“If all the world is a stage,” as William Shakespeare once said, then the current mainstream media narrative on Syria must be the comedy act; this time, however, it isn’t very funny. Having spent the last three years failing to exert their desire for regime change in Syria, the western imperialist, globalist powers and the corporate financier interests that sustain them are becoming increasingly desperate for a change in the geopolitical tide. Beginning in 2014, they have constantly attempted to leverage any potential outlet as a means of toppling Assad and proceeding in the implementation of their hegemonic agenda across the Middle East and Eurasia.
One example was their attempt to spin the Geneva II communiqué to falsely imply that it mandated Assad should step down. This was done in context to the fact that the Syrian National Council was vastly shedding any remaining legitimacy it may have had; one must not forget an excellent Guardian piece by Charlie Skelton titled, “The Syrian Opposition: Whose Doing the Talking?”, which documented the clear connections between the leading Syrian National Council front-group members and western corporate-financier interest. By January 2014, many members were resigning over the illegitimacy of the council as noted by Nile Bowie who stated:
In a recent letter explaining his resignation, former SNC Secretary-General Mustafa al-Sabbagh concedes that the organization failed to extend humanitarian relief efforts and to make any political or military progress; he describes the SNC as “a body that is entirely separate from the Syrian domestic arena.” Former member Mohammad Bassam Imadi’s description is no less critical; he stated in a recent interview that the SNC “…was only some expatriates who were living outside Syria, they lost touch with reality in Syria. They didn’t know what was going on… They thought that within a few months they will become presidents or ministers so they were not interested in doing anything other than contacting the foreign powers…”
The Issue of “Moderate Rebels”
That was in January 2014. It was in this context that the increasingly militant Syrian opposition forces on the ground were increasingly being exposed as primarily driven by Al Qaeda aligned militants that were the outgrowth of western financing and geopolitical posturing. Whatever multiplicity of identities and splinter groups that exist among the opposition on the ground, the primary driving force had become the Islamists as noted in the New York Times’ “Islamist Rebels Create Dilemma on Syria Policy.” As the article notes, “Even the Supreme Military Council, the umbrella rebel organization whose formation the West had hoped would sideline radical groups, is stocked with commanders who want to infuse Islamic law into a future Syrian government.”
Furthermore, Reuters has admitted that the military command of the allegedly moderate, western-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA), is dominated by Islamists. One has yet to name me any viable moderate opposition force on the ground of sizable influence that is not in one way or another tied to Islamist groups from Al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise Jabhat Al-Nusra to the Islamic Front which is heavily active on the ground. The paradigm presented in the mainstream media depicting a distinction between jihadis, who are described as being small-numbered and mostly foreign, and indigenous “democracy” factions is patently false. An 2012 interview with Omar Gharba’, a Wahhabi cleric and member of the US-backed “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) who had previously been seen smashing a statue of the Virgin Mary in Idlib, demonstrates clearly the FSA mentality
The FSA boasts various unorganized brigades that serve as a magnet for extremist foot-soldiers including the “Osama Bin Laden Brigade” of the Souqour Dimashq (Hawks of Damascus) Battalion in the FSA. Furthermore, one must not ignore the role of western intelligence in propping up and commandeering the FSA as was acknowledged by Saddam al-Jamal, leader of the FSA Eastern Front and a member of the FSA Staff Board or Supreme Military Council who defected to join the even more extremist entity, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant/Syria (ISIL/ISIS). His previous involvement with the Supreme Military Council umbrella group is particularly notable considering the New York Times’ statement that its formation was anticipated by the west for potentially playing a role in sidelining the radicals; on the contrary, it is “stocked with commanders who want to infuse Islamic law into a future Syrian government.”
