Stephen Lendman is a writer, syndicated columnist, activist, News TV personality, and radio show host. He currently writes for and and hosts, since 2007, a progressive radio show at The Progressive Radio News Hour on The Progressive Radio Network.

Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA, raised in a modest middle income family, attended public schools, received a Harvard BA in 1956 and a Wharton MBA in 1960. After six years as a marketing research analyst, Lendman became part of a new small family business in 1967, remaining there until retiring in 1999.

Since then, he has devoted his time to progressive causes, extensive reading, and since summer 2005 writing on vital world and national topics, including war and peace, American imperialism, corporate dominance, political persecutions, and a range of other social, economic and political issues.

He is also author of the celebrated books "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity" and "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War".

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Syria: Tightening the Noose

by Stephen Lendman


Since conflict erupted last year, Washington, other NATO states, and regional allies recruited, armed, funded, trained and directed Syrian insurgents.

Public admissions emerge slowly. Language conceals what’s been ongoing all the time. On November 29, CNN said Washington is “weighing whether or not to provide arms to the Syrian opposition.”

US Syrian ambassador, Robert Ford, said Obama “never (took) the provision of arms off the table.” They’ve been supplied regularly under it covertly.

On December 9, Los Angeles Times columnist Doyle McManus headlined “A call to arms for Syria’s rebels.”

Within days, Washington is expected to recognize the illegitimate opposition coalition as the “legitimate representative of the Syrian people.” In November, Britain and France announced support.

The EU moved closer to official recognition. Member state foreign ministers extended their endorsement. At the same time, Germany expelled four Syrian embassy staff members.

Assad’s ambassador was forced out in May. Britain, France, Italy and Spain took similar actions.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said:

“Shortly ahead of” the December 12 Friends of Syria meeting in Morocco, “the EU has given another clear signal of the upgrade and support of the coalition.”

He added that doing so “promote(s) the erosion of the Assad regime.”

EU members previously accepted Syrian National Council (SNC) 2.0 members (National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces) as representatives of Syrian “aspirations.”

They did so despite strong internal Assad support. Majority “aspirations” don’t matter. Washington diktats overrule them. That’s how imperialism works.

Increased funding and other aid will be provided. US officials argue “that the new national coalition won’t succeed in winning support on the ground unless it amasses more of the currency of power in any insurrection: military supplies.”

Until September, Frederic C. Hof helped direct State Department policy on Syria. “We need to exercise some leadership and a management role in the arms business,” he said.

“We need to try to dominate the logistics and the decision making on who gets what and who doesn’t. We need to do it working hand in glove with others; you don’t want it to be seen as an exclusively American effort.”

He added that public posturing about not wanting to “further militarize the situation….no longer (is) relevant.” Of course, it never was. The mask slowly comes off. Reasons why conflict erupted and continues are suppressed.

On December 9, the London Sunday Times said Washington decided to supply Syrian insurgents with heavy weapons. They include rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank missiles, and anti-aircraft heat-seeking SA-7 missiles.

State Department officials maintain daily contact with insurgent commanders. Obama authorized covert CIA and special forces help months earlier. It’s been ongoing for months. Increased aid is planned.

On December 10, the London Guardian headlined “Army’s plans to support Syrian rebels,” saying:

UK military chiefs drew up “contingency plans to provide Syrian rebels with maritime, and possibly air, power in response to a request from (Prime Minister) David Cameron, senior defense sources said on Monday night.”

They added that Britain won’t intervene unless America does. At the same time, concerns about doing so were raised.

One unnamed source said, “We are a long way from doing anything. The US is leading the way. We are not there yet.”

In November, UK defense chief General David Richards met with senior military officials from America, France, Turkey, Jordan, Qatar, and other Gulf states. Strategy was discussed at length.

Other UK officials have been meeting with Western and regional counterparts. At issue is destroying Syria entirely.

Most high-level UK military officials say intervening is far more complex than against Libya last year.

On December 11, the London Independent headlined “Exclusive: UK military in talks to help Syria rebels,” saying:

An “independent coalition including Britain” plans to support Syrian insurgents “with air and naval power….”

Washington, key NATO partners, and Gulf allies believe conflict “reached a tipping point and it has become imperative” to help insurgents “make a final push against” Assad.

