President al-Assad Interview w/ Lebanese Al-Manar TV

May 30, 2013

DAMASCUS, (SANA)-President Bashar al-Assad gave an interview to al-Manar TV broadcasted on Thursday,

Following is the full text of the interview:

Al-Manar: In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful. Assalamu Alaikum. Bloodshed in Syria continues unabated. This is the only constant over which there is little disagreement between those loyal to the Syrian state and those opposed to it. However, there is no common ground over the other constants and details two years into the current crisis. At the time, a great deal was said about the imminent fall of the regime. Deadlines were set and missed; and all those bets were lost. Today, we are here in the heart of Damascus, enjoying the hospitality of a president who has become a source of consternation to many of his opponents who are still unable to understand the equations that have played havoc with their calculations and prevented his ouster from the Syrian political scene. This unpleasant and unexpected outcome for his opponents upset their schemes and plots because they didn’t take into account one self-evident question: what happens if the regime doesn’t fall? What if President Assad doesn’t leave the Syrian scene? Of course, there are no clear answers; and the result is more destruction, killing and bloodshed. Today there is talk of a critical juncture for Syria. The Syrian Army has moved from defense to attack, achieving one success after another. On a parallel level, stagnant diplomatic waters have been shaken by discussions over a Geneva 2 conference becoming a recurrent theme in the statements of all parties. There are many questions which need answers: political settlement, resorting to the military option to decide the outcome, the Israeli enemy’s direct interference with the course of events in the current crisis, the new equations on the Golan Heights, the relationship with opponents and friends. What is the Syrian leadership’s plan for a way out of a complex and dangerous crisis whose ramifications have started to spill over into neighboring countries? It is our great pleasure tonight to put these questions to H. E. President Bashar al-Assad. Assalamu Alaikum, Mr. President.

President Assad: Assalamu Alaikum. You are most welcome in Damascus.

Al-Manar: Mr. President, we are in the heart of the People’s Palace, two and a half years into the Syrian crisis. At the time, the bet was that the president and his regime would be overthrown within weeks. How have you managed to foil the plots of your opponents and enemies? What is the secret behind this steadfastness?

President Assad: There are a number of factors are involved. One is the Syrian factor, which thwarted their intentions; the other factor is related to those who masterminded these scenarios and ended up defeating themselves because they do not know Syria or understand in detail the situation. They started with the calls of revolution, but a real revolution requires tangible elements; you cannot create a revolution simply by paying money. When this approach failed, they shifted to using sectarian slogans in order to create a division within our society. Even though they were able to infiltrate certain pockets in Syrian society, pockets of ignorance and lack of awareness that exist in any society, they were not able to create this sectarian division. Had they succeeded, Syria would have been divided up from the beginning. They also fell into their own trap by trying to promote the notion that this was a struggle to maintain power rather than a struggle for national sovereignty. No one would fight and martyr themselves in order to secure power for anyone else.

Al-Manar: In the battle for the homeland, it seems that the Syrian leadership, and after two and a half years, is making progress on the battlefield. And here if I might ask you, why have you chosen to move from defense to attack? And don’t you think that you have been late in taking the decision to go on the offensive, and consequently incurred heavy losses, if we take of Al-Qseir as an example.

President Assad: It is not a question of defense or attack. Every battle has its own tactics. From the beginning, we did not deal with each situation from a military perspective alone. We also factored in the social and political aspects as well - many Syrians were misled in the beginning and there were many friendly countries that didn’t understand the domestic dynamics. Your actions will differ according to how much consensus there is over a particular issue. There is no doubt that as events have unfolded Syrians have been able to better understand the situation and what is really at stake. This has helped the Armed Forces to better carry out their duties and achieve results. So, what is happening now is not a shift in tactic from defense to attack, but rather a shift in the balance of power in favor of the Armed Forces.

Al-Manar: How has this balance been tipped, Mr. President? Syria is being criticized for asking for the assistance of foreign fighters, and to be fully candid, it is said that Hezbollah fighters are extending assistance. In a previous interview, you said that there are 23 million Syrians; we do not need help from anyone else. What is Hezbollah doing in Syria?

President Assad: The main reason for tipping the balance is the change in people’s opinion in areas that used to incubate armed groups, not necessarily due to lack of patriotism on their part, but because they were deceived. They were led to believe that there was a revolution against the failings of the state. This has changed; many individuals have left these terrorist groups and have returned to their normal lives. As to what is being said about Hezbollah and the participation of foreign fighters alongside the Syrian Army, this is a hugely important issue and has several factors. Each of these factors should be clearly understood. Hezbollah, the battle at Al-Qseir and the recent Israeli airstrike – these three factors cannot be looked at in isolation of the other, they are all a part of the same issue. Let’s be frank. In recent weeks, and particularly after Mr. Hasan Nasrallah’s speech, Arab and foreign media have said that Hezbollah fighters are fighting in Syria and defending the Syrian state, or to use their words “the regime.” Logically speaking, if Hezbollah or the resistance wanted to defend Syria by sending fighters, how many could they send - a few hundred, a thousand or two? We are talking about a battle in which hundreds of thousands of Syrian troops are involved against tens of thousands of terrorists, if not more because of the constant flow of fighters from neighboring and foreign countries that support those terrorists. So clearly, the number of fighters Hezbollah might contribute in order to defend the Syrian state in its battle, would be a drop in the ocean compared to the number of Syrian soldiers fighting the terrorists. When also taking into account the vast expanse of Syria, these numbers will neither protect a state nor ‘regime.’ This is from one perspective. From another, if they say they are defending the state, why now? Battles started after Ramadan in 2011 and escalated into 2012, the summer of 2012 to be precise. They started the battle to “liberate Damascus” and set a zero hour for the first time, the second time and a third time; the four generals were assassinated, a number of individuals fled Syria, and many people believed that was the time the state would collapse. It didn’t. Nevertheless, during all of these times, Hezbollah never intervened, so why would it intervene now? More importantly, why haven’t we seen Hezbollah fighting in Damascus and Aleppo? The more significant battles are in Damascus and in Aleppo, not in Al-Qseir. Al-Qseir is a small town in Homs, why haven’t we seen Hezbollah in the city of Homs? Clearly, all these assumptions are inaccurate. They say Al-Qseir is a strategic border town, but all the borders are strategic for the terrorists in order to smuggle in their fighters and weapons. So, all these propositions have nothing to do with Hezbollah. If we take into account the moans and groans of the Arab media, the statements made by Arab and foreign officials – even Ban Ki-moon expressed concern over Hezbollah in Al-Qseir – all of this is for the objective of suppressing and stifling the resistance. It has nothing to do with defending the Syrian state. The Syrian army has made significant achievements in Damascus, Aleppo, rural Damascus and many other areas; however, we haven’t heard the same moaning as we have heard in Al-Qseir.

Al-Manar: But, Mr. President, the nature of the battle that you and Hezbollah are waging in Al-Qseir seems, to your critics, to take the shape of a safe corridor connecting the coastal region with Damascus. Consequently, if Syria were to be divided, or if geographical changes were to be enforced, this would pave the way for an Alawite state. So, what is the nature of this battle, and how is it connected with the conflict with Israel.

President Assad: First, the Syrian and Lebanese coastal areas are not connected through Al-Qseir. Geographically this is not possible. Second, nobody would fight a battle in order to move towards separation. If you opt for separation, you move towards that objective without waging battles all over the country in order to be pushed into a particular corner. The nature of the battle does not indicate that we are heading for division, but rather the opposite, we are ensuring we remain a united country. Our forefathers rejected the idea of division when the French proposed this during their occupation of Syria because at the time they were very aware of its consequences. Is it possible or even fathomable that generations later, we their children, are less aware or mindful? Once again, the battle in Al-Qseir and all the bemoaning is related to Israel. The timing of the battle in Al-Qseir was synchronized with the Israeli airstrike. Their objective is to stifle the resistance. This is the same old campaign taking on a different form. Now what’s important is not al-Qseir as a town, but the borders; they want to stifle the resistance from land and from the sea. Here the question begs itself - some have said that the resistance should face the enemy and consequently remain in the south. This was said on May 7, 2008, when some of Israel’s agents in Lebanon tried to tamper with the communications system of the resistance; they claimed that the resistance turned its weapons inwards. They said the same thing about the Syrian Army; that the Syrian Army should fight on the borders with Israel. We have said very clearly that our Army will fight the enemy wherever it is. When the enemy is in the north, we move north; the same applies if the enemy comes from the east or the west. This is also the case for Hezbollah. So the question is why is Hezbollah deployed on the borders inside Lebanon or inside Syria? The answer is that our battle is a battle against the Israeli enemy and its proxies inside Syria or inside Lebanon.

