State of War in Syria

By: Stephen Lendman

On Wednesday, Assad said “a state of war” exists.

“(A)LL our policies, directives and all sectors will be directed in order to gain victory in this war.”

He called on government officials to boost relations with Russia, Latin American and African states.

“Apparently, the problem was with the West only, while the majority of the world want to build relations with us and with others, but throughout decades, we were seeking to boost our economic ties with those who colonized us directly or indirectly.”

“Syria seeks to build good relations with all world countries but we have to know where are our real interests.”

On June 27, Hurriyet daily headlined “Downed jet was flying with another plane: CHP deputy,” saying:

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Orhan Duzgun “demanded that the government reveal the nationality of the accompanying jet….”

Hatay area Syrians “saw (it) with their naked eyes. There were two planes flying. The fate of the second one remains unknown. The government….denies” what people on the ground saw.

Duzgun believes it belonged to another NATO member. Its country of origin isn’t known. It could be America. US military aircraft operate from Incirlik Air Base. It’s near the Aegean Sea close to Syria’s border. It’s operated jointly by Washington and Ankara. Both planes likely flew from the same location.

On Thursday, insurgents attacked the privately owned Al-Ikhbariaya TV station. It’s located 20 km south of Damascus. Despite no evidence suggesting it, The New York Times claimed “elite Syrian Republican Guard” defectors were responsible.

AP gave a different account. It said “gunmen” raided the station. Seven employees were killed. Others were kidnapped. Al-Ikhbariya’s compound sustained heavy damage. Nonetheless, broadcasts resumed shortly after the attack.

One employee said:

“I heard a small explosion then a huge explosion and gunmen ran in. They ransacked the offices and entirely destroyed the newsroom.”

Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi called it “a massacre against the freedom of the press.” Terrorists were responsible, he said.

“This massacre won’t go unpunished and the broadcast of the Syrian al-Ikhbariya Satellite Channel will not stop and we hold the EU, Arab and International organizations responsible for this massacre.”

“Those who committed this crime had carried out the decision of the Arab League Council to silence the voice of Syria.”

Three journalists and four other employees were killed. Al-Ikhbariya’s editor-in-chief, Abdo al-Assadi, called the massacre an attack on all Syrian media. Those murdered were “armed only with their words and views.”

Editor Adham al-Taweel said al-Ikhbariya was attacked for discussing anti-Assad propaganda. Correspondent Yara Saleh added that other journalists will be motivated to “unmask these terrorists and their actions.”

The Syrian Journalists Union and National Media Council also condemned the massacre. So did the Lebanese Amal Movement. Its Central Information Bureau said it constituted an attack against journalism, the media, and a free press.

On June 26, Russian State Duma’s Vice Chairman, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, condemned Turkey for violating Syrian airspace. He called doing it “a deliberate provocative act.”

He suggested Washington and key NATO allies are escalating conflict ahead of full-scale intervention. He said Syria acted responsibly.

Vice Chairman of the Russian Federation Ilyas Umakhanov said Syrians alone must resolve issues.

Viktor Ozerov, Chairman of the Council of the Federation Committee on Defense and Security,  warned against NATO intervention. So did Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich.

Heated Turkish rhetoric continues. On June 26, Today’s Zaman headlined “Army on high alert on Syrian border as Turkey warns of retaliation,” saying:

“Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned Syria that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) have been given instructions to treat any approaching Syrian military unit as a threat….”

He ordered them to intercept, confront, and attack “in case of any violation” encountered.

Turkey runs point for Washington. It’s NATO’s regional attack dog. It belligerently flew warplanes low and fast into Syrian territory. It suggests other provocations will follow. Erdogan’s spoiling for a fight. America, Israel, Britain and France urge one.

“The rules of engagement have changed,” he said. Hours after his comments, Turkish forces headed for Syria’s border areas from Diyarbakir to Mardin. They included tanks and long-range artillery.

He also accused Russia of being “Syria’s mouthpiece.” Calling what happened “extremely dangerous,” its foreign ministry warned against using this incident as a pretext for further intervention.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Washington “will work with Turkey and other partners to hold the Assad regime accountable.”

Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain John Kirby said:

“We don’t have the tick-tock of the decision-making process that led to this aircraft being shot down. The fact is that it was shot down. We believe it was a deliberate act.”

