Syrian Opposition in Disarray

Stephen Lendman

After 28 months of conflict, Assad defeated Washington's best laid plans. Its Syrian National Coalition (SNC) opposition lacks effective leadership. It lacks legitimacy. It's an artificial construct. It operates extrajudicially. It resembles a gang that can't shoot straight.

On July 8, another leader resigned. After four months, self-styled prime minister Ghassan Hitto announced he won't "continue in (his) capacity as prime minister tasked with leading the interim government, though (he) emphasize(s he'll) 'continue working for the interests of the revolution and towards achieving its objectives."

Hitto's resignation came two days after SNC members elected Ahmad Asi-al Jarba president. The post's been vacant since Mouaz al-Khatib resigned in April. He cited frustration over lack of enough international support, internal divisions, and disarray among "rebel" factions. Washington hoped he'd become Syria's Hamid Karzai. Maybe Obama has similar aspirations for al-Jarba. Washington's war on Syria's no "revolution." There's nothing civil about it. It's US proxy aggression. Foreign death squad invaders want Islamofacism replacing Syrian sovereignty.

Repeated changing of the guard shows SNC ranks in disarray. Al-Khatib and Hitto couldn't resolve SNC divisions. Don't expect al-Jarba to fare better. Just causes close ranks effectively. Rogue operations feature self-aggrandizing, power-hungry opportunists.

They face overwhelming Syrian opposition. Most Syrians support Assad. They do so for good reason. They alone want to decide who rule them. They deplore outside intervention. Disorganized "rebel" ranks are no match for Syria's superior military. It continues making impressive gains.

Regular Syrian National News Agency (SANA) reports repeat what the July 9 one said. It headlined "Army eliminates Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists in several areas." Army units inflicted heavy losses on "armed terrorist groups" in and around Homs, Hula and other areas. "Leader of an armed terrorist group, Obeid Hassan Obeid, nicknamed Abi Allaith, and terrorists Mossa al-Khaled, Mustafa Shamir and Osama Zabateh were identified among the dead."

On July 8, FARS News Agency headlined "Syrian Army Continues Advance in Aleppo," saying: "Syrian Army units inflicted heavy losses on armed rebels in a series of concentrated military operations against their gatherings in Aleppo and took control of several parts of the city."

Syrian forces continued mopping up operations. Areas have been totally cleared of foreign fighters. Clashes continued around Aleppo's central prison. Dozens of insurgents were killed. Many others were eliminated in other parts of the city.

On July 9, Press TV headlined "Syria invites UN officials to discuss claims of chemical weapons use," saying: Syria's UN ambassador Bashar Jaafari said: "The Syrian authorities have discovered yesterday in the city of Banias 281 barrels filled with dangerous, hazardous chemical materials." Amounts found are "capable of destroying a whole city, if not the whole country," he added. Toxic substances include 79 barrels of polyethylene glycol (PEG), 67 barrels of mono ethylene glycol, 25 barrels of mono ethanol (or ethanolamine), 68 barrels of diethanolamine (DEA), and 42 barrels of triethanolamine (TEA). Jaafari said chemicals found were "in a secret storage (area) controlled and monitored by the armed terrorist groups."

Washington falsely accused Syria of using sarin and other chemical weapons "on a small scale." Damascus dismissed US allegations, saying: "The White House published a statement full of lies about the use of chemical weapons in Syria, based on fabricated information, through which it is trying to hold the Syrian government responsible for such use."

In mid-June, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said so-called US evidence doesn't meet longstanding Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) requirements. Insurgents used chemical weapons multiple times. UN investigators confirmed sarin use. They did so before equivocating under heavy Western pressure.

In late May, Turkish police arrested 12 suspected Al Nusra fighters. They were seized in southern Turkey. They were caught red-handed with a two gm cylinder of sarin nerve gas. Initial Turkish media reports said four and a half pounds of sarin were seized. Other reports provided clear evidence. Insurgents used sarin and other chemical weapons multiple times.

On July 9, Russia Today headlined "Russian inquiry to UN: "Rebels, not Army behind Syria Aleppo chemical attack," saying: Moscow's UN ambassador Vladimir Churkin said analysis of samples taken indicate "rebels" bear responsibility. "I have just passed the analysis of samples taken at the site of the chemical attack to the UN Secretary General," Churkin said. "Evidence studied by Russian scientists indicates that a projectile carrying the deadly nerve agent sarin was most likely fired at Khan al-Assal by the rebels."

More than 30 people died. Damascus straightaway asked for a UN investigation. Insurgents lied. They denied responsibility. They falsely blamed Assad. Western sources consistently point fingers the wrong way. So do media scoundrels. Assad's falsely blamed for death squad crimes. Syria's conflict is far from resolved. Israeli involvement complicates things.

On July 6, Haaretz headlined "Report: Series of blasts heard near Assad arms depot in northern Syria," saying: Residents reported seeing "fighter jets near time of blasts." A Syrian weapons depot was struck near Latakia. Lebanon's Al Manar said rockets or missiles were fired. Haaretz called the source of the strike "unclear." It was Israeli aggression. It was Israel's third attack on Syria since January.

