Wednesday, 15 July 2015
Did Saudi Arabia Barter in Christian Lives with the Vatican?
No. Even the Wikileaks version still makes it sound like the Saudis were threatening Christians, "Saudi to Vatican: Help us bring down Assad and we will ensure Christians are spared from retaliation". In fact what they told the Vatican was this, "All parties who support the Syrian people are committed to the rights of minorities in Syria and, in the event of the fall of the Syrian regime, will not accept for them to be subjected to any acts of retribution."
Similar elisions in Robert Fisk's latest for the Independent*. "[Iran's] Guard Corps and its Hizballah allies from Lebanon are literally in the front lines against the Islamists." Not against ISIS, but against those fighting to free Syria from Assad. Similarly, "Israel has been allowing Iran’s militant Sunni enemies to slip across the Golan from Syria into Israel for medical treatment every few days." Will it really need him to write that all Sunnis are terrorists before it becomes obvious what Fisk is like?
Patick Cockburn** has wrapped up his lies in support of an alliance with Assad into a neater little bundle.
"Isis, the Syrian army’s main opponent."
"Now we apparently want to remove Daesh, but without helping Assad. These two things are incompatible. It is a choice of evils”."
"President Bashar al-Assad probably holds another third, though these proportions are a little deceptive because the government still holds most of Damascus, the main cities and the roads linking them."
"There is an attempt to rebrand al-Nusra as kinder, gentler jihadis, but those who believe this propaganda should reflect on al-Nusra’s unstinting praise for the perpetrators of 9/11." "Assad may be about to lose the city of Daraa in the south to the Southern Front, an alliance of groups which present themselves as more moderate than Isis or al-Qaeda."
"It is Isis and the most extreme Islamist groups that will ultimately benefit from the weakening of Assad and the government in Damascus."
"In the case of the Southern Front, often advertised as an anti-Assad force which is not extreme jihadi, its guise may be adopted to hoodwink foreign backers." "Assad’s forces are exhausted but are not close to collapse."
"The militarisation of politics in Syria since 2011 has benefited both Isis and Assad: it has left Syrians opposed to Isis and al-Nusra, but even more terrified of Assad’s forces, with no alternative but to fight and die with the jihadis.""You will have heard the opposition slogan “Alawites to the cemetery and Christians to Beirut”."
Most have some reflection of the truth, but have been elided so far from it as to be unrecognisable. His conclusion that we should ask Assad to stop barrel bombing in return for bombing ISIS that he hardly bothers to fight is a fantasy, and the idea that we will end up supporting Assad if ISIS or al-Nusra threaten Damascus, so we should do so now, is utterly stupid as it will only preserve the disorder of Assad's genocide and encourage the extremist response to it.