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Question…

Written By: - Date published: 11:06 am, December 20th, 2016 - 84 comments
Categories: aid, International, Syria, war - Tags: , ,

Yesterday I came across a report claiming that the Security Council was meeting in camera after NATO officers had been arrested in eastern Aleppo. I sought verification (as you do) by looking for other news sources reporting the same thing, but didn’t find much of anything beyond scant reports referring back to the original Volataire Network source.

Today I came across Bashar al-Ja’afari, Syrian Ambassador to the UN, naming (at 32.28 in the linked vid) the foreign  military and intelligence officers referred to in the Voltaire report. Although he categorised them as ‘moderate’ rebels, he pointed out that they were seeking to escape eastern Aleppo with the terrorists. Note. There are two separate evacuations under way in eastern Aleppo. One is for moderates and civilians to government held areas and the other is transporting terrorists, who are allowed to carry their light arms, away from civilian areas .  The obvious question arises as to why foreign operatives, who are presumably linked to government agencies, would seek to evacuate Aleppo with terrorist factions and not with the civilian and moderates.  Could the answer be as simple as ‘difficult questions’ will arise as a result of who exactly who they are and their presence in eastern Aleppo? At 39.19 in the linked vid, the Syrian Ambassador responds to a question about the named operatives saying they will be captured and presented back to the media.

I sense a certain ‘unraveling’ underway for the story we’ve been being told about eastern Aleppo…

The entire press conference of the Syrian Ambassador including his response to questions is worth your time. He covers a lot of ground. He begins at 23.22 in the link. UN Resolution 2328 that he refers to is here.

84 comments on “Question… ”

  1. Stunned mullet 1

    Interesting guess everyone will await further development.

    Also interesting are some of the other headlines at that site

    http://www.voltairenet.org/rubrique120359.html?lang=en

    …three US rap stars denounce the Sept 11th lie…oh dear.

    • Bill 1.1

      You did read my post, yes?

      And you get the fact that I sought to find confirmation of the report because I didn’t know the source and because, if true, it was a kind of ‘ka-boom!’ piece of info?

      And you also get that the Syrian Ambassador appears to verify the authenticity of the report and that it is his press conference and not the Voltaire report that the post revolves around?

      Trash out Voltaire all you like. It’s incidental.

      • Stunned mullet 1.1.1

        Yes…which is why I suggested we’ll await further information.

        Must admit that I wouldn’t be hugely surprised if there were NATO spooks on the ground.

        ..and regarding the voltairenet….that US Rap song is…interesting…young singers these days…

    • Voltairenet is an important resource for the voice of secularism in the Middle East and Latin America. Yes there is a lot of ‘conspiracy’ content, but if you’ve been following them over the years, you’ll be aware that they also offer a vital non-Anglophone perspective in a world where we increasingly see even the left being subverted by Washington Post talking points.

    • Paul 1.3

      Youre a fool mullet.
      I predict you have read little about the Middle East, know nothing of Robert Fisk and Patrick Cockburn and can only debate by sound byte with your silly little comment about 9/11.
      You’re ignorant, lazy and opinionated – a terrible combination.

  2. Agora 2

    Official Washington’s dominant neocons have pushed emotional propaganda about Syria as a way to justify a “regime change” project there and are now furious with its apparent failure, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

    https://consortiumnews.com/2016/12/19/exploiting-the-tragedy-of-aleppo/

    “Among large-scale tragedies involving human suffering and the many examples of man’s inhumanity toward man, only a few capture our imaginations and sway our collective emotions. The question of which specific episodes achieve this special salience does not seem to depend on the scale of the suffering or even on the degree of immorality involved.

    The salience instead arises through accidents and vagaries of history. The villains in particular episodes may have been primed to play such a role because of previous affinities and alignments and how we had already come to see them as villains. Some episodes get more Western press coverage than many other episodes because of where reporters happen to be, what competition there is for headlines, or other random influences. All of this makes for much inconsistency in what grabs our heartstrings as well as our attention.”
    [continued ..]

  3. Peter Swift 3

    Confirmed by the Syrian Ambassador, you say? Well, he’s going to be bona fide trustworthy, isn’t he?

