Aletho News


Has Russia Had Enough?

By Paul Craig Roberts | Institute For Political Economy | March 21, 2018

This morning I watched a briefing the Russian Foreign Ministry provided for the diplomatic community where international toxic substances experts presented information concerning the alleged nerve agent used in the alleged attack on Skripal and his daughter. This information has been known for some time, and none of it has been reported in the Western presstitute media.

In the briefing the Russians once again relied on facts and existing agreements that govern the investigation of such events and asked why the British were demanding explanations from Russia when the British refuse to comply with established procedures and refuse to produce any evidence of what the British allege to have occurred.

The response from the US and French embassy representatives was simply to state that they needed no evidence to stand in solidarity with their British friends, that Russia was guilty by accusation alone, and that they would hold Russia accountable.

The benefit of this absurd response, which the Russians declared to be shameful, is to make clear to the Russian government that it is a waste of time to try, yet again, to confront unsupported accusations from the West with facts and appeals to follow the specified legal processes. The West simply does not care. The issue is not the facts of the case. The agenda is to add another layer to the ongoing demonization of Russia.

Sooner or later the Russian government will realize that its dream of “working with its Western partners” is not to be and that the hostile actions and false accusations from the West indicate that the West is set on a course of conflict with Russia and is preparing the insouciant Western peoples to accept the consequences.

The Russian official hosting the briefing compared the Skirpal accusation with the Malaysian Airliner accusation and the many others that resulted in instant accusations against Russia and refusal to cooperate in investigations.

The Russian official also drew the parallel of the accusations against Russia with the US and UK false accusations against Serbia, which led to the bombing of Serbia, and to the false accusations against Iraq, for which Colin Powell and Tony Blair had to apologize, that resulted in the destruction of Iraq and the death and displacement of millions of Iraqis.

The Russian official also said, pointedly, that the days were gone when no one challenged statements by the US government. The world, he said, is no longer unipolar. Russia, he said, does not respond to unsupported allegations. He also said that the way the Americans, British, and French are proceeding suggests that the Skirpal affair is an orchestration created for the purpose of accusing Russia.

This conclusion is supported by the history of US and UK interventions. In recent times we have seen the West’s orchestrated interventions based on obvious and blatant lies in Serbia, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen, and the attempts to destabilize Iran and Venezuela. History provides almost endless examples of the lies used by the US and UK to implement their agendas.

Nothing Washington and London say can ever be believed. Is it possible for Russia or any country to work with “partners” who are shameless, short on integrity and honesty, and have proven themselves unworthy of trust?

March 22, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Russophobia | , , , , | 1 Comment

Syrian Army Reportedly Finds Cache of French Weapons in Liberated Eastern Ghouta

Sputnik – March 12, 2018

Syrian forces involved in a mopping-up operation in recently-freed areas of Eastern Ghouta have come across a large arms depot including weapons made in France, Fars News Agency has reported, citing field sources.

The French-made weapons and ammunition were found during the military’s operations to sweep the towns of Modira and Mesraba of militants, the sources said.

The discovery of a cache of French-made weapons comes following a report by the Syrian Army Monday that the military had found a clandestine workshop used for the manufacture chemical weapons in the village of Aftris.

Paris has made no secret of its weapons deliveries to Syrian ‘rebels’, with illicit deliveries continuing in 2012 despite a European embargo. In a 2015 interview, then-President Francois Hollande admitted that France had delivered the weapons, saying that he was “certain that they would end up in the right hands.” France provided the militants with small arms, rocket launchers, and anti-tank missiles. In addition to weapons, France has also provided rebel groups with other forms of support, including cash and military advisors. In 2014, Hollande justified the supply of weapons, saying that France “cannot leave the only Syrians who are preparing a democracy… without weapons.”

France has been at the front of the line of Western powers accusing Damascus of using chemical weapons in its struggle against militants in Eastern Ghouta. Last month, French President Emmanuel Macron warned that France “will strike” if reports about the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons against civilians were confirmed.

“On chemical weapons, I set a red line and I reaffirm that red line,” Macron said, referring to a telephone conversation he had with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Syrian government has repeatedly denied using chemical weapons, pointing out that their chemical weapons stocks were destroyed in 2014 as part of a deal brokered by Russia and the US.

The Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta has been under the control of a motley collection of Islamist militants, including the al-Nusra Front* since 2012, with an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 militants estimated to be holed up in the area. The Syrian Army began a major military operation, code-named ‘Damascus Steel’, last month in a bid to liberate the territory. According to the latest estimates, the Syrian Army has now liberated well over half of the area, dividing the area under terrorist control into three pockets.

See also:

March 12, 2018 Posted by | War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

Welcome to another Western edition of anti-Assad political theater, now in Ghouta

By Robert Bridge | RT | March 2, 2018

Western media is heaping scorn on Syria for using ‘excessive force’ in its effort to liberate Ghouta from militant control. But where was that same concern when Mosul was being pulverized by US-led forces?

