LONDON – Dozens of activists participated in a sit-in outside the BBC headquarters to protest the organization’s deliberate neglect of the Palestinian prisoners’ issue, and the constant bias in favor of the Zionist entity.
A number of solidarity organizations handed a protest letter to the BBC news administration, to protest its coverage of Palestinian issues, calling for an end to the BBC’s bias when it comes to covering news about Palestinians.
Zaher Al-Berawi, Spokesman for the Palestinian forum, told PIC that the BBC’s continued silence around this recent escalation of the Palestinian prisoners’ strike was not surprising especially that it prevents mentioning the word Palestine in its reports.
Berawi added that the BBC had refused previously to air an appeal for the Gazan people by the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC), pointing out that this total bias to the Israeli occupation is a proof that it is influenced by the Zionist lobby that aims to convert it into a tool of the Israeli occupation through which they can get to the British public.
The protest letter handed to the BBC (Emphases added)
Dear Ms Boaden
For four weeks, during April and May, around 2,000 Palestinians held in Israeli jails were on hunger strike, protesting against Israel’s use of administrative detention, its policy of placing Palestinian prisoners in solitary confinement for years at a time, and the denial of family visits to inmates.
These prisoners joined others who had been refusing food since March 2012 and who, by the time a deal was reached on 14 May, were close to death.
This mass hunger strike, possibly the biggest in modern history, received minimal coverage on BBC Online and, until its final few days, none on BBC television and radio news.
During this time, the BBC gave prominent coverage to the hunger strike of Ukrainian politician Yulia Tymoshenko, and to Chinese dissident, Chen Guangcheng, yet ignored the 2,000 Palestinians on hunger strike, and the 27 Palestinian MPs imprisoned by Israel, some of whom were also refusing food.
The excuse given by the BBC during the third week of the Palestinian hunger strike for its failure in reporting was that its coverage was in line with other news organisations, citing, specifically, Al Jazeera.
We find it extraordinary and disturbing that the UK’s public-funded broadcaster should point to other news outlets, with the implication that it is content to follow rather than lead in covering world events, in an effort to distract from its own failings.
When BBC News at 10 did finally provide some coverage (11 May), close to four weeks after the mass hunger strike began, it did so without context, without reference to the prisoners’ demands, with no mention of the appalling health conditions, requiring hospitalisation, that many of the hunger strikers were suffering, and with absolutely no comment from a Palestinian spokesperson. Instead, the report by Kevin Connolly, featured Israeli government spokesperson, Mark Regev, speaking without challenge, comparing those who had taken the drastic step of engaging in a hunger strike to ‘suicide bombers’ and talking, falsely, about an ‘Islamist cause’.
His complete statement was: “It’s difficult when you’re dealing with someone who wants to commit suicide. It’s a problem with suicide bombers, who are prepared to blow themselves up when they want to kill innocent people, and in this tactic if they think for their Islamist cause if they want to kill themselves, it’s a challenge. We could not have as a precedent that every prisoner who goes on hunger strike, gets – to use a term from the game Monopoly – a get out of jail free card.”
This interview, which insulted and totally misrepresented the hunger strikers, was also used on News 24 and on Radio 4 news bulletins during 11 May. None of these reports were balanced with a Palestinian viewpoint, and the Israeli perspective of the hunger strikes was allowed to prevail on the BBC.
The BBC’s attitude towards the hunger strikes and its eventual, biased coverage is appalling in itself. It is also symptomatic of the BBC’s general attitude towards reporting on Palestine and the occupation and the tendency of BBC news programmes to tilt their coverage and analysis in favour of Israel.
It is, unfortunately, an attitude that cuts across the whole of the BBC, from the Director General and his refusal to broadcast a DEC appeal for Gaza to Radio 1Xtra and the censorship of the word ‘Palestine’ from an artist’s rap performance.
We would like to see an end to this bias against Palestine and news coverage from the region that is balanced, fair and reflective of the values of international law, rather than of the narrative provided by the dominant player in this struggle. It is the very least that licence-fee payers, who look to the BBC for honest information, deserve.
This week the U.S. House of Representatives takes up the proposed National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013. (H.R. 4310). Below is a section by section analysis of the nuclear weapons provisions I drew up over the past few weeks. Also, here is the White House Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) regarding this legislation.
