Friday, December 28, 2012

Latest from LaRouche

Lyndon LaRouche explains how America's economy can win again

By Joseph Cotto --- Friday, December 28, 2012
FLORIDA, December 28, 2012 — Lyndon LaRouche was a lightning rod of controversy 20 years ago. A perennial Democratic candidate for the presidency, LaRouche's economic and political views were intertwined in a philosophy that other Democrats derided as "fringe."
A stint in federal prison took him out of the national eye, but LaRouche continues to share his views. Over the last several decades he has played an active role in forecasting financial trends, promoting the use of manufacturing technology, and emphasizing space exploration, among other things.  
In this first part of a candid interview, LaRouche explains how America can reclaim its economic vitality, discusses the limits of free trade, describes what might be done to reinvigorate the manufacturing sector, and much more.

Obama Must Answer: Is it Your Policy to Ally with Al-Qaeda?

December 26th, 2012 • 4:23 PM
In hearings before the House Foreign Relations Committee on December 20, and in a press conference Dec. 21 by three leading Republican senators, Administration spokesmen were asked a number of very serious questions about the policy decisions that led to the murder of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other U.S. personnel in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012.
These questions went unanswered. And indeed, only President Barack Obama can answer them. In sum, they amount to this: Is it Obama Administration policy to ally with al-Qaeda?
LaRouchePAC’s own dossier emphatically answers that question in the affirmative, and, in fact, our expanded fact sheet circulated widely on Capitol Hill in the days before the hearings, informing the Congressional debate. We have additionally identified the broader nexus of collaboration between the British monarchy, the Saudis, and the Obama Administration which has been driving toward a policy of eliminating national sovereignty, and any obstacles to that goal, up to and including thermonuclear confrontation with the world’s other major nuclear powers, the Russians and the Chinese.
But now Congress has put some very relevant questions on the table, questions whose honest answers would lead immediately to his impeachment. We reprise a few here:
* Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) was the first to raise the question of the terrorist groups running rampant in Libya, which, he noted, were tolerated by the provisional Libyan government during the overthrow of the Qaddafi regime. He cited the fact that the government doesn’t necessarily view the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (an al-Qaeda-linked group) as the enemy; doesn’t wage war against Ansar al-Sharia.” “The fact is, this is a government that is a coalition that includes, or at least countenances some of the most evil jihadist elements imaginable. Did the Libyan government allow us, our security detail, traveling from Tripoli to Beghazi to take weapons with them or did they have to rely on the limited weapons that were available to them in Benghazi?”
Later he added, that “the rebels in Syria include some excellent human beings and also includes some elements that are just as bad as those who attacked us in Benghazi. And we should be careful that just because Assad’s a bad guy, that doesn’t mean all of his enemies are good.”
Sherman’s implication was clear: Is the U.S. government itself, which is supporting the Libyan government and the Syrian rebels, going to support al-Qaeda?
* Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) took the question of the Administration on more directly, noting that policy choices by the Administration had led to the fact that Libya is “a cauldron of weapons, of jihadists, and of violent ideology,” an evaluation reported by Ambassador Stevens to Washington. He then cited a recent {New York Times} article on how the Obama Administration had approved arms shipments from Qatar to the “most hardcore jihadist elements” in Libya--and that these weapons were now being shipped to other locations, including Mali.
“Would you agree that empowering Qatar in this regard was a poor policy choice?” Royce asked.
* Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) took up the same theme, asking again about the Administration’s authorization of Qatari arms being sent to the Libyan rebel forces which the U.S. was supporting with air strikes. Poe pressed the issue in the face of Deputy Secretary of State William Burns’ non-committal response: Was the U.S. involved in providing the weapons used in the Benghazi attack? Have these weapons now been sent to Syria?
“I guess my real question is, we need to find out and we need to know, Americans need to know, if those weapons that were used in the attacks on our folks in Libya, were weapons that the United States in some way was involved in getting to Libya.”
“We also need to know if those, since Moammar Qaddafi met his maker, that weapons have gone to Libya to be repackaged, if you will, by the militia and sent to Syria. Has the United States been involved with that?”