The Syrian government’s liberation efforts in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta have deteriorated into a media circus where truth has taken a back seat in the clown car. As was the case in the liberation of Aleppo, the government of President Bashar Assad – as opposed to the militant groups wreaking havoc in his country – has borne the main brunt of criticism from the Western world.

Due to the conditions on the ground in Ghouta, it is virtually impossible to get a clear picture of the situation there. What we do know, however, is that Damascus is being hit by approximately 70 missiles daily from militant positions inside Ghouta. The Western media would rather ignore that fact, speculating instead that “more than 500 people” have been killed by the Assad “regime” since efforts to retake the city began last month.

So where does the Western media get its information? In the majority of cases, from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a one-man operation based out of a humble abode in Coventry, UK. Western reporters also rely on the so-called White Helmets, the very same ‘humanitarian’ group that is suspected of working in tandem with terrorist groups that are carrying out attacks on civilians. Based on these extremely dubious sources, and others, one of the UK’s most respectable newspapers, the Guardian, was bold enough to assert that “Eastern Ghouta is turning into Syria’s Srebrenica.”

“Like the Bosnian Muslim enclave in 1995, eastern Ghouta … has been besieged by regime forces since the early stages of the Syrian war,” Simon Tisdall wrote. “As in Bosnia, nobody attempted to protect the civilian population when a regime offensive began there in December after negotiations failed. The airstrikes and bombardments… are carried out with impunity by Syrian forces and their Russian backers.”

I read that article twice in the hope of finding any mention of the militant forces that have been occupying Eastern Ghouta off and on since late 2012, subjecting the local population to untold horrors, including the threat of chemical attack. Regrettably, I failed; not a single mention of the terrorists. Indeed, to read Tisdall’s article one gets the impression that the citizens of Ghouta are perfectly content with the occupation of their city by fanatical militants.

Examples of such biased attitudes towards the Syrian government have, at the same time, overtaken the social media jungle like the invasive kudzu vine, blocking out the light of truth.

This week, for example, a US-based user who goes by the name of Sami Sharbek posted two photos on his Twitter account – one showing a building consumed by an explosion; the other depicting a man carrying a crying child.

“This is not a movie. This is Syria,” he wrote in the caption.

Sharbek was only 50 percent right.

Although the photos were not taken from a Hollywood blockbuster film, they did feature horrific images from Gaza and Mosul, respectively. In other words, very far from the action in Ghouta. Although Sharbek later admitted to his error, the damage was already done. As of February 28, the Tweet had made a huge impression, generating over 125,000 shares and 154,000 likes (the account is now blocked, open only to “approved followers”), possibly reaching millions of users.  It is probably safe to say that very few of those same people will hear that Sharbek’s tweet was for all intents and purposes fake news.

Smoke rises from the Tuffah neighborhood after an Israeli airstrike in eastern Gaza City, July 29, 2014 © Sameh Rahmi / Global Look Press

On February 25, Danny Gold, a writer and correspondent, compared the situation in Ghouta to one of history’s worst human atrocities when he tweeted: “I know how Jews who lived through the holocaust felt 70 years later about the world turning a blind eye, can’t imagine how Syrians in Ghouta will feel about their suffering being so well-documented as it’s happening yet doubted by so many.”

Dan Cohen, a correspondent with RT America, responded to Gold: “Ghouta is like the Holocaust but Mosul was ‘a huge journalism event’ in which US-led forces took ‘much care’ in burying at least 3,200 civilians in the rubble.”

Cohen’s comment was a jibe at a tweet Gold had sent on February 1, 2017 in which he embellished the historical record of the US-led Iraqi campaign, remarking: “Mosul was a huge journalism event. Everyone who covers the Middle East was there.”

But if Mosul really was one big happy media confab, then how was it possible for the fatality figures to have been so skewed? As AP rather belatedly reported in December 2017, long after the nine-month conflict had ended, “The price Mosul’s residents paid in blood to see their city freed was between 9,000 and 11,000 dead … a civilian casualty rate nearly 10 times higher than what has been previously reported.”

Perhaps if Western reporters had not spent so much of their time reporting on the same type of military operation in Aleppo, which was then the focus of a Russian-backed liberation campaign, they may have more accurately described the situation in Iraq’s second-largest city.

Michael Raddie, co-editor of BSNews, provided a convincing explanation for the discrepancy in the way the Western media reports on war zones, which he said can be reduced to a matter of “worthy victims” and “unworthy victims.”

“The victims of US bombs and British airstrikes are not worthy because we don’t do that kind of thing,” Raddie told RT. “Our killing of civilians is a mistake, collateral damage. The Syrian air force killing of civilians … that is atrocities. And that is the ideology that Western media portray all the time.”

