How Putin will Win in Syria – The Russian People are quite proud of the way their forces have been conducting themselves. Of course, who wouldn’t be?

putin-cheers

The reason Putin will succeed where the US failed in its war on ISIS, is because the Russian air-strikes are going to be accompanied by a formidable mop-up operation that will overpower the jihadi groups on the ground. This is already happening as we speak.

The Russian Air Force has been pounding terrorist targets across the Idlib Governorate for the last few days as well as ISIS strongholds in the East at Raffa. On Sunday, according to a report filed by South Front, roughly 700 militants surrendered to members of the 147th Syrian tank brigade shortly after bombers had attacked nearly cities of Mardeij, Ma’arat Al-Nu’man, Jisr Al-Shughour, Saraqib and Sarmeen. This is the pattern we expect to see in the weeks ahead. Russian bombers will soften targets on the frontlines, ground troops will move into position, and untold numbers of jihadis will either flee, surrender or get cut down where they stand. Bottom line: Syria is not going to be a quagmire as the media has predicted. To the contrary, Putin is going to cut through these guys like crap through a goose.

According to South Front:

“Lieutenant General Andrey Kartapolov, head of the Main Operation Directorate of the General Staff of Russia’s armed forces, said the strikes have significantly reduced the terrorists’ combat capabilities.” In other words, the Russian offensive is already producing positive results. This is no small matter. By most accounts, the conflict had deteriorated into a stalemate. Now, with Russia in the picture, that’s changed. Now the table is clearly tilted in Syria’s favor.

Also, according to an earlier report: “The positioning of Russian aircraft in Syria gives the Kremlin the ability to shape and control the battle-space in both Syria and Iraq out of all proportion to the size of the Russian force.” (“International Military Review – Syria, Oct 5, 2015“, South Front)

The Russian air-base at Latakia is perfectly situated for providing air cover or bombing terrorist targets across the country. The Russian airforce will also make every effort to cut off supply lines and escape routes so that as many jihadis as possible are liquidated within Syria’s borders. This is why ISIS positions along the main highway to Iraq were destroyed on Sunday. The jihadi thugs will be given every chance to die in battle as they wish, but getting out alive is not going to be so easy.

There was an article in the Guardian on Sunday that caused quiet a stir among people who are following events in Syria. Here’s a clip:

“Regional powers have quietly, but effectively, channeled funds, weapons and other support to rebel groups making the biggest inroads against the forces from Damascus…..In a week when Russia made dozens of bombing raids, those countries have made it clear that they remain at least as committed to removing Assad as Moscow is to preserving him.“There is no future for Assad in Syria,” Saudi foreign minister Adel Al-Jubeir warned, a few hours before the first Russian bombing sorties began. If that was not blunt enough, he spelled out that if the president did not step down as part of a political transition, his country would embrace a military option, “which also would end with the removal of Bashar al-Assad from power”. With at least 39 civilians reported dead in the first bombing raids, the prospect of an escalation between backers of Assad and his opponents is likely to spell more misery for ordinary Syrians.“The Russian intervention is a massive setback for those states backing the opposition, particularly within the region – Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey – and is likely to elicit a strong response in terms of a counter-escalation,” said Julien Barnes-Dacey, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations.” (“Gulf states plan military response as Putin raises the stakes in Syria“, Guardian)

Saudi Arabia poses no real threat to Putin’s operation in Syria. The Saudis may talk tough, but they already have their hands full with a crashing economy (due to plunging oil prices) and a war in Yemen they have no chance of winning. They’re certainly not going to get more deeply involved in Syria.

It is possible, however, that the Obama administration is planning to use the Saudis as cover for shoring up their support for opposition groups within Syria. There is a high probability that that will happen. Even so, there’s not an endless pool of crackpot mercenaries who want to face a modern airforce with precision-guided munitions for a couple hundred bucks a week. That’s not what you’d call “a job with a future”. Keep in mind, the various Intel agencies have already called in their chits and attracted as many of these dead-enders as they possibly could from far-flung places like Chechnya, Kosovo, Somalia, Afghanistan etc. And while I’m sure Langley keeps a lengthy file of potential candidates for future assignments, I’m also sure that there are a limited number of people who are willing to meet their Maker just so they can belong to some renegade organization and die with a machine gun in their hands. In fact, we may have already reached “peak terrorist” after which there could be a steady falloff following the downward trajectory of US power in the Middle East and around the world. As we shall undoubtedly see in the months ahead, Syria could very well be the straw that broke the Empire’s back. Here’s more from the Guardian:

