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War Crimes as Policy

By Mark Taliano | Global Research | November 17, 2017

Despite appearances and differing ideologies, both the Kurds’ SDF and ISIS are Western intelligence assets in Syria. Neither would exist in Syria without the West and its allies, and both serve to destroy the country.

The Empire’s anti-democratic SDF proxies are not defeating the U.S Daesh proxies. They are simply replacing them.

One might reasonably ask how two seemingly opposed terrorist groups could possibly share the same strategic purpose. The answer would likely escape the awareness of the fighters as well, and it certainly escapes the awareness of most Canadians, whose tax dollars are supporting the terrorists. But the answer isn’t that complicated.

Consider the similarities between the two groups:

  • Both groups seek to illegally “impose their will” on Syria, and are effectively destroying Syria, contrary to the wishes of the vast majority of Syrians[1]
  • Both groups seek to partition Syria
  • Both groups require and receive support from the same aggressor nations
  • Both groups engage in activities that are illegal under international law and punishable according to Nuremburg Principles

ISIS/Daesh serves the military strategy of “place-setter”[2], as outlined in an earlier article. Empire first infests an area with terrorists, then destroys the area, using the fake pretext of “going after terrorists”, subsequently, it channels the original terrorists elsewhere, and then replaces the former terrorists with new terrorist occupiers who are portrayed as “liberators”.

Syrian journalist Nasser Atta describes the following video as an ISIS convoy “carrying 4500 fighters and their families leaving Raqqa a month ago after an agreement with US-backed Kurdish forces”:

The West, their allies, and their proxies are not wanted in Syria. They are the problem, not the solution. Their foreign “interventions” in Syria amount to war crimes as policy.

Notes

[1] TESEV (2012) ‘The perception of Turkey in the Middle East 2011’, TürkiyeEkonomikveSosyalEtüdlerVakfi, Istanbul, February, online: http://tesev.org.tr/en/yayin/ the-perception-of-turkey-in- the-middle-east-2011/ Accessed 17 November, 2017

[2] Mark Taliano, “The Islamic State as “Place-Setter” for the American Empire. ISIS is the Product of the US Military-Intelligence Complex.” Global Research, 26 October, 2017.  (https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-islamic-state-as-place-setter-for-u-s-empire-isis-is-the-product-of-the-us-military-intelligence-complex/5606371). Accessed 11 November, 2017

Copyright © Mark Taliano, Global Research, 2017

November 18, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli-Saudi Tandem Adjusts to Syria Loss

By Alastair Crooke | Consortium News | November 4, 2017

It seems that matters are coming to a head in the Middle East. For many states, the coming period will likely prove to be the moment in which they determine their futures — as well as that for the region as a whole.

The immediate peg for “crunch time” is Russia’s fast-track proposal of a conference to be held in Sochi, with the near-full kaleidoscope of Syrian opposition invited, which, if all goes as planned, might mean 1,000 delegates arriving in Sochi as soon as Nov. 18.

The Syrian government has agreed to attend. Of course, when one hears of attendance in these numbers, it suggests that this is not intended as a “sleeves rolled-up” working session, but rather as a meeting in which Russian thoughts will be mooted on the constitution, the system of government, and the place of “minorities” – with a chaser that Russia wants fresh elections pretty darned quick: which is to say, in six months’ time. In short, this is to be the “last chance saloon” for opposition figures: come aboard now, or be shut out, in the cold.

This initiative has plenty of push behind it, including President Putin’s personal endorsement, but no guarantee of success. Both Iran and Turkey (the co-guarantors of Astana) privately may have reservations, not knowing precisely what Moscow might unveil. Iran is insistent on Syria retaining a strong centralized government, and Turkey is likely to worry about whether the Kurds might receive too much from Moscow; it will also have reservations about sitting down with the YPD (Syrian Kurds), which it views to be little more than a re-branded PKK, which Turkey regards as a terrorist organization. If Turkey does pull out, it will take an important slice of the opposition with it.

Critical moments in history, however, do have a habit of proving to be less critical than first imagined, but this one effectively marks the beginning of the winding up process of the Syrian war and of the 20-year “New Middle East” project (as devised by the U.S. and Israeli governments). How each state responds, will determine the Middle East landscape for the next years.

Military Mop-up 

Late last week, the Syrian army took the rest of Deir Ezzor city, and with its rear now secure, the Syrian army is free to continue the 30 or so kilometers to reach Abu Kamal (al-Bukumal) – the last ISIS urban outpost – and the vital border crossing on the Euphrates with Iraq. It is estimated that there may be 3,500 Da’esh (another name for the Islamic State or ISIS) in Abu Kamal. But Abu Kamal’s “twin” (on the Iraqi side of the border), al-Qaim, was taken by the Iraqi government’s PMU militia forces on Friday. The Iraqi forces are now clearing the city of its estimated 1,500 Da’esh fighters.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

The Syrian army, backed up by several thousand recently injected Hezbollah forces, is poised to enter Abu Kamal in the coming days from two directions – and from the south, a co-ordinated thrust north up and into Abu Kamal by the Iraqi Hash’d a- Sha’abi (PMU) militia, will form a pincer.

American-supported SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces), however, are also trying to reach Abu Kamal from the east (the U.S., pressured by Israel, would like to seal and close the border crossing). U.S. allied forces can move more quickly, as U.S. officers are seeking to bribe local tribal leaders who formerly had sworn allegiance to ISIS (with Saudi money), to switch sides, or at least to allow the SDF forces to advance unhindered by ISIS (as happened in the environs of Deir Ezzor).

In short, the military outcome in Syria is done (after six years of war), and now comes the political bargaining. How this plays out will determine the relative strengths of the forces that will shape the Middle East in the coming years. The outcome will likely see whether Turkey can be bullied back towards NATO (by threats such as that by General Petr Pavel, head of NATO’s military committee, warning of “consequences” for Turkey’s attempts to buy Russian air defenses), or whether Turkey’s determination to limit Kurdish aspirations will see Turkey position itself alongside Iran and Iraq (who share a common interest).

Turkey’s role in Idlib, in overseeing the de-escalation zone there, remains opaque. Effectively, its forces are positioned more to control the Afrin Kurdish “canton” (rather than monitor the Idlib de-escalation zone). It is possible that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is hoping to use Turkish troops to carve out a buffer zone along the Turkish-Syrian border – in contravention to the Astana understandings. If so, this will place him at odds with both Moscow and Damascus (but will not necessarily imply a return to the NATO camp, either).

Syria’s Future

The bargaining at Sochi will also make clearer whether Syria will be a strong centralized state (as Iran prefers), or a looser federal state as America (and perhaps Russia) would prefer. Sochi will be something of a litmus for the extent to which American influence can shape outcomes in today’s Middle East. At present, it looks as if there is co-ordination between Moscow and Washington for a speedy political settlement in Syria, a U.S. declaration of victory over ISIS, Syrian elections, and an American exit from the Syrian theatre.

The outcome of the conference will also perhaps clarify whether the Syrian Kurds finally will remain with the U.S. CentCom project for retaining a permanent U.S. presence in northeast Syria (as Israel wants), or whether the Syrian Kurds will cut a deal with Damascus (after witnessing the crushing of the Barzani Kurdish independence project by neighboring powers).

