Mass Psychosis and The Church of Humanitarian Interventionism

Mass Psychosis and The Church of Humanitarian Interventionism

January 03, 2019

by David Penner for The Saker Blog

Ask any American liberal aged sixty-five and older what they think about Franco, Mussolini, or Hitler and they will vehemently denounce these men as tyrants, murderers, and despots. Ask them what they think about the Vietnam War and they will say it was a tragedy, not only for the Vietnamese, but for the poor American soldiers who were drafted and used as cannon fodder. Liberals also once defended the civil rights movement and the New Deal while vigorously opposing McCarthyism. That these same people would go on to support deunionization, resegregation, and Russophobia while enthusiastically backing barbarous wars and interventions in Yugoslavia, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan and Ukraine constitutes not only a betrayal of leftist principles, but is indicative of a rejection of reason and the reality-based world.

Like the proverbial general always fighting the last war, liberals remain trapped in the past, unable to adapt to rapidly unfolding kinetic developments. The problem is that not only is this general fighting the last war, this is a general that can no longer distinguish between right and left and has lost any semblance of a moral compass.

There’s a Hitler on The Danube

One could argue that the new Cold War began with Bill Clinton bringing Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic into NATO. For Russians that were not yet alarmed by this perfidy, their red lines were irrefutably crossed with the NATO destruction of Yugoslavia and the bombing of Serbia, regarded by Russians as a brotherly nation. This constituted an illegal war of aggression, and was carried out without a mandate from the United Nations Security Council. Indeed, the NATO destruction of Yugoslavia initiated an unraveling of international law and marked an erosion in the equilibrium between the great powers.

As Noam Chomsky has noted, Yugoslavia was marked for destruction, because unlike the other formerly communist European countries they did not embrace privatization. The destruction of Yugoslavia was not only a violation of the UN Charter, but was also the first “humanitarian intervention” following the collapse of the USSR that liberals were duped into embracing. In an article on the RT website titled “15 years on: Looking back at NATO’s ‘humanitarian’ bombing of Yugoslavia,” the author writes, “NATO demonstrated in 1999 that it can do whatever it wants under the guise of ‘humanitarian intervention,’ ‘war on terror,’ or ‘preventive war’ – something that everyone has witnessed in subsequent years in different parts of the globe.”

While Milošević and the Serbs were marked for demonization due to their lack of enthusiasm for neoliberal “reforms,” Croatian secessionists (many of whom subscribed to a neo-Nazi and neo-Ustasha ideology), Muslim fundamentalists in Bosnia, and the terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) were supported by the West. Brigadier-General Pierre Marie Gallois of the French Army has condemned the NATO destruction of Yugoslavia, and has gone on record stating that the endless stories of Serb atrocities, such as mass rapes and the siege of Sarajevo were fabricated. Gallois also argues that the German elite sought revenge for the fierce Serb resistance during the two world wars, especially with regard to the Serb partisans that held up German divisions that were headed towards Leningrad and Moscow during Operation Barbarossa. While relentlessly demonized, the Serbs were in many ways the greatest victims of the NATO-orchestrated Balkan wars, as hundreds of thousands of Serbs were forcibly expelled from both Croatia and Kosovo while Serbia was turned into a free-fire zone by NATO for over seventy days. Washington took advantage of the conflict to solidify control over its European vassals.

During the aerial campaign, between ten and fifteen tons of depleted uranium were dropped on Serbia resulting in extremely high rates of cancer. The Independent coyly informed its readers that the forced expulsion of Serbs from Croatia, which they refer to as an “exodus” – is a great mystery – a “riddle.” The only “riddle” is how liberals can denounce genocide and speak ad nauseam about human rights while supporting neo-Nazi regimes, such as the Poroshenko government in Kiev and the Tudjman government in Croatia, which have perpetrated genocidal war crimes in broad daylight. The forced expulsion of Serbs from Croatia was eventually reported by The New York Times, but four years too late. Liberal-backed jihadists in Libya and Syria have likewise carried out one ethnic cleansing after another.

Endless calls by the mainstream press to stop the evil Serbs from establishing a “greater Serbia” were blatant propaganda, as there was no way that the hundreds of thousands of Serbs in Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo could have “invaded” these territories, as they had already been living there for centuries. Indeed, this very scenario holds true for the ethnic Russians in the Donbass. Moreover, as the mass media was busy vilifying the Serbs, behind the scenes American diplomats had no illusions about who they were dealing with, referring to the Croatian nationalists as “our junkyard dogs.”

