While in Australia, Mother Agnes visited Canberra to meet federal politicians. This photograph was on Senator Bob Carr’s Twitter page for 19 June 2013.
Mother Agnes Mariam’s visit to Australia hopefully encourages more people to research the crisis in Syria. She presented powerful reasons why there must be a strong push for peace and reconciliation in Syria.
However, for people to be involved in the work for peace, the crude propaganda that has dominated the discourse on Syria must be challenged. That requires some commitment to research. But there are trusted sources to go to which are easily accessible. Note: Al-Jazeera is not one of them.
The propaganda which supports a war agenda in regard to Syria has been determined to a significant extent by Al-Jazeera. Since the beginning of the ‘Arab Spring’, Al-Jazeera has become the voice of Qatar. Secular Syria has been the target of a fairly newly conceived aggressive foreign policy and extremist religious agenda, espoused by Sheik Yousef Qaradawi in weekly addresses on Al-Jazeera. Numerous Al-Jazeera reporters have resigned in protest against political interference in their work since the beginning of the crisis in Syria, but this has hardly been noted in Australia. Al-Jazeera is a media source which has lost much credibility in the ME but which is gaining audiences in the west. (Google “Al-Jazeera +reporters +resignation”)
Mother Agnes Mariam was interviewed by Waleed Aly on ABC RN Drive:
Below is a link to a general bibliography related to the “Syrian War”.
Like all sources, they need to be read with a very critical eye, of course. For example, Joshua Landis, whose blog “Syria Comment” is listed, has become ‘Washington’s man” and, as such, he adopted a very partisan stand in support of the ‘revolution’ almost since the beginning of the crisis . (As Mother Agnes would ask, “what sort of revolution is it if it depends on lies?) Unfortunately he is someone Matt Brown (ABC’s Middle East reporter) has relied on for information.
Sources which can present a complex picture of events in Syria include:
Baker’s analysis and investigations into events in Syria impress. Please see an example below. He has also investigated claims that the Syrian government has used rape as a weapon of war.
2. “A closer look at Syria” This site appears to be run by Syrians intent on investigating rather than on simply accusing.
3. Writing of the Syrian dissident Haytham Manna Mother Agnes referred to him in her meetings with people, and the dissidents from the “Third Current” whom I interviewed in Damascus see him as an alternative leader. (I will attach a summary of the discussion I had with them.) Manna has written a few articles for The Guardian
4. Western journalists/analysts who have spent time reporting from Syria (not embedded with the ‘rebels’) For example, Patrick Cockburn, Alex Thomson, Bill Neely, Sharmine Narwani. (Note: Sharmine Narwani is based in Beirut and many of her articles are published in the Lebanese online paper Al-Akhbar English, which is worth checking for articles on Syria and the wider ME. I met Sharmine in Beirut in May; I’m impressed by her intellect and integrity – as I see it.)
6. Franklin Lamb was a member of the peace activist delegation with Mother Agnes in May. I met him on that delegation. He is based in Beirut but often travels to Syria, and has written articles from Syria which are quite informative as he speaks to many Syrians and reports from discussions with them. He wrote in November 2011 about Amnesty International and its flawed report on Syria.
7. Global Research out of Canada presents articles from many different sources. It was set up by Canadian academic Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, who was perhaps the first writer/academic to critically examine events in Syria.
8. John Rosenthal, an American analyst, attempts to study events below the surface and to question. His articles on Houla, in particular, deserve attention.
9. Articles in The Los Angeles Times on Syria seem to be more informative and objective than other mainstream western media outlets.
10. There are reference lists on the AMRIS blog and also on the AustraliansforSyriawordpress.com blog (unfortunately now I have trouble with that site – it slows down my computer)
11. Edward Dark, a Syrian activist in Aleppo fluent in English, showed support for the armed opposition until it came to Aleppo. He is very active on Twitter and has recently had articles published about his disillusionment in the ‘revolution’ but also one about his time in prison. I would recommend the ‘Syria’s Rebels in Rift with Aleppo’s Civil Opposition” for his analysis of the crisis.
12. Mother Agnes Mariam’s articles (posted on the AMRIS blog), for example, “In the Flood of Disinformation; the Situation in Syria”
Note: It is advised that articles by Robert Fisk are read with a very critical eye. Here is a not very generous view of Robert Fisk’s writings on Syria.
