Thread: Bashar Al Assad

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  1. #21
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    The Ghouta attack rockets came from the hills, and Assad is correct when having stated that the chemicals can be homemade. In fact, the stabilzer for sarin occurs in the Crataegus (Syrian Hawthorn) that grows in those hills, and as Zizek has already stated, a third entity (the rabble, Jews, etc.) for class struggle is required. Indeed, not only was Joseph's walking stick made from the same wood, the compound that (stabilizes [italics]) sarin is found in Crataegus. The reader may have even more problems when linking Ukraine to Italian Crataegus (the White Hills), because Ukraine was founded as a Viking kingship / Eastern Rite Catholic. Unlike Knowledge Envy's burning of library at Alexandria, the recipe for sarin stabilizer is likely contained somewhere in the Vatican library.
  2. #22
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    The Ghouta attack rockets came from the hills, and Assad is correct when having stated that the chemicals can be homemade. In fact, the stabilzer for sarin occurs in the Crataegus (Syrian Hawthorn) that grows in those hills, and as Zizek has already stated, a third entity (the rabble, Jews, etc.) for class struggle is required. Indeed, not only was Joseph's walking stick made from the same wood, the compound that (stabilizes [italics]) sarin is found in Crataegus. The reader may have even more problems when linking Ukraine to Italian Crataegus (the White Hills), because Ukraine was founded as a Viking kingship / Eastern Rite Catholic. Unlike Knowledge Envy's burning of library at Alexandria, the recipe for sarin stabilizer is likely contained somewhere in the Vatican library.

    I think you're getting caught-up in the details of this one particular incident.

    The live issue at-hand is this:



    [M]ust you support one of the bomb droppers armed forces? Or would you perhaps consider both of these bombs and the members of the working-class they destroy as unnecessary to support. My answer would be to support neither side, because I'm hoping this illustrates, so-called 'anti-imperialist' struggles and bombs are just as much a sham as 'imperialist' bombs.

    Anti-imperialism means making value judgments among the bourgeois forces in play, to point out that certain nations are more deterministic through their mobilizations than others (the U.S., Western countries, NATO).

    We can't pretend that all nations involved in warfare are *equivalent*, and just blithely ignore all interventions evenly without making distinctions about various militaristic actions and their consequences.

    This brings us back to the real-world situation of the U.S. versus Syria, and also the issue of ISIS -- we can't treat these three organizations as being equivalent when the outcome could be different for Syrians, and even the world, if the U.S. stops backing fundamentalist forces there. ISIS is *worse* in potentials for harm and repression (active ongoing terroristic violence and Sharia law) than either Syria or the U.S., and should be treated as such by those who are in positions to curtail the Islamic State.
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  4. #23
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    Another example of needed anti-imperialism:



    What should concern us now is not who will pay for the wall: the strength of our protests must destroy the wall from all flanks. In order to achieve this, a necessary condition—which many in Mexico are pointing out— is for the popular revolt to have a higher degree of unity and patriotism, and therefore anti-imperialism, which has been missing even in the face of terrible events that have befallen the Mexicans in recent times. It is also necessary for this recipe of resistance and struggle to expand throughout the rest of the continent, challenging those erroneous predictions that validate Trump’s “nationalism”. The only nationalism that makes sense for those who live between the Rio Grande and Tierra del Fuego to embrace is the one that expels transnational companies and their backers from our lands. It is Latin America’s revolutionary nationalism, represented since 1959 by the heroic Cuban Revolution and strengthened by Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, Evo Morales, and others.
  5. #24
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    Default Don't give an Oscar to "The White Helmets"

    Don't give an Oscar to "The White Helmets"


    February 9, 2016

    Please Sign the Petition:
    https://diy.rootsaction.org/p/WhiteHelmetsPropaganda
    Do not give a 2017 Academy Award to the netflix movie titled "The White Helmets" .

    Why is this important?
    The netflix movie titled “The White Helmets” is one of the contenders to win the 2017 Academy Award for best “short documentary”. Here is why the movie should NOT receive this award.

    * It is more infomercial than real documentary. The film-makers never set foot in Syria. Some footage from inside Syria appears staged.

    * Claims that the “White Helmets” are apolitical volunteers are false. White Helmet leaders actively campaign for US/NATO enforced “No Fly Zone”. The White Helmets only operate in areas controlled by the armed opposition, primarily Nusra/Al Qaeda.

    * “The White Helmets” organization is a creation of foreign powers supporting the ‘Contra’ war to overthrow the government of Syria. The White Helmets were initiated by a British military contractor with major funding from the USA and UK. The “White Helmets” brand is managed by a New York based marketing company called “The Syria Campaign” directed by an Irish American woman who has never been to Syria. This is primarily a media campaign with the netflix movie being one of their promotions.

    * The White Helmets stole the name Syrian Civil Defence from the legitimate organization which has existed since the 1950’s and which is a founding member of the International Civil Defense Organization. When armed terrorists invaded Aleppo in late 2012, they stole equipment and killed real volunteer rescue workers from the authentic Syrian Civil Defence.

    * Claims that “White Helmets” are unarmed are untrue. Photos and videos show their members carrying arms and celebrating Nusra/AlQaeda military victories.

    * Claims that the White Helmets have saved 80,000 lives are nonsense. In fact there are very few civilians living in the zones controlled by 'Contra' terrorists in Syria where the White Helmets operate.

