Syria: A Moment to Reflect 281

The death of Raed Fares in Syria reminds us that there was a moment in Syria when protest was led by secular democrats keen to see the end of decades of one family rule. That he was killed by the Islamist rebels the West is now actively supporting – and the fact that all the western news reports have sought to elide that fact – is sign of how horribly it has all gone wrong.

The assault on Hodeidah appears finally to have focused some Western leaders on the appalling horrors of the bombing of civilians in Yemen by the Saudi/UAE led coalition. Hodeidah is abhorrent not just because of the direct effect of the assault, but because the aim is to close the port which is the only supply route standing between further millions and death by starvation. When you add to Hodeidah the hideous killing of Khashoggi and the dreadful imprisonment of the unfortunate Matthew Hedges by Saudi satellite the UAE, and you realise that all of these deaths and injustices including that of Raed Fares are orchestrated by the same people, you would hope the pause to reflect would be general.

Trump/MBS/Netanyahu is the real axis of evil today. In Syria and Yemen the West has abandoned all belief in human rights and in basic decency, in favour of promoting a crazed Sunni jihadist agenda against Iran. The effects are so perverse, that we reached a stage where the continuation of the Assad regime is the best outcome that can be hoped for short term in Syria because the alternative is now al-Nusra. Western foreign policy in the Middle East has long been both illegal and morally indefensible; it has now also become extremely stupid.

281 thoughts on “Syria: A Moment to Reflect

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    • laguerre

      It’s what Netanyahu wants. Same with Iran. Netanyahu is obsessed with the one country in the Middle East which actually has representation for Jews in parliament. It used to be that war with Iran was going to provide the cover for the final ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, but even that doesn’t work now, so the whole policy is pointless. Arab countries like Syria and Iraq rebuilding themselves post-war are going to be negative for Israel, so Netanyahu’s policy hasn’t succeeded.

    • Ian Pleb

      The policy isn’t stupid it’s imperialist. These events are not unique there’s a long history of them. This is how capitalism works. It’s the system that’s the problem not only is it killing millions of people it’s also killing the environment.

        • StephenR

          That’s not communism, just its exploitation by greedy sociopaths, pretty like any political system. Capitalism would be fine as an economic system if it weren’t for the same greedy sociopaths, they are the problem. Maybe we need to root out and destroy them like the parasitic vermin they are?

          • Makropulos

            Capitalism is based on relentless maximization of profits. Destroying lives and the environment does not compute in the capitalist lexicon i.e. it happens but what the hell? This has nothing to do with sociopaths. All those corporate bosses may be jolly decent chaps in their personal and social relationships. But when the function as capitalists they must push for the profits at all costs.

          • Paul Barbara

            @ Makropulos November 24, 2018 at 19:06
            So, that makes them Sociopaths – no empathy.
            They couldn’t give a damn about the masses, and would even sell their Grandmothers down the river if the price was right.

        • D_Majestic

          Can you name a place on earth that is actually ‘Communist’? All those that were/are should correctly be defined as ‘Fascist’, since that is what they were. For instance,they had easily recognizable ‘State Broadcasters’. Oh-wait a minute…..

        • Paul Barbara

          @ Techno November 24, 2018 at 15:37
          History is one thing, but is ‘Communism’ killing millions of people NOW?

        • Paul Barbara

          @ Techno November 24, 2018 at 15:37
          The Soviets did killed millions of people in the past, but Russia is not doing so now, whereas the West is.
          Craig talks about ‘..there was a moment in Syria when protest was led by secular democrats keen to see the end of decades of one family rule….’. Indisputably true.
          But before that was deliberately stirred up in 2011, Britain was planning to overthrow Assad with the use of mercenaries in 2009: ‘France’s Roland Dumas tells how Syria’s Destruction was planned in advance’:

          ‘Former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas: West was preparing attack on Syria before crisis started’:

          Britain, France and the US enabled, armed and trained the ‘Headchoppers’ they say they are fighting, as their proxy mercenary force to topple Assad and Balkanise the Middle East; they are now transporting them to Afghanistan and airlifting arms to them there, where they are fighting not only the Taliban but also government forces.
          And re the recent chemical attack against Aleppo, why are the West so silent?

          Of course, it doesn’t help the West’s narrative that the ‘rebels’ have and use chemical weapons, does it?
          Or that the West supplies these chemicals, and the personnel to use them (‘White Helmets’ and western ‘Special Forces’).

    • Dungroanin

      What do the psychopaths see in it?
      Money and power for a few and their masters.

      They are psychos – and cannot be compared to the majority of humanity.

    • Baalbek

      As other contributors have already mentioned, Israel has a significant influence on US/UK Middle East policy and “common sense” and what the people of the region want is not part of the calculus.

      Another major factor driving Atlantacist intervention there is its zero tolerance policy for countries that chart a development path independently of the global capitalist mafia. Iran, Syria, Libya, Iraq (and every other “ememy” state the media bellyaches about) is attacked militarily or via economic warfare (aka “sanctions”).

