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Syria News - Mar 26 , 2016


Palmyra: Syrian government forces 'retake citadel’ from Islamic State, a strategic medieval castle on the hill overlooking the city - BBC


VIDEO: Footage shows Syrian Army entering Palmyra - LiveLeak.com


VIDEO: Syrian Army retaking the citadel castle - LiveLeak.com


VIDEO: Drone footage of Palmyra castle earlier today - YouTube


Islamic State launches counteroffensive against Syrian army in Palmyra: commander - sputniknews.com


IS video claims to show group still in control of Palmyra (VIDEO) - Middle East Eye


Russian warplanes flew 41 sorties to support Syrian offensive against Islamic State near Palmyra, destroyed 146 targets - Reuters


Russia warplanes in Syria attack IS militants carrying weapons to Palmyra from Raqqah and Deir ez-Zor: source - TASS

 

Russian general says military special forces active in Syria - ABC News


Spotted and surrounded by IS, Russian special forces officer called for fire on himself - RT News


U.S. State Department: Replacing Islamic State with Syrian troops in the city of Palmyra is not a 'great trade-off', The Syrian people should not have to decide between IS and Assad - Fulton News


VIDEO: U.S. State Department: Replacing Islamic State with Syrian troops in the city of Palmyra is not a 'great trade-off' - YouTube


UNESCO Director-General welcomes the liberation of Palmyra - UNESCO World Heritage Centre


VIDEO (starts at 2:25 min): Interview with UNESCO official: ’Palmyra is not just an archaeological site, it is a symbol of Syria’ - YouTube


VIDEO: Drone footage captures ancient Palmyra after Syrian army enters the city, what is left of the archelogical sites destroyed by Islamic State - YouTube

 

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US, Russia push for new Syrian Constitution by August - VOA


Russia says U.S. agrees not to discuss Assad's future for now: Ifax - Reuters


US says it hasn't changed position on Syria's Assad - AP


TRANSCRIPT: Press conference of Kerry and Lavrov on Syria - state.gov


UN envoy De Mistura: Syria peace talks to resume April 9 - AP


VIDEO: De Mistura touts 'essential principles' as latest Syria talks conclude - YouTube


TRANSCRIPT: Press conference by UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura - ReliefWeb


Moscow insists Kurds participation in Syria peace talks - Kurdpress News Aganecy


Russia admits to training Syria Kurds - Kurdpress News Aganecy


U.S. emphasizes 'YPG and PKK are separate entities' - Kurdpress News Aganecy


IS ‘second in command’ killed by US raid in Syria, Sec. Carter says - Yahoo News


Profile of senior Islamic State leader killed by US - The Long War Journal


Jordan begins covert operations against IS in Syria - Middle East Eye


Jordan's king accuses Turkey of sending terrorists to Europe - Middle East Eye


Turkish journalists face secret trial for revealing Ankara arms deliveries to Syria Islamist rebels - The Guardian


IS, oil & Turkey: What RT found in Syrian town liberated from jihadists by Kurds - RT News


Iran deploys Army Special Forces to Syria and Iraq - The Long War Journal


Iraqi army says border area with Syria taken from IS - Al Arabiya English


Iraqi Shiite fighters in Syria boon to Assad, bane to Abadi’s authority - Al Arabiya English


Are North Koreans fighting in Syria? It’s not as far-fetched as it sounds. - The Washington Post


Syrians describe horrific torture in jails run by militants of Army of Islam - huffingtonpost.com


Why many jihadi terrorists are criminals before they turn to extremism - huffingtonpost.com

 

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

Syria News - Mar 14 , 2016


Ahead of peace talks Syria government says the future of Bashar Assad is nonnegotiable, his ouster is a 'red line' - AFP


VIDEO: Syria FM: "We will not negotiate with anyone on the presidency. Bashar [Assad] is red line and belongs to the Syrian people” - YouTube


Syria's opposition leader says Assad must go in a political transition, dead or alive - Business Standard News


VIDEO: Assad must go dead or alive: Syrian opposition leader - YouTube


Kerry accuses Syria FM of 'disrupting' peace talks over Bashar al-Assad red line - The Independent


VIDEO: Kerry claims Syrian FM’s comments on Assad transition ‘disruptive’ - YouTube


UN envoy de Mistura says Kurds must be able to give views on Syria's future even if they are not invited to the peace talks in Geneva - ekurd.net


The PYD says it will not accept any other format for the Kurds' participation in the peace process but the UN Geneva talks  - sputniknews.com


U.S. supports 'proper consultations' with Syrian Kurds in Geneva peace talks, says final decision to invite the PYD left to U.N envoy Staffan de Mistura - ekurd.net


US secretly backs federal future, say Syria's Kurds - Kurdpress News Aganecy


Russia insists on UN sending invitation to Kurds for Syrian peace talks, notes that their participation was blocked by Turkey - sputniknews.com


Russia: Turkish troops in Syria for operation against Kurds - ABC News


Russia asks EU to clarify position on Turkey’s plans for Syrian safe zones - sputniknews.com


Syrian FM praises Kurdish role against IS ahead of Geneva talk - rudaw.net


Disagreement emerges between the Syrian regime and PYD over future of Afrin - BasNews

 

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Al-Qaida affiliated Nusra Front seizes weapons and bases from U.S.-backed Syrian rebels, seven FSA fighters dead and other arrested - AP


More on Nusra Front attack on FSA Division 13 headquarters in Idlib - The Long War Journal


In a nutshell, FSA group Division 13 no longer exists in Maaret AlNoman. City now fully under Nusra - Jenan Moussa on Twitter


Seems main factions Faylaq al-Sham & Ahrar al-Sham haven't done anything to help FSA Division 13 against Nusra - Al-Tamimi on Twitter

 

Nusra Front broke up opposition protest in Idlib last Friday - NOW


VIDEO: Syrian pro-democracy protesters attacked by Jabhat al-Nusra in Maaret AlNoamm last Friday as they return to streets during ceasefire - The Independent


VIDEO: Maaret AlNoamn residents protesting against Nusra - liveuamap.com


VIDEO: Women’s demonstration against Nusra in Maaret AlNoamn - Aghiad Al Kheder on Twitter


Nusra threatened to fire on anti-government protesters last Monday - Yahoo News


Nusra deflects blame for protest suppression, says ‘mandate flag…sows division’ - Syria Direct


MAP: Al-Nusra strongholds in Idlib - washingtoninstitute.org


A jihadi crackdown on demonstrators in Idlib is testing the alliance between two of the insurgency’s most powerful factions, Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham - Syria Deeply


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

How Would Knowing the Truth Change U.S. Policy on ISIS?

By David Swanson, American Herald Tribune

Scholars have documented the consistent pattern. What makes a country far more likely to be invaded, attacked, "intervened in," or in other words, bombed, is not its lack of democracy or its government's crimes and abuses, or the crimes and abuses of some non-governmental group, but its possession of oil. Yet, with each new war, we are told to imagine that this one is different.

Fight War Not Wars ddf9e

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., is to be applauded for publishing an article headlined "Syria: Another Pipeline War." The very idea that "doing something" about ISIS (which, let's face it, at this point in the imperialization of the U.S. republic means bombing) could be driven by oil might strike many as outrageous. I'm not suggesting that it's rational. U.S. corporations could buy Middle Eastern oil for about the same price without all the wars. The United States would save trillions of dollars and millions of lives that way. It could also avoid some destruction of the earth's climate by, instead, leaving that oil in the ground. I'm also not suggesting that because the real driver of U.S. militarism is an insane passion for oil, the crimes and abuses of ISIS or of Assad or Russia or Iran or Saudi Arabia or Israel or Turkey or anyone else are not real, or are of less concern or more concern than they actually merit, or that well-justified nonviolent opposition to Assad in Syria has never existed, or any similar inanity. Nor am I denying that there are employees of the U.S. government who are actually driven by humanitarian concerns, only that they aren't the employees who have risen to such heights that anyone's ever heard of them.

Senator Bernie Sanders is to be applauded for repeatedly bringing up the CIA's disastrous 1953 overthrow of democracy in Iran, 1954 in Guatemala, etc. But why is that the beginning? What about 1949 Syria? Does that not count because the U.S. president was a Democrat? Like Iran and Vietnam and so many other nations that the United States has attacked, Syria had worked to establish a democracy in line with U.S. rhetoric. But its democracy wasn't supporting a U.S.-proposed oil pipeline between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon. So, the CIA overthrew the president of Syria and installed a dictator.

One explanation for the silence surrounding this incident is how quickly it failed. The Syrian people tossed out their U.S. puppet in 14 weeks. The U.S. government then spent 65 years learning absolutely nothing from the experience. It has spent those years arming and supporting Middle Eastern dictators and religious fighters, while rejecting out of hand all Soviet proposals to leave the region free to govern itself. In 1956, the CIA tried another coup in Syria, arming and funding Islamic militants, but without success. For years, the CIA kept trying -- perhaps less comically than with its efforts to assassinate Fidel Castro, but certainly with greater consequences.

This history is relevant not only as a guide to what not to do, but also because the people of Syria and the region know this history, so it illuminates how they view current events.

Wesley Clark says Syria was on a Pentagon list of governments to overthrow in 2001. Tony Blair says it was on Dick Cheney's list around that time. But Syria had already been on that list for decades.  WikiLeaks has let us know that in 2006, the U.S. government was working to create a civil war in Syria. And we hardly need WikiLeaks when people like Senator John McCain have been openly and repeatedly saying on television that Syria must be overthrown to weaken Iran which must be overthrown. But WikiLeaks does confirm that the U.S. strategy was to incite Assad into a brutal crackdown that would inflame opposition to his rule, and that the U.S. has been arming Islamists in Syria since 2009 when Assad rejected a pipeline from Qatar that would have supplied Europe with Middle Eastern rather than Russian climate-destroying poisons.

At the root of the new U.S. priority for overthrowing Syria is then, once again, the desire to run an oil pipeline through Syria. The heart of the U.S. plan has been, again, arming and training Islamic militants. Two years before any of us heard about ISIS, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) noted that "the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood and AQI (now ISIS), are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria. . . . If the situation continues unravelling, there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasakah and Deir ez-Zor) and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want in order to isolate the Syrian regime." This is why the United States spent years thwarting U.N. efforts for peace in Syria, and dismissed out of hand a 2012 proposal from Russia for peace in Syria. The U.S. government had dreams of a violent overthrow of the Syrian government, and viewed the rise of ISIS as a price worth paying.

There were glitches in the plan. First the British, and U.S., and world populations said no to bombing Syria in 2013 on the same side as al Qaeda. Then al Qaeda (ISIS) released beheading videos that, as intended, motivated U.S. Americans to back war -- against them rather than with them. ISIS saw its potential for growth in appearing to be the leading enemy of the United States, not a U.S. tool for another overthrow. It produced videos imploring the United States to attack it. But in so doing, it didn't isolate the Syrian government; rather it united the world with the Syrian government. The U.S. government began denying it had ever met ISIS, or blaming Saudi Arabia and Turkey for supporting ISIS (while doing little to cut off that support).

But the origins of ISIS are not really in dispute. "ISI[S] is a direct outgrowth of al-Qaeda in Iraq that grew out of our invasion," admitted President Obama. The U.S. military destroyed Iraq and disbanded without disarming its military. Then it divided Iraq along sectrarian lines and brutalized people for years in prison camps where they were able to organize and plot vengeance. The U.S. armed Iraq, and al Qaeda/ISIS seized those weapons. The U.S. overthrew the government of Libya, and its weapons spread all over the region. And the U.S. armed and trained fighters for Syria, playing into Saudi Arabia's desire for overthrow and now its newfound desire to fight more wars, as well as Turkey's desire to attack Kurds. Secretary of State John Kerry admitted to Congress on September 3, 2013, that Saudi Arabia had offered to foot the bill for a U.S. invasion of Syria -- which sounds a lot like the foreign policy vision of candidate Bernie Sanders when he's compelled to present one. In fact, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar financed the U.S. arming of Syrian fighters including ISIS (Sanders dreams of Saudi Arabia financing a war against ISIS). The Pentagon dumped a half billion dollars into arming and training fighters, something the CIA had long been doing at a cost of billions. "Four or five" loyal fighters were the Pentagon's result. The rest had apparently ceased to be "moderate" murderers and become "extremist" murderers. How many got themselves armed and "trained" more than once, as Afghans have had a habit of doing, we don't know.

Why was the U.S. public willing to tolerate new U.S. war-making in Iraq and Syria in 2014–2015, after having opposed it in 2013? This time the advertised enemy was not the Syrian government, but terrorists scarier than al Qaeda, and supposedly unrelated to al Qaeda, called ISIS. And ISIS was shown to be cutting the throats of Americans on videos. And something switched off in people's brains and they stopped thinking—with a few exceptions. A few journalists pointed out that the Iraqi government bombing Iraqi Sunnis was in fact driving the latter to support ISIS. Even Newsweek published a clear-eyed warning that ISIS would not last long unless the United States saved it by bombing it. Matthew Hoh warned that the beheadings were bait not to be taken.

The public and the media swallowed it whole, and the U.S. government almost choked. It had wanted to enter the war on the same side as ISIS. Now it had an opportunity to enter against ISIS. It viewed this as a means of entering on both sides by making a case for arming fighters who would oppose both ISIS and Assad, even if such fighters didn't exist.

To make the new war more respectable, along came the supposed need to rescue civilians trapped on a mountaintop and awaiting death at the hands of ISIS. The story wasn't completely false, but its details were murky. Many of the people left the mountain or refused to leave the mountain where they preferred to stay, before a U.S. rescue mission could actually be created. And the U.S. seemed to drop bombs more with a goal of protecting oil than protecting people (four air strikes near the mountain, many more near oil-rich Erbil). But, whether it helped those people or not, a U.S. war was created, and the war planners never looked back.

The world, as represented at the United Nations, didn't completely fall for it and didn't authorize this war any more than the proposed attack a year earlier, in large part because the UN had authorized a supposed humanitarian rescue in Libya in 2011 and seen that authorization predictably and swiftly misused to justify a wider war and the overthrow of a government.

In addition to the dubious claims about people needing to be rescued on a mountain, the United States also pulled out that old standby of saving U.S. lives, namely the lives of Americans in the oil-rush town of Erbil, all of whom could have been put onto a single airplane and flown out of there had there been a real need to rescue them.

Completely false, on the other hand, was another story about evil. Just in case people were not sufficiently scared, the White House and Pentagon actually invented a non-existent terrorist organization, which they named the Khorasan Group, and which CBS News called "a more immediate threat to the U.S. Homeland." While ISIS was worse than al Qaeda and al Qaeda worse than the Taliban, this new monster was depicted as worse than ISIS and plotting the immediate blowing up of U.S. airplanes. No evidence of this was offered, or apparently required by "journalists." One U.S. war makers were safely into a new war, all mention of the Khorosan Group ended.

If you weren't frightened enough, and if you didn't care enough about people on a mountain to drop bombs on people in a valley, there was also your patriotic duty to overcome "intervention fatigue," of which U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power began writing and speaking, actually warning that if we paid too much attention to what bombing places like Libya had done to them we'd fail in our obligation to support the bombing of new places like Syria. Soon enough, the U.S. corporate media was hosting debates that ranged from advocacy for launching one type of war all the way to advocacy for launching a little bit different type of war. A study by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting found that inclusion of antiwar guests in the major U.S. media was even more lacking in the 2014 buildup to war than it had been in the 2003 run-up to the Iraq invasion.

U.S. interest in war in Syria and Iraq since 2014 has taken on this new guise of unavoidable opposition to Evil. But U.S. interest in overthrowing the government of Syria has remained front and center, despite the disasters created in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other "liberated" nations. As in each of those other wars, this one has U.S. weapons on both sides, and U.S. interests on both sides. As in the "war on terror" as a whole, this war is creating more terrorism and fueling more anti-U.S. hatred, not protecting the United States, to which ISIS is not a serious threat. More people have been hurt at Donald Trump rallies and far more killed by cigarettes or automobiles than by ISIS in the United States. What attracts disturbed people in the United States and the world to ISIS is, in large part the counterproductive U.S. attacks on ISIS.

If U.S. motives were humanitarian, it would cease fueling the violence, and it would not be arming wars and crackdowns by vicious governments around the globe including in the Middle East, perhaps most prominently right now Saudi Arabia, the leading purchaser of U.S. weapons which bombs civilians in Yemen using those weapons, murders far more individuals at home than ISIS has, and which has actually sponsored significant terrorism in the United States.

Tim Clemente told Robert F. Kennedy Jr. that he saw a major difference between the 2003- war on Iraq and the more recent war on Syria: "the millions of military aged men who are fleeing the battlefield for Europe rather than staying to fight for their communities. 'You have this formidable fighting force and they are all running away. I don't understand how you can have millions of military aged men running away from the battlefield. In Iraq, the bravery was heartbreaking—I had friends who refused to leave the country even though they knew they would die. They'd just tell you it's my country, I need to stay and fight,' Clemente said. The obvious explanation is that the nation's moderates are fleeing a war that is not their war. They simply want to escape being crushed between the anvil of Assad's Russian backed tyranny and the vicious Jihadi Sunni hammer that [the U.S. government] had a hand in wielding in a global battle over competing pipelines. You can't blame the Syrian people for not widely embracing a blueprint for their nation minted in either Washington or Moscow. The super powers have left no options for an idealistic future that moderate Syrians might consider fighting for. And no one wants to die for a pipeline."

Kennedy proposes as a first U.S. step to resolve the crisis: cease consuming oil from the Middle East. I would simplify that to: cease consuming oil. Putting Europe onto Middle Eastern oil instead of Russian oil is not just about U.S. energy use. It's about rivalry with Russia. The United States needs to go renewable and sustainable in its energy use and its thinking. It owes the Middle East reparations and aid on a massive scale. It owes the world assistance in the greening of energy on a massive scale. Such projects would, of course, cost less financially and in every other way than continued counterproductive militarism.

This will not happen unless people learn history, including the history of the leadup to World War II, the myths about which sustain every U.S. loyalty to the institution of war. That means taking huge leaps beyond the discussions of this past Sunday's presidential debate regarding schools with mold and rats and mass shootings. It means a system of communication in which there is just no place for something like CNN. We will remake our media and our schools, or we will destroy ourselves and have no idea how we did it.

David Swanson is the author of War Is A Lie: Second Edition, to be published by Just World Books on April 5, 2016.

Syria News - Mar 5 , 2016


In its first week, Syria truce brings sharp drop in violence - AP


Syria accord lays ground for vital progress, say aid chiefs - aa.com


UN delivers aid to rebel towns east of Syria capital - Al Arabiya English


Water returns to Syria’s war-torn Aleppo - Al Arabiya English


Syrians resume peaceful anti-government street protests in rebel-held areas - DW.COM


VIDEO: Syria’s first major public protests in years - Fusion


Truce reached with Syria’s Jaysh al-Islam, opposition groups: Russian MoD - Sputnik International


Islamic State’s governor for Aleppo reportedly killed in airstrike - The Long War Journal


IS, al-Nusra declare mutual ceasefire in southern Syria, it comes after two days of fighting between the two organizations - The Times of Israel


Is ISIS going broke? - CNN


Is the Islamic State hurting? The President’s point man on ISIS speaks out - The New Yorker

 

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France, Britain, Germany urge Syrian opposition to attend peace talks - Yahoo News


Syria opposition: Circumstances not suitable for peace talks - AP


UN envoy optimistic about the ceasefire, says Syrians should decide Assad's fate - Yahoo News


VIDEO: UN envoy insists Syria peace talks have momentum - France 24


Assad: Syrian ceasefire a ‘glimmer of hope’ - VOA


Putin: Syrian regime poll ‘does not interfere’ with peace process - Al Arabiya English


Large landing warship to deliver supplies for Russian air task force in Syria: source - TASS


Underwater and underhanded: Russian submarines come to the Mideast - Observer


All hands on deck: Russian military sets up high-tech radar system in Syria - Sputnik International


Armenia pulled into Russia-Turkey clash in Syria - Washington Times


Russia has been 'helpful, and… cooperative' in Syria peace process: State Dept - sputniknews.com


GOP foreign policy hawks declare war on Trump, some say they could vote for Hillary Clinton - POLITICO

 

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Kurds receive no official invitation to join Next Syria peace talks - Sputnik


Syrian peace talks without Kurds 'incomplete', Russian FM says - ekurd.net


Kurdish YPG accuses Syrian Arab opposition in Aleppo of violating deal - ekurd.net


43 YPG, 140 IS forces were killed during clashes on Geri Spi: Kurdish official - Kurdpress News Aganecy


Kurd-led fighters take key hill from Nusra Front - Kurdpress News Aganecy


Turkey ‘protects & supplies’ Al-Nusra camps at its border: Syria’s YPG (VIDEO) - RT News


Russian MoD accuses Turkey of ongoing hostilities in Syria's Aleppo, Idlib as it ensures steady supply of weapons to terrorists and keeps shelling Kurdish militia - Sputnik


Turkey not shelled Syrian Kurdish YPG since truce: Ankara official - ekurd.net


Erdogan accuses Turkey's constitutional court of breaching Constitution, by releasing two journalists arrested for investigating the delivery of weapons from Ankara to radical groups in Syria - Sputnik


Erdoğan: Prosecutors may object to the release of the journalists who unveiled a story on MIT trucks delivering weapons to radical groups in Syria - todayszaman.com


Freed journalist says no response came after seeking MİT’s view on trucks story - Cihan


Turkey seizes control opposition Zaman newspaper linked to Gulen - BBC News


VIDEO: Turkish police raid Zaman HQs, fire tear gas on readers after gov’t takeover - todayszaman.com


Jordan foils Isis terror plot as Saudi Arabia calls for Syria's Arab neighbours to pick a side - ibtimes.co.uk


Saudis ready to give Syrian rebels missiles against Russian warplanes and tanks - debka.com


Newly translated WikiLeaks Saudi cable: Overthrow the Syrian regime 'by all means available', but play nice with Russia – Levant Report


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

A Cease-Fire to Re-Load or to Build Peace?

A cease-fire, even a partial one by only some of the parties to the war in Syria, is the perfect first step -- but only if it's widely understood as a first step.

Almost none of the news coverage I've seen speaks to what purpose the cease-fire serves. And most of it focuses on the cease-fire's limitations and who predicts someone else will violate it, and who openly promises to violate it. The big outside parties, or at least Russia, plus the Syrian government, will go right on bombing selected targets, which will go right on shooting back, while Turkey has announced that ceasing to kill Kurds would just be taking the whole thing a bit too far (Kurds the United States is arming against other people the United States is arming, by the way).

The United States distrusts Russia on this, while Russia distrusts the United States, various Syrian opposition groups distrust each other and the Syrian government, everybody distrusts Turkey and Saudi Arabia -- the Turks and Saudis most of all, and U.S. neocons remain obsessed with Iranian evil. The predictions of failure could be self-fulfilling, as they seem to have been before.

Vague talk of a "political solution," which parties take to mean completely incompatible things, is not a second step designed to make a cease-fire succeed. It's a fifth or sixth or seventh step. The second step that is missing, after ceasing to directly kill people, is to cease facilitating the killing of people by others.

This was what was needed when Russia proposed peace in 2012 and the United States brushed it aside. This is what was needed after the chemical weapons agreement in 2013. Instead the United States held off on bombing, under public and international pressure, but escalated its arming and training of others to kill, and its winking at Saudi Arabia's and Turkey's and others' fueling of the violence.

Truth be told, this was what was needed when President Barack Obama was allowing Hillary Clinton to convince him to overthrow the government of Libya in 2011. Outside parties need an agreement to cease supplying weapons and fighters, and an agreement to supply unprecedented levels of humanitarian aid. The goal should be disarming those who would kill, supporting those who would join the violence out of economic need, and countering the highly successful propaganda of groups that live off the assaults on them by outside nations.

ISIS is thriving in Libya now and going after the oil there. Italy, which has a shameful history in Libya, is showing some reluctance to worsening the situation there by continuing to attack. The point is not that local forces can defeat ISIS but that nonviolence would do less harm than violence in the short, middle, and long term. Hillary Clinton, for her part, is bordering on the criminally insane, or at least the criminal, as she just spoke about Libya in her most recent debate on the model of a permanent occupation of Germany, Japan, or Korea. So much for hope and change.

The second step, the public commitment to which could make the first step work, would involve the United States withdrawing from the region and insisting on Turkey and Saudi Arabia and others ceasing to fuel the violence. It would involve Russia and Iran pulling out all forces and canceling backwards ideas like Russia's new proposal to arm Armenia. Russia should ship nothing but food and medicine to Syria. The United States should do the same and commit to no longer seeking the overthrow of the Syrian government -- not because it's a good government, but because it has to be overthrown nonviolently by forces that actually mean well, not by a distant imperial power.

Secretary of State John Kerry's already announced plan B is to partition Syria, meaning to continue to fuel the mass murder and suffering, while hoping to diminish the size of the state allied to Iran and Russia, in favor of empowering the terrorists that the United States empowered in Afghanistan in the 1980s and in Iraq in the 2000s and right now in Yemen. The U.S. delusion that yet another overthrow, yet again empowering small groups of killers, will fix things is a root cause of the conflict at this point. But so is the Russian delusion that bombing just the right people will bring peace and stability. Both nations have stumbled into a cease-fire, but seem to think of it as an opportunity to appease a bit of global outrage while reloading. If you want to know how the cease-fire is going, watch the weapons companies' stocks.

Syria News - Feb 24, 2016

 

Syrian war: Before Senate hearing John Kerry touts Russian help with truce - CNN.com


Joint statement of the United States and the Russian Federation, as Co-Chairs of the ISSG, on cessation of hostilities in Syria - state.gov


John Kerry says partition of Syria could be part of ‘plan B’ if peace talks fail - The Guardian


VIDEO: John Kerry says partition of Syria possible if ceasefire fails - The Guardian


Pentagon, CIA chiefs don’t think Russia will abide by Syria cease-fire, Russia hawks in cabinet exposes disagreement in the administration - WSJ


Foreign Ministry: Syria accepts cessation of fighting actions on the basis of excluding ISIS and al-Nusra - Syrian Arab News Agency


Syria's opposition HNC agrees to temporary truce - Syria Opposition HNC on Twitter


Putin says ceasefire in Syria presents real chance to stop bloodshed - TASS


Mechanism to be established to monitor ceasefire in Syria: Putin - Chinadaily.com.cn


Vladimir Putin’s address following adoption of a joint statement by Russia and US on Syria • President of Russia


VIDEO: Vladimir Putin on the ceasefire in Syria - Global Research


Putin’s Personal Intervention Lends Weight To Syria Ceasefire - ibtimes.com


Russia 'Opens Center In Syria' To Monitor Truce, Organize Aid - rferl.org


A fortress to be reckoned with: how Russia's airbase in Syria is protected - sputniknews.com


Advanced Russian plane spies on Turkey from Syria - Arutz Sheva


Russia, with Turkey in mind, announces big weapons deal with Armenia - EurasiaNet.org

 

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Turkey 'not optimistic' on Syria truce, threatens new artillery strikes against Syrian Kurdish fighters - Daily Mail Online


Turkey to not allow terror zone near border with Syria, PM says Ankara will foil designs of Russia, Assad regime, YPG and Daesh - aa.com


Turkish president accuses US of supporting ‘terrorist' Kurdish PYD and its armed wing YPG - todayszaman.com


Obama administration argues over support for Syrian Kurds - Bloomberg View


This highly advanced U.S.-made anti-tank missile is in the hands of Kurdish forces on Syria’s frontlines - The Washington Post


Hammond: 'Disturbing evidence' that Kurds are coordinating with Syrian regime and Russia - Telegraph


Turkish PM says Syrian Kurdish militia taking orders from PKK - Reuters


PYD’s Muslim says no plan for Kurdish state in Syria - todayszaman.com


No doubt YPG-PKK behind Ankara bombing: Turkish PM - hurriyetdailynews.com


DNA report suggests Ankara bomber was Turkish, not Syrian as stated by the government - Reuters


Government’s foreign policy discrediting Turkey, main opposition leader says - hurriyetdailynews.com


HDP co-chair defends PYD against Turkish government - hurriyetdailynews.com


Daily: According to wiretapped telephone calls, Turkish border officers cooperate with ISIL - todayszaman.com


Report: Turkey sixth biggest importer of arms in world - todayszaman.com


Iranian Saberin Special Forces at work in Syria - The Long War Journal


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

Whatever its motive, Apple’s on the right side...so far: Apple Champions Privacy; Government Seeks to Trash It

By Alfredo Lopez

 

Truth can be stranger than fiction...or at least more surprising. Apple Computer is the current champion of privacy against U.S. government attempts to expand its spying on us. The company, a frequent NSA and FBI collaborator in the past, finds itself in the strange position of confronting a federal court order to dislodge its iPhone security system, an action Apple insists will cripple encryption as a privacy-protection measure.

Focus: Syrian Kurds and Turkey - Feb 20, 2016


Backed by US strikes Kurdish-led force takes Islamic State stronghold Shaddadi in northeast Syria - AFP


Syrian Kurds further weaken Islamic State after taking Shaddadi, cutting off key supply route between Mosul and Raqqa - middleeasteye.net


Islamic State leaders, media official killed in American strike in the vicinity of Shaddadi city - ARA News


Turkish shelling in border areas continues: Syrian Kurds - The financial express


Syrian rebels say at least 2,000 reinforcements get free passage via Turkey heading into Azaz - todayszaman.com


Why Turkey is losing hope in Syrian border town of Azaz - Al-Monitor


CHP head again accuses Turkish gov’t of sending arms to jihadists - hurriyetdailynews.com


Erdoğan slams intellectuals who opposed going to war in Syria - todayszaman.com


Russia fails in UN bid to rein in Turkey over Syria - rappler.com


Syrian Kurds: Russia will fight ‘big war' to protect us from Turkey - breitbart.com


NATO Worried about Possible Turkey-Russia Hostilities - SPIEGEL ONLINE


Saudi king Salman, Putin hold talks on Syria crisis - Saudi Gazette


Saudi foreign minister says Syrian rebels should receive anti-aircraft missiles - Middle East Eye


Interview with Saudi foreign minister Adel al Jubeir on Syrian War - SPIEGEL ONLINE

 

-------------------------------------------------

Turkey asks US to cut ties with Syrian Kurds - ABNA


Turkey's Erdogan says saddened by U.S. arming of Syrian Kurdish militia - thestar.com


Turkish minister says US making conflicting statements over Syrian Kurdish YPG - todayszaman.com


In a telephone call with Erdogan Obama calls for 'restraint' from Turkey, Kurdish YPG in Syria - Yahoo News


Readout of the President’s call with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey - whitehouse.gov


Erdoğan says no doubt YPG behind Ankara attack, urges allies to label PYD as terrorist group - Reuters


Turkey claims they can change Incerlik airbase terms AND more if Washington doesn’t label PYD a terrorist group - Joshua Landis on Twitter


Syrian PYD leader rejects responsibility for Ankara attack - todayszaman.com


Turkey manufacturing reasons to invade Syrian Kurdistan: YPG spokesman - ekurd.net


Turkish-based Kurdish splinter group claims responsibility for Ankara bombing - DW.COM


Meet the obscure Kurdish fighters taking responsibility for the the Ankara bombing - Foreign Policy


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

Focus: Syria/Turkey News - Feb 17, 2016

 

Kurdish-backed Syrian Democratic Forces take town near Turkish border, pushing towards Islamic State-held territory east of Azaz - Kurdpress


Pro-gov’t daily claims 500 rebels crossed into Syria through Turkey to prevent Kurds from advancing to rebel stronghold Azaz - Todays Zaman


Turkey will not allow Syrian town of Azaz to fall to Kurdish militia: PM - Reuters


Russia says Turkey supplies Islamic State via Syrian town of Azaz - Reuters


Azaz corridor: across a narrow strip of border territory a ferocious battle with huge implications for Syria’s civil war is playing out - AP


Syrian army is now 15 kilometres away from cutting ISIS in half - russia-insider.com


Syrian army charges toward the ISIS capital Raqqa - The Daily Caller


Syrian troops regain control of Aleppo power plant - Tasnim News Agency


Syria government allows humanitarian aid into 7 besieged areas: UN - Yahoo News


Aleppo rebels unite under former Ahrar al-Sham commander - Middle East Eye


MAP: This animated map portrays the advances of the Kurdish & loyalist forces over the last weeks north of Aleppo - Joshua Landis on Twitter


US DoS estimates Daesh at lowest level of manpower since 2014 - sputniknews.com


ISIS faces budget crunch, killing perks and slashing salaries - Fox 5 NY

 

---------------------------------------------------

Turkey calls on US, allies to launch ground operation in Syria - Fox News


Turkey renews shelling of YPG targets on fourth day - todayszaman.com


Russia-backed Syrian offensive aims to forge Kurdish militia corridor, Erdoğan says - todayszaman.com


UN Security Council expresses concern over Turkey strikes in Syria, urge it to comply with international law - Todays Zaman


US-Turkish Tensions Escalate Over Syrian Kurds - VOA


EU asks Turkey to stop bombing Kurds in Syria - Kurdpress News Aganecy


Turkey expresses dissatisfaction with French criticism of shelling of Kurdish YPG militia targets in Syria - Reuters


Russia blasts Turkey's 'provocative' shelling of Kurds in Syria - Yahoo News


Turkey-Russia Antagonism Draws Kurds Closer To Moscow - ibtimes.com


Russia has just deployed its most advanced spyplane to Syria - The Aviationist


Putin holds meeting with Iranian defense minister: Kremlin spokesman - TASS


Tehran: Saudi troops could battle Iranian Guard in Syria - WND


Hezbollah chief says Turkey, Saudi Arabia prefer war over political agreement in Syria - Yahoo News


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

Syria News - Feb 15, 2016


In phone call Obama urges Putin to end air strikes against Syrian opposition: White House - ndtv.com


US and Russia to chair a meeting with military officials next week to seek agreement on which areas of Syria can be bombed - Bloomberg


Medvedev warns against any foreign ground troops in Syria, says it will cause 'a full-fledged, long war' - ITV


VIDEO: Interview: Medvedev warns against foreign ground troops in Syria, says there would be chaos if Assad ousted -Euronews

 

TRANSCRIPT: Interview with Medvedev - euronews


Speech by Dmitry Medvedev at Munich Security Conference 2016 - voltairenet.org


At Munich Security Conference Senator McCain blasts Syria truce deal, says serves Putin's purposes - rferl.org


McCain favors U.S. and Turkish troops take Syria's Raqqa from ISIS, establishing a no-fly zone - New York News


Syrian rebels say a ceasefire is ‘not realistic, objective, or logical' - VICE News


Assad's army setting its sights on Isis stronghold of Raqqa - The Independent


Syrian Army reaches important crossroad in southern Raqqa - almasdarnews.com


TRANSCRIPT: President al-Assad speaks to AFP on Syrian and regional developments - Syrian Arab News Agency

 

---------------------------------------------------

Turkey vows not to be in ‘defensive position’ over Syria - hurriyetdailynews.com


Ankara: Turkey, Saudi Arabia ′could send ground troops to Syria′ - DW.COM


Main opposition Republican People’s Party ‘against all decisions to plunge Turkey into war’ - hurriyetdailynews.com


Turkey opposition Nationalist Movement Party warns of catastrophe in event of Syria incursion - todayszaman.com


Turkey shells Kurdish positions in Syria for second day, demands YPG militia withdraw from areas that it had captured - euronews


PYD rejects Turkish demands, warns against intervention - todayszaman.com


Turkish authorities allow 350 fighters to cross the Syria border and oversee their transition to the northern countryside of Aleppo - Syrian Observatory For Human Rights


Damascus says believes some Turkish forces entered Syria - Ynetnews


Saudi Arabia confirms sending jets to Turkey - Al Arabiya English


Saudi troop deployment in Syria up to U.S.-led coalition: foreign minister - Reuters


Saudi Arabia FM: If needed, remove Syria's Assad by force - CNN.com


Qatar ready to send troops to Syria - aa.com


20 nations join major military manoeuvre in Saudi Arabia - Zee News


Pundits rule out Jordan’s participation in possible ground intervention in Syria - Jordan Times


Iran warns against Saudi intervention in Syria: general - Business Standard News


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

Syria News - Feb 12, 2016


U.S. and Russia Announce Plan for Humanitarian Aid and a Cease-Fire in Syria - The New York Times


Statement of the International Syria Support Group - state.gov


VIDEO: Kerry, Lavrov and de Mistura holding a news conference on Syrian crisis (full) - YouTube


Syrian opposition says must see peace plan in action before political talks - Yahoo News


NATO 'exploring possibility' of joining anti-IS coalition: US - Yahoo News


NATO to backfill AWACS freeing up nations to use their own against the Islamic State, assist Europe with Syrian migrants - Defense News


Erdoğan says patience running out in Syria, Turkey could take action - todayszaman.com


Can Erdogan bully Turkey's armed forces into invading Syria? - Al-Monitor


Turkey threatens to open the gates and send refugees to Europe - Telegraph


US ignores Erdoğan’s call, insists on partnership with Syrian Kurds - todayszaman.com


Kurdish fighters surround rebel stronghold of Azaz in northern Aleppo (Map update) - almasdarnews.com


Saudi Arabia says it has made a 'final' decision to send troops into Syria - Business Insider


VIDEO (English): Saudi military spokesman: Decision to send troops in Syria ‘final’ - Al Arabiya English


New Saudi-led coalition against ‘terrorism’ to meet - nation.com.pk


Iraq PM says sending ground troops to Syria would be 'dangerous escalation’, comments aimed at Sunni Arab countries that have said they are prepared to enter the fray - Yahoo News


Iraq appreciates Russia’s support in freeing its territory from terrorists: minister - TASS


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

Focus: Syria News - Feb 11, 2016


Syrian government forces 25 kilometers from Turkey's border - VOA


Damascus aims to secure Syria's border with Turkey and recapture Aleppo with its latest military offensive: Assad adviser - Reuters


Wounded Syrian rebels say Russia crippling their insurgency - Yahoo News


Nusra Front jihadists reinforce other rebels during key battle in Aleppo province - The Long War Journal


Russia, pressed to end Syria bombing, proposes March truce - Reuters


Backed by Russian airstrikes Syrian Kurds seize air base held by insurgents - Telegraph


Kurdish YPG recaptures towns from Islamic group in the northern countryside of Aleppo - Kurdpress News Aganecy


Syrian Kurds to continue working with Russia to halt illegal oil to Turkey - sputniknews.com


Syrian Kurdistan mission opens in Moscow - RT News


PYD chief Salih Muslim meets Russian deputy FM, Moscow stresses on Kurdish participation in peace talks - Kurdpress News Aganecy

 

Syrian Kurds plan opening missions in US, EU - TASS


Opposition group attacks funeral of Syrian President’s mother - Al Bawaba

 

-------------------------------------------------

US Won't Intervene in Syrian-Russian Assault on Aleppo: Pentagon - Military.com


Pentagon Spy Chief: Russia’s Airstrikes ‘Change Syria Calculus Completely’ - Antiwar.com


United States has no desire to confront Russian air power in the skies above Syria - Stratfor


Syrian Opposition Groups Sense U.S. Support Fading - The New York Times


French Foreign Minister Quits, Lashes Out at Obama on Syria - VICE News


Turkey's Erdogan chastises U.S. over support for Syrian Kurds, says failure to understand the essence of the PYD and YPG caused a 'sea of blood' - Reuters


Turkey summons US envoy over comments on Kurdish PYD in Syria - todayszaman.com


Turkey's Syria strategy in ruins as Aleppo teeters - CNN.com


Syria invasion plan? Turkey will defend its ‘Aleppo brothers,’ says PM Davutoglu - RT News


Turkey Sees Russia's Syria Tactics as 'Ethnic Cleansing' - VOA


Turkish President Erdoğan hosts urgent security summit with top officials - hurriyetdailynews.com


Turkey, Saudi Arabia to hold joint drills, military sources deny such a planning - hurriyetdailynews.com


Lavrov: US-led coalition will not allow Turkey’s invasion of Syria - todayszaman.com


Lavrov: ISIL, Turkey discussing new smuggling ways across Syrian-Turkish borders - almanar.com


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

Focus: Russia, Turkey and Syria - Feb 5, 2016


Backed by Russian jets Syrian Army closes in on Aleppo, peace talks in Geneva put on hold because of the offensive - huffingtonpost.com


UN Security Council to meet Friday with UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura on the breakdown in Syria peace talks - Yahoo News


Kerry demands Russia halt Syria bombing after talks suspended - Yahoo News


Lavrov: Russia won’t stop strikes until terrorists defeated, shutting off arms smuggling through Turkey border key condition for ceasefire - RT


The military and political significance of Aleppo: the insurgency and its backers who are stuck in a morass - atlanticcouncil.org


VIDEO: Syrian Army breaks 3-year siege of 2 Shiite villages in Aleppo - RT


VIDEO (Raw): Shiite villages Nubul and Al-Zahraa welcome Syrian army troops after 3 years in siege  - alalam.ir


VIDEO: Streams of Syrian refugees from Aleppo try to reach Turkey - LiveLeak.com


Iranian Colonel, 12 elite Guards killed in battle for Aleppo - THE DAILY STAR


Russian aviation attacks almost 900 targets in Syria since February 1: Defense Ministry - TASS


Russia’s advanced Su-35S fighter jet deployed to Syria sends a message to Turkey - TASS


Russia content with cooperation with Israel over military operation in Syria - TASS


Putin meets ‘old friend’ Kissinger visiting Russia - RT News


Kissinger op-ed: Russia should be perceived as an essential element of any new global equilibrium - The National Interest

 

---------------------------------------------------------

Russia Accuses Turkey of Preparing to Invade Syria - The New York Times


VIDEO (English subs): Russian spokesman: Turkey preparing armed forces for military intervention in Syria (Starts at 2:20 min) - YouTube


Russia and Assad may have just delivered a decisive blow to Turkey by cutting off its supply line to Syrian opposition groups - Business Insider


Turkey’s problems in Aleppo: The loss of this territory directly impacts Ankara interests in northern Syria - atlanticcouncil.org


Kurdish YPG advances in N. Syria, Ankara’s red lines crossed - todayzaman.com


Confirmed: At the urging of an American contingent, Syrian Kurds are expanding an airbase in northeast Syria - VOA


US envoy meets with allied Syrian Kurds to step up fight against IS - VOA


Number of ISIS Fighters in Iraq and Syria Drops, Increases in Libya: US Official - ABC News


How the Islamic State is still seeping through Syria-Turkey border - Al-Monitor


Turkey says Syria peace talks pointless while Russian attacks continue - todayszaman.com


Russia won't forget Turkey ‘aiding terrorists’: Lavrov - The Moscow Times


Turkey, Saudi deepen defense relations during Davutoğlu visit - todayszaman.com


Military spokesman: Saudi ready to join ground operation in Syria provided U.S.led coalition agrees - Al Arabiya English


VIDEO (English Subs): Saudi military spokesman Asiri discusses stance on Yemen, Syria wars - Al Arabiya English


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

Overwhelmed: Syrian Refugee Crisis in Context

Video conference | Wednesday 27 January | 12 Noon (Eastern)

With Raed Jarrar, Giovanna Negretti, Layla Razavi

http://afsc.org/hangouts/overwhelmed-syrian-refugee-crisis-context

*****

Since 2011, more than 4 million people have fled Syria to escape war and violence, and millions more have been internally displaced.

The Syrian refugee crisis gained worldwide attention last year as European countries were forced to deal with the rising influx of refugees. In the United States, we’ve seen a rise in anti-refugee rhetoric in communities across the country, and many policymakers are still calling for xenophobic measures that would shut the door on Syrian refugees.

How did we get to this point, and what’s the way forward?

Join AFSC staff for a live-streamed conversation to learn about the root causes of the crisis, the people seeking refuge, and how we can work toward peaceful, inclusive solutions.

Panelists include:


  • Raed Jarrar, government relations manager at AFSC’s Office of Public Policy and Advocacy in Washington, D.C. Raed has worked on political and cultural issues pertaining to U.S. engagement in the Arab and Muslim worlds and is widely recognized as an expert on political, social, and economic developments in the Middle East.

    Giovanna Negretti, AFSC’s Middle East regional director, based in Amman, Jordan. Giovanna has held leadership positions in a variety of U.S.-based NGOs and government commissions. In November, she joined a fact-finding mission led by the Nobel Women’s Initiative to learn about the experiences of women and families on the refugee trail from Syria to Germany.

    Layla Razavi, director of Human Migration and Mobility, who coordinates AFSC’s immigrant rights programs across the U.S. Prior to joining AFSC, she served as advocacy and policy counsel at the ACLU where she researched the constitutionality of legislative proposals and developed integrated strategies to protect immigrants’ rights.

Syria/Turkey News - Jan 21, 2016

 

U.S., Russia fail to bridge Syria gap, Moscow considers two Islamist militias backed by Gulf states and Turkey as terrorist groups - Bloomberg


Syria's opposition says cannot attend talks if third party joins, only its council can choose the opposition delegation - Reuters


U.N. Envoy Signals That Riyadh Is Obstructing Syria Peace Talks - Foreign Policy


Davutoglu: Turkey will not allow Syrian Kurds to join Geneva gathering alongside the opposition, only 'on the regime side' - Kurdpress Aganecy


Syrian Kurdish leader warns it won’t respect Geneva Conference decisions if receives no invitation - Kurdpress Aganecy 


Top U.S. General says Russian strikes in Syria stabilized Assad, American-led coalition made gains against Islamic State - New York Times


Millions in 'Daesh cash' destroyed in US strikes, Pentagon has released videos of huge blasts of what it says are cash-collection facilities - Yahoo News


North East Syria: American forces begin to operate out of Remelan airport, a launching pad for bombarding areas controlled by the Islamic State - syrianobserver.com


US reportedly considering training base in northeast Syria - NOW


Daraa FSA rebels ordered by Jordanian, US and British intelligence officials to stop fighting Syria regime, to focus their efforts against Al-Nusra Front: report - NOW


The CIA’s secret Syria program: There should be a Congressional hearing on CIA-armed groups collaborating with Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front - The Daily Beast


Russian bombs take toll in Syria as Islamic State under pressure - Yahoo News


Russian air force strikes Syrian city besieged by Islamic State, delivers aid - Yahoo News


Russia considering airbase in Syria’s Qamishli: monitor - NOW


The secret contract between Russia and Syria that gives Moscow carte blanche (Text in Russian included) - The Washington Post


ISIS cuts fighters’ salaries by half due to ‘exceptional circumstances’ (VIDEO) - NBC


Islamic State's double standards sow growing disillusion, ‘It’s a gang pretending to be a state’ - AP


British mother Tareena Shakil who fled with toddler to Syria to join ISIS breaks down, says Raqqa was hell (VIDEO) - Daily Mail Online


Zaman Al Wasl obtains names, nationalities and jihadi backgrounds of ISIS fighters, the leaked documents will be published very soon - Zaman Al Wasl

 

-----------------------------------------------------------

Turkish President Rules Out Return to Peace Process With Kurdish PKK, Says The Organization Will Be Liquidated - VOA


Probe launched into Turkey’s main opposition leader for calling president ‘sham dictator’ - hurriyetdailynews.com


Pro-Kurdish HDK accuses President Erdoğan of staging a coup in Turkey - todayszaman.com


Pro-Kurdish HDP says its politicians caught in line of fire in Cizre, 10 people injured - todayszaman.com


Erdogan warns Turkey academics to pay price over critical petition criticizing his policies in the Kurdish southeast - THE DAILY STAR


Ankara's mayor declares US ambassador persona non grata after his support for freedom of expression for academics - Al-Monitor


Turkish academics’ call on the government to stop its ongoing military operations in the Southeast finds abundant support in foreign universities - todayszaman.com


American Political Science Association calls on Erogan to respect academic freedom, expressing its deepest concern over crackdown on critics of the government policies - todayszaman.com


Turkey infiltrates Syria, eyewitnesses report that the Turkish forces have not encountered any resistance from ISIS fighters - Jerusalem Post


Security sources deny Turkish troops entered Syria, claim soldiers were clearing land mines near border - aa.com


Turkey bombs Kurdish headquarters in northern Syria - ARA News


Clash erupts between FSA-affiliated Syrian Turkmen and Kurdish forces in northern Syria - Kurdpress News Aganecy


Ankara warned US of Kurdish presence west of River Euphrates, Turkey fears a YPG presence along its entire border with Syria - Rudaw


Jailed journalists in Turkey say arrest aimed at gagging press, they uncovered a story about intelligence officials transporting arms to Syria rebel groups - huffingtonpost.com


ARCHIVE: Review of Turkish MPs allegations that their government avoided investigating purchase by Nusra of chemicals for production of sarin used in the 2013 Goutha attack - Who Attacked Ghouta?


Iraqi FM calls Turkey’s military presence in his country ‘unbearable’ - todayszaman.com


3 prominent journalists targeted in Erdoğan insult cases - todayszaman.com


Turkey jails woman for 'obscene hand gesture at Erdogan' - Yahoo News


Trial of judges set to begin 9 months after incarceration, they were jailed for rulings on far-reaching graft probes against the government and the Erdogan family - todayszaman.com


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

Syria/Russia News - Dec 26, 2015

 

Islamic State and Nusra Front 'to quit Damascus suburbs' under truce deal with Syrian government - France 24


Islamic State, Nusra Fighters Begin Turning in Heavy Arms Outside Syrian Capital Damascus - sputniknews.com


Syrian army narrows ring around militants in Damascus suburbs: Russia’s General Staff - TASS


Supply Cut Off: Syrian Army Cuts Damascus Smuggling Route - sputniknews.com


Top Syrian rebel Zahran Alloush killed in Damascus suburb, conflicting reports whether it was a Russian or Syrian airstrike - CBC News


VIDEO: Footage of the airstrikes that targeted Zahran Aloush and other rebel commanders - facebook.com


VIDEO: First Video of Zahran Alloush's Corpse - LiveLeak.com


PHOTO: Photo of Zahran Alloush Dead - twitter.com/sfean_alhmwi


ARCHIVE: Analysis of videos claiming Zahran Alloush's Liwa Al-Islam was responsible for the August 21, 2013 sarin attack - Who Attacked Ghouta?


VIDEO ARCHIVE: Videos allegedly showing Zahran Alloush’s Liwa Al Islam firing sarin from Jobar onto East Ghouta - Who Attacked Ghouta?


Turkish ‘traitor’ MP’s revelations on sarin transfers to Syrian rebels must be probed, reported to UNSC: Moscow - RT News


Syrian minister says world powers must stop fighters entering from Turkey and Jordan - Yahoo News


Syria ready to take part in Geneva peace talks: minister - Reuters


Beijing and Damascus agree on 3 principles for peace process in Syria - TASS


Pope Francis pushes for UN-backed end to Syrian conflict - DW.COM


Hezbollah holds recruiting push for war in Syria - AP


US-Backed Fighters in Syria Capture Areas in North From IS - ABC News


ISIL lost 5,000 square miles of territory largely in Northern Syria and Iraq, a net loss this year of 14% of what it had conquered - usatoday.com

 

Special Forces reportedly recover ISIS fatwa supporting organ harvesting - Fox News

 

--------------------------------------------------

Russia says its strikes reduce oil smuggling to Turkey - Yahoo News


Militants in Syria change illegal oil trade routes: Russian Defense Ministry - TASS


Russian intel spots 12,000 oil tankers & trucks on Turkey-Iraq border: General Staff (VIDEOS) - RT News


VIDEO: Russian jets bomb ISIS oil tankers in Syria - RT News


Obama adviser: US develops plan to close oil trafficking corridor at Turkish-Syrian border - TASS


Russia Won't Stop Bombing in Syria after Cease-fire between Government and Opposition, “War on IS and Other Terrorist Groups” Will Continue - AP


Russian Aviation in Syria Completed 5,240 Sorties Since Operation Beginning - sputniknews.com


Russia killed hundreds of civilians in Syria, Amnesty says - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


REPORT (Full): Syria: Russia’s shameful failure to acknowledge civilian killings - Amnesty International


Russia rejects Amnesty charges over Syria raids - BBC News


Pentagon Rejects Russian Proposal to Share Intelligence on Daesh Positions until Moscow Changes its Position with Regard to Syrian President Bashar Assad - sputniknews.com


Russia, Qatar agree to encourage Syrian opposition to talk to govt - Yahoo News


No plans for establishing Islamic armed forces of anti-IS coalition: Qatari FM - TASS


Russia and India support Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity: joint statement - TASS


Pakistan Joins Russia, Condemns Any Attempts to Topple Assad in Syria - sputniknews.com


Russian FM hosts Turkey pro-Kurdish party leader for Syria talks and Moscow's potential support for Kurdish groups fighting Islamic State jihadists - Yahoo News


Russia, Taliban share intelligence in ISIS fight - CNN.com


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

It's Nobody's Business But the Turks -- NOT!

 

 


A Call for Proof on Syria-Sarin Attack

 

 

One reason why Official Washington continues to insist that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “must go” is that he supposedly “gassed his own people” with sarin on Aug. 21, 2013, but the truth of that allegation has never been established and is in growing doubt, U.S. intelligence veterans point out.

MEMORANDUM FOR: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Sarin Attack at Ghouta on Aug. 21, 2013

Syria News - Dec 16, 2015


In major policy shift Kerry says US not seeking ‘regime change' in Syria, U.S. and Russia see the conflict 'fundamentally very similarly' - ABC


VIDEO: Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Lavrov Hold a Press Conference in Moscow (Kerry speech starts at 4:10 min) - YouTube


TRANSCRIPT: Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Lavrov Hold a Press Conference in Moscow - state.gov


Syria conflict: US and Russia signal new push at UN, to pass a resolution endorsing the Syria peace process - BBC News


Russia, US military chiefs discuss Syria air space cooperation: agencies - THE DAILY STAR


US defense chief urges Turkey to do more in anti-ISIL fight, says most significant contribution would be sealing its border with Syria - Hurriyet


EXCLUSIVE: Sarin materials brought via Turkey & mixed in Syrian camps of ISIS which was known as Iraqi Al Qaeda during that time: Turkish MP to RT - RT News


Obama: ISIS Has Lost 40 Percent of Iraq Territory, and More in Syria - WTXF


U.S. Bombing of ISIS Oil Facilities Showing Progress - TIME


US-backed Free Syrian Army groups on verge of collapse - Stripes


Russia Names Four Free Syrian Army Groups It Supports with Air Cover in Fight Against ISIS - Haaretz


Syrian opposition provides Russian Air Force with coordinates to target terrorists: MoD - RT News


Russia supplies weapons only to Syrian government army, not to Free Syrian Army: Kremlin - TASS


Russia is bringing its big guns to Syria. Literally. - theweek.com


VIDEO (English Subtitles): Putin: Any forces that threaten Russian militaries in Syria should be exterminated - YouTube


Russian warplanes destroy 6 terrorists’ oil production facilities in Syria - TASS


Syrian troops liberate 9 settlements in Aleppo province: Russian General Staff - TASS

 

----------------------------------------------------

Saudi Arabia creates 34 State Islamic military bloc to fight terror groups - Yahoo News


Saudi Arabia says sending special forces to Syria under discussion by Gulf States - Yahoo News


VIDEO (English Subtitles): Saudi Arabia’s crown prince announces military alliance to fight terrorism - YouTube


VIDEO (Longer version in Arabic): Saudi Arabia’s crown prince announces military alliance to fight terrorism - YouTube


VIDEO (English): Saudi Arabia FM announces new military coalition to fight terrorism - YouTube


Pentagon chief Carter wants more details on new Saudi alliance, senior defense official says the U.S. did not know in advance about it - News-Sentinel.com


No comment from Kremlin on newly-created Islamic coalition: 'It will take some time to analyze this decision. We don’t have detailed information at this point' - TASS

 

Saudi-led Islamic coalition role leaves Lebanon govt in shreds, PM hails move while FM oppose it  - THE DAILY STAR


Interview with the rebel commander of Damascus Zahran Alloush, head of the Army of Islam - The Daily Beast


VIDEO (full version in Arabic): Jabhat a-Nusra leader al-Jolani criticizes the Riyadh conference of the Syrian opposition in an interview, denounces participating rebel factions as ‘treasonous’ - YouTube


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

Syria News - Dec 10, 2015


Defense Sec. Ash Carter tells Senate Committee ISIS is not contained, but cites advances to take away control of territory from it - CBS News


VIDEO: Defense Secretary Ash Carter: We have not contained ISIS, but we are building momentum - YouTube


Defeating ISIS globally and at home requires leveraging it in its “parent tumor” of Syria and Iraq: Defense Secretary Ash Carter - defense.gov


Defense Sec: US combat troops would ‘Americanize’ conflict in Iraq and Syria, we could well turn people into fighting us instead - Freebeacon.com


VIDEO: Carter Cautions US Ground Troops Would 'Americanize' ISIS Fight - defensenews.com


In Testimony Before the Senate Armed Services Committee, General Admits Syrian and Russian Opposition Scuttles No-Fly Zone - US News


VIDEO: US-Enforced No-Fly Zone over Syria Risks Conflict with Russia: General - YouTube


VIDEO: Full hearing of Defense Secretary Ashton Carter testimony before the Senate Armed Service Committee - YouTube


Reckless onslaught could aid ISIL, U.S. military warns that killing civilians could bolster terrorist ranks - POLITICO


U.S. Intel Report to Obama: ISIS will spread worldwide unless it suffers a significant loss of territory on the battlefield in Iraq and Syria - The Daily Beast


IS Opens New Supply Route Between Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq - VOA


Syria′s fractious opposition meets in Saudi capital to unify stance ahead of peace talks - DW.COM


Major differences surface among the Syrian opposition in Riyadh - GulfNews.com


Assad must face justice, Ahrar Al Sham tells Syrian opposition in Riyadh - The National


Kurds, opposition summit in Syrian Kurdistan - ekurd.net


Riyadh, Rumeilan, and Damascus: All You Need to Know About Syria’s Opposition Conferences - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


Demand for setting date of Assad’s resignation contradicts international law: Lavrov - TASS

 

-------------------------------------------------

Russian submarine launches cruise missiles in Syria, targeting two major IS positions in the territory of Raqqa - defensenews.com


VIDEO: Watch Russian Sub Firing Cruise Missiles Against ISIS in Syria - NBC News


Kalibr sea-launched missiles prove their efficiency, accuracy: Russian Defense Ministry - TASS


Russian Submarine Notches Milestone With Syria Missile Strike - Fortune


US: Russia Gave Warning of Syria Cruise Missile Strikes - defensenews.com


Comprehensive Infographic about the Russian Intervention in Syria, December 2015 Update - Offiziere.ch


Turkish PM accuses Russia of 'ethnic cleansing' in Syria - Reuters


Russia asks: Why is Turkey bombing Kurds in Syria who are US allies - Rudaw


Putin invites UK to investigate black box recovered from Russian jet downed by Turkey in Syria - ibtimes.co.in


Syrian rebels leave Homs as under truce deal with Assad (PHOTOS) - Daily Mail Online


VIDEO: Syria rebels start leaving Homs district under truce deal - YouTube


Evacuation of Homs district a boost for Syrian government - irishtimes.com


Pro-regime demonstration to demand release of kidnapped relatives in Homs deal - Syria Direct


Nusra fighters surrender to regime in south Syria province of Daraa - NOW


9 Nusra militants killed in Lebanon-Syria border clash with Hezbollah - THE DAILY STAR


Heavy clashes erupt between Kurdish and Nusra forces in Aleppo - Kurdpress News Aganecy


Syria's Assad admits sending weapons to PYD - aa.com


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

NATO Defending Turkey – ISIS Oil Trade

turkeyoil

By reinforcing the Turkish military presence along the routes of ISIS oil to Turkey, NATO is protecting the illicit ISIS oil trade that supports the reviled terrorist organization.

(Washington, DC 12/02) NATO announced Tuesday that it would send patrol aircraft and missile defense systems to bolster Turkey’s air defenses at that nation’s border with Syria. This announcement was made on the same day that the Russian Defense Ministry produced satellite imagery and other evidence showing what has been claimed for months, namely that Turkey is receiving oil sent by truck from ISIS oil wells in Iraq and Syria.  (Image)

The United States government dismissed the Russian evidence consisting of images of miles of oil trucks originating at ISIS oil wells then crossing the Turkish border. ISIS oil ends up at two primary destinations, the Batman oil refinery in southeastern Turkey and Mediterranean ports near Turkey’s Adana province. The value of the oil trade via Turkey is estimated between $50 and $100 million a month. Without this income, ISIS would face considerable obstacles to its ongoing military aggression, terrorist activities around the world, and subjugation of Syrians and Iraqis living under ISIS rule.

War with Russia or with ISIS: What ever happened to peace?

According to the Nation magazine and many others, there are two options available to the U.S. government. One is increased hostility perhaps leading to nuclear war with Russia. The other is a joint U.S.-Russia-and-others war on ISIS.

Many in the United States who generally oppose war and who look for information outside the U.S. corporate media manage to recognize the U.S. focus on overthrowing the Syrian government, with Iran next on the list. They notice the lack of U.S. concern over Saudi and Turkish assistance to ISIS. And at least in the backs of their minds they remember that the destruction of Iraq was the critical ingredient in the creation of ISIS. But they've been as frightened by the beheading videos as any Donald Trump fanatic screaming for the eradication of Muslims -- all right, maybe a bit less frightened, but still very frightened. So they find refuge in the idea that Russia really wants to destroy ISIS, and they urge the United States to help. The alternative of war with Russia is unthinkable. But why in the world should that be the only alternative?

A Russian media outlet, no doubt hoping I would advocate a unified war on ISIS, sent me these questions on Thursday. First they wanted me to comment on this remark by President Vladimir Putin: "Today we are again facing the destructive barbaric ideology and we do not have the right to allow that the newly found obscurantists reach their goals. We need to throw away all arguments and differences to create one powerful fist, a united antiterrorist front which would act on the basis of international law and under the UN auspices."

Second, they wanted me to comment on these statements by Putin: "Russia has many old, reliable friends in Turkey, who should know we don't put them on level with ruling top officials." and "Russia knows who in Turkey [is] making money on stolen oil, recruiting fighters."

I sent back these answers, asking them to use all or nothing, which I suspected meant they would use nothing:

1. What President Putin proposes and many even on the left in the United States support, a united front against terrorism sounds right until you examine the details. He means a united war, a united bombing of people's homes, a united counterproductive effort to make things better that will make things worse, using large scale terrorism to produce more small scale terrorism. This may be better than a disunited front. It's certainly better than a nuclear confrontation between Russia and the maniacs so respectably running Washington D.C. straight toward armageddon, but it's not a solution to the problem, it's not an alternative to destructive cycles of violence, it's just a different spin on the same wheel.

2. Washington would rather be wrong than agree with Russia. NATO would rather die than agree with Russia, for if it agrees with Russia it loses its reason to exist and dies anyway. What does bringing the world down with it matter? Yes, of course, the United States is less interested in destroying ISIS than in destroying Syria, but a big strong united focus on destroying ISIS will never destroy ISIS. It will only spread it across the globe. Imagine the a united front kills everyone in half of Syria and Iraq, as would have to be done to destroy ISIS. Muslim hatred of the United States would sweep the globe and Muslim hatred of Russia, and bombs in Russian airplanes, right along with it. Is that what Putin wants? Is that what Russians want? A united attempt to actually seriously reduce, rather than increase, terrorism would establish a ceasefire, an arms embargo, humanitarian aid, assistance to refugees, and the sort of intense investment in green energy that right now only goes into killing people.

To these comments I received the reply:

"I would use all, personally. Some of the things you wrote here, I’m afraid, are controversial for our editorial board as the main idea here in Russia is that it is 'better to fight IS in Syria and Iraq than on Russian territory.' Many Islamist volunteers from Northern Caucasus promise to come back to Russia and kill innocent people in terrorist acts. We have lost a full plane of civilians flying from Cairo and many people here are afraid. However, I promise to send your message (which I think was your main point) that 'a big strong united focus on destroying ISIS will never destroy ISIS.' This quote I will necessarily include. Thank you for your understanding!"

Sound familiar? Fight em there, not here. Use blowback to justify escalation. Where have we seen this movie before?

I failed to be understanding and asked them to use nothing of my quote rather than part of it. They agreed to use nothing, no hard feelings. I encouraged them to think about this:

Generating more terrorism is not a solution to terrorism, and the excuse of being scared and unable to think straight still leaves mistaken thinking. The United States has demonstrated these mistakes for years now. I remember when Russians pointed out that the United States had made all of Russia's earlier mistakes in Afghanistan and moved on to new ones; that was right, and the United States refused to listen. Don't, Russia, make all of the U.S. mistakes in Iraq and start inventing your own. This path leads to hell.

I sent that to my Russian journalist friend who was sounding identical to a war-supporting American of exactly the sort that peace activists usually disagree with. The next response I received only heightened the similarity with U.S. war advocates and U.S. media:

"I personally agree however I do not understand how could we stop Islamic State. What is your recipe?"

Sigh.

I sent back this:

I've been answering this for well over a year many dozens of times at http://davidswanson.org

Here's my latest.

Here's Johan Galtung's answer.

Here's an organizational answer from last October.

Here's an answer this week from a former ISIS prisoner.

Here are former U.S. officials explaining how what they did until the moment they retired was counterproductive.

I got back: "Thanks, I'll read that."

I believe that was sincere. But I wonder what the "editorial board" will read. I suspect Russian and U.S. editorial boards could swap their reading lists and hardly notice, just like ISIS and anti-ISIS fighters swapping the U.S. bullets in their U.S. guns.

Focus: Syria News - Dec 2, 2015


Defense chief Carter before the House Armed Services Committee: US sending more special forces to fight Islamic State in Iraq and Syria - AP


VIDEO: Ash Carter before the House Armed Services Committee: More U.S. special operators headed to Syria - CNN


Joint Chiefs chairman Dunford: We have not contained ISIL, it has spread beyond Iraq and Syria to other countries - TheHill


VIDEO: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Dunford: 'We have not contained ISIL' - YouTube


VIDEO: Ashton Carter, Joseph Dunford full testimony before the House Armed Services Committee - C-SPAN.org


Sen. Murphy critical of plan to send additional special ops forces to Syria, Iraq - Hartford Courant


Obama touts progress against ISIS, sets low expectations for Russian cooperation saying Putin unlikely to do '180 turn' - Fox News


VIDEO: Obama sets low expectations for Russian cooperation on Syria - Yahoo News


Obama: We need Turkey to secure its border with Syria, to prevent ISIS to transport fuel and foreign fighters - Breitbart


U.S. air campaign cripples ISIL oil industry in Syria - usatoday.com


Clinton on Russians:  "I want them at the table. They don't have to participate in it, but I want them to understand that there has to be safe areas [i.e. no-fly zones] on the ground” (VIDEO) - TheHill


Did Hillary Clinton think a military victory against Assad was possible in Syria (VIDEO) ? - CBS News


US-backed alliance of Kurds and Arabs fight deadly clashes in Aleppo province with Islamist including Nusra - Yahoo News


U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces recapture new Hasakah areas from ISIS - ARA News


As US-backed Kurdish-Arab alliance prepares to storm Shaddadi, tribal leaders ask ISIS to withdraw to avoid civilian casualties - ARA News

 

-----------------------------------------------------------

Russia adding 2nd airbase in Syria, pursuing 'expansion' in military campaign - Fox News


With the new airbase, the Russian air force in Syria is expected to double in the number of aircraft, additional 1,000 soldiers deployed - Daily Sabah


More information on the new Russian military base in Syria - InformNapalm.org


Russian Su-34 fighters carrying air-to-air missiles in Syria for the first time (VIDEO) - UPI.com


Pentagon warns Russia’s against arming its warplanes in Syria with air-to-air missiles - TASS


Russia S-400 missile system sends robust signal: 248 mi. range, 3 mi. per second speed, tracking hundreds of targets simultaneously up to 19 mi. height - BBC


Israel’s defence minister Ya'alon: Russian air defence missile system in Syria is not a threat - middleeastmonitor.com


Netanyahu, Putin Meet to Discuss Coordination of Air Forces in Syria - Washington Free Beacon


Vladimir Putin claims Turkey shot down Russian jet to protect oil trade with Isil (VIDEO) - Telegraph


Exclusive: Russia may freeze Turkish Stream gas project: Gazprom sources - Reuters


Russian Su-24M Jet Attack: Moscow Accuses NATO Of ‘Politically’ Covering Turkey - ibtimes.com


NATO allies seek to strengthen Turkey's defences - Reuters


Xi, Putin to enhance anti-terrorism cooperation - Business Standard News


Syria's government and opposition forces reach a deal for rebels to leave the last part of Homs city under their control - Yahoo News


Starving residents leave Qudsiya as rebels mull deal to end blockade - Syria Direct


Syria's Assad says Russia's support changes balance on the ground - Jerusalem Post


TRANSCRIPT: President al-Assad Interview to Czech TV - Syrian Arab News Agency


In unexpected twist, Assad ally may be Lebanon's next president - Jerusalem Post


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

 

On reading Mumia in gaol: Torture and Other Abuses Make Turkey as American as Apple Pie

By Linn Washington, Jr.

 

On the topic of torture the nation of Turkey could teach some gruesome techniques to ISIS, the terrorist movement executing a savage reign across Syria and beyond (reportedly with Turkish government support).

The real reason for Turkey's shoot-down of the Russian jet

By Gareth Porter, Middle East Eye

 

The data supports Putin's assertion that the shoot-down was prepared in advance due to Russian bombing of Turkey-linked rebels in Syria.

 

The United States and its NATO allies offered a ritual of NATO unity after Turkish officials presented their case that the shoot-down of a Russian jet occurred after two planes had penetrated Turkish airspace.

The Turkish representive reportedly played a recording of a series warning the Turkish F16 pilots had issued to the Russian jets without a Russian response, and US and other NATO member states endorsed Turkey’s right to defend its airspace.

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.

Speaking Events

David Swanson at St. Michael’s College, Colchester, VT, October 5, 2016.

David Swanson in Fairbanks, Alaska, October 22, 2016.

Find Events Here.

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