Violence continues in Syria as Condoleezza Rice promotes unilateral U.S. action
By Madison Ruppert
Editor of End the Lie
As clashes continue in Homs with opposition forces and pro-Assad forces engaging in what the New York Times calls, “A harrowing sectarian war,” Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice advocates unilateral U.S. action on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Rice says that Bashar al-Assad is bringing his country to the brink of a civil war, although it is arguable that civil war is already exactly what is going on with heavily armed opposition clashing with government forces and attacks on government compounds and vehicles.
She also said that ousting Assad would be a “great thing” for the people of Syria, along with U.S. interests and according to the Associated Press, “anyone seeking a more peaceful Middle East.”
Her statements are far from groundbreaking except in that she called for the “toughest” possible penalties against the Syrian government while saying that if Russia and China block sanctions in the United Nations, the United States should either apply pressure with allies or act unilaterally.
She also promoted more assistance to the Syrian opposition, which has already become a bloody insurgent force that has attacked government compounds and vehicles along with a rocket attack on the Baath Party’s headquarters in the Syrian capital of Damascus.
Eyewitnesses reported that the headquarters appeared intact and no large security force deployment was reported after activists said the building was hit with several rocket-propelled grenades.
This comes as the Assad government rejected the Arab League’s planned mission to send so-called “monitoring” forces, which would likely do a lot more than just monitoring like Qatar did in Libya.
The Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said today that the proposed Arab League mission has “pervasive jurisidcation that reaches the level of violating Syrian sovereignty” and added that the Arab League would receive a letter from him questioning their role.
Previously the Arab League declared that Assad’s forces must withdraw from cities in which clashes are occurring by November 19th, along with starting dialogue with the opposition.
However, the opposition flatly rejected the notion of talking with Assad, just like the al Qaeda-affiliated and Western-backed rebels did in Libya.
The League outright rejected the Syrian request to modify the proposal which would send more than 500 monitors into the country, which Syria had tentatively agreed to on Friday.
The New York Times has painted a quite ugly picture of the sectarian violence that is occurring in Syria, describing, “supporters and opponents of the government [which have been] blamed for beheadings, rival gangs carrying out tit-for-tat kidnappings, minorities fleeing for their native villages, and taxi drivers too fearful of drive-by shootings to ply the streets.”
It is a grim picture indeed which places blame on both parties which is something the establishment media has been avoiding, painting them as “pro-democracy protesters” whenever possible just like they did with the Libyan rebels.
Despite this fact, the Obama administration is, yet again, placing the blame on the government, saying that the longer Assad “stays in power, what you see in Homs, you’ll see across Syria.”
If armed forces started attacking government buildings in the United States along with government vehicles and pro-government individuals, you can bet that the American government would wipe them out with impunity.
Seeing how police brutalize students sitting on the ground with their arms linked, can you imagine what force we would see if they were actually armed insurgents?
Yet of course, the American government attempts to be the moral authority despite the fact that the Obama administration has absolutely no place to do so.
The New York Times quotes a predictably anonymous American official who claims that the Obama administration believed that the Syrian government withdrew forces from Homs in accordance with the Arab League’s plan.
However, the article claims that several residents report that the government just repainted tanks and other military vehicles blue and then redeployed them as a police force.
Unsurprisingly, these reports, like all of the reports coming out of Syria, are unverified and come from so-called activists.
Abu Hassan, a man described by the Times as a 40-year-old activist in Homs said, “The regime wants to say to the Arab observers that the police are confronting protesters, not the army or security men.”
An anonymous man identified as a “prominent Sunni activist” by the New York Times said, “There are shabeeha on both sides now,” shaheeba being an Arabic word referring to government paramilitary forces.
While he blamed the Assad government for fomenting the sectarian strife he said, “I feel disgusted at what’s happening in Syria, and I am afraid of what might happen next.”
If the West has its way, he should be very afraid, but if Russia keeps up their stance, especially with the military presence, it will be much more difficult for Western nations to conduct the invasion they’ve been promoting for so long.
That being said, the West is already intervening in Syria, albeit not directly, and has been for some time now.