However, there is another side to this wave of Western cynicism with regards to Syria that could spark a real catastrophe. That involves the threat of a chemical strike, which the West seems to believe is something only the “Assad regime” is capable of committing. After all, who would ever suspect bona-fide terrorists deprived of modern weapons of resorting to such barbaric means of warfare?

Much like Barack Obama’s utterly reckless “red line” warning regarding the use of chemical weapons, which he said would warrant US military action, French President Emmanuel Macron issued the very same foolish warning on February 14.

“On chemical weapons, I set a red line and I reaffirm that red line,” Macron told reporters. “If we have proven evidence that chemical weapons proscribed in treaties are used, we will strike the place where they are made.”

Did it surprise anyone that less than two weeks after Macron’s warning a chemical attack – conveniently supported by photos provided by, yes, the White Helmets – was reported to have occurred in Ghouta? Western media and politicians have actually suggested a Russian connection to the event.

“Whoever conducted the attacks, Russia ultimately bears responsibility for the victims in Eastern Ghouta and countless other Syrians targeted with chemical weapons since Russia became involved in Syria,” US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said.

Presently, a 30-day ceasefire endorsed by the UN Security Council is in effect across Syria, as well as a daily five-hour “humanitarian pause” in Eastern Ghouta enforced by Russia.

Yet thus far the plan is not producing the desired effect. Militants are preventing civilians from fleeing besieged Eastern Ghouta and are sabotaging the humanitarian operation there, Major General Vladimir Zolotukhin, a spokesman for the Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria, told journalists on Thursday.

Robert Bridge is an American writer and journalist. He is author of the book, ‘Midnight in the American Empire,’ released in 2013.


Read more:

Activist ‘raising awareness’ for Syria on Twitter used photos from Gaza & Mosul

March 3, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | 2 Comments

What the Russian veto on Yemeni war signifies

By M.K. Bhadrakumar | Asia Times | March 1, 2018

The Russian veto in the United Nations Security Council on Monday to block a Western-backed resolution to condemn Iran for its alleged violations of international sanctions and its fueling of the conflict in Yemen was a landmark event.

This is the first time Russia has shot down a US-led move in the Security Council regarding a regional conflict in which it is not directly involved. Moscow did not block the Western moves over Iraq in 2003 or over Libya in 2011, although Russian interests were involved. Nor did Moscow block Kosovo’s admission to the UN as a sovereign state, piloted by the West, in 2008, although it was a bitter pill to swallow in every sense.

In Syria, of course, Russia has exercised its veto power repeatedly both in self-interest and in the interests of its ally. But in the Yemen conflict, Russia is neither a participant nor a protagonist, nor has it any legitimate reason to take sides.

Suffice to say the Russian veto on Monday falls into a category by itself as a manifestation of the Russian-American standoff for global influence. It therefore becomes a turning point in the post-Cold War era of big-power politics.

On its broadest plane, Russia has signaled that the US and its Western allies can no longer dominate the international system and Russia will oppose US hegemony as a matter of principle. This has serious implications for regional and international security.

Indeed, what Russia has done is shoot down an unprincipled Western attempt to isolate Iran from a geopolitical perspective. The West has adopted a cynical position over the conflict in Yemen. The US has been a virtual participant in the conflict by providing military assistance to the Saudi forces and identifying for them targets for their brutal air attacks on Yemen.

The administration of US President Donald Trump has not cared to provide any empirical evidence that the Houthis are dependent on Iran’s support. UN and other experts refuse to accept the US allegation that Iran supplied the Houthis with the missiles that targeted Saudi Arabia. The Barack Obama administration was frank enough to admit that while the Houthis could be “pro-Iran,” there was no alliance as such between the two.

In reality, Zaidi Shiite Muslims are more closely aligned to Sunni Islam than to the Shiism practiced in Iran.

The Russian stance took exception to the British-drafted text (supported by the US and France) containing a condemnation of Iran predicated on “unconfirmed conclusions and reports that should be double-checked and discussed by the sanctions committee,” as Russia’s permanent representative to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya, put it.

Nebenzya noted that the Russian side offered “more than one compromising formulation” but those ideas had been dismissed. He said Russia “is fundamentally against a technical extension of sanctions committees’ export groups being politicized and used for solving not technical and expert tasks, but geopolitical ones.”

Significantly, the aborted British text not only contained condemnations against Tehran on illegal supplies of weapons to Houthis but also stated an intention to assume further measures in response to those violations. Conceivably, Moscow suspected the US intentions in the downstream, given the Trump administration’s hostile strategy toward Iran – scrapping the nuclear deal, imposing more sanctions, rolling back Iran’s missile capability and pushing back at Iran’s surge as a regional power.

In a clear rebuff to Washington, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday in Moscow that “it is necessary to fully implement the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [Iran nuclear deal]. If there is a desire to discuss some other issues concerning Iran in this format or in another format, this should be done with Iran’s voluntary participation and on the basis of consensus rather than through ultimatums.”

