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Erdogan calls on Muslim countries to unite and confront Israel by Faisal Edroos, Al -Jazeera

Erdogan calls on Muslim countries to unite and confront Israel

Turkish president tells OIC leaders that Israel must be held accountable for the killing of Palestinians in Gaza Strip.

by Faisal Edroos
 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on Muslim leaders to unite and confront Israel, days after scores of Palestinians were killed by Israeli snipers as they marked 70 years of Israeli occupation.

Speaking at an extraordinary summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Friday, Erdogan said Israel should be held accountable over the killings which drew widespread international condemnation and triggered a wave of protests from Asia, through the Middle East, to North Africa.

“To take action for Palestinians massacred by Israeli bandits is to show the whole world that humanity is not dead,” Erdogan told the group of Muslim leaders gathered in Turkey’s largest city, Istanbul.

The Turkish president described Israel’s killing of Palestinians as “thuggery, atrocity and state terror,” and said the US’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would inevitably haunt it.

‘US part of the problem

On Monday, just as the US went ahead with the controversial relocation of its embassy to Jerusalem, 62 Palestinians, including five children, were killed and more than 2,700 wounded as the Israeli army fired live ammunition and tear gas at protesters who had assembled hundreds of metres from a 1949 armistice line between Gaza and Israel.

The protesters in the besieged enclave had gathered to commemorate Nakba Day – an event in 1948 when Zionist paramilitaries ethnically cleansed Palestinian cities and towns. About 750,000 people were forcibly expelled from historical Palestine.

WATCH: Turkey plays a major role in US Jerusalem move

The Istanbul summit was attended by several heads of state, but Saudi Arabia, the host of the 57-member OIC, sent only a senior foreign ministry official. Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE also deployed lower level ministers.

Speaking at the conference, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said the Palestinian cause had “become a symbol for oppressed peoples everywhere” and condemned Israel for “brutal massacre” of peaceful demonstrators.

“Who among us does not know the declared siege forced on Gaza Strip and collective punishment against its population?” the emir said.

“The Gaza Strip has been transformed into a large concentration camp for millions of people who are deprived of their most basic rights to travel, education, work and medical treatment.

“When their sons take arms they are called terrorists, and when they stage peaceful demonstrations they are called extremists, and are shot dead with live ammunition.”

For his part, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said the US had become “part of the problem and not the solution” and called the relocation of the embassy “an act of aggression against the Islamic nation, against Muslims and Christians”.

Jordanian King Abdullah II urged for the adoption of urgent measures to back “the resistance of Palestinians”, while Iranian President Hasan Rouhani called for economic and political measures against the US and Israel.

Late on Friday, the OIC issued a final communique calling on the United Nations to form an international investigation into the killings in Gaza; the creation of an international protection force for Palestinians, and for the OIC to place economic restrictions on any countries, companies or individuals who recognise Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem.

Thousands protest in solidarity with Palestine

Earlier in the day, Erdogan told a raucous crowd of more than 10,000 people in Istanbul’s Yenikapi fairground that the Muslim world had to unite and “pull themselves back together”.

“Muslims are way too busy fighting and disagreeing with themselves, and shy away when confronted by their enemies,” he told the audience.

“Since 1947, Israel has been free to do what it likes in this region. They do whatever they feel like. But this reality can be undone … if we unite.” 

Earlier this week, Turkey recalled its envoys to Israel and the US following the killings of the Palestinians and the relocation of Washington’s embassy from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv.

Tolgar Memis, a German-Turk, said he came to the rally to support Erdogan’s recent remarks and policies against Israel.

“What we’ve seen over the last few years, all the injustice, and what happened earlier this week – it’s simply unacceptable.

“Erdogan has made great strides in defending the Palestinians, something he is obligated to do, and hopefully other leaders will follow his cue.”

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS

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Dual Policy towards Al-Qaeda and ISIS is Extremely Counterproductive By Sajjad Shaukat

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Dual Policy towards Al-Qaeda and ISIS is Extremely Counterproductive

 

By Sajjad Shaukat

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Everyone knows that Al-Qaeda and Afghan Taliban were created by the American CIA to fight
 
against the former Soviet Union in Afghanistan.
 
In this regard, former British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook stated, “Throughout the 1980s, he
 
[Bin Laden] was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage jihad against the Russian
 
occupation of Afghanistan.”
 
