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Tag Archives: Syria

Syria’s war is awash with propaganda – chemical warfare watchdogs should not be caught up in it

In the very early spring of this year, I gave a lecture to European military personnel interested in the Middle East. It was scarcely a year since Bashar al-Assad’s alleged use of chlorine gas against the civilian inhabitants of the Damascus suburb of Douma on 7 April 2018, in which 43 people were said to have been killed.

Few present had much doubt that the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which represents 193 member states around the world, would soon confirm in a final report that Assad was guilty of a war crime which had been condemned by Donald Trump, Emmanuel Macron and Theresa May.

But at the end of my talk, a young Nato officer who specialises in chemical weapons – he was not British – sought me out for a private conversation. “The OPCW are not going to admit all they know,” he said. “They’ve already censored their own documents.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-war-chemical-weapons-watchdog-opcw-assad-damascus-russia-a9262336.html

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2020 in Middle East

 

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Syria’s Oil: Lion’s Share Goes to Russia as US Enjoys Control though Proxies

Since the eruption of the conflict in Syria, warring parties, most notably foreign powers, have been scrambling to seize control of the country’s oil wealth. As the majority of the Syrian people struggle to provide the most basic of heating and electrical resources, foreign powers are dividing the Syrian cake among themselves as they reap the spoils of war.

During the 1930s, Syrian media said that the country’s oil “does not belong to the Syrians.” This is now more true than ever as Russia, the United States, Iran and various factions on the ground seek to capture the country’s lucrative oilfields.

https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/2027676/exclusive-%E2%80%93-syria%E2%80%99s-oil-lion%E2%80%99s-share-goes-russia-us-enjoys-control-though

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2019 in Middle East

 

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Erdogan’s ethnic cleansing of the Kurds is still happening now – and we have Trump to thank

Mass expulsion or the physical extermination of an entire ethnic or religious community – ethnic cleansing – is usually treated by the media in one of two different ways: either it receives maximum publicity as a horror story about which the world should care and do something about, or it is ignored and never reaches the news agenda.

It appeared at first that the ethnic cleansing of the Kurds by Turkey after its invasion of northern Syria on 9 October would belong to the first category. There was angry condemnation of the forced displacement of 190,000 Kurds living close to the Syrian-Turkish border as Turkish soldiers, preceded by the Syrian National Army (SNA), in reality ill-disciplined anti-Kurdish Islamist militiamen, advanced into Kurdish-held areas. Videos showed fleeing Kurdish civilians being dragged from their cars and shot by the side of the road and reporters visiting hospitals saw children dying from the effects of white phosphorus that eats into the flesh and had allegedly been delivered in bombs or shells dropped or fired by the advancing Turkish forces.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/erdogan-turkey-kurds-border-syria-war-trump-ethnic-cleansing-a9204581.html

 

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2019 in Middle East

 

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Everything you were told about the Syrian war was wrong – until now

That wars end very differently to our own expectations – or our plans – was established long ago. That “we” won the Second World War did not mean the Americans would win the Vietnam war, or that France would vanquish its enemies in Algeria. Yet the moment we decide who the good guys are, and who the evil monsters whom we must destroy, we relapse again into our old mistakes.

Because we hate, loathe and demonise Saddam or Gaddafi or Assad, we are sure – we are absolutely convinced – that they will be dethroned and that the blue skies of freedom will shine down upon their broken lands. This is childish, immature, infantile (although, given the trash we are prepared to consume over Brexit, it’s not, I suppose, very surprising).

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syrian-war-bashar-al-assad-donald-trump-saudi-middle-east-robert-fisk-a9189746.html

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2019 in Middle East, Uncategorized

 

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Pepe Escobar On Caliph Closure: “He Died Like A Dog!”

“He died like a dog.” President Trump could not have scripted a better one-liner as he got ready for his Obama bin Laden close-up in front of the whole world.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, fake caliph, ISIS/Daesh leader, the most wanted man on the planet, was “brought to justice” under Trump’s watch. The dead dog caliph is now positioned as the ultimate foreign policy winning trophy ahead of 2020 reelection.

The climatic scenes of the inevitable-as-death-and-taxes movie or Netflix series to come are already written. (Trump: I “watched it like a movie.”) Cowardly uber-terrorist cornered in a dead-end tunnel, eight helicopter gunships hovering above, dogs barking in the darkness, three terrified children taken as hostages, coward detonates a suicide vest, tunnel collapses over himself and the children.

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/pepe-escobar-caliph-closure-he-died-dog

 
 

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The killing of Isis leader Baghdadi does not solve all problems for the west

At the height of the al-Qaeda-led insurgency in Iraq in 2006-07, US commanders, whose troops were suffering serious casualties from roadside bombs, developed a strategy. They sought to identify, kill or capture the leaders of the cells planting the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in the belief that this would cripple the bombing campaign.

Many such high-value targets were tracked down and eliminated, but the whole strategy turned out to be misconceived and counterproductive. A study of 200 cases of cell leaders being killed or arrested in 2007 showed that in the month following the elimination of the individual targeted, the number of IED attacks in the area where his cell operated actually increased by between 20 and 40 per cent.

This was happening because al-Qaeda had assumed that its local military leaders would have a low survival rate and always had a replacement ready to take over within 24 hours of his demise. These new commanders were eager to show their military prowess by making more attacks, while their predecessor had often suffered from battle fatigue or was short on new ideas about how to carry the fight to the enemy. (Full disclosure: the information about the counterproductive US high value target strategy in Iraq comes from my brother Andrew Cockburn’s book Kill Chain: Drones and the Rise of High-Tech Assassins.)

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/abu-bakr-al-baghdadi-death-trump-syria-iraq-isis-islamic-state-mosul-a9174891.html

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2019 in Middle East

 

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Donald Trump may have claimed to kill al-Baghdadi, but he has brought Isis back to life

Usually, the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. But in the heavenly White House this weekend, it worked the other way round. Lord Trump took the life of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and then gave life back to Isis by telling us all that he’d promised to send its surviving murderers to the borders of the UK and other European nations.

How the Isis lads must have chuckled at this extraordinary offer. How their comrades still gestating within our frontiers must have taken heart at such a suggestion. We have raged mightily and for years against the vicious cult of Isis. But we counted without the Trump cult.

True, Trump’s particular insanity is not as costly in innocent lives as that of Isis (unless, of course, you happen to be Palestinian or Kurdish or one of Sisi’s 60,000 political prisoners). And given that the Americans and the Russians have both claimed to have killed Baghdadi before, it might be wise to let the statutory three days pass just in case the wretched man pops up on yet another video. We killed Osama four times before we actually got him, you may remember.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/al-baghdadi-dead-raid-trump-isis-europe-borders-a9174131.html

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2019 in Middle East, North America

 

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Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was a brutal tyrant but he had no answer to the crumbling of his caliphate

The death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Isis and the self-declared caliph of Islamic State, will be a serious, though not terminal, blow to the ferocious jihadi movement he has headed since 2010.

The place where he was finally located – in the Barisha area north of Idlib city in northwest Syria, close to the Turkish border – came as a surprise. It was assumed that he was hiding somewhere in the desert in the Syrian-Iraq border region where the remnants of Isis still have some bases.

Isis has not had direct control in the Idlib region for several years and it is rival jihadi groups, supposedly hostile to Isis, who rule an extensive region centred on Idlib province. It is possible that Baghdadi, who has only survived for so long through rigorous security measures, chose his final hiding place there for this very reason.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/abu-bakr-al-baghdadi-death-isis-leader-syria-iraq-mosul-islamic-state-a9173626.html

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2019 in Middle East

 

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Turkey and Russia Are Teaming Up to Screw Over the Kurds

Russian military police arrived in the Syrian city of Kobani Wednesday to deliver a message to Kurdish forces: pull back 19 miles from the border, or face a renewed onslaught from Turkey.

Those are the terms of a new agreement reached between Turkey and Russia Tuesday which, if enacted, will force Kurdish fighters from the Syria-Turkey border, expanding on their territorial losses since President Trump suddenly cut U.S. support for its ally earlier this month.

Following a marathon six hours of talks in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan unveiled a 10-point memorandum of understanding that would carve up territory previously held by Kurdish forces, against whom Turkey launched a cross-border offensive earlier this month.

https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/7x5q8x/turkey-and-russia-are-teaming-up-to-screw-over-the-kurds

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2019 in Middle East

 

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Abbandonare i curdi è insensato come la guerra in Siria

Quando è nato mio figlio, l’abbiamo chiamato Avan. Significa prospero e florido e speravamo che questo nome avrebbe rispecchiato la strada che la sua vita avrebbe intrapreso. Adesso è passato un anno e mi chiedo: com’è stato possibile dargli un nome del genere? Come può una persona avere un briciolo di speranza in mezzo a tutta la devastazione e la distruzione che affliggono il mio paese?

Sono un curdo della Siria del nord, e da anni fotografo la guerra. Ho visto morte, distruzione, disperazione, sofferenza. Ma poi potevo sempre tornare alla sicurezza della mia casa. Avevamo un’autonomia e dal momento che, insieme alle forze statunitensi, abbiamo sconfitto il “califfato” del gruppo Stato islamico (Is) nella regione, avevamo osato sognare che il nostro territorio sarebbe rimasto in pace. Non è una cosa da poco per un popolo senza terra, che da secoli è intrappolato nelle lotte di potere tra i giganti della regione.

https://www.internazionale.it/notizie/delil-souleiman/2019/10/24/curdi-guerra-siria

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2019 in Middle East

 

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