      A third reason (oil and gas is so obvious it doesn’t need mentioning) is the American exceptionalists’ obsession with controlling the vast section of Eurasia that remains outside of direct US influence. Ever since Brzezinski came up with his “he who controls Eurasia controls the world” stuff this has been a major policy goal.

      Take a map of the world, a globe, physical or virtual, is even better, and manipulate it so Iran is at the centre. Notice where Africa, Europe and East Asia lie in relation to the country. Netanyahoo and friends’ goal of greater Israel dovetails neatly with DC’s Dr. Evil worthy “full spectrum dominance” delusion, and a sovereign Iran that remains independent of the global finance capitalist scam is a very effective spanner jamming the machinery driving their diabolical plans.

  • Terence callachan

    I agree , it’s terrible to see people, countries support the punishment of Iran for having the temerity to support their neighbours when their neighbours and mistreated by Israel and Saudi Arabia all with the support of USA.

    • Borncynical

      And I agree with you. As far as the perceived alliance of Western ‘powers that be’ is concerned, it’s forbidden for any other countries to form allegiances and demonstrate loyalties, even for perfectly legitimate and justifiable reasons. (Irony alert) For such audacity and arrogance they must of course be punished by the West and they only have themselves to blame.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Terence callachan November 24, 2018 at 14:57
        Totally agree with you and Borncynical, who agrees with you.
        We are dealing with Luciferian evil, total hypocrisy, murderous intent, these a**holes have literally sold their souls.
        Don’t expect things to get better, they are going to get much worse.

  • Michael Keefer

    It’s hard to think when in my lifetime–I’m older than you, Craig–the West has taken a stand for human decency that hasn’t subsequently been exposed as fraudulent. And ‘human rights’ have been instrumentalized to the point of becoming effectively meaningless. A parallel instrumentalizing is evident in Western support for jihadis in Syria and Yemen, and for Nazis in Ukraine: the West idiotically sees them as useful tools in furthering its energy geopolitics and imperial control.

    • philw

      There is no morality in foreign policy, ever, for any government anywhere, or even moral constraint.

      If it is in their interests they will do it, if not they wont. Much will be made of moral considerations in order to persuade the public to support an action or a stance, but there will be no substance to it. If supporting Saddam is in their interest they will do it, if killing him is in their interest they will do it.

      If it is perceived by the UK government to be in their interest to extradite Julian Assange they will do it.

      If the US government does not see it as in its interest to join the UK and Allies in fighting the Nazis and Fascists, as in1939, then it will stand aside for three years until its interests change.

      • Surly

        >> There is no morality in foreign policy, ever, for any government anywhere, or even moral constraint.

        This is the iron law of social organization. Whoever recognizes no authority develops a mindset of total free will and lack of empathy, and accordingly acts in self-interest only. Call it narcissistic or sociopathic thinking if that works for you.

        Vladimir Putin a few years ago was asked by a western journalist if it is possible for Russia and the United States to be friends. He replied, correctly, that “Nations do not have friends. They have interests.” The joint US/Israeli power structure cannot admit this almost by definition – it is not in their interest to contradict the narratives they use to justify their actions. The second tier of up and coming nations have nothing to lose if they tell the truth; it is not against their interest to state truths that weaken the dominant narrative.

        The benefit of a unipolar world, from the king-of-the-hill’s point of view, is obviously that it has relatively few constraints. All it needs to do is carry on and come up with rationales and narratives that fit its self-interest. It’s almost pointless to call it evil, though by any definition of morality it certainly is. When it collapses, if something else can fill the void and maintain unipolar power, that entity will do likewise. We can always patiently hope that history will be honest, and that a representative and symbolic set of the neoliberals and neocons who run the world will someday kick and jerk at the end of a rope.

        • John A

          Whether or not Putin said that, it was actually originally mouthed by Lord Palmerston, the Victorian imperialist foreign minister.

        • philw

          Surly, I think maybe you personalise too much, if I am understanding you correctly.

          Morality-free foreign policies are not the creations of individuals – they are arrived at by the government organisation, through the power and influence struggles of other organisations. There is a calculus of power. So US foreign policy is the outcome of the lobbying of the defence industry, Israel, the international oil industry, Wall Street and international financial services industry, pharmaceuticals, tech etc, etc. US foreign policy changed very little from Bush to Obama to Trump.

          I agree that sociopaths tend to rise to the top of hierarchical organisations. They are enabled by the selective blindness of the many. The more conscience you have, the more likely you are to be squeezed out, like Craig.

          It is very depressing if all you can hope for is to see someone “kick and jerk at the end of a rope” , if all you hope for is some sort of petty revenge. There is hope. Very few Americans would actually support US policy if they saw it clearly, and the same goes for other countries. The people have morality and they can influence the behaviour of governments.

