What you “know” about Aleppo is not true

Aleppo war hypocrisy uncovered

translation and commentary by Don Hank

Featured below is my translation of an article on the site of Movimento 5 Stelle (m5s), an increasingly popular anti-Establishment party which, if it comes to power in the vacuum created by Prime Minister Renzi’s resignation, is likely to take Italy out of the euro. Unlike the UK, whose leaders tenaciously still cling to the EU following the Brexit, Italy’s exit from the euro could be more brusque and throw the EU into a tailspin. Of the major anti-elite parties in the EU core countries, m5s is the boldest, most astute and most brutally honest in its critical analysis of western military and foreign policy. The article below should be book-marked for reference because it lists casualty estimates for the “good” war in Mosul and the “bad” war in Aleppo and shows that the numbers of civilians killed in US-waged wars and the Israeli conflicts with Palestine are extremely high, making Western criticism of Russia and the Syrian government look hypocritical. The article does not list the casualties in Aleppo simply because we hear or read about these every day thanks to the media dutiful reporting them in a tone clearly condemnatory of Russia (and Assad), as if only Russian wars entailed collateral damage.  This article sets the record straight, highlighting the rank hypocrisy of the US and allies.

I took the trouble to investigate independently the casualty statistics listed by Fulvio Scaglione in his article below. Here are links to 3 months of UN figures cited:

http://www.iraqinews.com/features/unami-announces-death-toll-iraq-september/

http://reliefweb.int/report/iraq/un-casualty-figures-iraq-month-october-2016-enar

http://reliefweb.int/report/iraq/un-casualty-figures-iraq-month-october-2016-enar

Not all of the deaths can be attributed directly to US intervention. However, ISIS and its opponents killed a very large number of people as a result of the Obama administration’s refusal to prevent ISIS from entering the towns and cities. He did, however, provide arms to “moderate” terrorists in Syria.

While many conservatives take a dim view of the UN, this organization is the only one providing data of t his kind. Without the UN, the world would be reliant mostly on biased data from outlets loyal to the US government that caused  much of the suffering.

Sadly, from my personal association with prominent and less prominent Brexit activists I have seen that only a minority of them understand that declaring their independence from the EU is only half the battle. They seem unaware that the real enemies are the US and NATO, which constantly beat the war drums against Russia and Assad, despite their own illegal and failed invasions in the Middle East, Ukraine and Kosovo, which leave the world infinitely less safe than before their interventions.

I receive alerts from the main anti-EU parties and after reading their literature, for years in some cases, I would rank them as follows in terms of their grasp of the geopolitical reality, particularly regarding US-waged wars. From most aware to least aware, they are:

Movimento 5 Stelle (m5s) (founded by Beppe Grillo. they will field a candidate for prime minister)

Front National  (founded by Marine LePen, who is eyeing a run for president of France)

Partij voor de Vrijhijd /Freedom Party (founded by Geert Wilders, who is eying a run for prime minister of Holland)

I am not including UKIP (UK Independent Party) in this list because Brits are split on their feelings toward the Atlanticist Establishment; while UKIP was instrumental in bringing about the exit of the UK from the EU, they were only one of several influential groups in that endeavor.   I would put Nigel Farage personally high on the list, because he is in line with Donald Trump – willing to deal with, rather than demonize, the Russians and Syrians. He has in fact traveled to the US to endorse Trump. However, the Brexit groups are divided with regard to remaining in NATO. Some think NATO is necessary for “defence,” despite the fact that all of NATO’s actions in recent years have been offensive and have violated international law regarding sovereignty of states. I also am not including the AfD because there is, at this point, virtually no chance that Germany will exit the EU any time soon.

 

http://www.beppegrillo.it/2016/12/la_guerra_di_aleppo_non_e_solo_come_ve_la_raccontano.html

What they’re not telling you about the war in Aleppo

Movimento 5 Stelle /5 Star Movement   The blog of the stars

by Fulvio Scaglione for TPI

The battle of Aleppo, with the bloodshed of recent days and the terrible years that preceded them, marked among other things the collapse of the Western information system , which is almost indistinguishable from partisan propaganda at this point. Everything in the Western narrative about Aleppo smacks of fraud and deceit. Since the publication of unfiltered and unverified data provided by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, founded and headed by an adversary of Bashar al-Assad and maintained by the British government, the word “siege” has been applied liberally for Aleppo but only in recent months, and never in the over three years that the city was attacked from three sides by rebels and jihadis, who came to occupy 60 percent of the urban territory.

