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Focus: Syria/Turkey News - Feb 17, 2016

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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


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


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


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


US-Turkish Tensions Escalate Over Syrian Kurds - VOA


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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Syria News - Feb 15, 2016


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


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


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


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

 

TRANSCRIPT: Interview with Medvedev - euronews


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Damascus says believes some Turkish forces entered Syria - Ynetnews


Saudi Arabia confirms sending jets to Turkey - Al Arabiya English


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


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


Qatar ready to send troops to Syria - aa.com


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


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


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


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Syria News - Feb 12, 2016


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


Statement of the International Syria Support Group - state.gov


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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Focus: Syria News - Feb 11, 2016


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


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


Wounded Syrian rebels say Russia crippling their insurgency - Yahoo News


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


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


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


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


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


Syrian Kurdistan mission opens in Moscow - RT News


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

 

Syrian Kurds plan opening missions in US, EU - TASS


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

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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Overwhelmed: Syrian Refugee Crisis in Context

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

With Raed Jarrar, Giovanna Negretti, Layla Razavi

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

*****

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

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

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

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

Panelists include:


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

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

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

Syria/Turkey News - Jan 21, 2016

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


US reportedly considering training base in northeast Syria - NOW


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Turkey bombs Kurdish headquarters in northern Syria - ARA News


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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Syria/Russia News - Dec 26, 2015

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Hezbollah holds recruiting push for war in Syria - AP


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


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

 

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

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Russia rejects Amnesty charges over Syria raids - BBC News


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

 


A Call for Proof on Syria-Sarin Attack

 

 

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

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

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

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

Syria News - Dec 16, 2015


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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


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


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


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Syria News - Dec 10, 2015


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Kurds, opposition summit in Syrian Kurdistan - ekurd.net


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


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

 

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


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


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


Russian Submarine Notches Milestone With Syria Missile Strike - Fortune


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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NATO Defending Turkey – ISIS Oil Trade

turkeyoil

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To these comments I received the reply:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sigh.

I sent back this:

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

Here's my latest.

Here's Johan Galtung's answer.

Here's an organizational answer from last October.

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

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

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

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

Focus: Syria News - Dec 2, 2015


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


NATO allies seek to strengthen Turkey's defences - Reuters


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

By Linn Washington, Jr.

 

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

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

By Gareth Porter, Middle East Eye

 

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

 

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

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

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

By Dave Lindorff


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

Syria News - Nov 24, 2015

 

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

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


Below is my today’s news research on Syria.

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


How the Islamic State makes its money - The Washington Post


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


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


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

 

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

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

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-johan-galtung-on-isis-and-alternative-to-war 

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

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

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Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
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Where’s the truth, and how can you find it?: The US Corporate Media are Essentially Propaganda Organs of the US Government


By Dave Lindorff

 

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

 

Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire Leads Delegation to Syria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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


Hillary Clinton proposes:


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


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


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


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


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


Following are my suggested points for Sanders counterproposal:


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Warmongers & Peacemongers: Learning How Not to Rule the World

By John Grant

 

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

Syria News - Nov 12, 2015


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


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


Syrian opposition rejects Russian proposal to end conflict - The National


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


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


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

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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


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


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


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


Free Syrian Army decimated by desertions - Al Jazeera English


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


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


Hezbollah Expands Military Presence in Syrian War - VOA


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


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


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

U.S. and Russian Militaries Compete for Darwin Award

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

Here's the latest U.S. entry:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don't look now, but here comes Russia:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

##

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

Speaking Events

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