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Julie Bishop’s Epiphany on the Road to Damascus

It comes as welcome news that Australia is set to abandon its opposition to Bashar al-Assad as part of a durable peace settlement in Syria.

The recent military escalation by Russia and reported sightings of Chinese war ships in the Mediterranean in the last week must come as something of an embarrassment to the war hawks in Washington, and the knives may well be out for whichever rookie secretary forgot to register the war on terror as a trademark. Still this has done little to change the tri-partisan rhetoric coming out of Canberra. “I don’t for a moment shy away from the comments that we have made in the past about the illegitimacy of the regime.” “President Assad unleashed chemical weapons on his own people, and the death and destruction in Syria is appalling and at unprecedented levels”, Ms Bishop recently said in an address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

In hearing these remarks I can’t help be reminded of the outrageous claims and bald faced lies which led us into war in Iraq in 2003. Whatever happened to all those weapons of mass destruction which Saddam was stockpiling? Was he able to secretly shield them from UN weapons inspectors with an invisibility cloak? Perhaps the same cloak that Dr Assad is using to hide his chemical weapons arsenal? Or the one that Iran is evidently using to conceal its uranium enrichment program? Not to put too fine a point on it, but when the executive director of Human Rights Watch is leading the cheer for the removal of the legitimate government of a sovereign nation state which currently enjoys the support of 80% of its people, one might wonder if we are being told the whole truth.

Having taken part what now seems like an age ago in the rallies against the 2003 invasion of Iraq – the biggest protests Australia has seen since the Vietnam War, I’m more than a little miffed at the lack of public outrage at Australia’s compliance in 2015. Perhaps the media is doing a better job of selling its lies and deception this time around, but so far I remain unconvinced. I am tired of the blatant propaganda surrounding this illegal war. I’m tired of the persistent references to “civil war” in a country which is clearly being attacked by outside forces. I’m tired of hearing the government of Syria constantly referred to as “the Assad regime”, and carnal knowledge of dead animals aside, I’m well tired of David Cameron referring to Bashar al-Assad as a butcher.

So far as Washington’s support for terrorists is concerned, there’s no putting the cat back in the bag. I have argued this extensively in other essays, but it doesn’t take a political analyst to see that Obama, Netanyahu, Ergdogan, Salman and Abdullah before him have been working hand in glove with various terror groups to destabilize and ultimately remove the Syrian government for their own nefarious ends. Washington’s war hawks have bypassed congressional appropriations by directing their client state Saudi Arabia to deploy radical anti-Syrian (and often anti-US) militants against Assad, unleashing a wave of terror on the region. Playing both sides against the middle may have some merit in games of strategy, but willingly supporting terrorists who commit atrocities against civilians by any other name is still a war crime.

Of course there are many players in this proxy war, each with their own interests: Obviously there’s the US and its allies, who in their relentless quest for world domination just can’t seem to keep their grubby hands out of other people’s business. In their latest adventure, United States Secretary of State John Kerry and the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in collusion with Wall Street insiders had contrived to control the entire region’s oil and gas reserves and to weaken Russia and Iran by selling cheap oil to China.

There’s Russia, whose soft underbelly comprises almost every country ending in ‘stan’ from which Islamist extremists might enter its borders. Already feeling the squeeze of tough trade sanctions since the shooting down of MH17, this manipulation of the oil market, despite weakening its economy, will likely strengthen its resolve.

There’s Israel, a newly created, US backed, militarised rogue state whose original British colonial design includes not just the annexation of both the West Bank and Gaza but of all the land from the Nile to the Euphrates including parts of Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, the Sinai, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. (The plan for Greater Israel involves the Balkanization of surrounding Arab states, beginning with Iraq, which is to be divided into Shia and Sunni territories and a separate Kurdish state.)

There’s China, an emerging superpower now lumbered with a stalling economy and forced to choose between a ready supply of cheap oil and the prospect of the war in Syria spilling into Iran, Southern Russia and eventually breaching its own western borders.

There’s Germany, which seems to have embraced the prospect of close to a million new low paid workers with the same enthusiasm with which it welcomed the surge of cheap skilled labour at the close of the Soviet era (an attitude perfectly consistent with EU ambitions to enforce human misery through austerity.)

