Breaking News

The many faces of Sheikh Ahmad Moaz Al-Khatib

 

 

 

Completely unknown to the international public only a week ago, Sheikh Moaz al-Khatib has been catapulted to the presidency of the Syrian National Coalition, which represents pro-Western opposition in the Damascus government. Portrayed by an intense public relations campaign as a highly moral personality with no partisan or economic attachments, he is in truth a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and an executive of the Shell oil company.

The dislocation of the armed Syrian opposition is a reflection of the conflict between the various States which are trying to "change the regime" in Damascus.

We should pay particular attention to the Syrian National Council (SNC), also known as the Istanbul Council, since it was instituted there. This council is guided with an iron hand by the French DGSE (Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure), and financed by Qatar. Its members, who have obtained residency and various other privileges in France, are under constant pressure from the secret services, who dictate every declaration they make.

The Local Coordination Committees (LCC) represent those local civilians who support armed action.

Finally, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which is principally managed by Turkey, unites most of the combatants, including the Al-Qaida brigades. 80% of these units recognize the Takfirist Sheikh Adnan Al-Arour as their spiritual leader. He is based in Saudi Arabia.

Seeking to regain leadership and bring a little order to this cacophony, Washington ordered the Arab League to call a meeting in Doha, sabotaged the SNC, and obliged as many of the tiny groups as possible to integrate a single and exclusive structure – the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces. Behind the scenes, ambassador Robert S. Ford himself allotted the seats and privileges for this assembly, and has imposed as President of the Coalition a personality who has never yet been mentioned in the Press - Sheikh Ahmad Moaz Al-Khatib.

Robert S. Ford is considered to be the State Department’s principal specialist for the Middle East. He was the assistant of John Negroponte from 2004 to 2006, while this master spy was busy applying in Iraq the methods he had developed in Honduras – the intensive use of death squads and Contras. Shortly before the events in Syria began, Ford was nominated as Ambassador to Damascus, and assumed his functions despite Senate opposition. He immediately applied the Negroponte method to Syria with obvious results.

While the creation of the National Coalition objectifies Washington’s take-over of the armed opposition, it does not solve the question of representivity. Very quickly, various components of the SLA withdrew. In particular, the Coalition excludes any form of opposition which is hostile to armed struggle, especially Haytham al-Manna’s National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change.

The choice of Sheikh Ahmad Moaz Al-Khatib responds to a clear necessity – in order for the President to be recognized by the combatants, he has to be religious figure, but in order to be accepted by Westerners, he has to appear moderate. And especially, in this period of intense negotiations, the new President has to have a solid understanding of the subject in order to discuss the future of Syrian gas - but this is not a subject to be introduced in public.

US spin doctors quickly gave Sheikh Ahmad Moaz Al-Khatib a make-over, dressing him in a suit but no tie. Some of the media speak of him as a "model" leader. For example, a major US daily newspaper presents him as "a unique product of his culture, like Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma" [1]

Here is the portrait of him drawn up by the Agence France Presse (AFP):

"Sheikh Ahmad Moaz Al-Khatib, the consensual man

Born in 1960, Sheikh Ahmad Moaz Al-Khatib is a moderate religious figure who was for a time the Imam of the Omayyad's mosque in Damascus. He belongs to no political party.

It is this independence, and his proximity to Riad Seif at the origin of the initiative for a wider coalition, which makes him a consensual candidate for the leadership of the opposition.

His background is in Sufi Islam. A religious dignitary, he has studied international relations and diplomacy, and is not linked to the Muslim Brotherhood or any other Islamist organization in the opposition.

Arrested several times in 2012 for having publicly called for the end of the regime in Damascus, he was forbidden to speak in Syrian mosques by order of the authorities, and found refuge in Qatar.

Born in Damascus, he played a decisive role in the mobilization of the suburbs of the capital, notably Douma, which was active from the very beginnings of the peaceful demonstrations in March 2011. "Sheikh al-Khatib is a consensual figure who enjoys true popular support on the ground", underlines Khaled al-Zeini, a member of the Syrian National Council." [2]

The truth is quite different.

