Stephen Lendman

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Escalating Syrian Tensions

Escalating Syrian Tensions

by Stephen Lendman

For nearly a year, externally generated violence wracked Syria. Dirty Western hands planned and implemented it. Rogue regional despots were enlisted for support.

Replacing an independent regime with a pro-Western one and isolating Iran are planned. Russia and China thwarted two Security Council resolutions designed to facilitate intervention.

On February 16, a non-binding Arab League General Assembly resolution passed with similar language. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states backed it.

Pressure's building for escalated anti-Assad measures. Sooner or later expect intervention, perhaps war. At issue is isolating Iran, then targeting the Islamic Republic. Replicating 1953 in some form's coming, perhaps more war that may involve Russia and China defending their interests.

On February 24, a Friends of Syria coalition of the willing will meet in Tunisia. The State Department organized them outside the UN system. Hillary Clinton and key NATO counterparts will attend.

On February 13, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said "Moscow does not consider the US-backed 'Friends of Syria' legitimate."

It's similar to last year's orchestrated one against Gaddafi. France said it might supply weapons. In fact, heavy ones were provided since violence erupted last March. They're coming from Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon's opposition March 14 alliance, Gulf states and perhaps Washington, rogue NATO partners and Israel.

Last November, Russia accused Western countries of illicitly arming Syria's opposition. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was blunt, saying:

"Noboby is commenting on it and no one is admitting it, but the facts are impossible to contradict: weapons are being smuggled into Syria from Turkey and Iraq. Armed extremists are using peaceful demonstrations to provoke Syrian government violence."

Lavrov specifically named America and France for their anti-Assad agenda to remove him. Saudi Arabia and Qatar agreed to fund opposition forces. Western funding's also likely involved. Covert UK, Qatari, and perhaps other special forces, as well as CIA, MI6 and likely other Western intelligence operatives actively aid insurgent killers.

Pentagon war plans are ready to implement. Alleged humanitarian intervention's again involved. The same scheme ravaged Libya. Perhaps Syria's next, then Iran.

Agitprop reports smooth the way. On February 16, Veterans Today contributor Sharmine Narwanti headlined, "High-Tech Trickery in Homs?" saying:

US Facebook posted satellite images of Homs violence was blamed on Assad. America's Syrian ambassador Robert Ford called them evidence of:

"A terrible and tragic development in Syria (showing) the use of heavy weaponry by the Assad regime against residential neighborhoods."

His claims, in fact, are baseless. The "blog Moon of Alabama" discredited them. "A detailed examination of satellite imagery....revealed numerous discrepancies in Washington's allegation. (They showed) guns training within military barracks of well known training areas and not in active deployment."

Ford also lied saying "There is no evidence that the opposition - even those opposition members who have defected from the military - has access to or has employed such heavy weapons." He referred to artillery used in civilian areas.

CNN reported satellite images came from "pro-regime area(s) consisting mainly of Alawis, who belong to the same" sect as Assad. They've complained of opposition group attacks, kidnappings, and killings. Major media scoundrels ignore them.

State Department Homs satellite images "do not actually show the Syrian army engaged in battle," as Ford claims. Washington and major media scoundrels are complicit "in the dissemination of false information." At issue is escalating pressure for intervention.

Assad's cooperating to ease tensions. On February 17, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said he plans implementing reforms. A Foreign Ministry statement said Russia want measures accepted by all sides, provided the interests of the Syrian people and peace and security are prioritized.

Lavrov stressed the importance of non-intervention. Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov called the Friends of Syria alliance a group of amateurs aimed at interfering in Syria's internal affairs, including militarily. He added:

"The level of violence in Syria has notably risen over the past period, but this didn't happen at all because of the behavior of the Syrian authorities, which rather did their best, particularly during the presence of the Arab monitors....to reduce the level of violence."

"They withdrew military vehicles and forces from the streets and cities, released thousands of detainees and didn't prevent peaceful protests."

Nonetheless, Washington, Britain, France, other allies, and major media scoundrels accuse him of violence, in fact, caused by heavily armed Western-backed killer gangs.

At a February 17 press conference, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said Beijing's position on the Syrian crisis will stand the test of time. "China doesn't back one party over another, and its voting against the UN General Assembly resolution was based on China's firm stance concerning the Syrian crisis."

