Project Censored: News media cover-up of reason for war on Syria — a natural gas pipeline route

Project Censored publishes a book annually of the top 25 unreported or under-reported news stories for the year. This year, the story of a major reason for the Syrian conflict was #8.

8. Syria’s War Spurred by Contest for Gas Delivery to Europe, Not Muslim Sectarianism

At least four years into the crisis in Syria, “most people have no idea how this war even got started,” Mnar Muhawesh reported for MintPress News in September 2015.

In 2011–12, after Syrian president Bashar al-Assad refused to cooperate with Turkey’s proposal to create a natural gas pipeline between Qatar and Turkey through Syria, Turkey and its allies became “the major architects of Syria’s ‘civil war.’” The proposed pipeline would have bypassed Russia to reach European markets currently dominated by Russian gas giant Gazprom. As a result, Muhawesh wrote, “The Middle East is being torn to shreds by manipulative plans to gain oil and gas access by pitting people against one another based on religion. The ensuing chaos provides ample cover to install a new regime that’s more amenable to opening up oil pipelines and ensuring favorable routes for the highest bidders.”

In 2012, the US, UK, France, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, along with Turkey, began to organize, arm, and finance rebels to form the Free Syrian Army, consistent with long-standing US plans to destabilize Syria. These nations formed a pact, “The Group of Friends of the Syrian People,” that implemented a sectarian divide and conquer strategy to overthrow President Assad. “It’s important to note the timing,” Muhawesh wrote. “This coalition and meddling in Syria came about immediately on the heels of discussions of an Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline that was to be built between 2014 and 2016 from Iran’s giant South Pars field through Iraq and Syria. With a possible extension to Lebanon, it would eventually reach Europe, the target export market.” As MintPress News reported, access to oil and gas—not sectarian differences—is the underlying cause of the violent conflict and humanitarian disaster in Syria. “The war is being sold to the public as a Sunni-Shiite conflict” by the Friends of Syria because, if the public understood the economic interests at stake, “most people would not support any covert funding and arming of rebels or direct intervention.”

Based on secret US cables revealed by WikiLeaks, Muhawesh reported that “foreign meddling in Syria began several years before the Syrian revolt erupted.” US State Department cables from 2006 documented plans to instigate civil strife that would lead to the overthrow of Assad’s government. The leaks revealed the United States partnering with nations including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, and Egypt to fuel Sunni-Shiite sectarianism to divide Syria.

Although there is plenty of coverage in US corporate media about the violence in Syria and the refugee crisis that is sweeping Europe and reaching North America, this coverage has failed to address the economic interests, including control of potentially lucrative gas pipelines, that motivate the US and its allies.  (US corporate news coverage of the Ukraine crisis was comparable in that it too downplayed geopolitical oil interests as a source of tension among Russia, the US, and their respective allies, as Nafeez Ahmed has reported. See “US Media Hypocrisy in Covering Ukraine Crisis,”Censored story #9 from Censored 2015.) Instead, corporate news coverage has characterized the conflict in Syria as a battle for democracy that has been hijacked by Sunni-Shiite interests. For example, Oren Dorell of USA Today identified “a mind-boggling and dangerous stew of shifting and competing alliances” involved in the Syrian conflict—including groups categorized as progovernment, antigovernment, anti-Islamic State, and “other fighters”—but he did not address the gas interests that, according to Muhawesh’s reporting, ultimately underpin the conflict. Instead, much of what passes for news coverage in the corporate press adheres to a pattern that Muhawesh identified and critiqued as simplistic and “Orientalist,” framing conflict in the Middle East and especially Syria as sectarian in order “to paint the region and its people as barbaric.”


Mnar Muhawesh, “Refugee Crisis & Syria War Fueled by Competing Gas Pipelines,” MintPress News, September 9, 2015, http://www.mintpressnews.com/migrant-crisis-syria-war-fueled-by-competing-gas-pipelines/209294/.

Student Researcher: Salah Mouazen (Citrus College)

Faculty Evaluators: Andy Lee Roth and Lanette Granger (Citrus College)

8. Syria’s War Spurred by Contest for Gas Delivery to Europe, Not Muslim Sectarianism

To find out more information on this year’s stories and order the book: http://www.projectcensored.org

Chilcot Report ignores secret US/UK Operation Southern Force air war against Iraq

Global Research, July 26, 2016
Antiwar.com 26 July 2016

The Chilcot Inquiry, set up to look into the British role in the war in Iraq, reported on July 6, and although it was overshadowed by the political fallout from the Brexit vote to leave the European Union, received a largely favorable reception from the media and commentators. It is unclear why those commentators judged it to be “hard-hitting” because in terms of its conclusions all it did was tell us what we already knew.

Then British Prime Minister Tony Blair pursued a war that was arguably illegal has had disastrous consequences, not least for the 179 British servicemen and women killed and their loved ones, but also for Iraq, its people and the fight against terrorism.

I was staggered by the rush to say the report was hard hitting. It wasn’t. It simply laid out the facts in a narrative format and let the reader decide. Those facts were of course damning but I struggle to find anything in the report that a well informed reader of British newspapers wouldn’t already know.

It was a very workmanlike narrative of what happened taken from secret documents and witness testimony and therefore providing far more detail than had been previously available but it was not anything like a proper inquiry in the real sense. It was more like a neutral court report than the solid analysis which was required, and what we actually got from the curiously much derided Butler report.

As a result of the Chilcot’s failure to carry out any detailed analysis of the evidence presented to his inquiry, it completely missed the extensive and conclusive evidence of a ten-month illegal air war by Britain and the U.S. designed to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an excuse to go to war in Iraq.

