All posts tagged: Syria

AUMF 2018 and the “forever war” in the Middle East

by Renee Parsons The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on May 16th regarding the authorization of a new Authority for the Use of Military Force 2018 (AUMF). Despite a current lack of unanimity on the committee, the draft authorization (SJ Res 59) has been brought forward as a working document despite the lack of successful back-room negotiations in recent weeks. The hearing was conducted with no quorum present, the lack of which denied the sponsors an easy vote of approval. The AUMF 2018 would replace AUMF’s 2001 and 2002 which proponents suggest would remove the onerous Constitutional responsibility from a self-proclaimed over-burdened Congress from voting to approve every single separate act of war. While final approval of the AUMF 2018 represents a “Forever Vote,” product of a low vibration consciousness, the ACLU, which should be leading a vigorous national campaign against the proposal, appears absent from the debate. Approval of a one-size-fits-all AUMF will greatly facilitate the Pentagon’s long held desire to ‘take out’ seven countries in five years – although somewhat behind …

Fake news instead of real criticism

by Denis Churilov, Australia There are so many real things Trump should be criticised for, yet the mainstream media keeps making up stuff, producing fake stories and misreporting news about him. What for? Isn’t there already enough real material for the media to destroy him without repeatedly making fools out of themselves? The most recent case was last week, when major American news outlets (including ABC News, CBS News, CNN, NBC News, as well as the Washington Post) reported that Trump called illegal immigrants “animals”, when in reality he was specifically referring to the members of MS-13, a criminal gang whose associates have been accused of beheading their victims. Don’t they understand that, by fixating on minor things, taking remarks out of context, misreporting and blatantly making up stories, they only de-legitimise the anti-Trump movement? Why do they have to lie? ***   Attempting to answer my own question, I would say that it has to do with the artificially “limited spectrum of acceptable opinion” described by Noam Chomsky in his 1998 book titled “A …

Syrian military in full control of Damascus for first time in years

Israeli-made weapons among arms handed over by militants in Damascus Al Masdar news reports: BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:10 A.M.) – For the first time since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011, the city of Damascus is fully under the control of the Syrian military. The long-time stronghold for the so-called Islamic State (ISIS), southern Damascus was the only part of the capital that was still outside of the Syrian government’s control. However, that would change on May 19th, as the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) finally agreed to hold talks with the Islamic State in the area; this would lead to the latter’s surrender the next day. The remaining Islamic State terrorists and their family members will now be transported to the vast Badiya area that was located between eastern Homs and western Deir Ezzor. With ISIS gone, the Syrian Army now free up thousands of soldiers for the upcoming offensive in the southern provinces of Al-Quneitra and Dara’a.  

Trump – Israel Collusion on Syria

by Renee Parsons Considering the sequence of recent events in the Middle East, it is obvious that the circumstances regarding the US withdrawal from the nuclear accord with Iran were carefully thought out in advance, as a pre-arranged strategy to pave the way for escalating Israel’s conflict with Iran and the war in Syria. In presenting their own self-serving narrative of lies and distortions that Iran is conducting a ‘secret’ nuclear weapons program, Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump remain oblivious to the stunning hypocrisy of their own duplicity and stupidity; as if the rest of the world does not see through their pathological deceits. In their most recent public presentations, both pathetically flawed individuals, trapped in a Matrix of their own, continue to confuse war with peace and have no clue how to distinguish the difference. Publicly projecting one’s own evil agenda onto an ill-fated population is an old political trick to deflect attention from one’s own sins while pointing the finger elsewhere and it would come as no surprise to discover …

Do you want to travel around the Middle East? Think twice!

Text and Photos by Andre Vltchek Do you think it is that simple to travel around the Middle East? Think twice! Ask Palestinians, about trying to get from a point A to a point B in their own nation. Some time ago, sitting in an old Ottoman hotel in Bethlehem, I asked a waiter what it takes to travel from there to Gaza, where he said, several of his relatives were living. He looked at me as if I had fallen from the Moon: “There is no way I could travel there. If my relatives get very sick or die, then, in theory, I could apply for an Israeli travel permit to go there, but there is absolutely no guarantee that they would approve, or that I could get to Gaza on time…” I tried to appear naïve: “And what if someone from an Arab country which does not recognize Israel, wants to come here, to Bethlehem? Like, a Lebanese pilgrim or just a tourist? Could he or she enter from Jordan?” The waiter weighed …

Let’s talk about the Golan Heights

Yesterday an Al-Monitor piece by Akiva Eldar contrasted Netanyahu’s success in getting Trump out of the Iran deal, and ‘recognising’ Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, with his failure to pull off the same with Europe.