In reality, there is absolutely no evidence that Sheikh Ahmad Moaz Al-Khatib ever studied international relations and diplomacy, but he does have training as an engineer in geophysics. He worked for six years for the al-Furat Petroleum Company (1985-91), a joint-venture between the national company and other foreign enterprises, including the Anglo-Dutch Shell, with whom he has maintained contact.

In 1992, he inherited the prestigious charge of preacher at the Omayyad's mosque from his father, Sheikh Mohammed Abu al-Faraj al-Khatib. He was rapidly relieved of his functions and forbidden to preach anywhere in Syria. However, this episode did not occur in 2012, and has nothing to do with the present contestation - it happened twenty years ago, under Hafez el-Assad. At that time, Syria was supporting the international intervention to liberate Kuwait, in respect of international law, in order to get rid of their Iraqi rival, and also to forge closer ties with the West. As for the Sheikh, he was opposed to "Desert Storm" for the same religious motives which were proclaimed by Oussama Ben Laden - with whom he aligned himself - notably the refusal of Western presence on Arab lands, which they consider sacrilegious. This position led him to deliver a number of anti-semitic and anti-Western diatribes.

Following that, the Sheikh continued his activity as a religious teacher, notably at the Dutch Institute in Damascus. He made numerous trips abroad, mainly to Holland, the United Kingdom and the United State. Finally, he settled in Qatar.

In 2003-04, during the attribution of oil and gas concessions, he returned to Syria as a lobbyist for the Shell group.

He came back to Syria again at the beginning of 2012, where he inflamed the neighbourhood of Douma (a suburb of Damascus). He was arrested, then pardoned, and left the country in July to settle in Cairo.

His family is indeed steeped in the Sufi tradition, but contrary to what the AFP claims, he is a member of the Muslim brotherhood, and declared this quite clearly at the end of his speech of investiture at Doha. According to the usual technique of the Brotherhood, he adapts not only the form, but also the content of his speeches to his audience. Sometimes leaning towards a multi-religious society, sometimes towards the restoration of sharia law. In his writings, he qualifies Jewish people as "enemies of God", and Chiite muslims as "rejectionist heretics", epithets which are the equivalent of a death sentence.

In the end, Ambassador Robert S. Ford has played his hand well - once again Washington has duped its allies. Just like in Libya, France has taken all the risks, but in the major compromises which are to come, Total will have gained no advantage.

By Thierry Meyssan

B.N

 

 

 

Mofaz: Hamas Has Upper Hand, Truce Mistake

 

 

 

Israeli opposition leader and Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz slammed the truce between the Zionist entity and resistance in Gaza as a mistake, saying that Hamas had the upper hand.

“The army knows how to do its work, and we could have won this time. A cease-fire at this point is a mistake; this is not how a war against terror ends. Hamas has the upper hand,” the former Israeli cheif of staff wrote on his Facebook page.

“The goals of his operation were not reached, and the next round is only a matter of time,” he said, adding: “We should not have stopped at this stage. Hamas got stronger and we did not gain deterrence.”

Ceasefire took effect in Gaza on Wednesday at 21:00. The agreement was announced by Egyptian Foreign Minister Kamel Amr and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a press conference in Cairo.

 

B.N      

Source: agencies

 

 

 

What Arabs Did for Gaza? What They Did for Syria?

 

 

 

Tens of years during which most of the Arab countries and their summits did not provide anything to the Palestinian cause but words and speeches, while the Palestinian people was the sole victim, and most of the Arab countries made plots against each other and stood up against the resistance in Lebanon, Palestine and Syria.

Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassem on Saturday during the urgent ministerial meeting of the Arab League in Cairo to tackle the Zionist assault on Gaza.

It took long for the Arab leaders to find a suitable description for their fear of the Zionist entity. Their meetings which coincided with attacking Gaza have resulted in nothing but in the first aid which was even insufficient for healing the wounds of victims.

Gaza had been under a similar attack in 2008, where peace initiative remained on table besides the first aid.

At that time, Arab leaders tried to unify under the Doha summit, but they failed to get Gaza out of its crisis.

“In addition to the verbal support, we should make practical moves,” said the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during the Doha summit.

However, the practical moves that Assad called for, were practiced against Damascus. After Arab leaders’ inability to everything in Gaza, they sharpened their ambitions to overthrow the regime in Syria.

“We should mobilize all means of international pressure against the Syrian regime, as stated by his excellency Qatar’s PM,” said Nabil al-Arabi, Arab League Secretary General during an Arab League session in 2012.

“I believe that our Council shouldn’t be careless towards the level of serious escalation in Syria,” declared Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faissal during the same session.

“We want to impose a tangible economic pressure, perhaps the Syrian regime realizes the inevitability of meeting the demands of its people,” also stated the Qatari PM.

Sanctions were not enough; yet, arming the opposition is a more practical means. It is an intuitive initiative by the mind which armed resistance in Gaza with some bandages and medicines.

“In this solution Yes, we support the arming of the Syrian opposition,” said Saud al-Faissal.

Who said that Arabs are ewes? They are wolves towards each other, but EWES only before what they call ‘Israel’.

B. N.

Souce: Almanar website

 

 

 

 

It's Palestinians who have the right to defend themselves

 

 

 

The way western politicians and media have pontificated about Israel's onslaught on Gaza, you'd think it was facing an unprovoked attack from a well-armed foreign power. Israel had every "right to defend itself", Barack Obama declared. "No country on earth would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders."

 He was echoed by Britain's foreign secretary, William Hague, who declared that the Palestinian Islamists of Hamas bore "principal responsibility" for Israel's bombardment of the open-air prison that is the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, most western media have echoed Israel's claim that its assault is in retaliation for Hamas rocket attacks; the BBC speaks wearisomely of a conflict of "ancient hatreds".

 In fact, an examination of the sequence of events over the last month shows that Israel played the decisive role in the military escalation: from its attack on a Khartoum arms factory reportedly supplying arms to Hamas and the killing of 15 Palestinian fighters in late October, to the shooting of a mentally disabled Palestinian in early November, the killing of a 13 year-old in an Israeli incursion and, crucially, the assassination of the Hamas commander Ahmed Jabari last Wednesday during negotiations over a temporary truce.

 Israel's prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, had plenty of motivation to unleash a new round of bloodletting. There was the imminence of Israeli elections (military attacks on the Palestinians are par for the course before Israeli polls); the need to test Egypt's new Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohamed Morsi, and pressure Hamas to bring other Palestinian guerrilla groups to heel; and the chance to destroy missile caches before any confrontation with Iran, and test Israel's new Iron Dome anti-missile system.

 So after six days of sustained assault by the world's fourth largest military power on one of its most wretched and overcrowded territories, at least 130 Palestinians had been killed, an estimated half of them civilians, along with five Israelis. The goal, Israel's interior minister, Eli Yeshai, insisted, had been to "send Gaza back to the middle ages".

 True, the bloodshed hasn't so far been on the scale of Operation Cast Lead in 2008-9, which left 1,400 Palestinians dead in three weeks. But the issue isn't just who started and escalated it, or even the grinding "disproportionality" of yet another Israeli military battering (even before last month's flareups, 314 Palestinians had been killed since 2009, as against 20 Israelis).

 It's that to portray Israel as some kind of victim with every right to "defend itself" from attack from "outside its borders" is a grotesque inversion of reality. Israel has after all been in illegal occupation of both the West Bank and Gaza, where most of the population are the families of refugees who were driven out of what is now Israel in 1948, for the past 45 years.

 Despite Israel's withdrawal of settlements and bases in 2005, the Gaza Strip remains occupied, both effectively and legally – and is recognised as such by the UN. Israel is in control of Gaza's land and sea borders, territorial waters and natural resources, airspace, power supply and telecommunications. It has blockaded the strip since Hamas took over in 2006-7, preventing the movement of people, materials, and food supplies in and out of the territory – even calculating the 2,279 calories per person that would keep Gazans on an exemplary "diet". And it continues to invade the strip at will.

 So Gazans are an occupied people and have the right to resist, including by armed force (though not to target civilians), while Israel is an occupying power that has an obligation to withdraw – not a right to defend territories it controls or is colonising by dint of military power.

 Even if Israel had genuinely ended its occupation in 2005, Gaza's people are Palestinians, and their territory part of the 22% of historic Palestine earmarked for a Palestinian state that depends on Israeli withdrawal from the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem. Across their land, Palestinians have the right to defend and arm themselves, whether they choose to exercise it or not.

 But instead the US, Britain and other European powers finance, arm and back to the hilt Israel's occupation, including the siege of Gaza – precisely to prevent Palestinians obtaining the arms that would allow them to protect themselves against Israeli military might.

 It's hardly surprising of course that powers which have themselves invaded, occupied and intervened across the Arab and Muslim world over the last decade should throw their weight behind Israel doing the same thing on its own doorstep. But it isn't Palestinian rockets that stop Israel lifting the blockade, dismantling its illegal settlements or withdrawing from the West Bank and Gaza – it's unconditional US and western support that gives Israel impunity.

 Whatever the Israeli government's mix of motivations for winding up the past week's conflict, it seems to have backfired. For the first time since the start of the Arab uprisings, the cause of Palestine is again centre stage.

 Emboldened by the wave of change and growing support across the region, Hamas has also regained credibility as a resistance force, which had faded since 2009, and strengthened its hand against an increasingly discredited Palestinian Authority leadership in Ramallah. The deployment of longer-range rockets that have now been shown to reach Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is also beginning to shift what has been an overwhelmingly one-sided balance of deterrence.

 The truce being negotiated on Tuesday would reportedly enforce Hamas responsibility for policing the strip and crucially break the blockade, opening the Rafah crossing with Egypt for goods as well as people. It doesn't, however, look like the long-term security deal with Hamas Israel was looking for, which would risk deepening the disastrous Palestinian split between Gaza and the West Bank.

 Any relief from the bombardment, death and suffering of the past week has got to be welcome. But no ceasefire is going to prevent another eruption of violence. Whatever is finally agreed won't end Israel's occupation and colonisation of Palestinian land or halt its war of dispossession against the Palestinian people. That demands unrelenting pressure on the western powers that underwrite it to change course. But most of all, it needs a change in the balance of forces on the ground.

     Seumas Milne

             The Guardian, Tuesday 20 November 2012 22.32 GMT

M.D.  

 

 

 

 

 

Gaza: Still the Same Old Egypt?

 

 

 

The first Israeli strike was severe. Ahmed al-Jaabari was assassinated. He was Hamas’ Imad Mughniyeh. His loss may have been even greater to the movement, given its organizational constraints and exceptionally centralized decision-making processes, but it can be recovered nevertheless. Jaabari put plans in place to fill the vacuum.

On another level, around 20 storage sites housing Hamas’ strategic missile arsenal were targeted by 22 Israeli airstrikes. Israel sounded confident about the success of the operation, but the resistance forces have not issued statements detailing their losses or clarifying the facts. All evidence indicates that the raids caused major damage.

Every Fajr-5 missile firing is a qualitative escalation in its own right.

Another consequence of the strike relates to the resistance forces’ reaction to the opening salvos of Jaabari’s assassination and the bombing of the missile stores. This forced all leaders and members of the resistance, especially in Hamas and Islamic Jihad, to become much more cautious than usual. Their prime concern was to avoid taking steps that would subject them to further losses.

This led to some paralysis and loss of initiative. They were wary of risk after it became clear that the enemy had achieved serious breakthroughs on the intelligence front – whether human or technical – enabling it to assassinate Jaabari and then target the missiles. Israel also sought to target a number of other important military commanders at the same time. This compelled the resistance forces to resort to backup plans and employ different means for communicating with and deploying fighters. The result was considerable confusion during the first 20 hours of the assault.

It is not being denied that the resistance’s missile arsenals have been badly depleted, but it is clear that it retains a reasonable amount in reserve – as developments over the past 48 hours have demonstrated. For the resistance, the most important thing now is to choose the right moment to access that reserve and to use it in a manner that achieves the main current objective of retaliation: to cross red lines. Hence the targeting of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Every Fajr-5 missile firing is a qualitative escalation in its own right.