Interestingly, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir telephoned Lavrov on Monday just hours before the Security Council vote. According to the Russian readout, they “exchanged views on a number of issues on the bilateral and Middle East agendas, including in the context of the drafting of a new UN Security Council resolution on Yemen.”

Evidently, if the Trump administration had sought to leverage Saudi-Russian relations, it didn’t work. Moscow has in effect “de-hyphenated” its relations with Saudi Arabia and Iran. Russia has displayed its unique credentials to play an influential role in ending the conflict in Yemen and in facilitating a Saudi-Iranian rapprochement. Interestingly, Riyadh did not criticize Moscow’s veto on Monday and it was left to the US, Britain, France and Germany to issue a joint statement.

Of course, what emerges, in the final analysis, is the resilience of the Russian-Iranian alliance in Middle East politics. The Western thesis that an “assertive” Iran inevitably grates against Russian “expansionism” in the Middle East stands exposed as an overblown notion.

Ironically, Monday’s event will have a salutary effect on Russian-Iranian coordination in Syria, especially as the two powers prepare for a trilateral summit with Turkey in Istanbul in April.

March 1, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lebanese Nuclear Physics Student Found Dead in France

Al-Manar | March 1, 2018

A Lebanese man studying nuclear physics was found dead earlier this week in France, while reports on his death were conflicting.

It was initially reported that Hisham Salim Mourad- from the southern town of Braikeh in Nabatieh, was stabbed in his house.

However, Lebanon’s consul general in Marseille, Sonia Abou Azar, said the Grenoble police published its report on the death of Mourad and determined that he died after falling from the balcony of his house.

Mourad was studying at the Joseph Fourier University in the city of Grenoble. It was the last year of his master’s program.

The death sparked outrage among Lebanese people in Lebanon and abroad who were also shocked last week by the killing of another Lebanese student in Canada.

Hasan Ali Kheireddine, 23, was killed on Feb. 13 at a student residence on the St. Mary’s University campus in the Canadian region of Halifax.

The Lebanese Foreign Ministry announced earlier on Sunday that instructed the Lebanese embassy in Canada to “follow up on the case in order to unveil the details of this horrible crime and the motives behind it.”

Although Canadian authorities have been downplaying the murder of Kheireddine, it is seen by many in Lebanon as suspicious, especially that the bright student was studying economics and had been well-known for his research on the influence of Zionism on the international economy.

March 1, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Russia vetoes anti-Iran UNSC resolution

Press TV – February 26, 2018

A UK-drafted resolution aimed at pressuring Iran over alleged weapons supplies to Yemeni fighters has failed at the UN Security Council.

On Monday, the resolution gained 11 favorable votes at the 15-member Security Council but was halted by Russia’s veto.

“We cannot concur with uncorroborated conclusions and evidence which requires verification and discussions within the sanctions committee,” Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the council.

Earlier in the month, Britain circulated a draft resolution that would renew sanctions on Yemen for another year and also “condemns” Iran for allegedly breaching the 2015 arms embargo on the country by “failing to take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer” of short-range ballistic missiles, UAVs and other military equipment to Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement.

The Houthi movement has been defending Yemen against a bloody Saudi-led military campaign, which was launched in 2015 with the help of the US and the UK to reinstall the country’s former Riyadh-friendly government.

The draft resolution, backed by France and the US, called for unspecified measures in response to the UN report about Iran’s alleged role in Yemen, stressing that the UNSC will take “additional measures to address these violations,” and that “any activity related to the use of ballistic missiles in Yemen” is a criteria for sanctions.

A group of UN experts monitoring the sanctions on Yemen reported to the Security Council in January that it had “identified missile remnants, related military equipment and military unmanned aerial vehicles that are of Iranian origin and were brought into Yemen after the imposition of the targeted arms embargo.”

The UN experts, however, said they were unable to identify the supplier.

Both Tehran and Sana’a have repeatedly rejected the allegations as a fabricated scenario, and said the armed forces of Yemen have strengthened their missile power on their own.

After the veto, the UNSC unanimously adopted a Russian-drafted measure to extend for one year the sanctions regime against Yemen.

February 26, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Jaafari: Ending Civilians’ Suffering Requires Implementing UN Resolutions

Al-Manar | February 25, 2018

Syria’s Permanent Representative at the UN Bashar al-Jaafari said that ending the suffering of Syrians doesn’t require showboating sessions or forming UN committees; it only requires applying the 30 resolutions issued by the UN.

In a speech after the Security Council voted on a resolution calling for the cessation of combat activities in Syria for at least 30 days, Jaafari said that the people in Damascus are truly suffering due to the acts of the terrorists positioned in the Eastern Ghouta, adding “the appeals of 8 million Syrians do not reach the General Secretariat or the mailboxes of Britain and France’s representatives, but the appeals of terrorists do reach them.”

