Category: Human Rights

Media Are Blamed as US Bombing of Afghan Hospital Is Covered Up

New York Times headline corrected

A US-led NATO military coalition bombed a hospital run by international humanitarian aid organization Doctors Without Borders (known internationally as Medecins Sans Frontières, MSF) in Afghanistan, killing at least 22 people—12 staff members and 10 patients, including three children—and wounding 37 more.

AFP, the first network to report the story, in the early hours of October 3, quoted NATO saying, “US forces conducted an air strike in Kunduz city…. The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.”

MSF promptly issued a statement (10/3/15), revealing that it had been “hit several times during sustained bombing and was very badly damaged.” In an update hours later, MSF said it “condemns in the strongest possible terms the horrific bombing of its hospital in Kunduz, which was full of staff and patients.”

The humanitarian organization also indicated multiple times—and in bold capital letters—that “all parties to the conflict, including in Kabul and Washington, were clearly informed of the precise location (GPS Coordinates) of the MSF facilities in Kunduz, including the hospital, guesthouse, office and an outreach stabilization unit.” MSF says the US “repeatedly and precisely” hit the hospital.

Morever, the aid group explained that the “bombing in Kunduz continued for more than 30 minutes after American and Afghan military officials in Kabul and Washington were first informed by MSF that its hospital was struck.” That is to say, the US persisted in bombing a hospital that it explicitly knew before and during the attack was a hospital.

If you read US corporate media coverage of this incident, however, US culpability would likely not be evident. Instead, readers would learn that a hospital was bombed in Afghanistan, and that people died. Who exactly carried out the bombing would not be clear.

cnn us air attack

“Air Attacks Kill at Least 19 at Afghanistan Hospital; US Investigating,” wrote CNN (9/3/15). Who carried out those attacks? Never asked is who else could possibly have bombed the hospital. What other air forces are attacking Kunduz? Did the bombs magically fall from the sky? CNN provides no answer.

“Aerial bombardments blew apart a Doctors Without Borders hospital in the battleground Afghan city of Kunduz about the time of a US airstrike” CNN said. The blowing apart of the hospital just appears to be a temporal coincidence.

fox us investigate airstrike

Fox News‘ headline (10/3/15) reads “US Officials Investigate Airstrike in Afghanistan That Killed at Least 19 at Doctors Without Borders Hospital.”

The New York Times completely rewrote and changed the title of its report on the bombing seven times. Early on October 3, the Times published an article headlined “Airstrike Hits Hospital in Afghanistan, Killing at Least 9.” Minutes later, it changed the headline to “Airstrike Hits Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Afghanistan.” Two hours after, it became “Afghan Hospital Hit by Airstrike, Pentagon Says.” Then “US Investigates After Bombs Hit Afghan Hospital,” before finalizing as “US Is Blamed After Bombs Hit Afghan Hospital.”

The over 20 versions of the article published in the Times‘ website can be seen at the website NewsDiffs, which monitors edits to pieces published in large new outlets. Because the Times changed the web URL for the article when changing the headlines, there are three separate entries on NewsDiffs.

newsdiffs nyt us bombs afghan hospital

Not one of the five New York Times headlines indicated that the US was responsible for the bombing. The final title, “US Is Blamed After Bombs Hit Afghan Hospital,” which was published in print, fails to acknowledge that it was the US who dropped those bombs, which explains why it is blamed.

The New York Times‘ other story (10/4/15), “Doctors Without Borders Says It Is Leaving Kunduz After Strike on Hospital,” was also substantially edited and rewritten numerous times. It’s likewise full of weasel words and quotes from the US government.

The Washington Post (10/4/15) also changed headlines and URLs for its reporting, making it difficult to track. It did choose a title acknowledging the US role in the attack, but attributed it to MSF, writing, “Doctors Without Borders Says US Airstrike Hit Hospital in Afghanistan; at Least 19 Dead.”

AP headlined an article (10/4/15) updating the death toll, “Doctors Without Borders Leaves Afghan City After Airstrike.” The piece says, “A deadly airstrike destroyed its hospital and killed 22 people, as the US and Afghan governments vowed to get to the bottom of the carnage.” Not mentioned is that the US government is responsible for the carnage.