As regards terrorism, Machiavelli advises the rulers to have a lion-like image outwardly, and act
 
upon the traits of goat inwardly. He also suggests them foreign adventures and the use of terror
 
to obtain their goals. In his sense, a good ruler should be a good opportunist and hypocrite. While
 
echoing Machiavelli, Morgenthau points out that sometimes, rulers act upon immoral activities
 
like deceit, fraud, falsehood and even murder to fulfill their selfish aims.
 
Indicating dual policy, Morgenthau, and Palmer and Perkins opine, “Just as power became the
 
instrument of ambitious nationalism and state’s leaders, it has now become the tool of ideologies.
 
The true nature of the policy is concealed by ideological justifications and rationalization.”
 
Although in the present world of social media and Internet, such a sinister politics has been
 
replaced by modern trends such as fair-dealings, reconciliation and economic development, yet
 
by following the old strategies, American President Barack Obama and neoconservatives who
 
are in collusion with the Zionist Jews and Israel are still acting upon dual policy towards Al-
 
Qaeda and the Islamic State group (Daesh), also known ISIS or ISIL. Even, America’s western
 
allies are also pursuing similar ambivalent strategy.
 
Everyone knows that Al-Qaeda and Afghan Taliban were created by the American CIA to fight
 
against the former Soviet Union in Afghanistan.
 
In this regard, former British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook stated, “Throughout the 1980s, he
 
[Bin Laden] was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage jihad against the Russian
 
occupation of Afghanistan.”
 
After fulfilling their interests, Washington had left Afghanistan and Pakistan to face the fallout
 
of a prolonged conflict—terrorism and instability. These Mujahideen who pulled the Russians
 
out of Afghanistan, later become the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, etc. They got
 
the label of terrorists.
 
After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, American former President Bush (The Senior) in
 
connivance with his Zionist-advisers took the Islamic fundamentalism as a great threat. Since
 
then, sometimes, Al-Qaeda have continuously been used by the US and some western countries
 
as a scapegoat to malign Pakistan for ‘de-nuclearisation,’ as the latter is the only nuclear country
 
in the Muslim World. Sometimes, they accused Iran of harbouring terrorism, and to propagate
 
against Tehran’s peaceful nuclear progragmme—sometimes to achieve the goals of external
 
policy and sometimes to pacify their public including the opposition. In all cases, the purpose
 
behind has been to safeguard the interests of the Zionists and Israel.
 
On November 13, 2009, a Reuters report quoting Labeviere’s book “Corridors of Terror”
 
(Released in November 2003) points to negotiations between Bin Laden and CIA, which took
 
place two months prior to the September 11, 2001 attacks-at the American Hospital in Dubai,
 
United Arab Emirates, when Bin Laden was under a kidney dialysis treatment.
 
Meanwhile, while making Osama and Al-Qaeda as scapegoats, a number of fake video messages
 
were telecast on various TV channels and websites by some Zionists to obtain Israel’s anti-
 
Muslim goals. For example, during the November 2004 elections in the US, a fake video tape
 
helped the ex-president George W. Bush to get lead over John Kerry.
 
It is well-known that in a tape released on December 27, 2001, the authenticity of which is not in
 
question, Osama denied any involvement in the September 11 tragedy. However, later, two video
 
tapes appeared to validate his guilt in relation to 9/11, because the main aims of the Bush
 
administration were to provoke American public against the Muslims and to justify global war
 
on terror—the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq to possess energy resources of Central Asia
 
and Iraq, including proxy wars in other Middle Eastern countries. Besides other actions of Bush
 
era such as America’s state-sponsored terrorism in the volatile Islamic countries, persecution of
 
Muslims through torture, detentions and arrests, CIA and FBI-operated facilities, promotion of
 
sectarian violence and divide between Sunnis and Shias in the Islamic World—radicalising the
 
western Christians against the Muslims, while providing a golden chance to Israel and India to
 
accelerate the systematic genocide of the Palestinians and Kashmiries by equating the wars of
 
liberation in the controlled territories of Palestine and Kashmir with terrorism.
 
