Breaking News

Jordan Said to Help Arm Syria ''Rebels''




Shipments Are Routed Through Border as Kingdom Steps up Aid, Opposition Members Say; Amman Denies Connection


AMMAN, Jordan—Jordan has stepped up its support for neighboring Syria's political and military opposition, including allowing some light arms to flow across the border, according to Syrian ''rebels'' and an Arab official familiar with the operation.

Several shipments of arms—including assault rifles, Russian-designed antitank missiles and ammunition—have been delivered to the border in Jordanian military trucks and then taken into Syria by ''rebel'' brigades, according to Syrian ''rebel'' fighters. Dozens of other shipments have been smuggled to Syria with the covert support of Jordanian border officials, these people say. Saudi Arabia and Qatar pay for these arms and transport them to Jordan, say ''rebel'' fighters based along the Syria-Jordan border and a person involved in arms procurement for the ''rebels''.

Syrian refugees waiting for prayers late last month at a refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan. The kingdom is letting light arms flow across its borders to Syria's opposition, several ''rebels'' say.

Jordan, which has long sought to stay out of Syria's growing conflict, denies aiding Syrian ''rebels'' militarily, either by transporting weapons or allowing them to move across the border.

The emerging weapons pipeline, a previously unreported development, isn't large enough to shift the balance of power in favor of ''rebels'', say the ''rebel'' fighters and those who help them procure arms. The Syrian regime's air force and mechanized units continue to outgun lightly armed insurgents, they say.

Still, such an energized supply route through Jordan would show how even regional states with the risk of significant blowback are boosting support for the ''uprising'' against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, with the tacit backing of Western allies. It comes as these international partners have identified what they consider trustworthy elements of Syria's opposition, to address their increasing anxiety that a protracted civil war in Syria is drawing in Islamist fighters and threatens regional stability.

Jordan lies at the center of those fears. It shares a long border with Syria, on which it depends for its trade with Turkey and Europe. It also has a restive domestic population, led by a religious political opposition that constitutes a threat to the rule of King Abdullah II, one of the U.S.'s strongest allies in the region.


The kingdom's growing involvement with the activities of Syrian ''rebels'' was outlined by six ''rebel'' officers and opposition politicians, two of which are directly involved in the procurement or transfer of arms into Syria. Several say they have met with Jordanian officials. A non-Jordanian Arab official confirmed the characterization of the kingdom's role.

Jordan's King Abdullah has said he supports humanitarian assistance for Syrians fleeing the fighting. Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees are already scattered among Jordanian cities such as Ramtha, Irbid, Mafraq and the capital, Amman. Some 1,000 entered Jordan in the 24 hours ending Friday, the United Nations said, part of a spike in refugees that saw 9,000 Syrians flee to Turkey and 1,000 others to Lebanon.

The court of the king, who sets military and security policy, didn't respond to written questions about stepped-up political or military assistance, nor did Jordan's foreign ministry or prime minister's office.

Information minister Samih Maayteh denied that the government or military facilitates any activities for Syrian ''rebels'' or that the kingdom's relationship with Syrian opposition members it hosts had changed.

"This is a crisis that leaves its mark on every country in the region," Mr. Maayteh, an official government spokesman, said in an interview. "We have political and security concerns, and that is why we seek a political solution to protect Jordanian interests and to save [Syria from] the crisis."

For most of Syria's 20-month-old civil war, King Abdullah resisted pressure from patron Saudi Arabia to make his small nation into a front-line command center for the ''rebels'', similar to the one erected along the border in Turkey. Jordan feared that overt military support for the revolution could provoke Syrian retaliation and endanger the king's grip on an already fragile domestic political situation, regional officials say.

Since the spring, however, the kingdom has played an increasing role in opposition military and intelligence matters, several people familiar with the situation say. In June, Jordan's capital served as the initial debriefing location for Brig. General Manaf Tlass, a high-profile general and personal friend of President Assad who defected that month. In August, then-prime minister Riad Hijab defected to Jordan.

Jordan has also cultivated ties with more secular-minded ''rebel'' military leaders in Syria's southern cities near its border. That is part of an effort, broadly described by U.S. and Arab officials, to mitigate an increasingly Islamist undercurrent in the ''rebel'' movement. U.S. and Jordanian officials have extended their antiterrorism cooperation to try to identify al Qaeda-linked elements in the Syrian antigovernment insurgency, officials in the region say.

That, they say, has driven their effort to funnel funds and arms to Syrian military defectors sanctioned by Jordan and its Western allies.

"I wouldn't say there's a black list. But there is definitely a white list," said a senior member of the opposition Syrian National Council, describing ''rebel'' groups that Jordan and its Western allies are comfortable supporting.

Jordanian intelligence officials routinely host meetings with these Free Syrian Army leaders, helping facilitate their movement back and forth from Syria and discussing military strategy, people familiar with the meetings say. Jordan also allows American intelligence officials to question and cultivate contacts with defected Syrian military officials, these people add.

By late summer, Syria's conflict was exacerbating Jordan's own deepening economic crisis. Entrenched front lines around Aleppo in northern Syria had blocked Jordan's trade routes with major export partners in Syria and Europe, exacerbating a budget deficit and pushing up the cost of caring for the escalating number of Syrian refugees.

That was when the kingdom loosened restrictions on providing military aid to the Syrian ''rebels'', according to a person familiar with the policy decision.

"They [Jordanian officials] have received guarantees for economic aid and security aid—that there will be decisive Arab action to back Jordan up if Syria seriously threatens its security or retaliates in some way," said a person involved in negotiations with regional countries on the supply of arms to Syrian ''rebels''.

The Syrian groups receiving arms from the Jordanian border are now connected to the military councils that have been vetted by Washington and others, say people involved in the transaction.

Some of the light weapons said to be entering Syria through Jordan are destined for the southern Syrian border town of Dera'a, where the popular uprising kicked off last year. Most of the arms, though, were pushed north to the suburbs of Damascus, 60 miles north, in possible preparation for a push on the capital, according to ''rebel'' leaders.

