Syria

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We, the news consumers, are being constantly spun by the media machine ... the modern equivalent of "soma", the drug in Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" that its citizens were fed to keep them docile and happy.

Jonathan Cook, Oct.2013

What the West are trying to achieve is what the CIA and Mossad have now achieved in Egypt; replacing the head of the Mubarak regime while keeping all its power structures in place. The West don't really want democracy in Syria, they just want a less pro-Russian leader of the power structures.

ToDo: go through these images and get some good pics (charts + maps) to illustrate this page:


Still To Go Through

  • Apr.30.20188: WWIII at Syria's doorstep: Who stands to gain? The world’s major superpowers are converging on Syria, the centre of a new Cold War between America and Russia, and a significant source of conflict over a natural gas pipeline connecting the Middle East with Europe and their respective trading partners, the outcome of which will dictate the structure of the next century’s ‘new world order’. “It is with this aim then, that the US, UK, and France have backed an armed Islamist rebellion ... in 2018, war has become an end in itself. “Bombing is actually the slavery of capitalism.” And Theresa May would know. Her husband, Philip May, profited handsomely from the Syria bombings. He is the largest holder of arms manufacturer, BAE Systems, whose share price has soared since the air-raids. Claire Connelly, Renegade Inc.
  • Apr.27.2018: The ‘liberal’ media bringing us WW3. "Elite journalists (with the liberal variety being among the worst culprits) are consistently eager to depict dissenters of the official narrative as ‘conspiracy theorists‘ while the real conspiracy theorists are Guardian journalists like Freedland and Monbiot who deny the establishment conspiracy to overthrow the sovereign government of Syria." Daniel Margrain, Renegade Inc.
  • Apr.16.2018: Syria: chemical weapons inspectors barred from Douma site. Moscow and Syrian regime say security issues mean site can’t be inspected, as Trump delays sanctions against Russians. Russia and the Syrian regime have been accused by western diplomats of denying chemical weapons inspectors access to sites in the town of Douma, where an attack killed dozens and prompted US-led missile strikes over the weekend. Patrick Wintour, Julian Borger, The Guardian.
  • Apr.10.2018: Killing Mosquitoes: The Latest Gaza Massacres, Pro-Israel Media Bias And The Weapon Of ‘Antisemitism’. On Fri.Mar.30, Israeli soldiers shot dead 14 Palestinians and wounded 1,400, including 800 hit by live ammunition. By Apr.05, the death toll had risen to 21. During a 2nd protest, one week later on Fri.Apr.07, the Israelis shot dead a further 10 Palestinians, including a 16-year-old boy, and more than 1,300 were injured. Among those killed was Yasser Murtaja, a journalist who had been filming the protest. He had been wearing a distinctive blue protective vest marked 'PRESS' in large capital letters. The brutality, and utter brazenness with which the killings were carried out, is yet another demonstration of the apartheid state's contempt for the people it tried to ethnically cleanse in 1948, the year of Israel's founding. Media Lens.

Chemical Weapons

  • Apr.18.2018: Why does Syria still have chemical weapons?. Despite destruction of 1,300 tonnes of declared chemical weapons, Assad regime retained capacity and willingness to replenish stockpile. ... ... Patrick Wintour, The Guardian.

A Dutch Customs investigation revealed that 3 firms, AAE Chemie Trading, Anex Customs and Danmar Logistics, had delivered Sarin precursors to Syria between May.2014 and Dec.2016, in contravention of OPCW sanctions.[1]
A United Nations report disclosed North Korea's on-going involvement in supplying Syria with materials to manufacture Sarin.[2]


The Players

Bashar al-Assad
Current President of Syria, since Jul.17.2000. He is also Commander-in-Chief of the Syrian Armed Forces, and General Secretary of the ruling Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party.
Shabiha
Armed militia, who support the Ba'ath Party govt of Syria, led by the al-Assad family.
In the Aleppo Governorate, Shabiha are composed entirely from the loyal pro-Assad Sunni tribes.
A group loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)
Also known as "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria", "Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham", "Islamic State" (IS) and "Daesh".
A jihadist terrorist organisation that follows a fundamentalist, Salafi doctrine of Sunni Islam.
Free Syrian Army
Founded by officers of the Syrian Armed Forces, to defend civilian protesters from state violence bring down Bashar al-Assad's govt. It functions more as an umbrella organization than a traditional military chain of command.
Jaish al-Islam, "Army of Islam"
Army of Islam (Gaza Strip)Wikipedia-W.svg

2018

Apr.18.2018Syria: US in talks over Arab force to replace American troops. The Saudi foreign minister is talking to Washington about raising an Arab force to replace US troops in Syria. There are about 2,000 US troops in Syria fighting Islamic State. The idea of an Arab coalition force playing a role in Syria to combat extremist groups and contain Iranian influence has surfaced several times since 2015, but faces severe problems. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are bogged down in a brutal war in Yemen, and have little manpower and few military resources to spare. They are also locked in a dispute with Qatar, another potential contributor to a force. Egypt is much closer to al-Assad's regime than its would-be Gulf partners. Middle East experts said it was feasible Arab states could fund an army run by private contractors and possibly help recruit soldiers from developing countries such as Sudan. Erik Prince, a Trump ally who founded the military contractor Blackwater USA and now advises the UAE, is lobbying to play a role. Last year, the Pentagon turned down a similar offer from him to replace US troops with private contractors in Afghanistan. Emile Hokayem, senior fellow for Middle East security at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said: “The idea of an Arab expeditionary force emerges every couple of years, and it’s always seen as a politically brilliant idea to create a sense of ownership in the region. In reality, the politics of putting a force like that together are almost impossible". Linkback: Charles Lister is director of the extremism and counter-terrorism programme at the Middle East Institute. Nicholas Heras, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security, said it was more likely Saudi Arabia would seek to outsource recruitment to countries such as Pakistan and Sudan. "I'm sure the Saudis are up for fighting in Syria to the very last Sudanese soldier". Julian Borger, The Guardian, Apr.18.2018.
Apr.2018Apr.07:
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Another chemical attack occurred in Douma.

