NATO concludes Libyan war – U.S. and France call for war on Syria
Posted by admin on Oct 24th, 2011
Since 31 March, NATO has launched more than 26,000 airstrikes against Libya, with almost 10,000 of them involving missile strikes of some kind. Now with the death of Gaddafi, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Sunday said NATO would officially conclude its Libyan mission this month.
“This is a great victory for the people of Libya. Their courage and determination in the cause of freedom has inspired the world,” he said in a statement.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
The NATO chief called on Libyans to put aside their differences and build “a new inclusive Libya, based on reconciliation and full respect for human rights and the rule of law.”
He said that NATO had preliminarily decided to wind down its military campaign, which helped Libyan rebels make advances on the ground, until the end of this month.
“It is our intention to close the operation. It will be a clear-cut termination of our operation,” he said.
With the war in Libya ending, political elites in France and the United States are calling for new war against Syria.
France foreign affairs minister: war in Libya is over, we now set our sight on and are targeting (Syria) Assad’s regime
“The operation in Libya is over and Syria would be next. France is now pushing for UN Security Council to take “responsibilities” and sanction the “bloody repression” in Syria,” France foreign minister Alain Juppe said.
“I hope we will soon reach an agreement on multilateral action that can step up pressure on the Syrian regime,” Juppe said.
“Should the resolutions be passed in the UN Security Council, France and its allies will take military action, in strict accordance with international law of course,” the French foreign minister added.
US Senator John McCain: we need military action to punish Assad, I would rally the Congress to support such act.
In the US, Senator John McCain said Sunday that military action to protect civilians in Syria might be considered now that NATO’s air campaign in Libya is ending.
“Now that military operations in Libya are ending, there will be renewed focus on what practical military operations might be considered to protect civilian lives in Syria,” McCain said at the World Economic Forum in Jordan. “The Assad regime should not consider that it can get away with mass murder. Qaddafi made that mistake and it cost him everything,” he added, referring to ousted Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi who was captured and killed last week by fighters loyal to the new government.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told “Fox News Sunday” that Washington is “strongly supporting a change of regime in Syria and also an opposition that only engages in peaceful demonstration.” But she stressed that Syria’s opposition has not called for the kind of outside intervention that Libya’s opposition did.
Syrian president Bashar al-Assad
Unlike Libya, the Syrian opposition is still in disorganized state. They are progressing though, Syrian dissidents on 02 October formally announced the establishment of Syrian National Council to overthrow President Bashar Assad’s regime. However, they are yet to unify a deeply fragmented opposition.
With the war now ended in Libya, the EU urges Syrian National Council to unite.
The Syrian opposition is still fragmented and not ready to govern
“The world is waiting for a united Syrian (opposition) that can provide the alternative to Assad regime, so that they can recognize it,” an EU joint statement remarked.
“Once the Syrian National Council firmly established themselves, further action can then be taken,” it added.
Libya is the first country to recognize the Syrian National Council.
Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is currently battling protests against his dictatorship that are increasingly gaining momentum across towns and cities in Syria.
The Syrian leader has launched brutal crackdown against protestors, used tanks and snipers against its people, ordered its army to storm the cities of Daraa, Douma, Baniyas, Hama, Homs, Talkalakh, Rastan, Jisr ash-Shughur, Deir ez-Zor, and its navies bombard the port of Latakia, the nation’s largest port.
Syrian protests gaining pace, motivated by the death of Gaddafi
More than 3,000 Syria protesters have been killed, many more injured, and thousands detained. Western governments have condemned Assad’s response as overly heavy-handed and violent, while other Arab governments initially expressed support for Assad and the “security measures” his regime has taken, but as the death toll mounted especially after Hama crackdown they have now switched sides.
I’d rather start Middle East war than to give up power: Assad
Posted by admin on Nov 14th, 2011
Syria, Homs — More than 3,500 people have been killed in Syria’s crackdown on protesters, the United Nations said, as the Syrian military pressed its campaign to put down resistance in the city of Homs, who has emerged to become the center of revolt against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule.
On Saturday, the Arab League has dealt President Bashar al-Assad the most humiliating of all blows by voting to suspend Syria, in a move that could pave the way for UN sanctions against his regime. The opinion of the 22-member organization carries weight in Western powers decision-making process. NATO intervention came shortly after Gaddafi lost support from the Arab League.
