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America Faces a Vietcong Style Genuine Arab Rebellion in Syria

By Adam Garrie | Eurasia Future | 2018-04-02

While the Syrian Arab Army has liberated all of Eastern Ghouta from pro-western Takfiri terrorists and Turkey continues to be unable to get the US to agree on a disarmament agreement regarding YPG/PKK terrorists in Manbij, in Raqqa, a genuine Arab rebellion is taking place against the United States and their YPG proxies.

While the word “rebel” has been used throughout the duration of the Syrian conflict to describe heavily armed and handsomely paid terrorists whose loyalty is to foreign powers and whose citizenship is often not Syrian, in Raqqa, one is witnessing an organic uprising of indigenous Arabs against the American military and the SDF flagged YPG terrorists who have worked with the US to occupy Arab majority lands in the Syrian Arab Republic.

Real moderate rebels finally emerge 

As geopolitical expert Andrew Korbyko recently wrote in Eurasia Future,

The American President made global headlines once again after he seemingly veered off script at a political rally in Ohio by declaring that the US will be ‘coming out’ of Syria ‘very, very soon’ in order to ’let the other people take care of it now’. Trump didn’t elaborate, but his surprise announcement came on the heels of Turkish President Erdogan threatening to expand his country’s anti-terrorist campaign into the part of northeastern Syria that the Russian Security Council previously said hosts as many as 20 American bases, which could potentially lead to a ‘war by miscalculation’ between the two nominal NATO ‘allies’ if the American forces remain there during this time and are caught in the Turkish-Kurdish crossfire.

Within a day after Trump’s statement, the Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff informed the world that Raqqa’s native majority-Arab population had begun to rise up against the US-backed Kurds that are in control of the city, thus heralding in the beginning of the “Rojava Civil War” that the author first predicted more than a year ago and which was undoubtedly further provoked by the anti-Arab ethnic cleansing campaign that the Kurds commenced over the summer. It can’t be known for certain, but Russia and Turkey likely have a favorable attitude towards the Arab revolt against the pro-American Kurds because it dovetails with their interest in seeing this disruptive power removed from the agriculturally and energy-rich corner of northeastern Syria.

The key elements of Korybko’s observations are as follows:

1. In spite of some disagreements regarding a post-war settlement, Russia, Syria, Iran and Turkey are all opposed to the illegal US presence in Syria, although none seek a direct confrontation with US forces.

2. It is not clear if the indigenous Arabs of Raqqa are loyal to Damascus, Ankara or some other power, but what is clear is that they are united in a common objective of exorcising the US and its proxies from their homeland.

An Arab Vietcong 

While the issue of the Arab rebels of Raqqa’s loyalty to one state or another is a key mystery, ultimately the most immediate threat to the always flimsy US narrative regarding the region, is that the US and their allies may face a Vietnam war style combat situation against the Arab rebels, assuming the US doesn’t “pull out” of Syria as Donald Trump recently indicated.

In the American war in Vietnam, the US found itself facing not only regular troops from Northern Vietnam but indigenous Vietcong rebels in the South whose fight was first and foremost against a foreign occupier. The Arab rebels in and around Raqqa likely feel the same way, as for example did the Algerian fighters who rebelled against French rule between 1954 and 1962. While the US did have  Southern Vietnamese allies on its side, such troops were in the minority and ultimately faced ostracism after the US loss. Just as some South Vietnamese and other minorities who sided with the US during war, typically out of opportunism, attempted to run away from Vietnam when the war was lost by the US, so too might many YPG militants attempt to flee along with their US masters when defeat is imminent as it could be in short order.

A French connection 

Prior to the US entering Vietnam, indigenous Vietnamese (referred to as Indochinese at the time) rebels fought a colonial French occupation between 1946 and 1954. After the French were vanquished in 1954, the US began gradually sending so-called “military advisers” to Vietnam before the situation spiraled into a full-scale US invasion after the Gulf of Tonkin false flag incident in 1964.

Today, there is discussion that US troops in north-eastern Syria will be replaced by French and/or Saudi troops. The irony here is that while the US went into Vietnam only to repeat the loss of their French predecessors, now it appears as though France may enter north eastern Syria only to inherent a rebellion against the US and its Kurdish proxies that neither foreign army is likely to win.

As French President Macron has publicly come out in support of Kurdish radicals in Syria, it is unlikely that a French strategy in Raqqa would look significantly different than the US strategy. Moreover, the presence of Saudi troops in the region would only have the effect of making apolitical rebels likely to side increasingly with either Turkey or Damascus, were a fellow Arab army to fight along side infamously anti-Arab Kurds against indigenous Sunni Arabs.

Syria remains an Arab Republic

With the defeat of Daesh in Syria, many Arabs have attempted to return to their homes in places like Raqqa, only to find that they are being abusively occupied by US backed Kurdish militants. This is a classic recipe for rebellion and while the world is focused on Eastern Ghouta and Manbij, the Arab rebellion against the USA and YPG is already underway, as has been confirmed by the Russian military.

Now a spokesman for the Arab rebels has issued the following statement,

“Following the intelligence activities, the militia of Raqqa waged a special operation targeting the US Staff located at the former base of the 93rd Brigade in the district of Ayn Issa, 43 miles north of Raqqa. Several mortar shells were fired on individual targets without any casualties on our side”.

While the authors of this statement claimed they were opposed to both the US and Turkish presence in Syria, seeing as they are operating in an area far from any Turkish troops, the likelihood is that this group of rebels is centred around a pro-Damascus and anti-US political/military agenda. Indeed, as the government in Damascus remains the only legitimate Arab representative of the Syrian people, the rebellion in Raqqa may prove to help reconcile formerly anti-government forces with the government, as indigenous Arabs displaced by American troops and their proxies look to restore Syrian Arab rule over the Syrian Arab Republic.

While Turkey has said countless times that it does not intend to stay in Syria beyond a reasonable timeline for orderly withdrawal, the US has stated that it plans to stay in Syria for an extended period of time. Recent statements from the so-called SDF saying that they are unaware of Donald Trump’s proposed “pull out”, indicate that the veracity of the US President’s statements are far from certain. Thus, whatever faction the Arabs of north eastern Syria are ultimately loyal to, the fact remains that the US and its allies will be the primary targets and in the context of Syria, this excludes Turkey.

Conclusion

Thus the likelihood is that the Arab rebellion against the US and its proxies will only grow, perhaps especially if the US troops in the region are replaced by generally less capable French or Saudi troops. In this sense, whoever seeks to occupy Arab land in north eastern Syria whether Kurdish terrorists, the US military, French military or Saudi military – they will ultimately be doomed to failure for the same reason the US failed in Vietnam and Iraq and likewise, for the same reasons that the French failed in Indochina and Algeria.

