by Stephen Lendman
On March 11, Assad repeated what he's said numerous times. He's "ready to support any honest effort to solve the situation."
He told former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan (Ban Ki-moon's envoy appointed with Washington's approval) that doing so depends on accurately assessing conditions on the ground. It also requires admitting Syria's dealing with Western-backed insurgents.
As a result, he's obligated to protect Syrians from heavily armed gangs. Violence won't stop until chaos, instability, and terrorism they cause ends.
Annan came to Syria on a mission. A reliable imperial tool, his one-way settlement terms involved Assad accepting Western demands.
Assad said "no political dialogue or political activity can succeed while there are armed terrorist groups operating and spreading chaos and instability."
Annan wanted none of it. His pro-Western marching orders mandated he follow them to the letter. Assad never had a chance for honest dialogue and peaceful resolution. Washington won't tolerate it.
Russian-Led Five-Point Conflict Resolution Plan
Over the weekend, Russia, China, and Arab League states met in Cairo. They agreed on a five-point plan. It includes:
"(1) First, to stop violence, wherever it comes from.
(2) Second, to create an impartial and free monitoring mechanism.
(3) Third, no external interference.
(4) Fourth, unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid to all Syrians.
(5) Fifth, first support for [UN and LAS Special Envoy] Kofi Annan's mission in order to start political dialogue between the government and all opposition groups."
Despite agreement, post-meeting comments revealed unresolved disputes.
Saudi Arabia criticized Russian and Chinese Security Council vetoes. Despite clear evidence, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani claimed:
"There are no armed gangs. The systematic killing came from the Syrian government side for many months. After that, the people were forced to defend themselves so the regime labeled them armed gangs."
He also called the Russian and Chinese ceasefire proposal inadequate. In response, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said:
"My country has always supported people's rights and their striving for freedom and development. This resolution has a chance to be agreed upon, provided we are not guided by the desire to support the opposition armed groups to win the battle in the cities."
"But if we are driven by the desire to make sure there is no fighting in the cities and towns, then the relevant proposals are on the table, and we have plenty of opportunities to agree on them."
Separately he said Assad's confronting armed gangs with Al Qaeda members. They're involved in violence, killings and atrocities.
On March 12, Syria's Information Minister Adnan Mahmoud accused armed gangs of committing an "atrocious massacre against women, children and elderly citizens in Karm al-Zaytoun, and mutilating their bodies in order to put pressure to elicit international stances against Syria."
He called Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other complicit states accomplices in willful terrorism. "We've grown accustomed to the bloody escalation of these terrorist groups in committing massacres, murdering citizens and attacking public and private establishments which preceeds international meetings," he said.
He called Karm al-Zaytoun's massacre one of many armed gangs committed. A local resident this time said ordinary people were targeted, including family members and a 75-year old man. A local woman added that insurgents rape, kill, throw bodies in streets, then film them for Al Jazeera and Saudi's al-Arabia TV.
Al Jazeera's War on Syria
Once a reliable news and information source, Qatar-based Al Jazeera abandoned professionalism and integrity. Like Western media scoundrels, it broadcasts propaganda, not truth and full disclosure.
Last April, its Beirut chief and popular host Ghassan Bin Jiddo resigned. Others remaining at the time criticized AJ's biased/falsified reporting, especially on Libya, Bahrain, Syria, and elsewhere in the region.
Last September, top AJ executive Wadah Khanfar quit after eight years heading its satellite news operation. In 2003, he became managing director, then later made director general.
Qatar royal family member Sheikh Hamad Ben Jassem Al-Thani replaced him. He formerly chaired its board with veto power over program content. Now directing programming assures compromised coverage lacking credibility. AJ's fall from grace hit bottom. Khanfar had enough and quit. He wasn't the last to go.
On March 12, Russia Today said AJ again lost staff over biased reporting. Beirut staff members resigned over falsified Syria reporting.
Last week, managing director Hassan Shaaban, correspondent Ali Hashem, and a producer quit. The Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar said Hashem left because AJ "refused to show photos he had taken of armed fighters clashing with the Syrian army in Wadi Khaled."
Instead, he was criticized for disloyalty. Hashem was also furious over AJ's refusal to cover regime instigated Bahraini violence. At the same time, it falsified reports on Assad. "In Bahrain," he said, "we were seeing pictures of a people being butchered by the 'Gulf's oppression machine,' and for Al Jazeera, silence was the name of the game."
Beirut's producer left because AJ wouldn't cover Syria's overwhelmingly approved constitutional reform referendum. Former AJ correspondent Afshin Tattansi said it's now a pro-Western tool no different from BBC and Western media. The way it covers Syria and most else is totally one-sided.
