Pentagon claims that US military equipment worth $4.1 million has gone missing in terrorist-held areas in Syria due to internet problems

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Monday, 06 April 2020 18:18 A pretext has been fabricated by the US Department of Defense (The Pentagon) to justify how millions of dollars’ worth of US military equipment has gone missing in Syria and that it may have fallen into the hands of jihadist groups. 

The new pretext came after a report by the Department of Defense’s office of the inspector general revealed that “theatre-provided equipment” worth $4.1 million (£3.2m) was not accounted for in an audit conducted as US forces prepare to withdraw from the country.

The report, which was published by the Morning Star website, forced the Pentagon’s officials to admit that “theatre-provided equipment” worth $4.1 million (£3.2m) has gone missing in terrorist-held areas in Syria. 

The US officials blamed “internet connectivity problems” for its inability to “continuously account for 69 pieces” of military hardware, with another 10 items lost through troops failing to follow official guidance. 

The US has fueled jihadist atrocities, with CIA covert operations arming a myriad of Islamist groups associated with Isis and al-Qaeda. 

The flow of weapons and other military equipment into Syria has been described as an “industrial revolution of terrorism.”During mopping-up operations in areas liberated by the Syrian army from terrorist groups, US-supplied weapons have been uncovered. 

This is not the first time that US military equipment has been lost in Syria. In February 2018, a similar audit discovered that $715m in weapons and equipment had not been properly stored or accounted for. 

In fact the reports of the Department of Defense’s office prove the link between Washington and terrorist groups and the continuity of the US support for these groups through leaving military equipment for them. 

Basma Qaddour

Sick West Goes Viral

FINIAN CUNNINGHAM SATURDAY 4 APR 20

The world is in a sick place. We’re not just talking about the escalating coronavirus pandemic, serious though that is with global deaths doubling over the past week. What is also sick is the way gestures of solidarity are being cynically twisted.

Take the arrival of Russian medical aid to the US this week. That was promptly arranged after US President Donald Trump asked his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in a phone call for help in coping with the coronavirus crisis. Even before the Antonov-124 cargo plane touched down at JFK airport certain US media outlets were labelling the gesture of solidarity as a “propaganda gimmick” by the Kremlin.

It was surmised that the Russian response to the US request for aid was “to push efforts for relief from sanctions” imposed by Washington. The cynical inference is that supposed Russian conniving and deceit knows no bounds in the black art of manipulation.

A Russian made Antonov An-124, one of the biggest cargo planes in the world, is pictured on May 29, 2019, on the tarmac of the airport in Brest, Western France.

© AFP 2020 / FRED TANNEAU

How about just simply acknowledging the evident fact that Russia is sending vital medical help to the US at a time of need motivating by no other sentiment than basic humanitarian compassion? The fact that Russia has been slapped with numerous US sanctions over recent years since the Ukraine crisis as well as stemming from bizarre claims of Moscow meddling in the 2016 US presidential election – only goes to show Russia’s capacity for magnanimity. Simple as that folks.

The same pathetic distortion was earlier voiced regarding Russian and Chinese aid to Italy and other European countries stricken with the deadly virus.

This week a European Union so-called media watchdog warned that Russia and China were engaged in a disinformation campaign to “undermine public trust in national health-care systems”.

There are also reports of claims by US intelligence and other officials that China is to blame for spreading the disease because it deliberately under-reported the outbreak that initially occurred in December, thereby allegedly leaving Western nations ill-prepared to withstand the pandemic.

Those claims are patently false. China had alerted the world to the seriousness of the disease as early as January when it was itself getting to grips with the uncertain public health crisis. Western nations had three months to learn from China’s experience, as well as from neighboring South Korea, where authorities clamped down on the epidemic. But Western governments for various reasons, no doubt primarily due to budgetary costs, chose instead to ignore the threat.

Trump and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson in particular showed stupendous nonchalance bordering on callous indifference. Both of them dismissed the looming Covid-19 crisis as a “passing flu”. Only last week Trump was touting the US “getting back to business by Easter”.

