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Biden Forces Steal 32 Additional Trucks Loaded with Syrian Wheat

Syria News | June 20, 2021

Biden forces operating illegally in northeastern Syria stole an additional quantity of wheat loaded in 32 trucks and smuggled it into neighboring Iraq through an illegal border crossing, yesterday, Saturday 19 June 2021.

This new theft comes less than a week after another convoy of dozens of trucks loaded with stolen Syrian wheat, the Syrians are harvesting their wheat and Biden is stealing it to feed his ISIS terrorists in Iraq, the terrorist organization that was created under Biden’s watch during the 8 years term of Obama and saw its growth where his secretary of state Kerry back then said they wanted to use it to pressure the Syrian President Bashar Assad into submission.

Biden taking the food of the Syrian people out of the mouths of their children and sending in killing machines and terrorists instead, in the past week alone the US Army stealing Syrian oil and wheat entered two columns of trucks and military vehicles on the 14th and 17th of this month, the first convoy comprised of 55 different rucks and empty oil tankers to siphon Syrian oil, and the second comprised of 33 military and logistics vehicles.

Cross borders activities without the sovereign country’s approval is a serious breach of international law, stealing food and oil from a country especially when its people are facing economic hardship and is fighting terrorist groups is a war crime, creating terrorist groups and separatist armed militia and using them against a sovereign country is nothing less than a declaration of war. All US Army troops are liable to prosecution under international law, those killed of them are no heroes and do not die ‘defending their country and its values’, they get killed while stealing and are a disgrace for their families and their people.

Ironically, during a meeting with his Russian counterpart President Putin in Geneva on the 17th of the month, the head of the most diverse and inclusive US junta Biden asked Putin to help in obtaining approval from Damascus to open new border crossings into regions occupied by Al Qaeda in the north and northwest of Syria!

June 22, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

Jessica Ashooh: The Taming of Reddit and the National Security State Plant Tabbed to Do It

How and why did a hawkish young mandarin hothoused at elite universities and in the halls of state power end up an executive at an anarchic messageboard site with an anti-establishment reputation?

Photo | Graphic by Antonio Cabrera
By Alan Macleod | MintPress News | June 11, 2021

Reddit is one of the world’s most influential news and social media platforms. The website attracted over 1.2 billion visits in April 2021 alone, making it the United States’ eighth most visited site, ahead of other leviathans like Twitter, Instagram and eBay. Now majority-owned by a much larger corporate publishing empire, Reddit is also far ahead of more established news sites, garnering three times the numbers of Fox News and five times those of The New York Times.

That is why it was so surprising that so little was made of the company’s decision to appoint foreign policy hawk Jessica Ashooh to the position of Director of Policy in 2017, at which time it was also the eight most visited site in the U.S. Ashooh, who had been a Middle East foreign policy wonk at NATO’s think tank the Atlantic Council, was appointed at around the same time that the Senate Select Intelligence Committee was demanding more control over the popular website, on the grounds that it was being used to spread disinformation. In her role as Director of Policy, she oversees all government relations and public policy for the company, in addition to managing content, product and advertising. Yet a Google search for “Jessica Ashooh Reddit” filtered between late 2016 and early 2017 (after she was appointed) elicits zero relevant results, meaning not one media outlet even mentioned the questionable appointment.

This is all the more hair-raising, given her resume as a high state official — all of which raises serious questions about the extent of collaboration between Silicon Valley and the national security state.

A hawk’s talons on Syria

The Atlantic Council is the de-facto brains of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and takes funding from the military alliance, as well as from the U.S. government, the U.S. military, Middle Eastern dictatorships, other Western governments, big tech companies, and weapons manufacturers. Its board of directors has been and continues to be a who’s who of high U.S. statespeople like Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, as well as senior military commanders such as retired generals Wesley Clark, David Petraeus, H.R. McMaster, James “Mad Dog” Mattis, the late Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, and Admiral James Stavridis. At least seven former CIA directors are also on the board. As such, the council chooses to represent both political wings of the national security state.

Ashooh’s LinkedIn resume epitomizes the troubling relantionship between think tanks and big tech.

Between 2015 and 2017, Ashooh was Deputy Director of the Atlantic Council’s Middle East Strategy Task Force, working directly with and under Madeline Albright and Stephen Hadley. This is particularly noteworthy, given both these individuals’ roles in the region. As Bill Clinton’s secretary of state, Albright oversaw the Iraq sanctions and the Oil for Food Program, denounced as “genocide” by the successive United Nations diplomats charged with carrying them out. In an infamous interview with 60 Minutes, Albright casually brushed off a question about her role in the killing of half a million children, stating “the price is worth it.” Meanwhile, Hadley was deputy or senior national security advisor to the government of George W. Bush throughout the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions, surely the greatest crimes against humanity thus far in the 21st century.

Ashooh appears to be as hawkish as her bosses. Her particular area of expertise is the war in Syria, regarding which she has been among the most belligerent voices, constantly calling for more American intervention to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad. In a 2015 interview with Al Jazeera, she praised the U.K. government’s decision to bomb the country, claiming that the British public was “coming around” to the idea of war. A shocked interviewer asked “how will the British airstrikes [on] Syria… make the British public any safer?” Ashooh replied that it was “generally a positive decision” because “it goes a long way in improving international consensus on the way forward on Syria,” although she lamented that there wouldn’t be “much improvement in the situation without ground troops.” There will be “no political solution without a military element,” she predicted, essentially making the pitch for war.

Ashooh has also constantly praised and supported Syria’s opposition forces. In 2016, she said that she was very happy that “fighters on the ground from a number of key factions” were uniting against the “Assad regime.” She condemned Russia for claiming these opposition forces were members of terrorist groups like Al-Nusra, Jaysh al-Islam or ISIS, insisting that these were “moderate” rebels.

Of course, the idea that there was still any measurable distance between “moderate” rebels and outright militant jihadists by 2016 was hard to maintain. Even The Washington Post by this time was admitting as much, noting that so-called moderates were now so “intermingled” with al-Nusra that it was difficult to tell them apart.

Nevertheless, the New Hampshire native took to the pages of The New York Times to demand that the U.S. arm the opposition. Of course, it was already doing so, the CIA spending $1 billion per year fielding rebel mercenary armies in the conflict — with one in every 15 dollars the agency spent going to this endeavor. All of this Ashooh surely knew, yet she maintained that the West must continue to “jack up the price” of Russia defending Assad. “As long as [Assad] remains in power and remains the figurehead of the Syrian government… this conflict won’t end,” she said, laying out her regime-change-or-bust position. Just weeks before unexpectedly taking over at Reddit, Ashooh seemed to still be in full foreign-policy-hawk mode, condemning Obama in the pages of The Washington Post for his apparent softness on Syria and demanding that Trump “restore U.S. credibility” by “order[ing] targeted, punitive strikes against the Assad regime.”

Jessica Ashooh

Ashooh attends British Polo Day at Abu Dhabi’s Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club. Photo | Ahlan

Dirty war, dirty warrior

Ashooh is actually even more involved in the Syrian conflict than one might realize from her hawkish opinions alone. Between 2011 and 2015, she worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, in her own words, “[p]rovid[ing] senior decision makers with policy analysis and strategic advice, with a particular focus on Syria.”

At that time the UAE was using its enormous financial clout to arm and fund a myriad of jihadist groups attempting to overthow the secular strongman Assad and establish some kind of Islamic state. Far from a conspiracy theory, this comes straight from the horse’s mouth, as then-Vice President Joe Biden revealed in a Q&A session in 2014. The future president frankly stated:

The Saudis, the Emiratis, what were they doing?… They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad, except that the people who were being supplied were al-Nusra and al-Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world. “

Under pressure, he later apologized for his loose lips.

MintPress News asked the Emirati Ministry of Foreign Affairs to comment on precisely what Ashooh’s role was, but they failed to respond.