Yet the West is getting more brazen by the day with the British openly announcing that the Syrian opposition will meet with U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague as soon as tomorrow, November 21st.
A London-based spokesperson who remains (as per usual) unnamed by Businessweek, said that the Syrian opposition has been meeting with officials from the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office for several months.
The Western interference is unlikely to help the situation, given that the violence occurring in Syria now is largely driven by purely sectarian motives, at least in Homs if the unverified reports cited by the New York Times are to be believed.
A 54-year-old Alawite in Homs, Mohammed Saleh, who is a communist and former 12-year political prisoner released in 2000, claimed that on Sunday insurgents stopped a minivan full of factory employees, told the Sunni Muslims and Christians to leave and then kidnapped 17 Alawites.
He then said that the families of the Alawites took to the streets and randomly kidnapped Sunnis after demanding to see their identification and seeing their family name which indicates the sect they belong to.
Saleh said that after days of negotiations at the request of families he secured the release of all 36 individuals that were kidnapped but said that many others were still missing as a result of kidnappings.
Saleh has obvious reason to hold a grudge against Assad’s government, and he is indeed anti-government but added, “Now I am being critical of some of the revolutionaries. We are against the regime and we want it to fall, but the revolutionaries need to present a better and more beautiful alternative. And if the opposition is going to be similar to the regime, it’s going to be dangerous.”
It’s somewhat encouraging to see that the establishment media is covering this aspect of the conflict seeing as they glossed over it so much in Libya.
Never is it as cut-and-dried as the entire populous being anti-government and a brutal dictator instructing heartless military forces to kill his own citizens.
Just like in Libya, Syria has both pro-Assad rallies and anti-Assad activists in the streets and foreign meddling is not going to improve the situation by bombing the country into oblivion.
The New York Times reports that through a dozen interviews they found that Homs is in a state of chaos with paramilitary forces on both sides burning shops and homes and forcing Alawites to flee to their villages of origin.
They report a ramping up of random kidnappings of unknown numbers and some say the abductees are sometimes used as “bargaining chips,” for what is not clear.
Yet another anonymous “dissident activist” said that his cousin, an Alawite, was kidnapped and, “He was found killed and his head was chopped off.”
In contrast, an additional anonymous Sunni activist said that Alawites are only kidnapped in retaliation and denied that anyone had been beheaded by insurgents.
He claimed that the sectarian violence “was minimal compared with the ferocity of the government’s crackdown.”
But another man, identified only as Hisham, said that Sunni insurgents were killing Alawites in order to drive them out of Alawite dominated neighborhoods, “where support for Mr. Assad runs strongest.”
One can only gather from all of these reports is that many of the activists are either manufacturing events, blowing them out of proportion or some mix of the two.
Or, there is also the real possibility that some or all of the reports are completely and totally manufactured from whole cloth without an ounce of truth to them whatsoever.
The fact is that nothing can be confirmed, far too many sources are anonymous, and the establishment media runs with anything the opposition says while rejecting anything the Syrian government says.
The events in Libya and Syria perfectly exemplify the double standard held by the American government and the corporate-controlled media.
If the protesters are in a foreign country, they are peaceful pro-democracy protesters regardless of their status as armed insurgents who are killing each other and government forces.
Here in the United States, the government stands by in silence while unarmed, peaceful Americans are brutalized by police for expressing their right to free speech and assembly, and in doing so shows that they are complicit in these crimes.
Yet of course, to counter all of the coverage of sectarian violence and the reports of paramilitary forces on both sides, the New York Times peddles the oft-cited United Nations number of 3,500 killed by the government, which is wholly unverified and based purely off of the claims made by so-called activists.
The looming question is: how will the West step in this time?
Indirectly through supporting the opposition in every way possible without directly striking Assad forces?
Or, will they ignore the Russian ships being deployed to Syrian waters and engage in another bombing campaign in order to cash in on the rebuilding process and loot the country under “humanitarian” pretenses just like Libya?
What do you think? I would love to hear your opinions and if you have any articles or tips to send me please contact me at [email protected].