Mimi al-Haram (aka 'Syrian Girl')'s shows a very thorough understanding of the conflicts within and from outside Syria and an ability to transmit the complexity in ways that make it possible for most of us to quickly grasp the issues. Her new video, embedded inside this candobetter.net article, explains just how unreasonable, dishonest and merciless the US-NATO policy is towards Syria and the Syrian people. If the Syrians or the Russians had responded in kind to America's acts of aggression on the last day of the ceasefire of the third week of September 2016, it is not hard to see how this action could be taken by the US and its allies to escalate the conflict much further, even to the point of an all-out nuclear war.
Australians need to go outside mainstream press to avoid more war
Australians need to become interested in the war in Syria independently of what they are presented by the mass media. They need to become critical of their government and opposition's support for US-NATO intervention in Syria because that intervention is uninvited, illegal and dangerous - dangerous to Syria and risky for world peace. They should be utterly shocked that members of the Australian Air Force assisted in the US air attack on the Syrian Army at Deir ez-Zor. They need to take note of the obvious contradiction between a so-called 'fight for democracy' and Australia's support of numerous fundamentalist (takfiri) gangs and see this for the war propaganda that it is. The so-called 'refugee movement' needs to ask itself why, if Bashar al-Assad is such a hateful dictator, his army, which is majority Sunni, has not revolted. We need to question the idea that Syrian refugees are running from the Syrian government. No, the majority of Syrians have run to the Syrian government, which currently provides the only safe havens for displaced persons in the country. With the assistance of a de-corticated mass-media we are being conned by a bunch of neo-cons who only want to control access to all the resources in the region, including Russia's.
How did we let the anti-war movement die?
Back in 2003, Australia had the largest anti-war marches since the Vietnam war. This mass movement obviously failed to stop Australia's entry into the Iraq war in 2003 and has since dissipated to almost nothing. How this occurred should be the subject of an investigation. In the meantime, many Australians who were so well informed about the Iraq war have since failed to understand anything about subsequent wars against Libya, East Ukraine and now the wars against Syria and Yemen. We need to refocus on the anti-war movement and get specific about the current wars.
The US elections, war and the Middle East - what Australians should know
The wars in the Middle East are not just some unfortunate side-show. They could well lead to nuclear conflict, something that has been relatively unimaginable since the Bay of Pigs episode during John Fitzgerald Kennedy's presidency. China, India, Pakistan, and North Korea's nuclear weapons are minor concerns compared to the country most likely to start a nuclear war, and the one with the most nuclear weapons - enough to blow the world up - the United States. Because of this, most people who are actually watching the events in Syria and her region as they play out between US-NATO and the rest, hope for a change of regime in the United States, away from the current 'hawk-like' (warlike) one we have. If elected to president, Hilary Clinton intends to continue the dangerously provocative foreign policies she pursued as foreign secretary to Obama. Trump, for all his entrepreneurial brashness, has suggested that the United States does not need to continue to 'police' the world and might seek commonalities with her current enemies, rather than pick fights over differences.
All media should demand detailed public debates between hostile leaders
James Sinnamon, the founder of this website, candobetter.net, has suggested that where world leaders have differences that cause them to want to start wars, they first should debate those differences publicly with each other, and the press should transmit those debates and examine them critically. The Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have shown themselves willing to submit themselves and their policies to thorough scrutiny, even by hostile news media.  In comparison, western leaders do not subject themselves anywhere near as much to detailed questioning and critical scrutiny. This needs to change. The people of the west and of those countries threatened by our leaders with war should have the right to require those hostile leaders to present themselves and their arguments for detailed scrutiny by the news media of the countries to which they are hostile. Today it is possible for anyone in the world with an internet connection to follow and publicly criticise such debates via a growing number of digitised international press alternatives. Russia, for instance, has RT, and Iran gives excellent coverage of the region as well as the rest of the world via Iranian Press TV. Both these digital stations have direct news transmission services as well as numerous interview programs in several languages. Notable interviewers on RT, for example, are Peter Lavelle, Afshin Rattansi, Oksana Boyko and Sophie Shevardnadze. Iranian Press TV also conducts interviews and has exceptionally lively and confronting debates in The Debate. Russian and Iranian internet TV give much greater coverage of the so-called 'developing' countries like Africa, South America, and India than the western media, because these reflect their region and their politics.
