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The US and Russia Have Less Influence in Syria Than They Think
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At about 5pm on Saturday, two US F-16 fighter bombers and two A-10 specialised ground attack aircraft bombed what they believed was a concentration of Isis fighters besieging pro-government forces in the city of Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria.

Whoever it was in the US Air Force who had misidentified the target as Isis made a disastrous error; the US planes were attacking Syrian Army soldiers fighting Isis at a position called Jebel Tharda close to Deir Ezzor airport. The city has been besieged by Isis for over a year and 110,000 civilians are trapped inside. By the time the US bombing raid was over it had killed at least 62 Syrian soldiers and injured another 100, enabling Isis to overrun the survivors before being forced to retreat by a counter-attack backed by Russian airstrikes.

The mistake and heavy Syrian Army casualty list symbolises the continuing failure to implement the agreement reached between the US and Russia on 10 September. Its main points are a ceasefire in Syria, the unimpeded entry of UN aid convoys into besieged areas, and a joint US-Russian air campaign against Isis and Jabhat al-Nusra, the former Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria relabelled as the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham. Of these requirements only an increasingly shaky ceasefire is in place so far.

Worse, the US and Russia are belabouring each other at the UN Security Council in New York, with the Russians accusing the US of complicity with Isis and the US claiming that Russia is opportunistically taking advantage of a targeting error for which the US has apologised. The Russian Foreign Ministry said today that the whole ceasefire accord, agreed after 10 months of negotiations between the two biggest players in the Syrian conflict, is close to unravelling.

The strength of the agreement should be that it was put together by the US, as the world’s sole superpower, and Russia, which aspires to that status. Each should be able to influence allies and proxies into implementing the ceasefire, but so far this is not happening. There are many armed clashes and 40 trucks filled with supplies for the 250,000 to 275,000 people trapped in rebel-held East Aleppo are still stuck on the Turkish border. Supposedly moderate US-backed rebel groups are meant to be separating themselves geographically from al-Nusra, but they remain intermingled with it.

A weakness of the agreement is that it lacks any mechanism for its implementation other than the enforced assent or goodwill of the multitude of parties involved in the Syrian conflict. Goodwill has always been in notably short supply in Syria since many of the players, both regional and local, have an interest in the war continuing, even though they may hypocritically pretend otherwise. It is still unclear how far the US and Russia are able to force their allies into line and how far they are pulling their punches in doing so.

ORDER IT NOW

The US can put pressure on the Syrian rebels to abide by a ceasefire by leaning on their outside backers in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, but will this pressure be enough? In less than two months the US presidential election will produce a different occupant of the White House, who may have a new Syria policy. Not only is the present administration the lamest of ducks during this period, but it is more or less openly divided on the merits of a deal with Russia.

It is much in the interests of Russia to make this deal work, but it has difficulty in getting President Bashar al-Assad to do what it wants, even if he is militarily reliant on it. In the longer term, nobody quite knows in the present day Middle East the real political and military strength of rival powers. Before the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, there was excessive idea in the region of American omnipotence. Failure of the US to get its way in either war despite prolonged military engagement led to excessive idea of US weakness. Russia was likewise written off by the rulers of Gulf States up to the time it became the main foreign support of Assad and started behaving like a superpower again.

It is too early to write off the present ceasefire, if only because the conflict in Syria is so long-standing and intractable that it was always going to be extraordinarily difficult to de-escalate. A price has to be paid for the way in which it was misunderstood and mishandled in the years after 2011 so it will take time to put out the fires allowed to blaze out of control for five years. The US-Russian agreement is the first truly serious attempt to reduce the violence and, crucially, it is between the heaviest hitters in the crisis and the only ones capable of bringing it to an end.

Other peculiarities dog the present agreement. It is directed against al-Nusra and asks for the “moderate” armed opposition to separate themselves from the jihadis. It has always been centrepiece of Western policy in Syria that there is such a powerful group of armed moderates – despite much evidence to the contrary. If they did exist in any force then this agreement would be much in their interests and they – like the Syrian Kurds, Iraqi Kurds and Iraqi Army – would find their firepower vastly increased by the help of the US Air Force. But if the moderates so-called are largely a myth, and the armed opposition is overwhelmingly dominated by Isis and al-Nusra, then the latter have every incentive to make sure that this ceasefire fails.

The outside world has a picture of developments in Syria much distorted by wishful and partisan sources of information. This masks the point forcibly and un-answerably made by US Secretary of State John Kerry that, if this agreement with Russia does not work, the only alternative is more death and destruction engulfing Syria and its neighbours.

