Friday, August 30, 2013

SYRIA: journalists in Middle East say Saudis supplied rebels with chemical weapons

The following article corroberates all that was said in the previous post:
SYRIA: Who is deploying chemical weapons?
-- and the tactics of asymmetric warfare.

Religious Liberty Monitoring 28 Aug 2013.

It also joins up some pieces of the puzzle.

EXCLUSIVE: Witnesses Of Gas Attack Say Saudis Supplied Rebels With Chemical Weapons
Rebels and local residents in Ghouta accuse Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan of providing chemical weapons to an al-Qaida linked rebel group.
By Dale Gavlak and Yahya Ababneh | August 29, 2013

Excerpt:
The U.S., Britain, and France as well as the Arab League have accused the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for carrying out the chemical weapons attack, which mainly targeted civilians. U.S. warships are stationed in the Mediterranean Sea to launch military strikes against Syria in punishment for carrying out a massive chemical weapons attack. The U.S. and others are not interested in examining any contrary evidence, with U.S Secretary of State John Kerry saying Monday that Assad’s guilt was “a judgment … already clear to the world.”

However, from numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families, a different picture emerges. Many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the dealing gas attack. . .

Dale Gavlak is a Middle East correspondent for Mint Press News and the Associated Press. Gavlak, an expert in Middle Eastern Affairs ,has been stationed in Amman, Jordan for the Associated Press for over two decades. He covers the Levant region of the Middle East for AP, National Public Radio and Mint Press News.

Yahya Ababneh is a Jordanian freelance journalist and is currently working on a master's degree in journalism. He has covered events in Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Libya. His stories have appeared on Amman Net, Saraya News, Gerasa News and elsewhere.

Gavlak and Ababneh have much to say about Saudi involvement, including Saudi threats to bring terror to Russia's Winter Olympics in Sochi unless Russia drops its support for Assad. Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia reportedly told the Russians: "I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us."

If this is all verified, will it mean that the Saudis have crossed a "red line"?

Or more broadly: will the rebels ever cross a "red-line"?

-----------


See also

Did the White House Help Plan the Syrian Chemical Attack?
Yossef Bodanky, 28 Aug 2013

Syrian Chemical Attack: More Evidence Only Leads to More Questions
Yossef Bodanky, 10 Sept 2013


Whose sarin?
Vol. 35 No. 24 • 19 December 2013
pages 9-12 | 5515 words
Seymour M. Hersh

---------------------------------------------------

Elizabeth Kendal is author of
Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today 
(Deror Books, Dec 2012)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

SYRIA: Who is deploying chemical weapons?

-- and the tactics of asymmetric warfare.

ASYMMETRIC WARFARE

In asymmetric conflict, the party that is militarily weaker has no option but to rely on PSYOPS (psychological operations), particularly acts of terrorism, which are desperate acts designed to extract concessions.

If the weaker party is seeking military aid or intervention from a militarily strong democratic state (such as the US) their PSYOPS must target the emotions/wills of the constituents of that democracy. To this end, the weaker party will provoke the enemy from behind a line of human shields (to ensure there are maximum civilian casualties) and then report the "massacre" to eager, sensationalist, non-discerning Western media who routinely accept it with glee and without question. The weaker party will also conduct "false flag" operations: that is, they will stage attacks that will be blamed on their enemy. By these means the weaker party provides the government of the strong, democratic state with all the propaganda that government will require if they are to sell the concept of a "humanitarian intervention" to their constituents. 

These tactics are routinely used in asymmetric conflicts between weak Islamists and the militaries of strong states. Such tactics were used successfully in Bosnia, Kosovo, Ivory Coast and Libya to get the US, France and NATO to intervene and launch "humanitarian interventions" (i.e. bombing campaigns) on behalf of Sunni fundamentalist Islamic jihadis.

In truth, however, these interventions are not "humanitarian;" for there is nothing humane about bombing cities and towns full of civilians. The decision to attack is always made on economic and geo-strategic grounds, for the advancement of economic and geo-strategic interests. When a militarily strong democratic state is seeking reason to intervene, it will send out a signal regarding what is required: i.e. a massacre of civilians, a chemical attack etc. This gives the throat-cutting, suicide bombing, terrorist rebels something to aim for.

The fact that the West is so keen to assist and ally with Islamists whose stated aim is the destruction of Jews, Christians, Israel and the West is short-sighted, irresponsible and irrational in the extreme. It is not only wicked, it is a "covenant with death" (Isaiah 28:15, 18). May the Lord give grace to those whose trust is in HIM (Isaiah 8:11-18). (See my book, Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today. Deror Books, Dec 2012)

---------------------------------------------------------
Who is deploying chemical weapons in Syria?
---------------------------------------------------------

A year ago President Obama warned the Syrian regime that using chemical weapons would be crossing a "red line" and inviting US intervention. On Wednesday 21 August, reports emerged of a chemical attack in the Ghouta area outside Damascus. It was not the first reported chemical attack, but it was by far the largest.

