1000 American advisers work in Idlib, where Russian plane shot down

From Fort Russ

February 4 , 2018 – FRN –
Vesti – translated by Inessa Sinchougova
“The Russian Su-25 attack aircraft could have been shot down  for provocation purposes”, said Vladimir Shamanov, head of the Russian State Duma Defense Committee.
“It has come to light that there are more than 1,000 American instructors in Idlib, and it is impossible to rule out that they couldn’t have done this for provocation purposes,” the parliamentarian said.
A reminder, that the aircraft was flying in a de-escalation zone – as agreed to by Iran, Turkey and Russia.
The First Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security, Franz Klintsevich, promised that Russia would conduct a serious investigation of the circumstances of the Su-25 attack in the de-escalation zone. He clarified that the investigation will seek to identify the MANPADS that were used to bring down the aircraft, and who provided them.
But Klintsevich also expressed his pre-investigation conviction that said MANPADS were supplied by the Americans.
The Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Parties in Syria, together with the Turkish side responsible for the de-escalation zone of Idlib, are taking measures to bring the body of the Russian pilot home.
This incident brings Russia’s loss of aircraft in Syria to eight –  four aircraft and four helicopters.

Obama grants waiver for military support of foreign fighters in Syria – White House

From RT

December 8, 2016

President Barack Obama has ordered a waiver of restrictions on military aid for foreign forces and others in Syria, deeming it “essential to the national security interests” of the US to allow exceptions from provisions in the four-decades-old Arms Export Control Act.

A White House press release Thursday announced that foreign fighters in Syria supporting US special operations “to combat terrorism in Syria”would be excused from restrictions on military assistance.

“I hereby determine that the transaction, encompassing the provision of defense articles and services to foreign forces, irregular forces, groups, or individuals engaged in supporting or facilitating ongoing U.S. military operations to counter terrorism in Syria, is essential to the national security interests of the United States,” President Obama affirmed in the presidential determination and waiver.

The order delegates responsibility to the US secretary of state to work with and report to Congress on weapons export proposals, requiring 15 days of notice before they are authorized.

Obama announced a similar waiver of the Arms Export Control Act in September 2013, following the Ghouta chemical attack in August of that year. That order facilitated the transfer of US military weaponry to “select vetted members” of opposition forces battling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Thursday’s order appears less narrow in scope.

READ MORE: RT crew first to reach liberated area of Aleppo’s Old City (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) 

Last year, Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2016, which allocated nearly $500 million to arm and train “moderate rebels” in Syria, despite a failed Pentagon program abandoned earlier in 2015.

The challenge of differentiating between terrorist forces, such as Al-Nusra, and more moderate forces in Syria has been acknowledged by press secretaries in recent State Department briefings.

The “counterterrorism” pretext is just a “convenient misappropriation of language,” aimed at arming various militants to battle the Syrian Army and its allies, believes geopolitical analyst Patrick Henningsen.

“Putting this under the banner of fighting terrorism … follows on [from] a sort of fantasy concept that’s been pushed out as a talking point for the last year and a half, that if we train and equip the ‘moderate opposition’ they will fight [Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL)],” Henningsen told RT.

“They want to open the floodgates basically for trafficking weapons to religious extremists and militants and terrorist groups, internationally recognized terrorist groups … it’s all being done still under this kind of false pretense of the fight against ISIS, that somehow ‘moderate’ rebels, if they even exist, will turn their weapons and fight against ISIS. And we know from the facts on the ground, from the beginning, that [this] simply has not been the case. This is to arm the opposition to fight the Syrian government and to fight Russian forces. This is a desperate move on the part of the lame duck president.”

President Obama’s decision could lead to an almost immediate escalation of the conflict and basically put the US in a situation of “waging a proxy war against the Russians and Syrians,” a former Pentagon official, Michael Maloof, told RT.

“The rebels, whom we cannot identify, are going to be getting some very sophisticated weapons. Potentially, I should say, man-portable air defense systems, which can knock down Russian and Syrian aircraft,” Maloof said. “And the fact too, that we have stocks already in Europe, that can easily be transferred with this waiver. Under the waiver, it’s supposed to be a 15-day notification to Congress, but Congress, as of tonight, Washington time, is going to be out of session until January. So these arms can go within hours.”

 

https://www.rt.com/usa/369702-obama-waiver-military-aid-syria-forces/

Syrian-Russian offensive against terrorists in Aleppo. US supplies advanced weapons to Al Qaeda

Global Research, September 29, 2016
Moon of Alabama 28 September 2016

Just a few links …

The White House and State Department are miffed that Syria and Russia are cleaning up their Jihadis in Aleppo city.

There is a false claims evolving in western “news” that the current Aleppo operation led to the breakdown of the ceasefire agreement. Two points on this:

1. The ceasefire did not “break down”. It expired after a previously agreed period. Both sides did not agree to a prolongation.

