Archive for the ‘Obama and Assad’ category

Article On Syrian Opposition Website: The Political Solution Is Unfeasible; We Should Ignite All-Out War

October 19, 2016

Article On Syrian Opposition Website: The Political Solution Is Unfeasible; We Should Ignite All-Out War, MEMRI, October 19, 2016

‘Ali Hamidi, a Syrian journalist opposed to the regime, called on regime opponents to abandon the political solution and ignite an all-out war in Syrian order to force the world to step in and end it. Writing on a Syrian opposition website, he said that the brutal offensive waged in recent weeks by the Assad regime and by Russia against the rebel-held eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo is nothing less than a holocaust and slaughter for its own sake. He leveled harsh criticism at the international community, headed by the U.S., for the situation in the city, saying that their failure to intervene does not stem from helplessness or a lack of influence but rather from a lack of willingness to stop Assad and Russia.

The following are excerpts from his article:[1]

30329Devastation in Aleppo (image: Aljazeera.com)

“It would be absurd to write anything or make any comment about the all-out war of extermination currently being waged by Russia and the Assad regime against the ‘besieged neighborhoods’ of eastern Aleppo. This is [nothing less than] a holocaust; it is the ongoing indiscriminate killing of civilians without any military justification… Its objective was and is nothing but killing for its own sake. Many of us have made efforts to find definitions and reasons for this [military] action. We have heard, for example, that its objective is ethnic and sectarian cleansing; that it is an attempt to pressure the civilians in eastern Aleppo to leave or to disassociate themselves from the militants; that it is a holy war against the Sunnis, and many other analyses that are belied by the scenes of bombing and indiscriminate killing. At this point analyses and theories fail, and the main [insight] that emerges is that [it is nothing but] the killing of anyone opposed to the Assad regime…

“Can we really say today that the world is helpless? I think that would be the greatest and falsest compliment we could bestow upon this world – for the international community was not, is not and will never be helpless. It has ability and influence, if it only wanted [to use them]. But the simple [truth is] that nobody wants to stop Assad and Russia – neither the U.S. nor Europe nor anyone else…

“In the UN Security Council session on Aleppo [on September 25, 2016], UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura expressed concern about the firing of ‘[gas] canisters’ from [rebel-held] eastern Aleppo into the [regime-held] western [parts of the city]. But he did not mention the kinds of missiles and mortars fired on the people [of the city], nor did he mention the over 300 victims [that are killed] every day as he delivered this miserable speech. Even more disturbing were the statements made by the representatives of the permanent Security Council members, who parrot hollow words of commiseration that are nothing but humiliating pleas [directed at] Russia, beseeching it to do its best to restrain Assad and restore the fragile ceasefire…

“Are we not being naïve when we wait for others to make their considerations, and hand them the keys to our cities [while we sit around,] waiting to be bombed? We wait for Barack Obama to [formulate] a policy [on Syria], when everyone is quite convinced that his departing administration will do nothing for those who are being killed in Aleppo and elsewhere, and that he and his team are not really doing anything to topple the Assad regime or to compete with Russia and Iran by supporting [the Syrian opposition]. If this is the position of the [world] leadership, there is no point in expecting anything from the countries it leads.

“Eastern Aleppo is in flames and its people are dying, and the entire world is party to this crime. Therefore, all the efforts that are currently being invested in renewing the dialogue with the Assad regime must be diverted to starting a war – an all-out war that will burn everyone. Then the world will hurry to stop it.

“The statements we hear, that only the political solution exists, are not realistic in the least. In fact, even the Assad regime does not accept them. Hence it would be folly to continue pinning our hopes on political [solutions] or on the ‘friendly’ countries. [Such suggestions] are tantamount to asking the people of Aleppo to surrender [just] in hope of being allowed to negotiating for the lives of those who still survive…

“To those who ask what alternative exists, [I say]: Why shouldn’t everyone who is dedicated to the cause [of saving syria] divert his efforts from the political channel to looking for weapons, even on the black market, so as to deliver them to the fighters in order to start an [all-out] war[?]”

 

Endnote:

[1] Orient-news.net, September 26, 2016.

Obama set for Mosul battle, leaves Aleppo to Putin

October 8, 2016

Obama set for Mosul battle, leaves Aleppo to Putin, DEBKAfile, October 8, 2016

(Please see also, The Obama administration is pushing Iraq into further chaos. — DM)

aleppo_destruction

Obama is brooking no distractions from his main objective, He hopes the Mosul operation will be over and done with by mid-December, so that when he exits the White House in January, he will have chalked up a major victory against the Islamic State as part of his legacy.

