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US and Russia talk peace, make war, in Syria

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CNN: “U.S. announces ceasefire for Aleppo after talks with Russia” –

A ceasefire is in effect in one of the most war-torn cities in Syria, the U.S. State Department said Wednesday. The United States and Russia concluded arrangements for a cessation of violence in Aleppo and surrounding areas, according to a department statement.

The two countries ended talks Tuesday and are closely monitoring whether the ceasefire sticks. Violence has decreased but continues, according to State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner.

Foreign Policy: “MSF Blasts U.S., Russia, Syria, and Saudi for Hospital Strikes” –

In a stinging rebuke, the president of French medical relief agency Medecins Sans Frontieres on Tuesday accused several governments, including the United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, of either directly attacking medical workers or participating in coalitions that have done so.

Speaking in a special session of the U.N. Security Council on the protection of health care workers, MSF leader Joanne Liu said four of the council’s five permanent members — Britain, France, Russia, and the United States — “have, to varying degrees, been associated with coalitions responsible for attacks on health structures over the last year.”

Those coalitions, Liu said, were responsible for strikes on medical targets in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Syria. But the attacks on medical workers reach far beyond those countries, endangering health workers in Iraq, South Sudan, and Somalia. The world, Liu warned, is “facing an epidemic of attacks on health facilities, impeding our ability to do our core work.”

“Stop these attacks!” she urged the council’s big powers. “You … must live up to your extraordinary responsibilities and set an example for all states.”

The council’s meeting took place as medical workers have come under renewed attack in Syria, where [Russian-backed] government aircraft last week bombed a hospital in Aleppo, killing [55] people, including three children and one of the city’s few remaining pediatricians. On Tuesday, [US-backed] rebel rocket fire again struck a hospital and maternity clinic, killing three women, according to the official Syrian Arab News Agency.

Carlos Latuff

Carlos Latuff is a political cartoonist from Brazil.

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8 Responses

  1. pabelmont on May 6, 2016, 7:42 am

    Ain’t politics sumpin? Sumpin wunnerful I mean? Cartoon captures this one to a “T”.

    I’ve just finished reading a wonderful book about a dreadful subject, the Spanish civil war 1936-1939 (“Spain in our hearts”, Adam Hochschild). That war began with a right-wing military revolt against the elected (“Republican”) government. The government was socialist-communist-anarchist, and the USA, UK, and France refused to aid (even to sell arms for fair prices to) the Republican government due to their fierce anti-communism (and American isolationism). That left Stalin’s USSR to offer (some) support (and demand much control of the war), further antagonizing the USA.

    Meanwhile, Hitler and Mussolini gave enormous and continuous aid to the “Nationalist” military coup (ultimately led my Spanish fascist/feudalist and subsequent very long-term dictator Francisco Franco) in part to test weapons and tactics in preparation for WWII.

    “International” volunteer soldiers, ambulance drivers, doctors, and nurses went to Spain to join the Republicans, and these included Americans who formed the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (The Quince Brigada, XV Brigade) which took dreadful losses in dead and wounded. American fighting in this war was forbidden by USA and the few soldiers and others who returned alive after 1939 were called “premature anti-fascists” by the FBI which harassed them. In effect, USA (and UK and France) were pro-fascist in those days of the rise of Nazism, even after Hitler invaded Austria and Czechoslovakia, because “neutrality” and a weapons-ban to both sides amounted to capitulation to Hitler/Mussolini/Franco.

    We see something like that today in Syria possibly complicated by the hard-won knowledge that getting rid of M/E dictators often leads (as we already see in Syria and have seen in Iraq and Afghanistan) to a power vacuum followed by a (worse) civil war.

    The USA has long favored stability-maintaining dictators (providing they are adequately anti-Communist) over democracy, world-wide. I think this is one outcome of our long-term system of governance dominated by the “oligarchy/plutocracy/Establishment” of CEOs of major corporations (these days so multinational as hardly to seem “American” anymore) and by billionaire individuals, that is, by big-money folks who like to keep their path to profits uncluttered by the interference they perceive from democracy, socialism, communism, etc., anywhere in the world. (What do they really want? To make the world safe for? Not for democracy, perish the thought, but for neoliberalism, that is, generally unfettered capitalism-cum-oligarchy.)