2. The most important ceasefire point was the physical separation of al-Qaida and other U.S. proxy rebels. The U.S. was unable (or unwilling) to fulfill that point.

See: Moscow Makes Public Full Text of Russia-US Deal on Syria

The main priority in Syria, according to the document, is the demarcation of territory controlled by Daesh and al-Nusra Front terrorist groups and territories controlled by Syrian rebels.

After the end of the ceasefire the U.S. and its subaltern allies are flooding Syria with new weapons:

Both rockets and MANPADs are part of a “Plan-B” the CIA had already developed in May 2015 but which was held back until now. There are likely additional military elements to this plan. On the diplomatic side the U.S. (and its stooges) -obviously unable to act rationally- now imitate defiant children. “If we can’t get exactly what we want we will never again talk to you.”

A very major issue for Syria (and one reason why many Syrians flee the country) are U.S. and EU sanctions. Their consequences were so far hardly ever reported. Here is the first major piece in U.S. media about them: U.S. and EU Sanctions Are Punishing Ordinary Syrians and Crippling Aid Work, U.N. Report Reveals

In a 40-page internal assessment commissioned to analyze the humanitarian impact of the sanctions, the U.N. describes the U.S. and EU measures as “some of the most complicated and far-reaching sanctions regimes ever imposed.” Detailing a complex system of “unpredictable and time-consuming” financial restrictions and licensing requirements, the report finds that U.S. sanctions are exceptionally harsh “regarding provision of humanitarian aid.”

An internal U.N. email obtained by The Intercept also faults U.S. and EU sanctions for contributing to food shortages and deteriorations in health care.

The email went on to cite sanctions as a “principal factor” in the erosion of Syria’s health care system.

The piece also explains that the Syrian and Russian behavior towards insurgent occupied cities is in no way more severe than the usual U.S. procedures:

Meanwhile, in cities controlled by ISIS, the U.S. has employed some of the same tactics it condemns. For example, U.S.-backed ground forces laid siege to Manbij, a city in northern Syria not far from Aleppo that is home to tens of thousands of civilians. U.S. airstrikes pounded the city over the summer, killing up to 125 civilians in a single attack. The U.S. replicated this strategy to drive ISIS out of Kobane, Ramadi, and Fallujah, leaving behind flattened neighborhoods. In Fallujah, residents resorted to eating soup made from grass and 140 people reportedly died from lack of food and medicine during the siege.

To help with the sanctions and other issues China had recently agreed with Syria to provide medical support. But just like Russia, China is now considered a U.S. enemy and the CIA and Pentagon are eager to fight it.

Risky business: Is US supporting anti-Chinese militants in Syria? 

With war hawks in US/Turkey/Qatar/Saudi arming and funding anti-Chinese militants in Syria that are planning more attacks on Chinese embassies and interests abroad, coupled with US gunboat diplomacy in the South China Sea, this dangerous “deterring the dragon” combination risks turning into a “provoking the dragon” scenario, and may escalate into a military conflict between two nuclear powers.

(The piece also includes this vignette about the anti-Chinese TIP Uighurs in Syria:

Later videos emerged of US/UK-funded White Helmet members with two captured young Syrian soldiers in Kahn Touman, and taunting “Assad, Russia, Iran and China, are they stronger than god?” The two soldiers were later executed by TIP militants.)

U.S. official: THAAD to be deployed to deter North Korea threats

THAAD is a long range missile defense system. Putting it into South Korea makes no sense if one wants to counter shorter ranged North Korean missiles. The target here is obviously China. This will have consequences.

A lot of hype is made today about two hospitals in east-Aleppo that were allegedly bombed:

The second piece, in the Washington Post, originally included this sentence:

Neither hospital was seriously damaged and both are expected soon to function again, …

I pointed that out several times today to “bombing” hypers including to Washington Post writers. Soon after that the piece was “updated” and the sentence changed to:

Both hospitals are expected to be repaired, but they are badly damaged.

Still, according to the piece, only two people were killed in the relevant strikes and three injured. Had the attacks actually targeted the crowded hospitals both would have been destroyed and many more people would be dead. Instead the hospitals seem to have received only collateral damage from strikes on nearby military targets. But pointing that out does not fit the U.S. propaganda line.

Meanwhile the U.S. and its allies continue their daily business of killing people in Syria and elsewhere.

I somewhat agree with this election take by Peter Hitchens:

The world’s fixated on Trump. But Hillary could drag us ALL into a catastrophic war

After Monday’s TV show with Clinton and Trump CNN had published a poll claiming that Clinton was the winner of the debate by a wide margin. CNN later released (pdf) the poll data. It turns out (page 9) that only white people and only those above 50 years of age responded to the question. The poll was also heavily skewed towards democratic voters. In other words: it was completely fictional and useless besides giving Clinton additional (false) media momentum.

Scott Adams’ take: Clinton won the debate last night. And while she was doing it, Trump won the election. He had one thing to accomplish – being less scary – and he did it.