Tony Cartalucci / LandDestroyer & Erika Solomon / Reuters & Khaled Yacoub Oweis / Reuters – 2014-06-08 02:16:10
US Brookings Wants to “Bleed” Syria to Death
“Middle East memo” calls for ending ceasefire and purposefully perpetuating violence.
Tony Cartalucci / LandDestroyer
(May 28, 2012) — The Brookings Institution is a Fortune 500-chaired and funded (p. 35 .pdf) US policy think tank and represents policy makers responsible for the vast majority of both America’s domestic and foreign policy. While some may naively believe President Obama or America’s elected representatives sit behind their desks late at night penning America’s future, in reality, they merely use their desks to rubber-stamp what think-tanks like Brookings passes to them.
And certainly, that policy reflects not the interests of the American people, but of the corporations that spend millions a year to keep these think-tanks flush in cash and ideas, as well as providing them the means to sell these ideas to an unwitting public.
Those acquainted with these think-tanks are aware years in advance of wars, conflicts, and conspiracies that take the rest of the public by surprise as events seemingly, “spontaneously” unfold “live” on CNN.
The Brookings Institution in particular had as early as 2009, articulated a full strategy with which the US would use to undermine, divide, and destroy Iran and its sphere of influence throughout the Middle East.
The report titled, “Which Path to Persia?” mentions everything from arming US State Department-listed terrorist organizations, to withdrawing troops from Iraq to allow for an Israel airstrike, to intentionally provoking a war Iran neither sought nor desired. Each one of these options are still, as of today, either fully being executed or “on the table.”
More recently, Brookings has published “Middle East Memo #21: Saving Syria: Assessing Options for Regime Change,” which at face value betrays the narrative the West has attempted to maintain — that humanitarian concerns, not regime change, drives Western intervention in Syria.
Not only does the Brookings memo admit the US would like to avoid a settlement or ceasefire that leaves Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power, but continues on by stating the UN mission can be used as cover to establish “safe havens” and “humanitarian corridors” from which further “coercive action” can be dealt:
“An alternative is for diplomatic efforts to focus first on how to end the violence and how to gain humanitarian access, as is being done under Annanâ€™s leadership. This may lead to the creation of safe-havens and humanitarian corridors, which would have to be backed by limited military power. This would, of course, fall short of US goals for Syria and could preserve Asad in power. From that starting point, however, it is possible that a broad coalition with the appropriate international mandate could add further coercive action to its efforts.” (page 4, Assessing Options for Regime Change, Brookings Institution).
On pages 8 and 9, the memo states:
“The United States might still arm the opposition even knowing they will probably never have sufficient power, on their own, to dislodge the Asad network. Washington might choose to do so simply in the belief that at least providing an oppressed people with some ability to resist their oppressors is better than doing nothing at all, even if the support provided has little chance of turning defeat into victory. Alternatively, the United States might calculate that it is still worthwhile to pin down the Asad regime and bleed it, keeping a regional adversary weak, while avoiding the costs of direct intervention.” (pages 8-9, Assessing Options for Regime Change, Brookings Institution.)
In other words, the US is seeking to perpetuate endless bloodshed simply to weaken Syria’s geopolitical influence throughout the region — most obviously running contra to any concept of “humanitarianism” or “international law,” and certainly, purposefully causing more death and carnage, not preventing it.
Surely this signed confession seems worthy of airing before the UN Security Council, especially in light of recent revelations that the US and Gulf States are already arming Syria’s opposition with this specific perpetuated bloodshed in mind.
The memo continues by articulating various combinations of military intervention and support to be provided to the so-called “Free Syrian Army (FSA)” — this with full knowledge that the FSA has been conducting documented widespread atrocities of their own, having direct ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, and conducting a terrorist bombing campaign targeting civilian populations carried out by militants who admit to having fought as Al Qaeda in Iraq against US troops.
Again, it appears that Brookings has conspired to violate a myriad of both national and international laws, in particular, USC Â§ 2339B: Providing material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations.