Dera'a remains one of the last supply routes to ''rebels'' in the capital, with pathways from the Turkish border and around Homs too risky, ''rebel'' fighters say. They say regime forces have increased their presence in Dera'a in recent weeks, and many are hesitant to openly discuss the opening up of a new supply route they view as crucial.

"They know that the fall of Damascus goes through Dera'a," said one ''rebel'' fighter from the southern province, visiting with relatives in an Amman apartment.

—Suha Ma'ayeh in Amman, Sam Dagher in Beirut and Joe Parkinson in Istanbul contributed to this article.

The Wall Street Journal

compiled by M.A. Al-ibrahim




Patrick Seale: Is a Changed U.S. Policy Possible in the Middle East?




Who will emerge victorious on November 6? Will it be the sitting President Barack Obama or his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney? In no part of the world will the outcome of the U.S. presidential election be awaited with greater anxiety than in the Middle East. Last Monday’s foreign policy debate between the two contestants was not reassuring. It did not give Arabs and Muslims any reason to believe that their fundamental problems would be addressed by whoever occupies the White House over the next four years.

The United States has for decades been the dominant external power in the Middle East, having replaced Britain and France in that role after the Second World War, and seen off the Russians after the collapse of the Soviet Empire. Yet America today is being challenged as never before. Local populations are rebelling against its policies -- and with some justice. Instead of being above the fray, mediating conflicts as an honest broker, and helping spread peace and prosperity, the United States has waged hugely destructive wars, killed and wounded great numbers of innocent people, imposed punishing sanctions on alleged enemies, and -- above all -- put Israel at the very centre of its Middle East policies.

One of the clearest messages of the Islamic wave now unfurling across the region is that Arabs and Muslims have lost confidence in the United States. They do not want to be interfered with or bossed around by the U. S. any more, still less to be on the receiving end of America’s militarized foreign policy. This is the message coming from Cairo to Baghdad, from Gaza to Kabul, from south Beirut to Tehran, from Timbuktu to San‘a. Never has the United States been so resented and disliked -- even fervently hated.

Can the United States restore its tarnished reputation? Can it change course? Any rehabilitation would require a radical revision of current policies, of which there is no sign. Few Arabs have any hope in Mitt Romney. When he declared, as he did last Monday, that “This nation is the hope of the earth,” many Arabs and Muslims must surely have burst into incredulous laughter. “If I‘m President,” he said, “America will be very strong!” That is indeed the problem the Middle East faces. Romney’s blind devotion to Israel -- his repeated pledge that “There must be no daylight between the United States and Israel” -- and his arrogant bluster about America’s power arouse nothing but acute anxiety. He is definitely not the man the region wants to see in the White House.

But is Obama any better? His 2009 Cairo speech, in which he pleaded for a “new beginning” with the Arab world, was soon replaced by bitter disillusion when he collapsed before Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Instead of pursuing the quest for a fair resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he has tolerated Israel’s continuing land-grab of Palestinian territory and has blocked the Palestinians’ attempt to win recognition of their state at the UN. Will he do better if re-elected? Nothing is less certain.

Although Obama has managed to extricate the United States from Iraq, he has so far failed to negotiate an honourable exit from the unwinnable Afghan war. Worse still, he has outdone his predecessor, the belligerent George W. Bush, by greatly increasing targeted killings of alleged militants by U.S. drones in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and, soon perhaps, in the Sahel. There is no more effective way to create ‘terrorists’ and inflame anti-American sentiment.

Why is the United States so wedded to being the military bully in the Middle East? The usual answer is that it wishes to control the region’s vast oil and gas resources. But experts say that shale gas is freeing the United States from dependence on Middle East oil. In any event, the figures show that last year the Middle East exported 72% of its crude to Asia -- mainly to China, India, Japan and Singapore -- rather than to the United States. None of these countries sees the need for military bases in the Middle East.

America’s concern to protect Israel is often given as another reason for America’s overwhelming military presence in the region. At this very moment, the United States is conducting a three-week missile-defence drill with Israel, described as “the largest exercise in the history” of their long relationship, with the aim of strengthening Israel’s comprehensive air defences.

Protecting Israel is one thing; guaranteeing its military supremacy is quite another. This is the meaning of America’s pledge to guarantee Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge (QME) -- that is to say its ability to defeat any combination of its neighbours. The pro-Israeli lobby has managed to get this guarantee written into U.S. law. The U.S. tolerates, indeed assists, Israel in its attempts to destroy resistance movements like Hamas and Hizballah -- movements the United States portrays as terrorists -- whose crime has been to seek to protect their respective populations in Gaza and Lebanon from Israeli attack. At the same time, the United States is doing its best to bring down the Tehran-Damascus-Hizballah “resistance axis” which has tried to hold Israeli power in check in the Levant. Much of America’s current campaign to bring Iran to its knees -- the unprecedented sanctions against its oil industry and central bank, the cyber-attacks against its industrial installations -- seems to be driven by a wish to destroy any potential threat to Israeli dominance.

No one is allowed to relieve the besieged population of Gaza. When an unarmed Turkish ship, the Mavi Marmari, carrying peace activists, tried to breach the cruel Gaza blockade, it was attacked by Israeli commandos in international waters. Nine Turks were killed, including one activist of duel U.S.-Turkish nationality. Turkey is waiting in vain for an Israeli apology. Its once warm relations with Israel have cooled to freezing point. The United States criticised the flotilla, not Israel. The last thing the proud Turkish nation will do is acknowledge Israeli dominance.

Egypt, now under Muslim Brother leadership, is seething at the restraints its American-brokered 1979 peace treaty with Israel has put on its freedom of action in Sinai and in Gaza. Nevertheless, President Mohamed Morsi has vowed not to let the Palestine cause go by default.

