The thing about the Houla massacre- it’s a lie and have we forgotten about the lies which the West come out with, the 45-minute lie about Iraq, going back to the Vietnam war, the Gulf of Tonkin lie about that, going back to 9/11, Afghanistan having to do with 9/11 when most of the 9/11 attackers were from Saudi Arabia, with Libya, with Gaddafi, they said Gaddafi bombed people from the air- it was a lie; they said Gaddafi fled to Venezuela- it was a lie. So all that was happening in Libya was actually what Gaddafi was saying and what came to pass and similarly with the Houla massacre- it’s a lie on the part of NATO and the allies in the region and what purpose does it serve?
‘Houla massacre, West’s new chicanery’
Interview with political analyst Sukant Chandan
The recent Houla massacre in Syria is yet another Western lie similar to other such deceptions in Vietnam, Iraq and Libya, says an analyst.
The comment comes as on May 25, over 100 civilians were killed in a massacre in the western Syrian town of Houla.
Damascus has strongly denied any involvement in the bloodshed and blamed armed terrorist groups for violence across the country as part of a plan to ignite a civil war.
About 260 UN observers are currently monitoring an internationally-brokered ceasefire in Syria, which was part of a six-point peace plan proposed by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan in March.
As part of reforms by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad last year, a new law was issued, allowing parties to be established.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011. The violence has claimed many lives, including many security forces.
Damascus blames “outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorist groups” for the unrest, asserting that it is being orchestrated from abroad.
Press TV has conducted an interview with political analyst and film maker Sukant Chandan, to further discuss the issue.
The video also offers the opinions of two additional guests: political commentator Hisham Safieddine and Jeff Steinberg with the Executive Intelligence Review.
What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: Do you think the peace plan has failed in efforts to end the unrest? If so what needs to be done to see Anan’s peace plan implemented successfully?
Chandan: The peace plan has failed because sections of the opposition which are armed are continuing with the strategy that they see best which is going to fulfill their aims, which is, one developing an armed struggle against the Syrian state and two which is developing this armed struggle and relying on allies which they think is going to deliver their strategic objectives which are the Gulf regimes and on the other hand is the NATO countries.
The thing about the Houla massacre- it’s a lie and have we forgotten about the lies which the West come out with, the 45-minute lie about Iraq, going back to the Vietnam war, the Gulf of Tonkin lie about that, going back to 9/11, Afghanistan having to do with 9/11 when most of the 9/11 attackers were from Saudi Arabia, with Libya, with Gaddafi, they said Gaddafi bombed people from the air- it was a lie; they said Gaddafi fled to Venezuela- it was a lie.
So all that was happening in Libya was actually what Gaddafi was saying and what came to pass and similarly with the Houla massacre- it’s a lie on the part of NATO and the allies in the region and what purpose does it serve? It serves several purposes first it’s basically; I mean the over-arching strategy with this fake massacre attributed to the Syrian army is to justify the ratcheting up of the war effort, that’s the NATO war effort against the Syrian state.
So it’s a justification for Mr. Hollande and all these the other guys to expel Syrian ambassadors and then all these ratcheted up war rhetoric to come out and unfortunately we have a situation where in the West our anti-war leadership are falling for these lies so people like [Press TV host] Yvonne Ridley, [British Pakistani Muslim] Moazzam Begg , [Stop the War Coalition’s] John Reese, [convener of the Stop the War Coalition] Lindsey German and others who I thought were anti-racism, anti-imperialist are falling straight into line with the imperialist foreign policy in relation to Libya before and in relation to Syria now.
So really this is- a battle is going on, not only a battle for Syria and Syrian independence but a battle for the resistance and for the peoples of the region.
Our brother in Beirut seems to be sympathizing with the opposition and playing this kind of neutral party between the Syrian state and NATO, you cannot have a neutral party when you have the biggest war machine in the world planning and instigating civil strife and planning a war against a small Arab state and the brother from Beirut should be aware that the disaster which is befalling Syria, the same disaster is going to befall his people in Lebanon and he is seeing this development happen so why is he not aware of it.
And really all of us have to stay really vigilant because although it seems that the Syrians have some breathing space it’s clear that especially with the financial crisis with Greece maybe leaving the eurozone which is going to probably send the whole world financially into greater crisis that the empire are going to turn even more crazy than they are and they will definitely go to war with Iran and they cannot go to war with Iran without knocking out Syria, Hezbollah and the Palestinian resistance and it seems that they have been successful so far in that process.
