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Although the Geneva Conference, in June of 2012, had set the foundations for peace in Syria, the war resumed for a year and a half. 100,000 deaths later, the foreign powers who planned and fueled the conflict have finally admitted defeat. Moscow and Washington are therefore planning to convene a new conference in Geneva to enact the victory of the Syrian Arab Republic.

The Geneva Conference, in June of 2012, was supposed to lay the foundations for peace in Syria. At that time, NATO had given up a Libya style bombardment of the country so as to avoid conflict with Russia and China. France’s Nicolas Sarkozy had negotiated the withdrawal of his military advisors from the Islamic Emirate of Baba Amr and obtained the restitution of his officers who had been taken prisoner. Logically, one could have estimated that the Syrian government had won the game and the return to normal was at hand. Read more…..

by Thierry Meyssan

4 November 2013

The media coverage of the war in Syria examines only military, diplomatic and humanitarian action. It ignores profound transformation. However, one does not survive a sea of ​​violence without changing profoundly. From Damascus, where he has lived for two years, Thierry Meyssan describes this evolution.

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Damascus, the oldest inhabited city in the world

While in Damascus, the Special Envoy of the Secretaries General of the Arab League and the UN, Lakhdar Brahimi, presented “his” draft peace conference project, Geneva 2. A conference whose objective would be to end the “civil war”. This terminology rehashes the analysis of one side against another, of those who argue that this conflict is a logical continuation of the “Arab Spring” against those who argue that it has been manufactured, fueled and manipulated from the outside.

The war according to the armed opposition

For Westerners and the majority of the National Coalition, Syria is experiencing a revolution. Its people have supposedly risen up against a dictatorship and aspire to live in a democracy like the United States. However, this view is contradicted by the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Syrian National Council and the Free Syrian Army. For them, the problem is not one of freedom, but the personality of Bashar al-Assad. They would be willing to keep the same institutions if the President agreed to step aside for one of his vice-presidents. However, this version is in turn contradicted by the fighters on the ground, for whom the problem is not the personality of the president, but the tolerance that he stands for. Their goal is to establish a Wahhabi system where religious minorities would be subdued or destroyed, and where the Constitution would be replaced by Sharia.

Freedom of expression

At first, when snipers were killing people, they said that it was the regime gunmen who were trying to impose fear. When cars exploded, it was said it was a false flag attack by the secret services. When a massive attack killed members of the Security Council, Assad was accused of having eliminated his rivals. Today, nobody doubts that these crimes were the work of jihadists and they continue to commit more.

In the beginning, there was emergency law. From 1963 on, demonstrations were banned. Only a trickle of foreign journalists was allowed entry and their activities were closely monitored. Today, emergency law has been lifted. There are still few demonstrations because of the fear of terrorist attacks. Numerous are the foreign journalists in Damascus. They move freely without any supervision. Yet most continue to report that the country is a horrible dictatorship. They are allowed to go on in hopes that they will tire of lying when their governments cease to preach the “overthrow of the regime.”

Initially, Syrians did not watch national television channels. They considered these to be propaganda and their preferred source was Al- Jazeera. On live TV, they followed the exploits of the “revolution” and the crimes of the “dictatorship”. But with time, they found themselves confronted directly with events. They saw for themselves the atrocities of the peudo-revolutionaries and they often owed their survival solely to the national army. Today, people watch national television much more, and especially Al- Mayadeen, a Lebanese-Iraqi channel that recovered the audience of Al Jazeera in the Arab world and who is developing an openly nationalist point of view.

Freedom of conscience

At first, the armed opposition claimed to be multi-denominational. People from religious minorities supported it. Then came the Islamic Courts sentencing to death and slitting the throats of the “bad” Sunni “traitors” to their community, the Alawites and Shiites, tortured in public, and Christians expelled from their homes. Today everyone understands that one is always a heretic when one is judged by “the pure ones”, the Takfirists.

While intellectuals argue that Syria was destroyed and needs to be redefined, people know what it is and are often willing to die for it. Ten years ago, every family had a teenager they were trying to exempt from military service. Only the poor were considering a career in the armed forces. Today, many young people enrol in the army and their elders join the popular militias. They all defend eternal Syria where various religious communities live side by side and they all venerate the same God when they have one.

During the conflict, many Syrians themselves evolved. At first they mostly watched events from the sidelines, most declaring not seeing themselves in any camp. After two and a half years of terrible suffering, everyone who remained in the country had to choose to survive. War is but an attempt by the colonial powers to blow on the embers of obscurantism to incinerate civilization.

