Thursday 19th of July 2018

aleppo

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One cannot see the Middle East in “democratic" terms at this point in time. John Passant’s comment are admirable in a perfect world. The world is not perfect and the Middle East isn’t either. The Middle East has been subjected to a numerous amount of rape — political and military since the crusades (and Abraham). What we are seeing in Aleppo is hopefully the last of this ugly “Arab Spring” in which people who were living together reasonably happily were given the ratchit opportunity to reset their allegiance to seek an elusive freedom by developing extremism and the use of force. Here is what John Passant sees:

"The Syrian regime and its Russian ally are in the last barbaric stages of an onslaught against Aleppo. In Socialist Worker US Ashley Smith analyzes the consequences of the rebel stronghold’s fall.

THE COMBINED forces of Bashar al-Assad’s regime, Russian air power and Iranian-backed Shia death squads are reconquering Eastern Aleppo, according to reports–and with it, the last of the major cities liberated by the Syrian Revolution since 2011."


read more: http://enpassant.com.au/2016/12/14/aleppo-crushed-by-counterrevolution/ 



Gus:
Our hopes of a better Middle East is only a populace wish, often manipulated by an emotional media propaganda, while our government have diseased the place with dubious allegiances for no more than finding different ways to steal oil — or at least get it at a cheaper price. 
The present problem in Syria is a war of religion mixed with oil and gas — plus two Titans’ influence trying to maintain their friendships on whichever side of the fence they are. The Americans and the West have sided with the Saudis — the extremist Wahhabis, Salafists, Sunnis. Ugly. We know. We should compare these religious nutters to the ruthless inquisition, when the Catholic Church was running Europe. But why do we support these sexist, racist extremists who have spawned Al Qaeda and ISIS and other extremist groups throughout Africa and the Middle east? Ninety-nine per cent of terror on the planet comes from this religious branch of Islam... Not a mystery: oil and territory. 
When George Bush declared the “axis of evil” and the "war on terror”, these extremist Sunnis were not included. In a well orchestrated propaganda, Iraq, Iran and Syria were mentioned. The “weapons of mass destruction” mantra was invented by the CIA in order to attack Iraq in 2003. Some false flags were also manufactured to go after Saddam, such as the fake papers telling us Saddam was building an atomic arsenal and some anthrax letters in the US which definitely came from US laboratories. 
With the help of a compliant media eager for some lovely biffo, most of us in the US hegemony (not us on this site and way beforehand) bought the fake information. "45 minutes to hit Cyprus!" claimed the Murdoch news headline with clear graphics of Saddam’s power. It was all bullshit. We, here, knew that. But our opposing dissenting voices were drowned by the drumbeat of war — and by our ugly right wing government led by Howard and his more ugly spruiking Alexander Downer. They all should be behind bars.
From this illegal war — which contrarily to the US wishes turned Iraq into a friend of Iran — a Sunni Wahhabi, Salafist resistance movement grew, slowly at first, but by 2011 it became ISIS, ISIL, Daesh or a new Caliphate as they wish to be called. 
Meanwhile, the Americans have been trying their best to sink the Russian economy. The Russians under Vladimir Putin escaped from the clutches of the Empire around 2000. Gorbachev dismantled the Soviet Union with hope of a better eastern Europe, under strict conditions negotiated with Reagan — conditions which straight away were not adhered to by the US. The US wanted to control Easter Europe, especially Ukraine and George W Bush also made some grand noises about this. When Yeltsin had become president of Russia, much damage had been done. Russia was on the brink of becoming a third world country for the US banking system to plunder. The CIA and MI6 had even created their own banks in Russia and the “privatisation” of the place was being orchestrated by “oligarchs" supported by the West. Rape is a mild word to describe what was happening. The Russian people were going to be enslaved or become irrelevant. Come a small short guy who used to work for the KGB: Vladimir Putin. Remember that George Bush senior used to work for the CIA. These guys are smart fellows. They know shit. They are expert in the psychology of manipulation, control and propaganda. 
Vladimir Putin saw that Russia was going down the gurgler. He manipulated the oligarchs to support him in becoming president. Little did they know he soon would kick them out and renationalise the resource of the country. Some of the oligarchs are in prison for theft, many got out of Russia with oodles of cash nonetheless, eventually fighting piddling turf wars in the UK, buying this or that football club. 
Putin has given hope to Russia as Russia, not as a vassal of the US empire. He had to be discreetly and efficiently ruthless. Of course, he had some opposition, including media financed by the West, which supported the collapse of Russia for their own gain. But he got through. Putin did it for the Russian people in a somewhat smart way. The KGB is not just made of burly stupid fat blokes in coats. He knew there would be things “to do”. He had to arrest the rot while Russia was still being open for business and offer some new freedom. 
Here the Empire (aka the US) was seething. The Yanks would take Ukraine away from Russia’s influence with a secret campaign of cash and media, while supporting thugs and Nazis. The disinformation was rife in Ukraine with people like Soros and others using the media to toot “freedom” and other westernised incentive, which at the time was a bit much, considering the Global Financial Crisis. 
This GFC had been imposed on the world by the US institutions and administration which “salvaged” its own arse by flooding the currency market with US dollars, sinking Europe in more debt, making secret deals with the Greeks, the Portuguese, the Italians, while cajoling the Germans by buying more Mercs, Audis and BMWs. Meanwhile the demonisation of Putin and Russia only grew louder. 
The downing of MH17 was an unfortunate accident which could have been a false flag event, though most likely, we don’t know who did it despite the intense sabre rattling. Still, Russia organised a vote in Crimea after having cut it off Ukraine. The vote was clear. Crimea is mostly populated by Russians who did not want anything to do with Ukraine. Same with the UK and Brexit out of Europe… The deed was done within a week. The US Empire was livid. 
What the West did not want to admit is that Ukraine was leasing Crimea to Russia till 2023, after it had been gifted 50 years ago to it by Khrushchev, a Soviet Russian/Ukrainian, leader of the USSR. Putin saw what the Yanks were doing and there is not much he could do to protect Western Ukraine from the NATO invasion. Eastern Ukraine, mostly populated by Russians, is still rebelling against the new regime in Kiev.
Meanwhile, in the Middle East, the Americans were financing and arming “rebels” in Syria. Despite its ethnic mix, Syria was a ”happy” country till 2011. Like the king in Saudi Arabia, Assad had to deal with some opposition and from time to time some people disappeared. It happened in South America as well, all with the blessings of the US. It also happens in the US but we don’t hear much about in the middle of the many murders committed in that country where the jails are a booming industry. 
