“One of the saddest lessons of history is this If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle…It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken.” – Dr. Carl Sagan
The dirty dance of the Syrian negotiations is getting down to the nitty gritty, with heels being dug in by the US, and new Saudi coalitions trying to derail the Syrian-Russian-Iran coalition’s successful momentum against Daesh going into the talks. I have editorialized that the West-Gulf group’s only incentive in participating will be in trying to win from the negotiations what it has been unable to get on the battlefield.
The sleeper story before the first Syrian vs. opposition talks begin is which groups are to get seats at that table, and not…and why. Kerry and Lavrov hyped their agreement to exclude ISIL and al-Nusra when everybody knew that was never feasible, so no diplomatic coup there. Appearances of concessions are an old diplomatic ploy.
But there is a long list of other “opposition” groups around which the main battle is now being fought, and on several levels. First, you have various militant groups, which I will not bore you to tears reviewing here. You can just imagine how many Jihadis split off from a group because they wanted to be head of a battalion.
This has produced a mish mash of groups with names so confusing few Westerners could ever follow. You can exercise your brain on them here at Wikipedia, who cutely refers to them all as “armed groups”. They must be afraid of getting bombed, but at VT we call them terrorist groups.
You then have the next layer of smaller groups combining forces in a particular combat area, where they are allies one day, and then executing each other’s captured POWs on another, typically over disputes on dividing up the spoils of the areas under their control. Jihadis from this level of combatants would often get tired of the small group petty disputes and tender their services to al-Nusra or ISIL for better pay, or for to their slave market extra benefits.
Lavrov has done his best to satirize this Western coalition game of playing the tooth fairy, where some magic dust and words can be sprinkled on cold-blooded terrorists and they are turn them into “moderate opposition”. Long forgotten are the times before ISIL and al-Nusra, where we were seeing the flood of execution photos from a variety of these “moderate opposition” groups.
When is the last time we have seen much press on the Syrian National Council, which later morphed into the Syrian National Coalition? Yes, they kept the same initials, SNC, so most of the public would not notice. Most all of these people lived in five-star hotels on the dole from a variety of Western and Gulf State Intel agencies, who were dressing them up on the pretense that they had legitimate constituencies inside Syria. The SNC even sank so low as to seek recognition from the Libyan transition government.
Our Syrian and Russian Intelligence sources tell us that most of these fighters are plain-Jane mercenaries who are really the constituents of their foreign paymasters. The idea that either be given some kind of say in a Syrian political process is ridiculous, and the majority of the Syrian people I have met during my three trips would never approve of such an insult after the carnage they have endured.
It is the sponsors of these terrorists who are looking for legitimization and future amnesties for their terrorist underlings, as a ceasefire will bring all those groups involved in the negotiations a free pass on their past crimes against the Syrian people when a final deal is done.
And more important, it also gives a free pass to the foreign entities that supported these groups, which is a big step towards taking them off the hook for their reparations liability for aiding and abetting terrorism. Syria is already sitting on a large number of Jihadi POWs who have told tales of whence they came and who paid and trained them. The Syrian government has been generous with its amnesties, but these have primarily been for deserters and real Syrians, not the mercenaries.
When the Veterans Today team was in Damascus mid-September, discussions on initiating reparations litigation was high on the agenda for two reasons. The most obvious was that the country had been devastated from five years of war, which never could have happened without the massive foreign support for the jihadis, intended to beat the Syrian people down into submission. A whole list of international crimes were committed to do this.
When the shooting stops and rebuilding needs to be done, who should pay? Should it be the returning refugees? Should all those who voted for Assad be tagged with a war tax of some kind. And if so where would people find the money to pay? If foreign loans were obtained, would not the shooting war be converted into a financial enslavement where Syria would eventually fall to the terror sponsors via loan defaults?
Iran has jumped the gun on Syria with its legislature fast-tracking reparations for its huge national losses from the CIA and British 1953 coup which stole their country from its people. This was triggered by the US courts holding $3 billion in Iranian funds for victim’s families attributed to Iranian terrorist acts as a nation.
There is no international court with an army big enough to help collect the damages that Iran unjustly suffered, but neither is Iran’s effort a cheap public relations gimmick. The country suffered huge economic losses at the hands of Western regime change actors, many of them still on the international stage today. The Iran-Iraq war was a US construct, with chemical and biological weapons being field-tested in the process.
So Syria must not slip up now by letting reparation litigation opportunities slip away as that would betray not only their dead, but a future generation of Syrians into economic slavery to rebuild their country that was destroyed at the hands of others.
I did a PressTV taped interview before starting this article. The first topic was the latest US embarrassment, with the US Defense Department publicly refusing to share intelligence on ISIL targets with Russia until it shows some flexibility on the Assad question. Mind you this is after Kerry said, after the Moscow meeting with Lavrov, that the Syrian people would be deciding their future.
I knew these were cheap words being spoken to appear conciliatory going into the New York meeting that followed. Kerry was lying, but Obama gave him some cover when he repeated the same old worn out propaganda that Assad was standing in the way of peace because he was the magnet that was drawing the terrorist insurgents into Syria. How convenient for Obama to absolve all the guilty foriegn parties from any responsibility.
The last topic was on the sad case of Seymour Hersh living off his old Pulitzer Prize by publishing a long piece via the London Review of Books, where he used material virtually all on the record and embellished his new big contribution via an unnamed source, that the US top military command was passing Intel directly to Assad. This was such an outrageous claim that we pinged all of our top sources on it and they unanimously agree that Hersh just made it up to sell the story to boost his retirement income.
There have been numerous stories about the CIA’s involvement in training and weaponizing the insurgents, including early terrorist factions like the Chechens from the Pankisi Gorge in the Republic of Georgia that NEO’s Henry Kamens has written about on a number of occasions.
The Defense Intelligence Agency General Flynn’s testimony before Congress on the military’s opposition to the White House insistence on removing Assad, based on their being no real moderate opposition and that would leave ISIL in a position to turn Syria into another Libya, another Western foreign policy failure with its Gulf State Neo-Napoleon partners.
Hersh’s fantasy article was ignored by the mainstream press because he had zero credibility before this last piece, and is in the minus numbers now. But Hersh’s backers have gotten it into the alternate media now as an America bashing piece showing treason in the high command.
We have always counselled Alt Media friends to be careful about getting sucked into these “packaged stories” with an anti-America hook as they hurt their credibility reputation long term. America has done enough that can be proven to chastise it on without having to stoop to using Seymour Hersh hyped material.
We will hope that a dual track emerges during the Syrian peace talks, with the second one being the prosecution and punishment of all entities involved in the international terror effort against of Syria. We are all at risk if the state terrorism monsters get away with their crimes against Syria. The precedent will be set in stone that the Syrian carnage can be repeated by the same perpetrators again in another place and time with no fear of accountability.
Stopping the war is not enough. We must undercut potential wars that would be started if the guilty walk off this battlefield without paying their just dues for their crimes. Confiscation of assets has a long legal history in organized crime cases, and I do not meet many people who do not see the organized crime connection in the Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Ukraine tragedies.
Jim W. Dean, managing editor for Veterans Today, producer/host of Heritage TV Atlanta, specially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.