|Anthony Freda Art|
Stephen Lendman, Contributor
Obama didn’t miss a beat. He picked up where he left off. He’s America’s most belligerent leader. He’s waging multiple direct and proxy wars abroad and at home by other means.
Despite pressing unresolved domestic issues, he celebrated his electoral victory belligerently.
On November 7, he bombed Yemen. Washington’s been waging proxy war there for years. Daily attacks occur. Drones are the weapon of choice.
Remote warriors conduct sanitized killing on the cheap. Death and injury tolls rise. Mostly civilians are harmed. On November 8, Press TV headlined “US drone kills three in Yemen.” US media scoundrels ignored it.
Hours after Obama’s reelection, a “drone strike near the Yemeni capital has killed three people and injured two others.”
Obama’s victory lap also included more Iranian sanctions. Multiple rounds imposed are illegal. A November 8 State Department press release announced the latest measure, headlining:
“Designations of Iranian Individuals and Entities for Censorship Activities Under the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act and Executive Order 13628.”
Five Iranian entities and four individuals were targeted. Accusations are part of America’s longstanding anti-Iranian hostility.
Washington claims they engage in “censorship or other activities that prohibit, limit, or penalize freedom of expression or assembly by citizens of Iran, or that limit access to print or broadcast media, including by jamming international satellite broadcasts into Iran, and related activities.”
“U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in transactions involving the designated individuals or entities, and all designated individuals and members of designated entities are subject to a ban on travel to the United States. This action also blocks, or freezes, the property and interests in property of designated individuals or entities.”
The press release disingenuously claimed Washington “will continue to stand with the Iranian people in their quest to protect their dignity and freedoms and prevent the Iranian Government from creating an ‘electronic curtain’ to cut Iranian citizens off from the rest of the world.”
Sanctions in place impose enormous hardships on Iranian civilians. A health crisis exists. Vital medications aren’t available or are in short supply. Medical equipment breaks down for lack of spare parts.
Human suffering and deaths result. Crimes against humanity breach fundamental international law. Civilians must be protected at all times.
Targeting nonbelligerent countries is lawless and unconscionable. Washington prioritizes it. Obama is America’s most belligerent president in history. He exceeded the worst of his predecessor. His second term may eclipse his war on humanity so far.
A previous article explained US and Israeli anti-Iranian red lines, timelines, deadlines, sanctions, sabotage, subversion, cyber attacks, assassinations, saber rattling, falsified IAEA hype, ad nauseam warmongering, Obama/Netanyahu bluster, spurious accusations, manipulated to fail P5+1 talks, and inflammatory headlines intended to promote regime change and war.
Iran and Syria top America’s target list. Syrian opposition groups wrap up their Doha meeting Friday. AFP said opposition elements are “under pressure to unite and bring in all parties (under) new leadership with Islamists heavily represented.”
On Thursday, a 40-member general secretariat was elected. On Friday, a president will be chosen. Dissension and disarray marked days of discussions.
Washington wants officials in place serving US interests. Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Clinton issued “direct orders about what the Syrian opposition should do to form a ‘government in exile’ and” who’d be permitted to join it.
Syrian National Council (SNC) head Abdelbaset Sieda objected to being marginalized and perhaps shut out. It’s unclear what’s in place.
On November 7, the UK Telegraph headlined “Syrian opposition plan falls apart on eve of Doha conference,” saying:
Ahead of Thursday’s meeting, three dissident factions pulled out. Representatives from the National Coordinating Committee, Syrian Democratic Platform, and Kurdish minority rejected Clinton’s plan. An unnamed Western source said, “There are too many people against this initiative for it to work now.”
SNC military representative Jamal al-Wa’ard said, “The components that were not in the SNC are not coming. The idea of a bigger coalition initiative has failed.”
SNC members rejected Western efforts to impose a solution on Syria. Deputy Revolutionary Council head Ahmed Zaidan said, “Everyone feels that this initiative is imposed. They’ve weaved the cloth but now there is no one to wear it.”
Washington-style diplomacy imposes its will on others whether or not they concur. America, Britain and France announced their support for newly appointed Secretariat members “as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.”
Financial and military support will be provided. It’s been ongoing since last year. Most weapons used come from Washington, Britain, France, and other NATO members.
British Prime Minister David Cameron toured Middle East countries to sell arms. He also wants the 2011 Syrian weapons embargo lifted. The measure’s text in part says:
“By way of derogation….the competent authorities in the Member States….may authorize the sale, supply, transfer or export of equipment which might be used for internal repression, under such conditions as they deem appropriate, if they determine that such equipment is intended solely for humanitarian or protective use.”