Richard Silverstein explained what Haaretz omitted, saying: "A massive explosion last Thursday at a major Syrian weapons depot in Latakia, not far from the main port of Tartus, completely destroyed the facility and munitions stored there." The Free Syrian army (FSA) falsely took credit. "(I)t was not the responsible party," said Silverstein. It was done to divert attention from Israel. "A confidential Israeli source (told Silverstein) Israeli forces attacked the site." SA-300 anti-aircraft missile components were targeted. Russia shipped them to Tartus. They're stored in Latakia.

What Israel destroyed, Russia will replace. Other military help is provided. Russia has longstanding contractual obligations. It supports its Syrian ally. It does so against Western aggression. It wants Assad supplied with enough firepower to prevail.

Silverstein's source said "the FSA coordinated with the IDF and launched a rocket attack on nearby government military installations in order to distract loyalist forces from the real target." Insurgents had no involvement in attacking Syria's weapons depot. Israel bore full responsibility. Assad knows it. So does Russia.

Israel is a key US regional imperial partner. It's heavily involved in Washington's war on Syria. It's allied with Al Qaeda and Al Nusra insurgents. It supplies arms and munitions. It treats wounded insurgents in Israeli hospitals. It remains to be seen what follows.

In late May, Syria warned Israel. Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said Damascus won't let "any (further) Israeli aggression go unanswered without retaliation." "The retaliation will be the same size as the aggression, and the same type of weapons will be used." We'll know before long if he means it.

On July 9, Voice of Russia headlined "Russian, US experts disagree over many aspects of Syrian problem - Morozov."

Syria and its regional implications were addressed at a bilateral seminar. The Public Projects Institute (INOP) and Center for the National Interest (CNI) organized it. Former Senator Gary Hart, General Charles Boyd, and Dmitri Simes represented America. Parliamentarians and foreign policy experts spoke for Russia. Discussion focused on Syria. Polar opposite opinions were expressed. According to Morozov: "Our US partners said that it was possible to discuss Syrian issues and methods of solving them only in the case of the unconditional resignation of Bashar al-Assad." "They made themselves clear - 'al-Assad must go' before the formation of an interim government and elections of the new authorities are discussed."

Russia believes otherwise. Syrians alone should decide who'll rule them. "Counter-questions were asked", said Morozov. "We asked why al-Assad, a legitimate president, must go. He enjoys the support of many people in spite of the conflict." "He is in command of over 300,000 servicemen. And only one year is left until the next election."

Russia categorically refuses to buy unacceptable US demands. It defends Syrian sovereignty. It supports rule of law principles. Washington is ravaging Syria. It's doing so ruthlessly. It's doing it with impunity. Its imperial priorities matter most.

A Final Comment

US regional interests extend well beyond Syria and Egypt. Iran's been unjustly targeted for decades. On July 9, House Homeland Security's Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency debated Iran's alleged Western Hemisphere influence. The 2012 Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act directs the Secretary of State to assess "threats posed to the United States by Iran's growing presence and activity in the Western Hemisphere."

Annual reports must be submitted to Congress. They're classified. The latest dated June contains a two-page unclassified annex. It states in part: "As a result of diplomatic outreach, strengthening of allies’ capacity, international nonproliferation efforts, a strong sanctions policy, and Iran’s poor management of its foreign relations, Iranian influence in Latin America and the Caribbean is waning."

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R. SC) chairs the House Oversight, Investigations and Management Subcommittee. He questioned the State Department report, saying: It didn't "reach reach out to even one country in the Western Hemisphere in the crafting of the threat assessment and strategy." "It makes no sense for the State Department to send (Congress an Iranian report on its alleged Western Hemisphere influence) without considering the views of our allies in the region."

He cited Alberto Nisman's May report. He's an Argentinian prosecutor. The State Department debunked his findings. He falsely linked Iran to regional terror attacks. He did so duplicitously. He did with no credible evidence. His so-called "irrefutable proof" was rubbish. He left unaddressed an Iranian motive or interest in Latin American terrorism. What possible purpose could it serve? Tehran’s got everything to lose and nothing to gain. Israel and America benefit hugely. Iran's falsely linked to incidents bearing their fingerprints globally.

Reinventing history doesn't wash. Scoundrels like Nisman try anyway. Even the State Department dismissed his deception. He was invited to testify before Duncan's committee. Argentina's Attorney General denied his travel request. She and President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner want no part of his bogus allegations. They know others about Iran's nuclear program are false and misleading.

Targeting Iran continues maliciously. Washington wants another independent government deposed. It wants pro-Western puppet regimes throughout the region. It wants them everywhere. Unchallenged imperial dominance matters most.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He has devoted his time and efforts to progressive causes and organizations, all involved in working for a more humane and just world for all people everywhere, but especially for the most needy, disadvantaged and oppressed. His efforts since summer 2005 have included writing on a broad range of vital topics ranging from war and peace; social, economic and political equity for all; and justice for all the oppressed peoples of the world like the long-suffering people of Haiti and the Palestinians. He also co-hosts The Global Research News Hour, gives occasional public talks, and appears frequently on radio and at times television. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. Also visit his blog and listen to The Lendman News Hour on Monday - Friday at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national issues. All programs are archived for easy listening. His new book "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War" can be ordered HERE. He can be reached at

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