Aletho News


Yaser Murtaja and Marie Colvin

Freedom Rider: Yaser Murtaja and Marie Colvin
By Margaret Kimberley | Black Agenda Report | April 11, 2018

Yaser Murtaja was a Palestinian journalist acting in his professional capacity when he was murdered by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). He was covering the second Great Return March in Gaza and was clearly identified as press when an Israeli sniper fired a fatal shot.

Yaser Murtaja should not be forgotten. His death must be uppermost in our minds when the Syrian government is accused of deliberately murdering a journalist and is sued for $300 million in a United States court. Marie Colvin was covering the Syrian war in 2012 for the British newspaper The Sunday Times. She was killed when the Syrian army shelled the building where she and others were embedded with the Free Syrian Army, a group committed to regime change. The court filing claims that the Syrian government tracked Colvin’s movement and assassinated her. Ordinarily foreign governments can’t be sued in United States courts but as a designated “terrorist” state the rule does not apply to Syria.

War propaganda is the order of the day in the ongoing effort to continue war in Syria. President Bashar Assad has been accused of carrying out chemical weapons attacks against his people ever since the American backed effort began in 2011. We are told to believe that he would carry out these attacks on the same day that United Nations inspectors arrive or whenever he is winning on the battlefield.

The real issue is that Assad is still the president of Syria with the help of his Russian and Iranian allies. He has defeated the terrorists sent to unseat him and he and his allies are forces to be reckoned with. NATO governments know that their people will not support war against his country unless they believe that he is an evil dictator who gasses babies every day.

His opponents are armed with money and contacts at the highest levels of the American and European governments. There is an entire media industry devoted to disparaging him and in so doing making the case for continued war. The White Helmets are a fiction, a creation of al Qaeda, an organization we are otherwise told to hate and fear. Far from being disinterested rescuers the White Helmets are part of the terror network that has nearly destroyed Syria and killed thousands of people. They routinely stage footage of their rescues and of gas attacks but only the leftist media dare to point out that easily provable fact.

The White Helmets are not alone. Every anti-Assad lie comes with the seal of approval from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR). Despite the grandiose name the SOHR is just one man living in the U.K. named Rami Abdel Rahman. Rahman is a native Syrian who actually hasn’t been inside his homeland in 16 years.

This week the SOHR reports chlorine gas attacks carried out against the civilian population by the Assad government. The moment is very opportune but there is no evidence that the latest reported attack took place at all. The terrorists use these charges to regroup and to be given safe passage so that they may attack another day. The lies are not just propagandistic. They are tools for continuing this horrible conflict.

The corporate media share in the culpability. They have chosen sides and repeat verbatim every outlandish fiction that will make the case for imperialism. None of them allow a counter narrative to see the light of day. There are many knowledgeable people whose expertise would call into question charges of gas attacks and assassinated reporters. But they are disappeared from discourse and casual followers of the news have no idea that they exist.

The lawsuit in the Marie Colvin case is nothing but war propaganda. Her family will never collect from the Syrian government but that isn’t the point of this case. Is it meant to create a compliant population who will believe anything they are told and not ask questions when the United States starts a hot war with Syria and its Russian and Iranian allies.

Who will file a lawsuit on behalf of Yaser Murtaja? He died covering protests that Palestinians have a right to hold according to international law. But Israel doesn’t need to respect the law because of American financial and military support. If there were justice both of those governments would be sued or better yet their leaders would be tried at the Hague as war criminals.

The Israelis brag that they “know where every bullet lands.” This ghoulish statement is a confession that they knowingly shot and killed a member of the press corps. His family will have no right to sue that government or its patron the United States. There is no hand wringing for Murtaja in the corporate media or from liberals who think themselves humanitarian.

Marie Colvin was killed because she was covering a war zone and was embedded with a group devoted to Assad’s overthrow. Ms. Colvin had already lost the sight in one eye after covering another war in Sri Lanka. She knew the risks of her profession and continued to take them. There is no comparison between her death and Murtaja, a man who was trapped in Gaza with 2 million other people and who devoted himself to chronicling their oppression.

Some victims are considered worthy and others are thought to be unworthy. Some are ignored and others are elevated so that the rulers can get away with advocating evil deeds. Of course no one would have died in Syria if Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton hadn’t joined with NATO and monarchy states to destroy another nation after their gruesome success in Libya. Perhaps the next lawsuit should target them and their cronies. That would be true justice.

April 11, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

‘US terrorist-labeling is a form of bullying on a grand scale’

RT | April 11, 2018

The Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) label is a powerful tool used by the US; it is as a form of hostage-taking in a political sense, says Brian Becker, national coordinator at the Answer Coalition.

