You are hereSyria


An invisible US hand leading to war?: Turkey’s Downing of a Russian Jet at the Turkish/Syrian Border was an Act of Madness

By Dave Lindorff

In considering the terrifying but also sadly predictable news of a Russian fighter jet being downed by two Turkish fighters, let’s start with one almost certain assumption -- an assumption that no doubt is also being made by the Russian government: Turkey’s action, using US-supplied F-16 planes, was taken with the full knowledge and advance support of the US. In fact, given Turkey’s vassal status as a member of US-dominated NATO, it could well be that Ankara was put up to this act of brinksmanship by the US.

Syria News - Nov 24, 2015


A new ABC/Washington Post poll shows that Hillary Clinton is the most trusted 2016 candidate on terrorism. Quoting the Washington Post: "Clinton’s position of strength in the new Post-ABC poll is perhaps more striking given it also found... 57 percent disapproved of his [Obama] handling of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.”


I think is urgent to respond to the recent Clinton national security and Islamic State speech and clarify to the public the dangerous implications of her foreign policy which will furtherly destabilize the Middle East and fuel more war. 

On top I would put her anti-Russia and anti-Iran stance: by condemning continuously their actions and by refusing to recognize their legitimate interests and concerns, she makes the prospect of a political and diplomatic solution of the crisis difficult if not impossible to pursue. 

Second, I would mention her plan to train and arm the so called “moderate” Syrian rebels who are fighting Assad. This policy has been a total failure with the result that US weapons ended up in the hand of Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front and Islamic state; also many CIA-trainees were fought and defeated or recruited by those terrorist groups. Right now remaining “moderate” Syrian rebels are allied with Nusra Front and other hardline Islamist groups in a coalition known as Army of Conquest.

Third, Clinton no-fly zone in northern Syria may cause a direct military confrontation with Russia, Iran and the Syrian army. The Pentagon assessed the no-fly zone as risky, costly and difficult to implement. Also the local populations, like the Syrian Kurds, oppose it.

Forth, Clinton says: "There is not going to be a successful military effort at this point to overturn Assad. That can only happen through the political process.” By setting the goal of overturning Assad, even if by a political process, she imperils the future peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition. Russia and Iran have repeatedly said that they will not accept Assad ouster as a precondition for the negotiations ending the war.

Fifth, Clinton plans a deployment in Syria of more U.S Special Operations troops "who can contribute to the fight on the ground” and military personnel advising the Iraqis "including embedding in local units.” This will put at risk more lives of American soldiers. The U.S. military shows sign of fatigue after so many wars; soldiers suffer from exhaustion, sleep disorders and mental health problems. No surprise that few Americans in the military have a good impression of Hillary Clinton: in a poll she is seen unfavorably by 81% by active and retired military personnel, including 69% who share a very unfavorable impression of her. 

Below is my today’s news research on Syria.


Putin, Khamenei pledge to oppose 'external attempts' to overthrow Assad regime - UPI

VIDEO: Russia’s complex anti-ISIS campaign in Syria would be impossible without Iran: Putin - RT News

Jordan's King Abdullah to discuss war on Syria militants with Putin - Reuters

Сhina considers Russia’s actions important part of international fight against terrorism - TASS

UN Chief Says Russia and U.S. Must Unite to Destroy Islamic State - Breitbart

Former defense chief Hagel: Russia, Iran must join fight against ISIS - Washington Examiner

Russian TV: Russian airstrikes destroy 472 terrorist targets in Syria in 48 hours, 1,000 oil tankers in 5 days (VIDEO) - RT News

Pentagon skeptical of claims Russia hit 1,000 ISIS tankers - Fox News

Backed by Russian airstrikes Syria troops advance in Homs province and Latakia - Daily Mail Online

Syrian army making advances since Russian airstrikes began: Assad - RT News

TRANSCRIPT: Assad interview to Chinese PHOENIX TV Channel - Syrian Arab News Agency

U.S. Congresswoman introduces bill to stop "illegal" war on Assad; says CIA ops must stop (VIDEO) - Intellihub

Inside Russia's war room where Vladimir Putin masterminds Syria airstrikes (PHOTOS, VIDEO) - Daily Mail Online

Russia said to deploy advanced missile system in Syria - The Times of Israel

Report: Russia Sends Ground Forces into Syria - Washington Free Beacon

VIDEO: Syrians take to the streets to praise Russian military support - BBC News



Presidential envoy McGurk: US Special Forces going Into Syria very soon, 'to organize those forces on the ground to push down on Raqqa' - VOA

VIDEO: Presidential Envoy Brett McGurk discusses the U.S. strategy in Syria against ISIS - CBS

France, Russia poised to pummel Islamic State ‘capital' Raqqa - THE DAILY STAR

Exclusive: Kurdish forces with new alliance called the Syrian Democratic Forces dig in just outside ISIS headquarters in Raqqa (VIDEO) - CNN

Isis fortifies Raqqa as it braces for an international assault on its Syrian stronghold - The Independent

With air support from a US-led coalition Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic forces have captured nearly 200 villages from Islamic State -

15 opposition brigades in Idlib, Aleppo join the Syrian Democratic Forces - Syria Direct

Assyrian Christian Militia Joins Kurds against ISIS in Syria - National Review Online

Officials say US warplanes destroy 283 IS fuel trucks in Syria - Yahoo News

President Obama Returns to DC Amid ISIS Intelligence Report Investigation - ABC News

Syria oil map: the journey of a barrel of Isis oil - FT

Turkey buying oil from Isis? Syrian army releases photos of captured tanker - IBTimes

Financing Terror: Where Does the Islamic State Group Get Its Money? - US News

How the Islamic State makes its money - The Washington Post

US Envoy: Chemical Attacks 'Becoming Routine' in Syria - ABC News

Syria opposition chief urges Al-Nusra to break with Al-Qaeda - Yahoo News

Al-Qaeda's affiliate Nusra Front releases a grateful video where they openly thank the Free Syrian Army for supplying them with US-made anti-tank TOW missiles - Sputnik


VIDEO: Revealing Interviews of ISIS fighters captured by the Kurds -

Talk Nation Radio: Johan Galtung on ISIS and Alternative to War 

Johan Galtung is the founder of the discipline of peace studies. He founded the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo in 1959 and the Journal of Peace Research in 1964, and has helped found dozens of peace centers. He has taught peace studies at universities all over the world, and mediated hundreds of conflicts. He is author or coauthor of over 160 books, and is cited and discussed in many thousands. He is the founder of Transcend Peace University and Transcend International. See

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from AudioPort.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at

and at

Where’s the truth, and how can you find it?: The US Corporate Media are Essentially Propaganda Organs of the US Government

By Dave Lindorff


            Are the American corporate media largely propaganda organs, or news organizations?


Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire Leads Delegation to Syria

Irish Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire and 14 delegates from Australia, Belgium, Canada, India, Ireland, Poland, The Russian Federation, The United Kingdom and the United States, will begin a 6-day visit to Syria to promote peace and to express support for all Syrians who have been victims of war and terror since 20ll.

This will be Mairead Maguire’s third visit to Syria as head of a peace delegation. Maguire said: ‘People across the world are rightly expressing solidarity with the people of France after the recent terror attack. However, while there is talk of a war on terror and the focus of that war will be Syria, there is little awareness of how a war will impact on the lives of millions of people in Syria”.

In Syria, Christmas, Easter and the Eid festivals are all national holidays. So the group will acknowledge the unity of Syrians by taking part in an ecumenical service in the Grand Mosque in Damascus.

It will meet displaced Syrians and orphans, and will investigate the reconciliation initiative in Syria.

The group hopes to travel to Homs, a city that has been ravaged by fighting.   It will report on how people are rebuilding their lives.

Ms. Maguire said, ‘Syrians are custodians of the two oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The members of the International peace group come from different political and religious backgrounds, but what unites us is a belief that the people of Syria have to be acknowledged and supported, and this is not just for their survival and their country’s survival, but for humankind’s’.

Ms.Maguire noted that when there is talk of war in the world, it seems appropriate that the international peace delegation will travel to Damascus, to listen to the voices of countless Syrians who call for peace, and to bear witness to the true reality of conflict in that country.

Focus: Hillary Clinton Plan to Combat Islamic State - Nov 20, 2015


Here is a summary of the Hillary Clinton plan to combat Islamic State and my suggestions for a Sanders counterproposal. This is the full transcript and video of Clinton National Security Address.

Hillary Clinton proposes:

Deployment in Syria of more U.S Special Operations troops "who can contribute to the fight on the ground” and military personnel advising and training the Iraqis "including embedding in local units and helping target airstrikes.” 

Establishing no-fly zones together with the coalition and the neighbors to "stop Assad from slaughtering civilians and the opposition from the air.”

Support and arming Syrian opposition units hand in hand with Arab and European partners.

A political transition to end Assad’s rule which has "killed many more Syrians than the terrorists have…There is not going to be a successful military effort at this point to overturn Assad. That can only happen through the political process.”