It was because of the dual strategy of Bush through war on terror, and on the other side, response
 
of Al-Qaeda militants by clandestine terror attacks, as shown through a number of the past
suicidal missions such as on Indonesian resort island of Bali, Saudi Arabia, Spain etc., and a
 
series of bomb attacks on London’s transport network, including those ones in other Afro-Asian
 
countries have clearly pointed out that Al-Qaeda was organized on world level. But, the outfit
 
lost control on its affiliated militant groups. Al-Qaeda’s decimated old guard may no longer be
 
able to mount elaborately detailed plots, executed by other trained terrorists of various new
 
groups which claim their links with Al-Qaeda, but, are not under its direct command. For
 
example, in Somalia—splitting away of a hardliner-faction Al-Shabaab is an offshoot of the
 
Islamic Courts Union, though the US defined Al-Shabaab as Al-Qaida allies.
 
In this connection, about the two bombs which blew the 18-story headquarters of the British-
 
owned HSBC bank and the British consulate in Istanbul in November, 2003, Turkish officials
 
had remarked that these were the work of homegrown extremists.
 
In March 2004, the former CIA Director, George Tenet said, “Al-Qaeda has become a loose
 
collection of regional networks working autonomously-[they] pick their own targets, they plan
 
their own attacks…in this new phase of franchise terrorism, Al-Qaeda has been described as an
 
idea rather than an organization.”
 
Notably, President Obama who had stated during his first election, “Bush has made the world the
 
most dangerous place”, and he would rectify the blunders, committed by his predecessor in the
 
name of war on terror—continued the same in their worst form. However, Obama-led
 
Administration went on with various techniques of ruthless terror and extrajudicial killings of the
 
innocent persons through illegitimate drone attacks—assisting undemocratic forces, toppling the
 
elected government in Egypt, and like Iraq, creation of more collapsed states such as Libya,
 
Yemen, Syria etc., and covert assistance to Israel.
 
If the double game of President Bush (The Senior) and George W. Bush franchised Al-Qaeda on
 
global level, President Obama’s dual policy franchised both Al-Qaeda and ISIS as part of the
 
anti-Muslim campaign and left no stone unturned in advancing the agenda of the Zionists, Israeli
 
lobbies and the neoconservatives in the pretext of global war on terror. Secretly, Obama
 
authorized CIA to create ISIS. His perennial covert support to the Israeli atrocities on the
 
Palestinians, silence over the supply (Smuggling) of oil by ISIS to some European countries
 
whose governments have also not taken action against those companies which are exporting oil
 
from the ISIS-controlled regions of Iraq, CIA-assisted Al-Qaeda (Al-Nusra Front) and ISIS
 
militants, continued sectarian violence and prolonged engagement of its troops (NATO) in
 
Afghanistan might be cited as instance. Moreover, the Middle East was deliberately thrown in
 
worst form of terrorism and civil wars for achieving the goal of a greater Israel.
 
The terrorist acts of both Al-Qaeda and ISIS have been utilized by Obama in distorting the image
 
of Islam and Jihad so as to pacify American public in wake of multiple internal and external
 
problems like heavy cost of prolonged ‘different war’, financial crisis, demoralization of troops
 
in Afghanistan etc.  
 
President Obama’s deliberate contradictory approach could also be judged from the fact that on
 
February 3, this year, during his first visit to a US mosque, he condemned inexcusable political
 
rhetoric against Muslim-Americans, and said, “So often, Muslim Americans are targeted and
 
blamed for the acts of a few.”
 
In the recent past, some developments like Russian successful airstrikes on the ISIS targets in the
 
northern Syria—its coalition with Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon-based Hezbollah in support of
 
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, retreat of the CIA-supported rebels and mercenaries after their
 
failure to topple his government, proving links of Al-Qaeda and ISIS with America and Israeli,
 
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s clear-cut statement, indicating the Zionist regime in the US
 
and  Israel for their “fake war on ISIL”, and remarking, “NWO (New World Order) agents and
 
Satan worshipers simply have no clothes,” including the first Vienna meeting on Syrian crisis,
 
where the US Secretary of State John Kerry agreed to keep the Syrian president in power
 
(Contrary to previous demand of regime change), for a unified state of Syria, not to allow ISIL
 
militant group to reign in Syria, and America’s decision of  sending 50 special forces to Syria
 
to help in taking down ISIS terrorists have clearly exposed hidden aims of the US global war on
 
terror which is based upon dual policy towards ISIS.
 
