Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 13, 2013

Syria: U.S. Moving Towards Supporting Assad

The first open sign of a change of U.S. policy towards supporting the Assad government in Syria came from Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker who advised to talk to Assad. Now the former CIA chief General Hayden says that Assad winning would be the best geopolitical outcome of the conflict. The BBC, which so far acted as a reliable pro-insurgency propaganda outlet, is now asking if it is Time to rethink a future with Assad?

"Someone has got to bite the bullet and say Assad stays," says Prof Joshua Landis, Director of the Centre of Middle Eastern Studies at Oklahoma University whose views are frequently sought by policy makers in Washington.

"We don't have another game in town."

Professor "Aleppo has fallen" Landis should notice that China, Russia and Iran, as well as this site, have been saying this all along. Anyway. As some regard Landis as an expert his change of mind will be noticed in the State Department and the White House.

Attempts by the U.S. to try to talk to the Islamist Front can not be taken seriously:

The Obama administration is willing to consider supporting an expanded Syrian rebel coalition that would include Islamist groups, provided the groups are not allied with al-Qaeda and agree to support upcoming peace talks in Geneva, a senior U.S. official said Thursday.

In addition, the official said, the Americans would like the Islamic Front groups to return U.S. vehicles, communications gear and other non-lethal equipment they seized last weekend from warehouses at the Syria-Turkey border.

The Americans would also like a pink pony.

Those Islamists will not agree to any conditions Washington will ask for and to request that the weapons, ammunition and cars the Front has stolen from the Free Syrian Army are given back just shows that there is no serious opening.

But while the wind in official Washington turns, clandestine efforts to further weaken the Syrian government may well continue. The Saudis are buying some 15,000 new anti-tank weapons and their current stock will be unloaded onto their Islamic Front mercenaries in Syria. It is inconceivable that this could be done without intimate knowledge and help from the CIA and U.S. special operations. It may still take several more month until such efforts, now largely done to prep up U.S. leverage in the Geneva talks, will be ended.

Supproting the new momentum the UN report (pdf) on the usage of chemical weapons in Syria is out and the results will put many more doubts on the Obama administration's allegations that the Syrian government was responsible for those:

The report said the panel had corroborated “credible allegations” that chemical weapons were used in the first reported attack — a March 19 episode involving soldiers and civilians in Khan al-Assal in the country’s north.
...
Syria also insisted that chemical weapons had been used against its soldiers after the Aug. 21 attack. The report said there was evidence supporting “the probable use of chemical weapons” in two episodes in the Damascus area — in Jobar on Aug. 24 and Ashrafiah Sahnaya on Aug. 25. In both cases, the report said, chemical weapons may have been used on “a relatively small scale against soldiers.”

Chemical weapons were used in Syria against the Syrian government and against civilians. It is not plausible that the Syrian government would attack its own troops or civilians with chemical weapons, especially not on the very day, August 21, that chemical weapon inspectors arrived in Damascus. It is much more plausible that the other side wanted to create a false flag incident to push the United States into openly attacking Syria.

Critics of the false flag thesis claim that there is no way the Jihadists could have made Sarin or used the rockets involved. They forget that those Jihadists are state sponsored, supported by various clandestine services and that some states in the area, most noticeable Israel, have chemical weapons and lobbied hard for on open U.S. attack on Syria.

Such an attack is now very, very unlikely to happen. The train towards supporting the Syrian government against the terrorists is slowly leaving the station. The Saudis, Israelis and Turks will still resist for a while but it will soon be clear that the Jihadists can not be contained in Syria and that a blow back is coming - one way or the other. Noise about the Saudis', and prince Bandar's, role in 9/11, is part of a strategy to rein them in.

Posted by b on December 13, 2013 at 07:41 AM | Permalink

Comments

ex egypt prez Mosri recruting jihdais:
On June 13, Morsi had attended a gathering of sectarians from across the Middle East labeling itself “The Position of the Nation’s Scholars on the Developments in Syria.” Here he had rubbed elbows with the fiery preacher Qaradawi, who regularly incites violence against Syria before an audience of some 60 million viewers worldwide on his program entitled “Shariah and Life,” broadcast on the Al Jazeera Arabic service from Qatar. One June 13 there was already much talk of jihad against Syria, which was obliquely endorsed by Morsi’s Presidential Coordinator for Foreign Affairs Khaled al-Qazzaz, who noted that the Egyptian government would not undertake any measures against Egyptian citizens who go to fight in Syria, since the right to travel is always open. It was practically a call for volunteers.
http://www.presstv.com/detail/2013/07/09/312975/morsi-ousted-to-stop-plan-for-syria/

Posted by: brian | Dec 13, 2013 8:05:22 AM | 1

info on attack on Adra, syria

ADRA attack
@KeepingtheLeith 11h
#PT
"Abu-Al-Qaassem Al-Leebi" (Libyan)
"Abu Qataada Al-Maraakishi" (Moroccan)
Jaaber 'Awda
'Abdul-Ghafoor Shahbar


ليث أبو فاضل @KeepingtheLeith 11h
#PT
Abdul-Rahmaan Al-Halabi
Muhammad Daawood
Ali Sharabaat
Wadee' Al-Qasseer
Mustafaa Naadi
"Abu Hafss Al-Tunisi" (Tunisian)
Nizaar 'Allaaf.................................@KeepingtheLeith 11h
14 terrorists were killed by the SAA east of the Scania Building. The majority of them were North Africans. #Syria #Adra
================
@KeepingtheLeith 18h
Liwaa al-Islam is responsible for the civilian massacre in Adra. Videos have begun to surface of bodies stacked on top of bodies. Truly sad.

ليث أبو فاضل @KeepingtheLeith 21h
Nearly 10,000 terrorists are estimated to be fighting in #Adra. Many of the fighters are from groups like Jabhat al-Nusra and #ISIS.

ليث أبو فاضل @KeepingtheLeith 21h
#ISIS massacred up to 200 civilians at Al-Sakaniyya in #Adra. Many women and children amongst the dead. The SAA discovered the bodies today.

Posted by: brian | Dec 13, 2013 8:09:06 AM | 2

'Egyptian Generals Warn Morsi: Army’s Task Is Defending Borders

Egyptian military leaders were deeply concerned about the inevitable radicalization of Islamist militants who might return from waging war against the Assad government in Syria. But they were most immediately alarmed by the idea that Morsi might try to deploy the considerable forces of the Egyptian army against Syria. They quickly distanced themselves from the reckless plan for aggression which the president had been toying with at the June 15 mass rally. As the Irish Times reported, Morsi’s bellicose bluster lead to “a veiled rebuke from the army, which issued an apparently bland but sharp-edged statement the next day stressing that its only role was guarding Egypt’s borders.”

According to one anonymous military source reflecting the views of the Army staff quoted by the Irish Times, “the armed forces were very alarmed by the Syrian conferences at a time the state was going through a major political crisis.” Yasser El-Shimy, an analyst with the International Crisis Group, stressed that from the point of view of the Army, Morsi’s performance at the Syria rally had crossed “a national security red line” by prodding Egyptians to fight abroad, thus threatening to create a new generation of violent jihadists.
etc
http://www.presstv.com/detail/2013/07/09/312975/morsi-ousted-to-stop-plan-for-syria/

Posted by: brian | Dec 13, 2013 8:12:26 AM | 3

@KeepingtheLeith 11 Dec
Al-Yabroud: The #SAA killed 22 terrorists from the "Brigade of Just Punishment" (Kataa'eb Al-Qasaass Al-'Aadel) as they past the East Hills.
============
most terrorist brigades have pious islamists names

Posted by: brian | Dec 13, 2013 8:28:21 AM | 4

most terrorist brigades have pious islamists names

What do you mean with "most"? Show me one that hasn't such a name.

Posted by: b | Dec 13, 2013 9:20:32 AM | 5

5) don't bet your house on it b. :-))

I can also add to your quote collection Ex-CIA director Tom Hayden talking to the Jamestown foundation

Washington — The sectarian bloodbath in Syria is such a threat to regional security that a victory for Bashar al-Assad's regime could be the best outcome to hope for, a former CIA chief said. ...

