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Monday, April 30

Christopher Steele and Bibi and Skripal and MI6 scheming together?? [banging her head on the keyboard]

I quit

We hear that the documents he [Bibi] is said to present were compiled by one Christopher Steele and assembled with the help of one Sergej Skripal and his MI6 handler [redacted]. They will show that Iran attempts to buy yellowcake uranium from Niger.
The above is from Moon of Alabama's Netanyahoo [b insists on spelling Netanyahu's name that way] To Again Cry Wolf - But Something Bigger Is Up (Updated)  He also spells Sergei as Sergej but yes that's the same Skripal who was poisoned or whatever in Salisbury, England a few weeks ago and the May regime blamed it on the Kremlin and Trump went along. 

But hang on, I thought Steele was Skripal's MI6 handler. Nevermind. I quit, do you hear me? I can't take the stench of this much propaganda poo anymore. It's the internet/social media era that is making it possible to raise mountains of agitprop. I QUIT. Maybe I'll be back next Monday if I recover sufficiently. If not, this is good-bye.

********

So Israel is just trying to defend itself against Iranian aggression, eh?

Pink Moon rising last night in Saky District, Russia

Photo: Alexei Pavlishak/TASS

Netanyahu's regime hasn't owned up to the Pink Moon missile attacks on Syrian military installations. More about the attacks later but here I'll zip to Colonel Pat Lang's brief comments this morning at SST about a SouthFront report, Thousands of Government Supporters to be Evacuated From Al-Fu'ah and Kafriya in Eastern Idlibalso published this morning. The Colonel wrote:
This is part of the ongoing [Syrian army] process of concentrating surrendered jihadis and FSA fighters in a few areas where they can be dealt with on the basis of massed forces and firepower.
These Shia (not Alawi) villages are located just NE of Idlib City in the center of the province of the same name.  They have been besieged by the Sunni jihadis since 2015. It is my understanding that IRGC Quds force air has been supporting these villagers with ground advisers and supplies. 
(Read 'Saudi-supported' for those Sunni jihadis. IRGC Quds is of course Iranian.) The Colonel made no reference to the Pink Moon attack but I ain't deef. I burrowed around the internet and found this report, also from SouthFront this morning, and which takes for granted that the Pink Moon attack was Israeli handiwork.  Highlighting in the report is mine:

NEW ISRAELI MISSILE STRIKES ON SYRIA (LOCATIONS, DETAILS, CASUALTIES)


Last night a new round of missile strikes hit positions of pro-government forces in Syria. According to pro-government sources, the strikes were carried out by the Israeli military and hit three targets:
  • the 47th Brigade ammo depot east of the city of Hama;
  • the Fire Fighters Center in the western Hama countryside;
  • a military position around Aleppo Airport.
According to local sources, all these positions were belonging to Iranian-backed armed groups and the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Different sources say that 26-46 members of Iranian-backed forces and even Iranian service members were killed in the attacks. The Iranian media rejects reports about casualties to Iranian personnel deployed in the country.
A major part of the casualties was reportedly caused by an explosions of the ammo depot in Hama:
[two videos of the attacks on the Hama depot]

On April 30 morning, the pro-Hezbollah Lebanese TV channel Al Mayadeen reported citing a commander in Liwa Fatemiyoun (an Iranian-backed group operating in Syria) that no missiles had hit Liwa Fatemiyoun positions near Aleppo Airport. 

According to the Liwa Fatemiyoun commander, “the military facility is not damaged, there are no casualties among the personnel.”


The number of the fired missiles, according to Syrian sources:
  • 7-8 missiles were used in the area of Hama;
  • 5 missiles were used in the area of Aleppo.
There are also reports about some surface-to-surface missiles fired from Jordan. However, these are unconfirmed rumors.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) rejected to confirm that the Israeli military had been behind the last night missile strikes. This is a common media approach by the Israeli military.
Earlier in April, the IDF also rejected to confirm that its forces had carried out the April 9 missile strike on Syria’s T4 airbase. However, all the following activity of the IDF and Israeli leadership clearly showed that the strikes were carried out by Israel.
It’s important to note that the recent missile strikes took place amid important developments in eastern Idlib and southern Damascus:
Some pro-government experts and activists described the strikes as an attempt to undermine the reached evacuation deals.
On April 26, Israel Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened Iranian forces and bases in Syria with new attacks and said that “the Iranian regime is in its final days and will soon collapse“.
[END REPORT]
Ladies and Gentlemen I believe that's Bingo.