The leader of the Lebanese political party and militant group, Hezbollah, has revealed that Washington offered to remove it from the terrorism watch-list and give the group financial aid if it dropped its resistance to Israel.

“Following the 2000 victory, the Israeli enemy, along with the US, had realized that Lebanon’s real power lies within its resistance, which has managed to force the Israeli occupation out of Lebanon without any condition,” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Sunday, as cited by Iran’s Press TV. “We were offered money and to be part of the authority in Lebanon on condition that we cede resistance,” he continued, adding that it was his fault at that time that he “didn’t accept to take his paper, so that it would be a proof now.”

According to Nasrallah, the offer was made by former vice-president Dick Cheney via US-Lebanese businessman George Nader.

RT asked Brian Becker how he could comment on what – according to Nasrallah – was the US’ attempt to “bribe” Hezbollah.

“I think the report from the Lebanese resistance Hezbollah leadership is extremely instructive and revealing. The designation by the US government of an organization or a country as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) is a form of hostage-taking in a political sense,” he said.

“When the US makes that designation, which is largely for political purposes, it puts the entity that has been designated into a terrible position: no one can do business with it, they can’t trade with it, it is persona non grata diplomatically, its leaders could be arrested and sent to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. And then the US can say ‘But, if you do what we want you to do or for some other political purpose we choose to lift this designation, then you are no longer subject to all of these economic, social and even criminal penalties.’ It is really just a weapon, it is a tool, it is an instrument, a blunt tool used by the US diplomacy. It shows that is not very diplomatic,” Becker explained.

For the US government to designate another country or organization as a foreign terrorist organization is an immensely powerful instrument, yet, it’s purely political. “It is a form of bullying on a grand scale,” Becker explained.

“It doesn’t really say anything about terrorism or about the people who are sanctioned under the FTO label,” Becker told RT. “The label doesn’t really correspond or correlate to reality, it is purely a political exercise.”

Often entities that have been designated as foreign terrorist organizations by the US are “the governments that seek to be independent from the US or have challenged US hegemony in their area or in their country,” the analyst said. At the same time, he noted, some of the terrorist organizations like the MEK (Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization), “in the case of Iraq, as long as they are fighting Iran, then the US says ‘It is ok, they are fighting our enemies.”

“So, even though they have an FTO label, it is not really applied. They have a sort of immunity from application. It is completely discreet or discretionary on the part of the US powerful government about how it should be used and who it should be used against,” Becker said.

April 11, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Why military escalation in Syria is not in US interest

By Frederick Kuo | Asia Times | April 11, 2018

The images flooding US news sources are the stuff of nightmares. Children gasping for air, their chests heaving in pain, strange foam flooding from their mouths. This time, the images are coming out of Douma, one of the last strongholds of the opposition rebels resisting the Assad regime’s reconquest of Syrian territory.

Already, as if singing in chorus, shrill cries are flooding throughout all of the mainstream US news outlets and self-righteous rhetoric employed in lengthy articles, all calling in unison for a new war in Syria on the basis of moral outrage with the ultimate goal of regime change.

On Monday, a few days after announcing that the US would be pulling its troops out of the Syrian theater, President Donald Trump castigated the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad and its Russian and Iranian allies and promised a swift and powerful military response to this attack.

All this as the offices of his lawyer, Michael Cohen, were raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Meanwhile Israeli jets pounded the T4 airbase used by Syrian and Russian forces as war cries were echoed by France and the United Kingdom.

It is precisely during times like this when the fog of emotion is being deployed so hysterically by powerful political and media forces to build public consent, that it is absolutely critical to step back and analyze the narrative being thrusted upon us Americans and examine precisely our interests in fighting another war in the Middle East.

Deja vu

What is clear is that the sequence of these events nearly mirror the circumstances of previous attacks attributed to Assad back in 2017 in Khan Shaykhun and in 2013 in Ghouta. During each incident, Assad was immediately castigated as the guilty party before any facts were proved and indeed, against all logical motives on his part. Along with this judgment came a loud chorus calling for a massive and immediate military intervention to remove his regime from power.

However, despite the enormous pressure applied on the White House for a hawkish response, both Barack Obama and Trump respectively resisted deepening American involvement in a conflict. Their actions were vindicated months later in each instance by the results of United Nations inspection teams who, in both instances, determined that there did not exist any evidence that Assad had deployed chemical weapons, thus supporting allegations that these attacks were false-flag operations planted by the rebel forces in order to elicit Western military support.

Assad’s regime and his Russian allies have made significant ground in the last few years in winning the long-running Syrian civil war. In Douma, the opposition is surrounded and desperately putting in a last act of resistance before the Syrian government’s impending victory. A chemical attack by Assad at this point, which would only open the door for Western military punishment, would be political suicide and defeat all logical motives.

