A Turkish act of war against Russia. A No Fly zone in Northern Syria to protect ISIS. Response options.

Global Research, November 25, 2015

Turkey has committed an act of War against the Russian Federation, in its downing of a Russian Su-24 fighter jet.  

A Turkish fighter jet shot down the Russian plane. Militia, under Turkish command, have killed the pilot who attempted to surrender. The pilot, being one man surrounded by hostile forces, clearly unable and not wanting to fight, would have followed protocols and Geneva convention proscribed procedures, and attempted to surrender. Instead, he was either killed in the field or executed by the Turkmen militia once captured.

It is highly probable that these actions taken by militia, as a proxy force under direct command from Ankara, carried out these actions with tacit state approval.  Turkmen militias have played a supportive role in supporting ISIS border crossings and ISIS oil shipments into Turkey.

Turkey claims the jet violated airspace, and that therefore the aggression was Russia’s.  There are numerous problems with this claim, leading to the conclusion that the ‘Act of War’ is Turkey’s.

First, the question here is whether the airspace was in fact violated.  The previous Russian response to the October 5th incident should be deemed a short-term diplomatic success, but an overall strategic failure.  Russia did not challenge that a technical violation had occurred, but relied on technical-legal factors such as degree of the violation, the intent of the pilot (scope of mission) and that no harm was done. Two stories ran immediately following the October 5th incident – 1.) that the violation was accidental, and contrary to this, 2.) that the violation was a maneuver meant to avoid anti-air activity from the ground in Syria. Instead of sticking to the second story, the first story was more heavily promoted and became dominant. This precludes an ‘easy course’ for Russia to use this pretext in the event of a future incident, which has now happened.

A violation of airspace is in and of itself a legal matter within international law and agreements between states. 

The manner and degree in which airspace is trespassed, and the probable intentions of the pilot, are both factors that must figure into a state’s legal and diplomatic justifications in deciding to shoot down a plane that has allegedly violated airspace.

Thus, justifiable responses are largely considered those which contain sufficient elements of parity or mirroring of the initial activity in question. The factors are the degree of the violation (how many km into the territory), which also speaks to the intention itself; The official mission of the pilot(s) and whether an ulterior mission is probable or possible;  In connection with this, whether the offending party, in this case Russia, has any actual or possible targets in Turkey if it posed any threat immediate to Turkish national security (immediate threats are dealt with immediately, other kinds dealt with diplomatically, etc.). Finally, if the offending party has any overt goal in an outright provocation

Therefore, the first factors which lead us to conclude that the Turkish response did not mirror the Russian actions are that:

1.) Russia has no formal or informal targets in Turkey- The plane posed no threat to Turkish national security, when construed legally.

2.) Russia has no geopolitical gain to be made from violating Turkish airspace (therefore, incidental).

This means that Turkey’s act can be construed as an act of war.

Turkey is performing NATO’s task – establishing a No-Fly zone in Northern Syria

The No-Fly zone is to protect ISIS supply lines in the north and north-east, including into Iraq as well.

In response to the Turkish aggression, Putin today has openly declared that the Turkish state itself is supporting ISIS terrorism. This follows a major report released last week showing the individuals and private-co-public institutions from certain states (Qatar, Turkey, KSA, etc.) supporting ISIS. Today’s statement from the Kremlin is aimed at disambiguation.

Were Turkey’s actions against Russia  a provocation, or a response?

Analysis indicates a bit of both, but tending towards response.

Turkey struggles to maintain its interest in the Syrian conflict, importing oil from ISIS controlled areas.  Russia recently dealt a serious blow to ISIS, striking a convoy of oil trucks headed to Turkey. From this perspective, Turkey has retaliated against Russia.