Israel's defense establishment didn't used to be stuffed with scoundrels, in my opinion. But that was before they came under orders from the Netanyahu regime to assist Saudi objectives in Syria. 

In this, I believe, the regime -- in a big hurry to score against Iran  -- has made a major unforced error with the Pink Moon attack.  

The shortest route in this case isn't the best one. You see, Riyadh and Jerusalem aren't natural allies. Tehran and Jerusalem are. Does the Riyadh regime know this? Of course they know. They've always known.

More on the Pink Moon attack from Sputnik, today:
 A series of powerful explosions that rocked military installations in Syria’s Aleppo and Hama provinces were apparently so powerful they were treated as earthquakes by a European monitoring center.
The tremors, ranked as a Magnitude 2.6 quake by the European-Mediterranean Seismological Center, were apparently detected in the aftermath of "powerful explosions" that occurred at the "the arms depot of the 47th brigade of the Syrian army” near Hama in the aftermath of the alleged attack, though the exact cause of this quake has yet to be determined.
[map showing reported area of earthquake, which was also felt in Lebanon and Turkey]  
According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the missile attacks that apparently hit several Syrian government military bases on Saturday evening might’ve been conducted by Israeli forces, though the country's representatives have refused to comment on the issue.

Earlier on Sunday, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman stated that Israel would continue to maintain its freedom to operate in Syria.
"We have no intention to attack Russia or to interfere in domestic Syrian issues. But if somebody thinks that it is possible to launch missiles or to attack Israel or even our aircraft, have no doubt we will respond, and we will respond very forcefully," he said at an annual Jerusalem Post conference.
Sputnik also reported today on another earthquake, of sorts:
Saudi Prince's Comments on Palestinian Issue Made People "Fall Off Their Chairs"
During a closed-door meeting with heads of Jewish organizations in New York, the heir to the throne of Saudi Arabia reportedly criticized the Palestinian administration for its alleged refusal to accept the peace proposals it was offered on many occasions.
Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, berated the Palestinian leadership for missing "one opportunity after the other" during the last several decades and rejecting "all the peace proposals" they were given, a Israeli Channel 10 News correspondent has reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.
"It is about time the Palestinians take the proposals and agree to come to the negotiating table or shut up and stop complaining," the crown prince declared.
Mohammed bin Salman also pointed out that the Palestinian issue is currently his country’s top priority, and that despite all this criticism a significant progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process would be required for Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to normalize relations with Israel.
One source also told the correspondent that when those in attendance heard the crown prince’s comments on the Palestinian issue, “people literally fell off their chairs.”
[...]
MbS is right, on balance -- although this is something Al Saud has known for decades. As to why he's making the admission now -- I think it's called 'quid pro quo.' 

But Palestinian refugees in Syria have been too busy fighting the bad guys there to complain. These Palestinians are fighting alongside the Syrian army not to mention Iranian, Lebanese, and Syrian Christian militias -- the latter wearing both Christian crosses and photographs of Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.

MbS knows all that very well, as do PM Bibi Netanyahu and the Israeli defense establishment.

******* 

Sunday, April 29

ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE: Syrian military bases hit by missiles from unspecified source UPDATED 12:30 PM EDT April 30

UPDATE:
See my post today, So Israel is just trying to defend itself from Iranian aggression, eh? 
END UPDATE

Photo from video footage of one strike


Breaking News: Military targets in Hama & Aleppo, Syria hit by missiles – state TV; RT. 

There is amateur video of one of the strikes; see RT website for the video. 

The RT report expands a little on SANA's terse report on the strikes.