(Republished from The Independent by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Russia, Syria 
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  1. {The mistake and heavy Syrian Army casualty list symbolises the continuing failure to implement the agreement reached between the US and Russia on 10 September}

    That was NOT a MISTAKE. All the CIA pimps, antiwar, juan cole, and others try to cover for a savage ‘first black president’ who has been installed by the ziofascists and criminal Rothschild, Rockefeller and Soros.
    Israelis and US with their terrorists are bombing Syria and killing millions of people in Syria everyday, to control the world and erect ‘greater Israel’. Bomb mass murderers in the US and their CIA pimps spreading lies in the world. Bomb the USA now and claim it was ‘a mistake’, like the mass murderers and their servants, Samantha power at the ‘UN’, a brothel house.

  2. BDoyle says:

    This is a find. I’ve been coming here for a couple of years to read Razib’s posts, but didn’t realize that all of the other columnists were not nutters. I will follow this from now.

    It’s about time that US policy realized that a “moderate rebel” is nothing but a disgruntled observer of events. Sure, you can make peace with such people, but it doesn’t really matter. It is only negotiations with actual enemies that ultimately make a difference.

  3. Cyrano says:

    People fail to realize that US is on a mission to bring prosperity to the whole world. The only way to bring peace is by waging more war. I know, I know there is a small contradiction in there, but that’s not US’s fault.

    When the military actions by US don’t produce the results as planned and especially as advertised (and they never do), people should cut them some slack – after all their intentions were good. That’s what most Americans believe, that US is on a goodwill mission around the world and that everybody should get out of their way, especially those annoying Russians who are nothing but impediment in the grand plan to bring prosperity to the whole world.

    The main difference between US and Russia that people should always remember is that US are the good guys. When they do terrible things like in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, that’s not because they’re evil, it’s just because things didn’t go as planned. When the bad guys (the Russians) try to do a good thing – like in Syria – that’s just to confuse the public. Their motivations are sinister, they are evil and there is some underlying purpose to their machinations trying to portray themselves as good. They remain the bad guys.

    The actions don’t matter at all. Once you’ve become a good guy (although no one can ever tell when and where exactly US established their credentials as the good guys – probably not even they themselves), nothing you do can change this reality, even if no one else believes in it – as long as you do.

    • Agree: CalDre
    • Replies: @Jeff Davis
    , @tika
  4. Cranky says:

    Finally a columnist that realizes that neither Putin, Erdy, or Obama controls anything in Syria, they just send more bombs and money down that rathole.

  5. Diogenes says:

    The air strike by US warplanes on Syrian army positions yesterday which was followed immediately by an ISIS ground attack on the same position should construed as evidence that:
    1. it was not a mistake on the part of the US but a deliberate military provocation against Syria and Russia.
    2. The US clearly supports ISIS against Syrians militarily [ yet supports the Kurds against ISIS].
    3. The Pentagon is wreaking a cease fire deal supported by the State Department.
    4. The Americans want to escalate the Syrian conflict and are testing Russia’s resolve and support for Syria against the Jihadists.
    Will Russia give up on “coordinating” airstrike with the US against Jihadists?
    They should and they should hit US special forces or “boots on the ground” for good measure and then call it a “mistake”,
    Better still tell the US to stop flying over Syria or else. Unfortunately they are afraid of the US and the US knows it.
    Watch for more challenges and provocations! This could become scary.

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
  6. nsa says:

    The jooies and their white lib useful idiots hate Putin because he is white and stands in the way of their ultimate goal: destruction of the white race through turd world invasion and then global domination. Since Uncle OBomber and Johnny Ketchup can’t flush the toilet without calling up Jerusalem for permission……maybe the Russians should skip the intermediaries and just bargain with their Zio overlords directly?

  7. Mistake?! There was no mistake, you stupid motherfucker!

    • Replies: @Uslabor
    , @RobinG
    , @Jeff Davis
  8. Rehmat says:

    Damn! I never thought truth will ever come out of Patrick Cockburn’s writings. YES Russia and America have far less grip on Syria’s ruling Ba’athist party as they used to have in the good-old-days. Presently, it’s Iran which has more influence in Syrian affairs than the US and Russia.

    On October 26, 2015, former US president Jimmy Carter penned an Op-Ed for ‘The Jew York Times’, entitled, “A Plan to end the Syrian Crisis”, in which he claimed that the US, Russia and United Nations cannot bring an end to the four-year-old bloodshed in Syria without the active participation of the Islamic Republic at the negotiations going on among the world powers and the supporters (Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, UAE, France, and UK) of anti-government terrorists.

    Jimmy Carter claims that he had talked to Bashar al-Assad for several hours when latter was studying in London. He said that Bashar’s father Hafiz Assad, who came into power via a military coup, was supported by people belonging to different faiths, Sunnis, Shias, Christians, Druze and even Jews.

    https://rehmat1.com/2015/11/02/jimmy-carter-no-peace-in-syria-without-irans-help/

  9. @Diogenes

    The U.S. is still trying to unseat Assad (to what end aside from chaos, who knows?) and so this was no accident. It assists the “rebels”, in any case except if it assists “ISIS”, so be it because the entire affair makes things more difficult for Putin. Keeping the rebels going, keeping ISIS going and hassling Putin to no end is good for the U.S. because it’s good for U.S. arms dealers. Ditto for the demise of Assad if we can accomplish it because we’ll have our arms involved in Syria for years just as we are in Libya after the ill-advised demise of Qaddafi. The more instability we foment, the more our defense industries profit. Pretty simply stuff this. In the authentic American interest, Trump is correct. Putin is our friend. The way it’s conducted today, he’s going to become our worst enemy. But at least Lockheed-Martin and Boeing make out. Because this is what you do when you have no other industry.

    A bad layman’s understanding, or the truth?

    • Replies: @Jeff Davis
  10. Donna says:

    I’m afraid we can no longer consider Patrick Cockburn a reliable source. This is the second time he has failed to accurately report on Syria. The first was the badly miscalculated publication of Ashley Smith’s lies and misinformation on the pages of Counterpunch. Now he’s trying to tell us — against all logic — that the US bombed the Syrian army by mistake. He has grossly underestimated his audience. Three strikes and you’re out Patrick.

    • Replies: @Uslabor
    , @Jeff Davis
  11. Uslabor says:
    @Donna

    Patrick’s comments sound somewhat tongue in cheek, as if he’s writing something for someone who can read between the lines.

  12. Uslabor says:
    @Anonymous Smith

    Wow, you really drive your point home with that zesty “you stupid motherfucker” embellishment to your comment. Good for you!

    • Replies: @Anonymous Smith
  13. The location bombed was a battleground between the forces of the “Assad-must-go” and the”bad-Jihadis-ISIS”; neither of which America is supposed to befriend or support. In other words Allied bombers had no business attacking anybody anywhere near there.
    This deadly bombing, which helped ISIS cannot be excused away as a nasty blunder on the part of American allies involved.
    The US military must have a very tough time right now trying to explain in any coherent way why they chose that particular location to bomb.

  14. RobinG says:
    @Anonymous Smith

    “US and Australian governments have admitted the soldiers were killed on the 17th of September by a joint operation carried out by the US air force in collusion with the Australian military. The martyred Syrian soldiers were guarding a military fortification used as a base for repelling attacks by the Islamic State death-squads who completely surround the city.

    People across the world are finding it extremely hard to believe that this attack was a “mistake” or an “accident”.

    Why? Because these actions are entirely consistent with US-led attempts to topple the Syrian government by covertly (or in this case overtly) supporting their enemies – these policies have resurrected Al Qaeda and its offshoots like ISIS.

    Whether the massacre was ‘accidental’ or deliberate should be determined by an independent war crimes tribunal. Assertion by the perpetrators, ‘sorry, we didn’t mean it’, is completely inadequate.”

    https://www.facebook.com/events/366321143755783/
    Rally at 1:30pm

    This Sunday 25 September 2016

    Martin Place (railway station, outside MLC Centre)

    Sydney City

    • Replies: @Anonymous Smith
  15. tika says:
    @Cyrano

    The US is _not_ trying to bring prosperity anywhere but to the pockets of a few. The most blatant proof is Haiti, which the US has ‘helped’ since it invaded the country in 1915.

    I suggest you read the book ‘War is a racket’ by Gen Smedley Butler (US Marines) before claiming that war is good for anybody.

    Here’s the summary of the book, by Smedley himself:

    “War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small ‘inside’ group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.”

    I figure that after serving 34-years in the Marines, and participating in many US wars, a general would know best what the US wars’ aim is.

  16. @Anonymous Smith

    I don’t believe the attack was a mistake. Deir ez-Zor was a major strategic operating base in Eastern Syria — possibly the last — held by the Syrian government forces. Conquest by ISIS would remove the Syrian government presence in eastern Syria. This is consistent with the American regime change agenda in Syria. It would enable the US and its allies to take uncontested possession of all of Eastern Syria — once ISIS is removed, of course — in anticipation of Syrian partition. (This would be a Plan B, a fall back position for the US in the event Assad’s removal becomes unattainable.) To prevent this the Syrian Arab Army and the Russians will have to move quickly to reinforce the Deir ez-Zor enclave, and retake the Jebel Tharda position.

    So look for a double-quick Russian airlift of advanced area denial artillery missile batteries, reconnaissance and ground-attack drones, and Speznaz and Syrian elite forces with advanced kit. And possibly, as a message to the US, advanced S-400 anti-aircraft/anti-missile systems. Concurrent with the rapid response, expect the Russians to bomb the living shit out of ISIS forces surrounding the region.

  17. @Jim Christian

    In a multi-party conflict chock full with feints, fakery, and diplomatic treachery, you’ve nailed it.

    This will go on until ISIS and Nusra are thoroughly defeated militarily, precisely because the US — which in this case means the Neocons — have no incentive to give up until their very last shred of hope is erased, until their proxies are utterly destroyed root and branch.

  18. @Donna

    I agree. Screwed the pooch on this one. But he’s a good guy, and even good guys get it wrong now and then.

  19. Renoman says:

    A Mistake? You’re kidding right? The US army can see boogers in your nose my friend, they knew exactly what they were doing.

  20. CalDre says:

    The illegal bombing attack was hardly a mistake. The Syrian Arab Army had held the hilltop which was blasted for years, and the SAA’s formations and equipment are hardly to be confused with ISIS. Moreover, no warning of the surprise attack was provided to either the Syrians or the Russians.

    Rather, the US goal has long been to further Balkanize Syria into small Statelets for the benefit of Israel and its Eretz Israel (Greater Israel) plans. Israel will be successful in seizing all of its coveted “Lebensraum” only if no significant opposition exists to oppose it. Hence its desire to tear the Arab world asunder through sectarian strife (a/k/a the “Arab Spring”) and its hatred of the incorruptible Shia Crescent.

    Now, turning to Deir ez-Zor, the CFR, amongst others, has openly advocated for the Balkanization of Syria, which is generally considered to involve a larger Sunni State and three rump states, one for each of the Kurds, the Druze and the Alawites. Deiz ez-Zor falls into the Sunni part of the map and accordingly the US was attempting to give control of the city (and, by implication, all of Eastern Syria) to ISIS before Damascus could use the cease-fire to defeat the ISIS (extremist Sunni) forces in the area.

    ISIS, for its part, was obviously informed in advance of the attack, as they were able to launch a large offensive within an hour of the US’ destruction of the SAA’s advantageous and long-standing defensive position. Fortunately for Damascus, the Russian Air Force was able to mobilize quickly and prevent the US-backed ISIS barbarians from taking over the city of 165,000 and turning its streets red.

    It’s ironic to see the panic that grips the US when a few pipe bombs go off in New York with hardly a casualty, while at the same time US is bombing country after country and supporting terrorist group after terrorist group with money, weapons and intelligence.

    • Replies: @RobinG
    , @SolontoCroesus
  21. RobinG says:
    @CalDre

    It’s ironic to see the panic that grips the US when a few pipe bombs go off in New York with hardly a casualty, while at the same time US is bombing country after country and supporting terrorist group after terrorist group with money, weapons and intelligence.

    Absolutely.

  22. ” at least Lockheed-Martin and Boeing make out. Because this is what you do when you have no other industry.”

    … and so it goes. The American ambassador informed Putin as much – that the preparations for war with Russia are motivated by domestic employment concerns, nothing personal.

  23. @CalDre

    Rather, the US goal has long been to further Balkanize Syria into small Statelets for the benefit of Israel and its Eretz Israel (Greater Israel) plans.

    Israeli foreign policy and defense minister Moshe Ya’alon, Mar 2016:
    https://www.c-span.org/video/?406449-1/israeli-defense-minister-moshe-yaalon-remarks

    After opening his remarks, and spending a great deal of time complaining about Iran’s influence, Iran’s threat to Israel, the absurdity of US policy toward Iran esp. the Iran deal, Ya’alon said, in answer to a question about Syria:

    “The only way that we can live (with Syria) is some kind of federation. There’s no way to unify Syria. I’m talking about strategyy to unify Syria through Bashar Al Assad or someone else.
    [There is] No Chance.
    [It is] Wishful thinking.
    Assad controls today 30% of his former territory. That’s it.
    We know the turks are not happy with it but in the end, there is a Kurdish authority in Syria. There is a Kurdish authority in Iraq. . . . So first of all, let’s find a way to have a kind of federation or whatever. ”

  24. @Jeff Davis

    I agree. I don’t find ‘mistake’ claims at all credible in the circumstances. And ISIS may have been forewarned given their prompt offensive.

    • Replies: @RobinG
  25. @Uslabor

    Hehe…sometimes I get carried away!

  26. @RobinG

    Hello, Robin!

    The US is obviously protecting ISIS! That old “we’re sorry, we didn’t mean it” BS isn’t fooling anyone…’cept Patrick Cockburn!

  27. @Jeff Davis

    I thought the Russian’s already had an S-400 array in Syria. Or, are you saying they’re bring more S-400’s in country?

    • Replies: @Jeff Davis
  28. RobinG says:
    @Simon in London

    SYRIA SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT STATEMENT on the US ATTACK AGAINST the SYRIAN ARMY at DEIR EZ-ZOUR
    The Syria Solidarity Movement unequivocally condemns and denounces the vicious US bombing attack on the Syrian army defending Deir ez-Zour, and we wish to make the following observations.

    1.The attack killed at least 62 Syrian soldiers and wounded more than 100. This is larger than the number of casualties inflicted in any US bombing on any terrorist target in Syria since the US announced its “war on ISIS”.
    2.The bombing inflicted no known casualties on ISIS, which the US says was its intended target.
    3.The US has produced no evidence that it notified its Russian counterparts, as required by agreement. In fact, joint action against ISIS was not expected for another two days. This leads to suspicions that the US attack was intended to preempt the provisions of the agreement.
    4.Syrian soldiers report seeing reconnaissance drones the previous day.
    5.ISIS fighters were poised to begin fighting the Syrian army units as soon as the US bombing raids ended. How did they know what constituted the end of the bombing?
    6.Although the Russian military presence in Syria is legal because it came at the invitation of the sovereign Syrian state, the US presence is illegal and was never approved, either by the Syrian government or by the United Nations. All US military actions in Syria therefore constitute an illegal invasion of Syrian territory, and must end now.

    We find the US explanation of “unintended” targets, and especially the belligerent performance of Ambassador Samantha Power at the United Nations Security Council, to be false, disingenuous and counterproductive. The only credible explanation is that the US attack on Deir ez-Zour was intentional. The US has never seriously tried to fight ISIS other than to defend Kurdish fighters, with rare and largely ineffectual attacks against ISIS fighters in their strongholds, and none during the ISIS campaign against Palmyra, when they were very vulnerable by air.

    We believe that the US intention is to dismember the sovereign Syrian state, and that the Syrian army base at Deir ez-Zour constitutes an obstacle to this plan, and is therefore a US target. In accordance with this plan, the US does not mind if ISIS continues to occupy a large portion of the Syrian Euphrates valley, and in fact prefers to maintain ISIS as a destructive force that weakens Syria and is available as a proxy fighting force for other US regional designs, in partnership with their Israeli allies.

    We are doubtful that the US intends to honor its agreement with Russia, and implicitly with Syria. US strategists are seeking to weaken and threaten Russia and not to form cooperative and mutually beneficial agreements. Accordingly, the only option may unfortunately be to make the cost to the US too high to be acceptable, and thereby to force a change in its priorities.

    There is another and more constructive alternative, as follows.

    1.The US should immediately issue a formal apology to the government of Syria and offer restitution for damages, both to the Syrian government and to the families of the dead and wounded.
    2.The US should withdraw completely from all Syrian territory and end its support for all fighting forces there.
    3.The US should enforce its end user agreements on the use of its arms supplied to Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and other countries, to prevent their use in non-defensive roles outside their territories, and in particular to prevent supplying them to subversive forces in Syria.
    4.The US should use its influence in international banking and commerce to prevent the transfer of funds to terrorist forces in Syria and to prevent illegal trafficking by terrorists of oil and other Syrian assets from terrorist-held territory.
    5.The US should try to develop a new and cooperative relationship with Russia, and to stop threatening Russia through its subversive actions in Syria, Ukraine and other places, including the stationing of bases and troops in countries on Russia’s borders. The US should end its commercial and financial sanctions against Russia and Syria.
    6.The US needs to take action to end the internal bickering within its own government. International diplomacy is impossible when agreements negotiated by diplomats are undermined by other governmental agencies. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and other US government figures should be fired for insubordination and replaced with figures that allow the administration to speak with a single voice and so that negotiated agreements can be assured of implementation.

