Syria: Russian surprise attack blows up Kerry’s delaying tactic

Global Research, June 19, 2016
Moon of Alabama 18 June 2016
U.S.-Russia-Syria-570x332

The U.S. is unwilling to stop the war on Syria and to settle the case at the negotiation table. It wants a 100% of its demands fulfilled, the dissolution of the Syrian government and state and the inauguration of a U.S. proxy administration in Syria.

After the ceasefire in Syria started in late February Obama broke his pledge to separate the U.S. supported “moderate rebels” from al-Qaeda. In April U.S. supported rebels, the Taliban like Ahrar al Sham and al-Qaeda joined to attack the Syrian government in south Aleppo. The U.S.proxies broke the ceasefire.

Two UN resolutions demand that al-Qaeda in Syria be fought no matter what. But the U.S. has at least twice asked Russia not to bomb al-Qaeda. It insists, falsely, that it can not separate its “moderates” from al-Qaeda and that al-Qaeda can not be attacked because that would also hit its “moderate” friends.

The Russian foreign minster Lavrov has talked wit Kerry many times about the issue. But the only response he received were requests to further withhold bombing. Meanwhile al-Qaeda and the “moderates” continued to break the ceasefire and to attack the Syrian government forces.

After nearly four month Kerry still insists that the U.S. needs even more time for the requested separation of its proxy forces from al-Qaeda. Foreign Minister Lavrov recently expressed the Russian consternation:

The Americans are now saying that they are unable to remove the ‘good’ opposition members from the positions held by al-Nusra Front, and that they will need another two-three months. I am under the impression that there is a game here and they may want to keep al-Nusra Front in some form and later use it to overthrow the [Assad] regime,” Lavrov said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

The bucket was full and Kerry’s latest request for another three month pause of attacking al-Qaeda was the drop that let it overflow. Russia now responded by hitting the U.S. where it did not expect to be hit:

Russian warplanes hit Pentagon-backed Syrian fighters with a barrage of airstrikes earlier this week, disregarding several warnings from U.S. commanders in what American military officials called the most provocative act since Moscow’s air campaign in Syria began last year.The strikes hit a base near the Jordanian border, far from areas where the Russians were previously active, and targeted U.S.-backed forces battling the Islamic State militants.

These latest strikes occurred on the other side of the country from the usual Russian operations, around Tanf, a town near where the borders of Jordan, Iraq, and Syria meet.

The Russian strike hit a small rebel base for staging forces and equipment in a desolate, unpopulated area near the border. About 180 rebels were there as part of the Pentagon’s program to train and equip fighters against Islamic State.

When the first strikes hit, the rebels called a U.S. command center in Qatar, where the Pentagon orchestrates the daily air war against Islamic State.

U.S. jets came and the Russian jets went away. The U.S. jets left to refuel, the Russian jets came back and hit again. Allegedly two U.S. proxy fighters were killed and 18 were wounded.

Earlier today another such attack hit the same target.

This was no accident but a well planned operation and the Russian spokesperson’s response makes the intend clear:

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov appeared to confirm the attack Friday, telling reporters it was difficult to distinguish different rebel groups from the air.

Translation: “If you can not separate your forces from al-Qaeda and differentiate and designate exclusively “moderate” zones we can not do so either.”

The forces near Tanf are supported by U.S. artillery from Jordan and air power via Iraq. British and Jordan special operations forces are part of the ground component (and probably the majority of the “Syrian” fighters.) There is no al-Qaeda there. The Russians know that well. But they wanted to make the point that it is either separation everywhere or separation nowhere. From now on until the U.S. clearly separates them from AQ all U.S. supported forces will be hit indiscriminately anywhere and anytime. (The Syrian Kurds fighting the Islamic State with U.S. support are for now a different story.)

The Pentagon does not want any further engagement against the Syrian government or against Russia. It wants to fight the Islamic State and its hates the CIA for its cooperation with al-Qaeda and other Jihadi elements. But John Brennan, the Saudi operative and head of the CIA, still seems to have Obama’s ear. But what can Obama do now? Shoot down a Russian jet and thereby endanger any U.S. pilot flying in Syria or near the Russian border? Risk a war with Russia? Really?

The Russian hit near Tanf was clearly a surprise. The Russians again caught Washington on the wrong foot. The message to the Obama administration is clear. “No more delays and obfuscations. You will separate your moderates NOW or all your assets in Syria will be juicy targets for the Russian air force.

The Russian hits at Tanf and the U.S. proxies there has an additional benefit. The U.S. had planned to let those forces move north towards Deir Ezzor and to defeat the Islamic State in that city. Eventually a “Sunni entity” would be established in south east Syria and west Iraq under U.S. control. Syria would be split apart.

The Syrian government and its allies will not allow that. There is a large operation planned to free Deir Ezzor from the Islamic State occupation. Several hundred Syrian government forces have held an isolated airport in Deir Ezzor against many unsuccessful Islamic State attacks. These troops get currently reinforced by additional Syrian army contingents and Hizbullah commandos. A big battle is coming. Deir Ezzor may be freed within the next few month. Any U.S. plans for some eastern Syrian entity are completely unrealistic if the Syrian government can take and hold its largest eastern city.

The Obama administration’s delaying tactic will now have to end. Russia will no longer stand back and watch while the U.S. sabotages the ceasefire and supports al-Qaeda.

What then is the next move the U.S. will make?

Al Qaeda goes to Washington

Global Research, May 22, 2016
Syrian Al Qaeda Affiliated Leader Visited Washington, for Consultations with U.S. State Department?
A senior figure from a Syrian rebel group with links to al Qaida was allowed into the United States for a brief visit, raising questions about how much the Obama administration will compromise in the search for partners in the conflict.”  McClatchy, May 21, 2016Labib al Nahhas is known as the foreign affairs director for the Islamist fighting group Ahrar al Sham. He visited Washington in December. The leader of a terrorist entity linked to Al Qaeda was granted entry by US immigration:

That suggests that authorities granted him entry at a time when U.S. immigration authorities face political pressure to block visitors with even tenuous ties to extremist groups. Four months after Nahhas entered the United States on a European passport, U.S. authorities denied entry to a well-known Syrian humanitarian leader who had been approved to visit Washington to receive an award from international aid groups. McClatchy 

While the purpose of his visit was not disclosed, the report nonetheless intimates that he was in Washington for talks with US government officials. “His previously undisclosed visit is a delicate matter for both sides – the conservative Salafist insurgents risk their credibility with even perceived ties to the United States, and the U.S. government risks looking soft on screenings by allowing entry to a member of an Islamist paramilitary force.”

Moreover,  shortly prior to his visit to Washington, Nahhas together with other rebel leaders met with Michael Ratney (image right), U.S. State Department special envoy for Syria, in Istanbul on December 5, 2015.