If the latter occurs, the argument for retaining a longer-term U.S. presence in northeast Syria would lose force. The Saudis will have either to accept defeat in Syria, or act the party-pooper (by trying to re-ignite the remaining proxy forces in Idlib) – but, for that, the kingdom would need Turkey’s compliance, and that may not be forthcoming.

Iraq too, irked by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s comments suggesting that the PMU are Iranian – and must “go home” – has already shown signs of re-orientating towards Russia. (It has recently signed an expansive energy and economic protocol with Russia – after having reclaimed control of its borders and of Iraq’s energy resources – and is procuring Russian arms). Evidence of Iraq’s close connections with Syria, Turkey and Iran was very manifest in the quick execution of the put-down to the Kurdish independence gambit.

But the state facing the biggest dilemma in respect to the Syrian outcome is Israel. Alex Fishman, the doyen of Israeli defense columnists, has written that Israel simply has failed to adjust to strategic change, and is locked in a narrow “cold war” mentality:

“The Syrians fire rockets at open areas: Israel destroys Syrian cannons in response; the Iranians threaten to deploy Shiite forces in Syria: Israel announces ‘red lines’ and threatens a military conflict; Fatah and Hamas hold futile talks on a unity government: the prime minister declares Israel is suspending talks with the Palestinans – and everyone here applauds the security and political echelons: – ‘there, we showed them the meaning of deterrence’, [the Israeli leadership repeats].

“But what we are seeing here is a provincial defense policy, a false representation of a leadership that barely sees beyond the tip of its nose, and is busy putting out fires day and night.

“It’s a leadership that sees national security through a narrow regional viewpoint. It’s as if everything beyond Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran doesn’t exist. It’s as if the world around us hasn’t changed in the past decades, and we are stuck in the era of aggressive solutions in the form of reward and punishment as the main political-security activity. The current political-security echelon isn’t solving problems, isn’t dealing with problems, but simply postponing them, passing them on to the next generation”

Missing the Strategic Picture 

What Fishman is pointing to is profound: Israel has gained some tactical victories in the neighborhood (i.e. over the Palestinians generally, and in weakening Hamas), but it has lost sight of the wider strategic picture. In effect, Israel has lost its ability to dominate the region. It had wanted a weakened and fragmented Syria; it had wanted a Hezbollah mired in the Syrian mud, and an Iran circumscribed by Sunni sectarian antipathy towards the Shi’a generally. It is unlikely to get any of these.

Rather, Israel finds itself being deterred (rather than doing the deterring) by the knowledge that it cannot now overturn its strategic weakness (i.e. risk a three-front war) – unless, and only if, America will fully enter into any conflict, in support of Israel. And this is what worries the security and intelligence echelon: Would America now contemplate a decisive intervention on behalf of Israel – unless the latter’s very survival was at risk?

In 2006, Israeli officials recall, the U.S. did not enter Israel’s war against Hizbullah in Lebanon, and after 33 days, it was Israel that sought a ceasefire.

Fishman is right too that attacking Syrian factories and radar positions “out of old habit” solves nothing. It may be sold to the Israeli public as “deterrence,” but rather it is playing with fire. Syria has started to fire back with aged surface-to-air missiles (S200s) at Israeli aircraft. These missiles may not have hit an Israeli jet yet, and maybe were not even intended so to do. The Syrian message however, is clear: these missiles may be old, but they have a longer range than the newer S300: Potentially, their range is sufficient to reach Ben Gurion Airport outside Tel Aviv.

Are the Israelis sure that Syria and Hezbollah don’t have more modern missiles? Are they certain that Iran or Russia will not provide them such? The Russian defense minister was very angry on his visit to Tel Aviv to have been faced with an Israeli retaliatory air attack on a Syrian radar and missile position – as a welcome gift on landing in Israel. To his protests, his Israeli counterpart, Defense Minister Lieberman condescendingly said that Israel needed nobody’s advice in respect to Israel’s security. General Sergey Shoygu reportedly was not amused.

Can Israel come to terms with its new strategic situation? It seems not. Ibrahim Karagul, a Turkish political commentator and an authoritative voice of President Erdogan, writing in Yeni Safak, notes that

“the foundations of a new disintegration [and] division are being laid in our region. Saudi Arabia’s ‘We are switching to moderate Islam’ announcement contains a dangerous game. The U.S.-Israel axis is forming a new regional front line.”

Karagul continues:

“We have been watching the strange developments in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Israel and the U.S. for some time now. There is a new situation in the region, which we know is [principally aimed] against Iran; but has recently taken an open anti-Turkey state, aimed at limiting Turkey’s influence in the region … You will see, the ‘moderate Islam’ announcement will be immediately followed by a sudden and unexpected strengthening of Arab nationalism. This wave will not differentiate between Shiite or Sunni Arabs, but it will isolate the Muslim Arab world from the entire Muslim world.

“This separation will be felt most by the Shiite Arabs in Iraq. With this new block, Iraq and Iran are going to stage a new power showdown [i.e. will react forcefully to counter it]. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s future in power is also most likely going to [become contingent on the outcome to] this showdown.”

An American ‘Buy-in’

To give this project American “buy-in,” Israel and Saudi Arabia are focusing it on Lebanese Hezbollah, which the U.S. has declared to be a terrorist entity though the movement was part of Lebanon’s government, which was headed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri until he ominously resigned today in an announcement made in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Hariri is a dual Saudi-Lebanese national.)

Saudi State Minister for Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan (in Beirut last week) called for “toppling Hezbollah” and promised “astonishing” developments in “the coming days. Those who believe that my tweets are a personal stance, are delusional … the coming developments will definitely be astonishing.”

Al-Sabhan added that the kingdom’s escalation against Hezbollah could take several forms that would “definitely affect Lebanon. Politically, it might target the government’s relations with the world. At the economic and financial levels, it could target commercial exchange and funds, and militarily it might involve the possibility of a strike on Hizbullah by the U.S.-led coalition, which labels Hizbullah a terrorist organization.” (Comment: this latter point probably was made more in hope, than in expectation. Europe and the U.S. set considerable store on maintaining Lebanon as stable).

Karagul reflects further on this U.S.-Gulf-Israeli initiative:

“The moderate Islam project was tried the most in Turkey. We always said this is ‘American Islam’ and opposed it. The February 28 military intervention is the product of such a project. It was implemented by the U.S./Israel extreme right-wing and their partners on the inside. The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) is the product of such a project, and the Dec. 17/25 and July 15 attacks were made for this very reason. They were all aimed at trapping Turkey within the U.S./Israel axis.

“But Turkey’s local and national resistance has overcome them all. Now they are burdening Saudi Arabia with the same mission. That is how they are making it appear. I do not think that it is possible for Saudi Arabia to undertake such a mission. This is impossible both in terms of the regime’s character and its social structure. This is impossible because of the ‘Israel/U.S. sauce’.

“The discourse of making the switch to moderate Islam will cause serious confusion in the Saudi administration and grave social reactions. The actual conflict is going to take place within Saudi Arabia. Also, the Riyadh administration has no chance of exporting something to the region or setting an example.

“Especially once it is further revealed that the project is security-based, that a new front line has been formed, that it is all planned by the U.S.-Israel, it will result in a fiasco. This project is suicide for Saudi Arabia, it is a destruction plan; it is a plan that will destroy it unless it comes to its senses.”

