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

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Past Decade in Syria in 5 Minutes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why Peace Activists Should Stop Cheering for Russian Bombs in Syria

By David Swanson, originally published at teleSUR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Syria/Russia News - Oct 12, 2015


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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


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


PYD leader meets Russian official in Paris - Kurdpress News Aganecy


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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


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


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


White House Is Weighing a Syria Retreat - Bloomberg View


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


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


British RAF given green light to shoot down hostile Russian jets in Syria - ibtimes.co.uk


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


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


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


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


ISIS switches propaganda activities to new app: Telegram - rudaw.net


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

 

Syria/Russia News - Oct 8, 2015


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Iraq may request Russian airstrikes: Official - NBC News


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

 

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


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


US Rules Out Intelligence Sharing With Russia on Fighting ISIL - sputniknews.com


U.S. diverts aircraft to avoid Russian fighter - CNNPolitics.com


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Nuclear Smugglers Tried Selling Radioactive Materials To ISIS - AP


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

Syria/Russia News - Oct 4, 2015


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


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

 

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


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


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


Russia Deploying Marines to Syria to Guard Airbase - newsweek.com


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


Russian Navy Positions Itself Off the Coast of Latakia - almasdarnews.com


Russian military assets in Syria - nytimes.com


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


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


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

 

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


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

 

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


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


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

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Syrian opposition rejects UN plan on Syria - presstv.ir


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

MANCHIN, MURPHY, UDALL, LEE CALL FOR AN END TO THE FAILED SYRIA TRAIN AND EQUIP PROGRAM

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Dear Secretary Carter, Secretary Kerry, and Director Brennan:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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Hillary Offers Syria a Libyan-Iraqi-Style Paradise

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

Let's start over, shall we?

Some basic facts?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Syria/Russia News - Oct 2, 2015

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

 

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


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


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


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


VIDEO: Department Defense Briefing on Russian Airstrikes in Syria - C-SPAN.org


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Saudi Arabia demands Russia end Syria raids, criticises Iran - GulfNews.com


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

 

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

Syria/Russia News - Sep 30, 2015


Pentagon readies talks with Russia on Syria military operations - Reuters


Pentagon: Russia 'ready' to launch airstrikes in Syria - CNNPolitics.com


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


VIDEO: Pentagon Press Briefing on Syria - defense.gov


TRANSCRIPT: Pentagon Press Briefing on Syria - defense.gov


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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


VIDEO: Obama UN General Assembly Full Speech - YouTube


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


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


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


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


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


Russian military experts arrive in Iraq - Rudaw.net


Russia May Provide Reconnaissance Aircraft for Baghdad Info Center - Sputnik


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

 

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


Russia establishes seaborne lifeline for Syrian allies - Reuters


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


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


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


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


Assad is root of Syria crisis, Qatar tells Putin - LiveLeak.com


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

Time to stop bombing and make peace in Syria and Yemen


Explosion from Saudi airstrike on Sanaa, Yemen.


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

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

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

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

Syria/Russia News - Sep 28, 2015


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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UN ambassador Samantha Power defends arming Syrian rebels - TheHill


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


The Syrian refugee crisis, explained in one map - Vox

 

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

Syria/Russia News - Sep 22, 2015


Russia Deploys Ground-Attack Aircraft to Syrian Base, 28 Combat Planes and 20 Helicopters - The New York Times


These are the 28 jets Russia now has in Syria - The Washington Post


Russia starts Syria drone surveillance missions: U.S. officials - Reuters


Russia to deploy 2,000 in Syria air base mission’s ‘first phase’ - FT.com


Russia to Start Bombing in Syria asap: US official - The Daily Beast


Anticipation of a Russian Strike on ISIS in Syria: Novaya Gazeta - interpretermag.com


Russia, Iran Seen Coordinating in Syria - WSJ


Russia ready to consider Syria’s request to send troops if Damascus asks for it: Kremlin - TASS


Israel and Russia to Coordinate Military Action in Syria: Benjamin Netanyahu - NBC News


Russian defense, Pentagon chiefs agree to restore military contacts, discuss Syria - RT


Russian Official: 'Without Cooperation With Moscow, US Is Only a Second Fiddle in Syria’ - Sputnik


Syrian army starts using new weapons from Russia: military source - Yahoo News


Syrian army bombards ISIS positions in Palmyra, Raqqa, Idlib - The Guardian


Why Russia is expanding its Syrian naval base: seeks to help the Syrian government but also to increase its presence in the Mediterranean - The Moscow Times


Rebels depict Russia as a new occupier, say Syria could be the next Afghanistan - Business Insider

 

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Activists report 75 U.S.-trained rebels return to Syria - AP


US-backed Syrian rebels arrested and later released by another group, The Times report - Middle East Eye


Was Syrian train-and-equip effort always a ‘mission impossible'? General acknowledges the $500 million program is in tatters - defensenews.com


US-backed leader of Syrian rebel group quits and lists 6 problems with the training program - Business Insider


This is the ISIS intel the U.S. military dumbed down, reports overstated the damage that U.S. strikes had on specific ISIS targets - The Daily Beast


Senseless slaughter, corruption and broken promises of money and glory: Landmark report reveals why growing numbers of foreign fighters are defecting from ISIS - Daily Mail Online

 

REPORT: Victims, Perpetrators, Assets: The Narratives of Islamic State Defectors - International Center for the Study of Radicalisation


Interview on ISIS defectors with Peter Neumann, director of the International Center for the Study of Radicalisation - VOX


Islamic State defectors: Three case studies - BBC News


Syrian rebels say they’ve helped hundreds defect from Islamic State - SanLuisObispo.com


IS executes 10 people accused of being gay in Syria - The Times of Israel


US pledges another $419M to Syrian refugees, Kerry: US to accept 85,000 refugees in 2016, 100,000 in 2017 - TheHill


Plan to admit more refugees faces stiff opposition in U.S. Congress, many worry that Islamist fighters posing as refugees might sneak into the country - Daily Mail Online


Syrian Kurdish leaders planning to capture last border crossing with Turkey held by ISIS - The Independent


Centcom Spokesman: Syrian Kurd Fighters Disrupt ISIL Movement - U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE


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

Syria/Russia News - Sep 16, 2015

 

White House on Russia: Continuing to support Assad is destabilizing and counterproductive  (VIDEO) - Washington Examiner


State Dept.: We are working hard on achieving a political transition away from Assad who is to blame for ISIS - RT


VIDEO: State Dept. spokesman Kirby Press Briefing, Questions on Syria start at minute 1:04 - YouTube


Pentagon has no plans to deconflict airspace with Russia in Syria, despite signs Moscow is establishing a forward air base - TheHill


U.S. defense chief has no plans to talk to Russia counterpart, Pentagon says - Jamestown Sun


Russia’s Assertive Moves Weigh on Pentagon Plans for 2017 Budget - Bloomberg Business


VIDEO: U.S. ambassador Samantha Power: Russia and Iran should be blamed for supporting a regime that is fueling the rise of terrorism - CNN