Press TV: The US secretary of state Hillary Clinton has criticized Russia’s policy in Syria, she surprisingly said Moscow’s opposition to UN action could drag Syria into civil war but it’s the US and its allies that are arming the opposition. How do you perceive this contradiction?
Chandan: Absolutely Russia and china, particularly Russia is the only main bulwark in the world in their own words against the continuing expansion of fascism which is Western-sponsored obviously.
Listen, this concept of intervention, perhaps there is a misunderstanding of what the West is actually about because the West or imperialism or the white man or the white power structure whatever you want to call it, they don’t just go to war overtly, they’re at war constantly, all the time and there has been intervention in Syria since the first weeks of the opposition movement a year ago just like the SAS were on the ground in Benghazi in the first weeks of the Libyan uprising and on the first week they were lynching blacks which still people want to act like it didn’t happen then, it’s still not happening now- it is happening now.
So if you look at the nature of the Houla massacre and if you know who the former US ambassador to Syria was and who he worked under, he worked under the master mind of- excuse the expression- but the black operations and the massacres that the CIA instigated in Latin America.
Did the Americans overtly invade Guatemala or El Salvador, etc. in Latin America in the seventies, eighties? No they didn’t. But were they an absolutely integral and fundamental part of the intervention and the massacres that took place? Yes, they were.
And similarly this case in Syria, who in the Middle East North African region are notorious for beheading and slitting throats? We all know who they are, they are the brown skin mercenaries of the NATO countries which NATO has brought to power in Libya and NATO wants to bring to power in Syria.
So this is what we’re faced with and really the only way to really counter this, cause Syria is descending slowly deeper and deeper into this tragic and horrible morass, which like I said before is visiting Lebanon increasingly.
And arguably the Palestinian revolution has been neutralized through this nonsense called the Arab Spring. So really the only way our side that is the side of global south independence against US hegemony and Western hegemony can really defend ourselves now, is to go on the offensive.
We need to go on some kind of offensive as soon as possible. If we are to save Syria, because otherwise we are faced with a sliding disaster in the Syrian context and in Lebanon luckily with Lebanon we have a resistance movement, Hezbollah…
US, Zionists, PG monarchs seek destruction of Syria
I realized that the Syrian state is disintegrating, that there is destruction going on. Clearly the oil regimes of the [Persian] Gulf, the Zionists and the United States are happy about that. They are clearly funding and arming the Free Syrian Army.”
Interview with Hisham Safieddine, a political commentator from Beirut.
A Syrian government investigation into the massacre that recently killed more than 100 people in the western Syria village of Houla has blamed anti-Damascus armed groups for the killings.
The head of the inquiry, Brigadier General Qassem Jamal Suleiman said during a news conference in the Syrian capital on Thursday that between 600 and 800 armed terrorists used heavy machinery to carry out the attacks on the village on May 25.
The fatalities included dozens of women and children.
The video also offers the opinions of two additional guests: Jeff Steinberg, from the Executive Intelligence Review in Washington, and Sukant Chandan who is a political analyst and filmmaker from London.
What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: The group which calls itself the Free Syrian Army said that it would give the peace plan another 48 hours and then it will renege on its commitment to the ceasefire if its demands are not met.
How do you perceive this warning? Are their demands plausible and has the ceasefire even been upheld till now?
Safieddine: I think there are actually a lot of disagreement among the so-called Free Syrian Army themselves about what their position is. Their leader outside of Syria, Riad al-Asaad, just told Aljazeera; actually Riad al-Asaad denied that such an ultimatum was given.
So there is a lot of disagreement; there is lack of unity. I do not think we should take what they have said with a grain of salt. On the ground, there is no indication of any ceasefire taking place on either side.
I do not think they have reached a point for any political solution is coming forth and so they do not seem to be interested in either stopping the violence or actually trying to formulate a solution that would prevent further pressure from the outside.
On the contrary, most of what has been happening is actually an invitation by this army and by the Syrian National Council for foreign intervention. So I do not see things going in that direction.
At the same time, the regime continues to simply use a military and security solution to the problem. I think we need to zoom out of what happened. We do not yet know who did this massacre. There is no credible party that is capable of determining who did the massacre.
The UN Security Council has lost all credibility; the regime does not have credibility in terms of what happened. So I think what the Syrian Army is doing is trying to bring in more arms.
I was visiting some of the border areas of Lebanon a few days ago, and it is of course the weakest link in this conflict, and it does not look like that the arm smuggling is stopping any time soon.