Erdogan’s son Bilal Erdogan is the owner of some 500 of the trucks used by ISIS to transport oil into Turkey.  It was these trucks that were struck by Russian attack jets during the past week. Therefore, Erdogan’s decision to shoot down the Russian Su-24 met these important requirements for NATO and Erdogan’s increasingly unstable AKP rule:

1.) Develop a NATO No-Fly Zone in northern Syria

2.) Establish Turkey unabashedly as a supporter of ISIS (to deflate the impact of the Russian investigation)

3.) Force increased NATO official action, possible invocation of Article 5 which would, for France, make independent or even Russian-coordinated anti-ISIS action extremely difficult. It would also openly activate German anti-air batteries located on the Turkish border

4.) Force a Russian response, which regardless of the nature of the response, has the advantage of requiring the opponent to make a move at a predictable time (known time of move is very important in strategy)

5.) Further activate anti-Russian, pro-Atlanticist opposition within Russia. Inside Russia, the 5th and 6th column will use this against the Russian state – the 5th saying this is proof that the Russian activity in Syria produces unwanted consequences.  The 6th will say that this is proof that Russia needs to push further (pursue a course of blind entanglement).

6.) Eliminate all positive speculation about Turkish-Stream – push Russia into a one-track solution ‘Nordstream II’, which later can be singled out and attacked by NATO through pressure on Berlin

7.) Retaliate and ‘make a strong statement’ about Bilal Erdogan’s personal business being targeted

8.) Marginalize anti-Erdogan forces within Turkey, shift the national dialogue from internal to external

At the present time it is difficult to order these by significance, except that the last two points are probably secondary or tertiary in importance in the broad geostrategic schemata.

What will Russia’s response be?

Russia’s response, to be sufficient, must address each of the above NATO and Turkey goals. These are ordered in direct relation to the above.  Some responses are short term, others more long term, in relation to the actions of Turkey and NATO.

1.) Continue to be active in Northern Syria – it has 4 mandates for this: legal, political, sovereign, and strategic. The loss of this plane, even several others, is militarily and strategically acceptable.

2.) Concretize the discourse – following up on the ISIS finance investigation and Putin’s statements today –  that Russian activity in Syria that happens to be anti-Turkish is in fact anti-Terrorist and therefore lawful action. Distinguish between Turkey as a sovereign state, Turkish long term interests, and thirdly the individual players running the Turkish establishment (Erdogan, AKP, et al) in anti-Turkish activities in Syria. Make Turkish support for ISIS a criminal matter of ‘the regime’ and its supporters, and not Turkish security and the Turkish state all together.

3.) Continue to invoke the Paris attacks as further pretext for anti-ISIS actions in Syria: Perpetuate rift between anti-ISIS France and pro-ISIS Turkey, focus and broaden the scope of this obvious contradiction. Create a security related ‘amicus brief’ to the French prosecutors and courts pursuing the Paris attack matter: this should focus on Turkish connections to ISIS. Push the Paris-Berlin axis to oppose Article 5 invocation.

4.) Russia must not be controlled by any forced response, but must forge its own activity. Initial public statements may suffice – further actions should follow the doctrine of mirrored/parity based response.  These do not need to be carried out immediately.  Again, single plane and the loss of a single pilot is an acceptable loss in purely strategic and military terms. The only possible problems are internal public discourse, as well as diplomatic. Russia must regain control time and timing.  Among Turkmen fighters in Syria are Turkish nationals as advisers and leaders: Deploying a Syrian, Iranian, or Russian special force to neutralize or arrest these individuals would be an example of a mirrored/parity based response.

5.)  Activated Russian 5th and 6th column threats exist at top levels, but cannot create  much political instability in Russia outside of mass media. Thus, their modes of attack in this stage are primarily rhetorical.  Therefore, activities to neutralize these should be rhetorical.

a.) The Kremlin must continue its course of public statements. Rule number 1 – never directly address the 5th and 6th columnists, only make statements which are totally based in one’s own policy and proclivities, and never as a response to the critiques of others, which may seem to give the specter of legitimizing such criticisms.  The opposition cannot be helped to exist as a viable source of policy formation, in any way.

b.) Neutralizing the 5th column, this is along the lines of acknowledging the risks and responsibilities that go along with military action – emphasizing the need for them, invoking a combination of the Sinai terrorist attack, the Paris terrorist attack, and Russia’s own experience with Wahhabi terrorism from Chechnya.

c.) Neutralizing the 6th column, reaffirm the need and plan for a robust and adequate counter-measure, while emphasizing the need to avoid being ensnared or losing sight of the mission; this will tacitly accuse the 6th column of promoting an irresponsible course without ever addressing them.

