“Syrian rebels denounce Annan`s peace plan,” was reported on 4 June by the media, without the slightest irony. But already two days earlier, according to the opposition, 89 people were killed in combat, including 57 soldiers, just two days earlier – the army is very vulnerable to attacks by armed groups, because the soldiers are not trained for these fights, said the “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights” in London.
The violence and the number of victims were generally declined considerably after the beginning of the ceasefire on 12 April, while the number of killed policemen and soldiers had risen massively. In May and April, the number was, like David Enders (McClatchy, 2.6. And 5.6., 2011) has reported, more than twice as high as in March.
This corresponds with the reports of UN observers, which have reported a sharp decline of “offensive military operations” by the army, but in the meantime they saw a massive increase in attacks by insurgent groups.
The UN Human Rights Council has in its recent resolution, however, only condemned the Syrian government because it had breached its duty to set up all acts of violence. Also in the Declaration of the UN Security Council on the massacre in al-Hula (al-Houla), only the leadership in Damascus is accused to have violated the ceasefire obligations by the use of heavy weapons in densely populated centers and it is called to withdraw its troops into the barracks. Under current conditions, it would mean in some areas, to leave the field to heavily armed gangs.
Assad’s opponents gearing up
Although it quickly became clear that the massacre of al-Hula (al-Houla) went to the account of anti-government fighters, it has since been used to inflame the opinion against the Syrian leadership. Many agitators have declared, once more, the peace plan, proposed by Kofi Annan, as a failure, and leading Western politicians call again loudly for military intervention. Despite their verbal support for Annan’s efforts, the NATO countries have apparently never wished its success, they have beyond very open pursued a regime change.
Immediately after the adoption of the peace plan, they have promised to the armed, local and foreign, anti-regime fighters over $ 100 million for pay and equipment at the Istanbul meeting of the “Friends of Syria”, a trade under a name “intervention alliance”, together with the Arab feudal lords, over $ 100 million for pay and equipment. And this money was apparently already effective invested.
The rebels received now a lot more and better weapons since weeks, as it was reported by the Washington Post in mid-May, funded by the Gulf monarchies and coordinated by the United States. The U.S. government had extended the contact with the armed opposition forces, and provides the Arab dynasties with assessments of credibility and the command structure of the rebel groups. Was the rebels slowly assumed the munitions two months ago, there were now huge supplies which came into the country.
Also, a few are flown arms indicate a tremendous influx of military equipment to the insurgents. For example, as the Lebanese Navy has intercepted freighter Lutfallah II on 28 April on its journey from Alexandria to Tripoli in northern Lebanon, they found three containers with 150 tons of weapons and ammunition, including rocket launchers, heavy machine guns, artillery, grenades and explosives.
When the Lebanese have pursued the case further, they also discovered two warehouses full of weapons in Tripoli, which should be smuggled across the nearby border.
This smuggling does not only mean a infringement of international agreements, obviously some powers are trying to sabotage the implementation of the peace plan, as the Russian Foreign Ministry has commented on these and other findings.
Soon, the effects of the new weapons was easy to be observed, according to the Washington Post, for example, at battles for the city of Rastan, near Homs, were the rebels have stormed an army base and killed 23 soldiers.
Suddenly, also heavy T72 tanks began in a growing number to burst into fireballs, which the rebels could only harm less to April.
But meanwhile they were, like the Israeli Military Intelligence Service DEBKAfile has reported, equipped with the most modern anti-tank weapons of the “third generation” of the United States. In addition, the Turkish intelligence service was given the green light to equip the Islamist fighters with booby traps and to train them in their use. Even modern German machine guns of the type “HK MG4” by Heckler & Koch, which are otherwise used by the German armed forces, are now in use of the rebels, according to information of DEBKAfile.
Moreover, Washington is actively seeking to boost the insurgency. Government members met with Syrian Kurds according to the Washington Post to discuss the opening of a “second front” against the Syrian government in the north of the country where the situation remained quiet so far. Thus, the Syrian army would be forced to withdraw forces from the West.
Also, Berlin is not idle. Under the German Presidency, a multinational “workgroups” has commenced with their work in Abu Dhabi, which will lead the economic emergency measures for the period after the fall of the Assad regime in the way. It was implemented at the Istanbul meeting of the “Friends of the Syrian people”.
Meanwhile, insurgents train “terrorist tactics” in training camps in Kosovo, as Russia Today has reported, and they get advise by the experienced KLA leaders how to manipulate the Western public and to create pretexts for a NATO intervention. This also happens in the EU protectorate certainly not without German support.