But how can the resistance continue the battle?

Here, the discussion inevitably goes back to the thinking of the leadership that controls decision making in Egypt and Gaza, a discussion that is fast becoming confined to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Palestine: What does the Egyptian government intend to do, and what can Hamas not ignore?

The other resistance groups are not expected to pursue separate agendas that challenge any decisive understanding reached with Hamas. Even when these groups were sounded out by European and some Arab countries about the possibility of reaching a quick truce, their reply was direct and clear: “Reach agreement with Hamas, and then come back to us. Our demands will not exceed Hamas’. But pending an initiative, the decision to retaliate on the ground is fully operative.”

Some points need to be made about the Egyptian government in this regard.

First, the decision to expel the Israeli ambassador and recall the Egyptian ambassador cannot be called a surprise. It was the very minimum expected of a government that came to power after the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak who was fully enlisted in the campaign against the resistance.

Post-Mubarak Egypt is thus re-assuming the role of Mubarak’s Egypt: that of mediator between torturer and victim.

Second, as with recalling the ambassador, moves like sending the prime minister or other ministers to Gaza or opening the Rafah crossing do not answer the question about Egypt’s strategic decision. For the Palestinians, they do not mark a radical change in policy.

Third, the steps taken by Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi and his aides can be seen as attempts to appease the Egyptian revolutionary masses who overthrew Mubarak and brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power. These steps seek to contain any backlash from a public that will not tolerate a rerun of the last Israeli assault on Gaza. But is this enough for the Palestinians?

Since Wednesday evening, Egyptian intelligence has engaged leaders of the resistance groups in Palestine to form a cease-fire agreement. In other words, it’s repeating the same old moves. Similarly, the sole aim of the Egyptian leadership’s contacts with other Arab states and the Europeans and Americans has been to press Israel to re-commit to the truce.

Post-Mubarak Egypt is thus re-assuming the role of Mubarak’s Egypt: that of mediator between torturer and victim. However sympathetic the humanitarian stance may be, if it does not translate into politics, then Egypt has not changed.

The only step that could disprove this assessment would be the opening of the borders with Gaza – not just for humanitarian aid, but for all the forms of assistance that the resistance now needs in the Strip, including volunteers.

While power has shifted in Egypt, it does not look as though the former regime has fallen.

By: Ibrahim al-Amin

Source: Al-Akhba

 

B.Alnounou

 

 

 

Long Live Gaza / Fighting The Battle of All People

 

 

 

The massacres in Gaza are still going on and the killers of children can no more remain hidden, they are those who kill everywhere , the ones who killed in Syria have shown their faces in Gaza. From their deeds you know them, they have left their signature on their bloody acts. These are the criminal Israelis and the no more less criminal Arab rulers and kings and gulf corrupt princes and their hired clientele among intellectuals and thugs. These are the criminal rulers of the criminal Arab league who rallied all countries to kill the Syrian children and would not rest one minute before it made sure that Syrians will be killed and Syrian children killed . Not one minute they could rest before the Israeli/NATO conspiracy be completed in Syria, and the country exposed to chaos and destruction. Not one minute they will rest before this is achieved, and the Arab League that is a dead corpse became as busy as a beehive concerning Syria: gathering and rallying and threatening and expulsing . And now they will continue their conspiracy by covering for Israel. May they be all damned and doomed .

They are the ones who are killing now .: the criminal Arab League and criminal gulf Countries and criminal Arab kings and the criminal Arab springs. They are all a bunch of Zionist criminals that’s what they are, have no doubt about it . One can no more keep up with the escalating number of victims : 73 martyrs among them more than 20 children , 660 wounded among them 250 children laying in hospitals, mutilated, suffering and crying, because the prince of Qatar wants Israel to spread from the Nile to the Euphrates and the Saudi king wants the same, and they want this more than the Israelis themselves. May they be damned and doomed and suffer all kinds of ailments here and in the hereafter.