But in a way, these are small details. The real issue is the refusal to confront a reality which can be summarized as: what happened in Aleppo in recent weeks is not at all exceptional. On the contrary, it is the norm of contemporary war. Don’t believe us? Then let’s have a look around. Take Mosul, the largest Iraqi city, which has been occupied by ISIS for two and a half years.

In mid-October the offensive to free it from the jihadists got underway (finally). Great fanfare, triumphant tones, exultation for civilians who “were being freed” from areas previously under the control of militants (while civilians in Aleppo who come from the neighborhoods dominated by al-Nusra Front, are not liberated but rather “escape”). Now, two months later, everything has come to a standstill and no one is talking about liberating Mosul. Not only that, the offensive by Americans, Kurds and Iraqis has been halted to such an extent that ISIS has removed 4-5 thousand fighters from the Iraqi front and sent them to retake Palmyra in Syria. Why?

The answer is very simple. The two and a half years of grueling bombing campaign gave ISIS plenty of time to organize the defenses in the city. The roads were mined or boarded up or replaced by galleries known only to the militia fighters. Some buildings were demolished to clear lines of fire; elsewhere walls were built to block the lines of fire and passage of the attackers. Finally, thousands of civilians were trapped to be used as human shields.

To be “liberated” Mosul will have to become another Aleppo: the bombings, civilian casualties, children torn apart by the strikes, and so on. There is an alternative, namely, house to house combat with hundreds and hundreds of dead Iraqis and Kurds — which has already been going on, even if military operations are almost at a standstill.

The UN Mission for assistance to Iraq (UNAMI), directed by Jan Kubis, former Foreign Minister of Slovakia (2006-2009), has made available mind-boggling data on the number of Iraqi deaths, civilian and other, of the last few months. In September, ie before the offensive on Mosul, the number of Iraqi civilians killed was 609 (951 injured); the number rose to 1,120 (with 1,005 injured) in October and to 926 (930 injured) in November.

As for the military and other combatants, the figures are: 394 killed (208 injured) in September, 672 killed (353 injured) in October, 1959 killed (and 450 injured) in November. Result? Everything blocked, meaning further suffering for imprisoned civilians in Mosul and more time for ISIS to continue building up.

Of course, nouveaux philosophes [a group similar to the Neocons in the US—Don Hank] and other clowns can harp on atrocities and human rights violations in Aleppo. But they are nothing but hypocrites. In 2004, the US Army fought two battles to “liberate” the Iraqi city of Fallujah, in fact occupied by the militants of al-Qaeda, the forerunners of the militants of al-Nusra, which play such an important role in the battle of Aleppo.

According to the independent NGO Iraq Body Count, between 572 and 616 civilians died in the first battle (April 2004); between 581 and 670 died in the second (November 2004) battle. The Americans used phosphorus arms and apparently depleted uranium. Have you ever heard of any new philosophers rending their garments over this? Do you recall Corriere de Sera [an establishment newspaper–Don] ever mentioning “slaughterhouse” in headlines about Fallujah, as it did referring to Aleppo?

 

And what about Gaza? According to the most conservative data, which are those published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, only 45 percent of the 2,100 Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip during the 2014 war were real civilians and non-combatants. That’s still 945 unarmed people killed in two months of clashes.

Thus it was the very countries that now cry foul over the Aleppo operations, that block motions censure Israel at the UN.  And isn’t Gaza a perfect copy of the eastern districts of Aleppo, attacked with bombs by the Russians and by Assad’s Syrians?

And yet UNICEF has informed us that in the first six months of 2016, Afghanistan had a record number of civilian casualties: 1,601 dead and 3,565 wounded. The worst half-year since the anti-Taliban invasion in 2001. According to UN estimates, 60 percent of Afghan civilians are vulnerable to attack by the Taliban and other insurgent groups and criminals.

But 40 percent of 1,601 deaths is still 640 deaths, or 640 innocent Afghans killed in six months (more than 3 per day) by troops arriving from our countries, that is, by those who are supposed to be protecting and “liberating” them. But everyone is silent; these dead do not deserve the indignation reserved for the dead of eastern  Aleppo.

Thus the war of our times is utterly disgusting. Those who pretend to believe that in Chechnya and Aleppo different things were done than elsewhere, for example in Fallujah or Gaza, are quite simply lying. All of today’s wars are fought on the backs of civilians. All of them.

And in all wars, the armed men, with or without uniforms, are, at the most, collateral victims. Politicians, military people and terrorists know this quite well. So the real issue is to avoid wars as much as possible, not to pretend that there are good wars and bad wars.

(translation from the Italian by Don Hank)

 

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