The depths of depravity from which each of Brookings’ “options” are drawn is horrifying on a Hitlerian scale and represents not only a moral crisis amongst American policy, but a Constitutional crisis — as the policy makers crafting and promoting these “options” (many of which have already been demonstrably carried out) are entirely unelected, are subject to no oversight, Congressional or otherwise, and worse yet, remain mostly out of the eye of an unsuspecting public.
Furthermore, Brookings’ “Middle East Memo #21” is a signed confession of a conspiracy against both the people of Syria and world peace — undermining the “moral imperative” and the “responsibility to protect” those behind Brookings’ policy papers seek to justify their pursuit of global corporate-financier and military hegemony.
Outgunned Syria Rebels Make Shift to Bombs
Erika Solomon / Reuters
BEIRUT (April 30, 2012) — Syrian rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad say they are shifting tactics towards homemade bombs, hoping to even the odds between their outgunned forces and his powerful army. A series of deadly blasts in the past week suggests they are getting better at it.
Suicide bombs, booby-trapped cars and roadside explosions, including blasts in Idlib on Monday and the capital Damascus last week, have rocked the Arab state. The attacks threaten to sour the UN-brokered two-week truce and have killed many from Assad’s security agencies.
“We are starting to get smarter about tactics and use bombs because people are just too poor and we don’t have enough rifles,” a rebel fighter from the north of Idlib province said last week as he took a break across the border in Turkey.
“It is just no match for the army,” said the man, who spoke on condition of anonymity, “So we are trying to focus on the ways we can fight.” Details of what disparate groups are doing inside Syria are sketchy because the government bars most independent media.
The bombings have produced an array of theories, including that some may be self-inflicted wounds by security agents out to discredit the rebels, or that they show the rise of al Qaeda-linked Syrian Islamists, of whose expertise there is no doubt after their years of activity across the border in Iraq.
However, mindful of Assad’s portrayal of those who have opposed him over the past 14 months as “terrorists”, and keen to maintain Western and Arab support, several rebel fighters who spoke to Reuters said that, unlike al Qaeda, their bombs were aimed at military, and never civilian, targets.
“We are not targeting civilians. We are strictly going against regime targets,” said Haitham Qdemati, spokesman for a rebel group called the Syrian Liberation Army. “We’re not killers. We’re defending ourselves.”
BOMBS VS BULLETS
The Free Syrian Army (FSA), which lays claim to overall command of rebel forces but lacks the means to control them, says it has nothing to do with the bombings and is sticking to the UN-brokered ceasefire. In 18 turbulent days, the truce has been jeopardized by army shelling and insurgent attacks.
But some fighters have rejected the truce. They say it cannot prevent a slide into civil war against a ruling elite that has no intention of bargaining away a dominance the rebels challenged first with street protests and now with armed rebellion.
Although an obscure Islamist group claimed recent suicide bombings in Damascus, many rebel fighters say their switch in tactics from guns to bombs is down to economics, not ideology.
Firefights and skirmishes are expensive for the ragtag rebel force, many of them young men from impoverished rural areas who have scrounged cash and weapons from sympathizers abroad.
Rebels say the price of rifles and ammunition smuggled from neighboring Lebanon and Iraq has skyrocketed. A Russian-made AK-47 can go for $2,000 with bullets at more than $4 each – several times the normal price in open markets. In the United States, the same gun costs under $400 and bullets about 30 cents.
“Buying chemicals in grocery stores or even smuggling in equipment is cheaper than getting weapons and we can do more with it once we improve our skills,” said another rebel from northern Idlib province, who called himself Mustafa. “We have a lot of guys who devote their time to this.”
Some of these bombing skills may have been brought back from fighters who joined the Sunni insurgency in neighboring Iraq against the US occupation forces. The presence of hardliners from a Syrian Sunni majority that feels oppressed by Assad and his fellow Alawites who dominate the administration has been among causes for concern among those who fear a sectarian civil war similar to that which devastated Iraq over the past decade.
“There’s no question that a lot of Syrians fought with al Qaeda elements in Iraq and it’s likely that many rebels today learned bombing skills fighting there,” said analyst Joseph Holliday, from the US-based Institute for the Study of War.
