Russia suspends Syria flight safety deal with US after missile attack

Moscow says it is halting an agreement with Washington aimed at avoiding mid-air collisions during their military missions in the Syrian airspace after US launched a missile attack against a Syrian army airbase.

“The Russian side is halting the effect of the memorandum for prevention of incidents and ensuring safety of air flights during operations in Syria which was agreed with the US,” said a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday.

It was referring to the 2015 agreement, under which Russia and the US agreed to exchange information on their flights in Syrian skies, where the two sides have been involved in separate military operations.

The announcements came after some 60 US Tomahawk missiles were fired from US warships deployed to the Mediterranean at the Shayrat airfield southeast of the western Syria city of Homs earlier in the day.

Russian Defense Ministry pledged to beef up Syrian air defenses following the attack. It also played down the effectiveness of the US raid, saying 23 missiles had hit their targets while it was unclear where 36 others had landed.

Washington ordered the assault after accusing Syria of carrying out a chemical attack against the town of Khan Sheikhun in the northwestern province of Idlib on Tuesday.

The Russian Foreign Ministry statement said, “Obviously, the cruise missile attack was prepared beforehand. Any expert can tell that the decision to strike was made in Washington before the events in Idlib, which were used as a pretext for a demonstration.”

It also slammed the presence of US troops on Syrian soil, which comes without the Syrian government’s approval, as “a gross, obvious and unwarranted violation of international law.”

“If before it was due to the task of combating terrorism, now there is a clear act of aggression against a sovereign Syria. US actions taken today further destroy the Russian-American relations,” the statement read.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that President Vladimir Putin would hold a meeting of his security council later on Friday to discuss the US missile strikes on Syria.


Russia threatens diplomatic ties with US harmed after Trump strikes against Assad

Image of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Russia, 9 March 2017 [Nikita Shvetsov - Anadolu Agency]

Image of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Russia, 9 March 2017 [Nikita Shvetsov – Anadolu Agency]

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday he hoped US missile strikes on Syria would not irreparably damage relations between Moscow and Washington.

“This is an act of aggression, on an absolutely made-up pretext,” Lavrov told a news conference in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. “It reminds me of the situation in 2003 when the United States and Britain, along with some of their allies, attacked Iraq.”

He said Russia would demand Washington explain why it conducted the strikes.

“I hope this provocation will not lead to irreparable damage [to US-Russian ties],” Lavrov said.

In the early hours of this morning, US Navy destroyers in the Mediterranean launched 59 cruise missiles on an airbase controlled and operated by the regime of Bashar Al-Assad. More than a dozen regime warplanes were destroyed, in addition to the majority of the base suffering extensive damage, putting it out of action.

‘No child of God’ should suffer chemical attacks

The US said that the airbase near the west-central city of Homs had been targeted because Washington had intelligence that the sarin chemical weapons attack that killed almost 100 men, women and children in Khan Sheikhoun in opposition-held Idlib province

In a speech this morning explaining the US attack he ordered, US President Donald Trump said:

No child of God should ever suffer such horror.

“There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and ignored the urging of the UN Security Council,” Trump said.

Blaming Al-Assad’s violence for the refugee crisis that has engulfed Europe and other western countries, Trump said: “As a result [of Assad regime massacres], the refugee crisis continues to deepen and the region continues to destabilise, threatening the United States and its allies.”

Will Russia strike back?

According to Lavrov, Russia denied that any Russian servicemen had been killed in the US strikes. However, analysts have said that the Assad regime and its allies are likely to attempt probing retaliatory attacks against Syrian targets in order to test US resolve.

Read More: Trump striking Assad was a good start, but needs to go further

This has already been borne out by the Assad regime launching airstrikes this morning against Khan Sheikhoun, the northern town in Idlib province that it had earlier attacked on Tuesday with the nerve agent sarin, killing almost 100 men, women and children.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin has also announced that it has suspended an agreement with the US-led coalition that guaranteed each other’s safety over flight paths in Syria. The implication behind Moscow’s move is that US and allied warplanes may be targeted by advanced Russian anti-air missile batteries.

