The Recent Syria Controversy About the use of Chemical Weapons is Like a pre-Iraq Redux.
On March 15, 2013, a political fuse was lit in Syria. Syrian youth spontaneously went into the streets for protests against the Syrian government, and its leader Bashar al-Assad. Protesters accused the al-Assad government of committing various crimes. Some out rightly called for the overthrow of the government. Some didn't rule out an attempt to negotiate with the it.
After a lessening of the initial chaos, a movement was formed. The general phrase, "Syrian opposition" took hold, as well as the phrase, "Syrian Revolution." Various groups/organizations have participated. Still, attempts to establish unity among the factions-building a political structure, organizing, creating committees, choosing leaders-was a basically a failure.
Out of this, came the Syrian National Council, the process of its birth making it anything but "pro-democracy." The result of its creation caused a "civil war" within the opposition. Group members were in conflict with each other in a major struggle. Eventually, sectarianism exerted its influence.
What is the Syrian National Council?Specifically, its organizers and spokespersons have held major positions of international, and ideological, importance. For example:
The SNC poses as a "government-in-exile"; its current base is in Turkey.
It proclaims itself as THE sole representative of the Syrian Revolution.
It is generally made up of the economical/political right-wing, combined with religious fanatics.
The SNC supports foreign, military intervention.
The SNC's goal is to completely overthrow the al-Assad/Baathist government.
To get recruits from the protesting Syrian masses, the SNC attempted to exert its influence posing as a populist organization, and with emotional opportunism.
Basra Codman: Worked for the Ford Foundation in Cairo as director of governance and the International Cooperation Program. Became the executive director of the Arab Reform Initiative (ARI), started by the Council on Foreign Relations; more specifically, the U.S./Middle East Project within the CFR, which in turn is overseen by Brent Scowcroft, retired general and former national security advisor. Members include Zbigniew Brzezski, former national security advisor and Peter Sutherland, chairman of Goldman Sachs International. Kodmani is part of other organizations which include Lord Kerr, deputy chairman of Royal Dutch Shell, Charles Grant, former defense editor of the Economist, and super financier George Soros.
Radwan Ziadeh: An often-quoted representative of the SNC. He and other militarists, in Washington, tried to push Obama to militarily interfere in the Syrian conflict. Others signers included James Woolsey, a former CIA chief, and Karl Rove, Bush Jr.'s "ventriloquist." Ziadeh has strong connections to powerful Washington think-tanks.
Ausama Monajed: An often-quoted spokesperson for the SNC. Monajed has made strong, and shrill, accusations in media against Syrian militias. They have been loaded with a quantity of repeated scenarios: women raped, children and the elderly slaughtered, etc. which he said is shown on TV every day. No doubt these incidents have occurred, but individuals like Monajed, western-backed clients/pawns, tend to use appeals to emotion and fear on a similar level as their U.S. backers.
Michael Weiss: Not an SNC member, but said to be an expert on Syria and who is often-quoted in media. Weiss has said that an intervention in Syria is inevitable, or so he hopes. Weiss is director of communications and public relations for the Henry Jackson Society, an extreme group comprised of arm-chair warriors.
Hamza Fakher: Also in the "objective" media limelight. Nick Cohen of the Observer says that Fakher is "the most reliable source on the crimes of the regimes' news blackout hides." But Fakher has co-authored a piece called "the Henry Jackson Society Briefing." His fellow author was Michael Weiss, the society's director. Fahker is also a member of the Strategic Research and Communication Centre in London. This is run by Ausama Monajed, making him Fakher's boss.
The SNC is aided by a host of groups and programs in and out of the U.S., as well as the government itself. The funding is in the 100s of millions, and the various entities have links to the individuals described above.
U.S. leaders have tended to use appeals to fear and hysteria to influence/manipulate the U.S. citizenry into supporting imperial wars. The Iraq War, pushed by the Bush Jr. administration, generally with disinformation, is an outrageous example that U.S. citizens should learn from. It is recent history.
Regarding Syria, The Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry produced an unclassified white paper asserting with 100% certainty that al-Assad used chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict. But it was, in Steve Weissman's words (RSN article, 09/15, 2013),"remarkably free of any facts that independent investigators could check out," referring to Robert Parry's piece on the issue.
The entangled relationships the United States forges with foreign, junior partners bent on a "democracy" for the few has put the U.S. in no position to judge. Impatiently pushing for war without proper investigations by a UN body has actually been part of the "script." U.S. leaders, of course, omit the obvious: U.S.-provoked wars have resulted in the use of napalm, agent orange, depleted uranium and white phosphorus on foreign populations, among other WMDs.
And a western-backed entity like the Syria National Council winds up becoming the true benefactors of aid, rather than the masses.
(Source for information on individual Syrian spokespersons, leaders and outside supporters: Skelton, "The Syrian Opposition: Who' Doing the Talking," 7/13/2012, Information Clearing House.)
© 2013 David Starr