General Farhat: ‘One can be suspicious about the real stance of NATO and the US towards ISIS and Al Qaeda’

19.10.2018 had honor to talk to General Elias Salim Farhat of Lebanese Army. General Farhat was Director of Information and Public Relations of Lebanese Army from 1996 to 2005.

General Farhat, thank you for your time and will to share your valuable knowledge and experience with us. Let’s start with Syria. How do you see it seven years after the imposed so-called ‘civil war’? Is it civil war, at all?

The modern history of Syria witnessed political instability from independence in 1947 until 1970. It was during this period that many coups took place, in addition to a union with Egypt that lasted from 1958 to 1961.

Under the late Hafez Al Asad (1970-2000), Syria witnessed political stability but it was interrupted in the late seventies and early eighties by armed mutiny of the Muslim Brotherhood in some parts in northern Syria, Homs, Hama, Idlib... The Syrian Armed Forces ended this rebellion In 1983.

Then the so-called ‘Arab spring’ started in Dec 2010 in Tunisia and expanded to Egypt before spreading to Yemen and Libya.

Syria, as of March 2011 was targeted by a fierce political, military, media, economic and diplomatic campaign. Many demonstrations were held by opposition parties in the country which were confronted by demonstrations by regime loyal parties. 

Soon the external interference appeared vigorously: the Arabs, Europeans, and the US all made one demand: the regime should fall. Yet the regime didn’t fall as was the case in Tunisia and Egypt. Foreign powers tried to divide the Army and created the “Free Syrian Army (FSA)” in June 2011. On the eve of 2012 it became clear that the FSA failed to overthrow the regime. Then a very dangerous decision was taken: the assistance of Al Qaeda to overthrow the regime.

Thus as of early 2012 Al Qaeda fighters entered Syria from Central Iraq and a month after from Turkey, a NATO member state. Suicide bombings began targetting civilians in many parts of the country. The Syrian side of the Turkish-Syrian borders was occupied by the Al Qaeda affiliated group called Al Nusra.

On the domestic level, yes there are political problems in Syria and there is a need for reform. But for external powers it was not an issue of reform, rather it was an issue of regime change by using Al Qaeda.

So NATO and GCC countries held several conferences named “Friends of Syria” which called for regime change . 

In terms of geopolitics this means that creating Anarchy in Syria will strengthen terrorist organizations in the Eastern Mediterranean and enable them to expand through Turkey to Russian Caucus. 

How does the situation in Syria affect Lebanon? On one side, there is Hezbollah, being officially invited by the Syrian government to help, on the other side, there is Israel which illegally uses Lebanese air space to attack Syria. The situation in the air changed after the Israelis shot down Il-20 a while ago and Russian MoD announced changes in the parameters for flying in the region of Mediterranean. How do you expect things to unfold? What does this mean for the liberation of Idlib?

Lebanon is in a state of war with Israel and does not recognize it nor does it have relations with it. Any communication with Israel takes place through the United Nations Observers and UNIFIL according to the Armistice agreement in 1949 and the UN Security Council resolutions 425 and 1701.

Israel drove Palestinians from their homeland in 1948 and still refuses to implement Resolution 194 which stipulates the right of the Palestinian refugees to return back home. Lebanon refuses to settle the refugees as Lebanese citizens and still considers them refugees and the UN takes responsibility for them through UNRWA, United Nations Relief and Working Agency.

Israel committed many aggressions against Lebanon, this includes the Litany Operation in 1978, the invasion of Lebanon in 1982 when it reached the capital Beirut and the 2006 war when destroyed 96 bridges and dozens of towns and villages. Hundred thousands of Lebanese and Palestinian refugees were killed and injured.

With respect to Syria it deployed its forces in many parts of Lebanon according to a resolution of the Arab Summit in 1976. Some of the Lebanese supported the deployment of Syrian Arab Army, while others opposed.

The Syrian war started in March 2011 as mutual demonstrations. As of the beginning of 2012 Al Qaeda affiliated group Al Nusra entered Syria from Turkey and soon occupied most of the Syrian side of the borders with Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon.

In April 2013 Hezbollah, with the permission of the Syrian government and in cooperation with the Syrian Arab Army, attacked Al Qaeda groups on the Syrian side of the borders in Western Homs, Alkosair and the Qalmoon mountains and pushed Al Qaeda from most of the borders. Hezbollah took part along with Iranians and Syrian National Forces in fighting Al Qaeda and ISIS (terrorist group defected from Al Qaeda) in many other parts in Syria.

The situation in Syria affects Lebanon. ISIS and Alqaeda committed 13 suicide attacks in Beirut suburbs and the Bekaa region with all suicide bombers coming from the neighboring border areas in Syria.