The strikes come within a few hours of the U.S. greenlighting Israel's military to launch all-out war on Syria's military, although it wasn't put quite that baldly by IDF propaganda funnel Debkafile, which reported today at 19:42 Pompeo’s thumbs up for Israel to counter Russian-backed Iranian drive in Syria:
As US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sat down on Sunday, April 29 in Tel Aviv to discuss the Iranian threat, a Russian-backed Syrian force struck across the Euphrates to capture a string of US-backed fortified Kurdish SDF villages.
This incursion of a key US area of influence region in eastern Syria, if confirmed, would rip up a key element of the US-Russian deconfliction zones accord and provide Iran with a springboard for a leap up to the Iraqi border.
[...] 
Standing alongside Netanyahu, the secretary backed Israeli efforts to counter Iran in Syria. He said the US is committed to “rolling back to the full range of Iranian malign influence in Syria,” specifically mentioning “Iran’s missile systems, its support for Hezbollah, its importation of thousands of Shiite fighters into Syria.”
Pompeo added, “We strongly support Israel’s sovereign right to defend itself.”
DEBKAfile: This was taken as a US green light for Israel to take on the elements threatening its security from Syria. The secretary also stressed that the US would continue to fight ISIS and not tolerate the Assad regime using chemical weapons.
[More propaganda] 
Back to the RT report, published 29 April at 21:24; edited 22:22:
Powerful explosions have been heard in the countryside of Hama and Aleppo provinces, the Syrian state news agency reports. The state media says military bases there were his by rockets launched by an unspecified enemy.
The alleged attacks were reported by Syria’s Sana news agency on Sunday evening. Citing a military source, it said that “a new aggression with hostile missiles” took place at around 10:30 pm local time, targeting military positions in the Hama and Aleppo villages.
A Syrian law enforcement source told RIA Novosti that the army’s munition depots were hit, in what was most likely an airstrike.
There have been unconfirmed reports of injuries and fatalities as a result of the reported strike. Sky News Arabia reported, citing rebel sources, that up to 38 people might have been killed.
Videos posted online, allegedly from the scene of one of the strikes, show a massive explosion that lights up the skyline.
[END RT REPORT WITH MORE TO FOLLOW]
There will be more to follow at Pundita blog as well; I'll update this post as more information is available.

The strikes also come on the heels of significant gains by Syria's military. See SST's situation report, posted this evening about an hour ago, which begins: "Things are going from good to excellent for the R+6."  (R+6 = Syrian military and its allies.).

Yes, things have been going very well for the SAA -- probably too well from the viewpoint of Al Saud and its, uh, client states USA and Israel. As to how Erdogan is reacting to all this -- 



See FARS report today published 5:21, Russia Wants Ankara to Deliver Control of Afrin to Syrian Gov't.

*********  

Jack Keane borrows from science fiction to keep U.S. in Syria forever: Minority Report's pre-crime comes to American defense policy

John M. "Jack" Keane was an American four-star general and former Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army who retired from the military in 2003. He serves on several corporate boards, as Chairman of the Board at the Institute for the Study of War, and as a defense analyst for Fox cable TV news. 

Mr Keane has come up with a rationale for keeping U.S. forces in Syria that is sort of a homage to Philip K. Dick's 1956 science fiction short story, The Minority Report. From a discussion by Colonel Pat Lang (rtd) at Sic Semper Tyrannis on April 26, Neocon Jack Keane wants a permanent U.S.presence in Syria:
On [a Fox cable news] show today Keane pushed for a US policy in Syria that would establish a "security zone" in Syria east of the Euphrates and in the Kurdish areas east of Manbij. He was clear that he believes that this "security zone" should be held indefinitely, in other words, permanently.
[...]
Toward the end of his discourse this morning, Keane came to the crux of his argument. He said that a war is coming in which Iran, Hizbullah and the Syrian government will fight Israel and that the US must be in a position in Syria to defend Israel when that happens.
The Colonel assesses that Keane and now President Trump are in accord with a "Zionist fear" of Israel being encircled by Gentile (read "European") -supported Muslims in the region. 

Whatever Keane's motive, his plan for keeping the U.S. in Syria permanently is ripped from the pages of The Minority Report -- unless he got the idea from watching Pre-Crime, a 2018 documentary from Copenhagen that examines real-life policing techniques based on the 'pre-crime' idea created by Dick for his story. 

Pre-crime amounts to arresting a person to prevent him from committing a crime maybe sometime in the future. 

Those who read Dick's work of fiction, or saw the 2002 film loosely based on it, know it's a small group of not entirely infallible clairvoyants who determine that a person will commit a crime. The upshot as explained by Anderton, the head of the pre-crime agency in Minority Report:
"... in our society, we have no major crimes but we do have a detention camp full of would-be criminals."
Just so, Keane -- who has no credentials whatsoever as a clairvoyant -- has determined that to ward off a war that might never be mounted against Israel, the U.S. military must remain in Syria from now until -- well, until a majority of Americans get tired of a supporting a defense policy increasingly based on assuaging fears of foreign governments that they might be invaded by another country.

