| UNSC: War criminals by default?

War criminals by default ~ Alan HartRedress Information & Analysis.

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

My last thought for 2013 is that for their failure to cooperate and coordinate to make the United Nations work to stop the slaughter and destruction in Syria, the leaders of the five permanent and controlling members of the Security Council – the US, Britain, France, Russia and China – are war criminals by default.

UN Security Council Five

And I agree with an end-of-the-year review comment by Basma Atassi for Al-Jazeera. As more videos emerged of atrocities, “the international community’s inaction continued to give Syrians the message that their human worth is insignificant. The perpetrators (on all sides) have a free ride to kill and the victims have no place to go for justice.”

Civilization vs jungle law

There are only two ways to run this world of ours.

One is in accordance with the rule of law and respect for the human and political rights of all people. In this way of managing Planet Earth, the governments of all nations, without exceptions (so including those of Israel and the US), would be called and held to account by the Security Council and punished as necessary and appropriate when they demonstrated contempt for the rule of law and their various treaty obligations and other commitments.

The other way is in accordance with jungle law. For some years it has been my view that our leaders are taking us back to the jungle. What has been allowed to happen in Syria has only reinforced my fear on this account.

From the moment in April 2011 when the Syrian army was deployed to quell the uprising and fired on demonstrators across the country, it ought to have been obvious (I’m sure it was) to the governments of the major powers that the minority Alawite standard bearers, President Bashar al-Assad and his top military and other security people, would kill and kill and kill to stay in power and, if necessary, would die fighting rather than let go the levers of their power.

Missed opportunity

In my analysis. the real tragedy is that something could have been done at a very early stage to stop the killing and destruction. What was needed was for President Obama to have a private conversation with President Putin along something like the following lines;

It’s not in any of our interests that this conflict be allowed to escalate and spread. What’s your price for using your influence to require Assad to step down and make way for elections? I understand, of course, that you’ll only be able to use your influence to this effect if there is a firm and absolute guarantee that after elections the wellbeing and security of the minority Alawite population will be assured.

There must be no recriminations and revenge for decades of police state rule by the Baath Party of Assad father and son. I give you my word that the United States, through the Security Council, will play its necessary role in making good this guarantee…

And one more thing, Vladimir. I also give you my word that the US will not seek to make use of regime change in Syria as a means of trying to have Russia kicked out of Tartus, the only Mediterranean naval base for your Black Sea Fleet.

If Obama had been wise enough to take such an initiative, I think it much more likely than not that he would have got a positive response from Putin.

It’s worth noting that after the G20 Summit in Mexico in October 2012, British Prime Minister David Cameron claimed that during the meeting President Putin had shifted his position and wanted Bashar Assad out of power. Cameron said:

There remain differences over sequencing and the shape of how the transition takes place, but it is welcome that President Putin has been explicit that he does not want Assad remaining in charge in Syria. What we need next is agreement on a transitional leadership which can move Syria to a democratic future that protects the rights of all its communities.”

Probably Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was partly right when he said that Cameron’s statement about Putin’s position was “not corresponding to reality”.

But Putin did say: “It is important after regime change, if it happens, and it must happen only by constitutional means, that peace comes to the country and bloodshed stops.”

The reality as it seemed to me at the time, and which Cameron put his own spin on, was that Putin had indicated that he could live with regime change in Syria if it happened by constitutional means. And that’s why I think it was much more likely than not that Obama would have got a positive response from Putin at a very early point in the conflict if he had had the wisdom to make his case along the lines I suggested above.

Zionists and jihadists

A question arising is why didn’t Obama take such an initiative to protect the best interests of all concerned? My guess is that it was more than a lack of wisdom and global leadership on his part. For far too long he was listening to those (Zionism’s verbal hit men in particular) who were telling him that regime change in Syria, assisted as required by American military force and therefore on American-and-Israeli terms, was a necessary step on the road to regime change in Iran.

Today I think it can be said without fear of contradiction that Putin is as alarmed as his Western counterparts by the prospect of jihadists of various kinds establishing a safe haven and engine room in Syria. I also think Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was correct when he recently indicated, by obvious implication, that behind closed doors American and Western European leaders are beginning to understand that they may now need Assad and his ruthless war machine if the forces of violent Islamic fundamentalism are to be prevented from having a permanent base in Syria from which to create regional and even global havoc.

