US air strikes in Syria, just the beginning

Peter Symonds

Following yesterday’s massive air attacks inside Syria, the Pentagon made clear that the operations were just the start of a protracted war. Lieutenant General William Mayville, director of operations for the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the media the strikes were “the beginning of a credible and sustainable, persistent campaign” against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militias. Asked about the length of the campaign, he said: “I think it would be in terms of years.”

The scope and extent of the air strikes underline that fact that Syria, rather than Iraq, has been the primary target all along. A senior American military official told the New York Times that the US and its allies “dropped as many bombs in one night as the United States had during all its previous operations against Islamic State in Iraq.” The cruise missiles and bombs rained down on Syria were not directed simply against ISIS, but also against Al Qaeda affiliates—Jabhat al-Nusra, and the hitherto unpublicised “terrorist” organisation, Khorasan.

While Mayville disclaimed any knowledge of civilian casualties, the first reports from inside Syria indicate substantial death and destruction. The Los Angeles Times cited a video from the north-western province of Idlib showing residents picking through the rubble of bombed houses with a voice over of an anti-government activist, declaring “mass destruction of the civilian homes [as] a result of the strikes of the Western alliance.” The article explained that one of five US missiles in the area had hit a residential neighbourhood in the village of Kafar Daryan, killing up to two dozen civilians, including children.

Yesterday’s assault consisted of three waves of strikes. The first was a volley of cruise missiles directed against targets around Syria’s largest city, Aleppo. The second involved US fighter jets and drones, along with war planes from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Jordan, attacking ISIS compounds and vehicles in northern Syria. The third round, which also included Arab countries, targeted ISIS positions in eastern Syria.

Big Lies Launch Lawless Wars

Stephen Lendman

No declaration of war exists. No legal authority. No national emergency. No existential or other threats. No enemies targeting America. No Security Council authorization. No congressional OK. No justifiable reason to wage war. No reason ever to do so except in self-defense if attacked. None occurred.

Obama's Iraq war III constitutes cold, calculated, premeditated naked aggression. It's lawless. It has no legal authority. The same holds for his three-and-a-half year proxy war on Syria. It was planned long before March 2011 hostilities began. It's now elevated to direct US intervention.

On Tuesday, US warplanes bombed multiple Syrian targets. Precise ones aren't clear. Multiple civilian deaths followed. At least three children died. Civilians suffer most in all wars. US and Israeli ones target them willfully. They're considered legitimate targets. They're murdered in cold blood. A local Raqqa resident said...

"...(t)here is an exodus out of (the city) as we speak. It started in the early hours of the day after the strikes. People are fleeing toward the countryside."

Around one-third of Syria's population already is internally or externally displaced. US bombing threatens thousands more. They're in the line of fire. They're in harm's way. As long as US bombing continues, not a square inch of Syria is safe. The entire country is vulnerable to attacks. Expect Washington to take full advantage. Expect Big Lies to conceal its objectives. They have nothing to do with degrading and destroying ISIS/ISIL/the Islamic state (IS). They have everything to do with advancing America's Imperium.

Syrian wars of proxy

As'ad AbuKhalil

The Syrian war is not only a proxy war. There is a strong internal dimension to the war in Syria but it has been obscured by various layers and dimensions of outside intervention and agendas. The Syrian regime wants to stay in power at any cost while there was certainly a civil popular opposition in Syria when the uprising first began. There are thousands of reasons for the Syrian people to protest against a family dictatorship that has controlled much of their lives since 1970 but the civil protest movement did not erupt by itself, the Western media narrative notwithstanding. Concurrent with the protest movement that erupted in 2011, Turkey and Gulf regimes had already set up armed rebel groups to help bring down a regime. The internal dimension of the war in Syria, however, is now probably marginal to the global and regional war raging in the country today. There are several proxy wars in Syria today and they can be summarized as follows:

1. The internal Wahhabi war: there is no war within Islam in Syria as Thomas Friedman and his ilk keep asserting. There has been a moderate and progressive strand of Islam in Syria and many of its elements have aligned themselves with the regime. And contrary to early claims made by the hired external opposition and its advocates in the West, there was never a moderate and progressive version of Islam among the rebel groups. How could that be the case when the sponsors of Syrian rebel Islam are Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia? Mufti Hassun (although he is an ally and perhaps a tool of the regime, and even the slain Sheikh al-Buti) is far more progressive than any of his adversaries on the other side, including Mu`adh al-Khatib who has railed in the past about the ills of social media, masturbation and Jews, and who praised al-Nusrah Front early on his tenure as leader of the Syrian National Council. The internal Wahhabi war is pitting the various Wahhabi parties in the region against each other. The Saudi regime, Qatari regime, al-Qa`idah (Nusrah Front) and ISIS: all four are Wahhabi and each is trying to dominate the field of the Wahhabi movement.

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