Persian text 

How do you assess the situation in Syria? What do you make of the on-again off-again accusations of chemical weapons? 

The US, French and British have effectively invaded Syria in order to overthrow the Syrian government after six fruitless years of arming and training rebels and inflicting 'advisers' and NGOs as part of their policy of subversion. This new boldness in promoting the imperial agenda worries the entire world from Russia, to China and Iran, and many in the West itself, where demonstrations have sprung up in the past few weeks as the US ramps up its campaign to topple Syrian President Assad.

The latest gas is actually an Israeli one, which was tested in the Gazans' Great March of Return in April.

It was designed to incapacitate protesters, using unmanned drones to drop the gas on the demonstrators, careful not to hit Israeli spectators cheering the IDF as they watched from guard towers. The gases have caused protesters’ bodies to convulse. Many lost consciousness for several hours. Protesters were being targeted in their lower body, with 55 shot with live ammunition in their genitals, in an effort to cause infertility. Some 47 unarmed Palestinians have been killed since 30 March when the Right of Return March was launch. A further 7,900 were injured.

The hysteria over supposed gas attacks by Assad on rebels is laughable. Not only is it a false flag, but Israel is notoriously using an array of toxic gases against Palestinians every day without any criticism, including tear gas and stink gas. The US has used toxic bombs regularly since the end of WWII (e.g., agent orange, depleted uranium).

Now Israel faces increasing world condemnation for its crimes against Palestinians in their peaceful Great March of Return, a revived Assad in Syria, a strong Hezbollah, fresh from its election victory in Lebanon, and a battle-ready Iran. Iranian casualties in Syria are not counted, but in the US bombing in April, Iranian forces were targeted and seven died. As many as 20 died in a later unidentified bombing. All Iran mourned the martyr Hojaji, who was beheaded by ISIS in 2017, recorded and shown to the world on video. Iran is proud to help defeat ISIS in Syria.

What was the reason for the invasion? What is the likely outcome?

The original plan of US-Israel was to overthrow Assad, set up a pro-western regime which would knock out Hezbollah, and eventually Syria would be forced to sign an agreement with Israel like Egypt's. Or, failing that, the splitting up of Syria into warring mini-states which are no threat to Israel. This would leave the road open to Tehran.

The real fear for Israel is that their ISIS proxies are collapsing, as Hezbollah takes advantage of the situation. It has increased its supply of arms, and is battle-hardened from six years of fighting in Syria. It is ready and waiting for the next Israeli provocation. Prior to the 2006 conflict, Hezbollah had approximately 13,000 rockets and used at least 4,000 of them to prolong the conflict in its favor. The group now boasts some 150,000 rockets and missiles, including Russian-supplied missiles that can hit anywhere in Israel, according to a Lebanese commander.

Israel is desperate, as Assad continues to drive the ISIS-type insurgents out. This is not to Israel's satisfaction, as it benefits from the crazy rebels with their pseudo-caliphate. These rebels are happy to use quiet Israeli support to further undermine Assad and prevent a strong Syria from emerging. They are oblivious to the reality of their situation, which is directly serving US-Israel.

Events in recent months give food for thought. Israel shot down what it claimed was an Iranian drone that violated its airspace near the Syrian border in February. When Israel decided to bomb the site from which it alleged the  unarmed drone was launched, Syria responded by activating its defense systems and shot down an Israeli F-16 war plane. Russia has installed S-400 anti-aircraft missiles.

The slow motion invasion/ occupation by US-Israel is the culmination of the decades-old attempt to dismantle the Syrian state, but it has failed. What will the losers' next move be?

The ultimate goal is war against Iran, as revealed in a memo by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld in 2002 that describes how the US was "going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” But this goal remains tantalizingly out of reach. Syria did not fall.

The Syrian government invited Russia and Iran to help defeat the terrorists. It did not invite the US or anyone else and is not going to invite these enemies in to help reconstruct the devastation they caused. Syria is not Afghanistan, and if US-Israel goes ahead as planned, this could lead to open conflict with Russia and Iran.

The situation is grim, but also black and white to any person of reason. Syria will not be destroyed. Hezbollah will not be defeated. The Russians will not cave in to the US. The Palestinians will continue their struggle for justice. It is a crucial moment for all people to take a stand for justice.

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Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s.

He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

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