Al-Manar: Mr. President, if I might ask about Israel’s involvement in the Syrian crisis through the recent airstrike against Damascus. Israel immediately attached certain messages to this airstrike by saying it doesn’t want escalation or doesn’t intend to interfere in the Syrian crisis. The question is: what does Israel want and what type of interference?

President Assad: This is exactly my point. Everything that is happening at the moment is aimed, first and foremost, at stifling the resistance. Israel’s support of the terrorists was for two purposes. The first is to stifle the resistance; the second is to strike the Syrian air defense systems. It is not interested in anything else.

Al-Manar: Mr. President, since Israel’s objectives are clear, the Syrian state was criticized for its muted response. Everyone was expecting a Syrian response, and the Syrian government stated that it reserves the right to respond at the appropriate time and place. Why didn’t the response come immediately? And is it enough for a senior source to say that missiles have been directed at the Israeli enemy and that any attack will be retaliated immediately without resorting to Army command?

President Assad: We have informed all the Arab and foreign parties - mostly foreign - that contacted us, that we will respond the next time. Of course, there has been more than one response. There have been several Israeli attempted violations to which there was immediate retaliation. But these short-term responses have no real value; they are only of a political nature. If we want to respond to Israel, the response will be of strategic significance.

Al-Manar: How? By opening the Golan front, for instance?

President Assad: This depends on public opinion, whether there is a consensus in support of the resistance or not. That’s the question. Al-Manar: How is the situation in Syria now?

President Assad: In fact, there is clear popular pressure to open the Golan front to resistance. This enthusiasm is also on the Arab level; we have received many Arab delegations wanting to know how young people might be enrolled to come and fight Israel. Of course, resistance is not easy. It is not merely a question of opening the front geographically. It is a political, ideological, and social issue, with the net result being military action.

Al-Manar: Mr. President, if we take into account the incident on the Golan Heights and Syria’s retaliation on the Israeli military vehicle that crossed the combat line, does this mean that the rules of engagement have changed? And if the rules of the game have changed, what is the new equation, so to speak?

President Assad: Real change in the rules of engagement happens when there is a popular condition pushing for resistance. Any other change is short-term, unless we are heading towards war. Any response of any kind might only appear to be a change to the rules of engagement, but I don’t think it really is. The real change is when the people move towards resistance; this is the really dramatic change.

Al-Manar: Don’t you think that this is a little late? After 40 years of quiet and a state of truce on the Golan Heights, now there is talk of a movement on that front, about new equations and about new rules of the game?

President Assad: They always talk about Syria opening the front or closing the front. A state does not create resistance. Resistance can only be called so, when it is popular and spontaneous, it cannot be created. The state can either support or oppose the resistance, - or create obstacles, as is the case with some Arab countries. I believe that a state that opposes the will of its people for resistance is reckless. The issue is not that Syria has decided, after 40 years, to move in this direction. The public’s state of mind is that our National Army is carrying out its duties to protect and liberate our land. Had there not been an army, as was the situation in Lebanon when the army and the state were divided during the civil war, there would have been resistance a long time ago. Today, in the current circumstances, there are a number of factors pushing in that direction. First, there are repeated Israeli aggressions that constitute a major factor in creating this desire and required incentive. Second, the army’s engagement in battles in more than one place throughout Syria has created a sentiment on the part of many civilians that it is their duty to move in this direction in order to support the Armed Forces on the Golan.

Al-Manar: Mr. President, Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel would not hesitate to attack Syria if it detected that weapons are being conveyed to Hezbollah in Lebanon. If Israel carried out its threats, I want a direct answer from you: what would Syria do?

President Assad: As I have said, we have informed the relevant states that we will respond in kind. Of course, it is difficult to specify the military means that would be used, that is for our military command to decide. We plan for different scenarios, depending on the circumstances and the timing of the strike that would determine which method or weapons.

Al-Manar: Mr. President, after the airstrike that targeted Damascus, there was talk about the S300 missiles and that this missile system will tip the balance. Based on this argument, Netanyahu visited Moscow. My direct question is this: are these missiles on their way to Damascus? Is Syria now in possession of these missiles?

President Assad: It is not our policy to talk publically about military issues in terms of what we possess or what we receive. As far as Russia is concerned, the contracts have nothing to do with the crisis. We have negotiated with them on different kinds of weapons for years, and Russia is committed to honoring these contracts. What I want to say is that neither Netanyahu’s visit nor the crisis and the conditions surrounding it have influenced arms imports. All of our agreements with Russia will be implemented, some have been implemented during the past period and, together with the Russians, we will continue to implement these contracts in the future.

Al-Manar: Mr. President, we have talked about the steadfastness of the Syrian leadership and the Syrian state. We have discussed the progress being achieved on the battlefield, and strengthening the alliance between Syria and the resistance. These are all within the same front. From another perspective, there is diplomatic activity stirring waters that have been stagnant for two and a half years. Before we talk about this and about the Geneva conference and the red lines that Syria has drawn, there was a simple proposition or a simple solution suggested by the former head of the coalition, Muaz al-Khatib. He said that the president, together with 500 other dignitaries would be allowed to leave the country within 20 days, and the crisis would be over. Why don’t you meet this request and put an end to the crisis?

President Assad: I have always talked about the basic principle: that the Syrian people alone have the right to decide whether the president should remain or leave. So, anybody speaking on this subject should state which part of the Syrian people they represent and who granted them the authority to speak on their behalf. As for this initiative, I haven’t actually read it, but I was very happy that they allowed me 20 days and 500 people! I don’t know who proposed the initiative; I don’t care much about names.

Al-Manar: He actually said that you would be given 20 days, 500 people, and no guarantees. You’ll be allowed to leave but with no guarantee whatsoever on whether legal action would be taken against you or not. Mr. President, this brings us to the negotiations, I am referring to Geneva 2. The Syrian government and leadership have announced initial agreement to take part in this conference. If this conference is held, there will be a table with the Syrian flag on one side and the flag of the opposition groups on the other. How can you convince the Syrian people after two and a half years of crisis that you will sit face to face at the same negotiating table with these groups?

President Assad: First of all, regarding the flag, it is meaningless without the people it represents. When we put a flag on a table or anywhere else, we talk about the people represented by that flag. This question can be put to those who raise flags they call Syrian but are different from the official Syrian flag. So, this flag has no value when it does not represent the people. Secondly, we will attend this conference as the official delegation and legitimate representatives of the Syrian people. But, whom do they represent? When the conference is over, we return to Syria, we return home to our people. But when the conference is over, whom do they return to - five-star hotels? Or to the foreign ministries of the states that they represent – which doesn’t include Syria of course - in order to submit their reports? Or do they return to the intelligence services of those countries? So, when we attend this conference, we should know very clearly the positions of some of those sitting at the table - and I say some because the conference format is not clear yet and as such we do not have details as to how the patriotic Syrian opposition will be considered or the other opposition parties in Syria. As for the opposition groups abroad and their flag, we know that we are attending the conference not to negotiate with them, but rather with the states that back them; it will appear as though we are negotiating with the slaves, but essentially we are negotiating with their masters. This is the truth, we shouldn’t deceive ourselves.

Al-Manar: Are you, in the Syrian leadership, convinced that these negotiations will be held next month?

President Assad: We expect them to happen, unless they are obstructed by other states. As far as we are concerned in Syria, we have announced a couple of days ago that we agree in principle to attend.

Al-Manar: When you say in principle, it seems that you are considering other options.

President Assad: In principle, we are in favour of the conference as a notion, but there are no details yet. For example, will there be conditions placed before the conference? If so, these conditions may be unacceptable and we would not attend. So the idea of the conference, of a meeting, in principle is a good one. We will have to wait and see.

Al-Manar: Let’s talk, Mr. President, about the conditions put by the Syrian leadership. What are Syria’s conditions?