In response, Assad loyalists attacked and stormed Saudi, Qatari, French, and Turkish embassies and missions across Syria in disapproval of those countries support for the Arab League move. Turkey summoned the Syrian charge d’affaires to the foreign ministry in Ankara to protest the attacks and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is likely announce a sanction against Syria during a visit to refugee camps along the border “soon,” said a senior Turkish official.
France on Sunday also summoned the Syrian ambassador in response to the attacks on its Syrian mission. Saudi Arabia condemned the attacks and reminded Syria its responsibilities to protect diplomatic missions.
The Arab League hold an emergency meeting on Saturday to vote on Syria’s membership status. The result is an announcement of an 18-4 Arab League vote in favor to suspend Syria over its failure to comply with an agreement to end the bloodshed on a nationwide protest movement calling for Assad’s resignation. Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen voted against the motion, while Iraq abstained.
This is a great humiliation for Syria, a country who regards itself as a cornerstone of Arab nationalism. Mr Assad, like his father Hafez before him, has cast himself as a champion of pan-Arabism, an ideology espoused by Syria’s ruling Ba’ath party. To be shunned by fellow Arab states represents a powerful message of repudiation.
The Arab League made a similar recent decision to suspend Libya’s membership earlier this year, which ultimately led to the fall of Gaddafi.
Syria has lost support from the Arab League
The loss of support from the Arab League, coupled by increasing hostility from Turkey, once seen as a key strategic ally, has been a particularly severe blow to President Assad. “No administration can come out victorious from any struggle against its own people,” a fierce statement issued yesterday by the Turkish foreign ministry said, while stating that its foreign minister, Ahmet Davetoglu, is now preparing to meet leaders of the opposition Syrian National Council directly.
The motion also called for the withdrawal of Arab envoys from Damascus and agreed on the international sanctions against Syria, while inviting “all currents in the Syrian opposition to meet at Arab League headquarters within three days to draw up a united vision for the coming transitional period.”
The opposition Syrian National Council hailed the Arab League decision, and said it is ready to take part in the proposed talks regarding a transitional period.
Syria lashed out against the Arab League, lambasting the bloc as lackeys of Washington, claiming that the decision “served a Western and American agenda” and was taken to fulfill orders from the White House.
The U.S. and its European allies welcomed the Arab League’s move to heighten Syria’s regional isolation. “We’re delighted,” a European diplomat said. “This significantly raises the chances that a Security Council resolution can be resurrected. The Russians and Chinese will find it much harder now to explain why they would not support such a measure.”
Russia and China both vetoed United Nations sanctions last month, but Amr al-Azm, a Syrian-American academic prominent in the opposition movement said it would be different if the resolution were not sponsored directly by the United States or European countries.
“It’s much harder for the Russians and Chinese to say no when it’s the Arab League pushing it,” he said. When the Arab League pushed for intervention in Libya last time, Russia and China abstained from voting, which allowed the UN Security Council resolution to pass.
Syrian fragmented opposition has vowed to quickly form a united front against Assad
The Arab League’s secretary general, Nabil al-Arabi, yesterday used a visit to the Libyan capital Tripoli to say it was “studying mechanisms it could implement to protect civilians in Syria”.
“There is nothing wrong with going to the UN Security Council,” he added, ominously.
Assad has threatened to rain rockets on Israel shall his country be attacked by NATO. “If a crazy measure is taken against Damascus, I will not need more than six hours to transfer hundreds of rockets and missiles to the Golan Heights to fire them at Tel Aviv,” the Syrian President said.
Assad also vowed that Damascus would call on Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza to launch rocket and missile attacks into Israel.
In response, Israel has warned Syrian President Bashar Assad that should Tel Aviv be attacked, then it will retaliate by bombing not only Syria, but also the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and the whole of Lebanon. Tel Aviv is Israel’s economic and financial hub.
Israeli news agency NFC reported Israeli military circles as saying that the Jewish state’s message to Assad “is clear in that Syria’s fate, should Tel Aviv be targeted, will not be different than Lebanon’s.” Israeli Air Force is widely deemed as the world’s third most powerful after the US and Russian Air Force, and ahead of the British Air Force.
An open war between Israel and several Arab states however, may risk plunging the entire Middle East into warzone and heighten anti-Western sentiment across the Muslim world.