The (U.K.) Independent's April 5 discussion of the Pre-Crime documentary is a window on where such fears are leading:
... The film captures an increasingly monitored world in which every step, action and transaction can, and often is, being monitored. “Why sit and drink cold coffee in a hot car when you can just track them on their phone?” one official says of modern-day surveillance.

The widespread monitoring doesn’t stop just at phones and location sharing apparently. The film even makes suggestions that in America they are in the stages of assembling a scoring system for individual citizens, such as the proposed Social Credit System in China or also literally the 2016 episode of Black Mirror, ‘Nosedive’.

In Chicago, an algorithm has been created to predict its inhabitants’ potential involvement with violent crime, which creates a Strategic Subject List - known colloquially as the “heat list” - a comprehensive list of who it considers to be the most dangerous people in the city.
England is active in pre-crime too, with a predictive policing software known as PredPol being employed to predict areas where crimes may take place in order to deploy more officers to that area.

Perhaps using data in order to identify crime hot spots and assign more police to those areas sounds like good, solid, preventative police work but, as the film explores, there are drawbacks.
It is suggested that such pre-crime techniques can lead to major profiling, which reinforces pre-existing profiling issues such as race and socioeconomic status. For example, a young black man living in a certain postcode in Tottenham could be enough to align them with gang activity, despite any active involvement.
Even association with someone who has committed or been the victim of a crime is enough to be detected, as Robert McDaniel found out when police officers turned up to his door warning him he was being watched and was on the “heat list”.
McDaniel had never committed a violent crime, his only vices being smoking some weed and playing a little dice. And yet, he was deemed one of the most dangerous people in the city via this algorithm, which critics have used as an example of increased racial profiling by police.
The documentary goes back and forth between critics and advocates of pre-crime techniques, exploring areas such as guilt by association and the idea of reversing the longstanding stance of innocent until proven guilty into presumed guilt.
Regardless of the varying stances on pre-crime captured, the film’s overall message is that this is no longer a sci-fi-like vision of the future but is already here and in use. Although as worryingly pointed out by one critic of this algorithmic and unpredictable future, “code has no conscience.”
Code without conscience evokes the nightmarish fiction of Franz Kafka's The Trial, which is --
... the story of a man arrested and prosecuted by a remote, inaccessible authority, with the nature of his crime revealed neither to him nor to the reader.
That is the fate an American former four-general would envision for millions of Syrians if he had the capacity to think of them as human.

And that would be the fate of civilization, which cannot survive on the complete inversion of justice.

********


Saturday, April 28

Bringing Yemen War to Lebanon: Trump regime had better not be involved in any such plot

Quoting Bell, Kawar wrote, "Abdolrahman al-Sadhan, a senior advisor to Mohammed bin Salman [Saudi Crown Prince and now de facto ruler of KSA], has said that it is better to spread the proxy wars against Iran in Yemen to Lebanon."

An allegation made by an anonymous source would be one thing; leaked official correspondence from Jordan's Ambassador to the U.S. is quite another. 

I would like to believe Mike Bell, Trump's top NSC adviser on the Middle East, was simply passing along information to Kawar. But the Trump regime has clearly indicated in Syria that it continues the American post-WW2 policy of using an entire country as a chessboard and its people as pawns in order to achieve 'geopolitical' goals or help allies. Given the history, I fear there is more to Bell's discussion than relaying a remark.
 
As to who leaked the correspondence -- the report below doesn't make any mention, not even speculation. But from all accounts Diane Kawar is an admirable person. I can't see her approving of the kind of plot broached by the MbS adviser.   

Paper Discloses S. Arabia's Intention to Spread Yemen War to Lebanon
April 28, 2018 - 2:53
FARS

TEHRAN (FNA)- Jordanian Ambassador to Washington Dina Kawar's official correspondence and diplomatic exchanges revealed that Riyadh has been seeking to spread the war against Yemen to Lebanon, a Lebanese paper revealed.

The Arabic language al-Akhbar newspaper released the text of a letter written by Kawar to UAE diplomats on November 22, 2017 in which she elaborated on her meeting with Mike Bell, a retired US Army colonel who served in the Iraq war and is now Trump's top Middle East adviser on the National Security Council.

Quoting Bell, Kawar wrote, "Abdolrahman al-Sadhan, a senior advisor to Mohammed bin Salman [the Saudi crown prince], has said that it is better to spread the proxy wars against Iran in Yemen to Lebanon."

