.

“In many cases, the raw material cannot even be paid for because of the banking sanctions, particularly as the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) in compliance with the EU sanctions, has stopped its electronic communication services for Iranian financial institutions and transactions from Iran.”

Thus, as Syria, domestically produced drugs are near unavailable.

Additionally: “The most advanced life-saving drugs cannot be made in generic form.These include drugs for heart disease, lung problems, kidney disease and dialysis, multiple sclerosis, thalassaemia, haemophilia and many forms of cancer.”

Cancers in Iran have soared and a “cancer tsumani” is predicted by 2015. Since Iran borders and breathes the same air as Iraq, it would not be unreasonable to assume that as Iran is punished for its nuclear industry, America and Britain’s, in the form of the depleted uranium weapons used in Iraq, bears some responsibility for another health tragedy of enormity.

“All of the surgeries for thousands of haemophilic patients have been cancelled because a shortage of coagulant drugs. A 15-year-old child died at the end of October due to the absence of coagulant medication. The head of Iran’s Hemophilia Society has said, stating: ‘This is a blatant hostage-taking of the most vulnerable people by countries which claim they care about human rights. Even a few days of delay can have serious consequences like hemorrhage and disability.’ ”

As the New Year was celebrated across Europe and the “Land of the Free”, the Syrian Upper Mesopotamia Archbishop, Jaques Behnan Hindo, was writing an urgent appeal to the Presidency of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

In a situation which he warned: “could soon become catastrophic”, he said supply routes were halted and: “every economic activity appears paralyzed (causing) depletion of vital goods, and soaring prices.

“The lack of fuel prevents heating homes and leads to the complete closure of all agricultural activities, just as the planting season begins.

“The grain silos were looted and wheat was sold to Turkish traders who conveyed it in Turkey, under the gaze of the Turkish customs officers.”

It is impossible not to reflect that NATO ally Turkey is the equivalent of the bombing flame droppers on the Iraqi harvests.

In addition to the plundered, grain, the Archbishop denounced the gradual disappearance of other vital products including, as Iraq, baby milk.

Archbishop Hindo also sent an appeal to Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki: “Please help us as quickly as possible, by sending 600 fuel tanks, 300 tanks of gasoline and some tons of flour.

“The first victims are the children. You experience in your body, in your soul – and in the children all the injustice”, caused by draconian, life threatening, illegal, collective punishment on a nation’s people, yet again starting with the unborn, the newborn, and the barely crawling.

At the end of WW11, Leningrad (now Saint Petersberg) was awarded the status of Hero City for collective unwavering courage, resistance and inventiveness under Nazi atrocities.

The world is surely in need of the status of Hero Country for those who exhibit the same courageous qualities against those nations who emulate the same atrocities.

By Felicity Arbuthnot/ Global Research

 

B.N

US Out of Touch with Reality: US Historian

 

 

 

An American historian says the US calculations about the collapse of the Syrian government and their portrayal of situation on the ground in Syria are “out of touch with reality,” Press TV reports.

Dr. Webster Tarpley wrote in an article published on Press TV website that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s “defiant and self-confident” speech on January 6 shattered the optimism of US think tanks about the collapse of his government.

Referring to a remark by the US State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, that Assad was “out of touch with reality,” Tarpley quoted an expatriate Syrian journalist as saying that “many Syrians wonder whether it isn’t the United States and its allies who are out of touch….”

The American political critic says according to reports, areas under the control of the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) are exhibiting characteristics of a “failed state.”

Tarpley said the US, as the main sponsor of foreign militants in Syria, has been taken aback by reports about the “rising wave of hatred in northern Syria” towards the FSA due to their “catastrophic misrule.”

    “Ordinary Syrians of all backgrounds are increasingly disgusted by the corruption, incompetence, and oppression of the FSA regime. The rebel chaos is contributing to a significant increase in the popularity of Assad and his regime, which had guaranteed stability and freedom from the worst privations for decades,” Tarpley added.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of security personnel, have been killed in the violence.

The Syrian government says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants fighting the Syrian government are foreign nationals.

Earlier,  James Jatras, former US Senate foreign policy analyst, told Press TV that what could be done to stop the crisis in Syria is to move towards a genuine national reconciliation and a negotiated settlement.

According to a UN report, militants from 29 countries have so far infiltrated into Syria to fight against the Damascus government, most of whom are extremist Salafists. The Syrian government has repeatedly said that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and that a very large number of the militants operating in the country are foreign nationals.

