Posts Tagged ‘Syria’

 

China has been actively expanding its influence to the Middle East, and engaging war-torn Syria as part of its signature Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has been a case in point.

On November 24, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Political and Media Advisor to the Syrian President Bouthaina Shaaban in Beijing. During the meeting, Wang offered to support Syria’s reconstruction.

In early November, Syrian government forces and their pro-government allies announced that they won another victory over Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants and were in full control of Deir el-Zour, the largest city in eastern Syria. The Syrian government led by President Bashar al-Assad appears to be winning the war against ISIS for now.

According to Chinese foreign ministry, during his meeting with Bouthaina Shaaban, Wang proposed three focal points — counter-terrorism, dialogue and reconstruction –for solving the Syrian issue as “the situation in Syria is turning into a new stage.” He emphasized that anti-terrorism as the foundation, dialogue as the way out and reconstruction as the guarantee.

Regarding “dialogue,” Wang claimed that it is the “only way out” for solving the Syrian issue. “In this process, we must safeguard the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria and maintain the core status of the Syrian people in the political settlement process,” Wang said.

Wang also expressed willingness to help with Syria’s reconstruction. He said that “only by advancing reconstruction steadily can we give the Syrian people hope and provide guarantee for the long-term peace and stability in Syria. ”

“The international community should attach importance to and actively support the reconstruction of Syria,” Wang added. “China will also make its own efforts to this end.”

Yet, this stance seems to be at odds with that of many Western and Arab countries.

In September, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States issued a joint statement, stressing that “Recovery and reconstruction support for Syria hinges on a credible political process leading to a genuine political transition that can be supported by a majority of the Syrian people.”

Thus, China, together with Russia and Iran, has become the major potential helper with reconstruction for current Syrian government.

At the regular press briefing on November 29, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang explained China’s motive for actively engaging Syria and other Middle East countries recently. He said:

Too many people in the Middle East are suffering at the brutal hands of terrorists…We support countries in the region in exploring a development path suited to their national conditions and are ready to share governance experience and jointly build the Belt and Road and promote peace and stability through common development.

On November 21, China just delivered 1,000 tons of rice to Syria as part of its food aid plan under the BRI. According to China’s state media, China has already signed three agreements with the Syrian government to provide humanitarian aid to Syria worth over $40 million in the first half of 2017.

In September, while attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Wang also directly asked Syrian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Walid Muallem to join China’s BRI, since “Syria is an important node in the ancient Silk Road and that the ‘Belt and Road’ construction can serve as an important opportunity for bilateral cooperation in future. ”

In response, Syria has shown enthusiasm to attract Chinese cash, too. For instance, early in July, the China-Arab Exchange Association and the Syrian Embassy in Beijing held a special event, inviting 1,000 representatives of Chinese companies to invest on Syria’s reconstruction. During the event, Syrian Ambassador in Beijing Imad Mustafa said that Chinese companies are expected to play a big role in the future reconstruction phase and the Syrian government will give top priority to Chinese companies in investment and reconstruction opportunities.

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Russia’s military says its air strikes in eastern Syria this week killed more than 300 Islamic State militants.

Russia has been a major backer of Syria’s President Bashar Assad whose government troops have been advancing in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour against IS under the cover of Russian air strikes.

Russia’s Defence Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that its air strikes just outside Deir el-Zour, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River, killed more than 304 IS fighters and left more than 200 wounded.

The ministry says the strikes also hit and destroyed an IS training centre, as well artillery positions, tanks and ammunition depots belonging to the militants.

Alleged Plan B

Posted: September 19, 2017 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

by: Lech Biegalski

 

Partition of Syria has always been plan „A” for the US. Now, it has been renamed as Plan „B”, but it still is the same plan. The US wants to control the NE part of Syria for two, and only two reasons:

1.That’s where the Syrian oil and gas deposits are located;
2.That’s where the projected new pipelines, connecting the Gulf States through Turkey to Europe, are to merge.

 

Map A: The oil corridor between Oman and Turkey

 

Map B: Oil and natural gas deposits around Baku

 

The situation in Syria is part of the attempt, by the West, to control crude oil and natural gas reserves, as well as to control pipeline corridors connecting Arab and Azerbaijani oil and gas fields with Europe. These projected pipelines are planned by American oil companies. On their side are the producers (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Azerbaijan) as well as the transit countries (Turkey, Ukraine). This explains why the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar support terrorists attempting to destabilize Syria.

https://regionpojezierze.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/rurociagi1.jpg?w=640&h=480

In map C, the blue lines represent existing and projected Russian pipelines, the red lines represent the existing and projected Western pipelines.