Henry Kissinger, who presided over U.S. foreign policy from 1969 to 1977,used to say that the closer the United States drew to Israel, the more the Arabs would come running to Washington. This cynical view is now being challenged by the populations of the region, if not yet by all their leaders.


Instead of propping up Israel against the entire Middle East -- and destroying any state or resistance movement daring to defend itself against Israeli power -- the United States might be wiser to encourage the emergence of a balance of power between Israel and its neighbours. History proves that a balance of power keeps the peace, whereas an imbalance causes war, because the stronger party will always seek to impose its will by force.

This could be something the next U.S. President might care to consider if he is concerned to restore America’s influence and authority in the turbulent Middle East.

Patrick Seale is a leading British writer on the Middle East. His latest book is The Struggle for Arab Independence: Riad el-Solh and the Makers of the Modern Middle East (Cambridge University Press).

H. Moustafa




‘Media war against Syria is part of Zionist Conspiracy’




Syrian writer and painter Anan Tello has said that the media war against Syria had started long ago, even before the U.S. occupation of Iraq in 2003, and that different entities, including Israel are involved in this propaganda campaign against the Syrian people and government.

 “The only solution which will put an end to violence in Syria is an international one. Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon must keep their borders under control. Regimes supporting armed groups in Syria must stop smuggling weaponry and explosives into Syria, quit funding the armed groups and stop sheltering terrorist groups,” she said in a recent interview with the Tehran Times.

 Anan Tello is a Syrian writer, blogger and painter. As an anti-war activist, she has been a strong opponent of the U.S. military expeditions in Iraq and Afghanistan and is currently working to raise public awareness about the Western conspiracy against Syria under the guise of democratizing and liberating the country.

 Following is the text of the interview: 

 Q: What's your response to the violation of ceasefire by the armed groups? Why didn't the United Nations Security Council give any categorical and clear response to the illegal actions of the insurgents and terrorists who violated the ceasefire in Daf al-Shouk?

 A: First of all, I’m not sure the word “violation” is accurate enough since the armed groups are not unified and mostly do not even communicate with each other. It was announced that the majority of the insurgents agreed to the 4-day ceasefire -- not that the Syrian government would ever take their word on that, but one of the main armed groups, Al-Nusra Front, announced clearly that they refused to be drawn into what they referred to as a ‘trick’. Indeed, the Syrian government, sustaining its diplomatic stance, thoughtfully agreed to conditional ceasefire.

 In fact, I was not surprised at all when many armed groups violated the ceasefire before it even started -- contrary actually; I expected them to have a ‘special’ surprise for us on the first day of Eid Al-Adha. Trusting those armed groups would submit to ceasefire is no different from having faith that Israel would submit to any peace treaty. Besides, those groups’ only purpose in life is to bomb, terrorize, destroy and murder, so it would be naïve to believe they’d be able to hold on for four days without blowing something up. 

 I assure you that the UN Security Council knows more than any of us who those insurgents are and what pattern they follow, thus, they were certainly predicting – probably anticipating – an extreme violation of Eid Al-Adha ceasefire by absolutely any of the armed groups, whether they agreed to the ceasefire or not. The United Nations Security Council’s silence is its way of telling the armed groups, “Do your job; I have your back.” And a proof the Security Council is just a part of the conspiracy against Syria. 

 Q: Why are the Western countries such as the U.S., France and Britain along with some regional states as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey continuing to support the insurgents with money and military assistance? In what ways do they benefit from the fomentation of unrest and instability in Syria?

 A: The U.S., along with its puppets, has five main goals from supporting armed extremists in Syria:

 1- Weakening the Syrian Arab Army which is definitely a threat to Israel.

 2- Fragmenting Syria into tiny, almost-independent fragments by creating and encouraging sectarianism which will later on be quite easy to handle on the long run, and would definitely serve in creating the New World Order. 

 3- Getting the Syrian government, army and people busy with internal conflicts rather than focusing on their main goals: resistance against Israel and liberation of occupied lands.

 4- Getting rid of all those uncontrollable beasts (terrorist groups) which the U.S. has created and on which it has lost control, by tossing them over to Syria in order to die there.

 5- Burning the cards it no longer needs for its next step and upcoming plan by pushing them into a battle at which they will undeniably get defeated.

 Sadly, many Arab pet governments imagine that, if they succumbed to Uncle Sam’s wills and orders, they’d be left out of the ‘Arab Spring’. Well, to their misfortune, they haven’t yet learned that Uncle Sam is not loyal to any of his puppets; they’re puppets after all, so why bother? Besides, Syria’s victory means the end of all those regimes conspiring against her, so I’m pretty sure they are ready to spend every penny in order to keep their thrones. 

 However, Erdogan may have an additional fantasy which includes resurrecting the Ottoman Empire and crowning himself Sultan of the East, solet’s just allow reality to strike him right in the face.

 Q: The Western media, since the beginning of conflicts in Syria, have been claiming that the government of President Assad has been attacking and killing the innocent civilians, and that the unrest in Syria was a revolution like what happened in Tunisia and Egypt. What's your response?

 A: The media war on Syria, which started years before the so-called Arab Spring has started (even before the Iraq War), is nothing but a major part in the conspiracy against Syria. As a matter of fact, it’s a crucial part in this Zionist conspiracy against Syria. 

 The Western media’s job has always been to mislead the masses and conceal the truth in order to serve Uncle Sam’s needs to meet his goals for the Israeli State. The simplest example is how they picture the Palestinian kid with pebbles in his hands as the villain, and the Israeli soldier with heavy weaponry all over his body, pointing one of his weapons at the kid’s chest as the hero.

 It’s easy to deceive the desperate and the ignorant by simply dressing the wolf in a lamb costume, but it takes a lot more effort to deceive the rest of the public, and the Western media actually did put a lot of effort into deceiving as many people as possible through imagery, language and cash. So much money was poured into presenting radical Islamists in Afghanistan as crazed terrorists, and much more money was poured into presenting those same beasts as ‘freedom fighters’ in Syria. Yet, the rational mind could easily identify the truth. 

