hebron

IOF Photographed Beating Palestinian in Hebron
Gili Cohen, Haaretz, Sep 22 201

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Photo: Hazem Bader/AFP

IOF were photographed beating a Palestinian man on Tuesday in Hebron. The military said that the man was resisting arrest. Photographs taken at the scene showed that at least five IOF from the Nahal Brigade, were surrounding the Palestinian during his arrest.

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Photo: Mussa Issa Qawasma/Reuters

One of the soldiers is seen kicking him, while another holding him by the throat. Another photo shows a soldier pinning the Palestinian to the ground with his knee. The Palestinian is seen barefoot in a street in Hebron. Photos of the arrest were soon published on social media networks. The IOF said the incident will be investigated. The military said it was carrying out security checks in the city due to recent attacks in the area.

During a routine security check, the Palestinian who was documented refused to be frisked. The forces had arrested the suspect. The troops’ conduct is being looked into and the incident is being investigated.

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Photo: Hazem Bader/AFP

The IOF has bolstered its presence in Hebron following two attempted stabbings in the city on Monday. On Wednesday, a 13-year-old Palestinian girl was shot and lightly wounded at a checkpoint near the West Bank settlement of Alfei Menashe, after refusing to stop  when commanded by the guards. On Tuesday, a Palestinian attempted to stab an IOF outside the Palestinian town of Bani Naim, east of Hebron, the military said. The suspected attacker was shot and killed without any casualties among the soldiers

dis da end

Pindostan pushes for “no fly” zone as Syrian conflict escalates
Bill Van Auken, WSWS, Sep 22 2016

Speaking before a UNSC meeting on Syria Wednesday, Jackass Kerry demagogically blamed Russia and Syria for the escalating violence that has left a ceasefire reached earlier this month in tatters. Jackass demanded the imposition of a de facto “no fly” zone over areas controlled by Pindo-backed Islamist “rebels,” including those affiliated with AQ, under the pretext of assuring delivery of humanitarian aid and reviving the ceasefire. Jackass told the UNSC meeting:

I believe that to restore credibility to the process, we must move forward to try to immediately ground all aircraft flying in those key areas in order to deescalate the situation and give a chance for humanitarian assistance to flow unimpeded.

The Syrian government declared the ceasefire ended on Monday after reporting 300 violations by the Western-backed Islamist “rebels” and in the wake of the Pindosi bombing of a Syrian army outpost near the Deir al-Zor airport in eastern Syria on Saturday that killed as many as 90 soldiers and wounded another 100. Pindo boxtops have claimed that the attack was a mistake, while Damascus has pointed out that it was immediately followed by an assault on the position by Daesh, charging that the air and ground actions were coordinated. Deir al-Zor occupies a strategic position on the highway leading from Syria to Iraq and onto Iran. The Pindo airstrike was followed on Monday by an attack on a UN aid convoy in the town of Urum al-Kubra in northern Aleppo that left 20 people dead and 18 trucks bearing relief supplies destroyed. Washington immediately charged, without presenting any evidence, that either Russia or the Syrian government was responsible. Jackass and other Pindo boxtops are now invoking the attack as a means of vilifying Moscow and pressing for new concessions. Blaming Russia and the Assad government for Monday’s attack, Jackass claimed:

(This) raises a profound doubt about whether Russia and the Assad regime can or will live up to the obligations that they agreed to in Geneva.

Speaking earlier, Sergei Lavrov described the attack on the aid convoy as “an unacceptable provocation,” and called for a “thorough and impartial” investigation to determine who was responsible. He repeated previous statements by Russian military officials that no Russian warplanes had been in the vicinity of the attack, adding that the Syrian air force was not capable of carrying out such an airstrike at night. He pointed out that the attack on the convoy coincided with a “rebel” offensive in the same area. Russian military officials, meanwhile, reported Wednesday that a Pindo Predator drone, capable of firing multiple air-to-surface missiles, was seen flying over the aid convoy at the time of the attack. Earlier, the Russian Defense Ministry released an aerial video showing that the aid convoy had been accompanied by a “rebel” truck towing a large-caliber mortar launcher, which subsequently disappeared from view. In his statement to the UNSC, Lavrov also insisted that there could be no more “unilateral” cessations of hostilities in Syria. Russia has charged that the US-backed Islamists never accepted the ceasefire and continued to carry out attacks on government positions after it went into effect on Sep 12. Speaking before the same UNSC meeting, Syria’s ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari vowed:

Syria will not become another Libya or Iraq. (We intend) to reach a political solution that is decided by the Syrians.

While Jackass claimed that his proposed “no-fly” zone is meant to prevent the Syrian government from attacking “civilian targets with the excuse that it is just going after Nusra,” from the standpoint of Washington’s aims, the exact opposite is the case. As with its support for the ceasefire itself, Washington is invoking humanitarian concerns for civilians trapped in areas controlled by Nusra and similar AQ-linked militias in order to bring a halt to Syrian military operations against these forces and thereby allow them to rearm, regroup and resume an offensive against the Assad government. The Syrian ceasefire has been the subject of bitter divisions within the Obama administration, with the Pentagon and top uniformed commanders in the Middle East calling into question whether the military would even obey orders to implement the deal. Those most heavily involved in the Pindo-orchestrated war for regime change in Syria, particularly elements within the CIA, have opposed the agreement because it calls upon Washington to oversee the separation of the so-called “moderate opposition” that it has paid and armed from AQ-linked forces like Nusra that are formally designated as “terrorists.” In the week following the ceasefire’s initiation, there was no sign of these “moderates” distancing themselves from the AQ elements. Such a separation is opposed by Washington’s “rebels” because Nusra represents the most significant armed group fighting the Syrian government. Even more importantly for the Pentagon, the ceasefire’s call for the establishment of a joint operations center with Russia to share intelligence and targeting information would cut across their escalating preparations for war with Russia itself. The bombing of the Syrian army position on Saturday, followed by the attack on the aid convoy on Monday, served to squelch this proposal.

Amid the diplomatic sparring between Pindostan and Russia at the UN, there were multiple signs that the conflict in Syria is on the brink of a dangerous escalation, carrying with it the threat of a wider and even world war. Pindostan is considering a plan to begin directly arming the Syrian Kurdish fighters of the YPG (People’s Protection Units), according to unnamed officials quoted in a report published Wednesday in the NYT. Pindo SOF have already been deployed alongside the Kurdish fighters and Washington has been at least indirectly arming them by feeding weapons to a smaller Syrian Arab militia force that fights alongside the YPG. Nonetheless, the plan, which is reportedly under discussion in the National Security Council, would represent an escalation of the Pindo utilization of the Kurdish militia as a proxy force in its campaign against ISIS. It would also deepen tensions between Washington and Erdogan, which launched its own military incursion into Syria last month. Operation Euphrates Shield, as the Turkish invasion of Syria has been dubbed, now also counts with a Pindo SOF “advise and assist” mission. As the primary strategic goal of Ankara’s intervention is to prevent Kurdish forces from consolidating an autonomous entity on Turkey’s border, Pindo SOF could end up facing each other on opposite sides of the battlefield. Before leaving for the UNGA meeting in New York City, Erdogan told reporters:

The Turkish intervention has cleared an area of 900 sq km of terrorists (both Daesh and YPG). We may extend this area to 5,000 sq km as part of a safe zone.