Ambiguous, misleading and even downright dishonest language abounds throughout the coverage. US media spin the story to reflect positively on the culprit; they report that the US is investigating the atrocity, while failing to acknowledge that the US itself is responsible for the atrocity.

This technique is very reminiscent of the loaded language police departments use to downplay police brutality—language that is often repeated verbatim by journalists who just uncritically quote government press releases.

Not all media were as biased in the interest of the Pentagon, however. Even some US news outlets were clear and honest in their reporting.

slate us airstrike

Slate (10/3/15) was one of the few publications to report without the equivocation. “US Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Afghanistan Kills at Least 19,” it said. The next day, Slate (10/4/15) followed up with the piece “Doctors Without Borders Says US May Have Committed War Crime.”

US: We Accidentally Bombed Hospital to Kill Taliban

After the attack, MSF released a statement saying “All indications currently point to the bombing being carried out by international Coalition forces”—that is to say, NATO.

As details became clearer, the media narrative began to shift from one of obfuscation or even denial of the US bombing to one of apologism and justification. When it was obvious that the US and NATO were responsible for killing and wounding scores of people at a hospital, the US and Afghan governments began to fall back on the “human shields” excuse.

A Washington Post article (10/4/15) first titled “Afghan Official: Hospital in Airstrike Was ‘a Taliban Base,’” and subsequently changed to “Afghan Response to Hospital Bombing Is Muted, Even Sympathetic,” quotes Afghan government officials who claimed the “hospital has a vast garden, and the Taliban were there.” Yet MSF’s aforementioned statement makes it clear that the US “repeatedly and precisely” bombed the hospital, not the surrounding areas, which were “left mostly untouched.”

The aid organization also explicitly denied fighters ever being anywhere inside the hospital compound.

In a statement titled “MSF Response to Spurious Claims That Kunduz Hospital Was ‘A Taliban Base,’” the aid organization wrote:

MSF is disgusted by the recent statements coming from some Afghanistan government authorities justifying the attack on its hospital in Kunduz. These statements imply that Afghan and US forces working together decided to raze to the ground a fully functioning hospital with more than 180 staff and patients inside because they claim that members of the Taliban were present.

This amounts to an admission of a war crime. This utterly contradicts the initial attempts of the US government to minimize the attack as “collateral damage.”

There can be no justification for this abhorrent attack on our hospital that resulted in the deaths of MSF staff as they worked and patients as they lay in their beds. MSF reiterates its demand for a full transparent and independent international investigation.

MSF also made it clear that its hospital “is the only facility of its kind in the whole northeastern region of Afghanistan,” and that its “doctors treat all people according to their medical needs and do not make distinctions based on a patient’s ethnicity, religious beliefs or political affiliation.”

Despite MSF’s explicit denial of the allegations, US media continued to reiterate the claims of US and Afghan government officials.

Anonymous US military officials told Fox News (10/3/15) they “regret the loss” of scores of innocent lives, but “say the incident could have been avoided if the Taliban had not used the hospital as a base, and the civilians there as human shields.”

But wait, which was it? Was the bombing an accidental incident of “collateral damage,” as the government claimed at first, and as the media reverberated? Or was it a deliberate attack on the Taliban, who were supposedly firing from the hospital? It can’t be both; the two explanations contradict each other.

The fact that, when MSF’s points—and not just those of the US and Afghan governments—are considered, the human shields argument does not withstand close scrutiny aside, a blatant contradiction emerges in this narrative. The answer to this critical question remains unknown; the government, and the media that so obediently echoes it, do not clarify.

MSF's Kunduz hospital on fire, after being bombed by the US/NATO Photo: MSF

Striking, too, are the similarities to US reporting on Israeli airstrikes. In order to justify bombing hospitals in Gaza, the US-backed Israeli government often claims Palestinian militants use the medical facilities as bases. Israel’s military—which has itself used human shields many times—then says it is justified to bomb hospitals, UN shelters and other civilians areas.

US ally and NATO member Turkey borrowed Israel’s hasbara (public relations) tactic and claimed the same about leftist Kurdish militants in order to justify its killing of Kurdish civilians.