 Every day, we see people from each and every part of Syria crying for the Syrian Arab Army to come and rescue them from the armed terrorists. If the SAA and the Syrian government were really killing the innocent, do you think anyone under any circumstances would beg them for help and military action in their neighborhoods? If the Syrian army was so dangerous and bloodthirsty, do you think people would celebrate its arrival in their neighborhoods? Do you think kids would be running over to soldiers to kiss them, hug them and give them flowers and candies if they were murderers? Not unless they were extremely suicidal and they certainly are not. When a person is terrified that adrenaline and his subconscious mind become his main source of reason and action, he runs to where he feels safest. Why do you think, in the presence of snipers and insurgents, terrified, unarmed civilians instinctively scream for and run towards the closest army checkpoint? Certainly because his subconscious mind knows that shelter is where the Syrian army is. Above all, the SAA is not an alien army which landed on Syrian land by UFO’s; every single soldier in the SAA is a member of the Syrian family.

 If you live in Syria and are not blinded with any kind of spite, you’d see for yourself that the Western media is telling hilarious and outrageous lies. For instance, you might be hanging out in Abu Rummaneh in Damascus and suddenly receive a call from a friend telling you that she heard on Al-Jazeera TV- and, yes, Al-Jazeera is a part of the Western media - that the Syrian Arab Army is ‘shelling’ and ‘raiding’ Abu Rummaneh. Probably, Al-Jazeera would be talking about some other Syria on some other planet. Also, you might be peacefully flipping through the TV channels at your home and come across Al-Arabiya TV while it aggressively states that a massacre actually took place where you are located at the instant when the entire block couldn’t be more peaceful!

 In Syria, things never started as a revolution; there was a conspiracy from the very beginning. The entire Arab Spring scenario taking place in many Arab countries was nothing but an introduction to the Syrian crisis. Tunisia, Egypt and Libya were all appetizers. Syria is the main course. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t compare what’s happening in Syria to what has happened in Libya for example because Syria’s geographical location is not the same as Libya’s, Syria’s political stances are not the same as Libya’s, Bashar Al-Assad is not Muammar Al-Gaddafi, the Syrian Arab Army is not the Libyan Army and Syria’s allies are different from Libya’s. In Egypt, there was a real revolution, but it was hijacked. Besides, can you tell me why the Western media never mentions the real revolution taking place in Bahrain?

 If the Syrian government did not care about the lives of the innocent, it would’ve blown up all the areas where the insurgents are hiding long ago and ended this crisis in weeks. The insurgents themselves chose to hide behind and in between innocent civilians by banning them from leaving their neighborhoods because they are cocksure the SAA won’t kill one innocent civilian.

 The people of Syria have marched in millions in every Syrian province a number of times since the beginning of the crisis supporting Dr. Bashar Al-Assad, but the Western media turned their faces and pretended this never happened. The Western media don’t care a tad about the Syrian people nor their choices. The West’s plan is to overthrow the current Syrian government, put Syria on the road of chaos and eliminate every form of resistance against Israel. 

 Q: Do you have any information of the sources of funding of the Free Syrian Army? It's said that Al-Qaeda and NATO are closely collaborating with each other to create instability and tension in Syria. What's your viewpoint?

 A: A number of regimes funding the FSA have made it clear that they were, are and will always be the ones funding and encouraging violence in Syria claiming they were hoping for a more ‘democratic’ Syria. Among those regimes are the Qatari regime indeed, the Bahraini, the Turkish, the Lebanese (if we could call this one a regime) and many other Arab regimes. Whoever is funding the FSA is proudly doing it in the daylight. 

 Indeed, Al-Qaeda and the NATO are both contributors to creating tension and instability in Syria, but they are not the only ones. This is an Israeli/U.S. war on Syria and Al-Qaeda, Turkey, Qatar, NATO, etc. are nothing but tools and puppets. Israel is smart enough not to come in a face-to-face war in Syria because Israel cannot bear one more defeat. Besides, the U.S. needs to get rid of all those beasts it has created by sending them to die in Syria after they destroy whatever they wanted to destroy and kill whomever they wanted to kill. The U.S. convinced those armed groups that Syria is their highway to their ‘72 virgins’, and so they poured into Syria in numbers.

 Q: The United States and its allies have been long trying to persuade the Security Council that a military action against Syria is needed to end the violence in the country. However, China and Russia have resisted and impeded Washington's efforts to authorize a UN-sanctioned war against Syria. How much effective can Russia, China and Iran be in bringing peace and stability back to Syria?

 A: Every Syrian soldier fighting and dying on Syrian soil is actually fighting, not only for Syria, but for Russia, China and Iran as well. I believe that it is their duty to put as much effort as possible, and we all know they are capable, into bringing peace to Syria. 

 Russia, China and Iran have always been on Syria’s side for many reasons, whether political, strategic, resistance or economical. Thus, I know that, for sure, they will continue to support the Syrian government and work hard on bringing peace to Syria no matter what.

 Q: What do you think is the most viable and constructive solution to put an end to violence in Syria? What role can the international community play in helping Syria restore its peace and security back?

 A: The only solution which will put an end to violence in Syria is an international one. Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon must keep their borders under control. Regimes supporting armed groups in Syria must stop smuggling weaponry and explosives into Syria; quit funding the armed groups and stop sheltering terrorist groups. I am optimistic that Syria will find peace soon simply because Syria is guarded by Allah.

 Tehran Times




The intervention in Syria by more than three dozen countries supplying weapons must be stopped




Flooding Syria with foreign arms: A view from Damascus

By Franklin Lamb

Across Syria these days, one is able examine massive evidence that this ancient civilization, the historic bastion of nationalist Arabism and since the 1948 Nabka, an essential pillar of the growing culture of Resistance to the Zionist occupation of Palestine, is becoming awash with foreign arms funneled to the insurgents by countries advocating regime change.

