Tag Archive | "Syria-USA"

US Forces to Occupy Syria for Decades to Come


BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:00 P.M.) – According to Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) spokesman Talal Silo, the strategic interests of the United States in Syria dictate that its forces will continue to occupy the northern regions of the country, in collusion with Kurdish separatist wishes, for many decades to come.

According to the SDF representative, Washington will continue to develop its strategic policies in SDF-occupied northern Syria via various military and economic cooperation initiatives with Kurdish-dominated political structures that have been established under the Democratic Union Party (PYD) long after ISIS in gone.

In the past, Silo has openly admitted that the SDF is a tool of American foreign policy in Syria and that the alliance group is forbidden by its US handlers from cooperating with either the Damascus government or Russia.

The announcement by Silo comes around the same time British Army representative for Operation Inherent Resolve Major General Rupert Jones said that the US-led coalition (supposedly against ISIS) would not allow “Syrian regime forces” to move north of the Euphrates River (into SDF-occupied regions). In doing so, Jones essential confirmed suspicions long-expressed by pro-Damascus analysts that Western powers (led by US) pursue a second unspoken policy in Syria aimed at preventing government forces from restoring sovereignty in the country’s northern regions.

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Daesh Absent in Area of US’ HIMARS Artillery Deployment in Syria 


NOVANEWS
Image result for Sergei Lavrov CARTOON
Sputnik 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, commenting on the US military moves, pointed to the near absence of Daesh or other terrorist groups in the vicinity of the HIMARS’ staging area.

The United States transferred on Wednesday two High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) multiple-launch rocket systems from Jordan. The systems were deployed at the US special operations forces base near al-Tanf located 11 miles from the Jordanian border.The Russian military is analyzing the US deployment of artillery systems in southern Syria where terrorist groups are said to be virtually absent, Lavrov said Friday.

“The Russian military is naturally analyzing everything that is happening in this country, including taking into account the channel that we have with the US to prevent unintentional incidents,” Lavrov said at a briefing.

“In this area, there are practically no Daesh units and the deployment there of such serious weapons, which are not particularly suitable to combat Daesh… will not ensure the stability of communication channels between government and pro-government forces in Syria and their partners in neighboring Iraq,” he said.

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Syria rejects Washington’s crematorium allegation as ‘unfounded’


NOVANEWS

Another fake-news story on Syria, based on a Google image

Here are all the Syrian soldiers captured by ISIS at Tabqa airfield being marched into the desert for their mass execution – video below

[ Editor’s Note: One has to ask, as usual, “why now” with what is really an old retread story, based on “evidence” that this “new” State Department report clearly states as conditional with its “probably a crematorium” comment below. The State Dept. is smart enough to know this is a weak story, but ran with it anyway, knowing it would get good media play, and it has.

Human Rights Watch, another long-time controlled front organization, also jumps on stories like this with

its “war crimes” headline grabber, despite the generalities they use, which would not even get a grand jury indictment, much less a conviction.

There is another issue missing in the story analysis, the little item that Syria clearly has the right, under international law, to execute large numbers of prisoners if it wanted to. In this particular case, it would involve having military trials for all foreign jihadi terrorists captured in the field, where they were convicted on terrorism charges and sentenced to death.

Also, always missing from these whiny stories is any mention of the history of mass executions of Syrian soldiers captured by foreign jihadis AND opposition groups. A Google search will bring on a large number of photos and videos which have been plastered all over the internet for years now.

Below is video of the unfortunate Syrian soldiers captured at Tabqa airfield in 2014 being marched into the desert in their underwear to a mass execution site with the cameras rolling, yet the world public knows nothing about this and many other events as they were “played down” on Western press.

This makes our State Department’s cheap shot on the Syrians today all the more reprehensible. You will also notice that if you Google Human Rights Watch, you will not find much concern about Syrian soldier mass executions, nor will you find any remorse for Google’s countless fake-atrocity reports, generally received from jihadi embeds. The Aleppo saga was one of their biggest disgraces; and most all of its reporting has been debunked since Aleppo was liberated; yet we don’t hear a peep over “how could we have gotten in so wrong”. There has not been one suicide at HRW over its shameless conduct, not even a resignation.

So with that as a background, why do you think “they” would have the gall to pedal a story like this now? I suggest to you that from past experience, they know that the general public is so stupid and so easy to manipulate that using this type of propaganda is a “freebie”; and why not use it to put a negative spine on Damascus continuing to liberate more territory, thus strengthening its hand in the future political negotiations.

As for the timing, why now, that is easy. We are just about to kick off the next round of Geneva talks on Syria, so this is just peeing in the water to create a negative atmosphere for more “Assad the monster must go” hype, which we know we will be hearing from the US coalition-supported terrorist groups. Yes, it seems you can just make this stuff up, and “they” do it all the timeJim W. Dean ]

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Here is a real execution photo, grandly staged in Palmyra, done by General Petraeus, CIA and Gulf State ISIS creation and plastered over the internet
–  First published  …  May 16,  2017  –

Syria has categorically rejected Washington’s accusation that Damascus has constructed a prison-based crematorium to burn the bodies of thousands of alleged executed detainees, saying the “unfounded” claim is in fact a new “Hollywood” story made to further interfere in the internal affairs of the Arab country.

“As it is habitual of successive US administrations to fabricate lies and allegations to justify their aggressive and interventionist policies in other sovereign countries, what came out from the current US administration is just a new Hollywood screenplay disconnected from reality,” said the Syrian Foreign Ministry in a statement carried by the official SANA news agency on Tuesday.

The ministry’s response came a day after the US Department of State, citing the US intelligence community and some “credible” humanitarian agencies, accused the Syrian government of cremating the bodies of inmates killed in “extrajudicial” executions in the Saydnaya military prison, located some 30 kilometers north of the capital Damascus, in order to “cover up the extent of mass murders taking place” in the detention facility.

It also distributed a satellite photo, dated April 2017, which allegedly shows the Saydnaya complex, naming some parts of it, including a “probable crematorium.”

Syria has in the past strongly denied any abuse at Saydnaya. Earlier this year, Damascus dismissed as baseless a report by Amnesty International about mass hanging at the prison. The Syrian Foreign Ministry, while strongly condemning the accusation, further said that such allegations were “totally unfounded.”

