Entry of Republican Forces in the Old City of Homs.

Events follow and contradict each other in Syria. While at the beginning of the year, a smiling Washington sponsored the organization of the Geneva 2 Peace Conference, it sabotaged it from behind and yielded to all Saudi requests. The war seemed to be destined to last as long as the states of NATO and the GCC would finance it. Yet secretly, for two months, peace negotiations moved forward on the initiative of Iran. They bore their first fruit with the liberation of Homs which could mark the beginning of the end of the war of aggression.

To understand, one must remember the official discourse and replace the signs in the chronology of the negotiations that were taking place at the time. This is also an opportunity for me to correct previous statements that could not have been complete because of the secrecy of the talks.

Four Months of War Against Syria

In early January, Washington had determined its strategy for Syria. President Obama secretly met Congress to hold a vote for war funding until the end of the fiscal year, that is to say until September. This unusual procedure, unworthy of a supposedly democratic state, was hidden from the American public and became known only because of a dispatch from Reuters UK [1]. Parliamentarians authorized the shipment of arms to "moderate opposition" groups, without identifying these famous groups as, in the field, all armed opposition groups, without exception, engaged in atrocities in the name of their vision of Islam. [2]

At the same time, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, undisputed leader of Al Qaeda since the summer of 2001 and Saudi national security adviser, was hospitalized in the United States. The rumor spread that King Abdullah would place him in disgrace at the end of the six months he had been given to overthrow Bashar al-Assad.

In Turkey, the judiciary tried to establish how Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was diverting money to Al-Qaeda. It jeopardized the Muslim Brotherhood IHH Humanitarian Association. [3]

Then the United States sabotaged the peace conference in Geneva that they were sponsoring jointly with Russia. John Kerry had Iran’s invitation cancelled by Ban Ki-moon the day before the meeting, though the invitation had already been duly addressed to Iran. He presented a delegation called "Syrian Opposition" that was restricted to members of the National Coalition, which is to say exclusively to employees of Saudi Arabia. During his keynote speech, he kept going over the worst war propaganda, describing the onset of a "revolution" after the torture allegedly inflicted on teenagers in Deraa or citing "horrific reports" on torture and thousands of executions. [4]

The Geneva conference was thus a dialogue of the deaf between, on the one hand, a Syrian national delegation requiring prior condemnation of terrorism in accordance with UN resolutions and on the other hand, a pro-Saudi delegation overwhelming it with fanciful accusations. Strangely, debates clenched around a seemingly very minor point : the fate of the inhabitants of old Homs. Several locations in the country and several places in Homs were besieged by the national army, but the pro-Saudis were anxious that humanitarian organizations should enter only old Homs.

On February 15th, the Special Representative of Ban Ki -moon and of Nabil el-Arabi, Lakhdar Brahimi, noting that the Syrian Arab Republic would not bend because the balance of power on the ground was largely in its favour, suspended sine die the negotiations [5].

During the three weeks of the conference, the United States had also taken the initiative to engage with their Saudi friends, followed by Poland with its European allies, to encourage them to take steps to protect themselves from the return of the jihadists. On February 6th, the Secretary of Homeland Security , Jeh Johnson, told his counterparts that peace was at hand and that the parties to the Western Jihad in Syria would come back, inebriated with blood, to commit crimes in Europe and the USA [6]. The first state to obey was Saudi Arabia, which by decree forbade participation in jihad under penalty of 4-20 years in prison, then it was France’s turn, which adopted a vast, comprehensive anti-jihadist plan on April 23. On this occasion, false statistics were distributed to the press announcing that about 10,000 Westerners and 5000 Arabs fought in Syria, while Lakhdar Brahimi spoke the preceding year of 40,000 foreign fighters and the Syrian military evoked 120 000.

Shortly after the launch of this campaign, the European Union confiscated the Syrian assets it had frozen, supposedly to finance the destruction of chemical weapons, contrary to a resolution of the OPCW which specified Syria’s financial inability to pay such destruction and created a special international fund to act in its place. [7]

All these maneuvers were discussed by Washington and its allies at a secret meeting of the Board of U.S. national security and heads of European intelligence services at the White House as revealed by the Washington Post. [8]

Militarily, Saudi Arabia brokered a cease-fire between armed groups waging amongst themselves a terrible war of competition [9]. This agreement did not last long and the fighting resumed quickly and with greater gusto. However, its existence confirmed that the Saudi Kingdom had become the only entity capable of being obeyed by the "armed opposition". In addition, we learned in passing that ÉIIL was directly controlled by Prince Abdul Rahman al-Faisa , brother of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. [10]