The voices calling for war completely ignore this simple logic and instead insist on further demonizing Assad. However, even demons would want to win, and a chemical attack by Assad at this time would only threaten his impending victory. There is absolutely no compelling motive for Assad to use chemical weapons.

Today in Washington, we are faced with an unpredictable situation in which an embattled President Trump, who as candidate blasted the very type of military intervention he now purportedly supports, is facing a historically unprecedented challenge to his office by the very government organs in which he supposedly presides over.

Weakened by endless scandals tied to allegations of collusion with the Russians and details of his sordid sexual past, the recent raid on the offices of Michael Cohen and the violation of attorney-client privileges open the gates to his possible impeachment.

These events coincide with the recent elevation of John Bolton, a renowned warmonger obsessed with endless conflict, as the new national security adviser. Thus the ground is set for a prolonged escalation of US military involvement in the Syria theater.

Not in the US interest

This is the moment when every American citizen must ask themselves, what exactly is our interest in a Syria war? Will American security, or indeed, security in the West, be improved with military escalation in Syria?

Clearly, the evidence of years prior when turmoil in Syria created waves of migrants entering Europe at German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s behest has proved otherwise. A strong body of evidence from recent history demonstrates that war will only create more refugees, more chaos, more radicalism and more opportunities for terrorism.

Will the removal of Assad’s regime improve peace in the region? Again, the evidence points otherwise. Despite all of his faults, Assad’s regime is a force for secularism in a region where religious extremism is rife.

A Syria without Assad will likely be a theater of chaos where ISIS and other Islamist extremists will fill the power vacuum and turn the country into a training ground for future terrorists – terrorists who may very well come to haunt us within our own shores. We have seen this cycle innumerable times before, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Libya – let’s not make the same mistake again.

Will an invasion of Syria increase American prosperity? Again, we only need to remind ourselves of the US$6 trillion that was spent in the calamitous debacle known as the Iraq war, likely one of the greatest geopolitical mistakes in recent history.

According to the 2017 US federal budget, spending on Medicare and health totaled $1.17 trillion, transportation was $109 billion, education was $85 billion and science was $32 billion. These numbers are all dwarfed by the amount that we spent on the Iraq war. That amount would have been able to pay for universal medical coverage, a national high-speed-rail system, revamping of our education system and enhanced government support for scientific research many times over.

The hubris of empire

During this period in history where US national debt is soaring past $21 trillion, growing economic insecurity amid ever growing costs of living and unprecedented social and economic divisions are challenging American society, a war in Syria should not even make it to the list of national priorities.

Another war in the Middle East, one in which we depose another secular regime to create a power vacuum for Islamist extremists, will not improve the security of the American public but will endanger it.

Another war in the Middle East will not enhance American prosperity but will only damage it. It will significantly increase American national debt and detract valuable resources away from investing in crucial infrastructure that will be necessary to maintain economic competitiveness.

Another war in the Middle East will bring us face to face to the brink of war with Russia, a major nuclear power, and for what? So we can play judge and kingmaker in the endless geopolitical struggles among Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel in a region that is thousands of kilometers away from our shores?

As any student of history knows, it is through arrogance and hubris that empires fall. It is through the over-extension of power and reckless adventurism, often perpetrated by manipulative elites who use the smokescreens of emotion and anger to fuel public support to further their own goals, that empires are led to the long journey of their own demise.

With the rise of the information age and the vast resource of alternative narratives, there is no excuse for ignorance. There is no excuse for a citizenry to support a national effort that so threatens their own interests.

A war in Syria is clearly not in the American interest, and a major military escalation will only lead to disastrous consequences.

April 11, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

US to Launch a Sustained Operation in Syria

By Arkady SAVITSKY | Strategic Culture Foundation | 11.04.2018

The events in Syria are likely to escalate into a regional conflict. USS Donald Cook already deployed in the Mediterranean can deliver a limited missile attack against Syria but a large-scale operation is unlikely to be launched until USS Harry S. Truman carrier strike group (CSG) arrives in roughly 10-14 days. The CSG left the home base in Norfolk on April 11. The land strike-capable USS Porter can reach the Syria’s shore pretty soon. USS Laboon and USS Carney, two more Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, as well as USS Georgia and USS John Warner submarines, are in close proximity to add more punch if an order to strike is given.

The composition of the carrier group includes at least five warships (one cruiser and 4 destroyers) capable of cruise missile attacks against land targets. Each US destroyer or cruiser can carry over 50 land attack missiles. It could be more, depending on the mission. USS Georgia is an Ohio class submarine (SSGN) to carry 154 land attack missiles. USS John Warner is a Virginia-class submarine to carry 12 Tomahawks. The USS Iwo Jima amphibious strike group can deploy to Syria in a few days from the Arabian Sea.

