Archive

09:01 [ Patrick Wintour / theGuardian.com ]

Syria: western nations seek to bypass Russian veto at UN

Called “uniting for peace”, it would enable nine members of the 15-strong security council to bypass a Russian veto and refer the matter to a full vote at the general assembly. It would then require a two-thirds majority by the general assembly for an attribution mechanism to be agreed.

The 1950 “uniting for peace” route was explicitly designed to be used when the security council could not meet its responsibilities over maintenance of peace.

08:54 [ Saeid Golkar / Al Jazeera ]

Is a military coup possible in Iran?

If the situation gets worse and the stability of the clerical regime is endangered, Ayatollah Khamenei has the power to overthrow Rouhani’s administration. Hardliners in the Iranian regime believe that self-reliance and resistance against the hegemonic powers of the West can solve Iran’s problems. Ayatollah Khamenei could decide that the best plan of action at this time is to remove moderates from power and install hardliners.

07:56 [ Asharq Al-Awsat ]

Macron in Washington: A Second Syrian War Takes Shape

According to sources in Paris, Macron has already scored one success with Trump by persuading him to take back his earlier pledge to withdrawn US forces from Syria.

Trump accepted a delay because Macron said he had “new ideas” on Syria.

To be sure, the delay was also encouraged by “strong advice” from several Arab allies, as well as Trump’s Defense Secretary James Mattis and the new National Security Adviser John Bolton.

24.04.2018 - 11:13 [ Tass ]

Russia hopes contacts with France will clear up cooperation on Syria

„I hope that after contacts with [our] French colleagues we will set the record straight on how we will cooperate on a settlement to the Syrian crisis in order to observe all rules and norms of the international law and the United Nations Charter,“ Lavrov explained.

The foreign minister noted that on Monday, the Russian and French presidents had a phone conversation „during which Vladimir Putin laid out our stance and confirmed [Russia’s] willingness to coordinate positions with [our] French partners.“

24.04.2018 - 11:11 [ Yahoo.com ]

France Had Some Big Problems Firing Missiles at Syria

The three naval cruise missiles fired from the French frigate Languedoc were initially intended to come from a different French frigate whose first salvo simply “did not fire,” French Joint Chief of Staff spokesman Col. Patrick Steiger told Defense News.

Steiger stated the cause of the misfire was currently unknown; Navy Recognition notes that the launch constituted the first time that the French military had ever actually fired its new MdCN (or “Missile de Croisiere Naval”) naval cruise missiles.

24.04.2018 - 11:04 [ Al-Masdar News ]

ISIS in serious trouble as Syrian, Palestinian troops storm several axes in southern Damascus

In the coming hours, the Syrian Arab Army’s elite Tiger Forces are expected to begin their long-awaited assault on the Yarmouk Camp, which will mean the Islamic State will be under attack from one of the most important axes in southern Damascus.

20.04.2018 - 22:27 [ Washington Post ]

Russia: US did not violate red lines during Syria strikes

“We told them where our red lines were, including the geographical red lines,” Lavrov told Russian state television. “The results have shown that they haven’t crossed those lines.”

Moscow had warned the U.S. before the strike that it could hit back if the U.S. actions jeopardize Russian servicemen in Syria, and the allies had given Russia an advance warning to make sure no Russians were in the line of fire.

19.04.2018 - 09:03 [ rferl.org ]

UN Says Negotiating With Syria, Russia On Visit To Syria Site

A team from the United Nations is discussing security arrangements with Syrian and Russian authorities in Syria to allow experts access to the town of Douma to investigate an alleged chemical-weapons attack, UN officials say.

The remarks on April 18 came after the director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ahmet Uzumcu, said UN security experts had come under fire in the town when they arrived in an attempt to assess the situation.

19.04.2018 - 09:01 [ New York Times ]

Gunmen Shot at U.N. Team Near Site of Reported Chemical Attack, Official Says

A United Nations security team was fired on in the Syrian town of Douma, raising doubts on Wednesday about when international investigators would be able to visit the site of what was suspected to have been a chemical attack.

Eleven days have passed since rescue and medical workers in Douma reported an attack that left victims choking and foaming at the mouth, killing at least 43 people.

18.04.2018 - 12:14 [ Egypt Independent ]

Egypt to decline any request by US to send troops to Syria: former intelligence official

In response to a recent report published by American newspaper The Wall Street Journal regarding an alleged request by the United States to Egypt to send armed forces to Syria, former undersecretary of Egypt’s General Intelligence Mohammad Rashad said that Egypt will summarily decline any such invitation.

“The Egyptian Armed Forces are not mercenaries [and cannot be] leased or ordered by foreign states to deploy forces in a certain area. This is not acceptable and no one […] should dare to direct or give instructions to Egypt’s army,” Rashad told Egypt Independent.

18.04.2018 - 09:56 [ TBU News / Youtube ]

USA protests against airstrikes “NO WAR ON SYRIA”

(15.4.2018) Protesters gathered in front of the White House in Washington and Union Square, New York City on Saturday to protest against the US-led airstrikes in Syria. Many of the protesters were holding banners and flags against the war on Syria while others used words of civil right activist Martin Luther King Jr., a week after the fiftieth anniversary of his death.

18.04.2018 - 09:01 [ New York Times ]

Mattis Wanted Congressional Approval Before Striking Syria. He Was Overruled.

Administration and congressional officials said the hawkish Mr. Bolton is not expected to defer to the defense secretary; already, neoconservative members of the Republican foreign policy establishment have started to air concerns that Mr. Mattis is ceding strategic territory to Iran and Russia in Syria.

Mr. Mattis is widely viewed by global leaders as the strongest and perhaps most credible voice on foreign policy in an administration that has been rocked by firings and resignations among senior presidential advisers.

18.04.2018 - 08:57 [ CNN ]

Senators leave classified briefing on Trump’s Syria policy ‚very unnerved‘

„I am very unnerved by what I’m hearing and seeing,“ said Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, who said the briefing on the strikes made him more worried, not less. The administration is „going down a dangerous path“ with regards to Syria, he said, without offering details.

18.04.2018 - 08:43 [ CNN ]

Bolton dealing to build an Arab military force in Syria

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, said Tuesday that Saudi Arabia is engaged in talks with the US and would consider sending forces to Syria along with other Arab countries as part of this contingent.
Jubeir also noted that the idea is not necessarily new, as Saudi Arabia made a similar proposal to the Obama administration, but that the US did not take them up on the offer.

17.04.2018 - 16:27 [ Al-Masdar News ]

Breaking: 1,000 militants prepare to leave Ad-Dumayr city in northeast Damascus as evacuation deal goes into effect

Reports have begun to emerge from Syrian state media (SANA) claiming that over one thousand rebel fighters are preparing to evacuate the city of Ad-Dumayr in northeastern Damascus province.

The militants are noted to all belong to the Jaysh al-Islam faction – a group which has seen its forces recently ejected from other areas east of the Syrian capital.

17.04.2018 - 09:15 [ euronews.com ]

EU calls on Russia to bring Syria back to talks

Some analysts hope that the western airstrikes can bring the parties to a peace deal. Here is Marc Pierini of Carnegie Europe.
„Russia has been carefully warned, it has sheltered its staff and equipment, and so it is to be hoped that these strikes, which are in no way an aggression against Russia and not even against the Assad regime, also serve to give the signal that it would be time after 7 years of an atrocious war to talk politics and talk about a settlement of the conflict.“

16.04.2018 - 16:36 [ Bloomberg.com ]

Merkel’s Struggle to Gain Trump’s Ear Leaves Berlin Sidelined

The U.S. tried to shame Merkel’s government into helping in Syria, arguing that Germany of all nations should be appalled by the use of chemical weapons on civilians, according to a U.S. official who asked not to be named discussing strategy.

16.04.2018 - 09:34 [ USA Today ]

Macron: France persuaded Trump to strike in Syria

Appearing in a two-hour live broadcast on French television BFM and online investigative site Mediapart, the 40-year-old leader said the U.S., Britain and France had “full international legitimacy to intervene” in order to enforce international humanitarian law.

The allies fired missiles early Saturday at three chemical-weapons facilities in Syria to punish the regime for the alleged use of chemical weapons in the town of Douma.

“It was retaliation, not an act of war,” Macron said in justifying the operation a day before the French parliament was set to debate it.

16.04.2018 - 09:20 [ Haaretz ]

Despite Tensions Over Syria Attack, Israel’s Line to the Kremlin Remains Open

Moscow issued public denunciations of the strike and called in Israel’s ambassador to Russia for a „conversation.“ These are symbolic, relatively „soft“ use of tools in the diplomatic toolbox meant to telegraph Moscow’s displeasure with Israeli activities in its sphere of influence.But below the surface, a number of figures who are familiar with Israeli-Russian ties say the diplomatic and military communications have continued — consistent, stable and practical — even after the attack.

16.04.2018 - 09:17 [ Haaretz ]

How the U.S.-led Airstrikes in Syria Hit Their Targets Before Assad’s Missile Defenses Even Fired

Electronic warfare suppression, a decoy battle group in the Mediterranean and never-before-used stealth missiles were all part of the attack

16.04.2018 - 08:09 [ Jeremy Corbyn / theGuardian.com ]

Diplomacy, and not bombing, is the way to end Syria’s agony

Already this devastating conflict has cost more than 500,000 lives and led to 5 million refugees being forced to flee Syria, and 6 million internally displaced. We must put negotiations for a political settlement centre stage, and not slip into a new cycle of military reaction and counter-reaction.

Protracted external military intervention in Syria – from funding and arms supplies to bombing and boots on the ground – has not helped in the slightest. Syria has become the theatre for military action by regional and international powers – the United States, Britain, Russia, France, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates among them.

16.04.2018 - 08:06 [ Reuters ]

After Syria strikes, Britain’s May to face critical parliament

But she will be grilled over why she broke with a convention to seek parliamentary approval for the action, a decision that she and her ministers say was driven by the need to act quickly.

Much of the criticism will come from opposition lawmakers, but the prime minister may also have to work hard to defend her speed of action to members of her own Conservative Party who had wanted parliament recalled.

15.04.2018 - 19:48 [ Arab News ]

Arab leaders meet in Saudi Arabia as Syria tensions reach boiling point

Leaders of the 22-nation Arab League, who will meet in the Saudi city of Dhahran on Sunday, are expected to stress continuity in their efforts to find a solution to the Syrian conflict. It follows airstrikes by the US, UK and France against the Assad regime on Saturday. The leaders are likely to seek Arab and international support to increase pressure on the regime to find a solution to the conflict.

15.04.2018 - 18:51 [ Sydney Morning Herald ]

How could the Syrian strikes affect Australia?

We therefore need to think very carefully about what is in our national interest when it comes to our overseas military commitments and the next American military adventure, whether it be in the Middle East, North Asia or elsewhere – particularly if it puts Australia on a strategic collision course with China.

15.04.2018 - 07:51 [ WashingtonExaminer.com ]

Chuck Schumer: US strikes on Syria ‚appropriate‘

(13.4.2018) “A pinpointed, limited action to punish and hopefully deter Assad from doing this again is appropriate, but the administration has to be careful about not getting us into a greater and more involved war in Syria,“ Schumer said in a statement Friday night.

Schumer supported the president’s strikes on Syria last April.

15.04.2018 - 07:47 [ washingtonexaminer.com ]

Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi endorse Trump’s attack in Syria

(6.4.2017) „Making sure Assad knows that when he commits such despicable atrocities he will pay a price is the right thing to do,“ Schumer said in a statement released late Thursday. „I salute the professionalism and skill of our Armed Forces who took action today.“

„Tonight’s strike in Syria appears to be a proportional response to the the regime’s use of chemical weapons,“ Pelosi said in a statement.

15.04.2018 - 07:30 [ Reason.com ]

When Trump Loses Alex Jones‘ and Gains Elizabeth Warren’s Support, All Things Are Possible!

In the other direction, a wide variety of #NeverTrump conservatives and liberal interventionists—including John McCain and Elizabeth Warren—are praising the attacks. Hillary Clinton was calling for them a week ago and there are apologists for unbridled state power such as former Obama State Department official Anne Marie Slaughter, who writes:

15.04.2018 - 06:50 [ ThinkProgress.org ]

Republicans and Democrats blast Trump for bombing Syria without legal authority

In a briefing after Trump’s announcement, Secretary of Defense Mattis argued that the President relied on his Article II powers under the Constitution to authorize the strike. This is the same authority Trump claimed to authorize his 2017 attack.

15.04.2018 - 06:47 [ theAtlantic.com ]

The Unconstitutional Strike on Syria

“To see what is under one’s nose,” George Orwell wrote in 1946, “requires a constant struggle.” Orwell didn’t add that trying to point out what is under our noses can turn one into a kind of Ancient Mariner at whose approach both friend and foe are tempted to flee.

But here goes: Trump did not have the authority to order any kind of strike on Syria. Congressional authorization was needed before any use of force against Syria; Friday’s attack was unconstitutional.

14.04.2018 - 14:37 [ Ted Lieu, Abgeordneter des U.S. Repräsentantenhauses / Twitter ]

Use of force by @realDonaldTrump against Syria is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. This is not self defense & no AUMF covers it.

Use of chemical weapons is horrific. But our Constitution does not allow @POTUS to attack a country–which has not attacked the US–without Congressional approval.

14.04.2018 - 14:25 [ Elijah E. Cummings, Abgeordneter des U.S. Repräsentantenhauses / Twitter ]

Finally, the Constitution gives Congress, not the President, the power to declare war. The President must obtain congressional authorization to use military force in Syria, and it is unacceptable that he did not do so before ordering tonight’s military action.

14.04.2018 - 13:30 [ Organisation des Nordatlantikvertrages ]

Statement by the NATO Secretary General on the actions against the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons facilities and capabilities

I support the actions taken by the United States, the United Kingdom and France against the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons facilities and capabilities. This will reduce the regime’s ability to further attack the people of Syria with chemical weapons.

NATO has consistently condemned Syria’s continued use of chemical weapons as a clear breach of international norms and agreements. The use of chemical weapons is unacceptable, and those responsible must be held accountable.

14.04.2018 - 09:57 [ Rob Lee / Twitter ]

After warning the US against a future strike against Damascus, Gen. Gerasimov had a conversation with Gen. Dunford. The Russian MoD is concerned because, while they have Russian air defenses at their bases in Khmeimim (S-400 and Pantsir-S1) and Tartous (S-400V4),

(13.3.2018)

14.04.2018 - 04:27 [ Michael Carpenter ‏/ Twitter ]

Dunford: Only contestation of these strikes was from Syrian air defense systems. No mention of Russian A2/AD. The deconfliction channel with Russia was used, but Dunford says no “prenotification” of Russia. So targets were presumably not shared but perhaps airspace boxes were.

14.04.2018 - 03:47 [ BBC ]

US and allies launch strikes on Syria chemical weapons sites

„A combined operation with the armed forces of France and the United Kingdom is now underway,“ President Trump said in an address to the nation.

Explosions were reported near the Syrian capital Damascus.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed British involvement, saying there was „no practicable alternative to the use of force“.

14.04.2018 - 03:45 [ CBS News ]

Trump says he has directed precision strikes in Syria — live updates

„A short time ago, I ordered the U.S. Armed Forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad,“ the president said from the White House.

„A combined operation with the armed forces of France and the United Kingdom is now under way,“ he continued.

13.04.2018 - 10:17 [ ]

Further UK military intervention in Syria’s appalling multi-sided war risks escalating an already devastating conflict.

The need to restart genuine negotiations for peace and an inclusive political settlement of the Syrian conflict, including the withdrawal of all foreign forces, could not be more urgent. We must do everything we can, no matter how challenging, to bring that about.

13.04.2018 - 07:32 [ RT / Youtube ]

‚US believes & acts as if it’s above any law‘ – Bolivian envoy to UN

Sacha Llorenti, the Bolivian ambassador to the United Nations – and the man who called Security Council meeting on Thursday tells RT that possible escalation in Syria without the authorization of UN Security Council would be a violation of international law.

13.04.2018 - 07:20 [ Washington Post ]

Trump plans to talk to allies before Syria strike decision

Mattis said options would be discussed with Trump at a meeting of his National Security Council on Thursday afternoon. That meant airstrikes, possibly in tandem with France and other allies that have expressed outrage at the alleged Syrian chemical attack, could be launched within hours of a presidential decision.

12.04.2018 - 06:46 [ Charles Shoebridge, former army officer, Scotland Yard detective and counter terrorism intelligence officer / Twitter ]

Update: BBC journalist who admitted (see above) that #Syria rebels & activists manipulate photos of dead children has now protected his account, meaning only followers (including Syria rebel backing activists) can see his tweets. A screenshot of the now hidden new tweet is here:

12.04.2018 - 06:14 [ al-monitor.com ]

Have Iran, Russia and Turkey reached agreement on future Syrian state?

While Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made it clear that Ankara and Moscow “have no disagreements” over Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch, some reports even suggested that Russia was actually helping Turkey to reach its goals in Afrin. For its part, while expressing concern over the situation in eastern Ghouta, Turkey stopped short of directly condemning the Russian-backed military moves in the area. Meanwhile, Iran apparently preferred to keep a low profile regarding both cases.

12.04.2018 - 05:57 [ lowyinstitute.org ]

Rouhani, Erdogan, and Putin’s bizarre love triangle

It appears a new regional security order is encircling Syria as the civil war grinds into its seventh year. This shift was visible last week, when the leaders of Turkey, Iran, and Russia met in Ankara to discuss solutions to the Syrian crisis. The detailed talks covered de-escalation zones, humanitarian concerns, and intra-Syrian dialogue, but the broader motive was to agree on the role of each state once the conflict ends.

12.04.2018 - 05:48 [ Hurriyet ]

Assad killed ‘nearly 1 million people,’ must go: Turkish FM

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should step down “immediately” to open way for a political settlement, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on April 11, holding him responsible for the death of “nearly 1 million people” during the seven-year-long conflict in Syria.

12.04.2018 - 05:14 [ Independent.co.uk ]

Theresa May is right not to join the US and France in going to war with Syria

Unpredictable events in the next few days may change everything, but at this distance it looks very unlikely that the British will be joining in the Franco-American front against Syria and its Russian allies. If so, then that is for the good.

The most immediate reason is quite simply that Theresa May lacks the backing she would need in the House of Commons to support such a serious move.

11.04.2018 - 19:15 [ Syrian Arab News Agency ]

Al-Jaafari: Western threats to attack Syria will not dissuade it from confronting any aggression regardless of its source

New York, SANA – Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari stressed that the threats by Western states to launch an aggression on Syria and their maneuvers, misdirection, lies, and terrorism will not dissuade Syria from preserving its sovereignty and territorial integrity and from confronting any aggression regardless of its source, adding that Syria will not allow any of the permanent or non-permanent member states to do in Syria what they have done in Iraq or Libya.

Speaking during a session of the Security Council on the situation in Syria on Tuesday, al-Jaafari said “The US representative said that there is a single monster today which stands in the face of the whole world, and it is a monster which has armed and financed terrorists for more than seven years in Syria, and I say that this monster is the US, Britain, and France who sponsored terrorism in Syria and before it in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya.”

11.04.2018 - 19:03 [ Tass ]

White Helmets staged Douma ‘chemical weapons attack’ on civilians — Russian General Staff

The chemical weapons attack on civilians in the Syrian town of Douma was staged and filmed by members of the White Helmets organization, First Deputy Chief of the Russian General Staff’s Main Operations Department Lieutenant General Viktor Poznikhir told reporters on Wednesday.

„On April 7, probably the last attempt to stage a chemical weapons attack in Eastern Ghouta was made. The notorious White Helmets, who operate as part of terrorist groups, staged and filmed a chemical weapons attack on civilians in the town of Douma,“ he said.

11.04.2018 - 12:10 [ Times ]

Islamists sabotaged Douma evacuation

A hardline Islamist faction scuppered an evacuation deal for the besieged Damascus suburb of Douma just before it was hit with chemical weapons, The Times has learnt.

The Army of Islam, a band of Damascus-based extremist rebels, refused to hand over heavy weapons, a key element of an evacuation deal that would have resulted in elderly residents staying in their homes and young men of fighting age walking free.