They say a picture paints a thousand words. The photograph of British Prime Minister David Cameron and Russian President Vladimir Putin in London recently certainly does. When the two leaders gave a press conference at the weekend in Downing Street ahead to the G8 summit, Cameron had the excruciating look of a desperate man. Putin, by contrast, appeared in control. The latter spoke in measured tones and with discernible contempt in his voice.
The two leaders had emerged from a “difficult” – diplomatic language for “combative” – private meeting in which Syria was top of the agenda. Apparently, President Putin had kept his British host waiting for one hour before arriving.
Afterwards, at the press conference, Cameron winced and gripped the podium as if it was a precipice from which he was hanging, as Putin delivered his comments. Cameron had good reason to look fearful as he hung on every word emanating from the Russian leader.
Then Putin pushed diplomacy to the limit when he said:
“You will not deny that one does not really need to support the people who not only kill their enemies, but open up their bodies, eat their intestines in front of the public and cameras. Are these the people you want to support? Is it them who you want to supply with weapons? Then this probably has little relation to humanitarian values that have been preached in Europe for hundreds of years.”
It was the rhetorical equivalent of a public slap in the face for the conceited British prime minister.
Putin was referring explicitly to the countless videos that have emerged over recent months showing a litany of barbarities committed by the Western so-called “rebels” who have been waging a war inside Syria for the past two and half years to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad. The depravities include eviscerating bodies of slain victims and forcing children to decapitate soldiers and civilians.
In reality these “pro-democracy rebels” whom the Western governments and media have lionized are a rag-tag paramilitary force of extremists and terrorists who have gravitated to Syria from up to 30 countries, including Libya, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and the Russian Caucasus. These mercenaries share the same abstruse Wahhabi/Salafist theology, which gives them an ideological green light to butcher anyone that stands in their way of setting up a fundamentalist Emirate in Syria. The NATO powers, led by the US, Britain and France, have armed this proxy army to the teeth and equipped it with logistics and training from Special Forces to do the West’s dirty work of regime change.
Consistent reports testify that the American CIA and British M16 are directing the terrorist traffic into Syria from bordering Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Israel. There are also reliable reports that Western military intelligence agents have equipped and trained the mercenaries in Syria in the use of chemical weapons, including the deadly nerve poison sarin, which confounds British, French and American government claims last week that it is the Syrian national forces that are using these weapons. That Western claim – presented without of a scintilla of evidence – has been firmly rebutted by both Russia and Syria.
Yet when Cameron spoke first at the London press conference, he appeared to be exhorting Putin on the need for humanitarian principles and urgency.
Ironically, Britain and its allied Western sponsors of state terrorism in Syria have accused Russia of destabilizing Syria and the region from its maintenance of normal diplomatic relations with the sovereign government in Damascus and for Moscow’s support of a planned peace conference in Geneva between the Assad administration and members of the internal political opposition. Putin reminded his British host that Russian delivery of weapons to Assad, in particular the S-300 anti-aircraft defense system, was part of a long-standing legal transaction – unlike the clandestine orchestration of foreign jihadists by Western and Arab rogue states in complete violation of international law and norms.
Still, in face of this damning evidence, Cameron struggled to sound statesmanlike as Putin looked on with an admixture of indignation and tedium.
Cameron tried ever-so desperately to strike a pose of consensus with his Russian guest. He said:
“What I take from our conversation today is that we can overcome these differences if we recognize that we share some fundamental aims: to end the conflict, to stop Syria breaking apart, to let the Syrian people decide who governs them, and to take the fight to the extremists and defeat them.”
Cameron’s vow “to let the Syrian people decide who governs them, and take the fight to the extremists and defeat them” is plain old execrable duplicity of the flavour that British politicians are past masters at selling.
The British premier added that Britain and Russia should put aside their differences to find “common ground”. What this archetypal British dissembling is aiming at is to somehow inveigle Moscow into jettisoning its strategic relations with the Assad government and to leave Syria at the mercy of marauding Western-backed death squads. Where is the “common ground” in that arrangement? It sounds more like wanting to push Russia and Syria over the abyss.
Within hours of the Downing Street meeting between Cameron and Putin, the former French foreign minister Roland Dumas was separately revealing to French media that he was approached by British officials with a plan to destabilize Syria – two years before the outbreak of conflict in March 2011.
Elsewhere at the weekend, British foreign minister William Hague was maintaining the fiction that Britain was on the side of “moderates” in Syria. Hague told the BBC:
“We are currently sending equipment that saves lives, and who are we sending that to? Well, we are sending it to those more moderate, more sensible elements of the opposition. Obviously, we’re not sending it to extremist groups, to groups that we’re very concerned about, that could become a terrorist threat.”
This is again sheer British duplicity and dissembling in the glaring spotlight of truth. The so-called Free Syrian Army of mercenaries, better known as the Foreign Supplied Army, is comprised of more than 70 per cent of foreign jihadist, most of whom like the Jabhat Al Nusra are affiliated with Al Qaeda. The liaison between British and American military intelligence and Al Qaeda-linked Mujahideen is a long-standing collusion, dating back to Afghanistan during the 1980s when these foot soldiers waged a dirty war for the West against the Soviet Union.
The Russians hardly need to snoop on British government phone calls and emails to know of the decades-old collusion that exists between Britain, the US and Al Qaeda proxy terrorists – a collusion which has now caused a maelstrom of destruction and human suffering in Syria, with over 90,000 deaths.
So, when Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke in London of organ-eating terrorists supported by the NATO powers, he was right to rhetorically slap Britain’s Cameron in the face. Putin was just right, too, to make Cameron wince and grip that podium with white knuckles before delivering the all-embarrassing slap. For Cameron had minutes earlier just tried to insult Putin’s intelligence, and the rest of the world’s, with bare-faced lies about Britain’s nefarious role in Syria.