The UK, France, perhaps some other NATO and Middle East allies, including Israel, will join a US-led operation in Syria. The British Air Force can operate from Cyprus. A RAF KC2 air tanker is already there. The talks between the US, the UK and France are underway. Syrian armed forces are taking precautionary measures expecting strikes any time now.

US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Hailey, sounds like if a sustained operation, not a one-off strike, is a done deal. The envoy says America will strike with or without a UN resolution. The voices are heard calling for striking Syrian command and control sites as well as “regime’s political centers”, despite the fact that where Russian advisers could be there. That’s something the US military has not done before.

A proposal to invoke Article 5 of the Washington Treaty to contain Moscow without military actions has been floated. No actual war, but Russia will be considered an enemy. John Bolton’s warnings that an Islamic State ouster would allow Syrian President Assad to remain in power, with Iranian influence intact in Iraq are remembered to bolster the calls for action. In 2015, the newly appointed national security adviser called for carving out an independent Sunni Muslim state in northeastern Syria and western Iraq. He has his chance now.

A US-led multinational operation in Syria has become a predominant idea in Washington. On April 10, President Trump postponed his visit to Latin America because of the events in Syria. One can assume that the provocation in Douma was staged to make President Trump reconsider the decision to pull forces out in favor of confronting Russia, Syria and Iran. Those who did it hoped the US president would bite it. And bite he did.

There is no way to get rid of Assad but launch an international invasion. Washington’s global standing has received a strong blow after the unimpressive operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. A US-led intervention could boost it if it were a success. America would present itself as a defender of Syrians suffering from the “atrocities of Assad’s dictatorship”. Heading an international coalition would help restore America’s image as the world leader. This is the way to make Washington a friend of Sunni Muslims who allegedly need protection from Tehran.

Invading Syria is the way to weaken Iran’s influence in Iraq. Such an operation would meet the goals of the Russia containment policy. An intervention could bring the US-led force and Turkey together in their desire to oust Assad. That would distance Ankara from Moscow, which will not leave its Syrian ally in lurch. From Washington’s view, these are the pros to bolster the plan to invade.

And now about the cons. After the failures in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, you name it, the US would once again get tied up in the messy situation in the region. It may need to go beyond the Syria’s borders. For instance, the US-led coalition would have to strike Hezbollah in Lebanon. There is a big chance the US and its allies would get involved in another protracted bloody war with no final victory in sight.

Suppose, the intervention ends up as a quick, victorious operation in purely military terms, what about the prospects of winning war to lose peace, like in Iraq? Washington will be responsible for the outcome of nation building in a country divided along religious and ethnical lines. The US will be rebuked for failure and accused of depriving Syria of the chance provided by the Astana peace process. Invading Syria means fighting Iranians. The Washington’s goal is to incite them to rebellion. An invasion of Syria could backlash to make all Iranian people united behind the ayatollahs’ regime.

Finally, invading Syria is a great risk as Russia would not stand idly if the lives of its servicemen were threatened there. The possibility of clash will grow immensely. But if the US-coalition applies de-confliction efforts, there will be no containment. To the contrary, the world will see that Moscow cannot be ignored. It isn’t now. Despite all the tensions souring, Russia’s Chief of General Staff will meet the NATO Supreme Commander in a few days. No doubt, they will discuss Syria.

If Iran gets united and stronger, Russia remains to be an actor to reckon with, nation building fails and Assad keeps on fighting back to make the coalition suffer casualties, then there will be only cons with no pros. And that will take place against the background of failures in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Risks are too great to ask the question – why should the US get involved in the faraway Syria’s conflict at all? By no stretch of imagination could such an operation be considered a move to enhance US and West’s security and meet the goals of “America First” policy.

April 11, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 4 Comments

US Сongress Unveils a List of New Sanctions Against Russia

Sputnik – 11.04.2018

Russia reserves the right to respond to the new US anti-Russia sanctions and may review trade deals signed earlier with Washington.

The United Striates is considering a new batch of sanctions against Russia over Moscow’s alleged “malign activity around the globe.”

The draft cites Russia’s alleged role in the “Skripal case” as the main reason for ramping up economic pressure on Moscow.

The pertinent bill, posted in the Congressional Records, envisages a complete ban on all kinds of financial operations pertaining to Russia’s sovereign debt and a potential ban on deals with securities issued by Russia’s Central Bank, the National Wealth Fund and the Federal Treasury.

The sanctions may also impact Russia’s Sberbank, VTB Bank, Gazprombank, Bank of Mosdcow, Rosselkhozbank, Promsvyazbank and Vnesheconombank.

The sanctions are to take effect no later than 90 days after the date of their imposition.

