Study finds alarming decline in biodiversity worldwide By Philip Guelpa – (WSWS)

A recently released United Nations-supported study presents a grim picture of the accelerating decline in biodiversity (the variety of plant and animal species) across the globe and its dire implications for the not-too-distant future of life on Earth, including humans.

Flooding in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina due to uncontrolled development in wetlands

The study, composed of multiple reports by over 550 researchers, was conducted by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). It contends that the increasingly rapid loss of plant and animal species due to habitat degradation, invasive species, and pollution is happening in tandem with climate change. Together, these processes, if not halted, will soon have catastrophic environmental consequences, amounting to a sixth mass global extinction, which will threaten the very survival of humanity.

Biological ecosystems are a complex, dialectical interaction of plant, animal, and microbial life forms with each other and their physical environment, evolving over millennia. These systems are not static. They change over time due to the dynamic of unity and conflict of opposites of their myriad biological and physical constituents. In general, the greater the species diversity (number of different species) within an ecosystem, the more stable it is, barring external perturbations (e.g., the impact that caused the mass extinction, including dinosaurs, about 66 million years ago) and the more slowly change takes place.

By contrast, the lower the species diversity, the greater is the tendency toward instability and the more vulnerable an ecosystem is to catastrophic collapse. High diversity will generally buffer the degree to which changes in any particular constituent of the system will affect the system as a whole. The role of one species, known as its ecological niche, may gradually be filled by one or more other species, leading to gradual change.

With lower diversity, however, ecosystems tend to be more fragile. The loss of any one species will likely have a much greater impact on the system as a whole, creating instability and possible catastrophic collapse. It is less likely that another species will evolve or adapt with sufficient rapidity to fill the “gap” in the system, potentially resulting in a cascading series of disruptions. If the trends documented in the IPBES reports continue, the world’s biological systems are likely to go into this kind of severe crisis within the next few decades.

Humans have had a significant impact on natural ecosystems, especially since the Industrial Revolution. However, in no way are we “decoupled” from the natural environment. Such systems remain a vital part of our survival—affecting weather and climate, food resources, potable water and breathable air.

The authors of the IPBES study provide a range of examples to illustrate both the variety and rapidity of species loss and environmental degradation, which are occurring across the globe.

Among the direct and substantial impacts of species decline and extinction, the study found that exploitable fisheries in the Asia-Pacific region are on track to be exhausted by 2048. This will result in severe economic losses as well as dietary privation for millions.

Habitat destruction by forest clearing in Mexico

In Africa, where more than 60 percent of the human population depends directly on natural resources, the study projects that half of some bird and mammal species could be lost by 2100. Of the continent’s historically recorded species, more than 20 percent are threatened, endangered, or already extinct. The recent effective extinction of the northern white rhinoceros, which received much media attention, is just one iconic example.

In Europe, 42 percent of land species have suffered notable declines during the past decade alone. Half of existing wetlands have been lost since 1970.

The destruction of wetlands and their associated plant and animal communities around the world, both inland and along coastlines, results in accelerated erosion, pollution, and loss of protection against flooding, as seen, for example, during last year’s Atlantic hurricane season.

Over the last 500 years, since Europeans began colonizing the Americas, 30 percent of the hemisphere’s biodiversity has been lost. The study projects that over the next decade, if present trends continue, that figure will rise to 40 percent, indicating its rapid acceleration. Nearly one quarter of the existing species that were studied are threatened.

Trees are key to the production of atmospheric oxygen, essential for the survival of humans and other animals. However, since 1990, over 130 million hectares of rainforest have been lost. In northeastern Brazil, part of the Amazon rainforest, which is often referred to as the “Lungs of the Earth,” between 2003 and 2013 alone, the area under cultivation more than doubled to 2.5 million hectares.

The reports’ authors highlight the combined effects of direct human-caused landscape modification and of climate change on the decline in biodiversity. By 2050, climate change may equal or surpass landscape modification as the primary cause of species decline. In either case, the planet is well on its way to becoming a biological wasteland. These findings are not new, only confirming and re-emphasizing the critical urgency of the situation. Previous studies have painted a similar picture (see: “Scientists warn of ‘biological annihilation’ as Earth’s mass extinction accelerates”).

While the IPBES study documents the growing danger posed by the rapid and accelerating global decline in biodiversity, it presents only general notions as to what might be done to halt the process and avert catastrophe, without any mechanisms for implementation aside from the good will of business and political leaders. As with other such studies, the researchers can only lament the complete inadequacy of response to their dire warnings so far. Robert Watson, the chair of the IPBES, stated, “The time for action was yesterday or the day before. Governments recognize we have a problem. Now we need action, but unfortunately the action we have now is not at the level we need.”

Mass extinctions have happened five times previously during the existence of life on earth (see:  “The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert”). In each of those instances the causes were natural. The currently developing sixth mass extinction differs in that it is directly related to human activity. However, contrary to statements in the report and in numerous other pronouncements in the media and elsewhere, the cause is not human moral failure, overpopulation, or the need to eat less red meat.

The poor farmer in Brazil who is forced to clear more land in order to eke out an existence, the factory worker in China or the US whose plant spews out toxic chemicals, etc., are not responsible for the resulting environmental degradation.

The responsibility lies with the anarchic and profit-driven capitalist system that disdainfully ignores the consequences of its actions and prevents the development and implementation of rational, scientifically based solutions to the problems of climate change and environmental degradation. As the world capitalist crisis deepens and inter-imperialist rivalries intensify, environmental concerns will increasingly be swept aside, as is already the case under the Trump administration in the US.

If, on the other hand, the vast resources now horded by the world’s elites or squandered in wars were instead used to eradicate poverty, end pollution, develop and expand clean energy, and generally organize society for the benefit of the many rather than the few, the developing crisis could be halted and reversed. That can only happen under the democratic control of the working class implementing the socialist reorganization of society.

The author also recommends:

Climate change and the struggle against capitalism
[14 July 2017]

 

The author also recommends:

Climate change and the struggle against capitalism
[14 July 2017]

Syrian Army Says Liberated 70% of Eastern Ghouta From Terrorists – By Sputnik

Syrian Army's offensive operation to the east of Deir-ez-Zor. File photo

© Sputnik/ Mikhail Alaeddin
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DAMASCUS (Sputnik) – The Syrian government troops have liberated from terrorists 70 percent of the territory of Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta so far, the Syrian army command said.

“Paying the price of the blood of our heroes who perished, and in coordinated efforts with our allied forces, we have managed to liberate dozens of settlements and villages in Eastern Ghouta… a total of 70 percent of the territory seized by terrorist groups,” the Syrian army command said in a statement.

Government forces are continuing to advance in the area, and recently liberated the town of Jisreen, in addition to the city of Hamouriyah.

“After sweeping out the surrounding farmlands and defusing the landmines, IEDs and all terrorists’ defenses, the storming units succeeded in establishing full control over the town [Jisreen],” a military source reported to Syrian media.

In a bid to retake Hamouriyah, Islamist militants launched a counter-attack, but were successfully repelled by the Syrian Army. 

East #Ghouta: #SAA free Ar Rayhan from “rebels” v @sayed_ridha pic.twitter.com/CFrhGx7TyT

#Syria #EasternGhouta Footage of the #SAA, the liberation of #Hamouriyahhttps://t.co/jAntmxWfsk pic.twitter.com/OMqlwRqVhy

While whole western world is preoccupied by fabricated Russian poisoning of British ex-spy #SAA heroes are quietly with allies help kicking western backed terrorists out of #Eastern_Ghouta 👏👏🇸🇾👍 https://t.co/E6Hs69Z1HW

Bugün, Doğu Guta’dan#Syria #EasternGhouta #EastGhouta #Ghouta #SAA #SyrianArabArmy #SyrianArmy #TigerForces #Tigers #Freedom

READ MORE: WATCH Syrian Army Cracks Down on Terrorists in Eastern Ghouta

According to the latest reports, the Syrian troops have already liberated more than half of the area, which jihadists have controlled control since 2012. It is known that 10,000 to 12,000 militants are to be somewhere in the area.

Eastern Ghouta was occupied by anti-government Islamist extremists in 2012. After the recent UN resolution, the fighting in the area didn’t abate, even when the humanitarian pause was in place, the Russian Defense Ministry said. As militants constantly target all exits from the enclave, civilians cannot leave the area safely.

WORLD OF WEIRDO LEADERS; ARMY SMOTHERING ISIS DAYR EL-ZOR – By Ziad Fadel

SYRIARUSSIA

When the inmates take over the asylum, you know you have a world out of touch with reality.  It’s call “Koyaanisqaatsi”, a world out of balance. The United States of America, arguably the most powerful single empire in history, is now led by a reality tv show host, impresario of schlock and rabble-rousing narcissist. Donald Trump has come into office at the White House with a model wife from Eastern Europe (Melania), a brunette, to off-set the other blondie (Ivana) from the Czech Republic;  a daughter (Ivanka), a purveyor of purses, with zero political experience and her lanky, awkward-looking conservative Jewish husband, Jared Kushner, who uses his own naivete in politics as a shield against accusations of impropriety.  Trump, who likes to look aggressive in photo-ops, snarls, grimaces and roars like a lion, his golden mane fluttering in the wind as he promises his supporters to implement immediately his agenda which would strip millions of their health insurance, their immigration status and/or their hard-earned dollars, represents the same watershed moment that Rome had to experience when it began to find its emperors in the outlying provinces of the empire.

But, the world is filled with Trumps.  There is Duterte of the Philippines who proudly boasted of having single-handedly executed scores of drug dealers and addicts. We read daily reports about fresh atrocities committed by his minions as the State Department blanches openly over his crude denials; as the Soros-propaganda agencies, like HRW and AI,  wring their pointed fingers like slovenly brats to snitch on a hated class bully; or as the media pumps more toxic catsup on the cold hot dog the public isn’t buying – whatever the case- he’s just another bizarre entry in the 21st Century Book of  Nutsos.