Such an intervention would require the deployment inside Syria of thousands of Turkish troops. Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry announced Wednesday that the Russian navy’s flagship aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, is being deployed to the eastern Mediterranean to participate in military operations in Syria.

bibi & barack’s bollocks show

Obama avoids chiding Netanyahu on settlements
AP, Sep 21 2016

NEW YORK – Setting aside years of tensions, Obama and Netanyahu bid each other farewell Wednesday with a strident affirmation of security ties between their nations and little public talk of their persistent differences over Iran, Israeli settlements and Palestinians. The two leaders were all smiles as they sat down in New York in what the White House said was likely their last meeting before Obama’s presidency ends in January. Rather than delve into fraught debate about relaunching moribund peace talks, they cracked jokes about golfing together and future vacations devoid of stuffy meetings between heads of state. Obama made only a passing reference to his opposition to the uptick in Israeli settlement construction in occupied lands as reporters were allowed in briefly for the start of the meeting. Obama said:

We do have concerns around settlement activity.

He added that Pindostan wanted to help Israel pursue peace. And that was that. In private, Obama was more pointed, senior administration officials said, and raised “profound concerns” that settlement building was eroding prospects for peace. Netanyahu challenged that notion, said one official, adding that the two leaders had not “papered over” their differences. Netanyahu’s ardent opposition to Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, perhaps the biggest irritant in the relationship, did not come up. The boxtops said the meeting lasted about a half-hour. The move by both leaders supreme boxtops not to air their differences in public reflected their common understanding that if a breakthrough on Mideast peace is to occur, it won’t be while Obama is still president. Following previous failed attempts to broker peace, the Obama administration has opted against a new major diplomatic push. That means the focus shifts in Pindostan to Obama’s potential successors, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Both would face similar obstacles to Obama if they sought to pick up where he left off, although Trump has insisted his administration would be anything but business as usual. Meanwhile, both Russia and France have signaled an interest in taking on a larger role in mediating between Israelis and Palestinians.

Still, Obama hasn’t ruled out the possibility that, in his final months in office, he’ll seek to influence the future debate by laying out what he sees as the contours of any viable deal. That could come in the form of a major speech or a Pindo-backed UNSCR, both moves that would increase pressure on Israel and that Netanyahu would be expected to oppose. White House officials said Obama wasn’t actively planning such a move, but would consider it if it appeared likely to influence the situation positively. In public, Obama and Netanyahu spent most of their time touting a 10-year military assistance deal their countries struck this month worth $38b, the largest tranche of military aid that Pindostan has ever given another country. The White House is hoping the unprecedented aid will curb the perception among Israel’s supporters that Obama has been insufficiently supportive of Israel’s security. Obama said:

It is a very dangerous and difficult time in the Middle East, and we want to make sure that Israel has the full capabilities it needs in order to keep the Israeli people safe.

Added Netanyahu:

Your influential voice will be heard for many decades, and I know you’ll continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself and its right to thrive as a Jewish state.

Ties between the two leaders never fully recovered after Netanyahu showed up on Capitol Hill to lobby Congress against Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. The Obama administration, meanwhile, has been dismayed by periodic comments by the Israeli leader suggesting he’s less-than-serious about the two-state solution that has been the basis of all serious peace efforts for decades.

Israeli boxtop compares the two puppets to Statler and Waldorf
Raphael Ahren, Times of Israel, Sep 21 2016

statler_and_waldorf

NEW YORK — The meeting between Netanyahu and Obama enjoyed a “light-hearted atmosphere,” a senior Israeli boxtop said Wednesday, hours after the two puppets met in what was presumably the last encounter in their current positions. The boxtop, part of the Israeli delegation to New York, denied that Pindostan concerns over settlements had played a central role in the talks, contradicting a White House boxtop who reported that Netanyahu and Obama clashed over the issue. There is a “mellowing” in the personal relations between the two puppets, the Israeli boxtop enthused, saying:

There is an interesting change in the relations. It’s like an on old couple that is just getting to know each other.

Another senior boxtop in the prime minister’s delegation even compared the two leaders to Statler and Waldorf, the two grumpy old Jews from the Muppet Show. That relationship was on display as the two puppets sat down in front of the cameras before their meeting, joking about golf and being able to avoid stuffy meetings when Obama visits Israel next. Iran, which has proven a point of contention between the two, did not come up at all, and Obama only made brief mention of peace efforts with the Palestinians and concerns over settlement building. But behind closed doors, senior Obama administration boxtops claimed Obama was more pointed, raising “profound Pindo concerns” that settlement-building was eroding prospects for peace. Netanyahu challenged that notion, said one boxtop, adding that the two puppets had not “papered over” their differences. Ben Rhodes had told reporters before the meeting that he was certain that Obama would raise the issue of “continued settlement activity, the potential viability of a Palestinian state in the face of that settlement activity.” However, he downplayed reports that Obama would seek to push forward a new peace initiative. The Israeli boxtop confirmed that the possibility of a Pindo-led initiative to advance the peace process in the period between the Pindo elections on Nov 4 and Inauguration Day on Jan 20 was not discussed at all during the meeting. One boxtop said:

There’s an elephant in the room. They didn’t talk about it, but they both knew the elephant was there.

But his senior boxtop said:

Israel’s settlement policy was the sole bone of contention between the prime minister and the president. Netanyahu presented his view, arguing that the few thousand Israelis in the West Bank are no obstacle to peace, but the Palestinians’ refusal to drop their demand for the right of return and to recognize a Jewish state in any borders are. There are differences of opinion, that is not new. They weren’t the essence of the meeting. They didn’t take up much time in the conversation. It was a marginal part of the meeting. Most of the meeting dealt with security and intelligence matters in the Middle East. Syria was discussed at length, and even Iran came up. We agree on almost everything. We coordinate on more things than people think.

The senior boxtop added suggestively that intelligence cooperation is “truly a two-way street,” and claimed that Israel was widely recognized as a military and security powerhouse. The meeting between the two leaders, likely the last after six years of thorny relations, was held on the sidelines of the UNGA, where Netanyahu is slated to speak Thursday. On Tuesday, Obama told the world body that Israel could not continue occupying Palestinian land. The senior official said the Israeli leader was willing to meet with either presidential candidate if they request a meeting. So far neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton have requested to meet with the prime minister.

new air raid, wednesday

Air raid kills several medical workers, insurgents near Aleppo
Reuters, Sep 21 2016

An air raid carried out overnight, (allegedly) by Syrian or Russian warplanes, killed four medical workers and at least nine rebel fighters near Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Wednesday. The raid hit the town of Khan Touman southwest of Aleppo city, an area controlled by insurgents. The Observatory said the rebels killed were from Jaish al-Fatah. The medical staff killed were working for the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM), it said. UOSSM confirmed in a statement that four of its staff had been killed.