The Americans still wanted to sink the Russian economy: sanctions and other means were used. The Russian retaliated with the ban on importing European goods which sunk Europe further into debt after the GFC. Many people in Europe want to deal with Russia but the US won’t let them play. Poor kids. 
The Russian economy relies strongly on supplying gas and oil. In mid 2000, Russia had cleaned its debt to the rest of the world and was cashing in. Putin had turned things around rather quickly as the price of oil was reaching new highs. Russia was exclusively supplying Europe with natural gas. But the pipeline went through Ukraine and when Ukraine switched to the West, the new government did not want to play ball — as instructed by the US. Ukraine did to want to pay its debt to Russia either. But the Europeans protested a bit because they needed the gas. So the gas still flows. But the US still wanted to put a stop to it. First in 2009 they instructed Assad to install a gas pipeline through Syria, coming from Saudi and Qatari oil fields to Europe via Turkey to undercut the Russians. Assad refused — his friends, the Russians, told him why if he did not know. The US Empire saw red. The Obama administration started to create trouble in Syria by 2011. The plan was to oust Assad, replace him with a new US/Saudi puppet or a “Consensus” Sunni government. Of course the Americans could not care less about the Syrian people and its ethnic mix which so far went along quite well. The Americans sponsored “rebels” with weapons, training and cash. 
Some of these “rebels” were old foes such as Al Qaeda (remember 9/11?) and Al Nusra — plus some outfits that kept changing their names along as they were declared “terrorists”. So why were the US supporting these terrorists?
Amongst these "rebels", many became affiliated to the Iraq Sunnis and formed ISIS. 
Meanwhile, the US was still trying to sink the Russian economy. Having failed with the Saudi pipeline and tinkering with Ukraine, since the Europeans were paying the gas bills to the Russians, the Yanks started to dig in their own gas reserves and are now delivering gas to Europe on big ships. As well the US manipulated the price and supply of oil by enforcing that the Saudis wouldn’t reduce production of oil during a glut thus lowering prices to half or less the value so the Russians would loose profit. This tactic is now new. Ask any small business trying to make a buck by starting a new product that compete with the “big ones” on the shelves of supermarkets. The “big ones” will lower their prices so low that the newcomer cannot compete. The “big ones” have enough reserve of cash to loose profit for a while. The little guy cannot carry on without going bankrupt. Some people call this business…
So Assad was under the gun. He could not compete against the US and the Saudis who have been supporting the “rebels” — including ISIS, despite claiming the contrary. At the same time,the press around the world was giving Assad a bad name for fighting against a US/Saudi manufactured uprising. Easy news saturation. People were killed and many people fled to Europe. More refugees to add to the list of refugees who escaped from Libya — another US/European intervention that sunk that quite rich country. But of course the US and its propaganda machine blamed Assad for the troubles in Syria. He should just buckle and do as told: piss off and let the Saudis indirectly rule Syria with Sharia law.
After four years of bloody conflict, Putin came in. Russia has its only Mediterranean port in Syria. Despite the help of allies such as Hezbollah and Iran, Syria was loosing the war. The Americans were a bit smug as they waited for the final defeat of Assad. Because the US had not “placed troops on the ground” in Syria and had let it all to the rebels and ISIS to defeat Assad — note: the US could not possibly bomb Assad directly (like they bombed Gaddafi) without loosing face — Putin saw an opportunity. 
In a few short months, with his airforce and minimalist military hardware, he turned the conflict around. Suddenly Assad was winning. After four years of letting the conflict fester, the US urgently demanded a ceasefire because their side, “the rebels”, were being wiped out. The Russians agreed, but the rebels were re-armed by the US, lengthening the possibility of conflict. 
Aleppo was a "test" case. The “rebels took it" in 2013 with the help of the US/Saudis. Part of this large city resisted. Eventually, by mid 2016, the Assad forces controlled about 50 per cent of the city to the relief of many inhabitants. And slowly with the help of the Russians, the Assad forces recaptured the whole city a few days ago. Of course, some of the inhabitants have had allegiances with the rebels — BUT NOT ALL the people. Some people were glad to see the rebels being thrown out. Some people feared for their lives as, unfortunately, war is war. The rebels could have surrendered and minimise the blood-letting. The offer had been made. They refused and the whole lot went to this bloody end. For what? Well, the West still has to question its own heart as to why it is in bed with the Saudis and with ISIS by default, while claiming the contrary. 
We still hate the Russians who deprived us (the Yanks) of another victorious shamble in Syria. Imagine: Clinton was prepared to risk an all out war with Russia to show who’s boss in the Middle East. It would have been ugly with more refugees and more blood — and the possibility of a nuke shoot-out. Would she care? her bleeding heart would but her brain would not. She is a cold operator. Now with Trump, there is a change of momentum: possibly let the Saudis (Sunnis) and the Iranian (Shia) back to a status quo in their own backyards. No more religious war for oil. LET’S MAKE A DEAL WITH RUSSIA.
Is this possibility of peace too hard to contemplate in our (manufactured) hate of Russia? 
The Russians are correct in blaming the present US administration for Daesh retaking Palmyra from the Syrian forces, by lifting the foot of the siege of Raqqa. More blood. More death. More destruction of the ruins. The Assad forces will have to retake it. They will one way or another — and to some extend they should see this as an opportunity to rid the world of 4,000 Daesh personnel. But they do not want to harm the population of the place. Even in Aleppo, the Assad forces have been careful, but we won’t want to admit this in our media. Often we blame a hospital or a school bombing on Assad, when the rebels have been the culprits. But this is how propaganda works in the fog of war.
This is why Trump is trying to clear the deck of the US political system from all the lying bleeding hearts and hypocrites that have ruled for far too long and replace them with his own brand of green-horn loons. His choices of cabinet personnel are interesting if not loony to say the least. But changes are coming. 
The Obama administration meanwhile will try to do as much damage to the political situation within the US and around the world in order to annoy the shit out of Trump. Here comes the “blame Russia for the election results”. Bollocks. But Trump is cagey and savvy enough to know the ropes and the strings of the puppet show. He’s done it before in real life, not in political crappo. Let’s hope he is more sane than he appears to be.

