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Russia walks back statement of rebel 'victory'

Posted By F. Michael Maloof On 12/22/2012 @ 8:00 pm In Front Page,World | No Comments

Editor’s Note: The following report is excerpted from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium online newsletter published by the founder of WND. Subscriptions are $99 a year or, for monthly trials, just $9.95 per month for credit card users, and provide instant access for the complete reports.

WASHINGTON – Contrary to previously published stories quoting a Russian official, informed sources in Damascus tell WND/G2Bulletin that the Russians are not abandoning embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, nor are they conceding victory to Syrian opposition forces, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

The issue of Russian concern about the survival of the al-Assad regime first arose when Russian Middle East envoy Mikhail Bodgnov said at a news conference that, “One must look the facts in the face … unfortunately, the victory of the Syrian opposition cannot be ruled out.”

He added the Syrian government was “losing control of more and more territory.”

Sources say that Bodgnov’s statement infuriated Russian diplomats in Damascus, and they were particularly outraged by comments made by U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland when she seemingly “lectured and insulted” the Russians.

She said, in “her arrogant language” that, “We want to commend the Russian government for finally waking up to the reality and acknowledging that the regime’s days are numbered.”

In Damascus, sources say, Nuland is viewed as expressing “pro-Zionist, anti-Syrian, (anti) Russian, (anti) Arab and (anti) Muslim views.”

In referring to comments from Russian diplomats in Damascus, the sources tell WND/G2Bulletin that Bodganov actually said nothing new and that Moscow would issue a “clarification.”

“Everyone knows that theoretically the foreign-backed rebels could win,” according to one Russian diplomat in Damascus.

“This is not new and is always a possibility during an uprising,” he said. “But Mrs. Nuland surely knows that the Syrian government has purposely pulled back from some rural areas where there is mainly open space in order to concentrate its forces to protect population centers.

“This is very basic military strategy and has been employed throughout history,” the Russian diplomat said. Referring to what he called a “strategic retreat or tactical redeployment,” the Russian diplomat said that “it is reprehensible for Western and Gulf media to use our Middle East envoy’s statement as a form of psychological warfare while deceiving the media.”

“Russia,” he added, “has not lessened its support for Syria and to think otherwise is yet another in the series on many miscalculations from Washington.”

Comments by the Russian diplomat in Damascus now have been reinforced by the Russian Foreign Ministry, which issued a statement saying: “We would like to remark that he (Bogdanov) has made no statements or special interviews with journalists in the last days. We once again confirm the principled Russian position about the lack of any alternative to a political solution in Syria.”

Sources say that the Russian diplomats in Damascus also were “totally dismissive” of comments made by the secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

In Brussels at NATO headquarters, Rasmussen said the al-Assad regime was “approaching collapse. I think now it is only a question of time.”

The WND/G2Bulletin source said that Russian and Syrian diplomats and politicians with whom he is in direct contact say that Rasmussen “has no credibility at all” following what they termed “lies” he gave following some 9,000 bombing missions in Libya that “protected the civilian population.”

The source, who also was in Libya at the time of the NATO bombings between March and October 21011, said that the main threat to Libya’s population when allied bombing was enforcing a no-fly zone “was from NATO.”

“NATO forces,” he said, rained indiscriminate death on the civilian population of Libya and according Russian President (then Dmitri Medvedev) “has condemned the U.S. and NATO for deceiving Russia and the international community regarding its true aims.”

The source said that Russian diplomats in Damascus now are concerned about the “same deceptions” in Syria.

He added that a “majority of the (Syrian) population” supports the al-Assad government, which continues to back the April 2012 Geneva Proposals for a transitional government “resulting from dialogue” leading up to the 2014 election which would be open to all candidates. They favor letting the Syrian people choose at the ballot box the next president whoever that may be.

Al-Assad already has indicated that he will not be a candidate in 2014, if he remains in power until then.

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