By Stephen Lendman, Contributor
Violent and nonviolent elements comprise Syria’s opposition. Peaceful ones want differences resolved diplomatically and politically.
Violent ones are responsible for ravaging Syria since March 2011. No end of conflict looks imminent.
From October 1969 – October 1976, and from October 1982 until his February 1986 assassination, Olof Palme served as Sweden’s prime minister. He led the Swedish Social Democratic Party.
He supported decolonization and nonalignment. He was for Palestinian rights. He compared the Vietnam war to the holocaust. He opposed apartheid and other authoritarian regimes. He strongly opposed US and Western imperialism. At the same time, he maintained ties with NATO.
In 1992, the Olof Palme International Center was established. It works “in (his) spirit….for democracy, human rights, and peace.” In May 2012, it published a report titled “Divided They Stand: An Overview of Syria’s Political Opposition Factions.”
It lists nine opposition groups. They include:
(1) The Syrian National Council (SNC). It’s Syria’s largest. It gets substantial Western and regional support. It’s dominated by extremist elements. It favors violently ousting Assad. It’s allied with US proxy Free Syrian Army (FSA) militants.
They’re heavily armed, well funded, trained, and directed Washington proxies. They’re fighting Obama’s war against independent Syria. They want a pro-Western puppet regime replacing it. Thousands of casualties mount. Assad is wrongfully blamed for death squad crimes.
(2) National Coordination Bureau for the Forces of Democratic Change (NCB). It wants democratic governance replacing Assad. Its principles are “no violence, no sectarianism, no intervention.”
(3) Syrian Democratic Platform. Ideologically it replicates NCB goals.
(4) Building the Syrian State (BSS). Its members include dissidents, apolitical elements, and pro-reform independents. It rejects armed struggle and seeks peaceful transformation.
(5) National Change Current (NCC). It supported the SNC, but wouldn’t initially join it. It’s allied with SNC fringe groups.
(6) The “loyal opposition.” Since violence erupted last year, eight new political parties were formed. Some are allied with Assad. They comprise no real opposition.
(7) Syrian Sunni Islamism. It’s the Syrian opposition’s “single strongest force.” Its members include the Muslim Brotherhood. Its Syrian branch was created in 1944. It lacks a significant internal organized base.
In March 2012, it issued a political declaration. It announced support for religious equality. It said “every citizen has the right to reach the highest of positions.”
MB factions throughout the region united in supporting Syria’s opposition.
Since the 1990s, Syrian Salafism made substantial inroads. It’s a Sunni Islamic ultra-orthodox school. It’s connected with Saudi Wahhabi extremists. It’s militant, strict and intolerant. Salafists also tend to be loosely organized.
Salafi-Jihadi elements consider themselves at war with secular Islam and Western governments. They replicate other like-minded groups.
(8) The Kurdish opposition. They comprise up to 10% of Syria’s population. They’ve long been marginalized and play a minor role. Its opposition largely lacks effectiveness. It’s comprised of about 15 competing parties.
Throughout 2011, Kurdish areas remained largely calm and orderly. In October 2011, its parties created the Kurdish National Council (KNC). Its members remained free to ally with other groups as they saw fit. They oppose Assad, but want democratic change.
(9) Independent dissidents. They include around 30 individuals.
A Brief Snapshot of Syria
Post-WW I, Syria became a French colony. It remained so until April 1946. Eight military coups followed. In 1970, Hafez al-Assad gained control. Until his death, he led Syria’s Ba’ath Party. In July 2000, his son, Bashar, became Syria’s president. He’s a London-trained ophthalmologist turned politician.
The nation’s agricultural sector generates around 25% of its national income. Wheat and cotton are principle crops. Oil is also produced and exported. In 2010, GDP growth was 3.2%. Per capita income was $4,800.
Russia and Syria have longstanding economic and strategic ties. Russian expertise and technology helped build Syrian infrastructure.
It’s also responsible for dozens of industrial facilities. It includes about one-third of its electrical power capacity, another third of its oil-related operations, and help building the Euphrates dam.
Maritime interests are important. Linking Latakia, Syria with Novorossiysk, Russia on the Black Sea facilitates cargo shipments. Gazprom has oil and gas development operations.
Both countries have nuclear energy ties. They also cooperate on other commercial, scientific, military, and environmental issues.
Syria is secular. Its population numbers around 22.5 million. About 90% are Muslims. Most others are Christians. Significant investment goes for education. It’s prioritized. It’s largely free. Most schools are state-run. Private college charge modest fees.
Free healthcare and subsidized housing are provided. In 2006, IMF structural adjustment mandates compromised them. Conflict conditions since March 2011 affects all government services.
Most Syrian banks are public. They’re state owned and operated, including its central bank. They’re anathema to Wall Street-style debt finance. They’re run like Gaddafi ran Libya’s. They create their own money. They’re not controlled by Western bankers.