Democratic members will be offering amendments to strike and/or modify several provisions. House Republicans have cobbled together the most bellicose nuclear arms policy since the height of the Cold War. In doing so, they restore the “production over safety” policy that left behind an enormous human and environmental legacy.
Specifically, this bill:
(1) Blocks funding for implementation of the New START Treaty, and reductions in thousands of non-deployed weapons, known as the “war reserve” to be used in retaliation against civilian populations, unless new nuclear weapons facilities and delivery systems are funded over the next 10 years totaling about $185 billion;
(2) Dictates specific terms and conditions for future nuclear arms reductions driven by Cold War nuclear arms race policies;
(3) Requires the Administration to submit a report on re-deploying tactical nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula.
(4) Codifies a process to funnel additional money for the DOE nuclear weapons labs, above and beyond what they already receive from the Department’s of Defense, Homeland Security, and intelligence agencies;
(5) Bestows unprecedented inherent governmental oversight of budgets and Executive Branch nuclear weapons policies to the DOE nuclear weapons contractors;
(6) Eliminates the Energy department’s oversight and enforcement of health, safety security and financial management and transfers it these functions to the National Nuclear Security Agency, within DOE;
(7) Drastically cuts funding by more than $50 million that permits NNSA and DOE to carry-out safety, health, security and financial management oversight and enforcement responsibilities;
(8) Establishes a long-discredited policy by law which places budget and schedules above nuclear safety requirements; and
(9) Seriously weakens the authority of the Defense Nuclear Facility Safety Board (DNFSB), established after several serious safety lapses, to ensure that the nuclear weapons program meets DOE safety standards and practices.
(10) opens up the coffers of the Defense Department to pay for the multi-billion-dollar construction of new nuclear weapons production facilities;
(11) Codifies a process to funnel additional money for the DOE nuclear weapons labs, above and beyond what they already receive from the Department’s of Defense, Homeland Security, and intelligence agencies;
(12) Bestows unprecedented inherent governmental oversight of budgets and Executive Branch nuclear weapons policies to the DOE nuclear weapons contractors;
(13) Eliminates the Energy department’s oversight and enforcement of health, safety security and financial management and transfers these functions to the National Nuclear Security Agency, within DOE; and
(14) Seriously weakens the authority of the Defense Nuclear Facility Safety Board (DNFSB), established after several serious safety lapses, to ensure that the nuclear weapons program meets DOE safety standards and practices.
ANALYSIS OF SECTIONS RELATING TO NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN H.R. 4310
Section 1053 effectively withholds funds for the implementation the New START Treaty if the President, in a report to Congress, does not submit budgets that ensure the U.S. is committed to “providing the resources, at a minimum at the levels set forth in the President’s 10-year plan provided to Congress in November 2010.” This plan called for a steep increase in funding for nuclear weapons R&D, modernization, and deployment of new delivery systems estimated at $185 billion. This provision also withholds funds to allow the President to reduce the number of warheads without justifying it for Congressional approval.
Section 1058 (e) requires the President to certify that the CMMR and UPF are constructed by 2012 and will be operational no later than 2024. This provision also effectively limits reductions in the “war reserve” containing thousands of non-deployed warheads until the construction and operation of these facilities occur.
Section 1062 establishes an “Interagency Council on the Strategic Capability of the National Laboratories.” This codifies the process put in place by the Obama Administration to funnel even more funds above and beyond what DOE labs currently receive from the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and intelligence agencies.
Section 1059 effectively restricts the reduction the number of nuclear warheads on Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles unless the President can certify to Congress that the Russian Federation and China are doing the same.
Section 1060 proscribes the terms and conditions that the U.S. must adhere to in negotiations to reduce tactical nuclear warheads in Europe and prohibits funding for “reduction, consolidation, or withdrawal of nuclear forces based in Europe, until the President certifies that NATO nations concur and that these steps are “specifically authorized by an Act of Congress.”
Section 2894 requires:
- ”that the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Building Replacement (CMRR) project, in Los Alamos, New Mexico, the Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) project, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and any nuclear facility of the NNSA initiated on or after October 1, 2013 that is estimated to cost more than $1.0 billion (and is intended to be primarily utilized to support NNSAs nuclear weapons activities), be treated as military construction projects.