Karagul makes the point well: the attempt to make Islam in the Christian “Westphalian” image has a disastrous history. The metaphysics of Islam are not those of Christianity. And Saudi Arabia cannot be made “moderate” by Mohammad bin Salman just ordering it. It would entail a veritable cultural revolution to shift the basis of the kingdom, away from the rigors of Wahhabism to some secularized Islam.

More War?

Where is this taking the Middle East: to conflict? Maybe. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not noted for his audacity: he his noted more for rhetoric which often has proved empty; and Israeli security officials are being cautious, but both sides are preparing against the possibility of what Karagul calls a “great power showdown.” It looks, though – from this and other Turkish statements – as if Turkey will be with Iran and Iraq, and standing against America and Saudi Arabia.

And President Trump? He is wholly (and understandably) preoccupied with the low-intensity war being waged against him at home. He probably tells Netanyahu whatever it is that might advance his domestic battles (in Congress, where Netanyahu has influence). If Bibi wants a fiery speech at the U.N. berating Iran, then, why not? Trump can then call on the trifecta of White House generals to “fix it” (just as he did with JCPOA, passing it to Congress “to fix”), knowing that the generals do not want a war with Iran.

The danger is a “black swan.” What happens if Israel goes on attacking the Syrian army and industrial premises in Syria (which is happening almost daily) – and Syria does shoot down an Israeli jet?

Alastair Crooke is a former British diplomat who was a senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy. He is the founder and director of the Conflicts Forum.

November 4, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Shocking, Viral Interview, Qatar Confesses Secrets Behind Syrian War

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | October 28, 2017

A television interview of a top Qatari official confessing the truth behind the origins of the war in Syria is going viral across Arabic social media during the same week a leaked top secret NSA document was published which confirms that the armed opposition in Syria was under the direct command of foreign governments from the early years of the conflict.

And according to a well-known Syria analyst and economic adviser with close contacts in the Syrian government, the explosive interview constitutes a high level “public admission to collusion and coordination between four countries to destabilize an independent state, [including] possible support for Nusra/al-Qaeda.” Importantly, “this admission will help build case for what Damascus sees as an attack on its security & sovereignty. It will form basis for compensation claims.”

A 2013 London press conference: Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al Thani with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. A 2014 Hillary Clinton email confirmed Qatar as a state-sponsor of ISIS during that same time period.

As the war in Syria continues slowly winding down, it seems new source material comes out on an almost a weekly basis in the form of testimonials of top officials involved in destabilizing Syria, and even occasional leaked emails and documents which further detail covert regime change operations against the Assad government. Though much of this content serves to confirm what has already long been known by those who have never accepted the simplistic propaganda which has dominated mainstream media, details continue to fall in place, providing future historians with a clearer picture of the true nature of the war.

This process of clarity has been aided – as predicted – by the continued infighting among Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) former allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with each side accusing the other of funding Islamic State and al-Qaeda terrorists (ironically, both true). Increasingly, the world watches as more dirty laundry is aired and the GCC implodes after years of nearly all the gulf monarchies funding jihadist movements in places like Syria, Iraq, and Libya.

The top Qatari official is no less than former Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani, who oversaw Syria operations on behalf of Qatar until 2013 (also as foreign minister), and is seen below with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in this Jan. 2010 photo (as a reminder, Qatar’s 2022 World Cup Committee donated $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation in 2014).

In an interview with Qatari TV Wednesday, bin Jaber al-Thani revealed that his country, alongside Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United States, began shipping weapons to jihadists from the very moment events “first started” (in 2011).

Al-Thani even likened the covert operation to “hunting prey” – the prey being President Assad and his supporters – “prey” which he admits got away (as Assad is still in power; he used a Gulf Arabic dialect word, “al-sayda”, which implies hunting animals or prey for sport). Though Thani denied credible allegations of support for ISIS, the former prime minister’s words implied direct Gulf and US support for al-Qaeda in Syria (al-Nusra Front) from the earliest years of the war, and even said Qatar has “full documents” and records proving that the war was planned to effect regime change.

According to Zero Hedge’s translation, al-Thani said while acknowledging Gulf nations were arming jihadists in Syria with the approval and support of US and Turkey: “I don’t want to go into details but we have full documents about us taking charge [in Syria].” He claimed that both Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah (who reigned until his death in 2015) and the United States placed Qatar in a lead role concerning covert operations to execute the proxy war.

The former prime minister’s comments, while very revealing, were intended as a defense and excuse of Qatar’s support for terrorism, and as a critique of the US and Saudi Arabia for essentially leaving Qatar “holding the bag” in terms of the war against Assad. Al-Thani explained that Qatar continued its financing of armed insurgents in Syria while other countries eventually wound down large-scale support, which is why he lashed out at the US and the Saudis, who initially “were with us in the same trench.”

In a previous US television interview which was vastly underreported, al-Thani told Charlie Rose when asked about allegations of Qatar’s support for terrorism that, “in Syria, everybody did mistakes, including your country.” And said that when the war began in Syria, “all of us worked through two operation rooms: one in Jordan and one in Turkey.”

Below is the key section of Wednesday’s interview, translated and subtitled by @Walid970721. Zero Hedge has reviewed and confirmed the translation, however, as the original rush translator has acknowledged, al-Thani doesn’t say “lady” but “prey” [“al-sayda”]- as in both Assad and Syrians were being hunted by the outside countries.

The partial English transcript is as follows:

“When the events first started in Syria I went to Saudi Arabia and met with King Abdullah. I did that on the instructions of his highness the prince, my father. He [Abdullah] said we are behind you. You go ahead with this plan and we will coordinate but you should be in charge. I won’t get into details but we have full documents and anything that was sent [to Syria] would go to Turkey and was in coordination with the US forces and everything was distributed via the Turks and the US forces. And us and everyone else was involved, the military people. There may have been mistakes and support was given to the wrong faction… Maybe there was a relationship with Nusra, its possible but I myself don’t know about this… we were fighting over the prey [“al-sayda”] and now the prey is gone and we are still fighting… and now Bashar is still there. You [US and Saudi Arabia] were with us in the same trench… I have no objection to one changing if he finds that he was wrong, but at least inform your partner… for example leave Bashar [al-Assad] or do this or that, but the situation that has been created now will never allow any progress in the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council], or any progress on anything if we continue to openly fight.”

As is now well-known, the CIA was directly involved in leading regime change efforts in Syria with allied gulf partners, as leaked and declassified US intelligence memos confirm. The US government understood in real time that Gulf and West-supplied advanced weaponry was going to al-Qaeda and ISIS, despite official claims of arming so-called “moderate” rebels. For example, a leaked 2014 intelligence memo sent to Hillary Clinton acknowledged Qatari and Saudi support for ISIS.

The email stated in direct and unambiguous language that:

the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region.”

Furthermore, one day before Prime Minister Thani’s interview, The Intercept released a new top-secret NSA document unearthed from leaked intelligence files provided by Edward Snowden which show in stunning clarity that the armed opposition in Syria was under the direct command of foreign governments from the early years of the war which has now claimed half a million lives.

