Syrian no-fly zone may mean nuclear war, United States general warns


This 2014 video is called VERY GRAPHIC – Jabhat al-Nusra executing and brutally beheading 3 Syrian civilians.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

Top US general warns Syrian “no-fly” zone means war with Russia

24 September 2016

The enforcement of a “no-fly” zone in Syria would mean a US war with both Syria and Russia, the top US uniformed commander told the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday.

Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spelled out the grave implications of the policy advocated by both predominant sections within the Republican Party as well as Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton amid rising violence in Syria and increasing pressure by Washington on the Russian government to unilaterally agree to grounding its own aircraft as well as those of the Syrian government.

Secretary of State John Kerry has repeatedly demanded that Russia adhere to what would essentially be a one-sided “no-fly” zone under conditions in which US warplanes would continue carrying out airstrikes.

Kerry presented his proposal as a means of reviving and restoring “credibility” to a ceasefire agreement that he and the Russian Foreign Minister negotiated on September 9. This cessation of hostilities collapsed less than a week after its implementation in the face of hundreds of violations by US-backed Islamist “rebels” who have refuse to accept its terms, as well as two major back-to-back attacks.

The first was carried out by US and allied warplanes one week ago against a Syrian army position, killing as many as 90 Syrian soldiers and wounding another 100. Washington claimed that the bombing was a mistake, but Syrian officials have pointed to what appeared to be a coordination of the airstrike with a ground offensive by Islamic State (also known as ISIS) fighters who briefly overran the bombed position.

This was followed on September 19 by an attack on a humanitarian aid convoy in Aleppo that killed at least 20 and destroyed 18 trucks. The US immediately blamed Russia for the attack, without providing any evidence to support the charge. Russia and the Syrian government have denied responsibility and suggested that the so-called “rebels” shelled the convoy.

The US position was reflected in the testimony of both Dunford and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter before the Senate panel Thursday. The general admitted to the committee, “I don’t have the facts,” as to what planes carried out the attack, but quickly added, “There is no doubt in my mind that the Russians are responsible.” Similarly, Carter declared, “The Russians are responsible for this strike whether they conducted it or not.”

The collapse of the ceasefire under the weight of these incidents abrogated an agreement that had been bitterly opposed by both Carter and the Pentagon’s uniformed command. The latter have publicly declared their opposition—in terms bordering on insubordination—to the deal’s provision for coordinated actions and intelligence sharing with Russia, which America’s top generals see as the main enemy.

This view was reiterated Thursday by General Dunford, who declared that based on the “combination of their behavior and their military capability, Russia is the most significant threat to our national interests.” Asked if he supported the proposal for intelligence sharing, Dunford responded, “We don’t have any intention of having an intelligence-sharing arrangement with the Russians.”

Speaking in New York Thursday night after the so-called International Syria Support Group ended a meeting with no progress toward restoring the US-Russian ceasefire agreement, Secretary of State Kerry declared: “The only way to achieve that [cessation of hostilities and violence] is if the ones who have the air power in this part of the conflict simply stop using it—not for one day or two, but for as long as possible so that everyone can see that they are serious.”

After leaving the same meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rejected the demand that the Syrian government take “unilateral steps” under conditions in which the US-backed “rebels” reject the ceasefire. “We insist and find support for steps being taken by the opposition as well, so as not to let Jabhat al-Nusra take advantage of this situation,” he said.

This, however, is precisely the aim of Washington. The US military and intelligence complex is increasingly concerned that with the backing of Russia and Iran, the Syrian government is on the brink of breaking the five-year-old siege waged by the Islamist militias armed and paid by the CIA and Washington’s principal US allies, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar. Syrian and Russian planes began intense bombardment of “rebel”-held eastern Aleppo Friday in what has been reported as preparation for a major ground offensive to retake this area of the city. If the offensive proves successful, the US war for regime change will have suffered a strategic reversal.

Al Nusra, the Syrian affiliate of Al Qaeda, which is formally designated by both the US and the UN as a terrorist organization, constitutes the backbone of the proxy forces employed by US imperialism to effect regime change in Syria. One of the major controversies surrounding the US-Russian truce agreement was its call for the US to persuade the “rebels” on its payroll to separate themselves from Al Nusra. This Washington was unable and unwilling to do, both because they are so closely integrated with the Al Qaeda elements and because they could not survive as a fighting force without them.

The imposition of a no-fly zone over Aleppo and other Al Nusra-controlled areas is increasingly seen as a life and death matter for the US-backed Islamists. As Thursday’s Senate hearing indicated, while Kerry is appealing to Russia to voluntarily stand down, there are significant elements within the US state that are calling for the imposition of the no-fly zone by force.

Gen. Dunford was asked by Mississippi Republican Senator Roger Wicker if the US could take “decisive action” in imposing a no-fly zone. Wicker indicated that he had discussed the matter with Democrats, who indicated that they would support such a venture if the US intervention were given another name.

“For now, for us to control all the airspace in Syria would require us to go to war with Syria and Russia,” Dunford replied to the Senator. “That’s a pretty fundamental decision that certainly I’m not going to make.”