The next test of what if anything is left of Obama’s credibility as a leader who can bring positive influence to bear on events in Syria is fast approaching. With a Geneva meeting to chart the way to ending the conflict scheduled for 22 January, he has to decide whether or not Iran should be a party to the talks. Russia and Lakhdar Brahimi, the very experienced UN special envoy to Syria and chief mediator, insist that Iran must be represented to improve the prospects of the Geneva talks being something less than a complete failure. I agree.

The Zionist lobby and its stooges in Congress, plus Israel’s Arab state allies-of-convenience in the Gulf, led by Saudi Arabia, are opposed to Iran’s participation in the Geneva talks.

Will Obama have the will and the courage to defy them?

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| Russian chess move stalls US actions as Al-Qaeda Air Force!

Russian chess move stalls US actions as Al-Qaeda Air Force ~ Pepe Escobar, RT.

The frantic spin of the millisecond is that the White House is taking a ‘hard look’ at the Russian proposal for Bashar Assad to place Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal under UN control, thus at least postponing another US war in the Middle East.

Oh, the joys of the geopolitical chessboard; Russia throwing a lifeline to save US President Barack Obama from his self-spun ‘red line’.

True diplomats are supposed to prevent wars – not pose as warmongers. American exceptionalism is of course exempted. So just as Secretary of State John Kerry had the pedal on the metal selling yet another war in a London presser, his beat up Chevy was overtaken by a diplomatic Maserati: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

This was Kerry’s slip: “… [Assad] could turn over any single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week. Turn it over. All of it. And without delay and allow the full and total accounting for that. But he isn’t about to do it and it can’t be done obviously.”

It can be done, obviously, as Lavrov turned Kerry’s move against him – forwarding a two-step proposal to Damascus; Syria turns its chemical weapons to UN control and later agrees with their destruction, as well as joining the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Syrian Foreign Minister Moallem took no time to agree. The devil, of course, is in the fine print.

 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.(AFP Photo / Yuri Kadobnov)Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.(AFP Photo / Yuri Kadobnov)

 

Somebody help me! What’s the message?

Predictably, all hell broke loose at the State Department. Dammit! Darn Russki peacenik! A Kerry spokeswoman characterized it as a “rhetorical argument”. It was just “talk”. Damascus and Moscow have a horrible track record. This was just a “stalling tactic.” Washington could not trust Assad. And even if there was a “serious” proposal that would not delay the White House’s push to sell its war in the US Congress.

Yet two hours later, closet future US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton saw it as… a serious proposal, “suggested by Secretary Kerry and the Russians.” And she made clear she was for it after meeting with Obama himself.

Meanwhile, the batshit crazy department kept the pedal on the metal, with National Security Adviser Susan ‘Wolfowitz’ Rice busy warning that chemical attacks in Syria are a “serious threat to our national security” including to “citizens at home.” What, no ‘mushroom cloud’?

Yet just as ‘on message’ was up in smoke, magically, deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf and Hillary herself started talking in unison (somebody forgot to brief Rice). And the White House decided to take its ‘hard look’. Sort of. Because expectations are not that high. And the push to war in the US Congress is bound to continue.

Not even hardcore Beltway junkies have been able to keep track in real time of the Obama administration’s ever-shifting ‘policy’. This is how it (theoretically) stands. “Assad is responsible for the gas attack.” Translation; he did not order it, directly (no one with half a brain, apart from the Return of the Living Dead neo-cons, believes the current White House “evidence” sticks).  But he’s still “responsible”. And even if Al-Nusra Front did it – with ‘kitchen sarin’ imported from Iraq, as I proposed here, Assad is still “responsible”; after all he must protect Syrian citizens.

In his Monday TV Anschluss, Obama, clinging to the lifeline, was quick to steal Lavrov’s credit, saying he had “discussed” the broad outlook of what Russia announced directly with Putin at the G20 summit last week. This has not been corroborated by Moscow.