The newly released NSA document confirms that a 2013 insurgent attack with advanced surface-to-surface rockets upon civilian areas of Damascus, including Damascus International Airport, was directly supplied and commanded by Saudi Arabia with full prior awareness of US intelligence. As the former Qatari prime minister now also confirms, both the Saudis and US government staffed “operations rooms” overseeing such heinous attacks during the time period of the 2013 Damascus airport attack.

No doubt there remains a massive trove of damning documentary evidence which will continue to trickle out in the coming months and years. At the very least, the continuing Qatari-Saudi diplomatic war will bear more fruit as each side builds a case against the other with charges of supporting terrorism. And as we can see from this latest Qatari TV interview, the United States itself will not be spared in this new open season of airing dirty laundry as old allies turn on each other.

October 29, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Washington Forbids Serbia from De-Mining Syria

By Daniel McAdams | Ron Paul Institute | October 21, 2017

This may be one of the cruelest and most cynical moves of Washington in its entire dark “regime change Syria” chapter. Serbian media sources are reporting, based on quotes from US Embassy Belgrade personnel, that the United States has sought and been given assurances by the Serbian government and military that Serbian de-mining experts will not be deploying to Syria to assist in removing the ubiquitous horrific mines and other explosive devices left behind by a retreating ISIS.

As the rout of ISIS forces continues in Syria, the civilian population begins returning to their homes and their lives that had been disrupted by the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and other extremist groups. According to the United Nations, more than 600,000 Syrians have returned to areas liberated by the Syrian government with the assistance of Russia and Iranian forces.

But that is where the tragic problems often begin. As the Economist reported earlier this year, the joy of returning to a life where the scourge of ISIS has been eliminated can be cut short in an instant by what ISIS leaves behind:

‘The first explosion killed our neighbour and his sister-in-law when they entered their house,’ said Ali Hussain Omari, a former fighter from the city. ‘Three days later another mine killed my cousin. His 11-year-old daughter’s leg was amputated and their house was destroyed. A week later another mine in an olive tree exploded. My neighbour lost his leg.’

What a horrible irony to have survived the marauding jihadists only to be blown to pieces by the terrors they left behind.

Which is why it is all the more disturbing that the United States government is so adamant that US-trained Serbian de-mining experts NOT deploy to Syria to help make post-ISIS Syria safe for civilians to return.

The “spat” between US Ambassador to Belgrade Kyle Scott and Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin began when the Serbian side announced that it would participate in the de-mining efforts in Syria in a manner that would have Serbian forces coordinating with Russians. The Americans reminded their Serb allies, through US Embassy spokesman Eric Heyden, that:

… the US government provided significant donations in money, equipment and training to help the Serbian Army get rid of the mines left over from the war, and thus make Serbia a safer place. That is why, over the past 15 years, we have provided more that USD 20 million in aid for mine clearing operations in Serbia. During our last major joint exercise, in April 2017, the US government donated some USD 450,000 in medical and demining equipment to the Serbian Army to improve its capacities…

In other words, “we funded your training in de-mining operations and if you want to continue receiving money from the United States you had better cancel your plans to assist with de-mining in Syria.”

Washington’s concerns over Serb participation in de-mining in Syria was, according to press reports, heeded by Belgrade. Heyden further announced:

Media reports from Russia have stated that deminers from Serbia would be deployed together with Russian forces in Syria. In the last six months, in our numerous conversations with the leadership of the Ministry of Defense and the VS General Staff, the US government received multiple assurances that this story is incorrect, and that the goal of our bilateral training was to enable members of the Serbian Army to clear the area of the former military airport in Sjenica, and to open it for use…

Once that was settled, the US announced that it “has plans for next year to continue helping to develop the Serbian Army’s capacity in this project.”

And the Syrian victims of ISIS and other (probably US-backed) extremist mines that continue to kill and maim innocent civilians and children? Too bad for them. More innocents will die in the name of the current US Cold War 2.0 psychosis.

October 25, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Is killing British ISIS fighters the ‘only option’?

RT | October 24, 2017

As the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group nears collapse, questions remain over the fate of the group’s UK-born fighters. Some 130 Britons who have travelled to Iraq and Syria and fought for IS have already been killed, according to MI5.

In line with the UK government’s policy, conservative Foreign Office Minister Rory Stewart said this week that the “only way” to deal with British IS fighters is “in almost every case” to kill them. Stewart said British IS fighters pose a “serious danger to us” and have relinquished any ties to the UK.

Jihadi Jack

Stewart’s call for what amounts to extrajudicial killings has sparked controversy. Sally Lane, whose son Jack Letts journeyed to Syria to join IS in 2014, called the comments “absolutely unbelievable.”

The mother and her husband are currently on a week-long hunger strike to raise awareness about their son’s situation. Dubbed in the press ‘Jihadi Jack,’ Lane is thought be languishing in a prison in north western Syria after being captured by an anti-IS YPG unit in May.

“A lot of people went for naive reasons. Jack was 18 when he went, he was a stupid kid but he’s been labelled a murderous jihadi,” his mother told the Times.

It is not yet clear whether Jack Letts will be returned to the UK to face trial.

The White Widow

For those who do not fall into the hands of anti-IS groups, their fate is, chillingly, a little more certain.

IS-recruiter Sally-Anne Jones, the so-called ‘White Widow,’ was killed in a US airstrike in July alongside her 12-year-old son Jojo as she fled Raqqa. The airstrike could be deemed unlawful and breaking international humanitarian law, as Jones was not participating in an active combat role for IS, nor engaged in hostilities when she was targeted.

Upon the news of Jones’ death, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said those who choose to fight for IS become a “legitimate target” and “run the risk every hour of every day of being on the wrong end of an RAF or a United States missile.”

It is unclear whether Jones’ role as an IS-recruiter counts as a combat role.

An Alternative?

The head of the government’s independent reviewer of terrorist legislation, Max Hill QC, has recommended that those Britons who were “brainwashed” or joined IS with a sense of “naivety” could be spared criminal prosecution.

“Really we should be looking at reintegration and moving away from any notion that we are going to lose a generation from this,” said Hill.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he would like to see British IS recruits arrested and tried in British courts. The position is endorsed by the Stop the War Coalition, whose convener, Lindsey German, said the UK’s “strike to kill policy” lacks “justification” and would only increase the risk of terrorism.

October 24, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

French Minister of Defense: “French Citizens who Joined Jihad Should Die on the Battlefield”

By Peter Koenig | Dissident Voice | October 23, 2017

AP reported in The New York Post of 21 October 2017, that during ISIS heydays, it is estimated that about 30,000 citizens from around the world traveled to the Middle East, mostly Syria and Iraq, to join ISIS/Daesh as jihadi fighters.  This included an estimated 6,000 Europeans, mostly from France, Germany and Britain, many with immigrant backgrounds. A study found that less than 10% converted to Islam.

After ISIS’ defeat in Syria’s northern city of Raqqa, the former ISIS stronghold and artificial capital of the Islamic State’s Caliphate, about a third of the European jihadists have returned home, where many are awaiting trial in prison. Others are free and under surveillance. They are easy fodder for western secret services to blow themselves up, as jihadists, leaving always an ID behind; False Flag acts of ‘terror’, immediately claimed by ISIS, through the Islamic State’s news agency, Amaq. No surprise, though, in case they were contracted by CIA, Mossad, MI6 et al, to do so.