          However, countering government propaganda and then mobilising people is a mighty task. And even if government behaviour is changed, as over the Vietnam War, changing the on-going policy is a huge step further.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Michael Keefer November 24, 2018 at 15:13
      It’s not just Nazis in Ukraine, we now have Bolsanaro in Brazil (US machinations) who is an out-and-out Fascist.
      The US ‘PTB’ have an abiding love affair with Nazis – US Banks and Corporations backed Hitler’s rise between the wars, and even into WWII. And almost immediately after WWII, the CIA not only set up ‘Project Paperclip’ bringing Nazis into the US (not just ‘Rocket Scientists’ but also the likes of Dr. Mengele), assisted in the Rat Run for them into Latin America, and enlisted them into the ‘Stay-Behind Armies’ (Gladio) in Europe, protecting them from local justice.
      And don’t forget the so-called ‘Business Plot’ in 1933 in the States. A planned Fascist Coup, no less, but sanitised as merely a ‘Business Plot’. Nobody’s head fell, even though it was exposed.
      The Fourth Reich is alive and forging ahead, backed by some strange bedfellows.

    • laguerre

      I see no necessity in presuming that Hedges was/is a spy. Many doctoral students are irremediably naive, and their supervisors don’t do a proper job of warning them that what they’re doing is dangerous. Hedges choice of studying UAE security was very foolish, and would have got him slung in prison in many countries of the world. His supervisor should have advised him not to do it – it is a teaching fault of the supervisor, which is no doubt why the said professor has been making a lot of noise, to divert attention from his own failure.

      • kula

        Laguerre, you are assuming a level of competence from his purported employers. The pee dossier, the Skripal case clearly illustrate a lack of digital skills, a lack of political knowhow and a lack of basic decency on the part of the intelligence agencies. They have been reducing to begging the US to not declassify documents that show them subverting the US election. 2-year-olds with guns.

        • Entropy Wins

          The recent leak of internal documents for the so-called public domain FCO Integrity Initiative project made an interesting statement about Skripal. It is described explicitly as a ‘Dirty Trick’ action against Russia. The documents list a large number of members with MoD email addresses – from the 77th Keyboard Brigade?

          Any chance of a full article about the ‘Integrity Initiative’?

    • Isa

      I’m not sure M. Seemingly his research focused on the Yemen War and arms sales so I doubt that this would go hand in hand with the foreign office’s interests . Furthermore he’s been jailed for 5 months so the foreign office tried hard to keep this quiet .

    • Tom

      Yes, he probably is. The UAE are not so stupid as to create a diplomatic incident out of nothing.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ M Cox November 24, 2018 at 15:13
      But surely, we’re the ‘good guys’, we wouldn’t be after sending academics or businessmen to surreptitiously spy in other countries, would we? While we’re on the subject, amazing HMG can hold the Skripals incommunicado for no crime, and the MSM just ‘forget’ about the case?
      1984, eat your heart out. We’re 2018, way beyond Orwell.

      • Hmmm

        Absolutely. And as we’re so good we’d never send a mother and child to Iran to spread “journalism” would we?!

  • laguerre

    “there was a moment in Syria when protest was led by secular democrats keen to see the end of decades of one family rule.”

    These secular democrats were, it has to be said, mainly in Istanbul and in exile in the West. I’ve known a lot of them. The rebel force on the ground was much more rural-based and religiously-conservative Sunnis, which was where the Saudis got their toe-hold from. I well remember seeing early rebel videos back at the beginning in 2011 with the women veiled to the eye-balls (which you never used to see in Syria before the war, even in the villages). I was told I was being ridiculous in noticing how the women were dressed, it was of no importance, the glorious democratic revolution was bound to succeed, but that’s not the way things went in the end.

    • Glasshopper

      Laguerre, I know you’re more knowledgeable than most on the subject,so i was wondering. What’s the reality of Iranian influence on the Houthis? Given the country has no Shia landborders and there has been a naval blockade for years. How the hell can Iran be backing this group? Also, where are the Houthi weapons coming from since they’ve been up against a massive onslaught for a very long time now.

      Of course the MSM trot out this “Iranian backed” line at every opportunity, while wheeling on slippery military propagandists like Colonel Richard Kemp, but i’ve not seen any meaningful evidence to back up the claims.

      Any thoughts?

      • lysias

        Most of the Viet Cong’s weapons were weapons captured from the French, the South Vietnamese army, and the Americans.

      • laguerre

        As response to Glasshopper, the main issue is the Saudi crusade against the Shi’a. The Houthis are Zaidi Shi’a, the Iranians Twelver Shi’a. That’s why the media association of the two; not much evidence beyond that, that I know of.

