Saddam's Death, Page 30
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 29: august-september 2013

"Nasser, as the activist leader of Pan-Arabism, became an idealized model for Saddam Hussein. At age 20, inspired by Nasser, Saddam joined the Arab Ba'th socialist Party in Iraq and quickly impressed party officials with his dedication. Two years later, in 1956, apparently emulating Nasser, Iraqi Army General Qassem led a coup which ousted the monarchy. But unlike Nasser, Qassem did not pursue the path of socialism and turned against the Ba'th party. ... Saddam went to Egypt to study law, rising to leadership ranks in the Egyptian Ba'th Party. He returned to Iraq after 1963 when Qassem was ousted by the Ba'ths and was elected to the National Command.
Michel Aflaq, the ideological father of the Ba'th party, admired young Hussein, declaring the Iraqi Ba'th party the finest in the world.... (Dr. Jerrold M. Post)

"Gamal Abdel-Nasser continues to inhabit Egypt because, like Bonaparte, he is the representative of an age of certain national glory, despite the mistakes and the military debacle. But there is more to it than this. Above all, he symbolises for Egyptians the expression of their independent national will. It is this that remains. It is in this that we must seek our project for the future" (Liberating Nasser's legacy, Al-Ahram Weekly 2000)

Saddam began rebuilding the ruins of ancient Babylon. Saddam put up a large mural of himself next to Nebuchadrezzar at the entrance to the ruins. And echoing Nebuchadrezzar's practice, Saddam had his own name inscribed on the bricks used in the reconstruction. The inscriptions are reported to read: "This was built by Saddam Hussein, son of Nebuchadnezzar, to glorify Iraq"


An ancient Semitic city in the Euphrates valley, which after 2250 B.C., as the capital of Babylonia, became a center of world commerce and of the arts and sciences, its life marked by luxury and magnificence. The city in which they built the Tower of Babel, its location coincides approximately with that of the modern city of Baghdad - now the center of a vast agricultural community. The Babylonians attached great importance to the motions of the planets, accurately fixed their orbits and worked out tables of the phases of the Moon, whereby eclipses could be correctly predicted. Their great astrological work, "The Illumination of Bel," was compiled within the period of 2100-1900 B.C..
Babylon is generally conceded to have been the cradle of astrology. It was overthrown in 539 A.D., by Xerxes, the Persian. (

About political holism

Political holism is based on the recognition that "we" are all members of a single whole. There's no "they," even though "we" are not all alike. Because "we" are all part of the whole, and therefore interdependent, we benefit from cooperating with each other. Political holism is a way of thinking about human cultures and nations as interdependent. Political holists search for solutions other than war to settle international disagreements. Their model of the world is one in which cooperation and negotiation, even with the enemy, even with the weak, promotes political stability more than warfare. In an overpopulated world with planet-wide environmental problems, the development of weapons of mass destruction has rendered war obsolete as an effective means to resolve disputes.

Political dualists consider political holists unpatriotic for questioning the necessity to defeat "them." In times of impending war, political dualists tend to measure patriotism by the intensity of one's hostility to the country's immediate enemy. Naturally, they would view as disloyalty any suggestion that the enemy is not evil, any call for cooperation with the enemy, any criticism of one's own country.
To political dualists, cooperation with the enemy means capitulation, relinquishment of the nation's position of dominance.

At its extreme, political dualism is essentially tribalism. (Betty Craige, 16-8-1997)

Zie ook: Gilad Atzmon & Het tribalisme

Bashar al-Assad: What is happening in Syria
is the complete opposite to the concept of jihad
By The Syrian Observer, 5-7-2013

President Bashar al-Assad gave an interview o the local newspaper al-Thawra, in which he claimed that his opponents have “used up all their tools” and failed to overthrow his regime.

Interviewer: Mr President. You first stated that what is happening in Syria is not a revolution... What made you say that it was not a revolution from the inception?

President Assad: From a historical perspective, any genuine revolution is purely internal and cannot be linked externally by any means, as manifested by the Russian, French and even the Iranian revolutions. Real revolutions are intrinsic, spontaneous, and are led by intellectual and ideological elites. What occurred in Syria since the outset of the crisis was flagrant external interference. There were attempts to hide this, but it has become absolutely clear.
Secondly, the real revolution of 1963 was a revolution that empowered the country, society and human values. It promoted science and knowledge by building thousands of schools, it brought light to the Urban and rural areas of Syria by building electricity lines and networks, it strengthened the economy by providing job opportunities according to competencies. It supported the wider foundations of society including farmers, labourers and skilled-workers. ...
Revolutions are about building countries and societies, not about destroying them; so how can we call what is happening in Syria a revolution? Attempts to package the events on the ground as a part of a revolution have been futile from the beginning. ....

Interviewer: Nonetheless Mr President, do you agree that the concepts and forms of revolutions have changed significantly from previous examples such as the Russian or French Revolution? Is it not possible to consider what is happening in Syria a revolution according to different concepts? Is it necessary for all revolutions in history to follow the same methods and paths?

President Assad: Everything in the world changes however, there are fundamental human principles that should remain constant. Religions do not change, although they deal with change. Principles do not change, however mechanisms need to be adjusted to keep up with time. If for the sake of argument we are to accept the notion that the concept of revolutions change, which would then make what is happening in Syria a revolution, we should then accept that the Israeli acts against Palestinians constitute an Israeli revolution against Palestinian oppression, or that the American invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan was a revolution. To accept the fact that conditions and circumstances are perpetuated or altered should not mean that principles are fundamentally undermined.
The West and all its propaganda have always attempted to realign the facts upside down to serve their agenda. Rights become wrongs and wrongs become rights that then legitimize their political practices. If they do that, it doesn’t mean that we should sleepwalk with them.

"We are a government that deals with reality"
President Assad's interview with CBS news
Syria Breaking News, 10 Septemper, 2013

- Charlie Rose: Let’s talk about chemical warfare. Do you approve of the use of chemical warfare, the use of deadly chemicals? Do you think that it is an appropriate tool of war, to use chemicals?
- President al-Assad: We are against any WMD, any weapons of mass destruction, whether chemical or nuclear.

- Charlie Rose: But you’re not a signatory to the chemical warfare agreement.
- President al-Assad: Not yet.

- Charlie Rose: Why not?
- President al-Assad: Because Israel has WMD, and it has to sign, and Israel is occupying our land, so that’s we talked about the Middle East, not Syria, not Israel; it should be comprehensive....

- Charlie Rose: Speaking of reality, what was the reality on August 21st? What happened in your judgment?
- President al-Assad: We’re not in the area where the alleged chemical attack happened. I said alleged. We’re not sure that anything happened.

- Charlie Rose: Even at this date, you’re not sure that chemical weapons – even though you have seen the video tape, even though you’ve seen the bodies, even though your own officials have been there.
- President al-Assad: I haven’t finished. Our soldiers in another area were attacked chemically. Our soldiers - they went to the hospital as casualties because of chemical weapons, but in the area where they said the government used chemical weapons, we only had video and we only have pictures and allegations.
We’re not there; our forces, our police, our institutions don’t exist there. How can you talk about what happened if you don’t have evidence? We’re not like the American administration, we’re not social media administration or government. We are a government that deals with reality. When we have evidence, we’ll announce it.

- Charlie Rose: Well, as you know, Secretary Kerry has said there is evidence and that they saw rockets that fired from a region controlled by your forces into a region controlled by the rebels. They have evidence from satellite photographs of that. They have evidence of a message that was intercepted about chemical weapons, and soon thereafter there were other intercepted messages, so Secretary Kerry has presented what he views as conclusive evidence.
- President al-Assad: No, he presented his confidence and his convictions. It’s not about confidence, it’s about evidence. The Russians have completely opposite evidence that the missiles were thrown from an area where the rebels control. This reminds me - what Kerry said - about the big lie that Collin Powell said in front of the world on satellites about the WMD in Iraq before going to war. He said “this is our evidence.” Actually, he gave false evidence. In this case, Kerry didn’t even present any evidence. He talked “we have evidence” and he didn’t present anything. Not yet, nothing so far; not a single shred of evidence.

- Charlie Rose: What about the victims of this assault from chemical warfare?
- President al-Assad: Dead is dead, killing is killing, crime is crime. When you feel pain, you feel pain about their family, about the loss that you have in your country, whether one person was killed or a hundred or a thousand. It’s a loss, it’s a crime, it’s a moral issue. We have family that we sit with, family that loved their dear ones. It’s not about how they are killed, it's about that they are dead now; this is the bad thing...

- Charlie Rose: We’ll come back to it. If your government did not do it, despite the evidence, who did it?
- President al-Assad: The question is who threw chemicals on the same day on our soldiers. That’s the same question. Technically, not the soldiers. Soldiers don’t throw missiles on themselves. So, either the rebels, the terrorists, or a third party. We don’t have any clue yet. We have to be there to collect the evidences then we can give answer.

- Charlie Rose: Well, the argument is made that the rebels don’t have the capability of using chemical weapons, they do not have the rockets and they do not have the supply of chemical weapons that you have, so therefore they could not have done it.
- President al-Assad: First of all, they have rockets, and they’ve been throwing rockets on Damascus for months.

- Charlie Rose: That carry chemical weapons? - President al-Assad: Rockets in general. They have the means - first. Second, the sarin gas that they’ve been talking about for the last weeks is a very primitive gas. You can have it done in the backyard of a house; it’s a very primitive gas. So, it’s not something complicated.

- Charlie Rose: But this was not primitive. This was a terrible use of chemical weapons.
- President al-Assad: Third, they used it in Aleppo in the north of Syria. Fourth, there’s a video on YouTube where the terrorists clearly make trials on a rabbit and kill the rabbit and said “this is how we’re going to kill the Syrian people.” Fifth, there’s a new video about one of those women who they consider as rebel or fighter who worked with those terrorists and she said “they didn’t tell us how to use the chemical weapons” and one of those weapons exploded in one of the tunnels and killed twelve. That’s what she said. Those are the evidence that we have. Anyway, the party who accused is the one who has to bring evidences. The United States accused Syria, and because you accused you have to bring evidence, this first of all. We have to find evidences when we are there.

- Charlie Rose: What evidence would be sufficient for you? - President al-Assad: For example, in Aleppo we had the missile itself, and the material, and the sample from the sand, from the soil, and samples from the blood....

Chemical stockpile under international control
PressTV, Sep 10, 2013

Iran has welcomed Russia’s proposal to Syria to put its chemical stockpile under international control in order to avoid “militarism in the region.”
“Iran considers the [proposition] of this initiative within the framework of stopping militarism in the region,” Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said during the ministry’s weekly press conference on Tuesday.
The proposal, which has been “welcomed” by Damascus, was made during a meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem in Moscow on Monday. Moscow also urged Syrian authorities to join the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said, “We are opposed to using chemical weapons and want the region cleared from chemical weapons.”
The Iranian official also expressed concern over the possession of chemical weapons by the terrorist groups in Syria and said, “Any initiative [regarding chemical weapons] must also include the [entire] spectrum of terrorists.”

“We welcome and support the Russian side's suggestion,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Tuesday in his regular briefing.
“As long as the suggestion is conducive to easing the current tension in Syria, solving the Syria issue politically and safeguarding peace and stability of Syria and the region, the international community should give positive consideration to it,” he said. (Press TV, 10-9-2013)

Walid Al-Muallem: "We hail the wisdom of the Russian leadership"

Syrian foreign minister Walid Al-Muallem welcomed the Russian proposal in a televised statement as a way to avoid a US-led military operation.
"I carefully listened to Sergei Lavrov's statement about it. In connection with this, I note that Syria welcomes the Russian initiative based on the Syrian leadership's concern about the lives of our nationals and the security of our country," Al-Muallem said.
"We also hail the wisdom of the Russian leadership which is trying to prevent an American aggression against our people," he added without elaborating.
Al-Muallem said his government was ready to host the UN team, and insisted that Syria is ready to use all channels to convince the Americans that it wasn't behind the attack. He added that Syria was ready for "full cooperation with Russia to remove any pretext for aggression." (Ahram online, 10-9-2013)

Putin chooses to play the peacemaker. And why not?
By William Pfaff, Truthdig 11-9-2013

Barack Obama should be thanking Vladimir Putin for getting him out of a dilemma that would have ruined his presidency. His attack on Syria, as it was (and is) programmed, would have been or will be no “shot across the bow.” The plan is to “degrade” Syria’s entire military and supporting infrastructure, so as to tip the civil war’s balance—as Baghdad was “degraded” in 2003. It would make the civil war far worse, with thousands more dead, by triggering a rebel offensive, covertly supported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to take Damascus (or its ruins). ...
Mr. Putin currently offers Obama the attractive role of a warrior chief whose threats so frightened the world as to force the sequestering and destruction of Syrian chemical weapons. It has brought a wide international and U.N. intervention potentially capable of forcing a settlement conference (“Geneva II”), possibly halting the civil war and its multiple threats to the region. Mr. Putin himself chooses to play the peacemaker. And why not?

As Russia would have to be one of the guarantors of such a settlement, as the United States would insist on being, and as Russia would also have to stand guarantee for the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons, Moscow would automatically provide Syria with deterrence against Israeli nuclear blackmail and that conventional threat from Israel which the chemical weapons were manufactured to deter. Russia’s enlarged political presence and guarantee of Syria’s neutralization would also secure Lebanon. Both results are highly desirable.....
There are plenty of people in the Washington foreign policy elite, as well as the Obama administration, who will be horrified at the notion of introducing Russia into the Middle East under international sponsorship. But Russia has already introduced itself into the only presently recognizable solution, if outside military “punishment” and consequent expanded war are to be avoided.

The Middle East, under the burdens of American military interventions, has since the 1950s suffered heavy-handed and disastrously unsuccessful policies of American intervention and vain “democratization.” This cannot continue.
The Washington community seems incapable of recognizing this, but the U.S., in this region, has made itself hated and feared. It is incapable of generating generally acceptable geopolitical solutions. To use a word popular among Washington’s war-hawks, it no longer has “credibility.”

Vladimir Putin: "God created us equal"
Russia Today, September 12, 2013

"Preserving law and order in today’s complex and turbulent world is one of the few ways to keep international relations from sliding into chaos. The law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not."

It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts has become commonplace for the US, President Vladimir Putin said in an editorial for The New York Times. Putin however has welcomed Barack Obama’s decision to develop a compromise on Syria.
In a lengthy piece titled A Plea for Caution from Russia, the President reminded that the United Nations was created as a universal instrument of preventing devastating wars.
“No one wants the United Nations to suffer the fate of the League of Nations, which collapsed because it lacked real leverage,” Putin wrote. “This is possible if influential countries bypass the United Nations and take military action without Security Council authorization.”

From the very beginning of the crisis, Russia has advocated a political solution according to international law. “We are not protecting the Syrian government, but international law,” he said.
“It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States,” he said. The world increasingly sees America not as “a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan “you’re either with us or against us,” the President stated.
On the other hand, a successful political compromise on Syria would “open the door to cooperation on other critical issues” between Russia and the US.

