Spreading confusion with facts? Or, hey, isn’t it about time for another war?


From CNN affiliate, Gant Daily:
“The White House said Tuesday the Syrian regime and Russia are trying to “confuse the world community about who is responsible for using chemical weapons against the Syrian people in this and earlier attacks.”
Yes. Russia and Syria are trying to confuse the world with those damn, pesky FACTS! Facts like these:
 
From the U.N. report on Ghouta: Appendix 5, p. 18
 
“Limitations: Fragments and other possible evidence have clearly been handled/moved prior to the arrival of the investigation team.”
 
Appendix 5, p. 22
 
“Limitations: During the time spent at these locations, individuals arrived carrying other suspected munitions indicating that such potential evidence is being moved and possibly manipulated.”
 
Or how about, from a previous post : 

“In Ghouta, the U.S. insisted the chemical weapons attacks were carried out by the regime, based on it’s own independent evidence? This same evidence was examined by Theodor Postol, a weapons expert at MIT (that’s right, Massachusetts Institute of Technology), who concluded that the rockets, “could not possibly have been fired at East Ghouta from the ‘heart’, or from the Eastern edge, of the Syrian government controlled area shown in the intelligence map published by the White House on August 30, 2013.”

 
Also, from Carla del Ponte, a member of the UN commission of inquiry, about Khan Al Assal in 2012:
 
“Testimony from victims of the conflict in Syria suggests rebels have used the nerve agent, sarin, a leading member of a UN commission of inquiry has said.”
 
“I was a little bit stupefied by the first indications we got… they were about the use of nerve gas by the opposition,” she said.”
 
Gee, this is so confusing. On the one hand, the U.S. government and media insist the Syrian government has used chemical weapons. On the other hand, NO EVIDENCE has EVER been presented that held up to any scrutiny at all, showing the Syrian government used chemical weapons. All the evidence cited by the U.S. government had been tampered with, or discounted by chemical weapons EXPERTS. Meanwhile, the only conclusion about chemical weapons use ever drawn by U.N. investigators pointed to rebels using it. But could they? Did they have the means? Well, apparently, yes.
From Reuters:
“Earlier, several Turkish newspapers had reported that 12 people from Syria’s al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front who allegedly had been planning an attack inside Turkey and were in possession of 2 kg (4.5 pounds) of sarin, had been detained in Adana.”
From a Turkish newspaper, Hurriyet Daily News, citing an incident following the Adana events:
“Para-military police were forced to shoot out the tires of the vehicles to stop them, and three drivers jumped out and fled in the direction of Syria. One of them was arrested, the General Staff said, without specifying the nationality of the suspect. The haul of sulfur and the other unidentified substance will be examined by a team of army specialists, the statement said.

Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense (CBRN) units from the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency have been examining the seized material, noted the statement.”

 
Oh those pesky, pesky facts. Isn’t it just easier to ignore them and keep repeating the mantra, Syrian government….chemical weapons….Syrian government….chemical weapons….and anyway, isn’t it about time for another war? If one won’t conveniently present itself to us, isn’t it the U.S. government’s job to create one for us? After all, is it even possible to make America great again if we’re not slaughtering millions of innocent people halfway around the world in the process? 
 
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An analysis of economic and political problems in Syria before the war


Someone recently asked me, given my clear and unwavering support for the Syrian government in the Syrian war, if there was any single criticism I could make about the Syrian government. (I think they somehow believe I’m so blinded by, gee, I don’t know what, infatuation, that I think the Syrian government is perfect – as if any government is or could be).

I would also like to state that while I do believe these are valid points, I don’t think any of them justifies violently overthrowing the government. The president of Syria, Bashar Al-Assad, sincerely wanted to bring political and economic reform to Syria. He was hampered by what we call “the old guard” in the government. This is my opinion, but is also an opinion widely expressed by Syrians, even those that oppose the government. However, President Al Assad was able to enact some modest political and economic reforms. I believe that there was a possibility for larger and lasting economic and political reforms in Syria had the war not started, but I also believe that the war was created by outside forces that cared nothing for Syrian citizens and reforms within the country, but sought only to control the Syrian government to advance oil pipeline plans and geopolitical interests.