And then there are the endless hordes now beating a path to Europe in what’s been called the biggest mass movement of refugees since WWII. It’s not just the Alawites, Yazidis and other religious and ethnic minorities once protected under Syria’s Ba’athist government who now face a grim future, but the entire Syrian population, of whom more than half are now internally displaced or have fled in fear for their lives. Pray tell what conceivable form of ‘regime change’ would ever allow these people to return to their homes?

Syria was and is the last secular nation state in the Middle East, and as has been argued by many, not least President Putin himself, it is for the people of Syria and nobody else to decide who will govern them. Russia is now working in concert with Iran, Hezbollah and other regional partners to end the horror brought to bear by Washington’s incessant meddling, and while Obama still condemns Russia’s strategy as “doomed to failure” and continues to demand Assad’s ultimate resignation, this outcome is looking increasingly less likely.

While China’s last minute arrival is obviously a game changer, it’s not like the US were never invited to the party. Putin’s attempts to forge an alliance of nations to deal with the growing threat of global terror have never specifically excluded US participation, but with the US demonstrably the world’s greatest sponsor of terrorism, it does make things a little awkward. As well as Iran, Iraq, Hezbollah and the Syrian Arab Army, the new coalition looks likely to include all members of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO); Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan, and Tajikistan. This poses an obvious question right off the bat. Is Washington really afraid that Russia’s intervention will make matters worse in Syria? Or rather that putting an end to ISIS once and for all might render the US irrelevant?

What emerges from this picture is a strong sense that Washington’s war hawks are losing, or have lost, their grip over Middle East politics. The Iranian moderates who are inclined to cooperate with the West for economic reasons are naturally allied to Russia where the Syrian ISIS threat is concerned; the Gulf monarchies seem only too happy for Russia to broker a peace between warring Shi’ite and Sunni factions, and with Russia now flexing its military muscle, Netanyahu is hardly likely to be spoiling for a fight either.

Whether or not any of this could lead to a lasting peace in the Middle East it’s too early to say, and with the likes of Carly Fiorina now set to trump Trump for the GOP candidacy, and Hilary Clinton still a likely choice for the Democrats, Washington’s campaign for global hegemony is unlikely to end any time soon. It does however seem that we may have reached a turning point. Could the battle for Syria prove a victory for peace and diplomacy in an increasingly multi-polar world? Or is this how WWIII begins?

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24 comments

  1. keerti

    Wars have three functions. Cutting the population (both immediately and by later procreation), making arms manufacturers rich and taking other countries resources. So long as the canon fodder is naive (stupid) enough to believe the bullshit we will continue to have wars. So far as world war 111 is concerned that has been going on in various theaters since 1945.

  2. Mark Needham

    Supporting Assad, had to happen. Lesser of several evils.
    Sighing Knowingly,
    Mark Needham

  3. Paddy Forsayeth

    Sean – an interesting article. Could some one give a brief recap of the lead up and the start of the Syrian civil war. I find it hard to believe that if 80% of the population supported Assad why was the civil unrest not quashed much earlier on?

  4. Sir ScotchMistery

    I would point out that England bombed us with an abbott of mass destruction, yet we still do business with those twats.

  5. Jos.

    Ok, have been following developments & trying to get a grasp on this for quite a while now. This is the narrative of Syria post 2000 as I’ve pieced it together from what i can ascertain online. If you don’t know the recent history, hopefully it may help you catch up. Yes, it reads a bit like a high school essay cos i’m tired & i’ve just thrown it together a bit haphazardly, & there’s lots of ground to cover. Please pick me up on, & correct any bits you think are wrong or a bit out of whack, or any vital additions necessary I may have missed:

    Around 2000, the former Assad, Hafez dies & his son Bashar becomes the new president of Syria. Bashar’s an opthamologist who had been studying in London & had been an eye doctor in the Syrian army. He’s educated, & quite articulate, perhaps a bit humble, a touch convoluted, and it’s difficult to tell in western interviews whether he has sometimes expressed as being deliberately condescending or not. Some may argue a degree of delusional. He appears to get on well with the religious leaders of Syrian society who seem to back him without coming across as if they’re forced to. He only became the replacement president to be when his brother was killed in a car crash. He wasn’t driven by a desire to rule Syria, but decided he’d step up & take on the role. Bashar, an alawite, has a sunni wife who was born in Syria, but London raised. While the alawites are the power base (with the ba’ath party coming to power in a coup several decades earlier), the Syrian government & Syrian population is largely made up of sunnis. When he first came into power there was talk of reform to give Syrian’s more general control in their governing & to modernize the nation for the future, however things went a bit awry and the old guard of the Assad inner circle convinced them it wasn’t such a great idea. Some say the Assad style of control over Syria is mafia-esque. Syria was going along generally successfuly. It’s a culturally/heritage rich, largely muslim, yet secular nation where people had gotten along ok, but were under the rule of authoritarian powers who had the say in affairs & didn’t like being opposed. A middle-eastern nation where you could go out for a drink; where women were allowed to have occupations & be professionals & where children could be educated in a variety of worldly things, such as science. After 9/11, which Assad is said to sympathise with America, the Bush Administration used Syria as a place where it can get away with torturing terror suspects. The minorities of Syria, of which centuries old christian denominaitons are a part, generally haven’t benefited greatly from Assad rule, but have typically protected by it.

    In 2006, Syria moved away from selling its oil in the US petrodollar. This put a huge target on its back; western financial elite require the petrodollar system for financial stability & clearly don’t mind going to war for it. Turkey & Qatar wanted to put a pipeline through Syria to sell natural gas to Europe. Assad said no due to his cooperation with Russia, which has a large market providing natural gas to Europe already. Another big target on Syria. Iran, Iraq & Syria announced not long after the Syrian conflict started in 2011, that they would create a proposed “friendship-pipeline” between those 3 countries for shifting & selling gas, again putting them at odds with the gulf nations. The war has put a halt to that. As a sidenote, the golan heights were once territory of Syria, but were captured & annexed by neighbouring Israel in 1967. The golan has never officially been recognised as Israeli territory, & it has recently been discovered that part of the golan plains are rich in oil. A company media monopoliser Rupert Murdoch has shares in, has recently gained contracts to drill there.
    It must be pointed out that since the start of the conflict, the western media has largely been coerced to demonize Assad at all costs (yet strangely doesn’t call out the US for dumping white phosphorous all over Fallujah, which has seen a fallout in effects on people worse than Nagasaki & Hiroshima combined, or for its drone warfare which kills scores of civilians for every “terror” target, or for its use of cluster munitions in its arsenal — really the hypocrisy list goes on & on), & typically refer to all factions fighting against the Syrian state as ‘rebels’ rather than militants

    Also, between ’06 & ’11 Syria, with its highly productive agricultural countryside had been undergoing a period of severe drought, some would attribute to climate change. Water sources were generally directed toward those most favourably in support of government which helped create rifts & tensions. We have to remember that the US had hatched its plans to sew chaos in Iraq a few years prior which was going just swimmingly. General Wesley Clarke had told us there was a 7 nation toppling plan, & Syria was one in the line of fire on the way to Iran. The sectarian mayhem going on nextdoor in Iraq must have been a large concern to the Assad clan. It would have been naive for them not to realise that what was being put in action would be hoped to eventually consume them too. It’s claimed that the Syrian government released jihadists from its prisons so they could flow into Iraq to aid countering American intervention. You probably would try to make use of them if you wanted to try & get America’s claws out of the region. A wikileaks document from 2006 showed the US planned to play up weaknesses of the Syrian government to aid an uprising, & another from 2011 showed communications between those in the US who would be engineering a Libya style downfall.
    I digress; the country is in drought & people are getting a bit terse. In the Syrian city of Deraa, largely affected by water scarcity, Syrian security forces detain a bunch of youths for anti government grafiti & sentiment, & they are tortured, before release. The Arab Spring has sprung, and a group of several thousand protestors (i think in Homs?) start peacefully protesting for democracy.
    The Syrian government reaction is a bit overkill, with dozens killed when the crowd is fired upon. (Not too sure what event actually sparked the violence here.. Syrian’s on the side of Assad claim that it was not exactly what you would call peaceful protests) A couple of members of the old guard in Assad’s inner circle, and another brother of Assad’s who is high up in the security apparatus is said to have been directly involved (word is he’s a violent, unstable man). There is talk that soldiers who refused to fire upon the protesters were summarily executed.
    Across the country in stable areas, Syrian security forces, policeman & army personnel are targeted in an almost unprecedented way — this is believed to have had a high degree of CIA hand at play causing fomentation within society.

