Damascus, Apr 17 (Prensa Latina) New confessions from members of armed opposition groups captured by the Syrian authorities are revealing the existence of a destabilization plan led by external actors to destroy national infrastructure and overthrow the government through terrorist actions.
Leila Khaled, member of the Central Committee of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was in Turkey to speak in a forum titled “The Dynamics of Transformation in the Middle East” organized by the Socialist Refoundation Party. Khaled talked about imperialist plans in Middle East and the resistance against these plans to the Turkish publication YURT (Liberation translation by Taylor Goel).
What do you think of the latest developments in the Middle East?
The Middle East has been a region of conflicts for centuries. The peoples in the region are waging liberation wars. European colonialists have come and gone from the Palestinian land, Ottomans, the same. Now Israel has come. Lying to the whole world and using religion, they came. They claimed they were given this land by God. We reject this. Why? Is God in the real estate business? Promising land for some and exiling others. We absolutely reject such a thing.
There are imperialist forces in the region that support and defend Israel. There are Arab leaderships in the region that pay homage to Israel. USA has been pushing a carrot-and-stick policy in the region. Reactionary Arab forces went to the White House and prostrated themselves one by one and apologized. “We will do whatever you say, our oil is yours”, they said. But the Arab people refuse to succumb.
Where does Turkey stand at this point?
Turkey leads the group that protects Israel. Israel has brought Turkey to her knees. Nine people from Turkey were murdered on the Mavi Marmara. Later, the Turkish consul was insulted. The Turkish government said that Israel was going to issue an apology but Israel never did. They even explicitly said “We will not apologize”. Despite all this, the Turkish government has further increased economic and military cooperation with Israel. The real defense of Israel is accomplished via Turkey. The biggest military base that belongs to the U.S.A. in the region is the Incirlik Base. My call to you: Get rid of that base. Expand the boycott against Israel.
Simon Peres has a new book “The new Middle East”. Check it out, it exactly follows the “Greater Middle East Initiative” of the U.S. As they will, they draw us like a picture and tear us into pieces. They determine how we shall live. You and us, all of us are in the same trench, targeted by these.
Turkey is an unconditional supporter of imperialism. In Turkey, the Kurds do not have the same rights as the Turks. More than ten thousand Kurds are piled in jail. Like the Palestinian inmates. Whatever Israel is doing to the Palestinians, Turkey is doing the same to the Kurds.
You will now ask why does Turkey draw so much of my attention? Of course it does because Turkey pokes her nose into everything in the region.
Would you explain the position of PFLP on the imperialist aggression in Syria?
Now, they want to establish the “Greater Middle East Initiative” using religious and sectarian conflict. This is what is going on in Syria. According to the last census, there are 11 million, 800 thousand Palestinians. But only a quarter of this population is living on Palestinian land. A huge population is exiled and the only country that has received that population with open arms is Syria. What was done to us is now being done to Syria.
I am screaming with the top of my voice: We stand by the Syrian Army and the people of Syria. We are confident in the people of Syria, who have taken us, Palestinians, under their wings and hosted us on their land for over sixty years. We are confident that they will prevail over this problem.
Is the revolutionary claim of PFLP still on?
Yes. After the death of George Habas, Abu Ali Mustafa was chosen as the General Secretary, to be killed by Israel shortly after. Our third President Ahmad Sa’adat was elected. He is now being held hostage in an Israeli prison. Despite all these hard times, as PFLP, we are still standing strong, continuing our struggle. Our biggest priority is the unity among Palestinians. As the PFLP, we are trying really hard to achieve this unity. I can say that PFLP is in good shape. And we played an important role in the last Gaza war.
What do you say about the cooperation of Hamas with Turkey?
Hamas has accepted cease-fire with Israel. As PFLP, we do not accept this and view this as the wrong attitude. As far as the relation Hamas has established with Turkey, we see it as one between political Islamists. Hamas does not represent all of Palestine.
Do you have any message for the revolutionary women in Turkey?
