Russia Seeks Return of Hostages Held in Libya

Prensa Latina

Moscow, Apr 30 (Prensa Latina) Russia will do its best for the return home of two fellow countrymen held by an armed group in Libya and scheduled to be tried tomorrow in Tripoli, said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday.

At the end of a meeting here with his Sudanese counterpart Ali Karti, Lavrov said he is holding intensive contacts with the new Libyan authorities for the return of Alexander Shedonov and Vladimir Dalgov, held since August , 2011.

Three Belarusians and 19-22 Ukrainians were also made prisoners at the time by the armed group Kakaa, which was not subordinated to the provisional government, emerged in the wake of armed conflict in Libya.

“We made efforts, so that after their detention they were taken to Tripoli, where there are institutions controlled by the provisional government imposed there in the wake of the NATO bombings.

Tomorrow there will be a third hearing of the trial against the above mentioned group of people, many of whom were accused of being snipers, though none of them were carrying a weapon and most of them were seniors citezens.

Meanwhile, Lavrov considered there are conditions for a solution to the dispute between Sudan and South Sudan in the wake of approval of a UN Security Council resolution with precise directions for the two parties in conflict.

The compliance with the document will lead to enter a phase of negotiations to curb tension between the parties, above all after one of the points, regarding the military pullout from the disputed Heglig region, is fulfilled.

Lavrov urged the parties to put an end to hostilities and leave behind warmongering rhetoric and the intervention in the internal affairs of the two countries, divided after South Sudan proclaimed its independence.

Local media noted that the United States backed the separation of Sudan and South Sudan and then and now supports the claim of South Sudan of its sovereignty over Heglig, where more than half of the crude of the country (some 115,000 barrels a day) is extracted.

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Cuba’s May Day Celebration: 1,000 Paricipants, 62 Countries

Granma Internacional

As of the final week in April, more than 1,000 representatives from 162 trade unions, social organizations and Cuba solidarity groups from 62 countries on all continents, have confirmed their plans to participate in the national May Day march culminating in Havana’s José Martí Plaza de la Revolución, May 1.

Of this group, 453, to date, are trade union leaders from about 50 countries, with the largest portion from Mexico, the United States and Costa Rica, who have chosen to celebrate the day with the Cuban people, representing 27 solidarity organizations such as the May 1 Brigade, which for years has participated to express its support of the Cuban Revolution and, in particular, opposition to the blockade and the unjust incarceration of the Cuban Five in the United States.

Additionally 102 delegates from 37 countries have confirmed their participation in the 2nd International Conference of Young Workers, called by the World Federation of Trade Unions, April 29-30 at the Federation of Cuban Workers (CTC) headquarters, where they will be joined by young Cuban workers as well. (Susana Lee)

Activities begin for May Day International Brigade

“We came to Cuba to celebrate May Day as it should be celebrated, to re-energize and return to our countries committed to fighting for a different kind of nation, with more solidarity,” said Odette López, one of the Chilean members of the May 1 International Brigade, which every year brings together activists from many countries to celebrate the workers’ holiday in Cuba.

López recounted that when she first participated in the Brigade six years ago, she was so moved that she convinced several of her compatriots to make the trip with her and, this year, there are 23 activists from the Chilean city of Iquique participating in the Brigade.

Arriving along with this group at the Julio Antonio Mella International Camp, located in Caimito outside of Havana in the western province of Artemisa, were 215 Brigade participants from more than 20 countries, who will join the march and, over a two week period, engage in agricultural work, hear reports on Cuba’s current economic and political situation and learn about Cuba first hand.

“In my country, May Day is not what it is here. Celebrating the day among Cubans and participating in the march is a great event for me,” said Ariat Shmanov, from Kazakistan.

“I grew up during the Soviet era and always heard news about Cuba,” Shmanov recalled, “but with the disappearance of the socialist camp, many of us lost our ties to the country. So this trip will allow me to see how the Cuban Revolution has managed to defend its values.”

Many young people on the Brigade are seeing Cuba for the first time. The majority live a very different reality in their countries of origin and say that their stay in Cuba will help them see the world from a fresh point of view.

The Julio Antonio Mella International Camp was inaugurated by Fidel and several international brigades and is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

228 Venezuelan Movements Form Sexual Diversity Council

Tamara Pearson

Mérida, April 25th 2012 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Movements for LGBTI rights in the Great Patriotic Pole (GPP) met yesterday to form a sexual diversity council. Other movements and grassroots organisations in the revolutionary pole have also formed women’s, youth, and environmental councils, among others, in the lead up to the first national GPP assembly.

People representing 228 movements or groups met yesterday in Caracas to form the Patriotic Council of Sexual Diversity.

Spokesperson of the promotion team of the council (which organised the meeting), Ingrid Baron, said, “The socialist process led by Hugo Chavez has made the sexual diversity sector of the population visible and has included the sector in its policies.”