“The best way to respond to the Russian intervention is to engage the rebels more and step up support so they can face down the escalation and create a balance on the ground,” he said. “The Russians will [then] realise there are limits to what they can achieve in Syria, and modify their approach.” But the wider regional struggle for influence between Saudi Arabia and Iran makes it almost impossible for Riyadh to walk away, whatever the cost.” (Guardian)

Is it just me or does the author of this piece sound positively elated at the prospect of a bloodier war?

Also, it would have helpful if he had mentioned that arming, funding and training disparate jihadi organizations to effect regime change in a sovereign nation is a violation of international law and the UN Charter. Of course, maybe the author thought that would have made his article too stuffy or pedantic? In any event, the idea that the enfeebled Saudis are going to derail the Russia-Iran-Syria-Hezbollah alliance in their drive to annihilate ISIS and al-Qaida-linked groups is a pipe-dream. The only country that could make a difference in the outcome, is the United States. And, the fact is, Washington’s neocons don’t have the cojones to take on Moscow mano-a-mano, so Putin’s clean-up operation is going to continue on schedule.

By the way, the pundits were wrong about the way the Russian people would react to Moscow’s involvement in Syria, too. As it happens, they’re quite proud of the way their forces have been conducting themselves. Of course, who wouldn’t be? They’ve been kicking ass and taking names since Day 1. Check out this report from CBS News:

“Whatever effect Russia’s airstrikes are having on the ground in Syria, their impact at home is clear: They prove to Russians that their country is showing up the United States and reclaiming its rightful place as a global power….Channel One’s evening news program on Saturday opened with dramatic cockpit videos of Russian jets making what were described as direct hits on terrorist training camps and weapons stores. The bombs were never off by more than five meters, a military spokesman said, because of the jets’ advanced targeting capabilities.This was followed by a report of the disastrous airstrike in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz that destroyed a hospital and killed at least 19 people, including international medical staff. U.S. responsibility for the airstrike had not been proven, but Russian viewers were left with little doubt of who was to blame or of whose military capabilities were superior.” (“Russia’s airstrikes in Syria are playing well at home”, CBS News)

So the Russian people are proud of the way Putin is fighting the war on terror. Is there something wrong with that? Many Americans are old enough to remember a time when they were proud of their own country too, when it actually stood up for the principles it espouses in its founding documents. That was quite a while ago though, sometime back in the “pre-Gitmo” era”.

One last thing: There’s an extraordinary article by author Aron Lund of the Carnegie Endowment titled “Putin’s Plan: What Will Russia Bomb in Syria?” What’s so interesting about the piece is that it was published on September 23, a full week before Russia entered the war, and yet, Lund seems to have anticipated Putin’s actual battle plan. Military geeks are going to love this piece which is well worth reading in full. Here’s a short blurb from the text:

“If at some point Putin decides to target other groups than the Islamic State, he’s not likely to stop at the Nusra Front. Whether right off the bat or after a while, he could easily widen the circle of attacks from al-Qaeda and start blasting away at every rebel group in Idlib, Hama, and Latakia under the pretext that they are either “terrorists” or “terrorist allies.” … the Kremlin has every reason to continue blurring the already indistinct dividing line between “extremist” and “moderate” rebels upon which Western states insist. Even though this neatly black and white categorization of Syria’s murky insurgency is at least partly fiction, it remains a politically indispensable formula for Western states that wish to arm anti-Assad forces. Which is precisely why erasing this distinction by extending airstrikes against all manners of rebels as part of an ostensibly anti-jihadi intervention, may turn out to be Putin’s long-term plan.Blanket attacks on Syrian rebels on the pretext that they are all “al-Qaeda” would lead to much outraged commentary in the Western and Arab press. But to the Russian president it doesn’t matter if you think he’s Mad Vlad or Prudent Putin. He isn’t trying to win hearts and minds, least of all those of the Syrian rebels or their backers. Rather, he is trying to change the balance of power on the ground while firing missile after missile into the West’s political narrative. Whatever one thinks of that, it is a big and bold idea of the sort that sometimes end up working.” (“Putin’s Plan: What Will Russia Bomb in Syria”, Aron Lund, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace“)