Individual articles to note:
Morsi role at Syria rally seen as tipping point for Egypt army
Head of state had attended rally with hardline Islamists calling for holy war in war-torn neighbour
Taking Outsize Role in Syria, Qatar Funnels Arms to Rebels
Vol. 35 No. 4 · 21 February 2013
pages 13-14 | 4296 words
How to Start a Battalion (in Five Easy Lessons)
Ghaith Abdul-Ahad reports from Syria
Jihadis in Syria
A Salafi shindig
Jun 18th 2013, 11:14 by S.B. CAIRO AND TUNIS
– WhoWhatWhy – http://whowhatwhy.com –
Oh Thank God—Finally, War With Syria
Posted By Russ Baker On June 15, 2013 @ 3:28 pm In Quick Takes,World | 42 Comments
Don’t you hate it when someone says, “I told you so?” We do. That’s why we’ll revise the common statement.
We told you so.
We first told you, 18 months ago and again here  and here  and here  and here  and here  and here  and here  and here  and here  and here  and here  and here  and here , that you couldn’t trust the Obama Administration when it began making noises about pushing out Syria’s President Bashar Assad for strictly “humanitarian reasons.” In fact, before that, we told you again  and again  and again  (ok—we’ll stop) not to trust the Obama Administration when it urged intervention in Libya for the very same reasons.
Now, the Obama administration is preparing for war, in an astonishing echo of the George W. Bush administration’s misleading justifications for invading Iraq.
We saw the first little dribble to prepare us in a CNN Breaking News email Thursday, sent out at 5:14pm EST as most Americans were heading home.
Congress has been notified that the United States will acknowledge that Syria has used chemical weapons on a small scale multiple times and a “red line” has been crossed, according to congressional sources.
Friday, when it was clear that this trial balloon had met largely with silence — and certainly with no hail of outrage or skepticism—came the next salvo. Here, again, CNN Breaking News via email (this time, 4:53pm as most folks’s attention was fixed on the weekend):
United States military support for Syrian rebels will include small arms, ammunition and possibly anti-tank weapons, according to two officials familiar with the matter. The weapons will be provided by the CIA, the officials said.
Oh, and Obama is “considering” a no-fly zone. Where have we heard that before?
Expect the announcement that your son or daughter in uniform will not be home for Christmas to be sent out at 3am Sunday.
No one is likely to demand good hard evidence for the use of chemical weapons. After all, the Bush administration and its lies for war was so…very long ago.
War—What a Gas
None of these military adventures were ever about anything remotely honorable. So, whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, you just have to get over it. You may feel better believing the system of which you are part has noble intentions, or that the party you prefer is somehow more principled.
The truth is actually pretty simple: no matter which party is running things, globally dominant governments do not make decisions based on humane do-goodism. In the halls of power, decisions are based on a consensus of hard-headed “realists,” whose concerns do not extend to human rights, the safety of women and children and other civilians, or the “self-determination” of non-Americans. “Spreading democracy around world”? Um, no.
In Top Secret National Security Council sessions, no one is foolish enough to raise noble and humanistic objectives. He (or occasionally she) would be laughed right out of the place. No, the talk is all about “national security.” And national security equates with national interest. So when we look for the motives behind the Obama administration’s announcement that it has determined Syria used chemical weapons and therefore crossed an imaginary “red line” which will trigger active involvement in a war against the Assad regime, we must focus on self interest.
Probable factors, almost none of which have been reported by the major media, include
1) the desire to create new bases in the Middle East to watch over the Iraqi oilfields without taking flak for maintaining a permanent presence in Iraq;
2) eliminating one of the last non-Western-dependent pan-Arabists  left;
3) getting rid of a regime that works closely with China and Russia; and especially
4) weakening one of Iran’s few and most important allies.
Also, not long before the “spontaneous uprising” in his country, Assad was reaching out to pariah states like Venezuela and Cuba to foster cooperation, including a joint investment with Venezuela in an oil refinery in Syria .
Plus, like Saddam and Qaddafi, Assad had moved away from dependency on the US dollar. 
But increasingly, it seems that the primary reason for wanting Assad out is not oil, but gas. In 2011, while Arab Spring was going down, Iran, Iraq and Syria signed a gas pipeline deal. Iranian gas would end up at Lebanese ports before making its way to EU markets. This would substantially relieve Iran of the economic pressure designed to topple its regime.
But it all gets really interesting when you consider the South Pars gas field —the largest in the world —which lies underneath the Persian Gulf and is divided between Iran and a country facing it across the water, Qatar. The latter, a highly reliable western beachhead in a hostile region and a major US military hub, is run by Sunnis, who are of course at the throats of the Shiites who run Iran. If Iran gets a pipeline, it trumps Qatar and the West. On the other hand, if Qatar alone can benefit from the field, it becomes a significant player in regional and even global power.