And don’t forget Kim Jong Un, the baby-faced, adipose tissue calendar-boy of the East Asian Kimche Kookookuchoo.  When his missiles take off successfully, he can be seen laughing ecstatically as though to drive his chubby thumb into the eyes of the American Deep State.  To the happy sounds of “Baby Face, You got the cutest little baby face…”, he regularly snorts at the raised eyebrows of the MSM pedants, mooning them as they display shock and horror at his audacity.

And there’s Nicholas Maduro.  Look folks, Maduro is on our side.  No doubt about it.  We can never forget Venezuela’s unrelenting support for the Syrian people.  However, his governance of the very richly endowed country of Venezuela has resulted in its bankruptcy.  He has single-handedly appointed every mismanaging varlet to the most important positions in a dysfunctional government occupied by a clan of orangutans.  When he finally gets his senses back, and maybe, his authority, he might right the wrongs committed against the people of Venezuela and bring it back to its original wealth without over-enriching the entrenched oligarchs and plutocrats.  Don’t forget, Chavez’s movement was about spreading the wealth.  It wasn’t about squandering it.

Then, there is “Prince Muhammad bin Salmaan”, the Master of Disaster, Conqueror of the Empty Quarter, Prince of Pedophiles.  You have to go a long way to find someone as deranged as this Blunderkind.  Uncleverly catapulted into heir apparent status by his senile, illiterate father, he has managed to further enlarge his horizons as “war criminal” by purchasing every rocket and missile in the American arsenal to fire at the people of Yemen.  He has worried his own cabal of hypocrites by accusing Qatar of “supporting terrorism” even though his own country, Saudi Arabia, is regarded as the chief state sponsor of such activities in the world – outstripping even the United States for that laureled position.

These lunatics rule their countries with various forms of authoritarianism.  Even Trump, “Leader of the Free World”, seems to lean in the direction of tyrannical behavior whenever given half a chance.  But, none of these weirdos can match the utter kookiness, the infinite imbecility and rank retardedness of Turkey’s Sultan of Swine – the illustrious and “magnificent”, Recep Tayyip Erdoghan.who has pushed Turkey to its lowest rung since the sorry day when the Seljuq Turks invaded Asia Minor to bring ignorance and vapidity to the richest and most fecund soil of Christianity.

Not content with the second largest army in the NATO alliance, he has sacked almost every officer leaving his military with no experienced, battle-tested leaders.  He rails, rants and raves about a “deep state” in his own country run by a clergyman who lives in Pennsylvania and who issues his orders by a secret means of telepathy.  He calls all Kurds who reject him, terrorists, while giving weapons, training bases and logistics to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.  He claims to run a secular state, all the while flaunting his Muslim Brotherhood credentials. He wants to be a part of Europe despite the ugly and inconvenient fact that his brains were wrought on the hot steppes of Central Asia.  It could be said of Erdoghan that his only European trait might be his natural support for terrorists.

The world is getting stranger by the minute.  But, in Syria, it’s finally getting better.

___________________________________

The Syrian Army has advanced substantially toward Al-Raqqa where we will have the chance to see how Trump blinks when his “advisors” come within range of the army’s artillery.  The SAA has reached the villages of Shannaan, Al-Ruhbi, Al-Rutba and Al-Sabkha, all in the eastern rural areas near Al-Raqqa City.

In the meantime, it’s curtains for Faylaq Al-Rahmaan, as the SAA advances in the environs of ‘Ayn Turma with its destruction of the Al-Khansaa` School that was used as an hq and weapons warehouse for the terrorist group.

In Dayr El-Zor, the SAA has annihilated a large warehouse for weapons stored by the ISIS group.  At Al-Soosa Village, east of DZ, inhabitants killed the leader of a “Hisba” office run by ISIS in the area around Al-Bu-Kamaal.  The entire building was then destroyed.

Al-Tanf saw the largest defection of terrorists from the U.S. base 3 days ago when all members of a group styled: “Maghaaweer Al-Thawra” left the base to join ISIS.  The name means “Commandos of the Revolution”.  What will the U.S. do now?  Te hee hee.

Fighting is intensifying in Hama as Turk-supported cannibals mount a new offensive against the successful campaign launched by the SAA.  On August 2, 2017, the SAA confirmed killing 4 foreign savages in fighting east of Al-Salamiyya.

____________________________________

NEWS AND COMMENT:

Canthama sends us this great interview with Dr. Bashar Al-Ja’afari conducted by world-famous Latina actress and journalist, Carla Ortiz:

More on the White Helmets and their strange origins.  Sent by Patrick Henningsen quoting Vanessa’s famous interview about the subject:

http://21stcenturywire.com/2017/08/01/james-le-mesurier-the-british-mercenary-who-founded-the-white-helmets/

Sharmine writes this clever analysis of the U.S. painting itself into a corner with specious arguments about the legality of its presence in Syria:

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/is-the-expanding-u-s-military-presence-in-syria-legal/

Brandon discusses Trump’s failure to uphold the power of the executive branch, defaulting to the Deep State:

http://www.activistpost.com/2017/08/trump-signs-russia-sanctions-bill-deep-state.html

Read more at https://syrianperspective.com/2017/08/world-of-weirdo-leaders-army-smothering-isis-dayr-el-zor.html#59EYbHtIk0YWB2lI.99

The West is becoming irrelevant, and the world is laughing – By Andre Vltchek (Global Research)

I was recently told by an Asian friend of mine who is working in Paris: “Lately I stopped following almost all that is happening politically in the United States, in the UK and even here in France. It all feels suddenly so irrelevant, a waste of time.”

Statements like this would be unimaginable only one decade ago. In the past, what came from Washington and (to a smaller extent) from London was monitored with great attentiveness and fear, all over the world.

But all of a sudden, things have begun to change, rapidly. Despite the extremely violent nature of the Western-designed-and-manufactured global regime, which has been over-imposed on so many parts of the world for decades and centuries, increasing amounts of people in Asia, Latin America and Africa stopped worrying and went leisurely to the ‘barricades’, beginning to rebel against the perverseness of the ‘world order’.

Did it all really happen ‘all of a sudden’?

Or were there various catalysts at work, for already quite a substantial period of time?

It is a well-known fact that any deep-seated, chronic anxiety cannot disappear in just a short moment. People who are enslaved, humiliated, scared into obedience, people who are forced to feel uncertain and constantly frightened, cannot reverse their state of mind without some important external factor or set of factors.

It became obvious to me, as I have been working continuously on all continents and in almost all conflict zones of our Planet, that the renewed pride and courage which is now inspiring millions of oppressed human beings, actually came from the decisive and determined stand of just several brave and determined nations, big and small.

The myth about the omnipotence of the Empire has received a few significant blows.

The fable of invincibility has not completely disappeared yet, but at least it has got fractured and gravely injured.

The gate of the terrible prison began cracking. It has not collapsed, but the fractures were wide enough for at least some sunlight to enter the dark and dreadful cavities inhabited by billions of unfortunate and shattered beings.

Some victims stood up immediately; not many but at least some did. Others raised their heads in feeble hope, still lying down on the dirty ground, still chained, and still shaking. That weak light alone entering the dungeon was actually much brighter than what most people ever experienced in their entire life. It has been strong enough to provoke wonderful, brilliant sparks of hope.

*

Except for some temporary setbacks (like in Brazil and Argentina), the anti-imperialist coalition is now steadier than ever; it is determined and constantly expanding.

And it is clearly winning!

It is truly a ‘rainbow coalition’ of countries, big and small, ‘red’ and ‘pink’, even ‘green’.

The only unifying factor is the shared determination not to be controlled by Western imperialism and neo-colonialism.

For decades, Cuba stood against the Empire, even after the Soviet block was broken to bits, even when all mutual agreements ceased to be honored by the criminal Yeltsin administration.The Cuban people never surrendered. It is because most of them always believed, from the bottom of their hearts, in socialism and internationalism. And also because they have been convinced that the Western Empire is a morally corrupt and illegitimate entity and therefore has to be resisted.

A small and relatively poor country – Cuba – demonstrated to the entire world that while the Empire is mighty, sadistic and brutal, it is not omnipotent, and it is possible to defy it. There is no reason why one should not dare, or one should not dream about a much better world, why one shouldn’t fight for true freedom, attempting to win.

Cuba inspired the world. Its daring Revolution took place just a few miles from the shores of the United States. Soon after, its teachers and doctors went to all parts of the earth, spreading optimism, solidarity and kindness. Its heroic revolutionaries went to fight against the most dreadful forms of colonialism, which were torturing people, is such places as Congo, Angola and Namibia.

After Obama’s attempts to water down the determination of the Cuban citizens, many enemies began to predict, cynically:

“Now Cuba will compromise and sell its Revolution.”

It never did! I traveled to the Island last year, driving through the countryside, and speaking to people in Havana, Guantanamo and Santiago de Cuba. Almost no one was ready to compromise. A greatly educated nation, Cuba saw through the Empire’s tricks and deceptions.

Now almost nobody speaks about the “Cuban compromise”, anymore, simply because there isn’t any on the table.

China, one of the oldest and greatest civilizations on Earth, went through the terrible period of ‘humiliation’. Divided, occupied and plundered by the West, it has never forgotten nor forgiven.

Now the Chinese Communist state and its mixed economy are helping countries in virtually all parts of the world, from Oceania and Latin America, to the Middle East and especially Africa, to survive and to finally stand on their own feet. Despite all the vitriolic propaganda regurgitated by the West (those people in Europe or North America who know close to zero about Africa or China, habitually passing ‘confident’ and highly cynical ‘judgments’ about China’s involvement in the poor world; judgments based exclusively on the lies and fabrications produced by the Western media), China has been gaining great respect and trust in virtually all corners of the globe.

The Chinese people and their government are now standing firmly against Western imperialism. They will not allow any recurrence of the disgraceful and dreary past.

The West is provoking this mighty and optimistic nation, pushing it into a terrible confrontation. China doesn’t want any military conflict. It is the most peaceful, the most non-confrontational large nation on Earth. But it is becoming clear that if pushed against the wall, this time it will not compromise: it will fight.