    Much more information needed to make an informed opinion than relying on a dodgy yes man and a single news source.
    Will wait.

  4. Ad 4

    Syria is just the latest unravelling.
    The entire Middle East is going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better.
    I don’t see any balance or détente between Iran or Saudi Arabia on any horizon.

    Oil will shortly no longer sustain the Saudi and Iranian economies and all they have is Shiite governments versus Sunni governments and proxies, who will continue with even more intense unstoppable chaos for generations to come.

    • garibaldi 4.1

      Exactly Ad. More wars. Doesn’t bode well for all these people who think we, as a species, can address and ameliorate CC does it?

  5. Both sides have foreign countries helping them out, so it’s not a surprise there were foreign advisors in east Aleppo (although “Morocco” was a surprise – presume that guy was just a volunteer, not an intelligence agent).

    As to these foreign advisors working with terrorists, everyone who’s taken up arms against the Assad regime is a terrorist as far as the Assad regime and its Iranian and Russian patrons are concerned, so of course Al Ja’afari says they were working with “terrorists” – from his point of view it wouldn’t have been possible for them to work with anyone else. Thing is though, Ja’afari’s the spokesperson for a despotic hereditary dictatorship, so his views on who’s a “terrorist” count for shit. He should be standing in the dock at the Hague with the rest of his pals. Further info required.

    • garibaldi 6.1

      And you think anyone who takes up arms for Assad is a terrorist. The great merry-go-round.

    • Bill 6.2

      I really can’t be bothered getting into all the entrenched opinions that swarm around this topic today. So I’m just going to make the following observation and leave it.

      If there are Jihadis and moderates and a government, then there are more than two sides.

      The government asked for foreign government military assistance and that’s perfectly aligned with international law. Any foreign government military assistance to any other actors in the conflict isn’t.

      On the ‘everyones’ a terrorist – don’t you recall that Russia and Syria agreed a ceasefire so that moderates could separate themselves from terrorist elements before they resumed bombing runs on terrorists? And don’t you recall how no separation occurred. There are a number of plausible explanations for that, yes?

      Bashar al-Ja’afari is the ambassador of a democratically elected government from this years elections (boycotted by Jihadists and their fellow travellers)…the Baathist Party won 200 of the 250 seats. You may think the election was a farce – US Senator Kerry did (although he could have beenreferring to the previous Presidential election of 2014) when he complained (and with a straight face too!) that no election could be granted legitimacy if millions of citizens are denied the vote.

      • Stunned Mullet 6.2.1

        Bully boy Bill can’t be bothered to commenting apart from

        ” ‘merica is evil M’kay and the Russians are simply saints called in by the democratically elected gummint to help,,,,,,,,,,,,saints I tells ya !”

        • adam 6.2.1.1

          I call BS on you comments stunned mullet. Full and utter BS.

          Have a wee look where bill stands in Syria and you will find that supporting the government and russia is not his position.

          As for your silly expose in a one dimension view of the world – how about you actually read what was said?

          To soon?

        • Bill 6.2.1.2

          Didn’t mention America directly.
          Didn’t mention Russia directly.
          Simply pointed to the fact of a democratically elected Syrian parliament because you were spouting about a “despotic hereditary dictatorship”. Maybe I should have pointed to the fact that three people contested the Presidential election in 2014 instead. (shrug)

        • Paul 6.2.1.3

          You know nothing about this subject.

      • Psycho Milt 6.2.2

        If there are Jihadis and moderates and a government, then there are more than two sides.

        There’s the Assad regime and its opponents – that’s two. If you want to start dividing things up finer than that, you need to define who’s a “legitimate” rebel and who’s a “terrorist,” which is only ever going to be subjective, and you need to take into account that there are Iranian regulars, Iran-backed militias and Russian regulars involved on the Assad side.

        On the ‘everyones’ a terrorist – don’t you recall that Russia and Syria agreed a ceasefire so that moderates could separate themselves from terrorist elements before they resumed bombing runs on terrorists? And don’t you recall how no separation occurred. There are a number of plausible explanations for that, yes?

        Leaving aside for a moment the fact that those bombing runs were against east Aleppo in general and hospitals in particular, there are a number of plausible explanations for that, yes. The regime’s preferred one , that there were no fighters in east Aleppo that an objective observer wouldn’t class as terrorists, is the least-plausible.

