Jaafari on Golan: Trump Tweet Flagrant Violation, Contempt for International Law

Bashar Jaafari Syria UN Representative Ambassador - UNSC بشار الجعفري مندوب سوريا الدائم لدى الأمم المتحدة - سفير

His Excellency Bashar al Jaafari issued an urgent statement on Syria’s Golan, via a UN stake out, 22 March 2019. While maintaining his immaculate standard of professional diplomat, the Syrian ambassador crushed US President Donald J. Trump’s “irresponsible tweeting.” He laid waste to the escalation of “American arrogance,” and explained the many UN Security Council Resolutions which support Syria’s sovereignty over its Golan, resolutions which call for the end of illegal Israeli occupation.

Golan
Though there were a substantial number of reporters present, at this writing, AFP is the lone MSM service to write an anemic short, ignoring all key points on Trump’s criminal plot to authorize the theft of Syria’s Golan.

Dr. Jaafari explained to his audience there is no “Golan heights,” there is only the Syrian Golan. The word “heights” was affixed by Israeli propagandists as part of its psychological warfare campaign to make its illegal occupation appear more powerful.

Syria’s ambassador read a five-minute statement in Arabic, followed by its English translation, after which he took questions from the reporters.

One reporter said that Syria’s official request for the UNSG to publicly condemn Trump’s aggression was met by a generic response that the SG stands by all resolutions, but is not ready to condemn the US president’s tweet.

Golan
Syria officially called on the UN to put an end to “American arrogance” of Trump’s mafioso-type plan to give that which is not his, but Syria’s, Golan, to its illegal Israeli occupiers.

Here, the author interjects to again remind our readers of the corruption and bias of Antonio Guterres — Guterres, the friend of war criminal Tony Blair, Guterres whose own imperialist arrogance contains putting lies in writing. Consider his claim that the OPCW “fact-finding mission” was “in the Syrian Arab Republic,” despite OPCW’s admission it was too afraid of terrorists to actually send in investigators.

Diplomat Jaafari meticulously explained that Trump’s imperious tweet — “diplomacy now about tweeting, apparently” — was contemptuous of the international community, showed “flagrant violation of international law, the charter of the UN and the simplest…values and ethics,” and demonstrated escalation against member states of the United Nations: It’s “my way or the highway.”

Golan
You can’t declare war with everybody [though that is basically what Trump did when he spoke at UNGA in September]. The 100th year anniversary of the League of Nations is approaching, & Trump is trying to move international law to pre-1918.

Before taking questions, the Syrian diplomat asked everyone to focus exclusively on the Golan. He told them that there would be another “humanitarian meeting” on the 27th, at which time they could ask all questions. His request to “Please let us focus on this important issue” of course fell on deaf western ears, as someone immediately asked about Trump’s statistics on the remaining “Islamic State.”

Excellency Jaafari did respond, however, to educate the reporter that there is no such thing, there is “a bunch of terrorists gathered from all over the world…all kinds of hyenas.”

Golan
“Allies performed records in demolishing infrastructure.” H.E. Jaafari was speaking of the Fascist Coalition of war criminals against Syria.

One English-speaking colonialist whined from a State Department-type script, about these being “different times.” Nu, is it not always different times? Since when does the movement of the planet legitimize theft, authorize a third party to declare theft to be lawful?

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UNSCR 242 (1967). Israel must return the Golan to its legal country, Syria.

Not surprisingly, one of the most fetid collections of questions came from an incel-sounding voice claiming to be of the Middle East Eye. “MEE is the offspring of the inbred relationship of UK’s The Guardian and Qatar’s al-Jazeera, consistently supportive of NATO Spring takfiri in Syria.

“MEE”‘s first question was sheer idiocy, suggesting that a tweet has the power to legalize a crime. The second question was an attempt to propagandize against Syria’s Golan, and to propagandize for future hypothetical victimhood of Israeli occupiers on the Golan which belongs to the SAR.

Syrians on Syria’s Golan fly the Syrian flag.

Dr. Jaafari carefully explained that Syria will regain that which it owns, and that there are no Israeli civilians on Syrian land: “They are settlers, not civilians. They must leave.”

Golan
“What is the alternative to diplomacy? You know the answer.” “When you have no other choice to get back your rights, it’s your duty.”

Multiple attempts were made to provoke Dr. Jaafari into a response to create another wave of anti-Syria hysteria in western media. His character state of professional diplomat is likely the reason his urgent statement on Trump’s criminal tweet in support of Israel’s criminal occupation of the Golan has been ignored by “mainstream media.”