Updated Fact Sheet: To Stop World War III, Oust President Obama for his Alliance with al-Qaeda in Libya and Syria

While claiming credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden, President Barack Obama was forging an alliance with al-Qaeda, first, to overthrow the government of Libya, and now, the government of Syria. This reckless and lawless policy of allying with the perpetrators of 9/11/2001, and now, 9/11/2012, to conduct war without the consent of Congress, in violation of the U.S. Constitution, runs the immediate danger of leading to world war, which can only mean thermonuclear war.
This is “the elephant in the room,’’ which explains why the Obama Administration has lied and attempted to cover up the true facts about Benghazi. The policy of allying with al-Qaeda, and covering up that alliance and its consequences, is, indeed an impeachable offense. The question is whether members of Congress will have the courage to fight for the truth and for justice on behalf of the victims of this criminal policy.
This updated fact sheet presents the presently available evidence from the public domain. A serious Congressional investigation would uncover far more. Here are the facts known thus far:
The Case of Libya
In the case of Libya, the evidence is overwhelming. Under the guise of humanitarian interventionism, President Obama ordered American military forces to create a no-fly zone and provide close air cover for al-Qaeda groupings to overthrow Muammar Qaddafi.
The opposition in Libya was dominated by the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which was created in the 1990s by Abel Hakim Belhadj, who had fought with al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, from 1988 to 1992. (On Feb. 15, 2011, the LIFG changed its name to the Libyan Islamic Movement for Change.) After Kabul fell in 1992, Belhadj moved to Sudan with Osama bin Laden.
In 1995, British MI6 approached the LIFG to carry out a coup against Qaddafi. After the coup and four assassination attempts against Qaddafi failed, many members of the LIFG were jailed in the Abu Selim prison in Tripoli. Others, including Belhadj, escaped.
In 2001, when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, two members of the LIFG, who later participated in the Obama-led overthrow of Qaddafi, were arrested by the Pakistanis and handed over to the U.S.: Abul Hakim al-Hasadi and Abu Sufian bin Qumu, both originally from Derna, Libya. Al-Hasadi, who had fought for five years in Afghanistan, was sent back to Libya and jailed. Qumu was sent to Guantanamo until he was later returned to Libya. Both were jailed in Abu Selim prison.
In 2004, Belhadj and Sami Al-Saadi, who also later participated in the Obama-led overthrow of Qaddafi, were captured by the CIA and MI6 in Bangkok, Thailand, and returned to Libya, where they were also imprisoned in Abu Selim. This was shortly after Tony Blair had organized the recognition of Qaddafi by the West. At the time, Blair stated that Qaddafi wanted to join the West in combatting al-Qaeda.
Al-Saadi, who Taliban leader Mullah Omar once called the Sheikh of the Arabs, was the author of a plan to overthrow Qaddafi. This plan was found in the home of Abd al-Rahman al-Faquih in Birmingham, U.K., during a police raid in the middle of the last decade. Al-Faquih had been convicted in absentia by a Moroccan court for complicity in the May 2003 suicide bombings in Casablanca. This same war plan would later be employed against Qaddafi, beginning in February 2011.
In March 2010, due to the intervention of Blair, Saif Qaddafi (Muammar’s son) announced the release of Belhadj and 233 other members of the LIFG from Abu Selim as part of a reconciliation with the West. Less than a year after they were released, Belhadj and the other members of the LIFG became the core of the opposition to Qaddafi.
LIFG Designated a Terrorist Organization
At the time of the operation to overthrow Qaddafi under the cover of a UN resolution, the LIFG was designated a terrorist group by the U.S. State Department, the U.K. Home Office, and the United Nations Security Council. An excerpt from the U.S. State Department report reads as follows:
“On November 3, 2007, senior Al Qaeda leaders announced that LIFG had officially joined al-Qaeda. Activities: Libyans associated with the LIFG are part of the broader international terrorist movement. The LIFG is one of the groups believed to have planned the Casablanca suicide bombing in May 2003. Spanish media in August 2005 linked Ziyad Hashem, an alleged member of the LIFG’s media committee, as well as the imprisoned amir Abdallah al Sadeq (Belhaj), with Tunisian Islamist Serhane Ben Abdelmajid Fakhet, the suspected ringleader in the 2004 Madrid attacks. Abdallah al Sadeq is the nom de guerre of Abel Hakim Belhadj.’’
Excerpts from the UN resolution read as follows: “LIFG commanders, including Abu Yahya al-Liby and the now-deceased Abu al-Laith al-Liby, have occupied prominent positions within Al-Qaeda’s senior leadership. On 3 November 2007, LIFG formally merged with al-Qaeda. The merger was announced via two video clips produced by Al-Qaeda’s propaganda arm, Al-Sahab. The first clip featured Usama bin Laden’s (QI.B.8.01) deputy, Aiman Muhammed Rabi al-Zawahiri (QI.A.6.01), and the second featured Abu Laith al-Liby, who then served as a senior member of LIFG and a senior leader and trainer for Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.’’
The Perpetrators of the Benghazi Attack
Before Qaddafi was overthrown by the al-Qaeda-affiliated LIFG, the military wing of the Transitional National Council was initially run by Gen. Abd al-Fatah Yunis. However, he was assassinated by the military group Ansar al-Sharia on July 28, 2011, and once Qaddafi was driven from Tripoli, the former emir of the LIFG, Belhadj, became the Council’s military commander. The Benghazi Military Council, in turn, was run by Ismael al-Sallabi, an ally of Belhadj.
Three of the military brigades operating in the Benghazi area--Ansar al-Sharia, Libyan Shield, and the February 17 Brigade, the latter two of which operate in coordination with the Libyan Ministry of Defense--participated in the attack on the United States mission and a CIA annex in Benghazi, killing U.S. Amb. Chris Stevens and three U.S. diplomatic personnel Americans, on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 al-Qaeda attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. These three organizations were the chief American combat allies in the drive to overthrow Qaddafi.
To be specific: Ansar al-Sharia, led by Abu Sufian bin Qumu, a former al-Qaeda Guantanamo detainee; the Libya Shield, which met the Marines who came from Tripoli at the airport and accompanied them to the CIA annex, led by Wisam bin Hamid, identified by the Library of Congress as possibly the head of al-Qaeda in Libya; and the February 17 Brigade, which provided security for the mission, led by Ismail Sallabi, are all run by the al-Qaeda-affiliated LIFG.
Ansar al-Sharia:
The leader of the Ansar al-Sharia group in Derna that actually carried out the assault on the U.S. mission and CIA annex in Benghazi on 9/11/12, is Sufian bin-Qumu. According to his Guantanamo detainee assessment report, Qumu received monthly stipends from one of the financiers of the original 9/11/2001 attack:
“Detainee’s alias is found on a list of probable Al-Qaida personnel receiving monthly stipends. His alias was found on al-Qaeda’s 11 September attacks financier Mustafa Al Hawsawi’s laptop as an Al-Qaeda member receiving family support.’’
The assessment continues: “Detainee is assessed as a former member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a probable member of Al-Qaeda. The detainee is assessed as a MEDIUM to HIGH risk, as he is likely to pose a threat to the US, its interests and allies.
“Prior history: he served as a tank driver in the Libyan armed forces as a private. The Libyan Government states he was addicted to illegal drugs/narcotics and had been accused of a number of crimes including murder, physical assault, armed assault and distributing narcotics. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. In 1993 he escaped and fled eventually to Afghanistan and trained at Osama Bin Laden’s Torkham Camp. After Afghanistan he moved to Sudan where he worked as a truck driver for one of OBL’s companies. He joined the LIFG and was assigned to the military committee. He left Sudan, allegedly withdrew from the LIFG in 1998 and returned to Afghanistan. Captured in 2001, he was sent to Guantanamo.’’
According to the report, he has admitted associations with Ayyub Al Libi, al-Qaeda/LIFG facilitator, Abu Abdullah al Sadiq, which is the nom de guerre of Abdul Hakim Belhadj who is the leader of LIFG, and Abu Al Munihir, a.k.a. Sami Al Saadi, who drew up the war plan to overthrow Qaddafi in the mid-2000s.
Libya Shield:
The last signed diplomatic cable from Ambassador Stevens back to the State Department in Washington, dated Sept. 11, 2012 described a tense Sept. 9 meeting in Benghazi between U.S. security officials and two leaders of Libyan Shield, Wissam bin Hamid (misidentified as Wisam bin Ahmed) and Shaykh Muhammad al-Garabi, in which they argued that if the Muslim Brotherhood candidate for Prime Minister, Alwad al Barasi, should win, he would appoint the commander of the February 17 Brigade, Fawzi Bukatif, as Minister of Defense.
“Bukatif’s appointment,’’ the memo says, “would open the MOD and other security ministries and offices to plum appointments for his most favored brigade commanders--giving February 17 and Libya Shield tacit control of the armed forces.’’ On the other hand, if Jibril, whom the U.S. government was supporting, won, “they would not continue to guarantee security in Benghazi, a critical function they asserted they were currently providing.’’
According to, Bin Hamid fought against American forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan before returning to the Benghazi-Derna area of eastern Libya to “ally’’ with Washington to overthrow and execute Qaddafi. The same reported in late October 2011 that bin Hamid became the head of a newly formed “supreme board of the Libyan mujahideen.’’
According to an August 2012 report from the Library of Congress, “Al-Qaeda in Libya: A Profile,’’ bin Hamid is widely identified as the actual head of al-Qaeda in Libya. He also held a demonstration in Sirte in March 2012, which was attended by the head of al-Qaeda in Magreb in Sahel, Mokhtar ben Mokhtar. Yet, his Libya Shield militia was entrusted with security for the U.S. mission in Benghazi, and the Sept. 9, 2012 meeting likely provided the group with the travel plans of Ambassador Stevens, who arrived in Benghazi on Sept. 10 for a scheduled several-day visit. The attack on the CIA annex only began after Libyan Shield fighters escorted a Marine rescue team from the airport to the location hours after the initial attack on the U.S. mission, where Ambassador Stevens was killed.
February 17 Brigade:
According to Joan Neuhaus Schaan, a fellow in Homeland Security and Terrorism at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy in Houston, the February 17 Brigade, which provided security for the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, was founded by Ismail Sallabi, a known member of al-Qaeda and the LIFG. A Brookings Doha Center policy briefing dated May 2012, entitled “Libyan Islamists Unpacked: Rise, Transformation, and Future,’’ also reports that Sallabi heads the February 17 Brigade based in Benghazi.
On Sept. 16, 2011 the Guardian identified Sallabi as the head of the Benghazi Military Council, the counterpart to the Tripoli Military Council led by Abdel Hakim Belhadj. According to Al Arabiya News, the commander of the February 17 brigade is Fawzi Bukatif.
According to al-Hayat, Belhadj was in Benghazi in April 2011, where he helped organize the February 17 Brigade. Included in the security force for the Benghazi mission proper, were four members of the February 17 Brigade, described by a State Department source as “a friendly militia which has basically been deputized by the Libyan government to serve as our security, our host government security.’’ An additional 16 militia members were part of the quick-reaction security team based at the CIA compound described as the mission’s “annex.’’
Ismael al-Sallabi (who is the brother of Libya’s leading Muslim Brotherhood-linked Islamist, Ali al-Sallabi) also leads the Martyr Rafallah Sahati Brigade, which began as a battalion of the February 17 Brigade. The Brigade’s commander, Shaykh Muhammad al-Garabi, met with U.S. officials on Sept. 9, along with Wisam ben Hamid of the Libya Shield.
Abdel Hakim Belhadj