        Bashar al-Ja’afari is the ambassador of a democratically elected government…

        Now you’re just embarrassing yourself. His government is democratically elected in the same sense that Saddam Hussein’s was and Kim Jong Un’s is.

        • adam 6.2.2.1

          ‘His government is democratically elected in the same sense that Saddam Hussein’s was and Kim Jong Un’s is.’ Or the US government is

          • Psycho Milt 6.2.2.1.1

            I think you just won “False equivalence of the Year” 2016. It’s just a shame that you can’t be made to go and live in an actual dictatorship for a while so you learn to appreciate what you have.

            • Bill 6.2.2.1.1.1

              Aye well PM, I dare say there were a few Italians in the 30s spouting a similar line to their fellow citizens while pointing out over the Alps….

            • adam 6.2.2.1.1.2

              “live in an actual dictatorship for a while so you learn to appreciate what you have.”

              I have O’ smug condescending one. And I have to say not that much difference, because, and here the real kicker. Most dictatorships are not like your wet dream view of them is. They are not the an overbearing force, they just exist, on the whole – people police themselves. It’s when that fails, then it gets all kafkaesk up in your face. Again not sure why you are so smug, because I know people here who have had the deep state treat them very much like Josef.

              Plus the US, is littered with kafkaesk moments of late. And only a fool would chose to ignore that.

              That aside, I was just pointing out that by your own definition the nature of the US electoral system for President looks a bit far from democratic. Two parties, and Electoral College system – If that looks democratic to you, you have a low bar.

    • quokka 6.3

      Apparently the Syrian ambassador named military personel foreign to Syria who were captured in Aleppo.

      https://southfront.org/russian-ambassador-to-turkey-injured-in-assasination-attempt-day-before-ankara-moscow-tehran-meeting-over-syria-crisis/

      http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-19/russian-ambassador-turkey-has-been-shot-condition-unknown-cnn#comment-8653980

      According to one comment

      “it turns out the killer was a Gulenist, and was kicked out of the police special forces following the coup. He still had police id. That explains how he got close to the ambassador and how he gained skills in use of the gun. Now Fethulen Gulen himself is sitting safely in the US, even though Turkey has asked for his extradition following the coup”
      ..
      ID: “Mert Altintas, a member of Ankara Police’s special operations unit.”
      http://www.trunews.com/article/russian-diplomat-shot-in-turkey

      Syria is mobilizing its reserves. People who served and completed their service are now being called back to active service.

      Moscow has asked Ankara for a joint inquiry into the assassination of Ambassador Karlov.

      https://youtu.be/k9FRoWdGgL8

    • adam 6.4

      This is a civil war, so information and the evil people do gets twisted and warped. If it was such a nasty regime (as opposed to many others in the world) and completely evil as you imply, why has it lasted 6 years? Most evil and corrupt regimes would have fallen by now.

      I don’t support Assad, I hope you read this far. And I personally would like nothing more than see Syria devolve – I fully support the Kurd’s. Which by this countries definition makes me a supporter of terrorists.

      So let me point out our government, and other have thrown around the term terrorists a lot. The term is and has always been the states go to word for people opposed to a state. It is a word to label the opposition and make them; ‘the other’ or ‘the enemy’ or ‘evil incarnate’.

      • Psycho Milt 6.4.1

        …why has it lasted 6 years?

        Powerful friends. Without Russia and Iran, the regime would have been overthrown within a year or so. Russian arms and Iranian soldiers and militias turned the tide for Assad. It’s taken actual Russian military intervention to make it look like he can win, though (that said, the rebel side also consists to a great extent of foreigners by now).

        Too bad for the Russians – as the Americans have discovered, military intervention in the Middle East comes with painful blowback. Still, it’s not like they were forced to step into a Shi’a/Sunni conflict on the Shi’ite side.

        • adam 6.4.1.1

          So bad guy A) is backed by bad B), and on the other side bad guy C) is backed bad guy D).

          My point is without a modicum of popular support, all the outside help in the world would not help. Think Vietnam, think Cuba.

