No Blood for Oil

by Clay Claiborne on July 29, 2012

When Russia and the NATO countries sold tanks, artillery, land mines, cluster bombs, and helicopter gunships to Mummar Ghadafi, they did so knowing that he would very likely use those weapons to suppress any opposition within his own country. While those weapons made his regime more stable, they also assured that any attempt to overthrow it would result in the spilling of much more Libyan blood.

In effect, they traded blood for oil, in that most imperial of ways, they traded Libyan blood for Libyan oil.

Providing those heavy weapons to the Ghadafi regime was a most important form of imperialist intervention which, as far as I’m concerned, no one on the left objected to.

NATO put no troops on the ground in Libya, nor did they provide the opposition, which we now know, represented the overwhelming majority of all Libyans, with heavy weapons. But the NATO air campaign cost Ghadafi his helicopters and war planes, and limited his rocket and artillery attacks to places he could hit from batteries he could hide in population centers. (Note: this trick won’t work against a Ghadafi or an Assad.) Thus, he was able to maintain the siege of Misrata from Tawergha for so many months. And although NATO only destroyed a small percentage of his armor, the air cover forced him to abandon the use of his heavy tanks. The Ghadafi forces had to use the same sort of technical vehicles the National Transition Council forces relied on and engage their enemy close up where air support couldn’t easily get at them but now the thuwar could.

NATO intervention leveled the battlefield.

(By the way, I strongly objected to the use of the phrase “pro-Qaddafi forces” then or “pro-Assad forces” now by people on the left in the face of ample testimony to the fact that these “leaders” kill soldiers who refuse to fight for them, kill them and their families. Would you describe a man who opens a safe with a gun to his back as “pro-bank robber?”)

The main effect of the United Nations-mandated NATO intervention over Libya was to somewhat neutralize the tremendous advantage in aircraft and heavy weapons given to him by the major arms exporting countries who also happen to be the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.

This is what many on the left rose up to object to.

Once the “great” powers have supplied a dictator with cluster bombs and the systems with which to deliver them, he should be free to use them on a rebellious population without any outside interference. Is that the stand of the left?

If so, I fear there is much more suffering in the future of humanity than need be.

We can see the terrible results of what the anti-interventionist left wanted for Benghazi and Misrata in Homs, Hama, Idlib, Duoma, Houla, Dara, and now Damascus and Aleppo (video below).

The “Battle of Damascus” has been raging for six days now in the oldest living city in the world. Heavy weapons and bombs are being used indiscriminately by a government against its rebellious communities on a scale never seen before as far as I’m concerned in one of the world’s great cities.

This may be the first such wildly uneven urban battle but I’m afraid it won’t be the last. I fear for the precedent being set and the world’s acceptance of it.

If I say “what a tragic loss of life yesterday” and you think Aurora, then the wool has already been pulled over your eyes.

Are helicopter gunships dropping cluster bombs over neighborhoods and all the rest okay now?

I fear that what is happening first in Damascus may eventually happen in Los Angeles, New York, or London. Will those centers of power yield with any less violence once so few have objected to the precedent being set in Damascus and Aleppo today?

And finally, I am shamed by a left that seems bent on making its main legacy on this point a few pro-Assad rallies, much propagation of Assad lies, and a lot of talk about non-intervention.

  • http://www.voltairenet.org/en Diana Barahona

    German Intelligence: “al-Qaeda” All Over Syria
    German intelligence estimates that “around 90″ terror attacks that “can be attributed to organizations that are close to al-Qaeda or jihadist groups” were carried out in Syria between the end of December and the beginning of July, as reported by the German daily Die Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). This was revealed by the German government in a response to a parliamentary question.

    In response to the same question, the German government admitted that it had received several reports from the German foreign intelligence service, the BND, on the May 25 massacre in the Syrian town of Houla. But it noted that the content of these reports was to remain classified “by reason of national interest.” Like many other Western governments, Germany expelled Syria’s ambassador in the immediate aftermath of the massacre, holding the Syrian government responsible for the violence.

    Meanwhile, at least three major German newspapers – Die Welt, the FAZ, and the mass-market tabloid Bild – have published reports attributing responsibility for the massacre to anti-government rebel forces or treating this as the most probable scenario.