In an article titled “The Rational Destruction of Yugoslavia,” Michael Parenti writes:

Tudjman presided over the forced evacuation of over half a million Serbs from Croatia between 1991 and 1995, replete with rapes and summary executions. This included the 200,000 from Krajina in 1995, whose expulsion was facilitated by attacks from NATO war planes and missiles. Needless to say, U.S. leaders did nothing to stop and much to assist these atrocities, while the U.S. media looked the other way.

Kosovo was also prized by the Western elites because of its rich deposits of coal, lead, zinc, cadmium, gold and silver valued in the billions of dollars. The tragic balkanization of Yugoslavia, where brother was pitted against brother, brought about the destruction of a non-aligned country with a nationalized economy thereby bolstering the power of Western finance capital.  Of the NATO bombings, Parenti posits that, “To destroy publicly-run Yugoslav factories that produced auto parts, appliances, or fertilizer…is to enhance the investment value of western producers. And every television or radio station closed down by NATO troops or blown up by NATO bombs extends the monopolizing dominance of the western media cartels. The aerial destruction of Yugoslavia’s social capital served that purpose.”

Lamentably, all of this was drowned out by the mass media’s vilification of the Serbs. An article in The Guardian titled “Serbs enslaved Muslim women at rape camps” encapsulates perfectly how Western liberals were duped into embracing a war which was waged for no other reason than to fortify the power of US and NATO hegemony. This propaganda is particularly galling in light of the fact that women’s rights have been thrown back into the Stone Age precisely in the very countries which have come under attack by Washington and her proxies, such as Libya, jihadist-occupied Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Ukraine.

“Save Benghazi” and More Humanitarian Psychosis

Repeated calls by the presstitutes to “save Benghazi” sufficed to obtain liberal support for a war of aggression that has left Libya in such a state of anarchy and chaos, that Libyans who have been unable to flee the country are now trapped in a failed state where warring militias vie for power. In an article in Foreign Affairs titled “Obama’s Libya Debacle,” Alan J. Kuperman writes, “With Moscow’s acquiescence, the United Nations Security Council had approved the establishment of a no-fly zone in Libya and other measures to protect civilians. But NATO exceeded that mandate to pursue regime change.”

Under Gaddafi Libyans enjoyed a high standard of living, and health care and education were free. Gaddafi’s desire to set up a gold-backed dinar put him in the crosshairs of the Western elites, as this would have liberated Africans from domination by the World Bank and the IMF through establishing a common gold-backed currency. Alas, this was lost on the human rights crusaders of the holier-than-thou faux left.

Libya, which formerly had the highest standard of living in Africa, has been annihilated as a nation state. Slave markets are a legacy of this great “humanitarian intervention,” as are pogroms carried out against black Africans, formerly given refuge by the Gaddafi regime. An article in The Telegraph, which appeared in March of 2011, titled “Libya crisis: Benghazi fights for its life as Gaddafi attacks,” was one of countless articles in the mainstream press that incited messianic liberals into supporting a war of aggression against a people that had become too independent.

Once a country is marked for destruction by the Western elites no story is too outrageous, as evidenced by Susan Rice’s claim that Gaddafi supplied his troops with Viagra so that they could more effectively carry out mass rapes. This barbaric destruction of a sovereign state was summed up by liberal icon Hillary Clinton, who when asked about the brutal murder of Gaddafi, happily blurted out “We came! We saw! He died!

In what constituted the most genocidal invasion of a country following the end of the Vietnam War, Iraq was marked for annihilation after Saddam Hussein made the decision to sell oil in euros. In a rare moment of candor from a high priest of liberalism, Madeleine Albright, when asked about the half a million children that died due to the Clinton-backed sanctions, replied “We think the price is worth it.” This chilling remark underscores the fact that, contrary to liberal theology, the destruction of Iraq was perpetrated with equal fervor by both parties. Incredibly, even after spending trillions of dollars systematically destroying Iraqi social and political institutions, Washington failed to install a puppet government in Baghdad which has forged alliances with Tehran, Damascus, and Moscow.

Liberal saint Obama, in comparing the reunification of Crimea and Russia with the Iraq War, informs us that the “annexation of Crimea” – which was enthusiastically backed by the overwhelming majority of Crimeans – was worse than the invasion of Iraq, which resulted in a million deaths, destroyed a civilization and fueled the rise of ISIS.

