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ISIS, Al-Qaeda and the “moderate rebels” are fighting together in Aleppo

Western claims that the “moderate rebels” fighting the Syrian government are totally separate and antagonistic to ISIS are disproved by the fighting in Aleppo.

Alexander Mercouris

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Nothing illustrates the mismatch between Western reporting of the war in Syria and the reality on the ground better than an incident which took place on 1st November 2016 south of Aleppo.

The Syrian government’s main supply lines to Aleppo are the roads from the south.  This has been especially so since the Jihadi capture of most of the province of Idlib together with its regional capital in the first half of 2015. 

As the noose tightens on the Jihadis in eastern Aleppo, with their latest counter-offensive repulsed and reports that the eastern districts of the city under Jihadi control are running out of essential fuel and other supplies as the cold weather closes in, the Jihadis attempted on 1st November 2016 to try to turn the tables on the Syrian army by cutting its road links to the south of the city.

The Jihadi attempt to do this failed and was quickly repulsed, but in the process it exposed the truth of how the war in Syria is actually being fought.

It has become an article of faith in the West that the Jihadi fighters in eastern Aleppo are “moderate rebels” and that Jabhat Al-Nusra (ie. Al-Qaeda) accounts for any small fraction of them.

It is also an article of faith in the West that the Jihadi fighters in eastern Aleppo – including those belonging to Jabhat Al-Nusra – are deadly enemies of ISIS, and have nothing in common with ISIS.

It is also continuously claimed in the West that the Syrian army and Russia are only engaging in token fighting against ISIS, and that they are almost exclusively concerned with fighting the “moderate rebels” in Aleppo and elsewhere, who are trying to overthrow the Syrian government.

Some Western commentators have gone even further, and have come close to saying that Russia, the Syrian government and ISIS are in de facto alliance with each other, as all three are collectively waging war on the “moderate rebels” who are trying to overthrow the Syrian government rather than fight each other.

The Jihadi attempt to cut the Syrian army’s supply lines south of Aleppo which took place on 1st November 2016 shows how completely wrong these claims are.

The attack was actually carried out by ISIS.  Moreover the attack was clearly coordinated with Jabhat Al-Nusra (ie. with Al-Qaeda) which carried out a similar attack in the same area just days before. 

As recent events have shown, Jabhat Al-Nusra (ie. Al-Qaeda) is the dominant force in eastern Aleppo, though contrary to Western claims ISIS definitely has a presence there, as confirmed by this 10th October 2016 report by RT’s Murad Gazdiev, which shows Jabhat Al-Nusra and ISIS flags flying together in the city.

As our contributor Afra’a Dagher – who is a Syrian writer actually writing for The Duran from Syria – has repeatedly warned, the alphabet soup of differently named Jihadi groups in Syria merely disguises a single continuum of violent Wahhabi Jihadis all committed to the same cause: the overthrow of the Syrian government and the establishment of a sectarian Wahhabi exclusively Sunni state in its place. 

Here is how Afra’a Dagher explained the role of ISIS in the Syrian conflict

“The “Islamic State” has been designed to attract Takfiri (NB: Wahhabi – AM) fighters from all over the world to join the war against Syria.  That way the war to destroy Syria and break the Axis of Resistance is fought with no shortage of fanatical recruits. The war is sponsored and funded by Saudi Arabia, the true factory of Wahhabism, as well as by countries like Qatar and Turkey.”

Whilst there undoubtedly are tensions between the senior Al-Qaeda and ISIS political leaderships, these have no practical relevance to the situation on the ground, where fighters from the different groups work continuously to defeat their common enemy, which is the Syrian government and Russia.

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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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