World View: Russia’s ‘Humanitarian Pause’ in Syria Turns into Farce on First Day

Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks with President Bashar al-Assad during his first visit to Syria
Syrian Presidency Facebook page/AFP

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Russia’s ‘humanitarian pause’ in Syria turns into farce on first day
  • Report: North Korea is selling chemical weapons supplies to Syria
  • Areas of control in Syria and Iraq

Russia’s ‘humanitarian pause’ in Syria turns into farce on first day

Smoke rising from Eastern Ghouta after air strikes by Syrian and Russian warplanes during the ceasefire on Monday (AFP)
Smoke rising from Eastern Ghouta after air strikes by Syrian and Russian warplanes during the ceasefire on Monday (AFP)

We keep seeing the same horrible script played out over and over. What we have seen in the last few days is similar to what we have seen probably a dozen or so times in the UN Security Council in the last few years:

  • Russian and Syrian government warplanes sharply increased the frequency of bombing civilian targets in Eastern Ghouta, specifically targeting hospitals and food convoys.
  • The Syrian government has been freely using chemical weapons, including Sarin gas and chlorine gas. They do not even bother to try to hide it anymore.
  • UN officials, including Secretary-General António Guterres and US ambassador Nicki Haley, made the usual scripted remarks: “Condemn … war crimes … outrageous … not acceptable … must stop … immediate ceasefire … blah, blah, blah.” It is always the same script.
  • The members of the Security Council spent two weeks saying stupid things to one another, supposedly “negotiating” over a ceasefire. The US proposes a ceasefire, and the Russians continue to sabotage the “negotiations” because they really want to go on killing people, not have a ceasefire.
  • On Saturday they agreed to a farcical ceasefire resolution that the Russians had watered down enough to be meaningless. It called for a 30-day ceasefire, to start at some time in the future, but the Russians and Syrian government would still be allowed airstrikes on jihadists and terrorists in Eastern Ghouta, which means everyone, since Bashar al-Assad considers all of them to be jihadists and terrorists.
  • On Sunday, since the Russians want to prove that they are in charge, and they now control things in the Mideast, the Russians simply blew off the 30-day ceasefire resolution that they had agreed to. Instead, they announced that there would be a 5-hour ceasefire on Monday, from 9 am to 2 pm.
  • There was no ceasefire on Monday. The bombing and airstrikes and use of chlorine gas continued as before.
  • There was supposed to be a “humanitarian corridor” which a convoy could use to deliver food and medicines, and perform medical evacuations. But the fighting continued and the corridor was not safe enough for the humanitarian convoy.
  • It was supposed to be possible for civilians to flee Eastern Ghouta during the 5-hour ceasefire, and reach safety. However, no one left because no one trusted the Syrian government or the Russians to feel safe.

With regard to the last point, I have heard several interviews with civilians in Ghouta about whether they were going to take advantage of the opportunity to leave Ghouta. They all said pretty much the same thing, that they do not feel safe trying to do so.

This is not surprising, since they are all pretty much aware of what happened in late 2016 in Aleppo, and two of them actually mentioned that. Allowing civilians to leave is part of the Syrian-Russian strategy. Civilians were allowed to leave Aleppo, and travel to Idlib, where they were killed en masse by Syrian and Russian airstrikes.

In fact, I have described this strategy several times before. It is called the “Grozny model,” named after the capital city of Chechnya and the battle of Grozny. The Russians created a “safe zone” to allow civilians to escape the Grozny siege, and then killed them as they were escaping.

So in the end, this “ceasefire” in Eastern Ghouta is not a ceasefire at all and was never intended by the Russians to be a ceasefire. Instead, it provides political cover for an intensification of the war crimes against civilians. There are 400,000 people living in Ghouta, mostly women and children. There are at most 1,000 fighters who might be called “jihadists and terrorists.” Russia and Syria are going to use the 1,000 fighters as a reason to kill as many of the 400,000 civilians as they can.

An analogy in America would be if an American city contained some people from the Black Panthers or Black Lives Matter, then it would be OK, using the Syrian-Russian strategy, for the army and air force to exterminate hundreds of thousands of people in the black neighborhoods in that city, or maybe to permit some of them to escape, and then slaughter them as they leave.

In my lifetime, I have heard the words “Never again!” applied to the Nazi Holocaust. And I have heard the words “Never again!” applied to the Srebrenica genocide. And I have heard the words “Never again!” applied to the Rwanda genocide. But now it is happening again, just like it has happened before, but instead of stopping the genocide, the United States has become a tool to support the genocide, by having diplomats run around the Security Council and pass farcical ceasefire resolutions that provide cover for the genocide. It is truly astonishing. Sky News and NBC News and Reuters

Report: North Korea is selling chemical weapons supplies to Syria

According to an unreleased United Nations report, Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad is receiving supplies from North Korea for supplies to be used to manufacture chemical weapons. These supplies include acid-resistant tiles, valves, and thermometers.

We can assume that North Korea is selling this technology to Syria to make money and get around UN sanctions. We can also assume that either Iran or Russia is providing the money to Bashar al-Assad. Who knows? Maybe it is some of the money that Iran has gained from the removal of sanctions after signing the nuclear deal.

At any rate, we can be pretty certain that if North Korea is able to complete its development of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles, then it will sell that technology to any rogue state willing to pay for it. CNN and Axios

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Areas of control in Syria and Iraq

Map of Syria and Iraq showing areas of control (Deutsche Welle)
Map of Syria and Iraq showing areas of control (Deutsche Welle)

I wanted to reference this map because it is one of the best that I have seen, and easiest to understand what is going on.

There are several things that one can see from the map:

  • Eastern Ghouta is a small area near Damascus, and it is going to take months of massive slaughter to bring it under control. There are other larger regions under opposition control.
  • Idlib province, with 2.6 million civilians, could take many years to bring “under control,” and will require one of the greatest genocides in world history.
  • There are still substantial regions controlled by the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) in both Syria and Iraq. Right now, it is the American-backed Kurdish militias that are fighting ISIS, and without them, ISIS could rise again and regain its lost territory.
  • Kurds are in control of the entire region of Iraq and Syria along the border with Turkey, except for one tiny region near Afrin that is controlled by the Turkey-supported Free Syrian Army (FSA). The Kurds would like to make this entire region into an independent Kurdish state called Rojava. This would be an existential threat to Turkey, since a Kurdish-based terror group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), has been conducting an insurgency in Turkey for three decades, including a number of violent terrorist attacks. This is why Turkey is determined not to give up this little region controlled by the FSA.

As I have described before, there at least 14 armies and militias operating in Syria now: Syria, Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, Turkey, Free Syrian Army (FSA), Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), People’s Protection Units (YPG), Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Israel, United States, al-Qaeda linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), and the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh).

This is a country in complete chaos, with a war criminal and sociopathic genocidal leader, Bashar al-Assad, and with a proxy war that’s nowhere near ending.

As I have written many times, Generational Dynamics predicts that the Mideast is headed for a major regional war, pitting Sunnis versus Shias, Jews versus Arabs, and various ethnic groups against each other. Generational Dynamics predicts that in the approaching Clash of Civilizations world war, the “axis” of China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries will be pitted against the “allies,” the US, India, Russia and Iran. Deutsche Welle

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Syria, Ghouta, Russia, Bashar al-Assad, António Guterres, Nikki Haley, Aleppo. Grozny Model, Chechnya, North Korea, Turkey, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, HTS, Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Nusra Front, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, JFS, Front for the Conquest of Syria, Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, Eastern Ghouta, Hama, Idlib, barrel bombs, chlorine, Sarin gas, Kurds, People’s Protection Units, YPG, Afrin, Manbij, Rojava, Kurdistan Workers’ Party, PKK
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