Nonetheless, it is worth considering these points, and I hope that the current truce leads to an end to the war, and the true political opposition within Syria and the Syrian government work together to begin to address the economic and political problems that were facing Syria before the regime change war tore our country apart. Anyway, here’s my list.

  1. The Syrian government should have had a path to citizenship for the Kurds and other ethnic minorities. I’m actually not sure if Palestinians and Armenians were granted citizenship, but I know the Kurds weren’t. Many Kurds would perhaps reject it, because of their desire for a Kurdish state, but I think many would have accepted it and their nationalistic feelings would have been more Syrian. This would have created more cohesion between the Kurds and the rest of the country. I have to mention too, that this came out of Gamal Abdul Nasser’s push for Pan-Arabism, which sought to create an Arab State, and thus excluded non-Arabs from citizenship. I think that one of Syria’s greatest strengths was the sense of nationalism that created a cohesive society where people didn’t separate themselves along ethnic or religions lines. Citizenship for all would strengthen that feeling. This doesn’t really have anything to do with the war. The Kurds are not fighting the Syrian government, but I do think in general, it was a mistake.
  2. The Syrian government should have ended the kind of corruption that was seen as creating winners and losers. In general, people were fed up with having to bribe people all the time, but that was a somewhat fair form of corruption. Everyone “tipped” the police, government officials, etc. more or less the same. And I now have many friends in the United States who say the system there was much better (initially they came here saying they hated all the bribery in Syria. But here they have found that since you can’t bribe anyone on a small level, government officials are always telling them “no.” They say, at least in Syria, I would have to pay, but I would get what I want.) But the nepotism was problematic in some parts of Syria. The people I know in Homs say it wasn’t an issue with employment, but friends in Latakia (Christians) say it was a problem in the north, where Alawites could get a job easily but Sunnis couldn’t because Alawites were more likely to know someone in a higher position at a large company, especially state companies like oil refineries or factories. This was seen as economically disadvantaging the Sunnis. Now, I have to say, in general, nepotism is a common practice in Syria (and hey, who are we kidding, the US too), but in the North, this became a big problem, as the drought pushed people off the land and into looking for factory work, highlighting this situation for many. Beyond this situation, I would say there was a general sense of frustration with the notion that friends and of the government were obscenely wealthy and the common man had no means of entry into that stratosphere (again to be fair, I think the same situation applies here in the U.S.)
  3. The drought was a major economic problem, which the government had no control over, BUT what I have heard and read is that friends of the Al Assad family were given the rights to large commercial farms and they over irrigated. Family farmers who had been in the region for generations complained, but the government did nothing to curb the practice. The locals felt that this damaged their farms, and exacerbated the drought by hastening the depletion of the water table. Additionally at this time, Turkey broke a water contract with Syria and Iraq, decreased the amount of water they were willing to sell to those countries, and entered into new, more lucrative contracts with Israel. Those three things created the perfect storm, and many Syrians lost their livelihood. It’s worth noting here that that may have been a strategy to destabilize Syria, as Turkey has been one of the leaders in the war to overthrow the Syrian government (in other words, their actions with the water contracts increased the economic woes of the farmers in the north). This lead to…
  4. Many from the north flocked to Aleppo, where they had a hard time finding jobs. The economy was depressed (that’s the US and Europe’s fault – it was the world economic collapse due to the housing and banking crisis), so jobs were hard to come by anyway, then the market was flooded with job seekers. Other complaints were that the government didn’t help the displaced by increasing the capacity at schools, housing, etc. Why did this turn the Sunnis in the north against the government?
  5. In part, because of the government actions or lack of action above. But also because radical clerics from Saudi Arabia were infiltrating the mosques in the north, Homs, and other regions, and preaching against the Syrian government. The Syrian government made a mistake here in allowing the rhetoric. They didn’t want to be seen as acting against the Sunnis, and also, acting against “religion” in general, since the country prides itself on separation of church and state and religious tolerance.
  6. This was a mistake, this tolerance for preaching jihad. But equally harmful to the government’s reputation was that they DID oppress secular activists who spoke out blatantly against the government. This was a mistake, in my opinion, because the secular activists mostly wanted political change and were unlikely to draw violent people to their cause (although there were many Muslim Brotherhood activists that tried to present themselves as secularists – they were often behind the violence at the protests). Still, many of the vocal secular critics would have pushed for change within the political system, not violent overthrow. As we know now, the violence came primarily from followers at the radical Sunni mosques, where they were not only incited, but armed as well.
  7. The Syrian government should have lifted emergency law when Bashar Al Assad was initially elected in 2001. At that time, there was no need for emergency law, and the tenor of the country changed. People were not afraid of being dragged out of their beds at night. Openly active, vocal critics of the regime still faced arrest, imprisonment, etc. for being vocal and active, but the average person didn’t have the same fear as they did under Hafez al Assad that the mukhabarrat (secret police) would come get you because a neighbor overheard you complaining. But while some older people did say, “you still have to be careful what you say”, the majority of people I talked to said they had no fear of that anymore, “the government doesn’t do that anymore. You can complain all you want as long as you don’t slander a specific person by name.” In other words, “the water system stinks. The government isn’t taking care of it like they should,” was fine, but “so-and-so in the water department is a corrupt thief,” was likely to get you in trouble. Mind you, I don’t agree with that (arrest for free speech that is. I’m fine with civil action for slander). Additionally, the government DID allow all other political parties to operate on a local level (EXCEPT the Muslim Brotherhood), and people didn’t fear being known as part of a political party that wasn’t Ba’ath. People in my family were in a different party and they met with their members all the time, discussed politics openly, made petitions to the local government representatives, etc. and everyone in the neighborhood knew who they were. They had absolutely zero level of fear that they would be dragged away and arrested. So I do believe the government made a mistake in not explicitly ending emergency law (and I think they should have enshrined freedom of speech and media in the constitution as well), but the oppression story is far more nuanced than some want it to be.