Russia deployed its advanced S-400 surface-to-air missile system to Syria in 2015. The S-400 SAM umbrella covers most of Syria from the Kremlin’s military base in Hmeimim near Latakia, and is capable of shooting down western warplanes.

The Syrian uprising looked to have been at the cusp of being crushed and the war ending in Al-Assad’s favour after Russia intervened in September 2015 to shore up the Assad regime and its Iranian Shia backers. However, the Trump administration’s strike on a major airbase may have the effect of resetting global expectations, with the coming days and weeks being of critical importance for the overall outcome of the war.

What would happen if Washington gave up on the jihad?

President Trump’s desire to fight Daesh and to put an end to international terrorism is going to be extremely difficult to implement. Indeed, it will cause damage to the states who organised it, and implies a reorientation of international politics. The new President of the United States does not seem ready to give his troops the order to attack until he has found and sealed new alliances.


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The opposition against President Donald Trump is so strong that the plan to fight Daesh, which is scheduled to be presented on 22 March during a Coalition summit in Washington, is still not ready. Its political direction is still vague. Only the objective of eradicating jihadism has been agreed upon, but none of the implications of the plan have been resolved.

General Joseph Votel, the head of CentCom, still has not presented the options on the ground. He should do so only at the beginning of April.

On the ground, the plan is restricted to the exchange of information from the United States on one hand, and Russia and Iran on the other. In order to maintain the status quo, the three powers have agreed to prevent any confrontation between the Turks and the Kurds. And intensive bombing campaigns are being carried out against al-Qaïda in Yemen and against Daesh in Iraq. But nothing decisive. Orders are to hold.

The weapon of international terrorism has been managed on behalf of London and Washington by the Muslim World League since 1962. It includes both the Muslim Brotherhood (composed of Arabs) and the Order of the Naqshbandis (mostly composed of Turko-Mongols and Caucasians).

Until the war in Yemen, the military budget of the League was greater than that of the Saudi army, which meant that the League was the biggest private army in the world, a long way ahead of Academi/Blackwater. Even if it was only a land army, it was all the more efficient in that its logistics came directly from the Pentagon, and because it also had many suicide combatants.

It was the League – that is to say the Sauds – who furnished London and Washington with the personnel to organise the second «Great Arab Revolt», in 2011, on the model of the Revolt of 1916, but called this time the «Arab Spring». In both cases, the aim was to apply pressure on the Wahhabis in order to redefine the regional frontiers to the benefit of the Anglo-Saxons.

The point is not simply to abandon the weapon of terrorism, but also: to shatter the alliance between London and Washington for the control of the Greater Middle East; to deprive Saudi Arabia and Turkey of the weapon they have been developing on behalf of London and Washington for half a century; to determine the future of Sudan, Tunisia and Libya.

Besides which, it is also necessasry to come to an agreement with Germany and France, who have been sheltering the leaders of the Brotherhood since 1978, and who have financed the jihad.

As of now, we may note that the United Kingdom doesn’t see things in the same way. It turns out that it was the GCHQ (British Signal Intelligence) which wire-tapped Trump Tower during the electoral campaign and the period of transition. And according to Petra, the Jordanian news agency, Saudi Arabia secretly financed a third of Hillary Clinton’s electoral campaign against Donald Trump.

This is why President Trump seems to be looking for new allies who will enable him to impose the changes he wants.

He is currently organising a meeting with President Xi Jinping during which he would be able to plan the membership of his country in the Chinese Investment Bank. He would therefore be placing his allies before the fait accompli – if the United States participate in the construction of the Silk Roads, it would become impossible for the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Germany and France to continue the jihad in Iraq, Syria and Ukraine.

Pete Kimberley


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