“Years ago we were subject to… a patriarchal system that had us on our knees, that marked us out,” said Ronny Ortega, spokesperson for the Revolutionary Sexual Diversity Movement of Aragua state. “But now, thanks to the Bolivarian revolution, we can say that we are part of the construction of a new country that goes against that system.”

Isis Ochoa, minister of communes and social protection, announced that the government had created the first centre of attention for transgender citizens, where they can receive “not just health care but also assistance with productive inclusion.”

Baron criticised that many of the revolution’s achievements, such as the right under the Civil Register Law of 2010, to change one’s name if it doesn’t correspond to one’s gender, a 2008 Supreme Court ruling that under the constitution, discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal, and the recent leasing law which prohibits discrimination according to gender or sexual identity when publicising rooms or houses for rent, have been “made invisible” by the private media.

“It’s our struggle, the sexual diversity movement’s struggle is the revolutionary one, because they aren’t going to give us anything, we haven’t come here to beg, we’re here to proclaim our space [in society],” said Baron.

Other GPP councils formed

500 representatives formed the Patriotic Council for Popular Economy on 16 April. The council includes people involved in communal economic projects and socialist productive models.

The day after, rural worker representatives created the Patriotic Council of Rural Workers and Fishers, and on18 April, the housing council and the science and technology council were created. Then, on 19 April, over 2000 youth participated in an assembly to form their council.

On 31 March representatives of 2,748 women’s organisations and committees of the Mothers of the Barrio mission also formed the Women’s Patriotic Council.

Finally, on 12 and 13 April, community and alternative media activists met in Caracas to discuss the formation of their council, deciding to elect five national spokespeople through their regional promotion teams. Councils for afro-descendents, environmentalists, transport workers, and people with disabilities have also been created.

The councils are being formed in the lead up to the first national assembly of the GPP, which will be held soon, and which will formalise the creation of the organisation, as well as its structures and leadership.

The GPP was launched last year with the idea of uniting all those movements, collectives, and social organisations which support the Bolivarian revolution. Its purpose is to support President Hugo Chavez’s re-election in October, as well as the consolidation and deepening of the revolution now and beyond the election. 35,000 grassroots organisations nationwide registered in the GPP in October last year, and from then on the Pole has been in a process grassroots meetings at various regional and national levels, in order to create its organisational structures.

Castro: Washington Promotes Overthrow of Venezuelan Government

Fidel Castro Ruz

What Obama Knows

The most demolishing article I have seen nowadays about Latin America was written by Renán Vega Cantor, full professor at the National Pedagogical University of Bogotá, which was published three days ago by the website ‘Rebelión’ under the title “Ecos de la Cumbre de las Américas” (Echoes of the Summit of the Americas).

It is a brief article and I should make no versions.  Those who specialize on the subject can look it up at the aforementioned website.

I have referred more than once to the infamous agreement that the United States imposed on Latin American and Caribbean countries when the OAS was founded at the foreign ministers meeting held in the city of Bogotá on April, 1948.  Just by sheer coincidence, I happened to be there on that date, helping to organize the celebration of a Latin American students’ congress whose main goal was to struggle against the European colonies and the bloody tyrannies imposed by the United States in this hemisphere.

One of the most brilliant political leaders in Colombia, Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, who had managed to unite, with ever growing strength, the most progressive sectors in Colombia that opposed the Yankees’ miscreation, had offered his support to the celebration of the students’ congress.  No one doubted he would win during the upcoming elections, but he was treacherously murdered. His death led to a rebellion that has kept alive for more than half a century.

Social struggles have been taking place throughout millennia, since human beings, by resorting to wars, were able to take hold of a surplus production to satisfy the essential needs of life.

As is known, the years of physical slavery, the most brutal form of exploitation, went on in some countries until a little more than a century ago, as it happened in our own homeland during the final stages of the Spanish colonial domination.

Even in the United States, the enslavement of African descendants continued until the presidency of Abraham Lincoln.  That brutal form of slavery was abolished there hardly thirty years before it was abolished in Cuba.

Martin Luther King dreamed about the equality of black Americans until almost 44 years ago, when he was vilely murdered on April, 1968.

The accelerated development of science and technology has been a sign of our times. Whether we are aware of it or not, this is what will mark the future of humanity.  This is an entirely new era.  What prevails in every corner of this globalized world is the real struggle of our species for its own survival.

As for now, all Latin American nations, particularly our own, will be affected by the process that is taking place in Venezuela, the home country of the Liberator of the Americas.

I barely need to reiterate what you already know: the close links that exist between our people and the people of Venezuela and Hugo Chávez, the promoter of the Bolivarian Revolution and the United Socialist Party he founded.

One of the first actions promoted by the Bolivarian Revolution was the medical cooperation with Cuba.  This is an area where our country has achieved a special prestige, which has been recognized nowadays by the international public opinion.  Thousands of health centers equipped with state-of-the-art technology manufactured by the world’s specialized industry have been founded by the Bolivarian government to provide medical assistance to its people.  Chávez, on his part, did not choose to go to expensive private clinics to care for his own health.  He trusted it to the same medical services he was offering to his people.