Western boots on the ground aren’t planned. Libya 2.0 appears likely. Doing so will circumvent Security Council authorization.

Installing offensive Patriot missiles in Turkey “camouflage(s) intervention.” Claims about doing so for defensive purposes don’t wash.

US, British, French, and other NATO officials say intervention “is now inevitable.” It’s just a matter of when.

On December 9, Mossad-connected DEBKAfile (DF) asked, “What comes first – a Syrian chemical attack or a US-led military showdown?”

Fabricated claims about Assad using chemical weapons continue. DF says US, Israeli, Jordanian and Turkish special forces are operating in Syria.

They’re armed with special protective gear. They’re positioned near alleged “convoys carrying canisters, shells or bombs loaded with poison gas….”

Concerns about non-conventional weapons belie the fact that disquiet about them wasn’t raised before nor was anything done about them. Whether destroying them ahead of full-scale Western intervention remains to be seen.

On December 8, Der Spiegel interviewed Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi. He was asked about looming full-scale war on Syria.

He said Abbas poses “no threat to the region or world peace.”

“Military forces infiltrating Syria” want the conflict “internationalize(d). If the region goes up in flames, then they have achieved their objective.”

Without “a sense of proportionality,” Western and regional states “will fall into the trap of the extremists.”

He knows Washington backs them. US hardliners want pro-Western Islamofacist regimes throughout the region. They want Assad and Iran’s government ousted. They’ll stop at nothing to achieve their aims. They risk potentially catastrophic conflict.

On December 10, Voice of Russia (VoR) interviewed Damascus Research Center director Bassam Abu Abdullah. He called so-called Friends of Syria its enemies. Washington largely controls them.

“Their goal is to destroy the country by force and use its strategic geographical location for their own purposes.”

He called supplying humanitarian aid to Syria “one big lie.” So are claims about insurgent successes. Media scoundrel misinformation reports them. It’s done to enlist public support and raise opposition forces’ morale. Seizing one tank means nothing.

“They suffer hundreds of times more losses, but al Jazeera and al Arabiya are keeping silent about this.”

“And as soon as one regular army soldier is killed, they boost, as if they have won a victory over a whole military unit.”

“The only problem of the Syrian army is their infinite number of suicide bombers.”

He repeated what other Syrian officials said many times. Damascus has no intention of using chemical weapons. At the same time, he fears insurgents may use them “to accuse the Syrian regime of doing this.”

Damascus agrees with Russian proposals for peaceful conflict resolution and fair elections. “(T)his is the kind of democracy” that Washington and other Western states forgot, he added.

They deplore it at home and abroad. Washington and key NATO allies want one independent country after another attacked and destroyed. They’re willing to ravage the entire region to control it.

Body counts and human misery don’t matter. Imperial rogues want dominance at any cost. They used death squads against Libyans. They murdered thousands of Syrians.

Civilians suffer most of all. Assad loyalists are most vulnerable. Dozens or hundreds die daily. At the same time, Syrian forces inflict heavy losses on terrorists. Scoundrel media misinformation suppresses what readers and viewers most need to know.

Washington planned war on Syria years ago. Other countries are enlisted, pressured or bullied to go along. Last year it was Libya. Earlier it was Iraq and Afghanistan.

Proxy wars rage against Yemen, Somalia, and drone-targeted Pakistan areas. Occupied Palestine is attacked multiple times daily. America’s dirty hands are involved. US special forces operate covertly in over 120 countries. CIA elements are everywhere.

Longstanding US policy bears full responsibility for regional carnage and beyond. One war begets others. Obama has lots of governments he wants ousted.

He’s got another four years to destroy them one at a time. Perhaps he plans two or more simultaneously. He’s America’s most belligerent president in history.

He outdid George Bush. He’s a war criminal multiple times over. He has years of blood on his hands to answer for. His second term may eclipse his the worst of his first.

At the same time, he’s ravaging social America to feed Washington’s war machine, enrich corporate favorites, and enforce police state harshness on resisters.

Where this ends who knows. It bears repeating. America never was beautiful. It’s no fit place to live in. It’s unsafe for anyone opposing government for the privileged few alone. The worst of times approaches. It won’t be pretty when it arrives.