Dunford’s remark provoked an intervention by the committee chairman, Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, who pushed him to clarify that total control of the Syrian airspace would require war with Russia and Syria, while a no-fly zone could potentially be imposed short of that.

The hearing provided a chilling exposure of the discussions going on within the US state and its military over actions that could quickly spiral into an all-out confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia, bringing humanity to the brink of catastrophe.

In separate remarks the day before the Senate hearing, both Carter and Dunford stressed that the US will maintain its military deployment in the Middle East long after the defeat of ISIS, the pretext for the current interventions in Iraq and Syria.

Speaking to the Air Force Association conference, Dunford declared, “If you assume, like I do, that we’re going to be in that region, if not Iraq, for many, many years to come,” decisions would have to be taken on the establishment of permanent military headquarters and command-and-control infrastructure.

“What is obvious and very clear is that we’re going to be in that region for a while,” Carter declared in a “troop talk” streamed live on social media. He added: “ISIL is a big problem, but one we’re going to take care of through defeat. But we have Iran over there, we have other issues in the Middle East.”

In other words, Washington is planning the continuation of its unending wars in the Middle East, including military action directed against Iran, with the aim of imposing American hegemony over the region’s vast energy resources and strategically weakening the principal targets of US imperialist aggression, Russia and China.

Refugees keep drowning in Mediterranean


This Deutsche Welle video says about itself:

Death toll rises in Egypt boat tragedy | DW News

23 September 2016

Another tragedy for refugees attempting the journey to Europe. In Egypt, 162 bodies have been pulled from waters close to Rosetta, a city on the country’s northern coast. Authorities are still recovering bodies and searching for surivors. Dozens more are feared dead.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Number killed in refugee boat tragedy hits 162

Saturday 24th September 2016

THE full horror of Wednesday’s refugee boat disaster off Egypt began to emerge yesterday as more than 100 bodies were pulled from the sea.

The death toll stood at 162 and was expected to rise as the Morning Star went to press.

Up to 600 people may have been on board the appallingly overloaded people-traffickers’ boat that capsized and sank just eight miles off the port of Rosetta in the Nile Delta on Wednesday evening.

More than 160 have been rescued, most of them Egyptians along with some Sudanese, Somalians, Eritreans and other nationalities.

Local council chairman Ali Abdel-Sattar said currents had carried the bodies many miles from the site of the sinking.

“Today, four bodies, including two Egyptian children, were found 20km to the east,” he told reporters.

He added that many of the refugees were believed to have been “stored in the bottom of the boat, in the fridge.”

“Those are the ones who drowned first, most probably stuck, and their bodies might not be retrieved anytime soon,” he said.

“Those we found are the ones liberated from the boat. I believe many are stuck and now lying in the bottom of the sea.”

By Xinhua writer Wu Zhiqiang:

Commentary: Rosetta tragedy fresh reminder of Western responsibility

CAIRO, Sept. 24 — The death of more than 160 people in the sinking of an overloaded ship off Egypt’s Mediterranean city of Rosetta has once again focused world attention on the plight of refugees and migrants.

And on the causes behind tragedies like this.

The refugees, or migrants, however you describe them, were fleeing war and poverty for a safer, better life somewhere else.

A multitude of reasons may be given as to what caused the wars and the poverty, but the West cannot shirk their responsibility.

Colonial rule by Western powers in past centuries and their interventionist policies in recent decades both played a part.

Rosetta, appearing in the datelines of so many news stories on the sinking of the ship with up to 600 people aboard, happens to bear the same name of an ancient rock stele now sitting inside the British Museum and that Egyptian authorities want returned.

Dating back to 196 BC, the Rosetta Stone, which provided the key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs, was once “owned” by Napoleon’s troops and then ended up the “property” of Britain.

And now the city of Rosetta is bearing witness to a tragedy partly of Western making.

What a coincidence.

The euphoric atmosphere permeating Washington and other Western capitals at the start of the so-called “Arab Spring” five years ago has long been replaced by hand-wringing in the face of bloodshed, chaos, and misery from Syria to Iraq to Libya, and the terror attacks that filled news headlines so often around the world.

In a few hours, the foreign ministers of the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and the European Union are scheduled to gather at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, in northwest United States.

The serene campus of Tufts is a far cry from the turbulent Mediterranean seas, but the wars in the Middle East and the refugee crisis gripping the region and beyond sit near the top of the agenda when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets his five counterparts.

Rosetta and Medford, in the final analysis, are not too far away.

One more death is too many. One day longer of suffering is too long.

It is high time that the United States and other Western countries reflected upon their flawed interventionist policies that often featured imposition of their values and sought regime changes.

It is high time that the West took constructive actions.

They have a moral obligation and historical responsibility to do so.

Number of drowned refuges in this case over 200: here.

Saudi royal air force keeps killing Yemeni civilians


This video says about itself:

Saudi-led air strikes in Yemen city of Hodeidah kill 20

22 September 2016

At least 20 civilians have been killed by an airstrike in Yemen.

According to local officials the strike by the Saudi-led coalition hit a residential area of the Red Sea port city Hodeidah.

This strike is the latest in a bloody war that has claimed the lives of many civilians, with many air raids hitting hospitals, markets and even schools.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Dozens of civilians die in Saudi air raid

Friday 23rd September 2016

SCORES of Yemeni civilians have been killed and injured in the western port city of Hodeidah in the latest Saudi bombing atrocity, locals said yesterday.

Yemen’s Sabah agency put the number of deaths in Wednesday’s air raid by the Saudi-led invasion coalition at 25 with 73 injured.

At the city’s al-Thawra hospital, health official Sami Motai said the toll was expected to rise with scores of bodies buried under at least three houses struck by missiles in the Indians Alley neighbourhood.

“The scene was awful. Body parts were mixed up with the remains of the house and blood filled the place,” one resident told the Reuters news agency.

An unnamed representative of Saudi-based ousted president Abbed Rabbo Mansour Hadi claimed the residential area was “probably hit in error.”

Thousands of Yemenis have been killed since March 2015 in Riyadh’s attempt to reimpose Mr Hadi’s rule.

This is not by any means the first time the Saudi royal air force has killed civilians in Hodeidah city.

Not killing only Yemeni civilians, but, eg, Indian civilians as well, as this video shows.

This Kannada language Indian TV video says about itself:

9 September 2015

20 Indians Killed by Saudi-Led Air Strikes on Yemen’s Hodeidah Port

NEW DELHI: Twenty Indians died in a Saudi-led coalition air strike on oil smugglers in Yemen, Reuters reported late on Tuesday.

“We are ascertaining the facts about the reports,” MEA spokesman Vikas Swarup said when asked about reports that 20 Indians had been killed in Saudi-led strikes in Yemen.

The Houthi-run state news agency Saba also said that 15 citizens were killed in air strikes on Sanaa, and medical sources said at least 15 civilians were killed in similar attacks on Monday. …

The alliance, made up mainly of Gulf Arab countries, has increased air strikes on Sanaa and other parts of the country since Friday, when a Houthi missile attack killed at least 60 Saudi, Bahraini and United Arab Emirates soldiers at a military camp east of Sanaa.

In western Yemen, local residents and fishermen said planes from the Saudi-led alliance struck two boats at al-Khokha, a small port near Hodeidah used by Indians to smuggle badly needed fuel supplies into the country, killing 20 of them.

Self-harm up in British armed forces


This 2012 video is called Growing number of US soldier suicides.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Friday 23rd September 2016

THE number of armed forces personnel deliberately self-harming has shot up over the last five years, official figures showed yesterday.

Figures released by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) recorded 383 cases of deliberate self-harm among service personnel in 2014-15, up from 339 in 2010-11.

Women and young recruits featured heavily.

The data included armed forces personnel, mobilised reservists, full-time reservists and non-regular permanent staff alongside trained and untrained personnel.

Britain’s Cameron’s Libya war, parody song


This 20 September parody music video from Britain about the 2011 war on Libya is called SnoutKast – “Lib Ya!”

The song is a parody of the song by OutKastHey Ya!

The image in this video depicts British former Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron and the dead pig Mr Cameron is said by a fellow Conservative to have had sexual intercourse with as an initiation ritual of an élite student society.

The name Snoutkast in the parody title refers to that dead pig‘s snout.

The lyrics are:

Great Britain don’t mess around when there’s a mad dictator making crazy threats
Let’s go in all guns blazing with the Royal Navy and the RAF
Might leave a power vacuum but I’ve no time for coherent strategy
Just bomb them to the stone age and with luck you should be home in time for tea

Lib ya!

I think I get it, yeah I think I get it – the rebels took Benghazi and Gaddafi will kill them all
We get together with France and America, and bomb the crap out of ‘em so his regime will fall
They say we’ve made erroneous assumptions, that airstrikes, that airstrikes, that airstrikes
That airstrikes aren’t in our interests
So why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh are we still in denial when we say it’s not about the gold dinar?

Lib ya!
(Don’t wanna meet Gaddafi, just wanna take Benghazi)
Lib ya!
(Don’t wanna meet Muammar, just following Obama)
I’m not being honest

Alright now, chaps (yeah!)
What’s crueller than being ruled? (ISIS!)
I can’t hear you! I said what’s crueller than being ruled? (ISIS!)
Shiite, shiite, shiite, shiite, shiite
Now, okay, shiites – you gotta join up with the Iraqi forces and go fight those militant extremist groups!
(Yeah!)
I wanna see you all on your baddest behaviour! We’ll lend you some weapons, it’s like a favour
Here we go! Alright, now…

Fucked it, fucked it, fucked it, fucked it, fucked it like we did in Iraq
Fucked it, fucked it, fucked it, fucked it like I did with that…oink!

The decision of a British parliamentary foreign affairs committee to apportion responsibility for the destruction or Libya and its transformation from a functioning into a failed state to former British prime minister David Cameron further confirms the verdict reached by Irish revolutionary leader James Connolly over a century ago when it comes to the British ruling class. “Their crimes,” Connolly said, “would shame all the devils in hell”: here.