[News] Syria and those 'disgusting' BRICS

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Feb 6 17:32:36 EST 2012

Syria and those 'disgusting' BRICS
By Pepe Escobar


A Greek choir of the "disgusted" and the "outraged" predictably 
greeted BRICS members Russia and China double veto to the United 
Nations Security Council resolution imposing regime change in Syria. 
The resolution was backed by that haven of democracy, the GCC League, 
the organization controlled by the six monarchies/emirates of the 
Gulf Cooperation Council formerly known as the Arab League.

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the double 
veto a "travesty". Then Clinton duly incited "friends of democratic 
Syria" to keep working for regime change, which was the object of the 
resolution. The copyright for this idea is held by the liberator of 
Libya, neo-Napoleonic French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who said 
Paris was already working to create a NATOGCC "Friends of the Syrian 
People Group" in charge of implementing the Arab League's regime change plan.

Right on cue, Paris puppet Burhan Ghalyun, the head of the Syrian 
National Council (SNC) - the opposition umbrella group - also 
summoned these countries "friendly to the Syrian people". Everybody 
knows who they are; the US, Britain, France, Israel and GCC members 
Qatar and Saudi Arabia. With "friends" like these, the "Syrian 
people" certainly don't need enemies.

Those 'disgusting' BRICS
United States ambassador to the UN Susan Rice - a top cheerleader of 
R2P, also known as humanitarian bombing - called the double veto "disgusting".

Even the venerable stones of the Umayyad mosque in Damascus know that 
only Washington has the right to wield veto power at the UN - 
overwhelmingly to protect the state of Israel's right to kill 
Palestinian men, women and children with tanks and shelling without 
bothering about pesky UN resolutions. [1]

Russia, vocally - and China, silently - had been adamant for weeks; 
forget about a UN resolution for regime change in Syria, or worse 
yet, opening the doors for a Libya-style NATO humanitarian bombing.

Russia has its own geopolitical reasons to consider Syria a red line; 
Syria hosts Russia's only naval base in the Mediterranean, in the 
port of Tartus; and Syria buys Russian weapons. But in fact all the 
five BRICS - plus the overwhelmingly majority of the developing world 
- are in synch; forget about regime change-enabling UN resolutions, 
promoted by the usual suspect Western trio US-Britain-France and - 
the summit of hypocrisy - devised by the "democratic" House of Saud and Qatar.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will be in Damascus this 
Tuesday to meet with President Bashar al-Assad and discuss a serious 
plan to try to end the bloodshed. Lavrov has calmly explained the 
reasons for the Russian veto.

He had sent Russian amendments to the draft resolution directly to 
Clinton; "The rationality and objectivity of these amendments should 
not cause anyone's doubt." But to no avail; the resolution remained 
"unilateral" - demanding nothing from Syrian anti-government armed 
groups. Lavrov stressed, "No president with self-respect, no matter 
how treated, will agree to surrender inhabited localities to armed 
extremists without resistance." Imagine if Homs was in Texas.

Still, the SNC now holds Moscow and Beijing "responsible for the 
escalating acts of killing and genocide", and facilitators of a 
"license to kill". Lavrov is imperturbable; "We have repeatedly said 
that we are not protecting Assad but international law. The 
prerogative of the UN Security Council does not envision interference 
in internal processes."

Homs: Who's killing whom?
Syria's UN ambassador Bashar Ja'afari strongly denied the 
opposition's accusation of regime forces bombing the Khadiliya 
neighborhood in Homs with tanks and artillery and killing over 200 
people - arguing that "no sensible person" would launch such an 
attack the night before the UN Security Council was discussing a 
resolution. Without any preliminary investigation, France called it a 
"massacre" and a "crime against humanity". Like France's performance 
during the Algerian war?

To understand what's at stake, it's crucial to keep in mind who's 
defecting from the Syrian army. Syria's top military - also members 
of the Ba'ath Party - are almost all Alawis, the folk Shi'ite sect 
(10% of the overall population). They are not defecting.
The defectors are overwhelmingly Sunni troops (70% of the overall 
population); they are forming militias, Libya-style, heavily 
infiltrated by mercenaries weaponized by the GCC, and fighting 
government troops. The government's response has been to target the 
neighborhoods where the families of these defectors live. The center 
of Homs nowadays is controlled by the rebels.

So what's really happening on the ground in Homs? Here are sections 
from a crucial e-mail sent by a trusted Syrian Christian source:
Many Syrians are ecstatic about the double veto but Homs is very 
worrying. The opposition spread news about a massacre just before the 
vote and they quoted numbers in the hundreds ... unbelievably quoted 
by all news channels (all based on "activists") without any 
verification, only to bring the number down to something like 33 
later. They never showed any bombing or taking people under rubble or 
any injured people ... just clean-bodied men with their hands and 
feet tied up and shot mostly once and only in their underwear. 
Whatever the Syrian government has in its arsenal it seems there are 
very intelligent bombs that can strip and tie up people then shoot 
them in the head!!

The thing that we know fully well is that there are no army presence 
in Homs. My parents left the city then came back Saturday morning on 
the day of the alleged massacre and there was nothing. They usually 
call a hotline (115) and ask if the roads are safe and security 
operator will tell you to come to Homs or not. This time they told 
them to come and indeed there was nothing to be seen or heard. This 
of course doesn't mean that most of the city and particularly the old 
city is under the control of the gunmen. Our old neighborhood where I 
grew up (the Christian Bustan al-Diwan) was completely taken over by 
the gunmen. YouTube videos show how the FSA cleared the army 
roadblock in the previous neighborhood (Bab al-Dreib) and then 
proceeded to destroy the one guarding our neighborhood.

People in my neighborhood did not complain of any major harassment or 
problem, however the "revolutionaries" did indeed break into a couple 
of homes that their people left either days earlier or at the time, 
also into a school, Homs Newspaper (operated by the Orthodox church 
for more than 100 years) and a few other restaurants but no other 
complaints. I mean, considering what these FSA do to Alawites, then 
the Christians are really getting very fair treatment so far.

What many believe now is that the bodies shown tied up and shot in 
Khalidiya and which are alleged to be "men, women and children" 
killed by a bombardment of the Syrian army were nothing but kidnapped 
Syrian soldiers. Add to them kidnapped Alawites who were not 
liberated (or actually exchanged). When the FSA kidnap some people, 
Alawites started to kidnap in return to exchange the prisoners. This 
doesn't always work and some people who weren't "exchanged for" 
turned up dead in Khalidiya.

All in all up to this point there really isn't any offensive by the 
Syrian army on the city. The rebels continue to attack other 
checkpoints. People are completely in the dark as to what the 
government is thinking regarding Homs. It's devastating for me to see 
my neighborhood become another battleground and many of my friends leaving.

All this dovetails with an explanation by fine journalist Nir Rosen, 
author of the indispensable Aftermath: Following the Bloodshed of 
America's Wars in the Muslim World ; Homs is essentially a question 
of rebels seizing government checkpoints - and government forces 
shelling a few neighborhoods with mortars. According to Rosen:
There was no fighting in Homs, just shelling from these safe 
locations (from the point of view of the regime), suggesting they are 
unable to actually attack Khalidiya with regime fighters ... No 
opposition fighters were killed in the attack. And up to 130 people 
in Khaldiyeh were killed and 800 wounded (like I said not fighters). 
Now that's a lot of people but if you were watching the news ... you 
would think that Homs was destroyed while in fact this attack can 
also be seen as a sign of the regime's weakness in the city.

Compare this with my Syrian source worried that "people are 
completely in the dark as to what the government is thinking regarding Homs".

Imagine an armed insurrection in a mid-sized city in the US; the 
whole world saw how peaceful Occupy Wall Street was dealt with by 
billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg. The "disgusting" BRICS have made 
it clear; there will be no NATOGCC humanitarian bombing of Syria. But 
NATOGCC may be succeeding in its plan B: to plunge Syria into civil war.

1. Here's a 
summary of US vetoes at the UN.

Pepe Escobar is the author of 
How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 
2007) and 
Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His most recent 
book, just out, is 
does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at pepeasia at yahoo.com.

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