Syria, Iran, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas in Palestine are the last remaining independent governments free from Washington’s control. Replacing them with puppet regimes is planned.
Since March 2011, Western generated violence ravaged Syria. Many thousands died. No end in sight looks imminent. Full-scale war appears likely.
Syrian forces are formidable. A well-armed defense force numbers around 400,000. It has state-of-the-art weapons. Defeating it won’t be easy.
Western proxies alone are no match for its military superiority. Expect Washington-led NATO involvement. Doing so will constitute Libya 2.0. With or without Security Council approval, it’s coming.
Expect it post-November or perhaps sooner. The road to Tehran runs through Damascus. It’s been planned that way for some time. Imperialism isn’t pretty. Millions of corpses explain why. America’s permanent war policy assures many more. Where it ends who knows.
On September 17, Reuters headlined “West’s rebel worries leave Syria strategy struggling.” It’s beset by internal divisions. Each acts in its own behalf. They can’t get their act together.
They formed a new body called the Syrian National Army (SNA). It hopes to unite fractious groups. It looks more like old wine in new bottles. General Mohammed Hussein al-Haj Ali heads it. Disunity in the ranks perhaps makes his mission impossible.
Washington, NATO partners, and regional allies support the Syrian National Council (SNC). Originally formed in 2005, it was revived in August 2011. It was established on lines similar to Libya’s Transitional National Council (TNC).
Human Rights Watch: “Syrian Rebels” Guilty of Torture, Murder
Tony Cartalucci, Contributor
US, UK, NATO, Saudi, and Israeli backed terrorists carrying out a campaign of systematic atrocities in Syria have finally been acknowledged and reported on by Human Rights Watch, who has for nearly 2 years intentionally portrayed the conflict as one-sided violence carried out by the Syrian government alone.
With evidence and admissions emerging that the so-called “Syrian rebels” are in fact Libyan terrorists, armed, funded, and flown in by NATO to cross into Syria and attack government troops, organizations like Human Rights Watch have faced deteriorating legitimacy, even with watered-down admissions like their most recent report titled, “Syria: End Opposition Use of Torture, Executions.” In the report, Human Rights Watch admits that “armed opposition groups have subjected detainees to ill-treatment and torture and committed extrajudicial or summary executions in Aleppo, Latakia, and Idlib.”
Much of the torture described by Human Rights Watch involves obtaining false confessions by victims, admitting tat they are “shabeeha” militia men. The Western media has long excused terrorists operating in Syria for their atrocities, claiming that the victims were “suspected” shabeeha. It now appears, as was suspected all along, these victims were innocent, and the Western press, the BBC and CNN in particular, were complicit in covering up egregious crimes against humanity.
Human Rights Watch also acknowledged that those carrying out the atrocities are indeed the same groups being financed and armed by Western nations, and “urged countries assisting opposition groups to condemn publicly the human rights and humanitarian law abuses by those groups.”
Of course, despite the West using reports produced by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International – and other faux-NGOs funded and directed by the very interests arming terrorists in Syria – to justify the violent subversion of the Syrian government, it is already evident that reports illustrating that human rights abuses are being carried out by Western-backed terrorists will incur no condemnation, nor affect in any way the continued supplying of arms, cash, and covert military support.
Tens of thousands of Israeli troops in surprise Golan drill. Khamenei: No bending to the West
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 19, 2012, 11:47 AM (GMT+02:00)
Reservists drafted at no notice, Air Force, Central Command and other IDF units were flown to Israel’s northern Golan border early Wednesday, Sept. 19, for a surprise exercise called by Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz under the codename “National Asset.”
The official IDF announcement tried to downplay its importance, describing it as a “planned, routine event.” However, debkafile’s military sources say the war game is the biggest the IDF has conducted in the eight years since the second Lebanon war on Hizballah in 2006, with tens of thousands of soldiers and senior officers, including the artillery and the air force taking part.
Over the last weekend, witnesses reported heavy traffic of convoys of tank and APC carriers and military vehicles with emergency store markings heading north, just days after the IDF completed a large-scale war game on Israel’s Syrian and Lebanese borders simulating a Hizballah attack.
Since early September, therefore, the Israeli Defense Forces have been in the midst of preparations which have the appearance of readiness for a real war rather than an exercise. Those preparations peaked Wednesday under a codename which signified its goal: the defense of national assets.
Another sign of an impending conflict was provided by US diplomats who Monday began destroying classified documents and sensitive equipment at the Beirut embassy. As Islamist anti-US violence raged across Arab and Muslim countries, the State Department said this was a precautionary measure, without naming any specific threat. The trashing of embassy documents usually signifies preparations to evacuate an US embassy at short notice. It would be imperative in a war situation to keep them out of Hizballah hands.
The official IDF announcement described the exercise as focusing on fire power under the command of chief Artillery Commander, Brig. Gen. Ro’i Riftin and due to end Wednesday night. The rapid deployment of military strength on this scale for a live-fire drill is required practice for an army facing the onset of war aggression.