6.) Aggressively push Bulgaria back onto a South-Stream course.  All options on the table including the complete utilization of the Color-Spring technology: ‘peaceful’ regime change in Bulgaria if necessary

a.) Russia can here capitalize on its successes to thwart NATO attempts at Color-Spring maneuvers in Macedonia and Montenegro.  Publicly affirm that Serbia’s course towards the EU is a positive one. Welcome increased security integration of the Serbian military and deep-state into already developing Russian structures in Serbia.

b.) Alternately, Romania can be a surrogate for Bulgaria in South-Stream – at least as a stand-in to push Bulgarian energy and political elites into the course of a pro-Russian oriented power transition. Romania can be brought in with adequate resolution of Moldova and Transnistria issues, as well as other more mundane – but still outstanding – matters relating to grain and real estate.

7.) Publicize Bilal Erdogan’s role in supporting ISIS – engage in a media campaign which personalizes an otherwise state-based, abstracted accusation into a personality based, anthropomorphic version of the same. Publicly connect Turkey’s actions against the Russia to the criminal activities of Bilal Erdogan.

8.) Re-activate the pro-Eurasianist NGO’s which took part in the ‘Turkish Spring’ at Taksim Gezi park in Istanbul. Here is where Russia first showed its ability to utilize the Color-Spring tactic outside of defensive internal counter-operations.  Capitalize from the Russian success in getting Dogu Perincek released from prison, along with other pro-Eurasian military leaders, former generals, and members of the Worker’s Party (now called Patriotic Party), following the so-called Ergenekon conspiracy and Sledgehammer cases. Raise the demands – “political reform, anti-corruption, infrastructure, healthcare, education, anti-war/militarism, pluralist and civil rights”.  Pursue full support for the active socialist or social-nationalist opposition groups in Turkey today. These are not likely to succeed in taking power, will succeed in creating internal disruptions that make present Turkish regional aims more difficult to pursue.

Other theatres of Russia-Turkey Conflict – Recipe for Total War

Russia does not war.  Ultimately, war only benefits the US ruling class, safely across the Atlantic, and supports the needs of both the Military Industrial Complex and City of London and Wall Street based banking elites. To that end, we should expect the following

1.) Increased Turkish support for Tatar extremist groups in Crimea, making a two-pronged attack on Crimea following the recent Kiev backed attack on the power station. These extremist groups exist based on Turkish support, actual Crimean laws in the wake of the constitutional process to re-join Russia have granted minority status rights to Tatars which were denied to them by previous Kiev governments, including rights to language, schools, and plural and civic institutions. Therefore, today’s Crimean Tatar extremist groups cannot exist outside of artificial foreign backing.  Moderate Crimean minority leadership is institutional and supports the Crimean government and, by extension, Russia.

2.) Increased support of Turkey for Azerbaijan – supporting their aims in the conflict with Armenia over the contested border regions.  Russia will increase its support for Armenia.  This will act in connection with the Azeri natural gas project controlled presently by the Shah Denis consortium, now running the Shah Dennis 2 or Full Field Development (FFD) project. This will revive the Nabucco project in the wake of the total freezing of Turkish-Russian stream speculation. This will mitigate the economic/speculative impact on energy markets of this major cooling in Russian-Turkish bilateral relations.

3.) Turkey will collaborate further in supporting ISIS with Qatar and KSA in Khorasan/Kwarazem and Turkmen regions east of the Caspian, broadly speaking, Turkic lands – creating a total or final link between Caucus conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Syria-Iran conflict with Qatar/Israel/Turkey/KSA, and Afghan ‘Al Qaeda’ Mujahideen who will attempt push into Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

4.) Final short-term goal will be breach of security in pro-Russian Kazakhstan, and Russian Dagestan, and Chechnya. Uzbekistan pulled from the CSTO in 2012, but remains in the Chinese SCO: NATO destabilization attempts in the region hold the promise of pushing Uzbekistan closer to Russia (while remaining close to China).

