21st Century Wire says… ‘This obeisance to the United States and its collaborators as a benign force ‘bringing good’ runs deep in western establishment journalism. It ensures that the present-day catastrophe in Syria is blamed exclusively on Bashar al-Assad, whom the West and Israel have long conspired to overthrow, not for any humanitarian concerns, but to consolidate Israel’s aggressive power in the region. The jihadist forces unleashed and armed by the US, Britain, France, Turkey and their ‘coalition’ proxies serve this end. It is they who dispense the propaganda and videos that becomes news in the US and Europe, and provide access to journalists and guarantee a one-sided ‘coverage’ of Syria.’ ~ John Pilger
The ongoing Qatar crisis has had an unexpectedly adverse outcome among the Syrian “rebels”, in many cases formerly known as al-Qaeda, who expect the crisis between two of their biggest state backers – Saudi Arabia and Qatar – to deepen divisions in the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad. Together with Turkey and the United States, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been major sponsors of the insurgency, arming an array of groups that have been fighting to topple Syria’s Iran-backed president. However, in recent weeks the Gulf support has been far from harmonious, fuelling splits that have set back the revolt. Quoted by Reuters, Mustafa Sejari of the Liwa al Mutasem rebel group in northern Syria said “god forbid if this crisis is not contained I predict … the situation in Syria will become tragic because the factions that are supported by (different) countries will be forced to take hostile positions towards each other.” “We urge our brothers in Saudi Arabia and Qatar not to burden the Syrian people more than they can bear” he said magnanimously, when what he really meant is that he needs Saudis and Qatar on the same page so that the supply of weapons and cash can resume. To be sure, for the terrorists rebels the Qatar crisis comes at the worst possible time: the opposition to Assad has been losing ground to Damascus ever since the Russian military deployed to Syria in support of Assad’s war effort in 2015. As Reuters adds Assad now appears “militarily unassailable”, although rebels still have footholds near Damascus, in the northwest, and the southwest. These are unlikely to hold without a continued infusion of support from the feuding Gulf states.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 19, 2017.
According to a U. N. Commission of Inquiry tasked with investigating violations of international war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria, the intensification of airstrikes by the U. S.-led coalition has led to a ‘staggering loss of civilian life,’ the Guardian reports. The U. N. war crimes investigators found that since the acceleration of airstrikes in the Syrian city of Raqqa commenced last week, 300 civilians have already died. This statistic arguably makes Bashar al-Assad pale in comparison; Assad’s regime reportedly kills approximately 20-50 people in any given week. ‘We note in particular that the intensification of air strikes, which have paved the ground for an SDF advance in Raqqa, has resulted not only in staggering loss of civilian life, but has also led to 160,000 civilians fleeing their homes and becoming internally displaced,’ Paulo Pinheiro, the chairman of the U. N. Commission of Inquiry told the human rights council in Geneva. According to Karen Abuzayd, an American commissioner on the independent panel, the figure of 300 is based only on deaths caused by airstrikes. Therefore, the figure of civilian deaths caused by troops on the ground may ultimately higher.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 15, 2017.
Civilians still living in Raqqa have endured appalling barbarism under renegade control by the Islamic State caliphate for years, only to be duly punished by the U. S.-led coalition’s bombing campaign against the militants – the latter apparently so indiscriminate, U. N. war crimes investigators now say it has caused ‘staggering loss of life.’ Coalition bombing of the Islamic State (Daesh) has support of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – an alliance of Kurdish, Arab, and other fighters aligning with the secondary U. S. mission of ousting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – which has seized territorial control around the embattled city from every direction but the south. But intensive fighting and rapid succession of bombs have precipitated treacherous conditions for civilians in Raqqa – forcing no less than 160,000 to hastily evacuate homes in self-preservation. According to the BBC, ‘Up to 4,000 militants are believed to be holed up inside Raqqa, including foreign fighters and various senior figures. ‘It is unclear how many civilians are trapped there with them, but UN officials estimated that there are between 50,000 and 100,000.’