    Writing in Bild, longtime German war correspondent Jurgen Todenhofer accused the rebels of “deliberately killing civilians and then presenting them as victims of the government”. He described this “massacre-marketing strategy” as being “among the most disgusting things that I have ever experienced in an armed conflict”. Todenhofer had recently been to Damascus, where he interviewed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for Germany’s ARD public television. [1]

    Writing in Die Welt, Alfred Hackensberger noted that Taldo, the sub-district of Houla where the massacre occurred, has been under rebel control since December 2011 and is in an open plain, making it unlikely that “hundreds of soldiers and Assad supporters” could have entered the village to commit the massacre. (An abridged version of Hackenberger’s report also appeared in Die Berliner Morgenpost.) Hackensberger visited Houla to conduct investigations for his report.

    He also interviewed an alleged eyewitness – identified simply by the pseudonym “Jibril” – at the Saint James Monastery in Qara, Syria. In contrast to an earlier report in the FAZ, which had claimed that the victims were largely Shi’ites and Alawis, Jibril told Hackensberger that all of the victims were Sunnis “like everybody here”. By his account, they were killed for refusing to support the rebellion. Jibril added that “a lot of people in Houla know what really happened” but would not say so out of fear for their lives. “Whoever says something,” he explained, “can only repeat the rebels’ version. Anything else is certain death.”

    While traveling in the region of Homs, Hackensberger heard similar stories about the conduct of the rebels. One – now former – resident of the city of Qusayr told him that not only were Christians like himself expelled from the town, but that anyone who refused to enroll their children in the Free Syrian Army had been shot. Hackensberger’s source held foreign Islamists responsible for the atrocities. “I have seen them with my own eyes,” he said, “Pakistanis, Libyans, Tunisians and also Lebanese. They call Osama bin Laden their sheikh.”

    A Sunni resident of Homs told Hackensberger that he had witnessed how an armed group stopped a bus: “The passengers were divided into two groups: on the one side, Sunnis; on the other, Alawis.” According to Hackenberger’s source, the insurgents then proceeded to decapitate the nine Alawi passengers.

    That the German government would cite national interest in refusing to disclose its information concerning the circumstances of the Houla massacre is particularly notable in light of Germany’s support for the rebellion and its political arm, the Syrian National Council (SNC).

    While France, the United Kingdom, and the United States have figured as the most visible Western powers supporting the rebellion, Germany has been quietly playing a major role behind the scenes. According to a new report in the FAZ, the German foreign office is working with representatives of the Syrian opposition to develop “concrete plans” for a “political transition” in Syria following the fall of Assad [2].

    John Rosenthal (http://www.voltairenet.org/German-Intelligence-al-Qaeda-All)

    • http://www.planetanarchy.net Pham Binh of Occupy Wall Street, Class War Camp

      Sounds like recycled Bush administration propaganda from the Iraq war. I’m all for saving the environment, but this kind of recycling doesn’t do us any good.

  • http://www.voltairenet.org/en Diana Barahona

    For the last 18 months, Syria has been prey to troubles that have steadily increased to become a widespread armed conflict having already killed about 20,000 people. If there is consensus on this observation, narratives and interpretations vary beyond.
    For Western states and their press, the Syrians aspire to live in the Western market democracies. Following the Tunisian, Egyptian and Libyan “Arab Spring” models, they rose up to overthrow their dictator Bashar al-Assad. The latter suppressed the demonstrations with bloodshed. While Westerners would have liked to intervene to stop the massacre, the Russians and Chinese, out of self-interest or contempt for human life, opposed intervention.
    On the contrary for all other states that are not vassals of the U.S. and for their media, the U.S. launched an operation planned a long time ago against Syria. First, through its regional allies, and then directly, they have introduced armed bands, modeled on the Contras in Nicaragua, that have destabilized the country. But they found only very weak domestic support and were routed while Russia and China prevented NATO’s destroying the Syrian army and reversing the regional equation.

