Russia and Syria Falsely Blamed for Civilian Deaths in Eastern Ghouta

Russia and Syria Falsely Blamed for Civilian Deaths in Eastern Ghouta

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)

The area is one of four de-escalation zones in Syria, brokered last May by Russia, Iran and Turkey.

Al-Nusra and other US-supported terrorists in the area, falsely called rebels, undermined it.

They’re responsible for civilian deaths and blocking humanitarian aid from reaching civilians in dire need, Russia and Syria falsely blamed for their high crimes.

Commenting on false US and media accusations, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called them “groundless.”

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert falsely accused Assad of siege and starvation tactics, ignoring atrocities committed by US-supported terrorists.

In a statement issued by his spokesman, UN Secretary-General Guterres shamefully urged restraint by all parties, reminding them of the de-escalation agreement, failing to lay blame where it belongs, fulfilling his role as a reliable US imperial agent – betraying UN Charter principles.

On Wednesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said “(w)e are now working in New York on the draft of (a) relevant (Security Council) resolution,” adding:

“As regards the humanitarian ceasefire, I think this issue will also be resolved, depending on how the development of this draft resolution further goes.”

“Humanitarian issues, including humanitarian aid and humanitarian access, have become perhaps the most egregious example of the double standards of the United States and their adherents in approaching the entire Syrian dossier.”

“We see every day how not only selectively, but cynically, Washington separates issues that are beneficial to it from the point of view of political promotion and pressure on Damascus, from similar situations that create discomfort for the United States, to put it mildly, due to certain reasons. We point this out in all contacts and in all formats.”

Shelling by US-supported al-Nusra and other terrorists is responsible for civilian deaths and attacks on hospitals – using heavy weapons supplied by Washington and its rogue allies.

Al Jazeera is owned and operated by the despotic Qatari regime, allied with Washington, NATO, and their rogue partners against Syria – reporting daily disinformation about ongoing conflict.

On Wednesday, it lied, saying “Syrian forces backed by Russian warplanes have continued to hit the rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta, with at least 27 killed on Wednesday,” adding:

“This brings the number of civilian deaths to more than 270, including 60 children, over the past three days” – citing as sources the anti-Syria, Western-funded Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and al-Qaeda-connected White Helmets, complicit in their atrocities.

Al Jazeera: “Eastern Ghouta is the last remaining rebel-held area east of Damascus and has been under siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces since 2013.”

Russian and Assad forces are trying to liberate the area, besieged by US-supported terrorists, holding thousands of Syrian civilians hostage.

Like Western media scoundrels, Al Jazeera reports daily disinformation on the conflict – irresponsibly blaming Russia and Syria for high crimes committed by US terror-bombing and support for terrorists used as imperial foot soldiers.

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واشنطن لحلفائها: فلنقسّم سوريا