Political freedom

For myself, having known Syria for a decade and having lived in Damascus for two years, I realize how much the country has changed. Ten years ago, each spoke in a low voice of the problems he had encountered with mukhabarats poking their noses into everything and anything. In this country, of which the Golan is occupied by Israel, the Secret Service had indeed acquired extravagant power. Yet they saw and knew nothing of the preparations for war, of the tunnels what were dug and of the weapons that were imported. Today, a large number of corrupt officials have fled abroad, the mukhabarats have refocused on their mission of homeland defense about which only the jihadists have to complain.

Ten years ago, the Ba’ath Party was constitutionally leader of the nation. It alone was allowed to field candidates in elections, but it was already no longer a mass party. Institutions were gradually moving away from the citizens. Today, it’s hard to follow the birth of political parties as they are so numerous. Anyone can run for office and win. Only the “democratic” opposition from Paris and Istanbul have decided to boycott rather than lose.

Ten years ago, one did not talk politics in cafes but only at home and only with people you knew. Today, everyone is talking about politics everywhere in government-controlled areas and never in areas controlled by armed opposition groups.

Where is the dictatorship? Where is the democracy ?

Class reactions

The war is also a class conflict. The rich, who have assets abroad, left when Damascus was attacked. They loved their country, but especially wished to protect their lives and property.

The bourgeois were terrified. They paid “revolutionary” taxes when insurgents demanded, and asserted state support when the army questioned them. Worried, they awaited the departure of President Assad which Al-Jazeera announced as imminent. They only lost their anxiety when the United States abandoned plans to bomb the country. Today, they think only of redeeming themselves by supporting the associations of families of martyrs.

The little people knew from the beginning where it was at. There were those who saw the war as a means to take revenge for their economic conditions, and those who wanted to defend freedom of conscience and free public services.

The United States and Israel, France and the United Kingdom, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia who waged the secret war and who lost, did not anticipate this result: to survive, Syria has liberated its energies and regained its freedom.

If the Geneva Conference 2 stands, the great powers will decide nothing there. The next government will not be the result of a diplomatic arrangement. The only power of the conference will be to propose a solution which can be applied only after it has been ratified by a popular referendum.

This war has bled Syria, half of its cities and infrastructure were destroyed to satisfy the appetites and fantasies of Western and Gulf powers. If something positive emerges from Geneva 2, it will be the financing of the reconstruction by those who have made the country suffer.

Roger Lagassé

Al-Watan (Syrie)

Saudi suicide by Thierry Meyssan

 —  November 3, 2013 — 1 Comment

While Saudi Arabia has adopted the Qatari plan to overthrow the Syrian secular regime, Riyadh seems unable to adapt to the sudden withdrawal of the U.S. Not only did the Saudis reject the Russian-American accord but they pursue the war and announce retaliation to “punish” the United States. For Thierry Meyssan, this stubborness is equivalent to collective suicide by the family of Saud.


Unleashed by the United States against Syria, will Saudi Arabia commit suicide if defeated? This is what one might conclude from the following events:

On July 31st, 2013, Prince Bandar bin Sultan visited Russia, where he not only met his counterpart, the intelligence chief , but also President Vladimir Putin. There are two versions of this meeting. For the Saudis, Bandar spoke on behalf of the Kingdom and the United States. He offered to buy 15 billion dollars worth of Russian weapons if Moscow dropped Syria. For the Russians, he spoke arrogantly, first threatening to send jihadists to disrupt the Olympic Games in Sochi if Moscow persisted in supporting the secular regime in Damascus, then trying to bribe him. Whatever the truth, Putin felt that his interlocutor was insulting Russia.

On September 30th, Prince Saud Al -Faisal had been included on the agenda of the general debate of the 68th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, but, enraged by the warming of relations between Iran and the U.S., the Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs left without excusing himself. In his anger, he refused to have his pre-printed speech distributed to delegates.

On October 11th, the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations and former head of the Department of State for the Middle East, Jeffrey Feltman, received a Lebanese delegation. Speaking on behalf of Mr. Ban, but probably even more on behalf of President Obama, he had no words strong enough to criticize Saudi foreign policy, built on grudges and unable to adapt to a changing world.

