Next Cold War Roundup 5/6/16
It is unclear who launched an attack on a refugee camp in Aleppo. An expanded ceasefire, which includes Aleppo, was achieved but is temporary and shaky. Israel, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait now have an upgraded status in NATO. AP and the New York Times published a colorful report of the cowboys of the Golan Heights and their intent to stay on this land. The last time Syria tried to take back their land in the Golan Heights, Israel prepared for a nuclear attack on Syria and Egypt.
Aleppo Refugee Camp Attack
_ CNN reports that “warplanes struck a refugee camp Thursday in Syria” killing at least 28 people and there are women and children among the casualties. There is widespread reporting and graphic social media accounts of the horrific carnage and damage.
_ It is “unclear who launched the airstrike that hit the camp, with some rebel factions claiming the Syrian military did so, and others blaming the Russians.” Russia’s Defense Ministry says the attack “could have been carried out by Al-Nusra Front militants” because “damage pattern suggests rocket artillery use, and air control data show no sorties in the area at the time.”
Aleppo on Verge of Battle, Aleppo Ceasefire
_ Very sympathetic piece in Wall Street Journal about how “moderate Syrian rebels” are “torn between giving up, joining Islamic extremists.” They are “cornered and weakened” and can accept an agreement with Syrian government or join al Nusra. There have been many mainstream media reports that the moderate rebels are already “intermingled” with al Nusra.
_ On Wednesday “U.S. and Russia agreed to extend Syria’s partial truce to include the embattled city of Aleppo” but the truce is temporary and fragile.
_ It’s still not clear which rebels “are fair game for government and Russian airstrikes” because al Nusra fighters are “intermingled in parts of insurgent-held territory” with the rebel groups “that have agreed to the partial truce.”
_ Russian FM Lavrov said the US tried to include Nusra in the ceasefire but “We managed to exclude this as it is absolutely unacceptable.” The Guardian had reported on some of Kerry’s proposals.
_ David Ignatius, based on interviews with people in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, announced that “another all-out conflict seems perilously close.”
_ CIA director Brennan went to Bosnia immediately after his trip to Saudi Arabia in late April. It was an “unannounced visit to meet anti-terrorism officials.” The Riyadh visit was “aimed at coordinating efforts in the conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.”
Al Qaeda State in Syria
_ Charles Lister, from the Qatar branch of the Brookings Institute, claims al Qaeda will soon establish a sovereign state, an emirate, in northern Syria and urges more money and weapons for “moderate elements” who might now fight al Nusra. This is the equivalent of a call to arm al Qaeda given the well established fact that a significant percentage of arms from the US and allies sent to so called moderate rebels end up in the hands of al Qaeda and that CIA-backed “rebels”, the Free Syrian Army and western-backed rebels are “intermingled” with al Qaeda in Syria, as was widely reported and even finally reported in western media in recent months.
Navy SEAL Killed in Iraq
Operation Inherent Resolve
Rebel attack on Aleppo hospital
Israel, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait NATO “Upgrade”
_ “NATO has upgraded its ties with Israel” which is not a full NATO member but has had a security agreement with NATO since 2001. Israel will now have “offices at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s headquarters in Brussels and complete a credentialing process for its representatives.” Israeli PM Netanyahu says it is an important step and will “help boost Israeli security.”
_ Turkey has vetoed closer NATO-Israel ties in the past. Turkey’s foreign minister says they now support the upgrade but want Jordan, Qatar and Bahrain to have the same. On Wednesday NATO announced “it would allow Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Jordan to open permanent missions in Brussels.”
_ Turkey’s prime minister announced he was stepping down. An analysis in the Jerusalem Post says his departure “may be causing headaches in Washington” and “a source of consternation in Europe” but in Jerusalem “his departure will not be mourned.” Haaretz reports that “Davutoglu is the latest casualty in the Turkish president’s quest to change the constitution and expand presidential power.”
_ At the same time, questions are raised about the deterioration of relations between Israel and Europe, especially Germany.
Golan Cowboys and Israel’s Nukes
_ AP article in the New York Times is a propaganda piece directed at Americans about a “small brotherhood” of about 100 Israeli cowboys in the Golan Heights who “dismiss the Syrian fighting as background noise and believe Netanyahu was merely stating the obvious — that they aren’t going anywhere” and Israel has no intention of leaving Syria’s land. Netanyahu recently declared that Israel would hold onto Golan for “all eternity.”
_ In this Scott Horton Show interview with Eric Margolis, they discuss the 1973 Arab-Israeli War when Syria and Egypt attempted to take back the Golan Heights and Israel prepared to nuke Syria and Egypt. After the Soviets “observed Israel moving its nuclear-armed, 500km-range Jericho missiles out of protective caves and onto their launch pads” and “was seen loading nuclear bombs on their US-supplied F-4 fighter-bombers at Tel Nof airbase” Moscow pressured Syria and Egypt to stop their advances.
_ Margolis gives a first hand description of why Golan is so important, notes that post-1967 war “Israel ethnically cleansed Golan” and says “it’s pretty much clear that Israel has been quietly fueling the Syrian conflict” by providing arms and logistics to the “rebels”, lobbying Washington and the US media. Margolis believes Netanyahu is following “the grand strategy of the founder of his rightwing Likud Party, Zeev Jabotinsky” from Odessa, who said Arab states were artificial and can be shattered “into small pieces, leaving Israel master of the Levant.”
_IDF tanks and the Israeli air force have been bombing Gaza in response to reported attacks by Hamas and a tunnel discovered.