“Now to Syria” – says the presenter of “AM”, as if it were the most natural and obvious subject to report on, despite the stunning silence of the previous two weeks.
Could it be that we are about to hear an update on the momentous developments across the country, which only went unreported because of the crisis over North Korea and various natural and man-made disasters around the planet?
Perhaps I really thought so for a moment, reasoning that our blinkered media were going to have to find a way to tell us sooner or later that the US just effectively declared war on Russia. No-one who read the statements from the Russian Ministry of Defence could doubt the seriousness of the situation, following the “Joint” terrorist operation in Idlib that nearly took 30 Russian Military Police hostage. The Ministry had been unusually blunt and uncompromising, directly accusing the US of collaboration with Al Qaeda/Nusra, apparently in a desperate attempt to disrupt the Russian-Syrian advance across the Euphrates in Deir al Zour.
With each day that passed since the September 19th operation, and the subsequent dramatic destruction of the terrorist army and its extensive military hardware, I grew more incredulous at the media silence, seeing not one report on radio or TV or print media in Australia – in common apparently with other Western countries. Even the dramatic shots of cruise missiles emerging from Russian subs in the Mediterranean failed to grab the attention of this media machine.
Yet this was the “news from Syria” according to Australia’s government broadcaster the ABC, and broadcast four days after the Idlib attack:
SABRA LANE: “In Syria the race to control the oil-rich east of the country is gathering pace, and the risk of conflict between Russia and the US along with it.
The eastern province of Deir al Zour is the largest remaining stronghold of the Islamic State group and US backed militias are in competition with the Syrian government to lay claim to the turf. It’s a competition which has brought them within just a few kilometres of each other.”
This “TURF” is actually part of Syria, and can’t be “claimed” or “controlled” by anyone other than Syria’s legitimately elected representatives, the Syrian government. Nor can the oil beneath the desert “turf” be removed and sold without the cooperation and approval of the Syrian people to whom it belongs. Such a detail should hardly need explaining.
But expanding on the “may the best force win” theme, the ABC’s Middle East “correspondent” Matt Brown continued:
“In that section near the Iraqi border still held by IS, there’s plenty of Oil, making it a valuable prize for whoever gets there first, and the commander of the SDF in Deir al Zour province, Ahmed Abu Ghawla, has told the ABC he intends to do just that with the help of US airpower”-
(Abu Ghawla, in Arabic) – “We have an agreement with the international coalition to liberate territories from the Terrorists” he says, – “If any force bombs our SDF positions the agreement is that the Coalition will defend us – they’ll retaliate with air-power, and we’ll fight back on the ground.”
Brown’s presentation of the “Deir al Zour Military Council” and its Sunni Arab commander would have sounded fair enough to the ordinarily ignorant ABC listener, who would assume the “Syrian Democratic Forces” are a legitimate force who deserve a reward for driving IS out of their country. Yet the title is an anachronism; not only is the SDF almost entirely Kurdish, but it has now moved into territories where Kurds were a minority.
Moon of Alabama had this to say on Ahmed Abu Ghawla:
“The local criminal Ahmad Abu Khawla, who had earlier fought for ISIS, was suddenly installed as commander of a newly invented “Deir Ezzor Military Council”, set up under U.S. special force control.”
This unhealthy collaboration was confirmed following Russian satellite photos of US-SDF vehicles in IS occupied areas north east of Deir al Zour. A week has now gone by since Matt Brown’s report with no further mention of Syria despite another even more alarming event – the targeted assassination of Russian General Asapov in Deir al Zour.
Moon of Alabama again:
“Last night a Russian three-star general and two colonels were killed in a mortar attack while they visited a Syrian army headquarters in Deir Ezzor:
“Lieutenant-General Valery Asapov, of the Russian armed forces, has been killed after coming under shelling from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants near Deir ez-Zor”, the Russian Defense Ministry has announced.
In its statement, the ministry said that Asapov was at a command outpost manned by Syrian troops, assisting commanders in the liberation of the city of Deir ez-Zor.
Even had his death been a “random” event it should have merited some media attention, but the reality was far more serious, as explained by Moon of Alabama – it was undeniably a specifically targeted operation for which only US coalition special forces could have been responsible. (In the context of this crime and the ABC’s reports it must also be remembered that Australia is an integral part of the US coalition, both in aiding and abetting the US airstrikes and in carrying out strikes of its own.)
Lieutenant General Asapov was overseeing the crucially important bridging of the Euphrates, which the US and its local militias sought unsuccessfully to prevent. Betraying its long-term malicious intent in Eastern Syria, US coalition planes had bombed four bridges over the Euphrates exactly a year ago, and just two weeks after their lethal attack on the SAA base protecting Deir al Zour airport.
That attack, and Russia’s conclusions on the obvious collaboration between US forces and IS, combine with these events a year later to form extraordinary bookends in the US war against Syria and her allies. And it is a year distinguished by the even more incredible maintenance of a false narrative right across the Western media that has permanently discredited so many of those once-respected organisations.
The problem of maintaining this false narrative must be increasingly difficult, and necessitate the creation of new false stories or the resuscitation of old ones, as happened with the latest “news from Syria”. A video report on Al Jazeera was typical in its presentation of this story – of “civilian deaths in Idlib from Russian and Syrian bombing”- only with a nice twist.
For Russia and Syria the gloves are clearly now off, both in Deir al Zour and in the “de-confliction zone” around Idlib, following the joint US-Al Qaeda operations in both areas. The scale and success of their attacks on some of the most notorious centres of White Helmets-Al Nusra operations such as Khan Shaikoun and Urm al Kubra has evidently disabled the insurgents’ media operations, forcing Al Jazeera to use footage from a week earlier. Clearly marked “September 19”, this video actually showed insurgents under attack following their offensive against Russia’s military police, and not – as they stated – the “Russian bombing of civilians in schools and hospitals”.
This dichotomy between “the two sides” (which are fairly clearly delineated now I think) appears to be terminal. For those in the West – who far outnumber us in terms of control over Global presence and influence – to accept and cooperate with Russia and her allies, simply requires too great a shift in thinking.
We can but watch and wait with apprehension for their next move.