Putin’s progress in Syria sends Kerry scampering to the UN… Washington’s unspoken agenda is to protect ISIS

From Global Research

Global Research, December 24, 2015
Counterpunch 23 December 2015
kerryputin-510x286“It is remarkable that western leaders only remember the term ceasefire when their rebels on the ground are losing. Why didn’t they see the need for peace in Syria before the Russian operation started?” — Iyad Khuder, Damascus-based political analyst

Imagine if the American people elected a president who was much worse than George W. Bush or Barack Obama. A real tyrant. Would that be sufficient justification for someone like Vladimir Putin to arm and train Mexican and Canadian mercenaries to invade America, kill US civilians, destroy cities and critical infrastructure, seize vital oil refineries and pipeline corridors, behead government officials and prisoners they’d captured, declare their own independent state, and do everything in their power to overthrow the elected-government in Washington?

Of course not. The question is ridiculous. It wouldn’t matter if the US president was a tyrant or not, that doesn’t justify an invasion by armed proxies from another country.  And yet, this is precisely the policy that US Secretary of State John Kerry defended at the United Nations on Friday.  Behind all the political blabber about a “roadmap to peace”, Kerry was tacitly defending a policy which has led to the deaths of 250,000 Syrians and the destruction of the country.

And, keep in mind, Kerry didn’t drag his case before the UN Security Council because he’s serious about a negotiated settlement or peace. That’s baloney. What Kerry wants is a resolution that will protect the groups of US-backed jihadis on the ground from the Russian-led offensive. That’s what’s really going on. The Obama administration sees the handwriting on the wall. They know that Russia is going to win the war, so they’ve settled on a plan for protecting their agents in the field. That’s why the emphasis is on a ceasefire; it’s because Kerry wants a  “Timeout” so his Sunni militants can either regroup or retreat.  Just take a look at this short excerpt from the UN’s summary of last Friday’s confab and you’ll see Kerry’s really up-to:

“In its first resolution to focus on the politics of ending Syria’s five-year-long war, the Security Council today gave the United Nations an enhanced role in shepherding the opposing sides to talks for a political transition, with a timetable for a ceasefire, a new constitution and elections, all under UN auspices….

(The Security Council) acknowledged the close linkage between a ceasefire and a parallel political process, with the former to come into effect as soon as the sides have begun initial steps towards a political transition under UN auspices….

The resolution asked Mr. Ban through the offices of his Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura to determine the modalities of a ceasefire and plan to support its implementation, while urging Member States, in particular members of the ISSG, to accelerate all efforts to achieve a ceasefire, including through pressing all relevant parties to adhere to one.

Emphasizing the need for a ceasefire monitoring and verification mechanism, the Council asked Mr. Ban to report back to it on options with a month, and called on Member States to provide “expertise and in-kind contributions” to support such a mechanism…”

(“In first political resolution on war-torn Syria, Security Council gives UN major role in seeking peace”, UN News Centre)

See what I mean: Ceasefire, ceasefire, ceasefire. It’s all about a ceasefire. Kerry wants a ceasefire. Obama wants a ceasefire. A big part of the ruling US establishment want a ceasefire. No, not the neocons, not the liberal interventionists, and not the diehard hawks like Ash Carter at the Pentagon, but a good portion of the ruling elites who’ve been following events on the ground and who know how this thing is going to end. The smart money has already moved on to Plan B, which is why they’re now focused on cutting their losses and saving as many of “their guys” as possible.  Naturally, the people who funded, armed, trained and deployed these various Sunni fighters feel responsible for their safety, so they’re going to do whatever they can to get them out. That’s where Kerry comes in. Kerry’s job was to fly to Moscow, tell Putin that Obama had changed his mind about regime change, and get the Kremlin to back Kerry’s UN resolution. The primary objective of this farce is to garner international support for designating terrorist groups as “moderates” and to move in the direction of UN-mandated ceasefire that will stop the Russian-led offensive in its tracks.

But isn’t that what everyone wants, an end to the hostilities?

Not exactly. A war against terrorists is different than a war between nation-states or a civil war. A group like Jabhat al-Nusra, for example, can’t be treated the same way as armed members of the political opposition. These are religious fanatics determined to use any means possible to achieve their goal of a fascist Islamic Caliphate. Reasoned discourse doesn’t work with people like this,  they have to be killed or captured. And this is exactly what the Russian-led coalition is doing, they’re progressively mopping up the terrorist threat in Syria at great risk to themselves and their fellow-collation members Iran, Hezbollah, and the Syrian Arab Army.  Kerry’s job is to throw a wrench in the anti-terror campaign to impede the coalition’s progress. And he’s willing to lie to do it.  Case in point: Here’s a quote from Kerry in Moscow just last Tuesday:

“As I emphasized today, the United States and our partners are not seeking so-called “regime change,” as it is known in Syria.