One day after American warplanes bombed an Iranian-backed militia that allegedly entered a supposed no-go zone near a U. S garrison in southern Syria on Tuesday – its second such strike in three weeks – a military alliance fighting in support of President Bashar al-Assad said it could hit U. S. positions in Syria, warning that its “self-restraint” over U. S. air strikes on government forces would end if Washington crossed “red lines”, according to Reuters. The statement from the pro-Assad alliance was issued in the name of the “commander of the operations room of the forces allied to Syria”, and was circulated by a military news unit run by Hezbollah, one of Assad’s military allies in Lebanon. “America knows well that the blood of the sons of Syria, the Syrian Arab Army, and its allies is not cheap, and the capacity to strike their positions in Syria, and their surroundings, is available when circumstances will it,” the statement said, adding that such attacks could be carried out with “different missile and military systems, in the light of the deployment of American forces in the region”.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 7, 2017.
Update: the bill has passed, Bloomberg reports: TURKEY APPROVES BILL ALLOWING TRAINING TO QATAR SECURITY FORCES * * * In the ongoing diplomatic crisis between Qatar and its Gulf/Arab peers, which is either the result of Saudi nat gas envy or – for those who watch CNN – Russian hacking, Turkey has emerged as a vocal supporter of the small but wealthy state. On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Erdogan defended Qatar, saying he personally would have intervened if accusations that the tiny Gulf emirate supports “terrorism” were true and said he intends to “develop” ties with the embattled Gulf state hit by sanctions from Saudi Arabia and its allies. “Let me say at the outset that we do not think the sanctions against Qatar are good,” Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara.”Turkey will continue and will develop our ties with Qatar, as with all our friends who have supported us in the most difficult moments,” he added in reference to last year’s failed coup. The support puts Turkey in a complicated position because while the NATO member has close ties with Qatar it also has good relations with the other Gulf states, especially Saudi Arabia. Turkey’s support for Qatar also has ideological reasons as in the past both both have provided support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and backed rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 7, 2017.
In the ongoing diplomatic crisis between Qatar and its Gulf/Arab peers, which is either the result of Saudi nat gas envy or – for those who watch CNN – Russian hacking, Turkey has emerged as a vocal supporter of the small but wealthy state. On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Erdogan defended Qatar, saying he personally would have intervened if accusations that the tiny Gulf emirate supports “terrorism” were true and said he intends to “develop” ties with the embattled Gulf state hit by sanctions from Saudi Arabia and its allies. “Let me say at the outset that we do not think the sanctions against Qatar are good,” Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara.”Turkey will continue and will develop our ties with Qatar, as with all our friends who have supported us in the most difficult moments,” he added in reference to last year’s failed coup. The support puts Turkey in a complicated position because while the NATO member has close ties with Qatar it also has good relations with the other Gulf states, especially Saudi Arabia. Turkey’s support for Qatar also has ideological reasons as in the past both both have provided support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and backed rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Erdogan was careful not to criticise Riyadh, calling on the member nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council to “resolve their differences through dialogue”. “Efforts to isolate Qatar … will not solve any problem,” said Erdogan, praising Doha’s “cool-headedness” and “constructive approach”.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 7, 2017.
U.S. and Russian officials have quietly stepped up contacts in recent weeks to try to advance a deal on the creation of a safe zone in southern Syria, Al-Monitor has learned. The talks included a meeting in Jordan in late May, a former diplomat from the region said on condition of anonymity. Russia, Iran and Turkey negotiated the creation of four zones aimed at de-escalating tensions between Bashar al-Assad’s forces and the armed Syrian opposition in early May, and the Donald Trump administration is now trying to see what role the United States can play. ‘Last week, the Americans and Russia met in Jordan with the Jordanians to discuss these zones in the south,’ the former diplomat said. ‘The meeting in Jordan was one part where the U.S. and Russia, Israel and Jordan can work together to have de-escalation zone in the south of Syria.’ The United States is particularly concerned that any deal over the future of Syria preserves the stability of its close allies Israel and Jordan. Israel for its part has said it would not tolerate an Iranian presence on its border with Syria. The source said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is “in charge of dealing with Russia” amid allegations that the Trump presidential campaign conspired with Moscow. The former diplomat said Brett McGurk, the U.S. special presidential envoy to the global coalition against the Islamic State, and U.S. Syria envoy Michael Ratney participated in the Jordan talks. Neither official responded to queries.
