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Those advocating arming Assad’s opposition in Syria assume that because there’s a dictator on one side, the Islamist “rebels” must themselves favor democracy and human rights. Such concepts are alien to Islamist fighters in Syria. To them it’s Sunni vs Shia, not interests of Syrian people-US and UK shouldn’t arm Assad’s opposition, Huffington Post UK, Charles Shoebridge, 3/14/2013

May 23, 2019
Those advocating arming [Islamist terrorists in Syria] also assume that, because rebels are fighting a dictator, the [Islamist] rebels must themselves support democracy. While opposition leaders outside Syria speak of inclusive democracy, gender equality and human rights, such concepts are largely alien to the Islamist fighters dominating Syria’s [so-called] rebels, the most influential of whom are groups such as the al Qaeda linked al Nusra Front. Rather, they aim to replace Syria Shia with Sunni power….Many have good reason to detest the Assad government. But this is no reason to provide weapons to those with little regard for democracy and human rights...which for the true interests of Syria’s people and the West may make matters very much worse.”
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3/14/2013, “Why We Shouldn’t Be Arming Syria’s Rebels,” Huffington Post UK, Charles Shoebridge

“The officially stated UK government rationale justifying arming Syria’s rebels relies upon at least two flawed assumptions.

The first is that pouring sophisticated weaponry into a war zone already awash with weapons will save civilian lives. Whilst this argument may have had some force when the army attacked unarmed demonstrators two years ago, Syria is now in a [some say] civil war in which two well armed sides have achieved military stalemate.

Western politicians often imply Syria’s 70,000 dead have all been killed by the state, a picture further complicated by media quoted opposition activists counting armed rebel fighters as civilians. Estimates suggest security forces have suffered 15,000 fatalities, rebels 10,000, with the remainder being civilians killed by both sides.

Arming one side with better weapons seems unlikely to improve this situation – particularly when rebels [Islamist fighters] have been repeatedly condemned, for example this weekby the UN, for murder, kidnapping, torture of prisoners and civilians, use of child soldiers, widespread assaults and corruption against civilians, all without remedial action from the rebel Free Syria Army [Al Qaeda] the West supports.

Rebel tactics of attacking and fighting from densely populated areas, itself a war crime, also inevitably result in heavy weapon use and civilian casualties – as now at previously peaceful Homs and Aleppo, as in the recent past at Gaza and Fallujah. Further arming the rebels will only increase such attacks.

Those advocating arming also assume that, because rebels are fighting a dictator, the rebels must themselves support democracy.

While opposition leaders outside Syria speak of inclusive democracy, gender equality and human rights, such concepts are largely alien to the Islamist fighters dominating Syria’s [so-called] rebels, the most influential of whom are groups such as the al Qaeda linked al Nusra Front.

Rather, they aim to replace Syria Shia with Sunni power.

This is why the [Syrian] rebels are backed by [Sunni] Saudi Arabia and Qatar – sectarian dictatorships with no interest in promoting human rights or inclusive secular democracy. They do so to promote their own extreme brand of Sunni Islam, and because a crippled, possibly partitioned Syria isolates and weakens Shia Iran. This also promotes the interests of Israel.

Indeed, if Syria for the US and UK was about human rights and democracy, they would also be backing rebels in their Sunni allies Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar.

Some suggest that Islamist dominance of Syria’s rebellion is reason to arm more moderate groups. As Arab Spring states are discovering however, ‘moderate’ is a relative term. And even assuming such ‘good’ rebels can be found to arm, doing so against ‘bad’ rebels is likely to cause civil war to continue well beyond any fall of Assad, with further appalling civilian suffering. In the chaos of civil war, it will also be impossible to monitor in whose hands such weapons end up.

There are two routes out of Syria’s savage and indiscriminate bloodletting. One is an unlikely outright military victory, the other a negotiated settlement and it is this option, by placing pressure on the rebels and their backers to drop preconditions to ceasefire talks,which the UK and US if seriously interested in peace should support.”…

[Ed. note: Any ideas for a third route? The “rebels” in Syria are the US government which backs and funds them. The US is the only reason a “war” exists in Syria.]