In these circumstances, as part of the Zionist conspiracy against the West, Muslims and the
 
patriot Americans, Israeli Secret agency Mossad utilized the services of ISIS terrorists in
 
arranging the November 13 terror attacks in Paris. In the post-Paris attacks, by producing anti-
 
Muslim phenomena like the propaganda of the so-called threat of Islamophobia, persecution of
 
the Muslims in the US, Europe and some other western countries, Israel-led America also got the
 
assistance of its western allies (NATO) against Russia. Now, as part of their ambivalent
 
approach, American jet fighters and those of its western coalition are targeting the ISIS terrorists
 
in Iraq and Syria.
 
Besides, in wake of the presidential election-campaign, ordinary Americans are focusing on
 
internal problems which are the result of prolonged war on terror. Patriot Americans are openly
 
criticizing the Zionist-protected policies of the US. Taking cognizance, Obama has asked Turkey
 
to withdraw its forces from Iraq’s territories. In the recent past, John Kerry gave ultimatum to the
 
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to agree for the two-state solution of the Palestinian dispute. 
 
Meanwhile, some recent developments have further exposed the dual strategy of the US-led
 
west.    The Russia-led coalition which have successfully been achieving its objectives have
 
broken the backbone of the ISIS terrorists, Al-Qaeda’s Al-Nusra Front and the rebels who have
 
vacated most of the areas of Syria and Iraq. On February 3, this year, Syrian troops backed by
 
Russian warplanes cut the last supply route, linking rebels and ISIS militants in Aleppo city.
 
Aleppo is near the Turkish border from where with the backing of the US-led west (Especially,
 
UK and France), Turkey has also been supporting the rebels and ISIS terrorists, while Saudi
 
Arabia and some other Gulf countries like Qatar are funding them to oust the Assad’s regime.
 
It is of particular attention that the representatives of the rebels had refused to participate in the
 
recently-held Geneva peace talks (Held on February 1) by demanding that first Russia should
 
stop airstrikes. When John Kerry insisted them to “seize the opportunity” to participate in UN-
 
backed peace talks on Syria, they agreed to participate. It has clearly exposed America’s dual
 
Taking note of the weak position of the ISIS militants and rebels who received a greater blow,
 
their representatives in Geneva who first time participated in talks, demanded that Russia-led
 
coalition should stop siege of Aleppo city for the success of negotiations. The UN has suspended
 
peace talks, and now would resume on February 25.
 
As part of the double game, America and its allies, particularly France have held Russia and
 
Syrian President Assad responsible for the suspension of Geneva peace talks.
 
It is worth-mentioning that CIA-Mossad-backed ISIS commanders who are fleeing Iraq and
 
Syria are taking shelter in Libya. In this context, on February 3, 2016, BBC pointed out, “Senior
 
commanders from so-called Islamic State (IS) have moved to Libya from Iraq and Syria
 
On the one side, on February 4, this year, a donor conference held in London where the world’s
 
rich countries, particularly Germany, Britain, the US and EU pledged billions of dollars to help
 
Syrian refugees, scattered around the world, and especially those who have taken shelter in
 
Europe, while on the other, they are still backing the rebels and ISIS terrorists, and are also
 
targeting them through areal strikes.
 
Now, taking cognizance of the weak leverage of bargaining of the US-led western countries on
 
Syrian question, some countries like Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israeli are encouraging the ISIS
 
militants to continue terror attacks on the Shias and in Syria. Besides previous similar assaults in
 
Syria, ISIS claimed responsibility for a triple bombing which killed 45 people near a Shia shrine
 
in Damascus, on January 31, 2015.
 
As regards manipulation of the Syrian crisis, notably, on February 1, this year, the Russian
 
Defense Ministry has presented video evidence which shows Turkish military shelling on the
 
Syrian territory.
 
While, in case of Afghanistan, there are several groups of Al-Qaeda, ISIS and Taliban like the
 
Afghan-based Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Some of them are being used by secret
 
agencies like CIA, Israeli Mossad and Indian RAW to obtain the collective and individual
 
designs of their countries against Pakistan and Middle Eastern countries. India and Israel which
 
want to prolong the stay of the US-led NATO troops in Afghanistan which have become the
 
center of covert activities, are exploiting their dual policy, particularly of America against
 
Pakistan, China and Iran. Terrorists of TTP and ISIS which are strategic assets of the CIA have
 
claimed responsibility for several terror attacks inside Pakistan, including at Charsadda’s
 
university of Pakistan and recent ones in Afghanistan.
 