And the second outcome, which Hayden deemed the most likely, was the "dissolution of Syria" and the end of a single state within the borders defined by a 1916 treaty between the French and British empires.
"It means the end of the Sykes-Picot (Agreement), it sets in motion the dissolution of all the artificial states created after World War I," he said.
The British diplomat Mark Sykes and a French counterpart Francois Georges Picot divided the Middle East into zones of influence that later served as the frontiers of independent Arab states.
A breakdown in the century-old settlement could spread chaos in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, Hayden warned.
"I greatly fear the dissolution of the state. A de facto dissolution of Sykes-Picot," Hayden said.
"And now we have a new ungoverned space, at the crossroads of the civilization.
"The dominant story going on in Syria is a Sunni fundamentalist takeover of a significant part of the Middle East geography, the explosion of the Syrian state and of the Levant as we know it."

I do not believe in this Saudi conflict with the US story, rather there is a split in the US establishment - some of them do and did plan for a "Sunni fundamentalist takeover of a significant part of the Middle East geography". Saudi would not dare to act without US backing.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 13, 2013 9:56:28 AM | 6

Going a bit further than somebody #6, in my usual advocatus diaboli way, I can argue that this wave of goodies saying "why not learn to live with Assad (after all, 5 years ago, the British Royal family was inviting him to tea at Buck House, or whatever)" -- this is all just part of the deniability exercise, so that when Bandar's Bandits go ahead and level the place with TOW missiles, etc, they can say, "well, it wasn't our fault, we done seen the light."

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 13, 2013 10:37:57 AM | 7

After these mfkers have aided and abetted in the killing of 40 to 50 thousand innocent civilians and displaced another several million, they are going to rethink their position???? Well ain't that big of them?

Posted by: Lanny V Stricherz | Dec 13, 2013 11:01:56 AM | 8

Yep does seem that some of the Yankee foreign policy "experts" are finally waking up and smelling the coffee. AntiWar.com after intially supporting the regime change operation became alot more critical over the last 6 months (good that they listened to the commenters on their site).

That dope Juan Cole (who has never seen a Democratic-led war in the Middle East he didn't like) appears to have decided to maintain his Middle East blog by somehow not talking about the Syria war at all. I had boycotted his site, but a quick look on his new page shows maybe 20 Middle East news stories and only one mention of Syria.

Professor "Aleppo has fallen" Landis has finally seen the light and I might start checking out his site every now and again but as far as I'm concerned his reputation is in the gutter. As someone who styles himself as THE Syria expert and has for the last decade run his Syria Comment blog relatively well, it is unforgivable for it to take him 3 years to realise the rebels are a sectarian threat and Assad has to stay.

Paul Woodward's blog "War in Context" however still drinks the Kool-Aid with deranged pieces like this that are good for a laugh but little else. In fairness to Woodward it must be hard after calling any doubters that Assad committed the chemical attack "Conspiracy theorists and automatons" to then months later have to cover the Seymour Hersh story.

It must be equally hard, after Woodward attacked Moon of Alabama and B personally in May for warning about the presence of foreign fighters in Syria (Woodward called this "Foreign Fantasies") for him to see the FSA run out of town by these same "fantasy" foreign fighters.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Dec 13, 2013 11:25:08 AM | 9

There are some with geographical names (ISIL etc), and some with names such as "jabhat al nusra" (front of victory)
This thing was not linked here yet
http://mideastafrica.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/12/06/syria_s_gulf_brigades

What Hayden say is that option 1 is like Lebanon/Iraq option 2 is like Iraq (and about Sykes Picot that was stated by Hassaneyn Haykal already early 2011)

Posted by: Mina | Dec 13, 2013 11:39:22 AM | 10

@somebody#6:

Jesus, Mary's son, is one of the 12 major prophets revered by Muslims. They also consider him the Messiah, especially involving his role in a Last Judgment. Unlike Christians, they do not consider him the Son of God (in any interpretation of that term) and they do not believe that he was crucified. The image of Jesus in many passages of the Koran and hadith is of a severe and judgmental ascetic. So, it would not be entirely surprising for a group of salafists who think that they are called to mete out some divine justice upon the impenitent to claim the name of the prophet Jesus.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Dec 13, 2013 11:53:42 AM | 11

I wonder what sort of "strings" will be attached to this western support of Assad?

To paraphrase Tony Soprano, with the US the hustle never stops.

Posted by: sleepy | Dec 13, 2013 11:54:12 AM | 12

@COT#9:

For many of these "hijacked nonviolent revoltion" pundits, their method of dealing with the foreign fighters is claiming that they have just arrived within the past few months. Before that, the SAA was only killing tens of thousands of peaceful, democracy-loving activists.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Dec 13, 2013 12:02:50 PM | 13

@COT#9:

For many of these "hijacked nonviolent revolution" pundits, their method of dealing with the foreign fighters is claiming that they have just arrived within the past few months. Before that, the SAA was only killing tens of thousands of peaceful, democracy-loving activists.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Dec 13, 2013 12:03:06 PM | 14

@ Rusty

their method of dealing with the foreign fighters is claiming that they have just arrived within the past few months.

Yep that seems to have been their propaganda line. The foreign fighters are a tiny percent of the total fighters... they will say that right until the moment ISIS kicks them out of all Syria, which appears to be happening now. One of the recent articles in this theme that really pissed me off was this guy who attempts to call himself a Revolutionary, he is now fleeing Syria with his family. The most important quote from him is this "No way would we allow our daughter to grow up in such an unhealthy environment."

This is a guy who took part in the uprising, tore his own country apart, spread propaganda to US media outlets, and now that the whole project has fallen apart, he just flees with his own family to Europe saying "No way would we allow our daughter to grow up in such an unhealthy enviroment" and leaves Patriotic Syrians to clean up the mess he helped start.

Likely in 20 years time this "useful idiot" will become part of another Syrian exile community that receives State Department funding to advocate for regime change again.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Dec 13, 2013 12:40:41 PM | 15

"Syria: U.S. Moving Towards Supporting Assad"

While I do not consider the Syrian president fall into progressive camp, I do think he is the best solution for his country. I also think that term progressive has become meaningless especially measured by the Western standards.

He belongs to the Syrian national bourgeois, geopolitically speaking he was "neutral". Even as such he was obstacle, not suitable, to U.S. foreign policy. I do not remember, nor I've read it, that any U.S. administration has supported regime and a leader of such profile and inclinations.

The U.S. supports extreme right-wing, neo-facists, anti-people/independence movements, death squads and so on. A fresh example is Ukraine and Svoboda movement which is on forefront of demonstrations.
From its inception every U.S. administration attempted to topple Syrian government from late 40s late 50s to today. And nothing has changed in that regard, there will be no "train towards supporting the Syrian government". You are delusional, the KSA role is to recycle dollar for UST bonds and US made weapons, and secondly put money in IPO's like Twitter, Apple, Disney etc. A vassal state which wouldn't be viable otherwise, just like the Settler State.

It is marriage of convenience, but it has passed the test of time.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 13, 2013 1:00:19 PM | 16

thanks for lemonde links. should we use Google translator?

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 13, 2013 1:43:44 PM | 18

neretva, you can go ahead safely, it's for the pics

From the Angry Arab
David Ignatious must be in tears: the man that he has been promoting as the best hope for the Syrian and Arab people, Salim Idriss, has fled the battle scene in Syria. But the accounts in US papers (WP and NYT in particular) are quite false. Arabic newspapers added more details. It is not that the warehouses were taken over by the Islamic Front: they were handed over according to an agreement that was supervised by the cousin of Dr. Engineer General himself (apparently, like the regime, the Syrian rebels especially the Fee Syrian Army make appointments on nepostic grounds). And there are accounts that Gen.Dr Engineer once settled in Qatar, was ordered by the US government to go back to Syria but he chose his fancy home in Turkey instead. Furhtermore, the contents of the US-supplied warehouses are not what US papers have reproted: apparently they include advanced weapons including Stinger missiles supplied by Gulf regimes (clealry with a nod and wink from the US government). Basically, Obama has upgraded the weapons capability of the Bin Ladenites gangs in the Middle East region.