Analysis: The Russian involvement in Syria could work in favor of U.S. national interests by fighting Islamic terrorists and restoring stability, a prerequisite for a political settlement - Consortiumnews


UN: Peace in Syria only after we combat terror and protect state institutions so as the country doesn’t follow the Libya and Iraqi scenarios - middleeastmonitor.com


26 armed rebel factions issue a statement rejecting U.N. special envoy plan to end Syria conflict - alaraby.co.uk


Barrel Bombs and Artillery Take Heavy Toll on Vital Rebel Offensive in Syria's South - VICE News

 

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Putin defends military aid to Syria to fight 'terrorist aggression', says migrant crisis in Europe would be far worse without it - New York Times


ISIS 'has designs on' Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem and is a danger to Europe, Vladimir Putin warns - The Independent


VIDEO (English subtitles): Speach of Vladimir Putin on Syria (it starts at minute 2:40) - YouTube


Kremlin: Talks between US And Russia ‘indispensable’ to solve Syria crisis, Obama and Putin might meet at the UN General Assembly - Sputnik


Russia Is Setting Up A Forward Air Operating Base in Syria, Pentagon Confirms - Defense One


Russia 'Closing Gap' Between US with Newer Air Defenses, General Says - Military.com


Russia military reportedly deploying to Hama - NOW


Senior Iranian general said to make second Moscow trip - The Times of Israel


'If you are worried about refugees, stop supporting terrorists’: Assad interview - RT News

 

Cold War weaponry and modern military hardware: Inside the ISIS arsenal - Fox News


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What if Americans Had Known in 2013 that U.S. rejected Syria Deal in 2012?

In the United States it is considered fashionable to maintain a steadfast ignorance of rejected peace offers, and to believe that all the wars launched by the U.S. government are matters of "last resort." Our schools still don't teach that Spain wanted the matter of the Maine to go to international arbitration, that Japan wanted peace before Hiroshima, that the Soviet Union proposed peace negotiations before the Korean War, or that the U.S. sabotaged peace proposals for Vietnam from the Vietnamese, the Soviets, and the French. When a Spanish newspaper reported that Saddam Hussein had offered to leave Iraq before the 2003 invasion, U.S. media took little interest. When British media reported that the Taliban was willing to have Osama bin Laden put on trial before the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, U.S. journalists yawned. Iran's 2003 offer to negotiate ending its nuclear energy program wasn't mentioned much during this year's debate over an agreement with Iran -- which was itself nearly rejected as an impediment to war.

The Guardian reported on Tuesday that the former Finnish president and Nobel peace prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari, who had been involved in negotiations in 2012, said that in 2012 Russia had proposed a process of peace settlement between the Syrian government and its opponents that would have included President Bashar al-Assad stepping down. But, according to Ahtisaari, the United States was so confident that Assad would soon be violently overthrown that it rejected the proposal.

The catastrophic Syrian civil war since 2012 has followed U.S. adherence to actual U.S. policy in which peaceful compromise is usually the last resort. Does the U.S. government believe violence tends to produce better results? The record shows otherwise. More likely it believes that violence will lead to greater U.S.-control, while satisfying the war industry. The record on the first part of that is mixed at best.

Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO from 1997 to 2000 Wesley Clark claims that in 2001, Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld put out a memo proposing to take over seven countries in five years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran. The basic outline of this plan was confirmed by none other than former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who in 2010 pinned it on former Vice President Dick Cheney:

"Cheney wanted forcible 'regime change' in all Middle Eastern countries that he considered hostile to U.S. interests, according to Blair. 'He would have worked through the whole lot, Iraq, Syria, Iran, dealing with all their surrogates in the course of it — Hezbollah, Hamas, etc.,' Blair wrote. 'In other words, he [Cheney] thought the world had to be made anew, and that after 11 September, it had to be done by force and with urgency. So he was for hard, hard power. No ifs, no buts, no maybes.'"

U.S. State Department cables released by WikiLeaks trace U.S. efforts in Syria to undermine the government back to at least 2006. In 2013, the White House went public with plans to lob some unspecified number of missiles into Syria, which was in the midst of a horrible civil war already fueled in part by U.S. arms and training camps, as well as by wealthy U.S. allies in the region and fighters emerging from other U.S.-created disasters in the region.

The excuse for the missiles was an alleged killing of civilians, including children, with chemical weapons -- a crime that President Barack Obama claimed to have certain proof had been committed by the Syrian government. Watch the videos of the dead children, the President said, and support that horror or support my missile strikes. Those were the only choices, supposedly. It wasn't a soft sell, but it wasn't a powerful or successful one either.

The "proof" of responsibility for that use of chemical weapons fell apart, and public opposition to what we later learned would have been a massive bombing campaign succeeded. Public opposition succeeded without knowing about the rejected proposal for peace of 2012. But it succeeded without follow-through. No new effort was made for peace, and the U.S. went right ahead inching its way into the war with trainers and weapons and drones.

In January 2015, a scholarly study found that the U.S. public believes that whenever the U.S. government proposes a war, it has already exhausted all other possibilities. When a sample group was asked if they supported a particular war, and a second group was asked if they supported that particular war after being told that all alternatives were no good, and a third group was asked if they supported that war even though there were good alternatives, the first two groups registered the same level of support, while support for war dropped off significantly in the third group. This led the researchers to the conclusion that if alternatives are not mentioned, people don't assume they exist — rather, people assume they've already been tried. So, if you mention that there is a serious alternative, the game is up. You'll have to get your war on later.

Based on the record of past wars, engaged in and avoided, as it dribbles out in the years that follow, the general assumption should always be that peace has been carefully avoided at every turn.

Focus: Syria/Russia - Sep 12, 2015


Russia calls on for military-to-military cooperation with the United States on Syria to avert 'unintended incidents' - reuters.com


VIDEO: FM Lavrov says Russia seeks coordination with US over Syria to avoid 'incidents' - YouTube


Pentagon: Neither U.S. nor coalition forces have contacted Russian forces in Syria to prevent any miscalculation or miscommunication - Stripes


Russia calls on world to back Syrian military, calling it the 'most powerful ground force' in the fight against the Islamic State - Washington Times


Russian build-up in Syria part of secret deal with Iran’s Quds Force leader: intel sources - Fox News


1000 Iranian Marines Join Russian Troops in Jablah Base to Fight Syrian Rebels, Says Report - ibtimes.co.in


Russia intensifies naval exercises off Syrian coast: sources - Reuters


Russia is sending advanced air defenses to Syria - Business Insider


Russia running Damascus International Airport: pro-opposition report - NOW


VIDEO: Russian troops live-fire training in Syria - The Washington Post


Berlin says would welcome Russian role in fight against IS - Reuters


Syria, Egypt agree on restoring ties: report - THE DAILY STAR

 

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

Obama: Russia's support for Assad 'a big mistake' - TheHill


VIDEO: Obama Comments On Russian Military In Syria - CBS News


U.S. scrambling for a plan, options are to confront Russia inside Syria or cooperate with it on the fight against the Islamic State - Bloomberg


