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U.S. Government Continues Trying to Seize Syrian Territory

Eric Zuesse

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On June 25th, U.S.-aided fighters in southern Syria were fleeing from the Syrian Government’s Army, southward toward U.S.-allied Israeli-controlled areas in the Golan Heights and toward America’s ally Jordan; and, according to the AP’s news-report, “The majority of these rebels in southern Syria were U.S- and Jordan backed, although some local al-Qaida-linked militants still operate there.” The U.S. has relied heavily upon Al Qaeda in southern Syria, to lead the jihadist groups against Syria’s Government, ever since 2012.

The expectation when Donald Trump came into the U.S. White House had been that his predecessor’s war to conquer Syria or at least to seize territory there, would end. But Trump instead continues that invasion and occupation of Syria, and he even does so under the very same excuse that Obama had used, which is the ‘humanitarian’ one, of protecting people against Syria’s Government and against ISIS, which is one of the dozens of fundamentalist-Sunni ‘rebel’ groups of jihadists (ISIS and Al Qaeda being only the most famous ones) who have been brought in from all over the world and financed mainly by the Sauds, and armed and advised mainly by the Americans. They’ve been fighting to overthrow Syria’s Government. The rulers of the U.S., who bombed Iraq and Libya to hell and have done the same to Syria and now also to Yemen, say that their motivation is ‘humanitarian’. Even George W. Bush did, when he invaded and occupied Iraq in 2003 (but he mainly gave the reason, “Saddam’s WMD,” which didn’t any longer even exist). Somehow, most Americans think that this Government in Washington represents them; but I am an American and I don’t think that the U.S. Government represents the American people. It certainly doesn’t represent us in Syria.

However, perhaps now, the actual end of the invasion of Syria is, at last, in sight. The commentator “bernhard,” who blogs on geostrategy at his “Moon of Alabama” site, headlined on June 22nd, “Syria – Damascus And Its Allies Prepare To Remove U.S. Forces From Al-Tanf”, and he (or she) explained the reasons why the U.S. invaders are now clearly in an untenable military-strategic position in the Syrian war. Basically, it’s because, as he(she) states at the end, “The al-Tanf position [U.S. military base in Syria] is indefensible against any larger force. The U.S. forces there can still move out without a fight. If they do not leave voluntarily, force will be used to remove them.” On the other hand, a year ago, on 29 June 2017, he/she had headlined “U.S. Retreats From Al-Tanf – Gives Up on Occupying South East Syria”, and that turned out to have been at least a year premature.

The knowledgeable Middle-Eastern commentator, Abdel Bari Atwan, headlined, also on June 22nd, “Syria’s Southern Front: The army is determined to retake the area. Israel is determined to prevent it.” Atwan stated:“More than 40,000 soldiers have been deployed [by Syria’s Government] in preparation for the southern offensive [by the U.S. and its allies], according to reliable sources, suggesting that a decisive showdown is imminent. It is doubtful that the Syrian army, feeling confident after the battle for Ghouta, would launch such an operation without a green light from its Russian ally, as has been the case in similar instances. This follows the dead-end reached in negotiations between Russia and the US aimed at achieving an acceptable settlement, due to the intransigence of the armed groups, their insistence on all their conditions being met and the support some receive from Israel. It is not in Israel’s interest for these groups to evacuate as their counterparts did in Eastern Ghouta and Aleppo and for the Syrian army to retake control.”

He seems to view Israel as leading the U.S. operation there. This is conceivably true, because everything that Trump has thus far done in the Middle East has served both Israel’s Government and Saudi Arabia’s Government, and both of those Governments have almost identical objectives there. Conceivably, those two Governments together determine what the U.S. Government’s policies in the Middle East will be. And Israel has taken the initiative in Syria, just as the Sauds have taken the initiative in Yemen. But both Israel and the Sauds as well as the U.S. regime want the Saud family to control Syria; in fact, at the U.N.’s peace-talks, in which the “High Negotiations Committee” negotiates against the Syrian Government, to replace Syria’s Government, the Saud family itself selects who will and who won’t be members of the High Negotiations Committee: the ‘Syrian opposition’ there represents actually the Saud family. (See more on that here.) So, actually, both Israel’s rulers and America’s rulers are the Saud family’s agents in Syria; they front for the Sauds, regarding Syria-policy.