Having studied Obama’s address to the American nation on Tuesday, Putin disagreed with a “case he made on American exceptionalism.”
“It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too.”
“We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal,” Putin said in conclusion of his New York Times editorial.

Flashback 2007: President of Russia
Speech at the Munich Conference on Security Policy

VLADIMIR PUTIN (February 10, 2007): The history of humanity has gone through unipolar periods and seen aspirations to world supremacy. And what hasn’t happened in world history? However, what is a unipolar world? However one might embellish this term, at the end of the day it refers to one type of situation, namely one centre of authority, one centre of force, one centre of decision-making.
It is a world in which there is one master, one sovereign. And at the end of the day this is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within.
And this certainly has nothing in common with democracy. Because, as you know, democracy is the power of the majority in light of the interests and opinions of the minority.

Incidentally, Russia – we – are constantly being taught about democracy. But for some reason those who teach us do not want to learn themselves.
I consider that the unipolar model is not only unacceptable but also impossible in today’s world. And this is not only because if there was individual leadership in today’s – and precisely in today’s – world, then the military, political and economic resources would not suffice. What is even more important is that the model itself is flawed because at its basis there is and can be no moral foundations for modern civilisation.

Along with this, what is happening in today’s world – and we just started to discuss this – is a tentative to introduce precisely this concept into international affairs, the concept of a unipolar world.
And with which results?

Today we are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper use of force – military force – in international relations, force that is plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts. As a result we do not have sufficient strength to find a comprehensive solution to any one of these conflicts. Finding a political settlement also becomes impossible.

We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law. And independent legal norms are, as a matter of fact, coming increasingly closer to one state’s legal system. One state and, of course, first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way.

I am convinced that the only mechanism that can make decisions about using military force as a last resort is the Charter of the United Nations...
When the UN will truly unite the forces of the international community and can really react to events in various countries, when we will leave behind this disdain for international law, then the situation will be able to change. Otherwise the situation will simply result in a dead end, and the number of serious mistakes will be multiplied. Along with this, it is necessary to make sure that international law have a universal character both in the conception and application of its norms....

Thank you for your attention.

American diplomacy has long been reduced to an adjunct to our coercive power.
That has to change, for strategic reasons as much as moral ones.
By Daniel McCarthy, The American Conservative, September 12, 2013

Obama, Kerry, and Hagel (the 'Antiwar Hopefuls') were never noninterventionists, but they represent a half-turn away from interventionism. They’re caught between their own conventional attitudes about American power and the realization that the tools at their disposal are broken.

The failure of the Bush project and the lack of direction that has characterized Obama’s foreign policy are symptoms of the breakdown of one presidential way of thinking and acting in the world, a model that arose after Vietnam and is slowly collapsing after Iraq.
Obama has tried to salvage and reform it... But as the example of the Soviet Union in 1991 showed, the implosion of one political paradigm is only half the story, the other half is what replaces it.
That’s the discussion Americans should be having now: What would a foreign policy that wasn’t merely a reformist version of Bush’s policy look like? How could it secure American objectives without easy recourse to force?

An answer might be strategic diplomacy, played hard or soft as necessary, and an overall approach more like that of the “political warfare” of the early Cold War.
China also provides us some clues: Beijing stays out of shooting wars but knows very well how to throw its weight around. Even Putin is now teaching us a lesson about the power of diplomacy —including public diplomacy in his New York Times piece —that we would do well to learn.
American diplomacy has long been reduced to an adjunct to our coercive power, used too often to make excuses for a policy defined by the cruise missile. That has to change, for strategic reasons as much as moral ones.

Syria Ratifies Chemical Weapons Ban
by Jason Ditz, 12-9-2013

Following hot on the heels of comments by President Bashar Assad backing the idea, the Syrian government has formally ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), obliging them to end production of chemical weapons and move toward their eventual destruction.
Syria was one of seven remaining nations on the planet that haven’t ratified the treaty, and the list will now only include six: Israel, Myanmar, Angola, Egypt, North Korea, and South Sudan.
The United Nations has confirmed receipt of the documents verifying Syria’s ratification of the CWC, and Assad has indicated that he intends to have a full list of his nation’s arsenal available for the UN within 30 days.
The 30 days is a specific requirement of the CWC, though Secretary of State John Kerry has angrily rejected it as unacceptable, and has suggested the US might attack Syria if they stick to the actual terms of the deal.

The process of destroying Syria’s chemical arms is expected to take years, and potentially even decades, though a better estimate will likely emerge once the data is released and the scope of Syria’s program becomes apparent. In his comments Assad expressed hope that the deal would mean an end to US threats to attack Syria, though the Obama Administration, and John Kerry in particular, continues to talk up the “military option.”

President al-Assad: Rossiya 24 TV channel Interview
Syrian Arab News Agency, Sep 13, 2013

Interviewer: The American President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry stated that Syria’s acceptance of the Russian initiative to place the chemical weapons under international observation only derived from threat of missile strikes. Is this true?

President al-Assad: This is American propaganda; Kerry, Obama and the American administration seek to appear victorious, as if their threats yielded success. This is insignificant to us; what matters is for the decision to be based on Syria’s convictions and a significant Russian role...

Interviewer: Syria will hand over its chemical weapons to international control; however we all know that Russian experts confirmed the use of poisonous chemical substances in Aleppo suburbs by an extremist terrorist group, what is your take on this? What do you suggest to protect Syrians and neighbouring countries from these groups that may launch chemical attacks?

President al-Assad: The incident you cited was in March 2013 when the terrorists launched missiles carrying poisonous chemical materials on civilians in Khan al-Asal near Aleppo and tens were killed. Subsequently, we requested the UN to send a commission of experts to confirm and document what occurred in order to subsequently determine the identity of those responsible for the attack. As it was obvious that the terrorists were responsible, the US hindered the deployment of the commission to Syria.
Therefore, alongside the Russian experts, we submitted all the details and indications to Russia. The evidence confirmed that the attack was perpetrated by the terrorists in Northern Syria. The delegation of experts on chemical weapons - who were in Syria a week ago – are yet to return to implement the agreement we signed with them during their last visit, which stipulates inspecting a number of areas of which was Khan al-Asal amongst the top. This must be carefully investigated to determine the nature of the materials used, who used them and most importantly which countries provided these poisonous materials to the terrorists and subsequently to hold them accountable.

Interviewer: Mr President, is it possible to confiscate these poisonous materials from the terrorists? Is this feasible?

President al-Assad: This ultimately depends on which countries are connected to the terrorists. All countries claim that they do not cooperate with terrorists... However, the reality is that the West and particular countries in the region, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, maintain direct contact with the terrorists and supply them with all measure of arms. We believe that one of these countries has supplied the terrorists with chemical weapons.

Interviewer: Mr President, certain American media outlets reported that officers in the Syrian Arab Army on several occasions asked for your permission to use chemical weapons in fighting the armed opposition, you did not approve, however they used these poisonous weapons independently. Is this credible?

President al-Assad: This is a part of American propaganda which spares no effort to justify aggression. ... The reality is that, firstly, approving the use of chemical weapons was never discussed in Syria by any party. Secondly, the use of such weapons [..] remains centralised and not at the disposal of the troops. No infantry or armoured divisions would have such armaments. These armaments are used by specialised units. Therefore these lies are neither logical nor credible.

Interviewer: Mr President, very recently, the Congress was presented with what was pronounced as credible and indisputable evidence. There was video proof to prove the American narrative that chemical weapons were used in Eastern Ghouta by the Syrian Army. What is your opinion on this?

President al-Assad: They failed to produce any evidence, not to Congress or the media; hence they did not present any proof to their own people or even to Russia with whom they are currently holding talks or any other country for that matter. It is just mere talk and an extension of American propaganda.
Logically it is not conceivable to use WMD’s only hundreds of metres away from your own troops. Those weapons cannot be deployed in residential areas since they would kill tens of thousands...

Lavrov and Kerry agree on no military solution in Syria
Syrian Arab News Agency, Sep 14, 2013

Geneva, (SANA)- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed Saturday that military scenarios in Syria should be avoided, adding that Russia's starting point in work with the United States is Damascus's decision to join the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

In a joint press conference with his US counterpart John Kerry, Lavrov noted that he stressed the issue of avoiding military scenarios regarding Syria in his meeting with Kerry as well as that of the Syrians determining their destiny by themselves.
He stressed that there cannot be talk now about using force or any punishment against Syria, noting that any breach of the terms agreed upon concerning the Syrian chemical weapons will be discussed by the Security Council, which is to adopt suitable decisions.
Lavrov considered that solving the issue of chemical weapons in Syria is a step towards making the Middle East region free of weapons of mass destruction. He also highlighted that what was agreed upon today between Russia and the US is considered a major step towards finding the comprehensive solution to the crisis in Syria.
While indicating differences with the U.S. side Lavrov stressed that Russia and the US agree that they want Syria to remain a secular state with all its people living in coexistence.

For his part, the US Secretary of State said all parties know that there is no military solution to the crisis in Syria, affirming that the solution should be political. Kerry stressed readiness to give a chance to the ongoing diplomatic efforts regarding the chemical weapons in Syria.
He made clear that what he and Lavrov are doing in Geneva is implementing the agreement reached between US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin at St Petersburg Summit.

UN-Arab League joint envoy says US-Russia talks on Syria ‘extremely important’
UN News Centre, 13-9-2013

At a press conference held at UN Headquarters in Geneva after the meeting, Mr. Brahimi spoke alongside Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and United States Secretary of State John Kerry. The two Government officials have been meeting in Geneva since Thursday discussing a Russian proposal for Syria to place its chemical weapons under international control.
“The work you are doing is extremely important in itself […] but also important for all those working with you to bring forward the Geneva conference successfully,” Mr. Brahimi told reporters, referring to the long-proposed international peace conference on Syria commonly referred to as “Geneva II.”
Mr. Brahimi has been hard at work on the diplomatic front to bring the conference to fruition, including in discussions last week at the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg.

Beijing backs truce bid in Syria
By Wu Jiao and Li Xiaokun - China Daily, 14-9-2013

China supports Russia's proposal that Syria hand over its chemical weapons to international control for their eventual destruction, President Xi Jinping said on Friday.
Xi said at the 13th summit of the SCO in Bishkek, the Kyrgyz capital, "Beijing supports the international community in seeking a ceasefire and an end to violence and in mediating dialogue and negotiations."
Xi asked both sides in the Syrian conflict to find a political solution. He said China is ready to enhance communication and coordination through the UN Security Council, and will continue its unremitting efforts to bring about a political settlement.
Chen Yurong, a senior researcher at the China Institute of International Studies, said: "China and Russia have long held consistent stances on the Syria issue. They object to the use of armed force and outside intervention, and insist on respect of a country's sovereignty and the UN's leading role. "We can see that Russia and China's stance has won widespread support."

At the SCO summit, the leaders also vowed to jointly fight terrorism, extremism and separatism, as well as drug smuggling and transnational organized crime.
Li Wei, director of the Institute of Security and Arms Control Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International relations, said the SCO is crucial for China's national security, because the most direct terrorist threat to China, "East Turkistan" forces, is spreading in the region. ...
Terrorists have been increasingly active recently and have joined "East Turkistan" forces in causing a series of incidents in Central Asia and China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. Afghanistan-based terrorist groups might also penetrate Central Asia, while the drug problem in Afghanistan is also likely to get out of control and affect other nations in the region.
Chen said the SCO will promote reconciliation among various political powers in Afghanistan and introduce the country to multilateral programs under the SCO framework to help with its economic development.

The SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Iran, Afghanistan, India, Mongolia and Pakistan have the status of SCO observers.

The Shanghai Summit - Iranian Diplomacy, 14-9-2013
Excerpts of an interview with Hassan Beheshti Pour

What is the significance of the Shanghai Summit and what are its functions in general?

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a regional organization which found significance following the collapse of the bipolar world. In other words, there were two eastern and western blocs in the past with the Warsaw Pact against NATO and Comecon against the European Common Market.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the bipolar world and the inclination towards a multi-polar system, regional organizations found more significance. This means that the European Union expanded. ASEAN in Southeast Asia and NAFTA in North America, between the US, Canada, and Mexico, also grew rapidly. Changes were also made in NATO and new members joined this pact, increasing the number of its member countries to 28.
When the SCO was established in 1996, it was a treaty as well, but in 2001, it was transformed into an organization. This organization is not only economic, but it also includes security, political and economic fields. Iran intends to use this atmosphere in order to be able to participate in regional pacts.

Iran is an observing member of the SCO. Has Iran submitted any request during this time to become a permanent member?

Joining this organization in this form will not fulfill Iran’s demands and provide its national interests. Therefore, it seems that, under the present conditions, Iran participates in these summits as an observer and uses this opportunity to meet with heads of state. Time is needed for Iran’s membership in this organization so that they would invite Iran to become a member.

In general, what are the issues that are discussed in this summit?

The issues which are discussed in the Shanghai Summit include security issues such as fighting against terrorism and religious radicalism. There are political issues as well including the promotion of cooperation between the countries against US unilateralism. Of course, they don’t make anti-American propaganda, but they rather attempt to show the US that it cannot do whatever it wants by itself in the world.

Syria Rebels Ordered 10 Tons of Sarin Nerve Agent in Turkey
FARS News Agency, 14-9-2013

A court indictment by the Turkish prosecutors into the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian rebels has once again highlighted fears this week that sarin toxic gas was used by the opposition and not the Assad government. (Voice of Russia)

posted by Sarah Kahn, june 2013
TEHRAN (FNA)- A Turkish prosecutor filed a report to the court in the Southern Turkish city of Adana, showing Syria militants have been ordering and receiving chemical material from Turkey. On May 28 Turkish security forces found a 2-kg cylinder with sarin gas after searching the homes of terrorists from the Al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front who were previously detained.
Five Turks and a Syrian citizen, named Haitam Kassapwho, who were arrested on the case for allegations of buying chemical weapons in Turkey, have pleaded not guilty, according to the English-language Hurriyet Daily News, which quoted from the indictment.
Prosecution attorney objected the ruling and presented the court with a 132-page document which contained evidence of the suspects’ links to terrorist groups in Syria including al-Nusra Front and Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic States of Iraq and Levant (Ahrar al-Sham), a report by the Voice of Russia said.

The document says that radical Salafi groups set up a channel for carrying out terrorist attacks inside Turkey. According to the document al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham group had tried to buy large amounts of sarin nerve gas and chemical substances used in manufacturing poisonous materials.
The prosecution believes that the suspects have links to Syrian groups close to Al-Qaeda and their leaders and were buying chemical materials from Turkey to send into Syria. Citing telephone calls made by the suspects, the document shows they ordered at least ten tons of chemicals in total.
"The claim that the suspects didn’t know about the possibility of producing sarin nerve gas from the chemicals they tried to buy is not true which was established when they were testifying," the document says.