Was this Istanbul meeting intended to establish the groundwork for further consultations with the jihadist leader in Washington DC?

The report suggested that the Ahrar al Sham “moderate” terrorist leader (who appears to have the profile of a US “intelligence asset”)  would be meeting with “third parties” in Washington DC  ”who might influence policymakers” –e.g. D.C. think tanks, research institutes, media, US intelligence, etc. as well as  ”lobbyists and Middle East researchers”.

The State Department declined to answer whether any U.S. officials knew in advance or expressed reservations about Nahhas’s presence in Washington, or whether State Department officials had assisted his entry.

In this image posted on the Twitter page of Ahrar al-Sham on May 6, 2016, an Ahrar al Sham fighter guards the front lines of Breidige village in northwest Syria. Unlike the Islamic State group and al-Qaida's branch in Syria, the Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham is not on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations.

In this image posted on the Twitter page of Ahrar al-Sham on May 6, 2016, an Ahrar al Sham fighter guards the front lines of Breidige village in northwest Syria. Unlike the Islamic State group and al-Qaida’s branch in Syria, the Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham is not on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations.

National security analysts say U.S. authorities likely knew of Nahhas’ arrival – intelligence agencies for years have watched his group’s interactions with al Qaida’s Syrian branch, the Nusra Front.

“They could make, quickly, the decision that he’s persona non grata in the United States and yet they haven’t.” Faysal Itani, a Syria specialist with the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East

Links to al Qaeda

Nahhas denies his affiliation to al Qaeda:

“We have been falsely accused of having organizational links to Al-Qaeda and of espousing Al-Qaeda’s ideology. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

According to Charles Lister (Brookings):

These are bold words [above] from such a senior Ahrar al-Sham official, … , this author still finds it nearly impossible to get any group, including those already successfully “vetted” by the United States, to commit to condemning Jabhat al-Nusra in front of others, Syrian or foreign.

So was Nahhas’ omission of Jabhat al-Nusra merely an extension of this broader reality? Thus far, it would seem so. By explicitly singling out al-Qaida, Nahhas was distinguishing its Syrian affiliate, or at least much of the 60 to 70 percent Syrian portion of it, as still being a potential partner [al Nusra] in a broader and more medium-term Syrian project. Brookings, July 14, 2015

In this regard, the McClatchy report confirms that

The group’s ultimate vision is Islamist rule for Syria and its old links to al Qaida are no secret: One of the group’s founders, Abu Khalid al Suri, was memorialized by al Qaida leader Ayman al Zawahiri after his death in a bombing.

By all accounts, Ahrar al Sham is much more ideologically diverse than al Qaida, encompassing members ranging from followers of a more moderate, Muslim Brotherhood-style Islamism to Salafist jihadists whose beliefs are virtually identical to al Qaida’s.

“They’re not al Qaida but they are Salafi jihadists – they’re just not transnational ones,” Itani said of Ahrar al Sham. (McClatchy, op cit)

Al Qaeda goes to Washington! This should come as no surprise. It’s part of a routine. US officials have been working hand in glove with Al Qaeda since the onslaught of the war on Afghanistan in 1979.

President Reagan meets with Mujahideen leaders, 1980s

The original source of this article is Global Research

Report: US-NATO supported al Qaeda Nusra militants deploy chemical weapons near Aleppo

Global Research, May 14, 2016

An al-Nusra Front detachment (more than 100 men) has arrived in Khan Tuman amid the rumors that the loyalists are going to launch the operation to liberate the town in the coming days. Artillery duels and firefights are ongoing in the area.

According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, Al-Nusra militants have deployed chemical weapons near Syria’s city of Aleppo. Several trucks carrying self-made ammunition, armed with chlorine-based toxic agents, have arrived from the Idlib province to the northern outskirts of the Aleppo city.

On May 12, Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar as Sham units seized Jarjisah and Al-Zara in the north part of the Homs province, Syria. In the Alawite village of Al-Zara, they abducted a number of children and women, destroyed some houses and looted the locals’ property.

In the Al-Hasakah province, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) seized back from ISIS the village of Qashqash. The clashes were observed at Ziyanat as Kurdish units were advancing in the southern direction.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on May 12 that the Turkish armed forces are preparing to “clear” from terrorists the territory on the Syrian side of the border. According to media reports, the official reason of the act will be “difficulties in Kilis.” Erdogan blamed the allies that aren’t helping and noted that Ankara is ready to act by itself.

America’s outrageous ultimatum to Syria and Assad, and de facto demand for Syria to surrender to al Qaeda

Global Research, May 07, 2016
Syria as the Libya of the Levant

How the United States presumes to possess the authority to determine the fate of a sovereign nation thousands of miles from its own shores in the Middle East is never explained by US Secretary of State John Kerry when he recently announced a new ultimatum leveled at Damascus. Nor is it explained why Syria should capitulate to US demands to begin a political transition that has demonstrably left other nations across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) divided, destroyed, and safe-havens for state-sponsored terrorism years after “successful” US-backed regime change has been achieved – Libya most notably.

Yet despite all of this, according to the Associate Press (AP) in their article, “Kerry warns Assad to start transition by Aug. 1  or else,” the United States fully expects Damascus to concede to a “political transition” engineered by Washington, leaving the nation in the hands of verified terrorists linked directly to the political and militant forces currently laying waste to Libya and those nations that put them into power.

The article reports:

Secretary of State John Kerry warned Syria’s government and its backers in Moscow and Tehran on Tuesday that they face an August deadline for starting a political transition to move President Bashar Assad out, or they risk the consequences of a new U.S. approach toward ending the 5-year-old civil war.   

AP would also claim:

…it’s unlikely that the Obama administration, so long opposed to an active American combat role in Syria, would significantly boost its presence beyond the 300 special forces it has authorized thus far in the heart of a U.S. presidential election season. More feasible might be U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia giving the rebels new weapons to fight Assad, such as portable surface-to-air missiles.

Again, the US is making demands of “Syria’s government and its backers in Moscow” while it is openly allied with Saudi Arabia who is admittedly backing US State Department-listed foreign terrorist organizations including the Al Nusra Front – quite literally Al Qaeda in Syria and Iraq.

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This point has inconveniently surfaced even across the West’s own media, including the Independent in an article titled, “Turkey and Saudi Arabia alarm the West by backing Islamist extremists the Americans had bombed in Syria.” In it states that:

Turkey and Saudi Arabia are actively supporting a hardline coalition of Islamist rebels against Bashar al-Assad’s regime that includes al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, in a move that has alarmed Western governments. 

The two countries are focusing their backing for the Syrian rebels on the combined Jaish al-Fatah, or the Army of Conquest, a command structure for jihadist groups in Syria that includes Jabhat al-Nusra, an extremist rival to Isis which shares many of its aspirations for a fundamentalist caliphate.