        Saudi Wahhabi hatred of the Shi’a goes back a long way, e.g. the Saudi raid on Najaf in 1801 (I haven’t checked the date, it might have been 1808), apart from the extreme Sunni theological hatred of the Shi’a as heretics. Today, the problem is more political. Shi’a in Saudi inhabit the Saudi oil-fields. If they were to revolt successfully, the Saudi princes would be reduced to camel-herding bedouin. So the policy is to beat down any Shi’a, so that the Saudi Shi’a feel bereft of any hope of support.

        • Hmmm

          Thanks. I’ve been too lazy for too long to actually look for the reasons for the tensions between the sects. Like Christianity the real reasons always turn out to be cold hard cash….

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    “Trump/MBS/Netanyahu are the real axis of evil…”
    Syria is about the only global political power play in which I would give Trump any credit. Broad brush, he has shown reasonable restraint on Syria, expressing a desire for complete withdrawal of US troops. Apparently the Pentagon have managed to stymie his “command” to date.
    Let’s face it, if Killary was occupying the Oval Office, Damaskas would be a smouldering, irradiated wasteland.

    • Dungroanin

      The offices of the Potus and the state dept have always tended to be run seperately in my understanding.

      Along internal policy and external imperialism. But always for the aristocracy. Their thugs evolved from the private police pinkertons into the deepstate FBI and all the other 3 lettered agencies.

      They were persuing their imperialism when they were only 13 states and when they met the Pacific they went to south america and the banana republics – and into the phillipines and Hawaiin islands taking over from their european aristocratic relatives empires. The takeover of south east asia and annihilation of its natureand resources whilst enslaving the populations by the ‘strongman’ leaders and absurd religious lies, Christian and Muslim alike, all controlled by the same imperialists and their thugs.

      All of it financed by the gold and silver of the bankers – who then dumped that currency relationship and created the fiat dollar – the means to stealing from the poor their only wealth – their land.

      For what end?
      To be the most powerful and richest. Like Ozymandaias and Croesus?
      How did that work out?

      The Pathocracy they run by selection and nurturing Psychopaths from an early age (Clintons/Blairs/Macron… etc), into political, military,business,media and entertainment leaders.

      No wonder people have decided they can’t be humans as they don’t have any human empathy or sympathy!

  • nevermind

    Thanks for this window on the Saudi menace that is currently playing in our western theatre, Craig.

    Just back from a Stop the war demo in Norwich against the war crimes committed in Yemen, against the life’s lost due to the universal benefit fiasco and against the current Government shambles that is pressing us all into a colonial frame with continuing austerity for the masses.
    Norwich up 3-0 just before half time.C’mon you Canaries….sing….

  • Isa

    In fairness Craig your axis of evil list is small. Instead of trump insert USA administrations , add the U.K. and France to the list as well . Albeit the last in a minor scale .

  • Jack

    Craig said: “Trump/MBS/Netanyahu is the real axis of evil today. In Syria and Yemen the West has abandoned all belief in human rights and in basic decency, in favour of promoting a crazed Sunni jihadist agenda against Iran. ”

    Whats more worrying is that the efforts to stop the warmongering tide-propaganda is pretty much nowhere to be seen in the west (its like we the people, here). Thats why the policies get so dumb and dangerous. The so called leftists western parties is the ones that push Assad-is-an-animal meme the furthest and the rightwing applaude them!

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Jack November 24, 2018 at 16:22
      ‘..The so called leftists western parties is the ones that push Assad-is-an-animal meme the furthest and the rightwing applaud them!..’
      Spot on. Their ‘Leaders’ lead them up the garden path, and they have lost the power of independent thought to be able to realise it.
      They know full well that ‘their’ governments and MSM’s lies, yet they sop up stuff like ‘Assad uses Chemical Weapons’, though it is totally illogical.

  • Adrian Parsons

    “The West” (i.e. the Capitalist world system in its most developed form) consistently reaps what it sows in the form of ‘blow-back’.

    The Golden Triangle, which in time supplied the heroin for US troops in Vietnam, was a direct result of CIA meddling in China post the 1949 Revolution. After failing to ‘re-invade’ China, 30,000 Nationalist troops and their families were abandoned over the border in Shan State, northern Burma as the Korean War kicked off and the CIA lost interest in them. The soil too poor to grow any cash crop except opium poppies and the force too strong for the Burmese army to do anything about, the area became, and remains, one of the three major world sources of opium. (The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade by Alfred McCoy ( is the ‘go to’ text for this and all things ‘heroin’).

    As in the Far East, so in every post-WW2, post-colonial struggle, from Vietnam, Africa, Cuba, Latin America and Afghanistan to the Middle East. Everywhere that there was a well-educated (usually, ironically, in the West), effective Communist movement, they were the first to be attacked and, if possible, wiped out at whatever cost to the civilian population, leaving only ignorant nationalist, religious or fascist movements to fight over the ‘spoils’. Result? Endless civil wars, retarded development, corruption, open markets for Western companies to exploit, famine, desertification and every other pestilence imaginable. Blow-back: massive waves of the dispossessed, enlightened by the Internet, now heading for Europe/America in search of any kind of life and causing reciprocal political turmoil. (The works of Susan George (, Richard Gott (, Noam Chomsky ( and Walter Rodney ( are good starting points on all this).