    Who is telling the truth? Who is wrong?
    Armed groups in Syria do not defend democracy, they fight against it
    First, the interpretation of Syrian events as an episode of the “Arab Spring” is an illusion because this “spring” has no basis in reality. This is an advertising slogan to positively present unrelated facts. Although there has been a popular revolt in Tunisia, Yemen and Bahrain, there was none in neither Egypt nor Libya. In Egypt, the street demonstrations have been limited to the capital and parts of the middle class; never, absolutely never, have the Egyptian people identified with the telegenic spectacle of Tahrir Square [1]. In Libya, there was no political revolt, but a separatist movement in Cyrenaica against the power of Tripoli, and the military intervention of NATO, which cost the lives of about 160,000 people.
    The Lebanese station NourTV has been very successful airing a series of broadcasts by Hassan Hamade entitled “The Arab Spring, from Lawrence of Arabia to Bernard-Henri Levy.” The authors develop therein the idea that the “Arab Spring” is a remake of the “Arab Revolt” of 1916-1918 orchestrated by the British against the Ottomans. This time, Westerners have manipulated situations to upset a generation of leaders and impose the Muslim Brotherhood. In fact, the “Arab Spring” is false advertising. Now, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Gaza are governed by a brotherhood; on the one hand imposing a moral order and on the other supporting Zionism and pseudo-liberal capitalism, that is to say the interests of Israel and the Anglo-Americans. The illusion was dispelled. Some authors, like Syria’s Said Hilal Alcharifi, now deride the “NATO spring”.
    Secondly, the leaders of the Syrian National Council (SNC) as well as the Free Syrian Army (FSA) commanders are not democratic at all, in the sense that they would be favourable to “a government of the people, by the people, for the people”, according to Abraham Lincoln’s formula taken from the French Constitution.
    Thus, the first president of the SNC was the Paris academic, Burhan Ghalioun. He was in no way “a Syrian opponent persecuted by the regime” since he circulated freely in and out of his country. Nor was he a “secular intellectual” as he claims, since he was the political advisor to the Algerian Abbassi Madani, President of the Islamic Salvation Front (ISF), now a refugee in Qatar. 
His successor, Abdel Basset Syda [2] entered politics only in the last months, and immediately established himself as a mere executor of US wishes. Upon his election as head of the SNC, he pledged not to defend the will of his people, but to implement the “road map” that Washington drew up for Syria: The Day After.
    Nor are the Free Syrian Army fighters champions of democracy. They recognize the spiritual authority of sheikh Adnan Alrour, a takfirist preacher, who calls for the overthrow and killing of Assad, not for political reasons but simply because Assad is of the Alawite faith, that is to say a heretic in the preacher’s eyes. All of the identified officers in the FSA are Sunnis and all of the FSA brigades are named after historical Sunni figures. The “revolutionary tribunals” of the FSA sentence their political opponents to death (and not only supporters of Bashar al-Assad) and they slaughter the unbelievers in public. The FSA program is to end the secular regime installed by the Baath, the SSNP and the Communist Party in favor of a pure religious Sunni regime.

    The Syrian conflict was premeditated by the West
    The western will to end Syria is known and it is quite sufficient to explain current events. Let us recall some facts that leave no doubt as to the premeditation of these events [3].
    The decision to go to war with Syria was made by President George W. Bush at a Camp David meeting on September 15, 2001, just after the spectacular attacks in New York and Washington. Simultaneously attacks were planned in Libya to demonstrate the ability to act in two theaters at once. This decision was corroborated by the testimony of General Wesley Clark, former NATO supreme commander, who was opposed to it.
    In the wake of the fall of Baghdad, in 2003, Congress passed two laws instructing the President of the United States to prepare wars against Libya and Syria (the Syria Accountability Act).
    In 2004, Washington accused Syria of harbouring the weapons of mass destruction that could not be found in Iraq. This accusation fizzled when it was admitted that the weapons never existed and were but a pretext for invading Iraq.
    In 2005, after the assassination of Rafik Hariri, Washington attempted to go to war against Syria, but could not manage it as Syria withdrew its army from Lebanon. The United States then elicited fake testimonials to accuse President al-Assad of ordering the attack and they created a special international court to try him. But they were ultimately forced to withdraw their false accusations when their manipulations were brought to the light of day.
    In 2006, the U.S. began to prepare the “Syrian revolution” by creating the Syria Democracy Program. The idea was to create and fund pro-Western opposition groups (such as the Movement for Justice and Development). Official funding from the State Department was supplemented by secret CIA funding via an association from California, the Democracy Council.
    Also in 2006, the U.S. outsourced to Israel a war against Lebanon in the hope of involving Syria in order to justify intervention. But Hezbollah’s quick victory foiled that plan.
    In 2007, Israel attacked Syria, bombing a military installation (Operation Orchard). But again, Damascus kept its cool and did not let itself get embroiled in war. Subsequent audits by the International Atomic Energy Agency showed that the target was not a nuclear site, contrary to what had been claimed by the Israelis.
    In 2008, during NATO’s annual Bilderberg Group meeting, the Director of the Arab Reform Initiative, Bassma Kodmani, and the director of the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, Volker Perthes, demonstrated briefly to the Euro-American Gotha the economic, political and military benefits of possible intervention by the Alliance in Syria.
    In 2009, the CIA set up tools of propaganda destined for Syria such as the BaradaTV channel, based in London, and Dubai-based OrientTV.
    To these historical elements, let’s add that a meeting was held in Cairo, the second week of February 2011, around John McCain, Joe Lieberman and Bernard-Henry Levy, figures like Mahmoud Jibril Libya (then number two in the Libyan Jamahiriya government) and Syrian personalities like Malik al-Abdeh and Ammar Qurabi. It was this meeting that gave the signal for covert operations that began in both Libya and Syria (February 15th in Benghazi and 17th in Damascus).
    In January 2012, the U.S. Departments of State and Defense formed the Task Force named The Day After: Supporting a democratic transition in Syria, which drafted both a new constitution for Syria and a governance program [4].
    In May of 2012, NATO and the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) set up the Working Group on Economic Recovery and Development of the Friends of the Syrian People, under German and Emirati co-chairmanship. Therein, the Syrian-British economist Ossam el-Kadi worked out a plan to divide Syrian wealth among coalition member states, to apply the “day after” (that is to say, after the overthrow of the regime by NATO and the GCC) [5].