          The army has not defected in great numbers, nor have many from the middle class inside the regime controlled areas fled.

          Plus it not helpful to just talk in simplistic jihadist terms about Islam inside Syria. Did you know there was a substantial Christian community inside Syria? Did you know about 20% of all the sects (as we would call them) inside Islam are (were – by far the biggest target of ISIS systematic murder, were non- orthodox sects within Islam) represented inside Syria?

          • Psycho Milt 6.4.1.1.1

            My point is without a modicum of popular support, all the outside help in the world would not help.

            Sure he has some popular support – it’s a majority-Sunni country run with brutal violence by a Shi’a minority (kind of a reverse Saddam-era Iraq). You bet the Shi’a community is backing the regime.

            The army has not defected in great numbers…

            Not any more, no. The Syrian Arab Army was coming to bits pretty rapidly in the first year of the conflict, but once it got backup from Iran and Russia it recovered. It’s worth pointing out though, that a lot of the people fleeing Syria are young men of conscription age, that Iranian special forces and militias are doing a lot of the fighting, and that the regime still has to resort to shelling and bombing the cities in rebel-held areas because it doesn’t have the men to do much else. It’s only the Russian intervention that’s allowed them to mount a ground assault on east Aleppo, and even then a significant proportion of the fighters are Iranians or their puppets (eg, Hisb’allah).

            …, nor have many from the middle class inside the regime controlled areas fled.

            Well, no. Of course, if the rebels were winning and it was the regime-controlled areas getting shelled and bombed to rubble, those people would be heading for Europe just like the others.

            Plus it not helpful to just talk in simplistic jihadist terms about Islam inside Syria. Did you know there was a substantial Christian community inside Syria? Did you know about 20% of all the sects (as we would call them) inside Islam are (were – by far the biggest target of ISIS systematic murder, were non- orthodox sects within Islam) represented inside Syria?

            I do know that, but it’s irrelevant. This has become a war fought between Shi’a clients of Iran vs Sunni clients of the Gulf states – it’s helpful to talk about it in those terms because that is in fact what the terms are.

            • adam 6.4.1.1.1.1

              “I do know that, but it’s irrelevant. This has become a war fought between Shi’a clients of Iran vs Sunni clients of the Gulf states – it’s helpful to talk about it in those terms because that is in fact what the terms are.”

              Thank you for your propaganda victory for ISIS. Breaking it down to Sunni and Shi’a fight, and that is what it is. It also means that that ISIS gets a free hand killing anyone who is not their type of Sunni. So please note I find your dismissive nature towards this quite disturbing.

              So in your view when a army goes a bit pear shaped in the first year of a civil war, which is common by the way. That is the army falling apart. They did lose some members of the military, but if you take the time to look. The bulk of the officers and more importantly, the NCO’s stayed with the army. That is telling. And yes a majority of young men don’t want to fight, add that it’s a civil war, and, good on them for leaving. Have you ever talked to anyone who survived a civil war? If not, I think you should.

              I think you are over playing the hand of Russia and Iran, I also think the same can be said for the Turks and the US. Civil wars are messy and nasty without being a international play ground, which this conflict is becoming more and more. Add in the Kurd’s, who now run substantial parts of Syria and it is a shit bag. Like I said at the beginning, and have always said the only people I support are the Kurd’s.

  6. Huginn 7

    Turkey is recruiting.
    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/12/turkey-syria-ankara-recruit-militants-from-aleppo.html

    Syria is extremely complicated. The best explanation I’ve heard so far comes from former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy. He thinks that there are secret agreements in place between Russia and Syria’s neighbours, much like the secret Ribbentrop-Molotov agreements.

    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.745072

    • Bill 7.1

      And so are we pointed to a potential ‘pragmatic’ un-Holy alliance between Assad and Erdoğan for the purpose of defeating the peoples of the Autonomous Regions of Rojava?

