Pindo intensifies campaign against Russia following attack on aid convoy in Syria
Bill Van Auken, WSWS, Sep 21 2016
Pindosi and Russian representatives emerged from a meeting of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) held in New York on the periphery of the UNGA to declare that they were continuing to support a tattered ceasefire in Syria, despite the bloody events of the past few days. The meeting was convened a day after an attack on an aid convoy in Aleppo killed at least 20 people and destroyed 18 out of 31 trucks bearing food and other humanitarian relief supplies. Washington quickly blamed the attack on Syria and Russia, both of which denied any role in the attack. Similarly, CENTCOM said that Pindo warplanes had not been involved. This attack comes on the heels of the bombing by Pindo and allied warplanes of a Syrian army position overlooking the Deir ez-Zor Airport near the Syrian-Iraqi border, which killed as many as 90 Syrian soldiers and wounded another 100. The attack allowed Daesh to overrun the position. Among the contending Syrian forces, the ceasefire has already been declared a dead letter, with Nusra launching a major offensive in Aleppo, backed by artillery and rocket launchers (MLRS). The Syrian government, meanwhile, declared the ceasefire over after reporting 300 violations by the “rebels.” It renewed its airstrikes in an effort to counter attacks by the Western-backed forces in Aleppo and elsewhere in the country. Fuckin’ Jackass, however, declared after leaving the hour-long ISSG meeting attended by 20 foreign ministers:
The ceasefire is not dead.
He added that “specific steps” would be discussed in a subsequent meeting later this week. Sergei Lavrov, who co-chaired the meeting, made no public comment. Early on Tuesday, Kremlin spox Peskov declared the chances for restoring the ceasefire “very slim.” The UNSC is expected to discuss the ceasefire on Wednesday, but Washington has stonewalled any vote on the agreement, whose terms it insists cannot be made public. De Mistura reported that all participants at Tuesday’s meeting, which included both Iran and Toads, had indicated continued support for the truce, despite its unraveling on the ground. He said:
The ceasefire is in danger, is being seriously affected, but it continues so long as Pindostan and Russia back it.
He described the attack on the aid convoy as a “game changer” in terms of demonstrating the necessity of bringing an end to the violence. One thing that the attack, together with the previous strike on the Syrian troops, has definitely scuttled is the provision within the deal calling for the setting up of a joint Pindo-Russian center (JIC) to coordinate strikes on Daesh & Nusra. The center was supposed to be established after a seven-day cessation of hostilities and the delivery of aid to besieged populations.
The ceasefire as a whole, and this provision in particular, provoked heated opposition from the Pentagon, with Ashtray Carter bitterly opposing it in cabinet meetings with Obama. Top uniformed commanders made statements bordering on insubordination, suggesting that they might not implement the deal. Also hostile to the agreement were the so-called “rebels” and their handlers within the CIA. The ceasefire called for the so-called “moderate opposition,” Islamist militias armed and paid by Pindostan and its vassals, to separate itself from Nusra. There was no indication that any such separation was in progress, and given the close alliance between the Pindo-backed forces and the AQ elements which form the backbone of the armed opposition to the Assad government, it seemed impossible to effect. Even more decisive from the standpoint of the Pindosi military’s opposition to the ceasefire deal is its hostility to any military collaboration with Russia, under conditions in which the Pentagon’s strategic focus has shifted ever more directly toward the preparation for direct military confrontation with them. Washington, without citing any evidence, immediately declared Moscow responsible for Monday’s attack on the aid convoy. The State Dept statement issued Monday night said:
We don’t know at this point whether it was the Russians or the regime. In either case, the Russians have the responsibility certainly to restrain, refrain from taking such action themselves, but they also have the responsibility to keep the regime from doing it.
Meanwhile, according to CNN, a Pindo boxtop acknowledged:
There is no intelligence that specifically indicates that Syrian aircraft or helicopters were in position to attack this location when it happened.
The aid convoy, one of the first to be sent into territory held by the Islamist militias, had been approved by and received permits from the Syrian government after several days of delays, largely over Syria’s insistence that Turkish officials not be allowed to accompany the aid shipments. From the standpoint of motive, it is less than obvious why Damascus would have decided to bomb a convoy that it had just approved, when it could have continued to prevent it from moving into the area. For its part, Nusra had vowed to block any aid shipments that came through territory held by the government, organizing demonstrations in Aleppo to announce this position. Russia’s Defense Ministry pushed back against the charge by Washington and its vassals that Russia and/or Syria had bombed the aid convoy. Ministry spokesman Maj-Gen Igor Konashenkov said that analysis of video footage of the struck convoy displayed no bomb craters nor any damage to the vehicles consistent with aerial bombardment. He also noted that the attack on the trucks had coincided with the launching of a major Nusra offensive near Aleppo. The Russian ministry also released a video showing a “rebel” truck towing a large-caliber mortar launcher accompanying the UN aid convoy into the Aleppo town of Uram al-Kubra. Konashenkov said that the vehicle seemed to be using the convoy as a “cover” for redeploying the mortar, and added:
Most importantly, where did the mortar disappear near the destination point of the convoy and what was the target of its fire during the convoy’s stop and unloading?
Meanwhile, the UN Tuesday revised a statement issued the day before that, like the State Dept, had described the attack on the aid convoy as an airstrike. In response to the evidence offered by Moscow, the UN replaced the references to “airstrikes” with the more general term of “attacks.” UN spox Jens Laerke described the earlier reference as an error. He said:
We are not in a position to determine whether these were in fact airstrikes. We are in a position to say that the convoy was attacked.