We couldn’t agree more. Putin is not going to stop for anything or anyone. He’s going to nail these guys while he has them in his gun-sights, then he’s going to wrap it up and go home. By the time the Obama crew get’s its act together and realizes that they have to stop the bombing pronto or their whole regime change operation is going to go up in smoke, Putin’s going to be blowing kisses from atop a float ambling through Red Square in Moscow’s first tickertape parade since the end of WW2.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

Copyright © Mike Whitney, Counterpunch, 2015

3,000 ISIS infiltrators may enter Turkey, plan to attack diplomatic targets – report

diplomatic.si

RT news – Published time: February 19, 2015 18:04

 Up to 3,000 trained jihadists are seeking to cross into Turkey from Syria and Iraq, with intentions of striking diplomatic targets belonging to anti-ISIS coalition partners, the Turkish intelligence service told the police in an internal memo.

“The jihadist militants could be working on armed or bombing attacks in Ankara and Istanbul against the diplomatic missions of the countries involved in the US-led anti-ISIL [ISIS] coalition,” said the Hurriyet newspaper, citing the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT).

The agency, which refused to provide additional information when contacted by Reuters, warned the police that Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) jihadists repelled from the predominantly Kurdish town of Kobani in Syria, are now looking for ways to cross the border. Hurriyet said that MIT sent a warning as far back as February 3 to local police departments, in an attempt to intercept the flow of terrorists.

It was unclear how many of the jihadists have already penetrated the Turkish border, but MIT said that some have already been sheltered in safe houses in the south of the country. MIT reports that some of the terrorists – a group of men from 17 to 25 from Palestine and Syria – intend to cross into Bulgaria, and from there into the rest of the EU.

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Kurds retake as admits retreat http://on.rt.com/59ldpi 

Former UN Chief Kofi Annan Blames US for Rise of ISIS

Koni-Annan-Munich-Security-Conference-afp

Former UN Chief Kofi Annan @ Munich Security Conference

 

 

10 Feb 2015

Munich Security Conference

Kofi Annan, who served as secretary-general of the United Nations when the group overwhelmingly supported the 2003 U.S. war in Iraq, claimed at the Munich Security Conference that the United States is to blame for the creation of the Islamic State (ISIS).

Annan also asserted that he was always in opposition to the Iraq war.

“The folly of that fateful decision was compounded by post-invasion decisions. The wholesale disbandment of the security forces, among other measures poured hundreds of thousands of trained and disgruntled soldiers and policemen onto the streets,” said Annan of the post-invasion strategy.

“The ensuing chaos has proved an ideal breeding ground for the Sunni radical groups that have now coalesced around the Islamic State label,” he further stated.

Mr. Annan said that combating the ISIS problem requires a long-term strategy, claiming that “there are no quick fixes or easy solutions,” reports Rudaw.

Another factor for regional instability was the Arab-Israeli conflict, added the former UN chief.

He warned, “The radicals are leading the Middle East astray if they think that their ideology will restore the Muslim world’s erstwhile greatness. On the contrary, world history teaches us that closed societies decay. Open societies are the ones that prosper.”

In concluding his speech, Annan suggested that “the Middle East must adapt, change, and build a future” based on “peace and security, inclusive development, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.” He added, “If it does so, then I believe the majority of the people of the Middle East will not be sorry to see the end of the Middle East as we know it.”

 

Canada: Withdraw From The US-led Coalition For War in Iraq and Syria!

 

In-depth Report:

Petition by  Hamilton Coalition To Stop The War

 

Montreal Antiwar

Montreal Antiwar

1) The recent divisive vote to deploy warplanes, reconnaissance aircraft, support personnel, and special forces on a combat mission to Iraq – carried only by the Conservative government’s slim majority in Parliament – was a bad decision. It will make things worse, not better, for the people of the Middle East and is the thin edge of the wedge to pull Canada deeper into another long quagmire of a war, just six months after the failed twelve-year mission to Afghanistan. Moreover, this instance of mission creep is being conducted without United Nations Security Council approval and is therefore illegal under international law.