    Revolutionaries or counter-revolutionaries?
    The armed groups did not spring from peaceful protests in February 2011. These events in fact denounced corruption and demanded more freedoms, whereas the armed groups- as we have seen above- emerge from Islamism.
    In recent years, a terrible economic crisis has hit the countryside. It was due to poor harvests, which were wrongly assessed as passing misfortunes while they were in reality the consequences of chronic climate change. To this are added errors in the implementation of economic reforms that have disrupted the primary sector. This was followed by a massive rural exodus which the government has managed, and a sectarian drifting away of some farmers neglected by the powers. In many areas, rural housing was not concentrated in villages, but dispersed as isolated farms, no one had measured the extent of this phenomenon until its adherents congregated.
    Ultimately, while the Syrian society embodies the paradigm of religious tolerance, a takfirist current developed within. It provided the basis for the armed groups. These have been richly funded by Wahhabi monarchies (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Sharjjah). 
This windfall has led to the rallying of new fighters which include relatives of the victims of the massive crackdown against the failed bloody Muslim Brotherhood coup in 1982. Their motive is often less ideological than personal. It springs from vendetta. 
Many thugs and habitual criminals lured by easy money joined: a “revolutionary” is paid seven times the average wage. 
Finally, professionals who fought in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya or Iraq started pouring in. At the head of these are the men of Al Qaeda in Libya, led by Abdelhakim Belhaj in person [6] The media present them as jihadists, which is inappropriate, Islam not conceiving of holy war against fellow Muslims. These are primarily mercenaries.
    Western media and the Gulf press both insist on the presence of deserters in the FSA. That is certain, but it is false to claim that they defected after refusing to suppress political demonstrations. The deserters in question almost always come from cases similar to those we described above. Moreover, any army of 300,000 men would perforce have in its ranks its share of religious fanatics and thugs.
    Armed groups use a Syrian flag with a green band (instead of the red band) and three stars (instead of two). The Western press calls it the “flag of independence”, as it was in effect at the time of independence in 1946. In reality, this is the flag of the French mandate which remained in force during the country’s formal independence (1932-1958). The three stars represent the three districts of religious colonialism (Alawite, Druze and Christian). Using this flag is certainly not the equivalent of brandishing a revolutionary symbol. On the contrary, it is to affirm the will to prolong the colonial project, that of the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 and the remodeling of the “Greater Middle East”.
    Over the 18 months of armed action, these armed groups structured and more or less coordinated themselves. As it stands, the vast majority have come under Turkish command, under the label of Free Syrian Army. In fact, they have become auxiliaries of NATO; their headquarters is even located on the NATO air base at Incirlik. Hard core Islamists have formed their own organizations or have joined al-Qaida. They are under the control of Qatar or of the Sudeiri branch of the Saudi royal family [7]. They are de facto attached to the CIA.
    This progressive constitution, which starts with poor farmers and ends with an influx of mercenaries, is identical to what we saw in Nicaragua when the CIA organized the Contras to overthrow the Sandinistas, or to what we had known in Cuba when the CIA organized the landing of the Bay of Pigs to overthrow Castro. It is precisely this model that the Syrian armed groups now claim as their own: in May of 2012, Miami Cuban Contras organized counter-revolutionary guerrilla war training seminars for their Syrian counterparts [8].
    CIA methods are the same everywhere. Thus, the Syrian Contras focused their military action in part on the creation of permanent bases (but none held, not even the Islamic Emirate of Baba Amr), then economic sabotage (destruction of infrastructure and burning down large factories), and finally terrorist tactics (derailment of passenger trains, car bomb attacks at popular sites, killing religious, political and military leaders).
    In consequence, that part of the Syrian population which could have had sympathy for armed groups at the onset of events, believing that they represented an alternative to the current regime, have become progressively disaffected.
    Not surprisingly, the battle of Damascus has consisted in the convergence on the capital of 7,000 fighters scattered around the country and mercenary armies based in neighboring countries. Tens of thousands of Contras have tried to enter the country. They moved simultaneously in numerous columns of pick-up trucks, preferring to cross deserts than travel the highways. Some of them were stopped by aerial bombardment and had to turn back. Others, after seizing the border crossings, reached the capital. They have not found the hoped for popular support. Rather, it is the people that have guided the National Army soldiers to identify them and weed them out. Eventually they were forced to retreat and have announced that, failing to take Damascus, they would take Aleppo. Moreover, it shows they are neither Damascenes in revolt, nor Aleppians, but transient fighters.