China very much opposes Western intervention similar to what ravaged Libya.

Syria's Draft Constitution

On February 26, Syrians will vote up or down by national referendum, though perhaps escalated violence will disrupt things.

Article 2 of its 157 articles calls Syria a sovereign republican system "based on the principle of the rule of the people by the people and for the people."

Article 7's constitutional oath says:

"I swear by the Almighty God to respect the country's constitution, laws and Republican system, to look after the interests and freedoms of the people, to safeguard the homeland's sovereignty, independence, freedom and to defend its territorial integrity and to act in order to achieve social justice and the unity of the Arab Nation".

Article 8 calls Syria's political system "based on the principle of political pluralism, and exercising power democratically through the ballot box."

"Carrying out any political activity or forming any political parties or groupings on the basis of religious, sectarian, tribal, regional, class-based, professional, or on discrimination based on gender, origin, race or color may not be undertaken."

Article 10 states:

"Public organizations, professional unions and associations shall be bodies that group citizens in order to develop society and attain the interests of its members. The State shall guarantee the independence of these bodies and the right to exercise public control and participation in various sectors and councils defined in laws; in areas which achieve their objectives, and in accordance with the terms and conditions prescribed by law."

Under Article 12, "(d)emocratically elected councils at the national or local level shall be institutions through which citizens exercise their role in sovereignty, state-building and leading society."

Article 13 promotes "developing public and private economic activity through economic and social plans aiming at increasing the national income, developing production, raising the individual's living standards and creating jobs."

Article 18 says taxes "shall be based on a fair basis; and taxes shall be progressive in a way that achieves the principles of equality and social justice."

Article 19 promises a Syrian Arab Republic "based on the basis of solidarity, symbiosis and respect for the principles of social justice, freedom, equality and maintenance of human dignity of every individual."

Article 22 " guarantee(s) every citizen and his family in cases of emergency, sickness, disability, orphan-hood and old age."

"The state shall protect the health of citizens and provide them with the means of prevention, treatment and medication."

Article 23 guarantees women have "all opportunities enabling them to effectively and fully contribute to the political, economic, social and cultural life, and the state shall work on removing the restrictions that prevent their development and participation in building society."

Under Article 25, "(e)ducation, health and social services shall be the basic pillars for building society, and the state shall work on achieving balanced development among all regions of the Syrian Arab Republic."

Article 29 guarantees education "free at all levels. The law shall regulate the cases where education could not be free at universities and government institutes."

Article 33 calls freedom "a sacred right and the state shall guarantee the personal freedom of citizens and preserve their dignity and security."

"Citizens shall be equal in rights and duties without discrimination among them on grounds of sex, origin, language, religion or creed.

"The state shall guarantee the principle of equal opportunities among citizens."

Article 34 guarantees the right of all citizens "to participate in the political, economic, social and cultural life and the law shall regulate this."

Under Article 40, "(w)ork shall be a right and a duty for every citizen, and the state shall endeavor to provide for all citizens, and the law shall organize work, its conditions and the workers' rights."

"Each worker shall have a fair wage according to the quality and output of the work; this wage shall be no less than the minimum wage that ensures the requirements of living and changes in living conditions."

"The state shall guarantee social and health security of workers."

Article 42 guarantees every citizen the "right to freely and openly express his views whether in writing or orally or by all other means of expression."

Under Article 43, "freedom of the press, printing and publishing, the media and its independence in accordance with the law" are guaranteed.

Articles 44 and 45 guarantee citizens "the right to assemble, peacefully demonstrate and to strike from work within the framework of the Constitution principles, and the law shall regulate the exercise of these rights."

They also have the right to form national associations and unions.

Other articles affirm rule of law governance, including judicial fairness and freedom from torture and humiliating treatment.

Legislative authority will be assumed by a popularly elected People's Assembly by citizens at least age 18. Half its members will be reserved for workers and farmers.

Many other democratic principles are affirmed in 157 articles. A big leap remains from affirmed rights to their implementation and enforcement.

If Syrians adopt this document, they'll benefit if its principles end up more than words. Only the fullness of time will tell, and, of course, whether or not Western intervention succeeds.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

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.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

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