Qatar has been a great favorite of NATO, contributing its troops in places like Libya  to mask what are essentially Western invasions of Arab soil. And of course Qatar runs Al Jazeera, which has not exactly been  at the forefront of independent investigative journalism in any of these situations. Israel, with its own agenda on Iran, its own formidable gas discovery —turning it from an energy importer to an exporter—and an alliance with NATO and Qatar, also stands to benefit from blocking the Iranian pipeline.
Human Rights Indeed
Last summer, on the porch of a country store on Martha’s Vineyard, a favorite of Obama and his fans, a “liberal” became enraged when I tried to explain a few nuances about Syria. “You are apologizing for a butcher,” he yelled at me, moving away to emphasize his revulsion.
If Assad is a butcher, he’s long been our butcher. Just as Muammar Qaddafi did the US a favor and tortured people after 9/11, so did Assad . Just as, for a long time, Saddam Hussein was only too glad  to do the CIA’s bidding.
This is all forgotten (if it was ever known) by Americans guilty of unspeakable indifference, of having learned nothing at all from a century of nearly constant war.
The war for the hearts and mind of impressionable members of the public goes on. Note the latest dribble  (posted late Friday by the New York Times): Obama didn’t want to push the button on Syria, but he succumbed to tremendous pressure:
For two years, President Obama has resisted being drawn deeper into the civil war in Syria. It was a miserable problem, he told aides, and not one he thought he could solve. At most, it could be managed. And besides, he wanted to be remembered for getting out of Middle East wars, not embarking on new ones.
So when Mr. Obama agreed this week for the first time to send small arms and ammunition to Syrian rebel forces, he had to be almost dragged into the decision at a time when critics, some advisers and even Bill Clinton were pressing for more action. Coming so late into the conflict, Mr. Obama expressed no confidence it would change the outcome, but privately expressed hope it might buy time to bring about a negotiated settlement.
His ambivalence about the decision seemed evident even in the way it was announced. Mr. Obama left it to a deputy national security adviser, Benjamin J. Rhodes, to declare Thursday evening that the president’s “red line” on chemical weapons had been crossed and that support to the opposition would be increased. At the time, Mr. Obama was addressing a gay pride event in the East Room. On Friday, as Mr. Rhodes was again dispatched to defend the move at a briefing, the president was hosting a Father’s Day luncheon in the State Dining Room.
This raises lots of questions about Obama, and whether this is a sign of his own weakness, a deliberate leaked sop to his peace-oriented donors and supporters or, in line with something we wrote recently , that the decisions facing the modern American presidency are just too consequential for the establishment to leave them to an ephemeral figure like Obama.
Further raising doubts about the extent to which Obama is “in charge” and operating on behalf of the electorate is the Rhodes factor. As we previously pointed out , the rapid rise of the young, obscure and seemingly unqualified Rhodes from a coffee shop novelist to virtually managing foreign policy for the United States is a strange and disturbing event on its own. The particulars deserve much more scrutiny.
Although admittedly it all is hair-raising, few people here in the USA seem too terribly bothered. Almost all of the media, from rightist outfits like Fox through the great commercial middle to the liberal left opinion media, have been loudly silent on Obama’s decisions on Libya, and now on Syria.
You can bet they’ll be silent on Iran when its time comes. Which it will. Even if—once again — the reasons are fake.
Yeah. We told you so.
WhoWhatWhy plans to continue doing this kind of groundbreaking original reporting. You can count on it. But can we count on you? We cannot do our work without your support.
Please click here  to donate; it’s tax deductible. And it packs a punch.
- Syria: We Can Learn a Lot From the “Small Stuff” 
- Connecting the dots on Syria: Fooling Enough of the People Enough of the Time… 
- Everything They’re Telling Us About Syria….is False? 
- (A Few) Media Skeptical of Syria WMD Panic 
- How War Reporting in Syria Makes a Larger Conflict Inevitable 
Article printed from WhoWhatWhy: http://whowhatwhy.com
URLs in this post:
 pan-Arabists: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan-Arabism
 oil refinery in Syria: http://csis.org/blog/implications-syrian-president-bashar-al-assad%E2%80%99s-latin-american-tour
 dependency on the US dollar. : http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2006-02-15/news/0602150153_1_foreign-transactions-syrian-prime-minister-naji-bodies
 South Pars gas field: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Pars_/_North_Dome_Gas-Condensate_field
 troops in places like Libya: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/26/qatar-troops-libya-rebels-support
 own formidable gas discovery: http://news.sky.com/story/1095743/israel-gas-bonanza-new-field-discovered
 we wrote recently: http://whowhatwhy.com/2013/06/11/why-obama-cannot-undo-the-surveillance-society-but-we-can/
 previously pointed out: http://whowhatwhy.com/2013/03/21/nyts-rhodes-to-nowhere-a-cipher-in-the-oval-office/
 click here: http://www.whowhatwhy.com/donate