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Syrian Rebel Idris: Israel “Enemy Country” to Rebels

6:11 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Hey, AIPAC — you sure you want to be cozying up to these guys?

Back in May, the Syrian rebel commander who deals the most with the West, Salim Idris, went on record (video, in fact) as stating that Israel is an “enemy country”.

A partial transcript is below.

May 8, 2013 Clip No. 3835

Free Syrian Army Chief of Staff Salim Idris: Israel Is an Enemy Country; With Proper Weapons, We Can Topple Al-Assad within 40 Days

Following are excerpts from an interview with Free Syrian Army Chief of Staff Brigadier-General Salim Idris, which aired on Al-Jazeera Network, on May 8, 2013:

Salim Idris: As for us being Israeli collaborators – the only Israeli collaborator in the region is the criminal Bashar. The Israeli collaborators are the people who put on the show of the 2006 war – Hizbullah and its leader Hassan Nasrallah. They diverted all their forces to the slaughtering of Syrians. Their scheme is totally clear. They used to hide behind the pretext of resistance and the fight against Israel, but now it has become clear that they are implementing a sectarian, Iranian, Safavid plan in the region.

[...]

If [we] get the necessary weapons and ammunition, we will be capable of toppling the regime in less than 40 days. My brothers, the rebels, know I’m not just bragging.

[...]

Israel is an enemy country. I say this loud and clear. It occupies Syrian lands. The FSA will not change its position regarding that country before [Israel] withdraws from the Syrian lands, and recognizes the legitimate rights of the Arab Palestinian people. [Then] we will abide by the decision of the Arab people of Syria.

[...]

This is the guy who the Saudis and their hangers-on think is the politer, more polished and professional part of the rebel side — as opposed to the ones who eat their foes and are proud to say so. He’s so polished and slick that he’s probably going to be whisked to Capitol Hill soon to testify before Congress.

Anyone think he’ll be asked if he still thinks that Israel is an enemy country?

Mint Press News: First They Ignore You…

7:42 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Even as the other portions of the English-speaking Western media seems to be advocating for intervening in Syria so the secularist Assad government can be toppled and replaced by an Al-Qaeda-allied Sunni theocracy, the tiny startup enterprise Mint Press News sends out experienced journalists to cover Syria and bring back stories that undermine the rush to theocracy.

Stories like this one from August 29:

The U.S., Britain, and France as well as the Arab League have accused the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for carrying out the chemical weapons attack [in Ghouta, Syria], which mainly targeted civilians. U.S. warships are stationed in the Mediterranean Sea to launch military strikes against Syria in punishment for carrying out a massive chemical weapons attack. The U.S. and others are not interested in examining any contrary evidence, with U.S Secretary of State John Kerry saying Monday that Assad’s guilt was “a judgment … already clear to the world.”

However, from numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families, a different picture emerges. Many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the dealing gas attack.

“My son came to me two weeks ago asking what I thought the weapons were that he had been asked to carry,” said Abu Abdel-Moneim, the father of a rebel fighting to unseat Assad, who lives in Ghouta.

Abdel-Moneim said his son and 12 other rebels were killed inside of a tunnel used to store weapons provided by a Saudi militant, known as Abu Ayesha, who was leading a fighting battalion. The father described the weapons as having a “tube-like structure” while others were like a “huge gas bottle.”

Ghouta townspeople said the rebels were using mosques and private houses to sleep while storing their weapons in tunnels.

One would think that this reportage, so at odds with what is being stated in the rest of the English-language press, would, if it were wrong, be immediately and thoroughly attacked and discredited by those with vested interests in toppling the Assad government. But so far, nothing. It’s as if the big media outlets and the elites whose interests they serve are afraid to call attention to Mint Press News and its blockbuster story alleging that the Saudi-backed Syrian rebels were behind the Ghouta gas attack.

Mint Press News is in the first phase of the “First they ignore you” formula by Nicholas Klein, often misattributed to Mahatma Gandhi. They are being severely ignored now in the hopes that they can be isolated and made to go away. When that doesn’t happen, Phase Two — the Active Persecution phase — will commence.

Keep your eyes on Mint Press News, and help circumvent the interdict on them by forwarding their stories where you can.

Russians in Syria, US Backing Rebels: Will World War III be World War I Redux?

6:28 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Bayrische Pickelhaube

Things are getting more “interesting” (and when I say “interesting” I mean “scary”) in Syria:

Russian military advisers are manning some of Syria’s more sophisticated air defences – something that would complicate any future US-led intervention, the Guardian has learned.

The advisers have been deployed with new surface-to-air systems and upgrades of old systems, which Moscow has supplied to the Assad regime since the Syrian revolution broke out 21 months ago.

The depth and complexity of Syria’s anti-aircraft defences mean that any direct western campaign, in support of a no-fly zone or in the form of punitive air strikes against the leadership, would be costly, protracted and risky.

Air strikes against chemical weapon depots would potentially disperse lethal gases over a vast area, triggering a humanitarian disaster. US and allied special forces have been trained to seize the air bases where the warheads are kept, but it is unclear what the next step would be. It would be physically impossible to fly the hundreds of warheads out of the country, while it would take thousands of troops to guard the arsenal for what could be many months.

Chemical weapons potential: Check.
Smaller nations and rebel groups used as proxies by Great Powers: Check.
Potential for other nations to be sucked into the conflict: Check.

All that’s missing is for somebody to wear the Pickelhaube and someone to wear the poppy. Read the rest of this entry →

Jeremy Scahill on Richard Engel, News Blackouts, and Kidnapped Journalists Still Held Hostage

7:40 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Demonstrators attend a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad as they hold pictures of two Turkish journalists whom activists say are missing in Syria, in front of the Syrian Consulate in Istanbul March 15, 2012.

Demonstrators attend a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad as they hold pictures of two Turkish journalists whom activists say are missing in Syria, in front of the Syrian Consulate in Istanbul March 15, 2012.

As a result of the Richard Engel incident, I’ve been witnessing a lot of debate over the question of whether to cover the kidnapping of journalists, but it’s hard to imagine a statement that could top this piece by the Christian Science Monitor‘s Jeremy Scahill.

Here’s a taste:

Attempting to maintain a news blackout after an abduction has long been a common practice, both for journalists and other people working in war zones. The idea is generally that a frenzy of questions and attention can make a quick negotiation for release tougher, either by spooking captors, or by raising their perception of the financial or propaganda value of their captive.

In some cases too much silence can be dangerous. If kidnappers know they’ve got someone high profile, like Engel, and then there’s no news, they can get to wondering if their captive is actually a spy working under journalist cover. In others, obviously, publicity can be very dangerous. Every situation has its different particulars. In this instance it appears that people working with the situation on the ground were seeking to buy time for rebels to find the group before they were moved to a part of Syria under government control.

And while Engel did end up being freed, there are other journalists still being held captive in Syria:

For now, this story has a happy ending for Kooistra, Balkiz, and Engel. But it’s a partial one. Austin Tice, an American freelancer, has been missing and presumed captive in Syria since August. There are others who are missing whose cases have been kept more quiet. And the bloody Syrian civil war, with tens of thousands of civilian Syrians dead already, has also been rough on journalists. In a report out today, the Committee to Protect Journalists says 23 journalists were killed in combat situations this year, the highest number since 1992. Syria, and the proliferation of citizen journalists there, were responsible for that number.

More on Austin Tice can be found here.
Read the rest of this entry →