Friday, April 13, 2018

Syrian War Being Dragged On Basis Of Lies For Ulterior Reasons

Syrian War Being Dragged On Basis Of Lies For Ulterior Reasons
                                                                             Saeed Naqvi

If war begins in Syria, it will be on absolutely trumped up charges about the use of poison gas by Bashar al Assad. Why would he gas his own people if he is, by all western assessments, winning the war? And how do White Helmets take perfect close-up pictures of injured children? How do they not get poisoned? How do they not get poisoned? Mine is a small voice but, having travelled to each one of the countries involved in the Syrian tragedy, I can say with all the conviction at my command: this war is being dragged on the basis of lies and for ulterior reasons.

On March 29, 2018, President Donald Trump announced in Ohio that the US would “very soon” get out of Syria. Other nations should shoulder that burden. As if on cue, Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman, declared that Bashar al Assad would remain President of Syria. He added, in parenthesis, that US troops should remain in Syria for “the short term if not the long term.”

This abrupt change of heart by the two who are principally leading the anti Assad campaign in Syria was explained by an intelligence mishap. In fact a double gaffe was involved. A major plan to surround Damascus, with Ghouta as the spring board was to be boosted by US air cover. Syrian intelligence found out the details about this plan.

How would the US justify a major air campaign over Damascus? White Helmets, a multimillion dollar NGO founded by a British Army officer, James Le Mesurier to boost the propaganda effort of the motley group of militants and state actors, were expected to play a key role at this juncture. They would detonate “poison gas” in Douma, a town in eastern Gouta. This would be blown up sky high as Syrian “brutality”. That would justify an air campaign.

When this plan was leaked the Syrian army barged into Douma. They caught red handed atleast fourteen intelligence officers of whom eight were from Saudi Arabia and one each from the US, Israel, Turkey, Qatar, Jordan and Morocco. Some nationalities pose a question mark? What is a Turk doing in this gang? Is Turkey playing both sides of the street? Qatar and Saudi Arabia are supposed to be at each others’ throat. What is ultra cautious Morocco doing in Douma? This is all happening in the midst of a fierce urban, guerilla campaign. Who knows how many identification documents are in play?

In brief, the capture of intelligence officers caused Trump and MBS to reverse gear. These two obviously had fears that their officers, may begin to sing like canaries. But no such fear afflicted the British and the French. Their officers are not on the list. These countries face a bagful of problems back home. They did not mind when White Helmet, the False Flag experts, detonated their devices, not so much to kill, maim and suffocate but to saturate the networks and the news agencies with heart rending pictorial coverage. This would divert attention from their problems. In the case of Britain these problems were existential.

The Helmets have clearly been advised by psychologists that children look the most angelic between the ages of four and five. If the children can be plausibly shrouded in bandages, their limbs suspended by slings and ambient sounds given a suitable crescendo, their mission would be successful.

On March 29 and 30 Trump and MBS were cooing like doves. How does one then explain the messy resumption of hostilities in Syria – alleged gas attack in Douma and Israeli missile over Homs?

One theory is that Trump can flourish as many white flags as he likes, the Deep State will proceed on its agenda regardless. This, quite literally, is a singular moment in history when there is no super power to control or direct world affairs.

President Emmanuel Macron is facing a revolt of the Rail Unions and more. With all manner of populisms waiting in the wings, a young President, on a brand new party may seek respite in diversionary moves which direct national focus towards the Russian menace.

It is Britain where the establishment is on sixes and sevens. Labour’s Leftist leader Jeremy Corbyn’s ratings keep rising despite stalwarts of the new Labour like Lord Peter Mandelson declaring in interviews that Corbyn “must be undermined”.

Accidental Conservative Prime Minister, Theresa May has not quite found her feet after the Brexit debacle. Then her performance at the party Tory conference last October became an almighty embarrassment. Fighting for her political life, when she rose for her speech she was afflicted by an unstoppable, hacking cough. Then, like a bad omen, letters on the backdrop behind her began to drop off. It became a comical clip for the social media. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, nursing an unrealistic ambition, acquired a bounce in his tread.

Both May and Johnson have invested a great deal by word and gesture, on alleged poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. They were also keen that the embers of Syria must not be extinguished.

Meanwhile not just the conservative MP, Lucy Allan, from Telford, but the entire Establishment is in deep shame at the serial sex abuse scandal of over 1,000 British children, spread out over years which media like the BBC has been accused of covering up. It is disgusting to speculate that Ghouta and Skripal have helped divert attention from the most horrendous of sex scandals mankind has ever known.

What is staring the May-Johnson duet in the face is the prospect of a rout in the May 3 local bodies’ elections. Just the wrong time for Trump and MBS to be embracing Vladimir Putin. Western democracy needs Russia painted in lurid colours for greater cohesion. The West needs a raison d’tre, an enemy image, to be able to stand upright.  Something like a, Cold War. Hence the rumbling of war drums.