"Counter Iranian influence across the region and its support for terrorist proxies such as Hezbollah….Raising the confidence of our Arab partners and raising the costs to Iran for bad behavior will contribute to a more effective fight against ISIS.”

Following are my suggested points for Sanders counterproposal:

No to U.S. troops on the ground in Syria and Iraq. Let’s spare the lives and limbs of the American soldiers! According to a Reuters poll, Americans want more action against ISIS, but oppose ground troops.

Oppose no-fly zone. This is a dangerous idea. A no-fly zone will fuel the civil war, antagonize Russia and Iran and may cause a direct military confrontation with them. The Pentagon opposes the no-fly zone as risky, costly and difficult to implement. Also the local populations, like the Syrian Kurds, oppose it.

No arming of the Syrian so called “moderate” rebels who are allied with Nusra Front and other hardline Islamist groups in a coalition known as Army of Conquest. As it has happened in the past they have been a conduit, either willing or unwilling, of U.S. weapons to terrorist groups.

Support the call of France President Hollande for a global coalition to defeat Islamic State, a truly international cooperation with the participation of Russia and all the Muslim nations including Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran. Hollande will meet separately with Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin next week to "unite the forces”.

Support the Vienna Statement of the International Syria Support Group which set a plan for Syrian government and opposition talks, new constitution and UN supervised elections within 18 months. "The ISSG expressed willingness to take immediate steps... to pave the way for the nationwide ceasefire."  

No mentioning of Assad which remains a sticking point in the diplomatic negotiations to reach a political solution to the Syrian crisis. The Syrian government/opposition talks and the constitutional reform process can begin without addressing the fate and political future of Assad which can be discussed at a later stage when both the Syrian government and opposition have been given political and security guarantees.

It  is important that Sen. Sanders address in a comprehensive manner the anti-terrorism campaign. The audience of the Iowa Democratic debate thought that Clinton was stronger than Sanders in national security, and the media noticed that he was too short addressing this issue.

Warmongers & Peacemongers: Learning How Not to Rule the World

By John Grant


[Al Qaeda’s] strategic objective has always been ... the overthrow of the House of Saud. In pursuing that regional goal, however, it has been drawn into a worldwide conflict with American power.

Syria News - Nov 12, 2015

Russia outlines plan for steering Syria out of conflict, a constitutional reform lasting up to 18 months followed by presidential elections - CBC

Text of Russia's draft proposals on Syrian crisis - Daily Mail Online

Syrian opposition rejects Russian proposal to end conflict - The National

Syria talks to focus on which opposition groups should negotiate with Assad's regime and which should be designated as terrorists - Daily Mail

UN Syria envoy:'momentum' of Vienna talks must not be squandered - Yahoo News

VIDEO: Staffan de Mistura (UN Special Envoy on Syria) on a political solution to the Syrian crisis - United Nations Web TV


Erdoğan once again floats the idea of a safe zone in Syria amid talk of Turkish involvement in a ground operation in its southern neighbor -

The Reckless Proposal to Impose a No-Fly Zone in Syria - Cato @ Liberty

Syria solution should not only be about Assad: Rouhani - Yahoo News

Syria Christian archbishop calls on West to back President Bashar al-Assad in war against Islamist rebels - Telegraph

Syria: Pro-Assad Christian Militia to the Rescue as 1000s of Christians flee ISIL approach - Informed Comment

U.S. fighter jets sent to Turkey to protect slow-flying attack planes hitting Islamic State targets in Syria and to deter Russian aggression in the region: Defense official -

U.S. to continue its support to Kurdish YPG forces in Syria: spokesman -

VIDEO: Watch Live Secretary of State John Kerry Delivering Remarks on U.S. Strategy in Syria at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday -



In a major breakthrough, Syrian army frees Aleppo's Kweires air base from ISIL siege - The National

Assad’s men claim control over 'tens of villages and strategic hills' in the Aleppo countryside surrounding the Kweires air base - Long War Journal

Strategic Implications of Assad’s Victory at Kweires - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

VIDEO: Syrian opposition provided intel to target terrorists around besieged Kweires airbase: Russia - YouTube

VIDEO: Fighting erupts as Syrian govt. forces break siege of Kweires airbase - YouTube

VIDEO: Pro-Assad TV channel reports on Syrian forces recapturing Kweires key airbase - YouTube

VIDEO: Drone Footage of Kweires Airbase Taken After Lifting The Siege -

Palmyra will be flattened by ISIS within six months, warns antiquities director - The Independent

Hope for Palmyra? Syrian Army Comes Closer to Strategically Important City -


Russian aviation group in Syria has made 85 sorties against 277 terrorist facilities over the past 2 days, bomber destroys IS tanks and infantry vehicles in Homs: Defense Ministry - TASS

Russia in Syria: 50 journalists from 12 countries visit Russian base in Latakia -

VIDEO: BBC inside airbase where Russia carries out Syria airstrikes - BBC News

Russia's Syria force grows to 4,000, U.S. officials say - Reuters

Free Syrian Army decimated by desertions - Al Jazeera English

VIDEO: Inside the Battle: Al Nusra-Al Qaeda in Syria - VICE News

The riddle of Haji Bakr: a former colonel in an elite intelligence unit of the Saddam Hussein regime as an “architect” of I.S.’s expansion into Syria - The Syrian Intifada

Hezbollah Expands Military Presence in Syrian War - VOA

Syria says Israeli airstrikes hit near Damascus airport, According to unconfirmed reports by opposition groups target was a weapons shipment intended for Hezbollah - The Times of Israel

Netanyahu ‘not sure’ how to intervene in Syria - The Times of Israel

To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

U.S. and Russian Militaries Compete for Darwin Award

Which world power can damage its own interests with the dumbest move? The contest will have you on the edge of your seats.

Here's the latest U.S. entry:

Last month, a raid by Kurdish forces supposedly freed ISIS prisoners, and those Kurdish forces posted a video of prisoners rushing out of a prison while gunfire sounded in the background. One U.S. troop was killed in the raid. U.S. media rushed to cover the story as a heroic act of benevolence. Non-U.S. media rushed to cover the fact that the "non-combat" troops, the so-called "advisors" whom the U.S. has in Iraq by the thousands were in fact engaged in combat.

It escaped my attention and perhaps most people's that the "advisors" may also have been providing extraordinarily bad advice. NPR -- which often functions no differently than an official Pentagon news service -- reported an interesting contradiction to the central claim of the prisoner-rescue story.

NPRer Kelly McEvers said, "The province of Kirkuk is the crossroads of Iraq. To the north are the majority of the country's Kurds, to the south - Arabs. And now Kirkuk is on the frontlines of the battle with ISIS. Last month, Kirkuk province was the site of a prison raid by U.S. and Kurdish forces. One American soldier was killed. Earlier today, I spoke with the governor of Kirkuk, Najmaldin Karim, from our studios in Washington. And he said the raid was meant to rescue Kurds who'd been captured by ISIS. And instead, it freed ISIS fighters who'd been imprisoned by their own leaders."

Instead of freeing Kurds captured by ISIS, the U.S.-advised Kurds (together with U.S. "non-combat" troops doing their "advising") actually freed ISIS fighters?

The governor of Kirkuk, Najmaldin Karim, replied, "Among these were two who are considered somewhat senior locally in the region. One of them was the prison administrator, and the other one was some guy who used the last name of Shishani. And Shishani is a village in that area, so he's probably from - they were local."

Senior ISIS fighters were freed? Including a prison administrator who was locked up in prison? This is very unclear and may be nonsense or only part of the story, but this is an account via a U.S.-military friendly outlet from a U.S.-educated, U.S.-citizen colonial governor visiting Washington, D.C., to ask for more weapons and "trainers" and "advisors" on behalf of multicultural Kurdish heroes who he says are willing to do U.S. dirty work. The interviewer is blatantly and openly on his side, asking oh-so-"objective" questions like this one: "You make a very compelling case, and it sounds like it's a case you've made many times. Give me your honest answer. Are you getting a sense in Washington that more help is on the way?"

Freeing ISIS prisoners would be in line with other steps the U.S. has taken in support of ISIS, from overthrowing secular governments and arming Muslim radicals in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and much of Syria, to brutalizing prisoners, to throwing Iraq into utter chaos, to providing arms to the Iraqi government that are used on civilians and taken by ISIS, providing arms to "moderates" in Syria that are given to ISIS, and providing arms directly to ISIS. But the biggest boost for ISIS has come from what it asked the U.S. to do in its propaganda films: attack it. By becoming the leading opponent of the distant foreign nation that has made itself so hated for so many years, ISIS was able to make its recruitment soar. The U.S. response is always the same: declare that there is no military solution, and attempt another larger military solution.