In the last years I have spoken to many Chinese people, as I traveled to all corners of the country, and I’m convinced that by now the nation is ready to meet strength with strength.

Such determination gives hope to many other countries on our Planet. The message is clear: the West cannot do whatever it wants, anymore. If it tries, it will be stopped. By reason or by force!

Russia is ready again, too. It is standing next to China, enormous and indignant.

Go to Novosibirsk or Tomsk, to Khabarovsk, Vladivostok or Petropavlovsk in Kamchatka. Talk to Russian people and you will soon understand: almost nobody there believes or respects the West, anymore. Throughout history, Russia was attacked and ransacked from the West. Millions, tens of millions of its people were murdered, literally exterminated. And now, the nation is facing what some consider to be yet another imminent attack.

Like the Chinese people, Russians are unwilling to compromise, anymore. The old Russian forecast is once again alive, that very one professed by Alexander Nevsky:

Go tell all in foreign lands that Russia lives! Those who come to us in peace will be welcome as a guest. But those who come to us sword in hand will die by the sword! On that Russia stands and forever will we stand!

In Russia, as in China, and as in so many other nations that were devastated by the Western plunderers, nothing is forgotten and no one is forgotten. It only appeared for a while that the memory had fainted. It never does. You cannot burn down an entire land, ruin the cities, burn the fields, and still pose as one with the moral mandate. Or as we say in Chile: “Justice takes time, but it always comes!”

And the world is watching. It is suddenly clearly registering this determined and brave, epic stand of morally strong nations. Many of those who are watching are deeply impressed with what they are seeing. Perhaps not in London or in Paris, but go and ask those in Johannesburg or Beirut, or even in Calcutta, Cairo or Buenos Aires. Perhaps you suspect what answers you’d receive there!

Throughout modern history, not once has Iran invaded a foreign country. Yet its secular, progressive and democratic government (under the leadership of Mohammad Mosaddegh) was overthrown in 1953, in a CIA-backed coup. What followed was the monstrosity of the ‘pro-Western Shah’, and then a horrendous war, an invasion by Iraq, which was also fully backed by the West and which took hundreds of thousands of human lives. Since then, Iran has been suffering from targeted killings of its scientists (by the West and Israel), as well as terrorist attacks also backed from abroad.

Instead of falling on its knees and begging for mercy, Iran defied the West. On several occasions and when provoked, it sent its battleships to the neutral waters near the US coast, and it pledged to defend its land, in case it was to be attacked.

Iran also showed great solidarity towards Latin America, working closely with virtually all of the revolutionary governments there. It stood firmly by Venezuela in a time of great crises, building social housing in Caracas and supporting the Process by all other means.

In Latin America, no one will ever forget how former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to Caracas to attend the funeral of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, his dear friend. During the memorial, the aged mother of Chavez suddenly approached Ahmadinejad, in tears. Breaking all religious protocol of a Shi’a country that he was representing, the Iranian President embraced her, and held her against his heart, until she calmed down.

This moment was expressing one simple and powerful reality: all of us, the internationalists and anti-imperialists, are fighting for the survival of humanity and this planet. There is more that unites us than what is tearing us apart. Once we win, and we will win, the world will be able to find a common language.The West wants to divide us, by spreading hostilities and distrust, all through ‘false news’ and fabrications. But we understand its game. We will not break our ranks, anymore.

The West is clearly losing. It knows it. It is in panic.

Its nihilism, its propaganda and indoctrination tactics will soon be defeated.

I wrote a lot about the DPRK and how it joined the list of the ‘most hated nations on Earth’. It is a well known fact that North Korea was, for years and decades, much richer and more democratic than South Korea (ROK). But it embarked on one tremendous humanist ‘project’, and together with Cuba, the Soviet Union and to some extent China, it liberated almost the entire African continent, at great cost and sacrifice. And not only that: it sent its top educators and doctors to all corners of the most devastated continent on Earth. Its pilots also flew Egyptian MIGs against Israel, during the 1967 war. These facts have been silenced by Western propaganda, but they clearly explain why the DPRK has been ostracized, pushed to the corner, hit by senseless embargos, and forced to react the way it has been reacting for at least the last two decades.

North Korea has never surrendered either, and it never will.

Neither has Venezuela, for many years the great sentinel and engine of the Bolivarian Revolution, as well as of Latin Internationalism and solidarity. Surviving coups, embargos, plots and propaganda campaigns, surviving attacks, even terror, of the foreign-backed ‘opposition’, Venezuela has been injured but it is alive. Just a few days ago I spoke to an Italian Parliamentary delegation, consisting of the”5-Star-Movement” MPs, which recently returned from Caracas. Their conclusion was simple: “The worst is over”.

The world knows it! Venezuela, DPRK, Cuba – they never fell. No matter how many knives penetrated their bodies, despite so much pain caused by the sanctions, coup attempts and direct acts of terrorism administered by the West and its monstrous Empire.

It is becoming clear and obvious: the West is helpless against determination, true courage and patriotic love. It is powerless when confronted with humanist ideologies, and with true loyalty!

And the world keeps watching, drawing its conclusions.

I wrote about Syria, comparing Aleppo to the 20th Century Stalingrad. This is where racism, terrorism, and the lowest forms of Western imperialism (and shameful acts of the regional lackeys) were decisively stopped. The price was terrible, but the message to the world extremely clear: The people who love their country with their entire hearts can fight and win against all odds, especially if by their side stand truly great and reliable friends and comrades!

One day the world will thank the Syrian people, profusely and properly. One day, everything will be understood. One day, perhaps soon.

*

This is one of the greatest moments in human history, perhaps the greatest.

It has arrived without big salvos announcing monumental revolutions.

Everything is happening fast, in an organized and determined manner.

The greatest minds of Russia, China, Latin America and the rest of the world, are feverishly, day and night, trying to determine what really brought our world, our civilization, to this ludicrous downfall.

The simplified and stripped-down answer is this: Western imperialism (military, economic and ‘intellectual’/’cultural’), colonialism and neo-colonialism, as well as that dreadful by-product of all the above combined – a set of unchecked and savage form of capitalism.

Comment: Western capitalism, imperialism, and colonialism are merely masks. Useful tools manipulated to serve the purposes of those who are truly responsible for the state of the planet: psychopaths in positions of power and authority.

Simultaneously, new forms of government, of economy and social systems are being, once again, planned.

The military strategists of the countries that are refusing to kneel in front of the barbaric terror of the West, responsible for hundreds of millions of murders and billions of ruined lives, are planning how to defend their countries and the world.

Once again, the world is at work! It is building trenches, educating people, preparing them for the final showdown with the culture that has been tormenting our Planet for centuries.

It is the moment of great hope and renewed enthusiasm.

Of course, if seen from Western capitals, everything is bleak and depressing. There is no ‘hope’ at all.

I agree fully: there is no hope ‘for them‘.

The logic, the ‘philosophy’ with which the Europeans and the North Americans have become accustomed to analyze the world, has arrived at a dead end.

Yes, it is ‘the end of philosophy’, or as they say, ‘the end of history’. I fully agree: it is the end of their philosophy and of their history.

That’s why, reading about their elections or statements produced by their politicians, is nothing less than a waste of time. The world realizes it, more and more.

Their ‘new tricks’ are actually very old. Their entire system is outdated. It should have been retired at least one hundred years ago. It survived only because of its savagery and cruelty. It will go soon, anyway.

These days, encountering people inhabiting the West is like encountering those zombies who were living in Nazi Germany during WWII. After the war was over, they were street walking for years, at least many of them, repeating the same refrains: “We didn’t know!” “We never realized”. The Nazi propaganda and the one, which has been used in the West and in the colonies (as Noam Chomsky and I defined in our book “On Western Terrorism“), are based on precisely the same roots, foundations and methods. Both are extremely effective, when it comes to the total brainwashing of the population.

To follow up the last chapter of the imperialist and turbo capitalist morass of the West is embarrassing and useless.

Both Europe and the United States are suffering from a series of devastating mental illnesses, as was defined by the great Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung, right after WWII.

Getting too much involved in pathological behavior, constantly studying and analyzing it, could only break and deeply depress any healthy person’s mind.

Comment: Unfortunately, an approximation of this is what’s necessary in order to immunize our psyche from infection by pathological influence. Yes, it is depressing to think that some people are born without a conscience, and it can be frightening to see all the ways in which normal people can be manipulated into doing horrendous things. However, without this knowledge we are doomed to be the unwitting dupes of psychopathic puppet masters, and repeat the same mistakes that have led the world to the disastrous state that it’s in today.

There is nothing more to understand. Hundreds of millions of victims in all parts of the world are speaking for themselves.

The only rational issue here is this: how to stop this horror, as soon as possible? How to allow humanity to return to its natural development and evolution patterns?

Comment: If humanity doesn’t figure out a way to boot the psychopaths out of power, nature will find a way to do it for us.

I don’t believe in ‘punishments’ and ‘trials’ and other vehicles of intimidation and of spreading fear. I don’t care whether the West will ‘pay’ for all that it has done to the world. I only want it to be stopped, once and for all.

I work very hard for it to be stopped.

So are others.

And the world is watching, and all of a sudden enjoying what it sees.

Suddenly more and more people are daring to laugh at the global regime. Of course not in Paris, London or New York (here they are scared and obedient, even more than before). But outside, yes!

People on all continents want to see and hear about what ‘others do’, what ‘we do’, not what the Empire and its mental conditions are producing.

They are laughing and waiting impatiently for what a new day, a new year will bring. They are waiting for the true new beginning to arrive.

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Three of his latest books are revolutionary novel “Aurora” and two bestselling works of political non-fiction: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and Fighting Against Western Imperialism. View his other books here. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Al-Mayadeen. Watch Rwanda Gambit, his groundbreaking documentary about Rwanda and DRCongo. After having lived in Latin America, Africa and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides in East Asia and the Middle East, and continues to work around the world. He can be reached through his website and his Twitter.

