Even if we defeat the Islamic State, we’ll still lose the bigger war

 

 

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Residents of Syria’s Idlib province examine building damaged in air strikes on September 24. The United States and its Arab allies have opened a new front in the battle against Islamic State militants. (Ammar Abdullah/Reuters)

Andrew J. Bacevich, the George McGovern fellow at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, is writing a history of U. S. military involvement in the Greater Middle East.

As America’s efforts to “degrade and ultimately destroy” Islamic State militants extend into Syria, Iraq War III has seamlessly morphed into Greater Middle East Battlefield XIV. That is, Syria has become at least the 14th country in the Islamic world that U.S. forces have invaded or occupied or bombed, and in which American soldiers have killed or been killed. And that’s just since 1980.

Let’s tick them off: Iran (1980, 1987-1988), Libya (1981, 1986, 1989, 2011), Lebanon (1983), Kuwait (1991), Iraq (1991-2011, 2014-), Somalia (1992-1993, 2007-), Bosnia (1995), Saudi Arabia (1991, 1996), Afghanistan (1998, 2001-), Sudan (1998), Kosovo (1999), Yemen (2000, 2002-), Pakistan (2004-) and now Syria. Whew.

With our 14th front barely opened, the Pentagon foresees a campaign likely to last for years. Yet even at this early date, this much already seems clear: Even if we win, we lose. Defeating the Islamic State would only commit the United States more deeply to a decades-old enterprise that has proved costly and counterproductive.

Back in 1980, President Jimmy Carter touched things off when he announced that the United States would use force to prevent the Persian Gulf from falling into the wrong hands. In effect, with the post-Ottoman order created by European imperialists — chiefly the British — after World War I apparently at risk, the United States made a fateful decision: It shouldered responsibility for preventing that order from disintegrating further. Britain’s withdrawal from “east of Suez,” along with the revolution in Iran and the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, prompted Washington to insert itself into a region in which it previously avoided serious military involvement.

At the time, oil — not freedom, democracy or human rights — defined the principal American interest, and stability was the goal. Military power offered the means by which the United States hoped to attain that goal. Armed might would keep a lid on things. The pot might simmer, but it wouldn’t boil over.

In practice, however, whether putting boots on the ground or relying on missiles from above, subsequent U.S. efforts to promote stability have tended to produce just the opposite. Part of the problem is that American policymakers have repeatedly given in to the temptation to unleash a bit of near-term chaos, betting that longer-term order will emerge on the other end.

Back in Vietnam, this was known as burning down the village to save it. In the Greater Middle East, it has meant dismantling a country with the aim of erecting something more preferable — “regime change” as a prelude to “nation building.” Unfortunately, the United States has proved considerably more adept at the former than the latter.

Mostly, coercive regime change has produced power vacuums. Iraq offers a glaring example. Although studiously ignored by Washington, post-Gaddafi Libya offers a second. And unless the gods are in an exceptionally generous mood, Afghanistan will probably become a third whenever U.S. and NATO combat troops finally depart.

In place of governing arrangements that Washington judged objectionable, the United States has found itself coping with the absence of any effective governments whatsoever. Instead of curbing bad behavior, spanking induced all sorts of pathologies.

By inadvertently sowing instability, the United States has played directly into the hands of anti-Western radical Islamists intent on supplanting the European-imposed post-Ottoman order with something more to their liking. This is the so-called caliphate that Osama bin Laden yearned to create and that now exists in embryonic form in the portions of Iraq and Syria that Islamic State radicals control.

Want to measure what America’s war for the Middle East has accomplished through its first 13 iterations? The Islamic State has to rank prominently on any list of achievements. If Iraq possessed minimally effective security forces, Islamic State militants wouldn’t have a chance. But the Iraqi army we created won’t fight, in considerable measure because the Iraqi government we created doesn’t govern.

Kurdish fighters defending Kobane warn of a likely massacre by Islamic State insurgents, while Turkey says it will do whatever it can to prevent the Syrian border town from falling. (Reuters)

President Obama did not initiate the long and varied sequence of military actions that has produced this situation. Yet he finds himself caught in a dilemma. To give the Islamic State a free hand is to allow proponents of the caliphate to exploit the instability that U.S. efforts, some involving Obama himself, have fostered. But to make Syria the latest free-fire zone in America’s never-ending Middle East misadventure will almost surely prolong and exacerbate the agonies that country is experiencing, with little ability to predict what consequences will ensue.

