Annual Fundraising Appeal
Over the course of 21 years, we’ve published many unflattering stories about Henry Kissinger. We’ve recounted his involvement in the Chilean coup and the illegal bombings of Cambodia and Laos; his hidden role in the Kent State massacre and the genocide in East Timor; his noxious influence peddling in DC and craven work for dictators and repressive regimes around the world. We’ve questioned his ethics, his morals and his intelligence. We’ve called for him to be arrested and tried for war crimes. But nothing we’ve ever published pissed off HK quite like this sequence of photos taken at a conference in Brazil, which appeared in one of the early print editions of CounterPunch.
100716HenryKissingerNosePicking
The publication of those photos, and the story that went with them, 20 years ago earned CounterPunch a global audience in the pre-web days and helped make our reputation as a fearless journal willing to take the fight to the forces of darkness without flinching. Now our future is entirely in your hands. Please donate.

Day12Fixed

Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.

Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.

CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.

The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.

Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive  books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
cp-store

or use
pp1

To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683

Thank you for your support,

Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel

CounterPunch
 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

The Syrian Conundrum

Washington and Damascus

by SAUL LANDAU

Syria has become dangerous. Syrians get killed and wounded almost daily. Their neighbors have also felt the impacts of violence: refuges in Turkey and outbreaks of fighting in Tripoli’s streets in Lebanon where peace depends on a nuanced arrangement between Christians and Sunni and Shia Muslims.

Northern Iraqi Kurds share with Syrian Kurds the “statehood” ideal that has periodically shaken the region and provoked Turkey to use heavy military force.

Jordan and Israel watch uneasily as scores of armed rebel units do urban guerrilla warfare. Patrick Seale reports “jihadis, armed Islamic extremists, have crossed into Syria from neighboring countries — and also from Kuwait, Tunisia, Algeria and Pakistan. …Rebel groups conduct ambushes, attack check-points, destroy public property, kill government troops — about 250 were killed in ten days in late May and early June. They also kidnap, rape and slaughter pro-regime civilians,” and easily sell  the “Asad did it” line to US media.

To stop the rebels from holding territory, Seale continues, Assad’s forces have shelled neighborhoods “when rebels hole up in them.” The rebels hope to provoke “Western military intervention… The rebels know they cannot defeat the Syrian army without outside help.”

Indeed, Syrian violence has begun to loom like a potential, political cholera in the region, which anti-Assad promoters will not easily contain.

The United States continues to try to “knock off the rogues.” Disobedient, undemocratic regimes like Syria and Iran — not obedient Saudi Arabia and Yemen — beget Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s and President Barack Obama’s threats and feel the pain of their sanctions — even though neither country has done anything to America.   Indeed, over the past decade, Syria tortured “suspects” for Washington, and warned US agencies of terrorist plots, which then were thwarted. President Asad has become a recipient of the “no good deed goes unpunished” law.

The White House responds to Syria’s efforts phrases resonating with war tones. But one active member of the US armed forces attempts suicide almost twice a day, not an indicator of readiness to fight yet another Middle East war.

The Syrian uprising with clandestine funding from Saudi and Qatari royalties and anti-Assad Syrian millionaires abroad, and support from Washington and its allies, aims to weaken Syria, Iran’s ally. The conflict, however, also raises a fear of yet another western venture into the Middle East—with a possible wider clash as well.

In early June, Secretary Clinton accused Russia of supplying attack helicopters to Asad, an act that “prolongs the violence.” Russia denied her charge, showing it had repaired older Syrian helicopters.  Russia then called on Clinton to stop Saudi and Qatari financing arms and mercenaries going into Syria.

Paying lip service to the UN plan forged by former Secretary General Kofi Annan, Clinton then told Russia to stay out of Syria – some distant region, you know, like Cuba is to the United States.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia resisted western intervention “because we know Syria is a complicated multi-confessional state, and because we know that some of those calling for military intervention want to ruin this and turn Syria into a battleground for domination in the Islamic world.”

“Butchers,” shout US politicians and media at Syria’s rulers, accepting on faith reports from the Syrian opposition — including al-Qaeda members — that Asad’s forces massacred civilians at Houla and al-Qubair. But who really did these ugly acts? The media have until recently accepted opposition claims uncritically.

Syria’s 20.5 million are not governed by a nut like Qadaffi. Asad maintain strong support in Damascus and Aleppo, Syria’s largest cities, as well as in Alawite areas. A February poll conducted by a Qatari agency, backed by anti-Asad money, concluded Assad’s regime enjoyed 55% popular support – not for its virtues, but because people worried a subsequent government would be worse.

Amidst US and European recessions, why provoke tensions in Syria where western intervention could provoke a new Cold War? China and Russia fearing a big-power conflict have refused to abide the West’s anti-Asad moves. Syria’s conflict could also ignite a regional and religious war: Saudi Arabia and Qatar versus Iran; Sunnis versus Shias.

What should the West do to stop ongoing violence to civilians? The Independent’s Mary Dejevsky called it “utterly disingenuous for the US and Britain to call for action in Syria and blame Russia for being obstructive.” Kofi Annan’s UN plan to end violence between Assad’s forces and opposition fighters, she observed, did not stop massacres. But who did the dirty deeds? Assad blames “terrorists”; his enemies blame Assad.

The Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung (FAZ), blamed anti-Asad Sunnis because the victims were almost all “from the Alawi and Shia communities.” The German newspaper said “perpetrators then filmed their victims and, in internet videos presented them as Sunni victims of the regime.”

Patrick Seale suggests the West should “unite with Russia and China” to pressure “both sides” to stop fighting “and come to the table. “Diplomacy, rather than war, is the only way to preserve what is left of Syria for its hard-pressed citizens.”

Maybe after the US elections?

Saul Landau’s WILL THE REAL TERRORIST PLEASE STAND UP is available on dvd from cinemalibrestore.com. He’s an Institute for Policy Studies Fellow.