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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 8/2/13

Syrian Support Group Stumbles, Falls - The Empire Project Failing

By       (Page 1 of 4 pages)   3 comments, In Series: Attack on Syria
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The latest news of the effort to depose a government that never attacked the United States and posed no imminent threat has more to do with hypocrisy than death and destruction.

Neil Turner

How low will the Western powers stoop in the assault on the people and nation of Syria?    You may be surprised.  Here are three nightmares from the conflict. (Image: Neil Turner)

The United States, United Kingdom, France, Turkey, and the Gulf oligarchies sponsored a rebellion in Syria that chose cities as the primary battleground.  Syrian rebels entered the cities, took over without invitation by the residents, and battled the police and other representatives of the Syrian government.  Nobody expected the government to simply surrender the cities to the rebels.  This often-overlooked fact explains the scale of death and destruction in Syria.

The above listed cast of characters supported or looked the other way as foreign fighters from Al Qaeda in Iraq took on a major combat role. The group, known as Al-Nusra, is credited as the best combat force fighting the Syrian government.   The group slaughters civilians and captured soldiers.  A favorite targets for violence and kidnapping are the minorities of Syrian Christians and Kurds.

The latest news of the effort to depose a government that never attacked the United States and posed no imminent threat has more to do with hypocrisy than death and destruction.   Craven, rapacious greed flowers in the context of a full tilt violence.

U.S. sanctioned Syrian rebel fundraisers "obsessed" with oil over revolution

The latest outrage from Syria is the accusation that the Syria Support Group, created to funnel money to the Free Syrian Army, is actually trying to broker oil deals in behalf of their group.  The oil deals came out when an employee of the SSG blew the whistle on the operation.    See the details here.

David Falt, a whistleblower who worked for the organization told The Telegraph (July 31):   "Brian [Sayers, Executive Director, SSG] and some others were obsessed with the oil. The idea they could raise hundreds of millions from the sale of the oil came to dominate the work of the SSG to the point no real attention was paid to the nature of the conflict."

So, it was about oil concessions for territory controlled by the putative beneficiary of SSG fundraising.  We would be reasonable to assume that the FSA leadership is furious over this seeming betrayal.   Apparently not.  General Selim Idris, head of the Syrian Military Council, which includes FSA, thinks the idea makes perfect sense. General Idris is the preferred recipient for the lethal funding President Obama wishes to provide Syrian rebels.

Who is behind the Syrian Support Group?

Brian Sayers, referenced by whistle blower David Walt, is the Executive Director of SSG.  Mazen Asbahi, a Chicago lawyer, is listed as president of the SSG board.  Asbahi was the Obama coordinator for Muslim outreach in the 2008 campaign.   He resigned from that position in August 2008 after being question by the Wall Street Journal about his connections to Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood.  He is currently listed as president of SSG's board of directors and is the named recipient of the SSG special fund raising license from the Department of Treasury.

The SSG web page prominently lists Institute for the Study of War (ISW) policy papers as a justification for the groups aid to Syrian rebels. ISW leadership sounds like a updated version of Partnership for a New American Century (PNAC) regime change crew.  The ISW board includes William Kristol, Elizabeth Cheney (daughter of the former vice president), and other leading neo conservatives.

Deeply offended by the reports in the Telegraph article, the SSG issued a rebuttal statement (August 1) calling the article defamatory.  Regarding oil deals, the rebuttal stated:

"SSG did in fact have preliminary discussions regarding the possibility of working with the international partners  to export Syrian oil for the direct financial benefit of FSA.  However, recognizing the sensitivities and legal complexities of such a project, the organizations Board of Directors unanimously decided to discontinue any further explorations on the basis that such a large scale and sensitive financing mechanism should be handled directly by officials within the Syrian oppositions political and military structures."  SSG, Washington DC, August 1

The statement seems to admit SSG explorations of oil deals but denies any ongoing SSG involvement in behalf of the rebels.  The wording of the last line above raises the possibility that oil deals may be ongoing by the rebels political and military entities.  Why comment on oil deals by the rebels if there are none being explored?

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