I have been researching foreign arms transfers into certain Middle East countries since last summer in Libya, where to a lesser degree the identical foreign actors were involved in facilitating the transfer of arms and fighters to topple the then, “Libyan Arab Jamahiriya."

    During a recent stay in Syria, I was able to observe first hand, substantial demonstrative evidence supporting the thesis that American, Zionist and the Persian Gulf Arab intelligence agencies as well as private arms dealers from these countries top the list of more than two dozen countries benefiting from the crisis in Syria by injecting arms. These countries gain politically and financially, via governmental and black market arms transfers.

Which countries are sending the most weapons into Syria to arm militia?

A list of the top 24 countries, among the more than three dozen that are currently involved in sending weapons to Syria to achieve regime change include: US, Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, UK, France, Canada, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Brazil, Portugal, Poland, Yugoslavia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, and Argentina.

Nearly two-thirds of the above listed arms suppliers are members of NATO and constitute almost half of NATO’s 28 country membership.

Buying arms these days in Syria is a caveat emptor proposition. Fake weapons and military rejects/defects are also being offered by hustlers from nearby countries including Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey.

The involvement of numerous countries in the Syrian crisis as arms suppliers and political operatives was tangentially referenced by the recent UN Security Council Statement of 12/25/12 which admits the existence of foreign actors and implies their arms supplying activities by urging "all regional and international actors to use their influence on the parties concerned to facilitate the implementation of the (Eid al Adha) ceasefire and cessation of violence."

Syria's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Bashar al-Jaafari observed last week: "This part of the [Security Council] press statement, mentioned for the first time, proves Syria's view repeated since the beginning of the crisis on the existence of Arab, regional and international parties influencing the armed groups negatively or positively. Therefore, those parties need to be addressed."

One of the key challenges for the UN and Arab League envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi whose aides told this observer at the Dama Rose hotel on 10/22/12 where we were staying, is: "We need to persuade key countries in the Middle East, but also internationally, not to support the ''''rebels'''' with arms.”

The failed initiative of envoy Brahimi, was the third ceasefire attempt to date following the December 2011 Arab League proposal and the April 2012 Kofi Annan initiative, both of which were endorsed by the Syrian government and most of the world community. Some rebel militia, but not nearly enough, did endorse the Brahimi four day Eid al Adha ceasefire only to have it collapse this past weekend. To his credit, Brahimi continues his work.

The same Brahimi sources suggested that the United States may also be supplying man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS) to ''rebels'' in Syria. According to Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich, speaking on 12/15/12: “At the same time, it is also well-known that Washington is aware of supplies of various types of arms to illegal armed groups operating in Syria. Moreover, the United States, judging by admissions by American officials that have also been published in American media, is conducting coordination and providing logistical support for such supplies.” NBC News, based in New York reported in July that Syrian insurgents had obtained two dozen US MANPADS, delivered from Turkey.

A month after the October 2011 death of Libyan Muammar Qaddafi, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced in Tripoli that the US was committing USD 40 million to help Libya "secure and recover its weapons stockpiles." Congressional sources report that the Obama administration is fully aware that quantities of these arms are current in Syria and more in transit.

With respect to arms moving from Libya to Syria, on the night of September 11 Libya time, in what was his last public meeting, US Ambassador Christopher Stevens met with the Turkish Consul General Ali Sait Akin, and accompanied him to the consulate front gate just before the assault began. Although what was discussed has not yet been made public, Washington sources including the pro-Zionist Fox News speculate that Stevens may have been in Benghazi negotiating a weapons transfer, from Libya to Syria.

Earlier this year, Assistant Secretary of State for Political and Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro expressed concerns that the increasing flow of Libya arms was far from under control. Speaking to the Stimson Center in Washington D.C. on 2/10/12 Shapiro said: "This raises the question -- how many weapons and missiles are still missing? The frank answer is we don't know and probably never will."

According to a 10/14/12 report by the Times of London, a vessel flying the Libyan flag named Al Entisar (Victory), loaded with more than 400 tons of cargo, docked in southern Turkey 35 miles from the Syrian northern border. While some of the undeclared cargo was likely humanitarian, staff accompanying UN envoy Brahimi during his recent Syrian trip report the Al Entisar also carried the largest consignment of foreign weapons to date, including surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles, RPG's and MANPADS destined for Syria.

Partly because of the jihadists and arms entering Syria from its northern border, southern Turkey is increasingly referred to here in Damascus as “New Afghanistan”, given its matrix of jihadists, Salafists, Wahhabists, and battle-hardened panoply of arriving foreign would-be mujahedeen and al-Qaeda affiliates.

Remarkably, as was witnessed in 2007, during the conflict at the Nahr al Bared Palestinian refugee camp in north Lebanon, some of the arriving eager jihadists in “New Afghanistan” actually believe that they are fighting against Zionist forces near occupied Palestine and not killing fellow Arabs in Syria.

Some, but not all of the many types of small arms flowing into Syria in large numbers, and viewed by this observer include: 7.62mm Tabuk (Yugoslavia) rifles, Mass rifles (UK), 7.62 mm rifles (Poland), 12 mm rifles (Italy), 7.62 mm Kalashnikovs (several countries versions), 9 mm ‘fast gun’, (Austria), 7.62 mm Val (Belgium), G3 7.62 mm G3 rifles (Germany), 7.5mm model 36 rifles (France), M16 and a variety of sniper and other rifles (USA), 7.62 rifles (Bulgaria, 10.5 Uzi and other automatic machine guns, three types of hand grenades (Israel), 9 mm guns (Canada), 7 mm guns (Czech Republic), and 7 mm guns (Brazil).

The observer also examined and was briefed on M72 LAW and AT-3 anti-tank missiles developed by the United States. But they extent of their use is difficult to verify. Most of the arms shown in accompanying photos are from the main urban centers and near the Turkish, Iraqi, Lebanese and Jordanian borders.