He noted that the Syrian Arab Red Crescent HQ in Damascus was targeted by 10 shells fired by the so-called “moderate” terrorists located in Ghouta, killing and injuring people including a doctor.

Jaafari stressed meanwhile, that the Syrian government has dealt in a serious manner with all initiatives and was committed to them due to its care for the lives of Syrian citizens, and that the government has called on armed groups in the Eastern Ghouta to lay down their weapons and provided safe corridors for civilians to exit it.

Syria’s Representative said that the Astana agreement had stipulated for committing the armed groups to break any ties to ISIL and Nusra Front terrorist groups, and gave the Syrian government the right to retaliate to any attack.

“We practice a sovereign right of self-defense and we will continue to fight terrorism wherever it is found on Syrian soil,” Jaafari affirmed, adding that the Syrian government reserves the full right to retaliate against armed terrorist groups if they target civilians with even a single shell.

The Syrian diplomat asserted that the new resolution should be applied to the entirety of Syrian territory, including Afrin, and areas occupied by US forces, and the occupied Syrian Golan.

He also said that what is required is for the governments of the United States, Britain, and France to stop holding meetings and making strategic plans that bring to mind the age of colonialism and that seek to divide Syria and change the governing system in it by force.

February 25, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 1 Comment

US-Russia rivalry surges in Syria

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | February 20, 2018

A major speech by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday at an international conference on the Middle East turned into the strongest Russian denunciation to date of the shift in the US policies under the Trump administration towards Syria, where the Pentagon now intends to keep a military presence indefinitely. (here and here)

The overall impression Lavrov conveyed is three-fold. One, in immediate terms, a spurt in fighting in Syria can be expected, as the US attempts to create new facts on the ground by using local proxies — Kurdish militia plus al-Qaeda affiliates and ISIS fighters — as well as to push back at Russia, Iran and the Syrian government.

Two, Russia concludes that the shift in the overall US strategy aims at balkanizing Syria. (Later on Monday, while speaking to the media in Moscow, Lavrov also drew attention to the presence of mercenaries and the Special Forces of France and Britain in northeastern Syria working in league with the US forces in implementing the American agenda to create zones of influence.)

Three, the conversation between Moscow and Washington regarding Syria is at a dead end. Lavrov specifically warned Washington that it is “playing with fire” in Syria, implying that the US strategy will run into resistance.

Two other features of the Moscow conference in Moscow are that, first, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif took part in it, and, second, the event also talked up a Russian mediatory role to calm down the tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Zarif told Lavrov at a meeting in Moscow on Monday that Tehran seeks Russia’s help in resolving the intra-regional rifts in the Muslim Middle East. Later, Zarif posted on his official Tweeter account: “With Russia’s sober strategic perspective and its growing influence in West Asia, it can play an instrumental role to help a paradigm shift in the Persian Gulf to one based on dialogue and inclusion.”

The conference was attended by non-official delegates from several Middle East countries, including Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, King Abdullah of Jordan had paid a ‘working visit’ to Moscow on February 15 and met Putin. On the previous day, Lavrov had spoken to his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Hassan Shoukry on phone. Yesterday, Putin also telephoned Turkish President Recep Erdogan. The focus was on Syria in all these exchanges.

The Russian strategy will be to persuade important regional states who have been the US’ key regional allies – Saudi Arabia and Jordan, in particular – not to rejoin the conflict in Syria by fueling a new round of fighting. If the approach succeeds, the US may find itself at a disadvantage in lacking regional support for pressing ahead with the military track.

However, although Russia’s ties with Saudi Arabia have appreciably strengthened in the recent years, Moscow’s capacity to mediate a Saudi-Iranian rapprochement remains to be seen. Syria continues to be a major source of rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran. And, the irony is that, finally, the Trump administration is doing what Saudi Arabia had wanted the previous Obama administration to do by pushing upfront the ‘regime change’ agenda in Syria through coercive methods.

In the Saudi perception, Russia suffered a series of setbacks in Syria recently. Summing up the Syrian situation, Ghassan Charbel, editor-in-chief of the influential Saudi establishment daily Asharq Al-Awsat wrote on Monday, “ Never before have all these flags, interests, dangers, armies, militias, internal divisions and regional and international clashes come together on its (Syria’s) territories. From the South to Idlib to Hmeimem to Afrin, Syria is like a powder keg. It is at the heart of a complex and vast geo-strategic conflict that is impossible to resolve with force and where losses and rewards will be difficult to predict… The regional and international circumstances do not appear ripe for… talks to happen. The Syrian tragedy is open to the most dangerous possibilities.”

The Saudi inclination will be to wait and watch which way the winds are blowing. On the other hand, the war in Yemen remains Saudi Arabia’s number one priority today and Riyadh seeks a Russian role in ending the war in Yemen by leveraging its influence with Iran.