Even if U.S. and allied forces succeed in routing this militant group, there is little reason to expect that the results for Syrians will be pretty — or that the prospects of regional harmony will improve. Suppress the symptoms, and the disease simply manifests itself in other ways. There is always another Islamic State waiting in the wings.

Obama’s bet — the same bet made by each of his predecessors, going back to Carter — is that the skillful application of U.S. military might can somehow provide a way out of this dilemma. They were wrong, and so is he.

We may be grateful that Obama has learned from his predecessor that invading and occupying countries in this region of the world just doesn’t work. The lesson he will bequeath to his successor is that drone strikes and commando raids don’t solve the problem, either.

We must hope for victory over the Islamic State. But even if achieved, that victory will not redeem but merely prolong a decades-long military undertaking that was flawed from the outset. When the 14th campaign runs its course, the 15th will no doubt be waiting, perhaps in Jordan or in a return visit to some unfinished battleground such as Libya or Somalia or Yemen.

Yet even as the United States persists in its determination to pacify the Greater Middle East, the final verdict is already in. U.S. military power has never offered an appropriate response to whatever ails the Islamic world. We’ve committed our troops to a fool’s errand.

And worse, the errand is also proving unnecessary. With abundant North American energy reserves now accessible — all that shale oil and fracked gas — we don’t need the Persian Gulf oil that ostensibly made our post-1980 military exertions imperative. For whatever reasons, Washington’s national security elites seem oblivious to the implications these resources have for policy in the Middle East.

No matter how long it lasts, America’s war for the Greater Middle East will end in failure. And when it does, Americans will discover that it was also superfluous.

On the Road in Syria, Struggle All Around

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Syrian families and fighters from a Kurdish militia attended a funeral last month in Qamishli, Syria, for fighters killed more than a year ago.

After Kurdish militias push out ISIS, people are eking out livings in a border area where state services have collapsed. Syrian families and fighters from a Kurdish militia attended a funeral last month in Qamishli, Syria, for fighters killed more than a year ago.

RMEILAN, Syria — After boiling crude oil from the ground near here all day in a metal tank to refine it into diesel, Ali Mohammed braved the fumes to bang the tank’s drain open with a shovel. He stepped back as the dregs oozed into the dirt and burst into flames.

As a column of putrid smoke rose into the sky, he pulled a cigarette from his oil-soaked shirt and explained how the Syrian civil war had turned him into a diesel bootlegger.

He had once worn clean scrubs as a nurse in a state-run hospital, but was fired after rebels took over his village, making all residents suspect, he said. Later, stretched by the war, the government had left the area, leaving its oil up for grabs.

“Before, we saw the wells but we never saw the oil,” Mr. Mohammed said. Now, although its fumes made them sick, the oil helped hundreds of families like his scrape by.

“My wife doesn’t complain about the smell as long as there’s money,” Mr. Mohammed said.

A Kurdish militia fighter rested last week on the eastern banks of the Euphrates River. Islamic State militants fire on Kurdish bases from across the river.
New U.S.-Backed Alliance to Counter ISIS in Syria Falters  NOV. 2, 2015

Displaced Syrians near an abandoned house in the province of Aleppo. Relief workers say they believe at least 50,000 people have been uprooted, mostly north of Homs and in areas around the city of Aleppo.

Violence in Syria Spurs a Huge Surge in Civilian Flight   – OCT. 26, 2015

How Syrians Are Dying  SEPT. 14, 2015

Untangling the Overlapping Conflicts in the Syrian War   OCT. 18, 2015

Such scenes dotted the map during a recent 10-day visit in northeastern Syria, along the Turkish border. Everyone here, it seems, has an angle to work, scrambling to fill the void left by the collapse of the Syrian state.

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South of al-Jawadiyah, crude oil is refined into diesel and other products. Credit Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

The Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, saw this crossroads as a prime place to expand its so-called caliphate. It was far from the major interests of the Syrian government in Damascus and along good river and road networks to allow the quick movement of fighters and contraband.

