Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 24, 2016

U.S. Officials Confirm - Syrian Army Attack In Aleppo To Hit Al-Qaeda

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
HEARING - U.S. POLICY AFTER RUSSIA’S ESCALATION IN SYRIA
Assistant Secretary Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs U.S. Department of State
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2015, Transcript (pdf)

Ambassador PATTERSON: That is true in the north, Mr. Issa. I would say that it is not true in the south. But, certainly, in the north, the al-Nusra Front, which is an al-Qaeda affiliate, has absorbed, as have other smaller groups, have absorbed a number of what we would have previously called the moderate opposition, yes, that is correct.

U.S. Department of State, Mark C. Toner Deputy Spokesperson, Daily Press Briefing, Washington, DC, February 22, 2016

QUESTION: -- [..] Is there not – I mean, my understanding is that at least some of these [moderate] groups are commingled [with alQaeda]. You assert that you feel that you are able to delineate the territories that are inhabited by ISIL or by Nusrah or by the other groups deemed terrorist. What makes you so confident you can do that? Do you not believe that there is at least some commingling of these groups? Or intermingling?

MR TONER: I would respectfully defer to others with a better knowledge of conditions on the ground. But yes, I believe there is some commingling of these groups. I think that’s a reality; we’ve talked about it before.

Department of Defense Press Briefing by Col. Warren via Teleconference from Baghdad, Iraq
Colonel Steve Warren, Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman - April 20, 2016

COL. WARREN: [..] What I do know is that we have seen, you know, regime forces with some Russian support as well begin to mass and concentrate combat power around Aleppo. So this is something we're concerned about and something we'll keep an eye on.

That said, it's primarily al-Nusra who holds Aleppo, and of course, al-Nusra is not part of the cessation of hostilities.

Russian Military Buildup Near Aleppo, Syria, Threatens Truce, Kerry Warns - NY Times April 23 2015

Mr. Kerry said that the Russians might be moving on Aleppo because members of the Al Nusra Front, an affiliate of Al Qaeda, were mixed throughout parts of the region, and that they were terrorists not party to the cease-fire. At the same time, he said, the region is home to insurgent groups that oppose Mr. Assad and have agreed to the cease-fire. 
“That has proven harder to separate them than we thought,” Mr. Kerry said. “And there’s a Russian impatience and a regime impatience with the terrorists who are behaving like terrorists and laying siege to places on their side and killing people.”

For the last several days the government held parts of Aleppo city and the 2,000,000 inhabitants and refugees there have been under constant bombardment with improvised gas-canister mortars and rockets from the al-Nusra side.

Some heavy operations against the al-Qaeda held areas in Aleppo governate and Aleppo city are inevitable and now seem to be imminent. The statements the U.S. officials made above seem to justify such an operation.

Posted by b on April 24, 2016 at 01:44 PM | Permalink

Comments

But if Clinton becomes President, her de facto Secretary of State will be Samantha Power, who will make Kerry look like an angel of light by comparison.

Posted by: entwhistle | Apr 24, 2016 2:00:46 PM | 1

.

Posted by: jennyscreams | Apr 24, 2016 2:02:16 PM | 2

Kerry "worrying" about the details of the ceasefire at this point ... OMG ... the hypocrisy ...

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 24, 2016 2:16:34 PM | 3

expect the usual 'barrel bombs' and 'gassing' or murdering innocent syrians to only happen when 'russia' or the 'regime' is attacking those sweet 'moderate' groups... one can count on the msm to deliver the ongoing message - the same message we've been given 24/7 since the inception of this madness...

kerry/powers - the whole lot of exceptionalists, need to be put down to rest at a place like bush2's moron ranch in crawford... put them all out to pasture where they can't inflict more murder and mayhem on the rest of the world and us by extension..

Posted by: james | Apr 24, 2016 2:25:35 PM | 4

Well it looks as if the march east from Palmyra is on so that is good news. My understanding is that the Aleppo city battle is also on, but the Aleppo countryside south if there isn't. I think the SAA will carry on in Latakia as they are battling for Kabani now with the Turks opening their borders again for the jihadist reinforcements and assisting with artillery.