Atwan concludes:“Syria continues to defy those who have spent the past seven years conspiring against it. This time, eyes should be turned to its south, where new and shocking surprises may be in store for the Israelis and their allies.”

The U.S. military base at al-Tanf, in Syria on Jordan’s border, is America’s main training-base for the Saudi-allied ‘rebels’, and has been key to the fundamentalist-Sunni Arabic, outright jihadist, south-Syrian half, of America’s boots-on-the-ground effort, to seize Syria, or at least to seize territory (especially oil-producing territory, around Deir Ezzor) in Syria. For decades, the jihadists (supporters of the Sauds’ fundamentalist Sunni form of Islam) have been hoping to oust Syria’s ideologically non-sectarian, decidedly secular, Government, and replace it with a Sunni Sharia-law regime. Trump’s troops even have been secretly arming ISIS to overthrow the Government. That plan will be crashing down if these ‘rebels’ in Syria’s south fail.

Without this jihadist operation in Syria’s south, all that will remain of the U.S.-led invasion-occupation operation will be the northern part, which relies instead upon anti-(Syrian)-Government Kurds as the U.S. regime’s boots-on-the-ground proxy forces to seize the northern portion of Syrian territory. So, it’s the Sauds’ jihadists in the south, and the Americans’ Kurdish-independence fighters in the north — a pincer between the two, for the U.S. alliance to take all of Syria. But there is increasing doubt that the U.S. coalition will be able to seize and hold either portion, or, ultimately, any part, of Syria.

In other words: if the southern invaders fail, then Syria’s oil-producing region, around the city of Deir Ezzor, now contested between these jihadists and Syria’s Government, will no longer be in play, and the only function which land-seizure by the U.S. would even possibly serve for the U.S. and its allies, would be for pipeline-construction, in order for oil and gas from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and possibly other fundamentalist-Sunni-owned countries, to become pipelined through Syria into Europe, so as to replace Russia as the EU’s main energy-source. But Turkey’s Government won’t permit a Syrian Kurdistan, any more than Iraq had permitted success of the U.S. regime’s plan for an Iraqi Kurdistan (around Mosul). The big policy-difference between the Turkish Government and the American Government has long been over the U.S. aristocracy’s (along with Israel’s aristocracy’s) desire to use a Kurdistan so as to break up the non-Saudi Arabic countries (such as Syria) in order for Saudi oil and maybe Qatar’s (the Thani family’s) gas to increase market-share in Europe, so as to decrease Russia’s market-share there.

Consequently, (unless ‘bernhard’ turns out to be wrong about al-Tanf, that “Damascus And Its Allies Prepare To Remove U.S. Forces From Al-Tanf”), Donald Trump finally will have to do what he had always been promising to do: exit from Syria — let the Syrians control Syria. The long effort by the aristocracies of U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Israel — to supplant Russia and its allies, as suppliers of energy and of energy-related services (such as pipeline-construction) to and in the world’s largest energy-market, the EU — will have to be abandoned, at least until the CIA and other agencies of the U.S. aristocracy can come up with a different way to squeeze Russia out of the European market. (The U.S. already has been successful at reducing the effectiveness of Russia’s gas-pipelines into the EU through Ukraine.) It’s not necessarily the end for the American plan, however: a new opportunity (perhaps yet another ‘Arab Spring’) could emerge — they’ve been at this ever since the CIA’s second coup, which occurred in Syria in 1949, when they took over Syria but their barbarism caused Syria’s generals to restore in 1955 the democratically elected Syrian President, whom President Truman’s people had assisted some of Syria’s generals to overthrow in 1949.