But as Kurdish fighters pushed the Islamic State jihadists out, they sought to stamp their vision of a better life onto northern Syria: an autonomous enclave built on the principles — part anarchist, part grass-roots socialist — of a Kurdish militant leader whose face now adorns arm bands and murals across the territory.

Others, like Mr. Mohammed, are just trying to get by: the farmers, herders and smugglers, or those just trying to piece their communities back together after months under the black flag and public punishments of the Islamic State.

The police are gone, and militias have flourished, snarling traffic with checkpoints and covering lampposts with pictures of dead fighters. Shuttered gas stations stand near shacks where fuel is sold in plastic jugs. And abandoned government offices house ad hoc administrations that struggle to keep the lights on.

Kurdish Utopia

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Nine months after coalition airstrikes and Kurdish fighters repelled an invasion by the Islamic State, residents of Kobani struggle with loss, failed services and widespread destruction. Credit Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

 

The Kurdish militia that grew to become the dominant power in this part of Syria over the past year — known as the People’s Protection Units — has managed to roll back the Islamic State in many areas, carving out a swath of relative security that the residents call Rojava.

The community leaders here are working to set up a new order based on the philosophies of the separatist leader Abdullah Ocalan, of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or P.K.K., who is serving a life sentence for treason in Turkey.

“Turn your land, your water and your energy into a commune to build a free and democratic life,” reads a common billboard featuring Mr. Ocalan’s mustachioed face. His supporters call him “president” or “uncle.”

Influenced by the American anarchist Murray Bookchin, Mr. Ocalan has called for autonomous rule by local committees unbound by national borders. The project’s proponents say they do not seek to break up Syria but are leading a long-term social revolution that will ensure gender and minority rights.

“The Syrian people can solve the Syrian crisis and find new ways to run the country,” said Hediya Yusif, a co-president of one of the area’s three self-declared cantons.

But much about the new administrations remains aspirational. No foreign power has recognized them, and Turkey looks on them with hostility, fearing that they want to declare an independent state along its border. Many of their workers are volunteers or functionaries still paid by the Syrian government.

The new order’s complexities are glaring in the strongly Kurdish town of Qamishli, where monuments to fallen militia fighters and billboards in red, green and yellow — the flag colors of the People’s Protection Units, or Y.P.G. — dominate roundabouts.

“The homeland is belonging, loyalty and sacrifice,” read one sign, showing women farming and holding Kalashnikovs.

One morning, dozens of women waved militia flags on the town’s main road, waiting for the bodies of Kurdish fighters to arrive for burial in a sprawling martyrs’ cemetery.

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The new order’s complexities are glaring in the strongly Kurdish town of Qamishli, where monuments to fallen militia fighters and billboards in red, green and yellow — the flag colors of the People’s Protection Units, or Y.P.G. — dominate roundabouts. “The homeland is belonging, loyalty and sacrifice,” read one sign, showing women farming and One morning, dozens of women waved militia flags on the town’s main road, waiting for the bodies of Kurdish fighters to arrive for burial in a sprawling martyrs’ cemetery.

 
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Relatives of Kurdish militia fighters killed more than a year ago in Kobani and being buried in their hometown, Qamishli. Credit Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

 

Renas Ghanem stood among them with a photograph of her sister, Silan, who had quit high school to join a Kurdish militia in Iraq and returned to fight the Islamic State in Syria, where she was killed.

Nearby, however, loomed a statue of the former strongman Hafez al-Assad, father of the current Syrian president, in an area of continued Syrian government control only a few blocks long, where the Syrian police, in white shirts and black caps, direct traffic.

Kurdish leaders do not hide their resentment of the Syrian government for its treatment of Kurds. But allowing the government to control the town’s airport keeps it open, they say, and its largely symbolic presence downtown has prevented the government airstrikes that have destroyed rebel areas elsewhere.

“The Y.P.G. could chase the regime out in one hour, but what would come after?” said Ahmed Moussa, a Kurdish journalist. “Barrel bombs and airstrikes.”