Joaquin Flores is a Mexican-American expat based in Belgrade. He is a full-time analyst and director at the Center for Syncretic Studies, a public geostrategic think-tank and consultancy firm, as well Veritas, a London based private geostrategic consultancy firm, and as as the co-editor of Fort Russ news service. His expertise encompasses Eastern Europe, Eurasia, and he has a strong proficiency in Middle East affairs. Flores is particularly adept at analyzing ideology and the role of mass psychology, as well as the methods of the information war in the context of 4GW and New Media. He is a political scientist educated at California State University. In the US, he worked for a number of years as a labor union organizer, chief negotiator, and strategist for a major trade union federation. He presently serves as the president of the Berlin based Independent Journalist Association for Peace.

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Michael Parenti: What the US did to Iraq prior to 9-11 and why the US did it

Defying the Sanctions: A Flight to Iraq
January 2001
[written 8 months before 9-11]

Upon disembarking from the Olympic Airways plane that brought me to Iraq in November 2000, I could see some of the effects of the Western-imposed sanctions. What was once a busy international airport is now a desolate strip. Two lonely planes sit as if abandoned on the vast tarmac. There are no airport personnel to speak of, no baggage carts or utility vehicles, not even any visible security. On a wall inside the empty terminal is a handmade sign in Arabic and imperfect English; it reads: “Down USA.” A large portrait of Saddam Hussein gazes down upon us. His image can be found along the road to the city, in the hotel, and on various public buildings.

 I am part of an international delegation of Greeks, Britons, Canadians, and Americans. Included are journalists, peace advocates, and members of the Greek parliament. Margarita Papandreou, former first lady of Greece and devoted political activist, leads the group. It is an especially moving moment for her. It has been her dream for ten years to be able to fly directly to Baghdad. And ours is the first flight to Iraq by a state-owned commercial airline from the West in defiance of US/UN sanctions. The Iraqi officials who greet us do not try to hide how pleased they are about our arrival. “Your presence is a statement against the inhuman means used against us. Iraq is a prosperous country capable of fulfilling the basic needs of the people but we are being prevented from doing so by the UN sanctions,” one of them says. “Feel free to go anywhere and speak to anyone.”

Killing Iraq

Most Americans do not know that Saddam Hussein was put into power by a CIA-engineered coup to stop the Iraqi revolution—which he did by massacring the communists and the left-wing of his own Baath party. But in time Saddam proved to be a disappointment to his mentors in Washington. Instead of becoming the comprador ruler who opened his country to free-market capital penetration on terms that were thoroughly favorable to Western investors, he devoted a substantial portion of Iraq’s export earnings to human services and economic development. In 1972, Iraq nationalized its oil industry, and was immediately denounced by US leaders as a “terrorist” nation.

Before the six weeks of air attacks known as the Gulf War (which ended in February 1991), Iraq’s standard of living was the highest in the Middle East. Iraqis enjoyed free medical care and free education. Literacy had reached about 80 percent. Most Iraqi youth were educated up through secondary school. University students of both genders received scholarships to study at home and abroad. In the eyes of Western leaders, Saddam was that penultimate evil, an economic nationalist, little better than a communist. He would have to be taught a lesson. His country needed to be bombed back into the Third World from which it was emerging.