المجتمعون أعطوا أنفسهم مهلة عام لتنفيذ الخطة الأميركية (أ ف ب)
تغيّرت السياسة الأميركية في سوريا. بعد طول مراوحة في تحديد ما سيفعلونه بعد هزيمة «داعش»، قرر الأميركيون إطالة أمد الحرب بالبقاء خلف الضفة الشرقية للفرات، والعمل وفق خطة تفصيلية لتقسيم البلاد. وخلال الشهرين الماضيين، كانت الدبلوماسية الأميركية تعمل على اطلاع الحلفاء على تلك الخطة تمهيداً لإطلاقها ووضعها قيد التنفيذ. وفي هذا الإطار، حصلت «الأخبار» على برقية دبلوماسية صادرة عن سفارة بريطانيا في واشنطن، توجز الاستراتيجية الأميركية للوصول إلى تقسيم سوريا كما عرضها ديفيد ساترفيلد خلال اجتماع عقده في واشنطن في الحادي عشر من الشهر الماضي ممثلون عن مجموعة «سوريا» الأميركية
محمد بلوط, وليد شرارة
المشروع الأميركي التقسيمي في سوريا لم يعد في حيّز التحليلات، لا في دائرة التراشق الدبلوماسي الروسي مع واشنطن، وقد برز منها كلام وزير الخارجية سيرغي لافروف في الأيام الأخيرة عن أن واشنطن تخطّط للتقسيم. فبعد الضربة التي وجهتها المقاتلات الجوية والراجمات الأميركية، لقوات روسية وسورية رديفة، حاولت الأسبوع الماضي اجتياز «الحدود» فوق جسور عائمة من غرب الفرات إلى شرقه، عملت الولايات المتحدة على تثبيت خط فاصل بالنار بين «سوريتين»، غرب الفرات وشرقه.
لكن ما حدث لم يكن صاعقة في سماء صافية دبلوماسية أو ميدانية. المجزرة التي أوقعتها الطائرات الأميركية في مقاتلي شركة «فاغنر» «الرديفة» للجيش الروسي في سوريا رسمت الحدود ومستقبل ما وراء الفرات إلى الشرق، كما أعد لها الأميركيون منذ أسابيع. يأتي ذلك بعد أن نضجت في مجلس الأمن القومي الاستراتيجية الجديدة حول سوريا وأعلم الأميركيون حلفاءهم في «مجموعة سوريا»، قبل ستة أسابيع، أن الهدف المقبل هو فصل الشرق عن بقية الخريطة السورية، وأن البيت الأبيض خصّص أربعة مليارات دولار في العام الواحد لتمويل القوات التي ستعمل في المنطقة بالإضافة إلى تدريب قوة حرس الحدود المزمع إنشاؤها لتذويب الغلبة الكردية في قوات سوريا الديمقراطية شرق النهر، وتسهيل ابتداع معارضة سياسية شرق النهر تمثل المنطقة، وتمنع عودة الجيش السوري.
وفي برقية دبلوماسية من خمس صفحات، صادرة عن سفارة بريطانيا في واشنطن، حصلت عليها «الأخبار»، يوجز الدبلوماسي وخبير شؤون الشرق الأوسط في السفارة بنيامين نورمان لوزارة الخارجية البريطانية في لندن، الاستراتيجية الأميركية الجديدة للوصول الى تقسيم سوريا كما عرضها مساعد وزير الخارجية الأميركية لشؤون الشرق الأوسط، ديفيد ساترفيلد خلال اجتماع عقده في واشنطن في الحادي عشر من الشهر الماضي ممثلون عن «مجموعة سوريا» الأميركية.
حضر الاجتماع إلى جانب ساترفيلد، رئيس فريق سوريا في وزارة الخارجية البريطانية هيو كلاري، ورئيس قسم الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا في وزارة الخارجية الفرنسية جيروم بونافون. حليفان عربيان لواشنطن في خطتها التقسيمية حضرا الاجتماع: مستشار وزير الخارجية الأردني نواف وصفي التل، والمسؤول الأمني في وزارة الداخلية السعودي العميد جمال العقيل.
البرقية الموجزة تحدث فيها ساترفيلد بصراحة عن الهدف الذي ستعمل الولايات المتحدة على تحقيقه من الآن فصاعداً، وهو التقسيم وفصل الشرق السوري وشمال الشرق السوري عن البلاد. وقال ساترفيلد، كما جاء في الإيجاز البريطاني، إن الخطة التي يجب العمل عليها تتألف من خمس نقاط: تقسيم سوريا، تخريب سوتشي، استيعاب تركيا، وإصدار تعليمات إلى الوسيط الدولي ستيفان دي ميستورا لاستعادة جنيف، وتنفيذ ورقة من ثماني نقاط تتضمن الحل في سوريا كانت واشنطن قد قدمتها إلى الاجتماع الأخير للمعارضة السورية وممثلي الحكومة في فيينا في السادس والعشرين من الشهر الماضي. المجتمعون أعطوا أنفسهم مهلة عام لتنفيذ هذه الخطة عندما رحبوا، كما قالت الوثيقة، بالاقتراحات الأميركية «ودعوا إلى تحقيق تقدم ملموس في سوريا خلال عام ٢٠١٨، والرد على دعاية الانتصار الروسي».
ساترفيلد أبلغ الحاضرين أن الرئيس دونالد ترامب قرر الإبقاء على قوة عسكرية مهمة في سوريا، رغم هزيمة «داعش»، وأن الإدارة الأميركية خصصت أربعة مليارات دولار سنوياً لهذه العملية التي تقول مصادر غربية إنها ستنفق أيضاً منها على توسيع القواعد الأميركية في الأراضي التي يسيطر عليها الأكراد خصوصاً، في الرميلان في أقصى الشرق السوري، وفي عين العرب (كوباني)، على خط الحدود السورية ــ التركية. وقال إن الهدف من ذلك هو منع الإيرانيين من التمركز على المدى الطويل في سوريا، أو فرض أنفسهم في مسارات الحل السياسي. المجموعة قررت مواجهة الانفراد الروسي سياسياً في تحديد مستقبل النظام السياسي في سوريا عبر تقديم دعم مادي وسياسي لستيفان دي ميستورا لتصليب مسار جنيف، في مواجهة «سوتشي». الجميع رحّب بهذه الاقتراحات، مع التركيز على أخرى ميدانية وعملية لمواجهة «الرغبة الروسية بالتوصل إلى حل سياسي».
الأمم المتحدة ستلعب دوراً كبيراً في الخطة الأميركية لتقسيم سوريا. الأولوية ستعطى لتصليب مسار جنيف، إذ أبلغ الأميركيون الحاضرين أنهم لن يشاركوا من الآن فصاعداً في اجتماعات أستانا، وأنهم قد خفضوا تمثيلهم الدبلوماسي إلى أدنى مستوى، للعودة بالمسار السياسي إلى جنيف. محضر الاجتماع يقول إن الداعين إليه أقرّوا بأن جنيف قد فشل رغم الجهود التي بذلها ستيفان دي ميستورا لإنعاشه، وأبدوا تحفظاً على وقف إطلاق النار في سوريا في ظل الشروط الميدانية الحالية ومع تراجع المعارضة واعتبروا أنْ لا فائدة من إدخال اقتراح وقف إطلاق النار في مسار جنيف لأننا في الحقيقة «لا نملك القدرة على منع النظام من قضم الجيوب التي لا تزال المعارضة تحتفظ بها في إدلب والغوطة الشرقية» بحسب الملاحظات المدونة على الوثيقة.00 
الأميركيون في الطريق إلى التقسيم، لا يعبأون بفكرة الحكومة الانتقالية، ولا بتنفيذ الشق المتعلق بها كما نصّ عليها القرار الأممي ٢٢٥٤، إذ قال ساترفيلد للمجتمعين إننا «نصحنا المعارضة بعدم دعم فكرة الحكومة الانتقالية، وإن على المعارضة أن تتوقف عن التلويح بالحكومة الانتقالية في كل مناسبة». وبيّن الأميركيون أن الغاية من مبادراتهم الدبلوماسية هي الحفاظ على صورتهم «وإبداء مرونتهم وحركيتهم مع عدم المبالغة في توظيف المعارضة في هذه المفاوضات من دون التخلي عن هدفها النهائي والأساسي بتقسيم سوريا ورحيل الأسد». وأوضح الأميركيون للجميع أن «الخطة تقضي بالعمل على إنشاء مؤسسات وشروط لانتخابات لا يستطيع بشار الأسد الفوز فيها، لذلك لا يوجد مبرر بديهي لمنع الأسد من المشاركة في الانتخابات». المجتمعون أقروا استراتيجية تجاه روسيا باختبار نياتها للذهاب نحو توفير شروط ملائمة لإجراء انتخابات تحت إشراف الأمم المتحدة «وجرّ النظام إلى التفاوض على دستور جديد، وعدم الاكتفاء من الآن فصاعداً بالكلام المعسول لوزير الخارجية الروسي سيرغي لافروف». ساترفيلد قال: «إننا سنستفيد ايجابياً من هشاشة وضع فلاديمير بوتين في المرحلة الانتخابية من أجل دفع الروس إلى التخلي عن الرئيس الأسد عبر المزيد من الاجتماعات في مجلس الأمن، وأوسع حملة إعلامية ضده».
الأميركيون تقدموا خطوة نحو تكريس قناة دبلوماسية مع شرق الفرات والأكراد، عبر تعيين ويليام روبوك، سفيراً لدى «قوات سوريا الديمقراطية»، كما أبلغ ساترفيلد المجتمعين. كذلك قدموا اقتراحات تمنح المزيد من الاعتراف والوزن الدبلوماسي للأكراد في المسار التفاوضي من دون استفزاز الأتراك، وخصوصاً أن هؤلاء كانوا على اطلاع على الخطوات الأميركية في هذا الاتجاه، وهو ما برّر الأتراك به الهجوم على عفرين. واقترح الأميركيون، أيضاً، إغراق التمثيل الكردي في مفاوضات جنيف تحت اعلام «قوات سوريا الديمقراطية» وتشكيل وفد يمثل شرق الفرات عملياً للإطباق بواسطته ووفد المعارضة الائتلافية، على وفد الحكومة السورية، كما تقترح الوثيقة.