“They are nothing but the product of the imagination of this administration and its agents,” it added.

The ministry also said that the new accusation was in line with previous baseless allegations that Washington leveled against the Syrian government, including Damascus’ alleged use of “explosive barrels” and “chemical weapons” against the opposition in the Arab country.

The new allegation by the United States against the Syrian government came on the same day that, according to the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, US-led airstrikes in Syria’s eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr near the border with Iraq killed at least 23 displaced civilians.

On Saturday, another aerial aggression carried out by the US-led military coalition in Raqqah Province claimed the lives of 12 women.

Earlier on May 9, nearly a dozen people, including four children and six women, lost their lives and several others sustained injuries when US-led warplanes bombarded al-Salihiya village in northern Syria.

The US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against what are said to be positions of the Daesh Takfiri terrorists inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.

The US-led coalition has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians. It has also been largely incapable of fulfilling its declared aim of destroying Daesh.

Syria has been fighting different foreign-sponsored militant and terrorist groups since March 2011. UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimated last August that more than 400,000 people had been killed in the crisis until then.

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Western media ‘inflate’ Syria death toll to justify intervention 


NOVANEWS
Image result for Bashar Assad CARTOON
RT 

The Western media deliberately exaggerate the number of people killed in the Syrian conflict to create a “humanitarian pretext” for a possible intervention in the war-torn country, Syrian President Bashar Assad told Sputnik in an exclusive interview.

The official death toll of the Syrian war is much lower than the numbers presented by the Western media and amounts to “tens of thousands, not… hundreds of thousands,” Assad told Sputnik.

He went on to say that the West adds the number of terrorists and foreign mercenaries killed to the official death toll, to make it higher and create an image of a humanitarian catastrophe of an unprecedented scale.

“So, the numbers that we’ve been hearing in the Western media during the last six years were not precise, [they were used] only to inflate the number just to show how horrible the situation is, to use it as humanitarian pretext to intervene in Syria,” the president said.

Speaking about chemical weapons allegedly possessed by terrorist groups, Assad said that he is “100 percent” sure that the extremists receive them “directly from Turkey.” He added that “there was evidence regarding this” and “many parties and parliament members in Turkey… questioned the government regarding those allegations.”

He went on to say that Turkey is in fact “the only route for the terrorists to get money, armaments, every logistic support, recruits, and this kind of material” as they “don’t have any other way to come from the north.”

He also reiterated his belief that Turkey’s actions in Syria, as well as those of the US, are an “invasion.” He said that such actions violate Syrian sovereignty, and that Damascus cannot simply tell them “they can stay” or “let’s negotiate” after they have entered Syria without official invitation.

“It is your land, you have to defend it, you have to go and fight,” Assad said, adding at the same time that “the priority now is to defeat the terrorists.”

He also emphasized the importance of Syria’s territorial integrity by saying that all issues regarding local self-government and “confederation” should be resolved within the framework of the Syrian legal system after the end of the conflict, and should be based on a broad social consensus.

“Syria is a melting pot of different cultures, different ethnicities, religions, sects, and so on. So, a single part of this social fabric cannot define the future of Syria; it needs consensus. So, … it’s better to wait and discuss the next constitution” together with all sections of Syrian society, he said.

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America Seeks to Destroy Syrian Civilization, Replace it With Terrorism and Ignorance


NOVANEWS
Destroying edu thru war

NATO/GCC/Israeli proxy terrorists in Syria have committed all manner of atrocities with a view to destroying Syria’s culture, history, economy, pluralism, its very essence.  They want to create a blank slate. They want to destroy the country’s secular institutions so that Syria devolves into a sectarian terrorist cesspool of death and ignorance.  All of this is well documented.

Dr. Joseph Saadeh, a dentist and city councilor in the liberated Christian town of Maaloula, Syria, expressed similar sentiments in this video.

The well-orchestrated, genocidal terrorism, includes assaults on Syria’s previously exemplary education system, with a view to replacing it with anti-Islamic Wahhabi/Takfiri-oriented teachings of hatred and violence.

Investigative reporter and Syrian resident Tom Duggan reported in a text message that the terrorists

turned these beacons of education (schools) into platforms of terror and launching the Takfiri extremist ideology which will invade the whole world if not stopped. The result is that Syria believed in producing a well-educated civilized human being, while the terrorists planned to produce a new generation of terrorists who only believe in killing people and destroying humanity, that did not conform to their strict ideas these monsters will be on the European borders and here we have a decision to make it yours to choose between the civilized education of mankind and a hideous ideology that only resembles humans in shape and form a blind obedience to create suffering and destruction of any modern society that opposes them.

In a recently-released documentary, the Sun Of Syria series, Duggan explains that in their efforts to destroy Syria’s education system, terrorists targeted and destroyed modern educational infrastructure, including schools (444 schools were destroyed by terrorists since 2011), and the Ministry Of Education’s main printing depot, the Eral Establishment for Printing And Textbook(s), which was under siege for 80 days.

It should be obvious that the West’s on-going efforts to destroy Syria have nothing to do with democracy, and everything to do with its on-going support for genocide, terror, and destruction.

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US may send 1,000 troops to Syria


NOVANEWS
US may send 1,000 troops to Syria; Trump’s ‘hard-power budget’; The messy future of Russian spying; New kinds of war demand a new defensive alliance; and just a bit more…

The Pentagon is considering sending 1,000 more ground troops to Syria to help shape the offensive against Islamic State-held Raqqa before it formally kicks off, the Washington Post reported Wednesday. The plans are described as one of many granular additions to the “broad outline” for defeating ISIS that Defense Secretary James Mattis presented to President Trump at the end of February, the Post writes. “Gen. Joseph Votel, head of U.S. Central Command, has been filling in more details for that outline, including by how much to increase the U.S. ground presence in Syria. Votel is set to forward his recommendations to Mattis by the end of the month, and the Pentagon secretary is likely to sign off on them, according to a defense official familiar with the deliberations.”

The mission: “The new troops, if sent, would be focused on supporting Kurdish and Arab fighters in northern Syria battling the Islamic State. Under the plan, the added American forces would act primarily as advisers, offering expertise on bomb disposal and coordinating air support for the coalition of Kurds and Arabs, also known as the Syrian Democratic Forces.”