The territory’s main link to the outside is two rusty boats that ferry passengers across a river from Iraq and a pontoon bridge for cargo. Trucks leaving Syria on a recent day carried cows and sheep; those entering hauled soft drinks and potato chips.

Despite improved security in some places, unemployment and the threat of renewed fighting have sent many people from this area fleeing by boats to Europe.

“The situation in Rojava can’t keep people here,” said Shivan Ahmed, a butcher’s assistant in the town of Amuda who earns less than $3 a day.

His wife and 7-month-old son had recently left on a boat that sank near Turkey, he said. They were rescued, but 13 of their relatives, mostly women and children, were still missing.

Relatives of Kurdish militia fighters killed more than a year ago in Kobani and being buried in their hometown, Qamishli. Credit Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

Renas Ghanem stood among them with a photograph of her sister, Silan, who had quit high school to join a Kurdish militia in Iraq and returned to fight the Islamic State in Syria, where she was killed.

Nearby, however, loomed a statue of the former strongman Hafez al-Assad, father of the current Syrian president, in an area of continued Syrian government control only a few blocks long, where the Syrian police, in white shirts and black caps, direct traffic.

Kurdish leaders do not hide their resentment of the Syrian government for its treatment of Kurds. But allowing the government to control the town’s airport keeps it open, they say, and its largely symbolic presence downtown has prevented the government airstrikes that have destroyed rebel areas elsewhere.

“The Y.P.G. could chase the regime out in one hour, but what would come after?” said Ahmed Moussa, a Kurdish journalist. “Barrel bombs and airstrikes.”

The territory’s main link to the outside is two rusty boats that ferry passengers across a river from Iraq and a pontoon bridge for cargo. Trucks leaving Syria on a recent day carried cows and sheep; those entering hauled soft drinks and potato chips.

Despite improved security in some places, unemployment and the threat of renewed fighting have sent many people from this area fleeing by boats to Europe.

“The situation in Rojava can’t keep people here,” said Shivan Ahmed, a butcher’s assistant in the town of Amuda who earns less than $3 a day.

His wife and 7-month-old son had recently left on a boat that sank near Turkey, he said. They were rescued, but 13 of their relatives, mostly women and children, were still missing.

Still, he said, his neighbors keep leaving.

 

Syrian jihadists feud & bomb each other over funds as Russian jets destroy supply lines

RT NEWS

Russian attack jets have hit 51 Islamic State targets in Syria in the past 24 hours, including four command posts, six arms depots, a mortar battery, two underground bunkers, 32 field camps and six outposts.

The strikes took place in the Latakia, Aleppo, Hama and Damascus provinces.

The damage the Russian SU-34 jets caused to the underground bunkers was especially significant, Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said.

Fueling a Russian Su-34 strike fighter before a mission at the Khmeimim airbase in Syria. © Dmitriy Vinogradov

Уничтожение подземного бункера боевиков в провинции ХАМА

https://youtu.be/8yFz9SCB9UU

 

They hit the terrorists’ underground infrastructure in Homs, which had allowed the militants to move undetected and increase their effectiveness in combat.

The well-funded Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) has been hiding whole weapons caches underground, which included explosive devices for carrying out terrorist attacks.

A small missile factory was among the objects destroyed. However, these underground bases and conduits are believed to be widespread across Syria, so more work needs to be done, Konashenkov says.

READ MORE: ‘Weak and short-sighted’ – Russian PM slams White House for failure to sync ISIS bombing campaign

 

A frontline supply junction for transporting fuel, arms and food supply lines was also hit in the Damascus province.

The entire command infrastructure of one of the terrorist groups operating in the Hama province was disrupted by the strikes, sending the militants fleeing from the area, the Defense Ministry added.

According to information from the Russian armed forces, desertions on a massive scale are occurring amongst IS ranks in the north and north-east of the country. In the Raqqa province, IS has started a mobilization of everyone aged 14 and over.

Уничтожение опорhttps:

https://youtu.be/8yFz9SCB9UU

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s).  Unruly Hearts will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article. 

BREAKING: Over 1,000 ISIS and Al Nusra Militants Surrender To Syrian Army In Last 24 Hours

 

 

The development came after President Bashar al-Assad in a televised address in July pardoned all soldiers who have fled the army, saying that his words served as a general decree to relevant officials.