Four medics killed in strike on clinic near Syria’s Aleppo: NGO
AFP, Sep 21 2016

BEIRUT – Four medics were killed and a nurse critically wounded when an air strike hit a clinic in a village near Syria’s second city Aleppo, the aid group that runs it said. The four staff of the Union of Syrian Medical Relief Organisations were in two ambulances that had been called to the clinic to take some patients for more specialised treatment, the group said. The clinic in the village of Khan Tuman was completely levelled and more dead were feared to be buried under the rubble, the group added.

the big sow, coming your way

Jackass calls on Russia and Syria to ground all aircraft in northwest Syria
Karen DeYoung, WaPo, Sep 21 2016

UN – Jackass Kerry called on Russia and Syria on Wednesday to “immediately ground all aircraft” flying in key areas of north-west Syria where a humanitarian convoy was destroyed Monday, and accused Moscow of inventing its “own facts” to explain the air attack for which Russia is responsible. Jackass told the UNSC:

The simple reality is we cannot resolve this crisis if major parties … are unwilling to do what’s necessary to avoid escalation. We don’t get anywhere by ignoring facts and denying common sense.

Jackass’ caustic intervention came after Sergei Lavrov denounced “emotional reactions” to the strike on the convoy and called for a “serious” investigation of the incident. After suggesting that the attack was perpetrated by terrorist ground forces­ active in the area southwest of Aleppo, Moscow newly implied that it could have been a Pindo drone. Amid the charges and counter­charges, speakers to the council pleaded for cooperation that could lead to a genuine cease-fire in the five-year civil war, and excoriated the international community as a whole for not ending the carnage. UN Sec-Gen Ban Ki-moon said in opening the meeting:

The Syrian tragedy shames us all. The collective failure of the international community should haunt every member of this council.

The meeting was not on the official schedule but was tacked on to another session. Jackass, Lavrov and other foreign ministers quickly took over the chairs that had been occupied by their UN ambassadors. But while all bemoaned the ongoing strife in Syria, agreed that the crumbling ceasefire was the only way out, and pledged to do better at implementing it, attention was focused on the sharp exchange between Jackass and Lavrov. In remarks Jackass described as a “parallel universe,” Lavrov said that one of the clearest violations of the ceasefire was “the Sep 16 attack by the coalition against government forces,” the apparently mistaken airstrike in eastern Syria that killed dozens of Syrian soldiers. The convoy attack of Monday, Lavrov said, was “another unacceptable provocation,” which took place west of Aleppo near Nusra targets. He said:

On the same day, in the same area, there was a very aggressive attack against government ­forces. These kind of coincidences require serious analysis and investigation. … Many said (it) could have been a rocket or a mortar.

He said Russia had presented proof, “including real-time video of when this actually happened.” In Moscow, the Defense Ministry said Wednesday that a coalition Predator drone, which it said had taken off from Incirlik air base in Turkey, was seen near the route of the convoy on the day of the attack. Russia has said repeatedly that no Russian or Syrian aircraft was in the vicinity. Maj-Gen I Konashenkov told reporters at a briefing:

(The drone) was spotted in mid-air at the height of 3,600 m, moving at the speed of about 200 k/h, exactly in this area on Sep 19. (It) stopped near the area of the populated locality of Urum al-Kubra (where the strike took place) several minutes before the convoy caught fire. And it left about 30 minutes later. This type of drone not only can observe the situation, but also direct ground weapons and autonomously deliver high-accuracy strikes on secure facilities.

DoD Cap J Davis said in an emailed statement:

We can confirm that NONE of our aircraft, manned or unmanned, Pindosi or coalition, were anywhere in the vicinity of Aleppo when the strike against the humanitarian convoy occurred.

Jackass also replied scornfully to Lavrov’s description of the attack, saying:

I don’t think we can let anybody here, if we’re going to deal with this situation, have their own set of facts about Syria. Twenty aid workers were killed in an outrageous, sustained, two-hour attack directed at a fully authorized humanitarian mission near Aleppo. Our preliminary conclusions are that the convoy was hit by a Russian airstrike. Those conclusions have been supported by the ICRC and other humanitarian groups, as well as workers on the ground. Just Tuesday night, there were reports of airstrikes on a medical facility near Aleppo, and four medical workers were killed, despite the fact there is supposed to be a cessation. There are only two countries that have airplanes that are flying during the night or flying at all in that particular area: Russia and Syria. Yes, the coalition did hit people on Saturday. We did it. It was a terrible accident. Within moments of it happening, we acknowledged it. We didn’t put out a bunch of obfuscating facts. We said, “Yeah, it’s a terrible thing, it happened.” The Defense Dept apologized, and we tried to find out how it happened. People running around with guns on the ground … is a different thing from trucks in a convoy with big UN markings all over them.

Jackass’ proposal to ground all aircraft in the north-west area around Aleppo is a significant change from the original terms of the Pindo-Russian agreement, which imposed no initial restriction on Syrian airstrikes against Nusra, while saying that once a ceasefire against all but terrorist groups was holding and aid was being delivered, Pindostan and Russia would take over with exclusive responsibility for strikes against Nusra and Daesh. In his remarks, Lavrov repeated Russia’s insistence that the deal also called for Pindostan and its vassals to separate rebel forces­ from nearby Jihadi groups, saying:

In spite of our appeals on the need to influence the armed opposition, so far the results have been very insignificant.

Jackass acknowledged:

For too long, some elements of the opposition have relied on an unholy coalition with al-Nusra. … Nusra is AQ. We can’t look the other way if groups on the ground are fighting with … an enemy of all in this room. It’s very hard to separate people when they are being bombed indiscriminately and when Assad has the right to determine who he’s going to bomb, because he can quote “Go after Nusra” but go after the opposition all at the same time because he wants to. You create a confusion that is impossible to separate out. We need to get to the prohibition on flying. That would prevent Syria from doing what it has done so often in the past, which is to attack civilian targets with the excuse it was just going after Nusra. To restore credibility to the process, we must move forward to immediately ground all aircraft flying in those key areas, in order to de-escalate the situation and give a chance for humanitarian assistance to flow unimpeded. When (the Russians) signed the most recent ceasefire agreement, they said (Assad) would live by the cessation of hostilities and would accept the idea of not flying over agreed-upon areas. Because of the last few days, we have no choice but to do that sooner rather than later.

Although Kerry did not specify, his proposal appeared to include grounding Russian aircraft in the area. Although he offered no public details of the proposal, senior administration officials described it as a confidence-building measure that would prove Russian commitment, and could get the ceasefire deal back on track. They said it could apply to all areas where the opposition is massed, including Aleppo, Idlib and as far south as the Damascus suburbs. Jackass first proposed it in a private meeting with Lavrov on Tuesday night. Russia has given no initial response to the proposal, said the Pindos. The International Syria Support Group, chaired by the United States and Russia, along with other outside actors in the conflict, including Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, plans to meet again on Thursday.