President Assad: Simply put, our only condition is that anything agreed upon in any meeting inside or outside the country, including the conference, is subject to the approval of the Syrian people through a popular referendum. This is the only condition. Anything else doesn’t have any value. That is why we are comfortable with going to the conference. We have no complexes. Either side can propose anything, but nothing can be implemented without the approval of the Syrian people. And as long as we are the legitimate representatives of the people, we have nothing to fear.

Al-Manar: Let’s be clear, Mr. President. There is a lot of ambiguity in Geneva 1 and Geneva 2 about the transitional period and the role of President Bashar al-Assad in that transitional period. Are you prepared to hand over all your authorities to this transitional government? And how do you understand this ambiguous term?

President Assad: This is what I made clear in the initiative I proposed in January this year. They say they want a transitional government in which the president has no role. In Syria we have a presidential system, where the President is head of the republic and the Prime Minister heads the government. They want a government with broad authorities. The Syrian constitution gives the government full authorities. The president is the commander-in-chief of the Army and Armed Forces and the head of the Supreme Judicial Council. All the other institutions report directly to the government. Changing the authorities of the president is subject to changing the constitution; the president cannot just relinquish his authorities, he doesn't have the constitutional right. Changing the constitution requires a popular referendum. When they want to propose such issues, they might be discussed in the conference, and when we agree on something - if we agree, we return home and put it to a popular referendum and then move on. But for them to ask for the amendment of the constitution in advance, this cannot be done neither by the president nor by the government.

Al-Manar: Frankly, Mr. President, all the international positions taken against you and all your political opponents said that they don’t want a role for al-Assad in Syria’s future. This is what the Saudi foreign minister Saud al-Faisal said and this is what the Turks and the Qataris said, and also the Syrian opposition. Will President Assad be nominated for the forthcoming presidential elections in 2014?

President Assad: What I know is that Saud al-Faisal is a specialist in American affairs, I don’t know if he knows anything about Syrian affairs. If he wants to learn, that’s fine! As to the desires of others, I repeat what I have said earlier: the only desires relevant are those of the Syrian people. With regards to the nomination, some parties have said that it is preferable that the president shouldn’t be nominated for the 2014 elections. This issue will be determined closer to the time; it is still too early to discuss this. When the time comes, and I feel, through my meetings and interactions with the Syrian people, that there is a need and public desire for me to nominate myself, I will not hesitate. However, if I feel that the Syrian people do not want me to lead them, then naturally I will not put myself forward. They are wasting their time on such talk.

Al-Manar: Mr. President, you mentioned the Saudi foreign minister Saud al-Faisal. This makes me ask about Syria’s relationship with Saudi Arabia, with Qatar, with Turkey, particularly if we take into account that their recent position in the Arab ministerial committee was relatively moderate. They did not directly and publically call for the ouster of President Assad. Do you feel any change or any support on the part of these countries for a political solution to the Syrian crisis? And is Syria prepared to deal once more with the Arab League, taking into account that the Syrian government asked for an apology from the Arab League?

President Assad: Concerning the Arab states, we see brief changes in their rhetoric but not in their actions. The countries that support the terrorists have not changed; they are still supporting terrorism to the same extent. Turkey also has not made any positive steps. As for Qatar, their role is also the same, the role of the funder - the bank funding the terrorists and supporting them through Turkey. So, overall, no change. As for the Arab League, in Syria we have never pinned our hopes on the Arab League. Even in the past decades, we were barely able to dismantle the mines set for us in the different meetings, whether in the summits or in meetings of the foreign ministers. So in light of this and its recent actions, can we really expect it to play a role? We are open to everybody, we never close our doors. But we should also be realistic and face the truth that they are unable to offer anything, particularly since a significant number of the Arab states are not independent. They receive their orders from the outside. Some of them are sympathetic to us in their hearts, but they cannot act on their feelings because they are not in possession of their decisions. So, no, we do not pin any hopes on the Arab League.

Al-Manar: Mr. President, this leads us to ask: if the Arab environment is as such, and taking into account the developments on the ground and the steadfastness, the Geneva conference and the negotiations, the basic question is: what if the political negotiations fail? What are the consequences of the failure of political negotiations?

President Assad: This is quite possible, because there are states that are obstructing the meeting in principle, and they are going only to avoid embarrassment. They are opposed to any dialogue whether inside or outside Syria. Even the Russians, in several statements, have dampened expectations from this conference. But we should also be accurate in defining this dialogue, particularly in relation to what is happening on the ground. Most of the factions engaged in talking about what is happening in Syria have no influence on the ground; they don’t even have direct relationships with the terrorists. In some instances these terrorists are directly linked with the states that are backing them, in other cases, they are mere gangs paid to carry out terrorist activities. So, the failure of the conference will not significantly change the reality inside Syria, because these states will not stop supporting the terrorists - conference or no conference, and the gangs will not stop their subversive activities. So it has no impact on them.

Al-Manar: Mr. President, the events in Syria are spilling over to neighboring countries. We see what’s happening in Iraq, the explosions in Al-Rihaniye in Turkey and also in Lebanon. In Ersal, Tripoli, Hezbollah taking part in the fighting in Al-Qseir. How does Syria approach the situation in Lebanon, and do you think the Lebanese policy of dissociation is still applied or accepted?

President Assad: Let me pose some questions based on the reality in Syria and in Lebanon about the policy of dissociation in order not to be accused of making a value judgment on whether this policy is right or wrong. Let’s start with some simple questions: Has Lebanon been able to prevent Lebanese interference in Syria? Has it been able to prevent the smuggling of terrorists or weapons into Syria or providing a safe haven for them in Lebanon? It hasn’t; in fact, everyone knows that Lebanon has contributed negatively to the Syrian crisis. Most recently, has Lebanon been able to protect itself against the consequences of the Syrian crisis, most markedly in Tripoli and the missiles that have been falling over different areas of Beirut or its surroundings? It hasn’t. So what kind of dissociation are we talking about? For Lebanon to dissociate itself from the crisis is one thing, and for the government to dissociate itself is another. When the government dissociates itself from a certain issue that affects the interests of the Lebanese people, it is in fact dissociating itself from the Lebanese citizens. I’m not criticizing the Lebanese government - I’m talking about general principles. I don’t want it to be said that I’m criticizing this government. If the Syrian government were to dissociate itself from issues that are of concern to the Syrian people, it would also fail. So in response to your question with regards to Lebanon’s policy of dissociation, we don’t believe this is realistically possible. When my neighbor’s house is on fire, I cannot say that it’s none of my business because sooner or later the fire will spread to my house.

Al-Manar: Mr. President, what would you say to the supporters of the axis of resistance? We are celebrating the anniversary of the victory of the resistance and the liberation of south Lebanon, in an atmosphere of promises of victory, which Mr. Hasan Nasrallah has talked about. You are saying with great confidence that you will emerge triumphant from this crisis. What would you say to all this audience? Are we about to reach the end of this dark tunnel?

President Assad: I believe that the greatest victory achieved by the Arab resistance movements in the past years and decades is primarily an intellectual victory. This resistance wouldn’t have been able to succeed militarily if they hadn’t been able to succeed and stand fast against a campaign aimed at distorting concepts and principles in this region. Before the civil war in Lebanon, some people used to say that Lebanon’s strength lies in its weakness; this is similar to saying that a man’s intelligence lies in his stupidity, or that honor is maintained through corruption. This is an illogical contradiction. The victories of the resistance at different junctures proved that this concept is not true, and it showed that Lebanon’s weakness lies in its weakness and Lebanon’s strength lies in its strength. Lebanon’s strength is in its resistance and these resistance fighters you referred to. Today, more than ever before, we are in need of these ideas, of this mindset, of this steadfastness and of these actions carried out by the resistance fighters. The events in the Arab world during the past years have distorted concepts to the extent that some Arabs have forgotten that the real enemy is still Israel and have instead created internal, sectarian, regional or national enemies. Today we pin our hopes on these resistance fighters to remind the Arab people, through their achievements, that our enemy is still the same. As for my confidence in victory, if we weren’t so confident we wouldn’t have been able to stand fast or to continue this battle after two years of a global attack. This is not a tripartite attack like the one in 1956; it is in fact a global war waged against Syria and the resistance. We have absolute confidence in our victory, and I assure them that Syria will always remain, even more so than before, supportive of the resistance and resistance fighters everywhere in the Arab world.

