by Stephen Lendman
Syrian authorities said so in 2011. Other reports acknowledged it then and now.
Syria is Washington's war. It was planned years ago. America wants pro-Western puppet leadership replacing Assad.
All independent governments are targeted for regime change. Imperial rogue states operate that way.
Strategy used is longstanding. On January 4, Michel Chossudovsky discussed it. Current US proxy wars employ earlier tactics. Western-recruited death squads are used.
Using them "go(es) back to the Vietnam war."
"Terror brigades (commit) targeted assassinations (and) countless atrocities."
Since Syria's conflict erupted in March 2011, Washington, key NATO allies, Israel, and other regional allies recruited, armed, trained, and directed death squads.
They're still doing it. They're imported from abroad. More on that below.
Washington prioritizes the "Salvador Option." Rules of engagement proliferated massacres, torture, and gruesome atrocities in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.
In Vietnam, Operation Phoenix (OP) did the same things earlier. It became a template for future counterterrorism operations.
From 1968 - 1973, CIA operatives, Special Forces, and Military Assistance Command Vietnam-Special Operations Group (MACV-SOG) conducted covert missions.
Their mandate was to crush National Liberation Front (Viet Cong) resistance. Strategy was to terrorize people into submission.
Operations were no holds barred. Indiscriminate mass murder and atrocities were committed. US military personnel and South Vietnamese government officials considered security risks were targeted.
High-value elements mattered most. Countless others were affected. Around 80,000 died before operations ended.
Later reports said OP failed. John Pilger called America's Southeast Asian war "the grand illusion of the American cause." What couldn't succeed finally ended.
Many remember Washington's humiliating April 30, 1975 Saigon embassy rooftop exit. Perhaps Middle East/North African/Central Asian ones await.
America considers state-sponsored terrorism success stories.
Johnson and Nixon prioritized them. So did Reagan, Bush I and II, Clinton and Obama. Rogue states operate no holds barred. Inviolable international and domestic laws are spurned.
Unchallenged global dominance alone matters. Unlimited body count totals and mass destruction further it. Wars of aggression are called liberating ones. Humanitarian intervention duplicity justifies them.
Patriotism means going along with criminal lawlessness. Truth is turned on its head. Media scoundrels suppress it. Rogue politicians betray their constituents.
It's institutionalized. Empires never say they're sorry. Policy is made through the barrel of a gun. It's not pretty. It proliferates state terror globally. Most people haven't a clue.
They're hooked on bread and circuses. They're mindless about what affects them most. Their dismissiveness compromises their own security. Their futures are jeopardized. Their children may not have one worth living. People are on their own to fight back.
Prioritized wealth, power, privilege and dominance undermine what's too important to lose. Permanent imperial wars alone divert trillions of vitally needed dollars. They're not available for essential domestic needs.
Popular ones go begging. Bailing out bankers and rewarding other corporate favorites matter more. So do imperial conquests. Permanent war is policy.
Direct and proxy ones are waged. Brutal assassins are used. They're recruited abroad. A UN report said 29 countries supply them. The worst of cutthroat killers are hired guns. They're enlisted to advance America's imperium.
They're waging war on Assad. It's mischaracterized as civil. There's nothing civil about Washington's war on Syria. The same dirty game repeats. Independent states are targeted for regime change. All options are used.
They include full-scale war, mass killing, and gruesome atrocities. Nations are transformed into charnel houses. It's done on the pretext of liberating them.
American-style freedom is slavery. Mainstream discourse doesn't explain. It repeats long ago discredited notions. Responsibility to protect (R2P) duplicity justifies what demands condemnation.
Media scoundrels suppress imperial lawlessness. Western-inflicted violence and bloodshed go unnoticed. Victims are blamed for aggressor crimes. The same dirty game repeats.
Post-9/11, Afghanistan and Iraq were ravaged and destroyed. So was Libya last year. Now it's Syria's turn. Perhaps Iran comes next.
Most Syrians deplore violence. They oppose internal and external elements committing it. They support protective security forces. They represent a vital last line of defense.
