Tag: Syrian Civil War

Make Russia great again? Aleppo and a plea from another world

During the last days of December, Russia will host a round of diplomatic talks with Iran and Turkey.

A hundred years ago, Ernst Jünger described a peculiar encounter with a frightened British officer in his account of trench warfare, Storm of Steel: “he reached into his pocket, not to pull out a weapon, but a photograph (…). I saw him on it, surrounded by numerous family (…). It was a plea from another world.” According to conventional wisdom, “war is hell,” as famously sentenced by General Sherman. Hence Jünger’s depiction of the scene as something from another planet. And that is how the world today, more concerned with the holidays and the latest Hollywood blockbuster, is receiving the dire plea for help by multiple civilians caught in the crossfire of the battle for Aleppo. We simply content ourselves with the thought that civilians will always suffer in times of war, for war is hell. Or is it?

A few days ago, the soon to be replaced Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, gave his last press conference. Referring to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, he remarked ominously: “Aleppo is now a synonym for hell”. But surely the Secretary General did not intend merely to describe a regrettable fait accompli, as someone might depict a natural disaster. His closing official words carry a message for the world to actively engage in Aleppo, and particularly to make belligerents stop targeting civilians, for not everything is allowed in war after all. As Michael Walzer has pointed out in his decades-long effort to revive the Just War tradition, we strive to fight wars justly and to uphold rules even in the midst of hell.

Mass Burials of Dozens of Tortured Syrians Found in Aleppo

Flickr, OGL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32120923

Mass graves of torture victims have been uncovered in liberated Aleppo, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Monday.

“Mass burial sites of many dozens [of Syrians], who had been subjected to brutal torture and [then] murdered, have been found,” Maj. Gen. Konashenkov said. “In many cases, body parts are missing; most victims had been shot in the head. And this, it seems, is only the beginning.”

Konashenkov said that the instances are being recorded as serious war crimes and will be given maximum publicity “so that European backers of the so-called opposition in London and Paris are well aware of who their wards actually are.”

Special Forces Operatives Photographed In Syria, Black War Darkens

More photos of clandestine American operators have surfaced from Syria’s war torn heart. The unidentified unit, sources report, were sighted outside ISIS-controlled Raqqa. These latest photographs come as offensives in both Iraq and Syria launch to reclaim militant towns.

Unlike photographs taken months ago, the journalists responsible have been identified. RT Arabic correspondent Muhammad Hassan’s team reported seeing “dozens” of Americans during their trip to Syria. “They have the latest weapons and vehicles.” he says, according to RT. Hassan also described how “they, as well as soldiers from European countries” are involved in “battles” for Raqqa. Other photos circulated by RT were taken by Reuters journalists.

Syria Talks in Lausanne End without Breakthrough

Syria talks convened by US Secretary of State John Kerry in the Swiss city of Lausanne on Saturday evening failed to agree on a common strategy with Russia to end the conflict in Syria, now in its sixth year.

Kerry was seeking a new path to peace after failing to secure a ceasefire in direct talks with Moscow, one of Syria’s key backers.

Kerry hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and seven foreign ministers from the region – from Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Jordan and Egypt – weeks after the collapse of a painstakingly crafted US-Russian ceasefire plan that many saw as the last hope for peace this year.

TIME Gets It Wrong On Syrian Civil War

Washington, DC (TFC) – TIME ran a piece on 16 August entitled “Russia and Iran Fly Across a Key Threshold in the Middle East” which opens with the following quote: “Looks like the U.S. and its allies have a new “axis of evil” in the Middle East: Syria, Iran and Russia.” A desire for an attention-grabbing opening line notwithstanding, this sort of propagandist statement only serves to cloud the already murky waters of the Syrian Civil War and reveals the Western bias of the mainstream media. The problems don’t end at the first line, but let’s unpack that first, and perhaps along the way we can find a more salient discourse on the Syrian conflict.

The phrase “axis of evil” is an echo of a speech by then President George W. Bush, who named Iraq, Iran, and North Korea in the positions TIME writer Mark Thompson assigns to Syria, Iran, and Russia. It’s hardly a surprise that Iran again made the cut; the demonization of that country in the West has continued virtually without pause in the intervening years. The phrase is in itself a reference to the Axis Powers of World War Two, a rhetorical device designed to associate the named countries with Nazism, genocide, and the ever-amorphous “Evil.” The veracity of this comparison has to be called into question, however.