Obama told CNN this was a “potentially positive thought.” And he was keen to stress it only happened not because his Designated War Salesman slipped, but because of a “credible military threat.” To NBC, he kept peddling what Kerry defined as an “unbelievably small” attack; the US “can strike without provoking a counter-attack.” Yet to CNN he admitted, “the notion that Mr. Assad could significantly threaten the United States is just not the case.”

So why the need for the “unbelievably small” kinetic whatever? That’s too much of a metaphysical question for US journalism.

 

Rebel fighters prepare explosive devices to be used during fighting against Syrian government forces on September 7, 2013 in Syria's eastern town of Deir Ezzor.(AFP Photo / Ricardo Garcia Vilanova)Rebel fighters prepare explosive devices to be used during fighting against Syrian government forces on September 7, 2013 in Syria’s eastern town of Deir Ezzor.(AFP Photo / Ricardo Garcia Vilanova)

 

You have the right to remain inspected

Now for the fine print. Everybody knows what happened to Saddam Hussein and Colonel Gaddafi after they gave up their deterrence. Assuming both Washington and Damascus accept Lavrov’s proposal, this could easily be derailed into an Iraqi-style ultra-harsh inspection regime. At least in theory, no US Air Force will attack UN inspectors at Syrian chemical weapons depots. As for false flags, don’t underestimate Bandar Bush’s deep pockets.

Still, considering Washington won’t abandon its real agenda – regime change – Obama might eventually be re-presented with his full emperor hand to ‘supervise’ the chemical weapons handover and ‘punish’ any infringement, real or otherwise, by Damascus, facilitated by the usual spies infiltrated into the inspectors mechanism. As in, “if you complain, we bomb.”

The key point in all this, though, is that for Damascus chemical weapons are just a detail – they are worthless in the battlefield. What matters is the 250,000-strong Syrian Arab Army (SAA), as well as military support by Iran and especially Russia – as in badass missiles of the Yakhont variety or S-300 (even 400) systems. Destroying the weapons – assuming Damascus agrees – is a very long-term proposition, measured in years; even Russia and the US have not destroyed theirs. By then, the myriad gangs of the “Un-Free” Syrian Army may have been thoroughly defeated.

Obama may have read the writing on the (bloody) wall; forget about convincing the US Congress to bomb Damascus when there’s a real diplomatic way out on the table. Yet nothing changes in the long run. Those who are paying or cheering in the sidelines for this operation –  from Bandar Bush to Tel Aviv – want by all means to smash Damascus, for the benefit of Israel in terms of strategic balance, and for the benefit of the House of Saud in terms of isolating Iran in the Middle East.

So Lavrov’s chess move is not a checkmate; it is a gambit, meant to prevent the United States from becoming Al-Qaeda’s Air Force, at least for now. The quagmire would then move to a negotiating table – which would include those chemical weapons inspections.

No wonder assorted Western-weaponized psychos and jihadists on the ground in Syria don’t like this one bit. It’s happening just as more damning circumstantial evidence of false flags galore surface.

RT has been informed that the ‘rebels’ may be planning a monster false flag on Israel, to belaunched from Assad-controlled ground.

 

US President Barack Obama.(AFP Photo / Kirill Kudryavtsev)US President Barack Obama.(AFP Photo / Kirill Kudryavtsev)

 

And then there’s the release of two former hostages detained for five months by the ‘rebels’ in appalling conditions; Domenico Quirico, a correspondent for La Stampa, and Belgian historian Pierre Piccinin. Here is a shortened version of Quirico’s story, in English.

I talked to a very close friend at La Stampa who spoke directly with Quirico. He confirmed that Quirico and Piccinin overheard a Skype conversation between a ‘rebel’ speaking very bad English, who introduced himself as an ‘FSA General’, and somebody speaking very good English on the other side of the line. It was clear from the conversation that the Assad government was NOT responsible for the gas attack in Ghouta. So Quirico is admitting exactly what Piccinin told Belgian TV. It may not be conclusive; yet as proof goes, it certainly beats the Israeli-fed White House intel.

Unlike Piccinin, Quirico cannot tell the whole true story; most of all because La Stampa, a newspaper owned by the Agnelli family, very close to Henry Kissinger, is staunchly pro-‘rebel’.

Here’s a translation of what Piccinin said“It’s a moral duty that we have, Domenico and myself, to say it was not the government of Bashar Assad that used sarin gas or other nerve agent, in the Damascene suburb of Ghouta. We are certain about this, it’s a conversation that we captured, even if it pains me to say it; I ferociously support the Free Syrian Army, and its fair struggle for democracy.”

Needless to say, none of this crucial development is being fully reported by US corporate media.

The Anschluss continues. Obama is addressing US public opinion this Tuesday night. Don’t expect him to announce yet another twist to the ‘Obama Doctrine’ – criminalizing ‘evil’ dictators who use Agent Orange, napalm, white phosphorous and depleted uranium against other people.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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| False flag: Now international experts debunk fake Syria CW victim pics!

Intl experts have strong proof images of chemical victims fabricated – Moscow ~ RT.

Footage and photos of the alleged chemical attack in Syria, which the US cites as the reason for a planned military intervention, had been fabricated in advance, speakers told a UN human rights conference in Geneva.

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Members of the conference were presented accounts of international experts, Syrian public figures and Russian news reporters covering the Syrian conflict, which back Russia’s opposition to the US plans, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The speakers argued that the suspected sarin gas attack near Damascus on August 21 was likely a provocation of the rebel forces and that a military action against the President Bashar Assad government will likely result in civilian casualties and a humanitarian catastrophe affecting the entire region.

The possible attack by US military without a UN Security Council mandate would violate international law and should be prevented by the United Nations, some of the speakers said.

Evidence for the Russian case, including numerous eyewitness reports and results of investigations of the chemical weapon incident by activists, was handed over to a UN commission of experts probing the Syrian crisis, the ministry said.

The Obama administration voiced an intention to use military force in Syria after reports of mass deaths in Eastern Houla, a neighborhood of Damascus, which killed more than 1,400 people according to US estimates. Washington says the deaths was due to a chemical weapons attack of the Syrian army on rebel forces and says it plans to use force to prevent such incidents in the future.

 

A view shows bodies of people activists say were killed by nerve gas in Damascus' suburbs of Zamalka August 21, 2013.(Reuters / Hadi Almonajed)A view shows bodies of people activists say were killed by nerve gas in Damascus’ suburbs of Zamalka August 21, 2013.(Reuters / Hadi Almonajed)

 

Russia is convinced that the chemical incident was a provocation by rebel forces, which staged a false flag attack to drag the US into the conflict and capitalize on the damage that the Syrian army is likely to sustain in the American intervention.

An increasing number of reports is backing Russia’s position, with local witnesses, US and British former intelligence professionals and Europeans recently released from rebel captivity all speaking for a provocation scenario.

In the latest development this week a possible way to de-escalate the tension was voiced, which would involve the Assad government handing over control of his chemical arsenal to the international community. The plan was backed by Russia, China and Syria’s main ally Iran, while Syria said it will review it.

Mixed signals over the plan came from the US. The US State Department initially said Secretary of State John Kerry, who initially voiced a possible disarmament, saw it as a rhetorical move and didn’t expect Bashar Assad to actually disarm. But later President Obama said such a move from Damascus would make him put the military action plan on pause.

Meanwhile RT learned that Syrian rebels might be planning a chemical weapons attack in Israel. The possible attack would be carried out from the territory supposedly controlled by the Syrian government and would trigger another round of escalation, leaving little hope of defusing the tension.

Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network shows people inspecting bodies of children and adults laying on the ground as Syrian rebels claim they were killed in a toxic gas attack by pro-government forces in eastern Ghouta, on the outskirts of Damascus on August 21, 2013.(AFP Photo / Shaam News Network)

Syrian opposition’s Shaam News Network shows people inspecting bodies of children and adults laying on the ground as Syrian rebels claim they were killed in a toxic gas attack by pro-government forces in eastern Ghouta, on the outskirts of Damascus on August 21, 2013.(AFP Photo / Shaam News Network)

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| Implicating France: Assad ‘betrayed Col Gaddafi to save his Syrian regime!’