The difference between a fake rebellion against a legitimate government funded by outsiders, as was seen in Eastern Ghouta, Aleppo, Hama, Homs and Deir ez-Zor, versus a genuine indigenous rebellion against an occupying foreign army and a minority of non-local militants whose loyalty (in terms of cooperation) is to the invader, is clear enough. The fake foreign funded “rebellions” historically lose battles while organic rebellions against an imperial occupier tend to eventually win, often with very decisive results.

April 2, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , | Leave a comment

Putin’s Grand Bargain to Israel: Can Israel Digest It?

By Alastair CROOKE | Strategic Culture Foundation | 17.02.2018

“Israel is climbing up a high horse,” Alex Fishman (the veteran Israeli Defence Correspondent) wrote in the Hebrew daily, Yedioth Ahronoth, last month, “and is approaching with giant steps a ‘war of choice’: Without mincing words, it’s an initiated war in Lebanon.” In Fishman’s article, he notes: “Classical deterrence is when you threaten an enemy not to harm you in your territory, but here, Israel demands that the enemy refrain from doing something in its own territory, otherwise Israel will harm it. From a historical perspective and from the perspective of international legitimacy, the chances of this threat being accepted as valid, leading to the cessation of enemy activities in its own territory, are slim.”

Ben Caspit also wrote about a fair prospect of a “war of choice,” whilst a Haaretz editorial – explains Professor Idan Landau in an Israeli news blog – noted: “The Israeli government therefore owes Israeli citizens a precise, pertinent and persuasive explanation as to why a missile factory in Lebanon has changed the strategic balance to the extent that it requires going to war. It must present assessments to the Israeli public as to the expected number of casualties, damage to civilian infrastructure and the economic cost of going to war, as compared with the danger that construction of the missile factory constitutes.”

We live dangerous times in the Middle East today – both in the immediate present, and in the mid-term, too.

Last week saw the first ‘game changer’ that almost plunged the region into war: the downing of one of Israel’s most sophisticated aircraft – an F16i. But as Amos Harel notes, on this occasion: “Russian President Vladimir Putin put an end to the confrontation between Israel and Iran in Syria – and both sides accepted his decision … On Saturday afternoon, after the second wave of bombardments … senior Israeli officials were still taking a militant line, and it seemed as if Jerusalem was considering further military action. Discussion of that ended not long after a phone call between Putin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu” (emphasis added).

And that last statement represented the second ‘game changer’: In ‘good old days’, as Martin Indyk called it, it would have been to the US that Israel reflexively would have turned, but not this time. Israel asked President Putin to mediate. It seems that Israel believes that Mr Putin is now the ‘indispensable power’. And in terms of airspace in the north, he is. As Ronen Bergman wrote in the New York Times: “Israel will no longer be able to act in Syria without limitations”; and secondly, “if anyone was not yet aware of it, Russia is the dominant power in the region”.

So, what is all this about? Well for a start, it is not about a drone which may (or may not) have trespassed into what Israel calls Israel, or what Syria sees as ‘occupied Golan’. Let us ignore all that: or, think of it as ‘the butterfly wing effect’ in chaos theory, whose tiny wing changes ‘the world’, if you prefer. Ultimately however, these various warnings of impending war, precipitated out from the Syrian State’s success in defeating the jihadi insurgency mounted against it. This outcome has changed the regional balance of power – and we are witnessing states reacting to that strategic defeat.

Israel, having backed the losing side, wants to limit its losses. It fears the changes taking place across the northern tier of the region: Prime Minister Netanyahu has several times sought guarantees from President Putin that Iran and Hizbullah should not be allowed to gain any strategic advantage from Syria’s victory that might be to Israel’s disadvantage. But Putin, it seems clear, gave no guarantees. He told Netanyahu that whilst he recognised, and acknowledged Israel’s security interests, Russia had its interests, too – and also underlined that Iran was a “strategic partner” of Russia.

In practice, there is no effective Iranian or Hizbullah presence in any proximate vicinity to Israel (and indeed both Iran and Hizbullah have substantially pared their forces in Syria as a whole). But, it seems that Netanyahu wanted more: And to put leverage on Russia to guarantee a future Syria, free from any ‘Shi’a presence, Israel has been bombing Syria on almost a weekly basis, and issuing a series of war-like threats against Lebanon (on the pretext that Iran was constructing ‘sophisticated missile’ factories there), saying, in effect to President Putin, that if you do not give ironclad guarantees vis-à-vis a Syria free of Iran and Hizbullah, we will disrupt both countries.

Well, what happened is that Israel lost an F16: unexpectedly shot down by the Syrian air defences. The message is this: ‘Stability in Syria and Lebanon is a Russian interest. Whilst, we recognise Israel’s security interests, don’t mess with ours. If you want a war with Iran that is your business, and Russia will not be involved; but do not forget that Iran is, and remains our strategic partner’.

This is Putin’s Grand Bargain: Russia will assume a certain defined responsibility for Israel’s security, but not if Israel undertakes wars of choice against Iran and Hizbullah, or if it deliberately disrupts stability in the North (including Iraq). And no more gratuitous bombing raids in the north, intended to disrupt stability. But if Israel wants a war with Iran, then Russia will stand aloof.

Israel has now had a taste of President Putin’s ‘stick’: Your air superiority in the North has just been punctured by the Syrian air defences. You, Israel, will lose it completely were our Russian S400s air defences to be enabled: ‘Think it over’.

In case of doubt, consider this statement in 2017, by the Chief of Staff of the Russian Aerospace Forces, Major-General Sergey Meshcheryakov. He said: “Today, a unified, integrated air defense system has been set up in Syria. We have ensured the information and technical interlinkage of the Russian and Syrian air reconnaissance systems. All information on the situation in the air comes from Syrian radar stations to the control points of the Russian force grouping”.

Two things flow from this: First, that Russia knew exactly what was going on when the Israeli F16 met with a barrage of Syrian air defence missiles. As Alex Fishman, doyen of Israeli defence correspondents, noted (in Hebrew) Yediot Ahoronot on 11 February: “One of the [Israeli] planes was hit by the two barrages of 27 Syrian surface-to-air missiles… which is a huge achievement for the Syrian army, and embarrassing for the IAF, since the electronic warfare systems that envelope the plane were supposed to have provided protection from a barrage of missiles… The IAF is going to have to conduct an in-depth technical-intelligence inquiry to determine: are the Syrians in possession of systems that are capable of bypassing the Israeli warning and jamming systems? Have the Syrians developed a new technique that the IAF is unaware of? It was reported that the pilots did not radio in any alert that an enemy missile had locked onto their plane. In principle, they were supposed to report that. They might have been preoccupied. But there is also the more severe possibility that they were unaware of the missile that had locked onto them—which leads to the question of why they didn’t know, and only realized the severity of the damage after they had been hit and were forced to bail out.”