What is abundantly evident is that the US, Britain and other Western states are not prepared to deal with the present crisis because of their rundown public health services. That structural problem is a matter of government neglect over many years to ensure that their citizens are adequately protected in a time of crisis. And that neglect stems from deliberate policy choices, such as showering the rich with tax breaks and squandering trillions on militarism, while relentlessly cutting funds for public services.

In short, the coronavirus crisis is a reflection of a deeper crisis in the capitalist system that prevails among Western states, as American professor Richard Wolff explains. Societal human needs are always sacrificed on the altar of elite private profit.

Men wearing protective masks stand as people hike along a section of the Great Wall in Badaling in Beijing, on its first day of re-opening after the scenic site's coronavirus related closure, China, 24 March 2020.

© REUTERS / THOMAS PETER

The fact that in the US and Britain there is a paltry number of test kits for checking the disease and a dearth of vital protective equipment for medical staff is a national disgrace due to inherent political and economic reasons. That is what needs to be focused on. That is where the public anger should be directed. Why have citizens been so abjectly betrayed by their governments whose first duty of care should be to protect them?

It is absurd and contemptible for certain media and pundits to try to distract from the central issue of bankrupt democracy by seeking to disparage Russia over humanitarian aid or scapegoat China for the systemic failures of Western governments.

One senses, however, that the ploys of Russophobia and Chinaphobia have become hopelessly threadbare in credibility. In Britain, for example, normally Conservative-supporting media are asking angry questions on their front pages about government dereliction. Are we to believe that such anger is the result of Russia and China “sowing disinformation to undermine public trust”?

No, it is simply a case of citizens realizing – slowly and painfully – that their governments and society organized on capitalist priorities is a shambles unworthy of the name “democracy”.

The sickness of smearing and blaming others instead of dealing honestly with inherent problems will only embolden the public even more to exact retribution from their culpable authorities. As millions of workers and their families reap poverty and illness, one senses too that the pitchforks are being taken down from the barn roofs.

Sickness in the West is going viral, but maybe some lasting benefit may come from this crisis in the end, if societies are overhauled for the greater good of citizens.

Finian Cunningham

Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromising Integrity in Journalism (2019).

A Foretaste of the Horror of Biological Warfare

By Eric Margolis

Source

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The world is getting sick from the spreading COVID-19 virus. North Americans and Europeans are now as horrified as Chinese by the invisible killer that has put their hospitals under siege.

They are also getting a grim foretaste of what biological warfare would be like. Those not cowering in terror in their homes would likely be amazed to learn that some of their governments are still churning out highly toxic chemical and biological agents in hidden factories.

But surely our lily white democracies don’t stoop to making poison gas and germs?

Back in 1990-91, I was based in Baghdad covering the first of the Gulf Wars. The US was threatening to attack Iraq for daring to invade oil-rich Kuwait, which used to be part of Iraq until ‘detached’ by the British Empire. At the same time, the eight-year Iran-Iraq War had just ended in a bloody stalemate. The US and Britain had pressed Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to invade Iran, seize its oil wealthy and overthrow the Islamic government in Tehran.

Facing a US-British invasion, Saddam Hussein ordered all foreigners in Iraq rounded up and confined to tourist hotels. Among the foreigners, I discovered four British scientific technicians who had been sent, or ‘seconded,’ to a newly built biowarfare chemical complex south of Baghdad at Salman Pak. They were then trucked to Baghdad as hostages against a US attack.

I managed to slip into the compound that held them and talked for hours over mugs of tea. The British tech team told me they had been secretly sent to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq by Britain’s Ministry of Defense and Britain’s MI6 Secret Intelligence Service to help Iraq’s military develop and deploy biological weapons for use against numerically superior Iranian forces on the Central Front, Al-Faw Peninsula, and again Kurdish rebels in the north.

The bio weapons included Anthrax, botulism, Q fever and tularemia that attacks the eyes, throat, skin and lymph nodes. Salman Pak also produced quantities of nerve and mustard gasses used against Iranian infantry formations.