Other European jihadi fighters are still left on defeated battlefields, hiding in Raqqa’s ruins, some captured – and facing immediate death by execution. They are not wanted back in their European home countries. These countries had then and have now no time, nor interest to care for these people, their desperate, rudderless citizens. “Let them die on the battlefield” we don’t want them back.

While most European Governments didn’t dare express it in such blunt words, the French Minister of Defense, Florence Parly, told Europe 1 radio last week, “If the [French] jihadis perish in this fight, I would say that’s for the best.”

US orders were similar, “Our mission is to make sure that any foreign fighter who is here, who joined ISIS from a foreign country and came into Syria, they will die here in Syria,” said Brett McGurk, the top U.S. envoy for the anti-IS coalition, in an interview with Dubai-based Al-Aan television. “So, if they’re in Raqqa, they’re going to die in Raqqa,” he said. This is as much as saying, no prisoners are taken, they are all to be neutralized, a euphemism for murdered.

Imagine, this comes from the very countries that have created, trained and funded ISIS. Then they have nurtured ISIS for their purposes of spreading destruction, chaos, and assassination throughout the Middle east with focus on Syria and Iraq. These are the NATO governments who have left their young rudderless people without hope, seeking a ‘raison d’être’, a purpose in life.

Desperate without hope and guidance, many with zero income, zero chance in our western ultra-competitive merciless society – that’s what they were then, when they joined the Jihad and that’s what they are today – at the point of being slaughtered with the permission of their governments who created the army they volunteered to fight for – out of despair.

These European governments were and are in the first place interested in NATO, war and in pleasing their masters in Washington, but not in providing jobs or social safety nets for the young, the jobless, the desperate. These governments must destroy the world as a priority for their own elite’s greed and satisfaction, for the war industry’s profit. They do not care for the generations of young people either killed or without a future in Syria, Iraq, or even at home – and now they are ordering, yes, literally ordering to kill their own citizens, who left because their warmongering neoliberal – neofascist – economies had no space and interest in helping their hapless and hopeless citizens finding a purpose in life, a decent job, a roof over their head – and most important, inclusion in society. Feeling as outcasts, they felt inspired by the western initiated jihad propaganda – and left to fight a purposeless horrible western financed war.

This is the same Europe – directed by a nucleus of unelected white-collar criminals in Brussels, called the European Commission, the same Europeans, rather than caring for the well-being on their home-turf, they are colluding with their transatlantic financial mafia pals of Wall Street, FED, the Bretton Woods Institutions, planning on how to rob more poor countries of their natural resources, by indebting and blackmailing them into austerity and privatization of their public services. The same NATO-chained Europe with hundreds of years of history of brutal colonialism throughout the world.

Madame Parly’s statement must have been approved by president Macron, who stayed silent at the condemnation to death of French jihadi citizens by his Minister of Defense. Macron has just managed to put a ‘permanent state of emergency’ – basically Martial Law – into the French Constitution, entering into effect on 1 November 2017 – the first European country to do so.

The State of Emergency was in effect in France – permanent police and military surveillance throughout France – since the Charlie Hebdo murders in January 2015. Despite this law, 43 terror attacks causing hundreds of deaths, occurred in France to this day. – No doubt other EU countries will follow Macron’s lead. There is clearly no space for French ex-jihadists in France.

An anonymous Kurdish YPG official said, foreigners who fight until the end will be ‘eliminated’. In other words, we don’t take prisoners – following the dictate of the French Minister of Defense, and the US envoy, McGurk. The YPG is a powerful Kurdish secessionist militia, financed and supported by Washington.

The anonymous source also said that for the few prisoners they had captured, they, the Kurds, tried to reach out to the prisoners’ home countries, “We try to hand them in. But many would not want to take their (detainees).” He added these were sensitive issues not to be discussed with reporters.

“The general sentiment in northern Europe is we don’t want these people back, but I don’t think anyone has thought about the alternatives,” said Pieter Van Ostaeyen, an expert on the Belgian jihadists. He insinuates the complications on prosecuting the returnees, and how to track them if and when they leave custody.

“You can see why almost the preferred resolution is that they don’t return,” said Bruce Hoffman, head of Georgetown University’s security studies program and author of “Inside Terrorism.” – What worries me is I think it’s wishful thinking that they’re all going to be killed off,” he added.

Wishful thinking or not, French Minister Parly said it’s the best outcome.

“We cannot do anything to prevent their return besides neutralize the maximum number of jihadis in this combat,” she said.

Shamefully, all sense of Human Rights, of the Geneva Convention of War Prisoners, has been erased from the witless, immoral brains of western politicians.

No country openly admits refusing to let citizens who joined the Islamic State return, including women and children. Germany and Russia are exceptions to this sinister rule. German diplomats state that all German citizens “are entitled to consular assistance”.

Russia actually goes out of its way to repatriate its citizens who want to come home, with a special effort on orphaned children and wives of killed Russian jihadists. It is again just wonderful to see the difference in human approach between the east and the decadent west. In his final words at the closing ceremony of the Sochi Youth Festival, Mr. Putin warned that worse than nuclear bombs are the loss of ethics and moral values in society.


Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik, PressTV, The 4th Media (China), TeleSUR, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.

October 24, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

US Admitting Syrian Militants Use Chemical Weapons ‘Welcome’ Overdue Corrective

Sputnik – October 21, 2017

WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, the US State Department issued a Syria Travel Warning, where it wrote that the Islamic State (commonly referred to as ISIL/ISIS or Daesh in Arabic) and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham terrorists, linked to Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group use “suicide bombers, kidnapping, small and heavy arms, improvised explosive devices, and chemical weapons” in Syria.

Earlier on Friday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that it was the first time the United States admitted the use of chemical weapons by terrorists in Syria.

“The new Travel Advisory is a welcome corrective,” historian and Middle East analyst Helena Cobban, a leading expert on Syria told Sputnik.

The terms used in the advisory abandoned monolithic official US insistence for more than four years that all chemical attacks in Syria had to be blamed on the legitimate government of President Bashar Assad, Cobban pointed out.

The US insistence on scapegoating the Assad government for all uses of chemical attacks despite serious evidence suggesting otherwise had strongly conditioned the US public to approve continued military action against the Damascus government, Cobban recalled.

“This has become the deeply ingrained ‘conventional wisdom’ in the public discourse here in the US, although experts in telemetry and chemical warfare have challenged this view at many points,” she said.

Cobban also observed that the new Travel Advisory nowhere explicitly accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons but it did finally identify by name al-Sham and Daesh terrorist groups.

“It is notable that ISIS, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, and other violent extremist groups’ are the only actors singled out in this Travel Advisory as using chemical weapons,” she said.

The US government was now officially obligated to report its knowledge and evidence for the use of chemical weapons by the Islamist groups to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which is based in The Hague, capital of The Netherlands, Cobban added.

The Travel Advisory appeared to have been aimed overwhelmingly at US citizens who might seek to travel to the opposition-held part of Syria, Cobban remarked.

The advisory “makes no mention of the threats that residents of or visitors to government-held areas continue to face from Daesh and from the until-recently-US-backed opposition forces,” she said.

The US government still needed to acknowledge more loudly and clearly that Islamist rebels had been using these weapons and to identify them specifically and publicly by name, Cobban insisted.