In tightly built up urban areas such as Homs, Idlib and Aleppo, door to door fighting includes a battle among snipers. According to one Syrian military intelligence source in whose Damascus office this observer discussed the subject, the most frequently confiscated sniper rifles currently being found in the hands of “''rebels''” include:

• The US Army & USMC M1903-A4 (also: USMC M1903-A1/Unertl), the US Army & USMC M1C & M1D and U.S. Army M21;

• The Israeli M89SR Technical Equipment International 7.62x51mm NATO Semi-automatic, Galil Sniper Rifle and the T.C.I. M89-SR,

• The British .243 Winchester, 7.62x51mm NATO/.308 Winchester,.300 Winchester Magnum, and the 338 Lapua Magnum Bolt action sniper rifles.

• A few Afghanistan era Russian Dragonov SVD and SV-98 sniper rifles have also been confiscated among an assortment of others.

Foreign jihadists have some access to Soviet-era DShK heavy machine guns or ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft cannons which are used for anti-aircraft and fire support. Both use fairly scarce high-explosive rounds and armor-piercing rounds, which are capable of penetrating the armor of the Syrian military's BMP infantry fighting vehicles. The ZU-23-2 "Sergey", also known as ZU-23, is a Soviet towed 23 mm anti-aircraft cannon. Vehicle mounted Zu-23-2’s are relatively easy to spot by government aircraft and artillery units are used to attack a target and quickly flee to avoid counter strikes.

On 10/25/12, Russia reiterated its claims that the US assists and coordinates arms deliveries to foreign-sponsored insurgents battling the Syrian government forces. Russia's chief military officer said that Syrian armed groups have acquired US-made weapons, including Stinger anti-aircraft missiles. This observer saw many weapons from more than a dozen types of IED’s (improvised explosive device) to medium sized artillery pieces but no missiles.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry issued statement of 10/25/12, “Washington is aware of the deliveries of various weapons to illegal armed groups active in Syria. Moreover, judging by the declarations of US officials published in US media, the US coordinates and provides logistical assistance in such deliveries.”

Some analysts in Damascus claim that Syria’s potential military strength has not been as effective as it could be in the current urban fights against ''rebels''. The government appears very strong militarily if one studies the statistics regarding Syria’s large and disciplined army which continues its support and also given its sophisticated long range missiles, air defense systems that have deterred an airborne attack from Israel. One reason progress has at times appeared slow against the “''rebels''” according to some local analysts was a certain initial unpreparedness to confront highly motivated guerrilla militia in downtown densely populated areas.

These kinds of battles, it is claimed, require a mobile infantry, armored flexibility and very effective use of light arms. The Assad governments “adapt, catch up and go on the offensive” paradigm is developing rapidly according to US Senate Armed Service Committee sources who assert that the Syria army has actually become battle hardened, tougher, stronger and more disciplined over the past several months. But it has taken time and has incurred a significant cost.

Weapons examined by this observer in Syria during 10/12 include some of the more than 1,750 new American sniper rifles channeled from Iraq and NATO supply stores to rebel militia.

How foreign weapons are entering Syria

As widely speculated particularly in the regional media, foreign supplied weapons to “''rebels''” arrive by air, sea and mainly by land from Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and occupied Palestine.

Israel is reported, by some researchers in Damascus who have been covering the crisis for nearly 20 months, to be sending arms to Syria from Kurdistan, having had much experience in Africa, South America and Eastern Europe via Mossad and Israeli black market arms dealing. What Israel did in Libya in terms of a widespread arms business it is also trying to do in Syria.

Israeli arms, according to Syrian and Lebanese sources are being transported into Syria from along the tri-border area of South Lebanon, near Sheeba Farms, close to Jabla al-Saddaneh, and Gadja. In addition, Israeli smugglers have increasingly, over the past five months, been seen by locals moving arms inside Syria via the Golan Heights. These violations of Syrian and Lebanese sovereignty raise serious questions about the vigilance of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force Zone (UNDO) based in the Golan Heights as well as the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the Lebanese Army as well as National Lebanese Resistance units near the ‘blue line’ to stop the these illicit Israeli arms transfers.

The recent arrival in southern Turkey and along the northern Syrian border of Blackwater mercenaries is expected to increase the foreign arms flow. Academi (previously known as Xena- Xe Services LLC, Blackwater USA and Blackwater Worldwide) is currently, according to Jane’s Defense Weekly, the largest of the US governments “private security” contractors. Details of its relationship with the US Defense Department and the CIA are classified.

Is there a coherent US policy toward the Syrian crisis?

Secretary of State Clinton has been announcing recently that the US is increasing its “non-lethal support” (i.e. direct shipments as opposed to boots on the ground or ballistic weapons) according to her Congressional liaison office. She also confirmed that Washington is working with its friends and allies to promote more cohesion among the disparate Syrian opposition groups with the aim of producing a new leadership council following meetings scheduled for Doha in the coming weeks.

However, to the consternation of the State Department, General James Petraeus the former US commander of NATO forces in Iraq, now director of the CIA acknowledged, during his senate confirmation hearings. “Non-lethal aid to combatants, including communication equipment, is sometimes more lethal and important than explosive devices due to the logistical advantages they provides on the battlefield.”

In tandem with the US, the UK and several European governments are supplying “non-lethal” aid to the Syrian opposition, including satellite communications equipment, according to Syria security sources.

There is also plenty of anecdotal and demonstrative and probative evidence in Syria of human weapons patterned on the "Zarqawi model” which refers to the bloody Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia campaign named for its leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi after US troops occupied Iraq.

In a speech this week in Zagreb, Croatia, this week, Secretary of State Clinton insisted that any group seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad must reject attempts by extremists to "hijack" a legitimate ''revolution''. She added, “There are disturbing reports of heavily armed foreign extremists going into Syria and attempting to take over.” Clinton used her strongest words to date concerning risks that the uprising in Syria could be overtaken by militants who do not seek a democratic replacement or the reforms that the current government claims it is trying to implement.