Any serious investigation of Benghazi would have to look closely at the role of Abdel Hakim Belhadj, the founder of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and, after the overthrow of Qaddafi, the commander of the Tripoli Military Council. As such, he was given responsibility, as of Aug. 30, 2011, for the security of all foreign embassies in Tripoli, including the U.S. Embassy, until he stepped down as commander of the TMC to form his own political party (Watan) in May 2012. He was also put in charge of coordinating defense on a national level.
On Nov. 17, 2012, the Saudi-based publication Arab News published an article by Ali Bluwi, reporting that the attack on the Benghazi mission was carried out in revenge for the killing of Abu Yahya al-Libi, a senior Libyan member of al-Qaeda, killed in a U.S. drone attack in Pakistan in June 2012. The article also reports that U.S. Amb. Chris Stevens “prevented Abdel Hakim Belhadj from assuming the portfolio of defense or interior in Libya.’’ Furthermore, according to former Muslim Brotherhood member Walid Shoebat, Belhadj is the al-Qaeda operative that the Libyan expatriates claim was the principal organizer who directed the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in Benghazi.
Al-Qaeda in Syria:
While Belhadj was commander of the Tripoli Military Council, he deployed on behalf of Obama, the British Empire, and Saudi Arabia, to provide al-Qaeda military personnel and weapons in the attempt to overthrow the Syrian government. Numerous news sources, including the Daily Telegraph, have reported that, in November 2011, Belhadj traveled to Turkey to meet with the Syrian Free Army, to provide it with training and weapons to overthrow Assad. Belhadj’s trip to Turkey was supported by the head of the Transitional National Council Mustafa Abdel Jalil.
According to and, during that same month, some 600 LIFG terrorists from Libya entered Syria and began military operations. The individual who leads the Libyan fighters is Mahdi al-Harati, now head of the Liwa al-Ummah Brigade in Syria. According to an Aug. 9, 2012 article in Foreign Policy magazine by Mary Fitzgerald, entitled “The Syrian Rebels’ Libyan Weapon,’’ al-Harati is a Libyan-born Irish citizen, who was a commander of the Tripoli Brigade, run by Belhadj during overthrow of Qaddafi in Libya.
The Tripoli Brigade was one of the first rebel units to enter the Libyan capital in August 2011. After Tripoli was taken by the rebels, al-Harati was appointed deputy head of the Tripoli Military Council, serving under Abdel Hakim Belhaj. In late 2011, Harati stepped down as commander of the Tripoli Brigade and as deputy head of the Tripoli Military Council, and left for Syria.
According to Harati, more than 6,000 men across Syria have joined Liwa al-Ummah since its establishment. Harati stresses that 90% of its members are Syrians, the rest are Libyans, most of them, former members of the Tripoli Brigade, along with a smattering of other Arabs. According to Reuters, Liwa al-Ummah includes 20 senior members of the Tripoli Brigade.
One of the State Department documents released by the House Oversight Committee in October was from the Research and Information Support Center, dated March 1, 2012. It gives the following assessment of the presence of al-Qaeda in the Benghazi area:
“In late December 2011, reports indicated that the al Qaeda leadership in Pakistan had sent experienced jihadists to Libya to build a new base of operations in the country. Between May and December 2011, one of these jihadists had recruited 200 fighters in the eastern part of the country. Documents seized in Iraq indicate that many foreign fighters who participated in the Iraqi insurgency hailed from eastern Libya.’’
According to the August 2012 Library of Congress “Al-Qaeda in Libya’’ report, the individual sent is believed to be Abd al-Baset Azzouz, who has been close to al-Qaeda head Al-Zawahiri since 1980. According to the same report, he is likely located currently in Libya with another senior Libyan al-Qaeda operative Abd al Hamid al Ruqhay, alias Abu Anas al-Libi, who moved, in the late 1980s, living at various times, in Afghanistan and Sudan, where he is believed to have met Osama bin Laden and joined al-Qaeda.
According to documents obtained and released by former Muslim Brotherhood member Walid Shoebat, an array of records provided to Libyan expatriates from sources inside the Libyan government establish that al-Qaeda operatives in Libya are facilitating the passage of jihadists through Libya to Syria. Specifically, Abdul Wahhab Hassan Qayad, a leading member of the LIFG whose brother, al-Qaeda leader Yahya al-Libi, was killed in Pakistan in June 2012 by a U.S. drone attack, now works in the Libyan Interior Ministry where he is in charge of Border Control and Strategic Institutions. The position allows him to arrange open-border passage for al-Qaeda operatives, facilitating not only the flow of terrorists into Libya, but also al-Qaeda efforts to transport terrorists and weapons into Syria from Libya via Turkey.
Benghazi Attack Precursor to Al-Qaeda/Muslim Brotherhood Coup?
On September 12, Mahmoud Jibril was indeed defeated in his quest to become Prime Minister by two votes to Mustafa Abushagur and the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Alwad al Barasi, became deputy prime minister. When Abushagur failed to gain approval for his proposed cabinet, he was voted out as Prime Minister on Oct. 7. He was replaced by Ali Zeidan whose proposed cabinet was approved on Oct. 31. Half of the cabinet members were members of the National Forces Alliance and half from the Muslim Brotherhood Justice and Construction Party. Thus, the Muslim Brotherhood had succeeded in gaining a major foothold in the new government.
On September 24, Fawzi Bukatif, commander of the February 17 Brigade, and Ismail al-Sallabi, founder of the Febrary 17 Brigade and also head of the al-Sahati Brigade, were relieved of their commands and replaced by Army colonels.
On November 20, Colonel Faraj Drissi, the Benghazi security chief appointed after the attack on the U.S. Benghazi mission, was assassinated outside of his home. On Dec. 16 a senior police source informed the Libya Herald that the suspected assassin, who had been detained by police, identified seven prominent Islamists in connection with the assassination and related attacks. The most significant among these are: Sufyan ben Qumu, the head of Ansar al-Sharia and Rafallah al-Sahati chiefs Mohammed al-Garabi and Ismael al-Sallabi. Libya’s new Interor Minister, Ashour Shuwail, stepped in on Dec. 20 to say that those named, including Ismail al-Sallabi and the group Ansar Al-Sharia, were not being sought in relation to the events in Benghazi. Al-Garabi denied any involvement and Ismael al-Sallabi, speaking from Turkey, also claimed innocence.
Meanwhile, in the capital city of Tripoli, the Libyan military tribunal investigating the assassination of General Abdel Fattah Younis near the city of Benghazi on July 28, 2011, issued a summons to former National Transitional Council (NTC) leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil, an ally of Belhadj. Tripoli militia forces immediately blocked roads for three days to protest the court’s summoning of Jalil. As a result, the tribunal annouced that it was abandoning its inquiry.
What Must Be Done
The LaRouche Political Action Committee (LPAC) has produced a detailed documentary on President Obama’s filthy dealings with the very British and Saudi-backed jihadists who have the blood of American Ambassador Chris Stevens and countless others on their hands. Congressional demands for the creation of a select committee to get to the bottom of the Benghazi 9/11/12 attacks must begin with a thorough airing of the ongoing alliance between the Obama White House and al-Qaeda. Nothing short of a thorough probe will prevent a replay of the first two 9/11 attacks, perhaps on a far grander scale. What makes this particularly urgent is that, in using al-Qaeda to overthrow Assad in Syria, the British Empire, Saudi Arabia, and their stooge Obama are pushing the world to the edge of a thermonuclear war with Russia and China. The crimes of Obama are much greater than failing to provide sufficient security to the mission, or not responding after the attack by providing military assistance.
The reason for this is that the killings of the Ambassador and three other Americans were carried out by the very terrorists Obama and his masters relied upon to overthrow Qaddafi, and are relying on now to overthrow Assad. The designation of al-Nusra as a terrorist organization is just a fig leaf. The entire Syrian opposition is al-Qaeda, as this fact sheet conclusively demonstrates, and the Syrian opposition itself has affirmed by proclaiming that they are all al-Nusra.