2) According to NDP Foreign Affairs Critic, Paul Dewar, who was part of the recent Canadian mission to Iraq, the Iraqi government asked that Canada send humanitarian, rather than military, assistance. The Iraqi government also did not request that Canada become involved in Syria. Rather, it appears that it was completely at the initiative of the Harper government that Canadian troops have joined the latest US-led “coalition of the willing” in Iraq. Former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, who, in 2003, wisely bowed to the wishes of hundreds of thousands of protesters in the streets – organized by the Canadian Peace Alliance and Collectif Échec à la Guerre – and refused to send Canadian troops to join Bush and Blair’s previous “coalition of the willing”, has recently spoken out against the present combat mission and urged a massive humanitarian mission instead.

3) Whether or not the Iraqi government has authorized air strikes by foreign powers on its territory, the US and its allies have no right under international law to bomb targets inside Syria, without the approval and cooperation of the legitimate government of Syria.

4) The true purpose of the US campaign against ISIL is not to destroy terrorism. In fact, since at least 2011, the USA and other countries in the “Friends of Syria” Group (FSG), including Canada, financed, armed, and organized a deadly covert war of aggression using jihadi mercenaries against Syria. ISIL grew out of this explicitly terrorist operation against the people of Syria, which so far resulted in about 200,000 deaths, millions of refugees, and the laying waste of much of Syria. In other words, the USA, Canada, and their FSG partners created this terrorist ISIL Frankenstein. In our opinion, the ISIL crisis is being used by the USA and some countries neighbouring Syria as a pretext for bombing for regime change in Syria and perhaps, eventually, other countries such as Lebanon and Iran. The Turkish government’s recent call for a “no fly zone” over Syria is a case in point and reminiscent of NATO’s abuse of UN Resolution 1973 for the illegal overthrow of the government of Libya.

5) The USA has “dirty hands.” Its 2003 attack on Iraq was also without UN approval and left that country in ruins, with at least half a million dead, millions of refugees, and effectively split into three parts. The USA should not be entrusted to play any role in Iraq. In fact, the result of the US and NATO-led “humanitarian” interventions in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Haiti, and Syria has uniformly been to make things much worse for civilians and to destroy the territorial integrity of those countries.

6) If the Canadian government is sincerely interested in dealing with ISIL, it needs to cooperate with all the governments of the region, including Syria and Iran, as well as Russia and China, to develop a common strategy. That strategy would best be developed at the United Nations where recent resolutions 2170 and 2178 might serve as first steps in a global action against terrorism. To deal with ISIS, the Harper government of Canada could ask the Turkish, Israeli, and Jordanian governments to close their borders to ISIL terrorists and to remove any terrorist bases on their territories. It could demand that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait stop funding jihadi mercenaries altogether. It could call for disbanding the “Friends of Syria” Group.

7) The sending of Canadian forces personnel and equipment the Middle East raises the likelihood of a major confrontation between Canada and Russia, because Russia has important national and traditional interests in the Middle East, where it has a major base on the Mediteranean Sea in Syria. Removing Canadian military personnel and equipment from this theatre of war would reduce the threat of any regional or global confrontation.

8) Canadians are rightly proud of the fact that our post-WW2 history, until recently, was marked by support for international institutions such as the United Nations, for the international rule of law, and for a preference for peace-keeping and diplomacy over war-making.

9) Therefore, we the undersigned, call on all members of parliament to use their individual and partisan influence to withdraw Canada from the US-led coalition for war in Iraq and Syria and also from the so-called “Friends of Syria” Group.

The CBS Interview with President Barack Obama

Militant Islamist fighters take part in a military parade along the streets of northern Raqqa province

ISIS is estimated to have amassed more than 30,000 fighters, including many recruits from Western nations.

President Obama acknowledged in an interview broadcast on Sunday that the United States had underestimated the rise of the Islamic State militant group, which has seized control of a broad swath of territory in the Middle East, and had placed too much trust in the Iraqi military, allowing the region to become “ground zero for jihadists around the world.”

Reflecting on how a president who wanted to disentangle the United States from wars in the Middle East ended up redeploying to Iraq and last week expanding air operations into Syria, Mr. Obama pointed to assessments by the intelligence agencies that said they were surprised by the rapid advances made in both countries by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

Obama 60 Minutes interview Obama CBS interview 2014 

“Our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper (Obama is putting the blame on Clapper), has acknowledged that, I think, they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria,” Mr. Obama said on “60 Minutes,” the CBS News program, referring to James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence. Mr. Obama added that the agencies had overestimated the ability and will of the Iraqi Army to fight such Sunni extremists. “That’s true. That’s absolutely true,” he said.