The training of Syrian fighters by Western and Arab military and secret service members is already in progress for a long time. Agents of the CIA, and British, and French Special Forces are already active in Syria as a consultant. The anti-tank weapons of the “third generation”, which are now used to decimate the Syrian fleet of T72 tanks, were certainly not passed away without direct instructions on site.
Since the arrival of the first UN observers on 12 April, the situation has developed to the detriment of Assad’s government, like it also was rated by the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung”. Because the army strongly restrains and the ceasefire agreements prohibits the use of heavy weapons in populated areas, the armed rebel groups were able to secure their positions and expand the areas which are under their control.
Also the recent bomb attacks in Damascus and Aleppo suggested a different approach by the highly fragmented Syrian opposition.
The “Farouk Brigade”, the largest group of franctireurs in Syria, has developed into an “elastic” guerrilla forces, as it was written approvingly by the McClatchy correspondent David Enders from their base in Qusayr, a small town near Homs, on the border to Lebanon, in mid-April.
They could not hold large areas for long, but they are capable of supplying heavy losses to the Syrian government forces. And apparently the militia, which is notorious for their brutality, still willing to continue.
Although as a recognized formation in direct contact with the UN mission, their commanders have open announced, just days after the confirmation of Annan`s peace plan by the UN Security Council (UNSC), to intensify their attacks yet – both by bombs against military convoys, as also by attacking barracks and checkpoints.
This and many other examples of clearly demonstrated at the beginning, where the real difficulties lie in the implementation of an armistice. While the Syrian government, according to many observers obviously very concerned about its implementation, which would stabilize, ultimately, their authority again, this fails because the forces that uncompromisingly seek the overthrow of the regime to do, of course, everything to “keep the pot boiling on the rebellion”, as Patrick Cockburn aptly has put it.
The UN Observer Mission (UNSMIS) has also attested about the Army that it has “clearly reduced” its “offensive military operations” in the last six weeks, and has also determined at the same time, however, a significant “increase in attacks and bombings by militants”.
However, any report on use of weapons of the army in the West is used to isolate and discredit the government continues as a bloodthirsty rogue regime.
Terrorism with a religious touch
Parallel to the attacks on government forces, also the terrorist attacks on the centers have increased. Thus, on 10th May, two car bombs with 1,400 pounds of explosives detonated before a secret complex, located in the center of Damascus, killed 55 people and wounded 372nd and this was just the terrible prelude to a series of bombings.
In addition, since the beginning of the ceasefire, also the deadly attacks on government supporters and opponents of the insurrection have increased.
Particularly affected are Alawites and Christians. There were such assassinations with religious overtones from the beginning, but they have increasingly jumped up in the last few weeks.
The situation has deteriorated significantly in Damascus after the arrival of foreign observers, like it was also reported by residents of the city to the Russian RIA Novosti in late May. Virtually every night, armed groups would attack army checkpoints and members of the security forces.
The most residents, who were interviewed by the Russian news agency, rate the current events as nothing but provocation, only aimed on the torpedoing the plan of Kofi Annan. The culmination of these provocations is the massacre on 25 May in al-Houla (al-Hula). Many of those, who had initially seen the Syrian government and the army as the main culprit for the escalating violence in the country, have since then revised their positions, and would increasingly speak of a “third force”, that means, about terrorists, who are funded by abroad.
Even the “New York Times” could not beat around the bush and had to report that all the “tactics” of individual attacks to roadside bombs on military and government vehicles, are similiar to the “insurgents in places like Iraq perpetrate”, where the U.S. military describe this “as terrorist attacks”.
But although the U.S. military has conducted countless attacks on cities in Iraq and Afghanistan in the fight against these “rebels” – not only with tanks, but with fighter aircraft, bombers, missiles and killer drones – the newspaper has never made a scandal out of it at any time or has given George Bush and Barack Obama the name “slaughter man”.
The ‘third force’ that is willingly mentioned in connection with terrorist strikes, is often associated with Al-Qaeda. Thus, the Federal Ministry of Defense stated quite an increase in “asymmetrical attacks” as ambushes and bomb attacks are called, but it assigns “jihadists and Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist groups.”
Even UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recently made the terrorist network responsible for the bomb attacks in Syria. In fact, there is a high proportion of foreign Islamist fighters in Syria, which come partly from groups as Al-Qaeda-related apply, such as the “Islamic Emirate of Iraq” or the “Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.”
But al-Qaeda is not in the country, it gets assured by Khaled, a leading Lebanese fighter in the ranks of Assad’s opponents, to the Beirut Daily Star newspaper. They were only faithful Muslims who came to Syria for the “holy war” against Assad.
