Kurd murdered for refusing fighting in Libya

This 26 December 2019 video says about itself:

Libya is in a state of chaos as rival governments compete for power, human smuggling runs rampant, and black markets thrive with everything from oil to hard currency. The international community is backing the Government of National Accord, which maintains a tenuous hold on the capital. But the government’s survival depends on warring militias, many of whom are paid to police the smuggling they themselves are involved in.

VICE News’ Isobel Yeung travels across Libya to see how the Libyan revolution is failing.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Kurdish man found hanged after refusing to fight in Libya

A YOUNG Kurdish man was found hanged from a walnut tree in front of his house in Afrin, northern Syria, on Saturday.

Local sources said that he was killed for refusing to go to Libya to fight for Turkish-backed mercenaries.

Mihemed Mistefa Yusif, who was just 18, was found dead in the village of Merkan where his family had been forced to relocate after militia from the Liwa Samarkand brigade confiscated their home in Hec Qasim.

Syrian villagers drive away Trump’s occupation soldiers

Barley crop ablaze in Sweida province in Syria – US forces are using Apache helicopters to drop ‘thermal balloons’ to set the crops alight

This photo shows a barley crop ablaze in Sweida province in Syria – US forces are using Apache helicopters to drop ‘thermal balloons’ to set the crops alight.

From daily News Line in Britain, 30 May 2020:

SYRIAN VILLAGERS DRIVE OUT US MILITARY VEHICLES – as US planes drop ‘thermal balloons’ to set grain fields ablaze

SYRIANS in the villages of al-Qahira and al-Dushaisha – in Tal Tamir in Hasaka northern countryside – have intercepted US occupation force vehicles and driven them back to another of their illegitimate bases in the region.

(Syrian Arab News Agency) SANA’s reporter in Hasaka said that a number of US occupation armoured vehicles had tried to cross the road that passes through the lands of the villages of al-Qahira and al-Dushaisha, in the Tal Tamir.

But locals intercepted them, threw stones, chanted slogans against the occupation and forced them to return back where they came from. …

Meanwhile the Western military coalition, purportedly fighting the Daesh [ISIS] Takfiri terrorist group,

United States President Donald Trump, in moments of honesty between his many lies, has repeatedly admitted that United States soldiers in Syria are in fact waging a war for oil.

has according to reports deployed three Patriot missile batteries at a US base in Syria’s eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr.

The Arabic-language al-Alam television news network, citing local sources, reported on Wednesday that the batteries were deployed to the base set up at the Koniko gas field – which is located about 20 kilometres (12.4 miles) east of the provincial capital city of Dayr al-Zawr – during the past few days.

Koniko is one of the largest gas plants in Syria. The sources added that the US-led coalition forces are working to install similar batteries in several other locations in the province. …

Since late October 2019, the United States has been redeploying troops to the oil fields … in eastern Syria, in a reversal of President Donald Trump’s earlier order to withdraw all troops from the Arab country.

The Pentagon claims that move aims ‘to protect’ the fields and facilities from Daesh attacks. That claim came although Trump had suggested that Washington sought economic interests in controlling the oil fields – and Syria, which hasn’t authorised the presence of US military in its territory, says Washington is ‘plundering’ the country’s oil.

In fact, the presence of US forces in eastern Syria has particularly irked the civilians, and local residents have on several occasions stopped American military convoys entering the region.

Burning agricultural crops in the Syrian al-Jazeera region, especially wheat, to empty the Syrian basket of its bounties is another goal that unites the American and Turkish occupation forces in aggressive behaviour and a violation of international laws that amounts to a war crime – added to other crimes committed by those occupying forces against the Syrians

‘Deliberately setting fire to the strategic wheat crop through which the Syrians have achieved over dozens of years of self-sufficiency (and which) has constituted a major pillar of food security in the country, nowadays . . . has become a clear target in the context of an economic war and unjust starvation policy practised by the US and the new Ottoman Turkish regime against the Syrian people’. …

‘The crime of burning wheat crop in Syria comes in the context of the American and Western terrorist and economic war against the Syrian people, and it is an American plan prepared in advance in implementation of direct orders from US President Donald Trump – according to an international media report published by the “International Business Times” news website in its version issued in Singapore a few days ago.

‘This indicated that: “The US occupation forces were carrying out orders approved by the White House and that Trump signed orders to burn agricultural lands in Syria.” And the fires which have erupted in the fields in southern Syria may be part of that plan as observers say.

‘The vandalism and destruction agendas prepared by the US administration integrate with the aggressive behaviour of its regional client in the region, namely Erdogan and his terrorist mercenaries.

In light of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, they make US-Turkish practices rise to the level of war crimes as they expose hundreds of thousands of people to the risk of falling into poverty and famine.’

Peace illegal in Erdogan’s Turkey

This July 2015 Associated Press video from Turkey says about itself:

A thousand women demonstrate for peace on border

00:00 Protestors with hands in the air chanting 00:09 Protestors cheer the arrival of a bus with more demonstrators arriving 00:13 Wide reverse shot of demonstration 00:16 SOUNDBITE: (Turkish) Elif Akgul, spokeswoman for “Kadin Platform”, or Women Platform: 00:27 Close-up of women listening 00:33 Women with banner chanting 00:42 Protesters acting out mock fight 00:47 Close-up of woman and flowers 00:53 Woman waving and cheering 01:00 Wide of protest 01:04 Ends

By Steve Sweeney:

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Activists hit out as anti-war slogans banned in Istanbul

ACTIVISTS and human-rights lawyers in Istanbul today demanded that a ban on the slogan “no to war” and demonstrations against military operations in Syria be overturned.

The city governor’s office came under fire after it issued a decree against all actions and activities criticising Turkey’s offensive in Idlib province, where it is holed up with its jihadist allies.

The ban prohibits all rallies, demonstrations and the distribution of anti-war literature “because they can cause public indignation,” the governor’s office said in a statement.

But the prevention of peaceful gatherings was branded “unacceptable” and a breach of international conventions by Gulseren Yoleri, chairwoman of the Human Rights Association’s Istanbul branch.

She said: “To praise peace, to demand peace is a responsibility. Therefore banning statements defending peace and life and human rights is unacceptable.

“Human rights defenders will always advocate peace. For this reason, we think that the ban must be removed as soon as possible.”

Turkey has moved to silence all opposition to its illegal invasions and occupations of northern Syria.

This morning Umar Karatepe, head of communications for the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (Disk), was detained over social media posts opposing Turkey’s actions in Idlib.

He was freed on a judicial order after being interrogated about the content of his tweets.

Mr Karatepe said that it was “the price to defend life and peace,” adding: “that price is not worse than death and war.”

Investigations are also under way into scores of opposition politicians, mostly from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) for opposing the so-called Operation Peace Spring — Turkey’s war against Kurds in northern Syria.

HDP co-chairs Pervin Buldan and Mithat Sancar have demanded the recall of parliament and a debate to be held on the war in Syria so that the public are informed of developments.

They insisted that dialogue was the only solution, hitting out at the “cover up, censorship and blocking of social media platforms.”

Earlier this week the United Nations accused Turkey of potential war crimes during its operations in northern Syria.

It warned that charges could be brought against Turkish military commanders for atrocities committed by the myriad of jihadist groups it supports, including the Free Syrian Army.

This included the brutal torture and execution of Kurdish-Syrian politician Hevrin Khalef whose body was found dumped at the side of the road in October last year.

Fight coronavirus, not Erdogan’s war in Syria

This 1 March 2020 video by the United States Democratic party congresswoman, presidential candidate, and Iraq war veteran in a military hospital Tulsi Gabbard says about itself:

Focus on war against Coronavirus—not protecting Al Qaeda-Turkish alliance!

President Trump, instead of going to war with Russia and Syria in order to protect the al-Qaeda-Turkish alliance, you should focus on the war against the Coronavirus.

TENSIONS escalated between Turkey and Russia today with the detention of four journalists from the Russian Sputnik news agency in Ankara and Istanbul. Three journalists were held when they attended a police station in the Turkish capital to report what appeared to be co-ordinated attacks on their homes by Turkish nationalists on Saturday night. Hours later Sputnik editor-in-chief for Turkey Mahir Boztepe was held during a police raid on the agency’s Istanbul office and taken to the General Directorate of Security: here.

Over the weekend, Turkey intensified its conflict with the Syrian government forces in Syria’s Idlib province, announcing a military offensive and shooting down two Syrian jets. The reactionary nine-year, US-led proxy war in Syria is escalating into a war between the Turkish and Syrian states, threatening to start a war between the entire NATO alliance and Syria’s ally, Russia: here.

‘Trump, NATO shouldn’t support Erdogan’s Syrian war’

This 29 February 2020 video by United States Democratic Congresswoman, presidential candidate and Iraq war veteran Tulsi Gabbard says about itself:

Say no to getting dragged into Erdogan’s war with Russia

Donald Trump needs to make it clear to NATO and Erdogan that the United States will not be dragged into a war with Russia by the aggressive, Islamist, expansionist dictator of Turkey, a so-called “NATO” ally.

The main “rebel” force fighting force in Idlib [allies of the Turkish Erdogan regime] is Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a United Nations-designated terrorist front led by the former Syrian affiliate of Al Qaeda. The former top US diplomat in charge of the anti-ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) campaign, Brett McGurk, described Idlib province as “the largest Al Qaeda safe haven since 9/11” and “a huge problem”: here.

Syrian women footballers overcome prejudice

This 21 February 2020 video says about itself:

Syrian female footballers beat the odds

Criticism from her family and neighbors only made footballer Samar Sheikh more determined to overcome social and gender prejudice.

A bit like women footballers in Sudan.

‘Get US soldiers out of Iraq, Syria’

This 4 January 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

We need to get out of Iraq and Syria now! | [Iraq war veteran and Democratic party presidential candidate] Tulsi Gabbard

We need to get American forces out of Iraq & Syria now.

Instead of sending more soldiers to Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, as Trump does now.

How many more American lives, how many more trillions of dollars will be wasted before we exit? It could be now, or it could be 10 or 20 years from now, but there is no American victory.

A commenter reacted:

The State Department said all Americans should leave Iraq. Aren’t our troops Americans too?

This 5 January 2020 video says about itself:

Iraq’s Parliament passes resolution calling for expulsion of US troops from the country

Trump’s oil war in Syria, forever?

This 13 November 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Donald Trump: US left troops in Syria ‘only for the oil’

Donald Trump has insisted the US military presence in Syria is ‘only for the oil’, contradicting his officials who have maintained that the remaining forces were there to fight Isis. Trump made his remarks while hosting Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, just over a month after the Turkish president launched an offensive into north-eastern Syria.

Horrible though Trump’s oil war is, at least Trump is more honest than other politicians who wrap their oil wars in lies about ‘humanitarian war’.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

Pentagon chiefs say US troops to stay in Syria for years

13 December 2019

Barely two months after US President Donald Trump’s demagogic announcement that he was pulling US troops out of northeastern Syria to fulfill his campaign promise to bring a halt to Washington’s “endless wars”, the senior civilian and uniformed Pentagon chiefs told a House panel Wednesday that there is no foreseeable end to the American presence there.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley maintained in their testimony to the House Armed Services Committee that the US military was staying in Syria to assure the “enduring defeat” of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and that the fulfillment of that goal is likely years away. …

Esper went even further, insisting that US military forces had to remain in Syria not so much to counter any existing military force, but rather an “ideology”.

“I think the defeat, if you will, will be hard because it’s an ideology,” Esper told the House panel after repeated questions regarding US strategy in Syria. “It’s hard to foresee anytime soon we would stamp it out”, he added.

Both Esper and Milley attempted to dodge questions about Trump’s green-lighting of a Turkish invasion of Syria in October. This Turkish incursion was aimed at driving the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia … away from the Turkish-Syrian border. Ankara views the YPG as a “terrorist” extension of Turkey’s own PKK Kurdish separatist movement, against which it has fought a bloody counterinsurgency campaign for decades.

They also deflected questions about Trump’s subsequent justification for a continued US presence in Syria on the grounds that they were being deployed to “take the oil”, which he said could be exploited by a US corporation like ExxonMobil. Both Esper and Milley claimed to have no knowledge of any plan to steal Syria’s oil, even though US troops, backed by Bradley armored fighting vehicles, have been deployed in the Deir Ezzor oil fields of northeastern Syria.

The US occupation of the oil fields serves to cut off the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from a vital resource for the reconstruction of a country that has been decimated by the eight-year-old war for regime change orchestrated by the CIA. It also represents a direct provocation to Russia, which has signed deals with Damascus to extract oil, as well as China, which previously had oil investments in Syria and is poised to play a leading role in the country’s reconstruction.

Significantly, Esper seemed to identify Washington’s ostensible NATO ally, Turkey, as the principal challenge to US operations in Syria, stating that Turkey’s incursion into the northeast of the country had “complicated the battle space.” He described the Turkish-backed Islamist militias deployed against the YPG as a “wild card” that could provoke a wider conflict in the region and said that Erdogan’s stated intention of settling more than a million Syrian refugees in the border areas threatened “turmoil”. …

The US military is remaining in Syria’s northeast with what it claims is a force of 600 troops, along with a detachment of at least 200 more special forces troops near the southern border crossing of al-Tanf. With the inclusion of military contractors and troops rotated in an out on a temporary basis, the real deployment is probably at least twice these numbers. …

Esper gave a somewhat more candid explanation of the US deployments in the region when he told the House committee that, “The United States strategy in the Middle East seeks to ensure the region is not a safe haven for terrorists, is not dominated by any power hostile to the US, and contributes to a stable global energy market.”

