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Offline Palloy

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Syria - Russia - US
« on: August 24, 2015, 08:09:12 PM »
Maybe this has lost something in translation, but a lot of new info, piled on a little too quickly.
Anyway it seems the Russians might be coming to the aid of the Syrians against ISIS, with the agreement of the US.

http://www.voltairenet.org/article188522.html
The Russian Army is Beginning to Engage in Syria
By Thierry Meyssan
August 24, 2015
French intellectual, founder and chairman of Voltaire Network and the Axis for Peace Conference. His columns specializing in international relations feature in daily newspapers and weekly magazines in Arabic, Spanish and Russian. His last two books published in English : 9/11 the Big Lie and Pentagate.

Translation - Pete Kimberley

A profound and significant change has just occurred in the Levant – the Russian army has begun to engage against terrorism in Syria. Although Russia has been absent from the international scene since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and although it is moving with care, it has just created a Russo-Syrian Commission, has begun supplying weapons, sharing intelligence, and sending advisors. All of this is more or less coordinated with the White House.

After having negotiated a regional alliance against the Islamic Emirate which implied Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey, Russia suddenly had to abandon its strategy after the Turkish turn-around. Ankara has in fact decided to break off its ties with Moscow, and has cancelled, without genuine motive, the contract for the gas pipe-line Turkish Stream, created, in partenership with Ukraine, an international Islamic Brigade intended to destabilise Crimea [1]. It has also come to the help of the Islamic Emirate in their fight against the Kurds of the PKK and the YPG. In the same way, the White House has been obliged to change its own strategy after the manœuvers by General John Allen, who agreed to help President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to create a "security zone" for the Islamic Emirate in Northern Syria [2]. 

Finally, Moscow and Washington have coordinated:
    - the removal of Patriot missiles stationed in Turkey ;
    - the creation of a Russo-Syrian military Commission.

The end of the no-fly zone

The Patriot missiles had been installed by NATO in Turkey as from January 2013, in order to prevent the Syrian Air Force from deploying on the frontier. As a result, the jihadists of the al-Nusra Front (al-Qaïda) were able to seize the North of the country, and as from the summer of 2014, this no-fly zone was occupied by the Islamic Emirate.

Thus, during the battle of Kobane, the Syrian Air Force were unable to bomb the Islamic Emirate, and Syria was obliged to attempt a land attack to save the city. Since it was unable to advance the last thirty kilometres, the Atlantist Press presented the Kurdish forces of the YPG as being independent of Damascus, although the Syrian Arab Republic had supplied it with weapons and was paying its soldiers.

The Patriot missiles, initially deployed by Germany and Holland, are today German and Spanish. They will first of all be revised and modernised, then redeployed in Lithuania, at the Russian frontier.

The entrance of the Russian army into the war against Syria


Although Russia had abstained from participating in military operations since the beginning of the conflict, it has now created a Russo-Syrian Military Commission. And yet, NATO had organised all the events concerned in what was called the "Arab spring", including the war against Syria, and coordinated foreign jihadist groups and their Libyan and Syrian collaborators, called "rebels", from the Turkish base in Izmir [3], now also the location of LancCom (command of the land troops of the 28 member states of the Atlantic Alliance).

Within a few weeks, many military advisors arrived in Damascus.

Six Mikoyan-Gourevitch MiG-31’s were delivered. These planes are the best interceptors in the world. They had been bought in 2007, but the contract had been frozen. Their delivery is not affected by the arms embargo, since they can not be used in operations concerning the maintenance of law and order, but only for national defence, in this case, possible incursions by Israel or Turkey. Under various pretexts, these two states acted many time during the war to support the jihadists whenever they were in difficulty.

So, on the 30th January 2013, Tsahal bombed the Centre for Military Research in Jemraya, under the pretext of destroying weapons that were destined for Hezbollah. In fact, the attack was intended to destroy a communications brief-case captured by the Syrian Arab Army, containing NATO satellite data, before they were able to decipher it [4]. The operation had been commanded by the Israeli Air Force in coordination with the Free Syrian Army, which in turn was directed by officers of the French Foreign Legion under the supervision of NATO’s LandCom.

Simultaneously, and for the first time, the Russian army has just supplied satellite images to Syria. This decision, awaited for five years, inverses the military situation. Indeed, so far the jihadists have often escaped the Syrian Arab Army thanks to satellite images supplied by NATO in real time. Even though, over a six-month period, it would seem that NATO no longer shares its intelligence with the Islamic Emirate, but only with the al-Nusra Front (al-Qaïda).

Finally, the Russian military advisors possess a wealth of information which they use in order to study the possibility of an international deployment under banner of the UNO. They have to present a report to the Kremlin which would also study the possibility of a Russian operation as well as a joint operation by the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

The CSTO will be meeting in Douchanbe, Tadjikistan, on the 15th September. A deployment by the CSTO had aleady been envisaged, in June 2012, during the preparation for the "Geneva Conference 1" [5]. Indeed, this military alliance includes three states with a Muslim population – Kazakhstan, Kirghizistan, and Tadjikistan, who are better prepared than Russia to fight terrorists who claim to be Islamist. However, at the time, the CSTO had no agreement with the UNO to carry out peace operations. This situation was resolved on the 28th September 2012 – it could also be applied as well in Afghanistan as in Syria [6].

The limits of the cooperation between the Kremlin and the White House

In any event, the cooperation between the Kremlin and the White House has its limits – Russia wants to eradicate the jihadists before they turn against her, while the United States hope that some of them could be re-activated in other conflicts, as was earlier the case in Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chechnya and Kosovo.

Already, certain elements of Daesh have arrived in Kherson (Ukraine), where a so-called "Crimean Government in Exile" already exists.

It is apparent that from the US side, the withdrawal of the Patriot missiles is a trap. Washington would be happy for Russia to reduce the number of active jihadists, but at the same time, it would not be dismayed if it were to get bogged down in Syria. That is why the Russian bear is advancing prudently.


Notes

1« L’Ukraine et la Turquie créent une Brigade internationale islamique contre la Russie », par Thierry Meyssan, Réseau Voltaire, 12 août 2015.

2 “Clinton, Juppé, Erdoğan, Daesh and the PKK”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 3 August 2015.

3 “Izmir base likely to become NATO’s Land Component Command”, Today’s Zaman, June 6, 2011.

4 “FSA and Israel attack Syrian research center”, Voltaire Network, 1 February 2013.

5 “Syria: Vladimir Putin contemplates sending CSTO peacekeeping force”, Voltaire Network, 3 June 2012.

6 “CSTO allowed to deploy “blue chapkas” in Syria under UN mandate”, Voltaire Network, 29 September 2012.
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Offline RE

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Re: Syria - Russia - US
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2015, 09:36:47 AM »
I think we need to consolidate to an Official WWIII thread soon...