As to the downing of the Russian IL 20, the Russian military held the Israel Air Forces responsible because the Israeli planes hid behind the IL-20 as an ambush. The IL-20 was performing a task of observation and reconnaissance over the positions of Al Qaeda group in Idlib.

Russia equipped Syria with Anti-aircraft S-300 missiles thus changing the rules of engagement and depriving the Israeli Air Forces of freedom of flight in Syrian Airspace.

The US responded and equipped Israel with F35s which are the best war planes in the US. Recently the Pentagon grounded all the F35s after one of them crashed in South Carolina.

The liberation of Idlib is taking place under an agreement between presidents Putin and Erdogan in Sochi. If the terrorist groups do not give in to this agreement, then we can expect military operations by Russian and the Syrian Army with the aim of implementing the agreement by force.

USA is in the state of hysteria again, because of Russian S-300 being delivered to Syria and it has again announced actions against Russia. Having in mind that S-300 is a purely defensive weapon, which is deployed only after some attack, is there some reasonable explanation for that hysteria? 

As a response to downing the Russian IL-20, Russia surprised the US and Israel when it decided to equip Syria with S-300 and hence changed the rules. The US responded by sending more F35s to Israel. The US does not allow Syria to defend its territories and air space and wants to keep Israel superior and free to attack wherever and whenever it likes. Politically, this policy encouraged Israel to flee from the peace in the Middle East and to violate all international resolutions concerned with peace. The US resists any Russian attempt for a balance in the Middle East that would lead to a comprehensive peace and so far the US has not been serious in sponsoring the peace process.  

Would you agree that Western mainstream media became an important militant flank in non-armed conflicts around the world? There is information that the war in Syria started after false flag events and false media reports about Aleppo. Do you think there is some way to bring the media back into the framework they belong to or we can expect further media manipulations and info operations as Atlantists/Globalists’ power declines?  Or, to put it in another way: how important is mainstream media for Atlantists’ power and what would their power look like without MSM support?

Unfortunately, media is no longer committed to ethics and morals but rather to the party that funds the media outlets. Media receives fund from publicity. Publicity receives business orders from huge companies, banks and state institutions. Those funders have their own interests and seek to promote them. This includes strategy and politics, focusing on certain persons and issues while marginalizing others. So, the media should abide by the instructions and interests of the funders. I do not see any change in the media in the future. For example, the Saudi intelligence kidnapped three princes from Switzerland and France and brought them home illegally. The media did not shed light on this kidnapping. Only the British BBC aired a documentary about it. On the other hand take a look at the mystery of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi where almost all the media focused on this issue. This shows that it is not morals that drive the media but it is politics.   

Thanks to media, we also do not know what is going on with Lebanese PM, Hariri. What is going on with Mr Hariri? Where is he? What about Lebanese government and its activities?

Saad Hariri is now a designated prime minister; he is in the process of forming a new government following the recent parliamentary elections. He is negotiating with all the political factions in order to conclude a national unity government which meets the hopes of the Lebanese people in order to confront the challenges in the region.

What do you think about possible ways to resolve the dilemma with Mr Hariri? Who do you think is responsible for this mess and why do we have this mess with Mr Hariri? It has been ongoing for months now. Does it have to do with unexpected developments in the Middle East, which were not foreseen by the Western countries which started mayhem and destruction of old cultures in the Middle East? Does it have to do with the changes in the hierarchy within the ruling Saud family? Is it’s the case that the Saud family just obeys the orders from UK and US or does it sometimes act independently?

As I mentioned above, the dilemma lies in finding a formula which all parties accept. Former Prime Minister Tammam Salam waited ten months to form his government. Before, former Prime Minister Najib Mikati waited eight months as well. So Hariri is still within a normal time frame. According to the Lebanese Constitution there is no dead line for the designated Prime Minister to form the government. As for Saudi Arabia, it has influence and interests in Lebanon like many other regional and international powers. It has its own international relations.

Is it a surprise that the Saudis and Israelis announced cooperation and the development of their relations?

So far there has been no public meeting between Saudi  and Israeli officials. Meetings were held between Saudi researchers and former officials during think-tanks conferences. Prince Turkey Al Faisal and retired General Anwar Al- Ushki were among those who met Israeli researchers. We heard leaks about meetings between officials from both sides but it was not confirmed by either side.             

Again, the Saudis. But this time regarding Yemen. It looks like that Israelis and Saudis are well coordinated when it comes to committing any kind of atrocity. The Saudis did not show good military skills – actually they were embarrassed many times by Houthis’ guerilla methods. Who really fights in Yemen on behalf of Saudis?

