The Security Council met on 8 October 2016 to debate not only the Franco-Spanish proposition for a Resolution concerning Syria, but also a Russian counter-proposition. Without surprise, the two texts were rejected by vetos – by Russia for the first, and by the Atlantist block for the second.
It is the first time in the history of the Council that such a situation has presented itself.
The French proposition was aimed at preventing Syria and Russia from applying Resolution 2249 which «…. asks all member states (…) to redouble their efforts and coordinate their actions in order to prevent and suppress acts of terrorism committed in particular by the EIIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), also known as Daech, as well as by the Al-Nusra Front, and all other individuals, groups, businesses and entities associated with Al-Qaïda». In contradictory fashion, the French text referred to the Russo-US agreement concerning the cessation of hostilities (according to which the United States undertook to separate the moderate rebels from the extremist jihadists), while at the same time forbidding the bombing of the extremists, and also imposing a no-fly zone not only over East Aleppo, but also West Aleppo.
The Russian proposition also referred to the cessation of hostilities agreement, but saluted the application of Resolution 2249 against the jihadists.
Closing the episode of the cessation of hostilities, the Jund al-Aqsa group (an off-shoot of Al-Qaïda; and therefore considered by all as «extremist») has officially joined the Jabhat Fateh al-Cham (a new title for the Al-Nusra Front after its mutually agreed separation from Al-Qaïda).
Blaming NATO, the Russian representative Vitali Tchourkine heckled his colleagues, declaring – «The permanent representative of the United Kingdom has just pathetically shouted “Stop now!” He’s right. You must immediately stop supporting all sorts of riff-raff all over the world, whether they are extremists, terrorists or any other groups who amuse themselves by destabilising the situation in one country or another. Generally speaking, stop sticking your noses into the affairs of other sovereign states, give up your colonial habits, and leave the world in peace. That would help to clean up the situation in several areas of the world».
From his side, the representative from Syria, Bachar Jafari, continued – «For the last six years,the United States, France and the United Kingdom have been referring to the Council in one session after another, sponsoring projects for declarations which are only intended to confuse public opinion and give the impression that they are seeking to solve the crisis in my country».
China voted for the Russian proposition, but preferred to abstain rather than oppose its veto to the French proposition.
These crossed vetos sparked discussion, loosening the tongues of many political representatives, such as the German Minister for Foreign Affairs, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. In an interview with Bild, he warned his compatriots of the risk of World War.
However, no-one in Syria believes that Washington will follow through with its threats to bomb the country, or at least its army. The liberation of Syria continues, in particular with the progressively evident retreat of the jihadists in Aleppo.
Simultaneously, the situation in Iraq has become increasingly tense. Baghdad does not seem to be on the same wavelength as the International anti-Daesh Coalition concerning the liberation of Mosul, which is currently occupied by the jihadists. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sowed a number of explicit unspoken messages on the Saudi TV channel RotanaTV (property of Prince Walid Ben Talal, the unofficial Saudi ambassador in Israël). Then, repeating his comments to the Turkish daily Sabah, he announced that once Mosul was liberated from the jihadists, its population would remain the same as it was after the ethnic cleansing perpetrated by Daesh – in other words, exclusively Sunni. Besides this, he stated that despite the opposition from Baghdad, Turkey would be maintaining its troops in place, because it had historic rights to the city.
Many Iraqis have interpreted these uncompromising declarations as the announcement of a possible Turkish occupation of the city, following its occupation by Daesh.
In Sanaa, an unidentified missile killed 140 Yemenis who had come to celebrate the period of mourning for the father of the Minister for the Interior. General Jalal al-Rouichene had been nominated to this post by President Abd Rabbo Mansour Had. He remained at his post in the government set up by the Houthi revolutionaries, and is thus considered a traitor by the Saudis. Suspected to have been the origin of the attack, Saudi Arabia denied its implication, and affirms that it did not bomb Sanaa on that day. But the communiqué from Riyadh does not exonerate Saudi Arabia’s allies, who are also participating in the war on Yemen.
Extension of the conflict
Thierry Meyssan continues his narration of the war which sets Washington and its allies against the rest of the world. Egypt has entered the fight. Israël has attacked Syria. Turkey maintains its troops in Iraq, despite protestations from Baghdad. We are heading towards a fifth Russo-Chinese veto at the Security Council against the French initiative.
The Russian Minister for Defence, Sergueï Choïgou, has published an assessment of Russian military actions in Syria. In the space of one year, he confirms- «… they have liberated 586 localities and more than 12,000 square kilometres of territory, eliminated approximately 35,000 terrorists, including more than 2,700 from Russia and the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries». He opposed these results to those of the United States, who, while they claim to be fighting terrorists, are in fact supporting them against the Syrian Arab Republic.