Why did State Dept. Freeze White Helmets Funding?

by Sophie Mangal A breaking piece was published via CBS news recently that the U.S. frozen funding for Syria’s “White Helmets”. Why did it happen, probably you would like to ask us… First, the delay in approving the financing may be connected with the revision of the strategy of using White Helmets as East Ghouta had been lost for the opposition. It impossible now to use the pretext of ‘regime crimes in Ghouta’ using Civil Defense. The militants have lost both an enclave and the resources invested (chemical laboratories, chemicals, studios, staff, weapons, money etc). Second, some activities in Idlib are hampered by the growing influence of Turkey, which gradually gains control over terrorist groups previously backed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. That is why there are numerous reports of a possible transfer of White Helmets activities from Ghouta to Deir Ezzor province where US-controlled terrorists operate and there are a lot of room to work for White Helmets. The more so, State Dept. support is only a visible part of the funding. The participation …

How Social Media Platforms Suppress Key Truths

by Eric Zuesse On April 23rd, the great independent investigative journalist, Craig Murray — a former British diplomat — headlined at his blog, “Condemned By Their Own Words”, and he posted there the translated-to-English transcript (excerpted below) to this Israeli radio Hebrew broadcast on April 21st, in which an Israeli Brigadier-General, named Fogel, explained why Israel’s troops are doing the right thing to shoot and even to kill Gazans who come (an unspecified) too close to the wall which separates Israel from Gaza: FOGEL: Any person who gets close to the fence, anyone who could be a future threat to the border of the State of Israel and its residents, should bear a price for that violation. If this child or anyone else gets close to the fence in order [the soldier thinks possibly] to hide an explosive device or [to] check if there are any dead zones there or to cut the fence so someone could infiltrate the territory of the State of Israel to kill us… NESIEL [the interviewer]: Then, then his punishment …

What “community standards” did this comment breach? #16

This comment – written and sent in by Jay-Q, one of our readers – was censored by the Guardian. Which of the well-publicised CiF “community standards” did it breach? Removed comment, posted under the opinion piece “The ruins I saw in Syria stand as a rebuke to western inaction”: The article was published at 6.00am this morning – May 1st – its comment section was closed by noon. Screen shot of where it used to be: Does it “misrepresent the Guardian and its journalists”? Is it “persistent trolling or mindless abuse”? Is it “spam-like”? Or “obviously commercial”? Is it “racism, sexism, homophobia or hate-speech”? Is it “extremely offensive of threatening?”? Is it “flame-wars based on ingrained partisanship or generalisations”? Is it not “relevant”? If none of the above – why was it taken down? see our archive of censored comments. And if you see any egregious examples of the Guardian censoring its “free” comment sections – email us at editor@off-guardian.org, and send us screen caps if possible

Israel’s Legislature Votes War Against Syria

Eric Zuesse The key decision now will be made by Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. On May 1st, Al Masdar News headlined “Netanyahu is granted the ability to wage war without the Knesset”, and reported that Israel’s Knesset or legislature had voted late on Monday night April 30th, to hand entirely to the far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and to his extremely far-right Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman the decision as to whether or when to invade any country — the main actual target is Syria, but Iran and Lebanon are also in Israel’s gunsights. Israel’s newspaper Haaretz reported about this on April 30th, while explaining that this legislation was “transferring responsibility for declaring war from the full cabinet to the smaller security cabinet. The joint committee of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee rejected his request but it was later voted for by the Knesset plenum.” The real change that the new law introduces is to transfer Israel’s war-making decisions away from both the Knesset and the …