Russia and China Oppose Foreign Intervention
Both countries strongly oppose replicating Libya's model in Syria. Their vetos and resolute stand so far prevented Washington's interventionist scheme succeeding, but for how long. Regime change by any means is planned, including war.
Ominous signs suggest it. Paris-based Syrian National Council (SNC) head Burhan Ghalioun calls no solution possible without military intervention.
Washington, Britain, France, Israel, and rogue Arab states want it. For months, they've recruited, funded, armed and trained rogue killer gangs. They've destabilized Syria to facilitate Western intervention. Annan's mission was more theater than honest conflict resolution diplomacy.
Like Ban-Ki-moon, his entire UN Secretary-General tenure reflected betrayal and failure. An imperial tool, he never achieved peace or worked for it.
He didn't condemn or act against Washington's devastating Iraqi economic sanctions. They killed 1.5 million or more defenseless men, women and children. Silence betrayed his complicity.
He showed it later in Washington's 2003 war, its 2001 Afghan one, and Israel's Palestinian occupation and crimes against humanity.
For a decade (January 1996 through December 2006) go-along position supported imperial Washington. His Syria mission mandated reinventing his earlier role. Instead of seeking peaceful resolution, he subverted it. As a result, he came, dialogued, and left with no deal because what he offered no responsible leader would accept.
His one-way terms demanded Assad "stop the killing and the misery and the abuse that is going on today and then give time for a political settlement." He ended talks telling Assad the ball's in his court. He also said he'll try to unite opposition against him. Some diplomat.
On Sunday, he flew to Qatar to meet its pro-Western rogue emir (Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani), another leader complicit in Western war crimes. He actively supported NATO's Libya killing machine. He's now involved in stoking Syrian violence and instability. It involves targeted assassinations, killing civilians, and wrongly blaming Assad.
He, Russia, China, and others want peaceful conflict resolution. Washington plans military intervention. On March 10, Washington Post writer Karen DeYoung headlined, "Talk of military aid rises as hopes fade for peaceful Syria resolution," saying:
Washington and key allies began discussing "potential military involvement in Syria....Possibilities include directly arming opposition forces (of course, ongoing for many months), sending troops to guard a humanitarian corridor or 'safe zone' for the rebels (effectively a ground-based no-fly zone assuring war), or an air assault on Syrian air defenses, according to (US) officials and other" anti-Assad nations.
In other words, after failing to get Security Council approval, circumventing it's now planned to accomplish the same thing belligerently.
DeYoung said governments involved in discussions "remain deeply divided over the scope of any intervention, how, when it would happen, and who would participate."
Many question its legitimacy. Of course, it has none, nor did NATO's Libya intervention. So what hope has Syria to prevent Washington's regime change plans by any means, and perhaps intent to go it alone if willing allies aren't found or enough of them.
On March 8, Turkey's President Abdullah Gul expressed concern about intervention "from outside the region," but remains firmly allied with Western regime change plans.
Syria's state media SANA said the nation's Italy-based expat community firmly rejects foreign intervention. It supports Assad's reform process.
"Under the motto - No to Foreign Interference, No to War and Yes to Peace....No to Armed Gangs....No to Fabricated Media and No to Economic Siege on the Syrian People - the Syrian and Arab communities in Italy staged a huge mass rally in the center of the Italian capital, Rome, on Sunday."
Participants called for denouncing anti-Assad goals through killings, terror tactics, and efforts to destabilize and destroy Syria.
On March 8, huge pro-Assad crowds massed in Damascus' Bahart Square. Participants rejected all forms of foreign interference. So do nonviolent anti-Assad protesters.
Damascus participants chanted national songs, held Syrian flags and banners, and opposed all schemes undermining Syria's stability, independence and dignity.
International law prohibits interfering in other countries' internal affairs. Among others, the 1933 Montevideo Convention of Rights and Duties is very explicit.
Article 8 says "No state has the right to intervene in the internal or external affairs of another."
Under Article 10, differences between states "should be settled by recognized pacific methods."
Article 11 calls sovereign state territory "inviolable...."
The UN Charter also mandates state sovereignty, equality among all nations, non-interference in their domestic affairs, self-determination, non-interference in other states' internal affairs, settling disputes peacefully, and avoiding threats or force.
Washington spurns international and US law. As a result, independent states like Syria are vulnerable. Months of externally-generated violence continues.
Replacing its independent regime with a pro-Western one is planned. If current methods fail, expect war. It's America's last resort and sometimes its preferred one.
Humanity wonders who's next and whether rogue US policies may engulf the world in flames and destroy it. Maybe it's the only way Washington's killing machine can be stopped. Nothing else so far worked.
Given America run by warmongering zealots spurning peace, be scared. Be very scared.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.