    The Syria Solidarity Movement advocates respect for and compliance with all international law, prosecution of international outlaws, an end to attempts to strengthen one country by destroying others, the use of diplomacy to settle international disputes, and the development of peaceful and constructive relationships among all nations. We hold these goals to be of the utmost priority at the present moment because, given the level of escalation to which the USA has pushed a confrontation with Russia (and China) over Syria, Ukraine, and the South China Sea, the threat to world peace has never been higher since 1939.

  29. Talha says:

    Speaking of ‘accidental’ strikes – our masters have killed 8 Afghan policemen that they were supposed to be helping defend a position against the Taliban:

    http://news.antiwar.com/2016/09/19/us-kills-at-least-eight-afghan-police-in-bungled-airstrike/

    Do they really expect us to believe that their precision drone strikes, where they claim to kill dozens of militants, have any credibility?

    Peace.

    • Replies: @RobinG
  30. RobinG says:
    @Talha

    And so it begins… my stumbling on relevant links, that is. (Haven’t checked the Engdahl yet, but he’s pretty reliable.)

    http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/04/22/george-soros-anti-syria-campaign-impresario/

    A few highlights—-

    “Soros-financed Human Rights Watch has played a major role in falsely portraying ISIS and Al Qaeda civilian bombings and other atrocities as the work of the Assad regime, building support for military action from the US and EU.” ~ William Engdahl Syria Plays Both Ends in the Syrian Refugee Crisis

    &

    “MSF have made concerted efforts to distance themselves from their Interventionist advocate, Co-Founder, Bernard Kouchner, to little avail, as Kouchner was still invited to comment on the US bombing of the MSF hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan in 2015.

    Once more the sole purpose of this article is to show how the NGOs having greatest impact on the ground in Syria, & in our media, are connected to George Soros [among a myriad of undeniably biased and very partial-to-a-slice-of -Syria western governmental agencies.]”

    &

    “Another Soros-financed NGO active demonizing the Assad government as cause of all atrocities in Syria and helping build publc support for a war in Syria from the US and EU is Amnesty International. Suzanne Nossel, until 2013 the Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, came to the job from the US State Department where she was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, not exactly an unbiased agency in regard to Syria” ~ William Engdahl for New Eastern Outlook

    • Replies: @Talha
  31. @Anonymous Smith

    I thought the Russian’s already had an S-400 array in Syria. Or, are you saying they’re bring more S-400′s in country?

    Yes, after Erdogan shot down that Russian bomber, the Russians brought in an S-400 to their base in Latakia, western Syria, to defend against that happening again.

    Deir ez-Zor is far to the east, and would need another unit for effective defense in that area.

  32. Talha says:
    @RobinG

    Hey RobinG,

    While that certainly is not great news – I mean Soros certainly has the anti-Midas touch. However, I’m not convinced. Let’s take the HRW example since your link seems to have the most damning evidence against it (out of HRW, AI and MSF/DWB):

    Why would they publish factual info and call out Israeli aggression as it is if they are in the hands of the Zionists?:
    “In June, a UN commission of inquiry released a report regarding the 2014 Israel-Gaza war that found Israeli forces committed serious laws-of-war violations, including attacking residential buildings without an apparent military target, using artillery and other high explosive weapons indiscriminately in populated areas, and apparently targeting civilians not participating in hostilities.”
    https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2016/country-chapters/israel/palestine

    What about the Saudis?:
    https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2016/country-chapters/saudi-arabia

    Why would an anti-Israel monitoring group say this about them?:
    “Human Rights Watch is a powerful NGO, with a massive budget, close links to Western governments, and significant influence in international institutions. Its publications reflect the absence of professional standards, research methodologies, and military and legal expertise, as well as a deep-seated ideological bias against Israel.
    http://www.ngo-monitor.org/ngos/human_rights_watch_hrw_/

    Like I said, it may be that they are a bit hasty in declaring that the Assad regime committed one crime or not (but it’s not like they have not been employing brutal methods in this war – everyone has been) – but I don’t see that due to a deep-seated intention to help Zionist-planned overthrow of Syria’s government.

    And while I’m certain any government (or people like Soros) would like to have control of these entities for pursuing propaganda purposes – I think the truth is much more nuanced than that. But I think it would do them good to pursue their goals and refuse donations from such people/governments so as to make sure their neutrality does not come into question.

    Just my take.

    Peace.

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