ADDENDA:

Ambassador Jaafari’s statement focused on UNSC Resolutions supporting Syria’s ownership of its Golan.

We remind our readers that both the US and Israel are signatories to the Geneva treaties, which have strict principles governing occupation, which is supposed to be temporary:

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Principles governing occupation.

We also remind our readers that Israel has bragged about providing terrorists with state of the art medical care on the Syrian Golan, which it occupies; that Israeli medium reported that Israel is the number one purchaser of oil stolen by terrorists; that Israel breaches all of the principles governing what is supposed to be temporary occupation.

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The US Enables Deliberate Saudi Attacks on Civilian Targets in Yemen

Source

Originally appeared on The American Conservative.

UNICEF reports on the latest Saudi coalition attack on a water system in Saada. This is the third time that the same site has been bombed:

UNICEF deplores in the strongest terms yet another attack on vital and lifesaving water systems in Yemen.

A large water facility in Sa’ada, northwest of the country, came under attack this week. This is the third such attack on the same facility. More than half of the project is now damaged, cutting off 10,500 people from safe drinking water.

Continuous attacks on water systems in Yemen are cutting off children and their families from water; increasing the likelihood of water-borne diseases spreading in the war-torn country.

The Saudi coalition deliberately attacks civilian targets in Yemen. Just as they struck the MSF-run cholera treatment center once and then blew it up again after it had been rebuilt, they have repeatedly attacked this vital infrastructure needed to provide clean drinking water to Yemeni civilians in Saada. This is the second time the coalition has struck this site this year. I wrote about the previous attack back in April:

The destruction of infrastructure needed to provide clean drinking water for civilians is clearly a violation of international law, and the fact that the same system has been targeted more than once should put to rest the idea that the coalition strikes these targets only by accident. Just as it has systematically and deliberately attacked food production and distribution inside Yemen, the Saudi-led coalition repeatedly strikes at the infrastructure that the population needs for water and sewage treatment.

The coalition is repeatedly striking at the medical facilities and infrastructure needed to prevent the spread of cholera in a country suffering from the worst modern cholera epidemic on record. There have already been well over a million cases, and the deteriorating conditions in the country could cause that number spike upwards. The coalition obviously carries out these attacks on purpose, and they keep doing it because they are never held accountable for their crimes. The Saudis and their allies use both starvation and disease as weapons against the civilian population of Yemen in a policy of cruel collective punishment. The U.S. continues to provide unstinting support to the coalition campaign and makes attacks like this possible. Congress needs to cut off all U.S. support for the war on Yemen now, and every day that U.S. involvement continues our government is complicit in crimes like the one committed against these civilians in Saada.

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at The American Conservative, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and is a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Dallas. Follow him on Twitter. This article is reprinted from The American Conservative with permission.

Lies and Deception in the Failed US Strike on Syria

Lies and Deception in the Failed US Strike on Syria

Lies and Deception in the Failed US Strike on Syria

At 4am on April 14, the United States, France and the United Kingdom executed a strike on Syria. The Syrian Free Press reported:

US Navy warships in the Red Sea and Air Force B-1B bombers and F-15 and F-16 aircraft rained dozens of ship- and air-launched cruise missiles down on the Syrian capital of Damascus, an airbase outside the city, a so-called chemical weapons storage facility near Homs, and an equipment-storage facility and command post, also near Homs. B1-Bs are typically armed with JASSM cruise missiles, which have a 450 kg warhead and a range of 370 kms. US Navy warships launched Tomahawks, which have 450 kg warheads and an operational range of between 1,300 and 2,500 kms. The British Royal Air Force’s contingent for the assault consisted of four Tornado GR4 ground-attack aircraft armed with the Storm Shadow long-range air-to-ground missile, which the UK’s Defense Ministry said targeted ‘chemical weapons sites’ in Homs. These weapons have a range of 400 kms. Finally, France sent its Aquitaine frigate, armed with SCALP naval land-attack cruise missiles (SCALP is the French military’s name for the Storm Shadow), as well as several Dassault Rafale fighters, also typically armed with SCALP or Apache cruise missiles. According to the Russian defense ministry, the B-1Bs also fired GBU-38 guided air bombs. Undoubtedly weary of the prospect of having their aircraft shot down after Israel lost one of its F-16s over Syria in February, the Western powers presumably launched their weapons from well outside the range of Syrian air defenses, with all the targets located just 70-90 kms from the Mediterranean Sea, and having to fly through Lebanon first.

Recapping the information on the strike, the US and its allies used the following assets:

● 2 destroyers (USS Laboon, USS Higgins)

● 1 US cruiser (USS Monterey)

● 1 French frigate (Georges Leygues)

● 5 Rafale jets

● 4 Mirage 2000-5F

● 4 British Tornado fighter-bombers

● Virginia-class submarine USS John Warner

● 2 US B-1B bombers

Their ordnance brought to bear consisted of the following:

● The cruiser Monterey launched 30 Tomahawk missiles

● The destroyer Higgins 23 Tomahawks

● The destroyer Laboon 7 Tomahawks

● The submarine John Warner 6 Tomahawks

● 2 B-1 bombers 21 JASSM missiles

● 4 British Tornado GR4 fighter bombers 16 Storm-shadow missiles.

● The French Languedoc fired 3 MdCN land-attack missiles.

The US Pentagon reports the strike group targeted:

– 76 missiles at the Barzah research center in Damascus:

(Source)

– 22 missiles at an undefined “chemical” structure:

(Source)

– 7 missiles against an undefined “chemical bunker”:

(Source)

The Syrian anti-aircraft forces responded, firing a total of 112 air-defence missiles:

● the Pantsyr system fired 25 missiles and hit 24 targets;

● the Buk system fired 29 missiles and hit 24 targets;

● the Osa system fired 11 and hit 5 targets;

● the S-125 system fired 13 missiles and hit 5 targets;

● the Strela-10 system fired 5 missiles and hit 3 targets;

● the Kvadrat system fired 21 and hit 11 targets;

● the S-200 system fired 8 and hit no targets.

(Source)

The Russians have stated that the target of the raids and the effectiveness of the missiles have resulted in a big fiasco for the Americans:

● 4 missiles were launched targeting the area of the Damascus International Airport; these 4 missiles were intercepted.

● 12 missiles were launched targeting the Al-Dumayr Military Airport; these 12 missiles were intercepted.

● 18 missiles were launched  targeting the Bley Military Airport; these 18 missiles were intercepted.

● 12 missiles were launched targeting the Shayarat Military Airport; these 12 missiles were intercepted.

● 9-15 missiles were launched  targeting the Mezzeh Military Airport; 5 of them were intercepted.

● 16 missiles were launched targeting the Homs Military Airport; 13 of which were intercepted.

● 30 missiles were launched targeting targets in the areas of Barzah and Jaramani; 7 of which were intercepted.

The effectiveness of the attack is called into question, especially in light of the prompt reaction of the civilian population that took to the streets in support of Bashar al Assad and the Syrian government only a few hours after the US-led attack.

(Celebrations the morning of the 14th of April in Umayyad Square, Damascus )

What emerges immediately from the Syrian/Russian and American narratives are contrasting assessments of the outcome of the attack.

We can certainly try to dispute some statements. The Americans repeated that at least two chemical-weapons laboratories together with a chemical-weapons storage center were affected. As evidenced by the images shot by PressTV a few hours after the attack, the structure is destroyed but there are no chemical contaminations. To confirm this, the television operators were able to perform interviews and live footage a few meters from the site of the strike without experiencing any physical effects, which would have been impossible were the American version of events true, given that the release of chemical agents would have made the whole area inaccessible.

Further confirmation comes from Ammar Waqqaf interviewed on The Heat on CGTV, claiming that his relatives were about 500 meters from one of the alleged chemical-weapons research centers attacked by the Americans. Ammar says that even in this case, no chemical agent appears to have been released, thus disproving Washington’s claims.

Another important consideration concerns the targets. For Washington, the targets were limited to research laboratories (Barzah and Jaramani) and storage centers. But Moscow revealed that the objectives also included military bases as well as the civilian Damascus International Airport, namely: Al-Dumayr Military Airport, Bley Military Airport, Shayarat Military Airport, Mezzeh Military Airport, Homs Military Airport. These were mostly unsuccessful attacks.

In light of the foregoing, we can assume that the operational goal of the Americans was twofold. On the one hand, it was aimed at the media, to show a response to the (false) accusations of a chemical attack in Douma (Robert Frisk has just dismantled the propaganda and RT reminds us of the various false flags perpetrated by the US in the past to start wars); on the other, it was used by the military to actually permanently damage the Syrian Air Force, as suggested by the warmongering neocon Lindsey Graham. The failure of this latter objective could be seen in the following hours when the Syrian planes resumed operational tasks.

What does all this information tell us? First of all, the American goal was not to hit the non-existent chemical weapons or their production sites. The aim was to reduce as much as possible Syrian Air Force assets at different military airports. The mission was a failure, as reported by the Russian military envoy in Syria thanks to the air-defense measures of the Syrian forces as well as probably a high electronic-warfare (EW) contribution from the Russian forces present in the country. Very little has been leaked out in technical terms from the Russian Federation, which officially states that it did not contribute towards defending against the attack. It is probable that Russia played a decisive role in terms of EW, with its little-known but highly effective systems as demonstrated in previous attacks in 2017.

Moscow has no interest in promoting its cutting-edge EW systems, and often does not confirm the reports issued by more or less government agencies, as in the case of the USS Donald Cook in 2014. Yet Russia Beyond explains EW as probably being fundamental in foiling the American attack:

Before the electronic jamming system kicks in, the aircraft scans the radio signals in its zone of ​​activity. After detecting the traffic frequencies of the enemy’s equipment, the operator on board the aircraft enables the jamming system in the required bandwidth,” a defense industry source told Russia Beyond. In addition to onboard systems, there are ground-based Krasnukha-4 EW complexes stationed around the Khemeimim airbase, Russia’s key stronghold in the Middle East. Their purpose is to suppress enemy “eavesdropping” and weapons guidance systems. The Krasnukha-4 blinds enemy radar systems to targets at a distance of 250 km.

The general public is yet to understand that the American attack was a complete fiasco, much to the irritation of Lindsey Graham, thereby confirming Damascus’s narrative, which presented Syria’s response as decisive and effective.

The logic of the matter must also be considered. We know that the US and her allies launched 105 missiles aimed at various targets, including some military bases, but none of them hit the targets indicated, except for two buildings already emptied previously and a non-existent chemical-weapons depot. The Pentagon amplified the military report with the lie that only two research centers and a chemical-weapons depot were intentionally bombed with something like 105 missiles; this in order to account for the number of missiles launched and to drown out other assessments that contradict the preferred narrative. But it is ridiculous to believe that the US used 76 missiles to hit three buildings. A much more plausible explanation is that there were many more targets but only three of them were hit, this measly success carrying zero tactical or strategic importance.

We should ask ourselves what the real goal of Washington was. First, let us split the story into two parts. On the one hand we have a PR exercise, and on the other an intended military strategy. In the first case, Washington was able to pursue its self-assigned role as “protector of the weak”, like those victims of the alleged Douma chemical attack. The intended optics were those of a humanitarian intervention, in line with the West’s self-assigned role of regent of the post-World War II neoliberal world order. In reality, we know very well that US hegemony is based on millions of deaths in dozens of wars scattered around the globe. According to the fictitious narrative of the media, it all boils down to good-guys-versus-bad-guys, and Assad is the bad guy while the US is the good guy punishing the regime for the use of chemical weapons.

The success of PR exercise depends very little on the military outcome and much more on the story as told by the media. It is based solely on the affirmation of the role taken up by the US and her allies, that of being in the right and driven only by the noblest interests. But such a series of unreasonable lies has only served to drag the world into chaos, diminished the role of the mainstream media, and destroyed the credibility of practically the whole Western political class.

From a military point of view, however, the goals, intent and results show a far more disturbing result for Washington and her allies. Soviet-era weapons that were updated by Moscow and integrated into the Russian air defense infrastructure network severely degraded the effectiveness of the American attack. Washington wanted to ground the entire Syrian air force, hitting air bases with precision, but failed in this objective. It remains to be seen whether this attack was a prelude to something bigger, with the USS Harry S Truman Carrier Strike Group currently heading towards Syrian territorial waters. Following the logic of deconfliction with Russia, it seems unlikely that a more intense attack will occur, rumors even circulating that Mattis dissuaded Trump from targeting Russian and Iranian targets, being well aware of the risks in a Russian response.

Let us focus for a moment on the risks in this kind of scenario. We are told that it would have brought about World War Three. This is probably true. But the consequences could also entail something much worse for Washington than for the rest of the world. The rhetoric that an American attack on Russian forces in Syria would trigger a direct war between the two superpowers is certainly true, but perhaps it is wrong in its interpretation. The danger seems to lie less in the possibility of a nuclear apocalypse and more in exposing the US’s inability to go toe to toe with a peer competitor.