 


المشاركون في الاجتماع
 ــ بنيامين نورمان، معدّ محضر الاجتماع المرسل إلى وزارة الخارجية البريطانية، خبير الشؤون السياسة الخارجية والأمنية للشرق الأوسط في السفارة البريطانية – واشنطن.
ــ هيو كلاري، رئيس فريق سوريا في وزارة الخارجية البريطانية.
ــ جيروم بونافون، رئيس قسم الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا في وزارة الخارجية الفرنسية.
– ديفيد ساترفيلد، مساعد وزارة الخارجية الأميركية للشرق الأوسط.
ــ نواف وصفي التل، مستشار وزير الخارجية الأردني.
ــ العميد جمال العقيل، مسؤول أمني سعودي.

 


مقدمة الوثيقة
الاجتماع الأول لمجموعة العمل الأميركية المصغَّرة حول سوريا بعد مباركة الرئيس دونالد ترامب لوجود مديد للقوات الأميركية في هذا البلد. اتُّفق على توفير دعم فوري لستيفان دي ميستورا لموازنة الجهود الروسية، ولإعادة تفعيل مسار جنيف بنيوياً، بإعادة التفاوض في القضايا الانسانية، والسجناء… ستقدم المجموعة المصغرة اقتراحات بشأن الدستور السوري والانتخابات، وإفهام روسيا ما هو منتظر من التزامات من قبل (الرئيس بشار) الأسد في الجولة المقبلة للمفاوضات التي ستعقد في فيينا في السادس والعشرين من كانون الثاني. سيلتقي الوزراء على الاجتماع في باريس في الثالث والعشرين من شهر كانون الثاني، للاتفاق على هذه المقاربة ورمي القفاز في وجه الروس. وسيلقي تيلرسون خطاباً أساسياً حول سوريا الأسبوع المقبل.

تعليقات كاتب الوثيقة
النقطة ١٨: حقق هذا الاجتماع تقدّماً وفق المعايير السورية. أعادت الولايات المتحدة تأكيد زعامتها وفق ما تصبو إليه، وهو ما سيجهر به تيلرسون في خطاب له بشأن سوريا في معهد هوفر. كرر ساترفيلد التزام الولايات المتحدة المسار السياسي، وفي اجتماعات منفصلة (مع براين هوك). كان واضحاً أن تيلرسون سيساهم في دفع العربة إلى الأمام.
النقطة ١٩: لدينا الآن خطة متينة للأسابيع الثلاثة القادمة. مع ذلك جرى نقاش في كيفية الاستمرار بالضغط على روسيا، وحتى مضاعفتها إذا لم يستجيبوا لطلباتنا المتعلقة بالنظام السوري كما نأمل. ينبغي أن نواصل ما قد بدأناه في هذه المجال، بالتركيز على الوضع الإنساني الرهيب والتواطؤ الروسي مع عمليات القصف ضد المدنيين.
النقطة ٢٠: (مخاطباً ساترفيلد) شكراً جزيلاً لكما أنت وهيو لحضوركما هذا الاجتماع. عبّرت الولايات المتحدة عن امتنانها لجهودنا ودعمنا في الاشهر التي خلت، بعد أن بلورت استراتيجيتها، إنه يوم عمل جيد.
أفضل التحيات
بنيامين نورمان. شؤون السياسة الخارجية والأمنية. السفارة البريطانية، واشنطن.

Qualitative transformations in the Russian position تحوّلات نوعية في الموقف الروسي

 Qualitative transformations in the Russian position

Written by Nasser Kandil,

فبراير 21, 2018

Since the Russian military positioning in the face of the war on Syria at the end of September 2015, it was clear for Moscow and its allies in the axis of resistance that there are differences in the four aspects that rule the deep alliance, which based on the protection of Syria from the threat of terrorism, division, and chaos. These differences are related to the interests and the deep visions of the two teams in the region to the extent that they considered the winning in Syria an existential issue for the two teams, and that the cohesion of this alliance is a compulsory way for this winning. Therefore this consensus led to the decision of the Russian positioning which was followed by shifts through which the two teams succeeded in managing these differences smoothly and quietly.

The four differences are first, the Kurdish position and Moscow’s trust in its ability to lure the Kurdish leaderships to the project of the political solution sponsored by Moscow. Second, the Turkish position and the ability to lure it to a partnership in the political solution that grants it a special role instead of the losing bet on supporting the axis of war. Third, the Israeli position and the Russian bet on neutralizing Israel from the alliance of sabotaging the projects of the political solution in Syria sponsored by Russia, under the title that Russia through its presence in Syria is not an additional party in the balances of the axis of resistance in its open battle with Israel, since this conflict can be managed away from affecting the project of combating the terrorism in Syria, the prevention of its division, and recovering it supported by Russian guarantees to Israel and to the axis of resistance. The forth difference is related to the American position and the Russian bet on attracting Washington to a political settlement in Syria that forms a way for ending the dispute and paves the way for a negotiating path that led previously to the understanding on the Iranian nuclear program with Iran, and can lead to solution in the disputing files between Washington and Tehran.