Jackass Kerry says Russia and Pindostan are ‘in a parallel universe’ over ceasefire
Andrew Buncombe, Independent, Sep 21 2016

The gaping rift between Pindostan and Russia over the war in Syria has been publicly exposed as the two countries accused the other of allowing a scrappy, days-old ceasefire to fall apart. At an event that was supposed to enshrine the truce between various factions between them that was agreed on Nov 9 Jackass Kerry and Sergey Lavrov exchanged barbs and heated words at the UNSC on Wednesday morning. Jackass suggested Lavrov was living in a “parallel universe.” The testy exchange, that took place as the world watched, came after two attacks on medical convoys. In one, on Monday, 20 civilians were killed when the Syrian Red Crescent convoy was struck. On Tuesday, an air strike in northern Syria killed five members of mobile medical emergency unit. The attacks prompted a temporary suspension on UN overland aid convoys to priority areas in Syria, but the UN said on Wednesday it would be resuming operations on a case-by-case basis. Jackass told the UNSC:

Supposedly we all want the same goal. I’ve heard that again and again. But we are proving woefully inadequate in making that happen.

He then outlined a series of complaints against Syria & Russia. He recited Moscow’s changing narrative over Monday’s attack on the an aid convoy that has included everything from claims of a justifiable counter-terror strike to vehicles spontaneously combusting something other than an air attack. He said:

This is not a joke (but the Russians are) engaged in word games to dodge responsibility over questions of “war and peace, life and death. To restore credibility, we must immediately ground all aircraft flying in those key areas in order to de-escalate the situation and give a chance for humanitarian assistance to flow unimpeded.

Jackass spoke just after Lavrov had delivered his own set of barbs, underscoring the breakdown in trust in the 12 days since he and Jackass clinched a ceasefire agreement. Unlike Jackass, who stressed the importance of Assad’s government ending military operations against rebels and allowing in unfettered aid, Lavrov said that Pindostan had the biggest responsibility. He said:

The key priority is to separate the opposition forces from the terrorists.

Responding to the wide criticism of the convoy attack, which Pindo boxtops are blaming on Russia, Lavrov cited various possible explanations. Meanwhile, the Russian Defence Ministry yesterday said a Pindo Predator drone was in the area when the aid convoy was hit and had appeared on the scene minutes before the incident. Repeating denials of Russian involvement in the episode, Defense Ministry spox Maj-Gen Konashenkov said Western allegations that Moscow was responsible were an attempt to distract attention from the Pindo-led coalition’s bombing of Syrian soldiers near Deir Azzor airport on Saturday. In New York, Jackass said at one point that listening to his Russian counterpart was like hearing about a “parallel universe.” On Tuesday, the two diplomats superannuated old fogeys had met with more than a dozen Arab and European foreign ministers, hoping to hold onto what might be salvageable from a week of relative calm in Syria. No one spoke of any progress, beyond a decision to hold follow-up discussions later this week. UN Sec-Gen Ban Ki-moon said, as he opened the session:

We are at a make or break moment.

Envoy Staffan de Mistura described his long-delayed plans for a multi-step Syrian peace process and transition that appeared, even by his own admission, untethered to reality on the ground. He said:

I know it looks like a dream…

After the meeting, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told the BBC:

I think it’s too early to say anything about criminality and that kind of thing, or indeed to make conclusive judgments about responsibility, but put it this way, when you look at what happened to the aid convoy, there are only two possible culprits, only two forces that are capable of having carried out that strike flying in that area, they are the Syrians and the Russians, and we have our doubts about the Syrian capability to fly at night.

Russia says Pindosi drone was in area where UN convoy
Reuters, Sep 21 2016

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that a Pindo Predator drone was in the area where a UN aid convoy was partially destroyed in Syria on Monday and had appeared on the scene minutes before the incident. Maj-Gen I Konashenkov, a spokesman for the ministry, said the drone had taken off from the Incirlik air base in Turkey, arrived in the area a few minutes before the convoy had caught fire, and left about 30 minutes later. He noted that such drones were armed with air-to-ground missiles. Konashenkov said in a statement:

Only the drone’s owners know what it was doing there at the necessary moment and what tasks it was carrying out.

He said Russia was not drawing any conclusions about the drone’s presence. He repeated denials of any Russian involvement in the episode and said Western allegations that Moscow was directly or indirectly responsible were an attempt to distract attention from the Pindo-led coalition’s deadly bombing of Syrian soldiers near Deir al-Zor airport on Saturday. Russian planes were not in the area at the time and had not made any air strikes there, he said, saying Moscow had informed Pindostan of that the same evening as the incident took place.

photo creates image of obama’s interest which is entirely cursory

barackobama483Michelle & Barack Obama, Edward & Mariam Said,  May 1998, Chicago

Will Obama’s final act be the liquidation of Palestinian rights?
Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada, Sep 21 2016

Whenever a Pindo president prepares to leave office, diplomats and Middle East specialists in think tanks urge him to make a final push for an Israeli-Palestinian “peace” deal. It is a time-honored Washington ritual. Given his passing reference to Palestinians and Israelis in his final speech to the UNGA, however, it might seem like there is not much chance of that with Obama. He told world leaders gathered in New York on Tuesday:

Surely, Israelis and Palestinians will be better off if Palestinians reject incitement and recognize the legitimacy of Israel but Israel recognizes that it cannot permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land.

It was classic Obama: tricky and deceptive language that seeks balance where there is none, equating alleged Palestinian “incitement” with real Israeli colonialism and occupation, and floating lofty goals belied by his actions. The most glaring of these, of course, is Obama signing off on the record 10-year, $38b military giveaway to Israel. This weapons windfall caps a term during which Obama aided and abetted two devastating Israeli assaults in Gaza, as well as the ongoing siege, and offered Israel every diplomatic protection as it built more settlements on occupied Palestinian land, exceeding even the frenetic pace of colonization during the Bush administration. Obama is due to meet Netanyahu on the sidelines of the UNGA on Wednesday, where he will reportedly push Israel to make progress towards the so-called two-state solution. All Netanyahu will need to do is smile and nod politely for the cameras, knowing that the president has already given away any potential leverage by signing the massive military deal.

But make no mistake, Obama still poses a continuing danger to Palestinian rights as long as he remains in the White House. In recent weeks, think-tankers belonging to the peace process industry have launched a new campaign urging Obama to support a UNSCR before he leaves office that would enshrine the two-state solution. But what it would actually do is write into international law an abrogation of Palestinian rights, offering Palestinians no more than a pale Bantustan. It would renege on the right to return of Palestinian refugees, a right that the UN has guaranteed (in a UNGAR, not a UNSCR – RB). It would, moreover, recognize Israel’s claimed “right” to discriminate against the indigenous Palestinians solely because they are not Jews. France floated a similar initiative last year, which, as I explained at the time, would have fatally undermined Palestinian rights, but thankfully it went nowhere because the US would not support it. The most thorough elaboration of this approach now comes from Nathan Thrall of the ICG (Soros – RB). In a NYRB article this month, Thrall calls a UNSCR laying out the parameters for the partition of historic Palestine into ethnically segregated Palestinian and Jewish states a “last chance” for Obama to “salvage his legacy.” Thrall claims that “many in the administration” are hoping that this will indeed be Obama’s final act, writing:

Any resolution that Pindostan supports will contain clauses that are difficult for each side to accept. The most troublesome issues for Israel are that the borders will be based on the pre-1967 lines and that the Palestinian capital will be in Jerusalem. The most onerous clauses for the Palestinians relate to recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, the absence of a timeline for Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank and a resolution of the refugee problem that would rule out anything but symbolic return to Israel.