- Furthermore, this section would authorize, as military construction, the CMRR project in the amount of $3.5 billion and the UPF project in the amount of $4.2 billion.
- “This section would specify that the Secretary of Energy shall retain authority to regulate design and construction activities for these projects, that the Secretary of Defense must coordinate with the Administrator for Nuclear Security regarding requirements for these facilities, and that the Administrator must make available to the Secretary of Defense the expertise of the NNSA to support design and construction activities.” (P. 315, Committee Report for H.R. 4310)
Section 3114 establishes a NATIONAL NUCLEAR SECURITY ADMINISTRATION COUNCIL, made up of the DOE weapons labs directors and production contractors to provide recommendations for improving “the governance, management, effectiveness, and efficiency” of the NNSA and “scientific and technical issues relating to policy matters, operational concerns, strategic planning and development of priorities related to the mission and operations” of the NNSA and the “Administration of the nuclear security enterprise.” The NNSA and the DOE Secretary must act upon their recommendations within 60 days. This is an unprecedented effort to bestow inherent government oversight authority on DOE nuclear weapons contractors. Section 3115 eliminates DOE oversight of financial, safety, health and security oversight and enforcement and places it in the hands of NNSA. The NNSA can waive current requirements for protection of the public and workers. In Section 3115 (d) the Committee also lowers the bar by legislating a radiation protection framework that was discarded some 40 years ago. Known as “as low as practicable (ALAP),” this practice would allow the NNSA and its contractors to use cost and schedule to override nuclear safety requirements, if they interfere with design, construction and operations of nuclear weapons facilities. By contrast the Nuclear Regulatory Commission requires the practice of “as low as reasonably achievable,” which is based on a “safety first” criteria and also requires a greater level of inspection and enforcement of standards. The ALAP/Cold War practice in the hands of contractors is discredited by decades of Congressional, Executive Branch and independent reviews. DOE contractors are the only private businesses working for the U.S. government that are granted blanket indemnification for criminal violations of safety. This is a major reason why the U.S. taxpayer is on the hook for an enormous long-term liability at weapons sites. The HASC wants to restore this discredited system that puts workers and the public in harm’s way while increasing tax-payer liabilities. Section 3117 effectively strips the DOE Secretary of its authority to oversee and enforce financial controls over DOE nuclear weapons contractors. In the name of “streamlining,” the HASC delegates approval for work for others and cooperative research and development agreements to the DOE contractors.
Section 3202 does the following:
- It weakens the role of the Chair of the DNFSB by virtually making the other members co-equals, and creates potential problem of “gridlock.”
- It proscribes a greatly weakened public safety standard that the Board must adhere to. As mentioned above: The “low as practicable’ practice allows the NNSA and its contractors to use cost and schedule to override design, construction and operational radiation safety. By contrast the Nuclear Regulatory Commission requires the practice of “as low as reasonably achievable,” which establishes a “safety first” criteria and also requires a greater level of inspection and enforcement of standards. The ALAP/Cold War practice in the hands of contractors is discredited by decades of Congressional, Executive Branch, and independent reviews.
- It requires the Board to submit draft recommendations to the Secretary. Previously, recommendations made were final. This puts the Board in the position of sending its pre-decisional recommendations to the DOE, and subject safety findings to negotiations. A basic principal of nuclear safety, established by the Nuclear Navy, is that safety findings are not negotiable.
The provision stretches the time that the DOE/NNSA can respond to the Board Recommendations, another item that further weakens the Board.
ROBERT ALVAREZ, an Institute for Policy Studies senior scholar, served as senior policy adviser to the Energy Department’s secretary from 1993 to 1999. www.ips-dc.org
On Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. House of Representatives debated H.Res. 568, an AIPAC-sponsored bill designed to outlaw diplomacy with Iran and take the United States Congress one step closer to authorizing an illegal, unprovoked and premeditated military attack on Iran.