By utilizing the vicious circle of terrorism and the dual policy of America, some western
 
countries, Israel and India, Al-Qaeda, ISIS and TTP also employ double game. Besides working
 
for CIA, Mossad and RAW, these militant outfits also motivate the common Muslims for suicide
 
attacks and terror-related activities as part of Jihad. Otherwise, Jihad does not permit suicide
 
attacks. Like other religions, Islam is a religion of peace and prohibits any sort of terrorism.
 
Iraq-based ISIS which itself broke away from Al-Qaeda, proclaimed a worldwide caliphate by its
 
leader Abu Baker al-Baghdadi, on 29 June 2014. ISIS’s criminal actions had widely been
 
criticized in the world, with many Islamic communities judging the group to be unrepresentative
 
of Islam. One of ISIS’s goals has been to establish a radical Sunni Islamic state in Iraq, Syria,
 
Jordan, Palestine etc. (Levant region). It has been used by the US and Israel for distorting the
 
image of Islam and for inciting the feelings of western Christians and Kurds against Muslims.
 
For the purpose, like Al-Qaeda, it is widely known for its violent acts and propaganda which
 
includes Internet videos of beheadings etc. However, besides some Islamic countries, a majority
 
of the religious extremists (Muslims) from the western world joined the ISIS. In this context,
 
oblivion on the part of the west about ISIS recruits from their countries is questionable.
 
Saudi Arabian rulers who have already been funding the ISIS against Iran and Syria, have been
 
fighting for survival of their kingship. In accordance with Israel-led American secret strategy,
 
Saudi Arabia has chosen the path of leading unrest in the Middle East by promoting sectarian
 
violence. Notably, the US decided to revive the phony war on terror through Saudi Arabia.
 
American President Obama knew that much resentment is found in the Muslim countries against
 
the US and Israel. Therefore, he directed Saudi Arabia to form an alliance of the Sunni countries
 
to wage a war against the ISIS. On December 15, 2015, Riyadh which also wanted to protect its
 
monarchy in the pretext of fighting the ISIS terrorists, announced a 34-state Sunni-based military
 
alliance. Washington immediately welcomed the alliance.
 
It is noteworthy that like the drastic aftermath of 9/11 tragedy, rulers and politicians of the US-
 
led western countries, especially of Europe are again misguiding their general public by creating
 
chauvinism against the Muslim World by exploiting the critical situation, after the Paris disaster
 
and the shooting at San Bernardino, California. In fact, fault cannot be laid on the ordinary
 
citizens who are swayed by stereotypes and prejudices created by the political leaders who keep
 
on manipulating any crisis for their own self-interests with the sole aim of getting their
 
sympathies to increase their vote bank. There are equal strong pressures from religious and
 
nationalist forces in wake of global war on terror which are dividing the world on religious lines.
 
As regards the anti-Muslim policy, on January 18, 2015, British Prime Minister David Cameron
 
announced that Muslim women who fail to learn English to a high enough standard could face
 
deportation from Britain. He also suggested that poor English skills can leave people “more
 
susceptible to the messages of groups like Islamic State (IS).”
 
Cameroon was quickly criticized by Andy Burnham, the shadow home secretary, Sayeeda Warsi,
 
the Tory peer and former party co-chairman for singling out Muslim women as the main group.
 
They said, “His clumsy approach to challenging extremism is unfairly stigmatising a whole
 
community…evidence suggests [Racial] gang culture, Islamophobia, [and] responses to foreign
 
policy are greater drivers of radicalisation” than failure to learn English.”
 
Earlier, Donald Trump, the leading contender to become the Republican Party’s nominee
 
for US presidential candidate had called for a ban on Muslims, entering the United States in
 
response to the San Bernardino shooting.
 
In the past few days, tensions over Europe’s migrant crisis led to violence in Sweden and the
 
UK, with a masked mob calling for attacks on foreigners in Stockholm, and nearly 100 men
 
gathered on January 29, resulted into clashes between pro-and anti-migrant demonstrators in the
 
British town of Dover.
 
And under the threat of ISIS, especially European governments and EU have been expelling the
 
immigrants from their countries, while discouraging more Syrian refugees. On the other side,
 
they are also trying to resolve the Syrian crisis. However, it shows contradictory policy.
 