Conflict continues without end. On January 1, Press TV headlined "Al-Qaeda, Israel's Trojan horse in Middle East: Iranian MP," saying:
Iranian Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee member Mohammad-Hassan Asafari said:
"The Zionist regime has become the largest training base for active terrorists in the Middle East region and the footprint of this sinister regime can be easily traced in recent terrorist operations."
Al Qaeda and like-minded terrorists wage war on Syria. They're closely allied with Washington. They're recruited throughout the region and beyond.
Israel provides training and intelligence support. A separate Press TV report headlined "US, Israel major players in Syria crisis: Iran cmdr," saying:
"Chairman of Iran's Armed Forces Joint Chiefs of Staff Major General Hassan Firouzabadi says the United States and Israel are major players in the Syrian crisis."
"The number of terrorists in Syria, compared with the people and the popular army of this country, is not high and they are weak."
"However, they have been provided with advanced weapons and shoot people from hiding places, and this is not a coherent and systematic move."
The London Independent discussed the issue. It's report was largely one-sided. It headlined "Foreign fighters fuel the sectarian flames in Syria."
It called the conflict "sectarian." Doing so implies civil war. It covered up a foreign invasion. It cited a duplicitous Human Rights Council International Commission of Inquiry for Syria report.
It claimed Syrian forces "resorted to aerial bombardments, including shelling of hospitals." It called such attacks "disproportionate." It blamed Assad for Western aggression.
Media scoundrels turn truth on its head. Managed news substitutes for the real thing. Readers and viewers aren't told what they most need to know.
Offensive Patriot missiles arrived in Turkey. They're positioned near Syria's border. NATO maintains control.
On January 4, an AFRICOM statement said America began transporting 400 troops to Turkey. Additional equipment will arrive by sea.
US forces will be based at Gaziantep. It's 50km north of Syria's border. Missile batteries will be fully operational later in January. They're for offense, not defense.
Plans may involve establishing a backdoor no-fly zone. Doing so would circumvent Security Council authority.
Washington-led NATO heads closer to full-scale intervention. The new year promises more bloodshed.
On January 6, Press TV headlined "Russian warships gathering off Syria waters to deter West: Report."
The Sunday Times was cited. It said Russia sent sent five landing ships. On board are military vehicles, hundreds of marines, and combat vessels.
"Russia should be prepared for any developments as it believes the situation in Syria might reach its peak before Easter," it said. An unnamed diplomatic source was quoted.
He added that Russia intends to deter "the West from deploying ground forces." Moscow says its ships are to "improve the management, maintenance, and testing of the interaction of naval forces."
Another Russian warship carrying marines heads for Tartus. Moscow maintains its only Mediterranean base in the Syrian port city.
On December 29, two other warships, the Azov and Nikolai Filchenkov, were deployed. They'll arrive in Syrian waters shortly.
"In mid-December, Russia's Defense Ministry announced that a fleet of Russian warships had been sent from the Baltic port of Baltiysk to the Mediterranean Sea near the Syrian waters."
"Syria, Russia and Iran say" deploying offensive Patriot missiles near Syria's border "could spark an eventual military action by NATO."
On January 2, Iran's Fars News Agency (FNA) headlined "Foreign Military Intervention in Syria: Red Line for Russia," saying:
Mehdi Sanayee is a senior Iranian legislator. He's a National Security and Foreign Policy Commission member. He's also a Russian expert.
He told FNA:
"Causing developments through military intervention and remaining empty-handed in the developments in Syria are Moscow's red lines."
Deploying Russian forces represents a "new step" in the Syrian conflict.
"Russia tries to prove on the international scene that it is committed to its strategy, which is opposition to and confrontation against foreign military intervention and unilateral moves in Syria to show that it has not surrendered on them," he said.
He referred to Vladimir Putin's earlier comments. They suggested Moscow's new position. It remains to be seen what follows.
Patrick Seale is a longtime Middle East analyst. On January 1, he offered grim new year tidings. "The coming year" won't be "happy" for "the tormented Middle East," he said.
"(T)he balance sheet of the past two years remains profoundly negative." Nowhere throughout the region have "convincing sign(s) of peace and reconciliation" emerged.