And the second: that subsequent Israeli claims that Syria was then punished by Israel through the destruction of 50% of her air defence system should be taken with a big pinch of salt. Recall what Meshcheryakov said: It was a fully integrated, unified Russian-Syrian system, which is to say it had a Russian flag flying over it. (And this initial Israeli claim has now been back-peddled by the IDF spokesman; see here).

Finally, Putin, in the wake of the F16 downing, told Israel to stop destabilising Syria. He said nothing about Syria’s drone patrolling the southern border (a regular Syrian practice for monitoring insurgent groups in the south).

The message is clear: Israel gets Russia’s limited security guarantees, but loses its freedom of action. Without air domination (which Russia already has seized), the assumed superiority over its neighbouring Arab states – which Israel long since has folded into its collective psyche – will see Israel’s wings clipped.

Can such a bargain be digested culturally in Israel? We must wait to see whether Israel’s leaders accept that they no longer enjoy air superiority over Lebanon or Syria; or whether, as the Israeli commentators warn in our introductory quotes, the Israeli political leadership will opt for a ‘war of choice’, in an attempt to pre-empt Israel’s final loss of its domination of the skies. There is, of course, a further option of running to Washington, in order to try to co-opt America into adopting the eviction of Iran from Syria – but our guess is that Putin has already quietly squared Trump with his plan beforehand. Who knows?

And would then a preventive war to try recuperate Israeli air superiority be feasible or realistic from the perspective of the Israeli Defence Forces? It’s a moot point. A third of Israelis are culturally, and ethnically, Russian, and many admire President Putin. Also, could Israel count, in such circumstances, on Russia not using its own highly sophisticated S400 air-defence missiles, stationed in Syria, in order to protect Russian servicemen stationed across Syria?

And the Israeli-Syrian-Lebanese tensions, in themselves, do not bring an end to the present clutch of risks associated with Syria. On the same weekend, Turkey lost a helicopter and its two crew, brought down by Kurdish forces in Afrin. Sentiment in Turkey against the YPG and PKK is heating up; nationalism and New Ottomanism is spiking; and America is being angrily portrayed as Turkey’s “strategic enemy”. President Erdogan asserts forcefully that Turkish forces will clear all the YPG/PKK forces from Afrin to the Euphrates, but an American general says that American troops will not budge from blocking Erdogan’s route, midway – at Manbij. Who will blink first? And, can this escalation continue without a major rupture to Turkish-US relations? (Erdogan has already noted that America’s defense budget for 2019 includes an allocation of $550 million for the YPG. What exactly does America mean by that provision?).

Also, can a US military leadership, concerned to play-out a re-make of the Vietnam war – but with America winning this time (to show that the Vietnam outcome was a wholly unmerited defeat for the US forces) – accept to pull back from its aggressively imposed occupation of Syria, east of the Euphrates, and thus lose further credibility? Particularly when restoring US military credibility and leverage is the very mantra of the White House generals (and Trump)? Or, will the pursuit of US military ‘credibility’ degenerate into a game of ‘chicken’, mounted by US forces versus the Syrian Armed Forces – or even with Russia itself, which views the US occupation in Syria as inherently disturbing to the regional stability which Russia is trying to establish.

The ‘big picture’ competition between states for the future of Syria (and the region) – is open and visible. But who lay behind these other provocations, which could equally have led to escalation, and quite easily slipped the region towards conflict? Who provided the man portable surface-to-air missile that brought down the Russian SU25 fighter – and which ended, with the pilot, surrounded by jihadists, courageously preferring to kill himself with his own grenade, rather than be taken alive? Who ‘facilitated’ the insurgent group which fired the manpad? Who armed the Afrin Kurds with sophisticated anti-tank weapons (that have destroyed some twenty Turkish tanks)? Who provided the millions of dollars to engineer the tunnels and bunkers built by the Afrin Kurds, and who paid for the kitting out of its armed force?

And who was behind the swarm of drones, with explosives attached, sent to attack the main Russian airbase at Khmeimim? The drones were made to look outwardly like some simple home-made affair, which an insurgent force might cobble together, but since Russian electronic measures managed to take control and land six of them, the Russians were able to see that, internally, they were quite different: They contained sophisticated electronic counter-measures and GPS guidance systems within. In short, the rustic external was camouflage to its true sophistication, which likely represented the handiwork of a state agency. Who? Why? Was someone trying to set Russia and Turkey at each other’s throats?

We do not know. But it is plain enough that Syria is the crucible to powerful destructive forces which might advertently, or inadvertently, ignite Syria – and – potentially, the Middle East. And as the Israeli defence correspondent, Amos Harel, wrote, we have already this last weekend, “come a hair’s breadth from a slide into war”.

February 17, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Iran Calls on Turkey to End Afrin Offensive

Al-Manar | February 5, 2018

Iran’s FM Spokesman Ghasemi called on Turkey to end its major offensive in northwestern Syrian city of Afrin, saying the operation would bring back instability and terrorists to the Arab country.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghasemi made the remarks in his weekly press conference on Monday, adding “Ankara needs to reconsider its policy on [Afrin].”

Ghasemi urged Turkish government to immediately end its offensive in Syria, adding “the continuation of Turkey’s military operation will facilitate the return of instability and terrorism to Syria.”

He further called on Turkey to follow up all Syrian-related developments within the framework of Astana peace process.

The Iranian diplomat had previously urged Ankara to protect the territorial integrity of Syria and to avoid the escalation of crisis in the Middle Eastern country.

On Jan. 20, Turkey launched ‘Operation Olive Branch’, its second major military intervention in Syria since 2011, in a bid to eliminate the US-backed YPG, which Ankara views as a terror organization as well as the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK).

Both sides have suffered casualties during the operation that has come under strong criticism by Damascus.

February 5, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

SDF: American, British volunteers join fight against Turkey in Afrin

MEMO | January 24, 2018

American, British and German citizens are among other volunteers with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that have joined the fight against Turkey in the Syrian province of Afrin, an official told Reuters earlier today.

Turkey’s offensive on the northern region, with the support of Free Syrian Army brigades, started on Saturday and has seen at least 260 Syrian Kurdish fighters and Daesh militants killed in its four-day-old attack.

SDF official Redur Xelil told reporters that foreign fighters among the SDF’s ranks had chosen to go to Afrin to support efforts against the Turkish assault.

“There was a desire on the part of the foreign fighters who fought in Raqqa and who are fighting in Deir Ez-Zor to go to Afrin,” Xelil said. “They will wage battles against the Turkish invasion.”

“There are Americans, Britons, Germans, different nationalities from Europe, Asia and America,” Xelil added.

Foreign fighters are not believed to make up a significant number of the SDF’s forces, with officials only stating they number in the “tens”.

The SDF is primarily made up of militants of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), an offshoot of the designated terrorist organisation, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The group has launched continual attacks against Turkey for the past three decades and their intention to establish a state based on federalism in northern Syria, has prompted Ankara’s intervention since 2016.

