Disclaimer: In order to safe your time and avoid being upset, please be aware, that this text is written by an anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, and anti-globalist, who is also highly skeptical and critical of Western media, and who is an ardent supporter and to some extent even an admirer of Vladimir Putin and Dr. Bashar al-Assad.
Proceed at your own risk.
The last Islamic militants have been evacuated from Douma, a town 10 km northeast of Damascus, and the whole Eastern Ghouta rebel enclave has been recaptured and cleansed of terrorist gangs. This is the greatest victory for the Syrian Army since eastern Aleppo, and it was achieved faster and with less pain and sacrifice than anybody expected.
Yet, facing a crushing and humiliating defeat, the Islamists tried to at least hurt the Syrian state as much as possible by staging a nerve gas attack which gave Western neocolonial powers a pretext to send 104 cruise missiles into Syria. 59 of them were Raytheon’s Tomahawk missiles, a fact that caused the companies stock to surge 2,5 percent, thereby adding more than one billion US$ to the defense contractor’s market capitalization. War is good for business.
The cruise missile strikes in the night of April 14 came just hours before a FFM (Fact Finding Mission) team of experts from the OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) arrived in Damascus to commence its work.
Why were they even sent there, as the Western powers have already decided, that the Syrian army used nerve gas against civilians in Douma? Can their findings have any real consequences, if military action has already taken place?
Kenneth Ward, the US envoy to the OPCW said on Monday, April 16, that Russia may have tampered with the site of the alleged chemical weapons, urging the body to condemn the continuing use of banned chemical weapons. The British delegation complained in a tweet, that “Russia and Syria have not yet allowed access to Douma.”
AFP wrote: The team will also have to deal with the risk that evidence may have been removed from the site, which lies in an area that has been controlled by Russian military police and Syrian forces over the past week.
“That possibility always has to be taken into account, and investigators will look for evidence that shows whether the incident site has been tampered with,” Ralf Trapp, a consultant and member of a previous OPCW mission to Syria, told AFP.
For Western officials and media, Russian military police, which patrols in Douma now, is far less credible than the militants of Jaish al-Islam. The possibility of evidence tampering was never considered when evidence was provided by Islamic radicals.
Graphic pictures and videos were uploaded, the White Helmets and SAMS (Syrian American Medical Society) reported the attack, CNN and BBC conducted interviews with evacuated family member of Jaish al-Islam, US officials stated that blood and urine samples smuggled out of Douma to Jordan showed chlorine and another unspecified nerve agent.
The BBC aired an interview with a girl seen in the Douma hospital videos. The girl says all the right things but she looks healthy and not traumatized. On CNN the interviewed persons never saw an attack, they just heard someone yelling “chemical.”
“Someone yelled chemical” Umm Nour recalls. “I felt my throat close, my body go limp as if I had just had everything sucked out of me.” Such symptoms do not fit with any military grade poisonous gas and seem kind of mild, they are certainly not symptoms of chlorine poisoning and rather reminiscent of simple panic.
Two medics from the Douma hospital recounted their first hand view about the videos. According to the medics, a group of unknown people broke into the hospital, started screaming about a chemical attack, causing panic, and then sprayed people with a fire hose. They stated, that their patients didn’t show signs of chemical poisoning, but rather of smoke inhalation.
The Washington Post acknowledged that 13 medical workers, including nine doctors, have appeared on Syrian government television to explain that the patients were suffering from asthma, not the effects of a poison gas, but dismissed these statements as “coerced.”
It is impossible to determine the location of the pictures and videos which show dead bodies. They could also have been made in Idlib province, or in any other opposition-controlled areas. The technical video and photos analysis indicates that this part of the documentation was prepared well in advance since in most files the metadata is either missing or changed intentionally.
It’s also worth noting that White Helmets members didn’t use protective gear. Victims and first responders alike didn’t show any typical symptoms of chlorine poisoning like strong cough and skin blisters or burns.
There is also the strange fact, that the face and body shape of a victim in Douma appears to be the same as in videos from Aleppo (alleged gas attacks on April 28, 2016 and September 26, 2016).
The question is open, where the bodies of the by White Helmets and SAMS reported 50 victims are? Will they be available for investigation?
Media strike against “Assad apologists”
After too many people started asking questions and posting defiant and nasty statements in comment sections, mass media organizations launched a campaign against “Assad apologists,” spearheaded by The Times, which writes:
Senior British academics are spreading pro-Assad disinformation and conspiracy theories promoted by Russia, The Times can reveal.
They are founders of a self-styled Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media (SPM) and hold posts at universities including Edinburgh, Sheffield and Leicester.
Members of the group, which includes four professors, have been spreading the slur, repeated by the Russian ambassador to Britain yesterday, that the White Helmets civilian volunteer force has fabricated video evidence of attacks by President Assad, who is backed by the Kremlin.
The Sun chimed in:
Members of a self-styled Working Group on Syria, Propaganda, and Media (SPM) allegedly shared posts claiming that the White Helmets civilian volunteer force fabricated evidence of chemical attacks by Russia-backed dictator Bashir Al-Assad. And: PROFESSORS at some of Britain’s most prestigious universities have helped spread pro-Assad Kremlin conspiracy theories…
The Turkish Anadoly Agency writes:
Tim Hayward, a SPM member who is a professor at the University of Edinburgh, took to Twitter where he retweeted a statement claiming: “#WhiteHelmets & terrorist factions staged false flag events & kidnapped, drugged children to use as props in events, kids were buried w/out parents present.”
Hayward also runs a blog in which he has published articles that claim the attacks are routinely staged by the opposition supported by the West.
The report also mentions another SPM academic Tara McCormack, who is a lecturer at Leicester University. She claimed on her Twitter account that it is “an established fact a) the White Helmets are basically Al Q[aeda]”.
The Violations Documentation Centre (VDC), a research group based in Syria that documents violations of international law, believes that Bashar al-Assad regime forces are responsible for the chemical attack on April 7 that killed over 75 people and injured hundreds more.
“The Violations Documentation Center (VDC) suspects that this attack was deliberated to inflict as much possible damage on civilians. The Syrian government effectively made it very difficult for the resident population to reach ambulances and rescue teams, forced residents to seek shelter from heavy barrel bomb attacks, and then carried out airstrikes suspected to have contained poisonous gas,” the organization said in a report released after the attack.
Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media
On the alleged chemical attack of 7 April 2018 in Douma, running updates (with analysis of graphic images)
Robert Fisk of the Independent, who is in Syria and, after interviewing Dr. Assim Rahaibani from the Douma hospital, came to the conclusion, that there was no nerve gas attack, is another Assad apologist. Dr. Rahaibani says, that the people shown in videos were suffering from hypoxia — not gas poisoning.
Pearson Sharp, a reporter from the conservative US news channel OAN (One American News) comes to the same conclusion.
On a side note: The use of says versus claims is now depending on the source. As far as mass media is concerned, Western officials never claim something, they say it, or more commonly it just is. On the other hand “the Syrian regime claims…,” “the Russian military claims….”
Coalition strike US version
The USA was not consulting or warning Russia about the specific targets.
Three targets were hit by 105 cruise missiles:
Barzah R&D center: 76 missiles (57 US tomahawks, 19 US JASSM launched by US B-1B bombers from the skies above US occupied al-Tanf).Him Shinshar chemical weapons storage facility: 22 missiles (9 US, 8 UK Storm Shadows, 3 French naval cruise missiles, 2 French SCALP).Him Shinshar CW bunker: 7 missiles (probably French SCALP)
None missed according to the US. If that is true and no decoy missiles were involved, it is a complete overkill for the targeted structures. Barzah is a reasonably sized building, but 76 missiles seems implausible, they would have atomized the whole area. These cruise missiles are not firecrackers, they carry 460 kilogram warheads.
There is relatively close footage of the strikes on Barzah, but it shows jus 4 explosions. There is no footage from the other sites, but 22 cruise missiles on a relatively small bunker and 7 on what by the looks of it constitutes nothing more than a couple of sheds seems equally implausible.
Coalition strike Syria version
With the help of Russian radar tracking and warning, 71 of 103 incoming cruise missiles were intercepted by Syrian Pantsir AA Systems. Russian SAMs were not involved because the strike did not target Russian areas of operation.
Details about intercepted missiles: 12 (from 12) over Dumayr airbase, 12 (from 12) over Shayrat airbase, 18 (from 18) over Marj Ruhayyil airbase, 4 (from 4) over Damascus airport, 13 (from 16) over airbase in Homs (Qusayr), 5 (from 9) over Mezzeh airbase.
SOHR (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights), which supports the Islamist insurgents, also claims that at least 65 US missiles were intercepted.
Until now only few pictures of intercepted missile wreckages have been published, which fuels suspicion that the Syrian and Russian claims are at least exaggerated.
Syrian officials say, that the two research facilities at Jarmana and Barzeh have often come under attack by Israel and as a result have been evacuated and all equipment removed several years ago. The OPCW visited both sites in November 2017 and conducted a very thorough examination to confirm the sites were complying with chemical weapons decommissioning.
Neither Syria nor Russia has much interest to publicize their possible success. It’s more clever, to let the White House, the Pentagon, Theresa May, and Emmanuel Macron brag about the strike, thereby saving face and satisfying media blood lust.
Syria’s UNSC representative Bashar Ja’afari wondered why, if the USA, UK, and France knew the location of chemical weapons production facilities, “they had not shared this information beforehand with OPCW or its fact-finding mission.”
Russia is the target
The use of false flag attacks doesn’t represent a new US tactic, is has been used in nearly every military intervention starting with the sinking of the USS Maine in Cuba to the Gulf of Tonkin incident (USS Maddox incident) to Iraq’s WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction). It is a very effective tactic and as long as it works, the White Helmets and SAMS will keep the fake nerve gas stunts coming to keep the US attacks going.
France warns of more strikes in Syria. Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian: “More strikes to come if ‘red line’ is crossed again.” This is an invitation for all jihadist groups to claim chemical attacks, as it apparently does not require actual proof to get air support from Western nations.
Russia has not responded and kept quiet, which has avoided a dangerous escalation that could easily have lead to World War III and nuclear armageddon. This levelheadedness on the other hand encourages the USA and NATO to bomb Syria again and again after every fabricated claim.
In response to the Western air strikes, the Russian MoD (Ministry of Defense) announced that it is considering to outfit Syria and other regional players (Lebanon) with S-300 and S-400 air defense systems. At the moment Lebanon is forming a Russian branch of the army, trained and equipped by Russia, just like a part of it is now trained and equipped by the French, the USA, and the UK. Lebanon is very secretive about this development, because all Western funding might be cut if the project proceeds openly.
Russia can send the air defense systems instantly, it has more than 2,000 launchers and just needs to redeploy their own S-300 or S-400. This would make Israel very angry, but Russia is in no way dependent on Israel, the only military deal with Israel are Forpost drones and it wouldn’t be much of a tragedy if that would be canceled.
There are many signs that Israel looks for confrontation and such an attitude will inevitably lead to a showdown between Russia and Israel. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz wrote: “Putin’s bluff is finally being called and Russia is running out of options in Syria.”
The USA announced further sanctions against Russia, though President Donald Trump at the moment refuses to approve them. Sanctions are counterproductive and only help Russia to protect or develop its local industry. Russia is among the worlds leading producers of agricultural commodities — Russians will not starve. They will also not freeze, there is enough oil and gas for heating.
Russia needs no trade with the West, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and Chinas new Silk Road provide enough opportunities for economic development.
Counter-sanctions against the USA are discussed and they could be painful. Russia still exports rare earth metals to the US, among them titanium, which is necessary for Boeing aircrafts. Titanium aircraft parts are sold to Airbus and Boing. Russia may also stop the supply of RD-180 engines used by NASA and the Pentagon.
Western companies and financial institutions could be banned from participating in Russian privatization deals. Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, BNP Paribas, UBS, Citigroup, and several other foreign banks are still allowed to do business in Russia.
Russia may also prohibit the import of drugs, tobacco, and alcohol from the USA.
Western goals and strategies
The USA is not prepared to allow the Syrian government, and its allies Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah, a victory just yet. There are strong indications that the US foreign policy establishment favors a protracted war in Syria and it is well within US capabilities to keep the fires of war burning in the Levant for some time to come.
The US military revealed in a new report that some 5,500 contractors are helping to fight IS (Islamic State) in Iraq and Syria. This comes on top of between 2,000 and 4,000 regular soldiers in Syria and 9,000 in Iraq.
On Syrian soil there are 22 US bases and outposts in the Kurdish areas, in the oil fields east of the Euphrates River, and at al-Tanf on the Jordanian border. French and British forces are also there, though the exact numbers are not known.
These occupation forces cannot be chased out easily, they are shielded by hundreds of Western bombers which will rain down “fire and fury,” as it happened already at the Euphrates River, costing the lives of up to 200 Russian PMC Wagner contractors.
Yet, the victory in Eastern Ghouta has freed so many Syrian troops that the recapture of the remaining Islamist strongholds of Idlib and Daraa should be possible. Some smaller pockets will be cleared swiftly either by reconciliation agreements (practically surrender) or by overwhelming military force.
The Islamists in Dumair just accepted a deal to be bused into Idlib and the rest of the eastern Qalamoun pocket is negotiating. IS in Yarmouk camp will be a tough and bloody battle because they have nowhere to go and will fight to the death, but they don’t possess heavy weapons and are completely cut off from any supply source. The Rastan pocket is isolated and small, it can be overrun in a week.
While Daraa is supported by Israel, which constantly shells Syrian positions, Idlib is only partly protected by Turkey. The Islamists of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham are fair game and it is rumored, that Turkey will not respond, if Jisr al-Shughur is attacked.
France has already warned that a new humanitarian disaster is looming in Idlib, and the French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said, that two million people are at risk, including hundreds of thousands of Syrians who fled from previously rebel-held areas now controlled by the government.
Why is Syria in the crosshairs of Western neocolonial powers?
First, there is the war for water. Turkey needs the water of the Euphrates River (Southeastern Anatolia Project) and Israel needs the water rich Golan Heights plus the Litani river area in southern Lebanon.
Additional motives, as seen and explained from an anti imperialist viewpoint:
Apart from Syria’s irritating the USA and Israel by allying with Iran, backing Hezbollah, and providing material assistance to Palestinian national liberation movements, the country exhibits a tendency shared by all US regime change targets: a predilection for independent, self-directed, economic development. This is expressed in state-ownership of important industries, subsidies to domestic firms, controls on foreign investment, and subsidization of basic commodities. These measures restrict the profit-making opportunities of US corporations, banks and investors, and since it is their principals who hold sway in Washington, US foreign policy is accordingly shaped to serve their interests.
The US State Department complains that Syria has “failed to join an increasingly interconnected global economy,” which is to say, has failed to turn over its state-owned enterprises to private investors, among them Wall Street financial interests. The State Department is aggrieved that “ideological reasons” continue to prevent the Assad government from liberalizing Syria’s economy. As a result of the Baathists’ ideological fixation on socialism, “privatization of government enterprises is still not widespread.” The economy “remains highly controlled by the government.”
The Wall Street Journal and Heritage Foundation are equally displeased. “Hafez al-Assad’s son Bashar, who succeeded him in 2000, has failed to deliver on promises to reform Syria’s socialist economy.”
The glory of Assad
While US and European decision makers and the media demonize Syria’s President Dr. Bashar al-Assad, his prestige in the Arab world and beyond that in most nations which are not US allies has surged. He is seen as the Nasser of today, as the brave leader who stands up to Western colonial powers.
Gamal Abdel Nasser’s son, Abdul Hakim Abdel Nasser sent a highly symbolic message to President Assad, which most likely reflects the mood of the population (the so called “Arab street”), and surely the mood of the secular leadership:
Excellency President Bashar al-Assad – President of the Syrian Arab Republic!
The people of Syria have chosen you, the brotherly fighter, and the brave Syrian Arab army under your leadership to be the protective shield for our Arab nation against the despotic colonial powers that want to harm us, just as this was the mission of Egypt, which repelled the brutal tripartite aggression in the battle of Suez 1956.
Syria, then as now its sister, announced that Damascus was with Cairo, and the battle of Suez became the graveyard of the colonial era with its ugly old face. The war in Syria, as the late leader Gamal Abdel Nasser already promised it, has to be the graveyard of colonialism in its new face, where it is trying through the collaboration with traitors, to impose his will on us. Now as then, in the spirit of Gamal Abdel Nasser, Cairo is with Damascus, and any aggression against sisterly Syria is also an aggression against Egypt and the entire Arab nation. Syria will be again a graveyard for the invaders.
These days have proven that traitors, acting as colonial agents, are the most dangerous weapons of our enemies, and through them they try to succeed in what they failed in the fifties and sixties of the last century. They used our truly tolerant religion to strike Arab nationalism, the vessel in which all religious and sectarian differences were defused, to spread ignorance and poverty among our innocent citizens, to broadcast destructive ideas and transform groups of our youth into a satanic movement that calls for backwardness and rivalry between sects and minorities. No one benefits from these movements except our enemies, foremost among them our Zionist enemy, the patron of these brutal forces directed against our Arabism.
Excellency President Bashar al-Assad!
This despicable attack against the Syrian people and its brave army under your leadership is an attack of the desperate and the failed, which, after a fierce and failed war against Syria’s unity and Arabism for more than seven years, proves that it cannot destroy the unity of Syria and its Arabism. We will soon celebrate, as the triumph of Arab Syria is on the horizon.
I also want to thank the courageous leadership of Russia and the Russian people, your support now and through the difficult days and situations of the 1950s and 1960s has proven, that you are the friends of our people and our Arabism, that you believe in the freedom of our people and their struggle against imperialism in all its forms.
Finally, I would like to assure you, that your steadfastness and victory is a victory for all of us against the aggression of our enemies and against the traitors who are their servants.
To the near inevitable victory, God willing.
Abdelhakim Gamal Abdel Nasser