US Death Squad Diplomacy in Syria
by Stephen Lendman
Radicalized elements dominate anti-Assad aggression. Salafist extremists are heavily involved. They comprise Washington’s main fighting force. They get active US support.
Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, and other groups hold territory in northern Syria. In November, the Islamic Front was created. Zahran Alloush heads it. His father, Mohammed, is a Salafist cleric.
Zahran controls about 50 brigades. He commands tens of thousands of fighters. Saudi Arabia funds them. They’re waging US proxy war on Syria.
Saudi analyst Jamal Khashoggi said: “For us in Saudi Arabia, the worst scenario is to let (Assad) survive. He has to go.”
So-called moderate anti-government elements are weak by comparison to extremist ones. They’re ineffective. They get little Western support. It’s earmarked for US backed death squads.
It’s been this way since conflict erupted in March 2011. Washington actively supports the most radicalized elements. Al Qaeda is a CIA creation.
Fighting continues out-of-control. Resolving it through peace talks is more myth than reality. Obama wants Assad ousted. He’s going all out to eliminate him.
He’s ravaging and destroying Syria in the process. Imperialism works this way. It’s not pretty. Post-9/11, America has been responsible for millions of deaths. Media scoundrels ignore them.
Syria is in the eye of them storm. Civilians are ruthlessly terrorized. A previous article discussed Adra. US supported death squads massacred over 100 men, women and children.
Jabhat al-Nusra and Liwa al-Islam fighters were involved. They’ve committed appalling crimes against humanity. So have other radicalized groups.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov blamed foreign support. He called on Washington, EU nations and regional ones discontinue supplying it.
Syrians must solve their own problems, he stressed. Russia is going all out to restore peace. It’s futile as long as Obama wants war.
A new Amnesty International (AI) report is titled “Rule of Fear: ISIS Abuses in Detention in Northern Syria.”
It discusses the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). It describes abductions, torture, floggings, Sharia courts and summary killings.
They’re ongoing in secret ISIS detention centers. They’re in northern Syria. Masked gunmen kidnap civilians. They hold them for weeks.
They’re isolated in solitary confinement. They have no idea why they’re held. They’re electro-shocked. They’re beaten with rubber generator belts or cables.
They’re held in painful stress positions. They’re wrists are bound over one shoulder. Doing so is called the “scorpion.”
AI identified seven detention facilities. They’re in al-Raqqa governorate and Aleppo. Philip Luther is AI’s Middle East and North Africa director.
“Those abducted and detained by ISIS include children as young as eight who are held together with adults in the same cruel and inhuman conditions,” he said.
Former detainees describe shocking abuses. Cruel and unusual punishment is routinely inflicted.
Some victims are wrongfully accused of theft. Others are unjustifiably charged with crimes against Islam. Examples include cigarette smoking and adultery.
Some victims are abducted for belonging to rival Syrian opposition groups. Assad loyalists are vulnerable. Foreign nationals are targeted. So are journalists.
Children abductees are treated like adults. An “anguished father” heard his son’s “screams of pain.” ISIS captors tortured him in a nearby room.
Two detainees witnessed a 14-year old’s brutal treatment. During interrogation at Sadd al-Ba’ath prison, he was flogged more than 90 times.
Another young child was accused of stealing a motorbike. For several days, he was brutally flogged.
“Flogging anyone, let alone children, is cruel and inhuman, and a gross abuse of human rights,” said Luther. “ISIS should cease its use of flogging and other cruel punishments,” he added.
AI called on ISIS to end its appalling practices. Several former detainees said masked gunmen seized them. They were taken to undisclosed locations.
They were held up to 55 days. They had no idea where they were. AI named seven locations.
They include al-Raqqa governorate-based Mabna al-Mohafaza, Idarat al-Markabat, al-Mer’ab, Sadd al Ba’ath and al-‘Akershi oil facility. Mashfa al-Atfal and Maqar Ahmed Qaddour are in Aleppo.
Sadd al-Ba’ath prison “is beside a dam on the Euphrates River at al-Mansura,” said AI. The local Sharia court judge wears an explosives belt. He instituted a reign of terror on detainees.
Former detainees accused him of “presiding over grotesquely unfair ‘trials’ lasting no more than a few minutes,” said AI.
Other detainees witnessed them. He imposed death sentences. They were “subsequently carried out.”
“At his direction,” detainees were mercilessly flogged. He participated in their beatings.
ISIS uses al-‘Akershi oil facility as a military training area. Detainees held there are brutally tortured.
One victim was isolated for 40 days. He was “chained up in a tiny room full of electrical equipment with fuel on the floor.”
Al-Raqqa governorate and Aleppo residents are “suffering under (horrific) tyranny imposed on them by ISIS,” said Luther.
Arbitrary detentions, torture and executions are “the order of the day,” he added. One victim described his ordeal as follows:
“They took me to a room that smelled of sweat and diesel. They sat me on the floor, tied my hands behind my back and fastened the handcuffs to the extent that I lost any feeling in my hands after five minutes.”
“I was wearing my undershirt. A man, possibly ‘Abu Huraira,’
asked me: ‘How are you, Ali?’ When I said I was OK he gave me an electric shock.”