Hundreds of gunmen have been laying down their weapons and turning themselves in to authorities in areas across the country.

This number seems to be on the rise as the army has been making steady gains in the battlefield against the terrorist groups, recapturing an increasing number of regions, including strategic sites, which helped cut off many of the militants’ supply routes and forced them to surrender or run away.

Also in the past 24 hours, the Syrian air raids destroyed concentration centers of the ISIL, al-Nusra Front and other terrorist groups in Hama and Idlib.

The Syrian warplanes conducted airstrikes against positions of ISIL and the so-called Jeish al-Fath terrorists in the countryside of Hama and Idlib.

The airstrikes hit positions of the ISIL terrorists in al-Rahjan village, 50 km to the Northeast of Hama City, destroying a number of terrorists’ vehicles with all arms, ammunition and equipment on board.

The airstrikes also hit positions of al-Nusra Front and other terrorist groups in Aqrab village in the Southwestern countryside of Hama, killing scores of terrorists.

A number of vehicles belonging to Jeish al-Fath terrorists were also destroyed in airstrikes in Abdin village in the countryside of Ma’aret al-Nu’aman in Idlib countryside.

Meantime, the Syrian fighter jets pounded hideouts of the Takfiri militants in the countryside of Homs.

The Syrian air raids destroyed Takfiri terrorists’ hideouts and vehicles in al-Qaryatain, al-Sa’an, and in the vicinity of al-Sha’er field in Homs countryside.

The Russian air group in Syria is using Kh-29L air-to-surface missiles to conduct airstrikes against the ISIL militants, the Russian military said Sunday.

“A Kh-29L surface-to-air missile is equipped with a semi-active laser guidance system. When the launch is conducted, a pilot illuminates a target with a laser sight. At the same time an aircraft can continue the flight,” Aerospace Forces Spokesman Colonel Igor Klimov said.

Also, the Syrian army conducted military operations against the foreign-backed Takfiri militants in Aleppo province, leaving hundreds of them killed and injured.

Hundreds of terrorists were killed or wounded in Aleppo City and its countryside in the past 24 hours, a military source said.

Elsewhere, at least 28 militant fighters of the ISIL terrorist group were killed during clashes with the Kurdish forces in the Northeastern Syrian province of Hasaka.

“The YPG forces besieged the ISIL militants near Mount Abdulaziz and killed dozens of terrorists and destroyed several vehicles,” a spokesman for the YPG Media Center told ARA News.

Also, gunmen from the Jeish al-Fath coalition of extremist groups are pulling out their forces from Idlib and other towns in Northwestern Syria.

The radical group started moving towards the Turkish border on Saturday after having experienced “the efficiency of the Russian aerospace forces’ strikes,” the As-Safir Arabic-language daily reported.

The coalition is led by al-Nusra terrorist group, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda, which is sponsored by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar. The group seized the Idlib province this spring.

The report said field commanders fear at any moment the attack of Syrian forces supported by Russian warplanes on the key town of Jisr al-Shugour, on the Lattakia-Aleppo highway.

The Propaganda War against Syria Led by Avaaz and the White Helmets

October 02, 2015
Region: Middle East & North Africa, Russia and FSU
Theme: Media Disinformation, US NATO War Agenda
In-depth Report: SYRIA: NATO’S NEXT WAR?

1-52a0ad6527Propaganda is the spreading of information in support of a cause. It’s not so important whether the information is true or false or if the cause is just or not — it’s all propaganda.

The word propaganda is often used in a negative sense, especially for politicians who make false claims to get elected or spread rumours to instigate regime change [my edit]. In fact, any campaign that is used to persuade can be called propaganda.

Russia’s involvement in Syria has caused a flurry of “cold war”, Assad/ISIS co-dependency propaganda, all being produced by the usual suspects and all with the primary objective of invoking a No Fly Zone in Syria and stoking the “Russian Bear threat” fires that have been smouldering for some time.

I am going to attempt to dismantle this propaganda edifice one brick at a time.

