SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Shiite cleric Sayyed Ali Fadlallah during Friday’s Muslim sermon called on the Lebanese to receive “peaceful refugees” in their homes, and prevent any aggression against them and foil possible abduction attempts.
“Everyone knows how the Syrian people received the Lebanese migrants during the Zionist war on Lebanon in July 2006, and we should repay their favor, or even [do a] better one,” the Shiite cleric said.
Fadlallah also said: “We should all protect [the refugees] and prevent any aggression against them and [foil any possible abduction] attempts, no matter the pretext.”
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - Western and Gulf powers have launched the largest secret war operation since the Contra war in Nicaragua. The Battle of Damascus is not intended to topple President Bashar al-Assad, but to fracture the Syrian Army to better ensure the domination of Israel and the U.S. over the Middle East. While the city is bracing for a new assault by foreign mercenaries, Thierry Meyssan takes stock of the situation.
Over the past five days Washington and Paris have launched an attack operation dubbed “Damascus Volcano and Syrian Earthquake." It is not a new campaign of aerial bombardment, but a secret military operation, similar to the one used in Central America during the Reagan era.
Within a few days, 40 to 60 000 Contras, mostly Libyans, entered the country, most often via the Jordanian border. The majority of them are attached to the "Syrian" Free Army, a secret operations front for NATO under Turkish command. Some are affiliated with groups of fanatics, including Al-Qaeda, under Qatar’s command or factions of the Saudi Royal Family, the Sudairi. Along the way, they took some border posts, and then moved to the capital where they have sown confusion by attacking random targets: police groups or isolated military.
Wednesday morning, an explosion destroyed National Security headquarters where some members of the National Security Council were meeting. It cost the lives of General Daoud Rajha (Defence Minister), of General Assef Shawkat (Deputy Minister) and of General Hassan Turkmani (Assistant Vice President of the Republic). The mode of attack remains uncertain: it could have been either a suicide bomber or a stealth drone.
Washington hoped that the partial decapitation of the military would lead some senior officers to defect with their units, or even to turn against the civilian government. This has not happened. President Bashar al-Assad immediately signed decrees appointing successors to the fallen heroes and the seamless continuity of the state was ensured.
In Paris, Berlin and Washington, sponsors of the operation continued their unworthy game of condemning terrorist action while reaffirming their political and logistical support for the terrorists. Shamelessly, they concluded that the responsibility for these killings lay not with the culprits, but with the victims in that they had refused to resign under pressure and surrender their homeland to western rapacity.
Caracas and Tehran have sent their condolences to Syria, stressing that the attack was sponsored and funded by Western and Gulf powers Moscow has also expressed condolences and affirmed that requesting Security Council’s sanctions against Syria amounted to political support for the attacking terrorists.
National television channels have begun to broadcast military clips and patriotic songs several times per hour. Interrupting programs, the Information Minister al-Omran Zou’bi called for the mobilization of everyone: the time for political disputes between government and opposition is over. The enemy is at the gates. Referring to my Komsomolskaya Pravda article , he warned his countrymen of the imminent launch of the propaganda operation prepared by Gulf and Western channels in order to demoralize the people. Then, he put the lie to Gulf network propaganda according to which a mutiny had broken out in the fourth division and explosions had devastated its main barracks.
National channels have aired public service announcements several times hourly showing how to capture authentic programs on Atlantic Bird in case Arabsat and Nilesat satellites were interrupted.
In Lebanon, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah recalled the brotherhood of arms uniting Hezbollah and Syria against Zionist expansionism, and assured the Syrian Army of its support.
The bomb attack was the signal for the second part of the operation. Commandos infiltrated the capital, then attacked various more or less chosen targets. Thus, a group of about a hundred Contras attacked the house adjacent to my apartment in the cry of Allah Akbar. A senior military official resides there. Ten hours of uninterrupted fighting ensued.
Whereas at the beginning of the night, the Army responded with measure , the order was later given to use force without restraint. It was no longer a question of fighting against terrorists destabilizing Syria, but of saving the country facing an undeclared alien invasion.
Aircraft went into action to destroy columns of mercenaries heading to the capital.
By late morning, calm was gradually returning to the city. The Contras and their collaborators were forced to withdraw everywhere. Traffic was resuming on major roads, and checkpoints were installed in the city center. Life was returning to normal. However, we still hear scattered gunfire here and there. Most businesses are closed, and there are long queues outside bakeries.
Everyone expects that the final assault will be launched on the night of Thursday to Friday and all day Friday. There is no doubt that the Syrian army will emerge victorious again, the power relationship being to its advantage. The conscript army is supported by the population, including the domestic political opposition.
As expected, Arabsat and Nilesat had disconnected the Ad-Dunya television signal in the middle of the afternoon. The Twitter account of Ad-Dounia has been hacked by the CIA in order to disseminate false messages announcing a retreat of the Syrian Army.