US KNEW ALL ALONG

The US government was finally started to acknowledge that groups it had supported had employed chemical weapons in Syria where the Trump and Obama administrations had sought to blame the Damascus government for such attacks, University of Illinois Professor of Law Francis Boyle told Sputnik.

These policies were part of a wider US strategy to topple the Damascus government that was clearly illegal under international law, Boyle pointed out.

The United States had backed the Syrian terror groups “as part of an illegal attempt to overthrow the Syrian government in violation of the United Nations Charter and the rulings of the World Court in the Case of Nicaragua versus United States of America (1984-1986),” he said.

US policymakers could have had no doubt that the terror groups they were financing, helping to organize and arming had been using chemical weapons, Boyle observed.

“Of course the United States government knows full well that some of its surrogate terrorist organizations in Syria have used chemical weapons,” he said.

Over the past four years, successive US administrations had deliberately and cynically blamed Damascus for chemical attacks that they knew their own allies had carried out, Boyle stated.

“Both the Obama administration and now the Trump administration have maliciously exploited their surrogates’ uses of chemical weapons as pretexts and propaganda to justify direct US military intervention into Syria,” he said.

Boyle also warned that even after the admission buried deep in this week’s Travel Advisory, the US government could again in the future blame the Syrian government for chemical attacks that it knew had been carried out in reality by its own allies.

“It very well could happen again. Caveat emptor!” he said.

Al-Nusra Front controls Syria’s Idlib Governorate through the umbrella terrorist group al-Sham and is still thought to be a front for al-Qaeda.

SEE ALSO:

OPCW Says Found Evidence of Chemical Weapons Use in Syria’s Hama in March

October 21, 2017 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

US State Department admits Al-Nusra affiliate using chemical weapons in Syria

RT | October 20, 2017

The US Department of State admitted that militants linked to Al-Nusra Front are carrying out terrorist attacks using chemical weapons in Syria. Russia’s defense ministry says it’s the first admission of its kind.

The assertion was made in the latest Syria travel warning issued by the State Department on Wednesday. It also mentions Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL].

“Terrorist and other violent extremist groups including ISIS and Al-Qaeda linked Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham [dominated by Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Al-Nusra, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization], operate in Syria,” the travel warning reads.

“Tactics of ISIS, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, and other violent extremist groups include the use of suicide bombers, kidnapping, small and heavy arms, improvised explosive devices, and chemical weapons,” it said.

Terror groups have targeted roadblocks, border crossings, government buildings and other public areas in major Syrian cities of Damascus, Aleppo, Hama, Daraa, Homs, Idlib, and Deir-ez-Zor, the State Department acknowledged.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Defense Ministry said a precedent had been set by Washington acknowledging that Al-Nusra linked terrorists use chemical weapons in Syria.

“This is the first official recognition by the State Department not only of the presence, but the very use of chemical weapons by Al-Nusra terrorists to carry out terrorist attacks, which we repeatedly warned about,” General Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the ministry, commented on Friday.

Previously, the US military reported chemical attacks in Syria. Last November, Colonel John Dorrian, a spokesman for the US-led coalition in Iraq, said it is “concerned about Islamic State’s use of chemical weapons.”

“[Islamic State] has used them in Iraq and Syria in the past, and we expect them to continue employing these types of weapons,” Dorrian said in an emailed statement to the New York Times.

The military official said the terrorist group’s ability to stage chemical attacks is “rudimentary,” adding that US, Iraqi and other coalition forces are capable of dealing with the impact of these attacks, namely “rockets, mortar shells or artillery shells filled with chemical agents.”

Earlier in April, the US launched 59 Tomahawk missiles at the Syrian military’s airbase Shayrat in response to an alleged chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib Province, where dozens of civilians including children died from suspected gas poisoning in the rebel-occupied territory. Washington was prompt to point the finger at the Syrian government for the incident.

Moscow said international efforts to investigate the alleged chemical attack did not help to establish hard facts.

“There is a Joint Investigative Mechanism [JIM], established in 2015 by the UN and the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, to find those behind [the use of chemical weapons in Syria],” Mikhail Ulyanov, director of Russian Foreign Ministry’s Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Department, told TASS.

He said the Joint Mechanism’s experts have visited Shayrat airfield on October 8 and 9, but did not collect ground samples at the site.

“The JIM are categorically refusing to carry out this important function,” the diplomat said, adding, “we can’t say this investigation is of any quality… this is an unprofessional approach that raises huge questions.”

October 20, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 1 Comment

Syrian endgame is nigh as rival factions look to cut deals

Three cities – Deir ez-Zour, al-Raqqa, and Idlib – will define how the country shapes up post-ISIS, as key players edge towards under-the-table agreements

By Sami Moubayed | Asia Times | October 17, 2017

Over the weekend, Moscow hosted Sipan Hamo, commander of the powerful all-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the last standing US-backed militia on the Syrian battlefield. It was the most senior visit by a Kurdish military official to Moscow since the Russian Army joined the Syrian War in 2015.

Hamo met with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu and Chief-of-Staff Valeria Gerasimov to discuss the future of Deir ez-Zour and al-Raqqa, two cities along the Euphrates River which – at time of writing – appear to be in their final hours of control by Islamic State (ISIS).

At the same time, Turkish troops crossed the border into Syria, with the blessing of Russia and Iran, deploying in the northwest city of Idlib, which remains, for now, in the hands of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an al-Qaeda-linked terrorist organization previously known as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, or Jabhat al-Nusra.

These three cities –Deir ez-Zour, al-Raqqa, and Idlib – will define what the Syrian endgame looks like. Invisible borders are being created around them, outlining each stakeholder’s share of the Syrian patchwork. Contrary to what many presume, very little fighting is now taking place on the streets of Syria, as under-the-table deals are being cut between traditional enemies who, until very recently, were at daggers drawn with each other.

Deir ez-Zour, the largest of these three contested cities, has been under brutal ISIS control since 2014. Government troops have been advancing on the oil-rich city, which lies east of the Euphrates, marching deep into territory once believed to be part of the country’s US/Kurdish fiefdom.

Opposition sources say government troops, with Russian air cover, will only be taking Deir ez-Zour City and not the entire province, arguing that everything around it, including farmland and oil wells, has been earmarked for the SDF. The exact parameters of these borders is what Hamo wanted to discuss in Moscow.

Reportedly, he pressed for a commitment from the Russians not to confront his troops in the Deir ez-Zour countryside, while promising to stop short of al-Sukhna, the last ISIS stronghold in the Homs Governorate, and leave the honors of its liberation to the Syrian and Russian Armies. On October 7, he and his men had stood by and watched government troops overrun ISIS strongholds in the city of al-Mayadeen, in the countryside of Deir ez-Zour — a job that until recently, would have been left to the SDF.

In exchange for such cooperation, the SDF is seeking Russian guarantees that the Turkish Army will not march on the Kurdish city of Afrin, west of the Euphrates River. Kurdish leaders are panicking after Turkish troops plunged into Idlib over the weekend, seemingly to implement part of the de-conflict zone agreement reached at the Astana ceasefire talks in May. Afrin lies within the Russian pocket of influence in Syria, and the Turks are trying to win control of the summit of Sheikh Mount Barakat, which overlooks it. A former radar post for the Syrian Army, it would give Erdogan’s forces a birds-eye view of Afrin. Moscow agreed to give Hamo the specific guarantee he asked for.

