John Robles interviews Rick Rozoff, manager and owner of the STOP NATO website and mailing list, and a regular contributor to the Voice of Russia.
Correction: For Operation Phoenix read Operation Cyclone
What correlations do you see between the situation going on in Syria and Kosovo? What do you know about rebel groups in Syria being funded and backed by NATO?
I mean, we all have heard, and it’s a matter of substantiating it, but I think we have enough proof already to establish the fact that…The parallel you Kosovo you draw is remarkable given what occurred early yesterday, where NATO troops and armored personnel carriers – vehicles – faced off against ethnic protesters in the north of Kosovo, firing live ammunition at them as well as deploying helicopters, gunships and so forth and what is currently going on in Syria.
As a matter of fact, the parallels are so striking at times as to suggest that the Western governments, those backing the so-called Free Syrian Army armed rebel forces inside Syria are playing from the same script as they did in Yugoslavia 13 years ago in support of the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army there.
And there are direct connections between the two of them. For example, last month, a self-proclaimed rebel leader or opposition leader, Syrian-born, one Ammar Abdulhamid, who has been living in Washington and was a former visiting fellow, visiting scholar at the Brookings Institution until recently, came to the United States as head of a delegation of opposition figures from Syria to visit with U.S. officials, government officials. And immediately afterwards he flew into Pristine, the capital of Kosovo, to meet with leaders of the government, who are former KLA fighters, such as Prime Minister Hashim Thaci and others, and quite bluntly told Associated Press in May that he was studying the Kosovo example to be replicated in Syria, even stating that he was particularly impressed with how the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army was able to integrate various armed groups – for which we can understand in many instances nothing more than criminal underworld militias – into a fighting force, which was then coordinated with the United States and NATO during the bombing war against Yugoslavia in 1999.
So we have a direct connection there. And we can also base what’s going on in Syria with reports that fighters in Libya have joined rebel groups inside Syria, so that we have an international network of extremist fighters that first earned their stripes, if you will, in Afghanistan during the CIA Operation Cyclone against the government of Afghanistan and their Soviet backers in the 1980s.
And I am thinking particularly of the commander of the Libyan rebel forces last year, Abdelhakim Belhadj, who had fought in Afghanistan with the Afghan mujahideen, who was rumored to have met with and collaborated with Mullah Omar of al-Qaeda, was subsequently interned as part of the extraordinary rendition program by the United States and returned to Libya, where he was a head of something called the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, and then became the leader, became the top commander, of the Libyan rebels last year. And that forces loyal to him that had fought under his command are now in Syria is I think is a distinct possibility. So, we see the connections emerging, really of 30 years of the United States…
So, you are saying he was recruited and now his people are in Syria doing the U.S. government’s bidding?
There have been reports for several months that Libyan fighters, those who fought on behalf of the Transitional National Council and in coordination with both the NATO bombing campaign against Libya for six months last year but also with reports of British, French, Italian and other special operations troops as well as those from Arab Gulf states like Qatar and United Arab Emirates fighting in Libya, this would seem to be a model that can be exported to other countries and there have certainly been reports that Libyan and other foreign fighters have crossed the borders from Iraq and Lebanon into Syria to fight with the so-called Free Syrian Army.
Now with this massacre in Houla, the UN’s own observer said it was not the fault of Syrian forces. Despite that Hillary Clinton has been making comments and it seems like the U.S. in continuing with their own narrative.
I mean you’re correct that the West, the U.S. in the first instance, and its Western European allies as well as Australia and Japan, which for all intents and purposes are a part of the West, have withdrawn their ambassadors or have expelled, rather, the Syrian ambassadors from their capitals.
And this is a concentrated effort to present the tragedy in Houla – and it is a tragedy that over 100 human lives were lost – as not only the work of the Syrian government, exclusively the work of the Syrian government, whereas Russia, China, Cuba and other countries have urged a methodical, dispassionate investigation into the events, as terrible as they are, to determine the actual cause and the actual perpetrators. So, nobody has a definitive answer to what occurred in Houla and until there is one…This is again evocative of what the U.S. did with Yugoslavia in January of 1999 around the so-called Racak massacre in Kosovo where the bodies of several dozen young ethnic Albanian men were identified as having been massacred by Serbian and Yugoslav security forces even though there are contradictory reports and the Serbian government’s position was these were KLA fighters who had been killed in action.
And the Russian Foreign Ministry a few weeks ago, perhaps less than that, maybe two and a half weeks ago, when the report surfaced of the Syrian delegation going to Kosovo that we spoke about a moment ago, denounced that, saying that in fact what the delegation was going there for was to study the example or receive actual military training for their fighters inside Kosovo with even the observation that some of the topographical similarities between the two countries would make Kosovo an ideal place to study the sort of guerrilla warfare that the KLA conducted in conjunction with NATO during the bombing of Yugoslavia 13 years ago.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said that the Houla massacre would not have been possible if the perpetrators had not received arms and funding from abroad, meaning from the West.
That’s self-evident. We know the Free Syrian Army, so-called, is harbored, is not only given refuge but presumably training and arms inside Turkey. A report of several months ago in the Daily Telegraph of Britain cited a member of the Syrian opposition boasting of having 15,000 fighters inside Turkey, which is a breach of interstate relations.