Jessica Ashooh Kurdistan

Ashooh is pictured during her time as a “consultant” in Iraqi Kurdistan. Photo | Academyalumni

Ashooh herself appears to have been a relatively major player in the Syrian Civil War. In her previously mentioned Washington Post article, she notes that her boss was a former Emirati Air Force General and that she was flown to Istanbul in 2013 to attend an emergency meeting with leaders of the Syrian opposition, as well as ambassadors from unnamed Arab and Western states, in order to plan a response to a reported chemical weapons attack and to help the U.S. “coordinate with the Syrian opposition.”

At the same time as she was advising the nation on Middle Eastern affairs, the UAE was widely accused of flying ISIS and al-Qaeda leaders into Yemen to help them intensify the Saudi-led onslaught on the impoverished nation and of smuggling U.S.-made weaponry — including small arms, TOW missiles and Oshkosh fighting vehicles — to the jihadist groups. While Ashooh’s writing is careful to maintain a distinction between the “moderate” rebels she supports and the fundamentalist radicals she does not, it certainly is noteworthy that the entities she worked for consistently seem to end up in league with the most regressive forces in the region. MintPress also reached out to Reddit for comment on why they appointed Ashooh, given her past history, and on the wider phenomenon of government penetration of social media. The company initially promised to issue a response to the inquiry but has not followed through with it.

Opposing some dictatorships, supporting others

Regime change is on the table for more than just one Middle Eastern nation. In a 2017 paper for the Center for the National Interest — a think tank established by former Republican President Richard Nixon and the “Godfather of Neoconservatism,” Irving Kristol — Ashooh explores the different options for forcing regime change in Iran, but concludes that overthrowing the “odious regime” is an impossible task right now, and criticizes the idea as a quixotic dream.

Nevertheless, she is far from an Iran dove. An Atlantic Council report she co-wrote insists that “Iranian interference in the Arab world must be deterred,” and that “America’s friends and partners must be reassured that the U.S. opposes Iranian hegemony and will work with them to prevent it.”

Ashooh’s commitment to fighting against Middle Eastern dictatorships might seem more principled if she did not appear so enamored of the least democratic one of them all. In 2016, she accompanied Albright and Hadley to Saudi Arabia and praised the monarchy’s dynamic leadership on the economy and its nurturing of a new generation. “It was really really exciting to see that level of energy and the level of government support for these young people who were interested in shaping their own futures… it was just wonderful,” she said. In an article about her experience for business news website Market Watch, she waxed lyrical about how forward-thinking the Saudi government is and how the country has become “a hub for the dynamic and positive change that is swelling up throughout the region.” Presumably, this excludes Yemen, a nation they were bombing relentlessly. In a 2020 interview, Ashooh revealed that her dream job would be U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. One of her earliest comments on her public Reddit page (made before she began working there) is deflecting the Kingdom from criticism of its dreadful treatment of women.

As part of the Atlantic Council, Ashooh was tasked with envisaging a new Middle East for the 21st century. Given her output, it seems that she advocates for a transition towards a more privatized, free-market economic setup, not completely unlike the shock therapy tried in Latin America in the 1970s and 1980s. “We have to “encourage states to make the reforms that move economies from state-based to ones that support entrepreneurship, because the age of state-based economies is over,” she said at a talk at New York University in 2015, adding:

You’ve got to move to support entrepreneurship in the region and let people take advantage of the natural industrial tendencies of people in the Middle East. My God, if you’ve ever been to a Turkish bazaar or a market in Cairo you know that these countries are perfectly capable of having functioning market economies. But the state has gotten in the way.

Ashooh’s LinkedIn profile also notes that in 2010, she worked as an advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of Planning “on a variety of strategic and economic development issues,” but does not go into any more detail about what those issues were. A further biography merely states that her consultancy agency “provid[ed] strategic and management consulting services to the Ministry of Planning of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Northern Iraq.” Unsurprisingly, the organization has links to the U.S. military; the agency’s lead partner being a former Army captain.

Think Tankie

Ashooh comes from a relatively prominent New Hampshire family of Lebanese descent, the most notable of which is probably her uncle Richard. Richard Ashooh was Donald Trump’s Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration and a former executive at weapons manufacturer BAE Systems. Unlike her uncle, Jessica appears to lean more Democratic, having donated money to a number of local politicians, as well as to anti-Trump Republican groups aimed at convincing them to vote blue, such as Right Side PAC and the now infamous Lincoln Project. However, she also appears to have great respect for many Republicans, having written her doctoral thesis at Oxford University on the Middle East policy of the George W. Bush administration. She also stated that the person she would have most liked to have met was 41st President George Bush Senior, describing him as possessing “incredible amounts of strategy, finesse and restraint.” Thus, her political views appear to be exactly in the center of the neoliberal “blob” in Washington.

Ashooh also worked for the right-wing think tank the CATO Institute and is a Term Member of the more Democratic-aligned Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). The CFR’s term member program is intended to, in its own words, “cultivate the next generation of foreign policy leaders.”

Surveillance Valley

How and why, then, did a hawkish young mandarin hothoused at elite universities and in the halls of state power end up an executive at an anarchic messageboard site with an anti-establishment reputation? Virtually everyone else in senior roles at Reddit has relevant backgrounds in marketing or tech, having worked with comparable companies such as Yelp, Expedia and Snapchat.

Tom Secker — a journalist, podcaster and researcher who runs SpyCulture.com, an online archive about government involvement in the entertainment industry — was deeply skeptical. “That someone whose entire career has been in international relations and foreign affairs is now the senior policy wonk at Reddit is simply bizarre. Given her ties to the CFR, Atlantic Council and the like, it’s downright suspicious,” Secker told MintPress.

Underneath the surface, however, the Atlantic Council has been rapidly expanding its influence and control over big social media companies. In 2018, it announced that it would be partnering with Facebook to promote trustworthy sources and derank, demote and even delete low quality or fake news, thus effectively curating what the platform’s 2.85 billion worldwide users see in their news feeds. But the effect of recent algorithmic changes has been to throttle alternative media traffic in favor of establishment sources such as CNNFox News and The New York Times. Even such more mainstream liberal sites as Mother Jones have seen their numbers crater. Facebook later admitted that they were directly targeting Mother Jones because of its left-leaning content, raising the question that if such a middle-of-the-road liberal outlet was being penalized, wasn’t the collapse in traffic to more radical publications surely deliberate? Given the Atlantic Council’s funding and the identities of those on its board, their control over social media is tantamount to state censorship on a global level.

Earlier this year, Facebook also hired NATO press officer Ben Nimmo to be its intelligence chief, in another move that dismayed free-speech advocates. In the past, Nimmo has identified a Welsh pensioner and an internationally known Ukranian pianist as Russian bots, raising more questions about the suitability of the Atlantic Council to be an arbiter of truth online.

The Facebook-Atlantic Council link mirrors that of Microsoft with NewsGuard, a new piece of software purportedly trying to fight fake news by placing either green shields or red warning logos, corresponding to an outlet’s credibility, beside all links in its browser, Microsoft Edge — this credibility being decided entirely by NewsGuard itself. Newsguard pushed Microsoft to install the software on all its products as standard. Again, however, NewsGuard’s system rated establishment websites like Fox News and CNN as trustworthy but independent media as suspect. And again, a glance at its advisory board makes it clear that this is a state operation. Those in key positions included George W. Bush’s Secretary of Homeland Security and former NSA and CIA Director General Michael Hayden; ex-White House Communications Director Don Baer; and former Secretary General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Worse still, NewsGuard is also linked to a PR agency employed in whitewashing the Saudi government’s human-rights record and its role in the carnage in Yemen.

Twitter, too, has some extremely troubling links with state power. In 2019 Gordon MacMillan, a senior Twitter executive responsible for the Middle East region, was outed as an active duty officer in the British Army’s 77th Brigade, a unit dedicated to online operations and psychological warfare. Far from causing a scandal, only one major U.S. outlet even mentioned the story, and the journalist in question resigned from the profession weeks later, claiming the existence of a network of top-down state censors who quash stories that threaten the power and prestige of the national security state. To this day, MacMillan remains in his post at Twitter, strongly suggesting the social media company knew of his role before he was hired.