“For advancing Kremlin’s malign agenda”

Last week the US Treasury Department put 38 Russian businessmen, state officials and companies on its sanctions list.

In total, the sanctions list includes seven Russian businessmen and 17 officials.

Twelve of the 14 Russian companies, which have been added to the list, are privately owned.

These are Agroholding Kuban, B-Finance Limited, EN+ Group, Renova, Gazprom Drilling, NPV Engineering, Ladoga Management, GAZ, Rusal, Base Element, Eurosibenergo and Russian Machines.

The rest – Rosoboronexport and Russian Financial Corporation – are state-owned.

Washington has said that the Russian businessmen have been sanctioned because of the help they have given to the Russian government.

“They have reaped great benefits under the Putin regime and who play a key role in advancing the Kremlin’s malign agenda,” a senior Trump Administration official said.

He added that they “will no longer be insulated from the consequences of their government’s destabilizing activities.”.

The official went on to add that the sanctions were not aimed against the Russian people.

“The door of dialogue is open,” he noted.

Tough Response

In Moscow, the Foreign Ministry has warned that Russia will not let the new US sanctions go unanswered.

“Of course, we will not leave the current and any future anti-Russian attack without a harsh response,” the ministry’s press service said in a statement. “However, we would like, first of all, to advise Washington to get rid of the illusions that we can be spoken to in the language of sanctions.”

“Having not waited for the desired effect of previous sanctions, Washington politicians have reached such absurdity that they are trying to hit our companies which have long maintained business ties with the United States, on which thousands of jobs depend there,” the statement said.

Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has warned that Russia in turn was working on a list of possible retaliatory measures against the United States.

“There will be a response. We traditionally do respond, we have a list of possible retaliatory measures which are being explored. There are people responsible for that,” Zakharova said, without elaborating.

April 11, 2018 Posted by | Economics | , | 1 Comment

‘We don’t do Twitter diplomacy, need serious approach’ – Putin’s spokesman to Trump over Syria rant

© Jaap Arriens / Global Look Press
RT | April 11, 2018

Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed Donald Trump’s attempts to talk to Russia through a barrage of tweets on Wednesday, and warned that the US president risked worsening “an already fragile situation.”

“We don’t do Twitter diplomacy. We are proponents of a serious approach,” Peskov told the media in Moscow. “We still think it is important to avoid steps that could harm what is already a fragile situation.”

In his earlier missives, Trump veered between intimidation and encouragement towards Moscow. He warned Russia to “get ready” for “nice, new and ‘smart’” missiles as a result of supporting Bashar Assad, who he described as “a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it.” This suggested that a US military response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria on April 7 is imminent.

However, Trump later wrote that there is “no reason” for the relationship between the Kremlin and the White House to be “worse now than it has ever been,” and asked “all nations to work together.” He also enjoyed a sideswipe at the “Fake & Corrupt Russia Investigation” for causing “much of the bad blood with Russia.”

April 11, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli Occupying Forces kill 32 Palestinians since 30 March 2018

Al-Haq | April 11, 2018

Since Friday 30 March 2018, thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have protested across the Gaza Strip in commemoration of Land Day, demanding an end to the 11-year long closure, and reaffirming their right of return. In response, the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) deployed additional forces and equipment in the area, and issued explicit orders to use live fire against Palestinian protestors. Hundreds of fully armed IOF members, including tens of snipers and military vehicles, spread behind the border area in these locations. The IOF resorted to excessive and lethal force, by shooting live ammunition, rubber bullets, heavy tear gas fired by drones and military vehicles, targeting Palestinian protestors. Since Friday 30 March, 32 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip, 25 during the protests, and thousands have been injured, hundreds with live ammunition.

Age-restricted video (based on Community Guidelines)

April 11, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

We’re Not Going to War, Not Yet – Last Night’s Russian TV Analysis

By Gilbert Doctorow | Russia Insider | April 9, 2018

In an article posted on this morning’s Russia Insider entitled “Russia is Ready for War. Mood on Prime-time TV is Grim,” the Saker sets out a list of conclusions he found watching Russian television, presumably last night.

The program he watched seems not to be cited, though it is a safe guess it was Sunday Evening with Vladimir Solovyov.

I salute The Saker for being one of the mighty few colleagues in alternative news, not to mention mainstream news, who actually follows what the Russians are saying at the source: on their television programs directed at the domestic audience.

At the same time, while acknowledging the airing of the views he sets out in his essay, he has intentionally skewed his article to promote the negativism he brought with him to the write-up. My own take-away from that program was diametrically opposite: to find great encouragement that the US generals, especially Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Dunford, are not the OK Corral shoot-out boys some of us would like to paint them, even if one, Secretary of Defense Mattis, may be clueless.

