From Fort Russ
True US goal in Syria is control over resources, not fighting ISIS – Russian MoD
February 8, 2018
The MoD was referring to an incident which took place on Tuesday in Deir Ez-Zor province, as a Syrian militia unit was moving against a “sleeper cell” of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS). The operation was prompted by a surge in shelling of the positions of Syrian government forces in the area over the past few days, attributed to the covert activities of IS terrorists, the ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
A unit of the pro-government militia was conducting a reconnaissance search mission on February 7 near the former oil processing plant of Al-Isba. While there, “the militiamen came under a surprise mortar and MRLS shelling, and were attacked by helicopters of the US-led ‘international coalition.’”
As a result, 25 members of the pro-government unit were injured. Initial media reports, citing unnamed US officials, suggested that some 100 Syrian soldiers had died in the assault by the coalition forces.
The US Central Command earlier called the attack on Syrian militiamen “self-defense,” claiming that the troops allegedly launched an “unprovoked attack against well-established Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF] headquarters.”
The US version of events, however, raises “lots of questions,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Thursday.
Following the incident, the Russian military talked to the coalition through the established communication channels, with the latter stating that Al-Isba was under the control of SDF and US troops. The immediate cause of the incident, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry, was the fact that the militia unit acted on its own, without consulting Russian advisers first.
The case exposes a greater problem, however, as according to the MoD the attack by the coalition “once again proved that the true goal of the continuous illegal presence of US forces in Syria is already not the fight against ISIS international terrorist group, but the capture and control of the economic assets belonging solely to the Syrian Arab Republic.”
Damascus has decried the attack as a “war crime”and a “crime against humanity,” SANA reports, citing a letter to the UN issued by the Foreign Ministry. The US-led coalition is illegal and should be disbanded altogether, the ministry stressed.
“We demand [the international community] condemn this massacre and hold the coalition responsible for it,” the ministry said, adding that this is not the first time the US-led coalition has targeted Syrian government forces.
The Syrian government has repeatedly condemned the US-led coalition’s presence on its soil, calling it an act of blatant aggression and violation of the country’s sovereignty.
Damascus has also urged the UN to press the US to leave, especially following the successful defeat of the main IS forces. The US, however, has stated that it may remain in Syria indefinitely to counter what it describes as Iranian influence and to secure “post-Assad leadership” for the country.
Recent developments indicate that the US might be effectively shifting towards partitioning Syria altogether, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned earlier on Wednesday.
“It’s very likely that the Americans have taken a course of dividing the country. They just gave up their assurances, given to us, that the only goal of their presence in Syria – without an invitation of the legitimate government – was to defeat Islamic State and the terrorists,” Lavrov stated.
“Now, they are saying that they will keep their presence until they make sure a steady process of a political settlement in Syria starts, which will result in regime change.”
From Fort Russ
February 8th, 2018 – Fort Russ News –
– By Joaquin Flores for FRN –
WASHINGTON DC, USA – In a major development, the US’s Central Command (Centcom) has just released an official statement, claiming that it has conducted an aerial attack on what it terms ‘Syrian pro-regime’ forces, about eight miles east of the Euphrates river.
The Centcom statement included: “”Syrian pro-regime forces initiated an unprovoked attack against well-established Syrian Democratic Forces headquarters Feb. 7.”
The statement continued: ” In defense of Coalition and partner forces, the Coalition conducted strikes against attacking forces to repel the act of aggression against partners engaged in the Global Coalition’s defeat-Daesh mission.”
It should be noted that the language used by Centcom greatly obfuscates the legal framework of this conflict. The US is operating illegally, with an overt invasion force, and also continues to fund and direct a side in what it frames as a civil war .
Centcom claims that US bombers struck ‘pro-regime forces’. This is the area where there have been successful Syrian military advances because the US created ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) moved out. The SDF is a rebranding of some of the US backed Kurdish forces which are operating in areas which include sizable Arab populations.
As we reported previously, Kurdish-led and US backed forces have deployed elsewhere to fight Turkish backed forces.
It is unclear at the time of publishing whether these ‘pro-regime forces’ were auxiliary militias, or the Syrian Arab Army itself. FRN still awaits confirmation on more reliable details from the officials of the SAA. Centcom official statements are historically inaccurate and rife with factual ambiguities and legal untruths.
Diplomatically, and legally, this difference – whether the SAA or allied militias were attacked – may result in a different response from the Syrian government, and its allies in the conflict: Iran and Russia.
In either event, this represents another major escalation in the US’s growing and direct role in the conflict which it has supported through various proxies since the start of this decade.
This story at the time of publishing, is still developing.
Over the last seven years, several billion dollars’ worth of armament has been illegally introduced into Syria – a fact which in itself is enough to disprove the myth according to which this war is a democratic revolution. Numerous documents attest to the fact that the traffic was organised by General David Petraeus, first of all in public, via the CIA, of which he was the director, then privately, via the financial company KKR with the aid of certain senior civil servants. Thus the conflict, which was initially an imperialist operation by the United States and the United Kingdom, became a private capitalist operation, while in Washington, the authority of the White House was challenged by the deep state. New elements now show the secret rôle of Azerbaïdjan in the evolution of the war.
During the liberation of Aleppo and the capture of the Saudi military staff who were on site, Bulgarian journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva noted the presence of weapons from her country in nine warehouses abandoned by the jihadists. She carefully noted the information on the boxes, and once she returned home, she investigated the way in which the weapons had been delivered to Syria.
Since 2009 – with the short exception of the period between March 2013 to November 2014 – Bulgaria has been governed by Boïko Borissov, a highly colourful character allegedly with links to one of Europe’s main criminal organisations, the SIC. Let’s remember that Bulgaria is a member of both NATO and the European Union, and that neither of these two organisations offered the slightest criticism concerning the accession to power of a Mafia lord who had been identified as such a long time previously by the international police services.
It is therefore clearly at the risk of their lives that Dilyana Gaytandzhieva uncovered the organisation, and the editors of the Sofia daily, Trud, published her article . While Bulgaria was one of the main arms exporters to Syria, it received help from Azerbaïdjan.
The gigantic CIA arms traffic against Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and India
Since the beginning of the Arab Springs, a gigantic arms traffic was organised by the CIA and the Pentagon in violation of a number of resolutions by the UNO Security Council. All the operations that we will be mentioning here are illegal under international law, including those organised publicly by the Pentagon.
As far as arms traffic is concerned, even when individuals or private companies are used as shields, it is impossible to export sensitive equipment without the authorisation of the governments concerned.
All the weapons we will be mentioning, apart from the electronic intelligence systems, are ’Soviet-type’. By definition, even if we pretend that the armies supplied with NATO-type weapons are indeed the final recipients, this is an impossibility. These armies serve only to cover the traffic.
We already knew that the CIA had contacted the SIC, and that Boïko Borissov had been called upon to manufacture an emergency quantity of Captagon destined for the jihadists, first in Libya, then in Syria. Since Maria Petkova’s investigation, which was published in the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), we knew that between 2011 and 2014, the CIA and the SOCOM (Pentagon Special Operations Command) had bought 500 million dollars’ worth of weapons from Bulgaria on behalf of the jihadists. Then, later, we learned that other weapons were paid for by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and transported by Saudi Arabian Cargo and Etihad Cargo .
According to Krešimir Žabec, of the Zagreb daily Jutarnji list, at the end of 2012, Croatia delivered 230 tonnes of weapons to the Syrian jihadists for a value of 6.5 million dollars. The transfer to Turkey was handled by three Ilyushins from Jordan International Air Cargo, and the weapons were then parachuted by the Qatai Army . According to Eric Schmitt of the New York Times, the whole system had been created by General David Petraeus, director of the CIA .
From Consortium News
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” to curb weapons going to Al Qaeda-linked jihadists in Syria, has attracted only 14 co-sponsors pointing to hypocrisy in the “war on terror,” as Gareth Porter explained at The American Conservative.
By Gareth Porter
June 23, 2017
Three-term Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a member of both the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, has proposed legislation that would prohibit any U.S. assistance to terrorist organizations in Syria as well as to any organization working directly with them. Equally important, it would prohibit U.S. military sales and other forms of military cooperation with other countries that provide arms or financing to those terrorists and their collaborators.
Gabbard’s “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” challenges for the first time in Congress a U.S. policy toward the conflict in the Syrian civil war that should have set off alarm bells long ago: in 2012-13 the Obama administration helped its Sunni allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar provide arms to Syrian and non-Syrian armed groups to force President Bashar al-Assad out of power. And in 2013 the administration began to provide arms to what the CIA judged to be “relatively moderate” anti-Assad groups — meaning they incorporated various degrees of Islamic extremism.
That policy, ostensibly aimed at helping replace the Assad regime with a more democratic alternative, has actually helped build up al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise al Nusra Front into the dominant threat to Assad.
The supporters of this arms-supply policy believe it is necessary as pushback against Iranian influence in Syria. But that argument skirts the real issue raised by the policy’s history. The Obama administration’s Syria policy effectively sold out the U.S. interest that was supposed to be the touchstone of the “Global War on Terrorism” — the eradication of al Qaeda and its terrorist affiliates. The United States has instead subordinated that U.S. interest in counter-terrorism to the interests of its Sunni allies. In doing so it has helped create a new terrorist threat in the heart of the Middle East.
The policy of arming military groups committed to overthrowing the government of President Bashar al-Assad began in September 2011, when President Barack Obama was pressed by his Sunni allies — Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar — to supply heavy weapons to a military opposition to Assad they were determined to establish. Turkey and the Gulf regimes wanted the United States to provide anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to the rebels, according to a former Obama administration official involved in Middle East issues.
Obama refused to provide arms to the opposition, but he agreed to provide covert U.S. logistical help in carrying out a campaign of military assistance to arm opposition groups. CIA involvement in the arming of anti-Assad forces began with arranging for the shipment of weapons from the stocks of the Gaddafi regime that had been stored in Benghazi.
Shipments from Benghazi
CIA-controlled firms shipped the weapons from the military port of Benghazi to two small ports in Syria using former U.S. military personnel to manage the logistics, as investigative reporter Sy Hersh detailed in 2014. The funding for the program came mainly from the Saudis.
A declassified October 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency report revealed that the shipment in late August 2012 had included 500 sniper rifles, 100 RPG (rocket propelled grenade launchers) along with 300 RPG rounds and 400 howitzers. Each arms shipment encompassed as many as ten shipping containers, it reported, each of which held about 48,000 pounds of cargo.
Russian military halts Syria sky incident prevention interactions with US as of June 19 – Moscow
June 19, 2017
The Russian Defense Ministry announced it is halting cooperation with its US counterparts in the framework of the Memorandum on the Prevention of Incidents and Ensuring Air Safety in Syria following the coalition’s downing of a Syrian warplane.
The ministry has demanded a thorough investigation by the US military command into the incident with the Syrian government military jet, with the results to be shared with the Russian side.
“In the areas of combat missions of Russian air fleet in Syrian skies, any airborne objects, including aircraft and unmanned vehicles of the [US-led] international coalition, located to the west of the Euphrates River, will be tracked by Russian ground and air defense forces as air targets,” the Russian Ministry of Defense stated.
Downing the military jet within Syrian airspace “cynically” violates the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic, Russian military said.
The actions of the US Air Force are in fact “military aggression” against Syria, the statement adds.
The ministry emphasized that Russian warplanes were on a mission in Syrian airspace during the US-led coalition’s attack on the Syrian Su-22, while the coalition failed to use the communication line to prevent an incident.
“The command of the coalition forces did not use the existing communication channel between the air commands of Al Udeid Airbase (in Qatar) and the Khmeimim Airbase to prevent incidents in Syrian airspace.”
The ministry considers the move “a conscious failure to comply with the obligations under the Memorandum on the Prevention of Incidents and Ensuring Air Safety in Syria,” and is thus halting cooperation with the US within the memorandum framework as of June 19, the statement concluded.
Earlier Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov condemned the attack, branding it an act of aggression which actually helped the terrorists the US is fighting against.
The US-led coalition downed the Syrian government warplane on Sunday. At the moment of the attack the jet was carrying out operations against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) some 40km from Raqqa, the Russian Defense Ministry said. The pilot ejected from the plane above IS-controlled territory and is still missing.
From the Washington Examiner
June 19, 2017
US pilots will defend themselves as Russia threatens aircraft over Syria, Pentagon says
U.S. pilots over Syria will defend themselves if attacked by Russians, a Pentagon spokesman said Monday, following a report that Russia will treat U.S. or coalition aircraft as targets if they fly over areas in western Syria controlled by Russia.
The Russian Defense Ministry made the threat Monday after a U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet shot down a Syrian Su-22 after that plane bombed U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces that are working with the U.S. to defeat the Islamic State on Sunday.
“Any aircraft, including planes and drones of the international coalition, detected in the operation areas west of the Euphrates River by the Russian air forces will be followed by Russian ground-based air defense and air defense aircraft as air targets,” the Defense Ministry said.
“We are aware of the Russian statements,” Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said Monday morning. “We do not seek conflict with any party in Syria other than ISIS, but we will not hesitate to defend ourselves or our partners if threatened,” Davis said.
A spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition said the Russian statement has had no effect on the operations in support of U.S.-backed Syrian fighters moving against ISIS in Raqqa in western Syria.
“Coalition aircraft continue to conduct operations throughout Syria, targeting ISIS forces and providing air support for coalition partner forces on the ground,” said Col. Ryan Dillon, chief U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad.
He also appeared to indicate the U.S. is avoiding the parts of Syria where Russia said U.S. planes would be tracked as potential targets or providing additional airpower to counter threats.
“As a result of recent encounters involving pro-Syrian regime and Russian forces, we have taken prudent measures to reposition aircraft over Syria so as to continue targeting ISIS forces while ensuring the safety of our aircrews given known threats in the battlespace,” Dillon said.
The statement was meant as a warning, said Viktor Ozerov, a member of the Russian parliament, described the Defense Ministry’s statement as a warning.
“I’m sure that because of this neither the U.S. nor anyone else will take any actions to threaten our aircraft,” he said, according to state-owned RIA Novosti news agency. “That’s why there’s no threat of direct confrontation between Russia and American aircraft.”…