“This was the first of many electric shocks, which continued for about 40 minutes. Some shocks were stronger than others.”
“I felt as if there was a device that controlled the strength of the shocks. I was screaming throughout.”
“They kept on giving me electric shocks until my muscles started seizing up. They also gave me a shock on my neck. After that my sight became very blurry.”
“It only came back to normal the following day. The man ordered me to stand up, but I couldn’t. They pulled me up to stand but I kept on falling.”
“I lost feeling in my body. When I couldn’t stand, they sat me on my knees and made me drink water.”
“My hands were still cuffed behind my back. They then put a rope through my cuffs and pulled me up while tightening the rope to the pipes on the ceiling.”
“I was pulled so high up that my toes could hardly touch the floor. My shoulder could not bear the weight of my body
and it broke.”
“So my body fell a little bit closer to the floor and I was able to stand on one leg. Then they started hitting me using the cable.”
The victim was released about a month later. He still suffers from shoulder pain. Many others experienced the same abuses. They continue.
AI called on the international community to block arms and other support for ISIS and other extremist groups.
They comprise Obama’s main fighting force. He prioritizes getting them whatever they need. AI’s call won’t be answered.
Luther urged Turkey in particular to “prevent its territory being used by ISIS to bring in arms and recruits.” Jordan is very much involved. So is Israel.
Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other Gulf states actively support the most extremist elements. The human rights records of these states match the worst of radicalized Syrian groups.
ISIS and likeminded groups want secular Syria destroyed. They want it transformed into an Islamist state. They want it based on harsh Sharia law.
They want the entire region this way. They menace fundamental freedoms. They get active US support.
Paulo Pinheiro heads the so-called International Commission of Inquiry for Syria (COI). He’s an imperial tool. He abhors peace.
He turns truth on its head. On December 19, COI issued a report titled “Without a trace: enforced disappearances in Syria.” It said:
“(T)here are reasonable grounds to believe that acts of enforced disappearances were committed by Government forces as part of widespread and systematic attacks against the civilian population amounting to a crime against humanity.”
“In the course of the investigation we established that such a tactic had been deployed all across the country.”
“People, grown men for the most part, were detained by government forces representatives and pro-government military men during the mass searches of homes, at checkpoints and in hospitals.”
“In some cases it was used as a punitive measure against families fighting against the government or those who were suspected of giving medical aid to the opposition.”
“In all the cases documented by the Commission, survivors of enforced disappearances described being subjected to torture during their detention.”
“Victims were consistently denied their fundamental right to due process and placed outside the protection of the law, at the mercy of their captors.”
Almost inadvertently COI added:
“Over the last year, specific anti-Government armed groups have increasingly been taking hostages for prisoner exchange or ransom.”
“Persons perceived to be supporting the Government, human rights defenders, journalists, activists, humanitarian workers, and religious leaders have been seized by various armed groups and held under the threat of death.”
“While such offenses do not amount to enforced disappearances as the fate of the victims is not denied or concealed they do leave families in a state of uncertainty regarding the whereabouts of their relatives.”
“However, in recent months, specific anti-Government armed groups have adopted practices that could be considered tantamount to enforced disappearances, in breach of their obligations under customary international humanitarian law.”
Like previous COI reports, Assad is wrongfully blamed for insurgents’ crimes. Pinheiro admits anti-government forces commit them.
They pale, he says, compared to Syrian wrongdoing. He lied saying so. He consistently lies. He’s paid to lie. He’s an imperial tool.
So is UN Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. She shames the office she holds. She serves Western interests. She’s done it throughout her career. She’s well rewarded for services rendered.
She wrongfully blames Assad for insurgents’ crimes. She’s done it multiple times. She lies doing so. She one-sidedly supports US-backed death squads ravaging Syria.
In early December, she cited nonexistent evidence claiming “very serious crimes, war crimes, crimes against humanity.”
“(E)vidence indicates responsibility at the highest level of government, including the head of state,” she claimed.
She consistently turns truth on its head. Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Saisal Miqdad responded to her latest accusation, saying:
“She has been talking nonsense for a long time, and we don’t listen to her.”
In May, she called the Syrian conflict “an intolerable affront to the human conscience.”
She pointed fingers the wrong way. She does so consistently. Previous articles called Syria Obama’s war. It was planned long before he took office.
Waging it is part of Washington’s imperial agenda. Unchallenged dominance is sought. Achieving it requires replacing independent governments with pro-Western subservient ones.
Pillay didn’t explain. Nor Pinheiro. Nor Ban Ki-moon. Nor complicit Western media. Syria is struggling to survive. Assad is battling foreign invaders.
Most Syrians support him. They do so for good reason. They want Syria’s sovereignty respected.
They want foreign interference ended. They want secularism maintained. They want no part of Islamist extremism.
They want freedom from US/Israeli dominance. They want insurgent invaders defeated. Restoring peace and stability depend on it.
Don’t expect reprehensible UN officials to explain. They sold out long ago for power, prominence and special privileges in return for services rendered.
They’re complicit in US-sponsored crimes of war and against humanity. They continue daily out-of-control.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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