What I heard on the Solovyov program is that the US military know precisely the positions of Russian cruisers, submarines, aircraft and missiles in the Middle East region, that is to say, they understand that the Russians are on a war footing and fully prepared to execute the deadly counter strike promised by General Gerasimov several weeks ago if the US dares to cross the Russian red lines and launch a strike against Damascus or other locations where Russia has its armed forces embedded with the Syrians.

The US generals, unlike the US politicians and media and US administration, are risk-averse if the outcome may be catastrophic. Accordingly, the strike Trump has promised to “avenge” the utterly phony chemical attack in Douma, Eastern Ghouta, will have another vector, most likely to strike against Iran, which Trump held up as the co-supporters of “Animal” Assad.

Why Iran? Well, that falls entirely in line with Trump’s anti-Iranian stance in general and it will test the alliance between Russia, Turkey and Iran whose presidents last week reconfirmed their commitment to a jointly managed final political and military settlement in Syria. Indeed, there is no alliance between Russia and Iran, and the US can proceed as it sees fit in attacking Iran, subject of course, to Teheran’s ability and readiness attack US bases and armed detachments in its region in response.

I do not say that this alternative reading of the likely evolution of the Great Power confrontation in the Middle East is a happy one.

But it remains at the level of proxies and does not take us over the precipice to WWIII, as Saker’s and most other Western commentators in alternative media would have us believe.

April 11, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli airstrike on Syrian T-4 airbase ‘yet another provocation to trigger confrontation with Iran’

Sputnik – April 11, 2018

Israel’s attack on the Syrian Arab Air Force’s (SyAAF) Tiyas airbase in Homs province was nothing less than a provocation, Turkish analysts opined, drawing attention to the fact that the airstrike occurred following unconfirmed reports about the alleged chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta.

“While Damascus’ position and its influence in Syria is growing and Syrian government forces are making considerable progress on the fronts, it is completely unconvincing and illogical to claim that the Syrian authorities conducted a chemical attack,” ex-Lieutenant General of the Turkish Armed Forces, Erdogan Karakus, told Sputnik Turkey. “Israel is doing everything possible to destabilize and confuse the situation in the region. These steps are part of yet another provocation on the part of the West.”

Karakus drew parallels between the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 under a false pretext and the reported chemical attack in Eastern Ghouta. On April 7, a number of media outlets accused Damascus of using chemical arms in the town of Douma, citing sources among Syrian jihadi militants. The next day the Trump administration dropped the hint that it did not rule out the military option as a response to the supposed incident.

Moscow denied the allegations, referring to the fact that the Russian Defense Ministry had repeatedly warned about upcoming chemical provocations in the region amid the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) successful advance. The Russian Foreign Ministry highlighted that “that military intervention under far-fetched and fabricated pretexts in Syria… is absolutely unacceptable and might lead to very severe consequences.”

The retired lieutenant general pointed out that the West is hiding the real state of affairs while spreading false information as the truth.

“There is a serious struggle for power and influence, which affects the UN,” he said. “Turkey, Russia and Iran are on the one side. On the opposite side are the West, the US and Israel.”

‘Israel Seeking to Provoke War Between US and Iran’

Major General Beyazit Karatas, a retired Turkish Air Force officer who previously served as a military attaché in Washington, recalled that it is not the first time that Israel has attacked the Tiyas (T-4) airbase, where Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are reportedly located.

“Israel’s major task for a long period of time has been to provoke a war between the US and Iran,” Karatas opined. “This desire of Israel is supported by Saudi Arabia. But the United States behaves cautiously, taking into account the potential reaction of Russia, Turkey, Iran and China. Therefore, they [the US] do not engage in clashes in the region directly, but provide support to local players, using them for their own purposes.”

Why Alleged Douma Attack Appears to Be a Staged Provocation

The retired major general called the claims about the alleged chemical attack in Douma “ridiculous.”

“It is presumed that the sarin gas was used that during the [alleged] chemical attack, but in fact it was not used,” Karatas said. “If you look at the photos published in Western media, you will clearly see that it was a staged event. If, as it claimed, sarin was used [in Douma], neither the father depicted in the photo could take the child in his hands, nor anyone actually could take these pictures. This is a staged farce.”

The former Turkish military official highlighted that the Russian Defense Ministry had repeatedly warned about possible staged provocations in the region.

At the same time, the US, Israel and their Western allies are trying to present chlorine as a chemical weapon, Karatas continued. According to the retired major general, these claims do not hold water: Being a toxic substance, gaseous chlorine is by no means a weapon of mass destruction, he says.

“In order to kill people located in one building, you will need to use at least 50 tons of chlorine. In a word, this is not a substance that can be used as a weapon of mass destruction,” he explained.