      I expect so even as I hope not 🙁

  7. Morrissey 8

    The Hypocrites Crying Over Aleppo
    Anyone who is unwilling to volunteer their own children to fight to stop the killing and liberate Syria has no right to preach morality to anyone else
    by GIDEON LEVY, Haaretz, Dec. 15, 2016
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.759084

    They’re the worst, the hypocrites and the self-righteous. The ones who are shocked at the scenes from Aleppo, tsking as they watch television and certain that the world has to do something. The world, but not they and not their country. Urgently, right now, without delay, but not they and not their country. They are assuaging their conscience, so beautiful, superior and moral in their own eyes. They are after all not indifferent to the horrors of Aleppo; they are people of conscience and justice and this pains them.

    It pains them so much – they can’t sleep at night at the sight of the dead children, they think about their grandmothers and grandfathers in the Holocaust and how the world stood by and did nothing and how this must not be allowed to happen again. Never again. But not they and not their country. Somebody else. Israel, after all, can’t. It is an enemy country and so it can’t interfere, and it’s a special case and therefore it can’t take in refugees, like Sweden for example.

    They are the worst of all, the hypocrites and the self-righteous. People who rejoice over the scenes from Aleppo – and we have those, too – are preferable. At least they’re honest.

    Israelis are divided over Syria. Many hope for success for all sides. Arabs killing Arabs is always good news to them. Not only because of the pleasure over the killing (of Arabs), but because this shows the true face of our enemies. Look, world, at who we’re dealing with. With what animals. This is what would happen to Israel if it withdrew from the Golan Heights. This is what would happen to Israel if it withdrew from the West Bank. This, too, is what will happen if it withdraws from Amona. Aleppo also serves to diminish the occupation’s horrors.

    The second group is the indifferent people. What does all that have to do with them? Israel is not involved, and all the rest is not interesting. In fact, nothing interests them except for their own private world. Occupation-shmockupation, asylum-seekers, Syria. Just leave us alone to plan our next vacation in peace.

    The third group are the people who are horrified and not willing to lift a finger. They have plenty of excuses, just like Europe had in the 1930s. They are shocked not only by the horrors but also by the world’s response. What a crappy world, they post on Facebook.

    But none of this group wants their kid to go off and fight to liberate Syria. They only volunteer European soldiers and the U.S. to do it. Anyone who is unwilling to volunteer their own children has no right to preach morality to anyone else. At least they should keep quiet in their shamefulness. Why should a mother from Connecticut agree to what a mother from Ramat Hasharon won’t? The last time Jews went off to fight for someone else was in the Spanish Civil War. Worth remembering.
    Instead of intervening militarily Israel should have at least opened its gates. Not to a smattering of wounded people selected according to their organizational affiliation, treated in front of the propaganda cameras and sent right back into the inferno – as Israel does – but to open the gate to refugees. Yes, tens of thousands of Syrians, hundreds of thousands even – what would happen? – should be offered asylum in Israel. It wouldn’t be easy. It’s not easy for Syria’s other neighbors, Turkey and Jordan. It’s not easy to take in millions of people. It’s not easy for Sweden either.

    Israel is always a “special case” in its own eyes. It is exempt from obligation to foreigners in distress except for building field hospitals in far-away disaster zones, and even then only for a moment and in front of the cameras. But Israel should have done something: 1. Because of the past; 2. Because it shares a border with Syria. And it is doing nothing. Not lifting a finger. In that it is no different from the locked-gate countries in Europe.

    Under these circumstances at least let’s not be hypocritical and self-righteous. We should admit the truth: The fate of the Syrians touches us not in the least and in no way on earth are we a moral country.

    Gideon Levy
    Haaretz Correspondent

    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.759084

    • barry 8.1

      All very well, but if we send our sons to fight (liberate Syria) then aren’t we just adding to the problem.

      • Morrissey 8.1.1

        The fools who do send their deluded sons and daughters to fight for ISIS and Al-Nusra and Al Qaeda in Syria are not interested in “liberating” anyone.

        • Robert Glennie 8.1.1.2

          Al Qaida, Al-Nusra and Daesh Just like terrorising the innocent. And those who join are tricked into believing that their sons and daughters will become martyrs of some sort.

          Actually there are quite a few starting to desert having realized at the expense of being welcome back in the countries where they came from that Daesh and cohorts are horrible human hating people.