Following a US announcement last week that the Trump Administration would continue to aid the SDF and aim to establish a 30,000 strong force along the Syrian border with Turkey, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the decision and announced the start of Operation Olive Branch against SDF held regions.

Foreign fighters from the US and Europe have been free to join the SDF and fight alongside YPG forces, as well as return home.

However, those who seek to join other sides in the Syrian conflict do not face the same treatment, with UK Defence Secretary last month calling for British citizens fighting with Daesh abroad to be hunted down and killed. The policy was later criticised by terrorist watchdogs and human rights group who have accused the minster of advocating “war crimes”.

Earlier this month, France also refused the repatriation request of Emilie König, a Frenchwoman suspected of recruiting fighters for Daesh, who now regrets her decision to leave her country. In an interview with Radio RMC, France’s Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet, also said that French nationals who travelled to Syria to join Daesh could be tried by the SDF, signalling a de facto recognition of the autonomous Kurdish region, despite the group’s terrorist affiliations.

The SDF has been accused of numerous human rights violations in Iraq and Syria, including revenge attacks against civilians in former Daesh territories. Amnesty International is one of several NGOs that have recorded the SDF committing war crimes including displacing residents, razing homes, torture and extrajudicial killings.

January 24, 2018 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , | 6 Comments

Sowing war and chaos: US continues meddling in Syria through the Kurds

Doubling down on the fixation with ousting Assad produces another US foreign policy disaster

By Alexander Mercouris – The Duran – January 23, 2018

On October 6th 2017 I wrote a lengthy article for The Duran in which I said that the US’s two previous plans in Syria having failed – Plan A being regime change through US backing of violent Jihadi groups, Plan B being the attempt to set up an anti Assad ‘Sunnistan’ in eastern Syria – the US was resorting to Plan C, which was to establish a US backed Kurdish protectorate in northern Syria, so as to undermine the Syrian government from within.

In that article I outlined in detail how that was being done, with the massive supply of arms to the YPG, the Kurdish militia in northern Syria, and through the permanent deployment of US troops in the Kurdish controlled regions of northern Syria.

I also outlined what I thought the likely consequences of this Plan C would be,

Consequences of the US’s Kurdish policy

What are the consequences of the US’s Plan C/’Kurdish’ strategy, and what are its prospects?   In summary there are five:

(1) it will prolong the conflicts in Syria and Iraq;

(2) it is delaying the final defeat of Al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria and Iraq;

(3) it will make the Iraqi government align itself still more closely to Iran and Syria;

(4) it will strengthen hostility within Turkey to the US, and may make Turkey more inclined to seek regional alignments with the US’s Middle East rivals and enemies: Russia and Iran;

(5) it risks making the Kurds even more isolated in their region, whilst uniting the region against them.

I also said that though Plan C was rather more grounded in reality than Plan B since a Kurdish statelet in northern Syria had rather more coherence and reality than the eastern ‘Sunnistan’ proposed as Plan B, it was nonetheless in the long term unworkable, and the attempt to implement it would set the scene for the next US Middle East debacle.

Just two weeks later, with the Iraqi army’s successful offensive against the Iraqi Kurds in northern Iraq, and following the Iraqi army’s recapture from the Kurds of the key Iraqi oil town of Kirkuk, it appeared that this Plan C was already failing and on 19th October 2017 I wrote a further article for The Duran in which I said as much.

In the event, with a persistence worthy of a better cause the US despite the failure in Iraq has persisted with its Plan C.

Firstly the US announced that it intended to keep 2,000 US troops stationed (illegally) in Syria indefinitely, supposedly to prevent a ‘vacuum’ emerging there.

In reality the true number of US troops in Syria is much greater, and it is the presence of these troops which by preventing the restoration of the Syrian government’s authority across the whole of Syria is threatening to create a ‘vacuum’ there. Most, though not all, these US troops appear to be based in northern Syria, in territory controlled by the YPG.

Then the US announced that it was building up a 30,000 strong ‘border force’ in northern Syria, which it was clear would be built up around the Kurdish militia, the YPG.

The results have been very much as I predicted in my article of 6th October 2017.

Firstly, the US game with the Kurds in Syria has outraged the major regional powers: Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria.

Turkey’s President Erdogan has now launched his army and air force against the Syrian Kurds whom the US has been backing in their north Syrian enclave of Afrin.

In order to launch this attack Erdogan needed Moscow’s permission, the Russians having previously positioned military observers in Afrin.

A Turkish military delegation accordingly visited Moscow and obtained Moscow’s permission, resulting in the withdrawal of the Russian military observers from Afrin and the unimpeded operation of the Turkish air force there.

The Russians for their part attempted to persuade the Kurds to hand over Afrin to the Syrian government as a way of averting the Turkish attack. The Kurds, counting on US protection, however refused, with the result that they have quickly discovered that the US protection that they had counted on is nowhere to be seen, so that they now find themselves facing the Turkish army on their own.

In a bizarre twist, showing the extent of their confusion and possibly highlighting the internal criticism their leaders are coming under for putting so much trust in the US, the YPG is now blaming the Russians for the debacle.

We know that, without the permission of global forces and mainly Russia, whose troops located in Afrin, Turkey cannot attack civilians using Afrin air space. Therefore we hold Russia as responsible as Turkey and stress that Russia is the crime partner of Turkey in massacring the civilians in the region.

In the meantime, where a few weeks ago it appeared that ISIS in its fastnesses in eastern Syria was close to total collapse after coming under simultaneous attack by the Syrian army and the US backed Kurds, it is now back on the attack and has actually been able to recover some territory at the expense of the Kurds, who are having to transfer fighters to face the threat from the Turkish army in the north.

Meanwhile the Syrian army has been able to capitalise on Turkey’s focus on the Kurds to carry out major advances against the remaining Jihadi enclaves in western Syria near Damascus and in Idlib province, where the key Abu Duhur air base has now been recaptured from the Jihadis, and where large numbers of Jihadi fighters have been surrounded by the Syrian troops.

Latest reports from the normally reliable Al-Masdar news agency speak of continuing Syrian military advances deeper into Idlib province, with plans apparently being prepared for an offensive which will bring the Syrian army all the way up to the outskirts of Idlib city.

An article in the Guardian has now confirmed the critical role of the British government in egging the US on with Plan C as well as the extent of US and British dismay with the latest developments:

The problem for the west is that, as an endgame possibly approaches in Syria, it cannot afford to lose Turkish diplomatic support since Ankara has been the vital countervailing force to a Russian-imposed peace.

The Turkish preoccupation with the Syrian Kurds on its borders could lead to the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, reaching a deal with Damascus and Moscow.

