Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford warned Congress that the implementation of a No Fly Zone, a centerpiece of Hillary’s foreign policy strategy, would result in World War III.
During testimony before the Senate Committee on Armed Services last week General Joseph Dunford rang the alarm over a policy shift that is gaining more traction within the halls of Washington following the collapse of the ceasefire brokered by the United States and Russia in Syria saying that it could result in a major international war which he was not prepared to advocate on behalf of.
Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) asked about Hillary Clinton’s proposal for a no fly zone in Syria in response to allegations that Russia and Syria have intensified their aerial bombardment of rebel-held East Aleppo since the collapse of the ceasefire.
"What about the option of controlling the airspace so that barrel bombs cannot be dropped? What do you think of that option?" asked Wicker.
"Right now, Senator, for us to control all of the airspace in Syria would require us to go to war against Syria and Russia. That is a pretty fundamental decision that certainly I’m not going to make," said the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff suggesting the policy was too hawkish even for military leaders.
Despite the ramifications of the policy, Hillary Clinton has argued in favor of a no fly zone throughout her presidency starting in October 2015 just days after Russia began a bombing campaign aimed at maintaining the stability of the Syrian government.
"I personally would be advocating now for a no fly zone and humanitarian corridors to try to stop the carnage on the ground and from the air, to try to provide some way to take stock of what’s happening, to try to stem the flow of refugees," said Clinton in an interview with NBC’s Boston affiliate at the time.
The former Secretary of State, who has a well-known hawkish position towards regime change and matters related to Russia, has continued to advocate this position which has gained traction in recent weeks among top US diplomats.
Closed-door comments by US Secretary of State John Kerry reveal much about US involvement in Syrian crisis, Dr. Jamal Wakeem, professor of history and international relations at Lebanese University in Beirut, told RT.
The New York Times acquired the taped conversation between the US Secretary of State and two dozen Syrian civilians from education, rescue, and medical groups working in rebel-held areas, during a meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
The leaked recording reveals how angry John Kerry really is about being unable to topple President Bashar Assad by military means.
“I've argued for use of force. I stood up. I’m the guy who stood up and announced we’re going to attack Assad because of the weapons, and then you know things evolved into a different process,” the Secretary of State said in the tape.
He told the civilians that “you have nobody more frustrated than we are (the US)” that the Syrian issue is now being solved diplomatically.
Kerry also warned the Syrians, who sounded clearly unhappy with Washington’s contribution, that attempts to intervene militarily or provide more support to the rebels by the US may have a reverse effect.
“The problem is that, you know, you get, quote, ‘enforcers’ in there and then everybody ups the ante, right? Russia puts in more, Iran puts in more; Hezbollah is there more and Nusra is more; and Saudi Arabia and Turkey put all their surrogate money in, and you all are destroyed,” the diplomat explained.
RT: What do you think this conversation shows?
Jamal Wakeem: I believe that this proves that the US was involved in the Syrian crisis since its onset and that it was collaborating with the so-called insurgents in order to topple the Syrian regime. In addition, it proves also that the Syrian crisis had its regional and international dimension since the beginning and it wasn’t a revolution against an illegitimate regime, as the West claimed at one point.
In addition, I believe that it also proves that the Obama administration didn’t give priority to peaceful and political solution for the Syrian crisis. But it used this as an alternative to its inability to use force when it was confronted by a steadfast position by Russia who refused to be dragged into another trick by the US similar to what happened in Libya and topple the Syrian regime. I believe that the Russians are aware of the fact that the war in Syria is a war by proxy directed against them and against their ally China. It is part of a bigger plan by the US to block Eurasia from having access to the maritime trade roots. In addition, I believe there was a mentioning of the presence of the representatives of the NGOs operating in insurgent territories. And this proves also that the US was using these NGOs as a tool of soft power in order to topple the Syrian regime.
Syrian rebels and civilians in the besieged eastern half of Aleppo are bracing for an onslaught ground assault by Syrian regime forces and their Shia fighter allies which could once and for all end the opposition’s resistance in the city.
US officials said they were seeing signs that thousands of troops from across the Shia world - including Syrian regime soldiers, Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Hizbollah fighters, Iraqi militiamen and Afghan mercenaries - were massing for a final assault on Aleppo.
The warning came as largest hospital on the rebel side of the city was put out of service after being hit by barrel bombs on Saturday amid a dramatically intensified Russian and Syrian regime bombardment of Aleppo.
As US-led diplomatic efforts to broker a truce continued to stall, Moscow warned Washington against intervening militarily against the Assad regime, saying that American strikes against Damascus would have “terrible, tectonic consequences”.
The assault force gathering outside Aleppo is reported to be made up of 10,000 troops and their goal is to finally recapture the rebel-held east of the city and bring an end its four-years of defiance against Bashar al-Assad and his regime.
If Aleppo did fall back into the control of the Syrian regime it would be potentially the single biggest turning point in six years of fighting and a major defeat for rebel forces.
Libya's military leader Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the Libyan National Army loyal to the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR), has requested Russia to end its arms embargo on Libya and begin supplying weapons and military equipment to eastern Libyan forces.
According to Russian newspaper Izvestia, Abdel Basset Badri, Haftar’s special representative who also serves as Libya's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, visited Moscow on September 27 to deliver the request addressed to both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
Mr. Badri held talks with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, Russian newspaper Izvestia reported, citing a diplomatic source familiar with the situation.
The agenda included the prospects for lifting the embargo on arms supplies, including warplanes. More importantly, General Haftar asked Russia to start an anti-Islamist military operation in Libya similar to the one in Syria.
The toppling of long-term leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 led to a power vacuum and instability in Libya, with no authority in full control. The country is divided between two governments: the HoR in the east of the country and the Government of National Accord (GNA), which moved to Tripoli in March 2016 and set up its headquarters in a heavily-guarded naval base.
The most important thing is that it is Russia - not the US, France or any other Western state involved in the Libya conflict - that the Libyan military leader has asked for help. Libyans remember well the NATO intervention of 2011 and don’t trust the West, especially in view of its failure to achieve any positive results in Syria. Russia’s operation in that country has changed the political landscape and strengthened Moscow’s standing among the region’s powers. The collapse of the recent Russia-US agreement on Syria and the following tragedy in Aleppo confirms the fact. Besides, unlike the US, Russia enjoys a good relationship with Egypt and good working relations with the UAE – the countries that back General Haftar.
The request to help and intervene in Libya testifies to the fact that Russia’s clout is growing in the Middle East, while the West is displaying unwillingness to play a responsible role in the region. The operation in Syria was followed by a host of tangible Middle East policy successes. Russia has special relationship with Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Israel and the Persian Gulf states. King Salman of Saudi Arabia is planning a trip to Moscow soon. Russia is strongly back in the region with its clout growing by leaps and bounds, while the US appears to have lost its way in the regional maze of overlapping problems and complexities.
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