The Pentagon's Syria debacle, top brass debate how to rescue costly effort to raise rebel army to fight Islamic State - POLITICO


Critics: No way U.S. can meet Syria training goals - Washington Examiner


Syrian rebel training program costs millions and counting - DoD Buzz


Pentagon now training fourth class of Syrian rebels - TheHill


Western states train Kurdish force battling ISIS in Syria - THE DAILY STAR


Lawmakers welcome whistleblowers as DoD probes cooked intel on ISIS and Qaeda, Altered reports allegedly portrayed the terror groups weaker than they are - defensenews.com


Exclusive: 50 spies say ISIS intelligence was cooked - The Daily Beast


US spy chief’s ‘highly unusual’ reported contact with military official raises concerns over rosy portrayals of the war against the Islamic State - rawstory.com


VIDEO: White House spokesman Earnest can't say the U.S. is winning the war against Islamic State - YouTube


President Obama directs administration to accept at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next fiscal year - The Washington Post


U.S. charities urge Obama to let in more Syrians, ask churches to help - The Washington Post

 

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US official: 'IS making and using chemical weapons in Iraq and Syria’ (VIDEO) - BBC News


Islamic State Ordnance Shows Traces of Chemical Agents, U.S. Says - The New York Times


VIDEO: Islamic State using 'chemical weapons' as wounded soldiers reveal painful skin burns in graphic footage - Mirror Online


UN Security Council OKs Syria chemical probe - ledgergazette.com


Syrian air base falls to rebels, troops exit: state TV - Reuters


Islamic State seizes last Syrian oilfield under government control, monitor says - Australian Broadcasting Corporation


Al Qaeda calls Islamic State illegitimate but suggests cooperation - Reuters


Kurds say Syrian opposition supports Islamic State - Kurdpress News Aganecy


Former Sex Slave Says Kayla Mueller Was Killed By ISIS, Not An Airstrike - huffingtonpost.com


The women taking on ISIS: on the ground with Iraq's Yazidi female fighters - The Guardian


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

 

Migrant Crisis & Syria War Fueled By Competing Gas Pipelines

Don’t let anyone fool you: Sectarian strife in Syria has been engineered to provide cover for a war for access to oil and gas, and the power and money that come along with it.
Refugees and migrants wait to cross the border from the northern Greek village of Idomeni to southern Macedonia, Monday, Sept. 7, 2015. Greece has borne the brunt of a massive refugee and migration flow of people heading into the European Union. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)

Refugees and migrants wait to cross the border from the northern Greek
village of Idomeni to southern Macedonia, Monday,
Sept. 7, 2015. Greece has borne the brunt of a massive refugee and migration
flow of people heading into the European Union.
(AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)

MINNEAPOLIS — Images of Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy who washed up dead on Mediterranean shores in his family’s attempt to flee war-torn Syria, have grabbed the attention of people around the world, sparking outrage about the true costs of war.

The heart-wrenching refugee crisis unfolding across the Middle East and at European borders has ignited a much needed conversation on the ongoing strife and instability that’s driving people from their homes in countries like Syria, Libya and Iraq. It’s brought international attention to the inhumane treatment these refugees are receiving if — and it is a major “if” — they arrive at Europe’s door.

In Syria, for example, foreign powers have sunk the nation into a nightmare combination of civil war, foreign invasion and terrorism. Syrians are in the impossible position of having to choose between living in a warzone, being targeted by groups like ISIS and the Syrian government’s brutal crackdown, or faring dangerous waters with minimal safety equipment only to be denied food, water and safety by European governments if they reach shore.

An American In Syria

An American in Syria
By John Mesler, Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox

In 1955 Alcoa was the first big sponsor to drop the Edward R. Murrow Show. Alcoa didn't just make aluminum cans. They made parts for our military fighter jets. Murrow spoke out against the communism fear mongering tactics of Senator Joseph McCarthy and eventually more corporations dropped his show. Now those companies such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, GE, and Honeywell, to name just a few, own the mainstream media TV and papers and decide what "news" we, the American public get to hear. By 1961 we were warned by President Eisenhower about the Military Industrial Complex but not enough of us were paying attention. The truth does eventually get out, however. As I write this piece, recently retired Lt. General Flynn (who also served as chief of the Department Intelligence Agency), admitted that the US has been supporting al-Qaeda with money and weaponry. Isn't that the same group we held responsible for attacking us on 9/11 in the first place?

Syria/Turkey News - Aug 12, 2015


U.S. denies reaching agreement with Turkey on Syria 'safe zone' - Reuters


VIDEO: US denies any Pact with Turkey on Safe Zone in Syria - YouTube


Turkey PM: Syria no-fly zone needed - BBC News


VIDEO: Turkey PM Ahmet Davutoglu pledges Syria 'safe zone' - BBC News


Ankara says Turkish, US forces to hit ISIL, Kurdish militants if entered ’safe zone’ - todayszaman.com


State Dept: US will not allow Turkey to attack PYD in Syria - Rudaw


U.S. Shelves Its $500M Syrian Rebel Army - The Daily Beast


Islamic State attacks Syrian rebels near Turkish border in an area where Turkey and the United States aim to create an area free of the jihadist group - Reuters


Al-Qaida affiliate ceases fighting ISIS in parts of Syria, orders fighters to stand down in parts of the country where Turkey intends to create a 'safe zone’ - The Guardian


Ahrar al-Sham announces support for ISIS-free Syria zone - Middle East Online


Ahrar al-Sham’s Political Office has posted an English version of its statement on Turkey’s “safe zone” in N Syria - Charles Lister on Twitter


Turkmen fighters arrive in Syria to launch the first phase of a joint U.S.-Turkish initiative to establish an Islamic State-free zone - IBTimes


Syrian Rebels Are Using Turkish Lira In ISIS-Free Zone - vocativ.com


New Coalition Airstrikes Destroy ISIL Infrastructure in Syria, Iraq - Defense.gov


Source on ground, who listened in to Nusra walkie talkie, tells me Nusra said 50 fighters dead after coalition strikes. 20 injured - Jenan Moussa on Twitter


As Rifts Open Up in Syria’s al-Qaeda Franchise, Secrets Spill Out - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


ISIS Takes Aim at Its Toughest Foes in Southern Syria- The Daily Beast


Two days ceasefire agreed between Syrian army and rebels in three Syrian towns - sources - Reuters

 

Saudi Arabia rejects Russian calls to work with Assad against IS - Yahoo News


VIDEO (English): Lavrov and Saudi's al-Jubeir disagree about Syria and Assad - YouTube


Proposed UN Statement Would Back Preparatory Talks on Syria - ABC News

 

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Turkey's strikes on Kurds could drag US into new front, Pentagon sources fear - Fox News


Report claims Turkey gave US only 10 minutes warning before strikes on PKK - Middle East Eye


PKK should bury arms, ceasefire not enough: Erdoğan - hurriyetdailynews.com


VIDEO: Erdoğan: PKK should bury arms, ceasefire not enough, airstrikes will continue until 'not one terrorist is left' - YouTube


PKK claims responsibility for Monday's suicide bombing and a subsequent armed attack on a police station - Anadolu Agency


Swaggering Gunmen on Camera as PKK Targets Turkish Towns - Bloomberg Business


Turkish warplanes strike PKK targets in southeast - US News


Erdoğan seeks damages from HDP leader Demirtaş - .todayszaman.com


HDP deputy claims Turkey handed over YPG fighters to al-Nusra-allied group - hurriyetdailynews.com


Diplomatic crisis between Ankara, Tehran as FM's visit delayed - Cihan Politics News

 

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

SYRIA After the Iran-U.S. Sanctions Agreement: What’s Ahead – Diplomacy or Military Escalation?

