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INTERNATIONAL LAW VS IMPERIALISM: the new phase of war in Syria

The war is now a contest between foreign powers obeying international law along with their Syrian partner, versus foreign powers with open imperial ambitions.




Around the time of the Syrian victory in the Battle of Aleppo, the fact that the government of Syria would not fall has been more or less assured.

Recent events have made this a virtual certainty. Because of this however, a new kind of proxy war is taking place with its own unique unspoken rules.

As The Duran’s Alexander Mercouris writes,

“…with the US and the Russians anxious to avoid coming to blows with each other, both sides also look to contain the conflict by trying to keep it within its current curious rules.  Basically these are that neither side sets out to attack the other, and that whoever gains control of territory from ISIS first is allowed to keep it.

That explains why the manoeuvres the two sides carry out against each other are never spoken of in that way, and it also explains the conciliatory language (“the Coalition does not seek to fight the Syrian regime, Russian, or pro-regime forces partnered with them”) in today’s statement.

No doubt over the course of the next few hours the telephone lines between the Russian command in Khmeimim air base in Syria and the US command in Amman in Jordan will be buzzing with discussions as the militaries of the two sides search for ways to limit the damage so as to keep the conflict confined with its present rules”

The event Alexander Mercouris is referring to is the illegal shooting down of a Syrian aircraft by a US aircraft in Raqqa Governorate. While this event is a war crime according to international law, it is a move that conforms to the cynical rules of engagement that are as unspoken as they are now clear.

Put another way, the ‘race to liberate Raqqa’ is now the race to take Raqqa and beyond that the race for Raqqa is rapidly being overshadowed by the race for Deir ez-Zor which is now in many ways a bigger ISIS ‘hot-spot’ than Raqqa.

On top of this it’s a matter of a land-grab, something made all the more devastating by the fact that one of the parties is looking to grab back land which was always legally its own: Syria. The United States and the Kurds clearly have other ideas, to pretend otherwise at this point would simply be naive.

The nature of US mission creep means that America never likes to leave a conflict empty handed. Since the main prize of toppling the Syrian government is off the table, the new prize for the US is simply put, as much of eastern Syria as they can get their hands on, ostensibly so they can prepare for a US dependent Kurdish autonomous region or even a state of Kurdistan which would be something of a US client state.

In September, Kurdish Iraqis will hold a referendum on establishing a Kurdish state in Northern Iraq. While both Iraq and Turkey are strongly opposed to this, America may well allow it to happen and use it as a pretext for linking it up with a Kurdistan carved from legal Syrian territory. The fact that Iraqi and Syrian Kurds have serious local political differences in many cases, will hardly matter to the United States who is a friend to both.

There is no doubt that Iran and Russia will both want to receive a kind of preferential position in Syria after the war and even less doubt that such offers will be on the table. Russia and Iran are fighting with Syria as partners, not adversaries and the post-war partnership will certainly continue.

But America is not a partner of any of the states surrounding the conflict in eastern Syria. Damascus is seen by the US as an enemy in all but name. Turkey and the US are on totally opposite sides of the equation now that the US has put its full military and geo-political weight behind Kurdish forces. However dependant Iraq is on the US, its government is an ally of Iran and Syria for reasons that have in some cases a more ancient background than the very existence of the United States.

From the American perspective, this is all the more reason to create a reliable pro-American client state in the region.

Israel is of course a big factor here. Depending on one’s perspective, Israel either dictates much of America’s Middle East policy and from other perspectives, Israel is the 51st state of the USA.

Israel makes no secret of its hatred towards the Syrian government. Israel and Syria have been enemies since a time when most people thought of an Egyptian goddess when they heard the word ‘ISIS’.

Israel and Hamas are on the same side in the war. Hamas fights with anti-Syrian jihadists while Israel continually attacks Syria and her allies, particularly the Lebanese Resistance Hezbollah and now even the pro-Israel Wall Street Journal confirms that Israel is aiding terrorists who are fighting the government in Damascus.

To add to these layers of imperial ambition, Israel is a long time regional ally of separatist Kurds and now that Turkey has backed Qatar in the current Gulf dispute, Saudi Arabia has come out with pro-Kurdish sentiments. This latter-most development fits into Donald Trump’s ambitions to formalise an Israel-Saudi alliance that in terms of the foreign policy ambitions of each state, already exists. Saudi and Israel have the same regional enemies, they want to destroy the same foes and now they want to cultivate the same regional would-be allies.

Therefore, it is fair to say that the US, Israel and the Saudis are pushing further towards open advocacy of a Kurdish client state in the region while Iran and Russia simply want to preserve Syria as she is currently comprised while maintaining their alliance with the legitimate government in Damascus.