Over the past few years, Twitter, Reddit and Facebook have announced the deletion of hundreds of thousands of accounts linked to sources in Russia, Iran, China and other enemy states, often on the recommendation of Western governments or state-sponsored intelligence organizations. However, they never seem willing or able to find any manipulation of their platforms by Western governments. Thus, the upshot of this has been to slowly dissuade critics of Western foreign policy from using their services.

“The mainstream media-politik establishment has managed to get a hold over Twitter, Facebook and Instagram — shadow-banning and downrating posts considered ‘Russian propaganda’ or whatever other excuse they use to marginalize perspectives and content outside of the mainstream,” Secker told MintPress. “Audiences for this sort of content are increasingly pissed off and alienated by the major social media sites.”

Increasingly, unwelcome political voices are either brushed off by centrist pundits as repeating Russian talking points or smeared as being amplified by Kremlin-based bot farms. The popularity of movements on the left like Black Lives Matter or the Bernie Sanders’ campaign were written off as partially linked to Russia, while others suggested that the January 6 insurrection in Washington was essentially a Russian operation.

The irony is that many of the wildest accusations against Putin that have fed this climate of suspicion began life in Atlantic Council documents. For example, the organization has published a series of studies that suggest that virtually every European political party challenging the neoliberal status quo in some way — from Labour and UKIP in the U.K. to Syriza and Golden Dawn in Greece and PODEMOS and Vox in Spain — are secretly controlled by Russia, functioning as the “Kremlin’s Trojan Horses,” in its words.

The Atlantic Council is also deeply intertwined with a U.K. government-funded organization called the Integrity Initiative, something that purports to be a group defending democracy from disinformation. However, in practice, it appears to be doing the opposite: planting disinformation about politicians’ supposed links to Russia in order to undermine them. The Integrity Initiative is a government-backed cluster of journalists who operate in unison to conduct propaganda blitzes on unsuspecting publics. In 2018, it launched a successful operation to prevent Colonel Pedro Baños being appointed Spain’s head of national security. Considering Baños too soft on Russia for the Atlantic Council and other hawks’ liking, the initiative sprung into action, creating a storm of protest that led to another individual being chosen.

Reddit actually played a key role in a 2019 propaganda blitz against anti-war Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. A few days before the U.K.’s general election, Corbyn promoted documents leaked on the platform that showed that Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson was negotiating with American companies, putting much of the country’s National Health Service up for sale. With just days to go before polls opened, it could have proved a game changer. Reddit quickly came to Johnson’s rescue, however, asserting that the documents were part of a Russian disinformation campaign. The story in the pliant British press switched from “Boris Johnson is selling off the NHS” to “Corbyn promotes Russian disinfo,” thus greasing the skids for an easy victory for the hardline anti-Russia Conservative Party, an outcome the hawks at the Atlantic Council were no doubt relieved by, given Corbyn’s open skepticism about war, empire and nuclear weapons. The veracity of the documents was not challenged.

For a while…

Founded in 2005, Reddit has grown to become one of the world’s largest and most influential websites. However, it began life as an anarchistic messageboard whose culture was profoundly libertarian and anti-establishment. For years, the company’s administrators took a near free speech absolutist position. Aaron Swartz, Reddit’s co-founder, was an open source hacktivist and even attempted to download and publish the entirety of academic publisher Jstor’s library. When authorities got wind of what he was doing, they threatened him with 40 years in prison, an action that caused him to take his own life in 2013.

Reddit’s own position on free information and free speech was often so extreme it caused huge controversy. The site became the internet’s largest source of child pornography. It was only after CNN began reporting on it to a nationwide audience that things began to change. Other, grossly offensive communities like /r/BeatingWomen and /r/CoonTown were also protected.

Nevertheless, the culture established by anarchistic tech bros remained for some years, with the site resembling darker corners of the internet like 4Chan and 8Chan as much as more family-friendly mainstream social media like Facebook.

Ashooh’s arrival in 2017 coincided with a new era in the site’s history. Gone were the days of protecting communities that would bring in bad publicity. Her team quickly brought in a new content policy and began to delete communities that violated it. Last year, she oversaw the banning of over 2,000 communities in a single day, including /r/The_Donald, the main Donald Trump subreddit, and /r/ChapoTrapHouse, the most active left-wing community. These decisions have helped the money flow in; since 2017 revenue has more than tripled.

However, what has been lost across the internet is the liberatory potential of these technologies. In the 1990s and 2000s, many predicted that the internet would usher in a new era of egalitarianism and genuine democracy, helping even to reduce barriers and tensions between nations. For a while, the new medium allowed political actors to challenge the status quo and gain huge followings quickly. Alternative media was easily outperforming legacy media, and challenging the status quo when it came to news. Seeing that, the reaction since 2016 has been swift, as the elite have moved to retighten their grip over the means of communication. Ashooh’s jump from national security state official to Reddit Director of Policy is just one more point of reference on that chart.

Alan MacLeod is Senior Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent, as well as a number of academic articles

June 13, 2021 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jolani gets a make-over in Idlib

By Steven Sahiounie | Mideast Discourse | February 9, 2021

The administration of [proclaimed] President Joe Biden may use a new tactic to bring Damascus to its knees. The ‘regime-change’ policy of Obama, which spawned ‘forever-wars’ in Libya and Syria, has a new twist.

Biden could choose to solve the Syrian conflict through diplomacy, but he may have tasked Secretary of State Anthony Blinken with re-inventing a terrorist following Radical Islam, and with a $10 million bounty on his head, as the new leader of Syria.

Abu Mohammed Al-Jolani, the leader of Syria’s Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), which had been previously named Jibhat al-Nusra, and where the Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, had changed their name in a previous bout of re-branding their image.

The US is now in the process of changing the mask on HTS in Syria, as the group is listed by the US, EU, Russia, the UN, and Turkey as a terrorist group. Jolani took off his guerrilla warfare uniform and switched to a business suit recently in a PBS “Frontline” interview with journalist Martin Smith. Western audiences may be fooled by the new look, but the residents of Syria know the true Jolani. Washing away the gallons of blood on his hands will take a much deeper sanitizing than a new suit. Biden may have a hard time explaining the support of Jolani to French President Macron, who has officially declared war on Radical Islam.

The US had justified their illegal occupation of Syria as necessary to fight Islamic State (IS) terrorist group. The group was successfully dislodged from the territory they had held in northeast Syria.

The sole remaining territory held by an armed group following Radical Islam is Idlib, in the northwest, an area which US officials once described as “the largest al-Qaeda safe haven since 9/11”. Western media describes Idlib as ‘a last stronghold of Syrian rebel groups’. The US and its media outlets have used the terms ‘terrorists’ and ‘rebels’ interchangeably, which has effectively re-branded blood-thirsty criminals into freedom fighters.

Trump had inherited the Syrian conflict from Obama, and he did not work toward any solution but held the status-quo, which saw US troops illegally stationed in Syria to steal the oil. Trump allowed Saudi Arabia to write the US foreign policy on Syria, due to his tight relationship with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The US refused to beat HTS, instead, they protected them in Idlib, and have denounced Syrian and Russian attacks on the group. Now, the US has joined with HTS leader Jolani as their new man to lead Syria, still committed to the US policy of ‘regime change’.

The names change, but the essence is the same. In Syria, there were many armed groups, from the Free Syrian Army to Al Qaeda, and IS. Each had a leader, and a name, but in essence, all were the same: men killing people in the name of God. Their goal is ‘regime change’ and the regime they seek to install in Damascus is an Islamic government, with Sharia as the constitution and rule of law.

Turkey invaded Idlib and has 20,000 troops there, but has been reluctant to publically support HTS, because of the ‘terrorist’ listing. The US may begin a process to remove HTS from the terrorist label, which would open up greater aid and western investment in Idlib. At the same time, this close cooperation in Idlib between the US and Turkey could strengthen a fragile relationship between the two NATO partners. However, Turkey is ruled by a Muslim Brotherhood partyAKP, and there are calls by many in the US and the Arab Gulf states, to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group.

