A new feature from Iran gives a totally different perspective of the war raging in Syria than Western audiences are used to, explains Rick Sterling.
By Rick Sterling Special to Consortium News
West against East on the Syrian battle-field, in the newspapers and now on film: A new, full-length action movie, titled “Damascus Time,” gives an Iranian perspective on the battle against ISIS in Syria.
The movie comes from Iranian screenwriter and film director Ebrahim Hatamikia. Two award-winning Iranian actors, Hadi Hejazifar and Babak Hamidian, play father and son pilots trying to rescue civilians besieged and attacked by ISIS forces in eastern Syria. The pilots have come to help the townspeople escape in an aging Ilyushin cargo plane.
Syrian and Iraqi actors play Syrian civilians and ISIS terrorists hell bent on blowing up the plane or using it on a suicide mission against Damascus.
The movie portrays sensational scenes from real ISIS atrocities with a backdrop showing the Syrian desert and famous ruins of Palmyra. The city where civilians are surrounded and besieged is similar to the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor, which was surrounded and attacked by ISIS for years. During that time, the townspeople and soldiers depended on air-dropped food and ammunition to hold off the attackers, as shown in the movie.
“Damascus Time”’s starkly sensational scenes are drawn from real ISIS atrocities. The jihadists display a human side, but they are wrapped in sectarianism, hate and violence.
Life’s complexities are demonstrated in the younger of the two Iranian pilots who has left his pregnant wife to be with his father. The mother-in-law of the young pilot bitterly criticizes him for leaving his wife. He tells her it will be his last trip.
While the story is fiction, what it portrays is all too real: Hundreds of thousands of real Syrians and Iraqis have been killed by the unleashing of the ISIS Frankenstein. Ironically, American leaders criticize Iran for being the “leading state sponsor of terrorism.” But in the Syrian war, Iran has been combatting it. Iran is more tolerant than most Westerners think too, as indeed Islam is. How many know for instance that Jews are represented in the Iranian parliament?
In reality, the U.S. and UK have allied for decades with extremists for short-term political gain. As documented in “Devil’s Game: How the U.S. Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam,”by Robert Dreyfuss, Britain and the U.S. promoted a violent and sectarian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood to undermine the nationalist and socialist policies of Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt. Starting in 1979, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia promoted the founders of what became Al Qaeda to attack the socialist-leaning government of Afghanistan.
This policy has continued to the present. In the summer of 2012, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency outlined their strategy in a secret document : “THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR).”The U.S. looked favorably on what the document predicts will be the creation of the “Islamic State”: “THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME…”.
Then, in a leaked audio conversation with Syrian opposition figures in September 2016, then Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S., rather than seriously fight Islamic State in Syria, was ready to use the growing strength of the jihadists to pressure Assad to resign, just as outlined in the DIA document.
“We know that this was growing, we were watching, we saw that Daesh [a derisive name for Islamic State] was growing in strength, and we thought Assad was threatened,” Kerry said. “We thought however we could probably manage that Assad might then negotiate, but instead of negotiating he got Putin to support him.”
Russia began its military intervention in late September 2015 without the United States, with the Kremlin’s motives made abundantly clear by Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials. But such clear explanations are rarely reported clearly by Western corporate media, which instead peddles the line from officials and think tanks that Russia is trying to recover lost imperial glory in the Middle East.
But Kerry knew why Russia intervened. “The reason Russia came in is because ISIL [another acronym for Islamic State] was getting stronger, Daesh was threatening the possibility of going to Damascus, and that’s why Russia came in because they didn’t want a Daesh government and they supported Assad,” he said in the leaked discussion. Kerry’s comment suggests that the U.S. was willing to risk Islamic State and its jihadist allies gaining power in order to oust Assad.
The Biggest Sponsors
The true “state sponsor of terrorism” is not Iran; it is the West and their allies. Since Iran has been fighting ISIS and other extremists in Syria, it is appropriate that the first feature length movie depicting that battle against terrorism and ISIS comes from Iran.
Hundreds of Iranians have given their lives alongside their Syrian and Iraqi comrades. “Damascus Time” is not the product of Hollywood fantasy; it’s the product of actual human drama and conflict occurring in the Middle East today. “Damascus Time” is fictional but based on a real conflict with actual blood, atrocities, tragedies and martyrs.
The movie is currently being shown at cinemas throughout Iran. In recent weeks it was the second highest ranking movie. A trailer of the film can be viewed here. It should be available for viewing in the West in the near future, unless western sanctions and censorship are extended to culture.