All modern wars begin with an air war in which the enemy positions on the ground are “softened up” to make them easier to overcome. The Iraq War was no different in many ways. Except there was a difference. George W. Bush and Tony Blair didn’t tell us it was happening.

So why does this matter now?

It matters because the Iraq War didn’t begin on March 20, 2003 as everybody thought, it began ten months earlier on May 20, 2002 when the allies started the secret air war. It was definitely illegal because it started six months before the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1441 which Tony Blair’s government later used to claim the war was legal.

(U.S. readers might also care to note that it started five months before Congress passed the so-called Iraq Resolution which authorized military action against Iraq.)

The secret air war, codenamed Operation Southern Force, was carried out under cover of the UN-authorized operation under which U.S. and RAF aircraft patrolled a so-called no-fly zone over southern Iraq to protect the Shia majority from Saddam’s forces.

Lt.-Gen. Michael Moseley, the U.S. Air Force commander of allied air operations over Iraq, told a conference at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada in July 2003 that during Operation Southern Force allied aircraft dropped more than 600 bombs on “391 carefully selected targets.”

British and U.S. officials claimed at the time that the reason behind the increased air strikes carried out in the southern no-fly zone, was an increase in Iraqi attacks on allied aircraft. But Lt.-Gen. Moseley said the bombing of Iraqi positions in southern Iraq paved the way for the invasion and was the reason the allies were able to begin the ground campaign without first waging an extensive air war as they had done during the 1991 Gulf War.

Planning for the illegal air war began shortly after Tony Blair attended a summit with George Bush at the U.S. President’s ranch in Crawford, Texas on April 6 and 7, 2002. Chilcot confirmed evidence from a Cabinet Office Briefing Paper leaked to me as part of the “Downing Street Memos” back in the spring of 2005 that Mr. Blair agreed at Crawford “to support military action to bring about regime change” in Iraq.

The British Prime Minister didn’t waste any time sorting out what would happen next. Chilcot records that the very next day, April 8, 2002, Geoff Hoon, the U.K. Defense Secretary, called in Chief of Defense Staff Admiral Sir Michael Boyce (now Lord Boyce) and the Permanent Undersecretary at the Ministry of Defense (MoD) Sir Kevin Tebbit to discuss “military options” in Iraq.

Ten days later, Air Marshal Brian Burridge, Deputy Commander of RAF Strike Command, was sent to the U.S. to act as liaison with General Tommy Franks, commander of the U.S. Central Command, who would lead the invasion force. Now Sir Brian, he told the Chilcot Inquiry that he had a meeting with Gen. Franks shortly after arriving at Central Command’s headquarters in Tampa, Florida, discussing the no-fly zones over Iraq “at some length.”

Nine days later, on April 26, Franks flew to London with Burridge for discussions with the U.K. defense chiefs. The Chilcot Report says they talked about the patrols of the no-fly zones with details of the discussions “circulated on very limited distribution.”

A week later, there was a top secret meeting in 10, Downing St. chaired by Blair and attended by Hoon, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and Adm. Boyce. The Chilcot Report notes briefly that “Mr. Blair had a meeting on Iraq with Mr. Straw, Mr. Hoon and Adm. Boyce on 2 May but there is no record of the discussion.”

It’s worth pointing out that the Downing Street note which describes that key meeting in such brazenly bare detail was initially provided to the Butler Inquiry which first looked at the intelligence provided to back the war in Iraq in 2004. So the cover-up goes back at least to then and in reality far beyond.

Three days later after that secretive Downing Street meeting, Donald Rumsfeld, U.S. Defense Secretary, flew to London for talks with Mr. Hoon, following which British officials announced changes to the rules of engagement in the no-fly zones making it easier for allied aircraft to attack Iraqi military positions.

Simon Webb, then Mod policy director, told the Chilcot inquiry that the Americans had proposed “changing the nature of the no-fly zone, quite a lot of which we were persuaded about but which a part of we weren’t persuaded about … and stood aside from.”

As one of the Mod’s most senior civil servants, Webb was spouting the sort of doublespeak of which the writers of BBC Television’s Yes, Minister would have been very proud. The key words there are not “stood aside from” but “quite a lot of which we were persuaded about.”

On 20 May 2002, allied aircraft began ramping up the number of attacks on Iraqi positions. Throughout the first few months of 2002, they had dropped barely any bombs on Iraq. But answers to parliamentary questions asked by Liberal Democrat MP Sir Menzies Campbell (now Lord Campbell), reveal that during those last ten days of May alone, U.S. and U.K. aircraft patrolling the southern no-fly zone dropped 7.3 tons of bombs on Iraqi positions.

Far from standing aside, as Webb claimed in his testimony to the Chilcot Inquiry, RAF aircraft dropped more than two thirds of those bombs, a total of 4.9 tons.

Throughout the summer of 2002, both British and U.S. aircraft continued to bomb southern Iraq under cover of the no-fly zone while Blair and Hoon insisted that nothing was happening. The Defense Secretary told a cabinet meeting on 20 June 2002 that “except for continuing patrols in the no-fly zones, no decisions have been taken in relation to military operations in Iraq.”

During defense questions in the House of Commons on Monday 15 July 2002, Hoon told Labour MP Alice Mahon that: “Absolutely no decisions have been taken by the British Government in relation to operations in Iraq or anywhere near Iraq … I can assure the House that any such decision would be properly reported to the House.”

The next day, Blair appeared before the Parliamentary Liaison Committee. Asked if the U.K. was “preparing for possible military action against Iraq,” Blair replied: “No, there are no decisions which have been taken about military action.”