Trump issues hypocritical threat over Syrian offensive: here.

US troops confront Russian convoy near Syrian oil fields: here.

Pentagon admits millions of dollars’ worth of US military equipment has gone missing in Syria: here.

BP, bad museum sponsor, Syrian refugee says

This video says about itself:

Links between oil firms and invasion of Iraq

INTERNATIONAL PAPERS, Tues., 19/4/2011: The Independent leads with details on meetings between British ministers and representatives of BP and Shell some five months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003. A new book by oil campaigner Greg Muttitt claims oil was one of the UK government’s main strategic considerations for going to war in Iraq. Also, US debt and how swearing can relieve pain!

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

British Museum’s relationship with BP a ‘devastating blow,’ says Syrian refugee

A SYRIAN refugee whose work features in the British Museum’s Troy exhibition has spoken out against its sponsorship with oil giant BP.

In an open letter to the museum’s director and trustees, Reem Alsayyah said the partnership came as a “devastating blow.”

A film production of the play Queens of Syria, a modern retelling of Euripides’s The Trojan Women by a group of 13 Syrian refugees including Ms Alsayyah, will be shown at the upcoming exhibition.

Ms Alsayyah, who fled the civil war in Syria, has urged the British Museum to sever ties with BP, which she charges with “fuelling conflict and colonialism in the Middle East in order to access its oil reserves.”

The performer said the association was “deeply personal” as her family has been directly affected by wars where oil played a role in the conflict.

The letter, penned by Ms Alsayyah and Queen of Syria director Zoe Lafferty, is the latest to call on major British cultural institutions to end their partnerships with BP.

They said: “As many in our sector are now distancing themselves from BP, we feel we have a responsibility to speak out too and make clear that our work should not be used to clean up the company’s tarnished image.”

A British Museum spokeswoman said it relied on “external support” in order for projects like Troy to take place.

She said: “We understand that people have concerns about this kind of support and it’s right that those questions are raised.”

BP has been embroiled in multiple scandals, including allegations of complicity in the 2003 Iraq war.

Secret memos released in 2011 revealed that BP was lobbying the government for access to Iraq’s immense oil reserves just a few months before the invasion.

More Donald Trump oil war in Syria

This 7 November 2019 CBS TV video from the USA is called On the ground with U.S. military convoy protecting oil fields in northern Syria.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

US seizure of oil fields escalates tensions in Syria

8 November 2019

The US has deployed hundreds of troops backed by armored vehicles into oil fields located in Syria’s northeastern Deir Ezzor province, where they are reportedly building two new bases. Turkish media have reported that large quantities of construction equipment and materials have been sent into the region, along with the troops, tanks, armored personnel carriers and ammunition.

Pentagon officials defended the renewed deployment at a press briefing Thursday. However, they resolutely refused to answer questions about US President Donald Trump’s statements that the troops were there to “take the oil”, and Defense Secretary Esper’s acknowledgement last week that the US mission includes “denying access, preventing Russian or Syrian forces” from laying claim to the oil, including through the use of “overwhelming force”.

Rear Adm. William D. Byrne, Jr, the vice-director for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, robotically repeated that the US operations in Syria remained unchanged from what they had been since 2016: “the defeat of ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria]”. …

Asked whether the US forces were going to take over all of Syria’s oil fields or only a portion of them, the naval officer suggested that this would be left to “commanders on the ground”.

As to whether they had authorization to fire on Syrian and Russian units approaching the fields, Byrne said he was “not going to get into specifics” on “rules of engagement”, while claiming that there were “deconfliction channels” in place to prevent such an armed confrontation between the forces of the world’s two major nuclear powers. He added that “everyone in the region knows where American forces are” and that the US military would “work to ensure that no one approaches our forces.” If they did, he said, “commanders always retain the right to self defense.”

The entire narrative put forward by the Pentagon was designed to erase the events of the past month, which began with Trump’s green-lighting of the Turkish invasion aimed at driving the SDF (whose main units are comprised of the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, viewed by Ankara as a “terrorist” extension of Turkey’s own PKK Kurdish separatist movement) from the Turkish-Syrian border.

This was followed by Trump’s statements that he was putting an end to Washington’s “endless wars” and would “let someone else fight over this long-bloodstained sand” as all US troops would be withdrawn from Syria.

Just as his earlier statement in December 2018 that he was withdrawing US troops from Syria led to the resignation of his defense secretary, Gen. James Mattis, so last month’s announcement touched off a political firestorm in Washington, with denunciations of Trump’s “betrayal of the Kurds” coming from both Democrats and Republicans, as well as large sections of the military brass and the US intelligence apparatus.

In response, Trump shifted his position to a thuggish statement that US troops would remain in Syria to “take the oil” and that he was considering contracting ExxonMobil to exploit it.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad responded to these statements by praising Trump’s “transparency”. Previous US presidents, he said, “commit crimes, but get Nobel prizes, and act like defenders of human rights and the noble unique US values—or Western values—but they are a group of criminals who act on behalf of lobbies.” Trump, on the other hand declares “we want oil … at least that’s honest”, he added.

The Pentagon’s claim of a continuity in the US “mission” has some truth to it, having nothing to do with either a “war on ISIS” or protecting the Kurds.

The US military is remaining in Syria, with an estimated 800 US troops as well as additional military contractors occupying its oil fields, in pursuit of the same strategic objectives that underlay the CIA-orchestrated war for regime change initiated under the Obama administration eight years ago.

Washington still seeks the overthrow of the Assad government and its replacement with a more pliant puppet regime in Damascus. At the same time, it is determined to roll back the influence of the Assad government’s principal backers — and US imperialism’s principal regional rivals — Iran and Russia. And it wants to prevent China from expanding its role in the Middle East.

The war in Syria, as Trump acknowledges, is about oil, as have been the catastrophic US imperialist interventions in Iraq and Libya and its threats of military aggression against Iran. These wars, which have claimed over a million lives and decimated entire societies, have been aimed at asserting US control over the energy resources of the Middle East, upon which Washington’s rivals, in particular China, depend. Their underlying purpose has been to employ military violence as a means of reversing the decline of the US dominance over the world capitalist markets.

By seizing the oil fields of Deir Ezzor province, Washington aims to deny critical energy resources that are needed by the government in Damascus to reconstruct Syria’s war-ravaged infrastructure and economy.

It has pursued this aim throughout the Syrian civil war, in which the Syrian Al Qaeda affiliate, the Al Nusra Front, first seized the oil fields, followed by ISIS and finally the Kurdish YPG militia.

The US military took no action to stop either Al Qaeda or ISIS from exploiting the fields and shipping oil across the border to Turkey, reaping hundreds of millions of dollars used to finance their operations. It was the Russian forces that finally bombed both the fields and the tanker trucks used to transport the oil.

The illegal US military occupation of the oil fields represents a direct provocation against Russia, which Syrian websites report has signed contracts with the Syrian government to extract oil, as well as China, which previously had oil investments in Syria and is poised to play a leading role in the country’s reconstruction.

Washington and its European allies have done everything in their power to strangle the Syrian government and starve the Syrian people into submission by denying the country energy supplies. Sweeping sanctions have been imposed against anyone buying Syrian oil, shipping oil to Syria or investing in its oil production.

Before the launching of the war for regime change in 2011, Syria’s oil production averaged about 400,000 barrels a day, making the country self-sufficient and accounting for roughly 35 percent of its export earnings. Some analysts suspect that the real output was substantially higher, with the excess turning those with regime connections into multi-millionaires.

The Trump administration’s actions—clearing the way for a Turkish invasion and then asserting control over the Syrian oil fields—have created an extremely unstable situation in Syria, escalating the threat of a far wider war.

Russian-backed Syrian government forces have already moved into oil fields in Hasakah province in the northeastern corner of Syria on the country’s borders with Turkey and Iraq. Damascus aims to restore production in the area, which was previously held by the SDF. If the US were to attempt to extend its control over Syrian oil into these areas, a military confrontation with Syrian and Russian forces would inevitably ensue.

As for Admiral Byrne’s reliance on US-Russian “deconfliction” agreements, Moscow has signaled that it is not prepared to cooperate with the US seizure of Syria’s oil fields.

“On this question, on the question of Syrian oil, we will not cooperate with our American colleagues,” Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin said Thursday. “We are convinced that it is the Syrian people who should be managing their natural resources, including oil.”

Whatever Washington’s or Moscow’s intentions, the reckless and provocative operations of US imperialism in Syria and the wider region threaten to ignite a far wider and even world war.

‘US is stealing Syria’s oil and selling it to Turkey’: here.