Peter Ford: Former UK Ambassador To Syria Corrects The Record.

By Jerry Alatalo

“Take my word for it, if you had seen but one day of war you would pray to Almighty God that you might never see such a thing again.”

ARTHUR WELLESLEY, DUKE OF WELLINGTON (1769-1852) British military leader, statesman

aaa-31Alphabet Mr. Peter Ford was the United Kingdom’s ambassador to Syria from 2003-2006. His view of the six-year long war in that nation directly contradicts the media reporting and narratives from the western countries of the United States, UK, France, Israel and others. Ambassador Ford gave an interview recently to Iranian media group Press TV, on their program titled “Face to Face”.

Early on in the interview, Mr. Ford talked about his experience while living in Syria where his residence came under attack by a group of jihadis, during which his Syrian police guard lost his life. This would seem to solidify for any skeptics his qualifications to speak with authority and seriousness about conditions in Syria.

He clears up any misunderstanding of, or misinformation about, so-called Alawite domination in Bashar al Assad’s (Assad is an Alawite) government by naming high-level Sunni government officials he dealt with as ambassador.

He goes on to correct the record on the false narrative that initial protests in 2011 were peaceful. He says the so-called “revolution” begun in 2011 was not peaceful “but for the first five minutes”, and that “…very, very quickly armed men came on the streets, and shot demonstrators precisely to provoke these kinds of reactions that we’ve just been discussing”.

“Syrian colleagues of mine who live in Daraa have told me this. I can’t put my hand in the fire and say that this is the truth, but to me it has the ring of truth”.

“I’m not saying that the Syrian government didn’t make tactical errors, didn’t overreact, but this myth that it was all very peaceful, that people had to arm themselves in order to defend themselves against the brutal regime, is nonsense and propaganda”.

The interviewer asked Mr. Ford for his thoughts on the West role in the Syria conflict.

“After the Iraq fiasco public opinion would not wear another western military direct intervention other than in the shape of bombing as happened in Libya. So Washington, London and Paris were unable to carry through on their wishes to depose the Assad government by force. They went for the next best thing – they provided offshore help. This is another myth, however – that the West has not provided military, not had a military role, in Syria. It has very much provided military advice, training, equipment, strategic advice, manipulation; it’s operated rear bases for the opposition in Turkey and in Jordan”.

“It is a myth that America, in particular the Obama administration, did not intervene militarily… It did – to the tune of billions of dollars of materials and training and other forms of assistance”.

Asked about the level of support Syrians had for Assad, Peter Ford replied:

“It (the government under Assad) certainly has the support of the minorities, even though in the West we try to hide this fact, but the Christians, the Druze, the Shiites, the Alawites obviously, and a very high proportion of secular Sunnis”.

On western and Arab media accusations of Assad being a war criminal:

“A lot of this is straightforward disinformation and propaganda. Let us look at the facts. It’s often quoted that 400,000 or even half a million people have been killed by the regime. Not true. At least half of that number are fighters – on both sides. Half of that half are civilians, again on both sides”.

On claims that Bashar al Assad is collaborating with ISIS:

“It’s a shameful lie. When you look at the daily news, today I could point to half a dozen reports – Palmyra, Deir ez-Zor, Homs.. – where fighting is going on government against ISIS”.

“I give a hollow laugh when I sometimes hear commentators say ‘Assad can’t be a good partner for us against ISIS’. On the contrary, Syria is suffering daily hundreds of casualties at the hands of ISIS. In the West, we might have one in Britain. We haven’t even experienced a single ISIS attack. I think Assad would have every right to ask whether the West is a good partner for him in the fight against ISIS”.

On the roles of Russia and Iran in the conflict:

“Well, thank goodness Russia and Iran have stood behind the government. There was a point a couple of years ago when ISIS were at the gates of Damascus, and it was only the combined efforts of Iran, Hezbollah, Russians with the Syrian Arab Army that managed to turn the tide. So, the people who criticize Iran and Russia need to answer the question: ‘Did you want the jihadis to take over control of Damascus?’ You can’t take down the regime without having something better to put in its place”.

