Syria's "false flag' terrorism, Houla and the United Nations
By Tim Anderson
On top of the tragedy of the violence in Syria we have the tragedy of a deeply biased United Nations, a malignant bias which is encouraging "false flag' terrorism. That is, the fundamentalists murder civilians, blame this on the government, then use these crimes as a pretext for greater foreign intervention.
The serious student of Syria will have worked out by now that the violence of the secular Syrian state has been overwhelmingly aimed at crushing a fundamentalist and foreign funded (by the US, Britain, France, Saudi, Qatari) rebellion. Even greater ruthlessness was used in the early 1980s when the previous government of Hafez Al-Assad definitively crushed an armed uprising by the Muslim Brotherhood.
The violence of the "Free Syrian Army' (FSA), on the other hand, is both anti-state and sectarian. On the one hand it aims to overthrow the secular state (not just the government), but can only do so with substantial foreign assistance, as occurred in Libya. At the same time it is driven by the most fanatical sects within Sunni Islam (e.g. salafis), which make a holy war against Shia Islam (including the liberal Alawis) because they are "not really Muslims'. They also attack Sunnis "in the middle', a majority who will not join in or collaborate with their holy war.
The fundamentalist-dominated FSA, backed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, is in alliance with US-funded exile groups, in particular the Syrian National Council (set up like the exile Iraqi National Council and the exile Libyan National Council). These groups provide logistic and foreign support; nevertheless, it is the FSA that is directly engaged with the Syrian Army.
The salafist slogan "Alawis to the grave, Christians to Beirut' flags FSA genocidal and ethnic cleansing aims, which were partly implemented in Homs and Aleppo, before the Syrian Army drive the FSA out. Donations for these lovely activities are now tax-deductible in the USA (Giraldi 2012; NRP 2012). The FSA these days incorporates more foreign "jihadis', local salafists and mercenaries than army defectors.
The large numbers of foreign fighters have been welcomed by the FSA (if not by the Syrian people) because the sectarian mandate has nothing to do with national politics. Religious leaders authorise them to kill in the name of God. The peaceful demonstrations and the domestic political reform process have been sidelined. Indeed, this sectarianism has wider roots in the oil-rich Gulf monarchies' fears of Shia Islam's influence from Iran and Iraq through to Syria and the Lebanon. The US is deeply worried about this, too. That is why the Saudis, with US support, funded Syria's armed uprising from the beginning of the violence, in March 2011 (Salt 2011, Queenan 2011, Truth Syria 2012b; Abouzaid 2012).