The speech – in which the UK Foreign Office had a big hand – was something of a watershed and was under-appreciated in Europe. Previously, Trump’s policy on Syria was simply the destruction of Isis and an aversion to talk of nation-building. But the Tillerson speech has been widely criticised because it was long on aspiration but short on detailing the credible levers the US and the west have to pressure Moscow to abandon Assad.

Western diplomats say they have some stakes in the ground: the threat to withhold EU and US reconstruction funds, the promise to keep 2,000 US troops inside Syria indefinitely and a slightly confused commitment to help the Kurds form a border force inside northern Syria. British ministers also repeatedly warn that a Russian-imposed peace that simply leaves Assad in charge would not only be morally reprehensible but unstable…..

There is so much wrong with the thinking in this article that it is difficult to know where to start.

Firstly, it is grotesque to say that “a Russian-imposed peace that simply leaves Assad in charge would not only be morally reprehensible but unstable” when it is Western policy to use the Kurds to prolong the war in Syria in order to increase pressure on the Russians so as to get them to agree to having President Assad ousted which is the true and obvious cause of the continuing instability there.

Secondly, to suppose that Turkey would stand idly by whilst the US armed the Kurds to fight President Assad’s government when Turkey is already fighting a Kurdish insurgency on its own territory was beyond farfetched. It should have been obvious that any policy of this kind that relied upon both Turkey and the Kurds in order to succeed was bound to fail.

Thirdly, the idea that the Western powers can ‘pressure’ Russia into ‘abandoning’ President Assad now that President Assad is in secure control of Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, Hama, Deir Ezzor, all of Syria’s main cities, and in fact every part of what constitutes ‘useful Syria’, when Russia previously refused to abandon him when the territory under his control was reduced to a small coastal strip and he was about to lose control of Deir Ezzor and Aleppo, is beyond delusional.

Now that the Turkish army is pressing deep into Afrin, with the US and the Western powers as the Guardian article says unable to stop it, the Guardian article refers to what is rapidly becoming the default Western position in northern Syria: abandon the Kurds and hand over to Turkey and its Jihadi allies a strip of northern Syria as a ‘security zone’ at the Kurds’ expense:

The US can argue it tolerated Kurdish territorial expansions across northern Syria, and specifically west of the Euphrates river, only so long as the Kurdish militias inside the Syrian Democratic Forces were needed to defeat Isis, but now that battle has been won the US priority is to stop the freefall in its relations with Turkey. If that means a temporary Turkish foothold in the patchwork that is Syria, so be it.

One might even call it Plan D.

That this is indeed the emerging policy – though some US officials still seem to be unaware of the fact – has now been confirmed by Rex Tillerson, the US’s hapless Secretary of State, who speaking of Turkey is reported to have said the following:

Let us see if we can work with you to create the kind of security zone you might need.

What this ignores is that this policy is every bit unworkable as the Plans A, B and C which preceded it.

Firstly, the duplicity towards the Kurds is nothing short of staggering. Having armed the Kurds and encouraged them to create their own statelet in northern Syria in order to fight ISIS and destabilise the government in Damascus, the US is now preparing to abandon them to Turkey as soon as the going gets difficult.

Needless to say duplicity of this order is going to shatter trust in the US both amongst the Kurds and even in Turkey, which is not likely to forget any time soon the game the US attempted to play with the Kurds in Syria at its expense.

Secondly, Turkey’s Jihadi allies have repeatedly shown their lack of military effectiveness. It is all but inconceivable that they can control territory in northern Syria in the face of opposition from both the Kurds and the local Arab people without the protection on the ground of the Turkish army.

However whether the Turkish army would be prepared to remain entrenched forever in northern Syria facing what is likely to become before long a guerrilla war waged against it by both the Kurds and the local Arab population backed by the Syrian government in Damascus is problematic to say the least.

My opinion is that that is all but inconceivable, in which case Plan D is as unworkable as Plans A, B and C.

Thirdly, despite the Kurdish complaints about ‘betrayal’ by Russia, the likely consequence of the latest events is that over time it will oblige the Kurds to rein in their regional aspirations and seek to come to terms with the government in Damascus, just as the Russians have been urging them to do.

By any objective measure the Kurds in both Syria and Iraq have in recent years grossly overplayed their hand.

They used the US induced internal crises in Syria and Iraq to forge all but independent areas within those countries. They then expanded these zones far beyond their natural limits, bringing under their control large areas with predominantly Arab populations.

Then as the internal crises within Syria and Iraq abated, instead of leveraging the strong position they had achieved to come to terms with the governments of those countries so as to hold on to their gains, the Kurds went for broke, and gambling on US promises of support, they pitched for what amounted to outright independence, in Syria de facto, in Iraq de jure.

As a result they antagonised all the regional powers and Russia, bringing down upon themselves the wrath of Iraq and Turkey, and finding themselves isolated, when they discovered in Iraq in October and in Syria now that the promise of US support had no reality behind it.

The result is that when they were attacked by the Iraqi army in October and by the Turkish army now they found that they had no one to look to but themselves.

Pressure of events if nothing else will now probably force the Kurds in Syria to come to terms, however grudgingly, with the Russians and with the Syrian government in Damascus.

That would obviously mean accepting the overall authority of the government in Damascus in return for whatever form of autonomy the Russians can negotiate for them.

That is the only realistic way that the Kurds in Syria – who ultimately account for no more than 8% of Syria’s population – can secure protection for themselves provided by Russia, which as recent events have shown is the only secure form of protection that can be relied upon in this region.

As for the US and its Western allies, the time has come – in fact it is long overdue – for them to commit themselves to some serious rethinking.

The strategy of regime change in Syria which was launched in 2011 has decisively failed.

There is no realistic possibility of the US persuading Russia to abandon President Assad and agreeing to regime change in Syria, and no realistic way the US can bring about regime change in Syria without Russia’s agreement.

That means that regime change in Syria is impossible and is not going to happen.

With the Syrian government in Damascus now secure and gaining daily in power and confidence, it is now only a matter of time before it regains full control of all Syrian territory.

All the various plans to keep Syria weak and divided by playing Sunnis against Alawites, Kurds against Arabs, and Turks against Kurds and Syrians, can only delay this outcome, not prevent it, and can only do so only at horrific cost, whilst setting up the US for further humiliation

This is because the only practical effect of these plans is to increase the Syrian government’s dependence on Moscow and Tehran, thereby strengthening Syria’s alliances with Russia and Iran and weakening the regional geopolitical position of the US.

In reality if the US’s objective really were to limit or even extinguish Russian and Iranian influence in Syria – as it claims – then the only way it could do this would be by coming to terms with the Syrian government in Damascus, which is the legitimate government of Syria recognised as such by the overwhelming majority of Syria’s people, so as to persuade it to limit or cut its ties to Russia and Iran so as to reduce or extinguish the influence of these countries in Syria.