Arabs need to partner with Israel
Ray Hanania, Saudi Gazette 15-9-2013

Obama does not have the support of the American people and he lacks the support of the rest of the world. That means if Assad is to be defeated, the moderate Arab world will have to step up to the plate. They need to play the same game that Assad has been playing against them, using strategic public relations spin and cleverly crafted messages to win support.
It also means that they will need to partner with Israel because the same enemies of the moderate Arab world are also the enemies of Israel.
With Obama neutralized in Syria, it will be difficult for the US to attack Iran, undermining Israel’s primary objective over the past five years. Syria is the weaker partner of the larger and more powerful axis of terrorism, a triumvirate that also includes Iran and Hezbollah. Hezbollah is Israel’s most menacing foe and the military arm of Iran. Together they can destroy Israel. And Syria is the base from which it will happen...

Right now, Assad is standing tall. With no real obstacle from the West or the United States, Assad can destroy the rebels by reorganizing his military strategy. He doesn’t need to use chemical weapons any longer. The rebels are weak and will not get Western arms. Eventually, Assad will win. And once Assad defeats the rebels, the Syrian-Iranian-Hezbollah triumvirate will be much more threatening not only to Israel, but to the moderate Arab World, as well.
If Obama is incapable of acting to defend the Free World, the least the moderate Arab leadership can do is defend the Arab world against extremism.

Ray Hanania, a former Creators columnist who's now self-syndicated, is a Palestinian-American writer married to a Jewish woman. Hanania's columns on the Middle East have been published by, the English language website of Israel's largest Hebrew Newspaper Yedioth Aharonoth, the Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, the Saudi Arabia Arab News, al-Quds Newspaper, as Sharq al-Awsat, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, NEWSWEEK, the New York Daily News, Newsday and the Orlando Sentinal.
In November 2006, Hanania was named "Best National Ethnic Columnist" by the New America Media for his columns published by the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth on their English-langauge web site ( and in the Jerusalem Post. (Hanania website)

Ray Hanania Doesn’t Mind Taking A Loyalty Oath To Zionism
Ikhras ("Shut Up"), October 15, 2010

We’re not surprised Palestinian-American Zionist Ray Hanania does not oppose the Israeli cabinet’s decision to approve a bill requiring new non-Jewish citizens to swear an oath of allegiance to Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state.” In effect, this law is a requirement to declare one’s commitment to Zionism, and a Jewish, exclusivist state in Palestine.
Ray has repeatedly expressed his support for this Zionist objective, and attacked Palestinians for refusing to surrender their inalienable right of return to Palestine. He thinks adopting this approach makes him appear resonable, realistic, moderate, and pragmatic in sharp contrast with the opposing group of “extremists, radicals, and dreamers” we are proud and honored to associate with...

Study: Half of Syrian rebels are hardline Islamists
Middle East Online, 16-9-2013

LONDON - Jihadists and members of hardline Islamist groups make up almost half of forces fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, according to extracts from a British defence study published in Monday's Daily Telegraph.
The analysis by defence consultancy IHS Jane's, due to be published in full later this week, puts the number of rebel forces at around 100,000, the Telegraph reported. But these fighters have split into as many as 1,000 bands since violence flared two years ago, the study concluded.

Of the rebel forces, IHS Jane's estimates that around 10,000 are jihadists fighting for groups linked to Al-Qaeda and another 30,000 to 35,000 are hardline Islamists, who differ from jihadists in that they are concentrated only on the Syrian conflict, and not on the global Islamist fight.
"The insurgency is now dominated by groups which have at least an Islamist viewpoint on the conflict," Charles Lister, author of the analysis, told the British newspaper. "The idea that it is mostly secular groups leading the opposition is just not borne out.

The study is based on interviews with militants and on intelligence estimates.

Many of the rebel factions are not concerned
about the fate of Syria, at all...
Musa al-Gharbi-ST McNeil, CounterPunch 16-9-2013

Even by the most generous estimates, it is difficult to establish that even two percent of Syrians have taken part in the protests or the armed insurrection.
While there are likely a number of people who sympathize with the rebels without having taken up arms or picket signs—there’s no credible way to assert that anywhere near a majority supports them.

Most ethnic and religious minority groups, as well as the Sunni bourgeoisie of Damascus and Aleppo [..] overwhelmingly support the government. Additionally, the vast majority of the military continues to side with the state. From these groups alone, we might be approaching a plurality of the Syrian population actively supporting the president.

According to a recent NATO report, al-Assad is not only winning on the battlefield, but “in the hearts and minds” of the Syrian people: 70 percent of Syrians support the al-Asad regime over the rebels, 20 percent were neutral, and only 10 percent of the population continues to support the insurrection.
The rebellion is being propelled primarily by Western-trained and sponsored opposition groups, whose cultivation began under the Bush administration.

The 'moderate' part of the opposition is headed up primarily by expatriates, Washington insiders, and pro-Western ideologues—most of whom have not actually resided in Syria for decades, and try to oversee the conflict from cushy hotels in Europe and the Gulf.
The armed opposition is driven heavily by al-Qaeda affiliates. While they represent a minority in terms of numbers of fighters, they are unequivocally the most effective and influential bloc of combatants in the theater....

The indigenous elements who have taken up arms against the government have little in common with those who were initially protesting... And they are nothing like the picture the Obama Administration is attempting to sell: According to a recent UN report, the overwhelming majority of the armed opposition is disinterested in, or even averse to, democracy and pluralism.
And according to US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Dempsey, there is no chance that the extremely small and disorganized numbers of Western-friendly or compliant forces would be able to effectively seize, wield, or maintain power or legitimacy were Bashar al-Asad overthrown.

In fact, many of the rebel factions are not
concerned about the fate of Syria, at all.

Warlords have risen up and seized large swaths of territory for themselves; others have organized vast criminal enterprises smuggling people, resources, money, weapons, and even priceless artifacts across Syria’s borders. Others engage in kidnappings. A major source of infighting among rebels is access to the country’s oil reserves. Others are separatist groups, such as the Kurds, hoping to establish an autonomous zone independent of greater Syria. And then there are religious extremists who occupy themselves principally with purging Syria’s religious minorities or enforcing their interpretations of “sharia law” over rebel-held areas....

Unbeknownst to many, this is not the United States’ first disastrous incursion into Syria. During the Cold War, America also attempted to “bring democracy” to Damascus—the result was decades of war, rendering Syria one of the least-stable countries in the region, due primarily to US involvement in, and support of, a series of successive coups and insurrections (hoping in vain with each “transition” that someone they liked would come to power). Apparently, America has learned little in the intervening decades.
This period of instability was only ended with the rise of the Alawite regime: under Hafez al-Assad’s iron hand, Syria emerged as one of the safest and most stable countries in the region.
Generations have grown up knowing only the Ba’athist legacy of secularism, pluralism and security—a legacy which is quickly being eroded by the current conflict. ...

UN Chemical Weapon Report
WKRG News|Associated Press,16-9-2013

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - U.N. inspectors said Monday there is "clear and convincing evidence" that chemical weapons were used on a relatively large scale in an attack last month in Syria. The findings represent the first official confirmation by scientific experts that chemical weapons were used in Syria's civil war, but the report left the key question of who launched the attack unanswered.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon presented the U.N. inspectors' report to a closed meeting of the U.N. Security Council before its release.
"The results are overwhelming and indisputable. The facts speak for themselves. ... The international community has a responsibility to hold the perpetrators accountable and to ensure that chemical weapons never re-emerge as an instrument of warfare."
The inspectors' report said "the environmental, chemical and medical samples we have collected provide clear and convincing evidence that surface-to-surface rockets containing the nerve agent sarin were used ... in the Ghouta area of Damascus" on Aug. 21.

The report cited a number of facts supporting its conclusion:
- Rocket fragments were found to contain sarin.
- Close to the impact sites, in the area were people were affected, inspectors collected 30 soil and environmental samples and "the environment was found to be contaminated by sarin."
- Blood and urine samples from 34 patients who had signs of poisoning by a chemical compound provided "definitive evidence of exposure to sarin by almost all of the survivors assessed."

Either an original or an improvised warhead.

The inspectors described the rockets used to disperse the sarin as a variant of an M14 artillery rocket, with either an original or an improvised warhead. ...
The inspectors cautioned that the five sites they investigated had been "well traveled by other individuals prior to the arrival of the mission."
"During the time spent at these locations, individuals arrived carrying other suspected munitions indicating that such potential evidence is being moved and possibly manipulated," the report said. The areas were under rebel control, but the report did not elaborate on who the individuals were.

UN Weapon Report (PDF)

More Evidence Only Leads to More Questions
By Yossef Bodansky, 10-9-2013

The claim that the agent used was a “military sarin” is problematic because military sarin accumulates (like a gaseous crystal) around the victims’ hair and loose threads in clothes. Since these molecules are detached and released anew by any movement, they would have thus killed or injured the first responders who touched the victims’ bodies without protective clothes, gloves and masks.
However, opposition videos show the first responders moving corpses around without any ill effects. This strongly indicates that the agent in question was the slow acting “kitchen sarin”. Indeed, other descriptions of injuries treated by MSF – suffocation, foaming, vomiting and diarrhoea – agree with the effects of diluted, late-action drops of liquified sarin...

Moreover, the warheads used in Damascus were cylindrical tanks which cracked and permitted a Tokyo-style mixture of liquids, rather than the pressurized mix and vaporization at the molecular level by the force of core explosion in a standard Soviet-style chemical warhead.
Had Syrian militarily-trained experts built these warheads, they would have used the upper pipe for the core-charge the explosion of which would have created a significantly more lethal vaporized cloud of the toxic agent. The mere fact that the pipeline remained empty suggests the work of amateurs found in the ranks of the improvised weapon makers of the jihadist opposition. ...

As well, the opposition also pointed to cracked plastic pieces which resembled shreds from large blue plastic tanks/bottles (like a water cooler’s huge bottles) fired by chemical launchers the opposition had bragged about in the past. These weapons are in agreement with the multitude of images of victims publicized by the opposition which did not show any injury due to shrapnel ('fragments scattered by a bursting artillery shell, mine, or bomb') which would have come from Soviet-style chemical munitions of the type known to be in the Syrian military arsenal.

Videos Of Chemical Attack Linked Mystery Munitions
Brown Moses Blog, 22-8-2013

Yesterday, I wrote about a munition wich local activist groups in Damascus claimed was linked with the alleged chemical attack that took place in Adra.
As I mentioned in the article, a number of these have been recorded before in the conflict, two of which were linked with alleged chemical attacks, and now footage has been posted online, filmed in Adra, that shows the same munitions again.
What's interesting about these is the description in the video claims they aren't linked with the latest attack in Adra, but an earlier alleged chemical attack on August 5th, where another one of these munitions was filmed.
None of the remains of these munitions featured in the videos match each other, nor do they match the remains of munitions in other videos and photographs.

The question still remains of what these could be? In all cases these are munitions that the opposition has claimed the government has used, even before they were linked to chemical attacks, and they don't match any known munition used elsewhere in the world. What their payload is, and how they are launched remains a mystery, but there's more and more images of these in relation to chemical attacks...

16-9-2013: Two munitions have been linked to the attack, the M14 140mm artillery rocket, and a munition I've previously referred to as the UMLACA (Unidentified Munition Linked to Alleged Chemical Attacks

One thing that must be stressed, is that the UMLACA is a munition that's never been seen in any other conflict, and it's origins are somewhat of a mystery. This has led some people to claim the munition could have been constructed by the opposition, and one popular video shows what's claimed to be a chemical munition being used by the opposition, with some even claimed it's the UMLACA, even though it's clearly a totally different design.

Syrian "gas rockets" incapable of flying 5-10 miles to target.
Democratic Underground, 2-9-2013

Photos of devices allegedly used to carry Sarin gas show they are clearly incapable of accurately reaching targets 5-10 miles away.
That is crucially important because the State Department report asserts that the gas barrage was launched from gov't controlled territory. But the map that accompanied that report shows that several of the targets were miles away from the area in pink shown to be under the control of government forces.
These rockets have only the crudest stabilizers, no guidance systems, and would be highly inaccurate at any significant distance...

Why is range, accuracy and sophistication of the rockets and delivery devices important? Sarin is not very effective over a large area unless the liquid is delivered in an aerosol form at just above ground level.
With crude rockets and warheads, that means that large numbers (many hundreds) of such weapons would have had to have been used in massed barrages to produce the level of mortality claimed. Because they are inaccurate beyond a short range, and cannot be aimed for mass barrages at long distance, these rockets may not have been effective for use in the way described in the report.

The Ghouta chemical attack
Voltaire Network 20-9-2013

According to a research made by New Eastern Outlook, the caliber of the missiles suggests that a Soviet-made, BM-14 series 140mm. multiple-rocket launcher was most likely used to shell Eastern Ghouta. This launcher, designed in 1951, was previously part of the Syrian Army’s inventory until it was replaced decades ago by the newer BM-21 (Grad, 122 mm. caliber, designed in 1963) and Chinese-made Type 63 (107 mm. caliber) launchers.
However, the old-fashioned BM-14s are widely available in the region and were used, for example, by the Algerian rebels in the 1990s and the Taliban in 2000s. They are very compact and could easily have been secretly brought in to any location on that fatal night, even within the area controlled by government forces. Therefore the presumed location of the launch pad is insignificant, as any deserted suburb of Damascus that lies within range could have been used.

Another detail made public was a label found on a warhead. Mikhail Barabanov, an expert with the Russian Centre for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies commented that this label matches those on missiles produced in 1967 in Novosibirsk (Russia). One might justifiably wonder why the Syrian Army would launch a 46-year-old missile when it holds abundant stockpiles of far more reliable modern weapons. It is also worth noting that the production of chemical weapons in Syria began in the 1990s, when chemical facilities were built near Damascus, in Homs, Hama, and Aleppo. Thus, those missiles, filled with chemical agents, should be dated accordingly or later.
If the date of a missile’s production does not match the production date for its chemical agent, it stands to reason that the warhead was filled in an underground laboratory or was even homemade. This is fully in keeping with earlier evidence regarding the use of homemade chemical weapons by rebels in Syria.

Russia: "We want the events to be investigated
dispassionately, objectively and professionall"
Press TV, 18-9-2013

Russia says certain Western states are making baseless efforts to blame the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for a chemical weapons attack that allegedly killed hundreds of people in the suburbs of Damascus last month. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said that the Western attempts to blame the Assad government for the attack are “simplistic and groundless”.
Earlier in the day, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the report on the August 21 chemical weapons attack had produced no evidence that Syrian troops carried out the attack and that Russia believed foreign-backed militants were behind it.
The Russian foreign minister stated that the UN report proved that chemical weapons had been used, but it failed to answer a number of questions Moscow had asked such as whether the weapons were produced in a factory or they were homemade.
"We have very serious grounds to believe that this was a provocation," Lavrov said.
He said that there had been "many provocations" by the militants fighting against the Syrian government and people. "They were all aimed, over the last two years, at provoking foreign intervention."

Lavrov added, "We want the events of August 21 to be investigated dispassionately, objectively and professionally."