About the Author: Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”

Visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


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Posted by on December 13, 2012, With 1242 Reads Filed under Middle East. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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20 Responses to "Syria: Tightening the Noose"

  1. K7KTR  December 13, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Oh how I wish I lived in another country and I could look at my Political leaders sitting on TV who said of Hillary Clinton, Obama? We came we saw they died!…

    Some of the most evil people are arranged in Washington. It is no wonder why they all face each other in their wonderful Congress and Oval rooms. They can see each other and know they are all guilt of War Crimes

  2. dston  December 13, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    is vt holding back the article which explains how barry is the hero in this situation?

    • shachalnur  December 14, 2012 at 10:33 am

      Oops,change of tactics?

    • Warlord Moneybags  December 15, 2012 at 2:53 am


      Firstly, I want to apologise for anything derogatory I have said about your posts in defending my own position. You have not criticised me in any way.. I am sorry.

      I’ve been thinking about our old mate Schlomo again. He obviously has the ability to delete / edit his comments. Am I missing something ? Do we all ? If so, the rest of my comment here will be largely irrelevant.

      Misters Duff and Dean do. As does Mr Fetzer. I am guessing that the various writers of articles here have this ability. Two of the writers here with Schlomo’s English skillls, who couild be Schlomo I mean, are Shrimpy (possible) or Mr Farrell (not likely). An added point is that English is almost certainly Schlomo”s first language. And, more than likely, his parent’s, IMO.

      Where am I going with this ? Greenrecovery posted an article here last month —


      Greenrecovery is also a rabid Schlomo fan, encouraging his rabid witch hunt.

      As I said if deletion of comments is easier than I imagine, ignore this, though I do think it is true that English is definitely Schlomo’s first language, if that in itself has any relevance.

    • Warlord Moneybags  December 15, 2012 at 2:39 pm


      You must have missed one of my posts. ‘Schlomo’ is my pet name for Rahmaneh.

      He has posted two brief friendly comments directed to me after he began his attack, one where he said that I had ‘earned my place here’ or some such nonsense, and another relating to a comment I posted about the new Wikileaks political party being touted.

      Both miraculously vanished when I didn’t respond in the manner which he had expected.

    • Warlord Moneybags  December 15, 2012 at 2:42 pm


    • Warlord Moneybags  December 15, 2012 at 2:44 pm

      You seem a bit touchy about this subject Schlomo…?

      I thought you were going away till Tuesday ?

  3. Charlotte NC Bill  December 13, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Hang in there Assad, protector of Christians in Syria…( much the way Saddam did in Iraq )…the only good Wahabi Salafist mercenary is a DEAD Wahabi mercenary!

  4. LC  December 13, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Yes Mr. Lendman:

    It’s time Assad utilizes his numbered days bombarding Tel Aviv & himself going down as a hero among Arabs & Semites (not as a coward like King Hussein & Faisal).

  5. blakehamilton  December 13, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Yahoo front page headline:

    Russia says Syrian rebels might win

    MOSCOW/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian rebels are gaining ground and might win, Russia’s Middle East envoy said on Thursday, in the starkest such admission from a major ally of President Bashar al-Assad in 20 months of conflict.

    “One must look the facts in the face,” Russia’s state-run RIA quoted Mikhail Bogdanov as saying. “Unfortunately, the victory of the Syrian opposition cannot be ruled out.”

    Bogdanov, a deputy foreign minister and the Kremlin’s special envoy for Middle East affairs, said the Syrian government was “losing control of more and more territory” and Moscow was preparing to evacuate Russian citizens if necessary.

    • shachalnur  December 13, 2012 at 6:27 pm

      Did you know that chess is originally a persian invention,and that world champions have been almost exclusively Russians.
      There’s two ways of playing a game of chess;
      1. mayhem ,eating each others pieces untill there’s hardly any pieces left and than you move into the endgame.
      2. no pieces leave the board ,and after hours of manouvering,one party knocks over his King,because his position is hopeless, no need to eat eachothers pieces,and there is no endgame.

      The weaponry involved in this (potential ) conflict are such that the Middle east right now is resembling a chessgame like the second example above.
      What will NATO and US gain by attacking Syria?
      What will happen if NATO and US will attack Syria?
      What will happen if NATO and US will not attack Syria and just keep on increasing the pressure by arming “rebels”?

