Friday, October 09, 2015

Obama Abandons Scheme to Train Nonexistent Syrian Moderates

Obama Abandons Scheme to Train Nonexistent Syrian Moderates

by Stephen Lendman

On Friday, Defense Department publication Stars and Stripes (S&P) headlined “Pentagon plans new approach to train Syrian rebels.” More on this below.

Fact: None exist. Anti-Assad forces are virtually all imported death squads from scores of other countries - US armed, funded, trained and directed, including ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Jabhat Al Nursa elements among others, used as proxy foot soldiers to terrorize Syrians, part of Washington’s scheme to replace Assad with a pro-Western puppet.

S&P lied claiming the Pentagon plans “a new approach to equip Syrian rebels…relying more on…Kurdish forces in” northern Syria.

“The work we’ve done with the Kurds in northern Syria is an example of an effective approach. We have a group that is capable and motivated on the ground,” Defense Secretary Carter claimed.

“So that is exactly the kind of example we’d like to pursue with other groups in other parts of Syria going forward.”

Carter and Pentagon commanders have no effective strategy to counter Russia’s intervention against ISIS and other terrorist groups. Effective blitzkrieg continues destroying their weapons, munitions, and facilities, as well as decimating their ranks.

Thousands fled cross-border for safety or took refuge in residential communities. They’re no match against powerful Russian weapons, sophisticated technology and Putin’s determination to crush them, a righteous undertaking the entire free world applauds.

BBC News reported Saudi Arabia intends sending more weapons to beleaguered “rebel” groups - aka ISIS and other terrorist ones despite Riyadh claiming otherwise. 

After one week of operations, Russia’s Defense Ministry said it launched 120 combat sorties, hitting 110 targets, destroying:

  • 71 armored vehicles

  • 30 other vehicles

  • 19 command facilities

  • 2 communications centers

  • 23 fuel and ammunition depots

  • 6 facilities for making IEDs, including car bombs

  • several artillery pieces, and

  • several training camps

Escalated activities in the last 24 hours included 67 sorties, targeting 60 terrorist facilities with devastating force - killing two senior ISIS commanders and hundreds of fighters, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported.

Riyadh can supply weapons but not the will to fight. Most terrorists will stay the course to win, not die from Russia’s devastating onslaught, including powerful bunker-buster bombs able to destroy underground facilities, no longer safe havens.

On Friday, Russian General Staff Deputy Chief Lt. Gen. Igor Makushev said “(m)ilitants are sustaining substantial losses under the strikes of Russian aircraft and have to change their tactics, to scatter their forces, to carefully disguise and hide in settlements.”

“In these circumstances the Russian Aerospace Forces continue systematic air strikes and increase their intensity to effectively destroy the targets.”

Claims of civilian casualties are fabricated, part of Washington-led anti-Russian propaganda. Moscow has photographic evidence of each target struck, no civilian ones or near them.

Washington’s so-called rebel-training program was a complete hoax, $500 million wasted, maybe $1 billion or more.  Pentagon officials notoriously conceal waste, fraud and abuse - trillions of dollars unaccounted for post-9/11 alone. 

Expect continued US support for ISIS and other terrorist groups to continue. Recruiting may not be as easy with Russia involved.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

The Latest Nobel Committee Peace Prize Award Hypocrisy

The Latest Nobel Committee Peace Prize Award Hypocrisy

by Stephen Lendman

Nobel Committee members long ago lost credibility. War criminals or other undeserving honorees win peace prizes. Past recipients included a rogue’s gallery of miscreants - Obama, Henry Kissinger and three former Israeli prime ministers most notably, all unindicted war criminals. Maybe Netanyahu is next.

Selection is entirely politicized. Legitimate peace advocates are shunned. Mahatma Gandhi was nominated five times, never awarded the coveted prize.

Deserving candidates like peace champion Kathy Kelly, whistleblowers Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning are consistently ignored. So are Vladimir Putin and Sergey Lavrov’s all-out efforts for peace in Ukraine and Syria - drawing condemnation, not the high praise they deserve.

This year’s most notable nominees included Angela Merkel, Pope Francis and John Kerry - two unindicted war criminals and a pontiff representing wealth and power. Don’t let his rhetoric fool you.

Nobel Committee members announced the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet as recipient of this year’s prize “for its decisive contribution to the building of a (nonexistent) pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the (so-called) Jasmine Revolution of 2011,” - part of Washington’s orchestrated and manipulated phony Arab Spring, assuring business as usual remained unchallenged, including in Tunisia.

It’s a democracy in name only. President Beji Caid Essebsi is a longtime Tunisian politician, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Prime Minister for the repressive Bourguiba and Ben Ali regimes respectively. 

Now 88 years old, his mandate is business as usual. In May 2015, he met with Obama at the White House, invitations reserved solely for pro-Western officials shunning democracy, notably Middle East ones, mostly governed by ruthless despots, all close US allies.

Essebsi’s runoff December presidential win was hailed as the culmination of Tunisia’s transition to democracy. Not by some observers, accusing him of continuing repressive Ben Ali policies.

His Nidaa Tounes party is infested with Ben Ali cronies. Tunisian engineer Neid Ben Hamza called last December’s electoral result “really disappointing.” Tunisians have “short memories,” he said.

A repressive old guard member now leads the country. Educator Ali Toudi said he “fear(s) for our liberties, especially as the same political party will have such overarching powers.”

“Essebsi talks about counter-terrorism and the prestige of the state. I’m afraid of a return to repressive practices in their name.” Musician Ben Amor said “the fight goes on and we will never give up.”

Last April, Essebsi met with French President Francois Hollande in Paris. Tunisia is a former French colony. He declared “France is our top partner. We are open to every kind of collaboration - economic, political, social and even on security.”

His regime continues repressive old guard policies with a smiling face - supporting wealth and power exclusively at the expense of social justice. Hollande praised his nonexistent “exemplary track record regarding democracy.”

Conditions for ordinary Tunisians are deplorable. Poverty increased 30% since 2011. High unemployment affects youths and women hardest. Workers lucky to have jobs earn poverty or sub-poverty wages.

Tunisia closed its main border crossing with Libya because of violence and instability. It’s the only land escape route for tens of thousands trying to flee - victims of US imperial lawlessness.

Following the 2015 Sousse attacks, killing 38 mostly British tourists, Essebsi promised harsh counterterrorism steps in response. He imposed draconian state of emergency diktats, saying an “exceptional situation required exceptional measures.”

Police state antiterrorism legislation followed, trashing human rights while falsely claiming to respect them. Terrorism now includes damaging property during legitimate protests.

Police can hold suspects up to 15 days, isolated with no legal representation or outside contacts. Capital punishment is an option for disseminating information alleged responsible for loss of life in terrorist attacks.

Essebsi heads a police state. It bears repeating. Nobel Committee members honored the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet “for its decisive contribution to the building of a (nonexistent) pluralistic democracy...”

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

PA Officials Support Israeli Brutality

PA Officials Support Israeli Brutality

by Stephen Lendman

Illegitimate PA president Mahmoud Abbas and his corrupt cronies benefit hugely at the expense of their own people. 

They serve Israeli interests, not theirs, virtually silent in the face of ongoing IDF and police rampaging, murdering Palestinians in cold blood, brutalizing hundreds of others viciously, operating unaccountably.

Are we witnessing a repeat of October 2000, the start of the Second Intifada? It began with Israeli police murdering 12 protesting Arab citizens and one Palestinian.

The Orr Commission of Inquiry said police and other security forces must alter the way they treat Arabs. It called use of live fire, rubber bullets and similar tactics against demonstrators illegal.

It said police must renounce its culture of lying. It called for ending racist discrimination. Its report focused on Israeli Arab citizens. Its findings hold for persecuted Palestinians.

Israeli security forces commit cold-blooded murder with impunity. They freely brutalize Palestinians, ongoing for days in Occupied Palestine.

Abbas is a longtime Israeli collaborator in return for generous benefits he derives. He opposes vital BDS activism. He’s against legitimate Palestinian resistance. He supported three Israeli wars on Gaza.

He’s an installed puppet representing Israeli interests at the expense of his own people he’s done nothing to serve and protect. He enforces occupation harshness, opposing liberation struggles.

Former Israeli President Shimon Peres praised him earlier, saying:

He “condemned terror and has pledged that under his leadership there will not be a third intifada.”

Whether ongoing violence becomes one remains to be seen. Given Abbas’ opposition, he’ll collaborate with Israel to crush its potential emergence.

Over a week of Israeli instigated violence left five Palestinians dead, over 900 injured, some seriously - with no conflict resolution in sight.

A Reuters cameraman filmed around 20 Israeli undercover agents dressed as Palestinian youths, their faces concealed, throwing stones during a Beit El demonstration - then drawing guns, revealing their identity, and threatening to shoot Palestinians.

One protester was thrown to the ground, brutally beaten and shot in the knee, then dragged away bleeding for questioning - torture to confess and reveal other names, longstanding Israeli practice throughout nearly half a century of brutalizing occupation.

Last Sunday, undercover Israeli agents dressed as Palestinians kidnapped a wounded boy from his Nablus hospital bed, wanted for legitimately resisting occupation.

A recent poll showed most Palestinians believe a third intifada is the only possible way to end Israeli occupation. One youth said “(i)f there was leadership, there would be no intifada. But there is no leadership.”

A Palestinian civil servant told Maan News: “To achieve our national goals, we should raise an intifada against the Palestinian Authority, because they are the hand of Israel. Achieving that would be a big victory, an earthquake for Israel.”

Many Palestinians know Abbas and other PA officials are an “obstacle to freedom. (They’re) traitors.”

PA security forces are collaborating quietly with Israel to suppress ongoing protests. If things spiral further out-of-control, expect them to act more aggressively.

A student told Maan News: “All of the people now are with an intifada.” Another said: “Leadership? We don’t care about leaders. We will be the leaders.” 

Most Palestinians are under age 20. Many support resistance for change. The Al Haq human rights group condemned Western silence, calling it “tacit approval of (vicious) Israeli practices and policies.”

Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat urged Israelis to carry guns. He was seen openly displaying one publicly, recklessly encouraging greater incitement.

Netanyahu promised harsher crackdowns. How much more Palestinian blood does he intend to spill? Obama said nothing about Israeli violence. His press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters: 

“We call upon all parties to take affirmative steps to restore calm and refrain from actions and rhetoric that would further enflame tensions in that region of the world.”

Not a word condemning Israeli-instigated violence, murdering Palestinians in cold blood, brutalizing hundreds, pitting heavily armed soldiers and police against youths with stones, their bare hands and courage to resist occupation viciousness.  

Clashes remain ongoing for over a week with no signs of ending.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

The Latest Presstitute Big Lie About Russia in Syria

The Latest Presstitute Big Lie About Russia in Syria

by Stephen Lendman

It’s bears repeating what other articles stressed. Western presstitutes, especially US ones, make street whores look good by comparison. 

They’re propagandists, not journalists, featuring administration and Pentagon press releases - misinformation, all rubbish all the time on issues mattering most.

The easiest way to separate fact from fiction is believe the opposite of what they report. Their mandate is deception, willful lying and suppression of hard truths.

The latest presstitute Big Lie falsely claims four Russian Caspian Sea-fired missiles crashed in rural Iran. Tehran’s Defense Ministry received no report of missiles landing on Iranian territory. A Ministry source called the allegation “psychological war.” Here’s a sampling of screaming misinformation headlines:

New York Times: “Russian missiles fired at Syria have crashed in Iran, US officials say”

In other words, it has to be true because unnamed “US officials sa(id)” so - classic propaganda Big Lies.

Washington Post: “Pentagon: Some Russian cruise missiles crashed in Iran”

Wall Street Journal: “Russian Missiles Fell Short of Syria, Landed in Iran, US Says”

Los Angeles Times: “US says several Russian missiles crashed in Iran”

Chicago Tribune: “Four Russian cruise missiles intended to land in Syria fell short and crashed in rural Iran, a US defense official said Thursday,” - the Tribune’s report under a separate headline.

CNN: “First on CNN: US officials say missiles heading for Syria landed in Iran” - The agitprop piece says “(t)he US believes,  based on (phony) intelligence reports of damage assessments, that some buildings were damaged and civilians may have been hurt.”

National Public (aka Pentagon) Radio (NPR): “US Says Russian Missiles Intended for Syria Have Crashed In Iran”

BBC News: “Syria crisis: Russian Caspian missiles ‘fell in Iran,’ unnamed US officials say”

London Guardian: “Russian cruise missiles fired at Syrian targets ‘have landed in Iran,’ unnamed US officials told CNN and the New York Times”

Similar headlines and reports are Western media feature stories, notably from US print and electronic media: no due diligence, no fact checking, just reporting an unverified very dubious Pentagon allegation. 

US military sources are notorious liars. Deception is part of their strategy, blasted worldwide by presstitutes, reporting fiction as fact.

The State Department said can’t confirm the Pentagon report. No evidence proves it. Spokesman Admiral John Kirby declined to comment further.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov responded sharply to baseless US allegations, saying:

“Unlike CNN, we don’t distribute information citing anonymous sources, but show the very missile launches and the way they hit their targets almost in real time.”

Russia photographs show targeted sites before and after being struck. Russian drones monitor Syrian airspace round-the-clock.

High-precision Russian missile strikes are “unpleasant and surprising for our colleagues in the Pentagon,” Konashenkov explained.

False reports about four Caspian Sea-launched Russian cruise missiles crashing in Iran “hit their targets” with pinpoint accuracy, he said. Photographic evidence proves it.

On Wednesday, four Russian Caspian Sea-located warships launched 26 cruise missiles at ISIS targets in Syrian. Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said they all hit their targets accurately. None crashed in Iran as falsely reported.

“In their assessments of the US military’s actions in various operations conducted by them all over the world, the Russian Defense Ministry has never stooped to publicly speaking of expectations of the deaths of American soldiers,” Konashenkov added.

Are European countries tiring of America’s destructive agenda? Endless wars reflect dead-end policy, risking a potential devastating global conflagration.

Speaking in Pessau, Germany, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said it’s time to reconsider EU policy. “We must make efforts towards a practical relationship with Russia…We can’t go on like this,” he stressed.

“Russia must be treated decently. We can’t let our relationship with Russia be dictated by Washington” - a significant statement if key EU leaders support it, notably Germany and France. Britain is largely an appendage of US policy.

It remains to be seen if actions follow rhetoric. Heavy-handed US pressure will try preventing it. 

Ending an EU/Russian rift would be a significant geopolitical development, a major defeat for Washington - already reeling from Russia’s Syrian intervention, a direct challenge to its regional hegemonic agenda, an important one that matters, potentially able to change the Middle East dynamic, especially if Moscow intervenes in Iraq at Baghdad’s request.

US officials are scrambling for what to do next, uncertain how to react, relying so far on more of the same tactics, dangerous ones risking possible nuclear war.

Russia took an important step, a righteous one deserving universal support. It’s got the upper hand, Washington stuck on its back foot. Its hubris and arrogance may prove its undoing. Pure evil has a way of self-destructing.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Thursday, October 08, 2015

NATO to Deploy More Troops Near Russia's Borders

NATO to Deploy More Troops Near Russia’s Borders

by Stephen Lendman

America dominates NATO, calling the shots, pressuring or bullying other members to go along. They serve US interests, an agenda threatening world peace.

Meeting in Brussels on October 8, NATO defense ministers announced “further steps to enhance collective” security at a time no threats exists - except invented ones used as pretexts to increase military spending and wage aggressive wars.

The Atlantic Alliance is a US-dominated instrument for endless conflicts, a tool for mass slaughter and destruction, a threat to humanity’s survival. Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced plans to boost NATO’s rapid reaction force strength, more troops to be deployed near Russia’s borders.

Two more regional headquarters will be opened in Hungary and Slovakia, operating along with six others in Eastern Europe (in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania), Stoltenberg saying:

“NATO will defend you. NATO is on the ground. NATO is ready” - against what, he didn’t say, adding: “We now have everything in place to make the Response Force stronger, faster and more capable.”

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded, saying “(a)n invented excuse about the suggested threat coming from Russia is possibly just camouflage used to disguise the plans to further expand NATO toward our borders.”

“We are talking about a buildup. There have been statements about a larger contingent. We are talking about an increase of military presence. And it is military presence practically near the Russian borders.” 

“Of course, any plans to bring NATO’s military infrastructure closer to the Russian Federation will lead to reciprocal steps needed to restore the necessary parity.”

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said “(f)irst of all, we need to hear and understand the position of those who take such actions.” 

“They need to tell us about their goals and objectives so that we could comment on them. So far, none of the latest events added stability to the European continent. On the contrary, this stability is being put in jeopardy.”

Provocative military exercises like Trident Juncture, ongoing from September 28 to November 6, involving 36,000 troops from 30 countries in multiple European locations, the Mediterranean Sea and Canada force Russia to react defensively.

Putin explained earlier, saying “(i)f someone threatens our territories, it means that we will have to aim our armed forces accordingly at the territories from where the threat is coming. How else could it be? It is NATO that approaches our borders. It’s not like we are moving anywhere.”

Washington is acting more aggressively than any time since the end of the Cold War - in the Asia-Pacific as well as Europe.

On October 8, the Navy Times said the Pentagon intends deploying US ships to Chinese waters - “inside the 12-nautical-mile territorial limit China claims for its man-made island chain.”

“(A)pproval of the mission is imminent,” - directly challenging China provocatively. On September 1, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said the “United States will fly, sail and operate wherever” it pleases anywhere in the world.

Beijing expressed “serious concern” about earlier US plans to send warships and aircraft into South China Sea waters. At the time, it said “freedom of navigation does not give one country’s military aircraft and ships free access to another country’s territorial waters and airspace.”

Expect a similar response this time. Challenging Russia and China provocatively shows the recklessness of US policy, run by neocon lunatics threatening world peace, risking another global war, this one if launched able to end life on earth.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Russia v. America on Syria

Russia v. America on Syria

by Stephen Lendman

What a difference a few days made! The Middle East dynamic changed dramatically. Russia’s intervention against ISIS in Syria has Obama officials scrambling for what to do next. The “empire” took a stunning body blow. It’s just the beginning.

The administration’s phony war on ISIS is increasingly transparent. Now in its 9th day, Russian air power accomplished what Washington never attempted, waging REAL war on all terrorist elements in Syria, destroying their weapons, munitions and facilities, even their will to fight with thousands fleeing for safe havens, supplemented by Syrian ground forces battling them more effectively than ever, regaining lost territory.

America’s anti-Russian strategy since replacing Ukraine’s democratic government with Nazi-infested fascists includes counterproductive sanctions, ineffective propaganda, fear-mongering, saber-rattling military exercises close to its borders and deploying increasing numbers of US troops in Eastern Europe - provocations risking direct confrontation.

Instead of cooperating with Russia against the scourge of terrorism, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter ruled it out, saying:

“We are not prepared to cooperate in a strategy, which as we explained, is flawed - tragically flawed - on the Russians' part,” - code language reflecting Washington’s fear that it’s Greater Middle East agenda is jeopardized, a scheme to  dominate North African, Middle East and Central Asian countries to Russian and Chinese borders, then targeting Moscow and Beijing for regime change.

Carter continued, adding “(d)espite what the Russians say, we have not agreed to cooperate with Russia so long as they continue to pursue a mistaken strategy and hit these targets.”

"What we will do is continue basic, technical discussions on professional safety procedures for our pilots flying (over) Syria. That is it.” 

“We will keep the channel open because it is a matter of security and safety for our pilots,” - more code language, reflecting US intentions to pressure Putin to abandon his righteous mission, a worthless effort with no chance of succeeding.

Russia faces a potential serious homeland terrorist threat. A same day article discussed US involvement in recruiting and training ISIS elements in Afghanistan - intending to infest Central Asia with their fighters, like now in Syria and Iraq.

Putin’s involvement in Syria with perhaps Iraq to follow aims to deliver a death blow to its regional presence - perhaps targeting its Central Asian elements to follow, his objective to keep ISIS and related groups from infesting Russia. 

He’s committed to a vital mission. No amount of US pressure or threats will deter him. The stakes are too high.

NATO defense ministers are meeting in Brussels on Thursday, discussing how to respond to Russia upsetting their plans, unsure what to do, facing a real challenge for the first time.

Maybe they’ll order more troop deployments to Eastern Europe and hold larger-scale military exercises. “NATO is ready and able to defend all allies against all threats,” Jens Stoltenberg blustered.

Defense News reported US Navy Capt. Jeff Davis saying so-called “coalition” aircraft were rerouted to avoid close encounters with Russian planes - to keep a safe separation distance.

The Washington Post said Russia’s intervention “fundamentally chang(ed)” the dynamic in Syria. The Wall Street Journal bashed Putin, claiming he’s “tak(ing) a page from his Ukraine playbook (and) keeping the West guessing about his plans.”

The New York Times featured the Big Lie about Putin targeting (nonexistent) moderate anti-Assad elements, not ISIS, and propping up Assad.

Reliable Sputnik News quoted Syria’s ambassador to Russia, Riad Haddad, saying in one week, Russian aircraft destroyed “about 40 percent” of ISIS’ infrastructure, along with killing “a lot of terrorists.”

Many are retreating in disarray. Writing for Sputnik News, Paul Craig Roberts quoted Putin, saying: “We can no longer tolerate the state of affairs in the world,” - sounding very much like he’s saying the days of Washington pushing everyone around are over. He drew a red line not to be crossed. 

Enough is enough so he’s acting, mainly to preserve and protect Russian sovereignty, as well as the safety and welfare of its people. 

That’s what leaders are elected to do - not wage endless wars of aggression along with enforcing ruthless state terror worldwide. Putin asked Washington: “Do you realize what you have done?”

Roberts said his intervention in Syria (with perhaps Iraq and Central Asia to follow) may have “launched a revolution that will overthrow the world’s subservience to Washington.”

US officials “rel(y) on (an) arsenal of lies,” supported by presstitute “disinformation.” A nation reflecting pure evil portrays itself as exceptional - ignoring rule of law principles, deploring peace, attacking one nation after another, enforcing police state harshness at home, and handing America’s wealth to Wall Street crooks, other corporate favorites and billionaires.

“The breakup of the Empire is on the horizon,” said Roberts. Putin’s righteous mission may have hastened it.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Russia and Syria on the Offensive Against ISIS

Russia and Syria on the Offensive Against ISIS

by Stephen Lendman

Russian air power together with Syrian ground forces constitute a potential death blow to Washington’s anti-Assad campaign - for the first time challenging it effectively, why US officials are flummoxed about what to do next.

Counterattacking with propaganda won’t work - a worthless exercise doing nothing to constrain Putin’s righteous mission, displaying Russia’s formidable military might at the same time, very much noticed in Washington.

On the one hand, Putin wants terrorism defeated and Syrians alone deciding who’ll lead them. On the other, he wants ISIS and other terrorist threats prevented from spreading, especially to Russia’s homeland, a scheme no doubt Washington intends, targeting China and Iran as well.

Syria’s military is rejuvenated. Russian air power raised its spirit. It’s on the move. The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) headlined “Russian and Syrian Airstrikes Continue, More Casualties and Losses Among Terrorist Organizations’ Ranks,” saying:

“(A)rmy units (are) striking hard on terrorists’ positions,” inflicting heavy losses, destroying “their heavy armaments and equipment…”

Ongoing air and/or grounds operations are widespread -  targeting the Damascus countryside, Sweida, Daraa, Quneitra, Homs, Hama, Raqaa, Hasaka, the Aleppo countryside, Idlib and other areas.

On Thursday, Syrian Army and Air Force Chief of General Staff Gen. Ali Abdullah Ayoud issued a statement, saying:

“Today the Syrian armed forces started a wide-scale attack, aiming at uprooting terrorists’ gatherings and liberating the areas and towns which have been suffering (from) the woes and crimes of terrorism.”

Russian air power made the current offensive possible. Already, it’s inflicted significant damage to ISIS’ capability. Air and ground operations killed hundreds of terrorists. Many other fled in panic - many to residential areas Russia won’t bomb, others leaving Syria.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said Moscow “produced significant results in several days that greatly surpass those achieved by the (so-called) US-led) coalition in over a year” - an operation hitting infrastructure targets, not ISIS or other terrorists.

Syria’s ambassador to Russia, Riad Haddad, said “strikes carried out by Russia’s aerospace forces against the IS positions in Syria are precise and efficient. Russia helps the Syrian army to conduct ground operations.”

“Coordination is carried out through the information center in Baghdad. However, coordination is also underway with participation of all general of the Syrian army. This is done so that precise airstrikes are delivered at the positions of the Islamic State terrorist organization.”

The entire free world supports Putin’s righteous mission. US officials ludicrously claiming he made a strategic blunder, encouraging the spread of terrorism reveals Washington’s tenuous position, now on the back foot for the first time in recent memory.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg looked foolish saying “(i)n Syria, we have seen a troubling escalation of Russian military activities” code language for Putin beating Obama’s dirty game.

State Department spokesman Admiral John Kirby repeated the Big Lie, claiming Russia’s intervention “exacerbated the conflict…”

Media reports said Obama officials are discussing a no-fly zone as a possible option - illegal without Security Council authorization Russia won’t permit, nor will it deter its operations if unilaterally implemented.

Would US warplanes dare confront Russia’s belligerently? Don’t bet on it. They might come out second best. Kirby lied saying Russian air strikes target “opposition groups,” not ISIS.

“Greater than 90% of the strikes that we’ve seen them take to date have not been against ISIL or Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists.”

“They’ve been largely against opposition groups that want a better future for Syria and don’t want to see the Assad regime stay in power.”

Fact: All “opposition groups” are terrorists. No so-called “moderates” exist.

Fact: US bombing targets Syrian infrastructure, supporting, not attacking ISIS and other takfiri terrorists. 

They’re US creations - death squad tactics, a strategy originating with Operation Phoenix in Vietnam in the 1960s and early 70s.

Fact: America’s war on terrorism is a  war OF terrorism at home and abroad. The goal: destroying fundamental freedoms. Replacing them with tyranny - continuing until Washington achieves unchallenged world dominance, a lunatic scheme threatening world peace.

Russia’s intervention is the most important development since Obama launched proxy war in March 2011. It has the potential to greatly impede Washington’s imperial Middle East agenda, maybe defeat it altogether. 

Putin’s mission has US officials frantic, scrambling for a Plan B, unsure how to handle a real challenger, not like walkover countries Washington attacks. Bullies shun fair fights. They want things all their way.

A sort of St. George and the Dragon scenario may be developing. Imagine the good guy slaying the monster, freeing the world from its terror. Putin’s intervention deserves universal support.

A Final Comment

RT International reported US, UK, Arab and Pakistani instructors working with ISIS elements in Afghanistan - planning to expand terrorism to Central Asia, especially Russia, part of Washington’s longstanding destabilization agenda. 

According to Putin’s special representative for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, “(t)here are several camps operated by (ISIS in Afghanistan) that train people from Central Asia and some regions of Russia. They speak Russian there.”

Russian intelligence estimates around 3,500 militants in Afghanistan, pledging allegiance to ISIS - and the number is rising, Kabulov explained.

He called “(t)he rise of (this terrorist group) in Afghanistan a high priority threat” - a key reason for Putin’s involvement in Syria. Perhaps Iraq is next, if Baghdad requests help.

Russian Armed Forces Chief of General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov estimates around 50,000 fighters in Afghanistan belonging to over 4,000 militant groups - Taliban elements by far the strongest with around 40,000 fighters. 

ISIS elements are increasingly challenging them, Gerasimov said. They see Afghanistan as a rich recruiting ground, a foothold for expanding into Central Asia, according to Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate chief Col. Gen. Igor Sergun.

He sees US-supported ISIS exploiting the worsening  situation in Afghanistan to strengthen its position,” posing a real threat to Russia’s security.

“We estimate that ISIL gets new troops by bribing field commanders of Taliban, the Islamic movement of Uzbekistan and other radical religious organizations operating on Afghan territory,” Sergun explained. 

Defeating ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq takes on greater importance.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.