To Capture and Subdue: America’s Theft of Syrian Oil Has Very Little To Do With Money

By Steven Chovanec

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WAR FOR EMPIRE

Years of US support to Al-Qaeda and ISIS and efforts to effect regime change in the country have culminated in the theft of Syria’s oil, but is that really America’s coup de gras in Syria?

Near the end of July, one of the most important recent developments in U.S. foreign policy was quietly disclosed during a U.S. Senate hearing. Not surprisingly, hardly anybody talked about it and most are still completely unaware that it happened.

Answering questions from Senator Lindsey Graham, Secretary of State Pompeo confirmed that the State Department had awarded an American company, Delta Crescent Energy, with a contract to begin extracting oil in northeast Syria. The area is nominally controlled by the Kurds, yet their military force, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), was formed under U.S. auspices and relies on an American military presence to secure its territory. That military presence will now be charged with protecting an American firm from the government of the country that it is operating within.

Pompeo confirmed that the plans for implanting the firm into the U.S.-held territory are “now in implementation” and that they could potentially be “very powerful.” This is quite a momentous event given its nature as a blatant example of neocolonial extraction, or, as Stephen Kinzer puts it writing for the Boston Globe, “This is a vivid throwback to earlier imperial eras, when conquerors felt free to loot the resources of any territory they could capture and subdue.”

Indeed, the history of how the U.S. came to be in a position to “capture and subdue” these resources is a sordid, yet informative tale that by itself arguably even rivals other such colonial adventures.

To capture and subdue

When a legitimate protest movement developed organically in Syria in early 2011, the U.S. saw an opportunity to destabilize, and potentially overthrow, the government of a country that had long pushed back against its efforts for greater control in the region.

Syria had maintained itself outside of the orbit of U.S. influence and had frustratingly prevented American corporations from penetrating its economy to access its markets and resources.

As the foremost academic expert on Middle East affairs, Christopher Davidson, wrote in his seminal work, “Shadow Wars, The Secret Struggle for the Middle East,” discussing both Syria and Libya’s strategic importance, “the fact remained that these two regimes, sitting astride vast natural resources and in command of key ports, rivers, and borders, were still significant obstacles that had long frustrated the ambitions of Western governments and their constituent corporations to gain greater access.”

With Syria,” Davidson wrote, “having long proven antagonistic to Western interests… a golden opportunity had presented itself in 2011 to oust [this] administration once and for all under the pretext of humanitarian and even democratic causes.”

US Senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman meet with Syrians at the Yayladagi camp on the Turkish-Syrian border. April 10, 2012. Umit Bektas | Reuters.

The U.S., therefore, began organizing and overseeing a militarization of the uprising early on, and soon co-opted the movement along with allied states Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar. Writing at the end of 2011, Columbia University’s Joseph Massad explained how there was no longer any doubt that “the Syrian popular struggle for democracy [has] already been hijacked,” given that “the Arab League and imperial powers have taken over and assumed the leadership of their struggle.”

Soon, through the sponsoring of extremist elements, the insurgency was dominated by Salafists of the al-Qaeda variety.

According to the DIA and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, by 2013 “there was no viable ‘moderate’ opposition to Assad” and “the U.S. was arming extremists.” Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh revealed that “although many in the American intelligence community were aware that the Syrian opposition was dominated by extremists,” still “the CIA-sponsored weapons kept coming.”

When ISIS split off from al-Qaeda and formed its own Caliphate, the U.S. continued pumping money and weapons into the insurgency, even though it was known that this aid was going into the hands of ISIS and other jihadists. U.S. allies directly supported ISIS.

U.S. officials admitted that they saw the rise of ISIS as a beneficial development that could help pressure Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to give in to America’s demands.

Leaked audio of then-Secretary of State John Kerry revealed that “we were watching… and we know that this [ISIS] was growing… We saw that Daesh was growing in strength, and we thought Assad was threatened. We thought, however, we could probably manage — that Assad would then negotiate.” As ISIS was bearing down on the capital city of Damascus, the U.S. was pressing Assad to step down to a U.S.-approved government.

Then, however, Russia intervened with its air force to prevent an ISIS takeover of the country and shifted the balance of forces against the jihadist group. ISIS’ viability as a tool to pressure the government was spent.

The arsonist and the firefighter

So, a new strategy was implemented: instead of allowing Russia and Syria to take back the territories that ISIS captured throughout the war, the U.S. would use the ISIS threat as an excuse to take those territories before they were able to. Like an arsonist who comes to put out the fire, the U.S. would now charge itself with the task of stamping out the Islamist scourge and thereby legitimize its own seizure of Syrian land. The U.S. partnered with the Kurdish militias who acted as their “boots on the ground” in this endeavor and supported them with airstrikes.

The strategy of how these areas were taken was very specific. It was designed primarily to allow ISIS to escape and redirect itself back into the fight against Syria and Russia. This was done through leaving “an escape route for militants” or through deals that were made where ISIS voluntarily agreed to cede its territory. The militants were then able to escape and go wreak havoc against America’s enemies in Syria.

Interestingly, in terms of the oil fields now being handed off to an American corporation, the U.S. barely even fought ISIS to gain control over them; ISIS simply handed them over.

FILE – In this April 6, 2018 file photo, shows a former farmer working at a primitive refinery making crude oil into diesel and other products, in a village controlled by a U.S-backed Kurdish group, in Rmeilan, Hassakeh province, Syria. Syrians living in government-controlled areas have survived eight years of war now face a new scourge in the form of widespread fuel shortages. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)

Syria and Russia were quickly closing in on the then-ISIS controlled oilfields, so the U.S. oversaw a deal between the Kurds and ISIS to give up control of the city. According to veteran Middle East war correspondent Elijah Magnier, “U.S.-backed forces advanced in north-eastern areas under ISIS control, with little or no military engagement: ISIS pulled out from more than 28 villages and oil and gas fields east of the Euphrates River, surrendering these to the Kurdish-U.S. forces following an understanding these reached with the terrorist group.”

A man works a primitive refinery making crude oil into diesel in a U.S-backed Kurdish village in Rmeilan, Syria, April 6, 2018. Hussein Malla | AP

Sources quoted by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed that ISIS preferred seeing the fields in the hands of the U.S. and the Kurds rather than the Syrian government.

The rationale behind this occupation was best described by Syria expert Joshua Landis, who wrote that the areas of northern Syria under control of the Kurds are the U.S.’ “main instrument in gaining leverage” over the government. By “denying Damascus access to North Syria” and “controlling half of Syria’s energy resources” “the U.S. will be able to keep Syria poor and under-resources.” So, by “promoting Kurdish nationalism in Syria” the U.S. “hopes to deny Iran and Russia the fruits of their victory,” while “keeping Damascus weak and divided,” this serving “no purpose other than to stop trade” and to “beggar Assad and keep Syria divided, weak and poor.”

Or, in the words of Jim Jeffrey, the Trump administrations special representative for Syria who is charged with overseeing U.S. policy, the intent is to “make life as miserable as possible for that flopping cadaver of a regime and let the Russians and Iranians, who made this mess, get out of it.”

Anchoring American troops in Syria

This is the history by which an American firm was able to secure a contract to extract oil in Syria. And while the actual resources gained will not be of much value (Syria has only 0.1% of the world’s oil reserves), the presence of an American company will likely serve as a justification to maintain a U.S. military presence in the region. “It is a fiendishly clever maneuver aimed at anchoring American troops in Syria for a long time,” Stephen Kinzer explains, one that will aid the policymakers who hold “the view that the United States must remain militarily dominant in the Middle East.”

This analysis corroborates the extensive scholarship of people like Mason Gaffney, professor of economics emeritus at the University of California, who, writing in the American Journal of Economics and Sociology, sums up his thesis that throughout its history “U.S. military spending has been largely devoted to protecting the overseas assets of multinational corporations that are based in the United States… The U.S. military provides its services by supporting compliant political leaders in developing countries and by punishing or deposing regimes that threaten the interests of U.S.-based corporations.”

In essence, by protecting this “global ‘sprawl’ of extractive companies” the U.S. Department of Defense “provides a giant subsidy to companies operating overseas,” one that is paid for by the taxpayer, not the corporate beneficiaries. It is hard to estimate the exact amount of money the U.S. has invested into the Syria effort, though it likely is near the trillion dollar figure. The U.S. taxpayer doesn’t get anything out of that, but companies that are awarded oil contracts do.

What is perhaps most important about this lesson however is that this is just a singular example of a common occurrence that happens all over the world. A primary function of U.S. foreign policy is to “make the world safe for American businesses,” and the upwards of a thousand military bases the U.S. has stationed across the globe are set up to help protect those corporate investments. While this history is unique to Syria, similar kinds of histories are responsible for U.S. corporation’s extractive activities in other global arenas.

So, next time you see headlines about Exxon being in some kind of legal dispute with, say, Venezuela, ask yourself how was it that those companies became involved with the resources of that part of the world? More often than not, the answer will be similar to how this U.S. company got involved in Syria.

Given all of this, it perhaps might seem to be too mild of a critique to simply say that this Syria enterprise harkens back to older imperial eras where conquerors simply took what they wished: the sophistication of colonialism has indeed improved by leaps and bounds since then.

More American Blunders in the Middle East: U.S. Envoys Embrace Terrorists Yet Again

By Philip Giraldi

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Kelly Craft James Jeffrey White Helmets 34414

The spread of the coronavirus has meant that much of the other news about developments around the world has disappeared from the normal news cycle. The situation in Syria, which involves not only the government in Damascus but also Turkey, Russia, Iran and a remaining American force in part of the country has been proving increasingly unstable. Russian President Vladimir Putin has met face-to-face with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to come up with a de-escalation plan that would avoid any head-to-head confrontation. An agreement was reached that included a cease fire, which most observers are describing as a surrender by Erdogan that accepted all Russian-Syrian army gains in the Idlib Province, but it remains to be seen what exactly will be sustainable. There have been subsequent reports that have include claims of the downing of two Syrian aircraft and several helicopters.

The United States for its part has been sending mixed messages to appeals from the Turks for support. Donald Trump has had an on and off again relationship with Erdogan and he has more-or-less approved the Turkish presence in the border areas and continues to endorse something like regime change in Damascus. Though it seems that at least for the moment the danger of a major armed conflict between Russia and Turkey has faded, many believe that more incidents are likely and could easily escalate.

And there is a truly dangerous connection in that Turkey and the United States are, of course, members of NATO. Under Article 5 of the NATO treaty, an attack on any one member is considered to be the same as an attack on all members and all members must respond by coming to the defense of the victim of the attack. Turkey has asked the United States for Patriot missiles to defend its troops on the ground in Syria. It has also called for NATO to enforce a no-fly zone in Idlib Province, air space that is currently controlled by Russia. Omer Celik, speaking for Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, said that in his government’s view “The attack against Turkey is an attack against NATO. NATO should have been with Turkey, not starting today but from before these events.” Washington, for its part, has reportedly offered to provide Patriot batteries if the Turks do not deploy their recently purchased Russian built S-400 missiles. Trump has otherwise deferred to the Europeans for any direct assistance and NATO has not entertained seriously any no-fly commitment.