The Lebanese newspaper had also earlier this week disclosed a new document showing that the UAE foreign ministry had rendered all-out financial support for Hezbollah's adversaries in the upcoming parliamentary elections in Lebanon.

Al-Akhbar released a telegraph sent by Hamdan Seyed al-Hashemi, the UAE consul-general in Beirut, to the country's deputy foreign minister on December 19 to introduce 28 Shiite Lebanese candidates who have adopted strong positions against Hezbollah and Amal movement.

It also called for financial support for the candidates to launch election campaign.
Names mentioned in the message:

Qalib Yaqi
Hareth Suleiman
Manni Fayyadh
Hoda al-Husseini
Mostafa Fahas
Ali al-Amin
Mohammed Barakat
Imad Qamiheh
Hadi al-Amin
Hessan al-Zin
 Tha'er Qandour
Vazah Shararah
Omar Harqous
Ahmad Ismail
Manif Faraj
Loqman Salim
Malik Marvah
Nadim Qatish
Ziyad Majed
Saud al-Mola
Farouq Yaqoub
Abbas al-Johari
Sobhi al-Tofaili
Mohammed Abdolhamid Bayzoun
Ibrahim Shamseddin
Salah al-Harakat
Ahmed al-Asa'ad
Eqab Saqar.

Meanwhile secretary general of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement Seyed Hassan Nasrallah said his group sought a clean and fair election as the Arab country gears for a legislative vote.

[...]

[END REPORT]

********

Friday, April 27

Quite a few miracles connected with April 7 chemical attack in Douma.

Here's one:
... The other cylinder, while fitted with some crude fins, also remained in nearly pristine condition despite its “fall.”
The device miraculously did little to no damage to the room it supposedly hit, besides a large hole in the ceiling, which, however, was unlikely made by the object, according to military specialists.
“The cylinder has partially retained impermeability and is almost undamaged, which is impossible after a fall from some 2,000 meters, the usual altitude used by the Syrian army helicopters,” Kirillov said.
But chickens take top billing in miracles showered on Douma during the chemical attack:
The cylinder was likely hauled by the “authors of the staged video” from outside, the official stated, as “multiple chips and dragging marks at the stairwell” indicated. An apartment below was being used by its owner to breed chickens, and all the livestock miraculously “made it through the so-called chemical attack alive,” according to Kirillov. ...
The quotes are from RT's April 26 reportRussia 'won’t allow' another US military action in Syria based on false flag – OPCW envoy

Former CIA counterterrorism specialist and military intelligence officer Philip Giraldi has written a helpful article, published April 26 at the Strategic Culture Foundation, How False Flag Operations Are Carried Out Today.

Back to the RT report:
Russia’s envoy to the OPCW said it was crucial to avoid new false-flag attacks in Syria and that Moscow “won’t allow” US military action there, as he described details of Russian findings on the site of the alleged Douma incident.

New false-flag operations against Damascus are “possible, since our American partners are once again threatening to take military action against Syria, but we will not allow that,”Russia’s permanent representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Aleksandr Shulgin, said during a press conference in The Hague on Thursday.
The meeting was called by Russia’s OPCW mission and featured witnesses of the April 7 alleged chemical incident in the city of Douma. It highlighted the findings of Russian military experts, who were among the first to reach the site of the purported attack and locate the “munitions” that supposedly hit the residential buildings.
[...]
********

Everything sounds so much better in French: "Le fiasco du bombardement de la Syrie"

From Thierry Meyssan at Voltaire Network, April 24 -- In FrenchEnglish version.  

He makes the eyebrow-raising claim that FUKUS fired missiles at the presidential palace in Damascus (which were intercepted). Thierry lives in Damascus and was there during the FUKUS attack on April 14. But this is the first time I've come across such a claim; the palace was not mentioned in the list that Russia's military compiled of targeted Syrian sites. I just don't know; if it's true, then I'd toss it on the pile of other outrages FUKUS has perpetrated in Syria. 

