by Stephen Lendman
Make no mistake. Syria is Washington's war. It was planned years ago. Regime change is policy. At issue is replacing Assad's government with a pro-Western puppet one.
Washington tolerates no independent governments. It demands subservience to US policies. Outliers are targeted for removal. Options include war.
Mass slaughter and destruction don't matter. Unchallenged dominance is policy. It's longstanding, ruthless and lawless.
Western-recruited death squads ravage Syria. They've done so for two years. They're imported from abroad. Rules of engagement include mass murder, torture, and other atrocities.
Pro-Assad loyalists are prime targets. Innocent civilians are massacred. Doing so is official US policy. Imperial wars are called liberating ones. Terrorism is what they do, not us.
Syria was peaceful before US proxies invaded. So was Libya in 2011. It was ravaged and destroyed. It remains unstable and violent. Libya 2.0 looms.
Syria may become NATO's latest charnel house. It's well along the way already. Countries are ravaged on the pretext of liberating them. Empires never say they're sorry. Policy isn't pretty. It's violent and lawless.
It reflects state terrorism. It proliferates death and destruction. It prioritizes wealth, power, privilege and dominance. Direct and proxy wars are waged.
Cutthroat killers are used. They're recruited abroad. They're heavily armed, trained, funded and directed. They're ordered to commit mass murder. Obama bears full responsibility. He's a war criminal multiple times over.
On February 22, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) headlined "Fifty-Three Civilians Martyred, 235 Others Injured so far in Terrorist Bombing in al-Thawra Street in Damascus."
Attacks struck central Damascus' Mazraa neighborhood. Health Minister, Dr. Saad al-Nayef, said "terrorist bombing reflects the criminal nature of its perpetrators."
Innocent men, women, children, the elderly and infirm were massacred. Syria continues to be ravaged and destabilized.
Al-Hayat Hospital and Abdullah Bin al-Zubir school were heavily damaged. So was Russia's embassy. Itar Tass quoted a diplomat saying "The building has really been damaged. The windows are shattered."
Other car bombs struck Damascus' Barzeh neighborhood. A police station, telecommunications facility, and drug enforcement agency were targeted.
Mortar fire hit Syria's Army General staff headquarters, Tishreen Sports City and residential buildings. Authorities said a car loaded with tons of explosives was stopped before it exploded.
Perhaps the terrorist group Jabhat al-Nusra was involved. It's become Washington's lead belligerent. It vows to "liberate" Damascus. It claims responsibility for 17 or more February Damascus area terrorist attacks. They included at least seven bombings.
Syrian communities abroad, Russia, China, Iran and Hezbollah condemned Thursday's bombings.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said:
"Once again, we call upon all countries and parties, which might influence the extremists and radicals, to pressure them and demand immediate stop of such terrorist acts and armed violence in order to create appropriate atmosphere to hold a Syrian dialogue that is based on Geneva statement issued last June, 2010."
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon showed which side he supports. He's an imperial tool. He shames the office he holds. He violates UN Charter provisions. He urged both sides to show restraint. He called for ending Syria's crisis politically.
Syria's Foreign and Expatriates Ministry addressed two identical letters to the Security Council president and Ban. They condemned Thursday's bombings. They called them cowardly acts.
They targeted crowded civilian areas. They followed previous ones conducted by Al Qaeda linked groups. They get "financial and logistic support and media and political coverage from regional and (Western) countries."
"The Ministry added that the credibility of combating terrorism which has always been a matter of concern for the international community is now under unprecedented test as the most disgusting form of terrorism hit the Syrian civilians with no mercy or differentiating between an elderly man or a child."
"The letters added that Syria, in its previous letters to the UN Security Council and the UN Secretary General, called for firm and clear condemnation of these heinous terrorist crimes by the UN member states and for holding countries which support such acts as responsible, whatsoever the form of such support was."
"The Ministry said that Syria hopes the UN Security Council now will be able to adopt a firm stance which proves its commitment to combating terrorism regardless of its timing or place."
