Who is Fares Shehabi, leading Syrian industrialist & Assadist, to rail against corporate media?

Fares Shehabi is on social media denouncing the corporations & businessmen who run “NATO media” & taunting BBC for leaving east Aleppo after its “liberation.” Was a BBC crew there in the first place before the Syrian army took over & when warplanes were bombing the place to smithereens?

Reporters without Borders ranks Syria one of the deadliest places in the world for journalists: 177 out of 180 countries. Not only are reporters kidnapped & murdered by militia opposition groups but they are intimidated, arrested, denied visas, & deported for “false reporting” as the Swedish reporter was last week.

Unlike propagandists Eva Bartlett & Vanessa Beeley, Shehabi doesn’t outright denounce all “corporate media” but just the ones behind “NATO media.”

That makes sense since Shehabi is one of Syria’s top industrialists & businessmen. His hereditary wealth is invested in food products, pharmaceuticals, real estate, & banking. As the head of Aleppo’s Chamber of Industry he worked with the Assad regime to develop a manufacturing base in the city which, according to his estimates, once accounted for almost half of Syria’s industrial capacity. That would explain his concern, after the Syrian army took over east Aleppo, about the looting of 1,200 factories by militia groups, though not his silence about their destruction by warplanes.

Shehabi has significant political pedigree in the Assad regime & is considered to be a top candidate for Syrian prime minister, according to Russian media. His dead uncle Hikmat Shehabi was an ally of Hafez Assad (father of Bashar) who appointed him chief of military intelligence & deputy to the military chief of staff for the Syrian army between 1974 & 1998.

Hikmat Shehabi played a significant role in Syria’s double-dealing & betrayals of the Palestinian struggle which involved negotiations with Kissinger, Bill Clinton, Moshe Dayan, & other Israeli leaders.

Uncle Hikmat’s association with intelligence operations in a surveillance state might suggest why his nephew Fares is so involved with managing propagandists like Bartlett, Beeley, Pierre Le Corf, Andrew Ashdown, & Jan Oberg. It’s likely at a certain point they will become dispensable to Shehabi. If we do our job right, that will be sooner rather than later & before they have corrupted more than they already have.

How have former FBI & CIA agents assumed leadership of US antiwar forces?

Wonder how former FBI & CIA agents who opposed only the Iraq War are now considered “antiwar” authorities when they support Assad’s dictatorship & Syrian & Russian bombing of civilians?

Shouldn’t those who were professional spies most of their lives remain silent & try to learn rather than lead the movement? There are no shortcuts to understanding the complexities of war or of movement building.

Their libertarian politics are entirely understandable. Like the stable of libertarian writers at Global Research who mocked the Arab Spring as orchestrated by the CIA & Mossad, these former spies don’t believe working people have the capacity to change the world.

Millions of Arabs standing against dictatorship & militarism meant nothing to them & it appears only fed their suspicions about humanity.

(PS: there is a personal irony in all this. The FBI agent who falsely flagged my criminal record for using a weapon of mass destruction is now quoting a Stalinist journal in defense of dictatorship & bombing in Syria.)

The barbarism of the US-NATO offensive on Mosul, Iraq

Mosul evacuees at Bartella Iraq (Manu Brabo:AP) Dec 26 2016

The Syrian & Russian offensive against east Aleppo is concurrent with the US-NATO offensive against ISIS in Mosul, Iraq. Because so much of US military strategy & operations in Syria & Iraq are secret or intentionally obfuscated, media sources conflict about the details but there is a considerable amount that can be known.

US Pentagon officials reported in October 2015 that there are between 3,000 to 5,000 ISIS fighters in the Mosul metropolitan area & that the total forces fighting ISIS numbered 108,500: 54,000 Iraqi troops; 40,000 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters; 14,000 paramilitaries forces; & 500 US special forces. No admission of how many US mercenaries are deployed when we know that in Afghanistan & Iraq, mercenaries have often outnumbered US soldiers & are not included in troop totals.

US military advisers coordinate ground operations with US-NATO bombing operations. The Pentagon figures for 2016 US coalition bombing missions in Iraq total 10,678 air strikes (7,248 by US bombers; 3,430 air strikes by Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Jordan, The Netherlands, & UK).

The problem with all the carefully planned & coordinated military operations is the massive bombing of a city with at least a million civilians & no coordination about what to do with the tens of thousands fleeing for their lives. In less than three months, it is estimated that nearly 125,000 have fled Mosul. US officials say the offensive is going to last many months more.

Thousands from Mosul who fled across the Syrian border to a refugee camp in al-Hol are now being forced back by the Iraqi government. To what? The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) reports they have only constructed six refugee camps with the capacity to house about 9,000 families & are building three more camps to house an additional 5,000 families. They also admit to a severe shortage of supplies for the camps like food, water, & medical care. Aid workers report children are expressing signs of severe war trauma, including uncontrollable crying, bed-wetting, mutism, & separation anxiety.

Thousands still have no place to go for shelter in the middle of winter with temperatures in the region of 9℃ (48 °F). When US-NATO planned & launched the offensive on ISIS in Mosul, were civilians no part of their considerations? The question is banal: of course they weren’t.

These women & children are among the nearly 125,000 civilians from Mosul displaced since October. They are at what looks like a dumpsite in Bartella, Iraq, about 30 km/19 mi from Mosul. The numbers of Iraqi civilian casualties are not available. They never are in US wars.

Before the Saudi-US-UK coalition began bombing Yemen in March 2015, thousands of war refugees from Somalia sought asylum there from US bombing. After the bombing began in Yemen, thousands of Somalis, Yemenis, & other African refugees went fleeing back to Somalia. Consider the surreality of that & of Iraqi war refugees fleeing to Syria which nearly 5 million war refugees have fled. The barbaric phase of capitalism has made the world a killing field, an Armageddon.

In response, the only principled antiwar demands are the immediate cessation of bombing in Iraq & Syria; the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all foreign military forces from Iraq & Syria.

(Photo by Manu Brabo/AP)

The poobah

The Terminator has become the Liberator in post-apocalyptic, post-truth truthiness: he’s just too stylish & western to be a brutal dictator. And his wife wears Pravda while he looks best in Putin.