Syria offers yet another haven to Al Qaeda

by Debasish Mitra
December 25, 2012
At first it was in Egypt and then in Libya, Al Qaeda today has found yet another haven in the Arab world. Syria now offers the global terror network a perfect sanctuary to re-establish itself and re-launch its jihad. Therefore, it was no surprise that the United States faced perceptible opposition and criticism at a recent meeting of the Friends of Syria in Marrakech when it classified Al Nusra, one of the armed resistance groups operating in the country, as a "foreign terrorist organisation".
"The chairman of the Syrian National Coalition called for the US to reconsider its decision; the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamad Tayfur condemned it as wrong and hastily made. Many other statements of support for Al Nusra followed. The British and French remained silent, as did the EU, this year's Nobel peace prize winner. This was met with horror by many Syrians, the vast majority of whom reject Al Nusra."
It is no secret today that Al Nusra, a ruthless foreign sectarian jihadi organisation, is a despised outfit today in Syria though it remains the most effective fighting force against the Syrian army. Haytham Manna says, its fighters, contrary to those of Al Tawhid brigade, are mainly foreigners and its emir (leader) is appointed from outside Syria.
It is not only the US who believes Al Nusra to be an Al Qaida front, both Syria's armed opposition and the opposition in exile expressed concern about this mysterious new organisation. The Syrian National Council had earlier claimed Al Nusra was formed by Syrian intelligence to tarnish the image of the Free Army. Syrian human rights defenders speak out, too, warning of Al Qaida links. The organisation, many fear, is fast becoming the most attractive group for foreign jihadists in a sectarian war against Alawites, Shias and secular Syrians.
Therefore, it is of little surprise that common Syrians are wary of the outfit and Syrian army's offensives against Al Nusra is seen more as a move to guarantee the unity of Syria's diverse society rather than as acts to suppress the popular movement. Common Syrians perceive Al Nusra as hijacker of their war for liberation.
Earlier this year, in February to be precise, the Syrian National Council issued a statement criticising "all attempts to exploit the uprising by foreign jihadi and sectarian fighters." A month earlier, Syria's National Co-ordination Committee urged Turkey "to stop letting foreign fighters enter Syria."
In the past one year, the perceived war of liberation in Syria has gone terribly wrong and haywire. The movement has undergone sea change in terms of both its character and objective. It has undoubtedly been hijacked and derailed. Though the fall of the regime continues to remain the primary objective the purpose is no more establishment of democracy or ensuring social justice. It will be a joke today to call the uprising a movement to redeem the country of a dictatorial regime. Al Nusra and its Syrian allies like Al Tawhid brigade have turned the Syrians' struggle into a movement only to further and consolidate the causes of Al Qaeda.
Al Nusra, says Manna, has been indiscriminately targeting the non-Sunni people, especially the Alawites, pushing an already battered nation towards a dangerous precipice a religious extremism and a long-term sectarian war. With its social mosaic tearing down at an alarming pace Syria is fast becoming yet another hell on earth similar to Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq.
The fall of the regime will not bring peace in Syria nor will it ensure establishment of democracy and social justice. In fact, the regime's fall will open the Pandora's Box of evil and will be the recipe for disaster.  The United States and the West have been wrong in their assessment of the situation and have been dangerously myopic in taking a policy stand against Bashar Al Assad. Evidently, little did they foresee that the uprising can be hijacked by Al Qaeda.
It was wrong on their part to support the armed opposition in Syria as this offered opportunities to various interested parties including a few neighbours of Syria, some Arab states and Al Qaeda to dabble in and fish in the troubled waters.
In a bid to isolate the Syrian Kurds a few of the neighbouring nations are now openly encouraging Islamisation of Syria and also as an insurance against establishment of genuine democracy as they fear that establishment of democracy in Syria can threaten their own regimes as well.
War weary Syria no longer feels that armed opposition is the solution. On the contrary, they are sacred that continuation of the armed opposition will only offer salafism to grow roots, enhance scopes of foreign interference, increase the role of foreign jihadi groups who would be working more for Al Qaeda, import terrorism and scuttle scopes of political resolution of the conflict.
We need to have a balanced approach in Syria. "Not this mania for democracy and a handy story that is to be framed within a popular discourse of the Arab spring that we all know is creaking by the second." Or else, we shall only be seeing violence, murders, and abuses continuing ad infinitum in the country. 
The author is the Opinion Editor of Times of Oman.

British Parliament Wants Glass-Steagall and Not the Government Ringfencing

December 28th, 2012 • 10:24 AM
The pro-Glass-Steagall faction in Britain keeps fighting. An Ipsos Mori poll seen by the Financial Times shows that over six in ten MPs, across all parties, "would support a full-scale separation in British banking, modelled on the Glass-Steagall reforms implemented in the 1930s in the U.S." The pro-Glass-Steagall faction is even stronger in the Conservative Party, with 66% of the Tories polled saying they agreed, than in the Labour Party, with 60% in favor.
The Financial Times notes that the poll's finding "piles pressure on the Chancellor [of the Exchequer, Osborne] to go further than ministers' proposed 'ringfence' around retail banking." The Times has been leading a campaign in favor of Glass-Steagall, berating the Vickers and the Liikanen ringfencing proposals, and adds today that "the findings will encourage Liberal Democrat ministers, who have been campaigning within the coalition to strengthen Mr. Osborne's banking reforms."
Ben Page, chief executive of the pollster, said, "MPs are completely divided over a whole range of issues — including regulation of business generally, but are united in their view that retail and investment banking should be separated, with over 6 in 10 of all parties' MPs in favor."

FROM THE ARCHIVE: Storm Over Asia, Original 1999 Broadcast

2 hours, 39 minutes
February 22, 2012 • 10:14AM
Originally broadcast in November 1999, Storm Over Asia is important to review in light of the current drive in Russia to maintain their sovereignty and prevent thermonuclear war, as as referenced in the blog posting by Rachel Douglas[1], from earlier today.
"Our fundamental interest as a republic, is to bring forth on this planet the hegemony of a community of sovereign nation-states, each of which has in common its commitment to the general welfare of its total population, and their posterity. Otherwise, it is not our intent to meddle in the internal affairs of these countries. It is sufficient for us that they are sincerely and seriously dedicated to promote the general welfare, as we understand the notion of the general welfare; and they understand that we as nations must stand together, against those forces of oligarchy, such as the British financial oligarchy, which are our natural enemies."
--Lyndon LaRouche, Storm Over Asia

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