As soon as FDR died in 1945, the imperialist faction in the United States — which has controlled the Republican Party ever since 1865 — quickly came to control also the Democratic Party; so, now, both of America’s political Parties are determined that the U.S. aristocracy will control the entire world. World peace is the last thing they want, and if they win it, that would be only ‘peace’ by force — not democracy.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010

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Middle East

God’s Grace: Reichstag Fire and July 15 Military Coup

Zakir Gul, Ph.D.

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“By the grace of God!” Some rulers use the cry to explain why certain events happen and why they play out as they do. They will argue that God, in allowing the events to happen, has bestowed his grace upon the ruler. Two rulers and two events—the Reichstag fire in Germany on February 27, 1933,and the military coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016—illustrate the devastating consequences this twisted logic can have on the lives of ordinary people.When Adolph Hitler arrived at the scene, he told German Chancellor Franz von Pape, “This is a God-given signal” to crush Communists (and later opponents). Immediately after the failed military coup, Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that the event was “a gift from God” and justification for Erdogan to start cleansing the military (and later purging opponents).

The similarities between the two events are striking in terms of beneficiaries, consequences and suspicions about the rulers’ true intentions going forward. Soon after the fire, Hitler started to consolidate his powers in the name of protecting the state’s security and democracy. To do so, Hitlersuspended civil liberties and shut the door on the rights and freedom of the country’s citizens. The fire in the heart of the countrywas used to justify the notion that the country was in a great danger. With decrees, Hitler purged his opponents, even though there was only one person considered to be responsiblefor the fire. Erdogan followed a similar path when he has declared a state of emergency after the coup attempt and consolidated his powers with radical changes in the country’s political and legal systems. With decrees, Erdogan purged hundreds of thousands of people under the guise of protecting the country’s security and democracy—even though soldiers who allegedly were involved in the coup attempt that night already had been into custody.In the political arena, Hitler increased the number of votes he received in the election that took place a week after the fire. Similarly, public support for Erdogan increased after the coup attempt. History does, indeed, repeat itself. These are two of many examples that could have been cited.

It may not be possible to know for sure who staged and orchestrated the Reichstag fire orthe military coup attempt; however, it is clear that the rulers’ purported motives are suspicious and their explanations filled with inconsistencies, given the many controversies arising from both events.The Reichstag firehas been discussed by scholars and historians who concluded that Hitler and his team—either directly or indirectly—helped to instigate the fire. Indeed, the arsonist responsible for the fire was pardoned years later. The military coup in Turkey wasa terrorizing and wicked deed against humanity and democracy, and the persons responsible must be identified and punished based on the rule of law and democratic values. It is, however, a Herculean task. Too many loopholes and controversies about the coup attempt need to be clarified. Erdogan should provide evidence-based, honest and objective explanations to remove the suspicions surrounding the coup attempt. Many answers are needed. For example,why did Erdogan refuse to answer questions from the major opposition party (the Republican People’s Party, or CHP) about the coup? Why has the investigation case report and the report of the parliament’s investigation committee deemed inappropriate and unsatisfactory even by some members of the committee? More important, why has an international committee not been allowed to investigate the case? Questions such as these highlight the many mysteries and suspicions that still surround the event two years after it occurred.

An independent international investigation committee should be established by the United Nations to examine the coup attempt and eliminate possible suspicions about Erdogan and his governing team. The committee also should determine whether thousands of people were responsible for organizing the coup attempt, as the government alleges, and clarify the following: whether some U.S. citizens, such as Andrew Brunson, who is still in jail, were among the primary plotters of the coup; whether some other U.S. citizens for whom bounties were offered were behind the coup attempt; and whether the United States was behind the coup attempt, as Turkish politicians and government officials claim—even though the United States has denied any involvement in the event.

Another independent international investigation committee should be established by the U.N.(or some other internationally accepted institution)to investigate the aftermath of the coup. Violations of internationally accepted human rights (as reported by credible human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch) that have been committed by government security and intelligence officials since the coup attempt should be investigated. The committee also should also determine whether persons victimized in any way (such as imprisonment, job loss, inhumane treatment, and deprival of constitutional rights and freedoms)were based on evidence or resulted from the arbitrary application punishment. A final task of the committee should be to investigate allegations of abductions, extrajudicial executions and torture by government security and intelligence agencies. As John Dalhuisen,Amnesty International’s Europe director, has said, “It is absolutely imperative that the Turkish authorities halt these abhorrent practices and allow international monitors to visit all these detainees in the places they are being held.”

