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    Middle East
     Jun 6, '13


THE ROVING EYE
Hezbollah don't take no mess
By Pepe Escobar

The "Friends of Syria" are appalled. Their much vaunted "rebel held" stronghold of Qusayr is gone. This BBC headline sums it all up: "Syria conflict: US condemns siege of Qusayr."

For White House spokesman Jay Carney, "pro-government forces", to win, needed help from by their "partners in tyranny" - Hezbollah and Iran. Right: so the "rebels" weaponized by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the CIA, not to mention jihadis of the Jabhat al-Nusra kind, are partners in what, "freedom and democracy"?

Spin out, facts in. This is a monster strategic defeat for the NATO-Gulf Cooperation Council-Israel axis. [1] The supply lines from



Lebanon to Homs of the Not Exactly Free Syrian Army (FSA) gangs and the odd jihadi are gone. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) will next move to Homs and the whole Homs governorate. The final stop will be two or three Aleppo suburbs still controlled by the FSA.

There's absolutely no way Qusayr can be spun in the West as yet another "tactical withdrawal" by the FSA. The rebels insist they "withdrew". Nonsense. It was a rout.

This, in a nutshell, is how it happened. Qusayr had been under control of the Homs-based al-Farouk brigade, part of the FSA, for no less than 18 months. Six months ago, the SAA had already cleared the Syrian north-south highway, not far from the city - essential for all Damascus-Aleppo business.

Qusayr was strategically crucial as a key weaponizing depot for the FSA; Sunnis in Lebanon were relentlessly shipping them weapons through the Bekaa valley. So the first thing the SAA did was to encircle Qusayr. Then Hezbollah stepped in - as most of Qusayr's population of 30,000 had already left for either Lebanon or Jordan.

The final, wily SAA tactic was to allow the Aleppo-based al-Tawhid brigade to sneak into Qusayr to help the al-Farouk. So when these twin top FSA brigades were properly encircled, the SAA pounced. Virtually no civilians were in town, apart from a few farmers nearby. There was no "genocide".

And then Paris went chemical

When will the NATO-GCC axis ever learn? Hezbollah's Sheikh Nasrallah staked his reputation by going on air and promising a victory. Once again, he delivered. Contrary to Western spin, Hezbollah did not do it by itself; it was a combination of SAA, Hezbollah and Iranian specialists applying superior tactics and displaying crack urban warfare knowledge.

It's also easy to forget that a prime wet dream among US Think Tanklanders these past few months was the possibility of pitting Hezbollah against al-Qaeda-linked jihadis inside Syria. They got their wish.

Hezbollah fighters though don't need to overextend themselves and venture inside Syria further than Qusayr - which is roughly 10 km from the Lebanese border. Their "mission" is in practice to secure the Syrian side of the Lebanese border.

And talk about precious timing; the "fall" of Qusayr totally blew away a monster chemical weapons propaganda orchestrated by Paris. French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius is breathlessly spinning that "Bashar's army" used sarin gas against the "rebels". French media is gung-ho for a military intervention. [2]

There is a slight problem though. Buried in sensationalist reports in Le Monde or Liberation is the fact that the French scientific analyses - based on two samples, one of them collected by Le Monde reporters - do not specify who used sarin, the government or the "rebels". Even UN experts, in their official report, have admitted as much.

So once again - don't mess with Hezbollah. One can imagine the ear-splitting wrath levels in Washington, London, Paris, Tel Aviv, Riyadh and Doha. Their "response" - or revenge - may include setting Lebanon on fire. The usual imperial courtiers, Brookings Institution-style, are already mourning a Middle East prey to an "aggressive Russian-Iranian axis". [3] What about the aggressive NATO-GCC-Israel axis bent on totally destroying Syria to install an Islamist, pro-Western puppet state?

The Susan and Samantha show
And now, to compound the drama, we have Susan Rice as the new US National Security Adviser and Samantha Power as the new US ambassador at the UN Security Council. It's always helpful to remember that along with Hillary Clinton, these were the Three Graces of "humanitarian intervention" that forcefully pushed for the bombing and destruction of Libya.

Whatever replay strategy Susan and Samantha may come up with, Russia and China will veto. Moreover, even the Washington establishment admits all options are noxious. [4] To top it off, Turkey has been plunged into the Taksim/Occupy Gezi/Down with the Dictator maelstrom - and the last thing an embattled Erdogan will be thinking about is to further empower a bunch of "rebel" losers.

As for the Geneva II talks - co-sponsored by Washington and Moscow - their next preparation meeting will only happen in three weeks or so. This means that even if Geneva is on - and that's a major "if", considering the "rebels" in disarray are bound to boycott - it will be in early July or even later. Plenty of time for the SAA to keep advancing. But also plenty of time for the NATO-GCC axis to keep denying the "Syrian people" the fateful decision over who should lead them out of this ghastly proxy war.

Notes: 1. North Atlantic Treaty Organization-Gulf Cooperation Council.
2. See here (in French).
3. Iran Outmaneuvers U.S. in the Syrian Proxy War, Bloomberg News, June 5, 2013.
4. The No-Plan Zone, Foreign Policy, June 5, 2013.


Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. He also wrote Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com.

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