Tony Blair and his Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon were able to claim throughout 2002 that no decision had been taken on military action because the truth of what was taking place in southern Iraq under cover of the UN-authorized no-fly zones was kept on an extremely tight “need to know” basis. Even fairly senior British officials believed the increased air strikes were simply the result of the relaxation of the rules of engagement.

A week later, on Tuesday 23 July 2002, Blair was due to have a meeting with his war cabinet. In preparation for that meeting, the Cabinet Office produced a briefing paper which was one of the Downing St. Memos leaked to me when I was on the Sunday Times. It warned the participants that: “When the Prime Minister discussed Iraq with President Bush at Crawford in April he said that the U.K. would support military action to bring about regime change.”

This represented a problem for British policy-makers, the Cabinet Office briefing paper said.

“We need now to … encourage the U.S. Government to place its military planning within a political framework, partly to forestall the risk that military action is precipitated in an unplanned way by, for example, an incident in the no fly zones,” the briefing paper said. “This is particularly important for the U.K. because it is necessary to create the conditions in which we could legally support military action.”

This is all the evidence we need to show that the air war was illegal. Those conditions in which Britain could legally support military action did not yet exist. They had to be created. So although it was clearly not known to the officials who drafted the briefing paper, RAF aircraft and for that matter RAF servicemen were already involved in military action against Iraq which was not legal under the U.K. interpretation of international law.

The minutes of that war cabinet meeting on July 23 became best known for comments by Sir Richard Dearlove, the then head of MI6, who had just returned from a trip to Washington DC to see his CIA counterpart George Tenet. He told the meeting that the intelligence was being “fixed around the policy” in America.

But Hoon said something even more interesting. U.S. aircraft overflying southern Iraq had begun “spikes of activity to put pressure on the regime.” He did not mention that RAF aircraft were also taking part in the attacks. Presumably some of his colleagues in the war cabinet were unaware of that fact and the lack of an official record for the May 2 meeting suggests that both Blair and Hoon thought it sensible not to have the British participation on record.

The attacks continued through June, July and August with both U.S. and British aircraft carrying out increased bombing but nevertheless failing to provoke the Iraqis into a reaction which might give the allies an excuse for war.

The attacks needed to be ramped up still further.

On September 5 2002, more than 100 allied aircraft, both U.S. and British, attacked an Iraqi air defense facility in western Iraq on September 5, 2002, in what was believed to be a prelude to the infiltration of special forces into Iraq from Jordan. The RAF saw it as such a success that it was reported on the front page of the official publication RAF News.

During September, allied aircraft dropped 54.6 tons of munitions on southern Iraq of which 21.1 tons were dropped by RAF aircraft. In October, they dropped 17.7 tons of which 11.4 tons, roughly two-thirds, were British.

The Iraq Resolution authorizing U.S. military action against Iraq was not passed by Congress until the early hours of October 11, 2002, five months after the start of Operation Southern Force, the secret air war preparing the way for the invasion.

UN Security Council Resolution 1441, which the U.K. Government would later claim made the war legal, was not passed until November 8, 2002, six months after the secret air war began.

It was not until March 17, 2003 that British Attorney-General Lord Goldsmith formally confirmed that military action was legal on the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 1441. A day later, the British parliament backed U.K. military action in Iraq.

Two days, later allied troops invaded Iraq. It was and remains widely regarded as the start of the Iraq War. Only a very few people knew that was not the truth. The war had begun ten months earlier on 20 May 2002 when British and American aircraft began bombing the 391 “carefully selected” targets assigned to Operation Southern Force, the illegal joint British and American bombing campaign that Chilcot completely missed.

Intelligence beast reporter Michael Smith broke the story of the secret “Downing Street Memos” in 2005. This article was originally published on Michael Smith’s blog.

‘Bloody massacres’: Syria appeals to UN after French & US airstrikes ‘kill over 140 civilians’

From RT

https://www.rt.com/news/352255-france-syria-civilians-dead/video/

Syria is demanding the UN take action after it says French war planes killed more than 120 civilians during airstrikes on Tuesday near the Turkish-Syrian border. The deaths came just a day after US air assaults killed a further 20 people in Manbij.

Damascus wants the organization to look into atrocities committed by France, which is a member of the US-led international coalition, after it targeted the village of Toukhan Al-Kubra, located near the Turkish-Syrian border and the city of Manbij.

“The French unjust aggression claimed the lives of more than 120 civilians, most of them are children, women and elderly, in addition to tens of wounded citizens, the majority of them are also children and women as reports say that the fate of scores of other civilians who still under debris are unknown too,” the Syrian Foreign Ministry wrote, as cited by the Syrian Arab News Agency.

The mass death toll in Toukhan Al-Kubra came just a day after US war planes killed around 20 people, mainly women and children, while many more were injured in and around the city of Manbij, the Foreign Ministry states.

“The government of the Syrian Arab Republic condemns, with the strongest terms, the two bloody massacres perpetrated by the French and US warplanes and those affiliated to the so-called international coalition which send their missiles and bombs to the civilians instead of directing them to the terrorist gangs… Syria also affirms that those who want to combat terrorism seriously should coordinate with the Syrian government and army,” the ministry added.

In the letter, the Syrian Foreign Ministry added that it condemns the continued support by the US, France, Saudi Arabia, the UK and Qatar to terrorist organizations such as Al-Nusra Front and Jaish Al-Islam, despite these groups having clear links to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and Al-Qaeda.

MANBIJ: 20 JUL 2016. 0130 UTC. Heavy airstrikes continue. Nat’l Hospital taken. Fighting in W urban areas.

