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How Western Meddling and a Dust Bowl Drought Ignited Syria’s Civil War

How Western Meddling and a Dust Bowl Drought Ignited Syria’s Civil War

How Western Meddling and a Dust Bowl Drought Ignited Syria’s Civil War
May 02
14:00 2018

DOUMA, SYRIA (Opinion) —  The reported “chemical attack” at Douma, Russia has claimed, was fake news. One U.S. news agency has now confirmed from the location of the reported attack that April 7, 2018 was an uneventful day in this Syrian city and not one single person in Douma corroborated the story of a chemical attack taking place.

It is the latest in a long series of false-flag reports generated about Syria by the United States and forces that oppose the government of President Bashar al Assad. This trickery dates back to at least 2006, when a WikiLeaks cable exposed U.S. political treachery at its very worst; calculated meddling designed to harm the government and population of Syria.

In this article we will review false revelations and calculated moves undertaken by politicians to undermine Syria’s government, which is designed to provide protection to religious minorities and freedom for people of all faiths, who lived securely in Syria until civil war broke out in 2011.

President Donald Trump’s recent decision to attack Syria has been lauded by many Americans, but also widely condemned throughout the world. The president did not follow standard channels (i.e., congressional approval) before waging the attack. But U.S. pilots were brazenly directed to fire more than 100 missiles at Syria, killing innocent civilians, including children. The preemptive attack, had it happened on U.S. soil, would be unimaginable, but this is demonized Syria, a place most Americans, because of their national media, know very little about.

Many journalists suggest that Trump’s decision to launch the attack was correct because the people of Syria are suffering — but why is Syria suffering? One major reason is the United States’ insistence on the ouster of Assad. To accomplish this, the Americans have stirred unrest, generated false reports about chemical attacks, ignored pleas for humanitarian assistance to Syria, and backed and funded some of the most radical terrorists on the face of this planet, including the Islamic State and al Nusra Front. Many are the same people who attacked and killed American forces during the Iraq war.

 

Chemical propaganda

The U.S. news agency, One America News, reported from the site of the recent alleged chemical attack in Douma, revealing that there had not been a chemical attack, and that the whole event was staged by the “White Helmets,” heavily promoted by U.S. funding and described as anti-Assad rescuers who save people. In the group’s own words: “When the bombs rain down, the White Helmets rush in. Unarmed and neutral, they’ve saved 114,431+ lives and counting. Support them now.” According to the website Syria Civil Defense, the group may not really need such “support,” as it receives funding “from the governments of the U.K., Holland, Denmark, Germany, Canada, New Zealand, and the U.S.A.”

The crew from One America News spoke to citizens; they went to the affected neighborhood; they even talked to doctors at the hospital where the “White Helmets” reportedly brought the patients whom they claimed had suffered a chemical attack. Doctors at the facility said it was a normal day when the White Helmets burst in with numerous video cameras and “patients” who got up and walked out when the video cameras stopped rolling. Hoax doesn’t even seem like a strong enough term.

Watch | OAN Investigation Finds No Evidence of Chemical Weapon Attack in Syria

The strangest thing about the disclosure is that One America News supports Donald Trump in its evening right-wing talk show programs, and yet they completely contradict his claims of a chemical attack that led to the deadly U.S. attack. Their reporters proved to the world that the chemical attack in Douma was a hoax, undermining Trump’s chemical weapons claim and keeping true to their “fair news” position. The agency maintains a strong boundary between its pro-Trump talk shows and actual news reporting.

If the United States politicians want to see their country as the great savior of Syria, there are a number of things they should consider, beginning with the simple question: What did Syria do to the United States? The answer is, absolutely nothing at all. Playing world policeman is a long-ranging pattern in the U.S.; yet rarely, if ever, has the U.S. military made a positive difference in the world since World War II. Instead, the U.S. consistently loses the wars it starts, while maintaining as allies some of the most dangerous countries in existence.

 

Syria’s secular policies

The truth behind the United States’ incessant desire to force regime change in Syria is unknown to the vast majority of Americans. The players are not who they seem to be, the facts are highly different from what traditional Western media outlets report, and the military and political agendas pushed by both Barack Obama and Donald Trump are measured in blood, death, and the loss of human rights and religious freedom. The goal of both Assad and his father, Hafez al-Assad, who ruled Syria prior to Bashar, has been religious freedom for the people of Syria. That doesn’t go over well with the radicals with whom the U.S. maintains relations.