Debunking statements about Iran made by House Representatives and Senators on the floor of Congress is tedious and boring. Most of the statements are inarticulate readings of AIPAC-drafted talking points and boilerplate hasbara. M.J. Rosenberg has already excellently addressed the point of this legislation and there is no need to repeat, ad nauseum, why most of what’s in the bill is wrong, how 13,000 AIPAC operatives were dispatched through the halls of Congress to garner sponsorship and support for the bill, how shameful it is for elected officials to spout pure propaganda about silly cartoon drawings and absurd assassination plots, and how – despite the many repetitions of the same infamous and long–debunked claim (which has literally appeared in over 50 Congressional resolutions since 2005) – even Israeli Minister of Intelligence and Atomic Energy Dan Meridor admitted on Al Jazeera that Iran has never threatened to “wipe Israel off the map.”
No, instead of all that, this time around it’s best to just take a look at how statements made during yesterday’s floor debate compare to statements made over a decade ago, if not longer. After so much deceit, destruction and death, how can anyone take this stuff seriously?
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), October 9, 2002:
Saddam Hussein is not far from developing and acquiring the means to strike the United States, our friends and our allies with weapons of mass destruction. Thus, if we do not act now, when?
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), May 15, 2012:
The Iranian regime continues to pose an immediate and growing threat to the United States, to our allies, and to the Iranian people. We are running out of time to stop the nightmare of a nuclear weapons-capable Iran from becoming a reality…We must meet our responsibility to the American people and protect the security of our Nation, our allies, and the world from this threat of a nuclear capable Iran.
Madeleine Albright, February 18, 1998:
[T]hat the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face.
Rush Holt (D-NJ), May 15, 2012:
The threat of nuclear proliferation is the greatest threat to world peace. A nuclear Iran would destabilize the region and threaten the United States and our allies.
Howard Berman (D-CA), October 10, 2002:
But under today’s circumstances, the best way to give peace a chance and to save the most lives, American and Iraqi, is for America to stand united and for Congress to authorize the President to use force if Saddam does not give up his weapons of mass destruction. Confront Saddam now, or pay a much heavier price later.
Howard Berman (D-CA), May 15, 2012:
What better time for this body to send an unambiguous message that Iran must never be allowed to achieve a nuclear weapons capability and that its nuclear weapons program must end once and for all?
George W. Bush, January 29, 2002:
By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger…[T]ime is not on our side. I will not wait on events, while dangers gather. I will not stand by, as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world’s most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world’s most destructive weapons.
Gene Green (D-TX), May 15, 2012:
Iran is developing the capability to quickly produce a nuclear weapon at a time of its choosing. Iran’s acquisition of such a capability would create a significant new regional danger and be an immediate threat to America’s interest and allies in the Middle East.
John McCain (R-AZ), Jesse Helms (R-NC), Henry Hyde (R-IL), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Harold Ford (D-TN), Jr., Joe Lieberman (D-CT), Trent Lott (R-MS), Ben Gilman (R-NY) and Sam Brownback (R-KS), December 5, 2001:
The threat from Iraq is real, and it cannot be permanently contained…We have no doubt that these deadly weapons are intended for use against the United States and its allies. Consequently, we believe we must directly confront Saddam, sooner rather than later.
Howard Berman (D-CA), May 15, 2012:
And so, as the window is closing, we send a clear message that the House is aligned with the administration in thoroughly rejecting containment…In fact, we have no choice but to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program before it ever reaches that point.
Steny Hoyer, (D-MD), October 9, 2002:
[Saddam Hussein] continues his efforts to develop and acquire weapons of mass destruction, and he sponsors international terrorism. Saddam Hussein continues to be an unacceptable threat whose duplicity requires action, action now.
Steny Hoyer (D-MD), May 15, 2012:
The most significant threat to peace, regional security, and American interests in the Middle East is Iran’s nuclear program…Iran continues to be a sponsor of groups committed to the destruction of our ally Israel and of groups that threaten Americans throughout the world.
John Edwards (D-NC), October 7, 2002:
Saddam Hussein’s regime is a grave threat to America and our allies, including our vital ally, Israel… Every day he gets closer to his longtime goal of nuclear capability. We must not allow him to get nuclear weapons.
Eni Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa), May 15, 2012:
[I]t is imperative that the United States and the international community understand that a nuclear-capable Iran is a global threat and a danger to the United States and, just as important, to the State of Israel…This is a direct threat to our closest ally in the Middle East.
