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US Pushing The Gambit In Syria: Something Big Is Coming As Officials Ramp Up Threats

Another Syria chemical weapons false flag is being prepared.

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Via Zerohedge


We warned previously that something big is coming in Syria as the final showdown for al-Qaeda held Idlib looms with the Syrian Army and Russian aerial and naval forces taking position.

Pentagon and US officials continue pushing the gambit, setting the stage to play the “Assad is gassing his own people” card should so much as an inkling of a White Helmets allegation emerge, in an unprecedented level of telegraphing intentions for leverage on the battlefield.

And right on cue CNN has ramped up its coverage over the past of week of the “last rebel-held stronghold” in Syria, sending a hijab-covered reporter into the territory under rebel permission to interview civilians which CNN says Assad seeks to wipe out, possibly through sarin or other chemical attack.

Except the “rebel” coalition in control of this major “final holdout” is but the latest incarnation of al-Qaeda, calling itself Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and has held the province, the capital city of which is Idlib city, since a successful Western and Gulf ally sponsored attack on the area in 2015.

From National Security Advisor John Bolton’s statements last week to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s “warning” to his Russian counterpart to Tuesday’s State Department press briefing, where spokeswoman Heather Nauert reiterated reiterated to reporters the United States “will respond to any verified chemical weapons use in Idlib or elsewhere in Syria … in a swift and appropriate manner”…

It now appears the US stands ready to respond militarily to even the most unlikely and flimsiest of accusations.

And why wouldn’t Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham militants, now surrounded by Syrian and Russian forces and facing imminent defeat, redeem what’s essentially the US offer to “call in the Air Force” against Assad’s army? All they have to do is utter the words “chemical weapons attack!” to their friends in the Western media.

The Idlib campaign is predicted to be the bloodiest and longest grinding final battle of the war, and what should by now be obvious to all is this: Assad, on the verge of total victory has absolutely no incentive whatsoever to commit the one act that would ensure his own demise after arguably barely surviving seven years of war.

And at the same time the HTS/AQ “rebels” have every incentive to bring to fruition what US officials have this week so clearly laid out for them.

After all, it’s happened before in Idlib, with not so much as an on-the-ground investigation to collect evidence to back the claim (usually the minimal investigative threshold for the UN and OPCW), as occurred in the April 2017 Khan Sheikhoun claimed “sarin attack” incident, which resulted in the first time President Trump ordered airstrikes on Syria. To this day the international chemical investigative body and watchdog, the OPCW, has yet to visit the site due to its being controlled by al-Qaeda forces.

Nauert said further on Tuesday that senior U.S. officials have engaged with their Russian counterparts “to make this point very clear to Damascus” — that chemical weapons “will not be tolerated” — and could meet with massive military response. She also repeated that Assad would be held responsible.

Meanwhile Russia has cited its own intelligence saying that Syrian armed groups in Idlib are preparing for a staged chemical provocation, which Moscow says the West will use to justify a strike against Syrian government forces.

Speaking to Newsweek on Monday, Syria analyst Joshua Landis said that there is every reason to doubt the veracity of past rebel claims regarding government chemical weapons usage — a surprising admission given his prominence as speaking from within the heart of the media foreign policy establishment.

Landis said, “I don’t know what to make of the U.S. and Russian war of words over the potential use of chemical weapons in Idlib. The final reports on the use of chemical weapons in Ghouta were not definitive.”

“There was no evidence found for the use of nerve agents, but controversy over the use of chlorine gas. The rebels had reason to carry out a false flag operation, as the regime and Russians suggested, but the regime refused to let U.N. inspectors in to test for chemical weapons until after a lengthy delay, which was suspicious,” he concluded.

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christianbloodfranz kafkaGuytomobidiah_slope Recent comment authors
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christianblood
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christianblood

If, once again, the Syrian army is attacked by the U$ and its
allies on fabricated charges, Russia should respond forcefully and if
this leads to WW3, so be it! Enough is enough!

franz kafka
Guest
franz kafka

How about this?

“Any illegal attack on Russia’s ally, Syria, by any nation, will be met with a full spectrum response against that nation, up to and including thermo-nuclear weapons, on the territory of Syria or anywhere on the planet where that nation has military or other assets”

Guy
Guest
Guy

The war mongers are desperate .They are losing in Syria and everywhere else they have invaded illegally .The USD is threatened by the Eurasian consortium and the US is trillions in debt that can never be realistically be paid back .They are playing their final card and that could very well be war .Freedom loving people have no choice in the matter but to support the destruction of the one nation that claims freedom and democracy but demonstrably proves itself otherwise and bullies the the whole world into submission . One has to wonder if this will be the event… Read more »

tom
Guest
tom

‘the United States “will respond to any verified chemical weapons use in Idlib or elsewhere in Syria”‘

That’s OK then. There has never been a *verified* chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government, and there never will be.