The Douma unanimously adopted the Russo-Syrian agreement authorising the deployement of the Russian Air Force on the Syrian base at Hmeimim, and this for an unlimited duration. This text had been secretly signed in August 2015, and was only presented to the Douma in order to make the Russian position public. The Douma specified that Russian military presence in the Levant is indispensable to the fight against terrorism.
Simultaneously, we saw the start of the greatest Russo-Egyptian military exercises since the time of Gamal Abdel Nasser. The Russian chiefs of staff indicated that these manœuvres would enable the coordination of the two armies in their struggle against the jihadists, notably in the desert. By doing so, Russia has officialised its military deployment in Egypt, as well as Syria and Yemen (even if their presence in Yemen is for the moment unofficial).
Several US Generals have revealed that the situation has never been so serious since the Korean war. According to them, a confrontation between the United States and Russia would be brief, but of an amplitude never before equalled in History. General Mark A. Milley, chief of staff of the land army, has affirmed that the opposing Navy and Air Forces would cancel one another out, and that the bloodiest combats would take place on the ground. Ambassador Charles W. Freeman, Jr. has warned against taking action when the United States and Russia have so far managed to avoid nuclear war.
The PKK, in other words the Turkish Kurds, have taken advantage of the situation to re-occupy Jarabulus, in the North of Syria. Turkey denounces the Iraqi protestations directed against it, but refuses to withdraw its troops from Iraqi territory, asserting that only the presence of Turkish soldiers was contested by Baghdad, while about thirty states are deployed in their country.
Above all, assuming that Washington and Moscow were too occupied by their confrontation to intervene, the Israëli army attacked the area adjacent to the occupied Golan Plateau.
In August 2014, Tel-Aviv forced the expulsion of the Blue Helmets, the United Nations Disengagement Observer Forces (UNDOF), and replaced them with jihadists from Al-Qaïda. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had his photo taken with some of the 500 jihadists being treated at the Ziv Medical Centre. He declared in June 2016 that he would never restitute Golan to its Syrian owner. Judging this to be a step too far, the United States and Russia agreed to write a project for a Resolution calling for Israël to cease its support for terrorists and allow the UNO to re-assume its mission. The Resolution was to be published in August, but the project did not survive the deterioration of relations between Moscow and Washington.
The Israëli artillery bombarded all afternoon, as did their Air Force, which fired on Syrian territory from Israëli airspace. The jihadists operated under the cover thus provided.
In the case where Israël and the jihadists should manage to open a corridor between the Syrian demilitarised zone and the farms of the Lebanese Chebaa, it would become possible to extend the war to South Lebanon. The Kurdish populations of this area, loyal to Prince Talal Arslan and the Syrian Arab Republic, rather than Walid Joumblatt, would run the risk of being exterminated by the jihadists.
At the diplomatic level, the United States have asked for the opening of an enquiry about the Syro-Russian offensive against the jihadists in East Aleppo for «war crimes». The representative of the Secretary General for Syria, Steffan de Mistura, has proposed guaranteeing the safety of combatants if they decide to leave East Aleppo for Idleb, thereby interrupting the battle and saving civilians. But this compromise (inspired by the Director of Political Affairs for the UNO, Jeffrey Feltman, on behalf of Washington) was rejected by France.
After consultation with Israël, Paris decided not to integrate the amendments that its Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Marc Ayrault, had negociated with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, and to present his project on Saturday at the Security Council. Mr. Ayrault will personally visit New York to defend his text.
The French project plans to ban all bombardement of East Aleppo, whether by artillery or aviation, and to forbid any flight over the city by military aircraft. Russia immediately confirmed that it would veto the motion. We do not yet know the Chinese position, but it is possible that we will see the fifth joint veto by Moscow and Beijing on the NATO initiatives concerning Syria, which would then become the greatest subject of international friction since the Second World War. This blockage could call into question the future of the United Nations.
Can a World War still be avoided?
Events around the Syrian crisis are accelerating, and reveal the depth of the conflict between the Atlantist camp and the Russo-Chinese block. After having observed the growing risk of a generalised war – conventional or even nuclear – Thierry Meyssan analyses the manœuvres of the United States and Russia’s responses to them.
After the destruction of the pride of the Emirati Navy on 1 October, the armies of the Gulf petro-dictatorships are hesitating to continue the war with the Syrian Arab Republic on their own. It is clear to everyone that the ground-sea missile which destroyed the wave-piercing catamaran is an extremely sophisticated weapon, the like of which has never yet been seen on any battlefield. It was not fired by the Houthis, nor by the partisans of ex-President Saleh, who do not possess weapons of this order, but by Russia, which has been secretly present in Yemen since the summer.
The idea of a coordination of jihadists with their local allies alone, without the intervention of the United States, is all the more difficult to imagine since the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Qatar has consistently sabotaged the previous stages of the war.
Washington is therefore seriously considering the only remaining option – direct military confrontation.
The United States have solicited the 64 States and the 3 international institutions which have joined their so-called anti-Daesh Coalition in order to launch an attack against Damascus. In practise, only Canada, France, Holland and the United Kingdom are present. The idea is to fire cruise missiles on Damascus and Lattakia, and to bomb the Syrian Arab Army. This project was announced to members of NATO during the Atlantic Council of 27 September. It was supported by Senator John McCain in the Wall Street Journal.
This operation implies the reorganisation of the on-going preparations for the liberation of Mosul in Iraq, currently occupied par Daesh. Everyone already knows that the real objective of this Coalition is not as announced, but is directed at changing the occupant in Mosul. It is not aimed at putting genuine Iraqi representatives in power, nor its historical inhabitants, but only Sunni Iraqis, in order to create a «Sunnistan». The Coalition has not bombed Daesh, but did not hesitate to annihilate – «by accident» – a militia composed of Shia volunteers who had come, unlike the Coalition, to deliver the city from obscurantism. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gave the game away by declaring to the newspaper Sabah that once Mosul was liberated, the city would belong to its inhabitants, «… and only Sunni Arabs, Turkmen and Sunni Kurds can stay». In other words, the Coalition proposes to finish the job that Washington had handed to Daesh. Its true objective is to endorse the ethnic cleansing practised by the jihadists, notably the expulsion or the massacre of Christians and Yazidi Kurds, in order to create a religiously homogeneous state. Just as we have already announced several times, Daesh will have to migrate from Mosul to al-Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, the same way that they evacuated Jarabulus faced with the Turkish army, without putting up a fight.
Reacting to the project for the bombing of the Syrian Arab Republic, Russia revealed the installation in Syria of air defence batteries supplied with S-300 and S-400 missiles. According to Russian experts, these weapons are not only capable of destroying any aircraft in flight, including stealth aircraft, but also cruise missiles. Since this situation has never occurred on the battle-field, nobody knows whether or not the statement is true. But over the centuries, the Russians have never lied about the performance of their weaponry.
This announcement raised a huge stir in Israël, since their experts are now persuaded that it was Russian weapons that shot down one of their aircraft and damaged another when Tsahal violated the cessation of hostilities on 13 September, during Aïd. The Israëli chief of staff declared that Israël had lost airborne dominance both in Syria and in Lebanon.
The United States responded by ordering the jihadists to bomb the Russian embassy in Damascus. Russia announced the arrival in the Mediterranean of three new warships, while its aircraft carrier – expected in July – was already en route.
Aware of the risk of a nuclear war, France sent its Minister for Foreign Affairs to Moscow, who presented a project for a resolution concerning Aleppo, which he intends to register with the Security Council. This might be a way for the West to extricate itself from the confrontation without losing face. As I have not yet read the document, I can not comment on this project. However, the French Press is currently overflowing with articles about the crisis of Aleppo, all based on false ideas. Currently, the Western part of the city houses between 1.4 and 1.5 million inhabitants who are partisans of the Republic, and the Eastern part houses between 25,000 and 30,000 people. The ratio therefore concerns a population which is between 46 and 50 times greater, and not equal, as it has been suggested. It was the jihadists who shot the inhabitants of East Aleppo when they attempted to flee during the Aïd cease-fire. It was they who burned the humanitarian convoy of the Syrian Red Crescent, destined for the civilian populations they were holding hostage in Aleppo. After having offered the possibility for all residents of East Aleppo, whether civilians or combatants, Syrian or foreigners, to leave the city during Aïd, the Syrian army and its Lebanese, Russian and Iranian allies launched an operation against the jihadists at the risk of also killing the civilians whom the jihadists were holding as hostages. This was done in application of Resolution 2249 of 20 November 2015, which asks UNO members to «… put an end to the acts of terrorism committed in particular by the EIIL, also known as Daesh, as well as by the al-Nusra Front and all other individuals, groups, businesses and entities associated with Al-Qaida ».
The Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, informed his French counterpart, Jean-Marc Ayrault, of several amendments that he wished to see included in the project for a resolution. He proposed a return to the terms of the agreement for the cessation of hostilities during Aïd. But it is unlikely that these amendments will be accepted by Washington, since that would entail admitting that there are no moderate rebels in Syria. The project – amended or not – will be presented to the Security Council on Saturday. President Putin is to visit France on 19 October.