Russia Attacks Moderate Rebels in Syria

In a Telegraph article dated 1st October 2015 with the headline British Troops Head to Saudi Arabia to train Syrian rebels it was stated:

The FSA is considered the most moderate of factions fighting Bashar al-Assad’s government, but has been increasingly side-lined on the battlefield by more extremist Islamist factions. It has also been riven by leadership disputes.

American-led attempts to train up moderates to hold ground against Isil are months behind track because of the difficulty of finding groups which were not linked to the extremists.

The term “moderate rebels” has become one of the most significant misnomers of this coming up to five year conflict. The hijacking of any semblance of a legitimate opposition to the Syrian Government by NATO, the US and regional allies including Israel in order to achieve their desired regime change has been well documented.

Who are these elusive “moderate rebels”?

You may well ask. Traditionally it is the FSA that has been marketed as the cuddly, viable alternative to the Assad government which incidentally is the internationally recognised government of Syria, supported by the majority of the Syrian people. However we don’t have to dig too deep to reveal the hard line Islamist, Salafi affiliations of this so-called moderate group of brigands.

Journalist Daniel Greenfield puts it most succinctly: “Few media outlets are willing to say that out loud, but it’s quite true. There is no Free Syrian Army. It’s an umbrella for providing Western aid to a front group run by the Muslim Brotherhood.” He deplores the shaky Pentagon math that Obama and Congress have used in an attempt to downplay the reality that even in 2013 Pentagon sources were reluctantly admitting that extremist groups constituted over 50% of Syrian “opposition” and that these numbers were steadily increasing.

This map clearly shows the weakness of this “moderate rebel” argument as it unequivocally demonstrates the minor FSA presence at the frontline of Syrian opposition. They compose of fragmented mercenary groups largely unable to operate without extremist logistical support.

syria-forces-map

So this rather dispels the “moderate” myth and leads to the conclusion that in reality Russia was targeting areas north of Homs that contained few civilians and is an area controlled by a number of combined Muslim Brotherhood, Jihadist opposition fighters supported by the US alliance. It must also be remembered that the majority of civilians will flee an area infested by such mercenaries and seek refuge in government held areas. This is another fact conveniently omitted from most mainstream media reports. 90% of IDPs are in Government held areas.

It also makes a mockery of Defence Secretary Ashton B Carter’s claims in the New York Times yesterday:

“By supporting Assad and seemingly taking on everybody fighting Assad,” Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said Wednesday, Russia is “taking on the whole rest of the country that’s fighting Assad.” Some of those groups, he added, are supported by the United States and need to be part of a political resolution in Syria.

“That’s why the Russian position is doomed to fail,” Mr. Carter said.

Russia is effectively exposing US policy in Syria as naked hegemony and America is not happy. While the US has been supplying TOW missiles and a variety of arms/equipment to extremists and deliberately funding any group that will secure regime change, Russia is actively deploying its military to target the nests of terrorist mercenaries and opportunists waiting eagerly for the political vacuum that would be created by the “removal” of Assad, in order to inflict their extremism upon the Syrian people. They may not be technically called ISIS but they are cut from the same cloth of US/Israeli proxy terrorism and should be eliminated from any sovereign nation. Failure to do so has catastrophic results as seen in Libya and Iraq.

The Propaganda Trail

Now let’s examine the unsavoury marketing aspect of the propaganda campaign being waged by a frustrated and increasingly infuriated US alliance. Of course the usual triad has leapt into action. HRW, Avaaz and the White Helmets. Avaaz has produced one of its most poisonous and misleading petitions to date. The inevitable eyewitness statements claim that Russia targeted civilian areas utterly free of ISIS operatives. These statements are already rendered questionable by the evidence I have submitted above.

When we watch the videos, particularly the longer Liveleak version, it is hard to detect the women and children that are being described. The majority of protagonists appear to be male and of fighting age. There is no evidence of “civilian” life among the deserted buildings, the only movement is of males, some on foot, some on scooters and presumably some taking the time to film events even as the bombs are falling. Not the actions of terrified, innocent civilians.

Live Leak Video of Russian bombing of Homs:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=eb9_1443646193

There is one other video that does show about 2 seconds of a young boy crying and obviously injured. However this video must be questioned as to its authenticity as the claims are that the initial shot of planes overhead is not even of Russian planes. The quality of the video is poor and apart from the footage of the one child, again demonstrates that the majority of people involved are men of fighting age in a deserted built up area to the north of Homs.