Despite superficial attempts to portray Al Nusra at “arms length” from Saudi Arabia, and thus from Saudi Arabia’s closest and most valuable ally, Washington, the inseparable nature of those the US and Saudi Arabia are supporting and those they claim not to support is documented fact.

America Essentially Demands Syria’s Surrender to Al Qaeda

Considering the verified nature of the so-called “opposition” in Syria and the verifiable nature of what US foreign policy has done to Libya – leaving it to this day in the hands of state-sponsored terrorist organizations including the notorious “Islamic State” or ISIS – what the US is essentially demanding of Syria and its allies is capitulation to Al Qaeda.

It is a surreal full-circle US foreign policy has made, from first creating Al Qaeda in the late 1980’s jointly with Saudi Arabia and elements within the Pakistani government, then claiming to have been struck egregiously by the terrorist organization on September 11, 2001 triggering over a decade of very profitable war, before finally arriving in Libya and Syria beginning in 2011 where once again US politicians found themselves standing shoulder-to-shoulder with literal commanders of Al Qaeda and its affiliates, waging proxies wars against their collective enemies.

Indeed, US Senator John McCain would find himself in a Libya utterly devastated by NATO at the end of 2011, shaking hands with the commander of US State Department-listed foreign terrorist organization, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) – literally Al Qaeda in Libya. The LIFG commander, Abdelhakim Belhadj, had at one point been arrested by the US before being handed over to the Libyan government and imprisoned for his terrorism.

Syria’s Clear Course of Action

Syria is undoubtedly being overrun by heavily armed and extremely dangerous terrorists backed by foreign powers. These are terrorists that have proven already in Libya, that upon coming to power, they will first carry out genocide against their ethnic and political enemies, then transform Syria into a devastated wasteland and springboard for terrorism and proxy war elsewhere in the region – likely Iran and then southern Russia.Syria’s only clear course of action is to resist and defeat these terrorist factions and restore order within the nation’s boundaries. It must do this by interdicting terrorists and their supplies along the Turkish-Syrian border in the north, and the Jordanian-Syrian border in the south. It is abundantly clear that the terrorists operating within Syria cannot sustain their fighting capacity without significant and constant logistical support from their foreign sponsors beyond Syria’s borders. This fact alone, undermines the legitimacy of the so-called “uprising” and “civil war” in Syria that upon closer examination is clearly a proxy invasion.

The US’s Clear Course of Action

The US itself, in its own military manuals (MCWP 3-35.3) regarding combat operations, states in reference to defeating terrorism that:

In countering this threat, [it should be determined] whether it is internally or externally directed terrorism. Terrorism rooted externally must be severed from its roots. Against internal terrorism, [attempts should be made] to penetrate the infrastructure and destroy the leadership of the terrorist groups.

The US has already boasted of having struck hard at the leadership of various terrorist groups in Syria it claims to be at war with, yet these groups appear unfazed. This is precisely because the terrorism is being direct externally, from Turkey and Jordan where the US itself has based its forces for its ongoing Syrian operations. The clear and obvious course of action for the US is to identify the “roots” of this externally directed terrorism and “sever” them.

However, the US refuses to do this. Instead, even as it continues its feigned war against terrorism in Syria, it is doubling down on support for its proxies, including Turkey, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, who in turn, are harboring, arming, funding, training, and directly supporting the very terrorist groups the US claims to be fighting.

US Secretary of State John Kerry threatens a “new approach” by the US in Syria, if Syria does not capitulate to what is essentially the end of its existence as a functioning nation-state. The “new approach” is likely simply the continuation of existing plans to incrementally invade and occupy Syrian territory, particularly in the east through the infiltration of Iraq-based Kurds operating under US proxy Masoud Barzani, as well as to trigger a cross-border incident north of Aleppo by using their ISIS proxies to attack Turkish targets – reminisced of staged attacks Ankara had planned earlier during the war to justify the invasion and occupation of northern Syria.

Warning the world of the “success” America’s previous “political transitions” have wrought in Libya or Iraq, and raising awareness of the current nature of US-Saudi support for Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups in Syria today, is essential in undermining the legitimacy and authority upon which the US is attempting to base its demands directed at Damascus. The demands are illegitimate and the authority they are made with constitutes not principles nor rule of law, but naked and unjust aggression that must be resisted today lest it succeed and set a precedent for further acts of injustice against other nations tomorrow.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.


Zuesse: Russia accuses Obama of supporting al Qaeda in Syria

Global Research, May 06, 2016
U.S.-Russia-Syria-570x332

On May 4th, Russia’s Sputnik news agency headlined:

“Lavrov: US Tried to Include Al-Nusra Front Positions in ’Silent’ Period”, and reported that Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, speaking in Moscow about the lengthy negotiations between himself and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to agree on conditions for a Syrian ceasefire and peace talks to take place between Syria’s government and Syria’s rebels, said, “During the negotiations, our US partners actually tried to draw the borders of this ‘zone of silence’ to include a significant number of positions occupied by al-Nusra [Front]. We managed to exclude this as it is absolutely unacceptable.”

Al Qaeda in Syria calls itself “Al Nusra.”

The “zone of silence” or “silent period” (and there are other phrases for it) refers to the areas in Syria that would be excluded from the ceasefire.

In other words: Lavrov was saying that whereas Russia’s President Putin refuses to stop military action in Syria to kill Syria’s Al Qaeda, America’s President Obama has been continuing, ever since the U.S.-Russian negotiations for a ceasefire in Syria started in January of this year, to insist that Russia must stop bombing those jihadists. Russia’s Foreign Minister was saying that Obama has been trying to protect Al Nusra.

Here is a chronological presentation of the reporting in the Western press, about U.S. President Obama’s efforts on behalf of Syria’s Al Qaeda (Al Nusra):

On 7 January 2016, Seymour Hersh reported in the London Review of Books,

Barack Obama’s repeated insistence that Bashar al-Assad must leave office – and that there are ‘moderate’ rebel groups in Syria capable of defeating him – has in recent years provoked quiet dissent, and even overt opposition, among some of the most senior officers on the Pentagon’s Joint Staff. Their criticism has focused on what they see as the administration’s fixation on Assad’s primary ally, Vladimir Putin. In their view, Obama is captive to Cold War thinking about Russia and China. …

The military’s resistance dates back to the summer of 2013, when a highly classified assessment, put together by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then led by General Martin Dempsey, forecast that the fall of the Assad regime would lead to chaos and, potentially, to Syria’s takeover by jihadi extremists, much as was then happening in Libya. …

Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, director of the DIA between 2012 and 2014, confirmed that his agency had sent a constant stream of classified warnings to the civilian leadership about the dire consequences of toppling Assad. The jihadists, he said, were in control of the opposition. …

On 20 January 2016, the AP headlined “Kerry, Lavrov try to settle differences over Syrian talks”, and reported,

Differences over which Syrian opposition groups should be labeled terrorists and barred from the negotiations and the ceasefire have led to concerns that the talks may have to be postponed. Russia and Iran, which back Assad, have immense differences with Saudi Arabia, other Arab states, the United States and Europe over which opposition groups should be considered terrorists and therefore excluded.