(Please see the Updates at the bottom of this article for new developments)

One look at Map C, above, shows that projected pipeline corridors from Azerbaijan have to run through Georgia, South Ossetia, Abkhazia, with Ignushetia, Dagestan and Chechnya, then through Crimea, Ukraine and Moldova. There was a big push by the West to incite color revolutions, armed rebellions, regime changes and wars along this route in order to control these pipeline corridors. All these „revolutions”, „rebellions”, and wars were not a coincidence. They happened along these pipeline corridors for a reason.

Pipelines running from the Arab countries on both sides of Persian Gulf have to tap into the reserves in Yemen, Oman, U.A.E., Qatar, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, before entering Turkey on their way to Europe. And this explains why we have war in Yemen, Iraq, and Syria, as well as pressure on Iran. Now, (June 2017), also pressure on Qatar.

Russia has invested a lot of money into its existing pipelines to Europe and Russia does not want to lose the European energy markets. Therefore, Russia is blocking the western projected Baku pipelines along the Georgia-Chechnya-Dagestan-Ignushetia-South Ossetia-Abkhazia-Armenia line, then on the line of Crimea-Doneck-Luhansk-Kharkiv, with some attempts to secure its interests in Moldova. It is also blocking the Persian Gulf pipelines in Iran, Iraq, and Syria.

Now, look at maps A and C, above, and locate the huge crude oil i natural gas deposits along the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea, mainly in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, as well as in Uzbekistan. If only these energy resources could be sold and shipped eastward, to India and China, somebody would make a lot of money, again. To achieve this goal, that somebody needs to run pipelines through Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and yes, through Afghanistan and Pakistan. Isn’t it a lucky coincidence that in those countries, along these projected pipeline corridors, we also had a series of color revolutions, a putsch in Pakistan, and a major war in Afghanistan, where we now have US military bases making sure that the project runs smoothly?

There is no mystery about it, it’s realpolitik and lots of money are involved. Color revolutions and armed rebellions just don’t happen because the people have had enough of the existing regimes. Wars don’t happen to „help the poor Afghani women” or to „protect civilians.” They are carefully planned and manufactured, usually from abroad and always for economic objectives.

In short, Russia is attempting to protect the existing status quo, while the US and its allies are trying to change it. This is why the US and its allies must organize revolutions, rebellions, and wars, and must break international law, employ proxies, and sponsor terrorists. Russia, on the other hand, uses international law to prevent changes and defend its interests.

The name of the game is who is going to sell oil and natural gas to Europe, who the transit countries are going to be, and who is going to run and control the pipelines. The NE corner of Syria is what the Americans want to control, as this is where the two pipelines running from the Persian Gulf are to merge. It also contains the Syrian deposits of oil and natural gas.

In NE Syria, the US forces are enlarging a small rural airstrip near Rmaylan, establishing military bases, and concentrating their ground troops. Terrorists sponsored by the US and their allies attempt to carve out NE Syria by developing strongholds along the Euphrates River (Jarbulus, Manbij, Sarrin, Raqqa, Deir ez-Zur). This is also where the US is planning some kind of Kurdish entity, of course with a government friendly to Washington and its plans.

Such is the real truth. It’s the gas, the oil, and the pipelines. And lots of lettuce. The rest of the story is a smoke and mirrors, diversion, and propaganda.

 

Major Russian gas pipelines (click to enlarge)

Yamal – Europe pipeline

Nord Stream

South Stream

Nabucco and South Stream pipelines

 

 

 

By Jacob G. Hornberger

One thing is certain about the U.S. mainstream media’s memorialization of the 9/11 attacks. They are not about to mention, much less emphasize, that the attacks were among the rotten fruits of U.S. interventionism, the foreign-policy philosophy that continues to hold the United States in its grip. Given the ongoing debacles of death, destruction, tyranny, torture, ISIS, and refugee crises arising from U.S interventionism in Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Syria, and Afghanistan, the last thing interventionists want Americans to focus on is that interventionism gave us 9/11 as well.

The 9/11 attacks were not the first time the World Trade Center came under a terrorist attack. The first attack came 8 years before, in 1993. When one of the terrorists, Ramzi Yousef, was brought before a federal judge for sentencing (because terrorism is a federal criminal offense, not an act of war), he angrily told the judge something to the effect of: Go ahead and call me a terrorist if you will. But the truth is that you all are “butchers.”

What he was referring to was the U.S. government’s intentional use of sanctions to kill thousands of children in Iraq prior to the 1993 terrorist attack on the WTC. In fact, it was the intentional killing of those children that partly motivated Yousef to attack the WTC in 1993. That’s why he called U.S. officials “butchers” prior to his sentencing — because they were intentionally killing children — lots of children, not one of whom had ever initiated any violence against the United States.

After Yousef was sentenced, U.S. officials continued their sanctions on Iraq knowing that there were killing even more children and knowing full well that Yousef had been motivated to attack the WTC by such killings.

Three years after Yousef’s sentencing — in 1996 — Madeleine Albright, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, was asked if the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children from the U.S. sanctions were worth it. Albright said that it was not an easy call but that, yes, the deaths were “worth it.” Not one single U.S. official, as far as I know, issued any condemnation or even mild criticism of Albright’s statement. That’s undoubtedly because they agreed with her.

By “it” Albright meant regime change in Iraq. During the 1980s, U.S. officials had helped Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to kill Iranians in his war on Iran. By 1990, however, the U.S. government had turned against its former partner and ally because his army had invaded Kuwait as a result of an oil-drilling dispute between Iraq and Kuwait. U.S. officials decided that they wanted Saddam ousted from power and replaced with a pro-U.S. regime.

That’s what the deadly sanctions that killed all those Iraqi children were intended to do — bring regime change, which has long been a core element in U.S. interventionism. The idea was that as Iraqi parents saw their children dying from infectious illnesses and malnutrition (the Pentagon had intentionally destroyed Iraq’s water and sewage treatment plants with that purpose in mind), they would overthrow Saddam and install a pro-U.S. regime. Alternatively, U.S. officials figured that Saddam might abdicate rather than watch all those Iraqi children die.

It didn’t work. By the time of the 9/11 attacks, the sanctions were still in place, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children were dead and more were still dying, and Saddam Hussein was still in power.

Prior to the 9/11 attacks, there were those who said: Stop the sanctions and stop killing those children because if you don’t, you’re going to have terrorist retaliation, just like the 1993 terrorist attack on the WTC. FFF was among them. Before the 9/11 attacks, we published op-eds and commentaries saying that if U.S. interventionism in the Middle East continued, there was the likelihood of terrorist retaliation on American soil. The noted scholar Chalmers Johnson said the same thing, especially in his excellent pre-9/11 book Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire.

U.S. officials ignored the warnings, just as they scoffed when high UN officials resigned in protest against what they called the genocide that U.S. sanctions were committing against innocent children. Not surprisingly, Osama bin Laden cited the U.S. government’s massive killing of Iraqi children in his pre-9/11 declaration of war against the United States.

Once many Americans bought into the “they hate us for our freedom and values” line after the 9/11 attacks, it became easy for U.S. officials to use the 9/11 attacks to justify their invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. The invasion of Iraq was intended to accomplish what the 11 years of sanctions had failed to accomplish — regime change in Iraq. The war on Afghanistan was initiated because the Taliban regime refused to comply with President Bush’s unconditional extradition demand for Osama bin Laden, notwithstanding the fact that there was no extradition treaty between Afghanistan and the United States.

In the process, by using the 9/11 attacks to double down with more U.S. interventionism, America ended up with a perpetual threat of terrorist blowback and the never-ending “war on terrorism,” not to mention ever-increasing budgets and totalitarian-like powers for the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA.

That’s how it that we now live in a society of forever wars, out-of-control federal spending and debt, assassination, kidnappings, regime change, coups, alliances with dictatorial regimes, and foreign aid for dictators.

Obviously this was not the type of system envisioned by the Framers when they called the federal government into existence. Our American ancestors would never have ratified the Constitution if they had known that it was going to bring a federal government into existence that wielded totalitarian-like powers, intentionally killed children, and engaged in foreign interventionism.

Unfortunately, later generations of Americans decided to abandon our nation’s founding principles of non-interventionism and a constitutional, limited-government republic. Americans who would prefer a society based on peace, prosperity, harmony, morality, and freedom would be wise to reflect on that decision today, the anniversary date of the 9/11 attacks, and beyond.

President Barack Obama on Wednesday in a memorandum to the US Departments of State and Defense waived restrictions related to providing military assistance to foreign forces in Syria, according to a White House press release issued on Thursday.

The assistance include the provision of defense articles and services to forces allied with the United States, according to the release.

“I hereby…determine that the transaction, encompassing the provision of defense articles and services to foreign forces, irregular forces, groups, or individuals engaged in supporting or facilitating ongoing US military operations to counter terrorism in Syria, is essential to the national security interests of the United States,” Obama said. “[I hereby] waive the prohibitions…related to such a transaction.”