Press TV has conducted an interview with James Jatras, former US Senate foreign policy analyst, to further discuss the issue. What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Mr. Jatras, the crisis in Syria is literally taking its toll on civilians and is taking a turn for the worse. Just what can be done to stop this crisis?

Jatras: Well what could be done to stop this crisis is supposed to move towards a genuine national reconciliation and negotiate a settlement and as I have consistently said that the only way that could happen is that the West powers take off the table the a priori demand that Bahsar al-Assad must step down.

We must have negotiations with no pre-conditions and we got to suspend this policy of supplying weapons and money to these insurgent groups that include so many groups like Jabhat al-Nusra that are al-Qaeda links and engage in terrorism of this sort.

Press TV: We see in this process that several countries in the region especially Qatar and Saudi Arabia are funding and actually arming these terrorists in Syria?

Jatras: That unfortunately is the case. I think they look at this as kind of an ideological war that they could bring their Sunni clients in Syria to power particularly the Muslim Brotherhood.

They see this as a move against Iran which they consider an ideological as well as a geopolitical threat and they think they can keep up this behavior, they can find some way to drag NATO into this war, the way the Obama administration intervened in Libya.

Press TV: Of course with the NATO being involved physically on the ground along the border with Turkey, what will happen in the foreseeable future do you think?

Jatras: I think there is a real split in Washington as there is elsewhere between people who want to get us into this war and other people who don’t want us in this war and I think that the...is designed as a tripwire to create an incident that would “justify” a NATO intervention. I think other people opposed to that but it is a very, very dangerous deployment.

M A

 

 

 

Interview with Anastasia Popova

 

 

 

Russia24-Pressenza has recently  re-launched an article written by Silvia Cattori, that reported the documentary made by Anastasia Popova and transmitted by the channel Russia 24. This publication has attracted praise and criticism for the point of view about what is happening in Syria that is very different from the one circulating in the European media.

For this reason we decided to pursue this issue by talking to the author of the report, a young journalist who covered the “Arab spring” in different countries and has spent some time in Syria, in contact with many people involved in the conflict.

Anastasia, first of all many thanks for your willingness. How long have you been in Syria with your crew?

We were there for 7 months in total, from August of 2011, when there was no war yet, until now when the war in full swing. So, you can say that all the events unfolded right in front of our eyes. On average we were on the ground in Syria for about a month at a time, from Deraa to Idleb and Aleppo and from Latakia along the Turkish border to al-Qamishli and down to Deir Ez Zour.

What is your general impression about the state of the conflict?

From the time when we arrived in August all the way until December, what struck us the most was the difference between what was being said about Syria from the outside and what was actually happening inside the country. Sometimes it would reach the point of absurdity, when we would get calls from our channel asking us about so-and-so square where an anti-government demonstration was being shot at by tanks or artillery. We would get to that square and there was literally nothing — a few pedestrians and a policeman directing traffic.

Despite all our attempts we didn’t manage to find the thousands-strong demonstrations against the government so often talked about by the Western media.  We spoke to the opposition, and even they told us that it was very difficult to gather people to protest. The only way to do this was through the mosques, and if they managed to get even 50 people to come out for fifteen minutes and film them, they considered it a victory. The vast majority of the population was just not interested.

Then provocations started, people were killed for belonging to the wrong religion, armed attacks on government buildings and employees, police stations and court houses began.

Nevertheless, the government responded to the peaceful demands. Laws were changed. A commission was created for a national dialogue that included almost all the opposition groups. Based on the work of this commission a new Constitution was adopted through a national referendum. Then, elections were held, and a lot of the political opposition inside Syria got seats in the Parliament. And so, the whole topic of mass protests became moot.

But as it turns out, for the key interested players this was not the end of the game. They put together what can be called “the foreign opposition”, composed mainly of people who had been living in Europe for over 40 years. Obviously, due to lack of support inside Syria, this opposition had no chance of coming to power via elections, so they turned to the only option available to them — overthrowing the current government with weapons.

They began pitting religious confessions against one another and at the same time sending in foreign insurgents. The proof of this can be found in the latest UN report, which lists armed people from 29 countries (!) fighting against the Syrian army.

They use foreign weapons that cannot be purchased in Syria, which we filmed, and which the Syrian army does not have, including M16 sniper rifles, European machine guns, various anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, as well as advanced satellite communications equipment which is openly provided to them by certain Western states.

These weapons are first sent to Turkey (evidence of this was provided by an Egyptian businessman), then given to the FSA by Turkish officers on the border.  This was witnessed by a Lebanese journalist who tried to film it but was arrested in Turkey for three days and had her camera broken.