Gus the local elder.

a new pipeline...

So in order to bypass rcalcitrant Ukraine (read article above), Russia has made a deal with Turkey for a new gas pipeline which should be completed soon enough, despite Russia and Turkey having their own differences on the price of fish.

 

Meanwhile the cartoon by Cathy Wilcox in the SMH today is an atrocious one-sided view of this complex Syrian conflict, in which the rebels were far more responsible for the bloodshed. The boffins at the SMH are furiously independently sucking the Yankee teat.

the US media absolving the US from the crime...

Read the real story at top. Now read the fantasy from the New York Times:

 

 

Watching the fall of the ancient Syrian city of Aleppo has been excruciating. Civilians who survived weeks of intense shelling have reportedly been slaughtered by the forces of the Assad government as they have fled the battle zone, some shot in house-to-house searches. Thousands more are trapped with no food, water or shelter. “This is a message from someone saying farewell and who could face death or arrest at any time,” a medic wrote on a messaging service. The United Nations called the catastrophe a “complete meltdown of humanity.”

The Assad forces are close to retaking Aleppo, the last major city not in government hands. In 2011, President Bashar al-Assad ignored the demands of peaceful protesters and unleashed a terrifying war against his people. More than 400,000 Syrians have been killed while millions more have fled across regional borders and to Europe.

But Mr. Assad could never have prevailed without the support of President Vladimir Putin of Russia and, to a lesser extent, Iran. That is a truth that President-elect Donald Trump, a Putin apologist who is surrounding himself with top aides who are also Kremlin sympathizers, cannot ignore. During the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump praised Mr. Putin for being “a better leader” than President Obama. This would be a good time for him to persuade Mr. Putin to end the slaughter.

Mr. Putin’s bloody actions — the bombing of civilian neighborhoods, the destruction of hospitals, the refusal to allow noncombatants to receive food, fuel and medical supplies — are all in violation of international law. At the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday, Samantha Power, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, said to Mr. Assad, Russia and Iran that they had put a “noose” around Aleppo’s civilians and: “It should shame you. Instead, by all appearances, it is emboldening you.”