The human rights watchdog Amnesty International also hit out at the US-led coalition, saying that it needs to do more to prevent the deaths of civilians.

“Anyone responsible for violations of international humanitarian law must be brought to justice and victims and their families should receive full reparation,” Amnesty’s interim Middle East director Magdalena Mughrabi said, as cited by Reuters.

A spokesman for the US Department of Defense says that it is aware of the loss of civilian life in Syria.

“We are aware of reports alleging civilian casualties near Manbij, Syria, recently. As with any allegation we receive, we will review any information we have about the incident,” Matthew Allen said in a statement.

“We take all measures during the targeting process to avoid or minimize civilian casualties or collateral damage and to comply with the principles of the Law of Armed Conflict,” he added.

The US-led coalition has been providing air support to the rebel group the Syrian Arab Coalition, which is involved in heavy fighting around the city of Manbij, currently under the control of Islamic State.

The terrorist group has been in control of the city since it seized large swathes of Syria and Iraq in the summer of 2014.

In an interview with NBC News last week, Syrian President Bashar Assad said that the US is not interested in defeating terrorists in Syria as it really wants “to control and use them.”

Western leaders support terror groups in Syria, get extremism at home – Assadhttp://on.rt.com/7iiq 

“The reality is telling that, since the beginning of the American airstrikes, terrorism has been expanding and prevailing,” he told the channel, specifying that “during the American and alliance airstrikes, ISIS was expanding and taking over new areas in Syria.”

“It’s about being serious, having the will. The United States doesn’t have the will to defeat the terrorists. It had the will to control them and to use them as a card, like they did in Afghanistan. That will reflect on the military aspect of the issue,” Assad said.

https://www.rt.com/news/352255-france-syria-civilians-dead/

‘Beyond a massacre: France deliberately bombed Syrian civilians after Nice attack’

The Dresden bombing during World War II was retaliation. The firebombing of Japanese cities by the United States was to terrorize civilians. The pattern keeps repeating.

From RT

Interview with Marwa Osman
July 20, 2016

Western coalition forces knew they were attacking an area inhabited by civilians and yet they carried out a bombing. How can 30 airstrikes be a mistake? How can they all be a mistake, political commentator Marwa Osman asked RT.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry has written to the UN blaming US and French warplanes for the deaths of more than 100 civilians near the city of Manbij.

The alleged French act of aggression claimed the lives of more than 120 civilians, most of them children, women and elderly. The fate of scores of other civilians still under the debris is unknown. The letter also mentioned the French air strikes came a day after US warplanes conducted a bombing raid, which Damascus claims killed 20 other civilians.

RT: In January, the US-led coalition was reportedly (as claimed by CNN) prepared for up to 50 civilian deaths when it decided to target an ISIS cash vault. Can the risk of so-called collateral damage be justified for the greater good?

Marwa Osman: They blatantly call it ‘collateral damage’ when it is lives of the Syrian people which are being lost here. No one is talking about this, about the grave lives of the people who are living in Syria because of this coalition, because of the support this coalition has been giving to all sorts of groups. We already saw that the same thing in the French bombing, we saw the same thing that happened in a school in Iraq’s Nineveh massacre of 36 children after ISIS claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks. And now after the Nice attack, we see this in Syria. This is beyond unacceptable, this is beyond a massacre. They knew that this is an inhabited area by civilians and yet they did it. How can 30 airstrikes be a mistake? How can they all be a mistake? This is unacceptable…

RT: How is it possible the US claims it doesn’t know anything about this airstrike and that they’re still gathering information?

MO: They’re still gathering information? How come they did an airstrike without the information? I am sorry but we are not idiots. Our minds are not somewhere backwards. We know what is happening. We know that every flight that is being made costs more than $200,000 for a jet to go up in the air. And I am very sure that any state that gets a jet up in the air to bomb someone knows exactly what they are bombing. What they did is a… retaliatory move, a fast move just to breed blood in the streets of Syria just to say to the French and the US public: “Look, we are fighting ISIS.” This is not how they fight ISIS. They fight ISIS by stopping the Turkish state from opening its borders where they infiltrate, by stopping the funding, by stopping the arming and by stopping the so-called moderate rebels who yesterday killed a 12-year-old boy. These are the moderates of the US. The US recognizes the support for this Nour al-Din al-Zenki brigade that killed the boy. And trust me, they know who they are because today they told them: “We are going to stop the funding if you continue doing this.” They have been doing this for the past five years. They know everything that is going on. I surely appreciate what the Syrian government is doing by sending this message to the UN but this is not enough… This is definitely not enough. Syrians are suffering; they are dying by the hundreds. People need to wake up and see what their governments are doing and stop them. Because it is their tax payments that are causing the suffering over the world, especially in Syria and Iraq. I am very sure that they know who they are fighting and bombing, but they just pretend that they don’t know.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

US-led Coalition warplanes have carried out an air-raid on Tokhar village north of killing 10s of civilians

RT: Do you think there will be an independent and transparent investigation of the incident? Will those responsible be held accountable?

MO: The 9/11 didn’t have any sort of a real investigation, do you think any investigation inside of Syria will come up with some sort of solution or conclusion that will give a closure to the people that lost their family members? No, I don’t think that is going to happen any time. They are not even going to pay a dollar to make this investigation happen…

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/352283-syria-us-france-bombing/

 

 

Appeal from SAWA: Be aware of what Is happening in Syria! U.S. government support of fundamentalist fighters destroying Syria and terrorizing the Syrian people is a terrible mistake

SAWA asks Americans to take this message to elected officials; see below.
Global Research, July 19, 2016
Syrian American Will Association (SAWA)

We at the Syrian American Will Association (SAWA) are writing to you, the great American people.  We are a U.S. civic, social, and educational association established by Americans of Syrian origin who are concerned that the American government policy toward Syria is harming the national interest of the United States, and is having a catastrophic impact on the Syrian people.  As set out in our Mission Statement, we are determined to bring to U.S. policymakers, the media, and the general public a better understanding of the true situation in Syria; especially why we oppose U.S. government support to the so-called “Moderate Syrian Opposition” who in reality are overwhelmingly not Syrian but are foreign terrorists and criminals..