    * When the Syrian Government recaptured east Aleppo in December 2016, nearly all civilians rushed into the protection of the government controlled areas. They described abuse by the “terrorists” and how civilians who tried to flee had been killed by the armed groups. They described how the “White Helmets” prioritized support to the armed fighters and did little to help civilians.

    * In late December 2016 Nusra / Al Qaeda terrorists seized the villages, spring and water pumping station in the Barada Valley that supplies clean water to Damascus. They poisoned the water, then blew up the pumping station stopping the flow of water to 5 million people in Damascus. The White Helmets were among the groups allied with Nusra carrying out this atrocity.

    “The White Helmets” movie is symbolic of the disinformation and deceit in the war on Syria.

    “The White Helmets” movie deserves an award for advertising and war propaganda but NOT as a documentary movie.

    For detailed information see the exposes of the White Helmets by writers such as Jan Oberg, Vanessa Beeley, Rick Sterling, Max Blumenthal, Scott Ritter. Jan Oberg provides a listing with links in his extensive article "Just How Grey are the White Helmets and Their Backers?" See the 5 minute video titled "The White Helmets - Al Qaeda with a Facelift".

    Please Sign the Petition:
    https://diy.rootsaction.org/p/WhiteHelmetsPropaganda


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  6. #25
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    Default Assad Says US Troops Welcome in Syria to Fight 'Terrorism'

    https://news.google.com

    https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/201...-ml-syria.html


    MIDDLE EAST

    Assad Says US Troops Welcome in Syria to Fight 'Terrorism'
    By THE ASSOCIATED PRESSFEB. 10, 2017, 9:06 A.M. E.S.T.

    BEIRUT — Syrian President Bashar Assad said in an interview released on Friday that the United States is welcome to join the battle against "terrorists" in Syria — as long as it is in cooperation with his government and respects the country's sovereignty.

    Speaking with Yahoo News, Assad said he has not had any communication — direct or indirect — with President Donald Trump or any official form the new U.S. administration.

    But the Syrian leader appeared to make a gesture to the new U.S. president in the interview, saying he welcomes Trump's declaration that he will make it a priority to fight terrorism — a goal Assad said he also shares.

    However, Assad's government has labelled all armed opposition to his rule — including the U.S.-backed rebels — as "terrorists."

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    "We agree about this priority," Assad said of Trump. "That's our position in Syria, the priority is to fight terrorism."

    Syria's six-year civil war has killed more than 300,000 people and displaced half the country's population. The country is shattered and the chaos has enabled the rise of the Islamic State group, which in a 2014 blitz seized a third of both Syria and neighboring Iraq. The extremist group, responsible also for several deadly attacks around the world, has declared an Islamic caliphate on the territory it controls.

    Assad also told Yahoo News that his country would welcome U.S. "participation" in the fight against terrorism but it has to be in cooperation with the Syrian government.

    Assad's comment ignored the U.S.-led international coalition, which has been targeting the Islamic State group and al-Qaida's affiliate in Syria with airstrikes since September 2014. The U.S. also has advisers in Syria along with predominantly Kurdish fighters north of the country who are fighting against the Islamic State.

    "If you want to start genuinely, as United States ... it must be through the Syrian government," Assad said. "We are here, we are the Syrians, we own this country as Syrians, nobody else, nobody would understand it like us."

    "So, you cannot defeat the terrorism without cooperation with the people and the government" of Syria, he added.

    The Syrian government has always blamed the U.S. for backing opposition fighters trying to remove Assad from power. The rebels formed a serious threat to the Syrian leader until 2015, when Russia joined Syria's war backing Assad's forces and turned the balance of power in his favor.

    "We invited the Russians, and the Russians were genuine regarding this issue. If the Americans are genuine, of course they are welcome, like any other country that wants to defeat and to fight with the terrorists. Of course, with no hesitation we can say that," Assad said in English.

    But when asked if he wants American troops to come to Syria to help with the fight against the Islamic State group, Assad said that sending troops is not enough — a genuine political position on respecting Syria's sovereignty and unity is also needed.

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    "All these factors would lead to trust, where you can send your troops. That's what happened with the Russians; they didn't only send their troops," Assad added.

    Assad would not comment on Trump's move to bar Syrian refugees and people from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the U.S., calling it an "American sovereignty" issue.

    But he appeared to offer some veiled support at last, saying that there are "definitely terrorists" among the millions of Syrians seeking refuge in the West, though it doesn't have to be a "significant" number.

    Excerpts of Assad's comments were aired on Thursday while the full interview with Yahoo News ran on Friday.

    The Syrian president also blasted a report released this week by Amnesty International in which the group said as many as 13,000 prisoners were hanged in over four years in one of Syria's prisons and later buried in mass graves.

    "It's always biased and politicized, and it's a shame for such an organization to publish a report without a shred of evidence," Assad said.

    He also rejected an initiative that calls for creating "safe zones" in Syria for refugees, an idea also been floated by Trump as a substitute for resettling Syrian refugees in the U.S. and elsewhere.

    "Safe zones for Syrians could only happen when you have stability and security," Assad said. "It's much more practical and less costly to have stability than to create safe zones. It's not a realistic idea at all."

    In other developments Friday, the Kremlin said that Russia and Turkey have agreed to improve coordination in Syria to prevent further friendly fire incidents after a Russian airstrike killed three Turkish soldiers and wounded 11 the day before.

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the accidental strike near the town of al-Bab in northern Syria prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to discuss better cooperation in fighting the Islamic State group in the area. In a signal that the incident hasn't hurt a Russia-Turkey rapprochement, Peskov said that Erdogan is set to visit Russia next month.

    Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said the Turkish casualties on Thursday were the result of "faulty coordination" in Syria and showed "there is a need for a much closer coordination."

    ___

    Associated Press writers Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey, and Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.

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  7. #26
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    Default Back Gabbard bill to pressure Saudi Arabia on ties to Al Qaeda in Yemen

    Back Gabbard bill to pressure Saudi Arabia on ties to Al Qaeda in Yemen


    Just Foreign Policy


    Dear Chris,

    Urge your Rep. to back the Stop Arming Terrorists Act to pressure Saudi Arabia.

    Take Action

    Hawaii Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard's bipartisan bill H.R. 608, the Stop Arming Terrorists Act, would prohibit the use of U.S. funds to provide assistance to Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly al-Nusra, that is, Al Qaeda), and to countries supporting those organizations. The bill would require the Director of National Intelligence to make a periodic determination of whether Saudi Arabia is supporting Al Qaeda and report to Congress about it. [1] The bill's co-sponsors include Reps. Barbara Lee, Peter Welch, Walter Jones, Thomas Massie, and Ted Yoho. [2]

    Urge your Representative to co-sponsor Rep. Gabbard's bill by signing our petition at MoveOn.

    President Trump is threatening to escalate U.S. support for the catastrophic Saudi war against the Houthis in Yemen. To stop this war, we must undermine Republican support for it. The biggest political vulnerability of the Saudi war in Yemen for Republicans is the fact that the war is strengthening Al Qaeda. Thus, the Saudi war in Yemen is directly threatening the security of the U.S. homeland. [3] Moreover, Saudi forces have fought alongside Al Qaeda in Yemen against the Houthis, [4] and working with al Qaeda has been an integral part of Saudi strategy in Yemen. [5] Building support for Rep. Gabbard's bill will help us raise the issue of Saudi support for Al Qaeda, and that will help us undermine U.S. support for the catastrophic Saudi war in Yemen.

    Urge your Representative to co-sponsor Rep. Gabbard's bill by signing and sharing our petition.

    Thanks for all you do to help make U.S. foreign policy more just,

    Robert Naiman, Avram Reisman, and Sarah Burns
    Just Foreign Policy

    If you think our work is important, support us with a $17 donation.
    http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate

    References:
    1. https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-...-bill/608/text
    2. https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-...608/cosponsors
    3. http://www.thedailybeast.com/article...-al-qaeda.html
    4. https://www.wsj.com/articles/al-qaed...en-1437087067; http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-35630194
    5. https://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/d...s_in_yemen.pdf

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  8. #27
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    Default No to U.S. Ground Troops in Syria!

    No to U.S. Ground Troops in Syria!


    Just Foreign Policy


    Dear Chris,

    Urge your Reps. to say that US ground troops in Syria is a terrible idea.

    Take Action

    CNN has reported that the Defense Department "might propose that the US send conventional ground combat forces into northern Syria for the first time," and that the move would "significantly alter US military operations in Syria if approved and could put troops on the ground within weeks." CNN says "one goal of their presence would be to help reassure Turkey that Kurdish forces are not posing a threat to Ankara's interests." [1] "Reassuring Turkey" a terrible reason to deploy U.S. troops to danger in Syria.

    Urge your Reps. to say sending ground troops to Syria is a terrible idea by signing our petition at MoveOn.

    Kentucky Senator Rand Paul says, "It would be a really rotten, no good, bad idea to have ground troops in Syria." [2] Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy says, "Sending combat troops into Syria would make the unforced errors of the first four weeks look like child's play." California Representative Ted Lieu says, "As Member of House Foreign Affairs Committee, I want to say that sending ground troops to Syria is a VERY BAD IDEA." [3]

    Urge your Senators and Representative to join Chris Murphy, Rand Paul, and Ted Lieu in denouncing the idea of sending U.S. ground troops to Syria by signing and sharing our petition.

    Thanks for all you do to help make U.S. foreign policy more just,

    Robert Naiman, Avram Reisman, and Sarah Burns
    Just Foreign Policy

    If you think our work is important, support us with a $17 donation.
    http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate

    References:
    1. http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/15/politi...ria/index.html
    2. http://rare.us/rare-politics/issues/...oops-in-syria/
    3. http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/...htmlstory.html

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  9. #28
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    Default Call to Action: International Days of Action on Syria (March 11-19)

    Call to Action: International Days of Action on Syria (March 11-19)


    International Days of Action!
    Against War and Islamophobia!
    March 11-19, 2017

    STOP THE WAR ON SYRIA!
    STOP THREATS OF WAR AGAINST IRAN!
    OPPOSE THE TRAVEL BAN!
    STOP THE DISCRIMINATION AGAINST MUSLIMS!

    Since the election of Donald Trump as the President of the United States, the US policy in the Middle East, especially in Syria, has taken an alarmingly dangerous turn. While President Trump says he will not pursue a policy of regime change in Syria, he has surrounded himself with Islamophobes and militarists. Thanks to the new US administration, Islamophobia is on the rise throughout the Western world.

    Over the last 16 years since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, rising Islamophobia has come hand-in-hand with escalating U.S.-led wars and occupations in the Middle East and North Africa. The Trump administration is now attempting to impose an inhumane travel and refugee ban on seven Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — all targets of U.S. military attack or sanctions by the current and previous administrations.

    The Pentagon is considering sending more U.S. ground forces to Syria. To justify this military escalation, the demonization of Syrian Government has been intensified though a new wave of misleading propaganda. The most recent salvo is a sensational yet unfounded report from Amnesty International, which has been broadcast by media outlets around the world.

    Iran has been made the target of new threats as well. False claims about an Iranian attack on US ships in the Persian Gulf, combined with threats of new economic sanctions against Iran, which can easily jeopardize the Iran Nuclear Deal, are setting the stage for a new round of confrontation with Iran. Mass killing of innocent civilians in Yemen by the criminal Saudi government, with full support from the United States, is being intensified. To add fuel to the fire, the Trump administration has talked about moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a move that will certainly lead to another dangerous conflagration in the Middle East.

    All these point to the fact that we are moving toward another, more disastrous, catastrophe in the Middle East. We call on all peace loving people throughout the world to unite and take action during the International Days of Action (March 11-19) against U.S. intervention in Syria and throughout the Middle East, against Islamophobia, and against the refugee Travel Ban.

    Here are some suggested actions that you can take during the International Days of Action:

    Initiate local actions together with civil rights and peace activists — demonstrations, teach-ins, workshops, panel discussions, video presentations — to oppose War, occupation and Islamophobia, and to reveal their connections.

    Activists outside the US: Demand that your government actively opposes the U.S. policy of forced regime change in Syria.

    Tell the U.S. President Trump and Congress that you oppose the Travel Ban and that you want the U.S. to pursue peaceful relations with Syria, Iran and all the nations of the Middle East.

    Ask your Congressional Representatives to support Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s bill, (H.R. 608). Please both call your Congressional Representative’s office directly AND sign the petition in support of STOP ARMING TERRORISTS ACT at http://hr608.info.

    Write letters-to-the-editor of your local newspaper. Expose war propaganda aimed at justifying regime change in Syria and elsewhere.

    We ask you to send a report of your planned activities for the International Days of Action (March 11-19) to Hands Off Syria Coalition so that we can publicize them on our web site: [email protected]

    We also encourage you to form your own local chapter of Hands Off Syria Coalition. For more information about forming local chapters of HOSC please go to our web site: http://HandsOffSyriaCoalition.net and click on “Forming An HOSC Chapter” link on top of the page.

    SAY NO TO WAR AND OCCUPATION!
    SAY NO TO ISLAMOPHOBIA!

    Hands Off Syria Coalition
    February 23, 2017
    [email protected]
    HandsOffSyriaCoalition.net



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  11. #29
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    Default Yes, it won the Oscar ........

    Yes, it won the Oscar ........


    Dear Friends,

    Thank you for signing the petition Don't give an Oscar to "The White Helmets".

    Unfortunately the infomercial did win an Oscar.

    Despite this, there is growing recognition of the fact that the White Helmets are not who they claim to be.

    Thanks for your support on this!

    The struggle continues to stop the criminal war on Syria, stop US funding of terrorists and restore international law.

    Best,

    Rick Sterling


    Rick Sterling started this petition on RootsAction. If there's an issue close to your heart that you'd like to campaign on, you can start your campaign here.


    You received this email because you signed the petition 'Don't give an Oscar to "The White Helmets"'. If you don't want to receive emails from the 'Don't give an Oscar to "The White Helmets"' campaign in the future, please unsubscribe.
  12. #30
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    Default IS conflict: US sends Marines to support Raqqa assault

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-39217015



    IS conflict: US sends Marines to support Raqqa assault

    14 minutes ago

    From the section Middle East Related TopicsSyrian civil war

    Share

    Sgt. Joseph Reed Jr., training chief, Headquarters and Service company, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, (BLT 2/1), 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, fires his first M777A2 Howitzer round as part of a Tactical Air Control Party exercise during Realistic Urban Training Marine Expeditionary Unit Exercise (RUTMEUEX) 14-1 at Camp Roberts, California, 26 March 2014Image copyrightCPL. DEMETRIUS MORGAN/US MARINE CORPS


    The Marines will reportedly set up an artillery battery including M777 Howitzers

    The US has sent several hundred Marines to Syria to support an allied local force aiming to capture the so-called Islamic State (IS) stronghold of Raqqa.

    They reportedly arrived in the past few days to establish an outpost from which they will be able to fire artillery at IS positions some 32km (20 miles) away.

    US special forces are already on the ground, advising the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance.

    The alliance is expected to launch an assault on Raqqa in the coming weeks.

    Defence officials told the Washington Post the Marines planned to set up an artillery battery that could fire powerful 155mm shells from M777 howitzers.

    Over the weekend, a separate force of elite US army Rangers was also deployed near a town north-west of Raqqa in heavily armoured vehicles, in an attempt to end clashes between SDF fighters and a Turkish-backed rebel force.

    Inside 'Islamic State': A Raqqa diary

    Islamic State group: The full story


    Map showing control of northern Syria

    Why are the Marines being sent now?

    IS can only be defeated in this war if its militants are forced to stand and fight as a conventional army, the BBC's Paul Danahar writes from Washington.

    Much of its senior military leadership is made up of former Iraqi army commanders from the Saddam Hussein era, and their instinct the last time they faced a defeat on the battlefield, during the US-led invasion in 2003, was to melt away.

    Islamic State militants in Raqqa on 30 June 2014Image copyrightREUTERS


    Raqqa is the de facto capital of the "caliphate" IS proclaimed in June 2014

    They re-emerged as the leaders of militants opposing the US occupation who then joined to form an umbrella grouping which became al-Qaeda in Iraq. After the start of the Syrian civil war this morphed into IS.

