US Covert strikes on Assad back on table – to prevent ‘The Fall of Aleppo’/ US Considers Military Strikes Against Assad’s Troops/ Foreign-backed “Rebels” shell Aleppo University/ Russian Embassy In Damascus Hit By Mortar From Terrorists/ Things Are Happening At An Alarming Pace in Syria: “Putin Gears Up For War”/ Things Are Going From Bad to Worse – Iraqi PM Warns of ‘Regional War’/ Pro-govt Iraq fighters “likely”killed in coalition airstrike/ U.S. “Military Aid” to Al Qaeda, ISIS-Daesh: Pentagon Uses Illicit Arms Trafficking to Channel Enormous Shipments of Light Weapons into Syria
It appears as if the Obama White House desperately wants a war before November 8th, and it seems they will break any international law to get it.
All this, Washington claims, to “Save the poor children of Aleppo.” What dishonest political leaders in Washington will not tell you about, is that underneath all of its complex propaganda word games – the FACT remains that most of the population in ‘Aleppo’ are under government protection in West Aleppo, while East Aleppo is occupied mostly by US-backed terrorists now. That’s why the US and Britain are desperate to stop the fall of East Aleppo.
The whole “Save Aleppo” campaign is just the latest (same as the “moderate rebel”) in a long line of designer deceptions originating from inside the various ‘regime change’ PR consultancies located in Washington, New York and London.
It’s little word games like that which the US are hoping will be the basis of their expanding war…
Top Washington officials are set to discuss striking positions of the Syrian military without a UN Security Council resolution. Bombing air force runways with missiles fired from coalition planes and ships is being considered, according to a report.
“One proposed way to get around the White House’s objection to striking the Assad regime without a UN Security Council resolution would be to carry out the strikes covertly and without public acknowledgment,” one administration official who is to take part in the discussions told theWashington Post.
A meeting of the Obama administration’s Principals Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, the newspaper reported, adding that a meeting of the National Security Council could follow this weekend.
The CIA and the Joint Chiefs of Staff expressed support for “limited military strikes against the Syrian government,” last Wednesday, when the US discussed such “kinetic” options, the official told the Washington Post.
“There’s an increased mood in support of kinetic actions against the regime,” one senior administration official was quoted as saying.
“The CIA and the Joint Staff have said that the fall of Aleppo would undermine America’s counterterrorism goals in Syria,” he added.
After threatening to withdraw from the Syrian peace process for weeks, Washington finally announced the “suspension” of bilateral contact with Moscow concerning the crisis on Monday. Although contact to “deconflict” encounters between the aircraft of the US and Russian militaries in Syrian skies will continue, the US is withdrawing personnel dispatched for the purpose of setting up a Joint Implementation Center (JIC) for the ceasefire. The JIC, which would have been located in Geneva, was to coordinate military cooperation and intelligence-sharing between Russia and the US-led coalition fighting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Iraq and Syria.
There is “nothing more for the US and Russia to talk about” in Syria, White House spokesman Josh Earnest concluded on Monday.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said it was “disappointed” by the decision, while accusing the US of trying to shift the blame for its own failure in Syria. Russia has made efforts to preserve the September 9 ceasefire agreement, repeatedly urging Washington to live up to its obligations, the Foreign Ministry in Moscow said on Monday.
“It turns out that Washington has failed to fulfill the key condition of the agreement to ease humanitarian situation for the residents of Aleppo” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. “And now, apparently, having failed to honor these agreements that they themselves worked out, [the US] is trying to shift the blame.”…
US Considers Military Strikes Against Assad’s Troops
nsnbc : Foreign-backed “rebels” shelled Aleppo University with a barrage of missiles on Tuesday, killing and injuring an, at this time, still unknown number of civilians.
Aleppo University is located in the government-controlled northern part of Syria’s economic capital. Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and government allied forces continue to slowly, and systematically, attack the “rebel-controlled” pocket in the eastern part of the city, while fending off attacks from the west, southwest and north, in attempts to break the siege.
The missiles struck buildings belonging to Aleppo University’s Law School and the Faculty of Science. No official data about casualties have yet been released. However, local sources reported not long after the barrage, that at least three civilians were killed and more than a dozen were injured.