The additional U.S. elements “would probably come from parts of both the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit — a flotilla of ships loaded with 2,200 Marines that is now steaming toward the region — and the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, from which 2,500 troops are headed to Kuwait. These conventional troops would supplement the Special Operations forces already on the ground and operate much like their counterparts fighting in the Iraqi city of Mosul.”

Where the U.S. troop count currently stands in Syria: “About 500 U.S. Special Operations forces are already in Syria operating alongside the SDF, in addition to about 250 Rangers and 200 Marines.”

If approved by Trump, the plans “would potentially double the number of U.S. forces in Syria and increase the potential for direct U.S. combat involvement in a conflict that has been characterized by confusion and competing priorities among disparate forces.”

For example, “Turkey has said it will send ground forces to help seize Raqqa, but that option is complicated by Turkish insistence that its participation depends on the United States severing ties with Syrian Kurdish fighters, called the People’s Protection Units, or YPG. While the Pentagon considers the YPG to be the most effective local Syrian fighting force, Turkey has labeled it a terrorist group.”

Speaking of Turkey, its defense minister wants answers on the “diplomatic” situation in Manbij, Syria, saying “a military approach would only be considered if diplomacy failed,” Reuters reports this morning.

And on the diplomatic note, Syrian Kurds are asking President Trump to establish safe zones in territory held by the Syrian Democratic Forces in the north. Kurdish ARA News has more on a region of Syria the Kurds say more than 150,000 have come for protection during Raqqa offensive shaping operations.

Video dispatch from Raqqa: The Syrian Democratic Forces have found a complex ISIS tunnel system complete with pillboxes and blast walls in the vicinity of Raqqa. Watch footage of their recent finds, here.

Apropos of nothing: Take a look at Syria’s newest troops—many of whom appear to be quite old, as the Middle East Institute’s Charles Lister points out.

Trump’s “hard power” budget due today. “The Trump administration will roll out two budget plans on Thursday: one that amends the Obama administration’s 2017 spending plan, and another for fiscal 2018, which begins on Oct. 1,” Defense One’s Marcus Weisgerber reports. The updated 2017 plan includes a $30 billion supplemental fund for “defense and primarily border” security, Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney told reporters Wednesday.

About that border security: The Department of Homeland Security’s budget would see a 6 percent increase under the Trump plan, which includes $4.1 billion for the southern border wall: $1.5 billion in the 2017 supplemental and $2.6 billion in 2018.

The dominant message: Under Trump’s plan, money would shift from foreign aid projects into military and security programs, Weisgerber writes.

(ICYMI: The White House proposal, like similar ones under Obama, tries to ignore legal spending caps.)

Want to make sense of the defense budget math? The Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Todd Harrison has a chart for you, here.

How Reuters frames the plan: “Military wins; environment and aid lose big.” And check out the Reuters graphic that lays out “winners and losers,” here.

How AP frames it: “The $54 billion boost for the military is the largest since President Ronald Reagan’s Pentagon buildup in the 1980s, promising immediate money for troop readiness, the fight against Islamic State militants and procurement of new ships, fighter jets and other weapons. The 10 percent Pentagon boost is financed by $54 billion in cuts to foreign aid and domestic agencies that had been protected by former President Barack Obama.”

More from Reuters: “The plan earmarks the new funds to accelerate the fight against Islamic State militants, reverse Army troop reductions, build more ships for the Navy and ramp up the Air Force – including by purchasing additional F-35 fighter jets, built by Lockheed Martin…The budget also requests $12 billion in so-called Overseas Contingency Operations, or OCO, funding for extraordinary costs, chiefly in war zones such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. No comparison was provided for the current year’s OCO spending.”

And on the foreign aid side, “The combined budget for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, would fall by 28 percent, with funding cuts for the United Nations, climate change and cultural exchange programs. The plan preserves $3.1 billion in security aid to Israel.” That, here. (ICYMI: the generals fighting ISIS say cutting soft-power funds will hurt their war efforts.)

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President Al-Assad: “Foreign Troops Coming to Syria without Permission Are Invaders”


NOVANEWS
Interview with to Chinese Phoenix TV

 

Syria

Damascus, SANA-President Bashar al-Assad said that the solution to the crisis in Syria should be through two parallel ways: the first one is to fight the terrorists, and this is our duty as government, to defend the Syrians and use any means in order to destroy the terrorists who’ve been killing and destroying in Syria, and the second one is to make dialogue.

The president added in an interview given to Chinese PHOENIX TV that any foreign troops coming to Syria without our invitation or consultation or permission, they are invaders, whether they are American, Turkish, or any other one.

Flowing is the full text of the interview:

Question 1:  Thank you Mr. President for having us here in Dimashq, the capital of Syria. I think this is the first interview you have with Chinese media after the national ceasefire and after so many fresh rounds of talks, both in Astana and in Geneva, and of course after US President Donald Trump’s inauguration, and these days, as we have seen, your troops are making steady progress in battlefields, but peace talks do not seem just as productive. So, as far as the Geneva talks is concerned, your chief negotiator, Mr. Jaafari, was trying hard to find out who should be sitting on the other side of the negotiation table. So, according to your idea, who should be sitting there?

President Assad: This is a very crucial question. If you want those negotiations to be fruitful, we have to ask “who is going to be sitting there?” I mean, there could be a lot of good people with good intentions, but the question is: who do they represent? That’s the question. In this situation, you have different groups, you have people who are, let’s say, patriotic, but they don’t represent anyone, they represent themselves. You have others who represent the terrorists, and you have terrorists on the table, and you have others who represent the agenda of foreign countries like Saudi Arabia, like Turkey, like France, UK and maybe the United States. So, it’s not a homogeneous meeting. If you want it to be fruitful, going back to the first point that I mentioned, it should be a real Syrian-Syrian negotiations. In spite of that, we went to that meeting because we think any kind of dialogue could be a good step toward the solution, because even those people who are terrorists or belonging to the terrorists or to other countries, they may change their mind and go back to their normality by going back to being real Syrians, detach themselves from being terrorists or agents to other groups. That’s why I say we didn’t expect Geneva to produce anything, but it’s a step, and it’s going to be a long way, and you may have other rounds, whether in Geneva or in Astana.

