the 'Friends of Jihad'
By Pepe Escobar
June 05, 2013
Clearing House -
Western politicos love to shed swamps of crocodile tears about
"the Syrian people" and congratulate themselves within the
"Friends of Syria" framework for defending them from "tyranny".
Well, the "Syrian people" have spoken. Roughly 70% support the
government of Bashar al-Assad. Another 20% are neutral. And only
10% are aligned with the Western-supported "rebels", including
those of the kidnapping, lung-eating, beheading jihadi kind.
The data was provided mostly by independent relief organizations
working in Syria. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
received a detailed report in late May - but, predictably, was
not too keen on releasing it.
As Asia Times Online has been stressing for months, the Sunni
business classes in Damascus and Aleppo are either neutral or
pro-Assad. And most Sunnis now regard the gangs of foreign
mercenaries weaponized by Qatar and the House of Saud as way
more repellent than Assad.
Meanwhile, in Britain - where David of Arabia Cameron remains
gung ho on a no-fly zone to protect the "Syrian people" - only
24% of Britons are in favor of further weaponizing the "rebels"
(although 58% support humanitarian aid).
And at a rally in Doha, perennial al-Jazeera star and Muslim
Brotherhood icon Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi - now pontificating at
Al-Azhar in Cairo - has called for a jihad of all Sunni Muslims
against Damascus. As he also branded Hezbollah as "the party of
Satan" and condemned Iran for "pushing forward arms and men to
back the Syrian regime". He has in fact condoned a jihad of
Muslims against Muslims, even though he insisted his call to
fight Hezbollah is "not against all Shi'ites".
Still al-Qaradawi also said, "How could 100 million Shi'ites
defeat 1.7 billion [Sunnis]?" Only because [Sunni] Muslims are
weak". It's more than implied that Shi'ites are the enemy.
So who cares what the "Syrian people" might think? The Western
"Friends of Syria" could not have found a more willing golden
patsy to promote their usual, self-fulfilling Divide and Rule
gambit - the Sunni-Shi'ite divide. It's always handy to have
dysfunctional GCC petro-monarchies posing as
"liberators" so the West once again may conduct a proxy war
"leading from behind".
In other news, where's Evelyn Waugh when you need him? It's
Scoop all over again, with Syria replacing a "promising" war
in the African Republic of Ishmaelia and every hack in the
Western world doing a remix of the Daily Beast, proclaiming
Assad's imminent demise because, well, we're with the rebels and
we have decided they are going to win.
Those infidel missiles
As it stands, the Geneva II negotiations promoted by Washington
and Moscow seem to be as good as six feet under (although they
are getting together today to define the framework).
The European Union has lifted its arms embargo on Syria - a move
that was essentially a Franco-British delirium that went over
the heads of reluctant EU members. It had to be Britain and
France, of course, the two former imperial powers that almost a
century ago carved up a line in the sand dividing the Levant and
now want a redesign.
This would mean, in practice, that the EU has declared war on
Damascus. Well, sort of. Under the EU agreement, no weaponizing
will go on before autumn. And the belligerent Franco-British duo
has to make sure any weapons are used only to protect civilians.
Who will supervise this - a bunch of Brussels bureaucrats in
army fatigues? Well, they can always revert to default - ask for
American help. Every grain of sand in the Levant knows the CIA
is "assisting" Qatar and Saudi Arabia to weaponize the "rebels".
And then there's the distinct possibility that Britain may have
acted, once again, as an American Fifth Column inside the EU,
paving the road for a possible Obama administration "all options
are on the table" intervention.
Russian President Vladimir Putin checkmated the EU - and the US
- in no time. Yes, those famous S-300 missile systems are coming
to Damascus, and soon. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei
Ryabkov said the missiles were a stabilizing factor in Syria
that would dissuade schemes by "hotheads". He also stressed -
correctly - that the EU may just have bombed the planned Geneva
Former Russian Air Force General Anatoliy Kornukov told
Interfax-AVN Online that Damascus would need at least 10
battalions of S-300 air defense missile systems to fully protect
its territory from a possible NATO attack.  In this case,
there's no way a no-fly zone - a Franco-British wet dream - can
Each S-300 surface-to-air missile system consists of a
radar-equipped command post and up to six 5Zh15 missiles. It
would take only a month to train Syrians to operate them.
Kornukov observed, "Our systems can be deployed within five
minutes." And they're almost impossible to jam.
What are the "Friends of Syria" going to do about that? Call
another meeting? Time for al-Qaradawi to go on al-Jazeera and
upgrade his jihad to include Russian missiles (after all these
are infidel weapons). Why not set an example and volunteer
himself to the front line?
1. See here.
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized
World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red
Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. He also
wrote Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). He may be
reached at email@example.com.
Copyright 2013 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights
reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and
This article was originally published at
What's your response?
Scroll down to add / read comments
Please read our
Comment Policy before posting -
We ask readers to play a proactive role and click
the "Report link [at the base of each comment] when
in your opinion, comments cross the line and become
purely offensive, racist or disrespectful to others.