U.S. tells Russia, “stop bombing al-Qaeda”, violates own UNSC resolution


Because America UN Security Council Resolution 2254 calls for a “ceasefire” in Syria. A “ceasefire”, unconditioned according to the resolution, would be for the whole country but would exclude certain groups:

[r]eiterates its call in resolution 2249 (2015) for Member States to prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed specifically by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh), Al-Nusra Front (ANF), and all other individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with Al Qaeda or ISIL, and other terrorist groups, […] and to eradicate the safe haven they have established over significant parts of Syria, and notes that the aforementioned ceasefire will not apply to offensive or defensive actions against these individuals, groups, undertakings and entities, as set forth in the 14 November 2015 ISSG Statement;

The resolution also underlines Syria’s sovereignty. The UNSC is:

Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic, and to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, …

The whole UNSC, including the U.S., France and Britain, agreed to this resolution.

But the U.S., France and the UK now want to erase these significant parts of the resolution.

  • They no longer want a ceasefire but only a “cessation of hostilities”.
  • They demand that under such a “cessation” all bombing of al-Nusra/al-Qaeda and its associated entities should stop.
  • They now want to ignore Syria’s just reaffirmed sovereignty.

The Saudis and its puppies in the Syrian opposition disagreed with the UNSC resolution. U.S. Secretary of State Kerry promptly blamed them for preventing a ceasefire but was then pulled back. In last week’s negotiations in Geneva Kerry took the Saudi position and thereby sabotaged any real ceasefire talk which would include much more than just a stop of firing. Kerry agreed only to a lower level “cessation of hostilities”. As the former Indian ambassador to Turkey M K Bhadrakumar remarks:

Whereas a ceasefire brings in legal obligations, which would commit the US to sit across the table and meet the Russian – and, more importantly, Syrian – military counterparts and draw up detailed modalities of implementation, UN Security Council supervision and so on, the ‘cessation of hostilities’ can be punctuated at will without breaking international law.

Meanwhile, US and its allies are keen to gain access to all nooks and corners of Syrian territory, which will eventually help to mobilize any military operations under Plan B, especially ground operations. The humanitarian missions provide the cover for reconnaissance and ground work.

The West has let loose a massive propaganda barrage against the Russian operations. Equally, the refugee crisis moulds the western opinion. The NATO is inching towards the conflict zone.

At any rate, a humanitarian intervention in Syria may be just what President Barrack Obama needs to salvage his reputation.

Bhadrakumar quotes Lavrov who was livid over this foul play which ignored the agreed upon UNSC Resolution.

U.S. rhetoric and propaganda over alleged Russian human rights violations in the war has since increased.

Despite Russia’s concern over the low level of a “cessation of hostilities”, it insisted on common meetings at the working level to lay out the rules for the “cessation”. The first meeting only took place yesterday, the day the “cessation” was originally supposed to begin.

It was the U.S., especially the Pentagon, that had dragged out the start of the talks. At the meeting the U.S. inserted a new condition, copied from the Saudis’ string puppet opposition, into the talks.

The U.S. now demands, contrary to the UNSC resolution, that the terrorist group al-Qaeda in Syria should no longer be fought.

The Washington Post reports of yesterday’s meeting:

The deadline for a cease-fire in Syria’s civil war came and went Friday, as joint diplomatic and military teams from the United States and Russia tried to agree on rules covering where the shooting would stop and where it would be allowed to continue.

“Everyone recognizes the complexity of this endeavor, and there is certainly a lot more work to do,” Kerry said in a statement. “These discussions have been serious and so far constructive, with a few tough issues still to resolve.”

Translation of Kerry’s diplomatese: “Let’s drag this out as looooong as possible.”

Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter was said to have opposed the high-level contact with the Russians, at least initially. But Kerry and others in the administration argued that the subject matter demanded military expertise.

Under the terms of the Munich deal, the United States and Russia are co-chairs of a task force to work out the terms of a cease-fire, including where airstrikes against “terrorist” groups are permitted to continue and how to resolve violations.

One of the many problems to be overcome is a differing definition of what constitutes a terrorist group. In addition to the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, Russia and Syria have labeled the entire opposition as terrorists.

Jabhat al-Nusra, whose forces are intermingled with moderate rebel groups in the northwest near the Turkish border, is particularly problematic. Russia was said to have rejected a U.S. proposal to leave Jabhat al-Nusra off-limits to bombing as part of a cease-fire, at least temporarily, until the groups can be sorted out.

Read that again. The U.S. supports opposition that “intermingles” with al-Qaeda? Are these not “entities associated with Al Qaeda” which the UNSC 2254 explicitly excludes from any ceasefire? And the U.S., which over the years killed thousands of civilians while droning alleged al-Qaeda personal, now demands that all bombing of al-Qaeda in Syria stops?

The breathtaking new U.S. condition to let al-Qaeda continue its slaughtering without interference is directly based on demands by the Saudis submitted through the Saudi controlled opposition.

That opposition today presented “new conditions” under which it would agree to the ceasefire. Hala Jaber, Sunday Times journalist in the Middle East, noted:

Hala Jaber Verified account @HalaJaber

#HNC leader #RiadHijab reached consent with rebel groups 4 “temporary ceasefires”, but only if certain conditions met

2/ New statement being made to sound as a break through when, in effect, it’s the same stance as pre #Geneva talks.

3/ Conditions entail:
1-Ceasefire 2 kickstart simultaneously by all sides
2-End of all siege
3-Provision of aid
4-Release of all prisoners.

Reuters later added:

A source close to peace talks earlier on Saturday told Reuters Syria’s opposition had agreed to a two- to three-week truce.

The truce would be renewable and supported by all parties except Islamic State, the source said. It would also be conditional on the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front no longer being targeted, at least to start with, the source said.

The Nusra Front is considered a terrorist organization by the U.N. Security Council and banned.

Asked if the opposition’s insistence on the Nusra Front no longer being targeted was the main stumbling block, he described it as “the elephant in the room”.

These are of course unacceptable pre-conditions which are not in line with UNSC 2254 which calls for a political process “in parallel” to a full ceasefire, not as precondition for a “temporary” “cessation”.

The foreign-sponsored terrorists in Syria are on the run and need a pause to resupply and reorganize. At the time they and their sponsors introduce demands that make any truce or “cessation of hostilities” impossible.

That the U.S. demand to stop bombing al-Qaeda is also hypocrisy squared. It yesterday bombed, without any base in international law, some houses in Libya and killed some 50 people including two Serbian diplomats. It alleges that some of these people belong to the Islamic State, formerly named al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Russia yesterday introduced a new resolution at the UNSC as a counteract to Turkish artillery fire which is hitting the Syrian Kurdish groups YPG which is also supported by the U.S.:

The Russian draft, seen by Reuters, would have the council express “its grave alarm at the reports of military buildup and preparatory activities aimed at launching foreign ground intervention into the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic.”

It also demands that states “refrain from provocative rhetoric and inflammatory statements inciting further violence and interference into internal affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic.”

The Russian one-page paper only restated basic sovereignty principle of the United Nations Charter which were also reconfirmed in UNSC 2254. But now the U.S., France and UK rejected those statements and no new resolution was adopted.

The U.S. is now ignoring or even contradicting the UNSC 2254 resolution it had endorsed just a week ago.

  • It no longer wants a ceasefire in Syria.
  • It wants al-Qaeda off the terrorist list on which it was put on demand of the U.S.
  • It wants to ignore Syria’s sovereignty.

This is a quite amazing turn away from the earlier positions. But do not expect any U.S. mainstream media to point that out. That would require some real reporting about the impetus for these moves and the intent behind them.

SOTT Comment: You can’t make this stuff up.

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