As for sarin, if this gas was actually used in Eastern Ghouta, no one could be there in ordinary masks, without special protective gear, as they would have died from poisoning, Karatas stressed.

“All of the above shows that the allegations and photographs are nothing more than a staged performance,” he pointed out. “As you know, Russia has been previously accused by the West of poisoning [former spy Sergei] Skripal. However, it turned out to be a lie. Today few people in the world believe the West’s false statements.”

The retired major general underscored that it is quite obvious for “reasonable people” that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would never use chemical weapons under current conditions.

“In addition, if sarin — a gas with high volatility — was used, the biggest losses would be suffered by the Syrian military [deployed in the region] in the first place,” Karatas elaborated.

On April 9, two Israeli Air Force F-15 fighter jets attacked the T-4 airfield from Lebanese airspace, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. The ministry pointed out that five out of eight strikes were repelled by Syrian air defenses. Israel’s envoy to Russia was summoned by the Russian Foreign Ministry on April 10 over the incident.

See also:

Moscow Wants Independent Experts to Reaffirm Claims on Chemical Weapons Use in Douma

April 11, 2018 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Russia Stood Alone. China Didn’t Help Vote Down Trump’s Syria UN Resolution

By Marko Marjanović | Checkpoint Asia | April 11, 2018

Russia’s proposed UN Security Council resolution envisaging a speedy and realistic investigation into Douma incident was voted down by a triple veto. US, UK and France all voted against it.

However an earlier US-proposed resolution, which proposed an investigation mechanism that couldn’t possibly work and would have opened an avenue for the American use of force had to be vetoed by Russia alone. Bolivia was the only other nation to vote against it as China merely abstained.

China did so albeit it had previously called for restraint and for no side to resort to force which should have naturally made it predisposed to oppose the American resolution. Likewise the Chinese did so albeit the newly-appointed Chinese defense minister was in Moscow talking up ties between the two armed forces and countries.

It has long been Chinese philosophy not to stick its neck out at the UN. Beijing rarely vetoes anything that does not concern its immediate interests and never alone. Additionally China has its own, more immediate American problems right now with Trump threatening a trade war and is presumably reluctant to provoke the US president into further enmity. Finally it is clear that in Beijing’s strategic calculation China benefits with the US and Russia at each other’s throats.

With US distracted by hostility towards Moscow it can not afford to at the same time act too aggressively against China, while the US pressure on Russia means Moscow has little choice but at least ensure the friendship of China.

Nonetheless, things are looking pretty grim for Russia right now (let’s not kid ourselves, in the Middle East the Empire holds escalation dominance) and a little support, no matter how symbolic, could have gone a long way towards securing long-term Russian appreciation. An opportunity missed for Beijing.

April 11, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

US attack on Syria is futile but serves a purpose

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | April 11, 2018

The United Nations Security Council turned down a compromise resolution on Syria, proposed by Sweden and seconded by Russia seeking investigation on the alleged chemical attack in Douma. Five countries supported the resolution with two permanent members – United States and Britain – opposing it. Earlier, a resolution on the same lines which was supported by Russia and China was also opposed by the US and Britain.

This is a significant political and diplomatic victory for Russia insofar as only two other countries joined the US and Britain to oppose the Swedish resolution. Six countries abstained.

The big question is whether this development portends an impending US attack on Syria, bypassing the UN. The UN has refused to confirm there has been any attack at all. Russia and Syrian government insist there has been no attack and have approached the Organization for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for an international investigation. The good thing is that the OPCW is deputing two teams of experts to go to Douma later this week. Russia has offered to give them full security protection.

So Trump has a major decision to make. Logically, punishment follows a crime that has been committed and it seems no crime has been committed. This appears to be a false flag operation – that is, a fabrication with a view to trigger a sequence of events. That was how the US invaded Iraq in 2003 and it is an established fact today that Saddam Hussein did not have any program to develop weapons of mass destruction, as then US Secretary of State Colin Power had misled the UN Security Council. (Powell later admitted that he was misled by his own administration.)

One difference in the present case is that Trump has been on record that he wants the American military presence in Syria to end. That stance and the present threat to launch an attack on Syria are contradictory. Because, a US attack on Syria will have serious repercussions, including possibly a showdown with Russia, which would mean a US drawdown in Syria may not be possible in a conceivable future.

Perhaps, Trump is indulging in doublespeak and the backdrop could be the criticality that has arisen over Robert Mueller’s investigation into his collusion with Russia, which has now dramatically expanded in scope. The FBI raid on the office of Trump’s attorney in the White House is a very serious development. Trump is just inches away from being implicated in the charges against him levelled by porn star Stormy Daniels. CNN says, “There could be dark and unprecedented times ahead.”