RE

Russia Pounds Militant Targets, Iran Readies Ground Invasions While Saudis Panic

Back in June, the commander of Iran’s Quds Force, Qasem Soleimaini, visited a town north of Latakia on the frontlines of Syria’s protracted civil war. Following that visit, he promised that Tehran and Damascus were set to unveil a new strategy that would “surprise the world.”

Just a little over a month later, Soleimani - in violation of a UN travel ban - visited Russia and held meetings with The Kremlin. The Pentagon now says those meetings were “very important” in accelerating the timetable for Russia’s involvement in Syria. The General allegedly made another visit to Moscow in September.

The timeline here is no coincidence. Iran has long provided covert and overt support to the Assad regime via financial transfers, logistical support from the Quds, and via the involvement of Hezbollah in the Assad government’s fight to regain control of the country.

As we’ve documented extensively over the past several weeks, what appears to have happened here is that Iran, unable to simply invade Syria in support of Assad (because doing so would obviously be a disaster in terms of preserving the optics around the P5+1 nuclear deal), turned to Moscow which has in the past used Russia’s Security Council veto to block the referral of the war in Syria to the Hague and which is a known ally of both Tehran and Damascus.

While it’s unclear exactly what the pitch was to Putin, Russia clearly saw an opportunity to advance The Kremlin’s geopolitical agenda at a key time in history. Moscow is keen to put on a brave face amid the most contentious standoff with the West since the Cold War (as a result of the conflict in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea) and amid the related effort to preserve Gazprom’s market share in Europe.

In short, Putin looks to have viewed this as the ultimate geopolitical win-win. That is, Russia gets to i) expand its influence in the Middle East in defiance of Washington and its allies, a move that also helps to protect Russian energy interests and preserves the Mediterranean port at Tartus, and ii) support its allies in Tehran and Damascus thus preserving the counterbalance to the US-Saudi-Qatar alliance.

Meanwhile, Iran gets to enjoy the support of the Russian military juggernaut on the way to protecting the delicate regional nexus that is the source of Tehran’s Mid-East influence. It is absolutely critical for Iran to keep Assad in power, as the loss of Syria to the West would effectively cut the supply line between Iran and Hezbollah.

The same dynamic is playing out in Iraq. That is, Iran is fighting ISIS via various Shiite militias just as it’s fighting the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen via the Shia Houthis. It is thus extremely significant that Baghdad has agreed to share intelligence with Syria and Russia, as that effectively means the Iran-backed Shiite militias battling for control of Iraq will enjoy the support of the Russian military.

What should be obvious here is that this is a coordinated plan.

The Kremlin has effectively agreed to bring the might of the Russian air force to bear on Assad’s opponents in Syria and on Sunni militants in Iraq in support of Iranian ground troops and because the US and its allies have failed so miserably in terms of fielding anti-Assad rebels who don't turn out to be extremists, Putin gets to pitch the whole thing as a "war on terror." It would be difficult to design a more elegant power play.

If you think that’s far-fetched, consider the following just out from Reuters:

    Hundreds of Iranian troops have arrived in Syria in the last 10 days and will soon join government forces and their Lebanese Hezbollah allies in a major ground offensive backed by Russian air strikes, two Lebanese sources told Reuters.

     

    "The (Russian) air strikes will in the near future be accompanied by ground advances by the Syrian army and its allies," said one of the sources familiar with political and military developments in the conflict.

     

    "It is possible that the coming land operations will be focused in the Idlib and Hama countryside," the source added.

     

    The two sources said the operation would be aimed at recapturing territory lost by President Bashar al-Assad's government to rebels.

     

    It points to an emerging military alliance between Russia and Assad's other main allies - Iran and Hezbollah - focused on recapturing areas of northwestern Syria that were seized by insurgents in rapid advances earlier this year.

     

    "The vanguard of Iranian ground forces began arriving in Syria: soldiers and officers specifically to participate in this battle. They are not advisors ... we mean hundreds with equipment and weapons. They will be followed by more," the second source said. Iraqis would also take part in the operation, the source said.

And then consider this, also just out (via Reuters):

    The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday it would consider any request from the Iraqi government to conduct air strikes against Islamic State inside Iraq, but said it had not yet received such an appeal, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

     

    It cited the foreign ministry as saying it would evaluate the "political and military" logic of such a move if a request was forthcoming.

Finally, to drive the point home and further confirm the veracity of the thesis outlined above, here’s Saudi Arabia panicking at the prospect that Russia’s presence is set to completely disrupt the Mid-East BOP (via Reuters, yet again):

    Saudi Arabia, a leading foe of President Bashar al-Assad, demanded his ally Russia end its raids on Syria, saying the strikes had caused civilian casualties while failing to target the hardline Islamic State militants Moscow says it opposes.

     

    In remarks at the United Nations in New York, a senior Saudi diplomat suggested both Russia and Assad's other main ally Iran could not claim to fight Islamic State "terrorism" at the same time as supporting the "terrorism" of the Syrian authorities.

     

    Saudi ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi expressed "profound concern regarding the military operations which

    Russian forces have carried out in Homs and Hama today, places where ISIS forces are not present. These attacks led to a number of innocent victims. We demand it stop immediately and not recur."

     

    "As for those countries that have claimed recently to join in the fight against ISIS terrorism, they can’t do that at the same time as they support the terrorism of the Syrian regime and its terrorist foreign allies like Hezbollah and the Quds Force and other terrorist sectarian groups," he added in comments broadcast by Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television.

     

    ISIS is a common acronym for Islamic State, also known as ISIL. Lebanon's Hezbollah Shi'ite militia openly fights on behalf of Assad's government, and the Quds Force, part of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, is also widely believed to be aiding Damascus.

It would be difficult to overstate the significance of what appears to be going on here. This is nothing short of a Middle Eastern coup, as Iran looks to displace Saudi Arabia as the regional power broker and as Russia looks to supplant the US as the superpower puppet master.

Do not expect Saudi Arabia and Israel to remain on the sidelines here.

If Russia ends up bolstering Iran's position in Syria (by expanding Hezbollah's influence and capabilities) and if the Russian air force effectively takes control of Iraq thus allowing Iran to exert a greater influence over the government in Baghdad, the fragile balanace of power that has existed in the region will be turned on its head and in the event this plays out, one should not expect Washington, Riyadh, Jerusalem, and London to simply go gentle into that good night.
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Offline Palloy

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Re: Syria - Russia - US
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2015, 02:47:44 PM »



Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) speaks during a news conference with United States Secretary of State John Kerry (R) at the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan, New York September 30, 2015. © Darren Ornitz / Reuters

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Offline Fenixor

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Re: Syria - Russia - US
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2015, 05:49:15 PM »
Interesting article in the Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/01/as-russia-enters-war-in-syria-conflict-in-ukraine-begins-to-wind-down)
Makes me hope that the conflict in Ukraine might be coming to an end, but on the other hand while bombing intensifies in Syria. Less ukrainan refugees but more syrians so the net effect while probably still be more displaced people. Then again, while Syria is a desert and totally destroyed by drought and war Ukraine still has some of the most fertile land in Europe, and so the world really needs Ukraine to keep on farming. Unfortunately there has been "land-grabs" in Ukraine and if the IMF gets more involved due to their tanking economy they might just end up selling the land to highest bidder (if any one dares take that risk of course in the current climate of conflict). Depressed commodity prices will probably not help the ukrainan economy.