The sizable Christian population in Idlib has suffered greatly at the hands of HTS and other Radical Islamic terrorist groups. Not only physical suffering but their properties were seized and they were made destitute and homeless.

The Russian-Turkish ceasefire remains fragile, while joint patrols along the M4 highway have essentially halted since August from terrorist attacks on trucks and civilians. The March 2020 agreement between Russia and Turkey explicitly calls for both sides to “combat all forms of terrorism, and to eliminate all terrorist groups in Syria as designated by the UN Security Council, which includes HTS.

Jolani fought in the post-2003 Iraq war as a member of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI, which later became ISIS), and in 2011 brought ISIS to Syria. He left ISIS in 2013, and declared allegiance to Al Qaeda, and established their affiliate in Syria, Jibhat al-Nusra.

Al-Nusra became known for being more brutal than all others and was feared and loathed by the Syrian civilians who were their victims. The group carried out war crimes and massacres of unarmed civilians sleeping in their own homes near Latakia in 2013. Killing, maiming, raping, and kidnapping was their calling card.

Jolani has been recast as the local Syrian leader capable of governing Idlib. However, Syria is a much bigger place than Idlib, which is a small agricultural area, only known for its olives. What about the biggest city, Aleppo, or the capital Damascus: what would the residents there think of an ex-ISIS member being in charge of Syria? The Syrian people have lived under a secular form of government for 40 years, and have fought against Radical Islam for ten years. Morphing a terrorist into a leader is a fantasy conjured up in Washington, DC. but will not play well to a Syrian audience.

Steven Sahiounie is an award-winning journalist.

February 9, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

More scandals on Dutch government’s involvement in supporting terrorism in Syria

SANA | December 6, 2020

Amsterdam  – A new chapter in the scandals of the Netherlands’s involvement in supporting terrorist organizations in Syria is unfolding in front of the world public opinion after Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has recently admitted that he personally intervened to obstruct parliamentary investigations into his government’s provision of millions of dollars to terrorists, which shows the blatant hypocrisy in the policies of the Netherlands and the West regarding the allegations of fighting terrorism and protecting human rights.

The new development in the Dutch scandals file came after Rutte had been forced a few days ago to admit that he had obstructed the investigations by a fact-finding committee formed at the Dutch Parliament two years ago after Dutch media published files revealing the Dutch government’s involvement in supporting terrorists in Syria over several years and supplying them with technical equipment, especially for communication, military and logistical equipment, and hundreds of trucks and various vehicles.

At the time, the Dutch investigators did not reach any conclusion due to Rutte’s obstruction of the work of this committee and his deliberate concealment of secrets that prove his direct involvement with terrorists and his flagrant violation of the international and Dutch laws as the organizations that he supports financially and logistically in Syria are classified as terrorist organizations by the Dutch Public Prosecution itself.

The Parliamentary Investigation Committee was formed in the Netherlands after two media outlets revealed in a special documentary in 2017 the Dutch government’s support for about 22 terrorist groups, including the so-called “Levantine Front” organization, which is classified as terrorist even by Dutch institutions.

Rutte’s obstruction of the investigations has been met with great indignation by the Dutch people, as the media there has focused on his government’s involvement in providing millions of dollars, foodstuffs, medicines and telecommunication equipment to terrorists, while Dutch and European parties started to raise this issue at the public opinion platforms, calling for transparency and the truth while wondering about the benefit of democracy if it is not reflected on the ethical dimensions of the international policies.

The Dutch support for armed terrorist groups has continued throughout the years of the war on Syria, despite the pledges of the Amsterdam government to its parliament that only the organizations it described as “moderate” would receive support in harmony with the hypocrisy adopted by the United States of America, which has always claimed that it provides support and training to those whom it describes as “moderate opposition”, but later many reports have refuted these claims and confirmed that “Washington’s moderates” are nothing but terrorists who joined the ranks of terrorist organizations, including al Qaeda and Daesh “ISIS”.

The Dutch government has claimed that the reason behind its illegal interference to obstruct the investigations into the scandal is that the investigation would lead to the disclosure of secret information, in addition to exposing the alleged international coalition which had been formed under the pretext of fighting Daesh “ISIS” and the crimes committed by the Western states which are members of this coalition against Syrian civilians and the Syrian infrastructure under the pretense of fighting terrorism, while the facts on the ground confirm the involvement of this coalition in protecting Daesh.

The Netherlands, which is on the top of the European countries that export terrorists to Syria and Iraq, and the Dutch government’s support for terrorist organizations in the context of its submission to the American decision, makes it the last to have the right to talk about democracy and human rights in Syria or elsewhere and its government should be held accountable at the International Court of Justice.

December 8, 2020 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Joe Biden and Terrorism

By Daniel Lazare | Strategic Culture Foundation | November 28, 2020

As Joe Biden unveils his hawkish cabinet picks, it’s hard not to get the sense that we’re all hurtling back in time to those glorious days of regime change when the United States believed it had a sacred right to topple any government that got in its way. It also seems like we’re returning to the days that when jihadi terrorism aimed at America and its allies was horrible, terrible, a crime against humanity, and so on, while terrorism aimed at people the US didn’t like was, well, distasteful and unpleasant but not something to bring up in polite company.

While no one wants to blow up innocent civilians, in other words, what really counts is which civilians and in whose behalf.

With that in mind, it’s worth revisiting a talk that then-Vice President Biden gave at Harvard’s Kennedy School in October 2014. If you enjoy listening to an empty-headed politician spouting endless clichés, you can access all ninety minutes of it here. But if you’re not a glutton for punishment, you can jump to the 53:35 mark and zero in on Sleepy Joe’s specific thoughts regarding America’s Mideast partners and their inordinate fondness for ISIS and Al Qaeda.

The topic was the US-Saudi effort to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and here’s what the veep had to say, run-on sentences and all:

“The Saudis, the emirates, etc. what were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad, except the people who were being supplied were Al Nusra and Al Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world. … So now what’s happening? All of a sudden everybody is awakened because this outfit called ISIL, which was Al Qaeda in Iraq when they were essentially thrown out of Iraq, found open space and territory in … eastern Syria, worked with Al Nusra, who we declared a terrorist group early on, and we could not convince our colleagues to stop supplying them. So what happened? Now all of a sudden, I don’t want to be too facetious, but they have seen the Lord. … Saudi Arabia has stopped funding, Saudi Arabia is allowing training on its soil… the Qataris have cut off their support for the most extreme elements of terrorist organizations, and the Turks, President Erdogan told me, he’s an old friend, he told me, you were right, we let too many people through. Now he’s trying to seal their border….”

Words like these are worth savoring because they undermine years of propaganda about American exceptionalism and the US as a force for good. Obama, for instance, claims to oppose sectarianism. Yet here was his second-in-command saying that US allies didn’t merely want to topple Assad, but that they wanted to topple him by fomenting “a proxy Sunni-Shia war.”

In other words, they wanted to mobilize thousands of bigoted Sunni head-choppers in order to topple the Alawite president of one of the most religiously diverse countries in the Middle East.

Obama also claims to oppose terrorism and, of course, vehemently objects to any suggestion that Al Qaeda is a western creation. Yet here was Biden stating in the very next sentence that Saudi Arabia & Co. had “poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of weapons into … Al Nusra and Al Qaeda” and that “we could not convince our colleagues to stop supplying them.”

So they did supply Al Qaeda despite US protests, which, in any event, were strictly private. While Biden went on to say that the Saudis have seen the light thanks to the dramatic rise of the Al Qaeda offshoot known as ISIS or ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), his wording was curious. Qatar, he said, had cut off support for “the most extreme elements,” while adding that Turkey, after admitting that it had let too many fighters traverse its border, was now trying to close the barn door after the horse had left.

But what does “most extreme” mean? That Qatar was still funding some Al Qaeda elements providing that they were not too outré? As for letting “too many people through,” was Biden suggesting that Turkey was right to let some Al Qaeda fighters cross, but that too many were spoiling the stew?