Later in the day, Kerry underscored the administration’s dramatic about-face saying: “We are not trying to do a regime change. We are not engaged in a color revolution.  We’re not engaged in trying to interfere in another country … We’re trying to make peace.”

Okay, so the US has given up on regime change?

Not at all. Kerry was just lying through his teeth as usual.  Here’s what he said less than 24 hours later:

“Russia can’t stop the war with Assad there because Assad attracts the foreign fighters. Assad is a magnet for terrorists, because they’re coming to fight Assad.  So if you want to stop the war in Syria, and we do, if you want to fight Daesh and stop the growth of terrorism, you have to deal with the problem of Assad. Now, that doesn’t mean we want to change every aspect of the government; we don’t.”

(‘US not after regime change in Syria, but Assad must go’ – Kerry to Russian TV”, RT)

Got that? So the US doesn’t support regime change, but Assad’s still got to go.

How’s that for hypocrisy? The truth is the Obama administration is just as committed to toppling Assad as ever. Kerry was just misleading Putin to get his approval for his ridiculous resolution at the UN.  As a result, Assad’s name was never mentioned in the resolution which,  Kerry seems to think, is a big victory for the US. But it’s not a victory, in fact, all of Russia’s demands were met in full through the passing of UN Resolution  2254 (three resolutions were passed on Friday) which reiterates all Putin’s demands dating back to the Geneva Communique’ of 2012.  Assad was never mentioned in 2254 either, because naming the president wasn’t necessary to establish the conditions for 1–a transitional government, 2–outlining the terms for a new constitution and  a non-Islamist Syrian state, and 3—free and fair elections to ensure the Syrian people control their own future. In 2012, the US rejected these three provisions saying that the would not agree unless Assad was excluded from participating in the transitional government. Now the US has reversed its position on Assad which means that 100 percent of Moscow’s demands have been met.  UN Resolution  2254 is complete capitulation on the part of the US. It is a humiliating diplomatic defeat which no one in the media is even willing to acknowledge.

So what did Kerry gain by all his globe-trekking and backroom maneuvering?

Nothing. In fact, he gave away the farm by making a number of concessions to gain Russia’s support.

What “concessions” are we talking about?

Here’s a short list:  Kerry met with Putin in Moscow on December 15. On December 16, the IMF ruled in favor of Russia in its $3 billion claim against Ukraine. Here’s the story:

“The executive board of the International Monetary Fund has recognized Ukraine’s $3 billion debt to Russia as official and sovereign – a status Kiev has been attempting to contest.

“In the case of the Eurobond, the Russian authorities have represented that this claim is official. The information available regarding the history of the claim supports this representation,” the IMF said in a statement.” (“IMF recognizes Ukraine’s contested $3bn debt to Russia as sovereign “, RT)

How many strings do you think Washington had to pull to seal that deal?

Also on December 16,  the US announced that it would remove its F-15 fighters stationed in Turkey immediately. Here’s the story:

Twelve U.S. Air Force F-15 fighters sent to Incirlik airbase only last month to guard Turkish airspace and hit ISIS targets in Syria were suddenly flown back Wednesday to their home base in Britain, U.S. European Command announced….

The redeployment of the fighters came amid a flurry of diplomatic and military-to-military activity in the region and with Russia …

A day before the planes left, Secretary of State John Kerry was in Moscow for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin ahead of United Nations Security Council meetings in New York Friday on Syria and U.S. efforts to ease out President Bashar al-Assad.

(“US Air Force Begins Withdrawing F-15 Fighter Jets From Turkey“, Military.com)

Another coincidence?

Not likely.

Then there’s this:  On December 17, Obama allowed a Russian-backed resolution to pass the UNSC unanimously that that will help uncover secret  financing for ISIS and “strengthen legal measures against those doing business with terrorist groups.” According to RT:

“The resolution is the result of a joint effort by Russia and the US, which are both leading anti-IS campaigns in Syria….The key objective of the new resolution is the “enforcement of a framework to reveal and disrupt illegal financing of IS and groups related to it by means of trade in oil, artifacts, and other illegal sources.”…

The document, which is based on UN Charter Article VII and takes effect immediately, calls for members to “move vigorously and decisively to cut the flow of funds” to IS.”

UN Security Council unanimously adopts resolution targeting ISIS finances

Is that what Obama really wants, to expose the revenue streams for these extremist organizations that are clearly getting support from Washington’s main allies in the Gulf?

Probably not, but Kerry caved-in anyway hoping that his support would help him to nab the elusive ceasefire.

Finally,  on December 18, Obama told Turkish President Erdogan that he wanted him to  remove his troops and tanks from Iraq. Here’s the story:

“US President Barack Obama has called on his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to withdraw his country’s troops out of Iraq and respect its integrity. In a telephone call on Friday, Obama “urged President Erdogan to take additional steps to deescalate tensions with Iraq, including by continuing to withdraw Turkish military forces.”

He also “reinforced the need for Turkey to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq,” the White House said.

A 300-strong contingent of Turkish forces backed by 20 to 25 tanks was stationed on the outskirts of the city of Mosul, the capital of Iraq’s Nineveh Province, on December 4.” (“Obama to Erdogan: Withdraw Turkish troops from Iraq“, Press TV)

(Turkey has since promised to remove more troops following Obama’s call.)

In other words, the Turkish occupation began on December 4, but Obama never responded until two days after Kerry talked with Putin in Moscow. Another coincidence?

Maybe or maybe not. In any event the US had to do some serious horse-trading to persuade Putin to take Kerry’s issue to the Security Council. (By the way, Obama knew beforehand that Turkey planned to invade Iraq, in fact, “an important Turkish official  confirmed this claim by saying “all relevant countries” were informed about the deployment of the troops. See here for details.

Like we said earlier: Kerry gave away the farm to slam a deal that isn’t going to have the slightest impact on the outcome of the war.  And that’s what’s so tragic about all this diplomatic tap-dancing, is that it doesn’t really change anything. Syria’s future is going to be decided on the battlefield not at the United Nations and not at the bargaining table. Washington decided that long ago when it elected to use force of arms to try to achieve its geopolitical ambitions.  Now an organized opposition has emerged that is openly challenging US-backed proxies leaving Washington with just two options, fight or retreat.

It had to come to this, didn’t it?   After all, if you push people hard enough, eventually they push back.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

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.

San Francisco Labor Council resolution on Ukraine and Russia

Last year, the San Francisco Labor Council unanimously adopted this resolution. This was one of many actions worldwide in May of 2014, protesting United States and NATO actions in Ukraine, the Kiev coup regime, and the massacre in Odessa.

—————————————————————————–

May 12, 2014

From the San Francisco Labor Council

Whereas, the United States and other Western countries have intervened in the internal affairs of Ukraine, and behind the uprising are millions of dollars of our tax money used in the covert campaign to destabilize and topple the democratically elected former regime; and

Whereas, this money comes from the federal budget where it competes directly with funds for human needs programs that directly benefit education and other services and public sector employees as well as students and their families; and

Whereas, the Western Powers have historically attempted encirclement and the weakening of Russia by incorporating Eastern European countries into NATO; and

Whereas, intervention by Western powers and threats of war are contrary to the interests of the Ukrainian, Russian, and American people and undermine peace and stability in the region; and

Whereas, the new Ukrainian government, backed by the United States and European powers, has a fascist-minded element that threatens much of the population, and recalls racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic views that go against our fundamental values, and

Whereas, fascist movements historically have sought to destroy the organized labor movement; and

Whereas, the region is now a tinder box easily ignited; and

Whereas, war in Europe will have horrific consequences to the world economy, to the human race and the planet; and

Whereas, a peace oriented, productive economy serves not only the needs of all faculty and students, union members and all workers, but also all strata of society except war-profiteers and the super-rich,

Therefore be it Resolved the San Francisco Labor Council urges the U.S. government to use diplomacy with Russia and Ukraine to work out a peaceful resolution of the brewing conflict, one that respects the sovereignty, democratic right to self-determination, and security of all the peoples of Eastern Europe, and

Be it Further Resolved that the San Francisco Labor Council urge the U.S. government to stop all military aid to the new Ukraine government, and

Be it Finally Resolved that the San Francisco Labor Council will send copies of this resolution to Bay Area Congressional Representatives, Senators Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, John McCain and Mitch McConnell, Secretary of State John Kerry, President Barack Obama, and the AFL-CIO.

Submitted by Allan Fisher, AFT 2121, and adopted unanimously by the San Francisco Labor Council on May 12, 2014.

Respectfully,

Tim Paulson
Executive Director

Source:
http://sflaborcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/05-12-14ResReUkraine+Russia.pdf