Foiling Peace: The Imperial “Friends” of Syria

by Ben Schreiner / April 10th, 2012
Source: The Dissident Voice 

As the proposed April 10 Syrian ceasefire goes up in smoke, so, too, does the hope for a Syrian-led political process to resolve the crisis.

Quite predictably, the U.S. propaganda machine has rushed to lay blame for the abortive ceasefire solely at the feet of the Syrian government.  As a New York Times headline averred Monday: “Cease-fire in Doubt as Syria Demands New Conditions.”  These “new” conditions, the article detailed, include “‘written guarantees’ that rebels would stop fighting before it pulled back its troops under the cease-fire plan.”

Of course, the six-point peace initiative proposed by joint United Nations and Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan, which has already been agreed upon by the Syrian government, explicitly calls for the “cessation of violence in all its forms by all parties to protect civilians and stabilize the country.”

In service to propaganda, however, the U.S. media has largely sidestepped such matters in propagating a narrative of one-sided Syrian governmental intransigence.  Thus, the maneuvering over the weekend by the armed Syrian opposition to undermine the Tuesday ceasefire was largely ignored.  Yet as Reuters reported Saturday, “Rebel Free Syrian Army commander Colonel Riad al-Asaad said his men would cease fire, provided ‘the regime … withdraws from the cities and returns to its original barracks.’”  Reuters went on to admit, “Annan’s plan does not stipulate a complete army withdrawal to barracks or mention police.”

Still, the concerted move to undo the Annan peace initiative did not begin this past weekend.  Rather, it began a full week prior.

Imperial “Friends”

In their April 1 meeting in Turkey, the so-called “Friends of Syria” proudly announced their plans to increase foreign aid to the armed Syrian opposition.  At the summit of some 70 nations, Arab states Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates (all such bastions of democracy) pledged a total of $100 million to pay the individual salaries of those in the rebel “Free Syrian Army.” As Al Jazeera reported, “One delegate described the fund as a ‘pot of gold’ to undermine Assad’s army.”

Lest one forgets, the armed Syrian opposition, which the self-proclaimed “friends” of the Syrian people so readily laud and seek to now shower with cash, was publicly chided a mere two weeks ago by Human Rights Watch for committing myriad human-rights abuses against the Syrian people.  According to Human Rights Watch, armed opposition groups have been implicated in the “kidnapping, detention, and torture of security force members, government supporters, and people identified as members of pro-government militias, called shabeeha.

Unmoved by such reports, Washington, too, decided at the April Fools “Friends” summit to offer up its own gold.  In total, the U.S. pledged $12 million for “non-lethal” and “humanitarian” aid to the Syrian rebels.  For good measure, London pitched in an additional $800,000 in “practical non-lethal support.”  But as the New York Times reported, this “non-lethal” support will not only include satellite communications equipment, but night-vision goggles as well.

It ought to be quite clear, then, that despite the official claims to the contrary, such “non-lethal” aid will ultimately be put to lethal use.  Moreover, such equipment will undoubtedly help enhance the coordination between the Syrian rebels and their NATO military advisers, the latter whom are already on the ground inside Syria, according to multiple reports.

Such a torpedoing of the Annan proposed ceasefire and peace plan, though, is the direct aim of the imperial minded “Friends of Syria.”

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