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Syria's rebels have a new villain: the United States

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"I believe that Syrian intelligence up to this moment is cooperating with the CIA," the wizened revolutionary told the Monitor. "The Westerners are afraid of the destiny of Israel; this is what stops them. Assad takes advantage of that, and says, 'These terrorists [rebels] will go to Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan and we must crush them.'... Western countries gave up on the Syrian people because they believe most demonstrators are Islamists," he says.

'Petroleum is worth more than Syrian blood'

Syrians under fire from government troops often bring up Washington's perceived neglect when they see an American journalist. 

"We look on Americans as the most important people to look after democracy," says Abu Thaier. "We consider the torch of freedom in New York a torch for all humanity, not just America. We hope that the Statue of Liberty did not yet lose its real meaning."

He brings up Libya and the US-orchestrated NATO intervention last year that was instrumental in ensuring that rag-tag rebels were able to bring down Muammar Qaddafi. The only difference, he asserts, is that Libya has oil, and Syria does not.

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