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The warlike rhetoric heard from Washington over the plight of the stricken Syrian town of Aleppo does not represent any current Obama administration plan for military intervention to halt the ever-mounting carnage.

President Barack Obama’s mind is elsewhere.

This was discovered by his national security adviser Susan Rice every time she tried to arrange for Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford to be received by the president. After the collapse of diplomacy with Moscow for a cessation of hostilities, they had drawn up a plan for limited US military intervention in Syria that would enable essential humanitarian aid to reach the population.

Obama refused to hear what the trio had to say and the plan was shelved.

DEBKAfile’s Washington sources report that, for now, the US president’s mind is fixed exclusively on the preparations for the Oct. 19 offensive for the liberation of the Iraqi city of Mosul from ISIS occupation. US, Iraqi, Iraqi and Kurdish forces are aligned for the battle.

Obama is brooking no distractions from his main objective, He hopes the Mosul operation will be over and done with by mid-December, so that when he exits the White House in January, he will have chalked up a major victory against the Islamic State as part of his legacy.

In the process, the Democratic president intends to debunk the Republican candidate Donald Trump’s criticism of his administration as showing weakness in the face of ISIS.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is exploiting Obama’s preoccupation with the Mosul offensive to snatch a free hand for pushing the Aleppo battle to its barbaric limit. He is letting Bashar Assad and his allies conduct a scorched earth policy – even if this means reducing Syria’s second town to ruins.

Russian and Syrian jets are bombing the city, building by building, leaving the 8,000 rebels still fighting there with little hope of survival, since food, water, medicine or ammunition and anti-air missiles are out of their reach. The only form of resistance remaining to them is marksmen sniping from the rubble in an attempt to slow the advance of Syria, Iranian and Hizballah foot soldiers.

Obama, Putin and Assad are not alone in sentencing Aleppo to its doom: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, after grabbing 5,000 sq. km of northern Syria, is letting his army stand by idly as every attempt to bring life-saving assistance from Turkey to the beleaguered population is thrown back.

The Turkish leader is shielding himself with his secret deal with Putin, whereby his army is given a free hand in northern Syria without Russian interference, while the Aleppo arena becomes a Russian-Syrian precinct that is off-limits to Turkey.

This secret deal has also neutralized the US special operations forces deployed in northern Syria as well as the small Syrian rebel militias they trained and sponsor. Washington has therefore lost any leverage for swaying events in that part of the country. Since they are hemmed in on all sides, Obama refuses to hear of any military intervention in an area under Russian-Turkish control.

As he sees the larger picture, the northern Syrian devolution as a sphere of Turkish-Russian influence is balanced by US-Iraqi-Kurdish domination of northern Iraq

On paper, the US plans and preparations afoot for the liberation of Mosul are impressive.

Elite US troops are being pumped into the Mosul region – 600 just this week. Altogether an estimated 12,500 US servicemen are assigned for the offensive, which is due to be launched in 11 days, on Oct. 19.

This is the largest American military force to fight in Iraq since the battles against Al Qaeda during 2006-2007.

US military engineers are working overtime on the construction of bases around Mosul for the intake of US and Iraqi army units. The Kurdish Republic’s Peshmerga army is in position to the north.

Two new US facilities have just been completed. One is near the Mosul Dam, which regulates the flow of the Tigris River bisecting the targeted city. A second is located in the Bashiqa Mountains north of Mosul.

The two bases plus Kurdish army posts are designed as jumping-off points on the city from the south, east and Uninvited military forces are hovering nearby hoping to pick up a piece of the action. Among them are Turkish military units, local Iraqi militias, such as Turkmen, which the Turkish army is training for combat, and pro-Iranian Iraqi militias, such as the Badr Brigades and the Popular Mobilization Forces.

US commanders are intent on keeping these hangers-on out of the action, because their participation in the Mosul offensive would deepen the discord dividing Iraq’s Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish communities, and throw the city into chaos after the jihadists are driven out. US officers failed to check the sectarian violence that erupted in another Sunni-dominated town, Fallujah, in the wake of the battles for its recovery from ISIS in May and June.

US, Russia on brink of military showdown in Syria

September 30, 2016

US, Russia on brink of military showdown in Syria, DEBKAfile, September 30, 2016

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The fact that President Obama instituted a secret inquiry to discover which link in the American chain of command ordered the attack pointed to his suspicion that a high-up in the Pentagon or possibly the CIA, had ordered the air strike, in order to sabotage the US-Russian military cooperation deal in Syria, which Secretary Kerry obtained after long and arduous toil.

The concessions he made to Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov in those negotiations, especially his consent for extensive sharing of intelligence, were found totally unacceptable in the US Defense Department, its military and intelligence community.

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There is a sense in Washington and Moscow alike that a military showdown between the US and Russia is inevitable – direct this time, not through proxies, like the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkish jets last year. When the big powers are in direct confrontation, minor players step aside and run for cover.

When President Barack Obama Friday, Sept. 30 attended the funeral in Jerusalem of the Israeli leader Shimon Peres, he must have realized he was only 514km as the crow flies from Aleppo, the raging crux of the escalating big-power conflict.

The moment after the ceremonies ended the president and his party, including Secretary of State John Kerry and his security adviser Susan Rice, made haste to head back to Washington to navigate the crisis.

The first step toward a direct showdown was taken by the United States.

By now, it is no secret in Moscow, or indeed in any Middle East capital, that the American A-10 air strike of Sept. 17 against a Syrian military position at Jebel Tudar in the Deir ez-Zour region of eastern Syria was intentional, not accidental, as originally claimed. Scores of Syrian soldiers died in the attack.

The fact that President Obama instituted a secret inquiry to discover which link in the American chain of command ordered the attack pointed to his suspicion that a high-up in the Pentagon or possibly the CIA, had ordered the air strike, in order to sabotage the US-Russian military cooperation deal in Syria, which Secretary Kerry obtained after long and arduous toil.

The concessions he made to Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov in those negotiations, especially his consent for extensive sharing of intelligence, were found totally unacceptable in the US Defense Department, its military and intelligence community.

uspalnvsrussian480

The Russian-Syrian reprisal came two days after the A-10 strike. On Sept. 19, an emergency aid convoy was obliterated on its way to the desperate population of Aleppo. Moscow and Damascus denied responsibility for the deadly bombardment, but no other air force was present in the sky over the embattled city.

On the ground, meanwhile, an unbridled onslaught on rebel-held eastern Aleppo was launched Wednesday by the Russians, Syria, Hizballah and pro-Iranian Shiite militias under the command of Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers.

The fall of Aleppo, Syria’s second city after Damascus, would give Bashar Assad his most resounding victory in the nearly six-year civil war against his regime.

On Sept. 29, Kerry threatened Moscow that “the United States would suspend plans to coordinate anti-Islamic State counter-terrorism efforts if Moscow does not stop attacking Aleppo.”

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov answered with a sneering: “Once again there was a certain emotional breakdown yesterday against the backdrop of the Obama administration’s unwillingness to fulfill its part of the agreements.”

This was a strong hint of the knowledge in the Kremlin that someone in the US administration was holding out against the implementation in full of the cooperation deal agreed upon and was therefore responsible for its breakdown.

The United States is left with two options:

Either stand idly by in the face of the Russian-Syrian-Iranian onslaught on Aleppo, or shelve the coordination arrangements for US and Russian air operations in Syria, with the inevitable risk of a clash in the air space of Syria or over the eastern Mediterranean.

Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, Syrian American, and AIFD Express Deep Disappointment in White House Move to Obstruct Sanctions Efforts Against Assad Regime

September 26, 2016

Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, Syrian American, and AIFD Express Deep Disappointment in White House Move to Obstruct Sanctions Efforts Against Assad Regime, September 25, 2016

(Please see also, Obama’s Syria Policy Explained. — DM)

Phoenix, AZ, (September 25, 2016) – Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, the son of Syrian immigrants who fled Baathist tyranny, today condemned the disturbing move by the White House to block a bipartisan bill aimed at imposing sanctions against the genocidal Assad regime. The Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, a bill authored primarily by Democrat Rep. Eliot Engel (N.Y.), would impose new sanctions on the Assad regime and its supporters, initiate investigations into war crimes carried out by the regime, foster negotiation to end the crisis in Syria, and force the U.S. to take action against those who do business with or finance the Syrian government or its military, intelligence, airline, telecommunications and energy services.

Dr. Jasser and AIFD learned over the weekend that White House officials sadly had staffers call leaders in both parties, pushing for them to quietly shelve the bill, despite the fact that it its supporters are mostly Democrats.

In response to the news, Dr. Jasser said: “I am stunned that a president who claimed to hold a ‘red line’ standard in the use of chemical weapons would repeatedly hand civilians over to a murderous dictator – even when there is an option on the table – sanctions – which would at least make a small dent in the regime’s finances, which it uses to murder civilians, including with chemical weapons.