Local witnesses reported that the attack was launched from “rebel” bases in the Bustan al-Basha neighborhood. Clashes between a variety of foreign-backed “rebels” on one hand, and forces of the SAA, National Self Defense Forces, and allied forces took also place in the Midan and Jabriyah districts. Insurgents used heavy weapons, causing the death of at least five civilians while at least another eight were injured.
The Syrian government continues to keep evacuation routes for civilians open. However, the “rebels” in Aleppo’s pocket consistently attempt to prevent evacuations. Liquidations of evacuees as well as cases where “rebels” demanded substantial amounts of money for “free passage” have repeatedly been reported and documented.
The Syrian government has also offered the “rebels” the choice between several options. Foreign as well as Syrian fighters can be granted free passage to other “rebel-held” territories” or be granted an amnesty. For foreign fighters this would imply that they will be granted free passage out of Syria. For Syrians this would mean an amnesty and the possibility to settle their status and return to a legal life. The final, and most probably “terminal” alternative is to fight to the end.
CH/L – nsnbc 05.10.2016
Russian Embassy In Damascus Hit By Mortar From Terrorists
The United States has remained bull-headed in its “diplomacy” in Syria, and has brazenly refused to even discuss problems with Russian diplomats on the world stage.
As a result, negotiations and diplomacy have broken down altogether, and the Russians are instead issuing dire warnings to the West not to start a war by intervening directly against Assad.
Clearly, however, things are likely to escalate, perhaps quickly. It seems as if President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry
As SHTF reported yesterday, Russia is officially on war footing, with more than 40 MILLION of its population participating in the largest ever nuclear warfare drill.
The powers that be are now flirting with the option of all out war, and potentially unprecedented levels of destruction. The American public has never been presented with any cohesive rational or good reason at all for why we are still embroiled in the Middle East, and one can only assume that there are other hidden agendas at work.
The rivalry to supply Europe with energy, and a proposed pipeline from the Arabian peninsula through Syria and Turkey into Europe may be a much better explanation for why we are being dragged so perilously close to war than anything else we’ve been told. It certainly appears that the West intends to allow radical Islam to take hold of the region amid a vacuum of power, and that the U.S. would prefer to partner with terrorism rather than lose its grip on the existing world order.
One of the most discomforting aspects of Neil Howe and William Strauss’ seminal work on generational cycles, The Fourth Turning (1997), is the fact that as far as American history is concerned, they all climax and end with massive wars.
To be more specific, the first “fourth turning” in American history culminated with the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), the second culminated with the Civil War (1861-1865), while the third ended with the bloodiest war in world history, World War II (1939-1945). The number of years between the end of the Revolutionary War and the start of the Civil War was 78 years, and the number of years between the end of the Civil War and the start of World War II was 74 years (76 years if you use America’s entry into the war as your starting date). Therefore, if Howe & Strauss’ theory holds any water, and I think it does, we’re due for a major conflict somewhere around 75 years from the end of World War II. That brings us to 2020.
– From August’s post: Japanese Government Shifts Further Toward Authoritarianism and Militarism
I’ve spent a lot of time over the past six months or so warning about World War 3, an event which is more likely over the next few years than at any other point in my lifetime. Such a conflict is the last thing I’d ever want to see or have to raise red flags about, but I can’t simply ignore all the obvious and troubling signs around me.
Just last week, I published a post titled, The Situation in Syria is Very, Very Dangerous. Here are a few excerpts:
Obama administration officials have begun considering tougher responses to the Russian-backed Syrian government assault on Aleppo, including military options, as rising tensions with Moscow diminish hopes for diplomatic solutions from the Middle East to Ukraine and cyberspace, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.
The U.S. officials said the failure of diplomacy in Syria has left the Obama administration no choice but to consider alternatives, most of which involve some use of force and have been examined before but held in abeyance.
It’s not just Syria, of course. The entire region looks like it’s about to go up in flames in a way that could make recent conflicts look tame by comparison. We all know about the humanitarian disaster in Yemen that the Saudis seem determined to make as chaotic as possible, but there’s also Iraq.
For example, Reuters reported the following earlier today:
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has warned Turkey that it risks triggering a regional war by keeping troops in Iraq, as each summoned the other’s ambassador in a growing row.
Relations between the two regional powers are already broadly strained by the Syrian civil war and the rise of the Islamic State militant group.
Turkey’s parliament voted last week to extend its military presence in Iraq for a further year to take on what it called “terrorist organizations” – a likely reference to Kurdish rebels as well as Islamic State.
In case you’re not paying attention, Turkey is now involved in military operations inside both Iraq and Syria.
Iraq’s parliament responded on Tuesday night by condemning the vote and calling for Turkey to pull its estimated 2,000 troops out of areas across northern Iraq.
“We have asked the Turkish side more than once not to intervene in Iraqi matters and I fear the Turkish adventure could turn into a regional war,” Abadi warned in comments broadcast on state TV on Wednesday.
“The Turkish leadership’s behavior is not acceptable and we don’t want to get into a military confrontation with Turkey.”
Turkey says its military is in Iraq at the invitation of Masoud Barzani, president of the Kurdish regional government, with which Ankara maintains solid ties. Most of the troops are at a base in Bashiqa, north of Mosul, where they are helping to train Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga and Sunni fighters.
Turkey’s deputy prime minister, Numan Kurtulmus, said the deployment had become necessary after Islamic State’s seizure of Iraq’s second city, captured in 2014
“Neither Turkey’s presence in Bashiqa nor its operation right now in Syrian territory are aimed at occupying or interfering with the domestic affairs of these countries.”
Iraq’s central government in Baghdad says it never invited such a force and considers the Turkish troops occupiers.
Tensions between Iraq and Turkey have risen with expectations of an offensive by Iraq and U.S.-backed forces to retake Mosul.
See yesterday’s piece: U.S. Troops Being Deployed to Iraq May Face Violent Resistance From Iraqi State Militias
Turkey has said the campaign will send a wave of refugees over its border and, potentially, on to Europe.
Ankara worries that Baghdad’s Shi’ite Muslim-led forces will destabilize Mosul’s largely Sunni population and worsen ethnic strife across the region, where there are also populations of Turkmens, ethnic kin of the Turks.
Turkey is also uncomfortable with the arrangement of Kurdish forces expected to take part in the offensive.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, it appears direct tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia may be heating up (in addition to their various regional proxy wars).
Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) warned Saudi naval vessels taking part in military exercises in the Gulf on Wednesday not to get close to Iranian waters, in a sign of heightened tensions between the two regional rivals.
Saudi Arabia began naval war games including live fire exercises on Tuesday in the Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important oil route.
Tehran and Riyadh are fighting several proxy wars in the Middle East, including in Syria and Yemen, but both have been cautious about direct military confrontation.
“The Revolutionary Guards naval forces believe this war game is mainly to create tension and destabilize the Persian Gulf,” the IRGC said in a statement published on Tasnim news agency.
With so much geopolitical tension in the world at the moment, you’d hope cooler heads would prevail. Unfortunately, we just heard the opposite from Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley at the Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
As Military.com reports:
“The strategic resolve of our nation, the United States, is being challenged and our alliances tested in ways that we haven’t faced in many, many decades,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told an audience at the Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
“I want to be clear to those who wish to do us harm … the United States military — despite all of our challenges, despite our [operational] tempo, despite everything we have been doing — we will stop you and we will beat you harder than you have ever been beaten before. Make no mistake about that.”
“It’s a tall order for sure — to project power into contested theaters, fight in highly populated urban areas, to survive and win on intensely lethal and distributed battlefields and to create leaders and soldiers who can prevail. Tough? Yes. But impossible? Absolutely not,” Milley said.
“Make no mistake about it, we can now and we will … retain the capability to rapidly deploy,” he said, “and we will destroy any enemy anywhere, any time.”
Sounds like someone’s looking for a fight. A fight in which “we the people” have the most to lose and almost nothing to gain.
Pro-govt Iraq fighters “likely”killed in coalition airstrike
According to Jane’s Defence Weekly, quoting documents released by the U.S. Government’s Federal Business Opportunities (FBO), the US –as part of its “counterterrorism campaign”– has provided Syrian rebels [aka moderate Al Qaeda] with large amounts of weapons and ammunition.
The US and its allies (including Turkey and Saudi Arabia) have relied on the illicit trade in light weaponry produced in Eastern Europe, the Balkans, China, etc. for delivery to rebel groups inside Syria, including ISIS-Daesh and Al Nusra. In turn, operating out of the occupied Golan Heights, Israel’s IDF has provided weapons, ammunition, logistical support to Al Qaeda rebels operating in Southern Syria.
While Washington’s Middle East allies undertake shady transactions in a buoyant market for light weapons, a significant part of these illicit weapons shipments is nonetheless directly commissioned by the US government.