Flashback - Iraq 2003
Dr. Sa’doun Hammadi: "Professional and honest way"

Maintaining that Iraq had always cooperated with the weapons inspectors despite misgivings of some of them, Mr. Hammadi said all that his country wanted was for them to do their work in a professional and honest way.
“They should respect the integrity of Iraq and not interfere in our internal affairs.”
In the first eight-year-long inspection, which was called off in 1998, "276 inspection teams consisting of 3,845 inspectors/experts came to Iraq and inspected 3,392 sites repeatedly; adding to a total of 10,266 visits. Besides, they set up permanent monitoring systems at 665 sites.
They found nothing then, and they have found nothing now.” Countering America's propaganda against Iraq, the Speaker said the main reason for the prolonged situation was America's desire to control Iraq's oil reserves - the lone such source out of direct or indirect US control. (Iraq Daily, 27-1-2003)

Hammadi, speaker of the Iraqi parliament, was born in Karbala and was a Shi'ite. He joined the Ba'ath Party during the 1940s. In addition, he earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1956.

Flashback 2003: LOOKOUT by Naomi Klein
"Their country has been sold out from under them"

In April 6 (2003), Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz spelled it out: There will be no role for the United Nations in setting up an interim government in Iraq. The US-run regime will last at least six months, "probably...longer than that."
And by the time the Iraqi people have a say in choosing a government, the key economic decisions about their country's future will have been made by their occupiers. The country is being treated as a blank slate on which the most ideological Washington neoliberals can design their dream economy: fully privatized, foreign-owned and open for business. ...
A people, starved and sickened by sanctions, then pulverized by war, is going to emerge from this trauma to find that their country has been sold out from under them. They will also discover that their newfound "freedom"--for which so many of their loved ones perished--comes pre-shackled with irreversible economic decisions that were made in boardrooms while the bombs were still falling. (The Nation 10-4-2003)

Syria's Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari
"We have honestly and clearly dealt with the UN General Secretariat"
Syrian Arab News Agency, Sep 18, 2013

During a UN General Assembly meeting to hear UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's update on the report submitted by the UN mission investigating the incident which allegedly took place in al-Ghouta area on August 21s, 2013, Bashar al-Jaafari stressed that the Syrian government will look into all of the findings of the report as it does not want to anticipate judgment on the contents of the report before a careful study of its details.

He clarified that the Syrian government has from the beginning cautioned against the danger of using chemical weapons in Syria by terrorist groups, some with ties to al-Qaeda.
He expressed wish that the UN General Secretariat had waited the UN mission to complete investigations into all the allegations stipulated in the agreement signed with the Syrian government on August 15, 2013 and thus submit a comprehensive report on all the incidents, including that of Khan al-Assal on March 19, 2013.
Al-Jaafari considered that issuing a non-final report would disrupt the comprehensiveness of investigation and confuse the independent, objective and honest scientific dimension of this investigation.

"It was the Syrian government which asked the UN to unveil the identity of the perpetrators of the heinous crime committed in Khan al-Assal on March 19, 2013.
"We have honestly and clearly dealt with the UN General Secretariat as we asked for conducting an investigation in Khan al-Assal incident of which the Syrian government was accused despite the fact that the attack mainly targeted members from the Syrian army," al-Jaafari said.
However, the General Secretariat insisted, under political pressures by some countries involved in the Syrian crisis, that this aspect of the investigation is not the field of the investigation mission," said al-Jaafari.
"The irony is that we now face false accusations made by the capitals of the very same countries based on interpretations and explanations which were not included in the report's text in the first place," he added. ...

Al-Jaafari referred to a letter addressed on March 19, 2013 to the UN Secretary General and the Security Council Chairman regarding the attack which the armed terrorist groups carried out in Khan al-Assal near Aleppo city using a rocket containing chemical substances.
He cited a number of reports which confirm the use of sarin gas by the terrorist groups in Syria, including the Turkish authorities' arrest in May of 2013 of 12 terrorists with 2 kg of sarin gas in their possession moved from Libya onboard a civilian plane.
He also mentioned the report of the experts in charge of implementing Resolution 1973, issued on March 9, 2013, which confirmed ongoing smuggling of Libyan weapons through Turkey and Lebanon and the report on the manufacturing of chemical weapons in a secret lab in Iraq by Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists to be later handed over to the terrorists in Syria.

The Syrian government didn't expect that the work of the mission was to be limited to the August 21 incident only, while the other incidents were ignored, including those which took place on August 22, 24 and 25, where Syrian soldiers came under attacks with poisonous gases.

Russia: UN inspectors ignored evidence
Russia Today, September 19, 2013

UN inspectors ignored evidence on chemical weapons use in Syria secretly passed to them by Damascus, said Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov in an exclusive interview to RT. That is why the UN report is biased and needs reinvestigation, he said.
“The Syrian authorities have conducted their own sampling and investigation, analysis in terms of possible evidence of the rebels being responsible for the tragic episodes both on August 21, but beyond that also on August 22, 23 and 24...”
“This is new material - new material for us. But this is not already completely new material for the UN,” Ryabkov specified, revealing that there were actually several chemical attacks in Syria in August and that the UN inspectors, headed by Swedish scientist Dr. Ake Salstrom, were informed about this, but ignored the information in their report.
“Salstrom was asked to look into it and eventually factor this new evidence into the final report. It never happened in fact,” Ryabkov told RT.
“This is one of the reasons why we criticize the speed with which the report was released… and also an incomplete content of this report,” he said. ...
He warned against the evidence provided by the Syrian and Russian sides being “simply nullified and disregarded.”
So far, Rybkov said, “one of the few areas” where the UN mission “kept its word” is that it only announced that chemical weapons were used without specifying who deployed them.

Ryabkov called on to the UN inspectors to follow the approach of the Russian expert analysis of the chemical attack that took place in Syria on March 19, which was professional and contained chemical, biological and medical analysis of the incident.
“This is the approach which should be also followed and pursued by Sellstrom's team. We invite them to do so. We think they should go back to Syria, to continue investigation and then have something different from - yes, a biased initial report,” Ryabkov stressed.

Gas Missiles 'Were NOT Sold to Syria'
By Robert Fisk, September 22, 2013

Information Clearing House - "The Independent": Information is now circulating that Russia's new "evidence" about the august 21 attack includes the dates of export of the specific rockets used and – more importantly – the countries to which they were originally sold.
They were apparently manufactured in the Soviet Union in 1967 and sold by Moscow to three Arab countries, Yemen, Egypt and Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's Libya. ...
Since Gaddafi's fall in 2011, vast quantities of his abandoned Soviet-made arms have fallen into the hands of rebel groups and al-Qa'ida-affiliated insurgents. Many were later found in Mali, some in Algeria and a vast amount in Sinai. The Syrians have long claimed that a substantial amount of Soviet-made weaponry has made its way from Libya into the hands of rebels in the country's civil war with the help of Qatar – which supported the Libyan rebels against Gaddafi and now pays for arms shipments to Syrian insurgents....

As it is, Syria is now due to lose its entire strategic long-term chemical defences against a nuclear-armed Israel – because, if Western leaders are to be believed, it wanted to fire just seven missiles almost a half century old at a rebel suburb....
As one Western NGO put it yesterday: "if Assad really wanted to use sarin gas, why for God's sake, did he wait for two years and then when the UN was actually on the ground to investigate?"
The Russians, of course, have made similar denials of Assad's responsibility for sarin attacks before. When at least 26 Syrians died of sarin poisoning in Khan al-Assal on 19 March – one of the reasons why the UN inspectors were dispatched to Syria last month – Moscow again accused the rebels of responsibility. The Russians presented the UN with a 100-page report containing its "evidence". Like Putin's evidence about the 21 August attacks, however, it has not been revealed.

President al-Assad's interview with Fox News
Syrian Arab News Agency, Sep 19, 2013

Damascus, (SANA) - President Bashar al-Assad gave an interview to Fox News (conducted on Tuesday by Former U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich and Journalist Greg Palkot)

Fox News: Mr. President, will you allow more investigation? Will you allow UN investigators to come in, maybe to further investigate this attack, as you say, other attacks? There’s something like 14 different attacks where accusations are being made on both sides and even a UN team to decide on the culpability, the blame for this attack. You will allow those UN teams to come in?

President Assad: We invited them to come to Syria first, in March, and we’ve been asking them to come back to Syria to continue their investigations because we have more places to be investigated. The United States is the one who made pressure on them to leave recently before they finish their missions.
When we invited the delegation, we wanted this delegation to have full authority to investigate everything, not only the use of the Sarin gas or the chemical weapons, but to investigate everything about who did it and how, but the United States made pressure in order to keep it only about was it used or not.
Why? Because, I think the United States administration thought that if they’re going to investigate who and how, they’re going to reach the conclusion that the rebels or the terrorists have used it, not vice versa. ...

Fox News: Thank you. Mr. President, one of the things that appear possible is that Syria’s place as a secular state is at risk. Would you agree with that?

President Assad: Of course, when we have this kind of extremism and terrorism and violence, that will render the whole society into a more closed society, more ideologically fanatic, and that’s what the extremists are doing.

Fox News: But what does it mean to have a secular state? I mean there are questions about whether or not your position is authoritarian, whether you believe in democratic values. What is the secular state mean to Syria?

President Assad: Secular state means to deal with its citizen regardless of their religion, sect and ethnicity, because Syria is a melting pot. We have tens of different cultures in Syria. If we don’t have a secular state that reflects this secular society, Syria will disintegrate. So, that’s what it means to have a secular society.

Fox News: One of the notions about this very serious conflict is that it’s a civil war. Would you agree with that characterization that you’re involved in a civil war?

President Assad: No, civil war should start from within the society. ... What we have is not a civil war; what we have is a war, but it’s a new kind of war.

Fox News: So, you’re blaming outside interests for the acceleration of war. Now, there’s just some statistics that have come out from IHS James. They’re a defence analyst group. They estimate the opposition as a hundred thousand, 30,000 of which are hard-line Islamists sympathetic to the 10,000 Al Qaeda-inspired Jihadists.

President Assad: First of all, no-one has these precise numbers. .... We know that we have tens of thousands of Jihadists... Of course we have many other different groups, but they are small, they are becoming a minority. At the very beginning, the Jihadists were the minority. In the end of 2012, and during this year they became the majority with the flow of tens of thousands from different countries....

Fox News: You’re saying you’re not killing your own people, but your forces have launched attacks on villages where your own people have been killed.

President Assad: No, actually what you’re talking about is when the terrorists infiltrate residential areas in villages and sometimes in the suburbs of the cities, and within large cities, and the army has to go there to get rid of those terrorists.
The army should defend the civilians, not the opposite. You cannot leave the terrorists free, killing the people, assassinating the people, beheading the people and eating their hearts. When we go to defend them, you say you are killing your own people! You don’t, but in every war, you have casualties. This is war. You don’t have clean war, you don’t have soft war, and you don’t have good war.

Fox News: The international community reports that Syrian rebel forces opposed to you are equally if not more worried now about Jihadist fighters than they were previously by your government. Now, in this new development, is there an opening for you to achieve a rapprochement with your Syrian opponents?

President Assad: , and you go and propose whatever you want regarding the political system or anything else, and you can change that system if you oppose the other party.
Opposition doesn’t mean to carry weapons, kill innocent people, destroy schools and infrastructure...

Fox News: Well, let me then, as a follow-up, ask you about diplomacy. What diplomatic moves are you prepared to make as confidence-building measures towards peace in your country?

President Assad: Any diplomatic move without having stability and getting rid of the terrorists is going to be just an illusion. Any diplomatic move should start with stopping the flow of the terrorists, the logistical support of those terrorists, the armament support and the money support. Then, you have a full plan, the Syrians could sit on the table, discuss the future of Syria, the political system, the constitution and everything.

Fox News: Would that future include negotiations with the Syrian opposition?

President Assad: Exactly, that doesn’t mean negotiating with the terrorists. ...

Fox News: Let me ask you this, have you spoken to President Obama?

President Assad: Never. ...

Fox News: If you want to send him a message right now, what would you say to him?

President Assad: Listen to your people; follow the common sense of your people. That's enough.

Fox News: Mr. President, our time is limited and I want to briefly go back in time a little bit. I was here in 2000 for the funeral of your father. You assumed the position of President, and at that time some people had real hopes for you as a reformer, to change things, to bring more democracy to this country. ... Now you are branded other things; you're branded "dictator" and much, much worse....

President Assad: It doesn't matter what they say, whether he is dictator or reformer. Today, you have propaganda. Do they say the same word about their allies in the Gulf States? Do they talk about dictatorship in the Gulf States?

Fox News: We're talking about Syria.

President Assad: Yeah, I know, but I have the right to answer about the other states that are much far from democracy than the Syrian state.
Going back to your question: You should have democracy that reflects our own traditions, but democracy is not a goal; it means to reach prosperity, and democracy based on accepting the other. When you have a closed ideology and many taboos that prevent you from accepting the other culture in your country, you are going backwards....
So, I'm still a reformer, I still believe in the same values...
Why did we change the constitution? Why did we change the law? Why do we have now more than 15 new political parties in Syria? Why did we change so many laws...?
We have to be very precise and differentiate between people who ask for democracy and terrorists. Part of those people who were opposing the government at the very beginning, today they support the government against the terrorists, because they asked for reform, but they didn't ask for terrorists. ...

We're still moving forward in the path of democracy, and part of the solution that I just mentioned few minutes ago when we sit around the table, the Syrian people will say what is the best constitution, what is the best political system. Do they want it parliamentarian, presidential, quasi-presidential, and so on. What laws do they want? Everything! So, it's not the president who is going to set....

Fox News: My point is: you're not really changing people's minds; you're just forcing them into this box, this box where, over two and a half years on, 110,000 people dead, cities in ruins, and you're hoping that your people will surrender to the idea. I mean, is that really where you wanted to go with that idea?

President Assad: So the core of the idea, is that I created the atmosphere to invite terrorists to Syria?

Fox News: You held on long enough against the demands of the people who wanted peaceful demands.

President Assad: From the very beginning we accepted the demands.

Fox News: You accepted the demands?

President Assad: From the very beginning, before the terrorists or those foreigners coming to Syria. From the very beginning, in 2011, six days after the conflict, we said we are going to change, and we started the process of changing the constitution two or three months after the beginning. And we had the vote. There was a referendum, and the people voted in that referendum for this new constitution, in the beginning of 2012...

Flashback 2012: Bashar al-Assad:
The greatest part of the Syrian people want reform

The greatest part of the Syrian people want reform, and they have not come out, haven’t broken the law, haven’t killed. This is the largest part of the Syrian people, it is the part which wants reform. For us, reform is the natural context. That is why we announced a phased reform in the year 2000. In my swear-in speech I talked about modernization and development. ....

The important law is the law of fighting corruption. It is the only law which has been delayed for several months. The first reason is related to the fact that this law is very important and has many aspects. Therefore, I asked the government to extensively consider it in collaboration with various bodies and parties. It was put on the internet and there were many posts and useful ideas. The government finished this and sent it to the Syrian Presidency which sent it back recently to the government. It is a good law which includes very important points and a point related to the inspecting authority. ...