In citing Mr. Clapper, Mr. Obama made no mention of any misjudgment he may have made himself. Critics have repeatedly pointed to his comment last winter characterizing groups like the Islamic State as a “JV team” compared with the original Al Qaeda.

But he rebutted critics who say his refusal to intervene more directly in the Syrian civil war and his decision to pull all American troops out of Iraq in 2011 had created conditions that allowed the rise of the Islamic State. Instead, he pointed a finger at Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, until recently the prime minister of Iraq. “When we left, we had left them a democracy that was intact, a military that was well equipped and the ability then to chart their own course,” Mr. Obama said. “And that opportunity was squandered over the course of five years or so because the prime minister, Maliki, was much more interested in consolidating his Shia base.”

Ten cents worth:

The CIA and the military did not underestimate the rise of ISIS. There were plenty of forewarnings. President Obama, for political reasons, wanted to perpetuate the idea that al Queda and other militant groups “were on the run”. And, that his killing of Osama Bin Laden ended the terrorist threat. It was naive on his part to believe that that misconception would be sustainable. Now, Mr. Obama is admitting his underestimation of ISIS while blatantly underestimating the level of effort required to stop ISIS by eliminating the option of US boots on the ground. It won’t be long until he’s forced to admit that option will be required.

As awful as ISIS is, and it should be eliminated, let’s not kid ourselves into thinking that our reason for bombing Syria is based on humanitarian reasons. There’s only one reason that the U.S. is involved in the Middle East — oil. We are hamstrung by our reliance on Mideast oil, and we continue to make poor policy decisions because of it.  Until we can fully rely on energy sources other than that particular fossil fuel in that particular region, we will continue to dance to the tune of whomever is pulling on our strings. This kind of high-jacked strategy is no way for a supposedly powerful nation such as ours to enact policy, whether foreign or domestic.

 
 
 

Dempsey: 15,000 ground troops needed to destroy ISIS

Chuck Hagel, Martin Dempsey

 

As the massive US-led air campaign plows ahead, the US’s top military chief says it will take 15,000 ground troops to wipe out ISIS in Syria.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made the statement at a Friday briefing as Britain, Belgium and Denmark joined the bombing campaign to wipe out the terror group in Iraq.

“The answer is yes. There has to be a ground component in the campaign,” Dempsey said, appearing alongside Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

“We need 12,000 to 15,000 to reclaim lost territory,” he said, referring to the huge swath ISIS carved out from Iraq and Syria.

ISIS is estimated to have amassed more than 30,000 fighters, including many recruits from Western nations.

The US-led coalition, which also includes five Arab countries joining the air campaign, plans to train Syrian rebels to do the dirty work on the ground, while also relying on Kurdish peshmerga forces and Iraqi tribal fighters.

President Obama has repeatedly insisted US troops won’t play a combat role in the campaign.

In Great Britain, Parliament gave an overwhelming vote, 534-43, to join the Iraq coalition Friday — just days after ISIS released a video showing the beheading of British hostage David Haines.

“This is about psychopathic terrorists that are trying to kill us, and we do have to realize that, whether we like it or not, they have already declared war on us,” said British Prime Minister David Cameron.

“There isn’t a ‘walk on by’ option. There isn’t an option of just hoping this will go away.”

The UK is dispatching six Tornado fighter jets. Belgium is sending six F-16s, and Denmark is sending seven more.

In the face of the withering air attack, ISIS militants are changing tactics by ditching conspicuous convoys in favor of motorcycles.

The jihadists have also taken to erecting their notorious black flag on the rooftops of residential houses and buildings — many of them empty — to create confusion.

I Did It My Way…

 Pentagon Posts Videos of Airstrikes in Syria on YouTube

These three strikes were part of a wide-ranging operation in Syria launched by the United States along with Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The strikes were the first ones conducted inside Syria, and follow a series of air strikes against ISIS in Iraq. These operations, the Pentagon said, are “part of the President’s comprehensive strategy to degrade and ultimately defeat” ISIS.