Al-Manar: In conclusion, it has been my great honor to conduct this interview with Your Excellency, President Bashar al-Assad of the Syrian Arab Republic. Thank you very much. President Assad: You are welcome. I would like to congratulate Al-Manar channel, the channel of resistance, on the anniversary of the liberation and to congratulate the Lebanese people and every resistance fighter in Lebanon.

Al-Manar: Thank you.

Nasrallah’s May 25 speech

ASG's translation of excerpts from Nasrallah’s May 25 speech on Resistance and Liberation Day

“We have entered a completely new phase. What is happening in Syria is very important and fateful, for Lebanon’s present and future. Let us not bury our heads in the sand and act like we live in Djibouti, we are here on the border [with Syria]. We have the courage to talk and the courage to act and we will therefore speak honestly as such a historic and sensitive moment requires us to.
Our political position was clear from the very outset: we said popular demands for reform were legitimate. And we said that this [Assad] government had its positive points, particularly regarding resistance and mumana’a (political resistance), and that it also had negative points and flaws, and that what was needed were reforms which could be fulfilled by way of a political dialogue, [whereby] neither side fires a shot at the other. And this is because we know what Syria means to Lebanon and the region and the Arab-Israeli struggle, and to resistance movements and to the Palestinian cause.
Despite our modest capabilities as a party, we have strong and good ties with regional players. I was personally involved, along with my brothers [in Hizbullah], in brokering a political dialogue and a political resolution between President Bashar al-Assad and the opposition. And I witnessed how President Assad accepted while the opposition refused. All along, the Syrian leadership was willing to sit at the negotiating table and pursue a dialogue, and it accepted substantive political reforms. But to this day, the opposition continues to reject dialogue as it did from the outset, in the [vain] hope that the regime would collapse within a few months. This was based on the assumption that whoever is backed by the US, the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Europe and Arab oil states and Turkey etc. will necessarily triumph within a few weeks or months. They miscalculated.
An alliance of all these states I just mentioned soon emerged, led by the US which has the first and final say [in everything] . The British, French, Italians, Germans, Arabs, Turks, all work for the Americans. And we all know that Israel also supports this axis because the American project in the region is first and foremost an Israeli project. Al-Qaeda and takfiri groups joined this axis, and they were offered money and all kinds of facilities from all corners of the globe.  Doors were opened for them and they entered Syria. Nobody can convince us that the tens of thousands of takfiris and extremists who reject everyone that doesn’t subscribe to their thought, stealthily entered Syria…And an international war against Syria was waged, a media, political, diplomatic, economic and financial war, and the arming and funding and deployment of tens of thousands of fighters from all over the world. Tens of thousands of fighters from all over the world don’t seem to bother the so-called “Friends of Syria”, who met in Amman a couple of days ago, but they considered the intervention of a small group of Hizbullah [fighters] as foreign intervention.
To be honest, we didn’t intervene until a month ago….We used all our contacts with Islamic and national forces, as well as with states, to no avail; nothing but the downfall of the regime, whatever the cost. I know that there were reasonable proposals for a solution which were accepted by the Syrian leadership. These proposals were rejected by regional states because they cannot bear the idea of this regime remaining in power, even if Syria is going to be destroyed in the process.
We don’t accuse everyone [in the opposition], there are people who don’t have [American/Zionist/Arab oil] connections, and they are logical and have a vision, their demands are just, they are willing to engage in dialogue for their natural rights, and we respect these rights. This is part of the Syrian opposition. And there is another segment of the opposition which is employed by the CIA and the Pentagon and this or that intelligence service, and they don’t have any say in decision making. This is the external opposition. On the ground, [there are] the armed groups, [in] the areas from which the state withdrew, or was made to withdraw, and which is now under the control of armed groups. Does the external opposition have any control over these groups? They want to go and debate in Geneva; will they able to hold any sway over these armed groups? The West, the Arabs, the intelligence agencies and the media, and you and I know this truth: the largest force and dominant trend within the ranks of the armed forces is the takfiri trend. Those abroad have no influence over any of them.
And this trend started to dominate the Syrian opposition and it was funded and armed by several Arab states and regional countries and these states not only want to get rid of the Syrian regime, but of these   [takfiri] groups as well, so they facilitated their departure. But what they didn’t realize was that there would come a day when they will return home after earning this combat experience and experience in slaughter and killing….The case is no longer a popular revolution against a regime, it is no longer an issue of reform [because] the man [Assad] was ready to reform.
We regard the control these groups have over Syria, and specifically over parts of Syria bordering Lebanon, as a grave danger to Lebanon and a grave danger to all Lebanese. It is not only a danger to Hizbullah, or to the Shia of Lebanon, it is a danger to Lebanon and the Lebanese and the Resistance and communal coexistence in Lebanon. If these groups control areas bordering Lebanon they pose a threat to Lebanese Christians and Muslims, and when I say “Muslims” I means Sunnis, Druze, Shia and Alawites. I don’t just mean Shia, it is the Sunnis who are first and foremost in danger. The proof of this is Iraq. The same groups fighting in Syria today are an extension of a group there called “the Islamic state of Iraq”. Just ask Iraqi Sunnis how many of their Sunni clerics and Islamic party leaders this group killed; leaders who didn’t follow it. How many mosques in Anbar, Fallujah and Mosul, not merely Shia mosques and Christian churches? This organization boasts of carrying out 4 000 or 5 000 suicide attacks in Iraq. Most of these operations have targeted Iraqis of all sects, religions and ethnicities.
A week ago there was an election in Pakistan. You know what is problem with takfiri thought? They accuse others of apostasy over the most trivial matters, not merely for ideological or sectarian reasons, but for political reasons too. Whoever participates in the parliamentary elections is also an apostate; [shedding] his blood becomes permissible….This is the takfiri mind. He doesn’t differentiate between Sunni, Shia, Muslim, Christian, it makes no difference…They killed people at polling booths in all Iraqi provinces. How many people were killed in Pakistan a week ago? And most of those killed in Pakistan, in electoral campaigns and polling booths, were Sunni Muslims and Sunni clerics. The Pakistani Taliban killed them because they consider participation in the parliamentary elections as apostasy.  In just 4 countries—Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia—there were many more Sunnis killed than other Muslims or Christians.
Tunisia and Libya are suffering from this [takfiri] scourge today; those states which created and exported this scourge suffered from it. And we have been promised here in Lebanon that this scourge is coming our way. This is the danger. This mind does not accept dialogue…it has no priorities or common denominators. All it does is declare others apostates for the most trivial reasons, and it sanctions their killing. What future can there be for Syria amidst these groups and this mind? What future for Lebanon? What future for Palestine? What future for the people of this region?
We do not approach the problem from the perspective of Sunnis versus Shia as some have accused of us doing. Our approach is that all Muslims and Christians are threatened by this mind and trend and thought, which is creeping its way into our region. It is financed by America and supported by America, because that is the only means America has left at its disposal with which to destroy the region and restore its hegemony over us.
From the very start, people in the Syrian opposition declared that once the regime would collapse within 2 or 3 months, they were coming after us in Lebanon, before we had even articulated our political position. They burnished their credentials with the Americans and Israelis, [assuring them that] “we are ready to take revenge from the resistance which was victorious in 2000 and which thwarted the New Middle East project in 2006. We are ready, just support us.” And from the start, they kidnapped Lebanese pilgrims in Azaz and they began attacking Lebanese in the Qusayr countryside in order to displace them.
I have three points I want to make. This is the first development, and that is the domination and control by the takfiri trend. If it does take control, then the future of Syria and Lebanon and the region will be a very difficult and dark one.
Second, Syria is no longer an arena for popular revolution against a political system, but an arena for the imposition of a political project led by America and the West and its regional tools. And we all know that the American project in the region is an Israeli project through and through.
Third, Syria is the backbone of the resistance and a support for the resistance and the resistance cannot sit idly by while its back is being broken. We are not stupid. Only someone stupid would watch the death, siege, and conspiracy closing in on him without lifting a finger. Only a stupid person would do this. A reasonable, responsible person lives up to his obligations in full. If Syria falls into the hands of America, Israel, the takfiris, and all of America’s tools in the region, the resistance will find itself under siege, and Israel will invade Lebanon, in order to impose its terms on the Lebanese people, and in order to revive its aspirations and schemes. Then, Lebanon would return to yet another Israeli era. If Syria falls then Palestine is lost and the resistance in Palestine is lost, Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem will be lost.
There are two sides in this conflict: the first is the American/western/Arab axis which links the takfiri currents with one another on the battle field. [Takfiris] who rip chests open, behead people, dig up graves and destroy the past, a past which is 1400 years old. For the entire duration of this past, the followers of different faiths coexisted, and mosques, churches, shrines and mausoleums remained, and this diversity remained under the rule of various governments, most of which were Sunni governments….
And on the other side is a state or government which has a clear position on the Palestinian cause , on resistance movements and on the Israeli scheme, and which has always made clear its intent to engage in dialogue and a political solution and enact reforms.
Hizbullah can never belong to the same front which includes America, Israel and those who rip chests open, behead people and dig up graves. You can take any side you want, but Hizbullah can never belong to a front which wants to destroy all our achievements and squander all the sacrifices and make us slaves of America and Israel once again in a renewed Middle East project which we had previously defeated with the blood of thousands of martyrs…. By means of our position, we are defending Lebanon, Palestine and Syria.
In any case, we have been subjected to a formidable media and political campaign on account of our position, even when we were still silent, even when we had not yet intervened. The intent behind this media barrage, this media and psychological hegemony, for the past two years, was to prevent us from uttering a word of truth, and to make us subservient to this scheme. Whether we intervene in Syria or not, the media campaign against us is unrelenting. Millions of dollars have been poured into this campaign.
Our classification as a terrorist group is not new. There are people inside and outside Lebanon who aspire to have just one regional leader mention them by name. In our case, the leader of the greatest world power went to Israel and from day one repeated “Hizbullah, Hizbullah, Hizbullah”. We are happy [about this], not sad, that Europe sees that we are capable of changing the equation. This is something we take pride in. Go soak your terrorism list and drink its water.
They accused us of sectarianism. This is nonsense.  In Lebanon, Palestine and Bosnia Herzegovina. Maybe this is the first time we talk about this issue. We fought in Bosnia and lost martyrs, in defense of whom? In defense of Muslim Sunnis in Bosnia. There are no Shia in Bosnia. All the hardships that we endured and will continue to endure for the sake of Palestine. Nobody can accuse us of sectarianism. Our position on Iraq was clear. Our position on all events is clear.  Attempts to undermine our will and morale and [that of] our martyrs’ families, have failed.
I want to tell you something, [in response to] the completely unfounded words which were written these past two days. Go and meet the martyrs’ families and listen to what these honorable people have to say. None of what I am about to say has been reported in the media before or even in internal meetings….I am one and a half years late in saying this. The martyrs’ families are saying the same grand words they said during our previous confrontation [with Israel]….We don’t have to force our youths to go to battle. Not once in these past 30 years have we forced anyone to do so. There has been such a huge surge in the number of mujahideen and cadres [who want to fight in Syria]… we have banned many from fighting….We are not merely ready to declare jihad, all it takes is a couple of words and you will find tens of thousands of mujahdieen heading for those battle fronts. We do not allow an only son to go to battle unless we have permission from his parents. Now, there are only sons whose parents send me signed documents [granting permission]. Their sons come and tell us my parents have allowed me to go, and when our brothers ask these youths if they forged the signatures, their parents come and ask us to send their only sons to battle. I have now instructed our brothers not to allow them to do so even upon their parents’ request.
You do not understand this resistance or its support base, or its environment, or its culture. You haven’t understood it for the past 30 years nor will you understand it, because you always misunderstand it.
We have entered a completely new phase now, which began these last few weeks.  This new phase is called immunizing the resistance and protecting its backbone, and immunizing Lebanon. I am not asking anyone to share this responsibility with us. As with all previous battles, this battle is ours, we are its men, we are the ones who will turn it into a victory…
As I told you at the beginning of the July War in 2006: oh honorable people, oh mujahideen, oh heroes, as I promised you victory in the past, I promise you victory once again.”   