Besides, our doctors have devoted part of their time to the training of Venezuelan doctors in classrooms that have been properly equipped by the Venezuelan government.  The people of Venezuela, regardless of their personal incomes, began to receive the specialized services offered by our doctors.  It is now among the ones with the best medical care in the world and their health standards have obviously begun to improve.

President Obama knows this only too well and has talked about it with some of his visitors.  He candidly told one of them: “The problem is that the United States sends soldiers while Cuba, however, sends doctors”.

Chávez, a leader who has not had a minute of rest in the last twelve years and enjoyed an iron constitution, was, however, affected by an unexpected illness that was discovered and treated by the same specialized staff that usually assisted him.  It was not easy to persuade him of the need to pay maximum attention to his own health.  Since that moment, with an exemplary behavior, he has rigorously followed the treatment prescribed without neglecting his duties as Head of State and leader of his country.

I would dare to describe his attitude as heroic and disciplined. Not even for a single minute does he forget about his obligations; at times he does that to the point of exhaustion. I can attest to that because I have not ceased to be in touch and exchange with him.  He has not stopped to devote his fertile intelligence to the study and analysis of the problems of his country. He finds the vile remarks and slanders of the spokespersons of the oligarchy and the empire to be amusing.  I never heard him utter any insult or vile remarks when referring to his enemies.  That is not his kind of language.

The enemy knows the features of his character and is multiplying its efforts with the purpose of slandering and attacking President Chávez.  I, for one, do not hesitate in stating my modest opinion –which emanates from more than half a century of struggles- that the oligarchy will never again be able to govern that country.  That is the reason why the US government’s decision to promote the overthrow of the Bolivarian government under such circumstances becomes a source of concern.

Besides, to insist on a slanderous campaign stating that among the top leadership of the Bolivarian government there is a desperate quarrel to assume command of the revolutionary government if the President is not able to overcome his illness, is tantamount to building a gross lie.

Quite on the contrary, I have been able to see the closest unity among the leaders of the Bolivarian Revolution.

Under such circumstances, any mistake made by Obama could provoke rivers of blood in Venezuela.  The Venezuelan blood is also Ecuadorian, Brazilian, Argentinean, Bolivian, Chilean, Uruguayan, Central American, Dominican and Cuban blood.

It is necessary to bear in mind this reality when analyzing the political situation in Venezuela.

Is it now understood why the workers’ anthem is a call to change the world by doing away with the bourgeois empire?

New World War for New World Order?

Jooneed Khan

Confronted with a declining World Order it can no longer control, does the West want to re-assert its will through a new world war, which this time would be really global?

A terrifying scenario emerges from the ceaseless escalation of pressures and threats against Syria and Iran, pitting, for the first time since the NATO-OECD Empire won the Cold War two decades ago, the Western trio of the UN veto club (U.S., U.K., France) against its non-Western duo (Russia and China).

These two latter superpowers, key players of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) spanning the Eurasian mega continent, have blocked the trio’s plans to carry out a Libya-II in Syria, and to choke Iran with an array of sanctions that include cutting off its oil exports — while keeping the military strike option “on the table.”

This is the first time the Russians and Chinese have, together, raised obstacles in the way of the apparently unstoppable march of the victors of the Cold War — and the destroyers of the former Soviet Empire.

But the march of the NATO-OECD Empire is becoming less and less triumphal. With support from most of the non-Western countries of the Non Aligned Movement and the G77, Russia and China are reasserting the primacy of international law and UN diplomacy in tackling the Syria and Iran issues, hobbling further the Western propensity to drown every “crisis,” real or fabricated, under a carpet of bombs, missiles and boots on the ground — with dire unintended consequences for all!

From euphoria to quagmire, and decline

Still basking in its victory over the ex-Soviet Empire, the NATO-OECD Empire dismembered the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s and extended NATO to the European limits of Russia — which did not react militarily. Moscow reacted only when NATO tried to take hold in the Caucasus, through Georgia and Azerbaijan.

Despite the French “lone wolf” episode in Rwanda, the Empire also reinforced its hegemony over the Great Lakes region of Africa — as compensation for the fall of Apartheid in the South of the continent. Neither Russia nor China budged. And China coolly swallowed the repeated provocations of the Empire along its borders — through Tibet, Xinjiang, Burma, Taiwan, North Korea.

But as the 21st century set in, the Empire began to falter. The attacks of September 11, 2001 precipitated implementation of a New World Order according to George W. Bush’s PNAC (Project for a New American Century): “You are either with us or against us.”

For the first time in its history, NATO invoked Article 5 of its Charter to attack and occupy Afghanistan — bypassing the UN. Two years later, again without UN approval, the Empire attacked and occupied Iraq.