On January 25, 2016, The EU’s law enforcement agency Europol revealed that ISIS have set up
 
special forces style training camps in Europe, as they plot mass casualty civilian strikes on the
 
Nevertheless, it is due to the dual policy of the US-led western world that ISIS which is most
 
dangerous terrorist group than Al-Qaeda is rapidly spreading its tentacles to all over the world.
 
On January 14, 2015, multiple blasts and gunfire killed seven people and jolted the Indonesian
 
capital Jakarta. The ISIS claimed responsibility. The Indonesian investigative agency disclosed
 
that the ISIS carried out the attacks with the help of home-grown terrorists. On October 4, 2015,
 
ISIS-affiliated militant outfit Boko Haram claims responsibility for Nigeria’s deadly suicide
 
bombings which killed 18 people on October 4.
 
Despite widespread protests across the country in recent days, the French government confirmed
 
on February 3 that it would seek a three-month extension of the state of emergency it declared
 
after the Paris attacks. It indicates that if ISIS conducts more terror attacks in France and other
 
European countries, they would move towards autocracy.
 
Nonetheless, either Muslims are being massacred by terrorist groups in Syria, Iraq and Pakistan
 
or Christians in Nigeria or anywhere—or they are targeted by racialists, all these acts are
 
strongly condemnable, as they are all human beings. Hence, instead of pursuing dual strategy
 
about ISIS which is proving extremely counterproductive, the US and its allies must better agree
 
for an international coalition to fight this militant outfit and Al-Qaeda.
 
In this regard, President Putin has said on January 11, 2015, “The West of exacerbating
 
international crises that had contributed to it…we are faced with common threats, and we still
 
want all countries, both in Europe and the whole world, to join their efforts to combat these
 
If dual policy towards Al-Qaeda and especially ISIS continues by the US-led western countries,
 
it will create chaos in the Middle East, enveloping the entire world, and may culminate into
 
“Clash of Civilizations.” Any major war or such a clash will take the US and Europe to the
 
era—from 1511 to 1648 when Europe witnessed a prolonged arena of barbarism, religious
 
bigotry and intolerance, resulting into beastly violence. 
 
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants,
 
Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations
 
Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com
 
Courtesy: The Veterans Today

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Ramifications of military adventurism in Syria

Ramifications of military adventurism in Syria

Asif Haroon Raja

Patrick J. Buchman, an American political commentator stated on March, 24, 2003, “There is a memo at the Pentagon that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off Iran.” George W. Bush also talked of axis of evil in which North Korea was the only non-Muslim country.   Joint Forces Staff College Norfolk, Virginia suggested threatening Saudi Arabia with starvation, reducing Islam to cult status and Mecca, Medina destroyed. Out of seven target countries, three have been destroyed and one divided, one is being destroyed and after its destruction it will become easier to destroy the remaining two.  Emphasis is on piecemeal destruction.

Consequent to non-resolution of Palestinian issue and the ongoing Arab Spring, the Middle Eastern countries that have remained in the iron grip of US backed authoritarian rulers for many decades are in revolt. The old order of subservience to US dictated policies has been replaced by hatred and defiance. The US for all practical purposes has lost its moral authority in the Middle East, as has been amply confirmed by Robert Fisk. Egypt which had remained a secure base of USA and CIA since the times of Anwar Sadat has become insecure in the aftermath of Hosni Mubarak’s ouster in February 2011 by the people, followed by democratically elected Muhammad Morsi and his Islamic regime in July 2013 by Egyptian military.

Lebanon which was in control of CIA and Israel is now dominated by Iran backed Hezbollah which is connected with Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria. Hamas which was democratically elected in 2011 holds on to Gaza Strip despite being hounded by Israel. Iran refuses to roll back its nuclear program despite tough sanctions and recent regime change.  Pakistan refuses to roll back or hand over its nukes to USA in spite of massive covert war launched since 2002 and defiantly stands up to external challenges.  

Having forcibly changed Qaddafi’s regime in Syria, the US and its western allies are now fully focused towards Syria since early 2011 to bring down Assad’s regime. Billions of dollars are being pumped in in-support of the Syrian rebels to keep the civil war inflamed. In April 2012 Summit held in Turkey and attended by 70 nations, a total of $ 100 million was pledged by Saudi Arabia, Qatar Kuwait and UAE to pay salaries to rebels Free Army. The US pledged $12 million and London $800,000 including satellite communication and night vision goggles. NATO military advisers based in Syria have been providing guidance to the rebels. High salaries provided to the rebels were a bait to lure government soldiers to defect.

