UN suspends aid to Syria after convoy attacked
Jane Onyanga-Omara, Jim Michaels, USA Today, Sep 20 2016
The UN suspended aid deliveries to Syria on Tuesday, hours after a convoy carrying humanitarian aid to rebel-held parts of Aleppo was attacked killing around 20 people. Jens Laerke a spokesman for the UN OCHA, said deliveries would be held pending a review of the security situation. He said it was “a very, very dark day… for humanitarians across the world,” AP reported. The suspension of aid came soon after the Syrian military said a week-long cease-fire deal brokered by and Russia and Pindostan was over after violations on all sides, including a Pindo-led coalition airstrike on Saturday that mistakenly killed dozens of Syrian soldiers. JCoS Dunford
said lied that the airstrike had not derailed the ceasefire agreement. The UN said at least 18 of 31 trucks in a UN and Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) convoy that was transporting aid to 78,000 people were hit while traveling to Urm al-Kubra in Aleppo on Monday. It said a SARC warehouse was also hit and a SARC health clinic was reported to have been badly damaged. The nature of the attack wasn’t immediately clear. The ICRC said around 20 civilians and one SARC employee were killed as they unloaded trucks carrying vital aid. ICRC President Peter Maurer said:
From what we know of yesterday’s attack, there has been a flagrant violation of International Humanitarian Law which is totally unacceptable. Failing to respect and protect humanitarian workers and structures might have serious repercussions on ongoing humanitarian operations in the country, hence depriving millions of people from aid essential to their survival
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 12 aid workers and truck drivers were killed in an airstrike that was carried out by Syrian or Russian warplanes. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack. Staffan de Mistura said in a statement emailed to Reuters:
Our outrage at this attack is enormous … the convoy was the outcome of a long process of permission and preparations to assist isolated civilians.
The State Dept said it was “outraged” by reports that the aid convoy was attacked, but is prepared to extend the cease-fire if Russia pressures the Syrian government to abide by terms of the truce and ends a pattern of attacking aid convoys. The State Dept said violence in the 5-year-old civil war had been reduced but only a small amount of aid has made it into the country since Sep 12.
Pindo vassals volunteer’ to share (implausible) blame for Deir Ezzor attack
Moon of Alabama, Sep 19 2016
Pindostan is trying to distribute the blame for its air support of Daesh against the SAA in Deir Ezzor. The facts, not put into doubt by any Pindosi statement, via the Russian military report after Saturday’s incident. Maj-Gen I Konashenkov said:
Today at 17:00-17:50 MSK, international anti-Daesh coalition (two F-16 and two A-10 jets) carried out four strikes on Syrian government forces’ units encirled by Daesh near Deir ez-Zor airport. The coalition’s aircraft entered Syrian airspace from the side of the Iraqi border. … As a result of the attack, 62 Syrian soldiers were killed and some 100 others were injured, according to information received from the Syrian command in Deir ez-Zor, he said.
The Syrian government now says some 82 soldiers were killed in the attack which also destroyed 3 T-72 tanks, 3 infantry fighting vehicles, an anti-aircraft gun and at least 4 mortars. Following the attack, Daesh stormed the Syrian government position on the Jabal Thardeh hill. They are now able to harass the airport of Deir Ezzor, the only supply line for the besieged city and the 150,000+ civilians living there under government protection. We note that this was not the first Pindo attack on Syrian government forces in Deir Ezzor. Back on Dec 3, Syrian soldiers were killed in an air raid. In June, a Pindo air attack on Manbij killed some 100 civilians. No Pindo attack on any Daesh target in Syria ever came near such casualty numbers. It is very doubtful that this was not an intended attack. Now the blame has to be spread. Early Sunday, Australia jumped in claiming its jets had taken part in the attack:
Australian aircraft were involved in a Pindo-led coalition operation which killed dozens of Syrian soldiers stationed near Eastern Daesh stronghold city of Deir Ezzor, the Australia’s Defense Department confirmed. … “Australian aircraft were among a number of international aircraft taking part in this Coalition operation,” the Defense Dept said in a statement.
