Sunday, October 4, 2015
Russia to intensify Syria airstrikes against IS
|News | 04.10.2015 | 11:31|
Xinhua - Russia's air forces will intensify airstrikes against the posts of extremist group Islamic State (IS) in Syria, a senior military official said Saturday.
"We will not only continue conducting our airstrikes, but will also increase their intensity," Andrey Kartapolov, deputy chief of the General Staff of Russian Armed Forces told reporters.
The primary targets are IS command points, ammunition and explosives depots, communication hubs, workshops to produce weapons and militant training camps, he said.
Russia's aircraft have carried out more than 60 missions and destroyed over 50 IS facilities during the round-the-clock airstrikes, he said.
"Over the past 72 hours, we have managed to undermine the material and technical base of terrorists and significantly reduce their combat potential," Interfax news agency quoted Kartapolov as saying.
He added that reconnaissance units obtained information of terrorists leaving districts under their control.
Meanwhile, the official stressed that all relevant countries were informed of Russia's airstrikes in advance, and that the U.S. confirmed to Russian side that there were only terrorists in the airstrike regions.
Moscow started the airstrikes which it said were targeting IS forces and fighting terrorism, but U.S. leaders are skeptical of that.
Kartapolov called on other countries to coordinate anti-terrorism activities, noting that the information and coordination center could be used as the sharing channel.
The center was jointly established by Russia, Syria, Iran and Iraq with its headquarters in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.
Any useful information about the IS group's facilities on the territory of Syria and Iraq is expected to be shared by any country, Kartapolov said.
"(The center) remains open to dialogue with all countries concerned and welcomes any constructive contribution," he said.
|EDITOR'S CHOICE | 04.10.2015 | 11:37|
Amply documented but rarely mentioned in news reports, the ISIS is a creation of US intelligence, recruited, trained and financed by the US and its allies including Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Israel and Jordan.
Until recently, the ISIS was known as Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). In 2014, it was renamed the Islamic State (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).
Russia is Now Involved in the War on Terrorism
A major turning point in the dynamics of the Syria-Iraq war is unfolding. Russia is now directly involved in the counter-terrorism campaign in coordination with the Syrian and Iraqi governments.
While Washington has acknowledged Moscow’s resolve, Obama is now complaining that the Russians are targeting the “good guy terrorists” who are supported by Washington.
From the Horse’s Mouth
According to the Wall Street Journal:
One important piece of unspoken information conveyed in this WSJ report is that the CIA is supporting terrorists as a means to triggering “regime change” in Syria, implying the conduct of covert intelligence operations within Syrian territory:
“The U.S. spy agency has been arming and training rebels in Syria since 2013 to fight the Assad regime (WSJ, September 30, 2015 emphasis added, author’s note: covert support to the terrorists was provided from the outset of the war in March 2011)
The above statement is something which is known and documented but which has barely been acknowledged by the mainstream media.
Al Nusra: “Good Guy Terrorists”
While the Pentagon now candidly acknowledges that the CIA is supporting Al Qaeda affiliated groups inside Syria, including Al Nusra, it nonetheless deplores the fact that Russia is allegedly targeting the “good guy terrorists”, who are supported by Washington:
One of the [Russian] airstrikes hit an area primarily held by rebels backed by the Central Intelligence Agency and allied spy services, U.S. officials said, …
Among seven areas that Syrian state media listed as targets of Russian strikes, only one—an area east of the town of Salamiyah in Hama province—has a known presence of Islamic State fighters. The other areas listed are largely dominated by moderate rebel factions or Islamist groups such as Ahrar al-Sham and the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front. (WSJ, September 30, 2015 emphasis added)
Affiliated to Al Qaeda, Al Nusra is a US sponsored ”jihadist” terrorist organization which has been responsible for countless atrocities. Since 2012, AQI and Al Nusra — both supported by US intelligence– have been working hand in glove in various terrorist undertakings within Syria.
In recent developments, the Syrian government has identified its own priority areas for the Russian counter-terrorism air campaign, which consists essentially in targeting Al Nusra. Al Nusra is described as the terrorist arm of the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
While Washington has categorized Al Nusra as a terrorist organization (early 2012), it nonetheless provides support to both Al Nusra and it’s so-called “moderate rebels” in the form of weapons, training, logistical support, recruitment, etc. This support is channeled by America’s Persian Gulf allies, including Qatar and Saudi Arabia as well as through Turkey and Israel.
Ironically, The UN Security Council in a May 2012 decision “blacklisted Syria’s al-Nusra Front as an alias of al-Qaeda in Iraq”, namely the ISIL:
a decision that will subject the group to sanctions including an arms embargo, travel ban and assets freeze, diplomats said.
The US mission to the United Nations said none of the 15 council members objected to adding al-Nusra as an alias of al-Qaeda in Iraq on Thursday.
Al-Nusra, one of the most effective forces fighting President Bashar al-Assad, last month pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri. (Al Jazeera, May 2012)
And now Russia is being blamed for targeting a terrorist entity which is not only on the UN Security Council blacklist but which has ties to the Islamic State (ISIS).
What is the significance of these accusations?
While the media narrative acknowledges that Russia has endorsed the counter-terrorism campaign, in practice Russia is (indirectly) fighting the US-NATO coalition by supporting the Syrian government against the terrorists, who happen to be the foot soldiers of the Western military alliance, with Western mercenaries and military advisers within their ranks. In practice, what Russia is doing is fighting terrorists who are supported by the US.
The forbidden truth is that by providing military aid to both Syria and Iraq, Russia is (indirectly) confronting America.
Moscow will be supporting both countries in their proxy war against the ISIL which is supported by the US and its allies.
Russian Operation in Syria Complies with International Law
|Alexander MEZYAEV | 04.10.2015 | 00:00|
On Sept. 30 Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the commencement of Russian military operations in Syria. One of the most important premises of the president’s speech was found in his statement that Russia is taking part in this anti-terror operation with strict regard for international law. Let us take a closer look at the legal aspects of Russia’s actions.
First of all, we should say a few words about the legitimacy of the actions taken by Russia’s leaders in terms of Russian domestic law.
In accordance with Article 10 of the Federal law «On Defense» (1996), the armed forces of the Russian Federation may be utilized to carry out tasks in accordance with the Russian Federation’s international treaties. They may be deployed under the conditions and in the manner stipulated in those treaties and established by the legislation of the Russian Federation.
The involvement of Russia in military operations in Syria stems from the need to combat terrorism. This kid of operations are regulated by Article 4 of the Federal Law«On Countering Terrorism» (2006), and the Russian Federation is working in accordance with that law to counter terrorism, along with foreign states and their law-enforcement agencies and security services, as well as with international organizations. Article 5 of that law gives the President of Russia the right to make decisions in the prescribed manner to deploy units of the armed forces of the Russian Federation, as well as special operations detachments, outside the borders of the Russian Federation in order to prevent terrorist activities. This law couples the country’s national interests with the fight against terrorism beyond Russia’s borders.
While announcing the launch of operations in Syria, Putin emphasized that there are a considerable number of Russian expatriates in the ranks of the Islamic State (IS) and that «if they succeed in Syria, they will inevitably return to their own countries, including Russia». Vladimir Putin also noted that those fighting as part of IS include «thousands of people» from «Europe, Russia, and the countries of the former Soviet Union», and the President’s chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov, has claimed that this number «is growing not by the day but by the hour». Hence the need for proactive steps. «Many may have forgotten», claimed Ivanov, «but in the early 90s, we did almost the same thing in Tajikistan».
According to the Russian Constitution, the Russian President may deploy the armed forces of the Russian Federation outside the borders of the Russian Federation only with the consent of the Federation Council. Such consent was given on Sept. 30 by a unanimous vote. We also note that the Chairman of the Federation Council has stated that not only were federal requirements obeyed, but also internal statutes – in particular, the issue received a preliminary discussion at a meeting of the three committees of the upper house – the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs, the Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security, and the Federation Council Committee on Constitutional Law. The meeting on the issue was held behind closed doors, but it is also explicitly stipulated by the Regulations of the Federation Council.
And both the request of the President of the Russian Federation, as well as the Federation Council’s decree, specify that any contingent of the Russian armed forces in Syria be deployed on the basis of universally recognized principles and norms of international law. This phrase means that not only the very decision to utilize the armed forces of the Russian Federation, but also the actions of the Russian forces, are bound by the provisions of such vitally important international legal documents as the Geneva Convention and other statutes of international humanitarian law.
All of the above applies to the domestic aspect of the legal basis for deploying the armed forces of the Russian Federation in Syria.
Second, Russia’s actions are in full compliance with the fundamental principles of modern international law and, above all, the principle of state sovereignty. Russian military assistance to Syria is provided based on a request received from the legitimate government of the Syrian Arab Republic.
The launch of the Russian military operation in Syria coincided with a special session of the UN Security Council (UNSC) devoted to the fight against international terrorism. Preparations for that meeting were made in August, when Russia circulated its policy brief on the problems associated with the fight against terrorism. At the same time, Russia’s entrance into the fight against international terrorism in Syria should be evaluated within the context of that UNSC session, since it was during that meeting that Russia proposed a draft UNSC resolution on the establishment of an international coalition to battle the Islamic State in Syria. That draft was presented by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
The Russian draft of the UNSC resolution contains three main ideas. First, there is the suggestion to unite the efforts of those who are able to make a real contribution to the fight against terrorism (Iraq, Syria, the Kurdish militia, armed detachments of the patriotic Syrian opposition, etc.). There is a particular emphasis that the UN Security Council should be responsible for coordinating these efforts. It is interesting to note that the Russian draft proposes the creation of an agency that has existed on paper since 1945, but which has still not been created – the UN Military Staff Committee. Second, the Russian draft stipulates that inter-Syrian dialog be revitalized, based on the Geneva Communiqué of June 30 2012. Finally, the third major idea in the Russian draft is the provision of inclusive and balanced external support for the political process, which would involve Russia, China, the US, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, the UAE, Jordan, Qatar, and the EU.
Russia’s opponents may point to the fact that the military operation began, not after its approval by the UN Security Council, but at the same time that the draft resolution supporting that operation was introduced within the UNSC. Here it is important to keep two factors in mind. First, the legality of the Russian operation is not based on a UNSC resolution (which can be adopted or not), but on a request received from the legitimate government of Syria. Second, Russia is trying to also steer the actions of Western countries in Syria onto a legal course. Today a number of countries (the US, Australia, and France) are already using their combat aircraft to attack IS positions.
The Russian President has clearly stated that the fight against international terrorism must be conducted solely in strict compliance with international law. This means – within the framework of UN Security Council resolutions or at the request of the country in need of military assistance. The Western nations that are currently in Syria have neither of those. Nevertheless, Russia has stated that it considers it possible and feasible to unite the efforts of all interested states in order to fight against international terrorism and to work together, based on the UN Charter.
Russian military assistance to Syria, which is in full compliance with domestic and international law, also represents an extremely important new phenomenon in international politics – namely, a daring attempt to halt the process of the destruction of the UN and to safeguard progressive international law.