She told her conferees: "We made it clear that the SNC can no longer be viewed as the visible leader of the opposition. They can be part of a larger opposition, but that opposition must include people from inside Syria and others who have a legitimate voice. We also need an opposition that will be on record strongly resisting the efforts by extremists to hijack the Syrian "revolution". There are disturbing reports of heavily armed extremists going into Syria and attempting to take over.”

Clinton advised her colleagues that the US had become convinced that the SNC did not represent the interests of all ethnic and religious groups in Syria and that it had little legitimacy among on-the-ground activists and fighters, and had done little to stem the infiltration of Islamist extremists into the opposition forces.

Clinton’s language is being interpreted by some as evidence that a post-election Obama Whitehouse, should he win on November, may move toward the Russian, Chinese, and Iranian position and away from, what one Congressional source derisively labeled, “ the view from the [Persian] Gulf gas stations” i.e. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and some other despotic monarchies.

The intervention in Syria by more than three dozen countries supplying weapons must be stopped. Both sides of the Syrian crisis need to manifest by actions, not just words, a serious commitment to meaningful dialogue. The above noted arms supplying countries, and others off stage, have a solemn obligation to their citizens and to the world community to immediately halt the shipment of arms.

They should, and their people should demand that they do without further delay, honor the words of Isaiah 2:3-5 “….and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”

Granted, perhaps a cliché and certainly far easier said than done.

Yet, as Oregon’s late great US Senator Wayne Morse used tell audiences around America during the Vietnam War, quoting General George Marshall, “The only way we human beings can win a war is to prevent it.”

It’s time for the international community to end the Syrian crisis diplomatically, stop funneling arms and cash fueling hoped for regime change elements. Instead, they must demand that all the involved parties immediately engage in serious dialogue and settle their differences.


FL/HMV/  Press. TV




Syria’s Salafists Getting stronger?




Salafists are on the rise but have not dominated the opposition—so far. SOME ban cigarettes, sport the short trousers of the type worn by the Prophet Muhammad’s companions, and send suicide-bombers to blow up government checkpoints. Others joke about growing beards to butter up rich conservative donors from the Gulf. Welcome to the eclectic world of Syria’s Salafists, so far only a minor strand of the rebel forces fighting to overthrow President Bashar Assad’s regime, but one that is growing.

Salafists have been on the rise in Syria since the start of the year, when Jabhat al-Nusra (The Support Front) presented itself. The group, which sees Syria’s struggle as part of a global jihad, is the only one explicitly recognised by al-Qaeda. It marks itself out with suicide-bombings that often cause civilian casualties and has a slick media operation. With its forces on the front line in the raging battle for Aleppo, Syria’s second city, its impact is getting stronger.

Ahrar al-Sham (Freemen of Greater Syria) is another slightly more moderate Salafist network, operating mainly in the north-west province of Idleb…. The two groups’ numbers are probably relatively small….

Cash from Gulf benefactors who favour religious fighters has given the Salafists a high profile. Some fighters exaggerate their religiosity. “We grow beards and act more religious to get money,” admits a fighter- terrorist- with al-Farouq, an Islamist group. “But many of us drink beer.” Although the opposition in general has failed to present a clear vision of Syria after the Assad regime has fallen, Salafism, with its glorification of death in the cause of jihad, has provided its fighters with an identity.

Whether Salafist groups will emerge on top, as some Western governments fear, is another matter. They will certainly want a share of the spoils in a future Syria, especially if they provide a disproportionate share of fighters and weapons.

Yet the rest of the opposition has urged them to hold back, arguing that their presence is already playing into the hands of the regime, which has long portrayed the rebels as Islamist terrorists tied to al-Qaeda.

So far, Islamist rebel coalitions such as the Syrian Liberation Front, which is composed mainly of Saqour al-Sham (Falcons of Greater Syria) and al-Farouq, both based in the province of Idleb, have failed to win support among Syrians at large, many of whom are secular-minded, especially the good quarter of Syrians who belong to non-Sunni minorities, including Christians, Alawites and Druze.

One argument being heard more loudly among Western and other governments wanting to help the rebels is that funds should be unified and channelled so that jihadist and Salafist groups do not benefit disproportionately from the largesse of Islamist-minded Gulf sponsors…. " But as the bloody stalemate persists, 19 months after the start of the uprising, Salafist groups may get stronger.

The Economist, Oct 20th 2012 | ANTAKYA AND BEIRUT |




Turkey, Gulf States Fund Syrian Opposition Paychecks: Report




After months of fighting without pay, Syrian "rebels" – foreign-backed terrorists-  in Aleppo are receiving their first salaries, paid with money commanders say is at least in part provided by foreign states.
In Aleppo's old city area, fighters gave their names to defected Syrian military officer Colonel Abdul Salam Humaidi, who searched through lists provided by ''rebel'' commanders before paying the men in crisp $100 bills.
The ''rebels'' made thumbprints in ink next to their names to indicate they had been paid.
As the fighters gathered, the crack of rifle fire could be heard from elsewhere in the old city, just one of many areas in Syria's one-time commercial capital that have become battlegrounds between forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and ''rebels'' fighting to overthrow his regime.
"The revolutionary military councils... are undertaking to distribute monthly salaries to the fighters, especially on the front lines," Humaidi told AFP.
All fighters are now paid $150 per month, but this may change in the future, with different salaries given to those who are married and those who are on the front lines, he said.
Humaidi declined to say where the payroll cash was from, but ''rebel'' commanders in Aleppo told AFP it came from foreign assistance and from other supporters, though they differed on the specific countries involved.
"The Military Council (is) distributing the salaries, with Qatari support... of $150 per person registered for two months," said Haji al-Bab, a commander in the Tawhid Brigade, adding that fighters who are not registered are not being paid.
Ahmed Arur, a commander in the Saqur al-Sham Brigade, said that "international assistance (and) Syrian opposition traders are paying the salaries for the ''Free Army''." And Sheikh Mahmud Mujadami, a commander from the Halab al-Shahbaa Brigade, said sources of the money include "Turkey, from the Gulf states, from... Islamic states," and the Association of Muslim Scholars.
For the fighters battling the Assad regime's heavy weapons with light arms for which they sometimes even lack ammunition, the money has been a long time coming.

