Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Lavrov sez US Aggression in Syria Hampers Search for Peaceful Solutions

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On Monday, Minister of Foreign Affairs S V Lavrov said after talks with his Senegalese counterpart Mankeur Ndiaye:

We again stated the need to consolidate efforts of the entire international community in the fight against this universal evil, as President Putin said some 18 months ago addressing the UN General Assembly. We should carry out all steps based on international law and the UN Charter. In this context, we discussed the illegal and aggressive steps of US aviation when they carried out strikes on an airbase in Syria, which only exacerbated the situation and hindered, maybe on purpose, the search for a political settlement.

On April 7, the US military fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from warships in the Mediterranean Sea on al-Shayrat Airbase located in Syria’s Homs Governate. Reportedly, the US attack on Syrian government forces came in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria’s Idlib Governate on 4 April. According to Minoborony data, Syrian warplanes carried out airstrikes on 4 April that hit workshops where terrorists were producing chemical munitions supplied to Iraq and used in Aleppo. However, Washington concluded that Damascus used chemical weapons.

Russia Demands Explanation on OPCW Investigation

Lavrov said:

Moscow will demand an explanation on the investigation into the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria conducted by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Recently, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson put the blame on the Syrian government, as well as on Russia and Iran who support Damascus, but failed to provide any evidence, only saying that British experts already studied the samples collected on the scene and came to the conclusion that sarin or some similar substances had been used. It’s an interesting coincidence that the British representatives heading the fact-finding mission didn’t say anything to anyone but British experts were able to study the samples. Today, we’ll file a request demanding an explanation on what’s going on. I expect that there’ll be an answer. The situation isn’t easy, but let’s hope that the majority of countries understand what’s happening. We won’t allow anyone to disrupt efforts aimed at settling the Syrian crisis based on a UN Security Council Resolution.

“We’re Convinced that the Pace Shouldn’t be Lost”

Lavrov stated:

As for the upcoming meeting on Syria in Geneva, we plan it for a period after 3-4 May, that is, after a new round of talks in Astana. We hope that UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura would find an appropriate date because some hints say that the holy month of Ramadan is beginning in late May, and perhaps it’d be appropriate to wait until it is over. We’re convinced that the pace shouldn’t be lost, especially in a situation when the political process is endangered. I mean, the strike against the al-Shayrat aerodrome and the desire of many actors both inside Syria and from amongst the external opposition to exploit this situation to switch the blame fully to the Assad régime and take up a course of a departure from a political settlement to unilateral actions to overthrow the Syrian government.

17 April 2017

TASS

http://tass.com/politics/941697

The Astounding Hubris, Incoherence, and Dysfunction of the Trump Administration

Note well that Trump lied about the Syrian strike. What else is he lying about? He had better not break out the bubbly, yet…

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In decades to come, historians will identify this past week as one of the most seminal in postwar history, placing particular emphasis when they do on the actions of one of the most unstable, unpredictable, and capricious presidents ever to occupy the White House. Prior to his election, those who allowed themselves to believe that Trump’s lack of political experience and ideologically driven worldview were strengths that’d go a long way to giving birth to the multipolar world that’s long overdue, those people have reason to be nursing a sense of crushing disappointment over the political disaster that is currently unfolding, one that may well translate into a military disaster if allowed to continue on its current trajectory.

Indeed, it’s hard at this stage to avoid the feeling that Trump and his administration are actually itching for a military confrontation with Russia. Like a child discovering matches for the first time, the 45th president appears a leader who after ordering a missile strike for the first time can’t wait to order more. It’s a feeling reinforced by the meeting between US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, which sadly wasn’t the success a planet desperate for peace and stability was hoping for. Despite the cordial tone and atmosphere surrounding the talks, they ended with no resolution and no serious moves towards de-escalation.

The Trump administration continues to assert that its intelligence leaves no room for doubt when it comes to the allegation that President Assad authorised a sarin gas attack on civilians in Syria’s opposition-held Idlib Governate. Assad denies the allegation, and Russia supports this denial while calling for an independent UN-led investigation in order to ascertain the facts. So far, Washington refused to countenance such an investigation, while at the same time failing to produce the intelligence or evidence it claims to possess in support of its allegations. Even without factoring in the cooked-up and falsified intelligence used to unleash hell on Iraq in 2003, a conflict the after-effects of which lie at the root of the current crisis… and even without factoring in the destruction of Libya in 2011, driven by the same régime change fanaticism… the stance of the Trump administration is both unconscionable and contemptuous in its arrogance. It begs the question of what the US Government is afraid of when it comes to an independent investigation? Why the refusal to reveal its evidence and the intelligence that points to Syrian government responsibility for this alleged attack?

The most optimistic analysis we can make at this point is that Trump believes he can wheel and deal in the political arena as he has throughout his years in the business arena. However, the consequences of having his bluff called in the game he’s playing now, as opposed to the game he cut his teeth in, are of an entirely different dimension. The game his administration is playing now carries with it the strong possibility of unleashing catastrophic consequences. Thus far, they’ve dismissed the growing number of voices within the USA that question the conclusions being peddled by the White House over this alleged Syrian chemical weapons attack as the product of conspiracy theory and pro-Assad propaganda. On the other hand, one can’t so easily ignore the latest intervention by MIT professor Theodore Postol. Professor Postol, whose exhaustive rebuttal of the case against the Syrian government over the alleged sarin attack of 2013 should be required reading for anyone interested in drawing fact-based conclusions rather than those rooted in ideology, raised his voice again, this time challenging the intelligence behind these allegations and the intelligence used to support them.

Despite the lack of UN authorisation or congressional approval for the strike launched by Trump against Syria, the mainstream media in the USA, almost to a newspaper and network, lined up behind their President with their by now customary Pavlovian cheerleading for war and régime change. Their ranks have swelled by what one can best describe as a left-wing of US imperialism in the form of a hodgepodge of soi-disant socialists and progressives, whose metamorphosis into the most passionate of régime change fanatics and cranks has been stunning to behold.

Moscow, nobody should need to be reminded, won’t accept its implied status of Carthage to Washington’s Rome, with the cards Trump has dealt Russia this past week those of a leader who has made the mistake of allowing himself become dizzy with the questionable success of one limited military action. Yet, regardless, overnight, this missile strike transported Trump from bête noire of the neocon establishment to its Man of the Hour. This is despite the fact that the incoherence and mixed messages that ensued during the course of this crisis from Rex Tillerson, Nikki Haley, and Trump’s woefully under-qualified press secretary, Sean Spicer, reveals a level of dysfunction commonly associated with satire rather than the serious business of government.

The result is that Washington is currently a lumbering giant staggering blindly towards the edge of a cliff with no sign of stopping. This is why it’s such a pity that we have in the White House a President who takes pride in never reading books. For if he did, and if he took the time to dip into the works of Napoleon Bonaparte, he might learn something. For instance:

We mustn’t allow international incidents to shape foreign policy; foreign policy must shape the incidents.

Napoleon, it should be borne in mind, was a leader who also made the fatal mistake of allowing hubris to cloud his judgement.

14 April 2017

John Wight

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201704131052609162-trump-administration-russia-syria/

Busted! US Mainstream Media Ends Up Supporting Daesh in Syria

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A recent New York Times’ opinion editorial went even so far as to suggest that Washington should treat Daesh in Syria “the same way” the USA “encouraged the mujahideen fighters to bleed Russia in Afghanistan”. Believe it or not, after unfounded accusations of chemical weapons’ use in Khan Sheikhoun by Bashar al-Assad the US mainstream media ended up supporting Daesh (ISIS/ISIL) in Syria. On April 12, the New York Times published an op-ed piece by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Thomas Friedman entitled “Why Is Trump Fighting ISIS in Syria?” He asked:

Why should our goal right now be to defeat the Islamic State [Daesh] in Syria?

As if Daesh hadn’t conducted a series of genocidal terror attacks in the Middle East and beyond, Friedman argued:

The real goal of the terrorist group is to defeat Bashar al-Assad’s régime in Syria… plus its Russian, Iranian, and Hizbullah allies… and to defeat the pro-Iranian Shiite regime in Iraq.

However, back in February 2017, CNN highlighted that since declaring its “caliphate” in June 2014, Daesh had already gone global, conducting and inspiring 143 attacks in 29 countries around the world. At least eight of the assaults were on American soil by attackers who pledged allegiance to the terrorist group. It appears that didn’t embarrass Friedman:

We could simply back off fighting territorial ISIS [Daesh] in Syria and make it entirely a problem for Iran, Russia, Hizbullah, and Assad. After all, they’re the ones overextended in Syria, not us.

Guided by this flawed logic he continued:

Trump should want to defeat ISIS in Iraq… but in Syria? Not for free, not now. In Syria, Trump should let ISIS [Daesh] be Assad’s, Iran’s, Hizbullah’s and Russia’s headache… the same way we encouraged the mujahideen fighters to bleed Russia in Afghanistan.

As usual, the devil is in the details. It’s no secret that the game-changer of the US Operation Cyclone aimed at supporting Afghani jihadi warriors from 1979 to 1989, was providing them with FIM-92 Stingers… portable lightweight anti-aircraft defence systems. Did we mishear? Did Friedman actually mean arming Daesh militants by saying “the same way”? Let’s not forget that the USA’s covert operation in Afghanistan resulted in the emergence of the terrorist Taliban. Seth Frantzman, a Jerusalem-based political commentator, busted Friedman’s arguments on his blog:

What evidence is there that ISIS [Daesh] spent its main resources fighting Assad? The terrorist organisation spent most of its resources fighting the Kurds in Syria and persecuting minorities, blowing up religious shrines and historical sites, and committing crimes against humanity. Has everyone forgotten that Daesh beheaded James Foley and Steven Sotloff, burned people to death, and murdered 1,700 people at Camp Speicher in Iraq? It’s hard to believe this appeared in a major mainstream newspaper; it’s even harder to believe it appeared in the New York Times. Of all the groups in the world to argue for letting it be someone else’s problem, why should ISIS, after its years of genocidal crimes, be let off the hook? Suggesting that it should be allowed to “be” in order to make Syria, Iran, Hizbullah, and Russia “bleed” isn’t merely cynical but tantamount to saying that the USA should have reduced pressure on the Nazis to keep the Soviets bleeding.

To add to the embarrassment, the recent US missile strike on Shayrat Airbase, used by the Syrian forces to launch attacks against Daesh and al-Nusra Front, de facto played into the terrorist groups’ hands. Kremlin spokesman D S Peskov commented:

The fact is that we no longer know what goals Washington pursued when deciding to carry out these strikes, but it is unequivocal that they launched them de facto in the interests of Daesh, al-Nusra Front, and other terrorists. In this connection, we can only express regret.

The question then arises whether the US Establishment’s obsession with toppling Bashar al-Assad will finally eclipse common sense and distract Washington right off the road.

17 April 2017

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/politics/201704131052613111-us-syria-daesh/

Monday, 17 April 2017

Cheering for Régime Change in Syria? You Support the Murder of Christians

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Another Easter is upon us… Western governments still support the extermination of Christians in Syria. Easter is the holiest day in the Christian calendar. For Christians, Easter is the ultimate victory of God over Satan, a permanent victory, a kind of cosmic checkmate. However, for Christians in Syria, this Easter has a special meaning… victory over those who have sought, with Western backing, to destroy them. “Responsible” media outlets never speak of it, but anyone rooting for régime change in Syria also supports the murder of Christians. Syria is a secular state; it’s fought terrorists and jihadists for the last six years. If Assad goes, Syria’s Christians will cease to exist. On Friday, Haaretz carried an op-ed about what “régime change” would mean for Christians in Syria (but because it’s Haaretz, it also insisted that rooting for Iran, which fights ISIS, is just as bad as cheering for Christian genocide. Don’t be confused… it’s Haaretz). Some excerpts:

Jews in Israel support the murder of Coptic Christians and Christians in the Middle East in general… not just the killings that occurred in Egypt last Sunday. Anyone attacking Syrian President Bashar al-Assad encourages the murder of Christians in the Middle East and the entire world. It should be clear to all that the atrocities committed by ISIS against the Yazidis and any other non-Sunni Muslim minority it can get its murderous hands on will only be a prologue compared to what we should expect if Assad falls… which I hope never happens.

The support for Saudi Arabia and the war against Assad can have only one interpretation… support for terror. All the minorities that were massacred or fled Syria had lived in peace and security under the Assad régime. In Assad’s Syria, there’s no religious coercion and minorities weren’t required to pay a jizya tax because they weren’t Sunni Muslims. The ethnic and religious minorities enjoyed total freedom of worship, and churches and non-Muslim houses of prayer flourished.

Yet, Israel supports this terrorism. It is a satellite of the evil empire, the USA. Whoever supports Saudi Arabia supports the murder of Coptic Christians. Whoever defends Qatar has their hands covered in the blood of Coptic worshippers. Whoever fights Assad wants to exterminate the Christians from the Middle East.

Speaking about it is verboten, but the sad reality is that the USA and its western and Sunni poodles funded the extermination of Christians in the Middle East for a very long time. In December 2015, Dr William Wedin wrote about the extermination of Syrian Christians at the hands of Western-backed “moderate” rebels and ISIS. With Easter upon us, we’d like to share this article again with our readers. Just replace “Obama” with “Trump”, and you’ll begin to realise the size and scale of the atrocities being committed against Syrian Christians.

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The massacre of Syrian Christians in Kessab by “moderate” terrorists backed by the Turkish military in 2014 is only one example. Despite the truly heroic efforts of a re-Christianised Russia to protect them, “moderate” and “extremist” Muslim terrorists alike continue to kill and even crucify these Syrian Christians. Yet, no one in the West is talking about it. NO ONE! Not Obama, not the Republicans, not the “liberal” media, not Fox News and no one in public life… not even Donald Trump. It’s downright criminal! Everyone in Washington would like the American people to think that Syria is a Muslim nation and that everyone there is a Muslim. There are no Christians in Syria to save. Therefore, the USA and NATO can do what they please to the Muslims who remain. They’re untermenschen, after all. It’s a lie! A damned lie! The neocons might call it a “noble lie”. Nevertheless, it’s a lie nonetheless.

Christians Safe Under Assad

Before the Arab Spring opened the door to Muslim terrorists… fuelled by Saudi money and American weaponsmillions of Syrian Christians lived in peace and safety with their Muslim neighbours since Biblical times.  Indeed, large Syrian cities, such as Antioch, were amongst the first Christian communities named in the New Testament. Perhaps, it took a ruthless tyrant to keep the peace at times. Certainly, Assad is a ruthless one  (witness his torturing al-Qaeda “suspects” for George Bush). However, at least in Syria, there was a stable peace between Christians and Muslims under Assad’s secular government, as shown by the fact that Syria boasted no less than 1.8 million Christians before the Arab Spring began in 2011. Yes, Christians lived in peace and safety.

This is a matter of historical fact. It’s rooted in a once-powerful movement, called Arab nationalism, which once included the likes of Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt. As the name applies, the unifying concept behind this nationalist movement that emerged in many Middle East countries after World War II was that all religious groups should be protected and respected (as taught by the Koran) so that people of all faiths would come to see themselves as proud and equal members of their shared motherland… be they Syrians or Egyptians. For only then… as one united nation… could they throw off colonial rule. In short, the answer Arab nationalism offered to the colonial powers’ dictum of “divide and conquer” was… unite and fight back!

The Western Powers were dead opposed. Forget the will of the people! Even the will of the American people. Our rulers “knew better” than we did what we really wanted. That was cheap oil… whatever the cost in “lesser” people’s lives. Only Arab nationalism stood in the way. Therefore, the Western powers had to crush it. Crush it they did… starting with Iran. Talk about what goes around comes around! When Mohammad Mosaddegh became Iran’s first freely elected Prime Minister in 1951 (in a wave of Persian nationalism), he became Time’s “Man of the Year” that year. However, this triumph of democracy didn’t last very long. When Mosaddegh moved to nationalise British Petroleum’s assets in Iran to use Iran’s own oil to lift her people out of poverty, the USA instantly ordered the CIA to stage a coup, called Operation Ajax, that ended the secular Republic of Iran… restoring the hated Shah, with his dreaded secret police, once more to power. So what if the US-backed Shah tortured, jailed, and murdered tens of thousands of freedom-loving Iranians to maintain his nearly 50-year rule? BP got its oil fields back… the Iranian people got oppression. That’s been the pattern of American foreign policy ever since. NEVER have we replaced a “bad” régime with a functioning democracy… although they always tell the American people that’s our goal going in. We’re selflessly “spreading democracy” to nations with… well… mineral wealth (like Afghanistan with its vast rare earth deposits).

Assad in the Crosshairs

Now, Assad is in the crosshairs. Not because he’s a brutal dictator… he is… but what of that? Our Presidents kiss Saudi monarchs, after all… although the Saudis behead and crucify adults and even children every year by the score. Moreover, our servile media doesn’t condemn those atrocities. No, “Assad must go” because he’s the last Arab Nationalist still standing. He wants the benefits of Syrian oil given to the Syrian people. So, off with his head! Yes, it’s true that when the Arab Spring reached Syria, a few hundred secular Syrians took to the streets calling for free elections, just as the Russians call for free elections in Syria now. The Western media doesn’t report it, but it’s a fact. The Russians don’t say that Assad must remain President forever. They say, “Let the Syrian people decide who’ll be their next President in a free fair election that includes Assad”. However, honest polls show that Assad would win such an election. So the White House and Wall Street say, “No!” That’s giving the Syrian people too much freedom! Assad must NOT be on the ballot. Otherwise, all that Syrian oil might wind up in the hands of… Syrians!

Meanwhile, since terrorists swept the secularists aside, Christian Syrians… long protected by Assad… now “disappear” by the millions… by the millions! Of the 1.8 million Christians that lived peacefully under Assad before the Arab Spring, only 200-400,000 Christians still live in intact communities in Syria today. The rest either died or fled… we know not where. Yet, the servile Western media is silent about these Christians. Until the deeply Christian Putin began attacking the terrorists in earnest, the West was content to play at attacking those terrorists NOT attacking Assad, as shown by the fact that of the 59,015 sorties flown against “extreme” terrorists, only 8,573 actually dropped any bombs or missiles. On the other hand, terrorists who do attack Assad get advanced weapons and training from the USA… even if those terrorists are al-Qaeda or allied with al-Qaeda… the very terrorists who brought us 9/11.

However, what does the One Percent care if Obama teams up with disguised forms of al-Qaeda so long as they oust Assad? Big Oil gets to build its “dream” pipeline from the stolen oilfields of Syria and Iraq through Turkey to Europe… cutting out “evil” Russia. Once Syria is “done”, the CIA can use these same Islamists to start biting off chunks of Southern (Muslim) Russia even if it means World War III followed by nuclear winter and the end of the American people. Of course, the White House maintains that only ISIS (which the Saudis and the USA jointly created) wants to chop off Christian heads, whereas those who pal around with al-Qaeda are “moderates” now. Although they also chop off heads, they do so “moderately”. So, what do Syrian Christians have to fear from them? A lot… if the Syrian Christians of Kessab are any example, but who’s heard of them? The Western mainstream media don’t report such war crimes.

A Call to Action to Protect Syrian Christians  

Therefore, it’s time we put Obama’s own Christianity to the test. Make him stop the genocide of Syrian Christians now! Although as many as 1.6 million Syrian Christians may already be dead, that would still leave 200,000 Syrian Christians left alive that he could save today. What’s stopping him? If Obama wants to use his “moderate” terrorists to remove Assad, let him first demand that these terrorists take a religiously binding vow that they shall always protect the lives and rights of all Syrian Christians. For Syrian Christians do exist, I assure you. However, “moderate” and “extremist” terrorists alike wage genocide against them even now. If they finally oust Assad… except in a free and fair election where Assad is on the ballot… there’d be a total bloodbath of those Christians who still survive. Syria would be worse than Rwanda. The next President… unless he knows of this hidden genocide… will let this crime against humanity go on just as Bill Clinton knowingly let the Rwandan genocide go on… while the servile Western media stood silent. The One Percent didn’t care about 800,000 Tutsis being hacked to death by machetes back then. The One Percent doesn’t care about the 1.6 million Syrian Christians who’ve “disappeared” at the hands of “moderate” and “extremist” terrorists already… like those Syrian Christian villagers of Kessab.

How long will this lethal silence last? As with every genocide, so here, “Silence = Death” for all those Syrian Christians who remain. Yet, you the reader can still play a vital role in forcing Obama to save these Syrian Christians by talking to your family and friends… by speaking to your pastor, priest, or rabbi… by calling your Senators and Congressmen… by writing the Pope (whether you’re Catholic or not)… and by contacting Syrian Churches… like the Syrian Church of Antioch… right here in America. While the servile mainstream media will deny that a Christian genocide is even taking place, we can count on alternative media like Russia Insider to keep us informed about who’s doing what to stop it, but only if we give these sites the political and financial support they need to keep functioning. We must wage the fight to save Syrian Christians on many fronts at once… beginning now and here.

15 April 2017

Russia Insider

http://russia-insider.com/en/cheering-regime-change-syria-you-support-murder-christians/ri19614

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