Narwani, Nazemroaya and more on Syria (incl mortar and car bomb terrorism)

 via Alan Lonergan


Amid deep sorrow, victims of Homs twin blasts laid to rest:

“A funeral ceremony was held for the 33 victims of Homs terrorist bombings on Thursday amid wide popular and official participation and an atmosphere of deep sorrow.

…The bombings hit an area near a school compound in Ikrima neighborhood in Homs city as children were leaving school, leaving 33 dead and more than 115 wounded, mostly children.”


Syria calls on UNSC to issue clear condemnation of Wednesday’s carnage in Homs:

“Foreign and Expatriates Ministry addressed two identical letters to the UN Secretary-General and Head of the UN Security Council on Wednesday’s monstrous crime against schoolchildren in Homs city.

The death toll from a double blast that rocked Ekrima neighborhood in Homs city on Wednesday while schoolchildren were leaving school stood at 33, most of them children. 102 others were injured.

…a terrorist blew up an explosive device outside Ekrima al-Jadida school. Few minutes later, the terrorist blew himself up, using an explosive belt, near Ekrima al-Makhzoumi Primary School, with the intention to kill the largest possible number of schoolchildren and their parents.

“All the indications that have been compiled so far confirm that the masterminds and perpetrators of this crime are affiliated to terrorist organizations that some Western countries and their pawns in the region like to call ‘moderate opposition,” added the letters.

The international community, having failed to issue a clear condemnation of the atrocities committed by terrorist organizations in Syria, has encouraged them to commit such “vile acts,” said the ministry.

…Syria has been warning over three years from some countries’ policy of double standards in fighting terrorism.

These countries…continue to arm, fund and host terrorists under the pretext of supporting moderate opposition, an approach that …gives a carte blanch for these organisations to kill and slay civilians, including schoolchildren.”

The “moderate opposition” for which Saudi Arabia announced it will inaugurate training camps, committed crimes against the Syrian people, not least the slaying of civilians and even eating their flesh in full view of the international public opinion...

The Turkish authorities, however, have been complicit in the crime that terrorist organizations committed…

“In total, 1887 attacks with mortar shells happened during the months of August and September alone, killing some 296 civilians and wounding another 1487…”


3 civilians killed in terrorist attacks on Damascus neighborhoods:

“Two civilians were killed and another fourteen injured in a terrorist attack with  mortar shells on al-Qeimariyeh and Bab Sharqi neighborhoods in Damascus.

…a shell launched by terrorists fell near al-Nawfara cafe in al-Qiemariyeh neighborhood in Old Damascus, killing a civilian and wounding six others.

Another shell struck Bab Sharqi district in the old city of Damascus, killing a citizen and wounding eight others, also inflicting material damage in the area.

There has been no letup in terrorist attacks with mortars which are intended to disrupt normal life in Damascus, causing deaths and injuries among civilians almost daily.

…a 5-year child was killed in a mine explosion planted by terrorists near one of the houses in Housh Arab in al-Qalamoun.”

[see also: The Terrorism We Support in Syria: A First-hand Account of the Use of Mortars against Civilians]


Sharmine Narwani, Coalition of the Clueless:

“…On the ground in Syria, dead civilians – some of them children killed by US bombs – muddied the perfect script. Confused Syrian rebels – many who had called for foreign intervention to help crush the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – demanded to know how these airstrikes were meant to help them.

Sunni Arabs would be radicalized by these strikes, they warned, as ideologically sympathetic citizens of the Arab coalition states took to their information channels and swore revenge for airstrikes against ISIL and al-Nusra.

The Syrian government, for the most part, remained mute – whether to save face or because they could ‘smell’ the gains coming. Contrary to Washington’s prevailing narrative, privately the story was that the US had informed the Assad government of both the timing and targets of the attacks in advance.

…Last September, the Americans backed off – allegedly because of communications from their adversaries that even a single US missile would trigger a warfront against Israel. This time, Washington needed to know that scenario was not going to be activated, and this week they offered the necessary guarantees to ensure it.