Continue your struggle, unite, act in unity. Do not believe in lies. It is not the “Greater Middle East Initiative” of the U.S. that will shape the Middle East but only us. All the peoples of the Middle East will rebuild it. together.
A shocking video has surfaced on the Internet showing militants in Syria having a child behead a kidnapped man. The clip, recently posted on YouTube, displays a child using a sword to chop off the head of the kidnapped whose hands are tied up. The incident is believed to have taken place in the western city of Homs, located about 160 kilometers north of the capital, Damascus. The video also displays one of the militants at the scene showing the severed head and placing it on the dead body. Other beheaded prisoners can also be seen in the footage. However, the identities of the victims are not known. Experts say the Arabic language spoken by the militants does not belong to Syrian people and they are believed to have Saudi accents. On November 29, a similar footage surfaced online displaying foreign-backed militants in the country killing 10 unarmed Syrian prisoners. Syria has been the scene of unrest since March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of army and security personnel, have been killed in the turmoil. The Syrian government says a very large number of the militants operating in Syria are foreign nationals.
By Mick Kelly, Fight Back! News
Hezbollah, the largest anti-imperialist political party in Lebanon, condemned the Oct. 19 Beirut bombing that took the life of Brigadier General Wissam Al-Hasan and others. In a statement, Hezbollah declared, “This hideous crime is a vicious attempt to target stability and national unity,” and urged the “security and judicial apparatuses to use all efforts to control the crime, uncover its committers, and bring them to justice.”
Much of the western media is implying that supporters of Syria are behind the blast. There is no evidence that this is the case.
Syrian Information Minister, Omran al-Zoubi, denounced the bombing as “cowardly,” and on Oct. 19 stated, ”Such terrorist acts are condemned and unjustifiable wherever they happen.”
Hezbollah and other progressive political forces, including Lebanese communists, have worked hard to build a powerful national resistance project that is capable of standing up to imperialism and Zionism. They have struggled to overcome sectarian divisions within the country. The main leader of Hezbollah, General Secretary Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, has been crucial to the effort to build national unity and to beat back Israeli aggression. Hezbollah and other democratic forces now play a leading role in the government of Lebanon.
ARIHA, Syria — They aren’t much talked about. And they are rarely talked to. But supporters of the Syrian government exist.
While President Bashar al-Assad’s hold on power appears to be tenuous after rebels landed a fatal blowon his inner circle Wednesday, there are many families across the country that continue to support him and his administration.
In one family, which GlobalPost spent several days with here in northern Syria, four of the five members still back Assad. On one recent night they all sat, anxiously, watching a state television report about “insurgents” closing in on Damascus.
As they watched, the sound of chanting began to fill their living room. A small parade of anti-government protesters passed by.
“Those for the regime will meet your graves soon!” the crowd of mostly teenagers and children yelled, waving revolutionary flags, during their nightly parade through the dark streets of Ariha, a town now held by rebel forces.
The youngest daughter, who attends university in nearby Aleppo, spoke first. “Now that the army is gone, there is no one to stop them from killing us for speaking out,” she said.
“At the beginning I loved the idea of a revolution. We have a lot under Bashar — free medical care and quality education. But yes, I think we deserved more. But we’ve now gone backwards. This isn’t freedom. We’re being told how to think, how to dress, and threatened for having our own thoughts.”
Fearing retribution from rebel forces, the entire family asked to remain anonymous. Their ages have also been withheld to protect their identity.
They are not alone. Others in the city — who were all too scared to say much on the record — also said they supported Assad. The rebels that now control Ariha admitted that about a quarter of the people living here remained loyal to the regime.
By all accounts this is a typical Syrian family. No one works for the government. They have no connections to the army and they do not belong to the Allawite minority that dominates the ruling elite. Like the majority of the rebels, they are Sunni.
But their opinions vary. The mother and daughters felt strongly that the rebels are to blame for the worst atrocities so far committed in Syria. The father blames both sides. And as for the son, he joined the revolution from the beginning and still participates regularly in protests.
