A Road to Damascus, via Moscow

WASHINGTON — FOR four years, American policy toward Syria has been built on a wish and a prayer: a wish that President Bashar al-Assad would leave and a prayer that the “moderate” Syrian opposition would be more than it is. Now Russia has stepped up its game, and the response from the American government and many commentators seems to be to wish harder and pray more, while condemning Russia for intruding where it supposedly doesn’t belong.

How the Economist changed its map of the Syrian conflict to make it look like Russia is bombing moderate rebels rather than al-Nusra

How the Economist changed its map of the Syrian conflict to make it look like Russia is bombing moderate rebels rather than al-Nusra. Russia started airstrikes in Syria on 30 September 2015 and has been accused by Western media and governments to target the rebels (portrayed as moderates) rather than the Islamic State. Yet research by Dr. Anthony Penaud has shown that this is hardly the case.

 

BREAKING: Syria conflict: Shells hit Russian embassy compound

Two shells have struck the Russian embassy compound in the Syrian capital Damascus as hundreds of pro-government supporters rallied outside in support of Russian air strikes.

No-one was killed but a BBC Arabic correspondent in Damascus says some people were injured.

How the Obama Administration Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

This article, published nearly a year ago by Dr. Theodore A. Postol,  professor emeritus of science, technology, and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is well worth a read today as the potential for a head on US – Russian clash increases daily with the unfolding crisis in the skies over Syria.

Syria’s ‘moderates’ have disappeared… and there are no good guys

The Independent’s Robert Fisk notes that the “rubbish has reached its crescendo in the on-again off-again saga of the Syrian “moderates”.  These men were originally military defectors to the FSA, which America and European countries regarded as a possible pro-Western force to be used against the Syrian government army. But the FSA fell to pieces, corrupted, and the “moderates” defected all over again, this time to the Islamist Nusrah Front or to Isis, selling their American-supplied weapons to the highest bidder…”

‘The Washington Post’ Finally Finds a War It Won’t Cheer

 We are informed via the Washington Post that “continued airstrikes Friday suggested that Russia’s main priority remains the anti-Assad rebellion in northern and western Syria, which poses a greater threat to the regime’s control over Damascus, the capital, than the forces of the Islamic State, concentrated in the far north and east of the country.”

This is a rather masterful insinuation of Russian malfeasance where none exists.

Western spin machines functioning at full capacity on Syria

Well the ‘US good, Russia bad’ propaganda drive has reached full-blown hysteria mode this week. My sincerest compliments to the usual suspects, you are absolutely playing a blinder.

I’m especially impressed by how quickly you all became such staunch humanitarians and tallied up the civilian casualties from the handful of Russian strikes mere moments after the bombs were dropped. That’s dedication.

Winter Is Coming. And So Is Ukraine’s Far Right.

There’s a reason most revolutions in Eastern Europe begin in the winter, from Russia in 1905 to Ukraine’s Maidan in 2013. Once the cold settles in, a government’s empty promises are laid bare. Over the next several days, forecasters are predicting, the temperature in Ukraine will plunge to freezing. When President Petro Poroshenko looks at the thermometer, he should be worried.

EU must improve Russia ties, says Commission chief Juncker

The EU must restore a “practical relationship” with Russia and not let the US “dictate” that policy, the European Commission chief has said.

Jean-Claude Juncker criticised US President Barack Obama’s description of Russia as merely “a regional power”.

Putin’s plan for Syria: Only Russia has a clear goal—we should join it or stay out

According Rachel Polonsky, a Fellow of Murray Edwards College at the University of Cambridge and author of Molotov’s Magic Lantern: A Journey in Russian History: “If we cannot support Russia in its mission now, or even define our own, we should stand aside. No good has come from our policy of regime change. The UK government’s position on Syria is neither logical nor honest

One thing that both IS and Russia understand is that control of territory is everything. Palmyra is territory, and territory has meaning, which it takes knowledge-—of geography, history, languages, religions, cultures and the nature of one’s enemies—to understand. John McCain calls Russia a “gas station masquerading as a country.” He should read War and Peace.”

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