That would involve giving the Syrian government security guarantees that it could trust and economic aid to rebuild Syria, in return for its agreement to limit or close the Russian and Iranian bases which are now starting to appear on Syria’s territory.

Whether such a thing is now possible is another matter. However the modern history of the Middle East is such an appalling catalogue of duplicity that I for one would not say it was impossible if it were ever seriously attempted.

Already there are rumours that some officials within the Syrian government in Damascus are uneasy about the over close relations (as they see it) which Syria now has with Iran, and the problems which they think these are causing Syria.

However if the US is going to embark upon this genuinely realistic foreign policy then it must end its maniacal fixation with the person of Bashar Al-Assad, and it must tell its allies in Britain, Saudi Arabia and Israel that they must do the same.

Putting aside the disaster this fixation has caused to the people of Syria, who have had to endure seven years of war because of it, its only result has been to strengthen Syria’s alliances with Iran, Russia and more recently Iraq, thereby weakening the geopolitical position in the Middle East of the US.

As ought to be obvious, doubling down on this fixation can only spell more disaster further down the line, and the latest debacle in northern Syria which has resulted in fighting between the US backed Kurds and the US’s NATO ally Turkey ought to underline this fact.

However because this obvious truth is one which continues to be passionately resisted in Washington – not to mention in London, Jerusalem and Riyadh – it looks to be rejected, opening the way for still more disasters to come.

January 23, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Erdogan accuses allies of sending ‘thousands of planeloads’ and ‘truckloads of arms’ to Kurds

RT | January 21, 2018

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has turned on Ankara’s allies, insinuating that the US in particular has been providing massive military support to Kurdish YPG in Syria.

In a speech to his ruling AK Party Erdogan said that ‘some allies’ of Turkey had provided the YPG Syrian Kurdish militia with 2,000 planeloads and 5,000 truckloads of weapons.

“Now, apart from 5,000 trucks, there are weapons and ammunition from around 2,000 planes.” the Turkish leader said. He also accused Ankara’s allies of dishonesty when they say that they do not provide weapons for “terrorists,” referring to Kurdish-linked YPG forces.

The president also vowed to hand over Afrin to its “real owners,” explaining that he aims to return 3.5 million refugees back to Syria from Turkey as soon as possible.

This weekend, Turkey began operation ‘Olive Branch’ against Kurdish forces in Afrin, deploying jets and land forces.

January 21, 2018 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

Turkish Army Shells Syrian YPG Positions

Press TV – January 19, 2018

Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli says no troops have gone into Syria’s Kurdish-controlled Afrin region but the operation has started “de facto” with cross-border shelling.

Canikli said in an interview with broadcaster AHaber Friday that Turkey was developing weapons systems against anti-tank missiles used by US-backed YPG militants.

He said the planned military operations in the northwestern Syrian region should be carried out with no delay to purge the territories of what he called terrorist elements.

Amid its rising tensions with the US, Turkey said Thursday it would seek Russia’s approval for the operation as the country’s Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar traveled to Moscow for negotiations.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Akar’s trip was part of boarder efforts by Ankara to coordinate the campaign with Russia.

He said the presence of Russian observers in Afrin was an issue that has to be discussed ahead of the operation.

“When we carry out an intervention, we need to coordinate on this, it should not impact the Russian observers,” said Cavusoglu, adding that the coordination will also cover the situation in Idlib, a militant-controlled region northwest of Syria where Turkey backs an array of anti-Damascus groups.

“We are meeting the Russians and Iran on the use of air space,” the top Turkish diplomat added.

Cavusoglu had earlier said the planned Syria operation may expand beyond Afrin to the nearby city of Manbij.

Washington angered Ankara earlier this week when it announced a plan to work with US-backed militants of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to set up a new 30,000-strong “border security” force near the Turkish border.

The force would operate along the Turkish border with Iraq and within Syria along the Euphrates River.

Cavusoglu further reiterated Turkish concerns over Kurdish militant activities near its borders and said, “Our response to this is our legitimate right to retaliate. We told the United States this.”

The White House later denied the plan, with Secretary of State Tillerson saying that the issue, which has incensed its NATO ally Ankara, had been “misportrayed, misdescribed. Some people misspoke.”

Turkey said the denial was “important,” but that it “cannot remain silent in the face of any formation which will threaten its borders.”

Ankara views the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), an offshoot of SDF, a terrorist organization linked to the homegrown Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group, which has been fighting for independence inside Turkey.

Wary of the YPG’s activities at its doorstep, Turkey has repeatedly called on the US to stop supporting the Kurdish militants and take back the arms it has supplied to them under the pretext of fighting the Daesh terror group.

However, Syria has censured both the American and Turkish plans for a fresh wave of unilateral military operations on its soil. Damascus views such measures as an assault on the country’s sovereignty.

The Syrian government has also indicated that it would shoot down any Turkish planes entering its skies.

Turkey, Iran and Russia are the guarantors of a countrywide ceasefire in Syria. The three have been mediating a peace process since January 2016 among Syria’s warring sides in Astana, Kazakhstan.

As part of the Astana format, four de-escalation zones have been established across Syria amid ongoing political efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict gripping the Arab country since 2011.

The zones have helped reduce fighting significantly, while giving Turkey a breath to beef up security along its southern borders.

January 19, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , | 1 Comment

Syria slams US military presence as ‘act of aggression’

Press TV – January 18, 2018

Syria has strongly condemned a US plan to maintain its military presence in the Arab country as interference in its internal affairs and a blatant violation of international law.

“The internal affairs in any country in the world is an exclusive right of the people of this country, thus nobody has the right to only give his opinion in that because this violates the international law and contradicts the most important theories of the constitutional law,” Syria’s state news agency, SANA, quoted a Foreign Ministry official as saying in a statement on Thursday.

The statement comes after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said US troops would stay in Syria for the foreseeable future to defeat terrorists, and added that the US would not fund the reconstruction of any part of Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad is in power.

According to figures the Pentagon released in December, there are at least 2,000 troops in Syria as well as a diplomatic presence in cities such as Kobani.

The Syrian statement further said US presence and all of Washington’s actions in the Arab country are aimed at protecting the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group, which was created by the former American administration.

The Damascus government “does not need a single dollar from the United States for reconstruction because this dollar is stained with the blood of the Syrians,” the statement added.

Turkey reacts to Tillerson denial

Meanwhile, Turkey said on Thursday that Washington’s denial that it intended to build a border force in Syria was “important,” but added that Ankara would not remain silent in the face of any force that threatened its borders.

Tillerson on Wednesday denied that the United States had any intention to build a Syria-Turkey border force, saying the issue, which has incensed Ankara, had been “misportrayed, misdescribed. Some people misspoke.”

“This statement is important but Turkey cannot remain silent in the face of any formation which will threaten its borders,” Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul told broadcaster NTV.