While we cannot (and hope not to) test this hypothesis, we can certainly join the dots. If Soviet-era systems, with a slight Russian modernization, can nullify an American attack, what could the Russian forces do themselves? They could probably even block an attack of the scale visited on Baghdad, where several hundred missiles were directed towards civilian and military targets. It would be highly unlikely in such a scenario for Washington to peddle the false propaganda of a successful attack with little in terms of bomb-damage assessment commensurate with the number of missiles launched.

Already in the April 14 attack, the explanation that 76 cruise missiles were directed against three buildings is ridiculous but is nevertheless sustained thanks to the lies of the mainstream media and the paucity of available information. However, when thinking of 500 Tomahawks launched with limited damage to the Syrian infrastructure, even that would be impossible to sell to a very ignorant and deceived public. It would be the definitive proof of the decline in American military effectiveness and the potency of Russian air-defense systems. Just like during Putin’s presentation of new weapons some months back, when the Empire feels its core (military power) is threatened, it simply dismisses such reports as false, in the process becoming a victim of its own propaganda.

Yet one would only need to listen to the words of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Michael Griffin, in a conference at the Hudson Institute where he explained how Moscow and Beijing capabilities are far more advanced in hypersonic and supersonic missile defense and attack capabilities. He openly explained that Washington takes about 16 years to implement a paper-to-service idea, while its rivals in a few years have shown that they can move from concept to practical development, gaining a huge advantage over rivals like Washington.

The problem is inherent for the United States in its need to keep alive a war machine based on inflated military spending that creates enormous pockets of corruption and inefficiency. Just look at the F-35 project and its constant problems. Although Moscow’s spending is less than twelve times that of the United States, it has succeeded in developing systems like hypersonic missiles that are still in the testing phase in the United States, or systems like the S-500, which the US does not possess.

The S-300, S-400, P-800 anti-ship missiles and the 3M22 Zircon hypersonic missiles, in addition to EW, pose a fundamental problem for Washington in dealing with attacks against a peer competitor. The military in Washington are probably well aware of the risks of revealing the US to be a paper tiger, so they prefer to avoid any direct confrontation with Russia and Iran, more for the purposes of maintaining military prestige than out of a desire to avoid risking World War Three. If Russian forces ever were targeted by the US, in all probability Moscow would simply disable the electronics of the US ship rather than sinking it, leaving it to float in the Mediterranean uncontrolled for days.

The last fig leaf hiding the US military’s inadequacy rests in Hollywood propaganda that presents the US military as practically invincible. Accordingly, some sites have spread stories that Russia had been forewarned of the attack and that the whole bombing event was the same sort of farce as a year ago. In the first place, it is important to clarify that Moscow had not been given advanced warning of the targets, and the reason for this is simple: the attack was real and, as explained above, did not succeed precisely because of Moscow and Damuscus’s effective parries and blocks.

In reality, Washington has failed in its military strategy, and the media have turned to the usual propaganda of chemical weapons and the need to enforce justice in the world and proclaim a non-existent success. In the meantime, Moscow fine-tunes its weapons and prepares to deliver the S-300 to the Syrian state and its allies (Lebanon?), effectively limiting Washington’s ability to attack in the Middle East. This is a fitting conclusion for a story that has only damaged the status of the United States and her allies in the Middle East, bringing Syria closer to a final victory.

Syria, Morning After “Horrible American Strikes”- Syrians Are Partying On Damascus Streets

WW3 in Europe against Russia would be a win/win situation for the USA

Who’s Driving the Latest Nato Exercises?

Written by Lindsey German

The escalating tensions with Russia should be of concern to everyone says Lindsey German

NatoMayhem564

‘Britain is part of the deployment across eastern Europe, sending 800 troops to Estonia’


This week we are witnessing another example of politicians and military figures talking peace but preparing for war. A thousand US troops have arrived in Poland as part of a 4000-strong deployment, its largest since the Cold War and brought forward to predate the inauguration of Donald Trump. The move is being driven by a decision at the Nato summit in Warsaw last year, itself reflecting the expansionist politics of Nato vis a vis Russia. Since the end of the Cold War, a major Nato policy has been eastward expansion right up to the borders of Russia, incorporating within its membership all the eastern European countries which have signed up to the EU since 2004, and demanding Nato membership as a future condition of membership.