    What the US Marines will hope to do, working along aside US special forces, is create a net tight enough to kill or capture these men before they get away. That means co-ordinating the assault and making sure the anti-IS forces work together.

    They will hope to finally force the men the US military has been fighting for more than a decade into a last stand.

    Isn't there a limit on the number of US troops in Syria?


    Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters ride on a vehicle north of Raqqa, Syria (5 February 2017)Image copyrightREUTERS
    Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters are expected to launch an assault on Raqqa soon

    Under President Barack Obama, US special operations forces were deployed to recruit, train and advise the SDF's 30,000 Arab and Kurdish fighters. However, their numbers were limited to 500.

    The Marines' deployment is considered temporary, so it is not affected by the cap.

    What about the Rangers?

    Col Dorrian said the dozens of Rangers who had arrived on the outskirts of Manbij, about 110km (68 miles) from Raqqa, were also there "for a temporary period".


    A convoy of US forces armoured vehicles drives near the village of Yalanli, on the western outskirts of the northern Syrian city of Manbij (5 March 2017)Image copyrightAFP
    US army Rangers arrived on the outskirts of Manbij in heavily armoured vehicles

    The Rangers were seeking to "create some assurance", Col Dorrian added, following clashes between Turkish-backed Arab rebels and local fighters from the Manbij Military Council, which was set up by the SDF when it captured the town.

    The Turkish government considers the Kurdish Popular Protection Units (YPG) militia, which dominates the SDF, a terrorist group because of its links to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is banned in Turkey.

    Does this still signal an escalation in US involvement?

    It is not yet clear but the deployment comes as President Donald Trump considers a new plan to defeat IS that was submitted by the Pentagon late last month.


    US Army Lt Gen Stephen Townsend talks with an Iraqi officer during a tour north of Baghdad, Iraq (8 February 2017)Image copyrightAP
    Some 6,000 US troops are deployed in Iraq and Syria as part of a coalition against IS

    The Associated Press news agency reports that Mr Trump wants to give the Pentagon greater flexibility to make routine combat decisions in the fight against IS.

    Commanders on the ground were frustrated by what they considered micromanagement by the Obama administration, it adds.

    The US is also said to be preparing to send up to 1,000 troops to Kuwait to serve as a reserve force that can deployed to fight IS in Syria and Iraq if necessary.

    How is the campaign to capture Raqqa going?

    Col Dorrian said the SDF's current operation to encircle the city, which began in November, was going "very, very well" and could be completed in a few weeks. "Then the decision to move in can be made," he added.


    A Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter rests while looking over the River Euphrates north of Raqqa city, (8 March 2017)Image copyrightREUTERS
    A US-led coalition spokesman said the SDF's campaign to isolate Raqqa was going "very well"

    Earlier this week, the SDF cut the main supply route connecting Raqqa to IS-held territory to the south-east in Deir al-Zour province.

    The New York Times meanwhile cited US officials as saying there were an estimated 4,000 militants inside Raqqa.

    Related Topics

    Islamic State groupSyriaSyrian civil warUS Armed Forces

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  13. #31
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    Default US airstrike kills 23 civilians as Marines deploy to Syria

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017.../syri-m10.html


    US airstrike kills 23 civilians as Marines deploy to Syria

    By Bill Van Auken

    10 March 2017

    A US airstrike on the northern Syrian village of Al-Mataba near the Syrian city of Raqqa claimed the lives of at least 23 civilians Wednesday night. Many of the victims were from one family, whose house was demolished in the bombardment. The dead were reported by Syrian monitoring groups to have included at least six children and four women.

    The carnage from the air coincided with a dramatic escalation of the US military intervention on the ground with the deployment of a US Marine battalion armed with powerful M777 howitzers, artillery capable of firing as many five rounds per minute over a range of more than 20 miles. The amphibious task force was taken off Navy ships at the US Special Forces base at Djibouti, flown into Kuwait and then into Syria, a Pentagon official told the Washington Post.

    The deployment of the Marines from the San Diego-based 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, along with a contingent of Army Rangers, roughly doubles the number of US troops inside Syria, which was previously limited to just over 500 special forces “trainers and advisers.”

    The new troops are to provide fire support for the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces, a militia dominated by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which operates as a proxy ground force for the US intervention in Syria. Washington is preparing these forces for an assault on Raqqa, a Syrian city of 300,000 which is under the control of the Sunni Islamist militia, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

    The US military command is operating on the pretense that the deployment of the new American forces is only “temporary,” but their arrival likely signals the escalation of the US intervention in Iraq and Syria that the Trump administration has advocated. The Pentagon presented a report to the White House outlining proposals for such an escalation at the end of last month.

    Testifying before the US Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, Gen. Joseph Votel, the chief of US Central Command (CENTCOM), which oversees military operations in the region, claimed that the authorization to use military force (AUMF) passed by the US Congress in 2001 following the September 11 attacks on New York City and Washington provided the authority to escalate the deployment in Syria (a country that had nothing to do with 9/11) in order to fight ISIS (which did not exist in 2001). Votel also made it clear that the US intervention was being carried out without the permission of the Syrian government.

    It was further reported Thursday that the Pentagon is preparing to send nearly 1,000 additional troops to Kuwait to serve as a “reserve” force that US commanders on the ground in Iraq and Syria could call into the country as they see fit.

    These changes are part of a shift in the rules of engagement for the US intervention in the region, which is ostensibly directed at defeating ISIS. US commanders are to be given far greater discretion in terms of calling in airstrikes and ordering other offensive actions, which previously had to be approved by the senior brass. Also being lifted are restraints that were supposedly in place to limit so-called “collateral damage,” i.e., the slaughter of Iraqi and Syrian civilians.

    The past several weeks have seen a major escalation of the US-led bombing campaign leading to a steady increase in the number of civilian deaths in both countries. This toll will only increase with the deployment of US artillery.

    The Pentagon’s spokesman for the US intervention in Iraq and Syria, referring to the deployment of the Marine battalion, told Reuters, “We have had what I would describe as a pretty relentless air campaign to destroy enemy capabilities and to kill enemy fighters in that area already. That is something that we are going to continue and intensify with this new capability.”

    According to statistics released by the US Air Forces Central Command, US and allied warplanes dropped 7,494 bombs, rockets and other munitions on targets in Iraq and Syria during the first nine weeks of this year. This represents an increase of nearly 50 percent compared to the same period in 2016, and is nearly double the number of airstrikes conducted in 2015.

    The group Airwars, which monitors airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, has estimated that as many as 370 Iraqi civilians have been killed in the US bombardment of the densely populated neighborhoods of western Mosul just since March 1. The assault on the ISIS-held area of the city has turned whole blocks into rubble and forced 40,000 civilians to flee their homes over the last week alone.

    According to Airwars, as many as 130 civilians died on March 5 in an assault on a government compound in the Dawassa district of Mosul, which reportedly involved US Apache attack helicopters. Another 50 to 80 were killed in a March 1 airstrike against a mosque that was being used as a shelter for refugee families.

    The monitoring group estimates the number of civilians killed in both Iraq and Syria by the US air war since its beginning in 2014 at nearly 2,500.

    Part of the US escalation in Syria has consisted of sending Army Rangers aboard Stryker armored vehicles into the area around Manbij, northwest of Raqqa. This intervention, dubbed by the Pentagon as a “reassure and deter” mission, is aimed at forestalling an armed clash between the US proxy forces in the Kurdish YPG and Washington’s NATO ally in the region, Turkey.

    Turkey has threatened to attack YPG forces--which Ankara describes as “terrorists”-- in the area in order to prevent linking up the two “cantons” of Kobane and Afrin to form a Kurdish autonomous zone along Turkey’s border with Syria.

    “What is important for us is to clear Manbij of YPG elements. Why did the YPG come there? To establish its terrorist canton and to gain more territory,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Thursday.

    For its part, the YPG has denounced Turkish troops inside Syria as an “occupation force” and has insisted that they cannot be allowed to participate in the planned offensive against Raqqa. Unconfirmed reports circulated on social media Wednesday that elements of the YPG had used a US-supplied TOW missile to attack a Turkish tank in northern Syria.

    The increasingly tense situation in the region was discussed in a three-way meeting held in the Turkish port city of Antalya Wednesday between the US, Russian and Turkish military chiefs of staff. Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with his Turkish counterpart, Gen. Hulusi Akar, and Russia’s Chief of the General Staff, Gen. Vasily Gerasimov.

    The Pentagon issued a statement saying the meeting was necessary because the area surrounding Raqqa had become “a crowded battlespace” and the conflicting interests of the different armed forces operating there had created “a dangerous situation.”

    The growing dangers in Syria are the outcome of the nearly six-year-old US-orchestrated war for regime change and the attempt by US imperialism to utilize the conflict as a means of weakening the positions of regional and global rivals, particularly Iran and Russia. The growing US military presence in the region poses the threat of the conflict in Iraq and Syria escalating into a far wider war.

    Copyright © 1998-2017 World Socialist Web Site - All rights reserved
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    Default Fighting flares in Damascus as US escalates air war in Syria

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017...syri-m22.html#


    Fighting flares in Damascus as US escalates air war in Syria

    By Jordan Shilton

    22 March 2017

    Some of the heaviest fighting in Damascus since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011 has occurred over recent days. A surprise attack by a collection of Islamist and other opposition forces, including a considerable number of fighters from the former al-Qaida-affiliated al-Nusra Front, launched a surprise attack on eastern neighborhoods of the city on Sunday, gaining some ground.

    Even the New York Times, which has championed the overthrow of Assad and the installation of a puppet regime in Damascus, hypocritically noted “political concerns” about the “alliance between a spectrum of rebel groups and hard-line Islamists” which conducted the attack.

    Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad launched a counter-attack on Monday and recaptured much of the territory taken by the Islamists the previous day, according to Syrian government sources. But a second offensive was initiated yesterday by the rebels with the aim of breaking the government siege of the rebel-held Qaboun district.

    Other assaults on government-controlled territory were reported in Hama Province and in western Aleppo.

    Syrian and Russian aircraft have launched heavy bombardments of rebel-held areas, with reports of 143 airstrikes since Sunday’s surprise attack began. The rebels have indiscriminately targeted civilians, including with a recent suicide bombing at a court house in Damascus which killed 30.

    While it remains unclear whether the collection of Jihadi forces and other opposition fighters can sustain their attacks and push further into Damascus, the escalation of fighting demonstrates that the ceasefire brokered in December by Russia and Turkey is a dead letter. Observers almost unanimously anticipate that planned peace talks beginning tomorrow in Geneva chaired by the UN’s special Syria envoy will produce no concrete progress. Mohammad al-Alloush, designated the head opposition negotiator in the Geneva talks, is also leader of the Army of Islam, one of the groups leading the attack on Damascus.

    The fighting also underscores the highly unstable and explosive situation into which the Trump administration is preparing to send a further 1,000 US marines as part of a vast expansion of American participation in the war in Syria and Iraq.

    The brutal US-instigated war for regime change in Syria, which entered its seventh year last week, has already claimed the lives of upwards of half a million people and driven a further 11 million from their homes.

    Airwars, a group monitoring US and coalition airstrikes in Syria and Iraq, recently noted that since Trump took office, civilian casualties in both countries had undergone an “unprecedented” increase. Local sources in the Iraqi city of Mosul, currently the target of a US-backed assault to retake control of it from ISIS, reported to Airwars that in the first week of March alone, between 250 and 370 non-combatants were killed by US-led airstrikes.

    Over the past three years, Airwars calculates that airstrikes conducted by the US-led coalition have claimed the lives of some 2,590 civilians in Syria.

    The latest atrocity reportedly occurred Tuesday in the de facto ISIS capital of Raqqa, when an alleged airstrike struck a school building housing hundreds of civilians. If confirmed, the strike will be the second over the past week to claim a large number of civilian lives, following the partial destruction of a mosque in Idlib province which the US claimed was being used by al-Qaida as a base. At least 42 people were killed in that attack, although reports spoke of many more still trapped in the rubble.

    Confronted with a growing number of photos, video footage and eye witness accounts detailing the devastation following last Thursday’s strike, US military officials told CNN yesterday that an official investigation into the strike was being launched.

    The increased targeting of civilians is part of the Trump administration’s drastic escalation of the Syrian war. Trump has given the CIA authorization to carry out airstrikes and requested that the rules of engagement for US forces be loosened to permit targets to be struck even if civilian casualties could result.

    The stepping up of the US intervention takes place under conditions of rising regional tensions. Last Friday, Israel launched one of its most provocative air raids in Syria, striking a site near the government-held city of Palmyra. The Assad regime alleged the Israeli strike hit a government military position and fired air defense missiles at the planes, prompting Tel Aviv to shoot one missile down with its Arrow air defense system. Israel claimed it was targeting a weapons shipment destined for Hezbollah in Lebanon.

    Russian officials subsequently stated that a number of Russian military personnel were in close proximity to the attack. Moscow summoned the Israeli ambassador for an explanation for the strike.

    Israeli politicians have gone on the offensive, vowing to expand similar strikes in the future. Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman told Israeli Public Radio on Sunday, “The next time the Syrians use their air defense systems against our airplanes, we will destroy all of them without thinking twice.”

    Israel has also sought to justify its intervention with allegations that Iran is attempting to strengthen its influence over Damascus by establishing a permanent military presence in the country. Tel Aviv’s hardline stance towards Teheran enjoys the full backing of the Trump administration.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during a trip to China, dismissed any talk of tensions with Russia, but insisted that strikes would go on. “If there is a feasibility from an intelligence and military standpoint—we attack and so it will continue,” he said.

    Assad, in response to the Israeli airstrike, called on Russia to prevent future attacks. “Russia can play a role so that Israel no longer attacks Syria,” Assad stated to Russian journalists. “I think Russia can play an important role in this regard.”

    The Kremlin, which intervened in the Syrian conflict in September 2015 with the aim of propping up the Assad dictatorship, is responding to the expansion of US involvement by extending its own presence on the ground. On Monday, a Kurdish spokesman confirmed that the Kurdish YPG militia, the armed wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), had struck a deal with Moscow to establish a military base in northwest Syria where Russian soldiers will train Kurdish fighters. Troops and armored vehicles have already arrived in the town of Afrin, Redur Zelil said. Russia stated that it had no intention of establishing an additional military base on Syrian territory, claiming it already had a presence in Aleppo province.

    The YPG is also being supported by Washington, with US troops imbedded with the Kurdish militia to direct the offensive to retake Raqqa from ISIS.

    The news of the Russian training initiative prompted a hostile rebuke from Turkey, which intervened into northern Syria last August with the primary goal of preventing the establishment of a contiguous territorial area on its border controlled by Kurdish forces. Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus declared that Ankara would not tolerate a “region of terror” in Syria and added that the ethnic structure of the region had to be kept intact.

    Turkish forces have repeatedly clashed with the YPG, which Ankara designates as a terrorist organization. Earlier this month, Turkey threatened to attack the town of Manbij if YPG militia did not withdraw. However, it was compelled to back down in the face of opposition from the US and Russia.

    The increase in US troops on the ground in this contested region, and the broader escalation of the conflict being pursued by the Trump administration throughout Syria and Iraq, is adding fuel to the fire of a conflict that could rapidly spiral out of control. Even an unintended clash between any combination of the myriad competing military forces operating in Syria would be sufficient to draw in regional and global powers, with catastrophic consequences for the long-suffering population of the Middle East.