On Sunday, the US announced that it will work, along with a coalition of its allies purportedly fighting Daesh, with US-backed militants of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to set up a new 30,000-strong “border security” force that includes the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Turkey views the YPG as a terror organization and the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK).

The force would operate along the Turkish border with Iraq and within Syria along the Euphrates River.

Washington’s plan has drawn angry reactions from Syria, Turkey and Russia. Syria views the formation of such a border force as an assault on its sovereignty.

The US and its allies back militants fighting to topple the Syrian government. American warplanes have also been bombing Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate.

The airstrikes have on many occasions resulted in civilian casualties, seriously damaged Syria’s infrastructure and failed to fulfill their declared aim of countering terror.

Turkey reacted angrily to Washington’s plan and warned it would not hesitate to take action in Afrin district and other regions across the border in Syria unless the United States withdrew support for YPG.

In August 2016, Turkey began a unilateral military intervention in northern Syria, code-named Operation Euphrates Shield. Ankara said the campaign was aimed at pushing Daesh terrorists from Turkey’s border with Syria and stopping the advance of Kurdish forces.

Turkey ended its Syria offensive in March 2017, but has kept its military presence there.

Syria has voiced strong opposition to both Turkish and American military actions on its soil, repeatedly calling on the two NATO allies to pull their forces out.

January 18, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

2018 will see US fighting three and a half wars in Middle East

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | December 31, 2017

At a ‘press gaggle’ at the Pentagon on Friday, US Defence Secretary James Mattis revealed that there isn’t going to be any withdrawal from the Syrian conflict. The Trump administration, on the contrary, plans to expand the presence by deploying diplomats and contractors to the north of Syria. Mattis called this a shift “from what I would call an offensive, terrain-seizing approach to a stabilizing” one.

That is to say, he explained, while the diplomats would work toward the “initial restoration of services” and to manage and administer rebuilding cities, the Pentagon will “bring in contractors” for training people on how to clear IEDs” (improvised explosive devices), etc. and alongside there will be a continuing military component to the US presence that “would move our diplomats around, protect them.” Mattis insisted that there is a “demarcation line” separating the US military zone in north and northeastern Syria, which the “Russian regime” and Syrian government are well aware of and are tacitly respecting so far.

Evidently, the US will continue its alliance with the Syrian Kurdish militia (known as YPG) in northern Syria, including the supply of weapons. The US defense spending bill for 2018 has made provision for sending weapons worth $393 million to US partners in Syria. Overall, $500 million, which is an increase of $70 million over 2016) is the allocation for Syria under ‘Train and Equip’ requirements. The budget mentions the opposition forces supported as a part of the train and equip program in Syria as 25,000 strong. The figure will now go up to 30,000 in 2018. Besides, the US and British military are training several hundred militants to create a New Syrian Army to fight the Syrian government forces in the south. (According to Russian estimates, most of the recruits are from ISIS and al-Qaeda groups.)

To be sure, the US’ ‘regime change’ agenda in Syria is back on track. But the Syrian conflict is also transforming as another template of a broader regional confrontation with Iran (and Russia) in the Middle East. The petard of Iran is useful to encourage the Sunni Arab petrodollar states to bankroll the war and overall make the US military interventions in the Middle East to be “self-financing”. (Mattis said, “We’ve got a lot of money coming from international donors for this, including Syria.”)

Meanwhile, this also means that the wars in Syria and Yemen are going to get fused at the hips, as it were. While the Obama administration was inclined to acknowledge that Iran’s interference in the war in Yemen, if at all, has been very minimal, the Trump administration has swung to the other extreme and brands the war as quintessentially a manifestation of Iran’s expansionist policies in the region. This creates the raison d’etre for more direct US intervention in the war in Yemen.

That makes it two full-bodied wars. Then, there is half a war to be added, which is in the nature of the Trump administration’s agenda to generally push back at Iran anywhere and everywhere (eg., Iraq, Lebanon), and, if possible, to bring about a ‘regime change’ in Tehran. According to a report in the Jerusalem Post last week, the US and Israel have set up 4 working groups to advance their “joint work plan” against Iran. This decision has been taken apparently at a secret meeting at the White House in Washington two weeks ago and will be put into the pipeline in 2018.

These two and a half wars become three and a half wars if we are also to add the Afghan war, which is entering its 17th year in 2018. The US has upped the ante by seeking a military solution to the Afghan war, disregarding the saner advice that a political solution is the best way out. The big question is whether 2018 will witnesses a US-Pakistani showdown.

A report in the New York Times on Friday hinted at the Trump administration “strongly considering whether to withhold $255 million in aid that it had delayed sending to Islamabad… as a show of dissatisfaction with Pakistan’s broader intransigence toward confronting the terrorist networks that operate there.” Evidently, the US’ capacity to leverage Pakistani policies is touching rock bottom. The next step could be to deliver on the threat to punish Pakistan. If that happens, there will be hell to pay.

Indeed, in the above cauldron, one hasn’t included the succession in Saudi Arabia, which can likely happen during 2018; the growing instability in Egypt; the continuing anarchy in Libya; or the Saudi-Qatar rift and the consequent unraveling of the GCC. Who says the US is about to cut loose from the Middle East and escape to the ‘Indo-Pacific’? Do not overlook that an overarching priority of the US’ Middle East strategy is also to evict Russia from the region as it managed to do in the early 1970s so as to contain the bear in its lair in Eurasia.

December 31, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

All Is Not Quiet on the Syrian Front: US to Launch Another War

By Alex GORKA | Strategic Culture Foundation | 29.12.2017

This is a classic example of flip-flop policy. In November, the US promised Turkey to stop arming Kurdish militias in Syria after the Islamic State was routed. Brett McGurk, the US Special Presidential Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat Islamic State, explained that after the urban fighting in Raqqa was over “adjustments in the level of military support” would be made. “We had to give some equipment – and it’s limited, extremely limited – all of which was very transparent to our NATO ally, Turkey,” he said during a special briefing on December 21. In June, the US told Turkey it would take back weapons supplied to the Kurdish the People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia in northern Syria after the defeat of Islamic State.

But sophisticated weapons will continue to be sent to Syria in 2018, including thousands of anti-tank rocket launchers, heat seeking missiles and rocket launchers. The list of weaponry and equipment was prepared by US Department of Defense as part of the 2018 defense budget and signed by Trump of Dec. 12. It includes more than 300 non-tactical vehicles, 60 nonstandard vehicles, and 30 earth-moving vehicles to assist with the construction of outposts or operations staging areas. The US defense spending bill for 2018 (“Justification for FY 2018 Overseas Contingency Operations / Counter-Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Train and Equip Fund”) includes providing weapons worth $393 million to US partners in Syria. Overall, $500 million, roughly $70 million more than last year, are to be spent on Syria Train and Equip requirements. The partners are the Kurds-dominated Syria Democratic Forces (SDF). The YPG – the group that is a major concern of Turkey – is the backbone of this force.