It also reflects the desires of the very right wing governments in Poland and the Baltic states who have been at the forefront of pushing for a more aggressive Nato policy against Russia. Britain is part of the deployment across eastern Europe, sending 800 troops to Estonia. In addition, Germany is expanding its military role, hence a growing support for militarism there. In addition to US troops there are hundreds of US armoured vehicles and tanks in Germany to be transported to Poland and elsewhere. Already the troops have brought in bags full of US flags for grateful Poles to wave, as though the troop manoeuvres are some sort of liberation for the people of Poland, rather than back up for its increasingly right wing government.

These manoeuvres will not de-escalate tensions with Russia. They are not designed to. Instead, they mark the escalation of Nato policy over recent years. When the Cold War ended, the agreement between the west and Russia was that Nato would not expand eastwards beyond the reunited Germany. The opposite has happened. The escalating tensions with Russia should be of concern to everyone. This is not to imply any support whatsoever for Putin or his policies but it is to recognise that Nato is pursuing an aggressive policy, not a defensive one.

It is also to recognise that anti-Russian sentiment in the west is probably greater than at any time since the height of the Cold War. The furore in the US over Trump’s relations with Russia must surely be seen in part as an attempt to prevent him from any closer relations with Russia – a position in which he is quite isolated within the Republican party. In Britain in recent months, there have been scares over Russian planes and ships near British territory. Yet it is widely acknowledged that there is no immediate or even medium term threat of Russian invasion in Eastern Europe. The danger is that increased troop movements can lead to much greater tensions, possibly accompanied by accidents or misunderstandings which can lead to conflict.

Jeremy Corbyn’s spokesman was surely right therefore to caution over the latest troop deployments when he talked to journalists yesterday. “Jeremy has said repeatedly that he has lots of criticisms of the Russian government, both in relation to what has happened in the Middle East and domestically. But what we don’t want to see is a ratcheting up of tensions between Russia and the west, as has been taking place. We want talks and engagement to wind down military tensions, particularly on the Russian/Nato border and in the Middle East.”

Who could argue with that? Well apparently, the shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith is ‘livid’ about it. She shouldn’t be. Labour has spent far too long following the line of the Ministry of Defence (Griffith went on a trip to Estonia with the MOD) and of right wing commentators in supporting wars. Yet the record is appalling. The Middle East is in part destroyed after Iraq, Libya and Syria, and Afghanistan remains mired in war. Meanwhile the tensions across Europe are worsening. The people who brought us the past wars are the same as those urging further military intervention now.

One reason Corbyn has been elected twice as Labour leader is his opposition to such wars and his concerns for promoting peace rather than war. Unfortunately, the record of many Labour MPs is nowhere near as good. They have shown recently over debates on Chilcot and Saudi Arabia an unwillingness to confront their past mistakes and a blind commitment to supporting all wars.

With a Trump presidency beginning next week, the world is in dangerous and uncharted waters. Labour politicians should not be arguing for increasing instability. Nor should they view British troops in a sabre-rattling exercise in Estonia as doing anything useful. In addition, given the huge crisis over the NHS and care, surely this money could be far better spent.

2016 US Election Result: Yet More War

2016 US Election Result: Yet More War

‘Far from deterring the US’s opponents in the Middle East, the more muscular approach is likely to draw all sides into deeper conflict’

Raceoftheunloved564


What will the US election mean for the country’s involvement in wars and interventions? The answer is, whoever wins it’s likely to get worse. This lies in part in the nature of the candidates. Trump may talk isolationism but is unlikely to go down that road, given the concerns of important sections of the US ruling class –  not that there is not too much military action being carried out by its armed forces, but too little. Trump is, in any case, wildly unpredictable on these questions.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is all too predictable. Her record as Secretary of State was consistently hawkish, from her endorsement of the regime change in Libya in 2011, her intervention in the Syrian war from 2012 onwards and her public glee at the deaths of Gadaffi and Bin Laden. It is clear that her election to the presidency will herald an escalation of intervention in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

In this, she reflects the concerns by many of those involved with formulating foreign policy that Obama has been too averse to military action, and in particular that the US should engage in ‘limited’ airstrikes using cruise missiles, and that it should enforce no fly zones or ‘safe’ zones to stop Syrian and Russian bombing. An article in the Washington Post talks of a number of forthcoming reports and analyses which reflect an increasingly bipartisan approach to foreign policy and especially to Syria.

