[News] Syria, the Story So Far

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Oct 3 12:51:54 EDT 2012

October 03, 2012
Why the US Ambassador Would be Well Advised Not to Visit

  Syria, the Story So Far


"Today, many Americans are asking --- indeed I ask myself," Hillary 
Clinton said, "how can this happen? How can this happen in a country we 
helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction? This 
question reflects just how complicated, and at times, how confounding 
the world can be."

The Secretary of State was referring to the attack on the American 
consulate in Benghazi, Libya September 11 that killed the US ambassador 
and three other Americans. US intelligence agencies have now stated that 
the attackers had ties to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

Yes, the world can indeed be complicated and confounding. But we have 
learned a few things. The United States began blasting Libya with 
missiles with the full knowledge that they were fighting on the same 
side as the al-Qaeda types. Benghazi was and is the headquarters for 
Muslim fundamentalists of various stripes in North Africa. However, it's 
incorrect to claim that the United States (aka NATO) saved the city from 
destruction. The story of the "imminent" invasion of Benghazi by Moammar 
Gaddafi's forces last year was only propaganda to justify Western 
intervention. And now the United States is intervening --- at present 
without actual gunfire, as far as is known --- against the government of 
Syria, with the full knowledge that they're again on the same side as 
the al-Qaeda types. A rash of suicide bombings against Syrian government 
targets is sufficient by itself to dispel any doubts about that. And 
once again, the United States is participating in the overthrow of a 
secular Mideast government.

At the same time, the Muslim fundamentalists in Syria, as in Libya, can 
have no illusions that America loves them. A half century of US assaults 
on Mideast countries, the establishment of American military bases in 
the holy land of Saudi Arabia, and US support for dictatorships and for 
Israel's genocide against the Palestinians have relieved them of such 
fanciful thoughts. So why is the United States looking to forcefully 
intervene once again? A tale told many times --- world domination, oil, 
Israel, ideology, etc. Assad of Syria, like Gaddafi of Libya, has shown 
little promise as a reliable client state so vital to the American Empire.

It's only the barrier set up by Russia and China on the UN Security 
Council that keeps NATO (aka the United States) from unleashing 
thousands of airborne missiles to "liberate" Syria as they did Libya. 
Russian and Chinese leaders claim that they were misled about Libya by 
the United States, that all they had agreed to was enforcing a "no-fly 
zone", not seven months of almost daily missile attacks against the land 
and people of Libya. Although it's very fortunate that the two powers 
refuse to give the US another green light, it's difficult to believe 
that they were actually deceived last spring in regard to Libya. NATO 
doesn't do peacekeeping or humanitarian interventions; it does war; 
bloody, awful war; and regime change. And they would undoubtedly be 
itching to show off their specialty in Syria --- perhaps even 
without Security Council blessing --- except that NATO and the US always 
prefer to attack people who are exceptionally defenseless, and Syria has 
ballistic missile capabilities and chemical weapons.

It's likely that the American elections also serve to keep Obama from 
expanding the US role in Syria. He may have concluded that there are 
more votes in the Democratic Party base for peace this time than for 
waging war against his eighth (sic) country.

The propaganda bias in the Western media has been extreme. Day after 
day, month after month, we've been told of Syrian government attacks, 
using horrible means, almost invariably with the victims described as 
unarmed civilians; without any proof, often without any logic, that it 
was actually the government behind a particular attack, with the story's 
source turning out to be an anti-government organization; rarely 
informing us of similar behavior on the part of the rebel forces. In 
May, the BBC included pictures of mass graves in Iraq in their coverage 
of an alleged Syrian government massacre in Houla, Syria. The station 
later apologized for the pictures saying that they had been submitted to 
the BBC by a rebel group.

On June 7, Germany's leading daily, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 
citing opponents of Assad, reported that the Houla massacre was in fact 
committed by anti-Assad Sunni militants, and that the bulk of the 
victims were members of the Alawi and Shia minorities, which have been 
largely supportive of Assad.

According to a report of Stratfor, the private and conservative American 
intelligence firm with high-level connections, many of whose emails were 
obtained by Wikileaks: "most of the [Syrian] opposition's more serious 
claims have turned out to be grossly exaggerated or simply untrue." They 
claimed "that regime forces besieged Homs and imposed a 72-hour deadline 
for Syrian defectors to surrender themselves and their weapons or face a 
potential massacre." That news made international headlines. Stratfor's 
investigation, however, found "no signs of a massacre", and warned that 
"opposition forces have an interest in portraying an impending massacre, 
hoping to mimic the conditions that propelled a foreign military 
intervention in Libya." Stratfor then stated that any suggestions of 
massacres were unlikely because the Syrian "regime has calibrated its 
crackdowns to avoid just such a scenario ... that could lead to an 
intervention based on humanitarian grounds."

Democracy Now --- long a standard of progressive radio-TV news --- has 
been almost as bad as CNN and al Jazeera (the latter owned by Qatar, an 
active military participant in both Libya and Syria). The heavy bias 
ofDemocracy Now in this area goes back to the very beginning of the Arab 
Spring. The program made some unfortunate choices in its mideast news 
correspondents, seemingly only because they spoke Arabic and/or had 
contacts in the region. Where have you gone Amy Goodman? RT (Russia 
Today) has stood almost alone amongst English-language television news 
sources in offering an alternative to the official Western line.

Michel Chossudovsky of Global Research, notes that "Iraq, Afghanistan, 
Libya and now Syria are but a sequence of stops on a global roadmap of 
permanent war that also swings through Iran. Russia and China are the 
terminal targets." When the Syrian government is overthrown --- and in 
all likelihood the Western forces will not relent until that happens --- 
the al Qaeda types will be dominant in the Syrian version of Benghazi. 
The American ambassador would be well advised to not visit.

/*William Blum* is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA 
Interventions Since World War II 
Rogue State: a guide to the World's Only Super Power 
<http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1567511945/counterpunchmaga> and 
West-Bloc Dissident: a Cold War Political Memoir 
<http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1887128727/counterpunchmaga>. He 
can be reached at: BBlum6 at aol.com <mailto:%20BBlum6 at aol.com>/

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863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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