These shipments of weapons are not conducted through internationally approved weapons transfers. While they are the result of a Pentagon (or US government) procurement, they are not recorded as “official” military aid. They use private traders and shipping companies within the realm of a thriving illicit trade in light weapons.
Based on the examination of a single December 2015 Pentagon sponsored shipment of more than 990 tons, one can reasonably conclude that the amounts of light weapons in the hands of ”opposition” rebels inside Syria is substantial and exceedingly large.
Background: U.S. Weapons Supply Routes “Via Third Countries”
Although the bulk of the weapons and ammunition supplied to the Syrian rebels (including the FSA, Al Qaeda affiliated entities and ISIS-Daesh) are channelled by Turkey and Saudi Arabia, the US is also involved in the routine delivery (originating from third countries) of light weapons to the rebels including anti-tank and rocket launchers.
America’s weapons shipments to Syria’s rebels are commissioned by the Pentagon (and/or a US government agency) through several intermediaries via private weapons trading and shipping companies from the Black Sea port city of Constanta. None of these weapons under this de facto (unofficial) “US military aid” program are “Made in the USA”. These light weapons purchased in Eastern Europe and the Balkans in the illicit market are relatively inexpensive.
Moreover, Washington’s decision not to send US made weaponry to the rebels is meant to uphold the camouflage. No doubt, what Washington wants is to ensure that US and/or Western made weapons are not found in the hands of terrorists. As we recall, the White House narrative at the outset of the war in 2011 was: “humanitarian aid” to the rebels, coupled with “some military gear….[but no weapons]” (BBC, October 10, 2015)
US military aid to the rebels channeled (unofficially) through the illicit market, is routine and ongoing. In December 2015, a major US sponsored shipment of a staggering 995 tons of weapons was conducted in blatant violation of the ceasefire. According to Jane’s Defence Weekly, the U.S. “is providing [the weapons] to Syrian rebel groups as part of a programme that continues despite the widely respected ceasefire in that country [in December 2015].”
According to Jane, the shipments of weapons on behalf of the US are entrusted to private weapons traders and shipping companies:
“The FBO has released two solicitations in recent months [early 2015] looking for shipping companies to transport explosive material from Eastern Europe to the Jordanian port of Aqaba on behalf of the US Navy’s Military Sealift Command.” (Jane.com April 2016)
The shipments of weapons purchased and funded by the US are carefully coordinated, with deliveries to rebels in the North and South of Syria respectively. The weapons are shipped out of the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanta (December 2015):
1) First, to the Turkish Eastern Mediterranean facility of Agalar-Limani near Tasucu in support of rebels in Northern Syria, to be smuggled into Syria with the support of the Turkish authorities. (half the shipment unloaded)
2) The remainder of the shipment to the Jordanian Red Sea port of Aqaba (for rebels in Southern Syria) via the Suez canal. From Aqaba, the weapons would be smuggled into Syria through the Southern Syria-Jordanian border.
According to Jane, the cargo of light weaponry included AK-47 rifles, PKM general-purpose machine guns, DShK heavy machine guns, RPG-7 rocket launchers, and 9K111M Faktoria anti-tank guided weapon (ATGW) systems. It is worth noting that a large share of the RPG rocket launchers were slated for delivery to Northern Syria (see table below).
Also of significance, the Black Sea route to Syria has also been used to ship Ukrainian weapons to Al Qaeda and ISIS Daesh.
994 Tons of Weapons in a Single shipment, Courtesy of Uncle Sam
The following table provides information on the breakdown of the weapons shipment for December 2015 documented by Jane Defense Weekly.
Bear in mind the numbers pertain to a single shipment in December 2015, expressed in kilos (kg).
The amounts are substantial:
The 7.62 x 39 mm refers to ammunition for an AK47. Namely the shipment of 134 tons of ammunition.
The PG 7 VM (2 kg) and PV7 VT (3.3 kg) are anti-tank grenades (which suggests that more than 25,000 PG 7VM units were included in the shipment, and more than 60,000 PG 7VT.)
The total shipment to Aqaba and Agalar is of the order of 994 tons of “humanitarian” R2P light weapons for the “Moderates” in Syria. (in a single shipment out of Romania) among numerous comparable shipments by sea as well as by air.