Don't look now, but here comes Russia:

The December 2013 Gallup poll in which most of the 65 nations surveyed named the United States as the greatest threat to peace on earth, the flourishing of anti-U.S. terrorist groups around the world, the bitter hatred of the flyers of killer drones, the resentment of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib -- all of this seems to have infected the Russian government with the seeds of jealousy.

How can Russia make itself properly hated, put its people in proper jeopardy, show itself a vicious world power worthy of equal or greater scorn?

Brilliant 12-dimensional chessman Vladimir Putin found an answer, beloved even on the left in the United States as a means of finally more-efficiently murdering just the right terrorists and only the right terrorists, so help me Tolstoy. Russia began bombing Syria.

Before long, Russia had generated its very own anti-Russian terrorist attack, with a plane blown up over Egypt and 224 people killed. Vladimir couldn't have been prouder. According to the New York Times,

"analysts and other experts expect that it will only strengthen Mr. Putin's resolve to become more deeply involved in the Middle East. . . . and might cause Russia to begin targeting the Islamic State more aggressively. . . . 'The Kremlin will have to reverse cause and effect here so that its strategy is not seen as leading to civilian deaths,' said Maxim Trudolyubov, an editor at large for the newspaper Vedomosti. . . . 'A terrorist attack against Russian citizens means a declaration of war against all Russians,' wrote Tatiana Stanovaya, an analyst, on, a current events website. 'The Syria campaign will thus become not a matter of Putin's ambitions, but of national revenge.'

Despite the Russian quotes, this could be just the New York Times reflexively promoting more violence as what anyone would do because it's what friends of the New York Times would do. If Russia were truly following the U.S. course, it would have occupied Egypt by now. But the Russian TV network RT has posted speculation that "the West" was behind the bomb on the plane and that supposedly the West, in a departure from its every past understanding of how a government responds to violence, intends to thereby drive Russia out of Syria rather than sucking it further in, as was done so many years ago in Afghanistan. Meanwhile Sputnik News warns that the United States has launched a proxy war on Russia in Syria, and celebrates the increased sales abroad of Russian weapons that it says has resulted from the Russian bombing of Syria.

These don't sound like the noises of a society coming to its senses. They sound like hunger pangs of a political class in the chase for a Darwin award.


Thanks to Evan Knappenberger for pointing the NPR story out to me.

Tomgram: Greg Grandin, Waging Endless War From Vietnam to Syria

This article originally appeared at To stay on top of important articles like these, sign up to receive the latest updates from

The proof is in the proofs: US Spy Sats See Everything, Except when the Government Says They Didn’t

By Dave Lindorff


            There is something fishy going on in the way the US is talking about civilian plane crashes that are in some way linked, or said to be linked to Russia.


The sham Syrian peace conference


Gareth Porter's picture

I have always been enthusiastic in my support for peace negotiations, which have been neglected all too often in internal and international conflicts. But it is clear that the international conference on Syria that held its first meeting in Vienna on October 30 is a sham conference that is not capable of delivering any peace negotiations, and that the Obama administration knew that perfectly well from the start.

Syria News - Nov 4, 2015

Syrian Democratic Forces, a U.S.-backed alliance of Arabs, Kurds and Christian Assyrians, make gains against Islamic State in al-Hasakah - UPI

Last Week Joint Kurd-Arab force announced U.S.-backed offensive in al-Hasakah-

VIDEO ARCHIVE (English): Kurds, Arabs, Syriacs and Turkmens announce the formation of the 'The Syrian Democratic Forces' - YouTube

Syrian Democratic Forces - Wikipedia

Syrian Kurdish forces fight to halt IS advance near Raqqa, fighters are supported by the US-led coalition airstrikes - VOA

Obama says Syria deployment doesn't break no 'boots on ground' pledge - Reuters

How 50 US troops in Syria could actually make a difference, their goal is to support the anti-ISIS Kurdish-Arab alliance that has demonstrated concrete success (VIDEO) -

New MacDill Commander of the Special Operations ForcesTakes Over on Eve of Syria Mission -

US 'Advisors' to Fight Islamic State in Syria Frustrates Anti-Assad Rebels - VOA

U.S. and Turkey on a Collision Course over the alliance with Syrian Kurdish Forces -

As Kurds advance against ISIS, Turkey intensifies 'provocative attacks' on Kurdish headquarters north Syria - ARA News

Opinion: The Kurds Could Bring Russia and the US Together in Syria -

Details revealed in chilling plot to kill anti-ISIS activists in Turkey, they were members of a citizen-journalist group called 'Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently' (VIDEO) - NBC News

Inside Tal Abyad: A block of wood for beheadings and a torture chamber — what ISIS left behind in a town it used to control - Business Insider



Russia says keeping Assad in power not crucial, but the preservation of the government in the Syrian state is central to ending civil war - VOA

Russia plans to restore Assad regime's economy -

Russia warplanes bomb IS positions in Palmyra - BBC News

DoD: Russia has opened a new base near Palmyra, bringing the number of Russian bases in Syria to four - NBC News

Russia: Coordinates of 24 terrorist targets in Syria provided by opposition and field commanders of a number of armed rebel groups - TASS

Russia supports Free Syrian Army participating in political settlement in Syria: diplomat - TASS

Transported by the Russian aircraft Christian Assyrians Mobilize More Fighters to Confront ISIS in East Homs - AINA

Men and women locked by Syrian rebels in cages to act as human shields against Assad’s air-strikes (VIDEO) - Daily Mail Online

Pentagon: US, Russian fighters communicate over Syria in test, but no military cooperation - Yahoo News

US is moving jets intended for air-to-air combat to Syria — and Russia might be why - Business Insider

Iran is threatening to pull out of peace talks on Syria, citing the 'negative role' of its main regional adversary Saudi Arabia, - Business Insider

Iranian commander killed in Syria: state media - Yahoo News UK

Israel is no longer taking a public position on Syrian President Assad's prospects of staying in power: defense minister - Yahoo News

Al Qaeda Chief Hints Joining Hands With ISIS In War Against Russia, US -


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Stop the War welcomes government pulling back from bombing Syria

The government is pulling back from efforts to push for the bombing of Syria. The voices calling for war have been marginalised. Congratulations to the thousands of people who have lobbied their MPs, petitioned and leafleted against the war. We should stay vigilant and mobilised and keep promoting the arguments against bombing, but once again we have had a real impact. See: Seven reasons why Stop the War says no to UK military intervention in Syria.

Stop the War issued the following press release today:

Stop the War welcomes reports that the government has dropped plans to push for a vote to bomb Syria. Government efforts to convince a significant number of Labour MPs to vote for war and against Labour policy agreed at its conference appear to have failed. Meanwhile, the Commons foreign affairs select committee has expressed strong doubts about the plans.

As in 2013, when parliament voted against war, MPs have recognised the absurdity of the idea of humanitarian bombing. They have listened to the arguments and opinions of the many people in this country who are against Britain going to war in yet another country in the Middle East.

In the last few weeks thousands of people have lobbied their MPs against war. There have been meetings, leafleting and petitioning against intervention including a packed meeting in parliament last night addressed by MPs from the Labour Party, the Green Party, the SNP and the Conservative Party. 

Anti-war opinion in Britain has once again made its mark. The Stop the War Coalition will stay mobilised against attempts to take us into more disastrous foreign wars.

A "President's Daily Brief" for President Putin -- on Syria



Seeing Syrian Crisis Through Russian Eyes



Editor Note: While there is a glimmer of hope that international negotiations may finally find a way to resolve the Syrian war, there is also growing pressure on President Obama to escalate U.S. military involvement even if that risks a wider war with Russia, a danger that ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern assesses.

By Ray McGovern

“To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war,” as Sir Winston Churchill put it at a White House luncheon on June 1954. The aphorism applies in spades today as the U.S., Russia and other key countries involved in troubles in Syria decide whether to jaw or to war.