Some countries suffered more than others. He called the "Palestine cause….all but lost. The two-state solution is virtually extinct." He stopped short of saying it's been that way for years.
He stressed the importance of preserving a "unitary Syrian state." Doing so is essential to "containing Israel." Resolving the conflict militarily can't succeed.
The only solution is mutually agreed on ceasefire, halting weapons and funding sent insurgents, "isolat(ing) murderous extremists," and resolving the conflict politically.
At issue isn't whether Assad stays or goes. Syria is vitally important. It's essential to protect its "unique historical heritage, its state institutions, its ancient minorities, and its vital role in the defense of Arab independence."
On January 6, Assad delivered a major address. It's his first in months. He called for "comprehensive national dialogue in the near future" with opposition elements and other political parties.
"Syria wants peace and reconciliation," he stressed. At the same time, "(a)rmed groups must halt terrorist acts." Outside forces direct them.
They're "terrorists" and "criminals." They want Syria's government ousted. He vowed to defeat them. He called for "full national mobilization."
"We meet today and suffering is overwhelming Syrian land. There is no place for joy while security and stability are absent on the streets of our country. The nation is for all and we all must protect it."
"These are the enemies of the people, the enemies of God," he said. "Eventually they resorted to terrorism to terrorize the people."
"They call it a revolution, but it has nothing to do with revolution. A revolution needs thinkers. These are a bunch of criminals."
"The first stage of a political solution would require that regional powers stop funding and arming (opposition forces), an end to terrorist operations, and controlling the borders."
"We will not have dialogue with a puppet made by the West," he stressed.
The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported what he said in detail.
He prefers responsible conflict resolution. He urged it all along. Mutually agreed on ceasefire is essential. Washington and key NATO partners spurn it.
For months, Assad made good faith efforts. A year ago, Syria's constitution was rewritten. It was put to a popular referendum.
Despite opposition boycotts, threats, anti-Assad media campaigns, and turnout hampered in violence-torn areas, 89.4% of eligible voters approved it. Another 9% opposed, and 1.2% of ballots were invalid.
It includes 157 articles. Key reforms were instituted. They include political pluralism established for the first time. Presidential term limits and press freedom were mandated.
Last May, first time ever legislative elections were held. Doing so was a milestone political event. Independent candidates participated.
Despite ongoing insurgent violence, turnout was high. Voting went smoothly. Independent monitors supervised the process. They included intellectuals, legislators and judicial authorities from other countries.
Ba'ath party members won a 60% majority. Previously they held just over 50% control. With support from independent MPs, they comprise 90% of Syria's parliament. Opposition party members were also elected.
Assad said nothing about stepping down. He, Russia, China, Iran, and other sources say Syrians alone should choose their government.
Outside interference is rejected. International law is clear and unequivocal. The UN Charter explains under what conditions intervention, violence and coercion (by one state against another) are justified.
Article 2(3) and Article 33(1) require peaceful settlement of international disputes. Article 2(4) prohibits force or its threatened use, including no-fly zone acts of war.
In addition, Articles 2(3), 2(4), and 33 absolutely prohibit any unilateral or other external threat or use of force not specifically allowed under Article 51 or otherwise authorized by the Security Council in accordance with UN Charter provisions.
Three General Assembly resolutions also prohibit non-consensual belligerent intervention. They include:
• the 1965 Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention in the Domestic Affairs of States and the Protection of Their Independence and Sovereignty;
• the 1970 Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations; and
• the 1974 Definition of Aggression.
Under no circumstances may one or more nations intervene against another without lawful Security Council authorization. Doing so constitutes illegal aggression.
Article 8 of the 1933 Montevideo Convention of Rights and Duties 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...."
Washington and key NATO partners spurn international law repeatedly. In 1999, without Security Council authorization, nonbelligerent Yugoslavia was lawlessly attacked and ravaged. Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya followed.
Now Syria. America prioritizes attacking one nation at a time or in multiples. Unless stopped, doing so may end up destroying humanity in the process.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
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.