As Russia enters war in Syria, conflict in Ukraine begins to wind down

As Russia ratchets up military action in Syria, the fighting in east Ukraine is winding down. The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany will meet in Paris on Friday for talks on Ukraine, and while a lasting political solution still seems some way off, there is confidence on all sides that the military action could finally be over, a year after the first ill-fated, and largely ignored, ceasefire agreement was signed in Minsk, Belarus.

With all sides tired of military conflict, the most likely outcome appears to be Moscow pushing the territories back to Ukraine legally, with an ensuing period of uncertain peace as both Moscow and Kiev decide how far they are ready to compromise on their goals.

“Part of the Russian elite doesn’t want to argue with the west and is ready for very serious compromises, another part of the elite is more tough and ready for real confrontation. The middle position seems to me to be that we should get out of the situation with as few political and economic losses as possible,” said the rebel leader. “There is no ideal solution. All the options are fragile, and whichever is taken, none of them are not ideal by definition and will involve serious compromises from all sides. And this makes more radical people on all sides unhappy.”

For most of the residents of east Ukraine, and the roughly 1.5 million refugees and internally displaced people who have fled their homes, the end of fighting will come as a huge relief.For more than a year, locals have had to live with a war in which the main mode of military engagement has been both sides firing artillery at each other over the heads of civilians. In the village of Spartak, not far from Donetsk train station, there was still sporadic Ukrainian shelling as recently as last week, despite the fact that rebels said they were obeying a strict order since 1 September not to fire back under any circumstances.

Offline Palloy

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Re: Syria - Russia - US
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2015, 01:34:23 AM »
http://www.conflictsforum.org/2015/putins-audacious-move-check-mates-washington/
Putin’s audacious move check-mates Washington

Conflicts Forum’s Weekly Comment, 18 – 25 Sept 2015

A change in tone does not come more powerfully than this: six months ago, the UK Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond described President Putin as potentially the “single greatest threat” to Britain’s security, denouncing his behaviour as “outrageous and outdated”; of acting like a “mid-20th century tyrant”, and warning that Putin would “pay the price for what he is doing in Ukraine”. But just last Saturday, Mr Hammond stood beside John Kerry in London, as the latter said: “ISIS is increasingly being understood by every entity, every country in the world, to be a threat to everybody. And ISIS is … So to the degree that Russia wants to focus its efforts against ISIS, we welcome that” [emphasis added].

Strikingly, as Kerry outlined Washington’s positive response to President Putin’s ‘surge’ in Syria, both Hammond and Kerry notably avoided making any critical remarks about Russia. One astute commentator noted: “Neither touched on the allegations regarding Russian presence on the ground in Donbass or brought up Crimea and the western sanctions. On the other hand, Kerry made it clear to Kiev that the Minsk agreement is the only game in town and urged everyone to get cracking on the full implementation of the accord. He even commended Russia’s moderating influence on the separatists in the Donbass”. Equally significant, Mr Kerry said:

“With respect to Assad and longevity, what I said is consistent with what I’ve always said … that Assad has to go. But how long, what the modality is, that’s a decision that has to be made in the context of the Geneva process and negotiations. We’ve said for some period of time that it doesn’t have to be on day one, or month one, or whatever [emphasis added] …

“And I don’t have the answer as to some specific timeframe. I just know that the people of Syria have already spoken with their feet. They’re leaving Syria … Everybody in the world knows that. So what is the legitimacy [of President Assad] with respect to the future? Obviously, in the end, it is up to the people of Syria to decide. And we have made our position very clear.

“But we need to get to the negotiation. That’s what we’re looking for, and we hope Russia and any – Iran – other countries with influence, will help to bring about that, because that’s what’s preventing this crisis from ending. We’re prepared to negotiate.”

In answer to a question about Russian aircraft flying in Syrian airspace, Mr Kerry added:

“Clearly, the presence of aircraft with air-to-air combat capacity as well as air-to-surface – surface-to-air missiles raise serious questions, which is precisely why Secretary Carter talked with the Minister of Defense of Russia, [Sergey] Shoygu, yesterday, and that is precisely why we are engaged in further conversation about answering those questions and about de-conflicting the Russian activities from ours. We have more than 60 nations involved in a coalition against ISIL. Does it need to be able to do more? The answer is yes. Would we welcome Russian help in going against ISIS? Obviously. We’ve talked about it for some period of time.”

This certainly seems to ‘talk and walk’ like a policy-shift – and it may precisely be that. And quite a sudden one too: until only last week, the ‘regime change’ agenda still was in full play, as the BBC’s Mark Urban notes, only “last week [Britain’s] Security Council was considering ambitious proposals to commit forces to help protect civilians in northern Syria. [But] this week they are facing up to the possibility that the aircraft pounding rebel held areas might soon be Russian instead of Syrian”.  For the British government, Mark Urban continued, “canvassing for a parliamentary vote on military action, and on the verge of pledging support to a no-fly zone to stop Syrian bombing in the north of the country, Russia’s action is profoundly troubling”.

Russia’s intervention has pulled the rug from those plans.  Even President Erdogan has felt the shift in the wind. On Thursday, after performing Eid al-Fitr prayer Suleymaniye Mosque, the largest Ottoman imperial mosque in Istanbul, Erdogan said:

“It is possible that this [transition] process [in Syria] may be without Assad or the transition process may continue with Assad.  However, nobody sees a future with Assad in Syria. It is impossible for them [Syrians] to accept a dictator who led to the death of up to 350,000 people”.

As the former Indian Ambassador to Turkey, M.K. Bhadrakumar notes, “The remarks were polemical in part, characteristically ‘Erdoganesque’, and he almost managed to gently glide over what can only be seen as a dramatic softening of Turkey’s stance on the Syrian transition.  Significantly, Erdogan had flown into Istanbul Thursday afternoon straight from Moscow after a meeting in the Kremlin with President Vladimir Putin.

Mr Lavrov apparently, seems to think Washington’s change of tone is a serious shift too:

“I think that now the Americans are much more perceptive to the arguments we have been offering for the past several years. US Secretary of State John Kerry made known Washington’s willingness to cooperate with Russia on the problems of Syrian settlement”, Lavrov said on Tuesday.