Although the Russians and Iranians have publicly lashed out at the illegality of US strikes, they do not seem too worried. Both know – like the Syrian government – that these air attacks could be a net gain for their ‘Axis.’

Firstly, the United States is now doing some useful heavy-lifting for Assad, at no real cost to him. The Syrian armed forces have spent little time on the ISIL threat because their focus has traditionally been on protecting their interests in Aleppo, Damascus, Homs, Hama – and the countryside in these areas – as well as towns and cities around the Lebanese and Jordanian borders. That changed when ISIL staged successful attacks on Mosul and created new geopolitical urgency for Assad’s allies – which triggered some major Syrian strikes against ISIL targets.

But to continue along this path, the Syrians would have to divert energy and resources from key battles, and so the American strikes have provided a convenient solution for the time being.

Secondly, the Syrians have spent three years unsuccessfully pushing their narrative that the terrorism threat they face internally is going to become a regional and global problem. The US campaign is a Godsend in this respect – Obama has managed to get the whole world singing from the same hymn sheet in just two months, including, and this is important, the three states – Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey – most instrumental in financing, weaponizing and assisting ISIL and other extremist militias inside Syria.

Syria, Iran, Russia, Hezbollah and a host of like-minded emerging powers are pleased about this new laser focus on jihadi terror and for the accompanying resource shift to address the problem.

Thirdly, the US has now been placed in the hot seat and will be expected to match words with action. For three years, Washington has overlooked and even encouraged illegal and dangerous behaviors from its regional Sunni allies – all in service of defeating Assad. With all eyes on America and expectations that Obama will fail in his War on Terror just like his predecessors, the US is going to have to pull some impressive tricks from its sleeves.

Ideally, these would include the shutting down of key border crossings (Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon); punishing financiers of terror and inhibiting the flow of funds and assistance from Washington’s regional allies; cutting off key revenue streams; tightening immigration policies to stem the flow of foreign fighters; disrupting communications networks of targeted terrorist groups; broader intelligence sharing with all regional players; and empowering existing armies and allied militias inside the ‘chaos zone’ to lead and execute ground operations.

Thus far, there are signs that some of these things are already happening, with possibly more to come.

Now for the fun part. The Syrians, Iranians and Russians do not fundamentally trust Washington or its intentions. The suspicion is that the US is on another one of its regime-change missions, displaying its usual rogue-state behavior by violating the territorial integrity of a sovereign state under false pretenses, and that it will shortly revert to targeting the Syrian government.

While they can see clear gains from the current level of US intervention – as distasteful as they find it – they are watching carefully as events unfold.

If there is the slightest deviation from the ‘guarantees’ provided by the US, this trio has plenty of room to maneuver. Iran, for one, has dallied with the Americans in both Iraq and Afghanistan and they know how to cause some pain where it counts. The Russians, for that matter, have many playgrounds in which to thwart US ambitions – most urgently in Ukraine and in Afghanistan, from which the US hopes to withdraw billions of dollars’ worth of military equipment by the end of 2014.

All understand that Washington has just assumed a risky public posture and that many, many things can go wrong. The Sunni Arab fig leaf can disappear in a nano-second if domestic pressures mount or revenge attacks take place internally. Information could leak about continued assistance to terrorist militias from one or more of its coalition partners – a huge embarrassment for Washington and its wobbly Coalition. ISIL will almost certainly act against coalition partner soft-targets, like carrying out further kidnappings and executions. Continued airstrikes will almost definitely result in a growing civilian casualty count, turning those ‘hearts and minds’ to stone. Syrian rebels could swiftly turn against the US intervention and radicalize further. Massive displacement caused by airstrikes could exacerbate the humanitarian crisis.And as in all other past US military War-on-Terror adventures, terrorism could thrive and proliferate in quantum leaps.

The idea that US military engagement could continue for the long-term is unlikely given the myriad things that can go wrong fast. Obama is going to be reluctant to have his last two years in office defined by the hazardous Syrian conflict – after all, he was to be the president who extracted America from unessential wars.

