By Vanessa Beeley
Published on 21 Mar 2019
I met journalist and friend Rafiq Lutf and cameraman Abdul-Mun’aim Arnous in January 2018 and I was honoured when Rafiq asked me to work with him on his film project, The Veto. As Dr Shaaban said to me in August 2016, “Western propaganda is paid for in Syrian blood”. This is true.
The horrifying bloodshed and loss of life in Syria could never have happened without the colonial media manufacturing consent for another illegal war against a Sovereign nation. The Veto tracks the evolution of the propaganda campaign waged by Western media against Syria. From Baba Amr in Homs 2011/2012 until the modern day “propaganda construct” – the NATO-member-state funded White Helmets. It honours Russia and China’s vetoes that have consistently defended Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the UN. George Orwell said ““The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”
Western media has been tasked with writing the history of the Syrian conflict to serve the aggressors in the US Coalition of terrorism. As Dr Shaaban also told me: “The US alliance and its media are focusing on our history, material history, cultural history, identity, our army. Any power that keeps you as an entire state, or any statesman that represents strength or unity will be demonized and destroyed.” The Veto exposes the criminal intentions of Western media and it archives the progression of the propaganda war waged by the West against Syria. Syrians are writing the history of the Syrian conflict because Syria and her allies have courageously resisted the Imperialist machine. As Rafiq has said so eloquently “ we are the Veto” and we must use it against the Industrial Media Complex in the West. Syria’s history belongs to the Syrians and Syria’s final victory must ensure that Western media is never again given the power to destroy a nation, divide its people and promote international terrorism both military and economic.
“Syria – the Trump effect” by Vanessa Beeley
Date de publication: 12.07.2017
Syria – the Trump effect
by Vanessa Beeley
IDC, 12 July 2017
Tonight, I wish to discuss a little of the background of Washington’s Long War on Syria that started way back, after independence from France in 1946 and has continued to this day with the war on Syria that began in 2011 and has had devastating consequences for the Syrian people.
Then I would like to cover the Trump effect, the evolution of the situation on the ground in Syria since Trump came to power in January 2017 and demonstrate the ratcheting up of military activity and “soft power” pressure since Trump’s inauguration.
The war in Syria has lasted more than six years, with an estimated 400,000 deaths, the majority of whom are the SAA contrary to reports from the compromised media who would have us believe these are all civilian deaths at the hands of President Assad. What is happening in Syria is not a civil war, it is the continuation of decades of external intervention in Syria’s sovereign affairs with a variety of proxy actors. It is a Dirty War on Syria [Tim Anderson] or Washington’s Long War on Syria [Stephen Gowans]
Roland Dumas informed us that the British were preparing a “rebel” invasion of Syria at least two years before the start of the armed uprisings.
As Stephan Gowans tells us in the introduction of his book:
“The United States efforts to oust the govt of Bashar Al Assad antedated the “Arab Spring” by many years and Washington had a hand in inciting the MB, which had a long history of violent antagonism toward the Syrian government dating back to 1963. Washington’s motivations to topple Bashar Al Assad’s government prior to 2011 were related to Damascus’ embrace of anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist positions and its program of state directed economic development.”
Arab nationalism, the core ideology of Hafez and Bashar Al Assad threatened imperialism and most importantly the oil wealth monopoly ruled over by the US/UK ally, the House of Saud, an absolute Monarchy with one of the worst human rights violations records in the world today.
“[Arab nationalism was a vision] that Washington could not allow to grip the imagination of the world’s 400 million Arabs. The US accordingly embarked on a decades long campaign of invasions and economic warfare to drive Iraq’s experiment in Arab nationalism into ruin and eventually to purge the state of its secular Arab nationalist influence. De Baathification. Wall street’s war on Syria was motivated by the same aim; the de Baathification of Syria and the elimination of secular Arab nationalist influence from the Syrian State as a means of expurging the Arab nationalist threat to US hegemony” on a global level.
Harold Pinter, during his 2005 acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize spoke of the UK/US led war against Iraq:
“The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law. The invasion was an arbitrary military action inspired by a series of lies upon lies and gross manipulation of the media and therefore of the public; an act intended to consolidate American military and economic control of the Middle East masquerading – as a last resort – all other justifications having failed to justify themselves – as liberation. A formidable assertion of military force responsible for the death and mutilation of thousands and thousands of innocent people.
We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call it ‘bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East’.”