In this disgusting display of blatant propaganda calling for the long sought after no fly zone, Emma Ruby-Sachs, deputy director of Avaaz makes the extraordinary statement “Russia says it’s bombing ISIS, but eyewitnesses say their brutal attacks targeted areas way outside of ISIS control. This will only sow instability and radicalisation and should be an urgent wake-up call to the US and its allies to enforce a targeted no-fly zone to save lives, counter ISIS and alleviate the refugee crisis. Syrians civilians need protection now, not further attacks from Russian bombs.”

Speaking to one Damascus resident this morning, I asked for their opinion on this statement. His reply was simple, “I am just relieved that the Russian Air Force is in action”. The hypocrisy of this statement from Ruby-Sachs perfectly mirrors the hypocrisy of Congress, Obama’s Teflon speech at the UNGA, Pentagon’s barefaced obscurantism over the US role in creating exactly this instability and radicalisation in Syria and bringing misery, terror and bloodshed to the people of Syria with the sole aim of securing their interests in the region [and those of their staunchest partner in crimes against Humanity, Israel]

If we wish to speak of civilian casualties perhaps we should turn the spotlight on the pre- existing Coalition bombing campaign. The civilian death rates from these strikes is rarely discussed and often concealed by the Pentagon and US/European associated analysts like the SOHR. Where for example was the Avaaz petition calling for a No Fly Zone when the coalition air strikes resulted in a multitude of non-combatant deaths including children? This report from Airwars reveals the disturbing numbers:

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Syria has also seen a number of troubling mass casualty events attributed to Coalition actions. On the first night of bombing on September 23rd 2014, US aircraft killed as many as 15 civilians in the village of Kafar Daryan. On December 28th at least 58 civilians reportedly died when the Coalition struck a temporary Daesh prison at al Bab (see report). And on April 30th 2015, 64 civilians died in a likely Coalition airstrike at Ber Mahli. In these three incidents alone, 106 non-combatant victims have so far been publicly named – 38 of them children. It remains unclear whether any of these events have been investigated by the Coalition.

Syria’s civilians need a spanner putting in the spokes of this crushing propaganda vehicle that rides roughshod over their genuine needs with devastating consequences. Those needs are simple: stop lying, stop fabricating and stop creating, funding, arming and incubating the terrorist cancer in Syria.

The White Helmet element.

Now we come to perhaps one of the most insidious and damaging elements of the propaganda machine. The White Helmets, created by Svengali of PR giants, Purpose.com. The White Helmets with the debonair, Sandhurst educated James Bond of humanitarianism at its helm, James Le Mesurier, whose CV reads like a NATO regime change itinerary and whose connections delve deep into the Empire’s underworld of media manipulation and strategy cultivation.

The first slick photo campaign was hot off the press almost immediately after the first Russian air strikes in the Homs region:

syria-campaign-russia

Unfortunately for them, perhaps White Helmets are exhausting their supply of heart string tugging images as their twitter campaign almost immediately came under attack by those who are waking up to this cynical propagandization of human misery.

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Quote from Sott.net ~

“The White Helmets in their haste to point the finger of blame at Moscow, managed to tweet about Russia’s air strikes several hours before the Russian Parliament actually authorized the use of the Air Force in Syria.”

This image was also picked up and run with by RT who accurately pinpointed the deep-rooted deceit that lies at the heart of the majority of White Helmet publicity campaigns. The flurry of activity on the White Helmet twitter page must have taken, even them, by surprise. For so long they have enjoyed the fruits of their marketing campaign depicting them as selfless heroes, saviours of humanity, impartial protectors of kittens and Syrians in equal measure. Unarmed, neutral, demi-saints climbing the “Mount Everest of war zones”. Unfortunately so many of their masks have slipped that they can no longer bask in their Purpose reflected glory.

Yesterday like HRW before them they were exposed to be the fabricators and deceivers they really are. Anyone can make a mistake I hear you say, yes sure, one mistake is acceptable, 2 is questionable but a consistent conveyer belt of misleading, perception altering, “nudging” images ceases to be innocent and enters the realm of manipulation on a terrifying scale with horrifying ramifications for the people of Syria who so far, have resisted their country being plunged into the same abyss as Libya or Iraq.

