Once more Eamonn McCann brings us pro-Assad propaganda, unchecked for any veracity.
'In Syria in September 2013 the residents of a Christian village, Maaloula, which had been overrun by al-Qaida-aligned Islamic extremists, appealed for and were given arms by nearby units of Bashir Assad's army. They had been horrified by credible threats from the invaders to destroy two of the most ancient Christian sites in the world.'
There was no credible threat to destroy Christian sites in Maaloula.' "Imad, said there had been 32 churches in Maaloula and claimed that "all of them have been destroyed" - although it was clear from the vantage point near the monastery that in fact churches were still standing, albeit with signs of damage and some burning.'
It was all part of the Assad régime's diverting attention from its campaign of mass murder against Sunni Muslims in Syria.
'The government recently facilitated reports on the presence of ruthless Islamist fighters in Maaloula, a town of Christians, whom the regime depicts as under threat from the rebels. Meanwhile, thousands of Syrian civilians mass in camps in the north, unseen on Western television screens, as they flee from salvoes of regime rockets.'
Eamonn's next paragraph contains multiple untruths.'At the time, under pressure from Israel, Saudi Arabia and elements in the US Congress, the Obama administration was contemplating a bombing campaign against Assad in retaliation for a chemical weapons assault on a suburb of Damascus which had killed dozens (at least) of civilians and which was widely attributed to Assad.'
It's just a lie about Israel. Like Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, there is just no evidence for it whatsoever. At the time the story was put about that hundreds of AIPAC [the main pro-Israel lobbying organisation in Washington] staffers were being sent to Capitol Hill to argue for US airstrikes, it simply didn't happen. Israel has maintained a policy of neutrality in the Syrian conflict, as worried about a jihadi takeover of Syria as Eamonn McCann appears to be. There was a story that a UN report showed co-operation between Israel and Jabhat al-Nusra (or in the more lunatic version, ISIS). I've read that report. The Israelis handed over two boxes, probably of medical supplies from the context, to people not even positively identified as Nusra. And the Israelis treat Free Syrian Army casualties, not those of Nusra, and certainly not those of ISIS who fight against the Free Syrian Army rather than Assad, in their hospitals, because the Assad régime has bombed every hospital in rebel-held areas of Syria.[http://notris.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=hospital]
The Obama administration didn't contemplate a bombing campaign, but a few token airstrikes to get off the hook of having announced red lines over Assad's war crimes, and doing nothing to enforce them. It went to Congress for the same reason Cameron went to Parliament, to get someone else to say no to military action. As I wrote at the time:
"If the Left claims that thousands will die in carpet bombing, that depleted uranium will be scattered across Syria, that American soldiers will be dying to help al-Qaida, and none of these things turn out to be true, it will discredit the Left, and because the Left does not control the media, that impression will stay for a long time, and when the US does want to intervene, the pendulum will have swung back to it being easy again for the US to do what it wants. And if the situation in Syria takes another step towards Hell, then there is a greater likelihood that American, French or British power will be brought to bear on Syria, rather than the empowerment of those rebels that we just don’t know about from what we’ve read in the press." [http://notris.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/dominoes.html]
The hoax that the US was going to attack Syria was designed to divert attention the means that could have empowered Syrians, giving them anti-aircraft missiles, which would have stopped the barrel bomb attacks, stopped the refugees fleeing from the bombing, and left Assad without a strategy to maintain terror in Syria.
And then there's the chemical weapons denial. There is no evidence that the rebels used or possessed any chemical weapons, and it is ludicrous to suggest that the rebels would have gassed themselves to provoke US intervention, a suggestion reminiscent of Israeli claims that Arabs don't care about human life. Especially as the proposed agent, Jabhat al-Nusra, is completely opposed to US intervention in Syria. I believe they had no presence in the areas of Damascus attacked, and would certainly have been noticed by the forces of the Free Syrian Army and the Army of Islam who were. And against the idea that Assad had no reason to use chemical weapons, he has since carried out daily attacks with chlorine bombs, and despite the deal to remove his chemical weapons stockpile (which the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is on record as approving), traces of VX and sarin are still being found at Assad's facilities.[http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/05/08/uk-mideast-crisis-syria-chemicals-exclus-idUKKBN0NT1Z120150508] It is one thing to ignore Assad's genocide against Syrians, this really is in the realm of Holocaust denial, though without the gap of seventy years it is even less plausible and more offensive. And 1500 civilians were murdered, many of them children sleeping on the ground floor because their parents feared for them if the upper floors were bombed, not dozens.
The rest of the nonsense in this piece may be more easily picked apart by those expert on the particular subjects. The Saudi war are not acting as a US proxy in its war against the Houthis, the US want a ceasefire to go along with their nuclear deal with Iran, which is one reason the Saudi king is refusing to attend a summit with President Obama and sending his crown prince instead. This language of proxies has been a mainstay of pro-Assad propaganda about Syria, the reality is that the rebel forces are overwhelmingly Syrian, and have received minimal support from the outside world, while Assad would not have survived this long without a billion dollars of weaponry each month, and since 2013, tens of thousands of Iranian, Lebanese and Iraqi sectarian mercenaries.