On 12 February 2016, the New York Times bannered, “In Syria, Skepticism That Cease-Fire Will Stop Fighting”, and reported that,

With the proviso that the Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s branch in Syria, can still be bombed, Russia puts the United States in a difficult position; the insurgent groups it [i.e., the U.S.] supports cooperate in some places with the well-armed, well-financed Nusra in what they [i.e., the U.S. government] say is a tactical alliance of necessity [with Nusra] against [Syrian] government forces. So Russia can argue that many of them [by which the NYT journalist refers to anti-Assad fighters] are, in effect, Nusra affiliates.

On 16 February 2016, independent journalist Gareth Porter headlined “Obama’s ‘Moderate’ Syrian Deception”, and reported that,

Information from a wide range of sources, including some of those the United States has been explicitly supporting, makes it clear that every armed anti-Assad organization unit in those provinces is engaged in a military structure controlled by Nusra militants. All of these rebel groups fight alongside the Nusra Front and coordinate their military activities with it.

That reporter, unlike some others, assumes that Obama’s support of Syria’s Al Qaeda is due to Obama’s weakness in adhering to the desires of haters of Russia, both in the U.S. and among America’s allies abroad:

President Obama is under pressure from these domestic critics as well as from Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other GCC allies to oppose any gains by the Russians and the Assad regime as a loss for the United States.

Mr. Porter presents no evidence backing up his assumption that President Obama is reluctant to adhere to this obsession against Russia. Seymour Hersh had reported, in his 7 January 2016 LRB report, facts that contradict Mr. Porter’s assumption:

General Dempsey and his colleagues on the Joint Chiefs of Staff kept their dissent out of bureaucratic channels, and survived in office. General Michael Flynn did not. ‘Flynn incurred the wrath of the White House by insisting on telling the truth about Syria,’ said Patrick Lang, a retired army colonel who served for nearly a decade as the chief Middle East civilian intelligence officer for the DIA. ‘He thought truth was the best thing and they shoved him out.’

In other words: Despite the opposition by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Obama was determined to help Nusra replace the Assad government. Despite what Mr. Porter assumed, Barack Obama was not a weak President, but instead a very determined President, a President who fired people in his Administration who advised him against continuing his attempt to replace al-Assad by al-Nusra. Russia insisted on bombing them, and reluctantly — and in fits and starts — U.S. President Obama accepted Russia’s condition.

On 19 February 2016, the Washington Post bannered “U.S., Russia hold Syria cease-fire talks as deadline passes without action”, and reported that,

Russia was said to have rejected a U.S. proposal to leave Jabhat al-Nusra off-limits to bombing as part of a cease-fire.”

That report even included an indication that President Obama’s current Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, who started his job on 17 February 2015, after the war against Syria was already well under way and Obama had replaced the people on his team who were opposed to it, is, if anything, even more obsessive against Russia than Obama himself is:

Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter was said to have opposed the high-level contact with the Russians, at least initially.

In other words: when Obama replaced Chuck Hagel by Ashton Carter, he was replacing someone whom he held to be insufficiently anti-Russian, by a person, Carter, who is so extremely hostile toward Russians, as to have since been restrained by Obama from pursuing this hostility as forcefully as he wishes to. The only Cabinet member mentioned there as having persuaded Obama not to follow Carter’s more aggressive stance against Russia was Obama’s second-term Secretary of State, John Kerry.

On 20 February 2016, Reuters headlined “Syrian opposition says temporary truce possible, but deal seems far off”, and, under the sub-head “Nusra Front in Spotlight,” reported that,

A source close to peace talks earlier told Reuters Syria’s opposition had agreed to the idea of a two- to three-week truce.

The truce would be renewable and supported by all parties except Islamic State, the source said.

It would be conditional on the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front no longer being attacked by Syrian government forces and their allies.

Of course, “Syria’s opposition” there included the United States; and so the U.S. President was, at that time, still insisting upon rejecting the Russian President’s demand that Nusra be included in the “zone of silence,” the locations where the war would continue uninterrupted during the otherwise-ceasefire.

That report went on:

The spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov, said on Saturday: “Russia is sticking to its consistent policy of rendering assistance and aid to the armed forces of Syria in their offensive actions against terrorists and against terrorist organisations.”

The source close to peace talks described the opposition’s insistence on the Nusra Front no longer being targeted as “the elephant in the room”.

Obama, like King Saud, Emir Thani, Tayyip Erdogan, and the other enemies of Russia, still stood firm that Nusra not be destroyed.

Therefore, the issue of whether Putin would be allowed to continue bombing Nusra was a heavy topic of disagreement between Obama’s pro-al-Qaeda-in-Syria alliance, versus Putin’s anti-al-Qaeda-in-Syria alliance.

Seymour Hersh’s 7 January 2016 LRB article concluded:

Obama now has a more compliant Pentagon. There will be no more indirect challenges from the military leadership to his policy of disdain for Assad and support for Erdoğan. Dempsey and his associates remain mystified by Obama’s continued public defence of Erdoğan, given the American intelligence community’s strong case against him – and the evidence that Obama, in private, accepts that case.

Even though Obama accepts the case that Turkey’s leader, Erdoğan, is a dangerous man to be allied with, Obama moves forward with what is perhaps the most rabidly hostile toward Russia U.S. Administration ever. And this is after the USSR, and its NATO-mirror organization, the Warsaw Pact, were terminated by Russia in 1991, and after Al Qaeda perpetrated not only 9/11 but many other terrorist attacks, not only in the U.S., but in many of America’s allied countries — not to mention in Russia itself.

Furthermore, Seymour Hersh, in his 4 April 2014 article in LRB, “The Red Line and the Rat Line”, said that,

The full extent of US co-operation with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in assisting the rebel opposition in Syria has yet to come to light. The Obama administration has never publicly admitted to its role in creating what the CIA calls a ‘rat line’, a back channel highway [of weapons from Gaddafi’s stockpiles in Libya] into Syria. The rat line, authorised in early 2012, was used to funnel weapons and ammunition from Libya via southern Turkey and across the Syrian border to the opposition. Many of those in Syria who ultimately received the weapons were jihadists, some of them affiliated with al-Qaida.

And, even prior to that, on 7 October 2013, Christof Lehmann at his site nsnbc.me, headlined “Top US and Saudi Officials responsible for Chemical Weapons in Syria”, and opened by summarizing:

Evidence leads directly to the White House, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, CIA Director John Brennan, Saudi Intelligence Chief Prince Bandar, and Saudi Arabia´s Interior Ministry.