Just one other example of the White Helmet duplicitous image use:

aleppo-white-helmet

Another image was brought to my attention this morning that further shatters the high gloss White Helmet image. Whilst it is well known that far from being neutral, the White Helmets are in fact embedded with Al Nusra [the Syrian arm of Al Qaeda], it is perhaps not so well known that their southern Damascus depot is situated at the heart of ISIS held territory, to the south of the notorious Palestinian Yarmouk refugee camp.

This image shows their insignia and emblem clearly on the wall and gates behind the selfie taking ISIS mercenary in the foreground. It is becoming harder and harder for White Helmets to maintain their veneer of impartiality, a fact that is borne out quite effectively by the fact that the majority of Syrians in government held areas have never heard of them, even unbiased civilians in Aleppo have not come across them. Their association is exclusively with the extremist elements of the Syrian opposition. Their purpose is to facilitate calls for a No Fly Zone, cue Avaaz, and destabilize the region in the manner demanded by their masters in the US, UK and Syrian National Council.

Conclusion

We can safely conclude that the US, Israel and their allies are furious that they have been out manoeuvred and outsmarted by Russia and Syria. Their No Fly Zone plans have been consistently thwarted and derailed. Russia has effectively demanded a US coalition No Fly Zone which is the ultimate insult to US hegemony and self-proclaimed world police status. Russia, unlike the US IS targeting ISIS in all its distorted guises and nomenclature. And yes Mr Defence Secretary, Russia is bombing US supported “rebels” in Syria for the very simple reason, the US has funded all extremist factions in Syria since they first started down the blood strewn road of regime change.

If we lived in a just world we would see Avaaz and their ilk clamouring for an end to interventionism and demanding diplomatic solutions to support internal, sovereign nation, peace processes [as in fact Russia has unwaveringly called for in Syria]. However we do not live in a world based upon a universal understanding of justice, we live in a world governed by the powerful and the greedy, devoid of compassion, intent only on their geopolitical prowess and humanity exempt colonialism. For the sake of the Syrian people and all other nations being crushed by this well used, well-oiled propaganda machine we must question, we must demand answers, and we must wake up to our responsibility to reject calls for the destruction of nations and peoples who ask only for their basic human right to determine their own futures.

Avaaz, HRW, White Helmets and their associates have no place in that brave new world.

Is Turkey Creeping Toward Civil War? – Spiegel Online International

 

 

TOPSHOTS A protester walks by the Cemevi square (an holly place for Turkish Alevites) during clashes with Turkish riot police in Istanbul's Gazi district, on July 26, 2015. A Turkish policeman was killed on July 26, 2015 during clashes with protesters in the flashpoint Istanbul district of Gazi which have raged for the last three days following the death of a leftist activist during raids by the security forces. Turkey has launched a two-pronged "anti-terror" cross-border offensive against Islamic State (IS) jihadists and Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants after a wave of violence in the country, pounding their positions with air strikes and artillery. But the expansion of the campaign to include not just IS targets in Syria but PKK rebels in neighbouring northern Iraq -- themselves bitterly opposed to the jihadists -- has put in jeopardy a truce with the Kurdish militants that has largely held since 2013. AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE
 

 

TOPSHOTS
A protester walks by the Cemevi square (an holly place for Turkish Alevites) during clashes with Turkish riot police in Istanbul’s Gazi district, on July 26, 2015. A Turkish policeman was killed on July 26, 2015 during clashes with protesters in the flashpoint Istanbul district of Gazi which have raged for the last three days following the death of a leftist activist during raids by the security forces. Turkey has launched a two-pronged “anti-terror” cross-border offensive against Islamic State (IS) jihadists and Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants after a wave of violence in the country, pounding their positions with air strikes and artillery. But the expansion of the campaign to include not just IS targets in Syria but PKK rebels in neighbouring northern Iraq — themselves bitterly opposed to the jihadists — has put in jeopardy a truce with the Kurdish militants that has largely held since 2013. AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE