The hawks in Washington are in full propaganda mode to justify war with Moscow.
Everything is being thrown at Russia now: war crimes accusations in Syria, proposed suspension from the UN Security Council, MH-17, Eastern Ukraine, hacking allegations, covert support for Donald Trump, etc.
All of it appears to be a concerted campaign to firmly demonize Russia and Putin in Western eyes and smells distinctly like the necessary propaganda that precedes a serious conflict.
This campaign has of course been going on for a couple of years now; but it is currently being seriously ramped up for one main reason – Aleppo is soon to be reclaimed by the Syrian government, at which point the foreign-backed jihadist groups will either by destroyed or forced to evacuate, and the covert war on Syria will end in failure.
All parties presently appear to be willing to escalate hostilities over the problem of Aleppo. How much of this is posturing and how much is a genuine maneuver towards war is difficult to tell for certain: our leaders are either playing a really enigmatic game or they’re psychopaths.
But whether Western officials are serious or just trying to play mind games, all indications seem to be that Moscow and the Russian military are also prepared for an escalation in hostilities, in the full knowledge that a pro-war cabal in Washington is manuevering to likely embark on sheer insanity in the near future: despite the fact that, unlike Iraq and Libya, a war with Russia could conceivably be lost by the US and the West, should it happen.
It is unlikely Moscow would start a war; but it is child’s play for the Neo-Con hawks in Washington to cook up some suitable ‘premise’ for conflict.
And the end of the Aleppo conflict – or, more likely, trying to prevent an Assad victory in Aleppo before the end of the year – provides that premise (that is to say, if the dubious ‘Russian attack’ on the aid convoy a few weeks ago isn’t premise enough).
The Pentagon has now openly proposed to carry out strikes against President Assad’s forces to prevent the Al-Qaeda affiliates suffering defeat in Aleppo. The so-called ‘accidental’ US strike on Syrian government forces some weeks ago might’ve been a testing of the waters in this regard.
Russian officials have outright stated that they will not tolerate any US attack on Assad’s forces and would retaliate if this happened.
It should be noted, however, that – according to the Washington Post, citing various analysts – President Obama is considered unlikely to approve military action against Assad despite the proposal having the approval of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the CIA. That situation will quickly change if Hillary Clinton is installed as US President: but Syria and Russia may well have recaptured Aleppo fully by then.
So what the time-frame would be for any desired escalation of hostilities is unclear: Washington would prefer to wait for Obama to be out of the way before escalation; but an Assad victory in Aleppo could force premature action.
Again, most of this could be saber-rattling by Western officials to scare Russia into backing away from Aleppo – as opposed to any real intention of war. But that clearly isn’t working and Russia has no intention of abandoning Assad or allowing the regime-change project to be salvaged.
What is frustrating is watching the virtually psychotic behaviour of politicians who are openly campaigning for escalation and conflict. And it isn’t Moscow pushing for conflict, even if the Russian military is preparing for that eventuality.
The push against Russia isn’t just coming from Washington, of course, but through the UN and with both British and French politicians and media leading the way.
All of which is serving to reinforce the ‘siege mentality’ in Russia and the view that they are being ganged up on, and which in turn ultimately strengthens Vladimir Putin’s position and popularity at home and provides further justification for Moscow to increase military preparations.
It appears to be widely believed among much of the Russian population that a war against Russia is coming: and where Western officials should in fact be trying to deflate that belief or expectation, they are instead going out of their way to aggravate and amplify it.
This escalating demonisation of Russia – primarily from the US, France and Britain – is of course being carried out in concert and was presumably planned some time in advance.
France just called for Russia to be charged with War Crimes and investigated by the ICC for Aleppo. Odd, is it not, that France – which has the biggest ‘terrorism’ problem in Europe – is unwilling to let Russia and Assad fight terrorism? This, frankly, only adds to the substantial suspicion that France’s terror problems are primarily state-orchestrated false flags (see here, here, here, here, and here).
The Neo-Con president of the National Endowement for Democracy in the US even appears to have called for Washington to try to bring about the overthrow of Vladimir Putin in Moscow and essentially force a regime change in Russia as well as in Syria.
Yesterday, I watched an hour or so of the House of Commons debate called for by Andrew Mitchell to discuss Russia’s ‘war crimes’ in Aleppo and how to deal with Russia the ‘Pariah State’. It was some of the most depressing, pathetic political pantomime I’ve ever had the displeasure of sitting through.
Mitchell – a friend of former CIA director David Petraeus – called for a no fly zone to be enforced by NATO jets in Syria. Others called for Western air forces to confront Russian military planes over Syria and to forcibly protect the “citizens of eastern Aleppo” from Russia and the Syrian government.
I watched, curiously waiting for one of the speakers to break from the script and express caution or disagreement. But, one after the other, they stepped up and simply reinforced all of the existing propaganda lines: Russia is a ‘war criminal’, Assad is a butcher, we should’ve intervened in 2013 after Assad used chemical weapons, etc. There were comparisons of the Aleppo situation to the Holocaust, Srebrenica and Sierra Leone. Boris Johnson called for mass protests outside the Russian Embassy (no one showed up though).
What was clear from what little I had the patience to watch was that this appeared to be nothing short of a major push for war.
There is no effort being made to avert such a conflict, but to ensure its inevitability.
And not just a war in Syria, but a war that could have wide-reaching, profound scope and consequences and which could end up involving all of the Middle East, Europe and Israel. And that’s no exaggeration: Israel is already involved in the covert war on Syria and has been from the start, but Iran is crucially involved in this war too, fighting on the side of the Syrian government.
If conflict breaks out between Russia and the Western powers, all other rules or truces will go out of the window, meaning – for one thing – that Israel and Saudi Arabia would likely attack Iran or that Iran might do it first.
Combined with the possibility that a Russia/US conflict in Syria might trigger an escalation of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine – and therefore Europe – we would essentially be looking at World War III.
And yet, instead of taking all measures to back away from that possibility and diminish the tensions, Western officials are instead openly advocating the escalation, making serious threats and acting as though a Third World War would be some kind of necessary price to pay.
And for what? A few hundred Al-Qaeda linked jihadists in eastern Aleppo?
What was particularly pathetic about this pantomime display in the House of Commons is that, just weeks ago, a parliamentary committee delivered a damning verdict on the British intervention in Libya, and just months ago these same parliamentarians were debating the Chilcot Report‘s findings and talking about how we needed to learn from past mistakes: and here they are, barely a moment later, passionately advocating for war based on misinformation.
It isn’t simply a case of them having learnt nothing: it’s a case of them not even caring.
The sole voice of reason appears to be – as she often is – Labour MP Emily Thornberry. She appeared to be the only one willing to break away from the propaganda script. Although we should note that most of the MPs who might’ve shared Thornberry’s scepticism – such as Jeremy Corbyn – were not present for the debate; and so what we got was a very one-sided dialogue.
The impression, at any rate, is that most of these MPs involved in the debate are either knowingly lying and forwarding the propaganda campaign or they’re genuinely clueless careerists who simply love making grand speeches. Lies or half-truths were being spouted as though they were fact – and by some of the same people who stood in the same hallowed hall spouting lies and half-truths about Gaddafi and Benghazi or about Saddam’s WMDs.
Russia was depicted as deliberately targeting hospitals and civilians in Aleppo as though there are no terrorist targets in eastern Aleppo. Assad was presented as having categorically carried out sarin gas attacks in 2013, with no mention of the serious doubts that always existed concerning that event.
And, in perfect concert with the political pantomime, virtually every major media outlet on TV, radio or in print, resumed the artificial urgency over the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo and the ‘war crimes’ of Assad and Russia: with, again, no reference to Al-Qaeda’s presence in eastern Aleppo, the nature of the covert warfare in Syria, the Saudi/Qatari orchestration of the jihadist rebels, or even the US attack on Syrian government soldiers or the fact that proof has not yet been provided of Russia having attacked the humanitarian aid convoy.
The major media – pretty much without exception – is fully engaged in the pro-war propaganda push.
It is still difficult to tell whether we have psychopath politicians and agencies who genuinely think a military conflict with Russia is a reasonable path, or whether there is a more complex game going on.
Either way, this is a vast fiction being played out via multiple mediums.
The one good thing appears to be that most ordinary people are not buying it, and the political and media propagandists alike appear to be utterly out of touch with the mood of the general population.
That won’t necessarily stop the push towards further conflict, however.