Targeting Syria is a strike to the Iranian regime, says Fneish
BEIRUT | iloubnan.info / NNA – November 14, 2011,
Minister of State for Administrative Affairs Mohammad Fneish said Monday that targeting Syria is a strike to the Iranian regime and that escalation and threats atmospheres solely seek to bring down the Islamic Republic.
Fneish expressed regret on Arab League’s decision to suspend Syria’s participation.
“He who wishes good for Syria and its people does not impose embargo nor does he hinder proposed reforms,” he said during a celebration for the Hezbollah Martyr Day held by the Imam Khomeini Culture Center.
Fneish also criticized U.S. blatant interference and sabotage attempts as well as unawareness of reform and democracy in Syria.
Arab press predicts regional war over Syria
Syria’s growing isolation from its neighbours has raised the prospect of a regional war, according to Arab analysts and newspapers.
14 Nov 2011
Abdel Bari Atwan, editor of the London-based pan-Arab nationalist newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi, raised the prospect of a conflagration in which a Turkish attack on Syria would coincide with an Israeli attack on Syria’s closest ally, Iran.
Other newspapers renewed claims, first raised in the summer, that Turkey was on the brink of ordering its troops to create a “buffer zone” on its border with Syria as a safe haven for refugees from the crackdown on protest by President Bashar al-Assad.
That could trigger a confrontation between the two former friends and allies.
Although the Arab League and certainly western powers including the European Union and Nato have denied suggestions of a military intervention, Syrian opposition leaders are less adamant in their rejection of the use of armed force than hitherto.
Mr Atwan pointed to previous occasions when the Arab League has departed from its tradition of bland consensus – when it supported the United States and its allies in driving Iraq out of Kuwait, and when it voted to approve the no-fly zone in Libya earlier this year.
“The establishment of buffer zones on the border with Turkey may be the first chapter in the course of internationalisation (of the conflict),” he wrote.
He suggested that the decisive swing against Syria by the Gulf states, which previously held neutral or even seemed to support Mr Assad, was due to their fear of internal sectarian conflict in Syria spreading across the region. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in particular are afraid of Shia opposition to their Sunni rulers, which they claim is bolstered by Shia Iran.
Tariq Alhomayed, editor-in-chief of the Saudi-backed Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, said the countdown for the Assad regime had now begun.
He highlighted a clause in the Arab League statement calling on the Syrian army not to engage in acts of violence and murder against civilians.
“Is this a call for the Syrian army to stage a coup?” he asked. “Is it conceivable that the Syrian army is now in an important position?”
Flirting with World War III?
Posted: November 14, 2011 – 12:01am
The national election is within a year; I see the division of politics developing as usual. It is all about the great difference between the Democratic and Republican parties. Ha, there is no difference.
Our current president is as hawkish and corporate-controlled as any Republican in history.
Our economy is disintegrating. All we hear, from both parties, is how they are going to balance the budget and rein in Wall Street. All we see is a façade of reestablishment of checks and balances on Corporate America. Nothing changes.
For the first time in our national history, our president ordered the execution of several U.S. citizens openly, without regard to the limits of our Constitution. We the people ignore this Fifth Amendment violation and approved his behavior.
We the people applaud our president’s decision to institute regime change in Libya. The violent death of Gaddafi is accepted by the people.
There are five major economic powers on the Earth, two in disintegration and three expanding.
The European Union and the USA are collapsing. Russia, China and India are expanding and uniting as an economic force. Will they continue to allow our president (any president) to force regime change in the Middle East? I think not.
We continue to hear the hyperbole from our president against dictators in Syria and Iran. Soon we will see more violent attempts to institute regime change, as we have done in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.
Will China, Russia and India allow forced change again, or will it lead to World War III?
Libyan scenario unfolding in Syria
Published: 14 November, 2011, 17:02
Edited: 14 November, 2011, 19:12
The “illegitimate” decision to suspend Syria from the Arab League has received wide support from the EU and the US. Russia, however, has strongly opposed the measure, which is starting to look like another step on the road to a Libya-style scenario.
During a press conference on Monday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Moallem said that “Libya’s scenario will not be repeated” in Syria despite the Arab League’s decision, which he called a “conspiracy that is bound to fail.”
“The Arab League vote to suspend Syria’s membership was an illegitimate decision prompted by American incitement,” al-Moallem said, as cited by Al-Arabiya. He added that it was reached “under a plan announced about a month ago.”