The fate of Syria should not matter only to Syrians and Syrian-Americans BUT to ALL AMERICANS regardless of party identification, religion, or national origin.  To put it plainly, the U.S. government policy toward Syria is undermining American interests and threatening the safety of Americans, HERE IN OUR OWN COUNTRY.  Whether direct or indirect, the U.S. government support for Syrian fundamentalist fighters and foreign groups destroying Syria and terrorizing the Syrian people is a terrible mistake, which can only result in a heightened threat to the region, and ultimately the world and to the United States.  We at SAWA are working to help stop this mistake, but we need your help.

No American can forget the terrible day on September 11, 2001, when jihad terrorists affiliated with al-Qaeda attacked our country.  Since then al-Qaeda has been held up as the epitome of the terrorist threat to the U.S. Why then is the U.S. government – the Obama Administration and many in Congress in both parties pursuing a policy in Syria that STRENGTHENS THE LOCAL AL-QAEDA AFFILIATED ALONG WITH ALLIED TERRORIST GROUPS?  While THE U.S. government formally claiming only to support “vetted moderate opposition”  IN REALITY Washington, in collaboration with key regional allies is cooperating with and tacitly supporting all terrorists groups

The same groups that are backed by a range of foreign power, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey; who are competing for influence in Syria and to make Syria an Islamic country instead of being a secular one.

Supporting such groups will not be successful in overthrowing the Syrian government.  The majority of the Syrian people know that for them this is a simple matter of survival for themselves, their families, and their country. The large majority of Syrians know they must defeat these foreign terrorists and create the opportunity to work for a peaceful, prosperous, democratic, and secular future but even so by letting countries like Saudi Arabia and Turkey to keep setting the direction of the U.S. government policy will keep the war in Syria burning and prolong the suffering of the Syrian people.  It will also mean more money and arms going to strengthen the terrorists and incubating a threat to the United States and Americans here at home.  

The best outcome in Syria for U.S. government interests is to stay away and stop supporting the illegal groups fighting the legitimate Syrian government, furthermore, pressure the regional power allies to stop interfering in the Syrian situation.  Syrians can work out their own affairs, and will reject the kind of poison represented by western media coverage that want us to believe this is a religious civil war among the Syrians.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  This is a huge propaganda line from outside sponsors of terrorism against Syria who wish to impose and place their narrow sectarian tyranny in place of a secular state supported by the majority of Syrians representing the whole nation.

We at SAWA support a united, sovereign, secular, and democratic Syria free of foreign interference, under the authority of the current constitution of the Syrian Arab Republic and the will of the Syrian people.  We seek a positive and mutually beneficial future relationship between the United States and Syria, as two sovereign countries that together can make an essential contribution to human civilization, and in particular the defense of civilization against terrorist groups.

But that future is hard to see as long as the U.S. policymakers are undermining our own country’s interests by helping anti-Syrian terrorists.  The supply of American taxpayers’ money and U.S. weapons to terrorist groups must be stopped. 

American aid to all armed groups in Syria, whether labeled “vetted moderates” or not, needs to be halted, and Washington needs to pressure our allies to do likewise.  The stated goal of the American government policy of overthrowing the legal elected government of Syria which is the only real force fighting against the terrorists needs to be ended.

We at SAWA ask for your support in getting this message to American policymakers.  Please write to your Senators and Congressmen, to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, and tell them:

I am opposed to American aid to all groups and any group that is fighting the legitimate government of Syria. We the American people need to stop  trying to overthrow the elected Syrian government and instead support a peaceful negotiated solution among the Syrians themselves only.

We welcome your contributions and membership to work together with SAWA to change a policy that it not in America’s interest.

The race for Raqqa – Could two world powers meet in battle over ISIS HQ?

Global Research, June 08, 2016
Activist Post 7 June 2016

The Syrian military is quickly closing in on Raqqa, one of the last ISIS strongholds in the country, and is expected to reach the city within a matter of weeks or even days where a major battle between government and terrorist forces is inevitable. Recently, the Syrian military liberated a number of areas in eastern Syria near the Taqba airbase, another site that is expecting liberation in the next few days. The Syrian military has already reached the edge of Raqqa province.

Raqqa has acted as the ISIS capital since the mysterious appearance of the group two years ago and has gone virtually untouched as the Syrian military has been bogged down in major cities and western/central areas of the country in their fight against the Western-backed terrorists. Notably, despite its rhetoric of fighting to “degrade and destroy” ISIS, the U.S.-led coalition has yet to bomb Raqqa.

Fresh on the heels of a major public relations victory in Palmyra, however, the Syrian military is now marching toward Raqqa and, if successful, it will score one of the biggest victories in the five-year war. This is not only because the de facto ISIS capital will be eliminated or because the SAA will gain more territory, it is because the liberation of Raqqa will be yet another example of how the Syrian military will have accomplished in weeks what the United States and coalition members have claimed may take a decade to do. It will be another instance where the lack of will on the part of the United States to actually destroy Daesh is put on display for the rest of the world, either causing the U.S. to look weak in the eyes of the world or exposing it for actually supporting the terrorist organization to begin with. Regardless, the victory for the Syrian government will be twofold.