At the start of the conflict, when hard-nosed diplomacy in the Security Council might have forced Mr. Assad to make political compromises and avert war, Russia used its veto to shield him from criticism and sanctions. By October 2015, when it looked like Mr. Assad was losing, Russia sent jetsand troops and became an active combatant on the government’s behalf against the rebels, including those trained and assisted by the United States and Arab nations. Hezbollah, backed by Iran with arms and money, has also been a vital asset for the Assad regime, reportedly deploying at least 5,000 fighters in Syria. The chaos has let the Islamic State establish a headquarters in Syria and become a major terrorist threat.

Read at: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/14/opinion/aleppos-destroyers-assad-putin-iran.html

 

Read also: the western media is pathetic...

 

 

backing the wrong horse...

Russophobia essential precondition for US policy of Middle East regime change – Lord Truscott

 

 

The sole focus of Western foreign policy on regime change in Syria is extremely worrying – not only for Syrians, but beyond – as it feeds arms sales and necessitates a climate of unprecedented Russophobia in order to function, Lord Peter Truscott told RT.

As major parts of Aleppo are liberated, the information war between Russia and the West continues to heat up. “There is an information war going on,” Truscott told RT, adding that “it occurs against the background of a level of Russophobia which I have not seen for many, many years.”

“I have been following Russia and international relations closely for 35 years and I have never witnessed so much Russophobia as I am witnessing today,” Truscott said. “It is not just the accounts of what is happening in Syria but a general attitude towards Russia. I think people just need to calm down. I am hopeful that the new Trump administration will take a more measured position [towards] Russia.”

Truscott sees a number of causes for this, as well as strategic reasons for the West to continue using Russia as pretext for things going wrong in Syria or beyond.

He sees the current situation in Syria as, firstly, a proxy war in which various regional players fight for different sides and, of course, different strands of Islam. However, it’s also a geopolitical split, where multiple players vie for control, their spheres of influence intersecting.

“What we are witnessing is Syria is a proxy war in effect and various regional players support different sides in this conflict that represents a religious split,” Truscott told RT, adding that “it is also a geopolitical split with the West on one side and largely Russia on the other.”

Ultimately, for Truscott, the reason Syrians – especially those in Aleppo – have it worse than they could is because rebuilding is being sacrificed for alternative aims, such as regime change. This leads to underreporting on both sides, be it the bombing of western Aleppo or the current situation in Yemen – a country the United States has business interests in, as long as it’s dealing with Saudi Arabia.

 

“It is not just eastern Aleppo, which suffered from bombing and civilians being killed, but also western Aleppo – and that is being underreported. The Western media have been focusing on eastern Aleppo but it is being underreported what is going on in western Aleppo during some of the attacks that take place there,” he said, stressing that “another example of Western coverage is what is happening in Yemen.”

The primary casualties of this are of course civilians, Truscott said. But there is another victim – truth. With multiple business interests at stake – such as the $500 million the US pumped into the rebels, as well as deals with Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other Gulf States – regime change can be implemented, and money can be made.

“It is clear that the rebels are being supplied by weapons, munitions, equipment and money quite openly by countries like the US, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and some of the Gulf states. The US made no secret out of the fact that it pumped around $ 500 million in supporting some of the rebels,”Truscott stressed.

“Western foreign policy in Syria that is focused exclusively on regime change and getting rid of Assad has been an absolute disaster,” Truscott added. “You would think that the West would learn from history. It didn’t work very well in Iraq; it was a total disaster in Libya – which contributed to the refugee crisis that Europe is experiencing. And the same thing is going on in Syria.”

Pursuing regime change, Truscott said, “would just create a bigger crisis than [the one] that we are experiencing at the moment.”

‘Easy to fall back on old Cold War enemy rhetoric to justify defense spending’

So what is the reason behind Russia’s role as such a convenient enemy in Syria and the wider region? According to Truscott, it does not merely lie in Moscow’s support for Assad, but continues the old Cold War policy supported by the US military industrial complex due to its perceived low costs.

“The military industrial complex needs an enemy to justify its massive defense spending. It is very convenient for some to pick Russia as an enemy because they do not think there is much cost involved in that,” he told RT.

He also explained that the US sees a rivalry with Russia as a less risky option than a potential conflict with China. “If one picks China as an enemy, it is much more difficult to deal with a population of 1.4 billion people and a rising superpower as well as an economic powerhouse, which the US needs for trade,” Truscott said.

 

He went on to say that some people in the US military regard tense relations with Russia as a convenient justification for pursuing their old doctrine and pretending that their strategy is still relevant.

“It is quite an easy option for a lot of people in the military and security establishment to fall back on Russia as an old Cold War enemy and that is a bit of a comfort zone that gives them existential justification for their existence in their current stance,” Truscott told RT.

