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Former top British Military Chief backs Trump, trashes Hillary Clinton; says Jihadis have lost and should leave Aleppo

Former Chief of British Defence Staff calls for dialogue with the Russians, rejects idea of no fly zone in Syria as threatening war, says Jihadis should be told to leave Aleppo, and calls for alliance with the Russians against ISIS.

Alexander Mercouris

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Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, who has been successively Commander in Chief, Land Forces of the British Army, Chief of the British Army’s General Staff, and from October 2010 to July 2013 Chief of the Defence Staff (ie. the professional head of the British armed forces), has broken ranks with the British political class’s antipathy to Russia, and has called for the US and Britain to agree to the Syrian government’s recapture of eastern Aleppo.

Lord Richards’s comments, made in a parliamentary debate in the House of Lords where he sits as an independent, could not be clearer.  Since they are so unusual I reproduce them in full as they have been provided by the Independent newspaper.

Firstly Lord Richards criticised the present ideological crusade against Russia, and spoke of Donald Trump as someone who as President might restore dialogue with Russia, thereby securing world peace. 

In doing so Lord Richards also made the point that the greatest danger presently does not come from Russia but from groups like ISIS and that it is in everyone’s interest that the US and Russia come together to fight this common enemy

“In the Cold War era states coalesced and they had this understanding and it worked – even though there was a massive amount at stake, communications and mutual understanding between Russia and America wasn’t too bad.

It’s non-state actors like Isis that are the biggest threat to our security. If countries and states could coalesce better to deal with these people – and I think Trump’s instinct is to go down that route – then I think there’s the case for saying that the world certainly won’t be any less safe.

It’s that lack of understanding and empathy with each other as big power players that is a risk to us all at the moment.

Therefore I think he would reinvigorate big power relationships, which might make the world ironically safer.”

The comments, which correspond exactly to things said by us in The Duran, most eloquently by our contributor Adam Garrie, will cause great anger within the powerful neocon lobby in Britain.  What Lord Richards had to say about Syria, and about Aleppo in particular, will have made them more angry still.

Before discussing what Lord Richards had to say about Syria, it is important to remember that he is an exceptionally well-informed observer of the Syrian war.  As a top ranking military officer for many years, and as Chief of the Defence Staff from October 2010 to July 2013, Lord Richards was heavily involved in the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, and drew up plans to arm the Jihadis in Syria.  He is therefore highly experienced about the realities of the various Middle East wars – including the Syrian war – and he knows what he is talking about when he discusses them.

On the subject of Aleppo he was crystal clear: the only proper and humanitarian thing to do is to persuade the Jihadis to leave eastern Aleppo, as Putin has told them to do, and to agree to its recapture by the Syrian government

“If the humanitarian situation in Syria is our major concern, which it should be – millions of lives have been ruined, hundreds of thousands have been killed – I believe there is a strong case for allowing Assad to get in there and take the city back.

We want the humanitarian horror of Aleppo to come to a rapid halt. The best and quickest way of doing that is to encourage the opposition groups to leave. The Russians are undoubtedly using their weapons indiscriminately. If they’re going to attack those groups then there is inevitably going to be civilian casualties.”

(bold italics added)

If he made this point in the starkest and clearest possible way, Lord Richards also spoke the unvarnished truth about the total impracticality and utter foolishness of even discussing a no fly zone.  In doing so he spoke scathing about Hillary Clinton

“Unless she (NB: Hillary Clinton – AM) is prepared to do this properly and go to war with Russia, she shouldn’t talk about no-fly zones and nor should we. We would have to shoot down Russian aircraft in order to impose it. Do we really want to go to a shooting war over Aleppo?

…….

The alternative is for the West to declare a no-fly zone and that means you’ve got to be prepared to go to war with Russia ultimately.

I see no appetite for that and nor, frankly, do I see much sense in it. It sticks in my throat to say it because I have no love for Assad.

“The fact is, the only way to get it to stop now is to allow Assad to win and win quickly and then turn on Isis with the Russians.”

(bold italics added)

Expressed with such brutal clarity these comments are guaranteed to provoke howls of outrage in Britain’s neocon/regime change circles, though because of the wide knowledge in political circles that the British public actually agrees with Lord Richards these are more likely to be expressed privately than in public.  What will make the anger especially great is that Lord Richards’s arguments are actually unarguable.

The big question is whether Lord Richards is speaking only for himself or whether his comments signal a wider discussion within the British government and the British army?

Obviously I do not know the answer to this question.  However, for what it’s worth, my opinion is that it is most unlikely that a former Chief of the Defence Staff would talk publicly in this way unless he was sure his views were widely shared within the British military.  Indeed I suspect that Lord Richards is speaking out on the British military’s behalf, knowing that as a retired officer he is free to say things that serving officers bound by military discipline can’t.  Most likely there has been a lengthy round of private conversations about the prospect of war in Syria within the British military, and Lord Richards’s speech is the way the British military is making its opinions public and known to the country’s political class. 

If so then Lord Richards’s speech to the House of Lords should be seen for what it almost certainly is: the public expression of the grave doubts many serving British officers surely have about Boris Johnson’s crackpot scheme for a “no bombing” zone in Syria and for the various other equally harebrained schemes for military intervention in Syria that get all too frequently talked about in the British media and in the British parliament.

The US military has made it quite clear that it adamantly opposes military intervention in Syria given the sophisticated air defence system the Russians have set up there.  Judging from Lord Richards’s comments, that is the view of the British military as well.  As discussed previously, the opposition of the military means Western military intervention in Syria simply isn’t going to happen, whether Hillary Clinton is elected President or not.

Whether the Jihadis fighting in Aleppo or elsewhere in Syria understand this is another matter.  Whether they understand it or not, the fact however is that as the Syrian and Russian militaries close in on them, they are on their own.

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Trump Has Gifted “No More Wars” Policy Position To Bernie Sanders (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 148.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss how US President Donald Tump appears to have ceded his popular 2016 ‘no more wars’ campaign message and policy position to Bernie Sanders and any other US 2020 candidate willing to grad onto a non-interventionist approach to the upcoming Democrat primaries.

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“Is Bernie Stealing Trump’s ‘No More Wars’ Issue?” by Patrick J. Buchanan…


The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016.

“The president has said that he does not want to see this country involved in endless wars… I agree with that,” Bernie Sanders told the Fox News audience at Monday’s town hall meeting in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Then turning and staring straight into the camera, Bernie added:

“Mr. President, tonight you have the opportunity to do something extraordinary: Sign that resolution. Saudi Arabia should not be determining the military or foreign policy of this country.”

Sanders was talking about a War Powers Act resolution that would have ended U.S. involvement in the five-year civil war in Yemen that has created one of the great humanitarian crises of our time, with thousands of dead children amidst an epidemic of cholera and a famine.

Supported by a united Democratic Party on the Hill, and an anti-interventionist faction of the GOP led by Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee of Utah, the War Powers resolution had passed both houses of Congress.

But 24 hours after Sanders urged him to sign it, Trump, heeding the hawks in his Cabinet and National Security Council, vetoed S.J.Res.7, calling it a “dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities.”

With sufficient Republican votes in both houses to sustain Trump’s veto, that should be the end of the matter.

It is not: Trump may have just ceded the peace issue in 2020 to the Democrats. If Sanders emerges as the nominee, we will have an election with a Democrat running on the “no-more-wars” theme Trump touted in 2016. And Trump will be left defending the bombing of Yemeni rebels and civilians by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.

Does Trump really want to go into 2020 as a war party president?

Does he want to go into 2020 with Democrats denouncing “Trump’s endless wars” in the Middle East? Because that is where he is headed.

In 2008, John McCain, leading hawk in the Senate, was routed by a left-wing first-term senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, who had won his nomination by defeating the more hawkish Hillary Clinton, who had voted to authorize the war in Iraq.

In 2012, the Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who was far more hawkish than Obama on Russia, lost.

Yet, in 2016, Trump ran as a different kind of Republican, an opponent of the Iraq War and an anti-interventionist who wanted to get along with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and get out of these Middle East wars.

Looking closely at the front-running candidates for the Democratic nomination of 2020 — Joe Biden, Sanders, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker — not one appears to be as hawkish as Trump has become.

Trump pulled us out of the nuclear deal with Iran negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry and reimposed severe sanctions.

He declared Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, to which Iran has responded by declaring U.S. Central Command a terrorist organization. Ominously, the IRGC and its trained Shiite militias in Iraq are in close proximity to U.S. troops.

Trump has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moved the U.S. Embassy there, closed the consulate that dealt with Palestinian affairs, cut off aid to the Palestinians, recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights seized from Syria in 1967, and gone silent on Bibi Netanyahu’s threat to annex Jewish settlements on the West Bank.

Sanders, however, though he stands by Israel, is supporting a two-state solution and castigating the “right-wing” Netanyahu regime.

Trump has talked of pulling all U.S. troops out of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet the troops are still there.

Though Trump came into office promising to get along with the Russians, he sent Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine and announced a pullout from Ronald Reagan’s 1987 INF treaty that outlawed all land-based intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

When Putin provocatively sent 100 Russian troops to Caracas — ostensibly to repair the S-400 anti-aircraft and anti-missile system that was damaged in recent blackouts — Trump, drawing a red line, ordered the Russians to “get out.”

Biden is expected to announce next week. If the stands he takes on Russia, China, Israel and the Middle East are more hawkish than the rest of the field, he will be challenged by the left wing of his party, and by Sanders, who voted “no” on the Iraq War that Biden supported.

The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016. And the anti-interventionist wing of the GOP is growing.

And when added to the anti-interventionist and anti-war wing of the Democratic Party on the Hill, together, they are able, as on the Yemen War Powers resolution, to produce a new bipartisan majority.

Prediction: By the primaries of 2020, foreign policy will be front and center, and the Democratic Party will have captured the “no-more-wars” political high ground that Candidate Donald Trump occupied in 2016.

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Over 200 killed, hundreds injured in series of blasts at Sri Lankan hotels & churches

A series of bombings hit churches and hotels across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing more than 200 people.

RT

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Via RT…


A series of eight explosions rocked Catholic churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka as Christians began Easter Sunday celebrations, with over 200 killed and hundreds injured, media reported, citing police.

The blasts started at around 8:45am local time at St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo and St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, a Catholic-majority town outside of the capital. The Zion Church in Batticaloa on the eastern coast was also targeted. At around the same time, the Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury five-star hotels were also hit, police confirmed.

Two more explosions happened later in the day, targeting two more locations in Colombo. All attacks appear to have been coordinated.

At least 207 people were killed, Reuters reported, citing police. More than 450 were injured in the attacks.

Alleged footage of the aftermath, shared on social media, showed chaos and large-scale destruction inside at least one of the churches.

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Mike Pompeo reveals true motto of CIA: ‘We lied, we cheated, we stole’ (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 147.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at a Texas A&M University speech, and subsequent interview, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The former CIA Director admitted, ‘as an aside’ to the question asked, that the Intelligence agency he headed up before being appointed as the top US Diplomat had a motto “we lied, we cheated, we stole”…which, according to Pompeo, contained entire CIA training courses based on ‘lying, cheating and stealing.’

Pompeo finally speaks some truth.

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