Question 2: But anyway, it is an intra-Syrian talks, right? But the matter of fact is, it is proxy dialogue. I mean, main parties do not meet and have dialogue directly.

President Assad: Exactly.

Journalist: Are you personally satisfied with the current negotiation format or mechanism?

President Assad: we didn’t forge this mechanism; it was forged by de Mistura and the UN with the influence of the countries that wanted to use those negotiations in order to make pressure on Syria, not to reach any resolution. As you just said, each one represents a different agenda, even the opposition delegations, it wasn’t one delegation; different delegations of the opposition. So, if I’m going to – as a government – if I’m going to negotiate with someone, who’s it going to be? Which one? Who represents who? That’s our question. So, you are right, this time there was no negotiations in Geneva, but this is one of the reasons, that’s why it didn’t reach anything. The only thing we discussed in Geneva was the agenda, the headlines, what are we going to discuss later, that’s it.

Question 3: But as we see, lot of time, money, energy have been put into this effort, and the clashes are still going on, people are still dying, and the refugees are still increasing.

President Assad: Exactly.

Journalist: What is the possible way of having a negotiation?

President Assad: Again, you are correct. The more delay you have, the more harm and destruction and killing and blood you’ll have within Syria, that’s why we are very eager to achieve a solution, but how and in which way? You need to have two parallel ways: the first one is to fight the terrorists, and this is our duty as government, to defend the Syrians and use any means in order to destroy the terrorists who’ve been killing and destroying in Syria. The second one is to make dialogue. This dialogue has many different aspects; you have the political one, which is related to the future of Syria; what political system do you need, what kind? It doesn’t matter which one, it depends on the Syrians, and they’re going to have referendum about what they want. The second part is to try to bring many of those people who were affiliated to the terrorists or who committed any terrorist acts to go back to their normality and lay down their armaments and to live normal life in return for amnesty that has been offered by the government, and we’ve been going in that direction for three years, and it worked very well. It worked very well. So, actually, if you want to talk about the real political solution since the beginning of the crisis, of the war on Syria, till this moment, the only solution was those reconciliations between the government and the different militants in Syria, many of them joined the government now, and they are fighting with the government. Some of them laid down their.

Question 4: But talking about the Syria war, you can never exclude the foreign factors. The Saudi-backed high negotiating committee, HNC, are saying that they are counting on the Trump administration to play a positive role instead of the mistaken policies under his predecessor Barack Obama. So, from your side, what do you expect from Trump’s Middle East policy, particularly policy on Syria?

President Assad: The first part that you mentioned about their hopes, when you pin your hopes on a foreign country, doesn’t matter which foreign country, it means you’re not patriotic, and this is proved, because they should depend on the support of the Syrian people, not any other government or administration.

Now, regarding the Trump administration, during his campaign and after the campaign, the main rhetoric of the Trump administration and the president himself was about the priority of defeating ISIS. I said since the beginning that this is a promising approach to what’s happening in Syria and in Iraq, because we live in the same area and we face the same enemy. We haven’t seen anything concrete yet regarding this rhetoric, because we’ve been seeing now certain is a local kind of raids. You cannot deal with terrorism on local basis; it should be comprehensive, it cannot be partial or temporary. It cannot be from the air, it should be in cooperation with the troops on the ground, that’s why the Russians succeeded, since they supported the Syrian Army in pushing ISIS to shrink, not to expand as it used to be before that. So, we have hopes that this taking into consideration that talking about ISIS doesn’t mean talking about the whole terrorism; ISIS is one of the products, al-Nusra is another product, you have so many groups in Syria, they are not ISIS, but they are Al Qaeda, they have the same background of the Wahabi extremist ideology.

Question 5: So, Mr. President, you and Mr. Donald Trump actually share the same priority which is counter-terrorism, and both of you hate fake news. Do you see any room for cooperation?

President Assad: Yeah, in theory, yes, but practically, not yet, because there’s no link between Syria and the United States on the formal level. Even their raids against ISIS that I just mentioned, which are only a few raids, happened without the cooperation or the consultation with the Syrian Army or the Syrian government which is illegal as we always say. So, theoretically we share those goals, but particularly, not yet.

Question 6: Do you have personal contact with the President of the United States?

President Assad: Not at all.

Journalist: Direct or indirect.

President Assad: Indirect, you have so many channels, but you cannot bet on private channels. It should be formal, this is where you can talk about a real relation with another government.

Question 7: As we speak, top generals from Turkey, Russia, and the United States are meeting somewhere in Turkey to discuss tensions in northern Syria, where mutually- suspicious forces are allied with these countries.  So, do you have a plan for a final attack on Daesh when the main players actually do need an effective coordination in order to clear Syria of all terror groups?

President Assad: Yeah, if you want to link that meeting with ISIS in particular, it won’t be objective, because at least one party, which is Turkey, has been supporting ISIS till this moment, because Erdogan, the Turkish President, is Muslim Brotherhood. He’s ideologically linked and sympathetic with ISIS and with al-Nusra, and everybody knows about this in our region, and he helped them either through armaments, logistically, through exporting oil. For the other party, which is the United States, at least during Obama’s administration, they dealt with ISIS by overlooking their smuggling the Syrian oil to Turkey, and this is how they can get money in order to recruit terrorists from around the world, and they didn’t try to do anything more than cosmetic against ISIS. The only serious party in that regard is Russia, which is effectively attacking ISIS in cooperation with us. So, the question is: how can they cooperate, and I think the Russians have hope that the two parties join the Russians and the Syrians in their fight against terrorism. So, we have more hopes now regarding the American party because of the new administration, while in Turkey nothing has changed in that regard. ISIS in the north have  only one route of supply, it’s through Turkey, and they’re still alive and they’re still active and they’re still resisting different kinds of waves of attacks, because of the  Turkish support.

Question 8: Now, US troops are in Manbej. Is the greenlight from your side? Did you open the door for these American troops?

President Assad: No, no, we didn’t. Any foreign troops coming to Syria without our invitation or consultation or permission, they are invaders, whether they are American, Turkish, or any other one. And we don’t think this is going to help. What are they going to do? To fight ISIS?  The Americans lost nearly every war. They lost in Iraq, they had to withdraw at the end. Even in Somalia, let alone Vietnam in the past and Afghanistan, your neighboring country. They didn’t succeed anywhere they sent troops, they only create a mess; they are very good in creating problems and destroying, but they are very bad in finding solutions.