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Friday, April 6, 2018

Saudi Crown Prince, Trump Together Staring At Syrian Exit Door

Saudi Crown Prince, Trump Together Staring At Syrian Exit Door
                                                                                        Saeed Naqvi

The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman, 32, has once again given international affairs a twist which has caused a hush to descend on the world centres of power.

He announced that Bashar al Assad would not be toppled. “Bashar is staying”, he said, then continued, “but we believe Bashar’s interests are not to let Iran do whatever they want to do.” He also added, in parenthesis, that “American troops should stay for atleast the short term if not the long term.”

This last bit of advice to the Americans was obviously an immediate response to what Donald Trump had announced in Ohio. He said US troops would be pulled out of “that war weary country” very soon.

Did this statement invite a panicked response from MBS in the course of his interview to Time magazine set up in New York’s Plaza hotel? Or, was it all choreographed with the Americans, in response to some “other” development.

The US President announces troop withdrawals from Syria just when the Saudi Crown Prince is visiting him. MBS goes one better. He makes the entire Saudi policy since the beginning of the Syrian war stand on its head. President Assad can now keep power in Damascus. Until a few days ago “Assad had to go”. This was non negotiable.

The chorus has been joined by the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. Addressing the UN Human Rights Council, he thumped the table and screamed with emotion. What is happening in Ghouta, south of Damascus is “Hell on Earth” and that “it must be stopped”.

So divided is opinion on the Syrian conflict, that fingers were instantly pointed at him. Does the description “Hell on Earth” apply only to Ghouta and not what the world saw in Aleppo, Idlib, Mosul, Fallujah, Yemen? After all, hundreds of thousands of migrants walked, sailed, drove to Europe to escape the unspeakable horrors of Syria, Libya, even Iraq. No one saw the Secretary General do the “Tandav” then. He was not heard screaming. “Hell on Earth.” There must be something special about eastern Ghouta. What is it?

Sifting details, a narrative does emerge in sharper profile. A major provocation by the “opposition” (for which read US led alliance) in Idlib near Aleppo, cause Syrian troops, their Russian backers in tow, to rush in that direction. Syrian Intelligence, meanwhile, picks up chatter which suggests that Idlib may have been a diversionary ploy. In “opposition” focus was the biggest game of all: attack on Damascus. If true, it was an audacious plan.

Tanfs, on the Syrian side of the border with Iraq (Al Waleed is on the other side) serves as a US base. To grasp the plan a map of Syria, bordering Iraq, Jordan and Israel would help. About 30,000 trained militants, in small batches, were to move along the border with Jordan, looping around Daraa towards Quneitra, the Golan Heights, looking for passages into Ghouta. This is where the White Helmets were to play a key role.

Media audiences may be forgiven for imaging that White Helmets are variants of Medicines without Borders, the Red Cross and so on. This precisely is the way they have been projected on global media. Let me give you an example:
On October 12, 2016, Christiane Amanpour of the CNN, places in Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov’s hand a photograph of a four year old Syrian boy with a burnt face. This is in the course of an interview with Lavrov, who looks at the photograph and mutters “very sad”. In the same interview he says openly that the US was helping the Nusra Front.

On October 20, the same photograph is flourished by Hillary Clinton during the final Presidential debate with Trump in Las Vegas. Clinton even simulates a lump in her throat while dwelling on Russian perfidy in Syria. Remember, throughout that election campaign, Trump was painted in dark colours as a beneficiary of Russian favours.

Now, let’s turn to Vanessa Beeley, of the 21st Century Wire website. She paints the White Helmets in lurid colours. According to her and a host of alternative media, White Helmets are part of the West-led anti Syrian war effort.

It was this alternative media which posted visuals of the very same “burnt boy” being strapped to a chair in a mobile studio even as cameramen produce pictures which find their way to Amanpour and Clinton during shows with record viewership. It is a frightening reality.

Now let’s revert to the plan to take Damascus. As thousands of trained “rebels” close in on the Syrian capital, the White Helmets, who, according to Beeley, are also false flag specialists, will detonate poison gas or something worse which the global media (also part of the operation) amplifies as the greatest detonation since Bikini Island. The day would only be saved by a massive US led air campaign. My source for this drama is only the alternative media which, alas, is the most credible outlet available since the mainstream media appears to have been mobilized for the “war effort”. This I know from my visits to Syria.

As often happens, the Damascus plan leaked. Syrians had spared Ghouta thus far for a simple reason: the human shield factor made it a forbidding operation. But after the leakage of the mega plan, Syrians and the Russians had no option but to go for broke on Ghouta. The white Helmets also went full throttle with their propaganda amplifiers. The world saw the horrors of Ghouta (albeit manufactured) on their TV sets.

In the meanwhile, the Syrian army captured Western, Israeli, Saudi intelligence assets working out of a full-fledged control room in Ghouta. This, as I indicated in an earlier paragraph, is what is special about Ghouta.

Does this explain the suddenness of revelation with which the script on Syria has been altered? And, can peace which results from a gigantic blackmail, last?