Whatever the source of the attack on the aid convoy, it is clear that Pindostan and its vassals have seized upon it to further their propaganda campaign to vilify Russia, and prepare for military confrontation with it. Washington has also utilized the incident to bury any discussion of the attack two days earlier by Pindo and allied warplanes on Syrian army troops who were confronting ISIS fighters, which raised questions as to whether the US was deliberately aiding the Islamist forces. In a curious comment on the incident, JCoS Dunford told reporters Monday that there should be no rush to judgment on the Pindo airstrike and on the accuracy of Pindo targeting:
Maybe before we start going on a path of ‘what went wrong,’ let’s do an investigation and actually ensure that something did go wrong. It may be that … when you do the investigation, the facts would tell you that we would have done what we did again.
UNGA convenes amid global military escalation
Andre Damon, WSWS, Sep 21 2016
The 71st Session of the UNGA convened this week beneath the shadow of a series of global crises that threaten to throw humanity into a new world war. This was the backdrop against which Obama gave his final address to the Assembly on Tuesday. Obama’s rambling speech, which at times appeared to be ad-libbed, was an exercise in self-contradiction and absurd lies, with Obama’s depiction of the current geopolitical situation standing reality on its head. He declared, with a straight face:
Our international order has been so successful that we take it as a given that great powers no longer fight world wars, that the end of the Cold War lifted the shadow of nuclear Armageddon, that the battlefields of Europe have been replaced by peaceful union.
With due apologies to Shakespeare, some people are born liars, others become liars, others have lies thrust upon them, but all three definitions apply to the current POTUS. Obama’s proclamation that the “shadow of nuclear Armageddon” has passed flies in the face not only of his own $1 trillion nuclear rearmament program, but the proclamation of the Union of Concerned Scientists:
Pindostan and China are a few poor decisions away from starting a war that could escalate rapidly and end in a nuclear exchange.
The president did not mention that the “peaceful union” that replaced “the battlefields of Europe” was in the midst of dissolution amid growing national antagonisms. Obama was speaking at the first UNGA to take place since the vote by Britain in Jun 2016 to leave the EU, giving rise to demands for copycat votes throughout Europe and warnings of a break-up of the entire Eurozone. As for “the battlefields of Europe,” NATO is moving ahead with its deployment of 4,000 troops to the Russian border, with high-ranking NATO boxtops announcing this weekend that all of the troops will be in place by May. Behind the scenes, in the documents of military think-tanks, such border troops are spoken of as “tripwires” creating the rationale for military escalation by NATO in the event of a conflict between the Baltic States and Russia, substantially increasing the chances of a full-scale war between the two most powerful nuclear powers. A substantial portion of Obama’s remarks was devoted to hurling barbs at Russia, tacitly asserting that it is a society “that asks less of oligarchs than ordinary citizens,” and declaring that Russia is “attempting to recover lost glory through force.” But these declarations would have been directed far more appropriately at Pindostan itself, the most unequal developed country in the world. The Pindosi ruling class has been engaged in unending war in the effort to counter its long-term economic decline. Obama framed his remarks as a reflection on the past eight years of his administration, as well as on the 25 years that have passed since the dissolution of the USSR. He declared:
A quarter-century after the end of the Cold War, the world is by many measures less violent and more prosperous than ever before.
He added that Pindostan has “been a force for good” over this period. Contrary to Obama’s half-hearted declarations, the past quarter-century has abjectly failed to live up to the capitalist triumphalism which declared that the fall of the USSR would usher in a new era of peace and democracy. Pindostan, far from being “a force for good” over this period, has been the single greatest purveyor of destabilization, violence and disorder. Beginning with the First Gulf War in 1991, Pindostan has been perpetually at war, having bombed or invaded Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, Yugoslavia, Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen and Syria, and carried out destabilization operations in countless other countries. These wars are now metastasizing into an increasingly direct conflict with Russia and China. This is accompanied by the militarization of the major imperialist powers, including Japan and Germany, as ruling classes throughout the world prepare for military conflict.
The UNGA opened in the aftermath of Saturday’s bombing of a Syrian army base by the Pindo military, in a flagrant violation of the ceasefire brokered between Pindostan and its proxies on one side, and Syria and Russia on the other. The attack led to over 90 fatalities and was carried out with the assistance of British, Australian and German forces, potentially embroiling these countries in a military conflict with Russia. The bombing took place while Erdogan, Washington’s ally in the Syria conflict, said Monday that Turkey plans to dramatically expand the area of Syria under its direct control by more than five-fold, to 5,000 sq km. Pindo ground forces are fighting alongside Turkish-backed insurgents, raising the danger of a clash between Russian forces operating in northern Syria and Pindo ground troops fighting alongside Turkey. But the conflict in Syria is just one in an innumerable series of global flashpoints throughout Europe and Asia. Last week, Japan announced it would participate in Pindo-led patrols in the disputed South China Sea, sparking condemnation from China. Meanwhile in Kashmir, 11 more people were killed in recent days following an attack Sunday that left 18 Indian soldiers dead, in the heaviest fighting in years in the region. Were the conflict to escalate into a war between India and Pakistan, it would be the first-ever war between two nuclear-armed powers. Any one of these or other complex conflicts, in which multiple countries are each engaged in low-level proxy-fighting and jockeying for their regional interests, risks sparking an uncontrolled escalation like the conflict that began in the Balkans in Jun 1914. Obama intended to make his speech an account of the “progress that we’ve made these last eight years.” In the end, all he succeeded in doing was to emphasize how much closer to global war the world has come during his administration.