Bashar al-Assad ‘betrayed Col Gaddafi to save his Syrian regime’ ~   , Nick Squires, Henry Samuel and Ruth Sherlock, The Telegraph.

The Assad regime in Syria brought about Muammar Gaddafi’s death by providing France with the key intelligence which led to the operation that killed him, sources in Libya have claimed.

Bashar al-Assad 'betrayed Col Gaddafi to save his Syrian regime'

Col Gaddafi, killed almost exactly a year ago Photo: AFP/GETTY

French spies operating in Sirte, Gaddafi’s last refuge, were able to set a trap for the Libyan dictator after obtaining his satellite telephone number from the Syrian government, they said.

In what would amount to an extraordinary betrayal of one Middle East strongman by another, President Bashar al-Assad sold out his fellow tyrant in an act of self-preservation, a former senior intelligence official in Tripoli told the Daily Telegraph.

With international attention switching from Libya to the mounting horrors in Syria, Mr Assad offered Paris the telephone number in exchange for an easing of French pressure on Damascus, according to Rami El Obeidi.

“In exchange for this information, Assad had obtained a promise of a grace period from the French and less political pressure on the regime – which is what happened,” Mr El Obeidi said.

A National Transitional Council (NTC) fighter holds a picture of the Libyan fallen leader Muammar Al Gaddafi

While it was not possible independently to verify his allegation, Nicolas Sarkozy, the former French president, played a leading role in both the Nato mission to bomb Libya and in bringing international pressure to bear on the Assad regime.

The claims by Mr El Obeidi, the former head of foreign intelligence for the movement that overthrew Gaddafi, followed comments by Mahmoud Jibril, who served as prime minister in the transitional government and now leads one of Libya’s largest political parties. He confirmed over the weekend that a foreign “agent” was involved in the operation that killed Gaddafi.

He did not identify his nationality. However the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera quoted Western diplomats in Tripoli as saying that if a foreign agent was involved “he was almost certainly French”.

The news of the Syria deal could potentially embarrass Nato, which initially claimed that it did “not target individuals”.

According to the alliance’s official version, an RAF reconnaissance plane spotted a large convoy of vehicles trying to flee Sirte on Oct 20th last year, two months after Gaddafi fled Tripoli.

Nato warplanes then bombed the convoy, apparently unaware of who was travelling in it, before militia fighters later found Gaddafi hiding in a drainpipe. He is believed to have been killed by his captors en route to the city of Misurata, west of Sirte.

But Mr El Obeidi said that France had essentially masterminded the operation by directing Libyan militiamen to an ambush spot where they could intercept Gaddafi’s convoy.

He also suggested that France had little interest in how Gaddafi was treated once captured, although the fighters were encouraged to try to take him alive.

“French intelligence played a direct tole in the death of Gaddafi, including his killing,” Mr El Obeidi said.

“They gave directions that he was to be apprehended, but they didn’t care if he was bloodied or beaten up as long as he was delivered alive.”

Bashar al-Assad, right, and his brother Maher

According to Mr El Obeidi, French intelligence began to monitor Gaddafi’s Iridium satellite telephone and made a vital breakthrough when he rang a senior loyalist, Yusuf Shakir and Ahmed Jibril, a Palestinian militant leader, in Syria.

As a result, they were able to pinpoint his location and monitor his movements. Although Turkish and British military intelligence officers – including the SAS – who were in Sirte at the time were informed of the ambush plans in advance they played no role in what was “an exclusive French operation”, Mr El Obeidi said.

At the time of Gaddafi’s death, Mr El Obeidi had fallen out of favour with the most powerful faction in Libya’s transitional government because of his links with Gen Abdul Fatah Younes, a senior rebel commander killed by his own side in July last year.

Even so, he continued in his intelligence role in a semi-official but senior capacity.

Sources quoted by Corriere della Sera said one reason for the French lead in the operation was that then President Nicolas Sarkozy wanted Gaddafi dead after the Libyan leader openly threatened to reveal details of the large amounts of money he had donated to Sarkozy for his 2007 election campaign.

“Sarkozy had every reason to want to get rid of the colonel as quickly as possible,” Western diplomats said, according to the newspaper.

A spokesman at the French foreign ministry refused to confirm or deny the claims.

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