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    • Obama says he was ‘skeptical’ of Syria rebel boondoggle from the start     

    • The failed $500 million program to set up a proxy army in Syria was a test, US President Barack Obama told ’60 Minutes’, adding that he had doubts about the project from the start. He also ruled out sending US troops to Syria.  

      “I've been skeptical from the get-go about the notion that we were going to effectively create this proxy army inside of Syria,” Obama said in the interview. “My goal has been to try to test the proposition, can we be able to train and equip a moderate opposition that's willing to fight ISIL?”

      Broadcast Sunday night, Obama’s interview with CBS correspondent Steve Kroft was recorded last Tuesday, days before the administration announced it would stop attempting to train a force of ‘moderate’ militants in Syria.

      After spending hundreds of millions of dollars, Washington had only “four or five” fighters to show for the effort. Most of the equipment ended up in jihadist hands as US-trained rebels were captured or deserted without ever facing Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL) in battle.

    • Asked why he went through with the program he doubted, Obama responded that part of what he has to do “is to try different things,” adding another reason was “because we also have partners on the ground that are invested and interested in seeing some sort of resolution to this problem.”

      “And they wanted you to do it,” Kroft asked.

      “Well, no. That's not what I said,” Obama replied.

      Obama’s efforts to reframe almost every question and at times change the subject appeared to irk Kroft, who at one point remarked, “I feel like I'm being filibustered, Mr. President.”

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    • Mon Oct 12, 2015 7:07pm EDT   
        Related:     World,   Syria   

      Amnesty accuses U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish group of demolishing homes

    • Amnesty International on Tuesday accused a Syrian Kurdish militia supported by the United States of committing war crimes by driving out thousands of non-Kurdish civilians and demolishing their homes.

      The London-based rights watchdog documented cases in more than a dozen villages in Kurdish-controlled areas where residents were forced to flee or had their homes destroyed by the YPG, or People's Protection Units, who have seized swathes of northern Syria from Islamic State militants this year.

    • Amnesty's senior crisis adviser Lama Fakih said the autonomous Kurdish administration was "flouting international humanitarian law, in attacks that amount to war crimes".

      YPG spokesman Redur Xelil said: "Very simply, this is a false allegation."

      But Amnesty quoted Ciwan Ibrahim, the head of the Kurdish internal security force known as the Asayish, as admitting there had been forced displacements, but saying they were "isolated incidents" and that civilians had been moved for their own safety.


      In a 38-page report, Amnesty said the forced displacement of mostly non-Kurds after the YPG had captured villages was often in retaliation for "residents' perceived sympathies with, or ties to, members of IS or other armed groups".

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    • Mon Oct 12, 2015 11:06pm EDT   
        Related:     World,   Russia,   Syria   

      U.S. airdrops ammunition to Syria rebels

    • U.S. forces airdropped small arms ammunition and other supplies to Syrian Arab rebels, barely two weeks after Russia raised the stakes in the long-running civil war by intervening on the side of President Bashar al-Assad.

      One military official said the drop, by Air Force C-17 cargo planes in northern Syria on Sunday, was part of a revamped U.S. strategy announced last week to help rebels in Syria battling Islamic State militants.

      Last week, Washington shelved a program to train and equip "moderate" rebels opposed to Assad who would join the fight against Islamic State.

      The only group on the ground to have success against Islamic State while cooperating with the U.S.-led coalition is a Kurdish militia, the YPG, which has carved out an autonomous zone in northern Syria and advanced deep into Islamic State's stronghold Raqqa province.

    • On Monday, the YPG announced a new alliance with small groups of Arab fighters, which could help deflect criticism that it fights only on behalf of Kurds. Washington has indicated it could direct funding and weapons to Arab commanders on the ground who cooperate with the YPG.

      Amnesty International, in a new report, accused the YPG of committing war crimes by driving out thousands of non-Kurdish civilians and demolishing their homes in Kurdish-controlled areas. A YPG spokesman called it "a false allegation."

      The U.S. military confirmed dropping supplies to opposition fighters vetted by the United States but would say no more about the groups that received the supplies or the type of equipment in the airdrop.

      Syrian Arab rebels said they had been told by Washington that new weapons were on their way to help them launch a joint offensive with their Kurdish allies on the city of Raqqa, the de facto Islamic State capital.

      The Russian intervention in the four-year Syrian war has caught U.S. President Barack Obama's administration off guard. Washington has been trying to defeat Islamic State while still calling for Assad's downfall.