“After the conversation between Defense Minister [Sergey] Shoigu and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter both sides voiced encouraging assessments. I think they’ve become more perceptive to the objective situation,” he added.

So far, so good. But the inevitable push-back is underway. As Foreign Policy notes, US Diplomats (under arch ‘liberal interventionist’ Samantha Power) “have squelched” the [Russian] proposal for a Security Council Resolution urging U.N. members to combat terrorists, including the Islamic State, al-Qaida and a variety of other splinter groups by all means – thus “sinking Russia’s hopes”, Foreign Policy asserts “of [Putin] sailing into New York next week under a saintly halo”.  Bloomberg however, quotes two sources “familiar with the matter” to say that this snub will not matter much: Putin intends to proceed, whether or not the US agrees to join forces with Russia.  “Russia is hoping common sense will prevail and Obama takes Putin’s outstretched hand,” noted Elena Suponina, senior Middle East analyst at the Institute of Strategic Studies, a think-tank that advises the Kremlin, “but Putin will act anyway if this doesn’t happen.”

And if it was not clear already, the Russian President gave this rationale for his policy during an interview with CBS News on Thursday in Moscow: he said there is no other solution to the Syrian crisis than to strengthen the effective government structures in Damascus and provide them with assistance in fighting terrorism. In Putin’s words:

“It’s my deep belief that any actions to the contrary in order to destroy the legitimate government will create a situation which you can witness now in the other countries of the region or in other regions, for instance in Libya, where all the state institutions are disintegrated. We see a similar situation in Iraq. And there is no other solution to the Syrian crisis than strengthening the effective government structures and rendering them help in fighting terrorism”.

Putin added that there is a need to urge the Syrian government to “engage in positive dialogue with the rational opposition and conduct reform … it’s only the Syrian people who are entitled to decide who should govern their country and how”.

And this is the rub: What is the alternative for America? The policy of inserting ‘moderate’ insurgents who would replace President Assad and his military leadership has spectacularly failed. Mr Obama himself now says he never really believed in the notion of  ‘moderates’ somehow seizing Syria, (but avers that others in the Administration were so keen, he went along with it – against his better judgement).  Most of Europe (barring a reluctant Britain), are desperate for a political solution in Syria, in wake of the refugee exodus that has engulfed Europe in internecine war.  On Sunday, standing beside John Kerry, the German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeir said, “I strongly welcome the fact … about the growing Russian military engagement of Russia in the region”.

Mr Putin’s audacious unilateral move has effectively checkmated Washington. On a Syria, Obama has become painted into a binary choice — allow ISIS to weaken the Syrian state to some imagined ‘tipping point of imminent collapse’ (as favoured by some in the Administration, such as General Allen); or, of working with Russia to stabilise Syria, and prevent the region’s descent into anarchy. This should never really have been much of a choice.

The now discredited ‘regime change’ policy was heading towards an end in which Obama would have to account to the American people how his Administration “wilfully determined”, in General Flyn’s words, the jihadification of not just Syria, but maybe much of the Middle East. Obama, faced with this, not surprisingly, has decided to go with Putin – even if that requires coming to terms with President Assad remaining in office. In this context, Kerry’s comments that, in the final analysis, Syria’s leadership is a matter for the Syrian people, suggests that the Administration finally has internalised this reality.

In gliding through this policy about-turn, western and Turkish rhetoric remains steadfast about the need for a new ‘political dispensation’, reform and governmental transition. But the reality is that Russia is about to change the ‘facts on the ground’ militarily.  Yes, there will be reform (that is already factored in); and yes, there will be a political settlement, but this is more likely to come about now, by force of these ‘facts’: Moscow will bang a few heads together — of those who fail to see the new realities.

Overt coordination with Russia and its allies in this project (Iran, Syria, Iraq and, indirectly Hizbullah) undoubtedly will prove to be highly problematic for the US Administration.  But Russia has lined up its own formidable anti-ISIS (and anti other jihadi groups) coalition in parallel to America’s 60-nation coalition. Orchestrated by Russia and Iran, it has been termed, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, the ‘C4+1’ Coalition.  It must be fairly obvious that the C4+1 are not about to allow the US to install in Damascus a pro-western puppet government, and nor is Moscow about to allow a pro-western government in a future Syria, sitting upon a fair portion of the giant Levant oil basin, and potentially a key energy corridor, to be used to lever Russia out of the European energy market.

Of course, the prospect of the US working – even indirectly with such a coalition – will have some US politicians screaming.  And the thought of the US ultimately having to make concessions to Russia on Assad staying, will not  go down easily in the US pre-Presidential climate of political posturing. There will be fierce push-back, but America’s allies (the Europeans) desperately want some solution in Syria that does not lead to the tsunami of refugees that an ISIS takeover would threaten.  The Europeans will back Obama,  (and most Europeans will not be too affronted if a political settlement in Syria comes about through a little Russian arm-twisting.)

The bigger point behind America’s putative shift would seem to be President Obama’s understanding that America no longer has the stamina or the capacity to take on Russia and China (especially when these two are working in alliance together), and that there will be moments when it will be necessary for the US to “de-conflict” with Russia and China.

And what of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan? “There are strange churnings going on there, too. It is hugely important that none of these three countries resorted to shrill, Arab-style condemnation of Russia’s build-up in Syria. Arguably, they look rather sheepish, looking away, lost in thoughts”, the former Indian diplomat, Bhadrakumar notes.  Too soon to tell.  We must wait and see.
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Offline Palloy

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Re: Syria - Russia - US
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2015, 01:36:53 AM »
http://www.conflictsforum.org/2015/syria-the-strategic-site/
Syria: the strategic state
2.10.2015

Conflicts Forum Weekly Comment, 11-18 Sept 2015:

What is striking about the Middle East today is the apparent compression of time.  Not long ago, crises arrived sequentially, like cargo arriving at its destination at discrete intervals.  Today, one has the impression rather, of crises arriving in the mode of ‘all together; all at once’.  Often historically, this timeline shift to ‘all together, all at once’ heralds transformative change, rather than some piecemeal re-shaping of the existing structure.

Look around the region: nation-states, institutional structures, the fabric of human security are disintegrating ‘all at once; all together’.  States are fractured in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Lebanon (where there is no state) – and in Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria the state is hardly secure. Turkey is on the verge of civil war, and Saudi Arabia is increasingly internally conflicted (Arabic). It is not just Syrian refugees that are heading to Europe: the airports are bulging with the middle classes (with their second passports), as well as the destitute who stand on the beaches. It seems that the idea of migrating to Germany (if one can) has seized the imagination of families and the young, everywhere in the region, ‘all at once; all together’.  Of course, Iran stands out as the exception – an island of stability, and effectiveness in its foreign statecraft; but paradoxically this seems only to heighten and throw into sharper relief, the despair of others.