The high explosive tonnage delivered upon Iraq during the Gulf War was more than twice the combined Allied air offensive of World War II. Within the first few days of bombing, there was no running water in the country. More than 90 percent of Iraq’s electrical capacity was destroyed. Its telecommunication systems, including television and radio stations, were demolished, as were its flood control, irrigation, sewage treatment, water purification, and hydroelectic systems. Farm herds and poultry farms suffered heavy losses. US planes burned wheat and grain fields with incendiary bombs, and hit hundreds of schools, hospitals, rail stations, bus stations, air-raid shelters, mosques, and historic sites. Factories that produced textiles, cement, chlorine, petrochemicals, and phosphate were hit repeatedly. So were the refineries, pipelines, and storage tanks of Iraq’s oil industry. Iraqi civilians and soldiers fleeing Kuwait were slaughtered by the thousands on what became known as the “Highway of Death.” Also massacred were Iraqi soldiers who tried to surrender to US forces on a number of occasions. In all, some 200,000 Iraqis were killed in those six weeks. Nearly all US planes, Ramsey Clark notes, “employed laser-guided depleted-uranium missiles, leaving 900 tons of radioactive waste spread over much of Iraq with no concern for the consequences to future life.”

Our delegation got a grim glimpse of the war’s aftermath. We visited the Al-Amerya bomb shelter where over four hundred civilians, mostly women and children were incinerated by two US missiles. Blackened ossified body parts, including a child’s hand can still be seen melded into the ceiling. Along one wall is the irradiated shadow of a woman holding a baby in her arms, a ghoulish fresco created by the heat blast of the missiles. The shadow of another figure can be seen on the cement floor. The shelter has been made into a shrine, with candles, plastic flowers, and pictures of the victims. The guide notes that US reconnaissance saw civilians using the shelter on a nightly basis during the early days of the bombing, yet it was still chosen as a target.

In the ten years of “peace” since February 1991, an additional 400 tons of explosives have been dropped on Iraq, three hundred people have been killed and many hundreds wounded. The United States and United Kingdom, with the participation of France, imposed a no-fly zone over the northern region of the country, ostensibly to protect the Kurds. This newly found humanitarian concern did not extend to the Kurds residing on the Turkish side of the border. The next year, another no-fly zone was imposed in the south, reputedly to protect Shiite settlements, effectively dividing the country into three parts. By 1998, the French had withdrawn from both zones, but US and British air attacks on military and civilian targets have continued almost on a daily basis, including strafing raids against Iraqi agricultural developments. Baghdad’s repeated protests to the United Nations have gone unheeded. Since 1998, three members of the Security Council—Russia, China, and France; and various nonpermanent members have condemned the raids as illegal and unauthorized by the Security Council.

To drive the point home to us, on the second day of our visit, US warplanes fired four missiles at the village of Hmaidi in the southern province of Basra, one of which struck the Ali Al-Hayaini school, wounding four children and three teachers. Several homes were also hit.

Picking Up the Pieces

Despite the years of bombings and the even greater toll on human life taken by the sanctions, visitors to Baghdad do not see a city in ruins. Much of the wreckage has been cleared away, much has been repaired. In our hotel there is running water throughout the day, hot water in the morning. Various streets in Baghdad are lined with little stores, surprisingly well-stocked with household appliances, hardware goods, furniture, and clothes (much of which has a second-hand look).

We see no derelicts or homeless people on the streets of Baghdad, no prostitutes or ragged bands of abandoned children, though there are occasional youngsters eager to shine shoes or solicit spare change. But even they seem to be well-fed and decently clothed. Obviously, despite all the destruction wrought by the sanctions, Iraq still has not undergone sufficient free-market “structural adjustment.”

A British member of our delegation who has made more than a dozen trips to Iraq over the past decade sees some changes for the better. A few years ago, the cars all looked like “death traps”; tires were patched beyond recognition, windows were cracked, and doors were falling off the hinges, she tells me. Now the Iraqis seem to have procured vehicles that are in better repair. In addition, large swaths of the city used to be shrouded in complete darkness; now there are lights just about everywhere, though mostly on the dim side. There are more shops with more goods, “although 70 percent of the people can’t buy anything.” Still, “people used to feel hopelessly isolated and now there seems to be more hope and better morale,”[and the worst was to come in two years — Shock and Awe] she concludes.