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President al-Assad to Russian media and EU-Russian MP: “We are ready to discuss anything…but defending borders is our right…White Helmets are Al-Qaeda” – By Syrian Free Press

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President al-Assad to Russian media:
“We are ready to discuss anything including constitution, defending borders is our right…White Helmets are part of Al-Qaeda, and that’s proven, but they are treated [by Western media] as humanitarian heroes”

(Damascus, 20/3/2017) ~ President Bashar al-Assad said in a statement given to Russian media that we are ready to discuss anything, including the constitution, adding that defending our borders is our right and it is a duty.


VIDEO EXCERPTS IN ENGLISH


FULL VIDEO INTERVIEW IN ARABIC


Following is the full transcript of the statement.

Question 1: Mr. President, are you familiar with the Russian proposal to create a commission on research of a new constitution? What do you think about it?

President Assad: Yesterday, I think, our representative in the United Nations, Mr. Jaafari, announced that we support the Russian initiatives – different initiatives, not only this one – as headlines, and now we are discussing with the Russians the details. The problem is that we went to Astana recently, as you know, the other delegation, the delegation of the militants, didn’t join that meeting, they didn’t go to Astana, and we all believe that this is the negative influence of the Turks. So, how can we start something concrete if you don’t have a partner? So, we said we are ready to discuss anything including the constitution, but we need to see who’s going to be in Geneva, are they going to discuss the same paper or not? But for us, as a government, our position is very clear: that we are ready to discuss it in details, but we support the headline, of course.


Question 2: Mr. President, there are reports that the United States-led coalition are planning to start the operation in Raqqa in the beginning of April. Do you have confirmation on that, and if Raqqa is liberated, will it be under control of Damascus, or are there any other agreements on that? And is the American troops’ presence in Syria legal?

President Assad: Any military operation in Syria without the approval of the Syrian government is illegal, and I said if there’s any troops on the Syrian soil, this is an invasion, whether to liberate al-Raqqa or any other place. This is first. Second, we all know that the coalition has never been serious about fighting ISIS or the terrorists, so we have to think about the real intention of the whole plan, if there’s a plan to liberate al-Raqqa. To liberate it from who? From ISIS? To give it to who? So, their plan is not to fight terrorists, not to help the Syrian government, it’s not for the unity of Syria, it’s not for the sovereignty of Syria, it must be something else not of these factors that I just mentioned, but all that we have till this moment are only information, we don’t have any fact on the ground regarding this.


Question 3: Mr. President, as far as we know, the Syrian Army does its best in fighting with terrorism, you fight with terrorists fine, but war isn’t over, so I wanted to know whether Damascus is going to ask Russian air forces to increase its presence in Syria, and will you ask Russia to start a ground troops operation in Syria?

President Assad: Actually, if you talk about the relation between the Syrian government and the Russian government, it goes back in history for decades, so they know the details of Syria, and after the war they know more details about what’s happening. So, if we want to talk about fighting terrorism, we discussed in details the requirements to support the Syrian Army. For this stage, the Russian support by air raids was enough for the Syrian Army to advance on different fronts, mainly in Aleppo and Palmyra as you know. I’m sure that if the Syrian and the Russian officials and military officials feel that we need more support to defeat the terrorists, they’re going to do it, but till this moment, the level of support is good and effective.


Question 4: Can you evaluate the participation of Russian troops, Russian army, in liberation and demining in Palmyra? And maybe you can tell us about the level of destruction in Palmyra in the last month, and maybe your government has some plan of rebuilding and restore this ancient city.

President Assad: Of course, it’s not only Syrian heritage; it’s international heritage, and I think the whole world should be worried about the destruction of Palmyra. Of course, some of the destruction could be repaired. Now we are evaluating, because you know if the stones turn into rubble, it could be difficult for anyone to restore this heritage, but if you have the stone safe and sound, you can do it. When we liberated Palmyra the first time, President Putin himself, when he spoke to me and congratulated me for the liberation of Palmyra last year, he said Russia was very interested in the restoration of Palmyra. Of course, as you know, ISIS came again to Palmyra, and it was liberated again, but now there’s more destruction, so we have to re-evaluate Palmyra again to see what we can do, but I think it’s not only about Syria and Russia; it’s about the UNESCO, it’s about the other institutions, and it’s about other countries that they always claim that they are worried about the human heritage and human culture and so on.

Journalist: And the participation of the Russian army in the liberation, can you evaluate it?

President Assad: Usually we don’t speak about military issues, but there was important support on the ground, but I don’t have to tell you the details of that kind of support.


Question 5: Mr. President, will you continue to protect, to defend Syrian borders after the threat of Mr. Avigdor Lieberman, to protect with missile defense systems, of course, and how international diplomacy, maybe Russia diplomacy can help to prevent the conflict between Israel and Syria?

President Assad: Defending our borders is our right, and it’s our duty, not only our right. If we don’t do it as officials when we can do it, we should be blamed by the Syrian people, we should be held accountable. So, we don’t have to ask ourselves that question, whether there were statements by Israeli officials or not. We don’t base our policy and decisions on their statements. So, of course, it’s our right and duty, again.

As we heard this morning, that the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked the Israeli ambassador, they invited him to the Ministry in order to discuss the Israeli violation of the Syrian sovereignty. So, I think Russia can play an important role in that regard, and the whole policy of Russia is based on the international law, it’s based on the Charter of the United Nations, and the Security Council resolutions. So, they can discuss the same issues with the Israelis depending on this criteria, and they can play a role in order that Israel not attack Syria again in the future.


Question 6: My turn. Mr. President, the now infamous groups such as the White Helmets and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights have reported recently about the airstrike by the United States-led coalition that killed 50 civilians in a mosque near Aleppo. Now, the Pentagon said they were present in the area, but they had nothing to do with the destruction of the mosque. Previously, Washington held those two groups as reliable sources when they were critical of Damascus, and now they are silent about it. Are we looking at a situation of double standards?

President Assad: The American policy is based on many standards, not double; they have maybe ten standards because they don’t base their policy on values or on international law; they base it on their own vision, their own interests, sometimes on the balance of different lobbies and powers within the American institutions. We all know that. So, we don’t talk about double standards, this is very normal for the US. For example, their raids against ISIS in Mosul in Iraq were something good, or let’s say, positive, while the same raid by the Syrian and Russian army airplanes or troops on the ground in Aleppo to liberate the people of Aleppo is against human rights according to their political discourse. So, this is natural for the American policy and for the West in general, not only the Americans. White Helmets are Al Qaeda, they’re Al Qaeda members and that’s proven on the net; the same members are killing or executing or celebrating over dead bodies, at the same time they are humanitarian heroes, and now they have an Oscar as you know. So, that’s to be expected by the Americans, we have to ignore all their narratives, their own public doesn’t believe their narrative anymore. They don’t know the truth yet; the public opinion in the West in general, they know there’s a lie, but they don’t know what the truth is, and that’s why they have a problem with RT for example, for that reason.


President Bashar al-Assad meets for 3 hours with a joint Russian-European parliamentary delegation:
“Syria determined to solve the crisis through two tracks, counter-terrorism and political process”

President Bashar al-Assad received on Monday a Russian-European joint parliamentary delegation headed by Russian State Duma Deputy Chairman Vladimir Vasilyev.

During the meeting, President al-Assad talked about the latest developments in Syria and responded to the delegation’s queries regarding the situation of the Syrian people after six years of war.

The President affirmed that what is going on in Syria is a conflict among countries that want to maintain the international law, mainly Russia and China, and others that violate this law through their support to terrorist groups and interference in the internal Syrian affairs.

President al-Assad added that Syria is going ahead in its vision to solve the crisis through two tracks, combating terrorism and the political process, affirming that Syria is open to hold dialogue with anyone who lay down arms and abide by the constitution.

The President  said that the process of reconciliations enjoys a support from the Syrian people and it has achieved positive results that rescued the lives of many people and protected many areas, adding that without this support the Syrian state would not be able to proceed in it.

President al-Assad hailed the Russian support to Syrian people in their war against terrorism, adding that officials in European countries who pretend concern over the Syrian people have to stop supporting terrorist groups and put pressure on countries that fund these groups to stop that because it is also in the interest of their people.

The President  said that the visits of the parliamentary delegations to Syria are very important, adding that what distinguishes this visit is that it is a joint delegation from Russia and Europe and therefore it provides a useful opportunity for dialogue among parliamentarians about the polices of their countries toward events in Syria.

In turn, members of the delegation stressed the importance of international intensified efforts to fight terrorism, considering that the stances of European countries towards what is happening in Syria have begun to change when European officials felt that the danger of terrorism began to reach their home countries.

They considered that the intervention in the internal affairs of other countries brings nothing but only chaos, stressing the importance of dialogue among the Syrians to agree on any step regarding the future Syria.

In the same context, Speaker of the People’s Assembly Hadiyeh Abbas met the Russian-European parliamentary delegation.

She said “we rely on the European parliamentarians and representatives of the peoples of Europe to correct the wrong European policies towards Syria and enhance cooperation and coordination to combat terrorism since it is the only way to protect the Europeans.

For his part, head of the delegation underlined the need to boost the joint parliamentary cooperation between Syria and Russia, noting to the delegation members’ keenness on revealing the real image of what is taking place in Syria and convey it to their peoples.

The Russian State Duma Deputy Chairman Vladimir Vasilyev indicated to the warm atmosphere of the delegation’s meeting with President al-Assad which lasted for three hours during which the President shared his viewpoints on key issues and listened to their perspectives, views and notes.

He stressed that it has now become clear to all that the Syrian leadership is essential to the dialogue aimed at solving the crisis in the country, adding that President al-Assad briefed the delegation on the latest political developments and the Syrian army’s achievements on the ground.

Vasilyev laid stress on the necessity of pushing forward the political dialogue with all forces and enhance the political process in Syria for the sake of the country’s future.

He reiterated the Russian leadership, government and Parliament’s support to Syria’s right to fight terrorism and its extremist ideology, pointing out to the need for eliminate terrorism before its prevailing throughout the entire world.