It is not so surprising: As states fracture, as society tears apart, as violence, lawlessness and extortion explode, to whom can these civilians turn?  Of course, there are interests at play in facilitating this exodus:  ISIS is cleansing its territories of those who it sees will never assimilate into the IS.  Turkey and its protégés have long believed that only by creating a heart-rending, humanitarian crisis, will the West finally be spurred into taking (military) action in Syria to remove President Assad.  But somehow this present ‘exodus’ transcends these particular triggers.  More fundamentally, people see no end to crisis, no end to a widening cycle of violence, against which they feel unprotected, no end to worsening economic circumstances – except, as many believe, in a major regional war. There is ‘an end of time’ sentiment, widely felt.

Of course, Syria has been touched by this collective migratory impulse; but the widespread notion circulating amongst think-tanks earlier this summer, to the effect that Syria was on the cusp of collapse, to which the region’s general pessimism, seemed to lend some weight, again has been disproved by events. Syria remains intact, with 75–80 % of the population under its control as opposed to the figure of 17%-25% of territory (as claimed by leading western security think-tanks), is not very meaningful as a metric, as it includes swathes of desert.

This general despair for the future of the region is neither exclusive to Syria, nor confined to one segment of its population (as has been ‘channelled’ by many commentators).  After five years, people are tired of war. Some of the insurgents – especially those based in southern Syria– too, are evidencing a similar fatigue and ennui. Even re-branded proxy forces show no vision for the future of Syria beyond the overthrow of President Assad. Similarly, the Gulf-dominated OIC echoed the call for regime change last Sunday, blaming Assad for the refugee crisis. This failure to go beyond ideology reinforces the basic line of division underlying the conflict. The stories reaching Damascus from families who have escaped Raqa’a – and been forced to watch the mutilations and crucifixions of their fellow townsmen – do not lend to any sense that compromise with these jihadi forces is conceivable.

Moscow clearly sees that the cycle of disintegration, the sense of general despairing hopelessness, of no-solution- in-sight, as a wide malaise, which, set against a strengthening ISIS and al-Qae’da, makes for an existential crisis for the Middle East, and for Russia and Europe.  Moscow worries that somewhere in the region, the ground will give, and ISIS will prevail. And with such an occurrence, ISIS would ride a vortex of forward momentum that would topple the shaky remains of foundering nation-states.  And this would threaten not just the Middle East, but Central Asia and Russia itself. It is too facile to ignore this Russian understanding of the situation, andto attribute it as simply some ploy to engage with Obama and to end Russia’s supposed ‘isolation’.

In this respect, Moscow has a clear vision: Syria is not so much the weakest link, but rather the most strategic site (i.e. the front line of conflict) in which ISIS can (and must) be delivered a psyche-searing military defeat.  Russia’s frustration, carefully articulated by Lavrov is that whilst America and Europe say they ‘get it’ (the strategic nature of the threat from ISIS), their actions do not reflect any cognizance of this risk: In fact, as the always careful Lavrov noted:

“Some of our counterparts – members of the [anti-ISIS] Coalition – say they sometimes have information about where, at which positions certain IS groups are [located]; but the Coalition’s commander (in the US) won’t agree to deliver a strike… Analysis of the coalition’s aviation causes [us, Russia] weird impressions: The suspicions are, besides the declared goal of fighting the Islamic State, there is something else in that Coalition’s goals.  I do not want to make any conclusions – it is not clear what impressions, information of higher ideas the commander may have – but signals of the kind are coming.”

Like Iran, then, Russia does not believe that the US is serious about defeating ISIS; and has decided to act in a decisive way that will strengthen the Syrian forces fighting ISIS. As Lavrov clarified: “the Syrian president is the commander-in-chief of probably the most capable ground force fighting terrorism, to give up such an opportunity, ignore the capabilities of the Syrian army as a partner and ally in the fight against the Islamic State means to sacrifice the entire region’s security to some geopolitical moods and calculations”. There should be no doubting however, that President Putin is serious. It is clear too, that Russia’s actions have been calibrated (and limited) so as to allow the West subsequently to join with Russia in this initiative – were Europe and America to opt for it seriously.

Kerry has said that Moscow has suggested holding talks between the United States and Russian militaries on Syria and on the continuing buildup of Russian forces there. Kerry said the administration was considering the offer, adding that Lavrov had presented the talks as a way to coordinate with the Pentagon to avoid “unintended incidents.”

But can the West truly engage in war that will indirectly benefit the Syrian Army and state?  Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s Ambassador to the UN summed up the prevailing ambivalence this way : [the US government] “doesn’t want the Assad government to fall. They want to fight ISIS in a way that won’t harm the Syrian government. On the other hand, they don’t want the Syrian government to take advantage of their campaign against ISIS.”

The International Crisis Group’s (ICG) latest report on Syria, is one example of the deep-seated predeliction amongst certain circles in Washington to see President Assad kept weak: It argues firstly, that the situation in Syria now, is dangerously stuck in a cycle of disintegration and expanding radicalism from which neither the regime, nor a much diminished moderate opposition, can benefit; but then, secondly proposes the introduction of yet more layers of conflict – armed “escalation” led by America – as the solution: “The US is best placed to transform the status quo. A significant but realistic policy shift focused on dissuading, deterring or otherwise preventing the regime from conducting aerial attacks within opposition-held areas could improve the odds of a political settlement” [emphasis added].  This ambiguity precisely encapsulates Russia’s doubts about whether the US is serious about defeating ISIS.

It would appear, at least superficially, that something of this ICG approach is shared by President Obama, who, in a speech on 11 September at Fort Meade, said “It appears now that Assad is worried enough that he is inviting Russian advisers in and Russian equipment in” [implying that this weakening of the Syrian government was a beneficial in that it hastened the prospect of a political solution]. Obama then warned Russia that backing Syrian President Bashar Assad against the rebels, is a doomed policy; [which] could ultimately derail any prospects for a peace settlement in the country”.  “We are going to be engaging Russia to let them know that you can’t continue to double down on a strategy that is doomed to fail,” said Obama. “If they are willing to work with us and a 60-nation coalition we put together, there’s the possibility of a political settlement in which Assad would be transitioned out and a new coalition of moderate, secular and inclusive forces could come together to restore order in the country.”

Yet, it is clear that there was indeed some prior co-ordination between the White House and President Putin in respect to Russia’s initiative.  The White House was probably far less surprised than it pretended to have been by the leaks about the Russia’s new strategy.

It is possible then, to read the two excerpts quoted above – from Obama’s Fort Meade speech – as composed for, and directed to, the Beltway think-tank constituency, of which the ICG is a part (all are vocal interventionists).  This Administration knows that there is no such thing as a ‘coalition of moderate, secular and inclusive forces’ that would somehow takeover in Syria, were the Syrian government to collapse:  ISIS and al-Qaae’da would occupy the terrain where Syria once stood; and this huge event would electrify and energise jihadists across the globe.