I found this passage from Thierry's report almost funny in a macabre, Charles Addams kind of way:
The destruction [from the FUKUS raid] of the pharmaceutical research centre in Barzeh remains a mystery. This installation was in no way secret. It had been created with the help of France.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons inspected it five times and found nothing that could be linked to research on chemical weapons [3]. According to officials, in the context of international sanctions, the laboratory was carrying out research on anti-cancer products. It was not guarded, and there were no victims in the collapse of the buildings.
Neither did the collapse cause the dispersion of chemical agents into the atmosphere.
This situation cannot help but remind us of the destruction by the United States of the Al-Shifa factory in Sudan. In 1998, President Bill Clinton ordered its destruction, implemented by a salvo of four Tomahawk missiles, for a cost of one dead and ten wounded.
The US intelligence services had assured that the laboratory was developing nerve gases for Oussama Ben Laden. It turned out later that it was Sudan’s main centre for the production of generic medicines [4]. In particular, it made anti-AIDS medicine without paying the license to Gilead Science, a company directed by Donald Rumsfeld and George Schultz [5].
[...]
******** 

Thursday, April 26

British intel deceived Pentagon about a chemical attack in Douma?


On April 25 Unz Review published an analysis by Colonel W. Patrick Lang (retd) of conflicting claims from the U.S. and Russian militaries about the success rate of FUKUS missiles fired at Syrian government installations on April 14. At the end of the analysis the Colonel dropped a bomb:
The evidence for the Douma gas attack is nonexistent. The film evidence has now been thoroughly debunked as part of the information operations (propaganda) of the White Helmets scheme funded by the Saudis and largely conducted by the UK info warriors of 77 Regiment. It seems clear that US DoD was not privy to that IO project and for that reason SECDEF Mattis was blindsided by the deception. [...]
I don't like arguing with the Colonel, who deserves to be addressed in his retirement by his military rank. His wisdom and experience are vast, and from all accounts his sources in the intelligence and military circles of more than one government are very good.

However, I refuse to believe that Mattis, who surely knows the history of British intelligence manipulations of American counterparts, was blindsided in that regard. 

The Douma chemical attack hoax was so sloppily executed it didn't even rise to the level of a false flag operation. It was at the Spaghetti level of information operations --  throw it against the wall and if it sticks, there's the rationale for a bombing raid; if it falls off the wall 15 minutes after the raid, what are the French, British and American publics going to do upon learning they'd been misled by their governments? Sue?

The mistake that FUKUS made was to greatly underestimate the combined Russian and Syrian defense capabilities. As the  Colonel put it, "Obsolescent weapons, a fully integrated air defense and skill brought to the fight." 

In this I'd agree that Mattis was blindsided, but not by British intelligence. America's intelligence agencies failed him.

As to whether I think Trump was blindsided by the Douma chemical attack hoax, I'll put it this way: if Syria's government had as much wealth as the Saudi one, Assad could tell him the moon is made of mashed potatoes and Trump would believe him. At least for 7 minutes, which I think is about as long as he believes anything. Truth has no place in the world of Donald Trump. In his world it's all about perception management.

It's the same world that came to be in charge of the U.S. government. Isn't that dangerous for Americans?  Well, virtually limitless sums of money can go a long way to insulating people from reality -- until it doesn't, as that unforgettable scene in "Slumdog Millionaire" graphically illustrates. 

For those who never heard of 77 Regiment, see the discussion by Harper published April 25 at Col. Lang's Sic Semper Tyrannis website, Unmasking the White Helmets.  

********

Tuesday, April 24

"More American, French Military Convoys Arrive in Northeastern Syria"

FARS
April 24, 2018 - 4:21

TEHRAN (FNA)- The US and France have dispatched new military convoys to Hasaka province in Northeastern Syria, an Arab media outlet reported on Tuesday, adding that the American and French forces have increased their military movements in the Northeastern part of the war-held country.

Al-Manar TV network reported that a new American military column, including several vehicles, arrived in Hasaka city and later moved toward the town of al-Shadadi in Southern Hasaka.

The network quoted field sources as reporting that the US convoy of armored vehicles moved towards al-Shadadi from a military base North of Khabour Dam.

Al-Manar further said that three military vehicles under French flags entered a Kurdish militia base in al-Aliyeh silos region South of the town of Ra'as al-Ein in Northwestern Hasaka.

Another Arab media also reported earlier today that the US Army has set up a new military base in Hasaka province despite President Donald Trump's claims that Washington is resolved to withdraw forces from Syria.

Moraseloun news website quoted media activists as reporting that the US forces have embarked on setting up a new military basr between the towns of Tal Tamer and Tal Bidar in Hasaka province in Northeastern Syria.