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    • Syria without Assad would be like Libya – bishop
    • If Syrian president Bashar al-Assad were removed from power now, Syria would become like Libya, a Syrian bishop has warned.


      Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo, Syrian Catholic Archbishop of Hasakeh-Nisibi, said “the Syrians will decide if and when Assad has to go away, and not the Daesh [the so-called Islamic State] or the West,” continuing “and it is certain that if Assad goes away now, Syria will become like Libya”.


      He also warned that the ISIS-besieged city of Deir al Zor has run out of food so that its population is “literally starving”. 

    • The archbishops’ comments came in the aftermath of American criticism of Russian attacks on anti-Assad rebels linked with al-Qaeda. “US Senator John McCain protested saying that the Russians are not bombing the positions of the Islamic State, but rather the anti-Assad rebels trained by the CIA,” the archbishop said, continuing, “I find these words are disturbing. They represent a blatant admission that behind the war against Assad there is also the CIA.”


      Russian president Vladimir Putin, who has long backed President Assad, claims western intervention in the Middle East has caused the current Middle East crisis. Speaking in the UN last month he said “an aggressive foreign interference has resulted in a brazen destruction of national institutions and the lifestyle itself”, criticising how “policies based on self-conceit and belief in one’s exceptionality and impunity have never been abandoned”.

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      • Russian Cruise Missiles Help Syrians Go on the Offensive

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      • Backed by Russian airstrikes, Syrian troops launch offensive


        The attacks target areas in Syria that are important to President Bashar Assad but that not controlled by the Islamic State group.

        • Albert Aji  Nataliya Vasilyeva Associated Press,    Published on Wed Oct 07 2015    

            Photos  View photos 

          •   Civil defence members and civilians search for survivors under the rubble of a site hit by what activists said were cluster bombs dropped by Russian air force in Maasran town, south of Idlib, Syria, on Wednesday.  zoom 



          DAMASCUS, SYRIA—Syrian government troops launched a ground offensive Wednesday in the country’s central region under cover of Russian airstrikes, a Damascus official said. And in the first salvo from the sea, Russian warships fired missiles into Syria, with Moscow saying the targets were militants.


          The latest developments — exactly a week after Russia began launching airstrikes in Syria — add a new layer to the fray in the complex war that has torn this Mideast country apart since 2011.


          In these attacks, Moscow is mainly targeting central and northwestern Syria, strategic regions that are the gateway to President Bashar Assad’s strongholds in Damascus and along the Mediterranean coast.

      • The strikes appear to have given Assad new confidence to try to retake some lost ground. According to the Syrian official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the government push is concentrated in the adjacent provinces of Hama and Idlib where rebels have been advancing in the past months.


        The Islamic State group is not present in the areas where the fighting is underway.


        Wednesday’s offensive in central Syria and the ensuing clashes with militants, including Al Qaeda’s Syrian branch, was the first major ground fighting since Moscow began launching air raids in Syria last week.



        In Moscow, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said Russia is using warships in the Caspian Sea to target the Islamic State group in Syria. Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin in televised remarks that Russia on Wednesday morning carried out 26 missile strikes from four warships of its Caspian Sea flotilla. Shoigu insisted the operation destroyed all the targets and that the strikes did not hit civilian areas.


        Shoigu also said Russia has carried out 112 airstrikes on IS positions since its operation began on Sept. 30.

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      • Mon Oct 5, 2015 10:54am EDT   
          Related:     World,   Russia   

        NATO denounces 'unacceptable' Russian incursion into Turkey in Syria air war

          ISTANBUL  |  
      • The United States and its NATO allies denounced Russia on Monday for violating Turkish air space along the frontier with Syria, and Ankara threatened to respond if provoked again, raising the prospect of direct confrontation between the Cold War enemies.

        NATO summoned the ambassadors of its 28 member states for an emergency meeting to respond to what Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called "unacceptable violations of Turkish air space".

        Moscow's unexpected move last week to launch air strikes in Syria has brought the greatest threat of an accidental clash between Russian and Western forces since the Cold War.

      • Russian war planes and those of the United States and its allies are now flying combat missions over the same country for the first time since World War Two, with Moscow repeatedly targeting insurgents trained and armed by Washington's allies.

        Turkey, which has the second-largest army in NATO, scrambled two F-16 jets on Saturday after a Russian aircraft crossed into its airspace near its southern province of Hatay, the Turkish foreign ministry said.

        In a second incident, the Turkish military said a MiG-29 fighter jet - an aircraft used both by Russia and Syria's own air force - had harassed two of its F-16s by locking its radar on to them on Sunday as they patrolled the border.

        Turkey summoned Moscow's ambassador to protest against the violation and said Russia would be held "responsible for any undesired incident that may occur" if it were repeated. Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu spoke with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, as well as key NATO partners.

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      • 'Russia kills US-backed Syrian rebels in second day of air strikes as Iran prepares for ground offensive' - live updates


         Russian jets bomb rebel positions in Syria including rural areas near the   north-western town of Jisr al-Shughour, a day after launching air strikes. Follow   latest developments here  


        10:11PM BST 01 Oct 2015

      • Latest

        Here is our summary of events in Syria on Thursday, from Richard Spencer, Middle East Editor, Nabih Bulos in Beirut and Ruth Sherlock in Washington:

        Iran was on Thursday night moving up its ground forces in Syria in preparation for an attack to reclaim rebel-held territory under the cover of Russian air strikes, according to sources close to Damascus. Hizbollah, the Lebanese Shia militia which has come to the Assad regime’s rescue in battle-fronts across the country in the past two years, is being prepared to capitalise on the strikes, a Syrian figure close to the regime told The Telegraph

        • Sources in Lebanon told Reuters that Iran, which is the main sponsor and tactical adviser to Hizbollah, was sending in hundreds of its own troops to reinforce them. Iran made no comment on the claims but Josh Earnest, the White House spokesman, said the move would be an "apt and powerful illustration" that Russia's military actions had worsened the conflict.

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        Russia bombs Syria targets for 2nd day, including U.S.-backed rebels


        Russian officials acknowledge that non-ISIS groups are being targeted as well


            The Associated Press    Posted: Oct 01, 2015

      • Russian jets carried out a second day of strikes in Syria Thursday, and some activists claimed that the targets included rebels backed by the United States.


        Russian President Vladimir Putin denied reports that civilians were killed in any Russian airstrikes.


        "We are ready for such information attacks," he said in a live broadcast from the Kremlin. "The first reports of civilian casualties came even before our jets took off."


        Russian Defence Ministry Igor Konashenkov said in televised comments that Russian aircraft damaged or destroyed 12 targets in Syria belonging to the Islamic State group including a command centre and two ammunition depots.

      • Officials acknowledged, however, that other unidentified groups were being targeted as well.


        Konashenkov said Russian Su-25M and Su-25 jets made 20 sorties between Wednesday and Thursday morning, and he insisted that civilian areas were not targeted.


        The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said airstrikes in the central province of Hama on Thursday hit locations of the U.S-backed rebel group, Tajamu Alezzah. The British group said Tajamu Alezzah was also targeted on Wednesday.

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      • Russia makes intentions clear with choice of targets in Syrian air strikes Add to ... 


         The Globe and Mail



      • It is somewhat telling that one of the first images of the Russian bombardment of Syria had nothing to do with Syria.

        Shortly after Russian planes began bombing the war-battered country, several Middle Eastern commentators and activists (some of them directly or indirectly affiliated with the Islamic State) began circulating a picture of Russian priests “blessing” a fighter jet on the runway.

      • “Orthodox priests bless a Russian plane before the holy war in Syria,” one widely followed Islamist wrote.

        In fact, the picture is a year old, taken during Russia’s Crimean engagement. But its propaganda value quickly proved too good to pass up – used by supporters of the Islamic State as proof that Russia’s bombing constitutes not only an attempt to keep the current Syrian regime in power, but the beginning of a new Crusade.

        Besides hard-line supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – for whom Russia is the single most important international benefactor – it’s difficult to find many observers within Syria or the Middle East who see Russia’s new military involvement as a positive development. For Islamists, liberals and myriad Syrian opposition figures, Russian air strikes appear as proof that the current war, bloody as it has been, will soon enter an even more intractable phase.

        “Russia’s increased military involvement in Syria will result in prolonging Syria’s civil war, additional difficulties in the already faltering war against ISIL, bringing the non-ISIL opposition closer to ISIL and a substantial increase in regional tension,” noted prominent Syrian activist and researcher Samir Altaqi, who runs the Orient Research Centre, using another term for Islamic State.

        “Russia, a harsh [critic] of U.S. interventionist policy in the Middle East, is now implementing its own interventionist policy.”

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      • Russian airstrikes hit parts of Syria with no ISIS fighters, U.S. says


        'Don't listen to the Pentagon about the Russian strikes,' Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov


            CBC News    Posted: Sep 30, 2015

      • We would have grave concerns should Russia strike areas where ISIL-affiliated targets are not operating," Kerry said, using one of several acronyms for the Islamic State.


        There are concerns Russia's main intent is not to fight Islamic State militants but to protect its longtime ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.​


        Those appeared to bear out Wednesday evening, as U.S. Defence Secretary Ashton Carter said the Russian airstrikes seem to have hit areas that do not include Islamic State fighters.


        "It does appear they were in in areas where there probably were not ISIL forces," Carter said. "The result of this kind of action will inevitably simply be to inflame the civil war in Syria."


        Some U.S.-backed rebel groups claimed they were hit by Russian airstrikes but those claims could not be confirmed.


        Carter also said he couldn't confirm reports that the Russian strikes may have hit civilians, but said, "if it occurred, it's yet another reason why this kind of Russian action can and will backfire very badly on Russia."


        'Doomed to fail'


        Carter's comments triggered a dismissive response from Lavrov, who told reporters flatly, "Don't listen to the Pentagon about the Russian strikes" and referred them to the Russian Defence Ministry website.

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        Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin spar over Syria in United Nations addresses


        Putin also meets with Cuban President Raul Castro on the sidelines of UN General Assembly


            The Associated Press    Posted: Sep 28, 2015

      • U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin sparred in speeches at the United Nations Monday over what to do about the conflict in Syria.


        The U.S. has no desire to return to the Cold War, President Barack Obama told the United Nations Monday, hours before his first face-to-face meeting with Putin in nearly a year.


        But he differed dramatically with Putin over strategies for Syria. As well, he said the world cannot stand by while Russia violates Ukraine's integrity and sovereignty.

      • If there are no consequences for Russia's annexation of Crimea, it could happen to any other country in the United Nations, he said.


        Putin spoke later in the morning, saying it would be a "huge mistake" not to co-operate with the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad in the fight against extremists such as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).


        He urged the creation of a broad anti-terror coalition that would include the Syrian government troops.


        He criticized the West for arming "moderate" rebels in Syria, saying they later come to join the Islamic State terror group.

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      •   Sun Sep 27, 2015 9:35pm EDT   
          Related:     World,   Russia,   United Nations,   France   

        Russia seizes initiative in Syria crisis; France bombs Islamic State

          UNITED NATIONS  |  
      • Russia appeared to seize the initiative in international efforts to end the conflict in Syria on Sunday as Washington scrambled to devise a new strategy for the war-ravaged country and France sent warplanes to bomb Islamic State targets.

        As leaders gathered in New York at the United Nations General Assembly, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry discussed Syria with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. He said that while it was vital to coordinate efforts against Islamic State militants this was not yet happening.

        "I think we have concerns about how we are going to go forward," Kerry told reporters. U.S. officials said Kerry was working on a new political initiative in New York that would include Russia and key regional powers.

      • A senior State Department official told reporters: "It was a very thorough exchange of views on both the military and the political implications of Russia’s increased engagement in Syria."

        Kerry also discussed Syria with Iran's foreign minister during a meeting at the United Nations on Saturday.

        It was announced in Baghdad that Russian military officials were working with counterparts from Iran, Syria and Iraq on intelligence and security cooperation to counter Islamic State, which has captured large areas of both Syria and Iraq.

        The move was seen in the region as potentially giving Moscow more sway in the Middle East.

        Russian President Vladimir Putin derided U.S. efforts to end the Syria war, which has driven a tide of refugees into neighboring states and Europe.

        He said Moscow, which this month sent tanks and warplanes to a Russian military base in Syria, was itself trying to create a "coordinated framework" to resolve the conflict.

        "We would welcome a common platform for collective action against the terrorists," Putin said in an interview on Sunday on CBS's "60 Minutes."

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      • France launches airstrikes against ISIS in Syria


        6 French jets destroyed ISIS training camp in eastern Syria without casualties, president says


            The Associated Press    Posted: Sep 27, 2015

      • France has carried out its first airstrikes in Syria, expanding its military operations against Islamic State extremists, President Francois Hollande's office announced Sunday. The strikes make good on a promise to go after the group that the president has said is planning attacks against several countries, including France.


        Hollande's office said that "France has hit Syria" based on information from French reconnaissance flights sent earlier this month. It did not provide further details.


        "Our nation will strike each time our national security is at stake," the presidential statement said.

      • France has carried out 215 airstrikes against ISIS extremists in Iraq as part of the U.S.-led coalition since last year, the defence ministry said earlier this month. But it previously held back on engaging in Syria, citing concern of playing into President Bashar al-Assad's hand and the need for such action to be covered by international law.


        Following a change in strategy announced by Hollande earlier this month, his office on Sunday cited "legitimate defence" evoked in the UN Charter to support the move. Hollande, who has ruled out sending ground troops into Syria, has cited "proof" of plans for attacks on France and the growing danger to Syrian civilians, with a large chunk of the population fleeing in a massive exodus.


        The president's office reiterated on Sunday the French argument that airstrikes in Syria were a question of national defence. France has already been attacked by extremists claiming ties to ISIS.


        Prime Minister Manuel Valls said France was going after ISIS "sanctuaries where those who want to hit France are trained."


        The goal of the strikes is to "slow, break, stop if possible the penetration of Daesh," Gen. Vincent Desportes said on the iTele TV station, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

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      • Iraq to share intelligence with Russia, Iran and Syria


        Larger role for Russia in Middle East could spark competition with America


            Thomson Reuters    Posted: Sep 27, 2015

      • Iraq has said its military officials are engaged in intelligence and security co-operation in Baghdad with Russia, Iran and Syria to counter the threat from the Islamic State militant group, a pact that could raise concerns in Washington.


        A statement from the Iraqi military's joint operations command on Saturday said the cooperation had come "with increased Russian concern about the presence of thousands of terrorists from Russia undertaking criminal acts with [ISIS]."

      • The move could give Moscow more sway in the Middle East. It has stepped up its military involvement in Syria in recent weeks while pressing for Damascus to be included in international efforts to fight Islamic State, a demand Washington rejects.


        Russia's engagement in Iraq could mean increased competition for Washington from a Cold War rival as long-time enemy Iran increases its influence through Shia militia allies just four years after the withdrawal of U.S. troops.


        Russian news agency Interfax quoted a military diplomatic source in Moscow as saying the Baghdad co-ordination centre would be led on a rotating basis by officers of the four countries, starting with Iraq.


        The source added a committee might be created in Baghdad to plan military operations and control armed forces units in the fight against Islamic State.


        The Russian defence ministry declined to comment on the reports.

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      • Fri Sep 25, 2015 7:39pm EDT   
          Related:     World,   Syria   

        U.S.-trained Syrian rebels gave equipment to Nusra: U.S. military

      • Syrian rebels trained by the United States gave some of their equipment to the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front in exchange for safe passage, a U.S. military spokesman said on Friday, the latest blow to a troubled U.S. effort to train local partners to fight Islamic State militants.

        The rebels surrendered six pick-up trucks and some ammunition, or about one-quarter of their issued equipment, to a suspected Nusra intermediary on Sept. 21-22 in exchange for safe passage, said Colonel Patrick Ryder, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, in a statement.

      • "If accurate, the report of NSF members providing equipment to al Nusra Front is very concerning and a violation of Syria train and equip program guidelines," Ryder said, using an acronym for the rebels, called the New Syrian Forces.

        U.S. Central Command, which oversees U.S. military operations in the Middle East, was told of the equipment surrender around 1 p.m. on Friday, Ryder said. Earlier on Friday, Ryder had said all weapons and equipment issued to the rebels remained under their control.


        The news was the most recent sign of trouble in a fledgling military effort to train fighters to take on the Islamic State militant group in Syria, where a 4-1/2-year civil war has killed about 250,000 people and caused nearly half of Syria's prewar population of 23 million to flee.


        A top U.S. general told Congress last week that only a handful of the rebels are still fighting in Syria, though U.S. military officials said this week that dozens more have since joined them.

        U.S. officials have told Reuters that a review is underway that could result in scaling back and reenvisioning the program.

      • Thu Sep 24, 2015 1:58am EDT   
          Related:     World,   Russia,   Syria   

        Putin plans air strikes in Syria if no U.S. deal reached: Bloomberg

      • Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing for unilateral air strikes against Islamic State in Syria if the United States rejects his proposal to join forces, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing two people familiar with the matter.

        Russia has increased its military presence inside Syria and its arms supplies to the Syrian army as it steps up support of longtime ally President Bashar al-Assad, drawing warnings of further destabilization from Western countries that oppose Assad.

        A Russian diplomatic source told Reuters on Wednesday that Moscow sees a growing chance to reach international agreement on fighting terrorism in Syria and end the crisis that has stretched into its fifth year.

        Bloomberg reported that Putin's preferred course of action was for the U.S. government and its allies to agree to coordinate their campaign against Islamic State militants with Russia, Iran and the Syrian army. It cited a person close to the Kremlin and an adviser to the Defense Ministry in Moscow.

      • Bloomberg cited a third person as saying Putin's proposal called for a "parallel track" of joint military action accompanied by a political transition away from Assad, a key U.S. demand. Russia has communicated the proposal to the United States, according to the news service.

        But one source told Bloomberg that Putin was frustrated with U.S. reticence to respond and was ready to act alone in Syria if necessary.

      • Criminals, ISIL sympathizers and pretenders ditch identities to enter Europe posing as Syrian refugees


         By Souad Mekhennet and William Booth, Washington Post September 23, 2015
      • VIENNA — Moving among the tens of thousands of Syrian war refugees passing through the train stations of Europe are many who are neither Syrian nor refugees, but hoping to blend into the mass migration and find a back door to the West.

        There are well-dressed Iranians speaking Farsi who insist they are members of the persecuted Yazidis of Iraq. There are Indians who don’t speak Arabic but say they are from Damascus. There are Pakistanis, Albanians, Egyptians, Kosovars, Somalis and Tunisians from countries with plenty of poverty and violence, but no war.

      • It should come as no surprise that many migrants seem to be pretending they are someone else. The prize, after all, is the possibility of benefits, residency and work in Europe.

        Leaders in Germany and other European states say they are prepared to award asylum to legitimate refugees from countries such as Syria, Iraq and Eritrea, but they are issuing more strident warnings they will reject many of the economic migrants streaming over their borders.

        “What we see here has nothing to do with seeking refuge and safety,” Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said Monday. “It is nothing but opportunism.”

        Many of the asylum seekers tell journalists and aid workers they are from Syria, even if they are not, under the assumption that a Syrian shoemaker fleeing bombed out Aleppo will be welcome, while a computer programmer from Kosovo will not be.

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        The Obama Two-Step on Syria

      • It was a pathetic spectacle, another black face in a high place in the person of General Lloyd J. Austin III, head of the United States Central Command, came before the Senate’s Armed Services Committee to report to incredulous members that the 500 million dollar program to train 5000 so-called moderate rebels in Syria had only resulted in the training of a few dozen.


        He went on to report that of that number, half had already been either captured, or some say “integrated,” into the al-Qaeda’s official Syrian affiliate, the al-Nusra Front, leaving just four or five individuals in what must be a record for the most expensive training process in human history.

      • With howls of criticism coming from right-wing democrats and republicans, the impression developing in congress and the general public is that similar to the debacle that Iraq and Afghanistan became for George Bush, Syria is Obama’s foreign policy disaster.


        Strangely however, while General Austin was falling on his sword on front of the Senate committee, spokespersons for Barack Obama were busy telling anyone who would listen that President Obama could not be blamed for the calamity unfolding in Syria.


        The White House claimed that it is not to blame on the training issue. In what some are calling his “the devil made me do it” defense, Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary argued that the finger should be pointed at those who convinced President Obama to get directly involved in training Syrian rebels, including by implication the former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

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      • New WikiLeaks Document Suggests US May Have Played Role in Creation of ISIS

         1 min ago
      • The United States bills itself as a peacemaker, but a newly released WikiLeaks document could point to the country having played a significant role in the heightening of tensions between the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and Syrian rebels in the Middle Eastern nation, Al Bawaba English reports.

        The alleged document is a telegram sent from Damascus by US Ambassador William Roebuck in 2006. It detailed specific plans for destabilizing Syria five years before the bloody conflict even began.

        Despite the cable having been classified as “secret,” the US hasn’t been shy making known how much it disapproves of Assad. Since 1979, Syria has been listed as a “state sponsor of terrorism.” But a painstaking analysis of the document reveals there may be some truth to the conspiracy theories linking the American government to the creation of the Islamic State group.

      • The report broke down “possible actions” the US could have taken in Syria, including encouraging “rumors and signals of external plotting,” using the media to cause “Bashar personal angst and may lead him to act irrationally” and “highlighting failures of reform.” The strategies all seem to have in common a disregard for the Syrian people and their quality of life.

        One proposed action in particular should raise a few eyebrows: “play on Sunni fears of Iranian influence.” If the US proceeded with this plan, it could have played a role in the rise of ISIS.

        WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in his new book, “The WikiLeaks Files,” delves into the US empire and its involvement in Syria. He suggests America intended to overthrow the Syrian government long before the civil uprising began in 2011, according to RT News.

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