The Wall Street Journal (10/4/15) boldly steered clear of any posturing and openly justified the US bombing of the hospital. The unsigned editorial justified the mass killing of MSF aid workers by shifting the blame onto the Taliban insurgents. It even brought up the specter of Hamas, writing, “Like Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, the terrorists hide near civilians. These Taliban tactics put the medical personnel and patients at risk.” The piece waxes poetic, and hagiographic; in a moment of undiluted American exceptionalism on blast, the Journal claimed that “no force in the history of warfare has done more to avoid civilian casualties than the American military.”

Remove references to the US and the Taliban in such media coverage, replace it with blanks, and you have a template media can use any time a US ally bombs civilians—A Guide to Defending War Crimes Committed by US Allies: “[Ally] did not actually want to bomb [civilian area], but [enemy] forced it to.”

Double Standards

When US enemies like Russia carry out airstrikes, all nuance is thrown out the window; US media drop their standards and gleefully accuse the enemies of war crimes. Yet when the US and NATO carry out airstrikes, journalists suddenly have a newfound skepticism. Their language immediately becomes ambiguous, their writing unclear; murky passages written in the passive voice are ubiquitous.

Official international bodies have not minced words about the bombing, nevertheless. The UN says the US attack on the Kunduz hospital was “inexcusable and possibly even criminal” (Australia’s ABC, 10/4/15). UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein remarked, “If established as deliberate in a court of law, an airstrike on a hospital may amount to a war crime.”

Wounded MSF staff after the US/NATO bombing of its Kunduz hospital Photo: MSF

MSF said the attack “constitutes a grave violation of international humanitarian law.” The aid group called the bombing a “war crime” and “a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law.”

The humanitarian organization is demanding an investigation “by an independent international body,” not by the US, noting that “relying only on an internal investigation by a party to the conflict would be wholly insufficient.”

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald (Intercept, 10/3/15) pointed out the hypocrisy of the US warning about civilian casualties of Russian airstrikes while it bombs scores of doctors and patients in Afghanistan, a country it has militarily occupied for close to 15 years.

When Russia denies killing civilians in its airstrikes on Syria, US media are suddenly skeptical and thorough; yet when the US government makes the same claims, journalists just recycle its press releases.

Is the job of the media to just uncritically report what favored governments say? Or is it supposed to examine the truth of official claims? If it is supposed to be the latter, US media have abysmally failed in their duties in reporting on the US bombing of MSF’s Kunduz hospital.

Ben Norton is a freelance journalist and writer. His website can be found at and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.

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Occupy Oakland, November 12, 2011, Howard Zinn quotation



The Outer Limits of Empire: A Tomdispatch Interview with Howard Zinn

He’s tall and thin, with a shock of white hair. A bombardier in the great war against fascism and an antiwar veteran of America’s wars ever since, he’s best known as the author of the pathbreaking A People’s History of the United States, and as an expert on the unexpected voices of resistance that have so regularly made themselves heard throughout our history. At 83 (though he looks a decade younger), he is also a veteran of a rugged century and yet there’s nothing backward looking about him. His voice is quiet and he clearly takes himself with a grain of salt, chuckling wryly on occasion at his own comments. From time to time, when a thought pleases him and his well-used face lights up or breaks out in a bona fide grin, he looks positively boyish.

We sit down on the back porch of the small coffee shop, alone, on a vacation morning. He has a croissant and coffee in front of him. I suggest that perhaps we should start after breakfast, but he assures me that there’s no particular contradiction between eating and talking and so, as a novice interviewer, I awkwardly turn on my two tape recorders — one of which, on pause, will still miss several minutes of our conversation (our equivalent, we joke, of Nixon’s infamous 18-minute gap). In preparation, he pushes aside his half-eaten breakfast, never to touch it again, and we begin.

Tomdispatch: You and Anthony Arnove just came out with a new book, Voices of a People’s History of the United States, featuring American voices of resistance from our earliest moments to late last night. Now, we have a striking new voice of resistance, Cindy Sheehan. I was wondering what you made of her?

Howard Zinn: Often a protest movement that’s already underway — and the present antiwar movement was underway even before the Iraq War began — gets a special impetus, a special spark, from one person’s act of defiance. I think of Rosa Parks and that one act of hers and what it meant.

TD: Can you think of other Cindy Sheehan-like figures in the past who made movements coalesce?

Zinn: In the antiwar movement of the Vietnam years, there wasn’t one person, but when I think back to the abolitionist movement, Frederick Douglass was a special figure in that way. When he came north, out of slavery, and spoke for the first time to a group of antislavery people, the beginnings of a movement existed. [William Lloyd] Garrison had already started [his antislavery newspaper] the Liberator, but Frederick Douglass was able to represent slavery itself in a way that Garrison and the other abolitionists could not. His dramatic appearance, his eloquence, provided a special spark for the abolitionist movement.

TD: I guess Cindy Sheehan also represents something that can’t be represented by anyone else, almost, in fact, can’t be represented — the American dead in the war and, of course, her own dead son.

Zinn: It’s interesting. There have been mothers other than Cindy Sheehan who have spoken out, but she decided on an act that had a special resonance, which was simply to find where Bush was going [he chuckles to himself at the thought] and have a confrontation between the two poles of this war, between its maker and the opposition. She just parked herself near Bush and became the center of national attention, of gravity, around which people gathered, hundreds and hundreds of people.


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Consortium News

Seen through a night-vision device, U.S. Marines conduct a combat logistics patrol in Helmand province, Afghanistan, April 21, 2013. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Anthony L. Ortiz)

The apparent U.S. slaughter of at least 22 people at an Afghan hospital, including Doctors Without Borders medical staff, is part of the grim reality of indiscriminate death when U.S. Special Forces undertake their secret raids and often toss aside the rules of warfare, reports Nicolas J S Davies.

By Nicolas J S Davies

On Dec. 26, 2009, a U.S. Special Operations team flew from Kabul to Ghazi Khan village in the Narang district of Kunar province. They attacked three houses, where they killed two adults and eight children. Seven of the children were handcuffed before they were shot. The youngest was 11 or 12, three more were 12, and one was 15. Both the United Nations and the Afghan government conducted investigations and confirmed all the details of the attack.

U.S. officials conducted their own inquiry, but no report was published and no U.S. military or civilian officials were held accountable. Finally, more than five years later, a New York Times report on Joint Special Operations Command’s (JSOC) Seal Team 6 named it as the U.S. force involved. But JSOC operations are officially secret and, to all practical purposes, immune from accountability. As a senior U.S. officer told the Times, “JSOC investigates JSOC, that’s part of the problem.”

Accountability for the U.S. attack on the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz on Saturday, killing at least 22 people, is likely to be just as elusive. The bilateral security agreement that President Karzai refused to sign, but which President Ghani signed in September 2014, provides total immunity from Afghan law for U.S. forces and officials. So whoever should be held legally responsible for the massacre at the hospital will only be subject to accountability under U.S. military and civilian legal systems, which routinely fail to prosecute anyone for similar war crimes.


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Doctors Without Borders pulls out of Kunduz after apparent U.S. airstrike

Humanitarian group calls bombing that killed 22 a war crime

CBC News Posted: Oct 04, 2015 9:29 AM ETLast Updated: Oct 05, 2015 8:50 AM ET

  • A hospital run by Médecins Sans Frontières in the Afghan city of Kunduz is seen in flames, after explosions in the city on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015.
  • A hospital run by Médecins Sans Frontières in the Afghan city of Kunduz is seen in flames, after explosions in the city on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. (Médecins Sans Frontières/AP)

The international humanitarian group Médecins Sans Frontières said Sunday it had withdrawn from the northern Afghan city of Kunduz after a deadly airstrike destroyed its hospital and killed 22 people.

The humanitarian crisis in the city, which briefly fell to the Taliban last week before the government launched a counteroffensive, has grown increasingly dire, with shops shuttered because of ongoing fighting and roads made impassable by mines planted by insurgents.

The medical group, also known by its English name Doctors Without Borders, blames the 22 deaths on a U.S. airstrike. Afghan officials said helicopter gunships were returning fire from Taliban fighters who were hiding in the hospital.

But the organization is calling the bombing a war crime, with the executive director of its Canadian division telling CBC News that staff contacted both the U.S. and Afghan forces throughout, but the airstrike continued for another 35 minutes.

