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28 November 2016

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Matthew

Note to self: If I ever get sick, run to Aleppo. Every square inch is a hospital. See https://twitter.com/Charles_Lister/status/802614653029404672

Stumpy

Because they are "our" hostages and without them our cassus belli shrivels up like a herring on a hot sidewalk.

Tyler

Matthew,

Hospital or kitten sanctuary.

Poul

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (they are anti-Syrian government) has just published an attempt to classify the rebels according to political views.

They acknowledge that most of the rebellion is driving by Islamists of different stripes but still try to paint the southern Deraa rebel groups as secular. Also there are some strange assumptions that village militias hostile to the government are overwhelmingly secular which nicely fluff up the secular numbers.

Let's see if this analysis will impact the media story of who fights in Syria.

http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/status-of-the-syrian-rebellion-numbers-ideologies-and-prospects

MRW

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy is full of Israelis. Why?

MRW

(forgot this part)

Why are Israelis setting US policy?

georgeg

Because they can.....

Razor

MRW, I assume your question is rhetorical? Haven't Isrealis/Dual Citizens been deeply embedded in US foreign policy formation at all levels for many years? In Goverment Executive Office (Perle, Feith, Wolfowitz, Ledeed, etc ad infinitum) at State, in Treasury (useful for determining who to embargo financially) in think tanks (such as Washington Institute for e.g.) lobby groups and perhaps especially in funding (or defunding those not compliant)political candidates for public office.

Of course it is anti-semitic to say this, and therefore it is not often said in polite society. I suspect this is part of the reason for the backlash which produced President Elect Trumps victory. I believe it was Pat Buchanan who described this situation as Israeli Occupied Territory, which I suppose was a somewhat more polite way of saying the more hateful Zionist Occupied Government. I'm washing my mouth out with soap - honestly)

Prem

There was a rather pathetic scene in the British parliament today - MPs booed and heckled a Foreign Office minister after he announced that the RAF would not be air dropping supplies into East Aleppo.

On a talk radio station, later in the day, a former pilot volunteered to fly a C-130 low, slowly and in a straight line over Aleppo (which would be necessary for the purposes of an air drop) if some of the louder MPs would accompany him.

It's depressing that after 70 years it hasn't dawned on some people that Britain is no longer an imperial power, and that there is a long list of things that need to be filed under "not our problem". And top of that list are complex, far away, ethno-religious conflicts in which our interference can only cause more mayhem.


The Beaver

@ MRW

I do understand your suspicion wrt WINEP (that's my first reaction also) but Fabrice Balanche has been writing some good articles on ISIS and some of them (in French) are eye-openers.

Just Goggle "fabrice balanche syrie".

kooshy

It seems someone (with a big Borg support) is hoping (you read sanctioned) for a color revolution, after Trump winning the election. The tool being used, is similar to Iranian 09 green color revolution,it starts with old "where is my vote" then recount for a few days, eventually call (bring) the suportes (troops) to street and claim police brutality claim someone was unjustifiably killed in street by the police/troops, demand regime change setup camps in DC mall. is it Soros ? if its the old Soros anyone know what color is he using this time? is Soros short for sore loser?

Lemur

"Ride the Eagle' is how the British bulldog got its post-imperial kicks. Hence the dismay of the British elite when Trump was elected.

English Outsider

Here's how most of us in England see it:-

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-38139759

Straight disinformation. Some time ago Mr Cameron stated there were 70,000 moderate rebels fighting Assad in Syria. That number is no longer claimed and "rebel factions" may have displaced "moderates" as the preferred term but there is still no doubt who the good guys are. The bad guys, as before, are the Syrian government and their allies. In the article linked to I saw no mention of UN proscribed groups or their offshoots. The picture is of rebels, revolutionaries, or the "Syrian opposition" mentioned at the head of the article, engaged in a legitimate struggle and still hoping for a "peace deal". That is how the BBC spins it.

Though nonsense, it's powerful nonsense; I know from my own experience that most people reading this report will believe it to be a fair and accurate statement of the position. Most MP's will believe it as well, or will at least be confident that their constituents believe it. That matters.

So how is it done? Does anyone know how this spin ends up being so uniformly distributed across the Western TV stations and newspapers? Is it done by consensus - a herd instinct that guides the journalists and those who brief them - or is it centrally co-ordinated?


English Outsider.

Chris Chuba

Where are the U.S. reporters?
With all of this concern over Aleppo why aren't CNN and the others on the ground looking at the situation for themselves rather than reading tweets from the White Helmets and that London based group? From what I have seen, it looks like Assad gives pretty decent access to govt held territory.

Forcing moderates to become extremists
This is a very common meme from western commentators but I have noticed that the exact opposite is true. In early 2015, during the Idlib offensive when the rebels were winning, Al Nusra's influence was at a high point and this was before the Russian intervention. The only time any rebel groups started defecting was after Russian intervention and when they started losing. Also, it was the pressure of attacks that caused infighting among the rebels. So this statement is a classic case of something that sounds good but turns out not to be true if you actually pay attention to what happens.