Donald Trump’s White House has renewed sanctions relief for Iran, despite the U.S. president’s past criticism. The easing of sanctions is part of a crucial nuclear deal brokered in 2015 under then-President Barack Obama with five other world powers. Mr Trump has described the landmark agreement as the “worst deal ever“. However, the U.S. Treasury issued fresh sanctions against specific officials and a Chinese business with links to Iran’s missile programme. The new sanctions from the Treasury are much more specific in scope, targeting two senior Iranian defence officials and suppliers of missile equipment, in apparent retaliation for a recent missile test, and for Iran’s support of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. The move means that sanctions preventing any U.S. companies selling to or dealing with Iran will remain suspended for the time being.
The first stage of U. S. President Donald Trump’s plan to restore America’s former dominance as a manufacturing country will be announced this coming weekend in Riyadh Saudi Arabia and Washington DC, but its outlines are now already more than clear. The biggest-ever foreign sale of U. S.-made weaponry will be announced at that time, and, according to a little-noticed report by Reuters on May 12th, an unidentified U. S. government official informed Reuters that We are in the final stages of a series of deals, whose size will be of truly extraordinary historic proportions. Trump will announce during this, his first trip abroad as the U. S. President, starting on Friday May 19th, deals for the fundamentalist-Sunni government of Saudi Arabia to purchase more than $100 billion, and perhaps more even than $300 billion, in U. S.-made weaponry. The announced intention of Saudi princes is to defeat what they declare to be the ‘existential threat’ they face from Iran and from Shia Islam, and so these weapons will presumably be used for ‘defense’ against the fundamentalist-Shiite government of Iran, and against any nation whose leader is Shiite (even if not fundamentalist, and including non-sectarian and even secular Shiite, such as Syria’s leader Bashar al-Assad, and such as the Houthis in Yemen). The U. S. (especially the major investors in corporations such as Lockheed Martin) will therefore be in a position to profit from intensification of the wars in Syria and in Yemen, as well as from other national battlefields between Sunni and Shia. That’s the plan, and, on this basis, as soon as Trump won the 2016 election, he appointed to all of his national-security posts people who have solid records as being rabidly hostile, above all, towards Iran, and secondarily, toward Iran’s allies, such as Russia and Syria. (Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, was hostile, above all, toward Russia; her aim was to conquer it, which would entail unlimited spending on nuclear weapons. Trump’s plan is focused instead on unlimited spending on conventional weapons, and the deal that he has reached with the Sauds is designed specifically to supply them with that – not with nuclear.)
This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 18, 2017.
Two weeks after launching missile strikes on Syria, the U. S. Treasury announced it has sanctioned 271 employees of Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center in response to the alleged sarin attack conducted by the Assad regime on Kahn Sheikhoun. It’s one of the largest sanction actions in U. S. history. The action was announced in a statement by the Treasury Department, and Treasury Security Steve Mnuchin simultaneously briefed reporters at the White House. The action – which takes place in lieu of a probe demanded by Russia and Syria to determine if Assad was indeed responsible for the recent sarin attack – freezes the individuals’ U. S. assets – which we doubt exist – and generally prohibits U. S. persons from dealing with them The sanctioned employees “have expertise in chemistry and related disciplines and/or have worked in support of SSRC’s chemical weapons program since at least 2012′ said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and added that “These sweeping sanctions target the scientific support center for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s horrific chemical weapons attack on innocent civilian men, women, and children.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 24, 2017.