According to the authority of international law, it is clear that Russia and Iran are the ‘good guys’ and America and her regional friends are the imperialist ‘bad guys’. In this case, it really is as simple as that.

When one looks to Turkey, things are by contrast, far more complicated.

Turkey in many ways, cooked its own goose by consistently funding, arming and fighting beside anti-government jihadists in Syria. Had Turkey remained neutral in the conflict or even switched to a position of neutrality before 2016, Turkey would have been able to have a very legitimate position from which to speak against the creation of a Kurdish state in both Syria and Iraq.

But because Turkey illegally invaded and occupied both Syria and Iraq at various times, Turkey’s position is deeply compromised.

Turkey’s position boils down too, “We want Turkish imperialism to bring down the government in Damascus in favour of jihadist extremists, but at the same time the US is wrong to turn the Kurds into imperial clients”. The position is as intellectually untenable as it is the blatant new reality.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently said that he wants to bring Saudi Arabia and the United States into the Astana Peace Talks. While he may have had many reasons for wanting this, it is almost certain that his goal would be to minamise US and Saudi ambitions to create a Kurdish state.

In Astana Turkey is generally supported by Iran in its opposition to a Kurdish state and Russia while having good contacts with many Kurdish leaders, would never advocate for a Kurdish state at the expense of Syria. 

READ MORE: 4 reasons Erdogan has invited US and Saudi Arabia to Astana Peace Talks

In reality, America would probably never participate in the Astana format anyway as it is difficult to see American diplomats sharing any kind of peace table with Iran at the present time. 

In trying to have the best of both worlds, Turkey now has the worst of each. Assad will stay and he’ll never forgive Turkey. Simultaneous to this, the Kurds have been embolden by the United States who clearly has no consideration for Turkish sentiments on the issue. The Turkey–US alliance which was strong for much of the 20th century and even before, may now take decades to fully recover.

For Syria, the fight is about dignity. The Syrian government now easily controls Syria’s big population centres, what many call ‘useful Syria’, the kinds of places that to put it bluntly, people would want to live in and tourists would want to visit.

Still, Syria does not want to lose any of its territory after having objectively won the war. And why should it? International law dictates Syria MUST retain its territory–every inch of it.

For Russia ,it is a matter of balancing its partnership with Syria against not wanting a confrontation with the United States. Iran is in a similar position, though many in Iran would not so secretly like an opportunity to ‘teach the US a lesson’.

Turkey will do anything it can to stop Kurdistan from becoming a reality, though its options are far more limited than they would have been if Turkey had stayed out of the conflict from the beginning.

All the while, America, Israel and Saudi want whatever piece of the Syrian pie they can illegally get their hands on.

This is now beyond the ‘race for Berlin’, its more like an old fashioned imperial war of a bygone age, but one fought with 21st century military hardware.

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EU leaders dictate Brexit terms to Theresa May (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 115.

Alex Christoforou



The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss how EU leaders have agreed on a plan to delay the the Article 50 process which effectively postpones Brexit beyond the 29 March deadline.

The UK will now be offered a delay until the 22nd of May, only if MPs approve Theresa May’s withdrawal deal next week. If MPs do not approve May’s negotiated deal, then the EU will support a short delay until the 12th of April, allowing the UK extra time to get the deal passed or to “indicate a way forward”.

UK PM Theresa May said there was now a “clear choice” facing MPs, who could vote for a third time on her deal next week.

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Theresa May outlines four Brexit options, via Politico

In a letter to MPs, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May set out the four options she believes the country has in light of Thursday’s decision by EU leaders to extend the Brexit deadline beyond next Friday.

The U.K. is faced with a four-way choice, May wrote late Friday.

The government could revoke Article 50 — which May called a betrayal of the Brexit vote; leave without a deal on April 12; pass her deal in a vote next week; or, “if it appears that there is not sufficient support” for a vote on her deal in parliament next week or if it is rejected for a third time, she could ask for an extension beyond April 12.

But this would require for the U.K. taking part in European elections in May, which the prime minister said “would be wrong.”

May wrote that she’s hoping for the deal to pass, allowing the U.K. to leave the EU “in an orderly way,” adding “I still believe there is a majority in the House for that course of action.”

“I hope we can all agree that we are now at the moment of decision,” she wrote.

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US media suffers panic attack after Mueller fails to deliver on much-anticipated Trump indictment

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”





Via RT

Important pundits and news networks have served up an impressive display of denials, evasions and on-air strokes after learning that Robert Mueller has ended his probe without issuing a single collusion-related indictment.

