Iamwhomiam wrote:The NY Times has an interesting video showing more about the chlorine bombs they claim Assad was responsible for.
Iamwhomiam » Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:55 pm wrote:The NY Times has an interesting video showing more about the chlorine bombs they claim Assad was responsible for.
One Building; Dozens Killed in Syria: How Bashar al-Assad Gassed His Own People
Israel evacuates White Helmets from Syria to Jordan
Published time: 22 Jul, 2018
Israel has evacuated hundreds of members of the controversial Western-backed White Helmets from Syria to Jordan to be resettled later in the UK, Canada, and Germany, according to statements from Tel Aviv and Amman.
Emmanuel Nahshon, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, had confirmed on Twitter that “Israel has completed a humanitarian effort to rescue members of a Syrian civil organization (“the White Helmets”) and [their] families.” He chose not to disclose further details, adding only that the evacuees have been brought “to a neighboring country.”
https://www.rt.com/news/433924-white-he ... on-israel/
When the dust settles, I wonder if you would consider my question: What do you think of Syrians who stand for no more regimes, stand against their own government, who want to be self-organizing, the people to have the power? Is it possible that they come to this on their own, or must they be corrupted or fooled by Western power? Basically, do you think Syrians might be just like you?
Again with the 'ideals' and 'noble goals.' It's 'damning with faint praise,' a way of marginalizing a point of view. I had to point this same thing out to Elvis a few days a ago.
So to follow the flipped logic to its conclusion: the people of Syria are easily corrupted, as are Americans. Therefore we the people are suckers and deserve what we get. Authoritarian control.
I'm not going to get baited into a straw man argument. It isn't right for anyone to blow up a country for any reason. I don't remember ever calling Assad a 'Bad man.' I'm a bad man. They're all murderers, they're all crooks.
They're all murderers, they're all crooks, kick them all out. That's my platform, where I begin. I just haven't lost sight of that. I'm not 'shell-shocked' or sensitized by the internet. I gotta support the people. The naive, corruptible people.
Why Syrian refugees in Lebanon fear going back to an Assad-controlled Syria
It is worth noting here that Law No. 10 has some precedence in Decree 66 of 2012 which established, among other things, the planned creation of ‘Marota City’.
Screenshot of the official website advertising Marota city.
Investments for Marota City, while formally coming from the state-owned Commercial Bank of Syria, are widely believed to include regime-linked billionaires such as Rami Makhlouf, Assad’s cousin “who hails from the same family as the minister of local administration and is known to sponsor loyalist militias“, and a wealthy Kuwait-based Syrian investor named Mazen Tarazi. Future landlords include Syrian-Turkish-Lebanese businessman Samer Foz.
And while the regime advertises this project as affordable, Aron Lund noted for IRIN News that the reality is quite different:Syrian authorities present the Decree 66 redevelopment projects as an unmitigated success story, but even pro-government media has noted the absence of alternative housing for people evicted from Basatin al-Razi [where Marota City is being built]. Former residents were recently told they may get new apartments in the coming three years.
So, six years later, with the arrival of Law No. 10, many Syrians displaced by the war have added ‘redevelopment’ to a long list of reasons why return may well be impossible.
This is especially true as over 70% of Syrian refugees in Lebanon come from the devastated areas of Aleppo, Homs, Idlib and Rural Damascus.
And this is in addition to reports of returning refugees being forcibly conscripted into the army and some even tortured and killed.
In total [for June 2018], U.S. and Coalition aircraft flew 1,335 strike sorties, and manned and remotely piloted aircraft released 356 weapons against ISIS targets.
https://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display ... and-syria/
An Air Force C-17 Globemaster III departs from a coalition airfield in Northeast Syria, June 26, 2018. In conjunction with partner forces, Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve's mission is to defeat ISIS in designated areas of Iraq and Syria and set conditions to increase regional stability.
The complete summary and statistics can be found here: http://www.afcent.af.mil/Portals/82/Doc ... 8%20(Final).pdf?ver=2018-07-20-043745-390
[PDF not hyperlinking correctly, go to press release link]
Operation Inherent Resolve U.S. and Coalition aircraft continued to perform strike missions, defensive counter air and armed over-watch sorties in support of Coalition and partner offensive operations to accelerate the defeat of ISIS last month. In total, U.S. and Coalition aircraft flew 1,335 strike sorties, and manned and remotely piloted aircraft released 356 weapons against ISIS targets.
"While we continue to strike ISIS fighters and positions, we remain focused on protecting ground forces from above," said Lt. Gen. Jeff Harrigian, combined Forces Air Component Commander for U.S. Central Command. "Our Coalition and ground forces have made tremendous strides against ISIS during Operation Roundup thanks, in part, to our shaping operations against ISIS and theconfidence our ground forces have that we'll be overhead."
As part of Operation Roundup which began in May, Syrian Democratic Forces with the support of Coalition forces have continued to re-take territory once controlled by ISIS in the Middle Euphrates River Valley and in the Syria-Iraq border region. Along with artillery strikes and ground maneuver, Coalition air strikes and Iraqi Air Force cross-border airstrikes into Syria continued to squeeze the remaining pockets of ISIS fighters.
Also of note, U.S. C-130s and C-17s conducted airdrops in support of Operation Roundup in June dropping 170,960 pounds of equipment and supplies to ground forces operating in Iraq. Furthermore, ISR aircraft flew 545 sorties to develop targets and maintain battlespace awareness, and tankers flew 758 sorties to extend the range of aircraft and the duration of their missions.
[PDF not hyperlinking correctly, go to press release link above]
http://www.afcent.af.mil/Portals/82/Doc ... 8%20(Final).pdf?ver=2018-07-20-043745-390
In March 2017, the Donald Trump Administration deployed an additional 400 U.S. Marines in Syria to expand the fight against ISIS in the Raqqa offensive where they could provide artillery support for U.S.-backed local forces that were preparing an assault on Raqqa to liberate the city from IS militants. The deployment marked a new escalation in the U.S. war in Syria, and put more conventional U.S. troops in the battle that, until then, had primarily used Special Operations units. The 400 Marines were part of the 11th MEU from the Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marines. They manned an artillery battery of M-777 Howitzers whilst additional infantrymen from the unit provided security and resupplies were handled by part of the expeditionary force's combat logistics element. During the Raqqa campaign alone, this small artillery battalion fired over 40,000 shells (including 34,033 155mm), more than were used in the entire 2003 invasion of Iraq and only 20,000 fewer than all those fired by the U.S. military in Operation Desert Storm.
In March 2018, SDF press secretary in Deir ez-Zor Mehdi Kobani reportedly told Sputnik Turkiye that U.S. forces were building a "large military base" in the oil-rich al-Omar region of Deir ez-Zor as new equipment had been reportedly arriving to U.S. bases in Syria. The al-Omar oilfield is the largest oil deposit in Syria, and was captured by the SDF during their campaign against ISIL in October 2017.
The 441st Air Expeditionary Squadron reportedly maintains an unpaved runway in Sarrin, Raqqa Governorate.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American- ... und_forces
What’s going to happen when Assad wins the war in Syria?
By Patrick Lawrence July 17, 2018 1:51 PM (UTC+8)
Given the unexpected pace of events in recent weeks, the end of Syria’s seven-year agony appears to be very near. It is now all but certain that Bashar al-Assad’s government will win its long war against Sunni jihadists and their foreign supporters. The focus in Syria is already turning from conflict, casualty counts, and displacement to reconciliation, resettlement, and reconstruction.
It would be hard to overstate the significance of this outcome. Apart from bringing the most tragic conflict of the post-Cold War decades to an end, the larger consequences of a peace achieved in this way – political, diplomatic, strategic – are many.
There is an obvious starting point. It is time to reconsider the commonly accepted view of what has been at stake in Syria these past seven years. To take the impending outcome as a victory merely for Assad’s political survival – as press reports and Washington officials encourage us to do – is too narrow a view and misses the essential point: This will be an advance for national sovereignty, non-intervention, international law, and secular government.
A bitter truth derives from this reality. As the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) re-establishes official control over Syrian territory, we witness the failure of the long, US-led effort to decapitate the Damascus government by backing an amorphous collection of Sunni-nationalist ideologues intent on replacing a secular regime with one wielding sharia law as severely as any other in the Middle East. The defeat Washington sustains as this cynical strategy collapses should be welcomed.
There is a larger read to be considered here. Cultivating coups has been a feature of US policy abroad since the Central Intelligence Agency’s 1953 plot to topple the government of Mohammad Mossadegh in Iran. Has the era of “regime change,” as these things are politely called nowadays, come to an end? While it would be excellent to think so, this is too sweeping an assertion to make with confidence.
The year 2015 was the Syrian war’s transformative year. Islamic State (ISIS) had seized considerable territory while making a salad of ever-shifting alliances with other jihadist groups. Iranian advisers had been actively assisting the SAA for at least two years, press reports indicated, but government forces were nonetheless at risk of defeat. Russian jets flew their first sorties over Syria on September 30, 2015, and the direction of the war thereupon reversed.
Russia’s role in Syria has included a diplomatic dimension from the beginning, and it now proves as effective as its air support. Russian officials have brokered settlements between jihadists and the central government with a good but mixed record of success. Thousands of Army of Islam militants agreed to retreat from Eastern Ghouta in April, for instance, but not all: An SAA operation was necessary to finish clearing the Damascus suburb.
The same is now occurring in the southwestern provinces, where the number of surrendering jihadists is reported to be larger than initially anticipated. Russians – medics, aid workers, and others – are also facilitating relief and reconciliation efforts in regions that have returned to government control.
On the international side, Russia’s statecraft has proved adept such that it seems to have taken nearly everyone by surprise. Exploiting its relations with all sides engaged in the Syria crisis, it just negotiated an understanding between Israel and Iran that averts the danger of widening the war as the SAA advances into the southwestern provinces bordering the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
In the north, Russia appears to have had a hand in persuading Turkey to begin withdrawing troops that had crossed into northern Syria earlier this year. It has used oil diplomacy to persuade Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies to step back from their anti-Assad crusades.
These are features of what is shaping up to be a comprehensive plan to stabilize Syria that Russia has been working on for many months. It is likely that President Vladimir Putin presented it to his US counterpart Donald Trump when the two convened in Helsinki on Monday.
This is a key moment – for the US as well as Syria. Several times after Russia’s initial intervention in Syria three autumns ago, Putin urged the US to cooperate against ISIS and the jihadist militias. Barack Obama and John Kerry, then president and secretary of state, never got further than parrying Putin’s suggestions. What will Trump do if Putin offers a similar opportunity, as appears likely?
What President Trump says in response to the Russian leader may not be clear until he says it. In view of recent developments on the ground and Russia’s military and diplomatic successes, Trump’s choice appears to be sharply drawn. The US can assist in the reassembly of a nation that came perilously close to suffering the fate of Iraq (post-2003) and Libya (post-2011). Or it can continue to disrupt efforts to restore Syria to a functioning whole, including a political process capable of producing an inclusive settlement.
The key term in the above thought is “opportunity.” There is one for Trump. It will not be easy for him to pursue it, even though he favors withdrawal from the Syria conflict. Russia has effectively challenged US primacy in the Middle East, as is now widely acknowledged.
As an era ends, there will be resistance in Washington to any suggestion of acquiescence. Equally, Russia has proceeded by way of a new kind of diplomacy. It is based less on military power or its threat than on recognition of shared interests and multi-sided negotiation to reconcile them. Plainly and simply, this is not Washington’s accustomed style.
A chance for a change of course
Assad recently estimated the cost of Syria’s post-conflict reconstruction at US$400 billion. It is not clear how he arrived at this figure, but this is not the point. Reassembling itself after seven years of incessant destruction is Syria’s new reality: This is the point.
United Nations figures indicate that high numbers of displaced Syrians are returning to Aleppo and other devastated cities. Infrastructure is being rebuilt. Reconciliation centers remain active – too active, it has been said: Some Syrian critics have reportedly accused the government of being excessively liberal in its program to reintegrate former militants. Damascus continues to shelter victims from regions once under Islamic State control.
Through seven years of war, the Assad government retained the loyalty of Sunni majorities (as well as Christian and Shiite minorities fearful of Islamist rule). Damascus maintained government services under obviously adverse circumstances.
Does non-Islamist opposition to Assad still exist? There is no question of this (and one would hope so). But many Syrians, if not most, credit Damascus with sparing them the Islamist alternative despite the government’s many shortcomings and excesses. No surprises here: These developments are in line with the ruling Baathist Party’s commitments to secular modernization and “progress” in the Western meanings of these terms, and its social-democratic policies in education, health care, and the usual array of social services. These values remain evident in Syrian society.
What will the US and major European powers do in the face of these emerging realities? There is a chance to depart from a course in the Middle East that has led to little more than ever-worsening disorder for at least the past 15 years. In a region with a long tradition of despotism in its political culture, the Assad government is far from the worst now in power.
Russia’s multi-sided diplomacy makes it possible to assuage various nations’ anxieties without resorting to “regime change.” If the US holds to its pattern, the best it can hope for in the face of Syria’s gradual but now evident restoration is to assume the role of spoiler.
It does not seem much of a choice, but it appears it is what Trump faced in Helsinki.
This article was produced by the Independent Media Institute.
http://www.atimes.com/whats-going-to-ha ... -in-syria/
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