He said his outspoken sisters are persuasive.
“From the first day, this revolution was violent,” said the oldest sister. She went on to describe the stone-throwing, destruction of public property and the physical violence against police that were prevalent during the very first protests last year.
She said her brother asked one boy early on why he destroyed the town’s only ATM machine, through which the majority of the city’s workers accessed their wages. The boy replied, “It belongs to the government, doesn’t it?”
“These are revolutionaries!” she said cynically.
The family said they had felt safe in Ariha when the army controlled the streets. While the opposition says army checkpoints were used to arrest the innocent, the family said the soldiers were friendly and their presence proved that the government was doing its best to maintain security.
The checkpoints are now manned by “5th graders with guns,” said the oldest sister, referring to the rebels.
“Even if one person in this town is killed by an army bullet, it is the fault of the Free Syria Army,” the younger sister said. “Every clash I have seen in this city, they always attack first. Of course the army must return fire if they are fired upon.”
She said the Free Syrian Army uses “shabiha” as a perpetual scapegoat. The shabiha are a feared group of paid government thugs, civilians who activists say are responsible for large scale slaughters, particularly of women and children.
“If they kill anyone, they just label them shabiha,” she said dismissively. “They kidnap people for money and say they are shabiha.”
The younger sister said the father of a school friend, who supported the revolution, was once kidnapped. The man had worked as a clerk in a government prison. After the family paid money to his captors, and he agreed to leave his job, he was released unharmed. Frustrated, she said her friend still supports the rebels.
“As a teacher, all kinds of authority has been taken from me,” said the older sister, who teaches English at a local primary school. She said students come and go as they please, claiming they want to join demonstrations. Boys chant offensive anti-Assad slogans in class.
“I am forced to condone this behavior or be labeled ‘anti-revolutionary,’” she said.
The family members went on to recount the numerous false reports and exaggerations that they said emerge daily.
The previous day GlobalPost witnessed an examle. Pro-revolution television stations reported that the bodies of 20 men from Ariha, who had been imprisoned by the government, were found on the outskirts of town with their hands tied, throats cut and bodies mutilated.
Distraught families and rebel groups gathered at the town morgue, waiting for the arrival of the bodies. But they never came and soon news filtered down that the reporter had confused Ariha with a neighboring town. Eventually it was revealed that the whole report had been false, a fact that was never corrected by the local media.
The girls recalled attending the funeral of a friend who had died from cancer in the provincial capital of Idlib. They said that as journalists approached the scene, the crowd began to chant “as if she had been killed by government forces.”
Their mother added the account of a shopkeeper who had been caught in the crossfire of government and rebel clashes and was accidentally shot by the rebels themselves. He was buried the following day as a celebrated martyr.
“He was with them and they shot him by accident. How can they call him a martyr?” she asked. “They seem to think they can hand out passes for righteousness.”
As the regime continues to crumble, it is hard to believe there is any way Assad could remain in power. But families like these exist all over the country, and they are not fooled by propaganda from either side.
“I am not going to try to tell you about what is happening in another place like Homs or Damascus, although I have many friends that have told me what is really happening,” said the oldest girl, when asked about the reports of government massacres. “I am talking to you only about my town and what I have seen with my own eyes.”
(Reuters) - Iran has launched its latest diplomatic initiative to resolve the intensifying conflict in Syria, warning that the abrupt fall of president Bashar al-Assad would have catastrophic consequences for the country.
At least 12 nations with “a correct and realistic position” would attend a meeting on Thursday in Tehran to discuss the conflict, a senior Iranian diplomat said this week, indicating that no nation that backs the opposition and calls for Assad to leave power would be present.
Russia - which along with Iran has strongly supported Assad since the crisis erupted 17 months ago - has said it will attend the meeting at ambassadorial level but it was unclear which other key players would be present.
Iranian media has reported that China would also be present, along with Algeria, Tajikistan, Venezuela, Pakistan, India and six members of the Arab League but there was no independent confirmation.
In an opinion piece published by the Washington Post on Wednesday, Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi warned that the fall of Assad would catastrophic consequences for the countries.
“Syrian society is a beautiful mosaic of ethnicities, faiths and cultures, and it will be smashed to pieces should President Bashar al-Assad abruptly fall,” it read.
While Salehi said Iran sought a solution that was in “everyone’s interest”, Western diplomats have dismissed the conference as an attempt to divert attention away from bloody events on the ground and to preserve the rule of Assad.
“The Islamic Republic’s support for Assad’s regime is hardly compatible with a genuine attempt at conciliation between the parties,” said one Western diplomat based in Tehran.
It showed Iran was “running out of ideas”, he added. Another Western diplomat said Tehran was trying to broaden the support base of the Syrian leader.
Along with Russia and China, Iran has strongly supported Assad whose forces have launched crushing operations against anti-government protesters and armed opposition groups since the crisis erupted 17 months ago.
The Islamic Republic has resisted an agreement on Syria that requires Assad to quit as part of any political transition. There is no sign that Tehran is ready to adopt a new approach, despite setbacks for Assad including the defection this week of his prime minister.
But analysts say the recent signs of cracks in the Syrian leadership have taken Iran by surprise.
“Iran is trying to show strength and regional presence, but if they were going to make a big play why not do it at the Non-Aligned Movement summit (taking place in Tehran in late August)?” said Scott Lucas of the EA Worldview news website that specialises in covering Iran.
“They seem to be so jittery about Syria, they couldn’t afford to wait,” he added.
Iran’s Shi’ite rulers have accused Western and Arab nations - specifically Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia - of fomenting terrorism in Syria by arming opposition groups.
In turn, Syria’s mostly Sunni Muslim rebels accuse Tehran of sending military personnel to Syria and of providing light arms, as well as tactical and communications expertise to Syrian government forces.
The crisis has soured Iran’s relations with neighbouring Turkey which has hosted opposition meetings, extended assistance to Syrian refugees and demanded Assad leave office.
“Iran wants to co-ordinate efforts among countries that don’t accept the Western and Saudi approach to Syria,” said Mohammad Marandi of Tehran University. “It’s a counter-force to the so-called Friends of Syria gathering.”
Iranian involvement in the crisis has been complicated by the seizure by rebels of 48 Iranians in Syria on Saturday on suspicion of being military personnel. Tehran has said they were pilgrims, but acknowledged that some of the men were retired soldiers or Revolutionary Guards.
Iranian officials have engaged in intensive diplomatic efforts in the region this week.
On Tuesday, while Foreign Minister Salehi was in Ankara trying to maintain relations, the head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili was in Damascus to reassure Assad of Tehran’s support.
“They’re in chaos in terms of the bureaucracy. There have been lots of statements but no-one’s co-ordinating it,” said EA Worldview’s Scott Lucas.
The meeting comes just days before a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation set to focus on Syria. In recent days Iran has warned the Muslim world of the threat posed to it by the United States.
“In the new plan that the Americans have provided for the Middle East, they have foreseen changes for all countries,” Iran’s state news agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying on Wednesday.
“I am certain they have plans for changes in Saudi Arabia as well … they do not want Muslim countries to have power and in opposition we must stand together more than before,” he added.
(Reporting by Marcus George; Additional reporting by Yeganeh Torbati, editing by Rosalind Russell)
So my mom just told me my cousin who is a police officer in Syria, and is 100% Pro-Bashar just got kidnapped. No doubt that it was the rebels. The TERRORISTS. Backed up by America, Israel, Saudi Arabia (tell me about their Democracy? ;) ), Al Qaida (apparently) etc. He told us about what happened to a man who worked with him when this was just starting, so I doubt that it was “Bashars thugs.” If Bashar HAD thugs Im sure he’d be one of them, but he doesn’t.
This isn’t even ok. Hes the first person in my family thats had anything happen to him.
Wow I remember in 2009 I was talking to his daughter and she was telling me how she hates Americans and everything American. I convinced her that she only hated the government because thats where everything is fucked up. Well now shes got a real reason to hate America.
Thank you America for caring oh so much about the freedom of my home country. Spreading “truth” about the blood thirsty Bashar, who’s done nothing, but kill his people. For the past 10 years? And his father before him. OH WAIT no, that isn’t what was happening. Fuck this shit.
I can’t even begin to explain how close I come to unfollowing a couple of my friends when they post Anti-Bashar propaganda.
- If you actually did a tiny bit of background research on the people in those pictures you can use Syrian common sense on how nothing matches up.
- Not once have I seen anything that even comes close to proof that the military is being used to abuse the people.
If you compare pictures of Israeli soldiers mistreating palestinians to the pictures they are showing us. THERE IS NOT A SNIFF OF PROOF. Anti-Bashar propaganda is so vague and shady. I swear I could buy make up online that could make me look like a rocket was just shot in my face. And I could probably fool you all saying it was “Bashars thugs”
Easily. In my backyard. I learned how to make fake cuts in 7th grade theater arts.
So why don’t y’all take a moment and question what Im calling propaganda.
I’ve sat and questioned the side Im taking many times, and because I know how it was before. Definitely 100% Pro-Bashar.
And my mom just walked in and told me my dad just called his family, and apparently they let him go after asking a bunch of questions. He couldn’t give details over the phone about what they asked, but they threatened him with a gun when they took him, blindfolded him, and what not.
That was weird. I seriously found out just before writing this and now before even finishing I find out hes ok.
Welp Im happy, but thats scary. I tried to ignore these things before, but now I won’t be able to.
I hope I can get the full story once everything is ok.
Another First hand account, hopefully your family will be safe from the terrorists. inshAllah.
A report published by the Turkish newspaper Idinik said Blackwater agents have been operating at the border area and that the firm’s mercenaries are being deployed to Syria via the Turkish province of Hatay.
Syrian security forces in the western city of Homs have also said that the Israeli spy agency, Mossad, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and Blackwater are involved in the country’s unrest.
The idea of Blackwater’s role in the Syrian unrest developed after Egyptian writer Mohammad Husayn Haykal said that the firm has more than 6,000 mercenaries operating against Damascus inside and outside the country.
Haykal described Blackwater’s activity inside Syria and along the country’s borders as a bid to buy time for Israel and to turn the Arab-Israeli conflict into a sectarian conflict between the Shia and Sunni Muslims.
Syrian expert in strategic affairs Salim Harba has also said that an anti-Damascus center has been established in Qatar to bring together US, French, Qatari, Saudi, and Israeli intelligence agents as well as members of Blackwater, and the Syrian opposition.
The advanced weaponry used by the armed gangs in Syria, the presence of foreign mercenaries among the rebels, and documents leaked on the involvement of Blackwater in the crisis in Syria indicate that the so-called security firm is after fueling violence in the Arab nation to help the US topple the Assad government and thus more efficiently protect its interests and those of Tel Aviv in the region.
Why do you support Assad?
The answer to this question is multifaceted. He has stood for what is right on economic, military, social, and political levels. He has earned the trust of his people by actually caring for them and helping them. Majority of the people who live in Syria actually support him; and why not? before this crisis, he had introduced many social reforms that helped the poor of the country. He kicked out many foreign corporations that gave money to Zionists and imperialists. He made the Syrian industry grow and made Syria sovereign on its own. Unlike most Arab countries. Syria actually owns its oil and other resources thanks to Assads policies. There is no wonder that the U.S has put sanctions on Syria for 7 years or so.
Right in the beginning of the demonstrations, before the violence ensued, Assad promised for reforms and elections and started working with the opposition regarding the articles of constitution the people were protesting. Had that been allowed to happen smoothly, the people of Syria would not have suffered, but the Imperialists wanted a leader that stood for sovereignty out of power, so they ensued violence in the demonstrations and blocked the entire process for a while. But it did not stay for long because Assad kept working towards those reforms despite the violence. Elections were held recently and Ballots were cast in transparent elections. How come that is not reported in the media? neither are the results of those elections which came in Assads favor.
Constantly he has asked the thugs to lay down their arms and come to talks. Many members of the opposition Did do so and are now working with Assad on drafting reforms. Now, only the thugs with funds from Qatar, S.A, Israel, and U.S.A are left. As is their media campaign. But inshAllah they will be put down as well. Very soon. The plan of the imperialists will fail inshAllah.
The seemingly noble move is tainted by the fact the very people accused of rights violations in their home countries – like the King of Bahrain, for example - were warmly welcomed by the Queen just last week, at her Diamond Jubilee lunch.
Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne told MPs that leaders linked to such crimes will not be allowed into Britain to attend the summer Olympic Games.
“Where there is independent, reliable and credible evidence that an individual has committed human rights abuses, the individual will not normally be permitted to enter the UK,” Browne said.
The announcement came after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that he was hoping to attend the London Olympics, which start on July 27, but that British authorities weren’t too keen on allowing him to.
“I would like to be beside the Iranian athletes at the Olympic Games in London to support them, but the British have issues with my presence,” Tehran’s official news agency IRNA quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.
The Olympic double standards have caused many to wonder what it is that makes supporting one’s national team unacceptable, while dining with HM The Queen is perfectly fine. For many of those accused of human rights violations did in fact dine with the Queen during a sovereigns’ lunch in honor of her Diamond Jubilee.
Former Foreign Office Minister Denis MacShane seized on Mr. Browne’s comments, and called for Russian president Vladimir Putin and Bahrain’s King Hamad, who dined with the Queen at Windsor Castle, not to attend the London spectacle.
MacShane came out swinging, claiming that there is “reliable and credible evidence that President Putin in Russia and the King of Bahrain have allowed officials under their authority to commit human rights abuses.”
“If they have any sense they will simply not come to the Olympics, as the British people do not want sport to be sullied by those responsible for torture and deaths being given a red carpet welcome in London,” he added.
News reports also say MacShane’s proposed blacklist also includes politicians from Syria, China, Zimbabwe and Saudi Arabia.
Syria and Zimbabwe are easy – their leaders are banned from traveling to or within the EU; the same goes for Aleksandr Lukashenko, the permanent Belarusian president nicknamed “Europe’s last dictator.” But there are several more countries – and thus, several more leaders that could put Britain in a bit of a tight spot.
Uzbekistan president Islom Karimov and his Turkmen counterpart Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov are both planning to attend the lavish opening ceremony – but according to Human Rights Watch, their countries are “absolutely in the category of the worst dictatorships in the world and the worst abusers of human rights.”
It is not yet certain whether British politicians will prefer to be good sports, or choose to pull no punches.
But just the fact that this issue is being widely debated in the media means the political games have begun before the Olympics were able to.
Activist and journalist Sukant Chandan believes the reason why King Hamad’s name was kept off the list is because Bahrain is absolutely fundamental to British interests in the Gulf region.
“Bahrain is a small Gulf state that was set up like all the other Gulf monarchies by the British in the first place anyway,” he told RT. “The struggle of the Bahraini people for democracy really cuts to the absolute, fundamental nature of British and, generally Western neocolonial control of that region – so that’s why the British are so keen to keep things sweet with the Bahraini government.”
Chandan argues that while British foreign policy cannot exactly be called hypocritical, it can be said that it is based on double standards. He said the responsibility for Bahrain’s human rights violations should be directed against Britain herself.
“Britain is the master puppeteer and Bahrain is just the puppet, so really the responsibility should be directed against Britain, and not necessarily against Bahrain,” he noted. “So I think the dynamic is a little bit skewed here.”
Katerina Azarova, RT