(Hurriyet Daily News, Istanbul) Syrian President Bashar al-Assad warned during a meeting in Damascus on Wednesday with Iran’s foreign minister that Saudi Arabia’s political and religious ideology is “a threat to the world,” state television reported.
He was referring to Wahhabism, an ultra-conservative Sunni Muslim tradition which is predominant in Saudi Arabia, a key backer of Syria’s revolt against Assad.
“President Assad warns during his meeting with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of the threat posed by Wahhabi thinking to all the world, not just to the region,” the report said.
“The Syrian people and some peoples in the region know how serious the threat posed by Wahhabism is, and everyone must contribute to the confrontation against it and to eradicating it from the root,” said Assad, who belongs to the Alawite offshoot of Shiite Islam.
Survivor – President Bashar al-Assad, Syria
Reuters just broke an exclusive indicating that the U.S. and NATO powers expect Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to continue as president. Portions of the exclusive are quoted below with comment in italics.
Exclusive: West signals to Syrian opposition Assad may stay Khaled Yacoub Oweis, Dec 18
AMMAN (Reuters) – Western nations have indicated to the Syrian opposition that peace talks next month may not lead to the removal of President Bashar al-Assad and that his Alawite minority will remain key in any transitional administration, opposition sources said.
Note: Western backed Free Syrian Army rebels had demanded that Assad step down prior to any negotiations. That didn’t happen. In addition, it is important to ask this: Why would Assad step down when his Army and Hezbollah are winning battles throughout the country?
The message, delivered to senior members of the Syrian National Coalition at a meeting of the anti-Assad Friends of Syria alliance in London last week, was prompted by rise of al Qaeda and other militant groups, and their takeover of a border crossing and arms depots near Turkey belonging to the moderate Free Syrian Army, the sources told Reuters. Read More
Presuming he isn’t assassinated, Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad may survive as the chief executive of a unified Syria.
This is a far cry from the constant refrain that Assad must go by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her British and French counterparts in 2011.
Prior to the chemical weapons incident in Damascus, the Syria Arab Army, with help from Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance, began winning major battles against the rebels. The victories at Qusayr and Homs were major victories. After the U.S. – Russian deal to destroy chemical weapons, things changed on the ground and in the broader diplomatic storyline.
Syria’s cooperation with the location and removal of chemical weapons has been acknowledged and praised by the U.S. and the chemical weapons team from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Read More
The “slam dunk” intelligence that the Obama administration touted to justify its planned attack on Syria is falling apart. McClatchy broke this story about German intelligence overhearing President Bashar al-Assad turning down requests for chemical weapons use. Investigative reporter Robert Parry reports that insiders say the president’s case is so weak, the White House dare not release any details to avoid a discovery of the deception of the American people. And, a group of retired intelligence service veterans claims that the chemical weapons attack was a false flag to allow an attack on Syria. More to come …
McClatchy September 11 Matthew Schofield
BERLIN — Syrian President Bashar Assad has repeatedly rejected requests from his field commanders for approval to use chemical weapons, according to a report this weekend in a German newspaper.
The report in Bild am Sonntag, which is a widely read and influential national Sunday newspaper, reported that the head of the German Foreign Intelligence agency, Gerhard Schindler, last week told a select group of German lawmakers that intercepted communications had convinced German intelligence officials that Assad did not order or approve what is believed to be a sarin gas attack on Aug. 21 that killed hundreds of people in Damascus’ eastern suburbs.
According to Pepe Escobar’s Facebook page, the Russian Ambassador claims that there is satellite evidence that the chemical weapon attack in Syria was carried out by someone other than the Syrian government.
Pepe Escobar, reporter for the Asia Times, reports in Facebook that Russia has presented to the UN Security Council “conclusive evidence – based on documents and Russian satellite images – of two rockets carrying toxic chemicals, fired from Douma, controlled by the Syrian ‘rebels,’ and landing on East Ghouta.” This was reported two days ago in Arabic and confirmed today by Khalil Harb, of the Lebanese paper As-Safir. It is based on a Russian source, who says the evidence is conclusive. This information explains why there is no UN Security Council resolution against Syria, according to Escobar.
The Obama administration is reluctantly upping its involvement in the Syrian civil war. Though the White House offers few details, reports indicate that American personnel will arm and train teams of rebel fighters on Jordanian territory, then send them across the border to fight the Assad government.
This is unlikely to bring a rapid turn of events in the war. The Syrian army is on the move and rebel forces are in disarray. The new US directives will nonetheless present problems for Assad, though they may also pose problems for the US – eminently foreseeable ones.
Units deploying from Jordan into Syria will, it is hoped, constitute a second front of sorts, which will take pressure off beleaguered Free Syrian Army and al Nusra Front forces in the north and east. They will likely try to solidify rebel control over the city of Daraa and the surrounding province, which was an early site of protest and armed rebellion, and which is presently embattled.
If there was ever a time to intervene in Syria, it has passed
A western intervention might never have worked. But it certainly won’t now
Douglas Murray 4 May 2013
Murray’s thesis rests on two points. First, he believes that intervention is allowed in foreign conflict if it meets two criteria: ” There are only ever two reasons for military intervention: strategic gain or moral necessity.” That ignores the only legally acceptable rationale for intervening in a military conflict – the foreign nation poses a imminent danger to the nation intervening. The factial deficiency in Murray’s argument is also clear. Through lots of money and technical assistance, the West has intervened.
Murray states the essential facts on the ground:
“So what to do? Of course the Assad regime is vile. But the opposition is, if anything, now worse. Even the most cursory analysis today confirms that arming the rebels means arming Islamists, including al-Qa’eda and related groups. The only reason for arming them would be to create a more level killing field.”
That’s the essence of the problem in Western capitals. The real world outcome of arming the rebels (even more) and dragging them across the finish line (as we did in Libya) is an intense focus on what happens to the great shame of the powers, the United States and Great Britain that fostered the viability of the rebel forces and those added (al Qaeda adherents) by the Gulf oil sheikdoms. The full article is instructive and a good read to get an insight into a failed policy and the assumptions leading to failure.
(RT) – Syria’s president has disavowed all rumors of being in hiding somewhere in Iran or aboard a Russian battleship. In an interview to Turkish TV, Bashar Assad accused the Turkish government of being “knee-deep in Syrian blood.”
“I am in Syria living in the same place I always did. I am not hiding in a bunker. Everything said about my death or disappearance is rumors launched by enemies to shutter the morale of the Syrian people,” Assad stated in an interview to Turkey’s Ulusal Kanal TV channel published Friday.
You heard it first on The Agonist News of Assad’s Assassination is Greatly Exaggerated, The Agonist, March 24
Assad: ‘I have neither left Syria or died” RT April 6
Reference to April 6 Turkish television interview, Times of Israel April 6
“Proof of life” – April 6 interview on YouTube
There’s a strange story out there about Syrian President Bashar Assad’s assassination and possible death. It has little merit but the sourcing is interesting.
Gateway Pundit reported: BREAKING: Assad Shot By Bodyguard – Hospitalized in Damascus – Posted by Jim Hoft on Sunday, March 24, 2013, 12:22 PM
The sourcing on this leads to a French publication, JSS. Gateway Pundit listed the link as “Translated from JSS News:”
JSS, a French online publication, cites the “Arab Media” as its source on Assad’s death. This is when the story falls apart.
By Anas Zarza Al-Akahbar-English Posted by Michael Collins
Remember all those articles over the last few months – Syria to fall soon; what will post-Assad Syria look like? Soon, we were lead to believe, the demands of Former Secretary of State (and neo-colonialism) Hillary Clinton would come true. When didn’t she say – “Assad must go!” Ironically, Assad is still around and Clinton is gone. That’s one big step for mankind and an even bigger step backwards for the Syrian rebels, particularly the very Al Qaeda fighters operating under the name Al Nusra. They fight and win but rely on direct or indirect funding, weapons, and technical assistance from NATO and the Gulf plutocrats. In fact, we now know that Ms. Clinton and the disgraced General Petraeus were pushing for the United States to openly arm the rebels. Cooler heads prevailed. Weapons and other items were stalled. Assad’s military made some changes. And now, voila!, the Syrian Arab Army is defending the capital.
Was any of this dreadful, deadly conflict worth it?
— Michael Collins
From Al Akahbar-English
The armed Syrian opposition declared yet another “zero hour” to take Damascus on Wednesday. By nightfall, however, the army managed to restore order in the capital and widen its offensive against the rebels in the countryside. (Image: Syrian Army, Damascus, SANA) Read More