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Fisk writes: "The US attack on Syria says more about Trump-Putin relations than about America and the Middle East. That's a problem for Rex Tillerson to work out. And Bashar al-Assad, of course. Be sure, the phone calls between Damascus and Moscow will last long into the night."

Painted Matryoshka dolls, or Russian nesting dolls, bearing the faces of U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at a souvenir shop in Moscow. (photo: Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters)
Painted Matryoshka dolls, or Russian nesting dolls, bearing the faces of U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at a souvenir shop in Moscow. (photo: Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters)


The US Air Strikes Say More About the Vladimir Putin-Donald Trump Relationship Than the Middle East

By Robert Fisk, The Independent

10 April 17

 

The pictures out of the town of Khan Sheikhun are terrifying, but Trump and his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have the thorny problem of working out how to deal with Russia

o did Bashar al-Assad use gas? The Russians must know. They are in the air bases, in the ministries, in the military headquarters. And if they say the Syrians did not use gas, then they had better be sure. The Russians had advance warning of Trump’s 59 Cruise missiles. Many hours of warning – not the one hour that Washington claims – and would have ensured that Syrian jets were way out of the air base. Russians are not to be killed in the Syrian war; their presence would have meant casualties.

Did the Syrian army, a trifle arrogant, perhaps, after their capture of eastern Aleppo decide to try to bring the war to an end in a quick way? The question must be asked. In the past, villages in which army officers lived – and in which their families lived – have been gassed. The Syrians blamed the Turks for giving the gas to Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, and Isis. The Russians said earlier gas attacks on Damascus used chemical components shipped via Turkey to Syria from Libya.

Ever since the First World War, when gas made its appearance at Ypres – and in Gaza, when it was used by General Allenby’s forces on the Ottoman Turks – chemical weapons have exerted a horror which even Hitler did not dare visit upon the Allies. But what did Saddam do? He used chemical weapons upon the Kurds at Halabja; indeed, his voice could be heard describing it in the Baghdad court after he himself was hanged. But would Syrian troops use such weapons against their own people?

The pictures seem to be decisive. Terrifying. Ghastly. But we must also remember the 250,000 civilians of eastern Aleppo, who became 150,000 and then 90,000. The Syrian war has become the most poorly reported conflict in the world. How many dead has it caused? 400,000? 450,000? Or 500,000, the latest figure. How do we complete the figures for death by gas? To believe the Syrian government? When the last gas attack in Damascus took place, the UN, in a brief paragraph in the middle of their subsequent report, said that the chemical shells had been “compromised” by being moved between different locations.

But then we come to the Russians. They underwrote the Syrian removal of all gas weapons. They saved Obama’s pitch after he had threatened – and then withdrew – the warning of an air attack on Syrian chemical weapons. Now the Russians have seen what Trump will do when he believes (if he does believe) the use of gas attacks. And the Russians, so I’m told, knew all about the US raid – and long before it occurred. Would they really have left any Syrian aircraft on the airbase? Would they have left any such weapons at the runway? Or in hardened bunkers?

In reality, the US attack on Syria says more about Trump-Putin relations than about America and the Middle East. That’s a problem for Rex Tillerson to work out. And Bashar al-Assad, of course. Be sure, the phone calls between Damascus and Moscow will last long into the night.


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+1 # dascher 2017-04-10 10:27
Regime change in the US seems more and more likely and justifiable.
 
 
+3 # tarantilla 2017-04-10 10:39
Don't think so. The "attack" was coordinated with Putin, warned beforehand to avoid damage to the Putin-trump relationship. Very successful attack for trump's popularity, No damage to trump-Putin relationship. Rex will be very successful on his trip to Russia because there is nothing to fix. It will be hailed as a great success and great praise will be heaped by the media on the trump people. Next stop: N. Korea where similar plan with Xi will be in place. Sky's the limit with new court justice: bans on abortion, Muslims, etc should sail thru.
 
 
-3 # Robbee 2017-04-10 10:40
brilliant! - The US Air Strikes Say More About the Vladimir Putin-Donald Trump Relationship Than the Middle East
 
 
0 # elkingo 2017-04-10 11:20
Dear Trumpy and Pootie:

Please do not have WWIII, as the prospect disturbs my train of thought.

Steve
 
 
0 # elkingo 2017-04-10 12:00
American Tune II
(apologies to Paul Simon)

WE're going to have world war,
Like we've had two before
Hi Ho the Derry-O
We're going to have world war!

We'll soon have World War III
Which doesn't bother me,
As long as they kill everyone else
And I get to keep all the Moneyyyy!!!
 
 
0 # elkingo 2017-04-10 12:05
PS:
Dear Trumpy and Pootie:

Please don't have WW 3, as the prospect disturbs my train of thought.
Sincerely,
Steve
 
 
+3 # wrknight 2017-04-10 13:23
In reality, the little boy Trump cried wolf so often that no one believes him.

The greatest threat to our national security is to follow leaders you can't believe.
 
 
+4 # Radscal 2017-04-10 16:25
That President Trump apparently warned President Putin mostly says that someone in the White House or Pentagon knew that if the US destroyed Russian aircraft, or worse still killed Russian soldiers, the world would be closer to nuclear holocaust than at any time in history.

Syrian media tell us that 6 Syrian jets were destroyed and 14 Syrians were killed. The death toll includes 9 civilians and 4 children. "Beautiful babies," as President Trump referred to them when he wished to blame unconscionable murders of innocent civilians on President Assad.

As far as the US attack "shifting attention," the big news in the days before the chemical attack was the killing of 200 to 300 innocent Iraqi civilians in a single US bombing run in Mosul. The corporate media managed to keep this story out of the news for a week and a half, but once they no longer could, it was the US and President Trump who were looking like war criminals.

I haven't heard a single word about our military offensive in Mosul since the chemical attack in Syria, have you?
 
 
+2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-04-10 18:18
I have to disagree with Fisk. He's one of the few really great journalists but I think the US-Russia relationship was a by-product and not the main issue.

I start from the assertion that the incident at Idlib was a false flab operation. It was carefully planned by someone close to ISIS and the White Helmets. The photos are, indeed, decisive, and a close look at them shows staging and totally inappropriate methods for dealing with Sarin gas victims.

So if the event was staged, then why? The event put Trump in a box. 99.999% of Americans will thing the event was a gas attack orderd by Assad because that is what their mass media tells them to think. If Trump does noting, he will be scorned to death by everyone in the media. He will look weak. If he acts, he will antagonize Russia, and that is part of the point of the false flag.

Now that Trump has opened a direct war against Syria instead of the proxy war Obama started, he's alienated Russia and there will be calls for him to finish what he started. He won't want to be a loser, so he may do to Syria what Bush did to Iraq and Obama did to Libya.

This is all about Syria. The Israelis, Saudis, Turks, and neo-cons all want Syria destroyed. They were frustrated by Obama. Trump is too stupid to see their manipulations. He may blunder into fulfilling their evil goals.

Putin can do nothing. He cannot defend Syria at the cost of a war with the US. I hope the calls between Damascus and Moscow are long.
 

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