Who was behind the Houla massacre?

Tayfun Gol Via Crimson Satellite

Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jihad Al-Makdisi addresses media regarding massacre.

More details and evidence emerging from Houla make it clear that it was armed professional terrorists, not the Syrian army, that carried out a massacre on May 25, killing over a hundred civilians, 30 of whom were children.

Initial news stories by the Western media rushed to blame the Syrian army for shelling civilians to death, but witness accounts and the official report of a Judicial Investigation Committee indicate that the victims were killed by fire at close distance and by sharp tools, not by shellfire.

According to the same report, 600 to 800 terrorists armed with mortars, machine guns and anti-tank missiles attacked Syrian security forces and slaughtered civilians. Most of the civilians who were killed were relatives of Abdul-Moa’ti Mashlab, a member of the Syrian parliament, or members of families who had opposed the armed terrorist groups.

At a news conference in Damascus, Qassem Jamal Suleiman, head of the investigation committee told reporters, “The aim is to bring foreign military intervention against the country in any form and way.” Suleiman noted that killing children does not serve law-enforcement or the state, but does serve the armed terrorist groups who seek to incite sedition. He also affirmed that the massacre perpetrated by armed terrorist groups is part of the scheme that seeks to give the impression that a civil war is close at hand in Syria as it coincided with the visit of the UN envoy Kofi Annan.

Western media propagating lies and fabrications as usual

Every time there is a terrorist attack in Syria, the Western media rush to put the blame on the Syrian government, publishing reports that lack any substantiating evidence and that are mainly based on phone calls or accounts of “activists” whose stories cannot be independently verified. This was the case in the Houla massacre as well. While all the reports by the Western media blamed the Syrian army for the deaths, the evidence proved otherwise when it was revealed that the victims were killed at close range.

Many terrorist groups including al-Qaeda and the Free Syrian Army have been operating in Syria. Recent reports released by Human Rights Watch point out many human rights violations carried out by the members of Syrian National Council and FSA, including executions, kidnapping and torturing of civilians who are supportive of the Syrian government.

In a hurry to spread misinformation, some mass media outlets like the BBC did not refrain from outright forgery. An image used in the BBC report which purportedly showed a large number of dead bodies after the massacre in Houla was supposedly received by BBC from an unknown activist. It turned out the photo had been taken in 2003 in Al Mussayyib in Iraq. The forgery was exposed by the original photographer, Marco Di Lauro. “Somebody is using illegally one of my images for anti-Syrian propaganda on the BBC website front page,” Di Lauro said. The original image had been published in Di Lauro’s website as part of a story about Iraq.

The diplomacy of imperialism and its clients

As the massacre by armed terrorist groups in Houla was taking place, representatives of imperialist governments and their client states rushed to condemn and accuse the Syrian government. The U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey and Bulgaria expelled Syrian diplomats while urging Kofi Annan to declare the so-called peace plan a failure.

Turkish PM Erdoğan, who recently asked for NATO intervention in Syria was quoted saying: “The world cannot remain silent in the face of such a situation. We cannot remain silent.”

After calling the peace plan a failure, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius also asked for a meeting of “the Friends of Syria” in Paris to seek expanded arms shipments and aid to militants.

In the last “Friends of Syria” conference held in Turkey in April, attended by many imperialist governments and their regional client regimes, the main opposition body, the Syrian National Council, had announced that opposition forces as well as soldiers who defect from the Syrian army would be paid salaries funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The Syrian government called the conference in Istanbul a gathering of the “enemies of Syria.”

Imperialist governments: Arsonist and firemen at the same time

In a response to the U.N. statement on the Houla massacre, the Syrian ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar Al-Ja’afari, denounced “the tsunami of lies” against the Syrian government while pointing to the role some of the U.N. Security Council member states play in supporting terrorist groups in Syria. He said: “Those who have great interest in stopping violence in Syria should stop interfering in our domestic affairs, stop arming, hosting, financing and protecting the armed terrorist groups in my country. You cannot be an arsonist and a fireman at the same time. And this is exactly, unfortunately, the case of some members in this Security Council.”

Who benefits from the failure of Annan’s peace plan?

This is the real question to answer: Would the government of Syria benefit from the failure of the Annan peace plan? Would the Syrian government have any motive to kill its own citizens, especially at a time when U.N. observers are in Syria and right before U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan’s visit? The answer to both questions is a big glaring no. In fact the Syrian government had earlier stated that they were willing to cooperate with this plan in order to “remove all excuses” for possible international intervention.

On the other hand, would the imperialist governments benefit from the failure of the peace plan? The answer to that is a clear yes. In fact, the imperialist powers and their “peaceful” mouthpieces like Kofi Annan have never had any intention of finding a peaceful solution to the conflict in Syria. The words of the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, after a closed Security Council session clearly reflect this:

“Members of the international community are left with the option only of having to consider whether they are prepared to take actions outside of the Annan plan and the authority of this council,”

The ultimate objective is clear: to set the stage for another R2P-style (“Responsibility to Protect”) NATO intervention. Annan’s peace plan is nothing more than a stepping stone to accomplish that objective. The failure of that plan by any means would serve to justify this shameless intervention in the eyes of the Western public while disguising it under humanitarian motives backed by mainstream media lies and misinformation. That is why the imperialist governments that accuse the Syrian government of failing to adhere to the peace plan are also the ones that have been providing training, weapons and financial support to the terrorist opposition groups responsible for the violence, which has escalated especially after the peace plan was put into effect in April.

To borrow the Syrian ambassador’s witting metaphor, imperialism, led by the U.S., is playing the roles of both the arsonist and the fireman in Syria.

Hands off Syria!