Via U-Stream, Conference Call, Youtube and in person

TUES. Aug 11 @ 7:30pm EST Sharp

 

In Person at: Solidarity Center

Please arrive no later than 7pm at:

147 West 24th St, 2nd Floor, NY, NY 10011

(Between 6th & 7th Ave – Free parking available on street after 7pm, F, M, E  #1 subway or NJ PATH train to 23 St)

 

Or join us via

Conference Call Audio at 712-432-6100, Access code: 41853116 #

 

Or watch live U-stream http://www.ustream.tv/channel/IACenter

Questions for Panelists can be sent via the U-stream link

 

Or watch on Youtube by Tues 11pm at: IACenter.org

 

Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1478757319111083/

 

Pease link to this program and help spread the word

 

Speakers include:

Dr. Ghias Moussa – Syrian American Forum

Ramsey Clark – former U.S. Attorney General & human rights attorney,

Margaret Kimberly – Black Agenda Report

Larry Hamm – Peoples Organization for Progress

Joe Lombardo – United National Antiwar Coalition

Sara Flounders – International Action Center

 

With discussion and video comments from

Dr. Cynthia McKinney, David Swanson, Caleb Maupin, Eva Bartlett, Kazem Azin … and others

 

An ALERT on Dangerous U.S. War Moves – U.S. bombing to support “moderate rebels” new inspections for chemical weapons, “Safe Zone” on Turkish border, new U.S. bases in Turkey… 

 

Organized by International Action Center – IACenter.org

With participants from: Syrian American Forum, Black Agenda Report, CPR Metro Radio, Go Pro Radio, International League of Peoples Struggles, Peoples Organization for Progress, SI Solidarity Iran, Syria Solidarity Movement, United National Antiwar Coalition, World Beyond War,

Turkey News - Aug 10, 2015


Kurdish rebels attack police, military in Turkey, policeman killed - Reuters


Report: 7 hurt in bomb attack at Istanbul police station - The Sun Herald


VIDEO: 5 police, 2 civilians injured in blast at Istanbul police station, protest against PKK ensues - YouTube


Anti-goverment protests in Cizre turn violent after three people killed and seven wounded in clashes between Turkey police and PKK - Aganecy


VIDEO: Pro-Kurdish protesters clash with Turkey police in Cizre (Part 1) - YouTube


VIDEO: Kurds clash with Turkey police in Cizre (Part 2) - YouTube


Nearly 400 Kurdish rebels killed in 2 weeks of Turkey airstrikes: report - Yahoo News


Turkish authorities launch probe into video of handcuffed Kurdish villagers lying face down - todayszaman.com


VIDEO (English Subs): Turkish police chief shouts Kurdish villagers handcuffed and lying face down - YouTube


Thousands attend demonstration in Istanbul calling on peace between Turkey and PKK - hurriyetdailynews.com


VIDEO: Thousands gather in Istanbul to protest against the Turkish government's intensified military offensive on PKK targets (Part 1) - Reuters


VIDEO: Istanbul peace protest calls for end of hostilities with PKK (Part 2) - video.news.com.au


Thousands of Kurds in Germany march against Turkish air strikes - Yahoo News


VIDEO: Kurds in France and Germany protest Turkish military actions - YouTube


Brussels rally calls on US, Europe to help stop Turkish attacks - Rudaw


German FM: End of Turkey’s peace process would be fatal - todayszaman.com


Europe 'rejects' extradition of nearly 650 PKK and leftish suspects - middleeastmonitor.com


Turkey's pursuit of Kurdish rebels threatens to further destabilize the region - The Washington Post


Minister: Turkey will not give Syrian refugees right to work - todayszaman.com


Turkey faces credit downgrade risk by year end - todayszaman.com

 

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Pro-Kurdish party leader Demirtas urges the PKK to 'remove its finger from the trigger' and the government to launch peace talks - Yahoo News


Demirtaş visits family of slain soldier, calls for peace - todayszaman.com


HDP says negotiations for settlement should be with Öcalan-led delegation - todayszaman.com


Öcalan demands PKK and Turkey to stop the fighting, return to the table of negotiations - ARA News


Peshmerga chief urges PKK to leave Iraq’s Kurdish region - Anadolu Agency


VIDEO: Rifts among Kurdish parties over KRG call on PKK to leave Iraq's Kurdistan - YouTube


VIDEO: PKK leader: Turkey is protecting IS by attacking Kurds - BBC News


Ambulances ferry ISIL terrorists between Turkey and Syria, CHP report says - todayszaman.com


Kurdish Forces Discover Network of Tunnels Connecting Towns on Opposite Sides of the Syrian-Turkish Border - BasNews


Turkey intentionally late in action against ISIL recruiters: Report - hurriyetdailynews.com


YPG accuses Turkey of handing over six Kurdish fighters to Nusra Front, facing the risk of execution - ARA News


Another Jabhat al-Nusra judicial document for execution of individuals for fornication and homosexuality - Aymenn J Al-Tamimi on Twitter


US deploys six F-16 jets with 300 personnel to Turkey for IS fight - Yahoo News


Russia's Lavrov says U.S. must work with Assad to fight Islamic State - Yahoo News


Islamic State kills 37 rival insurgents in Syria's Aleppo province: monitor - Reuters


ISIS battles Syria rebels for key supply lifeline near Turkey border crossing: activists - THE DAILY STAR


Islamic State is led by more than 100 of Saddam's former officers - AP


Terra Incognita: Are Saddam-era soldiers secretly behind the rise of Islamic State? No. - Jerusalem Post


REPORT: A Snapshot of the Islamic State's Official Media Output - The Washington Institute for Near East Policy


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

Syria/Turkey News - Aug 8, 2015


Attack on Syrian rebels raises questions about how a small ragtag group of U.S.-trained forces was sent into battle - AP


Pentagon says Syrian training program no longer seen as major way to fight Islamic State, praises Syrian Kurdish forces - Miami Herald


CENTCOM insists it’s in regular contact with US-trained Syrian rebels despite reports that it had lost track of many of the fighters - U.S. Stripes


VIDEO: US-trained Syria troops 'not supported', senior rebel says the US failed to protect Division 30 when it came under attack by Nusra - BBC


US-trained Syrian rebels refuse to fight Nusra Front after kidnappings, also opposes American air strikes carried out against the al-Qaida-linked fighters - The Guardian


Arab media are laughing at the Pentagon, see US-trained anti-Islamist force as only fit to ‘play paintball’ - Jerusalem Post


Nusra militants evacuate headquarters near Aleppo to avoid U.S.-led strikes - ARA News


The Nusra Front’s internal purges, two top leaders arguing for total war against the Islamic State dumped - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


VIDEO: Pushing Back the Islamic State: The Kurdish Battle for Rojava - VICE News


As Iran Rises in the Mideast, Kurds Benefit in Iraq and Syria - breitbart.com


Syria says fight against Islamic State must include Damascus - Daily Mail Online


Assad must leave or forced to: Saudi FM - KUNA

 

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

Obama To Turks: Don't Use The War On ISIS To Bomb The Kurds - huffingtonpost.com


US defends itself, claims agreement with Turkey not a betrayal of Kurds - bgnnews.com


PKK calls on US to be part of the peace process by bringing Turkish and Kurdish sides around a negotiation table - hurriyetdailynews.com


Kurdish leader Demirtas seeks EU help in peace talks with Turkey - Al Bawaba


Five killed as PKK continues its attacks in Turkey - hurriyetdailynews.com


VIDEO: Kurds clash with Turkish police in two southeastern towns - YouTube


'There Will Be a Civil War in Turkey': Welcome to Cizre, the 'Center of Kurdish Resistance' - VICE News


PKK guerrillas: We will stay in Iraq until war is finished - Rudaw


Arab league condemns Turkey’s PKK operations - todayszaman.com


Medvedev says legitimacy of Turkey’s air strikes in Iraq ’doubtful’ - todayszaman.com


Academics call on government to restore peace in Turkey - todayszaman.com

 

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

U.S. Central Command: One year in, officials assess anti-ISIL progress - centcom.mil


Pentagon on the year long anti-ISIL campaign: "the true situation shows a waning insurgency, losing ground on nearly every front" - defense.gov


Dozens of Syrian Christians missing and believed to be captives of the Islamic State after it seizes town - The New York Times


Islamic State executed 2,000 Iraqis in Mosul region since takeover: Iraq defense minister - Yahoo News


Kurdish official says ISIS executed 19 girls for refusing to have sex with fighters - Daily Mail Online


Artificial intelligence decodes Islamic State strategy, Roadside bombs more likely after air campaigns (VIDEO) - BBC News


REPORT: Mining for Causal Relationships: A Data-Driven Study of the Islamic State - arxiv.org


What it takes to join the Islamic State, a prospective jihadist is subjected to information based on books, publications and fatwas, accompanied by military training - Al-Monitor


If You Retweet an ISIS Message, You’re Being Recorded by the F.B.I. - huffingtonpost.com


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


Syria/Turkey News - Aug 5, 2015


Al Qaeda affiliate Nusra Front hunting down U.S.-trained Syrian rebels, more believed captured: source - Reuters


U.S.-trained Syria rebel believed killed in fighting with Nusra Front: sources - Reuters


U.S backed Division 30 losses: July 30 - 8 captured. July 31 - 5 killed, 18 wounded, 20 captured. August 3 - 5 captured - Charles Lister on Twitter


U.S backed Division 30: Yet another Pentagon's failure in Syria - The News Hub


U.S. drones flying out of Incirlik Air Base in Turkey defending Syrian rebels from Nusra Front - NBC News


Pentagon: US not at war with Assad, “The people we are training and equipping are pledged to fight ISIL and only ISIL - PressTV


A US warning that it would use its air power to defend Pentagon-trained rebels should they be attacked by Syrian troops was met with scepticism by officials in Damascus - AFP


US, Turkey agree to keep Syrian Kurds out of proposed border zone - WSJ


US support of Syrian Kurds ruffles Turkey's feathers - Al-Monitor


Syrian Kurds set terms for partnership with Assad, official of YPG group battling ISIL says they are willing to coordinate with anyone who is ready for democracy - Al Jazeera


Russia Seeks Coalition on Islamic State While It Backs Assad - Bloomberg Business


Russia not planning to send troops to fight ISIS in Syria: Putin’s spokesman - RT News


At least 11 IS militants killed in US-led coalition airstrikes on their headquarter in al- Mayadin - Syrian Observatory For Human Rights


Jihadists in Syria honor Mullah Omar, praise Taliban’s radical state - The Long War Journal


Why haven’t Syrian banks collapsed under sanctions and war? - The Washington Post

 

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

Report: Turkish Jets Attack PKK Targets in Southeast Turkey - ABC News


Three soldiers killed by PKK in southeast amid violence outbreak - hurriyetdailynews.com


VIDEO: Three killed by PKK mine in southeast Turkey: security sources - Reuters


PKK attacks Turkey's halted Shah Deniz gas pipeline - Yahoo News


EU, US call for Turkish restraint against Kurds, urge the PKK to renounce violence and re-engage in peace talks - VOA


CHP, HDP seek to reduce tension, call on PKK to stop violence - hurriyetdailynews.com


Demirtaş says PKK ready to return to negotiations, quoting a senior PKK figure - hurriyetdailynews.com


It’s never late to call for peace: Demirtaş - hurriyetdailynews.com


ISIL revealed to have conducted reconnaissance before Suruç bombing - todayszaman.com


ISIS fighters throw man from a building in Iraq for being gay (PHOTOS) - Daily Mail Online


Islamic State Circulates Sex Slave Price List - Bloomberg Business


Islamic State Yazidi Slaves: Thousands Remain In ISIS Captivity As Iraqi Kurdistan Marks One Year Since Sinjar Massacre - IBTIMES


Yazidis Demand UN Action Against ISIS on 1st anniversary of attack - breitbart.com


Islamic State launches Android app for news and recruitment - IBTimes


ISIS or Al Qaeda? American Officials Split Over Top Terror Threat - The New York Times


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


Syria/Turkey News - Aug 2, 2015

 

US-backed rebel group flees north Syria HQ after clash with Nusra - THE DAILY STAR


Saga of U.S trained Syria rebels continues. Nusra attacks their HQ. 5 dead, 18 injured & 20 captured out of 60 - Jenan Moussa on Twitter


Al Qaeda’s branch in Syria says it captured US-backed rebels - The Long War Journal


Nusra statement: About Division 30 and Assistance of the Coalition Airplanes With Bombing Nusra (English) - justpaste.it


VIDEO (Arabic): Nusra publishes video of abducted U.S trained Syrian rebels including an interview with one of them - YouTube


According to the New York Times U.S officials thought Nusra would welcome U.S trained rebels as an ally in its fight against Islamic State - Jenan Moussa on Twitter


Syria's rebel fighters recruited to fight Isis, but captured and beaten by Jabhat al-Nusra for 'collaborating with crusaders' - The Independent


More on the relationship between U.S backed rebel group Division 30 and Al-Qaida affiliate Nusra Front - Juan Cole


According to local sources Turkey opens its border for Al Nusra - ANF


Al-Qaeda-linked group in Syria flaunts U.S.-made TOW anti-tank missiles - Al Arabiya News


Qaeda-led court executes 10 in Syria's Aleppo, two were accused of adultery and the rest of collaboration with the Syrian government: monitor - Yahoo News

 

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

Syrian Kurds Accuse Turkey Of Attacks, Ask U.S. For Explanation - huffingtonpost.com


Ascendant Kurds emerge from Syrian civil war as major power player - The Guardian


US commander Killea hails Kurdish group opposed by Turkey, 'YPG for the coalition against ISIL has been a very reliable partner' - Military.com


VIDEO: Marine Corps Brigadier General Kevin J. Killea on the coalition against ISIL - dvidshub.net


YPG kills 25 IS militants and drags their bodies at the outskirts of the city of al- Hasakah - Syrian Observatory For Human Rights


VIDEO: Hasakah : Syrian Army 104th Repulican Guards and Tribal Fighters capture the Central Prison from ISIS - LiveLeak.com


Syrian army advances on plain after rebel offensive: activists - THE DAILY STAR


25 Syria rebels killed in failed Aleppo attack - Al Arabiya News

 

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

Turkey military presses ahead with strikes against PKK in northern Iraq, as many as 28 F-16 jets raid 65 PKK targets - todayszaman.com


Turkish Airstrikes Kill Nine Civilians in Kurdistan Region, Local villagers ask PKK to leave the area - BasNews


Witnesses tell the massacre in Zergêle village in Kandil caused by Turkey bombing (VIDEO) - ANF


PHOTOS: Photos of civilians killed by Turkish airforces in village near mountain Kandil - LiveLeak.com


VIDEO: Turkish F16 hit kurdish village killing civilians - LiveLeak.com


Turkey says ’saddened’ over reports of civilian deaths in air strikes, vows probe - todayszaman.com


Iraqi Kurdish regional government asks PKK to 'withdraw' to prevent civilian deaths amid Turkish airstrikes targeting the group - AP


KRG condemns PKK attack on Turkey's oil pipeline - middleeastmonitor.com


Sources: Turkey Military operations 'kill 260 PKK terrorists’ - Anadolu Agency


HDP leader Demirtas denies his brother injured in air strikes on PKK in northern Iraq - todayszaman.com


Turkey has not struck IS targets since 24 July, but strikes against PKK targets have continued every night since then - Alev Scott on Twitter


Turkey used 3 planes to strike IS targets in Syria on night of 23-24 July. The next night it used 75 planes to hit PKK targets in Iraq - Alev Scott on Twitter

 

Kurds Claim Turkish Airstrikes on PKK Destroyed Health Clinic in Iraqi Kurdistan - breitbart.com


2 Soldiers Dead, 24 Wounded in PKK Suicide Attack in Turkey: Officials - ABC News


PKK military wing HPG: At least 14 soldiers and 2 police officers killed in the past days - ANF


We are ready to sacrifice our sons, Davutoğlu says amidst terror attacks - todayszaman.com


Turkish prime minister Davutoglu op-ed : We will stop at nothing to defeat terrorism - The Washington Post


Police break up march in Turkey demanding PKK leader's freedom - Middle East Eye


HDP co-chairs file complaints against Erdogan, Davutoglu for swaying judiciary - todayszaman.com

 

HDP co-leader Yuksekdag faces propaganda investigation - Anadolu Agency


There are ‘preparations’ to close HDP, says co-leader Demirtaş - hurriyetdailynews.com


Are Turkish courts delaying trials of IS militants? - Al-Monitor


The one who got away: 40 Indian workers in Mosul were abducted and 39 killed by the Islamic State - Fountain Ink Series


US Report: ISIS Still Kidnapping and Selling Women - aina.org


al-Ḥayāt Media Center presents a new magazine issue from The Islamic State: “Istok #2″ - JIHADOLOGY


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

Syria/Turkey News - July 31, 2015

 

U.S.-backed Syrian group says Nusra abducted its leader and members, a blow to U.S. efforts to train fighters to combat ISIS - Al Arabiya


US moves to quash reports on Syria trainees captured by al-Nusra - Middle East Eye


Despite Pentagon Denial, Reports Confirm That U.S.-Trained Syrian Rebels Were Kidnapped By Al-Qaeda Almost Immediately - PJ Tatler


If u want to know more about U.S trained rebel group allegedly captured by an Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, read this - Jenan Moussa on Twitter


Kidnapping of Pentagon-Trained Fighters in Syria Is New Hurdle for U.S. Effort - The New York Times


Pentagon price tag for Syrian rebels: $4 million each - POLITICO


Pentagon: Cost of War Against ISIS Already Exceeds $3 Billion - Breitbart


US, Turkey differ over how to fight IS from Incirlik air base, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Bilgic: support for the YPG is not one of the elements of the agreement - Asharq Al-Awsat


Syrian Kurds fear their territorial gains are at risk after Turkish action - The National


Syria Kurds’ spending plans reflect ambition as the authorities provide services for a greater population due to the territorial gains - THE DAILY STAR


Syrian Kurds refine oil for themselves for first time - Yahoo News


Turkey Seeks To Prevent Syria Kurds' Autonomy, Not Fight IS, Analysts Suggest - rferl.org


Turkish military builds 2.5 meter-high, rocket-proof wall on Syria border - Todays Zaman


POLL: Majority of Turks would prefer Kurds over ISIL controlling northern Syria - Todays Zaman


ICJ acknowledges request for inquiry into Syria-bound MİT trucks - Todays Zaman


Assyrian Christians Demand Turkey Stop Bombing YPG - Breitbart


Cairo slams Turkey’s proposed safe zone in Syria, defends territorial unity - bgnnews.com


Egypt accuses Turkey of working with the Islamic State on the Sinai Peninsula - Washington Times


Syria ‘doubts Turkey’s intentions in anti-ISIS effort’ - Al Arabiya News


———————————————————————————

Erdogan taking Turkey to war to avenge Kurdish territorial and political gains: leader of pro-Kurdish opposition Demirtas - Reuters


VIDEO: Kurd leader Demirtas attacks Turkey's 'safe zone' plan for Syria - BBC News


Demirtas: PKK withdrew from its separatist agenda 20 years ago, it is Erdogan’s fault that the PKK did not lay down their arms - Rudaw


Turkey prosecutors open probe into Kurdish leader Demirtas - France 24


Summary of proceedings prepared for Demirtas' immunity to be lifted - Todays Zaman


Erdoğan hits out at the Kurds, says their representatives have links to terrorist groups and the peace process is impossible – POLITICO


VIDEO: Erdogan responds to accusations by the head of a pro-Kurdish party - YouTube


New wave of attacks in southeastern Turkey blamed on the PKK with at least 11 police and army members killed since last week - AFP


PM’s office: 1,302 detained in 39 provinces in terror raids across Turkey targeting ISIL, the PKK and illegal extreme leftist groups - Todays Zaman


CPJ calls on Turkey to restore access to banned websites - Todays Zaman


Turkey onslaught on Kurds fuels anger - Yahoo News


VIDEO: Turkey’s Kurds condemn renewed fighting with PKK - France 24


In Iraq bastions, PKK braces for new war with Turkey - Yahoo News UK


Turkish Lira Declines as Soldier Deaths Spur Security Risk - Bloomberg Business


German defense minister cautions Turkey about attacks on PKK - Todays Zaman


Germany Wants to Withdraw Patriot Missiles From Turkey due to attacks carried out by the government forces against the Kurds - Sputnik International


Iraqi PM: Turkish Airstrikes on Kurds 'Dangerous Escalation and Violation of Sovereignty' - Breitbart


Turkey urged by Nato to show restraint as Erdogan says Kurdish peace process 'impossible' - Telegraph


UN calls on Turkey and PKK to find peaceful solution - Rudaw


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

Turkey News - July 27, 2015


Turkish Jets Hit Kurdish Militant Camps Again, Security Sources Say - huffingtonpost.com


Kurdish Separatists End Cease-Fire After Turkish Airstrikes - VOA


Merkel urges Turkey to continue Kurdish peace process despite violence - DW.COM


EU’s Mogherini urges Turkey to keep Kurdish peace process alive - BasNews


Here's what the US has to say about Turkey and the PKK - Al Bawaba


NATO: North Atlantic Council to meet at Turkey's request - US News


Iraq’s Kurdistan slams Turkish airstrikes on PKK - Al Arabiya News


In a phone call to Turkish Prime Minister Davutoğlu Barzani urges Turkey to Stop Attacks on PKK - BasNews


Barzani's statement on Turkish airstrikes contradicts Davutoğlu's remarks - hurriyetdailynews.com


The Kurdistan Parliament condemns the Turkish air campaign targeting bases of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) inside Iraqi territory - NRT English


HDP slams operations targeting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party: AKP is setting Turkey on fire - Kurdpress News Aganecy


Erdogan’s shift on Islamic State linked to Kurdish gains in Syria, implementing a safe-zone project controlled by Turkey-supported Syrian opposition forces - Al-Monitor


Le Monde publishes indictment claiming MİT involved in Paris murder of 3 PKK women - todayszaman.com


Turkey Uses ISIS as Excuse to Attack Kurds - gatestoneinstitute.org


Report: Seized USB drives reveal Turkey’s links to ISIL - todayszaman.com


Report: Turkish President Erdogan's daughter heads ‘covert' medical facility for treating injured Isis fighters, These claims however could not be independently verified - IBTimes


ARCHIVE: Research Paper: ISIS-Turkey List - huffingtonpost.com

 

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

Turkey policeman killed during clashes with protesters in Istanbul district of Gazi - Yahoo News


VIDEO: Turkey: Clashes erupt as activists protest Turkish airstrikes, dozens arrested - YouTube


Turkey bans 'peace march' on security concerns - hurriyetdailynews.com


Turkish police break up anti-IS march in Ankara - theSundaily


Protesters, police clash in eastern Turkey - The Journal of Turkish Weekly

 

Hundreds detained in operations across Turkey and North Kurdistan - ANF


Turkey blocks Kurdish websites as Twitter and Facebook slows down - hurriyetdailynews.com


People march from Ranya to Kandil to protest Turkish airstrikes - ANF


PHOTOS: Kurds are marching to Qandil to prevent Turkish attacks on PKK - International Brigades of Rojava


VIDEO: Hundreds of French Kurds stage demonstration in Paris against the attack by ISIL that killed 32 people, but also against the government’s bombing of PKK - euronews


Politicians, protesters in Germany condemn Turkey attacks on PKK - rudaw.net


Kurds and others protest against Turkey in Washington - rudaw.net


Jailed prosecutor says complacency towards Salafists made Suruç bombing possible - todayszaman.com

 

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

ISIS on retreat as Syrian Kurdish forces make more territorial gains in - rudaw.net


Syrian army, Kurds advance against IS in Hasakeh - Yahoo News


Syrian Kurds: Turkish army tanks shelled our positions - International Brigades of Rojava


PYD Leader Muslim: Iraqi Kurdistan is Our Main Provider of Weapons - BasNews


KRG Releases Details of Weapons Sent to YPG in Rojava - BasNews


Airstrikes Continue Against ISIL Terrorists in Syria, Iraq - Defense.gov


Syrian President Bashar Assad makes rare speech, vows to crush enemies - CBS News


VIDEO (English):  Assad's Damascus speech (Full) - Al Bawaba


Syria's Assad announces amnesty for draft dodgers -Syrian TV - Yahoo News

 

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

Syria News - June 23, 2015


On the offensive Syrian Kurds push deeper into Islamic State territory, seize military base - Yahoo News


Kurds announce their forces gained five more villages from Islamic State militants near the towns of Tel Abyad and Suluk in Raqqa province - nrttv


Kurds find Islamic State tunnel near Turkish border - US News


Kurds find torture center, prison cells of ISIL in Tal Abyad - hurriyetdailynews.com


Free from ISIS, Kurdish refugees return from Turkey to their villages to rebuild (PHOTOS) - Daily Mail Online


VIDEO: Thousands of refugees cross back into Syria from Turkey - Reuters


Kurdish leader Salih Muslim denies YPG committed ‘ethnic cleansing’ in Tel Abyad - Kurdpress News Aganecy


Is there 'systematic ethnic cleansing' by Kurds in north-east Syria? - Kobani Kurd


Analysis: Tel Abyad gives the Syrian Kurds control of  250-mile border with Turkey cutting off ISIS supply routes as well as uniting two of their three cantons - ROAR Magazine


After Tell Abyad, what's next for PYD? - Al-Monitor


YPG would not attack IS’s capital Raqqa: spokesman - Kurdpress News Aganecy


Syrian Kurds' morale high but arms needed, YPJ commander - ANSAMed.it


Kurds seek Canadian military, financial support in fight against ISIL: ‘Time to see something concrete’ - National Post


Syrian Kurdish Leader Salih Muslim Allegedly Holds Secret Meeting With Iraqi PM Abadi - basnews.com


VIDEO: 'Revolution within revolution’: How and why Kurdish women are fighting ISIS (DOCUMENTARY) — RT News


Suicide attack hit Kurdish security center in Syria's Qamishli - ARA News


ISIS scrambles to bolster Raqqa defense - now.mmedia.me


Islamic State covers A-Raqqa city with surveillance cameras - Syria Direct


Syria: ISIS Beheads Leader of Al Qaeda Offshoot Nusra Front in Raqqa - IBTimes


VIDEO: ISIS behead in public al-Nusra Fighter - LiveLeak.com


ISIS fighters show off their hearty meal while those in Raqqa queue for food (PHOTOS, VIDEO) - Daily Mail Online


Syrian army advances west of ISIS-controlled Palmyra - THE DAILY STAR


ISIS militants plant mines and bombs in Palmyra: activists - THE DAILY STAR


VIDEO: ISIS militants lay explosives in Syria's ancient city of Palmyra - YouTube

 

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

Tel Abyad battle could give blueprint for success against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, coordination between the coalition and Kurdish command - CNN


Coalition General Praises Kurdish Forces in Iraq and Syria - basnews.com


Pentagon: Military airstrikes hit ISIL in Syria and Iraq, Near Tal Abyad five airstrikes struck one large and four small ISIL units - Defense.gov


Turkey Warns US About Kurdish Advances in Syria - VOA


Main points of the document on Syrian Kurds, prepared by Turkey Foreign Ministry and obtained by daily Hürriyet - Hürriyet


US says Turkey main transit route for Syria-bound foreign fighters - todayszaman.com


Captured fighter details Islamic State's Turkey connection - Al-Monitor

 

VIDEO (English subtitles): Captured fighter details Islamic State's Turkey connection - YouTube


After Tal Abyad was recaptured by Kurdish forces former Islamic State recruits ask for amnesty in homelands - Rudaw


Pentagon pays Syrian rebels $400 per month to fight ISIS - usatoday.com


Syrian Opposition Fighters Withdraw from US 'Train and Equip' Program - syrianobserver.com


Here’s how badly the Pentagon effort to train Syrian rebels is lagging - The Washington Post


Military Council of the Free Syrian Army and Nusra Front form new coalition - Worldbulletin News


Syrian rebels split over coalition al-Qaeda links - Middle East Eye


Over 100 jihadist training camps identified in Iraq and Syria - The Long War Journal


Syria fuel shortages due to rebel infighting threaten lives: MSF - THE DAILY STAR


Syrian military and Druze allies join forces to fend off 'terrorists' - LA Times


Golan Druze attack Israeli army ambulance carrying wounded Syrian rebels - Yahoo News


ARCHIVE: Nusra Front Militants Kill Druze Villagers In Syria - Reuters


ISIL recruit allegedly planned U.S. assassinations - USA TODAY


European police team to take on ISIS social media propaganda - THE DAILY STAR


Twitter, YouTube analysis pinpoints ISIS strategy - THE DAILY STAR

 

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Turkey/Syria News - June 6, 2015


Parliamentary elections high stakes for Turkey...and Erdogan - Yahoo News


POLL: AKP expected to win 41% of the votes, CHP 27.8%, MHP 14.8% and HDP 12.6% - bianet.org


Pro-Kurdish HDP party may tip balance in Turkey polls - Yahoo News


Two dead, over 100 injured after explosions at milestone rally of Turkey's Kurdish party - hurriyetdailynews.com


VIDEO: Two dead, over 100 injured after explosions at milestone rally of Turkey's Kurdish party - LiveLeak.com


Gay, Christian, minority election candidates show Turkey's changing face, the most diverse list comes from the Kurdish party - Yahoo News


VIDEO: Kurds, women, gays put faith in upstart Turkish party - BBC News


Meet The Transgender Woman Who Wants To Represent Turkey's LGBT Community This Election - .huffingtonpost.com


Turkish elections: Turkey's Kurd-hating Grey Wolves spreading neo-nazi poison across Europe — www.ibtimes.co.uk


Turkey′s election system the ′most unfair′ in the world - DW.DE


Analysis: Is Turkey’s election campaigning fair and balanced? - middleeasteye.net


Erdogan: "There is a trash called The New York Times in the US" - The Counter Jihad Report


VIDEO (Turkish): Erdogan slams New York Times -- again - rudaw.net


New York Times responds to Erdoğan with Twitter riddle: "Which leader has a 1,150-room palace more than 30x the size of the White House?" - todayszaman.com


Turkey lavish presidential palace nicknamed ‘illegal’ because built on a recreational farming area, Worker tells of lengthy security checks - todayszaman.com


Nervous Turkish markets await knife-edge election outcome - Yahoo Maktoob News


Why Investors Are Calling This the Most Important Turkish Election in Forever - Bloomberg Business


Erdogan Setback Seen Benefiting Turkish Companies Like Koza Gold - Bloomberg Business

 

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

Report: Turkey’s MIT spy agency transported ISIL fighters to Syria, facilitating the jihadist group's defeat of the FSA - todayszaman.com


Violent confrontation between gendarmes and MIT intel operatives who were transporting illegal arms to Syria jihadists - todayszaman.com


VIDEO: Violent confrontation between gendarmes and MIT intel operatives who were transporting illegal arms to Syria jihadists - LiveLeak.com


VIDEO: Video showing weapons carried by MIT intel operatives to Syria jihadists - YouTube


CHP Hatay official: Transfer of arms to Syrian jihadists continues, weapons loaded here and sent to the other side of the border - todayszaman.com


Syrian Turkmens challenge claims that MIT weapons were destined for their community, say received no aid from Ankara - todayszaman.com


HSYK allows prosecution of prosecutors, military commanders who stopped MIT trucks carrying weapons to Syria - todayszaman.com


Erdoğan seeks aggravated life sentence for Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief for publishing video of MIT arms transferred to Syria - todayszaman.com


VIDEO (English Subs): Erdoğan vows to punish journalist behind Syria trucks video: He will pay a heavy price - todayszaman.com


Cumhuriyet journalists challenge Erdoğan's threats - Cihan News


400 intellectuals show support for daily Cumhuriyet, journalist - hurriyetdailynews.com


Journalist Baransu faces 52 years in jail for coverage of MGK report - todayszaman.com


Journalist Mumcu faces 5 years in jail for insulting Erdoğan - todayszaman.com


US spokesperson expresses ‘concern’ on press freedom in Turkey, Along with journalists, Armenians and gays Erdoğan has also singled out the New York Times, CNN and the BBC - hurriyetdailynews.com


VIDEO: US spokesperson Marie Harf expresses ‘concern’ on press freedom in Turkey - YouTube


Committee to Protect Journalists: “We call on [Erdogan] to stop bullying journalists and news outlets just because he doesn't like what they report" - Committee to Protect Journalists


Amnesty International official: Human rights situation in Turkey could not be worse - todayszaman.com


Human rights Watch and International Press Institute react against the series of attacks by Erdoğan and his supporters against media critical of the government - todayszaman.com


Ankara denies 'Saudi-backed Turkish spies in Yemen' allegations - Anadolu Agency


The Turkey-Qatar Military Cooperation Agreement, What are Turkish troops going to do in Qatar? - Al-Monitor


Towards-a-Turkish-Saudi-alliance - Al-Ahram Weekly

 

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Can We Try Some Honesty on Memorial Day?

How to Honor Memorial Day

Editor Note: Of all the world’s holidays commemorating wars, Memorial Day should be one of sober reflection on war’s horrible costs, surely not a moment to glorify warfare or lust for more wars. But many pols and pundits can’t resist the opportunity, as discussed below.

By Ray McGovern

How best to show respect for the U.S. troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and for their families on Memorial Day? Simple: Avoid euphemisms like “the fallen” and expose the lies about what a great idea it was to start those wars and then to “surge” tens of thousands of more troops into those fools’ errands.

Speaking Events

January 10 and 11:
Events in Washington DC to present a petition telling president elect to end wars:
https://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=12501

January 20-21 Occupy the Inauguration
 
January 29 David Swanson speaking in Arlington, Va.
 
February David Swanson debating a war supporter in Boston, Mass.
 
April 21-23 UNAC's annual conference in Richmond, Va.

April 29 possible multi-issue protest in DC.

Find Events Here.

 

 

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