February 20, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Iran strongly rejects claims of delivery of missiles to Yemen

Press TV – February 20, 2018

Iran has once again rejected the allegations about the Islamic Republic’s provision of missiles to Yemeni forces, saying such claims are lies and a foolish scenario.

“Iran’s missile program is for defensive and deterrent [purposes] and claims about the dispatch of missiles to Yemen despite the all-out blockade on this country are lies and a foolish scenario designed to exonerate the aggressors,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Tuesday.

He added that Britain and France have expressed their concern over Iran’s defensive missile program without providing any reason or wise justification.

A group of so-called independent United Nations experts monitoring the sanctions on Yemen reported to the Security Council in January that it had “identified missile remnants, related military equipment and military unmanned aerial vehicles that are of Iranian origin and were brought into Yemen after the imposition of the targeted arms embargo.”

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in a statement on Monday called on Iran to stop taking actions which could lead to further escalation of the Yemeni conflict.

“I call on Iran to cease activity which risks escalating the conflict and to support a political solution to the conflict in Yemen,” Johnson said.

His remarks came on the same day that the French foreign ministry also said in a statement that Paris was concerned about Iran’s ballistic missiles program and its activities in the region, mentioning its support for the Houthis in Yemen.

In reaction to the allegations, Qassemi said the Islamic Republic has designed its defensive missile program based on its military doctrine and valuable experience it obtained during the eight-year war imposed on it by Iraq backed by major global powers in the 1980s.

He added that Iran’s missile program aims to deter any aggression by extremist powers against the country.

“In this clear path that is completely in conformity with international principles, we will never accept other countries’ intervention and regard as irresponsible and suspicious the adoption of such unprincipled stance and strongly reject them,” Qassemi said.

He emphasized that the Yemeni army and people have no need for foreign countries’ weapons, saying the Yemenis’ defense of their country’s dignity with minimum facilities has led to the defeat of aggressors.

The chief commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in January dismissed the allegations leveled by the US and its allies about the Islamic Republic’s provision of missiles to Yemeni forces.

“Missiles fired at Saudi Arabia belong to Yemen which have been overhauled and their range have been increased,” Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said.

Iran’s Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani also said in December that the Islamic Republic is not providing military assistance to Yemen and all claims to this effect are false.

“We are not a country that would deny providing military assistance to anybody,” Larijani said.

Qassemi further called for an immediate end to the sale of European and US arms to Saudi Arabia and other aggressors and warmongers who are killing innocent Yemeni people on a daily basis.

A Saudi Arabian-led coalition launched a war against Yemen in 2015 and has ever since been indiscriminately hitting targets in the country. Yemeni Houthi fighters have been firing missiles in retaliatory attacks against Saudi targets every now and then.

The US State Department in January approved a possible $500-million sale of missile system support services to Saudi Arabia in defiance of global calls for Washington to stop providing Riyadh with military support due to the regime’s war crimes in Yemen.

The potential sale follows a request by Saudi Arabia for continued technical assistance for Patriot Legacy Field Surveillance Program (FSP), the Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) and the Patriot Engineering Services Program (ESP).

During his first trip to Saudi Arabia last year, US President Donald Trump signed a $110 billion arms deal with the Saudis, with options to sell up to $350 billion over a decade.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in December the United States is complicit in Saudi war crimes in Yemen amid Washington’s baseless claim that Tehran is providing supply of ballistic missiles to Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement.

“No amount of alternative facts or alternative evidence covers up US complicity in war crimes,” Zarif said in a post on his official Twitter account.

He added that the US has sold weapons to its allies enabling them to “kill civilians and impose famine,” in reference to Washington’s arms deal with Riyadh in its aggression against Yemen.

February 20, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Exacerbation of Tensions in Syria: Who Stands to Gain?

By Peter KORZUN | Strategic Culture Foundation | 16.02.2018

French President Emmanuel Macron has said he would order airstrikes against Syria if the rumors that its government has used chemical weapons (CW) against civilians are confirmed. Never backed up with any solid evidence, such reports crop up from time to time in the Western media. In some cases the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has claimed that the traces actually led to the rebels, not the Syrian government. More of the CW stories have been published recently. Why now? A bit of background information can offer some clues.

The situation in Syria has been greatly aggravated. France is not the only actor threatening an incursion. Israel has just attacked some sites in Syria, as well as what it called “Iranian forces in Syria” and said that it would not hesitate to do so again. It hit an Iranian drone and lost an F-16 fighter. A direct confrontation between Israel and Iran is highly likely. Israel has beefed up its defenses at the Syrian border.