That is, unless the U.S. gets there first . . . .

The U.S. Interest In Raqqa – A Sudden Shift

The U.S. has been using the presence of ISIS in Syria as an excuse to bomb, send Special Forces, publicly support terrorists, and possibly invade since the Western-backed terror group appeared on the scene two years ago. Yet, despite its rhetoric, the United States and its coalition have not bombed Raqqa and have largely abstained from bombing (see here and here) any other terrorist group. Instead, the U.S. has focused on bombing Syrian military targets, civilians and civilian infrastructure (see here also), and acting as a deterrent to the Syrian military’s movement in many “rebel-held” areas of the country.

Now, however, the United States seems to have great interest in Raqqa as it aids its loose collection of terrorists, fanatical Kurds, and Arabs known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in “battles” around the ISIS capital.

So why the sudden interest in Raqqa? It’s fairly simple. The United States sees clearly that the Syrian military and its Russian allies are going to liberate Raqqa soon enough and the U.S. does not want to suffer another public relations setback. A defeat for ISIS is thus a humiliation for the United States. That fact alone should raise some eyebrows.

Regardless, the United States would like to have its own “victory” in Raqqa before the Syrians and the Russians can have theirs. If the SDF is able to “take” Raqqa, the U.S. will then be able to shout from the rooftops that America has liberated Raqqa and defeated ISIS in its own capital.

The U.S. also has another goal in Raqqa – the theft of more Syrian territory by using its proxy forces going by the name of the SDF. Whether or not ISIS proper is in control of Raqqa is merely a secondary concern for the United States. If the SDF succeeds in imposing control over the city and the province, then the West will have succeeded in cementing control over the area in the hands of its proxy terrorists once again, but with yet another incarnation of the same Western-backed jihadist fanaticism. The U.S. can then use the “moderate rebel” label to keep Russia and Syria from bombing the fighters who merely assumed a position handed to them, albeit through some level of violence, by ISIS.

The Meeting In The Middle

With the situation as it stands, there is now the very real possibility of some type of major confrontation taking place in Raqqa that could very well have international ramifications. On one hand, there is the Syrian military, backed by the Russian Air Force and Russian Special Forces heading East to Raqqa while, on the other side, there is the SDF, backed by the U.S. Air and Special Forces, heading West toward Raqqa. Both sides are in a race to gain control over the ISIS capital, gain territory, and declare a victory for the world to see. But what if they arrive in Raqqa at the same time?

In other words, there is a distinct potential that, in the race for Raqqa, the Syrian/Russian alliance might find itself face to face with the possibility of direct military conflict with the U.S./SDF (terrorist) alliance. At that point, the question will be who, if either, will back down? If both forces decide to push forward, the result could be devastating not only for Syria but for the rest of the world.

Regardless of what happens, it is important to remember that the Syrian military is acting entirely in self-defense both against the terrorists posing as “rebels” and the United States. Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah have all been invited in to Syria, acting legally and with the assent of the Syrian government, while the United States and its coalition are once again acting completely outside of international law in an attempt to shore up its terrorist proxies; and, once again, the United States and its coalition of the willing is pushing the patience of the rest of the world.

Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom7 Real ConspiraciesFive Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1and volume 2The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President. Turbeville has published over 650 articles on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s radio show Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. His website is BrandonTurbeville.com He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.

B-52 used to bomb Yugoslavia deployed to Russia’s borders

From Fort Russ

Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ
5th June, 2016
 
The exercises that are currently being held in the Baltic States will involve two US air force B-52 bombers. This bomber participated in the operation against Yugoslavia in 1999.
US bombers were deployed to Europe to participate in NATO exercises Baltops 2016 and Saber Strike 2016 in the Baltic. It was originally intended to send three aircraft, however, one of them flew to Estonia because of a breakdown, said a source to “Interfax”.
The bombers with the tail numbers 60-0037 and 60-0044 were deployed to the Fairford airbase in the UK in 1999, where they were used in combat missions against targets in the former Yugoslavia.
Recall that in history there is an unpleasant fact. During the bombing of Belgrade, the US military wrote a message on the bombs: “Happy Easter!” These bombs then destroyed Orthodox churches.
It is worth noting that in response to the activation of the NATO exercises, Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu announced large-scale events for the preparation of the Russian army. This summer it is planned to hold more than 2000 different drills.

U.S. and Israeli weapons and ammunition in possession of terrorists, seized by Syrian government forces

Global Research, February 15, 2016
SANA 14 February 2016
weapons

The authorities concerned in Sweida, in cooperation with the locals, seized on Sunday a vehicle loaded with large amounts of arms and ammunition in the western countryside of the southern province.

A source at Sweida Governorate told SANA that the vehicle was heading to the terrorist organizations operating in the eastern countryside of the neighboring Daraa province.

The arms and ammunition which were confiscated included 7 Israeli-made anti-tank rocket launchers, 62 shells, 128 RPG shells of different kinds, 43 120 mm mortar rounds, 42 82 mm mortar rounds and 100 23 mm machinegun bullets.

Earlier on Saturday, the authorities, in cooperation with the popular committees, seized hundreds of U.S. and Israeli-made anti-tank mines loaded in a pickup in the western countryside of Sweida. The weapons were bound for the terrorists in eastern al-Badiya (desert).

On January 20th, the authorities in Sweida foiled an operation to smuggle a large quantity of ammunition for medium-sized and heavy weapons from eastern Daraa to terrorist organizations in al-Badiya.

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America and Turkey begin ground invasion of Syria. How will Russia respond?