President Kennedy predicted the problem of media silence and the war industry
US President Kennedy (1961-1963) was very aware of the military industrial complex and its increasing demands for secrecy around the wars it urged upon the world. He felt that the press in his day was already too compliant with notions of national secrecy. Things have deteriorated since then. US President Obama during his term has delivered the harshest punishments on whistleblowers of any US president. Anticipating such problems, Kennedy said on April 27, 1961, in a speech at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York City:
"Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed--and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment-- the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution- -not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply "give the public what it wants"--but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.
This means greater coverage and analysis of international news--for it is no longer far away and foreign but close at hand and local. It means greater attention to improved understanding of the news as well as improved transmission. And it means, finally, that government at all levels, must meet its obligation to provide you with the fullest possible information outside the narrowest limits of national security--and we intend to do it."
 "Good News! Reconciliation, peace and return home of Syrian refugees in two Syrian locations due to Syrian Government efforts"
Prior to the war Syria hosted millions of refugees from other US-NATO interventions in the region, especially from Iraq. There is also a huge population of Palestinians in Syria since the creation of Israel. They have their own special status there, receiving free housing, education and health-care like Syrians. See Yamouk and the Palestinians in Syria - Article by Mo Salhi All these refugees, who are entirely the result of foreign interference in this region since before the first world war, with many changes of borders and renaming of countries there, have been placed in danger along with the Syrian-born population. "At the start of 2007 UNHCR estimated that the number of Iraqi refugees in Syria exceeded 1.2 million, a huge influx to a country with a population of. 18 million." (Source: Iraqi refugees in Syria, Forced Migration Review:
"Syria has offered Iraqi refugees care and assistance, and continues to do so, in spite of the limited nature of its material resources. At the start ofUNHCRestimatedthat the number of Iraqi refugees in Syria exceeded 1.2 million, a huge influx to a country with a population of million. This heavy number of arrivals hashad anextreme effecton all facets of life in Syria, particularly on the services which the state offers to citizens. There has been a sharp increase in the cost of livingandthe unexpected weightof numbers has had dramatic impacts on the infrastructure and the economy.
The sudden increase in the population has led to a rise in costs in all areas of life. The prices of foodstuffs and basic goods have gone up by 30%, property prices by 40%and rentals by 150%.
Water consumption has increased by 21%. The additional cost to the Syrian government of supplying Iraqi refugees with drinking water and sanitation alone came to$6.millionlast year. There are so many Iraqi refugees that they have become a burden on the labour market. In Syria’s unemployment rate was 18%.
The human health needs of the Iraqi arrivals are mounting, in particular among women, children and the elderly. The Syrian government is endeavouring, with whatresourcesithas, to meet their needs, including carrying out necessary surgical operations, health care interventions, vaccinations against epidemics andchildhoodimmunisations.
It should be noted that health services and medical care are free of charge in all government hospitals and public clinics.
This has led to a health care crisis and shortage of hospital beds. Teaching hospitals alone estimate the costs of treating Iraqi refugees in 2006 at approximately$163,000.The Syrian Red Crescent spent some $60,000 on providing treatment and surgery to around 730 Iraqis in 2006. There is a pressing need to equip two 200- bed hospitals and to set up clinics to supply the 1.2 million Iraqis with the necessary medicines and equipment.
Basic education in Syria is free and the cost of higher education is usually nominal. As a result there has been a steady rise in enrolment, leading to schoolandclassroomovercrowding which has adverse repercussions on equality of access to learning and education and on the health of students and teachers. Inability toabsorbmorepupils is likely to lead to a rise in school drop-out rates.
Accordingly there is a pressing need to enlarge the existing schools and build about 100 more schools, so that all these students can be assimilated in ordertopreventinstances of drop-out. The total cost is estimated at approximately $60 million.
According to UNHCR, the number of Iraqi refugee families in Syria without a breadwinner is estimated to be around 27%. The situation of female-headed households is grave.
The war in Iraq has resulted in new circumstances never previously common in Syria or Iraq. Conditions have forced some families to work in prostitution or toencouragetheir daughters to work in this field – something offensive to the customs of both Syrians and Iraqis.
Harsh living conditions have also led to the spread of child labour and increased drop-out rates. There is an insufficient provision of cultural and recreationalcentres,nursery schools and playgrounds. There is also an urgent need to provide appropriate care for the elderly and for the very large number of new arrivalswithdisabilities, more than a third of which are attributable to war injuries. There is a pressing need to support these disadvantaged families, and to create homesto carefor the victims of war and displacement, the elderly and children, particularly orphans and people with disabilities.
They need physical, mental and social support to prepare them for return to their original communities once the war has ended and conditions are stabilised.