This trade in light weapons is transacted through private companies on contract to the US government’s Federal Business Opportunities (FBO), a commercial trading entity acting on behalf of the US Navy MSC:
Stages 1,2 and 3:
1) The Pentagon (or the relevant government agency) instructs the US Navy MSC with details and specifications of the light weapons to be purchased and shipped to Syria’s “freedom fighters” via Turkey and Jordan. The ports of delivery are specified. The final destination of the weapons is not mentioned.
2) The Navy’s MSC places the order with the FBO.
3) The FBO in turn transacts with private companies for the procurement and shipping of the weapons and “explosive materials” out of Constanta, Romania.
PENTAGON —- US NAVY MSC —- FEDERAL BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES (FBO) —- (ILLICIT) PRIVATE TRADERS IN LIGHT WEAPONS, SHIPPING COMPANIES —- SMUGGLED INTO SYRIA THROUGH TURKEY AND JORDAN —- DELIVERED TO ISIS-DAESH, AL QAEDA, AL NUSRA, “MODERATE REBELS”, FREE SYRIAN ARMY (FSA), ET AL.
According to Jane’s report:”The FBO has released two solicitations in recent months looking for shipping companies to transport explosive material from Eastern Europe to the Jordanian port of Aqaba on behalf of the US Navy’s Military Sealift Command.” (emphasis added)
Released on 3 November 2015, the first solicitation sought a contractor to ship 81 containers of cargo that included explosive material from Constanta in Romania to Aqaba.
The solicitation was subsequently updated with a detailed packing list that showed the cargo had a total weight of 994 tonnes, a little under half of which was to be unloaded at Agalar, a military pier near the Turkish town of Tasucu, the other half at Aqaba. (Jane’s op cit)
The US Navy’s Military Sealift Command’s (MSC) mission is to “Operate the ships which sustain our warfighting forces and deliver specialized maritime services in support of national security objectives in peace and war.” (MSC mission)
Weapons Shipments by America’s Allies in the Middle East
The Jane Defence Weekly report pertains to shipments initiated by the Pentagon through a third country. It does not address the broader and much larger flow of military equipment and weaponry to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, commissioned by America’s allies in the Middle East (e.g Turkey, Saudi Arabia). These light weapons are also purchased from third countries ( i.e. Eastern Europe, Balkans) through private traders:
[In 2012] representatives of the Free Syrian Army made contact with weapons dealers in Eastern Europe and the Black Sea region, hoping to procure weapons that would then be smuggled across the Turkish-Syrian border. The Syrian rebels also reached out to [al Qaeda] militia groups in Libya for assistance. The Libyan groups have proven to be a particularly important source of weapons for the Syrian insurgents. …Efforts by Libyan brokers to supply the rebels have coincided with, and perhaps been tied to, efforts by Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan to arm the rebels. … Global initiative against Transnational Crimes (2013 Study)
According to Deutsche Welle, exports of weapons from third countries (eg. Romania) to Syria are also dispatched by air via Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey and the UAE: ”…the munitions, including Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifles, machine guns, grenades as well as anti-tank guns, are initially off-loaded in Saudi airbases and ports before smugglers dispatch them to Syrian militants.”(quoted by Press TV, August 8, 2016, emphasis added)
“International norms governing the control of exports of military technology and equipment are brazenly flouted, the report said, and a considerable amount of munitions exported from Bulgaria to the aforementioned countries only bear the sign “unknown consignment.”
Such weapons have previously ended up in the hands of such terrorist groups as Daesh, which Saudi Arabia is widely believed to be supporting.
Earlier reports had already exposed that arms were purportedly being trucked into Syria under Turkish military escort, and transferred to militant leaders at prearranged rendezvous.” (Press TV, August 8, 2016)
The United States and its allies use arms trafficking –i.e. the unregulated illicit trade in light weapons through private traders including organized crime–, to channel large amounts of weapons and ammunition to the terrorists inside Syria. These shady transactions initiated in Washington are in derogation of international law and the treaties under UN auspices pertaining to the trade in small and light weaponry.
Pentagon procurement is directed –through various intermediaries– towards the illicit purchase of light weapons: In all probability, the budgets allocated by the Pentagon to financing these purchases of weapons channeled towards Syria are not accounted for and/or categorized by the US Department of Defense as bona fide “US military aid”. Meanwhile the UN has remained mum on the State sponsorship of the illegal purchase and smuggling of weapons into Syria.