February 25, 2018
Moon of Alabama
On Saturday 24/2 the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2401 demanding a 30 day ceasefire in all of Syria. The Russian government had offered several amendments to it. It demanded that the U.S. side guarantees that the enemies of the Syrian state would stick to such a ceasefire.
The resolution was initiated by Sweden and Kuwait on behalf of the U.S. It follows after preparation by the Syrian army to liberate the east-Ghouta area next to the capital Damascus had reached a critical point. East-Ghouta is occupied by several terrorist groups including al-Qaeda and militant Salafist groups. Together they have for years been sponsored to harass the 7 million inhabitants of the capital with random mortar and missile attacks. The U.S. initiated a propaganda campaign to “save Ghouta” because it wants to keep the threat from Ghouta towards the Syrian capital alive.
The ceasefire does not apply to Al-Qaeda, ISIS and associated terrorist groups. The war against them will continue. In east-Ghouta al-Qaeda (HTS) is allied with Failaq al-Rahman.
The UN resolution is said to allow for the liberation of some significant areas of east-Ghouta including Harasta, Arbin, Zamalka, Ein Tarma and Kafar Batna. The Syrian Arab Army ground attack to liberate these and other parts of east-Ghouta began today, only hours after the resolution was adopted. It is already making good progress.
The huge propaganda campaign about east-Ghouta is certainly not over humanitarian concern or over adherence to some legal rules of war. Last year the U.S. destroyed Raqqa with more than 31,000 artillery rounds and a large air campaign and killed more than 3,200 civilians. It even destroyed the water pipeline to Raqqa that supplied the inhabitants of the city – a clear war crime. Back then the UN requested a ceasefire to evacuate civilians. The U.S. rejected that out of hand. It latter let the remaining Islamic State fighters escape from Raqqa and is now retraining them for further attacks on the Syrian state.
The campaigns around Ghouta are part of “cold” war between the USA and Russia which is dividing Syria. The current U.S. campaign to keep east-Ghouta under terrorist is in support of four goals:
- to demonstrate to the word that the Syrian government is unable to keep Damascus safe
- to show that Russia was wrong in claiming victory in Syria
- to protect ISIS and al-Qaeda as they are still needed as U.S. proxy foot-soldiers
- the justify the U.S. occupation of north-east Syria and its oil fields and to thus limit the financial resources of the Syrian state. (This also gives the U.S. and Israel an operational area for further attacks on the Syrian state.)
One interesting aspect of the UNSC ordered ceasefire is its application to the Turkish invasion of the Kurdish held Afrin area in north-west Syria. The Kurdish YPG, which is defending Afrin against the Turkish onslaught, is not an internationally recognized terrorist group. Thus Turkey is now under pressure to stop or end its campaign.
U.S. President Trump has again confused his private position with that of the ruling administration:
President Donald Trump appeared to contradict his own State Department during a press conference on Friday by saying that the US is in Syria to defeat ISIS and then leave. In January, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson outlined five goals for the US in Syria — to defeat ISIS and al-Qaida, resolve the conflict between the Syrian regime and people, to curb Iranian influence, to create conditions so that refugees can safely return, and to create a Syria free of weapons of mass destruction. Tillerson also said that the US seeks to resolve the conflict between the Syrian regime and people. The Trump administration also decided this week that it could continue to maintain US troops in Syria indefinitely, even in areas where ISIS fighters have been cleared, without new Congressional authorization.
The is no basis in international law for a U.S. occupation of parts of Syria. The reasoning with which the administration tries to justify its military presence in Syria is laughable:
[It] said that the continued potential threat from the Islamic State provided a legal rationale for the Trump administration to keep American troops deployed there indefinitely.
A “preventive” military presence in a foreign country because some terrorist group might evolve there could be used to occupy any piece of land on this planet. This is evidently bullshit but it is currently unlikely that Congress will get involved and stop this criminal behavior.
The UNSC mandated ceasefire will fail. The various groups in east-Ghouta are disunited but have a common interest in keeping the war going. It is their sole source of income and purpose. They will continue to harass Damascus which will then justify more attacks on them.
The U.S. campaign to “save Ghouta” will thus go down in the same way the earlier campaign to “save Aleppo” has failed. The Syrian government will liberate and secure the area by the appropriate means and with the least possible casualties and damage.
The U.S. will then move its propaganda campaign to some other area and will continue to use dirty tricks, but not an open battle, to prolong the war on Syria and to pursue its unrealistic aims.
Posted by b on February 25, 2018 at 08:12 AM | Permalink