Chemical weapons have often been used by the US-backed terrorists, though. And, if you include such weapons as napalm and white phosphorus, by the US itself.

franz kafka
Guest
franz kafka

The spirit of Insane McCain has possessed Washington.

It must be nuked to save the planet.
The US has lost all right and reason to exist.

obidiah_slope
Guest
obidiah_slope

They certainly stick to the tried and trusted (BS) script…….how do they keep a straight face?

Boudica
Guest
Boudica

Neocons need war so they can profit by it. Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq and now Syria. American taxpayers will never understand that. After Syria comes Iran.

Jim Bim
Guest
Jim Bim

Newsweek, Syria analyst Joshua Landis writes, “but the regime refused to let OPCW inspectors in to test for chemical weapons until after a lengthy delay, which was suspicious,” he concluded.”
Thats a lie, the OPCW inspectors where stuck in Damaskus after arriving, first because of the US/UK/France strike, second because the UN body after the strike, did not give the green light to the OPCW to inspect, because of militant snipers at the site who had to be eliminated first.

AM Hants
Guest
AM Hants

US Rejects Russia’s Data on Chemical Weapons Provocations in Syria – Lavrov… https://sputniknews.com/world/201808291067566254-us-russia-info/ Not forgetting the tweets, from the Syrian MP, who is trying to highlight the case of the kidnapped children, taken hostage from The White Helmets, in order to be used in the ‘false flag’. How many ships, plus, submarines has Russia sent to Syria, including the new arrivals? EURASIADEFENSE VIDEO: Will Onyx Missile Launch By Russia Send The ‘MESSAGE” To The U.S What AWAITS Them In SYRIA?… https://www.fort-russ.com/2018/08/video-will-onyx-missile-launch-by-russia-send-the-message-to-the-u-s-what-awaits-them-in-syria/ RUSSIAN NORTHERN FLEET’S NAVAL GROUP HOLDS DRILLS NEAR SYRIA… https://theduran.com/us-pushing-the-gambit-in-syria-something-big-is-coming-as-officials-ramp-up-threats/ Interesting: US state secretary requests meeting with Lavrov during… Read more »

311hwr
Guest
311hwr

sad, but putin will not lift a finger when syria is attacked again, n.a.t.o and it’s master israel can do whatever they want to syria.

Tibetan Cowboy
Guest

I expect to read that the U.S. Navy war convoy has been blown to bits and sunk by a barrage of 100s of those low-altitude cruise missiles that Russia and China will use (and which the USA has none) to defeat the USA in any conventional war in retaliation for the USA’s arrogance and daily worldwide Crimes Against Humanity. Sooner or later … for a realistic scenario of just this happening, with all kinds of technical language included, read: “Twilight’s Last Gleaming”, the only book so far I’ve read that described the collapse and disintegration of the USA into revolution,… Read more »

Clarty
Guest
Clarty

what i want to know will the Russian army assist in defending the syrian army from this bogus unfounded attack if it happens? If its not the americans it is the [email protected] or the turkish or ISIS who are attacking syria and its people for no real reason but self interest but what is russias game here ? So the cycle seems to be, russia help assad eliminate terrorist and get the country back under control, assad close to winning , false flag chemical attack by US and its puppets , bomb syrian army and assets, rinse and repeat ….… Read more »

James Johnson
Guest
James Johnson

The Deep state knows that if Bashir takes Idlib that Syria will be free of American interference . As a consequence Israel will have to stop the arming pf Hezbollah
by its self, which means Israel will be bombing Bashir’s Own People!!

ColinNZ
Guest
ColinNZ

The usual bluster, expect a few missiles to be allowed to hit derelict buildings or land in the desert with the rest shot down … followed by the usual US declared celebration of “100% of missiles hit the designated targets” … they cannot change the situation on the ground, and they know it. Kia kaha brave SAA & allies.

AJ
Guest
AJ

The Syrians should make an announcement that their planes will not take part in the Idlib operation & leave it to Russian planes alone. Any fake gas attack cant then be pinned on Assad – no one would believe Russia used gas.

James Johnson
Guest
James Johnson

An excuse for Trump to Bomb Bashir’s own people.

Latest

Major Syrian Army Assault On Southeast Idlib As Sochi Deal Unravels

Though the Syrian war has grown cold in terms of international spotlight and media interest since September, it is likely again going to ramp up dramatically over the next few months. 