So it seems, and so numerous other reports attest. So not only did the Saudis fund Al Qaeda and ISIS to the hilt, they cut off aid to the latter only when they finally figured out, as Biden went on to say, “that ISIL’s target wasn’t Ramadi” in northern Iraq, but Mecca and Medina in their own kingdom. Killing thousands of people, raping and enslaving hundreds of Yazidi women, imposing a terrifying theocracy – such activities are permissible as long as they remain confined to Syria and Iraq. But once they threaten the House of Saud, well, that’s more than any civilized nation can bear.

The fresh-faced Harvard students who listened to such nonsense did not respond by booing, jeering, or tossing buckets of red paint. Amazingly, they instead responded with polite applause. Even more striking was the reaction when word got back to Washington. Instead of congratulating Biden for his forthrightness, Obama ordered him to go on what the New York Times described as “a Middle East apology tour” by phoning up Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Ankara, etc. and conveying his personal regrets – not for being incorrect, that is, but for being indiscreet. Vice presidents are supposed to know what they can and cannot say in a public place.

All of which calls to mind something known as the Bush Doctrine. In case no one can remember that far back, it goes like this:

“Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.”

So George W. Bush told a joint session of Congress just a few days after 9/11, and since no subsequent administration has expressly repudiated those words, presumably they’re still in effect. If so, then the next time reporters get an opportunity, they should ask the president-elect if he still supports the doctrine and whether he plans to sever ties with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and the UAE if he does.

They might also ask Hillary Clinton whether she would recommend a cut-off since, right around the time Biden was holding forth at Harvard, she was confiding in an email that “the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia … are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region.” It’s yet another example of top US officials saying one thing in public and the opposite when they think no one is listening.

Of course, the chances of severing ties with the Saudis are zero, while the chances of America’s fearless press corps posing such a question in the first place are nil as well. The Saudis may be terrorists, but they’re America’s terrorists, and that’s all that counts.

November 28, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Saudi-led coalition, mercenaries working with al-Qaeda, Daesh in Yemen: Foreign Ministry

Press TV | October 25, 2020

The Foreign Ministry of Yemen’s National Salvation Government says the Saudi-led coalition engaged in a campaign against the country as well as the allied militiamen loyal to former Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur are closely working with al-Qaeda and the Daesh Takfiri terrorists.

The ministry, in two separate identical letters addressed to the United Nations and the UN Security Council on Saturday, elaborated on clean-up operations carried out by Yemeni armed forces and fighters from the Popular Committees against al-Qaeda and Daesh terror cells in the central province of Bayda.

The letters emphasized that there were foreign nationals, mostly Saudi citizens, among the militant commanders and combatants slain in the operations.

Large amounts of weapons, bombs and explosive belts were also seized.

The foreign ministry highlighted that the Saudi-led alliance has been providing al-Qaeda and Daesh with air cover as of ‘March 26, 2015,’ in addition to monetary, military and logistical support, medical care, and facilitation of their free movement.

The letters read that the Yemeni army forces and the Popular Committees fighters had recovered sophisticated weapons and military equipment ‘only in the inventory of countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United States.’

The Yemeni foreign ministry underlined that it has obtained documents that disclose Saudi Arabia’s support for al-Qaeda and Daesh terrorists, including monthly payrolls and military ID cards.

Documents have also been discovered proving a number of al-Qaeda and Daesh operatives were treated in hospitals in Saudi Arabia and the central Yemeni province of Ma’rib.

“Prior to and after the al-Bayda Operation, a number of al-Qaeda and Daesh elements fled to some occupied areas, including those in Ma’rib, and hid within the ranks of Saudi-sponsored Hadi loyalists,” the foreign ministry said.

It added, “The relationship between al-Qaeda and Daesh with the aggressors and traitors has reached a point where the leaders of these two groups hold high positions in Hadi’s ousted government. Some of these elements have been designated by the US Treasury Department as sponsors of terrorism, though.”

The letters said the Aden-based Yemeni administration had called for the release of 96 al-Qaeda and Daesh terrorists during negotiations on the exchange of prisoners being held by the National Salvation Government in Sana’a.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing Hadi’s government back to power and crush the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement. Ansarullah, backed by armed forces, has been valorously defending Yemen against the alliance.

October 25, 2020 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

BBC’s upcoming White Helmets ‘documentary’ aims at character assassination of those who challenge Syria war narratives

By Vanessa Beeley | RT | October 24, 2020

The BBC is preparing an attack against journalists, former diplomats, academics and scientists who challenge the dominant pro-war narratives against Syria underpinned by the pseudo-humanitarian White Helmets.

The British public broadcaster has sent out requests for comments to those who have dared to expose the role the UK government and its intelligence agencies have played in the destabilization of Syria, which look more like neo-McCarthyist charge sheets. The producer of an upcoming Radio 4 documentary series had been in email and telephone conversation with the author of this article, as well as Peter Ford, former UK ambassador to Syria, and members of the Working Group on Syria, Media and Propaganda (WGSMP) since June 2020. The result of those conversations, during which the evidence emanating from serious scientific research and on-the-ground testimony was presented to the producer, was a familiar list of accusations of “conspiracy theorism” and suggestions of “incentivized” Russian or Syrian bias.

Fellow independent journalist Eva Bartlett has spent long periods of time inside Syria, reporting from many of the most high-risk areas during the Syrian Arab Army allied campaigns to liberate swathes of Syrian territory from the US coalition-proxy occupation. She had this to say about the email she received a few days ago:

“The questions emailed to me by the BBC evidence a predetermined intent to character assassination. This approach shows an utter lack of journalistic integrity on the part of the BBC.

The BBC’s hostile insinuations against me arrogantly infer that neither I nor the Syrians I interview think for ourselves, but are puppets of the Syrian and Russian governments. My journalism dates back to 2007 and is quite extensive, with 13 years of on the ground experience, from Palestine and Syria, to Venezuela and eastern Ukraine, and elsewhere.

My focuses have been on giving voice to Syrians disappeared by corporate media, highlighting the terrorism they endured by terrorist groups which the West dubs “rebels,” and highlighting war propaganda by outlets such as the BBC.”

It was clear from the BBC’s line of questioning that this was not a genuine investigation into the life and times of White Helmets founder, and former British military intelligence officer, James Le Mesurier. It is effectively a damage limitation exercise designed to discredit the evidence that points to the White Helmets being a propaganda construct with extremist connections funded by the US/UK coalition to vilify the Syrian government and allies, thus justifying military intervention by proxy and aggression against a sovereign nation. The aggression includes economic sanctions that have devastated the Syrian economy and caused widespread poverty and food insecurity among the Syrian people.

The upcoming BBC programme – ‘Mayday’ – appears to be an attempt to whitewash British intelligence operations inside Syria. Operations that were recently further exposed following the leak of alleged UK Foreign Office documents, reported by Grayzone, which detailed the extent to which the UK government provided media and PR support to the armed groups in Syria. Those groups effectively include Al Qaeda and Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) affiliates such as Jaysh Al-Islam and Ahrar Al-Sham, who are responsible for the horrific bloodshed and devastation of infrastructure in the areas they invaded and occupied.

The UK and EU government-funded Mayday Rescue organisation was established by Le Mesurier to provide an intermediary management of the funds the UK government was providing to the White Helmets as they embedded themselves with armed groups in extremist-controlled areas throughout Syria, more recently exclusively in Idlib, the last remaining and “largest Al Qaeda haven since 9/11.” Le Mesurier died in November 2019 having fallen from the balcony of his Istanbul home which he shared with his third wife, Emma Winberg. Three days before his death, which was ruled a suicide, Le Mesurier had reportedly admitted to defrauding Mayday Rescue of funds provided by UK and European governments.

It is also worth a reminder that the Dutch government had withdrawn funding from Mayday Rescue in 2018 following an extensive investigation that had concluded a lack of assurances that funds were not being hijacked by the armed groups in Syria, including Al Qaeda.

The BBC pins its arguments on the view that the White Helmets are a “humanitarian” organisation – an Oscar-winning illusion that has been dismantled by some of the most acclaimed independent journalists and researchers of our time, including Cory Morningstar, Rick Sterling, Eva Bartlett, Stephen Kinzer, Robert Parry, John Pilger, Gareth Porter, Ray McGovern, Phillip Giraldi, Craig Murray and former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter, to name just a few.