As if her abysmal record makes her a Marxist scholar, Albright now warns Americans of the dangers of fascism, her implication of course being that the rise of Trump represents a threat to our democracy. Perhaps the Donald’s desire to pursue detente with Russia, and the fact that he has yet to start any new wars are what liberals are really upset about.

The Obama administration’s support for the Saudi war on Yemen is yet another impressive achievement for the liberal class, and has yielded such an earthly paradise that Yemenis have resorted to eating leaves to survive. For this extravaganza of mass murder the presstitutes didn’t even bother coming up with a fictitious narrative, allowing the salt of the earth to set aside their pom-poms for a while and take a nap.

Syria: Mass Murder in Paradise

Unsurprisingly, the mass media had no trouble duping imaginary leftists into believing that Syrians were being indiscriminately slaughtered by the Syrian Arab Army and the evil Russians. Unbeknownst to The Guardian and The New York Times, the US military presence in Syria is illegal, while Russian and Iranian military personnel are there at the invitation of the Syrian government. The Obama administration and its vassals are clearly responsible for the carnage in Syria, as they poured billions of dollars into backing the many jihadist groups. The mass media also hoodwinked liberals into thinking that the US military has been fighting ISIS, when they have used ISIS along with Al-Nusra Front and other illegal armed formations, as proxies with which to wage war on Syrian society. If Washington were battling the jihadists in Syria, why would they simultaneously be antagonists with the Syrian government and the Russians, who together saved Syria from being overrun by these very barbarians? Indeed, such questions have become a form of unmitigated heresy.

Articles such as “The Effects of Suspending American Aid to Moderate Syrian Opposition Groups,” by Hosam al-Jablawi, which appeared on The Atlantic Council’s website, seek to further the fallacy that the militants have been mostly democratic and secular. Washington and her vassals have poured enormous amounts of weaponry into the conflict zone, and Israeli weapons have been discovered in Syrian territories liberated from Daesh. That German machine guns from the Second World War have been discovered in some of these hideouts is symbolic of the true intentions of these murderous and sociopathic gangs.

The New York Post has referred to the jihadists in Syria as “freedom fighters.” While this may not be regarded as a “liberal” publication, an even more inane sentiment was expressed on Democracy Now, where Amy Goodman discussed the fighting in Eastern Ghouta with Rawya Rageh, Alia Malek, and Wendy Pearlman. Throughout the entire discussion of what can only be called an imaginary war, the fact that a large swath of Syria was taken over by jihadists, many of whom were not even Syrians but foreigners, is not even mentioned. In this cloud-cuckoo-land that passes for journalism the militants do not even exist. Assad and Putin are simply killing as many Syrians as possible, and doing so in an orgy of gratuitous savagery.

An article in The Guardian titled “You’re on your own, US tells Syrian rebels, as Assad goes on offensive” is deliberately written with the intention of stirring up liberal outrage over “indifference in the face of genocide,” and seeks to evoke memories of the Holocaust, the appeasement of Hitler, and the defeat of the Republicans by the forces of Franco. Meanwhile, independent media is shunned by liberals, who dismiss efforts at real journalism and political analysis as “conspiracy theory.” Thankfully for the insane, there is no shortage of good reading material.

Moscow has repeatedly maintained that the Syrian Arab Army is no longer in possession of chemical weapons, and there is ample evidence that the chemical attacks in Syria are false flag operations carried out by the jihadists to justify NATO aerial attacks on the Syrian Arab Army and Syrian infrastructure. Clearly, these incidents make for great Hollywood and have been extremely effective in stirring up gullible liberals who proceed to bray, as if on cue, for another regime change.

Tied to the mass media’s obsession with accusing Assad of “gassing his own people” are the White Helmets, who have been funded by the West, and who are clearly allied with the jihadists. The White Helmets played a critical role in duping liberal fundamentalists into thinking that there was a democratic uprising in Syria, and that the West must intervene “to put an end to the suffering.” Time will tell if Washington truly ceases all military operations in this war-ravaged country.