 

 

 

And now, the end is near;
And so I face the final curtain.
My friend, I’ll say it clear,
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain.

I’ve lived a life that’s full.
I’ve traveled each and ev’ry highway;
And more, much more than this,
I did it my way…

U.S. President Barack Obama called for united action to confront violent extremism Wednesday, as he addressed the United Nations General Assembly after a second day of U.S. airstrikes in Syria.

Airstrikes were carried out overnight Tuesday into Wednesday against five more targets: four in Iraq and one in Syria, the U.S. Central Command said.

In Syria, a U.S. aircraft and coalition plane struck an ISIS staging area near the Iraqi border, northwest of Al Qa’im, damaging eight ISIS vehicles.

In Iraq, two airstrikes west of Baghdad destroyed two ISIS armed vehicles and a weapons cache. Two airstrikes southeast of the city of Irbil destroyed ISIS fighting positions.

The latest raids come on the heels of major airstrikes in Syria early Tuesday.

President Barack Obama’s call for action comes as he faces questions about his decision to bomb terror groups in Syria without approval from the U.N. Security Council or U.S. Congress.  

As Pepe Escobar has written, “So call this warped western a masterful depiction of American exceptionalism. And mirror it with the soft pull of a dying, lone superpower which is still capable of turning the whole planet into junkies, addicted to the cinematically sumptuous spectacle of its own demise.

Speaking in New York, Obama told of the need to confront the “threats” (to the US Empire?)  that face the world today, including the violent extremism embodied by the radical group ISIS, also referred to as the “Islamic State” or ISIL.

“It is no exaggeration to say that humanity’s future depends on us uniting against those who would divide us along fault lines of “tribe or sect; race or religion,” he said.   Is this the reason why the military occupied Ferguson?

“This is not simply a matter of words. Collectively, we must take concrete steps to address the danger posed by “religiously motivated fanatics”, and the trends that fuel their recruitment.”

At the same time, Obama stressed that the United States “is not and never will be at war with Islam.”

‘A hateful cause’

To battle extremists like ISIS, the world must focus on four areas, the ruler of the world said.

First, he said, ISIS must be degraded and ultimately destroyed. Second, it is time for the world to explicitly reject the ideology of al Qaeda and ISIS.

Third, the world must address the cycle of conflict, including sectarian conflict, that creates the conditions that terrorists thrive on. And fourth, Arab and Muslim countries must focus on the potential of their people, especially youths.

The United States is not standing alone in the fight against ISIS, Obama said. “Nor do we intend to send U.S. troops to occupy foreign lands.”

Instead, the United States will use its “military might in a campaign of airstrikes” against ISIS, help train and equip forces fighting them on the ground, work to cut off their financing and stop the flow of foreign fighters, he said.

“Already, over 40 nations have offered to join this coalition. Today, I ask the world to join in this effort. Those who have joined ISIL should leave the battlefield while they can,” he warned.

“Those who continue to fight for a hateful cause will find they are increasingly alone. For we will not succumb to threats; and we will demonstrate that the future belongs to those who build, not those who destroy.”

Obama’s call for action comes as he faces questions about his decision to bomb terror groups in Syria without approval from the U.N. Security Council or U.S. Congress.

 

U.S. strikes the Khorasan group in Syria

Map: Airstrikes in Syria
Map: Airstrikes in Syria

Tomahawk missiles launched against ISIS

And as the President takes the world stage, U.S. law enforcement agencies are looking out for possible lone-wolf attack plots to retaliate for the bombings.

Why not strike the regime?

While some Syrians celebrated the U.S. airstrikes on radical militants, others expressed frustration that President Bashar al-Assad’s government, which world leaders blame for thousands of civilian deaths, goes unscathed. In other words, they want him killed.

“I am just wondering why the U.S. didn’t bomb the regime’s brigades,” Aleppo resident Foaad Hallak said.

“If the international community is willing to show their good intentions to Syrians, they have to bomb the regime and its militias and also ISIS, and also they have to supply FSA (the rebel Free Syrian Army) with anti-aircraft missiles.”

Muhammad al-Dleby said he was frustrated that after three years and more than 100,000 deaths in Syria, “the international community stepped in only because radical militants were “a threat to its interests.”

“Assad is the biggest terrorist in Syria, and he did crimes that even … extremists didn’t do,” he said.