Rick Sterling is an investigative journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
He can be contacted at [email protected]
Interesting how the UK, one of the early promoters of radical Islam for her own materialistic gains in recent history, is now so overrun by Muslim immigrants that people are worried she’ll eventually become a Muslim country.
Talk about karma. :)
I’m agreed with the point you make about the IRI combatting one of the most reactionary outfits of religious fundamentalism namely the ISIS, but it should not be ignored that some of the shiite forces from Iran and Iraq in particular represent a sort of (anti-sunni) sectarian force themselves liable to violate the human rights of sunni civilians.
It is also right to say that Russia in contrast to the USA and their European and regional proxies has intervened in Syria (on the legal basis of having been invited by the perhaps not legitim but certainly legal Baathi government) in order to combat ISIS. However this in itself does not necessarily mean that Russia is not defending some geopolitical interests in Syria (namely the safety of its maritim basis there). It should perhaps be added that Russia has a very good reason to fight islamic reactionary extremism since there are a lot of citizens if the RF who are muslims (not only in Chechenya).
The Zionist control of America has resulted in the US becoming a menace to world peace. Yes, the Obama admin (with the enthusiastic participation of Hillary and John Kerry) did create the jihadist movement that morphed into ISIS. That this atrocious fact has been concealed from the public by the mainstream media is full confirmation that that media is entirely owned and controlled by Zionist Jewish interests. How much longer will this madness continue?
What impresses me here, if the movie trailer is any indication, is others can make Hollywood-like action films (and good trailers to promote them).
What Mr. Sterling leaves out is that Iran also supported the fight against jihadists in Iraq. Assad was more than willing to use the jihadists from inside and outside of Syria to undermine the US invasion of Iraq. Syria served as the launching point for jihadists filing into Iraq to fight the US occupation (supported by the Assad regime). These were the same jihadists Assad is fighting in Syria today. Under the leadership of al-Zarqawi, al-Qaeda helped foment a civil war in Iraq by bombing Shia Mosques, murdering Shia civilians and executing resistant Sunnis. Assad has blood on his hands in Iraq in the exact same sense that the US, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries are accused of fomenting a “civil” conflict in Syria.
Bashir Assad also was very likely involved in a second important event which only exacerbated the Sunni – Shia divide in Lebanon and Syria – the murder of Rafik Hariri, the former Prime Minister of Lebanon. Hariri was a popular Sunni leader that opposed Syrian troops in Lebanon. He was murdered in a car bomb. Four Hezbollah operatives have been indicted by the ICJ. It’s extremely unlikely the Hezbollah operatives operated alone – and certainly not without the knowledge and/or consent of Assad. Under international pressure, Assad removed his troops from Lebanon. The US cut off diplomatic relations with Assad after the bombing.
Both of the above decisions came back to haunt the Assad regime.
Russia has other motives for preserving the Assad regime. First of all, Russia’s only Middle East Naval facility is in Syria. That is a key military facility to preserve for Russia. That would potentially represent a big loss to Russia if the Assad regime was overthrown. Russia isn’t fighting the jihadists in Libya for a reason – no Russian military complex! Furthermore, the Medvedev Doctrine outlines very clearly an additional motive for the Russian intervention in Syria: challenging the US on the world stage and revitalizing a multipolar world similar to cold war conditions:
Second point in the Medvedev Doctrine:
There is no evidence to support Israeli-Saudi-U.S. Axis claims that the Syrian government aided the Iraqi insurgency.
Syria strongly opposed the occupation of Iraq in 2003, stressing the necessity to maintain the independence of Iraq and support its political process, demanding a time table for the withdrawal of the foreign troops from Iraq. Syria has also played the host for more than 2 million Iraqis, providing refuge for them.
Syria and Iraq formally ended more than twenty years of diplomatic estrangement, when Syria’s foreign minister, Walid Muallem, visited Iraq in 2006, which was the first such meeting since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Ambassadors were established later in 2006.
On 23 August 2009 the Iraqi government aired a taped conversation allegedly linking two members of the Syria-based Iraqi Ba’athist movement, Sattam Farhan and Mohammed Younis al-Ahmed, with the August 2009 Baghdad bombings which claimed more than 100 lives. The Syrian foreign ministry denied Syrian involvement in the attack. On 25 August Iraq summoned its ambassador to return from Syria, the Syrian government issued a similar order to its ambassador within hours in retaliation. Responsibility for the attack was later claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq.
Iraq is one of the governments who have shown support for the Syrian government in its battle with terrorist forces backed by the Israeli-Saudi-U.S. Axis.