"We obtained salaries in the amount of $150, and we will use it for pocket money and for the family, for the house," said Mohammed al-Nasser, who has fought for six months without being paid.
He is married and has a son, but his family was able to get by with aid they received in Turkey. Now, they are back in Syria.
Ahmed al-Shawaf said he was a fighter for five months without a salary, and that while this did not personally cause his family hardship, there are "many difficulties" for a person who is "the only one working, and he stops his work because of the ''revolution''." He said that individual battalion commanders can decide to give fighters assistance.
Hussein Ristum defected from the police about three months ago, losing his salary.
"I was depending on the salary for my family, (but) thanks be to God, here in the Tawhid Brigade we do not need anything, food, we receive everything," he said.
Rebel forces helped his family during the time he served without pay. He said there were "difficulties, but thanks be to God, the Free Army and the guys provided housing."

Hurriyetdailynews/ October/23/2012




Nobel Peace Prize Laureate EU Making A Mockery Of Free Speech

 Only three days after being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its alleged role in promoting peace and reconciliation across the European continent, the European Union made the most undemocratic and non-peaceful decision one might think of by ordering the French-based satellite provider Eutelsat SA to take 19 Iranian TV channels, including the 24-hour English-language Press TV off air, denying millions of viewers across the world the opportunity to benefit from the alternative, critical standpoint of a group of media which had for long endeavored to challenge the Western mainstream media's uncontested influence over the global public opinion.

The disputed move can be seen as the latest effort intended for pressuring and isolating Iran over its political independence and its steadfast resistance against the warmongerings and hawkish policies of the West is but a flagrant violation of the principles of free speech. This decision is made while the Europeans and American have constantly, since the World War II, been boasting of being the commander-in-chief and foremost pioneers of freedom speech and democracy. Albeit their claims are justifiable in the context that freedom of speech is allowed as long as it is used a pretext to lambaste and interfere in the internal affairs of unfriendly "others" such as Iran, Cuba, Venezuela and Syria, which these Westerners very much like to capitalize on as the favorite villains to hit and attack.

It's said that this controversial decision is in line with the unilateral sanctions imposed upon Iran by the European Union; however, the question which can be raised is that, can the belligerent states of the EU go as far as banning the television stations of a sovereign country which have been operating in compliance with the technical rules and regulations of the satellite providers? Are the satellite providers legally entitled to investigate the content of the programs of the TV stations which they give coverage to?

Mike Harris, the managing director of the Arizona-based AMT Capital Partners, a private equity investment banking firm believes that it was Israel, the uneasy and perturbed entity in the Middle East, which triggered and encouraged the ban on Iranian TV stations.

"Let's look at who Eutelsat really is.... and let's look at them for a moment because their CEO is a French-Israeli duel national citizen. If you look at the executive committee, they are all French-Israeli duel national citizens," said Harris in an interview with Press TV.

Of course Israel will substantially gain from the removal of Iranian television stations from the Hot Bird frequencies. Press TV, Al-Alam and other Iranian channels on the Eutelsat's blacklist were giving a robust, specialized and regular coverage to the atrocities committed by the United States, UK and their Middle East stooge and client state, Israel, and it was seemingly going beyond the pale. No other major media outlet in the world, with the influence, dexterity and proficiency of Press TV maintained such an anti-imperialism, anti-Zionism policy, and this could not be tolerated anymore, especially in the wake of the deep socioeconomic crisis and depression which the Western world is experiencing.

"Eutelsat is an intelligence operation as are most communications billing companies, mobile phone providers and the infamous 'choke points' that make sure all communication, all progress, all privacy is subject to what is allowed. Most of such 'chokepoints,' companies like 'Google' for one, are Israeli owned. Call it a coincidence," wrote Gordon Duff in a recent article.

Since it was launched in July 2007, Press TV was under huge pressure by the Western states, especially the UK government, which finally realized its nightmarish dream of silencing Press TV by taking it off the Sky platform in January 2012 and imposing a fine of 100,000 pounds on the channel for what it called the violation of its broadcasting regulations.

"Ofcom is said to have close ties to Britain's royal family. And the cables released by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks show that Press TV's programs on the royal wedding, which many in the country described as extravagant, angered the royal family," reported Press TV on January 20, 2012.

Now, with the intensification of EU's anti-Iranian hostility which has been manifested this time in the punishment and penalization of a TV station whose only sin is being different from the corporate, Zionist-run media in policies and trajectory, it's being proved more than before that the European Union did not reserve such a high-profile and prestigious award as the Nobel Peace Prize and that the decision made by the Swedish Nobel Committee was absolutely political, aimed at salvaging the crisis-stricken Europe from the socioeconomic predicament it's drowning into. If the EU has contributed to global peace and fraternity, why can't it tolerate the free and unrestricted operation of a progressive and independent media outlet?

EU Commission's decision in taking Press TV and 18 other Iranian television stations off air is absolutely a violation of the freedom of speech, but let's be frank: who will hold the culprits in this criminal action responsible? Perhaps none of the European leaders will react to this hostile and unjustifiable decision, because they are the first ones who will cheer and relish at the "imprisonment" of Iranian media which have always been a thorn on their side. It's time for the international organizations, peace activists, human rights advocates and journalists around the world to voice their protest at this blatant and unashamed assault on free speech and put an end to the unending and inexplicable duplicity and hypocrisy of the West. '

By Kourosh Ziabari

18 October, 2012


Kourosh Ziabari is an Iranian Journalist


Compiled: M.A. Al-Ibrahim