White House ‘Warning’ Of ‘Imminent Threat Of Chemical Attack In Syria’ Is Phoney.

An anti-war demonstrator is seen outside the White House before President Photo By Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty

By Alexander Mercouris for The Duran – A few hours ago the German publication Welt published Seymour Hersh’s exposure of the Khan Sheikhoun chemical attack. In this report Hersh says that the chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun never happened. The Jihadis in control of Khan Sheikhoun used the effect of a toxic cloud released by the Syrian bombing of a building which hosted a meeting of important Jihadi leaders in order to claim that there had been a chemical attack. The attack was however conventional, and the toxic cloud was caused by the release of chemicals stored in the building’s basement. Hersh also reports that the Russians had informed the US of this bombing raid in advance, and that the US intelligence and defence bureaucracy was aware that there had been no chemical attack. However they were unable to get the President to accept this. After seeing television pictures of the aftermath of the attack he became convinced that a chemical attack had taken place and no amount of persuasion by his intelligence and defence officials could dissuade him. An attack on Syria’s Al-Shayrat air base was accordingly launched, supposedly in retaliation.

Three Nations With Most Refugees Were Targets Of US Intervention

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By Whitney Webb for Mintpress News. CHILE– A United Nations report has shed light on the world’s burgeoning crisis of displaced peoples, finding that a record 65.6 million were forced to vacate their homes in 2016 alone. More than half of them were minors. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which drafted the report, put the figure into perspective, stating that increasing conflict and persecution worldwide have led to “one person being displaced every three seconds – less than the time it takes to read this sentence.” UN High Commissioner Filippo Grandi called the figure “unacceptable” and called for “solidarity and a common purpose in preventing and resolving the crisis.” However, what the UN report failed to mention was the role of U.S. foreign intervention, indirect or direct, in fomenting the conflicts responsible for producing most of the world’s refugees.

How The US Armed Terrorist Groups In Syria

Free Syrian Army fighters in Saqba, a suburb of Damascus (Photo: Freedom House / CC-BY-2.0)

By Gareth Porter for The American Conservative – Three-term Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a member of both the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, has proposed legislation that would prohibit any U.S. assistance to terrorist organizations in Syria as well as to any organization working directly with them. Equally important, it would prohibit U.S. military sales and other forms of military cooperation with other countries that provide arms or financing to those terrorists and their collaborators. Gabbard’s “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” challenges for the first time in Congress a U.S. policy toward the conflict in the Syrian civil war that should have set off alarm bells long ago: in 2012-13 the Obama administration helped its Sunni allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar provide arms to Syrian and non-Syrian armed groups to force President Bashar al-Assad out of power. And in 2013 the administration began to provide arms to what the CIA judged to be “relatively moderate” anti-Assad groups—meaning they incorporated various degrees of Islamic extremism. That policy, ostensibly aimed at helping replace the Assad regime with a more democratic alternative, has actually helped build up al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise al Nusra Front into the dominant threat to Assad.

Is There A Western Plot To Overthrow Assad?

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By William Van Wagenen for The LIberatarian – The Western narrative of the Syrian conflict, which began in the Spring of 2011, suggests that the Syrian people began to peacefully protest for an end to the Assad regime, which then responded with brutal oppression; killing, imprisoning and torturing innocent Syrian civilians in an effort to maintain power. In time, Syrian soldiers defected from the army (because they refused orders to shoot peaceful protesters), began to arm themselves, and created the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to fight the regime. The West then began to support the Syrian rebels, in an effort to protect civilians and allow Syrians to realize their aspirations for democracy and freedom. The Syrian government of course rejects this narrative, claiming instead that it has the support of the majority of Syrians, and is in fact the victim of a “conspiracy” or “plot” by the Western powers to support “terrorists” in an effort to overthrow it. While Western journalists at times report on claims of such a plot by Syrian officials, the tone of such reports is always from the perspective that that these claims are regime propaganda meant to justify the killing of civilians.

Resist This: The United States Is At War With Syria

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By Jim Kavanagh for Counter Punch – The United States is at war with Syria. Though few Americans wanted to face it, this has been the case implicitly since the Obama administration began building bases and sending Special Ops, really-not-there, American troops, and it has been the case explicitly since August 3, 2015, when the Obama administration announced that it would “allow airstrikes to defend Syrian rebels trained by the U.S. military from any attackers, even if the enemies hail from forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.” With the U.S. Air Force—under Trump, following Obama’s declared policy—shooting down a Syrian plane in Syrian airspace, this is now undeniable. The United States is overtly engaged in another aggression against a sovereign country that poses no conceivable, let alone actual or imminent, threat to the nation. This is an act of war. As an act of war, this is unconstitutional, and would demand a congressional declaration. Will Trump ask for this? Will any Democratic or Republican congresscritter demand it? Is the Pope a Hindu? Would it make any difference? Why should Trump bother? Obama set the stage when he completely ignored the War Powers Act, the Constitution, Congress, and his own Attorney General and legal advisers, and went right ahead with a war on Libya