Obama is playing complicated politics:  He is awaiting the conclusion to the Congressional process on the Iran deal; he cannot be seen, for domestic considerations, either to be ‘soft’ vis à vis either Presidents Putin or Assad; and he cannot give the impression that Putin is somehow outsmarting the US.  There are also plausible reports that Petraeus, General Allen and others (e.g. Victoria Nuland rushing to block overflight permissions to Russia) are trying to obstruct the President from co-operating with Russia. Is this what Lavrov had in mind when he said that “I do not want to make any conclusions – it is not clear what impressions, information of higher ideas the [anti-ISIS Coalition] commander may have”:  the US anti-ISIS Coalition’s ‘commander’ is General Allen.

This third exert, from the same speech, was perhaps drafted not so much for the DC think-tank community, but with Lavrov and his colleagues in mind: “The good news”, the President said, “is that Russia shares with us a concern about countering violent extremism and shares the view with us that ISIL is very dangerous. So, despite our conflicts with Russia in areas like Ukraine, this is an area of potentially converging interests.” A hint perhaps for the post Iran-deal approval, era?  So we have two paragraphs written for the domestic constituency – and a third, intended for Lavrov to read tea-leaves.

The reality however, is that it is three key variables which are becoming more important to the future of the Syrian conflict than the shift taking place in the European stance on Syria (with Germany now saying that Europe must ally with President Assad to defeat ISIS, welcome though this will be, in Moscow):

The first is Russia’s intervention.  Limited though it may be, Russia’s intervention is strategic, and its importance should not be under-estimated (already the Syrian Air Force is again flying air operations over Idlib and it has added to the US-led anti-ISIS coalition’s air attacks on ISIS headquarters in Raqa’a).  Russian real-time imagery, MIG 31 interceptors (to impede any no-fly zone), and more sophisticated software and hardware for the Air Force, plus other weaponry, mark a qualitative change – as we have previously noted.

Secondly, Turkey, one of the pillars of the jihadist forces – is entering into real crisis. A low-intensity war has broken out with Turkey’s Kurdish population.  However, even if, as a result of fired-up nationalist sentiment kindled by this internal ‘war’, Erdogan’s AKP were to win a clear majority again in elections scheduled for November, Turkey’s problems are unlikely to abate.  Turkey is fractured, firstly by the conflict with the Kurds (with young Kurds likely refusing to be disempowered); and secondly, by Erdogan’s claim that because he won the Presidency by popular vote, the Turkish constitution has de-facto (but not de jure) been altered to give him plenipotentiary Presidential powers. This has opened a second ‘front’ in his domestic wars, this time against non-Kurdish opponents, but one which will be equally bitterly fought.  The devaluing Lira has opened a third (economic) crisis.  In the coming months, these combined crises are likely to aggravate, it seems.

The third variable is Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom is becoming heavily extended financially in the face of the drop in crude prices.  Linked to this, Saudi is over-extended politically: engaged in wars in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Libya; and in ensuring the survival of President Sisi’s government. On top of this, the kingdom is being led by a young man, the King’s son, who has crossed every al-Saud family ‘red-line’: by not accommodating other family branches in a ‘balance’ of power; by persuading his father unilaterally to tear-up the succession arrangements; by refusing access to his father, by taking ARAMCO under his control; and above all, by launching and conducting the war in Yemen, without seeking, or obtaining, the family’s support. Reports are openly circulating within the al-Saud family (which are now public), calling for the King, Prince Mohammad and Prince Naif – the two crown princes – to be deposed.

It is impossible to say how these tensions will play out in either Turkey or Saudi Arabia, but Saudi Arabia and Turkey, for quite different reasons, are incrementally moving toward a state of systemic instability.  It is difficult to see how either can continue along their present path without taking some hard decisions – including that concerning their Syria policy (if only because of their shared pressures from the deteriorating financial situation). Will Saudi maintain its expenditures on its wars, or elect to maintain its subsidized way of life for its people?  It may not be able to do both for much longer.  If either of these two pillars should depart the Syrian theatre of conflict, the question of will, or won’t, the US and Europe finally engage in fighting ISIS, becomes somewhat academic.
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Offline Palloy

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Re: Syria - Russia - US
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2015, 01:44:16 AM »
Maybe this is Obama's way of floating the idea of a UN Syrian solution, without being attacked by the Republocrats.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/09/12/uk-mideast-crisis-syria-germany-idUKKCN0RC0LO20150912
Germany's Merkel sees need to cooperate with Russia on Syria
Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch
Sep 13, 2015

Germany and other western European powers need to work with Russia as well as the United States to solve the crisis in Syria, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday.

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier met with his Russian, French and Ukrainian counterparts in Berlin on Saturday evening and said afterwards he saw growing support for creating an international contact group to solve the Syrian conflict.

Earlier, a delegation source said Steinmeier and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had a lengthy exchange about Syria on the sidelines of the meeting, with both agreeing to support the U.N. Syrian envoy, Staffan de Mistura's plan to create a Syrian contact group.

De Mistura has invited warring parties to take part in U.N.-led working groups to address matters including political and constitutional issues, and military and security issues.

Russia had called on Friday for cooperation with the United States to avoid "unintended incidents", as it stages naval exercises off the coast of Syria, where U.S. officials believe Moscow is building up forces to protect long-term ally President Bashar al-Assad.

Syrian state media said on Saturday two Russian planes carrying 80 tonnes of humanitarian aid arrived in Syria. Russia said on Friday it had been sending military equipment to help the Syrian government fight Islamic State.

In an interview with regional German newspapers, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned Russia against going it alone in Syria, saying: "I hope that Russia is not depending on the Syrian civil war continuing."

Separately in a guest article for the New York Times, Steinmeier said the nuclear deal struck between Iran and six world powers had created an opportunity to tackle Syria's troubles, but he was concerned that the chance to make progress was fading.

"It would be folly to continue betting on a military solution," he said. "Now is the time to find a way to bring the parties to the negotiating table. This must include preparatory talks with and among crucial regional actors like Saudi Arabia and Turkey, but also Iran."

U.S. President Barack Obama said on Friday that Russia's escalated military involvement in Syria indicates Assad is worried and turning to Russian advisers for help.

EU diplomats are concerned that Russian military support for Assad would counter any incentives to consider a political solution in the civil war.
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Offline Palloy

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Re: Syria - Russia - US
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2015, 08:09:14 PM »
The world waited with baited breath after the announcement by Turkey that a Russian plane had violated their airspace.  Will this be the start of WW3? - no, it won't. 

Kerry: "it could have resulted in a shoot down".  Or an embarrassing anti-missile missile hit, after all, nobody knows what happens when NATO tries to shoot down the latest Russian aircraft, which would be on maximum alert as it flies along the NATO border.