The head of delegation noted that the Russian State Duma Committee on Foreign Affairs has prepared an agenda which includes proposals which Syria, and even other states, need, the most important of which is the Constitution.

He extended an invitation to the Speaker of People’s Assembly to visit Russia in April.

In a press conference, Vasilyev said the visit to Syria aims at inspecting the reality of what is taking place on the ground and offer the delegation members’ parliamentary expertise to the Syrian MPs.

He described the meeting with President al-Assad as “constructive and fruitful”, noting that the delegation members, including the European parliamentarians, were satisfied and delighted over the outcomes of the meeting.

Vasilyev said that the delegation has submitted several proposals and thoughts to President al-Assad, including opinions about constitution, encouraging local reconciliations and truces.

The formation of a constitutional committee and its work mechanism were also discussed, he added.

He indicated to the small number of countries which provide humanitarian aid to Syria such as Russia, China, Iran, Armenia and Azerbaijan, calling for mobilizing efforts to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people.

Vasilyev highly appreciated the efforts exerted by the Syrian people and leadership to solve the crisis in Syrian as soon as possible, adding that the Russian forces’ participation in combating terrorism in Syria came upon request from the legitimate Syrian government and in line with the international law.


SOURCES:
Syrian News Agency in Damascus
Syrian News Agency by Manar/R.Raslan/Mazen
Submitted by SyrianPatriots
War Press Info Network at :
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NUSRA ATTACKS ISIS IN SUICIDE OPERATION; DAESH ATTACK DASHED IN EAST ALEPPO – By Ziad Fadel

ADMIRAL KUZNETSOV TO LEAVE SYRIAN WATERS AFTER COMPLETION OF TASKS

 

Say what you will about the Admiral Kuznetsov Air Craft Carrier now docked off the coast of Syria.  The miserable Western corporate media had a field day denigrating its capabilities, describing it as an antiquated tub useless in combat and a floating liability.  Well, it proved them all wrong.  Despite 2 tragic misfires when aircraft failed to properly land or take off, the carrier deployed sufficient air power to change the way the battle of Aleppo was conducted, leading ultimately to the total defeat of the American-supported terrorist cannibals.

In a coordinated draw-down of Russian forces, Lt. General ‘Ali ‘Abdullah Ayyoob, Chief of the Syrian General Staff,  visited the Kuznetsov in a valedictory gesture approved by Dr. Assad and praised the role it played in defeating the forces of terrorism.

In addition to the carrier, the battle cruiser, Peter the Great, and support vessels will be redeploying to the North Sea after having completed their missions.

 

 

______________________________________________

ALEPPO:

Air Force Academy:  ISIS set in motion a two-pronged attack on Syrian Army positions near the academy.   At Rasm Al-Hirmil Al-Imaam and Umm Al-Miri, the SAA punched a big hole in the offensive tactics used by these shrill monkeys killing a total of 19 rodents and destroying 3 pickups at the first village and another 2 pickups at the second.

http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=36.219851&lon=37.684908&z=15&m=b

 

_____________________________________________

DAMASCUS:

Another 200+ former rodents have left Ahraar Al-Shaam and Nusra to join the national effort to liberate the country from the stench of terrorism.  The numbers of those wanting to return to a normal life are climbing rapidly as news of military defeat at the hands of the Syrian Army have become the norm.  Their excuses are, of course, pathetic and reflect the invincible ignorance of those who trade in hatred.

_____________________________________________

NEWS AND COMMENT:

A rogue’s gallery of lying lizards in the MSM for your delectation: (Thanks, Patrick Henningsen)

http://21stcenturywire.com/2017/01/04/aleppo-local-activists-or-al-qaeda-rogues-gallery/

Tony Gratrex sends us this Brandon Turbeville article dealing with HRW’s credibility and lack thereof:

http://www.activistpost.com/2017/01/that-time-hrws-ken-roth-contradicted-himself-twice-in-4-days-over-syria.html

Brandon now deals with the water cut-off to the Damascus population which is being milked by the White Helmets terrorist organization:

http://www.activistpost.com/2017/01/white-helmets-solidarity-with-al-qaeda-hold-citizens-hostage-in-damascus-with-no-water.html

Brandon now analyzes Erdoghan’s recent declaration that he has evidence the U.S. supports ISIS:

http://www.activistpost.com/2017/01/erdogan-claims-to-have-evidence-photos-video-of-u-s-coalition-support-for-isis.html

 

ADMIRAL KUZNETSOV TO LEAVE SYRIAN WATERS AFTER COMPLETION OF TASKS; NUSRA ATTACKS ISIS IN SUICIDE OPERATION; DAESH ATTACK DASHED IN EAST ALEPPO by Ziad Fadel

Fasten your seatbelts – ‘Danger ahead’ in the US for 2017 – By John W. Whitehead

“When did the future switch from being a promise to being a threat?” ― Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

© Clarapy

Despite our best efforts, we in the American police state seem to be stuck on repeat, reliving the same set of circumstances over and over and over again: egregious surveillance, strip searches, police shootings of unarmed citizens, government spying, censorship, retaliatory arrests, the criminalization of lawful activities, warmongering, indefinite detentions, SWAT team raids, asset forfeiture, etc.

Unfortunately, as a nation we’ve become so desensitized to the government’s acts of violence, so accustomed to reports of government corruption, and so anesthetized to the sights and sounds of Corporate America marching in lockstep with the police state that few seem to pay heed to the warning signs blaring out the message: Danger Ahead.

Remember, the Titanic received at least four warnings from other ships about the presence of icebergs in its path, with the last warning issued an hour before disaster struck. All four warnings were ignored.

Like the Titanic, we’re plowing full steam ahead into a future riddled with hidden and not-so-hidden dangers. We too have been given ample warnings, only to have them drowned out by a carefully choreographed cacophony of political noise, cultural distractions and entertainment news—what the Romans termed “bread and circuses”—aimed at keeping the American people polarized, pacified and easily manipulated.

However, there is still danger ahead. The peril to our republic remains the same.

As long as a permanent, unelected bureaucracy—a.k.a. the shadow government— continues to call the shots in the halls of power and the reach of the police state continues to expand, the crisis has not been averted.

Here’s a glimpse of some of the nefarious government programs we’ll be encountering on our journey through the treacherous waters of 2017.

Mandatory quarantines without due process or informed consent: Under a new rule proposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, government agents will be empowered to indefinitely detain any traveler they suspect of posing a medical risk to others without providing an explanation, subject them to medical tests without their consent, and carry out such detentions and quarantines without any kind of due process or judicial review.

Mental health assessments by non-medical personnel: As a result of a nationwide push to train a broad spectrum of so-called gatekeepers such as pastors, teachers, hair stylists, bartenders, police officers and EMTs in mental health first-aid training, more Americans are going to run the risk of being reported by non-medical personnel and detained for having mental health issues.

Tracking chips for citizens: Momentum is building for the government to be able to track citizens, whether through the use of RFID chips embedded in a national ID card or through microscopic chips embedded in one’s skin. In December 2016, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation allowing police to track individuals suffering from some form of mental disability such as Alzheimer’s or autism by way of implanted chips.

Military training to deal with anti-establishment movements in megacities: The future, according to a Pentagon training video, will be militaristic, dystopian and far from friendly to freedom. Indeed, if this government propaganda-piece that is being used to train special forces is to be believed, the only thing that can save the world from outright anarchy—in the eyes of the government, at least—is the military working in conjunction with local police. The video confirms what I’ve been warning about for so long: in the eyes of the U.S. government and its henchmen, the battlefield of the future is the American home front.

Government censorship of anything it classifies as disinformation: This year’s National Defense Authorization Act, which allocates $619 billion for war and military spending, not only allows the military to indefinitely detain American citizens by placing them beyond the reach of the Constitution, but it also directs the State Department to establish a national anti-propaganda center to “counter disinformation and propaganda.” Translation: the government plans to crack down on anyone attempting to exercise their First Amendment rights by exposing government wrongdoing, while persisting in peddling its own brand of fake news.

Threat assessments: Government agents—with the help of automated eyes and ears, a growing arsenal of high-tech software, hardware and techniques, government propaganda urging Americans to turn into spies and snitches, as well as social media and behavior sensing software—are spinning a sticky spider-web of threat assessments, behavioral sensing warnings, flagged “words,” and “suspicious” activity reports aimed at snaring potential enemies of the state. It’s the American police state rolled up into one oppressive pre-crime and pre-thought crime package.

War on cash: The government and its corporate partners are engaged in a concerted campaign to do away with large bills such as $20s, $50s, $100s and shift consumers towards a digital mode of commerce that can easily be monitored, tracked, tabulated, mined for data, hacked, hijacked and confiscated when convenient. As economist Steve Forbes concludes, “The real reason for this war on cash—start with the big bills and then work your way down—is an ugly power grab by Big Government. People will have less privacy: Electronic commerce makes it easier for Big Brother to see what we’re doing, thereby making it simpler to bar activities it doesn’t like, such as purchasing salt, sugar, big bottles of soda and Big Macs.”

Expansive surveillance: Whether you’re walking through a store, driving your car, checking email, or talking to friends and family on the phone, you can be sure that some government agency, whether the NSA or some other entity, will still be listening in and tracking your behavior. This doesn’t even begin to touch on the corporate trackers who work with the government to monitor your purchases, web browsing, Facebook posts and other activities taking place in the cyber sphere. In such an environment, we are all suspects to be spied on, searched, scanned, frisked, monitored, tracked and treated as if we’re potentially guilty of some wrongdoing or other.

Militarized police: Americans are finding their once-peaceful communities transformed into military outposts, complete with tanks, weaponry, and other equipment designed for the battlefield. Now, the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and the FBI are preparing to turn the nation’s police officers into techno-warriors, complete with iris scanners, body scanners, thermal imaging Doppler radar devices, facial recognition programs, license plate readers, cell phone extraction software, Stingray devices and so much more.

Police shootings of unarmed citizens: Owing in large part to the militarization of local law enforcement agencies, not a week goes by without more reports of hair-raising incidents by police imbued with a take-no-prisoners attitude and a battlefield approach to the communities in which they serve. Indeed, as a special report by The Washington Post reveals, despite heightened awareness of police misconduct, the number of fatal shootings by officers in 2016 remained virtually unchanged from the year before.

False flags and terrorist attacks: Despite the government’s endless propaganda about the threat of terrorism, statistics show that you are 17,600 times more likely to die from heart disease than from a terrorist attack. You are 11,000 times more likely to die from an airplane accident than from a terrorist plot involving an airplane. You are 1,048 times more likely to die from a car accident than a terrorist attack. You are 404 times more likely to die in a fall than from a terrorist attack. And you are 8 times more likely to be killed by a police officer than by a terrorist.

Endless wars to keep America’s military’s empire employed: The military industrial complex that has advocated that the U.S. remain at war, year after year, is the very entity that will continue to profit the most from America’s expanding military empire. The U.S. Department of Defense is the world’s largest employer, with more than 3.2 million employees. Thus far, the U.S. taxpayer has been made to shell out more than $1.6 trillion to wage wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. When you add in military efforts in Pakistan, as well as the lifetime price of health care for disabled veterans and interest on the national debt, that cost rises to $4.4 trillion.

Attempts by the government to identify, target and punish so-called domestic “extremists”: The government’s anti-extremism program will, in many cases, be utilized to render otherwise lawful, nonviolent activities as potentially extremist. To this end, police will identify, monitor and deter individuals who exhibit, express or engage in anything that could be construed as extremist before they can become actual threats. This is pre-crime on an ideological scale.

SWAT team raids: More than 80% of American communities have their own SWAT teams, with more than 80,000 of these paramilitary raids are carried out every year. That translates to more than 200 SWAT team raids every day in which police crash through doors, damage private property, kill citizens, terrorize adults and children alike, kill family pets, assault or shoot anyone that is perceived as threatening—and most often in the pursuit of someone merely suspected of a crime, usually some small amount of drugs.

Erosions of private property: Private property means little at a time when SWAT teams and other government agents can invade your home, break down your doors, kill your dog, wound or kill you, damage your furnishings and terrorize your family. Likewise, if government officials can fine and arrest you for growing vegetables in your front yard, praying with friends in your living room, installing solar panels on your roof, and raising chickens in your backyard, you’re no longer the owner of your property.

Overcriminalization: The government’s tendency towards militarization and overcriminalization, in which routine, everyday behaviors become targets of regulation and prohibition, has resulted in Americans getting arrested for making and selling unpasteurized goat cheese, cultivating certain types of orchids, feeding a whale, holding Bible studies in their homes, and picking their kids up from school.

Strip searches and the denigration of bodily integrity: Court rulings undermining the Fourth Amendment and justifying invasive strip searches have left us powerless against police empowered to forcefully draw our blood, forcibly take our DNA, strip search us, and probe us intimately. Accounts are on the rise of individuals—men and women alike—being subjected to what is essentially government-sanctioned rape by police in the course of “routine” traffic stops.

Drones: As corporations and government agencies alike prepare for their part in the coming drone invasion—it is expected that at least 30,000 drones will occupy U.S. airspace by 2020, ushering in a $30 billion per year industry—it won’t be long before American citizens find themselves to be the target of these devices. Drones—unmanned aerial vehicles—will come in all shapes and sizes, from nano-sized drones as small as a grain of sand that can do everything from conducting surveillance to detonating explosive charges, to middle-sized copter drones that can deliver pizzas to massive “hunter/killer” Predator warships that unleash firepower from on high.

Prisons: America’s prisons, housing the largest number of inmates in the world and still growing, have become money-making enterprises for private corporations that manage the prisons in exchange for the states agreeing to maintain a 90% occupancy rate for at least 20 years. And how do you keep the prisons full? By passing laws aimed at increasing the prison population, including the imposition of life sentences on people who commit minor or nonviolent crimes such as siphoning gasoline.

Censorship: First Amendment activities are being pummeled, punched, kicked, choked, chained and generally gagged all across the country. Free speech zones, bubble zones, trespass zones, anti-bullying legislation, zero tolerance policies, hate crime laws and a host of other legalistic maladies dreamed up by politicians and prosecutors have conspired to corrode our core freedoms. The reasons for such censorship vary widely from political correctness, safety concerns and bullying to national security and hate crimes but the end result remains the same: the complete eradication of what Benjamin Franklin referred to as the “principal pillar of a free government.”

Fascism: As a Princeton University survey indicates, our elected officials, especially those in the nation’s capital, represent the interests of the rich and powerful rather than the average citizen. We are no longer a representative republic. With Big Business and Big Government having fused into a corporate state, the president and his state counterparts—the governors—have become little more than CEOs of the Corporate State, which day by day is assuming more government control over our lives. Never before have average Americans had so little say in the workings of their government and even less access to their so-called representatives.

James Madison, the father of the Constitution, put it best when he warned: “Take alarm at the first experiment with liberties.” Anyone with even a casual knowledge about current events knows that the first experiment on our freedoms happened long ago.

We are fast moving past the point of no return when it comes to restoring our freedoms. Worse, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we can barely see the old America with its revolutionary principles and value for independence in the rear view mirror. The only reality emerging generations will know is the one constructed for them by the powers-that-be, and you can rest assured that it will not be a reality that favors individuality, liberty or anything or anyone who challenges the status quo.

As a senior advisor to George W. Bush observed, “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

In other words, the government has been operating ten steps ahead for quite some time now, and we have yet to catch up, let alone catch our breath as the tides of change swirl around us.

You’d better tighten your seatbelts, folks, because we could be in for a rough ride in 2017.

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DETAILS OF THE CEASE FIRE AND WHY IT MUST FAIL; HOMS: SYRIAN ARMY EXPELS ISIS VULTURES FROM TAYFOOR AB AREA –

‘AYN AL-FEEJA WATER SOURCE EVACUATED BY TERRORIST MURDERERS

 

Why is FM Mu’allim smiling?

Turkey has not parted with Saudi Arabia.  Turkey which is led by a crackpot president, who is a card-carrying member of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group of Islamist bourgeois fundamentalists, and who are the absolute horror of the Saudi ruling family of apes, is set to participate in a conference to be held in the Kazakhstani capital of Ostana.  The Turkish imbecile foreign minister, Mavlut Kavusoghlu, declared that his Turk delegation would not so much as sit in a room with anyone from Dr. Assad’s administration suggesting that they would sit in a room full of terrorists.

Only a few days ago, the three parties to the Syrian Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement, Russia, Iran and Turkey, declared that all three parties signed on to it and that it was in 2 parts;  one part concerned the cease fire on the ground and the other provided a pathway toward a total political resolution of the conflict.

During the negotiations, the Turks, apparently playing their Saudi card, demanded the removal of all Iranian-backed forces and all troops from the Lebanese Resistance, i.e. Hizbollah.  That was a non-starter.  Sergei Lavrov contacted both his Iranian counterparts in the negotiations to test their attitude about such matters, and he had to probe the Syrian position.  Both Iran and Damascus told Mr. Lavrov that there would be no such withdrawal of forces.  In fact, once HZB leader, Hassan Nasrallah, got wind of the Turk demand, HZB immediately issued a statement through its mouthpiece, Al-Manar, that HZB would never withdraw from Syria until the last terrorist was killed.  Dr. Assad’s government seconded that position.  Sergei Lavrov told the Turks that such a position was rejected by all other parties, including Moscow.  So much for the Turk demand.

Russia then countered with its own demand insisting on the removal of all non-Syrians (i.e. foreigners) from Syria.  Lavrov also asked for a clarification regarding Harakat Ahraar Al-Shaam, which is bonded to Nusra/Alqaeda and, ergo, a prohibited terrorist group.  The Turks informed FM Lavrov that they would have to reflect on his demand.  It is well known that Ahraar Al-Shaam is part and parcel of the entire Nusra/Alqaeda network and is fully funded by the rodent Saudis and their equally repulsive cousins in Qatar.  When it appeared that Ahraar Al-Shaam would be the object of objections from all parties, Saudi Arabia, through its direct contacts with the group, organized a positive response to the cease-fire placing this savage grouping of psychopaths inside the “moderate” camp, a laughing-stock move by the inept, clueless Saudis.

By being included in the cease-fire agreement, Ahraar Al-Shaam’s arm in Waadi Baradaa, yesterday, agreed to a withdrawal of its forces from the area to allow Syrian engineers to restore water to the capital, Damascus, although it did so under intense pressure from local notables.

The groups involved in the deal are now well-known:

Faylaq Al-Shaam

Harakat Ahraar Al-Shaam

Jaysh Al-Islam

Thuwwaar Al-Shaam

Jaysh Al-Mujaahideen

Jaysh Idlib Al-Hurr

Al-Jabha Al-Shaamiyya

 

The agreement calls for no further Syrian Air Force sorties over the territories infested by these groups.  Only Russia will be permitted to make such flyovers.

 

The groups are required to leave all areas occupied by Nusra/Alqaeda to make it possible for the Russian Air Force and Syrian Army units to exterminate the Alqaeda criminals who will, therefore, be easier to identify.  It is a stipulated clause in the agreement that Nusra/Alqaeda, ISIS and any other group deemed terrorist by the United Nations be excluded emphatically from the ceasefire.

It was further agreed that nothing shall affect the territorial unity of the Syrian Arab Republic.  In effect, this is an open rejection of American fall-back policy aiming to dismember Syria.  The Turks, Iranians and Russians want nothing to do with Kurdish revanchism or Kurdish efforts to establish their own state.  Even a federation of sorts is explicitly rejected.  It was not difficult to get the Turks to agree to that one.

As we wrote, the Syrian Air Force would not conduct aerial attacks.  No party to the cease-fire could strive to gain more territory.  This does not mean that the Syrian Army could not attack ISIS or Nusra/Alqaeda – they are, after all, excluded.

The Turks openly refuse to sit with any Assad representative and any member of the PYG, PKK or the American-supported SDF.  In truth, the Americans have preserved this remnant of their miserable failures in Syria, to wit: supporting Kurdish emancipation, as a stop-gap in the event they could not oust Dr. Assad in some painful way.  The fact that Turkey will not consider sitting with any Kurdish group is testament to the fact that Erdoghan is extricating himself and his country from the West although his plans to extend the Qatar natural gas pipeline through his own country could have been useful in shooing him into EU membership.  It might be that such dreams of economic power are merely expressions of his own vindictiveness toward a coy Europe.

The ceasefire agreement, relevantly, does not discuss any removal of the Syrian president.  The Syrians, Iranians and Russians insisted on this.  The Turks, according to my source, are only hinting at their opposition to Dr. Assad as a face-saving gesture.

Moreover, the sides participating in the cease-fire must allow humanitarian aid into all area of Syria not controlled by the excluded groups.  This might have been the reason why the terrorists in Waadi Baradaa agreed to leave.  As a detail which was specifically mentioned in the agreement, all armed forces are required to pull back from the Castillo Road in order to create a demilitarized zone – a no-fly zone, if you will, that should permit unfettered aid into the northern capital of Aleppo.

With the conference coming up in Kazakhstan, the U.N.,  feeling left out, has declared an intent to hold a Geneva Conference in February 2017 essentially and superfluously creating a parallel peace process to make DeMistura relevant again.

John Kerry has announced his support for the ceasefire, but, reportedly is embarrassed by the fact that he was not invited by any of the three parties.  John Kirby, the State Department buffoon, told a reporter that the U.S. was not “sidelined” although it was.

ANALYSIS:  Saudi Arabians are not capable of thinking in nuanced measures.  They are, after all, bedouins living in American-built air conditioned homes, that is if the Arabians have the connections.  Otherwise, most Saudi citizens don’t have homes and are owed back wages, that is assuming they actually ever worked.  And if they never worked, which is the majority, they have nothing but an occasional handout to live on.  The Saudi ruling tribe of apes has stripped the country of all its wealth.  The money is in the U.S. and Britain, for the most part.  If you want to know why the limeys have become so sycophantish, obsequious and “osculo-buttockish” when it comes to the robed Arabian grubs, it’s because the Arabians own their island, their football teams and even the queen’s knickers.

To be brutally frank, the Turks are just as feckless.  Erdoghan is committed to crushing the Kurdish aspiration to statehood.  He is even opposed to the state being established in other countries like Syria, Iraq or Iran.  He doesn’t care if they set up their state in Namibia or the Atacama Desert.  So, for the moment, he has given up on overthrowing Dr. Assad.  That doesn’t mean he won’t take up the project again when the circumstances permit.  It means, he’s just going along with the program because he is focused on destroying Kurdish nationalism, humiliating the United States for both trying to overthrow him and sheltering Fethullah Gulen in Pennsylvania, and because he thinks the Saudis are too insistent on Assad to make all this worthwhile to him.

The “opposition”, as I have written recently, is nothing more than a bunch of hotel-lizards, who would just as well go on living this life as long as the Arabians will pay for it.  Nobody cares about their existence.  Certainly not the United States which figured out a long time ago that they were just a bunch of doctors and disgruntled felons.   Certainly, the terrorists, all 300,000 of them in Syria, don’t give a hoot about the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces (NACOSROF).  Notice the group is not a part of any cease fire deal.  They were not consulted. They were not mentioned.  They might as well not exist.  And so, they don’t really exist.

Russia is languishing in the limelight today.  Its ability to cobble together a triumvirate of influential actors like Iran and Turkey while having Dr. Assad on board, has given the Kremlin the kind leverage and prestige it has sought for decades since the collapse of the USSR.  Note the absence of the United States which is now bordering on pariah status in the Near East.  With no relations with Iran and hostility with Erdoghan’s Turkey, the U.S. can only flail its arms in a vacuum, booting out Russian diplomats on the flimsiest of excuses – vilifying Moscow for its democratic annexation of the Crimea and its support for Russian-speaking Ukrainians – accusing the Kremlin of dabbling in the U.S. elections.  At every level, the Russian state has one-upped Obama’s anemic policies.  Vladimir Putin has recently countermanded Sergei Lavrov’s announced desire to reciprocate the U.S.’s mass deportation of Russian diplomatic staff because he knows that in 3 weeks Obama will be nothing more than a talk-circuit celebrity.  Trump is coming with a new Secretary of State with a different take on Russia. Today, Russia is doing what Steffan DeMistura could not:  it is at the helm of a credible movement to end the war in Syria.  Russia has advanced a new resolution at the U.N. endorsing the ceasefire deal.  Imagine the U.S. vetoing it or abstaining.  No way.  Even Kerry has come out a few days ago to praise the deal.  Kerry even choked when he demanded that terrorist groups cooperate with the ceasefire.

Iran is sitting pretty also.  It is involved in peacemaking.  It has the military clout to persist in the war against Wahhabism in Syria, but, prefers to observe how Iraq and Syria are coming back, guaranteeing the territorial continuity needed to extend its natural gas pipelines to the Mediterranean.  All Iran has to do is continue its support of the government in Damascus while building up its economy in the post-sanctions era.  Germans are rushing to Iran for business.  Boeing is selling billions of dollars worth of aircraft to Teheran.  Could it be any better?

The Syrian Army is at a critical juncture.  If the ceasefire takes effect, tens of thousands of Syrian troops will be freed to confront and exterminate Nusra/Alqaeda and ISIS.  In a matter of 6 months, with Russian and Iranian help, the army should be able to eviscerate the jihadist movement in Syria leaving only the remnant terrorist parties to the ceasefire as some kind of paper tiger to be slowly burned into ashes.  The terrorist rodents are feeling this pressure now and are rushing to take advantage of the amnesty offered by the government.  In time, as the ceasefire brings benefits to all involved, many of these groups (except Ahraar Al-Shaam and Jaysh Al-Islam) will cease to exist.  The two groups mentioned are only singled out because they exist by the will of the Saudi monkey king.

ISIS is dying.  Recruitment is way down as more and more rodents around the world see the bankruptcy of a group whose fame on earth is measured by the exotic brutality it films and distributes.  Already there is talk of a failed caliphate and a need to find new stomping grounds like Libya, Mauretania or Chad.  The Iraqi Army is at the doors of Mosul and a variety of powerful players are vying with one another to see who can conquer Al-Raqqa first.  We have written before that Abu Bakr Al-Baghdaadi was killed this year by a Syrian bomber flying over eastern Syria.  We stand by that report.  Just as in Afghanistan where the Taliban kept the death of Mullah Omar under wraps for 2 years before finally announcing it, the ISIS imbeciles are doing the same thing.  Abu Bakr Al-Baghdaadi left no procedure to select a successor and, judging by what we know of his psychoses, would not have left such a process.  ISIS is virtually leaderless and exists strictly for the purpose of temporary financial gain.

And, so goes Alqaeda/Nusra.  Call it what you will, it is still the most detested terrorist movement anywhere.  Its leader, Abu Muhammad Al-Jawlaani, is not in Idlib or Turkey.  His life is literally up for grabs.   He is blamed for the loss of Aleppo.  The Saudis are fed up with him and his insatiable horde of rodents who constantly cry out for more wages the Saudis cannot afford.  If Turkey follows the Russian writ, no weapons or money shall come to his terrorists.  He won’t have much time when that happens.

Jaysh Al-Islam, the openly Saudi-led terrorist group most famous for plundering the East Ghoutaa, has lost leader after leader.  The ‘Alloosh criminals have been assassinated or humiliated out of leadership.  They are increasingly a crazy quilt of sub-groups desperate to hold on to any emolument.  The Saudis are tired of these cry-babies also.  All the Saudis can offer now is a promise to provide haven for them in Saudi Arabia when the day comes and amnesty is no longer available.   This group is under intense pressure from MOK in Jordan to continue fighting despite their membership in the terrorist coalition mentioned at the beginning of this article.  Despite a supposed cessation of hostilities, JI mounted an attack on SAA positions yesterday at ‘Utaayaa and Hazarmaa which resulted in an SAA counter-offensive that liberated both villages.  The SAA also responded with a rocket attack on JI forces prepping to assault more SAA outposts.  At Waadi Turmaa, 5 JI rodents were killed.  At Al-Hammooriyya, more rodents were put to death by the SAAF when Military Intelligence detected a pack of rats readying to hit an SAA and PDC position.  And so for Al-Muhamadiyya.   Well, and so for the ceasefire.

It is impossible to believe that this ceasefire will hold for very long.  Ahraar Al-Shaam is a part of Nusra/Alqaeda and cannot sit idly by as the SAA turns its mother organization into so much useless compost.  We predict that Ahraar Al-Shaam recruits will be encouraged to shift to Nusra and avoid the inevitable surrender to the SAA.   But, by the time Donald Trump takes office and schmoozes with Vlad, it will be too late for any rescue.  ISIS and Nusra will be annilhilated and Saudi Arabia will have gone financially bust.  The ceasefire will be violated and the SAA and its allies will push finally into Al-Raqqa and Idlib to polish off the remaining jihadists.  It will be a moment of glory and the grist of epics sung into the next century.

_______________________________________________

HOMS:

Shareefa Village and all hills around it have been liberated south of the Tayfoor Airbase.  We can confirm the deaths of 70+ rodents  of ISIS.  On top of that, the SAA foiled an attempted attack on SAA checkpoints northeast of Tayfoor in which 70+ rodents were killed while the SAA has confirmed the concomitant destruction of 7 tanks, a BMP APC, and 12 pickups with 23mm cannons.

At the northern end of the Tayfoor (T-4) AB, 50+  rodents were killed or wounded along with the destruction of another 3 tanks, an armored car, 2 cannons and 5 pickups with 23mm cannons.

At Tallat Al-Aswad, a car with 6 rats was put to the torch killing all inside.

___________________________________________

ALEPPO: 

Water from the Euphrates is finally beginning to flow again after ISIS launched an attack meant to disrupt water delivery to the great northern city.  Pumps are now sending water to treatment plants in Aleppo.  We are pleased to note also that terrorists are slowly leaving the ‘Ayn Al-Feeja area to allow for water flow to the capital of Damascus.  

 

More US-Made Weapons Found in Terrorists

(Photo courtesy of Al-Manar)

Enjoy this scene of American-manufactured weapons and ammunition sent to the terrorists via Turkey.  The arsenal was found yesterday by Russian soldiers.

___________________________________________

NEWS AND COMMENT:

Fake news is the theme of this wonderful interview:

http://syrianperspective.com/2016/12/o-brave-new-world-that-has-such-wretches-in-it-terrorist-criminals-in-disarray-as-syrian-army-mounts-new-offensive-in-nw-damascus-a-gift-from-qatar-in-weapons-used-to-kill-syrians.html

Sharmine discusses the impossibility and irrationality of partitioning Syria:

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/372142-us-russia-syria-partition-turkey/

Read about all the goodies from the U.S. and Germany Russian sappers have found in Aleppo, courtesy of Patrick Henningsen:

http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/12/28/american-and-german-munitions-found-in-aleppo-by-russian-sappers/

 

DETAILS OF THE CEASE FIRE AND WHY IT MUST FAIL; HOMS: SYRIAN ARMY EXPELS ISIS VULTURES FROM TAYFOOR AB AREA; ‘AYN AL-FEEJA WATER SOURCE EVACUATED BY TERRORIST MURDERERS by Ziad Fadel

CLICK ON  =    http://syrianperspective.com/

Rare ‘black moon’ to make an appearance on Friday – doomsayers go biblical – BY RT

© Daniel Aguilar/Reuters

You may need to cancel your weekend plans. Apparently, a rare ‘black moon’ is set to appear on Friday, and is, according to some, a sign that the end of the world is nigh.

The black moon will cloak the Western Hemisphere in darkness on Friday and could be linked to the apocalypse.

Conspiracy theorists are worried that after a “ring of fire” solar eclipse was witnessed on September 1, during which the moon lined up with the Earth and the sun above Africa, and now a black moon only weeks later, this could mean we’re done for.

The primary source for this thinking is the Bible’s numerous references to the moon, sun and stars, particularly Luke 21:25-26, which states “there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars” which will result in “men’s hearts failing them for fear.”

One anonymous Facebook user noted how these are “signs are letting us know that Jesus is soon coming,” according to the Express. “We are approaching the end of our world and the end of life on Earth for all human being. Every day, we have to come closer to our savior Jesus Christ. For none can escape for what is coming for the Earth,” the conspiracy theorist wrote.

A black moon occurs when two new moons happen in one month, with the second moon basically invisible as the illuminated side is facing away from Earth. A blue moon is the opposite, when two full moons happen in the same month.

The last black moon happened in March 2014 and it won’t happen again in the Western Hemisphere until July 2019.

Whether this black moon is a sign that the end is nigh or not, the dark sky on September 30 will make for excellent stargazing conditions.

TO READ MORE ARTICLES FROM SIGNS OF THE TIMES
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Syria ceasefire updates: U.S. and their moderates haven’t fulfilled a single commitment of their Geneva promises – by RT

© Sputnik/ Mikhail Voskresenskiy

The US is still reluctant to take measures to force rebels under its control to implement the Syrian ceasefire, Russia’s Defense Ministry said, adding that if things do not change, Washington will be the sole side responsible for the failure of the truce.

“After five days of the ceasefire, it has to be noted that only the Russian and Syrian sides have been fully implementing their commitments. On its own initiative, Russia prolonged the cessation of hostilities for 48 hours, and yesterday it was extended for another 72 hours,” senior Russian General Staff official, Viktor Poznikhir, said at a briefing in Moscow.

But, according to Poznikhir, it is very different on the American side as “the US and the so-called moderate groups under their control didn’t fulfill a single commitment undertaken in the framework of the Geneva arrangements.”

The Russian official pointed out that “the main priority of the Russian-American agreements of September was the division of territories controlled by IS (Islamic State, formerly ISIS/ISIL), Jabhat al-Nusra, and the areas controlled by the ‘moderate opposition,’ as well the separation of the ‘moderate opposition’ from Jabhat al-Nusra.”

Such a division is essential for the implementation of the ceasefire in Syria because “without it, the hands of the government forces are tied. They can’t fight the terrorists without knowing which of them joined the truce and who didn’t,” he explained.

Numerous Russian appeals to the American side remain unanswered, which “raises doubts over the US’s ability to influence opposition groups under their control and their willingness to further ensure the implementation of the Geneva agreements.

Comment: Today, the chief of the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria, Lt. Gen. Vladimir Savchenko, said:

The United States didn’t reply to any of our appeals containing information on ceasefire violations by US-controlled armed groups. Moreover, the US side declines telephone conversations, including those planned in advance, as it happened yesterday. This indicates that the United States does not control the situation in Syria and is not ready to take steps to force US-controlled militants to implement ceasefire.

“Russia is making every possible effort to hold off government troops from the use of force in return [to opposition attacks]. If the US does not implement the necessary measures to fulfill their obligations under the September 9 agreements, the responsibility for the failure of the ceasefire will be solely America’s,” Poznikhir said.

The inaction of the American side has already led to a worsening of the situation in Syria, the General Staff official stressed.

“Tensions are rising in Syria, especially in the provinces of Aleppo and Hama, where opposition groups are using the cessation of hostilities to regroup forces, refill their stocks of ammunition and weapons and are preparing an offensive in order to capture new territories,” he said.

Comment: Poznikhir added, “Continued shelling, illegal armed groups’ failure to comply with the ceasefire regime, the absence of a checkpoint in the militant-controlled eastern part of the Castello Road do not allow to guarantee security of humanitarian access to Aleppo”:

Lt. Gen. Viktor Poznikhir said that an agreement had been reached on allowing a humanitarian convoy access the besieged Damascus suburb of Moadamiyeh. “The Syrian government guarantees the humanitarian convoy’s passage through the territory under its control, but the issue of its passage through areas controlled by moderate opposition, which is influenced only by the United States, remains. Measures have still not been taken to separate moderate opposition controlled by the United States from al-Nusra Front,” he added.

“In the past 24 hours, the number of attacks has increased drastically. The positions of government troops, the people’s militia, and civilians were fired at on 55 occasions,” Poznikhir added.

Last week, Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, and US Secretary of State, John Kerry, agreed to influence the Syrian government and the so-called moderate rebel forces respectively in order to establish a ceasefire in the country.

Since then, Russia has repeatedly complained that the US is failing to keep its part of the bargain. While the US, on its part, blamed Russia for not pressuring Damascus enough to facilitate humanitarian access to Syria.

Comment: So now both Russia and the U.S. have given ultimatums. Russia: either the U.S. fulfills its part of the deal by Monday, or the truce is considered broken. U.S.: either the Syrian government allows UN aid to reach Aleppo from Turkey by Monday, or the truce is considered broken and there will be no joint implementation center created. How about some context for that aid being refused so far? It is supposed to reach Aleppo via the Castello road north of Aleppo. From RT yesterday:

Syrian army withdraws from Castello road, rebels refuse to do same (Sept. 16)

Speaking at a briefing Friday, senior Russian General Staff official Viktor Poznikhir said that Syrian government forces were first to withdraw from the strategic Castello road into Aleppo under the latest US-Russian agreement on Syria. However, they had to return to their positions after being shelled by rebels, he added.

“On the Castello road, governmental forces have pulled back tanks, armored personnel carriers and artillery to an agreed distance to create a demilitarized zone,” senior Russian General Staff official Viktor Poznikhir told journalists in Moscow during a briefing Friday.

Poznikhir added that the US-backed opposition groups did not take any similar actions. At the same time, the deputy chief of the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria, Sergey Kapitsyn, said that radar images and visual observation also show that opposition groups did not withdraw from the road.

Kapitsyn stressed that Syrian army forces came under “heavy mortar and small-arms fire” near the Castello road. As a result, two Syrian army soldiers sustained heavy injuries, he said, adding that government forces had to return to their initial positions to prevent the militants from taking control over the future demilitarized zone.

The Castello road should serve as a humanitarian corridor to deliver much-needed UN aid to civilians in the besieged city and the neighboring regions, according to the agreement negotiated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his US counterpart, John Kerry, in Geneva on September 9. However, the situation in the Aleppo region could still put the creation of the demilitarized zone around the road in jeopardy, the Russian military has warned.

Comment: So while Kerry told Lavrov that the delays have been “repeated” and “unacceptable” – and Obama followed through by saying the U.S. would walk away from the deal if aid isn’t allowed to Aleppo – it’s the U.S.’s own rebels who refuse to demilitarize the road through which the aid is to flow. The Syrian government has the responsibility to refuse the passage of aid trucks if their safety cannot be assured.

As shown above, the Syrian government will guarantee safe passage of aid through their own territories, but cannot do so for the U.S.’s jihadis who fail to hold up their end of the bargain. The Syrian foreign ministry said today:

The Syrian government confirms that is has done everything possible to ease humanitarian convoy access to eastern Aleppo. Meanwhile, the convoy’s security is not guaranteed as militants continue shelling the road which the convoy has to take.

Russian UN envoy Vitaly Churkin:

“Lately I’ve heard some encouraging news about the humanitarian effort [in Syria]. If the humanitarian effort is going to proceed as planned then hopefully also all other elements [of the US-Russia deal] are going to kick in including the start of the operation of the Joint Implementation Group,” Churkin told journalists on Friday, adding that the “cessation of hostilities regime has been holding, for the first 48 hours and another 48 hours…it will be sufficient for the Joint Implementation to go into effect.”

“We have no doubt that it [US-Russia agreement] needs to be implemented. If they [Americans] have some doubts, I don’t know. Clearly, there is a lack of unity within the US administration…The deal was made and we expect it to be implemented.”

Comment: The total number of violations has reached 199. Why isn’t the U.S. abiding? They can’t control their jihadis. Why does the U.S. still want the terms of the agreement to stay secret? As Putin said today in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan: “They don’t want to make it public because the world community… will understand who is really not abiding to what.” See also:

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