The FSA, touted as the west’s last hope against the radicals, frequently cooperates with the Al-Qaeda “Jabhat Al-Nusra” as was done in the Christian town of Sadad in late November 2013. Prominent rebel leader Jamal Maarouf of the Syrian Revolutionary Front (SRF), seen as moderate by the west, admitted to The Independent that he carries out joint operations with Al Qaeda and has no problem with them; he said, “this is a problem outside of Syria.”
Syrian Christians have also been severely affected because of the inherent extremism that characterizes the militarized Syrian opposition Syrian Catholic Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo expressed dissatisfaction with US support for Islamist force in an interview with the French-language station, KTO, of the Archbishop of Paris. New York Times’ “Christians Squeezed Out by Violent Struggle in North Syria” documents the plight of Syrian Christians, particularly in the east, that were fleeing from Arab Islamist rebel gangs. The rebels were also noted to be heavily entrenched in the refugee camps in Turkey who would force young men in groups of 20 to 30 to be drafted into their armed groups. Kurdish militias that controlled the region were seen as preferable to the rebels.
Another point amiss in the mainstream media narrative is with regards to the beginning and nature of the crisis in Syria. The mainstream media attempts to imply the Syrian uprising began as a peaceful, nonviolent struggle that was subsequently suppressed by a violent crackdown by the government. Missed in this simplistic, reductionist approach is the broader reality of a concerted, foreign-sponsored insurrection, with the opposition being armed and violent from the beginning. Numerous reports establish this including Sharmine Narwani’s report “Syria: The Hidden Massacre” which notes the armed nature of the uprising form the beginning. Murdered Dutch Priest Father Frans van der Lugt , working on the ground in Syria and having lived there since 1966, had made similar points clearly undermining the western narrative through various publications he has made. Among his most critical conclusions was that
From the start, the protest movements were not purely peaceful. From the start I saw armed demonstrators marching along in the protests, who began to shoot at the police first. Very often the violence of the security forces has been a reaction to the brutal violence of the armed rebels.
He also concluded regarding media coverage of the situation:
In the first place, it has to be said that it is very difficult to provide a nuanced and objective account of what is happening. Many journalists fall into describing matters in black and white. For them, good and evil are not interwoven, but are clearly separated. They demonize the one side and glorify the other. Thus, for example, it is not true that our [the Syrian] government has only bad sides and the opposition only good ones. But because the US, Europe and certain Arab countries support the opposition, they endeavor, whether consciously or unconsciously, to idealize it as much as possible, without engaging in any careful analysis of the real situation. Certain interests are obscuring our view of the real situation and contaminating the description of it.
An independent investigative mission by the Arab League, comprising of over 160 monitors in November 2011 produced a reality different from media exaggerations and spin put forth by the opposition. Unsurprisingly, the report was buried by Qatar, who along with Saudi Arabia, was working with the west and proxies in Lebanon to undermine and overthrow the Syrian government and spread their hegemony across the Middle East.
The Council on Foreign Relations, one of the corporate-financier think-tanks that drive US and NATO foreign policy also admitted:
The Syrian rebels would be immeasurably weaker today without al-Qaeda in their ranks. By and large, Free Syrian Army (FSA) battalions are tired, divided, chaotic, and ineffective. Feeling abandoned by the West, rebel forces are increasingly demoralized as they square off with the Assad regime’s superior weaponry and professional army. Al-Qaeda fighters, however, may help improve morale. The influx of jihadis brings discipline, religious fervor, battle experience from Iraq, funding from Sunni sympathizers in the Gulf, and most importantly, deadly results. In short, the FSA needs al-Qaeda now.
The Dire Significance
It is significant to belabor this point in light of recent statements by the US that it was pledging $500 million to the Syrian opposition, an absolute moral outrage considering the systematic dismantling of the Syrian state that the rebels had done, carrying out the directive of their western backers. Political football issues thrown around in the media about whether the US should go back into Iraq or not or whether we should have armed the Syrian rebels earlier or not misses the point and poses a danger to humanity as a whole.