Press TV: Mr. Safieddine, Mr. Chandan [one of the guests on the show from London] believes that you are sympathizing with the Syrian opposition. Do you have anything to add to his comments?
Safieddine: I have a lot but I am just going to be brief. I take a great offence at what has been said actually. Not even the Syrian regime itself has denied that this massacre has happened, we are disagreeing over who did it and we should.
The fact that the massacre happened should never be an excuse for any foreign intervention. I was extremely critical of the opposition but the problem is, whether we like it or not, we need a political solution that reforms or changes this regime without allowing these powers to come and intervene.
I am fully aware of what is happening, probably more as here sitting in Beirut than whoever sitting abroad and I realized that the Syrian state is disintegrating, that there is destruction going on. Clearly the oil regimes of the [Persian] Gulf, the Zionists and the United States are happy about that. They are clearly funding and arming the Free Syrian Army.
That does not however imply that the regime is doing enough. We need to find a political solution. We cannot continue to repeat the same anti-imperialist rhetoric that does not provide tangible solutions to the people on the ground.
Cuba was under siege for 50 years; Hezbollah was under siege through 33 days of war but because there was a solid internal front, it was able to actually resist this intervention. We have Iran and Russia on the side of the regime geopolitically and that is positive in terms of preventing the United Nations or the United States from doing anything like they did to Libya and I sure hope that they do not do that.
But at the same time, we have to ask ourselves, how do we get out of this? How do we actually provide an interim solution that brings us to some sort of real reform in Syria so we can actually silence those who are trying to do that?
Press TV: Syria’s UN envoy has said that three separate massacres have taken place in Houla, in which members of three major Muslim sects in the country, that is; Sunnis, Shias and Alawites have been mass murdered. Why do you think the focus has been only one of the three massacres?
Safieddine: I think the focus probably has to do possibly with the extent of it and of course because the foreign powers are really interested in portraying this as majorly a sectarian war and by focusing on one party, they are trying to suggest that the regime has done that.
Like I said, we do not know who did it and the so-called Free Syrian Army is fully capable of doing that. It is in their interest to portray this as one because it shows that there is a particular community that needs to be protected from another community and that is something that is not true in Syria. It is a lot more complicated.
I think that is part of why that is happening. I have heard that at least 14 or 15 of the children, I hate to be using sectarian term, but that is the way it is calling now, Shiites, I do not know from Beirut exactly the makeup but it is clear that these killings are happening. It is either the opposition is doing this and clearly to foment an international reaction like the one we saw in terms of expelling the ambassadors or it could be some part of elements of the regime that are not part of the organized armies that are engaged in this.
I really do not know but you are absolutely right. The fact that they are focusing on one means that they are trying to abuse this incident and to use it as a casus belli of some sorts.
West conspires to start sectarian war in Syria
So you have got member countries of the UN Security Council including Britain, France and the United States who ostensibly endorsed and are backing the Annan plan but are in reality creating exactly the kind of conditions to lead to a sectarian civil war.”
Interview with Jeff Steinberg, with the Executive Intelligence Review
Pressure is mounting on Syria as western states and their allies continue to blame Damascus for killing civilians ever since unrest erupted in Syria over a year ago.
The Syrian representative to the UN says there is a level of awareness arising to the presence of a third element in the violence in Syria.
Meanwhile, the US has raised the issue of “action” outside the UN against Syria.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Jeff Steinberg, from the Executive Intelligence Review in Washington, to further shed light on the issue.
The video also offers the opinions of two additional guests: Hisham Safieddine, political commentator from Beirut, and Sukant Chandan who is a political analyst and filmmaker from London.
What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: Syrian representative to the United Nations Bashar Ja’afari speaking at the UN yesterday stated that for the peace plan to be implemented there needs to be political will from all parties involved, including those who instigate violence and those who finance and harbor armed groups outside Syria, do you see it in that light too?
Steinberg: I think this point is very compelling. There is no secret to the fact that there are tens of millions of dollars being put up by foreign governments whether it be Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Britain, France, the United States, others to provide arms to an opposition that is composed of some Syrian nationals but also outside mercenaries including some elements that are formally affiliated with al-Qaeda who have smuggled across the border from Iraq.
So, on the one hand, you have got member countries of the UN Security Council including Britain, France and the United States who ostensibly endorsed and are backing the Annan plan but are in reality creating exactly the kind of conditions to lead to a sectarian civil war.
I think it is very important for your viewers to know that, on Sunday late afternoon; there was a UN Security Council session which received a closed door briefing from General Robert Mood who is the underground coordinator of the UN-Arab League observer mission.
And coming out of that Security Council meeting, the representatives from Germany, France and Britain made public presentations to the press in which they flagrantly lied and claimed that there was evidence presented that the Syrian government was behind the Houla massacre when in fact no such a thing had happened.
Ambassador Ja’afari, after the Russian ambassador, made clear that there was no evidence presented by General Mood indicating the Syrian government was involved.
Ambassador Ja’afari gave a detailed report that after the Friday afternoon prayers two to three hundred armed men with machine guns, anti-tank weapons using SUVs and pickup trucks launched an assault on Houla and then two other villages, carrying out massacres and that basically, as your news reporter from New York pointed out, when you have a band of armed men carrying out a massacre, targeting a Sunni village, a Shiite village and an Alawite village, then there is no mistake in the fact that this is a kind of the Third Force operation whose purpose is to foment sectarian violence that gets absolutely out of control.
So, yes, I think that the statements by Ambassador Ja’afari are credible and that very much I await the findings of the investigation which presumably will be released before the weekend.
Press TV: Mr. Steinberg, there has been an increase in terror attacks, i.e. bombings and killings, ever since the UN observers started their mission in Syria. Why is that?
Steinberg: I think it actually preceded that. I think it is because, in effect, you have an ironic alliance emerging between the Western powers starting with the Obama administration, the British and French governments in Europe and elements of the very al-Qaeda that President Obama is campaigning for reelection on the basis that he is the guy who killed Osama bin Laden.
You have radical elements including explicitly al-Qaeda in Iraq elements coming into Syria, carrying out a series of suicide bombings. I think that part of the shock factor about what was actually reported at the Wednesday UN session is the fact that the presence of these outside hardcore well-organized terrorist networks forming really not just an integral part of the opposition, but, in a certain sense, the most effective violent part of the opposition has created a very embarrassing situation and a very problematic situation where even Ban ki-Moon had openly acknowledged that this is a very significant factor in fueling the violence in spreading the sectarian back and forth violence and brutality.
What has to be avoided is that outside provocations create the conditions for an eruption of a prolonged sectarian civil war in which it provides an even greater pretext for foreign intervention.
There is one other, I think, very critical factor that has to be taken into account which is an issue that Russia and China have taken up very forcefully. Within the Obama administration, you have a core group of people led by Samantha Power, Susan Rice and President Obama himself. There is others: Derek [Chalet] and a few other people, not even really worth naming, but who are advocating a doctrine of radical humanitarian interventionism in which the whole principle of national sovereignty is under direct attack and this is an issue that Russia and China have both reacted very strongly to.
In fact, Prime Minister Medvedev in early May spoke in Saint Petersburg and warned that the destruction of the system of sovereign nation states centered around the UN Security Council.
If this is allowed to erode, then we are facing endless wars and he said we may even face the danger of thermonuclear confrontation that the whole backbone of the situation of world stability is under attack.
Press TV: Who benefits from a civil war breaking out in Syria?
Steinberg: The only people who will benefit are those who want prolonged chaos in that part of the world and who have got a radical Malthusian agenda of eliminating as many people as possible through wars and starvation and all kinds of other deprivations.
It is like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse crowd and there are significant elements within the ruling oligarchies of the West, starting with the British monarchy who openly have this kind of radical Malthusian permanent warfare, religious warfare agenda.
The one thing I agree with our colleague in London is that you cannot separate out the disintegration, breathtakingly rapid disintegration of the transatlantic financial and economic system which is the powerbase of this Western oligarchy from the drive for war and permanent conflict stretching across major parts of Eurasia.
Asia is not going through the same rate of disintegration, as we are seeing now in Europe and spreading into the United States. So it is part of a global crisis point that we have reached and no one in their right mind, no one who has any respect for mankind, will want to see a civil war erupting.
For God’s sake, people remember what Lebanon was like from 1975 to 1990 when you had this kind of sectarian civil war that just at a certain point is so driven by rage that it is out of control and sometimes takes generations to bring an end to.
So that is where this is coming from and I think that there must be an intervention to stop this from getting any further in Syria and I think that Russians are putting their foot down with backing from China.
Ironically, the military in the United States does not want to get into these humanitarian interventionist wars all over the globe. So there is a strange combination of people who want to put the brakes on this and I hope we are successful.