People of all faiths flourished in Syria prior to the so-called “Arab Spring.” The large-scale protests in Syria that garnered so much attention from the Western press were largely a result of a terrible drought that lasted over four years in Syria, bringing farmers to an economic standstill. Few Americans know this, because Western politicians and media told them it was all a big protest against the Assad regime, which was not true.

The Assad family are Alawis, sometimes called Alawites, a sect of Shia Islam that some Muslims consider blasphemous. The Alawis reject Sharia law; women are not required to wear a hijab, or head covering; and alcohol is permitted in certain religious ceremonies. Because Alawis have been persecuted as a minority religion, they traditionally identify with Christians and Jews. The goals of both Assad administrations has been to keep religion free, open and a matter of personal choice.

But all efforts to maintain a nation free from sectarian violence have been thwarted by the U.S. government. It is a bitter pill for those who relish and support humanitarianism.

A half-burned image of Christ is placed next to a wall at a Greek Orthodox church in Maaloula, Syria, March 3, 2016. Maaloula, an ancient Christian town 40 miles northeast of Damascus, changed hands several times in the war. Its historic churches pillaged by Syrian rebels and buildings riddled with shrapnel reflect fierce fighting that devastated the town two years ago. (AP/Pavel Golovkin)

A burned image of Christ is placed next to a wall at a Greek Orthodox church in Maaloula, Syria, March 3, 2016, after being pillaged by Syrian rebels. (AP/Pavel Golovkin)

The idea of U.S. politicians plotting for years, tossing out endless roadblocks, and complicating a nation’s quest to offer freedom of faith to its citizens conflicts sharply with American claims of supporting religious freedom. In fact, the actions of the American politicians are far more in line with promoting ethnic cleansing and religious intolerance, and that is exactly what has happened.

The Americans did the same thing to Iraq after illegally attacking the country over alleged weapons of mass destruction that did not exist. The Western powers annihilated the Gaddafi administration in Libya and that country, now in the hands of extremists, has open human slavery markets in its larger cities in 2018. Many of the victims are Black Jews deported from Israel under its extreme policies against people of color.

The most tragic result for Syria has been the loss of peace and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people from all religious backgrounds. Who benefits from the violence? Arch rival Saudi Arabia, the political home of the Sunni Salafist/Wahhabi regime — the nemesis of Shia Islam — and the Zionist government of Israel, which has been annexing and stealing land in the Middle East for 70 years. Both are U.S. allies. In fact the confiscation of one of the few remaining parcels of land considered to be Palestine — the Golan Heights — is the prime reason Israel supports regime change in Syria, a nation that Israel has attacked time and time again in recent history.

 

Set up for a fall

The fabricated Douma chemical attack is the latest in a series of hoaxes and manipulations that began with this WikiLeaks cable from 2006, which reveals the mentality of the U.S. government toward Assad. In the cable, the U.S. government stated that “Syria has enjoyed a considerable up-tick in foreign direct investments (FDI)” and U.S. operatives were encouraged to dissuade FDI, which was largely coming from Syrian expats who were encouraged by positive developments brought by the Assad government.

The cable also revealed that the U.S. should “encourage rumors and signals of external plotting,” stating:

The [Assad] regime is intensely sensitive to rumors about coup-plotting and restlessness in the security services and military. Regional allies like Egypt and Saudi Arabia should be encouraged to meet with figures like Khaddam and Rif, al Asad as a way of sending such signals, with appropriate leaking of the meetings afterwards. This again touches on this insular regime’s paranoia and increases the possibility of a self-defeating over-reaction.”

Abdul Halim Khaddam was vice president of Syria from 1984 to 2005. He was a longtime loyalist of former President Hafez Assad (sometimes spelled “Asad”), but broke relations with Bashar in 2005. Rif’at Ali al-Assad, the younger brother of Hafez Assad, led a coup d’état against his brother in the early 1980’s when Hafez was suffering from heart problems and was exiled; he currently lives in France.

 

No moderate rebels

There may have been moderates at the beginning of the civil war but that is far in the background. The people who seek to destabilize the Syrian government and remove Assad are associated with the most radial and deadly school of thought among Islamic followers. They are Wahhabi, an intensely fundamentalist and conservative element of Sunni Islam created in Saudi Arabia that dates back to the 19th century. They hate the secular aspects of Syria; they want hardcore Islamic law; and the nemesis of Saudi Arabia is Shia Iran, which backs Assad and Syria.

