Western media and the War Machine.

It is now well over two years since the Syrian conflict began. I for one, will no longer give credibility to the falsehood that this brutal conflict simply aroused itself from the Syrian Government’s oppression of peaceful protest. There were many peaceful protests in Syria, there was, and still is a widespread call for reform and change within the Syrian government. No doubt, there was also brutal oppression. But the critical element that has been dutifully removed from the narrative by our subservient western media, is the fact that radical militia – some affiliated with “the west’s biggest enemy” Al Qaeda no less – were attacking the Syrian Arab Army from day one. Those attacks greatly intensified; as US/Gulf propagated “opposition” elements conflated the two separate dynamics for their own political benefit.

Since over 100 Syrian Army troops (Named in state media, unmentioned in western press) were killed in April 2011 alone it begs the question; who was killing them at this early stage? Once one delves a little deeper, and beyond the usual outlet it is easy to find evidence of armed gangs attacking checkpoints, militry convoys and installations throughout the early stages of the conflict. Long ago many analysts (not attached to dubious Washington or London-based “NGO’s”) and a few politicians were warning of the ramifications of allowing Wahhabi propagating theocracy the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with the archaic, oppressive, misogynistic, and outright autocratic promoters of the Muslim Brotherhood, Qatar, the prominent role in supporting the so-called “rebels” in and outside of Syria.

These states (US clients), alongside NATO member Turkey – who have mainly facilitated the distribution of arms and funds, whilst harbouring said “rebels” and providing training camps on Syria’s border – were given “the green light” by the US to arm and determine who waged war in Syria in a supposed fight for “freedom and democracy”. A supposed future democracy which neither of these US clients has ever practiced themselves, or plan to in the future. Many knew this would only lead to a dramatic increase in the conflict and in turn spur the sectarian tensions within Syria. Why would western media deem it necessary, or in the publics interest to omit these vital facts? Simply because the vast majority of western “news” media is subservient to its corporate financiers, ergo: government. In the realm of Foreign Policy and ‘National Security’, to give western media any more credence than state media within the ‘axis of evil’; (constantly ridiculed in western media) is to omit, or conveniently forget, the barefaced, constant falsehoods that have plagued our so-called ‘independent media’, and in turn led us into wars of aggression. When in reality, these wars are about nothing other than hegemony and resource: not human rights and democracy.

The same few public voices that raised these concerns at the time were dutifully whitewashed from the public sphere. Media plays an ever more vital role in promoting the west’s wars of aggression. As governments and corporations start to fear mass unrest and upheaval within their own societies; alongside the huge rise in public communication and media sharing thanks to the internet, which currently every “developed” western government is trying to obliterate. It is becoming ever harder for Governments to dupe populations into overt aggressive, hegemonic military operations against sovereign nations. This is not to say the publics opinion will dissuade western powers to enter such wars. On the contrary, several polls in the UK have shown that in the majority, the public are against arming “rebels” or intervening in Syria. A recent binational YouGov-Cambridge poll showed that only 16% of both US and UK voters were in favour of supplying munitions to the opposition. This is not a consideration with either Whitehall, or the Guardian’s editorial team.

With ever-expanding covert armies, unaccountable private military contractors and paramilitary intelligence agencies that western nations are building, and continue expanding. Alongside the growing encroachment into what becomes public knowledge: under “National Security” grounds. Western governments are adapting their subversion and have added small-scale insurgencies as a pertinent strategy, which now primarily fall under the doublespeak auspices of “the Right to Protect” or “Humanitarian Intervention.” These small-scale insurgencies are referred to in the western media as “rebels”, “revolutionaries”, “freedom fighters” etc when attacking a Government and its apparatus our leaders would like removed. Yet when these same “freedom fighters” turn their western/GCC provided arsenal’s on western friendly targets: they are immediately labelled as “terrorists”. Indeed, there are many recent examples of this.

A prominent example arises in Libya. The same radical Islamic groups western powers armed and funded to illegally and brutally overthrow Gaddafi’s government; (Along with a six month 9,000+ NATO air strike campaign.) have since turned on their main donors not only once, but three times. These predominantly extremist forces first attacked the British Ambassador; then attacked the US “consulate” in Benghazi: killing the US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stephens in a supposed CIA “safe house”. ( widely believed to have been stockpiling arms in Libya to send to the next “revolution” in Syria) and, recently attacking the French embassy. This western moral expediency is but a continuation of our governments recklessness, and the continual use of primarily Gulf propagated, fomented and funded radical Islamic forces to subvert, leverage, and ideally remove Governments within the middle east that are outside, or; unwilling to become part of the west’s economic influence.