    One possible bright spot: although the state of knowledge of Communism/Marxism in the West is risible (a ‘satisfactory’ result of the ideological war fought against it by the liberal “intelligentsia” throughout the 20th Century, helped along by their mouthpieces/useful idiots in the “truth-telling” liberal media), Capitalism (long-term because of its inherent contradictions, short-term because neo-liberalism is not able to ameliorate those contradictions by even maintaining the living standards of a majority in the West, let alone improving them) is currently under threat from an assortment of largely theory-free ‘populist’ movements (The Return of the Repressed in the March/April 2017 issue of New Left Review:, in part stimulated by the above population movements. Why are they the only present hope? Simply because all the ‘establishment’ political parties, both “Left” and Right, have taken the dollar of neo-liberalism in one form or another.

  • Glasshopper

    It’s chilling to think that we still agonize over whether we could have done more to prevent tragedies like Rwanda, and yet are actively involved in perpetrating a worse tragedy in Yemen right now.

    • Dungroanin

      My Obama tinted glasses fell completely off when he did nothing about the Central African Republic – it turns out he was causing the chaos there! My first suspicion of having been sold a puppy was the way he was awarded a peace prize on taking office! Before having done anything.

      The left and right hands of the monster may look different but it is still the same monster.

  • kula

    Trump does not have the body count of MBS and Netanyahu. It’s true that in time, he may even beat them but at this point, he’s working with what he inherited from a serious killer.

  • Jack

    Also is it really fair to focus all on Trump/US? Lets start here at home, what do europeans leaders do? They arent any better.

  • J Arther Nast

    Whilst not wishing to sound like a lunatic I find Trumps lack of guile while covering for the Clown Prince endearing.

      • Captain Scarlettio

        [ Mod: Restored, by Trowbridge’s request. ]

        One what? Potato, perhaps?
        You sound like rather more than one, certainly at least two, possibly three, four or more.
        So, what about the Mediterranean (thank God for spellchecker there, eh?) Dialogue and OTAN…?

    • J Arther Nast

      Sir,you are, if I may say so, somewhat out of the loop, and quite obviously have never been to where the bar flies hang out.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Still no mention by Craig of either the Mediterranean Dialogue or NATO. Some reflection!

    • Captain Scarlettio

      Please enlighten us about your thoughts on NATO and the Mediterranean Dialogue. Try to avoid baems, earthquakes and HAARP however.
      Why wait for Craig when you, sir, have such a wealth of little-known experiences to share on this platform.
      Thanking you in advance for the Intel.

      • Trowbridge H. Ford

        Fortunately there is no need to talk about weather modification and the making of quakes here, but thanks for asking for more.

        The West, especially the USA, is increasingly involved in getting NATO involved in building up the Mediterranean Dialogue (MD) against Iran for Israel which is a weird democratic state while the other counties involved, like Morocco, Algeria and Jordan, are less so.While Israel sits in on the weekly meeting of NATO’s Standing Council which determines weekly targets, particularly in Yemen, it does not officially belong to the Brussels group.

        The problem was to get Israel on NATO, and Saudi Arabia and other Sunni states in the MD – what Trump hoped to advance by getting Khashoggi, a severe critic of SA’s barbaric ways while an important source in the USA, to go home or else. The Crown Prince considered it as a direct order and got rid of Khashoggi in a most barbaric, rapid way.

        Now the MD is a most controversial issue, and Trump is deeply involved in stopping the damaging fallout against the Mediterranean being the Center of NATO efforts against Tehran which is still allegedly trying to bevcome a nuclear power..

        • Captain Scarlettio

          Cool, and if I might say so: an excellent answer! I see your point of view more clearly now.
          Good to hear you as one potato.

        • Dungroanin

          THF a question if you can answer it.
          Are the emerging superpowers of China, India, Russia just going to let the Atlantists get away with further larceny and violence?

  • Tony_0pmoc

    In 2011, I didn’t understand what was happenning in Syria. I had just finished reading Susan Lindauer’s book Extreme Prejudice, which I think is even more exciting and incredible than Craig Murray’s Murder in Samakand, so I asked her via a blog, and to my amazement she replied. She said she was in contact with two women on the ground, in Syria, but did not mention their names. I do not know if these two women were Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett, but what she wrote complied exactly with what I have subsequently read from these two brave women over the subsequent years.

    I would also like to point out, that I am convinced that an enormous amount of anti – Bashar al-Assad propaganda, particularly with regards to imprisonment and torture, has been completely fabricated, by the CIA controlled Amnesty International.

    The Behaviour of British Intelligence Services and The BBC with regards to Syria, is completely and utterly appalling. Almost everything they have produced, are total lies and fabrication. They are even worse than The British Political Government, who to my amazement, actually voted against bombing Syria in 2013, because a majority of MP’s in the House of Commons, knew that the evidence of Chemical Weapons use had been fabricated.

    But the UK Intelligence Services and all the media, kept on brainwashing the politicians re the “evil” Assad, still democraticaly supported by the vast majority of the Syrian People.

    Which is much more than I can say, about almost all of them in Westminster.


    • Glasshopper

      I think it’s fair to say the human rights situation has been pretty grim throughout the Assad period (and no doubt long before). More reliable commentators like Robert Fisk have often written about Assad’s torture chambers etc. It would be difficult for the Assad family to hold power for so long without a robust and oppressive police state. And of course the same is true for the likes of the Al Khalifas in Bahrain, and other rulers in that region.

      This doesn’t make the monstrous terror campaign against The Syrian Arab Republic and less appalling, but one shouldn’t be naive about the nature of these regimes, and how they cling to power.

      • Dungroanin

        When the imperialists are constantly conspiring and setting up proxy ‘opposition’ political and military to invade and takeover – how should a state defend itself? Should it not arrest and punish? Should it not try and get intelligence?

        That is how Gitmo was setup and how Haspell was in the room waterboarding and torturing to get people to say whatever she wanted. You cannot ignore our own crimes.

        Syria by all accounts has remained a independent democratic and open society since its independence – one of the few that didn’t have it’s chosen leaders overthrown by Atlantist plotters.

        It has public services and was a great place to study archeology of human civilisation, as is Iran (alas no longer Iraq). All of which came under attack by the western backed headchoppers who have looted from all humanity these ancient artefacts and treasures!

      • Iain Stewart

        “It would be difficult for the Assad family to hold power for so long without a robust and oppressive police state.”
        This exact point was made eloquently by John Goss some time ago, but presented as a justification of the inevitably brutal means required to run a middle eastern country, as he put it. (I am relying on my memory here, since I don’t know how to research this site’s comment histories, but this was the sense of his argument.) It struck me as being hypocritical (or something worse) not to apply the same indulgent Occidental moral relativity to all middle eastern states. Unless geopolitics is just like supporting football teams after all.

  • b

    Raed Fares was neither secular nor a democrat.

    Remember his weekly stunts with a group showing some English written poster calling to bomb Syria? Not once was there a woman in one of those photos!

    In other pictures, with Arabic written posters, Fares shilled for the Jaish al-Islam Salafists. In 2013 he cheered for Jabhat al-Nusra and later for Jaish al-Fatah.

    According to a 2014 NYT portrait he was previously a heroin addict, dropped out of school, never had decent work and forged documents to sell someones land which finally got him imprisoned for a few months.

    He was a local propaganda shill. Paid by a foreign power to call on it to bomb his own country. A despicable traitor to his country.

    • laguerre

      b, I suspect that Raed Fares didn’t have much choice if he was there on the ground. I presume that he was a representative of the Istanbul committees in the field. To survive there with influence, he would have to go along with the local atmosphere, which is heavily Salafist. He might have been killed because he was insufficiently Salafist – that’s a better theory than that he was killed by Asad, whose reach there is uncertain.

  • Mist001

    Isn’t it all essentially something to do with running an oil pipeline through Syria? The USA and Russia both want it and Syria favours Russia, thus attracting the ire of the USA.

  • Leonardo

    “The death of Raed Fares in Syria reminds us that there was a moment in Syria when protest was led by secular democrats keen to see the end of decades of one family rule.”

    There never was just a protest in Syria. Since the very beginning there were protests intermingled with violence both on the government side and the rebel side. Tens of Syrian military personnel were killed in the first couple of months, sometimes in what were true military-style ambushes.
    Democratic forces didn’t exactly lead the protests. They made the front pages, because their testimony supported the BS narrative of the “democratic revolution against the tyrant”, but at that very same time in Syria many soldiers were being gunned down in the middle of the streets by extremists who were trying hard to turn the protests into a violent revolution. If Syrian democratic forces were actually leading the protests, these people could have been marginalized. How organized and influencial the democratic forces were can be inferred by how quickly the revolution was seized by more or less extreme foreign financed islamists. Just read the US DIA july 2012 report on the salafi leadership role in the Syrian revolution.

    On Joshua Landis’ blog people can still access blog posts and comments published in march 2011.

    About Raed Fares I suggest people read what EHSANI2 has to say on Twitter. He proves to be well informed and accurate as usual.

    • Glasshopper

      Of course there were democracy minded secularists involved in the early days. Alas, they were drowned out by Muslim Brotherhood blolwhards demanding death to the Alawhites and expulsion of the Christians.
      This is one of the many tragedies of the conflict.

      • Leonardo

        Sure. I never said there weren’t any. What I said is that they were never in control. Not in the beginning, nor later.

  • Walter Cairns

    Assad continues to enjoy the support of the majority of his people. The “civil war” was started in 2011 by Western agitators seeking Assad’s overthrow, rather than as a spontaneous uprising. Syria under Assad is by far the most tolerant Arab nation as regards the existence of religions other than Islam. Thanks to Mr. Putin’s intervention the Western-backed terrorists – al-Nusra and ISIS – are being comprehensively defeated, and the Zionists’ long-term goal of subjugating Iran has been thwarted.

  • fwl

    One thing that stood out for me when I read Wolff’s Fire & Fury was the speed with which Kushner, having been briefed apparently by Kishinger, was able to take the State Department and the world by surprise and essentially get his father-in-law to anoint MBS as heir elect and CEO of SA. MBS wasn’t even necessarily the front runner. Yes he is the son of the current king but the current king is the youngest and last of the 2nd generation kings. SA’s move to the next king is a big event because it will be the move to the first king of the 3rd generation i.e. there is a lot of competition, but then somehow Trump just got himself in there with a glowing orb and appointed MBS in one of the weirdest quasi-coronations yet.

    There are plenty of gobsmacking moments in the Fire & Fury but this one stood out more than anything else (and there is a lot else in the book) as a Wow did that just happen moment. A lot of commotion about a Russian enquiry, but hang on what just happened here.

  • SA

    “The death of Raed Fares in Syria reminds us that there was a moment in Syria when protest was led by secular democrats keen to see the end of decades of one family rule.”

    This is an extremely disappointing statement from Craig. It is disappointing because it reveals firstly that his source of information is the usual one and secondly that in order to retain credibility it has become fashionable to declare that the Syrian president has to be removed in order to serve democracy. In this and other writings, Craig reveals the essentially west-centric understanding of supposed democracy and the rather orientalist condescending way in which other countries must follow in order to comply with these standards.

    So to start with, that the ‘revolution’ was a protest led by secular democrats is a pure fiction, or if it was true, probably lasted for about 5 minutes. There is incidentally a true secular movement within Syria that is attempting to introduce democracy, but they never bore arms against the government and they never associated closely and operated within the terrorist held areas, which would make it strange to think that these democracy loving secularists, would rather live in an area dominated by salafist jihadists than in areas dominated by a secular, but albeit dictatorial regime.
    The betrayal of the Arab world by the west is quite clearly historically documented in the last 100 years and dates from the 1st WW. The fact that the strongest allies of the west are the Saudis, the UAE, Kuwait (all dictatorships and familial ruled), rather than successive dictatorial but secular nationalist states with socialist tendencies speaks volumes. The misunderstanding here is that so called western style pseudo-democracy, aided by Soros freedom loving NGOs and USAID, resulting in rule by billionaires as happened in Ukraine is better for the people of these countries. I am expecting now that in the next post we will be told what marvelous people the white helmets are.

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      The CIA has a modus operandi in these things of infiltrating all sides and getting the infiltrators to take pot shots at the other side, durring demonstrations, so as to get everything to kick of. At least it has if the wikkipedia entry on their 1950s Iranian coup is anything to go by. Indeed they have a general inclination to infiltrate all sides of anything so as to sreer the process as a whole. For example they infiltrated supposedly left wing magazines like Encounter in the 50s. See the currious case of Encounter at Lobster Magazine.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Johny Conspiranoid November 25, 2018 at 08:50
        They also arranged snipers to kill both sides in Egypt, Ukraine and Venezuela as well as Syria.

  • Michael Droy

    “there was a moment in Syria when protest was led by secular democrats keen to see the end of decades of one family rule.”
    Given the advanced publicity on every other attempted US coup, and the nonstop stream of lies since I have being paying close attention to Syria (2015+) I no longer believe what I was told about Syria going back to 2012.
    I no longer believe that barrel bombs killed thousands. I no longer believe that the “secular democrats” ever amounted to much.
    And all the more recent data – return of Syrians, Assad’s current standing in Syrai, the 2014 and 2016 elections all make this “Evil Assad” story less and less likely.

    • nevermind

      Anybody bombing civilians and ‘extremist’, regardless of what ‘et al’ side they are on, without being invited to undertake such operations in a country forced into war, should be warned, and if persistent, be kicked out as an instigator and actor in war crimes.

      Fat chance, says the orange utang…

    • Borncynical


      You’re not alone – you are reflecting my perception of the Syrian situation too.

    • Thomas Mitchell

      Good for you Michael Droy. You are absolutely correct to doubt that Assad is the evil boogie man. The protests that began in 2011 weren’t led by “secular democrats” as Craig Murray claims and they anything BUT peaceful . Kevork Almassian has done some great work on this.

      It is disturbing that Craig Murray still pretends otherwise. His referencing of the “Assad regime” almost through clenched teeth, betrays an innate and completely wrong position on Assad. Even though he is nominally supporting Assad Murray’s distaste is palpable. The question is “why?”. My guess is he is still fed duff information from former colleagues who he deems trustworthy, hence his nonsense on issues like Russia Ukraine and of course 9/11.