    • Brokenback 8.2

      What a load of cobblers!
      Israel is very much actively involved in Syria.
      What was the conduit for for the arms/munitions/intelligence for Al Nusrah/Da’esh ?
      Who supplies modern medical care for the Jihadi fighters .
      Israel .
      Who supplies the money?
      Saudi/Qatar .
      Who supplies the weapons/ordanence ?
      Nato.

      • Bill 8.2.1

        The physical conduit for arms and what not to Al Nusra et al has been and is the Turkish border. Turkey has also been providing medical needs for Jihidis. That much has been fairly well established.

        Money has been supplied by the Saudis and others, including the EU, UK and US via (at least) funding of the (very) white helmets – a supposedly neutral rescue org that just happens to only operate in terrorist held areas and whose members have fairly extensive links to terrorist orgs if member’s twitter feeds are anything to go by. That and the fact members have been shown to be quite openly jubilant on the back of lorries loaded with the corpses from the Syrian army; with Al Nusra on the streets; present at summary executions; directly involved in the transportation and execution of Syrian soldiers.

        Then there are the dynamics behind the illegal and onerous sanctions that are currently in place on Syria…with the exception of terrorist held areas. Seriously. The US/EU/UK sanctions were tweaked to exclude areas not under control of the government.

        Israel’s involvement (I’m sure there is involvement) is very discrete. If you think about it, that makes sense. We wouldn’t want overt Israeli involvement suddenly galvanising formerly disparate groups around some new and obvious common cause that might divert energies away from regime change now, would we?.

  8. One Anonymous Bloke 9

    A major reason to spy is that it reduces the chance of war. In wartime, it shortens the conflict.

    Syria’s civil war, like all civil wars, is beyond awful cf: Hobbes et al.

    How can it be brought to a conclusion without further slaughter or a conversation? Any nation that seeks to broker the conversation is in need of first hand information on the ground.

    Ditto those who prefer slaughter.

    • Bill 9.1

      Hmm. And these ones are of the ilk that prefer on-going slaughter. Sadly.

      Why else bunker down with, and try to protect and promote by various routes and tactics, those self same designated terrorist groups that your own political masters (at least publicly) claim to be in opposition to?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1.1

        Why else?

        Firstly, it depends on motive. Let’s assume a humanitarian motive for the sake of argument.

        To broker a ceasefire you have to talk to the guys with the guns. If you know of a way to end a civil war without getting all the sides to a table, I’m all ears.

        • Bill 9.1.1.1

          If it was a humanitarian motive, they’d be leaving with the civilians and not trying to get out and away with the terrorists.

          They weren’t there to broker a cease-fire.

          On your broader point about getting all sides around a table to talk, I agree.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1.1.1.1

            1. So, get close to them, gain their trust, try to get them ’round the table, then bail as soon as they have to retreat…

            2. If they’re spooks, how are their identities even verifiable?

            3. Cui bono?

            • Bill 9.1.1.1.1.1

              But they didn’t bail and apparently aren’t bailing through the obvious routes.

              You were the one who refered to them as spooks, not me. I think they’re military operatives facilitating logistical and financial support alongside whatever expertise they have to offer. But then, I’m a cynic and so would think that.

              Cui bono? From prolonging the Syrian conflict and preventing the government and its foreign military allies bringing things to a conclusion? Well, the peeps who want regime change of course.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                military operatives facilitating logistical and financial support alongside whatever expertise they have to offer.

                aka spooks.

                The “prolonging the conflict” scenario may be true; so may the “broker a ceasefire*” scenario. And a bunch of others besides.

                *there was a ceasefire “agreed” then breached, I hear…?

                • Bill

                  C’mon OAB! Did you even view the vid? If true, we’re looking at several Saudi military personnel in east Aleppo, who you reckon might be there to broker peace?!!!!

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    If they’ve any sense (which I doubt), that’s exactly what they oughta be doing.

                    If I were an enemy of Saudi Arabia I would make sure to help their other enemies get fake Saudi identities, or even give them to my spies.

                    The Assad faction are very sure of their facts, apparently. and if we take them at face value all we really know is that some spies have been caught in a civil war zone.

                    It’s like those Israelis with false passports caught in Christchurch – we know they were there – it’s what they were doing that’s the issue.

                    Can we assume that because Saudi Arabia is a racist gang-state these individuals must be up to no good, and that the same can be said of Russia and the US? I just want them to stop killing people, and at a local level, for us to not help them.