“Syria has other cards to play if Arab states decide to become conspirators,” the Syrian FM stated.
Nevertheless, Al-Moallem says he still believes in “united Arab action” and said he would welcome Arab League officials and military and civilian observers to visit Syria this week to supervise the implementation of an Arab League roadmap for ending the bloodshed.
Meanwhile in an interview carried by a British news outlet, Jordan’s King Abdullah has called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to resign.
Before Syria was suspended, the two sides – Assad’s regime and the Arab League committee – reached an agreement on how to stop the violence in the country. The League demanded that tanks be pulled off the streets and that a dialogue be opened with the opposition – measures which the authorities vowed to carry out.
However since agreeing to the deal, more than 250 Syrian civilians are reported to have been killed amid a bloody siege of the city of Homs.
The vote to suspend Syria came during an emergency session of the League on November 12 called to discuss Syria’s failure to end the violence. Eighteen countries supported the move while Lebanon, Yemen and Syria voted against it and Iraq abstained.
On Monday, the European Union moved to impose additional sanctions on 18 Syrian “individuals responsible for or associated with the repression and supporting or benefiting from the regime.” The statement said the EU continues to be deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation in Syria.
“The EU again condemns in the strongest terms the ongoing brutal repression and widespread human rights violations,” it read.
Brussels had already imposed sanctions on 56 Syrians and 19 organizations over the ongoing government crackdown on the anti-Assad uprising.
Isolate and invade
Syria has called an emergency meeting of the League in an attempt to reverse the decision which saw it kicked out of the organization. The suspension and accompanying sanctions are due to come into force on Wednesday.
Syria is the second nation to be expelled from the League this year. Libya’s suspension from the regional bloc in February was swiftly followed by a UN Security Council resolution which opened the way for NATO’s intervention in the sovereign state.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed Russia’s dismay at the League’s decision to suspend Syria.
“We think it is wrong, and it looks like a planned move,” Lavrov said. “Those who took the decision have lost a very important opportunity to redirect the situation onto a more transparent course.”
Lavrov added that a radical opposition movement in Syria had been incited to overthrow the government and said arms were being smuggled into the country for use by extremists.
Russia has repeatedly pledged to prevent a Libya-style scenario unfolding in Syria and backed up its promise by vetoing the UN resolution on Syria on October 5. The move caused outrage among the majority of the UNSC member states.
Syria was one of the founders of the Arab League, and its sudden suspension has triggered pro-Assad demonstrations in Syria and attacks on the Turkish, French and Saudi Arabian embassies in Damascus.
Commenting on the attacks on its missions, Turkey said it would take a “decisive attitude” and continue to support the Syrian people’s rightful struggle for freedoms and reforms. Earlier, Turkey welcomed the decision of the Arab League.
Independent web journalist James Corbett believes that the Arab League suspension of Syria brings the West a step closer to achieving its goal of regime change in Damascus.
“With this Arab League suspension I think we see a dangerous new moment where perhaps even a military intervention is definitely on the table,” he told RT.
As Damascus is a key ally of Tehran, possible intervention in Syria would have to be seen as a “pre-strike on Iran,” Corbett explains. “Destabilization of the Syrian regime would further isolate Iran which is already surrounded by NATO forces.”
Syria One Step Closer to Security Council Action?
In early October, a French-British-American Security Council resolution on Syria faced a rare double-veto by Russia and China. This almost never happens (the last time was 2008) and it was widely considered a response to what Russia and China perceived as NATO’s over-reach in Libya.
But my how things have changed in a weekend!
The Arab League’s decision to suspend Syria from its ranks is a potentially tectonic shift in the international response to the Syria crisis. A further decision by the Arab League to refer Syria to the Security Council would seriously back China and Russia into a corner. Though both countries are generally loathe to have the Security Council intervene in domestic conflicts, they also have an tendency to follow the lead of regional organizations. That was the case in Libya. Once the Arab League joined the call for a no-fly zone, the Russians and Chinese felt compelled to withhold their vetoes.
No one is seriously contemplating a military intervention in Syria a la Libya. But if the Arab League asks the Security Council to take up the Syria situation, that could very likely pave the way for the Security Council to impose sanctions on top regime officials and possibly refer the situation to the International Criminal Court.