At the same time, he stressed that Western politicians must adapt to the rapidly changing reality and acknowledge the existence of new threats that pose a real danger, instead of promoting the old myth of perceived Russian aggression.

“The existential threat to the West is not Russia, it is Islamist fundamentalism,” he said.

 

https://www.rt.com/news/370445-truscott-russophobia-isis-syria/

 

read Gus' view at top and the crazy New York Times editorial below it...

 

aleppo has been liberated...

It is "a shame and a disgrace" to claim that Aleppo, one of the largest cities in Syria which has been fully liberated last week, "has fallen," Father Mtanios Haddad, archimandrite of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, told Sputnik.

Aleppo, the commercial and industrial heart of the country prior to the war, "did not fall," he insisted. "The city has once again become part of the Syrian state thanks to countless sacrifices that our army had to make. The Syrian Arab Army paid for Aleppo's liberation with blood and suffering."


Read more: https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201612221048861639-syria-aleppo-liberation/

the insanity of the empire...

 

From Chris Floyd

 

The end result of every Islamist terror attack (or even alleged Islamist terror attack) is: 1. Heightened authoritarian powers for governments. 2. Demonization of law-abiding Muslims. 3. More money for war-profiteers, since more war is always the ultimate response. None of these outcomes advance the attackers’ cause in any way save one: more repression, demonization and war can lead to more ‘radicalisation’ of the people being repressed, demonized and bombed. Thus the responses, which are always the same, always reward the perpetrators of these atrocities by giving them the only thing they can get from the attacks: recruitment tools.

“So what are we supposed to do then?” comes the angry cry. Well, one thing we could do to begin breaking this deadly cycle is to quit living in a dreamworld and recognize what the actual policies of our governments are, what our governments are actually doing, and the actual consequences of these actual events. We have to be done with the childish notion that our greatness and goodness is forever being assaulted out of the blue by motiveless monsters who don’t appreciate how greatly good we really are.

The taking of innocent lives is an abominable evil. It is never justified. It is not justified when sectarian extremists strike at the West; it is not justified when Western nations take innocent lives, on a mass scale, in Muslim countries. But from our side, there is not even the slightest chance of breaking this deadly cycle if we do not acknowledge the realities of what we have done and what we are doing in the world. Knowledge is the only way out of this impasse — if there is a way out of it.

We could see that the policy of destroying whole nations in military actions based on false pretenses or deliberately exaggerated threats, as in Iraq and Libya, spreads ruin, chaos, violence, extremism, refugees and weapons rippling through many other lands, destabilizing them in their turn.

We could acknowledge the plain and incontrovertible fact that one main cause of the spread of violent Islamic extremism has been our own support — covert and overt — for groups who push this doctrine, when it suits our own geopolitical purpose. This has happened over and over — such as the support for the violent retrograde sectarian extremists in Afghanistan, whom we called “freedom fighters” when it suited our purpose. It happened in Libya, where, once again, we armed and supported violent extremist groups while pretending they were secular moderates fight for Jeffersonian principles of liberty and freedom. It is happening in Syria, where we are arming, funding and bombing on behalf of some of the most virulent sectarian extremists on earth, including al Qaeda, while, again, pretending they are secular moderates. It is happening in Yemen, where for the 15 months, the U.S. government has been directly aiding the religious extremists of Saudi Arabia in a vicious war and murderous blockade that has cleared the way for the resurgence of al Qaeda, just as it had almost been wiped out in that country.

We could acknowledge the plain and incontrovertible fact that these deliberately chosen policies — chosen as the means to pursue various geopolitical and economic goals, none of which have anything to do with freedom or liberty or human rights — have resulted in waves of refugees flooding into countries unprepared for them. They have resulted in further radicalization and repression both in the West and in many Muslim lands, straining and tearing at civic structures, particularly in the latter.

We could acknowledge the plain and incontrovertible fact that as long as our governments pursue the agenda of advancing and maintaining economic and political dominion in the world – by whatever means necessary – then the fallout, the blowback from these policies will continue. It is striking how our savants can recognize this in regard to other countries, but never our own. The assassination of the Russian ambassador in Turkey this week was immediately described as blowback or revenge for Russian actions in Syria. “You see,” said American pundits and politicians, “if you go meddling in the affairs of other countries for your own selfish political ends, this is what happens! You radicalize people and then they come after you!” The very clear implication — and sometimes stated assertion — is that the Russians are “reaping the whirlwind” of their military intervention in the Middle East.

The very same principle applies to Western interventions. But as we all know, one is not allowed to say this. Because of the goodness of our greatness, our interventions are always pure. It is only other countries that pursue amoral policies for their own aggrandizement. If they are met with a violent response to these policies, it’s only what they deserve. But if this happens to us, then we are innocent lambs lost in an unfair world. We are floating in an anxious cloud of learned helplessness, wilful ignorance and historical amnesia. Knowledge is the only way out of this impasse — if there is a way out.