Forgotten Killing Fields: Afghanistan and Ukraine

The invasion and military occupation of Afghanistan was sold as a war to free oppressed women. An article in The Independent by Jane Dalton titled “Afghanistan’s first female military pilot granted asylum in US after fleeing Taliban death threats,” is crude propaganda, yet very effective nevertheless. This is a great way to distract insouciant liberals from what Americans are more likely to do in their dealings with Afghans, which is to murder them, and then urinate over their dead bodies. What the mass media doesn’t like to talk about is how the rise of the Taliban is a direct result of Washington’s support for the mujahideen in their insurgency against the secular Afghan communist government in the 1980s. Washington is furious with the International Criminal Court over considering prosecution of American officials for war crimes in Afghanistan, and has even threatened to arrest ICC judges in retaliation. Unbeknownst to these judges, Americans are God’s chosen people. Consequently, they are incapable of war crimes.

Samantha Power is a particularly pious priest in the Church of Humanitarian Interventionism. Power was a staunch advocate of military intervention in Libya, and used her influence to cover up the crimes of the US-Saudi genocidal assault on Yemen. She defended Israel’s brutal attack on Gaza in the summer of 2014, and yet was extremely critical of the “annexation of Crimea.” That the reunification of Crimea and Russia was in fact a legitimate humanitarian intervention is an irony that was undoubtedly lost on her. In a 2016 showdown with Vitaly Churkin at the UN Power accused Russia, Syria, and Iran of slaughtering civilians in Aleppo, when they were liberating the city from jihadists backed by Washington and her vassals. Power also spoke of the liberation of Aleppo as if the jihadists were Jews bravely defending themselves in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the Syrian and Russian troops were fascists perpetrating brutal acts of collective punishment. Following this deranged rant, Churkin said, “The speech by the US representative is particularly strange to me; she gave her speech as if she was Mother Teresa herself. Please, remember which country you represent. Please, remember the track record of your country.”

The NATO-backed putsch in Kiev, supported wholeheartedly by the Obama administration, resulted in an unconstitutional seizure of power by the heirs of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, as well as a genocidal war waged against the ethnic Russians of the Donbass who have steadfastly refused to recognize the Banderite regime. In pitting neo-Nazis against neo-partisans, the restoration of Ukrainian nationalism has resurrected the demons of the past, as the bodies of slain Novorossiyan fighters are mingled with the bones of their heroic grandfathers.

Despite blathering on about the Nazis for decades, liberals were fully complicit in bringing this odious regime to power, as they were easily hoodwinked into thinking that the coup was a grassroots democratic uprising, and that the armed formations battling the Ukrainian military in the Donbass were divisions from the Russian Armed Forces, when they are overwhelmingly comprised of locals from Donetsk and Lugansk.

Moreover, as the Western elites impose multiculturalism and identity politics at home, they are simultaneously fomenting the rise of neo-Nazism in Eastern Europe. This underscores the moral bankruptcy, duplicity, and schizophrenia of the liberal class and has trapped Europeans in an intellectual paralysis where they are being offered a choice between neo-Nazism or multiculturalism, both of which benefit the oligarchy. The Maidan coup, executed by pogromists, neo-Nazis, and Banderites has legitimized unconstitutional seizures of power and inspired those who would like to carry out a putsch of their own in Germany.

A Hitler on The Moskva River?

As Putin has noted, following the collapse of the USSR Washington and NATO have pursued a policy of unilateralism. These wars have not only been carried out in flagrant violation of the UN Charter that condemns wars of aggression, but have also contributed to the degradation of the rule of law within the West itself. Western stenographers like to complain about terrorism, but terrorists filled the vacuum following the destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and a large swath of jihadist-occupied Syria – “humanitarian interventions” – where liberal complicity is undeniable and irrefutable.

The Church of Humanitarian Interventionism is rooted in the myth that the invasion of Normandy brought about the defeat of fascism. While this is not to denigrate the contributions made by resistance groups in Western Europe or those who lost their lives on the beaches of Normandy, the fact is that the defeat of fascism was achieved by the Red Army and allied partisans who bore the brunt of the best German troops, together with the courage of the Russian people who suffered the loss of twenty-seven million of their countrymen. This much vaunted invasion was launched on June 6, 1944, and only after it was clear that the Nazis were going to lose the war.

The descent of liberals into a morass of madness and bestiality is intertwined with a gross naivete regarding the true intentions of publications such as The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Guardian which are leading their readers around like so many poodles. Sadly, most of these creatures will go to their graves never understanding the treachery of these periodicals that they have given their very souls to. Liberals have also decided that it is better to spend trillions of dollars on illegal wars of aggression while their sons and daughters have inadequate health insurance and wallow in dead-end jobs working for the minimum wage.