The western media apparatus is currently engulfed in a coordinated campaign, to use what is highly circumstantial and dubious ‘evidence’ (the crucial parts we the public are not privy to) that the Assad government has deployed chemical weapons: “on its own people” as a pretext for further intervention against the Syrian government. Yes, we have been here before, and over a million Iraqi civilians at least half of them children; (that is a conservative estimate of total deaths due to US/UK led war, economic or otherwise against Iraq.) alongside thousands of British and US military personnel: paid the ultimate price for our Governments and their compliant media’s malfeasance.

When we scrutinise these “reports” for the “evidence” our diplomats and politicians speak of, it is hard to find anything other than speculation. But the speculation will persist, evolve and grow tenfold. The language will become stark, the images shocking, and within a couple of weeks (…days?) the majority of uninformed readers and headline watchers will ultimately believe the claim without the necessary evidence. This is the role western media and its apparatus plays in the middle east. It is not designed to inform the western public; it is certainly not designed to bring about any understanding. The media is a mere tool within the western Military Industrial Complex to further the “legitimacy”, or, more appropriately: the public apathy towards the rapacious, illegal, aggressive and outright imperialistic military ventures undertaken by our governments throughout the region.

One wonders why this media campaign has taken a dramatic increase in the last week or so? Indeed, it was only a few weeks ago that the Syrian Government itself was calling on the UN to investigate alleged opposition use of Chemical Weapons, in response to an alleged “terrorist” attack on Government forces in Aleppo. The UN reluctantly obliged, but under pressure from Washington the UN decided it would only investigate all claims of chemical weapons use across the whole of Syria; including the rebel claims of Government use. Considering the CIA’s habit (and UN complicity) of infiltrating supposed UN investigations for the benefit of the US military and Administration, while also considering the US (CIA) is a prime belligerent in this conflict: I don’t think its hard to fathom the Syrian government may be suspicious of these attempts to send UN investigators all over the war-torn country.

Why would the UN choose not to investigate what was readily available and choose instead to add invasive pre-conditions? In relation to the timing of this current media campaign, it is obvious. The Syrian Arab Army is currently on a nationwide offensive, and it is succeeding. In areas all across the country the SAA has retaken vital towns, villages and checkpoints. The Army is also currently opening up the once restricted supply routes and highways to Government strongholds in Damascus, and the coastal enclave of Latakia and Tartous. In Homs and the town of Qusair close to the Lebanese border, fighting has greatly intensified and is in danger of spreading to Lebanon. Indeed just this week, two prominent Lebanese Salafi Sheikhs declared Jihad upon the Syrian Government. This was supposedly in response to Hezbollah’s ongoing support of the regime. Again, what is omitted in this simplistic western narrative: is that Salafi fighters have used Lebanon as a key route into Syria; they have indeed attacked Shiite villages and inhabitants in the region for months. These attacks were the initial reasoning given by Hezbollah for its limited involvement.

Of course, this does not sit kindly with the narrative of “rebels” good guys, Hezbollah/Assad Regime bad guys: so it must be spun. All to the benefit of the greatest military threat to Lebanon, and if we are to believe polls; the greatest threat to the whole region: The US and Israel.

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Turning a ‘blind eye’ to extremism.

Abu Bakr al-Husayni al-Qurashi al-Baghdadi the emir of the Islamic State of Iraq, (ISI) a jihadist organisation formerly affiliated with Al Qaeda recently released an official statement declaring that Jahbat al Nusra, (JN) the jihadist group that has been operating inside Syria, as officially its own product and a franchise of the ISI. The name of both groups has also been revised, signalling the unification of the Islamic State in Iraq and Jabhat al Nusra in Syria, both now officially being named: “The Islamic State of Iraq and Greater al Sham [or Levant]” (ISIS). In the communique Baghdadi states:

“It’s now time to declare in front of the people of the Levant and the world that al-Nusra Front is but an extension of the Islamic State of Iraq and part of it,” …….”We thus declare … the cancellation of the name of the Islamic State of Iraq and the name of al-Nusra Front and grouping them together under one name, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,”