In the Persian Gulf, the US is leading 25 West European and Arab nations in a gigantic 12-day war game in the Straits of Hormuz which began Sunday, Sept 16. It includes a large-scale minesweeping drill to simulate the breaching of the Strait of Hormuz against Iranian efforts to block oil passage through the strategic waterway. The exercise – entirely by simulated measures – will also drill operations for destroying Iranian naval, air and missile bases in the Persian Gulf area and countering Iranian speedboats aiming to sabotage naval vessels and oil tankers.
Among the participants are the UK, France, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The United States has deployed three aircraft carriers with aerial strike forces. Military sources estimate that when the war game ends on Sept 27, these forces will not disperse but stay on hand in the event of Israel attacking Iran’s nuclear program.
As the exhibition of colossal Western might got underway opposite Iranian shores, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quoted on his official website as saying: Iran will never bend to Western pressure The Islamic Republic, he told a military audience, “makes its decisions solely based on the interests of its people and the country, even if all of the world’s powers get angry at its decisions.”
It “does not accept the demands of any superpower,” he added.
The Ayatollah also accused “Western and Zionist media” of fabricating reports on the biting effects of economic sanctions, hinting that the Iranian economy was not suffering.
New Video Shows Obama-Backed Syrian Rebels Burning U.S. Flag
Why is the White House funding extremists who hate America?
Paul Joseph Watson
September 19, 2012
A second video has emerged which shows rebels in Syria, backed by the Obama administration to the tune of millions in taxpayer dollars, burning a U.S. flag as they chant anti-American slogans.
The footage, which follows an earlier video depicting opposition demonstrators in Aleppo burning a U.S. flag, shows Syrian rebels and activists in the city of Homs demonstrating against the anti-Muslim film that has provoked outrage across the Middle East.
“America produced a derogatory film,” reads one of the banners as the crowd chants “Muhammad is our leader!”
The shot then pans to a group of men who set an American flag on fire as the crowd chants “Allahu Akbar”. An Israeli flag is also set on fire as well as a Russian flag.
The video again serves to illustrate the disconnect between the Obama administration’s decision to send millions in taxpayer money to help extremists who hate America in their bid to overthrow President Bashar Al-Assad.
The White House has signed off on over $76 million dollars in “humanitarian aid” that has gone directly to Syrian opposition forces. In addition, Obama recently rubber stamped a separate deal to use taxpayer money to support Syrian rebels with “non-lethal aid”. The New York Times admits that the CIA is helping steer heavy weaponry to the rebels on the Turkish border paid for by Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
“How can the Obama administration justify the use of American taxpayer money to fund and support an entity that has proven over and over to be not only anti-American and allied with al-Qaeda but also against all the values that America stands for (freedom of religion, freedom for women and minorities, freedom of expression, equality, human rights, etc)?” states the description under the You Tube video.
Indeed, it’s a question that many have been asking, especially in the aftermath of last week’s attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi and the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens – all carried out by some of the very same militants that were backed by the Obama administration during the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi in Libya. Many of those Libyan rebels are also now crossing into Syria.
According to Doctors WIthout Borders’ Jacques Beres, who treated wounded militants in Aleppo, 60 per cent of the opposition rebels are not even Syrian, emphasizing how foreign fighters have flooded in from numerous surrounding countries to take up arms. A significant number of those militants are Al-Qaeda terrorists, and have been identified as the culprits behind bombings that have killed over 200 people and injured thousands.
In July, the London Guardian reported that Al-Qaeda militants meet “every day” with Syrian rebels in order to train them how to build bombs. Syrian rebels have also attempted to use unwitting prisoners as suicide bombers.
The Obama administration has failed to condemn terrorist attacks carried out by Al-Qaeda militants and rebel fighters in Syria, and has in some cases all but welcomed them.
As we have previously highlighted, Syrian rebel fighters are routinely photographed wearing the Al-Qaeda motif. There are also innumerable You Tube videos that show opposition forces flying the Al-Qaeda flag - the same distinctive black flag with white Arabic lettering that has been flown by rioters during anti-U.S. demonstrations in numerous countries over the last week.
Watch the previous video of Syrian opposition demonstrators burning a U.S. flag below.
Syrian Army Spotted Testing Chemical Arms Firing Units, Magazine Reports
The Syrian military is understood to have late last month test-fired a number of chemical weapon delivery munitions, witnesses told Der Spiegel for a Monday report.
Five or six unfilled munitions designed to carry toxic warfare agents were discharged by airplanes and tanks at Diraiham, which is not far from a large chemical arms laboratory at Safira, the German news magazine reported.
Iranian military personnel thought to be Revolutionary Guard officers were on hand for the checks, according to witness statements. Revolutionary Guard chief Mohammad Ali Jafari on Sunday acknowledged that officers from the elite force were in Syria to offer “intellectual and advisory help” to the Assad government as it battles armed rebels.
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