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Via Zerohedge


The Syrian Army unleashed a major assault across the southeastern part of Idlib province on Saturday, a military source told Middle East news site Al-Masdar in a breaking report. According to the source, government forces pounded jihadist defenses across the southeast Idlib axis with a plethora of artillery shells and surface-to-surface missiles.

This latest exchange between the Syrian military and jihadist rebels comes as the Sochi Agreement falls apart in northwestern Syria, and in response to a Friday attack by jihadists which killed 22 Syrian soldiers near a planned buffer zone around the country’s last major anti-Assad and al-Qaeda held region. The jihadist strikes resulted in the highest number of casualties for the army since the Sochi Agreement was established on September 17th.

Though the Syrian war has grown cold in terms of international spotlight and media interest since September, it is likely again going to ramp up dramatically over the next few months.

The Al-Masdar source said the primary targets for the Syrian Army were the trenches and military posts for Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham in the towns of Al-Taman’ah, Khuwayn, Babulin, Haish, Jarjanaz, Um Jalal, and Mashirfah Shmaliyah. In retaliation for the Syrian Army assault, the jihadist rebels began shelling the government towns of Ma’an, Um Hariteen, and ‘Atshan.

Damascus has been critical of the Sochi deal from the start as it’s criticized Turkey’s role in the Russian-brokered ceasefire plan, especially as a proposed ‘de-militarized’ zone has failed due to jihadist insurgents still holding around 70% of the planned buffer area which they were supposed to withdraw from by mid-October. Sporadic clashes have rocked the “buffer zone” since.

Russia itself recently acknowledged the on the ground failure of the Sochi agreement even as parties officially cling to it. During a Thursday press briefing by Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova admitted the following:

We have to state that the real disengagement in Idlib has not been achieved despite Turkey’s continuing efforts to live up to its commitments under the Russian-Turkish Memorandum of September 17.

This followed Russia also recently condemning  “sporadic clashes” and “provocations” by the jihadist group HTS (the main al-Qaeda presence) in Idlib.

Likely due to Moscow seeing the writing on the wall that all-out fighting and a full assault by government forces on Idlib will soon resume, Russian naval forces continued a show of force in the Mediterranean this week.

Russian military and naval officials announced Friday that its warships held extensive anti-submarine warfare drills in the Mediterranean. Specifically the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s frigates Admiral Makarov and Admiral Essen conducted the exercise in tandem with deck-based helicopters near Syrian coastal waters.

Notably, according to TASS, the warships central to the drill are “armed with eight launchers of Kalibr-NK cruise missiles that are capable of striking surface, coastal and underwater targets at a distance of up to 2,600 km.”

Since September when what was gearing up to be a major Syrian-Russian assault on Idlib was called off through the Russian-Turkish ceasefire agreement, possibly in avoidance of the stated threat that American forces would intervene in defense of the al-Qaeda insurgent held province (also claiming to have intelligence of an impending government “chemical attack”), the war has largely taken a back-burner in the media and public consciousness.

But as sporadic fighting between jihadists and Syrian government forces is reignited and fast turning into major offensive operations by government forces, the war could once again be thrust back into the media spotlight as ground zero for a great power confrontation between Moscow and Washington.

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Trump Quietly Orders Elimination of Assange

The destruction of Assange has clearly been arranged for, at the highest levels of the U.S. Government, just as the destruction of Jamal Khashoggi was by Saudi Arabia’s Government.

Eric Zuesse

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On June 28th, the Washington Examiner headlined “Pence pressed Ecuadorian president on country’s protection of Julian Assange” and reported that “Vice President Mike Pence discussed the asylum status of Julian Assange during a meeting with Ecuador’s leader on Thursday, following pressure from Senate Democrats who have voiced concerns over the country’s protection of the WikiLeaks founder.” Pence had been given this assignment by U.S. President Donald Trump. The following day, the Examiner bannered “Mike Pence raises Julian Assange case with Ecuadorean president, White House confirms” and reported that the White House had told the newspaper, “They agreed to remain in close coordination on potential next steps going forward.”

On August 24th, a court-filing by Kellen S. Dwyer, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Alexandria Division of the Eastern District of Virginia, stated: “Due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure [than sealing the case, hiding it from the public] is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged. … This motion and the proposed order would need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter.” That filing was discovered by Seamus Hughes, a terrorism expert at the Program on Extremism at George Washington University. On November 15th, he posted an excerpt of it on Twitter, just hours after the Wall Street Journal had reported on the same day that the Justice Department was preparing to prosecute Assange. However, now that we know “the fact that Assange has been charged” and that the U.S. Government is simply waiting “until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter,” it is clear and public that the arrangements which were secretly made between Trump’s agent Pence and the current President of Ecuador are expected to deliver Assange into U.S. custody for criminal prosecution, if Assange doesn’t die at the Ecuadorean Embassy first.

On November 3rd (which, of course, preceded the disclosures on November 15th), Julian Assange’s mother, Christine Ann Hawkins, described in detail what has happened to her son since the time of Pence’s meeting with Ecuador’s President. She said:

He is, right now, alone, sick, in pain, silenced in solitary confinement, cut off from all contact, and being tortured in the heart of London. … He has been detained nearly eight years, without trial, without charge. For the past six years, the UK Government has refused his requests to exit for basic health needs, … [even for] vitamin D. … As a result, his health has seriously deteriorated. … A slow and cruel assassination is taking place before our very eyes. … They will stop at nothing. … When U.S. Vice President Mike Pence recently visited Ecuador, a deal was done to hand Julian over to the U.S. He said that because the political cost of expelling Julian from the Embassy was too high, the plan was to break him down mentally…   to such a point that he will break and be forced to leave. … The extradition warrant is held in secret, four prosecutors but no defense, and no judge, … without a prima-facie case. [Under the U.S. system, the result nonetheless can be] indefinite detention without trial. Julian could be held in Guantanamo Bay and tortured, sentenced to 45 years in a maximum security prison, or face the death penalty,” for “espionage,” in such secret proceedings.

Her phrase, “because the political cost of expelling Julian from the Embassy was too high” refers to the worry that this new President of Ecuador has, of his cooperating with the U.S. regime’s demands and thereby basically ceding sovereignty to those foreigners (the rulers of the U.S.), regarding the Ecuadorian citizen, Assange.

This conservative new President of Ecuador, who has replaced the progressive President who had granted Assange protection, is obviously doing all that he can to comply with U.S. President Trump and the U.S. Congress’s demand for Assange either to die soon inside the Embassy or else be transferred to the U.S. and basically just disappear, at Guantanamo or elsewhere. Ecuador’s President wants to do this in such a way that Ecuador’s voters won’t blame him for it, and that he’ll thus be able to be re-elected. This is the type of deal he apparently has reached with Trump’s agent, Pence. It’s all secret, but the evidence on this much of what was secretly agreed-to seems clear. There are likely other details of the agreement that cannot, as yet, be conclusively inferred from the subsequent events, but this much can.

Basically, Trump has arranged for Assange to be eliminated either by illness that’s imposed by his Ecuadorean agent, or else by Assange’s own suicide resulting from that “torture,” or else by America’s own criminal-justice system. If this elimination happens inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, then that would be optimal for America’s President and Congress; but, if it instead happens on U.S. soil, then that would be optimal for Ecuador’s President. Apparently, America’s President thinks that his subjects, the American people, will become sufficiently hostile toward Assange so that even if Assange disappears or is executed inside the United States, this President will be able to retain his supporters. Trump, of course, needs his supporters, but this is a gamble that he has now clearly taken. This much is clear, even though the rest of the secret agreement that was reached between Pence and Ecuador’s President is not.

Scooter Libby, who had arranged for the smearing of Valerie Plame who had tried to prevent the illegal and deceit-based 2003 invasion of Iraq, was sentenced to 30 months but never spent even a day in prison, and U.S. President Trump finally went so far as to grant him a complete pardon, on 13 April 2018. (The carefully researched docudrama “Fair Game” covered well the Plame-incident.) Libby had overseen the career-destruction of a courageous CIA agent, Plame, who had done the right thing and gotten fired for it; and Trump pardoned Libby, thus retroactively endorsing the lie-based invasion of Iraq in 2003. By contrast, Trump is determined to get Julian Assange killed or otherwise eliminated, and even Democrats in Congress are pushing for him to get that done. The new President of Ecuador is doing their bidding. Without pressure from the U.S. Government, Assange would already be a free man. Thus, either Assange will die (be murdered) soon inside the Embassy, or else he will disappear and be smeared in the press under U.S. control. And, of course, this is being done in such a way that no one will be prosecuted for the murder or false-imprisonment. Trump had promised to “clean the swamp,” but as soon as he was elected, he abandoned that pretense; and, as President, he has been bipartisan on that matter, to hide the crimes of the bipartisan U.S. Government, and he is remarkably similar in policy to his immediate predecessors, whom he had severely criticized while he was running for the Presidency.

In any event, the destruction of Assange has clearly been arranged for, at the highest levels of the U.S. Government, just as the destruction of Jamal Khashoggi was by Saudi Arabia’s Government; and, just like in Khashoggi’s case, the nation’s ruler controls the prosecutors and can therefore do whatever he chooses to do that the rest of the nation’s aristocracy consider to be acceptable.

The assault against truth isn’t only against Assange, but it is instead also closing down many of the best, most courageous, independent news sites, such as washingtonsblog. However, in Assange’s case, the penalty for having a firm commitment to truth has been especially excruciating and will almost certainly end in his premature death. This is simply the reality. Because of the system under which we live, a 100% commitment to truth is now a clear pathway to oblivion. Assange is experiencing this reality to the fullest. That’s what’s happening here.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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Libya’s Peace Process Dies in Palermo

The best the Palermo negotiators could come up with at the end was a bland statement declaring their hope that sometime in the future all the Libyan forces will meet to sort out their differences.

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Authored by Richard Galustian for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity:


“Resounding flop” was the verdict of Italy’s former prime minister Matteo Renzi on this week’s Libya peace conference held in Palermo. He’s not wrong. The conference hosted by Italy’s new government achieved the remarkable feat of making Libya’s tensions worse, not better. Acrimony broke out between the parties, and Turkey’s delegation walked out, its vice president Fuat Oktay accusing unnamed States of trying to “hijack the process.”

Some sources in Palermo suggested, yet to be verified, that the US thought the Conference was not too bad: a joke if true.

Moreover the mystery we might ask is what “process” is there to hijack? Because the truth is, the peace plan the conference was supporting is already dead.

That plan was the brainchild of the United Nations, launched more than a year ago with the aim of ending Libya’s split between warring Eastern and Western governments with elections in December.

Even before the first delegates set foot in the pleasant Sicilian city of Palermo this week, the UN admitted the election date of December 10 they had decided to scrap.

The eastern government, led by the parliament in Tobruk, had made moves in the summer to organize a referendum on a new constitution which would govern the elections. But no referendum was held, and most Libyans agree it would be pointless because Tripoli, home to a third of the country’s population, is under the iron grip of multiple warring militias who have the firepower to defy any new elected government. Hours after the delegates left Palermo, those militias began a new bout of fighting in the Tripoli suburbs.

The best the Palermo negotiators could come up with at the end of the talks was a bland statement declaring their hope that sometime in the future all the Libyan forces will meet in a grand conference to sort out their differences – and this after four years of civil war. To say that chances of this are slim is an understatement.

Dominating the Palermo talks, and indeed Libya’s political landscape, was and is Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the Libyan National Army, the country’s most powerful formation. In four years, the LNA has secured Libya’s key oil fields and Benghazi, its second city, ridding most of the east Libya of Islamist militias.

Haftar met reluctantly negotiators in Palermo, but insisted he was not part of the talks process. The Italian government press office said Haftar was not having dinner with the other participants nor joining them for talks. Haftar specifically opposed the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood champion, Qatar, at the event along with Turkey.

Haftar clearly only attended because he had a few days before visiting Moscow – which sent to Sicily Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev – and because also of Egyptian President Sisi’s presence along with his allies.

Possibly Haftar was simply fed up. Twice in the past two years he has attended previous peace talks, hosted each time in Paris, giving the nod to declarations that Libya’s militias would dissolve. Yet the militias remain as strong as ever in Tripoli.

Haftar is detested by the militias and the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) but supported by a large segment of the population – 68 percent, according to an opinion poll by America’s USAID. His popularity is based on a single policy – his demand that security be in the hands of regular police and military, not the militias.

Not everyone is happy, certainly not Turkey, which is backing Islamist, MB and Misratan forces in western Libya who detest Haftar. Yet Turkey’s greatest statesman, the great Kamal Ataturk, was a champion of secularism: After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire following World War One Turkey faced the prospect of utter disintegration, and it was Attaturk who rose to the challenge, defending the country’s borders, while ordering that the mullahs, while responsible for spiritual welfare, have no political power.

Political Islam is not popular in Libya either. Libya is a Muslim country, its people know their faith, and most want government to be decided through the ballot box.

The problem for Libya is what happens next with the peace process broken. Haftar has in the past threatened to move on Tripoli and rid the militias by force if they refuse to dissolve, and it may come to that – a fierce escalation of the civil war.

The second possibility is that Libya will split. The east is, thanks to the LNA, militarily secure. It also controls two thirds of the country’s oil and operates as a separate entity, down to it banknotes, which are printed in Russia while the Tripoli government’s are printed in Britain. A formal split would be an economic boon for the lightly populated east, but a disaster for Tripolitania, its population losing most of the oil, its only source of export income.

Yet with the failure of peace talks, and no sign of Tripoli militias dissolving, military escalation or breakup seem more likely than ever.

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