But very soon it hit a quagmire. By 2012, these wars will have cost $4 trillion, according to the Oakland Institute — while OECD economies stagnate or decline. Throughout the West, crises won’t stop, unemployment is up, debt is ballooning — while the weight and influence of the “Rest” (China, India, Brazil, Iran, South Africa, et al.) keep growing globally.

The Empire saps the UN and boosts NATO

This shifting balance of power has compelled the old G7 to turn to the G20 to manage the world economy. But the G7 keeps stalling much called-for UN reform and Security Council enlargement, as it clings to its waning political supremacy.

More resolutely, the G7 continues to boost its military superiority: 21 of the 34 States of the OECD are members of NATO, which has pushed the limits of the “North Atlantic” to the Indian Ocean, Central Asia and Africa (with Africom) — while also targeting Australasia and the Pacific.

As real productivity migrates away from the West, the unsteady economies of the NATO-OECD Empire depend more than ever on the “Military-Industrial Complex” that Dwight Eisenhower warned us against. According to the Swedish SIPRI Institute, NATO countries devoted more than $1 trillion (1,000 billion) last year to military expenditure.

With allies like Saudi Arabia ($42 billion, 11 per cent of GDP, 8th place), Australia ($20 billion, 1.9 per cent, 14th) and Israel ($13 billion, 6.3 per cent, 18th), NATO and its friends accounted for more than two-thirds of a global military expenditure of $1.6 trillion in 2011. With $698 billion (4.8 per cent of GDP, 1st place), the U.S. alone accounted for 43 per cent of world defence spending. Canada ($22.8 billion, 1.5 per cent) came 13th.

In comparison, China spent $120 billion (2.1 per cent of GDP, 2nd place), Russia $58 billion (4 per cent, 5th), India $41 billion (2.7 per cent, 10th), Brazil $30 billion (1.6 per cent, 11th) — with $7.7 billion for Iran (1.8 per cent, 25th) and $2.2 billion for Syria (4 per cent, 53rd)!

The Empire and the Israel-Oil-Emirates-Turkey axis

This is the backdrop to the incessant roll of NATO-OECD drums of war over Syria and Iran. The twin crises are inseparably linked: through Syria, its key Arab ally, and its bridge to the (Shiite) Lebanese Hezbollah and the (Sunni) Palestinian Hamas, it’s Iran which is the target, Iran which broke free of the Empire more than 30 years ago.

Motives abound:

1. The Syria-Hezbollah-Hamas-Iran axis holds Israel in check;

2. The Shiite awakening, Arab and Persian, and unambiguously republican, threatens the feudal Sunni monarchies of the Gulf, beginning with Saudi Arabia and its puritan wahhabi brand of Islamic fundamentalism;

3. After destroying Saddam Hussein’s secular and anti-monarchist Baath regime (and Iraq along with it), the Empire, backed by the Oil Emirates, Israel and Turkey, is frantically trying to steer, even hijack, the Arab Spring;

4. Turkey, a member of both NATO and the OECD, sees itself as a Sunni republican rival of Iran — drawing on its new “moderate” Islamist regime and on its Ottoman past as ruler of the Arabs for nearly 700 years;

5. Syria has its own secular Baath regime, which has been pressured by the Arab Spring and by its allies to open up to pluralism and hold general elections on May 7 — but the Empire keeps battering it ruthlessly, because what it wants is “regime change”;

6. Meanwhile the Empire is doing all it can to maintain the status quo in Yemen, and in Bahrain, home of the U.S. 5th Fleet in the Gulf, where a Sunni royal family rules over a Shiite majority;

7. The Sunni oil emirate of Qatar continues the propaganda war for the Empire via Al Jazeera TV, even though key journalists are leaving and accusing the network of fabricating false video reports on Libya and Syria. Qatar shares with the atoll of Diego Garcia, in the Indian Ocean, the HQ of the U.S. Central Command (Centcom).

A military victory for a New World Order?

The campaign in the U.S. leading to the November presidential and Congressional elections, now pitting Mitt Romney against Barack Obama, is an additional factor that heightens the threat of a new world war, in the context of the inexorable decline of the NATO-OECD Empire.

Romney and his Republican rivals have publicly called for “doing everything, covertly and deniably, to isolate, choke and destabilize Iran, to kill its nuclear scientists, to destroy its facilities, and to bring down the regime.” Short of declaring war on Iran, Obama the Democrat is doing all that, but Romney believes, with Israel and the hawkish camp in Washington, that only war will work.

Some hawks are Evangelical Zionists who pontificate on U.S. TV about biblical prophecies, and call for U.S. support for the “King of the North” (Israel) in the necessary Armageddon against the “King of the South” (Iran) — although my reading of the map points to Saudi Arabia as “King of the South”! For them, this war is absolutely essential to the Second Coming of Christ.

These hawks think that a victorious war against the Iran-Syria axis will provide the West with the opportunity to impose a (divinely sanctioned) New World Order tailored to the interests of the NATO-OECD Empire.