Finally this war on Gaza has a goal and is not purposeless because Israelis never act purposelessly .It is the continuation of the war on Syria and is being cooked in Israeli/NATO kitchens and its goal is the liquidation of the Palestinian cause by targeting its armed Resistance the core of its strength and the essence of its continuity. This liquidation had started with the war on Syria which was the haven of the armed Resistance. Next comes – as we are witnessing right now -the attempt at liquidating the military faction of HAMAS that is not abiding by the normalizing steps taken-lately – by the political faction represented by Mash’al, Haniyya and company . The reason is that the military faction of HAMAS has kept acquiring weapons and accumulating military experience remaining thus on the line of armed Resistance, while others became immersed in the sectarian divisive conflict and war ,giving priority to the sectarian alignment over the Resistance..

The world order, Erdogan, Hamad ben Khalifa, the Saudi king and Mursi -along with the political faction of HAMAS-want to liquidate the military faction of the same HAMAS as a prelude to engage in talks and as a means to recognize and normalize with the usurping state. In order to achieve this it is necessary that the military capacity of al Qassam brigades and the military capacity of the other Palestinian military brigades be completely destroyed and this is what the Israelis – along with Arab and Palestinian rulers- have set their minds on. And to achieve this – and since they cannot invade and occupy Gaza –they have nothing left to do except to target the civilians population by their air fighters, tanks and battleships taking Gaza’s people as hostages and killing defenseless civilians in great numbers , covering their defeat with blood.

by Daniel Mabsout

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

deliberation.info

 

 

 

China will force peaceful solution to Syrian crisis on West: German pundit

 

 

 

By Kourosh Ziabari – Tehran Times – A German political pundit says China will use its soft power to find a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis and force it on the U.S., the UK, France, and Germany. “I am also rather confident that China will give the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and other important European governments economic incentives to find a peaceful resolution to the (Syrian) crisis,” Christof Lehmann said in an interview with the Tehran Times on Tuesday. 

“One could compare it with a soft power carrot and stick strategy where the policy of Turkey ultimately is dependent on decisions which are made in Europe and the USA,” he added.

Lehmann went on to say that he is “very confident that a peaceful resolution to the crisis is possible as long as the root causes are being addressed and as long as Russia and China maintain a responsible role with regard to preventing further abuse of international law.”

Lehmann is a political author and consultant as well as a clinical psychologist and psycho-traumatologist.

He has been advisor to many high-ranking political leaders across the world, and writes for a number of political news and analysis websites, such as The 4th Media.

Following is the text of the interview:

Q: You have closely followed the political development in China and the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, and the recent political developments in Turkey. What political developments do you expect with regard to the situation in Syria?

A: The 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China has embraced a new, highly motivated generation of politicians on all levels of China’s central and regional governments. Political, social and economic reforms will continue but with more prudence and China will work toward a wealth distribution that will bring moderate prosperity also to the not so developed regions. This consolidation provides a strong basis for a more self-confident China which is likely to use the Chinese soft power strategy to assert its policy, also with respect to Syria.

I am confident that China will back Russia at playing a more confident, assertive and responsible role in the Middle East and Syria by supporting Russian initiatives for the deployment of Russian, Armenian and other UN peace keeping forces to Syria in the first or second quarter of 2013.

I am also rather confident that China will give the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and other important European governments economic incentives to find a peaceful resolution to the crisis. One could compare it with a soft power carrot and stick strategy where the policy of Turkey ultimately is dependent on decisions which are made in Europe and the USA.

Speaking in general terms I am very confident that a peaceful resolution to the crisis is possible as long as the root causes are being addressed and as long as Russia and China maintain a responsible role with regard to preventing further abuse of international law of the kind we have witnessed when NATO overstepped the provisions of UNSC Resolution 1973 (2011) on Libya.

The approach Russia and China have adopted is the approach of international law as a basis for preventing and resolving disputes and conflicts. According to the Charter of the United Nations, the adoption of a resolution of the Security Council requires the concurrent vote of all permanent members. However, since UNSC Resolution 4 (1946) on Spain it has become common practice that an abstention does not prevent the implementation of a resolution even though it has not been formally adopted by a concurrent vote of all permanent Security Council members. This practice was considered as a soft veto, that is, that the nations which did not adopt a resolution would not prevent the others from implementing it, provided that the authorizations granted by the text of the resolution were not significantly overstepped or violated.