    • gamal on May 6, 2016, 8:03 am

      “We see something like that today in Syria possibly complicated by the hard-won knowledge that getting rid of M/E dictators often leads (as we already see in Syria and have seen in Iraq and Afghanistan) to a power vacuum followed by a (worse) civil war.”

      yes but who is doing the removing, when has a “dictactor” (eastern despot) been removed by a method that does not involve destruction of the country, Ben Ali (with the ken doll hair)? Tunisia not taking dictation anymore? and the smashing of the state (power vacuum) usually we name the country Gadaffi or Assad and destroy it, its not really getting rid of dictators is it, like Egypt which will become Sissi if he steps out of line, in a year or two you will hear about the slaughter now going there.

      everyone wants to be free, free of American domination, violence and illegality.

  2. silamcuz on May 6, 2016, 9:54 am

    I can’t believe the author would place equal blame in the Syrian war on Russia along with the US. Russia has been exemplary in dealing with the mess in Syria that US devilishly started and promoted for its geopolitical goals, together with its bunch of unsavory allies in the region, namely Israel, Saudi and Turkey.

    Russia for those who don’t know, is strongly allied with the government of Syria, a democratically elected sovereign entity that is responsible for the interests of all Syrians. This is not a war between two equal forces, but between a legitimate elected government and enemies of the state whose ultimate interests are very much as foreign as their backers.

    I’m disappointed MW would publish an illustration that conveys blatant anti-Russian sentiments and false representation of the events in Syria.

    • chet on May 7, 2016, 2:29 pm

      In the year+ before the Russian intervention, it has been reported that American forces flew over 7,000 sorties against ISIS/al-Qaeda — was there any effect against their gaining Syrian and Iraql territory, was there any destruction of the oil smuggling to Turkey — who and what were these thousands of American bombs directed against?

      Enter the Russians and in six months, using a modest number of planes, the ISIS/al-Qaeda advances are stopped and thousands of oil-smuggling trucks are destroyed.

      And then we learn that the US has been supplying, and is continuing to supply, hundreds of tons of arms to “moderate rebels” (“Kerry’s unicorns”) who immediately turn these arms over to ISIS/al-Qaeda.

      WTF is going on here? Does the US really want ISIS/al-Qaeda to prevail and to establish a blood-thirsty Sunni-dominated government in Damascus?

      Why hasn’t the US joined the Syrian Arab Army, Russia and the other allies and co-ordinated an offensive to destroy ISIS/al-Qaeda?

      • silamcuz on May 8, 2016, 2:41 am

        Actually, US support of ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq has been soundly established, hence their 7000+ sorties bizarrely ending up helping the terrorists instead of neutralizing them.

        America demands a compliant, subservient regime in Syria that will put its interest ahead of Syria’s own, which is the root cause of the destabilization of Assad’s government. Syria has been traditionally the most anti-imperialist and pro-socialist government in Middle East and always have stood up for itself. If you know one thing about bullies, they absolutely hate it when people they feel they can bully stand up and resist them. Realizing they have lost the fear factor to directly engage the smaller nation, they are now cowardly funding sociopathic groups within Syria to do their bidding.

        There is no way Russia or Syria would ever accept the US as their ally, it would be like inviting a mass murdering sociopath into your family home.

  3. Boo on May 6, 2016, 12:01 pm

    I’m no fan or proponent of decapitation strikes. But at a certain moment, long past — a moment before the Salafists had targeted Syria, while the moderate rebels still dominated the rebel alliance — a vacancy at the top might’ve offered a tipping point for the Syrian people.

    Justice deferred isn’t always justice denied; that day will surely come (sic semper tyrannis). Assad will be shoveled into his own dustbin like Saddam and Qaddafi before him.

    But in the meantime, Syria’s become the jousting-ground for outside neo-colonialists: America, Russia, Iran, Daesh. And no matter how this ends, it can’t end well for the ordinary Syrian. How is it that the One is seemingly deaf to the agonies of Her peoples?

  4. just on May 9, 2016, 1:40 pm

    A good article up by Trevor Timm:

    “As the US meddles in another Middle East war, candidates must address it

    The US is helping Yemen fight a conflict that its ongoing support of Saudi Arabia helped cause. Yet there’s little public disclosure or debate”

    tbh, the US is hardly ‘meddling’… it’s much, much more than that as MW’ers already know.

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