The former UK ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford, also received the BBC bill of indictment and he issued this statement in response:

“The BBC have systematically tried to suppress views on Syria which run counter to the standard one-sided narrative. This programme’s efforts to smear dissenters takes BBC conduct to a new low. By alleging conspiracy theorising where there is only evidence-based reporting and analysis, the BBC is showing its frustration at being unable to stifle truth-telling.

The only conspiracy here is whatever coordination has taken place between the BBC and British authorities responsible for failing to achieve regime change in Syria despite throwing many millions of taxpayer money at the effort. Why is the BBC not drawing attention to the biggest failure of British foreign policy since Suez, as judged by its self-proclaimed objective of removing Assad, rather than busying itself with trying to take down unsupported individual dissenters who have ranged against them the vast wealth and resources of the establishment?

The charge of biggest failure since Suez as judged by its own objective of regime change is stinging because palpably true, and will with luck get some play in the follow up. It’s an angle that has been largely lost in the welter of detail.”

On October 5, the US and UK envoys to the UN Security Council (UNSC) led the campaign to ban the former Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) director general, Jose Bustani, from briefing the UNSC meeting presided over by Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia. Nebenzia accused the US/UK-led truth-suppressors of bringing the UNSC into disrepute. One week later, the BBC, a de facto UK-state-media outlet, kicked off its attack on the individuals responsible for highlighting the corruption of the OPCW and the fraud that was the final report on the alleged Douma chemical attack in April 2018.

One member of the WGSMP, Paul McKeigue, has published his conversations with the producer. Regarding the Douma incident, McKeigue informs us that “a reader of this correspondence could reasonably conclude that […] Raed Saleh (White Helmets leader) has something to hide, and further that [the BBC producer] is, for some reason, colluding with him by helping him to avoid having to respond” to questions regarding the whereabouts of the bodies of the alleged chemical weapon attack victims. Part of my response to the BBC also alludes to the apparent suppression of evidence:

“A BBC producer, Riam Dalati, has stated publicly that the Douma hospital scenes, the site of the alleged chemical weapon attack in Syria, 2018, were staged. As has been pointed out repeatedly to Riam Dalati and the BBC, if the hospital scenes at Douma were staged so too were the films of the deceased in the Douma apartment block. The BBC have never reported this information, nor has it passed the information obtained by its producer to either the OPCW FFM or the IIT. It is extraordinary and completely unjustifiable that the BBC should be withholding this vital information from a UN linked organisation.”

Dr. Piers Robinson, the co-founder of the WGSMP, accused the BBC of suppressing truth:

“The BBC is also attempting to smear academics researching alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria as ‘conspiracy theorists’, even though their work has been supported by the leading chemical and biological weapons expert the late Julian Perry Robinson and vindicated by whistleblowers and leaks from the OPCW itself. The BBC is not engaging in journalism but rather suppression of the truth.”

In conclusion, the BBC is not an honest broker. Our work as journalists and researchers is to mine for the truth. The BBC’s output, especially with regards to foreign affairs, is produced in lock-step with UK foreign policy objectives. In the context of the war against Syria, this has resulted in a pattern of omission and censorship that has underpinned UK FCO efforts to foment conflict within Syria and to overthrow the internationally recognised Syrian government.

The result has been an illegal war that has caused death and suffering for millions of Syrian people. Regarding the UK/US intelligence-incubated, Al Qaeda-linked, White Helmets, the BBC could be considered complicit in manufacturing consent for another “humanitarian war” through their lack of “rigorous journalism” and omission of the facts surrounding this UK state-client-propaganda-manufacturer. Just as the BBC defended the WMD “dodgy dossier” that decimated Iraq and led to the deaths of millions of Iraqis, we now see the BBC rallying around the chemical weapon “dodgy dossier” that has enabled the prolongation of the barbaric war against the Syrian people.

Editor’s note: RT has reached out to the BBC producer for comment on issues raised in Vanessa’s article. A BBC spokesperson gave this response:

“The BBC’s journalism is rigorous, independent and impartial, and that will be evident to anyone who listens to this new series.”


Vanessa Beeley is an independent journalist and photographer who has worked extensively in the Middle East – on the ground in Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Palestine, while also covering the conflict in Yemen since 2015. Follow her on Twitter @VanessaBeeley

October 24, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

As Trump vows to declare Antifa a ‘Terrorist Group,’ AG Barr equates rioting to domestic terrorism

RT | May 31, 2020

The US “will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization,” President Donald Trump has said. The move comes amid anti-police-brutality protests and riots gripping the country, which he has blamed on the “radical left.”

“The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization,” Trump tweeted on Sunday, offering no further explanation. One day earlier, Trump, as well as Attorney General William Barr, accused the loose-knit group of orchestrating rioting and looting across the country, following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Monday.

If designated as a terrorist group, Antifa would join international groups like Al Qaeda and Hezbollah, as well as domestic organizations like the Aryan Nations and Black LIberation Army, on the government’s blacklist. Before the 9/11 attacks, the list was populated exclusively by foreign groups. However, the post-9/11 Patriot Act expanded the definition of “terrorism” to cover home-grown organizations.

Antifa – whose name is short for ‘antifascist’ – models itself on the European left-wing militias of the 1920s and 1930s. Rising to prominence since Trump’s election in 2016, the group is now known for attacking right-wing demonstrations and speeches, and instigating violence at rallies.

With riots gripping America’s major cities for the last five nights, reports of Antifa organizers directing rioters and providing them with weapons began to surface. Conservatives clamored for Trump to crack down on the militants, and Sunday’s tweet is the first indication that the president intends to do just that.

Immediately after Trump’s statement, Attorney General Barr announced that the Justice Department would use its network of 56 regional Joint Terrorism Task Forces to investigate “the violent radical agitators who have hijacked peaceful protest and are engaged in violations of federal law.”

“The violence instigated and carried out by Antifa and other similar groups in connection with the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly,” a statement from Barr read.

While any forthcoming designation would make it easier to use counterterrorism legislation against violent protesters, targeting Antifa as a group would be a difficult proposition. The organization has no clearly-defined hierarchy or membership, and many disparate groups of leftist militants have used its imagery and slogans.

Some left-wing commenters accused the Trump administration of attempting to “criminalize dissent.” However, the alleged militants have come under scrutiny before, and in countries more liberal than the US. In Germany, where the ‘antifascist’ movement began in the 20th century, intelligence agencies closely monitor Antifa groups, and police union head Ranier Wendt has described their actions as “the basic definition of terrorism.”

May 31, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Syria says will stand by allies on resistance axis to expel US from Western Asia

Press TV – March 12, 2020

A senior adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad hails “constant coordination” between Damascus and its allies in the fight against terrorism, saying the Arab nation will stand by the resistance front to help drive the US out of not only Syria but the entire Middle East region.

Assad’s political and media adviser, Bouthaina Shaaban, made the remarks in an interview with Lebanon-based Arabic-language al-Mayadeen TV channel on Wednesday.

She said that Washington has been supporting the Takfiri al-Qaeda and Daesh terrorist groups, and that its sponsorship for the al-Qaeda-inspired al-Nusra Front terrorist outfit is of no surprise.

The Syrian people living east of the Euphrates River have been fighting against American occupation forces and enjoy the Damascus government’s backing for their resistance, she added.

Shaaban also stressed that the battle on eastern bank of the Euphrates is complicated and takes time, noting, however, that the Syrians will eventually expel US troops from their homeland.

The Syrian army has the backing of Iran, Russia and Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement in its battle against a host of militant groups, which have been wreaking havoc on the country since 2011.

Thanks to that support, the Damascus government has managed to win back control of almost all regions from the foreign-sponsored militants.

Syria has been engaged in a liberation operation in Idlib Province, the last major bastion of terrorists in the country.

Shaaban further emphasized that her country supports its allies on the regional resistance axis to drive American military personnel out of the entire West Asia region.