(continuing): “Many have good reason to detest the Assad government. But this is no reason to provide weapons to those with little regard for democracy and human rights whose victory may benefit Israel and Saudi Arabia, but which for the true interests of Syria’s people and the West may make matters very much worse.”

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Added: The Trump at a Trump-Hillary Oct. 2016 debate remembered US “regime changes” always create even worse misery--except for billions pocketed by war profiteers. As useless as televised presidential “debates” are, this one statement by Trump made him sound like a normal person. What caused Trump to flip flop? Either he was lying or he’s been threatened with death.
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Oct. 11, 2016, “Debate Moderator Distorted Syrian Reality,” Consortium News, Robert Parry
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“Trump: “Now, she [Hillary] talks tough, she talks really tough against Putin and against Assad. She talks in favor of the [Islamist] rebels. She doesn’t even know who the rebels are. You know, every time we take rebels, whether it’s in Iraq or anywhere else, we’re arming people. And you know what happens? They end up being worse than the people [we overthrow]….Look at what she did in Libya with [Muammar] Gaddafi.”…
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[Moderator] Raddatz’s biased framing also put Republican Donald Trump on the defensive for resisting yet another American “regime change” project in Syria….While one can’t blame Raddatz for Trump’s scattered thinking – or for Clinton’s hawkishness – the moderator’s failure to frame the Syrian issue in a factual and nuanced way contributed to this dangerously misleading “debate” on a grave issue of war and peace….Given the stakes of a possible nuclear war with Russiathis propagandistic style of “journalism” is fast becoming an existential threat.The American people are receiving a highly distorted view of the Syrian war-much propaganda, little truth-including from one of the moderators at the second presidential debate.”…
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Added: How the US Taxpayer Funded War and Starvation Machine works: A year ago [2013], Obama met with the New York Times editorial board and three columnists while considering whether to [without the slightest provocation] launch airstrikes [bomb] against President Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria.”
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9/13/2014, “Obama Met Privately With Top Journalists Before ISIS War Speech, Huffington Post, Michael Calderone
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“President Barack Obama met with over a dozen prominent columnists and magazine writers Wednesday afternoon before calling for an escalation of the war against the Islamic State, or ISIS, in a primetime address that same night.The group, which met in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in an off-the-record session, includedNew York Times columnists David Brooks, Tom Friedman and Frank Bruni and editorial writer Carol Giacomo;The Washington Post’s David Ignatius, Eugene Robinson and Ruth Marcus;

The New Yorker’s Dexter Filkins and George Packer;

The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg and Peter Beinart;

The New Republic’s Julia Ioffe;

Columbia Journalism School Dean Steve Coll;

The Wall Street Journal’s Jerry Seib; and

The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky, a source familiar with the meeting told The Huffington Post.

National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough also attended the meeting, according to the source.

The White House declined comment.

Peter Baker, the chief White House correspondent for The New York Times, reported on Saturday that Obama had met with columnists and magazine writers but did not name the attendees.

Baker wrote that three New York Times columnists and one editorial writer attended, but indicated they weren’t sources for his story. Since the meeting was off the record, the Times columnists could not report what Obama said. But Baker, a Times reporter not in attendance, was under no obligation to withhold the fact that the meeting took place.

Obama has long derided the 24-hour news cycle in which minor misstatements can become fodder for endless cable discussions. But throughout his presidency, he has used smaller, private meetings with influential columnists and commentators as a way to explain his positions before rolling out major foreign and domestic policy decisions. 

A year ago [2013], Obama met with the New York Times editorial board and three columnists while considering whether to [bomb] launch airstrikes against President Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria.

Obama’s decision to escalate the war Wednesday followed several weeks of calls by politicians and pundits for him to expand the air campaign against the Islamic State, even as the intelligence community and terrorism experts said the militant group poses no imminent threat [9/9/2014] to the United States.”

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