Armed attacks on military convoys travelling through the countryside have been overshadowed in recent weeks by blasts in Syrian cities targeting security force offices and other symbols of the Assad state, such as the central bank.
But Holliday said it could still not be ruled out that the government was orchestrating at least some of those attacks, especially those which have produced images on state television of bloodied civilians denouncing the rebels as terrorists.
“When rebels talk about making bombs now, most of them are likely referring to their use of explosions for military targets or army convoys,” Holliday said. “I think that is different from targeting infrastructure in cities.”
“MOTHER OF INVENTION”
Since the army routed them from their strongholds in cities, some rebels said they realized that even in guerrilla street battles they could not beat Assad’s tanks or artillery.
The Syrian Liberation Army’s spokesman Qdemati said his group’s fighters were now focusing most of their attention on “manufacturing facilities” for bombs.
“You are going to start seeing an escalation as we improve our techniques of bomb-making and delivery.”
An online statement on Islamist forums from the obscure al-Nusra Front claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in Damascus on Friday that killed at least nine people. It has claimed responsibility for other suicide bombs in Damascus and one in the northern city of Aleppo.
Rebels say that without more support from foreign states, their struggle is becoming more chaotic and such radicals could play a bigger role.
Last week, Lebanese security forces said a leader from Lebanon’s radical Sunni Islamist Fatah al-Islam group died in Syria, apparently planting a bomb.
But many fighters insist that given their meager means makeshift bombs are necessary to fight for a cause that has widespread support in among Sunni Arab states and the West.
Those who have given up on smuggling rifles say the switch has let them channel rare outside donations into better materials that have let them develop more sophisticated bombs.
“We have to be smart about this. Until there is a way to smuggle in anti-aircraft or anti-tank missiles, we won’t win with arms,” the first Idlib fighter said in Turkey.
“The rebels are getting better at bomb-making; as you know, desperation is the mother of invention.”
Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood Rise from the Ashes
Khaled Yacoub Oweis / Reuters
ISTANBUL (May 6, 2012) — At a meeting of Syria’s opposition, Muslim Brotherhood officials gather round Marxists colleagues, nudging them to produce policy statements for the Syrian National Council, the main political group challenging President Bashar al-Assad.
With many living in the West, and some ditching their trademark beards, it is hard to differentiate Brotherhood from leftists. But there is little dispute about who calls the shots.
From annihilation at home 30 years ago when they challenged the iron-fisted rule of Hafez al-Assad, the Brotherhood has recovered to become the dominant force of the exile opposition in the 14-month-old revolt against his son Bashar.
Careful not to undermine the council’s disparate supporters, the Brotherhood has played down its growing influence within the Syrian National Council (SNC), whose public face is the secular Paris-based professor Bourhan Ghalioun.
“We chose this face, accepted by the West and by the inside. We don’t want the regime to take advantage if an Islamist becomes the Syrian National Council’s head,” former Brotherhood leader Ali Sadreddine al-Bayanouni told supporters in a video.
The footage is now being circulated by Brotherhood opponents, seeking to highlight its undeclared power.
“We nominated Ghalioun as a front for national action. We are not moving now as Muslim Brotherhood but as part of a front that includes all currents,” said Bayanouni.
The Syrian Brotherhood is a branch of the Sunni Muslim movement founded in Egypt in the 1920s. It was a minor political player before a 1963 Baath Party coup but its support grew under the authoritarian 30-year rule of Hafez al-Assad, as his minority Alawite community dominated the majority Sunni country.
Mindful of international fears of Islamists taking power, and of the worries of Syria’s ethnic and religious minorities, the Syrian Brotherhood portrays itself as espousing a moderate, Turkish-style Islamist agenda. It unveiled a manifesto last month that did not mention the word Islam and contained pledges to respect individual rights.
With backing from Ankara, and following the political ascendancy of the Brotherhood in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya since Arab Spring revolts broke out two years ago, the group is poised to be at the top of any new governing system in Syria.
Extending the loose Brotherhood umbrella to Syria will raise pressure on the US-backed Hashemite monarchy in Jordan, where the local Brotherhood has been sidelined by laws that favor tribal politicians allied with the security apparatus.