The opposite camp fears another costly quagmire, like in Afghanistan-Iraq-Pakistan, and further decline of Empire. But the U.S., Britain and France also find the war option tempting, as they recall how they imposed their own global dispensation after World Wars I and II. They won the Cold War, but they do not have the means other than a “Hot War” to establish a Diktat which is universally scorned.

After demonstrating its military superiority and getting a real stranglehold over Arab and Persian oil, the Empire would force countries like China, India, Japan, Indonesia, and South Africa, among others, to depend on its benevolence for stable and secure supplies for their crucial energy needs. The UN could then be reformed and the Security Council enlarged, but in a way that would allow the Empire to keep its decisive political power within the architecture of the world system.

As it continues moving away from a uni-polar to a multi-polar world, the “Rest” obviously sees things differently. The Empire “just doesn’t get it” and keeps reaching for the caveman’s club, says the Rest. But the West keeps doing all it can to provoke a larger, global showdown, which the Rest has no appetite for and is determined to avoid.

Talks, freeze, sanctions and terrorist wars

Such are the dark schemes hovering on the Iran-Syria crisis. Iran just met with the P5+1 (the five UN Security Council “permanents,” plus Germany) in Istanbul to explain and defend its nuclear program, once again. Iran was quick to reassert its peaceful nuclear rights under the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and countered its inquisitors by calling for global nuclear disarmament. The P3 trio deemed the meeting “positive.” Discussions will resume in Baghdad in May.

But on the ground inside Iran, where the eight-year war waged by Saddam Hussein on behalf of the Empire ended in 1988, terrorists groups linked to the West continue to operate relentlessly. They are, in the main, the MeK (Moujahidine-e-khalq), the Kurdish Komoleh and PJAK, and the Sunni Jundallah, based in Pakistan. Nuclear scientists are being assassinated. Neighbouring Azerbaijan also has an eye on the territory of 16 million Azeris living in Iran.

Iran’s assets and accounts are frozen and the West refuses to sell it all kinds of goods, including spare parts critical to the safety of its civilian airlines. A campaign is now on to obtain a worldwide boycott of its oil exports. Iran has preemptively cut off oil supplies to some European countries, triggering a rise in prices and in unemployment.

But India and China continue to purchase Iranian oil. They refuse to bow to what they call “internal U.S. rules,” and argue that Iranian oil is essential for their development. The Empire is playing India against China by giving New Delhi access to its nuclear technology — and squeezing Pakistan, which seems to value its friendship with China more than its old dependence on the West. India, looking out for its own interest, has signed a deal with Iran to settle their bilateral trade in riyals and rupees. However, India may not resist the siren song of the West if the NATO-OECD Empire were to take over or disable Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal in the fog of war.

War preparations, from Syria to the Caucasus

India and Iran, together with Pakistan and Afghanistan, enjoy observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which is prepared to upgrade them to full membership. And the SCO is lined up solidly behind Iran, together with Latin America, where Uncle Sam is in retreat, and with many African and other Asian countries. The entry of both India and Pakistan, together with Iran, as full-fledged members of the SCO, an emerging powerhouse of neighbourly co-operation, trade and security under the joint leadership of Russia and China, is too much of a nightmare for the declining NATO-OECD Empire to contemplate.

Russian troop movements have been reported in the Caucasus along the Georgia and Azerbaijan borders. Georgian opposition members say new hospitals built in the country with U.S. help are part of war contingencies. Azerbaijan has purchased arms worth $1.6 billion from Israel, which imports one-third of its oil needs from Baku. The risks of a generalized conflagration are high, and will only rise with the approach of the U.S. elections — as most eyes will be on the U.S. “withdrawal” from Afghanistan.

On Syria, the Empire says it supports the mediation efforts of Kofi Annan as Special Envoy for the UN, and the Arab League, which is itself in deep transition. But the Empire has declared in the same breath that it is financing and arming the forces that are carrying out war operations inside Syria from nearby Lebanon and Turkey. The Empire is feeding a civil war in Syria and shows it will countenance no compromise.

Propaganda and police state measures

The option of an outright military strike against Iran and Syria has been frenziedly promoted by Israel, itself a nuclear power, though undeclared, which refuses to sign the NPT and submit its nuclear facilities to IAEA inspection. The U.S. repeats that the military option against Iran “remains on the table” — hanging as a Damocles sword over the Middle East, and the world.

With Al Jazeera and Al Arabiyya, the Western media keeps on demonizing Iran and Syria for a coming overt war led by NATO and its allies — “this sounds just like the propaganda we heard before the attack on Iraq,” said Ron Paul, the black sheep of the Republican hopefuls.

These same media meanwhile are silent on the growing trend within the Empire towards measures typical of police states — the assaults on rights and freedoms, and on citizen privacy, the militarization of police as seen in the brutal repression of the 99 per cent, the authority to arrest, torture, detain, and even kill, citizens on “suspicion of terrorism” — all in the name of “national security.”