But the most compelling reason that this Coalition will not pass the first hurdle is that its key members have entirely different ambitions and strategic targets.

Over a decade ago, these US-engineered coalitions were wealthier, less-burdened and shared common goals. Today, many of the coalition members face domestic economic and political uncertainties – and several states are directly responsible for giving rise to ISIL. How can the Coalition fight ISIL and support it, all at once?

What’s missing is a formula, a strategy, a unified worldview that can be equally as determined as the ideological adversary it faces.

Down the road, we will discover that the only coalition able and willing to fight extremism does indeed come from inside the region, but importantly, from within the conflict zone itself: Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran. For starters, they are utterly vested in the outcome of their efforts – and would lead with political solutions alongside military ones. Those elusive boots-on-the-ground that everyone is seeking? They live it. Pit that group against Obama’s Coalition-of-the-Clueless any day and you know which side would win handily.

The question is, can this Coalition stomach a solution it is working so hard to avoid? Will it partner with vital regional players that were foes only a few months ago? It is doubtful. That would require a worldview shift that Washington is still too irrational to embrace.”


Mahdi Nazemroaya, UNSC Resolution 2178 Unanimously Passed but Obama was Diplomatically Rebuked:

“UN Security Council Resolution 2178, which underscored the need to prevent the travel and funding of foreign terrorists, was unanimously approved and passed by its five permanent and veto-holding members—Britain, China, France, Russia, and the US – and its elected non-permanent members – Argentina, Australia, Chad, Chile, Jordan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Nigeria, South Korea, and Rwanda – which have chairs for two-year terms.

The Syrian government hailed the passing of the resolution as verification of its claims about the nature of the anti-government forces that the US, Britain, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Israel, and Lebanon’s perfidious Hariri-led March 14 Alliance have been supporting. Syrian Information Minister Omran Al-Zoubi hailed Resolution 2178 as a political victory for Syria on September 28, 2014.

The UN Security Council Resolution 2178 is described by the US Department of State… as a legally binding document that requires all countries to prevent foreign terrorist fighters from either entering or transiting their territories and to establish domestic laws to prosecute these foreign terrorists domestically.

…It goes on to say that it has been decided that all member states of the UN “shall prevent entry or transit through their territories of any individual about whom that State had credible information of their terrorist-related intentions, without prejudice to transit necessary for the furtherance of judicial processes. It called on States to require airlines to provide passenger lists for that purpose.”

..Almost the entire meeting about UN Security Council Resolution 2178 was a pageantry of hollow rhetoric and beautiful lies. The room was filled with soulless poets. Most the noble words by the gathering of careerists had no bearing with reality. The biggest state-sponsors of terrorism were in attendance in the chamber presenting themselves as champions of justice and as adversaries of terrorism. Aside from a few comments by countries like Argentina, Russia, and Syria, the entire meeting was almost totally a fiction.

…Abdullah II pushed for absolute submission and capitulation to Washington’s new crusade in his speech. With a ridiculously somber tone, he demanded immediate action and said that “there has to be a zero tolerance policy to any country, organization, or individual that facilitates, supports, or finances terror groups or provides weapons or promotes propaganda, whether through media outlets or misusing religious clerics, that incites and helps recruits fighters to these terrorist groups.” “Countries cannot comply in one theater while making mischief in another,” he added.

While the UN Security Council several made statements about stopping the purchase of stolen oil from Iraq and Syria, one of the key facilitators, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, sat in the room. Like Obama and Cameron, Erdogan pretended that NATO member Turkey had no role in the theft of Iraqi and Syrian resources. Instead, President Erdogan took the opportunity to claim that the Syrian government was behind the creation of the ISIL death squads. The next day, on September 25, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Muallem would state that Turkey had not even stopped training and arming the death squads or stopped them from pass through the Turkish border into Syria.

Erdogan would also call for a no-fly zone in Syria. It would later be reported that this topic was discussed between Erdogan, Obama, and US Vice-President Joseph Biden.

…Ignoring the role that Qatar and its allies have played, the Qatari autocrat blamed both Damascus and Baghdad by saying that Syrian state repression and Iraqi state repression is what created the problems of terrorism.

Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner questioned the hollowness and double-standards in the room. She did so diplomatically and in a very polite way without mentioning the US directly most the time, but she was clearly challenging the US and revealing its dirty hands. Along with the Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar Al-Jaafari, her statements were the harshest and pointed out how Washington was creating international instability and that its campaigns to fight terrorism were really not showing any results and only feeding a cycle of violence. Anything that would indicate the guilt of the US in fueling terrorism and nurturing the ISIL was not included in the UN Department of Information’s text on the meeting.

…in 2013 there was pressure on Argentina from the US Congress when it signed an agreement to cooperate with Iran to address the 1992 and 1994 terrorist attacks inside her country. She explained how Argentine dialogue with Tehran in 2013 was deemed unacceptable and that her country was slandered as a terrorist state, but how it has been okay for Washington itself to talk to the Iranians. After this Kirchner mentioned that Al-Qaeda did not emerge overnight and was trained to fight against Moscow. Then she said that the Arab Spring was spearheaded by the same type of militants that have formed the ISIL, but that these combatants were presented to the world by the US as “freedom fighters” in 2011. Perhaps she was trying to point out how ISIL’s strength and reach has been deliberately exaggerated to justify US intervention, but she then told the entire UN Security Council that Argentina did not take the ISIL threats to kill her seriously.

Kirchner went on to point out how the US has presented one new threat after another. The threat to the world was Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction a decade ago, the threat then became the Iranian nuclear energy program, then it eventually turned into Syria, and it was the ISIL death squads at the current juncture of the UN Security Council’s meeting.

Very important, President Kirchner told Obama that Washington’s methodology and methods for fighting terrorism are not right and that military force is not the answer. She said it defies logic to use the same methods that are constantly failing and making things much worse instead of solving the problem. The US approach to fighting terrorism has only made terrorism proliferate and violence spread. …that the government of Syria in 2013 was presented as a great enemy, while the people fighting it were presented as “freedom fighters” by the US. The world, however, became aware and openly admits that those so-called “freedom fighters” are terrorists she added. President Kirchner additionally asked President Obama and the UN Security Council who had armed these groups fighting inside Syria—an answer that everyone in the room knew the answer for—and then asked about the ISIL’s oil revenues and who is providing it with arms

Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar Al-Jaafari would point out that it was several of the member states gathered in the room that were disingenuously denouncing terrorism that in reality were the parties financially, technically, and diplomatically supporting the terrorists and death squads inside his country. He also pointed out how the Israeli ally of some of the US had downed a Syrian jet that was on a mission against the same terrorist forces that they claimed to be fighting.

…..Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called for an end to double-standards. Lavrov also called for an end to the illegal oil trade of stolen Syrian and Iraqi oil and an end to the dissemination of weapons from post-Jamahiriya Libya. …He pointed out to the NATO bombing of Libya and the support that some of the members of the UN provided for the anti-government fighters in Syria.

Sergey Lavrov’s point was simple. Russia was asking for the United Nations to look at the roots of terrorism and not just to respond to their symptoms by fighting terrorist groups militarily after they emerge as threats. Foreign Minister Lavrov was asking the UN Security Council to examine how the ISIL was created. In other words, he wanted the UN to acknowledge the role of the US and its allies in creating the death squads and terrorist movements ravaging Iraq and Syria.

…Cameron said that those he described as preachers of hate needed to be dealt with firmly. He clarified that this included “non-violent” people who believed that Muslims were being persecuted and said that the roots of the problems included the worldviews that the tragic events of 9/11 and the London 7/7 attacks were staged. Schools and universities would need to be cleared of groups and individuals that had these views.

David Cameron declared that a new security regime was being put into place in Britain to seize passports, force restraints of movement on people evaluated as risk, and even keep citizens from returning to their own homelands. Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper also said that Canada was doing the same thing and revoking citizenships.