It added that the US plans to set up a military airport near the base.

Donald Trump recently announced that Washington is determined to withdraw its military forces from Syria.

[END REPORT]

bin Trump and bin Macron have dinner at George Washington's home

After Trump’s helicopter landed at Mount Vernon, the two presidents, each holding his wife’s hand, walked a short distance and posed for pictures before they boarded golf carts that ferried them to the front door of Washington’s plantation house.
The couples were led on a brief outdoor tour before they entered the pale yellow building for dinner of Dover sole, pasta stuffed with lemon ricotta, and chocolate souffle and cherry vanilla ice cream.
Trump declared the dinner “really fantastic” before returning to the White House.
I'm sure al Qaeda would approve the menu given how much help bin Trump and bin Macron have rendered the organization in Syria.
  


Syrians support Assad but BBC won't report it, Baroness Cox says after fact-finding trip to Syria

"Please, may we leave the Syrian people the freedom to decide their own future?"

RT
April 24, 2018

Most Syrians support their president and military, but the BBC presents Britons with a different, one-sided story, a British baroness and member of the House of Lords told RT, after returning from a trip to the war-torn country.

Caroline Cox, a baroness and Life Peer in the House of Lords, recently returned from a tour of several Syrian cities, during which she spoke with a "wide range of people," including government officials, opposition leaders, artists, intellectuals, writers and ordinary Syrians walking in the park.

According to Baroness Cox, despite claims from western governments and media outlets, the vast majority of Syrians are thankful to President Bashar Assad and the Syrian and Russian militaries for fighting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL) and jihadist groups.

The Syrian people "are very grateful to the Syrian Army, to Assad and, I may say, for Russian help in getting rid of the terrorists. They are the perpetrators of the most appalling atrocities and killings."

However, British media like the BBC have done a poor job of accurately conveying this public attitude, Baroness Cox told RT.

"People are very keen to hear the point of view from people inside Syria. It's widely felt and widely reported that BBC reporting is very biased and very one-sided, and so they really want a bigger picture.

She also dismissed accusations that her trip to Syria was in any way inappropriate or was somehow staged for propaganda purposes.

The baroness explained how she spoke freely with random people she met in the park, "something that couldn't have been 'arranged' by the government."

"I talked to two delightful Muslim ladies in one of the parks in Aleppo, and that wasn't pre-arranged, and I asked them what they felt about the situation, and what they said was entirely consistent with what we'd hear in the formal meetings," she said.

Cox's message to the British people – and the entire world – is very simple: "Please, may we leave the Syrian people the freedom to decide their own future?"

[END REPORT]

********

Carla Ortiz and Roger Waters call out White Helmets as fakes

"We're being driven to war by a fake humanitarian psyops" - Max Blumenthal 








********

Monday, April 23

Catholic,Orthodox Christian leaders unite to denounce Syrian war; Orthodox leaders denounce FUKUS bombings

"The emergence of a Christian United Front against the war in Syria"
Voltaire Network
April 22, 2018

At the initiative of the Patriarch of Moscow, Cyril the First (Orthodox) and in collaboration with Pope Francis of Rome (Catholic), an alliance in opposition to the war in Syria is in the process of being welded between the following patriarchs: Bartholomew the First of Constantinople, Theophile III of Jerusalem, Theodor II of Alexandria, and John X of Antioch.

The initiative follows the Joint Declaration (see below) made by the Greek Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, Greek-Melkite Catholics of Antioch and the entire Orient on the bombings in Syria [by U.S., France, Britain]. This declaration was published in Damascus, the capital of Syria, on 14 April.

[END REPORT]

Voltaire Network
April 16, 2018

A Statement Issued by the Patriarchates of Antioch and all the East for the Greek Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, and Greek-Melkite Catholic
April 14, 2018
 
We, the Patriarchs: John X, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, Ignatius Aphrem II, Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, and Joseph Absi, Melkite-Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem, condemn and denounce the brutal aggression that took place this morning against our precious country Syria by the USA, France and the UK, under the allegations that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons. We raise our voices to affirm the following:

This brutal aggression is a clear violation of the international laws and the UN Charter, because it is an unjustified assault on a sovereign country, member of the UN.

It causes us great pain that this assault comes from powerful countries to which Syria did not cause any harm in any way.