Within two years the axis of the resistance waged its confrontations with these four titles in a way that did not embarrass Russia and did not affect the alliance with it. The battle of Aleppo occurred after a war of attrition that lasted for months fought by Turkey under the title of armistice, while Turkey was conspiring until Moscow was convinced to wage that battle fiercely and decisively. Furthermore, the axis of the resistance endured the American and Israeli provocations and the development of the Kurdish separation situation, but it was restraint supported by three constants; first, the cost of the disparity with Moscow is higher than the gains of this disparity in these titles, second, the achievements of these titles are doubtful without Russia. Third, the facts will prove whether Moscow’s bet was right or no, in this case, Moscow will reposition with new visions and policies.

The understanding between the axis of resistance and Russia has been drawn on a basis of continuing the war of liberation of the Syrian geography without neglecting the Russian initiatives to attract the Kurds and the Turks and to neutralize the Americans and the Israelis, but without the allowance of any provocation to lead to a side confrontation that stops the military path of determination on one hand, and confuses Russia on the other hand. The recent facts led to transformations in the positions and maybe because Russia discovered the correctness of the resistance axis’s reading, but most importantly it became clear for Russia that America has resolved its choice; that its confrontation is with Russia, in other words; to prevent the growing of its international and regional presence as the American strategy stated publicly and as the American statements and the practices said in order to raise the importance of staying in Syria rather than the political solution in it. In contrast, the facts showed that the Kurdish dependence on Washington is bigger than to be attracted by the Russian temptations for the political solution, and the constitutional formulas that meet the aspirations of the Kurdish leaderships, furthermore, Turkey’s ambitions to grasp a part of the Syrian geography exceeds its desire to ensure the Turkish national security from the threat of the Kurdish entity. Israel does not wage in Syria its battle only, but the battle of America to disrupt the political solution led by Russia, it turned into a main party in the war of weakening the status of Russia.

These are the conclusions reached by Russia; it drew the path of the new stage entitled deepening the alliance with the axis of resistance and grants it strategic aspects that surpass the coordination and the cooperation under the ceiling of the recovery of Syria and the ensuring of its unity and sovereignty. The joint Russian administration with the resistance axis starts from a common view of the axes and the rules of engagement. On the basis of this new equation of the alliance, the time which the Syrian President has long waited for to build networks of air defense has come and was the decision of dropping the Israeli warplane, knowing that further similar steps will take place soon. The Israelis and the Americans have to take into consideration that the path of resolving will continue in the field more forcefully, and the response to the provocations will be greater too, even if the cost is an open confrontation waged by the axis of resistance and supported indirectly by Russia. The Turks and the Kurds must take into consideration that there will be no consolation prizes. The only available title to avoid the worst is to spread the authority of the Syrian country in the areas of the Turkish and the Kurdish control.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

تحوّلات نوعية في الموقف الروسي

فبراير 20, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– منذ التموضع العسكري لروسيا في وجه الحرب على سورية نهاية شهر أيلول عام 2015 كان واضحاً لموسكو وحلفائها في محور المقاومة، أنّ ثمة تباينات على أربعة محاور تحكم التحالف العميق القائم على حماية سورية من خطر الإرهاب والتقسيم والفوضى، من منطلقات تطال المصالح والرؤى العميقة للفريقين للسياسة في المنطقة، لدرجة التشارك في اعتبار الفوز في معركة سورية قضية وجودية للفريقين، ومعها اليقين بأنّ تماسك التحالف بينهما هو ممرّ إلزامي لهذا الفوز، وانبثق عن هذا التوافق على المشتركات الوجودية والمصيرية وتحديد التباينات والتوافق على إدارتها، قرار التموضع الروسي وما تلاه من تحوّلات نجح خلالها الفريقان بإدارة ناعمة وهادئة للتباينات.

– محاور التباين توزّعت حول عناوين الموقف الكردي وثقة موسكو بالقدرة على استمالة قياداته إلى مشروع الحلّ السياسي الذي ترعاه موسكو، والموقف التركي وإمكانية جذبه لشراكة في الحلّ السياسي تمنحه دوراً مميّزاً بديلاً عن رهان خاسر في الوقوف في محور الحرب. وثالث هذه المحاور هو الموقف الإسرائيلي والرهان الروسي على تحييد «إسرائيل» من حلف تخريب مشاريع الحلّ السياسي في سورية التي ترعاها روسيا، تحت عنوان أنّ روسيا بوجودها في سورية ليست إضافة لموازين قوى محور المقاومة في معركته المفتوحة مع «إسرائيل»، وأنّ بالمستطاع إدارة هذا الصراع، بعيداً عن التأثير على مشروع ضرب الإرهاب في سورية ومنع تقسيمها وإعادة العافية لمشروع الدولة فيها بضمانات روسية لـ«إسرائيل»، وضمانات موازية لمحور المقاومة. أما المحور الرابع للتباينات فيطال الموقف الأميركي ورهان روسيا على جذب واشنطن لتسوية سياسية في سورية تشكّل ربط نزاع وباباً لمسار تفاوضي أثمر الاتفاق على الملف النووي مع إيران، ويمكن له بعد حلّ سياسي في سورية أن يثمر في ملفات خلافية أخرى بين واشنطن وطهران.

– خلال عامين خاض محور المقاومة مواجهاته مع هذه العناوين الأربعة بما لا يُحرج روسيا، ولا يؤذي الحلف معها، فانتظرت معركة حلب شهوراً من حرب استنزاف خاضتها تركيا، تحت عنوان الهدنة، وهي تراوغ وتمارس الخداع، حتى اقتنعت موسكو بخوض المعركة، وخاضتها بكلّ شراسة واستقامة وحزم، وتحمّل محور المقاومة استفزازات أميركية وإسرائيلية وتبلور حالة تقسيمية كردية، وهو يمارس ضبط النفس، لكن بقناعة حاسمة بثلاثة ثوابت: الأول أنّ كلفة التباين مع موسكو أغلى من مكاسب هذا التباين في هذه العناوين. ثانيها أنّ المكاسب في هذه العناوين مشكوك في بلوغها دون روسيا، وثالثها أن لا بدّ للوقائع من أن تقول في وقت ليس ببعيد، ما إذا كان رهان موسكو سيصيب. وفي هذه الحالة المهم هو «أكل العنب وليس قتل الناطور»، وإلا فإنّ موسكو ستعيد التموضع عند رؤى وسياسات جديدة.