Op-ed: The west closes its ears to Douma testimony

An alleged victim of the alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria, April 7 2018. Jonathan Cook writes in his blog: The response from the US, UK and France to a briefing on Thursday at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in the Hague was perverse, to say the least. Russia had brought 17 witnesses from Douma who stated that there had been no chemical weapons attack there earlier this month – the pretext for an illegal air strike on Syria by the three western states. The witnesses, a mix of victims and the doctors who treated them, told accounts that confirmed a report provided last week from Douma by British reporter Robert Fisk – a report, it should be noted, that has been almost entirely blanked by the western media. According to the testimony provided at the OPCW, the victims shown in a video from the site of the alleged attack were actually suffering from the effects of inhaling dust after a bombing raid, not gas. The first strange thing to note is …

Western Press Descend into Insanity as Syria Narrative Collapses

Syria has disappeared from the front pages of the Western press recently, and for good reason. It’s not going well over there, as far as the “allies” are concerned. Yesterday the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed what many of us had already deduced – there were no chemical weapons present at the sites targeted by the US/UK/French missiles. That’s not been reported in the Western press, at all. Exemplified by the eternally on-message Guardian, who haven’t had a headline regarding Syria in over a week. The Royal Baby and ABBA’s new song and a stuffed anteater, all apparently too important to be bumped from the front page. Also yesterday, the Russian and Syrian authorities transported 17 witnesses of the alleged Douma “chemical attack” to the Netherlands. The witnesses, including the little boy who featured strongly in the White Helmets propaganda video, spoke at a press conference before taking questions (video is embedded above). All denied a chemical attack had taken place. This, along with Robert Fisk et al’s reporting on the …

Is False-Flag Attack On US Navy Ship Next?

by Nick, via The Saker, April 23, 2018 The USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group left the east coast Naval Station Norfolk, VA on 11th April. The aircraft carrier is accompanied by the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy, the guided-missile destroyers USS Burke, Bulkeley, Forest Sherman and Farragut, and the destroyers USS Jason and The Sullivans. The strike group carries 6,500 sailors and Carrier Air Wing One. Recent announcements about Russia’s hypersonic Kinzhal (‘Dagger’) missile system having made these vessels effectively obsolete, this means that the ships and their crews are essentially being sailed into a bloody scrapyard. Even without the recent upgrading of the Kinzhal system, the experience of the British fleet in the Falklands conflict illustrates the vulnerability of warships to low-flying missiles. In addition to the sinking of the HMS Sheffield and Sir Galahad, virtually every British ship was hit by at least one of Argentinian’s French-made Exocet missiles – a weapons system which was already 20 years old at the time. Exocet missile sinks HMS Sheffield during Falklands War: Reportedly the …

What was the success-rate of the April 14th missiles against Syria?

by Eric Zuesse The U.S. and Russia provide diametrically opposite accounts of the percentages of U.S.-and-allied missiles that hit their targets in Syria on the night of April 13th-14th. On the 14th, Russia’s military said that 71 of the 103 U.S.-and-allied missiles were shot down by Syria. But on this very same day, the U.S. announced that 105 missiles had been launched and “none intercepted.” So: Was the U.S. side’s success-rate 100%, as America claimed; or, instead, 31%, as Russia claimed? This difference is, obviously, huge. During the subsequent days, U.S.-and-allied media celebrated their side’s alleged victory; for example, on April 22nd, USA Today bannered “105 to 0: Why Syria’s air defenses failed to intercept a single incoming missile”, and reported that: U.S., French and British forces launched 105 missiles from aircraft and ships at three chemical weapons facilities in Syria last weekend in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack launched by the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Russia claimed that Syrian defenses knocked down many incoming missiles, but the Pentagon said every …

Diagnosing the West with Sadistic Personality Disorder (SPD)

Western culture is clearly obsessed with rules, guilt, submissiveness and punishment. By now it is clear that the West is the least free society on Earth. In North America and Europe, almost everyone is under constant scrutiny: people are spied on, observed, their personal information is being continually extracted, and the surveillance cameras are used indiscriminately.

Life is synchronized and managed. There are hardly any surprises.