Khaled, who came already a year ago to Syria, immediately after the outbreak of the first riots in Syria, is one of an estimated 300 Lebanese who have joined solely from the Bekaa Valley to the struggle against the secular regime in Damascus and their “infidel” supporters.
Overall, there should be thousands of Sunni fighters, who were smuggled to Syria from Lebanon, Libya, and especially from Iraq, but also from Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and which are now fighting side by side with the recruited groups of Syrian rebels, among them, the majority are Muslim Brothers or Salafist groups.
With “jihadists”, the Department of Defense (Germany) is with respect to the “asymmetric attack” thus not so wrong – but they are an integral, if not dominant part of the NATO-backed so-called “Free Syrian Army” (FSA).
Ambiguous peace plan
Although all this is well known for a long time, Kofi Annan’s peace plan calls specifically only on the Syrian government to end the fighting and to withdraw its troops from the embattled cities. In addition, they should “reach, that all parties effectively end the armed violence in all its forms”. The text highlights this requirement even twice. But it is obviously irredeemable, as well as the peace researcher Reinhard Mutz in a radio interview with Germany on 14 Diagnosed in May presented.
If Annan wants to succeed, he must direct his appeal to the States, which do support, upgrade, and guide the various insurgent forces – that is, above all, to the NATO countries.
But for those of the peace plan was obviously only a short-term tactical retreat a step back, so that the forces on the ground which had suffered at the beginning of severe defeats and driven from their strongholds were to gather again and provide them with new and better weapons.
“A more effective regulatory mechanism of the United Nations” is said to monitor the observance of the ceasefire. 300 international observers are in favor, like Reinhard Mutz has agreed with many experts, much too little.
The staff of the OSCE observer mission in Kosovo in 1999 amounted to 2,000 men, but Syria is 17 times larger than the Serbian province. Whether the country would be better served with more observers, is questionable.
First, would have to be assured that their behavior is actually completely neutral and that they do not work in favor of Intelligence Services of belligerent States or prepare, in association with insurgents, the space for an intervention, like the infamous U.S. Ambassador William Walker has done it with the alleged “Racak massacre” as head of the Kosovo mission.
On the other hand, it also threatens this mission, if they take their job seriously and not just deliver what is expected in the West, that it is just ignored, like the Arab League (report) before.
NATO’s war policy
First, the primary aim of the armed rebel forces, which are backed by the “Friends of Syria”, was to provoke military actions by the Syrian army to denounce the Assad government for the breach of the ceasefire, and thereby, to be able to further increase the international isolation. In particular, also the political price for Russia and China for their resistance against further steps of escalation is driven further and further into the air, till they give up.
The dealing of Western governments with the recent massacre shows clearly this intention.
The Russian government then has criticized even before the UN General Assembly, that the arming and funding of the Syrian opposition would create a “terrorist environment”. The Russian representative Vitaly Churkin called on the Assembly, to get not misleaded by the “provocations, aimed at the destruction of Annan’s plan”.
The Syrian army is facing a dilemma: on the one hand, the ceasefire requires to military restraint, on the other hand, they must prevent that insurgent forces are able to, as it already happened after their retreat upon the arrival of the observer mission of the Arab League, get more and more districts and localities under permanent control and are even able to extend these to larger “liberated areas”.
NATO could then take as in the case of Libya, the “protection” of such areas to the hanger for a military intervention. For many U.S. strategists are the absence of such an area, in addition to the fragmentation of the opposition, one of the main reasons that speak against a current or direct military intervention.
But when the Syrian troops, however, carry out significant actions against the bastions of enemy fighters, they are immediately available to be put in the pillory for breach of the ceasefire and attacks on residential areas.
While NATO forces extensively make use of the Air Force in such cases, the Syrian government has waived for good reasons on it.
Is holding back the army, however, feel the residents to leave the rule of the Islamist fighters, and are often terrorized by them betrayed him. Alawites, Christians and other minorities, regime loyal, the escape is often the only solution.
This does not only weaken the state’s authority, but also encouraged all possible forces to forget about law and order, of course.
Even if NATO has officially excluded an open military intervention against Syria at the moment, the risk of a direct attack is now acute. By the announcement of the Turkish government to eventually activate the Article IV of the North Atlantic Treaty because of further border violations; it has indicated another potential entry scenario for this.
The reference to Article IV would, so the Washington Post, open the door for consultations on a “threat of the security of Turkey” and the “assurance of mutual defense” under Article V, that means, the proclamation of this so-called alliance case. In May, when the Syrian Army struck back rebels, which had attacked border posts from Turkey, the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan has already tinted, that NATO has, in accordance with Article V, the responsibility to protect the Turkish border.
