- Sheikh Ahmad Maaz Al-Khatib was named the president of the national coalition, the new organization charged of supervising Syrian opposition parties that are supported by the NATO and the GCC.
By Ghaleb Kandil
The colonial predicament in Syria.
In the context of the global war on Syria, the signs of the predicament affecting the colonial alliance led by the United States emerged in a way pointing towards a new strategic turn under the decisive headline of the exit plan following the failure to destroy the Syrian state and undermine Syria’s steadfastness and its resistance option.
Firstly, fear is prevailing over the American and Western circles in regard to the transformations witnessed in Turkey, i.e. the main regional power in the alliance of war and aggression against Syria. It is known that among the Syrian neighboring states, Turkey is the only member in NATO, is involved in the Western strategies and enjoys great military and economic power in comparison with all the other governments participating in the aggression, namely Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Moreover, it is fully or partially using countries such as Lebanon and Jordan as a platform for the aggression, while the Western and Gulf wagers focused during the last eight months on the Turkish army’s possible invasion of the Syrian territories to change the balance of powers in the country.
Secondly, the Turkish power appears depleted nowadays in light of the domestic economic, security and political powers. Indeed, the opposition is waging a wide-scale political and parliamentary attack against the approach adopted by Erdogan’s government, which is involved in the war on Syria. Moreover, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party is leading a violent popular and military rebellion against the authorities, while the sectarian division advocated by Erdogan’s rhetoric to interfere in Syria is being reflected on the Turkish internal arena. In the meantime, the economic problems are mounting, along with the tensions with two major states such as Russia and Iran, which represent a vital depth that cannot be disregarded in light of geopolitics and economic and commercial relations. In that same context, and due to the Syrian predicament, the Americans are facing two threats, the sweetest of which is bitter: Either comprehensive multifaceted troubles that would undermine the Turkish strength, or Turkey’s political turn to emulate Russia’s and Iran’s positions and withdraw from the alliance of aggression against Syria.
Thirdly, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which constituted the main nerve of the Western hegemony plans over the region since the June defeat and the financial, political and security force promoting the American policies since the sixties when it headed the confrontation with President Abdel-Nasser, appears nowadays – due to the failure in Syria – preoccupied with its own problems following the changing of its regional surrounding from Iraq, to Yemen and Bahrain, the ongoing rise of the Iranian strength and the increasing conflicts and power struggles between the princes competing over the throne. Clearly, the failure in Syria is being reflected in mounting conflicts within the ruling family, and in bloody clashes between the security apparatuses and the Al-Qaeda groups, in parallel to the ongoing social and political troubles on the beat of the calls for reform.
Fourthly, the growing and direct implication in the support of the Takfiri, terrorist and Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in the context of the global war on Syria is backfiring. This could be seen in the American and European intelligence information about the spread of Al-Qaeda and Takfiri groups in Syria, and the transformation of the multinational factions mobilized by Bandar Bin Sultan with the help of the Turkish intelligence services into a laboratory producing gangs of terrorism and Takfir, as it happened in Afghanistan in the eighties. Consequently, Western security reports are recommending the dismantlement of these groups and the discontinuation of the implication in the regional support offered to them.
Fifthly, the American wager on the possible sponsorship of armed Syrian opposition factions to deter the Takfiri terrorist cells is pointless and silly, considering that the liberal groups collaborating with the West have no influence over the gangs’ structure to begin with, and no authority over influential armed factions on the ground.
The only solution to fight terrorism in Syria and prevent its transformation into a pit for the exportation of such terrorism towards its regional surrounding and the West, would be through cooperation with the Syrian national state and the support of its plans to regain full control over all the Syrian territories. This is the approach adopted by Russia and China in their talks with the West in regard to the ways to exit the predicament, and this is the principle that will eventually prevail.
The reality of the situation on the field in Syria
Damascus – neworientnews Last week, the global war on Syria witnessed a wave of media and field escalation, in order to give the impression that the armed opposition was launching a new comprehensive attack against the capital Damascus.