Beginning in the late Seventies, we actively, deliberately helped build, fund and arm a global network of violent sectarian extremists in order to bedevil the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. We did this: we laid the base (or, in Arabic, "al Qaeda") of global jihad, along the lines of Saudi religious extremism. We stoked this jihad network for more than a decade until every single vestige of secular society was destroyed in Afghanistan and the Taliban took over. We worked with and made a hero of Osama bin Laden (whose family had long-standing business ties in America, including with the Bush family). He was written up in American newspapers as a “freedom fighter” in Afghanistan who had put down his guns and turned his hand to good works in Sudan.

We further stoked radicalization in the region when we intervened in a border dispute between Iraq (which we had supported for years, despite its brutal dictator) and Kuwait, whose royal rulers were longtime business partners of the Bush family. (Our former ally, bin Laden, was angered by the presence of U.S. ‘infidel’ soldiers on Saudi soil; he, like the Americans, wanted to see the secular government of Iraq overthrown, but he had wanted it done by Muslim forces. So he turned against his American partners.) We shattered Iraq, imposed sanctions on it which our own leaders acknowledged killed more than half a million children. Finally, in 2003, when the country was not just on its knees but face down in the dirt, we bravely invaded again, citing the presence of weapons of mass destruction which our governments knew were not there, having been given full evidence of their destruction by the man who destroyed them — Saddam’s son-in-law (as reported by Newsweek long before the 2003 war) — and also having found no trace of weapons or a weapons program in years of UN inspections, including a full-scale, wide-open inspection just before the war.

It is very odd that most Americans believed — and apparently still believe —there would be no consequences from this morally insane and strategically stupid policy. No consequence for killing up to a million innocent people (according to the UK government’s method of casualty assessment). No consequence for sending millions of refugees flooding into Syria, a country already greatly strained by a prolonged drought which had wrought massive social upheaval. No consequences for creating a chaos in Iraq where the global jihad movement we helped build poured in and flourished as never before.

read more:

http://www.chris-floyd.com/home/articles/eyes-wide-shut-flying-blind-in-...

no such beast as moderate rebels...

In 2012, Swann had questioned President Obama directly about the US effort to arm forces in Syria which included members of al-Qaeda in their ranks. The president suggested at the time that he 'shared that concern', and that US efforts have been to provide non-lethal assistance to opposition groups that observed human rights.

Unfortunately, the journalist noted, "one year later, in 2013, the CIA began delivering weapons to those Syrian rebels." The Washington Post reported on the deliveries, confirming that the State Department was also involved, supplying vehicles "and other gear." The Washington Post said at the time that this "flow of material" marked "a major escalation of the US role in Syria's civil war."

 

"But things only got worse," Swann said, "because as the weapons were flowing in, so were jihadists, and by September of 2013, the London-based global defense consultancy group IHS Jane's reported that 10,000 of the estimated 100,000 insurgent fighters were linked to al-Qaeda. Another 30-35,000 belonged to powerful factions that were fighting for an Islamic State within a larger Middle East caliphate stretching from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean."

Read more: https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201612281049083365-ben-swann-syria-rebels-report/

an aleppo visit...

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Hawaii Democrat, says she made a secret, four-day trip to Syria — meeting with ordinary people and even President Bashar al-Assad — because the suffering of the Syrian people “has been weighing heavily on my heart.”

“I wanted to see if there was in some small way, a way that I could express the love and the aloha and the care that the American people have for the people of Syria, and to see firsthand what was happening there, to see that situation there,” Gabbard told CNN’s “The Lead” with Jake Tapper on Wednesday.

She returned with a message:

“I’ll tell you what I heard from the Syrian people that I met with, Jake, walking down the street in Aleppo, in Damascus, hearing from them.

“They expressed happiness and joy at seeing an American walking through their streets. But they also asked why the U.S. and its allies are providing support and arms to terrorist groups like al-Nusra, al-Qaida or al-Sham, ISIS who are on the ground there, raping, kidnapping, torturing and killing the Syrian people.

“They asked me, why is the United States and its allies supporting these terrorist groups who are destroying Syria when it was al Qaida who attacked the United States on 9/11, not Syria. I didn’t have an answer for them,” Gabbard said.

“The reality is… every place that I went, every person that I spoke to, I asked this question to them, and without hesitation, they said, there are no moderate rebels. Who are these moderate rebels that people keep speaking of?

Regardless of the name of these groups, the strongest fighting force on the ground in Syria is al Nusra, or al Qaida and ISIS. That is a fact,” Gabbard said.

“There is a number of different, other groups — all of them essentially are fighting alongside, with, or under the command of the strongest group on the ground that’s trying to overthrow Assad.

“The Syrian people recognize and they know that if President Assad is overthrown, then al Qaida — or a group like al Qaida, that has been killing Christians, killing people simply because of their religion, or because they won’t support their terror activities, they will take charge of all of Syria.