Areas on Syrian territory will be implemented without the consent of the government in Damascus under the control of NATO Special Forces. Units of the British Special Air Forces (SAS) and the Foreign Intelligence Service MI6 are said to be already in place. They would be part of an international task force, the French, Turkish and possibly also covers U.S. troops.
The British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who has never precluded military actions against Syria, has already confessed that the establishment “of such safe heavens would be an invasion of Syria”, but he hopes on acceptance, because this “would offer the opportunity to save lives”.
The SAS units could set up an “armed shield” around these areas within hours and are also quite capable of fighting in a confined space.
In addition, as DEBKAfile has reported it on 11 June, U.S. President Barack Obama has ordered on the Air Force and Navy to speed up their preparations for a “limited air offensive” against Syria to enforce a “no-fly zone”.
A reason for this could be that the Syrian military forces are increasingly using their gunships in their distress against rebel positions.
At the moment, put the NATO countries and their allies, it seems, even to the expansion of the fighting in the country, so in order to create a wide range of intervention options. Although the Pentagon has already drawn up plans for air strikes to eliminate the Syrian air defenses, but such attacks are still very unlikely, like Pentagon officials have told the Washington Post. The U.S. and its allies would initially focus on better coordination and equipment of the rebel groups.
By this, a low intensity war gets extended, which is similar to the that of Contras in the 1980s in Central America, what was already bitterly noted by the Syrian opposition figure Dr. Qadri Jamil (also Kadri Jamel) of the “Popular Front for Change and Liberation” in a conversation with the journalist Karin Leukefeld (“Junge Welt” on 12/12/2011).
In this way, the government should be further weakened, and people from the leadership shall be forced to change sides, also parts of the population who are still behind the Assad government, shall be forced to a rethink by the continuous deterioration of living conditions. (SN: that`s the reason of sanctions, part of a “regime change” plan, Salvador option)
The actions against Syria seem to follow a precise scheme like it was formulated by the influential “Brookings Institute” in its strategy paper “Which way to Persia?” for a regime-change in Iran three years ago.
It is detailed worked out in section three, how to encourage a popular uprising, stirring up a revolt or how to boost a coup.
“A riot is often easier to instigate and support from outside,” it says here for example, and “riots are to promote excellently cheap.” The “covert support of an uprising” offers also the possibility of „plausible deniability“ as the avoidance of detectable traces is called, and has less “diplomatic and political repercussions” as “a direct military action.” Once the regime has suffered some major setbacks, the opportunity for action has come.
The steps are more specifically described in the current training manual for “Unconventional Warfare of Special Forces” by the U.S. Army. The aim of this downplayed “unconventional” called warfare is it, to “exploit the political, military and psychological vulnerabilities of an enemy power for strategic goals of the United States by the establishment and strengthened of resistance forces”, it says in the introduction.
Parallels to the development in Libya can be identified easily in this manual.
Regarding Syria, the possibilities were assessed to be bad for a long time by Washington, since President Bashar Al-Assad is quite popular at home and his government was very stable. But like a U.S. Embassy dispatch from Damascus shows it, which was published by Wikileaks, they already have worked diligently to identify vulnerabilities since 2006.
In addition to the conflict with Kurdish and Islamist forces also the economic problems were mentioned, which could be blamed on Assad because of “misguided” and “inefficient reform efforts”.
First, one needs the local and national agitation and the organization of protests, boycotts and strikes to express public discontent. Then “the infiltration of foreign consultants and organizers as well as propaganda material, money, weapons and equipment” follows. The next step is the establishment of “national front organizations” (such as the “Libyan Transitional Council” or “Syrian National Council”) and “a liberation movement” (such as the FSA) can move the larger parts of the population to “intensified political violence and to accept sabotage, “and are also capable to motivate individuals and groups to perform underground activities such as acts of sabotage in urban centers”.
Once the government hits back, the negative side effects of retaliation can be used by the insurgents “to broaden support of the population, by emphasizing the sacrifices and hardships which they suffer in effort for ›the people‹”, as it is mentioned in paragraph 1-43. If sharp countermeasures failed to materialize, this could in turn as evidence of the weakness of the regime and the capabilities of the “resistance” will be shown to be able to wage an effective struggle against the government.
A detailed version of the article with references is soon readable at the blog of author: jghd.twoday.net.
Translated text of the interesting article (Source: Junge Welt) by Joachim Guilliard.
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net