In a spectacular display of Russophobia and Apocalypticism, Nikki Haley, who could easily work for either party and not know the difference, recently wrote on her Twitter page that “Lying, cheating, and rogue behavior have become the new norm of the Russian culture.” Washington’s decision to make Putin their favorite new bogeyman undoubtedly helps justify the obscene budget of the military industrial complex. Let’s pray that the bells of humanitarian intervention don’t ring out in strident cacophony over the Kremlin, which would assuredly take us to a place from which there is no dawning, and the evanescing of the sun of mankind forever.
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David Penner’s articles on politics and health care have appeared in Dissident Voice, CounterPunch, Russia Insider and KevinMD. Also a photographer and native New Yorker, he is the author of three books: Faces of The New Economy, Faces of Manhattan Island, and Manhattan Pairs. He can be reached at 321davidadam@gmail.com.

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Big Lies Drown Out Hard Truths

By Stephen Lendman
Source

When the US launches naked aggression in other countries, truth-telling in Washington, the West, Israel, and journalism the way it’s supposed to be are the first casualties.

Managed news misinformation and disinformation, Big Lies, and fake news take precedence, hard truths suppressed – the way it always is in the run-up to wars and while they’re ongoing, ordinary people manipulated to believe what’s polar opposite reality.

US aggression is all about achieving control over other nations – in Syria and everywhere else. There’s nothing civil about what’s been going on for nearly eight years in the Syrian Arab Republic, US naked aggression planned long before launched. 

So-called “moderate rebels” don’t exist. All opposition forces are jihadist extremists, cutthroat killers, hired gun mercenaries – armed, funded, trained, and directed by CIA operatives, US special forces, and their imperial counterparts to commit atrocities, including use of chemical and other banned weapons.

Al-Qaeda-connected White Helmets masquerade as civil defense workers, complicit with high crimes of jihadists. UN Secretary-General Guterres and so-called UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura support Washington’s imperial agenda without admitting it in so many words – instead of firmly condemning it.

Guterres repeatedly turns a blind eye to Israeli high crimes of war, against humanity, and slow-motion genocide against millions of long-suffering Palestinians.

NATO secretaries general operate the same way, appointed by Washington, serving its interests, blaming victims in one country after another of high crimes committed against them.

All wars are based on deception and Big Lies. Propaganda works. Most people believe nearly everything fed them repeatedly by major media press agents for powerful interests.

It’s why America gets away with mass slaughter and destruction time and again against one country after another. Mass outrage is absent when vitally needed.

Obama’s war on Syria, escalated by Trump, continuing despite his December 19 troop withdrawal announcement, relies on steady major media reported disinformation and Big Lies.

Out-of-touch, uninformed, and indifferent Americans are easy marks to manipulate – no matter how many previous times they were duped.

Syria was invaded. ISIS and other jihadists were recruited and imported from scores of countries, including Western ones. 

They’re used to do Washington’s killing and dying for the empire, supported by Pentagon-led terror-bombing, massacring countless tens of thousands of civilians in Syria alone, along with destroying vital infrastructure in large parts of the country.

The same Nuremberg-level high crimes repeat in one US war theater after another, accountability never forthcoming.

Russia, Iranian military advisers, and Hezbollah fighters alone support Syrian sovereign independence, territorial integrity and right of its people alone to choose their government and leadership – free from foreign interference, in compliance with international law.

Turkey’s Erdogan is more enemy than ally of these objectives, aiming to annex northern Syrian territory, mainly its oil rich area, along with waging war on Kurds internally and cross-border.

Like US, NATO, and Israeli officials, he can never be trusted – a sworn enemy of peace, equity and justice, a regional menace, a tinpot despot, masquerading as democratic, a notion he abhors like his counterparts in the West and Jewish state.

Nothing going on in Syria is about humanitarian intervention, responsibility to protect, liberation, or fostering democratic values – just the opposite.

US-led high crimes against peace continue daily. The Nuremberg Charter calls them:

(1) “Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;” and

(2) “Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned” above.

War crimes are defined as:

“Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave-labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war, of persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.”

Crimes against humanity include:

“Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhuman acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.”

“Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity.is a crime under international law.”

All of the above apply to what’s going on in Syria and other US war theaters. America is permanently at war on humanity at home and abroad – the disturbing hard truth Western media suppress.

All US wars flagrantly violate international, constitutional, and US statute laws. They rage with no end of them in prospect – others in the wings to be launched when ordered.

Trump is a tool of the imperial state. The same goes for his predecessors and key congressional members on both sides of the aisle.

Humanity’s survival is up for grabs over Washington’s rage to dominate all other countries – by whatever it takes to achieve its objectives.

A Final Comment

Iran is the leading Middle East peace and stability advocate. Its military advisors in Syria are all about aiding Damascus combat the scourge of US/NATO/Saudi/Israeli supported jihadists.

Last week, outgoing IDF chief General Gadi Eisenkot lied, claiming Iran aims “to build a force of 100,000 ground troops” in Syria, including “ground, aerial, naval and intelligence capability (to establish a) line of military positions along the Golan” border.

His remarks and Netanyahu’s vow to escalate aggression in Syria over the nonexistent Iranian aim “to establish military bases in” the country indicates endless war will continue – whether US troops stay or leave.

Iranian military advisors alone are involved, invited by Damascus. The same goes for Russia and Hezbollah fighters. 

US, UK, French, and Turkish forces are invaders, flagrantly violating core international law.

Liberating Syria from the scourge of US-led aggression remains unattainable as long as the diabolical aims of Republicans and undemocratic Dems remain unchanged.

What Can Follow America’s Withdrawal From Syria

December 20, 2018

by Ghassan Kadi for The Saker Blog

Just before Trump announced that American troops are to leave Syria “immediately”, many compatriots, friends and analysts were wondering what could be the next event that might change the course of future events in northern and eastern Syria. The first reaction to the news of Trump ordering his troops to leave Syria took many by surprise. That said, we have to wait and see if Trump does not wake up tomorrow changing his mind. The reason behind Trump’s decision to withdraw is not very important and as far as this article is concerned, it is irrelevant. If he wants to believe that he is leaving victoriously, that’s fine, for as long as he does leave. That said, the sudden resignation of Mattis clearly indicates that the former top gun does not see it with the same spectacles. Either way, the withdrawal, if it happens, may end up to be a long and protracted process that could take weeks, months and perhaps years, and the manner in which it happens opens the doors for many possibilities and contingencies.

Before Trump’s decision, there were two serious nagging and unresolved problems in Syria standing in the way of ending the war and the commencement of rebuilding the war-ravaged nation; and they were the ongoing presence of the terrorists in Idlib and the presence of American troops in the North East.

Idlib has been the sink hole of Syria, a place where all terrorists ended up. In any major battles, all the way from the battle of Al-Qusayr in 2013 to the most recent battle of Daraa in 2018, all of which ended up with terrorists defeat, negotiations ended up with militants leaving the areas in secure buses and settling in Idlib. No one really knows how many of them are there at the present moment because the overall figure includes those who were bunkered there from the beginning. The estimates run from as low as 10,000 to a high 100,000. The truth is that we don’t know. The figure could well be outside those estimates; but they have to be huge nonetheless.

Regardless of the number, they are the only terrorists left who answer to Erdogan and/or who can be manipulated by him. If they don’t, they either have to fight to death or leave. But given that all of their supply lines come from Turkey, they don’t have much of a choice but to kowtow to the Sultan. The Sultan is using his loyal “troops” as a trump card for two reasons; first of all to continue to have a de-facto military presence in government-controlled areas in Syria, and secondly and most importantly perhaps, is because he regards the terrorists as his Muslim brothers, and it is his “duty” to protect them.

This was why when Russia and Syria were making preparations to go inside Idlib and clean it up, he told them that he could achieve the same objective with negotiations and that they can leave Idlib for him to deal with. A few months later, Russia and Syria are still waiting for him to come true to his word.

So what is Erdogan exactly trying to do in northern Syria and why are Putin and Assad putting up with him?

Before Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria, it was clear that Putin understands Erdogan too well. He knows that Erdogan has an Achilles Heel, two of them in fact; one in each foot. In many previous articles, I have reiterated that Erdogan is incurably both an Islamist and a Turkish nationalist; even though the ideologies are in total contradiction with each other. And even though he is cunning, calculating and prepared to wait for the right moment to act, when it comes to either nationalism or religion, he regresses into a programmed robot that is simply unable to think and act rationally; and Putin has been trying to use this weakness of Erdogan to serve his own objectives.

Erdogan wants to protect Al-Nusra in Idlib, and this is why Putin convinced Assad to leave the Idlib carrot in the hands of Erdogan, not necessarily because he believes that Erdogan will indeed deal with it in the manner that he should, but simply to present to him that Russia regards him like a credible partner.

On the other hand, the simmering tension between Ankara and Washington over the Kurdish issue has been coming to a head for a long time. Ever since America pledged support to Syrian Kurds, Erdogan, in blunt terms, has been clearly saying to his American “allies” that they must choose between Turkey and the Kurds. He has been making serious threats that he will attack Manbij and clean it up from Kurdish militants even if American troops do not leave.

Erdogan’s nationalist Achilles heel has left him in serious discord with his biggest NATO ally.

Given that the nationalist aspect of Erdogan is prepared to risk falling out with NATO and even fighting American troops in Syria just to prevent the creation of an independent Kurdish state south of his border, he was putting himself in the position of the former Afghani Mujahideen who were fighting their own war, and at the same time, serving another purpose for another group. With this stance, Erdogan presented that he was prepared to fight with America at any level, even militarily; because to him, the Kurdish issue was a redline that he was not prepared to see crossed.

For a while, a fair while in fact, Russia and Syria stood back and watched how the American-Turkish impasse morphed. It seemed that any potential fight would not only serve to prevent the creation of an independent Kurdish state, but would also end up with American withdrawal from Syria, and thus serving the objectives of both Syria and Russia.

And even though in theory it is the role and duty of Syria and her army to liberate the North-East from American presence, this course of action did not only risk a major confrontation with NATO and possible widespread bombing all over the country, but this option will also risk a direct confrontation between America and Russia on Syrian soil.

This was the only reason why Russia and Syria seemed prepared to put the resolution of the Idlib dilemma on hold. This is the only rational reason as to why they did not coerce Erdogan to rush into any quick action there before the problem of American presence has been resolved.

Knowingly or inadvertently, the American withdrawal from Syria, if it happens, will take a huge bargaining chip away from the hand of Erdogan in as far as his relationship with Russia is concerned. Erdogan will no longer be able to say to Russia that if Russia wants him to deal with America’s presence, then Russia must accept the deal with Idlib too.

In short and simple terms, the American withdrawal, if it happens, will take the decision of what happens in Idlib out of Erdogan’s hands.

The above sounds good, good for Syria, but the final outcome of this will depend on a number of factors, the most important of which is who is going to replace the American troops and how soon.

If America leaves behind a mercenary army as some speculate, fighting it will be logistically easier in the sense that it will not open the door for direct confrontation with United States army.

Depending on the pattern of withdrawal, the void generated by the retreating American troops can either be filled by the legal national Syrian Arab Army or by an invading Turkish army. But this depends on the location as well as the time table of withdrawal. If America for example leaves Deir Ezzor now, which is in the east and a couple of hundred kilometers south of Turkey’s border, the void will automatically be filled by the Syrian Army. However, if America leaves a northerly position such as Manbij, Turkey will move in before the Syrian Army will have a chance to do so. And such a scenario can spell more problems for Syria.

The problem here is more of a humanitarian nature than territorial, because sooner or later, Turkey will have to leave Syria. That said, if Turkish troops control any Syrian land, even for a short time, they will most likely declare open season on Syrian Kurds, and given Turkish history in dealing with such situations, this can be brutal.

On the other hand, if Erdogan tries to inflict a Kurdish massacre, then his Idlib carrot will turn into a stick lashing his own hide. For years, he had managed to juggle his contradictions of being a nationalist and an Islamist, but he will finally have to choose between his two alter egos. His nationalist ambition of annihilating Kurdish resistance in Syria can endanger his Muslim brothers in Idlib. His split-personality dilemma is finally coming to a head.

Would the man who was prepared to fight America if America supported a Kurdish state be also prepared to fight Russia if Russia attacked his Islamist brothers in Idlib?

Ideally, the best scenario possible for Syria and Russia, a resolution that will uphold Syria’s sovereignty and integrity all the while avert any Kurdish bloodshed, is for Syria and Russia to immediately fill in any gap created by retreating American forces. Erdogan must be kept out of Syria, and once his hands cannot reach Syrian Kurds any longer, he will no longer be able to have any say in Idlib.

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SYRIAN WAR REPORT – DEC. 14, 2018: RUSSIAN FORCES START SIEGE OF US BASE IN AT-TANF

South Front

Russian forces have established several military positions near the US-controlled zone of at-Tanf, pro-government media activists reported on December 12.

A source familiar with the situation, told SouthFront that several air-defense systems and other military equipment were deployed at the Russian positions. More weapons, including heavy rocket launchers, are reportedly expected to arrive there in the upcoming few days.