      The situation in Lebanon is getting tricky,especially in Tripoli.and there’s serious preoccupation conflict may break out any day in Lebanon.
      The Russians would never say a thing like that ,if it’s true.
      It’s almost inviting NATO to attack Syria,Russia just delivered big amounts of Iskander missiles to Syria.
      The Patriots are not installed in Turkey.
      Threatening war is not the same as fighting it .
      NATO ,US are interested in starting the conflict,not participating in it.
      After that Lebanon will be the place where the war spills over.
      US, NATO,and Russia are most interested in standing on the sidelines,and not get in eachother’s hear.
      The one in a hopeless position on the chessboard is Israel.
      Any war breaking out in Syria and /or Lebanon,will automatically involve Israel and Hezbollah.
      Michael Oren ,Israeli Ambassador said today,that chemical weapons handed to Hezbollah would be a “red line”,because that might cause “thousands ” of dead in Israel.
      Hezbollah answered ,that they don’t need chemical weapons,there are enough targets in Israel that,when hit ,will act as a chemical bomb.
      In 2006 Hezbollah threw 2 missiles inside Haifa ,exactly on the same spot.
      Just off the coast of Haifa ,there’s a huge chemical silo ,full of Amoniac.
      If Hezbollah would have hit that one,and they showed they can,half of Haifa would have died.
      Any attack on Syria will be the end for Israel.
      Expect Israel to do some really crazy stuff soon,because how things are going now ,they are sitting duck.
      That’s why Russia can say these things,they know NATO is not gonna Invade Syria.
      NATO and US don’t gain anything by giving Syria to the “rebels”,neither does Israel.
      The target of all this manouvering is Israel.
      Israel has very limited time to find a way out of this situation,as soon as war reaches Lebanon,the endgame starts,and NAT, US and Russia will stay out of it.

    • ProtectUSA1st  December 14, 2012 at 1:01 pm

      PRAVDA–RT–The stupidity of USA Foreign Policy

      —-” There can be no doubt that in 2012, the foreign policy of the United States of America is no longer based upon diplomacy, but rather, skulduggery, bullying, blackmail, belligerence, interference, supporting terrorists and breaching every norm in the book of international law…. a demonic list which forms the political epitaph of Hillary Clinton.

      —-The United States of America has joined its FUKUS Axis partners France and the UK (together with wannabe Ottoman imperialist Turkey and the Gulf Cooperation Council) in recognising the Syrian opposition as the only “legitimate representative” of the Syrian people.

      —-For a start, how about asking the Syrian people? Secondly, the representative of the Syrian people under international law is the Syrian Government led by His Excellency President Bashar al-Assad. Thirdly who is the President of the United States of America to announce what is, or is not, the legitimate representative of a sovereign nation? Fourthly, why is the United States of America joining its FUKUS Axis allies in recognising terrorists?

      —-Terrorists? Yes, you know, like the LIFG, supported by the UK government in Libya while still on the proscribed list of the Foreign and Commonwealth office as pointed out in this column at the time, and as sent as documentary evidence to the FCO itself with the question why, if the Foreign Secretary William Jefferson Hague was aware that the LIFG was on the FCO’s own proscribed list, and supporting this group knowingly, was he not summarily arrested for breaking his own, and British, law? ”

    • blakehamilton  December 14, 2012 at 8:21 am

      UPDATE: Russia denies senior diplomat’s comments on Assad’s fall

      Comments were believed to have signaled a change in Russia’s stance on the Syrian president’s crumbling regime; denial comes about 22 hours after the diplomat’s remarks were made public.


      Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Friday denied that a top diplomat said Syrian President Bashar Assad is losing control of his country, a statement that had been interpreted as signaling a shift in Russia’s assessment of the situation.

      Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, the ministry’s point man on Syria, was quoted by two state-owned Russian news agencies on Thursday as saying that “there is a trend for the government to progressively lose control over an increasing part of the territory,” adding that “an opposition victory can’t be excluded.”

      But the Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday insisted in a statement that Bogdanov “has not made any statements or special interviews recently” on Syria but was simply citing the stance of the Syrian opposition while giving a speech.

    • shachalnur  December 14, 2012 at 12:37 pm

      It’s all a chessgame on a level never seen.

    • ProtectUSA1st  December 14, 2012 at 12:58 pm

      “Russia’s foreign ministry said Bogdanov had merely reiterated the country’s position and its commitment to June’s Geneva agreement which makes no mention of President Bashar al-Assad standing down.”

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