Meanwhile, the Turks are cutting their own deals in Idlib – with the militant jihadist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Instead of bankrolling a new proxy army of Syrian recruits, or sending its own troops to battle, Ankara is trying to reach a political understanding with HTS, calling for its silent evacuation from Idlib and safe passage to the countryside of Deir ez-Zour.

On October 8, HTS militants escorted a Turkish reconnaissance unit into Idlib. This was followed by no fewer than three meetings between Turkish officials and HTS commanders, raising eyebrows among the Syrian Opposition. This is the very same group that the Turks have been mandated to crush, but which many believe they helped to create early in the Syrian conflict five years ago.

In exchange for safe exodus, Turkey wants HTS to withdraw quietly from Atme, north of Idlib and east of the Turkish border, through Darat Izzat (30 km northwest of Aleppo), all the way to Anadan, on the Aleppo-Gazientap International Highway. This would further secure the Turkish border from any Kurdish advancements, and create a new buffer zone in which to relocate Syrian refugees living in Turkey since 2011. It would also enlarge Turkey’s zone of influence in Syria, which already includes the two border cities of Jarablus and Azaz, and that of al-Bab, 40km northeast of Aleppo.

Similar secret deals are also being cut between the SDF and ISIS in al-Raqqa, where the jihadists have been on the defensive since the Kurdish campaign started last June.

The city has been subjected to a horrific aerial bombardment by the US-led Coalition, believed to be one of the worst in modern history. Within days, however, al-Raqqa will be liberated fully from ISIS control, bringing an end, once and for all, to the myth of the “capital” of the Islamic State.

Only 120 fighters are left in al-Raqqa, stranded in a pass of just 1.5 km, and all of them are foreign fighters. All local Syrian ISIS fighters were evacuated through secret agreement with the SDF on the night of October 6-7, disguised as ordinary civilians. The agreement with ISIS basically allows local Syrians to jump ship, distancing themselves from the terror group that captured their hearts and minds back in 2014. In exchange for handing back al-Raqqa, these Syrian fighters might even get a free pass to return to ordinary life, if they help eliminate what remains of foreign fighters inside still inside the city.

October 17, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli TV Shows Footage Of ISIS Training Camp On Israel’s Border

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | October 13, 2017

Last November Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country “won’t allow Islamic State figures or other enemy actors, under the cover of the war in Syria, to set up next to our borders,” but it appears this has already happened, to the point that a sizable ISIS training camp has been set up just across the Golan Heights border with Israel. Though Syrian al-Qaeda has long been a mainstay in southern Syria along Israel’s border, this constitutes the first widespread public acknowledgement and confirmation of a significant ISIS base of operations in the Golan region.

Israeli media this week is reporting news of the base camp after Israel’s Channel 2 aired an extensive report with video and photographic evidence of what’s being described as a training and recruitment center which has already attracted hundreds of new terror recruits. Channel 2 is one of Israel’s most visible and established news broadcast channels and operates under “The Second Authority for Television and Radio” licensed by the Knesset and the Ministry of Communications. According to the Times of Israel :

Israel’s Channel 2 said the commanders have made their way to an Islamic State-controlled enclave “close to the border” with Israel. They have set up a training camp to which they have recruited 300 local youths, said the report, which showed footage apparently of the camp and training sessions.

Among the commanders is one of Islamic State’s most notorious recruiters, Abu Hamam Jazrawi, the TV report said.

The commanders are also now running Islamic State internet propaganda campaigns from their new base, in place of the former campaign headquarters in Raqqa, the extremists’ former de facto capital in northwest Syria where the fight to oust them has entered what appear to be its final stages.

Featured in Israel’s Channel 2 broadcast: Islamic State training camp (Channel 2 screenshot)

Channel 2 screenshot purporting to show the ISIS base camp just across Israel’s border.

The Channel 2 exposé further notes the presence of multiple senior Islamic State commanders at the camp, which suggests the terror group could be attempting to relocate its assets to Syria’s south as it appears to be crumbling with the onset of SDF, Syrian Army, and Russian forces in the eastern part of the country.

The Times of Israel acknowledges another shocking fact, which has itself become an open secret of sorts among Israeli defense and policy officials: what it calls the long lasting “live and let live” relationship with al-Qaeda in the region. The Times of Israel explains:

Both the IS-affiliated Khalid ibn al-Walid Army and the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly the al-Nusra Front, which is linked to al-Qaeda, have been set up on Israel’s borders for years.

Despite a relatively long-lasting “live and let live” relationship with these groups, the IDF has warned of a potential — some say inevitable — conflict with them and has been preparing to respond to cross-border attacks.

Though the IDF has “warned” of some “potential” direct action against the most notorious terrorist groups in the world which seem to be comfortably ensconced within eyesight of Israeli border posts, it has never taken significant direct action against these groups, instead routinely targeting the Syrian army, Iranian-linked militias, and Hezbollah with airstrikes. This is a general reflection of the Israeli strategy of regime change in Syria, which has resulted in a well-documented history of assistance to al-Qaeda affiliated rebel groups.

A Wall Street Journal investigation found that this relationship involved weapons transfers, salary payments to anti-Assad fighters, and treatment of wounded jihadists in Israeli hospitals, the latter which was widely promoted in photo ops picturing Netanyahu himself greeting militants. As even former Acting Director of the CIA Michael Morell once directly told the Israeli public, Israel’s “dangerous game” in Syria consists in getting in bed with al-Qaeda in order to fight Shia Iran. 

Channel 2 News and the The Times of Israel also featured an image from a prior video of a lone ISIS militant holding an Islamic State flag with the Israeli side of the Golan border in clear view.


The Times of Israel featured the above image: “Threats from across the border in a video released by an Islamic State affiliate on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights on September 3, 2016.”

In recent years, multiple current and former Israeli defense officials have gone so far as to say that ISIS is ultimately preferable to Iran and Assad. For example, former Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren in 2014 surprised the audience at Colorado’s Aspen Ideas Festival when he said in comments related to ISIS that, “the lesser evil is the Sunnis over the Shias.” Oren, while articulating Israeli defense policy, fully acknowledged he thought ISIS was “the lesser evil.”

Likewise, for Netanyahu and other Israeli officials the chief concern was never the black clad death cult which filmed itself beheading Americans and burning people alive, but the possibility of, in the words of Henry Kissinger, “a Shia and pro-Iran territorial belt reaching from Tehran to Beirut” and establishment of “an Iranian radical empire.”

With Israeli media now widely reporting the Islamic State’s presence along Israel’s border we wonder why such a clear and documented fact isn’t cause for bigger outrage. Though Israel’s Channel 2 bombshell report aired earlier this week, there’s been resounding silence in international press. ISIS is camping out along Israel’s border, yet all we hear about is the supposed “Iranian threat” to Israel’s existence.

October 14, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

ISIS attacked Syrian positions from US-controlled area, used sophisticated data – Moscow

RT | October 4, 2017

A series of recent Islamic State attacks against Syrian forces used sophisticated intelligence and originated from a US-controlled area near al-Tanf on the Syria-Jordan border, Russia’s Defense Ministry said.