Not only are the steps that Prime Minister Cameron and Prime Minister Harper presented unconstitutional in their own countries, they will be used by self-declared democracies to hold their own citizens in undisclosed conditions or indefinite detention and imprisonment once they have their citizenships removed. Citizenships will be removed to evade and get around the legally guaranteed rights of citizens for due justice—non-citizens are not treated equally under the law. The revoking of citizenships can also be used to push dissidents opposing and challenging government policies.

The so-called defenders of “freedom of speech” are also opening the door for more intrusive censorships, especially when Cameron advocates for going after individuals that believe that the US and British governments are involved in the murder of their own citizens. Moreover, David Cameron advocated for the removal of the beheading videos being uploaded onto the internet by the ISIL.

Cameron’s demands were made purportedly, because of the violent nature of these videos. For many years, videos of this nature have been uploaded onto the internet and it has never been questioned by either the US or Britain or many of their allies. Why now, after all these years? Could it be because enough people are asking embarrassing questions about the videos and the circumstances behind them? This is why a campaign had started earlier in the US to prevent US citizens from watching the videos. The Times even conceded on August 25, 2014 in an article by Deborah Haynes that the video of James Foley was staged by writing it “was probably staged, with the actual murder taking place off-camera, according to forensic analysis.”

Believe or think otherwise that the beheading of Foley, which was seen on the video, was not his actual death, the point is that there is more to the demands for this type of censorship. Nothing was demanded when Nicholas Berg was executed in 2004 or after years of videos being posted of hundreds of Syrians being beheaded.

…Hypocrisy prevails in the United Nations and inside the UN Security Council. Only Argentina, China, Russia, and Syria raised their voices to challenge the false record being created to carry on the global inquisition. Buenos Aires, Beijing, and Moscow, however, all had to, more or less, challenge the US within the framework of the consensus that Washington was navigating and heavily influencing. While Syria was more open in its criticism, President Kirchner, Foreign Minister Lavrov, and Foreign Minister Ye were more subtleand diplomatic.”


Sons of Malcolm: Al-Moallem meets Palestinian President, Foreign Ministers of Iran, Angola, and Lebanon:

“Syrian Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem on Friday met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on the sideline of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly.

Talks during the meeting dealt with the situation in Palestine and the Israeli aggressions against it, as well as efforts to realize the just rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to establish their independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.

…Al-Moallem also met Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif…They also discussed coordination with relevant countries, specifically Iraq and Syria, to implement the Security Council resolutions on counterterrorism, in addition to discussing bilateral relations and the need to boost them in all fields in light of the dangers threatening the region.

A similar meeting was held with Angola’s Foreign Affairs Minister Georges Rebelo Chicoti…

…Minister Walid al-Moallem said that Turkey has not yet stopped training and arming terrorists and allowing the entry of foreign fighters to Syria to join terrorist organizations in it.

In a statement given to al-Mayadeen TV on Friday, al-Moallem said that Turkey is talking about a “buffer zone” north of Syria while Israel proposes a similar zone south of Syria, asserting that these two events are related and constitute an aggression on the Syrian territories.

He said that if Turkey’s intentions were actually honest regarding security and stability in Syria and the Syrian people, then it must cease its instigator actions.

Regarding the statements of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who said that areas controlled by ISIS are no longer under the control of the Syrian government, al-Moallem…“And now I ask him: when a terrorist organization occupies part of a state’s territories, do these territories become outside these countries sovereignty?” Al-Moallem went on, saying that this logic serves terrorists and doesn’t benefit the Secretary General’s role in preserving countries’ sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity as per the UN Charter.

…Al-Moallem reiterated Syria’s support for any counterterrorism effort within the framework of Security Council resolution no. 2170 and which takes into account the need to avoid injuring innocent civilians, stressing that air strikes alone cannot eliminate ISIS, and the U.S. must understand in the end the need to coordinate with Syrians, because they know what is happening on the ground better than anyone else.


via Alan Lonergan

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