The Beaver

@ Chris Chuba

Haven't you see Richard Engel on Skype with a 7 y.o Syrian girl Bana Alabed?

Yep, her English is so perfect for someone whose mother tongue is Arabic and who has been under siege since 2012 when she was 3 y.o.
In addition , when the "regime" (sic) is bombing E Aleppo she is able to tweet ( thus availability of electricity and internet access when the SOHR is saying that people are dying from hunger).

This same Riched Engel who learned Arabic reporting from the street of the ME BUT can differentiate the Syrian accent of the government militia who took him as hostage from the Syrian accent of the activists who saved him and his crew.

shanks

Sir,

I honestly don't understand the logic of the war with Syria. I get it that some people don't want Assad but to join hands with head choppers and calling them 'moderates' is not something I see as a long term result that can provide any benefits.

Even assuming the rebels had some sort of governance in the territories they held, it's not a shining example of the kind of democratic RtP and other flim flam floated for the last couple of years.

Unless of course, the whole point of the exercise was to reduce the ME to a melange of balkanised and feuding tribes that are too small and too busy fighting each other to be a threat to any EU or Israeli interest?

turcopolier

shanks

IMO the effort to overthrow the Syrian government started as a attempt to project the R2P driven supposed "successes" of the Arab Spring. IMO the US instigated the revolt in Syria with the assistance of the Gulf States who sought a reversion to absolute Sunni control of the Levant. Once the thing got started Israel under the present government saw an opportunity to weaken Iran by destroying Iran's main ally in Syria and as a result they have encouraged the US to persist in the policy of destroying the Syrian government through covert action and support to various rebel groups. pl

The Beaver

Shanks,

"Hillary Clinton claimed that United Nations peace efforts in Syria were based on “an agreement I negotiated in June of 2012 in Geneva.” The precise opposite is true. In 2012 Secretary of State Clinton joined Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Israel in a successful effort to kill Kofi Annan’s UN peace plan because it would have accommodated Iran and kept Assad in power, at least temporarily. No one on the Milwaukee stage knew enough to challenge her."

https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2016/02/18/the-media-are-misleading-public-syria/8YB75otYirPzUCnlwaVtcK/story.html

Very good article btw , even covering part of Chris Chuba questions above.

William Fitzgerald

English Outsider,

Having pondered the same question and, having tried to apply Occam's Razor to it, I say centrally co-ordinated.

WPFIII

LeaNder

IMO the US instigated the revolt in Syria with the assistance of the Gulf States who sought a reversion to absolute Sunni control of the Levant.

I recall your warning voice, when I was fascinated by the 'Arab Spring'. Glued to Al Jazeera's live reports from Tahrir Square, in maybe the most important/interesting night. I also recall Patrick Bahzad's contributions to Libya, or more precisely what he added around supportive parties to events ...

Once the thing got started Israel under the present government saw an opportunity to weaken Iran ...

Yes, admittedly, among the things surfacing on my mind more recently, I am no expert, my mind is aging, Israel was somewhat out of the top headlines: I wondered too if the humanitarian/medical aid by Israel to the 'head-choppers' may have had a larger political beyond purely humanitarian reason/aim. Beyond single events of air supports, verified? forget, earlier conflicts around UN troops at the border (?) ...

Babak Makkinejad

Because Protestant Christians as well as the two major US political parties are in the same corner with State of Israel. This is a religious sentiment for which the United States has borne enormous costs and will likely continue to do so.

UK is another country in which the Protestant Christians are in love with all things Israeli.

There was a commentator on this forum by the name of Professor Kiracofe who wrote a book on this:

https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Crusade-Christian-International-Political/dp/1845117557/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1480430731&sr=8-2&keywords=dark+crusade

Iran, on the other hand, is the Country of Imam Hussein, who died on the path of Righteousness and Justice.

Is it any wonder then that US and Iran are at logger heads?

It is just another religious war by other names.

Lemur

Syrian/Kurdish forces have advanced within 5 kms of Al Bab. Meanwhile the Sultan has declared he entered Syria to put an end to the 'Assad regime'. We may see clashes between Syrian and Turkish forces in the next few days. The SyAAF has already hit Turkish backed rebels in Northern Aleppo.

Babak Makkinejad

In the interest of Rectification of Names:

"dis-information" means Lies.

Edward Amame

It's not just cable news. Earlier this morning I unsubscribed from an email newsfeed after reading their Aleppo story describing "moderate rebel fighters backed by the US"...

James Loughton

I read the Israeli English language press. Recent stories quote the IDF Chief as stating that the defeat of ISIS is not in Israel's interest. Of course, none of this makes the "news" here in the US. All major US media organs push the administration's false narrative of the Syrian conflict relentlessly.

This, and many other instances have lead me to the following only slightly exaggerated conclusion, which I try to push as an internet meme.

"The US has the second worst media in the world, behind only North Korea."

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