Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Mixed State Department Signals on Russia/US Aleppo Ceasefire Talks

Mixed State Department Signals on Russia/US Aleppo Ceasefire Talks

by Stephen Lendman

Longstanding US policy consistently vows one thing while doing another. Its credibility in international relations is nil, wanting its own interests served at the expense of others - notably on issues of war and peace.

Negotiating with Obama officials is a waste of time with virtually no chance for responsible conflict resolution in Syria, Ukraine or any other US war theater.

Endless Sergey Lavrov discussions with John Kerry accomplished nothing. Days earlier, they met in Rome on withdrawing all anti-government militants from eastern Aleppo areas under their control and providing unimpeded humanitarian supplies to civilians throughout the city.

What’s likely to follow is another US deception at least for the remainder of Obama’s tenure. Kerry telling reporters after meeting with Lavrov in Rome “(w)e continue to explore every avenue to halt the inexcusable carnage in Syria” ignores Washington’s full responsibility for years of naked aggression against a nonbelligerent country.

He called a political settlement “a long shot at best, but also the only chance” for cessation of hostilities and conflict resolution. He lied saying “(w)e are still actively trying to push it. We are not giving up on this. We think we need to give it a chance.”

In October, Washington suspended cooperation with Russia, claiming its “barbaric” alliance with Syrian “war crimes” in Aleppo - a disgraceful perversion of truth.

All that’s clear about whatever happens going forward on Syria is continued US support for war and regime change - Kerry’s promises to Lavrov as meaningless as earlier ones breached.

On Monday, asked about upcoming Russia/US talks on withdrawing all anti-government militants from Aleppo, deputy State Department spokesman Mark Toner’s response was cause for concern, saying:

We don’t have anything to confirm at this point. Obviously, we’re very seized with the situation, the very dire situation in Aleppo.” 

“There was some discussion coming out of the meeting in Rome on Friday that there would be technical talks taking place this week, but we don’t have anything to confirm at this point.”

Asked if talks will focus on withdrawing all anti-government militants from Aleppo, he said “(w)ell, I think it’s - I don’t want to get into - too much into the details.”

“For one thing, they’re still being hashed out. But the basic challenge is the same, which is how do we – how do we meet Russia, and by extension, the regime’s concerns about Nusrah in Aleppo at the same time we bring about a credible cessation of hostilities in Aleppo, even a pause in the fighting, frankly, whereby we can get much-needed humanitarian assistance in.” 

“And by that I mean foodstuffs, medical care, et cetera. So I mean, the basic parameters are the same of what we’ve been discussing for many, many weeks, indeed months, but - so I don’t want to get too many into the - too much into the details.” 

“But the challenge is the same. I mean, it’s - you’ve got Russia very concerned about Nusrah’s presence. At the same time, we’re concerned about the effects and the constant bombardment on the civilian population of Aleppo, and we’re also adamant that while Nusrah is there and is an element of this, that there’s a moderate Syrian opposition that should not and does not deserve to be bombed into submission.”

Despite reliable video and other evidence of US-backed terrorists attacking Russia’s mobile hospital in Aleppo, killing and injuring medical staff, Toner disgracefully said “(w)e’ve not been able to confirm (it) given our lack of access to what’s happening on the ground.”

Toner’s remarks give pause to hope for resolving anything on Aleppo or Syria overall while Obama remains in power.

Lavrov was clear and unequivocal saying “(t)hose groups which refuse to leave eastern Aleppo will be treated as terrorists.”

By refusing to walk out from eastern Aleppo they will in fact go ahead with armed struggle. We will treat them accordingly, as terrorists and extremists, and support the Syrian army in its operation against such armed gangs.”

“We proceed from the assumption the Americans, when they put forward their initiative for letting all militants leave eastern Aleppo, were well aware what steps they and their allies will have to take to influence the militants entrenched in that party of the city.”

Whatever comes out of further Russia/US discussions on Aleppo, if anything, all anti-government forces must either withdraw entirely from the city or face continued attacks on their positions to eliminate them.

By yearend or early January, Aleppo hopefully will be liberated, thousands held captive as human shields free at last.

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: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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