    Copyright © 1998-2017 World Socialist Web Site - All rights reserved
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    ---



    лидия • 8 hours ago

    "A State Department release prior to the meeting said a key goal would be to “accelerate international efforts to defeat ISIS.”"
    Then they should do something against Zionist colonizers of Palestine, which back ISIS:

    Israeli commandos save Islamic militants from Syria | Daily Mail
    Israel acknowledges it is helping Syrian rebel fighters | Times of Israel
    UN Reveals Israeli Links With Syrian Rebels | Haaretz
    Exclusive: Israel Is Tending to Wounded Syrian Rebels | Foreign Policy
    Israel Helps ISIS Recruit Militants In Syria | Middle East Press
    Israel Key Link in Exporting ISIS Oil | The Real News Network
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    Default Russian Military Can Now Bomb Syrian Rebels and ISIS from Iran

    https://news.google.com

    http://www.newsweek.com/russia-milit...is-iran-575237


    WORLD

    RUSSIAN MILITARY CAN NOW BOMB SYRIAN REBELS AND ISIS FROM IRAN

    BY TOM O'CONNOR ON 3/28/17 AT 10:15 AM

    Dozens killed in Damascus after suicide bomber detonates inside judicial building

    WORLDSYRIAIRANRUSSIAN AIR FORCE

    Iran announced Tuesday it would allow Russia limited use of Iranian air bases to launch missions in Syria, where both Moscow and Tehran back the Syrian government against the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, and various insurgent groups.

    Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told Reuters that Tehran would evaluate each individual request by Moscow to use Iran's military facilities to bolster offensives by the Syrian army and pro-government militias, which include the Iran-backed Lebanese Shiite Muslim Hezbollah. Iran previously permitted Russian jets to use Iran's Hamadan Air Base, also known as Shahid Nojeh Air Base, in August, marking the first time a foreign power was granted such a privilege in the nearly four-decade-long history of the Islamic Republic. This permission was revoked after the government was criticized by Iranian hardliners, but Zarif's latest statement came as Moscow and Tehran strove for closer bilateral and international cooperation.

    "Russia doesn't have a military base [in Iran], we have good cooperation, and on a case by case basis, when it is necessary for Russians fighting terrorism to use Iranian facilities, we will make a decision," Zarif told Reuters.


    A map showing areas of control in Syria as of March 19, 2017.
    INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF WAR/REUTERS

    The move came during a visit Monday by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Zarif to Moscow and marked a warming in relations between the two nations as the position of their mutual partner, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, grew more powerful in the seventh year of his civil war against rebels backed by Turkey, the Gulf Arab states and, formerly, the West. The U.S., once a primary sponsor of the Syrian opposition, has since backed the Kurd-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and launched an operation this week against ISIS' de facto capital of Raqqa in northern Syria. Russia has also provided training to U.S.-backed Kurdish militant organizations such as the People's Protection Units (YPG), considered a terrorist organization by Turkey.

    Related Stories
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    While in Moscow, Rouhani expressed his hope Monday for "a new turning-point" in Iran's relationship with Russia, according to Reuters. In addition to increased military cooperation in Syria, Rouhani was expected to discuss several lucrative energy and economic deals during a meeting Tuesday with President Vladimir Putin. Rouhani was set to run for reelection in May and would likely face more conservative opponents critical of efforts by the Rouhani administration to open Iran diplomatically and economically.

    © 2017 NEWSWEEK LLC
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    I'm all for Socialism, but we can't just get there by destroying anything we disagree with. I guess that is a lesson we didnt learn from Iraq. I'm not saying that Saddam Hussain was the best person ever, but surely we can agree that the situation was better with him in power than it is now.. What say?
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    I'm all for Socialism, but we can't just get there by destroying anything we disagree with. I guess that is a lesson we didnt learn from Iraq. I'm not saying that Saddam Hussain was the best person ever, but surely we can agree that the situation was better with him in power than it is now.. What say?

    Yes, there's a clear parallel between Iraq then and Syria now -- in both cases we as socialists should be anti-imperialist, meaning that we oppose new U.S. / NATO / Western initiatives and interventions as acts of 'betterment' (my terming).

    I'm currently seeing a lot of foot-dragging regarding the U.S.'s efforts as part of the SDF, so I'd certainly default to siding with the regional major powers there, as a hoped-for return to the ante-imperialist status quo, as a start. Syria, Russia, and Iran would do better than the U.S. with all of its flip-flopping and rock-bottom credibility.
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    Assad is no leftist, and I don't think any communist "likes" him (or at least they shouldn't), but regardless we should always support a) the right to a nation's self-determination and b) anti-imperialism. Being anti-Assad (and against the Syrian state forces) is supporting imperialism, full stop. There's really only two sides in this conflict: those that are fighting with the Syrian state and those fighting against it.

    As for the Kurds, like Rojava, YPG/J, etc., we should probably support them as well! They do work with Assad and Russia to fight off ISIS, although I'm aware of their ties to the U.S. and it's questionable, to say the least. But they're not really a big player when it comes to fighting off the western imperialist forces, as why I support both the Syrian state and the Kurds. Of course, after this is all over, there's the fact that Assad doesn't want Rojava to exist, but that's later. And of course I support the Kurds' right to self-determination and the land they claim in northern(?) Syria.
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    I have to agree! US/NATO's motives are far from trustable. I'm actually surprised I'm saying this, but at this point Iran, despite all its imperialism seems like a better model of.. betterment for Syria.
    Inqalaab Zindabaad
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    I have to agree! US/NATO's motives are far from trustable. I'm actually surprised I'm saying this, but at this point Iran, despite all its imperialism seems like a better model of.. betterment for Syria.
    Iran is a barbaric state compared to Syria (or atleast the former Syria)
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    At least they have some vague kind of democracy; Which is more than I can say for former or current Syria.
    And despite being so "barbaric", Syria would probably be better off with Iran backing than under US/NATO control.
    Inqalaab Zindabaad

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