Another Pentagon spokesman, George Little, added that “the the Syrian regime needs to answer for it.”

Washington, Turkey, key NATO partners, and regional allies keep advancing the ball closer to war. Expect a future false flag attack used to launch it. The likelihood looks more certain daily.

NATO’s Tuesday meeting gave ominous signs. Secretary-General Fogh Rasmussen made hostile comments. He condemned Syria for Turkey’s provocation.

He called it “unacceptable….in the strongest terms.” He accused Assad of violating “international norms, peace and security, and human life.”

Syria is under attack. According to international law, it’s entitled to respond defensively. Failure would be irresponsible. Rasmussen is titular head of a global killing machine.

NATO’s record shows total disregard for international law. Since the 1990s, it committed naked aggression against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. Member states support Washington’s proxy wars.

According to Rasmussen, “the security of the Alliance is indivisible. We stand together with Turkey in the spirit of solidarity.” Discussions in Brussels stopped short of invoking Article 5. Doing so suggests imminent war.

Given what’s ongoing, one or more false flags could launch it. They could come any time. Scoundrel media misinformation increases the possibility.

Propaganda reports feature big lies. Repetition enlists public support. It works every time. No matter how often people are fooled, they’re easy marks for more.

Syrian expert Patrick Seale sees ominous “War Clouds over the Greater Middle East.”

“Six conflict-zones….are in danger of erupting into fresh violence.” Washington and its allies spurn peace. Instead they’re “adding fuel to the fire.”

Pressure builds intolerably. At issue is embroiling the entire region in conflict. Washington is losing multiple wars. Why itch for more? Spoiling for more fights makes winning any less likely.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov calls Washington’s war on Assad “an element of a larger regional geopolitical game.”

Obama’s policy is influenced by electoral priorities. Much depends on pleasing the Israeli Lobby. AIPACwants war on Syria and Iran. It calls both countries state sponsors of terrorism. No evidence backs either claim.

For years, “Syria has been a force for (regional) instability,” it says.

“Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terror and is racing toward a nuclear weapons capability. Through its proxy armies of Hizballah in Southern Lebanon, Hamas in the Gaza Strip and insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Iranian regime is supporting terrorists carrying out daily attacks on American troops and Israeli civilians.”

Again, rhetoric substitutes for hard facts.

Seale says Obama “lost control to Israel. (He) collapsed in front of (Netanyahu’s) Greater Israel (land grab) ambitions….”

He’s embroiled in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Palestine, Yemen, Somalia, and “increasingly across the Sahel from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. Its territory includes Mauritania, Mali, southern Algeria, Niger, Chad, South Sudan and Eritrea.

He’s fighting battles he can’t win. He’s like a punch drunk fighter refusing to go down when licked. Instead, new ways to kill, destroy, and subvert are used. Peace and stability more than ever look distant.

Immanuel Wallerstein discussed the “impossible dilemmas of declining powers.” Years ago he predicted America’s decline. It’s happening faster than he imagined. It’s policies are self-defeating. Short-term priorities assure its longer-run downfall.

“The obvious thing to do is not to go down this road any more.” America’s agenda doesn’t work. Neither does Israel’s “Don’t (Obama and Netanyahu) understand this?”

If so, why do they keep doing what’s failing? They even boast when they should change strategies responsibly.

Political priorities take precedence. Opposition hard-liners in both countries think they’re soft. Voices for change are absent. Hawks are dominant. Public opinion remains indifferent about what matters most.

Wallerstein suggests both leaders have delusions of grandeur. Obama wants unchallenged global hegemony. Netanyahu seeks a Greater Israel. It includes all Arab land he can grab.

These policies fuel conflicts. They endanger world peace and humanity. They also ignore both nations in decline. Imagine what they’ll risk to restore lost supremacy.

About the author: Stephen Lendman writes on topics of international importance such as war and peace, American imperialism, corporate dominance, political persecutions and other socio-economic and political issues. He is also the author of ‘How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War’ and the co-author (along with J. J. Asongu) of ‘The Iraq Quagmire: The Price of Imperial Arrogance’. A former marketing research analyst, Lendman also hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour (on the Progressive Radio Network, Thursdays at 10:00 AM & Saturdays/Sundays at noon, US Central Time), that features cutting-edge interviews with distinguished guests. Click here to visit his blog.