He affirms that the resolution would need to “offer some sort of recognition of Israel as a Jewish state,” in effect granting Israel a legal license to be racist. It would also force on Palestinians what Thrall calls “entirely new concessions to Israel. Obama told world leaders gathered in New York on Tuesday:

Settlements that existing Security Council resolutions call to dismantle would gain legitimacy as parts of a potential land swap.

Thrall, who enthusiastically supports this approach, is clear about the political realities:

It is a safe bet that on the majority of … issues, a Pindo-supported resolution would favor Israeli positions over Palestinian ones.

Another figure pushing for a UNSCR is Carl Bildt, the former Swedish foreign minister and ‘high representative’ (diplomatic speak for unelected ruler) of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bildt writes:

Obama should push for a UNSCR that establishes new parameters for a future peace accord and replaces UNSCR 242, which dates back to the 1967 War.

In other words, Bildt and Thrall want UN resolution 242, which for all its shortcomings and omissions is at least clear on the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war,” replaced by a new resolution that actually blesses Israel’s decades of ethnic cleansing and land theft under the banner of “peace” and a “two-state solution.” Israel’s certain resistance to such an approach should not be taken as evidence that a resolution would somehow be good for Palestinians. Its rejectionism is simply based on long-standing policy that Israel should never be bound by any international rules no matter how ineffectual or favorable they are. As Thrall acknowledges, and this is also where the grave danger lies for Palestinians, the PA leadership would probably welcome such a resolution, dedicated as Abu Mazen has been to abrogating Palestinian rights when it comes both to refugees and settlements. Dennis Ross, that stalwart of the Israel lobby who has absurdly served as peace envoy for several presidents including Obama, has also weighed in on the potential impact of November’s presidential election on the prospects for such a resolution. Ross said at a Zionist conference in California last week:

I suspect that if Trump wins, the president would be more inclined to go for an UNSCR to try to do something that binds, creates standards for the future that the next president couldn’t undo. If Clinton wins, I suspect he would be more sensitive to her concerns as to whether this helps or hurts her. (But either way, Obama) would like to do something, leave some kind of legacy.

Thrall kicks off his NYRB piece by revisiting Obama’s early connections to the Palestinian community, particularly in Chicago:

He had met, dined with, and attended the lectures of such figures as Edward Said, the most famous and eloquent Palestinian critic of the Oslo accords, and he had offered words of encouragement to Ali Abunimah, the Palestinian activist, writer, co-founder of EI and leading advocate of a one-state solution.

On the strength of this, Thrall asserts that when the president came to office:

Palestinians looked to Obama as a potentially historic figure capable of ending their occupation.

That was certainly true for wishful thinkers and the ill-informed. But let me set the record straight. Thrall’s knowledge of Obama’s dining with Said, and his “encouragement” to me, comes from an article I wrote in 2007, when the then senator from Illinois was in the early stages of his presidential primary campaign, titled “How Barack Obama learned to love Israel.” The point of the article was not to offer hope, but to warn that despite Obama’s connections to the Palestinian community, he had already eagerly adopted the hardline positions of the Israel lobby as he became more politically ambitious. I wrote about Obama’s ditching of anything resembling a just and principled position on Palestine:

Palestinian Pindosis are in the same position as civil libertarians who watched with dismay as Obama voted to reauthorize the USA Patriot Act, or immigrant rights advocates who were horrified as he voted in favor of a Republican bill to authorize the construction of a 700-mile fence on the border with Mexico.

I predicted more than once that Obama would be a disastrous president for the Palestinians and that the hopes so many invested in him were delusional. Sadly, I was right and the think tankers were wrong. Instead, as I wrote days after Obama’s election in Nov 2008, Palestinians should invest their efforts in building up their own power and broadening their movement, particularly through BDS, because no US administration would ever support their rights unless compelled to do so. The best we can hope for now is that in his final months in office Obama will do no more damage to add to his poisoned legacy on Palestine.

more reflections on deir ez-zor

Pindo Military Enters New Phase in Syria
Chris Ernesto, Counterpunch, Sep 21 2016

The Pindo airstrikes that killed 60+ Syrian soldiers not only ended the brief ceasefire, it helped Daesh gain control of territory in Syria, and appears to be an escalation of Pindo-led efforts to provoke Syria and Russia. Jason Ditz wrote on Antiwar.com:

CENTCOM claimed they thought the base belonged to Daesh. It does now. With the forces decimated by the Pindo attack, Daesh quickly overran the base.

And Syria and Russia, who were adhering to the ceasefire, are furious. Assad said:

Every time the Syrian state makes tangible progress either on the ground or towards national reconciliation, anti-Syrian states increase their support of terrorist organisations …The latest example of this is the flagrant American aggression on one of the Syrian army’s positions in Deir Ezzor to the benefit of Daesh.

Russian boxtops are also essentially accusing the west of backing Islamic militants. Vitaly Churkin said:

It is significant and frankly suspicious that the United States chose to conduct this air strike at this time.

Putin questioned the Pindo commitment to the ceasefire, suggesting that Washington wasn’t prepared to break with “terrorist elements” battling Assad’s forces. He said:

In my opinion, (they want) to keep the combat potential in fighting the legitimate government of Bashar Assad. But this is a very dangerous route.

Syrian and Russian leaders know the Pindo airstrikes were intentionally meant to kill Syrian soldiers, most likely to provoke a response and/or to assist Daesh.  Regime change is all Pindostan cares about, and after years of failing to oust Assad, provoking Syria and Russia militarily is the phase Pindostan has obviously entered in Syria. Additionally, the Pentagon confirmed that Pindo SOF are on the ground in Syria fighting alongside Turkey. Pindo boxtops claim the reason for the deployment is to fight ISIS, but that assertion is laughed-off by most, as Turkey’s war is with the Kurds who are fighting Daesh.

gary leupp retrospective of last week

Samantha Powers Condemns Russia for Condemning a Pindo War Crime
Gary Leupp, Counterpunch, Sep 21 2016

Samantha Power was furious Saturday when a Russian demand for an emergency closed-door session of the UNSC forced her to show up at the UN building to explain Pindo actions. Vitaly Churkin called the session to condemn Pindostan for an attack on a Syrian Army position in Deir Ezzor earlier that day that had killed at least 62 government troops (perhaps as many as 83) and injured over 100. This was a clear, egregious violation of the weeklong ceasefire generally observed by the Syrian army and the “moderate” armed opposition. Pindostan immediately ceased the strike after the Russians protested. The Pentagon announced that it was not targeting Syrian forces, indeed apologizing to Damascus via Moscow for the loss of life. It says the incident is under investigation. But the impact of the attack is quite serious. Nearby Daesh were able to capture the site and advance towards Deir Ezzor’s airport, which remains in government hands. To prevent this, Russia has reportedly deployed more forces in the area. Meanwhile Syria accuses Washington of deliberately aiding Daesh to bring down the Assad regime. Power’s response? She showed up at the UN in a huff, told Churkin straightaway that she was not going to listen to him, and that the Russian demand for the meeting was a mere “stunt.” Leaving a deputy to chat with the other UNSC diplomats, she appeared at a podium before reporters to denounce the “stunt,” as a “cynical and hypocritical” effort by the allies of the horrible Syrian government to embarrass Pindostan. Her angry statement alluded only in passing to the killing of the Syrian troops.