Almost 30-month old civil war in Syria which has cost over 100,000 lives including 40,000 civilians and resulted in displacement of seven million including two million fleeing to other countries has suddenly become explosive because of use of chemical weapons in Ghouta near Damascus on August 21 killing 1400 people including children. Syrian President Assad categorically denied the charge, but international imperial alliance forged between NATO and but Arab client states seeking perpetuation of violence within Syria has a fixed agenda of his forcible removal.   

Truculent Obama tied his hands by impulsively blurting that if Syria crosses the red line, it will face military action. He is now pumped up and wants to strike Syria irrespective of the consequences. While the US Senate has approved military action, Obama is now seeking Congress approval for strikes against Syria. Although US officials insist that US limited military intervention in Syria in which no boots will be used on ground is not aimed at regime change, but to deter Assad from reusing chemical weapons; however, the fact remains that support to Syrian rebels is being extended by the US to bring down Assad regime which is anti-US and anti-Israel and pro-Russia and install pro-US regime. This change in US-Israel-Arabs view would weaken and isolate both Iran and Hezbollah and help in attacking Iran at a later date.

British PM David Cameron, eager to emulate disgraced Tony Blair hastened to state that there was no doubt about the use of nerve gas by Syrian regime. British lawmakers however tripped him and passed a resolution that UK wouldn’t support military action. This move has raised the image of Britain but has caused a setback to both Cameron and Obama. France however, is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with USA but has now modified its stance by saying that UNSC approval is necessary. John Kerry is carrying out intense lobbying to win over allies.

Like in case of Iraq in 2003 when millions protested in Europe and in USA against intended invasion, the Europeans and Americans weary of war and suffering the impact of economic depression have once again come out on the streets, protesting against contemplated use of force in Syria. Both the US and British leaders have lost their credibility after their big lies to justify interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq and false promises of restoring peace and democracy. The people are not prepared to get duped again since the two misadventures resulted in destruction of two sovereign countries and loss of over two million lives together with displacement of millions. They now know that the dramas were enacted to serve selfish interests of the elites only. The common people had no share in the loot.

The drama of gas attack has been staged since the rebels despite being armed to teeth are not making any headway and are getting demoralized while the government forces are rapidly gaining ground. Hezbollah has helped in getting Qusayr vacated by the rebels and area north of Homs is also on the verge of falling to Syrian forces. Notwithstanding that minority Alawides under Assad rule majority Sunnis, and Assad has used excessive force against the rebels ruthlessly; he having witnessed the tragic end of Qaddafi cannot afford softness. The rebels have been no less brutal. They have been chided by Human Rights Watch for committing myriad human-rights abuses against Syrian people. They have been involved in kidnapping, detention, torture of security forces, pro-government elements and militias.    

Limited strikes by NATO, which include cruise missiles, air strikes and drones, would aim at crippling the Syrian air defence, air power, rockets and artillery sites, tanks and APCs, ammunition dumps and all such military targets which have enabled the Syrian armed forces to gain an upper edge over rebels. Such a destructive exercise had been undertaken by UK-France military against Libyan regime in support of rebels. This support will be available to Syrian rebels for their final assault on Damascus. The US thinks that US intervention will help in boosting the sagging morale of Syrian rebels. The US has become more assertive after the change of leadership in Tehran under the assumption that the new Iranian President Rouhani being moderate will not act recklessly like his predecessor.     

It is indeed ironic that loss of 100,000 lives has not evoked any sympathy in US led western world but loss of 1400 lives has made them grief stricken. On what moral grounds Obama and his hawkish team are huffing and puffing and trying to moralize Syrian regime when the US military is occupying Afghanistan since November 2001 and devastating the country and its people? Are drones used with impunity in FATA, Somalia and Yemen less lethal than chemical weapons?  Is Sarin gas deadlier than nuclear bombs dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or Agent Orange in Vietnam, or cluster bombs, daisy cutters and depleted uranium in Afghanistan, or white phosphorous in Fallujah (Iraq)?  Aren’t US and UK the biggest manufacturers of chemicals and commercializing the product in international market?