In Iraq and in Syria the US coalition has waged a brutal Hybrid war, in Iraq leading to the starvation of 500,000 children, described by Madeleine Albright, while Bill Clinton’s UN representative as “a price that was worth it”. We could just as easily apply Pinter’s prophetic speech to the US intervention in Syria…
In Syria we have seen the deployment of the “soft power” complex on an unprecedented scale in lock-step with the funding, arming and promotion of a multitude of extremist proxies, many of whom are foreign mercenaries. This war has been underpinned by the NGO complex, the NATO-aligned & Gulf media, a variety of government sponsored think tanks and even international institutions like the UN.
The “soft power” complex is exemplified for me by the creation and multi-million-dollar NATO and Gulf state funding of the White Helmets. The ultimate propaganda heist conducted over a four-year period since their establishment in 2013, culminating in their being awarded the Oscar in 2016 for the Netflix documentary that recorded their exploits However it should be noted the production team did not enter Syria but relied upon unverified footage supplied by the White Helmets embedded in East Aleppo with Nusra Front led extremists [Al Qaeda in Syria]
Admiral Sir Phillip Jones, UK First Sea Lord, said: “So the hard punch of military power is often delivered inside the kid glove of Humanitarian relief….”
The UK FO were primary funders and creators of the WH construct, the organisation was established by James Le Mesurier, an ex-British military officer who had a history of working alongside NATO states in a number of interventions including Kosovo & Afghanistan. The White Helmets are a shadow state construct, designed to erase the Syrian state institution, the REAL Syria Civil Defence, from western public perception. The REAL Syria Civil Defence was established inside Syria in 1953. It is the only SCD recognised by the ICDO in Geneva, and the UN. The REAL SCD operates in areas inhabited by 80% of Syria’s population.
My time in East Aleppo, gathering testimonies from civilians, freshly liberated from Nusra Front-led occupation and securing documents left behind in the abandoned White Helmet centres confirmed that they are working exclusively as Nusra Front Civil Defence, helping only the extremist fighters, rarely civilians. Their primary purpose for their multiple-state funders is to produce the false flags and propaganda that will facilitate further military or pseudo-humanitarian intervention in Syria.
[National Endowment for Democracy] NED founder reportedly said the following in the 1990s: ‘A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.’ What was once done at night under the cloak of ‘imperialism’ is now done during the day under the guise of ‘humanitarianism.’
Moving on to the “evolution” of the conflict in Syria under Trump.
There are four main areas that I will cover to demonstrate this evolution.
1: What Maria Saadeh, an independent parliamentarian in Damascus calls economic terrorism, US and EU derived economic sanctions. These have been modified and increased under Trump, with the passing of the Cesar Bill through congress.
2: US Military bases in Syria
3: Revival of the Chemical Weapon narrative with the Khan Sheikhoun attacks.
4: An increase in the targeting of the SAA & civilians in both Iraq and Syria under the pretext of fighting DAESH.
1: SANCTIONS – ECONOMIC TERRORISM
In January 2016 there was a propaganda spike when corporate media universally attempted to convey an image of the Syrian government starving its own civilians in the Ahrar al Sham occupied town. The reality was the opposite. The Syrian government had allowed humanitarian aid convoys to enter the town which had provided ample sustenance for the 20k civilians living there. As happened in East Aleppo, militants/extremists starved civilians or sold the received food and essential items at extortionate prices.
Dr Bashar Al Jaafari Syrian Permanent representative at the UN, made the statement in response to a question from the media, that all of Syria was under siege from sanctions, 23 million, or 18.9 million people were being collectively punished by the US and EU.
Sanctions under Trump have increased with the Cesar Bill that passed through the house in April 2017 and increases the demands on the Syrian government and its allies and the punishments for non-compliance. The bill is based on unfounded and un-evidenced accusations that are flung at the Syrian government by the western compromised media, “regime change” focused governments and their intervention lobbyists in their associated think tanks and NATO aligned NGOs.
As part of a Hybrid war, the sanctions serve, very much the same purpose as the proxy terrorism – destruction of infrastructure, destabilization of the economic process, weakening of the target state’s ability to take care of its people.
In Syria, every sector is affected. Petrol, Industry, Education, Health, Agriculture, Financial sector, Commercial sector, Electricity, Transport and finally tourism.
This image was taken in the Sheikh Najjar industrial centre of Aleppo in December 2016, just after liberation of East Aleppo from the Nusra Front led extremist factions.
In Aleppo alone, 26,000 factories have been forced to close or been destroyed by terrorist attacks, 17,000 were partially destroyed by the terrorists, and 50,000 factories were forced to suspend their activity. [these figures are taken from a Syrian Chamber of Commerce report 2015] Over 3000 were dismantled and taken to Turkey by the extremist groups.