German writer and Nobel laureate Günther Grass was hit by widespread censorship in the West for his poem What Must Be Said, which criticizes nuclear Israel for clamouring for war against Iran “where the existence/Of a single atomic bomb is unproven,” and for endangering “the already fragile world peace.” Israel quickly declared him persona non grata. As the Rest refuses to rise to the bait of the West over Iran, we may yet avoid war. But if the new, dreaded war does come to pass, those who will oppose it within the very NATO-OECD Empire know what treatment to expect.

Al Qaeda’s Growing Footprint in Syria

Seema Mustafa

Seema Mustafa, who has just returned from Syria, reports on the increased presence of al Qaeda in Syria and its alliance on the ground with the armed opposition groups.

al-Qaeda, in the form of hard core Islamist groups, has started filtering into Syria — with suicide bomb attacks becoming a more frequent feature of the ongoing crisis.

The Syrian government has specific information of the “trickling in” of al Qaeda operatives into the country to join and help those opposing the Assad regime with violence. In recent weeks deaths and arrests in Syria of nationals originating from Jordan, Tunisia, Iraq and other neighbouring countries have been documented. Jordan, in recognition of this development, has tightened its borders with Syria in recent days to prevent the free movement of the al Qaeda terrorists.

Last month two foreign terrorists were killed, and one captured, in a shoot out in a dense Damascus suburb, Mezzeh. The three terrorists had occupied an empty apartment in the area and neighbours noted their presence. The landlord, living outside Syria, returned for a brief period but found that the locks had been changed and he could not enter the apartment. He reported the matter to the local authorities. Eventually there was a violent confrontation, with a security person and two terrorists getting killed. Later, a cache of arms and ammunition was recovered from the apartment.

Similarly, the conflict between the Syrian government and the armed militia that was confined to certain “trouble spots” like Homs and Dera, has spread in the form of bomb attacks to other parts of the country as well. The tight security imposed by the Syrian government has managed to contain the violence but recent attacks have the al Qaeda footprint, according to Syrian sources. Car bombs in Damascus, Aleppo have killed and injured hundreds. Plastic explosives have been used in these for high intensity, maximum damage impact. This has struck new fear in the residents who had never faced this kind of violence and as a Syrian Engineer in Damascus said, “we have started living in fear now, as they can strike anywhere.”

The Assad government has tightened security but is clearly worried about the heightened tensions as a result of the al Qaeda presence. This comes at a time when the Syrian government had started recording considerable success in disabling the armed militia operating in the border areas of the country. Syria’s vice Foreign Minister and former Permanent Representative to the United Nations Faisal Mekdad admitted that the al Qaeda elements had come into the country from Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Turkey and “although not yet present in large numbers, they are lethal and very determined.” He said they were using lethal weapons, and explosives in their attacks.

The armed militia in the border towns, according to the Syrian government, comprises also of the Muslim Brotherhood and other extremist Muslims groups as well as criminals, smugglers, drug addicts, and former prisoners wanted by the law. Mr Mekdad said that the actual presence of the opposition Istanbul Council is negligible in Syria with “their leaders never having been here on the ground.” Crime levels in the rest of Syria have increased as a result with more kidnappings for ransom, robberies, and murder being recorded. Syrians have started pointing out that Damascus , one of the safest cities in the world, is not so any more with the local Governor Houseen Makhloof, admitting that the levels of crime had increased dramatically.

The Syrians speak openly of external interference with the Information Minister Adnan Mahmoud echoing others in pointing out that while the larger support to the conflict was being provided by the United States, Israel and Western European Countries, the specific support to the armed groups was being provided by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. Diplomatic sources spoke of evidence about centres being run by Turkey to train the militia, with a regular supply of sophisticated arms to the rebel groups.

Faisal Mekdad regretted the efforts of some countries to push Syria towards “sectarian” strife, with the government making all out efforts to retain the secular unity of the country. He said that Syria was being targeted only for its steadfast opposition to Israel and its support for the Palestinian cause. Everyone knows, he said, “that the moment Syria collapses the Palestinian cause will be finished.” He said that Syria was very clear that it had allowed Hamas leaders sanctuary as “a resistance, and not as a religious, force.” He was responding to a question on statements from Hamas individuals against the government.
The Assad government is countering the propaganda of sectarian extremism led by ultra Sunni groups with undiluted secularism. Questions about religious identity are shunned by government leaders as rude and irrelevant, with great effort being put in underlining the unity of all sects and religious communities in the country. The Grand Mufti of Syria, a established Sunni cleric of the entire region, Sheikh Hassoun is clear that there can be no religious differences amongst Syrians. Referring to the Sunni extremists, he said, “we are Muslims not extremists. I ask them when you form a government and you have a choice between a qualified Christian or an unqualified Muslim for President, who will you choose?” The choice, he added, should be for a Just leader who ensures us our religious freedoms and Justice. This sentiment, interestingly, finds a resonance across Syria with people on the streets asserting their unity, and openly criticizing those who want to turn the country into a sectarian state. There are over 60 per cent Sunnis in Syria and the majority remain critical of those “trying to make us another Libya.”