On February 22nd, Westerners had a resolution adopted by the UN Security Council on humanitarian aid to Syria. As pointed out by Ambassador Churkin, it came after many attempts to use this aid to overthrow the regime. In fact only 7% of funds were gathered for this aid, three-quarters of which was distributed by the Syrian Arab Republic and only a quarter by UN agencies. However, in practice, this resolution, not being respected by the armed opposition groups, amounts only to prohibiting the Republic from besieging the areas they control. [11]

On February 27, the tone rises between Saudi Arabia and Qatar about the Muslim Brotherhood. Riyadh imposes requirements and sponsors a bombing in Doha. [12]

It was then that began secret contacts on the liberation of old Homs.

In mid- March, the new U.S. ambassador to Syria, Daniel Rubinstein, ordered the closure of the Syrian consular offices in the country. [13] Then, on the occasion of the visit to the White House of the President of the National Coalition, he announced the diplomatic recognition of this group of pro-Saudi opposition, without putting an end to diplomatic relations in international bodies with the Syrian Arab Republic . [14]

On March 21st, the Turkish army, a NATO member, entered Syrian territory to support a new jihadist takeover of the town of Kassab [15]. While the Syrian army tried to save the Armenian population of the city and bombarded the jihadists, the Turks shot down a Syrian plane [16] . Armenia and all OTCS Member States protested in vain against what looked like a continuation of the massacre of Armenians by the Young Turks in 1915. Challenged by the Russian delegation to the Security Council, Westerners refused to condemn the violation of Syrian sovereignty by a NATO [17] member State.

At the end of March, Saudi Arabia and Qatar concluded an agreement. Doha would gently cease its support for the Muslim Brotherhood whose foreign leaders are asked one by one to leave the Emirate. Their representatives would be excluded from the Syrian National Coalition. To restore its image, Qatar plans to create a new television channel that will soften the image of Al-Jazeera.

On April 3 , the 11 surviving members of the Friends of Syria argue against the principle of a presidential election in Syria. They reaffirm that it is they, through negotiations, not the Syrians democratically, who must choose their future. [18]

On April 16, Prince Bandar bin Sultan was officially relieved of his duties as national security adviser as well as Saudi intelligence chief. [19] To oust him, King Abdullah was supported by John Kerry who punished thusly the prince’s reactions to the chemical weapons case. The Sudeiris Clan of whom Bandar is the leader, was forced to bow. The kingdom then tidied up its operations. On the one hand, the king ordered the release of French hostages and secondly he adopted jihad legislation. Now, participation is prohibited, however the returning Saudis will not be imprisoned but rather welcomed as prodigal sons.

On April 20th, a faction of Al-Qaeda in Syria, ÉIIL, freed four French hostages and handed them to the Turkish police. Officially, the four men were journalists held by Saudi Arabia (it is known that the ÉIIL is controlled by Prince Abdul Rahman al-Faisal ). They were released without compensation. [20] However one of the four hostages would have been a member of the French secret services and, according to the German magazine, Focus, their release was accompanied by a funding of $ 18 million to ÉIIL.

On May 6th, Saudi Arabia arrested 62 members of Al- Qaeda accused of plotting against the officials of the regime . [21]

The Liberation of Homs

Negotiations on the liberation of Homs began in early March. That was two months ago. It was implemented from May 7 to 9. Combatants and civilians who supported them, a total of 2,250 people, were allowed to leave the city on buses. They could take with them small arms and personal belongings. The document states that the windows of the bus should be tinted or covered by curtains. An Iranian representative was on board each vehicle. The convoy was escorted by police to a rebel area twenty kilometers to the north.

Homs, described by NATO and GCC propaganda as the "heart of the revolution", is returned to the authority of the Republic, without blood being shed. Its liberation marks the end of the takfisriste project in Syria. Upon entering the old town, Syrian soldiers discovered several mass graves in which the jihadists threw their victims.

Curtains hid fighters from news reporters. We do not know how many were foreign officers. The only thing certain is that they are French and Saudis, with some Americans. They abandoned their heavy weapons. They were to continue their journey and be exfiltrated by Turkey. The Syrian government is committed not to speak publicly about the presence of foreign officers, but it is an open secret for journalists who approached civilians.