Paging Doctor Oz! A patient calling itself The United States wandered into the emergency room disoriented, wearing a filthy warm-up suit, claiming it was ‘the greatest’ this and that… but was unable to complete the nine-page admission protocol or present valid insurance ID. Patient is growing increasingly violent, threatening staff and other patients…. Nations do develop something like Alzheimers. Perhaps you haven’t noticed that for some time now nothing sticks in the national brain-pan – if that’s what we can call the news media and its analogs on the Web waves. For months, an obsession about ‘Russian interference in the election’ raged through the left lobe of the national consciousness. Then, about a week ago, it vanished utterly. Grandpa suffered similar delusions about the Russians meddling with ‘our precious bodily fluids.’ (Paging Doctor Strangelove.) Not so far back as last summer, a candidate named Trump un-ironically called for ‘an end to endless war in the Middle East.’ The oft-applied policy of ‘regime change,’ he said, was not working out in the various US-engineered failed states such as Libya, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Ukraine. About two weeks ago, I seem to recall, the State Department even declared explicitly that we had no brief for regime change in the case of one Bashar al-Assad over in Syria. Then there was something in the wifi waves about a poison gas attack. The evidence as to exactly who perpetrated it looked, how-you-say, not altogether convincing. This evidence amounted to the US Intel services, in their aggregate omniscience, asserting that, ‘yes, it was so that this weasel Assad bombed his people with Sarin.’ Wolf Blitzer and Rachel Maddow ran so hard with the story that they vanished over the horizon.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 21, 2017.
This is a syndicated repost courtesy of KUNSTLER. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission. Paging Doctor Oz! A patient calling itself The United States wandered into the emergency room disoriented, wearing a filthy warm-up suit, claiming it was ‘the greatest’ this and that… but was unable to complete the nine-page admission protocol or present valid insurance ID. Patient is growing increasingly violent, threatening staff and other patients…. Nations do develop something like Alzheimers. Perhaps you haven’t noticed that for some time now nothing sticks in the national brain-pan – if that’s what we can call the news media and its analogs on the Web waves. For months, an obsession about ‘Russian interference in the election’ raged through the left lobe of the national consciousness. Then, about a week ago, it vanished utterly. Grandpa suffered similar delusions about the Russians meddling with ‘our precious bodily fluids.’ (Paging Doctor Strangelove.) Not so far back as last summer, a candidate named Trump un-ironically called for ‘an end to endless war in the Middle East.’ The oft-applied policy of ‘regime change,’ he said, was not working out in the various US-engineered failed states such as Libya, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Ukraine. About two weeks ago, I seem to recall, the State Department even declared explicitly that we had no brief for regime change in the case of one Bashar al-Assad over in Syria.
The enemy of my enemy has safe air bases. In a move which either suggests that i) Syria is preparing for more US attacks, ii) really likes Russians, or iii) is simply doing the logical thing, CNN reports that the Syrian government has moved most of its combat planes to a base located in close proximity to the Russian air base in Syria to protect them from potential US strikes. The movement of the aircraft to the air base at Bassel Al-Assad International Airport began shortly after the US’s April 6 Tomahawk cruise missile strike on Sharat air base, which destroyed some 24 Syrian warplanes. After the move, the majority of Syria’s operation airforce will be located next to Russia’s Khmeimim Air Base, where the majority of Russian air forces helping ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime are based, in Latakia, Syria. The Khmeimim base, along with a naval facility in Tartus, is one of the two of the primary Russian military installations in Syria, and has in the past been shown to be protected by one or more Russian anti-aircraft missile installations.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 19, 2017.
When you want to see what U. S. deep state propagandists are up to, all you have to do is take a glance at what meme corporate media happens to be pushing any given week. It’s been almost a decade since I started observing and analyzing the corporate press on a daily basis, and I can now say unequivocally that the quality of American imperial propaganda has gone completely down the crapper. The believability of some of the stuff being pushed these days defies all logic and is easily dispelled with an ounce of critical thought, yet there it is, in our face on a daily basis almost taunting the intelligence of the U. S. population. Indeed, it appears the current strategy is no more sophisticated that proclaiming any and all dissent as being the result of ‘Russia operations.’ This is done to prevent any actual debate on subjects of grave national importance since the U. S. government knows its claims don’t hold up to any real scrutiny. Why look into the veracity of a deep state claim when we can just dismiss alternative viewpoints as ‘Russian operations.’ To see what I mean, take a look at some excerpts from a recent article published by ABC News, Behind #SyriaHoax and the Russian Propaganda Onslaught: As Syrian president Bashar al-Assad called videos of last week’s chemical attack a ‘fabrication,’ a piece of propaganda promoted by a Russian cyber operation and bearing the hashtag #SyriaHoax has gained traction in the United States, analysts tell ABC News.