Iraq has maintained its embassy in Syria, while many others have closed. In March 2012, local lawmakers in Iraq’s Dohuk province voted to open camp for refugees from Syria. Although some of Iraq’s Shiite clerics refused to give support to Assad, and Muqtada al-Sadr called on the Syrian president to step down from power, Iraq remains one of the few remaining Arab countries which support the Syrian government, and has abstained from voting to expel Syria from the Arab League.
Syria and Iraq have closely cooperated with each other against ISIL.
Iraq being a part of the Russia–Syria–Iran–Iraq coalition. The coalition was formed as a consequence of an agreement reached at the end of September 2015 between Russia, Iran, Iraq and Syria to “help and cooperate in collecting information about the terrorist Daesh group (ISIL) to combat the advances of the group, according to the statement issued by the Iraqi Joint Operations Command.
Since 2016, Iraqi volunteers have been fighting alongside the SAA, and their forces have met on the Iraqi-Syrian border crossing.
In February 2017, Iraq conducted its first airstrike against ISIL targets in Syria, which was performed in coordination with the Syrian government. In July 2017, Iraq, alongside with Iran, signed an agreement to boost military cooperation with Syria.
I agree that Iraq has supported Assad in their war against ISIS, but after the Iraq invasion Assad had different ideas. According to London Review of Books (Peter Neumann; https://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n… via @LRB):
According to Middle East Eye (Iraq asked Syria’s Assad to stop aiding ‘jihadists’: Former officialhttps://shar.es/1PG0Hx via @MiddleEastEye):
And according to the New York Times (“Syrian Rebels Tied to Al Qaeda Play Key Role in War”, December 8, 2012):
According to Mathew Leavit at the Middle East forum (Syria’s Financial Support for Jihad | Middle East Forum https://www.meforum.org/articles/2010/syria-s-financial-support-for-jihad#.Wv9-4XGFb-U.twitter)
Better check your sources, comrade.
The April 2014 London Review of Books piece is by Peter R. Neumann from the War Studies department at King’s College London. After receiving his PhD from Kings College London, Neumann was director at its Centre for Defence Studies from 2005-7. He was then appointed as Director of The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR), a “terrorism research institute” based at King’s College London. ICSR is a collaboration between King’s College London; the University of Pennsylvania; the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (Israel); and the Jordan Institute of Diplomacy. Neumann and ISCR promote Israeli-Saudi-U.S. Axis fictions that “Assad has himself to blame” for the terrorist assault on Syria.
The October 2015 article by Mamoon Alabbasi, then News Editor at Middle East Eye, promotes the program Enemy of Enemies: The Rise of ISIL by the Qatar government-owned Al Jazeera network. Al Jazeera programming on Syria has reflected the political bias of the Qatar government by promoting Arab intervention in Syria, while downplaying Qatari and Saudi support for Salafist terrorists.
The December 2012 New York Times article is a pastiche of “reports” from a group of contributors including “regime change” cheerleader Michael R. Gordon, whose name is well known to CN readers.
The January 2010 article by Matthew Levitt for the Middle East Forum (MEF) the Philadelphia-based hawkish pro-Israel “policy institute” founded by Daniel Pipes. Levitt a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a pro-Israel Lobby think tank spun off from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). As director of WINEP’s Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, Levitt enthusiastically promotes U.S. military action in the Middle East, including strikes against the Syrian government.
It’s pretty clear what “different ideas” about Syria you “agree” with, comrade. Got any more Israeli-Saudi-U.S. Axis pearls of wisdom to share?
I assumed you would attack the sources. I’m OK with that.
Team Hasbara predictably assumes fact is “attack”.
“The problem with quotes found on the internet is that you can’t always be sure of their authenticity.”
It’s amazing how effectively the Washington regime manages to mask reality for its own people and substitute this impenetrable matrix of propaganda which most accept as gospel. And our leaders bitterly reproach China for manipulating the access its people have to Western media and its conventional wisdom in a clear case of the pot calling the polished silverware black.
“Russia shares with Iran the very reasons and logic of their military presence in Syria as both of the countries have been invited by Damascus itself and have been crucial in the fight against the Islamic States and other foreign funded ‘rebels.’ Therefore, while Russia may have no interest in Iran’s ‘resistance front’ against Israel, it doesn’t object to an Iranian presence in Syria either, and neither does it consider, unlike Israel, Hezbollah a ‘terrorist’ organization. On the contrary, the result of recent elections in Lebanon have only proved that Hezbollah is much more than a simple militant outfit and that it has a strong popular base and a sound electoral support, giving it social and political legitimacy and reinforcing the Russian view that Hezbollah isn’t a terror outfit and shouldn’t be treated as such.