He said that, regarding the 21 August 2013 sarin gas attack, which Obama claims crossed his “red line” to launch an invasion of Syria to overthrow Assad, and which Hersh and others report to have been based actually on Obama’s and his allies’ “Rat Line” of weapons from Libya into Syria, the initial decision was made by the Saudi agent in Syria, Zahran Alloush:

The final decision, made by Zahran Alloush may in fact have been predetermined together with his U.S. – Saudi liaison officers.

Launching a chemical weapons attack would allow the USA, UK and France, to call for military strikes against Syria and to turn the tide.

Zahran Alloush was killed by a Russian missile on Christmas Day 2015, and his nephew and close associate Mohammed Alloush was chosen by King Salman al-Saud (actually by his son Prince Salman al-Saud) to lead the Syrian opposition in the peace talks on the Syrian war. Zahran Alloush, like the Saud family, favored extermination of Shiites (including Assad), and so does Mohammed Alloush, which (besides the Alloushes’ support of foreign jihad generally) is perhaps the main reason why the Sauds had selected him to lead the U.S.-Saudi-Qatari-Turkish side in these peace negotiations against Syria. However, the Alloushes also greatly admire Osama bin Laden, who founded Al Qaeda; and, so, in total, there can be little if any doubt that what Lavrov was reported on May 4th to have said about Obama’s support for Syria’s Al Qaeda makes sense, even though Obama himself had arranged for bin Laden to be killed.

It seems that, at least after Obama’s success at killing off many of Al Qaeda’s leaders, he is determined to support Al Qaeda’s original jihad, which had been against the Soviet Union, and which continues now against Russia and its ally Assad. Obama therefore protects, and helps to arm, Al Qaeda in Syria, so as to eliminate, if possible, yet another ally of Russia (after Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, and Viktor Yanukovych): this time Bashar al-Assad.

Whereas the U.S. and its allies will not likely affirm what Lavrov said, the facts do — even some that have been reported in the Western press — not only in non-Western media.

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.


http://www.globalresearch.ca/russia-accuses-obama-of-supporting-al-qaeda-in-syria/5523870

Sergey Lavrov: US tried to include al-Nusra/al-Qaeda territory in Aleppo ceasefire

From 21st Century Wire

21st Century Wire says…

Is this confirmation of what we’ve already known for a very long time?

Watch a video of this report here:

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has alleged that the US attempted to include territories under the control of al-Nusra, AKA al-Qaeda in Syria, in the ceasefire that has just come into effect in Aleppo.

Lavrov said:

“During the negotiations, our US partners actually tried to draw the borders of this ‘zone of silence’ to include a significant number of positions occupied by the al-Nusra Front. We managed to exclude this as it is absolutely unacceptable,”

“This indicates that someone wants to use the Americans. I do not believe that it is in their interest to shield the al-Nusra Front. But someone wants to use the Americans to shield the al-Nusra Front from strikes.”

It is little wonder Russia found this ‘absolutely unacceptable’, as they have just spent the last 6-7 months conducting a full scale air campaign against all such terrorist forces throughout Syria.

In regards to the second half of Lavrov’s bombshell statement, it can be seen as very naïve to think that anyone could actually ‘use the Americans’. The US is, without question, the global hegemon and is used to using others to accomplish its own goals.

Yet, Lavrov is far from naïve. It is possible that he is referring to a number of political actors instead.

The first, and most likely candidate, is the CIA. It was reported earlier in the year that the agency’s weapon smuggling program to terrorists in Syria was completely destroyed by Russian airstrikes, and they may have been an interfering with American diplomats’ plans to save what little is left of their covert ‘rebel’ force.

It is certainly possible that the CIA convinced diplomats to include areas in the deal under false pretences. For example, the CIA could frame the need for including a certain area in the deal in many different ways to suggest its necessity for ‘strategic importance’, without outrightly saying it was to shield a covert army of terrorists.

The CIA’s expertise in slight of hand and human manipulation were revealed earlier this year, when it emerged that only the top elites in the organisation ever know the full truth about any given situation.

We know, unquestionably so, that the US had the central role in creating and supporting the army of ‘moderate rebels’, better known as foreign terrorists, to try and overthrow the Assad government.

The other actors that might be seen as trying to ‘use the Americans’ are Turkey and Israel. Both nations have been accused of working with terrorist groups in Syria, like al-Nusra, to accomplish their own regional goals.

Whatever the true source of this attempt to shield terrorists, it is truly scary to know that they were able to get this outlandish goal to an international negotiating table. Moreover, it calls into question the entire foreign policy history of the US from the past 15 years.

http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/05/04/russia-us-tried-to-include-al-qaeda-territory-in-aleppo-ceasefire/

U.S. delivers 3,000 tons of weapons and ammo to Al-Qaeda and Co. in Syria

By Moon of Alabama
Global Research, April 08, 2016
Moon of Alabama

The United States via its Central Intelligence Service is still delivering thousands of tons of additional weapons to al-Qaeda and others in Syria.

The British military information service Jane’s found the transport solicitation for the shipment on the U.S. government website FedBizOps.govJanes writes:

The FBO has released two solicitations in recent months looking for shipping companies to transport explosive material from Eastern Europe to the Jordanian port of Aqaba on behalf of the US Navy’s Military Sealift Command. Released on 3 November 2015, the first solicitation sought a contractor to ship 81 containers of cargo that included explosive material from Constanta in Bulgaria to Aqaba. … The cargo listed in the document included AK-47 rifles, PKM general-purpose machine guns, DShK heavy machine guns, RPG-7 rocket launchers, and 9K111M Faktoria anti-tank guided weapon (ATGW) systems. The Faktoria is an improved version of the 9K111 Fagot ATGW, the primary difference being that its missile has a tandem warhead for defeating explosive reactive armour (ERA) fitted to some tanks.

Screenshot of Jane’s Report

The Jane’s author tweeted the full article (copy here).

One ship with nearly one thousand tons of weapons and ammo left Constanta in Romania on December 5. The weapons are from Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania. It sailed to Agalar in Turkey which has a military pier and then to Aqaba in Jordan. Another ship with more than two-thousand tons of weapons and ammo left in late March, followed the same route and was last recorded on its way to Aqaba on April 4.

We already knew that the “rebels” in Syria received plenty of weapons during the official ceasefire. We also know that these “rebels” regularly deliver half of their weapon hauls from Turkey and Jordan to al-Qaeda in Syria (aka Jabhat al-Nusra):

Hard-core Islamists in the Nusra Front have long outgunned the more secular, nationalist, Western-supported rebels. According to FSA officers, Nusra routinely harvests up to half the weapons supplied by the Friends of Syria, a collection of countries opposed to Assad, ..

U.S. and Turkey supported “rebels” took part in the recent attack on Tal al-Eis against Syrian government forces which was launched with three suicide bombs by al-Qaeda in Syria. This was an indisputable breaking of the ceasefire agreement between Russia and the U.S. It is very likely that some of the weapons and ammunition the U.S. delivered in December were used in this attack.

Millions of rifle, machine-gun and mortar shots, thousands of new light and heavy weapons and hundreds of new anti-tank missiles were delivered by the U.S.. Neither Turkey nor Jordan use such weapons of Soviet providence. These weapons are going to Syria where, as has been reported for years by several independent sources, half of them go directly to al-Qaeda.

From historic experience we can be sure that the consequence of this weaponizing of takfiris will be not only be the death of “brown people” in the Middle East, but also attacks on “western” people and interests.

Skyscrapers falling in New York and hundreds of random people getting killed in Paris, Brussels, London and (likely soon) Berlin seem not be enough to deter the politicians and “experts” that actively support this criminal war on Syria and its people.

The original source of this article is Moon of Alabama

Copyright © Moon of Alabama, Moon of Alabama, 2016

http://www.globalresearch.ca/u-s-delivers-3000-tons-of-weapons-and-ammo-to-al-qaeda-and-co-in-syria/5519413

Blair-Gaddafi phone transcripts: US/EU manufactured reality to eliminate Libya’s leadership; “There is a process of change that is going to take place.”

Gaddafi asks Blair: “Are you supporting terrorism?”

These phone transcripts show how the West does business. It’s sickening and surreal. Tony Blair is a hitman.

Excerpts from RT
January 7, 2016

On Thursday, the ex-PM submitted a transcript of the calls he made to Gaddafi on February 25, 2011, to MPs as part of their investigation into the UK’s policy on Libya.

     Foreign Affairs Ctte @CommonsForeign

Here is a link to Blair-Gaddafi transcript No. 1 http://tinyurl.com/hgxgnch 

Empire, Energy and Al-Qaeda: The Anglo-American Terror Network

This report provides valuable historical background for current events. Brilliant and detailed article to distribute widely.

By Andrew Gavin Marshall
Global Research, September 08, 2010
8 September 2010

This is Part 2 of the series, “The Imperial Anatomy of Al-Qaeda.“

Part 1: The CIA’s Drug-Running Terrorists and the “Arc of Crisis”

The End of the Cold War and Strategy for the New World Order

Empire, Energy and Al-Qaeda: The Anglo-American Terror Network

With the end of the Cold War a new strategy had to be determined to manage the global system. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, declarations of a “New World Order” sprang forward, focusing on the United States as the single world superpower. This presented a great many challenges as well as opportunities for the worlds most powerful hegemon.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, a number of new Central Asian and Eastern European nations were formed and became independent, and with that, their immense deposits of natural gas and energy became available for exploitation. Afghanistan itself was considered “a major strategic pivot,” as it was “the primary gateway to Central Asia and the immense energy deposits therein.”[1] Western oil companies such as ExxonMobil, Texaco, Unocal, BP Amoco, Shell, and Enron begin pouring billions of dollars into the countries of Central Asia in the early 1990s.[2]

In 1992, a Pentagon document titled “Defense Planning Guidance” was leaked to the press, in which it described a strategy for the United States in the “new world order,” and it was drafted by George H.W. Bush’s Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. It stated that, “America’s political and military mission in the post-cold-war era will be to ensure that no rival superpower is allowed to emerge in Western Europe, Asia or the territories of the former Soviet Union,” and that, “The classified document makes the case for a world dominated by one superpower whose position can be perpetuated by constructive behavior and sufficient military might to deter any nation or group of nations from challenging American primacy.”[3]

Further, “the new draft sketches a world in which there is one dominant military power whose leaders ‘must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role’.” Among the necessary challenges to American supremacy, the document “postulated regional wars against Iraq and North Korea,” and identified China and Russia as its major threats. It further “suggests that the United States could also consider extending to Eastern and Central European nations security commitments similar to those extended to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Arab states along the Persian Gulf.”[4]

Similarly, in 1992, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, one of the most influential think tanks in the United States, had established a commission to determine a new foreign policy for the United States in the wake of the Cold War. Participants included Madeleine Albright, Henry Cisneros, John Deutch, Richard Holbrooke, Alice Rivlin, David Gergen and Admiral William Crowe. In the summer of 1992, the final report, “Changing Our Ways: America and the New World,” was published. The report urged “a new principle of international relations: the destruction or displacement of groups of people within states can justify international intervention.” It suggested that the US “realign NATO and OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] to deal with new security problems in Europe,” and “urged military intervention under humanitarian guises.” This report subsequently “planted the policy seedlings for the Kosovo war” as it “provided both the rationale for U.S. interventionism and a policy recommendation about the best means–NATO–for waging that war.”[5]

Another Carnegie publication in the same year, “Self-Determination in the New World Order,” furthered imperialist goals for America, as it “set criteria for officials to use in deciding when to support separatist ethnic groups seeking independence, and advocated military force for that purpose.” It recommended that “international military coalitions, preferably U.N.-led, could send armed force not as peacekeepers but peacemakers–to prevent conflict from breaking out and stay in place indefinitely.” It further stated that, “the use of military force to create a new state would require conduct by the parent government so egregious that it has forfeited any right to govern the minority claiming self-determination.”[6]

The United States and its NATO allies soon undertook a new strategy, seeking to maintain dominance over the world, expand their hegemony over regions previously under the influence of the Soviet Union (such as in Eastern Europe and Central Asia), and prevent the rise of a resurgent Russia or China. One of the key facets of this strategy was the notion of “humanitarian intervention.”

Yugoslavia Dismantled by Design

In the 1990s, the United States and its NATO allies, in particular Germany and the UK, undertook a strategy of destabilization in Yugoslavia, seeking to dismantle and ultimately fracture the country. To do this, the imperial strategy of divide and conquer was employed, manipulating various ethnic tensions and arming and training various militias and terrorist organizations. Throughout this strategy, the “database”, or Al-Qaeda was used to promote the agenda of the destabilization and dismantling of Yugoslavia.