That chemicals were deployed and civilians are dead is not in dispute. The question no blood test can answer is, "Who deployed those chemicals?"

As terrorism analyst and senior editor of GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs, Yossef Bodansky, notes, "The context of the attack is of great significance."

The following is an excerpt from his article:
Sarajevo, 1995 and Damascus, 2013: The use of mass attack deception to decide wars.
By Yossef Bodansky, Senior Editor, GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs
Published in World Tribune, 22 Aug 2013.

"Starting Aug. 17 and 18, nominally Free Syrian Army (FSA) units — in reality a separate Syrian and Arab army trained and equipped by the CIA as well as Jordanian and other intelligence services — attempted to penetrate southern Syria from northern Jordan and start a march on Damascus. The U.S.-sponsored war plan was based on the Autumn 2011 march on Tripoli, Libya, by CIA-sponsored army from Tunisia which decided the Libyan war and empowered the Islamists.

"Two units, one 250-strong and one 300-strong, crossed into Syria and began advancing parallel to the Golan Heights border. Their aim was to break east and reach Daraa quickly in order to prepare the ground for the declaration of Daraa as the capital of a 'Free Syria'. However, the CIA’s FSA forces met fierce resistance by the unlikely coalition of the Syrian Army, local jihadist forces (mainly the locally-raised Yarmuk Brigades), and even tribal units who fear the encroachment by outside forces on their domain. By Aug. 19 and 20, the FSA units were surrounded in three villages not far from the Israeli border.

"An attempt to use an Indian UNDOF patrol as human shield failed. The FSA commanders were now (i.e. as of late Aug. 21) pleading for massive reinforcements and an air campaign to prevent their decimation.

"Meanwhile, on Aug. 19, in Ghouta, more than 50 local opposition fighters and their commanders laid down their arms and switched sides. A few prominent local leaders widely associated with the opposition went on Syrian TV. They denounced the jihadists and their crimes against the local population, and stressed that the Assad administration was the real guardian of the people and their interests. More than a dozen ex-rebels joined the Syrian Government forces.

"Hence, the last thing the Assad administration would do is commit atrocities against the Ghouta area and the local population which had just changed sides so dramatically. For the opposition, fiercely avenging such a betrayal and petrifying other would-be traitors is a must. Furthermore, in view of the failure of the march on Daraa and Damascus by the CIA’s FSA forces, there was an urgent imperative for the opposition to provoke a Western military intervention before the rebellion collapsed completely, and Assad consolidated victory. . ."

A piece by Mohammad Ballout, published in Al-Monitor on 27 Aug 2013, makes the same point, with some interesting additional details.

"At dawn last Wednesday, Aug. 21, the [Syrian Arab Army's] Shield of the Capital operation resulted in a retreat at the strategic Jobar entrance of opposition fighters belonging to the Liberating the Capital Front, which is led by [al-Qaeda's] Jabhat al-Nusra. The Jobar entrance leads to the heart of Damascus and is the last card that the opposition was still threatening the regime with. Jobar’s entrance is the route for reinforcements coming from the heart of the Ghouta and from the southern front, which is accessible via Jordan, where armed groups are being trained by the CIA and funded by Saudi Prince Salman bin Sultan, in coordination with Col. Ahmed al-Neimeh, the commander of the Military Council of the Southern Region and Horan.

"Today, Aug. 26, there is an international military meeting in Amman. The meeting is part of a pressure campaign on the Syrian regime because it brings together the commanders of several Arab armies to an area close to the sensitive southern Syria front. In the Amman meeting, the attendees are expected to raise the subject of a safe zone and of a no-fly zone, both of which will change nothing in the course of the battle. Despite a year and a half of fighting, Neimeh’s units have achieved no breakthroughs in an area where five Syrian armored divisions are deployed.

"The Saudis have in the Ghouta the Liwa’ al-Islam armed group, which has 25,000 fighters led by Zahran Alloush. He almost certainly receives his orders directly from the Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan. Alloush once helped the Saudis weaken the Qataris’ groups in the region. He even went so far as to allow the opposition’s First Brigade and Liwa’ Jaish al-Muslimeen to be defeated by the Syrian army a month ago without extending them any help, all just to get rid of their influence.

"In the last hours, the Syrian army had been able to storm Jabhat al-Nusra’s most important sites in the high-rises overlooking the Abbasid area. Yesterday morning, Aug. 25, the fighters had to use suicide bombers to stop the army’s advance, and they resorted to firing mortar shells and rockets on dense residential neighborhoods, such as al-Qassa’a, Bab Touma and Burj al-Rous.

"The Shield of the Capital attack was halted [by means of the chemical attack in Ghouta] to 'facilitate the movement of experts and ensure their safety.' [NOTE: the UN inspectors were working in Damascus at the time of the attack in Ghouta.] The Saudis and the Americans feared that, if the attack continued, it could lead to the expulsion of the Syrian opposition from the Damascus basin, especially as the next phase of the Syrian army’s plan included Zabadani, the Lebanese borders, Qalamun and the last remaining western weapons supply routes to the Damascus countryside toward the Yabrood crossings, Qara and Arsal. These areas represent the confluence of all the elements of the regional conflict in Syria. . .