    So then we get defections from the army (a lot of soldiers are conscripts) & disaffected youth throughout the countryside regions largely (Aleppo, Homs etc) start the formation of the Free Syrian Army, as a supposedly moderate, fighting opposition to loyal Assad forces. I think i recall reading their force was around 60,000 in a country of 24 million.
    There are several heinous massacres, & destructive bombings attributed to those both opposed to the Assad government, & those supportive of it. Syria’s Assad loyal militant Shabiha “unofficial police force” are believed responsible for a lot of torture which takes place. Some in the international community would claim an “ethnic-cleansing” or “genocide” starting to go into effect. Syrian army tactics of starving out rebel held areas are derided throughout the western world.

    The violence flares up, & outside anti-western terror elements (largely of sunni origin) see the potential for seizing Syria & the worldwide call for jihad is put out, which over the next few years will come to attract tens of thousands of fighters from many nations to the Syrian arena, (believed to be largely facilitated by vested interests who want to control the gulf region, or are in bed with those who control the gulf, & counter Iranian Influence). Saudi Arabia & Turkey are said to import the Wahabbi ideology & facilitate fighters. Qatar is said to fund many of the American arms which get to this group. Jordan has western backed fighters trained on its soil. An umbrella of around 100 different jihadist groups is said to operate throughout the country, al-nusra (alqaidas Syrian affiliate) is believed to be the most numerous, & effective one. Israel is said to also aid some external fighters in the south of the country, & Assad has gone as far as calling Israeli aircraft “nusra’s airforce” It has been claimed Assad gave elements of nusra a bit of a leg up, so that both his forces would appear to have a legitimate target to attack (as opposed to people seeking democracy), & a force outside of his own which would counter Allepo & Homs are torn apart.
    In late 2013, a horrific chemical weapons attack occurs in east ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus, with hundreds killed. It happens on the day UN inspectors who have been invited to investigate a few isolated, much smaller chemical weapons instances which occured in weeks prior, enter Damascus. Fresh samples are difficult to obtain, but the UN inspectors are able to eventually take some, & find it tests positive for Sarin, an agent which is in Assad’s stocks. Assad vehemently denies use of chemical weapons on the population.
    The world wonders if this incident will be the red line Assad “crosses” which means American strikes target his military installations. Syria has a sophisticated anti-aircraft system which makes such a mission high-risk. It doesn’t happen. The UN inspectors mission was not to assign blame. Perpetrators of the attack remain uncertain, with unsubstantiated reports claiming the sarin did not match the signatures of Assad’s stock, & that potentially Saudi Arabian elements had supplied it. Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh conducts an investigation where without assigning blame, his conclusion is that whoever did it, the Sarin was very likely fired from within rebel held territory.
    Russia is instrumental in persuading Assad to give up his chemical weapons stocks & within a year they’re destroyed.
    Most of the Free Syrian Army “moderates” eventually fall into either the al-nusra, or newly created ISIS, fold. Assad would counter that their ideology was one of these sorts of people all along, & that everyone he is fighting is a terrorist against the interests of Syria & Syrians. He may have some point. Syrian elections in 2007 show over 11 million votes, with 98% of voters choosing president Assad. In 2014, the first multiple candidate elections since Syria’s ba’ath party coup was held. Over 10 million votes are counted (mostly from the population centres of the country under Assad governance, but also a couple of million from those who have fled the nation’s conflict). 88% are said to have voted for Assad. Pictures showed Assad supporters had voted in a throng of support in Lebanon. Representatives from 30 countries who monitored the vote say it was free and fair, & without major irregularities occuring.
    It would seem that if the Syrian people truly hated Assad, they did finally have an opportunity to at least vote for a candidate who was not him (although “moderate” opponents would counter those available to vote for were not effective “opponents”).

    Assad continues to claim that he is open to dialogue with opponents, but they must be Syrian opponents, not a part of vested external interests, & with their interest for Syria’s future, and not conflict waging opponents. He says outside nations must not decide how Syria runs its affairs.
    “ISIS” is a rather strange, shadowy entity which builds its army from “seized” US weapons from the Iraq war & rules by fear. Their first ghastly actions are to massacre up to 2,000 Iraqi security cadets, start putting Syrian security forces heads on pikes, & to attempt to eradicate the Yazidi minority in the region, & anyone not conforming to their ideology is targeted. Bizarrely enough, it practically invites largescale assault against it by the west, by provocatively executing western hostages, despite its hold on power being only fresh & reasonably sketchy. It controls much of western Iraq & Syrian province Deir Ezzor, with Raqqa as its capital. Airstrikes by international forces are not greatly effective in stemming its flow into other under protected parts of Syria, such as Palmyra, & have amassed hundreds, perhaps 1000’s of civilian casualties also.

    As the violence just escalates & escalates, more Syrian civilians are killed, as Syria relies more & more on its airforce to bomb jihadist militants, often innaccurately & only semi-effectively. Up to half the population seeks refuge beyond the borders, creating a crisis. The death toll sits at around 250,000, with around a third being civilians, a third Assad loyalists, & the remaining third combatants against them.
    Iranian militant proxy group from Lebanon, Hezbollah, are quite vital in bolstering Assad fighting nusra/the FSA so that as the nation continues to fracture, & with the international terrorist influx, Assad does not fall, but his governance falls to reach only about 1/5th of the country. Despite the carnage & territory loss going on all around, the Syrian government encourages its constituents to try & continue living life as normally as possible.

    September 2015, Russia, which has had a partnership in providing arms sales to the Syrian government, & has a decades old naval base in the city of Tartous, & a large stake geo-politically in regards to the axis of control in the Gulf region including Syria, has decided to step in as an ally to Assad, providing Syria with more modern vehicles & weaponry, & Russian marines for training & purposes of fighting ISIS, & telling the world Syria’s future must include Assad, despite many of his detractors, such as UK’s David Cameron arguing it must not. Already it has been seen to be effective that Russia’s technology is helpful in providing accuracy & precision against militant targets.
    Cameron claims Assad must face the international criminal court, however doesn’t seem to charge that one of his predecessors Tony Blair must also, despite him being instrumental in creating contrived conflict in Iraq which has claimed a million lives & only continues to grow in its devastation & destabilisation/radicalising effect of the region. US secretary of State, John Kerry, seemingly a one time intimate dining companion with the Assad’s, also has in the past few years trumpeted his removal.
    With Russia’s new involvement (& a new cold war of sorts going into effect), US powers have softened on their call for Assad’s immediate departure, & will probably just try to continue to bleed the conflict out more & stretch Russia’s resources for the time being. They have brought nukes into Germany as a show of force, with an underlying threat of a new world war.

    My interpretation, I honestly cannot work out if Assad is “evil” per se, or deranged, & absolutely doesn’t care how many “martyr” civilians, & pro-regime soldiers go toward the cause of preserving his family legacy in Syria or not. I certainly recognise that as far as keeping the alawites from losing their homeland, & probably their lives goes, he pretty much has to believe he’s all in, because external sources are out to get Syria & shape it how then want it.
    He does claim that sectarianism issues are better than they were before the conflict started, as Syrian’s have now seen collectively what they’re up against, & it has united them in their resolve for their homeland, and argues that there are those who were against the government in the beginning of the conflict, but now recognise it as a misjudgement.

  6. mark delmege

    Paddy see earlier articles on here and the comments for how and why – you can use the search function – I’m sure I’d bore people if I went over that ground again

  7. mark delmege

    I had to chuckle today when I heard of the US government and HRW criticising China for its human rights record on women around the time of the UN session co-chaired by China’s President Xi Jinping.
    (At least China has lifted hundreds of millions of men women and children out of poverty in recent decades – a feat not achieved by any country or group of countries in such a short time – anywhere in history.)
    Not that China doesn’t deserve criticism (or any country for that matter) but the US has been backing the misogynist head choppers for decades and destroyed numerous secular and relatively progressive countries and had them replaced by the most vicious anti women regimes – just as it has attempted in Syria for over 4 years.

    Of course I heard that on the ABC – no surprises there – just as they continue, falsely, with the claim that the Syrian government was responsible for the use of chemical weapons at Ghouta.

    Another test for the ABC – as the State Broadcaster, no less, will be just how they report the Dutch findings into the downing of the MH17 due next month.

  8. mark delmege

    Jos – good effort though I don’t agree with everything and you have missed out the significance of Israel hostility which is important in shaping US ME policy. Of course this isn’t the first time either that Syria has faced armed opposition and Muslim Brotherhood attacks. Certainly Syria is no model state – corruption and influence peddling, opposition to earlier neo-liberal reforms and ethnic tensions and as you say climatic events have all added to internal pressure but I would argue outside manipulations are the core reason for the so-called (and to my mind misnamed) civil war.