Question 9: Talking about Russia and China, they just vetoed a new UN sanction on Syria last week. What do these Chinese vetoes mean exactly for your country?

President Assad: Let’s be very clear about their position, which is not to support the Syrian government or the Syrian president, because in the West they try to portray it as a personal problem, and as Russia and China and other countries and Iran support that person as president. It’s not the case. China is a member of the Security Council, and it’s committed to the Charter of the United Nations. In that veto, China has defended first of all the Charter, because the United Nations was created in order to restore stability around the world. Actually, the Western countries, especially the permanent members of the Council as a tool or means in order to change regimes or governments and to  implement their agenda, not to restore stability, and actually to create more instability around the world. So the second part is that China restored stability in the world by creating some kind of political balance within the United Nations, of course in cooperation with Russia, which is very important for the whole world. Of course, Syria was the headline, the main headline, this is good for Syria, but again it’s good for the rest of the world. Third, the same countries that wanted to use the UN Charter for their own vested interested are the same countries who interfered or tried to intervene in your country in the late 90s, and they used different headlines, human rights, and so on, and you know that, and if they had the chance, they would change every government in the world, whether big country or small country, just when this government tries to be a little bit independent. So, China protected the Chinese interests, Syrian interests, and the world interests, especially the small countries or the weak countries.

Question 10: If I’m not mistaken, you said China is going to play a role in the reconstruction of Syria. So, in which areas you think China can contribute to bring Syrian people back to their normal life after so many years of hardships?

President Assad: Actually, if you talk about what the terrorists have been doing the last six years, it’s destroying everything regarding the infrastructure. In spite of that, the Syrian government is still effective, at least by providing the minimum needs for the Syrian people. But they’ve been destroying everything in every sector with no exception. Adding to that, the Western embargo in Syria has prevented Syria from having even the basic needs for the livelihood of any citizen in Syria. So, in which sector? In every sector. I mean, China can be in every sector with no exception, because we have damage in every sector. But if we talk about now, before this comprehensive reconstruction starts, China now is being involved directly in building many projects, mainly industrial projects, in Syria, and we have many Chinese experts now working in Syria in different projects in order to set up those projects. But of course, when you have more stability, the most important thing is building the destroyed suburbs. This is the most important part of the reconstruction. The second one is the infrastructure; the sanitation system, the electricity, the oil fields, everything, with no exception. The third one: the industrial projects, which could belong to the private sector or the public sector in Syria.

Question 11: Alright. And it seems no secret that there are some Chinese extremists are here, fighting alongside Daesh. I think it is a threat to both Syria and China. What concrete or effective measures do you have to control border and prevent these extremists from free movement in the region?

President Assad: When you talk about extremists or terrorists, it doesn’t matter what their nationality is, because they don’t recognize borders, and they don’t belong to a country. The only difference between nationality and nationality, is that those for example who came from your country, they know your country more than the others, so they can do more harm in your country that others, and the same for Syrians, the same for Russian terrorist, and so on. So now, the measures, every terrorist should be defeated and demolished, unless he changed his position to the normal life. Second, because you’re talking about different nationalities -more than 80 nationalities – you should have cooperation with the other governments, especially in the intelligence field, and that’s what’s happening for example with the Chinese intelligence regarding the Uyghur terrorists who are coming from China through Turkey. Unfortunately, the only means that we don’t have now and we don’t control is our borders with Turkey, because the Uyghur  in Particular, they came from Turkey, the others coming maybe from Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, form the sea, maybe, and the majority from Turkey, but the Uyghur terrorists coming mainly from Turkey. Why? I don’t know why, but they have the support of the Turkish government, and they were gathered and collected in one group, and they were sent to the northern part of Syria. So, the mission now is to attack them, wherever they existed. Of course, sometimes you cannot tell which one… who is who, they mix with each other, but sometimes they work as separate groups from different nationalities. And this is very crucial kind of cooperation between the Syrian and the Chinese intelligence, and we did many good steps in that regard.

Question 12: Mr. President, as you may be fully aware that the “White Helmets” took an Oscar this year for the best documentary short, but folks are saying that the truth about this “White Helmets” is not like what Netflix has presented, so what is your take on this?

President Assad: First of all, we have to congratulate al-Nusra for having the first Oscar! This is an unprecedented event for the West to give Al Qaeda an Oscar; this is unbelievable, and this is another proof that the Oscars, Nobel, all these things are politicized certificates, that’s how I can look at it. The White Helmets story is very simple; it is a facelift of al-Nusra Front in Syria, just to change their ugly face into a more humanitarian face, that’s it. And you have many videos on the net and of course images broadcasted by the White Helmets that condemn the White Helmets as a terrorists group, where you can see the same person wearing the white helmet and celebrating over the dead bodies of Syrian soldiers. So, that’s what the Oscar went to, to those terrorists. So, it’s a story just to try to prevent the Syrian Army during the liberation of Aleppo from making more pressure on the attacking and liberating the districts within the city that have been occupied by those terrorists, to say that the Syrian Army and the Russians are attacking the civilians and the innocents and the humanitarian people.

Question 13: Right. Now Palmyra. I took a one-day trip to Palmyra this time. Now, the city is under your control, so as its strategic position is concerned, because Homs is the heart of Syria, it’s right in the middle, now, when you have Palmyra, what is your next target? Are you going to expand a military operation into Raqqa and Dier Ezzor?

President Assad: We are very close to Raqqa now. Yesterday, our troops reached the Euphrates River which is very close to Raqqa city, and Raqqa is the stronghold of ISIS today, so it’s going to be a priority for us, but that doesn’t mean the other cities are not priority, in time that could be in parallel, because Palmyra is on the way to Dier Ezzor city in the eastern part of Syria which is close to the Iraqi borders, and those areas that have been used by ISIS as route for logistic support between ISIS in Iraq and ISIS in

Syria. So, whether you attack the stronghold or you attack the route that ISIS uses, it has the same result.

Question 14: How many days do you think this war is going to last?