Firstly, before tackling the details of the operations carried out by the terrorist factions throughout the past week, one must return to what preceded it, as the opposition factions, the Takfiri groups and the media outlets participating in the war on Syria were promoting a scenario related to these groups’ control over the Aleppo province in the Maarat al-Naaman battle, along with numerous rumors about the armed factions’ control over important positions and bases for the Syrian Arab army. But a field transformation was witnessed in the the Maarat al-Naaman battle, which was settled by the Syrian army in its favor, as the Syrian television aired footage of its main street where the army was deployed after the withdrawal of the gangs. And in the Edlib regions, which were said to be under the control of the gangs and the armed men by the war media, the Syrian television carried a report showing the city and the air base - which the terrorist claimed they had turned into ashes - with dozens of helicopters on its runway and under the command of the Syrian Arab army. Hence, the Edlib plan failed and the Syrian Arab army was able to deter the terrorist gangs in it, which is why they resorted to the operations rooms in Turkey that are managed by the American intelligence apparatuses, in order to carry out a series of media operations to cover up their defeat.
Secondly, the gangs disregarded their defeat in Edlib and any talk about Maarat al-Naaman, and tried to steal the spotlight through three types of operations in Damascus and its surrounding, none of which featured control over any new positions:
1- The detonation of booby-trapped cars by sleeper cells in some neighborhoods of the capital, which was expected in the context of the gangs’ terrorist plan. Moreover, the Syrian command based its calculations on the fact that the confrontation with the terrorist remnants will last a long time after the establishment of its control over the Syrian territories and the liquidation of the strongholds of terrorism and rebellion. These explosions aimed at generating security turmoil and media commotion, but also at spreading panic and terror among the Syrian citizens, which is an existing goal since the beginning of the Syrian events.
2- The perpetration of assassinations inside the Syrian capital, affecting among others the brother of the parliament speaker and some employees in public institutions, is not new. Many such operations were witnessed in the past months and both the explosions and the assassinations were carried out by sleeper terrorist cells which the Syrian state is continuing to pursue and uncover.
3- The new tactic to cover up the failure was seen in the deployment of mobile armed groups in the orchards surrounding some neighborhoods of the capital, and the use of mortar shells to bombs several residential neighborhoods in preparation for the withdrawal. Each and every time, the Syrian Arab army pursued these groups and killed dozens among their members, without the fall of any victims in the ranks of the Syrian soldiers.
4- The next tactical step adopted by the gangs was the mobilization of some terrorist groups present in the Palestinian camps to provoke clashes and battles with the national factions and attack Syrian army positions. These operations were contained through the formation of Palestinian armed popular committees, in coordination with the resistance factions. This game reached its peak and is now retreating, as the Palestinian popular position is supporting the Syrian national state and sympathizing with the Syrian army. As for the remaining terrorist gangs, they are either besieged or pursued by the Syrian army and security bodies.
Thirdly, it is clear, based on the aforementioned, that the terrorist gangs did not undertake any new step to affect the balance of powers, which was recognized by these gangs’ leaders who said in statements to Reuters and Agence France Presse it would be impossible to maintain control over any region they entered, due to the Syria’s army heavy fire. But there is also another reason they concealed in their explanations, i.e. the popular position rejecting the presence of these Syrian and multinational gangs, the last expression of which was carried by AFP which spoke about the staging of demonstrations in some neighborhoods of Aleppo, demanding the exit of the armed men. These protests that were held on Friday were targeted by the terrorist gangs, which confirmed the reality of the great transformation affecting the balance of power in favor of the Syrian state. In this context, many observers noticed in the past week the absence of any reports or statements issued by the gangs and their supporters about Deir ez-Zor, Daraa and even Aleppo and Homs, considering that all the facts reveal that most of these regions are witnessing progress at the level of the Syrian army’s operations, in parallel to defeat and division in the ranks of the armed gangs.
By Nasser Kandil
The Damascus Battle
In light of the dead end, the change affecting the international climate and the imminent launching of Russian-American negotiations to arrange the Asian map prior to the American withdrawal from Afghanistan, the French-Turkish-Qatari trio is deploying all possible efforts to prove its ability to change the reality in Syria.