George W. Bush, March 19, 2003:
The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder.
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, May 15, 2012:
For the Iranian regime, the possession of the capability to produce a nuclear weapon would be almost as useful as actually having one…Tehran would be in the driver’s seat, and the security of the United States, Israel, and our many other allies would be in their hands.
George W. Bush, March 13, 2002:
First of all, we’ve got all options on the table, because we want to make it very clear to nations that you will not threaten the United States or use weapons of mass destruction against us, or our allies or friends…[Saddam Hussein] is a problem, and we’re going to deal with him. But the first stage is to consult with our allies and friends, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.
Rob Andrews (D-NJ), May 15, 2012:
[W]e are negotiating with a country that has conceived its nuclear weapons program in secret, that has brandished its nuclear weapons program with the rhetoric of hostility, and for whom the attainment of a nuclear weapon would be fraught with peril for free people everywhere…[O]ur position must be that we will not support or stand for an Iran with nuclear weapons.
George W. Bush, August 13, 2005:
As I say, all options are on the table. The use of force is the last option for any president and you know, we’ve used force in the recent past to secure our country…In all these instances we want diplomacy to work and so we’re working feverishly on the diplomatic route and we’ll see if we’re successful or not.
Barack Obama, January 24, 2012:
Let there be no doubt: America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal. But a peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible, and far better, and if Iran changes course and meets its obligations, it can rejoin the community of nations.
Howard Berman (D-CA), May 15, 2012:
The urgent nature of the Iranian nuclear threat demands that the United States work with our allies to do everything possible diplomatically, politically, and economically to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. No option, as the President has said, can be taken off the table.
- AIPAC Resolution Demanding War With Iran On House Floor Tomorrow (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- U.S. Sides With Israel’s Nukes Over Iran’s Lack Thereof (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- AIPAC Bomb Iran Resolution On House Floor TODAY (mjayrosenberg.com)
Hundreds of thousands of Israelis are likely to visit a West Bank tomb in the coming year, after a Jerusalem court awarded two rabbis legal and administrative control over it in contravention of international law.
Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus is in the part of the West Bank that the Oslo Accords assigned to full Palestinian control.
Consequently, the Israel Defense Forces officially have no jurisdiction in the area and any Israeli involvement there is illegal.
However Israeli court judge Rabbi Haim Rosenthal ruled that rabbis Shlomo Ben-Shimon and Mordechai Gross, who head the settler organization Shechem Ehad (One Nablus), are the “representatives entitled to appear, legally and publicly, before any court or institution on matters connected to” the tomb, according to a report in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
The court granted the two rabbis sole control over the area for the next 18 months, after which it will review the decision.
Currently over 20,000 Jews visit the tomb a year, as it is open from midnight to 4am once a month, but the decision could see that number increase to hundreds of thousands.
In their application, the two rabbis argued that the 20,000 limit “doesn’t at all satisfy the enormous demand.”
The court had previously refused the request, and the decision will be seen as yet another abuse of Palestinian autonomy.
The decision is likely to enrage Palestinians who already suffer an ongoing occupation of the West Bank.
Netanel Shnir, another key figure in Shechem Ehad, was quoted in November 2010 as saying that the ultimate goal of the group was to get Jews to return to Nablus “to settle there and inherit the land.”
Israel continues to encourage the development of illegal Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank, despite condemnation from the United Nations, the European Union, and rights groups.
The Jewish state refuses to accept Palestinian sovereignty in the West Bank, maintaining an illegal occupation in the area while upholding a siege on Gaza.
- Jewish settlers attack village, block Nablus road (alethonews.wordpress.com)
JENIN – Israeli forces arrested the director of a Jenin-based satellite channel on Thursday after raiding his home, the executive director of the channel said.
Saher Qassem, chief of the Al-Asir channel, told Ma’an that a group of soldiers arrested Baha Khayri Ata Musa, 32, after raiding his home in Mirka village.
Soldiers confiscated the TV station’s broadcasting equipment from Musa’s home, preventing the channel from being able to continue its coverage, Qassem said.