The point is the fact that the US had been funding Syrian opposition groups since 2005 under Bush as revealed by Wikileak cables. Obama is essentially carrying out “Bush’s wars” in the Middle East through a different political cover; however, it would be erroneous to describe these as simply “Bush’s wars” but rather the wars of a corporate-financier elite that dominates the west and whose agenda has been coming full circle since 1991, merely disguised with updated political spin to cater to the dominant public opinion.
Democracy in the west has become rule by intellectual confusion; imperialism is a system that has evolved to grant global corporate-financier domination in all major world theaters, with the Middle East being the pivotal theater to secure access into Eurasia and secure western hegemony versus Russia and China which is the stated objective of former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brezinzski’s “The Grand Chessboard” and the Neo-Conservatives’ “Rebuilding America’s Defenses.” “Pax Americana” is the phrase employed by the Neo-Cons but can we honestly say that what we are observing today from Libya to Syria is in anyway making the world more peaceful?
Enter the Jester
The media jester here enters the world with foolishness that is incredibly transparent to those who are aware of the reality at play. The comedy act is that the Syrian rebels were deliberately transformed into the extremist hordes that they are now, not by deliberate financing by the west, but by Assad collaborating with the extremists against the moderates and seculars. This has become official US State Department dogma; the claim had appeared around January 2014 in the The Telegraph and has been repeated by Al Jazeera who stated:
Sources told the UK-based newspaper that the aim of the double game played by Assad was to convince Western countries that the Syrian uprising was sponsored by “Islamist militants” in order to hinder international support for it.
“Jabhat al-Nusra, and the even more extreme Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS), the two al-Qaeda affiliates operating in Syria, have both been financed by selling oil and gas from wells under their control to and through the regime, The Daily Telegraph quoted an anonymous intelligence source as saying.
“The regime is paying al-Nusra to protect oil and gas pipelines under al-Nusra’s control in the north and east of the country, and is also allowing the transport of oil to regime-held areas,” the source was quoted as saying. “We are also now starting to see evidence of oil and gas facilities under ISIS control.”
The Daily Telegraph also reported that Syrian military defectors and rebels said that the government “deliberately released militant prisoners” who joined the extremist groups that are combating moderate rebel forces.
This is hardly reliable considering that the sources included western intelligence officials and anonymous, unverifiable activist accounts which in context to other, well-documented facts, makes them unconvincing. Dr. Joshua Landis, who is hardly a pro-Assad figure, does an excellent job at poking holes in some of the specifics of these accusations but misses some significant points. In reality, it is the west that has deliberately created the political context that made the rise of Islamists in Syria and across the greater Middle East possible. Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh documented in his 2007 piece in the New Yorker titled “The Redirection” that the US government, then under Bush, was working with Saudi Arabia and the Hariri political faction in Lebanon to undermine Syria and Iran’s influence in the region through the means of playing upon sectarian and ethnic lines to reorient the region in their own image. Let’s not forget that it has the European Union who had lifted its oil embargo on Syria in order to purchase oil from oil fields clearly documented to be held by Islamist rebels in a bid to further their destabilization of Syria.
