MIT Professor Theodor Postol suggests two inquiries into alleged 'verified evidence' of chemical attack by Assad in Syria: One international probably under the UN, where the Russians and Americans can provide their input and a second American investigation to find out how such a false report could be generated at the highest levels of the US government. "This is very serious. This confrontation with Russia has some potential to escalate and, if it's escalating over false intelligence claims, that is very serious."
Late in the day, on Nov. 15, one week after the U.S. elections, the lame-duck Congress convened in special session with normal rules suspended so the House could pass House Resolution 5732, the “Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act” calling for intensifying the already harsh sanctions on Syria, assessing the imposition of a “no fly zone” inside Syria (to prevent the Syrian government from flying) and escalating efforts to press criminal charges against Syrian officials.
HR5732 claims to promote a negotiated settlement in Syria but, as analyzed by Friends Committee for National Legislation, it imposes preconditions which would actually make a peace agreement more difficult.
There was 40 minutes of “debate” with six representatives (Ed Royce, R-California; Eliot Engel, D-New York; Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Florida; Dan Kildee, D-Michigan; Chris Smith, R-New Jersey; and Carlos Curbelo, R-Florida) all speaking in favor of the resolution. There were few other representatives present, but the House Foreign Affairs Committee stated that the resolution was passed “unanimously” without mentioning these special conditions.
According to Wikipedia, “Suspension of the rules is a procedure generally used to quickly pass non-controversial bills in the United States House of Representatives … such as naming Post Offices…” In this case, however, the resolution could lead to a wider war in the Middle East and potentially World War III with nuclear-armed Russia.
Most strikingly, the resolution calls for evaluating and developing plans for the United States to impose a “no fly zone” inside Syria, a sovereign nation, an act of war that also would violate international law as an act of aggression. It also could put the U.S. military in the position of shooting down Russian aircraft.
To call this proposal “non-controversial” is absurd, although it may say a great deal about the “group think” of the U.S. Congress that an act of war would be so casually considered. Clearly, this resolution should have been debated under normal rules with a reasonable amount of Congressional presence and debate.
The motivation for bypassing normal rules and rushing the bill through without meaningful debate was articulated by the bill’s sponsor, Democrat Eliot Engel: “We cannot delay action on Syria any further. … If we don’t get this legislation across the finish line in the next few weeks, we are back to square one.”
The current urgency may be related to the election results since President-elect Donald Trump has spoken out against “regime change” foreign policy. As much as neoconservatives and their liberal-interventionist allies are critical of President Obama for not doing more in Syria, these Congressional hawks are even more concerned about the prospect of a President who might move toward peace and away from war.
This morning, hardly taking breath over the US election, again there is much talk in the MSM about the situation in Aleppo, while the situation in Mosul has been quite ignored, although the fight by various forces including US-NATO against ISIS there and refugee diaspora all continue.
There were multiple takes from Mr. Jan Egeland, Special Advisor to the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria's statement about the urgency of getting aid into East Aleppo, all incorporating various aspects of the whole false narrative, about who is there, and about the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Russian efforts to liberate the whole city.
Aspects of the false narrative were also presented by the Australian ABC’s M/E correspondent Matt Brown, who seems to be a single-minded supporter of the opposition forces and a purveyor of misinformation on their behalf. In this report his source was ‘Abu Laith’ – ‘Aleppo resident and member of the White Helmets’. Brown discussed the presence of the Russian aircraft carrier with Abu Laith, who threw off the threat and vowed to continue to support the people. See http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2016/s4572965.htm
Egeland, who is also completely partial, claimed in his report that ‘some families had not received food rations for three weeks, and prices had risen sharply', and that ‘neither side wants to see a quarter of a million people starve’. Brown said the UN had done a survey of people in East Aleppo and found that 40% of them wanted to leave, but in portraying the recent efforts of the Syrian and Russian governments to get civilians out of the terrorist-occupied East, said that these had been unsuccessful because the ‘rebels oppose people leaving the city’. However he fails to say that the 'rebels' shoot people who try to leave.
The fact is that the UN should have cooperated with the Russian and Syrian government when there was the ceasefire to get people out. They should have put pressure on the rebel leaders, and the US-NATO by telling the media the real situation, which is that East Aleppo is being held under seige, not by the Syrian Gov, but by the 'rebels' who are using the East Aleppan citizens as human shields.
In another short news bulletin this morning, with different extracts from Egeland, it was suggested that the people could starve or bleed to death, [if we don’t act].
Emphasising the pervasive misinformation and disinformation coming from our corrupted media, the ABC also interviewed Australia’s defence minister, Maurice Payne, this morning. This might seem unsurprising if one didn’t know that neither the ABC nor the Australian government has shown the slightest interest in discussing Australia’s involvement, either in Iraq or Syria, for the last few months since the ‘Aleppo crisis’ has been dominating the narrative.
Even when Australian forces were allegedly involved in the US coalition attack on the SAA in Deir al Zour that ended the ‘ceasefire’, there was minimal discussion following the shockingly cursory apology.
That Australia was ‘involved’ in that strike, that supported IS terrorists directly, (though it has been suggested the fighter jets were only US ones, and that we were asked to share the responsibility), indicates that Australia’s strategic role as a primary partner in the US’ war on Syria is highly significant, as it is also highly significant in our region in the defence, not of Australian interests, but of US imperial interests against China.
This is what Australia’s defence minister, Marise Payne had to say this morning about our role in the ‘fight against ISIS’:
MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: "In the Middle East in particular, Trump's been positive about Russia's role in Syria. We certainly haven't been positive in that way. He's talked also about a more robust military response to ISIS. Do you expect a change?"
MARISE PAYNE: "Well, we will always deal with those discussions as they're presented to us. Overwhelmingly, our response in Iraq and in Syria is dictated by conditions on the ground: by the operational environment in which we find ourselves.
As you know, we've trained almost 14,000 soldiers who are engaging in the fight against Daesh in the Iraqi defence force. We have a special operations task group which is working side-by-side, not just with the Iraqis but members of the international coalition, which is led by the United States. We have changed, even in the last year, our contribution to both of those activities. We have worked as the operational environment has changed as well..."
Most significant here is that the ‘Iraqis’ – meaning Baghdad – are not on the same side as the US coalition if it includes Turkey. That is something that needs clarifying right now. Whether the ABC has any idea about the importance of this issue remains unknown. They don’t ask, and they aren’t told.