The Trump administration, which has taken a hard line on Iran, strongly supports Israel. It says the US will not allow Iran to entrench itself in Syria so close to Israel’s border. A conflict between Israel and Iran will jeopardize US forces all over the Middle East. Iran’s mobile missiles have a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles), which puts every American base in the region within their reach, including the ones in Qatar, Kuwait, the UAE, and the US Fifth Fleet based in Bahrain. A strike range like that is enough to make the US outposts in Syria and Afghanistan vulnerable as well. Israel is also within the missiles’ reach. Iran’s ballistic missiles are not covered by the 2015 “nuclear deal,” but nonetheless the US has slapped sanctions against Tehran because of its missile program.

Tensions have been cranked up during a time when Russia and its partners in Syria – Turkey and Iran – are making major diplomatic advances. The Syrian National Congress, held in Sochi on Jan. 30, brought together more than 1,500 Syrians to kick-start the national dialog. This new forum has every chance of becoming a platform to unite all those who are taking part in the negotiations in Geneva and Astana. The UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan De Mistura gave due credit to the event.

On Feb. 15, Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks with King Abdullah II of Jordan. The two leaders discussed a number of issues in private. The prospects for a peaceful settlement of the Syrian crisis topped the agenda. In an interview with the Russian government-owned daily newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta, the Jordanian king called President Putin his brother.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited Moscow on Feb. 12. It was a landmark visit reflecting a major shift from the US to Russia as the chief mediator between Palestine and Israel. The Palestinian leader ousted America from this role after President Trump’s Dec. 6, 2017 announcement of US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. That decision significantly undermined US credibility in the Middle East. Impressed with Russia’s diplomatic efforts to overhaul the Syrian peace process, Mahmoud Abbas asked Moscow to organize an international peace conference to settle the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

If Moscow accepts the offered role and manages to make some progress, its influence in the region will skyrocket, dwarfing that of the United States, which has already seen its stature diminished after its failures in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places. Unlike Moscow, Washington can offer no alternative to the work being done in Astana and Sochi. Its contribution to the stymied Geneva talks has been modest at best. The humiliation of the US over its Jerusalem policy at the United Nations General Assembly put a spotlight on Washington’s waning clout.

The illegal presence of the US in Syria has become more complicated and fraught with many dangers. The need to fight the Islamic State became a flimsy pretext after the jihadist group’s defeat. Now the alleged threat coming from Iran is being used to justify US military operations in a faraway country. America is sparing no effort to try to bring back the days when it was the only dominant power in the Middle East. One way to do that is to lead the anti-Iran coalition. The best place to confront Iran and start rolling back its influence is in Syria. France is ready to join Washington in a pinch. Inflaming the Israeli-Iranian standoff serves that purpose, but the main obstacle there is the peace process Russia is spearheading. And the harder Russia works, the more artificially created situations spring up to thwart the achievement of that noble goal.

February 16, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Falsehoods and Lies: Inciting War Is a War Crime

Strategic Culture Foundation | February 16, 2018

The torrent of reckless false accusations against Russia made by the US and its NATO allies is hitting warp speed.

This week saw more baseless allegations of Russian cyber attacks on American elections and British industries.

There were also crass claims by US officials that Russia was behind so-called sonic attacks on American diplomats in Cuba.

Then a Dutch foreign minister was forced to resign after he finally admitted telling lies for the past two years over alleged Russian plans for regional aggression.

Elsewhere, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson claimed this week during a tour of the Middle East that “the primary goal” of his nation’s involvement in Syria is “to defeat” Islamic State (Daesh) terrorism.

This is patently false given that the US forces illegally occupying parts of Syria are launching lethal attacks on Syrian armed forces who are actually fighting Islamic State and their myriad terrorist affiliates.

Meanwhile, US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley accused Russia of blocking peace efforts in Syria – another audacious falsehood to add to her thick compendium of calumny.

Perhaps the most barefaced falsehood transpired this week when French President Emmanuel Macron candidly admitted that his government did not have any proof of chemical weapons being used in Syria.

“Today, our agencies, our armed forces have not established that chemical weapons, as set out in treaties, have been used against the civilian population,” said Macron to media in Paris.

His admission follows that of US Defense Secretary James Mattis who also fessed up earlier this month to having no evidence of chemical weapons being deployed in Syria.

“We have other reports from the battlefield from people who claim it’s been used,” said Mattis to reporters at the Pentagon. “We do not have evidence of it.”

Yet, only a few weeks ago, the French and US governments were condemning Syrian President Assad for alleged use of chemical weapons by his forces. France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also accused Russia of bearing responsibility because of its alliance with Damascus.

But now we are told that the French and US governments do not, in fact, have any evidence concerning chemical weapons in Syria.

This is in spite of US President Donald Trump unleashing over 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles on the Arab country last April in purported reprisal for the “Syrian regime” dropping chemical munitions on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib Province on April 4 2o17.

Macron went on to make the absurd declaration this week that “if” chemical weapons were found to be used then he would order military strikes on Syria.