In 1989, Yugoslavia had to seek financial aid from the World Bank and IMF, which implemented a Structural Adjustment Program (SAP), which resulted in the dismantling of the public state, exacerbating social issues and fueling secessionist tendencies, leading to Croatia and Slovenia seceding from the republic in 1991.[7] In 1990, the US intelligence community had released a report predicting that Yugoslavia would break apart and erupt in civil war, and it blamed Milosevic for the impending disaster.[8]

As far back as 1988, the leader of Croatia met with the German Chancellor Helmut Kohl to create “a joint policy to break up Yugoslavia,” and bring Slovenia and Croatia into the “German economic zone.” So, US Army officers were dispatched to Croatia, Bosnia, Albania, and Macedonia as “advisers” and brought in US Special Forces to help.[9]

Fighting broke out between Yugoslavia and Croatia when the latter declared independence in 1991. The fighting subsequently lasted until 1995, and merged in part with the Bosnian war. The US supported the operation and the CIA actively provided intelligence to Croat forces, leading to the displacement of between 150,000 and 200,000 Serbs, largely through means of murder, plundering, burning villages and ethnic cleansing.[10] The Croatian Army was trained by U.S. advisers and a general later put on trial at the Hague for war crimes was personally supported by the CIA.[11] So we see the double standard of ethnic cleansing and genocide: when the US does it or supports it, it’s “humanitarian intervention,” politically justified, or it is simply unacknowledged; when an enemy state does it, (or is accused of doing it), the “international community” demands action and any means is deemed necessary to “prevent genocide”, including committing genocide.

The Clinton administration gave the “green light” to Iran to arm the Bosnian Muslims and “from 1992 to January 1996, there was an influx of Iranian weapons and advisers into Bosnia.” Further, “Iran, and other Muslim states, helped to bring Mujahideen fighters into Bosnia to fight with the Muslims against the Serbs, ‘holy warriors’ from Afghanistan, Chechnya, Yemen and Algeria, some of whom had suspected links with Osama bin Laden’s training camps in Afghanistan.”[12]

During the war in Bosnia, there “was a vast secret conduit of weapons smuggling though Croatia. This was arranged by the clandestine agencies of the US, Turkey and Iran, together with a range of radical Islamist groups, including Afghan mojahedin and the pro-Iranian Hizbullah.” Further, “the secret services of Ukraine, Greece and Israel were busy arming the Bosnian Serbs.”[13] Germany’s intelligence agency, the BND, also ran arms shipments to the Bosnian Muslims and Croatia to fight against the Serbs.[14] Thus, every side was being funded and armed by outside powers seeking to foment conflict and ultimately break up Yugoslavia to serve their own imperial objectives in the region.

In 1992, the al-Kifah Center in Brooklyn, the recruiting center for al-Qaeda, made Bosnia its chief target. By 1993, it opened a branch in Croatia. The recruitment operation for Bosnian Muslims “was a covert action project sponsored not only by Saudi Arabia but also in part by the US government.”[15]

In 1996, the Albanian Mafia, in collaboration with the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), a militant guerilla organization, took control over the enormous Balkan heroin trafficking routes. The KLA was linked to former Afghan Mujaheddin fighters in Afghanistan, including Osama bin Laden.[16]

In 1997, the KLA began fighting against Serbian forces,[17] and in 1998, the US State Department removed the KLA from its list of terrorist organizations.[18] Before and after 1998, the KLA was receiving arms, training and support from the US and NATO, and Clinton’s Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, was close with KLA leader Hashim Thaci.[19]

Both the CIA and German intelligence, the BND, supported the KLA terrorists in Yugoslavia prior to and after the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. The BND had KLA contacts since the early 1990s, the same period that the KLA was establishing its Al-Qaeda contacts.[20] KLA members were trained by Osama bin Laden at training camps in Afghanistan. Even the UN stated that much of the violence at the time came from KLA members, “especially those allied with Hashim Thaci.”[21]

The March 1999 NATO bombing of Kosovo was justified on the pretense of putting an end to Serbian oppression of Kosovo Albanians, which was termed genocide. The Clinton Administration made claims that at least 100,000 Kosovo Albanians were missing and “may have been killed” by the Serbs. Bill Clinton personally compared events in Kosovo to the Holocaust. The US State Department had stated that up to 500,000 Albanians were feared dead. Eventually, the official estimate was reduced to 10,000, however, after exhaustive investigations, it was revealed that the death of less than 2,500 Albanians could be attributed to the Serbs. During the NATO bombing campaign, between 400 and 1,500 Serb civilians were killed, and NATO committed war crimes, including the bombing of a Serb TV station and a hospital.[22]

Ultimately the strategy of the destabilization of Yugoslavia served various imperial objectives. The war in Yugoslavia was waged in order to enlarge NATO, Serbia was to be excluded permanently from European development to justify a US military presence in the region, and expansion was ultimately designed to contain Russia.[23]

An op-ed in the New York Times in 1996 stated that, “instead of seeing Bosnia as the eastern frontier of NATO, we should view the Balkans as the western frontier of America’s rapidly expanding sphere of influence in the Middle East.” Further:

The fact that the United States is more enthusiastic than its European allies about a Bosnian Muslim state reflects, among other things, the new American role as the leader of an informal collection of Muslim nations from the Persian Gulf to the Balkans. The regions once ruled by the Ottoman Turks show signs of becoming the heart of a third American empire.

[ . . . ] Now, in the years after the cold war, the United States is again establishing suzerainty over the empire of a former foe. The disintegration of the Soviet Union has prompted the United States to expand its zone of military hegemony into Eastern Europe (through NATO) and into formerly neutral Yugoslavia. And — most important of all — the end of the cold war has permitted America to deepen its involvement the Middle East.[24]

Further, with the dismantling of the former Yugoslavia, a passageway for the transport of oil and natural gas from the Caspian region was to be facilitated through the construction of the Trans-Balkan pipeline, which will “run from the Black sea port of Burgas to the Adriatic at Vlore, passing through Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania. It is likely to become the main route to the west for the oil and gas now being extracted in central Asia. It will carry 750,000 barrels a day: a throughput, at current prices, of some $600m a month.” As the Guardian reported:

The project is necessary, according to a paper published by the US Trade and Development Agency last May, because the oil coming from the Caspian Sea “will quickly surpass the safe capacity of the Bosphorus as a shipping lane”. The scheme, the agency notes, will “provide a consistent source of crude oil to American refineries”, “provide American companies with a key role in developing the vital east-west corridor”, “advance the privatisation aspirations of the US government in the region” and “facilitate rapid integration” of the Balkans “with western Europe”.

In November 1998, Bill Richardson, then US energy secretary, spelt out his policy on the extraction and transport of Caspian oil. “This is about America’s energy security,” he explained. “It’s also about preventing strategic inroads by those who don’t share our values. We’re trying to move these newly independent countries toward the west. [Bill Richardson, former governor of New Mexico, was a Presidential candidate in 2007.]

Continue reading

UN supports Russia’s war against ISIL / Da’esh

Global Research, November 25, 2015
Russia Insider 23 November 2015
From the Cold War to NATO's "Humanitarian Wars" - The Complicity of the United Nations
UN Security Council resolution authorises ‘all necessary means’ to be used against groups associated with al Qaeda

Russia’s diplomats have been as busy as Russia’s military.

They have now obtained UN Security Council as well as Syrian government approval for Russia’s military campaign.