In Yemen the Saudis formed an Arabic and Islamic coalition to fight the Houthis. Some Arab countries sent army corps such as the UAE and Sudan. The Saudi Air Forces is the main aerial power in the war, it conducted thousands of air sorties and raids on Yemen while Sudanese units are fighting in North Yemen and Southern Saudi Arabia. Other Arab and Muslim countries participation is symbolic.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

It is more and more obvious that the robust and nazi-like US Army is not able to fight any Middle Eastern war in the manner it intends. It appears that less armed and less trained guerilla or patriotic fighters can defeat those over-armed militaries. That is to say that motives are more important than weapons. Do you think that the US would prefer to wage another war in the Middle East rather than to just withdraw its troops and send them back home?

The US waged two wars: one in Afganistan in 2001 where its troops are still deployed to this very day, the other in Iraq in 2003 — from where the US officially withdrew its forces in 2012 but still has Army and Air Force units in several parts of the country. Recently many officials in the US administration and Congress declared no more boots on the ground. This means that the US does not wish to fight infantry battles which could lead to heavy human causalities as was the case in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Vietnam. Yet the US is resorting to air raids and cruise missiles attacks in the ongoing war in Syria. The US is also using its soft power, such as sanctions and controlling banking systems and currencies. 

It is more than obvious that the US administration, whether publicly or behind the scenes, wants war with Iran and that is what everyone in the US agrees on, no matter how deep their other differences are. In the last couple of months, they had been trying hard to create any kind of event or situation which could justify their interference in another country. The terrorist act in Ahvaz also leads to that conclusion.

During the days of former US presidents Bush and Obama, the Pentagon made numerous threats to attack Iran. Sometimes they would say that a plan to strike Iran is on the table, other times they would send airplanes carriers and destroyers to the Gulf as a threat to Iran. So far it does not seem that the US is serious in waging a war against Iran. Any form of military operations with Iran will involve a closure of the strait of Hormuz which means stopping the flow of 40% of oil to the international markets and a sudden rise in the price of oil, which in turn inflicts harm on the international economy. In addition, some US allies such as Israel and Gulf countries will suffer fatal collateral damage. Because of that, the US is using sanctions, especially after withdrawal from the Nuclear Agreement  known as JCPOA. Maybe, the terrorist attacks in Ahvaz, and before that in Tehran and Baluchistan, could be considered kind of war against Iran.

Do you think that IAEA will send its crew to Israel to inspect its nuclear facilities? There are rumours from various officials from various parts of the world, about Israelis possessing at least 200 nuclear war heads all pointed at Iran. Do you think those rumours are based on some reliable information? Even Netanyahu was not able to deny the claims in some recent media appearances.

It is no secret that Israel possesses nuclear weapons.The number 200 is old and now leaks reveal that the number is about 500 nuclear war heads. Israel  conducted a nuclear explosion experiment in South Africa during the rule of its former Apartheid regime ally. Israel is also not a signatory state to the NPT (Non- proliferation Treaty).Thus, the IAEA could not inspect a non-signatory country.

Another important issue is connected to US officials having close and open ties to terrorists. Late US senator McCain is well known for his secret trips to Syria in 2013 and meeting with Al Baghdadi, Abu Mussa, Mohammad Nour and other ISIS terrorists. This is obvious and out in the open – does it make the USA a rogue state? What does this cooperation say about the legitimacy of US officials? Who are they, actually?

Late Senator McCain and former Senator Joe Libermann visited Syria and met what those named as rebels. But images in the media showed that they were fundamentalist militants. Some people say that they were members of the Al Qaeda affiliated group Al Nusra and after that they defected to ISIS. Any way the US State department labeled Al Nusra as a terrorist organization.

Yet Al Qaeda and ISIS are not only sleeper cells. In Syria and Iraq they are armies, deployed in a vast area and need logistic support and command and control systems which only can be provided by state governments. Since the area of deployment of Al Qaeda and ISIS is in border with Turkey, a NATO member state, one can be suspicious about the real stance of NATO and the US towards ISIS and Al Qaeda.   

In taking a look at the occupied Golan Heights, which officially belongs to Syria, we can realize that there are efforts to alter the reality and somehow give away the Golan to the Israelis. Actually it was revealed a while ago that the company “Genie Energie” got concessions for oil in the Golan. By chance or not, those who have their interests in Genie Energie are the ex-US officials from the Carlyle Group which profits from weapons sales. The other curiosity is that the same US officials involved in Genie Oil and Carlyle Group are the same ones who are the authors of so-called ‘Project for New American Century’ (PNAC), which includes Bush family members, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Cheney, John Bolton, Lockheed Martin lobbyists, etc. The PNAC was officially dissolved in 2006, but they obviously transferred their activities to some other bodies and institutions. What will happen regarding the Golan Heights therefore, in light of all these factors?