If the presence of Saudis is not surprising, that of the French and Americans is. Paris had formally severed contacts with jihadists in Syria since its intervention in Mali, in January 2013 , against other jihadists. So much for severing, although these contacts were more discreet. As for the Americans, they have a reputation for leaving the ship to their allies when the weather turns bad. Yet there they were.

Henceforth, the question is what is the intention of NATO and the GCC. It seems that the Nicaraguan style war is over. Perhaps because the Republic resisted, perhaps because it was becoming increasingly difficult to find candidates for jihad. Washington would fall back on simple support for its Syrian employees. From this point of view, the liberation of Homs corresponds to an escalation against Damascus. For the past week, rockets rain down on the capital, causing many casualties. Given the balance of power within the population, the outcome of the war leaves no doubt and will be speedy. Bashar Assad should be democratically elected by a large majority of his fellow citizens on June 3, and the war should slowly end, its funding being provided only until September.

The campaign led by Washington to dissuade jihadists from going back to NATO countries suggests that a new purpose will be found for them. For over a year, the Russian Federation has been convinced that it will be the next target of Westerners. So, it prepares for a new shock, even if it does not know where it will happen exactly.

Moreover, the liberation of Homs turns the page on the project of domination of Arab countries by the Muslim Brotherhood. While they were, since 2007, the privileged interlocutors of the State Department, and Washington had placed them in power in Turkey, Qatar, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and elsewhere, they are now in reflux. Those who the academic, Robert S. Leiken, described in 2005 as moderates capable of governing an Islamized Arab world on behalf of the United States, have been or are being rejected or dismissed from all countries where they hold power.

Finally, the victory of Homs hints at the possibility of a future rivalry between Iran and Russia. It is clear that if Washington had confidence in Tehran in this case, it is because the two states have previously entered into a comprehensive agreement. It seems that the United States is remaking Iran Constable of the area, as it was at the time of the Shah. In this perspective, military assistance to Hezbollah, the Syrian Arab Republic and the Palestinians should decrease slightly. Tehran should push its allies toward compromise. In exchange, Washington could give it free rein in Iraq, Syria and even Lebanon. It would follow that Shiism which, since Ayatollah Khomeini, was an anti-imperialist force would become once again just a way for Iran to assert its identity and its influence. This development would ruin Russian-US projects in the region. But can they still be envisaged after the Ukrainian crisis ?

Roger Lagassé

[1"Congress Approves U.S. secretly weapons flow to ’moderate’ Syrian
" by Mark Hosenball , Reuters , 27 January 2014.

[2"The United States, the first global terrorism financiers" , by Thierry Meyssan, Al -Watan (Syria) , Voltaire Network, February 3, 2014 .

[3"Turkish Justice accuses IHH of links with Al- Qaeda" , Voltaire Network, 15 January 2014.

[4"John Kerry’s opening speech at the Geneva 2 Conference" by John F. Kerry, Voltaire Network , 22 January 2014.

[5"Briefing on Syria by Lakhdar Brahimi to the UN General Assembly ," by Lakhdar Brahimi, Voltaire Network, 14 March 2014.

[6Syria now a "matter of homeland security" for US and EU”, Translation Alizée Ville, Voltaire Network, 10 February 2014.

[7European Commission seizes frozen Syrian assets”, Translation Alizée Ville, Voltaire Network, 16 February 2014.

[8"Spymasters gather to discuss Syria" by David Ignatius , Washington Post, February 19, 2014 . “U.S. coordinating secret war against Syria”, Voltaire Network, 21 February 2014.

[10Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant led by Prince Abdul Rahman”, Translation Alizée Ville, Voltaire Network, 4 February 2014.

[11Resolution 2139 dealing with Humanitarian aid in Syria”, Voltaire Network, 22 February 2014.

[12Secret war between Qatar and Saudi Arabia”, Voltaire Network, 13 March 2014.

[13Washington expels all Syrian diplomats”, Voltaire Network, 18 March 2014.

[15Turkey helps foreign mercenaries slip into Syria”, Voltaire Network, 22 March 2014.

[16Turkish army downs Syrian combat aircraft”, Voltaire Network, 23 March 2014.

[18"11 Countries Joint Statement on Syria" , Voltaire Network, 3 April 2014.

[19Prince Bandar steps down”, Voltaire Network, 17 April 2014.

[20Release of French hostages held by France’s allies in Syria”, Voltaire Network, 20 April 2014.

[21Saudi Arabia detains 62 Al-Qaeda members”, Voltaire Network, 9 May 2014.