President Assad: if we presume that you don’t have foreign intervention, it will take a few months. It’s not very complicated internally. The complexity of this war is the foreign intervention. This is the problem. So, in the face of that intervention, the good thing that we gained during the war is the unity of the society. At the very beginning, the vision for many Syrians wasn’t very clear about what’s happening. Many believed the propaganda of the West about the reality, about the real story, that this is against the oppression. If it’s against the oppression, why the people in Saudi Arabia didn’t revolt, for example? So, now what we gained is this, this is our strongest foundation to end that war. We always have hope that this year is going to be the last year. But at the end, this is war and you can’t expect what is going to happen precisely.

Question 15: Mr. President, you are President of the Syrian Republic, at the same time, you are a loving husband and a father of three. How can you balance the role of being a President, a father, and a husband?

President Assad: If you cannot succeed in your small duty which is your family, you cannot succeed in your bigger duty or more comprehensive duty at the level of a country. So, there is no excuse that if you have a lot of work to abandon your duties; it’s a duty. You have to be very clear about that, you have to fulfill those duties in a very good way. Of course, sometimes those circumstances do not allow you to do whatever you have to do, your duties, fully, let’s say.

Journalist: During a day, how much time you spend on work, and how much time you spend with your family members?

President Assad: Actually, it’s not about the time, because even if you are at your home, you have to work.

Journalist: Okay.

President Assad: Let’s say, in the morning and the evening, you have the chance, but in between and after those times, you have the whole day to work.

Question 16: Have you ever thought of leaving this country for the sake of your family?

President Assad: Never, after six years, I mean the most difficult times passed; it was in 2012 and 2013, those times we never thought about it, how can I think about it now?

So, no, no, this is not an option. Whenever you have any kind of reluctance, you will lose. You will lose not with your enemies; you lose with your supporters. Those supporters, I mean the people you work with, the fighters, the army, they will feel if you’re not determined to defend your country. We never had any feeling neither me nor any member of my family.

Question 17: And how is Kareem’s Chinese getting along?

President Assad: He learned the basics of Chinese language, I think two years ago. Unfortunately, the lady and the man who taught him had to leave, because they were members of the Chinese Embassy. They went back to China. Now, he stopped improve his Chinese language.

Question 18: Do you think it is a good choice to learn Chinese for him?

President Assad: Of course, of course, because China is a rising power.

Journalist: You didn’t force him to learn Chinese? It’s his own option, right?

President Assad: No, no, we never thought about it, actually. I didn’t think that he has to learn Chinese, and I didn’t expect him, if I thought about it, that he would say yes, because for many in the world the Chinese language is a difficult language to learn. He took the initiative and he said I want to learn Chinese, and actually till this moment, I didn’t ask him why. I want him to feel free, but when he’s getting older, I’m going to ask him how? How did it come through your mind to learn this language, this difficult language, but of course important language.

Journalist: You didn’t ask him before? President Assad: No, not yet. Journalist: So, you think it’s a good choice?

President Assad: Of course, of course. As I said, it’s a rising power, it’s important. I mean, most of the world has different kinds of relation with China whether in science, in politics, in economy, in business, I mean, in every filed you need it now. And our relation for the future is going to be on the rise. It was good, but it’s going to be on the rise because when a country like China proves that it’s a real friend, a friend that you can rely on, it’s very natural to have better relation on the popular level, not only on the formal level.

Journalist: Thank you Mr. President, thank you for your time.

President Assad: Thank you for coming to Syria, you’re most welcome.

Posted in USA, SyriaComments Off on President Al-Assad: “Foreign Troops Coming to Syria without Permission Are Invaders”

VIDEO: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Introduces Legislation to Stop Arming Terrorists


NOVANEWS

Image result for Rep. Tulsi Gabbard CARTOON

8, December, 2016
Press Release

Washington, DC—Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) introduced the Stop Arming Terrorists Act today. The legislation would prohibit the U.S. government from using American taxpayer dollars to provide funding, weapons, training, and intelligence support to groups like the Levant Front, Fursan al Ha and other allies of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, al-Qaeda and ISIS, or to countries who are providing direct or indirect support to those same groups.

The legislation is cosponsored by Reps. Peter Welch (D-VT-AL), Barbara Lee (D-CA-13), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA-48), and Thomas Massie (R-KY-04), and supported by the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) and the U.S. Peace Council.

Video of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s speech on the House floor is available here

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “Under U.S. law it is illegal for any American to provide money or assistance to al-Qaeda, ISIS or other terrorist groups. If you or I gave money, weapons or support to al-Qaeda or ISIS, we would be thrown in jail. Yet the U.S. government has been violating this law for years, quietly supporting allies and partners of al-Qaeda, ISIL, Jabhat Fateh al Sham and other terrorist groups with money, weapons, and intelligence support, in their fight to overthrow the Syrian government.[i]

“The CIA has also been funneling weapons and money through Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and others who provide direct and indirect support to groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda. This support has allowed al-Qaeda and their fellow terrorist organizations to establish strongholds throughout Syria, including in Aleppo.

“A recent New York Times article confirmed that ‘rebel groups’ supported by the U.S. ‘have entered into battlefield alliances with the affiliate of al-Qaeda in Syria, formerly known as al Nusra.’ This alliance has rendered the phrase ‘moderate rebels’ meaningless. Reports confirm that ‘every armed anti-Assad organization unit in those provinces [of Idlib and Aleppo] is engaged in a military structure controlled by [al-Qaeda’s] Nusra militants.’

“A recent Wall Street Journal article reported that many rebel groups are ‘doubling down on their alliance’ with al Nusra. Some rebel groups are renewing their alliance, while others, like Nour al-Din al-Zinki, a former CIA-backed group and one of the largest factions in Aleppo are joining for the first time. “The Syria Conquest Front—formerly known as the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front—is deeply intermingled with armed opposition groups of all stripes across Syria’s battlefields.”

“The CIA has long been supporting a group called Fursan al Haqq, providing them with salaries, weapons and support, including surface to air missiles.  This group is cooperating with and fighting alongside an al-Qaeda affiliated group trying to overthrow the Syrian government. The Levant Front is another so-called moderate umbrella group of Syrian opposition fighters. Over the past year, the United States has been working with Turkey to give this group intelligence support and other forms of military assistance. This group has joined forces with al-Qaeda’s offshoot group in Syria.

“This madness must end. We must stop arming terrorists. The Government must end this hypocrisy and abide by the same laws that apply to its’ citizens.