The Doha conference on the other hand was a wager sponsored by Clinton, i.e. the biggest loser in the American presidential elections, after she failed as a negotiator with Russia due to her arrogance. She will thus be succeeded by John Carey, or whoever equals him on the diplomatic level, knowing that the latter was the first to open communication channels with Syria following the 2005 crisis.
Their project in Doha is failing, even if they try to cover up the failure by choosing a Christian to head the Istanbul Council, as though to say that Islamic extremism and bigotry have no place in the opposition. But as a result, half the participants in the conference, apart from the main leaders and particularly the representatives of the fighting groups, withdrew from it.
They carried out mobilization, gathered funds and weapons, introduced some Palestinians under headlines having nothing to do with the Palestinian cause and introduced mortar shells to some of Damascus’ neighborhoods. The next few months will be decisive, but the result will be in favor of Syria and its army.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad announced in an interview with Russia Today: “Our enemy is terrorism and instability in Syria. The issue is not about whether I stay or go. It is about whether the country is safe or not. This is the enemy we as Syrians are fighting.” Al-Assad continued: “Whether the president stays or leaves is up to the people and not to the opinion of some. The only way that this can be settled is through the ballot boxes which determine whether the president should stay or leave.” President Al-Assad then assured: “The problem is not between me and the people. I have no problem with the people. But the United States is against me, the West is against me, many Arab countries are against me and Turkey is against me. If the Syrian people are also against me, who can I continue to be here?” He added: “Now, we have a new type of war where terrorism is practiced by proxy, whether by Syrians living in Syria or by foreign fighters. This is a new type of war and we have to adapt to it. This is taking time and is not easy to achieve.” Asked where he would go in case he chooses to leave, President Al-Assad said: “To Syria. This is the only place I can live in. I am not a puppet and was not made by the West in order for me to go to the West or any other country. I am Syrian. I was born in Syria and must live and die in Syria.” Asked whether or not Syria’s foreign invasion had become imminent, to which he said: “The cost of such an invasion – in case it were to take place – will be much too great for the entire world to handle. If there are problems in Syria, especially since we are the last stronghold for secularism, stability and coexistence in the region, they will have a domino effect and will affect the world from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans.”
For his part, United Nations Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi said: “There is no military solution to the crisis in Syria. This crisis will not remain inside Syria’s border and will definitely reach the neighboring states and even states that are very far from Syria’s border.”
On the field, the terrorist carried out several explosions, resulting in the martyrdom and injuring of dozens of citizens, including women and children. On the other hand, the armed regular forces continued to pursue the terrorist groups perpetrating acts of sabotage and killings in several Syrian regions, resulting in the death of a number of terrorists and the destruction of cars which they terrorists used to transport weapons and ammunition.
The Turkish authorities forced an Armenian aircraft which was carrying humanitarian aid to Syria to land in Turkey to be subjected to a “routine” inspection which lasted several hours, before the plane was able to resume its trip to Damascus.
In the meantime, Syrian oppositionist Riad Saif called on the Syrian opposition parties and especially the National Council to support his plan to establish a new command of 50 people for the Syrian opposition, in preparation for earning the organization’s recognition by the international community as the “sole legitimate representative” for the Syrian people and the formation of a transitional government. In Doha, the Syrian National Council ratified the restructuring project during the second day of its meetings. As for the Syrian local coordination committees, they announced their withdrawal from the National Council following the disappointing restructuring process. This was revealed in a statement issued by the committees on Friday night, at a time when the opposition Syrian National Council announced the election of George Sabra as its president and Abdel Basset Seida’s successor.
Libyan militias exchanged fire and rockets in the capital Tripoli on Sunday, setting fire to a former intelligence services building. The clashes caused injuries among a number of people.
