بين العميدين.. الخوري والمعلم

راميا الإبراهيم

راميا الإبراهيم  مذيعة ومقدمة برامج في قناة الميادين

المصدر: الميادين نت

18 تشرين ثاني 20:53

من مجلس الأمن في أربعينيات القرن الماضي إلى “جنيف 2 ” عام 2014 قصةٌ وطنيةٌ خطّها “مسيحيٌّ ومسلمٌ”.. معذرة. ما بينهما وبعدهما الكثير مما يعرّي كذبة الطائفية حيث سورية وطنٌ للجميع حرٌّ ومستقلّ.

من مجلس الأمن في أربعينيات القرن الماضي إلى “جنيف 2 ” عام 2014 قصةٌ وطنيةٌ خطّها “مسيحيٌّ ومسلمٌ”.. معذرة. ما بينهما وبعدهما الكثير مما يعرّي كذبة الطائفية حيث سورية وطنٌ للجميع حرٌّ ومستقلّ.

بين العميدين.. الخوري والمعلم
بين العميدين.. الخوري والمعلم

في بلادي أي سورية (ونحن فيها نكتب سورية بالتاء المربوطة) لم نكن نعلم ديانة صديقٍ أو زميلٍ إلا في حالتين الزواج أو الوفاة.. لم نكن أساساً نُعير بالاً لذلك… حتى وإن جاء أحدٌ على ذكر الأمرِ وهي كانت من النوادر، كان يخفض صوته همساً و كأنه يقرّ بأنه يرتكب خطيئة..

محرك الوطنية.. فارس بيك الخوري 

لا تتّسع بضع الكلمات التي أهمُّ بكتابتها لإنصاف أحد قامات بلادي الوطنية، الثائر ضد الاحتلالين العثماني والفرنسي، الأديب والمفّكر والسياسي الأصيل.. مناصبُ عديدةٌ تدرّج فيها رئيس الوزراء فارس بيك الخوري ومنها وزارة الأوقاف، وهذه الأخيرة لم تكن  الوحيدة التي شغلها، لكن أهمية ذكرها تكمن في كون الخوري مسيحياً. معذرة … مسيحيٌ حارب محاولات فرنسا تبرير إبقاء استعمارها لسورية… بادعائها أن المسحيين يطلبون حمايتها، فذهب إلى المسجد الأموي واعتلى المنبر قائلاً: إن الفرنسيين يقولون إن المسيحيين يطلبون الحماية منها، أنا من هنا أعلنها، أنا أطلب الحماية من شعبي.

من قصص استقلال سوريا 

عام 1946 في جلسة مجلس الأمن، جلس فارس بيك الخوري في المقعد الخاص بالمندوب الفرنسي. وعندما جاء المندوب الفرنسي ليجلس على مقعده، فوجئ بالخوري… طلب منه الفرنسي الانتقال إلى المقعد الخاص بسورية لكن الخوري تجاهله وأخرج ساعته من جييب سترته وراح يتأمل فيها بينما المندوب الفرنسي استشاط غضباً وراح يشرح له… هذا مقعد فرنسا، أنظر هذا العلم الفرنسي أمامه وهناك مقعد سورية حيث علمها أمامه.. لكن الخوري لم يتحرك واستمر بالنظر إلى ساعته. كاد مندوب فرنسا أن يفقد عقله، وعند الدقيقة الـ 25 قال فارس بيك بلغة فرنسية واضحة: سعادة السفير جلست في مقعدك 25 دقيقة، فكدت تقتلني غضباً وحنقاً.. سورية تحمّلت سفالة جنودكم 25 سنة وآن الآوان لها أن تستقلّ.

وكان الاستقلال إلى جانب بطولات أبناء الوطن على اختلاف تلاوينهم. وفي بلدي كما المنطقة لوحة فسيفسائية من الأديان والمذاهب والقوميات هي مصدر قوة بلا شك، وستبقى كذلك. 

في قصص سيادة سورية

بعد ثلاث سنوات من الحرب في سورية وعليها، وهي الأقسى بالمناسبة تحدثت فيها الكرة الأرضية جمعاء باسم الشعب السوري وحكومته وجيشه ورئيسه.. ما عداهم.

وكانت كلمة سورية 

في مؤتمر “جنيف 2” حيث اجتمع العالم لمناقاشة “قضية سورية”، كانت كلمةٌ للوفد السوري برئاسة الراحل شيخ الدبلوماسية ابن دمشق الأصيل وزير الخارجية وليد المعلم. 

خطأٌ أعتقدُ أن واشنطن تندم عليه إلى اليوم، مع عواصمَ للأسف عربية وأيضا غربية. فهي لم تعتقد أن هناك من يضرب أو يشكك بروايتها التي أفردت لها امبراطوريات الإعلام والسياسة بين الغربية منها والعربية وبمال هذه الأخيرة عن “الرئيس القاتل وجيشه السفاح  للثورة”.

عشر دقائق مُنحت للمعلم ليقول كلمته.. لكنها كلمة سورية، قال المعلم بكل هدوء، وأضاف مخاطباً بان كي مون الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة سابقاً عندما حاول مقاطعته لتخطيه الوقت المحدد: “لقد تكلمتَ أنتَ 25 دقيقةً، أنا أعيش في سورية وأنت تعيش في نيويورك.. لدي الحق لإيصال الصورة الحقيقية في سورية”.

 تحدث المعلم  34 دقيقة بالتمام، لم تفلح لا مقاطعات بان كي مون ولا أصوات الجرس في ثنيه عن إكمال كلمته حتى النهاية.. مع رسائل واضحة ومباشرة، مخاطباً وزير الخارجية السابق جون كيري: “لا أحد في العالم سيد كيري، لا أحد في العالم يستطيع إضفاء الشرعية أو عزلها أو منحها لرئيسٍ أو حكومةٍ أو دستورٍ أو قانونٍ أو أي شيءٍ في سورية إلا السوريين أنفسهم”.

و كانت كلمة سورية.. أجبر العالم على سماعها كاملة. 

رئيس أركان الجيش الدبلوماسي 

لم يكن المعلم رئيس وفد سورية إلى مؤتمر “جنيف2” فحسب.. كان يمثل تاريخاً من الوطنية والانتماء والمهنية والخبرة والثبات والعفة، فالملايين من الدولارات دُفعت له حتى ينشقَّ عن وطنيته في سنيّ الحرب في سورية وعليها، فأبى كما الجسم الدبلوماسي السوري، ليكون رئيس أركان جيش دبلوماسيٍّ بطلاً وشريكاً بالانتصار.

سورية وطن للجميع 

بين العميدين الخوري والمعلم من مجلس الأمن في أربعينيات القرن الماضي إلى “جنيف 2 ” عام 2014 قصةٌ وطنيةٌ خطّها “مسيحيٌّ و مسلمٌ”.. معذرة، وما بينهما وبعدهما الكثير.. تعرّي كذبة الطائفية والصدام الديني حيث سورية وطنٌ للجميع حرٌّ مستقلّ…

Syrian Foreign Minister Muallem Was A Multipolar Visionary

Andrew Korybko (@AKorybko) | Twitter

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

18 NOVEMBER 2020

Syrian Foreign Minister Muallem Was A Multipolar Visionary
In order to appreciate his legacy, the reader must understand the complex circumstances in which he worked.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem passed away earlier this week, but his multipolar vision will be remembered forever. The Arab Republic’s top diplomat previously served as his country’s Ambassador to the US from 1990-1999 prior to becoming Assistant Foreign Minister in 2000, Deputy Foreign Minister in 2005, Foreign Minister in 2006, and even Deputy Prime Minister in 2012. He was also Syria’s Minister of Expatriates too. In order to appreciate his legacy, the reader must understand the complex circumstances in which he worked.

The US became the world’s unipolar superpower after the end of the Cold War right when Mr. Muallem became the Syrian Ambassador to that country. He was charged with managing Damascus’ changing relations with the world during that very difficult time. It was during that period that both countries attempted to normalize their formerly hostile Cold War-era relations. Although extremely challenging, Mr. Muallem succeeded as best as he could with his very important task.

Just before becoming Foreign Minister, Syria militarily withdrew from neighboring Lebanon in response to the domestic political changes that took place there during its Cedar Revolution after the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Damascus was blamed for that crime but vehemently denied it, and Mr. Muallem provided plenty of evidence in defense of his country to the United Nations. That was his first real challenge in his new post. The year after, in 2007, Israel bombed a suspected nuclear reactor in Syria, which caused a brief crisis.

Mr. Muallem also had to contend with the increasingly aggressive US military presence in neighboring Iraq. Washington had accused Damascus of supporting anti-American militias, and some voices were even urging the Pentagon to go to war against the Arab Republic. Thankfully nothing ever came out of those hawkish cries, but that’s largely the result of Syria’s diplomatic success in standing strong against this bullying. Syrian-American relations then thawed for a short period of time after Secretary of State Kerry visited Damascus in 2010.

It was after the onset of the regional regime change operation popular described as the so-called “Arab Spring” in 2011 that Mr. Muallem became a globally recognized diplomatic figure even though he arguably deserved this distinction earlier for the aforementioned reasons. Syria was victimized by an externally waged hybrid war of terror which included foreign sponsorship of terrorist groups, crippling Western sanctions, and several false accusations that Damascus used chemical weapons against its own people.

The most dramatic of the latter occurred in late 2013 and almost led to the US launching a conventional all-out war against Syria like it had against Libya just two years prior. Mr. Muallem played a leading role in resolving this global crisis, which resulted in Syria surrendering its chemical weapons stockpile to the international community. Two years later, Russia launched a game-changing anti-terrorist military intervention in Damascus’ support to help defeat ISIS, which Mr. Muallem also played an integral role in organizing behind the scenes.

All the while, he simultaneously helped Syria react to several Turkish military interventions without escalating them to the point of a larger war, the same as he did whenever Israel launched literally hundreds of strikes against his country in the proceeding years as well, to say nothing of the US-led anti-ISIS coalition’s attacks too. It took exceptional patience and restraint to avoid overreacting to those provocations like others in his position elsewhere might have done, but he kept his cool and thus helped manage those destabilizing developments.

It should also be mentioned that Syria retained its historic alliance with Iran that preceded Mr. Muallem’s tenure as Foreign Minister by several decades. He masterfully balanced between that Mideast country and Syria’s other Russian ally without playing either off against the other unlike other smaller- and medium-sized states in similarly difficult positions had historically attempted in the past with different partners. Importantly, Mr. Muallem also oversaw the improvement of Syrian-Chinese relations during this time as well.

China, Russia, and Iran are completely different countries but are all united in spirit because of their belief in a multipolar world order, which Syria also supports. Mr. Muallem proved that countries such as his can successfully bring all three of them together to synergize their efforts in pursuit of this vision. The example that he set in this respect, among the many others that were mentioned in this analysis, will ensure that he’s remembered the world over as one of the greatest diplomats of the 21st century.

Here is the dirt Trump wanted from Zelensky about the Bidens and why Zelensky doesn’t want to give it to him — hidden by rampant falsehoods in the press

September 28, 2019

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog

Here is the dirt Trump wanted from Zelensky about the Bidens and why Zelensky doesn’t want to give it to him — hidden by rampant falsehoods in the press

In order to understand why Ukraine’s President Voldomyr Zelensky doesn’t want the dirt about Joe Biden to become public, one needs to know that Hunter Biden’s boss and benefactor at Burisma Holdings was, at least partly, Zelensky’s boss and benefactor until Zelensky became Ukraine’s President, and that revealing this would open up a can of worms which could place that former boss and benefactor of both men into prison at lots of places.

First, the falsehoods in the press have to be documented here, since this article will go up against virtually all U.S.-and-allied reporting on these events. And, in order to do such a thing, the bona fides of my main sources need to be presented:

Naked Capitalism is, as the article about it at Wikipedia, says, the blog of Susan Webber, pen-named “Yves Smith,” who “graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Business School. She had 20 years of experience in the financial services industry with Goldman SachsMcKinsey & Co., and Sumitomo Bank.[3] She has written articles for the New York TimesBloomberg, and the Roosevelt Institute.[4][5]” “The site has had over 60 million visitors since 2007, and was cited as among CNBC’s 2012 top 25 ‘Best Alternative Financial Blogs’, calling Smith ‘a harsh critic of Wall Street who believes that fraud was at the center of the financial crisis’.[2]” “The New York Times financial reporter Gretchen Morgenson cited Naked Capitalism as one of the ‘must-read financial blogs’ she reads regularly.[9]

Her blog is widely respected amongst both scholars and experts in the field of finance, and is among the top go-to sites for trustworthy investigative news reporting in their highly complex field. So as to be able to achieve this high degree of respect, day in and day out, for decades, she carefully selects and relies upon the expertise of a small team of investigators, one of whom is Richard Smith, who has done around 200 articles for her site. One of these was dated 21 May 2014 and headlined “R. Hunter Biden Should Declare Who Really Owns His New Ukrainian Employer, Burisma Holdings”, and it reported that the U.S. Vice President’s son had become “a new member of the board” and that this “Ukrainian energy company has retained the counsel of the vice president’s son and the Secretary of State’s close family friend and top campaign bundler.” Since these men were being paid by the corporation’s owner, Mr. Smith researched extensively to find out who that was, or they were. He reported “what one careful Ukrainian journalist dug up in 2012”:

“Burisma changed owners last year [in 2011]: instead of Zlochevsky and Lisin, the company was taken over by a Cypriot off-shore enterprise called Brociti Investments Ltd. Pari and Esko-Pivnich” and a “third company was already waiting for them in the same building – the above-mentioned Ukrnaftoburinnya,” and “The Privat Group is the immediate owner. This company was founded by Mykola Zlochevsky some time ago, but he later sold his shares to the Privat Group,” which “is a conglomerate controlled by the ferocious Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky,” who “is one of the oligarchs charged with holding down the Eastern provinces of Ukraine,” and who “is far too ebulliently Jewish to look like a neo-Nazi. A US connection with Kolomoisky might play well in circles keen to counter Russian complaints that the interim Kiev regime is dominated by ‘fascists’.” Those quotations are from Mr. Smith’s article, but the following is not. Examining the documents myself, I note especially that at their end is the conclusion: “Thus, Ihor Kolomoisky managed to seize the largest reserves of natural gas in Ukraine.” This was the conclusion of the “careful Ukrainian journalist,” which was actually not one but a team of three, who were employed at a Ukrainian non-profit, the Anticorruption Action Centre, which specialized in tracking down the actual persons who controlled corporations and which had a particular focus on finding “Offshore fronts for Yanukovych.” Yanukovych was the democratically elected Ukrainian President, who took office on 25 February 2010. So: this non-profit was an anti-Yanukovych organization, writing more than two years into his Presidency, on 28 August 2012.

A certain historical background is essential here; and this, too, goes up against American ‘news’-reporting and will therefore be linked to articles that, in turn, link to ultimate sources that are of unquestioned reliability on each of the particulars that are in question: There was a coup in Ukraine in February 2014, which is portrayed in the West as being a democratic revolution (but was actually a coup hidden behind anticorruption demonstrations, and that was entirely illegal), and it replaced the democratically elected President by a ruler who was selected by Victoria Nuland, whose boss was Secretary of State John Kerry, whose boss was Barack Obama. Nuland had been originally a protégé of Vice President Dick Cheney, and then of Kerry’s immediate predecessor Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Obama assigned Nuland to carry out his plan for Ukraine, which plan was to turn its government away from being friendly toward its next-door neighbor Russia to becoming instead a satellite of the United States against Ukraine’s next-door neighbor. Consequently, fascists, and even outright racist-fascists (nazis), people who came from the groups that had supported Hitler against Stalin during World War II, were installed into this new government, such as the co-founder of the Social Nationalist Party of Ukraine, Andriy Parubiy. (The CIA instructed that Party, which was Ukraine’s main nazi party, to change its name to “Freedom Party” — Svoboda — so as to become acceptable to Americans; and Paribuy and his colleagues did it, in order to help the U.S. Government to fool the American people about what the U.S. was doing in Ukraine.)

At least until Zelensky was elected, Ukraine’s Government remained fascist. And so is Kolomoysky himself, as I had reported about him on 18 May 2014. As I reported there,

On 12 May 2014, Burisma Holdings announced, Hunter Biden Joins the Team of Burisma Holdings,” and reported that, “Burisma Holdings, Ukraine’s largest private gas producer, has expanded its Board of Directors by bringing on Mr. R Hunter Biden as a new director. R. Hunter Biden will be in charge of the Holdings’ legal unit and will provide support for the Company among international organizations.”

Promptly, Burisma’s website started presenting Burisma as if if were a Ukrainian-American if not outright American corporation. Devon Archer, shown there, was a business-partner of Hunter Biden. As the Washington Examiner  reported, on 27 August 2019:

At the time, Hunter Biden, now 49, and Christopher Heinz, the stepson of then-Secretary of State John Kerry, co-owned Rosemont Seneca Partners, a $2.4 billion private equity firm. Heinz’s college roommate, Devon Archer, was managing partner in the firm. In the spring of 2014, Biden and Archer joined the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian gas company that was at the center of a U.K. money laundering probe. Over the next year, Burisma reportedly paid Biden and Archer’s companies over $3 million.

Subsequently, both Hunter Biden and Devon Archer were removed from Burisma’s board and replaced by a four-person board, which mysteriously had included ever since May 2013 (which still was after Zlochevsky no longer controlled the company) Alan Apter, of Sullivan & Cromwell, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and Renaissance Capital. Apter now became the “Chairman of the Board of Directors”. Here are the other three Directors: Aleksander Kwaśniewski was the President of the Republic of Poland from 1995 to 2005 when it was being taken over by America, and when Kwaśniewski was also a member of the Atlantic Council (NATO’s PR arm), and of the Bilderberg Group. Joseph Cofer Black was the Director of the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center (1999-2002) and Ambassador at Large for counter-terrorism (2002-2004), while President George W. Bush was lying America into invading Iraq, and Black subsequently became the Vice Chairman at Blackwater Worldwide (now Academi), which the Bush Government hired to train and arm mercenaries to help conquer Iraq. (Blackwater/Academi is owned by Erik Prince, the brother of Betsy DeVos of the Amway fortune, who is the Trump Secretary of Education, and Prince also is a personal friend of Trump. Obama’s Government also hired Blackwater/Academi to kill independence fighters in the Dnieper Donets Basin, where Burisma owns the drilling rights for gas.) And the fourth Director is Karina Zlochevska, whom the site identifies hardly at all, but is actually the daughter of Mykola Zlochevsky. In other words: Zlochevsky probably does remain as a minority owner of the company, and she represents his interests there.

Virtually all of the Western press simply alleges that Mykola Zlochevsky owns Burisma Holdings and brought Biden on board and was his boss; however, I have never seen from any of those ‘news’-reports any evidence or documentation that it’s true — nothing like the sources that Richard Smith relied upon and linked to documenting that this was Kolomoysky’s company. Nothing, at all.

This is important — is it Zlochevsky or Kolomoysky? — because Zlochevsky was associated with the prior Government of Ukraine and its President Viktor Yanukovych, whom the U.S. Government had overthrown in an operation that started in 2011 and that ended very successfully in February 2014 with the American Government’s Victoria Nuland on 27 January 2014 telling the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine to get “Yats” Yatsenyuk appointed to run the country as soon as Yanukovych becomes successfully overthrown — which happened less than a month later, during February 20-22 — and Yatsenyuk then received the appointment on February 26th to run the country, just as Obama’s agent Nuland had instructed. Zlochevsky fled the country, because he had been politically allied with Yanukovych, who also fled the country. Obama’s Government constantly tried to get Zlochevsky prosecuted for alleged corruption, but Zlochevsky had sold the company to Kolomoysky even before Obama took over Ukraine. It’s not at all clear that Hunter Biden had ever so much as just met Zlochevsky.

Joseph Biden, as is well reported in the press, instructed the new Ukrainian Government to fire and replace the General Prosecutor of Ukraine, Viktor Shokin, who had failed to prosecute Zlochevsky, and this action by Joe is reported as indicating that the senior Biden granted his son’s employer no favor but instead the opposite — that Joe insisted upon Hunter’s boss’s prosecution.

For example, James Risen, of The Intercept, which is owned by one of the financial backers of the overthrow of Yanukovych, Pierre Omidyar (see this and this and this and this and this and this), headlined on September 25th, “I Wrote About the Bidens and Ukraine Years Ago. Then the Right-Wing Spin Machine Turned the Story Upside Down.”, and Risen reported that:

The then-vice president issued his demands for greater anti-corruption measures by the Ukrainian government despite the possibility that those demands would actually increase – not lessen — the chances that Hunter Biden and Burisma would face legal trouble in Ukraine.

Risen reported there that V.P. Biden’s “anti-corruption message might be undermined by the association of his son Hunter with one of Ukraine’s largest natural gas companies, Burisma Holdings, and with its owner, Mykola Zlochevsky.”

However, none of that press says Kolomoysky owned the company and was its boss. The presumption there is always that Zlochevsky needed to be prosecuted — not that Kolomoysky did. Kolomoysky is simply being written out of the picture altogether — whited-out from it

Also as is typical, the New York Times reported, on 1 May 2019, that Mykola Zlochevsky is the “owner of Burisma Holdings” and that “Mr. Lutsenko initially continued investigating Mr. Zlochevsky and Burisma, but cleared him of all charges within 10 months of taking office. The prosecutor general reversed himself and reopened an investigation into Burisma this year. Some see his decision as an effort to curry favor with the Trump administration.” For some mysterious reason, that article not only says that the replacement Prosecutor tried and failed and now tried again to prosecute Zlochevsky but that “Some see his decision as an effort to curry favor with the Trump administration,” though, actually, it was the Obama Administration that had been pressing Ukraine’s Government to prosecute Zlochevsky, who wasn’t Hunter Biden’s boss and didn’t control Burisma and was associated not with the 2014 Obama-installed Government of Ukraine but instead with the Government that had preceded it and was the last of all Ukraine’s democratic Governments, having been democratically elected by all of Ukraine including the two regions (Crimea and Donbass) that broke away from Ukraine when Obama in February 2014 overthrew the Government that those two now-breakaway regions had voted for, by over 75% in that 2010 election.

And here is from Wikipedia’s article on “Viktor Shokin”:

The Biden connection[edit]

Since 2012, the Ukrainian prosecutor general had been investigating oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky, owner of the oil and natural gas company Burisma Holdings, over allegations of money laundering, tax evasion, and corruption.[15] In 2014, then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden‘s son, Hunter Biden, joined the board of directors of Burisma Holdings.[16] In 2015, Shokin became the prosecutor general, inheriting the investigation. The Obama administration and other governments and non-governmental organizations soon became concerned that Shokin was not adequately pursuing corruption in Ukraine, was protecting the political elite, and was regarded as “an obstacle to anti-corruption efforts”.[17] Among other issues, he was slow-walking the investigation into Zlochevsky and Burisma – to the extent that Obama officials were considering launching their own criminal investigation into the company for possible money laundering.[15]

In March 2016, Joe Biden threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that if he did not fire Shokin, that the US would hold back its $1 billion in loan guarantees. “I looked at them and said, “I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.” Well, son of a bitch. He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”[18] Shokin was dismissed by Parliament later that month.

Shokin claimed in May 2019 that he had been investigating Burisma Holdings.[19][20][21][22] However, Vitaliy Kasko, who had been Shokin’s deputy overseeing international cooperation before resigning in February 2016 citing corruption in the office, provided documents to Bloomberg News indicating that under Shokin, the investigation into Burisma had been dormant.[23] Hunter Biden’s ties to Burisma Holdings was criticized as a conflict of interest in a New York Times editorial, though Amos Hochstein has claimed to have never seen coordination between Joe Biden and his son on the matter.[24][25]

And here is from Wikipedia’s Article on “Burisma Holdings”:

History[edit]

Burisma Group was founded in 2002 by Ukrainian businessman Mykola Zlochevsky and Nikolay Lysin [uk]. Now it is owned by Mykola Zlochevskyi [uk], who was minister of natural resources under Viktor Yanukovych.[2] Zlochevsky returned to Ukraine in February 2018 after the corruption investigations into his Burisma Holdings had been completed in December 2017 with no charges filed against him.[3]

So, the myth that Zlochevsky was Hunter Biden’s boss and benefactor at Burisma isn’t only in the ‘news’-media that are controlled by U.S. Deep State that controls the CIA, which controls America’s major ‘news’-media, but it is also in the Web’s main encyclopedia, Wikipedia, which is not only edited by the CIA, but also, to some extent, written by the CIA.

Furthermore, the CIA was the ‘whistleblower’ that made the impeachment-charge to the Democratic Party head of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Adam Schiff, who is the lead proponent of impeaching Donald Trump so that Trump can then become tried in the U.S. Senate, which then would possess the power to replace Trump and make President the current Vice President, Mike Pence, which Democrats, for some unexplained reason, seem to hope will happen. As Reuters reported on September 26th, “The whistleblower is a CIA officer and was assigned at one point to work at the White House, two sources familiar with the probe into his complaint said. The New York Times first identified the whistleblower as a CIA officer, which Reuters confirmed.” That report also asserted:

The call occurred after Trump had ordered a freeze of nearly $400 million in American aid to Ukraine, which was only later released. Before the call, Ukraine’s government was told that interaction between Zelenskiy and Trump depended on whether the Ukrainian leader would “play ball,” the whistleblower said.

The report said Trump acted to advance his personal political interests, risking national security.

I am deeply concerned that the actions described below constitute ‘a serious or flagrant problem, abuse, or violation of law or executive order,’” the whistleblower complaint, dated Aug. 12, said.

The same CIA whose lies had ‘justified’ America’s invading Iraq in 2003, and invading Libya in 2011, and invading Syria starting in 2012 (and extending there up till at least 2018), is now ‘justifying’ congressional Democrats to replace Trump by Pence if they possibly can.

And Kolomoysky might be one of the world’s biggest thieves. On 19 April 2019, Graham Stack reported for OCCRP, a U.S.-and-allied-funded nonprofit anti-corruption investigatory organization that

“‘Large-scale coordinated fraudulent actions of the bank [PrivatBank] shareholders and management caused a loss to the state of at least $5.5 billion,’ [Valeria] Hontareva [former chair of Ukranie’s central bank] said in March 2018. ‘This is 33 percent of the population’s deposits … [and] 40 percent of our country’s monetary base.’ … By the time regulators took over PrivatBank, the $5.5 billion had already been transferred to banks in Austria, Luxembourg, and Latvia. From there, the trail goes cold. … This account is based on a forensic audit by Kroll, the U.S.-based corporate investigation and risk consulting firm. The report … is based on PrivatBank’s own records and was obtained exclusively by OCCRP. … Ukraine nationalized PrivatBank in December 2016, saddling taxpayers with a $5.9 billion bailout.”

There’s nothing that Zlochevsky was even accused of which exceeded tens of millions  of dollars in losses. In Ukraine, that’s tiny.