Cameron wants the meaning twisted to do openly what’s been ongoing covertly since conflict began last year. The London Guardian said he’ll press Obama to prioritize Syria. He wants stepped up efforts to oust Assad.
He said he’s determined to act. “That means more help for the opposition, more pressure at the UN, more help for the refugees, more work with the neighbors but also a general sort of:”
“Look, let’s be frank what we’ve done for the last 18 months hasn’t been enough. The slaughter continues. The bloodshed is appalling, the bad effects it’s having on the region, the radicalization but also the humanitarian crisis that is engulfing Syria.”
He wants more aggressive options on the table. Expect direct Western intervention if what he has in mind fails. With US elections concluded, it’s more likely. It could happen early next year or sooner.
On November 8, Russia Today interviewed Assad. He’ll not leave Syria, he stressed. He’ll live or die there. He was frank and clear, saying:
“We are the last stronghold of secularism and stability in the region and coexistence, let’s say, it will have a domino effect that will affect the world from the Atlantic to the Pacific and you know the implication on the rest of the world.”
“I am not a puppet. I was not made by the West to go to the West or to any other country,” he said. “I am Syrian, I was made in Syria, I have to live in Syria and die in Syria.”
He doesn’t expect direct Western intervention, but isn’t sure what’s next. He calls “the price of (possible foreign) invasion….more than the whole world can afford.”
“My enemy is terrorism and instability in Syria.”
“The West creates enemies. In the past, it was the communism then it became Islam, and then it became Saddam Hussein for a different reason. Now, they want to create a new enemy represented by Bashar.”
“The fight now is not the president’s fight – it is Syrians’ fight to defend their country.”
It’s “not about the power of the President. It is about the whole society.”
“Syria faces not a civil war, but terrorism by proxies….(F)oreign fighters (came) from abroad.”
“Without foreign rebel fighters and smuggled weapons, we could finish everything in weeks.”
“Al-Qaeda’s final aim is an Islamic emirate in Syria.”
He’ll talk with anyone willing to help Syrians. He won’t waste time with elements wanting conflict to persist for their own interests.
“We are fighting terrorism. We are implementing our constitution by protecting the Syrian people.”
Asked if he’d do anything differently from when protests began last March, he said, “I would do what I did on March 15 (2011).”
“Exactly the same. (He’d) ask different parties to have dialogue and stand against terrorists because that is how it started. It did not start as marches.”
“The umbrella or cover was the marches, but within those marches you had militants who started shooting civilians and the army at the same time.”
“Maybe on the tactical level, you could have done something different but as a president you are not tactical. You always take the decision on a strategic level which is something different.”
He hopes Syria will emerge from conflict safe, stable, secure, and more prosperous. He knows it won’t happen soon. Washington’s regime change plans won’t change. Achieving them is something else entirely.
A Final Comment
The longer conflict persists, the more public support grows for Assad. He’s the last line of defense for ordinary Syrians. Even those against him rely on security forces for help.
Western-backed foreign mercenaries lack support and credibility. Syrians deplore who they are and what they stand for. They want Syria transformed into a fundamentalist caliphate. They want Sharia replacing secular law.
Syrians want to choose their own form of government. They don’t want outsiders doing it for them. Foreign invader control will make Syria ungovernable like Libya. People know what’s going on there and want no part of it.
Even The New York Times expressed some rare candor. It admitted that “rebel fighters….are losing crucial support from a public increasingly disgusted by the actions of some rebels, including poorly planned missions, senseless destruction, criminal behavior and the coldblooded killing of prisoners.”
The shift in public sentiment is palpable. Radicalized opposition elements scare people. Daily bloodshed reminds everyone of what’s coming if they gain control.
An unnamed Saraqib Syrian said, “They were supposed to be the people on whom we depend to build a civil society.” Instead, they’re destroying it.
An Aleppo resident “begged rebels not to camp in a neighborhood telecommunications office. But they did, and government attacks knocked out phone service.”
“One fighter shot into the air when customers at a bakery did not let him cut into a long line for bread. Another was enraged when a man washing his car accidentally splashed him. He shot at him.” He escaped unharmed.
Twenty months after conflict began, people “are trapped in a darkening mood of despair, revulsion and fear that neither side can end the conflict.”
“The most significant change is (that people openly) criticize rebels.”
“Small acts of petty humiliation and atrocities like executions have led many more Syrians to believe that (many) rebels are (morally) depraved….”
They “forced government soldiers from a milk factory, then destroyed it, even though residents needed the milk and had good relations with the owner.”
“They shelled the factory and stole everything. Those are repulsive acts.”
Syrians also know who bears responsibility for months of conflict and what’s at stake. Like others throughout the region, they deplore Washington for good reason. They want to live free from Western dominance. They may end up dying for it.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His new book is titled How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening. http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/