The other pillar in reform is the Constitution. The decree that provides for establishing a committee to draft the constitution was issued. This committee was given a deadline of four months and I think that it has become in its final stages. This constitution will focus on a fundamental and essential point which is the multi-party system and political pluralism. They were talking only about article eight, but we said that the entire Constitution should be amended because there is a correlation among articles. The Constitution will focus on the fact that the people is the source of authority, especially during elections, the dedication of the institutions' role, the freedoms of the citizens and other things and basic principles. ...
The Constitution is not the state's Constitution; it is an issue related to every Syrian citizen. Therefore, we will resort to a referendum after the committee finishes its work and presents the Constitution which will be put through constitutional channels to reach a referendum. The referendum on the Constitution could be done at the beginning of March.

President al-Assad Receives
Copy of the New Draft Constitution
SANA, 13-2-2012

DAMASCUS, (SANA)- President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday received a copy of the new draft constitution from the head of the National Committee charged with drafting a new constitution for the Syrian Arab Republic, during a meeting with the Committee's members.

The Committee's members stressed their determination [..] to prepare an integrated formula of a constitution that guarantees the dignity of the Syrian citizen and secures his basic rights.
They reiterated their keenness on a constitution that allows to turn Syria into an example to follow in terms of public freedoms and political plurality in a way to lay the foundation for a new stage that will enrich Syria's cultural history.

President al-Assad expressed appreciation of the Committee members' efforts to carry out this national task, calling upon them to shoulder their responsibility as a Committee charged with preparing the draft constitution to explain its articles to the citizens with all possible means so that the citizen is the one to have the final decision to approve the constitution. ...

On October, 16th, 2011, President al-Assad issued a presidential decision to form a national committee to prepare a draft constitution for Syria... (R. Raslan/H. Said)

The Rule Of Law
Referendum on new draft constitution
ChamPress, 15-2-2012

DAMASCUS- President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday issued Decree No. 85 for 2012 stipulating for setting Sunday / 26/2/2012 / as a date for referendum on the draft Constitution of the Syrian Arab Republic.
The following are some of the main issues included in the constitution's text:

- The Syrian Arab Republic is a democratic state of absolute sovereignty that cannot be divided and no part of its land can be abandoned. Syria is a part of the Arab world.
- The political system of the state is based on political pluralism and power is practiced democratically through voting.
- Society in the Syrian Arab Republic is based on solidarity and respecting the principles of social justice, freedom and equality, in addition to preserving the humanitarian dignity of every individual.
- Freedom is a sacred right. The State guarantees the citizens' personal freedom and preserves their dignity and security.
- Citizens have equal rights and duties. Discrimination due to gender, origin, language, religion or belief is prohibited.
- The State guarantees the equality of opportunity principle among the citizens and every citizen has the right to contribute to the political, economic, social and cultural life in accordance with the regulating law.
- Citizens should respect the constitution and the rules.
- Private life is respected and protected by the law.
- Freedom of belief is secured by the law.
- Every citizen has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
- The rule of the law is the basis of power in the State.
- The president is to be elected directly by the people.
- The judicial authority is independent and the Higher Judicial Council guarantees the independence of the judiciary.

Constitution of the Syrian Arab Republic 2012

Syrian civil war has reached stalemate,
govt may call for ceasefire – Deputy PM
Russia Today, 20-9-2013

Syria’s deputy prime minister Qadri Jamil said on Thursday that neither side is strong enough to win the country’s civil war. He added that Assad’s government will call for a ceasefire if the proposed Geneva peace talks take place.
“Neither the armed opposition nor the regime is capable of defeating the other side. This zero balance of forces will not change for a while,” Jamil told the Guardian. Jamil added that the Syrian economy has lost an estimated $100bn during the war - the equivalent of two years of normal production.
If the armed opposition in Syria accepts the ceasefire, it would have to be monitored “under international observation,” Jamil said. He added that such supervision could be provided by UN peacekeepers, assuming they came from friendly or neutral countries.

Moscow and Washington say they are committed to bringing both sides of the conflict to the negotiating table at the Geneva-2 peace conference.
Differences remain between Russia and the US over who should take part in Geneva-2. The US wants the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition (SNC) to drop its boycott of the talks and be the only opposition delegation at the conference. The SNC is calling on Assad to step down and previously stated that its demand is non-negotiable.

Jamil said that outside powers must stop trying to influence the outcome of events in Syria. He added that the Syrian government would be pushing to “end external intervention, a ceasefire and the launching of a peaceful political process in a way that the Syrian people can enjoy self-determination without outside intervention and in a democratic way.”
“For all practical purposes the regime in its previous form has ended. In order to realize our progressive reforms we need the West and all those who are involved in Syria to get off our shoulders," he said.

Jamil is the leader of the secular People’s Will Party and co-chair of the Popular Front for Change and Liberation. He was appointed last year to end the monopoly of the ruling Ba’ath party in the Syrian government.
“We wanted to give a lesson to both sides to prepare for a government of national unity and break the unilateral aspect of the regime – and break the fear in opposition circles of sitting in front of the regime,” he said.

Tensions between Syrian rebels, jihadists reach new highs
Middle East Online 20-9-2013

BEIRUT - Syria's opposition National Coalition on Friday condemned attacks by Al-Qaeda loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) on mainstream rebels of the Free Syrian Army.
"The Coalition condemns the aggressions against the forces of the Syrian revolution and the repeated disregard for the lives of Syrians, and considers that this behaviour runs contrary to the Syrian revolution and the principles it is striving to achieve," a statement said.
The group denounced in particular ISIS's seizure of the town of Azaz on the border with Turkey on Wednesday after an hours-long firefight with FSA fighters and its attempt to take control of the Bab as-Salameh border crossing.
It accused ISIS of "repeated repressive practices against the freedom of civilians, doctors, journalists and political activists in recent months".
It also accused it of having "links to foreign agendas" and of seeking to create a "new state inside the Syrian state entity in violation of national sovereignty".

Tensions between FSA loyalists and ISIS have spiralled in recent months, especially in northern Syria where the opposition controls vast swathes of territory.

Strange Bedfellows
Judith Dubin, August 28, 2013

Consisting of more than 1,000 militia groups that range from the moderate Free Syrian Army (FSA) to not-at-all-moderate jihadi affiliates of Al Qaeda, the Syrian opposition is an increasingly uncomfortable alliance for the American government.
But according to Joshua Landis, director of the Center of Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, revolution in Syria is largely a freelance game, funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar and with covert support reportedly from the U.S. This makes for strange bedfellows.

There are two major Al Qaeda–affiliated organizations operating in Syria: Jabhat al-Nusrah or the Al-Nusrah Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Syria).
Both organizations have publicly aligned themselves with the current Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al Zawahiri. Their aim is to install an Islamic state in Syria. Al Nusrah has claimed responsibility for the vast majority of the 70 suicide attacks in Syria over the last two and a half years. It was designated a terrorist organization by the United States in December 2012. ...

Landis does not see the situation getting better any time soon. “The risks of it getting a lot worse are very high because there are so many militias and they are so radicalized and they have so many arms that if they sweep down on (some of the government-controlled cities) where more than half of the people of Syria live…we don’t know what kind of plunder and mayhem will go on,” he warns. “It could be a free-for-all much like we saw in Iraq and a little like we see in Libya.”

Arab Spring: Islamist Copy of Christian Inquisition
Nicola Nasser, CounterPunch 20-9-2013

The “Arab Spring” was optimistically named after a season in nature during which life is reborn and was supposed to promise a renewal of the stagnant political, social and economic life in the Arab world, but unfortunately it turned instead into a sectarian season of killing, death and destruction by counterrevolution forces nurtured financially, logistically, militarily and politically by the most conservative among the Arab ruling regimes in the Arabian Peninsula and their U.S. – led western sponsors and backers.

The sectarian cleansing in Iraq and Syria committed by the exclusionist sectarian zealots has become an Islamist modern copy of the European Christian inquisition in the Middle Ages, with the difference that the old European one was more systematic and organized by the Vatican institution and its allied states while it is perpetrated by uncontrolled sporadic and shadowy gangs of terror in the modern Arab case.
The fact that this horrible phenomenon came into life only with the U.S. led invasion - then occupation - of Iraq in 2003 and exacerbated with the U.S. campaign for a “regime change” in Syria could only be interpreted as an outcome of a premeditated policy to divide and rule in the Arab world.

On last August 24, the Maronite patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rai’e told the Vatican Radio: “There is a plan to destroy the Arab world for political and economic interests and boost inter-confessional conflict between Sunnis and Shiites,” adding, “We are seeing the total destruction of what Christians managed to build in 1,400 years” in terms of peaceful cohabitation and coexistence with Muslims.

U.S. & Israel: Owners of the Middle East?
By William Pfaff, 17-9-2013

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” Karl Rove

The Washington debates about the Syrian chemical weapons, and whether there is an Obama “Plan B” by which the United States may yet bomb Syria, seem deaf to what really happened last week.
Syria has subjected itself to international law... That is highly significant. Washington doesn’t seem to understand the importance of Assad’s submission to international law. The U.S. has itself become so indifferent, and even so defiant of international law, that it fails to grasp that the rest of the world wants to see the Assad government submit to it—and the U.S. (and Israel) do so as well.

The American administration, however, is acting as though Syria has surrendered to the demands of John Kerry and Barack Obama, and is accountable to Washington and not to international law or the U.N., or even to its Russian ally and guarantor.
Washington is acting as if the U.S. has the right to administer punishment if Syria fails to do what Washington wants. What right? Not a legal right without a Security Council resolution. To attack on its own, as regional hegemon? That’s the way Washington has been behaving in the Middle East. The results have not been a great success.
Washington acts as though the Russians have no important role yet to play in this affair. They actually have played the capital role, and Washington should be grateful and attempt to extend this kind of mutually supportive international cooperation into the future. ....

The United States has acquired the very bad habit of thinking that ultimately it (with Israel) is the strategic owner of the Middle East. This has lasted for a half century. The truth is that the Middle East (and Israel) have owned the U.S. for 50 years—to the misfortune of both.

US seeking expansion of hegemony in ME
Eric Draitser, Press TV 20-9-2013

What we are really pointing to is not a history of terrorism, we are pointing to a very important geopolitical reality and that is the United States and its allies in the region understand that the destruction of Syria means the expansion of their own hegemony. ...
So, you have one side that is willing to engage, as we have seen the Assad government has agreed to unconditional talks the other side refuses, and at the same time the United States continues its dual track diplomacy of funding and arming the so-called rebels with lethal and non-lethal assistance and perpetuating this conflict, because if they do not achieve regime change, which is a number one goal, then the secondary goal of chaos and manage chaos suits the imperialist establishment just fine.

Syrian National Coalition to attend Geneva 2
if transitional govt on table
Russia Today, 22-9-2013

The Syrian National Coalition would attend the Geneva 2 peace conference if it aims to set up a transitional government with full powers, the coalition's president Ahmad Jarba said in a letter to the UN Security Council.
In the September 19 letter obtained by Reuters, Jarba said the coalition "reaffirms its willingness to engage in a future Geneva Conference" but "all parties must...agree that the purpose of the conference will be the establishment of a transitional government with full executive powers" as stipulated by an agreement hammered out by international powers last year.

The letter represented the first clear commitment from the coalition, which has been viewed by several Western and Arab states as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, to attend the proposed conference sponsored by the United States and Russia.
Jarba had earlier appeared less amenable towards a diplomatic solution, having urged the Security Council earlier this week to adopt a resolution under Chapter VII of the UN charter allowing the use of force to cripple the Syrian government’s "war machine."
In a speech delivered from Istanbul and broadcast by Al-Arabiya, Jarba said "ending the killing of Syrian people is only possible by stopping the regime's war machine and barring it from using its aviation, missiles and artillery, and depriving it of its chemical weapons."

Lavrov: US pressuring Russia into passing
UN resolution on Syria under Chapter 7
Russia Today, September 22, 2013

"Our partners are now blinded by their ideological goal of regime change [in Syria]." "All they talk about is that Bashar al-Assad must leave," while Russia's goal is to "solve the problem of chemical weapons in Syria."

The US is pushing Russia into approving a UN resolution that would allow for military intervention in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said, in exchange for American support of Syria’s accession to OPCW.
Our American partners are starting to blackmail us: ‘If Russia does not support a resolution under Chapter 7, then we will withdraw our support for Syria’s entry into the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). This is a complete departure from what I agreed with Secretary of State John Kerry',” said Lavrov.

Chapter 7 of the UN charter would allow for potential military intervention in Syria.

Homemade sarin was used in attack near Damascus
Syria Breaking News, 26-9-2013

MOSCOW –Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with a US newspaper published Thursday that homemade sarin nerve agent was used in a chemical weapons attack in Damascus on August 21, an attack that the United States maintains was carried out by the Syrian regime.
Lavrov gave an interview to The Washington Post on Tuesday after a meeting with his US counterpart John Kerry. Lavrov said he had used the meeting to hand over evidence proving Russia’s contention that chemical weapons were used by Syrian rebel groups in the controversial August 21 attack.
Russia investigated the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Syrian city of Aleppo on March 19 after a request from the Syrian government, Lavrov said, adding that its findings have been “broadly” made available to the United Nations Security Council and the public, The Washington Post reported.
“The main conclusion is that the type of sarin used in that incident [on March 19] was homemade, and we also have evidence that the type of sarin used on August 21 was the same, only of higher concentration,” Lavrov said, according to The Washington Post.

The minister said he had recently presented his US counterpart John Kerry with the latest compilation of evidence, which was an analysis of publicly available information:
“The reports by the journalists who visited the sites, who talked to the combatants, combatants telling the journalists that they were given some unusual rockets and munitions by some foreign country and they didn’t know how to use them. You have also the evidence from the nuns serving in a monastery nearby who visited the site. You can read the evidence and the assessments by the chemical weapons experts who say that the images shown do not correspond to a real situation if chemical weapons were used. And we also know about an open letter sent to President Obama by former operatives of the CIA and the Pentagon saying that the assertion that it was the government that used the chemical weapons was a fake.”

The United States, as well as Britain and France, said last week that a UN report into the use of chemical weapons on August 21 in Damascus confirmed their contentions that it was the work of the Syrian regime, Reuters reported.

Flashback: Russia releases key findings on chemical attack near Aleppo
indicating similarity with rebel-made weapons
Russia Today, 4-9-2013

The samples taken at the site of the March 19 attack and analyzed by Russian experts indicate that a projectile carrying the deadly nerve agent sarin was most likely fired at Khan al-Assal by the militants, the ministry statement suggests, outlining the 100-page report handed over to the UN by Russia.

The key points of the report have been given as follows:

• the shell used in the incident “does not belong to the standard ammunition of the Syrian army and was crudely according to type and parameters of the rocket-propelled unguided missiles manufactured in the north of Syria by the so-called Bashair al-Nasr brigade”;
RDX, which is also known as hexogen or cyclonite, was used as the bursting charge for the shell, and it is “not used in standard chemical munitions”;
soil and shell samples contain “the non-industrially synthesized nerve agent sarin and diisopropylfluorophosphate,” which was “used by Western states for producing chemical weapons during World War II.”