It is deplorable and criminal that we have not taken these measures already. How could we refrain from punishing those who finance the murder, torture and rape the bill’s namesake presented to us with undeniable evidence? It is beyond reason or comprehension. It seems our government – at its highest level – has completely forgotten our national commitment to ‘never again’ allow the genocide of a people. I encourage the bill’s bipartisan supporters to remain steadfast, and dissent with the Obama administration at once.”

First Palestinians in Syria war – under Hizballah

June 19, 2016

First Palestinians in Syria war – under Hizballah, DEBKAfile, June 19, 2016

Hezbollah_Zabadani_12.8.15Hizballah artillery in action in Syria

On Sunday, June 19, helicopters of the Syrian Air Force started transporting Palestinian militia fighters from the Damascus area to the Deir-ez-Zor region of eastern Syria, DEBKAfile’s military sources said in an exclusive report. They are joining Hizballah troops in an all-out assault on Islamic State’s grip on the area, notably the Euphrates River valley.

The Hizballah buildup was first revealed by DEBKAfile Friday, June 17.

It is the first time since the Syrian war began in 2011 that Palestinians are fighting for the regime of President Bashar Assad under the direct command of Hizballah. It is also the first time Palestinian forces are engaged in direct combat with ISIS.

The Palestinian troops are from a militia set up by Syrian and Iranian military intelligence officers called the al-Jaleel Forces, or the “Young Men Return to Palestine Movement”. It was armed and trained for terrorist attacks deep inside Israeli territory.

However, after Russian President Vladimir Putin promised Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, during their June 9 meeting in Moscow, that no terror forces of any kind, whether Iranian, Syrian or Hizballah, would be allowed to set foot in southern Syria, or gain access to Israel’s northern border, the Palestinian militia was reassigned to the eastern Syrian front to boost the Hizballah operation against ISIS.

In the last hours, the Palestinian fighters were transferred from Damascus to al-Qusour near Deir ez-Zor and some, according to DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources, were sent directly into battle against ISIS as soon as they arrived in the area, and immediately suffered losses. Syrian sources name three fatalities as Mohamed Abbas, Eid al-Mohamed and Essam al-Abbas, with no further details.

On Friday, June 17, our military sources first revealed the new Hizballah mission: 

Hizballah this week ordered a general military call-up for their biggest combat mission in the Syrian war since their forces began fighting in support of the Assad regime in 2013, DEBKAfile military forces report.

Iran’s Lebanese proxy has been assigned the task of expelling the Islamic State from broad areas it occupied in the Deir ez-Zor region of eastern Syria and, in particular, the Euphrates River valley which connects eastern Syria and western Iraq.

This Hizballah offensive is designed to open the way for the pro-Iranian Shiite Popular Mobilization Forces and the Badar Forces militias which entered the ISIS-held Iraqi town of Fallujah Friday June 17 to move west and up the Iraqi side of the valley. The two militias spearheaded the Fallujah operation under the command of Iran’s Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani of the Revolutionary Guards and Ground Corps Brig. Gen. Mohammad Pakpour.

The plan is for Hizballah forces to meet these pro-Iranian militia forces on the Syria-Iraq border and so gain control over the most important strategic land pass between Iraq and Syria.

Whereas the pro-Iranian militias in Iraq are fighting under US air cover, Hizballah is assured of Russian air support in Syria.  And so, for the first time in the Syria conflict and its own history, Hizballah will receive air cover from both the US and Russia, the two superpowers now coordinating their military moves in Syria and Iraq.

This strategy, which essentially connects the Syrian and Iraqi campaigns against ISIS, was charted on June 9, at a secret meeting in Tehran of the Russian, Iranian and Syrian defense chiefs.

DEBKAfile military sources in Washington say that the operation’s plan was put before President Barack Obama and he sanctioned it as part of the war on ISIS.

In the run-up to the Syrian segment of the plan, Hizballah is transferring substantial combat strength from Lebanon into Syria, and emptying its other Syrian fronts, especially around Aleppo, for the large-scale concentration around Palmyra.

The Hizballah force will start out by targeting the Syrian town of Al-Sukhna, 63km south of Palmyra and 136km north of Deir ez-Zor, thus gaining command of M20, the main highway link between northern to eastern Syria. DEBKAfile military sources say that this military offensive by Hizballah against ISIS, with combined US-Russian support, threatens to transform a terrorist organization dedicated to fighting Israel in the service of Iran into one of the most powerful armies in the Middle East. Israel cannot stop this happening. The former Israel defense ministers who harangued this week against the Netanyahu government’s alleged “scaremongering” willfully ignored this dangerous development. They must also be held at least partly accountable for the failure of Israel’s air raids over Syria to diminish Hizballah’s military capabilities.