The Silent Cries of Children

 Not everyone shows better morale. It is said that the most depressed officials in Iraq can be found in the Ministry of Health, not surprisingly given the tragedies they confront. Aside from the 200,000 Iraqis slaughtered during the Gulf War, an additional 1.5 million civilians have died since 1991 as a result of the sanctions, according to UNICEF reports and the Red Cross, many from what normally would be treatable and curable illnesses. Of these victims, 600,000 are children under 5 years of age. Maternal mortality rates have more than doubled, and 70 percent of Iraqi women suffer from anemia. Given the tons of depleted uranium used during the Allied attacks, cancer rates have skyrocketed: the childhood leukemia rate is now the highest in the world. Most of the leukemia increase is in southern Iraq where the bombing was heaviest.

We visit a children’s hospital in Baghdad. The familiar sight of skeletal-looking infants, racked with diseases that make it impossible for them to retain or digest nutrients are no longer evident. Such dying children still can be found in parts of Iraq but not at this hospital. Instead we encounter something equally ominous: children suffering from acute forms of multiple malignancies. Shrouded mothers stand by the beds like mournful sentinels, their eyes filled with unspoken grief. The journalists, photographers, and TV crews in our delegation descend upon these sad people, clicking and flashing away with that intrusive irreverence that is the press’s modus operandi. A mother weeps quietly against the wall. One of the doomed children smiles up at us—which almost causes me to start weeping.

Things are getting worse, a doctor tells us; more and more children are turning up with leukemia. The medical staff is overwhelmed. One doctor says he sees three hundred patients in three hours: “We cannot treat them properly.” Some of the hospital rooms are lined with incubators that contain what look like premature births. These turn out to be infants who are the products of depleted uranium, born with serious deformities and malfunctions, urgently in need of surgical intervention. The hospital lacks the special instruments needed to operate on infants, not to mention ordinary medications, anesthetics, antibiotics, bandages, intravenous sets, and diagnostic equipment. Iraq’s excellent national health care system, with its universal coverage, is now in shambles because of the embargo.

Things were supposed to get better when the sanctions were eased in 1996, allowing Iraq to make “oil for food” sales. Since then, $32 billion in oil was sold abroad but only $8 billion worth of materials has reached Iraq, less than $5 or $6 a month per person. Another $10 billion has been allocated for “war compensation,” in effect forcing the Iraqis to pay the costs incurred by the UN aggressors when destroying Iraq. Another $11 billion in cash sits in Western banks. Worse still, many essential things needed to rebuild the infrastructure—including the technological, medical, educational, communicational, and industrial systems of the nation—are still not available. Under the deleterious “dual use” doctrine, many vital commodities and materials needed for humanitarian and civilian purposes are banned because they conceivably could also be used by the military: computers, components for electrical transmitters and water pumps, even glycerin tablets needed for heart ailments. (It would take millions of glycerin tablets mixed with nitrogen to make one small explosive.)

The Foreign Minister Speaks

 Iraq’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tariq Aziz, a calm congenial man, meets with our delegation. [Tariq Aziz died June 5, 2015, in prison, convicted on trumped up charges. His abusive treatment in prison included being denied visitation, adequate food, and access to medication. His imprisonment and death at the hands of the U.S. and “interim” Iraq vassal government are chronicled here] In clear and precise English, he makes the following points: Before 1990, the United Nations had placed sanctions upon only a few nations, such as Rhodesia and South Africa, on a voluntary basis. “It was left to the countries themselves and the world to implement those sanctions or not implement them.” Hence the effects were mild. But since 1990,US leaders with their so-called New World Order have imposed the severest embargo, “encircling Iraq with warships and airplanes that prevent even ordinary trips and ordinary cargoes.” As with the sanctions against Yugoslavia, the minister notes, this policy has created a lot of suffering. “Therefore, when we say that this embargo is an international issue, it’s not just anti-American propaganda. It’s the truth. And it is quit horrid.” The collapse of the Soviet Union has created a different international scene, he adds. With the end of the Cold War, “a new hot war and warm war” has been imposed on many nations, with Iraq as a prime target.