For the Adra massacre, the BBC admits 10 victims, while other sources speak of 200+

Posted by: Mina | Dec 13, 2013 2:02:33 PM | 19

@neretva43'
What do you mean by geopolitically neutral?are you aware of Syria's role at the time of the USSR and of B.el Assad role in undermining the settler state and Zusa ?of Colin Powell visit to Damascus right after the Iraq invasion and the diktat that was refused by "geopolitically neutral"Assad?Of Assad being the first foreign leader to give its support to Russia in 2008 after the georgian affair?thanks for explaining.

Posted by: Nobody | Dec 13, 2013 2:19:59 PM | 20

re 6

I do not believe in this Saudi conflict with the US story, rather there is a split in the US establishment - some of them do and did plan for a "Sunni fundamentalist takeover of a significant part of the Middle East geography". Saudi would not dare to act without US backing.
Whether or not Saudi policy is approved by Washington, it is an independent policy. The Saudis, or rather certain princes in power, are obsessed with the dangers of the Shi'a, mainly because the Shi'a population who are sitting on Saudi's oil-fields.

Posted by: alexno | Dec 13, 2013 2:58:54 PM | 21

You have proven yourself a consummate expert sharpshooter when it comes to unmasking putative Syria pundits with documentation of their hasty and foibles and, with your own insightful analysis from the inception of this conflict to the present, deserving of a place on the high ground of vindication. Well deserved kudos are in order.

Posted by: syranican | Dec 13, 2013 3:23:00 PM | 22

21) Well, presumably they have been obsessed since the Iranian revolution as relations with the Shah were quite cordial, but surely their number one policy goal would be not to lose US backing.

I guess, the Obama administration, just as they did with Israel (continued military hardware and support) has made a deal with Saudi hedging their foreign policy.

So, if Jihadi flow and weapons to Syria don't dry up this will be done with an unofficial nod from the US administration.


Posted by: somebody | Dec 13, 2013 3:28:12 PM | 23

Joshua Landis was well positioned to become the great expert on Syria; he had a blog on Syria before the war. Somehow it hasn't worked out. His views are no longer taken seriously.

Posted by: alexno | Dec 13, 2013 3:30:54 PM | 24

"Whether or not Saudi policy is approved by Washington, it is an independent policy."

This, obviously, is logical fallacy.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 13, 2013 3:57:43 PM | 25

re 23

but surely their number one policy goal would be not to lose US backing.
The present Saudi policy is aggressive, to defeat Shi'ism wherever it is to be found, in Iraq or in Syria.

A great mistake on their part, in my view. The problem of the Shi'a of the Eastern Province, would be better treated by their integration into Saudi society, rather than rejecting them.

Posted by: alexno | Dec 13, 2013 4:05:46 PM | 26

re 25

This, obviously, is logical fallacy.
Why? The Saudis have their view, like it or not.

Posted by: alexno | Dec 13, 2013 4:09:57 PM | 27

View?

What is it? Sectarianism? Represion? Yes. What else? Nazi?

They (Wahhabis along with the Settler State) do not have intellectual capacity to make any kind of sensible policy.

When I stop and think over their foreign policy I do not know what is it.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 13, 2013 4:24:53 PM | 28

Unless you think that "policy" with "Euro-American Christian/Jewish Zionists" is sensible policy.

"For all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white...I mean, Jesus was a white man too. He was a historical figure, that's a verifiable fact, as is Santa - I just want the kids watching to know that"

Megan Kelly on Fox News 12/11/13

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 13, 2013 4:35:03 PM | 29

Wonder, what would like have a lunch with Megan Kelly or any kind of conversations with her, and her coworkers??

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 13, 2013 4:47:55 PM | 30

re 28

They (Wahhabis along with the Settler State) do not have intellectual capacity to make any kind of sensible policy.

When I stop and think over their foreign policy I do not know what is it.

Come on, you don't think that the Saudis don't have a foreign policy, do you? If so, you're living in a dream world.

Saudi policy is quite simple. exterminate the Shi'a, because some of them inhabit the oil-fields.

Posted by: alexno | Dec 13, 2013 4:54:42 PM | 31

While I was looking for Fox News standing and rating I stumbled upon this: take look and see what Americans are reading: http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/top10s.html

Amazon used have this lists, but not anymore, it always was sobering moment to see that lists - what kind of people you are surrounded with.

One doesn't have to go to Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan to see a cave minded creatures.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 13, 2013 5:11:10 PM | 32

under books.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 13, 2013 5:13:39 PM | 33

@24
I followed Landis' blog from its beginnings until he went ape-shit over the Syrian "revolution" when he became completely unrecognizable to me. Before the "Arab Spring" his blog really was concentrated on Syrian economics with lots of cultural stuff thrown in. He supported Assad's neoliberal 'reforms' but there were plenty of contributors to his blog who contested the neoliberal agenda, and did so convincingly.

He was/is an academic at UofOK and for several years there was an attempt to get him fired coming from right-wing press and some members of OU's Board. Didn't happen. I think because he was/is some part of US intelligence, who I believe protected him. Suddenly the drive to get him fired disappeared, poof.

Posted by: okie farmer | Dec 13, 2013 5:19:42 PM | 34

Sorry, this is off topic but...

http://www.salon.com/2013/12/13/must_see_morning_clip_foxs_war_on_christmas_is_officially_insane/

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 13, 2013 5:27:56 PM | 35

31) Yep, that is the narrative told in Western media. I am sure, it is more complex than that.

Fact is Saudis have an embassy in Teheran which is more than the US has.

They are also faced not only with their own Shia but with Iranian Shia pilgrims during Haji.

Wahhabism is not only intolerant towards Shia, they don't like different Sunni interpretations either. Still Saudi Arabia acts as the host of all Muslims during the Haji.

The main historical Middle East conflict was between the Ottoman and Safavid empires - nothing to do with religion.

The "Sunni Shia conflict" was an invention to counter the potential effect of the Iranian revolution where the winning party defined itself not as Shia but political Islam.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 13, 2013 5:42:31 PM | 36

"The main historical Middle East conflict was between the Ottoman and Safavid empires - nothing to do with religion."

Fundamentally, wrong. Very wrong. Is this what you have learned in school?

The main historical Middle East conflict was, and still is, between the Euro-American aka Imperialists and local population. That conflict has all elements of the Crusade.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 13, 2013 5:58:11 PM | 37

No wonder that why Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said this openly and directly:

“They may experiment with conventional weapons on strategic delivery platforms, but they must bear in mind, that if we are attacked, in certain circumstances we will of course respond with nuclear weapons,”.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 13, 2013 6:18:31 PM | 38

'Defense Minister Bogie Yaalon also got into the act with disingenuousness of his own concerning the siege:

Defense Ministry officials explained that for security reasons, Israel wants to isolate the West Bank from the Gaza Strip…'.....................this is a copy of the notorious south african bantustans....which is maybe why Bibi didnt go to Mandelal funeral
http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2013/12/11/catastrophic-dutch-state-visit-to-israel/

Posted by: brian | Dec 13, 2013 6:21:57 PM | 39

Posted by: okie farmer | Dec 13, 2013 5:19:42 PM | 34

why would anyone support a neoliberal reform....is that what the 2011 protests were really about?

Posted by: brian | Dec 13, 2013 6:23:06 PM | 40

reports are saying Idris hasnt fled to qatar
http://www.todayszaman.com/news-333848-free-syrian-army-denies-reports-that-idris-fled-to-qatar.html

so who is right?

Posted by: brian | Dec 13, 2013 6:28:09 PM | 41

Posted by: somebody | Dec 13, 2013 9:56:28 AM | 6

how is that not an islamist name?