Stoltenberg: "unacceptable violations of Turkish air space."  Since he must have known it wouldn't alter a thing, one wonders why he didn't just keep his mouth shut.

https://www.rt.com/news/317696-turkey-russia-airspace-mistake/
Turkey says ‘no tension’ after Russian airspace violation mistake, NATO cries foul
5 Oct, 2015

The incident, which occurred on Saturday, saw Turkey scramble two F-16 jets after a Russian military aircraft crossed into Turkish airspace near the Syrian border.

Ankara also claimed that a MiG-29 fighter jet, which is used by both Russia and Syria, harassed two of its F-16’s on Sunday by locking radar on to them, as they patrolled the Turkish-Syrian border.

“Our position is very clear, we’ll warn any country that violates our borders in a friendly way. Russia is our friend and neighbor. There is no tension between Turkey and Russia in this sense. The issue of Syria is not a Turkish-Russian crisis,” Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told HaberTurk TV, as cited by the Hurriyet Daily, following diplomatic communications between Ankara and Moscow.

"What we have received from Russia this morning is that this was a mistake and that they respect Turkey's borders and this will not happen again," Davutoglu added.

The Russian Defense Ministry has said that bad weather caused the incident when Russian combat aircraft violated Turkish airspace.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed the Russian ambassador had been summoned, telling reporters that "some facts were mentioned there which are to be checked." There was no emergency meeting planned between Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, Peskov said.

However, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called a meeting of the bloc members on Monday to discuss the situation, which he described as "unacceptable violations of Turkish air space."

“Russia's actions are not contributing to the security and stability of the region. I call on Russia to fully respect NATO airspace and to avoid escalating tensions with the alliance,” he said.

Russia started to carry out airstrikes against Islamic State on September 30, following a request from the Syrian government.

The military alliance also released a statement saying: "Allies strongly protest these violations of Turkish sovereign airspace, and condemn these incursions into and violations of NATO airspace."

"Allies also note the extreme danger of such irresponsible behavior. They call on the Russian Federation to cease and desist, and immediately explain these violations."

US Secretary of State John Kerry also waded into the dispute. He said he had discussed the issue with his Turkish counterpart and that the US was “greatly concerned” by the Russian incursion.

"We are greatly concerned about it because it is precisely the kind of thing that, had Turkey responded ... it could have resulted in a shoot down, and it is precisely the kind of thing we warned against," Kerry said during a visit to Chile.

US President Barack Obama has been critical of Moscow, saying that its actions are “only strengthening ISIL.”
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Offline Fenixor

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Re: Syria - Russia - US
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2015, 11:02:32 AM »
Initial Findings of the Crowdsourced Geolocation and Analysis of Russian MoD Airstrike Videos from Syria
(October 6, 2015 By Bellingcat)

Yesterday Bellingcat launched an effort to use the Checkdesk platform to geolocate and collect additional information on videos posted by the Russia Ministry of Defence showing their airstrikes in Syria. This was triggered after the discovery that two videos the Russian Ministry of Defence claimed were filmed in or near ISIS controlled Raqqa were geolocated to locations over 100 miles west of Raqqa, in non-ISIS territory.

The first batch of videos including 14 videos, 12 of which have now been geolocated.  This has revealed the following information –

- 3 videos were verified as being in locations matching the title and description of the videos. In all 3 videos the targets of Russian bombing are described as “terrorists” rather than ISIS, which is taken as a catch all term for armed Syrian opposition groups.
- 5 videos gave locations that were accurate, but described the attacks as targeting ISIS when there is no known current ISIS presence in those areas.
- 2 videos gave the location as Raqqa, but were in fact filmed over 100 miles west of Raqqa in areas with no known ISIS presence.
- 1 video gave no location, but was geolocated to an area where there was no known ISIS presence, despite the title of the video claiming otherwise.
- 1 video gave a location at the entrance to Ma’aart al Nu’man but was geolocated to an area 20km away from Ma’aart al Nu’man.

Based on the videos geolocated thus far there is no indication that the Russian Ministry of Defence has targeted ISIS positions, or hit targets in Raqqa, despite claims to the contrary.

Six new videos have been added to Checkdesk today for geolocation, which you can visit here (https://bellingcat.checkdesk.org/en/story/736).

Offline Palloy

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Re: Syria - Russia - US
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2015, 06:07:34 PM »
Quote
there is no indication that the Russian Ministry of Defence has targeted ISIS positions

That all depends on whether you believe BellingCat when they say: "there is no known current ISIS presence in those areas." 

So who is BellingCat?  It seems to be a blog by Eliot Higgins, self-described as "citizen investigative journalist". 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eliot_Higgins
<snippets>
Eliot Higgins (born 1979), pseudonym Brown Moses, is a British citizen journalist and blogger, known for using open sources and social media to investigate the Syrian Civil War, 2014–15 Russian military intervention in Ukraine and the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

He is married to a Turkish woman with one child.

Higgins does not speak or read Arabic.

Eliot Higgins has been a subject of interest for the British and U.S. media. He has been profiled in print by the The Guardian,[1] The Independent,[7] The Huffington Post,[3] and The New Yorker.[2] Television features have been run by Channel 4 News[12] and CNN International.[4]

You can gather from that that the MSM love him because he always comes up with "evidence" that Russia/Syria has done something wrong.

What would he know about which anti-Assad factions hold which territory?  I would guess no more than what the MSM/Twitter/Facebook have said, and none of that is to be believed necessarily.

And what point is he trying to make anyway?  The Russians have already said ALL the anti-Assad factions are terrorists, because they are using violence to further their political aims against the legitimate (UN approved) democratically elected Government of Syria.  They are not embarrassed about that. 

The implication of that is that the US is supporting some of those terrorists - funding, training and arming them to overthrow Assad.  THAT is the embarrassment that the US is trying to avoid having to answer.

If I was President of Syria I would go to the UN and lodge a formal complain that the US, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, France, Australia and many others are state sponsors of terrorism, but then I would never make a diplomat.  :-\




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Offline Fenixor

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Re: Syria - Russia - US
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2015, 01:40:31 AM »
So what you are saying is that you trust news sources such as RT (that we know is a state sponsored media outlet), which you posted from before, but not crowdsourced investigative journalists from the UK simply because they are from the west?

This failed logic is typical of the "american left", when all anti-west sentiment instead leads to taking russian news at face value. The point is that both the US (west) and Russia is engaged in an extensive disinformation (propaganda) war and that instead of simply "cheering for Putin" which many do here on the Diner and at Zero Hedge etc. one should think hard and long about the fact that ANY BOMBINGS no matter by whom is ultimately not helpful to the Syrian people. Steve Ludlum explained it nicely in his latest post (http://www.economic-undertow.com/).

