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Gareth Porter – US Hypocrisy Over Russian ‘War Crimes’

The Russian-Syrian bombing campaign in eastern Aleppo, which has ended at least for the time being, has been described in press reports and op-eds as though it were unique in modern military history in its indiscriminateness. In an unusual move for a senior U.S. official, Secretary of State John Kerry called for an investigation of war crimes in Aleppo. The discussion has …

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Aya Batrawy, Paisley Dodds, Lori Hinnant – Leaked Isis documents reveal recruits have poor grasp of Islamic faith

The jihadi employment form asked the recruits, on a scale of one to three, to rate their knowledge of Islam. And the Isis applicants, herded into a hangar somewhere at the Syria-Turkey border, turned out to be overwhelmingly ignorant. The extremist group could hardly have hoped for better. At the height of Isis’ drive for foot soldiers in 2013 and 2014, typical recruits included …

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Patrick Cockburn – Russia may rise to super power status again following US deal over Syria

Russia could be poised to beome a super power again after agreeing with the US to launch what amounts to a joint air campaign against the two main extreme Islamist groups in Syria. If the ceasefire that starts at sunset on Monday holds for seven consecutive days and the UN is able to deliver aid to besieged people in Aleppo, then the US and Russia …

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Liz Sly – 10 new wars that could be unleashed as a result of the one against ISIS

The borders of the Islamic State’s “caliphate” are shrinking fast. The group’s strongholds in Iraq and Syria are collapsing one by one. The U.S.-led war has reached a point where questions are being raised about what comes next. So far, the answer seems likely to be: more war. That’s partly because the U.S. strategy for defeating the Islamic State relies …

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John Vidal – Water supplies in Syria deteriorating fast due to conflict, experts warn

War-torn Syria’s water supplies are deteriorating fast, triggering migration and disease and stoking a pollution crisis in neighbouring Lebanon, hydrologists and humanitarian groups have warned. “Water security continues to deteriorate for many civilians [in Syria]. Evidence shows that control over power and water infrastructure is [being] used as a weapon of warring parties,” said Noosheen Mogadam, a policy adviser with the Norwegian …

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America’s Foreign Policy in Syria Summed Up in 3 Headlines

US foreign policy regarding Syria publicly vacillates between seeking to defeat the Islamic State to achieving regime change in Damascus. Even at face value, these two objectives are contradictory, even paradoxical. Overthrowing the government of Libya in 2011 thrust extremist groups (used by the US to overthrow Tripoli in the first place) into power across the nation, leaving it bitterly …

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Daniel Lazare – Obama’s Imperial Mideast Policy Unravels

In the 1930s, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain appeased his enemies. Today, U.S. President Barack Obama appeases his friends. Barack the Appeaser is the key to unlocking the mysteries of U.S. policy in the Middle East and beyond. Confusing to begin with, U.S. actions reached new heights of absurdity last week when the Obama administration abandoned its long-standing Kurdish allies with virtually …

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Thomas Gaist – Washington Escalates Covert Backing for Al Qaeda Militias in Aleppo

US-backed militias fighting against the Syrian government of Bashar al Assad have broken through the Russian and Syrian government encirclement of their positions inside the war-ravaged northern Syrian city of Aleppo, according to Western media. During fierce battles over the weekend, the US-backed, Islamist-led militia coalition known as Jaysh al Fateh overran military bases in southwest Aleppo and secured an …

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Paul R. Pillar – The Fallacy of ‘Regime Change’ Strategies

Many variables are involved in the messy predicaments in the Middle East, but one way of framing the history and issues of U.S. policy toward the region is in terms of the approaches that have been taken toward so-called rogue regimes. That term, one should hasten to add, obscures more than it enlightens. But it has been in general use …

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J.Hawk, Daniel Deiss, Edwin Watson – WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY – NATO INFORMATION OPERATIONS

The beginning of interest in post-Cold War information operations can be traced to the UN intervention in Somalia and the Rwanda Genocide. Relatively honest and direct reporting from these war zones meant that the public opinion of Western countries was a factor that had to be considered by the political classes. Hence the  complaining at the time about the so-called …