Three Way Conflict Between Kurds, Shia And Sunni Arabs In Syria

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By Nauman Sadiq. the ethnic and sectarian conflict in Syria and Iraq is actually a three-way conflict between the Sunni Arabs, the Shi’a Arabs and the Kurds. Although after the declaration of war against a faction of Sunni Arab militants, the Islamic State, the US has also lent its support to the Shi’a-led government in Iraq, but the Shi’a Arabs of Iraq are not the trustworthy allies of the United States because they are under the influence of Iran. Therefore, the US was left with no other choice but to make the Kurds the centerpiece of its policy in Syria after a group of Sunni Arab jihadists overstepped their mandate in Syria and overran Mosul and Anbar in Iraq in early 2014, from where, the United States had withdrawn its troops only a couple of years ago in December 2011.

Conflict Between US & Russia Over Downing Of Syrian Aircraft

A U.S. F-18 Super Hornet. (U.S. Air Force)

By Robert Burns for Associated Press – WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. military on Sunday shot down a Syrian Air Force fighter jet that bombed local forces aligned with the Americans in the fight against Islamic State militants, an action that appeared to mark a new escalation of the conflict. The U.S.-led coalition headquarters in Iraq said in a written statement that a U.S. F-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian government SU-22 after it dropped bombs near the U.S. partner forces, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces. The shootdown was near the Syrian town of Tabqa. The U.S. military statement said it acted in “collective self defense” of its partner forces and that the U.S. did not seek a fight with the Syrian government or its Russian supporters. According to a statement from the Pentagon, pro-Syrian regime forces attacked the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces-held town of Ja’Din, south of Tabqah in northern Syria, wounding a number of SDF fighters and driving the SDF from the town. Coalition aircraft conducted a show of force and stopped the initial pro-regime advance toward the town, the Pentagon said. Following the pro-Syrian forces attack, the coalition called its Russian counterparts “to de-escalate the situation and stop the firing,” according to the statement.

U.N. Says 300 Civilians Killed In U.S.-Led Air Strikes In Raqqa Since March

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By Stephanie Nebehay for Reuters – Intensified coalition air strikes have killed at least 300 civilians in the Syrian northern city of Raqqa since March, as U.S.-backed forces close in on the stronghold of Islamic State forces, U.N. war crimes investigators said on Wednesday. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a group of Kurdish and Arab militias supported by a U.S.-led coalition, began to attack Raqqa a week ago to take it from the jihadists. The SDF, supported by heavy coalition air strikes, have taken territory to the west, east and north of the city. “Coalition air strikes have intensified around the city,” said Paulo Pinheiro, chairman of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry. “As the operation is gaining pace very rapidly, civilians are caught up in the city under the oppressive rule of ISIL, while facing extreme danger associated with movement due to excessive air strikes,” he told reporters. Karen Abuzayd, an American commissioner on the independent panel, said: “We have documented the deaths caused by the coalition air strikes only and we have about 300 deaths, 200 in one place, in al-Mansoura, one village.”

MintPress Meets The Father Of Iconic Aleppo Boy, Who Says Media Lied About His Son

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By Eva Bartlett for Mint Press News – HOMS, SYRIA — On the evening of Aug. 17, 2016, an event that has yet to be adequately explained occurred in the Qaterji District of the Syrian city of Aleppo. Four-year-old Omran Daqneesh, as well as his siblings and parents, were injured in media alleged was an attack by the Russians – or the Syrian military, depending on what source one chose to believe. People in Aleppo suggested it could have been a strike by the US-led coalition. The reality is not yet known. The attack also claimed the life of Omran’s 11-year-old brother, Mohammad Ali Daqneesh. Overnight, the world was introduced to Omran, who became the poster child of suffering in Syria due to extensive coverage by Western corporate media. The al-Qaeda-affiliated White Helmets, and subsequently the media, made the child’s injuries out to seem far more serious than they actually were. CNN anchor Kate Bolduan “broke down” over a photo of the boy that was likely taken and propagated precisely to elicit such emotion. Video footage of Omran showed him seated in an ambulance, blank-faced and barefoot with blood drying on his face. The world was collectively heartbroken at seeing Omran – but was also misled about his story.

NYT’s New Syria-Sarin Report Challenged

New York Times building in New York City. (Photo from Wikipedia)

By Robert Parry for Consortium News – For U.S. mainstream journalists and government analysts, their erroneous “groupthinks” often have a shady accomplice called “confirmation bias,” that is, the expectation that some “enemy” must be guilty and thus the tendency to twist any fact in that direction. We have seen this pair contribute to fallacious reasoning more and more in recent years as the mainstream U.S. media and the U.S. government approach international conflicts as if the “pro-U.S. side” is surely innocent and the “anti-U.S. side” is presumed guilty. That was the case in assessing whether Iraq was hiding WMD in 2002-2003; it was repeated regarding alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria during that six-year conflict; and it surfaces as well in the New Cold War in which Russia is always the villain. The trend also requires insulting any Western journalist or analyst who deviates from the groupthinks or questions the confirmation bias. The dissidents are called “stooges”; “apologists”; “conspiracy theorists”; or “purveyors of fake news.” It doesn’t really matter how reasonable the doubts are. The mocking insults carry the day.

After US Bombs Syrian Government, Media Ask Few Questions

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By Ben Norton for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. The United States has bombed Syrian government–allied forces three times in just eight months. Major media outlets have overwhelmingly failed to ask critical questions about these incidents, preferring instead to echo the Pentagon. For years, media have consistently downplayed the extent of US military intervention in Syria, and repeatedly propagated the long-debunked myth that Washington never pursued regime change there in the first place. The distorted reporting on these US attacks reflects this longer trend. On May 18, the US military launched an air raid against forces allied with the Syrian government, killing several soldiers.

US-Led Air Strikes Killed Record Number Of Civilians In Syria

An anti-war demonstrator is seen outside the White House before President Photo By Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty

By Alice Donovan for Counter Punch – Air strikes carried out by the US and its coalition partners in Syria have killed the highest number of civilians on record since the bombing campaign began, a war monitor has said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a group mostly advocating anti-government forces in the war in Syria, said on Tuesday that the US-led coalition killed a total of 225 civilians between April 23 and May 23, the highest 30-day toll since the campaign began in 2014. “The past month of operations is the highest civilian toll since the coalition began bombing Syria,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP news agency. “There has been a very big escalation.” A U.S. military spokesman was quick to characterize those casualties as being accidents, otherwise, the result of U.S.-allied bombings but deferring all blame from the U.S.-led alliance. Stephen Townsend, a U.S. general and commander of Baghdad’s forces, said that the Islamic State group had “probably played a role in those casualties,” by using civilians as human shields. He provided no proof to validate his claims.

Syrians Roll Back Extremism In Idlib Without Military Intervention

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By Julia Taleb for Waging Nonviolence – The U.S. airstrikes in response to the chemical weapons attack in Idlib province last month triggered calls for greater outside military force against the Assad regime by some of the Syrian opposition. Yet, in a country exhausted by armed struggle and the presence of extremist groups, local civil initiatives have proven to be more effective at building peace than increased military involvement. In Idlib City, ordinary citizens have shown that they are capable of managing their civil affairs, alleviating suffering at the local level and rolling back extremism by themselves. On March 3, 2015, an umbrella group of Islamic armed factions called Jeish al-Fateh expelled the Syrian government from Idlib City, sparking an ongoing struggle by citizens and civil resistance groups to gain control of the city’s administration. After it took control of the city, Jeish al-Fateh — which includes Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formally known as al-Nusra Front, a group affiliated with al-Qaeda — formed a Shura Council to manage the city’s military and civil affairs. The armed group appointed its members and loyalists to administer the city without paying attention to qualifications or proper recruitment procedures.

Can Trump Salvage His Presidency In Syria’s War?

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By Shamus Cooke for Counter Punch – The political noose is tightening around Trump’s neck, and he’s got only one way out: war. The U.S. involvement in the Syrian war is accelerating as Trump’s talons dig deeper into the conflict. If he successfully clutches his prey he stands a chance of clinging to the presidency. The Democrats, now circling a wounded Trump, will happily feast instead on a rotting Syria: the only thing that can keep the Democrats from destroying Trump is if Trump destroys Syria. Trump’s strategy is based on how Democrats reacted after his first attack on the Syrian government on April 6th: they paused their toothless “resistance” to celebrate his bombing. Trump, at his most dangerous, exposed the Democrats at their weakest. Now Trump has struck the Syrian government again: on May 18th U.S. fighter jets attacked the Syrian military in Eastern Syria, from a new U.S. military base functioning inside Syrian territory controlled by the Syrian Kurds, where there are at least 1,000 U.S. active troops. Although the U.S. media underplayed Trump’s recent attack —— or ignored it completely — legendary U.K. Middle East journalist Robert Fisk explained the significance…

Trump’s First One Hundred Days Of War Crimes

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By Charles Pierson for Counter Punch. President Donald J. Trump closed out his first hundred days in office on April 29. Not marked by any notable achievements, Trump’s first hundred days did yield an impressive and ever-lengthening list of scandals. And war crimes. During his short time in office, Trump has racked up an impressive list of war crimes. Congratulations, Mr. President! Where to begin? Nine days after Trump’s Inauguration, US Navy SEALs together with elite troops from the United Arab Emirates descended on the village of Yaklaa in the Yemeni governorate of Bayda. At the time, the White House said that the mission’s objective was to enter a compound controlled by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and gather intelligence by grabbing computers and cell phones. It was not until a week later that US military officials stated that the prime objective of the raid was to capture or kill AQAP emir Qassim al-Rimi.