“From this logically follows another difference between Israel and Russia and a convergence of interest between Russia and Iran: the Iran-nuke deal, known as JCPOA. As such, while Israel was jubilant over the US exit from the deal, Russia did not refrain from calling it a ‘new confirmation of Washington’s intractability’, adding that ‘Russia is open to further cooperation with the other JCPOA participants and will continue to actively develop bilateral collaboration and political dialogue with the Islamic Republic of Iran.’
“Therefore, notwithstanding the warmth that Netanyahu received in Moscow during his latest visit, it cannot be gainsaid that Russia might be thinking of potentially side-lining Iranian interests in Syria to accommodate Israel. On the other hand, the fact that Russia hosted Netanyahu and after that an Iranian delegation […]
“It is, therefore, misleading to conclude, as has been widely done in the international media, that there is an unofficial agreement between Russia and Israel, according to which Russia has allowed Israel to attack Iranian targets as long as the attacks are retaliatory and don’t hurt Syrian and Russian interests.
“What is more likely and serves Russian interests better is that Russia is simply balancing itself between Iran and Israel, and understands that allowing any of these parties a free-hand would only lead to a war that they might not be able to control.
“Therefore, notwithstanding the impression that Netanyahu was successful in creating, it remains unrealistic to expect that Russia would decided to choose parties between Israel and Iran or will unconditionally subscribe to the Israeli agenda of vanquishing Iran from Syria or an Iranian agenda of expanding its front against Israel.
“What, however, Israel can expect is Russian efforts to prevent the use of Syrian territory against Israel and vice versa. There are, as such, no deals, but only the wide spread recognition of the fact that anything that happens in Syria between any party needs to factor in the Russians and their interests.”
What is Really Happening Between Russia and Israel?
By Salman Rafi Sheikh
Dear Europe, wise up.
In ten years (or less) foreign US military bases will rapidly begin to close, NATO will greatly weaken and return to it’s former predilection towards nationalist bickering. Putin will exult his hidden Neo-Stalinist agenda and do everything in his power to cut Iran off from the oil and gas energy market. After all, who sold uranium to Iran? have you forgotten? it didn’t take a Clinton to do that because Russia already had a mountain sized amount of fission grade U 235 and Pu 232 for sale. Brussels, where, pray tell, was your vigilance when an oil rich nation, in fact, fifth producer in the world not to mention second in gas reserves only to Russia, a nation who’s name is spelled I-R-A-N, wanted the filthy Plutonium/Uranium cycle for domestic electric energy consumption?? !! Brussels! did you not learn from the USA’s intrigues, lying, diverting uranium, deceiving and being deceived by two nations who never should have had atomic anything, namely Pakistan and Israel. Brussels! did you not witness the killing of JFK when he pointed his finger at biggest threat of nuclear proliferation in his time Dimona! and was shot for doing so…. France! did you not help foster the construction, continue the error of proliferation and military imbalance, foster Arab envy and the subjugation of Palestine by technical aid to the Dimona project! Well, we’re (USA) finally washing our hands of the whole miserable can of peas now. Europe, good reddens to you all and good luck from a broken down America, bankrupt, powerless now to undo your many political and financial intrigues and errors, promoted by a cabal of well known , stinking banksters, who have taken all they could from Europe (hopes, Shengen, TEU, Euro’s, using your prejudices, emotions and pipe dreams, and have now decided to relocate to banks in Reno Nevada. I suppose that these guy’s have molested you long enough but their not done with America just yet. We don’t want your pity, we want solutions, you’ve got the ball now…..
Bush 41 Predominately Instigated the 1st Iraq War
When he (and) April Gillespie gave the A-OK (approval)
For OUR Middle East surrogate, Saddam Hussein to
To Attack Kuwait in order to retake OIL Fields stolen by
Kuwaiti Royals during Iraq’s War With Iran- (which was)
Instigated By US Central Intelligence Agency Provocateurs
Wrapped in Images of Increased US Oil Wealth and
The Purposed Decapitation of Saddam, Our Friend
Military Surrender in Kuwait was Saddam’s Waterloo,
As declared in Bush 41’s1990 & 91 NWO Speech.
Sum totals of you don’t know of this history. (where were you
when US soldiers died or were desperately compromised by
US Chemical Warfare and/or Depleted Uranium testing on USA G.I.’s
But Mostly On IRAQI Civilians/Huddled Masses Yearning To Breath Free
Shame on US, vis-a-vis the swallowing of the vomit / “american exceptionalism”
Who the Guck are we to Reign Such TERROR upon the world of humanity???
