Category Archives: War
Hillary has repeatedly said: “We should also work with the coalition and the neighbors to impose no-fly zones that will stop Assad from slaughtering civilians and the opposition from the air. Opposition forces on the ground, with material support from the coalition, could then help create safe areas where Syrians could remain in the country, rather than fleeing toward Europe.”
This would mean that U.S. fighter-jets and missiles would be shooting down the fighter-jets and missiles of the Syrian government over Syria, and would also be shooting down those of Russia. The Syrian government invited Russia in, as its protector; the U.S. is no protector but an invader against Syria’s legitimate government, the Ba’athist government, led by Bashar al-Assad. The CIA has been trying ever since 1949 to overthrow Syria’s Ba’athist government — the only remaining non-sectarian government in the Middle East other than the current Egyptian government. The U.S. supports Jihadists who demand Sharia law, and they are trying to overthrow and replace Syria’s institutionally secular government. For the U.S. to impose a no-fly zone anywhere in Syria would mean that the U.S. would be at war against Russia over Syria’s skies.
Whichever side loses that conventional air-war would then have to choose whether to surrender, or instead to use nuclear weapons against the other side’s homeland, in order for it to avoid surrendering. That’s nuclear war between Russia and the United States.
Would Putin surrender? Would Hillary? Would neither? If neither does, then nuclear war will be the result.
Here are the two most extensive occasions in which Hillary has stated her position on this:
We should also work with the coalition and the neighbors to impose no-fly zones that will stop Assad from slaughtering civilians and the opposition from the air. Opposition forces on the ground, with material support from the coalition, could then help create safe areas where Syrians could remain in the country, rather than fleeing toward Europe.
This combined approach would help enable the opposition to retake the remaining stretch of the Turkish border from ISIS, choking off its supply lines. It would also give us new leverage in the diplomatic process that Secretary Kerry is pursuing. …
QUESTION: When you were secretary of state, you tended to agree a great deal with the then-Secretary of Defense Bob Gates. Gates was opposed to a no-fly zone in Syria; thought it was an act of war that was risky and dangerous. This seems to me the major difference right now between what the president — what Obama’s administration is doing and what you’re proposing.
Do you not — why do you disagree with Bob Gates on this?
CLINTON: Well, I — I believe that the no-fly zone is merited and can be implemented, again, in a coalition, not an American-only no-fly zone. I fully respect Bob and his knowledge about the difficulties of implementing a no-fly zone. But if you look at where we are right now, we have to try to clear the air of the bombing attacks that are still being carried out to a limited extent by the Syrian military, now supplemented by the Russian air force.
And I think we have a chance to do that now. We have a no-fly zone over northern Iraq for years to protect the Kurds. And it proved to be successful, not easy — it never is — but I think now is the time for us to revisit those plans.
I also believe, as I said in the speech, that if we begin the conversation about a no-fly zone, something that, you know, Turkey discussed with me back when I was secretary of state in 2012, it will confront a lot of our partners in the region and beyond about what they’re going to do. And it can give us leverage in the discussions that Secretary Kerry is carrying on right now.
So I see it as both a strategic opportunity on the ground, and an opportunity for leverage in the peace negotiations. …
QUESTION: Jim Ziren (ph), Madam Secretary. Hi. Back to the no- fly zone. are you advocating a no-fly zone over the entire country or a partial no-fly zone over an enclave where refugees might find a safe haven? And in the event of either, do you foresee see you might be potentially provoking the Russians?
CLINTON: I am advocating the second, a no-fly zone principally over northern Syria close to the Turkish (ph) border, cutting off the supply lines, trying to provide some safe refuges for refugees so they don’t have to leave Syria, creating a safe space away from the barrel bombs and the other bombardments by the Syrians. And I would certainly expect to and hope to work with the Russians to be able to do that. [She expects Putin to join America’s bombing of Syria’s government and troops and shooting-down of Russia’s planes in Syria, but no question was raised about this.] …
To have a swath of territory that could be a safe zone … for Syrians so they wouldn’t have to leave but also for humanitarian relief, … would give us this extra leverage that I’m looking for in the diplomatic pursuits with Russia with respect to the political outcome in Syria.
Hillary Clinton, in a debate with Bernie on 19 December 2015, argued for her proposal that the U.S. impose in Syria a “no-fly zone” where Russians were dropping bombs on the imported jihadists who have been trying to overthrow and replace Assad: “I am advocating the no-fly zone both because I think it would help us on the ground to protect Syrians; I’m also advocating it because I think it gives us some leverage in our conversations with Russia.” She said there that allowing the jihadists to overthrow Assad “would help us on the ground to protect Syrians,” somehow; and, also, that, somehow, shooting down Russia’s planes in Syria (the “no-fly zone”) “gives us some leverage in our conversations with Russia.”
Bernie Sanders’s response to that was: “I worry too much that Secretary Clinton is too much into regime change and a little bit too aggressive without knowing what the unintended consequences might be.” He didn’t mention nuclear war as one of them.
The “no-fly zone” policy is one of three policies she supports that would likely produce nuclear war; she supports all of them, not merely the “no-fly zone.”
Hillary Clinton has never been asked “What would you do if Russia refuses to stop its flights in Syria?” Donald Trump has said nothing about the proposal for a no-fly zone (other than “I want to sit back and see what happens”), because most Americans support that idea, and he’s not bright enough to take her on about it and ask her that question. Probably, if he were supportive of it, he’d have said so — in which case it wouldn’t still be an issue in this election. Trump muffed his chance — which he has had on several occasions. But clearly he, unlike her, has not committed himself on this matter.
Hillary Clinton is obviously convinced that the U.S. would win a nuclear war against Russia. The question for voters is whether they’re willing to bet their lives that she is correct about that, and that even if the U.S. ‘wins’, only Russia and not also the U.S. (and the world) would be destroyed if the U.S. nuclear-attacks Russia.
Every other issue in this election pales by comparison to the no-fly-zone issue, which is virtually ignored, in favor of issues that are trivial by comparison. But a vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for nuclear war against Russia, regardless of whether or not the voters know this. And a vote for Trump is a vote for the unknown. Could the unknown be even worse than Hillary Clinton? If so, would it be so only in relatively trivial ways?
This election should be about Hillary Clinton, not about Donald Trump.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.
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How “We Know” Russia or Syria Bombed the Aleppo Aid Convoy
Washington’s Meaningless Confidence
On September 19, someone attacked a convoy of trucks delivering aid to a rebel-held area of Aleppo. Anti-government activists were emphatic the helicopters [were] dropping barrel bombs, followed by fighter jet strikes, which also used cluster bombs and-or machine gunned the area, keeping rebel help at bay so more witnesses would bleed to death.
A video seems to be consistent with that (see below), but it’s really not clear at all. Images showed trucks damaged by small-scale shrapnel (and/or bullets?) and gutted by fire – analysis of imagery and reports is well underway at A Closer Look On Syria. We’re still far from a clear reading, but from minute one the US has been quite clear the activist version was about right. An unnamed official told the Washington Post:
“We know it was an airstrike and not one from the coalition. We don’t know if it was Russia or the regime,” the only others flying over Syria, a senior administration official said. “In either case, the Russians have a responsibility certainly to avoid doing it themselves, but also to keep restraint on the regime.”
We know this? It’s not explained how. It sounds like the model of aircraft isn’t known, nor whose they were, just that they were present, in the air, and not ours. But another unnamed official said “two Russian SU-24 attack aircraft were in the sky above the convoy at the precise moment it was hit in Urum al-Kubra.” (BBC) This sounds like a radar finding, but it could be just empty words also. The official also noted the strike “was too sophisticated to have been carried out by the Syrian army.” Is it really excess sophistication? Or just that they just want to blame Russia specifically at this time?
There will be no radar proof brought forth, probably because they were watching and saw no movements. Most likely, this is nothing but circular reasoning – there was an airstrike that must have been the Russians, and they would use SU-24 jets, as usual, operating in pairs. But it will be read as independent proof – what odds that a possible airstrike happened while Russian jets were overhead? Obvious, “Putin crime!”
The US says it’s very certain. Uh-huh. A couple days earlier they were just as clear their aircraft were massacring Islamic State fighters near Deir Ezzour – in an area they, and not the Syrian army, normally held. After killing and wounding nearly 200 Syrian soldiers manning a well-known army-held position (see right), they stopped over Russia’s protest. Now they’re now trying to become sure those were Assad prisoners turned into unwilling soldiers, and/or dressed up as ISIS and put in a crucial spot in the hopes the US would kill them and get embarrassed. But it never works. The US these days seems to be far above shame or embarrassment, as they and their minions team up to mint custom-made realities daily. (See ACLOS)
The point is – we can’t trust Washington’s unnamed officials when they say what they believe to be the case. They’re telling us to believe their mistake story, but they don’t swallow that poison themselves. So, are they lying here as well? Especially when that lie would come so soon after and helps distract from the above-mentioned incident?
Russia’s Side of the Story
Russian defense ministry said there were no Russian or Syrian flights at the time:
But Russia, which denied its aircraft or those of its Syrian government allies were involved, said on Tuesday it believed the convoy was not struck from the air at all but had caught fire because of some incident on the ground.
“There are no craters and the exterior of the vehicles do not have the kind of damage consistent with blasts caused by bombs dropped from the air,” a statement from the defence ministry said.
Russian MoD found rebel large caliber mortar on a pickup truck moving with the convoy
(simply a reminder of the kind of weaponry all over the place, which could in fact have been the ground-based murder weapons).
After Russia’s protests, the UN changed its wording of its statement:
After the Russian explanation, the U.N. put out a revised version of an earlier statement, removing wording on “air strikes” and replacing it with references to unspecified “attacks”.
UN humanitarian spokesman Jens Laerke said the references to air strikes in the original statement, attributed to the top UN humanitarian officials in the region and in Syria, were probably the result of a drafting error.
“We are not in a position to determine whether these were in fact air strikes. We are in a position to say that the convoy was attacked,” he said.
However, most media and western government sources insist airstrike is evidently true.
Tracked by the Russians – into Terrorist Turf
Some have noted as suspicious how Russia had a surveillance drone to monitor the cease-fire, that happened to pass over the convoy as it sat parked -Elizabeth Tsurkov tweeted how “Russian drones w cameras followed the convoy’s movements,” tracking to kill, but then they released the video proof of their plot. Moscow’s take:
“Around 13:40 Moscow time (10:40 GMT) the aid convoy successfully reached the destination. The Russian side did not monitor the convoy after this and its movements were only known by the militants who were in control of the area,” Konashenkov added.
(13:40 will be the same 1:40 pm in both Moscow and Damascus.) This is apparently information they received – as I’ll explain, the drone passed later, and gave them a second piece of information.
[Below is Russian drone footage from above the UN convoy, showing US-backed ‘rebel’ militants driving an off-road vehicle with a large-caliber mortar launcher alongside UN aid trucks:]
The scene: the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) convoy of some 30 trucks set out from government-held west Aleppo, headed southwest into Islamist rebel held territory, which starts almost immediately past the city. (time: not sure yet). They passed through Khan al-Assal and Kafr Naha, and at least some of the trucks arrived at a warehouse about two kilometers further west, just east of Urm al-Kubra in the early afternoon. They remained parked there until nightfall, when the attack occurred. The map below shows where they were seen driving through Kafr Naha and where the attack happened.
The left-hand image shows the parking-attack site. The sunlight there is at an azimuth of about 225 degrees, which equates to a time of around 2:25 pm. About 40 minutes after the arrival time cited, they were clearly parked and not moving. various clues make in daylight images compared to satellite views make it clear this is the same spot the attack happened, referred to as a center of the Red crescent. So they-were still parked at 7:30 or so when the incident happened.
The destination known to the Russians at 1:40 was the same spot they would be attacked. So they didn’t “track” it with the one short span, but it didn’t move after last seen. So the Russians did know where it was, although they might not have known they knew it. Their jets could likely confirm this just before any attack. It’s not an issue. If the Russians were for brazenly murdering aid workers in a crime they could hardly deny, they could have easily found the target. It’s plain disturbing how that doesn’t register as an “if” to so many. “Of course Putin would do that, and obviously did!”
Who decided to keep the convoy there, only partly unloaded by nightfall? Local authorities, of course. About 12 were killed, they say 18 wounded, and probably a few unharmed in the attack. About 40 people, let’s say, seem to be present at the time. Workers, loaders, drivers for (18?) trucks, overseers, etc. This might be a small crew, making unloading slow.
Who kept them in a known spot until it was dark, when someone killed them, and videos can’t prove who as easily? Who didn’t send more help, letting the offloading drag on so late? Was it someone who wanted to world to see a lot of aid destroyed by Assad-Putin? Someone like this Muslim Brotherhod-looking guy picking up pieces of human flesh to wave at the camera as he explains the results of his own investigation? Are these really trustworthy people?
[What appears to be a staged photo, where ‘rebels’ appear to have draped a Red Crescent jacket over an old bombed-out car at another alleged ‘Russian/Syrian Army airstrike’ on a “humanitarian warehouse” location]
Foreign-supported, anti-government, Islamist rebels administered this whole area, and helped set up the circumstances. Did they and their allies set up the rest of it as well? The location would be known to that Russian drone, and to any Russians who mattered. But it would be even more surely known about by FSA-linked Islamist false-flag units, to every terrorist with a mortar or rocket launcher in the area.So, we’d better hope there’s finally some real proof it was something flying that did it.
[Al Nusra terrorist-linked, US-UK-EU-funded ‘NGO’ The White Helmets’ seem to be on the scene with their usual video crews filming to create a western narrative of events]
The lauded “White Helmets” were involved and cited as one source convincing the US there was an “airstrike”. But they don’t seem to save anyone here, that we see. They have explanations why. The SARC, by the way, are non-Islamist “competitors” to the White helmets, and maintain relations with the Syrian government (to some, they’re “agents of the regime.”)
But the terrorists and their supporters were clear it was a jet/helicopter/both, from Russia or Syria or both/whatever/not us. Uh-huh. Hell, they could have just raided the place, robbed and executed the aid workers, torched the trucks, and lobbed a few shells on it afterwards. Hypothetically. We’re still waiting to hear survivor stories, from verified witnesses, allowed to speak (unlikely). And besides, all of them would pass through White Helmets hands first. Incriminating videos could be deleted from their phones, etc.
Order of attack seems to be: alleged ‘barrel bomb’ attack from helicopter -follow-up alleged attack by jets…
Video sees fires already, two powerful blasts, preceded by a whooshing sound, followed by ambiguous cries of Allahu Akbar. That could be a jet sound, real or dubbed in, or a rocket sound, perhaps. I’m not expert enough to call that point yet. That’s evidence, but not proof, at least to me. Unlike video fakery, audio fakery is very easy. There’s still no video for the helicopter part that first got the trucks burning. That would be harder to fake.
[Photo above, from terrorist-linked, French-EU-funded ‘Aleppo Media Center’, shows a burned out truck parked on the side of a road in question]
Analysis of the scene and damage is not cited as a reason to blame an “airstrike.” It seems unneeded, with all the unexplained total proof they must have. But people are looking. As Russia’s MoD noted, and we at ACLOS so far agree, there doesn’t seem to be a single crater in the available images, from an alleged 2-4 barrel bombs plus jet missiles. The road seems unnaturally smooth, as well as wet. It’s seen being bulldozed a bit, and sprayed down with water for no clear reason. it seems filled-in and re-graded by morning, making it hard to read any craters for direction of fire, etc.
[Another photo from EU-funded ‘Aleppo Media Centre’ shows the contents of the truck in tact demonstrating clearly that this truck was in fact ransacked and not hit by an airstrike]
How They Really Know
In a statement issued late Monday, the State Department said, “The destination of this convoy was known to the Syrian regime and the Russian federation and yet these aid workers were killed in their attempt to provide relief to the Syrian people.” They don’t and can’t explain how Russia’s awareness was supposed to equate with total protection – they have no say over what the US-backed terrorists do or don’t do – this only works with a complete presumption that it was an airstrike. To me, so far, this seems to be a completely unfounded – and thus criminal – presumption.
The motive was revealed by another unnamed US official recently. In a candid comment to the Daily Beast, that person said the United States had “helped” the OPCW uncover “on its own” evidence for Syria’s alleged use of chlorine gas, which the agency then did. This was done, the intelligence official said, “to work through the slow UN process, get the Russians to a place where they’re cornered diplomatically,” into abandoning support for the Syrian government.
This latest move fits that profile splendidly. A convoy full of aid and aid workers is blown to bits. So long as we presume it came from the air, and it couldn’t possibly be anyone on the US side … Russia is held to account. If they did it, they’re to blame. The only other option … left as an option! Those were Syrian SU-24s, and Russia admits Damascus is bad, and abandons “Assad” militarily, and starts helping with the desired outcome of regime change. How’s that for an attempt at getting the Russian “cornered?”
READ MORE SYRIA NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Syria Files
Why US Had to Kill the Syrian Ceasefire – and why Britain has to kill the alliance with the USA in Syria.
The compulsion to wreck the already shaky truce was due to the unbearable exposure that the ceasefire plan was shedding on American systematic involvement in the terrorist proxy war on Syria.
Not only that, but the tentative ceasefire was also exposing the elements within the US government responsible for driving the war effort. US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter – the head of the Pentagon – reportedly fought tooth and nail with Obama’s top diplomat John Kerry while the latter was trying to finalize the ceasefire plan with Russia’s Lavrov on the previous weekend of September 9 in Geneva.
While Sergey Lavrov and media reporters were reportedly kept waiting several hours for Kerry to finally emerge to sign off on the deal, the American foreign secretary was delayed by intense haggling in conference calls with Carter and other military chiefs back in Washington. Even days before Kerry’s diplomatic shuttle to Geneva, Carter was disparaging any prospective deal with Russia on a Syrian ceasefire.
It is well documented that both the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency have been running clandestine programs for arming and training anti-government militants in Syria since the outset of the war in March 2011. Officially, Washington claims to be only supporting «moderate, vetted opposition». However, on occasion, Western media reports allude to the deeper sinister connections between the US military and terrorist groups when it has been reported that American weaponry «accidentally» finds its way into the hands of extremist jihadist networks.
This pretense by the US – and its other NATO and Arab allies – of supporting «moderate rebels» and of having no involvement with recognized terror groups like Al Nusra and Daesh (ISIS) was being exposed by the latest ceasefire.
It is conceivable that the diplomatic corps of the Obama administration, including President Barack Obama and his foreign emissary John Kerry, may be benighted about the full extent of America’s dirty war in Syria and its systematic connections to the terrorist brigades. Perhaps, this Obama flank is gullible and venal enough to believe in Washington’s propaganda of a dichotomy between «moderate rebels» and «terrorists».
Thus, when Kerry announced the ceasefire plan with Lavrov in Geneva on September 9, the American diplomat’s calls for the US-backed «moderate rebels» to separate themselves from the terror groups may have been made out a naive notion that such a distinction might exist. How else could we explain such a futile public appeal?
Not so, though, the Pentagon and CIA. The covert warmongers in the Pentagon and at Langley know the vile truth all along. That is, that all the militant groups in Syria are integrated into a terrorist front, albeit with a plethora of different names and seeming differences in commitment to al Qaeda Wahhabi ideology. The masters of war know that Washington is a sponsor of this terrorist front, along with its NATO and Arab allies.
Anyone with an informed knowledge about the origins of Al Qaeda from CIA authorship in Afghanistan during the 1980s would not be surprised in the slightest by such a systematic American role in the Syrian conflict.
This perspective reasonably explains why Carter. and the US military generally, were making conspicuous objections to Kerry’s ceasefire plan with Russia. They knew the ceasefire was not only infeasible because of the systematic links between the US and the terror groups, but also that a failing ceasefire would furthermore expose these systematic connections, and create wider public awareness about American complicity in the Syrian war.
And, as it transpired, the apprehensions of the Pentagon and the CIA terrorist handlers were indeed founded. Within days of the Kerry-Lavrov ceasefire being implemented on September 12, the following was undeniable: there was no separation of «moderates» and «terrorists». All militant groups were continuing to violate the nominal truce in the northern battleground city of Aleppo and in other locations across Syria.
The US and Western media then began venting about the Syrian «regime» and its Russian ally not delivering on giving humanitarian aid access to insurgent-held areas of eastern Aleppo. But that rhetorical gaming could not disguise the fact that the ceasefire was being breached by all the militant groups, which made it impossible for humanitarian aid convoys to enter Aleppo. Another factor played down by the Western media was that the Turkish government refused to coordinate with the Syrian authorities in the routing of UN truck convoys from the Turkish border into Aleppo. Given Turkey’s past documented involvement in using «humanitarian aid» as a cover for supplying weapons to insurgents, the vigilance demanded by Damascus is understandable.
The floundering ceasefire was thereby providing a withering world exposure of American terrorist complicity in Syria. The US lie about backing «moderates» as opposed to «terrorists» was being shown once and for all to be a cynical delusion. Evidently, US claims of supporting a «legitimate» opposition were seen for what they are – an utter sham. That leads to an even more damning conclusion that the US government is a sponsor of a terrorist proxy army in Syria for its criminal objective of regime change in that country. In theory at least, this disclosure warrants legal prosecution of Washington and its allies for the commission of war crimes against the state of Syria.
Given the grave stakes for American international standing that the ceasefire was endangering, it is reasonable to posit that a decision was taken by the Pentagon to sabotage. Hence, on September 17, American, British and Australian warplanes struck the Syrian Arab Army elite forces’ base near Deir Ezzor, in eastern Syria, killing over 60 personnel and wounding nearly 100 more.
The US, Britain and Australia have since claimed that it was an accident, and that their aircraft were intending to attack Daesh militants in the area. The US-led coalition claims it will carry out an investigation into the air strike. As with many times before, such as when the US devastated a hospital in Afghanistan’s Kunduz killing more than 30 people last year, we can expect a cover-up.
Briefly, a few factors for doubting the US coalition’s claim of an accident are: why did the Daesh militants reportedly launch an offensive operation on the Syrian army base less than 10 minutes after it was struck by F-16s and A-10s? That suggests coordination between the coalition air forces and the terrorists on the ground.
Secondly, it defies credibility that sophisticated air power and surveillance could mistake an army base and adjacent air field containing hundreds of troops for ragtag guerrilla units.
Thirdly, as Russian military sources point out, the US coalition had previously not been active in that area over the past two years of flying operations. The Syrian army was known to be recently waging an effective campaign against Daesh around Deir Ezzor. That suggests that the US air power was being deployed to defend the terrorist units, as the Syrian and Russian governments were quick to claim after the US-led air strike on Deir Ezzor. That is consistent with the broader analysis of why and how the entire Syrian war has been fomented by Washington for regime change.
But perhaps the most telling factor in concluding that the US and its allies carried out the massacre at Deir Ezzor deliberately is the foregoing argument that the Pentagon and CIA war planners knew that the flawed ceasefire was exposing their terror tentacles in Syria. And certainly, if any US-Russian joint anti-Daesh operations were to take place as envisaged by the Kerry-Lavrov plan, then the charade would definitely be blown apart.
In that case, only one thing had to be done as a matter of necessity. The unwieldy, discomfiting ceasefire had to be killed off. And so the Pentagon decided to make a «mistake» at Deir Ezzor – a «mistake» that has gutted any minimal trust between the US and Russia, unleashing recriminations and a surge in ceasefire violations.
The American and Western media respond in the usual servile way to aid the cover-up. The massacre at Deir Ezzor is being largely ignored as a news story, with much more prominence given to a relatively minor bombing incident in New York City on the same weekend in which no-one was killed. Or, when reported on, the US media in particular have automatically accepted without question that the air strike was an accident. CNN also dismissed out of hand Syrian government claims of it being proof of American collusion with terrorists as «absurd». A claim that would otherwise seem fairly logical.
The New York Times had this gloss to paint over the air strike:
«The United States’ accidental bombing of Syrian troops over the weekend has put it on the defensive, undercutting American efforts to reduce violence in the civil war and open paths for humanitarian relief».
The American so-called newspaper-of-record then adds:
«The United States had thought that if a deal to ease hostilities in Syria, struck by Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart in Geneva nine days ago, fell apart, it would reveal Russia’s duplicity in the war, in which Moscow has supported the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad».
How ironic. According to The New York Times, the Americans anticipated that the ceasefire deal would reveal «Russia’s duplicity in the war». Maybe, they calculated that Russia and Syria would not abide by the cessation, which they very much did during the first week, showing discipline and commitment to finding a peaceful settlement.
Far from revealing Russia’s «duplicity», it is Washington that emerged as the culprit, as the Pentagon and CIA had feared all along because of their deep complicity with the terrorist proxies.
Killing the Syrian ceasefire was like the necessity to extinguish a spotlight that had suddenly come on and begun exposing the putrefaction and bloodied hands in America’s dirty war.
TAP – The ‘accidental’ ahem bombing must also show Putin’s pro-American 5th column in Russia that he has no choice but to tackle Syria’s war without involving the US/NATO. The agenda of The Pentagon is of course to get WW3 started. It’s getting perilously close, as all pretence slips away. Could not Theresa may call a vote on Syria in Parliament? That would be the real Brexit – to get us out of this stupid war supporting Islamic Jihad terrorists against a legally constituted state. If Britain gets out, then others would follow, leaving the United States isolated.
62 Dead, 100 Wounded as US Bombs Syrian Army Near Deir ez-Zor. Bombing Was in Support of ISIS-Daesh Militia
At least sixty-two Syrian troops died and 100 were wounded on Saturday when US jets bombed a Syrian government base on Al-Tharda mountain near Deir ez-Zor. Remarkably, the US Central Command has still not apologized for the attack, even though its bombing allowed the Islamic State (IS) militia to storm and capture the base shortly afterwards.
This massacre is a flagrant act of war that threatens to escalate the Syrian conflict into an all-out war pitting the US-led NATO alliance against Syria and its allies, including Russia. Everything suggests that the attack, coming in the initial days of a US-Russian ceasefire in Syria openly criticized last week by the US army brass, was deliberately committed by forces inside the US government hostile to the ceasefire.
The US military’s refusal to formally apologize for the massacre is staggeringly reckless. Syrian troops fighting US-backed Islamist opposition militias are being aided on the ground by units from Iran, China, and Russia. The Pentagon is signaling to these countries—which not only have powerful forces in Syria but, in the case of China and Russia, nuclear weapons—that their own troops may end up as targets of US military action, as they operate alongside Syrian forces.
Syrian and Russian officials denounced the bombing as US aid to IS, while Russian officials called an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to demand explanations from Washington. The Syrian Foreign Ministry declared, “At 05:00 pm, on September 17th, 2016, five US aircraft launched a fierce airstrike on Syrian Army positions on al-Tharda Mountain in the surroundings of Deir ez-Zor Airport. The attack lasted for an hour.”
It accused Washington of complicity with IS: “The attack launched by the ISIS terrorists on the same site, taking control over it…highlights the coordination between this terrorist organization and the US.”
What emerged from the contradictory accounts of the bombing provided by the feuding factions of the US military-intelligence machine is a picture of a massacre prepared and executed in cold blood.
The Obama administration relayed regrets via Moscow to Damascus for the “unintentional loss of life of Syrian forces,” anonymous senior US officials told the press. However, the US Central Command (Centcom), responsible for the Pentagon’s operations in the Middle East, issued a perfunctory statement making no apology to the Syrian military for its losses.
“The coalition air strike was halted immediately when coalition officials were informed by Russian officials that it was possible the personnel and vehicles targeted were part of the Syrian military,” it declared, blandly adding: “Syria is a complex situation with various military forces and militias in close proximity, but coalition forces would not intentionally strike a known Syrian military unit, officials said. The coalition will review this strike and the circumstances surrounding it to see if any lessons can be learned.”
Such claims that US fighters were unaware of who they were bombing are simply not credible, and are flatly contradicted by other accounts in the media.
An anonymous Centcom official told the New York Times that US surveillance aircraft tracked the Syrian army units “for several days” before US fighters attacked them. “The attack went on for about 20 minutes, with the planes destroying the vehicles and gunning down dozens of people in the open desert, the official said. Shortly after this, an urgent call came into the American military command center in Qatar… The call was from a Russian official who said that the American planes were bombing Syrian troops and that the strike should be immediately called off.”
Nevertheless, the US jets continued to bomb the Syrian base for several minutes before ending the attack, according to the Centcom official’s account.
The attack at Deir ez-Zor shows that Washington and its allies are not seeking a cease-fire and de-escalation, let alone peace. They are pursuing the same strategy adopted by the NATO powers in Syria ever since 2011: pursuing regime change by backing Islamist militias like IS or the Al Qaeda-linked Al Nusra Front against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. The latest attack has shown that, even after IS mounted repeated terror attacks in Europe and the United States, a definite collaboration still exists between US and IS forces to escalate the war.
After Saturday’s attack, US think tank operatives quickly came forward in the media to do political damage control. Aaron David Miller of the Wilson Center warned the Times that the air strikes would “feed conspiracy theories that Washington is in league with IS” and allow Russian President Vladimir Putin to “blast the US on the eve of the UN General Assembly.”
This is cynical propaganda. As they backed Syrian opposition militias, top US officials and journalists were fully aware of their terrorist character. Timesjournalist C. J. Chivers dedicated a friendly 2012 video to the Lions of Tawhid militia, which set off truck bombs in Syrian cities. This was only one of dozens of US-backed opposition militias that carried out atrocities across Syria, including IS, whose operations in Syria only began to be targeted last year after it carried out repeated terror attacks in Europe.
The dominant factions of the US government want war, and Moscow’s strategy—negotiating truces with Washington, and backing Assad while accommodating US military operations in Syria—is totally bankrupt. Hostile to and afraid of appealing to antiwar sentiment in the working class, particularly in the United States, the Kremlin has sought to deal with the US war drive through talks with the US government. This strategy has failed, as Russian officials were all but forced to admit, in the face of US military opposition to the cease-fire.
After the emergency meeting of the UN Security Council called by Moscow, Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin charged that the US attack was a deliberate attempt to derail the joint US-Russian-brokered ceasefire, pointing to the “highly suspicious” timing of the attack.
“It was quite significant and not accidental that it happened just two days before the Russian-American arrangements were supposed to come into full force,” he said. “The beginning of work of the Joint Implementation Group was supposed to be September 19. So if the US wanted to conduct an effective strike on Al Nusra or ISIS, in Deir ez-Zor or anywhere else, they could wait two more days and coordinate with our military and be sure that they are striking the right people… Instead they chose to conduct this reckless operation.”
“One has to conclude that the airstrike has been conducted in order to derail the operation of the Joint Implementation Group and actually prevent it from being set in motion,” Churkin added.
This assessment was echoed by the DEBKA File publication, which has close ties to Israeli intelligence. “The Pentagon and US army are not following the orders of their Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama in the execution of the military cooperation accord in Syria concluded by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva on Sept. 12,” it wrote.
It cited concerns by top US defense officials that the terms of the cease-fire give Russia too much of an “opportunity to study the combat methods and tactics practiced by the US Navy and Air force in real battlefield conditions.” For this reason, the Pentagon is opposing it even after it was agreed to by Kerry: “Washington sources report that Defense Secretary Carter maintains that he can’t act against a law enacted by Congress. He was referring to the law that prohibits all military-to-military relations with Russia as a result of Moscow’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine.”
With the Chilcot Inquiry due to publish its long-awaited report on 6 July, an early indication of what the findings might be have been aired by BBC Panorama’s “Iraq the Final Judgement”. In the hour-long programme, journalist Jane Corbin returned to the war-ravaged country with the grief stricken parents of British soldiers killed in Iraq and former army officers to try to make some sense of what now seems like a senseless and unnecessary conflict.
Millions of British people, including families who lost loved ones, want to know if they were told the truth about why the nation went to war in Iraq, why it cost countless lives and why the invasion left a country in chaos. Couples like Roger and Maureen Bacon, who accompanied the Panorama team to Basra where their son Matt was killed, are hoping to find some meaning for their terrible loss.
Corbyn, who reported from Basra at the height of the Iraq war, interviewed a number of high profile figures, including former UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix. Prior to the invasion, Blix was sceptical of the intelligence provided by the British. He warned the then Prime Minister Tony Blair that hundreds of inspections before the war had failed to yield any substantial evidence of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). He shared his doubts about WMD with Blair who brushed them aside. According to Blix, “[The] British authorities would frequently say intelligence shows us this and intelligence shows us that, but simply saying ‘intelligence shows’ is not evidence.”
Blair’s persistent finger-pointing at the intelligence committee and his refusal to take any personal responsibility for the invasion is questioned by the former UN inspector along with the intelligence officials themselves. As the documentary makes clear, a year before the war British intelligence agents told the government that their knowledge of WMD was “sporadic” and “patchy”; six months later, though, they helped Blair to compile the dossier that made the case for war against Iraq.
Did the prime minister gloss over intelligence weaknesses to make a false case for war, and did he misrepresent the facts? Hans Blix is retired now and no longer feels the need to be careful with his words: “What he said did not represent reality.” When pushed to say if Blair misrepresented the facts, he responded, “Yes.” Claire Short, a former secretary of state for international development in Blair’s government was also interviewed for the programme. “I think he [Tony Blair] had made up his mind to be with [George W] Bush,” she said.
“And we were massaged and deceived to get us there when it was a manipulation of us – that is us, the parliament, the cabinet, British public opinion, American public opinion — by people who were determined to take military action from the beginning.”
Blix and Short have little doubt about the main question addressed by Chilcot: why did Britain go to war and who was responsible for what happened? Other prominent figures like former British Ambassador to the US Sir Christopher Meyer told Corbin that Blair said to Bush, “Whatever you decide to do George, I’m with you.” Meyer, who was at Bush’s ranch when the two leaders met in private to discuss the invasion of Iraq, added that a secret deal had been made with Blair to remove Saddam Hussain. The following day, Blair joined Bush in his plan for regime change and to bypass the UN.
The invasion of Iraq is infamous not only because of the lies and misinformation in the lead up to the war but also for the violence it unleased and the abject failure to plan for the aftermath. Blair, it seems, was cherry-picking the advice he was given from the intelligence community. His entire defence for the failed invasion is based on faulty intelligence but the former prime minister is less forthcoming in admitting that intelligence chiefs had also warned of the heightened risk of terrorism that would follow any military action to topple the Iraqi president.
The manner in which the invasion was carried out, in particular the bypassing of the UN and failure to unite a broad coalition for regime change, meant that plans were not made, because all the players that were supposed to be involved were not involved, claimed Clare Short.
Predictably, regime change led to sectarian war and terrorism. Following the surprise collapse of Saddam’s forces, the initial feeling of gratitude and optimism changed quickly as fear and alarm gripped communities in the ensuing power vacuum. Brigadier Graham Binns, the Commander of Britain’s 7th Armoured Brigade in 2003, described the false sense of security as Bush pronounced “mission accomplished” prematurely. Looting, fuelled by the break-up of law and order, spread across Iraq. State apparatuses collapsed and essential services like water supplies came to a grinding halt. With Britain tied to the US policy of regime change, its troops in Basra bore the brunt of Iraqi resentment and anger; overnight the British became occupiers, not liberators.
The seeds of sectarian conflict and the rise of Daesh were planted during the early phase when occupation forces disbanded the entire Ba’ath structure that had held the country together, including the police, the army and the civil service. They stripped the entire regime completely but did not replace it with anything. According to Emma Sky, who was a British civilian coordinator during the early phase of the invasion, “It ended with hospitals without doctors and schools without teachers.” Britain and the US didn’t just remove the top tier of the Iraqi regime; the whole lot went. “So without any security forces, people were fearful,” Sky recalled. “They started to form gangs, militias were able to flourish, insurgent groups started to rise up.”
Failing to plan for the aftermath of the invasion left a power vacuum that pushed the country into a civil war. Brigadier Binns, who led British troops into Basra, returned to the city after thirteen years for Panorama. “I don’t think we had a coherent plan in the longer term,” he told Corbin. “The coalition hadn’t thought through how we were going to operate in the aftermath of the fighting. We were unprepared both physically and mentally.”
Parents like Roger and Maureen Bacon who lost loved ones in the Iraq war are still struggling to make any sense of it. “I would like to think that he [their son] lost his life in a worthwhile cause but I can’t do that,” said Roger. “We were carried into it [this war] and I can’t emphasise how much I feel this was entirely wrong — this was a complete deception.”
It’s unlikely that the Chilcot Inquiry will provide meaning to an enormous personal loss, but will it at least heal the political and social trauma caused by Tony Blair? To mend Iraq’s wounds in any meaningful way there has to be a sense that justice has been seen to be done for what was a deception of enormous magnitude and consequence. The final judgement of Tony Blair has to be nigh.