Anti-Imperialist Syrians Speak Out

Syrian Sovereigntists Oppose Imperialist Destabilization of Their Country

Joshua Blakeney

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had the pleasure of acquainting myself with a segment of the vast Syrian community who oppose the ongoing covert interventions in Syria and who generally think their current government is doing a good job, all things considered. An intrepid citizen journalist named Michelle Robinson drew my attention to a network of marginalized pro-Assad Syrians based in my city of residence, Calgary, Alberta. Whereas most activists in the West have been hoodwinked by the Zionist-influenced media into blindly supporting the broadly defined “Syrian opposition” my fellow Calgarian had the independence of mind to seek out these opposers of the opposition who offered a more nuanced — and in my view reasonable — analysis to the Syrian debacle.

Michelle artfully produced a series of YouTube interviews with these Syrians, many of whom are receiving hostility from well-funded, well-protected Islamist groups which, for ideological reasons, oppose the Assad government and its many supporters. When they call the police to report the death threats they’ve been receiving these Syrians get asked “are you pro-Assad or anti-Assad?” With the Canadian neocon government funding anti-government elements in Syria it is not surprising that these Canadian-Syrians who endorse the Syrian government feel that they are being unjustly treated by the Canadian state and it’s supposed “law enforcement system.” Indeed these Syrian patriots even went so far as to insinuate that the Canadian state was consciously nurturing Islamist groups in order to import the Middle East’s sectarian problems into Canada which would have the effect of making Canadians more likely to view the world through Israel’s anti-Arab spectacles.

I also went to interview these pro-government Syrians at an undisclosed location and was thoroughly moved by their compelling testimony. These Syrian sovereigntists contend that there are reactionary terrorists destabilizing their country at the behest of the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel. These, often non-Syrian, terrorists are being characterized as “human rights activists” by the mainstream media in the West because Israel and its stooges in the US government benefit from a terrorized, factionalized Syria. These Syrians are thus grateful that their government led by President Assad is using the military to weed out the insurgents who are, literally, killing their family members and destroying their nation. They legitimately fear their country degenerating into civil war and internal sectarianism.

All of those I interviewed emphasized the fissiparous nature of Syria, with it’s eighteen different ethnic groups that are unified by the current government led by the largely secular President Assad. Of course, a comparatively secular government that unites disparate ethnic groups and stands up to the Zionist colonizer, that has illegally occupied the Golan Heights since 1967, is anathema to imperialist interventionists.

I have been very skeptical of the so called “opposition protests” I’ve seen taking place here in Calgary and elsewhere in North America. I am skeptical of any protest that gets ubiquitous, positive coverage by the mainstream media as is invariably the case with these pseudo-revolutionary rallies. The pro-government Syrians informed me that while they had been interviewed multiple times by media venues such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, those interviews had not been broadcasted.

The failure of the media to report their majoritarian perspective on Assad and Syria was a real source of contention for them. I was the first journalist they had encountered who actually intended to relate their perspectives to his readers, they told me. One would have thought that those liberal activists who attend the anti-Assad protests in North America and Europe would have felt conflicted by the fact that their perspective was zealously promoted by the same media venues that sold us the war on Iraq, the Israeli genocide of Palestine and a host of other imperialist initiatives.

It appears that many leftist activists who’ve been supporting the reactionaries who are destabilizing Syria have a kind of nihilistic philosophy that “anything is better than the status quo.” They support the reactionaries who are jeopardizing Syrian sovereignty premised on their belief that anything is better than an Arab strongman. Zionist liberals have encouraged us to blame Israel’s enemies for the strife in the Middle East rather than blame the most egregious threat to Middle East peace and stability, namely Israel. Leftists fear being called “anti-Semitic” and so refrain from identifying the imperialist agenda of an ethnic-nationalist apartheid state and instead direct their wroth at one of that state’s last remaining nemeses, President Assad.


Video: Joshua Blakeney Discusses 9/11 and the Plan to Balkanize the Middle East at the University of Victoria

During the Cold War anybody who opposed the Communist camp was supported by the US government and its allies even when those people were right-wing, capitalist restorationists or white pro-apartheid forces that would make things much worse for the inhabitants of communist nations. Many left-anti communists threw their hats in with aristocrats like Vaclav Havel who sought to implement a regime of privatization on nations that had made several strides to move beyond capitalism to a more humane social order. Likewise today Western governments and their liberal apologists are supporting any group, no matter how reactionary, that opposes the only leader who offers an obstacle to US-Israeli imperialism in the Arabic speaking world. And as was the case with left-anti-Communists in the Cold War, left-Zionists are promoting an agenda that will worsen the lot of the ordinary worker in the beleaguered nations.