‘Too many questions’ in UN chemical weapons report to blame Damascus
Russia Today, September 26, 2013

While many in the West asserted that the UN report on August sarin attack in Syria all but proves the Syrian government was behind it, a closer look on it shows inconsistencies which clash with that narrative, says political expert Sharmine Narwani.
“I am certainly not saying that the UN team was trying to cover anything up. But I think some of this was staged and manipulated for impact,” she told RT.
Narwani, who is a senior associate at Oxford University, detailed her doubts about the UN report and the conclusions drawn from it in a piece she co-authored for the English-language branch of Al Akhbar, a Beirut-based newspaper.

The particular evidence the UN team reports are open for interpretation, the Al Akhbar piece said. One is inconsistency between human and environmental samples gathered at Moadamiyah, the area in West Ghouta which the inspectors visited on August 26 before moving to a second location. Alleged victims of the attack there tested highest for sarin exposure in the entire sampling, but environmental samples showed no traces of sarin.
A scenario, in which the victims were exposed to sarin somewhere else and brought to Moadamiyah for UN inspectors to investigate, is one possible explanation.
The authors also cite American chemical weapons expert Dan Kaszeta, who pointed out that the 36 survivors tested by the UN mission are too small a sample from statistical point of view to represent the entire population of affected victims. He also wonders why the number of victims showing symptoms of more serious sarin exposure was so large compared to those showing milder symptoms.
Finally there are questions to the munitions examination conducted by the UN, which many reports said proved beyond doubt that the sarin attack originated from a base of the government troops. Of the five munitions mentioned in the report as possible sources of sarin, only two provide a trajectory date.
One was successfully identified and could have been fired from the base in question, but it didn’t test positive for sarin. The other one is a ‘mystery missile’ with sarin traces, the range of which remains in question. Given its larger caliber, it could have been fired from a rebel-controlled area..., the authors argue.

“There are just too many questions. And unfortunately people have leaped ahead with stark answers,” Narwani told RT. “It’s not the case. Nobody is able to make a conclusive determination of any kind based on the evidence that the UN team provided.”

Moussa: "If you want to engage in politics
then you can get a licence for a political party"
Ahram Weekly, 20-9-2013

The Committee of Fifty responsible for writing the final draft of Egypt’s new constitution held a plenary meeting yesterday to review its first week on the job.
Initial reports suggest the 2012 constitution drafted under Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood-led regime by an Islamist-dominated constituent assembly will be radically changed and that the new constitution will be liberal, stress social justice and ensure the effective separation of powers.

“The main lesson of the 30 June Revolution which removed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi from power,” said Amr Moussa, chairman of the committee and a former presidential candidate, “is that politics and religion do not mix.”
“If you want to engage in politics then you can get a licence for a political party but if you want to play religion then you can get a licence to preach and then go to the mosque.”
Moussa confirmed that the new constitution will place a ban on the formation of religious parties. “Religiously motivated political parties only harm society by fanning sectarian strife and tarring their political opponents as infidels and non-believers.”
Moussa opened fire on the regime of Mohamed Morsi, taking him to task for sowing the seeds of political and sectarian strife and turning Sinai into fertile recruiting ground for militant jihadists.
“Egypt’s population will reach 100 million in a few years. They cannot be left mired in a world lacking liberal and democratic freedoms. Egypt can get over its political crisis and become a flourishing country if we opt to join the modern world and espouse the universal principles of democracy,” Moussa told a group of lawyers on Tuesday.

Egypt: Salafi Da’wa will not nominate presidential hopeful
Egypt Independent, 21/09/2013

The Salafi Da'wa and its Nour Party will not nominate a candidate to contest the upcoming presidential elections, said Salafi Da'wa vice president, Yasser Borhamy. He stressed that the state does not need an Islamic candidate in the coming period.
Borhamy told Al-Masry Al-Youm Saturday that the Salafi Da'wa and Nour Party will not back former presidential candidates Mohamed Selim al-Awa and Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh in case they contest the elections.
Borhamy added that Egypt does not need an Islamic figure as president but rather someone accepted by state institutions. "The Nour Party will back a strong figure who can lead the country to stability," he said.
"The candidate we are going to back should not be hostile toward political parties that have a religious background," he pointed out.
"Not nominating a presidential candidate rules out the accusations that the Nour Party plans to replace the Muslim Brotherhood in the political arena during the upcoming phase [of transition]," he said.

Local Al-Qaeda Leader Killed in Syrian Rebel Infighting
by Jason Ditz, September 23, 2013

Another major clash has broken out between rebels loyal to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the al-Qaeda Iraq (AQI) fighters in the country, with a local AQI leader in Idlib Province and 12 of his supporters killed, along with six other unidentified people.
The local AQI leader, Abu Abdullah al-Libi, was dubbed a “top commander” in the group by some reports, though his actual position organization-wide is unclear, as is the impact his death will have on the overall position of al-Qaeda inside Syria.
The fighting took place in Hazano, just across the border from Reyhanli, and Libi was among the first killed in an apparent ambush. Though the fighters who attacked them were apparently FSA-linked, the FSA’s leadership denied any involvement in the attack.
FSA and al-Qaeda fighters have been clashing off and on for months now, and while each group has tried to keep the focus on fighting the Assad government, they are increasingly fighting a war-within-a-war against one another, and have admonished their respective supporters to avoid alliances with the rival faction.

The brothers of "ISIL" command will take revenge from his killers.
Syria Breaking News, 24 Septemper, 2013

Sources of the armed militias, which fight in Syria, stressed that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s command Osama al-Abidi, who is known by “Abu Abdullah al-Libi, was shot dead yesterday in Bab al-Hawa area of Idlib countryside.
Al-Safir newspaper quotes a “Jihadi” source as saying that “yes… a group of aggressors has assassinated him”.... The source has mentioned the achievements of al-Shaikh Abu Abdullah; one of them converting al-Dana area to an Islamic emirate affiliated to the state of Iraq and the Levant and imposing decisions to apply the laws of al-Sharia such as closing the commercial stores at the prayer times and preventing the sale of cigarettes.
According to the source, Osama al-Abidi has an honorable jihadi history; he participated in Jihad against the US militates in Iraq and was arrested in Syria then the Syrian regime handed him over to the regime of Muamar al-Qadafi where he was arrested for three years and a half.
The source adds that “He was one of the most prominent jihadists in the Libyan revolution, then he moved to Syria for ‘Jihad; and to establish the Islamic State. “

13 Islamist organizations in Syria reject recognizing “the National Coalition”.
Syria Breaking News, 25 Septemper, 2013

13 Islamist rebel groups that fight in Syria have said that they do not recognise any foreign-based opposition group including the National Coalition.
"The National Coalition and the proposed government under (recently chosen) Ahmad Tomeh do not represent us, nor do we recognise it."

The groups include members of the main rebel Free Army militia and more radical Islamists.
Among the signatories are Liwa al-Tawhid, the main rebel force in the northern province of Aleppo, and the jihadist Al-Nusra Front. The radical but non-jihadist Ahrar al-Sham also signed on, as did the 19th Division, a significant but relatively new addition to the mainstream “Free Army”.
In their joint statement, they also called for Islamic law to be applied.
These forces call on all military and civilian groups to unite in a clear Islamic context that is based on sharia (Islamic) law, making it the sole source of legislation," they said.
They called for "unity" and "to reject division putting the interest of the (Islamic) nation over the interest of (each) group".
The statement comes amid an escalation of violence pitting fighters from various factions across the rebel spectrum against the Al-Qaeda front group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

President al-Assad interview with TeleSUR TV
Syrian Arab News Agency, Sep 26, 2013

Damascus, SANA _ President Bashar al-Assad gave an interview to Latin America TeleSUR TV channel.

TeleSUR: Mr. President, thank you for giving this interview to TeleSUR, which we hope will provide an opportunity for our viewers in Latin America to understand your perspective and your views. ...
Yesterday we heard US President Barack Obama speech reflecting on what the United States has done in different parts of the world, he spoke specifically about the situation in Syria; Syria was also a major issue at the United Nations. President Obama, more or less agreed on the need for a political solution in Syria, however, he called on the United Nations or the Security Council to pass a tough resolution against Syria and against your government if you do not continue to fulfill requirements of the chemical weapons agreement. He also stressed that, as far as the United States is concerned, your government was responsible for the chemical weapons attack against civilians.

President Assad: His speech yesterday was more of the same – full of allegations based on fabrications and lies. In general, most statements made by American officials, whether in the current or previous administrations, do not have the least bit of credibility. Their statements are often similar and repetitive, and as such we do not feel it is necessary to comment.
Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, American policy, whether knowingly or unknowingly, has been based on lies. I believe that they were aware of most of these lies, which increased in intensity, and the administration played a direct role in these fabrications after the chemical weapons issue was raised on August 21st. The administration has not provided any evidence to support its claims, which implies that it was lying to the American people. From the beginning, we challenged them to present their evidence, which they didn’t...

As for their talk about invoking Chapter Seven, this does not concern us in Syria. First since independence, it is well known that Syria has always committed to all agreements it signs. Second, today there is balance in the Security Council which prevents the United States - as was the case in the past, from using the Security Council as an instrument to achieve its special agendas, including toppling regimes and destroying states as was the case in 1990s. As I said, these American allegations are nonsense and have no realistic or logical foundation.

TeleSUR: Back to President Obama’s speech, we saw that he was confused and didn’t know what he wanted. Sometimes he speaks about the use of force and sometimes he speaks about a political solution. He says that the Israeli aggression against Syria is in defense of American interests in the region. What are America’s interests in the region, and what is it looking for in Syria? Taking into account what’s happening at the Security Council concerning Syria, are you able to rule out an American aggression against Syria?

President Assad: With regards to the contradiction you mentioned, this has become the hallmark of every statement made by every American official, be it the President, his Secretary of State or others. For instance, they say that Syria’s military capabilities do not pose any concern to the American army should it decide to carry out any military action or aggression against Syria; however, at the same time, they say that Syria is a threat to American national security. This is just one of many examples in this regard.

As for the possibility of an American aggression, if you look back at the wars waged by the United States and American policies - at least since the early 1950s, you find that it has always been a policy of one aggression after another - starting with Korea, then Vietnam, Lebanon, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq; this is the American policy....
So the possibility of aggression is always there, this time the pretext is chemical weapons, next time it will be something else.
The more important element in all of this is that for decades, the United States has been superseding the Security Council, superseding the UN Charter, superseding the sovereignty of states and superseding all human and moral conventions....

As for the interests of the United States, I believe that for decades, the actions of the United States, through wars and interventions, completely contradict their interests. ... There’s no doubt that as a superpower it has interests. Most of the big powers have interests around the world, but these interests need to be based on achieving stability in the world first. You cannot have any interests in an unstable region full of wars and terrorism.

TeleSUR: Mr. President, going back to Syria and the chemical weapons issue. What are the real guarantees provided by your government that the list you submitted on your chemical arsenal is truly representative of the weapons you possess? And what are the guarantees you provide to the UN investigators in order that they do their job, inspect the sites and put the chemical weapons under international control?

President Assad: Our relationship on this issue will be with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Syria is not required to provide guarantees to the world or to the organization, it is required to deal with specific mechanisms or to abide by specific mechanisms stipulated in the chemical weapons convention. And as I said before, Syria is committed to all agreements it signs.
Syria has recently sent the required data to the OPCW. Shortly, OPCW’s experts will visit Syria to familiarize themselves with the status of these weapons. As a government, we do not have any serious obstacles. However, there is always the possibility that the terrorists will obstruct the work of the investigators in order to prevent them from reaching the identified sites, either because they have their own motives or because they are acting on instructions from the states that support and finance them. ...

TeleSUR: Despite the allegations that it was the Syrian government who used chemical weapons, the Russian government provided the United Nations with evidence that it was the armed groups who used the chemical weapons. What evidence do you have? And what is the Russian and Syrian government doing in order to prove that it was the terrorist groups and not the Syrian government who used chemical weapons?

President Assad: Of course we have both evidence and indicators. As for the evidence, when toxic gasses were used in Khan al-Assal, we took samples from the soil, blood samples from the victims, and also pieces from the projectiles used to carry the toxic material to that region....

In any case, when you have a crime, one of the first questions a detective asks is who has an interest in using these weapons, or who has an interest in this crime. It is very clear that the terrorists have an interest in this crime, particularly when these allegations coincide with the investigating team’s mission to Syria. Can you really believe that the Syrian government invites an investigation mission, only to use chemical weapons so that the mission can investigate their use? This is unbelievable, totally illogical. All the indicators show that the Syrian government did not use them, and all tangible evidence shows that it was the terrorists who used the chemical weapons near Damascus...

TeleSUR: You stressed that you’ll not negotiate with the armed groups and the terrorists in Geneva. Who are the parties with whom you will negotiate? How can this dialogue be achieved on the international level, and what is the timeframe for achieving a political solution for the Syrian crisis?

President Assad: I can answer the part of the question that is related to the parties inside Syria, which represent the Syrian people. There are different types of parties – opposition parties, parties in the middle, or parties supporting the state.
With regards to the parties outside Syria, we need to ask the states that support them because these states, - the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and others – have propped up these individuals who do not represent the Syrian people. If these states tell them to go to Geneva, they will go; they will say and do as they are told...

At UN, Syrian opposition group told
it has key role to play in making peace, averting chaos
UN News Service 26-9-2013

At United Nations Headquarters today, members of the Syrian National Coalition, a major opposition group, were told that they had critical roles and responsibilities in negotiating peace and fostering democracy, and helping to preserve the unity of their strife-torn country.
“The Coalition has a key and central role to play in making Geneva II a success,” the group was told concerning the peace conference now under discussion, in a message [..] which was delivered by Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, UN Assistant-Secretary-General for Political Affairs.
“It also has a fundamental duty to ensure that Syria does not break apart, and that its people are served by a state that remains stable and cohesive but that also reflects its citizens’ democratic aspirations,” Mr. Fernandez-Taranco said, adding, “The alternative is chaos.”

Reaffirming Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s position that the only way out of the devastating crisis was through dialogue and political compromise, he said that the Geneva Conference on Syria, which the UN has been working to bring about for months, is meant to launch such a dialogue. ...
He said no one was naïve to the challenges of ending the conflict peacefully, given that some in Syria did not share the vision of a unified and democratic country that protected the diversity of its people and rejected extremism. In the face of such challenges, leaders must make tough choices, he said.
“The Syrian people have suffered enough. It is time to put aside our differences and take diplomatic action,” he told the meeting, which was held on the sidelines of the high-level debate of the 68th session of the General Assembly.

Americans say Putin, not Obama,
was most effective during Syrian crisis
Syria Breaking News, 27 Septemper, 2013

Americans believe Russian President Vladimir Putin has been the most effective world leader in steering geo-political affairs during the Syrian chemical weapons crisis, according to an Economist/YouGov survey.

