Hands Off Syria!

Jeff and Rose Roby are long time activists. This and other writings can be found at Saint Petersburg Independents.

Hands Off Syria!


Jill Stein (website):

“The situation in Syria is complicated and disastrous, with an all-out civil war in Syria entangled with a proxy war among many powers seeking influence in the region.  US pursuit of regime change in Libya and Iraq created chaos that promotes power grabs by extremist militias.  Many of the weapons we are sending into Syria to arm anti-government militias end up in the hands of ISIS.  In Syria it’s extremely difficult to sort out this complicated web of resistance fighters, religious extremists and warlords with backing from regional and world powers.  The one thing that is clear is that historic and current US military intervention in the Middle East is throwing fuel on the fire.”



Ajamu Baraka (10/08/16 interview):

“The US and Western European powers have been on a veritable rampage across the so-called Middle East over the last 15 years.  The result has been the destabilization of the entire region, and the destruction of stable states, no matter what internal contradictions they had.  What we see in Syria is another example of destabilization and war imposed on the state simply in order to attempt to clean up the previous mistakes that the US and the Western states made when they decided to destroy the Iraqi state. … they miscalculated.  They thought they were going to be able to re-enact the playbook of Libya and impose a no-fly zone and use that to provide air force protection for the jihadists … That has resulted in five years of death and destruction in Syria.

Driving to war.

That racket you hear in the background is the sabers being rattled as the American people are subjected to an unprecedented propaganda campaign designed to prime the country for sending 10’s of 1,000’s of U.S. troops into Syria and pressing for war with Russia.  In June, 51 State Department, in open defiance of President Obama, issued a “draft” memorandum which calls for “a judicious use of stand-off and air weapons, which would undergird and drive a more focused and hard-nosed U.S.-led diplomatic process.”  (Atlantic Monthly)

Unfortunately, in American ruling circles, talk and threats lead to action.  On September 17, U.S. airstrikes killed over 80 Syrian troops near Deir Ezzor.  “Whoopsie!” they all say.  But the strikes, paved the way the way for an immediate assault by troops of ISIS, who had coordinated their attack with the U.S. in storming the strategic Syrian position that the U.S. had just devastated.  Joining in on the hit were forces from the United Kingdom, Australia and Denmark, reminiscent of a street gang initiation where aspiring members “make their bones” with a cold-blooded murder.  A public relations disaster for the U.S.  The only question is whether this was a deliberate provocation by Barack Obama, or in defiance of Obama by rogue elements in the military.  Neither option is particularly comforting.

Two days later, a humanitarian aid convoy was blasted while stopped in jihadi territory outside Aleppo, Syria’s largest city whose western sector is inhabited by 1.5 million Syrians under regular bombardment by the jihadis.  The Deir Ezzor bombing was conveniently swept from the headlines as the convoy hit was immediately pinned on the Russians, on no more evidence than “that’s the kind of thing they do.”  Yet photographs from the scene did not indicate that any air attack had even taken place, but rather showed that the burned but not blasted trucks had been destroyed by a ground attack.  Within jihadi-controlled territory.  The State Department and the media went into hysteria.  The corridors of the State Department and the Pentagon echoed with cries for creating a No-Fly Zone over Syria which would of course only apply to Russian and Syrian aircraft.

Veterans Today reported on September 23 that General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was queried before the U.S. Senate about Secretary of State John Kerry’s proposal for a.  No-Fly Zone.  Dunford replied:

There can be no question of grounding US aircraft” over Syria. … For us to control all of the airspace in Syria WOULD REQUIRE US TO GO TO WAR AGAINST SYRIA AND RUSSIA.

State Department spokesperson John Kirby, high on American Exceptionalism, has begun issuing threats worthy of a schoolyard bully.  Per the September 28 RT:

Extremist groups will continue to exploit the vacuums that are there in Syria to expand their operations, which could include attacks against Russian interests, perhaps even Russian cities. Russia will continue to send troops home in body bags, and will continue to lose resources, perhaps even aircraft. … more Russian lives will be lost, more Russian aircraft will be shot down.

And the New York Times last month stated:

President Obama, who has weighed ruling out a first use of a nuclear weapon in a conflict, appears likely to abandon the proposal after top national security advisers argued that it could undermine allies and embolden Russia and China.


No to war!

moon-cartoonHillary Clinton (October 9 presidential debate) is exploiting it to the hilt:

I, when I was secretary of state, advocated and I advocate today a No-Fly Zone and Safe Zones. We need some leverage with the Russians, because they are not going to come to the negotiating table for a diplomatic resolution, unless there is some leverage over them. And we have to work more closely with our partners and allies on the ground.  [i.e., Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, and Al-Nusra (Al Queda), et al. — Ed.]

One of the few, and the only progressive presidential candidate, to take a stand against the madness is Jill Stein.  Interviewed by Sputnik International, she said:

Hillary Clinton wants to start an air war over Syria with a nuclear-armed power [Russia] with 2,000 nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert.  Given Hillary Clinton’s record not only in Iraq, but in Libya, I think it is as dangerous as it gets.

White hats do not a good guy make.

The media are trying to arouse the American people with almost daily reports — allegedly from Aleppo itself — that the Russians have been deliberately targeting hospitals and killing children, accompanied by gut-wrenching pictures of children being carried out of the ruins by the White Helmets.  But who are these White Helmets?  The White Helmet website claims “these unarmed volunteers risk their lives to help anyone in need — regardless of their religion or politics. Known as the White Helmets these volunteer rescue workers operate in the most dangerous place on earth.”  They are the heroes of a new Netflix documentary which France 24 describes as “Shot with the high production values worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster, the images and stories are breathtakingly real, showing the appalling conditions in which the men and women who make up the White Helmets go out day after day to save the lives of their fellow countrymen”  The White Helmets even nominated themselves for the Nobel Peace Prize.

uis_pressYet they reveal almost nothing of their funding or backing, but investigations reveals that they are far from the apolitical neutrals that propaganda portrays.  A wide variety of sources agree they are a U.S./Nato funded propaganda operation.

Per Moon of Alabama:

The group was created with the help of Purpose Inc, a U.S. company specialized in regime change NGO operations.  Purpose Inc is also behind Avaaz which early on peddled fake war on Syria video propaganda.  The White Helmets are financed, like all “Free Syrian Army” media propaganda, by USAID with some $23 million and by the UK Foreign Office with a total of some £23 million.  The Netherlands and Japan also donated money to the scheme. The group was build up and trained since mid 2013 by a “former” UK military intelligence operator residing in Abu Dhabi. These are propaganda artists camouflaged as humanitarians.  The “White Helmets” cooperate closely with al-Qaeda. … Fake “opposition” videos have been a major feature of the media war on Syria. These fakes are often easily recognizable as such. We can be sure that the media professionals at the BBC and other outlets know that these are not real rescue scenes. They distribute them nonetheless.

The real deal.

Obama and the State Department got a good splash of freezing water in their faces when the Russians did not follow the script requiring them to cringe and retreat.  They have deployed their top-of-the-line anti-aircraft systems to Syria.

According to the October 6 Fort Russ:

Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov cautioned the US against carrying out airstrikes on Syrian army positions. … “Therefore, any missile or air strikes on the territory controlled by the Syrian government will create a clear threat to Russian servicemen, … Russian air defense system crews are unlikely to have time to determine in a ‘straight line’ the exact flight paths of missiles and then who the warheads belong to.  And all the illusions of amateurs about the existence of ‘invisible’ jets will face a disappointing reality,”

While everyone is appalled by pictures of dead and injured Syrian children (Yemeni or Iraqi or Libyan children less so), the realization that the Russians didn’t think the American’s so “exceptional” had a sobering effect.  A new argument began to appear in the mix, that beating the Russians served “American strategic interests.”  Saudi Arabia is financing ISIS?  Yeah, but they’re our strategic partner.  Syria and Iran are our strategic enemies.  Worse yet, they are Israel’s enemies.

One thing about Israel, they have the chutzpah to say what U.S. leaders are thinking but too embarrassed to say out loud, at least until Hillary is firmly ensconced in the White House.

The August 23 Salon reports on a paper by Prof. Efraim Enbar, published by BESA, a group supported by the Israeli government, the NATO Mediterranean Initiative, the U.S. embassy in Israel and the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs:

The continuing existence of IS serves a strategic purpose. Why help the brutal Assad regime win the Syrian civil war?  Many radical Islamists in the opposition forces, i.e., Al Nusra and its offshoots, might find other arenas in which to operate closer to Paris and Berlin. … Only the strategic folly that currently prevails in Washington can consider it a positive to enhance the power of the Moscow-Tehran-Damascus axis by cooperating with Russia against IS.  The Western distaste for IS brutality and immorality should not obfuscate strategic clarity. … But stability is not a value in and of itself. It is desirable only if it serves our interests.

Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli consul general, put it (New York Times), “Let them both bleed, hemorrhage to death:  that’s the strategic thinking here.”

Tough luck for the little children.

… and it only gets worse.

From the October 12 RT:

According to media, the US and Saudi Arabia have agreed to provide Islamic State (IS) terrorists and members of their families with a safe exit from Iraqi province of Anbar and city of Mosul prior to its assault by the international coalition forces. Evacuated terrorists will be sent to Syria to conduct an offensive on cities, controlled by the Syrian government forces.

isis_flagThe Hillary Clinton camp, including self-styled progressives, would consider all this “crazy talk.”  How could the U.S. actually be allied with Al-Nusra or even ISIS?  But it’s not so crazy at all if you strip away the thin Islamic veneer, which has as little to do with actual Islam as the Spanish Inquisition had to do with the teachings of Jesus.  What you are left with is a fundamentally anti-secular, puritanical, violent right-wing force.  Not so different from the right-wing evangelicals in the United States.  And like the right-wing evangelicals, they are manipulated against the forces of progress here and abroad.

Unfortunately, the Hillary campaign has swallowed up much of the U.S. left.  Even as they hold their noses and promise that they’ll start “holding her feet to the fire” once she’s in office come January, they honor their vows of silence until then.  But the drive to war is taking place now, with far too little opposition, with far too few willing to speak out.

Here we go again.

And now the October 12 New York Times reports:

An American warship stationed off the coast of Yemen fired cruise missiles on Thursday at radar installations that the Pentagon said had been used by Yemeni insurgents to target another American warship in two missile attacks in the last four days.

The strikes against the Houthi rebels marked the first time the United States has become involved militarily in the civil war between the Houthis, an indigenous Shiite group with loose connections to Iran, and the Yemeni government, which is backed by Saudi Arabia and other Sunni nations.  The strikes were approved by President Obama, said Peter Cook, the Pentagon spokesman, who warned of more to come if American ships were fired upon again.

We need the brave voices of Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka more than ever.

— jeff roby
October 14, 2016


1-Cautionary Tales by Jeff Roby

2-Jeff Roby on Strategy and Tactics  by Jeff Roby

3-Mass Consciousness and its disconnects by Jeff Roby

4-So You Say You Want a Political Revolution by Jeff Roby

5-An Interesting Conversation on the Way Forward by Rose Roby

6-On Becoming Dependent Upon Incarceration by Rose Roby

7-There are no "Safe Choices"! by Jeff Roby

8-On This Bloody Morning After...  by Jeff Roby

9-It’s Us. Period!    by Jeff Roby

10-The Democratic Party is the More Effective of Two Evils by Rose Roby and two others    

11-Beware the Clintons

12-Continuous Wars 


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