Sunday, April 24

SecState John Kerry should quit lying about Syria

Today, on Palm Sunday in the Orthodox Christian calendar, Saudi-backed "militants" shelled the predominately Christian city of As-Suqaylabiyah in Syria as large numbers of Christians gathered to celebrate. AMN's breaking news report has video of the Mass inside Peter and Paul Church while explosions occur outside, during which one person was killed and four were wounded, so far. 

AMN CEO Leith Fadel noted at his Twitter page:
On Palm Sunday, the terrorists decided to bomb churches in the Christian cities of Mhardeh and Suqaylabiyah
All this talk about "saving Christians of the Middle East" -- you arm the people killing them! They're being killed by US weapons
They're being killed not only by U.S. weapons but also with weapons made in other countries that the U.S. government arranges to ship to Syrian 'rebels' -- who then outright sell them to Islamic State, Al Qaeda groups, etc., or 'lose' them to such groups during clashes. From an April 8 IHS Jane's 360 report filed by Jeremy Binnie and Neil Gibson in London at IHS Jane's Defence Weekly; emphasis mine:
US arms shipment to Syrian rebels detailed
Documents released by the US government's Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) website have provided an indication of the types and numbers of Eastern European weapons and ammunition the United States is providing to Syrian rebel groups as part of a programme that continues despite the widely respected ceasefire in that country.
The FBO has released two solicitations in recent months looking for shipping companies to transport explosive material from Eastern Europe to the Jordanian port of Aqaba on behalf of the US Navy's Military Sealift Command.
Released on 3 November 2015, the first solicitation sought a contractor to ship 81 containers of cargo that included explosive material from Constanta in Romania to Aqaba.
The solicitation was subsequently updated with a detailed packing list that showed the cargo had a total weight of 994 tonnes, a little under half of which was to be unloaded at Agalar, a military pier near the Turkish town of Tasucu, the other half at Aqaba.
The cargo listed in the document included AK-47 rifles, PKM general-purpose machine guns, DShK heavy machine guns, RPG-7 rocket launchers, and 9K111M Faktoria anti-tank guided weapon (ATGW) systems.
The Faktoria is an improved version of the 9K111 Fagot ATGW, the primary difference being that its missile has a tandem warhead for defeating explosive reactive armour (ERA) fitted to some tanks.
The rest of the report is behind a subscription wall at Jane's but one of the authors understandably considered the information so important that he published the entire report at his Twitter page. 

Since the report the ceasefire has been badly frayed under the onslaught of well-armed 'moderate' groups, a situation that the U.S. somehow blames on the Russian and Syrian governments.  

What the United States and its allies are doing in Syria is a war crime. Arguably the crime includes ethnic cleansing and possibly also genocide against the nation's Christians. But just because such arguments can be made, the U.S. civilian government and its military engage in subterfuges that would make it hard for a tribunal modeled on the 1942 International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg to prosecute them for crimes against humanity. 

Yet one would think that after the Janes report the U.S. government would at least be more careful in its language about Syria. From Peter S. Goodman's April 22 report for The New York Times, Russian Military Buildup Near Aleppo, Syria, Threatens Truce, Kerry Warns, clearly this is not the case:
The United States has so far resisted giving increased lethal military aid to nonextremist opposition fighters, including shoulder-fired anti-aircraft weapons that would render Russian aircraft vulnerable, but could fall into the hands of terrorists.
The Times didn't pull that sentence from thin air; while it isn't a specific quote Goodman's entire report is based on Secretary of State John Kerry's meeting last week with the Times Editorial Board. The Board had surely seen the Janes report and wanted answers before they carried any more water for the Obama Administration on the matter of  Syria. The Times has mutinied before against President Obama's prosecution of the War on Terror -- notably regarding Afghanistan -- and could do it again.   

The gist of Kerry's response to the Board's grilling was to double down on misrepresenting U.S. actions in Syria and the entire situation there. Yet I don't know what he thinks he's asking the Times to accomplish given that this is not 1990. Everyone who's actually following the Syrian War is using a variety of sources, including AMN, which are outside the reach of the American propaganda machine.

Short of blocking a long list of websites the U.S. government will have to keep coasting on the hope that the majority of Americans aren't paying close attention to Syria. Or Iraq. Or Turkey. Or Jordan. Or Lebanon. Or Libya, and the list goes on and on.


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