Forty-nine percent of those surveyed said Putin deserves the most credit for how he handled events following US accusations that Syrian President Bashar Assad had used chemical weapons against his citizens near Damascus on August 21.
Just 25 percent of respondents said US President Barack Obama was most effective. ... Overall, 30 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s handling of the crisis, while 44 percent disapprove.

Ahmed Jarba: "The Syrian regime
created and armed terrorist organisations"
Ahram online, 26-9-2013

The head of the key Syrian opposition National Coalition, Ahmed Jarba, has denounced extremists he said were trying to "steal our revolution", and blamed the regime for supporting them.
He made the comments in an address in New York to representatives from the Friends of Syria -- international backers of the rebels seeking to overthrow President Bashar Al-Assad.
"The phenomenon of extremism appeared with the support and planning of the regime..." The Syrian regime "created and armed numerous terrorist organisations and left them a place in the regions from which it has been removed," he said.

An unknown number of foreign fighters has streamed into Syria to join jihadist rebel groups such as the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). They include fighters from Europe, the Middle East and Chechnya.
Rebels initially welcomed the jihadist groups and the foreign fighters who joined them, eager for weapons and battle experience. But in recent months, relations have been tense, particularly between ISIL and non-jihadist rebel factions, which have clashed on occasion.
This week, some of the biggest non-jihadist battalions formed an alliance that includes Al-Nusra, and announced their rejection of the Coalition that Jarba heads.

Despite setbacks, Jarba insisted that the only solution to the conflict would be Al-Assad's departure. "There is no horizon for the Syrians before the fall of the regime," he said.

Top 45 lies in Obama's speech at the UN
Press TV, 27-9-2013

US and Iran Officials Make Diplomatic History
Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor, September 26, 2013

NEW YORK — The United States and Iran made diplomatic history as Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif talked for a half hour on the sidelines of a multilateral meeting on Iran’s nuclear program.
The meeting, which Zarif described as “more than a chat,” took place at the United Nations, and marked the highest-level and most-substantive encounter between officials of the two sides since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Afterward, Zarif told Al-Monitor: "I'm optimistic. I have to be. Political leaders need to be optimistic about the future and make every commitment to go forward for the cause of peace. This was a good beginning. I sense that Secretary Kerry and President [Barack] Obama want to resolve this."
The only previous meeting between a US Secretary of State and an Iranian foreign minister since the 1979 revolution took place in 2001 between Colin Powell and Kamal Kharrazi at a UN meeting about Afghanistan, but it was only a handshake and an exchange of courtesies. ...

We had a constructive meeting, and I think all of us were pleased that Foreign Minister Zarif came and made a presentation to us, which was very different in tone and very different in the vision that he held out with respect to possibilities of the future," John Kerry said. "I have just met with him now on a side meeting, which we took a moment to explore a little further the possibilities of how to proceed based on what President Obama laid out in his speech to the General Assembly earlier this week. And so we’ve agreed to try to continue a process that we’ll try to make concrete, to find a way to answer the questions that people have about Iran’s nuclear program."

Obama, Rouhani speak by phone
in first direct US-Iran communication since 1979
By Michael Wilner, Jerusalem Post 27-9-2013

US President Barack Obama called Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, breaking over three decades of cold silence between the leaderships of the two nations.
"Just now I spoke on the phone with President Rouhani of the Islamic Republic of Iran," Obama said from the White House Friday afternoon. "I reiterated to President Rouhani what I said in New York: While there will surely be important obstacles to moving forward, and success is by no means guaranteed, I believe we can reach a comprehensive agreement."
A senior administration official told reporters that the historic call lasted 15 minutes, opening with Obama congratulating Rouhani on his election and ending with Obama saying farewell in Farsi.

In the call, Obama noted that a breakthrough on the nuclear issue could open the door to "deeper relations" with the Islamic Republic.
"Iran’s supreme leader has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons. President Rouhani has indicated that Iran will never develop nuclear weapons. I’ve made clear that we respect the right of the Iranian people to access peaceful nuclear energy in the context of Iran meeting its obligations," he said.
Obama said he will seek "transparent, meaningful and verifiable actions" on the Iranian nuclear program, which could also bring relief in Western sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic.
He noted that both he and Rouhani have instructed their teams to continue working expeditiously with P5+1 to reach an agreement.

"We have a responsibility to pursue diplomacy and... we have a unique opportunity to make progress with the new leadership in Tehran," he told reporters.

UN Security Council unanimously adopts Syria resolution
Russia Today, September 28, 2013

The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution outlining the details of taking under international control and ultimately destroying Syria’s chemical arsenal.
"Today's historic resolution is the first hopeful news on Syria in a long time," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the council immediately after the vote. The Syrian sides must engage constructively in the upcoming Geneva 2 conference, which would be a significant step towards the “creation of a democratic state that guarantees the human rights of all in Syria,” Moon said in his address to the Council.
“The regional actors have a responsibility to challenge those who will actively undermine the process and those who do not fully respect Syria’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity,” he added.
The target date for a new peace conference in Geneva was set for mid-November. However, the Syrian opposition should be represented at the Geneva peace talks in a single delegation, the Secretary-General said.

The resolution does not fall under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter and does not allow any automatic enforcement of coercive measures,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after the Security Council vote.
The UN Security Council resolution on chemical weapons in Syria will have to be observed not only by the Syrian authorities, but also by the opposition, Lavrov stressed. "The responsibility for the implementation of this resolution does not only lie on the government of Syria," he said.
The chemical weapons resolution on Syria establishes a framework for overcoming the ongoing political crisis. According to Lavrov, the Syrian opposition is also obliged to work with international experts as required by the Security Council resolution.
"We hope that more and more scattered groups of the Syrian opposition will finally be able – as the Syrian government has already done for a long time – to declare its readiness to participate in an international conference without preconditions,” Lavrov said.

Syrian UN Ambassador Bashar Jaafari said the resolution holds all parties in Syria equally responsible for the elimination of chemical weapons, including rebel forces. However some member of the Security Council are trying to sabotage the effort, Jaafari stated after the adoption of the historical document.
It is regrettable that some delegations have begun adopting a negative interpretation of the resolution in order to derail it from its lofty purposes,” Jaafari said.
He also pointed out that the United States, France,Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar must commit to the document and be held accountable if they continue to arm the rebels.
"You can't bring terrorists from all over the world and send them into Syria in the name of jihad and then pretend that you are working for peace," Jaafari said.
He reiterated that Damascus is "fully committed" to attending November’s Geneva 2 conference.

Time to Defund the Syrian Rebels
Now that they’ve officially joined al-Qaeda
by Justin Raimondo, September 27, 2013

Rebel-commanders on the ground announced they were joining al-Qaeda. They are through with the "National Council" and are organizing their own "Islamist Alliance":
"The al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, designated a terrorist organization by the United States, is the lead signatory of the new group … Others include the Tawheed Brigade, the biggest Free Syrian Army unit in the northern city of Aleppo; Liwa al-Islam, the largest rebel group in the capital, Damascus; and Ahrar al-Sham, the most successful nationwide franchise of mostly Syrian Salafist fighters.
Collectively, the new front, which does not yet have a formal name but has been dubbed by its members the ‘Islamist Alliance,’ claims to represent 75 percent of the rebels fighting to topple Assad."...
According to Syrian National Council spokesman Louay al-Mokdad, "they told us they signed this because they lost all hope in the international community. They said: ‘We are really tired, Bashar al-Assad is killing us, all the West is betraying us, and they want to negotiate with the regime over our blood.’"

I had to laugh at our clueless government’s reaction to this latest development in the ongoing Syrian rebel saga:
"In a statement Wednesday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that officials had ‘seen the reports’ and were ‘discussing with the moderate opposition what impact this will have going forward.’ … U.S. aid would continue, she said, ’taking into account that alliances and associations often change on the ground based on resources and needs of the moment.’"

In their statement, the Islamist Alliance not only rejected the Syrian Opposition Council and called for the imposition of Islamic law, they also demanded the rebels reject Western aid. Why not grant them their wish?
Millions of US taxpayer dollars are being spent to support and arm them – and does anybody in Congress know how much is going to our avowed enemies? With 75 percent of the rebel fighters on the ground pledging allegiance to this "Islamist Alliance," anything less than that would be astonishing. If even one dollar is going to these murderous goons it’s a moral obscenity.

AIPAC Gets Ready For War With Obama
MJ Rosenberg — Sept 26, 2013

Barack Obama and Hassan Rouhani have spoken. And they are on the same page. By that I mean not they agree about the issues dividing the two countries but that they are both ready to move forward, to test each other and see if an agreement is possible. As tentative as all this is, it is a major breakthrough – as anyone who has paid even a little attention over the past 34 years knows.
However, I do not see this process leading anywhere because the Netanyahu government and its lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), are determined to end the process and they have the ability to do it.
They intend to use the United States Congress to cause Rouhani to abandon negotiations by making clear that Congress will accept nothing short of an Iranian surrender on nuclear issues.
Unlike President Obama who wants to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program is not used to produce weapons, the lobby, which writes the laws imposing sanctions on Iran, insists that Iran give up its nuclear program entirely.

AIPAC listed its demands in a statement last week.
Its bottom line is this: Congress must not consider lifting economic sanctions until the Iranians stop uranium enrichment, stop work on installing new centrifuges, allow international inspection of nuclear sites, and move out of the country its stockpile of highly enriched uranium.
In contrast to the administration which, recognizing that Iran (like every other country) has the right to nuclear power for peaceful purposes, AIPAC says that Iran has no such right.
Not only that, if Iran does not agree to total nuclear surrender, “The United States must support Israel’s right to act against Iran if it feels compelled—in its own legitimate self-defense—to act.”

Obama better be prepared. AIPAC has been pushing war with Iran for a decade.
Following Obama’s speech yesterday AIPAC posted a war video on its website. The martial music is reminiscent of Radio Damascus prior to the ’67 war and succeeds in about a minute at threatening every single one of AIPAC’s, I mean Israel’s, enemies....

The coveted ideal of "muscular Judaism" was at the base of the Zionist settlement in the Land of Israel, conceived as a masculine, mighty, heroic, vanquishing and victorious national project. On the way, all other options have been discarded — first and foremost, that of the dialogue. (The new Israeli machismo, july 2012)

Israel lost its freedom to use force
DEBKAfile Special Report September 27, 2013

DEBKAfile is an Israeli military intelligence website based in Jerusalem, providing commentary and analyses on terrorism, intelligence, national security, military and international relations, with a particular focus on the Middle East. It is available in both English and Hebrew. The word "Debka" refers to an Arab folk dance. (Wikipedia)

Thursday, Sept.26, will go down in Israel’s history as the day it lost its freedom to use force either against the Iranian nuclear threat hanging over its head or Syria’s chemical capacity – at least, so long as Barack Obama is president of the United States. During that time, the Iranian-Syrian-Hizballah axis, backed by active weapons of mass destruction, is safe to grow and do its worst.
Ovations for the disarming strains of Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani’s serenade to the West and plaudits for the pragmatism of its Foreign Minister Mohammed Zarif flowed out of every window of UN Center in New York this week.
Secretary of State John Kerry, who took part in the highest-level face to face encounter with an Iranian counterpart in more than 30 years, did say that sanctions would not be removed until Tehran produced a transparent and systematic plan for dismantling its nuclear program.
But then, in an interview to CBS TV, he backpedaled. Permission for international inspectors to visit the Fordo underground enrichment facility would suffice for the easing of sanctions starting in three months’ time.
By these words, the US pushed back Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s first demand to shutter Fordo and its equipment for enriching uranium to near-weapons grade, which he reiterated at this week’s Israeli cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.

The foreign ministers of the five permanent Security Council members and Germany, meeting Thursday with Zarif, arranged to resume formal nuclear negotiations next month in Geneva. ...
The message relayed to Tehran from both wings of UN headquarters was that it was fully shielded henceforth by a Russian veto and US complaisance against the oft-vaunted “credible military option” waved by Washington. Iran and its close ally, the Syrian ruler Assad, were both now safe from military retribution – from the United States and Israel alike – and could develop or even use their weapons of mass destruction with impunity....

Given the atmosphere prevailing in the world body these days, it is not surprising that the speech delivered to the assembly by the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas was rated moderate – even when he called the establishment of the State of Israel a “historic, unprecedented injustice which has befallen the Palestinian people in al-Nakba of 1948” and demand redress.
This perversion of the UN's historic action to create a Jewish state could only go down as moderate in a climate given over wholly under John Kerry’s lead to appeasing the world’s most belligerent nations and forces...

Hakim: Intellectuals to fix problems
by Ahmed Hussein on September 28, 2013

Baghdad ( The head of the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council Ammar al-Hakim emphasized on Saturday the importance of making use of the intellectuals and thinkers to solve the problems that face Iraq.
A statement by the SIIC received by cited “Hakim received in his office in Baghdad a delegation from the Iraqi intellectuals and thinkers,” noting that “Hakim stressed that including the intellectuals in the process of setting plans for developing Iraq will achieve success.”

Hakim assured that Iraq faces many basic problems and impediments that hurdle development due to lack of mature political leaders which leads for absence of strategic planning, according to the statement.
Hakim pointed out that the solution lies in granting the chance for the young and educated people as well as providing united and penetrating vision to lead an administrative revolution in the country by adopting scientific methods,” the statement concluded.

1 - a person opposed to or hostile toward intellectuals and the modern academic, artistic, social, religious, and other theories associated with them.
2 - a person who believes that intellect and reason are less important than actions and emotions in solving practical problems and understanding reality

The more things are intelligent, moderate, measured and proven,
the less they reverberate - Haaretz 7-6-2011

There is no longer any serious intellectual discussion in the Israeli media today," says Prof. Moshe Zuckermann, an intellectual historian at Tel Aviv University.
"The discourse has degenerated, and is now completely vacuous. When the prime minister returns to Israel after an idiotic speech [...], the public's enthusiasm for him only increases, based on what Haaretz reported. No discussion develops, except perhaps in [its] columns by Gideon Levy and Yossi Sarid.
"It used to be that after such a speech they would call me from Army Radio and ask me to explain how this could happen. But such questions haven't been asked for a long time now. Nobody tries to examine the political, ideological or social aspects. Nobody asks why something happens and what it says about our fate," he notes.

"We are living in a world that is violent - verbally, mentally and militarily," Translator, poet and publisher Rafi Weichert says. "The more things are intelligent, moderate, measured and proven, the less they reverberate. The more extreme, provocative, metaphorical, laden with historical imagery and bloody they are, the more they are heard. We keep expecting more and more blood and extreme language."
In this world, people of values have been pushed to the margins. The people of values are no longer on the front line. This is part of the violence and lack of culture in the discourse.

Some countries in the region along with extremist groups
make their best to create tension in Iran–US relations
Islamic Republic News Agency, 28-9-2013

Tehran, Sept 28, IRNA - Former Iranian Representative to the United Nations in Vienna Ali Khorram said on Saturday that extremist groups seek to create tension in relations between Iran and the US. Speaking to IRNA, he said President Rohani opened a new chapter in foreign diplomacy. President Rohami proved that Iran is determined to change its approach toward with the West. ...