A US attack on Syria can distract attention from the stormy controversy that may arise if at this point Trump axes Mueller and derails the investigation against him. There are precedents when beleaguered American presidents resorted to diversionary tactic. Bill Clinton fired cruise missiles at Kandahar when the scandal over Monica Lewinsky peaked and he was facing the prospect of impeachment.

That brings us back to the alleged chemical attack in Douma last weekend. Who would have staged a false flag operation? The finger of suspicion points toward Israel’s role. Israel is desperately keen that the US should have a permanent military presence in Syria. To that end, Israel is fuelling tensions that will take matters to a point that a US withdrawal from Syria somehow gets stalled. This is also the impression conveyed by DebkaFile, the Israeli website with links to the intelligence services, which specializes in disinformation tactics.

The coincidental Israeli attack on a Syrian air base on Sunday had all the hallmarks of a deliberate act of provocation. Four Iranian military advisors were killed in the Israeli raid. Israel must be hoping against hope that the Iranians will retaliate, leading to a flare-up where the US would get pitted against Iran at some point. Such subterfuges are typical of Israel’s strategy. The point is, Israel lacks the capacity on its own to tackle the challenge of the expanding Iranian influence in next-door Syria.

Trump has reportedly cancelled a planned trip to Latin America. The New York Times has reported that Trump is weighing “more robust” military strikes against Syria. No doubt, tensions are rising. To my mind, however, Trump may not order an attack on Syria. Maybe it’s wishful thinking — frankly, I am a man of peace and am terrified of war — but I’ll explain why there is reason to believe still that sanity will ultimately prevail in Washington.

First, a US attack on the Syrian regime at this stage of the 7-year old war doesn’t make sense insofar as it cannot stop President Bashar Al-Assad on his tracks from attaining total victory. Bashar’s victory is a fait accompli. Period.

On the other hand, in order for the Syrian regime to be degraded to a point — like in Libya for example — and deposed from power, there has to be a massive western military intervention, including deployment of ground forces in tens of thousands. That seems improbable, given the level of disenchantment in Europe regarding Trump. So, the US has to go alone — at best with the (British) poodle. In such an enterprise, what does US hope to gain? Again, the chaos that follows will be beyond imagination.

Indeed, the risk of escalation is exceedingly high and that is not in the interests of Trump’s ‘America First’. By the way, hey, what about the “trade war” with China? What about the meet with Kim Jong Un? What about Afghanistan? What about Yemen? Above all, will another Middle Eastern war go down well in the US opinion? Will the US Congress support an attack on Syria when American interests are not directly facing threat?

Finally, the US cannot afford to overlook the explicit – and repeated – Russian warnings at various levels that an American attack on Syria will have grave consequences. Trump would know Vladimir Putin is “smart” and means business when he says something to the effect that Russia will ensure that what happened in Libya does not repeat. (TASS )

However, the Syrian conflict is approaching yet another new flashpoint. Make no mistake, Israel will have to pay a price for the killing of the Iranian 4 military advisors. The powerful Iranian statesman, Ali Akbar Velayati has has explicitly stated as much. Indeed, Israel is going to be in real fix if Trump now decides not to attack Syria.

April 11, 2018 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Russian lawmakers plan to meet Syria’s President Assad

Press TV – April 11, 2018

A group of Russian lawmakers have announced a plan to meet Syrian President Bashar al-Assad while denying claims that the Syrian leader has left the Arab country.

Dmitry Sablin, a deputy in the Russian lower house of parliament, known as the State Duma, told Russia’s Interfax news agency that the lawmakers would meet Assad to discuss latest developments in Syria.

“We plan to meet him to discuss the situation and support the people of Syria in its fight against terrorism,” said Sablin without elaborating on the specific date of the planned meeting.

Sablin, who serves as the coordinator of a Russian parliamentary group for ties with Syria’s parliament, arrived in Damascus on Wednesday at the head of a delegation which seeks talks with the Syrian leadership and businessmen while on a mission to carry out a number of humanitarian efforts.

The announcement for meeting with Assad came hours after some reports suggested that the Syrian president had left Syria out of fears that the United States might launch a massive military attack on the country.

US President Donald Trump took to his Twitter page and called on Russia, which maintains a military presence in Syria to help Assad fight terror, to be ready for a potential US missile attack.

However, Sablin rejected claims that Assad had left the country with his family.

“Syrian President Bashar Assad is in Damascus,” said Sablin, reiterating that Assad has repeatedly resisted calls for leaving the country in the past.

The Russian lawmaker added that he “has met with Assad several times, including in 2014, when the situation in Syria was much worse.”

“Then, Assad said he would never leave Syria and would share his people’s fate,” said the lawmaker, adding, “His (Assad’s) family is also now in Damascus with their people.”

April 11, 2018 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , | Leave a comment