On March 12, US Permanent Representative to the UN, Nikki Haley, announced at a Security Council meeting that the US will take action on its own if that organization fails to establish a cease-fire and end the chemical attacks and suffering of civilians as it pushes for a new 30-day truce in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta.
She forces the circulation of a new draft resolution, in view of the failure of the previous one. In a nutshell, the US has adopted a “do what I tell you or else” approach. Sounds sound like an ultimatum! The UK expressed its readiness to join the US. So did France.
Washington blames Russia, Syria, and Iran for ignoring a 30-day cease-fire mandated by the UN last month. Defense Secretary James Mattis declared that the US is concerned over the reports of chlorine-gas use by Syria’s government. CIA director Mike Pompeo, who has been nominated for secretary of state, stated that President Donald Trump will not turn a blind eye to chemical attacks.
It should be noted that Syrian rebels have used chemical weapons (CW) before. This fact has been established by UN investigators. In 2017, the use of toxic agents by rebels was acknowledged by the US State Department. But the US is denying any possibility that the rebels might have staged a provocation in Eastern Ghouta, just as the Russian General Staff had warned. Just a few days ago the Syrian army found a CW lab in that area.
Nikki Hailey’s statement prompted a warning from Moscow that it will take measures to protect the lives of its servicemen and strike back if need be. On March 13, the Chief of Russia’s General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, alleged that the militants were preparing a provocation in Syria that would use chemical agents, intended to justify a massive US strike on Syria’s military sites and troops.
So, the US is adopting a “J’accuse” tone, threatening the use of force with no evidence to support its CW accusations while pointing its finger at Syria’s government, blaming it for firing on the fighters of Al-Nusra, the group excluded from the cease-fire agreements. But it’s Russia, not the US, who enforced five-hour daily breaks in the fighting to enable the evacuation of civilians and the injured from the embattled areas, allowing some deliveries of humanitarian aid.
Now — about the US concern over civilians suffering from chemical attacks. Here we go again: the pot calling the kettle black.
The US-led coalition wants the rebels to stay in the embattled area — the only springboard from which to strike Damascus. It also wants to demonstrate to the Arab countries its own allegiance to the principle of “responsibility to protect,” while painting those who are backing Syria, such as Russia, as evildoers. It’s part of the current campaign to make Russia look like a rogue state. The clamor over its support of Syria’s offensive in Eastern Ghouta has been timed to coincide with the British accusations of Moscow’s complicity in the “spy poisoning scandal.” These are links in one and the same chain.
The anti-Russian rhetoric in Washington is reaching unprecedented levels. Moscow's meddling in the US election is compared with the Pearl Harbor attack in December 1941 and with the 9/11 destruction by Al-Qaeda of the twin towers in Manhattan. New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee demanded that Trump should consider designating Russia as a terror sponsor state after Moscow missed a deadline to explain how a Russian former informant for Britain’s foreign intelligence service was poisoned in the UK.
Those who follow the Washington scandals know that in the past Menendez has been accused by government prosecutors of bribery, fraud and other charges, including accepting private flights, campaign contributions and other bribes from a wealthy patron in exchange for official favors. He still awaits the case mistrial due to the jury split so one could suspect that his appeal to the White House about Russia is an attempt to score some patriotic points with the media. However, in the wake of the current highly toxic and extremely dangerous anti-Russia hysteria it would be important to identify the major forces behind it, so in case of the worst case scenario of the direct military East – West confrontation we would know who to blame.
Prior to the 2016 presidential elections we could identify 3 major groups in this camp. First is the military-industrial complex which is a huge network of institutions, both public and private, whose bread and butter depend on global adventurism. The financial industry, government contractors, think tanks, many NGOs, lobbyists, and, of course, the mainstream media that nowadays practically lost its journalistic ethics and serves to satisfy the demands of its corporate owners.
Second, it would be a mistake to think this is all just money-grubbing. The same way as members of the old Soviet nomenklatura depended on Marxism-Leninism both as a working methodology and as a justification for their prerogatives and privileges, the entrenched duopoly of Democrat liberal interventionists and Republican neoconservatives relies upon an ideological imperative. A 1996 (long before Putin's Munich speech, Georgia, Ukraine and Syria wars) article by William Kristol and Robert Kagan, misleadingly titled “Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy” called for the US to establish and maintain indefinitely “benevolent global hegemony” – American world domination. Kristol and Kagan laid down virtually all of the elements that have guided US foreign policy during the ensuing years, including confronting Russia and China.
Third, the bipartisan Washington network and its ideological “software” are an open invitation to ethnic and foreign lobbies bent on spoiling the historic opportunity for rapprochement with Russia and making Moscow an ally instead of an adversary. NATO’s eastward expansion was thoughtlessly influenced by the abovementioned military industrial complex and neocons/neolibs and Bill Clinton’s belief that it would help him to win reelection in 1996 by bolstering his appeal with immigrant communities. Today, weak allies like the Baltic States and Poland that contribute nothing to American security – along with non-allies Ukraine and Georgia – are happy to behave provocatively towards Russia, the only power on earth capable of destroying us, because Uncle Sam has their back.
Then came the 4th addition to anti-Russia alliance when after Donald Trump’s victory in 2016 another and more numerous group emerged. It consists of Hillary Clinton loyalists who believe, some sincerely, some cynically, that it is Russia and primarily Putin who stole their victory which was already in their hands. Brainwashed by DNC, the Democratic Party leadership and the media they do not understand how these accusations denigrate American people (deplorable by Hillary’s definition) who could be so easily manipulated by a few remote bloggers, some using broken English.
As it turns out, there are some democrats who are beginning to realize that. For example, a much respected former senator Sam Nunn who said the following: “We've got to understand that given the nuclear arsenals and the fact that we can destroy each other we've got to communicate. And the more the tensions go up, the more we need to communicate. I would start with military to military, because the military on both sides are pretty darn professional and I've seen them be able to have a discussion when the political side was so poisoned and so much distrust there wasn't any way to have a discussion.”
Then 3 current democratic senators Jeff Merkley, Dianne Feinstein, and Edward Markey as well as independent senator Bernie Sanders openly called upon the Secretary of State to send US personnel to negotiate with Putin’s minions over our survival on this planet.
Well, as we know this letter was addressed to Rex Tillerson who got fired before he could respond but will his replacement Mike Pompeo carry the ball? Hopefully we will find out sooner rather than later as the stakes are too high.
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