An independent and objective domestic committee that consists of members from every political party in the country—regardless of the parties’ percentage of the vote among constituents—should be established to investigate the same issues the two international committees need to review. Care must be taken to ensure that the members of this domestic committee—unlike those serving on the committee that was formed after the coup attempt—can maintain their objectivity and are aware of their responsibilities. The committee should be transparent and its actions and discussions observed and by international representatives of the U.N., the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the European Union, and individual countries and/or journalists.

Finally, the European Court of Human Rights, an internationally accepted high court of which Turkey is a member,should determine for itself—rather than rely solely on the response from government officials—whether the country’s domestic legal and judicial system can be accessed openly and freely by all citizens and the attorneys representing them in legal matters.

It is only through these independent international and domestic investigations that the truth about the failed coup attempt can come to light.

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Ghassan Kanafani, the Palestinian Pioneer Author of Resistance Literature

Sondoss Al Asaad

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The eighth of July marks the 46th martyrdom anniversary of Ghassan Kanafani, who was assassinated by the Zionist Intelligence;  Mossad, along with his 17-year-old niece Lamees. Days before their martyrdom, Lamees had asked Kanafani to diminish his activitism and to concentrate on his writings. He answered her,” I write well because I believe in a cause, in principles. The day I leave these principles, my stories will become purposeless. If I were to leave behind my principles, you yourself would not respect me.”

Kanafani was born in 1936, in Palestine, to a father who was a national activist in the resistance against the British colonialism. After the 1948 Zionist occupation, his family sought refuge to Syria, when he was 12-year-old. In the refuge camps, Kanafani wrote most of his novels which highlights the sufferings that the Palestinians endure in the diaspora. He won multiple awards for his works both during his life and posthumously. For instance, in “Umm Saad,” Kanafani’s protagonist is a symbol of the Palestinian women in the refugee camps.

Kanafani was inspired by Jamal Abd al-Nasser’s ideas of national independence and defiance of imperialism. Due to the decline of Nasserism after the 1961 failure to consolidate Egypt and Syria under a unified United Arab Republic, the ascendancy of imperialism and Zionism and the rise of communism; Kanafani, along with his comrade George Habash, resolved to adopt Marxism. They belived that the political crisis in the Arab world could only be solved by turning the anti-imperialist struggle into a social revolution.

In Lebanon, Kanafani adopted the Communist philosophy and become a leading member of the Marxist-Leninist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). He says, “The Palestinian cause is not a cause for Palestinians only, but a cause for every revolutionary, wherever he is, as a cause of the exploited and oppressed masses in our era.”

Besides, he was a prolific creative and brilliant novelist and the first to anticipate the “resistance literature” genre. His literary products and fictitious works have inspired a whole generation of resisting youth, both during and after his lifetime as they are greatly rooted in the Palestinian culture and cause. Kanafani dedicated his works to reflect on the Palestinians’ lives and the challenges they face under the Zionist occupation. He states, “My political position springs from my being a novelist. In so far as I am concerned, politics and the novel are an indivisible case and I can categorically state that I became politically committed because I am a novelist, not the opposite.”

The assassination of Ghassan Kanafani was the result of his commitment to the Palestinian cause and the resistance methodology. Today, his legacy echo within every free revolutionary who devoted his life to confront the imperialist conspiracies. Indeed, Kanafani was murdered merely because he had constituted an intellectual threat to the Zionist entity. He refused the negotiations with the enemy, pointing that it would be “a conversation between the sword and the neck […] I have never seen talks between a colonialist case and a national liberation movement.”