Syria in constant coordination with Iran, Hezbollah

There is complete and constant coordination between Damascus on one side and Tehran and the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement on the other side in political and military spheres, the Syrian official pointed out.

She hailed Tehran-Damascus relations as historical and strategic, reiterating that both Iran and Russia prioritize Syria’s sovereignty and independence.

Taking advantage of the mayhem in Syria, the US has deployed troops to Syria under the guise of fighting Daesh. It has been running military bases in the eastern part of the country, which many reports have revealed serve as training camps for terrorists.

The US has also been supporting anti-Damascus Kurdish militants in the country’s northeastern regions, calling them allies in the so-called fight against Daesh, which lost its territorial rule in the Arab country in late 2017.

In recent months, Washington has also deployed more troops and military equipment near Syrian oil fields to “secure” them, in what Damascus, Tehran and Moscow have denounced as an attempt to steal Syria’s crude resources.

In turn, Turkey supports militants fighting to topple the Damascus government. Those elements continue to target Syrian troops and allied Russian personnel.

Last week, Russia and Turkey agreed on a ceasefire to stop clashes in Syria’s northwestern Idlib Province that brought the two countries close to direct confrontation amid a Moscow-backed Syrian counter-terrorism operation.

Idlib truce paves ground for more Syrian gains

Elsewhere in her interview, Shaaban said the Idlib truce has no confidential terms and paves the way for the liberation of the districts of Arihah and Jisr al-Shughur.

In recent weeks, she added, the Syrian army wrested control over 2,000 kilometers of the country and inflicted casualties on militants and Turkish forces.

Shabban also slammed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for serving Israel’s interests in the region.

Erdogan, she added, uses the Palestine issue as a mere bargaining chip and dreams of occupying Syria.

A meeting between Assad and Erdogan is not possible as long as Turkey occupies parts of the Syrian territory, she said.

Syria keen to forge ties will all Arab states

Additionally, Assad’s aide stressed that Syria welcomes relations with all Arab countries, referring to recent visits by Egyptian and Libyan delegations.

She also hailed Algeria’s position on Syria, adding, however, that there are no exchanges between the two states.

March 12, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Russia rejects Turkish narrative on Syria

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | February 7, 2020

The Russian reaction to Turkey’s latest military moves in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib has appeared in the form of a lengthy interview with the government daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on February 4, which has since been followed by a formal statement by the foreign ministry on Thursday.

Moscow has underscored that the current Syrian operation in Idlib is about vanquishing the al-Qaeda affiliates supported by Turkey and the western countries.

Lavrov dwelt on the backdrop to the so-called Astana format, which resulted from the collapse of the regime change project of “our Western and other foreign partners” in Syria following the Russian intervention in 2015.

He outlined how the Astana process led to the “de-escalation zone” in Idlib where “terrorist groups herded together”. Russia and Turkey reached specific written agreements spelling out their commitments to oversee Idlib. However, to quote Lavrov,

“Regrettably, so far, Turkey has failed to fulfil a couple of its key commitments that were designed to resolve the core of the Idlib problem. It was necessary to separate the armed opposition that cooperates with Turkey and is ready for a dialogue with the government in the political process, from the terrorists of Jabhat al-Nusra, which became Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Both are blacklisted as terrorist groups by the UN Security Council, so neither Jabhat al-Nusra nor the latest version, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, has anything to do in Idlib.”

Even after repeated reminders from Russia, Turkey didn’t act. Equally, Lavrov repeated that the recent Turkish military deployments to Idlib were undertaken without any advance intimation to the Russian side. He said, “We urge them (Turkey) to strictly comply with the 2018 and 2019 Sochi accords on Idlib.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry statement of February 6, as reported by Tass news agency, disclosed that there have been Russian casualties due to the “increasing terrorist activities.” It justified the operations of the Syrian government forces as reaction to “the unacceptable rise in terrorist activities.”

Through the month of December, “over 1,400 militant attacks involving tanks, machine guns, infantry fighting vehicles, mortars and artillery took place.” During the past fortnight alone, “more than 1,000 attacks have been recorded” and hundreds of Syrian troops and civilians have been killed and wounded and the Russian base at Hmeymim came under attack repeatedly.

The foreign ministry statement says, “all this points to an unacceptable increase in terrorist strength in Idlib, where militants have complete impunity and free hands” which left the Syrian government with no alternative but to “react to these developments.”

In a rebuff to Turkish President Recep Erdogan’s demand that the Syrian government should terminate the military operations in Idlib and withdraw, the Russian statement said, “A thing to note is that the Syrian army is fighting on its own soil against those designated as terrorists by the UN Security Council. There can be no interpretations. It is the Syrian government’s right and responsibility to combat terrorists in the country.”

Curiously, both Lavrov’s interview as well as the Foreign Ministry statement drew attention to the transfer of terror groups from Idlib to northeastern Syria and from there to Libya in the recent weeks. The implication is clear — Ankara continues to deploy terrorist groups as tools of regional strategies in Syria (and Libya).

Russia has contacts with all parties in Libya, including Khalifa Haftar. The implicit warning here is that Erdogan will have a high price to pay in Libya where he cannot count on Russian empathy. Turkey is already under withering criticism from EU, France, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Israel, UAE and Saudi Arabia for its military intervention in Libya, especially by deploying its proxy groups from Syria. Turkey’s regional isolation over Libya is now complete.

The Russian Foreign Ministry statement concluded saying, “We reaffirm our commitment to the agreements reached at the Astana talks, which envisage fighting terrorist groups in Syria on the condition of respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. We will maintain close coordination with our Turkish and Iranian partners for the sake of achieving lasting stability and security on the ground.”

It is highly significant that the Foreign Ministry statement singled out the “Iranian partners” for reference. On February 5, while receiving the new Iranian ambassador to Moscow, President Putin also said Russia and Iran were “key powerful players” in the fight against global terrorism and will continue their cooperation. Putin added, “(Russia’s) cooperation with Iran within the Astana framework has played an effective role in the settlement of the Syria conflict.”

What emerges is that Moscow senses that behind Turkish president Erdogan’s mercurial behaviour, there is the old pattern of Turkey using terror groups as proxies, with covert support from western powers. Moscow cannot but be aware that the US is making overtures to Erdogan with a view to shift the military balance against Russia and Iran on the Syrian-Iraqi chessboard in the downstream of the killing of General Qassem Soleimani.

Curiously, on Monday, a US appeals court agreed to “pause” a case alleging that Turkey’s state-owned HalkBank evaded US sanctions on Iran. The US Senate Finance Committee member Ron Wyden, a Democrat, has since addressed a letter to the US Attorney General William Barr asking if President Trump had tried to intervene on behalf of Halkbank!

A Reuters report said Senator Wyden asked Barr to detail his interactions with Trump, President Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak (who is also Erdogan’s son-in-law).

The HalkBank scandal implicates Erdogan and family members and an adverse court verdict can be highly damaging politically to the president and his son-in-law who is groomed as a potential successor. (A commentary on the scandal featured in the Foundation for Defense of Democracies authored by a former Turkish member of parliament is here.) The HalkBank case hangs like the sword of Damocles over Erdogan. Washington is adept at using such pressure tactics against recalcitrant interlocutors abroad.

On the other hand, if Trump has done a favour to Erdogan (or anyone for that matter), he’d expect a quid pro quo. And it is to be expected that the Trump administration would visualise that Erdogan’s cooperation can be a game changer in the geopolitics of Syria and Iraq. However, Moscow has kept the line open to Ankara.

To be sure, it is with deliberation that Moscow has highlighted the salience of the Russian-Iranian alliance in Syria where Washington is escalating tensions lately as part of its “maximum pressure” approach threatening Tehran with a region-wide war.

February 7, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Syrian Army captured Saraqib. Netanyahu and Erdogan come to the rescue

South Front | February 06, 2020

In Greater Idlib the defences of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other favorites of the foreign powers supporting ‘Syrian democracy’ are collapsing.

