In early December a meeting of 'counter-terrorism experts' took place in Melbourne as the war in Syria was drawing to a close. Billed as 'the global fight against terror' which was noted as having 'entered a dangerous and unpredictable phase' the gathering was coordinated at the highest level through the 'Five Eyes intelligence sharing community with Australia, the United States, New Zealand, Canada and Britain'. (1)
Behind the scenes of the Leadership in Counter Terrorism conference and bean-feast at taxpayers’ expense, however, some murky forces were at work. While the conference appeared generally concerned about dealing with the problem of domestic terrorism, military planners, elsewhere, were actually promoting it.
The war in Syria which began in September, 2011, has led to tens of thousands of deaths and an estimated five million refugees. It was also started by western-backed forces with military planning to topple the government of President Bashar Al-Assad. Syria has always been central to the Arab world. The Syrian Alawite government is also strongly allied to Iran, the centre of Sh'ia toward which the US imperialists use a diplomatic Cold War-type position. One of the intended outcomes of the war in Syria, therefore, was increased diplomatic hostility toward Iran.
Despite allegations of US-led western connivance being denied, the subsequent leaking by Qatar of an official US National Security Agency (NSA) document reference (TS/SI/NF) S2E332 in October, has confirmed the armed opposition in Syria 'was under the direct command of foreign governments from the earliest days of the conflict'. (2) Furthermore, the NSA document confirmed collusion and coordination between four countries to destabilise Syria.
Further sections of the NSA document have provided accurate information about the so-called moderate rebels and the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Under the guidance of the Saudi Royal Family, the FSA were responsible for rebels firing 'several barrages of rockets' into Damascus including one aimed at the Presidential Palace on 18 March 2013. (3) The Saudi Royal Family, as a centre of Sunni Islam, have long held hostile diplomatic positions toward Syria and Iran. The targeting of the Presidential Palace and killing President Bashar Al-Assad was regarded as merely an extension of existing diplomacy.
The Syrian rebels also appear to have been well-financed and equipped with armaments provided by the US through contractors and their front companies in Eastern Europe. An estimated $2.2 billion Soviet-era weapons were actually made available by the Pentagon to rebel groups according to Scott Bennett, a former US Army Operations Officer. (4)
Fortunately for the Syrian people their country was saved by a large force of Russian Federation troops allied with Damascus. By November, the rebel stronghold of Deir ez-Dor had been captured by loyal Syrian forces. In the period leading to the liberation of Deir ez-Dor many rebels fled and attempted to hide among civilian groups. There are also credible reports of two evacuations of rebel field commanders by the US Air Force. The first, on 26 August, included two field commanders of European origin with family members. The second, two days later, using US military helicopters, included about twenty field commanders and militants. Both groups were thought to have been taken to northern Syria for future operations elsewhere. (5)
Further information about western involvement in evacuating jihadists from Syria was also released in December. It was noted an estimated 2,000 militants had left 'Manbij a town close to the Turkish border' with travel papers being purchased for 'as little as $200 to low level Islamic State members. For well-known emirs and foreign fighters, the price was inflated by several thousand dollars in some cases'. (6)
It was also noted in official military statements that some French and Algerian jihadists, 'some arriving from Syria', had been identified in northern Afghanistan. (7) They formed part of a larger group of about '200 foreigners' who had established a camp a short distance away from the village of Bibi Marian. They were identified wearing military clothing, riding motorbikes and responsible for training others in laying mines and suicide-bombing procedures. (8)
By December the Russian Federation declared 'mission accomplished' in Syria, with the country being 'completely liberated' from Islamic jihadists. (9) The official Russian Federation military communique stated, 'Therefore, as of today, there is no territory controlled by ISIS in Syria'. (10)
Much of the political stability achieved and the military victory in Syria was the outcome of successful diplomacy between Moscow, Ankara and Tehran which all had vested interests in resolving the crisis. The tri-partite summit to enable the end of the war, took place in Sochi on 22 November. Washington, it was noted, was always on the backfoot 'because it lacked leverage and a coherent strategic aim'. (11) The US-led western backed forces merely wanted to topple the government of President Bashar Al-Assad although they had little, if anything, of serious credibility to replace it with.
The same US-led western military planners, now, however, are working on destabilising the tri-partite diplomatic support around Damascus with the reasoning 'any leverage that Washington is likely to possess in Syria is likely to come from exploiting those differences'. (12) They want to further weaken and undermine the peace initiative. That is, the US-led western backed forces are potentially responsible for creating a further round of terrorism in due course.
The issue of military planning elsewhere was not an agenda item during the Leadership in Counter Terrorism conference in Melbourne. In fact, official media releases appear to have concentrated upon delegates warning one another about the threat of renewed domestic terrorism, preventing people becoming radicalised and policing a growing problem of encryption through easily acquired apps which enable jihadists and their supporters with the ability to keep 'much of their communication beyond the Five Eyes view'. (13) At no time was any delegate reported as being critical of US-led western foreign policy, diplomacy and their military planning.
Those attending the Leadership in Counter Terrorism conference might have provided each other with more meaningful dialogue if they had listened and then discussed the report given to the 72nd United Nations General Assembly by Syrian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem. It provided a far sincerer approach to dealing with terrorism and challenging those actively responsible for supporting it in the corridors of power in western capital cities.
In his speech Walid al-Moallem said that 'our world is facing mounting challenges and dangers on the daily basis, and a persistent stand-off between two sets of forces: forces that seek to control and dominant nations and their riches, by turning back the clock, re-establishing a uni-polar world order, fuelling crisis and war, and violating international and humanitarian laws: and opposite forces that work tirelessly to create a more balanced, secure and just world, one that respects the sovereignty of the states and right of peoples to exercise self-determination and build their own future'. And, as a strong undertaking to challenge terrorism in Syria and elsewhere, Walid al-Moallem stated, 'We must all understand that terrorism and underlying Takfirist extremist ideology will continue to spread like a tumour throughout the world and haunt all of our people unless every one of us demonstrates a genuine will to cooperate to confront it altogether'. (14)
It is to the honour of the Syrian people that they have waited six years for peace in their country and the eradication of foreign financed and supported jihadists from within their midst.
1. Terror experts warn there's life in ISIS yet, Australian, 17 December 2017.
2. In Shocking Interview, Tyler Durden, Information Clearing House, 30 October 2017.
4. War Crime, Rodi Said, Sputnik/Reuters, 15 September 2017.
5. US Aircraft Evacuates, Sputnik, 7 September 2017; see also, Rebuilding Syria, Adelaide Voices, December 2017-February 2018.
6. Syrian forces 'sold safe passage' to fleeing ISIS fighters, Australian, 12 December 2017.
7. French jihadists link with Afghans, Australian, 11 December 2017.
9. Russian military declares Syria 'ISIS-free' zone, The Weekend Australian, 9-10 December 2017.
11. The fight for Syrian peace, Australian, 12 December 2017.
13. Terror experts, op.cit, 12 December 2017.
14. Website: 72nd Session, United Nations General Assembly; and, Quoted, Syrian Foreign Minister calls to defeat terrorism, scale up reconciliation, People's Voice, Vancouver, Canada, 16-31 October 2017.