Unless there’s a quick and drastic turn for the better in Syria, the US may reach its moment of truth with Russia. If Washington is simply unable or unwilling to work with Moscow to resolve the conflict, it’s likely that our much-worsened relations with Russia will be irreparable for the foreseeable future.
This would be the very worst of the many undesirable legacies President Obama passes on to his successor come November.
What happened between the ceasefire in Syria Secretary of State Kerry agreed on just 10 days ago with Sergei Lavrov, his Russian counterpart, and now? A week into the deal, it appears the agreement has done nothing but push the conflict to the very edge of chaos.
Once again, nobody trusts anybody and everybody accuses everybody of violating terms of the ceasefire. The biggest blow to the prospects of success came Saturday when jets from the US–led coalition bombed a Syrian army base in Deir Ezzor, a city under siege by the Islamic State. The Syrian government reported 62 Syrian army casualties and 100 wounded, which Russian officials appear to confirm,
This is hardly what Washington and Moscow want to present at the UN as the General Assembly opens this week in New York City. But the implications here run far deeper than poor cosmetics on a passing occasion.
While Russia’s relations with Iran extend back centuries, Syria now shapes up as a catalyst for a rare closeness between Tehran and Moscow. This was signaled last month when Russian bombers launched sorties into Syria from an Iranian airfield. The supreme irony here: The Obama administration has long seen the Syria conflict as a chance to deprive Russia of its No. 1 ally in the region—hence its preoccupation with ousting the Assad government in Damascus even after ISIS suddenly emerged as a serious threat in mid–2014.
Washington’s longstanding strategic ties with Turkey and Saudi Arabia are badly frayed due to differences over the right goals in Syria and how to achieve them. (Both are now making nice with Russia, to make matters worse.) If drift turns to rift in US relations with these two countries, the Obama administration’s clumsiness over the past several years will leave Moscow’s influence in the Middle East waxing as Washington’s wanes.
As to the last Saturday’s bombing of the Syrian base, we can’t listen to the Assad government, which asserts it was intentional. The US says it was an accident, while the Russians have requested an emergency Security Council meeting and are so far withholding judgment.
Regardless of how this shakes out, Washington just took a very big hit. On the ground, suspicions that the US has all along backed ISIS in its determination to overthrow Assad have spread like a California fire. Closer to home, we can’t flinch from a question that’s bitter enough to pose, never mind the answer.
So, in Washington’s artful spin of events, it is the Syrian government of President Bashar al Assad which is reneging on the ceasefire arrangement by blocking food and medical supplies to starving civilians. This, of course, plays handily into the broader Western narrative that the Syrian «regime» is the ultimate villain of the piece. The vile Assad is mercilessly denying children food and water, goes the spin.
Based on that premise, Washington is giving notice that it will not follow through on its ceasefire commitment to join with Russian air forces for targeting terror groups like ISIS (Daesh) and al Nusra Front. Those anticipated «joint operations» between US and Russian aircraft were supposed to be the highlight of the ceasefire plan worked out last weekend in Geneva by Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.
But that supposed «breakthrough» is now in doubt. McClatchy News reported at the end of the week: «US to Russia – Syria military cooperation not guaranteed».
Washington is mendaciously trying to pretend that there have been no breaches of the ceasefire and that the whole problem revolves around «no humanitarian access» being granted by the Syrian authorities. If the US does indeed backtrack from its stated prior commitment to cooperate with Russian forces for targeting terror groups then it is safe to assume that the entire ceasefire «deal» will be dead, even as a rhetorical concept.
Admittedly, the level of violence in Aleppo and across the country subsided when the US-Russian ceasefire pact came into effect on September 12. Russian and allied Syrian forces halted their campaign of air strikes. Opposition violence appeared to abate too. Nevertheless, the truce was reportedly violated multiple times by anti-government militias, not just in Aleppo, but in other locations, such as Latakia, Hama and Homs.
Russia has correctly criticized the US as using a «verbal smokescreen» to conceal why the ceasefire is failing. The point is that Washington has negligible control over its declared moderate rebels. In fact, there is no control because in practice there is no distinction between the myriad illegally armed insurgents.
The stone-cold truth is that they have been sponsoring terrorist proxies for the criminal purpose of regime change.
If you tried to put up a large cross in a public park in New York City there would be lawsuits flying all over the place, but apparently an ancient pagan arch that served as a gateway to the Temple of Baal is no problem at all. On Monday, September 19th, a reconstructed version of Palmyra’s Arch Of Triumph (also known as the Monumental Arch) will be erected in New York City. Specifically, it will be located in City Hall Park in Manhattan. The organization behind this project is known as the Institute for Digital Archaeology, and they have confirmed the location and the date on their official website…
This arch was originally constructed in Palmyra, Syria by the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus in the 3rd century A.D., and it stood there until it was destroyed by ISIS in 2015. The following comes from the Wikipedia articleabout this arch…
Those that are familiar with ancient Middle Eastern deities already know that “Bel” and the “Baal” that we find in the Bible were one and the same. Here is more from Wikipedia…
Well, the truth is that “Baal” is mentioned in the Bible more than 100 times. A very high percentage of current world religions can be traced directly back to this ancient deity and to ancient Babylon, and the practices involved in ancient Baal worship are “eerily similar” to things that go on in society today. The following comes from an excellent article by Matt Barber…