“This is the reality that the people of Syria are facing on the ground, and why they are pleading with us here in the United States to stop supporting these terrorist groups. Let the Syrian people themselves determine their future, not the United States, not some foreign country.”

Gabbard said initially, she didn’t plan to meet with President Assad: “When the opportunity arose to meet with him, I did so because I felt it’s important that if we profess to truly care about the Syrian people, about their suffering, then we’ve got to be able to meet with anyone that we need to if there is a possibility that we could achieve peace, and that’s exactly what we talked about.”

Tapper noted that Assad is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of people being forced from their homes and even their country during the five-year civil war:

“Did you have any compunctions about meeting with somebody like that, giving him any sort of enhanced credibility because a member of the United States Congress would meet with someone like that?” Tapper asked.

“Whatever you think about President Assad, the fact is that he is the president of Syria,” Tulsi replied. “In order for any peace agreement, in order for any possibility of a viable peace agreement to occur, there has to be a conversation with him,” Gabbard said.

“The Syrian people will determine his outcome and what happens with their government and their future, but our focus, my focus, my commitment is on ending this war that has caused so much suffering to the Syrian people.”

In a speech on the House floor earlier this month, Gabbard criticized America’s “interventionist wars.”

“Our limited resources should go toward rebuilding our communities here at home, not fueling more counterproductive regime change wars abroad.”

She urged her fellow lawmakers to support her bill, the “Stop Arming Terrorists Act,” legislation that would stop the U.S. government from using taxpayer dollars to directly or indirectly support groups allied with terrorist groups such as ISIS and al Qaeda in their war to overthrow the Syrian government.

“The fact that our resources are being used to strengthen the very terrorist groups we should be focused on defeating should alarm every American,” Gabbard said.

I urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan legislation and stop this madness.” 

Gabbard supported Sen. Bernie Sanders for president, but after the election, she was one of many people invited to meet with President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York.

“President-elect Trump asked me to meet with him about our current policies regarding Syria, our fight against terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS, as well as other foreign policy challenges we face,” Gabbard said about the meeting.

“I felt it important to take the opportunity to meet with the President-elect now before the drumbeats of war that neocons have been beating drag us into an escalation of the war to overthrow the Syrian government — a war which has already cost hundreds of thousands of lives and forced millions of refugees to flee their homes in search of safety for themselves and their families.”

read more:

https://off-guardian.org/2017/01/27/just-back-from-syria-rep-gabbard-bri...

 

The origin of this sad situation is called Saudi Arabia, this fascist Sunni country, which the US is supporting to the hilt. Read from top.

still trying...

Policymakers in the United States will try to impose their view of how the years-long Syrian crisis should be resolved at the upcoming talks in Geneva, French political analyst Richard Labeviere told Sputnik France, adding that Washington wants to divide the embattled Arab country.

"After Aleppo, Washington evidently has made every effort to push through its plan of resolving the Syrian conflict by splitting up the country. This is what they will advocate as part of the Geneva peace process," the former Editor-in-Chief at Radio France Internationale (RFI) said, adding that to that end the US has both voiced its support to the Turks and the Kurdish militias, whom Ankara largely views as terrorists.

Aleppo was partially controlled by foreign-sponsored radical armed groups from 2012 until late 2016. The Syrian Arab Army, assisted by Russia, Iran and its local allies, liberated the key city in December. Damascus' victory has dealt a major blow to forces opposed to President Bashar al-Assad.

read more:

https://sputniknews.com/politics/201702101050536645-us-syria-splitting-u...

syrian safe zones...

 

Syrian government forces and the armed opposition will be prevented from fighting each other and carrying out airstrikes within the safe zones by means of security buffers, checkpoints and observation posts controlled by the guarantor states.

Russia, Iran and Turkey agreed to prepare maps that will separate the areas controlled by the so-called“moderate opposition” from the territories held by the jihadists and provide precise safe zone demarcation by June 4.

Airspace over safe zones

Russian Aerospace Forces have already, on May 1 paused their airstrikes in the areas demarcated as safe zones, Russia’s Defense Ministry said.

The airspace over the safe zones may also be closed for the planes of the US-led coalition, with Russia’s Foreign Ministry saying the issue is being negotiated between the Russian and American militaries.

Fighting terrorists

Around 42,000 opposition fighters currently remain on the territory of the four security zones, with the majority of the militants located in Idlib (14,500) and near the Jordanian border (15,000), according to Russian estimates.

The establishment of safe zones doesn’t mean that the fight against Islamic State, Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist groups will stop in the country. On the contrary, the move will allow Syria to free additional forces to tackle the jihadists, Russia’s Defense Ministry said.

read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/387304-syria-safe-zones-russia/

 

Meanwhile the ABC (Australia):

 

There was no immediate comment from the Syrian army.

Mohammed Rasheed, a spokesman for the Jaish al-Nasr rebel group based in Hama, confirmed that fighting had broken out after midnight.