Syria News - Oct 28, 2015

Pentagon chief unveils new plan for ISIS fight before the Senate Armed Services Committee - TheHill

VIDEO: Secretary of Defense Carter Statement on the U.S. Counter-ISIL Campaign before the Senate Armed Services Committee -

TRANSCRIPT: Secretary of Defense Carter Statement on the U.S. Counter-ISIL Campaign before the Senate Armed Services Committee -

VIDEO: Senate Committee on Armed Services Hearing with Secretary of Defense Carter and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Dunford -

VIDEO: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford Opening Statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee -

The new “three R's” of America’s ISIS strategy, explained - Vox

No no-fly zone at this time: Pentagon chief Carter -

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford: US Faces Legal, Political Challenges to Implement No-Fly Zone in Syria -

U.S. weighs special forces in Syria, helicopters in Iraq - Reuters

Centcom: 145 Syrian rebels from training program still active - TheHill

Carter: US-Trained Syrian Rebels Not Targeted by Russian Airstrikes -

US-led coalition air strikes slow in Syria, the coalition launched 359 air strikes in July, 206 in August and 115 in September - i24news

Hostages freed in Iraq raid recount time in ISIS captivity (VIDEO) -

VIDEO: Video shows the raid on an ISIS prison in northern Iraq last week which freed about 70 captives - YouTube

VIDEO (Graphic): ISIS executes Syrian soldier, running him over by tank -

IS Militants Tie Captives to Palmyra Roman-era Columns, Blow Them Up - US News

Syrians living tragedy and despair barely imaginable five years ago, 13.5 million need aid and protection: UN - United Nations News Centre



US Officials: Iran Invited to Next Round of Syria Talks - TheHill

VIDEO: Daily Press Briefing at Department of State (Syria questions start at 5:00 Minute) - YouTube

Iran's invitation to Syria talks marks significant shift for US and allies - The Guardian

Iran’s Syria Aid Deepens as It Jockeys for Role in Talks - Bloomberg Business

Amid Mounting Losses, Iranian Commander Admits Growing IRGC Presence In Syria - The Tower

Mounting death toll for Iranian soldiers in Aleppo -

US concedes Syrian President Assad is here to stay for foreseeable future, says has a priority of defeating Islamic State not the regime -

In an op-ed in the New York Times Jimmy Carter says the U.S. made the wrong decision in demanding Syrian President Assad step down - Business Insider

Russia Spending $4 Million a Day in Syria to Back Assad Regime -

Russia’s military is proving Western punditry wrong - Brookings Institution

Russia confirms death of service member in Syria - CBS News

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov: FSA visited Moscow last week -


Free Syrian Army groups say did not visit Moscow - Reuters

Syria: FSA rebels behead Syrian soldier, post image online -

Iraq's ruling alliance, militias urge PM to seek Russian strikes - Reuters

Turkey Confirms Strikes Against Kurdish Militias in Syria - The New York Times

Syrian Kurds to open mission in Berlin, Paris and Moscow: PYD - Kurdpress News Aganecy


China Looks at Syria, Sees $$$ - The Daily Beast

To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Syria/Russia News - Oct 24, 2015

Russia, US, Turkey and Saudi fail to agree on Syria, no consensus on fate of Assad during meeting held in Vienna - Al Jazeera English

Kerry: Nations to meet next week to discuss ways to bring Syrian war to an end - The Washington Post

Syria talks should be more ‘representative,’ include Iran, Egypt: Moscow - RT News

Qatar Considers Military Intervention With Turkey, Saudi Arabia Against Assad In Syria As An Option - Breibart

Saudi foreign minister says Russian actions in Syria "very dangerous" - Yahoo News

Syrian Coalition: Assad must not be permitted to have a role in any stage of political settlement -

US Debates ‘No-Fly Zone’ in Syria, Pentagon Warns Against it -

US and Russia sign memorandum to avoid clashes in Syria's crowded airspace -

Use of US airdrop in Syria disputed, contrary to U.S. Defense Department comments the American-supplied weapons and ammunition are being divvied up with the Kurds - VOA

PYD names Tal Abyad part of its ‘canton’ -

Syrian Coalition VP denounces the PYD declaring of the town of Tal Abyad in northern Syria a canton subjected to its administration -

Russian viral drone video from Syria shows bombed-out wasteland that was once a Damascus suburb - Fox News

VIDEO: Drone footage reveals the true scale of destruction in Syria from above -

US-led forces strike ISIS-controlled oil field in Syria - Fox News

Despite US-led campaign, Islamic State group rakes in oil earnings - AP

ISIS and Jabhat Al-Nusra Attempt to Cutoff the Syrian Army's Only Supply Route to Aleppo -

The Islamic State isn’t the only group looting Syrian archaeological sites - The Washington Post

VIDEO (and selected transcript): New video from the Islamic State: 'Breaking of the Borders and Slaughtering the Jews' -

Army Identifies U.S. Soldier Killed in Anti-ISIS Raid in Iraq - The New York Times

Baghdad was not informed of U.S. – Peshmerga raid: spokesman - Kurdpress News Aganecy



Putin, Citing Key Moment, Prods West to Cooperate on Syria - The New York Times

VIDEO: Putin on U.S.-Russia Cooperation in Syria -

VIDEO (and transcript): Putin’s Full Speech at the Valdai International Discussion Club (starts at 3:00 minute) - President of Russia

Putin says Syria's Assad is open to working with armed opposition groups if they are committed to combating Islamic State - Reuters

VIDEO: Putin and Assad press conference -

Russia's Putin says no plans to extend air strikes to Iraq - Yahoo News

POLL: Putin Gains Record Support Among Russians Over Syria - Bloomberg Business

Russia Said to Redeploy Special-Ops Forces from Ukraine to Syria - WSJ

Exclusive: Shipping traffic to Syria surges as Russia steps up offensive - Reuters

Calculating the Cost of Russia's War in Syria - The Moscow Times

'Hotline' with Israel set up to avoid Syria clashes: Russia - Business Standard News

Russia, Jordan agree on military coordination on Syria - Channel NewsAsia

Iraq, Russia Agree to Hit ISIL Militants Heading from Syria to Iraq -

Former bodyguard of Iran's ex-president killed in Syria: Fars - Reuters

Syrian Kurdish party to open office in Russia -

Syria war: Lavrov seeks talks with 'full spectrum' of opposition - BBC News

Russian lawmakers visit Syria -


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Tomgram: Jo Comerford and Mattea Kramer, Dealing With the Syrian Quagmire

This article originally appeared at To stay on top of important articles like these, sign up to receive the latest updates from

Past Decade in Syria in 5 Minutes

The accepted story in the United States of what's happened in Syria is just that, a story told to make narrative sense of something completely un-understood.

In Southern Sweden a giant round rock lies on flat farmland, and the lovely story my ancestors used to tell to explain how it got there came down to this: a troll threw it there. As evidence, in a nearby castle, one can find a horn and a pipe that come into the story. The horn contained what today would be called chemical weapons, which burned the back of a horse when the hero of the story was smart enough to dump it over his shoulder rather than drinking it. Man and horse got away by riding across the furrows of a field, because everyone knows that trolls must run back and forth the full length of each furrow, which slows them down tremendously. The facts all fit. Some fringe conspiracy theorists may question the very existence of trolls, but such arguments need not be taken seriously.

A peace activist recently sent this video link to a listserve with a note stating that this video got the Syria story pretty much right. I had a number of objections:

That the United States got involved in Syria in 2006 is revealed in WikiLeaks. That the Pentagon was intent on overthrowing the Syrian government in 2001 is revealed by the Donald Rumsfeld memo shown to Wesley Clark, and by Tony Blair in 2010. So the story in this video of the U.S. taking an interest -- purely humanitarian of course -- only in 2013 is highly misleading.

That misdirection also facilitates leaving out of the story the U.S. brushing aside of a peace process proposed by Russia in 2012.

The statement, presented in the video as fact, that Assad used chemical weapons in that attack in 2013 is outrageous, as that has never been established. What ought to have been said was that someone used chemical weapons and Obama claimed falsely to have incontrovertible evidence that it was Assad.

Quoting Obama on a 2013 proposal for a "targeted military strike" blatantly avoids Seymour Hersh's report on the massive bombing campaign Obama had planned.

The video's conclusion that because the war is complicated there is therefore "just no end in sight" is reckless, as an end could be achieved if some effort were put into it, beginning with an honest assessment of the facts, and a retelling of 2013 as something other than "the United States backing down."


What would an honest account about the same length as this video look like? Perhaps like this:

Sad to say, the global policeman of humanitarian intent is no more real than a troll or a "Khorasan Group."

At least as early as 2001, the United States had the Syrian government on a list of governments targeted for overthrow.

In 2003, the United States threw the Middle East into a whole new sort of turmoil with its invasion of Iraq. It created sectarian divisions, and fueled and armed and facilitated the organization of violent groups.

At least as early as 2006, the United States had people in Syria working for the overthrow of the government.

The U.S. response to the Arab Spring, and the U.S.-led overthrow of the Libyan government made matters worse. ISIS was developing long before it burst into the news, its leaders organizing in U.S. prison camps in Iraq. The region was heavily armed with weapons from outside the region, primarily from the United States. Three-quarters of weapons shipped to Middle-Eastern governments were and are from the U.S. The weapons of the U.S. military itself and of its allies, such as Saudi Arabia and Iraq, were intentionally and accidentally supplied to new violent groups.

The Arab Spring in Syria was made violent almost immediately, with support for violence from one side coming from the United States and its Gulf dictatorship allies, and from the other side from Iran and Hezbollah and Russia. The Free Syrian Army became one player in a civil and proxy and regional war, recruiting fighters from around the region of "liberated" disaster states. Al Qaeda became another player, as did the Kurds. The U.S. government, however, remained focused on overthrowing the Syrian government, and took no serious steps to halt support for al Qaeda and other groups from U.S. Gulf allies or Turkey or Jordan (steps such as cutting off the flow of weapons from the United States, imposing sanctions, negotiating a cease-fire or arms embargo).

In 2012, Russia proposed a peace-process that would have included President Bashar al-Assad stepping down, but the U.S. brushed the idea aside without any serious consideration, suffering under the delusion that Assad would be violently overthrown very soon, and preferring a violent solution as more likely to remove the Russian influence and military -- and perhaps also due to the general U.S. preference for violence driven by its weapons industry corruption. Meanwhile the Iraqi government was bombing its own citizens with weapons rushed to it by the U.S., violently fueling the coming ISIS assault. And the U.S. had "ended" its military occupation of Iraq without ending it.

In 2013, the White House went public with plans to lob some unspecified number of missiles into Syria, which was in the midst of a horrible civil war already fueled in part by U.S. arms and training camps, as well as by wealthy U.S. allies in the region and fighters emerging from other U.S.-created disasters in the region. The excuse for the missiles was an alleged killing of civilians, including children, with chemical weapons -- a crime that President Barack Obama claimed to have certain proof had been committed by the Syrian government. He never produced so much as a horn or a pipe or a pleasant story as evidence.

Seymour Hersh would later reveal that the U.S. plan had been for a massive bombing campaign. And Robert Parry, among others, would report on the debunking of White House lies about the chemical weapons attack. While Syria might have been guilty, the White House almost certainly did not know that, and the U.S. public seemed to recognize that even such guilt would not justify entering the war. A Russian proposal to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons had already been known to the White House and been rejected. What compelled Obama to accept diplomacy as the last resort in 2013 was the public's and Congress's refusal to allow war. But Obama went right on arming and training fighters in the Syrian war, and sending more troops back into Iraq.

When ISIS burst onto the scene it openly begged the United States to attack it, viewing this as a huge recruitment opportunity. The United States obliged, attacking ISIS from the air in Iraq and Syria (and getting numerous allies to do so as well), in addition to continuing its arming and training operations -- now supposedly aimed at both ISIS and Assad. ISIS thrived, as did various anti-Asad groups. Turkey joined in by attacking Kurds rather than ISIS or Assad. Russia joined in by bombing ISIS and anti-government groups in Syria. This dangerously increased already high tension between Russia and the United States, as Russia intends to keep the Syrian government from being overthrown, and the United States intends to overthrow it -- and to bring in more allies, with the UK planning a vote on adding their bombs to the mix.

Of course, a ceasefire, an arms embargo, actual aid and reparations, regional disarmament and diplomacy, and the departure from the region of foreign powers all remain possible if pursued.

Why Peace Activists Should Stop Cheering for Russian Bombs in Syria

By David Swanson, originally published at teleSUR

There's a view of Syria, common even among peace activists in the United States, that holds that because the United States has been making everything worse in Syria and the entire Middle East for years, Russian bombs will make things better. While the actions of the United States and its allies will lead to victory for ISIS, horror for millions of people, and chronic chaos in Syria along the lines of post-liberation Iraq and Libya, Russian bombs -- this view maintains -- will destroy ISIS, restore order, uphold the rule of law, and establish peace.

I've been informed repeatedly that because I'm opposed to Russian bombing I'm opposed to peace, I'm in favor of war, I want ISIS to win, I lack any concern for the suffering Syrian people, and my mind is either overly simplistic or somehow diseased. This line of thinking is a mirror image of the many self-identified peace activists in the United States who for years now have been insisting that the United States must violently overthrow the government of Syria. That crowd has even found itself alligned with President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry who in 2013 told the U.S. public that if we didn't support bombing Syria we were in favor of Syria murdering children with chemical weapons. To our credit, we rejected that logic.

Advocates for U.S. bombs and advocates for Russian bombs each see a particular evil and wish to remedy it. The evil of the Syrian government, while often exaggerated and embellished, is real enough. The evil of the U.S. government, and what it has done to Iraq and Libya and Syria, can hardly be overstated. Both groups, however, place their faith in violence as the tool for remedying violence, revealing deep beliefs in the power of force, clearly at odds with professed commitments to peace.

Dropping bombs kills and injures civilians, traumatizes children who survive, harms infrastructure, destroys housing, poisons the environment, creates refugees, fuels bitter commitments to violence, and wastes massive resources that could have gone into aid and rebuilding. These are all well documented facts about every past bombing campaign in the history of the earth. In theory, peace activists agree with these facts. In practice, they are not outweighed by other concerns of realpolitik; rather, they are avoided entirely.

When the U.S. bombs a hospital in Afghanistan we're outraged. When Russia is accused of bombing a hospital in Syria, we avoid knowing about it. (Or, if we're from another camp, we put on our outrage for Syrian bombs but imagine U.S. bombs planting little flowers of democracy.) In wars that we oppose, we debunk claims to precision from the bombers. But good bombs are imagined has hitting just the right spots. After so many endlessly drawn-out U.S. wars that were advertised as quick and easy, we've begun to recognize the unpredictability of campaigns of mass murder -- and yet awareness of war's unpredictability doesn't seem to play at all into praise for Russian bombers joining in an already chaotic civil/proxy war.

The United States is accusing Russia of murdering people it armed and trained to murder different people. Some of those people are now asking for missiles with which to shoot down Russian planes. Russian planes have nearly come into conflict with Israeli and U.S. planes. A major figure in the Ukrainian government wants to help ISIS attack Russians. Congress members and pundits in the United States are urging conflict directly with Russia. Warmongers in Washington have been working hard to stir up conflict with Russia in Ukraine; now their hope lies in Syria. Russian bombs only heighten U.S.-Russian tensions.

When you unscramble the chaos of forces, and questionable claims about those forces, on the ground in Syria, some facts stand out. The United States wants to overthrow the government of Syria. Russia wants to maintain the government of Syria, or at least protect it from violent overthrow. (Russia in 2012 was open to a peace process that would have removed President Bashar al Assad from power, and the United States dismissed it out of hand in favor of his imminent violent overthrow.) The United States and Russia are the world's major nuclear powers. Their relations have been deteriorating rapidly, as NATO has expanded and the U.S. has orchestrated a coup in Ukraine.

A war with Russia and the United States on different sides, and all sorts of opportunities for incidents, accidents, and misunderstandings, risks everything. Russian bombs solve nothing. When the dust clears, how will the war be ended? Will Russian bombs leave behind generous good-willed people eager to negotiate, unlike U.S. bombs which leave behind anger and hostility? We've learned to ask the U.S. government to spell out its "exit strategy" as it dives into each new war. What is Russia's?

Here's my position. Murder is not moderate. You cannot find "moderate" murderers and engage them to kill extremist murderers. You cannot bomb the extremist murderers without producing more murderers than you kill. What's needed now, as in 2012 when the United States brushed it aside, is a peace process. First a cease fire. Then an arms embargo. And a halt to training and providing fighters and funding by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United States, and all other parties. Then major aid and restitution, and a negotiated settlement in which, in fact, Russia should be included as it is located in that region of the world, and the United States should not as it has no legitimate business being there.

This is what has been needed for years and will continue to be needed as long as it is avoided. More bombs make this more difficult, no matter who's dropping them.

Syria/Russia News - Oct 12, 2015

Syria conflict: Assad forces make 'significant gains' with help of intensified Russian air strikes - BBC News

Putin Says Russia's Campaign in Syria More Effective Than U.S. - Bloomberg Business

Russia will not conduct ground operation in Syria: Putin - Yahoo News

US Intelligence Is Good, But Does Not Know Everything: Putin -

VIDEO (Russian language): President Putin discusses Russian anti-terror operation in Syria - YouTube

Moment Russian jet drops a 'high-precision' bomb which destroyed ISIS's HQ in its de-facto capital Raqqa (VIDEO) - DailyMail

Expert: IS air defense missiles and guns posing no threat to Russian aircraft in Syria - TASS


Syria: New Russian-Made Cluster Munition Reported - Human Rights Watch

Syrian Kurdish Leader: Moscow Wants to Work With Us - US News

PYD leader meets Russian official in Paris - Kurdpress News Aganecy

Syria crisis: Russia seeks UK's assistance in establishing contact with FSA forces - Yahoo News UK

Kremlin: Military strikes in Syria not big financial burden - The Washington Post

The cost of Russian military involvement in Syria still uncertain - Russia Direct

POLL: Russian public opinion shifting in favour of Syria strikes - BBC News

Putin’s New American Fan Club? The American Committee for East-West Accord is having its formal launch with a Capitol Hill event scheduled for November - The Daily Beast

Russian Intervention in Syria Excites Iraq’s Disillusioned Shiites - The New York Times

Iran says ISIS killed its top general in Syria - Business Insider



Obama defends Syria strategy, criticizes Putin's leadership role - Fox News

VIDEO (and transcript): Interview of President Obama on 60 minutes - CBS News

Obama Administration Ends Pentagon Program to Train Syrian Rebels - The New York Times

White House Is Weighing a Syria Retreat - Bloomberg View

CIA covert operation begun in 2013 trained and armed an estimated 10,000 fighters - Joshua Landis on Twitter

Defense Spending Bill: $600 Million More to Train "Moderates" in Syria - The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity

British RAF given green light to shoot down hostile Russian jets in Syria -

Gulf Arabs 'stepping up' arms supplies to Syrian rebels - BBC News

Syria opposition to boycott UN talks, cites Russia strikes - Yahoo News

Islamic State Figures Killed in Air Strike; Baghdadi Not Believed Among Them - The New York Times

ISIS Suicide Bombers Suspected in the Horrific Ankara Attack - The Daily Beast

ISIS switches propaganda activities to new app: Telegram -

To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)


Syria/Russia News - Oct 8, 2015

Russia says it fired cruise missiles from warships in Caspian sea to Syria provinces of Raqqa, Aleppo and Idlib - AP

Syrian troops launch ground offensive backed by Russian airstrikes - The Guardian

VIDEO: Russian Defence Ministry publishes a video featuring a massive 'precision weapon strike' in Syria - Russia Ministry of Defence

Russian warplanes in Syria destroy U.S.-trained rebels' weapons depots: commander - Reuters

Moscow ready to establish contacts with FSA, help it unite forces with Assad against ISIS: Putin - RT News

Syrian rebel commander rejects idea of working with Damascus against Islamic State - Reuters

France dismisses Russian suggestions that Syrian government forces and moderate rebels could join in fighting Islamic State - Reuters

NATO says Russian ground troops in Syria, Turkey's airspace violated again - CNN

Foreign Ministry: No volunteers recruited in Russia to fight in Syria - TASS

Spy Planes, Signal Jammers, and Putin’s High-Tech War in Syria - Foreign Policy

Iraq may request Russian airstrikes: Official - NBC News

Saudi opposition clerics make sectarian call to jihad against Syria's government and its Iranian and Russian backers - Reuters



Pentagon chief: US not cooperating with Russia against Islamic State in Syria, as long as Moscow continues to strike other rebel groups - ABC

VIDEO: Pentagon chief: ‘Don’t listen to Russia, US has not agreed to cooperate in Syria' -

US Rules Out Intelligence Sharing With Russia on Fighting ISIL -

U.S. diverts aircraft to avoid Russian fighter -

Russian jets 'intercept' US predator drones over Syria, officials say 'the Russians flew very close, but did not impede the drone flight’ - Fox News

No decision made on no-fly zone in Syria: U.S. State Department - Reuters

VIDEO: State Department Press Briefing on Syria (starts at 12:40 minute) - YouTube

VIDEO: White House Press Briefing on Syria (starts at 50:30 minute) - YouTube

Washington says Kurds waged an effective war against the Islamic State, distinguishes between the PKK and the YPG - Rudaw

Syria's Kurds Are Contemplating an Aleppo Alliance with Assad and Russia - The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Kurds say blood tests show Islamic State used mustard gas in Iraq - Reuters

What an ISIS Chemical Strike Did to One Syrian Family - The New York Times

Nuclear Smugglers Tried Selling Radioactive Materials To ISIS - AP

To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Syria/Russia News - Oct 4, 2015

Kremlin claims its strikes destroyed major Islamic State command post and bunker in its ‘capital' Raqqa - LA Times

Air Force decimating terrorist command centers, bunkers, camps, workshops: Russian Defense Ministry - RT


Russia warned U.S. ‘ahead of latest Syria strikes’ - Al Arabiya News

Russia says to step up air strikes in Syria, 'We will not only continue strikes... We will also increase their intensity' - Reuters

Russian Air Group in Syria Fully Deployed, Ready to Strike Targets - Sputnik

Russia Deploying Marines to Syria to Guard Airbase -

Inside the Russian airbase in Syria: RT checks out everyday life at Latakia airfield (VIDEOS, PHOTOS) - RT News

Russian Navy Positions Itself Off the Coast of Latakia -

Russian military assets in Syria -

US Media: Russia Is Using Old, Dumb Bombs, Making Syria Air War Even More Brutal - The Daily Beast

Russia Media: Despite Video Evidence, Pentagon Slams Moscow for Using 'Dumb Bombs’ - Sputnik

People in different areas in Northern Syria tell me: Russian planes are flying in pairs during bombing raids. Never a plane alone - Jenan Moussa on Twitter


Russian Warplanes Have Registered No ISIL Air Defense Activity in Syria - Sputnik

Russian jets kill eight members of Jabhat al-Nusra in Idlib, including a media person with the group - Hassan Hassan on Twitter


Russians hit town Ihsem controlled by Jaish alFatah (Nusra, AlQaeda) + Ahrar + others who kicked out FSA Jamal Maruf last year - Jenan Moussa on Twitter

PHOTOS: Al Nusrah Front tweets photos of Russian airstrikes - The Long War Journal

Syria FM urges Russia to send troops to protect Assad from ISIS - NY Daily News



Obama says Putin wrong on Syria but no proxy war between the United States and Russia - AP

Allies demand Russia to focus its efforts on fighting ISIL, immediately cease its attacks on the 'Syrian opposition and civilians' - Reuters

Joint Declaration by France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UK and US on the Russian Military Actions in Syria -

Pentagon considering protections for U.S.-trained rebels in Syria if they come under fire by the Russians - CTV News

Clinton joins some Republicans in breaking with Obama on Syria no-fly zone - The Washington Post

Bernie Sanders sides with Obama and against Clinton on no-fly zone in Syria - The Washington Post

U.S.-backed Syrian rebels appeal for antiaircraft missiles - The Washington Post

Syrian opposition rejects UN plan on Syria -

U.S. Syrian Kurdish allies welcome Russian airstrikes in Syria - The Sacramento Bee

Iraqi Kurdish leader urges Russia, U.S. to coordinate in anti-IS fight - Reuters

Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel's relationship with Russia is good - Jerusalem Post

Egypt says Russia's intervention in Syria will counter terrorism - Yahoo News

Canada notably absent from coalition criticism of Russian Syria action - The Globe and Mail

Opinion: Deal with Saudis? Why does the US care if Russia bombs al-Qaeda and its Allies in Syria? - Informed Comment

WikiLeaks Cables Portray Saudi Arabia As A Cash Machine For Terrorists - The Guardian

Opinion: Syria, the New York Times and the Mystery of the "Moderate Rebels” -

To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)


In a letter to Secretary Carter, Secretary Kerry and CIA Director Brennan, the bipartisan group of Senators urge U.S. officials to cease unsuccessful program and seek alternative ways forward


Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tom Udall (D-NM) and Mike Lee (R-UT) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Ash Carter, U.S. Department of State Secretary John Kerry and Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan urging them to end the Syria Train and Equip Program – an unsuccessful effort to train and equip Syrian opposition fighters – which has endangered Americans and further escalated conflict in the region.


The Senators wrote in part: “The Syria Train and Equip Program goes beyond simply being an inefficient use of taxpayer dollars. As many of us initially warned, it is now aiding the very forces we aim to defeat. On Friday, USCENTCOM confirmed that some of the fighters that we trained and equipped had turned over ammunition and trucks to al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, Al Nusra Front. In exchange for safe passage, the fighters, trained by the U.S., gave up approximately 25% of their U.S.-issued equipment.”


Please read the full text of the Senators’ letter below or here.


Dear Secretary Carter, Secretary Kerry, and Director Brennan:


We write to express our deep concern about the Syria Train and Equip Program and to call for an end to this failed initiative. When Congress was considering the program last year, many of us expressed concerns about this program endangering Americans and further escalating the conflict. The evidence further supports our belief. It is time for the Department to find a new path forward.


Authorized at $500 million for Fiscal Year 2015, the program has struggled to graduate “vetted” opposition fighters. When General Lloyd Austin III, the commander of United States Central Command (USCENTCOM), recently testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee, he said that only "four or five" U.S.-trained opposition fighters were on the ground fighting in Syria. It has since been reported that another 75 United States-trained rebels have entered the fight, but this is still a far cry from the 5,000 fighters the program aimed to train each year.


The Syria Train and Equip Program goes beyond simply being an inefficient use of taxpayer dollars. As many of us initially warned, it is now aiding the very forces we aim to defeat. On Friday, USCENTCOM confirmed that some of the fighters that we trained and equipped had turned over ammunition and trucks to al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, Al Nusra Front. In exchange for safe passage, the fighters, trained by the U.S., gave up approximately 25% of their U.S.-issued equipment.


With over 200,000 persons killed, 4 million refugees, and 7.6 million internally displaced people, the situation in Syria is absolutely tragic, and we must ensure that any U.S. efforts do not cause additional harm. We ask that you cease the Syria Train and Equip Program and look for alternative ways forward.



Hillary Offers Syria a Libyan-Iraqi-Style Paradise

Americans may find Syria a bit confusing. David Petraeus, sainted hero, has proposed arming al Qaeda, organized devil. Vladimir Putin, reincarnated Hitler, is bombing either ISIS or al Qaeda or their friendly democratic allies, but he shouldn't be because he's against overthrowing the Syrian government, also run by Hitler living under the name Assad. Hillary Clinton, liberal socialist, wants to create a no-fly zone, but wouldn't that make it hard to bomb all the scary Muslims? Wait, are we against Assad or the scary Muslims or both? Aaaaaarrrrgghh! How does this make any sense?

Let's start over, shall we?

Some basic facts?

We'll start with the most uncomfortable fact, but one that helps begin to make sense of everything, OK?

The United States military wants to dominate the earth, has "special" forces active in 135 countries, and has troops stationed in some 180 countries. On a map of the world showing nations with no U.S. troops in them, Syria and Iran stand out like sore thumbs, as once-upon-a-time did Iraq and Libya. Syria not only has no U.S. troops; it has Russian troops, and it's friendly toward Iran, which has no U.S. troops. Overthrowing the Syrian government, like Iraq's and Libya's and Iran's, has been on the Pentagon's bucket list for the 21st century. As early as 2006, the U.S. government had people on the ground in Syria working to overthrow the government. With the 2011 Arab Spring, the U.S. thought it saw an opportunity, and helped turn the protests violent.

The Syrian government is awful and murderous. It used to torture people for the U.S. government. It, indeed, attacks "its own citizens" (which is always who governments attack that aren't escapading around the globe attacking other people's citizens, which in fact most governments never do). If every government that attacked its own citizens had to be overthrown, the list would be unending, and could begin with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Iraq, and various other governments just in that region that the U.S. -- far from overthrowing -- props up, funds, and arms with the weaponry used to commit the attacks. Overthrowing foreign governments and launching wars are in fact illegal acts, and rightly so, regardless of the nature of the governments.

The criminal acts of overthrowing the horrible governments of Iraq and Libya resulted in millions of people being killed, injured, traumatized, and turned into refugees, and the creation of not only worse governments but deadly chaos in those nations and spilling out into the rest of the region. This cannot be a model for what to do to Syria.

Russia should not be arming Syria or bombing Syria. We're so well trained to think in terms of war, that when we hear that one side of a war is in the wrong, we imagine that must be an argument for backing the other side. "You don't want the United States bombing Syria? Then you must want Russia bombing Syria! You must want Assad using his deadly 'barrel bombs'!" In fact, nobody should be arming or bombing anyone in Syria. The United States and numerous allies that have been bombing Syria need to stop. Russia, which has just started, needs to stop. The U.S. media says Russia is bombing where there's no ISIS, although it said ISIS was there a week ago and seems to have forgotten. Russia shouldn't stop bombing because it's bombing the wrong people. There are no right people to bomb. The majority of people who die from bombs are civilians. The majority of people involved with any of the many opposition groups in Syria are opportunists and misguided desperate souls. Every single person in Syria is a person deserving better than a crude "barrel bomb" from a helicopter they hear coming or a far more deadly missile from a foreign jet or drone.

A no fly zone is not a zone in which nobody can fly. It's a zone in which the United States claims the exclusive right to fly and to shoot out of the sky anyone else who tries it, and to bomb out of existence any weaponry that could threaten U.S. planes, along with any people who happen to be anywhere near any suspected weaponry or near any locations accidentally hit in the process. The history of human catastrophes facilitated by humanitarian "no fly" zones includes Iraq and Libya. Hillary Clinton, motivated by interest in Libya's oil, wanted a no fly zone in Libya, urged that it be used to overthrow the government, laughed gleefully about killing Gadaffi, and would prefer that you now not look at Libya too closely. A no fly zone for Syria is a declaration of war on Syria.

Hillary Clinton, just to be clear, is not an office holder. She is a private citizen who ought to be shunned from all public discourse. As Secretary of State, she waived restrictions on shipping weapons to brutal governments if they made large "donations" to her foundation. For that, she should be in prison. Nothing worse will be found, no matter how many of her emails are read in a mad pursuit of more minor but colorful offenses.

In 2013, the Obama Administration demanded the right to send missiles into Syria. The plan, kept private, was a massive bombing campaign that would have leveled Syria and set it on a more rapid course toward utter chaos. Obama made claims about chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian government that have never yet been documented, and alleged proof for which fell apart.

The U.S. public helped prevent that attack in 2013 and was, according to polls, even more strongly against arming and training Syrians. So, the CIA and the Pentagon went right ahead with arming and training Syrians. They have had a very hard time recruiting, and have seen their trained and armed troops desert and join other groups, including al Qaeda and ISIS. The U.S. dismissed out of hand a Russian proposal for peace, including Assad stepping down, in 2012, under the delusion that Assad would be quickly overthrown by violence in a manner less advantageous to Russia. That hasn't happened. U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia keep funding and arming ISIS and allied groups. The U.S. keeps arming supposedly "moderate" murderers who supposedly oppose both ISIS and Assad. The various opposition groups keep fighting Assad and each other. And Assad gets support from Russia, and has begun working with Russia, Iran, and Iraq against its opposition / ISIS.

The United States still dreams of overthrowing Assad on the cheap without a massive U.S. occupation, and without bombing quite the whole country. The U.S. keeps fueling the fires that sooner or later could escalate into the kind of war that could overthrow Assad, generate lots more hatred of the United States, empower ISIS, and kill millions.

Russia hopes to keep Assad or a Russia-friendly government in power without a massive Russian occupation, and without bombing quite the whole country. Russia keeps fueling the fires that sooner or later could escalate into the kind of war that could put an end to major opposition in the short term, generate hatred of Russia, empower ISIS, and kill millions.

The global threat is, of course, that this could escalate into a war between Russia and the United States.

What can be done? From the U.S. side that's not hard to answer, though it may be hard to accept.

1. Apologize to the people of Iraq and Libya, abandon the overthrow of Syria, apologize to the United Nations for promoting war at the General Assembly.

2. Cease all weapons shipments to the Middle East and pull all U.S. troops out of the Middle East.

3. Launch a massive campaign of no-strings-attached aid as restitution to the region, costing of course many times less than the ongoing militarism.

4. Work to negotiate an arms embargo and a weapons-of-mass-destruction free Middle East, including Israel.

5. Work to cut off the funding to armed groups.

6. Ask the United Nations to convene peace talks with all parties, including the Syrian opposition, including Iraq, including Iran, including Russia, including Turkey, including the Syrian government, but not including nations that are not even located in the region, such as the United States.

Syria/Russia News - Oct 2, 2015


Russian air strikes hit CIA-trained Free Syrian Army rebel faction, commander says - Yahoo Maktoob News

What Is The Free Syrian Army? Russia Targets CIA-Trained Rebels Opposed To Assad Regime -

Geolocated Evidence points to Russian airstrikes on TOW-operating FSA affiliate (VIDEO) - Syria Direct

Russia warplanes target in Syria the Army of Conquest, an alliance that includes Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham and CIA-trained FSA factions - VOA

A look at the Army of Conquest, a rebel alliance in Syria - New York Times

Russia admits ISIS is not only target in Syria, says it supports the Syrian armed forces in the struggle with extremist groups - Fiscal Times

Russia does not consider Free Syrian Army a terrorist group, Lavrov says - Reuters

VIDEO: Lavrov speaks at a news conference at the United Nations about Russian airstrikes (Full) - Bloomberg Business

Kremlin officials accuse U.S. of 'war of disinformation' on Syria airstrikes - LA Times

Vladimir Putin signs decree drafting 150,000 conscripts into the Russian military - Daily Mail Online

MAPS: Mapping the Battle for Syria: Russian Airstrikes Hit Rebel Areas - The New York Times

Al Qaeda brigade claims attack on Russian forces in Syria - The Long War Journal

Assad allies, including Iranians, prepare ground attack in Syria: sources - Reuters

Iraq would welcome Russian strikes against Islamic State in Iraq: Iraqi prime minister Abadi - Reuters

VIDEO: Prime Minister Abadi: Iraq welcomes Russia in Islamic State fight - PBS

Syrian Kurdish fighters welcome Russian strikes, demand weapons for anti-IS fight - Middle East Eye

PYD leader: Russia will stop Turkey from intervening in Syria - Al-Monitor


Foreign ministers of Russia and China discuss fight against Islamic State, crisis in Syria - TASS



White House complains to Russians on their airstrikes as 'indiscriminate military operations against the Syrian opposition' - ABC News

U.S. seen unlikely to defend Syrian rebels from Russian strikes - Reuters

Pentagon: US and Russia hold  'cordial and professional’ talks to clear up Syrian airspace, present proposals for minimizing risks - ABC

VIDEO: White House Briefing on Russian Airstrikes in Syria (Starts at 5:15 minute) -

VIDEO: Department Defense Briefing on Russian Airstrikes in Syria -

TRANSCRIPT: Department of Defense Press Briefing on Russian Airstrikes in Syria - U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