Furthermore, the estimable and reliably accurate Moscow investigative journalist John Helmer reported on 19 February 2015 that “In March 2014, days after the ouster of Yanukovich in Kiev and the installation of a new regime, the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) started investigating Zlochevsky. According to the evidence it presented to the Central Criminal Court between March and December of 2014, and according to Justice Blake, who assessed the evidence, there is no mention of Lisin, Deripon, Burrard or Kolomoisky.” Obama’s people (there via the U.S. regime’s lap-dog UK) were targeting Zlochevsky, certainly not Kolomoysky, who was instead on their team.

Zelensky, prior to becoming Ukraine’s President, had been the star of a popular comedy series on Ukrainian television that was telecast by Ihor Kolomoysky’s 1+1 Media group. On 19 May 2014, Forbes published a shockingly honest article, by Vladimir Golstein, “Why Everything You’ve Read About Ukraine Is Wrong”, which mentioned, about Kolomoysky, that,

His business holdings include the largest Ukrainian media group, “1+1 Media,” the news agency “Unian,” as well as various internet sites, which enable him to whip public opinion into an anti-Putin frenzy. Andrew Higgins of The New York Times published a story with the headline, “Among Ukraine’s Jews, the Bigger Worry is Putin, Not Pogroms,” which praises Kolomoisky for adorning Dnepropetrovsk with “the world’s biggest Jewish community center” along with “a high tech Holocaust museum.” Higgins notes, however, that the museum “skirts the delicate issue of how some Ukrainian nationalists collaborated with Nazis.

Kolomoysky himself had become installed by the Obama Administration’s Ukrainian agents as the Governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region of Ukraine where his approximately $5 billion financial empire was based, and which in its north extends into the Dnieper Donets Basin where Burisma owns the drilling rights for gas. As this last link indicates, that Basin “is the major oil and gas producing region of Ukraine accounting for approximately 90 per cent of Ukrainian production and according to EIA  may have 42 tcf of shale gas resources technically recoverable from 197 tcf of risked shale gas in place.” That article, from the investment-oriented website Zero Hedge, sums up:

In a nutshell, Ukraine (or rather its puppetmasters) has decided to let no crisis (staged or otherwise) or rather civil war, go to waste, and while the fighting rages all around, Ukrainian troopers are helping to install shale gas production equipment near the east Ukrainian town of Slavyansk, which was bombed and shelled [by the Obama-installed Government] for the three preceding months, according to local residents cited by Itar Tass. The reason for the scramble? Under peacetime, the process was expected to take many years, during which Europe would be under the energy dictatorship of Putin. But throw in some civil war and few will notice let alone care that a process which was expected to take nearly a decade if not longer while dealing with broad popular objections to fracking, may instead be completed in months!

Ukraine’s bombing of that region (for examples, this and this and this) was in order to clear the land for a massive fracking operation. However, it turned out that not only Kolomoysky’s operation with Shell in the Dnieper Donets Basin in Ukraine’s far east, but also the Ukrainian Government’s own gas-exploration operation with Chevron in western Ukraine’s Olesska field, were uneconomic; or, as I headlined about them on 16 December 2014, “Ukraine’s Two Big Gas Deals Are Now Both Dry”. It seems that if Hunter Biden is to become a billionaire, it won’t come from Ukrainian gas. (Nor, of course will it have come from Zlochevsky, which the news-media would have it to be.)

As was reported on 20 May 2014 by Israel Shamir at the website of Paul Craig Roberts, under the headline “The Ukraine in Turmoil” (and his article there was the first comprehensive and accurate summary of what had recently happened to Ukraine):

These people had brought Ukraine to its present abject state. In 1991, the Ukraine was richer than Russia, today it is three times poorer because of these people’s mismanagement and theft. Now they plan an old trick: to take loans in Ukraine’s name, pocket the cash and leave the country indebted. They sell state assets to Western companies and ask for NATO to come in and protect the investment.

They play a hard game, brass knuckles and all. The Black Guard, a new SS-like armed force of the neo-nazi Right Sector, prowls the land. They arrest or kill dissidents, activists, journalists. Hundreds of American soldiers, belonging to the “private” company Academi (formerly Blackwater) are spread out in Novorossia [Donbass, the far-eastern region that became independent after Obama’s coup], the pro-Russian provinces in the East and South-East. IMF–dictated reforms slashed pensions by half and doubled the housing rents. In the market, US Army rations took the place of local food.

The new Kiev regime had dropped the last pretence of democracy by expelling the Communists from the parliament. This should endear them to the US even more. Expel Communists, apply for NATO, condemn Russia, arrange a gay parade and you may do anything at all, even fry dozens of citizens alive. And so they did.

The harshest repressions were unleashed on industrial Novorossia, as its working class loathes the whole lot of oligarchs and ultra-nationalists. After the blazing inferno of Odessa and a wanton shooting on the streets of Melitopol the two rebellious provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk took up arms and declared their independence from the Kiev regime.

And then, to top it off, there is the brilliant pewreport blogger, who, on 27 July 2014, headlined “USAID to Help Young Biden: The Burisma File”, and that anonymous person succinctly laid out the use of the U.S. Government to enable the families of some of its top officials to join America’s aristocracy, the billionaire class. It’s something that Trump himself is intimately involved with and exploits, but if America’s national and international police-agencies such as the FBI and CIA are trying (first with Russiagate, and now with Ukrainegate) to replace him by Pence in order to enable another friend of Obama to become installed (like Hillary was supposed to have been) as President and Commander-in-Chief, then this struggle between the agents of America’s Democratic Party billionaires versus those of its Republican Party billionaires could end up having consequences that no one is predicting.

It’s also important to point out here that Zelensky’s predecessor, Poroshenko, was not Obama’s first choice to win the 25 May 2014 Ukrainian election that followed the February 2014 coup and installation of Yatsenyuk to run the country on an interim basis. Yatsenyuk was supposed to run it until that election (after which Yatsenyuk still continued long in office, and Obama pushed as hard as possible for President Poroshenko to continue Prime Minister Yatsenyuk’s policies). Obama’s first choice — and the planned winner — in the 25 May 2014 election, was an intense hater of Russia, Yulia Tymoshenko. Yatsenyuk had actually been her agent. Kolomoysky was perhaps her main financial backer. But she lost the election to Obama’s second choice, Poroshenko. Kolomoysky was enough of a supporter of Tymoshenko so that even after he returned to Ukraine on 16 May 2019 just prior to the latest Presidential election, he backed her even above Zelensky. But above all, he opposed Poroshenko, because Poroshenko had been forced by the main lenders to his Government to fire Kolomoysky as governor of Dnipropetrovsk and to nationalize his bankrupt PrivatBank due to Kolomoysky’s having been looting from Ukraine’s Government too much money via his bank and via his minority ownership of the Government’s gas company. Obama had wanted that money to go toward the war against Donbass, not into Kolomoysky’s pockets. (However, America’s Democratic-Party propaganda ‘non-profit’ Public Radio International gave a positive spin to Obama-team-member Kolomoysky even at the time of his firing by Poroshenko on 28 March 2015, saying of him, “He offered $10,000 bounties for captured pro-Russian insurgents. ‘People understand that this person came here to ensure stability,’ said Stanislav Zholudev, a local political analyst.” The euphemism “captured pro-Russian insurgents” was actually referring to their corpses — Kolomoysky was paying only for their corpses. Maybe for Obama-ites that’s “stability.” Kolomoysky was already paying the nazi Azov Battalion more than that per pro-Russian corpse, and now the Trump Administration wants Kolomoysky to be prosecuted for financial crimes instead of Zlochevsky to be prosecuted, and so Zelensky is being pushed one way by Democrats, and the opposite way by Republicans.) Kolomoysky has many enemies. The main holders of Ukraine’s debt are unknown, but besides Russia which had lent to the pre-coup Government (and were thus trying to get their senior money that’s owing from Ukraine to be paid to Russia before the newer creditors get theirs), they were said to be the IMF, America’s Franklin Templeton Fund, and Blackstone Group, the World Bank, and a group of mainly American billionaires “and private Eurobond holders” who are represented by the law firm of Weil Gotshal & Manges. The U.S. Government and EU countries were also said to be indirectly such holders via their ownership shares in the IMF and World Bank, but also perhaps more directly. (If Trump were a decent President, he’d be publicly pressing for the exact numbers on all of this.) Kolomoysky’s siphonings from Ukraine’s Government were at the expense of all of them. The pressures upon Poroshenko to halt it were mounting. And, so, Kolomoysky was fired; and, now, to the extent that Zelensky has to satisfy Kolomoysky, Zelensky (who publicly said of Kolomoysky “He is my business partner”) needs to resist some of the demands of the U.S. regime and of many other billionaires. Without their continued support, Ukraine’s Government will collapse in the short term instead of only (which is inevitable) in the long term. It’s no longer just a question of the Ukrainian regime’s war against Donbass. The change that Obama wrought is permanent, and Trump dithers back and forth about how to deal with it. He apparently has no strategy on that.

Zelensky might fear that if he complies with Trump’s request, then his own major benefactor, Kolomoysky, could end up in prison somewhere; and Trump might fear that if he presses Zelensky on that (as he did not do but Democrats say he did), then the entire Deep State — not only Democratic Party billionaires, but also now Republican ones — will become Trump’s enemies, and his 2020 re-election chances will therefore go to zero. Consequently: Trump will probably abandon the matter, and the till-now-unsupported and maybe unsupportable mere assumption, that Hunter Biden’s Ukrainian benefactor was Zlochevsky instead of Kolomoysky, will continue to be asserted virtually everywhere throughout the U.S. empire, for as long a time as the matter continues to remain in the ‘news’. Of course, if that turns out to be the case, then Joe Biden will continue to be portrayed in this matter as having been a crusader against corruption in Ukraine, instead of as having been the aspiring founder of yet another billionaire American dynasty.

Basically, the new Russiagate charges to replace Trump by Pence, Ukrainegate (as those charges were presented by the CIA ‘whistleblower’ on August 12th and published on September 26th), represent all of the Democratic Party’s billionaires, and many of the Republican Party’s ones, as well. It’s the pinnacle of the Obama-versus-Trump feud, because it represents the Democratic Party’s position on what was Obama’s top international achievement — his conquest (via a coup) against Ukraine. Trump refuses to condemn Obama’s coup against Ukraine, but if he cared about the truth, he would, and the worst that could happen to him then would be that, for once in his life, he’d be fighting for truth, and not just for himself. Apparently, that’s too big a leap for him to take.

What’s especially pathetic in all of this is that whenever the U.S. Government overthrows and destroys a country, it’s trumpeted as reflecting America’s standing-up for rule-of-law and opposition to corruption, and for support of democracy and protection of human rights; but whenever Russia or a nation that’s friendly toward Russia resists control by the U.S. and its allies, it’s portrayed as being a dictatorship and an opponent of democracy and of human rights. So, go figure.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

The Life of the Party Has Left

by Norman Ball for The Saker Blog

“First, after days and days of intensive negotiations, Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Lavrov finally reached a deal on a cease-fire in Syria which had the potential to at least “freeze” the situation on the ground…Then the USAF, along with a few others, bombed a Syrian Army unit…Needless to say, following such a brazen provocation the cease-fire was dead.

The Russians expressed their total disgust and outrage at this attack and openly began saying that the Americans were “недоговороспособны”.  What that word means is literally “not-agreement-capable” or unable to make and then abide by an agreement. While polite, this expression is also extremely strong as it implies not so much a deliberate deception as the lack of the very ability to make a deal and abide by it.”  –from ‘Why the Recent Developments in Syria Show That the Obama Administration Is in a State of Confused Agony’, The Saker, September 23, 2016

At first blush, one is tempted to attribute “not-agreement-capability” to profound dysfunction or organizational disarray within the sprawling US Government. A confluence of human error. Perhaps the State Department doesn’t know what the Pentagon is doing. Compartmentalization run amok? Autonomous fiefdoms gone rogue?

After all Lavrov and Kerry sat for hours, man to man, their capable staffs buzzing about, and banged out a mutually acceptable agreement. Suspecting the Obama administration of intentional deception credits the about-face too much. No, the disconnect is too gaping. The strategic advantage, nonexistent.

Unless American agreement capability has been lifted from the purview of human agency altogether? Our titular leaders are glorified water carriers. The rulers behind the rulers want to pore over every detail first. Perhaps when Kerry returns home, the meeting outcome was fed into some disembodied, superseding algorithm and the returned answer was an emphatic ‘no’.

Fast forward to the current thorn in the system’s side, Donald Trump. Sitting alone with Putin, the American President seems to be trying to get away with or from something. Of course this ‘clandestine summit’ opens him up to the usual ‘Putin’s stooge’ accusations. Just a high-placed spy reporting back to his foreign handler. We are reminded repeatedly of Putin’s prior KGB affiliation.

Trump returns to the US with announced plans for a second summit in Washington. Suddenly it’s as though someone pressed the red button on a giant computer console. Smoke billows from all corners at once. Cannot compute. Another hard-stop. From all government and media organs the answer, with eerie simultaneity, is the same. Impossible. The idea is dropped. Nothing more is heard.

America’s leaders have relinquished their instinctual prerogatives. Instead they are reporting back like stenographers. But to whom or what?

Absorbing the Reality

 

It’s not just foreign policy and diplomacy. A discernible human imprimatur has been vacated from America’s political parties in recent years too. Human passions no longer gurgle up and congeal into codified party platforms. America is being run more and more like an autistic top-down machine.

As we shall see, the two-party system is a stalking horse for corporatism which is a stalking horse for inverted totalitarianism. In a million subtle ways, people are being asked to stay out of the way, to be seen and not heard.

In an ideal world, a society’s political system should be a responsive and dynamic reflection of the aspirations of its people. Political scientists attempt to plot the tumult across a bloodless spectrum. If its two major political parties are any judge, America’s political landscape today is a dead letter. Someone or something has its thumb on the scale. The people rattle on about things. But to small effect.

Corporatism has seized America’s two parties with no indication that it will ever let go. As though covering for the void, corporate media fills the air with frenetic sound and fury. A new crisis hatches every day beneath the overarching anti-Trump theme.

Trump’s unsuitability is Saddam Hussein’s Weapon’s of Mass Destruction (WMDs) come home. The Straussian myth-makers have settled, for this iteration, on a domestic foe. Centralized control has never been more consummate. Yet everything, we are told, is spinning out of control.

Trump is drawing huge crowds at rallies around the country. Thousands wait hours to see him. The political stillness (that thrives paradoxically on manufactured soup-du-jour crisis) is being invaded by an up-swell of unmistakable human complexion. Just when the System had banished human input forever. Now they’re back in an ugly populist form. This poses a grave threat to the frictionless hum of unimpeded commerce.

spec thumb1.png

Until Americans truly absorb and understand the implications of the chart (above), their political discourse will remain conceptually mired in Managed Democracy’s kabuki of red-blue mirage-making. There is no organized Left in America. There is no organized Center. This can’t be repeated enough.

The political spectrum has been invaded and ‘de-politicized’ (certainly dehumanized) by corporate interests lacking any real interest in a populist portfolio. The polis has been swapped for an expanded corporate boardroom.

The balance of this essay will explore:

    • how America ‘got to’ this chart
    • what holds this ideologically lop-sided distribution firmly in place
    • how Trumpism might represent a disruption of this corporatist configuration
    • what ‘tautologies’ can be gleaned in terms of expected party behaviors

When Salvatore Babones of Truthout observes that in recent years, “America – or at least American politics – has swung violently to the right” he is injecting a subtle but crucial distinction into the debate. First of all, ‘American politics’ has had little choice but to move where the two major America parties have taken it.

A more compelling question, which we’ll get to, is what moved the parties themselves? Finally, there’s nothing to suggest the American people are pleased with what amounts to an intentionally engineered and anti-democratic misalignment so clearly at odds with their aspirations.

Without question, a significant number of Americans (certainly those not ‘turned’ from their own interests by false consciousness and antithetical manufactured consent) would support a centrist or even leftist party if there was such a thing. After all, why should Americans be any less ideologically diffuse than other populations? Yet American politics steadfastly refuses to serve them.

A common refrain is that the American people are naturally conservative center-right. This might be true. All we know for sure is that the US Chamber of Commerce-dominated Mainstream Media keeps telling the American people what the American people are perhaps in the hopes they accept that imposed definition as their own.

If only the levers of manufactured consent would grind to a halt, there’s no telling what uncued epiphanies might usher forth from the people themselves. As it is, in the age of immersive media the popular will (if there is such a pre-mediated wellspring anymore) courses along like an untapped underground stream.

Suffice to say Babones’ right-shift observation is hardly an obscure opinion (see chart below):

what american left

False Frameology

 

The nature of top-down (authoritarian) impositions is that the appropriate social energies must be manufactured since there are no organic eruptions initiating a desire for them. Walter Lippmann had a polite term for this: guided democracy.

Even if a third party could negotiate the formidable barriers to entry, it would barely register a sound in a media landscape charged with validating and mirroring, via Fox and MSNBC, the party duopoly.

The tele-spittle-war does its best to keep up the appearance of a fully engaged two-pronged ideological struggle. All that remains is the residue of prior content and facile rhetorical flourishes aimed at evoking a bygone era when material political differences truly hung in the balance. Frankly, political responsiveness in America, such as it is, would benefit from an embargo of the terms Right and Left until more ‘people-centric’ content was allowed to re-authenticate the debate.

Another by-product of the current confusion comes from Blue Donkey-Red Elephant being so profoundly installed that no criticism can be lodged against one party without reflexive accusations being hurled at other side. In a strange way, this dead-on-arrival reflexivity insulates the entire frame from valid critique. All criticism becomes prima faciepartisan, ridden with self-interest and thus not deserving of serious examination.

Instead the red/blue, Donkey-to-the-Left-Elephant-to-the-Right configuration (below) enforces the debate parameters, complete with chastely rendered equidistance from some copacetic and completely fabricated Center. A google search turns up hundreds of similar representations. Countless media hours have been expended to manufacture mass consent around this false premise. Media propagates and amplifies the divide, making frenetic hay out of a dime’s worth of dodgy difference.

wrong spectrum

The oligarchy realized long ago that a toothless dialectical configuration dissipates populist energies. Toothless how? To the extent mass energy can exhaust itself horizontally in a fairy-tale struggle based on ideological virtue-signalling, an assault by the Bottom on the Top is forever forestalled. Shifting the entire ill-suited parade to the Right offers core corporatist values a double layer of misdirection. How neat. How tidy. How pointless. How dystopian.

The people are endlessly conscripted into what amount to internecine corporate struggles, a proverbial Groundhog Day of the Eternally Wrong Battle. Those who never ‘find themselves improperly arrayed’ are precisely those who’ve ingested near-fatal amounts of false consciousness.

America’s choked with sentimental left-leaning denialists who still cling to the Democratic Party the way a lion cub circles its dead mother before coming to terms with her demise. These folks need a stomach-pumping, a brain transplant or perhaps an exorcism. Before these expensive remedies though, a brick through Rachel Maddow’s televised mug should be attempted first.

Take Obamacare for example. Despite all the obligatory language aimed at winning voter compliance, it was developed with private insurance companies uppermost in mind. That many of them subsequently abandoned the program as a result of undue complexity doesn’t erase the fact that business was the intended customer. In all these corporate battles, the people become more akin to Heidegger’s standing reserve: something to be extracted from and deceived in order to ‘line up the votes’ as opposed to being forthrightly served. This is more than a subtle distinction.

For the moment, a spellbound stadium population is held fast by the comfort of two. Predictable enemies are like old friends. Me good, you bad. An entity with one foe can be relied upon not to let its gaze wander. Opposing mugs and tee-shirts sell like hotcakes. The NFL team-frame is a powerfully reinforcing binary template.

Whereas coalition politics smacks of European enfeeblement and excessive nuance. No one wants complexity seeping into the water like fluoride where it can jeopardize the impulsive risk-taking so typical of American forward-ho-ness.

Then there’s the credulity of the American viewing audience, as seemingly bottomless as divide-and-conquer crowd management is insidiously effective. Media content has body-snatched autonomous cognition. People think they’re thinking but they’re only listening and repeating. Stockholm Syndrome and habitually confined-space dynamics play key roles too. People, like slow-boiling frogs, seem capable of acclimating to a two-inch ledge while convincing themselves they’re still fighting for boundless prairie.

When the White Southern aristocracy bestowed the front of the bus to the poor white redneck, the latter guarded his Brahmin-like allotment with all the fervor of Davy Crockett at the Alamo. Focused like a laser beam on the red line spray-painted between rows 8 and 9, Bubba failed to notice a sniggering Beauregard T. Pufard III speeding by in his window-tinted Lincoln-Continental.

 

Better to Kick Your Elephant Than Cure My Donkey

 

For those not glued to TV, little can obscure the fact that the Democratic Party suffers from an illness far graver than anything that ails its elephant twin. Already cognitively-neutered ‘liberal’ Democrats are coming out of their seats at this ‘partisan insinuation’.

However that’s sort of the point.

A corollary to the spectrum chart’s ‘myth of equidistance’ is that no party can possibly be more dysfunctional, more hypocritical or more inauthentic than the other. Furthermore, only a point-scoring enemy combatant would have the audacity to allege such a sacrilege.

Unfortunately, this diagnosis is apt when we consider the comparatively vaster distance the Donkey had to travel from its traditional New Deal/Great Society perch in order to sidle up beside the Republican Party and essentially divide the corporate market (see chart below). Such migratory paths are not traversable without boatloads of soul-selling happening first. Profound cognitive dissonance induces nausea and confusion. Prodded too much, it strikes with an outsized anger. Trump Derangement Syndrome is famous for eliciting this response.

sprectrum distribution.png

In the Valley of Death: A Tactical/Evolutionary Roadmap

 

So how did the party of FDR become a sycophantic shadow of the GOP? There is both a tactical/evolutionary and a conceptual explanation.

For the first, this 25-minute Ralph Nader interview is well worth the reader’s time. There’s no one better qualified to chronicle the fifty-year capitulation of the Democratic Party than one of the era’s chief protagonists. Nader after all invented the consumer, environmental and workers’ safety movements, essentially progressive American politics in the modern age.

nader days of revolt

Honest people can differ as to the wisdom of the progressive era. The point of this essay is to catalog definitively its demise. A summary timeline follows:

1965 – Nader writes ‘Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile’. The ensuing Senate hearings lead to the formation of the Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Seat belts become mandatory in 49 of the 50 states.

1969-74 – Calling Republican President Nixon both, “our last liberal President” and the “last President afraid of liberals”, Nader duly credits him with the lion’s share of progressive legislation such as the Air Quality Act (1967) and the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency (1970). How ironic.

1971 – Alarmed by a series of largely uncontested progressive legislative victories, Lewis Powell (soon to be a Nixon Supreme Court appointee) drafts his eponymous 34-page Memorandum to the US Chamber of Commerce. In it, he urges American business to form a lobbying and think-tank complex aimed at pushing back on the Left. This is the equivalent of waking a sleeping giant:

“The American economic system is under broad attack…Business must learn the lesson…that political power is necessary, that such power must be assiduously cultivated and that when necessary it must be used aggressively and with determination–without embarrassment and reluctance.” 

1973 – Conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation is formed. Ultimately, the Reagan Administration will adopt two-thirds of the Foundation’s 1981 policy recommendations.

1974 – The Powell Memorandum galvanizes the business community in short order; so quickly in fact that Nader concedes: “There hasn’t been a single major piece of legislation advancing the health, safety and economic rights of the American people since 1974.” 

1978 – The Consumer Protection Act is defeated due to an unprecedented assault by corporate lobbing interests. Nader calls this the ‘high-water mark of the consumer movement’.

1978 – California freshman congressman Democrat Tony Coelho outspends his Republican opponent 2:1. Democratic Party big-wigs take keen notice.

1980 – Coehlo becomes chairman and chief fundraiser for The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee or ‘D-triple-C’, the youngest since LBJ. Notes the Washington Times:

“Republicans erred in thinking businesses would support their free-market ideology. Mr. Coelho understood that what businesses really want from government is protection, tax breaks, loopholes and contracts.” 

Enter two-fisted corporatism and the retail politics money chase.

1980s – Generally, the Reagan Era. A number of key liberal Senators are buried in the Reagan Landslide. One facet of Reaganomics involves appointing pro-business agency heads who oppose the spirit of the underlying regulations. This proves to be an effective strategy.

1993-present – Clintonism, often called Third Way politics, consolidated the corporatist gains achieved by Powell, Coehlo and Reagan. Indeed the Democratic Party is still a captive of Clintonism. How do we know this? Hillary Clinton was the party’s 2016 Presidential nominee and her name was floated just this week for the 2020 ticket.

Clintonism deserves expanded attention for it stone-cold cynicism and evil genius. Indeed Bill Clinton may be the Mephistopheles of this play. While Justice Powell may have hatched Satan’s spawn, the devastating duration of Clinton’s namesake movement –25 years and counting– certainly puts the former President in contention for chief body-snatcher.

Clinton realized that if he succeeded in shifting the Democratic Party to the right, he could compete on an equal footing for corporate dollars while continuing to enjoy the political support of the Left and Center. How so? Because the Democratic Party could be assured of winning the lesser-of-two-evils calculus every time, provided they peppered their rhetoric with feel-good leftist bromides. Laborite Tony Blair pursued the same Third Way politics in the UK. Where, after all, was the Left going to go?

The term ‘third way’ (Dick Morris called it triangulation) was meant to imply an authentic dialectical ‘best-of-the-best’ synthesis of traditional liberalism with self-aware business-friendliness. Critics however saw through it as little more than a cynical, “coddling of big money (except guns and tobacco), winning at any cost, flip-flopping and prevaricating”.

The plight of American liberalism over the last fifty years can be summarized thus: the progressive-liberal movement was remarkably short-lived (1964-74), the bulk of it was accomplished by a widely demonized Republican President (Nixon in 1969-74), Reaganomics dismantled much of it through deregulation while Clintonism finished the job by shutting the door to organized center-left resistance and promoting a full-on corporatist agenda. NAFTA anyone?

We close this circle with an astounding punchline from Ralph Nader: There hasn’t been a major piece of legislation advancing the American people’s interests for 44 years!

spectrum thumb

 

In the Valley of Death: A Conceptual Framework

 

Interestingly, a year after Unsafe at Any Speed, Bill Clinton mentor and Georgetown University Professor Carrol Quigley pointed the way to our future in his 1966 book, Tragedy and Hope:

“The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies… is a foolish idea. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can throw the rascals out at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy. Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party which will be none of these things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies.”

Over the ensuing half-century the American Democratic and Republican parties have achieved an even tighter conformance propelled by a monism that hides behind a putative party duopoly. Because yes, America is moving along an eschatological conveyor to a monist unity where, in time, even the Potemkin twin-villages will fall away.

In his book Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism, Sheldon Wolin refers to this monistic drive as totalism. Forget elaborate geopolitical analysis for a minute, and yes even Genie Oil and Gas. The reason Syria, Iran and North Korea are under assault is that they violate the totalizing ethos of the central banking regime. All the rest is secondary and tertiary newspaper fodder.

Dissent is an abomination to the monistic worldview. In Nineteen-Eighty-Four, it is imperative to the self-image of the regime that Goldstein wring ‘willing consent’ from Winston Smith. Big Brother must be legitimate even in his own eyes. It’s the same reason despots run uncontested on ballots and then bask in their lop-sided ‘victories’.

The ‘inversion’ in Wolin’s brand of totalitarianism derives from the fact that preeminent economic interests have harnessed the power of the State. Whereas in the classical form, Mussolini enlisted and subordinated economic interests to further the totalizing power of the State.

In Wolin’s configuration, “inverted totalitarianism perpetuates politics all the time but a politics that is not political…a politics without politics.” Political language –Left, Right, Conservative, Liberal– becomes a provisional exercise in crowd-pleasing. Moreover political discussion and analysis are deployed mainly to disguise the underlying corporatist motives lurking behind all public actions.

In the inverted (some might say perfected) form, there is no precise locus of political power, no charismatic leader, to be toppled, thus ‘ending the nightmare’. Rather the power is diffused and distributed within and throughout a featureless administrative state complicit with thousands of interlocking corporate interests. Wolin expands the complex here to include: “…governmental contracts, corporate and foundation funds, joint projects involving university and corporate researchers, and wealthy individual donors, universities (especially so-called research universities), intellectuals, scholars, and researchers hav[ing] been seamlessly integrated into the system.” The serpent has no head. It has morphed into an ubiquitous atmosphere.

We find too in inverted totalitarianism the totalizing Spirit of Antichrist, hell-bent on a mission of complete earthly hegemony against which no human force can prevail. Not only is the Beast “not-agreement-capable”, it is agreement-impervious and wholly committed to an inhuman and eschatologically-ordained terminus where people are held in complete contempt.

A Pending Case Study

 

America is about to be conceptually ‘head-turned’ again with Trump’s negotiated trade deal, the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA), poised for debate in the Senate. Already, the counter-intuitive ramparts are being prepared.

Organized Labor is lining up with its age-old partner-in-corruption, the Democratic Party. Because the Donkey is loath to give Trump a victory on something as ‘close to its heart’ as American workers (that would be mighty embarrassing, wouldn’t it?), Organized Labor must do the same. This promises to be a cognitively dissonant whopper of a skirmish.

WND’s Curtis Ellis describes this alliance’s deep roots:

“There’s always been an unholy alliance between corporatism and the left. Since the birth of the progressive movement, big corporations have used the instrument of big government regulation to cement their market position and strangle small businesses, upstarts and insurgents who threatened their dominance.”

He probably meant the unholy alliance existing between corporatism and the Democratic Party. Indeed the evidence of Trump’s economic populism is on full display in the USMCA. The Democrats must be beside themselves.

Regional Vehicle Content (RVC) for all types of vehicles sold in North American is increasing from NAFTA’s 60% to 75% for most vehicle types, 40% of an automobile and 45% of a light truck must be produced using an average labor wage of $16/hour.

While admittedly not in the same league, this baseline wage-setting recalls Henry Ford’s transformative $5/day program. Overnight, Ford’s employees received in some case 150-200% wage bumps. The company’s dominant market share made his competitors match it or die.

Ford’s enlightened capitalist invented American discretionary income which went on to invent the middle class. Should this wage floor manage to stick and reverberate through Mexican society, the implications for that nation will be immense. North American wage parity will do much to ‘arbitrage away’  illegal immigration.

Predictably, this baseline wage is being picked at by Organized Labor because it isn’t indexed to inflation, Mexican compliance will hard to enforce, etc. Hear the grumbling already –and this from a party that managed to live with NAFTA for 25 years (for which Wall Street. a Democratic patron, is eternally grateful):

“House Democrats are particularly concerned about a provision that would require at least 30 percent of the labor used to build each car in Mexico to be completed by workers earning at least $16 an hour. That amount will rise to 40 percent by 2023 but the $16 wage is not indexed to inflation, meaning the increase will be diluted over time as prices rise.”

The Agreement’s Article 32.10 restricts the ability of all three countries to unilaterally negotiate free trade agreements with “non-market economies” (ahem, China). This transforms North America into a job-protecting trade bloc further increasing the continent’s market power.

The point is USMCA is an agreement the Democrats are politically (i.e. nominally) obliged to support, if only political obligations still mattered. Alas, Wall Street is the preeminent champion of borderless ‘free trade’ (read: globalism). Wall Street makes a fortune moving Main Street jobs offshore.

It will be fascinating to watch the Managed Democracy media apparatus grind against the evil Trump’s heroic efforts to reindustrialize America at a livable wage. Decades of anti-NAFTA crocodile tears will no longer be enough.

Off-the-Chart Populism

Which brings us to the elephant in the room. No, not that elephant. The other one. A true enemy of the Totalitarian Machine is measured by the outrage he evokes in all the proper suspects. On this point, President Trump passes with flying colors.

Multinational corporations are the foot soldiers of inverted totalitarianism set loose on the world. Their field commander is the US Chamber of Commerce, the single most powerful and feared lobbying group in Washington. Much can be said about Trump’s garrulous coarseness, his ego-driven bloviations. This is low-hanging fruit for the propaganda onslaught. Much can be said too of his slim prospects for success. Few can argue he’s an infuriating, yet all-too-human, force.

uscoc

The Donkey’s stultified spokespeople have taken to calling him a fascist and a Nazi. When all else fails, Nazify the opposition. Trump’s ability to engage and excite the middle of America is frightening to all the right people, which is to say all the wrong people.

Trump spearheads a populist insurgency and the most exogenous proposition since at least JFK. This places him off the rote chart of American Political Spec-thumb.

Please, there are no panaceas and the hour for America in its current permutation is late. Nonetheless the sense among at least half the nation is that they have in Trump a President who is discernibly grappling against forces anathema to their interests. This alone is a sea-level change after decades of hermetic elitism. Agreement capability, if it is to be resumed, is an outward emanation that must begin at home.

What will Washington do against Iran? ماذا ستفعل واشنطن ضدّ إيران؟

What will Washington do against Iran?

مارس 6, 2018

Written by Nasser Kandil,

The US Ambassador to the United Nations Nicky Healy said “If Russia continues to cover up Iran, and if the Security Council does not announce an action, the United States and our allies will take an action themselves” This occurred after the voting on the western –Arab draft resolution for condemning Iran for arming Ansar Allah in Yemen especially with the ballistic missiles that targeted Saudi Arabia.  Therefore the question becomes what will Washington do under the title “if we do not get an action from the Security Council we will take our own actions”?

The American option is restricted between two things; politically, it is represented by announcing the cancellation of the American commitment to the nuclear agreement with Iran and the return to the system of sanctions which applied before, and which will affect the Iranian Central Bank and the international banks which deal with it, especially the European and the Chinese ones. Militarily, it is represented by adopting the comprehensive or the temporal military option which might turn under an uncontrolled moment into a comprehensive confrontation or both of them. But it is certain that the bet on a diplomatic and popular crowd, media mobilization, and sanctions system that does not affect the nuclear agreement is considered less than a threat launched by Healy and showed her silly and her words trivial.

Concerning  the nuclear option, it seems clear that Washington’s problem is not with Iran rather with China and Europe, which stick to the agreement, and which refuse the sanctions system related to the cancellation of the agreement and which their companies will pay the cost for the returning to it, while Russia stands with Iran under the title that the cancellation of the agreement means that Iran has the right to return  to enrich uranium from where it signed its agreement, so those who announced their  sticking to the agreement must not address Iran rationally, but they have to do one of two things. Either to prevent Washington from the cancellation or to refuse the commitment to its sanctions no matter what the consequences will be on the European and Chinese banks. So is it possible after Washington has evaded from the cancellation twice to do it now and to enter an unpredictable financial war and which its repercussions may affect the financial status of America negatively  in a way that surpasses the crisis with Iran?

Regarding the military option, nothing has changed in favor of Washington for years, so it disregarded it. The US forces and interests which are distributed among Iraq, Syria, the Gulf, and the sea waters and the water ways will turn into targets by Iran and its allies. The results of the military action as the former US Secretary of State John Kerry said have no guarantees to achieve decisive results whatever the harm is, because Iran may accelerate to produce a nuclear bomb, as the former US President Barack Obama said on the eve of signing the nuclear agreement in response to the Arab and the Israeli calls, revealed by Kerry from Munich platform for security days ago.

 

Dennis Ross, the former US diplomat to the occupation entity, the US peace envoy for years, and a researcher who lived through several epochs in the US studies centers  said in his article two months ago that the dual response to two important questions about the American policy towards supporting the Kurds in Syria till the end, and  towards the confrontation of Iran is shown in how Washington behaved with the collapse of the dream of secession of the Kurds of Iraq under the blows of Iran and under the eyes of the US leadership in the White House and Pentagon without reacting, while the Kurdish entity was the most important opportunity for America to work against Iran, and the most important sign of the seriousness of supporting the independence of Kurds. Those who abandoned the Kurdish entity in Iraq because they did not want to get involved in a war, will not do the same in Syria, and those who missed the opportunity of being so close to Iran as the chief of staff in the occupation army Gadi Eizenkot said will not go farer than the political words and escalation.

Does that mean that Healy’s words are trivial and she is silly?

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

فبراير 28, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– قالت سفيرة الولايات المتحدة لدى الأمم المتحدة نيكي هيلي

«إذا كانت روسيا ستواصل التستر على إيران، فسوف تكون الولايات المتحدة وحلفاؤنا بحاجة إلى اتخاذ إجراء من تلقاء أنفسنا. إذا لم نحصل على إجراء في المجلس فسوف يتعيّن علينا عندئذ اتخاذ إجراءاتنا».

جاء ذلك بعد التصويت على مشروع قرار غربي عربي لإدانة إيران باتهامها بالوقوف وراء تسليح أنصار الله في اليمن، خصوصاً بالصواريخ البالستية التي استهدفوا بها السعودية، ليصير السؤال ماذا ستفعل واشنطن تحت عنوان،

«إذا لم نحصل على إجراء في المجلس علينا عندئذ اتخاذ إجراءاتنا»؟

– ينحصر الخيار الأميركي بين اثنين، سياسي من العيار الثقيل يتمثل بإعلان إلغاء الالتزام الأميركي بالاتفاق النووي مع إيران والعودة إلى نظام العقوبات الذي كان سائداً قبل الاتفاق ويطال المصرف المركزي الإيراني والمصارف العالمية التي تتعامل معه، خصوصاً الأوروبية والصينية، أو الذهاب للخيار العسكري الشامل أو الموضعي، والذي يمكن أن يتحوّل في لحظة غير مسيطر عليها مواجهة شاملة، أو كليهما معاً، لكن الأكيد أنّ الرهان على حشد سياسي ودبلوماسي وتعبئة إعلامية ونظام عقوبات لا يمسّ الاتفاق النووي هو دون مستوى التهديد الذي أطلقته هيلي ويجعل كلامها تافهاً ويظهرها سخيفة.

– في الخيار النووي يبدو واضحاً أنّ مشكلة واشنطن ليست مع إيران بل مع الصين وأوروبا، المتمسكتين بالاتفاق والرافضتين نظام العقوبات المرتبط بإلغاء الاتفاق والذي ستدفع شركاتهما الكبرى ثمن العودة إليه، بينما روسيا تقف مع إيران تحت عنوان أنّ إلغاء واشنطن للاتفاق يعني أنّ من حق إيران العودة لتخصيب اليورانيوم من حيث توقف عند التوقيع، وأنّ على الذين يعلنوا التمسك بالاتفاق ألا يخاطبوا إيران بدعوات العقلانية بل أن يفعلوا إحدى إثنتين، التصدي لواشنطن ومنعها من الإلغاء، أو رفض الالتزام بعقوباتها مهما كانت التبعات على المصارف الأوروبية والصينية. فهل باتت واشنطن التي تهرّبت من الإلغاء مرتين، قادرة أن تفعلها هذه المرة وتدخل حرباً مالية غير معلومة النتائج والأطراف، ويمكن لتداعياتها أن ترتب آثاراً على مكانة أميركا المالية سلباً بما يتخطى الأزمة مع إيران؟

– في الخيار العسكري لم يتغيّر شيء لصالح واشنطن منذ سنوات، وما دفعها ويدفعها لصرف النظر عن هذا الخيار يزداد ولا ينقص. فالقوات والمصالح الأميركية الموزّعة بين العراق وسورية والخليج ومياه البحار والممرات المائية ستتحوّل أهدافاً سهلة لإيران وحلفائها، ونتائج العمل العسكري كما قال وزير الخارجية الأميركي السابق جون كيري ليس فيه ضمانات تحقيق نتائج حاسمة، مهما بلغت قدرته على إلحاق الأذى، خصوصاً لجهة ما قد يدفع إيران لتسريع إنتاج قنبلة نووية، كما سبق للرئيس الأميركي السابق باراك أوباما أن قال غداة توقيع الاتفاق النووي رداً على الدعوات العربية والإسرائيلية التي كشفها كيري من منبر ميونيخ للأمن قبل أيام.

– في مقال له قبل شهرين قال دنيس روس، أحد الدبلوماسيين السابقين الأميركيين لدى كيان الاحتلال والمبعوث الأميركي للسلام لسنوات، والباحث المخضرم في مراكز الدراسات الأميركية، إنّ الجواب المزدوج على سؤالين مهمّين حول السياسة الأميركية، تجاه دعم الأكراد في سورية حتى النهاية، وتجاه مواجهة إيران حتى النهاية، نجده في كيفية تصرف واشنطن مع انهيار حلم أكراد العراق بالانفصال تحت ضربات إيران، وتحت أعين القيادة الأميركية في البيت الأبيض والبنتاغون، وهم يتفرّجون، بينما كان الكيان الكردي أهمّ فرصة لأميركا للعمل ضدّ إيران وأهمّ علامة على جدية دعم استقلال الأكراد، ومَن تخلَّ عن كيان كردي في العراق لأنه لا يريد الحرب، فلن يفعل ذلك في سورية. ومن أضاع فرصة التقرب إلى مسافة صفر من إيران، كما يقول رئيس الأركان في جيش الاحتلال غادي أيزنكوت، لن يذهب إلى أبعد من الكلام والتصعيد السياسي.

– هل يعني ذلك أنّ كلام هيلي تافه وأنها سخيفة؟

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Kerry to Abbas Confidante: “Stay Strong and Do Not Give in to Trump

January 25, 2018

Kerry Abbas

Ex-Secretary of State John Kerry has confided that he may make a second bid for the White House — as he urged Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to resist President Trump, according to a report.

“[Abbas] should stay strong in his spirit and play for time — that he should not break down and not capitulate to Trump’s demands,” Kerry told an Abbas confidant, according to the Hebrew daily Ma’ariv, which quoted a senior Palestinian Authority official as saying.

The Jerusalem Post picked up the Ma’ariv story in English.

Kerry also suggested during his London confab with Hussein Agha, the Palestinian Authority president’s close associate, that the PA formulate its own peace proposal.

“Maybe it is time for the Palestinians to define their peace principles and present a positive plan,” he said, adding that Abbas should show Trump that he will “not break and will not yield” to his demands.

Kerry promised to use all his contacts and abilities to build support for a plan pitched by the Palestinians, according to the report.

He reportedly asked Abbas, through Agha, not to attack the Trump administration, but to concentrate on personal attacks on Trump, who Kerry said was directly responsible for the stalled peace process.

According to the report, Kerry also used derogatory terms when referring to Trump.

The former US Secretary of State said Trump will not remain in office for a long time. It was reported in the report that Kerry said that within a year there was a good chance that Trump would not be in the White House.

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Did Obama Arm Islamic State Killers?

Did Obama Arm Islamic State Killers?

EDITOR’S CHOICE | 23.12.2017

Did Obama Arm Islamic State Killers?

Daniel LAZARE

Did Barack Obama arm ISIS? The question strikes many people as absurd, if not offensive. How can anyone suggest something so awful about a nice guy like the former president? But a stunning report by an investigative group known as Conflict Armament Research (CAR) leaves us little choice but to conclude that he did.

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative in August 2014

CAR, based in London and funded by Switzerland and the European Union, spent three years tracing the origin of some 40,000 pieces of captured ISIS arms and ammunition. Its findings, made public last week, are that much of it originated in former Warsaw Pact nations in Eastern Europe, where it was purchased by United States and Saudi Arabia and then diverted, in violation of various rules and treaties, to Islamist rebels seeking to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The rebels, in turn, somehow caused or allowed the equipment to be passed on to Islamic State, which is also known by the acronyms ISIS or ISIL, or just the abbreviation IS.

This is damning stuff since it makes it clear that rather than fighting ISIS, the U.S. government was feeding it.

But CAR turns vague when it comes to the all-important question of precisely how the second leg of the transfer worked. Did the rebels turn the weapons over voluntarily, involuntarily, or did they somehow drop them when ISIS was in close proximity and forget to pick them up? All CAR will say is that “background information … indicates that IS [Islamic State] forces acquired the materiel through varied means, including battlefield capture and the amalgamation of disparate Syrian opposition groups.” It adds that it “cannot rule out direct supply to IS forces from the territories of Jordan and Turkey, especially given the presence of various opposition groups, with shifting allegiances, in cross-border supply locations.” But that’s it.

If so, this suggests an astonishing level of incompetence on the part of Washington. The Syrian rebel forces are an amazingly fractious lot as they merge, split, attack one another and then team up all over again. So how could the White House have imagined that it could keep weapons tossed into this mix from falling into the wrong hands? Considering how each new gun adds to the chaos, how could it possibly keep track? The answer is that it couldn’t, which is why ISIS wound up reaping the benefits.

But here’s the rub. The report implies a level of incompetence that is not just staggering, but too staggering. How could such a massive transfer occur without field operatives not having a clue as to what was going on? Was every last one of them deaf, dumb, and blind?

Not likely. What seems much more plausible is that once the CIA established “plausible deniability” for itself, all it cared about was that the arms made their way to the most effective fighting force, which in Syria happened to be Islamic State.

This is what had happened in Afghanistan three decades earlier when the lion’s share of anti-Soviet aid, some $600 million in all, went to a brutal warlord named Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Hekmatyar was a raging bigot, a sectarian, and an anti-western xenophobe, qualities that presumably did not endear him to his CIA handlers. But as Steve Coll notes in Ghost Wars, his bestselling 2004 account of the CIA’s love affair with Islamic holy war, he “was the most efficient at killing Soviets” and that was the only thing that mattered. As one CIA officer put it, “analytically, the best fighters – the best-organized fighters – were the fundamentalists” that Hekmatyar led. Consequently, he ended up with the most money.

After all, if you’re funding a neo-medieval uprising, it makes sense to steer the money to the darkest reactionaries of them all. Something similar occurred in March 2015 when Syrian rebels launched an assault on government positions in the northern province of Idlib. The rebel coalition was under the control of Jabhat al-Nusra, as the local branch of Al Qaeda was known at the time, and what Al-Nusra needed most of all were high-tech TOW missiles with which to counter government tanks and trucks.

Arming Al Qaeda

So the Obama administration arranged for Nusra to get them. To be sure, it didn’t provide them directly. To ensure deniability, rather, it allowed Raytheon to sell some 15,000 TOWs to Saudi Arabia in late 2013 and then looked the other way when the Saudis transferred large numbers of them to pro-Nusra forces in Idlib. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Climbing into bed with Al-Qaeda.”] Al-Nusra had the toughest fighters in the area, and the offensive was sure to send the Assad regime reeling. So even though its people were compatriots with those who destroyed the World Trade Center, Obama’s White House couldn’t say no.

“Nusra have always demonstrated superior planning and battle management,” Yezid Sayigh, a senior associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, said a few weeks later. If the rebel coalition was successful as a whole, it “was entirely due to their willingness to work with Nusra, who have been the backbone in all of this.”

Scruples, assuming they existed in the first place, fell by the wayside. A senior White House official told The Washington Post that the Obama administration was “not blind to the fact that it is to some extent inevitable” that U.S. weapons would wind up in terrorist hands, but what could you do? It was all part of the game of realpolitik. A senior Washington official crowed that “the trend lines for Assad are bad and getting worse” while The New York Times happily noted that “[t]he Syrian Army has suffered a string of defeats from re-energized insurgents.” So, for the master planners in Washington, it was worth it.

Then there is ISIS, which is even more beyond the pale as most Americans are concerned thanks to its extravagant displays of barbarism and cruelty – its killing of Yazidis and enslavement of Yazidi women and girls, its mass beheadings, its fiery execution of Jordanian fighter pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh, and so on.

Yet U.S. government attitudes were more ambivalent than most Americans realized. Indeed, the U.S. government was strictly neutral as long as ISIS confined itself to attacking Assad. As a senior defense official told the Wall Street Journal in early 2015: “Certainly, ISIS has been able to expand in Syria, but that’s not our main objective. I wouldn’t call Syria a safe haven for ISIL, but it is a place where it’s easier for them to organize, plan, and seek shelter than it is in Iraq.”

In other words, Syria was a safe haven because, the Journal explained, the U.S. was reluctant to interfere in any way that might “tip the balance of power toward Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is fighting Islamic State and other rebels.” So the idea was to allow ISIS to have its fun as long as it didn’t bother anyone else. For the same reason, the U.S. refrained from bombing the group when, shortly after the Idlib offensive, its fighters closed in on the central Syrian city of Palmyra, 80 miles or so to the east.  This was despite the fact that the fighters would have made perfect targets while “traversing miles of open desert roads.”

As The New York Times explained: “Any airstrikes against Islamic State militants in and around Palmyra would probably benefit the force of President Bashar al-Assad. So far, United States-led airstrikes in Syria have largely focussed on areas far outside government control, to avoid the perception of aiding a leader whose ouster President Obama has called for.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “How US-Backed War on Syria Helped ISIS.”]

Looting Palmyra

A Russian orchestra performing at Palmyra’s Roman theater on May 5, 2016, after Syrian troops, backed by Russian air power, reclaimed the ancient city from the Islamic State. (Image from RT’s live-streaming of the event.)

The United States thus allowed ISIS to capture one of the most archeologically important cities in the world, killing dozens of government soldiers and decapitating 83-year-old Khalid al-Asaad, the city’s retired chief of antiquities. (After looting and destroying many of the ancient treasures, ISIS militants were later driven from Palmyra by a Russian-backed offensive by troops loyal to President Assad.)

Obama’s bottom line was: ISIS is very, very bad when it attacks the U.S.-backed regime in Iraq, but less so when it wreaks havoc just over the border in Syria. In September 2016, John Kerry clarified what the administration was up to in a tape-recorded conversation at the U.N. that was later made public. Referring to Russia’s decision to intervene in Syria against ISIS, also known by the Arabic acronym Daesh, the then-Secretary of State told a small knot of pro-rebel sympathizers:

“The reason Russia came in is because ISIL was getting stronger.  Daesh was threatening the possibility of going to Damascus and so forth, and that’s why Russia came in, because they didn’t want a Daesh government and they supported Assad. And we know this was growing. We were watching. We saw that Daesh was growing in strength, and we thought Assad was threatened. We thought, however, we could probably manage, that Assad might then negotiate. Instead of negotiating, he got … Putin in to support him. So it’s truly complicated.”  (Quote starts at 26:10.)

“We were watching.” Kerry said. So, by giving ISIS free rein, the administration hoped to use it as a lever with which to dislodge Assad. As in Afghanistan, the United States thought it could use jihad to advance its own imperial interests. Yet the little people – Syrian soldiers, three thousand office workers in lower Manhattan, Yazidis, the Islamic State’s beheading of Western hostages, etc. – made things “truly complicated.”

Putting this all together, a few things seem clear. One is that the Obama administration was happy to see its Saudi allies use U.S.-made weapons to arm Al Qaeda. Another is that it was not displeased to see ISIS battle Assad’s government as well. If so, how unhappy could it have been if its allies then passed along weapons to the Islamic State so it could battle Assad all the more? The administration was desperate to knock out Assad, and it needed someone to do the job before Vladimir Putin stepped in and bombed ISIS instead.

It was a modern version of Henry II’s lament, “Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?” The imperative was to get rid of Assad; Obama and his team had no interest in the messy details.

None of which proves that Obama armed ISIS. But unless one believes that the CIA is so monumentally inept that it could screw up a two-car funeral, it’s the only explanation that makes sense. Obama is still a congenial fellow. But he’s a classic liberal who had no desire to interfere with the imperatives of empire and whose idea of realism was therefore to leave foreign policy in the hands of neocons or liberal interventionists like Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry.

If America were any kind of healthy democracy, Congress would not rest until it got to the bottom of what should be the scandal of the decade: Did the U.S. government wittingly or unwittingly arm the brutal killers of ISIS and Al Qaeda? However, since that storyline doesn’t fit with the prevailing mainstream narrative of Washington standing up for international human rights and opposing global terrorism, the troublesome question will likely neither be asked nor answered.

Kerry: Trump Creating Int’l Crisis over Iran Deal

Local Editor

14-10-2017 | 10:32

Former US Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday blasted President Donald Trump’s decision not to re-certify Iran’s compliance with the Iran nuclear deal, accusing Trump of jumpstarting an “international crisis.”

John Kerry


Hours earlier, Trump announced the White House “cannot and will not” certify Iran’s compliance while the country violates the “spirit” of the 2015 agreement, and the president didn’t rule out the possibility of exiting the deal in the future if necessary.

The president’s decision gives Congress roughly 90 days until the next certification deadline to come up with a legislative solution to Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile threats in a way that satisfies Trump.

Kerry was the country’s top diplomat in 2015 when the US entered into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA], better known as the Iran deal.

“President Trump’s decision today is dangerous,” Kerry said in a lengthy statement he posted to Twitter. “He’s creating an international crisis. It endangers America’s national security interests and those of our closest allies.

According to the former head of America’s diplomacy, “It’s a reckless abandonment of facts in favor of ego and ideology from a president who would rather play a high-stakes game of chicken with the Congress and with iIan than admit that the nuclear agreement is working. I strongly hope that the other six signatories will prove to the world what responsible behavior is, and adhere to this agreement – no matter what false accusations and contrived provocations are put forward by President Trump.”

Kerry went on to say the stakes are “enormous” for Congress, and unraveling the JCPOA would put into question whether the US can be taken at its word.

“The president has polluted the negotiating waters and made it easier for legitimate concerns to be distinguished from back-door efforts to kill the deal,” Kerry added. “What we’ve seen today lacks common sense and strategic thinking to say nothing of maturity. Congress now gets an opportunity to be the adult in the room and act in America’s genuine national security interest. The country and the world really are watching.”

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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The Syrian Test of Trump-Putin Accord

The U.S. mainstream media remains obsessed over Russia’s alleged “meddling” in last fall’s election, but the real test of bilateral cooperation may come on the cease-fire in Syria, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern

July 09, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – The immediate prospect for significant improvement in U.S.-Russia relations now depends on something tangible: Will the forces that sabotaged previous ceasefire agreements in Syria succeed in doing so again, all the better to keep alive the “regime change” dreams of the neoconservatives and liberal interventionists?

Or will President Trump succeed where President Obama failed by bringing the U.S. military and intelligence bureaucracies into line behind a cease-fire rather than allowing insubordination to win out?

These are truly life-or-death questions for the Syrian people and could have profound repercussions across Europe, which has been destabilized by the flood of refugees fleeing the horrific violence in the six-year proxy war that has ripped Syria apart.

But you would have little inkling of this important priority from the large page-one headlines Saturday morning in the U.S. mainstream media, which continued its long obsession with the more ephemeral question of whether Russian President Vladimir Putin would confess to the sin of “interference” in the 2016 U.S. election and promise to repent.

Thus, the headlines: “Trump, Putin talk election interference” (Washington Post) and “Trump asks Putin About Meddling During Election” (New York Times). There was also the expected harrumphing from commentators on CNN and MSNBC when Putin dared to deny that Russia had interfered.

In both the big newspapers and on cable news shows, the potential for a ceasefire in southern Syria – set to go into effect on Sunday – got decidedly second billing.

Yet, the key to Putin’s assessment of Donald Trump is whether the U.S. President is strong enough to make the mutually agreed-upon ceasefire stick. As Putin is well aware, to do so Trump will have to take on the same “deep-state” forces that cheerily scuttled similar agreements in the past. In other words, the actuarial tables for this cease-fire are not good; long life for the agreement will take something just short of a miracle.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will have to face down hardliners in both the Pentagon and CIA. Tillerson probably expects that Defense Secretary James “Mad-Dog” Mattis and CIA Director Mike Pompeo will cooperate by ordering their troops and operatives inside Syria to restrain the U.S.-backed “moderate rebels.”

But it remains to be seen if Mattis and Pompeo can control the forces their agencies have unleashed in Syria. If recent history is any guide, it would be folly to rule out another “accidental” U.S. bombing of Syrian government troops or a well-publicized “chemical attack” or some other senseless “war crime” that social media and mainstream media will immediately blame on President Bashar al-Assad.

Bitter Experience

Last fall’s limited ceasefire in Syria, painstakingly worked out over 11 months by Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and approved personally by Presidents Obama and Putin, lasted only five days (from Sept. 12-17) before it was scuttled by “coalition” air strikes on well-known, fixed Syrian army positions, which killed between 64 and 84 Syrian troops and wounded about 100 others.

In public remarks bordering on the insubordinate, senior Pentagon officials a few days before the air attack on Sept. 17, showed unusually open skepticism regarding key aspects of the Kerry-Lavrov agreement – like sharing intelligence with the Russians (an important provision of the deal approved by both Obama and Putin).

The Pentagon’s resistance and the “accidental” bombing of Syrian troops brought these uncharacteristically blunt words from Foreign Minister Lavrov on Russian TV on Sept. 26:

“My good friend John Kerry … is under fierce criticism from the U.S. military machine. Despite the fact that, as always, [they] made assurances that the U.S. Commander in Chief, President Barack Obama, supported him in his contacts with Russia … apparently the military does not really listen to the Commander in Chief.”

Lavrov specifically criticized Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, Gen. Joseph Dunford for telling Congress that he opposed sharing intelligence with Russia despite the fact, as Lavrov put it, “the agreements concluded on direct orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama [who] stipulated that they would share intelligence.” Noting this resistance inside the U.S. military bureaucracy, Lavrov added, “It is difficult to work with such partners.”

Putin picked up on the theme of insubordination in an Oct. 27 speech at the Valdai International Discussion Club, in which he openly lamented:

“My personal agreements with the President of the United States have not produced results. … people in Washington are ready to do everything possible to prevent these agreements from being implemented in practice.”

On Syria, Putin decried the lack of a “common front against terrorism after such lengthy negotiations, enormous effort, and difficult compromises.”

Lavrov’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, meanwhile, even expressed sympathy for Kerry’s quixotic effort, giving him an “A” for effort.after then-Defense Secretary Ashton Carter dispatched U.S. warplanes to provide an early death to the cease-fire so painstakingly worked out by Kerry and Lavrov for almost a year.

For his part, Kerry expressed regret – in words reflecting the hapless hubris befitting the chief envoy of the world’s “only indispensible” country – conceding that he had been unable to “align” all the forces in play.

With the ceasefire in tatters, Kerry publicly complained on Sept. 29, 2016: “Syria is as complicated as anything I’ve ever seen in public life, in the sense that there are probably about six wars or so going on at the same time – Kurd against Kurd, Kurd against Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sunni, Shia, everybody against ISIL, people against Assad, Nusra [Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate]. This is as mixed-up sectarian and civil war and strategic and proxies, so it’s very, very difficult to be able to align forces.”

Admitting Deep-State Pre-eminence

Only in December 2016, in an interview with Matt Viser of the Boston Globe, did Kerry admit that his efforts to deal with the Russians had been thwarted by then-Defense Secretary Ashton Carter – as well as all those forces he found so difficult to align.

“Unfortunately we had divisions within our own ranks that made the implementation [of the ceasefire agreement] extremely hard to accomplish,” Kerry said. “But it … could have worked. … The fact is we had an agreement with Russia … a joint cooperative effort.

“Now we had people in our government who were bitterly opposed to doing that,” he said. “I regret that. I think that was a mistake. I think you’d have a different situation there conceivably now if we’d been able to do that.”

The Globe’s Viser described Kerry as frustrated. Indeed, it was a tough way for Kerry to end nearly 34 years in public office.

After Friday’s discussions with President Trump, Kremlin eyes will be focused on Secretary of State Tillerson, watching to see if he has better luck than Kerry did in getting Ashton Carter’s successor, James “Mad Dog” Mattis and CIA’s latest captive-director Pompeo into line behind what President Trump wants to do.

As the new U.S.-Russia agreed-upon ceasefire goes into effect on Sunday, Putin will be eager to see if this time Trump, unlike Obama, can make a ceasefire in Syria stick; or whether, like Obama, Trump will be unable to prevent it from being sabotaged by Washington’s deep-state actors.

The proof will be in the pudding and, clearly, much depends on what happens in the next few weeks. At this point, it will take a leap of faith on Putin’s part to have much confidence that the ceasefire will hold. 

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington.  As a CIA analyst for 27 years, he led the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and, during President Ronald Reagan’s first term, conducted the early morning briefings with the President’s Daily Brief.  He now serves on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

This article was first published by Consortium News 

See also – New study shows Clinton lost election because of growing working class opposition to war

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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How and Why U.S. Honors and Aids Al Qaeda

June 20, 2017

by Eric Zuesse

How and Why U.S. Honors and Aids Al Qaeda

This will present a typical example in which the U.S. promotes Al Qaeda and other jihadists, and then honors that promotion by calling this PR not “propaganda” as it really is, but instead outstanding “news reporting,” and then honors that “news reporting,” with prestigious ‘journalism’ awards from the Overseas Press Club, and The Peabody. Throughout, the jihadists in Syria are being referred to in these ‘news’-reports as ‘the rebels’ and they are backed by the U.S. government, and (obviously) also by the aristocracy that own (and advertise in) the ‘news’ media, and whose lobbies also apparently control the President, and the Congress. Deception of the American public, by the American press, is that blatant and that egregious, as will here be documented (but will continue to be suppressed by the ‘free press’ in this ‘democracy’ where the press never exposes its own systematic lying — as will here be shown).

Documentation for everything here will consist of excerpts from the relevant news-reports themselves (so the story will be told by the evidence itself), and will close with excerpts from an AlterNet news report by Ben Norton, which was vastly more worthy of winning journalism awards than anything from CNN (or any of the others) has been, but is suppressed instead of pumped, by the U.S. press. I have added boldface in some places, in order to make easier a reader’s quickly noticing things which will become more important subsequently, in this presentation of excerpts. The excerpts are arranged so as to tell a narrative that makes sense and has continuity.

Excerpts are used here instead of paraphrases, because otherwise an intelligent reader might think that the paraphrases are overstating how appalling the U.S. ‘news’ media are. It’s better for the perpetrators to display their wares, than for someone else to do it for them. So, I let them do it.

Here are those excerpts; here is their story, told by the participants themselves:

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http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/14/

The truth about Syria

Undercover behind rebel lines

By Clarissa Ward with Salma Abdelaziz, CNN

[Salma Abdelaziz covers the Middle East for CNN, based in London.]

Updated 1:40 PM ET, Fri March 18, 2016

Rebel-held Syria (CNN) There’s a sickening moment between hearing the planes and waiting for them to drop their payload. A pit forms in your stomach. You know you could die, but you also know there’s no way to divine where the strike will hit.

On a hill overlooking Ariha, our guard Abu Youssef seems to have located the jet in the sky and is following it with his eyes. “Russian planes,” he says. …

Monitoring groups say nearly 2,000 civilians have been killed since the Russian intervention began. …

Syria is hell. But standing in the warm sun, watching the silver green olive leaves shiver in the breeze, it is also paradise. A ceasefire has been in place for a couple of days, though based on what we saw and heard, it’s difficult to have much faith that it will hold.

We are preparing to leave, saying our goodbyes. We hand over a bag full of British chocolates to our security guards. Abu Youssef thanks us and quietly hands each of us a folded piece of white paper with our initials on it.

“Promise me you won’t read these until you get back home to London,” he says.

Two flights and 72 hours later, we open the letters.

“I hope you have a good idea of us,” they read. “Please tell the world the truth about Syria.”

——

https://twitter.com/

Nidal

@Nidalgazaui

18 Years old Freedom Activist from Germany. Visited the YPG in Syria. MENA Analyst, Focusing on Terrorism and Jihadist Groups in Middle east and E Asia

Germany

nidalgazaui.wordpress.com

Nidal

@Nidalgazaui

#ISIS Fighter from #Gaza, Abu Youssef Al-Ghazawhi killed recently in #Aleppo while fighting the Syrian army near #DeirHafer in #Aleppo Prov.

11:58 PM – 22 Mar 2017

——

[NOTE: It’s bad enough that the reporter, Ward, in Aleppo, was emotionally close to and was being protected by someone, “Abu Youssef,” who was clearly partisan — in his case, against Syria’s government and also against Russia, which means on the ‘rebel’ side, which in Aleppo meant being on Al Qaeda’s side there. Wikipedia’s article Battle of Aleppo (2012–2016)” says: “Rebel groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Shamia Front and the Ahrar al-Sham established Sharia system in areas they control, imposing torture or other ill-treatment as punishment. Human rights activists, lawyers and journalists have been subjected to kidnappings.” These ‘rebels’ were religious fanatics. But if that person was also the “#ISIS Fighter from #Gaza, Abu Youssef Al-Ghazawhi killed recently in #Aleppo while fighting the Syrian army near #DeirHafer in #Aleppo Prov,” then this places the reporter as being under the protection of an “ISIS fighter,” and ISIS is supposed to be so fanatical that even the U.S. government condemn them — but maybe not CNN, nor the Overseas Press Club, nor The Peabody.]

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https://www.theguardian.com/

Aleppo ‘hell’ prevents Syria peace talks, say diplomats

With 2 million terrified citizens trapped and brutal fighting continuing, UN-backed talks in August seem impossible

Patrick Wintour, diplomatic editor Tuesday 9 August 2016 16.53 EDT

… In a bid to restart the talks US secretary of state John Kerry met Vladimir Putin in mid-July to propose a deal whereby the Syrian air force ended its lethal bombing campaign in return for American agreement that one of the leading rebel forces – the al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front – be designated a terrorist group, and so no longer party to a new ceasefire [Wintour is using code here, for: allowed to be bombed during the ceasefire — Obama refused to accept that condition, and he insisted that Russia discontinue bombing them but bomb only ISIS during a ceasefire, and he stuck with that stance until the very end, when he sabotaged Kerry’s deal with Lavrov]. American sponsored rebel forces have long been entangled with al-Nusra, and many Washington-backed forces would regard an attack on al-Nusra as an attack on the Syrian revolution itself.

The US proposal has been made more complex by the announcement last week that al-Nusra had “broken” with al-Qaida, and was now forming a new group, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham. Western diplomats doubt the sincerity of this change in ideology [he’s using code for: change in name].

But Washington seems reluctant to denounce this new group as a bogus rebranding, partly because it knows so many of the already weak rebel groups it does support are willing, or even eager, to work with the effective and disciplined al-Nusra forces. Many of these moderate forces [as if there were ‘moderates’ when jihadists were waging war to replace a secular government] feel abandoned by the west.

At the UN session on Monday, Clarissa Ward, a celebrated CNN war correspondent, also warned Russia was playing into the hands of jihadists. She told the Russian envoy: “From my experience on the ground – which is considerable – bombing hospitals, court houses, bakeries and fruit markets does not eliminate terrorism. If anything it is the oxygen which terrorists breathe and it spreads like wildfire.”

——

[NOTE: For a “celebrated CNN war correspondent” to be so partisan against Russia, as to have charged that “Russia was playing into the hands of jihadists,” when she herself was blatantly and actually in the hands of jihadists — and being protected by them, while those jihadists were trying to kill and were being bombed by Russia — is stupid. Was this person that stupid? Or, perhaps, was she instead so closed-minded to the fact that in order to slaughter the jihadists, it was necessary that some of the people whom the jihadists were using as human shields would also die? Does Clarissa Ward possess even a modicum of the objectivity that’s required of any authentic journalist — especially when covering a war — or is she receiving ‘journalism’ awards because in the United States, ‘journalism’ has sunk to the level of sheer propaganda? But the British Guardian’s reporter is no better, referring to jihadists as ‘rebels’, and referring to the Syrian government’s war against them as a ‘lethal bombing campaign’ as if there were any other type than ‘lethal’. And he referred to the jihadists’ war against the Syrian government as ‘the Syrian revolution’ even though most of those jihadists were foreigners recruited into Syria from around the world and financed by the royal Sauds and armed and trained by the U.S. government.]

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https://www.undispatch.com/

CNN Journalist Clarissa Ward Snuck Behind the Front Lines in Syria then Briefed the Security Council About What She Saw

Mark Leon Goldberg  August 29, 2016

Clarissa Ward is an award winning journalist who has covered conflict for over a decade, mostly in the Middle East. She is now with CNN and earlier this year she and a small crew snuck into rebel held territory in Syria, including the city of Aleppo from where she filed several intense and harrowing stories.

In August, Clarissa was invited to a special meeting of the [U.N.] Security Council about the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo. We kick off discussing her Security Council briefing and latest reporting trip to Syria. …

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http://edition.cnn.com/2016/

‘There are no winners in Aleppo’

Updated 0906 GMT (1706 HKT) August 15, 2016

Source: CNN

‘This is Hell’: Clarissa Ward addresses U.N. on Syria 09:11

Editor’s note: On August 8, 2016 CNN’s Senior International Correspondent Clarissa Ward spoke at a UN Security Council meeting on the situation in the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo. The following are her full remarks. …

The thing that has been killed in Syria that is much more difficult to rebuild than a bombed out building, is trust.

There is no trust.

No trust in the Assad regime.

No trust in ceasefires or the cessation of hostilities or humanitarian corridors.

No trust in the Russians, and no trust in you by the way, in us in the international community, who have been wringing their hands on the side lines while hospitals and bakeries and schools have been bombed, while phosphorus and cluster bombs have killed countless civilians.

The only ones who have emerged as heroes on the ground — alongside brave doctors like Dr Attar and Dr Sahloul, alongside the White Helmets [link there added by E.Z., not by Ward]are the Islamist factions, even to those who hate fundamentalism.

Even to those who see that the rebels themselves are carrying out atrocities.

And not because the people there are all terrorists but because the Islamists are the ones who have stepped in to fill the void.

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[NOTE: Ward has “No trust in the Assad regime” but has loads of trust in the jihadists, the ‘heroes’, “because the Islamists are the ones who have stepped in to fill the void” that they’ve created by trying to turn Syria’s multi-ethnic, multi-religious, secular, non-sectarian government — the only secular government in the Middle East — over to the head-choppers, who will serve the aristocracies of the U.S. and of Saudi Arabia.] 

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http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.

21 March 2017, 10:33 AM ET

Overseas Press Club Honors CNN for ‘Undercover in Syria’ Series

The Overseas Press Club of America has honored CNN’s ‘Undercover in Syria’ series with the David Kaplan Award for Best TV or video spot news reporting from abroad. They will present the award, which honors the finest international reporting, at its annual ceremony on Thursday, April 27 in New York. CNN President Jeff Zucker will be on hand to deliver the keynote address.

Reported by senior international correspondent Clarissa Ward and produced by Salma Abdelaziz, ‘Undercover in Syria’ took viewers inside rebel-held territory for an exclusive series of reports on what life was like under the bombs. CNN was the only Western media to witness the effects of Russian bombardment first hand and go inside the devastation of rebel-held Aleppo. …

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http://www.peabodyawards.com/

THE PEABODY 30: AWARD WINNERS FOR 2016

CNN: ISIS in Iraq and Syria, Undercover in Syria, Battle for Mosul (CNN)

Winner 2016 | CNN

… Clarissa Ward went undercover into northern Syria to document Russian influence on the fighting and to navigate the ongoing devastation. Graphic images of the wounded and the bloodied brings the senselessness of the fighting to the foreground, as do haunting images of young children who’ve only seen and experienced a world of airstrikes, fear, pain, and loss. … For its steadfast commitment to intrepid reporting from the battlefield and for detailing the costs and damages of a war that continues to pose a moral challenge to the rest of the world, a Peabody Award goes to CNN.

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http://www.mediaite.com/

Even as Election Dominates Cable, Bravo CNN for Critical Reporting From Syria

by J.D. Durkin | 1:38 pm, March 18th, 2016

… Major kudos are due to CNN for its recent coverage of the harrowing Syrian Civil War and the work of Clarissa Ward, the network’s Senior International Correspondent. CNN has given significant airtime and clearly devoted resources to Ward’s most recent trip to, quite literally, the frontlines of terror.  … Ward believes that this most recent trip along with her producer Salma Abdelaziz marked the first time in a year-and-a-half that any Western journalist had covered the calamitous developments on the ground. … All elements of the CNN enterprise have championed Ward’s work with prime placement, including digital and social media platforms. Ward’s Facebook Live discussion this week reached 1.7 million viewers alone.

It’s a bold and admirable programming move. … As Ward told me, the devastation for the Syrian people is far from over, and her role covering the crisis will likely continue until a specific, clear objective is reached:

“Really it comes down to one key demand,” Ward told me. “President Bashar al-Assad must step down. For the people on the ground, it’s a dealbreaker.” [My note: repeated polling throughout Syria by U.S.-and-allied polling organizations shows that over 50% of Syrians want Bashar al-Assad to remain as the President and that 82% of Syrians blame the U.S. for the tens of thousands of foreign jihadists who have invaded Syria to oust and replace him. However, those same polls also show that some areas in Syria support the jihadists and want Assad ousted. But, in any case, Ward’s assertion is rabidly false, that: “President Bashar al-Assad must step down. For the people on the ground, it’s a dealbreaker.” Furthermore, twice in one day, the Secretary General of the U.N., Ban ki-Moon, rebuked this U.S. position and he said The future of Assad must be determined by the Syrian people” and not by the U.S. or any other foreign government dictating Assad be removed from power.]

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http://www.thewrap.com/why-

Why CNN’s Clarissa Ward May Be the Biggest Badass in Cable News

“Your body responds with this surge of adrenaline, shock and fear,” the war correspondent says of getting caught in an airstrike

Brian Flood | April 10, 2016 @ 1:43 PM

CNN’s Clarissa Ward recently traveled undercover to a rebel-held area of Syria, where she witnessed 11 people die in an airstrike, but she didn’t miss a beat and reported on the chaos as it unfolded. …

Ward, filmmaker Bilal Abdul Kareem and producer Salma Abdelaziz were filming at the top of a hill when the airstrikes hit and the plume of smoke was visible in the background of her video. Instead of taking shelter, they immediately jumped in a car and headed toward the devastation. …

“It’s so shocking on a physical level. Your body responds with this surge of adrenaline, shock and fear. It all kind of collides in one,” Ward said.

For that kind of reporting, the 36-year-old Yale graduate has already won just about every journalism award out there — Peabody, Emmy, DuPont, Murrow and a Royal Television Society award with CNN’s coverage of the Paris attacks last November. In November, she will be honored with the International Center for Journalists’ Excellence in International Reporting Award. …

As Maddox said, “One of the reasons CNN hired Clarissa is because she’s an incredibly talented journalist who is committed to telling stories the world needs to know.”

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https://www.facebook.com/

Bilal Abdul Kareem

June 16 [2017] at 12:33pm ·

Piece I filmed w/CNN (Undercover in Syria) won the prestigious Overseas Press Club & Peabody awards but CNN “forgot” to mention me. High respects to CNN correspondent Clarissa Ward for mentioning me even if CNN didn’t! Alhamdo lilaah I got another award from some good hearted Syrians that’s worth more than those put together. Check it out!

15K Views

VIDEO:

“You know, there was a piece that I did, along with other members of OG and staff, called Undercover in Syria. This was with CNN, and their correspondent Clarissa Ward, which I have big-time respect for, big-time respect, as a journalist, and as a person. Now, this Undercover in Syria — you can google it — won the prestigious Peabody Award, and it won the prestigious Overseas Press Club award, which are basically the highest awards in journalism!”

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[NOTE: The following excerpts, from AlterNet, cut down a 4,366-word news-report about Bilal Abdul Kareem, to a still lengthy 1,669 words. Though that’s long, this is a sensationally good news-report; and, even including here these 1,669 words from it, all of the 3,847 words of excerpts taken together are still significantly shorter than the entirety of that single AlterNet news-report, which is far the best and most truthful of the articles that are excerpted here:]

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http://www.alternet.org/world/

Bilal Abdul Kareem, Prominent U.S. ‘Journalist’ in Syria, Serves as Mouthpiece for Violent Extremists

A closer look at Bilal Abdul Kareem’s body of work reveals an established record of creating sectarian propaganda for extremist Syrian rebels.

By Ben Norton / AlterNet December 29, 2016, 4:54 PM GMT

During the final days of rebel control over the eastern areas of Aleppo, the Western media depended almost entirely on a handful of English-speaking, self-described activists to relay news of the situation to a captivated public. These figures served a dual purpose, acting as spokespeople for the beleaguered Syrian opposition while deflecting attention from armed insurgents dominated by extreme Islamists. Nestled among them was an American, Bilal Abdul Kareem, who may be one of the most remarkable characters of the Syrian civil war. The uncritical promotion and reflexive praise this character has received from a variety of U.S. media outlets raises serious questions about the coverage of a conflict that is often presented as a one-sided slaughter at the hands of the Syrian Arab Army and its allies. …

Abdul Kareem has helped produce a series for CNN, and has also produced reports with the U.K.’s Channel 4, the BBC and Skynews. He has written for Al Jazeera and has been featured in segments on an array of major media outlets. He even participated in a panel discussion at the [neoconservative, pro-invade-anywhere] Brookings Doha Center alongside the extremely hawkishSyria analyst Charles Lister, titled “Syria and Iraq: The Future Prospects of Jihadism.”

Yet what these media outlets and institutions have not disclosed about Abdul Kareem is that he has a long and established record of creating what is essentially propaganda for extremist groups in Syria. Abdul Kareem has conducted dozens of glowing interviews with militants from extremist groups, including Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliate and its hardline allies. Worse, he appears to have expressed support for Anwar Al-Awlaki, the extremist preacher credited with inspiring multiple attacks, including the mass shooting at the Fort Hood military base. (Abdul Kareem did not respond to multiple requests for comment from AlterNet for this article.)

AlterNet reviewed scores of Abdul Kareem’s videos, and in not one did he address the atrocities any of the ultra-sectarian Islamist groups have carried out against civilians, minorities in particular. …

Not only has Abdul Kareem consistently facilitated the dissemination of his guests’ extreme views, he even gives them opportunities to call on viewers around the world to join them in their fight in Syria. …

Abdul Kareem makes it clear that he opposes democracy in Syria, claiming such a system is “alien” to the Syrian people whereas “a governing style of Islam is something that is familiar to them.” …

Abdul Kareem defends the extremist rebel group Ahrar al-Sham. … On his website, Abdul Kareem laments that the hard-line Islamist group “has been getting a bit of a bad reputation as of late for some of their political stances,” and stresses, “this Islamic revolution would not be where it is today without Ahrar Asham.”

Ahrar al-Sham has collaborated with and fought alongside Syrian al-Qaeda. It has engaged in sectarian attacks on civilians, such as the killing and kidnapping of Alawite [Shia] women and children in the village of Zara. Amnesty International also documented how Ahrar al-Sham and the Syrian franchise of al-Qaeda have destroyed churches and confiscated the homes and stolen the belongings of Christian Syrians. Christians in the major rebel-held city of Idlib reported being told they must convert or leave. …

One of the first videos Abdul Kareem released on his Facebook page is an interview with a fighter from Jabhat al-Nusra, Syria’s arm of al-Qaeda. It was filmed in early August 2015 at the frontline of fighting between the extremist group and secular, leftist Kurdish fighters. …

The first long-form interview Abdul Kareem published to his Facebook page is an August 2015 discussion with Abu Firas al-Suri, a leader of Jabhat al-Nusra. …

“Our mission is guiding the people, taking them by the hand and helping them so we all are able to achieve the supremacy of the sharia of Allah on Earth. And our mission in Syria is a part of that mission,” Abu Firas proclaimed. He added, “Our goals are not limited only to Syria, however our current battle is in Syria.”

The only criticisms Abdul Kareem levied at the al-Qaeda leader in his interview were from the perspective of those who were even more radical. “Your group now controls large territories,” Abdul Kareem noted, “but some criticize you saying that you don’t apply the Islamic Sharia.” …

Abdul Kareem also invited Abu Firas to talk about the social services al-Nusra provides to people in Syria. Abu Firas, who associated himself with al-Qaeda in the interview, said they offer medical services, education, road repair, water delivery, houses and electricity.

Although Jabhat al-Nusra is an enemy of ISIS, Abu Firas stressed on Abdul Kareem’s video program, “We didn’t initiate fighting or criticising ISIS.” He continued, “As for fighting them, we’re not keen to fight them; we’re not keen to fight anyone who’s not an obstacle facing Islam.”

“We didn’t choose to oppose ISIS militarily or even politically,” Abu Firas explained. …

Demonizing Shia Muslims

On June 17, Bilal Abdul Kareem published a high-quality animated trailer for an upcoming episode of “Face the Truth” that promised to reveal who Shia Muslims truly are. “The Syrian crisis has quickly become a sectarian war between Sunnis-Shiite-Alawites,” he claimed in his Facebook post. Abdul Kareem implied that Shia might not actually be Muslims, writing, “Are they all just Muslims fighting one another? Or do their beliefs say otherwise?”

Three days later, Abdul Kareem published a lengthy interview with the ultra-sectarian Sunni preacher Abdur Razaaq Mahdi, in a video combatively titled “Sunnis vs Shia’.” …

Mahdi deplores Alawites as “Nusayri” unbelievers. “Oh Allah, destroy the Alawites and those who ally with them from the thugs, the Shia, the Russians, the Iranians!” he proclaims in the video. “Kill them all! …

Recruiting foreign fighters

Abdul Kareem’s interview with the Syria-based Saudi warlord Abdallah al-Muhaysini might be the most disturbing instance of promoting violent extremism. …

Al-Muhaysini continued claiming, “The war in Syria or jihad in Syria, today we’re in jihad against Shia, Alawites and Khawarij.” …

“Does that mean I should leave my family and everything I studied at university?” Naturally, al-Muhaysini replied in the affirmative, insisting it is a true believer’s duty, and they will be rewarded for it.

“Read the six rewards Allah gives to the martyr and you will forget everything,” al-Muhaysini countered. …

Opposing democracy

… In an interview posted in May, Abdul Kareem gave an Islamist rebel a platform to condemn democracy and instead argue for the importance of creating a theocratic society in Syria.

“Jihad is our way and pride,” Abu Osama al-Shawkani insisted in the video. “Democracy is ungratefulness.” He added, “Secularism is not our way.”

Abdul Kareem’s guest argued that experiments at implementing democracy in Algeria and Egypt “just failed.” He even went out of his way to pit Islam, the religion of 1.7 billion people, against such a form of governance.

They “will never accept applying Islam through democracy, and the one who says that he wants democracy doesn’t understand,” al-Shawkani insisted. Democracy “is a method against Allah’s method.” Abdul Kareem concluded the interview telling al-Shawkani, “May Allah reward you, brother.”

Abdul Kareem does not hide this extreme sectarianism and opposition to democracy; these views pervade his videos and are visible on his Facebook page. But in their apparent zeal to cultivate a pro-rebel narrative, major media outlets have consistently failed to acknowledge this fact.

Media coverage

Despite his ties to extremist groups, a vast array of influential media outlets have relied on Bilal Abdul Kareem’s reporting from Aleppo, and have treated it as reputable.

CNN, for which Abdul Kareem helped produce a series of reports alongside the international correspondent Clarissa Ward, interviewed Abdul Kareem on Dec. 13 for a segment on the Syrian government’s recapture of rebel-held eastern Aleppo. CNN’s Hala Gorani described him simply as an “independent journalist,” without any other background information or context.

Abdul Kareem told Gorani, “I don’t think that anybody here is happy with the way things have turned out.” He also claimed civilians do not want to go to government-held western Aleppo. In reality, manyinterviews with former residents of eastern Aleppo who escaped to the government-controlled western side revealed that rebels shot at them. The U.N. has also said rebels obstructed civilians from leaving. …

Even left-leaning websites that traditionally criticize corporate media outlets for toeing the party line have been derelict. Truthout ran an article that cited Abdul Kareem’s castigation of Turkey and Gulf regimes, simply identifying him as a “journalist.”

The Intercept’s Murtaza Hussain likewise gave a substantial platform to Abdul Kareem back in June, applauding him for providing “a unique perspective on the conflict in Syria.” …

On the Ground News and helpers

In 2015, Abdul Kareem supplemented his interview program “Face the Truth” by launching On the Ground News, an outlet that features more traditional journalistic reports from inside rebel-held areas in Syria.

On the Ground News saw a marked increase in production quality, with videos accompanied by slick animations and graphic design. In some, Abdul Kareem could be seen seated in front of a green screen, declaring that he was broadcasting from “our studios.” Where On the Ground News gets its funding from is not clear and, as mentioned, Abdul Kareem did not respond to AlterNet’s requests. …

Applauding the Fort Hood shooter

In 2009, two years before the Syrian civil war erupted, Abdul Kareem composed a post in a Google group for expats in Dubai that endorsed an article by an extremist preacher who heroized the gunman who had just carried out a mass shooting at the Fort Hood military base in Texas. …

——

In closing:

A series of three articles that I did for the Strategic Culture Foundation, and which was subsequently published together in one article at the Signs of Our Times website, describes the U.S. government’s support for Al Nusra (Al Qaeda in Syria) ever since at least 2012, America’s assisting Al Qaeda, and working with Al Qaeda’s royal Saudi, Qatari and UAE funders, to overthrow Syria’s government — using U.S.-Saudi-backed jihadists to topple and replace yet another Russia-allied head-of-state. The U.S. government is pro-jihadist because those jihadists are ‘our’ boots-on-the-ground, waging war, as ‘our’ proxies, against Russia. And, America’s ‘news’ media cheer this rampant butchery on, and even award ‘journalism’ prizes to its slickest propagandists, who pour forth on TV and at ‘journalism’ awards ceremonies, jerking tears from the gulls. This also explains how it can be that, as Gallup headlined on 19 June 2017, “George W. Bush and Barack Obama Both Popular in Retirement”. Democracy is impossible in such a country, just as it was in the novel 1984.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Washington’s plan for chaos and the Syrian encirclement خطة واشنطن للفوضى والقفص السوري

Washington’s plan for chaos and the Syrian encirclement

يونيو 19, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

Before the battle of Aleppo, Moscow was preparing to participate with Washington in a political context that avoids the military solutions and devotes the common cooperation to eliminate the terrorism represented by Al Nusra and ISIS. Washington was unable to meet the requirements of that involvement for reasons related to the presidential elections on one hand, and because the military department does not lean to cooperate with Russia on the other hand, and because the US intelligence department betted on the choice of chaos which based on adopting the Kurdish state and restricting the war on ISISI as well as managing the movement of ISIS from one area to another.

After the battle of Aleppo, the US presidential elections, and the passage of time, it seemed apparently that America tried to neglect the understanding signed by the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the US Secretary of State John Kerry, it moved to send force messages to the Syrian army to revive the armed groups, and to draw red lines that allow the movement of ISIS from Raqqa towards Palmyra, Badia, and Deir Al Zour and allow having control over the Syrian-Iraqi borders by the groups affiliated to Washington, despite the clarity of what will be as tension with Moscow on one hand, and with Turkey on the other hand.

After the crystallization of the US plan and adopting it practically, there were features of Syrian encirclement that embraces the US plan and allures it. It seemed that Russia and Iran support strongly the Syrian plan. The title of the Syrian plan is the avoidance of the direct confrontation with the Americans along with non-compliance with their red lines. The encirclement will be able to disable the US plan, and it will get narrow gradually from the fronts of the northeast of Aleppo, Palmyra, and the Syrian-Iraqi borders to drop the theory of the rolling of ISISI and restricting the final battle with ISIS in Deir Al Zour. The Syrians along with the Russian fiery support, an Iranian fighting participation and an active presence of Hezbollah advance rapidly in Badia, they have control over what is equal three times of Lebanon’s area. They progressed towards Raqqa and had control over more than one thousand kilometers of the area of the province; they moved along the Euphrates towards Deir Al Zour and progressed from Palmyra towards Sokhna towards Deir Al Zour. They moved to meet the Popular Crowd across the borders do not care about the expected US fire, till the borders line became resolved by facts where ISIS, the Kurds and the Americans were confined by the Syrian army which deploys along the Euphrates River, closing Badia and restricting the battle in the northern of the River.

The progress of Mosul’s battles after closing the western passages of withdrawal in front of ISIS as Raqqa, and the closing of the southern passages of withdrawal made Deir Al Zour the decisive battle in Syria and Iraq, it is a battle where the Syrian army confines the Americans who cannot get out but only by getting out of the battle with ISIS, but they do not bear that, so the only way in front of them is to cooperate with the Syrian army as unavoidable condition to win the war on ISIS and in order to say that Washington played a crucial role in the victory over the terrorism.

The Syrian encirclement is winning over the US red line, and what was refused by the Americans a year ago, its minimum will be accepted by them before the end of the year.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

خطة واشنطن للفوضى والقفص السوري

 

يونيو 17, 2017

– منذ ما قبل معركة حلب كانت موسكو قد فتحت الأبواب للتشارك مع واشنطن في سياق سياسي يتفادَى الحول العسكرية ويكرس التعاون المشترك للقضاء على الإرهاب، ممثلا بالنصرة وداعش، وقد عجزت واشنطن عن تلبية متطلبات هذا الانخراط لأسباب تتصل بالانتخابات الرئاسية من جهة، ولميل المؤسسة العسكرية لعدم التعاون مع روسيا من جهة أخرى، ولرهان المؤسسة الاستخبارية الأميركية على خيار الفوضى القائم أصلاً على تبني الحالة الكردية وحصر الحرب على داعش بها وإدارة تدحرج داعش من منطقة إلى منطقة.

– بعد معركة حلب والانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية ومرور بعض الوقت بدا الاتجاه الأميركي واضحاً بطي الصفحة على التفاهم الذي وقعه وزيرا الخارجية الروسي سيرغي لافروف والأميركي جون كيري، والسير باتجاه رسائل القوة نحو الجيش السوري لإنعاش الجماعات المسلحة ورسم خطوط حمراء تتيح تنقل داعش من الرقة نحو تدمر والبادية ودير الزور وتسمح للجماعات المحسوبة على واشنطن بإمساك الحدود السورية العراقية، رغم وضوح ما سيترتب على كل ذلك من توتر مع موسكو من جهة ومع تركيا من جهة أخرى.

– بعد تبلور الخطة الأميركية والسير فيها عملياً، برزت ملامح قفص سوري يحيط بالخطة الأميركية ويستدرجها إلى داخله، وبدا بقوة أن روسيا وإيران تقفان بقوة وراء الخطة السورية، وعنوان الخطة السورية تفادي المواجهة المباشرة مع الأميركيين مع عدم التقيّد بخطوطهم الحمراء، فالقفص سيتكفل بإبطال الخطة الأميركية، والقفص يضيق تدريجياً من جهات شمال شرق حلب وتدمر والحدود السورية العراقية لإسقاط نظرية تدحرج داعش وحصر المعركة النهائية مع التنظيم في دير الزور، وسار السوريون ومعهم دعم ناري روسي ومشاركة قتالية إيرانية وحضور فاعل لحزب الله، للتقدم السريع في البادية فسيطروا على ما يعادل ثلاث مرات مساحة لبنان، وتقدّموا نحو الرقة وسيطروا على أكثر من ألف كلم مربع من مساحة المحافظة وساروا مع مجرى الفرات نحو دير الزور وتقدّموا من تدمر نحو السخنة باتجاه دير الزور حتى صاروا على مرمى حجر منها، واتجهوا لملاقاة الحشد الشعبي عبر الحدود غير آبهين بالنيران الأميركية المتوقّعة، حتى صار خط الحدود محسوماً بالوقائع ومثله القفص الذي يحتوي قوات داعش والأكراد والأميركيين، بقوس ينتشر عليه الجيش السوري مع مجرى نهر الفرات يغلق البادية ويحصر المعركة شمال النهر.

– تقدّم معارك الموصل بعد إغلاق محاور الانسحاب غرباً أمام داعش ومثله الرقة وإغلاق ممرات الانسحاب جنوباً يجعلان دير الزور المعركة الفاصلة في سورية والعراق، وهي معركة يضعها الجيش السوري وحلفاؤه في قفص لا يملك الأميركيون الخروج منه إلا بالخروج من المعركة مع داعش، وهو ما لا يستطيعونه، حتى صار الباب الوحيد أمامهم السعي للتعاون مع الجيش السوري شرطاً لا مفر منه للفوز بالحرب على داعش والقول إن واشنطن لعبت دوراً حاسماً في الانتصار على الإرهاب.

– القفص السوري ينتصر على الخط الأحمر الأميركي، وما رفضه الأميركيون قبل عام سيرضون بأقل منه قبل نهاية العام.

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From Bahrain to Badia ….. the remorse من البحرين إلى البادية… الندم

From Bahrain to Badia ….. the remorse

Written by Nasser Kandil,

Since the end of the first hundred days of the term of the US President Donald Trump the US escalation scenes  have been integrated, so this drove some people to conclude that a new stage in the confrontations are awaiting the region, but the  checking in the content of the US escalating steps  indicates to a hidden equation between them. All of which were available for the previous administration but they were with dead end, and without future that changes the balances of forces, and a wasting of time and effort, so it committed to read the ends in more rational way and upon them it decided to go to the negotiation without Hollywood adventures which their consequences are well known, it expressed the bankruptcy and the inability. Therefore this led to the progress of the opposite axis seriously in the fields of confrontation and it was obliged to negotiate with it from a weaker position.

The sanctions on Iran were an offer presented by Benjamin Netanyahu to the former US President Barack Obama instead of signing the nuclear understanding, the response of Obama was what is after, a return to negotiation after Iran has made a great progress in its nuclear program, and an acceptance of more difficult terms in understating for the benefit of Iran. As the sanctions were always present on the US table, there were Saudi projects for the escalation in Yemen and Bahrain, many of which were given the red light hoping to win fronts and battlefields, when the ruling balances of confrontation have become apparent and after every escalation has become mere temporal profit that leads to more confrontation and to more difficult and dangerous areas the light becomes yellow.

Observing the US escalation arenas in the era of Donald Trump refers to the consequences of giving the green light to Saudi Arabia to adopt bloody excessive behavior in the eastern region under sectarian titles that will lead to civil war that is out of control. While the adoption  of the savagery in Bahrain as happened since the announced speech of Trump to the King of Bahrain in Riyadh summit that the matters between us will be better from now on, which means we will neither consider the organizations of human rights, nor the press, nor the public opinion, will legalized him and the Saudi regime to commit open massacres in Bahrain, and this will produce illusions of victories, but at the same time it will lead the popular uprising to the armed confrontation which wants only the decision for the ignition of Bahrain, and to make the future of its regime in danger whatever the Americans and the Saudis mobilize for it.

Military Situation In Syria On May 26, 2017 (Map Update)

In the Syrian and the Iraqi Badia, the Americans did what they could as Hollywood signs to draw red lines which were always available at the era Barack Obama, as the raid of Tanf, or the strike of Shuairat Airport. But the result now is no one cares about Trump’s red lines since the sites of his allies are fallen in favor of the Syrian army and its allies which expanded within a month in the Badia in five thousands kilometer square, as the popular crowd did in Iraq. So the Americans found themselves once again in front of the difficult choices,; either to leave their allies falling or to move to a war that is out of control. In both cases there are losses and a return to negotiation from the position of weakness.

The former US diplomats in the groups of thought in the studies centers that discuss the situations in Homs, Aleppo, and Hama ask what would be the situation if the Americans have decided and have imposed the acceptance on their allies of a settlement with Russia, Syria, and Iran before the fall of the sites of the armed groups in these areas, according to what was stated in the understanding which made by the Secretary of State at that time John Kerry with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, the answer is that the Americans will recognize later the gratitude made by the administration of Obama by going to have understanding on the nuclear program with Iran, not paying attention to Netanyahu’s advice which it seemed that Trump is inclined to it if he was the negotiator. The remorse will be great for the steps of the risk of escalation, by ignoring the opportunities of settlements and taking the region into escalation, while there is no war decision as the size of changing the balances.

The US President does not care about the far future of his country, but to overcome temporarily the embarrassments and the crises in the stage of his era even through buying time, and inheriting the crises for ancestors. The more the internal image of the president is getting confused, the more the need for buying time as gamblers becomes apparent as a way for ruling. This is what is done by Trump in politics, war, and economy.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

 

من البحرين إلى البادية… الندم

 

ناصر قنديل

– تتكامل حلقات التصعيد الأميركي منذ نهاية المئة الأولى من ولاية الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب، ما دفع البعض للاستنتاج أن مرحلة جديدة في المواجهات تنتظر المنطقة، لكن التدقيق في مضمون الخطوات التصعيدية الأميركية يشير إلى معادلة خفية تربط بينها، فهي جميعاً كانت متاحة للإدارة السابقة لكنها كانت تراها بأفق مسدود، وبلا مستقبل يغير موازين القوى وإضاعة للوقت والجهد، فتلتزم بقراءة أشد عقلانية للنهايات وتقرّر بناء عليها الذهاب للتفاوض بلا مغامرات هوليودية معلومة النتائج وتعبر عن الإفلاس والعجز وتؤدي بالنهاية إلى تقدم المحور المقابل جدياً في ميادين المواجهة الحقيقية، وتفرض التفاوض معه من موقع أضعف.

– العقوبات على إيران كانت عرضاً قدّمه بنيامين نتنياهو للرئيس الأميركي السابق باراك أوباما بدلاً من توقيع التفاهم النووي، وكان جواب أوباما وماذا بعد، عودة للتفاوض وقد تقدمت إيران أشواطاً جديدة في ملفها النووي، وقبول بشروط أصعب في التفاهم لصالح إيران. ومثل العقوبات كان دائماً على طاولة البيت الأبيض مشاريع سعودية للتصعيد في اليمن والبحرين، وكان قد منح الكثير منها الضوء الأخضر أملاً بربح جبهات وساحات مواجهة، ولما بانت التوازنات الحاكمة للمواجهة وصار كل تصعيد مجرد ربح بصري مؤقت، ينتج المزيد من المواجهة ويذهب بها إلى مناطق أشد صعوبة وخطورة، صار الضوء أصفر.

– معاينة ساحات التصعيد الأميركي في عهد دونالد ترامب تشير إلى النتائج المترتبة على منح الضوء الأخضر للسعودية بسلوك دموي مفرط في المنطقة الشرقية بعناوين مذهبية سيوصل لمشروع حرب أهلية يخرج عن السيطرة، بينما الذهاب للوحشية في البحرين، كما يحدث منذ كلام ترامب المعلن لملك البحرين في قمة الرياض أن الأمور ستكون بيننا أفضل من الآن وصاعداً، بمعنى لا منظمات حقوق إنسان سنقيم لها اعتباراً ولا صحافة ولا رأي عام، بما يمثل إطلاق يده ويد النظام السعودي في ارتكاب مجازر مفتوحة في البحرين، سينتج أوهام انتصارات لكنه سينتقل بالانتفاضة الشعبية إلى المواجهة المسلحة التي لا ينقصها إلا القرار ليشتعل البحرين ويصير مستقبل نظامه على كفّ عفريت مهما حشد له الأميركيون والسعوديون.

– في البادية السورية والبادية العراقية فعل الأميركيون ما يستطيعون من إشارات هوليودية لرسم خطوط حمراء، كانت متاحة دائماً لسلف ترامب باراك اوباما كغارة التنف أو ضربة مطار الشعيرات. وها هي النتيجة،

لا أحد يأبه لخطوط ترامب الحمراء ومواقع جماعاته تسقط لحساب الجيش السوري وحلفائه الذي توسّعوا خلال شهر في البادية بمساحة خمسة آلاف كليومتر مربع، ومثلهم فعل الحشد الشعبي في العراق، ووجد الأميركيون أنفسهم مجدداً أمام الخيارات الصعبة، وهي ترك حلفائهم يتساقطون، أو التحوّل نحو حرب تخرج عن السيطرة، وفي الحالين خسائر وعودة للتفاوض من موقع الضعف.

– يتساءل دبلوماسيون أميركيون سابقون في مجموعات التفكير في مراكز الدراسات بمناسبة مناقشة وضع حمص وحلب وحماة، عما كان عليه الوضع لو حزم الأميركيون أمرهم وفرضوا القبول على حلفائهم بالتسوية مع الروس وسورية وإيران قبل سقوط مواقع الجماعات المسلحة في هذه المناطق، وفقاً لما نص عليه التفاهم الذي أنجزه وزير الخارجية آنذاك جون كيري مع نظيره الروسي سيرغي لافروف، والجواب هو سيعترف الأميركيون لاحقاً بجميل إدارة أوباما لما فعلته بالذهاب إلى التفاهم النووي مع إيران ولم تأخذ بنصيحة نتنياهو، التي يبدو ترامب ميالاً للأخذ بها لو كان هو المفاوض يومها، ومثل ذلك سيكون الندم كبيراً على خطوات المخاطرة بالتصعيد بتفويت فرص التسويات وأخذ المنطقة إلى حمام دم، بينما لا قرار حرب بحجم تغيير التوازنات.

– الرئيس الأميركي لا يهمه المستقبل البعيد لبلاده، بل أن يتخطى مؤقتاً الإحراجات والأزمات في فترة ولايته، ولو على طريقة شراء الوقت وتوريث الأزمات للسلف، وكلما كانت صورة الرئيس الداخلية مهزوزة صار شراؤه للوقت على طريقة المقامرين أكثر وضوحاً كطريقة لإدارة الحكم، وهذا ما يفعله ترامب في السياسة والحرب والاقتصاد.

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كيف تقتل سورية مشروع التقسيم .. أمام عيني أمه أميريكا؟؟

كيف تقتل سورية مشروع التقسيم .. أمام عيني أمه أميريكا؟؟

بقلم نارام سرجون

لاتستهويني في الحياة الا أسرار الأسرار التي تشبه الصور الضوئية التي ان خرجت للضوء قبل معالجتها في الغرف المظلمة احترقت .. ومن طبيعة الأسرار أنها تشبه الأجنة في الارحام .. نتابعها تنمو وتكبر ولكننا لانصل اليها ولانراها و ننتظر خروجها لنتأمل ملامحها .. وان خرجت في غير مواعيدها ماتت ..

لكن هذه حرب لاتشبه غيرها من الحروب لأنها حرب ليست فيها أسرار .. فالعدو واضح جدا .. والنوايا واضحة جدا .. وما ينشر من وثائق ويقال في الخطب يفوق في خطورته مايكتب عليه أنه سري للغاية .. ظاهرها هو أكذب مافيها وباطنها هو أصدق مافيها .. وطاهرها أقذر مافيها .. فليست الحرية ولاقضية الانسان هي هدف أي من القادمين بالثورة .. بل كل مافيها حرب متعلقة بخطوط الطاقة وخطوط النفوذ ومنصات السيطرة على مفاتيح القرن الحالي وقضم الجغرافيا والتهام خطوطها .. وتقسيم الدماء والأديان والأوطان الى شظايا ..

ولكن هل نستطيع أن نقول بثقة الآن بأن المشروع الأميريكي لخلق الشرق الأوسط الجديد قد تعرض لهزيمة كبيرة .. أو هل صار مشروع التقسيم غير قابل للحياة؟؟ اذا فشل مشروع الشرق الأوسط الجديد فان هذا يعني أن التقسيم هو الذي قصم ظهره .. لأنه لشرق أوسط جديد من دون دويلات جديدة وتقسيم للجغرافيا ..

المعطيات كلها تقول بان الشرق الأوسط الجديد لن يولد وأن هذا الجنين الذي زرعته أميريكا في بطن الثورة السورية لتحمله كالأم وتغذيه من مشيمتها يموت في بطن أمه .. وتموت معه خطوط التقسيم التي بشرتنا بها كل الخطب والمعاهد والسياسيين ..

علينا أن ندرك داعش هو قلب الثورة وعصبها الذي تراهن على ثباته مهما قيل انها تتناقض معه لأن المعارضة السورية وبعد الأخذ بنصيحة روبرت فورد اقتنعت بأن تلجأ الى قهر الدولة السورية بمخالب داعش .. فورد في لقاءاته مع المعارضين السوريين كان يقول بان النظام شرس للغاية ولايمكن قهره الا بخلق قوة اكثر شراسة منه وتتفوق عليه في قوة الرعب .. ولذلك فان داعش السورية هي نسخة أنتجتها المعارضة السورية مع المخابرات الغربية والتركية والسعودية وهي مأخوذة من النموذج العراقي أو لنقل بأن المعارضة السورية وحلفاءها استدعت داعش من العراق أو فتحت لها الأبواب سرا (بنصيحة غالية من روبرت فورد) للانضمام الى جهود الثورة السورية العسكرية .. والمعارضة تعلم ان خبرات داعش عالية جدا وفيها خيرة النخب العسكرية للعهد السابق في العراق والتي أعيدت ادلجتها مذهبيا بعد الصدمة النفسية لسقوط بغداد الذي عزي للمؤامرة التي تورطت فيها المعارضة “الشيعية” .. فكانت داعش مبرمجة بعد ذلك لاستهداف النقيض المذهبي لها .. وقبلت المعارضة السورية العرض بتدخل داعش العراقية في الحرب السورية وفق منظورها المذهبي وأنتجت منها معادلة التلاقي بأن المعارضة السورية سنية وسترد بالمثل على جريمة المعارضة العراقية الشيعية .. وكان لابد ان تلتقي المعارضة السورية التي أخذت دور المعارضة العراقية في شقها الشيعي تماما في التحالف مغ الغرب واستنساخ عملية اسقاط البعث السوري كونه يمثل -برأيها – نقطة الثأر الكبرى الجاذبة للجمهور السني الحانق لأنه يشكل نقيضا مذهبيا للمعارضة السورية تماما كما فعلت المعارضة العراقية في استدعاء المزاج المذهبي الشيعي ضد البعث العراقي الذي مثله الرئيس صدام حسين ومجموعته ..

لذلك فان قوة التقسيم والتمزيق للخريطة السورية كانت تتركز في داعش لأن صناع الثورة كانوا يراهنون على قوة داعش في دعم مشروع التقسيم لأن مشروع التقسيم الكبير هو ما كلفت به داعش باطلاقه بعد فشل اطلاقه من وسط سورية بحرب طائفية في حمص (بابا عمرو) .. ومنحت كل التسهيلات لها عبر فتح أسواق النفط والتجارة عبر تركيا واسرائيل .. وكان من الواضح أن هناك تنسيقا ميدانيا عاليا بين داعش والنصرة وأن هناك تقاسما وتناوبا على الجبهات بينهما مهما قيل عن حالة صراع مزعوم .. فقد اقتطع كل تنظيم جغرافيته وشعبه وموارده ونقاط حدوده ونوافذه وبدا في عملية الانعزال عن الآخر والاستقلال والدفاع عن مكاسبه ضد الآخر وتكفيره دون محاولة تدمير الخصم .. وكان هذا مايلفت النظر في أن التنظيمين فيهما كل مايجمع ويتوافقان في الرايات والأهداف والمنطق والطريقة ولكن مع هذا كانا ينفصلان جغرافيا وسياسيا في حين كان كل واحد منهما يقوم بتسهيل عمل الآخر عسكريا .. فكلما تقدم الجيش السوري على حساب النصرة تحركت داعش وضربت الجيش في وسط ظهره وبالعكس .. فبعد تحرير حلب تحركت داعش نحو تدمر وهددت حمص لأنه كان هناك اعتقاد أن الجيش سيتوجه الى ادلب حيث النصرة تخشى الهزيمة .. وكلما توجه تركيز الجيش نحو داعش تحركت النصرة للتخفيف عن داعش كما حصل عندما تحركت النصرة في حماة وجوبر وحركت الجبهات عندما ظهرت نية للجيش لمسابقة الاميريكيين نحو المنطقة الشرقية وتدمير خطوط داعش ..

ان داعش في الحقيقة هي قلب “الثورة السورية” ونجاح الثورة العسكري يعتمد على قوة داعش التي أظهرت بأسها في المنطقة الشرقية وعصفت بنقاط الجيش القوية .. وجميعنا نذكر جون كيري عندما قال بأن الاميريكيين يراقبون داعش وهي تتمدد نحو تهديد العاصمة دمشق لاجبار الأسد على التفاوض معنا .. وكان واضحا أن الغاية من خلق داعش على خط الفرات كان لمنحها حيزا جغرافيا واسعا في الصحراء بحيث تتولى المنطقة الشرقية الفاصلة بين سورية والعراق .. لكن لم يكن من المتوقع ان تتمكن داعش من السيطرة على اكثر من ذلك الفراغ الصحراوي لأن داعش لايقوى على التمدد كثيرا لاعتبارات متعلقة بامكاناته فهو لايملك الفائض العددي للانتشار الا في مدن الصحراء حيث الكثافة السكانية محدودة .. وهو لايملك الفائض العددي للتمدد نحو الداخل السوري الكثيف سكانيا حيث ستتولى النصرة هذا الأمر .. كما أن عملية الفصل الجغرافي والانفصال ضد رغبات السكان لاتقدر عليها الا منظمة فائقة الجريمة غنية بالعناصر الأجنبية التي لاتنتمي الى المجتمع المحلي وقوامها مهاجرون من أصقاع الأرض بحيث أنها تمارس الرعب والترهيب دون موانع قانونية لردع اي تمرد أو قوة رفض .. وبحيث يكون قرار التقسيم قائما بقوة الأمر الواقع ولاتدفعه قرارات دولية فتتجنب الدول الراعية لمشروع التقسيم الاحراج أو اللوم أو الاتهام المباشر بأنها ترعى التقسيم .. الذي يبدو انفصالا طبيعيا بقوة العنف الذي يفرض نفسه حتى وان بقيت داعش لسنوات طويلة منطقة خارج الشرعية الدولية وتعيش وكانها (مثلث برمودا) أو كيان شاذ عن النظام الدولي لايقبل الترويض ولايكبح جماحه ..

أما جبهة النصرة فانها تكمل مالاتقدر عليه داعش حيث تتولى عملية مشاغلة الجيش السوري ومنعه من الحشد ضد داعش .. وهي تنظيم مشابه لداعش لكن العنصر السوري فيه أكثر وضوحا وهو متغلغل في الريف السوري مما يسمح له بالاستناد الى حاضنة معقولة .. وهذا التنظيم كان يتم تحضيره كي يتحول الى كيان سياسي يمكن التفاوض معه بحيث يتم الاعتراف به دوليا ليحكم الجزء الغربي من سورية بعد تدمير الدولة السورية ولايخوض اي حرب تحرير مع داعش شرقا وبذلك يتم التقسيم شرقا وغربا ..بكيانين اسلاميين يتقاسمان النفوذ ويتبع كل منهما مرجعيته الخاصة وشرعيته .. وهذا ماسيؤدي بالساحل الى النضوج للانفصال والتفكك أوتوماتيكيا وقد يتبعه جبل العرب كنتيجة اجبارية .. وبذلك يكون التقسيم قد أنجز بفضل داعش والنصرة ..

وفي هذا المشروع لن يكون للأكراد حصة كبيرة في التقسيم وذلك لأن تركيا هي من يشرف على قوة الكيانين الاسلاميين اللذين يمحقان اي قوة كردية تفكر بالانفصال والابتعاد بكيان مستقل شمال سورية ..

وقد تمكنت الديبلوماسية الروسية والسورية من تفعيل الورقة الكردية ضد تركيا باعلان دستور قيل بأن روسيا اقترحته وفيه لم تتم الاشارة الى عروبة الجمهورية السورية وهو يعني عرضا شهيا للأكراد لايضاهيه اي عرض قدم لهم من قبل الأميريكيين الذين لم يقدروا على القول علنا بأنهم سيلجمون الأتراك ويمنعهونهم عن سحق الاحلام الكردية حيث أن من سيتصدر لهذا الدستور هو تركيا قبل أي طرف .. وطبعا تحاول اميريكا بالمقابل الاحتفاظ بالأكراد عبر التلويح بدعمهم وتسليحهم ضد رغبة تركيا ..

كانت عملية تحرير حلب هي أول ضربة قاصمة لمشروع التقسيم لأن النصرة هزمت في حلب وظهر أنها تعرضت لضربة موجعة جدا حيث خسرت خيرة مقاتليها ومعاقلها وبدت أنها تترنح فهي لم تعد منذ تحرير حلب قادرة على القيام سوى بعمليات محدودة وهذا كان واضحا بعد عمليتي حماة وجوبر .. اللتين فشلتا .. والملاحظ أن هذا الضعف انعكس على اداء داعش العسكري أيضا التي تأثرت بشكل ملحوظ بهزيمة النصرة كثيرا في تفاعل غريب متبادل بين التنظيمين اللذين يبدوان مرتبطين بنفس حبل السرة .. ولذلك فان النصرة ستتأثر أكثر اذا ماهزمت داعش وفق نفس الملاحظة والمنظور ..

وهنا ظهرت المناروة الذكية الثانية فهي اقتراح تخفيف التصعيد في مناطق متفرقة وفيها تواجد للنصرة وهي ضربة أخرى قوية لمشروع التقسيم الذي أوكل الى داعش والنصرة .. واختيرت مناطق تخفيف التصعيد بعناية لعزل النصرة وبحيث أنه لايمكن قيام كيانات في هذه المناطق .. بل ان ادلب التي هي الأقرب الى تركيا لن تقدر تركيا على اقتراح انفصالها او الحاقها بها لأن ذلك سيعني أنها يجب أن تعترف بالمقابل بكيان كردي على غرار الكيان الادلبي .. فاذا قامت بسلخ ادلب مثلا فان انسلاخ الشمال الكردي سيكون النتيجة التالية لأنها قدمت المبرر القانوني والشرعي والميداني لذلك ولاتستطيع القول بأنها ترفض كيانا كرديا اذا قبلت بكيان مستقل مشوه في ادلب .. وسيكون القلق الكردي في أقصى مستوياته وهو يرى نفسه محاصرا بين كيان ادلب وكيان اسلامي على نهر الفرات .. وعندها لن تقف روسيا وسورية حائلا أمام انفعال الحركة الكردية التي ستصاب بالرعب من هذا الفخ وسيطلق لها العنان ضد تركيا .. وهذا هو هاجس تركيا .. وقد سمع الاتراك رسائل روسية صريحة بهذا الخصوص قيلت على شكل نصائح ودية بأن اي محاولة لسلخ ادلب او عزلها ككيان غالبا ما سيتلوه حرب كردية تركية حتى الموت تصل الى أحشاء تركيا لن تقدر روسيا على كبح جماحها ولن تقدر على مساعدة تركيا لتجنبها خاصة اذا ما غذتها الحكومة السورية من منطق انها تريد مساعدة شعبها في المنطقة الكردية ليدافع عن نفسه ..

واذا ما تحرك الجيش واسترد المنطقة الشرقية مع الحشد الشعبي العراقي فان شيئين سيتحطمان هما: الثورة السورية ومشروع التقسيم .. فمن غير داعش في الشرق لا تقسيم .. ومن غير داعش في الشرق فان القوى العسكرية المتبقية للارهاب ليست ذات شأن بدليل أن اقصى ماتقدر عليه النصرة قدمته في معركة حلب ولكنها هزمت وسحقت في تلك المعركة الكبيرة .. ومن لايصمد في حلب التي حشد العالم فيها لمنع سقوطها فانه لن يصمد في ادلب الا اسبوعين او ثلاثة .. فالقوة الحقيقية الآن في الرقة والمنطقة الشرقية ..

وتم اقتراح المناطق خفيفة التصعيد لتشكل بؤرة لتبريد الحرب وهي ستظهر وكانها استجابة لاقتراح ترامب في ايجاد مناطق باردة يعود اليها اللاجئون .. فيما يتم تحريك قوات ضخمة في نفس الوقت نحو المنطقة الشرقية لأن استطلاع الحلفاء كان يراقب منذ فترة التحركات في الجنوب وعلى الأراضي الاردنية والتي فهم منها انه للتوغل في جنوب سورية ووصل خط الفرات بجنوب سورية بحيث تلتقي القوات الاميركية في المنطقة الشرقية مع القوات الامريكية ومرتزقتها في الجنوب السوري على شكل قوس يكمل عزل شرق سورية عن غربها بشكل كتيم ..على الرغم أن الغاية الرئيسية منها هي فقط منع القوات السورية من التحشيد نحو المنطقة الشرقية وابقائها في الجنوب مستعدة لاحتمال التحرك الغربي نحو المنطقة الجنوبية .. وبذلك تكون هذه القوات مغناطيسا يمسك بحديد وفولاذ الجيش السوري ويمنعه من تهديد داعش .. لأن داعش هي قلب التقسيم .. وقلب الثورة السورية التي ستسقط بسقوط داعش المخلب الأسود للثورة السورية ..

الاميريكيون يحسون أنهم يجب أن يفصلوا الشرق باي ثمن ولكن محور المقاومة تابع سيره نحو المنطقة الشرقية وفي نفس الوقت أظهر اعلاميا رصده الدقيق لصور الحشود الغربية والمرتزقة في الجنوب كي يقول بصراحة أنه يقظ وان الحشود مرصودة وان ضربها سهل للغاية وان تورطها قد يكلفها غاليا ..

مما سبق نجد أن الديبلوماسية السورية ليست ساذجة وهي تتعامل مع خريطة معقدة جدا ببراعة تحسب لها وأن العقل السياسي السوري متقد ويتفاعل مع كل التحركات بهدوء وطمأنينة .. وهذا من اسباب ثقتنا به وعدم انجرافنا وراء العواطف والانفعالات تجاه كل ما يقال وما تروجه الدعاية .. والسبب هو اننا نتعامل مع حرب واضحة لا أسرار فيها ولاحجب .. بل كل شيء على الطاولة ..وكل الأطراف وضعت أقنعتها جانبا فلم يعد هناك حاجة لارتداء الأقنعة في حفلات لا يتنكر فيها أحد .. الا الأغبياء الذين يمثلون علينا دور الثوار والمعارضين السوريين .. ونحن نرمقهم ونراقبهم ونرى الألوان والأصبغة تذوب عن وجوههم واشعارهم وشعاراتهم ..

Is the US-Russian understanding about Syria coming closer? التفاهم الروسي الأميركي حول سورية يقترب؟

Is the US-Russian understanding about Syria coming closer?

أبريل 3, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

It is certain that the first meeting at the level of the Summit between Washington and Moscow will be held in the next July at the sidelines of the Twentieth Summit which will be held in Hamburg in Germany as announced by  the Russian President Vladimir Putin , and it is certain that the summit will be similar to Cancun Summit in Mexico between the President Vladimir Putin and the President Barack Obama in 2012 it has put the bases of the understandings which the attempts to translate them in political formations remained continuous till the end of Obama’s  mandate. Their center was the work together to reach to a political solution in Syria that avoids the direct collision, but takes into consideration the two opposite red lines of the two parties, but when the formulation of the essence of that agreement becomes clear through the meetings of the Foreign Ministers of Russia and America Sergei Lavrov and John Kerry in Summer 2016 the US military and security organization has disrupted its implementation.

The titles of the US presidential understating which set in Cancun are still valid through the recognition of the mutual need to cooperate in Syria to prevent the turning of its crisis and the war in it into attrition and failure, and the recognition that raising the ceilings will lead to misunderstanding and the reach to the collision which represents greater losses than the supposed concessions to achieve the desired settlement. The political settlement which translated the need for a settlement in the understanding of Kerry-Lavrov is still valid; its essence is the US recognition that the way to avoid collision and the respect of the mutual interests and the opposite red lines is neither in the sharing of Syria, nor in the exchange of the privileges, but through going on in the road map entitled the participation in the war on terrorism, and the investment on rebuilding unified Syrian country that is subject to become stable after taking into consideration rehabilitation of the standards of sovereignty, and the resorting to the ballot boxes in the formation of the rule institutions outside the conditions and the prior conditions.

The military organization which disabled the implementation of Kerry-Lavrov understanding tried to block the adoption of the new US President Donald Trump of his electoral slogans of the priority of the war on ISIS and the intention to cooperate with Russia. It has relatively succeeded in making the private relation with Russia a charge that affects its second part as what has happened with the former national security adviser Michael Flynn. The military organization has succeeded in getting the full authorization from the President Trump to manage the war on ISISI on its way, but the facts of the field starting from the US-Turkish collision about the Kurdish file, and what the issue of Manbej, the direct connection between the Kurds who allied with Washington and the Syrian army, the requirements of the war of the war on ISIS, and the need to have understanding with Russia in every step and moment have imposed themselves. Thus was the historic meeting between the two chiefs of Staff of the Russian and the US armies.

It is not a coincidence that the current United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nicky Healy says and explains what the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is saying while answering a question about the role of the Syrian President in the political settlement that the Syrian people alone can determine the fate of the presidency of Syria, while Healy announced at the spokesman of her administration clearly that the departure of the Syrian President is no longer a US priority as it was at the era of the former administration and that the priorities have changed with the new administration. It is known that the US –Russian separation point which was difficult to be announced clearly by the administration of Obama is that that the priorities changed and the departure of the Syrian President is no longer a priority, despite the continuous attempts of John Kerry to send positions that call to accept the idea of considering the ballot boxes the only way to resolve the future of the Syrian presidency.

What is going on says that the understanding is getting mature and that Hamburg summit between Putin and Trump will put the record straight in an understanding that will draw a new road map that its features start to be shown through the recent US positions politically and in the field.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

 

التفاهم الروسي الأميركي حول سورية يقترب؟

ناصر قنديل

مارس 31, 2017

– بات مؤكداً عقد اللقاء الأول على مستوى القمة بين واشنطن وموسكو في تموز المقبل، على هامش قمة العشرين التي ستنعقد في هامبورغ في ألمانيا، كما أعلن الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين، وبات مؤكداً أن القمة ستشبه قمة كانكون في المكسيك بين الرئيسين فلاديمير بوتين وباراك اوباما في العام 2012، ووضعت أسس التفاهمات التي بقيت المحاولات مستمرّة لترجمتها في صبغ سياسية حتى نهاية ولاية أوباما، وكان جوهرها، العمل معاً لحل سياسي في سورية يتفادى بلوغ التصادم المباشر ويراعي الخطوط الحمراء المتقابلة للطرفين. وعندما نضجت صياغة ما يعبر عن جوهر هذا الاتفاق في لقاءات وزيري الخارجية الروسية والأميركية سيرغي لافروف وجون كيري صيف العام 2016 عطّلت المؤسسة الأميركية العسكرية والأمنية تنفيذه.

– عناوين التفاهم الرئاسي الأميركي التي تمّت في كانكون لا زالت صالحة، بالإقرار بالحاجة المتبادلة للتعاون في سورية منعاً لتحوّل أزمتها والحرب فيها إلى استنزاف وفشل، والإقرار بأن رفع السقوف يؤدي إلى منع التفاهم وبلوغ التصادم الذي يمثل خسائر أكبر من التنازلات المفترضة لبلوغ التسوية المنشودة، كما أن التسوية السياسية التي ترجمت الحاجة للتسوية في تفاهم كيري لافروف لا تزال هي الأخرى صالحة، وجوهرها الإقرار الأميركي أن الطريق لتفادي التصادم واحترام المصالح المتبادلة والخطوط الحمراء المتقابلة، ليس تقاسم سورية ولا تبادل الامتيازات، بل السير في خريطة طريق عنوانها التشارك في الحرب على الإرهاب والاستثمار على إعادة بناء دولة سورية موحّدة قابلة للاستقرار، وما يستدعيه ذلك من صيانة لمعايير السيادة، والاحتكام لصناديق الاقتراع في تشكيل مؤسسات الحكم خارج الشروط والتطلعات المسبقة.

– سعت المؤسسة العسكرية التي عطلت تنفيذ تفاهم كيري لافروف لعرقلة سير الرئيس الأميركي الجديد دونالد ترامب في شعاراته الانتخابية بأولوية الحرب على داعش ونية التعاون مع روسيا، ونجحت نسبياً في جعل العلاقة الخاصة بروسيا تهمة تودي بصاحبها، كما جرى بمستشار الأمن القومي السابق مايكل فلين، ونجحت المؤسسة العسكرية بالحصول على التفويض الكامل من الرئيس ترامب بإدارة الحرب على داعش بطريقتها، لكن وقائع المسرح الميداني فرضت نفسها بدءاً من التصادم التركي الأميركي حول الملف الكردي، وما أثارته قضية منبج والتواصل المباشر بين الأكراد المتحالفين مع واشنطن، بالجيش السوري، ومقتضيات الحرب على داعش والحاجة للتفاهم مع روسيا في كل خطوة ولحظة، فكان اللقاء التاريخي بين رئيسَيْ أركان الجيشين الروسي والأميركي.

– في توقيت واحد ليس مصادفة تقول ممثلة الولايات المتحدة الأميركي في مجلس الأمن الدولي نيكي هيلي، وتشرح ما يقوله وزير الخارجية الأميركية ريد تيلرسون، الذي أجاب على سؤال عن النظرة لدور الرئيس السوري في التسوية السياسية، بأن الشعب السوري هو مَن سيقرر مصير رئاسة سورية، بينما أعلنت هيلي بلسان إدارتها بوضوح أن إزاحة الرئيس السوري لم تعد أولوية اميركية كما كانت في عهد الإدارة السابقة والأولويات قد تغيّرت مع الإدارة الجديدة، ومعلوم أن نقطة الافتراق الروسية الأميركية التي كان يصعب التصريح بها من قبل إدارة أوباما بهذا الوضوح، هي أن الأولويات تغيّرت، وإزاحة الرئيس السوري لم تعُد اولوية، رغم محاولات جون كيري المستمرّة لتمرير مواقف تدعو لتقبّل فكرة اعتبار صناديق الاقتراع الطريق الوحيد لحسم مستقبل الرئاسة السورية.

– ما يجري يقول إن التفاهم ينضج، وإن قمة هامبورغ لبوتين وترامب ستضع النقاط على الحروف في تفاهم يرسم خريطة طريق جديد بدأت ملامحه بالمواقف الأميركية الأخيرة ميدانياً وسياسياً.

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Dear USA: There Will Be No Partition in Syria

Western pundits and politicians are revving up their narratives on the territorial division of Syria. But they do not understand one thing: the partition of Syria – like the removal of Assad – has always been a HARD red line for the Syrian government and its Iranian, Russian and other allies. Fragmentation of states always leads to a power vacuum that is quickly filled by terrorists. We have seen this clearly in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Libya. So why try to do what clearly doesn’t ever work? If the west continues to advance its Syria partition goal, my bet is the blowback will fragment Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Jordan instead…

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Sharmine Narwani


RT OpEdge

East Aleppo is liberated, and regime-change has lost its luster. It’s no surprise Syria’s foes are ready to promote the next big goal: partition. Like most Syrian conflict predictions, of which few have materialized, the ‘partition’ of Syria is not going to happen.

In February, when East Aleppo was still bulging with Western-trained, Al Qaeda-allied militants, Syrian President Bashar Assad was asked the question: “Do you think that you can regain control over all Syrian territory?” 

Well, yes, said Assad: “This is a goal we are seeking to achieve without any hesitation. It makes no sense for us to say that we will give up any part.”

Western politicians were having none of that.

First up was US Secretary of State John Kerry who coyly informed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the Obama administration may have a Plan B up its sleeve for Syria: “it may be too late to keep it as a whole Syria if we wait much longer.”

First up was US Secretary of State John Kerry who coyly informed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the Obama administration may have a Plan B up its sleeve for Syria: “it may be too late to keep it as a whole Syria if we wait much longer.”

Next, James Stavridis, former NATO Supreme Commander and head of the US European Command penned an article for Foreign Policy entitled “It’s time to seriously consider partitioning Syria” where he claimed“Syria as a nation is increasingly a fiction.”

Then, CIA Director John Brennan joined the chorus: “There’s been so much blood spilled, I don’t know if we’re going to be able to get back to [a unified Syria] in my lifetime.”

But now the stinging defeat of Western-backed militants in East Aleppo has turned up the dial on the idea of breaking up Syria. Frantic neocons and liberal interventionists are piling in on the ‘partition’ punditry – with nary a backward glance to their five failed years of “Assad will fall” prognostications.

But Assad understands something that Western analysts, journalists and politicians cannot seem to grasp. Syria’s allies in this war – Iran, Hezbollah, Iraq, Russia, China – have maintained only two hard red lines throughout the conflict:

The first is that Assad can only be removed from office in a national election, by a Syrian majority.

The second is that Syria must stay whole.

Their logic was simple. Regime-change, remapping of borders, mercenary proxy armies, divide-and-rule…the old tricks of Western hegemons needed to stop in Syria. Otherwise, they would aggressively find their way to Moscow, Beijing and Tehran.

In short, a new world order would need to emerge from the ashes of the Syrian conflict, and for that to happen, allies would need to thoroughly defeat NATO-GCC objectives and maintain the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Syrian state at all costs.

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A calculated shift in the balance of power

By 2013, one could already predict the formation of a new security-focused Mideast alliance to combat the jihadi threat raging in Syria and its neighborhood. (see map above)

It was clear by then that the irregular wars waged by jihadists and their powerful foreign backers were going to force four states – Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran – to cooperate militarily and politically to defeat Wahhabi-influenced terror groups in their midst. A ‘Security Arc’ would thus form to protect the territorial integrity of these four countries, and with it, a converging worldview that would set the stage for a new Mideast security structure.

Today, Lebanon and Iran have secure borders flanking either side of Syria and Iraq. Fighters and military advisers, intelligence, weapons transfers from all four states are in play, with increased, successful coordination on the ground and in the skies.

Russia and China have provided ‘great power’ cover for this new development – whether at the UN Security Council or via military, financial or diplomatic initiatives. Furthermore, galvanized by the ferocity of the fight over Syria, Tehran, Moscow and Beijing have advanced the new multilateral order they seek – bolstering their own regional security, deepening global alliances, forging new ones, and crafting political, security and financial institutions to compete with Western-dominated ones.

As the Security Arc succeeded in beating back extremist groups, it would be necessary for three critical neighboring states to gravitate toward participation in this new regional security architecture – Egypt, Turkey and Jordan – each for different reasons.

But the new adherents would be drawn to the security zone primarily because of the realization that a weakened central government and the fragmentation of Syria would blow back into their states and create the same conditions there: chaos, instability, terrorism.

Egypt: Under the rule of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt has drawn away from its Saudi patrons who have, alongside Qatar and Turkey, been major sponsors of extremism in both Syria and Iraq. Earlier this year, Sisi began to pivot away from Egypt’s traditional Western and regional allies and opened the door to further political, military and economic engagement with Syria, Iran, Russia and China.

SAIS-Johns Hopkins University Fellow Dr. Christina Lin explains: “Unlike Washington, Sisi sees Assad as a secular bulwark against Islamic extremism in the Levant. If Assad falls, Lebanon and Jordan would be next, and Egypt does not want to end up like Libya with the Brotherhood and other Islamists carving up the country.” 

In the past few months, Egypt has pursued a diplomatic thaw with Iran, military cooperation with Syria, and publicly squabbled with Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, Sisi has been invited to sit at the Syrian peacemaking table by Iran and Russia, while in the background, China launches plans for a $60 billion infrastructure investment in cash-strapped Egypt.

Turkey: No state has been a bigger thorn in Damascus’ side than Turkey – financier, enabler, and mastermind of the militancy flowing across its southern border into war-torn Syria. But the Syrian conflict has crippled and exhausted Turkey, in turn, unleashing terror attacks in its cities, reviving its ‘Kurdish’ conflict, isolating its unpredictable President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, squeezing its economy, and triggering widespread domestic political strife.

So when the Russians reportedly tipped off Erdogan to an ill-fated coup attempt this summer – which Turks believe to be US-inspired – the Turkish president’s political orientation began to waver, and he began to inch toward a series of compromises with Iran and Russia on the Syrian conflict.

Erdogan’s first grand gesture to Tehran and Moscow was to peel away a layer of militants from embattled Aleppo, allowing the Syrian-allied forces to focus their military might on the Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups remaining in the eastern enclave. In the aftermath of Aleppo’s liberation, the Turks, Iranians and Russians met again to hammer out their next set of objectives, including a nationwide ceasefire – a move that sidelined Erdogan’s Western allies and highlighted the fact that nobody actually needs the US, UK or France at the Syrian negotiating table.

Jordan: For much of the Syrian conflict, Jordan’s interests were subverted by powerful patrons who turned the Hashemite Kingdom into a covert operations hub for Western special forces, GCC intel operatives and ‘rebel’ training centers. But in recent years, Jordan’s King Abdullah has been forced to disentangle his financially-strapped country from the consequences created by a huge influx of Syrian refugees and a terrifying surge in domestic radicalism. Consequently, Jordan has been quietly sharing intelligence with Syrian authorities to weaken the militancy in southern Syria and has effectively shut down their shared border.

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The king himself has been engaging in some frenzied shuttle diplomacy with Russia and China to gain investment and political relevance, so Jordan is well-positioned to follow the lead of its larger neighbors when the regional balance of power shifts decisively in Syria’s favor.

Victors map the future, not the vanquished

The liberation of East Aleppo from Al-Qaeda-allied militants is a significant turning point in the war against Syria. All the major population/infrastructure areas that define the north-to-south western side of the country are now primarily in government hands.

Moreover, East Aleppo’s liberation serves as an important launching pad to cut off the vital Turkey-to-Mosul corridor that has funneled fighters, supplies and weapons to ISIS for years. Syrian troops and their allies will now be able to move east of the city to the Euphrates to sever this Turkish-ISIS lifeline.

With western Syrian hubs secured and militants severely crippled in the south, only the north-eastern areas present a challenge – but those are areas largely occupied by ISIS, where the final battles will be waged to rout the terror group.

So, what exactly do Americans want to partition – and why?

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Recent wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Libya demonstrate clearly that a weak central authority only creates a political and security vacuum that extremists rush in to occupy. US President-Elect Donald Trump has himself said he prefers the rule of strongmen, rather than the instability that prevails with regime-change conflicts.

Any partition of Syria would, therefore, benefit ISIS and Al-Qaeda primarily – and all the parties know this.

The Security Arc states and their allies can ably eradicate the terrorism in their midst. Turkey and the United States still remain key irritants, each still vying, against their own security interests, to lay claim to north-eastern swathes of territory that hold some strategic interest.

Funnily enough, these interests pit the two NATO allies against each other. The US’ ‘Kurdish project’ has sent Erdogan fleeing toward the Iranians and Russians for help. It is ironic indeed that the West’s longtime efforts to sow discord between regional actors, sects, and ethnicities could now be reversed in one fell swoop by the US’ support for Kurdish nationalism.

There is nothing more guaranteed to create common cause between Arabs, Iranians, and Turks than the unifying prospect of Kurdish statehood. Not even ISIS does that.

In the aftermath of the Aleppo victory, Assad once more addressed talk of partition: “This is the Western – with some regional countries – hope… If you look at the society today, the Syrian society is more unified than before the war… There’s no way that Syrians would accept that – I’m talking now about the vast majority of the Syrians… After nearly six years I can tell you the majority of the Syrians wouldn’t accept anything related to disintegration – on the contrary, as one Syria.”

He is right. For the more than 70 percent of Syrians living in government-controlled areas, the appetite for further conflict is nonexistent – and that’s what partition would mean: conflict. Furthermore, not just Syrians, but the whole of the Security Arc and their global allies are now hell bent on protecting themselves by destroying the terrorism that dwells in the remaining pockets of occupied territory. Like Assad – and much of Europe today – they know that you will never remove the security threat if you don’t rout them all and preserve the state.

In this security context, partition is out of the question. In the military context, a forced partition would require the commitment of troops stronger than the armies of Syria, Iran, Russia, Iraq, Egypt and Hezbollah combined – and that doesn’t exist. In the political context, the international appetite for an ‘imposed’ partition is nil.

So no, there will be no partition of Syria.

****

Sharmine Narwani is a commentator and analyst of Middle East geopolitics. She is a former senior associate at St. Antony’s College, Oxford University and has a master’s degree in International Relations from Columbia University. Sharmine has written commentary for a wide array of publications, including Al Akhbar English, the New York Times, the Guardian, Asia Times Online, Salon.com, USA Today, the Huffington Post, Al Jazeera English, BRICS Post and others. You can follow her on Twitter at @snarwani

READ MORE SYRIA NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Syria Files

«Syria and the United States: We Now Know»

«Syria and the United States: We Now Know»

«Syria and the United States: We Now Know»

Somehow, it has not sunk into the general consciousness of US public opinion that the Obama administration has supported or is supporting directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, the forces of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State in Syria (ISIL, ISIS or Daesh) in order to overthrow the government of President Bashar al Assad in Damascus. This should not be surprising because most Americans do not believe that the US government could be on the wrong side of any conflict. The Mainstream Media (MSM), both print and broadcast, serve as purveyors of this general idea. Call it «fake news» or propaganda, it works well on US public opinion.

The MSM is being increasingly challenged by alternate media disseminated online. There you will discover that the US government is not all it claims to be. Thanks to Secretary of State John Kerry, via alternate media, we now know the reasoning behind US policy in Syria. Kerry explained the US position to a group of so-called Syrian «oppositionists» at the Dutch mission to the United Nations in New York on 22 September 2016. Some limited information about this private meeting was reported earlier in the MSM, but a clandestine recording of the full conversation is now circulating via alternate media. It is definitely Kerry in conversation with some unhappy Syrians, well, apparently Syrians, who thought the United States was not doing nearly enough to overthrow the Assad government. These unfortunate people sound like the émigrés of many countries going back centuries, who enjoy little popular support in their own countries.  They therefore look to foreign governments to install them in power.

Kerry tried to explain to this group of émigrés that taking down the Assad government was easier said than done. «I am frustrated… it’s hard. Nobody is more frustrated than we are… The problem is everybody is upping the ante». Russia, Iran, Hezbollah… Nusra «put in more and then Turkey and Saudi Arabia put all their surrogate money in». What a mess for the United States, as though it was not a mess of American making.

«We’re trying to get to a negotiated process», said Kerry, «the problem is how do you get people to a place of being rational?»

Kerry did not mention that the US was supporting jihadist military organisations in Syria either directly with training, money and arms or indirectly, while others do that work

«We can always throw a lot of weapons in, but I don’t think that is going to be good for you… Al Nusra and Daesh make it hard because you have this extreme element out there and unfortunately some of the opposition has chosen to work with them». Kerry of course did not mention that the US government was pursuing an «Afghan policy» in Syria, that is, supporting jihadist military organisations either directly with training, money and arms or indirectly, by looking the other way, while others, like Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, do that work. When jihadists were moving around in the Syrian Desert, as easy targets for air attack, the US Air Force feigned not to notice them. When the jihadists exploited Syrian oil deposits and shipped oil for sale in Turkey, the US Air Force did not disturb them.

Kerry did not explain any of these pertinent facts to his Syrian interlocutors. Perhaps, they already knew anyway. In their discussions with Kerry, and this is a point as interesting as Kerry’s own remarks, the émigrés seemed quite comfortable supporting the jihadists’ cause although they played along with the bogus distinction between «moderate opposition» and «extremists».

In their discussions with Kerry, the émigrés seemed quite comfortable supporting the jihadists’ cause although they played along with the bogus distinction between «moderate opposition» and «extremists»

The Syrian émigrés wanted to know what the United States intended to do next. Last September, you may remember, Kerry was discussing with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov a new ceasefire and negotiations to end the Syrian war. That deal was scuttled by a deadly American air raid on Syrian forces near Deir ez-Zor which appeared to be coordinated with a local jihadist offensive. The Russian high command accused the United States of a deliberate attack, which of course the Americans denied. But it meant that Russian-American negotiations went back to square one.

«We told the Russians and Iranians that we can’t just do the same thing,» Kerry explained to his so-called Syrian interlocutors: «we can’t just go out and announce a ceasefire if there’s no change to show that it’s serious. So we proposed to the Russians that they prove that they’re serious by having no warplanes flying, no Assad planes flying for seven days at least in order to prove to the opposition that they’re not going to get killed if they try to help people, if the humanitarian assistance comes in because it’s the airplanes that have been causing most of the damage».

These comments may strike readers as perplexing. In the event it has slipped anyone’s mind, the jihadists’ way of «helping people» is to massacre, terrorise or enslave them. We know that because we have seen the photographs and videos, which they themselves have taken of their bloody work. Kerry however represented them «as trying to help people». It sounds like an Orwellian inversion, but perhaps that is being unfair to the United States, so let’s hear what else Kerry had to say to his interlocutors.

«So, the Russians were willing to offer three days, and we said that’s not enough. You gotta be serious here. The deal we made in Geneva was seven days consecutive of calm before we would talk about focusing on Daesh and Nusra». This appeared to mean that the truce would also be extended in effect to Daesh and Nusra, even though UN resolutions and Russian and Syrian declarations made clear that they, Daesh, Nusra, and affiliated terrorist groups, were excluded from any truce or other negotiations.

Here was yet another way in which the US government was attempting to help the jihadists in Syria by sparing them from air attack at least temporarily. Of course, it was the Americans who wrecked the previous agreement by attacking the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) at Deir ez-Zor on 17 September, five days before the meeting in New York, and who had never respected any previous agreement with the Russian Federation. So, from the Russian point of view, Kerry’s claim that Russia had to get «serious» must have seemed derisory.

For the émigrés listening to Kerry this explanation raised no objection. It was the lack of direct American military intervention, especially to break «the siege of Aleppo», which aroused their discontents. The émigrés claimed that the Russians were attacking civilian targets, and the United States and the «international community» needed to intervene to stop them.

Do you have any video evidence? Kerry wanted to know: do we have anyone in Aleppo [he asked an aide present at the meeting] who could help with finding evidence? «We do», came the reply. It was Al Qaeda and its affiliates which then held E. Aleppo, and thus the so-called Syrians present were asking Kerry for US intervention to help Al Qaeda break the SAA siege of E. Aleppo. Here also was an indication that the United States had agents in E. Aleppo, a point confirmed months later by the capture of at least one such US agent amongst various foreigner «advisors» arrested by the Syrian Arab Army as the last pockets of Al Qaeda resistance in E. Aleppo were cleared out.

The meeting turned out to be an opportunity for the émigrés to complain bitterly that the United States was not doing enough to overthrow the Assad government. This gave Kerry an opening to blame the Russians, as you might have guessed.

«We don’t even have what we had in Kosovo where we had, you know, an existing resolution and so forth, even though we went alone», Kerry was quoted as saying

«The problem is that the Russians don’t care about international law,» said Kerry, «and we do. And we don’t have a basis, our lawyers tell us, unless we have a UN Security Council resolution, which the Russians can veto, and the Chinese, or unless we are under attack from the folks there, or unless we are invited in. Russia is invited in by the legitimate regime… well still legitimate normally, by the regime. And so they were invited in, and we’re not invited in. We’re flying in air space there where they can turn on air defence and we have a very different scene. The only reason they are letting us fly is because we’re going after ISIS. If we were going after Assad, those air defences, we would have to take out all those air defences, and we don’t have a legal justification practically for doing that unless we stretch it way beyond the law on a humanitarian basis which some people will argue we should, by the way. Ah… but so far American legal theory has not gone into the so-called right to protect, and ah… we don’t even have what we had in Kosovo where we had, you know, an existing resolution and so forth, even though we went alone».

The Kosovo precedent has been causing the United States a lot of trouble with regard to the Ukraine, though Kerry did not bring up that subject with his Syrian interlocutors. Readers might be surprised by Kerry’s statement that unlike the Russians, the United States respects international law. If ever there was a case of Pot calling Kettle black, this is it. «Jupiter may do what an ox may not», as President Vladimir Putin said recently about the United States. Since when does Washington respect international law? Although Kerry did not mention it, there was no Gulf of Tonkin incident (Vietnam), or weapons of mass destruction (Iraq), or the massacre of innocent civilians (Libya), which the US government could use as a pretext for intervention. It is also amusing to note that Kerry inadvertently acknowledged that the Assad government was the legitimate Syrian government, though he tried weakly to back track on that, referring in the end to «the regime».

«And a lot of Americans don’t believe we should be fighting and sending young Americans over to die in other countries. That’s the problem»

«Ah… so it’s complicated. It’s… ah, not easy», Kerry explained: «And we’ve been fighting, how many wars have we been fighting? We’ve been fighting in Afghanistan, we’ve been fighting in Iraq, we’ve been fighting in the region, you know, for fourteen years. And a lot of Americans don’t believe we should be fighting and sending young Americans over to die in other countries. That’s the problem. Ah… Congress won’t vote to do it. And you can be mad at us, but what we are trying to do is help Syrians to fight for their own country. And we’ve been spending a lot of money and a lot of effort to try to help do this. So, there is an opposition there, and the opposition is doing very well. But Russia came in, and that’s a problem, I know, because you know we… ah… we don’t behave like Russians. It’s just a different standard. So we are trying to see whether we can put to a test whether Russia is serious about a political solution. And if they’re not serious, then we will help the opposition more. But you know I don’t think that will be good for the citizens of Syria in the end because it will mean more fighting».

Can you imagine Lavrov laughing and shaking his head, as he listened to Kerry’s words that the US cares for international law?

There he goes again, you might be thinking. «We don’t behave like the Russians. It’s just a different standard». I am sure Lavrov and Putin would at once agree, but not in the way that Kerry meant. After all, since 1945, is there any destroyer of nations and governments on a par with the United States? And Kerry wants «to test» the Russians. Can you imagine Lavrov laughing and shaking his head, as he listened to these lines?

American double standards were of no interest to the émigrés talking to Kerry. Pot calling Kettle black was not their problem. They were resentful that the United States would not do more to overthrow Assad. Only «the extreme Sunnis» were being targeted, they complained, and not Hezbollah and Iraqi and Iranian troops— «terrorist groups», said one émigré — allied with Russia and Assad. «They are targeted by the opposition», Kerry interjected, trying to be encouraging, «who we are arming and training». But the émigrés still complained that not enough political and military support was being given to «those who consider [themselves] moderates».

«Well let me ask… [my aide, Kerry said] I think we’ve been putting in an extraordinary amount of arms, haven’t we?.. Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, a huge amount of weapons coming, and a huge amount of money.» So here from Kerry we have the truth at last. The rogues’ gallery, the United States and its regional vassals, are backing to the hilt the jihadist invasion of Syria. Only one thing went wrong with the US plan.

War is full of the unexpected, as Kerry should know

«I mean, the reason Russia came in is because ISIL was getting stronger. Daesh was threatening the possibility of going to Damascus… and that’s why Russia came in. Because they didn’t want a Daesh government, and they supported Assad. And, ah, we know that… we were watching, we saw that Daesh was growing in strength, and we thought Assad was threatened. Ah… we thought however we could probably manage… ah… you know that Assad might then negotiate, but instead of negotiating, he got… Putin to support him.» War is full of the unexpected, as Kerry should know.

The US plan was to let Daesh threaten Damascus, using Daesh to pressure Assad into «negotiating». That’s why US warplanes did not bomb easy Daesh targets, or only pretended to do so. But instead of capitulating, Assad obtained Russian support to continue the fight against the US brokered and bankrolled invasion. Readers may wonder incidentally how Kerry would fit US intervention into international law. He’d need America’s best lawyers for that.

«So, it’s truly complicated, I mean you know how complicated it is, you live in it», Kerry continued. «For us politically where we have a Congress that will not authorise our use of force. Congress will not pass that, and so we’re trying to help in the best way we can, but we finally decided the best thing we can do is try to find a political solution where the opposition is part of the government, and you can have an election, and let the people of Syria decide who they want.» Trouble is the émigrés present did not think elections would work for them. Assad, they said, would win through intimidation or fixing the vote. Kerry responded that since refugees abroad could vote, that Assad could not win and that their victory in effect was assured. «Democracy has some virtues», Kerry opined. But the émigrés were not persuaded. Assad’s secret police threatened to kill my mother, one émigré claimed.  The Russians would make sure the elections favoured Assad; why else would they agree to them. People in that part of Syria «controlled by the regime» would not dare vote against Assad. Was this a backward admission that Syrians would vote for Assad? No doubt it was.

«So you think the only solution is for someone to come in and get rid of Assad?» Kerry asked.

«Yes», an émigré replied.

«[If]that’s the only solution,» Kerry interjected: «Who’s is that going to be, who’s going to do that?»

«Three years ago, I would have said you,» the émigré replied: «but right now I don’t know».

«Well, look it’s a hard choice… I’m sorry, but, ah, we’ve lost thousands of young Americans in a lot of countries», Kerry replied, «and it’s pretty difficult right now to get Americans to say we’re going to send Americans to gain another country, and have a war with Sunnis and Shia and extremists and everybody, and I mean, you know, it’s more complicated than you think… There are lots of places in the world where they want to hold our coat while we go fight but it’s not easy and we are trying to empower Syrians to be able to fight against this guy [Assad]. You know, the Russians have changed the equation unfortunately… and it’s a little more complicated. So we are trying to figure out a way to get to the table, if we can, and save lives. I don’t think any country has worked harder to save lives than we have. We’ve given more money than any other nation for refugees regarding Syria… We’re not disengaged… we’re saying we going to do as much as we can within, you know, the scope of what we can do here».

No doubt Kerry would be shocked to know how others see US behaviour abroad. It’s certainly not working harder than anyone «to save lives». Indeed, a skeptic might reply: ‘Oh, you mean like in Yugoslavia, or in Afghanistan, or Iraq, or Libya?» Hypocrisy and double standards, as Putin has sometimes noted, never seem to trouble the American government.

«I am the guy who announced that we’re going to attack Assad because of the rockets [?] and, you know, things evolved into a different process».

«I think you are looking at three people, four people in the administration,» Kerry went on, «who have all argued for use of force, and I lost the argument. I’ve argued for the use of force. I stood up, I am the guy who stood up, announced that we’re going to attack Assad because of the rockets [?] and, you know, things evolved into a different process. But the bottom line is… ah… that we, that Congress refused to vote even to allow that…»

«What is the bottom line…», asked an angry émigré, «how many Syrians… what will be the end of it?»

«I think that people in Washington right now are deeply frustrated, as you are,» Kerry replied, «and we are talking now about what enforcement mechanisms we can now take, and it may be that we will lift up the options  because of the frustration, because of Assad’s indifference to anything, so there’s a different conversation taking place because of what has happened in the last few days. We’ll see what happens».

You don’t need to send any soldiers, «just impose a no-fly zone», proposed another émigré.

«Well, there’s more and more talk, we’re trying to get an agreed upon no-fly zone… The Russians have agreed that if we get this process going, Assad won’t want… but if we’re going to force a no-fly zone, we’re going to have to attack every air defence, and then we have to be willing to fly airplanes every day to enforce it. And it’s very costly and… a big deal».

«In the long term, I think it’s cost effective», replied an interlocutor.

«I am frustrated too… Everybody at this table wants to do more». And with that comment by Kerry, the meeting ended.

Left unsaid was that to attack Russian and Syrian air defences would mean war with the Russian Federation. If the American people will not accept another war with a small country, they certainly will not accept a nuclear war with a great power like Russia. Kerry’s explanations are nevertheless illuminating and no doubt provoke a great deal of laughter in Moscow. The discontents of the émigrés are also illuminating. They expressed their open sympathy for Al Qaeda in E. Aleppo, but they didn’t think they could win elections against Assad even if foreign supervised, and even with refugees abroad eligible to vote. Someone will have to come in to win for these Syrians, if they are Syrian, and of course that means paying a price to their «liberators,» which would mean serving as their compradors. These Syrian émigrés, like émigrés before them, don’t mind paying that price, don’t mind allying with Al Qaeda, because they themselves don’t have popular support and can’t defeat Assad on their own. They admitted as much to Kerry. That most of all may be causing the frustration in Washington, along with Russia’s roll in «complicating» and exposing American strategy in Syria.

JOHN KERRY TAPED ADMITTING US SUPPORT FOR ISIS; WIKILEAKS PUTS KABOSH ON OBAMA’S LEGACY OF HORROR; MORE FIGHTING AND DEFEAT FOR TERRORISTS ALL OVER SYRIA AS HUNDREDS SURRENDER

Ziad Fadel

Image result for john kerry

 

Make this viral, folks.  You cannot get better than this audio.  John Kerry is caught admitting to supporting terror in Syria as he speaks to a gang of psychopaths from the so-called “opposition”.  You will not believe your ears.

https://off-guardian.org/2017/01/06/leaked-john-kerry-audio-white-house-wanted-isis-to-rise-in-syria/

_________________________________________

HOMS:

We can confirm the death of 101 ISIS vultures at the Tiyaas Hills north of the 4th Station near the Tayfoor (T-4) A.B.  1 tanks was set ablaze by an SAA helicopter gunship and 6 4-wheel drive pickups were destroyed with all their passengers.  The Tayfoor AB is now completely secure.

____________________________________________

HAMA:

Don’t be fooled by the English language on these rockets. They are super-high intensity-filled RDX rockets made by France.  The reason the English is imprinted on the cover is because they are bought by Saudi Arabia where the cockroaches either speak monkey-talk or English.  This batch was discovered in northern Hama.  There were 45 or these 68mm missiles.  There were also many 81mm mortar rockets.   The arsenal was uncovered after weeks of surveillance by our security services and because loyal citizens broke the news about this peculiar weapons warehouse.  

_____________________________________________

DAMASCUS:

Syrian engineers were to work round the clock to get the water pumps at ‘Ayn Al-Feeja working now that 5,000 rodents have agreed to leave.

 

In a new agreement with the villages of Balda, Babeelaa, Bayt Sahm, south of Damascus, 5,000 rodents will be deciding their own fate:  die, remove to Idlib or join the Syrian Army’s allies? That’s all they have left as villagers, urged on by local notables, have made it clear that the terrorist presence is unacceptable.  Many of the 5,000 rats belong to these organizations:

Jaysh Al-Islam

Jaysh Al-Abaabeel

Liwaa` Shaam Al-Rasool

Ahraar Al-Shaam

Liwaa` Shuhadaa` Al-Islam

Aknaaf Bayt Al-Maqdis

Kataa`ib Al-Furqaan

Al-Ittihaad Al-Islami Li-Ajnaad Al-Shaam

Liwaa` Mujaahideen Al-Shaam

 

Terrified by the prospect of losing 5,000 rats in the south, Jaysh Al-Islam started firing missiles at their own litter-mates in an effort to convince them not to abandon their positions in the three villages.  It appears that very soon the JI will be fighting against its own rats who have turned coat and started fighting with the PDC.  Ironic.

Just as interesting was the  hysterical response of Nusra near the village of Dayr Muqrin.  They started firing rockets at the SAA engineering team which was slated to repair the lower station to permit the flow of water to 5 million Damascenes.  As of right now, there is no cease fire in place.  The SAAF has been pounding Nusra/Alqaeda positions near Waadi Baradaa.  Exclusive to SyrPer:  My source in Damascus tells me that Saudi Arabian monkeys were intercepted speaking to Nusra terrorists insisting that they not agree to a pullout.  This is a violation of international and an open declaration of support for terrorism.

Other aspects of the deal is that those who have surrendered to the army and who have dodged the draft will be forced to complete military service.  Also, and most importantly, the terrorists will give the SAA all charts indicating the presence of mines and IEDs all over the countryside.  They have agreed to this.

_____________________________________________

IDLIB:

A Hizbollah weaponized drone killed a senior commander of Nusra/Alqaeda near the besieged towns of Al-Faw’ah and Kafarayyaa.  Along with his son, who was killed, were two other rodents.  The terrorist was:

Yunus Shu’ayb (Abu Hassan Taftanaaz)

It is believed that the drone was designed from a reverse-engineered American drone shot down by the Iranians.

____________________________________________

NEWS AND COMMENT:

The terrorists are trying to negotiate their way out of the mess they created in Waadi Baradaa.  Read this one sent by Wa A Ha:

More from our friend at Syrianews about the 1,200 former rodents who have decided to join the majority and fight for the SAA:

A main member of the hotelier opposition, Nawaaf Al-Basheer, has returned to Syria to reaffirm his loyalty to his people, army and president:

Brandon lashes out at professional liar and hypocrite Ken Roth of Soros’ HRW:

Wa A Ha sends his article about the opening of Aleppo International Airport to civilian traffic:

Walid sends this interview with Egyptian star Ilham Shahin who defends the Syrian Army in the face of entrenched terrorist supporters: (English subtitles)

Stop the Genocide in Yemen

As Yemen continues to be ravaged by war, its people on the verge of mass starvation, social media users are urging the world to take notice and help the Yemenis in their silent plight.

Today beginning of 2017
Saudi airstrikes attacked their home in Marib
Kill 5 people ☝👇

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

Yesterday this old woman lost 5 sons by Saudi air strike
Also
Today old man lost 6 members of his family

Just imagine if it were you, searching for your children after an airstrike

The conflict escalated in March 2015 when a Saudi-led coalition began conducting airstrikes with the assistance of the US and UK on behalf of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who had fled following an uprising of Houthi rebels.

01/01/2017 :
Some of the victims of the US_Saudi massacre.
5 murdered and others wounded.

 

The operation has devastated the country and its people. In August 2016, the UN estimated that more than 10,000 people had died.

Yemen is on the brink of famine as the coalition’s blockade has cut off supplies and led to food prices skyrocketing. Yemen usually imports 90 percent of its food.

 

According to UNICE

F, a child dies in Yemen every 10 minutes. The UN reports more than 2.2 million children are malnourished, with close to half a million suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition, a 200 percent increase on 2014 levels.

Yemenis have seen the effects of airstrikes on hospitals and health clinics, leaving many suffering from preventable illnesses.

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

.@monarelief and .@AKF_Social distributing now food aid for the forth day in Hodeidah to most needy ppl there. @monareliefye

Yemenis have seen the effects of airstrikes on hospitals and health clinics, leaving many suffering from preventable illnesses.

READ MORE: Yemenis ‘slowly starving’ to death as world ‘turns blind eye’ – aid charity

Children have been prevented from attending school, with UNICEF reporting at least 350,000 have had access to education blocked.

At least 350k children in have been unable to go to school as a result of the going conflict. @UNICEF_Yemen

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

The latest massacre in the mass extermination war against , which is still absent from the Western media

The powerful images shared across social media convey the horrifying reality for the people of Yemen, forcing the world to see the devastation and suffering caused by an onslaught of bombings.

Amidst the disturbing tweets are calls for the US and UK to take responsibility for their role in the conflict.

Yemen is proving beyond any doubt the hypocrisy of the west. They remain in support of Saudi despite continual WarCrimes

The good the bad & the ugly in 2016 still steadfast.
UK & USA still supply arms to Saudi. still in UNHRC

Saudi Arabia and its coalition of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan have been accused of war crimes in Yemen, and social media activists are calling on politicians such as UK Prime Minister Theresa May, the US Secretary of State John Kerry and the UN to put an end to the attacks.

Children have been prevented from attending school, with UNICEF reporting at least 350,000 have had access to education blocked.

The powerful images shared across social media convey the horrifying reality for the people of Yemen, forcing the world to see the devastation and suffering caused by an onslaught of bombings.

Amidst the disturbing tweets are calls for the US and UK to take responsibility for their role in the conflict.

Saudi Arabia and its coalition of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan have been accused of war crimes in Yemen, and social media activists are calling on politicians such as UK Prime Minister Theresa May, the US Secretary of State John Kerry and the UN to put an end to the attacks.

The UK and the US have come under fire from human rights organizations for their role in the conflict. The US approved $20 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia in 2015 alone, while the UK has provided training and $4.1 billion in arms during the first year of the conflict.

In January 2015, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told journalists in London, “We have British officials and American officials and officials from other countries in our command and control center. They know what the target list is and they have a sense of what it is that we are doing and what we are not doing.”

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ما لم تأخذوه منّا بالميدان لن تأخذوه منّا بالسياسة

 

محمد صادق الحسيني

لا يختلف اثنان بأنّ العالم بدأ يرتب أوراقه بناء على بوصلة الشام بعد نصرنا المحكم في حلب…

ولا ريب ولا ترديد في أنّ الخاسرين قرّروا الإذعان بضرورة دفع بعض الاثمان الآن قبل فوات الأوان…

ولا يناقش اثنان في انّ كبير الخاسرين في نصر حلب هو اللص المحترف مجرم الحرب اردوغان…

هذه هي قراءتنا لإذعان حكام تركيا وأسيادها لمعادلة ما بعد حلب من موسكو الى آستانة الى ما بعد آستانة…

وبما اننا من مدرسة تقول إن «العقل ملء مكيال ثلثاه فطنة وثلثه تغافل»…!

فلا نقاش في ان علينا استثمار هذا النصر العظيم بالسياسة، لان السياسة استمرار للحرب، وإلا فاننا سنكون قد قاتلنا قتالاً عبثياً، وحاشا لمحورنا ذلك…

ولكن ايضاً لاننا من مدرسة تقول بان المؤمن كيّسٌ فَطِنٌ وليس كيسَ قطن….

فإن من واجبنا ونحن نخوض غمار استثمار نصر حلب ان نراعيَ ما يلي:

١- المنتصر هو الذي يُملي شروطه على المنهزم. وأهم الشروط انسحاب الجيش التركي من الاراضي السورية وإغلاق الحدود….

٢- أي استعجال في استثمار نصر حلب قد يدفعنا لارتكاب أخطاء من مثل تلك التي ارتكبت في الملف النووي الايراني فنصدّق دموع الشيطان الصغير اردوغان، كما صدقنا دموع الشيطان الأكبر جون كيري واليوم يندمون عليها …!

٣- أن لا نقع مطلقاً في فخ حجز مقعد للإرهابيين الذين حملوا السلاح في اي محادثات سياسية، وإلا نكون قد سجّلنا سابقة خطيرة جداً تطيح بجوهر إنجازاتنا ومنحنا مشروعية للإرهابيين وهو ما قد يضطرنا في مرحلة لاحقة لفتح الطريق الى حجز مقاعد للقاعدة والدواعش على طاولة المفاوضات والعياذ بالله…!

٤- نعم مَن يتوب ويعود عن غيه من المسلحين أفراداً او مجموعات، فيسلم سلاحه ويعلن انسحابه وتبرؤه علناً من منهج قطاع الطرق ويلجأ الى العمل السياسي المعروف، عندها يختلف الوضع تماماً. وهذا ما يحصل يوميا وعلى رؤوس الأشهاد في الساحة السورية من دون الحاجة الى ضمانات روسية أو إيرانية صديقة ولا ضمانات تركية مسمومة وغادرة ومشكوك فيها…

٥- ونحن نحضر أي اجتماع دولي علينا ان نتذكر بان للحكومات الحاضرة أجندات خاصة بها ومصالح واولويات قد تبدو عقلانية وعملانية، لكن محور المقاومة الذي دفع أغلى ما عنده دفاعاً عن المقدسات وفي طليعتها القيم التي قاتل من أجلها رجاله رجال الله، لا يمكن له الا ان يجعل الشهداء حاضرين في هذه الاجتماعات. وحضور الشهداء بحد ذاته سيمنعنا من التفريط بأي مقدس يحاول ان يتلاعب به ممثلو القتلة والارهابيين على طاولة المفاوضات، من بينه السيادة ووحدة الارض والشعب وتطهير الأرض شبراً شبراً من لوثة التكفيريين الوهابيين مرة واحدة والى الأبد…

نعم السياسة استمرار للحرب ولا بد من استثمار دماء الشهداء لأجل تثبيت النصر وإتمام رحلة الخلاص من اجل سورية وكل بلاد العرب والمسلمين…

ولكن من حقنا نحن الملدوغين مراراً وتكراراً من الأغراب والأعراب والسلاجقة من غلمان الأطلسي والاستكبار العالمي ان نحذر مطبات وفخاخ والغام هؤلاء في كل حرف او كلمة او مقولة او طرح او معادلة، خاصة عندما يذرفون دموع التماسيح على الدماء السورية…!

لا، يا قتلة ومحترفي اللصوصية، لن نجعلكم تأخذوا منا بالسياسة ما لم تستطيعوا أخذه منا بالميدان، ونحن ندرك جيداً انكم انما لجأتم الى طاولة المفاوضات، لأنكم هُزمتم في ساحات الشرف وركعتم امام شموخ شهدائنا، وانكم تحاولون اليوم الالتفاف علينا بالسياسة..

كذباً وبهتاناً تتحدّثون عن ضرورة وقف إراقة الدماء، لأنكم لو تمكنتم لواصلتم إراقتها لأنكم أنتم مَن كان يريقها ولا أحد غيركم، وأنكم اليوم تبحثون عن طرق ملتوية ومراوغة لتطهير عصابات القتلة من سكنة الفنادق وزوار القناصل والسفارات، بل وحتى تتجرأون في الطلب بتمثيل رموز القتل والدمار المباشر الذين هزموا في الميدان على طاولة المفاوضات، وهيهات لكم ذلك حتى لو تمكنتم منه على خشب المفاوضات، لأن معادلتنا المقاومة لكم ولأسيادكم لا تستقيم ولا تستوي إلا على الذهب، وهذا بعيد المنال لأمثالكم…

فمثلنا لا يُقارَن بمثلكم…

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله.

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Russian – Turkish ceasefire plan for Syria (OFFICIAL TEXT AND ANALYSIS)

January 02, 2017

by Alexander Mercouris for The DuranRussian – Turkish ceasefire plan for Syria (OFFICIAL TEXT AND ANALYSIS)

Whilst the Russian-Turkish ceasefire agreement offers the best route to peace in Syria, and in theory gives the Syrian army the space to rebuild and to take the war to Al-Qaeda and ISIS, its success ultimately depends too much on the commitment of Turkish President Erdogan to invest too much hope in its success.

As my colleague Adam Garrie has previously reported, on 31st December 2016 the United Nations Security Council unanimously supported Resolution 2336, a Russian drafted Resolution enshrining the Russian-Turkish ceasefire plan for Syria.

Before discussing this ceasefire plan in detail, I would briefly say that it is Russia’s invariable practice to present documents of this sort to the UN Security Council, and to have them enshrined in a UN Security Council Resolution.  A good example is the February 2015 Minsk II agreement, when the Russians did exactly the same thing.  They also did the same thing following the abortive Syrian ceasefire agreements they negotiated with US Secretary of State John Kerry in February last year.

The reason the Russians act in this way is because firstly it is in their interest and is very much a part of their overall diplomatic strategy to emphasise the pivotal importance of the UN Security Council in the international system – so that they can better use it as a brake to restrain the US – but also because Resolutions of the UN Security Council have the authority of international law, and plans and agreements enshrined in UN Security Council Resolutions therefore carry the weight of international law.  This is potentially important in the event that these plans and agreements are breached, since it means that the party which has breached these plans and agreements is violating international law and is acting illegally.

The text of Resolution 2336 is short and cursory, the actual Russian-Turkish ceasefire plan being set out in a series of documents provided by the Russian and Turkish governments to the UN Secretary General and to the President of the Security Council.  These documents have not gained wide publicity and are difficult to find, so I herewith set them out in full.  I would say that various documents that have up to now appeared in the media (especially in the Middle East media), leaked principally by Turkish sources, and which purport to set out the details of the Russian-Turkish ceasefire plan, were in fact drafts, which were not as of the time of their publication formally agreed.  By contrast the text of the documents which I provide below is agreed by the Russian and Turkish governments, and sets out the actual ceasefire plan which the two governments have agreed

Letter dated 29 December 2016 from the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations and the Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council

We have the honour to forward to you herewith a package of documents concerning the agreements reached today in the context of the settlement of the conflict in Syria (see annexes I-V).

We should be grateful if you would circulate the present letter and its annexes as a document of the Security Council.

Annex I to the letter dated 29 December 2016 from the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations and the Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council

[Original: Russian]

Statement on establishing the ceasefire regime in the Syrian Arab Republic

With a view to fostering the necessary conditions for establishing a direct political dialogue among all conflicting parties in the Syrian Arab Republic, as well as reducing violence, preventing casualties among civilians and providing unhindered humanitarian access, the Russian Federation, guided by the provisions of Security Council resolution 2254 (2015), proposes to establish a ceasefire regime throughout Syria (excluding areas of combat operations against the terrorist groups Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Nusra Front) from 00:00 hours on 30 December 2016 (Damascus time).

From that time onward, all armed groups of opposing sides and their supporting forces are invited to make the following commitments:

To cease attacks with any weapons, including rockets, mortars and anti-tank guided missiles, and to cease using combat air forces;

To refrain from seizing or seeking to seize territory occupied by other parties to the ceasefire;

To use proportionate retaliatory force (only to the extent necessary for protection against an immediate threat) for self-defence purposes;

The Russian Federation urges the Government of Syria, armed opposition groups supporting a peaceful resolution of the conflict and not affiliated with international terrorist organizations, and States with an influence on the parties to the conflict, to accede to the proposed terms of the ceasefire.

Annex II to the letter dated 29 December 2016 from the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations and the Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council

[Original: English]

Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey

Press release regarding the announcement of a country-wide ceasefire between the warring parties in Syria

Turkey has been undertaking intensive efforts to end the violence and begin the flow of humanitarian aid in Syria and for the resumption of talks between the regime and the opposition for a comprehensive political solution of the Syrian conflict.

As a result of our efforts, the warring parties in Syria have reached an understanding on a country-wide ceasefire that will go into effect at 00:00 on 30 December 2016. We welcome this development.

Terrorist organizations designated by the United Nations Security Council as such are excluded from this ceasefire.

Turkey and the Russian Federation support this understanding as guarantors.

The parties, with this understanding, are committed to cease all armed, including aerial, attacks and to refrain from expanding the territories under their control at the expense of one another.

Adherence of all parties to this ceasefire is crucial. Turkey and Russia strongly support and will jointly monitor the ceasefire.

The support of the countries with influence on the parties on the ground in sustaining the ceasefire will also be vital.

Turkey played the decisive role in completion of humanitarian evacuations in Aleppo a few days ago and in ensuring the entry of force of the country-wide ceasefire, as of tomorrow.

Hopeful that, with the full observance of the ceasefire to realize a genuine political transition, based on the Geneva communiqué and Security Council resolution 2254 (2015), the regime and the opposition will soon meet in Astana, with the presence of the guarantor countries, to take concrete steps towards revitalizing the United Nations-led political process. Turkey will continue her efforts to that end incessantly.

Annex III to the letter dated 29 December 2016 from the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations and the Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council

[Original: Russian]

Agreement on the mechanism to record violations of the ceasefire regime declared in Syria that will take effect on 30 December 2016, and on the regime for applying sanctions to violators

The Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey,

Assuming obligations as Guarantors (in the parts designated to each) of the ceasefire regime in Syria that will take effect on 30 December 2016;

Bearing in mind that Syrian armed opposition groups (hereinafter — the Opposition) and the Government of Syria consent to the drafting and adoption of a separate document — an Agreement on the mechanism to record violations of the ceasefire regime declared in Syria that will take effect on December 2016 and on the regime for applying sanctions against violators;

Have agreed as follows:

Article 1. Joint Commission

1. The Guarantors shall establish a Joint Commission that shall serve as the main body to consider all complaints and issues related to violations of the ceasefire regime.

2. The Joint Commission:

(a) Shall administer the activities of checkpoints to monitor compliance with the ceasefire regime by parties to the Syrian crisis (hereinafter — the Parties);

(b) Shall submit proposals to the Parties to hold to account persons guilty of violating the ceasefire regime, and shall also submit proposals to the Guarantors on imposing sanctions on violating parties.

3. Russian and Turkish offices of the Joint Commission shall be located in Moscow and Ankara respectively.

The Guarantors shall establish a direct communication channel between the offices.

Article 2. Checkpoints

1. With a view to recording violations by the Parties to the ceasefire regime, the Guarantors shall establish checkpoints in residential areas in the vicinity of the actual line of contact among the Parties in order to guarantee compliance with the ceasefire regime by the Parties.

Article 3. Imposition of sanctions on violating Parties

1. The Guarantors shall undertake all possible measures to resolve differences among the Parties on compliance with the ceasefire regime and the resolution of conflicts among them.

2. Should the Parties fail to reach agreement, the Joint Commission shall send to the violating Party a demand to cease the violations and to take measures to compensate the affected Party for harm inflicted on its population and infrastructure. If the demand is not complied with, the Guarantors shall apply enforcement measures to the violating Party.

Article 4. Final Provisions

1. This Agreement is concluded for the duration of the ceasefire regime.

2. The Guarantors agree to draft and sign thereafter an expanded version of this Agreement that will elaborate on its provisions.

3. Done at Ankara on 29 December 2016 in three copies, having equal legal force, each in the Russian, Turkish and Arabic languages.

Annex IV to the letter dated 29 December 2016 from the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations and the Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council

[Original: Russian]

Agreement on establishing delegations to launch negotiations on a political settlement aimed at a comprehensive resolution of the Syrian crisis by peaceful means

The Government of the Syrian Arab Republic, having declared a ceasefire in Syria on 30 December 2016,

Confirms that there is no alternative to a comprehensive resolution of the Syrian crisis and that there is a need to launch a political process in Syria pursuant to Security Council resolution 2254 (2015);

Acknowledging the need to fully respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic, safeguard the interests of the Syrian people, cease the bloodshed and guarantee national security, and seeking early stabilization in the country in coordination with the representatives of the Russian Federation, hereinafter — the Guarantor:

1. The Government of the Syrian Arab Republic shall commit to form a delegation, prior to 31 December 2016, to pursue negotiations on a political settlement. The Government of the Syrian Arab Republic shall determine the composition of the Delegation independently.

2. The Delegation shall begin joint work with the Delegation of the opposing side on 15 January, 2017, which shall take place in the city of Astana (Republic of Kazakhstan) with the participation of the United Nations.

3. The outcome of the joint work of both Delegations shall serve as a basis for elaborating, no later than __ _______ 2017, a road map to resolve the internal political crisis in Syria.

4. The work of both Delegations shall be conducted with the support of the Guarantor.

5. This Agreement shall enter into force at the time of signature by the plenipotentiary representative of the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic and shall become legally binding provided that an agreement with similar contents to this Agreement is signed by representatives of the opposing side, with the participation of the Russian Federation. The Guarantor shall inform the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic about the signature of such an Agreement in the shortest possible time.

Subsequently, both Agreements shall be considered by the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic and the opposing side, and also by the Guarantor, as a single document regarding the establishment of delegations for the launch of negotiations on a political settlement aimed at a comprehensive resolution of the Syrian crisis by peaceful means.

Done at Damascus on _ December 2016 in two copies, having equal legal force, each in the Russian and Arabic languages.

Annex V to the letter dated 29 December 2016 from the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations and the Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council

[Original: Russian]

Agreement on establishing delegations to launch negotiations on a political settlement aimed at a comprehensive resolution of the Syrian crisis by peaceful means

The leaders of Syrian armed opposition groups, hereinafter — the Opposition,

Support the ceasefire regime declared in Syria on 30 December 2016 and accede thereto;

Confirm that there is no alternative to a comprehensive political settlement of the Syrian crisis and that the launch of a political process in Syria must be expedited, as stipulated in the Geneva Communiqué (2012) and in Security Council resolution 2254 (2015);

Acknowledge full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic and the need to safeguard the interests of the Syrian people, cease the bloodshed and enable a State that represents all Syrian people to exercise its authority;

Declare a comprehensive commitment to swiftly stabilizing the situation in the country, with the participation of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey as Guarantors (hereinafter — the Guarantors); and

Agree as follows:

1. By 16 January 2017, the Opposition, with the direct participation of the Guarantors, shall commit to establishing a delegation to pursue negotiations on a political settlement, aimed at a comprehensive resolution of the Syrian crisis by peaceful means (hereinafter — the Delegation).

The Opposition shall independently determine the composition of the Delegation.

2. The Delegation shall begin joint work with the Delegation of the opposing side, from 23 January 2017, which shall take place in the city of Astana (Republic of Kazakhstan) with the participation of the United Nations.

3. Based on the outcome of the joint work of both Delegations, a road map shall be drawn up as soon as possible to resolve the Syrian crisis.

4. The work of both Delegations shall be carried out with support of the Guarantors.

5. This Agreement shall enter into force at the time of signature by the Opposition and shall become legally binding provided that an agreement with similar contents to this Agreement is signed by a representative of the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic with the participation of the Russian Federation. The Guarantors shall inform the Opposition about the signature of such an Agreement in the shortest possible time.

Subsequently, both Agreements shall be considered by the Opposition and the Government of Syria, as well as the Guarantors, as a single document — an Agreement on establishing delegations to launch negotiations on a political settlement aimed at a comprehensive resolution of the Syrian crisis by peaceful means.

Done at Ankara on 29 December 2016 in three copies, having equal legal force, each in the Russian, Turkish and Arabic languages.

In order to get a better understanding of what was agreed, it is also necessary to refer to the Kremlin’s summary of a meeting held in the Kremlin on 29th December 2016 by Russian President Putin with Russian Defence Minister Shoigu and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov.

Defence Minister Shoigu was the main speaker at the meeting, a fact which incidentally confirms that the ceasefire plan is the result of negotiations between the Russian and Turkish militaries rather than between the two countries’ diplomats.  On 2nd November 2016 I wrote an article for The Duran in which I pointed out that the Russian and Turkish militaries were in direct negotiation with each other, and that the Russians, having despaired of reaching agreement over Aleppo and Syria with the US, were now negotiating directly with the Turks.  Here is what I said

Gerasimov is currently engaged in meetings in Moscow with General Hulusi Akar, the Chief of the Turkish military’s General Staff, who is currently visiting him in Moscow.

Having despaired of getting the US to separate Al-Qaeda/Jabhat Al-Nusra from the other Jihadis in Aleppo, and getting them to withdraw, it is likely the Russians are trying to agree the same thing with the Turks.  Indeed Gerasimov’s comments today essentially say as much.

Given that the Jihadis fighting in Syria totally depend on Turkey for their supplies, if the Turkish leadership tells them to quit eastern Aleppo there is a possibility that they may finally accept that the game is up and heed the call.  The same thing has after all recently happened in other Syrian towns and cities, including in the formerly Jihadi controlled suburbs of Damascus.

Note that Putin’s ultimatum is phrased differently from the way it was before. 

The Kerry-Lavrov agreement of 9th September 2016 offered the non Al-Qaeda Jihadis the option of staying in eastern Aleppo after they had separated themselves from Al-Qaeda/Jabhat Al-Nusra, who the agreement implicitly required to leave.

In the subsequent discussions in the UN Security Council that took place around the proposed French Resolution, the Russians made it clear that the Al-Qaeda/Jabhat Al-Nusra was required to leave, and this was the demand the UN envoy Staffan de Mistura supposedly supported, though as I have discussed previously the terms under which he did it actually nullified it.

Now Putin through Gerasimov is demanding that all Jihadi fighters in eastern Aleppo leave, irrespective of whether they belong to Al-Qaeda/Jabhat Al-Nusra or not.

In other words over the course of the autumn, as the US has hesitated and reneged on its promises, the Russians have quietly raised their demands.  They now want Aleppo totally rid of Jihadi fighters and handed over entirely to the Syrian government.

The successful Putin-Erdogan agreement to withdraw all Jihadi fighters from Aleppo, and the Russian-Turkish ceasefire plan, are the fruit of these negotiations, and show the extent to which the Russians have managed to fulfil the objectives they set themselves in the autumn.

In the meeting with Putin and Lavrov on 29th December 2016 in the Kremlin Defence Minister Shoigu explained the essence of the Russian-Turkish ceasefire plan

Sergei Shoigu: Mr President, acting on your instruction, the Defence Ministry, with Turkey acting as intermediary, spent two months in talks with leaders of the groups that make up the moderate Syrian opposition. These groups control the greater part of areas in Syria’s central and northern regions not under control of the government in Damascus. These detachments have more than 60,000 fighters. The most influential field commanders from seven opposition groups took part in the talks.

At the same time, we carried out the same work with the Syrian government. The talks made it possible for the parties to reach a common position and sign these three basic agreements that introduce a ceasefire, establish a monitoring regime, and set out procedures for organising talks on a peace settlement of the Syrian conflict.

The Defence Ministry has established a communications hotline for maintaining cooperation with Turkey, which is acting jointly with Russia as a guarantor of the ceasefire and respect for the agreements reached.

If you decide to let these agreements take effect, we are ready to guarantee the ceasefire’s introduction and organise ongoing monitoring to ensure it is respected.

I think that the conditions are in place now for a ceasefire to take effect on Syria’s territory and establish direct dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition groups that seek to preserve Syria’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. This also creates the conditions we need to be able to reduce Russia’s military presence on Syrian territory.

Mr President, the groups with whom the talks were conducted are presented here. (Watch presentation.) They all signed these agreements this morning. In terms of their territorial location, here you see the territory under these groups’ control.

Vladimir Putin: Mr Shoigu, these seven armed opposition groups, what and who do they represent?

Sergei Shoigu: Ahrar al-Sham, for example, has 80 detachments on Syrian soil, together with military hardware, T-55 and T-72 tanks and artillery. In terms of territory, Mr President, this…

Vladimir Putin: How many armed fighters are we talking about here?

Sergei Shoigu: Sixty-two thousand armed people. Over these two months, we spent the bulk of the time on making sure that the maps indicate what we at one point asked our American colleagues to do.

Vladimir Putin: So, these groups are the core, essentially, the nucleus. They make up the main armed opposition forces.

Sergei Shoigu: Yes, Mr President. They constitute the main opposition forces.

These are the areas currently under their control. Here is Aleppo and here is Damascus, and this area is practically entirely under their control. What’s more, they have indicated the exact coordinates of locations and settlements under their control. The same goes for the central region and the situation in the districts around Damascus. Thus, we see that this area is under these detachments’ control.

We have also established a direct communications line with our Turkish colleagues, who are acting as guarantors to ensure that all terms of the agreements are respected, particularly as regards monitoring the agreements’ enforcement. The main purpose of this monitoring work is to ensure that organisations that do not cease hostilities are listed as terrorist organisations, and the same kind of action will be taken against them as is being taken against ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra throughout the remaining territory.

The Al-Masdar news agency, which has connections to the Syrian military, has provided a list of the “seven armed opposition groups” that are part of the ceasefire.  They are:

1. Feilak al-Sham

19 detachments, total strength: over 4,000 people.

Its formations conduct combat actions in the Aleppo, Idlib, Hama and Homs provinces.

2. Ahrar al-Sham

The full name is Harakat Ahrar al-Sham al-Islamiyya.

Over 80 detachments, total strength: about 16,000 people.

Formations of the grouping conduct combat actions in the Aleppo, Damascus, Daraa, Idlib, Latakia, Hama and Homs provinces.

3. Jaysh al-Islam

64 detachments, total strength: about 12,000 people.

Jaysh al-Islam formations conduct combat actions in the Aleppo, Damascus, Daraa, Deir ez-Zor, Latakia, Hama and Homs provinces.

4.  Thuwar al-Sham

8 battalions, total strength: about 2,500 people.

Armed formations conduct combat actions in the Aleppo, Idlib and Latakia provinces.

5.  Jaysh al-Mujahideen

13 detachments, total strength: about 8,000 people.

Armed formations conduct combat actions in the Aleppo city and provinces of Aleppo, Idlib and Hama.

6. Jaysh Idlib

3 large detachments, total strength: more than 6,000 people.

Jaysh Idlib conducts combat actions in the Idlib province.

7.   Jabhat al-Shamiyah

5 large detachments, total strength: about 3,000 people.

The grouping’s detachments conduct combat actions in the Aleppo, Idlib and Damascus provinces.

Note that the two terrorist groups – Al-Qaeda (aka “Jabhat Al-Nusra” or “Jabhat Fateh al-Sham”) and ISIS – are specifically excluded.

There is a discrepancy between Shoigu’s numbers and those provided by Al-Masdar for the number of Jihadi fighters covered by the ceasefire.  Shoigu puts the number at 62,000, whereas Al-Masdar’s cumulative total is 51,500.  Almost certainly the difference is explained by their different sources of information: Shoigu is taking his numbers from the Turks and the Jihadi groups themselves, whilst Al-Masdar’s source is almost certainly the Syrian military.

The key point however is not the difference in the numbers but in the fact that Shoigu confirms that the Russians and the Turks have throughout November and December – in other words throughout the period covered by the negotiations between the two militaries which began at the beginning of November – been doing that which the US repeatedly promised to do but never did, which is delineate the areas controlled by the “moderate” Jihadis so as to distinguish them from the areas controlled by the two proscribed terrorist groups: Al-Qaeda and ISIS.  In Shoigu’s words

…….with Turkey acting as intermediary, [we] spent two months in talks with leaders of the groups that make up the moderate Syrian opposition…..At the same time, we carried out the same work with the Syrian government…….Over these two months, we spent the bulk of the time on making sure that the maps indicate what we at one point asked our American colleagues to do.

(bold italics added)

Shoigu’s words to Putin also confirm something else which had already become apparent: Lavrov’s negotiations with Kerry following the collapse of the 9th September 2016 Kerry-Lavrov agreement were diplomatic shadow play.  Whilst it was these fictional negotiations between Lavrov and Kerry which continued to hold the limelight, the real negotiations were going on behind the scenes between the militaries of Russia and Turkey, without the US being consulted or involved.

Moreover it is now clear from Shoigu’s words that the Turks made a political decision to come to a settlement with the Russians over Syria by October at the latest, so that the discussions which took place during November and December were of an essentially technical nature: determining what territories the groups that would be covered by the ceasefire actually controlled, getting the groups to sign up to the ceasefire plan, and agreeing the technicalities of monitoring the ceasefire and enforcing it.  Most of the ceasefire plan, the text of which I have provided above, sets out the monitoring and enforcement procedures, and confirms that Turkey has agreed to guarantee the compliance of the seven groups who have signed up to it.

Turkey’s involvement in the ceasefire plan as its guarantor is the key to its success.  As I said in my article of 2nd November 2016, the various Jihadi groups which operate in Syria depend on Turkey for their supplies of men and equipment.  That gives Turkey immense potential leverage over them, and means that if Turkey fully commits to enforcing the ceasefire plan then the seven Jihadi groups covered by it have no choice but to comply with it.

Why did the negotiations between Russia and Turkey succeed, where the negotiations between Russia and the US were such a complete failure?

From the Russian point of view, the ceasefire has given them what they want.  The overriding problem the Russians face in Syria is the limited size of the Syrian army.  Since this means that the Syrian army cannot be strong everywhere – the key fact which enabled ISIS to recapture Palmyra last month – and since deploying Russian ground troops to Syria has been ruled out, Russian diplomacy since Russia’s intervention in Syria in September 2015 has been aimed at reducing the number of enemies the Syrian army has to fight so that it can concentrate its forces on its two enemies who are the most dangerous: Al-Qaeda and ISIS.

If the Russians really can get seven armed groups amounting to between 50,000 to 60,000 men to stand down, freeing the Syrian army to focus on taking the war to Al-Qaeda and ISIS, then the Syrian army’s limited resources mean it is worth doing even if two of the seven groups are Jihadi groups Russia has previously designated terrorist organisations.

In the meantime, by ensuring that Aleppo – Syria’s biggest city and its main industrial centre – is restored to the full control of the Syrian government, the Russians have not only ensured the Syrian government’s survival, removing the possibility of regime change from the agenda, but have also provided the Syrian army with a secure base in Syria’s populous coastal western regions in which it can rebuild its strength.

As for Turkey, with the prospect of regime change in Syria taken off the agenda following the restoration of the Syrian government’s authority in Aleppo, the Russian offer of a peace conference in Astana to be co-chaired by Turkey provides Turkey with a face-saving – even generous – way out of a commitment to regime change in Syria which has effectively already failed.

The peace conference in Astana is not however just a sop to Turkey.  For the Turks a key provision of the ceasefire plan is that any future agreement about the future of Syria to be reached at Astana must be based – in the words of the ceasefire plan – upon “full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic”.  In other words any possibility of an independent Kurdish state being carved out of Syrian territory is ruled out.

Will the plan work?

If Turkey’s commitment to the plan is the condition for its success, it is also its major weakness.

As should by now be obvious to anybody who has followed the Syrian conflict at all closely, not only has Turkish President Erdogan been personally committed up to now to achieving regime change in Syria, but he is not someone who has a habit of following through on his commitments with any degree of consistency.

Is he really prepared now to drop his plan for regime change in Syria, and to crack down on the seven Jihadi groups in Syria covered by the ceasefire if or rather when they try to break it?

Is he also prepared to ride out the inevitable violent blowback from the militant Jihadi groups that have now become embedded in Turkish society as a result of his own regime change policy in Syria, of which today’s Istanbul attack is probably merely a foretaste?

Since it is upon Erdogan that the future of this ceasefire agreement ultimately depends, it would be unwise to invest too many hopes in it.

That the Russians are not doing so is shown by the guarded comments of the participants of the Kremlin meeting on 29th December 2016.  Putin pointedly referred to the ceasefire agreement as “fragile”, and though the possibility of Russian military withdrawals from Syria was discussed, none were announced.

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