On February 5, the Syrian Army, supported by Russian airpower, took control of a number of villages in southeastern Idlib and southwestern Aleppo including Resafa, al-Dhahabiyah, Ajlas, Talafih and Judiydat Talafih. They besieged a Turkish observation post established near Tal Toqan and reached another one, near al-Sheikh Mansur.

Late on the same day, the army’s Tiger Forces captured the eastern entrance to Saraqib and established fire control over the open roads leading from the town. According to local sources, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other al-Qaeda so-called freedom fighters started fleeing the town. The Turkish Army had stuck several observation posts right in the area, but these apparently did not help.

Early on February 6, pro-government forces seized the area of Duwayr, cutting off the M5 highway north of Saraqib. Thus, the road through Saramin remained the only way to flee for militants remaining in the town. However, it is under the fire control of the Syrian Army.

Several hours after this government forces took full control of Saraqib.

Saraqib Nahiyah is the largest subdistrict of the Idlib district of the province. The subdistrict is located on the crossroad of the M4 and M5 highways. Its pre-war population was approximately 88,000. The fall of Saraqib into the hands of Damascus and its allies will allow government troops to continue the operation clearing the entire M5 highway and open the road to Idlib city itself.

Right on cue, while the Syrian Army was storming Saraqib, the Israeli Air Force delivered a wide-scale strike on targets in the countryside of the Syrian capital, Damascus, and in the province of Daraa. The Al-Kiswa area, Marj al-Sultan, Baghdad Bridge and the area south of Izraa were among the confirmed targets of the attack.

Syria’s State media claimed that the Syrian Air Defense shot down most of the Israeli missiles before they were able to reach their targets. Pro-Israeli sources claim that the strikes successfully hit Iran-related targets destroying weapon depots and HQs of Iranian-backed forces. The Israeli leadership once again officially confirmed its participation in the club of terrorism supporters in Syria.

Another member of the al-Qaeda Rescue Rangers is Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

On February 5, he vowed that Turkey would deploy locally made air-defense systems along the border with Syria. The President did not provide many details on the matter, but the aforementioned systems were likely the HISAR-A low-altitude air-defense system which will be deployed along the border with Idlib.

Additionally, Erdogan delivered an ultimatum to Syria claiming that “if the Syrian regime will not retreat from Turkish observation posts in Idlib in February, Turkey itself will be obliged to make this happen.” In other words, the Turkish president threatened to declare war on Syria if the Syrian Army does not withdraw from the territory it liberated from terrorists.

Video Report

February 6, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Strange Death of White Helmets Founder Leaves Many Questions to Be Answered

By Paul Antonopoulos | November 13, 2019

James Le Mesurier, the founder of the Al-Qaeda affiliated White Helmets, known as an “aid organization” in the West but known everywhere else for fabricating chemical weapon provocations in Syria, was found dead in Istanbul on Monday under dubious and confusing circumstances, and many question marks are being raised about his death. Journalist Ramazan Bursa claims that the suspicious death clearly demonstrates the White Helmet’s connection with intelligence organizations, particularly the British MI6.

The connection between the M16 and the White Helmets is often overlooked by the Western media, but on Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry made a startling revelation. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova revealed that “The White Helmets co-founder, James Le Mesurier, is a former agent of Britain’s MI6, who has been spotted all around the world, including in the Balkans and the Middle East. His connections to terrorist groups were reported back during his mission in Kosovo.” A few days later he was found dead…

Of course, Karen Pierce, the UK Permanent Representative to the UN, denied the Russian allegation, claiming that they were “categorically untrue. He was a British soldier,” before describing the mercenary as a “true hero.” The claim he is a “true hero” is a curious choice of words considering he has a long history of working alongside terrorists, as Zakharova correctly highlighted.

He served in the NATO war against Serbia to defend the ethnic-Albanian terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in 2000, who have now turned Kosovo into a heroin ‘smugglers paradise,’ and a hub for human trafficking, organ harvesting and arms trafficking in the attempt to create an anti-Russian “Greater Albania.” However, it was not in Kosovo where he achieved his fame, but rather his dubious work in Syria.

Not only did he establish and develop the White Helmets, but he secured significant funding from the UK, U.S., Turkish, German, Qatari, Dutch, Danish and Japanese governments, and helped raise money on Indiegogo. His deep connections to the British military and his expansive experience as a mercenary serving Gulf dictatorships made him the perfect figure to establish a “rescue group” aimed at legitimizing terrorists operating in Syria and to push for regime-change intervention.

Along with the White Helmet’s ties to terrorist organizations and faking chemical weapon incidents, the group also has a role in the execution of civilians and using children in their propaganda campaigns. Mesurier was without a doubt a man with deep connections and deep pockets, with every resource available to him from international intelligence agencies and significant experience in supporting terrorists in conflict zones.

The argument that the White Helmets are not a civil defense team, especially as they never operated in government-held areas despite claiming to be neutral in the war, can easily be made. Despite the constant colonial media claims that the White Helmets are a true civilian rescue organization without terrorist links, Syrian film producer Kareem Abeed was not allowed to attend the Academy Awards to support his movie about the White Helmets, “Last Men in Aleppo,” as his visa application was officially denied by the U.S. government as he was “found ineligible for a visa under Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.” The very fact that the U.S. found White Helmets members nominated for the Academy Awards to be a risk in the country shows that the White Helmets are just another classic example of Washington weaponizing terrorists to advance their own agendas, just as the KLA were used against Serbia or the mujahideen that morphed into Al-Qaeda were used against the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.

Although the White Helmets played a pivotal role in the propaganda campaign against Syria from 2013 onward, they now have nothing to defend or any purpose to serve as they only operate in areas that are undeniably controlled by Al-Qaeda affiliated groups and other radical elements, in a very, very small area of Syria. They can no longer portray themselves as an innocent organization that only helps civilians, as there is now endless evidence of their ties to terrorism, foreign intelligence agencies and doctoring of footage.

If we consider that the founder of the White Helmets and the deceased in Istanbul is a former British Intelligence officer, we can clearly see that it is a network of civil defense organizations, in which British Intelligence is involved, and supported by other intelligence agencies. The dubious death of a former British intelligence member living in Istanbul with his family is thought provoking and must raise serious questions.

It is also thought-provoking that this person is based in Istanbul. The death of Mesurier could have been reported as the death of a British citizen or the death of a former member of the British intelligence, however, Turkish media reported it as the death of the founder of the White Helmets. In other words, the Turkish media seems to have tacitly admitted that White Helmets are not an innocent non-governmental organization. Of course, after Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria, there were some changes in the Damascus-Ankara relationship. The West’s approach to the Turkish invasion of northern Syria may have also played a role in changing the attitude towards the White Helmets.

A security source claimed that Mesurier had fallen from the balcony of his home office with his death being treated as a suspected suicide, with a third person – a diplomat – claiming the circumstances around his death were unclear, according to The Sun. This also comes as BBC journalist Mark Urban said in a series of now-deleted tweets that it would not “have been possible” to fall from Le Mesurier’s balcony, with him also Tweeting that “there’s a good deal of suspicion it may be murder by a state actor, but others suggest he may have taken his own life.”

Essentially, no one knows just yet whether it was murder, suicide or an accident. This has not stopped the British media from alluding that there may be a connection between the “Russian smear campaign” made on Friday and his death on Monday. However, when we look at the way the incident took place, there is every suggestion that this incident was murder, given that there were cuts on his face, fractures on his feet and that he was found dead on the street, according to Turkish media. The probability of murder becomes stronger.

The question then shifts to who might have done? It is too early to say who did it, and anything forth said can only be considered speculation, but the West does have a rich history of making their assets disappear when they are no longer needed.

The White Helmets no longer have a purpose to serve in Syria with the inevitable victory of government forces over the Western-backed terrorists. Rather, the danger the White Helmets pose is a full-scale revelation on how deep their ties with Western and Gulf intelligence agencies and terrorist organizations go. Although revelations are slowly beginning to emerge, Mesurier no doubt had a wealth of knowledge on many dirty secrets related to Syria and the imperialist war against it.

Paul Antonopoulos is a Research Fellow at the Center for Syncretic Studies.

November 13, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 3 Comments