Tony Cartalucci has written extensively of the implications of Hersh’s work in the context of Syria today, citing very prophetic quotes from “The Redirection” that predicted the engineered quagmire today. As Cartalucci revealed, Seymour Hersh notes:
“To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.” –The Redirection, Seymour Hersh
Hersh’s report would also note:
“Robert Baer, a former longtime C.I.A. agent in Lebanon, has been a severe critic of Hezbollah and has warned of its links to Iranian-sponsored terrorism. But now, he told me, “we’ve got Sunni Arabs preparing for cataclysmic conflict, and we will need somebody to protect the Christians in Lebanon. It used to be the French and the United States who would do it, and now it’s going to be Nasrallah and the Shiites” –The Redirection, Seymour Hersh
On the role of the Hariri faction, much was noted in the fact that Lebanon would be used as a staging ground to organize Sunni militants to undermine Syria. Also included is the fact that Walid Jumblatt, a Druze member of the Hariri faction, would meet with Dick Cheney in 2006 and recommend using the Muslim Brotherhood in any attempt to undermine Assad. Hersh noted how US support was already helping the Islamists:
There is evidence that the Administration’s redirection strategy has already benefitted the Brotherhood. The Syrian National Salvation Front is a coalition of opposition groups whose principal members are a faction led by Abdul Halim Khaddam, a former Syrian Vice-President who defected in 2005, and the Brotherhood. A former high-ranking C.I.A. officer told me, “The Americans have provided both political and financial support. The Saudis are taking the lead with financial support, but there is American involvement.” He said that Khaddam, who now lives in Paris, was getting money from Saudi Arabia, with the knowledge of the White House. (In 2005, a delegation of the Front’s members met with officials from the National Security Council, according to press reports.) A former White House official told me that the Saudis had provided members of the Front with travel documents.
And as if to dispel any claims by critics who fail the read the report in its entirety and try to claim that this support is passive and not active, Hersh noted:
“…[Saudi Arabia’s] Bandar and other Saudis have assured the White House that “they will keep a very close eye on the religious fundamentalists. Their message to us was ‘We’ve created this movement, and we can control it.’ It’s not that we don’t want the Salafis to throw bombs; it’s who they throw them at—Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians, if they continue to work with Hezbollah and Iran.” –The Redirection, Seymour Hersh
What must be noted is the intimate relationship of Saudi Arabian interests to the corporate-financier, globalist interests in the west and the joint-investment by both forces to perpetuate their hegemony across the Middle East at the expense of Iranian, Chinese, and Russian influence. Saudi Arabia is also the primary underwriter of Islamist forces in the world, financing the most violent of groups, and is used as a “Swiss Army knife” to undermine nations against the western geopolitical objective from Mali to Pakistan. Also to be noted is that Dick Cheney is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) as well Hillary Clinton, both who carried out the same agenda of undermining Syria under two supposedly different political administrations. Hillary Clinton has basically admitted that the CFR runs American policy, a fact that has been documented in the work of renowned Dr. Carroll Quigley in “Tragedy and Hope.”
Democrats and Republicans; in terms of mainstream foreign policy and who benefits, there is no different. The US has a historic role in supporting groups like the Muslim Brotherhood against secular nationalist leaders to destabilize targeted countries. There is also the role of “color revolutions” used to create protest movements through US government and corporate funded NGOs that capitalize on legitimate social dissent in places like the Middle East to push forward proxies into power (see also “The Revolution Business”). When that fails, you get armed insurgencies; a classic case study of this was the NATO destabilization of Libya and the manner in which the media attempted to spin it on political lines as documented in this article, along with its connection to Syria.
Breaking Free From the Matrix
The reality is clear before us. We can continue to entertain the media jester fooling our intelligence with acts of intellectual comedy and foolery or we can rise up and say no more and work to spread true information at the grassroots level. The establishment does not seek what is in our interest and the western corporate-financier agenda is not only the enemy of those it attacks in the east but also its own people it is fooling and robbing in the west.
The way to undermine this agenda is to boycott the corporate interests driving it and replace them with local, self-sufficient options outside of the global economic scam of corporatized globalization. That is the only way to reclaim political power and redistribute it into the hands of the people. Otherwise, we are only spinning a political hamster wheel of faux-democracy, depriving us of the right of sovereignty under the very illusion that we have it. We must tip the balance of power in our favor. Otherwise, the media jester will continue dancing on the world stage before our eyes and mocking our intelligence with its foolishness. It is an act of intellectual comedy so detached from reality that those who are awake almost feel to urge to laugh but are stopped by the thought of the utter depravity that has become the current world order.
Sam Muhho is a student of history at Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) and is an advocate of anti-imperialism and anti-globalism. He can be reached at [email protected].