Most raw materials for the germ and gas came from Europe. Feeder stocks for the germ/poison gas weapons came from the main UC chemical warfare plans at Ft. Detrick, Maryland.

A popular joke among western journalists in Baghdad went, ‘of course Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction. We have the delivery receipts.’

The times Iraq deployed its chemical/bio weapons against Iran, the results were nightmarish: blinded soldiers choking to death, unable to unable to breathe; soldiers with their skin peeling off; dead mothers holding babies in their arms. Many of these attacks were targeted by US satellites positioned over Iraq. US Air Force officers worked closely with their military counterparts Iraq.

To this day, there remain tens of thousands of maimed, blinded, crippled Iraqi soldiers. It was Iraq’s version of World War I, cheerfully financed by the US, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Iraq’s once thriving economy is mostly in ruins. US and British bombing even destroyed most of Iraq’s sewage systems, water reserves, hospitals and bridges. Contaminated water alone killed 500,000 Iraqi children, according to the UN, a price ‘worth paying’ said US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

The moral of this terrible story, and the current worldwide epidemic, is to immediately ban all chemical and biological weapons everywhere. Destroy all chem/bio warfare plants everywhere, including the US, Russa, China, India and Israel.

The COVID-19 virus is merely a taste of what a real biological war would be like. Many around the world who bear us ill cannot help but take notice how the world’s richest, mightiest nation can be brought to its knees by some invisible bugs.

When President Trump fulminates against China over COVID-19, he should be advised that the anthrax and other germ weapons used against Iraq in 1990 originated at Fort Detrick, just 50 miles NW of the White House, a mere one hour drive if traffic is not too heavy.

US Knew of a Novel Coronavirus Threat, Failed to Prepare

By Stephen Lendman

Source

According to a Nation magazine report, Trump deceived the public by falsely claiming the emergence and spread of COVID-19 was “unforeseen,” that it “came out of nowhere.”

The Nation obtained a 2017 Pentagon draft report that refutes his Big Lie.

Saying “(t)he most likely and significant threat is a novel respiratory disease, particularly a novel influenza disease” should have alerted Trump regime policymakers to prepare for outbreaks to be ready to respond as needed when they occurred.

They slept instead, leaving the nation and its people unprepared to deal with what’s happening and worsening daily. More on this below.

There are six known coronavirus strains that can infect humans. Most people contract one or more strains in their lifetimes.

They cause mild to moderate to more serious upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a novel/highly contagious strain.

According to the National Foundation of Infectious Diseases, coronaviruses were first identified in the mid-1960s.

They’re “closely monitored by public health officials” because strains can exist anywhere.

Novel COVID-19 isn’t new. It infected animals for some time. The virus is able to spread to humans or the other way around.

Viruses can mutate into new forms. According to Science Magazine, the US leads in COVID-19 cases but trails many other nations in its response.

“America is first, and not in a good way,” it reported, adding:

The Trump regime’s response is “fragmented, chaotic, and plagued by con­tradictory messaging from political lead­ers.” 

Epidemiologist Michael Osterholm lamented that “(w)e don’t have a national plan. We are going from press conference to press conference and crisis to crisis…trying to understand our response.”

Citing 12 mathematical models produced by infectious diseases scientists, Science Magazine said they concluded that the US could have “millions of (COVID-19) infected people” without a large-scale national program to contain outbreaks.

Instead of conflicting messages from Trump and others around him, political scientist Scott Greer stressed that “(r)ule one of communication (at a time like now is to) have a message and stick to it.”

Instead Trump, state, and local officials are sending mixed messages, ranging from “indifference to alarm.”

Biologist Carl Bergstrom gave an example, saying: “Yesterday, I was supposed to be in church on Easter, and now all of a sudden New York’s under quarantine.”

Lack of clarity, focus, and maximum effort on the problem is “hemorrhaging” public trust.

Lack of national leadership and coordination has states and communities going their own way.

The Trump regime “signaled it will let governors make their own decisions” instead of directing a national effort to combat the virus, said Science Magazine.