“If the Assad government were to fall… there would be a bloodbath”.

On claims Iran is trying to make Syria Shia, and recreate the Persian Empire:

“I think all those accusations are just fantasy and paranoia. You have only to look at the demographics. …They don’t make sense”.

Asked what he thought of media coverage of the war:

“With the recent Aleppo campaign, we’ve seen new depths plunged in the mainstream media coverage of the Syria conflict. The amount of manipulation, fake news, distortion, lies that were put out was amazing. They (UK media) take whatever they are fed by the foreign ministry or Number 10, as simple as that. I’ve seen it happen many times. When I was in government – remember I used to be in government, I know how it works – you give the story to the journalists, especially lobby correspondents who rely on the availability and access to civilian government officials, and they regurgitate it”.

“It actually takes a bit of thought and independence of mind to realize that the government story is totally wrong, and I’m afraid most of our newspapers don’t have this. Some newspapers have a liberal interventionist mindset, of course. They think that Britain and the West should be ready to bomb in the interests of installing democracy in places”.

“And then there’s the influence of Israel on some parts of the British press. It’s really no secret that Israel would like to keep the fires burning in Syria”.

What would happen were Assad to step down?

“He is the key ingredient of peace, because he’s the only person around which the regime can group. He is the key stone of the arch. Take him out and the arch will collapse. There would be tremendous in-fighting were he to go. But, he commands legitimacy because he has prevailed in six years of conflict”.

***

What former ambassador Peter Ford has said becomes particularly important given his stature and credentials, knowledge of Syria, and experience accrued with his former high level diplomatic position/service inside the British government. If his statements are honest and accurate the need for prosecuting those guilty of war crimes becomes raised. Mr. Ford’s statements seem clearly to illustrate the prospect that ISIS, al Nusra and other terrorist militias conducting killing, maiming and destroying in Syria since 2011 have received state sponsorship.

For the world community and humanity as a whole, the statements of Mr. Ford and others like him speaking the truth represent or exemplify one of the great legal challenges – perhaps the greatest – to maintaining any existing enforcement of strong and effective, deterring international law. How the world community responds to yet another horrific instance of war criminality and/or illegal war of aggression carried out with impunity will have long-term consequences.

Another failure to hold accountable those responsible for war crimes will increase the possibility of future horrors. Justly punishing today’s war criminals is necessary to deter those contemplating similar atrocities in the days, years and generations ahead.

World peace is possible.

***

(Thank you to Press TV News Videos at YouTube)

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8 thoughts on “Peter Ford: Former UK Ambassador To Syria Corrects The Record.

    1. Stuart,
      How are you. Human beings seem to have this innate/built-in tool which instructs them how to speak and act – a conscience – which Mr. Ford has utilized. Some act upon their consciences like Mr. Ford, while others choose to remain silent in the face of clear, tremendously harmful, immoral and criminal behaviors. His choice to speak out may (more probably a certainty) have come after weighing the options and preferring to keep that conscience clear, even more importantly to end illegal wars. Thank you.

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  1. Excellent post Jerry; this interview is a great find, and an extremely valuable counterweight to the prevailing disinformation campaign; to the cruelly indifferent deep-state covert agendas that have been shaping this colossally insidious crisis ~ going back something like ten years now….or even longer, if we take into account the bigger story.

    We know that it is almost impossible to ascribe exemplary virtue to any prominent agents within these Middle-eastern regimes; but Western involvement, indeed its consciously deliberate incitement to violence through sinister NATO agendas, has certainly dictated the terms of engagement for at least the past six years at least ~ altogether a repugnant disgrace and shameful legacy.

    It is especially damaging, because those who must now inherit the disastrous consequences of this lethal PNAC-inspired Obama-Clinton misadventure ~ rolled out like a gargantuan Hollywood nightmare, for close to a decade ~ are neither equipped nor in any way enlightened enough to rectify this desperate situation.

    I say shame! ~ shame to the vain recipient of that spurious Nobel ‘prize for peace’ and shame to his “qualified & trusted” colleagues & aides. These myopic degenerates are nothing but pious imposters, who have bestowed upon an already bleeding & broken world even more pain from their horrifically engineered, blatant war-crimes ~ together with a refugee crisis that will never abate, that has already virtually wrecked Europe.