The Saudi London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat even claimed that Russia is going to deploy an S-300 system to the province of Deir Ezzor. However, this type of rumors is common for the Saudi outlet, which has been actively working to fuel tensions between the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance and the US-Israeli-led bloc as well as between Russia and Iran.

In early December, forces of the US-led coalition employed its M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System to fire several rockets at positions of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in the area of al-Ghurab Mount. The shelling caused no casualties but contributed to further growth of tensions in this part of Syria.

Late on December 13, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces made a fresh effort to capture the town of Hajin from ISIS. According to pro-SDF sources, the group is now in control of the town center and clashing with the terrorists in its southern part. Some sources even already speculated that Hajin is under full SDF control. However, this is yet to be happen.

A spokesman for the coalition of pro-Turkish militant groups branded as the Syrian National Arma, Major Youssef Hamoud, told Reuters that up to 15,000 Turkish-backed militants will participate in the upcoming Turkish operation against the Kurdish militais – YPG/YPJ in northern Syria.

The statement came as the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) deployed a few dozens of armoured vehicles in its provinces bordering the Syrian province of Aleppo.

Meanwhile, a Turkish soldier was killed in an attack of the YPG near the town of Tell Rifaat in northern Aleppo. The TAF responded to the attack by launching a series of powerful artillery strikes on YPG and SAA positions near the town.

It should be noted that earlier in 2018 a notable number of YPG members had fled from the Turkish advance on Afrin to the areas protected by the SAA near the city of Aleppo. Local sources say that YPG members may attempt to use SAA positions as a shield for their attacks on the TAF. In case of the success, this approach may cause open hostilities between the SAA and the TAF in the area.

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Facing Propaganda The dirty war on Syria مواجهة بروباغندا الحرب القذرة على سوريا

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Life inside the Syrian city of Idlib, occupied by the Front Nasra الحياة داخل مدينة ادلب السورية المحتلة من قبل جبهة النصرة

Translated to English

Syrian War Report – October 8, 2018: Clashes Between Militant Groups Onoing In Western Aleppo

South Front

08.10.2018

Idlib militants who refuse to lay down arms and continue attacks on government forces have to be arrested or eliminated, Russia’s Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East Mikhail Bogdanov told the country’s state-run news agency RIA Novosti on October 6.

He stated that Russia and its partners, including the internationally recognized government in Damascus, have repeatedly declared this position. The diplomat added that Russia continues contacts with Turkey on the situation in Idlib in the framework of the agreement reached by the sides in September.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) and the Turkish-backed National Front for Liberation (NFL) appeared to be in the center of intra-militant tensions in western Aleppo during the last two weeks.

Initially, tensions between the sides erupted on September 26 when Hayat Tahrir al-Sham attacked the NLF in the town of Darat Izza. Following a series of clashes the sides reached the ceasefire. Nonetheless, on October 5, armed clashes erupted between the sides in Kafr Halab. On October 6, clashes were also reported in the towns Mizanaz and Kafr Nouran. According to various sources, up to 7 militants and about a dozen of civilians were killed or injured in these incidents.

Currently, the sides have once again reached a ceasefire. However, it appears that the tensions between the sides will grow further as the day of the demilitarized zone establishment, October 20, comes closer. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham as well as other al-Qaeda linked groups will be the key loosing side if the agreement is employed.

On October 6, reports already appeared that the Free Idlib Army and Faylaq al-Sham, which are a part of the NFL, have already started withdrawing its heavy weapons and equipment from the agreed demilitarized zone.

On October 7, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin have agreed during to meet soon to discuss the situation in Syria and further cooperation between the two states.

“We agreed to meet soon to continue the important security coordination between our armed forces,” Netanyahu stated at a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.

During the same meeting, the Israeli prime minister once again repeated that Israel will continue to act against Iran and Hezbollah in Syria.

The Israeli leadership likely hopes that the upcoming meeting between Netanyahu and Putin will likely ease the tension between the states, which erupted after the IL-20 incident on September 17. Thus, Tel Aviv will be able to avoid further consequences of its recently demonstrated “hostile” approach towards Russia.

241 ISIS members and commanders have been killed in clashes with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) since the start of the SDF operation in the area of Hajin in the province of Deir Ezzor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) says. According to the SDF itself, the number of the killed ISIS members are even higher. Nonetheless, the situation in the area still remains complicated and SDF units have not been able to break the ISIS defense in Hajin so far.

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