Video of Woolwich attacker at protest in 2007 with Salafi Preacher Anjem Choudary

Video of Woolwich attacker at protest in 2007 with Salafi Preacher Anjem Choudary

Footage of one of the alleged Woolwich attackers, Michael Adebolajo, taking part in an Salafi demonstration in 2007, has emerged.

The BBC's Sophie Raworth reports.

Source |

Anjem Choudary refuses to 'abhor' Woolwich attack

Radical Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary has said he was "shocked" by the murder of a soldier in Woolwich, but has refused to condemn the attack.

Drummer Lee Rigby was killed in broad daylight on Wednesday by two men, who were subsequently shot by police. The suspects, now known to be Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, were known to security services.

Mr Choudary told the BBC's Newsnight programme that he encountered Adebolajo at a number of Islamist demonstrations.

"When I saw what took place I was shocked... but what he said in the clip, I think not many Muslims can disagree with," he added.

Mr Choudary was participating in a Newsnight discussion on the attack with Shams Adduha Muhammad, imam and director of Ebrahim College, and Julie Siddiqui, executive director of the Islamic Society of Britain. Newsnight's presenter Kirsty Wark chaired the discussion.


Video of Woolwich suspect in 2007

Video of Woolwich attacker at protest in 2007 with Salafi Preacher Anjem Choudary

Footage of one of the alleged Woolwich attackers, Michael Adebolajo, taking part in an Salafi demonstration in 2007, has emerged.

The BBC's Sophie Raworth reports.



My analysis of the nuke in Syria is now proven to be 100 percent accurate.

Friday, May 10, 2013 | Jim Stone Reports on Syria |


At first I thought PressTV was compromised and therefore not reporting this. But now, after PressTV went to the scene and spoke to top weapons experts who were also at the scene of the nuclear bombing in Syria, ALL CONCUR: There is no doubt nuclear weapons were used, including at least one ground penetrating nuke, and that proof of the use of nuclear weapons is irrefutable.

The following is quoted from PressTV:
Striking evidence of the use of American EPW (Earth Penetrating Weapons) nuclear weapons in Syria has come to light. Experts say the proof is irrefutable.

Dramatic video footage from Syria has revealed startling evidence that counters Israel’s claims of “surgical strikes” on weapons headed to Lebanon.

What were said to be air strikes is now proven to have actually been artillery, something easily discernible to even an untrained observer.

What happens next is shocking. While artillery shells rain down on Syrian army positions, mobile Israeli artillery in direct support and even accompanying rebel forces inside Syria, a huge explosion occurs.

After analysis, it had become clear, Syria had come under attack by Israel using, not just nuclear weapons, but an American nuclear bunker buster bomb, one of several supplied to Israel to use against Iran, one of the last acts of the Bush/Cheney administration.

Submitted for analysis, the footage was compared with tests of the 37,000-pound MOB (Massive Ordnance Penetrator), designed by Boeing to be used against Iran’s underground facilities. There was no similarity whatsoever noted between the Syrian “event” and a conventional “bunker buster” including the GBU 57, the largest conventional weapon ever to be used." End quote.


I thought PressTv was compromised, and that I would have to go it alone. But unlike PressTV, there is only ONE individual on my staff who decides what is posted, so I react quicker. That is the main difference. And my expertise in analyzing what happened has been proven accurate, I may not know bombs, but I know photography and that you CANNOT CLIP A SENSOR TO MAX AT ALL PHOTOSITES, EVEN IN THE SHADOWS WITH EVEN 20X FULL SUNLIGHT. IT HAD TO BE A NUKE. And now that PressTV has finally come out and said it so clearly, the GENIE IS OUT OF THE BOTTLE.
Read it and weep, this is EXACTLY as presented:

Here is the extremely detailed PressTV report, in full.
You can tell from how it is written that the writer was stunned, it has a little brain chatter.

I have received threats of shutdown and damage to this web site over the Syria report, and also incurred significant expense due to attacks against my hardware while posting this report which PROVES BEYOND A DOUBT THAT ISRAEL NUKED SYRIADon´t fall for the lies about a weapons cache exploding, about a MOAB, or depleted uranium nonsense. Depleted uranium is a tank penetrator, NOT A BOMB MATERIAL. This nuclear detonation clipped every camera sensor site to maximum value full white, EVEN IN THE SHADOWS ON THE GROUND from a proven distance of 3.8 kilometers. The damage zone at Hiroshima was 1.6 kilometers surrounding the blast. This syria nuke did not go off where the flames are in the video, it went off 3 km farther away, on the OTHER SIDE of the mountain. The manner in which the camera sensor clipped out proves that the brightness of the flash was many times brighter than full sunlight. It is easily proven, just download the video, capture the moment of criticality frame and start doing eyedropper samples with any photo editor and LOOK AT THE VALUES THAT COME UP. Try to find one of the scamming alternative media sites that 1. tells you the real distance to the big blast (can be determined by the sound delay in the video) and 2. shows you the moment of criticality frame. ALMOST ALL ARE LYING ABOUT THIS. LITMUS TEST TIME.