By the way, the border between Syria and Turkey is controlled by the Turkish army due to an agreement between the two countries signed in 1998. There is no Syrian border patrol. I have been there and I have seen it.

In addition Western states openly provide the opposition, which is composed largely of foreigners, with money. Because of all this, it is hard to call what is happening in Syria a civil war, although now they managed to divide the people and there are cases when half of a family is fighting for the government and the other half against it.

Do you think there could be a peaceful solution?

I think it is the only way to end this crisis. Most wars between countries at some point stopped by signing a peace agreement. The situation on the ground is this: all the major cities are still controlled by the government. After more than a year of fierce fighting armed groups still couldn’t create any strongholds or take the main part of the territory. They keep splitting up because some lose financial support, some end up looting, some already began battling foreign insurgents, some join al-Qaida, which is also fighting against Syria and which, if I may remind you, is officially named a terrorist group. So with whom should they negotiate? Even the UN monitors couldn’t find any single leader of these armed groups and another attempt to reach a ceasefire had failed. And yet, in his recent speech the president once again stressed his readiness to negotiate, but this time he openly referred to the foreign sponsors of the militants. Unfortunately, a peaceful solution does not seem to be on their agenda — they’ve already rejected his offer.

Why did you realize this documentary? Have you been asked by your superior or was it your initiative?

The original decision to send me to Syria was made by my superiors, but naturally, during the course of my work there I made friends, many of whom were subsequently killed. I went to Syria to report facts, but in time I realized that people are not facts — they are people, and I felt their pain in my own heart.

This movie was my personal initiative. It was an emotional response to the events which I was reporting. I made it to honour my fallen friends and the people of Syria, who don’t care about politics and who just want to live in peace.

Fortunately, my job provides me an outlet to get this point across to many people, and I used this opportunity, although getting my superiors to approve this film was not that easy.

We have received criticism that Russia 24 is a channel that only reflects the position of the Russian government: what can you reply?

It’s easy to attack the messenger when you don’t like the message. When people see reports done from comfortable hotel rooms in Lebanon, citing “unverified information” from activists about supposed government atrocities, they chant “Yes! Yes! Kill the evil dictator!”, but when someone actually spends considerable time in Syria trying to figure out what’s going on, then comes back and says, “Hey guys, that is not AT ALL what is happening…”, people brand it as government propaganda. So what can I reply? That a ticket to Syria is not that expensive and its borders are open. Over 300 foreign media outlets worked there and sent their reports via the Internet, freely and without any censorship from the Syrian government; 3G is available all over the country. If you do not trust me, “a young reporter from a state-owned Russian channel”, go and see for yourself. But don’t be surprised to end up in an alternate reality.

There is a good example from The Independent: “I have now been in Damascus for 10 days, and every day I am struck by the fact that the situation in areas of Syria I have visited is wholly different from the picture given to the world both by foreign leaders and by the foreign media.”

Another one from The Guardian:

FSA- “There has been no real progress on the fronts and that has affected our sponsors, who haven’t been sending us ammunition…Even the people are fed up with us. We were liberators, but now they denounce us and demonstrate against us. If you want to know the truth you can find it.

What do you think of the attitude of the Russian government regarding the situation in Syria?

I think they are perfectly aware of the situation on the ground and they constantly insist on peace — immediate ceasefire and all-inclusive dialogue. What more can you ask for?

You are going to leave for a well-deserved vacation. Will you return to Syria? What hope do you have about it?

It was not my decision to go there in the first place. I was sent to Syria as a special reporter and I was just doing my job. It’s up to my superiors to decide where I go next but if they say Syria – I guess I will agree.

B.N

 

 

 

Human Rights Group Charges U.S. Backs Terrorists in Syria

 

 

 

By Richard Walker

When the International Human Rights Commission (IHRC) says the Free Syrian Army (FSA) is nothing but a bunch of terrorists, one might expect the Obama White House to take note, but instead it has remained silent. The reality is that the United States and its allies, including Israel and major Arab states like Saudi Arabia, have continued to arm, train and fund Arab revolutionary terrorists trying to overthrow the secular Syrian regime of Bashar al Assad. At the same time, Washington has turned a blind eye when confronted with proof that the same revolutionaries have employed the kinds of terror tactics frequently used by our supposed enemies in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The IHRC has not been alone in trying to encourage Washington to look more closely at the militias it has encouraged to lay waste to Syria. Christian churches for the past two years have warned that many of the Syrian opposition groups represent a dangerous mix of Islamists determined to transform Syria into a strict Islamic state. The condemnation of the FSA by Muhammad Shahid Amin Khan, head of the IHRC, has made people around the globe sit up and take notice. He pointed an accusing finger at Turkey, Qatar and the Saudis for arming and funding the Arab revolutionaries, claiming their strategy was having a destabilizing effect on other Muslim countries. In his opinion, Syria was being subjected to the same kind of terrorism one associated with Pakistan and Afghanistan. The countries he singled out for criticism, however, are merely a front for the bigger players in the mix, namely the U.S., Britain, France and Israel.