According to epidemiologist William Hanage, “(t)he closest comparison here, in terms of national mobilization, is a war. And there is no way the United States would fight a war as 50 separate states.”

Nation magazine explained that the Pentagon plan about foreknowledge of a serious coronavirus outbreak was dated January 6, 2017, days before Trump took office. It’s titled: 

“USNORTHCOM Branch Plan 3560: Pandemic Influenza and Infectious Disease Response”

The Nation got the plan from a Pentagon official who remains anonymous to avoid possible punitive action for releasing it.

Former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Infectious Diseases and Countermeasures Division Denis Kaufman said the following:

“The Intelligence Community has warned about the threat from highly pathogenic influenza viruses for two decades at least. They have warned about coronaviruses for at least five years,” adding:

“There have been recent pronouncements that the coronavirus pandemic represents an intelligence failure…It’s letting people who ignored intelligence warnings off the hook.”

The Pentagon predicted large-scale outbreaks and shortages of critical personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical staff and the public.

The Pentagon report states the following:

“Competition for, and scarcity of resources will include…non-pharmaceutical MCM (Medical Countermeasures) (e.g., ventilators, devices, personal protective equipment such as face masks and gloves), medical equipment, and logistical support. This will have a significant impact on the availability of the global workforce.”

It explains how outbreaks of infectious disease can rapidly spread.

It warned that supplies of ventilators, face masks, gloves, and other protective equipment are nearly depleted.

It explained that US medical facilities will be unable to handle the volume of coronavirus patients needing treatment.

They lack enough hospital beds, equipment, drugs, and related supplies if outbreaks reach epidemic levels.

Scarcity worldwide will cause competition among nations to get as much of what they need as possible.

The Nation said the “Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.”

Its report includes the full draft Pentagon report, labelled “Unclassified/For Official Use Only.”

 

US Unemployment to Exceed 40% by End of April?

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, April 03, 2020

Official US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) numbers have been rigged since the neoliberal 90s to conceal the dismal state of the US labor market.

New millennium low unemployment in the US is a myth.

Based on how unemployment was calculated in the 1980s, the real rate exceeded 20% before the dual economic/public health crisis.

The official pre-crisis BLS sub-4% U-3 number is state-sponsored deception. The data are corrupted as follows:

Millions of discouraged workers are excluded from monthly reports, treated as nonpersons, individuals wanting work, giving up after failing to find it — the numbers sure to skyrocket ahead.

The Labor Department’s so-called “birth-death model,” estimating net non-reported jobs from new businesses minus losses from others no longer operating, is deception to add jobs that may not exist.

The BLS assumes workers from non-operating companies are employed elsewhere. From 30 – 50,000 more jobs are added monthly, assuming new business creations whether or not they exist.

The BLS admits misreporting, saying “(t)he confidence level for the monthly change in total employment is on the order of plus or minus 430,000 jobs.”

In more normal times, headlined monthly unemployment numbers conceal the US job market’s deplorable state.

Since the neoliberal 90s, the state of America’s economy has been dismal for its working class, struggling to get by.

Most jobs created are low-or-poverty-wage, poor-or-no-benefit temporary or part-time ones. Most households need two or more to survive.

For growing millions today, it’s a life and death struggle. If unemployment benefits run out and no substantial federal relief comes to the rescue, millions of Americans won’t have income to feed their families, pay rent, service mortgages, cover medical bills, and obtain other essentials to life.

Until the current dual crisis erupted, America’s privileged class never had things better.

Throughout most of the new millennium, ordinary Americans have endured protracted Depression conditions — now deepening because of what’s going on.

Economist John Williams reengineers US government data, based on how it was calculated in the 1980s.

He estimated that US unemployment could reach 43% in April. At the height of the 1930s Great Depression, it was around 25%.

He believes another Great Depression is unfolding in real time, the worst to come as socio-economic turmoil is just beginning.

“Extraordinarily unstable circumstances continue in the global markets,” he stressed, adding:

“Economic, financial market, and political turmoil likely have just begun, despite ongoing, massive systemic manipulations and interventions.”