WHAT THE GUCK WOULD WORLD PEACE LOOK LIKE ?
And what the guck do these “christians” have to kick in???
I figured out some time ago that when the US complains about something it’s because we’re doing it and we want to deflect scrutiny. The regime in Washington has been conducting propaganda operations in the US for sometime now. American opinion must be shaped to support the plans of the regime for an increasingly desperate race for global hegemony. Thus RT and Sputnik had to go. I wouldn’t be surprised if they came after CN as well.
Good for you Jeff! You have learned about projection which is critical to understanding the world today. Psychologists will tell you that projection is an attribute of right-wing people, and the west is becoming increasingly right-wing following the US. You can indeed tell what these idiots are up to by listening to what they accuse others of and this alone will enable you to understand what is going on better than the vast majority of people in the US.
Well the trailers are showing on Youtube, so I guess that’s a start. Would love a link tot he full movie though, happy to pay, I would just like to see a different narrative. I’ll make up my own mind if it is BS or not.
World War II fought against the axis powers, countries that had a military industrial complex, a monetary system, an agricultural system was fought for 6 years. This war fought by a rag tag group of stateless terrorists vs a State has been fought for 11 years . There is no way that happen without the support, financing, training, and weaponry given to these “terrorists”, who should be called “mercenaries”, not terrorists, of some major power. That major power can only be the Untied States. Even a child is capable of seeing that.
Are the going to have English sub-titles for this movie?
It won`t get shown in the West. There that settles that. The US won`t allow it.
I believe that western sanctions and censorship are extended to culture as well. The grip of the US doctrinal system will not allow any foreign movie that shows another perspective to be playing in a theater near us.
The part when the dude says to the US paid terrorists (ISIS) “This is not New York, and there are no twin towers here.” is priceless.
I concur with you. Personally, I take it that Syria will defend itself by defeating these US and western proxy terrorist armies. Unlike the American people, Syrians know very well what the imperialists have stored for them: conquest and subjugation.
The author writes as if he is unaware or unconvinced that the US was one of the chief supporters of ISIS.
If the author were to dig deeper about western and US involvement, he will be convinced at once. The mounting evidence showing how Syria has been targeted for decimation and regimen change is both staggering and devastating.
Can you cite a single thing in Rick Sterling’s article that supports your statement?
Thank you, Rick Sterling, for this perspective. Perhaps the movie will be available via a non-Youtube video server to those who can find out about it. With all of the major vendors (Amazon, Google, Youtube, et al) controlled by zionists, it will not likely be seen there. But one can order the Dreyfuss book easily, so I will read it.
A very good suggestion Sam. I will be looking out for this movie to see the other side of the story.
If you haven’t worked out yet that there is another side of the story then I doubt the film will help you.
He wishes to see the other media picture of society, rather than the other political viewpoint.
I have already. This movie would be my first Iranian one. It is worth a try.
I doubt very much that it will be shown here. The “Magnitsky Act, Behind the Scenes” was censored, why not this? Anything that contradicts to state sponsored MSM narrative will have a hard time getting an audience. Full spectrum dominance is the name of the game. After all, Hollywood even glamorized the “White Helmets” with an Academy Award!
Karl Rove was prescient:
“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out.”
I’m with you Skip, that movie like the one other you mentioned, and let’s not forget Oliver Stone’s ‘Ukraine on Fire’ are all but verboten for American viewing. I mean could you imagine the shock, and the confusion, if the truth were suddenly to be revealed for Americans, as if it were any different from what propaganda they have been fed? We Americans are trapped in a matrix of lies, and because of that our masters need to keep us citizens running on stupid. I blame most of what’s happening in fact on our MSM, as I know you do to Skip. Nice comment. Joe
Boy you can sure say that again John. Joe
“Ukraine on Fire” (2016) is a non-fiction documentary film.
“Damascus Time” (2018) and “The White Helmets” (2016) are drama movies.
Hollywood and mainstream media can’t tell the difference.
Consider this reality …
It is important to note and remember that neither U.S. President Donald Trump, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May nor France President Emmanuel Macron have offered anything approaching a public statement, by way of explanation – over the now “vanished” Yulia and Sergei Skripal.
It is equally important to note and remember that none of these “leaders” have issued public statements with regard to the Douma, Syria now-confirmed false flag operation. In particular, they have not issued any apology for dangerously and illegally launching over 100 missiles on Syria based on an obvious lie.
When will Donald Trump, Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron rightfully provide their citizens in America, Britain, France (and the entire world) with explanations for the massive, continuing, unresolved controversies and secrecy surrounding the Skripal and Douma events? …