Two people were killed and one was injured after five explosions rocked the capital Manama as announced by the Bahraini Interior Ministry. In the meantime, Deputy Secretary General of the Bahraini Association for Human Rights Issa al-Gha’eb called on the special rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Commission to visit Manama urgently, and check the status of the Bahraini human rights activists and the practices of the Khalifa family-affiliated apparatuses against all those who have been working in the human rights field since the eruption of the protests in Bahrain over a year and a half ago.
The Bahraini Interior Ministry announced on Wednesday the withdrawal of the nationalities of 31 activists, including two former deputies, due to what it dubbed “damage caused to the state security.” The Bahrain Forum for Human Rights criticized this step by the Bahraini authorities, saying that these 31 Bahraini figures represented factions “that enjoy their religious and political weight.” He thus called on the international community, the United Nations and the international human rights organizations to adopt strict punitive measures against the Bahraini authorities “that are blatantly violating the international charters related to the nationality rights, as well as the Human Rights Charter. For its part, Amnesty International described the Bahraini authorities’ withdrawal of the nationality of 31 oppositionists as being a frightening measure.
Around 2,000 Salafis demonstrated on Tahrir Square in the center of Cairo on Friday to demand the implementation of the Islamic Sharia’a at the level of the new constitution. For their part, the Muslim Brotherhood group and the Salafi Al-Nour party announced they will not participate in the aforementioned protest.
The Israeli papers issued this week focused on the American elections and their repercussions on various levels. There were various opinions voiced in regard to the issue, as some believed that despite the mutual disdain between the American president and the Israeli prime minister, Barack Obama was not expected to “punish” Benjamin Netanyahu. Some on the other hand considered that the talk about the non-occurrence of any transformations and the continuation of the stalemate might be premature.
In this context, Haaretz tackled the challenges which will face American President Barack Obama following his reelection. The paper thus said that the celebration of Barack Obama’s victory was soon halted, after the realistic consideration of the challenges he is facing.
On the other hand, the papers spoke about the meeting held between Israeli President Shimon Peres and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Kremlin, and their discussions which tackled the Iranian nuclear program and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Jerusalem Post also carried the Israeli army’s assessment of the next round of the fight with Hezbollah, and the attacks which will focus on the critical areas deep within Israel.
Haaretz also spoke about the package of sanctions which will be imposed by the Israeli government on the Palestinian authority, in case the latter were to head to the United Nations General Assembly at the end of the month.
French President Francois Hollande visited Beirut on Sunday 4 November for three hours, holding bilateral talks with President Michel Suleiman. A joint press conference was then staged, during which the French president saluted Suleiman’s efforts to “sustain dialogue,” stressing the importance of stability, dialogue and unity.
On the other hand, the American deputy secretary of state contacted head of the Progressive Socialist Party Deputy Walid Jumblatt, hoping he would “help form a new Lebanese government, while steering away from vacuum.” However, Jumblatt stressed that the establishment of a new government could only be secured by “supporting the efforts of President of the Republic Michel Suleiman to keep the dialogue channels open between the Lebanese parties, and exit the current state of severance which will only lead to more deadlocks.”
On Tuesday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Muhammad Kamel Amr arrived to Lebanon on a two-day visit. Amr started his meetings with head of the Lebanese Forces Samir Geagea in Maarab before seeing any official, then visited partisan leaders in their homes. He thus met with President Amin Gemayel, General Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Fouad al-Sanioura, and contacted Deputy Walid Jumblatt over the phone. Asked why he started his tour by meeting with Geagea who does not have any official character, the Egyptian minister said to As-Safir: “There is no backdrop to this step and it does not feature any political meaning. It was based on availability during the preparations for the visit, while taking into account the geographic facet and the distance between Beirut and the surrounding areas.”
Deputy General Michel Aoun assured on the other hand that the “miniature government proposal was serious, provided there is no vacuum,” wondering: “Who will appoint a government of technocrats or a neutral Cabinet?” He stated on the other hand there were no issues to debate “since there are conflicting issues that have been on the table for years. Some want to resist and others do not. We ratified certain principles in the Baabda Declaration, but there was no agreement over their implementation.”