The Special Counsel delivered his final report to Attorney General William Barr for review on Friday, with the Justice Department confirming that there will be no further indictments related to the probe. The news dealt a devastating blow to the sensational prophesies of journalists, analysts and entire news networks, who for nearly two years reported ad nauseam that President Donald Trump and his inner circle were just days away from being carted off to prison for conspiring with the Kremlin to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Showing true integrity, journalists and television anchors took to Twitter and the airwaves on Friday night to acknowledge that the media severely misreported Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, as well as what Mueller’s probe was likely to find. They are, after all, true professionals.

“How could they let Trump off the hook?” an inconsolable Chris Matthews asked NBC reporter Ken Dilanian during a segment on CNN’s ‘Hardball’.

Dilanian tried to comfort the CNN host with some of his signature NBC punditry.

“My only conclusion is that the president transmitted to Mueller that he would take the Fifth. He would never talk to him and therefore, Mueller decided it wasn’t worth the subpoena fight,” he expertly mused.

Actually, there were several Serious Journalists who used their unsurpassed analytical abilities to conjure up a reason why Mueller didn’t throw the book at Trump, even though the president is clearly a Putin puppet.

“It’s certainly possible that Trump may emerge from this better than many anticipated. However! Consensus has been that Mueller would follow DOJ rules and not indict a sitting president. I.e. it’s also possible his report could be very bad for Trump, despite ‘no more indictments,'” concluded Mark Follman, national affairs editor at Mother Jones, who presumably, and very sadly, was not being facetious.

Revered news organs were quick to artfully modify their expectations regarding Mueller’s findings.

“What is collusion and why is Robert Mueller unlikely to mention it in his report on Trump and Russia?” a Newsweek headline asked following Friday’s tragic announcement.

Three months earlier, Newsweek had meticulously documented all the terrible “collusion” committed by Donald Trump and his inner circle.

But perhaps the most sobering reactions to the no-indictment news came from those who seemed completely unfazed by the fact that Mueller’s investigation, aimed at uncovering a criminal conspiracy between Trump and the Kremlin, ended without digging up a single case of “collusion.”

The denials, evasions and bizarre hot takes are made even more poignant by the fact that just days ago, there was still serious talk about Trump’s entire family being hauled off to prison.

“You can’t blame MSNBC viewers for being confused. They largely kept dissenters from their Trump/Russia spy tale off the air for 2 years. As recently as 2 weeks ago, they had @JohnBrennan strongly suggesting Mueller would indict Trump family members on collusion as his last act,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted.

While the Mueller report has yet to be released to the public, the lack of indictments makes it clear that whatever was found, nothing came close to the vast criminal conspiracy alleged by virtually the entire American media establishment.

“You have been lied to for 2 years by the MSM. No Russian collusion by Trump or anyone else. Who lied? Head of the CIA, NSA,FBI,DOJ, every pundit every anchor. All lies,” wrote conservative activist Chuck Woolery.

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom was more blunt, but said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

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Canadian Lawmaker Accuses Trudeau Of Being A “Fake Feminist” (Video)

Rempel segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career



Via Zerohedge

Canada’s feminist-in-chief Justin Trudeau wants to support and empower women…but his support stops at the point where said women start creating problems for his political agenda.

That was the criticism levied against the prime minister on Friday by a conservative lawmaker, who took the PM to task for “muzzling strong, principled women” during a debate in the House of Commons.

“He asked for strong women, and this is what they look like!” said conservative MP Michelle Rempel, referring to the former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, who has accused Trudeau and his cronies of pushing her out of the cabinet after she refused to grant a deferred prosecution agreement to a Quebec-based engineering firm.

She then accused Trudeau of being a “fake feminist”.

“That’s not what a feminist looks like…Every day that he refuses to allow the attorney general to testify and tell her story is another day he’s a fake feminist!”

Trudeau was so taken aback by Rempel’s tirade, that he apparently forgot which language he should respond in.

But Rempel wasn’t finished. She then segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career. This from a man who once objected to the continued use of the word “mankind” (suggesting we use “peoplekind” instead).

The conservative opposition then tried to summon Wilson-Raybould to appear before the Commons for another hearing (during her last appearance, she shared her account of how the PM and employees in the PM’s office and privy council barraged her with demands that she quash the government’s pursuit of SNC-Lavalin over charges that the firm bribed Libyan government officials). Wilson-Raybould left the Trudeau cabinet after she was abruptly moved to a different ministerial post – a move that was widely seen as a demotion.

Trudeau has acknowledged that he put in a good word on the firm’s behalf with Wilson-Raybould, but insists that he always maintained the final decision on the case was hers and hers alone.

Fortunately for Canadians who agree with Rempel, it’s very possible that Trudeau – who has so far resisted calls to resign – won’t be in power much longer, as the scandal has cost Trudeau’s liberals the lead in the polls for the October election.


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