Overcrowding and the reduced standard of living have brought about a rise in crime of more than 20% in areas with concentrations of Iraqi refugees. We are witnessing kindsof crimes previously unknown in either Iraq or Syria – kidnapping, ransom demands and blackmail, as well as the involvement of organised crime in prostitution, killingsand intimidation. In 2006 the Syrian police and security authorities thus had to spend an additional $15 million on maintaining law and order.
Conclusion Iraqi refugees constitute a numerically enormous mass of humanity in comparison to the number of the inhabitants of the region. Certain agencies estimate thatthe number of refugees in states neighbouring Iraq is greater than the total number of refugees in all the countries of the European Union. Syria’s economy and infrastructureare buckling under the great weight of the burden.
The relief and aid which Syria has offered to Iraqi refugees in its territory over the past two years (2005-06) alone has amounted to $162 million. In light of the continuing rise in incoming Iraqi refugee numbers, it is estimated that the cost of humanitarian, health and education support for Iraqi refugees over the next two years will exceed $256 million.
It is necessary, in our view, that the international community acknowledge the need to find political solutions to the crisis in Iraq the tragic reality that more than four million Iraqis have been displaced and strengthen the international relief effort required to meet the crisis the burdens thrust on neighbouring states the risk that any further deterioration in the situation will lead to even greater number of displaced people with implications for the entire region the urgent need to provide financial support to cover the cost of providing services to Iraqi refugees in Syria and also to build the capacities of governmental and non-governmental organisations such as the Syrian Red Crescent the need to provide necessary financing for UNHCR and other humanitarian agencies working to help migrants and refugees in the neighbouring countries the importance of offering assistance and funding to support the right of Iraqi refugees and migrants to return to their homes and creating appropriate circumstances for them to do so.
The Iraqi authorities and the foreign troops present on Iraqi territory must urgently shoulder responsibilities placed on them under international law to ensure protection, security and services to all residents of Iraq, including those groups that are weakest and most exposed to danger and persecution, such as the Palestinian refugees. "
"President Bashar al-Assad Interview: “The Refugee Crisis is Caused by Terrorism and Western Policies”""President Assad: The conflict has been, since the beginning of the crisis in Syria, about who wins the support of the people in Syria. Consequently, it doesn’t make sense for us to shell civilians if we want to win them to our side. This is in theory. Practically, while moving around in Syria, you will find that in any area under the control of the state, all sections of Syrian society, including the families of the militants, are being cared for by the state. What is more is that in a city like Raqqa, which is under the full control of Daesh (ISIS), the state continues to pay the salaries of employees and send vaccines for children. So, it doesn’t make sense for the state to shell civilians while doing all the above, unless we are talking about mistakes which happen in every battle. The general rule is that there are innocent victims in every war. This is a rule of thumb in wars, but this is definitely not the Syrian state’s policy.
Question 3: Mr. President, what do you say to those emigrating to Europe? Do you ask them to come back?
President Assad: I would like to ask every person who left Syria to come back. That’s natural but not enough. Emotions are not enough. They would ask: “why should I come back? Has terrorism stopped? Have the basic requirements for life been restored?” Many of those who have emigrated are neither against the Syrian state or with the terrorists, but sometimes there are circumstances which force people to emigrate. So, my answer to this question is: when terrorism recedes, and things are better, they will return of their own volition without any invitation. So, instead of asking these people to return, I’ll call on the European governments, which have been a direct cause for the emigration of these people, by giving cover to terrorists in the beginning, and through the sanctions imposed on Syria, to help in making the Syrians return to their country."
 It seems likely that some anti-war energy has been purposely diverted into disconnected pro-refugee movements by people funded by open-borders proponent George Soros (via his organisations, such as Open Societies Foundations) because these movements show almost no interest in the wars that drive the growing numbers of displaced people. This is despite Soros's investment in the weapons industry. We can also see the effect of Soros's ersatz socialism in the naive support of any movement in Syria branded as 'revolutionary' or 'rebel'. Because of their disconnect from the wider reality, these well-funded, almost exlusively refugee-focused movements, have proved a boon to the warmakers and their supporters in government and the opposition here in Australia, in Europe and the United States. They have not helped stem the tide of displaced people from Syria and the Middle East. Their naive support for takfiri 'rebels' is itself the major cause of displacement, death and suffering, destruction of infrastructure, and weakening of government services and protection. Our education system has a lot to answer for in its failure to teach Australians to question rather than to follow leaders.