I have received numerous threats of web site shut down via redirects at the DNS server level to get this report OFF THE WEB. COPY THAT SLIDE SHOW TO YOUR COMPUTER, CHANGE THE NAME AND POST IT ELSEWHERE, CACHE THIS SITE AND POST EVERYTHING ELSEWHERE, IT NEEDS AN EMERGENCY BACKUP VIA TOO MANY MIRRORS TO SHUT DOWN. I have always given people permission to put any of the articles on this web site anywhere in their original form, as long as they mention my name and link back. The slideshow below works great for waking people up, that is definitely a key to spreading the truth.



Syrian rebels go shopping for supplies and bomb-making equipment on trips to Turkey

As darkness fell on the bus depot, the doctor, the fighter and the law student stood in a corner, chain-smoking Gitanes and speaking rapidly into mobile phones. Minutes later, a black Mercedes saloon with tinted windows pulled up and all three got in.

The men, in their mid-to-late 20s, had been sent by the Free Syrian Army, which is operating under an EU and US embargo on weapons sales to Syria’s rebels, on a mission to buy supplies and bomb-making equipment in Turkey.
They were to take their purchases across the border into Aleppo Province, where they would be used on the front line of the war to depose president Bashar al-Assad. One of dozens of well-organised logistics teams dispatched to Turkey each week by the FSA, the men form part of the rebels’ attempts to keep improvised munitions flowing.
The driver, a young man with spiky hair and wearing a white and blue pin-striped shirt, announced to the others, “I’m Pizza Boy. I deliver everywhere and anywhere!” He pulled out his mobile phone and, chuckling as he scrolled through his contact list, asked, “What’s it to be today? Explosions, communications, defence equipment?”
“We need various things,” said the demure, understated fighter. He was a small man in skinny jeans, green jumper and a black and white keffiyeh scarf, his stature and quiet personality belying a skilled warrior. His colleagues claimed he single-handedly destroyed 15 tanks with rocket-propelled grenades in the last six months. “Then you need Big Uncle,” replied Pizza Boy, after a moment’s thought.
The Mercedes travelled a few blocks before coming to a busy market street. The doctor, bespectacled and earnest, got out. “I’ve arranged to meet a contact and buy antibiotics and blood. Tomorrow, I’ll hide the supplies, wrapped in silk shawls, and take them across the nearest border crossing to one of our field hospitals in Aleppo,” he explained before disappearing into the night.
The car sped off through the dark streets, and 10 minutes later the two remaining men got out at a dilapidated residential building and went up two flights of stairs, where they were greeted by a tall, thickset man in his 50s sporting a neat triangular moustache above an easy, confident grin.
Saudi support
Hassan “Big Uncle” Assaf greeted the men warmly and took them through to a sparsely furnished sitting room. On a table were samples of two of the main items they had come for: green phosphate powder and a bag of explosive pins, two essential ingredients used by the rebels to build artillery shells, rockets and bombs.
“Everything we buy here in Turkey is legal,” Hassan claimed. “That’s how we have to operate. The green powder is widely used as fertiliser for aubergines, the pins are extracted from the bullets for hunting rifles, and the aluminium powder we use is a common construction material.
“We have a Turkish contact with a warehouse where we stockpile everything, and then teams come through to pick up supplies and take them over. Rich merchants from Saudi Arabia send us money every month, via Western Union, to keep the whole thing afloat.”
Sitting beside Hassan was the mechanical engineer, Emre Abu Isra, a key player who has designed many of the group’s improvised weapons.
The logistics team is to take the materials across the border to the town of Tal Rif’at, Emre said, where they will be delivered to “The Candy Factory”, a makeshift workshop in which 200 shells and 20 rockets are produced each day.
“We use a C8 Bulgarian moulding machine to produce the casings,” he said, “this yummy stuff here, combined with animal urine, as explosives”, indicating the fertiliser, “and then we fire the mortars and rockets out of specially adapted water pipes mounted on an aluminium base equipped with the explosive pins to provide propulsion”. It has taken time to perfect the improvised rockets . “The first soldier to fire one actually lost his leg when the rocket went full circle and came back on him!” said Emre. But the latest versions are “100 per cent accurate”, he claimed.
Hassan said, “Tonight we eat and sleep – tomorrow we’ll see about getting you everything you need.”
Early the next morning, the group gathered in the city centre, where they entered what seemed to be a convenience store. Women stood studying shelves of perfumes and shampoos, but through a narrow section at the back a larger room full of military supplies came into view: flak jackets, radios, rifle scopes and binoculars. The first order was for radios, or “fists” as the logistics team called them. They bought 20.
Vital component
Then the waiting game began for the main objective of the mission: a 50kg barrel of aluminium powder, a vital component for making explosive devices capable of piercing armour and even of crippling tanks.
In the end it took all day – the sun had set before the call came in. Pizza Boy took the team to a warehouse at the edge of the city. The barrel was slowly rolled out and placed in the boot of the car.
Throughout the day the atmosphere had been jovial. Now the men faced the long and dangerous journey back to Syria across a smuggling route. Cigarettes were popped into mouths and a mix tape of techno and hip-hop inserted into the stereo, as Pizza Boy set off from Antakya to the border town of Kilis, never driving below 90 miles per hour.
As they approached the border crossing of Bab Al-Salaam, the fighter called a contact. “We’ll be there in 20 minutes,” he said. “Yes we will”, said Pizza Boy with a wink, “because no one knows this route like I do”
First published: Wed, Nov 14, 2012

Final statement of the Istanbul anti-NATO meeting / Istanbul, 2-3 February 2013

Final statement of the Istanbul anti-NATO meeting / Istanbul, 2-3 February 2013
After attending the meeting “Struggle against NATO barbarism in the Middle East and North Africa” on February 2-3 2013 in Istanbul, the communist and workers’ parties make the following joint statement and call on all progressive forces that struggle for peace and justice to undersign and share it.

Imperialists used to tell the impudent lie that NATO existed for defense against the so-called threat of the Soviet Union. However, following the dissolution of the Socialist Bloc, NATO’s notorious mission has not come to an end. On the contrary, this war machine of imperialism has expanded its membership and area of operation, promotes an arms race and ever greater military spending and invests in new weapons and in their worldwide network of military bases. Involved in numerous military operations over a vast geography from Afghanistan to Libya, NATO is now even a bigger threat to peace all over the world. As communist and workers’ parties struggling in NATO-member countries, we declare that under these conditions, a resolute and militant struggle against NATO and is not only essential but urgently needed everywhere more than it has ever been.

The USA is today playing the leading role as the strongest power both in the framework of NATO as well as in the framework of the global imperialist system. However the command of NATO is formed on the basis of the strength (political-military and economic) that the bourgeois class of each member state of NATO has. The only sovereignty in NATO is the sovereignty of capital overseen by the imperialist forces of USA and Europe. We declare that the struggle for social, economic, democratic and national rights and emancipation of the peoples and against NATO is inseparable from the struggle against capitalism.

Since its foundation, NATO has been carrying out covert operations against revolutionary movements, working class organizations and progressive sectors of societies. The clandestine NATO organization, informally known as Operation Gladio, was behind countless covert actions including bombings, political assassinations and subversion techniques, etc. In addition to these covert operations, NATO engages in overt propaganda for the imperialist interests through media manipulation, funding the NGOs activities and research programs at universities, etc. We condemn all attempts of NATO, either covert operations or overt public relations activities since in whatever form they are constituted, all are driven by deep antagonism toward the working class and the people and their progressive organizations and by fierce anti-communism.

The USA-NATO and EU, three “outposts of capitalism and imperialism,” work in coordination to ensure capital’s power in different ways and by different instruments. The variance in methods and instruments does not change the fact that they all ultimately serve the interests of the same system, imperialism, which is in complete contradiction with the interests of the people. The military structure of EU is articulated with NATO. We declare that a true struggle against NATO entails resolute rejection of all other imperialist organizations and alliances as well.