    I think al-Assad was actually practicing in London prior to taking up his post as President.
    For what it is worth a very near relative was studying (architecture) in Syria immediately prior to the break out of troubles and she felt that people of all religions got on well together and didn’t have a bad thing to say about her time there.

  9. mark delmege

    Let me make this clear. The US and its allies like France and Britain have long wanted to remove the Independent Government in Syria.

    Did you get that – the Independent Government in Syria.

    The US wants a client state.

    It’s not about corruption, women’s rights, democracy or any of those so called noble values.

    They want a country that will bend to it’s wishes.

    To achieve this end they have used front groups to wreck carnage upon the people of Syria.

    This is the arrogance and sheer criminality of Empire for all the world to see.

    Everything else is a smokescreen.

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  11. Peter F

    A Lebanese Moslem friend( female) told me several years ago that the insurgents in Syria were the real threat, and much more dangerous than Assad. She understood what was happening.

  12. Möbius Ecko

    Jos do you see the pattern here? mark delmege and others do.

    Iraq, the second biggest reserves of oil in the world, stops trading its oil in US dollars and gets illegally invaded. Syria does the same and though not invaded is undermined at every turn.

    If you go back you will find the US has a long history of removing legitimate governments or undermining them to install compliant and terrible autocrats. The US State Department has stated it would rather deal with benevolent dictatorships than democracies, it’s easier.

  13. Paddy Forsayeth

    Jos and Mark, many thanks for the comments.

  14. kizhmet

    Ditto – thank you sirs, for the comments – enlightening.

  15. mark delmege

    Mars08 Meyer is a bullshitter and working for Brookings is as good as working for the CIA. There is no doubt that some very senior members of Hussein Govt will be working with IS – such is their hatred of Iran and the Shia religion (and their sense of entitlement) . Oil brokered through Turkey may also pass through the hands of Erdogan’s son. And his daughter was working with health services assisting IS.

  16. Jos.

    Ok.. yeah, I’m VERY well aware of the connection & pattern, & Israeli role. I definitely agree the outside interests for wealth (but also minds with “end of times” beliefs) are the major conflict makers in the Syrian arena.
    I personally believe Iraq was meant to fail from the outset (so it would spill to Syria).
    Rumsfeld sent less than half the recommended 400,000 invasion force.
    Saddam’s RDX facility was secured, then allowed to be looted, which meant lots of horrific bombings, & destabilisation entailed.
    The army was disbanded & the de ba’athification took place, turning power on its head & disaffecting many.
    It was incompetence, corruption & ridiculousness without accountability at every turn.

    I would suggest to people this is the background to what is happening. Read about Bush beliefs in this one first (hard to know whether he actually subscribes to it, or only subscribes to it in the effect that his constituents can make a bundle from it):
    mondoweiss.net/2013/11/george-christian-conversion
    Then skip down to the bit in this about the “myth compelling ISIS & alqaida” — it’s a very similar thing.
    http://observer.com/2015/09/how-the-dominoes-will-fall-after-isis-takes-damascus/

    Mark, please elaborate on the elements which you disagree.. I meant to add more to the Israel angle. I was attempting to write it as how i believe it was & happened (as per information i’ve read), but know I’ve let my biases creep in there occasionally 🙂 If you have any of those links which you think are important to read, please post them here, cos I don’t think they’d bore me. I’ve been trying to play catch up on Syria myself & only started trying to understand it since the conflict erupted. Ta.

    Read the editorial of the herald feckin sun today, if you wish to get an idea of where the “agenda” minds are at.

  17. mark delmege

    Just to point out the babble worthiness of our foreign news reporting and their utter contempt for impartially and honesty …. Saudi Arabia attacks Yemen and knocks civilians down like flies while earlier with 4 on the floor support for terrorist gangs in Syria and Libya and effectively too in Iraq; Turkey likewise full steam ahead backing the head choppers in Syria (and Iraq) while it kills its own Kurds on bombing runs a la Yemen style – and not a peep of criticism from our Foreign Minister, or the Labor or Greens and barely a whimper from our media.
    Or take China constructing military bases in the South China Sea – arguably on its own islands and in close proximity to the mainland – and we get shock horror instability from those above while at the same time the US seems to be busily filling in coral atolls for military bases in the Indian Ocean on the other side of the world and nada zilch nothing – from anyone.

    Thanks for the links I’ll check them out

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