    Perhaps Hannah Arendt’s searing insight needs to be recalled more often. We need a whole new vocabulary.

    The blinkered iniquity and sheer stupidity of it all simply beggars belief.

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    1. David,
      Thank you for your always thoughtful and articulate comments. At some point – and one senses it’s coming very, very soon – the human race will demand a true remedy to the historic situation which allows war criminals to persist in their devastating and terribly painful crimes, carried out without fear of punishment. It’s amazingly disappointing – as you note, it beggars belief – to observe so-called leaders, many in the later stage of life, holding on to thoughts of aggressive war – what should be a relic of some distant past by now – instead of focusing all of their efforts toward good results now and leaving a peaceful world for future generations. On the positive, current conditions are conducive for generating a higher and more powerful form of communication to match or prevail over the serious problems of the times. Keeping the faith, David.

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      1. Thanks for your morally irrefutable response Jerry. War is a horrendous demon to grapple with at any time in any way. Conflict and struggle are so intrinsic to life itself, it is just shocking how those who are often most eager to promote violence, do not have to face the consequences of their securely delegated aggressions & precocious criminal conceits, exercised virtually anonymously, with privileged, bunkered, civilian immunity.

        Moreover, given the systems of administrative control that prevail, it is more often those who inherit the mess, that find themselves perpetuating the inevitability of its prolongation….so better by far to listen to those who have real knowledge, who are seasoned and wise.

        It is of profound & salient concern, I would suggest, that the deeper metaphysical interpretation of Great Jihad has been so conveniently corrupted and trivialized into total irrelevance in this ‘profitable’ clash of civilizations ~ a clash moreover largely contrived by intellectual sleight of hand, born of controversial partisan loyalties and largely cynical, historicist prejudice.

        Incomplete knowledge is such a dangerous, blunt weapon. We may never know enough, but we should, at the very least, strive to overcome our prejudice and be courageous enough to concede a necessary willingness to be inclusive ~ cognitively perspicuous; at any rate, that is all I can condone and encourage with any measure of confidence at this time, that Professor Chomsky for example, now characterizes as unprecedented in all of known history.

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        1. David,
          Perspicuous: “Clear in statement or expression; easily understood; lucid…” 🙂 Had to look it up (again) in the dictionary, but perspicuous is a great, great word that might always be kept in mind when communicating. While understanding the idea that those who commit war crimes with impunity (no consequences) seem to have historically “gotten away with it”, from the spiritual perspective such might not be the reality. Taking for example the near death experience aspect that people describe after returning of the “life review”, those souls feel what the person they hurt felt during points along their lifetimes. So, while on the surface they may seem to have escaped true justice, the time comes after leaving this Earth where every soul without exception will face their own – inescapable – “final judgment”.

          Of course holding such a belief is a matter of personal experience, yet mentioning that aspect of reality is not meant to subtract from the necessity of right action to stop Earthly war crimes now and forever more. Some are reticent of bringing such spiritual concepts into discussions which pertain to events on this planet, yet it seems that dimension is quite possibly the “missing piece of the puzzle” when it comes to dealing (truthfully and effectively) with humanity’s great and historic problems. The paradox is that those who travel the spiritual road the furthest possible lengths face physical harm in doing so, with history books recounting the lives of men and women who’ve died for their faiths or beliefs.

          It’s getting a little “heavy” here, so with humorous intent perhaps it’s better to step back from the “messianic complex” territory entered. 🙂 Yet in all honesty one admits the “life review” described by a mathematically significant percentage of near death experiencers is representative of ultimate reality, the inevitable destiny of every soul, and the highest spiritual revelation thus far in the history of the Earth. Once that spiritual wisdom becomes understood globally, human beings who might have carried out war crimes or otherwise harmful-to-others actions will choose not to, because the acquired wisdom makes harming others an impossibility. A man or woman could write books on these concepts. And man, have they written the books… Thanks, David.

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