Saudi slip signals Iran obsession in Syria
The international criminal conspiracy known euphemistically as the “Friends of Syria” gathers once again in Qatar this weekend to discuss how to expedite their covert war for regime change in Syria.
Some analysts have reckoned that the Obama administration is losing interest in the covert Syria operation, while mainstream media still peddle the ridiculous line that the US and its allies are trying to forge a peace settlement in the Levantine country devastated by 27 months of relentless conflict and more than 90,000 deaths.
On both counts, nothing could be further from the truth. The Western powers, including the US, are stepping up their criminal attack on Syria. This is because, following a spate of recent military victories by Syrian government forces, the Western powers are in danger of outright defeat in their long-term agenda of regime change in Syria and, more importantly, the wider region.
A central part of that Western agenda is to isolate and undermine Iran, an important ally of Syria and a key opponent to Western hegemonic ambitions in the vital oil- and gas-rich Middle East region.
From the Western imperialist viewpoint, if they lose in their covert war in Syria, then Iran’s alliance with Syria and its influence across the Middle East will be even greater. That outcome is anathema to the US and its European allies, Britain and France. A recent Saudi slip in the Western media let the cat out of the bag.
On the eve of the Qatar meeting this weekend, the London-based Financial Times reported:
“Saudi Arabia, which competes with Iran for regional influence, considers the Syrian conflict a direct threat to its national security, with its potential to strengthen an alliance between powerful Shia elements in a string of countries stretching from Iran to Lebanon, via Iraq and Syria.”
The first thing to note from this disclosure is that the conflict in Syria is not about “supporting pro-democracy Syrian rebels” as the Western governments and media and their regional allies have been making out for the past two years. It is clearly about regime change in Syria and a competition for regional influence, in particular between Western-backed Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Because of the deep strategic ties between the House of Saud and Washington and London, it can be safely deduced that Saudi concerns over Syria and Iran are intimately shared by the US and Britain, as well as France.
The Financial Times quotes Jamal Khashoggi, “a Saudi analyst close to decision-making circles” in Riyadh. “Saudi Arabia will not allow an Iranian victory in Syria,” according to Khashoggi.
“Saudi Arabia has to do something now, even if it will do it alone. The goal now must be toppling [Syrian President] Bashar [al-Assad], even if the US is not involved. If Saudi Arabia leads the way, Sunni tribes and other countries, including France, will eventually join.”
The tone is unmistakably one of grave anxiety among the Saudi rulers that they are facing a crucial defeat in Syria – a defeat that is amplified by the perceived strategic gain to Iran from such an outcome.
Underscoring this Saudi and Western anxiety over Syria are reports that their proxy FSA – read Foreign Supplied Army – has in recent days received batches of “game-changing weapons”. These weapons are reported to include anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles supplied by Saudi Arabia via NATO member Turkey. This delivery of new firepower to the NATO-backed mercenaries in Syria coincides with a report in the Los Angeles Times that American Special Forces and the Central Intelligence Agency have been training FSA militia in the use of the very same weapons from bases in Jordan and Turkey over the past several months.
That clearly means coordinated effort between the US and its allies to ramp up the violence in Syria. In addition, the German newspaper Der Spiegel reported last week that France and Saudi Arabia are supplying French-made Mistral anti-aircraft missiles into Syria.
The reason for why the Obama administration is so far maintaining a covert role in this arms supply and training is not to do with ambivalence in the US government towards deepening involvement in the Syria regime-change operation, but more probably because the White House is acutely aware of a political backlash from the American people. Recent polls show that 70 per cent of Americans are opposed to their government arming the Syrian militants and Al-Qaeda affiliates.
That is why the official American position is proffering ostensible support for a political solution in the form of the forthcoming Geneva conference, a conference that is looking increasingly doomed to fail because of Washington’s covert military moves in concert with its NATO allies, as well as Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Voice of America quoted US Secretary of State John Kerry ahead of the meeting this weekend in the Qatari capital, Doha. Kerry said: “There is a unanimity about the importance of trying to find a way to peace, and not a way to war.”
VoA also reported: “EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said there is no military solution to the conflict.” Ashton was quoted as saying:
“We are supporting what has become known as Geneva 2, the process of helping to find a political solution, which is in the end the solution.”
The notion that the US and its allies are backing off from Syria or looking for a political way out is flatly negated by the facts on the ground. At the beginning of this month, the EU bloc lifted its embargo on weapons supply to Syrian insurgents; and on 14 June, the Obama White House gave its approval for openly supplying lethal aid.
The real agenda for the “Enemies of Syria” meeting in Doha this weekend – including the foreign ministers of the US, Britain, France, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar – is not to discuss the politics of peace, but the practicalities of how to better arm the mercenaries fighting in Syria to topple the government of President Assad.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted with eminent reason that US and European pledges to increase weapons supplies to the mercenaries in Syria – who have minimal support among the Syrian people – is jeopardizing any efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict. Officially at least, Washington, London and Paris are saying that they back the proposed peace conference in Geneva, but on the ground in Syria their all-important actions speak far more loudly of the opposite intention.
The real, unswerving agenda for Washington, London and Paris is regime change through the use of unremitting state-sponsored terrorism. That agenda is not only confined to Syria; as the Saudi disclosure indicates, the bigger picture has to do with the obsession among the Western imperialist powers and their Persian Gulf Arab dictator stooges towards Iran.
‘Friends of Syria’ agree to arm Syria militants
PressTVGlobalNews on Jun 22, 2013
Foreign ministers of the countries supporting the militants fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have agreed to provide them “urgently” with arms.
Guest: James Petras