Trump’s campaign had filled everyone with the hope of some change in policy towards Syria and divergence away from a Clinton aggressive foreign policy, but once in power, he appears to have reneged on his early promises and to have maintained the trajectory towards Syria’s destabilization and partitioning.
US BASES IN SYRIA
With very little fanfare from the western media, the US is quietly creating a hostile military footprint inside Syria.
By establishing a chain of airbases, military outposts and missile bases inside Syria, the US is illegally, stealth-occupying a sovereign nation. The number of US military installations in Syria has increased to eight bases according to recent reports, and possibly nine according to one other military analyst.
Full military bases are in Hasaka [3 bases including 1 airbase], Raqqa [2 bases including Kobane airbase], Northern rural Aleppo [2 bases], Al Tanf at the Jordan, Iraq borders with Syria.
While one could argue that these bases were established under Obama’s administration, under Trump they have expanded and in the case of the airbases, been modified to enable a greater air power.
Airmen from the 621st Contingency Response Group have been deployed to modify and “expand” the Kobani airbase, with the stated intention of supporting anti-ISIS coalitions on the ground in Syria.
The fundamental flaw with US Coalitions is that they do not include the Syrian Arab Army, Russia and their allies who have been systematically fighting ISIS & NATO state extremists, since the start of the externally waged war against Syria. The US coalition is, in reality, an uninvited, hostile force, violating Syria’s territorial integrity, operating under the false pretext of combatting ISIS while many reports expose the collusion between US coalition command & forces and ISIS.
The US military footprint has been strategically placed inside Syria. If we look at the map, The US bases are concentrated in the areas controlled by their currently, preferred proxies, the SDF in the north of Syria and Maghawir al Thawra & Southern Front militant forces, close to Al Tanf on the Syrian border with Iraq.
In a recent article for the American Conservative, political analyst, Sharmine Narwani laid out the US agenda, in establishing a military camp at Al Tanf and the abject failure of this military strategy:
“Re-establishing Syrian control over the highway running from Deir ez-Zor to Albu Kamal and al-Qaim is also a priority for Syria’s allies in Iran. Dr. Masoud Asadollahi, a Damascus-based expert in Middle East affairs explains: “The road through Albu Kamal is Iran’s favored option – it is a shorter path to Baghdad, safer, and runs through green, habitable areas. The M1 highway (Damascus-Baghdad) is more dangerous for Iran because it runs through Iraq’s Anbar province and areas that are mostly desert.”
If the U.S. objective in al-Tanaf was to block the southern highway between Syria and Iraq, thereby cutting off Iran’s land access to the borders of Palestine, they have been badly outmaneuvered. Syrian, Iraqi, and allied troops have now essentially trapped the U.S.-led forces in a fairly useless triangle down south, and created a new triangle (between Palmyra, Deir ez-Zor, and Albu Kamal) for their “final battle” against ISIS.”
In the North, we can speculate that the US is trying to create optimum conditions for an autonomous Kurdish region and the eventual partitioning of Syria, following the already skewed US road map. According to Gevorg Mirzayan, Associate Professor of Political Science at Russia’s Finance University, Kurds control 20% of Syrian territory, when ISIS is defeated the likelihood is that they will want to declare a “sovereign” state. This would play into, not only US, but primarily Israel’s hands. There is also the clear indication that the US, the YPG/SDF and ISIS are not always working against each other but are often supporting one another’s operations.
Sergey Surovikin, the commander of Russia’s forces in Syria, told the media just last week that “According to available reliable information, in early June ISIL terrorists entered into collusion with the command of the Kurdish armed units, which are part of the Democratic Forces Union, left the populated localities of Tadia and al-Hamam located 19 kilometers southwest of Raqqa offering no resistance and headed toward Palmyra.”
The US/Israeli agenda has clearly been to form a buffer zone inside all Syrian borders from North to East to South preventing Syrian access to neighbouring country borders & territory and reducing Syria to a geopolitically isolated, internalized peninsular.
“We’ve even set up a base at Al Tanf in the southern part, it’s an American base within the country of Syria,” Black said. “You can’t get a more obvious violation of international law than to actually move in and set up a military base in a sovereign country that has never taken any offensive action towards our country.” ~ Senator Richard Black
Under Trump, the US is relentlessly and even more blatantly, flaunting international law, as it has throughout this protracted conflict – it has established, inside Syria, almost as many bases as it has set up in its regional allies, Saudi Arabia and Israel.
3: REVIVAL OF THE CHEMICAL WEAPONS NARRATIVE
Khan Sheikhoun has dominated the headlines for some time now since the alleged CW attack took place on the 4th April this year. Since than an array of NATO-aligned think tanks such as Bellingcat and the Syrian Network for Human Rights among others have been speculating on the responsibility for the attack, of course coming down heavily on the conclusion that it must the Syrian regime’s responsibility.