The budget does not refer to Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) but instead says “Vetted Syrian Opposition”. According to the budget list, there are 25,000 opposition forces supported as a part of the train and equip program in Syria. That number is planned to be increased to 30,000 in 2018. The arming of Kurdish militants with anti-tank rockets is a sensitive topic because of Turkey’s reliance on its armored Leopard tanks in northern Syria.

Talal Sillo, a former high-ranking commander and spokesperson of the US-backed SDF, who defected from the group last month to go to Turkey, divulged details of the US arming the Kurdish group.

The list does not detail which vetted Syrian groups will receive certain pieces of equipment. In northern Syria, there is the SDF, including the YPG, and the Syria Arab Coalition — a group of Arab fighters incorporated into the SDF. The Maghawir al-Thawra and Shohada al-Quartayn groups are operating in the southeastern part of Syria. They are being trained by US and British instructors at the al-Tanf border crossing between Syria and Iraq.

Besides the SDF and the groups trained at al-Tanf, the US is in the process of creating the New Syria Army to fight the Syrian government forces. The training is taking place at the Syrian Hasakah refugee camp located 70 kilometers from the border of Turkey and 50 kilometers from the border of Iraq.

Around 40 Syria opposition groups on Dec. 25 rejected to attend the planned Sochi conference on Syria scheduled to take place in January. They said Moscow, which organizes the conference, was seeking to bypass the UN-based Geneva peace process, despite the fact that UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said that Russia’s plan to convene the congress should be assessed by its ability to contribute to and support the UN-led Geneva talks on ending the war in Syria. If fighting starts, these groups are likely to join the formations created by the US.

So, the United States not only maintains its illegal military presence in Syria and creates new forces to fight against the Syrian government, it appears to be preparing for a new war to follow the Islamic State’s defeat. The continuation of arming and training Kurdish militias will hardly improve Washington’s relations with Ankara, while saying one thing and doing another undermines the credibility of the United States as a partner.

December 29, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

No, The US Didn’t Abandon The Syrian Kurds

By Andrew KORYBKO – Oriental Review – 02/12/2017

Trump has ostensibly compromised by promising Turkish President Erdogan that he’ll stop arming the Syrian Kurds.

The US and Turkish leaders spoke by phone last Friday, during which time Trump allegedly gave his counterpart his word that he will stop giving arms to the Syrian Kurds. The Turkish side reported that Trump called the previous policy of arming the YPG “nonsense” and promised to end it, while the official White House readout was more ambiguous and said that he “informed President Erdogan of pending adjustments to the military support provided to our partners on the ground in Syria”.

The discrepancy between both side’s interpretation of the conversation prompted the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister to state that the US “would be deceiving the whole world” if it went back on its pledge, while the Pentagon reiterated that it is “reviewing pending adjustments to the military support provided to our Kurdish partners in as much as the military requirements of our defeat-ISIS and stabilization efforts will allow to prevent ISIS from returning.”

In addition, it should be reminded that reports have been circulating that the US might officially acknowledge that up to 2000 of its troops are in Syria, which would be around 4x more than what it previously admitted, and that the Pentagon is moving towards more of an “open-ended” mission in the war-torn country now that Daesh – it’s supposed reason for being there – is defeated. What all of this means is that the US will probably not withdraw from Syria, and there’s a chance that arms shipments to the Kurds might continue.

No matter what Trump may or may not have said to President Erdogan, he’s on record in early April saying that he’s given the US military “total authorization” to do what it wants, so if the Pentagon decides that there’s a need to continue arming the Syrian Kurds, then that’s exactly what the US will likely end up doing. Furthermore, nobody knows the exact terminology that Trump might have used during his phone call, so there’s a chance that he might try to employ a “technical loophole” by selling weapons to the Syrian Kurds instead of “loaning” them like the US is presently doing.

In any case, the unlikelihood of the US military withdrawing from Syria means that the Pentagon could still extend a defense umbrella to its on-the-ground allies, thus staving off a Turkish military intervention and creating the pretext for forming a so-called “air bridge” in the event that the neighboring states attempt to blockade this region like they did to Iraqi Kurdistan. The key difference between the Iraqi Kurds and the Syrian ones is that the former didn’t have 2000 US troops and reportedly 10 American bases on their territory, hence why Washington “betrayed” them.

In addition, Iraq is already an internally partitioned country for the most part due to its “federal” status, while Syria has yet to formally follow in its footsteps, so the indefinitely prolonged US military presence there is designed to advance Washington’s preferred “political solution” by pressuring Damascus, while Trump’s talk about supposedly discontinuing weapons shipments to the Syrian Kurds is meant to give Turkey a “face-saving” excuse for passively accepting what they had previously said would be a clear red line for them.

December 3, 2017 Posted by | Deception | , , , , | Leave a comment

Syrian Kurds Refuse to Reveal Number of US Bases, Volume of Supplied US Arms

Sputnik | October 29, 2017

In the wake of the recently-announced liberation of the Syrian city of Raqqa, many analysts have been wondering about the scale of US support to the mostly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which headed the operation, and the number of military facilities the US has set up in northern Syria. Kurds, however, refused to reveal any details.

Amid ongoing reports that the US continues to arm the Syrian Kurds, even after the announced retaking of Raqqa from Daesh, Nuri Mahmud, an official representative of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the primary component of the US-backed SDF force which conducted the operation, confirmed that the US has been supplying them with arms since the liberation of Kobani in 2015.

Mahmud, however, refused to reveal the scale of the arms provided by the US, only noting that “it is relatively humble  and not enough in comparison with the weaponry it supplied to the Iraqi army for the liberation of Mosul.”

The Kurdish official called their relationship with Washington a “strategic alliance” and confirmed that the US is setting up military bases on territories which the Kurds take under control. According to Nuri Mahmud, these facilities are used for the fight against Daesh. However, he refused to give the exact number of operating US bases.

“We can’t discuss this issue. It is none of our business,” he told Sputnik Turkiye.

Abdulaziz Yunus, the SDF representative in charge of foreign affairs, also confirmed that the US continues supplying arms to SDF, and remains the only power which is supporting Kurds militarily.

The Kurdish official, however, as well as Nuri Mahmud, refused to reveal the amount of weaponry they received.

“The US is supplying us with ammunition based on our demands. Apart from coalition forces, no one else supports us with weaponry. We won’t disclose the exact volume of the provided arms but hope that the deliveries will increase as it will enable us to liberate other regions from terrorists,” he explained.

Abdulaziz Yunus stressed that the interests of SDF coincide with those of the US, and that they will continue their cooperation. Washington had supported the Free Syrian Army, but this didn’t yield any results. That is why, after the liberation of Kobani, the US decided to support them and has been satisfied with this arrangement, he concluded.

October 29, 2017 Posted by | War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment