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What about violence from the Clinton campaign?


By Michael Collins

Some rough housing at a Democratic Party convention in Nevada over the weekend shocked party leaders and the mainstream media. The official custodians of propriety demand that Sanders control his followers and denounce their actions. The double standard on this issue is simply appalling since the Clinton campaign represents failed policies that got 350,000 killed and future plans (the “no fly zone” for Syria) that will cost even more lives. (Image)

To be specific, Hillary Clinton’s policies, as secretary of state, helped launch the Libyan regime change operation. To date, 100,000 Libyans are dead due to that foreign policy fiasco. Clinton was the tip of the spear for the “Assad must go” movement resulting in major support for extremist jihadist fighters attacking the sovereign state of Syria. Why? Because Assad didn’t just amble off when then Secretary of State Clinton commanded him to he leave his office and nation. The death toll in Syria is 250,000.

In sum, Hillary Clinton’s past policies and efforts resulted in 350,000 dead people. She is the only remaining presidential candidate with a major death toll.

Seymour Hersh Erases Public's Role on Syria

By David Swanson, American Herald Tribune

Seymour Hersh 8891d

We once again owe the great reporter Seymour Hersh a serious debt for his reporting, in this case for his London Review of Books articles on President Barack Obama's war making, now published as a book called The Killing of Osama bin Laden. Despite the title, three of the four articles are about Syria.

But there is a shortcoming in how Hersh tells history, as in how many reporters do. I've watched Hersh do interviews about the topic on Democracy Now and never once heard him mention the U.S. public. In his book, the public gets one mention: "The proposed American missile attack on Syria never won public support, and Obama turned quickly to the UN and the Russian proposal for dismantling the Syrian chemical warfare complex." Taken in isolation, that sentence suggests what I think is an important causal relationship. Taken in the context of a book that spends many pages offering other explanations for Obama's decision, that one sentence seems to be simply stating two unrelated incidents in chronological order.

A few sentences later, Hersh writes that Obama had claimed to have evidence of Bashar al Assad's guilt in a chemical weapons attack, but then turned to Congress for a vote and accepted Assad's offer to give up chemical weapons. From this, Hersh concludes that Obama must have been made aware of evidence contradicting his claim. (In fact, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper supposedly rather pointedly told Obama that his claim was "not a slam dunk.") Elsewhere Hersh credits Obama's decision not to bomb Syria to "military leaders who thought that going to war was both unjustified and potentially dangerous." Hersh writes that a report contradicting Obama's chemical weapons claims led the joint chiefs of staff to warn Obama that attacking Syria could be "an unjustified act of aggression."

You may be wondering which of the seven wars Obama is now engaged in isn't an unjustified act of aggression, or how a chemical weapons attack would make a war into a justified act of aggression, but Hersh also cites a DIA assessment in 2013 that overthrowing Syria could create a Libya-like disaster -- something that a 2012 DIA assessment also warned was in the making. But, one might ask, where is the public uproar or any other sort of consequence for the White House from the fact that Obama blatantly lied about a Libyan threat to massacre civilians in Benghazi and used that lie to create the current disaster in Libya? What has been the downside to the president of having lied about a mountaintop rescue in order to get into more warmaking in Iraq and Syria? How have endless lies about Ukraine or drone strikes come back to bite the prevaricator in chief? What would have been different about getting caught lying about a chemical weapons attack in Syria? And with those lies having in fact been told and being now well-exposed by Hersh and others, is it possible to find a dozen Americans and a dog who give a damn?

The difference was this. Public pressure had made the 2003 U.S. attack on Iraq illegal and shameful, powerful enough to toss out Congressional majorities in 2006 and to deny Hillary Clinton a nomination in 2008. Syria 2013 resembled Iraq 2003 in too many ways. WMD lies were still unstable ground. Other types of lies were much preferred. Secretive wars and slow buildups would be better tolerated. A new shock and awe over WMD lies, entering a new war on the side of al Qaeda, with the strongest supporters of such madness actually opposed in this case because the president was a Democrat -- all of this was just too weak a proposal for the public. Once the question was made a public debate, with true war mongers screaming for Obama to uphold his "red line," the public made more phone calls, sent more emails, and challenged more Congress members at public meetings over this question than over any other question ever before in history. And Congress members were heard saying they didn't want to go on record as having voted for "another Iraq."

Now, that may explain why Congress made clear it would vote No if forced to vote. But what determined the emperor's decision to tell Congress to take a vote (a role not actually assigned to presidents in the U.S. Constitution)? Here's where it helps to read Chapter 1 of Hersh's bin Laden book, the chapter on the killing of bin Laden. This is a chapter largely dedicated to President Obama's mad and reckless rush to violate various policies, outrage various bureaucrats, burn Pakistani relations, endanger sources, and generate various falsehoods that would have to be corrected, in order to as quickly as possible announce to the public that he had slain the terrible dragon. Obama falsely claimed that bin Laden was engaged in running a major terrorist organization and had been armed and killed in a shoot out. In fact, bin Laden was an irrelevant old invalid, unarmed, unguarded, and murdered in cold blood. Obama also lied about how bin Laden had been found, which facilitated lies to the effect that torture had accomplished something, a lie put into the movie Zero Dark Thirty by the CIA. Never directly mentioned in this saga is the looming presence of the U.S. public, the entity to which Obama went running head over heels to blurt out his news and plead for a triumphal arch to be built in his honor.

U.S. politicians have a very odd and corrupt relationship with the public, as has that public with itself. Numerous actions are taken on behalf of donors in stark opposition to the public will. But public opinion remains a major focus for politicians. Perhaps Hersh considers the point too obvious to mention, or perhaps he considers it false. He doesn't say. But he should be aware that much of the public considers it false, that even peace activists who try to pressure politicians for peace often believe they have no impact. Hersh must also be aware that politicians go out of their way to pretend that the public has no impact.

Hersh is clear that the decision to proceed with eliminating Syria's chemical weapons came after the decision not to bomb. But he paints the decision not to bomb as an internal decision focused on picking the policy that would have the best results and be based on accurate information. He cannot be unaware that most U.S. government policies are not shaped around those criteria.

The general view of the U.S. public is that "democracy" should be spread around the globe and that any politician who changes their position in response to public demand is shameful and disreputable. Politicians in the United States are applauded for claiming to ignore opinion polls and to act on principle, which they universally claim. "There is probably a perverse pride in my administration," said President Obama, "and I take responsibility for this; this was blowing from the top — that we were going to do the right thing, even if short-term it was unpopular." The identical sentiment has been articulated by nearly every U.S. politician for many years.

In the late 1990s, Lawrence Wittner was researching the anti-nuclear movement of decades past. He interviewed Robert "Bud" McFarlane, President Ronald Reagan's former national security advisor: "Other administration officials had claimed that they had barely noticed the nuclear freeze movement. But when I asked McFarlane about it, he lit up and began outlining a massive administration campaign to counter and discredit the freeze -- one that he had directed. . . . A month later, I interviewed Edwin Meese, a top White House staffer and U.S. attorney general during the Reagan administration. When I asked him about the administration's response to the freeze campaign, he followed the usual line by saying that there was little official notice taken of it. In response, I recounted what McFarlane had revealed. A sheepish grin now spread across this former government official's face, and I knew that I had caught him. 'If Bud says that,' he remarked tactfully, 'it must be true.'"

Admitting to public influence is usually the last thing an elected official wants to do. It's viewed by them and by the public alike as the exact equivalent of admitting to the influence of campaign bribery, . . . er, I mean, contributions. Even well-meaning activists see elections as exactly as corrupting a factor of pure principled politics as lobbyist meetings, proposing as a result such "reforms" as longer terms in office and term limits. And yet, when it comes to the decision not to bomb Syria in 2013 (and instead merely to keep arming and training proxies and searching for other means of more slowly making a bad situation worse), the White House admits to public influence.

This was not merely reading polls, in which the U.S. public opposed arming proxies even more than dropping bombs. But neither was it "doing the right" wonky thing, and the public be damned. Remember, Obama asked the CIA for a report on whether arming proxies had ever "worked," and the report said no it hadn't -- except for that time in Afghanistan (blowback not included). Obama was intent on doing what both the public and the military warned against. But he wouldn't do it in too big and dramatic a manner under a public spotlight with the words "Iraq Part II" flashing on the marquee. Here's a bit of Obama's self-portrait as Saint Francis in The Atlantic:

"But the president had grown queasy. In the days after the gassing of Ghouta, Obama would later tell me, he found himself recoiling from the idea of an attack unsanctioned by international law or by Congress. The American people seemed unenthusiastic about a Syria intervention; so too did one of the few foreign leaders Obama respects, Angela Merkel, the German chancellor. She told him that her country would not participate in a Syria campaign. And in a stunning development, on Thursday, August 29, the British Parliament denied David Cameron its blessing for an attack. John Kerry later told me that when he heard that, 'internally, I went, Oops.'"

Obama is also quoted as listing the House of Commons vote as one of the major factors in his own decision. And then there's Joe blurt-it-out Biden, in the same article:

"When I spoke with Biden recently about the red-line decision, he made special note of this fact. 'It matters to have Congress with you, in terms of your ability to sustain what you set out to do,' he said. Obama 'didn't go to Congress to get himself off the hook. He had his doubts at that point, but he knew that if he was going to do anything, he better damn well have the public with him, or it would be a very short ride.' Congress's clear ambivalence convinced Biden that Obama was correct to fear the slippery slope. 'What happens when we get a plane shot down? Do we not go in and rescue?,' Biden asked. 'You need the support of the American people.'"

Do you? Do these characters care about or want that support on corporate trade agreements or healthcare or climate destruction, on banker bailouts or super delegates or military spending? No, they're happy to ignore minor levels of public activism disempowered by a belief in its own impotence, by the pretense of politicians that it is ignored, and by the partisanship that usually provides cover for roughly half of office holders on any given topic. But when the public is united and energized, when it feels empowered to hold somebody accountable, politicians do still sit up and pay attention.

The influence of the public on the 2013 Syria decision began with the 2003 public uprising that made the United Nations refuse legal cover to attacking Iraq. After Russia and China went along with the pretense of UN cover for attacking Libya in 2011, they refused to do the same on Syria in 2013. This was going to have to be an Iraq-like war without any UN fig leaf.

Public pressure came through the governments of the UK and Germany, and it came principally through Congress. It also poured into the White House directly. It also came through the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and others in the military machinery of Washington who knew what the public response to Iraq had been. None of these people operate in a vacuum. None of them even aspire to be good representatives of majority opinion, either. But it shapes their actions nonetheless, and we should be aware of how it does so. And good reporting, reporting so good that it can no longer even be published in the United States and must find an outlet in London, should not neglect to include mention of the U.S. public -- even if the public's actions are secrets that are by definition sitting right out in the open.

Obama Admits US Military Policy Responsible for Terrorist Attacks in Europe

By Gar Smith

On April 1, 2016 President Barack Obama addressed the closing session of the Nuclear Security Summit and praised "the collective efforts that we've made to reduce the amount of nuclear material that might be accessible to terrorists around the world."

"This is also an opportunity for our nations to remain united and focused on the most active terrorist network at the moment, and that is ISIL," Obama said. Some observers might argue that the US, itself, now represents the world's "most active terrorist network." In doing so, they would merely be echoing the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. who, on April 4, 1967, railed against "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today, my own government."

While Obama hyped the fact that "a majority of the nations here are part of the global coalition against ISIL," he also noted that this same coalition was a major recruiting conduit for ISIS militants. "Just about all of our nations have seen citizens join ISIL in Syria and Iraq," Obama admitted, without offering any thoughts as to why this situation exists.

But Obama's most remarkable comment came with his public admission that US foreign policy and military actions were directly linked to the spike in terror attacks against Western targets in Europe and the US. "As ISIL is squeezed in Syria and Iraq," the president explained, "we can anticipate it lashing out elsewhere, as we've seen most recently and tragically in countries from Turkey to Brussels."

Having established that US-led attacks against ISIS fighters were "squeezing" the jihadists to abandon the besieged cities in Syria and Iraq to wreak havoc inside the cities of NATO's member states, Obama seemed to directly contradict his assessment: "In Syria and Iraq," he declared, "ISIL continues to lose ground. That's the good news."

"Our coalition continues to take out its leaders, including those planning external terrorist attacks. They are losing their oil infrastructure. They are losing their revenues. Morale is suffering. We believe that the flow of foreign fighters into Syria and Iraq has slowed, even as the threat from foreign fighters returning to commit acts of horrific violence remains all too real." [Emphasis added.]

For most Americans, the Pentagon's military assaults on countries thousands of miles from the US border remain little more than a dim and distant distraction—more like a rumor than a reality. But the international monitoring organization,, provides some missing context.

According to Airwars estimates, as of May 1, 2016—over the course of an anti-ISIS campaign that has lasted more than 634 days—the coalition had mounted 12,039 air strikes (8,163 in Iraq; 3,851 in Syria), dropping a total of 41,607 bombs and missiles.

US military reveals 8 civilians died in airstrikes against ISIS between April and July 2015 (Daily Mail).

A Jihadist Links US Killings to Growing Resentment and Revenge Attacks
Obama's link between attacks on ISIS and the bloody blowback on Western streets recently was echoed by British-born Harry Sarfo, a one-time UK postal worker and former ISIS fighter who warned The Independent in an April 29 interview that the US-led bombing campaign against ISIS would only drive more jihadists to launch terror attacks directed at the West.

"The bombing campaign gives them more recruits, more men and children who will be willing to give their lives because they've lost their families in the bombing," Sarfo explained. "For every bomb, there will be someone to bring terror to the West…. They've got plenty of men waiting for Western troops to arrive. For them the promise of paradise is all they want." (The Pentagon has admitted responsibility for several civilian deaths during the period Sarfo says he was in Syria.)

ISIS, for its part, has frequently citied air strikes against its strongholds as the motivation for its attacks on Brussels and Paris—and for its downing of a Russian passenger plane flying out of Egypt.

In November 2015, a group of militants staged a series of attacks that killed 130 people in Paris followed by twin bombings on March 23, 2016 that claimed the lives of another 32 victims in Brussels. Understandably, these attacks received intense coverage in the Western media. Meanwhile, equally horrendous images of civilian victims of US attacks in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq (and US-backed Saudi airstrikes against civilians in Yemen) are seldom seen on front pages or evening news broadcasts in Europe or the US.

By comparison, reports that, in the eight-month period from August 8, 2014 to May 2, 2016, "an overall total of between 2,699 and 3,625 civilian non-combatant fatalities had been alleged from 414 separate reported incidents, in both Iraq and Syria."

"In addition to these confirmed events," Airwars added, "it is our provisional view at Airwars that between 1,113 and 1,691 civilian non-combatants appear likely to have been killed in 172 further incidents where there is fair reporting publicly available of an event—and where Coalition strikes were confirmed in the near vicinity on that date. At least 878 civilians were also reportedly injured in these events. Some 76 of these incidents were in Iraq (593 to 968 reported deaths) and 96 events in Syria (with a reported fatality range of 520 to 723.)"

'Nuclear Security' = Atomic Bombs for the West
Back in Washington, Obama was wrapping up his formal statement. "Looking around this room," he mused, "I see nations that represent the overwhelming majority of humanity -- from different regions, races, religions, cultures. But our people do share common aspirations to live in security and peace and to be free from fear."

While there are 193 member states in the United Nations, the Nuclear Security Summit was attended by representatives of 52 countries, seven of which possess nuclear weapons arsenals—despite the existence of long-standing international treaty agreements calling for nuclear disarmament and abolition. The attendees also included 16 of the 28 members of NATO—the nuclear-armed military juggernaut that was supposed to have been dismantled after the end of the Cold War.

The purpose of the Nuclear Security Summit was a narrow one, focused on how to prevent "terrorists" from acquiring the "nuclear option." There was no discussion of disarming the world's major existing nuclear arsenals.

Nor was there any discussion of the risk posed by civilian nuclear power reactors and radioactive waste storage sites, all of which pose tempting targets for anyone with a shoulder-mounted missile capable of turning these facilities into "home-grown dirty bombs." (This is not a hypothetical scenario. On January 18, 1982, five Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG-7s) were fired across France's Rhone River, striking the containment structure of the Superphenix nuclear reactor.)

"The fight against ISIL will continue to be difficult, but, together, we are making real progress," Obama continued. "I'm absolutely confident that we will prevail and destroy this vile organization. As compared to ISIL's vision of death and destruction, I believe our nations together offer a hopeful vision focused on what we can build for our people."

That "hopeful vision" is difficult to perceive for residents in the many foreign lands currently under attack by Hellfire missiles launched from US aircraft and drones. While video footage of the carnage in Paris, Brussels, Istanbul and San Bernardino is horrifying to behold, it is painful but necessary to acknowledge that the damage done by a single US missile fired into an urban setting can be even more devastating.

War Crime: The US Bombing of Mosul University
On March 19 and again on March 20, US planes attacked the University of Mosul in ISIS-occupied eastern Iraq. The airstrike came in the early afternoon, at a time when the campus was most crowded.

The US bombed the University headquarters, the women's education college, the science college, the publishing center, the girls' dormitories, and a nearby restaurant. The US also bombed the faculty members' residential building. Wives and children of faculty members were among the victims: only one child survived. Professor Dhafer al Badrani, former Dean of the university's Computer Sciences College, was killed in the March 20 attack, along with his wife.

According to Dr. Souad Al-Azzawi, who sent a video of the bombing (above), the initial casualty count was 92 killed and 135 injured. "Killing innocent civilians will not solve the problem of ISIL," Al-Azzawi wrote, instead "it will push more people to join them to be able to revenge for their losses and their beloved ones."

The Anger that Stokes ISIS
In addition to civilian-killing airstrikes, Harry Sarfo offered another explanation for why he was driven to join ISIS—police harassment. Sarfo bitterly recalled how he had been forced to surrender his British passport and report to a police station twice a week and how his home was repeatedly raided. "I wanted to start a new life for me and my wife," he told The Independent. "The police and the authorities destroyed it. They made me become the man they wanted."

Sarfo eventually abandoned ISIS because of the mounting burden of atrocities he was forced to experience. "I witnessed stonings, beheadings, shootings, hands chopped off and many other things," he told The Independent. "I've seen child soldiers—13-year-old boys with explosive belts and Kalashnikovs. Some boys even driving cars and involved in executions.

"My worst memory is of the execution of six men shot in the head by Kalashnikovs. The chopping off of a man's hand and making him hold it with the other hand. The Islamic State is not just un-Islamic, it is inhuman. A blood-related brother killed his own brother on suspicion of being a spy. They gave him the order to kill him. It is friends killing friends."

But as bad as ISIS may be, they do not, as yet, girdle the world with more than 1,000 of military garrisons and facilities nor do they threaten the planet with an arsenal of 2,000 nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles, half of which remain on "hair-trigger" alert.

Gar Smith is the co-founder of Environmentalists Against War and author of Nuclear Roulette.

Their Mouths Are Moving, or How Can You Tell a Politician Is Lying About War?

By David Swanson, American Herald Tribune

Stop Bombing Syria 4ad41

Someone asked me to find war lies during the past few years. Perhaps they had in mind the humanitarian pretenses around attacking Libya in 2011 and Iraq in 2014, or the false claims about chemical weapons in 2013, or the lies about an airplane in Ukraine or the endlessly reported Russian invasions of Ukraine. Maybe they were thinking of the "ISIS Is In Brooklyn" headlines or the routine false claims about the identities of drone victims or the supposedly imminent victory in Afghanistan or in one of the other wars. The lies seem far too numerous for me to fit into an essay, though I've tried many times, and they are layered over a bedrock of more general lies about what works, what is legal, and what is moral. Just a Prince Tribute selection of lies could include Qadaffi's viagra for the troops and CNN's sex-toys flag as evidence of ISIS in Europe. It's hard to scrape the surface of all U.S. war lies in something less than a book, which is why I wrote a book.

So, I replied that I would look for war lies just in 2016. But that was way too big as well, of course. I once tried to find all the lies in one speech by Obama and ended up just writing about the top 45. So, I've taken a glance at two of the most recent speeches on the White House website, one by Obama and one by Susan Rice. I think they provide ample evidence of how we're being lied to.

Focus: Syria News - Apr 5, 2016

Syrian opposition says no place for Assad in Syria, ahead of a meeting in Saudi Arabia before the third round of Geneva negotiations -

Hijab: Syrian opposition will not go further in the negotiations unless a transitional governing body formed without Assad and his clique - etilaf

Syrian opposition's High Negotiations Committee warns truce on verge of total collapse - etilaf

Syria opposition says US 'ambiguity' on Assad future is very damaging - AFP

Obama vetoed 50 plans by the CIA to engineer the downfall of the Assad regime in Syria: former agent - The Telegraph

No compromise with US over fate of Syria President Assad: senior Russian diplomat - RT

Russia ships more equipment to Syria than it removes - Business Insider

Video of military convoy new evidence Russia not pulling out of Syria (VIDEOS) - Fox News

Russian aircraft carrier to go to Mediterranean Sea carrying new fighters: source - TASS


Missile corvette joins Russian naval group in Mediterranean - TASS


Russia's Mi-28N helicopter's combat debut is Syria - TASS

Russia’s secret weapon of the Islamic State war: Mi-28 attack helicopter - The Daily Beast

Russian nuclear ballistic missile "Iskander" spotted in Syria - Zero Hedge

Moscow's campaign in Syria leads to arms sale windfall, Russian weapons exports expected to receive $6bn boost as result of ‘marketing effect’ of bombing - The Guardian



Ceasefire broken: Over the weekend Nusra Front with other Islamist groups and US-armed FSA rebels attack Syrian army in Aleppo - LA Times

Nusra Front and other armed groups attacks positions of Syrian army, Kurds on Monday: Russian Defense Ministry - TASS

Groups breaking ceasefire in Aleppo included Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham, FSA Division 13, Turkestani Islamic Party, Levant Brigade - Juan Cole

Eight Hezbollah fighters killed in Aleppo clashes over weekend - THE DAILY STAR

Three senior Iranian officers killed in confrontations with Syrian rebels in Aleppo - ARA News

VIDEO: Syrian rebels mount offensive against government forces in Aleppo - Al Jazeera

VIDEO (Arabic) - Syrian rebels’ footage of the operations in Aleppo - YouTube

VIDEO (Arabic): Free Syrian Army units moving into Khalidyah village - YouTube


VIDEO: State Department: U.S. unsure of ceasefire violations but Assad is the biggest violator - YouTube

Two senior intelligence analysts at U.S. Central Command say the military has forced them out of their jobs because of their skeptical reporting on U.S.-backed rebel groups in Syria - The Daily Beast



U.S. behind strike that killed Nusra Front's prominent leader Abu Firas: officials - Reuters

U.S weighs more special ops for Syria -

Russia, U.S. discussing coordination to liberate Syria's Raqqa: Interfax - Reuters

Putin's Russian air force bombing Islamic State effectively, Pentagon concedes - Washington Times

DoD Report: Operations against Islamic State costing average of $11.4M per day -

After Palmyra Syrian troops take another Islamic State-controlled town, Qaryatain is crucial for securing oil and gas pipelines and for blocking militant supply routes - AP

Destruction, razed monastery left behind by Islamic State in Syria town Qaryatain (PHOTOS) - AP

Syria: About 40 bodies reportedly found in mass grave in Palmyra, 23 of them women and children - FOX 11 Los Angeles

Islamic State fights back in Deir Zor, advances on Syrian airbase - ARA News

Islamic state militants use mustard gas in attack on Deir Zor airport: Syrian state TV - Reuters

Islamic State executes and crucify eight people in Syria's Raqqa for deserting its ranks or violating regulations - ARA News

Russian UN envoy says Turkey is key supplier of weapons to Islamic State - TASS

Turkish officers recruiting fighters for Nusra Front in Syria: Russian Defense Ministry -

Erdogan uses closed-door meeting to blast Obama administration, the Turkish president says that the White House is wrong to back the Kurds in the fight against the Islamic State - Foreign Policy

Syrian Kurds proceed with federal structures despite Turkish threats - Al-Monitor

Turkish court releases all 96 Islamic State suspects who are now on trial -


US orders diplomatic, military families out of south Turkey due to 'increased threats from terrorist groups' - AP

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


U.S. State Department: Don't Hurt ISIS

So Many Enemies, So Little Logic
By David Swanson, teleSUR

Islamic State Group fighters

The U.S. State Department does not want the government of Syria to defeat or weaken ISIS, at least not if doing so means any sort of gain for the Syrian government. Watching a recent video of a State Department spokesperson speaking on that subject might confuse some U.S. war supporters. I doubt many residents of Palmyra, Virginia, or Palmyra, Pennsylvania, or Palmyra, New York could give a coherent account of the U.S. government's position on which enemy should control the ancient Palmyra in Syria.

The U.S. government has been arming Al Qaeda in Syria. I doubt many people in the United States, of whatever political extraction, could explain why. In my experience, having just begun a tour of speaking events, very few in the United States can even name the seven nations that President Barack Obama has bragged about bombing, much less explain which parties he is or is not bombing in those countries. No nation in the history of the world has had so many enemies to keep track of as the United States has now, and bothered so little about doing so.

The particular problem with Syria is that the U.S. government has prioritized one enemy, whom it has utterly failed to scare the U.S. public with, while the U.S. government has made a distant second priority of attacking another enemy that most people in the United States are so terrified of they can hardly think straight. Consider what changed between 2013 and 2014. In 2013, President Obama was prepared to heavily bomb the Syrian government. But he did not claim that the Syrian government wanted to attack the United States, or even to attack a handful of white people from the United States. Instead he argued, unpersuasively, that he knew who was responsible for killing Syrians with chemical weapons. This was in the midst of a war in which thousands were dying on all sides from all kinds of weapons. The outrage over a particular type of weapon, the dubious claims, and the eagerness to overthrow a government, were all too close to U.S. memories of the 2003 attack on Iraq.

Congress Members in 2013 found themselves at public events confronted with the question of why the U.S. would overthrow a government in a war on the same side as al Qaeda. Were they going to start another Iraq War? U.S. and British public pressure reversed Obama's decision. But U.S. opinion was even more against arming proxies, and a new CIA report said that doing so had never worked, yet that was the approach Obama went with. The overthrow, which Hillary Clinton still says should have happened, would have quickly created the chaos and terror that Obama set about developing slowly.

In 2014, Obama was able to step up direct U.S. military action in Syria and Iraq with virtually no resistance from the public. What had changed? People had heard about videos of ISIS killing white people with knives. It didn't seem to matter that jumping into the war against ISIS was the opposite side from what Obama had said in 2013 the U.S. needed to join. It didn't even seem to matter that the U.S. clearly intended to join in both sides. Nothing related to logic or sense mattered in the least. ISIS had done a little bit of what U.S. allies in Saudi Arabia and Iraq and elsewhere did routinely, and had done it to Americans. And a fictional group, even scarier, the Khorasan Group, was coming to get us, ISIS was slipping across the border from Mexico and Canada, if we didn't do something really big and brutal we were all going to die.

That being why the U.S. public finally said yes to open-ended war again -- after really not falling for the lies about a humanitarian rescue in Libya, or not caring -- the U.S. public naturally assumes that the U.S. government has prioritized destroying the evil dark force of Islamic Terror. It hasn't. The U.S. government says to itself, in its little-noticed reports, that ISIS is no threat to the United States. It knows perfectly well, and its top commanders blurt it out upon retirement, that attacking terrorists only strengthens their forces. The U.S. priority remains overthrowing the Syrian government, ruining that country, and creating chaos. Here's part of that project: U.S.-backed troops in Syria fighting other U.S. backed troops in Syria. That's not incompetence if the goal is to destroy a nation, as it seems to be in Hillary Clinton's emails - (the following is a draft of this article):

"The best way to help Israel deal with Iran's growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad. ... Iran's nuclear program and Syria's civil war may seem unconnected, but they are. For Israeli leaders, the real threat from a nuclear-armed Iran is not the prospect of an insane Iranian leader launching an unprovoked Iranian nuclear attack on Israel that would lead to the annihilation of both countries. What Israeli military leaders really worry about -- but cannot talk about -- is losing their nuclear monopoly. ... It is the strategic relationship between Iran and the regime of Bashar Assad in Syria that makes it possible for Iran to undermine Israel's security."

ISIS, Al Qaeda, and terrorism are far better tools for marketing wars than communism ever was, because they can be imagined using knives rather than nukes, and because terrorism can never collapse and vanish. If (counterproductively) attacking groups like al Qaeda were what motivated the wars, the United States would not be aiding Saudi Arabia in slaughtering the people of Yemen and increasing the power of Al Qaeda there. If peace were the goal, the U.S. would not be sending troops back into Iraq to use the same actions that destroyed that country to supposedly fix it. If winning particular sides of wars were the main objective, the United States would not have served as the primary funding for both sides in Afghanistan for all these years, with decades more planned.

Why did Senator Harry Truman say the United States should help either the Germans or the Russians, whichever side was losing? Why did President Ronald Reagan back Iraq against Iran and also Iran against Iraq? Why could fighters on both sides in Libya exchange parts for their weapons? Because two goals that outweigh all others for the U.S. government often align in the cause of sheer destruction and death. One is U.S. domination of the globe, and all other peoples be damned. The second is arms sales. No matter who's winning and who's dying, the weapons makers profit, and the majority of weapons in the Middle East have been shipped there from the United States. Peace would cut into those profits horribly.

Syria/Iraq News - Mar 28, 2016

Syrian army retakes ancient Palmyra in major victory over Islamic State, the town is known as the 'Pearl of the Desert' - Yahoo News

Encircled: Syrian army poised to storm key Christian town Qariatein near Palmyra - Sputnik International

Russian air force made 40 flights over Palmyra in last 24 hours, destroyed 8 terrorist command centers - Sputnik International

Palmyra Liberation: Syrian army officer reveals details of operation - Sputnik International

Retaking of Palmyra a huge morale boost for Syrian army -

VIDEO: Liberation of Palmyra: Awesome footage from drone -

List of Syrian army advances since Russian intervention - AFP

President al-Assad: Palmyra achievement proves army strategy more effective than US-led coalition efforts – Syrian Arab News Agency

Putin congratulates Assad on Palmyra liberation - Sputnik International

UN chief Ban hails removal of Islamic State from Syria's Palmyra - AFP

Why is David Cameron so silent on the recapture of Palmyra from the clutches of Islamic State? - The Independent

Syria antiquities chief: Palmyra ruins generally 'in good shape', Islamic State destroyed the grand Temple of Bel, the shrine of Baal Shamin and several funerary towers - AFP

Palmyra National Museum completely plundered, artifacts partly destroyed - Sputnik International

Preserving Syria's threatened treasures in digital - France 24

In Syria, militias armed by the Pentagon fight those armed by the CIA - LA Times

Book review: ‘Syria Burning’ suggests U.S. stoked the flames -



Thousands of Iraqis flee fighting south of Mosul in new front by the Iraqi army against Islamic State - AFP

VIDEO(English Subtitles): People leave homes in Mosul by car - YouTube

VIDEO (English Subtitles): Men, women and children fleeing the Islamic State-controlled areas to the Kurdistan Region's capital Erbil - Liveleak

Iraqi forces make slow progress south of Mosul - Reuters

Tentative push for Mosul reveal's Iraq army's failings - The National

VIDEO (English Subtitles): Makhmour clashes fail to achieve Iraqi army objectives to capture key villages before any thrust into Mosul - Rudaw

The Pentagon is planning to send more combat troops into Iraq to enable operations in Mosul -

Air force moves to replenish bomb stockpile drained by Islamic State fight -

Iraq: Islamic State imposes curfew on residents of Mosul - AhlulBayt News Agency

Islamic State executes 12 of its members’ relatives in Mosul over intel links: report - Al Arabiya English

Islamic State executioner killed by assassins in occupied Iraqi city of Mosul -

The Battle for Mosul and the Future of Islamic State -

Trump would consider halting U.S. oil purchases from Saudi Arabia unless it provides troops to fight Islamic State -

VIDEO: Obama weekly address: Defeating Islamic State - YouTube

Islamic State chief executioner says Brussels was ‘just a taste' of what terrorists are planning in horrifying new video - Mirror Online

VIDEO: Official Islamic State threat video says Brussels is 'just a taste' - YouTube

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

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 -

VIDEO: Syrian Army retaking the citadel castle -

VIDEO: Drone footage of Palmyra castle earlier today - YouTube

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

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



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 -

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 -

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


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 -

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

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 -

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 -

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 -

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

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



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 -

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 -

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 -

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



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 -

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



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

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

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

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 -

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 -

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 -

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

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

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 -

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

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 -

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 -

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

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

Advanced Russian plane spies on Turkey from Syria - Arutz Sheva

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



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 -

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

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 -

No doubt YPG-PKK behind Ankara bombing: Turkish PM -

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 -

HDP co-chair defends PYD against Turkish government -

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

Report: Turkey sixth biggest importer of arms in world -

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 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 -

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 -

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 -

Erdoğan slams intellectuals who opposed going to war in Syria -

Russia fails in UN bid to rein in Turkey over Syria -

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

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 -

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

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 -

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 -

Turkey manufacturing reasons to invade Syrian Kurdistan: YPG spokesman -

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 -

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 -

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 -

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

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 -

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 -

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 -

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

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 -

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 -

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’ -

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

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 -

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 -

Qatar ready to send troops to Syria -

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 -

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 -

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 -

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

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 -

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 -

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 -

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

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 -

Turkey's Syria strategy in ruins as Aleppo teeters -

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 -

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

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

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

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 -

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 -

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  -

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

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 -

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

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 -

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

Turkey, Saudi deepen defense relations during Davutoğlu visit -

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


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 -

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’ -

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

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

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 -

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

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 -

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 -

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’ -

3 prominent journalists targeted in Erdoğan insult cases -

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 -

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 -

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

Supply Cut Off: Syrian Army Cuts Damascus Smuggling Route -

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 -

VIDEO: First Video of Zahran Alloush's Corpse -

PHOTO: Photo of Zahran Alloush Dead -

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 -


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 -

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 -

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 -

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 -

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 -

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. -

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 -

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

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

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 -

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

Kurds, opposition summit in Syrian Kurdistan -

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 -

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 -

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

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 -

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 -

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 -

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

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