No matter what those people and parties do, the Golan heights is still part of Syria in spite of Israeli occupation since 1967. According to UN SC Resolution 242,  Israel should withdraw from occupied lands in the recent conflict. Thus, according to international law Golan is Syrian. Any occupation of these territories is illegal and the Americans who are planning to do business in an occupied land are violating international law.

These days, the Druze community from Golan expressed their support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It looks like Israel only enjoys the support of oil and arms producers lobbies from the West. The various ethnic and religious groups in Golan are all in line with official Syrian state policy. Are they all in danger from Israeli, US and UK mercenaries? Does the presence of Russian Military Police in the Golan changes situation?

The Druze in Golan heights are Syrian citizens living in their home towns. They are free to support their state and their president. All the Israeli pressure did not change their position and they remained committed to their state and nation.

In the Golan there is no room for mercenaries loyal to a foreign power.

And, speaking of US – would you say that there are deep divisions in US society or it is just the artificial clash between the two political sides - meaning that when it comes to war all the divisions stop. Do you think that the USA as a state would survive without waging wars?

The US administration, the American society and the bipartisan political system are no longer interested in wars. It will cost lots of money and cause new taxes and less welfare benefits. This is why the US is resorting to soft power. Look how they use this power with Russia, China and even their allies in Europe.

Many experts claim that US’ domination over the world is finished. Would you agree?

No it isn’t  finished yet. The US is still a super power, but we are witnessing the emergence of other super powers. Russia is emerging as a military superpower and China as an economic one. The ultimate goal is to reach a balanced world with no domination of any power and where international law only would prevail.

What about British domination?

Britain is no longer a super power. The colonial history is over. After Brexit, many problems will appear in British politics and the British economy. Britain will stay as an annex to the US.

One more important issue is security in Europe? Both France and Germany are under heavy US influence – or more precise, Germany has been occupied by the US since the end of WW2. The same goes for France after the death of General De Gaulle. These developments also make the European Union a US pawn, which now depends on both the UK which left the EU, and the US which wants to further control the EU. We witness the attempt to dismantle all European countries in order to create United States of Europe. On the other hand, European peoples are not happy with this. What should Europe be prepared for?

Europe will never be a United States, European people are native citizens and sons and daughters of the land. In America, the European settlers created their United States, but it is impossible in their home Europe. Every nation has its own history and glories in arts, literature, music, technology and philosophy. It is impossible to isolate people from their culture.

The current problem in Europe is the rise of the right which in some countries developed into a new Nazism and Facism. This extremism constitutes a great danger to Europe and could cause a new war that may destroy the European civilization.

The territory of the EU members is used as NATO territory. The announcement of the deployment of 40 000 NATO troops along Russian borders and claiming that it is purely defensive – what is defensive in that?  This statement may cause serious doubts in the mental well-being of those making such claims. Is this additional proof that Western ruling gangs simply lost their minds?

The US is trying to confront Russia through NATO and by deploying land forces in the neighboring countries. The missile shield radar system is a military measure against Russia and could soon cause international tension. Furthermore a new dispute is rising in the North Pole where the NATO and Russia are rivals in deploying warning centers and more. This could bring about friction between the two powers.

Do you think that the anti-imperial alliance from the Syrian war (SAA, Hezbollah, Russia, Iran) may be a good example on how to continue to confront more deranged and sick plans from the West? Can the emergence of multi-polar cooperation in the Middle East be a good starting point for the rest of the world?

Syria, Iran, Russia and the non-state actor Hezbollah are united against Al Qaeda and ISIS. Both terrorist organizations and their offshoots aim at destroying  the structure of states, societies and institutions in all mentioned countries. These organizations  are in the offensive and the countries are still in the defensive mode. We may consider that these terrorist organizations are serving the interests of the West in destabilizing the Middle East and the Caucus region, Central Asia and Xieng Xiang in Northern China. It seems the war against terror is still ongoing given the masses of Al Qaeda and ISIS in Northern Afghanistan and their expansion towards Central Asia countries, especially Uzbekstan and Tajikstan. To confront this huge offensive there should be more coordination and cooperation between all countries under threat.

With Russia in Eastern and Central Asia, China in Africa and the increasing importance of Iran in ME region – how can the balance of power change in the future? Is it possible that activities of those countries can be of crucial importance to avoid dragging the world into a global war?

The presence of China in Africa evolves mainly around economic development and investments, which is vital for the development of the African countries that the West left it tatters, despite the Wests focusing on coke, diamonds and recently Uranium in the African continent. The Western powers did not invest in people and human resources. Russia for its part is offering business in energy and infrastructure. It is too early to witness a change in balance of power. The US dollar still dominates the world economy and finance. Until we see a new financial center other than New York and a new currency used in international trade, the US will stay superior.