      Mind you, what are we to expect from someone who says George Soros is a decent man?

  • kashmiri

    Agree, but that’s what the West has been doing globally for at least 500 years. In our subconscious, we are a civilisation of Uebermensch, ones who have an innate right to unilaterally decide on the life and death of all those pagans, those who are not “us”. Our moral principles do not apply to how we treat those who are not part of our civilisation as we have long dehumanised those nations.

    Here, millions will cry after an European child like Madeleine McCann is kidnapped. Nobody cares when hundreds of thousands of non-European children are massacred by an European hand (“they must have deserved it”).

    • Borncynical

      This ‘syndrome’ becomes particularly evident at times of ‘remembrance’ for Western military personnel and civilians killed in wartime. Hypocrisy really comes to the fore. People in positions of authority ‘weeping’ at the loss of life, sympathising with those who lived through it and expressing horror at the terror they must have felt. I saw on TV Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson crying with a pensioner who lived in South Wales during WW2 and recounted hearing the sound of German bombers flying overhead to target Cardiff. She said it must have been awful for him knowing innocent people were going to be killed that night. These same people are more than happy to express support for military attacks on Syria without any reliable evidence of the alleged atrocities. They have no thought then for the innocent people (civilians and military personnel alike, who are sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters) who will be filled with terror at the sound of the ‘Allies’ ‘ rocket attacks and may well not survive to live another day. They really make my blood boil and are the reason I could not bring myself to watch any television on 11 November.

  • Sharp Ears

    Welcome home to Craig.

    ‘Craig Murray
    Finished my work in Accra, which I am always sad to leave, and flying back tonight so I thought I would set twitter trends to UK see what is happening. Trending in UK are Arlene Foster, Harry and Meghan, Kensington Palace, Theresa May and DUP.

    Wonder if I can cancel my ticket?’

  • Sharp Ears

    Charles Crawford was opining on the general situation on LBC this morning. Said he had been visiting the FCO. Wonder why? I thought he was retired. 🙂

    I will see if there’s a recording. He was speaking to Andrew Castle.

  • laguerre

    “Trump/MBS/Netanyahu is the real axis of evil today.”

    I entirely agree with that.

    Trump is not much interested in the outside world, but he’s given in to the whispers in the ear, a practice used by many in past autocratic regimes, where the only way to get your policy across was to generate a personal relationship with the sovereign and convince him of what you wanted. There being no democracy, the sovereign’s agreement was all that was necessary. The Jewish communities learned this long ago, in order to survive, for example in Ottoman Istanbul. In Trump’s case, it’s the son-in-law, Kushner.

    The other two are different. They have obsessions. Netanyahu is obsessed by Iran. It used to be thought that a war with Iran would give Israel the cover to finally ethnically cleanse the Palestinians. It may still be the case, but I have my doubts as to whether it would work, but still he’s fixed on it.

    In the case of MbS, it’s the obsession with the Shi’a. He seems to believe that if you beat down the Shi’a elsewhere, indeed destroy the heretics, the Shi’a in Saudi, sitting on all the oil-fields that Saudi possesses, can be discouraged from demanding independence, and reducing Saudi princes to camel-herding bedouin.

  • Thomas Mitchell

    Craig – the protests that began in 2011 were never ever ever ever EVER led by “secular democrats” and they were not peaceful .
    Please educated yourself on this issue. Syria is and always was a secular country.

    I suspect that you know this perfectly well

    You statement that : “The effects are so perverse, that we reached a stage where the continuation of the Assad regime is the best outcome that can be hoped for ”

    is just odious.

  • Sharp Ears

    In Gaza.

    ‘At least 20 Palestinians have been injured as Israeli forces once again opened fire on anti-occupation protests near the fence between the besieged Gaza Strip and Israeli-occupied territories.

    Ashraf al-Qedra, the spokesman for the Gaza Health Ministry, said the 20 people were shot and injured in the east of Gaza on Friday.

    Hazem Qassem, a spokesman for the Hamas resistance movement, said on Friday that the people’s insistence to take part in the protests stresses their determination to achieve the goals of the rallies, especially to break the siege of Gaza.

    Gaza has been under the Israeli siege since June 2007, causing a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented unemployment and poverty. It has also witnessed a fresh wave of tensions since March 30, which marked the start of “The Great March of Return” protests.

    Nearly 240 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces ever since anti-occupation protest rallies began in the Gaza Strip on March 30. Over 22,000 Palestinians have also sustained injuries.’

    A British vascular surgeon from St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, John Wolfe, is working in Gaza hospitals repairing arteries in legs that have been damaged by Israeli bullets this preventing amputations. He is training the local doctors. So far he has performed 140 such operations.

    A lesson there for Dr Nott in Syria.. Heal and do not harm.

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