Apr.12: OPCW confirms that its Fact-Finding Mission team is on its way to Syria, and will start its work on Apr.14.[3]

Apr.12:
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US-UK-France attack: Just a few hours before the OPCW investigations start, with no Douma investigation, no UN mandate, and in clear breach of international law, the three countries launched an attack against a sovereign nation that hasn't attacked them, in 'retaliation' for an alleged event, the circumstances of which are very far from clear.[4]

Apr.14: US-UK-France attack: 78 out of 105 missiles launched were targeted at Barzeh, north of Damascus. Despite claims that it is the centre of a secret chemical weapons program, OPCW inspections 5 months ago found no trace of it. Journalists can find no sign of chemical weapons. Staff say it's a pharmaceutical plant fully inspected by OPCW numerous times: "If it was chemical weapons, we wouldn't be able to stand here".[5]

Apr.16: The OPCW said that Russia and Syria were preventing the team from travelling to the area. The US said that Russia might have tampered with the site.[6]
Mar.2018Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, said Moscow had information that rebels in eastern Ghouta were planning to fake a chemical weapons attack against civilians and blame it on the Syrian army – which the US govt would then use as a pretext to bomb the govt and military quarter in Damascus.[7][8]

2014-2017

Apr.2017

Apr.06: The UN Security Council hastily convened to discuss the matter. Against the wishes of 10 (out of 15) countries, warmongering "We don't do soft power" US-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley refused to call a vote and dismissed alternative solutions.[9]
Apr.04: Infamous "fake news" author Michael B Gordon reported "one of the worst chemical bombings ... turned Khan Sheikhoun, a northern rebel-held area, into a toxic kill zone".[10] Other media outlets leapt to join in the fun.[11] [12]

Apr.07:
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Donald Trump launched a unilateral (and therefore illegal) missile strike on Syria, which had near-unanimous media support.[13]

Apr.11: A White House Intelligence Report was released by the National Security Council in response to the claims and counterclaims. It purports to prove the Syrian govt's responsibility. The credibility of the report was loudly called into question.[14] [15]

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Apr.04: The town of Khan Shaykhun came under a heavy air attack, using chemical weapons. 86 people were killed.[16]
Feb.2017Amnesty International (AI) released a report which concluded that Assad was responsible for the "execution by mass hangings" of 5,000–13,000 prisoners. When challenged, AI admitted that it had "estimated" the figures based on long-distance interviews from various former officials.[17] This is not the first time AI has supported fake news released at a key moment.[18]
Sept.2016UK govt funding of jihadists: Boris Johnson effectively announced that the British govt had channelled £2.3bn in support of anti-Syrian propaganda "charities" and NGOs.[19] This was done by means of the production of videos, photos, military reports, radio broadcasts, print products and social media posts branded with the logos of fighting groups.[20] One of the most prominent of the groups overseen by the MoD are the fake humanitarians, the #White Helmets, whose members are affiliated to Islamist terrorist groups.[21]
Aug.2015The OPCW-UN report,[22] aimed at introducing new sanctions against Syria (which Russia and China vetoed), did not make the claims subsequently attributed to it in the corporate media that "between Apr.2014–Aug.2015 the Assad govt was responsible for 3 chemical attacks using chlorine". The UN Security Council resolution 2235 highlighted this fact; nevertheless, the media told the public the opposite.[23]
Jan.2014The fake "Caesar Torture Photos" report, commissioned by the Qatar govt, surfaced two days before negotiations about the Syrian conflict were to start. The BBC faithfully regurgitated the claims in the report. Craig Murray said the BBC's presentation was clearly intended to influence public opinion in favour of war.[24]

2013

Sept.2013Secretary of State John Kerry told a Congressional hearing that the Sunni kingdoms (eg. Saudi Arabia and Qatar) had offered to foot the bill for a US invasion of Syria to oust Assad. The CIA then provided $6m to Barata (a British TV channel) to produce propaganda news items treating Assad as a monster.
Sept.2013The UN published its report on "The alleged use of chemical weapons in the Ghouta area", which was cautious in terms of blaming Assad for the attack. Nevertheless, the media continued pounding the propaganda drum with emotive phrases of "massacre" and "responsibility to protect".[25] Obama announced he was going to respond with a ‘targeted’ military strike on Syria. Seymour Hersh criticised Obama for deceiving the world in making a cynical case for war.[26] Ray McGovern argued that Washington asked Turkey to engineered the Ghouta attacks in order to bring the USA into Syria.[27]
Aug.2013
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Ghouta chemical attacks: the media decided that the West's current official enemy was responsible. Although their propaganda had been dealt a major blow by Dumas' revelations in June, the media continued with their agenda, a fine example of which is the BBC's infamous staged film "Saving Syria's Children".[28]
Jul.2013Duman continued whistle-blowing. In an interview with the Syrian Arab News Agency SANA, he deconstructs any notion that the so-called "crisis in Syria" is anything but an illegal war of aggression against a sovereign nation and its people, supported by an apparently centrally organized propaganda effort.[29]
Jun.2013Dormer French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas announced: "I was in England 2 years before the violence in Syria (the "Arab Spring"). ... top British officials confessed that ... Britain was organizing an invasion of rebels into Syria".[30][29]
May.2013Former Swiss attorney-general Carla Del Ponte flatly contradicted the White House's claim. Speaking for the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria, he said, "We have no indication at all that the Syrian govt have used chemical weapons".[31]
Apr.2013The White House claimed that US intelligence assessed "with varying degrees of confidence" that "the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically the chemical agent sarin".[31]

2012

Jun.2012The UN Commission of Inquiry delivered its report[32] on the Al-Houla massacre, and concluded they were unable to determine the identity of the perpetrators. The gruesome nature of many of the deaths pointed to the kinds of atrocities typical of Al Qaeda and their affiliates in the Anbar province of Iraq.
May.2012
Battle icon active (rifles).svg
The Al-Houla massacre of at least 100 civilians took place.[32]
The media's response was to attribute blame to the Assad govt. The clear intention was to cast Syria into a 'civil war' of the West's making. The propaganda offensive continued 2 months later when Barack Obama announced his "red line".[33] ToDo: go thru this, + this, + this
2012Saudi intelligence documents published by WikiLeaks show that Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia were arming, training and funding radical jihadist Sunni fighters from Syria, Iraq etc. to overthrow Assad.
2009Assad announced that he would refuse to sign the agreement to allow the pipeline to run through Syria, "to protect the interests of our Russian ally".
US military and intelligence planners quickly arrived at a consensus that fomenting a Sunni uprising in Syria would be a good thing; iow, they decided to overthrow Assad.
2008The Pentagon funded the "Rand report", which proposed a precise blueprint for what was about to happen: fomenting a Sunni-Shia Civil War to weaken the Syrian and Iranian regimes so as to maintain control of the region's petrochemical supplies. The report observes that control of the Persian Gulf oil and gas deposits will (for the US) remain our strategic priority, and will interact strongly with that of prosecuting the long war. The overthrow of the uncooperative Bashar Assad was a feasible path to achieving the shared objective of completing the Qatar Turkey pipeline.
2001After 9/11, Assad gave thousands of invaluable files to the CIA on jihadist radicals who he considered a mutual enemy.
2000Qatar proposed the constructruction of a $10bn, 1,500km pipeline through Saudi Arabia, Jordan through Syria and Turkey.
Russia sells 70% of its gas exports to Europe, and viewed the Qatar Turkey pipeline as an existential threat which gives NATO a chance to deprive Russia of its only foothold in the Middle East, strangle the Russian economy, and remove Russian leverage in the European energy market.

2017-2018: US intervenes

Jan.2018Turkey launches an assault on northern Syria to oust Kurdish rebels controlling the area around Afrin.
Dec.2017Russian President Putin visits, declaring mission accomplished for his forces in the battle against Islamic State.
Government troops, with Russian support, continue reclaiming areas from rebels in the north-western Idlib province.
Nov.2017Syrian army takes full control of Deir al-Zour from Islamic State. Syrian and Iraqi forces put IS under pressure in the dwindling areas still under its control.
Oct.2017The Islamic State group is driven from Raqqa, its de-facto capital in Syria.
Jul.2017The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and the Syrian army launch a military operation to dislodge jihadist groups from the Arsal area, near the Lebanese-Syrian border.
Jun.2017US shoots down Syrian fighter jet near Raqqa after it allegedly dropped bombs near US-backed rebel Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
May.2017US decides to arm the YPG Kurdish Popular Protection Units. These fight alongside the main opposition Syrian Democratic Forces, which captures the important Tabqa dam from Islamic State.
Apr.2017
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Apr.07: the US launched 59 cruise missile strikes on an airfield which US intelligence claimed was the source of the attack.
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Apr.04: A chemical toxic gas attack took place on the town of Khan Shaykhun, which was under the control of a Salafist jihadist militant group Tahrir al-ShamWikipedia-W.svg. At least 74 people died, and 557+ were injured.
The OPCW-UNWikipedia-W.svg, the govts of the US, UK, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, France, and Israel, and Human Rights Watch, all attributed the attack to the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Assad govt denied using any chemical weapons in the air strike. The Russian Defense Ministry said that Syrian aircraft had bombed a rebel warehouse which "may have contained a rebel chemical arms stockpile"

2015-2017: Russian Intervention

Jan.2017Russia, Iran and Turkey agree to enforce a ceasefire between the govt and non-Islamist rebels, after talks between the two sides in Kazakhstan.
Dec.2016Govt troops, backed by Russian air power and Iranian-sponsored militias, recapture Aleppo, the country's largest city, depriving the rebels of their last major urban stronghold.
Aug.2016Turkish troops cross into Syria to help rebel groups push back so-called Islamic State militants and Kurdish-led rebels from a section of the two countries' border.
Mar.2016Syrian govt forces retake Palmyra from Islamic State with Russian air assistance, only to be driven out again in December.
Dec.2015Syrian Army allows rebels to evacuate remaining area of Homs, returning Syria's third-largest city to government control after four years.
Sept.2015Russian involvement had mainly consisted of supplying the Syrian Army, but now the Syrian govt officially requested military aid against rebel and jihadist groups. Russia carried out its first air strikes, claiming to target IsisWikipedia-W.svg, but the West and Syrian opposition say it overwhelmingly targets anti-Assad rebels. Russia established a permanent military base and naval port in December.

2013-2015: Rise of Islamists

May.2015Islamic State fighters seize the ancient city of Palmyra in central Syria and proceed to destroy many monuments at pre-Islamic World Heritage site.
Jaish al-Fatah (Army of Conquest) Islamist rebel alliance takes control of Idlib Province, putting pressure on government's coastal stronghold of Latakia.
Jan.2015Kurdish forces push Islamic State out of Kobane on Turkish border after four months of fighting.
Sept.2014US and five Arab countries launch air strikes against Islamic State around Aleppo and Raqqa.
Aug.2014#ISIS uploaded a Youtube video entitled "A Message to America", showing the beheading of journalist James Foley, purportedly as a response to American airstrikes in Iraq.
Jun.2014Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militants declare "caliphate" in territory from Aleppo to eastern Iraqi province of Diyala.
Mar.2014Syrian Army and Hezbollah forces recapture Yabroud, the last rebel stronghold near the Lebanese border.
Jan.2014UN-brokered peace talks in Geneva fail, largely because Syrian authorities refuse to discuss a transitional govt.
Dec.2013US and Britain suspend "non-lethal" support for rebels in northern Syria after reports that Islamist rebels seized bases of Western-backed Free Syrian Army.
Sept.2013The US Senate filed a resolution to authorize use of military force against the Syrian military in response to the Ghouta attack. To avert US action, the Russians brokered a deal for Syria to allow all its stockpiled chemical weapons to be destroyed under OPCW supervision, a process which was completed in Jun.2014. Syria also declared its intention to join the Chemical Weapons ConventionWikipedia-W.svg.
Aug.2013
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Aug.21: Ghouta, near Damascus, was struck by rockets containing SarinWikipedia-W.svg. Estimates of the death toll range between 281–1,729.

Aug.25: UN weapons inspectors investigated the sites, and found "clear and convincing evidence" of Sarin. The UN Human Rights Council concurred.

The Syrian opposition, many govts, the Arab League and the European Union stated their belief that the attack was carried out by al-Assad's Ba'athist govt forces. The Syrian and Russian govts blamed the opposition, with the Russian govt calling it a "false flag operation" by the opposition to draw foreign powers into the civil war on the rebels' side.
Mar.2013Mar.19:
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A chemical attack was launched in Khan al-Assal, near Aleppo, resulting in at least 26 fatalities and 86 injuries.

The Syrian govt asked the United Nations to investigate the incident, but disputes over the scope of the investigation led to delays. Meanwhile, the Syrian govt invited Russia to investigate, who concluded the attack had involved the use of Sarin. The UN report, completed in December, concurred.

The Syrian govt and opposition accused each other. Russia held the opposition responsible, while the US held the govt responsible.

2011-2013: Opposition organises

The UK sold chemicals to Syria as late as 2012 that were “likely” used to produce chemical weapons. The Canary

Dec.2013Afghanistan provides battalions of militiamen to al-Assad's regime.
Jun.2013Saudi Arabia supplies weapons and ammunition to the Opposition.
Jan.2013Syria accuses Israel of bombing a military base near Damascus, where Hezbollah was suspected of assembling a convoy of anti-aircraft missiles bound for Lebanon.
Dec.2012US, Britain, France, Turkey and Gulf states formally recognise the National Coalition as the "legitimate representative" of the Syrian people.
Nov.2012The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces formed in Qatar, excludes Islamist militias. Arab League stops short of full recognition.
Journalist James Foley is kidnapped by #Shabiha militia.
Oct.2012Fire in Aleppo destroys much of the historic market as fighting and bomb attacks continue in various cities.
Aug.2012Prime Minister Riad Hijab defects, US President Obama warns that use of chemical weapons would tilt the US towards intervention.
Jul.2012The Free Syrian Army blows up 3 security chiefs in Damascus and seizes Aleppo in the north.
Jun.2012Turkey changes its rules of engagement after Syria shoots down a Turkish plane, declaring that if Syrian troops approach Turkey's borders they will be seen as a military threat.
May.2012Turkey supports the Opposition forces with arms and training.
Apr.2012Qatar supplies arms and funding to the Opposition.
Mar.2012UN Security Council endorses non-binding peace plan drafted by UN envoy Kofi Annan. China and Russia agree to support the plan after an earlier, tougher draft is modified.
Feb.2012Iran assists the al-Assad regime with military training, technical support, and combat troops.
Feb.2012Government steps up the bombardment of Homs and other cities.
Jan.2012Hezbollah provides active support and troop deployment to the al-Assad regime.
Nov.2011The Arab League votes to suspend Syria, accusing it of failing to implement an Arab peace plan, and imposes sanctions.
Oct.2011The New Syrian National Council says it has forged a common front of internal and exiled opposition activists.
Jul.2011President Assad sacks the governor of the northern province of Hama after a mass demonstration there, eventually sending in troops to restore order at the cost of scores of lives.
2011USA: Obama made a terrible mistake with "Assad must go". The USA should not have interfered. We need to get out, we now risk a confrontation with Russia. Jeffrey Sachs, MSNBC
2011Iraq supports the al-Assad regime with finance, aid and militiamen.

2011: Nationwide uprising

Jul.2011Defectors from the Syrian Army formed the #Free Syrian Army, which received backing from the West.
Jun.2011The IAEA nuclear watchdog decides to report Syria to the UN Security Council over its alleged covert nuclear programme reactor programme. The structure housing the alleged reactor was destroyed in an Israeli air raid in 2007.
May.2011US and European Union tighten sanctions.
Mar.2011Protestors marched in Damascus, demanding democratic reforms and the release of political prisoners. Record droughts and energy shortages contributed to unrest.[34] President Assad ordered the Syrian Army to open fire, which triggered violent unrest that steadily spread nationwide over the following months.

2006-2010: Diplomatic overtures

May.2010US renews sanctions against Syria, saying that it supports terrorist groups, seeks weapons of mass destruction and has provided Lebanon's Hezbollah with Scud missiles in violation of UN resolutions.
Mar.2009Jeffrey Feltman, acting assistant US secretary of state for the Near East, visits Damascus with White House national security aide Daniel Shapiro in first high-level US diplomatic mission for nearly four years. Meets Foreign Minister Walid Muallem.
Trading launches on Syria's stock exchange in a gesture towards liberalising the state-controlled economy.
Oct.2008Syria establishes diplomatic relations with Lebanon for first time since both countries established independence in 1940s.
Jul.2008President Assad meets French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris. The visit signals the end of the diplomatic isolation by the West that followed the assassination of former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri in 2005.
Sept.2007Israel carries out an aerial strike against a nuclear facility under construction in northern Syria.
Apr.2007US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi meets President Assad in Damascus. She is the highest-placed US politician to visit Syria in recent years. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice meets Foreign Minister Walid Muallem the following month in the first contact at this level for two years.
Mar.2007European Union relaunches dialogue with Syria.
Nov.2006Iraq and Syria restore diplomatic relations after nearly a quarter century.

2002-2005: Tensions with the USA

Feb.2005Tensions with the US escalate after the killing of former Lebanese PM Hariri in Beirut. Washington cites Syrian influence in Lebanon. Damascus is urged to withdraw its forces from Lebanon, which it does by April.
May.2004US imposes economic sanctions on Syria over what it calls its support for terrorism and failure to stop militants entering Iraq.
Jan.2004President Assad visits Turkey, the first Syrian leader to do so. The trip marks the end of decades of frosty relations, although ties sour again after the popular uprising in 2011.
May.2002Senior US official includes Syria in a list of states that make-up an "axis of evil", first listed by President Bush in January. Undersecretary for State John Bolton says Damascus is acquiring weapons of mass destruction.

2000-2001: Assad succession

Sept.2001Detention of MPs and other pro-reform activists, crushing hopes of a break with the authoritarian past of Hafez al-Assad. Arrests continue, punctuated by occasional amnesties, over the following decade.
Jun.2001Syrian troops evacuate Beirut, redeploy in other parts of Lebanon, following pressure from Lebanese critics of Syria's presence.
Apr.2001Outlawed Muslim Brotherhood says it will resume political activity, 20 years after its leaders were forced to flee.
Nov.2000The new president orders the release of 600 political prisoners.
Jun.2000President Assad dies and is succeeded by his second son, Bashar al-Assad.
Dec.1999Further talks with Israel over the Golan Heights begin in the US, but are indefinitely postponed the following month.
1998President Assad's brother Rifaat is dismissed as vice-president.
1994President Assad's son Basil, who was likely to succeed his father, is killed in a car accident.
Oct.1991Syria participates in the Middle East peace conference in Madrid and holds talks with Israel that founder over the Golan Heights issue.
1990Iraq invades Kuwait; Syria joins the US-led coalition against Iraq. This leads to improved relations with Egypt and the US.
Feb.1987President Assad sends troops into Lebanon for a second time to enforce a ceasefire in Beirut.

1982-1984: Hama Uprising

1984President's brother Rifaat promoted to vice-president.
May.1983Lebanon and Israel announce the end of hostilities. Syrian forces remain in Lebanon.
Jun.1982Israel invades Lebanon and attacks the Syrian army, forcing it to withdraw from several areas. Israel attacks the PLO base in Beirut.
Feb.1982Muslim Brotherhood uprising in the city of Hama suppressed by army, tens of thousands of civilians killed.

1980-1981: Muslim Brotherhood

Dec.1981Israel formally annexed the Golan Heights.
Sept.1980Start of Iran-Iraq war. Syria backed Iran, in keeping with the traditional rivalry between Ba'athist leaderships in Iraq and Syria.
1980After the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Muslim groups instigated uprisings and riots in Aleppo, Homs and Hama.

1973-1976: War with Israel

Jun.1976Syrian army intervenes in the Lebanese civil war to ensure that the status quo is maintained, keeping its Maronite Christian allies in a position of strength.
Feb.1975President Assad says he's prepared to make peace with Israel in return for an Israeli withdrawal from "all occupied Arab land".
Oct.1973Syria and Egypt go to war with Israel, but fail to retake the Golan Heights seized in 1967.

1963-1973: Rise of Assad

1973Rioting breaks out after President Assad drops the constitutional requirement that the president must be a Muslim. Suppressed by the army.
Nov.1970Hafez al-Assad overthrows president Nur al-Din al-Atasi and imprisons Salah Jadid.
Jun.1967Israeli forces seize the Golan Heights from Syria and destroy much of Syria's air force in the Six Day War with Egypt, Jordan and Syria.
Feb.1966Salah Jadid leads an internal coup against the civilian Ba'ath leadership. Hafez al-Assad becomes defence minister.
Mar.1963Ba'athist army officers seize power.

1947-1961: Ba'ath Party

Sept.1961Discontent with Egyptian domination prompts a group of Syrian army officers to seize power in Damascus and dissolve the union.
Feb.1958Syria and Egypt form the United Arab Republic. Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser heads the new state. He orders the dissolution of Syrian political parties, to the dismay of the Ba'ath Party, which had campaigned for union.
1955Shukri al-Kuwatli returns to power, seeks closer ties with Egypt.
1949-1954Civilian government disrupted by repeated coups.
1947Michel Aflaq and Salah-al-Din al-Bitar found the Arab Socialist Ba'ath PartyWikipedia-W.svg.

1925-1943: French Control & Uprising

1943Veteran nationalist Shukri al-Kuwatli is elected first president of Syria, leads the country to full independence three years later.
1941British and Free French troops occupy Syria. General De Gaulle promises to end the French mandate.
1936France agrees to work towards Syrian independence and dissolves the autonomous regions, but maintains military and economic dominance and keeps Lebanon as a separate state.
1928Elections held for a constituent assembly, which drafts a constitution for Syria. French High Commissioner rejects the proposals, sparking nationalist protests.
1925-1926Nationalist agitation against French rule develops into uprising. French forces bombard Damascus.
1920-1921Syria is divided into three autonomous regions by the French, with separate areas for the Alawis on the coast and the Druze in the south. Lebanon is separated off entirely.
Jul.1920Franco-Syrian WarWikipedia-W.svg: the Syrian National Congress refused to acknowledge any claims by the French to any part of Syrian territory – see French Mandate for Syria and the LebanonWikipedia-W.svg. The French gave King Faisal an ultimatum to surrender or fight; the French forces defeated his troops, and he King Faisal fled to the UK, bringing the Kingdom to an end.
Apr.1920The San Remo conferenceWikipedia-W.svg set out the allocation of League of Nations mandates (trusteeships) for the administration of the ex-Ottoman territories of Palestine, Syria and Mesopotamia: Syria-Lebanon under a French mandate, and Palestine under a British one. The Arabs were deeply antipathetic towards French administration of any kind.

1916-1920

Mar.1920The Syrian National Congress declared an independent Arab Kingdom of SyriaWikipedia-W.svg, with King Faisal as the head of state. The new state included Syria, Palestine, Lebanon and portions of northern Mesopotamia.
Feb.1920Leaders of Britain, France, and Italy met to discuss the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire. They reached agreements that would form the basis of their arguments at the San Remo conference in April.
Jan.1920The League of NationsWikipedia-W.svg was formed. One of its jobs was to divide up the conquered Ottoman lands. It drew up "mandates"; each mandate was supposed to be ruled by the British or French "until such time as they are able to stand alone". The League was the one to draw up the borders we see on modern political maps of the Middle East. The borders were drawn without regard for the wishes of the people living there, or along ethnic, geographic, or religious boundaries – they were truly arbitrary. It is important to note that even today, political borders in the Middle East do not indicate different groups of people. The differences between Iraqis, Syrians, Jordanians, etc. were entirely created by the European colonizers as a method of dividing the Arabs against each other.

The Empires of Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary and the Ottomans ceased to exist. National borders were redrawn, with 9 independent nations restored or created, and Germany's colonies parcelled out amongst the victors.

The Austria-Hungary Empire was carved up into 6 new countries. One, Czechoslovakia, would split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1992. The former Serbia was combined with territories annexed from Austria-Hungary to form Yugoslavia, a national home for South Slavic peoples. It, too, disintegrated in the early 1990s, producing several small nations that exist in the Balkans today. The Soviet Union lost some of the Russian Empire's former territory to the new Baltic states and to Poland. Poland, along with France, got chunks of Germany. Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia are gone, but the other new states persist today, so it's fair to say that World War I set the contours for the modern European state system. "Changes to Europe after World War I", https://www.vox.com/a/world-war-i-maps

World War I also transformed the Middle East. In 1916, French diplomat Francois Georges-Picot and his British counterpart, Sir Mark Sykes, drew up a map dividing the Ottoman Empire's Middle Eastern territory between British and French zones of control. The agreement permitted British and French authorities to divide up their respective territories however they pleased. This led to the creation of a series of Arab countries — Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and so on — whose borders and political institutions only dimly reflected the Arab world's ethno-sectarian makeup. Many scholars believe the Sykes-Picot borders were a major factor in the chaotic state of the Middle East in the decades since then. "Sykes-Picot and the breakup of the Ottoman empire", https://www.vox.com/a/world-war-i-maps

Jun.1919Emir Feisal backed Arab self-rule at the Versailles Peace ConferenceWikipedia-W.svg. With General Allenby's permission, Faisal announced the establishment of an Arab constitutional govt in Damascus.
May.1919A Syrian National CongressWikipedia-W.svg was convened.
Dec.1918WWI was over – but the British had made 3 different agreements with 3 different groups promising 3 different political futures. The Arabs insisted they get their promised Arab kingdom; the French and British wanted to divide up that same land among themselves; and the Zionists expected Palestine.
Oct.1918Damascus was captured by Emir Feisal's Arab troops, supported by the Allies, ending 400 years of OttomanWikipedia-W.svg rule. In the end, military losses destroyed the Empire.
Jun.1918The Jewish LegionWikipedia-W.svg assisted in the British conquest of PalestineWikipedia-W.svg.
Dec.1917Emir Faisal wanted an empire for himself; he contacted the Ottomans, declaring his willingness to defect provided they would give him an empire to rule, saying the Sykes-Picot Agreement had disillusioned him and he now wanted to work with his fellow Muslims. He eventually realised that the Ottomans were only interested in dividing and conquering the Hashemite forces.
Nov.1917A secret Sykes–Picot AgreementWikipedia-W.svg between the UK and France was published by the RussiansWikipedia-W.svg, in revenge for their claims in the Ottoman Empire being denied after the Russian RevolutionWikipedia-W.svg. The Agreement, hatched betwen 1915-1916, effectively divided up the Ottoman Arab provinces into areas of British (Iraq, Kuwait, and Jordan) and French (modern Syria, Lebanon, and southern Turkey) control. The status of Palestine was to be determined later, with Zionist ambitions to be taken into account.

The Agreement negated the UK's promises made in Oct.1916 to Emir Feisal, and is seen by many as a turning point in Western and Arab relations.

The Zionists had been pressuring the British govt into allowing them to settle in Palestine after the war. Many were sympathetic to their cause for various political reasons.[35] The British govt promised official supportWikipedia-W.svg for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine.
Oct.1916-1918Emir FeisalWikipedia-W.svg's Arab troops helped the Allies, and waged war against the Ottoman Empire. In exchange for this support, the British promised the Arabs a national homeland in the area of Greater Syria, ruled by Faisal's father Sharif Hussein bin AliWikipedia-W.svg.

1871-1914

1914: War broke out in Europe. A complex system of alliances, a militaristic arms race, colonial ambitions, and general mismanagement at the highest govt levels led to a devastating war that would claim the lives of 16m people between 1914–1918. The Allies: the empires of Britain, France, and Russia. The Central Powers: Germany and Austria-Hungary.

Nov.1914The entry of the Ottoman Empire into the War on the side of the Central PowersWikipedia-W.svg triggered the British to declare Egypt a British protectorate. The British replaced the nationalist Governor Abbas IIWikipedia-W.svg with his uncle Hussein KamelWikipedia-W.svg, as Sultan.
Oct.1914The Ottoman Empire's attackWikipedia-W.svg on Russia's Black Sea coast prompted Russia and its allies, Britain and France, to declare war on the Empire in Nov.1914.
Oct.1912The Balkan LeagueWikipedia-W.svg attacked the EmpireWikipedia-W.svg, and successfully gained control of almost all European Ottoman territories.
Sept.1911Italy declared warWikipedia-W.svg on the Empire, demanding the handover of Tripoli and Cyrenaica. Italian forces took the areas on Nov.05.
Jul.1908The Empire's last powerful Sultan, Abdul Hamid IIWikipedia-W.svg, was overthrown and replaced with a military govt led by the Three PashasWikipedia-W.svg, drawn from a secular Westernized group, the Young TurksWikipedia-W.svg. This left the Sultan as a figurehead.
The British began to conceive of plans to dissolve the Ottoman Empire and expand their Middle Eastern empire – the Ottoman Middle East lay right between Egypt and India in the middle of these two important colonies, and the British were determined to exterminate it as part of the world war.
Aug.1907Germany's growing strength and manifest pursuit of 'world power' status persuaded Britain to align with Russia. This connected Britain, France and Russia in the Triple EntenteWikipedia-W.svg, and stoked German fears of 'encirclement'. German nationalists viewed Britain as a barrier to their global ambitions, and German generals increasingly feared the growing military threat of Russia.
Apr.1904France and Britain entered into the Entente CordialeWikipedia-W.svg, mostly to do with spheres of influence in North Africa, but it also offered some security against any German system of alliances.
1894Fear of Germany encouraged France and Russia to form an alliance. This, in turn, pushed Germany into closer alliance with the Austria-Hungary Empire.
1882
Battle icon active (rifles).svg
The unrest in Egypt worsened. Fearing a reduction of their control, the UK and France bombarded Alexandria and crushed the Egyptian armyWikipedia-W.svg. They installed Ismail's son Tawfiq of EgyptWikipedia-W.svg as figurehead of what was effectively a British protectorate. However, Egypt still continued as a de jure Ottoman province.
1879Dissatisfaction with Governor Isma'il Pasha and European intrusion led to Egyptian Nationalist groups forming.
1875The Suez Canal project led Egypt into onerous debt, and Governor Isma'il PashaWikipedia-W.svg was forced to sell Egypt's share in the canal to the British govt. Within 3 years, his govt was dominated by the British.
1867The Ottoman Empire granted Egypt autonomous vassal status. Hitherto, under the Muhammad AliWikipedia-W.svg dynasty, it had been nominally an Ottoman province.
1857India.
1871Creation of a unified Germany. This disturbed the old 'balance of power' in Europe.

References

  1. ^ Belgian firms prosecuted over Syria chemical exports. Summons says firms sent 168 tonnes of isopropanol, which can be used to make sarin, to Syria. Daniel Boffey, The Guardian, Apr.18.2018.
  2. ^ 40 shipments from North Korea rebuilt Syria’s chemical arsenal. Catherine Philp, The Times, Feb.28.2018.
  3. ^ OPCW Media Response. @OPCW, Twitter, Apr.14.2018.
  4. ^ Syria: US, UK and France launch strikes in response to chemical attack. Julian Borger, Peter Beaumont, The Guardian, Apr.14.2018.
  5. ^ At destroyed Syria lab, workers deny producing toxic weapons. AFP, The Mail Online, Apr.14.2018.
  6. ^ Inspectors blocked from gas attack site. Catherine Philp, Rhys Blakely, The Times, Apr.17.2018.
  7. ^ Russia says U.S. plans to strike Damascus, pledges military response. Reuters, Mar.13.2018.
  8. ^ Syria: chemical weapons inspectors barred from Douma site. Moscow and Syrian regime say security issues mean site can’t be inspected, as Trump delays sanctions against Russians. Patrick Wintour, Julian Borger, The Guardian, Apr.16.2018.
  9. ^ Inside the tense closed-door UN Security Council deliberations on Syria. Richard Roth, CNN Politics, Apr.11.2017.
  10. ^ Worst Chemical Attack in Years in Syria; U.S. Blames Assad. Anne Barnard, Michael R. Gordon, The New York Times, Apr.04.2017.
  11. ^ Inaction over Syria has exacted a terrible price. Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian, Apr.05.2017.
  12. ^ There are two diff issues here: 1. We can be 99% sure the chemical weapons attack came from Syrian govt. 2. Airstrikes are not the answer. George Monbiot (@GeorgeMonbiot), Twitter, Apr.07.2017.
  13. ^ US missile strike in Syria: morally right but done for the wrong reasons? Roy Greenslade, The Guardian, Apr.09.2017.
  14. ^ US claims of Syria nerve gas attack: The anatomy of a lie. Patrick Martin, WSWS.
  15. ^ A Quick Turnaround Assessment of the White House Intelligence Report Issued on April 11, 2017 About the Nerve Agent Attack in Khan Shaykhun, Syria. Professor Theodore A. Postol, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Scribd.
  16. ^ The Khan Sheikhoun Chemical Attack, The Evidence So Far. BellingCat, Apr.05.2017.
  17. ^ Hearsay Extrapolated - Amnesty Claims Mass Executions In Syria, Provides Zero Proof. Moon of Alabama, Feb.07.2017.
  18. ^ When contemplating war, beware of babies in incubators. Tom Regan, CS Monitor, Sept.06.2002.
  19. ^ Foreign Secretary on first official visit to Turkey. Boris Johnson held high-level talks with Turkey’s leaders and focused on UK support to Syria during his 3-day visit. FCO, Boris Johnson, Gov.uk, Sept.27.2016.
  20. ^ How Britain funds the 'propaganda war' against Isis in Syria. Government contractors effectively run a press office for opposition fighters but communications conceal UK’s role. Ian Cobain, Alice Ross, Rob Evans, Mona Mahmood, The Guardian, May.03.2016.
  21. ^ White Helmets Exposed as Extremists: 65 Facebook profiles of Their Members. Jason Jones, Syrian War Blog, Nov.14.2017.
  22. ^ Third report of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism. United Nations Security Council, Security Council Report, Aug.24.2016.
  23. ^ Mainstream media ignores what Aug 2016 UN report actually said on Syrian gas attacks. TNCW, Mar.2017.
  24. ^ Syria and Diplomacy. Craig Murray, CraigMurray.org, Jan.21.2014.
  25. ^ Massacres That Matter - Part 2 - The Media Response On Egypt, Libya And Syria. David Edwards, Media Lens, Aug.9.2013.
  26. ^ Whose Sarin? Seymour M. Hersh, London Review of Books, Dec.19.2013.
  27. ^ The Syrian-Sarin ‘False Flag’ Lesson. Ray McGovern, Consortium News.
  28. ^ Is the BBCs Ian Pannell complicit in crude anti-Syrian propaganda? Daniel Margrain, Culture and Politics, Sept.12.2015.
  29. ^ a b Former French Foreign Minister Dumas Blows the Whistle on Western War Plans against Syria. NSBC International, Jul.03.2013.
  30. ^ Syria intervention plan fueled by oil interests, not chemical weapon concern. Massacres of civilians are being exploited for narrow geopolitical competition to control Mideast oil, gas pipelines. Nafeez Ahmed, The Guardian, Aug.30.2013.
  31. ^ a b US says Syria may have used sarin gas in chemical weapons. White House sends nuanced letter to Congress saying it has 'various amounts of confidence' in reliability of evidence Julian Borger, The Guardian, Apr.25.2013.
  32. ^ a b Oral Update of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic. Report from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) OHCHRWikipedia-W.svg. OHCHR, Jun.26.2012.
  33. ^ The Houla Massacre. Media Lens, May.31.2012.
  34. ^ Climate Change Hastened Syria's Civil War. Mark Frischetti, Scientific American, Mar.02.2015.
  35. ^ The birth of modern Israel: A scrap of paper that changed history. Donald Macintyre, The Independent, May.25.2005.


White Helmets

  • Apr.14.2018: Rescue volunteers White Helmets give world a window on atrocities of war. The White Helmets are a western-backed rescue service operating in Syria. Officially known as Syria Civil Defence, the group, founded in 2014, has been partly funded by Britain. The unarmed volunteers comprise former teachers, engineers, carpenters and students. They have driven fire engines, provided medical care and searched through rubble to save lives. The Foreign Office states that the group has increased the resilience of Syrian civilians by providing emergency search-and-rescue and medical support. They have been repeatedly nominated for the Nobel peace prize. Britain considers that they play an “invaluable reporting and advocacy role”, and Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International has said they are its most routinely reliable source. The Royal Institute of International Affairs said the Russian and Syrian govets had frequently targeted the White Helmets with missiles. Dominic Kennedy, The Times.

Associated Groups

Articles

  • Apr.15.2018: Bombs away! Just try not to harm Assad. Trump could not have been clearer. Bashar al-Assad’s crimes, including the gassing to death of “mothers and fathers, infants and children” were “not the actions of a man. They are the crimes of a monster.” Assad was, he added, the leader of a “rogue state” and “a brutal tyrant, a murderous dictator”. Earlier the US president had called the Syrian leader “an animal”. The rhetoric was off the scale. Whatever the limitations of the actions taken on Friday night, they can reasonably be described by Theresa May as a legitimate and proportionate response to Assad’s (repeated) breach of the international treaties against the use of chemical weapons. But the real reason the Americans will not take direct aim at Mr Big (Assad) is that they are on the same side. The Americans (and to a much lesser extent the British and French) have been busily pounding the forces that have been waging civil war against Assad: a range of Islamist militias of the most brutal sort. Indeed, in the week before Assad’s gas attack on Douma, Trump had declared his intention to withdraw from the Syrian conflict: the forces loyal to Isis seemed to have been defeated. The unmentionable truth is that the effect of the latest chlorine barrel bomb, aside from murdering innocent children and their parents, was to persuade the Islamist rebels to abandon their last bastion on the outskirts of Damascus. They exited in tour buses laid on by the regime. To put it bluntly, Assad’s atrocity brings closer what the West actually wants: the speediest possible end to a civil war that has displaced millions. This, presumably, is what Trump’s military advisers will have told him. So yesterday morning Assad turned up for work as normal. Dominic Lawson, The Times.
  • Apr.15.2018: A threat that Britain and the West could not ignore. Britain is again engaged in military action alongside America. President Emmanuel Macron, who joined forces with Britain and the United States, has said he has “proof” that chemical weapons were used in Douma. The prime minister’s critics claim that parliament should have been consulted first. Mrs May was right to use the royal prerogative to deploy our armed forces to maintain the element of surprise and to limit the potential for a repetition of the previous round of party political games-playing. However, it is entirely proper that parliament should be consulted if the attacks on Syria are to be prolonged or extended. Trails off into diatribe against Labour' Leader, The Times.
  • Q&A: escalation of the Syrian civil war, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/q-a-escalation-of-the-syrian-civil-war-t8625q5ws
  • Apr.11.2018: In one fell swoop, the UK government destroys its own ‘moral’ case for war in Syria. The UK is now potentially on the precipice of further bombing in Syria, because the governing party apparently feels a moral obligation to take action after an alleged chemical attack there. The government, however, just destroyed its own ‘moral’ case for war. Because it celebrated the 70th anniversary of the world’s milestone human rights declaration by visiting Israel – a country which is itself responsible for numerous despicable attacks on innocent people. Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Johnny Mercer. Tracy Keeling, The Canary.
  • Apr.10.2018: Peter Ford Dropping Truth Bombs on BBC Radio Scotland. The brilliant Peter Ford destroys the BBC's lies live on air, to the frustration of the babbling, war propagandizing radio host. Pure eloquence and logic, Peter Ford, former British ambassador to Syria Twitter. Peter Ford (who obviously didn't get the memo on keeping him out) outing the 'monitors' of the alleged attacks. The interviewer tried for about 10 seconds to talk him down but former Ambassador Peter Ford ploughed on and dropped several truth bombs. Fortunately it was live. BBC Radio Scotland (YouTube).
  • Apr.04.2018: Syria: A Year On, Chemical Weapons Attacks Persist. International efforts to deter chemical attacks in Syria in the year since the devastating sarin attack on Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017, have been ineffective. Human Rights Watch has collated and analyzed evidence of chemical weapons attacks in Syria between Aug.21.2013-Feb.25.2018. The information, based on data from seven sources, shows that the Syrian government is responsible for the majority of 85 confirmed chemical weapon attacks. Map. Human Rights Watch.
  • Jan.21.2018.01.21: The Observer view on the war in Syria. The next phase in this intractable and bloody tragedy could prove the most dangerous yet. Syria has become an international battleground pitting the great powers, regional neighbours and supranational ethnic and religious forces against each other in a fight for strategic influence, territory and power. Up to half a million Syrians have died, more than 5.4 million are refugees, and 6.1 million are internally displaced. Who is to blame for the unending Syrian catastrophe? The short answer is: almost everybody. ... Editorial, The Observer.

2015

  • Jun.03.2015: Now the truth emerges: how the US fuelled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq. The war on terror, that campaign without end launched 14 years ago by George Bush, is tying itself up in ever more grotesque contortions. ...British intelligence had been arming the same rebel groups... Clearly, the absurdity of sending someone to prison for doing what ministers and their security officials were up to themselves became too much. For the past year, US, British and other western forces have been back in Iraq, supposedly in the cause of destroying the hyper-sectarian terror group Islamic State (formerly known as al-Qaida in Iraq). A revealing light on how we got here has now been shone by a recently declassified secret US intelligence report, written in August 2012, which uncannily predicts – and effectively welcomes – the prospect of a “Salafist principality” in eastern Syria and an al-Qaida-controlled Islamic state in Syria and Iraq. In stark contrast to western claims at the time, the Defense Intelligence Agency document identifies al-Qaida in Iraq (which became Isis) and fellow Salafists as the “major forces driving the insurgency in Syria” – and states that “western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey” were supporting the opposition’s efforts to take control of eastern Syria. more... Seamas Milne, The Guardian.