“We have repeatedly pointed out that the major obstacle to the complete elimination of IS (Islamic State, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Syria lies not in the fighting capability of the terrorists but [in the fact] that American colleagues are supporting them and are ‘flirting’ with them,” the Russian Defense Ministry’s spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov, said in a statement.

He went on to say that the successful advances of the Syrian Army, supported by the Russian Air Force, as well as the “rapid liberation” of the Euphrates Valley from Islamic State are “apparently at odds with the plans of US colleagues.”

The ministry’s spokesman then said that the recent well-coordinated actions of the terrorists indicate that they possess intelligence data that can only be obtained as a result of air reconnaissance. He noted that all the terrorist attacks originated from the same US-controlled area.

The extremists attempted to carry out an attack against the Syrian governmental forces, which was “coordinated in time and place,” in the Syrian Homs province on September 28, Konashenkov said.

He drew attention to the fact that a large terrorist unit “successfully bypassed” all the Syrian Army’s hidden outposts in the area. That, the official noted, could have been done only if the extremists had precise coordinates of each governmental forces’ position obtained through air reconnaissance data, which were analyzed by some specialists in advance.

The major-general said that, on the same day, the jihadists also attacked the Syrian Army positions along the highway linking the Syrian cities of Palmyra and Deir ez-Zor, which plays a crucial role in supplying the governmental forces in the Euphrates Valley.

The Syrian Army had to “make significant efforts” to repel these attacks, but the terrorists were eventually driven back.

All those attacks “have only one thing in common: all of them originated from a 50-kilometer zone surrounding the city of al-Tanf on the Syria-Jordan border,” Konashenkov said, adding that it is precisely the same area, where the US military mission’s base is located.

In his statement, Konashenkov doubted that all those incidents could be described as just “mere coincidences” by saying that, “if the US side considers such operations as “’unforeseen’ contingencies, the Russian Air Forces in Syria are ready to eliminate” them in an area they control.

It is not the first time, when the Russian officials suspected the US-led coalition of having links to some radical groups in Syria and the Al Nusra Front, a local Al Qaeda branch, in particular.

In early September, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the situation around Al Nusra in Syria remains “highly ambiguous” as it was repeatedly spared in the operations conducted by the US-led coalition and its allies.

On September 20, the Russian Defense Ministry said it obtained data indicating that an offensive launched by Al Nusra terrorists and their allies seeking particularly to capture a unit of the Russian military police was orchestrated by the US security services.

Just four days later, the ministry released aerial images, which they said showed US Army Special Forces equipment in an ISIS-held area to the north of the city of Deir ez-Zor. The US, however, denied having any links to the jihadists.

On October 3, Lavrov once again raised the issue of the US-led coalition’s alleged links to the extremist groups as he criticized the US for playing dangerous games by inspiring “terrorists to attack strategic locations” held by the Syrian governmental forces or staging “fatal provocations against our [Russian] military personnel.”

October 4, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

US staging ‘fatal provocations’ against Russian forces in Syria – Lavrov

RT | October 3, 2017

Washington is playing a dangerous game of encouraging terrorists in Syria to attack government forces and the Russian military, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said. Moscow won’t leave aggressive US steps unanswered, but wants to overcome the political deadlock, he added.

In an interview with the London-based, Arabic-language Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, taken ahead of the visit of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to Moscow, Lavrov noted that the US-led coalition and the Syrian rebel forces they support consistently act in a way that helps Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and other terrorist groups.

“In some cases, these forces mount allegedly accidental strikes against the Syrian Armed Forces, after which Islamic State [banned in Russia] counterattacks. In other cases, they inspire other terrorists to attack strategic locations over which official Damascus has restored its legitimate authority, or to stage fatal provocations against our military personnel,” Lavrov said.

Washington is guided by “double standards” in Syria, the Russian foreign minister said, slamming the US for failing to acknowledge that there are no such things as bad or good terrorists.

“If you apply double standards, divide terrorists into ‘bad’ and ‘very bad,’ force others to enter the coalition on political motives, forgetting about the necessary UN sanction to approve these actions, then it’s hard to speak about the effectiveness of an anti-terror campaign,” he said.

Russia’s involvement in the campaign against ISIS in Syria aids not only Russia’s national security, but also regional stability, Lavrov said. He added that it is not enough to defeat terrorists on the ground to bring peace to embattled regions, noting the importance of diplomatic efforts.

“It’s impossible to eradicate terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa through military means only. We are deeply convinced about that. The advantage of our policy lies in that it is not self-interested and does not have a hidden agenda,” he said.

Moscow will continue to engage in the process of conflict resolution in these regions through peaceful political and diplomatic efforts, and it “invites everyone interested to participate in this joint and honest work,” Russia’s top diplomat said.

The major contribution to the defeat of IS in Syria has been made by the Syrian Armed Forces and the Russian Air Force, Lavrov noted.

With regard to Syria and Iraq, where government armed forces and allied militias are pushing to take the remaining jihadists’ strongholds, the cooperation between Moscow, Ankara and Teheran is playing a decisive role in bringing back stability, Lavrov argued.

“Our practical cooperation at all levels and inter-agency daily contacts illustrate that Turkey and Iran play, in the full sense of the word, the key role in terms of stabilizing the situation in Syria and Iraq,” he told the publication.

He also hailed Saudi Arabia for its lead in forming a Syrian opposition delegation at the Geneva talks so that it “could become a fair merit partner of the delegation of the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic at the talks under the UN auspices in Geneva.”

Speaking of the upcoming visit of Saudi King Salman Al Saud to Moscow, Lavrov expressed the hope that it would “bring our cooperation to a totally different level” and pave way for a more stable Middle East and North Africa region.

‘Sanctions won’t go unanswered’

Speaking about the chances of US-Russia relations improving, Lavrov said that anti-Russian hysteria in the US has become a huge obstacle on the road to normalizing relations. Reiterating that Moscow did not meddle in the US presidential elections, Lavrov argued that by making Russia a scapegoat, “someone in Washington doesn’t’ want to accept the result of the vote” while “shamelessly exploiting the Russian card in the power struggle.”

While Moscow takes into account the complex inner political situation in the US, it will have to prepare a set of counter-measures of its own.

“We cannot let such aggressive US steps, as, for instance, “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” adopted in July, go unanswered. We hope that reason will prevail in Washington and a spiral of confrontation will be stopped. On our part, we are not aiming for it.”

Lavrov stressed that it will takes political will on both sides to find a way out of an “artificially created deadlock” in US-Russia cooperation.

With Russia-US relations currently at rock bottom, the potential for joint work in various areas is wasted, Lavrov lamented, adding that Moscow has consistently called on Washington to upgrade the cooperation in areas of mutual interest.

“The potential for Russian-American cooperation in international affairs is great, although in many respects it remains underdeveloped. We have long been urging our colleagues to establish real coordination in the area of counter-terrorism and in dealing with other dangerous challenges, i.e. the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, drug trafficking and cybercrime,” Lavrov said.

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin also called for “constructive, predictable and mutually-beneficial cooperation” with Washington as he accepted the credentials of the newly appointed US ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman.

Huntsman, for his part, said he would strive to rebuild the trust eroded in recent years and work to strengthen cooperation.

October 3, 2017 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment