Agreement between U.S., Russia and others is a step forward,
but it could unravel
From an editorial Friday on Bloomberg View:
After five years of bloody civil war in Syria, the U.S., Russia and other world powers meeting in Munich have reached a truce that could, at least, get humanitarian aid to civilians who are being starved by siege.
If the truce works – that is, if aid organizations are allowed to reach the surrounded populations, if enough rebel fighters cooperate with the planned “cessation of hostilities,” if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ends his indiscriminate bombing of civilians, and if Russia turns its missiles against terrorists alone – it will give purpose to wider peace talks that stalled earlier this month.
Are we really to believe that whilst waging a colossal war against hundreds of thousands of Islamist barbarians that there is the inclination, desire or need for the "Syrian regime" to be hitting targets within Turkey? Get the fuck out of here, these monsters really do want a world war it seems.
Thrn in the sam breath after it clearly acknowledges hitting YPG too thry say we are considering a ground assault but...against our "enemy" Islamic State. This is what happens when people alliow television to literally dull their senses, it's so openly brazen and transparent that anyone whose brain even half functions should be able to see who the clear enemy is
Joined: 24 Nov 2011 Posts: 1471 Location: The Caribbean of Canada
Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 2:02 pm Post subject:
Stunning achievement: Putin saved Syria from Western-backed terrorists and regime change
Five years of war, five months of Russian military intervention, and now peace talks are underway. It's as simple as that.
However, rather than acknowledging a successful Russian mission, Western media outlets immediately began speculating that President Putin's surprise announcement to withdraw Russian forces from Syria indicates a "rift" between Moscow and Damascus. This is just more of the same Western media weapon of mass distraction that has obscured the real nature of the five-year war.
The sovereignty of Syria is the central principle officially underpinning peace talks that resumed in Geneva this week. Without Russia's military intervention, Syria would not have the chance to pursue a political settlement on a such solid footing.
By contrast, after nearly two years of US-led military intervention allegedly to "defeat terrorism", the Syrian state was on the brink of collapse from a largely foreign-backed terrorist assault. Until, that is, Russia intervened at the end of September last year.
The touchstone is that Russia from the outset was motivated by supporting the Syrian nation and supplanting the terror threat. While the US and its allies were ultimately the source of the threat. Western media in hock to their governments' political line still strain the implausible narrative of a "popular uprising" in Syria that somehow descended into a "global proxy war". But to the rest of the world, US-led illegal regime-change is the obvious, and damning, story. This should be the focus, not speculation about Putin's alleged ulterior motives to withdraw militarily now from Syria.
US Secretary of State John Kerry speaking in Paris last weekend alongside European counterparts appeared to highlight Syria as a priority for peace efforts.
It is rather galling that Kerry should lecture Russia about making "clear choices" in Syria or elsewhere, when the only plausible explanation for the violence in the Arab country can be traced to the criminal interference of Washington and its partners, in flagrant violation of international law and thereby unleashing mayhem that destroyed millions of lives.
As opposition parties gather for tentative talks in Geneva, the New York Times informed its readers that it coincides with the "fifth anniversary of the beginning of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, which morphed into civil war and then a regional and global proxy war."
This is a typical sample of Western distortion on Syria that persists in contradiction to the abundant evidence. That Western narrative is based on the dubious premise that the violence was instigated after the Syrian state crushed a genuine pro-democracy uprising. Secondly, the narrative blandly portrays that the conflict then escalated into a proxy war between foreign governments, as if the latter scenario is unrelated to the initial "uprising".
However, thanks to alternative news media in the West and also internationally, such as channels like RT and Press TV, there is a substantial body of information that challenges the Western mainstream narrative. Not only challenges, but exposes it as willful deception.
For a start, substantive reports in the alternative media convincingly show that the initial, small-scale protests in Syria during March 2011 were infiltrated by armed provocateurs who fired on civilians and state security forces alike in order to incite large-scale violence. One of the best investigations on these crucial events was carried out by Sharmine Narwani for RT.
Secondly, we must bear in mind the well-documented long-term objective of regime change against the government of Syria authored by Washington, London and Paris. We know, for instance, from the disclosure in 2007 by US General Wesley Clark, the former NATO supreme commander, that Syria was in the Pentagon's crosshairs for regime change as far back as 2001, along with Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, among others.
Another important reference to this criminal agenda is the testimony of former French foreign minister Roland Dumas who revealed in 2013 that he was approached by British officials two years before the Syrian conflict erupted with a covert plan to topple the Assad government.
We also know from the revelations of former US intelligence chief Lt General Michael Flynn that the administration of President Barack Obama deliberately fomented the infiltration of "jihadist" terror groups as far back as 2012 with the calculation that these mercenaries would destabilize the Damascus government.
That's why it is stomach-turning when John Kerry tells media in Paris at the weekend about how the "evil of Daesh [ISIS]" must be defeated.
Tellingly, from the outset of the conflict, Washington and its Western allies lost no time to make strident demands that President Assad "had to go". These demands have become toned down of late as Washington endeavors to supposedly participate in the Geneva peace process. Nevertheless, the blatant objective of the Western governments remains, for the Damascus authorities to eventually step down after a "political process" - or, in other words, for "regime change".
The other telling factor is the involvement of various regional despotic states in the Western chorus calling for Assad to stand down. Seriously: the regimes of Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the autocratic head-choppers in Saudi Arabia and Qatar on the side of a "pro-democracy uprising"?
The fact that these Western-backed regimes have poured billions of dollars into recruiting, training and weaponizing mercenaries from dozens of countries - including supplying chemical weapons - speaks of the reality of foreign-orchestrated regime change as the key determinant in the Syrian war.
Damningly, former UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi revealed in an interview at the weekend that the conflict in Syria could have been halted in 2012 - just over a year from its inception. Brahimi praised Russia for having "a much more realistic analysis of the situation" and that "everyone should have listened to the Russians a little bit more." Moscow has consistently said that the political future of Syria must be decided by the people of Syria and that no external preconditions, such as Assad standing down, can be imposed by Western powers or their regional proxies. The current Geneva talks underscore this principle.
Last Friday, John Kerry flew to Saudi Arabia seemingly to urge an end to conflict in Syria. Notably, the Saudi-backed Syrian opposition, the High Negotiations Committee, suddenly reversed its rejection of the Geneva dialogue and said that it would be attending talks this week after all. The HNC comprises Al Qaeda-linked terror groups, Jaish al-Islam and Arhrar al-Shams. However, the HNC stipulated that any negotiations must be predicated on Assad's removal.
Syria's war, death toll and destruction are patently a result of a US-led bid for regime change in that country. The background intrigue, the explosive escalation of violence over the past five years and the belated political attempts to prosecute regime change by alternative means are all clear evidence of a criminal foreign assault on Syria.
Russia's military intervention on behalf of the Syrian authorities, as designated by international law, has exposed the true nature of the conflict. The danger of US-backed covert war on Syria has been removed, and now it is over to diplomacy to resolve the peace. That is a stunning achievement.
A real mission accomplished: Russian airstrike achievements include 400 localities freed, 9,000 sorties and Syrian control over oil and gas fields regained
As Russia's Vladimir Putin announced the start of the withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has reported the anti-terror operation's achievements to the Commander-in-Chief.
"Backed by our aviation, Syrian forces have freed 400 populated areas and over 10,000 square kilometers [3,860 square miles] of territories," Shoigu said during a Kremlin meeting with Russia's President Vladimir Putin on Monday.
Terrorists have been forced out from Latakia and Aleppo, and Palmyra has been "blocked," the military official reported to Putin, saying that military actions to free the UNESCO heritage site from militants continue. Hama and Homs Provinces in central Syria have been largely mopped up, and Kuweires airbase that had been besieged by terrorists for over three years was retaken.
Saying that Russia's Air Force in Syria has conducted more than 9,000 sorties starting from September 30, 2015, the Defense Minister added that for the first time massive strikes at a range over 1,500 kilometers [930 miles] with both air and ship-launched missiles have been conducted.
With Russia's support from the air, the Syrian army managed to retake control of oil and gas fields near Palmyra. Three large fields have already started functioning in normal mode, the minister added. In all, 209 oil production facilities and almost 3,000 oil delivery vehicles have been destroyed by Russia's airstrikes.
"As a result of airstrikes, terrorists' resources' provision has been largely cut," Shoigu told Putin, saying that petroleum trade routes with Turkey, as well as main routes of weapons provisions to terrorists have been blocked.
The Russian campaign also reduced the threat posed to Russia by Islamic militants, as over 2,000 fighters from Russia have been "eliminated" in Syria, including 17 field commanders.
To strengthen the progress achieved, Russian continues the aerial monitoring of the ceasefire's observance.
"A fairly large number of unmanned aerial vehicles - over 70 - are being used for this purpose, as are all means of gathering intelligence, including electronic intelligence and our satellite constellation," Shoigu stated.
Did the US and Russia make a bargain over Syria?
Sputnik - Thu, 17 Mar 2016 17:29 UTCMap
It's spy thriller stuff; no one is talking. But there are indications Russia would not announce a partial withdrawal from Syria right before the Geneva negotiations ramp up unless a grand bargain with Washington had been struck.
Some sort of bargain is in play, of which we still don't know the details; that's what the CIA itself is basically saying through their multiple US Think Tankland mouthpieces. And that's the real meaning hidden under a carefully timed Barack Obama interview that, although inviting suspension of disbelief, reads like a major policy change document.
Obama invests in proverbial whitewashing, now admitting US intel did not specifically identify the Bashar al-Assad government as responsible for the Ghouta chemical attack. And then there are nuggets, such as Ukraine seen as not a vital interest of the US - something that clashes head on with the Brzezinski doctrine. Or Saudi Arabia as freeloaders of US foreign policy - something that provoked a fierce response from former Osama bin Laden pal and Saudi intel supremo Prince Turki.
Tradeoffs seem to be imminent. And that would imply a power shift has taken place above Obama — who is essentially a messenger, a paperboy. Still that does not mean that the bellicose agendas of both the Pentagon and the CIA are now contained.
Russian intel cannot possibly trust a US administration infested with warmongering neocon cells. Moreover, the Brzezinski doctrine has failed - but it's not dead. Part of the Brzezinski plan was to flood oil markets with shut-in capacity in OPEC to destroy Russia.
That caused damage, but the second part, which was to lure Russia into a war in Ukraine for which Ukrainians were to be the cannon fodder in the name of "democracy", failed miserably. Then there was the wishful thinking that Syria would suck Russia into a quagmire of Dubya-in-Iraq proportions - but that also failed miserably with the current Russian time-out.
The Kurdish factor
Convincing explanations for the (partial) Russian withdrawal from Syria are readily available. What matters is that the Khmeimim air base and the naval base in Tartus remain untouched. Key Russian military advisers/trainers remain in place. Air raids, ballistic missile launches from the Caspian or the Mediterranean - everything remains operational. Russian air power continues to protect the forces deployed by Damascus and Tehran.
As much as Russia may be downsizing, Iran (and Hezbollah) are not. Tehran has trained and weaponized key paramilitary forces - thousands of soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan fighting side-by-side with Hezbollah and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA). The SAA will keep advancing and establishing facts on the ground.
As the Geneva negotiations pick up, those facts are now relatively frozen. Which brings us to the key sticking point in Geneva - which has got to be included in the possible grand bargain.
The grand bargain is based on the current ceasefire (or "cessation of hostilities") holding, which is far from a given. Assuming all these positions hold, a federal Syria could emerge, what could be dubbed Break-Up Light.
Essentially, we would have three major provinces: a Sunnistan, a Kurdistan and a Cosmopolistan.
Sunnistan would include Deir ez-Zor and Raqqa, assuming the whole province may be extensively purged of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.
Kurdistan would be in place all along the Turkish border - something that would freak out Sultan Erdogan to Kingdom Come.
And Cosmopolistan would unite the Alawi/ Christian/ Druze/ secular Sunni heart of Syria, or the Syria that works, from Damascus up to Latakia and Aleppo.
Syrian Kurds are already busy spinning that a federal Syria would be based on community spirit, not geographical confines.
Ankara's response, predictably, has been harsh; any Kurdish federal system in northern Syria represents not only a red line but an "existential threat" to Turkey. Ankara may be falling under the illusion that Moscow, with its partial demobilizing, would look the other way if Erdogan orders a military invasion of northern Syria, as long as it does not touch Latakia province.
And yet, in the shadows, lurks the possibility that Russian intel may be ready to strike a deal with the Turkish military - with the corollary that a possible removal of Sultan Erdogan would pave the way for the reestablishment of the Russia-Turkey friendship, essential for Eurasia integration.
What the Syrian Kurds are planning has nothing to do with separatism. Syrian Kurds are 2.2 million out of a remaining Syrian population of roughly 18 million. Their cantons across the Syria-Turkey border - Jazeera, Kobani and Afrin - have been established since 2013. The YPG has already linked Jazeera to Kobani, and is on their way to linking them to Afrin. This, in a nutshell, is Rojava province.
The Kurds across Rojava - heavily influenced by concepts developed by imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan - are deep into consultations with Arabs and Christians on how to implement federalism, privileging a horizontal self-ruled model, a sort of anarchist-style confederation. It's a fascinating political vision that would even include the Kurdish communities in Damascus and Aleppo.
Moscow - and this is absolutely key - supports the Kurds. So they must be part of the Geneva negotiations. The Russian long game is complex; not be strictly aligned either with Damascus or with the discredited "opposition" supported and weaponized by Turkey and the GCC. Team Obama, as usual, is on the fence. There's the "NATO ally" angle - but even Washington is losing patience with Erdogan.
The geopolitical winners and losers
Only the proverbially clueless Western corporate media was caught off-guard by Russia's latest diplomatic coup in Syria. Consistency has been the norm.
Russia has been consistently upgrading the Russia-China strategic partnership. This has run in parallel to the hybrid warfare in Ukraine (asymmetric operations mixed with economic, political, military and technological support to the Donetsk and Lugansk republics); even NATO officials with a decent IQ had to admit that without Russian diplomacy there's no solution to the war in Donbass.
In Syria, Moscow accomplished the outstanding feat of making Team Obama see the light beyond the fog of neo-con-instilled war, leading to a solution involving Syria's chemical arsenal after Obama ensnared himself in his own red line. Obama owes it to Putin and Lavrov, who literally saved him not only from tremendous embarrassment, but from yet another massive Middle East quagmire.
The Russian objectives in Syria already laid out in September 2015 have been fulfilled. Jihadists of all strands are on the run - including, crucially, the over 2,000 born in southern Caucasus republics. Damascus has been spared from regime change a la Saddam or Gaddafi. Russia's presence in the Mediterranean is secure.
Russia will be closely monitoring the current "cessation of hostilities"; and if the War Party decides to ramp up "support" for ISIS/ISIL/Daesh or the "moderate rebel" front via any shadow war move, Russia will be back in a flash. As for Sultan Erdogan, he can brag what he wants about his "no-fly zone" pipe dream; but the fact is the northwestern Syria-Turkish border is now fully protected by the S-400 air defense system.
Moreover, the close collaboration of the "4+1" coalition - Russia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, plus Hezbollah - has broken more ground than a mere Russia-Shi'te alignment. It prefigures a major geopolitical shift, where NATO is not the only game in town anymore, dictating humanitarian imperialism; this "other" coalition could be seen as a prefiguration of a future, key, global role for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
As we stand, it may seem futile to talk about winners and losers in the five-year-long Syrian tragedy - especially with Syria destroyed by a vicious, imposed proxy war. But facts on the ground point, geopolitically, to a major victory for Russia, Iran and Syrian Kurds, and a major loss for Turkey and the GCC petrodollar gang, especially considering the huge geo-energy interests in play.
It's always crucial to stress that Syria is an energy war - with the "prize" being who will be better positioned to supply Europe with natural gas; the proposed Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline, or the rival Qatar pipeline to Turkey that would imply a pliable Damascus.
Other serious geopolitical losers include the self-proclaimed humanitarianism of the UN and the EU. And most of all the Pentagon and the CIA and their gaggle of weaponized "moderate rebels". It ain't over till the last jihadi sings his Paradise song. Meanwhile, "time-out" Russia is watching.
Essentially said plan is the destruction and betrayal of Syrians as it follows the blueprint laid out for the middle east in 96.
So, if the Russians are an adversary to the USA, then like true gangsters like these groups always are they hash out a deal which benefits them and in turn sell out their allies.
The wolves in humanitarian anti imperialist clothing in other words
Syria talks making progress, Russian minister says
Future negotiations should ensure equal representation of Kurds, Ryabkov says
Published: 15:46 March 28, 2016 Gulf News
Moscow: Substantive talks on Syrian reconciliation in Geneva have made some progress and should be sustained, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Monday.
UN Special Envoy Staffan De Mistura’s statement about continuing the negotiations on April 11 sounds optimistic, Xinhua news agency cited Ryabkov as saying in an interview with Russian newspaper Izvestiya.
Future negotiations should ensure equal representation of the Kurds and the Syrian opposition should adopt a more realistic stance and abandon attempts to set preconditions, he said.
On US State Secretary John Kerry’s recent visit to Moscow, Ryabkov said the frequency of Kerry’s visits to Moscow is unprecedented.
“It stems from the nature of issues we are discussing and from the US’s recognition, despite its own declarations, that a number of major and important international problems cannot be solved without Russia,” he said.
The latest round of Syrian peace talks, which opened on March 14, was wrapped up in Geneva on Thursday with a paper of 12 points of commonalities delivered to both sides for further consideration.
On top of the points list is the principle of respect for sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria, and “no part of the national territory shall be ceded.”
The recapture of Syria's ancient city of Palmyra from the Islamic State group has brought new revelations of the destruction wreaked by the extremists, who decapitated priceless statues and smashed or looted artifacts in the city's museum.
Experts say they need time to assess the full extent of damage in Palmyra, a UNESCO world heritage site boasting 2,000-year-old Roman-era colonnades and other ruins, which once attracted tens of thousands of tourists every year. Syrian troops drove IS out on Sunday, some 10 months after the militants seized the town.
The world knew through satellite images and IS videos that the militants destroyed the Temple of Bel, which dated back to A.D. 32, the Temple of Baalshamin, which was several stories high and fronted by six towering columns, and the Arch of Triumph, which was built under the Roman emperor Septimius Severus between A.D. 193 and A.D. 211.
But no one knew the extent of the damage inside the museum until a Syrian TV reporter entered on Sunday and found the floor littered with shattered statues. A sculpture of the Greek goddess Athena was decapitated, and the museum's basement appeared to have been dynamited or hit with a shell.
Some of the damage may have been caused by shelling, which would have knocked the statues from their stands. In the Syrian TV footage from inside the museum, a hole can be seen in the ceiling, most likely from an artillery shell.
Unlike in the Iraqi city of Mosul, where IS militants filmed themselves with sledgehammers proudly destroying ancient artifacts, no militant video was released from Palmyra's museum.
_________________ "Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend." - Bruce Lee
"Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth." - Buddha
Joined: 24 Nov 2011 Posts: 1471 Location: The Caribbean of Canada
Posted: Thu Apr 14, 2016 8:17 am Post subject:
Due to the high voter turnout, the polling in Syria has been extended by five hours. The response from the U.S. is predictably malevolent and hypocritical. Syria arguably shows a higher level of democracy than the United States, and more voters show up in any Syrian election than compared to any American election. They vote. Is that not the "will of the people"? And that's exactly why the U.S. hates Syrian elections: because Syrians elect the leaders they want, not the leaders Americans want. Thankfully, Syrians don't care what Americans think. They vote anyways. The Geneva-inspired "political process" is a concession, a way to end the foreign-backed war against Syria. But it will not force Syria to abandon its democratic process.
US State Department spokesperson Mark Toner said that the US "would view those elections as not legitimate in the sense that they don't represent... the will of the Syrian people.
"So, to hold parliamentary elections now, given the current circumstances, given the current conditions in the country, we believe is at best premature and not representative of the Syrian people," Toner said.
Early last week Toner said that "a political process that reflects the desires and will of the Syrian people is what should ultimately decide the future leadership and the future government of Syria."
This isn't the first case of an election in a war-torn country in recent history. In December 2005, two years into the US invasion in Syria's neighbor Iraq, American forces organized parliamentary elections in that country. Washington presented that poll as a turning point on the way to settling the situation in an Iraq gripped by an illegal invasion.
The moral compass speaks. No one listens to the empty words, hypocrisy and lies from the corrupt, soulless Fascists. _________________ "Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend." - Bruce Lee
"Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth." - Buddha
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