VIDEO: Russian approach in Syria 'doomed to fail': Pentagon chief - YouTube

U.S. and Russia unlikely to share intelligence on Syria -

Pentagon Worried Iraq Will Share U.S. Intel with Russia -

Lack of targets, not Russians, seen affecting number of US airstrikes in Syria - Stripes

Members of Congress: Leave Syria’s Assad for later in face of Russian offensive, 'The key is to defeat ISIS' - The Washington Post

Republican-led Senate panel opens review of Syria intelligence - Business Insider

Syria conflict: Jabhat al-Nusra jihadists show off weapons allegedly seized from-US trained rebels -

Saudi Arabia demands Russia end Syria raids, criticises Iran -

Erdoğan: Turkey will not allow ’fait accompli situations’ next to its borders, in an apparent reference to Russian air strikes in Syria -


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Syria/Russia News - Sep 30, 2015

Pentagon readies talks with Russia on Syria military operations - Reuters

Pentagon: Russia 'ready' to launch airstrikes in Syria -

U.S. stops sending new Syria recruits to troubled rebel training program, says it is not suspended but just put on ‘pause’ - Yahoo News

VIDEO: Pentagon Press Briefing on Syria -

TRANSCRIPT: Pentagon Press Briefing on Syria -

Dem senator calls on US to suspend Syrian rebel training program - TheHill

Military official: Untrained commander led U.S backed Syrian rebels that gave up equipment to Nusra Front -

Top NATO general: Russians starting to build air defense bubble over Syria, aiming to aid embattled Syrian President Assad - The Washington Post

Pentagon's top Russia official Evelyn Farkas resigns, she has been known to take a hard line on Russia - POLITICO

Obama's Islamic State War Czar John Allen Stepping Down - Bloomberg View

Congressional report: U.S. has 'failed' to stop flow of foreign fighters to ISIS - CNN

REPORT: Text of the Report by the Congressional Task Force on Combating Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel -



Obama, Putin spar over Syria, clash over the central question of whether Syrian President Assad should retain power - Reuters

VIDEO: Obama UN General Assembly Full Speech - YouTube

TRANSCRIPT: President Obama Speech to the United Nations General Assembly -

VIDEO (and transcript): Putin full speech at UN General Assembly - President of Russia

VIDEO: Lavrov's interview highlights: ’We cannot allow the state of Syria fail, alternative is ISIS caliphate' - YouTube

Lavrov rules out joint command with U.S. in Syria, however stresses that military operations must be coordinated - La Prensa

Russia is trying to coax the US into sharing intel with Iraq, Iran, and Syria in Baghdad - Business Insider

Russian military experts arrive in Iraq -

Russia May Provide Reconnaissance Aircraft for Baghdad Info Center - Sputnik

Moscow hopes list of participants in the anti-ISIS coordination center in Baghdad to grow - TASS


Iraq defends intelligence sharing with Russia, Syria, Iran - AP

Russia establishes seaborne lifeline for Syrian allies - Reuters

VIDEO: Russian navy pours south through Bosphorus, possibly heading to Syria -

France opens war crimes inquiry against Assad regime: sources - Yahoo News

British PM Cameron: Putin Teaming Up with Assad to Defeat ISIS Is a 'Phony Solution’ (VIDEO) - Breitbart

Saudi Arabia says there is 'no future' for Assad in Syria, whether that exit is through politics or by force - The Guardian

Assad is root of Syria crisis, Qatar tells Putin -

To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Time to stop bombing and make peace in Syria and Yemen

Explosion from Saudi airstrike on Sanaa, Yemen.

Letter to The Guardian signed by Mark Rylance, Charlotte Church, Len McCluskey, Caroline Lucas MP, Brian Eno, Mairead Maguire, Michael Rosen, Tariq Ali, Clive Lewis MP, many more.

We are gravely concerned at the possibility of a parliamentary decision to bomb Syria. David Cameron is planning such a vote in the House of Commons in the near future. He is doing so in the face of much evidence that such an action would exacerbate the situation it is supposed to solve. Already we have seen the killing of civilians and the exacerbation of a refugee crisis which is largely the product of wars in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan.

The US and its allies have dropped 20,000 bombs on Iraq and Syria in the past year, with little effect. We fear that this latest extension of war will only worsen the threat of terrorism, as have the previous wars involving the British government. Cameron is cynically using the refugee crisis to urge more war. He should not be allowed to.

Mark Rylance
Charlotte Church
John Williams
Mairead Maguire Nobel peace laureate
Brian Eno
Len McCluskey General secretary, Unite the Union
Christine Shawcroft Labour NEC
Diane Abbott MP
Alice Mahon
Clive Lewis MP
Jenny Tonge
Caroline Lucas MP
Andrew Murray Chair, Stop the War Campaign
Lindsey German Convenor, STWC
Kate Hudson CND
Tariq Ali
John Pilger
Tim Lezard
David Edgar
Alan Gibbons
Andy de la Tour
Michael Rosen
Francesca Martinez
Eugene Skeef
Victoria Brittain
Anders Lustgarten
David Gentleman
David Swanson
Gerry Grehan Peace People Belfast

Syria/Russia News - Sep 28, 2015

Putin says seeking 'coordinated framework' to fight IS - Yahoo News

Putin: Overthrowing Assad will lead to failed state - Al Jazeera English

Putin: No Russian ground operations in Syria 'right now' - Yahoo News

Putin criticizes US support for Syrian rebels as not only illegal but counterproductive - US News

VIDEO (and transcript): 60 Minutes interviews Vladimir Putin - CBS News

Iraq Agrees to Share Intelligence on ISIS With Russia, Syria and Iran - The New York Times

Iran's Rouhani: Fighting radical militants like Islamic State in Syria is the top priority and if they are to be defeated then Assad government in Syria 'can't be weakened’  - Reuters

VIDEO: Iranian President Rouhani: Syria's al-Assad must remain to fight 'terrorists' -

Pro-Hezbollah daily says party in Syria pact with Russia - NOW

Chinese troops to join Russian marines in Syria soon, says report -

Abbas says agreement between Russia and US will help resolve Syria issue - TASS



US, Russia mull joint coordination against IS, Kerry says 'the critical thing is that all of the efforts need to be coordinated' -

Background Briefing on Secretary Kerry's Meeting With Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov -

U.S.-Russia coordination on Syria needed to avoid ‘incidents': NATO - Reuters

Shifting Direction, Kerry Aims to Include Iran in Efforts to End the Conflict in Syria - The New York Times

Germany calls for Syria transitional government, Merkel says Bashar al-Assad must be involved in Syria talks - Yahoo News

Hollande says France ready to discuss Syria with all powers but a solution must center around Syrian President Assad stepping down during a political transition - WSJ

Cameron says Assad should face criminal trial, while keeping open the possibility the Syrian president could temporarily remain in power during a political transition - Bloomberg

Austrian minister says Assad should take part in talks on Syrian settlement - TASS

Australia set to abandon opposition to Assad as part of Syria settlement - The Guardian

Erdoğan denies change in Syria policy, says Assad not part of solution -

Syrian Kurdish leader Salih Muslim warns of ‘disaster’ if Assad government falls - Kurdpress News Aganecy



UN ambassador Samantha Power defends arming Syrian rebels - TheHill

VIDEO: Interview with Samantha Power on Putin and Syria - ABC News

U.S.-trained fighters who defected to an al Qaeda affiliate shows just how confused Washington really is - The Daily Beast

US-backed rebels handed over equipment to al Qaeda in Syria, Pentagon Confirms - The Long War Journal

U.S. Central Command: Reports of New Syrian Force Equipment Being Provided to Al Nusra Front - CENTCOM

Thousands of Foreigners Enter Syria to Join ISIS Despite Global Efforts - The New York Times

France carries out its first air strikes against ISIS in Syria destroying an Islamic State camp - Daily Mail Online

Saudis are active at every level of the terror chain: planners to financiers, cadres to foot soldiers, ideologists to cheerleaders - The Independent

Turkey major conduit for Syrian 'blood antiquities' - Al-Monitor

The Syrian refugee crisis, explained in one map - Vox


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Speaking Events


War Is A Lie: Second Edition
Published April 5, 2016
Tour begins here:

(Invite David Swanson to your town!)


April 11, Washington, DC, 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Busboys and Poets at 5th and K Streets.
Sign up on FB.


April 12, Baltimore, MD, 7:30 p.m. at Red Emma's.
Sign up on FB.



April 14, Bellingham, WA, Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship, evening

April 15, Seattle, WA

April 16 Portland, OR




Other Events Here.


Support This Site


Get free books and gear when you become a supporter.



Speaking Truth to Empire


Families United


Financial supporters of this site can choose to be listed here.

Buy Books

Get Gear

The log-in box below is only for bloggers. Nobody else will be able to log in because we have not figured out how to stop voluminous spam ruining the site. If you would like us to have the resources to figure that out please donate. If you would like to receive occasional emails please sign up. If you would like to be a blogger here please send your resume.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.