Al-Asir, or ‘the prisoner’, channel also has offices operating in Bahrain, Qassem said.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said one person was detained in Jenin overnight, but could not provide the identify of the person.
In late February, Israeli forces raided Watan TV and Al-Quds Educational TV’s offices in Ramallah, confiscating broadcasting equipment.
- Israeli forces shut down media launch in Jerusalem (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israel raids Ramallah TV stations (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Inside the TV channel raided by Israel (alethonews.wordpress.com)
GAZA — Seven Palestinian citizens were wounded to the east of Gaza city on Thursday in Israeli artillery shelling of the area, medical sources reported.
Adham Abu Salmiya, the spokesman for emergency and ambulance services in Gaza, told the PIC reporter that two of the casualties were in serious condition.
He added that three of the wounded were old men, adding that the casualties were taken to Shifa hospital in moderate condition except the abovementioned two.
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) fired a number of artillery shells at civilian neighborhoods and farmlands east of Shujaia suburb in Gaza city.
IOF soldiers earlier on Thursday raided southern and northern Gaza Strip areas, firing at random and bulldozing land.
Local sources in Khan Younis, south of the Strip, said that eight IOF armored vehicles infiltrated 800 meters into Fakhari area and bulldozed land amidst indiscriminate shooting.
Other IOF units raided northern Beit Lahia town to the north of the Strip while firing at farmers tending to their land.
Abu Salmiya said that no casualties were reported in the northern area despite earlier news of one casualty among the farmers.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said forces opened fire toward “several suspects approaching the security fence.”
She said no hit was identified.
An Israeli army spokesman later added that “tank shells were fired towards the terrorists,” near the Karni crossing east of Gaza City.
- #GazaUnderAttack | IOF artillery shelling targets Beit Hanun (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)
- New Proof that Gaza’s Still Occupied (thedailybeast.com)
If you believe some Israeli analysts, Tel Aviv is fretting on the sideline of the ongoing multinational effort to bring down the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad that is taking a little longer than expected. In a May 11 “analysis” for Reuters apparently based solely on interviews with Israeli experts, Douglas Hamilton claims:
With the Syrian uprising now into its 14th month and Assad still firmly in power, Israel has few options other than to sit the crisis out, unable to influence the outcome of an upheaval that is sure to affect it.
The reality, however, is that the self-described Jewish state has plenty of options available to it to influence the outcome of the “upheaval” destabilizing its northern neighbour. Its most effective option is, of course, the influence it is able to exert over U.S. policy. As Haim Saban, a prominent “influencer,” once told an Israeli conference, there are “three ways to be influential in American politics” — make donations to political parties, establish think tanks, and control media outlets.
And as I wrote last year:
The think tank part of Saban’s tripartite Israel-protection formula was initiated in 2002 with a pledge of nearly $13 million to the Brookings Institution to establish the Saban Center for Middle East Policy. In 2007, the Saban Center expanded operations with the launch of the Brookings Doha Center. Its Qatar-based project was inaugurated in February 2008 by the founding director of the Saban Center, Martin Indyk. A former research director at the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Indyk had previously founded the AIPAC-created Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP).
Keeping in mind the origins of the Brookings Doha Center, take a look at this recent “analysis” of the deteriorating situation in Syria:
The latest bombings primarily benefit the Syrian regime, analysts say, which, from the start of the 14-month revolt, has described the uprising as a Western-backed Al-Qaeda plot and its opponents as “terrorists” to justify its crackdown.
“Bashar al-Assad has said: ‘If anybody dares to challenge my rule, there will be chaos.’ What he said is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy,” said Salman Shaikh, director of the Brookings Doha Center.
Shaikh noted there was no clear link between the regime and the bomb attacks, as the opposition has charged, “but at the end of the day, the responsibility lies with the regime because it has pursued only a security approach.”
“It is the regime who created this environment and the international community has allowed the situation to drift,” he added.
Shaikh added that a small group like Al-Nusra Front would not be able to pull off such “sophisticated” attacks without the help of “much more professional forces.”
Indeed. But instead of looking for those “much more professional forces” among the special ops forces of the so-called Friends of Syria, trust an analyst working for an Israel lobby-created think tank to point the finger at the Syrian regime itself.