USA: No Restitution to Syria

by Eric Zuesse On April 22nd, an anonymous U.S. “Senior Administration Official” told a press conference in Toronto, that the only possible circumstance under which the U.S. Government will agree to pay anything for the harms (bombings of infrastructure etc.) it’s doing to Syria, would be if Syria will agree to cede, to U.S. control, a portion of its land: QUESTION: When you say no reconstruction money for areas that are under Assad’s control, there is some reconstruction money that’s currently frozen or under question for areas that are not under Assad’s control? MODERATOR: That’s stabilization, which is different from reconstruction, just to clarify. “Stabilization” is the solidification of control by the U.S. Government, via its proxies (‘rebels’ trained by U.S. and financed by the Sauds) who are fighting to overthrow Syria’s Government; and the U.S. won’t pay any reconstruction unless it’s “stabilizing” that particular part of Syria. If America’s 7-year-long effort at regime-change in Syria turns out to be a total failure (grabbing no part of its territory), then the U.S. won’t pay even …

Russian Missile Tech has Made America’s Trillion Dollar Navy Obsolete

by Dmitry Orlov, via Russia Insider, April 21, 2018 Times have changed and America can no longer project its military power like it did in Iraq. Those days are over. For the past 500 years European nations—Portugal, the Netherlands, Spain, Britain, France and, briefly, Germany—were able to plunder much of the planet by projecting their naval power overseas. Since much of the world’s population lives along the coasts, and much of it trades over water, armed ships that arrived suddenly out of nowhere were able to put local populations at their mercy. The armadas could plunder, impose tribute, punish the disobedient, and then use that plunder and tribute to build more ships, enlarging the scope of their naval empires. This allowed a small region with few natural resources and few native advantages beyond extreme orneriness and a wealth of communicable diseases to dominate the globe for half a millennium. A financially crippling military brontosaurus The ultimate inheritor of this naval imperial project is the United States, which, with the new addition of air power, and …

Barcelona, Roger Waters, White Helmets

by Phillip Roddis A Pink Floyd fan for half a century, and neutral on the band’s acrimonious eighties divorce, I was thrilled by Roger Waters’ denunciation – an unequivocal exception to the rule that celebs are intimidated by the Western world’s most powerful lobby – of an Israel I recently described as: [the] world’s premier ethnographic crime scene and, alongside the USA, its most serial breacher of international law. Also – a fact insufficiently appreciated by a pro-Palestinian lobby understandably focused on immediate injustices – up there with Saudi Arabia as regional enforcer, covert and overt, for the West. Alas, many who support the Palestinian cause nevertheless buy the mainstream line on Syria. A vitriolic example is given by this comment from the pro-Palestinian Israeli – yes, there are more of them than Labour Friends of Israel would have us think – Dimi Reider, who took to FB to say: If you think Assad is somehow an anti-imperialist actor, or if your basic assumption is that he COULDN’T POSSIBLY gas his own people and it …

The Victims in Gaza and Douma

by David William Pear, first published by The Greanville Post In their book Manufacturing Consent Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky distinguished between two kinds of victims: the worthy victims and the unworthy victims. The “worthy victims” are the victims (real and alleged) of leaders on the U.S. enemies list, such as Bashar al-Assad. The “unworthy victims” are those of the U.S. and its client states, such as Israel and Saudi Arabia. The U.S. led cabal calling itself the “international community” is outraged when there are worthy victims. For example the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley holds up pictures of dead Syrian babies for the world to see. Worthy victims are granted human rights, and Assad deserves our outrage. Unworthy victims for example are the 50,000 Yemeni children who have died of starvation because of Saudi Arabia’s total blockade of Yemen, including blockading food, water and medicine. Unworthy victims are blamed for being victims and ignored by the international community and the mainstream media. Unworthy victims have no human rights. Yemen is a humanitarian …

Voices of the Syrian People

by Andre Vltchek, first published by New Eastern Outlook The attack against Syria – this proud and independent country – has just taken place. Three countries with zero moral mandate to judge or punish anybody; three countries already responsible for hundreds of millions of human lives lost on all continents for centuries, showered Syria with their missiles. They tried to scare to death Syria, and to break its determination, but they failed. Most of the Syrian people stood proudly by their government. 71 out of 103 of the Western missiles were shot down, and the rest fell on the empty facilities, which have nothing to do with a ‘production or storage of the chemical weapons’. To begin with, Syria has no chemical weapons program and no chemical weapons factories, as well as no warehouses, so nothing could really fall on something that does not exist. This was yet another gross violation of the international law, but again, the West has been violating the international laws for decades and centuries, brutalizing the entire Planet. Therefore, no …