Shortly afterwards, a clearly amazed Churkin recounted to the same reporters Power’s arrogant behavior. She was plainly irked that she would have to spend her Saturday night explaining to the ambassadors from Russia, China, Britain, France, Angola, Egypt, Japan, Malaysia, Senegal, Spain, Ukraine, Uruguay and Venezuela why Pindostan did this, or how it could have happened. Why, from her point of view, should Pindostan ever have to apologize, or even explain its actions, when it is so exceptional, and indispensable, and fundamentally good, whereas other nations are good to the extent that they cooperate with Pindostan (as the Toads do so dependably) and bad to the extent that they impede Pindo objectives, such as ongoing NATO expansion or more Middle East “regime change.” Power’s statement began:

Good evening, everybody. We are still gathering information at this time, but we have been able to confirm that, earlier today, Pindostan struck what we believed to be a Daesh target. We halted the attack when we were informed by Russia that it was possible that we were striking Syrian regime military personnel and vehicles. We are investigating the incident. If we determine that we did indeed strike Syrian military personnel, that was not our intention, and we, of course, regret the loss of life. This said, even by Russia’s standards, tonight’s stunt, a stunt replete with moralism and grandstanding, is uniquely cynical and hypocritical. Since 2011, the Assad regime has been intentionally striking civilian targets with horrifying, predictable regularity. … And yet, in the face of none of these atrocities has Russia expressed outrage, nor has it demanded investigations, nor has it ever called for a Saturday night emergency consultation in the UNSC, or a Monday day or a Tuesday day or a Wednesday day, Thursday day, Friday day, Saturday, Sunday, you name it, if there’s a day of the week, they have never called an emergency consultation on any of these practices. … And a year ago, at the UNGA, Russia decided to join the Assad regime, escalating the conflict, and perhaps worst of all itself adopting some of the regime’s worst practices: hitting hospitals, hitting refugee camps, hitting markets without a single public expression of remorse.

Thus Power shifted focus from the illegal attack on the army of a sovereign state to the alleged crimes of that state. In her position of moral bankruptcy and with no leg to stand on legally, she was reduced to schoolyard bully’s wonted weapon of ridicule.

Seriously? They’re calling this emergency meeting? Really? Now, because of a single airstrike, a strike that, if it struck regime forces, did so in error; a strike that we have swiftly acknowledged and committed to investigating, again, none of which the Assad regime or Russia have done in their airstrikes on innocent civilians. Now, of all times, Russia calls the entire UNSC to convene urgently so that it can stand up here and express outrage. Imagine how often this Council would be meeting if we were to gather every time the regime or Russia struck a hospital or a school or a breadline.

Or, one might add, if it were to gather every time that Pindostan struck a hospital or school or wedding party in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya or Pakistan. Notice that the Russians have not “demanded investigations” of these crimes. Russia did not call for a meeting last April, after Pindostan bombed a hospital in Kunduz, or in Nov 2008, when a Pindo airstrike killed 63 people including 37 civilians, mostly women and children, at a housing complex in the village of Wech Baghtu in Afghanistan. Power treats the slaughter of Syrian soldiers in “a single airstrike” (just one, after all) as a trivial matter, an irritation only because Putin wants to make it one. Just as her former boss Hillary Clinton has, in connection with the DNC email leaks documenting who her nomination was rigged, tried to change the subject to “Russian efforts to influence the Pindo elections,” so Power is trying to change the subject here from one minor Pindo atrocity to Russian support for Assad’s military. Churkin was diplomatically appalled. He told the press:

I have never seen such an extraordinary display of Pindo heavy-handedness as we are witnessing today.

He recounted how the livid Power had dissed him before storming out of the meeting room, leaving a deputy who merely stated that the attack was “under investigation.” Now the Russians note that the Jackass-Lavrov deal for Pindo-Russian cooperation on Syria so painstakingly negotiated as of Sep 9 is in danger of collapse. That would be very unfortunate, because the likely alternative is another Pindo regime change war, including a high possibility to aerial confrontations with Russia over Syria. I won’t say I “support” that agreement on Syria, which was soon embraced by the Syrian government, Turkey, Iran and the EU. I would support a mass uprising of the Syrian people towards the establishment of an independent, secular and socialist society that that empowers working people and promotes religious tolerance and gender equality. But that is not in the cards, any time soon. No, I’d say I’m relieved by the agreement, just as I was relieved by the announcement of the Iran “nuclear deal” in Apr 2015, as a sort of respite in the succession of horrible breaking news stories that is our time. It is a step back from war. Lenin declared that for a revolution to occur there must be a revolutionary situation and a revolutionary party. I don’t see any such party in Syria; instead, there is a welter of armed groups both foreign and domestic whose ideologies range from Baathism to Islamism and whose tactics range from the truly demonic to the merely vicious. Among these assorted forces the Syrian Arab Army and its allies have been most effective against the Nusra-aligned FSA (in fact a myriad of militias without a central command, led to the extent that they have any leadership by the CIA).

Before the outbreak of the so-called “Arab Spring” in 2011, Syria was (like most countries in the region) an oppressive, undemocratic police state with what the Pindo State Dept officials hypocritically and selectively term a “poor human rights record.” This record includes accepting “extraordinary renditions” dispatched by the Pentagon for torturous interrogation in Syria from 2001. It was on the Pindo list of “terror sponsoring” nations due to its support for groups that Israel considers terrorists. Still, Pindostan had enlisted Syria in the 1991 attack on Iraq, maintained diplomatic relations with Damascus, and welcomed Bashar al-Assad as a “reformer” after he succeeded his father in 2000. Hillary Clinton, as Sec State, had referred to him as such as late as 2010. But meanwhile a faction in the State Dept (best represented by the hideous ‘Bonkers’ Bolton during the Bush 43 administration) has pressed incessantly for regime change in Syria. Members of this faction have referred to Syria as “low-hanging fruit,” that is, easy pick countries ripe for the plucking. They have for some years been restrained by more cautious officials; Hillary Clinton, who if not a neocon by a technical definition is surely their most solid “liberal interventionist” ally, famously wanted to arm the Syrian “opposition” in 2011 (or rather, wanted to arm it more than Washington did covertly and through third parties) while Obama rejected her plan. But Clinton has positively boasted of this policy difference, as if to promote her war mongering credentials and win more endorsements from the likes of Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan.

The months leading up to the Lavrov-Kerry agreement saw the publication of a dissent memo signed by 51 State Dept officials urging that Pindostan target Assad, not Daesh, in Syria; the publication of a slough of columns by liberal pundits condemning Pindo “silence” and “inaction” in Syria; and Clinton’s repeated statements during her campaign that she favors imposing a “no-fly zone” over Syria (which really means war and regime change a la Libya). Hillary stated that after winning the election, she would make Syria her foreign policy priority. The writing seemed to be appearing on the wall. It really looked like more insane war, this time in Syria. I found a Boston Globe column by “the Internationalist” Thanassis Cambanis on Jul 3 especially troubling. Entitled “Syria nears the abyss, now’s the time to act,” it contained the bald assertion:

Military escalation in Syria today us the best of bad options. Even dissidents in the US Department of State have gone public with their desire for it.

Even the dissidents? What a shameless misrepresentation! In fact, what was at stake in July, following advances by the Russia-backed Syrian Arab Army, was whether Pindostan and Russia would work together to jointly target forces both consider terrorist and to jointly mediate a solution to the Syrian political conflict as favored by Kerry, or the State Dept neocons and allies would push for more war, producing more “creative chaos” in another Muslim country that bothers Israel. Cambanis openly advocated Pindo military intervention. The column conveyed the impression that everyone, right and left, agrees that of course the Pindostan should act—which necessarily means (not that he mentioned it), attacking a sovereign state, violating the UN Charter (again), facing Russian and Chinese opposition in the UNSC (unlike in 2011), and provoking Russia which has been helping Syrian state forces against the Nusra-ridden opposition since Sep 2015. As the TV anchor airheads responded to the viral video of the 5-year-old shell-shocked Aleppo boy rhetorically asking viewers: Why are we doing nothing? It did look like Hillary as next president would pull another “humanitarian intervention” like her husband pulled with her encouragement in Bosnia and Kosovo, and like she pulled in Libya. And given Russia’s investment in the survival of the regime, such intervention could produce very frightening results.

But from the first week of August the Russian Foreign Ministry began to optimistically predict a Pindo-Russian agreement to coordinate bombing raids on agreed-upon terrorist targets. The concessions entailed in this agreement are principally from Pindostan, and reflect the new facts on the ground since the Russian intervention beginning last fall. The Syrian regime has maintained control of most of the population centers, commands considerable support, and Assad is not going to step down tomorrow. Pindostan agreed to put the Assad issue on the back burner while focusing on the Daesh terror issue. Samantha Power’s explosion of indignation at the UN suggests that priorities may soon reverse again. The Russians have argued for a year that Pindostan and Russia need to draw up a list of groups to include on the terror list, since Turks, Toads and other Pindo vassals fund some of these. And when the Russians have bombed them, Pindostan has protested. It was announced earlier this month that the two governments had agreed on who is who, that Pindostan would instruct its clients to end ties with the targeted groups, that the government forces and opposition forces deemed legitimate (i.e. non-terrorist) would both observe a ceasefire, while the Syrian Air Force would suspend bombing operations and talks towards a political solution would resume in Geneva. This arrangement appears to have been another deft chess move by the Russians, who as you recall saved Obama’s ass when in 2013 he almost attacked Syria in response to (probably false) reports that the Syrian state had used chemical weapons against its people. Lavrov called up Jackass and told him Assad would turn over all Syrian chemical weapons to the UN if Pindostan would back off on the regime-change plan. Thus Obama was spared a legacy more hideous than that of his predecessor. He wound up merely presiding over repeated failed efforts to construct a proxy army in Syria by the CIA and SOF, which have produced multiple embarrassments since Jun 2015.

The obvious inability of Pindostan to produce regime change in Syria using reliable creatures and allies, global revulsion at Pindo aggression, the stubbornness of the regime and its forces with their level of popular support pushed Washington to respond positively to Moscow’s repeated requests for talks. Thus the agreement to co-sponsor a “transition” of some sort, of unspecified duration, avoiding confrontation. Over-extended and over-exposed, Pindostan appeared to be backing down in Syria. That could only be good. But now what happens? The main groups comprising the FSA agreed to the ceasefire. So did the Syrian government. The Russians and Pindosis jointly warned the “legitimate opposition” to steer clear of Nusra and Daesh lest they be bombed. The ceasefire up to Saturday had been a general success, although the delivery of humanitarian aid to Aleppo has been stymied, not by Russian or Syrian action, but by Turkish obstruction. The ceasefire has been rejected by the Turk- & Toad-backed Ahrar al-Sham, an AQ ally considered “moderate” by the amoral thugs who make these designations in the State Dept (and include it within what they call the FSA), among others. Meanwhile over the weekend a group called Ahrar al-Sharqiyya (within the FSA) drove out a small contingent of Pindo SOF from the Syrian town of al-Rai. Videos show a Pentagon convoy retreating back towards the Turkish border accompanied by locals calling Pindo troops “pigs” and “crusaders” and chanting “Down with Pindostan!”, “Get out, you dogs!” and “They are coming to Syria to occupy it!” One man declares:

We don’t want a single Pindostani fighting in Syria alongside us! We are Muslims! We are not infidels! Get out!

Is there any wonder that Pindostan has been unable to recruit a puppet Syrian army to achieve its regime change goals? It seems to me the Syrian armed opposition (as opposed to the peaceful protesters of the “Arab Spring”) is a kind of rainbow coalition ranging from truly secular soldiers who defected from the army out of some vague interest in fighting for human rights to Jihadis happy to behead or crucify pro-Assad children or enslave Yezidi women. Many members of the myriad groups will feel uncomfortable sitting on the sidelines while a new coalition of bombers targets their erstwhile comrades. It might not be possible to separate the “moderates” from the “radicals” if the former’s numbers are small. Pindo policy has centered (as have State Dept talking points certainly) on the premise that there’s a popular movement in Syria, based not on religious fundamentalism and intolerance but on liberal democratic values, that deserves Pindo support in its desire to topple the regime of Bashar al-Assad. It should be pointed out, should it not, that Washington was conspiring to overthrow the Syrian government, which it labels a sponsor of terrorism, for its own reasons long before the Arab Spring? And that Pindostan has a long history of using and co-opting mass movements to produce regime change?

The degree of success of the ceasefire from this point will show us how willing the opposition (legitimated by inclusion on a joint Pindo-Russian list) is to break ties with men that they (or many among them at least) have seen as brothers in the struggle, and watch them eradicated or dispersed by this unexpected alliance of pro- and anti-Assad forces. They know this weakens them as a military player, and as negotiators in Geneva in the future. It will be very hard for them to insist on Assad’s immediate removal as a precondition of peace talks if and when the main threats to the Syrian state have been vitiated and the national army is steadily advancing against the FSA militias. And (even) if Hillary wins the presidency and decides to ratchet up tensions with Russia starting in Syria, it might be more difficult as Moscow strikes the world (including the governments of China and India) as by far the more responsible, rational actor in the Middle East. Power’s Saturday night live performance at the UN, conveying sheer arrogance and contempt for world opinion, will not sway anyone over to the Syrian regime-change cause. It just draws the lines more clearly and reveals the depth of bad faith.

