Trump is not an anomaly in US politics, nor is he uniquely evil, he continues the policies of previous administrations. This is particularly true with regard to the Middle East. These policies are not only US policies they have been supported by the UK through the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq by Blair and Bush, the destruction of Libya by Cameron and Obama, their support for terrorism in Syria and the current aggressions against Iran and Venezuela.
Those who oppose Trump on the grounds that he is a ‘misogynist’, a ‘racist’, an ‘Islamaphobe’ and that he has been rude to London’s Mayor (who has been rude about him – I don’t care who started it), and other ‘royal’ people, are missing the point. They should be opposing Trump, but as the leader of the American Empire, they should be opposing the wars of regime change, the use of economic power to coerce and starve countries like Venezuela and the perpetuation of a policy of confrontation rather than partnership with Russia and China.
Those who say that they, respect the office of President but not the man who holds it, who think that the ‘special relationship’ with the US is something to be proud about, are really missing the point. The visit of Trump should be an opportunity to revisit the relationship with America – particularly as it coincides with the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day Landing and what might be seen as the inception of the present world order. I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade or protest but focusing on the personal failing of Trump makes them politically irrelevant. Even if they were, improbably, to lead to whatever just retribution the protesters wish to befall Trump, they would still make no difference to the wider imperialist projects of the US, UK, KSA, Israel and France.
It’s hard to believe that I posted these pictures of some newspapers to Facebook just two days ago. In the space of three days since Monday morning the world has come to the point where the two most powerful nuclear armed nations are threatening to go to war with each other.
Douma is part of the East Ghouta where the Syrian government have been fighting the rebel/jihadi groups that have occupied the area. THey had defeated most of the rebels and recaptured most of East Ghouta when the Douma incident happened and the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad was accused of using chemical weapons on Douma.
Over the past three days I have posted a lot of stuff to Facebook and taken part in a number of discussions in Facebook groups. I don’t want to lose track of that content so I am reproducing some of my Facebook posts to this blog.
Propaganda and media distortion has been a feature of the Empire’s war on Syria since 2011.
Blaming Assad for all the killings in Syria is part of the West’s strategy to destabilise or destroy that country but people who have been to Syria and spoken to Syrians often report widespread support for Assad and question the ‘Butcher of Damascus’ narrative. This 2013 report by Mairead Maguire challenges that narrative:
“The US and the CIA should stop this illegal and counter productive war to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad and should stay focussed on fighting who our enemy is, the Islamic extremist groups.”
I like this congresswoman, Tulsi Gabbard. But Wolf Blitzer’s attempt to blame 200,000 to 300,00 deaths on Assad should be challenged. As well as supporting the insurgents militarily the US and its allies have been waging a propaganda campaign targeting Assad. We should not trust anything we hear on the mainstream media without examining it thoroughly.
For anyone who does not remember the liberation of Aleppo in December 2016. The US was doing its best to talk up an impending massacre a humanitarian disaster Samantha Power asked of Russia “have you no shame?”
Maria Zakharova had this reply from Russia:
When Aleppo was retaken by the Syrian Arab Army and its Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah allies in December we did not see the massacres of civilians that Clinton and much of the US and UK mainstream media predicted instead we saw people relieved, celebrating their liberation from the oppression of the terrorists that Clinton, Obama, Cameron and Hollande had enabled. I highly recommend that you watch this short French documentary featuring interviews with the people of Aleppo:
As East Ghouta is liberated from the terrorists we see moving videos of their hostages exiting the liberated neighbourhoods. They are grateful to the army, they shout ‘God, Syria, Bashar’. This looks like a film produced by a state broadcaster but can anyone look at the faces, the emotions of these people and tell me that they are not genuine?
False Flag in Douma
The Russians informed the UN about chemical armaments found in liberated areas of East Ghouta almost a month ago.
They warned that “In East Ghuta, rebel jihadist fighters were preparing the staging of another alleged use of chemical weapons, which would then be blamed on the Syrian government and serve as a cause for a USA “reprisal” strike against Damascus.”
This video of suffering and dead children is distressing. Maybe it indicates that they were victims of chemical agents but it does not indicate that the were victims of the Syrian government using chemical weapons. It is counter intuitive, contrary to reason, to believe that with the Syrian Army on the brink of victory in Ghouta that they would needlessly use weapons whose use would give the worrld’s most powerful armed forces to attack them.
I don’t know how the chemicals might have gotten to the rebels/jihadists but look at this video from Tom Duggan a British journalist living in Damascus. He is walking through an arms factory in a liberated area of East Ghouta. It is clear that the rebels/jihadists have access to quite sophisticated armaments. It is clear that military supplies are coming in from somewhere.
The stakes are high. I’m not going to speculate about the Skripal case here but the way it has been used is to try to isolate Russia. This fits in with an agenda to attack Syria while Russia is on the backfoot. There is clearly coordination between the US and UK governments.
For me this image says it all – Syria, by the way, is the lady in the middle:
They are liars. And they know that they are liars
Here Syria’s ambassador Bashar Ja’afari responds to the threats of the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Nikki Halley, quoting the famous writer Najib Mahfouz:
“They are liars. And they know that they are liars.
And they know that we know that they are liars.
Even so, they keep lying very loudly so”
Exactly so. Everyone who looks knows that the US/UK are lying. Ja’afari tells them that he expects them lie about a chemical attack in order to justify an attack and a month later there is a chemical attack and they are using it to justify attacking Syria.
It is no big secret that false flags are standard practice for the Americans
Speaking of liars, here is Boris Johnson explaining how much the UK was giving in ‘non-humanitarian aid’ (what that) to help the White Helmets and to fund ‘police forces’ in Hama, Aleppo and Idlib, you know, the areas that were occupied by rebel/jihadists aka terrorists, at the time. What justifies setting up police forces in someone else’s country?
Unlike the case in other incidents Russian forces now have control of part of Douma and are able to inspect and invite inspections of the alleged chemical attack site.
The UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, opened the meeting by describing the reports about the alleged chemical attack in Douma and the subsequent airstrike against the Syrian T-4 air base. He called for an “independent investigation” of the alleged chemical incident and urged restraint for all sides, in view of the airbase attack.
Russia is deeply concerned by the fact that some capitals, Washington as well as London and Paris, which are “blindly following” their US allies, have engaged “in a confrontational policy against Russia and Syria without any justification,” The Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, said during the meeting. He went on to say that Moscow recently faced “slander, hawkish rhetoric, sanctions, blackmail” and even “threats of force.”
When push comes to shove will Russia shove back?
There is no evidence that ‘Assad’ carried out a chemical attack, there is no verifiable evidence that there was a chemical attack, evidence is beginning to emerge that there was no chemical attack.
This week a parliamentary-report-on-libya-intervention has admitted that the intervention in Libya was unnecessary and led to that country’s collapse and the rise of Daesh. Another shameful episode in Britain’s history. Cameron is as much a war criminal as Blair and although he claims that the intervention was sanctioned by the UN it is clear that he, Sarkozy and Obama went far beyond any remit they had and supported terrorists in destroying the Libyan state. I don’t know if Cameron’s resignation as an MP was in any way connected to the publication of this report but the timing seems more than coincidental.
While Cameron is rightly blamed for leading the charge, most parliamentarians are morally complicit, as 557 of them were right behind him .. Look at who were against:
The House of Commons voted by 557 to 13 to support UN-backed action in Libya at the end of their debate on 21 March 2011 – here is the full list of MPs who voted against, or did not vote:
Fifteen MPs (13 voted against plus two “tellers”) against:
Conservative: John Baron (Basildon & Billericay).
Labour: Graham Allen (Nottingham North), Ronnie Campbell (Blyth Valley), Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North), Barry Gardiner (Brent North), Roger Godsiff (Birmingham Hall Green), John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington), Linda Riordan (Halifax), Dennis Skinner (Bolsover), Mike Wood (Batley and Spen), Katy Clark (North Ayrshire and Arran), Yasmin Qureshi (Bolton South-East)
Green Party: Caroline Lucas (Brighton Pavilion)
SDLP: Mark Durkan (Foyle), Margaret Ritchie (Down South)
I think this is very important .. Here is a former British diplomat urging Scots to vote for independence. I don’t believe that this would have been a good thing but the reasons that he gives are worth listening to. Murray unequivocally labels Britain a ‘deeply immoral .. rogue state’. He says:
“I as a British diplomat saw all the internal memos that went through that decision. I used to be the head of the FCO unit that monitored Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. I know for certain I can tell you they knew there weren’t any. It wasn’t a mistake. It was a lie…
..I’ve seen it on the inside. It’s almost always about control of resources.
…The system stinks. Westminster stinks. British Government is deeply, deeply immoral. They don’t care how many people they kill abroad if it advances them.
..[Britain is] a rogue state. A state prepared to go to war to make a few people wealthy.”
The war launched on Iraq was based on obvious and known lies, as was the campaign against Libya and the support for terrorists in Syria. These actions have caused the death of millions and a humanitarian disaster of epic proportions in the Middle East but we still think our government is morally credible.
“It is five years since the start of uprisings in Syria against President Bashar al-Assad. The crackdown that followed led to a conflict that has claimed the lives of a quarter of a million people and left more than half the population displaced. Many of those affected have been children it is thought around seven and a half million need humanitarian aid. The BBC has spoken to three children, in Amman, in Damascus and in Ketermaya, who have fled the conflict. Caroline Hawley starts in Amman with 5 year-old Mustafa.” BBC website.
The BBC tells us that the Syrian conflict followed ‘uprisings .. against President Bashar al-Assad’. What the BBC does not tell us about is the role of the US and its allies in stirring up these ‘uprisings’.
The following is from the Truth Out website and reveals that and American Ambassador in Syria was plotting to exploit tensions between sects in Syria. This together with the support the US and its allies gave to Islamist extremists led to the war in Syria that has causes so much death and destruction:
A December 13, 2006 cable, “Influencing the SARG [Syrian government] in the End of 2006,” indicates that, as far back as 2006 – five years before “Arab Spring” protests in Syria – destabilizing the Syrian government was a central motivation of US policy. The author of the cable was William Roebuck, at the time chargé d’affaires at the US embassy in Damascus. The cable outlines strategies for destabilizing the Syrian government. In his summary of the cable, Roebuck wrote:
We believe Bashar’s weaknesses are in how he chooses to react to looming issues, both perceived and real, such as the conflict between economic reform steps (however limited) and entrenched, corrupt forces, the Kurdish question, and the potential threat to the regime from the increasing presence of transiting Islamist extremists. This cable summarizes our assessment of these vulnerabilities and suggests that there may be actions, statements, and signals that the USG can send that will improve the likelihood of such opportunities arising.
This cable suggests that the US goal in December 2006 was to undermine the Syrian government by any available means, and that what mattered was whether US action would help destabilize the government, not what other impacts the action might have. In public the US was in favor of economic reform, but in private the US saw conflict between economic reform and “entrenched, corrupt forces” as an “opportunity.” In public, the US was opposed to “Islamist extremists” everywhere; but in private it saw the “potential threat to the regime from the increasing presence of transiting Islamist extremists” as an “opportunity” that the US should take action to try to increase.
Roebuck lists Syria’s relationship with Iran as a “vulnerability” that the US should try to “exploit.” His suggested means of doing so are instructive:
PLAY ON SUNNI FEARS OF IRANIAN INFLUENCE: There are fears in Syria that the Iranians are active in both Shia proselytizing and conversion of, mostly poor, Sunnis. Though often exaggerated, such fears reflect an element of the Sunni community in Syria that is increasingly upset by and focused on the spread of Iranian influence in their country through activities ranging from mosque construction to business.
Both the local Egyptian and Saudi missions here (as well as prominent Syrian Sunni religious leaders) are giving increasing attention to the matter and we should coordinate more closely with their governments on ways to better publicize and focus regional attention on the issue. [Emphasis added.]
Roebuck thus argued that the US should try to destabilize the Syrian government by coordinating more closely with Egypt and Saudi Arabia to fan sectarian tensions between Sunni and Shia, including by the promotion of “exaggerated” fears of Shia proselytizing of Sunnis, and of concern about “the spread of Iranian influence” in Syria in the form of mosque construction and business activity.
By 2014, the sectarian Sunni-Shia character of the civil war in Syria was bemoaned in the United States as an unfortunate development. But in December 2006, the man heading the US embassy in Syria advocated in a cable to the secretary of state and the White House that the US government collaborate with Saudi Arabia and Egypt to promote sectarian conflict in Syria between Sunni and Shia as a means of destabilizing the Syrian government. At that time, no one in the US government could credibly have claimed innocence of the possible implications of such a policy. This cable was written at the height of the sectarian Sunni-Shia civil war in Iraq, which the US military was unsuccessfully trying to contain. US public disgust with the sectarian civil war in Iraq unleashed by the US invasion had just cost Republicans control of Congress in the November 2006 election. The election result immediately precipitated the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld as secretary of defense. No one working for the US government on foreign policy at the time could have been unaware of the implications of promoting Sunni-Shia sectarianism.
It was easy to predict then that, while a strategy of promoting sectarian conflict in Syria might indeed help undermine the Syrian government, it could also help destroy Syrian society. But this consideration does not appear in Roebuck’s memo at all, as he recommends that the US government cooperate with Saudi Arabia and Egypt to promote sectarian tensions.
It’s clear that the US and its allies have to take a large share of the blame for the devastation that has been happening in Syria. A BBC Radio 4 report, aired on 17 Dec 2015, concludes that Britain and the West are ‘on the same side as the jihadis’ in Syria.
This Mirror article reports but does not challenge Philip Hammond’s assertions about the Russian role and actions in Syria. Is it okay not to challenge these assertions? It can be argued that the article is just reporting assertions and not claiming that they are true. In one sense this is okay because it is impossible to retell a story every time there is an update. But it’s important that the assertions of someone with political authority are not taken as authoritative because of that authority. This is why readers’ comments and discussions are an important addendum to any article.
I said that “Putin understands that the success of the Wahhabist project (and the western imperialist project) in Syria would encourage Islamic radicalism in his own country and elsewhere. Corbyn may not fully get this but I suspect [Cameron, Hollande and Obama] want it.”
The allegation that Cameron, Hollande and Obama want the spread of Islamist extremism may seem extreme and even absurd to some people. I’m not saying that these leaders want violent extremism in their own countries, that Hollande wanted the Paris attacks although it has been argued that incidents like the Paris attacks give governments the excuse to restrict criticism and opposition by controlling communication in cyberspace and real space. Governments may not actually want extremism in their own countries there is no question that they have been supporting it in other countries.
Dan Glazebrook argues that David Cameron’s objective in extending UK intervention to Syria is to bring down the Assad regime rather than to fight the terrorists:
Cameron, he made it clear within minutes of his opening speech to that it is the destruction of the Syrian state, not the Islamic State group, that remains the ultimate goal of British policy in Syria.
Of course, he didn’t put it quite like that. But after what is now 16 years of British government dedication to the creation of one failed state after another – from Kosovo to Afghanistan to Iraq to Libya – the euphemisms have become all too familiar. “The real plan,” Cameron noted, is to “get a transitional Government in Syria.”
The clip is from the protest I attended in Parliament Square on Tuesday last week, the day before the UK Parliament’s decision to bomb Daesh in Syria without Syrian government invitation or consent. Here are some stories related to the conflict:
1. Syria on Monday accused the U.S.-led coalition of bombing an army camp in the eastern part of the country, killing three Syrian soldiers and wounding 13, but a senior U.S. military official said the Pentagon is “certain” the strike was from a Russian warplane … http://dailym.ai/1PW5eZS
This cartoon pretty accurately illustrates the confused situation of two coalitions purported working to defeat a common enemy but at the same time having competing goals. The depiction of the US as an innocent bystander is of course laughable.
2. Crowing about the vote in Parliament to bomb Daesh in Syria, George Osborne boasted to the Council on Foreign Relations think tank in the US that Britain has “got its mojo back” after the failure to get agreement to attack the Assad government two years earlier. http://bit.ly/1R8n7V5
I don’t mean to be crude but isn’t Osborne basically saying that the thought of being able to hurt people makes him horny, and isn’t that pretty much the definition of a dickhead.
3. Germany’s vice-chancellor has publicly accused Saudi Arabia of financing terrorists in the West.
Sigmar Gabriel claimed the country was funding mosques linked to extremism, which he said were becoming a threat to public security. http://ind.pn/1m8WiDJ
I agree with the vice-chancellor but must ask why his country is joining a coalition that includes the people who have been sponsoring extremism.
4. According Russian Official’s Colonel-General Andrei Kartapolov Two Turkish F-16s penetrated Syrian airspace. Russian Sukhoi SU-34 interceptors were called to intercept Turkish F-16s. The F-16s were warned off by the Russians and left Syrian airspace. http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=b75_1449522593
“Jeremy Corbyn’s refusal to offer Labour MPs a free vote on Syria shows his newly assertive approach” says the New Statesman. “Against expectations, the opposition leader says shadow ministers will not be permitted to support air strikes against Isis.”
How can it possibly make sense for the UK to bomb Daesh (Isis) in Syria without the cooperation of the Syrian government that is the most effective ground force fighting these terrorists?
Additionally it is now understood that the motivations of the US and its regional allies have been at best mixed and that they have been directly responsible for the rise of Daesh either through design or incompetence. This is admitted by former US Intelligence chief General Michael Flynn
Russia is currently working with the Syrian government and Iranian and Hezbollah allies and is very effectively challenging Daesh and other terrorist groups. There is no need, and it is counter-productive and dangerous, for other countries to intervene illegally.
President Putin has shown a willingness to work in cooperation with all anti-Daesh forces including the Kurds and some groups opposing Assad. He is willing to work with anyone in order to get rid of Daesh and restore stability to Syria so that the Syrian people can democratically choose their future government whether that includes Assad or not. We now have to see whether there can be a rapprochement between Russia and the West that will allow cooperation against Daesh and for a diplomatic solution. There appears to have been some progress towards this at the G20 conference.
In this context any vote to get involved with bombing in Syria would be irresponsible, illegal and wrong. I do not expect that Cameron will bring this to Parliament but if he does Jeremy Corbyn is right to say that Labour will not support such a move. I would expect Corbyn to be uncompromising on this one.