When NATO abused UNSC Resolution 1973 (2011) on Libya to become a belligerent party and to bring about regime change in Libya both Russia and China became concerned that the same strategy would be attempted to bring about regime change in Syria. When the two highest ranking NATO commanders prior to NATO’s 25th Summit in Chicago in 2012 wrote that NATO’s intervention in Libya was “a teachable moment and model for future interventions” it became clear for Russia and China that they could not risk that NATO would also abuse a soft veto to initiate an aggression against Syria.

 Another important feature in the Russian and Chinese approach to the conflict is that they oppose NATO’s condescending and neo-colonialist approach to national sovereignty. According to the provisions of the Treaty of Westphalia and the Charter of the United Nations it is not allowed to interfere into the internal affairs of sovereign nations. However, constructs such as humanitarian intervention and a responsibility to protect violate both the provisions of the Treaty of Westphalia and the UN Charter. Their adoption was and remains highly controversial and both Russia and China are realizing that NATO will continue to abuse them unless they are opposed at the Security Council.

A very good example for Western neo-colonialist thought is Dr. Henry Kissinger who contemplates whether most Arab countries could at all be protected by the principles of Westphalia. Kissinger speculates that because their borders have been arbitrarily drawn by former colonial powers they are not real nation states and thus they may not fall under the Treaty of Westphalia. Dr. Kissinger however, fails to be consequent in his thinking. Was he consequent he should have said most Arab nations and Israel?

Q: Will the U.S., EU, Turkey and the Persian Gulf states of Qatar and Saudi Arabia accept that President Assad should remain in power and it’s an appropriate solution for ending the 19-month-long crisis in the Arab country?

A: Since the failure of the Free Syrian Army to secure Aleppo as seat for a transitional government in June and July 2012 both the political and the military foreign backed opposition have fallen literally apart. An attempt to compensate militarily by massively importing Wahabi and Salafi organizations and fighters, many of them with ties to Al-Qaeda, has even made it more difficult to unite a politically or militarily credible foreign backed opposition. The recent meeting in Doha and the establishment of a new political opposition is not much more than a recycling of a failed strategy.

Taking into account that the attempt to build a credible and presentable foreign backed opposition, combined with the fact that we will most likely see increased pressure from China and Russia to begin negotiating and cooperating with the genuine political parties and organizations inside Syria, including the Baath Party and President Assad, I am confident that both the USA, the UK, Germany and eventually also France will have to get involved in real politic and begin working at resolving the crisis rather than aggravating it.

If the USA and NATO accept a peaceful resolution the Persian Gulf states will have to go along. In the end it is mostly a question of a lack of convergence in energy and security needs of two cartels. A resolution to which Europe can agree will most likely also satisfy the needs of the Persian Gulf states.

Q: Why Turkey has been siding with the U.S., France and Britain in pressuring the government of President Assad and supporting the Free Syrian Army?

A: Turkey has been siding with the United States because it was pressured into it. That is, the AKP and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan were more than willing to cooperate, but their cooperation was not possible before they succeeded at arresting and imprisoning more than 29 high ranking military officers and countless members of the opposition. What we witness in Turkey is a de facto coup d’etat supported by the USA and NATO. The comparison with Ottoman ambitions may reflect the delusions of grandeur of Prime Minister Erdogan but not real politic. What we witness in Turkey is an attempt to implement the American Greater Middle East Project which was developed by the RAND Corporation in 1996. That is, the planned balkanization of Turkey into small states along ethnic and religious divisions. That is hardly a basis for a new Ottoman Empire.

Q: In one of your articles, you pointed out that the massive rallies in different cities of Turkey on October 29, the national day of independence in the country, angered the government of Erdogan since thousands of people protested at the government’s attempts to join the U.S.-NATO illegal war on Syria. Would you please explain more about that? Is the Turkish public against the government’s position on Syria?

