Islamist Terrorists In Syria and Massacres

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You have to hand it to Al-Qaeda - they always make factions of the US and UK governments do what they already want to do. Whether it invading Iraq, or invading Syria.

(GLOBALRESEARCH) The Al Qaeda Insurgency in Syria: Recruiting Jihadists to Wage NATO's "Humanitarian Wars"
PART III
by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, September 2, 2011

Part I
A "Humanitarian War" on Syria? Military Escalation. Towards a Broader Middle East-Central Asian War?
Part I of a three part series
- by Michel Chossudovsky - 2011-08-09
The road to Tehran goes through Damascus. A US-NATO war on Iran would involve, as a first step, a destabilization campaign ("regime change") directed against Syria.

Part II
The Pentagon's "Salvador Option": The Deployment of Death Squads in Iraq and Syria
- by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky - 2011-08-16
Recent developments in Syria point to a full-fledged armed insurgency, integrated by Islamist "freedom fighters" covertly supported, trained and equipped by foreign powers.

What triggered the crisis in Syria?

It was not the result of internal political cleavages, but rather the consequence of a deliberate plan by the US-NATO alliance to trigger social chaos, to discredit the Syrian government of Bashar Al Assad and ultimately destabilize Syria as a Nation State.

Since the middle of March 2011, Islamist armed groups covertly supported by Western and Israeli intelligence have conducted terrorist attacks on government buildings and acts of arson.

Amply documented, trained gunmen and snipers have targeted the police, the armed forces as well as unarmed civilians.

The objective of this armed insurrection is to trigger the response of the police and armed forces, including the deployment of tanks and armored vehicles with a view to eventually justifying a "humanitarian" military intervention, under NATO's "responsibility to protect" mandate.

The Nature of the Syrian Political System

There is certainly cause for social unrest and mass protest in Syria: unemployment has increased in recent years, social conditions have deteriorated, particularly since the adoption in 2006 of sweeping economic reforms under IMF guidance. The later include austerity measures, a freeze on wages, the deregulation of the financial system, trade reform and privatization. (See IMF Syrian Arab Republic — IMF Article IV Consultation Mission's Concluding Statement, http://www.imf.org/external/np/ms/2006/051406.htm, 2006).

Moreover, there are serious divisions within the government and the military. The populist policy framework of the Baath party has largely been eroded. A faction within the ruling political establishment has embraced the neoliberal agenda. In turn, the adoption of IMF "economic medicine" has served to enrich the ruling economic elite. Pro-US factions have also developed within the upper echelons of the Syrian military and intelligence.

But the "pro-democracy" movement integrated by Islamists and supported by NATO and the "international community" did not emanate from the mainstay of Syrian civil society.

The protests largely dominated by Islamists represent a very small fraction of Syrian public opinion. They are of a sectarian nature. They do not address the broader issues of social inequality, civil rights and unemployment.

The majority of Syria's population (including the opponents of the Al Assad government) do not support the "protest movement" which is characterised by an armed insurgency. In fact quite the opposite.

Ironically, despite its authoritarian nature, there is considerable popular support for the government of President Bashar Al Assad, which is confirmed by the large pro-government rallies.

Syria constitutes the only (remaining) independent secular state in the Arab world. Its populist, anti-Imperialist and secular base is inherited from the dominant Baath party, which integrates Muslims, Christians and Druze. It supports the struggle of the Palestinian people.

The objective of the US-NATO alliance is to ultimately displace and destroy the Syrian secular State, displace or co-opt the national economic elites and eventually replace the Syrian government of Bashar Al Assad with an Arab sheikdom, a pro-US Islamic republic or a compliant pro-US "democracy".

The role of the US-NATO- Israel military alliance in triggering an armed insurrection is not addressed by the Western media. Moreover, several "progressive voices" have accepted the "NATO consensus" at face value: "a peaceful protest" which is being "violently repressed by the Syrian police and armed forces".

The Insurgency is integrated by Terrorists

Al Jazeera, the Israeli and Lebanese press confirm that "the protesters" had burned the headquarters of the Baath Party and the court house in Daraa in mid-March, while at the same time claiming that the demonstrations were "peaceful".

Terrorists have infiltrated the civilian protest movement. Similar acts of arson were carried out in late July in Hama. Public buildings including the Court House and the Agricultural Bank were set on fire.

This insurgency is directed against the secular State. Its ultimate object is political destabilization and regime change. The hit squads of armed gunmen are involved in terrorist acts directed against both Syrian forces and civilians.

Civilians who support the government are the object of threats and intimidation. Pro-government civilians are also the object of targetted assassination by armed gunmen:

In Karak, a village near Dara’a, Salafis forced villagers to join anti-government protests and remove photos of President Assad from their homes. Witnesses reported that a young Muslim man who refused to remove a photo was found hanged on his front porch the next morning.

“People want to go out and peacefully ask for certain changes, but Muslim Salafi groups are sneaking in with their goal, which is not to make changes for the betterment of Syria, but to take over the country with their agenda,” (International Christian Concern (ICC), May 4, 2011, emphasis added)

In late July, terrorists attacked a train travelling between Aleppo and Damascus:

"The train was carrying 480 passengers... The terrorists dismantled the rails which caused the accident... The leading carriage was burnt... Other carriages were derailed and turned over onto their sides... (quoted in Terrorists attacked a train traveling from Aleppo to Damascus - YouTube, Truth Syria). Most of the passengers on the train "were children, women and patients who were traveling to undergo surgeries."( Saboteurs Target a Train Traveling from Aleppo to Damascus, Driver Martyred - Local - jpnews-sy.com, July 24, 2011)

The Recruitment of Mujahideen: NATO and Turkey

This insurgency in Syria has similar features to that of Libya: it is integrated by paramilitary brigades affiliated to Al Qaeda. Recent developments point to a full-fledged armed insurgency, integrated by Islamist "freedom fighters" supported, trained and equipped by NATO and Turkey's High Command.

According to Israeli intelligence sources:

NATO headquarters in Brussels and the Turkish high command are meanwhile drawing up plans for their first military step in Syria, which is to arm the rebels with weapons for combating the tanks and helicopters spearheading the Assad regime's crackdown on dissent. Instead of repeating the Libyan model of air strikes, NATO strategists are thinking more in terms of pouring large quantities of anti-tank and anti-air rockets, mortars and heavy machine guns into the protest centers for beating back the government armored forces. (DEBKAfile, NATO to give rebels anti-tank weapons, August 14, 2011)

A NATO-led intervention is on the drawing board. According to military and intelligence sources, NATO, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have been discussing "the form this intervention would take".

Shift in Turkey's Military Command Structure

In late July, the Commander in Chief of the Army and head of Turkey's Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Isik Kosaner, resigned together with the commanders of the Navy and Air Force. General Kosaner represented a broadly secular stance within the Armed Forces. General Necdet Ozel has been appointed as his replacement as commander of the Army and head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

These developments are of crucial importance. They point to a shift within Turkey's military high command in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood including enhanced support to the armed insurrection in Northern Syria.

Military sources also confirm that Syrian rebels "have been training in the use of the new weapons with Turkish military officers at makeshift installations in Turkish bases near the Syrian border." (DEBKAfile, NATO to give rebels anti-tank weapons, August 14, 2011)

The delivery of weapons to the rebels is to be implemented "overland, namely through Turkey and under Turkish army protection....Alternatively, the arms would be trucked into Syria under Turkish military guard and transferred to rebel leaders at pre-arranged rendez-vous." (Ibid, emphasis added)

These various developments point towards the possibility of the direct involvement of Turkish troops in the conflict, which could potentially lead to a broader process of military confrontation between Syria and Turkey, as well as the direct involvement of Turkish troops inside Syria.

A ground war involving Turkish troops would involve sending troops into Northern Syria and "carving out a military pocket from which Syria's rebels would be supplied with military, logistic and medical aid." (Assad may opt for war to escape Russian, Arab, European ultimatums, http://www.debka.com/article/21255/ Debkafile, August 31, 2011).

As in the case of Libya, financial support is being channelled to the Syrian rebel forces by Saudi Arabia. "Ankara and Riyadh will provide the anti-Assad movements with large quantities of weapons and funds to be smuggled in from outside Syria" (Ibid).

The deployment of Saudi and GCC troops is also contemplated in Southern Syria in coordination with Turkey (Ibid):

Recruiting Thousands of Jihadists

NATO and the Turkish High command, also contemplate the development of a jihad involving the recruitment of thousands of "freedom fighters", reminiscent of the enlistment of Mujahideen to wage the CIA's jihad (holy war) in the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war:

Also discussed in Brussels and Ankara, our sources report, is a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels. The Turkish army would house these volunteers, train them and secure their passage into Syria. (Ibid, emphasis added)

This recruitment of Mujahideen to fight NATO's humanitarian wars (including Libay and Syria) is well underway. Some 1500 jihadists from Afghanistan trained by the CIA were dispatched to fight with the "pro-democracy" rebels under the helm of "former" Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) Commander Abdel Hakim Belhadj:

“Most of the men have been recruited from Afghanistan. They are Uzbeks, Persians and Hazaras. According to the footage, these men attired in the Uzbek-style of shalwar and Hazara-Uzbek Kurta were found fighting in Libyan cities.” (The Nation, Pakistan,

The Libyan model of rebel forces integrated by the Islamic brigades together with NATO special forces is slated to be applied in Syria, where Islamist fighters supported by Western and Israeli intelligence have already been deployed.

The Triggering of Factional Divisions within Syrian Society

Syria is a secular state where Muslims and Christian have shared a common heritage from the early Christian period and have lived together for centuries.

Covert support is channelled to the jihadist fighters, who in turn are responsible for acts of sectarian violence directed against Alawite, Christians and Druze. In early May, as part of the anti-government "protest movement", armed gunmen were reported to have attacked Christian homes in Daraa in Southern Syria:

In a Christian village outside of Dara’a, in southern Syria, eye witnesses reported that twenty masked men on motorcycles opened fire on a Christian home while shouting malicious remarks against Christians in the street. According to another ICC source in Syria, churches received threatening letters during the Easter holidays telling them to join Salafi protestors or leave.

Last week in Duma, a suburb of Damascus, Salafis chanted, “Alawites to the grave and Christians to Beirut!” according to an ICC source and Tayyar.org, a Lebanese news agency. Christians in Syria are concerned that the agenda of many hard-line Islamists in Syria, including the Salafis, is to take over the government and kick Christians out of the country. “If Muslim Salafis gain political influence, they will make sure that there will be no trace of Christianity in Syria,” a Syrian Christian leader told ICC.

“We want to improve life and rights in Syria under this president, but we do not want terrorism. Christians will be first to pay the price of terrorism. ... What Christians are asking for is the realization that when changes are happening, it should happen not under certain agendas or for certain people, but for the people of Syria in a peaceful way under the current government.” Aidan Clay, ICC Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, “Unlike in Egypt, where Christians predominantly supported the revolution that removed President Hosni Mubarak from power, Syrian Christians have desired peace while demanding greater freedoms under the current government. Christians anticipate that only chaos and bloodshed will follow if Salafi demands are met. We urge the U.S. government to act wisely and carefully when developing policies that have deep political ramifications for Syria’s minorities by not indirectly supporting a foothold to be used by Salafis to carry out their radical agenda.”

(Syrian Christians Threatened by Salafi Protestors, Persecution News, International Christian Concern (ICC), May 4, 2011)

The attacks on Christians in Syria are reminiscent of the death squadron killings directed against Chaldean Christians in Iraq.

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- by Michel Chossudovsky - 2011-06

Towards a Syrian Government in Exile. The Formation of a National Salvation Council (NSC) Modelled on Libya's Transitional Council (TC)

A first step towards establishing a provisional government in exile was envisaged at a so-called National Salvation Conference in Istanbul (July 16, 2011) integrated by some 300 Syrians in exile. This conference venue led to the formation of a National Salvation Council (NSC), composed of 25 members, modelled on Libya's Transitional Council.

"Those present finally agreed on an initiative that will select 25 from 300 present in Istanbul and 50 more from inside Syria, resulting in a 75 member council to represent the current uprising. This 75 member council will also work towards forming a national unity government that can guide Syria in a transitory period, should the regime fall. This transitory period will seek to administer a road-map that re-structures the Syrian state from a dictatorship, dismantling a police state, to a representative democracy. However, those present have refused the idea of forming a shadow government at this moment...." Syrian opposition conference in Istanbul and the formation of a joint council Syria Revolts, July 18, 2011)

The NSC envisaged the formation of an 11 member "Cabinet", which could act as a de facto provisional government in the case of a "regime collapse". The NSC is dominated by the outlawed Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and Liberals from the Syrian exile community. Syrian exiles vote for 'transitional government', Sidney Morning Herald, July 19, 2011)

The Central Role of General David Petraeus: President Obama's New Head of the CIA

Obama's newly appointed CIA head, David Petraeus who led the MNSTC "Counterinsurgency" program in Baghdad in 2004 in coordination with Ambassador John Negroponte, is slated to play a key intelligence role in relation to Syria --including covert support to opposition forces and "freedom fighters", the infiltration of Syrian intelligence and armed forces, etc. These tasks would be carried out in liaison with Ambassador Robert S. Ford. Both men worked together in Iraq; they were part of Negroponte's extended team in Baghdad in 2004-2005.

According to reports, General Petraeus, travelled to Turkey in mid July to meet members of the National Salvation Council. The meeting organized by Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutog(lu took place immediately following the National Salvation Conference (July 16-18, 2011): "[T]he source noted that Petraeous stressed his support during the meeting for the idea of establishing an exile-government, a government which is led by the Muslim Brotherhood and their allies and assisted by American military officials..." (See The Syrian Opposition and the CIA - Another Evidence of Treason - YouTube).

While Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's official visit to Turkey coincided with the holding of the National Salvation Conference, there was no confirmation that Clinton had met up with members of the NSC. Officially, Hillary Clinton met members of the Syrian opposition "for the first time" on August 2nd. (Syria Opposition Meets With Clinton - WSJ.com, August 3, 2011).

The Role of the Western media

The Western media has played a central role in obfuscating the nature of foreign interference in Syria including outside support to armed insurgents. In chorus they have described recent events in Syria as a "peaceful protest movement" directed against the government of Bashar Al Assad, when the evidence amply confirms that Islamic paramilitary groups are involved in terrorist acts. These same Islamic groups have infiltrated the protest rallies.

Western media distortions abound. Large "pro-government" rallies (including photographs) are casually presented as "evidence" of a mass anti-government protest movement. The reports on casualties are based on unconfirmed "eye-witness reports" or on Syrian opposition sources in exile.

Sham News and the London based Syria Observatory for Human Rights are profusely quoted by the Western media as a "reliable source" with the usual disclaimers.

Israel's Debka Intelligence news, while avoiding the issue of an armed insurgency, tacitly acknowledges that Syrian forces are being confronted by an organized paramilitary:

"[Syrian forces] are now running into heavy resistance: Awaiting them are anti-tank traps and fortified barriers manned by protesters armed with heavy machine guns." DEBKAfile,

Since when are peaceful civilian protesters armed with "heavy machine guns" and "anti-tank traps"? What we are dealing with is a trained paramilitary.

While Shaam News is quoted as the source of Associated Press reports and photos, Sham News (SNN) is not a recognised news agency. SNN describes itself as "a group of patriotic Syrian youth activists demanding the freedom and dignity for the Syrian people ..." with pages on Facebook and Twitter. See Shaam News Network

An Associated Press photo of a mass rally in Hama indicates the following disclaimer

The Associated Press is unable to independently verify the authenticity, Content, location or date of this handout Photo. Photo: HO / Shaam News Network.

Yet these same unconfirmed photos are used profusely in the mainstream media.

The absence of verifiable data, however, has not prevented the Western media from putting forth "authoritative figures" on the number of casualties: "Over 1,600 dead, 2,000 wounded (Al Jazeera, July 27) and nearly 3,000 disappearances (CNN, July 28)."

What are the sources of this data? Who is responsible for the casualties?

The US Ambassador Robert S. Ford candidly stated to a Senate Committee hearing that: "The most dangerous weapon I saw was a sling-shot".

And that sling-shot catch phrase, which is an outright lie, has been quoted profusely to uphold the non-violent character of the protest movement as well provide a "humanitarian face" to Ambassador Robert S. Ford, lest we forget, who was part of Negroponte's plan to set up death squadrons in Iraq modelled on El Salvador and Honduras.

The Lie becomes the Truth.

Responsibility of the Syrian Government

The Syrian government, its military and police force, bear a burden of responsibility in the way they have responded to the insurgency which has resulted in deaths of civilians and police. But this issue, which is the object of open discussion in Syria, cannot be meaningfully addressed without analyzing how the US and its allies have supported and financed an insurrection integrated by Islamist paramilitary groups and death squads.

The primary responsibility for the civilian deaths rests with Washington, Brussels and Ankara, which have supported the formation and incursion of Islamist "Freedom Fighters". They have also facilitated the financing and delivery of weapons to the insurgents.

Since the existence of an armed insurgency (supported by foreign powers) is not acknowledged by NATO governments and the Estern media, pari passu these deaths are attributed without further explanation solely to government forces "shooting on defenseless civilians" or government forces shooting at police defectors...

Dangerous Crossroads: Towards a Broader Middle East Central Asian War

Escalation is an integral part of the military agenda. Destabilization of sovereign states through "regime change" is closely coordinated with military planning. There is a military roadmap characterised by a sequence of US-NATO war theaters.

War preparations to attack Syria and Iran have been in "an advanced state of readiness" for several years.

US, NATO and Israeli military planners have outlined the contours of a "humanitarian" military campaign, in which Turkey (the second largest military force inside NATO) would play a central role.

In recent developments, Turkey has intimated that Ankara is considering military action against Syria if the Al Assad government doesn't cease "immediately and unconditionally" its actions against "protesters". In a bitter irony, the Islamist fighters operating inside Syria who are terrorizing the civilian population, are trained and financed by the Turkish Erdogan government.

These veiled threats point towards the possible involvement of Turkish troops inside Syria, which could evolve towards a full-fledged "humanitarian" military intervention by NATO.

We are at dangerous crossroads. Were a US-NATO military operation to be launched against Syria, the broader Middle East Central Asian region extending from North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border with China would be engulfed in the turmoil of an extended regional war.

There are at present four distinct war theaters: Afghanistan-Pakistan, Iraq, Palestine and Libya.

An attack on Syria would lead to the integration of these separate war theaters, eventually leading towards a broader Middle East-Central Asian war.

The road to Tehran goes through Damascus. A US-NATO sponsored war on Iran would involve, as a first step, a destabilization campaign ("regime change") including covert intelligence operations in support of rebel forces directed against the Syrian government.

A war on Syria could evolve towards a US-NATO military campaign directed against Iran, in which Turkey and Israel would be directly involved. It would also contribute to the ongoing destabilization of Lebanon.

It is crucial to spread the word and break the channels of media disinformation.

A critical and unbiased understanding of what is happening in Syria is of crucial importance in reversing the tide of military escalation towards a broader regional war.

Roger Casement's picture
Roger Casement
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Comments

The old joke about Iraq was that "Death Squad Johnny" John Negroponte (ambassador to Honduras, Iraq) would show up, and people start to be found in the street with (a) their hands tied behind their backs and (b) a bullet hole in the back of their heads.

His protege general Petraeus becomes head of the CIA under President Obama, and guess what, the same is happening in Syria. Where in Syria were these massacres in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s or 2000s?

(EMIRATES247, REUTERS) 13 bodies found, hands tied, in Syria
UN rights body to quiz Damascus over Houla massacre
By Reuters
Published Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lebanese anti-Syrian regime protesters and supporters of Islamic groups carry mock children’s dead bodies and chant slogans as they walk in front a Syrian revolutionary and Lebanese flag during a protest against the massacre of Houla, in the northern port city of Tripoli, Lebanon, on Wednesday May 30. (AP)

The head of U.N. observers in Syria, Major-General Robert Mood, said on Wednesday 13 bodies had been discovered in the east of the country, with their hands tied behind their backs and signs that some had been shot in the head from close range.

"General Mood is deeply disturbed by this appalling and inexcusable act," a statement issued by the observer mission said. "He calls on all parties to exercise restraint and end the cycle of violence for the sake of Syria and the Syrian people."

Meanwhile, the U.N. Human Rights Council will hold a special session on Syria in Geneva on Friday to probe last week's massacre of more than 100 people in the town of Houla, diplomats involved in planning the meeting in Geneva said on Wednesday.

The United States, Qatar, Turkey and the European Union led the push for the emergency debate, the U.N. rights body's fourth special session on Syria since unrest broke out in the country early last year.

Scheduling the debate, which has not yet been officially announced, requires signatures of 16 countries that are members of the Human Rights Council.

"It's all materialising very quickly," said one official. "It's going to have huge support."

Some members plan to draft a text that is likely to condemn Friday's Houla massacre, in which at least 108 people were killed, and demand further investigation.

The massacre, a clear breach of a ceasefire deal brokered by international envoy Kofi Annan, has already prompted at least seven Western nations to expel Syria's envoys from their capitals.

The European Union is likely to press the Human Rights Council to recommend the U.N. Security Council refer the case to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

"It should be a strong, robust resolution because what has happened is just intolerable," one EU diplomat said.

China and Russia, which have the power to veto any U.N. sanctions against Syria, have refused to blame forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the Houla killings, so the widespread outrage is unlikely to translate into tough action on the Syrian government.

In the Human Rights Council's last debate on Syria, 41 of the 47 members backed a resolution criticising Syria. Only Russia, China and Cuba voted against.

One month earlier, Syria's ambassador stormed out of the Council during an emergency debate on Syria, blaming foreign countries for inciting sectarianism and providing arms to the opposition in Syria.

Roger Casement's picture
Roger Casement
Joined:
Nov. 22, 2011 11:07 am

Roger,thanks for your thread,yours go into more details on the 1% MO/tactics. If the dots could be connected worldwide with globalization,we(99%) can really have something to focus on. Cannot do the right thing with the wrong info!

tayl44's picture
tayl44
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote tayl44:

Roger,thanks for your thread,yours go into more details on the 1% MO/tactics. If the dots could be connected worldwide with globalization,we(99%) can really have something to focus on. Cannot do the right thing with the wrong info!

Hi Tayl44,

I hope you're doing GREAT. :)

What is remarkable is that the hypocrisy of the Bush Admin continues into the Obama Admin when it comes to foreign policy. Clearly the Obama Admin and any Democratic administration is better, because we're not in Iran, and I would estimate that 1mn to 5mn Iranians are alive because of it. However, the expansion of enforcing of trade agreements by military means and the continuation of the Zbigniev Brzezinski dreams of global domination as laid out in his book The Grand Chessboard, through consolidation (Western and Central Europe, North America) and destabilisation (everyone else) are continuing. One more reason why appointing Hillary Clinton and her gang (Albright, Galbraith, etc.) was a betrayal of Democratic ideals.

Brzezinski on the usefulness of a global threat, in 1998 (3 years before 9/11):

"Moreover, as America becomes an increasingly multi-cultural society, it may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat." (p. 211)

More on the Houla massacre, from Stephen Gowans' What's Left blog:

The Houla Massacre
By Stephen Gowans
What's Left

Syrian government forces may or may not have been responsible for the killing of 108 civilians at Houla. Witness accounts point to militias that may have been acting independently of the Syrian government. One account describes the killings as avenging a rebel sectarian attack on an Alawite village. All the same, no witness account has been independently verified. The events are, in the words of a UN monitor, “murky”.

The US government, nevertheless, has reached far beyond the evidence to blame the Syrian government for the atrocity, a brazenly hypocritical public relations assault on Syria. In light of the serial massacre of hundreds of Pakistani and Afghan civilians, including children, by US drone strikes, the US government has no credibility as a self-appointed champion of the innocent.

Examining the conflict with reference to US foreign policy goals, and the objectives of other parties, it is likely that the Assad government’s opponents are depending on armed conflict and the exploitation of the public relations opportunities the conflict provides to meet their goal of regime change.

Damascus, on the other hand, has more to gain from working out a modus vivende with its internal opposition than trying to win a shooting war with armed rebels that have the backing of the formidable diplomatic and material resources of the United States and wealthy Gulf petro-monarchies.

Goals

In the Syria conflict, the goal of:

• Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Gulf Cooperation Council Sunni petro-monarchies is to replace Syria’s Alawite-dominated state with a Sunni leadership;

• The United States and its Western allies is to force the Russia-allying, Iran-supported, Hezbollah-backing economic and Arab nationalist Syrian Ba’athist regime to relinquish control of the Syrian state. Ultimately, Washington would like to see a satellite regime in Damascus that ousts Russia from its naval base on the Mediterranean, breaks ties with Iran, cuts support to Hezbollah, accepts Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, and opens its economy to US corporations and investors. Whether Washington can realize all these ambitions is unclear, but they do appear to be ambitions the US state embraces;

• The Sunni Islamists and al-Qaeda is to overthrow the Assad government, which they think of variously as “atheist” and “heretical”;

• The exile opposition and Free Syrian Army is to replace Assad as local rulers, courting US backing by professing commitment to Wall Street and State Department interests;

• The Syrian Ba’athist government is to survive in the face of determined opposition and with few allies.

In light of these goals, it is very unlikely that the opposition forces arrayed against the Syrian government are sincerely committed to the Annan peace plan. Since the plan seeks to find an accommodation between the Syrian government and its internal opposition without calling for the government’s dissolution, it fails to satisfy the opposition goal of regime change.

The plan does, however, promise a pathway to the Syrian government’s goal of political survival, and therefore it is Damascus, of all parties described above, that is likely to have the greatest commitment to making the plan work.

On the other hand, being committed to Assad’s overthrow, and not accommodation with him, the opposition is more likely to favor rhetorical commitment to the plan while continuing to pursue its regime change goal through armed struggle, relying on material, diplomatic, and moral support from the US and its allies.

This thrusts Damascus onto the horns of a dilemma. If it fails to respond to opposition attacks it puts its survival at risk. If it does respond, it is accused of violating the peace plan.

Houla

Atrocities being accustomed events in war, it was highly likely that one would eventually arise that Washington and Europe could take advantage of. Pinning blame for an atrocity on the Syrian government would allow Washington to escalate pressure on the Ba’athists, embarrass their supporters into withdrawing or weakening support, and strengthen public backing of stepped up intervention in Syria.

The events surrounding the Houla massacre are, in the words of UN monitors, “murky”, and the identity of those who carried out the killings of 108 civilians, many at close-range, remains unclear. Witness testimony, none of which has been independently verified, points to “pro-government militias” as the culprits, which may mean loosely organized sectarian gunmen acting independently of Damascus. One witness told The Wall Street Journal that “the attacks…might have been to avenge a rebel assault on a nearby Alawite village a day earlier.” [1]

While Syrian forces had been engaged in combat with armed rebels in the area, UN monitors found that fewer than 20 people were killed by government artillery fire. [2] And “rebel fighters,” according to The Wall Street Journal, “admitted putting up a stronger fight with government forces…than had been claimed initially. That fighting appeared to be what the government blamed for its artillery barrage.” [3]

Despite the event’s “murkiness” and evidence that it was possibly related to Alawite gunmen avenging an earlier sectarian attack, Washington blamed the massacre directly on Damascus, squeezing in a denunciation of Iran at the same time. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland called the Houla events an “absolutely indefensible, vile, despicable massacre against innocent children, women, shot at point-blank range by regime thugs,“ adding that the perpetrators were “aided and abetted by the Iranians, who were actually bragging about it over the weekend.” [4]

What the Iranians had actually done was point out that they have provided military aid to Syria, what the US and Gulf monarchies provide to the rebels trying to overthrow the Assad government.

Neither Nuland, nor her fellow compatriot practitioners of Goebbels’s art, have worked themselves up into high dudgeon over the 175 children and 828 civilians killed by US drone attacks in Pakistan since 2004 [5] — absolutely indefensible, vile, despicable killings of innocent children, women, killed from the safe distance of a Nevada warehouse by US regime thugs brandishing computer joy-sticks. And in the case of these killings there was no murkiness about who the killers actually were.

US atrocities don’t mitigate the Houla massacre, nor excuse the Syrian government if it was involved. The killings were indeed indefensible, vile, and despicable. But there are two points here.

Unlike the case of the far greater number of civilians blasted away by the United States, it is unclear whether Damascus was involved in the Houla killings. It may have been. But the evidence is hardly compelling and points just as strongly to perpetrators acting independently of the government.

The US track record is littered with indefensible, vile, despicable killings of innocent children and women by US forces—on a far greater scale than happened at Houla. Were there strong evidence that Damascus pulled the trigger, Washington’s denunciation of the Assad government would be manifestly hypocritical. But in the absence of such evidence, Washington’s apportioning of blame for the atrocity to the Syrian government is not only hypocritical but blatantly political—another volley in a war to put Washington more firmly in the driver’s seat in Syria.

1. Nour Malas and Jay Solomon, “Syria crisis deepens divisions”, The Wall Street Journal, May 29, 2012.

2. Nour Malas and Joe Lauria, “Western nations expel Syrian diplomats”, The Wall Street Journal, May 29, 2012.

3. Malas and Solomon

4. Malas and Lauria

5. “Obama terror drones: CIA tactics in Pakistan include targeting rescuers and funerals”, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/ February 4, 2012 cited in Seumas Milne, “America’s murderous drone campaign is fuelling terror”, The Guardian (UK), May 29, 2012.

Roger Casement's picture
Roger Casement
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Nov. 22, 2011 11:07 am

Take it for what it is, but if any of this is true then there is absolutely no reason or excuse to invade Syria. To say the least. If these atrocities are carried out by the 'Free Syrian Army' to provoke a western invasion, then the 'Responsibility To Protect' doctrine itself is used as an instrument to enter into war.

(GLOBALRESEARCH.CA) THE HOULA MASSACRE: Opposition Terrorists "Killed Families Loyal to the Government"
Detailed Investigation
by Marat Musin
Global Research, June 1, 2012
ANNA NEWS (Original Russian) and syrianews.cc

Global Research Editor's Note

This incisive report by independent Russian journalist Marat Musin dispels the lies and fabrications of the Western media.

The report is based on a chronology of events as well as eyewitness accounts. Entire pro-government families in Houla were massacred. The terrorists were not pro-government shabbiha militia as conveyed, in chorus, by the mainstream media, they were in large part mercenaries and professional killers operating under the auspices of the self-proclaimed Free Syrian Army (FSA):

"When the rebels seized the lower checkpoint in the center of town and located next to the local police department, they began to sweep all the families loyal to the authorities in neighboring houses, including the elderly, women and children.

Several families of the Al-Sayed were killed, including 20 young children and the family of Abdul Razak. The people were killed with knives and shot at point blank range.

Then they presented the murdered [corpses] to the UN and the international community as victims of bombings by the Syrian army, something that was not verified by any marks on their bodies."

We call on our readers to forward this report far and wide, post it on facebook. .

The massacre in Houla is being blamed on the Syrian government without a shred of evidence. The objective is not only to isolate Syria politically and economically, but to develop a pretext and a justification for waging an R2P humanitarian war on Syria.

The US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice has hinted that if the Security Council does not act, the US and its allies may consider "taking actions outside of the Annan plan and the authority of the [UN Security] Council.”

This report by Marat Musin confirms that crimes against humanity are being committed by terrorist militia.

It is essential to reverse the tide of war propaganda which uses civilian deaths as a pretext to wage war, when those killings of civilians were carried out not by government forces but by professional terrorists operating under the helm of the US-NATO sponsored Free Syrian Army.

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, Montreal, June 1, 2012

In the weekend of May 25, 2012, at about 2 PM, big groups of fighters attacked and captured the town of Al – Hula of the Homs province. Al-Houla is made up of three regions: the village of Taldou, Kafr Laha and Taldahab, each of which had previously been home for 25-30 thousand people.

The town was attacked from the north-east by groups of bandits and mercenaries, numbering up to 700 people. The militants came from Ar-Rastan (the Brigade of al-Farouk from the Free Syrian Army led by the terrorist Abdul Razak Tlass and numbering 250), from the village of Akraba (led by the terrorist Yahya Al-Yousef), from the village Farlaha, joined by local gangsters, and from Al Houla.

The city of Ar-Rastan has long been abandoned by most civilians. Now Wahhabis from Lebanon dominate the scene, fueled with money and weapons by one of the main orchestrators of international terrorism, Saad Hariri, who heads the anti-Syrian political movement “Tayyar Al-Mustaqbal” (“Future Movement”). The road from Ar-Rastan to Al-Houla runs through Bedouin areas that remain mostly out of control of government troops, which made the militant attacks on Al Hula a complete surprise for the Syrian authorities.

When the rebels seized the lower checkpoint in the center of town and located next to the local police department, they began to sweep all the families loyal to the authorities in neighboring houses, including the elderly, women and children. Several families of the Al-Sayed were killed, including 20 young children and the family of the Abdul Razak. Many of those killed were “guilty” of the fact that they dared to change from Sunnis to Shiites. The people were killed with knives and shot at point blank range. Then they presented the murdered to the UN and the international community as victims of bombings by the Syrian army, something that was not verified by any marks on their bodies.

The idea that the UN observers had heard artillery fire against Al-Houla in the Safir Hotel in Homs at night… I consider nothing short of a bad joke. 50 kilometers lie between Homs and Al-Houla. What kind of tanks or guns has this range? Yes, there was intensive gunfire in Homs until 3 am, including heavy weapons. But, to give an example, on the night of Monday to Tuesday shooting was due to an attempt by law enforcement to regain control for a security corridor along the road to Damascus, Tarik Al-Sham.

After a visual inspection of Al Hula it is impossible to find traces of any of fresh destruction, bombing and shelling. During the day, several attacks by gunmen are made on the last remaining soldiers at the Taldou checkpoint. Militants used heavy weapons and snipers made up of professional mercenaries were active.

Note that once, the exactly same provocation failed at Shumar (Homs) and 49 militants and women and children were killed, when it was organized just before a visit of Kofi Annan. The last provocation was immediately exposed as soon as it became known that the bodies of the previously kidnapped belonged to Alawites. This provocation also contained serious inconsistencies – the names of those killed were from people loyal to the authorities, there were no traces of bombings, etc.

However, the provocation machine is running all the same. Today, the NATO countries directly threat to bomb Syria, and a simultaneous expulsion of Syrian diplomats has begun … As of today, there are no troops within the city of Al Hula, but there are regularly heard bursts of automatic fire, nonetheless. Moreover, it is unclear whether the militants are fighting with each other, or whether supporters of Bashar al-Assad are being cleaned out.

Militants opened fire on virtually everyone who tries to get closer to the border town. Before us a UN convoy was fired upon and two armored jeeps of the UN observers were damaged, when they tried to drive up to an army checkpoint in Tal Dow.

In the attack on the convoy a twenty-year-old terrorist was spotted. The fire was directed on the unprotected slopes of the first jeep, the back door of the second armored car was hooked by a fragment. There are wounded among those accompanying.

According to a wounded soldier:

“The next day, UN observers came to us at the checkpoint and as soon as they arrived, gunmen opened fire on them. And three of us were injured. One was wounded in the leg, the second – in the back, and I was hit in the hip.

When the observers came, they could hear a woman who was standing next to them and cried, the woman stood and pleaded the observers’ help – to protect her from the bandits. When I was wounded, the observers watched as I fell, but none of them tried to help. Our checkpoint no longer exists. There are no civilians any longer in Taldou, only militants remain. Our relationship to the locals was excellent. They are very good to us; they called on the army to enter Taldou. We were attacked by snipers.”

Unfortunately, many of the militants are professional snipers. 100-200 meters from our group TV-crew, militants attacked a BMP that went to replace soldiers at the checkpoint. During this a soldier – draftee got a concussion and slight tangential wound in the head by a sniper bullet. Looking at the pierced Kevlar helmet, it seems he did not even realize that he survived by a miracle.

Snipers kill up to 10 soldiers and policemen at checkpoints each day. It is true, that the daily casualties of law enforcement agencies in Homs were dozens of victims daily. But, unfortunately, at 10 am, six dead soldiers were taken to the morgue. Most were killed by a shot in the head. And the day had just begun…

So, these are the names of those were killed by snipers in the early morning hours of May 29:

1. Sergeant Ibrahim Halyuf
2. Sergeant Salman Ibrahim
3. Policeman Mahmoud Danaver
4. Conscript Ali Daher
5. Sergeant Wisam Haidar
6. the dead soldier’s family name could not be clarified

The bandits even fired an automatic burst on our group of journalists, although it was clear that this is a normal filming crew, consisting of unarmed civilians.

HOW THE ATTACK BEGAN

After Friday prayers at about 2 PM on May, 25th a group from the Al Aksh clan started firing on a checkpoint of law enforcement officers from mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. Returning fire from a BRDM hit the mosque, and this was the very aim to lead to a bigger provocation.

Then, two groups of militants led by the terrorist Nidal Bakkour and Al-Hassan from the Al Hallak clan, supported by a unit of mercenaries, attacked the upper checkpoint on the eastern outskirts of the city. At 15.30 the upper checkpoint was taken, and all the prisoners executed: a Sunni conscript had his throat cut, while Abdullah Shaui (Bedouin) of Deir-Zor was burned alive.

During the attack on the upper checkpoint in the east, the armed men lost 25 people, which were then submitted to the UN observers, together with the 108 dead civilians – “victims of the regime”, allegedly killed by bombing and shelling of the Syrian army. As for the remaining 83 bodies, including 38 young children, they were from the families that were executed by militants. These families were all loyal to the government of Syria.

Interviews:

with a law enforcement officer:

“My name is Al Khosam, I am a law enforcement officer. I served in the village of Taldou, the district of Al-Houla, a province of Homs. On Friday, our checkpoint was attacked by a large group of militants. There were thousands.

Q: How do you protect yourself?

Answer: A simple weapon. We had 20 people, we called support, and when they were coming for us, I was wounded, and regained consciousness in the hospital. The attackers were from Ar-Rastan and Al-Hula. Insurgents control Taldou. They burned houses and killed people by the families, because they were loyal to the government. Raped the women and killed the children.”

Interview with a wounded soldier:

“I am Ahmed Mahmoud al Khali. I’m from the city Manbej. Was wounded in Taldou. I come from a support group that came to the aid of our comrades, who were stationed at the checkpoint.

Militants destroyed two infantry fighting vehicles and one BRDM standing at our checkpoint. We moved out to Taldou in a BMP, to pick up our wounded comrades from the checkpoint within the city. We drove them back in the BMP, and I filled in their place.

And after a while the UN observers came. They came to us, we led them to the homes of families who were cut by thugs.

I saw a family of three brothers and their father in the same room. In another room we found dead young children and their mother. And another one- an old man killed in this house. Only five men, women and children. The woman raped and shot in the head, I covered her with a blanket. And the commission had seen them all. They put them in the car and drove away. I do not know where they took them, probably for burial.”

A resident of Taldou on the roof of the police department:

“On Friday afternoon I was home. Hearing the shots, I came out to watch what was happening and saw that the fire came from the north side, towards the location of army checkpoint. As the army did not respond, they started to approach the homes, were subsequently the family was killed. When the army started to return fire, they used the women and children as human shields and continued firing at the checkpoint. When the army began answered, they fled. After that, the army took the surviving women and children and brought them into safety. At this time, Al Jazeera aired pictures and said that the Army committed the massacre at Al Hula.

In fact, they killed the civilians and children in Al-Hula. The bandits did not allow anyone to carry out their work. They steal everything that they can get their hands on: wheat, flour, oil and gas. Most of the fighters are from the city of Ar Rastan.”

After they captured the city, they carried the bodies of their dead comrades, as well as the bodies of people and the children they killed to the mosque. They carried the bodies in KIA pickups. On May, 25th, at around 8 PM, the corpses were already in the mosque. The next day at 11 o’clock in the morning the UN observers arrived at the mosque.

Media Disinformation

To exert pressure on public opinion and change the positions of Russia and China, texts and subtitles in Russian and Chinese languages were prepared in advance, reading: “Syria – Homs – the city of Hula. A terrible massacre perpetrated by the armed forces of the Syrian regime against civilians in the town of Houla. Dozens of victims and their number is growing, mainly women and children, brutally killed by indiscriminate bombing of the CITY.”

Two days later, on May 27, after the residents’ stories and video recordings made showed that the facts do not support the allegation of shelling and bombing, the bandits’ videos had undergone significant changes. At the end of the text appeared this postscript: “And some were killed with knives.”

Marat Musin, Olga Kulygina, Al-Houla, Syria

Original text / source: http://maramus.livejournal.com/86539.html

video: Russian

Roger Casement's picture
Roger Casement
Joined:
Nov. 22, 2011 11:07 am

Hi Roger,thanks, i`m ok but computer having problems.Yes there is a difference between Bush & Obama not much,like a good cop & bad cop. I think the best way to stop the wars is show what the 99% have in common vs the 1% having us kill each other as they get richer and we 99% get poorer and deader. Example,what`s the politics of the "Free Syrian Army"? Or any other group,to know the politics,the more the reasons to stop the fighting.Why should we kill each other,if we have no reasons.If we know the reasons come from the 1%,than we have reasons to ask "WHY"?

tayl44's picture
tayl44
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Hi Tayl44,

The ideology of the 'rebels' seems to be pretty mercenary. They even get hundreds of millions from (out of/through) Qatar.

With the translation of the origial Frankfurter Allgemeine article listed below, the National Review article first:

(NATIONAL REVIEW) Report: Rebels Responsible for Houla Massacre
By John Rosenthal
June 9, 2012 4:00 A.M.

It was, in the words of U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan, the “tipping point” in the Syria conflict: a savage massacre of over 90 people, predominantly women and children, for which the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad was immediately blamed by virtually the entirety of the Western media. Within days of the first reports of the Houla massacre, the U.S., France, Great Britain, Germany, and several other Western countries announced that they were expelling Syria’s ambassadors in protest.

But according to a new report in Germany’s leading daily, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), the Houla massacre was in fact committed by anti-Assad Sunni militants, and the bulk of the victims were member of the Alawi and Shia minorities, which have been largely supportive of Assad. For its account of the massacre, the report cites opponents of Assad, who, however, declined to have their names appear in print out of fear of reprisals from armed opposition groups.

According to the article’s sources, the massacre occurred after rebel forces attacked three army-controlled roadblocks outside of Houla. The roadblocks had been set up to protect nearby Alawi majority villages from attacks by Sunni militias. The rebel attacks provoked a call for reinforcements by the besieged army units. Syrian army and rebel forces are reported to have engaged in battle for some 90 minutes, during which time “dozens of soldiers and rebels” were killed.

“According to eyewitness accounts,” the FAZ report continues,

the massacre occurred during this time. Those killed were almost exclusively from families belonging to Houla’s Alawi and Shia minorities. Over 90% of Houla’s population are Sunnis. Several dozen members of a family were slaughtered, which had converted from Sunni to Shia Islam. Members of the Shomaliya, an Alawi family, were also killed, as was the family of a Sunni member of the Syrian parliament who is regarded as a collaborator. Immediately following the massacre, the perpetrators are supposed to have filmed their victims and then presented them as Sunni victims in videos posted on the internet.

The FAZ report echoes eyewitness accounts collected from refugees from the Houla region by members of the Monastery of St. James in Qara, Syria. According to monastery sources cited by the Dutch Middle East expert Martin Janssen, armed rebels murdered “entire Alawi families” in the village of Taldo in the Houla region.

Already at the beginning of April, Mother Agnès-Mariam de la Croix of the St. James Monastery warned of rebel atrocities’ being repackaged in both Arab and Western media accounts as regime atrocities. She cited the case of a massacre in the Khalidiya neighborhood in Homs. According to an account published in French on the monastery’s website, rebels gathered Christian and Alawi hostages in a building in Khalidiya and blew up the building with dynamite. They then attributed the crime to the regular Syrian army. “Even though this act has been attributed to regular army forces . . . the evidence and testimony are irrefutable: It was an operation undertaken by armed groups affiliated with the opposition,” Mother Agnès-Mariam wrote.

— John Rosenthal writes on European politics and transatlantic security issues. You can follow his work at www.trans-int.com or on Facebook.

**********************

The http://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/neue-erkenntnisse-zu-getoeteten-von-h...
">original Frankfurter Allgemeine article can be found here. To quote the relevant part:

Rebellen erhalten 300-Millionen-Dollar-Fonds

Eine angegriffene Straßenkontrolle rief Einheiten der syrischen Armee zu Hilfe, die 1500 Meter entfernt eine Kaserne unterhält und umgehend Verstärkung schickte. Bei den Kämpfen um Hula, die 90 Minuten gedauert haben sollen, wurden Dutzende Soldaten und Rebellen getötet. Während der Kämpfe waren die drei Dörfer von Hula von der Außenwelt abgeriegelt.

Nach Angaben der Augenzeugen habe sich das Massaker in dieser Zeit ereignet. Getötet worden seien nahezu ausschließlich Familien der alawitischen und schiitischen Minderheit Hulas, dessen Bevölkerung zu mehr als neunzig Prozent Sunniten sind. So wurden mehrere Dutzend Mitglieder einer Familie abgeschlachtet, die in den vergangenen Jahren vom sunnitischen zum schiitischen Islam übergetreten sei. Getötet wurden ferner Mitglieder der alawitischen Familie Shomaliya und die Familie eines sunnitischen Parlamentsabgeordneten, weil dieser als Kollaborateur galt. Unmittelbar nach dem Massaker hätten die Täter ihre Opfer gefilmt, sie als sunnitische Opfer ausgegeben und die Videos über Internet verbreitet. Vertreter der syrischen Regierung bestätigten zwar diese Version, verwiesen aber darauf, dass sich die Regierung verpflichtet habe, öffentlich nicht von Alawiten und Sunniten zu sprechen. Staatspräsident Baschar al Assad gehört den Alawiten an, die Opposition wird überwiegend von der sunnitischen Bevölkerungsmehrheit getragen.

Unterdessen haben im Ausland lebende syrische Geschäftsleute in der qatarischen Hauptstadt Doha zur Finanzierung der syrischen Opposition und Rebellen einen Fonds mit 300 Millionen Dollar eingerichtet. Mustafa Sabbagh, der Präsident des syrischen Businessforums im Exil, stellte den Fonds vor. Wael Merza, der Generalsekretär des oppositionellen Syrischen Nationalrats, äußerte, die Hälfte des Betrags sei bereits ausgegeben und teilweise an die Freie Syrische Armee geflossen.

Der russische Außenminister Sergej Lawrow schlug derweil die Einberufung einer internationalen Konferenz zu Syrien vor, an der alle Länder teilnehmen sollten, die Einfluss auf die Akteure in Syrien hätten. Der Kreis müsse über die Länder hinausgehen, die sich in den „Freunden Syriens“ zusammengeschlossen hätten, sagte Lawrow. Denn diese Gruppe unterstütze lediglich die „radikalen Forderungen“ des Syrischen Nationalrats. Konkret nannte Lawrow neben den Mitgliedern des UN-Sicherheitsrats, der EU und der Arabischen Liga auch die Türkei und Iran. Ziel solle sein, den Annan-Plan „korrekt und ohne Zweideutigkeiten“ umzusetzen.

Translation (excuses of spellos and typos):

Rebels Retain $300 Million Fund

An attacked checkpoint called on the Syrian Army for help, stationed in a garrison 1500 meters (nearly 1 mile) away, which immediately sent re-enforcements. During the fight around Hula, which lasted 90 minutes, dozens of soldiers and rebels were killed. During the fighting, Hula's three villages were sealed off from the outside world.

According to eyewitnesses, the massacre occurred during this period. The killed were almost exclusively families from the Alawite and Shiite minorities of Hula, whose population is 90% Suni. Thus several douzens of members of a family where butchered, who in past years had converted from Suni to Shia islam. Killed were also members of the Alawite family Shomaliya and the family of a Suni member of parliament, who was considered a collaborator.

Immediately after the massacre the perpetrators filmed their victims, portraying them as Suni victims and published videos on the internet. Representatives of the Syrian government confirmed this version of events, while pointing out that the Government is obligated not to publicly speak of Alawites and Sunis. President Bassar al Assad belongs to the Alawites, the opposition largely belongs to the majority Sunis.

Meanwhile Syrian businessmen in the Qatari capital Doha created a $300 million fund to support the Syrian rebels. Mustafa Sabbagh, president of the Syrian Businessforum In Exile, proposed the fund. Wael Merza, General Secretary of the opposition Syrian National Council, stated that half the money has already been spent on the Free Syrian Army.

Russian foreign minister Sergej Lawrow meanwhile proposed the creation of an international conference on Syria, at which all countries with influence over the various parties in Syria could participate. This 'circle' should include everyone who joined the 'Friends Of Syria', because this group supported the radical demands of the Syrian National Council. Specifically, Lawrow mentioned the members of the UN Security Council, the EU, the Arab League, as well as Turkey and Iran. The goal would be to implement the Annan plan, precisely and without ambiguity.

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Roger Casement
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What will it take to go green?

In the wake of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, that nation embraced more solar and wind and took a hard look at nuclear power. Apparently, it's going to take a similar disaster in our nation to get the United States to make the switch to green energy.

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