– رسم التفاهم بين محور المقاومة وروسيا على قاعدة مواصلة الحرب لتحرير الجغرافيا السورية وإبقاء الباب مفتوحاً للمبادرات الروسية، لجذب الأكراد والأتراك، وتحييد الأميركيين والإسرائيليين، دون السماح لأيّ استفزاز بأن يؤدي للانزلاق نحو مواجهة جانبية ستوقف مسار الحسم العسكري من جهة، وتُربك روسيا من جهة مقابلة، حتى جاءت وقائع الشهور الأخيرة، وقالت سواء لتحوّلات في المواقف والوقائع فرضت جديداً، أو لأنّ روسيا اكشتفت صواب قراءة محور المقاومة، أو لكليهما، لكن المهمّ أنه صار واضحاً لروسيا، أنّ أميركا حسمت خيارها بأنّ مواجهتها في الأصل مع روسيا لمنع تنامي حضورها الدولي والإقليمي، كما قالت الاستراتيجية الأميركية المعلنة، وكما قالت التصريحات والممارسات الأميركية لجهة رفع أهمية البقاء في سورية على السعي للحلّ السياسي فيها. وفي المقابل قالت الوقائع إنّ التبعية الكردية لواشنطن أكبر من أن تفكّها الإغراءات الروسية بالحلّ السياسي، وصيغ دستورية تراعي تطلعات القيادات الكردية، وأنّ مطامع تركيا باقتطاع جزء من الجغرافيا السورية يتفوّق على الرغبة بضمان الأمن القومي التركي من خطر كيان كردي، وأنّ «إسرائيل» لا تخوض في سورية معركتها فقط، بل معركة أميركا لتخريب الحلّ السياسي الذي تقوده روسيا، وأنها تحوّلت للذراع الرئيسية في حرب إضعاف مكانة روسيا.

– هذه الخلاصات التي صارت على الطاولة الروسية، رسمت الأساس لمرحلة جديدة، عنوانها تعميق التحالف بين موسكو ومحور المقاومة، ومنحه أبعاداً استراتيجية تفوق التنسيق والتعاون تحت سقف استعادة سورية عافيتها، وضمان وحدتها وسيادتها، فقد صارت الإدارة الروسية المشتركة مع محور المقاومة تنطلق من تشخيص مشترك لمحاور الاشتباك وقواعد الاشتباك. ومن هذه المعادلة الجديدة للتحالف جاء التوقيت الذي أعدّ الرئيس السوري طويلاً لملاقاته ببناء شبكات الدفاع الجوي، فكانت لحظة القرار بإسقاط الطائرة الإسرائيلية، ومثلها كانت خطوات أخرى وسيكون المزيد، الذي يجب أن يضعه الإسرائيليون والأميركيون من جهة، ضمن حساباتهم، فسياق الحسم سيتواصل في الميدان بقوة أكثر، لكن الردّ على الاستفزازات سيكون أيضاً بقوة أكبر، ولو كان الثمن مواجهة مفتوحة يخوضها محور المقاومة بدعم روسيا، ولو من الصفوف الخلفية، كما يجب على الأتراك والأكراد أخذه بالحساب من جهة أخرى، فلا جوائز ترضية لأحد، والعنوان الوحيد المتاح لتفادي الأسوأ هو بسط سلطة الدولة السورية في مناطق السيطرة التركية ومناطق السيطرة الكردية.

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The Saker: Escalation In Syria – How Far Can The Russians Be Pushed?

16.02.2018

Written by The Saker; Originally appeared at The Unz Review

Events in Syria have recently clearly taken a turn for the worse and there is an increasing amount of evidence that the Russian task force in Syria is being targeted by a systematic campaign of “harassing attacks”.

First, there was the (relatively successful) drone and mortar attack on the Russian Aerospace base in Khmeimin. Then there was the shooting down of a Russian SU-25 over the city of Maasran in the Idlib province. Now we hear of Russian casualties in the US raid on a Syrian column (along with widely exaggerated claims of “hundreds” of killed Russians). In the first case, Russian officials did openly voice their strong suspicion that the attack was if not planned and executed by the USA, then at least coordinated with the US forces in the vicinity. In the case of the downing of the SU-25, no overt accusations have been made, but many experts have stated that the altitude at which the SU-25 was hit strongly suggests a rather modern MANPAD of a type not typically seen in Syria (the not so subtle hint being here that these were US Stingers sent to the Kurds by the USA). As for the latest attack on the Syrian column, what is under discussion is not who did it but rather what kind of Russian personnel was involved, Russian military or private contractors (the latter is a much more likely explanation since the Syrian column had no air-cover whatsoever). Taken separately, none of these incidents mean very much but taken together they might be indicative of a new US strategy in Syria: to punish the Russians as much as possible short of an overt US attack on Russian forces. To me this hypothesis seems plausible for the following reasons:

First, the USA and Israel are still reeling in humiliation and impotent rage over their defeat in Syria: Assad is still in power, Daesh is more or less defeated, the Russians were successful not only their military operations against Daesh but also in their campaign to bring as many “good terrorists” to the negotiating table as possible. With the completion of a successful conference on Syria in Russia and the general agreement of all parties to begin working on a new constitution, there was a real danger of peace breaking out, something the AngloZionist are absolutely determined to oppose (check out this apparently hacked document which, if genuine, clearly states the US policy not to allow the Russian to get anything done).

Second, both Trump and Netanyahu have promised to bring in lots of “victories” to prove how manly and strong they are (as compared to the sissies which preceded them). Starting an overt war against Russian would definitely be a “proof of manhood”, but a much too dangerous one. Killing Russians “on the margins”, so to speak, either with plausible deniability or, alternatively, killing Russians private contractors is much safer and thus far more tempting option.