    
Contra infiltration through the desert near Dera
    The unpopularity of the armed groups should be compared with the popularity of the regular army and self-defense militia. The Syrian National Army is a conscript army, so it’s a people’s army, and it is unthinkable that it can be used for political repression. Recently, the government authorized the creation of neighborhood militias. It distributed weapons to citizens who are committed to devote 2 hours of their time every day to defend their neighborhood, under military supervision.

    The moon is made of green cheese
    In his time, President Reagan met some difficulties trying to present Contras as “revolutionary.” He created a structure for this propaganda, the Bureau of Public Diplomacy, the management of which he entrusted to Otto Reich [9]. The latter corrupted journalists in most major U.S. and Western European media to poison the well of public opinion. Among others, he launched a rumor that the Sandinistas had chemical weapons and might use them against their own people. Today propaganda is directed from the White House by the deputy national security adviser in charge of strategic communications, Ben Rhodes. He employs the old methods and has spread rumors of chemical weapons against President al-Assad.
    In collaboration with the British MI6, Rhodes managed to impose a phantom structure as the main source of information for Western news agencies: the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH). The media have never questioned the credibility of this outfit, even though its allegations were denied by the observers of the Arab League and by those of the United Nations. Better yet, this phantom structure, which has neither offices nor staff nor expertise, has also become the source of information for European chancelleries since the White House convinced them to withdraw their diplomatic staff from Syria.
    
While waiting to be on live, the Al-Jazeera correspondent, Khaled Abou Saleh, phones his editor. He claims that Baba Amr is being bombed and organizes the sound effects. M. Abou Saleh was François Hollande’s guest of honour at the 3rd Conference of the Friends of Syria.
    Ben Rhodes also organised shows for journalists thirsting for sensationalism. Two tour operations have been established, one in the office of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and the second at the offices of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. Willing journalists were invited to enter illegally into Syria through smugglers. For months, a trip was offered from the Turkish border to a remote witness village located in the mountains. You could have a photo shoot with “revolutionaries” and “share the daily lives of combatants.” Then the more sporting crowd could visit the Islamic Emirate of Baba Amr from the Lebanese border.
    Oddly enough, many journalists observed huge falsifications for themselves, but they did not draw any conclusions. Thus, a famous photojournalist filmed the Baba Amr “revolutionaries” burning tires to release black smoke and make believe in a bombing in the neighborhood. He broadcast these images on Channel4 [10], but continued to claim that he had witnessed the bombardment of Baba Amr as narrated by the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights. Or again, the New York Times noted that pictures and videos sent by the press service of the Free Syrian Army showing valiant fighters were staged [11]. Weapons of war were actually replicas, toys for children. The newspaper has nevertheless continued to believe in the existence of an army of deserters numbering nearly 100,000 men.

    
Reading a statement from the Free Syrian Army. The proud “deserters” are extras who carry fake weapons.
    According to a classical irony, journalists prefer to lie than admit that they have been manipulated. Once duped, they consciously participate in the development of the lie they have discovered. The question is whether you, readers of this article, also prefer to close your eyes or if you decide to support the Syrian people against the Contras’ aggression.
    Thierry Meyssan

    • Brian S.

      ADMIN: This extremely long post is not written by the person who posted it, but is a direct copy of a web page which could easily have been provided through a link, This behaviour is disruptive of the discussion here and I feel you should issue a warning and/or some guidelines about i.

    • admin

      Layoff the spam. Nothing here is in response to the content of the article. First and last warning.

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