In Official Washington, words rarely mean what they say. For instance, if a U. S. government official voices ‘high confidence’ in a supposed ‘intelligence assessment,’ that usually means ‘we don’t have any real evidence, but we figure that if we say ‘high confidence’ enough that no one will dare challenge us.’ It’s also true that after a U. S. President or another senior official jumps to a conclusion that is not supported by evidence, the ranks of government careerists will close around him or her, making any serious or objective investigation almost impossible. Plus, if the dubious allegations are directed at some ‘enemy’ state, then the mainstream media also will suppress skepticism. Prestigious ‘news’ outlets will run ‘fact checks’ filled with words in capital letters: ‘MISLEADING’; ‘FALSE’; or maybe ‘FAKE NEWS.’ Which is where things stand regarding President Trump’s rush to judgment within hours about an apparent chemical weapons incident in Syria’s Idlib province on April 4. Despite the fact that much of the information was coming from Al Qaeda and its propaganda-savvy allies, the mainstream U. S. media rushed emotional images onto what Trump calls ‘the shows’ – upon which he says he bases his foreign policy judgments – and he blamed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the scores of deaths, including ‘beautiful little babies,’ as Trump declared.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 16, 2017.
Authored by Carey Wedler via TheAntiMedia.org, It is widely known that the U. S.-led NATO intervention to topple Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 resulted in a power vacuum that has allowed terror groups like ISIS to gain a foothold in the country. Despite the destructive consequences of the 2011 invasion, the West is currently taking a similar trajectory with regard to Syria. Just as the Obama administration excoriated Gaddafi in 2011, highlighting his human rights abuses and insisting he must be removed from power to protect the Libyan people, the Trump administration is now pointing to the repressive policies of Bashar al-Assad in Syria and warning his regime will soon come to an end – all in the name of protecting Syrian civilians. But as the U. S. and its allies fail to produce legal grounds for their recent air strike – let alone provide concrete evidence to back up their claims Assad was responsible for a deadly chemical attack last week – more hazards of invading foreign countries and removing their heads of state are emerging. This week, new findings revealed another unintended consequence of ‘humanitarian intervention’: the growth of the human slave trade. The Guardian reports that while ‘violence, extortion and slave labor’ have been a reality for people trafficked through Libya in the past, the slave trade has recently expanded. Today, people are selling other human beings out in the open.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 15, 2017.
Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has accused the U.S. of fabricating last week’s chemical attack to justify a military strike, even as British investigators confirmed the use of toxic sarin gas. In his first interview since the attack on the northern opposition-held town of Khan Sheikhoun which left 86 dead and hundreds injured, Assad said his regime could not be responsible as they were no longer in possession of any chemical weapons. “Our impression is that the West, mainly the United States, is hand-in-glove with the terrorists,’ Mr Assad told AFP news agency, referring to rebels which control the area. ‘They fabricated the whole story in order to have a pretext for the attack.” “It’s stage one, the play that we saw on social network and TVs, then propaganda and then stage two, the military attack,” he said, questioning the authenticity of the video footage which drew international outrage. Graphic footage showed men, women and children gasping for breath, convulsing and foaming at the mouth. “We don’t know whether those dead children were killed in Khan Sheikhoun. Were they dead at all?”
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said late Wednesday that his meeting in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin was “productive,” but that it also reiterated the existence of a great deal of mistrust between the two countries. Tillerson met with Putin in the Kremlin with the primary aim of persuading Moscow to abandon its support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It marked the first face-to-face meeting between the Russian leader and a top official in President Donald Trump’s administration. “There is a low level of trust between our two countries,” Tillerson said after the two-hour summit. “The world’s two foremost nuclear powers cannot cannot have this kind of relationship.”
Following yesterday’s icy meeting in Moscow between Rex Tillerson and Russian diplomat Sergey Lavron, the propaganda campaigns between the U. S., Syria and Russia seem to be ratcheting up to full force. Speaking with the BBC earlier this morning, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the U. S. account of the recent chemical weapons ‘attack’ in Syria was a “100% fabrication” which can only lead him to the conclusion that the West must be working “hand and glove with the terrorists.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 13, 2017.