                    • Bill

                      You asking that question of me or putting it out into the general ether as it were?

                      No government of any nation state is legitimate in my book. Some may behave better than others, but that doesn’t alter the basic fact that they are illegitimate.

                      I’ve said it before, but will say it again – the only expression of political will I support in Syria is that of the peoples of Rojava – assuming the pieces I’ve read on their attempts to form meaningful forms of democratic governance are accurate.

                      Outside of that I empathise with the ordinary women and children and men of Syria.

                      The rest – the Jihadis, the US, Russia, the government of Syria and who-ever or whatever else may be trying to exert illegitimate authority or influence over people or peoples can fuck off to hell in a hand basket as far as I’m concerned.

                      But I’m not in Syria which is why I can afford moments to indulge in ideals.

                      I acknowledge that in Syria right now (putting Rojava aside) , people really are restricted to choosing between the lesser of x evils.

                      I think that most people in the current situation – even those who dearly want shot of Assad – would, given the alternatives, opt for Assad at the moment.

                      But whatever. Everyone needs to get the fuck out of there and give the people who live in Syria a genuine shot at shaping their own future.

                      rant over….

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      A lot saner than the average rant 🙂

                    • Stunned mullet

                      Well said Bill.

  9. the pigman 10

    New question:

    Which state actor doesn’t wan’t to see an improvement in bilateral Russian-Turkish relations or trilateral Russian-Turkish-Iranian relations? And has the most to gain from continued chaos and mayhem in Syria?

    • Bill 11.1

      Seriously? You post a ‘B’ grade propaganda piece because you think it encapsulates or captures the situation or something? Good god.

      • Anne 11.1.1

        Who said it encaspulates the situation. Of course it did not. The fundamental message is there though and its good to know it has spread far and wide because most people don’t take the time or have the inclination to study/research the complexities of the crisis like yourself and other students of Middle Eastern affairs. Short, simple and presented in a moving way is how you get the majority of people to understand the true horror of the conflict.

  10. Jenny 12

    “Protestors condemn Russian involvement in atrocities in Aleppo”

    http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2016/12/19/protestors-condemn-russian-involvement-in-atrocities-in-aleppo/

    Wellington, NZ, 16 December  – About three dozen people attended a rapidly organised protest outside the Russian Federation’s sprawling  embassy in Messines Rd, Wellington.
    The protest was organised  by Syrian Solidarity New Zealand and supported by local members of International Socialist Organisation (ISO). The gathering soon doubled in size from a dozen people to around three dozen;

    Frank Macskasy

    Phil said he was  a member of  the NZ Labour Party, and said that this demonstration  would have “huge support from the public in general”. He said that his daughter had been collecting for UNICEF for Syria and the public had expressed their support for the Syrian peoples’ struggle. He pointed out that more people would have attended the protest, had it not been called at such short notice.
    Phil referred to the Arab Spring coming to “some fruition” in five countries in the Middle East and said that it”can’t simply be attributed to terrorists”.
    He said it was a “huge lie to describe the opposition to Bashir al-Assad as simply terrorist opposition”.
    The protest concluded with loud chants;
    “Russia out of Syria!”

    Frank Macskasy

  11. Jenny 13

    A certain section of the Left in this country, and overseas, have sided with the Syrian regime. And deny the validity of the Arab Spring in Syria.

    This might sober them up.

    “America’s gulag: Syrian regime was a ‘common destination’ for CIA rendition”

    http://www.albawaba.com/news/rendition-syria-torture-468616

    • Paul 13.1

      Jenny have you read the articles by Patrick Cockburn, Robert Fisk, Peter Oborne and other independent ( not embedded or writing from their office in the west, but on the ground close to the events) journalists ?

      • Agora 13.1.1

        Jenny, where have you been all these years ?
        Friends sometimes fall in love – and also out of it.

      • Psycho Milt 13.1.2

        Fisk, Cockburn et al have written plenty about the Assad regime’s expertise at torture and the USA’s use of that expertise via rendition. Maybe you should try reading them a bit more yourself.