Many on the left would rightly support Hugo Chavez using his military to restore Venezuelan sovereignty in the event that agents of imperialism were destabilizing Venezuela; why apply a different standard to the Assad government which is using its military to restore peace and order to the working class neighbourhoods that are infested with Mossad and CIA sponsored patsies? Who is selling out the working class Syrian and who is really concerned about their betterment? It would appear that many liberals and Starbucks-sipping revolutionaries have been fooled, yet again, into supporting an imperialist project that will potentially lead to the slaughter of millions of Syrians.

It is well documented that the Israeli government aspires to destabilize the Middle East so as to weaken the Arab states in a divide and conquer policy that would facilitate regional hegemony for Israel. This prerogative to break down the Middle East ensemble into ethno-religious statelets was documented most notably in Oded Yinon’s “A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s“. Yinon’s geopolitical analyses evolved into what many scholars have identified as the Sharon Doctrine. In other words this imperialist worldview has its roots in the Likud Party whose leader Bejamin Netanyahu is the the current Israeli Prime Minister. Yinon argued that Israel’s successful divide and rule policy in Lebanon offered a blueprint for a pan-Middle Eastern Israeli foreign policy. Yinon ominously wrote:

“The Western front, which on the surface appears more problematic, is in fact less complicated than the Eastern front, in which most of the events that make the headlines have been taking place recently. Lebanon’s total dissolution into five provinces serves as a precendent for the entire Arab world including Egypt, Syria, Iraq and the Arabian peninsula and is already following that track. The dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unqiue areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front in the long run, while the dissolution of the military power of those states serves as the primary short term target. Syria will fall apart, in accordance with its ethnic and religious structure, into several states such as in present day Lebanon, so that there will be a Shi’ite Alawi state along its coast, a Sunni state in the Aleppo area, another Sunni state in Damascus hostile to its northern neighbor, and the Druzes who will set up a state, maybe even in our Golan, and certainly in the Hauran and in northern Jordan. This state of affairs will be the guarantee for peace and security in the area in the long run, and that aim is already within our reach today.”

In his infamous essay Oded Yinon argued that Israel ought to foment sectarianism in the Middle East so as to weaken all potential opponents of Israeli Empire

Jonathan Cook has written a whole book on the subject of Middle East balkanization which is aptly entitledIsrael and the Clash of Civilizations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East. Stephen Sneigoski likewise documents the Israeli plan to balkanize the Middle East in his book. Sneigoski states on page 50 of hisTransparent Cabal: “With Likud’s assumption of power, the most far-reaching militant proposals entered mainstream Zionist thinking, involving militant destabilization of Israel’s neighbours and Palestinian expulsion.”

Having lapped up the moving testimony of the pro-Assad Syrians in Calgary I sought out a new star of the internet, who has adopted the moniker “Syrian Girl”, to hear her analysis of the strife in Syria. Syrian Girl defies so many stereotypes that have been constructed to dehumanize Arabs, Persians, Syrians and many other groups in the Middle East. This dehumanization process is a necessary prerequisite for the premeditated Zionist genocide in the Middle East.

With the precision of a brain surgeon, Syrian Girl, who I am calling the “Flower of Syria”, unpicks the lies and myths which have been propagated by the neocon lie machine. Her analysis is both incisive and inspiring and helps to demystify the Syrian conflict which in turn helps to counter a nefarious Zionist policy that jeopardizes the lives of millions of her fellow countrymen. Syrian Girl is a true philosopher of the struggle for decolonization cut from the same cloth as Frantz Fanon, Nelson Mandela, Patrice Lumumba and Che Guevara. I think we should recognize that Syrian Girl and her fellow Syrian patriots in Calgary are being very courageous by speaking out against the Western-backed sabotage and subterfuge that is taking place in Syria. It is time that left wing activists confront the realities of power and look beyond the liberal window dressing which imperialists decorate their colonial intrigue with.

There was a day when empires cloaked their iniquitous subventions with the moralism of “christianizing the natives.” “Civilizing the natives” was a claim that went hand in hand with the rise of racist social darwinism from which the ideology of Zionism emerged. The emerging Israeli empire and it’s US adjunct slyly and adeptly convinces liberals to support genocide and civil war in the name of “democratization.” “Democratization” is the moral justification for imperialism du jour.

It is quite obvious that the Israeli government hopes the inhabitants of the Middle East will kill each other off sufficiently for Israel to erect a formal empire in the Middle East. Syria is a perfect patchwork of ethnic groups for this divide and rule policy to be prosecuted. Just imagine the false-flags the Mossad are cooking up to build upon those they’ve already been accused of conducting in Egypt’s Coptic churches.

The three part You Tube series of Syrian Girl and I speaking can be seen below.

Syrian Girl and Joshua Blakeney Discuss Imperialism in the Middle East & 9/11 (part one)

Syrian Girl and Joshua Blakeney Discuss Imperialism in the Middle East & 9/11 (part two)

Syrian Girl and Joshua Blakeney Discuss Imperialism in the Middle East & 9/11 (part three)

Also see:
Crimson Satellite Syria News