A: On 29 October 1924, the Turkish Revolution won over imperialism and its proxies. Since then the day was the most important of all Turkish holidays with millions of people celebrating it in the streets every year. The AKP government of Erdogan outlawed the celebrations, erected police barricades and banned demonstrations. However, millions turned out and removed the police barricades. This year the 29th of October turned into a new revolution against the new imperialism and its proxy, Prime Minister Erdogan. I am confident that the AKP has made a historic mistake by attempting to rewrite Turkey’s history. After this massive humiliation I find it unlikely that the AKP will win another election any time soon.

Q: Would you please explain about the role of Salafists in the escalation of conflict in Syria? How have they entered Syria from Saudi Arabia in such great numbers?

A: Syria experienced a massive influx of Salafist militants after the Free Syrian Army was decisively defeated in its attempt to conquer Aleppo as seat for a transitional government in June and July 2012. The plan was to emulate the strategy that has been used successfully in Libya, where the seat of the transitional government was the Al-Qaeda or LIFG stronghold Benghazi.

The main sponsors of Salafists in terms of finances and weapons are Saudi Arabia and to a lesser degree Qatar. Militants are imported from Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Libya, Indonesia and elsewhere. Especially Saudi Arabia is maintaining a world-wide network of Salafist organizations, many of them with ties to the Al-Qaeda network like the HuJI (Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami) in Bangladesh.

These organizations are often funded through charities and supervised through liaisons into the Saudi Ministry of the Interior. The Free Syrian Army never succeeded in establishing a general command and that was its weakness from day one. Since the influx of Salafits we witness calls for the establishment of a Syrian Caliphate while small factions are fighting each other. The common denominator is greed, extremism, money and weapons from abroad.

It is a self defeating strategy because it caused many Free Syrian Army commanders and troops as well as members of the non militant foreign backed opposition and the people of Syria to realign themselves with the Syrian military, the Syrian government and the genuine reform movements in Syria.

Q: Somewhere I read you saying that the war on Syria is a war for natural resources, especially the vast gas reserves of Persian Gulf and East Mediterranean. Would you please tell us more about that? Do you want to imply that Syria possesses gas reserves which the regional and foreign opponents of the government of President Assad want to take over on?

A: The principle cause of the Syrian crisis is a lack of convergence in the energy and security needs of two cartels. In 2007 major resources of natural gas were discovered in the Persian Gulf between Qatar and Iran and in the Eastern Mediterranean, in the so-called Levanthine Basin. These reserves can cover the consumption of natural gas in the EU and the Middle East for the next 100 – 120 years. There are two proposed pipeline projects or cartels, which are, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Russia, and to a lesser degree Lebanon and Palestine, and the other consists of Qatar, the EU, Israel, Turkey, Greece, and to a lesser degree the USA.

At the present time Russia provides approximately 22 % of the natural gas that is consumed by the EU. This percentage will increase when the North Sea pipeline from Russia to Germany will go online. Because of the USA’s push for dominance over Russia and China the prospect that Russia also will control the gas supplies from the Middle East and the Mediterranean raises grave security concerns in Europe. That is the main cause for the conflict. However, I believe that a solution can be brokered if Russia and the EU increase their interdependency in economic and political terms.

Q: How does Israel benefit from conflict and unrest in Syria? Is it that with the weakening of Syria and the overthrowing of the government of President Assad, it would be more comfortable for Israel to confront Iran and even launch a military strike against Iran?

A: Syria is the sole Arab nation which has consequently and consistently supported the Palestinian cause. To weaken Syria would be beneficial for Israel in terms of the Palestinian issue and in terms of weakening Syria militarily and politically. As far as I am informed Israel has plans to permanently annex the occupied Syrian Golan, parts of Southern Lebanon, East Jerusalem and the greater part of the West Bank. Syria is the main obstacle preventing this plan. Israel’s solution for the Palestinian problem would be the establishment of a Hamas controlled Palestinian micro state in the Gaza Strip in the recognition of that state. A weakened Syria and Hezbollah or Lebanon will also make it more feasible for Israel and the USA to attack Iran and thus gain dominance over the oil and gas resources of the entire region.

 

B. al-Nouno