If the Security Council turns a blind eye, "it will deepen doubts in its seriousness in combating terrorism and its commitment to implementing its resolutions in this regard, in addition to the fact this will be considered as a kind of political concealment of these crimes."
The international community's credibility "is at test," it added. Failure to condemn this type terrorism is morally unconscionable.
It provides evidence of Western double standard duplicity. It reflects support for "organized terrorism." Doing so won't deter government forces from defending its citizens. Assad is committed to do so.
On February 21, Washington vetoed a Russian draft statement. It condemned Wednesday's terrorist attacks. Moscow denounced US policy. It reflects support for what demands condemnation.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov left no doubt where Russia stands, saying:
"This opposition by our American partners....is not the first time in which they seek a form that justifies those who fight the Syrian regime."
"Russia sees in the American position an application of double standards and a dangerous approach in terms of the Americans moving away from the main principle of condemning terrorism in all its forms."
Russia's UN mission issued a statement saying:
"It is obvious that by doing so, the US delegation encourages those who have been repeatedly targeting American interests, including US diplomatic missions."
It's not the first time Washington obstructed responsible policy, it added. Moscow called doing so unacceptable. It reflects support for mass murder. It's official US policy.
It threatens Lebanon. Free Syrian Army General Selim Idriss accused Hezbollah of shelling villages around Qusayr in Homs Governorate.
He issued an ultimatum. He threatened to respond if attacks don't stop in 48 hours. He accused Hezbollah of sending combatants to Syria.
"As soon as the ultimatum ends," he added, "we will start responding to the sources of fire."
Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah categorically denies sending fighters to Syria. At the same time, he said party members may be acting individually. He added that around 30,000 Shitte Lebanese inhabit 22 Syrian villages. Volunteers defend them against terrorist attacks.
On February 21, Lebanon's Daily Star headlined "FSA claim of strikes on Lebanon false."
An FSA statement claimed otherwise. It said one of its battalions targeted two Hezbollah bases. It struck with mortars, "machine guns and anti-tank missiles." It did so near the Syrian/Lebanon border. It vowed more "surprises" ahead.
Longstanding Washington/Israeli policy prioritizes destabilizing Lebanon. At issue is replacing Hezbollah with pro-Western puppets, toppling Assad, isolating Iran, and solidifying US regional control.
Lebanon is small and vulnerable. From 1975 - 1989, it was wracked by internal conflict. From 1982 - 2000, Israel occupied southern Lebanon.
Hezbollah arose out of Israel's 1982 invasion. It's falsely called a terrorist organization. It's for political reasons. It's part of Lebanon's government. It's also a social, charitable, educational, and medical organization.
It provides essential social services. It's military wing is defensive. It threatens no one. It's prepared to respond forcefully if attacked. Israel learned the hard way in 2006. Its forces were outfoxed and humiliated. Israel yearns for revenge.
Involving Lebanon in Syria's war may be planned. Obama and Netanyahu may have that in mind.
On February 21, Mossad-connected DEBKAfile (DF) headlined "Hizbollah on high alert, jockeys for a role in potential Syrian peace accord," saying:
Its forces went on alert after the FSA's ultimatum expired. Will its Beqaa Valley serve Assad, DF asked? Will its forces get involved? Are ceasefire talks credible?
According to DF, Assad's military largely controls most of Syria. Ties to Hezbollah and Iran are firm. Each ally helps the others.
At the same time, FSA fighters may escalate conflict. They may conduct cross-border attacks. They're no match for Hezbollah's "far more organized and professional capabilities."
"If they decide to go on the offensive, they are liable to suffer heavy losses." Of greater concern is widening Syria's conflict.
Israel's currently involved. Last fall, IDF tanks shelled Syrian mortar batteries. Washington OK'd Israeli air strikes. Several targets were struck.
Israeli warplanes invade Lebanese airspace multiple times daily. They do so without permission. Policy is longstanding. It violates international law. Perhaps escalated conflict is planned.
It shouldn't surprise. Washington and Israel partner in imperial lawlessness. Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Iran are prime targets. Regional conflict may follow. What's possible bears watching. Future updates will discuss more.
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.