On the 18th of October, the General Assembly of the United Nations, with 176 votes out of 193, elected Saudi Arabia as a non-permanent member of the Security Council for two years from January 1st, 2014. Ambassador Abdallah El- Mouallemi congratulated himself for this victory that reflects “the effectiveness of Saudi policy marked by moderation”. (sic) But a few hours later, Prince Saud Al-Faisan issued a press release with Nasserist overtones on the incapacity of the Security Council and the refusal of the Kingdom to take its seat. If the main official reason given was the Syrian issue, the minister offered hiself the luxury of also denouncing the Palestinian issue and the weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, that is to say, to designate as enemies of peace both Iran and Israel. Knowing that the criticism of the Syrian UN policy is a challenge directly to Russia and China, who made ​​use of their vetoes three times, this press release was an insult to Beijing, although China is currently the main customer for Saudi oil. This about face, which plunged the United Nations into dismay, however, was loudly applauded by the presidents of Turkey and France declaring that they share the “frustrations” of Saudi Arabia on Syria.

On October 21st, the Wall Street Journal revealed that Prince Bandar bin Sultan had invited European diplomats posted in Riyadh to his home. There the head of the secret services narrated Saudi fury against Iranian rapprochement with the U.S. and U.S. military withdrawal from Syria. He is said to have announced to his guests that the kingdom would retaliate by divesting from America. Returning to the episode of the seat on the Security Council, the newspaper clarified that according to Prince Bandar, the statement was not directed against Beijing but against Washington; such a clarification being all the more interesting for not corresponding to the situation.

Faced with the disbelief generated by these statements and soothing comments from the State Department, Prince Turki bin Faisal explained to Reuters that the words of his personal enemy, Bandar, committed the kingdom and that the new policy would not be questioned. There is therefore no longer a question of a division of power between the two rival branches of the ruling family, the Sudairi against the Shuraim, but of their common vision.

In summary, Saudi Arabia insulted Russia in July, China two weeks ago, and now the United States. The Kingdom announced that it will withdraw its investments from America likely in favour of Turkey and France, even though no expert can see how this would be possible. Two explanations for this behavior are possible: either Riyadh feigned anger to allow Washington to continue the war in Syria without taking responsibility, or the family of Saud committed political suicide.

The first hypothesis seems contradicted by the declarations of Prince Bandar before the European ambassadors. If he was playing under the table for the United States, he would have refrained from coming to preach revolution to its allies.

The second hypothesis recalls the behavior of camels, animal fetishes of the Saudi Bedouins. They are reputed to be capable of carrying a grudge for years, not finding peace until they have satisfied their revenge whatever the cost.

However, the survival of Saudi Arabia is at stake since the appointment of John O. Brennan at the head of the CIA in March 2013. Formerly stationed in Saudi Arabia, he is a staunch opponent of the system put in place with Riyadh by his predecessors: international jihadism. Brennan believes that even if these fighters once did a good job in Afghanistan, Yugoslavia and Chechnya, they have become too numerous and unmanageable. What started as a few Arab extremists taking pot shots at the Red Army became a constellation of groups present from Morocco to China, fighting ultimately much more for the triumph of the Saudi model of society than to defeat adversaries of the United States. Already in 2001, the United States had thought to eliminate Al Qaeda by blaming it for the attacks of September 11th. However, with the official Osama Bin Laden assassination in May of 2011, they decided to rehabilitate the system and made great use of it in Libya and Syria. Without Al Qaeda Muammar el- Qaddafi could never have been overthrown. This is evident today by the presence of Abdelhakim Belhaj, former number two of the organization, as military governor of Tripoli. Anyway in the eyes of John O. Brennan, international jihadism should be reduced to low levels and be kept only as a special lever of the CIA for some occasions.

Jihadism is not only the only effective force in Saudi Arabia, whose army is divided into two units obeying the two clans of the Saud family, but also its sole purpose. Washington does not need the kingdom to provide it with oil nor to plead the cause of peace with Israel. Hence the return to the old neocon Pentagon plan: “Throw the Saudis out of Saudi Arabia,” the title of a July, 2002 powerpoint presentation to the Political Council of the Department of Defense. This project foresees the dismantling of the country into five distinct areas, three of which are to form independent states from each other and two of which would be attached to other states.

By choosing a showdown with the United States, the family of Saud doesn’t give them a choice. It is unlikely that Washington will allow itself to be dictated to by a few wealthy Bedouins but predictable that it will have them fall in line. In 1975, they did not hesitate to have King Faysal assassinated. This time, they will likely be even more radical.

Roger Lagassé