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Friday, March 30, 2018

The Raging Guha-Mander Debate Deserves Wider Participation

The Raging Guha-Mander Debate Deserves Wider Participation
                                                                                    Saeed Naqvi

It does not surprise me that the continuing debate on the Op-Ed page of the Indian Express on the Muslim predicament skirts fundamental issues. The debate has been triggered by Ramchandra Guha disagreeing with Harsh Mander on the Muslim question.

Mander’s column, headlined “Sonia, Sadly”, expresses his hurt at Sonia Gandhi’s public expression of fear that the Congress was being perceived as a “Muslim Party”.

In the very first paragraph of his column, Guha plucks out a quote from Mander. “A Dalit leader tells Muslims who come to political meetings: By all means come in large number to our rallies. But don’t come with your skull caps and burkas.”

“Mander is dismayed at this gratuitous attempt to get Muslims to voluntarily withdraw from politics.”  But Guha disagrees with Mander’s interpretation of what the Dalit leader said. Guha is emphatic: “while the words may be harsh and direct, the spirit of the advice was forward looking”, i.e. don’t come in skull caps and burkas.

This, I suspect, is the crux of the matter. Guha is endorsing the new line enunciated by the Congress Party: Keep Muslims at arm’s length just in case the BJP spin doctors pick up this visual to polarize. Rahul Gandhi’s frenetic temple hopping, janeu et al, is in pursuit of this soft saffron.

Apoorvanand, Harbans Mukhia, Mukul Keshavan, Mani Shankar Aiyar, Suhas Palshikar, Irena Akbar, Khalid Ansari, Jawed Naqvi, why, even Mander himself, have all written sensitively, even knowledgably on the subject. But Guha is a class apart: Muslims must give up skull caps and, to balance matters, Hindus their trishuls. His desire to equalize permeates the article. Praveen Togadia and Yogi Adityanath are bad but Guha will have his little orgasm only if Asaduddin Owaisi and Ali Shah Geelani are mentioned in the same breath. Togadia wants Muslims to leave the country. “Occupy their homes” he once famously said in Gujarat. Without batting an eyelid, Yogi heard his cohorts ask for buried Muslim women to be dug out from their graves and raped. Show me a comparable quote from Owaisi or Geelani.

“Yeh ajeeb majra hai ki baroz e Eide qurbaan
Wohi zubah bhi kare hai wohi le sawab ulta”
(Look at the illogical system of the ceremony of sacrifice.
He who slaughters claims the reward for paradise.)

The tragedy is that Guha belongs to the category of people who, because of their celebrity status, imagine that eminence in one field qualifies them to claim proficiency in all the others. His inadequacy on the theme he has rushed into unprepared, derives from a common malaise: he is a creature of uninstitutionalized apartheid which means separate development.

It would be interesting to know if Guha has ever visited Muslim homes or the other way around when he was a child. Did he know Muslims in school or college whose friendship he still values? Even if he is able to blurt out a name or two the undeniable truth will be that he has grown up only with his ilk. He has no experience of Muslims. He is not alone in this category.

A sharp contrast attends my circumstance. I, along with my three brothers grew up only among Hindus. Apartheid therefore didn’t touch us. Since our informal education was continuous since birth, we knew fairly early that Al-Biruni wrote Tarikh al Hind after his extended stay beginning 1017. Moinuddin Chishti, Shahbaz Qalandar and a host of Sufis and Saint poets like Kabir from the 12th to 14th centuries were spreading Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, paving the way for Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana who ended up writing the only Sanskrit verses in praise of Lord Rama. In his brilliant Persian poetry in the 17th century, Chandrabhan Brahman felt secure enough to taunt and tease the Muslim clergy.

Yagana Changezi, a 20th century poet, questions a basic tenet: why must namaz be said in a foreign language? If all of this sounds like nostalgia, let me invite you to Lucknow for an evening of spiritual poetry on Ahl al-Bayt or the Prophet’s family. The poet, Sanjaya Mishra, was a favourite with my mother who died three years ago. She had special vegetarian meals prepared for him.

I have shed light on the tiniest strand in the vast expanse of Muslim liberal traditions. Since the 16th century these have been bound up inextricably with the waxing and waning of Urdu in which Hindus and Muslims equally participated. The first great writer of Urdu prose was Pandit Ratan Nath Sarshar.

How many liberals know that  there is not a single couplet in Urdu which praises the Mullah or endorses orthodoxy of any kind.

Did you know that most of the poetry on Krishna, Rama in the last century has been written by Muslims? I will only confuse the issue if I bring in Kazi Nazrul Islam, Salbeg, Bekal Utsahi or Nida Fazli.

It puzzles me why liberal intellectuals sometimes fall prey to a tendency that the politician has cultivated as a calculated habit: consider the Muslim only as a religious category. Why must Muslim achievements in poetry, music, architecture, systems of governance not be celebrated? Such an exercise would surely cast them in a liberal mould. Guha might then heave a sigh of relief.

A false quest for a liberal Muslim leader almost flows from the above approach. A liberal Muslim leader, I never tire of repeating, is a contradiction in terms. That is an illiberal quest. Are we never going to find a Hindu whom Muslims can trust and the other way around? That must be the only possible way ahead.

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