“That is why I’ve introduced the Stop Arming Terrorists bill—legislation based on congressional action during the Iran-Contra affair to stop the CIA’s illegal arming of rebels in Nicaragua. It will prohibit any Federal agency from using taxpayer dollars to provide weapons, cash, intelligence, or any support to al-Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorist groups, and it will prohibit the government from funneling money and weapons through other countries who are directly or indirectly supporting terrorists,” concluded Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Stephen Kinzer, a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University, and award-winning author and journalist said, “The proposal to stop sending weapons to insurgents in Syria is based on the principle that pouring arms into a war zone only intensifies suffering and makes peace more difficult to achieve. Congress made a decision like this about the Nicaraguan contras during the 1980s. Aid to the contras was cut off by the Boland Amendment. The result was a peace process that finally brought an end to wars not only in Nicaragua, but also in El Salvador and Guatemala. This is the example we should be following. Cutting off arms shipments forces belligerents to negotiate. That is what we achieved in Nicaragua. It should be our goal in Syria as well.”

Donna Smith, Executive Director of Progressive Democrats of America said, “Progressive Democrats of America believes that it is fundamentally wrong for the United States to fund those groups or individuals aligned with al-Qaeda, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, ISIS, or other terrorist/extremist organizations.  The ‘Stop Arming Terrorists’ bill authored by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, of Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District, would help bring an end to the human tragedy unfolding in Syria where the haunting eyes of the innocent children of Aleppo call on us all to stop supporting those who threaten and kill them with ferocious intention. War is war, and terrorism is terrorism whether waged by the state or from external forces. PDA supports this measure.”

Alfred Marder, President of the U.S. Peace Council said, “The U.S. Peace Council is honored to endorse and support the ‘Stop Arming Terrorists Bill’ as a major contribution to peace. This legislation will serve to galvanize the anti-war movement and the opposition to regime change policies that characterize our present foreign policy.”

Background: The Stop Arming Terrorists bill prohibits U.S. government funds from being used to support al-Qaeda, ISIS or other terrorist groups. In the same way that Congress passed the Boland Amendment to prohibit the funding and support to CIA backed-Nicaraguan Contras during the 1980’s, this bill would stop CIA or other Federal government activities in places like Syria by ensuring U.S. funds are not used to support al-Qaeda, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, ISIS, or other terrorist groups working with them. It would also prohibit the Federal government from funding assistance to countries that are directly or indirectly supporting those terrorist groups. The bill achieves this by:

  1. Making it illegal for any U.S. Federal government funds to be used to provide assistance covered in this bill to terrorists. The assistance covered includes weapons, munitions, weapons platforms, intelligence, logistics, training, and cash.
  2. Making it illegal for the U.S. government to provide assistance covered in the bill to any nation that has given or continues to give such assistance to terrorists.
  3. Requiring the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to determine the individual and groups that should be considered terrorists, for the purposes of this bill, by determining: (a) the individuals and groups that are associated with, affiliated with, adherents to or cooperating with al-Qaeda, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, or ISIS; (b) the countries that are providing assistance covered in this bill to those individuals or groups.
  4. Requiring the DNI to review and update the list of countries and groups to which assistance is prohibited every six months, in consultation with the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees, as well as the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
  5. Requiring the DNI to brief Congress on the determinations.

###


[i] Levant Front (U.S. backed, via the MOC in Turkey) is working under an Ahrar al Sham led umbrella group: http://www.understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/December%202%20EDITS%20COT_2.pdf ;

U.S. support for Levant Front: http://carnegie-mec.org/diwan/57605?lang=en ; CIA groups cooperated with Jayesh al-Fateh http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/01/19/the-cia-s-syria-program-and-the-perils-of-proxies.html; U.S. weapons arriving in Syria through covert, CIA-led program, via Saudi Arabia and Turkey; CIA can provide support http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-syria-obama-order-idUSBRE8701OK20120802

Posted in USA, SyriaComments Off on VIDEO: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Introduces Legislation to Stop Arming Terrorists

US military boosts weapons airdrops to Syrian opposition 


NOVANEWS

1702a88d-3a1e-467d-a13e-d37347574491A growing number of opposition groups in Syria are getting increased weapons and ammunition supplies from the US Air Force to tackle Islamic State, according to US media reports citing the country’s military.

The weapons are intended for opposition forces closing in on IS’s self-proclaimed capital Raqqa in Syria, reports.

The “expanded” airdrops are “helping ground forces take the offensive to [the Islamic State] and efforts to retake Raqqa,” Gen. Carlton Everhart, commander of the US Air Mobility Command, is quoted by the news outlet.

Currently, the Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) – an alliance of various militias, mainly formed by Kurdish fighters – is continuing its  to retake territories around Raqqa. SDF is among key opposition forces being backed by the US-led international coalition in Syria.

The weapons supplies “are absolutely essential” for the irregular forces fighting on the ground, the US Air Force spokesman in Baghdad Col. John Dorrian claimed, according to USA Today.

Meanwhile, Everhart reportedly claimed that the US military is being extremely precise while delivering arms and equipment to the opposition in Syria. “We’ll get it within 10 or 15 meters of the mark,” he said.

The US-led coalition has been repeatedly conducting military airdrops for the opposition groups in Syria. However, such missions have not always gone according to plan.

Back in October 2014, a weapons airdrop by the US Air Force apparently ended up in the hands of IS terrorists, who released a video claiming to have seized the cache of arms. The weapons had been intened for the Kurdish forces battling jihadists who were besieging the Syrian town of Kobane at the time.

Pentagon spokesman Col. Steven Warren later said that two bundles of weapons have been lost. While one of them was destroyed by an air strike, another “went astray and probably fell into enemy hands.”

“There is always going to be some margin of error in these types of operations,” Warren added.

In December last year, US President Barack Obama granted a waiver for some of the restrictions on the delivery of military aid to “foreign forces, irregular forces, groups, or individuals,” if those groups are supporting the US’s alleged counter-terrorism efforts in Syria.

Reacting to the decision, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the move could result in some of the weapons getting into the hands of terrorists.
Such an occurence would pose “a serious threat not only for the region, but the entire world,” he warned.