It is extremely important to understand who the Wahhabis are, along with the Salafis, a Sunni sect that seeks to have people living as though they are still in the Middle Ages. Salafism came first, so all Wahhabis are Salafist, but not the other way around. Their teachings are what members of the Islamic State of the Levant (ISIL) follow. They are intolerant of all who are different, unless money is involved. As a matter of note, Salafism is a puritanical interpretation of Islam.

A Jabhat al-Nusra fighter talks on a radio while carrying his weapon in the front line of Khan Sheikhoun, northern Idlib province, May, 2014. (Photo: Hamid Khatib/Reuters)

A Jabhat al-Nusra fighter talks on a radio while carrying his weapon in the front line of Khan Sheikhoun, northern Idlib province, May, 2014. (Photo: Hamid Khatib/Reuters)

Wahhabism was founded by Mohammed Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, who lived from 1703 to 1792. As noted by the Telegraph:

In the 1970s, with the help of funding from petroleum exports and other factors, Saudi charities started funding Wahhabi schools (madrassas) and mosques across the globe and the movement underwent ‘explosive growth.’”

Regarding Wahhabism’s puritanical and iconoclastic philosophies, the U.S. Congressional Research Service (CSR) in the Library of Congress wrote:

In particular, Abd al Wahhab denounced many popular Islamic beliefs and practices as idolatrous. Ultimately, he encouraged a ‘return’ to the pure and orthodox practice of the ‘fundamentals’ of Islam, as embodied in the Quran and in the life of the Prophet Muhammad. Muhammad bin Saud, the ancestral founder of the modern-day Al Saud dynasty, partnered with Abd al Wahhab to begin the process of unifying disparate tribes in the Arabian Peninsula. Their partnership formed the basis for a close political relationship between their descendants that continues today.”

Today, Saudi Arabia is an intolerant nation, rich from oil reserves, that does not allow freedom of religion to exist within its borders. Saudi officials still perform public beheadings and even crucifixions in open public squares. The countries the Saudis oppose, Syria and Iran, heavily demonized and targeted, both protect their religious minorities, namely Christians and Jews. Iraq, under the leadership of the late Saddam Hussein, also allowed religious freedom — though the Americans did everything possible to destroy this. No Jews exist in Saudi Arabia, yet the Saudi’s increasingly view Israel as an ally.

The following excerpt from the WikiLeaks cable proves that the whole idea of driving terrorists into Syria and causing havoc for the Syrian Arab Republic Government (SARG) was designed in Washington:

Publicize presence of transiting (or externally focused) extremist groups in Syria, not limited to mention of Hamas and PIJ. Publicize Syrian efforts against extremist groups in a way that suggests weakness, signs of instability, and uncontrolled blowback. The SARG’s argument (usually used after terror attacks in Syria) that it too is a victim of terrorism should be used against it to give greater prominence to increasing signs of instability within Syria.”

 

Civil war triggered by hunger and despair

Syria’s population increased from 3 million in 1946 to almost 24 million by 2010, the year before the country’s civil war broke out. This must be considered against the fact that only a small percentage of Syria’s land can sustain agriculture, as the country is extremely hard-pressed to provide water for farming. In fact, in 2010, only 13,500 square kilometers of Syria could provide crops due to minimal irrigation. Only 185,000 square kilometers of land are considered arable under ordinary non-drought conditions, according to a 2013 article by William R. Polk, who began writing for The Atlantic in 1958. The Euphrates River is partly drained by Turkey and Iraq before reaching Syria, and a terrible drought-plagued Syria from 2006 to 2011. It is, according to many reports, very similar to the “Dust Bowl” in the U.S. in the 1930’s that sent people from Oklahoma and other affected areas fleeing west to California’s San Joaquin Valley.

At the time of the drought, Americans were told that the people of Syria were rising up against their “tyrannical” leader, when in fact they were hungry and battling forces of nature. According to Polk:

That drought was said to have been the worst ever recorded, but it was one in a long sequence: Just in the period from 2001 to 2010, Syria had 60 ‘significant’ dust storms.”

Sheikh Ghazi Rashad Hrimis handles dried earth in the parched region of Raqqa province in eastern Syria, during the drought that displaced half a million people, November 11, 2010. (Reuters/Khaled al-Hariri)

Ghazi Hrimis handles dried earth in Raqqa province, eastern Syria during a drought that displaced half a million people, November 11, 2010. (Reuters/Khaled al-Hariri)

The Center for Climate & Security wrote:

In some areas, all agriculture ceased. In others, crop failures reached 75 percent. And generally as much as 85 percent of livestock died of thirst or hunger. Hundreds of thousands of Syria’s farmers gave up, abandoned their farms, and fled to the cities and towns in search of almost non-existent jobs and severely short food supplies. Outside observers, including UN experts, estimated that between 2 and 3 million of Syria’s 10 million rural inhabitants were reduced to ‘extreme poverty.’”

As the defeated farmers moved into Damascus and other cities, they shared resources with a quarter of a million Palestinian refugees forced to flee by Israeli colonization, and 100,000 Iraqi people forced to flee their homes in fear of violence under the U.S. occupation. Polk explains that in 2008, the head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Syria termed the situation “a perfect storm,” warning that Syria faced “social destruction.”

A WikiLeaks cable from 2008 explains that the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) “launched an appeal on September 29 requesting roughly $20.23 million to assist an estimated one million people impacted by what the UN describes as the country’s worst drought in four decades.”

Syria’s minister of agriculture publicly stated that the “economic and social fallout” from the drought was “beyond our capacity as a country to deal with.” USAID’s decision was to do absolutely nothing, and the U.S. agency chose to let the Syrian people suffer. In retrospect, it seems the decision simply supported the U.S. policy of regime change — no amount of hunger or strife moved or softened the heart the director of USAID.

 

Syrian diversity

Small groups of people have historically been able to survive and prosper in Syria and, while the country’s history is entwined with the Islamic faith, Polk wrote that enclaves of residents —  “leftovers” — were comprised of those who had survived migrations and invasions:

During most of the last five centuries, when what is today Syria was part of the Ottoman Empire, groups of Orthodox, Catholic, and other Christians; Alawis, Ismailis, and other sorts of Shia Muslims; and Yazidis, Kurds, Jews, and Druze lived in enclaves and in neighborhoods in the various cities and towns alongside Sunni Muslim Arabs.”

Polk concluded:

Looming over Syrian politics and heightening the tensions among the contenders for dominance throughout the post-war period has been the modern, powerful, and American-supported state of Israel: regular wars between Syria and Israel began in 1948, almost before either state had achieved full independence, and were repeated in 1967 and 1973. Border clashes, informal fighting, and limited ceasefires were interspersed among these major confrontations.

And since 1967, Israel has occupied the 1,200 square kilometers (460 square miles) of Syrian territory known as the Golan Heights. In 1981, Israel proclaimed that it had annexed the territory, a move not recognized by the U.S. or other states, and moved nearly 20,000 settlers there. Meanwhile, intermittent peace talks have been secretly held from time to time without result. A ceasefire, negotiated in 1974, has held, but today the two states are still legally at war.”

The people of Syria will spend years recovering from the devastation of war. General Wesley Clark famously stated in an interview with Amy Goodman in 2007, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” The deception and hoaxes, fake news stories and air strikes, are a deliberate attempt by the U.S. government to reduce the quality of life among the Syrian people while aiding some of the most dangerous terrorists who have ever roamed the face of this earth.

The very notion of the U.S. targeting a country like Syria that protects religious freedom is a singeing attack on American values. News agencies need to adhere to the truth. They need to investigate stories and vet their sources, before sounding the alarm over events that may not have taken place at all. If the U.S.-backed “rebels” had defeated the Syrian government, the country would be in the hands of radicals who would immediately implement Sharia law. This is what the U.S. has been spending vast amounts of taxpayer money to accomplish, and it would effectively send Syria back to the stone age.

Top Photo | US and British special forces train Syrian opposition fighters from of the New Syrian Army (NSA) and Jaish Awsoud Al-Sharqiah at an undisclosed site in Jordan (Photo: Al-Masdar)

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com’s Executive News Editor.

The post How Western Meddling and a Dust Bowl Drought Ignited Syria’s Civil War appeared first on MintPress News.

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Alexander Ionov

Alexander Ionov

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