Under normal circumstances and in a normal world, the very idea that a member of a defensive alliance should be able to attack another country, as Turkey has done in Syria, and then demand assistance from other members of the alliance when the attacked country fights back would be a non-starter. But the problem with that kind of rational thinking is that NATO has long since ceased to be a defensive alliance. Both as an alliance and also acting through several of its member states, it has been actively involved in wars that have nothing to do with defense of Europe or of the Atlantic relationship with Washington. NATO troops are currently in Afghanistan and have also been in Iraq, Syria and Libya. Alliance members including the U.S. fought in Bosnia and Kosovo. 

And there are the usual head cases on the American side also demanding action against Russia and Syria. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida tweeted that “The prospects of a direct military confrontation between Turkey & Russia in Syria are very high & increasing by the hour… [Erdogan] is on the right side here. Putin & Assad are responsible for this horrific humanitarian catastrophe.”

The American ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison told reporters “This is a big development, and our alliance is with Turkey, it is not with Russia. We want Turkey to understand that we are the ones that they’ve been allied with.”

The United States has further complicated the game through a recent visit made by the entourages of two senior U.S. officials who visited Syria’s Idlib on March 3rd and pledged $108 million aid for Syrian civilians, hours after Turkey downed its second Syrian warplane in the province. Who exactly would receive the money and how it would be distributed was, inevitably, not immediately clear.

The two diplomats slipped over the border from Turkey with the connivance of Ankara and several Syrian “resistance” groups. They conspicuously met with the so-called White Helmets, a group that claims to be involved in nonpartisan humanitarian rescue missions but which really is affiliated with terrorists, most notably the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which is affiliated with al-Qaeda. HTS is the principal terrorist group operating in Idlib.

The group of American diplomats was headed by U.S. representative to the United Nations Kelly Craft, along with U.S. Special Envoy for Syria James Jeffrey. It was the first visit by American diplomats to IdlibCraft announced that the aid package was for “the people of Syria in response to the ongoing crisis caused by Assad regime, Russian, and Iranian forces”. Jeffrey struck a more directly belligerent pose, saying that Washington would be providing ammunition in addition to the humanitarian assistance. “Turkey is a NATO ally. Much of the military uses American equipment. We will make sure that equipment is ready and usable.” 

U.S. policy in Syria serves no American interest, but both Craft and Jeffrey are well known to be in the pocket of Israel. Craft, a big time GOP donor, who, in her fifteen months spent as Ambassador to Canada was remarkable for flying back to the U.S. from Ottawa 128 times, 70 of which were to her home in Kentucky. All on the government dime even though she is an extremely wealthy woman.

Craft left Canada when she replaced the arch Zionist Nikki Haley at the U.N. She emphasized in her confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that she would “fight against anti-Israel resolutions and actions by the U.N. and its affiliated agencies.” She also “made a case for America returning to a leading role at Turtle Bay [the U.N.] as a way of protecting Israel… Without U.S. leadership, our partners and allies would be vulnerable to bad actors at the U.N. This is particularly true in the case of Israel, which is the subject of unrelenting bias and hostility in U.N. venuesThe United States will never accept such bias, and if confirmed I commit to seizing every opportunity to shine a light on this conduct, call it what it is, and demand that these outrageous practices finally come to an end.” 

Jeffrey is even more the zealot. His full title is as United States Special Representative for Syria Engagement and the Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIL. He is, generally speaking, a hardliner politically, closely aligned with Israel and regarding Iran as a hostile destabilizing force in the Middle East region. He was between 2013 and 2018 Philip Solondz distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a think tank that is a spin-off of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). He is currently a WINEP “Outside Author” and go-to “expert.”

Professor John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt, academic dean at Harvard University ‘s Kennedy School of Government, describe WINEP as “part of the core” of the Israel Lobby in the U.S. They examined the group on pages 175-6 in their groundbreaking book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy and concluded as follows:

“Although WINEP plays down its links to Israel and claims that it provides a ‘balanced and realistic’ perspective on Middle East issues, this is not the case. In fact, WINEP is funded and run by individuals who are deeply committed to advancing Israel’s agenda … Many of its personnel are genuine scholars or experienced former officials, but they are hardly neutral observers on most Middle East issues and there is little diversity of views within WINEP’s ranks.”

Jeffrey set the tone for his term of office shortly after being appointed by President Trump back in August 2018 when he argued that the Syrian terrorists were “. . . not terrorists, but people fighting a civil war against a brutal dictator.” Jeffrey, who must have somehow missed a lot of the head chopping and rape going on, subsequently traveled to the Middle East and stopped off in Israel to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It has been suggested that Jeffrey received his marching orders during the visit.

So, Trump bleats incessantly about how he wants to withdraw the U.S. from the senseless wars that it has been drawn into but at the same time his State Department sends two Zionist hardliners to Syria on a semi-secret mission to support a policy of regime change in Damascus while also providing aid that will inevitably fall into the pockets of an al-Qaeda linked terrorist group. And ammunition will also be forthcoming for the invading Turks to shoot Syrians, Russians and Iranians. If anyone is seriously interested in what is wrong with U.S. foreign policy, the activity of Craft and Jeffrey might serve as a decent case study on how not to do it. Unless, of course, the actual objective is to screw things up and involve the United States in quarrels that it could easily avoid.

The United States Is in Syria Illegally as a Proxy for Israel and Saudi Arabia

By Philip Giraldi

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James Jeffrey Netanyahu e1db3

The first week in February was memorable for the failed impeachment of President Donald Trump, the “re-elect me” State of the Union address and the marketing of a new line of underwear by Kim Kardashian. Given all of the excitement, it was easy to miss a special State Department press briefing by Ambassador James Jeffrey held on February 5th regarding the current situation in Syria.

Jeffrey is the United States Special Representative for Syria Engagement and the Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIL. Jeffrey has had a distinguished career in government service, attaining senior level State Department positions under both Democratic and Republican presidents. He has served as U.S. Ambassador to both Turkey and Iraq. He is, generally speaking, a hardliner politically, closely aligned with Israel and regarding Iran as a hostile destabilizing force in the Middle East region. He was between 2013 and 2018 Philip Solondz distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a think tank that is a spin-off of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). He is currently a WINEP “Outside Author” and go-to “expert.”

Professor John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt, academic dean at Harvard University ‘s Kennedy School of Government, describe WINEP as “part of the core” of the Israel Lobby in the U.S. They examined the group on pages 175-6 in their groundbreaking book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy and concluded as follows:

“Although WINEP plays down its links to Israel and claims that it provides a ‘balanced and realistic’ perspective on Middle East issues, this is not the case. In fact, WINEP is funded and run by individuals who are deeply committed to advancing Israel’s agenda … Many of its personnel are genuine scholars or experienced former officials, but they are hardly neutral observers on most Middle East issues and there is little diversity of views within WINEP’s ranks.”

In early 2018 Jeffrey co-authored a WINEP special report on Syria which urged “…the Trump administration [to] couple a no-fly/no-drive zone and a small residual ground presence in the northeast with intensified sanctions against the Assad regime’s Iranian patron. In doing so, Washington can support local efforts to stabilize the area, encourage Gulf partners to ‘put skin in the game, drive a wedge between Moscow and Tehran, and help Israel avoid all-out war.”

Note the focus on Iran and Russia as threats and the referral to Assad and his government as a “regime.” And the U.S. presence is to “help Israel.” So we have Ambassador James Jeffrey leading the charge on Syria, from an Israeli perspective that is no doubt compatible with the White House view, which explains why he has become Special Representative for Syria Engagement.

Jeffrey  for his term of office shortly after being appointed by President Trump back in August 2018 when he argued that the Syrian terrorists were “. . . not terrorists, but people fighting a civil war against a brutal dictator.” Jeffrey, who must have somehow missed a lot of the head chopping and rape going on, subsequently traveled to the Middle East and stopped off in Israel to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It has been suggested that Jeffrey received his marching orders during the visit.

Two months later James Jeffrey declared that he would like to see Russia maintain a “permissive approach” to allow the Israelis to attack Iranian targets inside Syria. Regarding Iran’s possible future role in Syria he observed that “Iranians are part of the problem not part of the solution.”

What Jeffrey meant was that because Israel had been “allowed” to carry out hundreds of air attacks in Syria ostensibly directed against Iran-linked targets, the practice should be permitted to continue. Israel had suspended nearly all of its airstrikes in the wake of the shoot down of a Russian aircraft in September 2018, an incident which was caused by a deliberate Israeli maneuver that brought down the plane even though the missile that struck the aircraft was fired by Syria. Fifteen Russian servicemen were killed. Israel reportedly was deliberately using the Russian plane to mask the presence of its own attacking aircraft.

Russia responded to the incident by deploying advanced S-300 anti-aircraft systems to Syria, which can cover most of the more heavily developed areas of the country. Jeffrey was unhappy with that decision, saying “We are concerned very much about the S-300 system being deployed to Syria. The issue is at the detail level. Who will control it? what role will it play?” And he defended his own patently absurd urging that Russia, Syria’s ally, permit Israel to continue its air attacks by saying “We understand the existential interest and we support Israel” because the Israeli government has an “existential interest in blocking Iran from deploying long-range power projection systems such as surface-to-surface missiles.”

Later in November 2018 James Jeffrey , declaring that U.S. troops will not leave Syria before guaranteeing the “enduring defeated” of ISIS, but he perversely put the onus on Syria and Iran, saying that “We also think that you cannot have an enduring defeat of ISIS until you have fundamental change in the Syrian regime and fundamental change in Iran’s role in Syria, which contributed greatly to the rise of ISIS in the first place in 2013, 2014.”

As virtually no one but Jeffrey and the Israeli government actually believes that Damascus and Tehran were responsible for creating ISIS, the ambassador elaborated, blaming President Bashar al-Assad for the cycle of violence in Syria that, he claimed, allowed the development of the terrorist group in both Syria and neighboring Iraq.

He said “The Syrian regime produced ISIS. The elements of ISIS in the hundreds, probably, saw an opportunity in the total breakdown of civil society and of the upsurge of violence as the population rose up against the Assad regime, and the Assad regime, rather than try to negotiate or try to find any kind of solution, unleashed massive violence against its own population.”

Jeffrey’s formula is just another recycling of the myth that the Syrian opposition consisted of good folks who wanted to establish democracy in the country. In reality, it incorporated terrorist elements right from the beginning and groups like ISIS and the al-Qaeda affiliates rapidly assumed control of the violence. That Jeffrey should be so ignorant or blinded by his own presumptions to be unaware of that is astonishing. It is also interesting to note that he makes no mention of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, kneejerk support for Israel and the unrelenting pressure on Syria starting with the Syrian Accountability Act of 2003 and continuing with embrace of the so-called Arab Spring. Most observers believe that those actions were major contributors to the rise of ISIS.

Jeffrey’s unflinching embrace of the Israeli and hardline Washington assessment of the Syrian crisis comes as no surprise given his pedigree, but in the same interview where he pounded Iran and Syria, he asserted oddly that “We’re not about regime change. We’re about a change in the behavior of a government and of a state.”

Some of James Jeffrey’s comments at last week’s press conference are similarly illuminating. Much of what he said concerned the mechanics of relationships with the Russians and Turks, but he also discussed some core issues relating to Washington’s perspective on the conflict. Many of his comments were very similar to what he said when he was appointed in 2018.

Jeffrey expressed concern over the thousands of al-Nusra terrorists holed up in besieged Idlib province, saying “We’re very, very worried about this. First of all, the significance of Idlib – that’s where we’ve had chemical weapons attacks in the past… And we’re seeing not just the Russians but the Iranians and Hizballah actively involved in supporting the Syrian offensive… You see the problems right now in Idlib. This is a dangerous conflict. It needs to be brought to an end. Russia needs to change its policies.”

He elaborated, “We’re not asking for regime change per se, we’re not asking for the Russians to leave, we’re asking…Syria to behave as a normal, decent country that doesn’t force half its population to flee, doesn’t use chemical weapons dozens of times against its own civilians, doesn’t drop barrel bombs, doesn’t create a refugee crisis that almost toppled governments in Europe, does not allow terrorists such as HTS and particularly Daesh/ISIS emerge and flourish in much of Syria. Those are the things that that regime has done, and the international community cannot accept that.”

Well, one has to conclude that James Jeffrey is possibly completely delusional. The core issue that the United States is in Syria illegally as a proxy for Israel and Saudi Arabia is not touched on, nor the criminal role in “protecting the oil fields” and stealing their production, which he mentions but does not explain. Nor the issue of the legitimate Syrian government seeking to recover its territory against groups that almost everyone admits being terrorists.

Virtually every bit of “evidence” that Jeffrey cites is either false or inflated, to include the claim of use of chemical weapons and the responsibility for the refugees. As for who actually created the terrorists, that honor goes to the United States, which accomplished that when it invaded Iraq and destroyed its government before following up by undermining Syria. And, by the way, someone should point out to Jeffrey that Russia and Iran are in Syria as allies of its legitimate government.

Ambassador James Jeffrey maintains that “Russia needs to change its policies.” That is not correct. It is the United States that must change its policies by getting out of Syria and Iraq for starters while also stopping the deference to feckless “allies” Israel and Saudi Arabia that has produced a debilitating cold war against both Iran and Russia. Another good first step to make the U.S. a “normal, decent country” would be to get rid of the advice of people like James Jeffrey.

 

Wrong over Iraq, Colonel Caggins at Least Got It Right over Idlib

By Jeremy Salt

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Colonel Myles Caggins d601b

Clearly Colonel Myles B. Caggins III is both a patriot and a God-fearing man. As the communications director for task force Inherent Resolve in Iraq (stated mission the destruction of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), he is far from home in  Columbus, Ohio. His home church, the Edgwood Church of Christ, stays in touch with a steady flow of greeting cards and once he’s back he intends to treat the veterans who have been following him with a meal at Ed’s Southern Cooking.

Colonel Caggins describes himself in interviews as a word warrior whose goal is to dominate the information environment with weaponized truth. His five As for success are aspire, acquire, achieve, acknowledge and assist. A prayerful man who knows the difference between good and evil, he has not hesitated to speak the truth as he sees it about the armed groups in Idlib province, about the ‘rebels’ and ‘opposition’ the media defends and the ‘terrorists’ the Syrian military is trying to destroy.

Colonel Caggins greatly annoyed the Turkish government late last year with a tweet praising female fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a largely Kurdish group established by the US to further its strategic interests in northeastern Syria. Turkey regards the SDF and the YPG (People’s Protection Units) as terrorists no different from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK),  operating just across the border for the past 30 years in southeastern Turkey. In his tweet, Colonel Caggins sent his congratulations to “the new class of female SDF fighters. A lion is a lion.”  No doubt because of Turkey’s complaints, he later deleted the tweet.

Colonel Caggins’ truth is the truth of the home-loving patriot.  In his eyes America is good. His mission in Iraq is good. Ed’s Southern Cooking is good. The Edgwood Church of Christ is good.  Those Kurdish female fighters are good –  but those people holding Idlib province are not good. Why, he told a Sky television interviewer,  Idlib province seemed to be a magnet for “terrorist groups” who were all “a nuisance, a menace and a threat” to civilians just trying to make it through winter.

Sky News

@SkyNews

.@OIRSpox Colonel Myles Caggins says the province is a “magnet” for terrorist groups who are a “nuisance, a menace and a threat” to the hundreds of thousands of civilians in Syria, who are just “trying to make it through the winter.”

Read more 👉 https://trib.al/liWl6kS 

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In fact, Idlib is not just a magnet for terrorist groups. Until the recent advances of the Syrian military, they controlled the entire province. They form a single force under the leadership of Hayat Tahrir al Sham (HTS), designated by the US government as a terrorist organization even though its senior officials are obliged to call them ‘rebels’ who can be defended and not ‘terrorists’ who can’t.

In describing them as terrorists and a threat to civilian life Colonel Caggins, naively or inadvertently, put himself on the same page as Bashar al Assad and the opposite page to his own government. The response was immediate. The interview itself could not be removed but Reddit’s r/syriancivilwar ‘moderators’ removed all comments on what Colonel Caggins had said, in the interests, it falsely claimed, of keeping communities safe, civil and “true to their purpose.”  One has to assume that Colonel Caggins was quickly reprimanded by his superiors.

On Twitter the defenders of the ‘opposition’ and the ‘rebels’ were furious. “You may as well be working for Putin,” wrote Robin Yassin-Kassab. You’re repeating Kremlin and Assad propaganda. Meanwhile, you have appeased the Assadist-Russia-Iranian mass extermination and mass expulsion of Syrians for nine years. Shut up.”

Mr. Yassin-Kassab, a novelist, is a propaganda pot calling the kettle black.  He regarded the infiltration and takeover of east Aleppo by takfiris as “liberation” and their expulsion in 2016 as a “population transfer” comparable to the expulsion of the Palestinians in 1948.  In fact, the Aleppans were literally dancing in the streets after the ejection of their tormentors.  The 300,000 people who had fled the city immediately returned once it was under full government control.  These scenes have been repeated across Syria the moment the takfiris have been driven from the towns and villages they have infiltrated and occupied.

What the supporters of ‘regime change’ in Syria are actually upholding is the violation of international law at many levels and the attempt by outside governments and their regional partners to destroy an Arab government, not in the interests of the Syrian people but in their own strategic interests.  They are supporting not ‘rebels’ or ‘the opposition’ but terrorists, in any reasonable definition of the word, and terrorists as officially designated by many of the governments that have staged this attack.  They are not supporting ‘revolution’  because there never was one.  Neither was there a ‘civil war.’  This was an orchestrated attack on Syria, launched behind the cover of a protest movement but armed and violent from day one in Dar’a.

For the past nine years, the Syrian government has done what it is constitutionally obliged to do, defend the country and its people against attack by terrorist groups financed and armed by outside governments and committing the most appalling atrocities.  This is where the prime responsibility for the devastation that has overwhelmed Syria lies, not with the Syrian government.

In Idlib, the factions united under the banner of HTS include Ahrar al Sham, which over the years has been responsible for some of the worst atrocities of the past nine years, including the massacre and kidnapping of Alawis in Latakia. The head-severing Nur al Din Zinki is another member of this collective.

HTS, formerly Jabhat al Nusra and then Jabhat Fatah al Sham (Front for the Conquest of Syria), took root as Al Qaida in Syria until breaking with both the parent organization and the Islamic State in 2016. Fighting between the takfiris for control of Idlib lasted for years until HTS finally defeated its rivals in 2018.  They were then incorporated into one fighting group under HTS’s leadership. The chaos which followed the takfiri takeover of the province included murder, kidnappings, extortion and the flight of virtually all the Christian population. Shia Muslims in Kafriya and Al Fua were murdered and the two villages besieged before HTS agreed to the transfer of the population into government-controlled districts.  Just ahead of the evacuation in 2018, 126 people, including 68 children,  were killed when their waiting buses were bombed.

The ‘Salvation Government’ established in Idlib rules according to HTS’s interpretation of Islamic law. The hisba religious police enforce ‘sharia compliance,’ which includes prayer attendance,  the closure of shops on Fridays and modest behavior and appearance by shopkeepers.  Men are forbidden to shave their beards off or to have their hair cut in ‘kaffir’ (unbeliever) style.  The playing of (or listening to) any kind of music is banned. Sounds the kind of cosy place Robin Yassin-Kassab would really enjoy.

Males and female are segregated even at primary school and men and women are forbidden from mixing in all medical, educational and administrative institutions, with women forbidden from wearing makeup and required to wear the khimar, a veil that covers not just the head but the body down to the waist or the knee.

Women are forbidden to mix with men other than husbands or male relatives, even on public transport. Male shopkeepers are forbidden from selling women’s underwear with clothing restrictions applied even to advertisements and dummies in shop windows.  In many cases, girls and women have responded to these restrictions by not going to school or university.

This is not a case of imposing ‘western’ standards on a Muslim society because all the evidence suggests that the people of Idlib are suffocating under this ‘Salvation Government.’ Activists have been arrested, shopkeepers have defied the hisba, there have been public demonstrations against price increases on food staples (such as bread and oil) and many judges or other senior figures in the government have been assassinated. The designation of HTS as a terrorist organization has cut off international support for educational and medical institutions,  resulting in the loss of thousands of teaching jobs and the closure of at least two hospitals in Idlib city.

No doubt Colonel Caggins genuinely believes the US is doing good in Iraq. The folks back home clearly feel the same. The Iraqi people don’t agree.  They want the Americans out of their country, and the sooner the better.  The people of Idlib feel the same about the takfiris. They also will be celebrating in the streets when the last of them have gone. Wrong over Iraq, Colonel Caggins at least got it right over Idlib.

For Sama – The Denial of the Real Victims of War on Syria

By Vanessa Beeley

Source

For Sama Aleppo 1e799

Oscar-nominated ‘For Sama’ is a gritty, well-produced “documentary” claiming to present the reality of the five-year siege of the Syrian city of Aleppo. Just how deceptive is this portrayal?

The 90-minute video directed by UK Channel 4’s Waad Al-Kateab and English filmmaker Edward Watts has been unanimously praised in the mainstream media and tonight it might win this year’s Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. But does the film present a truly unbiased picture of the Syrian conflict or, rather, just the side of the story that fits the Western narrative about the war?

The armed-group occupation of East Aleppo portrayed as “freedom”

East Aleppo was the armed group hinterland of the city of Aleppo for five years. During this time the shape-shifting militant cadres mingled and confronted each other in mafia-style gang warfare over territory, status, financing and control over the civilians living through their occupation. Ultimately the dominant force was Al-Qaeda or Nusra Front in Syria.

Very few journalists could safely enter this barren and desolate zone reigned over by brutal, extremist groups. Channel 4 teamed up with Syrian “revolution” sympathizer and camera-woman, Waad Al-Kateab, and her alleged “doctor” husband who goes by the pseudonym of Hamza Al Kateab (real name Zahed Katurji) to produce “citizen journalist” reportage that would effectively choreograph the events in Aleppo for an unsuspecting public in the West.

Inside Aleppo consisted of a series of video reports produced by Waad, for Channel4, that claimed to record the daily life inside the extremist group-controlled districts of East Aleppo. Channel 4 accepted and republished these reports without any apparent independent verification or investigation.

Aleppo was Channel 4’s perceived “Guernica,” their reporting was consistently one-sided and partisan towards the “moderate rebels” who, according to the British TV network, were being “disproportionately” targeted by the “dictator Assad” and the Syrian Arab Army. The reality for journalists, like myself, who spent time in Syrian-government secured West Aleppo, sheltering 1.5 million civilians including an estimated 500,000 who had fled East Aleppo when it was invaded by armed militants in 2012, was diametrically different from the narrative being marketed by Channel 4 and the majority of state-aligned media in the West. Aleppo, according to residents, was opposed to the “revolution” from day one.

Channel 4 normalizing terrorism and extremism

Channel 4’s reporting in Aleppo and Syria has almost invariably presented the child-beheading, ethnic-cleansing sectarian groups as “rebels with a cause.” In a 2016 report, ‘Aleppo: up close with the rebels’, Krishnan Guru Murthy follows none other than members of formerly US-funded Nour Al Din Zinki, responsible for the horrific public torture and decapitation of 12-year-old Palestinian child, Abdullah, in July 2016.

In the same report, Murthy appears to legitimize the armed group strategy of mass suicide bombing as an act of “defense” without mentioning that many of these suicide bombers were targeting civilian and residential areas. Channel 4 removed this report after their lack of recognition of the war crimes committed by its protagonists was exposed.

Walid@walid970721

 ·

Photo 2: Hamza with child beheader Maayouf Abu Bahr
Photo 3: Hamza again with Maayouf
Photo 4: Maayouf & Friends before they beheaded 12 yr old Abdallah Issa

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

 

 

Walid@walid970721
 

Hamza’s friend Maayouf of the Zinki US backed “rebel” group & his friends taunting the boy before they beheaded him. Maayouf says: “the Quds division ran out of men so they sent us a child”. Another says: “these are your dogs, Bashar”. (no graphic violence) See prev. tweet

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Dedicated to Waad’s daughter, the documentary can only be described as a grotesque misrepresentation of life in East Aleppo under the tyranny of sectarian armed groups. Anyone watching this movie will assume that East Aleppo was the “free country” as described by Waad, besieged and preyed upon by the Syrian government. The film literally airbrushes Nusra Front from the scenario. Groups like Nour al-Din al-Zenki are not referred to, their crimes go unmentioned.

The role of Hamza Al-Kateab affiliated with the armed groups in East Aleppo

Many journalists have pointed out the dangers of working in areas occupied by the militant factions. Waad and her husband have no apparent issues living side by side with groups renowned for their brutal violence against anyone who would challenge their rule. In fact, a number of videos and social media interactions demonstrate the close relationship that Hamza had with members of these groups – in particular with the aforementioned Nour al-Din al-Zenki.

Walid@walid970721

Photo 2: Hamza with child beheader Maayouf Abu Bahr
Photo 3: Hamza again with Maayouf
Photo 4: Maayouf & Friends before they beheaded 12 yr old Abdallah Issa

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

 
 
While corporate media and ‘For Sama’ portray Hamza as a compassionate “doctor,” we must ask how deceptive that image is. Many interactions have been deleted from Hamza’s social media accounts but are still available as screenshots. In these interactions, Hamza is involved in military strategy discussions with extremist groups. Hamza is clearly aware of the violence and abuse meted out against civilians by the occupying forces but he never condemned it to the media outlets who relied heavily upon his testimony to file their Aleppo reports.

vanessa beeley@VanessaBeeley

Not the first time .@jonsnowC4 has reproduced propaganda without any independent verification, reliant upon terrorist-linked https://21stcenturywire.com/2017/09/01/white-helmets-the-jib-al-qubeh-war-crime-in-aleppo-denied-by-channel-4/ 

WHITE HELMETS: The Jib-Al-Qubeh War Crime in Aleppo, Denied by Channel 4

Vanessa Beeley | Another White Helmet propaganda heist exposed by Syrian civilians in Aleppo.

21stcenturywire.com

Carmen Renieri@RenieriArts

Wondering what Mr. Snow has to say about this vid, showing Al-Qaeda linked Sarout holding while surrounded by armed terrorists, while daddy Hamza dances to the tunes of Sarout´s chants: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=10&v=63s1FTwvCTA&feature=emb_logo 

 
 
When the terrorists were evacuated from the last district of East Aleppo, Al Sukare, where Al Quds hospital was located, they left behind a deadly trail of mines and booby traps designed to kill civilians returning to their homes. I was, myself, witness to one of these explosions, after a booby trap left in a washing machine was detonated – murdering and injuring civilians on Christmas Eve 2016.

According to social media conversations, Hamza was aware of this heinous practice. He and Waad evacuated at the same time as the armed groups. Therefore, it can be assumed that they knew about the dangers that awaited civilians, yet they apparently did nothing to warn them.

Much of ‘For Sama’ footage is located in the Al Quds hospital which was, itself, the center of controversy in East Aleppo when Doctors without Borders (MSF) declared it “destroyed” by a Russian airstrike in May 2016. Various independent researchers and journalists exposed this narrative as misleading and unsubstantiated.

‘For Sama’ omits the reality that hospitals in East Aleppo were taken over by the armed groups, often converted into military headquarters. The vast complex of the Children and Eye hospital was transformed into a torture and detainment center for civilians who did not comply with the armed group ideology or those perceived to be Syrian government-loyalists. After the liberation of East Aleppo, civilians testified that they did not receive medical treatment in the remaining hospitals which were effectively militant triage centers. I spoke with children and teenagers whose injured limbs had been amputated by the so-called medical staff who preferred such cruel expediency over long-term treatment. Why does ‘For Sama’ not cover any of these inconvenient truths?

The children I interviewed in East Aleppo who were forced to witness public executions and crucifixions, by the extremist groups, are ignored by Channel 4 and ‘For Sama’. Journalists like Theo Padnos and Matthew Schrier, who were imprisoned and tortured by the armed groups in the Eye Hospital compound are not referred to.

The mortars fired daily into West Aleppo by the militants that Waad does not refer to were responsible for thousands of civilian deaths and the maiming of countless more who lost limbs in the rain of lethal “Hell-cannon” gas canister missiles or were sniped in the streets that bordered the Nusra Front-dominated enclaves.

The 2013 Queiq River narrative explained

The 2013 River Queiq massacre is portrayed, in the film, as a Syrian government crime, the gory scenes exploited to further criminalize the SAA. If Channel 4 had conducted any kind of investigation into this event, they might have fulfilled their duty to provide context and evidence that would have better informed their audiences in the West. Channel 4 must be considered grossly negligent in their distorted representation of the Syrian conflict.

vanessa beeley@VanessaBeeley

“For Sama” Oscar-nominated propaganda movie misrepresents 2013 Queiq River massacre – civilians & soldiers massacred by armed grps, dumped in river – blamed on Syrian govt. .@jonsnowC4 shld investigate narratives he promotes to avoid reputation as war PR agent.

Embedded video

Aleppo-based journalist, Khaled Iskef, did exactly this investigation over a period of years before Al Mayadeen channel published his findings based upon forensic DNA reports and witness testimony. ‘For Sama’ glosses over fact in favor of propaganda and denies justice for the victims of extremist violence & brutality. According to Iskef’s evidence, River Queiq was a convenient dumping ground for these armed groups to dispose of evidence, Waad and Channel 4 have apparently provided cover for the crimes they committed.

Channel 4, media architects of war

It is no surprise that Channel 4 has been instrumental in the production of ‘For Sama’. I have extensively documented the channel’s role in the behind-the-scenes management of other such revisionist projects on Syria. The White Helmets, another terrorist-linked entity operating in East Aleppo, produced an award-winning, Oscar-nominated movie, ‘Last Men in Aleppo’, which also eradicated the presence of extremist fighters and terrorist groups from the conflict landscape – reducing the narrative down to “bad Assad” and “good rebels.”

vanessa beeley@VanessaBeeley

“For Sama” omits presence of Riyadh-trained fanatic Sheikh Abdullah Muhaysini in east 2016 “blessing” suicide bombers before they are released to murder Syrian civilians & soldiers. For Sama is little more than a war crime cover-up promoted by .@jonsnowC4

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Channel 4 were among the hidden architects of this production and were also at the forefront of support for the White Helmets Nobel Peace Prize nomination while this UK/US funded group stands accused of all manner of war crimes by the Syrian people who lived under militant-group-occupation across Syria.

‘For Sama’ is an exploitative and well packaged instrument of injustice. It is an attempt by governments and media in the West to rewrite history, to erase their shameful role in maintaining a nine-year conflict, in Syria, based on lies and obfuscation of fact.

If you were to speak to the Syrian people in Aleppo who lived through the period covered by ‘For Sama’, they would tell you that this film does not represent their suffering or abuse at the hands of the armed gangs. They would tell you that ‘For Sama’ effectively defends those who tortured, imprisoned and subjected them to all manner of horror and bloodshed. They would tell you that ‘For Sama’ is just another insult from the billionaire-funded PR industry for war that has denied the real Syrian victims a voice for nine years while those who help perpetuate the crimes against them will, once again, be on Hollywood’s red carpet.

Countering Syria’s Liberating Struggle

By Stephen Lendman

Source

Whenever Syrian forces make significant advances in liberating areas controlled by US supported jihadists, establishment media counterattack with state-approved propaganda.

Reports read like US/Western press releases, sticking to the official narrative, hard truths about years of US aggression ignored, Syria/Russia bashing featured as more cities, towns, and villages are liberated from the scourge of US-supported jihadists.

Hollywood is involved, studio bosses colluding in glorifying US wars and demonizing its enemies.

In propaganda films, Washington has final say on content, wanting its agenda promoted.

History is reinvented, villains portrayed as heroes. Supporting America’s imperial agenda overrides truth-telling.

At Hollywood’s 89th Academy Awards, The White Helmets propaganda film was honored as best documentary short – al-Qaeda-connected terrorists portrayed as heroic.

On Sunday at the 92nd Academy Awards, will best documentary nominee For Sama be awarded an Oscar in support of the US war machine.

Win or lose it won by promotion surrounding its nomination.\

A promo for the film calls it “(a)n intimate and epic journey into the female experience of war, a love letter from a young mother to her daughter…while cataclysmic war rises around her…captur(ing) stories of loss…and survival.”

Ignored are years of US aggression, Obama/Trump regimes’ support for ISIS and other jihadists, Pentagon terror-bombing massacring tens of thousands, US responsibility for the gravest refugee crisis since WW II, and raging forever war, aiming to transform Syria into a US vassal state.

British Independent Film Awards named For Sama the year’s best documentary. So did the Cannes Film Festival. Is Hollywood next?

For movie moguls, annual Academy awards are all about  film promotion for profits, unrelated to the industry’s best.

When called on by the Pentagon and/or CIA, Hollywood produces films that portray hostile US actions as liberating struggles and democracy promotion — victims falsely blamed for high crimes committed against them.

Establishment media do most pro-war heavy lifting, featuring all propaganda all the time about Washington’s imperial agenda, supporting what demands condemnation.

Ahead of Sunday’s Academy Awards spectacle, the NYT featured a propaganda op-ed by Waad al-Kateab, For Sama’s co-director.

She falsely portrayed liberating efforts by Syrian and Russian forces as high crimes — committed by the US and its jihadist proxies left unexplained.

Focusing on the ongoing Idlib province campaign, she claimed “the world…abandoned the Syrian people.”

It’s clearly true about the Western world and their regional imperial allies.

Falsely calling Idlib a “sanctuary” for millions of Syrians, she ignored their captivity as human shields by US/Turkish supported jihadists.

She said nothing about scores of daily attacks by their fighters against government forces and residential areas.

She falsely called al-Qaeda-connected White Helmets “civil defense” workers.

She lied accusing Syrian and Russian forces of massacres, ignoring jihadists’ responsibility for what’s gone on throughout the war — along with Pentagon-led terror-bombing of cities, towns, villages, and vital infrastructure.

Kateab’s propaganda film is supported by US officials, Hollywood, and establishment media, notably the NYT.

Instead of truth-telling about US aggression, it features anti-Syria/anti-Russia propaganda.

Will Hollywood dishonor itself again like countless times before by honoring For Sama propaganda as best documentary this year?

The film isn’t worth the celluloid it’s produced on for suppressing what’s most important to explain.

Syrian Civilians Killed and Wounded due to Al-Nusra Front Shelling on Aleppo Neighborhoods

By Khaled Iskef

Source

al Nusra front targeting neighborhoods of Aleppo ac970

Seven people were killed and more than 30 others were injured on Thursday evening as a result of targeting Aleppo neighborhoods in northern Syria with homemade rockets and missiles by Al-Nusra Front militants.

Al-Nusra militants carried out their attacks from their positions in Al-Rashideen / 4 /area southwest of Aleppo city, where the shells hit Al-Jamailia, Al-Hamdaniya, Halap Al-Jadida , Al-Zebdieh, Al-Mashhad, Salah Al-Din and Al-A’zamiya neighborhoods.

Most of the casualties who reached hospitals were from Salah al-Din neighborhood in the south-east of the city, as the crowded popular market in the neighborhood was targeted, which also led to several fires in cars and houses. According to medical sources, an 8-year-old boy died along with three other adults as a result of being burned in a car that was hit directly by a missile.

Al-Nusra militants shelling continued for about 3 hours, after which the pace of the shells subsided in conjunction with Syrian Army intense targeting with rockets the positions of the militants in al-Rashideen area and the town of Khan al-Assal located in western Aleppo countryside.

The city of Aleppo recently has witnessed an increasing escalation by the militants of “Al-Nusra front” stationed in its surroundings through targeting residential neighborhoods with various types of shells, as was the case on Wednesday evening, which witnessed targeting Al-Hamdania, Aleppo.

Al-Jadida, Nile Street and Shahbaa neighborhoods with dozens of shells that resulted in material damages only.

US increases funding to White Helmets who are persecuting Syrian Christians in Idlib

By Vanessa Beeley

Source

US President Donald Trump has not only reversed his “withdrawal from Syria” policy, he has recently attempted to revive the flagging credibility of the terrorist-affiliated White Helmets with a $4.5 million cash injection.

This week, the UK Minister for the Middle East Andrew Murrison met the “chairman” of the White Helmets, the extremist-connected Raed Saleh, for a discussion on the situation in Idlib. Murrison highlighted the “massive disinformation campaign” being waged against the White Helmets by Russia and Syria while never addressing the multiple accusations being made by Syrian civilians against the group which include claims of child abduction and organ trafficking.

Andrew Murrison

@AWMurrison

The White Helmets continue to provide life-saving service to the people of Syria. Today I met Chairman @RaedAlSaleh3 to discuss the terrible situation on the ground in Idlib and reiterated the UK’s unwavering support.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

White Helmets’ persecution of Syrian Christians in Idlib

On a recent trip to Latakia, I had the opportunity to interview a former resident of Yakubiyah, a predominantly Syrian Christian (Armenian and Catholic) town located west of Idlib city and around 10km from the Syrian border with Turkey. Aline K (her full name is withheld for her security) was in Lebanon when the armed gangs first entered her hometown in 2012/13 but she decided to return to Yakubiyah to assess the situation.

When Aline returned to her home she found it occupied by a mother and children. Aline asked them to leave but when she came back the next morning, armed militants had taken control of the house and Aline, like so many of her neighbours, was forced to abandon her house. She told me:

The terrorists looted all the houses, they entered houses and checked what’s inside it, another group came and took everything inside, they took everything they could carry, they emptied houses, they emptied them.

Aline described a campaign of desecration of the three churches in Yakubiyah, the removal of the ancient stone crosses and artefacts, the familiar eradication of Christian culture, that has been witnessed across Syria, by the so-called “peaceful revolutionaries” sponsored by the West. Meanwhile the West hypocritically claims to be protecting Christians while financing, arming, and promoting their persecutors. Aline and all the women in Yakubiyah were forced to wear the hijab. Aline spent most of her time in hiding, terrified to go out, fearful of reprisals or punishment. Many of the younger inhabitants fled, leaving behind only the elderly and those who did not have the means to escape.

Aline told me that the White Helmets began to appear alongside the armed groups in 2015.

They established their center in a complex of school and church buildings. When they arrived they were dressed like the terrorists, you couldn’t tell them apart but the White Helmets are a subsidiary of the terrorist groups. Most of the White Helmets were Syrian but the situation was chaotic, we didn’t know who was who, there were many foreigners among them.

According to Aline, the White Helmets were working with and for the terrorist groups. Aid received from outside was distributed first to the armed groups before meagre supplies were handed out to civilians. Aline did not see the White Helmets performing “humanitarian” activities, they were focused on further looting and the destruction of historic buildings, including the churches.

In 2018, “moderate rebel” promoter Charles Lister attempted to claim that the White Helmets were benevolent caretakers of Christian artefacts and communities in Yakubiyah. This cynical remodelling of reality was swiftly exposed by former resident and Syria commentator, Camille Otrakji.

Otrakji went on to ridicule the concept that the White Helmets were protecting or defending the cultural identity of the town’s inhabitants.

Aline also responded to the White Helmet marketing campaign, saying:

They (White Helmets and terrorists) left nothing untouched or unbroken. They were like locusts, they left no tree or building untouched. They stole our livelihood, our trees. They destroyed everything, reduced it to trash, our homes, our buildings, all destroyed.

Aline confirmed that all the White Helmets carried guns and would use them to threaten and intimidate civilians. Aline also described the supply of weapons to the terrorist group’s child soldiers, teenagers under 16, this was carried out by the White Helmets and the armed group leaders. This must raise the question of who is supplying the aid and weapons so liberally distributed to designated terrorist groups like Al Qaeda/Nusra Front present in Yakubiyah?

We should remind ourselves that the UK alone has provided £ 2.81 billion in “humanitarian” aid since 2012. Over the past 18 months alone, the UK government has poured $150 million into Idlib, funds that will be received and managed by groups like the White Helmets.

Aline demonstrated the familiar confusion that I have experienced when interviewing civilians who have lived under the occupation of armed groups and their White Helmet auxiliaries. It is hard for these traumatised individuals to differentiate between the two groups, they are interchangeable, working in lockstep to terrorise communities and individuals they perceive to be ideologically “different” or loyal to the Syrian government. It is this ambiguity over their identity that suggests that one of the many roles of the White Helmets is as a Western proxy benefactor to the armed groups they are intermingled with.

Chemical weapon hoaxes staged by extremist, sectarian White Helmets

Many journalists who have worked to expose the White Helmets perceive that the White Helmet brand has outrun its usefulness yet the billionaires and governments who have promoted and protected this group from reputation loss are still peddling the “humanitarian” image of this US/UK intelligence asset operating alongside some of the most brutal, sectarian armed groups still in Syria.

The White Helmets have been cornered alongside HTS (Hayat Tahrir Al Sham) in the “largest Al Qaeda haven since 9/11” which is Idlib in the north-west of Syria. The White Helmets operate alongside the sectarian, extremist groups and share their ideology which seeks to eliminate or subjugate all sects and minorities in Syria that do not belong to their exclusive, tyrannical club.

The obviously sectarian aspect of the group has been admitted by the British mercenary and founder of the White Helmets, James Le Mesurier, but is never picked up by the colonial media in their relentless defence of the White Helmets.

The REAL Syria Civil Defence (established in Syria in 1953), on the other hand, is made up of volunteers from across all sects and minorities in Syria and represents the pluralism and secular nature of Syrian culture and society.

Perhaps Trump’s relatively small donation of $4.5 million to this failing propaganda construct is a last ditch attempt to secure their performances in a final “chemical weapon” swansong in Idlib. This is a dangerous strategy if that is the case. After the Douma revelations and the undeniable corruption of the OPCW’s independence, I cannot help but feel that a new staged attack in Idlib would be met with more ridicule than outrage and that public consensus would be tipped resolutely in favour of Syrian sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the upholding of international law as opposed to support for further pretexts for FUKUS globalist “banditry” and war crimes in the region.

The White Helmets should be condemned as the parody of humanitarianism they really are but they should also be held publicly accountable for their role in perpetuating misery and bloodshed in Syria. Failure to do so will result in their rebranded appearance in another country and another “humanitarian” war sanctioned by their presence, another heinous crime against humanity, another oil jihad fuelled by the US coalition of terror. It is time to say “enough.”

Assad’s Comments about Trump Are Right on the Money

By Michael Howard

Source

Assad is right about Trump 90999

I’ve written a lot of words about Syria over the past few years. It wasn’t that I necessarily wanted to—there are plenty of other things I’d rather write about—but I didn’t have much of a choice. Western military meddling in, and Western media coverage of, that terrible conflict forced my hand. Both were so hypocritical and mendacious that I couldn’t help myself. I don’t know about you, but I don’t much like being manipulated and lied to. So I wrote a handful of articles countering the propaganda with which we were being clubbed on a daily basis, pointing out inconvenient but undeniable facts that the mass media were either burying or distorting. These facts had to do with the nature of the armed opposition, Russia’s intervention, our own role in turning Syria into a charnel house, and, of course, the notorious chemical weapons incidents that were used as excuses for American bombing.

I was what is officially known as an “Assadist”—an apologist for Assad, who had murdered 400,000 of his own people. For some strange reason, killing one’s own people is far less acceptable than killing someone else’s. We in the United States like to do both: our militarized police kill unarmed Americans while our military kills, directly or indirectly, unarmed Iraqis, Syrians, Afghans, Yemenis, etc. in numbers dwarfing 400,000. By the way, you’ll have noticed that that figure, which held steady for three or four years, has miraculously begun to go down. Now it’s 300,000, or 250,000, or in some cases even less. It’s reminiscent of the disappearing residents of east Aleppo. While that gory battle raged on, there were supposed to be 250,000 innocents caught in the crossfire. When the “rebel” enclave finally fell, a few media outlets quietly conceded that there had been less than 100,000 people there; most outlets did not bother correcting the record.

It was all very farcical and embarrassing. At times it passed into the sphere of surrealism. I remember watching a CNN or MSNBC broadcast one night and nearly spitting out whatever it was I was drinking when I heard a commentator assert that Assad had “killed millions.” The absurd hyperbole went unchallenged by her fellow panelists—probably they thought it was true. Another time, while an English-language interview with Assad was being discussed, a CNN woman clarified for the folks at home that everything one saw and heard on the tape must be taken with a grain of salt, because the interview had been recorded by the Syrian government and then selectively edited to Assad’s liking. Again, nobody interjected to say that Assad grants interviews to journalists on the condition that the conversation is recorded and published in its entirety, without any editing by anyone. But again, the pros at CNN probably didn’t know this. They believe most of their own lies.

If you refused to jump on the bandwagon and tell lies about the Syrian government, you were an “Assadist.” If you mentioned that east Aleppo was occupied by al-Qaeda-types, you were an “Assadist.” If you expressed skepticism about the humanitarian credentials of the White Helmets, “Assadist” again. Interesting to note that much of the mainstream press are now Assadists. They no longer pretend, for example, that Erdogan’s proxies comprise some kind of moderate rebel force worth supporting—their ethnic cleansing of Kurdish majority regions finally laid waste to that stubborn little myth. Nor do they deny that Idlib is governed by Wahhabi maniacs who differ from ISIS in tactics only. Anyone making such points two or three years ago, when Washington still clung to the hope that Assad would be Gaddafi’d, was beyond the pale. Now that Assad is certain to win the war, it’s permissible to tell the truth—part of it anyway. Speaking of Idlib, the media seem to have settled on a figure of 3 million civilians. We’ll see how many of those people vanish into thin air if and when the Syrian army regains control of the area.

But coordinated resistance is not such an easy thing when you’re dealing with a monolithic corporate media that overwhelms you with state propaganda and then blackens anyone who dares push back. Which is why Trump, hideous as he and his policies are, is a breath of fresh air. I’ve written about this before. By wearing his vile, imperialist motives on his lapel, he makes it extremely difficult for the media to sell us their snake oil. We should topple Maduro, the Trump regime contends, because then we’ll have control of Venezuela’s enormous oil reserves. “That’s the country we should be going to war with,” Don reportedly said in private. “They have all that oil and they’re right on our back door.” But we don’t have to believe that account. Here’s his erstwhile National Security Adviser, the reptilian John Bolton, speaking publicly: “We’re looking at the oil assets. That’s the single most important income stream to the government of Venezuela. We’re looking at what to do to that.”

Returning to Syria, Trump has announced that he’s keeping American troops there (forever, presumably) to secure and protect oil fields in the northeast. There you have it, plain as day: we shall stay in Syria because, well, we want its oil. George and Dick always maintained that oil had nothing to do with their decision to go into Iraq and tear it apart—that was just a silly conspiracy theory. All we wanted was freedom for the Iraqi people. Our motives were benevolent and disinterested. From Trump we get no such claptrap. From Trump, one of the most prolific liars in the business, we ironically get the truth. That, according to the president of Syria, makes him “the best American president.”

Assad made the remark in a recent interview. He expounded: “Why? Not because his policies are good, but because he’s the most transparent president. All American presidents commit crimes and end up taking the Nobel Prize and appear as a defender of human rights and the ‘unique’ and ‘brilliant’ American or Western principles, but all they are is a group of criminals who only represent the interests of the American lobbies of large corporations in weapons, oil and others.”

Call me an Assadist, but Assad is right on the money. Trump has lifted the embroidered veil from American foreign policy and exposed for everyone to see the rottenness that lies beneath. In all his vulgar glory, he lays bare the cynical, beastly motives underpinning the sanctions, the military and economic aid, the US-led coalitions, the humanitarian interventions, the cruise missile strikes, the full-scale invasions. He shows us, ultimately, that the American Empire is as ugly and irredeemable as he is. What say you, Washington Post?

Former British Ambassador to Syria: UK complicit in Trump’s Syria Oil Grab

By Peter Ford

Source

With the UK Parliament already on alert, how long will it be before Congress wakes up to this scandal-in-the-making?

The cat is out of the bag. The UK is potentially complicit in a war crime. With typical insouciance the U.S. military dropped this bombshell by tweet and apparently without realizing the implications for U.S. partners:

OIR Spokesman Col. Myles B. Caggins III

@OIRSpox

.@USArmy troops in 4-118th Infantry Regiment, @30thabct, @NCNationalGuard attached to the 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, @SCNationalGuard, load M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles to support the @CJTFOIR mission in Deir ez Zor, Syria.

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

OIR Spokesman Col. Myles B. Caggins III

@OIRSpox

We are repositioning @CJTFOIR forces to Deir ez Zor to continue partnering w/ to defeat ISIS remnants, protect critical infrastructure, & deny ISIS access to revenue sources. Mechanized forces provide infantry, maneuver, and firepower.

OIR is Operation Inherent Resolve, which is the name behind which the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS cloaks its military activities. (Think NATO wearing a thobe.) CJTFOIR is the Combined Joint Task Force for Operation Inherent Resolve.

If, as per the spokesman’s statement, the forces being redeployed to Syria’s oil-producing areas are Inherent Resolve forces, it follows that those troops are doing so in the name and under the aegis of the Coalition. Simple. Ah yes, but awkward for the British government to admit – awkward for practical, political and legal reasons. 

In practice, if this is a Joint Task Force Operation as we are told by the U.S. spokesman, it would be next to impossible for the deployment in Deir Ez Zor province to be taking place without some input from the senior UK officers embedded with the U.S. military in the Coalition Joint Task Force headquarters (the Deputy Commander is a British general) and active in carrying out Operation Inherent Resolve.

Politically this matters because hitherto all the opprobrium leveled at President Trump for allegedly ‘looting’ Syria’s oil has spared other participants in Inherent Resolve, including the UK, France, and Germany. How awkward it might be for Boris Johnson, facing an election, to find himself tarred with yet another Trump brush to put alongside Trump’s alleged grab for the UK National Health Service.

Legally this matters because if Trump puts into practice his promise to seize Syrian oil production, that will constitute, according to authoritative legal experts, a violation of international law against ‘pillaging’ enshrined in the Fourth Geneva Convention and thus constitute a war crime. Any party complicit in pillaging, and that would surely include other parties in the Joint Task Force, even if only headquarters staff and not boots on the ground, could also be culpable. The British government might find itself challenged in a UK court even if no international court could be found willing to act.

A nightmare for British government lawyers

This is the stuff of nightmares for British government lawyers.

Parliament is already alerted. The independent peer Baroness Cox prompted the following exchange with a government minister by putting down a tricky parliamentary question.

UK Parliament Syria inquiry

We can take that as an embarrassed ‘yes’.

Lord Ahmed, an FCO Minister, gave a similarly evasive answer to another question asked by Baroness Cox:

UK Parliament Syria inquiry 2

You can picture Lord Ahmed squirming.

It gets worse.

The British government may soon find itself complicit in harboring and funding terrorists because of Inherent Resolve’s involvement in pillaging Syria’s oil.

The U.S. says it will work with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to ‘safeguard vital infrastructure’ and will route proceeds of oil sales to the SDF to pay for its role, described as being anti-ISIS. What this overlooks is that the oilfields are not in Kurdish areas, which are mainly in the north, near the Turkish border, but in southern Deir Ez Zor province, which is dominated by Sunni Arabs who formed a core constituency for ISIS. This area is not far from Raqqa. The nominally SDF forces in the area, with which the U.S. will have to work, are mainly Arab and notoriously marbled with ISIS fighters. This part of the SDF has been described as ‘SDF by day, ISIS by night’. Not that they will not make excellent guards. These fighters, far from attacking the U.S., will likely be delighted to find the U.S. not only creating a safe haven for them but funding them as well.

Aiding terrorism, committing war crimes: a prospect to make any UK politician gulp. No wonder the parliamentary answers were evasive, even more so than usual with the grand yet nebulous ‘Global Coalition’. (In answer to another awkward question asking how many ISIS the Coalition had killed or detained in Syria in the last two years the FCO claimed implausibly that the government ‘does not hold this information’, no doubt to avoid having to acknowledge that the number is tiny and that the main purpose of the Coalition is to deny territory to Assad.)

With the UK Parliament already on alert, how long will it be before Congress wakes up to this scandal-in-the-making?

The Real US Mission in Syria

By Stephen Lendman

Source

US involvement in Syria has nothing to do with regional peace, stability and security, nothing to do with combatting ISIS.

It’s all about killing a nation, destroying its sovereignty, partitioning it for easier control, removing its legitimate leadership, installing puppet rule, plundering it, exploiting its people, eliminating an Israeli rival, isolating Iran, and enriching the US military, industrial, security complex from endless aggression.

On Thursday, US war secretary Mark Esper repeated what he said days earlier. Heavily armed Pentagon forces will continue controlling Syrian oil producing areas, on the phony pretext of “deny(ing) their access to ISIS — the scourge created and supported by the US he failed to explain.

During a Thursday joint press conference with his Australian counterpart Linda Reynolds at the Pentagon, Esper said the following:

“Our National Defense Strategy emphasizes that our principal concern is the Indo-Pacific region” — to counter China’s sovereign independence, its growing regional and global influence, it economic, financial, military and technological development, he failed to explain, adding:

“I need to redeploy (Pentagon) forces to the area” to increase the US military footprint in a part of the world not its own.

Asked to comment on Trump’s remark about wanting to take Syrian oil, Esper said the following:

“Yeah, the – the mission is, as – as I’ve spoken to, and I’ve conveyed it to the commander, and that is, we will secure oil fields to deny their access to ISIS and other actors in the region (sic), and to ensure that the SDF has continued access, because those resources are – are important, and so that the SDF can – can do its mission, what it needs to do in the region (sic).”

Asked “(i)s that a new mission, he failed to say it’s part of the overall Pentagon objective to transform Syria into a US vassal state, plunder its resources, and achieve the other aims explained above.

On Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the US is stealing and smuggling $30 million worth of Syrian oil monthly “under the pretext of fighting ISIL.”

Separately, Zakharova explained that US/NATO-supported al-Qaeda-connected White Helmets are planning a new chemical weapons attack to be falsely blame on Damascus, saying:

“New confirmations of the information about the White Helmets’ activities emerge all the time.”

“According to the existing information, which the Syrian government regularly provides to the United Nations, the White Helmets, jointly with terrorists, are preparing new chemical provocations in Syria. They obviously aim at disrupting the peace process in the country,” adding:

They’re working with (US-supported) al-Nusra jihadists in Idlib province, the last major terrorist stronghold in the country — these elements heavily armed with US, other Western, Turkish, and Saudi-supplied weapons.

So-called ceasefire in northern Syria is illusory. On Friday, Russian reconciliation center head General Yuri Borenkov said 14 ceasefire breaches occurred in the last 24 hours alone — in Hama, Idlib, Aleppo, and Latakia provinces, adding:

Syrian forces in “Acre, Tel Rasha and Zuweiqat in Latakia province have been shot at by (US-supported) Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (al-Nusra) and foreign militants.”

On Friday, Southfront reported that “al-Qaeda (and) Turkish-backed radical militants launch(ed) (a) large-scale attack in northern Latakia” province “on Syrian military positions and civilian areas,” adding:

The assault “reportedly (was) led by” (US/Ankara-supported) al-Nusra jihadists, along with “(o)ther factions of the terrorist group and elements of the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA).”

“The new attack…coincides with a Turkish offensive on Kurdish-majority areas in northeast Syria. Radical SNA militants are leading the offensive, committing war crimes against civilians in the region.”

The struggle to liberate Syria from foreign occupation and plunder has miles to go because of US, NATO, Turkish, Saudi, and Israeli rage to eliminate the Syrian Arab Republic as it now exists.

Baghdadi Alive or Dead Matters Little: ISIS Remains a US Creation

By Stephen Lendman

Source

Baghdadi Killed b0dac

Like his predecessors, Trump operates as a frontman for the military, industrial, security complex, Wall Street, and other monied interests.

As commander-in-chief, he continues endless US wars of aggression in multiple theaters, along with economic terrorism on Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, Cuba, and other nations on the US target list for regime change — including China and Russia.

His vow to bring all US troops home from Syria was a mirage. In March 2011, the US preemptively attacked the country for regime change, wanting pro-Western puppet rule replacing its sovereign independence.

Illegal Pentagon/CIA occupation of northern and southern parts of the country continues with no near-term prospect for conflict resolution because dominant bipartisan hardliners in Washington reject restoration of peace and stability to all US war theaters.

Longstanding US policy aims for dominion over planet earth, its resources and populations.

Nations not controlled by the US are vulnerable to preemptive attacks or war by other means — what the scourge of imperialism is all about, humanity’s greatest curse.

On Monday, US war secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Mark Milley held a joint press conference.

Esper repeated Trump’s dubious claim about eliminating alleged ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Like DJT, he provided no evidence of Baghdadi’s death. The remains of whoever US forces reportedly killed were buried at sea so no independent DNA testing or other identity checks could be conducted, clear evidence of deception and coverup.

According to forensic pathologists, positive IDing of human remains can take days or weeks to complete. Trump claimed Baghdadi was killed overnight Saturday — in a remote Syrian location nowhere near a forensic lab.

Yet on Monday, US war secretary Mark Esper dubiously claimed DNA testing showed remains tested were Baghdadi’s — suggesting most likely whoever was killed was someone else.

Baghdadi alive or dead matters little. ISIS remains a US creation, its activities orchestrated and controlled by its Pentagon and CIA handlers.

US officials and establishment media pretend Pentagon forces combatted and destroyed the “caliphate.” Washington actively supports it, along with likeminded terrorist groups, in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, and elsewhere.

Esper’s remarks were an exercise in mass deception, falsely claiming US operations in Syria “enable(d) the enduring defeat of ISIS,” adding:

“(R)epositioning (US) forces within the country is intended to posture us to continue this mission and give the president options, (including) execut(ion) (of) counterterrorism operations.”

The reality on the ground is polar opposite his above deception. Part of the US mission includes controlling and looting Syrian oil — on the phony pretext of protecting it from ISIS, enabling private interests and the CIA to profit from plundering Syrian resources, along with denying them to Damascus to benefit the nation and its people.

Esper: “(W)e will respond with overwhelming military force against” any threat to US occupation of Syrian territory and control of its resources.

Milley made similar remarks, stressing “counterterrorism operations” in Syria and other US war theaters that don’t exist.

During a Q & A session, reporters failed to challenge the US war of aggression and occupation of sovereign Syria threatening no one.

No one questioned Trump’s dubious account of Baghdadi’s alleged elimination or that the remains of whoever was killed were buried at sea to prevent independent DNA checking.

Nothing was asked about the looting of Syrian oil belonging to the nation, not an illegal foreign occupier.

Asked whether Pentagon troops might confront Russian or Syrian forces militarily, Esper curtly responded: “Yes.”

Last week, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov called US plunder of Syrian oil “state-sponsored banditry,” along with denouncing US protection of smugglers involved in looting Syrian resources.

Syria remains an active war theater, its people terrorized by the presence of US forces and jihadist foot soldiers.

As long as total US control of Syria remains unattained, dark forces in Washington rule out the restoration of peace and stability to the nation and its long-suffering people.

US/Turkey Deal on Syria Like Carving up Cuba Scene from the Godfather Trilogy

BY Stephen Lendman

Source

Comment: Rick Sterling or Stephen Lendman, perhaps one must view the situation in Syria bearing both viewpoints, the latter’s below and the former’s in the previous post. A quagmire such as one in Syria is far too multi-faceted to be comprehended by looking through a singular lens. 

One of the trilogy’s most memorable scenes was in pre-liberated Cuba where mafia dons are seen carving up a cake representing the country.

The Hyman Roth character explains that “all of you will share” in plundering the island state in collaboration with its ruling authorities, adding:

“These are wonderful things that we’ve achieved in Havana, and there’s no limit to where we can go from here.” 

“This kind of government knows how to help business to encourage it…(W)e have now what we have always needed —real partnership with the government.”

Cuba’s strongman despot Fulgencio Batista was like Nicaragua’s Anastasio Somoza, a figure Franklin Roosevelt called “a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.”

The characterization applied to Batista, today to all despots serving US interests and their own at the expense of peace, equity and justice.

Since early 2011, Obama’s war on Syria, now Trump’s, using ISIS and likeminded jihadists as proxy Pentagon/CIA foot soldiers continues.

It’s gone on endlessly because bipartisan US hardliners reject restoration of peace and stability to the country and others the US attacked aggressively.

They want all nations not controlled by the US transformed into vassal states, Assad and other independent leaders replaced by pro-Western puppet rule.

War in Syria is also about isolating Iran regionally, ahead of a similar scheme against its ruling authorities.

What’s going on in the Middle East post-9/11 is part of a US-led NATO/Israeli plot to redraw the Middle East map, carving up nations for easier control, looting their resources and exploiting their people.

Tactics include endless wars and chaos in one country after another, serving US imperial interests. Peace and stability defeat its aims.

Russia’s intervention in Syria four years ago changed the dynamic on the ground, most of the country liberated from the scourge of US-supported ISIS and other terrorists, Idlib province the key remaining battleground.

Infested with thousands of heavily armed US-supported al-Nusra jihadists, they’re holding around three million civilians hostage as human shields, defeating them requiring protracted struggle that’s winnable.

The greater issue is occupation of northern Syria by US and Turkish forces, its south bordering Iraq and Jordan by Pentagon troops.

As long as Syria is occupied by foreign forces, liberation remains unattainable.

The illegitimate October 17 US/Turkish deal leaves troops from both countries occupying and controlling Syrian territory — a flagrant international law breach, a scheme Damascus rejects.

It includes redeploying US forces in northern areas largely or entirely cross-border to Iraq and perhaps Jordan, unknown numbers remaining in Syria — thousands more sent to Saudi Arabia, increasing the Pentagon’s regional military footprint.

As portrayed in the Godfather trilogy, the US and Turkey agreed to carve up Syria’s north, ruling authorities of both countries wanting control over its oil-producing areas.

Damascus has no intention of relinquishing any of its territory to foreign occupiers, war likely to continue until all parts of Syria are liberated.

On Friday, Bashar al-Assad met with Kremlin special representative for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin.

Discussing the latest developments on the ground, notably Turkish aggression and Erdogan’s deal with the Trump regime, Assad stressed that Syria’s liberation depends on halting Ankara’s offensive and freeing the country from foreign occupiers.

Russian officials affirmed support for Syrian sovereignty and territorial integrity, what the Kremlin backed throughout the war, along with restoration of peace and stability to the country.

On Saturday, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported that Turkish terror-bombing and cross-border shelling continue for the second day following Thursday’s deal in Ankara, saying:

“(R)esidential neighborhoods in Ras al-Ayn and targeted places of worship from mosques, churches and monasteries, which caused the people fleeing the targeted areas” were struck, adding:

A “SANA reporter said that eight civilians were martyred and about 25 others were injured in the ongoing Turkish aggression on Syrian territory in and around Ras al-Ayn city despite the announcement of the Turkish regime reaching an agreement with Washington…”

“(G)roups of the Turkish occupation forces and their mercenaries infiltrated into Ras al-Ayn city and the surrounding villages and attacked with medium and light weapons the people in the villages of Lazka, Abah, Mraikiz, Bab al-Khair and Sheikh Hussein Tomb in Ras al-Ayn countryside.”

“The Turkish regime is launching offensive on a number of villages and towns in the countryside of Hasaka and Raqqa, which resulted in the martyrdom and injury of hundreds of civilians, including children, women and workers in the service sectors, and considerable material damage to service facilities, vital infrastructure such as dams, power and water plants.”

On Saturday, Southfront said the “northeastern Syria ceasefire is collapsing.” Turkish forces continue to attack sites, at least 28 civilians killed or injured.

AMN News said “Turkish forces (are) advanc(ing) (on a) key border city despite (Thursday’s) ceasefire” agreement, attacking Kurdish YPG fighters.

Hardline US and Turkish regimes can never be trusted, time and again agreeing to one thing, then going another way.

Is this what’s now playing out in Syria? What follows Thursday’s deal remains very much uncertain.

If past is prologue, there’s little reason for optimism.

Sorting Facts From Fiction About the US Withdrawal From Syria

By Rick Sterling

Source

The foreign policy elite is in an uproar. They claim we have abandoned our allies, they question how can America be trusted, they say the decision to withdraw from northern Syria was a gift to Russia, Iran, and Assad, to ISIS even. It is true that the U.S. and NATO policy of interventionism is failing, but that has been true since the invasion of Iraq or earlier. After the disastrous invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and an 8-year undeclared war on Syria, isn’t it time to question the foreign policy elite?

If one believes in the restoration of international law and the tenants of the UN Charter, then the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from northern Syria is a good thing. Here are some facts and history that explain why.

Fact: Syria is not our country and U.S. troops were never authorized by its sovereign government to be there. Whether or not Washington likes Damascus is irrelevant, under international law U.S. troops have no right to be there. Even flights over Syrian airspace by the U.S. coalition are a violation of international agreements. The resposbilibility is on Syrians to defend their country against an invading Turkey, and if the Syrian government does choose to enlist support from another country, that is their right.

Fact: President Barack Obama was correct when he said that “putting boots on the ground” in Syria would be a “profound mistake.”  He later said, “We have a very specific objective, one that will not lead into boots on the ground or anything like that.” But the hawks prevailed. There were not only “boots on the ground”, but there was also a shifting rationale of their reasons for being there.

The U.S. and its myriad allies in the region have done all they can, short of a direct invasion, to overthrow the government of Syria. They have spent tens of billions of dollars on weapons, training, equipment and recruitment, all in direct contravention of international law. More than one hundred thousand Syrians have died defending their country against a foreign-sponsored army of mercenaries and foreign fighters.

Fact: The U.S. encouraged the emergence of the Islamic State. Why? Because it put pressure on the Assad government in Damascus and provided a casus belli the US. to enter Syria. While the U.S. carpet-bombed Raqqa, it looked the other way as hundreds of massive convoys carried oil from eastern Syria into Turkey to fund the ISIS operations. The U.S. carried out airstrikes against the Syrian Arab Army in the midst of a critical battle against ISIS near Deir Ezzor. In a now-famous secretly recorded conversation with Syrian opposition activists in New York, Former Secretary of State John Kerry admitted that the United States was hoping to use ISIS to undermine the Syrian government. To put it bluntly, U.S. foreign policy was duplicitous and used terrorism as a tool. This, of course, is a well-documented fact.

After the U.S.-backed “Free Syrian Army” failed to overthrow the Syrian government, the U.S. sought out alternative means. They began to fund Syrian Kurdish militias known as the Peoples Protection Unit (YPG/YPJ). They gave the militias a new name, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), and encouraged the group’s secessionist tendencies.

Meanwhile, in Turkey, home to the region’s most sizable Kurdish population, Kurds are fighting for their rights and have formed a political party (Peoples Democratic Party – HDP) to unite progressives of all ethnicities. In the 2015 Turkish election, the HDP emerged as the third most popular party and was able to stifle Erdogan’s election domination. The party is currently busy campaigning against Turkey’s invasion of Syria, dubbed Operation Peace Spring.

Back in Syria, Syrian Kurdish militias came to an agreement with the Syrian government on October 13, to jointly combat the Turkish invasion. The agreement specifies that the Syrian Arab Army will control and defend the entire area from Jarablus on the Euphrates River to Syria’s far eastern border with Iraq.

Advocates of U.S. intervention claim that the Kurds were fighting and dying “for us.” Yet, they were defending their own community. The extent to which they accepted and welcomed U.S. air support, equipment, weaponry, etc. was to their own benefit, not a favor to the United States. There were two parties using each other for their own benefit.

Syria Tanf

Whenever the United States attacks or occupies a country, it needs a rationalization. In 1991, it was false claims about incubators being stolen by Iraqi troops in Kuwait. In 2003, there were false claims about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. In 2011 there were false claims of civilians being threatened by Libyan troops in Benghazi. All these claims were subsequently found to be either greatly exaggerated or entirely false.

One of the main justifications for a continued U.S. presence in Syria is that we must keep our word and not abandon Kurdish forces. This is a favorite rationalization for war. In Cuba, the CIA-trained Cuban exiles that attacked Playa Giron “were counting on us.” Fortunately, JFK resisted the pressure and said no. In Vietnam, the U.S. continued the war for a decade because “we could not let down our ally,” the governments of Saigon. Millions of Vietnamese were killed and 55,000 U.S. troops lost their lives because we could not “abandon” a government that was, in reality, little more than a proxy.

During the October 15 Democratic Debates, Joe Biden said that the withdrawal of U.S. troops from northern Syria was “the most shameful thing any president had done in modern history in terms of foreign policy.” This is absurd. Over one million died in Iraq including 4,500 and at least 100,000 severely injured U.S. soldiers. Joe Biden was an influential supporter of the 2003 Iraq invasion. Later, as Vice President, he supported the overthrow of the Libyan government. The country is still in chaos with tens of thousands dead. These two countries were devastated by U.S. action. It is evidence of shameless unaccountability in media and politics that Biden is a serious candidate for President after having destroyed so many lives at a cost of trillions of taxpayer dollars. In the same Democratic debates, Tulsi Gabbard was honest and accurate as she said that the plight of the Kurds in northern Syria is “yet another consequence of the regime change war we’ve been waging in Syria.”

Despite the howls of indignation and disinformation,  withdrawing U.S. troops from northern Syria is a step in the right direction.

Syria: Organizers of So-called “Syrian Clans Conference” Don’t Represent Any of Syrian National Components

Friday, 03 May 2019 23:08

DAMASCUS, (ST) – The so-called “Syrian Clans Conference” held on Friday in Syria’s Ein Issa city, which is controlled by US-affiliated militias, was a meeting of treason and subordination and its organizers don’t represent any of the Syrian national components, an official source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said in a statement to SANA.

The source added that the conference failed because most original Syrian clans had boycotted it forcing its organizers to change its name from “conference” to “forum” that shows the treason and subordination of its organizers regardless of their political, ethnic or racial affiliation.

Such forums stress that their organizers are running after illusions that have historically been proven to be unachievable, especially during the final years of the terrorist war on Syria and despite the huge foreign support the organizers receive, according to the source.

These militia organizations will realize that accepting the dictates of the true organizers of such farces, be they the Americans or others, will bring them only shame and disgrace, the source said.

The Syrian Arab Republic looks at this forums with contempt as they disregard the homeland’s interest, present and future and it calls on the Western states that support or participate in such forums to commit themselves to the Security Council resolutions which all affirm Syria’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence. Syria also calls on all honest Syrians, particularly in the northern and eastern regions of Syria to strongly confront such treacherous attempts and all who support and encourage them.

Hamda Mustafa

Syrian National Clans React to Ein Issa Forum, Reject any Schemes Threatening Syria’s Unity

Friday, 03 May 2019 23:50

Aleppo, (ST)-The clans of Aleppo province and countryside affirmed their full rejection to any forums the goals of which come in line with the American schemes which aims to divide Syria and create artificial entities that threaten Syria’s territorial integrity.

In a statement on Friday, the clans of Aleppo province and countryside condemned the illegal presence of the American and Turkish forces and their affiliated mercenaries and terrorist groups operating in Syria.

They stressed that “all who attend the so-called Ein Issa Forum held by the US-occupation forces, are traitors and they don’t represent anybody but themselves”, reiterating their rejection to any foreign interference in Syria’s affairs.

“All who attended the forum are traitors and are a part in the dirty game. We are against any foreign interference in Syria’s internal affairs so as to keep Syria free and dignified,” the clans concluded.

Arab Clans Forum in Hasaka reject separation and division schemes

Meantime, the Arab Clans Forum in Jurmuz of the Syrian province of Haska, affirmed their full support for the Syrian Arab army in its war on terrorism and they expressed they rejection to suspicious schemes targeting Syria’s unity.

“We categorically reject separation and division schemes promoted by the US occupation’s agents,” said a statement by participants in the Arab Clans Forum, reiterating their full support for the Syrian army in defense of the homeland against terrorists and division plots.

The statement concluded by stressing that “all who took part in any forum under any flag other than the flag of the Syrian Arab Republic are traitors and agents.”

Hamda Mustafa

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Syria’s UN Envoy Slams US-Led Aggression

By Stephen Lendman
Source

Addressing the Security Council on Wednesday, Syria’s Bashar al-Jaafari slammed the presence of US, UK, French and Turkish forces in his country, calling the occupiers responsible for aggression against its sovereign independence.

He accused the so-called US-led coalition of terror-bombing civilian communities, including use of banned weapons, responsible for massacring countless tens of thousands since their operations began.

“This so-called coalition has fought everything but terrorism,” he stressed – calling on the Security Council to rule against its illegal presence in the country.

“Syria has never interfered in the internal affairs of any UNSC member state,” he said, adding: 

“Rather it has always been keen on respecting the UN’s Charter and principles of the international law.”

“Syria is demonstrating its keenness on foiling all provocations and escalation attempts which mainly target the country’s relations with Arab, regional and international sides…” 

“In order to preserve the credibility of the Security Council, the Council has to launch immediately an investigation into these crimes to ensure and avoid their recurrence and to end the presence of US and other foreign forces in Syria, this illegal presence.”

Damascus is committed to defeat the scourge of US-supported terrorism, greatly aided by Russia, Hezbollah, and Iranian military advisors.

Separately, Russia’s UN envoy Vassily Nebenzia slammed the illegal presence of al-Qaeda-connected White Helmets wherever they’re deployed, saying:

They’re “a threat to security of regional states. Therefore, we (call on SC member states to order) them home as soon as possible. All of them.”

They have nothing to do with civil defense, everything to do with aiding US-led aggression, supporting terrorists, actively working with them.

Nebenzia rejected US-led SC members wanting an artificial deadline set for establishing a Syrian constitutional committee, calling it “counterproductive” and unrelated to conflict resolution.

Syrians alone must decide on who’ll lead them, along with their constitutional provisions by national referendum like earlier – free from foreign interference.

Washington rejects diplomatic conflict resolution, wants Assad toppled, illegitimate pro-Western puppet rule replacing him, an objective Moscow strongly opposes.

On Wednesday, Sergey Lavrov said Moscow expects “larger-scale” (US-led) provocations, Russia ready to respond appropriately when occur.

The Trump regime is upgrading its nuclear arsenal, “creating low-power nuclear weapons with a clear intent to potentially use them in combat,” said Lavrov, an ominous threat to humanity if occurs.

In his late September UN General Assembly address, Lavrov slammed “self-proclaimed…world leaders (use of) political blackmail, economic pressure and brute force” to impose their will on other nations,” adding:

Humanity “has to pay a high price for the(ir) selfish ambitions…Colonial-era diktat and coercion should be sent into the archive or the dustbin of history.”

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