Iraq’s Shi’ite rulers could also find they have a hardline Sunni government as their neighbor, and Lebanon’s Shi’ite guerrilla group Hezbollah would lose its main Arab backer.
Working quietly, the Brotherhood has been financing Free Syrian Army defectors based in Turkey and channeling money and supplies to Syria, reviving their base among small Sunni farmers and middle class Syrians, opposition sources say.
“We bicker while the Brotherhood works,” said Fawaz al-Tello, a veteran opposition figure who is a pious Muslim while being on the liberal end of the Syrian political spectrum.
“They have gained control of the SNC’s aid division and the military bureau, its only important components,” said Tello, a former political prisoner who fled Syria four months ago.
“But they still have to work more do to get support on the inside. Lots of clerics, activists and rebels do not want to be linked to them.”
Tello, however, acknowledged that the Brotherhood has clawed back influence inside Syria, especially in the cities of Homs and Hama and the rural province of Idlib on the border with Turkey, hotbeds of the revolt against Assad.
This is no small feat after three decades in the political wilderness. Unlike Arab rulers who tried to co-opt the movement by granting it limited operation, the Assads excluded it and all other opposition from the political system.
Bashar’s father Hafez al-Assad’s forces killed, tortured and imprisoned tens of thousands of people after leftists and Islamists began challenging his rule in the 1970s.
The Brotherhood took the brunt of the repression, and a 1980 decree singled out membership as punishable by death.
Mulhem Droubi, educated in Canada and one of a younger generation of Brotherhood leaders, said the group is not primarily concerned with political prominence.
“We are a party that presents moderate solutions. We are not extremists, neither to the left nor to the right and our program is the most accepted by the Syrian street,” he said. “We are working for the downfall of Bashar al-Assad and not to find a popular base. We leave competition for the future in a free Syria,” the softly spoken Droubi told Reuters.
Droubi, however, acknowledged that the road to democracy will be even more bloody, adding that the Brotherhood began supporting armed resistance in earnest a month ago.
The issue sharply divided the group in the 1980s, when it took up arms against the president. Assad’s forces killed nearly 20,000 people when they overran the city of Hama in 1982, where the Brotherhood’s armed division made it last stand.
Droubi said there is no dispute now about the need for armed resistance, alongside street protests against Assad. “Too many of our people have been killed. Too many have been raped,” Droubi said, adding that Brotherhood was committed to a setting up a multi-party democracy if Assad is toppled.
Droubi pointed to a political program unveiled by the Brotherhood last month in Istanbul, which committed to multi-party democracy in a future Syria. It said a new constitution would be reached through consensus and guarantee fair representation for diverse ethnicities and religious groups. “Our proposals are more advanced than the Brotherhood in other countries,” he said.
Bassam Ishaq, a Christian opposition figure who has worked with the Brotherhood within the SNC, said the manifesto bore the marks of the Brotherhood’s pragmatism.
“If they get a chance to seize power by themselves they will do it, but they realize that it will be difficult in country where 30 percent of the population are ethnic or religious minorities,” said Ishaq.
“The street has lost faith in leftist politicians. After the repression in the 1980s, the leftists dispersed. The Brotherhood kept together and rebuilt while in exile, aided by donations from wealthy Syrians in and support in the Gulf,” he added.
In a demonstration of their financial muscle, Brotherhood operatives were dispatched last month with suitcases of cash to a dusty camp for Free Syrian Army defectors in a Turkish region bordering Syria near Antakya.
Sources in the camp said the Brotherhood was supporting Colonel Riad al-Asaad, one of the first prominent defectors last year, now at odds with more senior officers who deserted later.
Colonel Asaad now sports a Brotherhood-style beard. Street activists who have had little to do with the Brotherhood are also being lured by promises of instant support for the revolt.
“I approached them and they instantly gave me 2,000 euros when I asked for help…and I am not even Ikhwan (Brotherhood),” said veteran activist Othman al-Bidewi, who regularly travels between Syria and the border region in Turkey to drum up support for street demonstrations against Assad in Idlib province.
“The Brotherhood wants to restore its political base. It is their right,” he added.
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