Now a comparison of how things get done in the US way and the Russian way.
US coalition in Iraq:

"Explosives planted by Islamic State have killed dozens of Iraqi civilians who returned to Ramadi despite warnings that much of the western city remains unsafe nearly four months after its recapture from the militants.

But the United Nations said it had learned from the authorities that 49 people have been killed and 79 others wounded in Ramadi since the beginning of February. Those figures are “almost certainly an underestimation,” it said.

A U.S. de-mining company was contracted last month to remove explosives and train Iraqis to dismantle the devices planted by Islamic State in Ramadi, 100 km (60 miles) west of Baghdad. Sources in Ramadi said another Western company was expected to help with de-mining efforts and Iraqi companies are also now competing for potentially lucrative government contracts. Still there is just not enough expertise to keep pace with the return of civilians, said Mohamed Ali, a tribal fighter who helps dismantle explosives."

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/islamic-state-mines-kill-dozens-civilians-returning-ramadi/ | Al-Masdar News

The Russian way:

Russian sappers defuse 3,000 bombs in Palmyra in 12 days - Defense Ministry

Russian engineers have cleared around 180 hectares (about two square kilometers) in the ancient city of Palmyra, defusing some 3,000 bombs, the Russian Defense Ministry reported on Tuesday.
“Beginning April 1, over 30 kilometers of roads and more than 182 hectares of land have been demined; 2,987 explosive objects have been unearthed,” Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said at a teleconference at the National Defense Control Center.

https://www.rt.com/news/339279-palmyra-bombs-russian-sappers/

Posted by: Dean | Apr 24, 2016 2:41:32 PM | 5

Defense Dept: "It's primarily al-Nusra who holds Aleppo." 20 Apr 2016

Posted by: james | Apr 24, 2016 2:41:46 PM | 6

and the ceasefire does not prohibit SAA from fighting al-Nusra ...

After more promises that Iraq really-truly-this-time-for-realz going to retake Mosul ... any day now ... the comparison with this robust mobilization to reclaim Aleppo is unavoidable ... The lack of an army of sappers to make Ramadi safe-to-re-occupy brings to my mind the rubble that remained when Kobane was "liberated"

We really suck at this stuff ... maybe we should stop pretending competence ...

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 24, 2016 3:14:18 PM | 7

@entwhistle, 1:

...who will make Kerry look like an angel of light by comparison.
The Angel of Light is Lucifer...

Posted by: rint | Apr 24, 2016 3:15:24 PM | 8

@Dean, 5:

My understanding is that the Aleppo city battle is also on, but the Aleppo countryside south if there isn't.
The Aleppo South-West campaign seems to be an Iranian/Hezbollah pet project, no doubt fuelled by the desire to free Kafrayah and al-Fu'ah. Somehow the Russians are not warming to it. That's why Col. Tiger Hassan was posted back to the Palmyra/Deir ez Zor front shortly after he was supposed to lead the global Aleppo battle, which was then called off. Genl. Soleimani has been in Moscow in the meantime. Seems the Russians and Iranians are not in total agreement w.r.t. priorities. As you say, Latakia and the push to Deir ez Zor are in full swing, both important fronts. The Russians limiting themselves to Aleppo city makes sense, since the city will probably be very tough to liberate and consume an inordinate number of resources.

Posted by: rint | Apr 24, 2016 3:24:49 PM | 9

@entwhistle, 1

You made me have a horrible thought!

Hillary the "we came, we saw, he died, giggle, giggle" the psychopath, discussing with Mad-alin the "500,000 dead children was worth it (because they weren't American)" Albright how, Samantha Powers, Susan Rice, and Victoria Nuland can all be used in her administration. Really scary stuff.

Posted by: Dean | Apr 24, 2016 3:33:08 PM | 10

But this temporary ceasefire, which b said was a victory for the Russians + Syrians, was always going to be used to resupply Al Nusrah, ISIL and other terrorist groups through the delivery mechanism of the "moderate" rebels. That's what the co-mingling is mostly all about - weapon supply

And with these new weapons, including debility to shoot down some Syrian aeroplanes, how this 'temporary ceasefire' was ever considered a victory is ludicrous. But I guess if more people have to die to so so someone can reinforce their fake world view , I guess that was worth it.

Posted by: tom | Apr 24, 2016 4:18:50 PM | 11

@tom, 11:

how this 'temporary ceasefire' was ever considered a victory is ludicrous.
I doubt the Russians were ever under any illusions. Apparently Assad did not want to have the ceasefire, knowing full well that what you describe would portend. Putin is obviously gaming the hypocrisy of the West/GCC/Israel/Turkey, and has given them the opportunity to expose themselves. It was also a welcome break to deal with Palmyra, and the Russians managed to get the compliant opposition on board for the final ride. The statements by US officials in b's posting give the Russians Carte Blanche. Now they have no more excuse, and Russians/Syrians/Iranians/Hezbollah can get on with the serious business without having to worry about accusations. I'm sure the re-arming of the jihadists has been factored into the war plans of the Russians/Syrians/Iranians/Hezbollah.

Posted by: rint | Apr 24, 2016 4:45:35 PM | 12

Tom @11,

While I also felt the "oh no not Donbass again" when I heard the news, I have been learning about how the Russians (Putin and co) work. First they put International Law as the highest, and will always work within its framing. They are in Syria at the government's request and via UN resolution. Since the US coalition isn't and is constantly accusing Russia of all sorts of deceits, Russia had, and has, to find a way of sorting out the terrorists from those the US claims to be "moderates" but would never identify. The ceasefire was a way of doing that as those that signed up were not to be attacked but were now documented as "moderates".

Once those moderates broke the agreement and fought alongside the terrorists they have now become "free game". The Russians have been telling Kerry get your moderates inline or we are going to take them out! He can't, because as you said, they had no intention of really stopping the fight. But this gives the Russians the legal means to take them out now because the are truly terrorists, even to their US backers. So there is nothing to stop Russia now. Hence the shift in US rhetoric. Russia is getting the go ahead in Aleppo because they out played the US again.

In Russian foreign policy, military is just one finger on the diplomatic hand, they use what is best in the circumstance to achieve their long term objective. The ceasefire, the Geneva talks, the withdrawal of forces, while bringing in more attack helicopters, are all part of benefiting Russia's national interests. The US doesn't work with that unity (example: CIA and Pentagon backed forces fighting each other). When Putin announced the withdrawal it was the Russian President, Foreign Minister, and Minister of Defence that the public saw together reinforcing each other as a unity. When has that happen in the USA? Certainly not lately.

Posted by: Dean | Apr 24, 2016 5:09:19 PM | 13

the temporary cease fire imho was yet another object lesson in the phantom nature of "moderate rebels" as well as the "good faith" of many of those at the table in Geneva ... (I'd guess that close surveillance of traffic provided some useful intelligence ... updating where resupplies came from and who they went to ... like finding the leak in a inner tube ... gotta see where the bubbles are coming from)

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 24, 2016 5:15:46 PM | 14

It doesn't matter what the US says ahead of time. It's almost certain the US will still point to the SAA/Russian/Iranian actions as ceasefire violations after that fact. The US doesn't care about the truth or about consistency, only in making propaganda points that will duly get repeated by the MSM media. (And the MSM includes outfits such as Democracy Now! that dutifully toe the US line on matters such as Syria, ensuring that their money from Soros is well earned.)

Posted by: WorldBLee | Apr 24, 2016 5:42:28 PM | 15

The fact that the "moderates" work hand in glove with terrorist groups in Syria - including those who "attacked our freedom on 9/11" and those who have been described as "the greatest threat America has ever faced" - has been admitted so many times by so many people, I am completely astounded that any administration lackey has the nerve to deny it. And we're talking the New York Times, David Petraus and the US Vice President himself who have either admitted or floated a "trial ballon" on this.

These people lie with the ease of which most people breathe. Its a natural consequence of 69 years of covert action and "plausible deniability".

I wish the Syrian people peace and safety - which sadly appears only possible to achieve by their efforts on the battlefield, since the West has totally rejected any honest efforts at the peace table.

And I wish the Syrian Army all of the luck in the world in their new, well-warranted, offensive. They are defending their country no different from the Union soldiers during the US Civil War, or the Soviet soldiers defending themselves from annihilation at Stalingrad.

Its time the Syrian people are rid of these terrorists. It could have all been done years ago - even WITH Assad bowing out, fulfilling all of this administrations stated goals - if it wasn't for the obstinate, bloodthirsty attitude of most of the people in charge in Washington.

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 24, 2016 5:51:41 PM | 16

Deadly Rockets Hit Turkish Border Town, 1 Killed, 26 Injured


Two rockets struck houses in a poor neighborhood near the town center in the morning. Later in the day, two more rockets crashed into a mosque, killing one person and injuring more than 10. The mosque was 100 meters from the governor's office, where Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan was holding talks at the time.

What the hell was Merkel doing in Kilis? It's safer there than in Istanbul? This smells like a setup. How could the people charged with looking after the German Chancellor allowed this to happen?

This comes on top of Merkels statement sanctioning - in the actual sense of the word - a Turkish strip enclave in Northern Syria.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 24, 2016 6:05:01 PM | 17

@13 Dean - nicely said, fully agree.

Lot of short memories here. How can the delusion still persist that the ceasefire was a "mistake" which served only to re-arm the terrorists? This ignores the quantum leap forward of a written, internationally legal scope of battle that now describes each adversary to be targeted for killing by the Syrian allied forces.

Some people seem to prefer the picture of trees to that of the forest. Fortunately the Russians are not that blind.

Posted by: Grieved | Apr 24, 2016 6:09:32 PM | 18

WorldBLee @15

"The US doesn't care about the truth or about consistency, only in making propaganda points that will duly get repeated by the MSM media."

6% of US citizens polled trust the medias ...


https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/tim-graham/2016/04/18/ap-survey-says-just-six-percent-put-their-trust-media

Posted by: ALberto | Apr 24, 2016 6:14:14 PM | 19

@16

Aren't semantics interesting? Rockets! Estes model rockets for kids. Always rockets when they wish to downplay the significance.

Posted by: fast freddy | Apr 24, 2016 6:15:17 PM | 20

@11, @12, @13, @14

The 'ceasefire' is over. The Russians, with great fanfare, withdrew vulnerable weapons from Syria. Resupply of foreign aggressors in Syria never stopped. The struggle continues, with the SAA, revivified, at the forefront. Barstool analysis continues, sometimes accompanied by the waving of hands, the raising of voices, and with what can only be described as ridiculous certainty. Undertaken by all of us, at one time or another.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 24, 2016 6:18:44 PM | 21

Rats, I got lost in the spam. My point was simple enough - a source no less than the New York Times, in an amazing display of declaration against interest - has admitted that the "moderates" work hand in glove with terrorists. And not just any terrorists, but the terrorists who "attacked us on 9/11". Shit - Petreaus even floated the "trial balloon" that we "ought to consider" working with al Qaeda.

It's amazing that anyone in the administration has the cajones to deny it anymore.

I wish the Syrian people peace - unfortunately, it looks like the only way they're going to get it is on the battlefield. That's the decision of the US - you can be certain of that.

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 24, 2016 6:32:04 PM | 22

Merkel's proposal of a safe zone in Syria may lead to the cancellation of the migrant deal. If this zone is made to exist, there is no more the need to return the migrants to Turkey, they will be returned to that zone. Therefore there would be no need for the EU to pay 3 billions euros to Turkey and to grant a visa free.
With this 'innocent' proposal, Merkel is putting Davutoglu in a bind. Turkey has been calling for that safe zone for years but now they may not want it as they will loose the deal they blackmailed so well with the EU. Obama declared it could be workable if the warring parties agree. Turkey will make sure that its warring party won't agree.
In addition the bombing in Killis is given ammunition to groups against the deal as refugees who are safe in Greece will be returned to unsafe areas. Many EU countries are against granting visa free to country infested with Islamist and that does not respect freedom of press. It is quite possible that the deal fall though if the attacks on Turkey increases. That could create a serious political crisis in Turkey. I cross my fingers.

Posted by: virgile | Apr 24, 2016 7:37:24 PM | 23

@21 virgile

Woven from whole cloth and contingency, but who knows?

The safe zone in Syria looks like Turkey's long sought for safe zone for Turkmen terrorists to me, and I don't imagine the EU will ever be allowed to stop paying terrorist protection money to Erdogan, or that the stream of immigration will stop. Even if it lets up in Syria, it's opening up in Libya. The only hope is for the US/EU to stop their neo-colonial wars - fat chance - or for the Russian together with the victims of the US/EU colonial wars to put an end to US/EU terrorism. According to me, anyway.

Meanwhile the US/EU keep raising the ante, preparing for war against Russia directly in the Baltics.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 24, 2016 8:10:48 PM | 24

#1 yes or the cookie monster from Ukraine

Syria, this a good look at Amerikas monsters on a leash but still.

https://consortiumnews.com/2016/04/23/whats-left-of-palmyra-and-syria/

How sad

Posted by: jo6pac | Apr 24, 2016 8:36:35 PM | 25

@1 Entwhistle - oh god please not samantha powers but I suspect you're right. I am a fan of Kerry to be honest even if I am at complete odds with him in Syria - he's just following presidential orders or am i wrong?

Posted by: Au | Apr 24, 2016 9:19:14 PM | 26

@21 i guess turkey/saudi arabia will have to tell isis to stop lobbing bombs on killis then... maybe they thought it would quicken the process of a 'safe zone' agreement?

@22 jfl.. the rhetoric against russia and iran never ceases... quess which bozo said this? “But I do believe that we can apply international pressure to all the parties, including Russia and Iran, who, essentially, are propping up Assad, as well as those moderate oppositions that exist and may be fighting inside of Syria, to sit down at the table and try to broker a transition."

what a jackass... who is propping up clinton and trump? don't ask! the trick's in the lingo that's used...'regime' 'propping up' 'moderate opposition'...... as long as one believes in tooth ferries and everything else that goes with hollywood type thinking, all will be well...

@23 joe6pac.. link doesn't work for me..

Posted by: james | Apr 24, 2016 9:27:21 PM | 27

@5 We should hire the Russians.

Posted by: rexl | Apr 24, 2016 9:34:45 PM | 28

re clinton -- absolutely -- Samantha Power and Susan Rice are her protégés ... major reasons to actively oppose Clinton becoming President, and fighting like hell if she does.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 24, 2016 10:14:39 PM | 29

WSJ paywalled:
""U.S. to Send 250 Additional Military Personnel to Syria
President Obama plans to announce the new deployment on Monday, which will expand U.S. presence to about 300 personnel.""

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 24, 2016 10:25:30 PM | 30

Guardian.

meh, they're supposed to "encourage Sunnis to fight ISIS" ???

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 24, 2016 10:29:04 PM | 31

Dean @ 13, Good points. Thank you.

Posted by: Penelope | Apr 25, 2016 12:48:27 AM | 32

@28 suzie

I saw that at US Army deploys 250 more soldiers to Syria, offers a bit more information


The report claimed that the 250 additional soldiers will be deployed to Syria as part of a force that will oversee the implementation of a safe-zone in the northern countryside.

These soldiers will help maintain the Russian sponsored U.N. Resolution 2254 that called for a nationwide cessation of hostilities agreement among the opposing parties in this 5 year long conflict.


Paragraph one sounds like they're there to help implement Erdogan's/Merkel's terrrorist safe zone.

Paragraph two sounds like bullshit.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 25, 2016 1:33:28 AM | 33

'Russian sappers defuse 3,000 bombs in Palmyra in 12 days - Defense Ministry

Russian engineers have cleared around 180 hectares (about two square kilometers) in the ancient city of Palmyra, defusing some 3,000 bombs'

how was ISIS able to move around with so many bombs to negogtiate? or werent they armed while ISIS was there?

Posted by: brian | Apr 25, 2016 3:08:28 AM | 34

"Man's unfailing capacity to believe what he prefers to be true rather than what the evidence shows to be likely and possible has always astounded me.". (c) Prokhor Zakharov
So many people still believe the ceasefire and serious reduction of airstrikes were somehow beneficial for the Syrian government and/or Syrian people. How so? Because western (and eastern) supporters of black headchoppers will be finally exposed as hypocrites they are? Or to make Al-Nusra finally legally valid targets? Oh, common. Those, who are interested, know everything they need already, and have known it for a while. Those who decided to turn a blind eye did it for a reason and no proof on Earth will make them "notice" anything now unless they decide to reconsider.
Obviously, halting aerial campaign against "FSA" was negotiated between US and Russia in exchange for something. Some deal had been made behind close doors. And boon of Syria had not been paramount for the Russians when discussing the deal, or at least i desperately hope it didn't. Because Russian troops in Syria are there to protect Russian interest, not those of Syrian government or people. And these interests, while overlapping, do not match completely.
Just look at what's happening:
- BBC, of all media outlets, is going to show a documentary, casting doubt on western approved version of downing of MH-17 (dirty Russkies made it!);
Price of oil rebounded from bottom and stays in mid forties, just ignoring supply glut, recession, you name it;
- Obama called IS and Our CIAda greatest threats to the west, while omitting that "resurgent Russia" (oh, dear POTUS, thanks so much for that);
- EU touches issue of "resuming G8 format", like it's something of importance. It is not, but change of the wind is obvious.
All in all, it looks that Russia just traded some syrian ground for some benefits. That's what is called Realpolitic. Sorry, folks, nothing personal, just business.

Posted by: wizzy | Apr 25, 2016 4:43:42 AM | 35

G-8 is a dead format and Russia (this was reiterated several times from high podiums--see Maria Zaharova's statement) has very little interest in participating in it.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Apr 25, 2016 9:24:48 AM | 36

@ 33 at Wizzy - Do you have more information about the BBC documentary on the crash of MH-17?

Posted by: Quentin | Apr 25, 2016 9:37:59 AM | 37

As always, thanks b, for the Syrian news. Between your links, and the links from others, if one cares, an accurate picture can be drawn on the Syrian regime change project from the Empire and their minions. It's not a pretty picture.

This site is a gem in a pigpen.

Posted by: ben | Apr 25, 2016 10:27:34 AM | 38

The BBC casting doubt on their own bullshit is too pathetic for words.

Posted by: DM | Apr 25, 2016 11:22:12 AM | 39

Posted by: jfl | Apr 25, 2016 1:33:28 AM | 31

Seems a little quick for Obama to be "seconding" Merkel's plan with 500 boots (250 bodies) ... although Obama might be using Merkel as cover for some payback ...

The NYT has some graphics on the distribution of migrants in Turkey ... in short, they're scattered all over the country... some apparently free range (living in streets, panhandling/begging, selling trinkets, opening shops, etc) others I presume in camps. (sing with me, money changes everything)

The "safe zone" however makes me realize that Lebanon and even Jordan might be willing to expand their refugee camps/accommodations for some serious money, and both are in the same direction as Libya which is not being breathelessly raised as some new crossing hotspot (it has apparently been Africa's traditional jumping off place forever).

The negativity to all proposals (none of which are more than short term) is quite striking ... no one has a better idea (except for the hidden-agenda folks who believe that the EU should let them all in immediately, because .... )
I await news of Aleppo .. that story about the mines and boobie traps in Ramadi is just depressing ... 4 months later, 40 thousand returnees later, I'm not sure if large scale systematic de-mining has even begun. (I'd guess they're gouging returnees on a house-by-house for a fee basis ... the American way)

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 25, 2016 11:32:28 AM | 40

WSJ article about Merkel in Kilis.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/german-chancellor-angela-merkel-and-top-eu-leaders-visit-turkey-1461436766

Posted by: jawbone | Apr 25, 2016 11:40:35 AM | 41

Something made me remember that the tipping point, that got many refugees on-the-move, was a short fall in funding and the announcement that food rations were going to be cut ... in the fall of 2015 (iirc)
Guardian: September 2015: Lack of funds: World Food Programme drops aid to one-third of Syrian refugees.

Since the beginning of the year, the agency reduced the number of voucher recipients in regional host countries from 2.1 million to around 1.4 million and sharply reduced the value of the vouchers. The maximum is now $14 per person per month for urban refugees in Lebanon and Jordan.

Good to remember how many of these people have already spent years displaced and/or in camps (or living rough outside of camps, outside their home country)

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 25, 2016 11:48:58 AM | 42

The BBC docu on the downing of MH17 will be aired on May 3. Here's an article about it. Searching for BBC documentary on MH17 downing in Ukraine will show several more articles.

https://www.ibtimes.com/flight-mh17-update-ukrainian-fighter-jet-downed-malaysia-airlines-plane-bbc-2359008

Posted by: jawbone | Apr 25, 2016 11:58:33 AM | 43

DM @ 37 --long ago the BBC did a very long form report of what was an exhaustive investigation of all the known facts about the downing of Pan Am 103 in 1988. It carefully posited that Libya had nothing to do with the bombing and actually pointed at Iran.

Not sure who did it, but that reports has stuck in my mind ever since I listened to it on radio. I can remember where I listened to it, but not when. It was, however, quite awhile ago.

A search turned up this longish article about all the doubts and possibilities for responsibility.

https://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/lockerbie/story/printable_story.html

Posted by: jawbone | Apr 25, 2016 12:13:30 PM | 44

Obama hates the idea that the liberation of Raqqa will be the exclusive work of the Syrian army, Russia and their allies.
The USA must be there too! Obama is sending 250 military personel to help training "local forces". The Syrian opposition is applauding.

https://english.aawsat.com/2016/04/article55349935/obama-send-forces-syria-opposition-welcomes-move

Posted by: virgile | Apr 25, 2016 12:29:48 PM | 45

re 43

Obama hates the idea that the liberation of Raqqa will be the exclusive work of the Syrian army, Russia and their allies.
I doubt if it's personally Obama, more the (NeoCon) Borg, as Patrick Lang calls them.

Personally I find it horrifying that these guys are so uncaring about other human beings, that they'll happily go ahead with a policy that means thousands more deaths and refugees, although it is perfectly well known that that will be the consequence. And still it's unlikely that the policy will work.

Posted by: Laguerre | Apr 25, 2016 12:40:36 PM | 46

at the peak of rebel success, before ISIS was named, the Saudi-backed Jihadi "rebels" began a civil war within the "rebels" and largely wiped out or absorbed them (some reportedly fled Syria entirely, to fight another day) ...
Americans have been taught to cling to the "underdog" and the "freedom fighters" ... it's comic book / story book simple "because we too fought a war of independence" ... as from a colonial power, under very different circumstances ... Americans 'hate' the Sunni for having oppressed the Shiia as they generically dislike, mistrust all Muslims, Arabs, brown people, foreigners. The cries of "let them kill each other off" and "not our problem" are heard throughout the land to represent "bold independent" thought.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 25, 2016 1:04:02 PM | 47

It's infuriating that people don't understand that "the rebels" haven't been anti-Assad Syrian nationalist "rebels" for a long time ... they got eaten ... I've had people tell me that the 6 million displaced Syrians are all fleeing Assad, as if 5 years of civil war and ISIS did not factor (somehow) ... the news that the Rebels in besieged Rebel-sympathetic Rebel-held areas are commandeering food aid, selling it at extreme gouging prices and allowing Syrians (sympathetic to their cause) to starve, even die, has not penetrated.
IMHO, whatever "legitimacy" they had as a "rebels" seeking a better Syria died with that last ...

I believe, absence massive external support -- money and soldiers -- the civil war would have ended when the rebels fractured and began eating their own ... and that was only scant months before ISIS announced itself.

I've been wondering if there is any indication that Al Nusra meaningfully counters or opposes ISIS ... or are they the scant vestiges of historical "moderate nationalist rebels" who retain that designation for the sole purpose of American (and other) aid and as a point-of-entry for American interventions?

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 25, 2016 1:51:43 PM | 48

This article from 2014 talks about support for ISIS by the U$A and their lackies..

https://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=12278

The Powers Behind The Islamic State

Posted by: ben | Apr 25, 2016 11:41:46 PM | 49

Birds eye:

https://m.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/john-pilger-why-the-rise-of-fascism-is-again-the-issue-31040612.html


oded yinon + kalergi plan = Zio/globalist agenda and hundreds of thousands dead.

Hope for a us military coup.

Posted by: jim cosgrove | Apr 26, 2016 7:29:42 PM | 50

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