Thursday, October 08, 2015

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 lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

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

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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