By Donbass International News Agency
Global Research, January 24, 2016
dninews 21 January 2016

Amidst an almost total western media blackout, Turkey and the US have initiated a military invasion in Syrian territory. On Wednesday evening, the Turkish army reportedly entered Syrian territory near Jarablus. US troops took control of Rmeilan airfield in Syria’s northern province of Hasakah. It’s unclear what are the real objectives for western military operations on Syrian soil According to the latest news, a major Turkish intervention is expected.

‘US troops have taken control of Rmeilan airfield in Syria’s northern province of Hasakah to support Kurdish fighters against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)”, a spokesperson for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) told Al Jazeera on Tuesday. The airfield is close to Syria’s borders with Iraq and Turkey.

Syrian Local Coordination Committees say that the US has been preparing and expanding Rmeilan airport for a while now. When asked by Al Jazeera, a US CENTCOM media operations officer did not confirm or deny the reports.

According to information received by Sputnik on Wednesday, Turkey has been amassing military units along the Syrian border. The number of troops is estimated to be around 1,000. The troops have reportedly crossed into Aleppo province, according to Hawar News, along with military vehicles, heavy equipment, and mine detection gear. Turkey has denied reports of an invasion, but reports from the ground confirm the military incursion.

Russia Insider writes, that Turkey has seized the ISIS-controlled town of Jarabulus, but faced no resistance, according to reports:

“Eyewitnesses to the incursion reported that the Turkish forces have not encountered any resistance from ISIS fighters in the area. These reports once again raise the question of possible collaboration between Turkey and ISIS aimed at halting the advance of the Kurdish militias in north Syria.”

The Turkish operation is “officially” aimed at combating Daesh (ISIS) militants, who have fortified Jarablus. But sources tell Sputnik that Ankara may be more interested in preventing the YPG from gaining a foothold in a region of strategic importance. Various reports indicate that Ankara could soon (if it has not already) launch a ground operation in neighboring Syria, confirms Sputnik on Thursday.

STRATFOR: “WARZONE IS RAPIDLY BECOMING CROWDED”

“Turkey has already begun to ramp up its artillery strikes along its border with Syria to help its rebel allies and to destroy Islamic State targets. This could indicate an effort to soften enemy defenses ahead of a Turkish ground incursion once minesweeping operations have been completed,” Stratfor explained.

“Ankara’s ground operation – if launched – could deal a blow to Daesh. But many experts and politicians have pointed out that Turkey views dealing with the Kurds, not the terrorist group, as its key priority. The offensive than “would also strengthen the [Turkey-backed] rebels in northern Syria, in turn preventing the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from expanding their reach westward,” Stratfor noted.

Turkey’s ground offensive will likely add additional stress to the already strained relations between Ankara and Moscow. According to Stratfor:

“Still, that does not mean that Ankara, with Washington’s help, is not trying to reach an understanding with Moscow, at least in terms of setting up deconfliction procedures to avoid clashing with each other in the Syrian Warzone, which is rapidly becoming crowded.”

HOW WILL RUSSIA RESPOND?

RT reports that ISIS terrorists have increased their activities ahead of next week’s inter-Syrian talks, with insurgents in the Syrian province of Aleppo receiving reinforcements from Turkey, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday. The much-anticipated talks between the Syrian government and different opposition groups are scheduled to take place in  Geneva on January 25.

“Unfortunately, in recent days, it’s especially noticeable that ahead of the planned start of the inter-Syrian negotiations in Geneva the activities of terrorist groups have intensified. Obviously, they’re trying to turn the tide in their favor on the battlefield,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said during a briefing in Moscow.

Zakharova said that Russia is concerned over Ankara’s increased military incursions into Syria, adding that

“it cannot be ruled out that… fortifications [built by Turkey] along the Syrian-Turkish border may be used by militant groups as strongholds.”

“While all parties involved pin their hopes on the start of a meaningful and… inclusive dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition, external forces continue to help militants in Syria, including terrorist groups, providing them with arms and ammunition,” she stressed.

Notes:

http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20160120/1033456296/turkey-jarablus.html

https://www.rt.com/news/329675-aleppo-militants-reinforcements-turkey/

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/01/takes-control-rmeilan-airfield-syr…

http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20160121/1033489316/turkey-syria-isis-…

https://www.stratfor.com/sample/analysis/iraq-syria-battlespace-0

http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/turkish-forces-moves-syria-how-wil…

The original source of this article is dninews

Copyright © Donbass International News Agency, dninews, 2016

 

US, France, and Britain: The destruction of Syria is the plan

Global Research, December 07, 2015
RT 5 December 2015

syria-war-plane

Since Russia stepped up to the plate, suddenly western countries can’t wait to bomb ISIS. Are they now there to get the job done? Or are they there to stop Russia increasing its influence, and to make sure it doesn’t succeed where they failed?

The world is falling over itself to bomb Syria.

The following statement from Reuters summarizes the situation:

“Most of the world’s powers are now flying combat missions over Iraq and Syria against Islamic State. But any consensus on how to proceed has been thwarted by opposing policies over the 4-year-old civil war in Syria, which has killed 250,000 people, driven 11 million from their homes, left swathes of territory in the hands of jihadist fighters and defied all diplomatic efforts at a solution.”

While it may seem to the outside observer that this catalogue of mayhem is the result of incompetence, to me – on the contrary – it is evidence of things going to plan.

I have never, thus far, seen a war the ruling elite clearly wanted to happen not happen.

Here, as in all other cases, there has been a bit of hand-wringing, some crying, some protests, some moving speeches. But like the morality plays of medieval times, after enjoying the sermon dressed as entertainment, life has inevitably carried on as normal with the barons raping and pillaging and everyone else having to put up with that reality.

Destruction of Syria is the plan

This time the plan – at least judging from the outcomes – is to destroy Syria.

Syria has been anathema to the self-appointed arbiters of righteousness: the ‘international community’, that coterie of hypocrites which arrogates to itself the monopoly on meting out death to those who won’t get with the program.

This group dislikes Syria which has had an uncompromising stance towards Israel and an independent financial system, and is using the chance to destroy it to flood Europe with refugees, thus further debasing the makeup of its constituent nations, and simultaneously justifying a lockdown in those countries.

Enter Putin

Everything was going swimmingly until Putin stepped in.

While many in the West who have grown jaundiced at the obvious usurpation of our governments by outside interests ascribe almost saint-like motivations to Putin, I do not. He is a superb strategist. Exactly what he is strategizing for is not clear yet.

What is clear is that his move into Syria threw a spanner in the works of a status quo the US was quite happy with: growing terrorism and mayhem in Syria and spreading nicely to Europe.

Assad himself said a few days ago to the BBC (courtesy of Czech Television) that ISIS was growing smaller after Russian bombing intervention whereas moves by other countries served only to strengthen ISIS and increase their recruitment.

He added: “The facts are telling.”

So what do the facts tell?

They tell us that Russia is the only country involved to date which has the removal of ISIS as an actual goal.

Russia is also the only country with a legitimate mandate under international law.

In addition, ISIS was most eloquently outed by author and journalist Gearóid Ó Colmáin on Russia Today as a US creation.

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In this scenario, the reason for further western efforts in the region is looking increasingly like an attempt to prevent Russia from routing its assets or achieving the informational coup that would follow.

France and Britain milking the crises

The propaganda war is hotting up, with western press issuing unsubstantiated and emotional surmise as news.

Meanwhile, the French and the British are now, of course, bombing Syria.

At home, the French government not only voted to bomb but enacted ‘emergency’ powers at the same time. And Holland wants to change the constitution to extend these powers.

The Telegraph states: “The draft “Protection of the Nation” bill […] would extend the right to strip French citizenship from dual nationals convicted of terrorism offences by also including people born in France.

It would also prolong certain powers after a state of emergency was lifted.

No time limit will be inscribed in the constitution under the new proposals. As is currently the case, parliament will decide how long a given state of emergency should last.”

This all looks so like a dictator’s wet dream, it takes an effort of will to believe it has not been planned this way.

And a man no less respected than Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, formerly Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, has raised legitimate questions about the official line on the Paris attacks.

He says:

“European peoples want to be French, German, Dutch, Italian, Hungarian, Czech, British. They do not want their countries to be a diverse Tower of Babel created by millions of refugees from Washington’s wars.

To remain a nationality unto themselves is what Pegida, Farage, and Le Pen offer the voters.

Realizing its vulnerability, it is entirely possible that the French Establishment made a decision to protect its hold on power with a false flag attack that would allow the Establishment to close France’s borders and, thereby, deprive Marine Le Pen of her main political issue.”

The same event, of course, justifies France’s bombing of Syria.

The British government for its part – despite some theatrical hand-wringing – has got on the bandwagon and opted to join in whatever further criminality the US has planned in Syria.

As though to justify the decision, the Telegraph breathlessly informs us that ISIS (or ISIL as it calls it) is planning to attack the UK “next”.

It says: “There are unconfirmed reports that Isil has decided that the next target of an attack will be Britain.

European security agencies, citing specific intelligence that had been obtained, stated that British Isil operatives in Syria and Iraq were being tasked to return home to launch an attack, CNN reported.”

This is the level of the propaganda now: CNN reports security agencies who say that a terrorist group whose name changes every five minutes might be sending members to Britain to do harm.

But this is unconfirmed.

The real reason for this war

I’m going to simplify things: the Plan for a New American Century – a document which was created by neoconservative warmongers in or close to power under George Bush Jr. – listed countries which it wanted the US to attack, namely: North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria.

The journal-neo.org site states:

“[all were] pinpointed as enemies of the U.S. well before the illegal war in Iraq in 2003, as well as the illegal 2011 war in Libya and the ongoing proxy war in Syria.”

Retired US General Wesley Clarke went on record in 2007 stating that the fix was in: the U.S. had unilaterally decided to destroy Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran.

This is not some wild-eyed conspiracy theorist. Clarke was a four-star general, and the man who commanded Operation Allied Force in the Kosovo War during his term as the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe of NATO from 1997 to 2000.

The pretense of choice

Any objective assessment of who benefits from attacks upon the countries Clarke mentioned would not include any European country – or even the U.S. for that matter.

But the subtext is clear: if Europeans don’t want to take part, terrorist attacks will be allowed or contrived until they acquiesce.

In short: the ruling elite wants this war. Our pretend governments voted it through on the nod. And we the people will have to deal with the fallout and put up with random terrorist acts if we wake up and speak out about how this charade is rigged.

At the same time, the people of Syria are subject to bombing raids by the US, France and the UK – none of which have any invitation from the legitimate government of that country – actions which, properly speaking, are acts of war against the country the perpetrators claim to want to help.

My prediction: the clean-up operation Russia initiated and Assad approves of will be made to fail; terrorism will increase and spread into Europe; and mass immigration from Syria and that area to Europe will continue; and acts of terrorism on European soil will magically justify endless war, internal lock-down, wholesale surveillance, detention without trial, and troops on the street.

And this – in the absence of hard evidence based in action to the contrary – I can only see as the actual plan.

Do you remember voting for that?

No, nor do I.