However, the methodology of the investigation is highly questionable. The OPCW was unable to visit KS due the proliferation of Nusra Front and extremist factions. The samples were provided by organisations that are known to be terrorist affiliated, like the White Helmets or various other multi-spectrum war constructs funded once again by the intervention coalition, such as Bellingcat and SNHR among others.
There are signs that the US and its allies are preparing for a major escalation in Syria.
The Trump administration has already reacted hastily to the alleged CW event in Khan Sheikhoun […] with a limited cruise missile strike. Since then, tensions have risen with the US downing a Syrian Air Force jet and, recently issuing warnings to the Syrian government regarding alleged use and alleged FUTURE USE of prohibited weapons. This week’s release of the OPCW report into the KS event, which finds that “sarin or a sarin-like material” had been used, has been seized upon by UK, US and German officials as confirmation of the Syrian govt culpability. […] British MPS Crispin Blunt and Johnny Mercer are advancing the idea of pre-emptive parliamentary authority, whereby military action could be initiated without the need for parliamentary debate.”
The US military build-up in Syria has visibly increased under Trumps presidency. Piers “As the drum beats for war grow louder, it is imperative that we learn, and implement, the lessons of the last 15 years of destructive western military engagements across North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.
The Chemical Weapon narrative that is produced by NATO and Gulf state actors on the ground in Syria, led by the White Helmets is the clear casus belli of this intervention, just as the WMD were the smoking gun for the Iraq War. The fact that Trump has almost immediately into his presidency reproduced the now universally debunked Ghouta Chemical attack 2013 that was Obama’s “red line” suggests that contrary to his pre-election rhetoric, he is being controlled by deep state, military industrial complex, powers that will never permit deviation from their longstanding middle east, geopolitical road map, with Israel as main beneficiary of Syria’s engineered instability.
- TARGETING OF THE SAA & CIVILIANS
Under Obama the support for the terrorist factions and collusion with those terrorist factions, including ISIS, on the battleground was a relatively subtle affair when compared to the Trump knee jerk foreign policy decisions. Obama was responsible for the massacre of SAA soldiers defending Deir Ezzor from ISIS besieging forces. The US coalition including Australia and the UK bombed the soldiers for over one hour and then declared it a “mistake” after more than 72 soldiers had been killed, enabling ISIS to advance towards strategic positions surrounding Deir Ezzor.
Trump on the other hand has deliberately targeted the SAA on four occasions in the last 2 months alone and killed an estimated 225 civilians during their bombing raids in Raqqa and Deir Ezzor. The US coalition has reportedly killed an estimated 225 civilians since Trump became President, during bombing raids on Raqqa and Deir Ezzor. One can’t help but speculate that the US government and its NGO, Media cohorts liberally flung accusations at the SAA and its allies during the battles to liberate Aleppo but are yet to be held accountable for their campaign to target Syrian civilians in areas where they should be targeting ISIS.
Andrew Korybko:Trump’s Presidency has this far been transformational in changing the course of the War on Syria. In only a little more than six months, the US revived the Obama Administration’s previously failed chemical weapons ploy; actually went forth with directly attacking the Syrian Arab Army under the aforesaid pretext for the first time in the war; and openly armed the Kurdish militias with heavy weaponry to improve the prospects that they’ll retain their quasi-independent statelet after the war. These three developments are entirely attributable to the Trump Administration, and the phased progression between them represents a new sort of asymmetrical aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic, successfully modified from the Obama-era strategy to adapt to the changing battlefield conditions brought about by the Russian anti-terrorist intervention and the closing stages of the Daesh campaign. After evaluating the three most noteworthy Syrian-related developments of the Trump Presidency thus far, it becomes clear that his election has had a powerful impact on the on-the-ground dynamics of this conflict and will therefore strongly influence the course of the coming so-called “political solution”.
The illegal U.S. presence in Syria is a “Nuremberg crime against peace. It was Obama that started the aggression against Syria, Trump’s just exacerbating it.” —Dr. Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois
President Putin in his interview with Oliver Stone: “There is one curious thing, the presidents of your country change, but the policy doesn’t change, on matters of principle”.
Finally I will leave you with one question based on a quote from Paul Craig Roberts:
“What Planet Earth, and the creatures thereon, need more than anything is leaders in the West who are intelligent, who have a moral conscience, who respect truth, and who are capable of understanding the limits to their power.
But the Western World has no such people.” Or do they?