Late Sunday the Danes followed:
“Two Danish F-16s participated in these attacks along with the aircraft of other nations. The strikes had been stopped immediately after the Russian side reported that the positions of the Syrian servicemen had been hit,” the military command authority of the Danish Armed Forces said in a statement issued Sunday.
This morning, the BBC defense correspondent says, the UK also claimed guilty:
Jonathan Beale @bealejonathanBBC understands @RoyalAirForce jets might have been involved in #Syria Airstrikes that killed 60 + Syrian soldiers.
Four planes attacked and four airforces claim to have been part of it? That is neither plausible nor realistic. Only Pindostan operates A-10 ground attack planes. Neither the UK nor Australia own or operate F-16 fighters. While the Danish airforce deployed F-16s to the Middle East theater, those planes were send to only operated in Iraq, not in Syria:
Denmark will send seven F-16 fighter jets to help combat Daesh in Iraq, PM Thorning-Schmidt said on Friday.”I am very pleased that there now is a broad coalition, including countries in the region who want to … contribute,” she said at a press conference, adding that the Danish fighter jets would not join Pindo planes in bombing targets in Syria.
Additionally the Syrian military said that the planes came from Erbil in the Kurdish ruled northern part of Iraq. No other nation but Pindostan is known to use the Erbil facilities for fighter flights. The drones which had kept surveillance over the area were also Pindo ones:
The strike began in the early evening, when planes attacked a group of vehicles that Pindo surveillance aircraft had been watching for several days, according to a CENTCOM boxtop.
Obviously someone in a Pindo command phoned up Pindo allies and asked them to please share the blame for the “mistaken” Pindo air support for the Daesh ground attack:
If all are guilty, no one is guilty and no one can be punished.
A famous book and movie is the template for such play:
As Poirot pursues his investigation, he discovers that everyone in the coach had a connection to the Armstrong family and, therefore, had a motive to kill Cassetti. Poirot proposes two possible solutions … The first solution is that a stranger boarded the train and murdered Cassetti. The second one is that all 13 people in the coach were complicit in the murder, seeking the justice that Cassetti had escaped in Pindostan. He concedes Countess Helena Andrenyi didn’t take part, so the murderers numbered 12, resembling a self-appointed jury. Mrs Hubbard … confesses that the second solution is the correct one.
Pindostan says some 67 nations have joined its “coalition” against ISIS. Eight more Pindo vassals will soon be found whose planes took also part in the raid:
With many parties claiming the crime the one real culprit can not be convicted. This new Murder on the Orient Express will stay unpunished. The ceasefire in Syria is breaking down. Pindostan did not fulfill its promise to separate its “moderate rebel” proxy forces from AQ. No smokescreen of lamenting about humanitarian access can change that fact. The Russian and Syrian air force will soon go back to work. Any soldiers of the Pindo “coalition” in Syria should watch out for those planes. If Pindostan and its allies can make “mistakes” like in Deir Ezzor, others may also show imperfections in their operations.
NYT peddles alibi for Pindo bombing in Syria
Bill Van Auken, WSWS, Sep 20 2016
In a front-page article entitled “Errant strike impairs effort to calm Syria,” the NYT Monday provided an unconditional alibi for the air strikes carried out by Pindo and vassal warplanes two days earlier that claimed the lives of some 90 Syrian army soldiers, while leaving over 100 more wounded. It says:
Pindostan’s accidental bombing of Syrian troops over the weekend has put it on the defensive, undercutting Pindosi efforts to reduce violence in the civil war and open paths for humanitarian relief.
In the second paragraph, readers are told that the “mistaken bombing” had “exposed the White House’s struggle to put together a coherent strategy in a multisided war.” And in the fourth paragraph, the article states that the “errant bombing” had given “both the Russians and the Syrian government a propaganda bonanza.” How does the NYT know that Saturday’s bombing of the strategic Syrian army position, overlooking the Deir Ezzor Airport near the Syrian-Iraqi border, was “accidental,” “mistaken” and “errant?” It provides no evidence to support this conclusion, citing neither any investigation nor any new facts gleaned from its own reporting. The air strike was an accident, a mistake and an error because the Pindo government says it was. End of story. That is good enough for the three reporters with bylines on the article. They see no need to include any qualifiers, such as “Pindo boxtops claimed that the bombing was accidental,” much less seek out any contrary opinions from those who firmly believe it was not. Nor does the supposed newspaper of record raise the slightest doubt about how Pindostan managed to confuse a military base, which the Syrian army has occupied for years, with an encampment of Daesh; or, for that matter, why the Pentagon’s sophisticated military satellites and surveillance drones failed to provide accurate images of the intended target. That ISIS forces were able to use the bombing as air support for their own assault upon, and overrunning of, the Syrian military base is also accepted as merely another “accident.” The bombing, in which Australian, British and Danish warplanes participated alongside the USAF, has served to gravely undermine the week-old ceasefire. Commenting on this connection, the NYT article states:
Many Pindo boxtops believe that the Russians were never serious about the deal that was sealed in Geneva. The officials argue that the Russians were looking for an excuse that would derail it and keep a status quo in which they have more control over events in Syria than any other power, with the possible exception of Iran. If so, the accidental bombing made that process easier.
Citing unnamed Pindo boxtops, the NYT floats the perverse thesis that the real significance of an unprovoked attack, which killed and wounded nearly 200 Syrian government soldiers, in a country where Pindo imperialism is carrying out military operations in flagrant violation of international law, is that it provided a pretext for Russia to abrogate a ceasefire agreement that Moscow, itself, had proposed. In other words, whatever evidence to the contrary, it is all Putin’s fault. The NYT article itself suggests a far more plausible explanation for Saturday’s bloody events. It notes that the ceasefire deal “faced many skeptics in Washington,” adding:
Chief among them was Sec Def Ashtray Carter, (who) feared that the accord would reveal too much to the Russians about Pindo targeting intelligence.
The article, however, does not indicate the intensity and depth of the Pentagon’s hostility to the ceasefire. It was not just a matter of Carter’s “skepticism.” Top uniformed commanders openly called into question whether they would abide by an agreement that had been adopted by the POTUS. Lt-Gen J Harrigian, commander of CENTCOM USAF, told the media in respect to the agreement:
I’m not saying yes or no. It would be premature to say that we’re going to jump right into it.
CENTCOM chief Army Gen J Votel expressed similar views, declaring:
We have to see how this goes first of all … see what direction it goes … whether it actually pans out or not, I don’t know.
Also unreported in the NYT article is the fact that on Friday, on the eve of the bombing, Obama convened a meeting of his security cabinet, including both Jackass and Ashtray, to discuss the crisis gripping his administration over the Syria ceasefire. Given these facts, the NYT’s parroting of the official Pindo line that the air strike in Deir Ezzor was “accidental” has the unmistakable characteristics of an alibi and a cover-up. The opposition, which borders on insurbordination to the ceasefire within the military, suggests a more likely scenario. Rather than being an accident, the attack was carried out with the deliberate aim of scuttling the agreement, either by the military acting on its own, or following a change in policy reached by the Obama administration, under intense pressure from the military and intelligence apparatus. The opposition stemmed, in the first instance, from the immediate practical implications of the agreement in Syria. Washington had committed itself to separating the so-called “moderate opposition” Nusra. But this is a virtually impossible task, given the integration of the Pindo-backed militias with the AQ forces which form the backbone of the Pindo-orchestrated war for regime change in Syria. More decisively, the predominant layers within the military brass oppose any collaboration with the Russian military because they fear it could compromise US preparations for direct military confrontation with Russia itself, the world’s number two nuclear power. Moreover, the bombing fits a definite agenda, clearly articulated by top figures in the ruling establishment. Just last month, former acting DCI M Morell advocated bombing Syria to “scare Assad” and “make the Russians pay a price.” Morell is a prominent supporter of Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy. On a similar note, HRW director K Roth, a proponent of the “human rights” pretexts used by Pindo imperialism to justify its interventions in the Middle East, tweeted his approval of the bombing raid:
As Pindostan kills 80 Syrian soldiers, is it sending Assad a signal for his deadly intransigence?
In evaluating the alibi crafted by the NYT in relation to the Syria bombing, it should be recalled that the newspaper provided nearly identical services a year ago, in the aftermath of the Oct 3 2015 US airstrike on the MSF hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. In the face of charges by MSF and survivors of the attack that this was a deliberate slaughter, the NYT, working with Pindo government sources, concocted a story that the mass killing stemmed from “mistaken decisions” and inadequate intelligence. What the response to the Syria bombing so clearly exposes is the degree to which the NYT functions as a propaganda organ of the Pindo government and a leading promoter of its militarist policies. The exposure of the newspaper’s complicity in foisting onto the Pindo sheeple the illegal war of aggression against Iraq, prepared by the lying reports of its correspondent Judith Miller on non-existent WMDs, has done nothing to change this fact. If anything, the correspondence between government policy and Times coverage has only grown more seamless. The concrete nature of this relationship is made evident by a closer examination of the first two by-lines on the NYT story. The first is that of chief Washington correspondent David Sanger. In addition to his 30-year career writing for the NYT, Sanger has found time to teach as an adjunct lecturer in public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. The faculty has also included figures now playing a key role in executing Pindo policy in Syria, such as Ashtray Carter and Samantha Power. Sanger is a member of both the CFR and the Aspen Strategy Group. The second by-line is that of national security correspondent Mark Mazzetti. In 2011, Mazzetti gained some notoriety by secretly “leaking” a piece on the Osama bin Laden assassination by NYT columnist Maureen Dowd to the CIA, prior to its publication, along with a note reading:
This didn’t come from me … and please delete after you read. See, nothing to worry about!
In other words, these are figures completely integrated into the state and trusted defenders of its interests. This bourgeois conception that the press represents a “Fourth Estate” functioning as a watchdog, with a critical and adversarial attitude toward the government and its boxtops, is a dead letter within these circles. Among those presiding over this operation and its steady march to the right is the recently installed editor of the NYT editorial page, James Bennet. His connections to the ruling establishment and the top echelons of the Democrat Party include a father who was a former head of USAID and a brother who is the senior senator from Colorado. Under the direction of such figures, the NYT has become the premier conduit for state disinformation and propaganda, and a key ideological instrument in the preparations for worldar.
Eastern Aleppo aid stuck in Turkey as Syria truce ends
Lisa Barrington, Tom Perry, Reuters, Sep 19 2016
BEIRUT – Two 20-truck aid convoys destined for eastern Aleppo with enough supplies to feed 185,000 people for a month are still stuck in Turkey, a UN spox said on Monday, hours after a ceasefire in Syria expired. The UN has said it does not have sufficient security guarantees from all sides in the conflict, to be able to deliver to eastern Aleppo, which is held by rebels. The aid has been sitting at the border for around a week. The UN also wants to deliver to other hard-to-reach areas in Syria, but says it has not received necessary permissions from the Syrian government to proceed. The seven-day ceasefire declared by the Syrian army expired at midnight with no announcement of its extension. A Syrian rebel official said the truce had ended, and there was no hope the eastern Aleppo aid would be delivered. UN Under-Sec-Gen for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O’Brien said in a statement:
Up to 275,000 people remain trapped in that part of Aleppo without food, water, proper shelter or medical care. I am pained and disappointed that a UN convoy has yet to cross into Syria from Turkey, and safely reach eastern Aleppo. I hope that all parties to the conflict, and those with influence over them, would see the convoy as an opportunity to move forward. Humanitarian aid must remain neutral, impartial and free of political and military agendas.
He referred to a 20-truck convoy, the first of two that would have carried flour and other food supplies, enough to feed some 185,000 people for one month, he said. Both convoys are still sitting at the Turkey-Syria border, where they have been for almost a week, UN spox Jens Laerke said. Humanitarian access to Aleppo hinges on control of the main road into the besieged rebel-held part of the divided city. The road needs to become a demilitarised zone in order for aid to proceed. Russia has said the Syrian army had begun to withdraw from the road, but insurgent groups in Aleppo have said they have seen no such move and would not pull back from their own positions around the road until it did so.