How could the USAF, with all the intelligence at its disposal, including Russian intelligence Moscow is eager to share, kill 62 likely conscript Syrian boys fighting Daesh, imagining they’re striking the really bad guys? I doubt it was done deliberately, although I wouldn’t rule it out either, given what we know about the way Pindostan has used Islamist forces in Syria in the past. But it shows a basic indifference to Syrian life, a willingness to screw up and then when criticized angrily fume that there’s lots of death going on, so why pick on Pindostan? Sort of like Samantha Power saying at the UN, as she always does, that given all the Palestinian attacks on Israelis, why pick on Israel when it (say) bombs the hell out of Gaza? Different standards apply, don’t you see? So if Russia in its determination to prevent an Islamist takeover of Syria and maintain a viable secular Syrian state takes on the terrorists, staving off the Pindo drive to topple Assad regardless (as in Iraq or Libya) of any consequences; and if Pindostan, having realized its need to cooperate to some extent with Russia to avoid the profound embarrassment of its destruction of Iraq leading to the conquest of Syria by bin Laden clones, cooperates for a week but then fucks up big time by bombing the key participant in the ceasefire and infuriating Russia; and then the agreement collapses, hey, isn’t it obvious? It was all a Russian cynical hypocritical stunt, designed to embarrass the leaders of the Free World in their ongoing noble efforts to spread freedom in the Middle East.

i don’t know where jackass got the idea that syria is a vassal of russia

Jackass demands no-fly zone over Syria
Raf Sanchez, Roland Oliphant, Telegraph, Sep 21 2016

Pindostan has demanded a no-fly zone over Syria to in response to a spate of airstrikes by Russian and Syrian jets that have left dozens dead and a cease-fire on the verge in danger of collapse back into full scale war. All aircraft over northern Syria must be grounded to prevent Assad’s regime from attacking civilians, Jackass said at a session of the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday. In a demand for an end to “business as usual,” Jackass said the recent bombing of a UN aid convoy that left at least 20 dead marked a “moment of truth for Russia and President Putin.” Jackass’ comments came hours after at least five staff from a French medical charity were killed when their clinic in northern Syria was hit by an airstrike, the latest in an eruption of violence since the breakdown of a week-long truce brokered by Pindostan and Russia. The Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations, known by the French acronym UOSSM, said three nurses and two ambulances drivers were killed when their medical facility was bombed outside Aleppo. Dr Khaula Sawah, the head of UOSSM USA:

This is a deplorable act against healthcare workers and medical facilities.

The strike is believed (by whom? – RB) to have been carried out by either Russia or the Syrian regime. Pindostan blamed Russia for the bombing of an Red Crescent aid convoy on Monday night, which killed around 20 people and prompted the UN to halt the delivery of aid across Syria. Meanwhile, Russian and regime forces resumed their bombardment of the rebel-held eastern half of Aleppo, with dozens of airstrikes pummeling the city. Abd’el-Kafe al-Hamdo, an opposition activist in the city, said:

It is unbelievable the number of airstrikes that are targeting Aleppo neighbourhoods.

The intensified fighting in Syria came as world powers gathered in New York for the meeting of the UNGA. Western diplomats said they were urgently trying to revive the ceasefire agreement with Russia, which they see as the only real path to slowing the violence in Syria and trying to restart political negotiations to be bring the five-year war to an end. But in a sign of increasing desperation, the two officials largely credited with achieving the ceasefire deal in the first place clashed as the UNSC met in a desperate attempt to save the ceasefire on Wednesday afternoon. Sergei Lavrov ruled out a fresh ceasefire unless “all sides” (ie Syria – RB) agreed, saying rebel groups had used previous truces as an opportunity to rearm and that Pindostan had failed to use its influence with militants to persuade them to respect the ceasefire. Jackass responded that his colleague was living in “a different universe” and accused Russia of deliberately obfuscating about the bombing of the UN aid convoy on Monday. But the bombing of the UOSSM clinic is a fresh setback as diplomats try to piece the truce back together again. The attack destroyed the three-story medical clinic and two ambulances in the rebel-held town of Khan Touman, according to the charity. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least nine militants were also killed in the strike, including some from Nusra.

i was very proud of myself for discovering b michael’s real name

Religious Fascism, an Israeli Minister’s Gift to the World
B Michael (Michael Barizon), Haaretz, Sep 21 2016

Last week, Education Minister Naftali Bennett said he prefers Jewish studies over science in order “to return and be a spiritual power and export spiritual knowledge to the entire world …. That’s how we’ll return to being a light unto the nations. For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” When the laughter died down, the embarrassment began. Bennett, the most enthusiastic exponent of Judaism in its most inferior form, is the leader of a party that has made the essence of Judaism uninspiring and Jewish tastelessness the essence. And now he’s the one who wants to teach the world with his party’s spiritual good. How embarrassing. But when the laughter and the embarrassment stopped, there was no choice but to admit it: Bennett can relax. He and his ilk have already made a unique contribution to the cognitive world; they have made a novel addition to political science: religious fascism, something that had never been seen before.

Fascism, in the clear definition of Prof Zeev Sternhell, is an ideology, not a form of regime, that views the nation, not the individual, as the almost organic, almost living über-entity. The nation is like a tree, and the people are but the leaves with meager rights. To glorify and preserve the supremacy of the nation, fascism requires a war against enlightenment, liberal democracy, individual rights and universal humanism. After all, these abominations put the individual in the center, and in doing so impair the supremacy of the national collective. In fascism, democracy isn’t a structure of values, but only an “aerobic” legislative technique, and culture is only meant to strengthen the nation’s spirit. As a result, these things must be enlisted to impose fascism, and/or to be emasculated by it. Racism, violence, thuggery and all the other dictatorial delights are just side-effects of the implementation of the fascist ideology. And that’s it. That’s the Torah. Those with sharp eyes certainly have noticed that one entity is missing: God. The Creator. The imaginary comrade in the heavens. Fascism has no God; not German, Italian or Spanish fascism. Fascism has always been secular, because it thinks only about the nation, not God. And then came the hardalim, the nationalist ultra-Orthodox types with Bennett as their prophet, or at least his son. Fascism with all its principles and ideology has joined God and His commandments. This matchmaking was very successful. The theological pretexts have joined with the fascist ideology, and together they better fight the Enlightenment and its abominations.

Equality? God forbid. What’s-his-name in heaven chose us only. Individual freedom? Religious freedom? Freedom of conscience? Freedom of movement? What’s-his-name doesn’t allow it. Freedom of expression? Just a bit. For now. Until further notice. After all, excessive freedom of expression could damage the people’s faith in what’s-his-name, blessed be he. Fraternity? Only between you and your neighbor, who’s like you, a member of the chosen people. “Brotherhood of nations?” God forbid; that’s for the atheists and communists. There’s no room for brotherhood between those who “go to the polls in droves” and those who have been chosen. Democracy? Eroding steadily. Its fingers are used time and again for self-emasculation. Culture? It’s becoming more and more ridiculous; fear, sycophancy, superficiality and vanity control it. Progressiveness? It has become a dirty word. Rule of law? It’s subordinated more and more to divine law. And nationalism, dark and evil in its own way, has returned, even though it’s ostensibly forbidden to Jews after the failed Bar Kochba revolt of the second century. In short, fascism in all its details and minutiae, and all in the name of God. And everything under the supervision of the rabbis, and all for the glory of the one holy nation, which continues to insist on being called democratic. It’s truly a unique invention, and it deserves its own name. Maybe “theocism,” maybe “religiousism.” It’s without a doubt Bennett’s Judaism’s unique contribution to the world. And we will achieve his vision.