Posted by: brian | Dec 13, 2013 6:33:45 PM | 42

Syricide ‏@Syricide 8h
@PhilGreaves01 One by one the anti-assad bandwagon are crunching their gears looking for reverse @joshua_landis https://twitter.com/Syricide/status/411535905829048320/photo/1

Posted by: brian | Dec 13, 2013 7:57:51 PM | 43

Speaking of the Anti-Assad bandwagon, John McCain - fresh off his recent visits to Libya and Syria now has shown up in Ukraine to help the CIA-backed "protestors" destroy yet another sovereign nation.

I say UKRAINE, you say MCAIN!!!UKRAINE!!MCAIN!!!UKRAINE!!!MCCAIN!!!!

I know it takes some time for certain memes to get from the US over to eastern Europe and Russia at times but REALLY?!!!

You stupid mfers in the "opposition" - no matter how well-paid you are by the NED/USAID/CIA etc - think that having Grandpa McBrainwash puttering around your encampments is going to burnish your credentials with anyone other than OTHER bankrolled mercenaries?

Holy crap.

This is just retarded and sad and retarded.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Dec 13, 2013 9:20:51 PM | 44

It has to be said that if the US is moving towards Assad-and I'm unconvinced- it won't be for the first time. I just hope that the baathists feel, that once bitten they should be twice shy.
What this long and brutal war ought to have shown is that any government, which is not a client of imperialists, must rely, in the final analysis, not on its secret police, its weaponry or its sectarian bases but on the people. And the sure and certain way to solidify that support is to protect the poor from the rich, the consumer from the monopolist, the worker from the exploiting employer, the cultivator from the landlord and the vulnerable from the powerful. A people united can never be defeated.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 13, 2013 10:01:20 PM | 45

I was an early reader do Syria Comment in 2010 and 2011 but my option is that he cross lines too quickly so as to make an opportunity to increase is self importance and be quoted by the media. He was no better than the other shills from this and that BS institute. That is when I refused to read his column . Now when I read that he is again flip flopping, I have even less respect for him.

On the other hand Matthew Barbour writes on the same blog with integrity.

Posted by: DcnZogh | Dec 13, 2013 10:43:05 PM | 46

The train for negotiating an end to sanctions against Iran was slowly leaving the station (nod, wink, nod).

1, The 5th columnists in the US executive were relying on the 5th columnists in the US Congress to put the Kibosh on the deal ... so they could wring their hands and claim 'they'd tried'.

2. The US Congressional 5th column failed to meet expectations.

3. The 5th columnists in the US Executive did 'what had to be done' themselves. Blamed it all on Iran and the MSM agreed.

Now Assad ... rinse and repeat.

Posted by: john francis lee | Dec 13, 2013 10:48:27 PM | 47

brian@40
Assad started 'reforming' the Syrian economy in line with neoliberal principals after W's invasion of Iraq. I think he foolishly thought he could incur favor from the West by opening Syria to foreign direct investment and clamping down on nepotistic companies that controlled so much of Syria's commerce. Remember that Kerry had that dinner with Assad with their wives, Queen Elizabeth had him for dinner - he was welcome in every western capital until the Arab Spring started happening. He believed he was accepted by the West, not only because he turned a blind eye to jihadists crossing into Iraq across Syria's border, but because he was doing a neoliberal conversion, as Morsi tried later, only to be attacked once his 'usefulness' to the greater Saudi/Zionist project was useless.

And you know better than to ask what the "2011 protests were really about?" Those protests were a CIA, Saudi, Zionist crafted plan for regime change in Syria, ultimately aimed at regime change in Iran.

Posted by: okie farmer | Dec 13, 2013 10:50:07 PM | 48

neretva'43 | Dec 13, 2013 6:18:31 PM | 38

It would have been disingenuous of Rogozin to pretend otherwise.
Russia doesn't want WWIII but, if someone starts it, Russia has the ability to deliver the coupe de grace. Very quickly.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 13, 2013 11:56:50 PM | 49

HRW dictator Roth has Putin as his current target: Kenneth Roth @KenRoth 9 Dec
Apparently even the #Russia state-owned news agency wasn't slavishly propagandistic enough for Putin. RT it now is. http://trib.al/leD7Fym ............still upset Obama didnt bomb Damascus and aid alqaeda

Posted by: brian | Dec 14, 2013 12:40:04 AM | 50

42) It is elementary, Islamists usually do not emphasize Islam's relationship with Christianity.

11) You are correct. Islamists however do not represent Islam. The parts in the Qu'ran that insist on religious tolerance and acknowledge the common god of the people of the book are not part of their political views.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 14, 2013 2:38:07 AM | 51

Syria rebels attack Adra homes, make piles of bodies

Syria’s foreign-backed militants have launched a deadly offensive on Adra, located on northeast of Damascus, forcing hundreds of people flee out of the town.
According to Al Alam reporter Mazen Salmo, militants from the terrorist Jaysh al-Islam group and al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front attacked Adra on Wednesday and started killing people, family by family.
A video showed piles of dead bodies in houses, among them children, who were killed during militants’ attack.
Local witnesses told Salmo that militants attacked Adra’s supermarkets, fuel stations and bakeries as they entered the city and scared people off their way.
An unknown number of people have been abducted by militants while many have been killed in their homes, Al Alam reporter said.
Local reports also say that people have been executed in Adra following al-Nusra Front attack on the town, and some have said more than a hundred people have been killed by militants in last couple of days.
Local resistance forces are still fighting the militants in parts of the town, Salmo said, as the country’s army is largely focused on its battle in the strategic Qalamoun area near Damascus.
“It seems that militants are trying to drive army’s attention toward Adra from Qalamoun,” Salmo said.
Militant forces have suffered heavy losses in the Qalamoun fighting.
They have called for a mass mobilization against Syrian army which has shown a strong face in defending capital from militants’ threat.
Nearly three years of crisis has taken its toll on the lives of around 126,000 people in Syria, according to new statistics compiled by the United Nations. Millions have also been displaced due to the turmoil.

http://en.alalam.ir/news/1543760

Posted by: brian | Dec 14, 2013 3:06:47 AM | 52

'You are correct. Islamists however do not represent Islam'
Posted by: somebody | Dec 14, 2013 2:38:07 AM | 51

this is like saying the Crusaders dont represent christianity...both the crusaders and jihadis draw their justification from their religions and religious teachers: the pope started the Crusades...Imams like Qaradawi the current jihad against syria.
the jihadis believe that what they do is the will of their god allah...and allah has chosen to remain silent.

its events like the crusades and other atrocities that helped created move toward athiesm

Posted by: brian | Dec 14, 2013 3:11:29 AM | 53

Jesus, Mary's son, is one of the 12 major prophets revered by Muslims. They also consider him the Messiah, especially involving his role in a Last Judgment. Unlike Christians, they do not consider him the Son of God (in any interpretation of that term) and they do not believe that he was crucified. The image of Jesus in many passages of the Koran and hadith is of a severe and judgmental ascetic. So, it would not be entirely surprising for a group of salafists who think that they are called to mete out some divine justice upon the impenitent to claim the name of the prophet Jesus. Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Dec 13, 2013 11:53:42 AM | 11
The original reference here to is this youtube video (in arabic) about the 'Issa ben Maryam Brigade'. I find it slightly surprising, but then again, half these supposed 'brigades' are just cover names for entities which may not even exist, or may be pseudo-gangs, or whatever. But I would dispute one of your points, Rusty. I don't think it is quite acceptable to say that Muslims "consider Jesus the Messiah." I mean, it all depends what you mean by that term, but it really isn't an Islamically acceptable one. He was not the last prophet, that honour goes to Muhammad pbh. He was, I think you can say, the last prophet sent to the Jews. To this extent they agree with the Christians: Jesus' message to the Jews was, this is your last warning from 'God', if you don't repent of your various iniquities, you will forfeit your supposed Divine election, eg, you will no longer be regarded On High as 'The Chosen People', and then next prophet will not be sent to you but to another people. This in the Muslim narrative is exactly what happened: the Jews persisted in their iniquity (and indeed tried to crucify Jesus, but were deceived by a Divinely sent hallucination and ended up crucifiying someone else instead, a view also held by certain early Christian heresies, from whom it may have come).

But 'Messiah' (literally meaning 'Anointed One') is a Jewish eschatological term, referring to Divinely sent King who will restore the Jewish Kingdom, rebuild Jayloomia, etc. And of course Christians read it in their own sense, as Jesus being the King of the Jews by right (and by descent, though the Gospels differ on the exact details) but proclaiming the Kingdom of God universally, this in effect disqualifying the Jews as 'Chosen People', but Paul is not happy with this and tries to give the Jews a sort of 'elder brothers in faith' status, with which Christians have been wrestling ever since because it is thoroughly ambiguous.

As to the Muslim view of the End Times, it is briefly this: the Mahdi will appear to declare the final war on unbelievers (not Jesus, and nb, this concept of the Mahdi is not an exclusively Shi'ite one). Then Jesus also will return, but he is #2 to the Mahdi. The two of them, at the head of a vast army of Muslims, will confront the Dajjal (a most interesting figure) somewhere near damascus, and Jesus will slay the Dajjal with the breath of his mouth (a useful trick if you can do it). Then the Mahdi (not Jesus) will lead the Muslims to victory, assumed to be effectively worlwide and final. At length, Jesus will die again, in the natural way of humans, of old age. It is presumed that he has not aged in the interim since 33 CE, but been preserved in a Divine limbo of some sort without ageing. Stress on the fact that he finally dies, proving he is nothing but a human after all. Here is a really excellent round-up of hadiths etc on the End Times:
http://www.rexresearch.com/prophist/phf5mos.htm

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 14, 2013 3:29:00 AM | 54

53) You forget the simple fact in your analysis that there is no central authority in Islam. You also forget the historic fact that the crusades were sanctioned by the Latin Catholic Church but not the Christian Orthodox Church.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 14, 2013 3:29:36 AM | 55

Posted by: somebody | Dec 14, 2013 3:29:36 AM | 55

the lack of a central authority means any Qaradawi can rise and set forth fatwas that have legal authority to tell people to go kill other people/

the lack of acentral authority means there is noone to override the Qaradawis....which is why we see jihadis pouring into syria....nooone has the authority to stop them

and allah is silent

Posted by: brian | Dec 14, 2013 3:53:16 AM | 56

Posted by: brian | Dec 14, 2013 3:11:29 AM | 53

"this is like saying the Crusaders dont represent christianity...both the crusaders and jihadis draw their justification from their religions and religious teachers: the pope started the Crusades...Imams like Qaradawi the current jihad against syria.
the jihadis believe that what they do is the will of their god allah...and allah has chosen to remain silent."

The Crusade was the Western societies' sponsored project - spiritually and materially. It is probably the first global project, or war, of its kind. Joint Stock Company is invented in Venice for the sole purpose of financing of the Crusade.

When that JSC did not arise enough of money they got allowed, from the Pope to lot Dalmatian coast (city of Zadar, today Croatia) to offset projected goal. And guess what, they lotted and destroyed
metropole of the Eastern Christianity - Constantinopole.

"the lack of a central authority means there is noone to override the Qaradawis..."

you are as ridiculous as one can be.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 14, 2013 9:54:12 AM | 57

would the award have gone to a palestinian photogrpher with an image of an israeli soldier being beheaded?

'Jewish Time Magazine awarded Turkish photographer Emin Özmen for his images of beheading of Syrian soldier in Aleppo as best picture of the year'
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=582955558442301&set=a.128925007178694.25549.100001835857138&type=1&theater

Posted by: brian | Dec 14, 2013 5:18:42 PM | 58

Reme Huff
Local residents gather at the barracks of the 15th division of the Syrian Arab Army stationed in Sweida, and put on a show for the soldiers to keep their morale up in the harsh cold temperatures. The songs they sing are traditional national songs. Don't mind the gunshots, it's how they show they're happy 😊

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=795031807179559

cant see them doing this for al-nusra or ISIS, who'd gut and behead the performers as infidels

Posted by: brian | Dec 14, 2013 6:11:13 PM | 59

more tweets from Mother Agnes: Mother Agnes Mariam+ ‏@MotherAgnesMari 13 Dec
Waiting for a flight from Toronto to New York I could talk to Mother Pelagia, Superior of Maaloula abducted nuns. PRAY! and ACT for them !

Mother Agnes Mariam+ ‏@MotherAgnesMari 13 Dec
Peace and love to everybody. Sister Carmel and myself came back yesterday from NewYork. Our US + Canada tour lasted 40 days. Extraordinary !
https://twitter.com/MotherAgnesMari

Posted by: brian | Dec 14, 2013 8:45:45 PM | 60

Damascus, (SANA) – Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said that the foreign aggression which employs terrorist groups against Syria targets all Syrians and all areas indiscriminately as it targets all components of the Syrian state, which includes its people.

In an interview given to the Syrian TV on Saturday, al-Zoubi said that the crime committed by terrorists recently in Adra didn't simply target a specific group of Syrians as some suggest; rather it targets all Syrians, opining that those who adopt the idea that a specific group or sect was targeted are achieving the goal the terrorists set out to realize.

He said that Syrian national media focuses on verifying facts and information, noting that it criticizes other media outlets for their failure to do so as they often broadcast information that turned out to be false later, adding that what is known regarding Adra so far is that a big massacre was committed there, while the details, number of victims and circumstances are still unknown.

Al-Zoubi noted that stories, details and information about this massacre that were circulated on social networking sites, and at the same time it's not possible for a media team to enter the area, so one can't broadcast official news about this massacre because of the lack of verified information.

The Minister said that Syrian national media only adopts news stories after the army enters an area and conducts investigations, noting that a news team has been on the ground near Adra since Friday night accompanying the armed forces and are waiting for clearance to enter and perform their duty.

He explained that there are circumstances on the ground that prevents national media from reporting some stories until the armed forced finishes carrying out specific tasks in a given area, like surrounding it and gathering information about the enemy and the possibility of civilians being present.

Al-Zoubi said that Syrian media never claimed to be perfect or infallible, urging youths not to adopt the sectarian discourse which terrorists want to promote, stressing that all areas in Syria suffered terrorist attacks which didn't spare any specific group of Syrians.

He pointed out that armed forces can't be deployed everywhere at the same time, yet they continue to carry out their duty and confront terrorists, achieving victories on the ground while taking care to protect civilians, establishments and infrastructure.

The Minister emphasized that 75% of terrorists in Syria aren't of Syrian nationality, and that some Syrians sometimes want to turn in their weapons but non-Syrian terrorists threaten to kill them if they do so, adding that despite that, he urges armed Syrians to turn themselves in to the army or security checkpoint to return to their normal lives.

On Saudi Arabia, al-Zoubi said that it tries to appear as differing in opinion with the US while in fact the US is giving it leeway because it wants to inflict as much destruction on the Syrian state as possible, asserting that the idea of Saudi Arabia disagreeing with the US is preposterous.

He went on to say that while the US doesn't want Al Qaeda to control Syria, but it wants Syria to be weak and incapable of confronting Israel, and the task of weakening Syria was delegated to Saudi Arabia and other Arab Gulf countries like Kuwait where MPs fund terrorists in Syria with billions of Dinars.

Al-Zoubi pointed out that Saudi Arabia is now funding attacks on the Syrian army which once entered Hafr al-Baten area during the invasion of Kuwait to protect the people of Najd and al-Hijaz, saying that this is how Saudi Arabia repays the Syrian army.

He said that the national and pan-Arab identity of Syria doesn't satisfy Saudi Arabia, Israel and the US, although the Americans and Europeans are now reassessing their situation after they began to worry about the spread of Al Qaeda and its affiliates in Syria, and this is out of fear for their own security and the security of their oil and gas resources.

