U.S. & Syria: Facts you should know
By Joyce Chediac
The following timeline reviews the progression of U.S.-NATO intervention
in Syria and counteracts the Big Lie in the corporate media aimed at preparing
open imperialist military aggression against the Syrian people.
● Washington has funneled money to a right-wing
Syrian opposition group since at least 2005. (Washington Post, April 16,
● The U.S. reopened its embassy in Damascus in
January 2011 after six years. This was no thaw in relations. The new
ambassador, Robert S. Ford, who served until October 2011, is a
protégé of John Negroponte, who organized death squads in El Salvador
in the 1970s and in Iraq while ambassador there in 2004-05. There terror squads
killed tens of thousands. Ford served directly under Negroponte at the U.S.
Embassy in Baghdad.
● Ford “played a central role in laying the
groundwork within Syria as well as establishing contacts with opposition
groups.” Two months after he arrived in Damascus, the armed insurgency
began. (Global Research, May 28)
● Armed opposition to Bashar al-Assad began in March
2011 in Daraa, a small town on the Jordanian border. Mass protest movements
usually start in large population centers. Later, Saudi Arabia admitted sending
weapons to the opposition via Jordan. (RT, March 13)
● The U. S. and its NATO allies used grassroots
protests in Egypt, Syria and elsewhere as a cover to build support for
right-wing insurgencies whose goal was not to help the Syrian people but to
bring Syria into the pro-imperialist camp. Any excesses or mistakes by the
Assad government were not the real issue.
● The Arab League, European Union and U.S. begin
imposing economic sanctions, a form of warfare, against Syria in November 2011
on the pretext of stopping state-sanctioned violence against protesters.
Stepped-up sanctions and freezing of Syrian assets caused the value of the
Syrian pound to drop by 50 percent against the dollar, with the cost of
necessities often tripling.
● Exiles who received U.S. funding became part of the
Syrian National Council. SNC’s Burhan Ghalioun said he would open up
Syria to the West, end Syria’s strategic relationship with Iran (and with
the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance), and realign Syria with the
reactionary Arab regimes in the Gulf. (Wall Street Journal, Dec. 2, 2011)
U.S. &NATO escalate involvement
● Ex-CIA agent Philip Giraldi admitted that the U.S.
was involved in Syria and laid out the U.S. plan: “NATO is already
clandestinely engaged in the Syrian conflict, with Turkey taking the lead as
U.S. proxy. Ankara’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davitoglu, has openly
admitted that his country is prepared to invade as soon as there is agreement
among the Western allies to do so. The intervention would be based on
humanitarian principles, to defend the civilian population based on the
‘responsibility to protect’ doctrine that was invoked to justify
Libya.” (theamericanconservative.com, Dec. 19, 2011)
● Giraldi continued: “Unmarked NATO warplanes
are arriving at Turkish military bases close to … the Syrian border,
delivering weapons from the late Muammar Gaddafi’s arsenals as well as
volunteers from the Libyan Transitional National Council who are experienced in
pitting local volunteers against trained soldiers. … French and British
special forces trainers are on the ground, assisting the Syrian rebels while
the CIA and U.S. Spec Ops are providing communications equipment and
● “The frequently cited United Nations report
that more than 3,500 civilians have been killed by Assad’s soldiers is
based largely on rebel sources and is uncorroborated. Likewise, accounts of
mass defections from the Syrian Army and pitched battles between deserters and
loyal soldiers appear to be a fabrication, with few defections being confirmed
independently. Syrian government claims that it is being assaulted by rebels
who are armed, trained, and financed by foreign governments are more true than
● The “Free Syrian Army” has rear bases
in Turkey, is funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and is made up of defecting
Syrian soldiers. Spiegel Online sites a source in Beirut who reports seeing
“‘hundreds of foreign fighters’ who have attached themselves
to the FSA.” (Feb. 15)
● The U.N.-mandated commission of inquiry, in its
February 2012 report, documented torture, taking of hostages, and executions by
armed opposition members.
● The first heavy fighting in Syria’s capital,
Damascus, started in March. Pipelines were blown up, and huge explosions ripped
through intelligence and security buildings in Christian areas on March 16,
killing at least 27 people. The Syrian government charged then that terrorist
attacks supported from abroad have been responsible for eight car bomb attacks
since December, killing 328 and wounding 657. This got little Western media
● Human Rights Watch on March 20 accused armed Syrian
opposition members of “Kidnappings, the use of torture and executions
… of security force members, individuals identified as members of
government-supported militias, and individuals identified as government allies
● In the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs, the armed opposition has
formed its own laws, courts and death squads, according to Spiegel Online. Abu
Rami, an opposition commander in Baba Amir, interviewed by Spiegel, said in the
city of Homs his group has executed between 200 and 250 people. (March 29)
U.N. steps in
● Former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan went to Syria in March at
the behest of the U.N. and Arab League to put together a peace proposal. But
Annan and the U.N. are not impartial. Annan is an architect of the
“responsibility to protect” doctrine, cited by former CIA agent
Giraldi as the planned pretext for intervention in Syria. The U.N. endorsed
this doctrine under Annan’s tenure.
● In 2004, Annan gave U.N. approval to the U.S., French and Canadian
intervention that deposed Haiti’s President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Annan’s stated reasons were the same then as now in Syria: an alleged
impending “humanitarian catastrophe.” Annan provided a similar U.N.
cover for France to tighten its colonial grasp on the Ivory Coast in 2006. In
Syria, Annan’s calls for a Syrian government ceasefire and for outside
“humanitarian” aid are really calls for foreign intervention.
● Syria agreed to an Annan-brokered ceasefire March 27. The opposition
refused. While the Western heads of state and the corporate media heaped blame
on Assad for “not honoring” the ceasefire, the West kept arming the
● What the U.S. government really thought of the ceasefire was
revealed by Robert Grenier, former director of the CIA’s
Counter-Terrorism Center, who called upon those who would “help”
Syria “to climb metaphorically into the ring and dirty themselves,”
adding, “what the situation needs is not high-minded sentiments, but
effective, lethal aid.” (Al Jazeera, March 29)
● As the imperialists “climbed into the ring,” they
continued to blame Assad. Speaking at an anti-Assad “Friends of
Syria” meeting in Istanbul on April 1, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary
Rodham Clinton said Assad had “defiled” the ceasefire. She called
for Damascus to unilaterally stop fighting and withdraw from areas of heavy
right-wing infiltration. She said the U.S had pledged at least $25 million in
“nonlethal” aid to the Syrian opposition, which included satellite
● By May, the reactionaries “have begun receiving significantly
more and better weapons … paid for by Persian Gulf nations and
coordinated … by the U.S.” (Washington Post, May 15) “The
Syrian rebels have received their first ‘third generation’
anti-tank weapons. They are supplied by Saudi and Qatari intelligence agencies
following a secret message from President Barack Obama.” (debkafile.com, May 22)
The Houla massacre
● Right before a scheduled visit to Syria by Annan, news broke of a
horrible massacre of 108 people in Houla on May 25, which included whole
families and as many as 48 children. Headlines worldwide blamed the Syrian
government, and all Western capitals called for increased sanctions and more
international pressure on Assad.
● By May 27, the imperialists had coordinated their
“international outrage” and expelled Syrian diplomats from the
U.S., the Netherlands, Australia, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain,
Bulgaria and Canada.
● The U.N. Security Council reacted to the massacre -- with no
investigation as to who was responsible -- by unanimously condemning Syria for
allegedly using tanks and artillery after agreeing to a ceasefire. Ignored were
statements from the Assad government that it was not responsible. A closer look
showed this was the case.
● Marat Musin, reporting for Russia’s ANNA News, was in Houla
and interviewed witnesses right after the massacre. Musin determined that the
massacre was committed by the so-called Free Syrian Army, not the Assad forces.
His report concluded: “The attack was carried out by a unit of armed
fighters from Rastan, in which more than 700 gunmen were involved. They brought
the city under their control and began with a cleansing action against loyalist
[pro-Assad] families, including elderly people, women and also children. The
dead were presented to … the U.N. and the ‘international
community’ as victims of the Syrian army.” (May 31) The
conservative German newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, corroborated
the ANNA report on June 7.
● Residents knew many of the killers by name and identified them as
local criminal elements now working for the FSA. (Syria News, May 31)
Anti-Assad forces then posed as villagers and invited the U.N. observers in.
Some put on uniforms of the Syrian soldiers they had killed and said they were
● A widely shown photo of dozens of shrouded bodies, which the BBC
first presented as the aftermath of Houla, was really taken by photographer
Marco di Lauro in Iraq in March 2003.
● BBC world news editor Jon Williams admitted in his blog June 7 that
there was no evidence whatsoever to identify either the Syrian Army or Alawite
militias as the perpetrators of the May 25 massacre. United Kingdom’s
Channel 4 senior reporter Alex Thomson said June 7 that the opposition led him
into a line of fire and tried to get him killed by Syrian military forces so it
would “look bad” for Assad.
● There has been no independent investigation of Houla to date, yet at
a June 7 meeting, Annan and current U.N. General Secretary Ban Ki-moon again
made statements putting the responsibility for the Houla massacre on Assad.
● Major General Robert Mood, head of the U.N. Supervision Mission in
Syria, suspended patrols of the 300-member team on June 16, citing
“spiraling violence in restive areas.” The suspension was right
before the G-20 Summit in Mexico, providing another opportunity for imperialism
to criticize Assad.
● In initial remarks, Annan called the Houla massacre the
“tipping point.” The deaths at Houla have been used by the U.S. and
NATO to more aggressively and openly organize for Assad’s overthrow. U.S.
officials and Arab intelligence officers admit that the CIA is in southern
Turkey funneling weapons to the FSA. It is also there to “make new
sources and recruit people.” (New York Times, June 21)
● As a result, “The onetime ragtag militias of the Syrian
opposition are developing into a more effective fighting force with the help of
an increasingly sophisticated network of activists here in southern Turkey that
is smuggling crucial supplies across the border including weapons,
communication gear, field hospitals and even salaries for soldiers who defect.
The network reflects an effort to forge an opposition movement ... that
together can not only defeat ... Assad but also replace his government.”
(New York Times, June 26)