They have also got the UN Security Council to scotch the myth of the “moderate jihadis” once and for all.

Back in September, when it became clear the Russians were intending to act in Syria, Russia Insider predicted the Russians would try to get a Resolution from the UN Security Council to give additional legal cover for their military action.

This is in contrast to the US, which avoids the Security Council whenever it can, and which usually prefers to act unilaterally without a UN Security Council mandate.

Thus US bombing of the Islamic State in Syria was doubly illegal under international law because it was carried out without permission from either the UN Security Council or from the Syrian government.

Russia’s military action by contrast is completely legal. It has the permission of both the UN Security Council and the Syrian government for it.

It took weeks for the Russians to get their Security Council Resolution. This was because the US did everything it could to stand in the way. However, after weeks of hard work, Russia’s diplomats have finally got the Resolution Russia wanted.

What changed the position was the terrorist outrage in Paris.

After the Paris attack the French backed Russia’s proposal for a UN Security Council Resolution. At that point the US could no longer block it. The US cannot veto a Resolution backed by its own ally France, especially in the immediate aftermath of a terrorist attack.

Something that suggests some people in the US might be unhappy with this development is the absence from the Security Council table of one person who would normally be expected to be there for such an important vote.

This was Samantha Power – the US’s UN ambassador – a hardline liberal interventionist and one of the most aggressive voices within the US administration calling for regime change in Syria and confrontation with Russia.

Her relations with Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s exceptionally able UN ambassador, are said to be poisonous (see the photo at the top of original article).

It looks as if voting for the Resolution was more than Samantha Power could bear. That probably explains why she stayed away.

In her absence it was left to her deputy, Michele Sison – a career diplomat – to speak and vote for the US.

The full text of the Resolution – which is not limited to Syria – is below.

The UN has also released – along with the full text of the Resolution – a summary of the debate in the Security Council that preceded the vote.

The key words in the Resolution are these:

“(The Security Council) Calls upon Member States that have the capacity to do so to take all necessary measures, in compliance with international law, in particular with the United Nations Charter, as well as international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law, on the territory under the control of ISIL also known as Da’esh, in Syria and Iraq, to redouble and coordinate their efforts to prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed specifically by ISIL also known as Da’esh as well as ANF, and all other individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with Al-Qaida, and other terrorist groups”

The Security Council has not only backed Russia’s military campaign (“all necessary means”), but it has also made clear that Russia is fully entitled to extend this campaign to “all other individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with Al-Qaeda, and other terrorist groups”.

The Resolution names amongst these terrorist groups the Al-Nusrah Front.

Russia is therefore fully authorised to bomb all the various jihadi groups in Syria that it is bombing.

Even the US has been forced to admit – at least in the Security Council – that the talk of Russia bombing the wrong people – the “moderate jihadis” – is nonsense.


Transcript of the Security Council’s Decision

The Security Council,

“Reaffirming its resolutions 1267 (1999), 1368 (2001), 1373 (2001), 1618 (2005), 1624 (2005), 2083 (2012), 2129 (2013), 2133 (2014), 2161 (2014), 2170 (2014), 2178 (2014), 2195 (2014), 2199 (2015) and 2214 (2015), and its relevant presidential statements,

“Reaffirming the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations,

“Reaffirming its respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence and unity of all States in accordance with purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter,

“Reaffirming that terrorism in all forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable regardless of their motivations, whenever and by whomsoever committed,

“Determining that, by its violent extremist ideology, its terrorist acts, its continued gross systematic and widespread attacks directed against civilians, abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law, including those driven on religious or ethnic ground, its eradication of cultural heritage and trafficking of cultural property, but also its control over significant parts and natural resources across Iraq and Syria and its recruitment and training of foreign terrorist fighters whose threat affects all regions and Member States, even those far from conflict zones, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh), constitutes a global and unprecedented threat to international peace and security,

“Recalling that the Al-Nusrah Front (ANF) and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida also constitute a threat to international peace and security,

“Determined to combat by all means this unprecedented threat to international peace and security,

“Noting the letters dated 25 June 2014 and 20 September 2014 from the Iraqi authorities which state that Da’esh has established a safe haven outside Iraq’s borders that is a direct threat to the security of the Iraqi people and territory,

“Reaffirming that Member States must ensure that any measures taken to combat terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law;

“Reiterating that the situation will continue to deteriorate further in the absence of a political solution to the Syria conflict and emphasizing the need to implement the Geneva communiqué of 30 June 2012 endorsed as Annex II of its resolution 2118 (2013), the joint statement on the outcome of the multilateral talks on Syria in Vienna of 30 October 2015 and the statement of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) of 14 November 2015,

“1.   Unequivocally condemns in the strongest terms the horrifying terrorist attacks perpetrated by ISIL also known as Da’esh which took place on 26 June 2015 in Sousse, on 10 October 2015 in Ankara, on 31 October 2015 over Sinaï, on 12 November 2015 in Beirut and on 13 November 2015 in Paris, and all other attacks perpetrated by ISIL also known as Da’esh, including hostage-taking and killing, and notes it has the capability and intention to carry out further attacks and regards all such acts of terrorism as a threat to peace and security;

“2.   Expresses its deepest sympathy and condolences to the victims and their families and to the people and Governments of Tunisia, Turkey, Russian Federation, Lebanon and France, and to all Governments whose citizens were targeted in the above mentioned attacks and all other victims of terrorism;

“3.      Condemns also in the strongest terms the continued gross, systematic and widespread abuses of human rights and violations of humanitarian law, as well as barbaric acts of destruction and looting of cultural heritage carried out by ISIL also known as Da’esh;

“4.   Reaffirms that those responsible for committing or otherwise responsible for terrorist acts, violations of international humanitarian law or violations or abuses of human rights must be held accountable;

“5.   Calls upon Member States that have the capacity to do so to take all necessary measures, in compliance with international law, in particular with the United Nations Charter, as well as international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law, on the territory under the control of ISIL also known as Da’esh, in Syria and Iraq, to redouble and coordinate their efforts to prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed specifically by ISIL also known as Da’esh as well as ANF, and all other individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with Al-Qaida, and other terrorist groups, as designated by the United Nations Security Council, and as may further be agreed by the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) and endorsed by the UN Security Council, pursuant to the statement of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) of 14 November, and to eradicate the safe haven they have established over significant parts of Iraq and Syria;

“6.   Urges Member States to intensify their efforts to stem the flow of foreign terrorist fighters to Iraq and Syria and to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism, and urges all Members States to continue to fully implement the above-mentioned resolutions;

“7.   Expresses its intention to swiftly update the 1267 committee sanctions list in order to better reflect the threat posed by ISIL also known as Da’esh;

“8.  Decides to remain seized of the matter.