Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 10, 2012

Neocon Israel Mouthpiece Writes Syrian Opposition Intervention Paper

Al-Assad blames 'external conspiracies' for Syrian violence

"The mask has fallen off these faces," [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad] said. "No wise person denies these international conspiracies that (are) being done in order to spread fear inside. But this time, it was done with people from inside."

Bashar al-Asad is right. There are international conspiracies to take him down.

This is for example obvious when the expatriate Syrian National Council uses a policy papers arguing for military intervention in Syria that was written by a neocon and Israel supporter and paid for by the U.S. State Department. To further the military intervention the paper is defended by doing away with the local protesters in Syria who oppose any intervention.

Michael Weiss is Director of Communications and Public Relations for the Henry Jackson Society, a British neocon organization which patrons include the U.S. neocons Richard Perle, William Kristol and James Woolsey. He also has a blog at the Telegraph website.

Michael Weiss is also executive director of Just Journalism a "pressure group whose stated goals are to focus "on how Israel and Middle East issues are reported in the UK media." Critics characterize Just Journalism as a "privately-funded mouthpiece for Israel". Until the end of 2009 Weiss published a blog for the Jewish magazine Tablet.

Recently Weiss wrote a policy paper Safe Area for Syria - An Assessment of Legality, Logistics and Hazards (pdf) which is an amateur attempt (Weiss is, as far as can find out, neither a lawyer nor does he seem to have military experience) to write a playbook for military intervention in Syria:

In the interest of assessing all suggested options for hastening the end of a totalitarian dictatorship and/or averting a mass humanitarian catastrophe, this paper examines the way in which foreign military intervention could work for Syria.

The paper was written for the Strategic Research & Communication Centre, a somewhat mysterious organization in Britain that claims to offer "Informed insight on Syria", founded in 2010 and run by the Syrian expat Ausama Monajed who "previously served as the director of Barada Television". As is known from Wikileaks cables:

Barada TV is closely affiliated with the Movement for Justice and Development, a London-based network of Syrian exiles. Classified U.S. diplomatic cables show that the State Department has funneled as much as $6 million to the group since 2006 to operate the satellite channel and finance other activities inside Syria.

We can safely assume that Ausama Monajed, who's current organization does not reveal its funding sources, is still on that indirect U.S. State Department payroll.

The paper Weiss wrote to argue for military intervention is endorsed as a Special Report by the expat Syrian National Council on its slick new website.

In a recent Foreign Affairs piece Weiss again argues for military intervention in Syria but sees a more united opposition as a requirement toward that. He achives that more united opposition by simply doing away with those parts of the opposition that are against intervention.

His way to do so is seemingly to promote the interventionist expat Syrian National Council (SNC) while denigrating the non-interventionist on-the-ground protesters in Syria who are organized in the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change:

Making matters worse, in the last two weeks, the SNC has further embarrassed itself by sending mixed messages about its real intentions. First, the group said that it was in favor of foreign military intervention. But on December 30, 2011, reports swirled that Ghalioun and a handful of senior SNC figures had inked a unity agreement with the anti-interventionist National Coordination Body for Democratic Change, a domestic opposition group that activists suspect is a cover organization pushing reconciliation with Assad’s regime.

The local Syrian protesters who do not want outside military intervention are now a "cover organization pushing reconciliation". Cover for whom? How dare the protesters in Syria to want a peaceful solution and have a "cover" for that!

Two high-ranking members of the SNC, Ausama Monajed and Radwan Ziadeh, told me that the council rejected the text of the agreement, which they claimed was only a "draft." Sure enough, a few days later, the SNC launched its official Web site that, drawing on a blueprint I prepared, called for outside forces to establish a safe zone in Syria. This more aggressive call for foreign military intervention reflects a need to hang on to support from the protesters, who now often denounce the regime and the SNC in the same breath.

Weiss then does away with the split between the expatriate regime-change-by-force militants and local Syrian protesters who want peaceful solutions by simply vanishing the later:

Nevertheless, there are signs of progress. Now that the SNC has endorsed foreign intervention, bringing it in line with what all factions of the Syrian insurgency have advocated for months, there is a greater likelihood that the various political and military arms of the opposition will unite, if only out of their shared desperation over the unabated carnage.

See, that nasty "cover organization pushing reconciliation" that represents the real protesters in Syria is now simply done away with.

The neocon org's communications director and excecutive director of a "mouthpiece for Israel" Michael Weiss writes a paper to further military intervention in Syria for a U.S. State Department funded expat Syrian think tank which then gets adopted by the expat militant Syrian National Council.

Weiss then takes to the pages of Foreign Affairs where he excommunicates the anti-intervention local Syrian protesters as "cover organization pushing reconciliation" to then claim that military intervention is endorsed by all factions involved in the Syrian protests.

Assad says that there are "international conspiracies" driving the violence to overthrow the Syrian government by force. He is right. The neocons and zionist are out to take him down by military forces against the will of the Syrian people including that of the protesters.

Posted by b on January 10, 2012 at 18:36 UTC | Permalink


Thanks b for another great post.

When the Arab League observers went into Syria, Al Jazeera was telling its viewers "look how can these observers really see what is happening in Syria, when they are been escorted around by Syrian security forces".

I have just watched Al Jazeera and their story is now, look how awful the Syrian regime is, it cannot even protect international observers! (this was after 11 observers were slightly hurt)!!!!

Honestly I am getting fed up of AlJ, I had high hopes for them but now I have reached the conclusion they are just a Arab BBC funded by the Qatari govt. that is a foreign policy instrument of that respective govt.

I have now decided to stop watching their news coverage as a result of this and also their close US script in reporting news in regards to Iran, Russia, Sudan etc. Remember how they were reporting the 2008 russia-georgia - accusing Russia of initiating the war. Shame really!

Posted by: Irshad | Jan 10 2012 19:25 utc | 1

@Irashad - you are welcome. Yes, AlJ has an agenda and it is now much more on display than it has been before. There Egypt revolution coverage was good and I found, despite some longer searches, no evidence about western agendas in there but there was a change in management after that and a lot of their reporters suddenly also left. Then came Libya and it was clear that there AlJ was now just a mouthpiece for the Qatar/US agenda. I am not sure about the Georgia/Russia issue. Lots of even otherwise good news outlets got that one wrong. I didn't though :-)

Posted by: b | Jan 10 2012 19:50 utc | 2

We even know who them by name...

Posted by: Base | Jan 10 2012 20:11 utc | 3

The U.S. has had a long-standing Syria regime change policy as evidenced by wilileaks, so it is incredulous to believe that the US and its Saudi ally are not involved in the current insurgency.

This extract from a 2006 embassy cable is an example.

The regime is intensely sensitive to rumors about coup-plotting and restlessness in the security services and military. Regional allies like Egypt and Saudi Arabia should be encouraged to meet with figures like Khaddam and Rifat Asad as a way of sending such signals, with appropriate leaking of the meetings afterwards. This again touches on this insular regime,s paranoia and increases the possibility of a self-defeating over-reaction.

Of course we might be pollyannas and believe that when Obama hosts Petraeus for their weekly chit-chat, and asks the CIA chief what he's doing to further US policy in Syria Petraeus just looks down at his shoes and murmurs "Nothing, boss." But that's not realistic, is it.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 10 2012 20:12 utc | 4

As'ad AbuKhalil: Propaganda and Coverage of Syria

Thus far, Western media has been playing games in its coverage about Syria. For the first few months, Western media insisted (against claims to the contrary by the repressive regime) that the Syrian uprising was peaceful: that is, it was part of the touted “Arab spring.”

Western media insisted that all claims about armed elements of the opposition were mere fabrications by the regime. Yet, when an opposition “army” was announced, and when news of armed clashes in Homs and other places appeared, there were no explanations in the Western press. There was no attempt to reconcile the claims and the later reportage.

But what is also curious is that Western media was desperate to deliver propaganda services to the cause of the Syrian National Council ...

Posted by: b | Jan 10 2012 20:19 utc | 5

Arab League observers reported back to a meeting of the League in Cairo. To everyone's dismay they found that the opposition is not just a bunch of peaceful demonstrators being shot like ducks in barrel. They found that there are armed militia that actually control some neighborhoods.

This finding apparently led to a split in the Arab League. Qatar and Saudi Arabia still wanted to call for UN intervention but others were reluctant. So they compromised and will request the UN to help train observers--presumably on how to bury the truth of an armed insurrection inside Syria.

Of course, news of an armed insurrection was available since last Spring, when government forces got ambushed near Banias.

Posted by: JohnH | Jan 10 2012 20:44 utc | 6

Another of the numerous specimens from the armchair thugs, just in case it hasn't already been noticed here (doubtful) :

Posted by: Rob | Jan 10 2012 22:47 utc | 7

I find Aljezeera credible on South Am. I guess coz the Qatarese(?) don't have an iron in that fire. Yet.

Posted by: ruralito | Jan 10 2012 23:52 utc | 8

The United States, which has recently wrapped up an eight-year imperialist war in Iraq and is still engaged in ten-year-plus colonial war in poor Afghanistan is against violence of any kind.

Nuland (State): "We do not think violence of any kind at anybody’s hands is the right answer to the problems in Syria."

Nuland has the answer to what she characterizes as the regime's violence by security forces against the regime's political opposition.*
"The right answer is for a democratic transition of power, for Assad to step aside, and for a national dialogue to begin."

That was never an option in Iraq and Afghanistan -- what gives?
Nuland also calls the Arab League "monitors" on a "monitoring mission", not observers like everyone else.

*In a US-occupied country with a puppet government replacing an overthrown government this would be defensive action by the allies against insurgents, terrorist and extremists.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 11 2012 0:33 utc | 9

Egypt is the only place where "exiles" weren't a factor; instead Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, now Syria, next Iran, all have this factor in common - a coincidence?

btw: great research, b

Posted by: claudio | Jan 11 2012 1:13 utc | 10

Egypt and Tunisia, of course

Posted by: claudio | Jan 11 2012 1:14 utc | 11


Report: Huge, mysterious spike in cesium fallout after New Year’s quake (CHART) January 7, 2012

Also, unsubstantiated reports of Fukushima workers abandoning Fukushima today due to rising radiation levels...

Also, Fukushima residents saying the recent "quakes" of the last few days feel "odd", almost like explosions.


Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Jan 11 2012 2:03 utc | 12

Another perspective from RT News. Sounds like a description of civil war for Syria, although Dr Barber does not use this word. While he emphasizes the cruelty of sanctions, he ignores the question of who might be arming the rebellion.

Dr Benjamin Barber, senior fellow at American think-tank "Demos," told RT that the Arab League is powerless in dealing with Syria without Western support.

“As long as the West is not really interested in intervention – and clearly it’s not – very little is going to happen.”

He stresses that, as the US is reducing its military involvement around the world, it has “no appetite” for another intervention. ...

Barber says there is currently no clear alternative to Assad and his Alawite loyalists, so the West is making a lot of “noisy moral rhetoric about what’s going on in Syria, but taking no serious actions that would lead to the overthrow of Assad.”

“The Syrian people are in for a very rough time,” he stated, adding that Assad will remain in power for a long time given his hold on the army.

Moreover, the sanctions from the international community will only worsen conditions for ordinary people. “Sanctions are sanctions on the people, but not on the elite that manage to keep their own hold on the little bit of resources that are there,” he explained.

Others are more willing to guess about where the spur to violence comes from.

Dr. Jamal Wakim, political analyst and professor at the Lebanese International University, told RT the US is really behind the escalation of violence in Syria.

...At a time when the Americans are withdrawing from Iraq, they are trying to reset a new direction for their policies in the Near East in an attempt to impose a new regional order that keeps this region under their control.”
Wakim further says that regardless of who is actually behind the attack, President Assad will ultimately take the blame. ...In fact, while the world focuses on events within Syria, Wakim contends Damascus is merely a pawn in a far more sinister game.

“We need to see this confrontation in Syria as part of a bigger confrontation between a coalition of continental powers on the one hand – which includes Russia, China and Iran – confronting a coalition of maritime powers – including the United States, Western Europe and Turkey. The main scene of confrontation is the Middle East, and the core of the Middle East is Syria, for the time being.

Julie Levesque of the Center for Research on Globalization observes simply:

“I think right now it’s really too early to say who has committed those crimes [the deadly attack in Damascus on Friday and other recent violence] – there’s no evidence. ... It’s quite strange because in the past ten years, people who have been trying to link or suspect the US government for being behind the 9/11 attacks, these people have been systematically discredited as crazy conspiracy theorists. And now, when it’s the Syrian government that is being blamed for staging these attacks, we don’t hear that crazy conspiracy theory explanation anymore. “

Posted by: smoke | Jan 11 2012 4:58 utc | 13

Of course the Israeli,British,French and American governments are hard at work trying to duplicate their Libyan blueprint of destruction in Syria.Does the earth turn to make it appear the sun rises in the east?Does the bear sh*t in the woods?Is the Pope Catholic?Is Abe Bird a Zionist?
Close the Poison Ivy League of unwashed,underwhelming,overweening minds,a factory of imperial destruction and death,matched by the cowardice of its disciples in implementing their dark vision of exclusivity,an exclusivity belied by their actual comportment of charmin like softness when reality bites,and it will,damn them.

Posted by: dahoit | Jan 11 2012 14:40 utc | 14

Somehow I do not think NATO wamts to repeat Libya, as Libyans act very strange as puppets.

I do not know how Syrians would act.

Now was this guy sent by Algeria, yes or no?

Because I just saw him on Arte (the French/German television channel) and he sounded convincing to say the least.

And the Algerian government has no record of supporting Islamists to say the least.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 11 2012 19:41 utc | 15

and is he related to this guy

or this guy here

Posted by: somebody | Jan 11 2012 19:50 utc | 16

and how does this square with this

Posted by: somebody | Jan 11 2012 19:53 utc | 17

Great work, thanks.

This goes back at least as far as 2005. As I wrote in "Arab Dissidents' Strange Bedfellows":

"Under the direction of Natan Sharansky, the former Israeli minister who resigned his cabinet seat in 2005 in protest over Ariel Sharon’s Gaza disengagement plan, the institute held a “Democracy and Security” conference in Prague in 2007. It brought together Israeli officials; their American neoconservative sympathizers with their favourite Middle Eastern dissidents in tow—most notably, Richard Perle’s Israel-admiring Syrian protégé Farid Ghadry; and the newly-installed Eastern European democrats swept to power in the wake of a wave of neocon-backed “color revolutions,” the latter group presumably serving to inspire the Arab and Iranian participants to emulate them."

Posted by: Maidhc Ó Cathail | Jan 11 2012 22:23 utc | 18

I meant to write, this goes back at least as far as that Adelson Institute conference in 2007.

Posted by: Maidhc Ó Cathail | Jan 11 2012 22:43 utc | 19

@ Maidhc O' Cathail #19

Adelson Institute
Funded by the Adelson Family Foundation, the philanthropic foundation of Sheldon Adelson, owner of the Venetian Hotel & Casino and of the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas, as well as a lucrative casino and resort hotel in Macau, China.

Adelson has been a leader for union busting in Las Vegas and is one of the wealthiest men in the US. A longtime supporter and benefactor of Israel and Bibi, he is now the major backer of Republican Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, to whose PAC he gave $1 million in 2010, $5million already in 2012, and possibly more in secret funds.

An alarmed Israeli writer in 2009 described Adelson as,

trading American money for Israeli influence. Engaged for nearly two decades in building a highly effective local network of neo-conservative institutions, Adelson wanted more. In July 2007 he launched Israel Hayom, a blatantly pro-Netanyahu newspaper engaged in highly uncompetitive practices. ...Israeli prize laureate Nahum Barnea of Yediot, in a recent Globes interview, bluntly warned that Adelson was a clear and present danger to Israeli democracy.

The same writer has a provocative observation about neocons in Israel, noting that they are closely associated with the Shalem Center, funded chiefly by Adelson.

In an ironic twist, just as the neoconservatives exited DC, they took office in Jerusalem. The Prime Minister’s Office is staffed by movement ideologues (many of whom are alumni of Adelson’s Shalem Center.) They are working towards a restructuring of the Israeli public sphere and are working closely on this effort with partners formally outside the government...

In other words, Adelson appears to be one more of the rapacious, fascistic troglodytes who have risen to the top in these times. He should pretty well own Gingrich by now.

Posted by: smoke | Jan 12 2012 6:48 utc | 20

Israeli conference on Syria in France to come up with strategy how to topple Bashar al-Assad and isolate Syria from Hizbullah, Hamas and Iran.

Posted by: Rehmat | Jan 12 2012 13:32 utc | 21

@ 15 "And the Algerian government has no record of supporting Islamists to say the least."

I can't figure out whether or not that is meant as a joke - It's long been known that the Algerian Security Services were running Fundamentalist Gangs

Algeria--state terrorism in disguise

Covert operations were deployed in the same period in Algeria, where the army cancelled national democratic elections in 1992 that would have brought the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) to power in a landslide victory. Not long after the coup, hundreds of civilians were being mysteriously massacred by an unknown terrorist group, identified by the Algerian junta as a radical offshoot of the FIS--calling itself the Armed Islamic Group (GIA). The GIA was formed largely of Algerian veterans of bin Laden's mujahidin forces in Afghanistan, who had returned in the late 1980s. To date, the total death toll from the massacres by the GIA is an estimated 150,000 civilians.

Yet in the late 1990s, evidence emerged from dissident Algerian Government and intelligence sources that the GIA atrocities were in fact perpetrated by the state. 'Yussuf-Joseph', a career secret agent in Algeria's securite militaire for 14 years, defected to Britain in 1997. He told the Guardian newspaper: "The GIA is a pure product of [the Algerian] secret service. I used to read all the secret telexes. I know that the GIA has been infiltrated and manipulated by the Government. The FIS aren't doing the massacres,' Joseph's testimony has been corroborated by numerous defectors from the Algerian secret services. Secret British Foreign Office documents--revealed for the first time during the 2000 London trial of an alleged Algerian terrorist--referred to the 'manipulation of the GIA' by the Algerian Government as a cover to carry out their own operations'."

Given what many suspect in relation to recent events in Syria: that the hardcore elements of the opposition to Assad (especially the violent 'Fundamentalist' elements) are run by foreign Security Services, then the fact that the resigning member of the Arab-Leaague group happens to be ALgerian would if anything tend to support that view rather than contradict it.

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jan 12 2012 14:44 utc | 22

@ Rehmat #21

No coincidence, then, that the rebel Syrian colonel Riad Asaad and the Free Syrian Army suddenly appear for the first time in major media at the end of July, soon after the meeting in France. Some decision made (in Tel Aviv & Jerusalem?) to light a bigger torch in Syria.

Posted by: smoke | Jan 12 2012 18:44 utc | 23

A very true facts in this article! you are extremely right! Michael Weiss writes every two days articles full of lies! All Syrian people want President Assad! Those who're protesting are less than 1 per thousand! When we watch TV we don't believe that they are talking about Syria! Big demonstrations shown on Tvs are only in the places where security and policemen can't enter because of the gunmen, so gunmen force people to walk in the demonstrations. They are confessing this truth but they say these gunmen are defected soldiers! There are no more than 25 defected soldiers (this is what BBC reporter who infilitrated to Syria said on the tv- of course this report wasn't shown on BBC again!!).. Thank you for this article and please keep on good work.

Posted by: Syria | Jan 14 2012 0:42 utc | 24

Antiwar Columnist Denies Plot Against Syria: Ignorance or Complicity?

Posted by: Maidhc Ó Cathail | Jan 14 2012 2:29 utc | 25

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