17 September 2016

And Syria Becomes Even More of a Clusterf%$3

As you may be aware, Russia and Syria have hammered out a deal for a cease fire.

Russia wanted security council approval this, but the US refused because they do not want to reveal the content of the documents:
UN Security Council members had been due to meet in New York on Friday afternoon for a hastily called meeting on the fragile Syrian ceasefire, billed as the "last chance" to end the five-year war.

But Vitaly Churkin, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, said the meeting was canceled at the last minute as the US was unwilling to disclose exactly what was in the documents outlining the deal hammered out last week by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

"This briefing is not going to happen and mostly likely we're not going to have a resolution of the Security Council because the US does not want to share those documents with the members of the Security Council and we believe that we cannot ask them to support a document which they haven't seen," Churkin said.

In Washington, a US official said the session was canceled because the Russians were trying to force the US to make the ceasefire deal public.

"The United States will not compromise operational security," the official said.
Call me a cynic, but my guess that neither State nor the Pentagon want these agreements to be public so that they can violate the terms with impunity.

The last time the US got a security council ruling, they used civilian protection as a cloak for regime change. (Libya)

When you consider the fact that US special operations forces are supporting the Turkish invasion of Syria, and that the US just bombed Syrian troops, allegedly by accident, it makes one even more suspicious:

U.S.-led coalition forces bombed Syrian troops near Deir al-Zor airport on Saturday, the Syrian army said, allowing Islamic State fighters to briefly overrun their position and putting new strains on a ceasefire in effect elsewhere in the country.

The United States military said it had ceased air strikes against what it had believed to be Islamic State positions after Russia informed it that Syrian military personnel and vehicles may have been hit.

The ceasefire, which took effect on Monday, is the most significant peacemaking effort in Syria for months but has been undermined by repeated accusations of violations on both sides and by a failure to bring humanitarian aid to besieged areas.


U.S.-led coalition forces bombed Syrian troops near Deir al-Zor airport on Saturday, the Syrian army said, allowing Islamic State fighters to briefly overrun their position and putting new strains on a ceasefire in effect elsewhere in the country.


Saturday's air strikes were reported by Russia and a war monitor to have killed dozens of Syrian soldiers, and were said by Moscow to be evidence of what it called Washington's "stubborn refusal" to coordinate strikes with Damascus.

Islamic State said via its Amaq news channel it had taken complete control of Jebel Tharda, where the bombed position was located, which would have allowed it to overlook government-held areas of Deir al-Zor.
As a result of this, the UN Security Council will be meeting to handle this development:
The United Nations security council has called an emergency meeting to discuss air strikes by the US-led coalition in Syria, diplomats said, after Russia said coalition warplanes had bombed and killed Syrian government forces.

The 15-member council was due to meet behind closed doors on Saturday evening in New York, diplomats told Reuters.

The US envoy to the United nations, Samantha Power, said she regretted loss of life in the Syria airstrike, but said the Russian call for the security council meeting was “a stunt”.

Earlier on Saturday Russia’s ministry of defense said coalition planes had killed 62 Syrian soldiers, wounded 100 more and allowed Islamic State militants to gain an advantage through the strike.

The Pentagon did not outright admit that coalition planes had hit Syrian forces, but said that pilots had “believed they were striking a Daesh [Isis] fighting position” and may have struck Syrian government forces instead.


In a statement, the ministry echoed questions from President Vladimir Putin about US commitment to a shaky ceasefire deal brokered by the two countries, and said the airstrikes could be evidence that American officials had not consulted with their counterparts in Moscow.

“If this airstrike was the result of a targeting error,” Russian major general Igor Konashenkov said in a statement, “it is a direct consequence of the US side’s stubborn unwillingness to coordinate its action against terrorist groups on Syrian territory with Russia.”

Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, was subsequently quoted by Ria Novosti saying the Kremlin would demand an explanation at the UN.

“We are reaching a really terrifying conclusion for the whole world,” she said, according to the state-owned news agency. “The White House is defending Islamic State. Now there can be no doubts about that.

“We demand a full and detailed explanation from Washington. That explanation must be given at the UN Security Council.”
I find the assertion of it being an accident, at least one not involving deliberate recklessness, not particularly credible.

Both the State Department and the the military still have a large number of senior officials (including SecDef Ashton Carter) who want regime change in Syria, so I think that any consideration of potentially hitting Syrian troops by US forces is (at best) perfunctory.

There is no meaningful moderate opposition to the Assad regime, what isn't led by ISIS is led by al Nusra, which (despite its recent rebranding) is still a local chapter of al Qaeda, and our continued support for the desires of the Turks and the Gulf tyrants to overthrow him is going to crate negative backlash for decades.


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