Iran and Turkey agreed on Thursday to a Russian proposal for de-escalation zones in Syria, but the memorandum the three guarantors signed has not been made public, leaving its details unclear.

Read more:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-06/clashes-break-out-in-syria-as-de-e...

 

Obviously the ABC has misunderstood what the "Safe Zones' are. The details are reasonably clear on the map in in the agreement.

 

 

sour grapes from the anti-assad mob...

 

A young Syrian boy whose stunned face, covered in dust and blood, became a symbol of suffering in Aleppo, has appeared in a video posted by a pro-government television presenter.

 

Omran Daqneesh and his father appeared in the video clip, apparently still living in Aleppo and telling the reporter, Kinana Allouche, they did not want to leave Syria.

A photograph of the wounded boy, sitting alone in the back of an ambulance staring blankly after an airstrike, was circulated worldwide last August, highlighting the suffering of civilians in besieged east Aleppo.

His older brother, Ali, died from his wounds after the attack.

Omran's father told the reporter his son was in good health in Aleppo — which is now under the control of President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

He said he had cut his son's hair and changed his name to protect him from being kidnapped, and accused rebels of intimidating the family.

It was not clear whether the family had been coerced into taking part in the short video posted on Facebook, the first time the boy had been seen publicly since he was hurt.

However, Valerie Szybala from the Syria Institute, an independent research organisation focused on Syria, said the family was unlikely to have been speaking freely.

read more:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-07/syrian-boy-in-famous-photo-intervi...

 

Valerie Szybala from the Syria Institute is a sour bitch. Her "independent" research organisation is as independent as the moon is independent from planet earth... It is attached to the "free"-Syria-from-Assad movement, thus it is NOT independent. The point here is that the kid is still alive and his dad is still afraid that rebels (supported by Valerie's "independent" organisation) would kidnap his son...

 

 

the tale of two cities...

Aleppo and Mosul, cities that endured some of the worst urban warfare in the 21st century, have quite different liberation stories, but they are alike in the way media treated them with oblivion once the post-war struggle began.

Both the Syrian city of Aleppo and Iraq’s Mosul found themselves gripped in fierce battles in late 2016. Syrian forces were trying to liberate the eastern part of Aleppo from militant groups to end the mortar shelling, which was killing civilians in the western half, and to begin rebuilding the war-ravaged districts of the city. An ambitious Russia-backed effort to evacuate civilians from the warzone set up humanitarian corridors. It was the US-backed Iraqi battle for Mosul, however, that captured the Western media’s favor as a heroic struggle to liberate civilians from Islamic State (IS, ISIS/ISIL), while the war in Aleppo was presented in a markedly different light.

‘Bombing kitten sanctuaries’ in Aleppo

It’s no secret that the mainstream media coverage of eastern Aleppo’s liberation – more often termed as the “siege” or the “fall of Aleppo” in the West – focused exclusively on alleged atrocities of the Syrian Army rather than the full picture. Reports tugged at the emotional strings of the viewers, describing children's hospitals, schools and blood banks destroyed in the government bombing. However, they failed to mention that the former schools and hospitals often housed militant mortars, while the “last hospital in Aleppo” was destroyed multiple times as MSM readily cited militant-linked sources without verifying them.

But perhaps the most absurd of the stories spun by the media during the battle was the “bombing” of the cat sanctuary in the city. The home for orphaned felines, which was run by Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel, who was referred to as an “ambulance driver” and “the Catman of Aleppo,” was repeatedly brought into the spotlight, highlighting the hardships of the rebel-held parts of the city. In November 2016, the Catman reported that the facility was “bombed,” and several cats and a dog, aptly named Hope, were killed. The incident was squarely pinned on President Bashar Assad’s air forces and Russia. The next alleged attack on the sanctuary came with the MSM's weapon of choice – chlorine – according to the owner, who was eventually safely evacuated from Aleppo.

The man eventually settled in the militant-held western countryside of Aleppo, opening a new kitten sanctuary. The feline facility, sadly, has not received much media attention ever since. As the battle for Aleppo ended, the media largely lost its interest in the city, forgetting about the civilians who are now working hard to rebuild a peaceful life.


Hushed strikes on Mosul

The chaotic battle for Mosul, where IS terrorists ruthlessly used civilians as human shields amid relentless US-led coalition bombing, was no less of a tragic story of suffering, but the absence of evacuations for civilians made the city warfare particularly extreme. When it came to coverage, however, the MSM mostly picked military advances while the toll of the fighting was covered in a hushed and infrequent manner.

While footage and photos of the city, taken by a few real reporters on the ground, showed the vast destruction and carnage, no widespread outrage was to be seen in the aftermath of mass civilian casualties reported. Warnings from international human rights groups, including the UN bodies, which highlighted the dire refugee situation and apparent disregard for “collateral damage” by the coalition, were also left largely unaired.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/430616-aleppo-mosul-liberation-aftermath/