 In spite of all the reports made by United Nations agencies themselves “informing the Security Council about the sufferings of the Iraqi people, and the deaths of so many children, and the deterioration of the Iraqi economy,” Aziz reminds us, there is no likelihood of any change in UN policy on sanctions because of the Security Council veto wielded by the United States and Britain. Still the people of Iraq have not been merely passive victims. They have “refused to yield to American pressure and American blackmail.” In addition, there is “the will of other peoples, the free women and men in this world” who refuse to support injustice and imperialism. After ten years, US propaganda “is wearing thin,” and “a lot of facts have become known to the peoples of the world” bringing a dramatic increase in support for Iraq—as measured by the growing number of air flights from various nations in defiance of the sanctions. Not only Iraq but its trading partners have sustained substantial commercial losses because of the ten-year embargo. In 2000, more than 1,500 international companies from forty-five countries participated in the Iraqi trade fair. So, for both moral and legitimate commercial reasons, “the embargo is beginning to crack.”

Ten years ago, concludes Aziz, we were told: history is over; from now on we will live according to the diktat of US leaders in a Pax Americana. And those who do not accept this are “rogue nations.” But US leaders are beginning to realize “that this new imperialism is not working. . . . Despite all its power, the United States is not God. It’s not the Almighty. It’s an imperialist force.” And “when a nation succeeds in refusing the dictate of imperialists, [and] succeeds in preserving its sovereignty, and its independence and dignity, that is an achievement.” Aziz’s closing plea was that we not rely on “the manipulated media” of the United States, Britain and Canada. “One of the basic human rights is that you have the right to make your own judgment, not to buy judgments made by others that might not be honest and true. So I hope that you will use this short visit to know what is going on in this country and what the realities are.”

The “Realities”

On the closing day of our trip, members of our delegation lay plans to carry on the battle against sanctions. These include: lobbying the UN Compensation Committee, which refuses to release the $11 billion in Iraqi oil-for-food earnings; joining with Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and other NGOs to lobby the UN Security Council; lobbying the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva and the parliament of the European Union; lobbying elected representatives and religious leaders in various countries; and sending messages through the Internet.

The sanctions wall is not about to crumble but it is showing cracks. In 1998 Scott Ritter, chief UN weapons inspector in Iraq since 1991, resigned and accused the US government of undercutting UN weapons inspectors. Meanwhile US leaders and the press continued to portray Iraq as bent on nuclear aggression, despite the fact that Baghdad cooperated fully with UN inspectors who scoured the country in a vain search for weapons of mass destruction or the capacity to build them.

Also in 1998, Denis Halliday, UN Assistant Secretary General and Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, resigned in protest of what the sanctions were doing to that country. In early 2000, Hans von Sponeck, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq and Jutta Burghart, head of UN World Food Program in Baghdad, resigned in protest of the sanctions.

Still, the State Department and the US media continue to blame Saddam, not the sanctions, for the misery endured by the Iraqi people. The claim that sanctions hurt ordinary Iraqis “is outweighed by the sad truth that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep portions of his population in poverty,” intones a Washington Post editorial reprinted in the International Herald Tribune (November 14, 2000). The Iraqi leader, the Post assures us, is a “warmongering dictator” who needs to be contained by a still more severe application of sanctions. Upon being selected as the new US Secretary of State in December 2000, General Colin Powell echoed this position, announcing that he would strive to “reenergize” the sanctions against Iraq.

 The Iraqi leadership could turn US policy completely around by uttering just two magic words: “free market.” All they would have to do is invite the IMF and World Bank into Iraq, eliminate free education and free medical care, abolish the minimal food ration that goes to every Iraqi, abolish the housing subsidies and transportation subsidies, and hand over the country’s oil industry to the corporate cartels. To lift the sanctions, Iraq must surrender to the tender mercies of the free-market paradise as Yugoslavia has recently done under the newly minted, Western-sponsored president, Kostunica, and as so many other nations have done. Until then, Iraq will continue to be designated a “rogue nation” by those policymakers in Washington who themselves are the meanest profit-driven, power-mongering rogues on earth.