Now, many Syrians feel that the government should have been MUCH harsher in the beginning and put down the elements that were violent. This is oddly, the most common complaint I hear from Syrians, not that the government was too forceful, but that they weren’t forceful enough. I tend to disagree with the notion that that would have stopped the war. Since the war was clearly launched by the US, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar, nothing the Syrian government did inside of Syria was going to stop it. Except of course, President Al Assad agreeing to the oil pipeline plans of Saudi Arabia and Co.

Well, there’s my list. Let me know if you have any questions, comments, etc. (please be respectful).

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Life goes on. Thank God.


Talked to my brother and sister in Syria today. Pretty happy to get through to both of them on the same day. Doesn’t happen very often. My sister is at her in-laws right now. There’s not enough heating oil available so she and her family are staying there. The weather in Amar is much like the weather in Oregon, hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Usually a little hotter and colder though. I’m thinking about how cold it is in Oregon today and how I can easily stay warm, with my virtually unlimited supply of natural gas, and worrying about whether or not they’re able to actually stay warm or just able to avoid freezing.

My niece had a son last month. I’ve been trying to call her since, but haven’t been able to get through. She lives in another village, about 45 minutes away from Amar. There’s no rebels, or foreign fighters in the valley since the army came and removed them all at the beginning of 2014, which is good. And my nephew can attend college in Homs and stay in their house in the city at night. Which is also good. Food and everything else, including electricity, continues to be sporadically available and very, very expensive. Most days, people have two to four hours electricity, if they have it at all.

I was able to send some money to my family last month after the bake sale I held. Thank you to everyone who came and bought food and shared the day with me and my friends. In the New Year I’m going to have a kibbe making class to raise money again. I’ll post details here later.

If you pray, please pray for the safety of the Syrian people and an end to the war. If you’re politically active, please continue to contact our government and demand they stop funding all fighters against the Syrian government. Demand the US stop trying to force “regime change.” Congress just approved a $585 BILLION defense bill that authorizes arming and training Syrian rebels.

If only the government of Syria can stay in power and the rebels and other fighters be defeated, Syria and her people, and my family, will have a chance to survive and live a good life again. And I’ll have a chance to go and see my family again.

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A short update on my family and village.


I haven’t posted here in awhile. I’ve been so upset about the US bombing Northern Syria, which I just see as their entry point into the country to bring down the Syrian government, their only real goal since they started and funded this war in 2011. I’ve been angry and depressed and have been avoiding US news about the airstrikes.

However, I just spoke with my sister and thought I’d give you news from my village. Everyone in my family is fine. My sister’s youngest son has started his first year at a new college in Homs. Her eldest has two boys already and this year had a daughter. My nephew posted some pictures on Facebook, so I checked them out when we were talking. She is beautiful! I didn’t get a hold of my brother today, the line was bad and we couldn’t talk, but my sister told me his daughter had her baby. She has another son now, so that’s two boys and a girl for her as well. She lives in a village about 45 minutes away, and my sister-in-law is with her and her family there. My sister says there is nothing going on in or around the village. No fighting that is. People can freely and safely travel in the area during the day, although there is a lot of crime now, so people don’t travel the roads at night. Everything is very expensive and the money continues to devalue. Before the war, the exchange rate held steady for many years, at 50 lire to 1 dollar US. During the war, that increased to 120-140 lire to a dollar. It has gone up again to 200 lire to a dollar. This last increase came when the US government started bombing northern Syria. People are tired of the war and the difficulties of life there, but my family is doing well and they all still believe that the Syrian government and army will win the war and they will be able to rebuild their lives. This is not propaganda. This is what my family believes. Of course I worry because I know the US government doesn’t like to take no for an answer, but I pray that somehow, the US government will stop this horrible plan to destory Syria and place radical Muslims in power and my family will be able to rebuild their lives and I will be able to take my children there again and stay for the summer and enjoy the peace and safety that I knew before.

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War Criminal


It’s time for the American people to speak up. This is our money and this is what they’re doing with it.

Friends of Syria

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Congress votes tomorrow to send more weapons to ISIS and other terrorist groups


My recent comments to the President:

Does the President realize that the new bill to arm Syrian rebels doesn’t exclude arming people with terrorist links?!

From the article: “The bill would not exclude rebels with links to terrorist groups from participating in the program, since that would make it difficult to recruit trainees, the aide said.”

http://thehill.com/policy/defense/overnights/217797-overnight-defense-house-unveils-measure-to-arm-syrian-rebels

If we can’t find recruits without ties to terrorist organizations, doesn’t that mean the Syrian government was right to say their country is being attacked by terrorists?

I’m Syrian-American. As a Syrian, I want to say, stop destroying Syria. Bashar Al Assad is the president of Syria, the US has no right to depose him.

Just like Iraq, the US government has lied about Syria and President Al Assad. They have lied about the chemical weapons and the Syrian army attacking civilians to justify their attempts to overthrow a sovereign government and nation. President Al Assad is a good president and has the support of the majority of the Syrian people.

As an American taxpayer, I want to say, stop arming radical terrorists or fighters linked to them! Anyone in our government who arms these people is a traitor to this country. The long term goal of these people is to attack and destroy America.

Please call your congressional representatives today, and the president. The vote is set for Wednesday, September 17. Send this link to all your contacts. This is our money and they’re using it to arm people who want to destroy America. It’s up to us to stop them.

That’s the Capitol building in the photo below. It came from a Facebook page of the Al Aqsa Brigade, a division of the Free Syrian Army, the group our government keeps calling “moderate.”

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160 – 0. Where are the U.S. government calls for Netanyahu to step down?


“Ignoring international appeals for a cease-fire, Israel widened its range of Gaza bombing targets Saturday to include civilian institutions with suspected Hamas ties. One strike hit a center for the disabled, killing two patients and wounding four people. In a second attack, an Israeli warplane flattened the home of Gaza police chief Taysir al-Batsh and damaged a nearby mosque as evening prayers ended, killing at least 18 people, 17 of whom were al-Batsh family members. Fifty were wounded, including al-Batsh himself.”

http://news.msn.com/world/israel-widens-air-attack-gaza-death-toll-tops-125-1

At the beginning of protests in Syria, the US government and others called for Bashar Al Assad to step down because some protesters were killed. This despite the fact that some of these “peaceful protesters” had killed civilians and policeman at the very earliest rallies.

Palestinian rocket fire has killed ZERO Israelis. ZERO. And yet, Benjamin Netanyahu has killed 160 Palestinians with airstrikes and the airstrikes continue. In defiance of calls for “restraint,” Netanyahu has stated that the attacks will continue until he has decided they are done.

Where are the calls for his resignation? The hypocrisy is sickening.

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