Syria analysts, and indeed the US state department have long acknowledged that Jahbat al Nusra was at least in some form an affiliate of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), which explains the US designating it as a terrorist group. Most analysts covering jihadist groups in the region have drawn the conclusion that Baghdadi’s recent statement is of no real consequence. For fighters on the ground in Syria, that appears to be the case. The two largest Salafi coalitions currently fighting in Syria under the umbrella groups of the Syrian Islamic Front (SIF) and the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front (SILF) will have no qualms operating with ISIS. As has been demonstrated continuously throughout the conflict. Ideologically, the SIF and the SILF’s main objective is an Islamic state in Syria, yet the SIF’s spokespeople have paid lip-service to fair treatment of minorities in any post Assad Syria. Al Qaeda, on the other hand, is a different matter altogether, their mission is an enforced Islamic world through jihad. This could provide an opportunity for Gulf states and prominent donors of the Syrian Salafi brigades to counter AQ’s prominence and attempt to move away from extremism. But, JaN are revered throughout the Salafi battalions for their fighting prowess, expertise, and overall prominence and success in taking the fight to the Syrian Army. In other words Jahbat al Nusra, now known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. If anything, I expect this statement to further alienate any supposedly ‘moderate’ elements inside Syria and further bolster the already dominant extremists within the opposition.

On the other hand, this ‘new’ development isn’t guaranteed to help the opposition. It could prove to be Jahbat al Nusra’s downfall in Syria, which right now would be a blow to the main opposition objective of ousting Assad. The ‘moderate’ Salafi elements may reject ISIS’ vision for Syria and try to marginalize it, which will result in a violent backlash and infighting. Western actors supporting the opposition will be pushing them to do this, the Muslim Brotherhood dominated SNC will also at least publicly distance itself from extremist elements, but no doubt ties on the ground will remain strong. Evidence of this is already becoming clear, as posted before, US/GCC “increases” and “expansion” of their military efforts on Syria’s southern border toward the middle of 2012 from a multi-national staging ground in Jordan has only resulted in the further bolstering of jihadist elements entering Syria.

  “his group [ISI] had deployed battle-hardened fighters and sent funds to local al-Nusra cells set up in Syria to lay the groundwork for the armed uprising“.-Reuters.

In this McClatchy report we learn that despite continuing State Department rhetoric on ‘moderate’ rebels, and the multi-national military presence on the Jordan/Syria border, the flow of fundamentalist militia entering Syria has gone completely unimpeded:

For all the Obama administration’s vocal concern about Islamist extremists fighting in Syria, neither U.S. officials nor regional allies have taken significant action to stem the flow of jihadists to rebel ranks.The jihadist pipelines – mainly via Turkey, but also through Jordan and Iraq – are an open secret, according to interviews this month with fighters and eyewitnesses, as well as analysts……The foreign fighters would be hard to miss for Turkish and Western intelligence operatives – they stay at established safe houses, openly recruit comrades and often stand out with distinctive appearances and habits – yet there’s been no overt effort to crack down on their presence in frontier towns.

As mentioned before, it is highly likely such militia are operating along Jordan’s border adjacent to and in collusion with western and Gulf nation special forces. Who then enter Syria and target specific military targets and key supply routes, it is more than plausible that these actors have at least some loose military coordination:
“Essentially, Turkey is running a rat line of jihadists into Syria the same way the Syrians ran a rat line into Iraq,” said Joshua Landis, the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma and author of the blog Syria Comment. “Turkey, with America’s blessing, is doing the same thing and we’ve done nothing to stop them. It’s a wink nod-nod situation.”……Analysts offer mixed views on why the U.S. hasn’t done more to block the jihadist routes. They argue that the pipelines are less of a priority for the administration because the jihadists aren’t targeting Americans – as they were in Iraq – that U.S. diplomats want to avoid confronting the Turks on the issue because they need Turkey’s help on other urgent regional matters and, perhaps most importantly, that the battle-skilled jihadists are a necessary evil to hasten the U.S. goal of ousting Assad.
Again we see clear evidence of the US ‘turning a blind eye’, or to be frank, colluding with its client Gulf states extremist proxies in order to meet strategic objectives. Indeed it may well be making ‘increased’ efforts to form a ‘moderate’ proxy force to protect Israel and the Golan Heights from the increasing number of jihadist groups coming together there and up to the Quneitra region, almost reaching Israels border. But at the same time the US military and its intelligence apparatus is in the full knowledge that hundreds of jihadists are crossing the border into Syria. Neither Israel nor the US seem to be overly concerned, or willing to make any policy change, military or diplomatic, to avert this increasing dynamic. Quite the opposite, recently, amid rumours that IDF forces had treated wounded Syrian insurgents near the Golan and sent them back over the border, a former head of the Israeli Knesset claimed….
“al-Nusra Front could not take control on Israeli-Syrian borders without the aid of Israel”, declaring that “the injuries of al-Nusra Front are transferred to Israeli hospitals and Israel devotes its military efforts to help the insurgents in the demilitarized zone”.

Terrorism has spread in Syria and so has chaos. This is reality.

As the death toll in Syria continues to rise, the month of March 2013 was the Syrian war’s most deadly to date. With estimates of death tolls in the region of 6,000 people in one single month. The US, along with its regional allies in the Middle East is now undoubtedly coordinating and waging a multinational covert war against the Syrian government, its security apparatus and the civilian population caught in the crossfire. In a recent article I attempted to show a synonymous rise in casualty numbers and refugees fleeing Syria, with the parallel increase of US/GCC military operations on Syria’s borders, along with CIA coordinated illegal arms programs. Another parallel is that since the US/GCC have stepped up their military efforts against the Syrian govt, it has only been the more extremist Salafi dominated groups that have gained in recruitment, equipment, funding, and ultimately success on the ground. Whether these things are mutually exclusive remains to be seen or proven. How much exactly US/GCC efforts have affected the composition of the Syrian insurgency and groups fighting on the ground emerging from US coordinated “nerve centres” or ‘staging grounds’ also needs more investigation. Here I will try to provide some more, and continuing evidence to bolster what is, whilst highly unorthodox, becoming a popular theory: that the US and its Gulf allies are responsible for at least vastly exacerbating the conflict in Syria, at most engaging in a full on proxy war, once again in the name of ‘humanitarianism’.

As anyone who has followed the Syrian conflict knows, data of any verifiable nature has been more than difficult to come by, especially when analysing the conflict from afar. The graph below gives us an idea of the periodic increase of casualty since the Syrian conflict erupted in Daraa in March 2011…

Weekly_deaths_over_the_course_of_the_Syrian_civil_war

As we see above, overall casualty figures took a dramatic increase toward the end of 2011, early 2012. Almost doubling in week 45 and continuing to rise, taking a dip around March of 2012 and rapidly increasing again around June/July 2012. What do we know happened from a US/GCC perspective around this time? According to this NYT report, US officials state that the illegal CIA involvement in GCC arms programs to Syrian ‘rebels’ began on a “small-scale” around “early 2012”. Obviously it can only be coincidental that this illegal CIA/GCC arms program into Syria coincides exactly with the same period the death toll takes a dramatic increase. Or not so coincidental, as CIA/US military history tells us. Diplomatically speaking, the end of 2011 also saw Russia and China declare their intentions to veto any US led plans of a No Fly Zone over Syria. Scuppering any Libya-esque ideas of rapid regime change, via illegal NATO bombing campaign. (3,000 plus NATO bombing sorties as a “rebel” airforce in the name of humanitarianism, quickly followed by Gaddafi’s sodomy with a bayonet and assassination.) We also learn from extensive reports that the CIA’s involvement in the ‘nerve centre’ at Adana in Turkey also started around this time, in the above Reuters report it is claimed the US’ involvement in Adana began around June/July 2012, again, this directly correlates with a rise in death toll increase. Rebel operations took a massive upsurge in and around Aleppo and Turkish border towns in this period. Later still the US chose to push for “defensive” Patriot missile batteries to protect Turkey from mortar shells fired from Syria. How a Patriot battery is supposed to defend against random mortar shells I will never know. (The origin or type of shell that struck a house in a Turkish border town is still to be identified.) The last of which was successfully installed in February along the Turkish border. This US “nerve center” in Adana simply could not have popped up overnight, it sits right beside the huge joint US/Turkish airbase Incirlik. So to recap, we know the US’ plans for a NFZ were put down, early 2012, we know that US operations (including “early 2012” CIA arms program) on the Turkish border increased a great deal, in turn, Salafi/Jihaddi groups were starting to become ever more exposed and prominent. Crucially, we also know, that violence and the death toll in Syria increased dramatically at the same time. Mere “coincidences” one might argue.

This brings us to what the US, along with its Gulf allies and the UK and France, have been implementing on Syrias southern border with Jordan, in Russeifeh, close to the town of Mafraq. In turn we need to assess the immediate ramifications throughout the southern province of Daraa and along the Quneitra region, reaching to the Golan heights. Contrary to Leon Panettas claims of a small training force of 150 soldiers being sent to Jordan, in a report in October 2012 from the National Post we learn that “thousands” of US special forces are training supposed rebels. The report claims that “troops, including intelligence officers, are coming from France, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well as from the US and the United Kingdom.” Quotes from Jordanian and Western diplomats allege “more than 1500 elite US soldiers have been moving across Jordans border for several months now” and that “hundreds of French troops are doing their work in the Northern city of Mafraq, let alone the assistance from the Gulf”. The report goes on to state that International involvement in Jordan began in May of 2012 when 1200 Arab soldiers from Gulf states held a chemical weapons attack response simulation. In a recent report from RT on March 11th 2013 on rebels being trained in Jordan, it states in the past three months, some 200 men have already received military training that focuses on anti-tank weaponry. Again, in a report in todays Washington Post titled “US, Jordan Stepping up training of Syrian opposition” it spells out the military measures being taken by the US and its allies in full knowledge of who is making gains in Daraa: “Training begun last year has been expanded and accelerated after rebel gains in the south, including capture of a stretch of the Jordanian-Syrian border near the Golan Heights, two military outposts and the country’s main border crossing with Jordan. Jordanian security officials said a previous timetable to complete training of about 3,000 Free Syrian Army officers by the end of June has been moved up to the end of this month in light of the border victories.”  This “training base” which sits next to both a Jordanian airbase and refugee camp (exact set up as that in Adana, Turkey) in Russeifeh Jordan, has undoubtedly been used as another staging ground where US/GCC military and intelligence agencies are providing training and support to supposed rebels currently attacking Syrian government forces.

What are the immediate ramifications of opening up this staging ground and corresponding increase in rebel activity on the southern front? And which ‘opposition’ groups are gaining ground in the same regions? In the majority, its the same Salafi/Jihaddi ‘rebels’ that have been gaining ground across the rest of the country. A speech on the 23rd March by a Daraa lawmaker in Syrian parliament, which was broadcast live on Syrian TV, helps to give us an idea of what is happening in Daraa.  Walid al Zohbi told parliament: “Syria is no longer going through a crisis. It is plunged in total war. Terrorism has spread in Syria and so has chaos. This is reality, and all Syrians know it,” Zohbi goes on to warn: “This is also happening in all towns and villages in Daraa province, which is torn from east to west after the army withdrew from many positions,” Under pressure from fellow MP’s to stop, Zohbi refused to be silenced and continued to tell MP’s that the Jordan border crossing, and subsequent highway leading to Damascus is under the control of “armed groups”, this proves to be correct. After a 16 day siege Jahbat al Nusra had taken a major border crossing, several checkpoints and crucially the highway and military base Zohbi was alluding to. That location was air defense Base 38 near the town of Saida, on the road linking Damascus to Amman. A key supply route if rebels are to make any inroads toward Damascus from Jordan.

These “armed groups” that are currently overrunning checkpoints and bases in Daraa are primarily Jahbat al Nusra and the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, the former being a US designated terrorist group and the latter, whilst being under investigation for the extra judicial killing of SAA soldiers decided to kidnap 20 UN peacekeepers from the Golan heights.  Democratic grassroots revolutionaries? Or extremist shock troops? Unless these groups, whose main source of funding, arms and prominence is still somewhat an unsolved mystery, have extremely proficient intelligence, it seems impossible for them to pre-empt US/GCC operations in the same region. This suggests that at least to some extent, members of rebel battalions and groups in Daraa are acting in collusion/coordination with those being trained and supplied from the multinational HQ just across the border in Mafraq. Sporadic battles have broken out in towns all across the Daraa province, resulting in large gains of territory and rebels taking the key town of Dael. This long battle was  orchestrated by the Dawn of Islam Brigade. In this NYT report The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is quoted as saying that Dael was a specific rebel target due to its strategic position on the highway to Damascus from Jordan, and that weapons were funnelled for this battle from Jordan (Mafraq multinational HQ) to Dael.

Despite the obvious bolstering becoming apparent of what are determined extremist groups in first the North, and increasingly Eastern regions of Syria. As the militarism, fighting and violence spreads. The southern regions of Syria and Daraa are evolving in much the same fashion. Not that it appears to deter the US and Jordans attempts to “expand” and “accelerate” military training and enablement of such ideologues as Abu Molem :

“Whether we fight under the banner of Jabhat al-Nusra or the Free Syrian Army, we are all defending our families in the name of God,” said Abu Momen, who crossed the border last week along with the nightly influx of about 2,000 people. The 22-year-old said he was a fighter with the Jabhat al-Nusra group, which the Obama administration has said is a wholly owned subsidiary of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

“No buffer zone can stop our jihad in Syria,” Abu Momen said.