Khan also accused the Western media and Arab nations of deliberately distorting the truth about the Syrian conflict. There is clear evidence D.C. and its allies have deliberately obscured the horror inflicted by Arab revolutionaries operating under the FSA, which is now controlled by an umbrella group, the National Council for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces. It received Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s blessing in December 2012.

The umbrella group is comprised of a motley bunch of organizations, the most powerful being the Muslim Brotherhood. There are also bodies like the Syrian Liberation Front representing numerous Islamist brigades and the Syrian Islamic Front that controls a variety of extreme, radical militias.

President Barack Obama has consistently refused to respond to legitimate concerns raised by a variety of organizations about the dangers of replacing the Assad regime with one led by sectarian extremists funded by the Saudis and Qataris. In September 2012, a Pew Research poll showed a majority of Americans were opposed to the policy of arming Syrian opposition groups. The Barnabus Fund has warned if Washington and its allies turn away from atrocities committed against Christians by elements of FSA, the Christian church in Syria, as happened in Iraq, could quickly decline and never recover.

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The west's addiction to war is spreading terrorism, not reducing it

 

 

 

John Rees, a national officer of Stop the War Coalition, was interviewed on RT television about the French intervention in Mali, supported by the UK government.

RT: Paris says it's waging 'a war against terrorism' in Mali – So its goals seem noble at least …

John Rees: Well, we’ve heard this so many times. I’m surprised that they haven’t bored themselves by repeating this line.

We heard it over Afghanistan, we heard it over Iraq. We heard it over Libya and we should recall that more than a decade ago, at the beginning of this process, the head of the security service in Britain warned the then PM Tony Blair that the interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq which spread the threat of terrorism, not reduce it.

That warning has proved sadly absolutely correct. There was no Al-Qaeda in Iraq before we invaded it- there is now. Al-Qaeda had not spread to Pakistan in the way that it has now since the invasion of Afghanistan. As we heard from your correspondent, the intervention in Libya has led directly to the spread of al- Qaeda in Mali now. We should at least have learned by now that this is not the way you reduce the threat of terrorism, this is actually the way in which you bolster it, in which you increase its attractiveness to young people in the region.

RT: Should France just sit back and let terrorism and extremism reign over Mali where it could perhaps become a haven for extremism and terrorism and just threaten regional stability but become a base for terrorist operation worldwide…

JR: If the French want to do something about reducing the antagonism between their state and the Muslim people both in France and abroad, they should start at home. They should start withdrawing the laws which make it illegal for women to wear Islamic hair dresses in France. They should withdraw the law that now makes it illegal for Muslims to pray in the streets in France. Perhaps if they want better relations with the Muslim world, they could start by bettering the relations with the Muslim community in France itself. That would be a far more significant step forward than bombing yet another Muslim country.

RT: When will African nations be left to solve their internal problems by themselves – without foreign interference?

JR: I think when they stand up to the imperial powers. I think it is a mistake on the part of the Mali government, no matter what its difficulties to call for help from the very who are people responsible since colonial times for so much of a disaster in that part of the world. Only a small look North and East would tell you that in the Middle East constant attention of the imperial powers have generation after generation worsened the problem not made it better.

RT: The dust has not yet settled since the Libyan military campaign spearheaded by France – and the country is at war once again – will the French public support it?

JR: They may well do. I think your correspondent was right when they said that there is very little difference in Sarkozy response over Libya and Hollande’s response over the Mali crisis. That is sad because Hollande promised so much. Its his inability to deliver on the domestic front, his inability to live up to the high hopes that many in France hoped that he would deal with austerity, which has driven him into incredibly reckless foreign policy in a hope that it would bolster his poll ratings.

These gambles sometimes turnout to be correct but in recent history in Europe they often turned out to be incorrect. It was the end of Blair the premiership- when he attacked Iraq. It took some years to work himself through but that is what happened. Hollande needs to look at that and wonder whether or not he wants to tread the same path.

B.N