On December 9, 2016 US Democratic lawmaker Tulsi Gabbard  the Stop Arming Terrorists Act bill. She alleged that the CIA in fact supplied arms to the opposition, some of whom cooperated with terrorists including al-Qaeda. “This madness must end,” she urged.

Posted in USA, SyriaComments Off on US military boosts weapons airdrops to Syrian opposition 

US intervention in Syria? Not under Trump


usa-syria-flags

The Trump administration may recognise that the Syrian army is the only institution committed to resisting terrorism in its country

A new coalition of US-based organisations is pushing for a more aggressive US intervention against the Assad regime. But both the war in Syria and politics in the United States have shifted dramatically against this objective.

When it was formed last July, the coalition hoped that a Hillary Clinton administration would pick up its proposals for a more forward stance in support of the anti-Assad armed groups. But with Donald Trump in office instead, the supporters of a US war in Syria now have little or no chance of selling the idea.

One of the ways the group is adjusting to the new political reality is to package its proposal for deeper US military engagement on behalf of US-supported armed groups as part of a plan to counter al-Qaeda, now calling itself Jabhat Fateh al Sham.

But that rationale depends on a highly distorted presentation of the problematic relations between those supposedly “moderate” groups and al-Qaeda’s Syrian offshoot.

Plan for a Clinton White House…

The “Combating al-Qaeda in Syria Strategy Group” was formed last July by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), according to the policy paper distributed at an event at the Atlantic Council on 12 January.

The “Strategy Group” also includes Charles Lister of the Middle East Institute and Jennifer Cafarella of the Institute for the Study of War, both of whom have advocated direct US military force against the Syrian regime in support of the armed opposition.

The new coalition of think tanks began meeting last summer when the politics in Washington seemed favorable toward a political campaign for decisive US intervention in Syria

But it was CNAS that had the political clout to bring the coalition together under what appeared to be very favourable circumstances. Michele Flournoy, the founder and CEO of CNAS and a former third-ranking Pentagon official, was reported to be Clinton’s likely choice for secretary of defence during the 2016 presidential primaries. And the June 2016 report of a CNAS “study group” co-chaired by Flournoy was in line with Clinton’s openly declared support for a more muscular US intervention in Syria.

That report had called for a US-declared “no bombing zone” to protect armed opposition groups, vetted by the CIA, from Syrian and Russian attacks. Flournoy had then described the policy in an interview as telling the Russian and Syrian governments: “If you bomb the folks we support, we will retaliate using standoff means to destroy [Russian] proxy forces, or, in this case, Syrian assets.”

The new coalition of think tanks began meeting last summer when the politics in the United States seemed favorable for a political campaign for US military intervention in Syria.

On 30 September, Lister published a lengthy essay calling on the United States to provide shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles to ”moderate” opposition groups as well as to threaten attacks on the Syrian army if it violated the ceasefire. Lister was obviously hoping that President Clinton would adopt that policy option a few months later.

…repackaged for a Trump presidency

Now the new strategy group is trying to sell the same proposal to Trump, calling it “a holistic, preventative counter-terrorism policy that empowers moderate Syrians… to overcome extremists in Syria….” It argues that al-Qaeda is seeking to gain control over areas now controlled by “moderate” forces in order to establish “an enduring Sunni extremist order in Syria”.

But the argument that these armed groups, which the US has supported in the past, would be prepared to resist al-Qaeda’s long-term caliphate with more money and arms and US bombing of Assad’s air force, is too divorced from reality to have traction in Washington now. In fact, the so-called “moderate” armed groups have never been truly independent of al Qaeda in Syria. They have depended on the highly disciplined troops of al-Qaeda and its closest allies and the military strategy devised by al-Qaeda commanders to pressure the Assad regime.

The so-called “moderate” armed groups have never been truly independent of al Qaeda in Syria

Lister himself has been clear on this point. Under his proposed plan for the United States to use the threat of military force against the regime, the CIA-vetted “moderate” armed opposition groups were not expected to end their military cooperation with Fateh al-Sham or to separate themselves physically from its forces, as had been provided in both the February and September ceasefire agreements.

Lister stated explicitly his assumption that such cooperation was “unlikely to diminish significantly” – even if his proposal were to be carried out.

Rather, the idea of Lister’s plan was to force negotiations on the Assad regime. That aim would still obviously have required the continued military power of Fateh al-Sham and Ahrar al-Sham to succeed.

Lister and his fellow coalition members are not likely to be able to sell the new administration on the idea that any of the Syrian armed groups the CIA has supported would even consider seriously resisting Fateh al-Sham under any remotely believable circumstances.

Syrian army: The only alternative?

Washington Post columnist David Ignatius recently recalled meeting with leaders of Harakat al-Hazm, considered the most promising “moderate” armed group in Syria, at a safehouse in Turkey in late 2014. He found them “despondent”, because the United States had just carried out a rare air strike on al -Qaeda operatives believed to be plotting a terrorist attack on the West.

They told Ignatius that, because of the US bombing what was then called the Nusra Front would no longer tolerate the group’s operations. Soon after the meeting, the Nusra Front did indeed eliminate Harakat al-Hazm and appropriate all the TOW missiles and other military equipment the CIA had given them.

It recognised that, despite the serious faults of the Assad regime, the Syrian army was the only Syrian institution committed to resisting the terrorist presence in Syria

The Ignatius account reflects a fundamental reality throughout northern Syria, from 2013 onwards, that was simply ignored in media coverage: all of the opposition groups have been absorbed into an al-Qaeda-controlled political-military order. The idea that the “moderate” groups could be a bulwark against al-Qaeda, which is now being peddled by Lister, Cafarella and CNAS, no longer has any credibility even in those quarters in Washington that were once open to it.

A tell-tale sign of the shift in attitude toward those groups’ mood in Washington is the fact that Ignatius used the past tense in referring to the CIA’s programme of arming the “moderate” groups in Syria in his article last month.

The US military leadership was never on board with the policy of relying on those armed groups to advance US interests in Syria in the first place.

It recognised that, despite the serious faults of the Assad regime, the Syrian army was the only Syrian institution committed to resisting both al-Qaeda and Islamic State.

It seems likely that the Trump administration will now return to that point as it tries to rebuild a policy from the ashes of the failed policy of the Obama administration.

Posted in USA, SyriaComments Off on US intervention in Syria? Not under Trump


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