The allegations of the USA and other countries that the Syrian army is using chemical weapons and that Syria is a country that owns and uses this kind of weapon, is a claim that is unjustified and unsupported by sufficient and clear evidence.

The timing of this unjustified aggression against Syria, when the independent International Commission for Inquiry was about to start its work in Syria, undermines of the work of this commission.

This brutal aggression destroys the chances for a peaceful political solution and leads to escalation and more complications.

This unjust aggression encourages the terrorist organizations and gives them momentum to continue in their terrorism.

We call upon the Security Council of the United Nations to play its natural role in bringing peace rather than contribute to escalation of wars.

We call upon all churches in the countries that participated in the aggression, to fulfill their Christian duties, according to the teachings of the Gospel, and condemn this aggression and to call their governments to commit to the protection of international peace.

We salute the courage, heroism and sacrifices of the Syrian Arab Army which courageously protects Syria and provide security for its people. We pray for the souls of the martyrs and the recovery of the wounded. We are confident that the army will not bow before the external or internal terrorist aggressions; they will continue to fight courageously against terrorism until every inch of the Syrian land is cleansed from terrorism. We, likewise, commend the brave stand of countries which are friendly to the Syria and its people.

We offer our prayers for the safety, victory, and deliverance of Syria from all kinds of wars and terrorism. We also pray for peace in Syria and throughout the world, and call for strengthening the efforts of the national reconciliation for the sake of protecting the country and preserving the dignity of all Syrians.

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This photo from ANNA news made me smile

Local of Saqba district in E. Ghouta talks with Syrian Army soldier 


The photo accompanies a March 26 Al Masdar News report, Tens of thousands of civilians [able to] stay in their East Ghouta homes after Syrian Army takeover – details

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Go. In the name of God go.

 Essam Al-Sudani / Reuters

The photo is included in RT's April 23 report US, France & allies should not leave, must build ‘new Syria after war’ – Macron. I'm refusing to read the report because I don't feel like barfing at this time in the morning. 

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Very helpful analysis of Syrian Army endgame from Sic Semper Tyrannis

"It is a strategy carefully planned and executed to avoid attrition warfare."

I'll post just the opening paragraphs from the sitrep/analysis, which includes a wonderfully clear map of the four 'official' de-escalation zones. Click on the map image to enlarge it.

The strategy behind the de-escalation zones
By "TTG"
April 21, 2018
Sic Semper Tyrannis

The recent advances by the R+6 in Ghouta, Yarmouk, Qalamun and beyond have laid bare the true strategy of the de-escalation zones established by the Astana Accords. They certainly were not meant to establish a new status quo of rebel safe areas guaranteed to torment Damascus for years to come. They are, I contend, a blueprint for ending the armed resistance to Damascus and reestablishing the territorial integrity of Syria west of the Euphrates. The eventual Turkish-Syrian border will remain a question for future resolution, one way or another.
The reduction of the Ghouta pocket, or de-escalation zone 3 as it was referred to at Astana, was a perfect example of the de-escalation strategy, a strategy to limit the death, destruction and suffering to a minimum while still attaining R+6 objectives. 
It is a strategy carefully planned and executed to avoid attrition warfare. It begins with an offer/ultimatum to the rebels. You can reconcile with Damascus or be bussed to the Idlib area. If you choose Idlib you will leave all heavy weapons and vehicles to the SAA. If you refuse this offer, the R+6 will unleash a massive punch of artillery and air power followed by a violent strike by elite SAA units. This cycle is repeated until the targeted rebels surrender, reconcile or fall in defeat. This strategy saves civilian lives and infrastructure and preserves SAA combat forces.
This is how the Ghouta pocket was reduced, piece by piece. As that battle wound down, pressure was kept on the Yarmouk pocket while the Tiger Force moved to Qalamun. That battle just ended with another victory for the R+6. It appears the SAA captured a battalion worth of older but serviceable main battle tanks (or more) along with much other equipment and ammunition. Damascus has also gained additional forces for their NDF units from reconciled rebels.
With the Qalamun pocket eliminated, the Tiger Force now is reported to be moving to Yarmouk to assist in the reduction of that pocket. Some of the rebels and even some Daesh elements already took the offer for bus tickets to Jarabulus after a savage artillery and air strike followed by a quick, savage advance by the SAA 4th Mechanized Division and the Liwa al-Quds Brigade. It’s just a matter of time [before] the last of the Daesh holdouts are no more.
[...]
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