NATO has expanded its area of intervention starting from the early 1990s. In the Summit in Rome in 1992 and in Washington in 1999, NATO agreed on a new doctrine enabling NATO to engage in armed interventions around the whole world. Pretexts such as combating terrorism or establishing democracy have been used to legitimize the expansion of NATO aggression into new geographies. The barbaric war against Yugoslavia and the bloody invasion in Afghanistan have been early examples of the practical consequences of this new doctrine. In the same context, NATO developed new programs in such as the Partnership for Peace in order to gain new partner countries. We declare that we are determined to struggle against all forms of NATO expansionism intervention and aggression for the dissolution of NATO and for the sovereign right of each people to decide the disengagement and the withdrawal from NATO and the imperialist alliances.

In an international context marked by a deepening of the structural crisis of capitalism, an intensification of the exploitation of workers and peoples, by growing anti-democratic threats and attacks on sovereignty, life shows that war and aggression continue to be instruments of the imperialist strategy of economic and geostrategic domination.

But the escalation of the imperialism face the resistance of the peoples who, through the most diversified forms of struggle, courageously confront the aggressions, invasions and wars which imperialism imposes upon them.

Struggle of the peoples for Peace, which has been dealt so many blows by the ruling classes of the big imperialist powers, who seek to overcome, by force and violence, the profound contradictions and crisis which their system has engendered.

Expressing our solidarity with the peoples that resist imperialist occupation, aggression and interference, namely in the Middle East and Africa, We reaffirm our commitment for the strengthening and enlargement of the peace and anti-NATO movement, for the development of the anti-imperialist front, against imperialist aggressiveness and wars, against the so-called anti-missile shield, the foreign military bases, against the participation of the military forces of our countries in the imperialist aggressions against other countries and peoples.

Recently NATO has become the imperialist tool to overthrow governments in the Middle East and North Africa and replace them with those that serve the interests of imperialism best. The barbaric bloodshed in Libya, which resulted in the lynching of Muammar Gaddafi and the opening of the Libya to imperialist plunder, has now taken its place as a despicable black page in the history of humanity. France's current military intervention in Mali, with the participation and approval of several other NATO member states, is in continuity with NATO's war of aggression against Libya.

NATO has been striving to set the same bloody scenario in action in Syria. The imperialists and their client states in the region have armed, financed and supported the armed opposition from the start of the crisis. NATO is prepared to directly intervene in the conflict since the NATO mercenaries, has now been proven incapable of defeating the regime of Syria. The deployment of Patriot missiles on the Turkish-Syrian border poses a real threat to peace and sovereignty of all the people in the region. Turkey through this action has been a direct threat not to Syria but Iran, which is constantly intimidated by imperialists. In this regard, we condemn all forms of NATO actions against Syria and Iran. We declare that it is only the people of Syria who have the right to determine Syria's future. In complete solidarity with the people of Syria, we also declare that we will continue to fight against all imperialist plans in the region.

Workers’ Party of Belgium
Communist Party of Greece
Hungarian Communist Workers Party
Portuguese Communist Party
Communist Party of Peoples of Spain
Communist Party of Turkey

'This Madman Must Be Stopped' - Syrian Chemical Weapons

Medialens | By David Edwards | 08 May 2013

Last August, Barack Obama told reporters at the White House:

'We have been very clear to the Assad regime... that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilised.

'That would change my calculus; that would change my equation.'

This was a clear threat to repeat the 2011 Nato assault which resulted in the overthrow and murder of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

So what is the evidence that Assad recently chose to do the one thing most likely to trigger a Western attack and similar fate?

On April 25, the White House claimed that US intelligence assessed 'with varying degrees of confidence' that 'the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically the chemical agent sarin'.

Having offered this caveated assertion, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel added:

'We cannot confirm the origin of these weapons... but we do believe that any use of chemical weapons in Syria would very likely have originated with the Assad regime.'

He concluded:

'As I've said, this is serious business – we need all the facts.'

A sceptical Alex Thomson, chief correspondent at Channel 4 News, commented:

'WMD, the Middle East, and here we go again... Already a British prime minister is talking about a "war crime" whilst offering the British people no detailed evidence.'

Evidence included video footage said to show victims of chemical weapons foaming at the mouth.

Thomson offered a link to a detailed report of the 1995 sarin attack in Tokyo, noting: 'am advised there's no mention of any prominent bright, white foam at mouths'.

Thomson also asked, reasonably: 'Why doesn't any medic in the film wipe away the white foam on patients' mouths – the basic paramedic fundamental to preserve an airway?'

On GlobalPost, Tracey Shelton and Peter Gelling questioned whether the filmed symptoms matched claims that sarin had been used:

'In recent years, in other countries in the Middle East where security forces used tear gas on protesters, witnesses reported seeing victims foam at the mouth, convulse and twitch — the same symptoms seen in the Syrian victims.

'The tell-tale sign of a sarin gas attack is myosis, or constricting of the pupils, and... tremors. While GlobalPost confirmed that some of the victims in the April 13 attack suffered from tremors, it was unable to confirm any of them had myosis.

'Moreover, experts say an attack by sarin gas would cause virtually anyone who had come into contact with the toxin to immediately feel its effects. Exposure to even a very small amount of sarin could be lethal. While there were casualties in the Aleppo attack, most of the victims survived, which would not likely be the outcome of a sarin attack in a confined environment.'

Crucially, the White House accepted that: 'The chain of custody is not clear.' Middle East analyst Sharmine Narwanicommented:

'That is the single most important phrase in this whole exercise. It is the only phrase that journalists need consider – everything else is conjecture of WMDs-in-Iraq proportions.

'I asked a State Department spokesperson the following: "Does it mean you don't know who has had access to the sample before it reached you? Or that the sample has not been contaminated along the way?"

'He responded: "It could mean both."'

Alastair Hay, a toxicologist at the University of Leeds, cautioned:

'To make a legal case - whether it's against the Syrian government or opposition group - you need an ironclad chain of custody.

'You need to be able to have somebody swear, if you like, that the material was in their custody at all times, whoever it is with before it gets to a laboratory.'

Narwani also questioned the claim that only the Syrian government has access to sarin:

'In 2004, an IED roadside bomb – a common insurgent tactic – containing the nerve agent was detonated in Iraq. There are no guarantees whatsoever that chemical munitions have not found their way into the hands of rogue elements – or in fact that they are not producing them in small quantities themselves.'

A report in the Los Angeles Times offered other explanations:

'Releases of poison gas could have occurred when soldiers loyal to the regime, which has been trying to secure and consolidate its dozens of chemical weapons sites, moved part of its stockpile, a U.S. Defense official said. Another possibility is that disloyal Syrian weapons scientists supplied chemicals to rebel fighters.

'"The intel folks are taking a hard look at this, and they're not certain,' the Defense official said, speaking anonymously to discuss intelligence matters. "There's no definite indication this was used against the opposition."'

Alex Thomson asked another sensible question:

'Why did just a few people die – surely a large number of people would have died in a chemical attack, as in Halabja and Iran/Iraq war?'

In fact the quantities of chemicals said to be involved have been described as 'microscopic'.

Dr. Jeffrey Lewis of the Monterey Institute of International Studies, also founder of Arms Control Wonk, a nuclear arms control and non-proliferation blog, wrote:

'[T]he constant references to the "small scale" use becomes more clear — we don't have multiple victims in a single use, as might be expected if the Syrians gassed a military unit or a local community. At most, we have two events in which only one person was exposed.

'For all we know, these two poor souls stumbled into sarin canisters while ransacking a liberated Syrian military sites. I don't say that to be callous, but rather because strange things happen on the battlefield. Remember, in 1991, U.S. troops detonated a pit of munitions at Khamisiyah in Iraq only to discover that the munitions contained sarin.'

Two events in which only one person was exposed! This reminds strongly of the moment when 11 empty artillery shells were found in an Iraqi bunker in January 2003. An ITN expert declared:

'The real smoking gun of course would be if one of those shells was still found to contain a chemical mixture.' (ITV Lunchtime News, January 17, 2003)

The remarkable suggestion, in 2003, was that a massive attack by 200,000 troops would be justified by the discovery of a single 122mm artillery shell with a range of four miles.

