The intervention in Syria by more than three dozen countries supplying weapons must be stopped




Flooding Syria with foreign arms: A view from Damascus

By Franklin Lamb

Across Syria these days, one is able examine massive evidence that this ancient civilization, the historic bastion of nationalist Arabism and since the 1948 Nabka, an essential pillar of the growing culture of Resistance to the Zionist occupation of Palestine, is becoming awash with foreign arms funneled to the insurgents by countries advocating regime change.

I have been researching foreign arms transfers into certain Middle East countries since last summer in Libya, where to a lesser degree the identical foreign actors were involved in facilitating the transfer of arms and fighters to topple the then, “Libyan Arab Jamahiriya."

    During a recent stay in Syria, I was able to observe first hand, substantial demonstrative evidence supporting the thesis that American, Zionist and the Persian Gulf Arab intelligence agencies as well as private arms dealers from these countries top the list of more than two dozen countries benefiting from the crisis in Syria by injecting arms. These countries gain politically and financially, via governmental and black market arms transfers.

Which countries are sending the most weapons into Syria to arm militia?

A list of the top 24 countries, among the more than three dozen that are currently involved in sending weapons to Syria to achieve regime change include: US, Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, UK, France, Canada, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Brazil, Portugal, Poland, Yugoslavia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, and Argentina.

Nearly two-thirds of the above listed arms suppliers are members of NATO and constitute almost half of NATO’s 28 country membership.

Buying arms these days in Syria is a caveat emptor proposition. Fake weapons and military rejects/defects are also being offered by hustlers from nearby countries including Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey.

The involvement of numerous countries in the Syrian crisis as arms suppliers and political operatives was tangentially referenced by the recent UN Security Council Statement of 12/25/12 which admits the existence of foreign actors and implies their arms supplying activities by urging "all regional and international actors to use their influence on the parties concerned to facilitate the implementation of the (Eid al Adha) ceasefire and cessation of violence."

Syria's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Bashar al-Jaafari observed last week: "This part of the [Security Council] press statement, mentioned for the first time, proves Syria's view repeated since the beginning of the crisis on the existence of Arab, regional and international parties influencing the armed groups negatively or positively. Therefore, those parties need to be addressed."

One of the key challenges for the UN and Arab League envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi whose aides told this observer at the Dama Rose hotel on 10/22/12 where we were staying, is: "We need to persuade key countries in the Middle East, but also internationally, not to support the ''''rebels'''' with arms.”

The failed initiative of envoy Brahimi, was the third ceasefire attempt to date following the December 2011 Arab League proposal and the April 2012 Kofi Annan initiative, both of which were endorsed by the Syrian government and most of the world community. Some rebel militia, but not nearly enough, did endorse the Brahimi four day Eid al Adha ceasefire only to have it collapse this past weekend. To his credit, Brahimi continues his work.

The same Brahimi sources suggested that the United States may also be supplying man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS) to ''rebels'' in Syria. According to Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich, speaking on 12/15/12: “At the same time, it is also well-known that Washington is aware of supplies of various types of arms to illegal armed groups operating in Syria. Moreover, the United States, judging by admissions by American officials that have also been published in American media, is conducting coordination and providing logistical support for such supplies.” NBC News, based in New York reported in July that Syrian insurgents had obtained two dozen US MANPADS, delivered from Turkey.

A month after the October 2011 death of Libyan Muammar Qaddafi, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced in Tripoli that the US was committing USD 40 million to help Libya "secure and recover its weapons stockpiles." Congressional sources report that the Obama administration is fully aware that quantities of these arms are current in Syria and more in transit.

With respect to arms moving from Libya to Syria, on the night of September 11 Libya time, in what was his last public meeting, US Ambassador Christopher Stevens met with the Turkish Consul General Ali Sait Akin, and accompanied him to the consulate front gate just before the assault began. Although what was discussed has not yet been made public, Washington sources including the pro-Zionist Fox News speculate that Stevens may have been in Benghazi negotiating a weapons transfer, from Libya to Syria.

Earlier this year, Assistant Secretary of State for Political and Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro expressed concerns that the increasing flow of Libya arms was far from under control. Speaking to the Stimson Center in Washington D.C. on 2/10/12 Shapiro said: "This raises the question -- how many weapons and missiles are still missing? The frank answer is we don't know and probably never will."

According to a 10/14/12 report by the Times of London, a vessel flying the Libyan flag named Al Entisar (Victory), loaded with more than 400 tons of cargo, docked in southern Turkey 35 miles from the Syrian northern border. While some of the undeclared cargo was likely humanitarian, staff accompanying UN envoy Brahimi during his recent Syrian trip report the Al Entisar also carried the largest consignment of foreign weapons to date, including surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles, RPG's and MANPADS destined for Syria.

Partly because of the jihadists and arms entering Syria from its northern border, southern Turkey is increasingly referred to here in Damascus as “New Afghanistan”, given its matrix of jihadists, Salafists, Wahhabists, and battle-hardened panoply of arriving foreign would-be mujahedeen and al-Qaeda affiliates.

Remarkably, as was witnessed in 2007, during the conflict at the Nahr al Bared Palestinian refugee camp in north Lebanon, some of the arriving eager jihadists in “New Afghanistan” actually believe that they are fighting against Zionist forces near occupied Palestine and not killing fellow Arabs in Syria.

Some, but not all of the many types of small arms flowing into Syria in large numbers, and viewed by this observer include: 7.62mm Tabuk (Yugoslavia) rifles, Mass rifles (UK), 7.62 mm rifles (Poland), 12 mm rifles (Italy), 7.62 mm Kalashnikovs (several countries versions), 9 mm ‘fast gun’, (Austria), 7.62 mm Val (Belgium), G3 7.62 mm G3 rifles (Germany), 7.5mm model 36 rifles (France), M16 and a variety of sniper and other rifles (USA), 7.62 rifles (Bulgaria, 10.5 Uzi and other automatic machine guns, three types of hand grenades (Israel), 9 mm guns (Canada), 7 mm guns (Czech Republic), and 7 mm guns (Brazil).

The observer also examined and was briefed on M72 LAW and AT-3 anti-tank missiles developed by the United States. But they extent of their use is difficult to verify. Most of the arms shown in accompanying photos are from the main urban centers and near the Turkish, Iraqi, Lebanese and Jordanian borders.

In tightly built up urban areas such as Homs, Idlib and Aleppo, door to door fighting includes a battle among snipers. According to one Syrian military intelligence source in whose Damascus office this observer discussed the subject, the most frequently confiscated sniper rifles currently being found in the hands of “''rebels''” include:

• The US Army & USMC M1903-A4 (also: USMC M1903-A1/Unertl), the US Army & USMC M1C & M1D and U.S. Army M21;

• The Israeli M89SR Technical Equipment International 7.62x51mm NATO Semi-automatic, Galil Sniper Rifle and the T.C.I. M89-SR,

• The British .243 Winchester, 7.62x51mm NATO/.308 Winchester,.300 Winchester Magnum, and the 338 Lapua Magnum Bolt action sniper rifles.

• A few Afghanistan era Russian Dragonov SVD and SV-98 sniper rifles have also been confiscated among an assortment of others.

Foreign jihadists have some access to Soviet-era DShK heavy machine guns or ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft cannons which are used for anti-aircraft and fire support. Both use fairly scarce high-explosive rounds and armor-piercing rounds, which are capable of penetrating the armor of the Syrian military's BMP infantry fighting vehicles. The ZU-23-2 "Sergey", also known as ZU-23, is a Soviet towed 23 mm anti-aircraft cannon. Vehicle mounted Zu-23-2’s are relatively easy to spot by government aircraft and artillery units are used to attack a target and quickly flee to avoid counter strikes.

On 10/25/12, Russia reiterated its claims that the US assists and coordinates arms deliveries to foreign-sponsored insurgents battling the Syrian government forces. Russia's chief military officer said that Syrian armed groups have acquired US-made weapons, including Stinger anti-aircraft missiles. This observer saw many weapons from more than a dozen types of IED’s (improvised explosive device) to medium sized artillery pieces but no missiles.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry issued statement of 10/25/12, “Washington is aware of the deliveries of various weapons to illegal armed groups active in Syria. Moreover, judging by the declarations of US officials published in US media, the US coordinates and provides logistical assistance in such deliveries.”

Some analysts in Damascus claim that Syria’s potential military strength has not been as effective as it could be in the current urban fights against ''rebels''. The government appears very strong militarily if one studies the statistics regarding Syria’s large and disciplined army which continues its support and also given its sophisticated long range missiles, air defense systems that have deterred an airborne attack from Israel. One reason progress has at times appeared slow against the “''rebels''” according to some local analysts was a certain initial unpreparedness to confront highly motivated guerrilla militia in downtown densely populated areas.

These kinds of battles, it is claimed, require a mobile infantry, armored flexibility and very effective use of light arms. The Assad governments “adapt, catch up and go on the offensive” paradigm is developing rapidly according to US Senate Armed Service Committee sources who assert that the Syria army has actually become battle hardened, tougher, stronger and more disciplined over the past several months. But it has taken time and has incurred a significant cost.

Weapons examined by this observer in Syria during 10/12 include some of the more than 1,750 new American sniper rifles channeled from Iraq and NATO supply stores to rebel militia.

How foreign weapons are entering Syria

As widely speculated particularly in the regional media, foreign supplied weapons to “''rebels''” arrive by air, sea and mainly by land from Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and occupied Palestine.

Israel is reported, by some researchers in Damascus who have been covering the crisis for nearly 20 months, to be sending arms to Syria from Kurdistan, having had much experience in Africa, South America and Eastern Europe via Mossad and Israeli black market arms dealing. What Israel did in Libya in terms of a widespread arms business it is also trying to do in Syria.

Israeli arms, according to Syrian and Lebanese sources are being transported into Syria from along the tri-border area of South Lebanon, near Sheeba Farms, close to Jabla al-Saddaneh, and Gadja. In addition, Israeli smugglers have increasingly, over the past five months, been seen by locals moving arms inside Syria via the Golan Heights. These violations of Syrian and Lebanese sovereignty raise serious questions about the vigilance of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force Zone (UNDO) based in the Golan Heights as well as the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the Lebanese Army as well as National Lebanese Resistance units near the ‘blue line’ to stop the these illicit Israeli arms transfers.

The recent arrival in southern Turkey and along the northern Syrian border of Blackwater mercenaries is expected to increase the foreign arms flow. Academi (previously known as Xena- Xe Services LLC, Blackwater USA and Blackwater Worldwide) is currently, according to Jane’s Defense Weekly, the largest of the US governments “private security” contractors. Details of its relationship with the US Defense Department and the CIA are classified.

Is there a coherent US policy toward the Syrian crisis?

Secretary of State Clinton has been announcing recently that the US is increasing its “non-lethal support” (i.e. direct shipments as opposed to boots on the ground or ballistic weapons) according to her Congressional liaison office. She also confirmed that Washington is working with its friends and allies to promote more cohesion among the disparate Syrian opposition groups with the aim of producing a new leadership council following meetings scheduled for Doha in the coming weeks.

However, to the consternation of the State Department, General James Petraeus the former US commander of NATO forces in Iraq, now director of the CIA acknowledged, during his senate confirmation hearings. “Non-lethal aid to combatants, including communication equipment, is sometimes more lethal and important than explosive devices due to the logistical advantages they provides on the battlefield.”

In tandem with the US, the UK and several European governments are supplying “non-lethal” aid to the Syrian opposition, including satellite communications equipment, according to Syria security sources.

There is also plenty of anecdotal and demonstrative and probative evidence in Syria of human weapons patterned on the "Zarqawi model” which refers to the bloody Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia campaign named for its leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi after US troops occupied Iraq.

In a speech this week in Zagreb, Croatia, this week, Secretary of State Clinton insisted that any group seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad must reject attempts by extremists to "hijack" a legitimate ''revolution''. She added, “There are disturbing reports of heavily armed foreign extremists going into Syria and attempting to take over.” Clinton used her strongest words to date concerning risks that the uprising in Syria could be overtaken by militants who do not seek a democratic replacement or the reforms that the current government claims it is trying to implement.

She told her conferees: "We made it clear that the SNC can no longer be viewed as the visible leader of the opposition. They can be part of a larger opposition, but that opposition must include people from inside Syria and others who have a legitimate voice. We also need an opposition that will be on record strongly resisting the efforts by extremists to hijack the Syrian "revolution". There are disturbing reports of heavily armed extremists going into Syria and attempting to take over.”

Clinton advised her colleagues that the US had become convinced that the SNC did not represent the interests of all ethnic and religious groups in Syria and that it had little legitimacy among on-the-ground activists and fighters, and had done little to stem the infiltration of Islamist extremists into the opposition forces.

Clinton’s language is being interpreted by some as evidence that a post-election Obama Whitehouse, should he win on November, may move toward the Russian, Chinese, and Iranian position and away from, what one Congressional source derisively labeled, “ the view from the [Persian] Gulf gas stations” i.e. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and some other despotic monarchies.

The intervention in Syria by more than three dozen countries supplying weapons must be stopped. Both sides of the Syrian crisis need to manifest by actions, not just words, a serious commitment to meaningful dialogue. The above noted arms supplying countries, and others off stage, have a solemn obligation to their citizens and to the world community to immediately halt the shipment of arms.

They should, and their people should demand that they do without further delay, honor the words of Isaiah 2:3-5 “….and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”

Granted, perhaps a cliché and certainly far easier said than done.

Yet, as Oregon’s late great US Senator Wayne Morse used tell audiences around America during the Vietnam War, quoting General George Marshall, “The only way we human beings can win a war is to prevent it.”

It’s time for the international community to end the Syrian crisis diplomatically, stop funneling arms and cash fueling hoped for regime change elements. Instead, they must demand that all the involved parties immediately engage in serious dialogue and settle their differences.


FL/HMV/  Press. TV




Syria’s Salafists Getting stronger?




Salafists are on the rise but have not dominated the opposition—so far. SOME ban cigarettes, sport the short trousers of the type worn by the Prophet Muhammad’s companions, and send suicide-bombers to blow up government checkpoints. Others joke about growing beards to butter up rich conservative donors from the Gulf. Welcome to the eclectic world of Syria’s Salafists, so far only a minor strand of the rebel forces fighting to overthrow President Bashar Assad’s regime, but one that is growing.

Salafists have been on the rise in Syria since the start of the year, when Jabhat al-Nusra (The Support Front) presented itself. The group, which sees Syria’s struggle as part of a global jihad, is the only one explicitly recognised by al-Qaeda. It marks itself out with suicide-bombings that often cause civilian casualties and has a slick media operation. With its forces on the front line in the raging battle for Aleppo, Syria’s second city, its impact is getting stronger.

Ahrar al-Sham (Freemen of Greater Syria) is another slightly more moderate Salafist network, operating mainly in the north-west province of Idleb…. The two groups’ numbers are probably relatively small….

Cash from Gulf benefactors who favour religious fighters has given the Salafists a high profile. Some fighters exaggerate their religiosity. “We grow beards and act more religious to get money,” admits a fighter- terrorist- with al-Farouq, an Islamist group. “But many of us drink beer.” Although the opposition in general has failed to present a clear vision of Syria after the Assad regime has fallen, Salafism, with its glorification of death in the cause of jihad, has provided its fighters with an identity.

Whether Salafist groups will emerge on top, as some Western governments fear, is another matter. They will certainly want a share of the spoils in a future Syria, especially if they provide a disproportionate share of fighters and weapons.

Yet the rest of the opposition has urged them to hold back, arguing that their presence is already playing into the hands of the regime, which has long portrayed the rebels as Islamist terrorists tied to al-Qaeda.

So far, Islamist rebel coalitions such as the Syrian Liberation Front, which is composed mainly of Saqour al-Sham (Falcons of Greater Syria) and al-Farouq, both based in the province of Idleb, have failed to win support among Syrians at large, many of whom are secular-minded, especially the good quarter of Syrians who belong to non-Sunni minorities, including Christians, Alawites and Druze.

One argument being heard more loudly among Western and other governments wanting to help the rebels is that funds should be unified and channelled so that jihadist and Salafist groups do not benefit disproportionately from the largesse of Islamist-minded Gulf sponsors…. " But as the bloody stalemate persists, 19 months after the start of the uprising, Salafist groups may get stronger.

The Economist, Oct 20th 2012 | ANTAKYA AND BEIRUT |




Turkey, Gulf States Fund Syrian Opposition Paychecks: Report




After months of fighting without pay, Syrian "rebels" – foreign-backed terrorists-  in Aleppo are receiving their first salaries, paid with money commanders say is at least in part provided by foreign states.
In Aleppo's old city area, fighters gave their names to defected Syrian military officer Colonel Abdul Salam Humaidi, who searched through lists provided by ''rebel'' commanders before paying the men in crisp $100 bills.
The ''rebels'' made thumbprints in ink next to their names to indicate they had been paid.
As the fighters gathered, the crack of rifle fire could be heard from elsewhere in the old city, just one of many areas in Syria's one-time commercial capital that have become battlegrounds between forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and ''rebels'' fighting to overthrow his regime.
"The revolutionary military councils... are undertaking to distribute monthly salaries to the fighters, especially on the front lines," Humaidi told AFP.
All fighters are now paid $150 per month, but this may change in the future, with different salaries given to those who are married and those who are on the front lines, he said.
Humaidi declined to say where the payroll cash was from, but ''rebel'' commanders in Aleppo told AFP it came from foreign assistance and from other supporters, though they differed on the specific countries involved.
"The Military Council (is) distributing the salaries, with Qatari support... of $150 per person registered for two months," said Haji al-Bab, a commander in the Tawhid Brigade, adding that fighters who are not registered are not being paid.
Ahmed Arur, a commander in the Saqur al-Sham Brigade, said that "international assistance (and) Syrian opposition traders are paying the salaries for the ''Free Army''." And Sheikh Mahmud Mujadami, a commander from the Halab al-Shahbaa Brigade, said sources of the money include "Turkey, from the Gulf states, from... Islamic states," and the Association of Muslim Scholars.
For the fighters battling the Assad regime's heavy weapons with light arms for which they sometimes even lack ammunition, the money has been a long time coming.

"We obtained salaries in the amount of $150, and we will use it for pocket money and for the family, for the house," said Mohammed al-Nasser, who has fought for six months without being paid.
He is married and has a son, but his family was able to get by with aid they received in Turkey. Now, they are back in Syria.
Ahmed al-Shawaf said he was a fighter for five months without a salary, and that while this did not personally cause his family hardship, there are "many difficulties" for a person who is "the only one working, and he stops his work because of the ''revolution''." He said that individual battalion commanders can decide to give fighters assistance.
Hussein Ristum defected from the police about three months ago, losing his salary.
"I was depending on the salary for my family, (but) thanks be to God, here in the Tawhid Brigade we do not need anything, food, we receive everything," he said.
Rebel forces helped his family during the time he served without pay. He said there were "difficulties, but thanks be to God, the Free Army and the guys provided housing."

Hurriyetdailynews/ October/23/2012




Nobel Peace Prize Laureate EU Making A Mockery Of Free Speech

 Only three days after being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its alleged role in promoting peace and reconciliation across the European continent, the European Union made the most undemocratic and non-peaceful decision one might think of by ordering the French-based satellite provider Eutelsat SA to take 19 Iranian TV channels, including the 24-hour English-language Press TV off air, denying millions of viewers across the world the opportunity to benefit from the alternative, critical standpoint of a group of media which had for long endeavored to challenge the Western mainstream media's uncontested influence over the global public opinion.

The disputed move can be seen as the latest effort intended for pressuring and isolating Iran over its political independence and its steadfast resistance against the warmongerings and hawkish policies of the West is but a flagrant violation of the principles of free speech. This decision is made while the Europeans and American have constantly, since the World War II, been boasting of being the commander-in-chief and foremost pioneers of freedom speech and democracy. Albeit their claims are justifiable in the context that freedom of speech is allowed as long as it is used a pretext to lambaste and interfere in the internal affairs of unfriendly "others" such as Iran, Cuba, Venezuela and Syria, which these Westerners very much like to capitalize on as the favorite villains to hit and attack.

It's said that this controversial decision is in line with the unilateral sanctions imposed upon Iran by the European Union; however, the question which can be raised is that, can the belligerent states of the EU go as far as banning the television stations of a sovereign country which have been operating in compliance with the technical rules and regulations of the satellite providers? Are the satellite providers legally entitled to investigate the content of the programs of the TV stations which they give coverage to?

Mike Harris, the managing director of the Arizona-based AMT Capital Partners, a private equity investment banking firm believes that it was Israel, the uneasy and perturbed entity in the Middle East, which triggered and encouraged the ban on Iranian TV stations.

"Let's look at who Eutelsat really is.... and let's look at them for a moment because their CEO is a French-Israeli duel national citizen. If you look at the executive committee, they are all French-Israeli duel national citizens," said Harris in an interview with Press TV.

Of course Israel will substantially gain from the removal of Iranian television stations from the Hot Bird frequencies. Press TV, Al-Alam and other Iranian channels on the Eutelsat's blacklist were giving a robust, specialized and regular coverage to the atrocities committed by the United States, UK and their Middle East stooge and client state, Israel, and it was seemingly going beyond the pale. No other major media outlet in the world, with the influence, dexterity and proficiency of Press TV maintained such an anti-imperialism, anti-Zionism policy, and this could not be tolerated anymore, especially in the wake of the deep socioeconomic crisis and depression which the Western world is experiencing.

"Eutelsat is an intelligence operation as are most communications billing companies, mobile phone providers and the infamous 'choke points' that make sure all communication, all progress, all privacy is subject to what is allowed. Most of such 'chokepoints,' companies like 'Google' for one, are Israeli owned. Call it a coincidence," wrote Gordon Duff in a recent article.

Since it was launched in July 2007, Press TV was under huge pressure by the Western states, especially the UK government, which finally realized its nightmarish dream of silencing Press TV by taking it off the Sky platform in January 2012 and imposing a fine of 100,000 pounds on the channel for what it called the violation of its broadcasting regulations.

"Ofcom is said to have close ties to Britain's royal family. And the cables released by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks show that Press TV's programs on the royal wedding, which many in the country described as extravagant, angered the royal family," reported Press TV on January 20, 2012.

Now, with the intensification of EU's anti-Iranian hostility which has been manifested this time in the punishment and penalization of a TV station whose only sin is being different from the corporate, Zionist-run media in policies and trajectory, it's being proved more than before that the European Union did not reserve such a high-profile and prestigious award as the Nobel Peace Prize and that the decision made by the Swedish Nobel Committee was absolutely political, aimed at salvaging the crisis-stricken Europe from the socioeconomic predicament it's drowning into. If the EU has contributed to global peace and fraternity, why can't it tolerate the free and unrestricted operation of a progressive and independent media outlet?

EU Commission's decision in taking Press TV and 18 other Iranian television stations off air is absolutely a violation of the freedom of speech, but let's be frank: who will hold the culprits in this criminal action responsible? Perhaps none of the European leaders will react to this hostile and unjustifiable decision, because they are the first ones who will cheer and relish at the "imprisonment" of Iranian media which have always been a thorn on their side. It's time for the international organizations, peace activists, human rights advocates and journalists around the world to voice their protest at this blatant and unashamed assault on free speech and put an end to the unending and inexplicable duplicity and hypocrisy of the West. '

By Kourosh Ziabari

18 October, 2012


Kourosh Ziabari is an Iranian Journalist


Compiled: M.A. Al-Ibrahim



‘Bloodshed, torture, medieval darkness brought to Libya with Western involvement’




A year on since the death of Colonel Gaddafi, RT speaks with political analyst Ibrahim Alloush who thinks that it is the involvement of NATO and its allies that handed the country over to ‘a group of fanatic criminals.’

­It's as the former regime strognhold of Bani Walid is bombarded by the army in attempts to restore order in the volatile city.

RT:The tensions around Bani Walid just underline the challenges for transforming Libya into a peaceful country but despite this, was the western backed Arab Spring a success, is the country better of without Gaddafi?

Ibrahim Alloush: Well I think the picture speaks for itself. For the last three weeks Bani Walid has been lying under siege and recently it was bombarded, many civilians were killed and wounded, the city was not allowed to receive medical supplies, food or fuel for that matter. Let me remind you that several hundred people from Bani Walid have been abducted after the new regime came into power. This picture is not only restricted to Bani Walid in-fact there are several places in Libya where the so called revolutionaries, the NATO mercenaries that invaded Libya with support of NATO airplanes have kidnapped and are still keeping in jail without trial or any form of supervision, tens of thousands of supporters of Colonel Gaddafi.  Also amnesty International recently demanded that the siege of Bani Walid be lifted. This siege represents a form of collective punishment that is not very different from the way the Libyan people were treated by NATO airplanes or by the so-called revolutionaries.

RT:As you pointed out, Bani Walid is indicative of how unstable the country is, and following the death of the US ambassador last month, NATO has offered its help to improve security in the country. Do you think that Western countries should now be more involved in bringing stability to this very troubled country now?

IA: I think that the involvement of Western countries was the source of trouble for Libya as a whole. We have seen that the state has become dismantled, as happened in Iraq and Somalia, wherever NATO, or US troops have walked in. There was a total implosion of the central state, and this is why you have cases like Bani Walid. If you look at it from the point of view of the rule of law, in fact, there is no rule of law in Libya, and this is the best environment for the control of states that used to be considered rogue states, as they refuse to abide by the dictates of the imperialist countries.

RT:Rogue, failed states are a target for extremists, for the likes of Al-Qaeda. Just how dangerous now is the situation in Libya, where the authorities basically lose control to extremists?

IA: I think the question is who brought Al-Qaeda to Libya, and now to Syria. It’s the same Western involvement, with the support of petrodollars from Qatar and Saudi Arabia. That is handing the country over to a group of fanatic criminals, who are bent on bloodshed, torture, slitting throats, bringing the country back to medieval darkness. We have seen very clearly what these people are aiming to do. They want to punish Bani Walid for its stance against the invasion of Libya by NATO. This is a form of collective punishment against the whole population for standing up for their independence and the sovereignty of their country.

RT:Today Turkey has called on the US, Britain, and its allies to intervene in Syria to prevent the looming humanitarian disaster there. Would the situation in Syria be different from that in Libya, if there was foreign military action?

IA: I think they are already intervening in Syria. All the weapons and all the volunteers, the fundamentalists who are coming into Syria through Turkey, and sometimes Iraq and Lebanon, they are not coming in on their own. They are being financed and armed by Western countries, as well as GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] countries. What we’re seeing here now, is a form of destabilization. The same is happening in Beirut, this recent bombing is an attempt to destabilize the country, and an attempt to put Syria under siege by imploding Lebanon internally, along sectarian lines.




British gang of Muslims waging war in Syria 'pose threat to UK'




A British jihadi has been identified as a key ringleader of a gang of Muslims who have gone to fight against the Assad regime in Syria, it has been reported.

By Telegraph Reporters

6:30 AM BST 18 Oct 2012

The Security Services have reportedly identified the young man, who has not been named, as the leader the gang of more than 50 men who have waged a holy war against President Bashar al-Assad.

The man, who is his 20s and believed to be from a Bangladeshi family, is regarded as a high-ranking officer in an international group of terrorists devoted to bringing down the regime, the Times reported.

According to the paper, the man, who is from London, is believed to be a pious individual involved in military training for “raw” British recruits, who mostly live in the capital.

The jihadis, who said to have volunteered to the cause, include “hardened” Chechen fighters and crossed into Syria over the border from Iraq or Turkey.

The newspaper claimed that Scotland Yard had seized computers and mobile phones from addresses in Britain linked to the men with the material being “urgently” analysed.

Security chiefs estimate that there are just over 50 Britons in Syria fighting to bring down President Assad. A number of the group are believed to be Islamic fundamentalists, it added.

The gang are believed to be young Muslim males, mostly of Asian origin but with a number from North African backgrounds and some being white or Afro-Caribbean Islamic converts.

Authorities are particularly worried about the conflict because it is said to attract violent Muslim idealists who are likely to make contact with the global jihadi movement, the Times claimed.

They would return home having learnt how to use arms and explosives, posing a terrorist threat in Britain.

Security sources told the newspaper that authorities were concerned about the domestic threat emerging from Syria than they were about the conflict in Libya last year.

In comparison most of the “British fighters” who fought to overthrow Col Muammar Gaddafi were Libyan exiles.

Most of them live in the Manchester area and are said to be have been motivated by patriotism rather than an ideological jihad.

Scotland Yard has not commented on the claims.




Syria could be Turkey’s Vietnam

 The recent polls have repeatedly shown that the Turkish public opinion is strongly opposed to any military intervention in Syria.

The curious part is that this opinion is present even within the ruling party, AKP, despite PM Recep Erdogan’s “forward policy” toward Syria.

The prominent Islamist daily Zaman, which is identified with the AKP’s ideological guru Fethullah Gulen (living in exile in the United States), has been lately featuring articles warning Erdogan from going overboard over the Syrian situation... Zaman’s exclusive interview today with former Turkish FM Yasar Yakis becomes highly significant.

Yakis is a highly respected former diplomat with deep experience in the Middle East affairs; in fact, he could be considered as one of Turkey’s best “Arabists”, having served as ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Syria.

Most important, he is an MP belonging to the AKP and he is considered close to President Abdullah Gul (who in a meaningful recent remark described the Syrian situation as a “civil war”)

Yakis’ expert opinion is that Syria could turn out to be Turkey’s “Vietnam”... He rubbishes the idea of a “safe zone” within Syria adjacent to the Turkish border because that region is Kurdish-dominated and Turkish troops will have to be stationed there right inside Syria for that zone to be kept “free”.

But, Yakis warns, Syrian Kurds will inflict a million cuts on the Turkish soldiers deployed there, who will increasingly find themselves trapped in a quagmire.

Yakis flags the danger of Syria’s fragmentation. Interestingly, he sees western intervention in Syria as unlikely.

A Mitt Romney administration in the US might begin to supply arms to the Syrian rebels, but not otherwise.

His warns against “proxy wars”; these wars will be fought on the basis of the respective interests of outside powers — that is, it is entirely up to Turkey to coolly weigh where its interests would lie even if it were to act in concert with the US.


Turkey should readjust its policies in Syria, says Yakış

Regarding Turkey's foreign policy in the Middle East and particularly in Syria, Yaşar Yakış, a former minister of foreign affairs and the president of the Center for Strategic Communication (STRATİM), told Today's Zaman that “Turkey should make an adjustment to its foreign policy route just like the captain of a ship would.”

 Yakış, who is also a retired ambassador and the country's longest-serving diplomat in the Middle East, added that "you cannot insist on a policy just because it was a part of your foreign policy in the past. Each new situation requires an adjustment in foreign policy because if the captain of a ship holds the steering wheel in a constant position, the ship changes its direction due to external factors.”

“Turkey took part on the right side of history [when] a dictator was confronted by his people, but while doing this our actions went beyond the actions of other actors and destroyed all bridges with the regime.” He claims that in Syria Turkey acted with the motivation of “not repeating the mistake it made in Libya, where it expressed misgivings regarding the relevance of the NATO operation, and he went on to say: “The Western countries encouraged us, but then put on the brakes because of a fear that fundamentalists could take over in Syria. Turkey was caught off guard and remained alone, in the offside position.”

Commenting on a statement that Syria might become Turkey's Vietnam if involved, Yakış gives a conditional response, saying, “If Turkey becomes involved, it might become a Vietnam for Turkey as some argue, but if it stays away, there is no such danger,” as he strongly recommends Turkey “act with caution,” while hoping that it would not become involved at all.

Referring to internal and external encouragement for Turkey to establish a “secure zone in Syria,” Yakış warns against the possible dangers of the deployment of Turkish soldiers in a Kurdish and Arab region. “Most of the secure zone will be in the Kurdish regions of Syria. Both because of the PKK's [Kurdistan Workers' Party] existence there and the fact that the current regime is hostile to Turkey, it would be wrong for Turkish soldiers to enter Syria. If they did, it is almost impossible to come back with success.” He also directs attention to the ambiguity around the term “secure zone” as he comments that even if established, soldiers from overseas should protect it. “In Sinai, for example, there are Guatemalan soldiers,” he said, supporting his argument.

 Yakış, who served in Syria as a diplomat between 1980 and 1984, argues that Assad acted like a chess player and gave Turkey a message when “he withdrew his forces from the Kurdish populated northeast portion of Syria -- called al-Hasakah -- and left it to Kurds.” According to Yakış, “It is safe to assume that this may have contributed to the increasing PKK terrorism in Turkey lately.”

In response to a question over whether Kurds had gained a historic opportunity in the region, Yakış says, “This ideal, an independent Kurdish state, exists in the mind of every Kurd.” The former foreign minister added that “Kurds are the most well-organized group in Syria who would take advantage of the situation there if thing get worse.”

If chaos lingers, there is the risk of the dissolution of Syria, and it is not only Kurds who would have their autonomy, says Yakış.

“When the Ottomans withdrew from Syria in 1921, France established six autonomous republics: Damascus, Aleppo, Jabal Druze, Jabal Lebanon, Alexandretta and Jabal Alawite. Now, a Kurdish region has been added to that. There is a base for such separation,” he said.

However, according to Yakış, international intervention is less than likely. “The international community may never be involved in Syria. The US might or might not become involved [after the election] because Americans do not want their sons to die there.” He further comments that “what matters in terms of the US election results is whether or not the country will start providing lethal weapons to Syria or not.”Yakış, stating that countries will decide on Syria based on their own interests, warned against “proxy wars” in which the Syrian people would continue to die while others clash for power. “If Turkey and the US are more involved, it would be a proxy war not only for them, but also France, Russia and Iran would be a part of such proxy wars,” he claims.

 Based on his long diplomatic vocation, Yakış points out that “foreign policy aims are moving targets,” calling on Turkey to adapt its policies to the changing conditions, especially in Syria. According to Yakış, “the biggest difference in Syria is that now the low intensity civil war seems to be leaning towards becoming chronic.”


The Turkish Today's Zaman

Compiled: M.A. Al-Ibrahim