“Collapses loom for (the US) first and second quarter GDP.” The state of the nation for its ordinary people is coming apart at the seams in unprecedented fashion.

If looming US economic Depression looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it likely is one — the so-called duck test.

In the last two weeks, an unprecedented 10 million US workers filed new claims for unemployment benefits.

The previous single-week high was 695,000.

Layoffs continue, millions more US workers to be laid off or furloughed by employers.

Beleaguered Boeing offered buyouts to its entire 161,000 workforce, the once bellwether US company perhaps close to bankruptcy without far more federal aid than offered.

Before current crisis conditions end, Americans will understand what they’re all about far better than textbooks or expert talking heads can explain.

US Economic Relief Measure Enacted, Much More Needed

Living through them creates awareness more keenly than any other way.

With most Americans living from paycheck to paycheck in more normal times, public angst, misery, and desperation ahead may be unprecedented.

Economist Mark Zandi estimates that about 15 million US mortgage holders could stop servicing them if current conditions continue throughout the year.

Tens of millions of Americans are hunkered down. Shops along Chicago’s upscale Magnificent Mile are closed and boarded-up to prevent looting.

Where visible, merchandise was removed from windows. Round-the-clock lighting and alarm systems also protect them.

Security guards man empty/enclosed shopping malls. Some upscale retailers like Tiffany, Gucci, Dior, Versace, and others emptied their stores of merchandise to protect it. Police provide more protection.

Nearly 300 million Americans are under some form of lockdown in 38 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico — about 90% of the US population, perhaps heading for mandating it nationwide.

The order excludes going out for food, prescription drugs, medical appointments, and what else is essential like caring for elderly relatives.

With most people sheltering in place at home, farmers may be hard-pressed to find workers needed for planting and harvesting crops.

A similar scenario exists abroad, risking less food, possible rationing, and higher prices ahead — unless price controls are instituted as during WW II because of shortages, much of the output in the US and other countries going to the war effort.

If things play out this way in the months ahead, poor, low-income, and even middle-income households will be hard-pressed to make ends meet.

The worst of scenarios would mean unprecedented hard times.

During WW II I remember as a young boy in grammar school, I was well fed and clothed, deprived of nothing I recall at a time of rationing except my favorite bubble gum, nearly all of which went to US military personnel.

Things now are different with much of the economy shutting down or heading in this direction at a time when most households have little or no savings and consumer debt is at an all-time high.

There’s high risk of many thousands of mostly small, but some medium-and-large-size businesses as well, shutting down and not reopening when the coast is clear.

Before current crisis conditions erupted, millions of US households were and remain food insecure.

Feeding America calls itself “the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States including in disasters and national emergencies,” adding:

“The most vulnerable people in our communities need us now more than ever.”

The organization launched a COVID-19 Response Fund, “a national food-and fund-raising effort to support people facing hunger and the food banks who help them.”

It’s working with school districts and government agencies to supply “school meals (for children) outside of” classrooms.

It’s trying to build an inventory of food supplies. Along with likeminded efforts nationwide, Feeding America faces unprecedented challenges in the current environment.

A decade ago, around 50 million Americans were food insecure, according to the US Department of Agriculture, the number lowered to 37 million in 2018, the true number likely higher.

If dire economic conditions continue throughout year or longer, the number could increase two-or-threefold.

Feeding America explained that “(f)ood insecurity does not exist in isolation, as low-income families are affected by multiple, overlapping issues like lack of affordable housing, social isolation, chronic or acute health problems, high medical costs, and low wages” — and, of course, unemployment that already skyrocketed and heads higher.

A Final Comment

After the October 1929 stock market crash, prelude to the Great Depression, Herbert Hoover, in March 1930, said:

“We have passed the worst…(D)uring the next 60 days,” things will begin normalizing.

In his book titled Lords of Finance, Liaquat Ahamed said

“when the facts refused to obey Hoover’s forecasts, he started to make them up.”