Both Syria and Russia have categorically and repeatedly rejected claims of using chemical weapons, pointing out that Syria’s stockpile was eliminated back in 2014 under a UN-brokered deal.

When Mattis said “we have reports from the battlefield” he was referring to groups like the CIA covertly-sponsored terrorist outfit Al Nusra Front and their media outlet, the so-called White Helmets.

Western news media footage over the past two weeks seemingly depicting Syrian and Russian air strikes on civilian areas is sourced from the White Helmets. This group is embedded with Al Nusra.

The same warped narrative claiming Syrian and Russian violations during the liberation of Aleppo from the terrorists at the end of 2016 is being played out again in East Ghouta and Idlib. And again the Western news media are amplifying the dubious propaganda from the likes of the White Helmets as if it is independent, verified information.

This week in Paris Abdulrahman Almawwas, the so-called vice president of the White Helmets, which also go by the name of Syria Civil Defense, told the Reuters news agency that France and other NATO powers must intervene in Syria.

“It’s time to take real action and not just talk about red lines,” said Almawwas, who was clearly disappointed after hearing Macron’s admission of no evidence for chemical weapons.

Tellingly, the White Helmets’ envoy was hosted by senior French government officials while in Paris, including Macron’s chief diplomatic advisor, according to Reuters.

He also went on to complain – unwittingly – that the White Helmets have received less funding from foreign governments this year compared with last year.

Reuters reported: “Almawwas said the group’s financing for 2018 from foreign governments [sic] had dropped to $12 million from $18 million a year earlier.”

According to the White Helmets’ own website, the foreign governments whom they receive financing from include: the United States, Britain, France, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Canada, among others.

In other words, this so-called humanitarian relief organization is a NATO-sponsored entity, which evidently operates freely in areas of Syria controlled by Al Nusra and other internationally proscribed terror groups.

And this is the same “source” which has been used by the NATO governments and Western news media to disseminate claims about Syrian state forces using chemical weapons against civilians – claims which senior US and French officials are now belatedly negating.

What we have here is demonstrable peddling of falsehoods and lies by Western governments and their news media.

Not just with regard to the war in Syria, but on a range of other international incendiary issues, as noted above.

Accusing Russia of aggression, nuclear threats, sabotaging elections, targeting civilian infrastructure which could  “kill thousands and thousands” (British Defense Minister Gavin Williamson last month), or any number of other wild allegations, is symptomatic of sociopathic lying by Western governments.

The reckless falsehoods and lies espoused by the US and its European allies are made possible because of the reprehensible servility of Western media not holding to account the wild claims that they willfully disseminate.

This relentless propagation of lies is an appalling incitement to tensions, conflict and war.

Engaging in war fever is not only irresponsible. It is in fact a war crime, according to Nuremberg legal standards.

February 16, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

How 1960’s French Nuclear Tests Are Still Claiming Lives in Algeria

Sputnik – 15.02.2018

On February 13, 1960, France carried out its first nuclear test in Algeria’s southern Reggane region. According to official statistics, 17 nuclear tests were carried out in total over the next 6 years. The area remains affected, and local scientists say that radioactive contamination has caused genetic mutations and irreversibly changed the region.

There are no official statistics on the number of victims. The only figures can be found in the records kept by the French representative of the local church, which lists 42,000 victims of nuclear tests. Three years ago, the French Ministry of Defense issued a statement, putting the number at 27,000 people. The victims include French soldiers as well as local Algerians who lived in the surrounding areas.

However, these figures do not take into account the untimely deaths of the descendants of these people, who were affected by cancer and other nuclear radiation-related illnesses. To this day, the contaminated areas pose a danger to life and health.

A representative of the ‘Desert Detainees’ (a community of people who served sentences in prisons located in the desert regions of Algeria from 1992 to 1996), Nureddin Mauhub, said that many prisoners were exposed to radiation while serving their sentences in jails in the desert.

Nuclear engineer Ammar Mansuri told the newspaper Arabi al-Jadid, that in fact, there were more nuclear tests carried out in Algeria.

“France conducted 13 underground nuclear tests, 4 ground tests, 4 plutonium tests and 35 other tests,” he said.

According to him, the nuclear tests documentation was passed on to the Algerian government only 10 years ago.

Some of the documents are still classified. For these reasons, no systematic observations or studies have been conducted in the area in the past century. Therefore, no timely measures were taken to reduce the negative impact on the environment. It is difficult to say how the level of contamination has changed over the past decades and what to expect in the future.

The Algerian government claims that the contaminated area is more than 100 square km, according to the Al-Arabi al-Jadid website. However, problems aren’t limited to this exclusion zone. The desert winds carry contaminated particles to formally clean areas. There’s now a need to study the level of radiation in the desert to accurately determine the boundaries of the contaminated area.

February 15, 2018 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment