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June 09, 2019

Syria - Western Media Glorification Of Syrian Jihadist Is A Sign That The War Is Far From Its End

Western media currently publish glorifying obituaries for a Syrian 'rebel' who is know for extreme sectarianism and for being a member of a Jihadi group that is aligend with al-Qaeda.

The Associated Press, the BBC, the Guardian and analysts all write of Abdul Baset al-Sarout who yesterday died of wounds he received two days earlier when his group attacked Syrian government forces.

AP:

Abdul Baset al-Sarout, 27, rose to fame as a goalkeeper for his home city of Homs and won international titles representing his country. When peaceful protests broke out against Mr. al-Assad in 2011, Mr. al-Sarout led rallies and became known as the “singer of the revolution” for his ballads.

When Syria slid into civil war, Mr. al-Sarout took up arms. He led a unit of fighters against government forces and survived the government siege of Homs.

The Guardian:

A Syrian footballer who became a symbolic figure in the rebellion against the country’s president, Bashar al-Assad, has died of wounds suffered in a battle with government forces.

Hassan Hassan, an often quoted 'analyst' in Washington DC, tweets:

Hassan Hassan @hxhassan - 4:11 PM - 8 Jun 2019

Some individuals celebrated as heroes make you doubt all stories of heroes in history books. Others, like Abdulbasit Sarout, not inspire of but despite his flaws, make those stories highly plausible. He’s a true legend & his story is well documented. May his soul rest in peace

The BBC:

There were rumours that Mr Sarout subsequently pledged allegiance to the so-called Islamic State.

He denied this, but admitted he had considered the idea when IS seemed the only force strong enough to combat the government - a sign of how the rebel cause disintegrated.

AP again:

“He was both a popular figure, guiding the rebellion, and a military commander,” said Maj. Jamil al-Saleh, leader of the rebel group Jaish al-Izza, in which Mr. al-Sarout was a commander. “His martyrdom will give us a push to continue down the path he chose and to which he offered his soul and blood as sacrifice.”


The above may leave readers with a few questions.

Q: What 'ballads' did the "singer of the revolution” sing?

A March 2012 video shows al-Sarout taking to the stage at a demonstration in the part of Homs that he and other 'rebels' occupied.


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Abdul Baset al-Sarout chants slogans each of which the crowd then repeats:

We ar all Jihadis.
Homs has made its decision.
We will exterminate the Alawites.
And the Shiites have to leave.

Q: What made al-Sarout a "symbolic figure"?

Sarout appeared as a main persona in a pro-Jihadi propagada documentary that mainstream media hyped:

Filmed during two years, from 2011 to 2013, this by turns exhilarating and devastating documentary tracks some key players in the resistance against Bashir al-Assad's regime. The foremost is Abdul Baset al-Sarout, once a goalkeeper for Syria's national youth football team, he is a charismatic character who starts out leading chants in the streets in 2011 and ends up becoming a battle-worn leader for the militia.

Q: What were the 'flaws' the 'true legend' al-Sarout allegedly had?

While al-Sarout did not mind suicide bombings and called for mass murder of people of other beliefs his drug fuelled style of life was not pure enough to be accepted by the Islamic State.


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From a 2014 interview (vid) with the 'charismatic character' recorded shortly before the Syrian Arab Army removed al-Sarout and his group from Homs:

Our blame for the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra comes with love because we know that these two groups are not politicized and have the same goals as us and are working for god and that they care about Islam and Muslims.
Unfortunately some among them consider us kafers (apostates) and drug addicts. But god willing we will work with them shoulder to shoulder when we leave here. And we are not Christians or Shia to be scared of suicide belts and car bombs. We consider these things as a strengths of ours and god willing they will be just that.
This message is to the Islamic State and our brothers in Jabhat al-Nusra that when we come out (of Homs) we will all be one hand to fight Christians and not have internal fights among ourselves We want to take back the lands that have been filthied by the regime, that were entered and taken over by Shias and apostates.

Where did those 'rumors' come from that al Sarout pledged allegiance to ISIS?

In December 2014, after he was kicked out of Homs, Abdul Basset Sarout himself said that he was joining the Islamic State:

Joshua Landis @joshua_landis - 17:56 utc - 26 Dec 2014

Star of movie "Return to Homs," Abdul Basset Sarout, announces he joins ISIS - http://www.aksalser.com/...

Machine translation of the Aksalser piece Professor Landis linked:

Sarot had recently published a video clip denying the news of his martyrdom and confirming that he was preparing for a new step soon, in what appeared to be the intention of joining the "Daash".

What is this group Jaysh al-Izza to which the Islamic State wanna-be al-Sarout belonged?

Rejected by the Islamic State al-Sarout's stayed on as a member of Jaysh al-Izza, led by former Maj. Jamil al-Saleh. The group received money, anti-tank weapons and other material from the United States under President Obama's secret Operation Timber-Sycamore. Then as now the 'moderate rebels' of Jaysh al-Izza operate as a 'Free Syrian Army' front group to funnel foreign supplies to al-Qaeda.

Reuters reported in 2015:

Russian air strikes in northwest Syria which Moscow said targeted Islamic State fighters hit a rebel group supported by Western opponents of President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday, wounding eight, the group’s commander said.
...
“The northern countryside of Hama has no presence of ISIS at all and is under the control of the Free Syrian Army,” Major Jamil al-Saleh, who defected from the Syrian army in 2012, told Reuters via Skype.

Saleh said his group had been supplied with advanced anti-tank missiles by foreign powers opposed to Assad.

Jamil al-Saleh, Abdul Baset al-Sarout's commander who claimed that "the northern countryside of Hama" was "under the control of the Free Syrian Army", recently appeared in another video. His troops wear shoulder patches with al-Qaeda flags.

Within Syria @WithinSyriaBlog - 10:09 utc - 4 Jun 2019

New video released by Jaysh al-Izza supporters shows the group's commander Jamil al-Saleh visiting his troops, one of them is wearing a batch of al-Qaeda. Jaysh al-Izza was always a proxy of al-Nusra Front\HTS. Yet it received US support, now Turkish support.


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A new video, published yesterday, shows 'moderate rebels' with similar al-Qaeda shoulder patches beheading a Syrian soldier they had earlier taken prisoner.


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That the 'western' mainstream media and their sectarain analysts continue to glorify al-Sarout, despite all that is known about him and his group, is a sure sign that the war the 'west' wages through its Jihadi proxies against Syria is far from over.

---
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Posted by b on June 9, 2019 at 10:50 AM | Permalink

Comments

Excellent writeup.
It brings to question, once again, whether US involvement in the Middle East is truly altruistic, an outcome of bureaucratic/profiteering out of US agencies and companies, a result of expatriate information and power manipulation, or more likely some combination of all 3.
I'm re-reading some 50s and 60s era science fiction - what is the most interesting is the depiction of communism/socialism as an engine of societal destruction. This is very similar to what more modern agitprop puts forward: that communists and socialists break down society - both morally/ethically/religiously and in purely economic terms.
Yet the Soviet Union leaped forward (and I use this term deliberately) from a distinct 3rd world power to a high 2nd level one in a single generation. Russia pre-1917 was a large, sprawling, but ultimately non-influential large neighbor to Europe - very much on par with the Ottoman Empire. Both entities were very large geographically, included an enormous population compared to European nations but were militarily and economically barely beyond self sustaining.
Turkey today, smaller vs. its predecessor as is Russia, has improved somewhat but there is still an enormous gap between what Russia has become (a top 2 military power, a global pole of influence, a 2nd rate economic power) vs. what Turkey is (2nd rate military, moderate regional power, low 2nd rate economic power).
I guess that how agitprop really works: it isn't the big lies that really take hold, it is the countless little ones that skew perception of reality.

Posted by: c1ue | Jun 9, 2019 11:10:23 AM | 1

Three years ago, the Russians killed the last clown of Aleppo (at least according to CNN). The clowns in Idlib must be feeling nervous right now.

Posted by: Timothy Hagios | Jun 9, 2019 11:25:28 AM | 2

Since the fighter's links to AQ are so easy to find on deeper investigation, perhaps the story is more a case of MSM stenographers reworking a State Department CYA Press Release than a renewed call to arms.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Jun 9, 2019 11:26:32 AM | 3

"The last clown of Aleppo" aka the guy who dressed up as a clown to cajole little kids into being ok with acting dead and injured for the White Helmet's propaganda films.

Posted by: sejomoje | Jun 9, 2019 11:29:18 AM | 4

"When Syria slid into civil war, Mr. al-Sarout took up arms." The lie is the verb. Syria didn't "slid". The Zionist Israelis, who have a ring in the nose of the US government and lead it like a dumb animal, "slided Syria into civil war". The US's foreign policy is, and has been since at least 1893 with the Hawaiian Islands and 1898 with the Philippines, simple robbery with violence and is probably now not far behind 1933-1945 Germany in its murder/death count. The Zionists joined the robber with violence club by at least 1967.

Posted by: stevelaudig | Jun 9, 2019 11:29:20 AM | 5

@ c1ue | Jun 9, 2019 11:10:23 AM | 1

You might be interested in historian Dominic Lieven's treatment of those empires in Empire,The Russian Empire and Its Rivals ISBN 978-0-300-09726-9 Yale University Press. Lieven provides a superb forensic insight into great powers of the era and their relationships. Easily read narrative, illuminating history.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jun 9, 2019 11:32:55 AM | 6

B, the inline graphic izza4-s is not a valid link. The "Bigger" link works.

Posted by: BM | Jun 9, 2019 11:41:20 AM | 7

The US's foreign policy is, and has been since at least 1893 with the Hawaiian Islands and 1898 with the Philippines, simple robbery with violence and is probably now not far behind 1933-1945 Germany in its murder/death count. The Zionists joined the robber with violence club by at least 1967.
Posted by: stevelaudig | Jun 9, 2019 11:29:20 AM | 5

The US is already a long long way ahead of Hitler in the numbers of its murder/death count, I am afraid. I am not sure of the figure offhand, but I think the estimates I read were over 200 million - most of that in the last couple of decades. Hitler was left way behind with about 26 million Soviet dead, plus murdered Jews, plus far smaller numbers of non-Soviet allies dead and a few other smaller categories. US genocide on the Korean peninsular alone probably nearly equals Hitler, including a whopping 80% of the population of North Korea plus many millions in South Korea. Korea alone is a far far worse war crime than Hitler because it involved virtually total extermination of the whole of North Korea with virtually every building, bridge, water supply, farms and all industrial and civil infrastructure destroyed. Although the Soviet losses in WW2 were so massive, the majority of that were brutal but "legal" battlefield losses not genocide, and were in large part due to their patriotic determination to defend at all costs. Not so the Korean losses (N & S) - that was almost pure genocide.

I assume the 26 million Soviets already assumes the number of Soviets exterminated in concentration camps, which was already about double the number of exterminated jews, I believe.

Posted by: BM | Jun 9, 2019 12:00:46 PM | 8

Good riddance...
The so-called "rebels" were so weak and disunited that they were ready to sell their soul to any group that would make them think they are strong.

The "revolution" failed immediately for lack of leadership and mass adherence. It was kept on survival mode by the West who could not admit that Bashar al Assad a staunch opponent to Israel and the anglo-zionist plan was going to stay and defy them. .
This 'footballer' is one more pathetic figure of ignorant Syrian men who lost their soul for a West made-up cause that has destroyed their country.
He is part of the disenchanted Sunnis that are faced with a serious identity crisis and think that by destroying Moslem minorities they will make Sunnism great again. In the hand of Saudi Arabia and Erdogan, Sunnism is becoming even more corrupted by money and greed, while other Moslem minorities thrive on heroism and resilience
I doubt that many Syrians feel as sorry for him as the hypocritical West, still not able to digest the failure of their anti-Syria plot.

Posted by: Virgile | Jun 9, 2019 12:22:38 PM | 9

excellent coverage b.. thank you...

this is what sunni indoctrination looks like - "we know that these two groups (isis and al nusra) are not politicized and have the same goals as us and are working for god and that they care about Islam and Muslims." uh huh... suicide bombs, headchopping, and all the rest of it is cool if you are getting rid of shite and alawi... sunni is a real sickness in his hands.. kudos to usa-israel-ksa for creating this monster.... it is definitely going to come back and bite you in the ass..

Posted by: james | Jun 9, 2019 12:30:35 PM | 10

b: ... a Sign That the War is Far From Its End

I've been warning the same for several weeks, arguing that protecting Idlib was likely the true focus of the recent belligerence toward Iran:

I tend to agree about the reluctance to take on Hezb in Lebanon. War in Lebanon seems less pressing than helping Turkey to retain Idlib. IMO the occupations of Idlib, Golan Heights, and NE Syria are no accident and non-negotiable. Each plays a part in the strategy of dismantling Syria and removing Assad (eventually).

= = = =

I think FUKUSI is generally happy with their war-of-attrition strategy that starves Syria, Lebanon, Iran, and Palestinians. So I'm not sure that FUKUSI is any rush to fight Hezb.

But the possibility of Russia and Syria attempting to reclaim Idlib is a real concern for them. Residents of Idlib and Afrin (plus refugees) can be propagandized to vote against Assad. Also, as hardships continue in Syria proper, some non-refugee Syrians might relocate to Idlib (a big propaganda win against Assad).

IMO Syria is still the priority. If Assad kicked Iran out of Syria, that would only buy a short reprieve. FUKUSI will continue the war against Syria until they control the country or suffer a sharp set-back (that would likely mean a wider war).

= = = =

0) Economic attrition takes time to work its magic. USA does not need to hurry into armed conflict.

1) We know that Bolton's statement was bogus. He can't order US military movements AND the military positioning had been ordered many weeks ago as a matter of routine.

Also, USA needed to pivot from the embarrassment in Venezuela.

2) Bolton's statement refers to attacks on US allies and interests.

3) The only attack on US allies or interests that is imminent is the attack on Turk-controlled Idlib.

4) USA has previously threatened to bomb Syria if Idlib is attacked. Each of Idlib, Golan Heights, and NE Syria are strategic occupations by 'Assad must go!' Coalition countries.


The above quotes of mine were pulled from May 8: Will the U.S. And Israel Wage A "Summer War"? (comments @1, @18, @95) and repeated again on May 29th comment @45 to post: U.S. Government Seeks NGO Help For Removing Iran From Syria

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 9, 2019 12:54:55 PM | 11

BM @8--
And the toll still continues--

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/agent-orange-vietnam-war-us-damir-sagolj-a7664491.html

Posted by: arby | Jun 9, 2019 12:55:22 PM | 12

The most relevant point being made in your post, the Syrian War indeed seems 'far from its end', despite many confident predictions going back several months now that the end is near.

Reading from seemingly more informed sources, the fact the War is not yet ended is unsurprising.

Alt-Media is practically obsessed with the idea that the liberation of Idlib is “imminent” and this narrative always goes viral whenever the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) launches anti-terrorist incursions in the “de-escalation zone”, but the fact of the matter is that this will probably never happen, or at least not in the manner that many are expecting.

Russia seems to be in no rush to placate the Iranian and Lebanese partners (and doesn't seem to consider the wants of the Syrian dependency at all) nor to upset the Turkish, Amerikkkan and Israeli partners...why is that, do you suppose?

Any ideas, 'confident predictors'?

Posted by: donkeytale | Jun 9, 2019 12:58:18 PM | 13

Other recent propaganda efforts that support the continuing war for Syria:

A Deadly Welcome Awaits Syria’s Returning Refugees

'White Helmets', Gas Attacks, & Evil Russians: Is The New "Call Of Duty" Video Game Pure CIA Propaganda?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 9, 2019 12:58:45 PM | 14

USA: Sorry, not sorry

In MSM Mourns Death Of CIA-Backed Syrian Al-Qaeda/ISIS Ally Caitlin Johnstone adds a rebuke:

As these distortions pour in, keep this in mind: all of the violence that is still happening in Syria is the fault of the US and its allies, who helped extremist jihadist factions like Jaysh al-Izza overrun the nation to advance the preexisting goal of effecting regime change. The blame for all the death, suffering and chaos which ensues from a sovereign nation fighting to reclaim its land from these bloodthirsty factions rests solely on the government bodies which inflicted their dominance over the region in the first place.

You will see continuing melodramatic garment-rending from the US State Department and its mass media stenographers about “war crimes” and “human rights violations” as though the responsibility for this violence rests somewhere other than on the US-centralized power alliance, but they will be lying. What these warmongering propagandists are doing is exactly the same as paying a bunch of violent thugs to break into a home and murder its owner, then standing by and sounding the alarm about the way the homeowner chooses to fight off their assailants.

After it was discovered that the US and its allies armed actual, literal terrorist factions in Syria with the goal of effecting regime change, the only sane response would have been for the public to loudly and aggressively demand that all governments involved to take immediate action to completely rectify all damage done by this unforgivable war crime at any cost, and for there to be war crimes tribunals for every decision maker who was a part of it. Instead, because of propaganda circulated by the same mass media narrative management firms who are sanctifying the memory of Abdel-Basset al-Sarout today, the public remains asleep to the depravity of its rulers. This dynamic must change if we are to survive and thrive as a species.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 9, 2019 1:14:21 PM | 15

MoA,
For reasons I cannot quite put my finger on, this is one of the most compelling presentations on this theme that I have read here, or anywhere else, for that matter.

It could eventually be part of a primer dedicated to recovering lost media literacy competencies in a late-stage capitalist media age.

Posted by: Paul Damascene | Jun 9, 2019 1:20:15 PM | 16

I do not pretend to any significant knowledge or insight regarding Russia's intentions in Syria.

Russia's dance with Turkey (as with Israel, Iran and the US) is complex, regardless of the intentions we might impute to the various dancers.

But I find myself wondering if Russia's participation with Syria in Idlib is more about eliminating attacks on Russia's military bases from that territory than it is about "liberating" Idlib.

Posted by: Paul Damascene | Jun 9, 2019 1:26:29 PM | 17

Shorter Donkeytale; "HurrDurr Russia is in bed with Israel and the kkkapitalists, proof bc no nuclear WW3 yet!"

Sounding like a bully enraged that his target won't fight back, to me. iow I can get this analysis from any random thinktank or even CNN. Why did Markos ever ban you, you should have partial ownership of Vox or something by now, with your brand of steadfastness.

Onto my actual comment. When I first saw that Aleppo Clown mingling with the children/child actors of Aleppo I thought his entire persona was contrived to bribe children, as opposed to what alt-media was saying at the time; that he was a PR figure meant to be seen by the west - that was just gravy. The white makeup - "See kids, just let me put a little white makeup on you no don't look in the mirror, it looks exactly like mine, I swear, Here, here's some red for your "lipstick", let's also draw some other red designs...hearts and flowers is what they look like, I promise! Now, play dead while we shoot this video and you'll get a stuffed animal and some candy"

(aside to the parents of said kid; "Let little Lucy come and play in my clown tent and you'll get $20 American dollars and a passover mark - it's only red makeup! - on your door so the jihadi mercs know you're one of them and not some dirty Alawite/Assad sympathizer)

HONK HONK!!

Posted by: sejomoje | Jun 9, 2019 1:56:19 PM | 18

The "west" took its leave of western civilisation and lost all shreds of legitimacy once it engaged these barbarians in its effort to gain total control of the world.

Posted by: exiled off mainstree | Jun 9, 2019 2:08:00 PM | 19

Every voice supporting/mourning the death of this terrorist is an abettor of his terrorism and ought to suffer the same fate. Note that most of those voices are NATO or unofficially allied with it. Finian Cunningham writes about "More Evidence US Armed Syria Terrorists as Trump Pleads Ceasefire."

The terrorists in and around Idlib will be destroyed, then the remaining occupiers of Syria will be confronted. The Outlaw US Empire will attempt to keep its position in order to disrupt the Chinese-Russian alliance and their development plan, but that's not realistic. Less than 3 weeks to the G-20 confrontations where the Outlaw US Empire can expect to lose more face and actual skin in the game.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 9, 2019 2:14:12 PM | 20

So, how do these stenographers in the media all come out with clearly coordinated stories at the same time? My assumption is that some centralized Operation Mockingbird, with a "war room" somewhere in suburban Virginia or in some cut-out office complex puts out talking points to writers at outlets. But where do the orders come down from? Has anyone ever leaked the talking point memos that must go out, or is it all like the so-called Integrity Initiative, loosely aligned "cells" of stenographers who work off some kind of online version of a phone tree? I would suggest a look sometime at the nuts and bolts of media psyops.

Posted by: Casey | Jun 9, 2019 2:21:32 PM | 21

There probably isn't even a "war room", it's just CC'd directly from the CIA director to his approved (mockingbird)staff in any given outfit. I would say those emails would be revelatory if they were to be leaked, but then again just look at boobus americanus these days, they'd probably appreciate that their CIA daddy was so caring in his consistent messaging to them.

Posted by: sejomoje | Jun 9, 2019 2:42:22 PM | 22

@21 casey - https://swprs.org/the-propaganda-multiplier/

Posted by: james | Jun 9, 2019 2:47:22 PM | 23

To a dog a dog's death!

Sooner or later Syria will be free of American, Israeli, and other carrion.

Posted by: boy | Jun 9, 2019 3:07:51 PM | 24

Media manipulates us in many ways. It's well known that people pay more attention to "breaking news" and less attention to updates/corrections.

So, for example, Trump's much-ballyhooed 'pull out' from Syria gets more coverage and also more attention from ordinary people than his gradual walk-back of the 'pull out'. And Trump's widely lauded peace initiative with North Korean becomes the base-line for understanding future moves between USA and NK such that NK is blamed for any failure to actually make peace.

This kind of thing happens all the time, so I won't belabor the point with further examples.

TLDR: Many people recognize that the NEWS is manipulated without understanding how PEOPLE are manipulated.

The latest, of course, is the 'fake news' phenomenon, which adds a new dimension to the manipulation. We trust faux populist Trump more because he points out 'fake news', right? But if you recognize that he's part of the team that manipulates the news, then what is 'fake news' other than further manipulation of people (to wit: only trust official sources).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 9, 2019 3:11:09 PM | 25

@Formerly T-Bear #6
Thank you for the pointer. I've seen other work of Mr. Lieven praised from very credible sources - I will definitely look into reading that one as well.
Mr. Lieven's other works on Tsarist Russia are even more notable given that he is a descendant of Russian nobility but without the ideological baggage that this often entails.

Posted by: c1ue | Jun 9, 2019 3:15:43 PM | 26

@ Casey 21
So, how do these stenographers in the media all come out with clearly coordinated stories at the same time?

Six corporations control 90% of the media in the US so all it takes is an email from the State Dept as often as required to get the media all using the same language on the same talking points, for example the recent oft-repeated "increasing tensions" over Iran. Those identical phrasings all coming at the same time could not have been a coincidence.

For other, lesser matters, this article Let's start giving media manipulation the attention it deserves . . .news events are "orchestrated, leaked, planted and timed". . .here

Concerning war, one good reference is Norman Solomon's War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death . . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 9, 2019 3:52:33 PM | 27

I'll go out on a limb and say I'm tickled pink about the MSM's whining about nasty Assad and his nasty friends from Russia, Iran and Lebanon (i.e. Hezbollah). It seems like only a couple of months ago that the news bulletins in Oz were withholding praise from Assad-Russia which had returned control of most of the Syrian territory lost during the war to Damascus. The impression those reports conveyed was that Assad-Russia was mopping up some rebel outliers and saving the juiciest bits for a spectacular Grand Finale.

Here are two questions worth pondering...

1. If the US-led coalition was wiping the floor with Team Assad, and reversing all his recent gains, what would the MSM be telling us and not telling us?

2. If Team Assad was wiping the floor with the US-led coalition & friends, and increasing his recent gains, what would the MSM be telling us and not telling us?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 9, 2019 4:55:04 PM | 28

@ c1ue | Jun 9, 2019 3:15:43 PM | 26

Thanks. Another recommend is IMPERIUM by Ryszard Kapuscinski, a Polish Investigative Journalist having other notable books: Travels with Herodotus; The Shadow of the Sun, My African Life and other notable books to his credit - gems in my library each. Have read several other Lieven books and have several yet to go. His Russia Against Napoleon, The Battle for Europe 1807 to 1814 is a treasure.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jun 9, 2019 4:55:55 PM | 29

AmeriKKKan Exceptionalism is defined by its contempt for the competence and intelligence of friends and enemies alike; leading to under-estimating them and over-reacting to their perceived flaws, without consultation.

When Russia is asked by friends for assistance, it first asks "what do you need?" 9 times out of 10 they don't need much at all and it doesn't cost Russia much to comply with the request.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 9, 2019 5:26:20 PM | 30

The war is over, we're just waiting for Idlib to finish. Syria can't go bang-bang, because that might provoke reactions. But that essentially is what is going to happen. I don't see the jihadists as having the strength to defend themselves, if they're not protected.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 9, 2019 5:29:45 PM | 31

Hoarsewhisperer @ 28:

The Australian MSM would only tell us sheep those actions of the US-led coalition wiping the floor with Team Assad that had actually been carried out by Australian individuals or units, with all the necessary context left out. The reporting would be no different from the way the Australian MSM reports on events in the Olympic Games whenever these are held.

Posted by: Jen | Jun 9, 2019 5:44:28 PM | 32

In a lot of ways the ongoing fight to liberate Idleb is a fight to bring about a reckoning or restore reality itself. Reality from an online dictionary is defined as "the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them." The propaganda and disinformation campaign that has been waged on Syria by the likes of White Helmets, BBC, CNN, Bellingcat, New York Times..etc has literally created a totally false mirror world for those whom only consume mainstream media. Many of my relatives still cling to the idea that brave freedom fighters are fighting a evil dictator in an effort to restore democracy. I've sent them countless articles and video's that counter this idea over the years, explaining to them that the Jihadi ideology that these groups fight for sees democracy as a sin punishable by death. I've asked them to name even one rebel group that holds or has held any territory during the war that isn't a Salafist/ Wahhabi jihadi group trying to set up a Islamic state for Sunni's only under strict Sharia Law. Of course they can't, but they still cling to the notion that there are some un-named "moderate" rebels in Idleb fighting against an evil government that just wants to massacre it's own people. It seems like now that most of the country has been liberated from the Jihadi groups and HTS now all but controls Idleb, these relatives that I converse with are now in a kind of state of desperation, as if they're struggling with an impeding sense of cognitive dissonance. They now are barely able to have a reasonable conversation about the topic or counter what I've been telling them for years, instead lashing out at me in an emotional way or ending the discussion with mild insults. It reminds me of trying to talk to people in deep denial about 9/11, they cannot even converse about the subject in a rational way or discuss facts because they've invested their trust and sense of reality in what the newspaper/TV says for so long that even the suggestion that they have been completely lied to triggers an emotional, defensive response as if you've insulted their religious beliefs. Likewise confronted with the fact that US taxpayers have given billions of weapons to some of the most savage terrorist gangs on Earth (that are supposedly our mortal enemies) is too much for them to grapple with. It seems the sense of panic is increasing as we get closer to a liberated Idleb not only for my relatives and people like them, but also for the MSM itself. The New York Times recent six page piece of uber propaganda about "Assad's torture prisons" reeks of a desperate effort to stave off the inevitable restoration of actual reality versus the imaginative false world they've been peddling for so long. I sent them this article, the new video on this from Syriana Analysis, and Caitlin Johnston's excellent article on this to my relatives that I'm trying to "wake up". Its just so blatant, a glorifying eulogy to a Jihadi terrorist without a mention that he is allied with Al Qaeda and ISIS. What a surreal time in history to witness; Trump asking the Syrian army not to attack Al Qaeda after we've fought in Afghanistan for almost two decades supposedly to keep them from having a safe zone there.

Posted by: Jason | Jun 9, 2019 5:49:55 PM | 33

@ Laguerre 31
The war is over, we're just waiting for Idlib to finish.
But isn't Turkey a major factor, with its well-equipped surrogates fighting the SAA?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 9, 2019 6:38:35 PM | 34

Wasn't it this week, that Turkey had to decide whether or not to bow to the dying empire vis-a-vis the F-35 (and consequentially, its NATO status)?

Posted by: bjd | Jun 9, 2019 6:46:29 PM | 35

Turkey has put itself in a very difficult position since Davutoglu and Erdogan thought that they were the big brother for the 'retarded' arabs.
Now Erdogan is cornered. Turkey's economy is showing serious signs of degradation, he is antagonized by the usa for its pro-russia moves, he is hated by the arabs for his ambition of leading the Sunnis and supporting the moslem brotherhood and finally he is snubbed by the EU who accuses him of human rights abuse and a mockery of democracy..
He is the last president among countries that are responsible of Syria destruction. His disappearance may bring up a relative peace in the region.

Posted by: Virgile | Jun 9, 2019 7:21:03 PM | 36

Jason @33

Even smart Americans that are skeptical of the news media think they are well informed if they get news from two or three MSM sources. If CNN and Fox News agree on something (like: Russia meddling), that is practically gospel.

Plus, Americans are transfixed by the Trump-Democrat and Trump-Deep State kayfabe. They think the 'truth' can be discerned from the back-and-forth but they are mistaken because kayfabe is not a sounding board!! Delicious foolishness like Pelosi saying she doesn't want Trump impeached - she wants him jailed! is lost on the feckless American mind.

<> <> <> <> <> <>

Note: Trump helped Pelosi to win the Speakership when he invited her and Schumer to discuss his "Wall" in the Oval office before the vote for Speaker of the House.

Welcome to the rabbithole.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 9, 2019 7:21:17 PM | 37

Jason @33--

The Outlaw US Empire's been up to its neck supporting terrorism since 1945, and certainly well before as a good case can be made since its founding--the inclusion of the terrorism of slavery is right there in the 1787 Constitution; Jefferson admitted the natives would suffer genocide. I'm sure you're aware that there're laws on the books making the support of terrorism a criminal offense. Paying federal taxes makes people automatic criminals. I determined long ago not to be complicit in that manner; my remaining elders agreed. Tulsi Gabbard introduced into the House of Representatives legislation entitled the Stop Arming Terrorists Act, which is thus in the official records of the Outlaw US Empire and implies that the government finances, arms and in other ways facilitates terrorist activities. That's a strong enough indication that monies must be withheld from the federal government as best as possible for individuals. It's the least that can be done.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 9, 2019 8:27:24 PM | 38

@karlof1 #39
Not excusing the larger African slavery, but I would note that slavery of Europeans was also a pretty big thing.
While something like 10 million Africans were enslaved (many dying en route), something like 1 million Europeans were enslaved around the Mediterranean in the same era by the North African pirates.
The "Shores of Tripoli" part of the US Marine anthem refers to an early US expedition to right this wrong - their primary accomplishment was apparently burning of one of their own ships after it was captured by the pirates...
Slavery was humanity 1.0 version of automation; it is only with the cotton gin that it really became a huge moneymaker.
I've spent some time looking at slavery in the US; my own view is still that the institution existed so long mostly because it allied the New York money and logistics gang with the South (South Carolina and Georgia much more so than Virginia); it is when the South started cutting out the New York money and shipping stranglehold that the voting power in the US government turned against the heretofore always minority Southern pro-slavery states.

Posted by: c1ue | Jun 9, 2019 9:22:29 PM | 39

Way back in 2012 some alawaites like Fadwa Suleman did join the 'revolution '. But even then there were calls to 'exterminate the alawaites' which angered western backers who saw this as a threat to their revolution
https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/www.aljazeera.com/amp/indepth/features/2012/03/201237101424192726.html

Posted by: Brian | Jun 9, 2019 10:28:16 PM | 40

The Trust Project: Big Media and Silicon Valley’s Weaponized Algorithms Silence Dissent:

The Trust Project describes itself as “a consortium of top news companies” involved in developing “transparency standards that help you easily assess the quality and credibility of journalism.” It has done this by creating what it calls “Trust Indicators,” which the project’s website describes as “a digital standard that meets people’s needs.” However, far from meeting “people’s needs,” the Trust Indicators seem aimed at manipulating search engine and social-media news algorithms to the benefit of the project’s media partners, rather than to the benefit of the general public.

. . .

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is another interesting funder of the Trust Project, given that this same foundation is also a key investor in Newsguard, the controversial, biased news rating system with deep connections to government insiders and self-described government propagandists. There is considerable overlap between Newsguard and the Trust Project, with the latter citing Newsguard as a partner and also stating that Newsguard’s demonstrably biased ratings use the project’s “trust indicators” in its full-length reviews of news websites, which Newsguard calls “nutrition labels.” In addition, becoming a Trust Project participant is a factor that “supports a positive evaluation” from Newsguard, according to a press release from last year.

Notably, Sally Lehrman, who leads the Trust Project, described the project’s trust indicators for news as ”along the lines of a nutrition label on a package of food” when the Trust Project was created nearly a year before Newsguard launched, suggesting some intellectual overlap.

A previous MintPress exposé revealed Newsguard’s numerous conflicts of interest and a ratings system strongly biased in favor of well-known, traditional media outlets — even when those outlets have a dubious track record of promoting so-called “fake news.” It should come as no surprise that the Trust Project’s goal is to increase public trust in the very same traditional media outlets that Newsguard favored and to use HTML-embedded codes in news articles to promote their content at the expense of independent alternatives.

. . .

The Democracy Fund’s [a member of the Omidyar Network] involvement in the Trust Project is notable because of the other media projects it funds, such as the new media empire of arch-neoconservative Bill Kristol, who has a long history of creating and disseminating falsehoods that have been used to justify the U.S. war in Iraq and other hawkish foreign policy stances

Omidyar’s involvement with the Trust Project is interesting for another reason, namely that Omidyar is the main backer behind the efforts of the controversial Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to become a key driver of which outlets are censored by Silicon Valley tech giants. The ADL was initially founded to “stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all” but critics say that over the years it has begun labeling critics of Israel’s government as “anti-Semites.”

For example, content that characterizes Israeli policies towards Palestinians as “racist” or “apartheid-like” is considered “hate speech” by the ADL, as is accusing Israel of war crimes or attempted ethnic cleansing. The ADL has even described explicitly Jewish organizations that are critical of Israel’s government as being “anti-Semitic.”

In March 2017, the Omidyar Network provided the “critical seed capital” need to launch the ADL’s “new Silicon Valley center aimed at tackling this rising wave of intolerance [which criticism of Israel has been redefined as!!] and to collaborate more closely with technology companies to promote democracy and social justice.” That Omidyar-funded ADL center allowed the ADL to team up with Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft — all of whom also collaborate with the Trust Project — to create a Cyberhate Problem-Solving Lab. Since then, these companies and their subsidiaries, including Google’s YouTube, have relied on the ADL to flag “controversial” content.

Given the fact that the Trust Project shares with the ADL a key funder (Pierre Omidyar) and several external tech partners, it remains to be seen whether there is overlap between how major tech companies like Google and Facebook use the Trust Indicators in its algorithms and the influence of the ADL on those very same algorithms.

What is clear however is that there exists an undeniable overlap given the fact that Craig Newmark, who provided the seed funding for the Trust Project and continues to fund it, is also a key donor and advisor to the ADL. In 2017, Newmark gave $100,000 to the ADL’s Incident Response Center and is a member of the group’s tech advisory board.

. . .

This growing nexus binding Silicon Valley companies and oligarchs, mainstream media outlets and the government suggests that these entities have increasingly similar and complementary interests, among which is the censorship of independent watchdog journalists and news outlets that seek to challenge their power and narratives.


See more at the link.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 9, 2019 10:30:28 PM | 41

Excellent, thanks B for another Syria post.

Yes, with Syria still in the crosshairs, the wider war on that poor country is still on. But the offensive to retake Idlib which Syria's enemies are so worked up about hasn't even begun. What we've been witnessing recently is just skirmishes, some straightening of the front lines, testing the forces occupying Idlib, Russian token measures. In any determined push to free Idlib, they would not waste precious manpower on some irrelevant villages on the fringes but go directly for the artery that keeps feeding the Islamists. Thats' the Bab al-Hawa Border Crossing, where the M45 links to Turkey, for all practical purposes the only supply route for our precious Islamists. Cut the artery by occupying the highway there and Idlib would collapse within a matter of weeks. The Russians could have done that in 2015 already, and easily, with all their airborne forces up their sleeve. Sure, Western propaganda would go nuts but in real terms, Turkey would just fold and Idlib would be done, once and for all.

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Jun 10, 2019 2:10:09 AM | 42

@21 Just my guess, but I would assume that every MSM outlet has a senior position which has a job description that has, hidden somewhere in the small print, the role of "liaising with the federal government".

Nominally that person would work for the media organization and interact with the various organs of government, but in reality the reverse would be true: they work for the government, and they impose themselves upon the editorial staff.

Or, in other words: every MSM outlet would have its own political commissar.

They wouldn't call themselves that, of course, but that's what they would be.

I can't be bothered to look, but I imagine that each MSM outlet publishes its senior executive organizational tree. Look for someone who nominally reports to the media proprietor, but who's job description seems obscure or, ahem, ill-defined.

The giveaway will be if the holder of that job coincidentally changes with every Presidential election...…

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 10, 2019 3:05:37 AM | 43

This is how journalism should be done - plain allegations backed up by plain evidence.

Posted by: begob | Jun 10, 2019 5:13:46 AM | 44

Jaish al-Izza, so this was one of our CIA vetted moderate groups in Syria? We supply Jihadist rebels with weapons while calling Cuba and Russia rogue regimes for simply trading with Venezuela. How dare Cuba provide doctors in exchange for oil, Marco Rubio sees through that trick. It's a way to prop up Maduro. Providing TOW anti-tank missiles to kill soldiers defending their own country is honorable. How God doesn't throw up is beyond me.

Has the CIA ever published their list of vetted rebel groups? Since we are so proud of them why not.

Posted by: Christian J Chuba | Jun 10, 2019 7:16:59 AM | 45

@Jackrabbit #41
I'd want to see something more concrete than shared funding, particularly if Craig Newmark is the link.
Craig Newmark is the founder of Craigslist - hardly the same thing as Ebay/Omidyar.

Posted by: c1ue | Jun 10, 2019 1:27:50 PM | 46

@B: Always nice to see such well layed out articles from you. All the basic information in a compelling case. Archived in my own database, though not in Notepad++ but as HTML. Will likely be of further use later, just like most of your articles (I think i now have over 1000 saved on my disk). Thanks!

For those with further interest of the mess that is called Idlib, Mr. Bhadrakumar has a compelling blog post on it. Further background info on the love/hate triangel that is Russia+Israel+Iran (with their extensions ofc).
https://indianpunchline.com/russia-has-more-in-common-with-israel-than-meets-the-eye/

The takeaway: Russia hoping on Israels influence on DJT to fix Ukraine and sanctions in exchange for a more flexibel position on Iran (Just the trajectory it has taken for months). Not unlikely that some deals are made, as there seems interest from both Russia and US/Israel. Even though Russia will try to avoid to totally loose the "Partnership" with Iran, as it would not be beneficial. But it has always been a "Partnership" based on need, not on Sympathy, Ideology or "Values"(TM).
The cracks are there, both between Russia and Iran but also Assad.

I just hope that Russia gets what it wants out of the dealings with the US. Even though i doubt it, i hope i am wrong on this.. And end on Ukraine, a true settlement, would be badly needed.
And culturally, and from values (TM) and ideology, Putins Russia and Israel/US are much closer, than Iran or Syria will ever be to them.
No shame in that. I just hope that in the future, the realitys align more with what supporters of either side claim, instead of shadow boxing.

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Jun 10, 2019 5:50:16 PM | 47

Syria is still a basketcase, but the silver lining is it really taught the world that not resisting Western interference is a straight ticket to hell, no matter how crappy their current predicaments are.

Posted by: JW | Jun 11, 2019 6:18:26 AM | 48

List of CIA supported rebel groups

It's reasonably well established that Jaish al-Izza was one of these groups, there are secondary sources that confirm this affiliation and they operated TOW missiles, only a select few groups were allowed to do that. Is it worth the effort to file a Freedom of Information Act Request for a full list of these former 'moderate rebels'? Everyone in NW Syria is either Al Qaeda or a member of the so-called Free Syrian Army and the program is over so how could releasing this information endanger anyone. Not certain of the parameters of this statute. I've seen the guy from Judicial Watch acquire documents like this from time to time but it looks like he has to go through hoops.

Posted by: Christian J Chuba | Jun 11, 2019 7:33:57 AM | 49

May god grant Abdul Basset Sarut a peaceful place to rest. i was sad and milancholic seeing his huge funeral march, syria lost a real man.
he is an icon of the revolution, he was at first a goal keeper at a club. he lost his 4 brothers, killed by al assad during the protests that led to the crisis, he was famous as "the revolution's singer" (ya yuma) during the protests, and became one of the fighters of the free syrian army before the west started to drop his help, so he went with "Jaish al 'Izza" and moderate or islamic or secular or not, nobody cares as long as he fights the criminal Bashar the greatest criminal in the new century.
Sarut has balls 200 bigger than all the racists here in the comments, he lost his family, he stopped his football career to fight for his people and country, he started the fight when he was 18, he died at the age of 26 years old, so young, that is the sad part, people who are brave and ready to sacrifice die young, while half the commentors here are old freaks who consume beer more than water.

Posted by: Mohamed Amine | Jun 18, 2019 12:03:57 PM | 50

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