Kerry: Strikes effective but will take time

So far, U.S. Central Command has conducted 198 airstrikes across Iraq against ISIS and, along with partner nations, another 20 airstrikes against the group across Syria.

Conceding that airstrikes haven’t flushed out ISIS in Iraq, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that U.S airpower may nonetheless have prevented the fall of Baghdad and Irbil to the militants.

“What we’ve done is we’ve stopped the onslaught,” he told crypto-glamorous Pentagon/State Department stenographer Christiane Amanpour anchoring CNN’s coverage from New York. Christiane Amanpour.

“That was what we were able to achieve with air power. They were moving towards Irbil. They were moving towards Baghdad. Baghdad could well have fallen. Irbil could have fallen.”

U.S. airstrikes aren’t designed to defeat ISIS by themselves, Kerry said. “You and others should not be looking for some massive retreat in the next week or two,” he said.  Boots on the ground…?

The airstrikes early Tuesday in Syria came in three waves, with coalition partners participating in the latter two, Army Lt. Gen. William Mayville Jr. said Tuesday.

The airstrikes against ISIS focused primarily on the city of Raqqa, the declared capital of ISIS’ self-proclaimed Islamic State.

The operation began with a flurry of Tomahawk missiles launched from the sea, followed by attacks from bomber and fighter aircraft, a senior U.S. military official told CNN.

The goal: Taking out ISIS’ ability to command, train and resupply its militants.

In all, 200 pieces of ordnance were dropped by coalition members, and four dozen aircraft were used, a U.S. official told CNN. About 150 weapons used were precision-guided munitions. The United States fired 47 Tomahawk missiles, eight of them against Khorasan targets.

The first wave mostly targeted the Khorasan Group, whom Obama described as “seasoned al Qaeda operatives in Syria.

‘There are five Arab “friendly monarchs” involved’

The second wave of airstrikes Tuesday involved ISIS targets in northern Syria, including the town of Raqqa.

The third wave involved planes targeting ISIS training camps and combat vehicles in eastern Syria, Mayville said.

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan took part in airstrikes on the ISIS targets, the U.S. military said, while Qatar played a supporting role.

In all, 200 pieces of ordnance were dropped by coalition members, a U.S. official told CNN.

The toll

It’s too early to say what effect the U.S. strikes had against the Khorasan Group, Mayville said.

U.S. officials said “the group was plotting attacks against the United States and other Western targets”. The intelligence community discovered the plots against the United States in the past week, an intelligence source told CNN.

The attacks on ISIS, however, destroyed targets including training compounds, command-and-control facilities, a finance center and supply trucks, the U.S. Central Command said.

The airstrikes apparently took a toll on another terror group, killing the leader of the al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, according to a statement from the group.

Al-Nusra Front identified the leader as Abu Yousef al-Turki, also known as “The Turk.” It posted a statement on Twitter, accompanied by a so-called proof-of-death — a photograph — of al-Turki.

But the United States has not identified al-Nusra as a group targeted in the strikes.

Activist: ISIS fighters keep low profile

An activist from Raqqa, who uses the pseudonym Maher al-Ahmad, told CNN he’d gone back to the town after the airstrikes.

“It’s the first time I didn’t see ISIS in the streets, that I was able to walk around, because I am wanted by them,” said al-Ahmad, who moves between Raqqa and Turkey’s Gaziantep province.

He said people who were there during the strikes described them as feeling like earthquakes.

Some 20 to 25 vehicles filled with ISIS fighters, including people he believes were senior leadership because of the level of security around them, left the city within hours of the attacks, the activist said.

After keeping a low profile during the day, the ISIS fighters were out in the streets again by Tuesday evening but in lower numbers than usual, he said.

ISIS fighters began moving into the homes of civilians in the past two to three weeks, al-Ahmad said, raising fears that the civilians may be used as human shields or fall victim to future airstrikes.

Hassan al-Halabi, an activist from Aleppo, voiced similar fears, saying residents there have two main concerns about upcoming strikes in Syria.

“The first is that they are afraid of having civilian casualties because ISIS’ members and fighters are among civilians,” al-Halabi said.

“And the second concern is that what will happen after that? Who will replace ISIS, especially that the regime is ready to take control of ISIS’ areas?”

Possible retaliation

Concern over possible backlash by the terror groups against the United States has prompted the Department of Homeland Security to warn law enforcement agencies of potential lone-wolf terror attacks on American soil, a U.S. law enforcement official with knowledge of the warning told CNN.

The bulletin calls for vigilance as well as scrutinizing social media for anyone encouraging violence in response to the strikes. It points to the use of social media as a tactic by ISIS to spread its message and call for violence.

It also advises agencies to look for changes in appearance or behavior in those they’re tracking, the official said.

Extra:

Congressman OK with keeping secret the Khorasan Group strike

Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, told CNN’s Carol Costello on Wednesday morning that he is fine with the Obama administration not telling Congress about the U.S. attack on the Khorasan Group, a collection of senior al Qaeda members who have moved into Syria.

King said he’s known about the group for weeks, and he added that telling only a select few about plans to strike militants who could attack the U.S. was probably the only way to carry out the surprise strike. “You can’t have 435 commanders in chief,” King said, referring to the probable difficulty in having all representatives know that secret and keep it under wraps.

Syrian “Moderate” Rebels and Islamic State Jihadists “Make Peace”. What Will Obama do Now?

By Timothy Alexander Guzman
Global Research, September 14, 2014
Silent Crow News

Region: Middle East & North Africa, USA
Theme: US NATO War Agenda
In-depth Report: SYRIA: NATO’S NEXT WAR?

Well, Well, Well, what do we have here?

Syria-mapAccording to a new report by Agence-France Presse (AFP) “Syrian rebels and jihadists from the Islamic State have agreed a non-aggression pact for the first time in a suburb of the capital Damascus, a monitoring group said on Friday.”

What will the Obama administration do now? Originally President Obama said in a televised speech that he will support “military assistance to the Syrian opposition.” Here is what he said:

Across the border, in Syria, we have ramped up our military assistance to the Syrian opposition. Tonight, I again call on Congress to give us additional authorities and resources to train and equip these fighters. In the fight against ISIL, we cannot rely on an Assad regime that terrorizes its people; a regime that will never regain the legitimacy it has lost. Instead, we must strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL, while pursuing the political solution necessary to solve Syria’s crisis once and for all.

This is an interesting development since Washington wants to authorize airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or ISIS on Syrian territory. It is a move ISISthat the Assad government and Russia say that would be an act of aggression and a breach of International law. Will the mainstream media report this peace agreement between these two organizations? Washington would welcome this development because both groups consider the Assad government a common enemy. Online news organization Middle East Eye reported that both moderate Syrian rebels and the Islamic State’s common enemy is the Assad government:

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that moderate and Islamist rebels had signed a ceasefire deal for the first time in a suburb of the capital Damascus. “The two parties will respect a truce until a final solution is found, and they promise not to attack each other because they consider the principal enemy” to be Assad’s government and his forces.

They forgot to mention that the U.S. and other Western allies consider the Assad government their enemy as well. Although this truce is a new development, it should not surprise anyone. The U.S. has been supporting the Syrian rebels’ right from the start to remove Assad. Many of them joined the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra and other terrorist groups in the region including those in Iraq. Washington would welcome a truce between both groups because they will target the Syrian government. Washington will most likely launch airstrikes against these same terrorists in Syria as a justification to enter Syrian territory.

The AFP detailed exactly what was agreed upon between both groups:

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the ceasefire deal was agreed between IS and moderate and Islamist rebels in Hajar al-Aswad, south of the capital.

Under the deal, “the two parties will respect a truce until a final solution is found and they promise not to attack each other because they consider the principal enemy to be the Nussayri regime.”

Nussayri is a pejorative term for the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam to which President Bashar al-Assad belongs.

The world needs to stop this war. If the U.S. does launch airstrikes into Syria to target these terrorist organizations, it will be considered an aggression against the Assad government. If innocent civilians or Syrian government forces are killed in the airstrikes, the Assad government would most likely respond with military action. Russia, China and most nations around the world would condemn U.S. actions on Syria’s sovereign territory. The U.S. wants Assad out of power. ISIL was created by the U.S. and its allies in the region. Is this the start of World War III? I hope not. The Syrian government can defeat ISIL on their own if Washington would stop sending arms into the region. The question we must ask is who will receive U.S. arms shipments now. ISIL?