World View: Russia Uses the ‘Grozny Model’ to Pursue Mass Slaughter in Aleppo

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Italy rescues 8,000 migrants in 5 days crossing Mediterranean Sea from Libya
  • US military in Libya launches airstrikes against ISIS
  • Russia uses the ‘Grozny Model’ to pursue mass slaughter in Aleppo Syria

Italy rescues 8,000 migrants in 5 days crossing Mediterranean Sea from Libya

Refugee rescue operation by Marina Militaire (Italian Navy)
Refugee rescue operation by Marina Militaire (Italian Navy)

More than 1,500 migrants were rescued on Sunday off the coast of Libya by Italy’s coast guard. That brings to 8,000 the number that were rescued in five days.

The EU-Turkey refugee deal has dramatically decreased the number of migrants traveling from Turkey to Greece across the Aegean Sea, but the flow of migrants from Libya to Italy is still continuing at full speed. Since the beginning of this year, Italy’s coast guard has recued 94,000 migrants off the coast of Libya, while 3,000 have died attempting the trip. RTE (Ireland)

US military in Libya launches airstrikes against ISIS

The US military has opened up a new front against the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh), this time in Libya. The US is already fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

The airstrikes come at the request of Libya’s “Government of National Accord” (GNA).

As we reported in January, Western countries felt that it was urgent to mount a military action in Libya by the beginning of March. ( “6-Jan-16 World View — US, Britain, France preparing new Libya military offensive early in 2016”) However, this military action was delayed because Italy, Libya’s former colonial power, has always insisted that Libya’s government had to approve any Western military action before it could occur. This has been impossible, since there are two major governments in Libya, one in Tripoli in charge of western Libya and one in Tobruk in charge of eastern Libya. There are also nearly 2,000 militias running different parts of Libya.

The United Nations approved Government of National Accord (GNA), which has been meeting in Tripoli, but has received only lukewarm support from the government in Tobruk. However, it now appears that the GNA has resolved its internal disputes at least partially, to the extent of permitting the US airstrikes, although there have been previous airstrikes not approved by the GNA.

Monday’s attack was the third element, Operation Odyssey Lightning, of a three-phase series of operations against ISIS, planned and controlled by the US military’s AFRICOM (Africa Command). The first element of this three-phase plan was Operation Odyssey Resolve, consisting of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance flights designed to counter violent extremism in Libya. The second phase, Operation Junction Serpent, provided targeting information. The third phase, which began over the weekend, includes strike aircraft hitting those targets.

Few details were given about future US military plans in Libya, and no end date for the airstrikes was provided. The airstrikes may signal the start of a U.S. broader mission to support the Libyan government. Military Times and Reuters and Long War Journal

Russia uses the ‘Grozny Model’ to pursue mass slaughter in Aleppo Syria

Russia’s air force is bombing hospitals and civilian neighborhoods in Aleppo in order to drive civilians out of the city into refugee camps. Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said that people staying behind will be treated as terrorists:

We believe that those who remain in the positions occupied by… terrorists, despite numerous months of calls to leave [the areas], don’t differ much from terrorists.

There are hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, including women and children, living in Aleppo, and no more than a few dozen have been leaving. Russia wants to drive civilians out of Aleppo into refugee camps where they’ll be vulnerable to further air strikes. As we wrote in February, Russia is following a policy used against Grozny in the 1990s war against Chechnya. ( “19-Feb-16 World View — Russia’s attacks on civilian hospitals in Aleppo follow the ‘Grozny model'”)

Under this policy, Russia bombs schools, hospitals and civilian neighborhoods, in order to create a refugee crisis, and to empty the urban residential areas. Once that is achieved, heavy weapons can be deployed to eradicate the remaining population, entailing widespread destruction of homes and infrastructure.

Flattening Aleppo, killing hundreds of thousands of people, and taking control of the ashes of Aleppo would still be an enormous victory for Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad who began a genocidal policy of exterminating Sunni Muslims in Syria after they began peaceful demonstrations at the beginning of the “Arab Spring” in 2011.

Fifteen years ago, the United Nations called Grozny, Chechnya, “the most destroyed city on earth.” In the aftermath of the destruction of Grozny, Russia rebuilt the city frenetically so that its destruction would be forgotten. But now, Russia apparently plans to make Aleppo the new most destroyed city on earth. Russia Today and Daily Beast and BBC (3-Mar-2007)

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Libya, Italy, Turkey, Greece, Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, Government of National Accord, GNA, Syria, Chechnya, Grozny, Aleppo, Sergey Lavrov, Russia
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