I can handle wacky conspiracies but this myth that "all Russia does is good, and all the west does is bad" is so wrong and dangerous that my credibility for this website now dropped several points.

Offline RE

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Re: Syria - Russia - US
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2015, 02:04:40 AM »
So what you are saying is that you trust news sources such as RT (that we know is a state sponsored media outlet), which you posted from before, but not crowdsourced investigative journalists from the UK simply because they are from the west?

This failed logic is typical of the "american left", when all anti-west sentiment instead leads to taking russian news at face value. The point is that both the US (west) and Russia is engaged in an extensive disinformation (propaganda) war and that instead of simply "cheering for Putin" which many do here on the Diner and at Zero Hedge etc. one should think hard and long about the fact that ANY BOMBINGS no matter by whom is ultimately not helpful to the Syrian people. Steve Ludlum explained it nicely in his latest post (http://www.economic-undertow.com/).

I can handle wacky conspiracies but this myth that "all Russia does is good, and all the west does is bad" is so wrong and dangerous that my credibility for this website now dropped several points.

It's not just RT, ZH and the Diner you find the Vlad the Impaler Cheerleaders, you have Dmitry Orlov & The Saker also.  Then Eric Dreitser from Stop Imperialism Now  and about everybody on Global Research.

Basically you have a lot of folks who are fed up with the Endless War engaged in by Western Imperial nations since the end of WWII.  Since Vlad is battling against said Imperialists, he gets supported.  "the enemy of my enemy is my friend".

Obviously, there are no "nice guys" running these big nation states.  They're all corrupt and all trying to hold onto power.  If one side drops bombs, the other side does too.  Why do they do that?  Because they don't have a solution to a resource depletion and population overshoot problem.  Steve suggested they stop bombing the Syrians and let them rebuild their homes.  They can't, Syria can't support its population.

People are going to die by the truckload here, be it from bombs, drought, famine or disease.  It's inevitable.

RE
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Offline Fenixor

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Re: Syria - Russia - US
« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2015, 02:57:49 AM »
Yes, we are all tired of western imperialism and hypocrisy, no one feels sorry for the west. We can all agree on that. But fighting it out in a foreign country, dropping bombs on civilians all over the Middle East, will not solve anything (except for the population problem but in a very violent way).   

Even if Syria is degraded by ecosystem overuse that is no reason for bombing the country. Also there are ways to restore degraded soils, something that is now tried in Lebanon (http://ecoplantmed.eu/). So investing, sharing knowledge and resources, with locals on the ground regarding large-scale ecosystem restoration could make parts of the country livable again, but that would require and end to the fighting and supply of weaponry. Shouldnt we try to help people be able to live in the Middle East instead of forcing them to flee into other countries or trying to build walls to keep them out? I dont know what is realistic or not at this point, everything is so messed up, but surely there must be smarter ways of handling the situation that bombing the entire region (which the US is famous for doing)?

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Re: Syria - Russia - US
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2015, 04:15:39 AM »
So what you are saying is that you trust news sources such as RT (that we know is a state sponsored media outlet), which you posted from before, but not crowdsourced investigative journalists from the UK simply because they are from the west?

This failed logic is typical of the "american left", when all anti-west sentiment instead leads to taking russian news at face value. The point is that both the US (west) and Russia is engaged in an extensive disinformation (propaganda) war and that instead of simply "cheering for Putin" which many do here on the Diner and at Zero Hedge etc. one should think hard and long about the fact that ANY BOMBINGS no matter by whom is ultimately not helpful to the Syrian people. Steve Ludlum explained it nicely in his latest post (http://www.economic-undertow.com/).

I can handle wacky conspiracies but this myth that "all Russia does is good, and all the west does is bad" is so wrong and dangerous that my credibility for this website now dropped several points.

It's not just RT, ZH and the Diner you find the Vlad the Impaler Cheerleaders, you have Dmitry Orlov & The Saker also.  Then Eric Dreitser from Stop Imperialism Now  and about everybody on Global Research.

Basically you have a lot of folks who are fed up with the Endless War engaged in by Western Imperial nations since the end of WWII.  Since Vlad is battling against said Imperialists, he gets supported.  "the enemy of my enemy is my friend".
RE

What you'll find here are a number of posts from people who reject the official POV. Many of us are tired of the torrent of lies that emerge from anointed officialdom. And if you need a reminder of what the proper role of "mass media" is in the FSoA, we refer you to this:

http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/forum/index.php/topic,2650.msg87332.html#msg87332

It is fair to conflate RT as "Putin TV." So if you have a report from RT in one hand and one from the neocon rag still somehow known as the Washington Post in the other, you know that the truth is somewhere between those poles. Any so-called "cheering for Putin" you may detect on this site is simply a small effusion of joy that the neocons who have hijacked US foreign policy (the very worst people on the planet, worse than ISIS, due to their disproportionate ability to inflict misery and death with a pen wielded by an effete, well-nourished hand) have been somewhere thwarted.

One of the phenomena behind the rise of social media is the growing awareness that corporate/state media is a cycle of endless spin, and an increasing number of people are essentailly crowdsourcing their own news.

As to the continued suffering of the Syrian people (and many others in MENA), we have no intentions of stopping bombing because continued bombing is excellent for the profits of the munitions industries. Which is the real point of the entire exercise.
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Offline g

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Re: Syria - Russia - US
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2015, 04:16:26 AM »
So what you are saying is that you trust news sources such as RT (that we know is a state sponsored media outlet), which you posted from before, but not crowdsourced investigative journalists from the UK simply because they are from the west?

This failed logic is typical of the "american left",
when all anti-west sentiment instead leads to taking russian news at face value. The point is that both the US (west) and Russia is engaged in an extensive disinformation (propaganda) war and that instead of simply "cheering for Putin" which many do here on the Diner and at Zero Hedge etc. one should think hard and long about the fact that ANY BOMBINGS no matter by whom is ultimately not helpful to the Syrian people. Steve Ludlum explained it nicely in his latest post (http://www.economic-undertow.com/).

I can handle wacky conspiracies but this myth that "all Russia does is good, and all the west does is bad" is so wrong and dangerous that my credibility for this website now dropped several points.

Hi Fenixor, Pleasure to meet you and welcome to the Diner.

The Diner is definitely a place with overwhelming leftist members and their usual propaganda. I am on the opposite end of the political spectrum, one of the few here, and hope you won't get overly discouraged. Most of them are sincere enough, they just don't GET IT.  :laugh: :laugh:

We on the other side of the coin here need some help in educating them. :exp-laugh:

They bark, but usually won't bite, so relax and don't get discouraged. We have managed for the most part, despite major differences of opinion, to form a community here, and I can see already that you belong here.  :hi:       GO
« Last Edit: October 07, 2015, 04:19:29 AM by Golden Oxen »

 

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