The article says: ‘Taken together, the studies and reports call for more-aggressive American action to constrain Iran, rein in the chaos in the Middle East and check Russia in Europe.’ This in itself is an admission of the failure of US foreign policy going back decades. The fall of Saddam’s Iraq strengthened his rival Iran – certainly an unintended consequence of the US intervention. The ‘chaos in the Middle East’ cannot be extricated from the wars, occupations and bombings which have been constant for a decade and a half. And the need to ‘check Russia in Europe’ is the justification for US backed Nato expansion which now stretches to Russian western borders.

Enforcing no fly zones or any variants thereof will not be a means to promoting peace, but a further military escalation of the war, as will further bombing or missile attacks. According to Brian Katulis, a Middle East analyst at the Centre for American Progress, ‘Today, the focus among the foreign policy elite is on rebuilding a more muscular and more “centrist internationalism.”’

Far from deterring the US’s opponents in the Middle East, the more muscular approach is likely to draw all sides into deeper conflict.

The only barrier to this course is the lack of support for such action among public opinion in the US. As is the case in Britain, the lessons of these wars have been better learnt by the people who suffer as a result of them than they have been by the politicians

First NATO causes Libya’s refugee problem and now it goes to war against them

The next war in Libya will be against refugees

Plans have already been drawn up to send around 1,000 UK troops says Chris Nineham

CNLibPic


‘A lot of Libyans think of it as a puppet government.’ So said Oliver Miles, former British ambassador to Libya on the BBC on Monday, about the new regime trying to establish itself in Libya.

The Libyans would be right. Fayez al Sarraj, so called ‘Prime Minister designate’ was shipped in on a Saudi warship from exile in Tunisia last month. Neither of the existing authorities in Libya, including the Tobruk House of Representatives which can claim some democratic mandate, backs Sarraj. He is still holed up with his team in a heavily guarded naval base on the edge of Tripoli because it is unsafe for him to travel in the country.

This week, the G5 powers met in Berlin partly to express support for Sarraj and to plan how best to impose his government on the Libyan people. The week before, British Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond visited Libya to meet Sarraj and give what he describes as his ‘full support’.

The unseemly scramble to enforce the Sarraj government is driven by two main concerns. First, anxiety about advances made by Isis into key oil producing areas. US officials have expressed worry that Isis is using its occupation of the key port of Sirte to take over the oil and gas rich towns of Ras Lanuf and Sidra which would allow it strategic control of the whole Sirte Basin production area. Libya is the second most important gas producer in the world and the closest major oil producer to Europe.

The second main driver is the refugee crisis. The EU deal with Turkey is an attempt to close down refugee access to Europe via the eastern route. This, and the warmer weather, has increased the flow from the south over the Mediterranean crossing, with tragic results. Working in close co-ordination, the EU, NATO and the UN have been unrolling a military plan, Operation Sophia, to stem the flow and force the refugees back to Africa.  

A UK government source said Operation Sophia ‘has achieved a lot in terms of bringing the numbers down. But one of the challenges is that it is only operating on the high seas.’The problem is in other words, that any push back of refugees would need a viable partner on the mainland.

This is where Sarraj comes in. Not only will he co-operate with the clampdown against refugees, crucially, western leaders are confident he will invite western military in to help. NATO is pushing for a 6,000 strong military force from Europe to go in. Plans have already been drawn up to send around 1,000 UK troops, ostensibly to train up a new Libyan army. But any foreign force of that size in a country riven by war is almost bound to get involved in combat.

The scepticism on the ground in Libya is learnt from bitter experience. Last time the western powers organised an intervention in Libya in 2011, the no-fly zone and the resulting bombing raids were presented as an operation to head off a regime attack on Benghazi, the centre of opposition.

Benghazi was secured in a few days. What followed was five months of some of the most intensive bombing in history during which time 30-40,000 people died. The operation ended with the killing of President Ghaddafi in what independent observers reported was a western orchestrated operation. Barely able to contain her excitement Secretary of State Hillary Clinton commented ‘We came, we saw, he died’.  As well as killing on an industrial scale, the bombardment devastated the country’s infrastructure and led directly to the country’s political fragmentation. It was these conditions that IS were able to exploit to establish control of important sections of the coastal strip.

The plans for Libya are the direct opposite of a humanitarian intervention. They want us to go to war against the refugees. We must not let them.

Source: Stop the War Coalition

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