The Minister said that the main articles on the agenda of the "Geneva 2" conference are combating terrorism in all its forms and reaching an agreement among Syrians to combat terrorism which all countries support, and that all other details wouldn't be an issue when one puts reason, conscience and national interest above personal considerations.

He said that the allegiance of some sides in the opposition abroad lies with Saudi Arabia, Qatar or Turkey, and therefore don't want and cannot be partners in combating terrorism, although the Syrian government wishes that they would become partners in this for Syria's sake.

Al-Zoubi hoped that the international efforts for holding Geneva 2 will pressure Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and all those who fund and support terrorism to cease their actions which make them accomplices in bloodshed as per international law and counter-terrorism agreements, adding that the international community must directly label those who support terrorism as criminals.

He reaffirmed that Syria's position on going to Geneva without preconditions was clear from the start, but the opposition abroad is still not ready and hasn't made up its mind because the countries that support them haven't done so yet.

Al-Zoubi concluded by saying that if Geneva 2 is held and produced results in terms of combating terrorism, that would mean that Syria has made significant progress towards resolving the crisis while the remaining details about the government, elections the constitution or laws will be put to discussion and decided upon by the Syrian people later through ballots.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-IB0GBUxXg

Posted by: brian | Dec 14, 2013 9:09:55 PM | 61

Iraqi expert: 60% of gunmen fighting in Iraq come from KSA
Ahmed Hussein, Iraqi News, Dec 14 2013

The expert in the Iraqi Security Affairs Said al-Jaiyashi assured that almost 60% of the gunmen who entered Iraq between 2005-2008 were of Saudi nationality, noting:

Iraq suffered from the Saudi interference in the internal security affairs and its support for the terrorist organizations when almost 60% of the gunmen who entered the Iraqi territories were of Saudi nationality during the 2005-2008 era. The statements of the secretary general of Hizb'ullah, Hasan Nasr'allah, and the representative of Syria at the UN, Bashar al-Jaafary, confirm that this case is repeated in Lebanon and Syria. The Secretary General of Hizb'ullah confirms our idea when he accused the Abd'ullah Azzam Brigades, supported from the KSA, of being responsible for attacking the Iranian Embassy in Beirut and the same thing was heard from the Syrian Envoy for the UN Bashar al-Jaafary who talked about 300 Saudi prisoners in Syria for being fighting alongside with the terrorist organizations.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 15, 2013 2:38:41 AM | 62

"On Saudi Arabia, al-Zoubi said that it tries to appear as differing in opinion with the US while in fact the US is giving it leeway because it wants to inflict as much destruction on the Syrian state as possible, asserting that the idea of Saudi Arabia disagreeing with the US is preposterous."

Smart man!

Posted by: Harry | Dec 15, 2013 3:02:42 AM | 63

56) It basically means you can chose your cleric.

Democratic isn't it?

Christian protestants needed a few more centuries to come up with that system.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 15, 2013 3:36:01 AM | 64

(SANA) 'The Minister emphasized that 75% of terrorists in Syria aren't of Syrian nationality, and that some Syrians sometimes want to turn in their weapons but non-Syrian terrorists threaten to kill them if they do so, adding that despite that, he urges armed Syrians to turn themselves in to the army or security checkpoint to return to their normal lives.'
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=3-IB0GBUxXg

again most of the jihadis are non syrian

Posted by: brian | Dec 15, 2013 3:48:01 AM | 65

63) Actually, it is possible that Saudi have a problem to reign in their clergy - the clergy is their political base; to stop funding them (or withdrawing funds from Jihadis) is not really an option
This here is an interesting comparison of Qatari and Saudi Wahhabism


Posted by: somebody | Dec 15, 2013 4:34:09 AM | 66

interesting analysis:
Something Curious is Happening to Sunni Islam
By: Alastair Crooke
Published Wednesday, November 14, 2012

'The first episode of this Salafis-Brotherhood collaboration essentially dates back to the 1954 assassination attempt on President Gamal Abdul-Nasser – an attempt which the then Egyptian government said had been carried out by the Brotherhood; and which resulted in the organization being banned, its leaders arrested and many thousands of its supporters imprisoned. Persecution, imprisonment, torture, and execution of the Brotherhood continued in Egypt, with growing ferocity, through the 1950s and 1960s. During these years of persecution, many among the Brotherhood’s leadership, went into exile; significantly, many went to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, where they were generally welcomed.

The first episode of this Salafis-Brotherhood collaboration essentially dates back to the 1954 assassination attempt on President Gamal Abdul-NasserThroughout this same period, Saudi Arabia, now profoundly at odds, even at ‘cold’ war, with Nasserist Egypt, was emerging as a new force in the region. Drawing on its gathering wealth, Saudi Arabia, in the 1950s, first began its efforts to counter and to undermine the Nasserite socialist, anti-monarchical discourse that the kingdom found so threatening, by spreading its own Wahhabi orientation of complete obeisance to traditional authority across the Muslim world.
In 1962, Saudi Arabia established the Muslim World League (Rabitat al-Alam al-Islami): the intention being to establish an ‘Islamic bloc’, in which the Brothers were represented, to stand “against Baathist regimes”(Reinhard Schulze and Gabriele Tecchiato, Muslim World League, in the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World, Oxford Islamic Studies Online). Backed by almost unlimited funds, the Saudis responded to Nasser’s socialist discourse with a barrage of rhetoric and criticism directed at him personally, and at his government – in the hope ultimately, of seeing him overthrown. In Syria, however, the Brotherhood animosity toward the Baathist government moved well beyond propaganda, and by 1964 had already flared into something like a religious war.

The Saudi counterblast against secularist Baathism insisted vociferously that Islam, and not socialism, can form the only ground of identity among Muslims, and that Muslims should anchor their identities in political activism in Islam alone. To an important extent however, the League was only able to pursue its goals by drawing on the skills and manpower of the Brothers who had come to Saudi Arabia to escape persecution in Egypt.

It was thus often members of the Brotherhood who, backed by the League’s resources, who now oversaw a tsunami of rhetoric, disseminated through pamphlets and the media, whose broad objective was that of undermining and discrediting Egypt’s ‘irreligious’ president – much in the same manner as these two forces are today allied with Doha and Riyadh in seeking the overthrow of President Assad of Syria.

Thus present turmoil in Syria should be seen as only the latest, if by far the most violent, episode in the long war between Islamists and nationalist-secular Baathists, which dates back to the founding of the Syrian Baath party in 1947. Again today, the Brotherhood and Gulf States’ ultimate aim in Syria is the taking of power - with a reconstituted Syria becoming a key building block for a new, Sunni bloc, just as originally envisaged in the founding objectives of the Muslim World League. The main difference between now and then is the sectarian focus on President Assad as a ‘minority’ Shia, and the threat arising from a prospective Shia bloc (President Assad and the Alawites belong to a Shia orientation), led by Iran, rather than the secularism of the government, which was the issue in the 60s and 70s.

These deep roots to the present conflict in Syria - reaching back through three major episodes of Brotherhood violence: firstly, during the late 40s; secondly, in Hama in 1964; again in Hama in 1982, and now climaxing with an epic struggle to depose President Assad - inevitably must put into the question how truly committed the Brothers are to ‘big tent’ pluralism – given the deep hostility to secularism evinced by the Brotherhood in Syria over 60 years.

We see here, in this latest manifestation, the progressive shifts in the way Sunni Islamism has been defining itself: Originally this new Islamic identity – a joint effort by Saudi Arabia and the Brothers - was to be defined in terms of its polar opposition to the western paradigm; then it was in opposition to the ‘irreligious, secular socialism of Nasser’ and the Baathists; but under the influence of Saudi and Gulf sectarian rhetoric aimed at Iran, it seems that the Sunni Islamist identity increasingly is being defined in terms of an oppositional pole, which is no longer to be western secular ideology as symbolized by the Socialist Arab Republics, but simply to Shiism in the round.

When the 1973 Arab oil embargo sent oil prices into a sustained soar, Islamist scholar, Gilles Kepel has remarked, the sustained flow of petro-dollars suddenly offered the Saudis the vast means to pursue its “ancient ambition” for establishing hegemony over the Muslim world; and of spreading its Wahhabi orientation to the world (Gilles Kepel, Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam, trans. A. Roberts, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Mass., 2000, p 69). After 1973, the activities of the League grew exponentially: Saudi zeal now embraced the entire world. The Saudi objective, Kepel observes, was to ‘Salafize’ Islam, thereby reducing the “multiple voices within the religion” to the “single creed” of Saudi Arabia (Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam, p 70-73). In short, the aim was to limit Islam to a restricted array of symbols drawn from the early communities, which would then be invested in a solidly organized dogma and ritual, under the authority of the Saudi King.

So it was, that everywhere throughout the Muslim world, the building of mosques was accompanied by the distribution of texts and teachings promoting Salafism. The irony of this massive effort is that, as it was being disseminated across the world, so this teaching was being significantly inflected by with the teachings of Sunni Islamism, and most particularly by those of the Brotherhood, whose members were essential to the spread and advancement of Saudi Arabia’s global project. In Kepel’s words, “the Muslim Brotherhood [had] grafted their political interests onto the Saudi oil pipeline.” (Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam, p 173)

As Kepel describes it, it was largely through the Brothers resident in Saudi Arabia, working through the international organizations which they controlled on behalf of the kingdom, that the Brothers quietly carried out their own program of global expansion, whilst at the same time quietly giving the Saudi insistence on a return to the ‘purity’ of the first Salafi communities, a twist towards the primacy of ‘society’, which fitted with their own ideological need to offer people the trappings of contemporary democracy. It was a ‘twist’ however which ruthlessly undercut the interests of their employer!

Of course, the Saudis recognized the dangers to themselves inherent in the Brotherhood’s manipulation; but possibly the profundity of the danger has been grasped too late.Of course, the Saudis recognized the dangers to themselves inherent in the Brotherhood’s manipulation; but possibly the profundity of the danger has been grasped too late. It may be too late for Saudis to stop the Muslim Brotherhood’s appropriation of the present Arab ‘awakening’ from lapping at the feet of the Gulf autocrats – in spite of today’s imprisoning by Saudi Arabia of many of these Brotherhood intellectuals, in an ironic reversal of events in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Some 26,000 political prisoners are said to be held in Saudi goals today.'
etc

http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/13622

Posted by: brian | Dec 15, 2013 4:35:39 AM | 67

Secretary General of the FSA, Ammar Al Wawi, went missing on Thursday while traveling into Syria from the Turkish border. ISIS announced they executed him on Saturday, no word on the 3 rebels he travelling with.

Al Wawi was the Free Syrian Armies, second in command after Salim Idriss, and was also the head of Intelligence.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Dec 15, 2013 9:30:32 AM | 68

Qatar resets its Syria policy

An Arab official from a country that used to be involved in the military support of the Syrian revolution revealed to Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that regional reasons are behind the current situation: mainly, a unified Turkish-Qatari decision to retreat from the Syrian mud after reaching a conclusion that the political solution might be the best choice, not only for the Syrians but also for the region.


Posted by: somebody | Dec 15, 2013 11:11:01 AM | 69

Sorry for the English speakers:
International djihadists brigades met in Benghazi in September
(so Karl Remarks and his "Doha conference of Arab militias" was not too far)
http://www.welt.de/print/wams/politik/article122941688/Islamisten-sind-schlimmer-als-Assad.html
http://www.lemonde.fr/libye/article/2013/12/15/rencontre-au-sommet-entre-djihadistes-a-benghzi_4334670_1496980.html
Now that the useful Ben Laden is elminated from the stage, AQ's headquarters are conveniently moved precisely where the US want to extend Africom. Thanks to AQMI!

Posted by: Mina | Dec 15, 2013 11:26:56 AM | 70

Re #67: once an MI6 man, always an MI6 man, I think. Alastair Crooke, formally an "ex" MI6 man, manages to get through that whole article on the origins of the MBs without mentioning the British (his own MI6) or the USAians (obviously, the CIA). I have a much better account of the origins of the MBs, which comes from the great Palestinian author, recently deceased, Said Aburish. It's so good I shall offer you all a big chunk of it (apologies to those who have seen it before). It is distilled (by me) from his Nasser biography. I posted this on my blog back in Apr 2011.

Said Aburish, “Nasser: The Last Arab” (2004) pp 162, 157:

Saudi Crown Prince (later King) Faisal (not to be confused with then-King Faisal II of Iraq, a Hashemite) took over effective power in Saudi Arabia from his brother Saud in 1958. To gain support among the Arabs, Faisal’s appeal incorporated two pet hates. “Communism and Zionism are the same” became the cornerstone of his anti-Nasser policy. Nobody took this ideological absurdity seriously, but his support for the Muslim Brotherhood, other Muslim groups, and religious teaching institutions throughout the world was successful. Later he went further afield and built bridges with anti-Communist Muslim countries such as Iran and Turkey. Saudi money was spent sponsoring Muslim groups in Africa, on many occasions in cooperation with the Israelis, who had a vested interest in limiting Nasser’s influence on the continent. Because of Nasser’s personal qualities and the potency of using Muslim fundamentalism against what America had decided was the Nasser menace, America threw its weight behind Faisal, and there was a tacit agreement on the use of religion against Nasser, which eventually became a joint policy. Both sides supported the anti-Nasser Muslim Brotherhood and emphasised the Communist threat to Islam and the Arab world. America could not join Faisal in equating Communism with Zionism for fear of offending Israelis and Jews, but it looked the other way while he derived benefit from this absurd association. Modern Islamic fundamentalism began with King Faisal, with solid American support. It was created to fight the enemies of Allah, at the time Nasser and the Soviet Union; but as we have seen, this movement has turned into a monster of its own.

As to the Brotherhood: (pp 96, 113, 126, 133, 141):

In 1956, the British established contact with the Muslim Brotherhood aimed at overthrowing Nasser … The only success the British propaganda machine achieved was to entice the Muslim Brotherhood to direct broadcasts against Nasser from Cyprus and to accuse him of dragging Egypt “into an abyss.” This was the one thing Nasser feared most; he was convinced that Eden would use the Brotherhood’s network within Egypt to carry out a coup against him. But the nationalisation of the canal was so popular that even the Muslim Brotherhood suffered because it opposed it. Later the pro-Nasser Arab employees of British Broadcasting in Cyprus walked out in protest against London’s policies, and the station, which was financed by the Foreign Office and was not part of the BBC, had to run a reduced service … Later still, (but only briefly) the CIA funded a Muslim Brotherhood office in Geneva, the Islamic Center, which was entrusted with the planning of Nasser’s assassination, codenamed Operation SI/PONY. According to former CIA regional director James Critchfield, Kamal Adham, head of Saudi intelligence and Faisal’s brother-in-law, was a key player in this operation. SI/PONY was aborted at the last minute because the decision on how to assassinate Nasser kept changing. On one occasion the protagonist was arrested, a second would-be assassin failed, and the third gave up … The US prevailed on Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria to give refuge to the Muslim Brotherhood and on Saudi Arabia to give the Brotherhood money. Once secret, these facts about the Brotherhood were revealed in a television interview by Tariq Ramadan in Nov 2001. In fact, for thirty years the Brotherhood was the only legal political party in Jordan, and for most of this time it was the beneficiary of US support. Some of the militant Islamic groups operating in Jordan today go back to that period … It is well to note that in Africa, Israel could count on the support of the Brotherhood against Nasser (Dr Zaki Badawi, interview, London, Jun 2000).

Here’s some more (pp 256-7, 303, 265)

In 1964, the Muslim Brotherhood issued a fatwa against Arab nationalism that condoned the idea of assassinating Nasser. A year later it almost succeeded. And at the outbreak of the 1967 War Egypt was still recovering from the most serious attempt by the Muslim Brotherhood to overthrow the Nasser government. There were numerous attempts, according to Heikal at least fourteen, including an ambitious one to blow up the Alexandria-Cairo train carrying Nasser. At one point during its campaign the Brotherhood did manage to blow up sixteen bridges. The Brotherhood went further and recruited members of Nasser’s Special Forces. Saudi Arabia acted as financial backer, and the Saudi government and the CIA were cosponsors of the Brotherhood and other Islamists. Saudi Arabia managed to smuggle light arms through the Sudan to the Brotherhood’s Special Apparatus. The US-Islamist alliance created an odd situation which was to repeat itself in later US dealings with Saddam Hussein of Iraq and Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. Then as now the Americans were acting against Arab leaders who exploited popular Islam against the political Islam backed by the House of Saud, the CIA, and the State Department. Even with Qutb’s books and other writings available to everybody and advocating an unmistakably anti-American Islam, the Americans saw Nasser as more immediately dangerous to their Middle East position and so backed the Islamists against him. The same shortsightedness led the Americans to support Osama bin Laden years later. By the end of the 1960s, US financial aid to the Brotherhood had reached unprecedented levels, with tens of millions of dollars transferred into the Swiss bank account of Said Ramadan, the Brotherhood’s supreme guide. Saudi Arabia joined the US in this policy, and King Hussein of Jordan succumbed to American pressure and provided the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood with logistical support, which included giving them diplomatic passports … Feisal of Saudi Arabia and Hussein of Jordan cooperated more with, and contributed more toward the growth of Islamic fundamentalism than any other leaders in modern Arab history.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 15, 2013 12:45:52 PM | 71

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/12/15/340163/ksa-admits-defeat-in-antisyria-plot/

a lebanese christian named Jihad(!) debates Dr Randy Short ..the former at 20 min says its Assad who has destablised syria, thereby orienting himself to the jihadis with whom he feels comfortable and safe! Jihad is not a very objective observer

Posted by: brian | Dec 16, 2013 12:36:00 AM | 72

By the end of the 1960s, US financial aid to the Brotherhood had reached unprecedented levels, with tens of millions of dollars transferred into the Swiss bank account of Said Ramadan, the Brotherhood’s supreme guide. Saudi Arabia joined the US in this policy, and King Hussein of Jordan succumbed to American pressure and provided the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood with logistical support, which included giving them diplomatic passports … Feisal of Saudi Arabia and Hussein of Jordan cooperated more with, and contributed more toward the growth of Islamic fundamentalism than any other leaders in modern Arab history.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 15, 2013 12:45:52 PM | 71

interesting : US taxpayers if they knew, would be annoyed to see their elected representatives using their tax money for jihadis and to aid chaos in other countries

however, i must have missed it in your posy...any reference to MI6

Posted by: brian | Dec 16, 2013 12:46:56 AM | 73

a more british centered piece on MB is

Prior to World War II British Intelligence cultivated ties with the Brotherhood through agent Freya Stark, the British adventurer and writer (1). These covert connections were used to keep track of the growing German presence in North Africa and to stay informed of the many different political movements that were springing up. The Muslim Brotherhood spread throughout the Muslim world and has evolved into something like a Muslim equivalent of the West's Masonic brotherhood. It became one of the first Islamic Fundamentalist terror organizations...

"According to CIA agent Miles Copeland, the Americans began looking for a Muslim Billy Graham around 1955... When finding or creating a Muslim Billy Graham proved elusive, the CIA began to cooperate with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Muslim mass organization founded in Egypt but with followers throughout the Arab Middle East... This signalled the beginning of an alliance between the traditional regimes and mass Islamic movements against Nasser and other secular forces." (1)

The CIA was following the example of British Intelligence and sought to use Islam to further its goals. They wanted to find a charismatic religious leader that they could promote and control and they began to cooperate with groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. With the rise of Nasser the Brotherhood was also courted more seriously by the pro-Western Arab regimes of Saudi Arabia and Jordan. They needed all the popular support that they could muster against the rise of Nasser-inspired Arab nationalism to keep their regimes intact.

The Muslim Brotherhood was an obvious ally against Nasser, because he had abolished it from Egypt after it was involved in a failed assassination attempt on his life in 1954. The Brotherhood rejected Nasser's policy that, for the most part, kept religion out of politics. Officially the Brotherhood was an outlawed organization, but it remained influential and active within Egypt working against the secular regime, often hand-in-hand with British Intelligence. In June of 1955 MI6 was already approaching the Brotherhood in Syria to agitate against the new government that showed strong left-wing tendencies and a desire to merge with Egypt (2). The Brotherhood became an even more important asset after Nasser announced the Egyptian takeover of the Suez...
etc
http://www.redmoonrising.com/Ikhwan/BritIslam.htm

Posted by: brian | Dec 16, 2013 12:51:27 AM | 74

The comments in this thread give me some underpinning knowledge to understand the forces at play in the Levant. Brian @74 made me think of the sociological debate between the Marxist analysis of the world and the pro-capitalist view of society proposed by Talcott Parsons. I guess that the current wind is with capitalism even if it is not based on people choosing to co-operate/co-exist but on the force of arms. I lean towards the Marxist view of alienation and conflict as the correct view of history, but wonder when does the game end so we can get the result and relax from the tension?

I asked previously in this forum, what happens when revolutions fail in the context of Syria? I feared more purges from the regime to bolster its safety from any political threats in anticipation of the fighting ending soon; but the end of fighting does not seem close and real partition of Syria looks very possible. Syria is a beautiful country with very fine people. Surely it is time to stop fighting and give this region a rest?

Posted by: Jasmaz | Dec 16, 2013 9:15:58 AM | 75

By co-incidence Angry Arab reports upon a book review that sheds some light on the role of the CIA in the Levant & Egypt in the 1950's.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/15/books/review/americas-great-game-by-hugh-wilford.html?nl=books&emc=edit_bk_20131213&_r=1&pagewanted=all&

Posted by: Jasmaz | Dec 16, 2013 9:52:14 AM | 76


"Britain was not too worried about Islamism. Its empire in India had been set up on the ruins of another Islamic empire, that of the Mughals (also originally Turkish). The British plan was to destabilise the Ottoman empire by promoting Arab nationalism, and a situation where the authority of the British viceroy in India would be reinforced by a caliph — the candidate being the then ruler of Mecca, Hussein, to whom £5 million in gold was given (largely disbursed among tribesmen who then defected). The Ottoman sultans had usurped the Caliphate when they took Egypt in 1517, and the British thought that they would be popular if they restored it, with a pliant figure.

They encouraged the Arab revolt against the Turks, and Lawrence of Arabia had a field day. All of this turned out to be fantasy (subject of a famous film, à la Braveheart, that is historical hokum). In fact, very few Arab officers deserted — vastly more fought for the Turks in their postwar fight for independence. The other great obstacle to British pan-Arabism was that the French, their war-time allies, had to be given some concession. They were already well and truly present in Lebanon, and they had ambitions for Syria as well."

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 16, 2013 9:54:29 AM | 77

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/12/16/pers-d16.html

more on UN report.

Posted by: wevin | Dec 16, 2013 10:13:26 AM | 78

@78
Thank you for this valuable link. This is a very good summary of the Sarin in Syria matter.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 16, 2013 10:45:00 AM | 79

Thanks to Landis, we can follow month after month who are the "leaders" of the so-called revolution (understood here in the physical meaning of the term, i. e. going to square one, in the 7th century)

http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/zahran-alloush/

I hope Fabius/Hollande will take 5 mn to read it!

Posted by: Mina | Dec 16, 2013 10:51:18 AM | 80

This is a Patrick Cockburn article in Counterpunch today.
http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/12/16/the-bankruptcy-of-the-wests-syrian-policy/

Posted by: bevin | Dec 16, 2013 11:00:28 AM | 81

however, i must have missed it in your posy...any reference to MI6 Posted by: brian | Dec 16, 2013 12:46:56 AM | 73
The British propaganda broadcasting station in Cyprus, that was so toxic that the Arabs employed to read the propaganda into the mikes there walked out, causing the whole thing to collapse... that would have been 6.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 16, 2013 12:10:51 PM | 83

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