*     *     * Michael Parenti’s most recent books are To Kill a Nation: The Attack on Yugoslavia (Verso) and History as Mystery (City Lights).


http://www.michaelparenti.org/DefyingSanctions.html

Russia does not discriminate between the different shades of ‘crap’ (terrorists)

From Fort Russ

October 3, 2015
VG-News.ru
Translated by K. Rus

Russia tightly shut the sky over Syria for any aircraft, except its own

American military expert, a former Colonel of the U.S. army Jack Jacobs said that the United States can’t interfere with Russians in Syria, as Russia de facto set up a no-fly zone, cutting off access to any aircraft with the help of air defense systems deployed on land and on ships of the Russian navy in the Mediterranean.

In the Saudi paper on Friday, October 2 appeared an interview with former U.S. Colonel Jack Jacobs, who announced that the United States can’t stop the Russians in Syria, as Russia has set up a no-fly zone.. This means that any military aircraft entering the combat zone, may be immediately shot down as a threat to the Russian airspace forces.

American sources claim that the Russian Federation with the assistance of deployed land-based air defense systems have established a no-fly zone over the entire airspace of Syria, in addition the approaches to the Russian airbase in Latakia are also closed from the sea to a distance of 100-250 km from the coast by the Russian navy, now conducting exercises in the Mediterranean sea.

Thus, the U.S. and its allies can’t even carry out the air reconnaissance of the Russian Federation forces.

A source in military circles of the American military in Turkey reported that NATO aircraft, trying to get close to the forces of the Russian Federation,has been identified by radar, and the source of the radar could not even be traced.

“The Russians have indicated that they can see everything, and getting closer is not worth it, otherwise it will be shot down”, – said the American military.

“Frankly we were surprised by the air defense system of Russia, most likely there are the latest systems S-400. I have no other ideas,” – said Colonel Jack Jacobs.

About Russians creating a no-fly zone over Syria also writes Bloombeg, citing a senior American military officer. The commander of the NATO forces in Europe General Philip Breedlove said that the new military infrastructure of Russia in Syria, including air defense systems, de facto creates a no-fly zone.

According to Breedlove, Russia has created over Syria,a “sphere of negation”, which American planes can’t enter.

General Breedlove believes that “very complex air defense system” deployed by Russia in Syria is aimed not against the “Islamic state”, which does not have aviation. “They are against someone else,” said the commander of the NATO forces in Europe.

“After several years of discussion in the U.S.of plans to create no-fly zones in Syria to protect the rebels and civilians, appeared Vladimir Putin and in a few days established his own no-fly zone.

In the US the two parties argued for a long time and could not agree, about a no-fly zone, and Putin just went ahead and did it,” sarcastically said the author of the article on Bloomberg.

The Pentagon has admitted the scale of the Russian no-fly zone in Syria, when it began negotiations with Russia on how to avoid conflicts in the conduct of their air operations.

Discussion between the military of the two countries was conducted on October 1 via a closed video channel, and lasted about an hour. On the American side in the negotiations participated the assistant Secretary of Defense for international security Elyssa Slotkin.

“The discussion was devoted to how the U.S. and Russia can cooperate on the prevention of conflict in Syria. Such discussions will continue,” – said following the talks, the official White house spokesman Josh Ernest.

It is also known that Elissa Slotkin expressed in the negotiations concern that Russia is striking not only the militants of the “Islamic state” but other groups of terrorists, which the US considers “moderate opposition to Assad” and supports them.

The response of the representatives of the Russian Defense Ministry is unclear, but apparently, the general sense was that “We can not discriminate between the different shades of ‘crap’. So we will hammer everyone who shoots at the soldiers of the legitimate government of Syria, at whose request we are here”.

And the Americans had to accept it. Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said that the U.S. government will not use U.S. air power to protect the “moderate rebels”.

Apparently the “goodwill”, shown by the United States compromising with Russia, is not exactly “good”, but is caused by a complete fiasco of the U.S. armed forces, which in the last 20 years bombed only the ‘Papuans’ and forgot what it was like to deal with real high-tech adversary armed with modern sea and air defense systems.

And now the Americans are just lost because they do not know how to behave with those who are able to realistically fight back.