Other questions arise. Why would the Syrian government use the one weapon likely to trigger Western intervention when its use of highly destructive conventional weaponry appears to be reversing rebel gains, as indicated here and here? Writing for Foreign Policy in December, Charles Blair commented:

'The regime would risk losing Russian and Chinese support, legitimising foreign military intervention, and, ultimately, hastening its own end. As one Syrian official said, "We would not commit suicide."'

It is easy to appreciate Robert Fisk's view in the Independent that the claims are 'theatre', 'a retold drama riddled with plot-holes'. If the media stage managers appeared to be offering some kind of informed consensus, it was for a reason:

'Walk into a TV studio and they're all reading newspapers. Walk into a newspaper office and they're all watching television. It's osmotic. And the headlines are all the same: Syria uses chemical weapons. That's how the theatre works.'

Fisk added:

'In two Canadian TV studios, I am approached by producers brandishing the same headline. I tell them that on air I shall trash the "evidence" – and suddenly the story is deleted from both programmes. Not because they don't want to use it – they will later – but because they don't want anyone suggesting it might be a load of old cobblers.'
Stop Him!

The scepticism from Thomson, Fisk and others has been welcome indeed. Wider scepticism has doubtless been encouraged by the mixed messages from US officials. Corporate media performance has nevertheless been shocking.

In a leading article, 'Stop him,' the Sun told its readers on April 27:

'After the carnage and slaughter in war-torn Syria comes a chilling new tactic from bloodthirsty tyrant Bashar al-Assad.

'Chemical weapon attacks on his own people.

'Evidence smuggled out of the divided nation confirms monster Assad's regime has used nerve gas sarin.

'Horrifying footage shows victims frothing at the mouth after the barbaric attacks.

'Now, after months of rhetoric from statesmen and diplomats, momentum is growing for tough action.' (Leading article, the Sun, April 27, 2013)

The Sun's opinion does matter; its monthly combined reach in print and online is nearly 18 million. Its editors also quoted Cameron:

'This should form for the international community a red line for us to do more.'

The tabloid responded:

'Quite right, Prime Minister. Do nothing and the world is letting savage Assad evade justice - and condemning countless innocent Syrians to death.

'This madman must be stopped.'

We can dismiss this as right-wing raving, if we like. But at what is supposed to be the opposite end of the media 'spectrum', the Guardian's Ian Black wrote:

'Syria illustrates a sort of Middle Eastern Murphy's law – anything that can make things worse invariably happens: massacres, refugees fleeing to Jordan, tensions in Lebanon and Iraq, the use of chemical weapons...'

Black noted 'the flurry over chemical weapons, leaving the impression that US "red lines" can be surprisingly flexible'.

As discussed, Obama's 'red line' warning was of course directed at Assad. The Guardian's Middle East editor was thus asserting that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons based on evidence which, as we have seen, is frankly risible.

In considering this same evidence, a Guardian leader observed:

'Yet this week has also been marked by further claims that Syria's Bashar al-Assad has been doing precisely the thing that Mr Bush said so confidently, but so wrongly, was at imminent risk of being done by Saddam Hussein 10 years ago.'

In fact, no-one had warned that the Iraq government might use chemical weapons against its own people. The alleged threat was of an attack on the West 'within 45 minutes of the order being given', or via Iraq's al Qaeda contacts which, like the WMD, did not exist. The Guardian continued:

'The use of chemical weapons is a war crime. It is a war crime even if it is committed by a state which, like Syria (or North Korea), is not a signatory to the international chemical weapons convention. The evidence for the use of chemical weapons is clearly suggestive, if the recent reports are reliable and substantiated, but it is also patchy and not yet fully contextualised.'

This weasel wording managed to point a finger of blame while simultaneously recognising the paucity of evidence.

How readily the Guardian referred to a possible Syrian 'war crime', while referring in the same editorial to Bush and Blair's merely 'mismanaged and hugely damaging invasion of Iraq in 2003'.

Criminals are usually not criticised for 'mismanaging' their crimes. Would the Guardian refer to al Qaeda's 'mismanaged' attacks of September 11, 2001, or to Iraq's 'mismanaged' 1990 invasion of Kuwait? The reference to a 'mismanaged' invasion implies that the Guardian does not view the war of 2003 as the supreme war crime it very clearly was.

The Guardian's Dan Roberts noted that 'initial samples and evidence trails have degraded'. The result:

'Britain and the US are likely to have to wait for fresh evidence from further attacks before deciding whether to take a military response against the Assad government.'

This again affirmed that the Syrian government had probably used chemical weapons. Obviously it is for Britain and the US – the world's designated police force by virtue of their spotless legal and moral records - to decide whether to attack yet one more nation. Bombing other countries is as normal as the air we breathe.

On May 2, the BBC commented:

'The pressure to act has intensified in recent days after emerging evidence that Syria has used chemical weapons such as the nerve gas sarin.'

This, even though 'existing evidence of alleged chemical weapon was not sufficient to trigger an international response'.

The Times, of course, had no doubts:

'Reports of chemical attacks suggest a new terror against a captive people. Since protests against his rule erupted more than two years ago, President Assad has created a desert and called it peace...

'There are now credible claims that the regime has used chemical weapons against civilians. Western nations ought much earlier in this crisis to have provided heavy weaponry for Syrian rebels to defend themselves. They should do so now.' (Leader, 'Assad's Victims Need Arming,' The Times, April 24, 2003)

The Times described the evidence as 'harrowing and highly plausible', particularly 'photographs of victims foaming at the mouth. The symptoms would be consistent with poisoning by sarin.' Not quite.

Returning to the other end of the media 'spectrum' (a short trip), an Independent leader commented:

'Recent days have provided persuasive evidence that chemical weapons are being used in Syria... A widespread conclusion is that the regime of President Bashar al-Assad is resorting to the use of such weapons against its own people.'

As we have seen, the 'widespread conclusion' is anything but.

Hopping back to the hard-right, the Daily Telegraph's deputy editor, Benedict Brogan, responded to the sarin story with an article entitled, 'A wary, weary West is leaving Syria in the butchers' hands; Obama may talk of red lines, but the US and its allies simply don't have the will to intervene.'

If that was not clear enough, Brogan added: 'the CIA has endorsed the conclusions of MI6 and other intelligence agencies that chemical weapons probably were used'. (Brogan, Daily Telegraph, April 30, 2013)

That, of course, does not remotely justify the title. Nor does the next sentence:

'Quite how, and by whom, remains a point of argument. Whether Assad himself ordered their deployment, or whether they were being tested in improvised form by a local commander, is unclear.'

These were the thinkable options. Other possibilities - that some agency other than the Syrian government might have used chemical weapons, or that they weren't used at all - were presumably too outlandish to mention.

The Telegraph's own analysis made a nonsense of Brogan's response, noting that Senator John McCain, the leading American proponent of intervention, had 'admitted that the chemical weapons evidence "may not be airtight".' It also quoted Hamish de Bretton Gordon, a former commanding officer of the Army's chemical weapons unit who now runs consultancy SecureBio: 'even if any sarin found was from a regime shell - the nerve agent could have been deployed accidentally or by a rogue squad'.

The Telegraph's editors had previously commented:

'President Bashar al-Assad's use of nerve gas presents the British and Americans with an agonising dilemma.'

The editors sighed:

'it was perhaps inevitable that, one day, credible evidence would implicate this amoral dictator in gassing his enemies'.

And, again, compare this damning verdict with the immediately following observation that the evidence is 'persuasive but not conclusive' and is not 'as compelling as it might seem'.

This really is astonishing, in the strange world of media propaganda, news reports contradict editorials and headlines contradict content. The guiding ethic: 'I want to believe!' It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that media performance is shaped by state-corporate forces that are deeply invested in decades of war and the spoils that go with it.

The absurdity of the media rush to the required conclusion was emphasised 10 days later. On May 6, former Swiss attorney-general Carla Del Ponte, speaking for the United Nations independent commission of inquiry on Syria, ruffled many feathers when she said, 'there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated. This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities'.

Del Ponte added:

'We have no indication at all that the Syrian government have used chemical weapons.'

Although the UN quickly rowed back and the US demurred, this was impossible to ignore. Even the BBC, after a delay, posted the story half-way, then at the top, of its news homepage. This made a jarring contrast to the BBC's usual propaganda performance on Syria. As Craig Murray, formerly Britain's Ambassador to Uzbekistan, noted, corporate media are supplying 'an extraordinary barrage of distorted propaganda to fool western populations over the course and meaning of events'.