As the Syrian conflict approaches its 6th anniversary, there is a sense of optimism among pro-government supporters, with Russia stepping up military assistance and the prospect of Donald Trump cutting off support to the opposition.
Since the start of unrest in Syria, the US government has fixated on dislodging President Assad from office — using any means necessary.

However, there has been widespread speculation that Donald Trump will focus more on tackling groups such as Daesh, and could potentially be willing to work in conjunction with Assad’s forces and Russia.

Ahrar al-Sham is one of the most powerful groups fighting against the Syrian Army and its allies. Russia has attempted to designate this group as a terrorist organization but the US has previously protested the group’s innocence.
The US government has also criticized the Russian air force for attacking this group. Ahrar al-Sham has openly said that they want to impose Shariah law across Syria, and they have even collaborated with Fateh al-Sham, which was previously part of the al-Qaeda franchise.
Unlike Daesh, which seeks to establish a worldwide caliphate, Ahrar al-Sham has indicated that they are only interested in imposing Shariah law in Syria. This is already problematic, as many minorities will inevitably suffer from persecution.
Furthermore, if the group was to satisfy its objectives in Syria, they may expand their goals, potentially aiming to establish an Islamic State far beyond Syria’s borders. After all, groups like this thrive off violence, war and aggressive expansion. Therefore, by aiding this group, America is putting itself, and many other countries in unnecessary danger.
It is hard to imagine a scenario where Donald Trump will continue to support this group. In fact, many opposition fighters in Syria were deeply saddened when news broke out that Trump had emerged victorious over Hillary Clinton.
It appeared that Hillary’s foreign policy, especially on Syria, was in stark contrast to Trump’s. She was seemingly in favor of imposing a no-fly zone over Syria and providing more military support to the armed opposition. Russia has sophisticated military assets in Syria, including several fighter jets, and the S-300 and S-400 SAM systems. This puts them in a good position to deal with/prevent a no-fly zone.
Even with substantial support from their allies, rebels in Aleppo were unable to break the siege on eastern Aleppo. They were able to score some initial gains, especially in the al-Assad district, but pro-government forces were successful in reversing all their gains in a matter of days, with little air support. The pro-government forces in Aleppo are comprised of units from the Syrian Army, Liwa al-Quds (a Palestinian militia), SSNP fighters, Hezbollah, and Iraqi Shia militiamen.
Russia and Syria have given rebels and civilians the opportunity to leave Aleppo several times, but opposition fighters have prevented civilians from leaving the area. Recently, footage emerged showing protests in Aleppo, calling for the rebels to leave the area. Some of the footage reportedly showed armed men firing at protesters with live ammunition.
It remains to be seen what the newly elected President of the US will do, but it seems that he will cut off support to the rebels at the least. He may even be content with allowing Assad to remain in power, as a means of combating terrorism, and helping Syria return to normality. Even without further assistance from the west, Assad’s forces already have the upper hand at most battlefronts in Syria.
Some analysts have suggested that Trump may continue with America’s previous foreign policy — arming and backing the opposition, including Islamist groups such as Ahrar al-Sham.
Ultimately, it depends on whether he decides to give his advisers a large role in policy-making, while he takes more of a figurehead position or decides to implement his pre-election narrative.

By al Manar

The Russian Defense Ministry commented on the US State Department’s calls not to help tankers shipping fuel to the Russian Aerospace Forces in Syria. If Washington cannot or does not want to fight terrorists, it should not get in the way, the ministry’s spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Thursday.

US State Department spokesman Mark Toner urged other countries not to provide support for Russian tankers shipping fuel to the Russian aviation group in Syria. “Such statements, unfortunately, only confirm our earlier estimates that fighting terrorism in Syria has never been on the outgoing administration’s agenda,” Konashenkov said.

Washington had impeded negotiations, did not separate terrorists and opposition and now openly called on other countries to hamper Moscow’s anti-terrorism fight in Syria “to somehow downplay the failures of US policies in the country since 2014”, the spokesman said.

Konashenkov said that the US-led coalition can only dream of a success comparable to the one Russia has achieved for a year: over 2,000 settlements have joined ceasefire, 86 armed groups have stopped fighting and hundreds of thousands of Syrians have returned to peaceful life to rebuild the country. “So if you cannot or do not want to fight ISIL and al-Nusra Front — do not get in the way, at least. Our air group is Syria is sufficiently equipped to fight international terrorism in this region,” he said.