Rebels Reject Deal; Syrian Forces Claim Shootdown of Israeli Plane Bombing Golan

Rebels Reject Deal; Syrian Forces Claim Shootdown of Israeli Plane Bombing Golan:

US and Russia reached a deal on Syria for a ceasefire, humanitarian aid, and later military cooperation and a roadmap for political transition. The Syrian government accepted the deal while the major opposition rebel groups rejected it, issuing some demands to secure their agreement. The ceasefire officially began on Monday evening. Details of the deal are trickling out, the White House is publicly doubting Russia, privately arguing among themselves, and in response Russia wants to publish the (withheld) text of the deal.

Al Qaeda and Ahrar al-Sham rebel groups launched an offensive in the Golan Heights region against the Syrian military, allegedy with air support from the Israeli air force. The Syrian military claims that their air defense shot down an Israeli fighter jet and a drone. The Israeli military denies the shootdown but confirms recent airstrikes on Syria.

Kurds report that ISIS fighters are fleeing the Turkish border offensive in Syria and joining al Qaeda groups in Aleppo. BBC interviewed surrendering rebels in Daraya who say they joined due to financial hardship and the revolution is a lie. In Ukraine, Stephen Cohen says that Pres. Poroshenko has unilaterally changed the terms of the Minsk deal.

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Al Qaeda’s Ties to US-Backed Syrian Rebels

Al Qaeda’s Ties to US-Backed Syrian Rebels:

The new ceasefire agreement between Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, which went into effect at noon Monday, has a new central compromise absent from the earlier ceasefire agreement that the same two men negotiated last February. But it isn’t clear that it will produce markedly different results.

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Syria: U.S.-Russian Deal Fails (Again) Over Continued Support For Jihadis

Syria: U.S.-Russian Deal Fails (Again) Over Continued Support For Jihadis:

Today the Russian-U.S. negotiations failed again. The U.S. accused Russia, without any specifics, of backtracking on already agreed parts of the deal while Russia says the U.S. insists on continued protection of al-Qaeda elements.

The Obama administration does not want a deal at all. It wants to kick the can down the road for the next administration to pick up while all parties in Syria continue to bleed.

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The Real US Syria Scandal: Supporting Sectarian War

The Real US Syria Scandal: Supporting Sectarian War:

It took a remarkable degree of denial and self-deception for the Obama administration to believe that it was somehow acting to rescue the Syrian people from the bloodletting when it was doing precisely the opposite.

No matter how brutal its rule and its war tactics have been, a war to overthrow the Assad regime could only plunge the country into a terrible sectarian bloodbath. And the consequences of the sectarian war will continue for years into the future. The Obama administration’s failure to firmly reject that war should be viewed as one of the worst of the long parade of American transgressions in the Middle East.

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The Turkish Invasion of Syria As Path to “Regime Change”

The Turkish Invasion of Syria As Path to “Regime Change”:

Turkey is moving into Syria not just with its own military, but with thousands of “rebel opposition groups” including US-backed FSA brigades allied with AlQaeda/Nusra/Sham and the child head-chopping al-Zinki who are reported to form the vanguard. Syrian territory is outright being turned over to them by the Turkish military, simply exchanging control from one group of terrorist jihadis (ISIS) to others who are more media acceptable and more direct proxies of the Erdogan regime, the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

That said, ISIS has not resisted the Turkish advance at all – simply “melting away” (or exchanging one set of uniforms for another?). No stay-behinds, no suicide bombers, no IEDS, nothing. No fighting. Zero casualties. Turkish and “Syrian rebel” forces literally strolled in to Jarablus taking selfies and posing for cameras. Tag-team turnover.

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China Enters Fray in Syria on Government’s Side

China Enters Fray in Syria on Government’s Side:

China, Russia and Iran have come together in a tripartite alliance supporting the Syrian government in the war against radical fundamentalist insurgents.

The main targets of this alliance are Islamic State and Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, formerly al-Qaeda’s affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, and its partners….

China signalled it was prepared to join them by dispatching high-profile rear admiral Guan Youfei, head of Beijing’s office for international military co-operation, to Damascus to hold discussions with the Syrian defence minister Fahd Jassem al-Freij.

China offered to train Syrian military personnel and provide humanitarian aid….

China, Russia and Iran appear to have joined forces to counter the coalition of radical insurgents forged by Idlib-based Jaish al-Fatah, dominated by the Jabhat and Ahrar al-Sham, which briefly broke the Syrian army siege of insurgent-held eastern Aleppo on August 5th.

These two groups coalesced with other smaller factions, including Saudi-sponsored Jaish al-Islam, after receiving a substantial injection of armoured vehicles, weapons and ammunition from Saudi Arabia and Qatar via Turkey….

Moscow, Tehran and Beijing fear the fall of secular Damascus would lead to the establishment of jihadi fiefdoms in Syria from which radicals would mount attacks into southern Russia and Iran and promote Muslim dissidence in China.

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Washington’s Sunni Myth and the Middle East Undone

Washington’s Sunni Myth and the Middle East Undone:

There is little good Washington can do, but it can still inflict a great deal of harm, even if it is motivated by the best of intentions. In The Great Partition, the British historian Yasmin Khan asserted that the partition of India and Pakistan, which killed over one million and displaced many millions, “stands testament to the follies of empire, which ruptures community evolution, distorts historical trajectories and forces violent state formation from societies that would otherwise have taken different – and unknowable – paths.” The same lessons can be learned in Iraq, Libya, and the clumsy international intervention in Syria. It is time that the West started to mind its own business rather than address the failure of the last intervention with the same tools that caused the disaster in the first place.

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Washington’s Sunni Myth and the Civil Wars in Syria and Iraq

Washington’s Sunni Myth and the Civil Wars in Syria and Iraq:

In the first of two articles, a Westerner with extensive on-the-ground experience in Syria and Iraq explains how the West’s understanding of sectarian identity in the Middle East is fatally flawed.

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The European Weapons Pipeline Fueling the War in Syria

The European Weapons Pipeline Fueling the War in Syria:

Eastern European countries have approved the discreet sale of more than €1bn of weapons in the past four years to Middle Eastern countries that are known to ship arms to Syria, an investigation has found.

Thousands of assault rifles such as AK-47s, mortar shells, rocket launchers, anti-tank weapons and heavy machine guns are being routed through a new arms pipeline from the Balkans to the Arabian peninsula and countries bordering Syria….

In the past, the region had virtually no track record of buying from central and eastern Europe. But purchases appear to be escalating, with some of the biggest deals approved in 2015….

Eastern and central European weapons and ammunition, identified from videos and photos posted on social media, are now… in the hands of fighters from Islamist groups such as Ansar al-Sham, the al Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, Islamic State… and by Sunni forces in Yemen.

Markings on some of the ammunition identifying the origin and date of manufacture reveal significant quantities have come off production lines as recently as 2015….

The latest US-chartered ship left Bulgaria on 21 June carrying about 1,700 tonnes of the same materiel to an unidentified Red Sea port…

Two weeks after a March 2016 delivery, Kurdish groups published on Twitter and Facebook a photo of a warehouse piled with ammunition boxes in northern Syria, claiming to have received a supply of US-brokered weapons.

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Atmospheric Changes Over Syria

Atmospheric Changes Over Syria:

While [these] items are in themselves only small changes of positions they sum up to some significant change in the political atmosphere over Syria.

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