Third, there are presidential elections coming up in Russia and the US Americans are still desperately holding on to their sophomoric notion that if they create trouble for Putin (sanctions or body bags from Syria) they can somehow negatively impact his popularity in Russia (in reality they achieve the opposite effect, but they are too dull and ignorant to realize that).

Last but not least, since the AngloZionist have long lost the ability to actually getting anything done, their logical fall-back position is not let anybody else succeed either. This is the main purpose of the entire US deployment in northern Syria: to create trouble for Turkey, Iran, Syria and, of course, Russia.

The bottom line is this: since the US Americans have declared that they will (illegally) stay in Syria until the situation “stabilizes” they now must do everything their power to destabilize Syria. Yes, there is a kind of a perverse logic to all that…

For Russia, all this bad news could be summed up in the following manner: while Russia did defeat Daesh in Syria she is still far from having defeated the AngloZionists in the Middle-East. The good news is, however, that Russia does have options to deal with this situation.

Step one: encouraging the Turks

There is a counter-intuitive but in many ways an ideal solution for Russia to counter the US invasion of Syria: involve the Turks. How? Not by attacking the US forces directly, but by attacking the Kurdish militias the US Americans are currently “hiding” behind (at least politically). Think of it, while the US (or Israel) will have no second thoughts whatsoever before striking Syrian or Iranian forces, actually striking Turkish forces would carry an immense political risk: following the US-backed coup attempt against Erdogan and, just to add insult to injury, the US backing for the creation of a “mini-Kurdistsan” both in Iraq and in Syria, US-Turkish relations are at an all-time low and it would not take much to push the Turks over the edge with potentially cataclysmic consequences for the US, EU, NATO, CENTCOM, Israel and all the AngloZionist interests in the region. Truly, there is no overstating the strategic importance of Turkey for Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle-East, and the US Americans know that. From this flows a very real if little understood consequence: the Turkish armed forces in Syria basically enjoy what I would call a “political immunity” from any US attacks, that is to say that (almost) no matter what the Turks do, the US would (almost) never consider actually openly using force against them simply because the consequence of, say, a USAF strike on a Turkish army column would be too serious to contemplate.

In fact, I believe that the US-Turkish relationship is so bad and so one-sided that I see a Turkish attack on a Kurdish (or “good terrorist”) column/position with embedded US Special Forces far more likely than a US attack on a Turkish army column. This might sound counter-intuitive, but let’s say the Turks did attack a Kurdish (or “good terrorist”) column/position with US personnel and that US servicemen would die as the result. What would/could the US do? Retaliate in kind? No way! Not only is the notion of the US attacking a fellow NATO country member is quite unthinkable, it would most likely be followed by a Turkish demand that the US/NATO completely withdraw from Turkey’s territory and airspace. In theory, the US could ask the Israelis to do their dirty job for them, but the Israelis are not stupid (even if they are crazy) and they won’t have much interest in starting a shooting war with Turkey over what is a US-created problem in a “mini-Kurdistan”, lest any hallowed “Jewish blood” be shed for some basically worthless goyim.

No, if the Turks actually killed US servicemen there would be protests and a flurry of “consultations” and other symbolic actions, but beyond that, the US would take the losses and do nothing about it. As for Erdogan, his popularity at home would only soar even higher. What all this means in practical terms is that if there is one actor which can seriously disrupt the US operations in northern Syria, or even force the US to withdraw, it is Turkey. That kind of capability also gives Turkey a lot of bargaining power with Russia and Iran which I am sure Erdogan will carefully use to his own benefit. So far Erdogan has only threatened to deliver an “Ottoman slap” to the USA and Secretary of State Tillerson is traveling to Ankara to try to avert a disaster, but the Turkish instance that the USA chose either the Turkish or the Kurdish side in the conflict very severely limits the chances of any real breakthrough (the Israel lobby being 100% behind the Kurds). One should never say never, but I submit that it would take something of a miracle at this point to really salvage the US-Turkish relationship. Russia can try to capitalize on this dynamic.

The main weakness of this entire concept is, of course, that the USA is still powerful enough, including inside Turkey, and it would be very dangerous for Erdogan to try to openly confront and defy Uncle Sam. So far, Erdogan has been acting boldly and in overt defiance of the USA, but he also understands the risks of going too far and for him to even consider taking such risks there have to be prospects of major benefits from him. Here the Russians have two basic options: either to promise the Turks something very inciting or to somehow further deteriorate the current relationship between the US and Turkey. The good news here is that Russian efforts to drive a wedge between the US and Turkey are be greatly assisted by the US support for Israel, Kurds, and Gulenists.

The other obvious risk is that any anti-Kurdish operation can turn into yet another partition of Syria, this time by the Turks. However, the reality is that the Turks can’t really stay for too long in Syria, especially not if Russia and Iran oppose this. There is also the issue of international law which is much easier for the USA to ignore than for the Turks.

For all these reasons using the Turks to put pressure on the USA has its limitations. Still, if the Turks continue to insist that the USA stop supporting the Kurds, or if they continue putting military pressure on the Kurdish militias, then the entire US concept of a US-backed “mini-Kurdistan” collapses and, with it, the entire US partition plan for Syria.

So far, the Iraqis have quickly dealt with the US-sponsored “mini-Kurdistan” in Iraq and the Turks are now taking the necessary steps to deal with the US-sponsored “mini-Kurdistan” in Syria at which point *their* problem will be solved. The Turks are not interested in helping Assad or, for that matter, Putin and they don’t care what happens to Syria as long as *their* Kurdish problem is under control. This means that the Syrians, Russians, and Iranians should not place too much hope on the Turks turning against the USA unless, of course, the correct circumstances are created. Only the future will tell whether the Russians and the Iranians will be able to help to create such circumstances.