Why such a hullabaloo over poisonous chemicals when these were used by Iraq against the Kurds of Hallabjah in 1988 and against Iran’s military in the Iran-Iraq war in Fao Peninsula, or by Russia in Chechnya. The US and the West didn’t utter a word since at that time Saddam was a good boy being their ally and Chechnyans were Muslims. Where were their moral scruples when Israeli forces used white phosphorous and cluster bombs against Gazans? Why are US and Russia holding on to their stockpiles of chemical weapons when they were required to destroy them by April 2012?  What role OIC and Arab League are playing to defuse the volatile situation? Pathetic Arab League is paradoxically egging on the UN to take measures against Syria, which implies ‘sort out Assad regime’. Saudi Arabia is more worried about Shia threat and is not inclined towards peaceful resolution of the conflict. Why Saudi Arabia didn’t object when the US pitched Shias against Sunnis in Iraq? How is it so sure that Iran and not Israel will harm it?          

How does the US leadership lecture on human rights when it is the biggest violator of human rights? Blaming Syrian regime is like the pot calling the kettle black. While Syria has no record of using chemicals or other prohibited weapons, the US track record on this account is dismal. While there is little doubt that Sarin nerve gas was used at Ghouta, what is the proof that Syrian troops and not the rebels have used it? The US has no evidence to support its contention and is giving no importance to UN inspectors. There are strong suspicions that chemical weapons were provided to the rebels by their western backers in the wake of Syrian forces gaining an upper edge over the utterly demoralized rebels. Col Lawrence Wilkerson in his article appearing in Jerusalem Post suspects that Israel may be behind it.   

 
 

It is surprising that Assad is unacceptable to the US and a hotchpotch future government of rebels comprising local Sunni Syrians, al-Qaeda elements and Salafis will be acceptable. Military intervention against a sovereign state and that too without UNSC approval, whether limited in scale or full scale, is illegal and condemnable. Military action will further fuel civil war and there is likelihood that it may lead to wider conflagration with dangerous repercussions for the region which is already in a flux. Any glimmer of hope for ending the conflict peacefully will die down.

Libya stood alone to face the wrath of NATO, but Syria is not alone. Russia and Iran have high stakes in Syria and both have cautioned the US that they too have options to exercise. If Israel is important for USA, so is Syria for Russia since it is its oldest and sole reliable ally in Middle East. Apart from oil interest, Russia cannot afford to lose its strategically important deep-sea port facility in Tartars in Mediterranean Sea. Loss of Assad will be a strategic blow to Iran and will make it vulnerable. Hezbollah in Lebanon is a close ally of Syria and will not sit idle. Syrian conflict has sharpened Shia-Sunni divide, which by itself has serious ramifications for the Muslim world.

With such high stakes together with presence of so many aircraft carriers and warships of USA, Britain and Russia in Mediterranean Sea, the obtaining environment in the Middle East has made the overall situation perilous. In case of US intervention in Syria, the affected countries and their allies may wittingly or unwittingly get drawn into the Syrian inferno and may trigger a 3rd World War.

The writer is a retired Brig, defence analyst, researcher and columnist and author of books. asifharoonraja@gmail.com

 

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Turkish Weekly: Turkey, Pakistan hold joint air, naval forces exercises

The Turkish and Pakistani military forces have initiated two joint military exercises, a naval operations exercise and an air force cooperation drill, beginning on Monday Today`s Zaman reported.

 

According to a statement released by the General Staff, the combined naval military exercise code-named “Aman-2013,” being held at the invitation of the Pakistani naval forces, will be conducted from March 4 to 8 in the Indian Ocean. The aim of the exercise is “to show a common determination against terrorist and criminal events in a naval operating area” and “to contribute to international peace and stability,” as it was described in the official statement.

 

 

The aerial operation, called “Indus Viper-2013,” which will be held at the Mushaf Air Base in the Punjab province of Pakistan, is to take place between March 4 and 18. The goal of the operation is “to contribute to the development of military cooperation between Turkish and Pakistani air forces, to develop coordination between the participating elements of the operation and to improve information and experience sharing on different types of aircraft and armament.”

Turkey will participate in the naval exercise with the frigate TCG Gokova (F-496), one underwater defense and one underwater assault team and two staff officers. Various units from Australia, Bangladesh, China, England, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United States will also participate, according to the General Staff statement.

Five Turkish F-16 fighter jets will join the air force exercise. A previous Indus Viper operation took place at the Mushaf Air Base in 2008.

 

 

 

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