Gulf channels have announced a currency collapse prelude to the downfall of the State. The Governor of the Central Bank, Adib Mayaleh, intervened on national television to denounce the new disinformation and confirm the exchange rate of 68.30 Syrian pounds per U.S. dollar.
Reinforcements have been deployed around the Umayyads Square to protect public television studios considered a priority target for all enemies of freedom. Replacement studios have been installed in the Rose of Damascus Hotel where United Nations observers are basking. The presence of these officials, who allowed the perpetration of this attack on the capital without interrupting their idleness, is the de facto protection for Syrian journalists risking their lives attempting to inform their fellow citizens.
At the Security Council, Russia and China have for the third time vetoed a draft Western and Gulf resolution to enable international military intervention. Russian and Chinese representatives have tirelessly denounced propaganda aimed at portraying the foreign attack against Syria as a revolt repressed with bloodshed.
The Battle of Damascus is expected to resume tonight.
Thierry Meyssan is a French intellectual, founder and chairman of Voltaire Network and the Axis for Peace Conference. He is a professor of International Relations at the Centre for Strategic Studies in Damascus. His columns specializing in international relations feature in daily newspapers and weekly magazines in Arabic, Spanish and Russian. His last two books published in English : 9/11 the Big Lie and Pentagate.
Translation by Roger Lagassé
SHAFAQNA (Shia News Association)— Over the past sixteen months of bloody conflict in Syria, observers have been waiting for one key development: top-level defections from within President Bashar al-Assad's inner circle. Suddenly, it seems a pressure valve has gone off. Pilots, ambassadors, and even one general have defected. What does it mean?
The general is Manaf Tlas, a childhood friend of Assad, and an officer in the elite Republican Guard.
Tlas’s father was chief of staff and then minister of defense, for 30 years, under Bashar’s father Hafez al-Assad. This is as close to the top of the Syrian regime as you might get. That’s why Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took special note of Tlas.
“If people like him, and like the generals and colonels and others who have recently defected to Turkey are any indication, regime insiders and the military establishment are starting to vote with their feet,” she said.
But there are some crucial caveats. Tlas hadn’t been a member of al-Assad’s inner circle for a while – he had actually been under house arrest for more than a year.
Also, he was high ranking, but he wasn’t an Alawite. While Alawites make up only 12% of Syria’s population, they hold more than 80% of the positions in the powerful Republican Guard. They are the inner circle. According to some reports, when Sunnis are put on guard duty, there’s always an Alawite soldier assigned to monitor the Sunni soldiers.
Related: Reports of new massacre
But if the increasing number of top-level defections is a signal that the Sunni elite, which is comprised of generals, businessmen, bureaucrats and which has so far stuck with al-Assad, is now moving away from him, that’s a huge shift – and one that will ultimately bring down the regime.
There’s mounting evidence that the Sunnis are weakening in their support for the al-Assad regime. We’ve spoken with a former U.S. Marine Austin Tice. He’s now a law student and spending the summer reporting from Syria. On a recent embed with a rebel group, he said he found that the government’s helicopters flew so high that they couldn’t really aim their missiles; he also said he saw first-hand how hostile fire from al-Assad’s tanks and troops were poorly aimed and seemingly random. The suspicion among many rebels at the time, Tice says, was that the predominantly Sunni pilots and soldiers were deliberately missing their targets.
Related: A deluded elite in Syria?
Another telling indicator of dissent is the number of silent objectors in the army. According to the New York Times, a growing number of Syrian soldiers – many of whom lack the means to flee – are staying home. But to ensure their continued silence and neutrality, these officers continue to draw salaries and pensions.
Money is the main reason to believe that al-Assad's regime cannot last. Inflation is said to be as high as 30%. According to some reports, al-Assad and his cronies are freely printing money; the Syrian pound has depreciated against the dollar by more than half on the black market. Meanwhile, the regime is running out of cash. Ninety percent of Syria’s oil used to go to the European Union, but sanctions have put a stop to that. Tourism and trade have of course plummeted. And monetary support from Iran cannot be counted on indefinitely – Tehran itself is buckling under unprecedented sanctions.
And there was a report last week that Iran is weakening in its support for al-Assad. An Iranian ambassador gave an interview in a Tehran paper criticizing his government’s support for the Syrian regime and saying that al-Assad’s days were obviously numbered.
But there's one more piece to the puzzle – the growing strength of Syria’s opposition. The Free Syria Army is getting stronger. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are now openly arming the rebels, channeling through routes from Turkey, Lebanon, and now even Iraq. Rebel attacks have become more focused, running deeper into the two main cities Damascus and Aleppo. The various opposition groups are coming together to plan for a post-Assad Syria.—www.shafaqna.com/english