The chief thematic field of Kanafani’s writing was inseparably connected to the anti-imperialism struggle. He stressed that the Palestinian cause could not be resolved in isolation of the Arab ‘s social and political crisis. Further, he insisted on developing the resistance movement from being a nationalist Palestinian liberation movement into being a pan-Arab revolutionary socialist movement of which the liberation of Palestine would be a vital component.

Definitely, Kanafani played an influential role in raising consciousness on the issue of imperialism. He maintains, “Imperialism has laid its body over the world, the head in Eastern Asia, the heart in the Middle East, its arteries reaching Africa and Latin America. Wherever you strike it, you damage it, and you serve the world revolution. “Shortly after Kanafani’s obituary in Lebanon, “The Daily Star” stated, “He was a commando who never fired a gun, whose weapon was a ball-point pen, and his arena the newspaper pages.”

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Bahrain’s Top Spiritual Leader in U.K. for Medical Reasons

Sondoss Al Asaad

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Eventually, Bahrain’s prominent, 80-years-old, Top Shiite cleric, Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim has been flown to the U.K., after the severe deterioration of his health conditions.

The Bahraini authorities have frequently procrastinated the proper hospitalisation of the ailing Ayatollah Qassim until last week when the Foreign Minister Khalid Al Khalifa twitted that Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s ruler, had approved off Ayatollah Qassim’s “facilitation of travel” to find medical assistance.

Ayatollah Qassim was earlier transferred to Bahrain’s International Airport by ambulance. The authorities have currently issued a one-year temporary passport for Ayatollah Qassim as he is technically stateless since Bahrain’s Cassation Court stripped him of citizenship.

The arbitrary prosecution of Ayatollah Qassim has been related to his religious duty of collecting charities, known as “Khoums.” This religious ritual has been violated by the government, the charities have been confiscated and the Ayatollah has been audaciously accused of “money laundering.”

Ayatollah Qassim’s medical team issued a statement confirming his transfer abroad in order to avoid further complications in his health. The team said, “Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim left Bahrain for England Monday morning, July 9, 2018.This measure has been taken on the basis of medical reports and consensus of his doctors who emphasized the need for his immediate transfer to a specialised hospital to prevent a further deterioration.”

Moreover, Ayatollah Qassim’s health has been deteriorating after the authorities imposed on him a house arrest. Medical sources have informed that Ayatollah Qassim is suffering from cancer, which is in an early stage.

Since June 2016, Ayatollah Qassim has been arbitrarily stripped of his nationality. Bahrain’s Court of Cassation convicted Ayatollah Qassim of “illegal collection of funds and money laundering, serving foreign interests” and sentenced him to one year in jail suspended for three years. It also ordered him to pay $265,266 in fines.

The unfair, politically motivated,  blatant trial had led Ayatollah Qassim’s followers to peacefully protest, on daily basis, in his residence area, up to 23 May 2017.

On that day, the government violently stormed the sit-in zone, in Duraz village, murdered 5 youth and arrested around 300. Since then Ayatollah Qassim has been under house arrest and denied adequate medical care, which let his situation to drastically worsen and to another health complications.

Clearly, the denaturalisation of Ayatollah Qassim and various dissents is regarded as a systematic reprisal against the political and religious freedom in the country.

Since the onset of the 2011 peaceful uprising, Duraz village along with scores of Bahraini villages have been subjected to an ongoing clampdown and restrictions.

Bahrain, home of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, has gone to great lengths to clamp down on dissents. On 15 March 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed.

Religious freedom has been violated  until the central Friday prayer; the largest Shiite religious congregation, held in Duraz, has been banned. Armoured vehicles were deployed to cordon off Duraz’s mosque and various police checkpoints were set to thoroughly lock down the village.

Regularly, the government have been criticised for violating the freedoms to religious rituals, assembly, association, expression, etc. Since 2011, when protests; demanding democracy, reforms and justice, have erupted; tensions have simmered.

Dozens of high-profile activists have been detained or exiled, opposition associations have been dissolved and citizenships have been revoked.

Unfortunately, the Shiite community have long endured a pivotal and methodological persecution in  an attempt to forged the demographic representation.

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