Government agencies were pressed to issue false data. Some officials refused and resigned, including head of the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Judging him by his rhetoric and actions, Trump is a modern-day Herbert Hoover.

Weeks earlier claiming COVID-19 outbreaks would abate, not rise, he added that “(w)e’re going very substantially down, not up.”

With global outbreaks exceeding one million, the US is by far the most adversely affected country with around one-fourth of the world total.

It’s largely because of Trump regime indifference to growing national crisis conditions — states and local communities left mostly on their own to cope.

Limited federal aid is offered when mountains of it are needed, especially for hardest-hit areas like NY, especially NYC with around 93,000 reported cases.

A state of emergency exists in city hospitals overrun with infected patients.

ER Dr. Darien Sutton explained that “(i)t almost seems like it’s never stopping. People keep coming and coming and coming, and there’s just no space to put them.”

Medical staff are exhausted from trying to cope with an untenable situation. On the front lines of providing treatment, they’re highly vulnerable to infection.

Who’ll treat the sick if many medical professionals join their numbers?

One NY doctor expressed what countless others feel, saying: “It is terrifying. It is really terrifying.”

Instead of going all-out to help beleaguered states and cities, Donald (Herbert Hoover) Trump continues to ignore growing needs nationwide, instead saying:

The economy will “pop back like nobody’s ever seen before.” Echoing DJT, Mnuchin made similar comments.

Serving monied interests and themselves exclusively, they, other regime officials, and most congressional members are indifferent to the health, welfare, and fundamental rights of ordinary people everywhere.

*

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2020

Al-Jaafari: Syria Demands that Washington Immediately and Unconditionally Lift All Coercive Economic Sanctions

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on 

1 April، 2020
New York, SANA

Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari has affirmed that the statements made on Syria last Monday by James Jeffrey, an employee at the U.S Department of State, are irresponsible and misleading and they are just an attempt to cover the U.S. crimes and violations against the sovereignty, independence and safety of the Syrian territories and against the security, peace and prosperity of the Syrian people, saying that Syria demands that the U.S. Government immediately and unconditionally lift all the unilateral coercive economic measures imposed on it.

In a letter sent to the UN Secretary General and the President of the Security Council, al-Jaafari asserted that the statements made by Jeffry reflect the continuity of the policy of denial and stubbornness by a government which can’t be depended on in playing any humanitarian and international role in fighting the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Al-Jaafari said that since the year 1979, the U.S has been imposing a wide series of unilateral economic coercive measures on Syria, whose impact have been aggravating from nine years till today as the previous and the current U.S. administrations have issued eight executive orders on tightening the economic siege on the Syrian people and imposing new unprecedented punitive measures on the sectors of banking, energy, investment, import, export, communications and the air, sea and land transport with the aim of depriving the Syrians of their basic rights.

Al-Jaafari reviewed the most important direct and indirect impacts of those measures such as the decline in Syria’s ranking in the Human Development Index to the list of the least developed countries “Human Development Report 2016”, in addition to leaving dangerous repercussions even on the process of delivering humanitarian aid and undermining the ability of the Syrian people to meet their basic needs and affecting the ability of the Syrian Government to provide the basic needs of its citizens, particularly in the energy sector.

He added that in light of the global pandemic due to the outbreak of the coronavirus (covid-19), Syria is facing an additional pressure and new challenges in fighting this dangerous pandemic which imposes on the Syrian Government to provide the basic infrastructure and the necessary potentials for the health sector.

Al-Jaafari asserted that the hostile policies adopted by the U.S. government against the Syrian people can be only considered as a direct and flagrant violation of the UN Charter and of the principles of the international law and the international humanitarian law and the Security Council’s relevant violations, and despite of the dangerous threats imposed by this global pandemic, today the U.S. continues to impose unilateral coercive economic measures on Syria which proves that this government doesn’t care about the humanitarian considerations or the international calls.

Al-Jaafari said that Syria demands the U.S government to immediately and unconditionally lift all the unilateral coercive economic measures imposed on it, particularly on the sectors of banking, oil, energy and the air, sea and land transport in a way that would allow the free flow of materials and medical equipment in particular, and would enhance Syria’s ability to tackle this pandemic and to prevent its spread.

He added that Syria also calls for the withdrawal of the US occupation troops from all the Syrian territories, particularly the oil and gas fields and to allow the Syrian Government to regain its control over these areas and to start the reconstruction and to rehabilitate the oil and gas plants and to use their resources for the interest of the Syrian people exclusively.

Al-Jaafari stressed that the Syrian government preserves the right to hold the American government and its partners within the framework of the so-called “international coalition” legal, moral and financial responsibility for the destruction of the cities of Raqqa, Deir Ezzor, Ayn Al-Arab, Hajin and other areas in Syria, in addition to holding them responsible for targeting the Syrian Infrastructures, which led to their total or partial destruction, including roads, bridges, electric power stations, oil and gas wells, and supply routes.

Concluding the letter, al-Jaafari said ” The government of the Syrian Arab Republic affirms that it has mobilized all of its available human, medical and food resources to serve all the Syrians wherever they are in the face of this global pandemic, and it highly appreciates the stances and statements recently made by the UN Secretary General in which he called for putting an end to the unilateral coercive economic measures imposed on many of the world’s peoples including the Syrian people, and the Syrian Government affirms that any collective and international effort for curbing the spread of this dangerous pandemic can’t be accomplished in light of the continuity of the policy of imposing economic siege by some governments including the U.S on more than two billion people in our world.”

Ruaa al-Jazaeri

U.S. multiple goals for possible military action in Iraq

By Payman Yazdani

TEHRAN– The spread of the coronavirus and its devastating impact on the US economy and US efforts to reduce Iran’s regional influence are possible motives behind US potential military action in Iraq.

While the world is fighting against the COVID-19 outbreak, regional countries including Iraq have been witnessing widespread US military moves in recent days.

Most News outlets and political analysts have anticipated an imminent massive military action in Iraq due to the extent of US military moves.

Any possible military aggression carried out by Trump’s administration comes as the US and the world are struggling to contain coronavirus and the US economy, and consequently, the global economy has fallen into a major recession.

Trump is pursuing a number of goals by launching military aggression against Iraq and creating new military conflicts in the Middle East:

*In line with its maximum pressure policy, the US occupiers seek to target Iraqi groups close to the Islamic Republic such as Badr Organization led by Hadi Al-Amiri, Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq led by Qais al-Khazali, al-Nujaba Movement led by Akram al-Kaabi, and also Kata’ib Hezbollah. Washington assumes that adopting such an approach can reduce Iran’s influence in Iraq and undermine the economic, political and cultural cooperation between the two countries which play a significant role in reducing the impact of US sanctions on Tehran.

*After COVID-19 outbreak which triggered a global economic recession, Crude oil price dropped below $ 30 a barrel, causing serious damage to US  companies producing Shale oil and severely jeopardized their future production. Therefore, a military conflict in the Middle East can raise the global price of oil and prevent the bankruptcy of oil companies.

*Moreover, regional military conflicts and consequently a rise in the oil price can be a threat to the Chinese energy security, whose economy is heavily dependent on the Middle East oil. This can be used as a tool for the US to contain China and additionally obtain more business privileges from this country and other major economies, such as Europe whose economy is also dependent on the Middle East oil.

*Regional clashes can also possibly affect Saudi oil facilities and reduce their oil production which makes them lose some part of their share from the global energy market which will be ultimately replaced by US oil.

*The US unemployment rate went up after many Americans lost their jobs due to the spread of coronavirus in the country and the world. Any US military adventure in the region can boost its military industry and consequently, to some extent, control the US unemployment rate.

*Ultimately, all of these goals can possibly save Donald Trump in the upcoming US election. Many polls suggest that Trump’s lying about the spread of coronavirus and his belated measures to contain the virus and also the subsequent economic pressure on the US citizens have cast doubt on his victory in the upcoming US election and helped his democratic rival have the upper hand.

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