Problems could be better resolved in a friendly atmosphere, Khorram said adding that such measures should be taken many years ago to prevent escalation of tension.
He said that there are many individuals or groups who are against improved relations between Iran and the US, because rapprochement will usher in a trend which will not serve their partisan interest.
We should not forget that some countries in the region along with extremist groups make their best to create tension in Iran–US relations to meet their interests,” he said.

Most Americans support diplomacy with Iran - poll
Syria Breaking News Network, 1-10-2013

More than three-quarters of US citizens support heightened diplomatic relations with Iran, according to a new poll from CNN/ORC International.
Seventy-six percent of respondents said they favor direct diplomacy with negotiations, while only 20 percent said they were opposed to the notion.
US President Barack Obama recently spoke with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, marking the first time the nation’s leaders have spoken in decades. Even more encouraging for Obama is that the survey results were not split on partisan lines - 87 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of Republicans responded favorably.

President al-Assad: "There is no clear map.
There are gangs coming from everywhere."
Syrian Arab News Agency, Sep 29, 2013

Damascus, (SANA)- President Bashar al-Assad has given an interview to the Italian Rai News 24 TV channel

Rai News: We arrive close to Geneva 2, the peace talks, because Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the UN, said that it's very likely in November there will be a second Geneva meeting. Are you planning to attend it personally?

President al-Assad: That depends on the framework of the Geneva meeting. So far, that conference is not clear: what kind of conference, who's going to attend, what the criteria are for this conference. So, we have to be ready as government, but we cannot decide who's going to head the delegation until we have, let's say, the framework, the clear framework and the criteria.

Rai News: So, let me just ask you: which kind of framework would convince you to go there?

President al-Assad: As I said, any political party could attend that conference, but we cannot discuss, for example, al-Qaeda and its offshoots and organizations that are affiliated to al-Qaeda, for example, terrorists. We cannot negotiate with the people who ask for foreign intervention and military intervention in Syria.

Rai News: May I just name Qatar and Saudi Arabia?

President al-Assad: Let me be frank with you; they are client states, so I'm talking about states now. If you want to talk about states, they are client states; their master is the United States. We all know that. So, if the United States is attending, this is the main partner, and the others are accessories. If you want to talk about Syrian parties, regardless of their names, I'm talking about their behavior during the crisis. That's what we can discuss - their behavior.

Rai News: Since the situation on the ground is very complicated, could you also accept the idea of some international forces, like interposition on the ground, to try to stabilize in a way the situation?

President al-Assad: It doesn't work, because we're not talking about two countries fighting each other, like, for example, Syria and Israel, where you have a frontline, a clear frontline, where you can have the United Nations forces on both sides of the borders or the frontier, let's say, or the armistice line. It's completely different.
You are talking about gangs; they could exist everywhere in Syria, within any city, where you don't have a frontier or clear lines. So, even if you want to suppose that you can accept that idea - which is not acceptable for us - but if you want to accept it, where can you position those troops? No-one can draw a map. You need a clear map. There is no clear map. There are gangs coming from everywhere, and they are terrorists who should be fought, not isolated from the Syrian troops.

Rai News:We were talking about Geneva 2, and I was thinking about Europe and the role of Italy in this kind of process. Do you see any role for Italy in this?

President al-Assad: Again, let me be very bold here, very blunt. If we want to discuss the role of Italy, we should see it in the light of the European role. Is Italy independent from the European role? If not, who's leading the European role? And, we have to discuss the relation between the European role and the American.
Is Europe independent from the American policies today? I heard from many European officials that they are convinced about what we are saying, but they cannot announce it.
This is not the first time, not only during this crisis. So, any role should be looked at in the light of two things: the credibility of that role, and second, the relation between the individual or the country or the government, let's say, with the different parties.

Rai News: Did you ever think to leave the power for the sake of your country? Did you ever consider the chance to leave your country just if the exchange was peace and stability for your people?

President al-Assad: It depends on the "if." If my quitting of my position would make the situation better, the answer would be very simply, without reluctance, yes. But there is the other question; would the situation be better? So, for me as president, so far, I have to be in my position because when you have a storm, you don't give up your position. You don't quit your position and leave your country in the middle of the storm. Your mission is to take your country to the shore, not to abandon the ship and the Syrian people.

43 Islamist groups have united to form the "Army of Islam."
YouTube, 29 september 2013

As fighting continues in Syria, 43 Islamist groups have united to form a joint "Army of Islam." The groups have agreed to act under the joint leadership of Sheikh Muhammad Zahran Alloush. The Army of Islam's creation was officially announced in a ceremony on Sunday, September 29, 2013.
Al-Qaeda's Jabhat al-Nusra, along with ideologically similar groups such as 'Ahrar al-Sham' (Free [Men] of the Levant), did not join the "Army of Islam", despite sharing its goal of toppling President Bashar Assad and instituting Sharia (Islamic law) in Syria.

At the same time, the "Free Syrian Army" (FSA) is working to reunite its leadership after several commanders disassociated themselves last week from its leadership. Thirteen militant brigades announced that they reject the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) and the FSA under the leadership of Salim Idriss. The groups' commanders called to unite under an Islamist umbrella group.

Muhammad Zahran Alloush:
Born in 1970 in Damascus, originally from Douma, his father is Sheikh Abdullah Alloush, Shariah scholar and author of "The Sahih in Answered Supplication"and "Explanation of Jibreel's Hadith". Husband and father of ten boys.
Prior to the revolution he was working as a Building contractor. Zahran Alloush was involved with the neo-salafi/Wahhabi underground in Syria since the 1990s. He was imprisoned on three different occasions for Islamic activities. His most recent arrest was in 2009.
He was released on June/22/2011 under pressure from protesters. Zahran Alloush immediately received funds and weapons from Saudi intelligence which enabled him to establish and run Liwaa al-Islam as a major jihadist force. On July 18, 2012, Liwaa al-Islam conducted the major bombing of the headquarters of Syria’s national security council in Rawda Square, Damascus, assassinating, among others, Assaf Shawkat, Bashar’s brother-in-law and nominally the deputy Minister of Defense, Dawoud Rajiha, the Defense Minister, and Hassan Turkmani, former Defense Minister who was military adviser to then-Vice-President Farouk al-Sharaa.
In Spring 2013, Zahran Alloush helped the Saudis weaken the Qatari-sponsored jihadist forces in the Damascus area. In June 2013, he suddenly withdrew his forces in the middle of a major battle with the Syrian army, leaving the Qatari-sponsored First Brigade and Liwaa Jaish al-Muslimeen to be defeated and mauled.

A Syrian solution to civil conflict?
Secret approach to the President could reshape the whole war
Robert Fisk, Independent 29-9-2013

Six weeks ago, a two-man delegation arrived in secret in Damascus: civilians from Aleppo who represented elements of the Free Syrian Army...
They came under a guarantee of safety, and met, so I am told, a senior official on the staff of President Bashar al-Assad. And they carried with them an extraordinary initiative – that there might be talks between the government and FSA officers who “believed in a Syrian solution” to the war.
The delegation made four points: that there must be an “internal Syrian dialogue”; that private and public properties must be maintained; that there must be an end to – and condemnation of – civil, sectarian, ethnic strife; and that all must work for a democratic Syria where the supremacy of law would be dominant. There was no demand – at least at this stage – for Assad’s departure.
The reply apparently came promptly. There should indeed be “a dialogue within the Syrian homeland”; no preconditions for the dialogue; and a presidential guarantee of safety for any FSA men participating. ...

For months now, pro-regime officials have explored how they might win the army defectors back to their side – and the growth of al-Nusra and other Islamist groups has certainly disillusioned many thousands of FSA men who feel that their own revolution against the government has been stolen from them. ...
The advantages to Assad are clear. If FSA men could be persuaded to return to the ranks of the regime’s army in complete safety, large areas of rebel-held territory would return to government control without a shot being fired. An army reinforced by its one-time deserters could then be turned against al-Nusra and its al-Qa’ida affiliates in the name of national unity.

Groups fighting to establish Islamic state in Syria
are increasingly dragging the wider region into chaos
Martin Chulov,, 30-9-2013

In towns and villages on the flat lands south towards Baghdad and in the communities that dot the sprawling desert west towards the border with Syria, militant groups are imposing their influence with brutal efficiency.
Random, savage and relentless violence is once more a reality in this part of Iraq, with almost daily bombings and killings stirring ghosts of a time, not long ago, when Anbar province was almost lost to al-Qaida and when hopes for a civil and stable country seemed futile.
Abu Risha and the tribal leaders of Anbar who helped drive the anti-al-Qaida movement in 2007 known as the awakening (in Arabic, al-Sahawa) are deeply troubled by what they are seeing.
"If somehow a democratic state is not eventually established in Syria, there will be a problem for all the region," said Abu Risha. "It cannot be an Islamic state."
Yet an Islamic state is unambiguously what the jihadist groups now fighting alongside the opposition in Syria are aiming for. "They want strict Islamic law and they want Syria to be a stage for a jihad elsewhere," said Abu Risha. "This has to be stopped." ....
Abu Risha, who in 2007 became the Iraqi face of al-Sahawa (awakening), which ousted al-Qaida for a while and helped the US military partly restore security in Iraq, said little could be done in Syria without the backing of a powerful nation state.
"An awakening would only succeed if it was not done by militias, or tribes," he said. "It has to be done by a state."

Bye-Bye Syria: The Globalist Destruction of a Nation State
Patrick Henningsen, July 10, 2012

In order to ensure regional destabilization and the presence of the ‘international community’ – and more importantly for the western allied military and economic forces – the elimination of a strong secular nation-state in the Middle East, the process of Balkanization, must occur....
In similar fashion to the French Mandate of Syria in 1921, western power brokers will aim to divide Syria along both ethnic and religious lines. The Assad regime has managed over the decades to maintain relative ethnic and religious harmony between Sunnis, Shi’ites, Alawites, Druze, Christians, and even Jews in Syria.
Sunni Muslims represent somewhat of a majority through central Syria and are presently the preferred ally of western powers seeking to dissolve the nation state of Syria. They also comprise the majority of foreign and domestic guerrilla fighters being deployed throughout the country by planners in Washington and London.

Iranian foreign minister: Netanyahu is lying
Syria Breaking News, 01 October, 2013

Mohammad Javad Zarif accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of lying in his rejection of Tehran’s overtures to the West as a cosmetic “charm offensive.”
“We have seen nothing from Netanyahu but lies and actions to deceive and scare, and international public opinion will not let these lies go unanswered,” Zarif said in an interview with Iranian television broadcast on Tuesday.
Zarif was speaking from the United Nations, where Netanyahu was set to the address the General Assembly later Tuesday, the same forum where last year he used a cartoon bomb as a prop to underline how close he believed Iran was to producing a nuclear warhead.

“For 22 years, the Zionist regime has been lying by repeating endlessly that Iran will have the atomic bomb in six months,” Zarif said.

“After all these years, the world must understand the reality of these lies and not allow them to be repeated.”
Netanyahu headed to the United States determined to use his UN address and a White House meeting with President Barack Obama on Monday to expose what he regards as “sweet talk” from Iran about wanting to allay Western concerns about its nuclear program.
At the White House meeting, Netanyahu said it was vital that “Iran fully dismantles its military nuclear program.” He urged Obama to keep U.S. sanctions in place throughout negotiations between Iran and the major powers over its nuclear program.

Flashback 2003: Hassan Rowani:
Leader opposes nuke weapon access

Semnan, Oct 25, 2003 - Secretary for the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Hassan Rowhani here on Saturday, said the Supreme Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei considers attempts to access nuclear weapons as religiously illegal. On this basis, he added, production of such weapons has no place in Iran's defense and military doctrine.
Turning to the new meaning of security in today's world, he noted that hardware security has been replaced by that of software. He further said that this doesn't mean that the activities associated with hardware should be stopped.
"Given the high cost of access to nuclear weapons, their production would block our progress in other scientific and technological fields. In view of environmental, technological, religious and ethic reasons as well as the possibility of losing our influence in the region, Iran doesn't intend to produce nuclear weapons. However, we are determined on economic and political advancement as well as access to advanced technologies," he added.

Khamenei's Oral Fatwa

In October 2003, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei issued an oral fatwa forbidding the production and use of WMD in any form. Since then, Khamenei and other officials have repeatedly asserted that Iran is not seeking to acquire the bomb because Islam bans WMD. ...
In an August 2005 letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran apparently referred to the Khamenei fatwa in stating that “the production, stockpiling, and use of nuclear weapons are forbidden under Islam and that the Islamic Republic of Iran shall never acquire these weapons.” (

The text of the (2005) statement is as follows:
"Madam chair, colleagues,
"We meet when the world is remembering the atomic bombings of the civilians in Hiroshima (Aug 6) and Nagasaki (Aug 9) sixty years ago. The savagery of the attack, the human suffering it caused, the scale of the civilian loss of life turning individuals, old and young, into ashes in a split second, and maiming indefinitely those who survived should never be removed from our memory.
It is the most absurd manifestation of irony that the single state who caused this single nuclear catastrophe in a twin attack on our earth now has assumed the role of the prime preacher in the nuclear field while ever expanding its nuclear weapons capability.
"We as members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) are proud to underline that none of the NPT members of the NAM rely on nuclear weapons in any way for their security....
"The Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has issued the Fatwa that the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons are forbidden under Islam and that the Islamic Republic of Iran shall never acquire these weapons. [...] The leadership of Iran has pledged at the highest level that Iran will remain a non-nuclear-weapon state party to the NPT and has placed the entire scope of its nuclear activities under IAEA safeguards and additional protocol, in addition to undertaking voluntary transparency measures with the agency that have even gone beyond the requirements of the agency's safeguard system. (IRNA august 2005)

Buthaina Shaaban & the role of media:
"A conveyor not a distorter of the truth"
Syria Online, 1-10-2013

Presidential Political and Media Advisor Buthaina Shaaban stressed that Syria has sought political solutions and called for dialogue since the very first day of the crisis because it wants to prevent bloodshed.
Speaking to the reporters on the sidelines of an ongoing workshop on national media, held at the Dama Rose Hotel in Damascus on Tuesday, Shaaban stressed that the side who wants war to happen on the Syrian land is the Israeli enemy and its various tools.
"The Syrian state, however, has called for political solution since the first day," she reiterated, adding that those who hinder this solution are "the artificial tools which know in their heart that they don't represent the Syrian people and have no future in the ballot boxes."

She pointed out that the intensive appearance of President Bashar al-Assad through interviews with various Arab and international media outlets is "to correct the image about the reality of the situation in Syria and convey it to the people in the world countries."
Shaaban highlighted that the repeated appearance of the President comes at a time when Syria continues to face an intensive war of disinformation that includes falsification and distortion of facts contrary to the role of media as a conveyor not a distorter of the truth. ...