"Last June, the Americans sabotaged the Geneva II conference because Qusair’s fall tilted the power balance in the regime’s favor. So, before reviving the Geneva II conference, the Americans and the Saudis want to redress that imbalance in the opposition’s favor by granting it weapons and a few more months."

IN SUMMARY: With rebels besieged, under fire, losing ground and facing imminent defeat south of Damascus on account of the SAA's "Operation Shield of the City"; and local Syrian rebels laying down their arms and even defecting to the SAA in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta -- where the Saudis have a force of some 25,000 jihadis fighting the Syrian regime -- a chemical attack is perpetrated in Ghouta that has the effect of halting the SAA's "Operation Shield of the City" and possibly triggering a US military intervention as well. It is very clear who loses and who gains from this chemical attack.

BOTH writers note gross inconsistencies in information being reported.

Ballout notes the contradictory information coming from the White House, which first declared the inability of "US intelligence to find evidence on the use of chemical weapons", before claiming that "the [US] government is almost certain that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against civilians".

Bodansky notes the contradictory information coming from the rebels who initially announced that the regime had perpetrated a massive chemical attack in Ghouta by means of "a barrage of rockets. Subsequently," however, "in the context of renewed outcries for a No Fly Zone, the opposition claimed that the chemical attack was a part of a massive bombing by the Syrian Air Force. Yet, the opposition's pictures show no casualties suffering shrapnel wounds associated with aerial bombing."

Walid Shoebat also has released evidence that Syrian rebels are deploying chemical weapons and importing chemicals from Saudi Arabia. As Shoebat notes, it is the rebels that are desperate, not Assad, for he is winning. Shoebat also reminds us that the U.N. Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria determined in May 2013 that there were "strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof," that rebels seeking to oust al-Assad had used Sarin nerve gas. Meanwhile the panel had not yet seen any evidence of Syrian government forces using chemical weapons. 

See: Evidence: Syrian Rebels used Chemical Weapons (not Assad)
By Walid Shoebat and Ben Barrack, Shoebat Foundations, 27 Aug 2013

UPDATE -- SEE ALSO:
 
EXCLUSIVE: Witnesses Of Gas Attack Say Saudis Supplied Rebels With Chemical Weapons
Rebels and local residents in Ghouta accuse Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan of providing chemical weapons to an al-Qaida linked rebel group.
By Dale Gavlak and Yahya Ababneh | August 29, 2013

Did the White House Help Plan the Syrian Chemical Attack?
Yossef Bodanky, 28 Aug 2013

Syrian Chemical Attack: More Evidence Only Leads to More Questions
Yossef Bodanky, 10 Sept 2013

Whose sarin?
Vol. 35 No. 24 • 19 December 2013
pages 9-12 | 5515 words
Seymour M. Hersh

Regardless:

As Stratfor Global Intelligence reports (27 Aug 2013): "The United States administration has made it clear through a series of media leaks and posturing that Washington will intervene militarily in Syria. Such an intervention has the potential to not only affect Syria, but inflict consequences on Syria's neighbors depending on the type of military campaign launched. Even a targeted air strike will have some regional effects, while a full scale intervention in Syria will have the most potentially destabilizing implications, especially for Lebanon.

"There are three general possibilities for U.S. military action in Syria. The first and most likely is a limited punitive air strike of command and control facilities and symbolic regime targets. The second is a campaign to destroy the regime's ability launch and employ chemical weapons. And the third, which assumes the most risk and is therefore the least likely to occur, is a campaign to secure all chemical weapons in Syria. . ."

As Stratfor notes, the second option would be exceeding difficult and high risk, requiring the help of neighbours who would then be exposed to retaliation. The third option would essentially be a regime change operation requiring a ground invasion which would set the region aflame and see the US dragged into an indefinite conflict.

The US claims to have "one crucial piece" of intelligence -- provided (I would note) by parties that are not neutral -- that has allegedly removed all doubts that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons against its own people. "In an email on Sunday [25 Aug], White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice told U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power and other top officials that the U.N. mission was pointless because the chemical weapons evidence already was conclusive, officials said."

So déjà vu and so incredibly wicked

It appears we are on the brink of yet another inhumane "humanitarian intervention"/ attack; another bombing on the grounds that "War is Peace". And yet again, the beneficiaries will be Islamic jihadis who will, yet again, express their gratitude by driving out and killing off millions of local Christians before turning their attentions to the West.

A Protestant pastor from Aleppo, whose son recently asked him, "When will the rebels come in and we will be killed because we are Christians?" reports that hope is fading fast.

He says Christians in Aleppo are preparing for a massacre, preparing to die. He is dreading the US getting involved for he believes it will have major repercussions for his people. "All the countries in the region will become even more involved," he says. "I am begging them not to get involved." 

----------------------------------------
Elizabeth Kendal is author of
Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today
(Deror Books, Dec 2012)