“Such attacks against medical facilities are grave breaches of humanitarian law,” Stephen Cornish told CBC News on Sunday. “At the time of this attack our surgery team were operating on a patient on the operating table who [then] died on that operating table.


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Fires burn in part of the MSF hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz after it was hit by an air strike on October 3, 2015 © MSF

Yves Daccord Retweeted MSF International

Tragic news. please accept our condolences for the killing of your colleagues & patients in .

Yves Daccord added,


  • 19:56 GMT

    The World Health Organization (WHO) released a statement extending condolences to the families and colleges of those killed and injured in the bombing.


WHO once again urges all parties in the conflict to respect the safety and neutrality of health workers & health facilities

WHO calls on all govts & military officers to observe their obligations under intl law, ensure protection of health serv in conflict

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Sputnik News


18:31 01.10.2015Get short URL

The EU is engaged in humanitarian efforts and victim assistance concerning the Syrian crisis, Federica Mogherini’s spokesperson said.

BRUSSELS (Sputnik) – The European Union is ready to play a key role in the political settlement of the Syrian crisis under the auspices of the United Nations, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini’s spokeswoman said Thursday.

“The EU called again for renewed international effort led by the UN to bring an end to the war, and it confirmed that it is ready to put all its political weight to try and facilitate a solution to this conflict,” Catherine Ray told reporters.

Ray observed that the bloc is not involved militarily in airstrikes against the Islamic State extremist group, but is engaged in “complimentary” activities, including humanitarian efforts and victim assistance.

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Macomb County man David Stojcevski died of drug withdrawal and neglect as officials ignored his plight.

Macomb County

Local 4 / clickondetroit

It was a death sentence.

David Stojcevski, a 32-year-old resident of Roseville, Michigan, was arrested for failing to pay a $772 fine stemming from careless driving. A court ordered him to spend a month in the Macomb County jail.

Over the next 17 days of his incarceration in a brightly lit cell—where he was denied clothing—he lost 50 pounds, suffered convulsions, and eventually began to hallucinate. He died in agony, from a combination of obvious, untreated drug withdrawal and galling neglect.

Making matters worse (if anything could be worse than that), the entirety of his demise was captured on jail surveillance footage. Indeed, Stojcevski was under self-harm watch—stemming for a profound misdiagnosis of his condition, which was drug addiction, not mental instability—and jail officials were supposed to be watching him constantly. Either their vigilance was inadequate, or they watched and simply didn’t care.

WDIV’s report on the story is a must-see, though it’s highly disturbing: the video shows clips from the jail footage while a medical expert offers commentary on the inhumanity of Stojcevski’s treatment.


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End Of The American Dream

The American Dream Is Becoming A Nightmare And Life As We Know It Is About To Change

Puzzle Last Piece - Public Domain


One of the biggest steps toward a one world government that we have ever seen is happening this week, and yet barely anyone is even talking about it.  In fact, it is even being called a “new universal Agenda” for humanity.  Those are not my words – those are the words that the United Nations is using.  If you don’t believe this, just go look at the official document for this new UN agenda.  You won’t have to read very far.  The phrase “new universal Agenda” is right near the end of the preamble.  Officially, the name of this ambitious new program is “the 2030 Agenda“, and it is being hyped as a way to get the whole world to work together to make life better for all of us.  And a lot of the goals of this new agenda are very admirable.  For example, who wouldn’t want to end global poverty?  But as you look deeper into what the UN is trying to do, you find some very disturbing things.

If you didn’t like Agenda 21, then you really are not going to like the 2030 Agenda, because the 2030 Agenda takes things to an entirely new level.  Agenda 21 was primarily focused on climate change and the environment, but the 2030 Agenda goes far beyond that.  As I have noted previously, the 2030 Agenda addresses economics, agriculture, education, gender equality, healthcare and a whole host of other issues.  It has been argued that there are very few forms of human activity that do not fall under the goals of the 2030 Agenda in one way or another.

The UN says that this new Agenda is “voluntary”, and yet virtually every single nation on the entire planet is willingly signing up for it.  In the official document that all of these nations are agreeing to, there are 17 sustainable development goals and 169 very specific sustainable development targets.  You can read them for yourself right here.


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United Nations Farce: Saudi Arabia to Head UN Human Rights Council

The United Nations Security Council: An Organization for Injustice

All victims of human rights abuses should be able to look to the Human Rights Council as a forum and a springboard for action. (Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, 12 March 2007, Opening of the 4th Human Rights Council Session.)

Article 55 of United Nations Charter includes: “Universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.”

In diametrical opposition to these fine founding aspirations, the UN has appointed Saudi Arabia’s envoy to the United Nations Human Rights Council to head (or should that be “behead”) an influential human rights panel. The appointment was seemingly made in June, but only came to light on 17th September, due to documents obtained by UN Watch (1.)

… Mr Faisal Bin Hassan Trad, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador at the UN in Geneva, was elected as Chair of a panel of independent experts on the UN Human Rights Council.

As head of a five-strong group of diplomats, the influential role would give Mr Trad the power to select applicants from around the world for scores of expert roles in countries where the UN has a mandate on human rights.

Such experts are often described as the “crown jewels” of the HRC, according to UN Watch.

The “crown jewels” have been handed to a country with one of the worst human rights records in the world. Saudi Arabia will head a Consultative Group of five Ambassadors empowered to select applicants globally for more than seventy seven positions to deal with human rights violations and mandates.

In a spectacular new low for even a UN whose former Secretary General, Kofi Annan, took eighteen months to admit publicly that the 2003 invasion of, bombardment and near destruction of Iraq was illegal, UN Watch points out that the UN has chosen: “a country that has beheaded more people this year than ISIS to be head of a key Human Rights panel …” (2)

In May, just prior to the appointment, the Saudi government advertised for eight extra executioners to: “ … carry out an increasing number of death sentences, which are usually beheadings, carried out in public” (3.)

Seemingly: “no special qualifications are needed.” The main function would be executing, but job description: “also involves performing amputations …”

The advert was posted on the website of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of the Civil Service.

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If Assad asks, China can deploy troops to Syria

September 19, 2015, 7:51 pm


Turkey-backed Chinese Uyghur terrorists are gaining a stronghold in Syria from which to launch attacks on China.


Chinese Uyghur terrorists establishing base in Syria

A new article reported that 3,500 Uyghurs are settling in a village near Jisr-al Shagour that was just taken from Assad, close to the stronghold of Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) that is in the Turkey-backed Army of Conquest. They are allegedly under the supervision of Turkish intelligence that has been accused of supplying fake passports to recruit Chinese Uyghurs to wage jihad in Syria.

The news comes on the heels of TIP capturing a Syrian airbase and acquiring MIG fighter jets as well as other advanced weaponry, similar to ISIS capturing Iraqi army’s advanced US weaponry.

It also comes on the heels of the Bangkok bombing at the shrine frequented by Chinese tourists, with Thai authorities now drawing a link to Uyghurs “and the same gang that attacked the Thai Consulate in Turkey” in reference to Turkey’s Grey Wolves.

This seems to corroborate IHS Jane’s analyst Anthony Davis’s assessment that Grey Wolves are the likely culprit, given their anti-Chinese protests and violent demonstration back in July.

Through Turkey’s support for the Army of Conquest, TIP has risen to prominence within the anti-Assad coalition and played a key role in defeating the Syrian army at Jisr al Shughour earlier this year.


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Russia ready to consider sending troops to Syria if Damascus asks

MOSCOW: Russia would consider a request from Syria to send troops if Damascus asks for it, the Kremlin’s spokesman said on Friday.
“If there is a request (from Syria), then in the framework of a bilateral dialogue it would be, naturally, discussed and considered,” Dmitry Peskov told journalists on a conference call. “For now, it’s difficult to speak hypothetically.”
The Syrian military, which has lost ground to rebels recently in a four-year-old civil war, has begun using new types of air and ground weapons supplied by Russia, a Syrian military source told Reuters on Thursday..




Putin’s consistency on Syria has Washington fuming

Russian President Vladimir Putin. © Sergey Guneev
It is increasingly difficult to watch the most recent coverage of the Syrian war and not be struck by how utterly illogical and convoluted it has become. But look through the media spin and it’s clear: the Russian leader’s steady moves in Syria are perplexing the US.

Whether it’s the latest neocon claim that the way to ‘help’ refugees is to drop more bombs and train more Al-Qaeda-linked rebels, or the conveniently-timed mass hysteria over Russia’s (never secret) support for Bashar Assad — or even the strange (and completely false) notion floating around that the West has ‘done nothing’ in Syria, all of this nonsense is becoming very difficult to take seriously.

It’s fairly easy to tell when Washington is scrambling to keep control of a story, because two things usually happen: firstly, the media coverage becomes muddled and frazzled, and secondly, the White House quickly looks for somewhere to offload the blame. These days the scapegoat is usually Russia, and hey, why fix what ain’t broken?

Obama’s fumbling vs. Putin’s consistency

On September 11, Barack Obama warned that Russia’s strategy of continued support for Assad was “doomed to fail” and a “big mistake.” In a patronizing little addendum, Obama said Putin was “going to have to start getting a little smarter.”

Russian involvement in Syria would be “destabilizing” …says the US after backing radical groups and illegally bombing Syria for a year.

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U.S. asks Greece to deny Russian flights to Syria

By Renee Maltezou, Tom Perry and Lidia Kelly

ATHENS/BEIRUT/MOSCOW Sept 7 (Reuters) – The United States has asked Greece to deny Russia the use of its airspace for supply flights to Syria, a Greek official said on Monday, after Washington told Moscow it was deeply concerned by reports of a Russian military build up in Syria.

The Greek foreign ministry said the request was being examined. Russian newswire RIA Novosti earlier said Greece had refused the U.S. request, adding that Russia was seeking permission to run the flights up to Sept. 24.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow would not give any official reaction until there was a decision from Athens.

Russia, which has a naval maintenance facility in the Syrian port of Tartous, has sent regular flights to Latakia, which it has also used to bring home Russian nationals who want to leave.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Saturday that if reports of the build-up were accurate, that could further escalate the war and risk confrontation with the U.S.-led alliance that is bombing Islamic State in Syria.

Lavrov told Kerry it was premature to talk about Russia’s participation in military operations in Syria, a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman told RIA Novosti on Monday.

Lavrov confirmed Russia had always provided supplies of military equipment to Syria, saying Moscow “has never concealed that it delivers military equipment to official Syrian authorities with the aim of combating terrorism”.


Peace in Syria? It’s Putin’s fault: Escobar

All one needs to know about the intellectual caliber of the Obama administration is that it is still pondering whether to persist in “ignoring” Russian President Vladimir Putin, or invest in a real partnership to solve the Syrian geopolitical/humanitarian drama. After all, when in doubt between diplomacy or chaos, the Beltway weapon of choice still veers towards the simplistic group think uniting neocons and neoliberalcons: regime change. Vladimir Putin and Bashar Assad shake hands in Moscow in 2006











And then there’s the non-stop The Russians Are Coming! hysteria — the Cold War 2.0 remix, now switching from the invasion/military occupation of Ukraine to the invasion/military occupation of Syria. The White House — which, same as the Pentagon, does not do irony — actually appealed to the Kremlin to behave in a “more constructive” way side-by-side with the spectacularly inefficient coalition of the dodgy opportunists which is in thesis fighting ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest clarified that when Obama decides that the Sisyphean task of picking up the phone and dialing K for Kremlin is actually in America’s interests, he will do it. The Shakespearean doubt may last days — even as Putin reaffirmed, via Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov, he was always open to dialogue.

The White House at least is mulling an offer from Moscow to actually discuss the Russian buildup in Syria via direct military-to-military talks. The Pentagon will do the talking, seeking the “clarity” that so eludes the Obama administration.

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UN condemns ‘virtual silence’ on civilian casualties in Yemeni conflict

© Khaled Abdullah
UN officials have openly criticized the “the virtual silence” with regards to civilian suffering in the Yemeni conflict from the world community, warning that unless violence on the ground is stopped via political compromise more people will suffer.

Adama Dieng, the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, and Jennifer Welsh, the Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, “expressed concern at the ever increasing impact on civilians of the ongoing conflict in Yemen, and the virtual silence of the international community about the threat to populations.”

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