Step two: saturating Syria with mobile modern short/middle range air defenses

Right now nobody knows what kind of air-defense systems the Russians have been delivering to the Syrians over the past couple of years, but that is clearly the way to go for the Russians: delivering as many modern and mobile air defense systems to the Syrians. While this would be expensive, the best solution here would be to deliver as many Pantsir-S1 mobile Gun/SAM systems and 9K333 Verba MANPADs as possible to the Syrians and the Iranians. The combination of these two systems would immensely complicate any kind of air operations for the US Americans and Israelis, especially since there would be no practical way of reliably predicting the location from which they could operate. And since both the USA and Israel are operating in the Syrian skies in total violation of international law while the Syrian armed forces would be protecting their own sovereign airspace, such a delivery of air-defense systems by Russia to Syria would be impeccably legal. Best of all, it would be absolutely impossible for the AngloZionist to know who actually shot at them since these weapon systems are mobile and easy to conceal. Just like in Korea, Vietnam or Lebanon, Russian crews could even be sent to operate the Syrian air defense systems and there would be no way for anybody to prove that “the Russians did it” when US and Israeli aircraft would start falling out of the skies. The Russians would enjoy what the CIA calls “plausible deniability”. The US Americans and Israelis would, of course, turn against the weaker party, the Syrians, but that other than feeling good that would not really make a difference on the ground as the Syrians skies would not become safer for US or Israelis air forces.

The other option for the Russians would be to offer upgrades (software and missile) to the existing Syrian air defense systems, especially their road-mobile 2K12 Kub and 9K37 Buk systems. Such upgrades, especially if combined with enough deployed Pantsirs and Verbas would be a nightmare for both the US Americans and the Israelis. The Turks would not care much since they are already basically flying with the full approval of the Russians anyway, and neither would the Iranians who, as far as I know, have no air operations in Syria.

One objection to this plan would be that two can play this game and that there is nothing preventing the USA from sending even more advanced MANPADs to their “good terrorist” allies, but that argument entirely misses the point: if both sides do the same thing, the side which is most dependent on air operations (the USA) stands to lose much more than the side which has the advantage on the ground (the Russians). Furthermore, by sending MANPADs to Syria, the USA is alienating a putative ally, Turkey, whereas if Russia sends MANPADs and other SAMs to Syria the only one who will be complaining will be the Israelis. When that happens, the Russians will have a simple and truthful reply: we did not start this game, your US allies did, you can go and thank them for this mess.

The main problem in Syria is the fact that the US and the Israelis are currently operating in the Syrian skies with total impunity. If this changes, this will be a slow and gradual process. First, there would be a few isolated losses (like the Israeli F-16 recently), then we would see that the location of US and/or Israeli airstrikes would gradually shit from urban centers and central command posts to smaller, more isolated targets (such as vehicle columns). This would indicate an awareness that the most lucrative targets are already too well defended. Eventually, the number of air sorties would be gradually replaced by cruise and ballistic missiles strikes. Underlying it all would be a shift from offensive air operations to force protection which, in turn, would give the Syrians, Iranians, and Hezbollah a much easier environment to operate in. But the necessary first step for any of that to happen would be to dramatically increase the capability of Syrian air defenses.

Hezbollah has, for decades, very successfully operated under a total Israelis air supremacy and their experience of this kind of operations would be invaluable to the Syrians until they sufficiently built up their air defense capabilities.

Conclusion: is counter-escalation really the only option?

Frankly, I am starting to believe that the Empire has decided to attempt upon a partial “reconquista” of Syria, even Macron is making some noises about striking the Syrians to “punish” them for their use of (non-existing) chemical weapons. At the very least, the USA wants to make the Russians pay as high a price as possible for their role in Syria. Further US goals in Syria include:

  • The imposition of a de-facto partition of Syria by taking under control the Syrian territory east of the Euphrates river (we could call that “plan C version 3.0”)
  • The theft of the gas fields located in northeastern Syria
  • The creation of a US-controlled staging area from which Kurdish, good terrorist and bad terrorist operations can be planned and executed
  • The sabotaging of any Russian-backed peace negotiations
  • The support for Israeli operations against Iranian and Hezbollah forces in Lebanon and Syria
  • Engaging in regular attacks against Syrian forces attempting to liberate their country from foreign invaders
  • Presenting the invasion and occupation of Syria as one of the “victories” promised by Trump to the MIC and the Israel lobby

So far the Russian response to this developing strategy has been a rather a passive one and the current escalation strongly suggests that a new approach might be needed. The shooting down of the Israeli F-16 is a good first step, but much more needs to be done to dramatically increase the costs the Empire will have to pay for is policies towards Syria. The increase in the number of Russian commentators and analysts demanding a stronger reaction to the current provocations might be a sign that something is in the making.

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The US is Executing a Global War Plan

By Finian Cunningham

February 18, 2018 “Information Clearing House” – Washington is moving inevitably on a global war plan. That’s the grim conclusion one has to draw from three unfolding war scenarios.

Ultimately, it’s about American imperialism trying to assert hegemony over the international order for the benefit of US capitalism. Russia and China are prime targets for this global assault.

The three unfolding war scenarios are seen in Syria, North Korea and Ukraine. These are not disparate, disassociated conflicts. They are inter-related expressions of the American war plans. War plans which involve the moving of strategic military power into position.

Last week’s massacre of over 100 Syrian government forces by American warplanes near Deir ez-Zor was an audacious overt assault by the US on the Syrian state. The US, along with other NATO allies, have been up to now waging a seven-year proxy war for regime change against Russia’s ally, President Assad. The massacre last week was certainly not the first time that US forces, illegally present in Syria, have attacked the Syrian army. But it seems clearer than ever now that American forces are operating on the overt agenda for regime change. US troops are transparently acting like an occupation army, challenging Russia and its legally mandated support for the Syrian state.

Heightening international concerns are multiple reports that Russian military contractors were among the casualties in the US-led air strike near Deir ez-Zor last week.

Regarding North Korea, Washington is brazenly sabotaging diplomatic efforts underway between the respective Korean leaderships in Pyongyang and Seoul. While this inter-Korean dialogue has been picking up positive momentum, the US has all the while been positioning nuclear-capable B-52 and B-2 bombers in the region, along with at least three aircraft carriers. The B-2s are also reportedly armed with 14-tonne bunker-buster bombs – the largest non-nuclear warhead in the American arsenal, designed to destroy North Korean underground missile silos and “decapitate” the Pyongyang leadership of Kim Jong-un.

American vice-president Mike Pence, while attending the Winter Olympics in South Korea, opening last week, delivered a blunt war message. He said that the recent detente between North Korea and US ally South Korea will come to an end as “soon as the Olympic flame is extinguished” – when the games close later this month. This US policy of belligerence completely upends Russia and China’s efforts to facilitate inter-Korean peace diplomacy.

Meanwhile, the situation in Eastern Ukraine looks decidedly grim for an imminent US-led invasion of the breakaway Donbas region. Pentagon military inspectors have in the past week reportedly arrived along the Contact Zone that separates the US-backed Kiev regime forces and the pro-Russian separatists of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Donetsk’s military commander Eduard Basurin warned that the arrival of Pentagon and other NATO military advisors from Britain and Canada indicate that US-armed Kiev forces are readying for a renewed assault on the Donbas ethnic Russian population.

Even the normally complacent observers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), charged with monitoring a nominal ceasefire along the Contact Zone, have lately begun reporting serious advancement of heavy weapons by the Kiev forces – in violation of the 2015 Minsk Peace Accord.

If the US-led Kiev forces proceed with the anticipated offensive next month in Donbas there are real fears for extreme civilian casualties. Such “ethnic cleansing” of Russian people by Kiev regime forces that openly espouse Neo-Nazi ideology would mostly likely precipitate a large-scale intervention by Moscow as a matter of humanitarian defense. Perhaps that is what the US planners are wagering on, which can then be portrayed by the dutiful Western news media as “another Russian aggression”.

US-based political analyst Randy Martin says: “It is undeniable that Washington is on a war footing in three global scenarios. Preparation for war is in fact war.”

He added: “You have to also consider the latest Nuclear Posture Review published by the Pentagon earlier this month. The Pentagon is openly declaring that it views Russia and China as targets, and that it is willing to use nuclear force to contest conventional wars and what the Pentagon deems to be asymmetric aggression.”

Martin says that it is not clear at this stage what Washington wants exactly.

“It is of course all about seeking global domination which is long-consistent with American imperialism as expressed for example in the Wolfowitz Doctrine following the end of the Cold War,” says the analyst.

“But what does Washington want specifically from Russia and China is the question. It is evidently using the threat of war and aggression as a lever. But it is not clear what would placate Washington. Perhaps regime change in Russia where President Putin is ousted by a deferential pro-Western figure. Perhaps Russia and China giving up their plans of Eurasian economic integration and abandoning their plans to drop the American dollar in trade relations.”

One thing, however, seems abundantly clear. The US is embarking on a global war plan, as can be discerned from the grave developments unfolding in Syria, the Korean Peninsula and Ukraine. Each scenario can be understood as a pressure point on Moscow or China to in some way acquiesce to American ambitions for global dominance.

To be sure, Washington is being reckless and criminal in its conduct, violating the UN Charter and countless other international laws. It is brazenly acting like a rogue regime without the slightest hint of shame.

Still, Russia and China are hardly likely to capitulate. Simply because the US ambition of unipolar hegemony is impossible to achieve. The post-Second World Order, which Washington was able to dominate for nearly seven decades, is becoming obsolete as the international order naturally transforms into a multipolar configuration.

When Washington accuses Moscow and Beijing of “trying to alter the international order to their advantage” what the American rulers are tacitly admitting is their anxiety that the days of US hegemony are on the wane. Russia and China are not doing anything illegitimate. It is simply a fact of historical evolution.

So, ultimately, Washington’s war plans are futile in what they are trying to achieve by criminal coercion. Those plans cannot reverse history. But, demonically, those plans could obliterate the future of the planet.

The world is again on a precipice as it was before on the eve of the First and Second World Wars. Capitalism, imperialism and fascism are again center stage.

As analyst Randy Martin puts it: “The American rulers are coming out of the closet to show their true naked nature of wanting to wage war on the world. Their supremacist, militarist ideology is, incontrovertibly, fascism in action.”

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.

This article was originally published by “Strategic Culture Foundation

Russia calls on US not to play with fire in Syria: Lavrov

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lavrov

News ID: 4231867 –
TEHRAN, Feb. 19 (MNA) – US must stop playing with fire in Syria, Russia’s Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the opening ceremony for the conference of the Valdai Discussion Club dubbed “Russia in the Middle East: Playing on All Fields.”

“I once again call on our American colleagues not to play with fire and measure their steps proceeding not from immediate needs of today’s political environment, but rather from long-term interests of the Syrian people and of all peoples of this region, including the Kurds, of course,” the Russian top diplomat was quoted as saying by TASS News Agency.

The Valdai Discussion Club kicked off today in the presence of Iranian foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.

MNA/TASS

Lavrov Calls on US “Not to Play with Fire in Syria”

 February 19, 2018

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Lavrov called on the US not to “play with fire” in Syria and emphasized that the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must be preserved.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has voiced concern that US actions in Syria are aimed at partitioning Syria and accused Washington of using the Kurds to undermine the Arab Republic’s territorial integrity.

“Such fears arise when we get acquainted with the plans that the US is beginning to implement on the ground, primarily to the east of the Euphrates, on vast territories between this river and the border with Syria with Iraq and Turkey.”

The Russian top diplomat urged Washington not to “play with fire” in Syria and carefully consider its steps based “not on immediate needs of today’s political situation, but rather from the long-term interests of the Syrian people and all the peoples of this region, including the Kurds.”

“It seems to me that the statements of our American colleagues that the only purpose is to fight ISIL [Daesh] and preserve territorial integrity need to be confirmed by actions.”

“Unfortunately, with all the statements about the need to unite efforts in the fight against this common evil [terrorism], there is still a desire to use this situation for geopolitical narrow-minded purposes and attempts continue to move away from truly collective work,” Lavrov said, when speaking on session of the International Discussion Club “Valdai”.

He has emphasized that the Syrian sovereignty and territorial integrity must be preserved, in accordance with international law and UN resolutions.

According to Lavrov, Russia has doubts that the US-led coalition truly aims to fight al-Nusra Front terrorists in Syria.

SourceSputnik

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