  12. greywarshark 14

    Just looked up Helen Springs Station australia on the internet. There are also good images of the road train now used to take the cattle for slaughter off the broad acres of the Station. Which once would have been the open roaming ground of Aborigines.
    They got shifted and shafted when better use of their land than their natural preserve was the focus of interest. Then cattle were put there and grew up and got shifted off also. Wikipedia has a history of the site and recently operated by giant meat producer Vesteys.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Springs_Station

    Big trucks in line shifting cattle in Australia. Aleppo with big trucks trying to shift people of a contested piece of land. Organised transfer of people no longer wanted, their being and lives unimportant, in the way of a bruising contest between coarse and brutal entities cloaked in the appearance of modernity and civility. Will that be seen more frequently soon, as stress, despair and the madness already apparent expands?

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s words from Germany WW2 –
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dietrich_Bonhoeffer#Works_by_Bonhoeffer

    “First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out.
    Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out.
    Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out.
    And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”

    and
    It is the nature, and the advantage, of strong people that they can bring out the crucial questions and form a clear opinion about them. The weak always have to decide between alternatives that are not their own.
    and
    The essence of optimism is that it takes no account of the present, but it is a source of inspiration, of vitality and hope where others have resigned; it enables a man to hold his head high, to claim the future for himself and not to abandon it to his enemy.
    Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/d/dietrich_bonhoeffer.html

  13. greywarshark 15

    Bill
    I just noticed that the Network source is Voltaire. Your link takes us to the source, but for the future it might not be found if not correct in the search window.

    • Bill 15.1

      I don’t understand what you’re saying. I just hit the link and it goes to the short report on voltairenet.org – as intended.

      edit – Ah! A spelling mistake. Got you.

  14. simonm 16

    While there are no doubt terrible things are happening in Aleppo right now, the allegations that “Assad, Russia and Iran are evil, genocidal maniacs!” vs. “Those poor helpless ‘moderate rebels’ & “Won’t someone please think of the children?” hand-wringing are a simplistic argument at best and downright cynical propaganda, promoted Gulf State lobbyists, at worst.

    In this instance, I prefer the analysis of Robert Fisk; one of the few honest purveyors of information about the Middle East in my opinion (even if I don’t always agree with what he says).

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/aleppo-falls-to-syrian-regime-bashar-al-assad-rebels-uk-government-more-than-one-story-robert-fisk-a7471576.html

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/samantha-power-un-us-ambassador-america-syria-aleppo-massacres-srebrenica-rwandan-genocide-bizarre-a7476556.html

  15. JonL 17

    It’s not surprising Nato operatives are in with the “rebels” in Aleppo. They are embedded in most of the “rebel” forces operating in Syria – including Daesh. People should realise this is a proxy war fought over potential oil/gas pipelines, Saudi Arabia/ Quatar/ USA etc. on one side, (the “West”), Iran/Russia/Syria on the other. The West is using a re-branded Al Quaeda and the Daesh monstrosity to do their dirty work for them, utilising initially, disaffected groups in Syria acting against Assad, who, like Saddam and Gaddaffi, relies on the voting block of his majority tribal affiliates to keep him “legitimately” in power. There is no “right” or “wrong” side in this nasty conflict – there is “legal” and “illegal” – the Syrian/Russian/Iranians have the provisions of international law on their side – they are fighting an attempted overthrow of a legitimate government (no matter how much you may despise it), by internationally recognized Terrorist groups, supported by those who labelled them terrorist groups!
    Add to that, the severe drought affecting the area, and the normal citizens are caught between a bomb and a hard place and as usual, are the ones who really suffer!

    The “Rebels” are not nice people – as often implicitly portrayed in the MSM – they are viscous murdering jihadists, who, if they took over Syria (which, for all it’s purported viscous dictatorshipness, was a non secular country ), would drag it back to an Islamist hell hole like Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, …….
    Whoops!

  16. Jenny 18

    “Question….”

    The regime reported that they arrested NATO officers in Aleppo on the morning of December 16.

    In answer to your question Bill I think that by now we can safely conclude that it all never happened.

    And it was just another fake story, part of the false narrative being peddled for the consumption of gullible liberals in the West that the Assad Junta is not facing a popular revolt by the Syrian people but US/NATO sponsored regime change.

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