Reading between the lines in today’s Pentagon press briefing, a bombshell US policy shift is becoming more apparent: Syrian forces and their Russian partners are being told that conducting military operations in some parts of Syrian airspace opens them up to being shot down by the US military.
Pentagon Spokesman Peter Cook was asked numerous times in numerous ways whether this amounts to a US “no fly zone” over parts of Syria. His first response was vague but threatening:
We will use our air power as needed to protect coalition forces and our partnered operations. …We advise the Syrian regime to steer clear of [certain] areas.
The policy shift was so apparent that, one-by-one, the press corps asked for clarification. Does this mean that the US would shoot down Russian or Syrian planes if they attacked any US-backed partners even if they were engaged against Syrian government forces? Are those “coalition forces” and “partnered operations” receiving US protection against attack from the air always in receipt of that protection, or only when they are actively engaged in military operations? What are the rules of engagement?
There was no clear answer from the Pentagon spokesman.
A major fine by the UEFA expected to be levied against Scottish football powerhouse Celtic F.C., after a group of fans publicly displayed Palestinian flags during a playoff match against Hapoel Be’er Sheva.
Celtic fans, however, aren’t backing down, and have insisted that they will “match the fine for Palestine,” raising nearly $100,000, and promising to donate the money to Palestinian charities.
Celtic fans flew thousands of the flags at last week’s match in Glasgow’s Celtic Park as a “show of solidarity” with Palestinians living under Israeli occupation, as they played the first leg of a series against the team from southern Israel.
This was not the first time Celtic showed interest in the cause of Palestinian independence, however, as fans have in the past flown Palestinian flags at certain games, including those not involving an Israeli team. In 2014 the UEFA fined Celtic some $20,000 for allowing fans to display an “illicit banner” i.e. the Palestinian flag, during a game against an Icelandic team. That incident was during the 2014 Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip.
The second leg of the playoff is Tuesday in Israel. Israeli police have warned they have “zero tolerance” for Scottish fans with Palestinian flags, and have vowed to jail anyone who attempts to display such a flag during the match. Celtic is leading 5-2 after dominating the home leg of the playoff.
Why is the US warning Syria not to shoot back at Kurdish militia members who are firing on Syrian military positions? Because US Special Forces troops are fighting alongside the Kurds. But it also may be a shift in US policy away from its stated focus on ISIS and toward a focus on removing Assad. House Speaker Paul Ryan inexplicably released a statement at the end of last week castigating the Obama Administration for failing to attack the Assad government after the 2013 chemical attack in Ghouta. That all evidence points to a false flag rather than Syrian government culpability means little to Ryan’s propaganda team. With US-backed militants facing the possibility of a crushing defeat at Aleppo, it looks as if the US may be shifting toward direct confrontation with Assad (and by default also with Russia). This and more in today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:
Ho, ho, ho, here’s a scenario no one could have possibly anticipated: some complex thing in the Middle East as a temporary patch to some previous complicated thing in the Middle East turned out to backfire for the U.S. because of a lack of any semblance of an actual policy as opposed to a series of random actions linked only in temporal order. Soon a new thing will be needed to counteract the lastest old thing, but that’s for next week.
The most current thing is that Russia has deployed bomber and fighter aircraft to Iran for air strikes on rebels in Syria, the first time in 37 years that Iran allowed foreign forces to base and deploy from its territory. The new basing dramatically cuts into the number of frequent flyer miles the Russian air forces needs to bomb Syria. Flying out of Iran instead of from inside Russia means more sorties a day, maybe lower maintenance burdens, or maybe heavier payloads.
Just when you thought US foreign policy could not get more absurd. Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, who is listed as “commander of US forces in Iraq and Syria,” has issued a warning to the Syrian military that if its counter-insurgency operations on Syrian soil leave US troops on Syrian soil “feeling threatened,” the US military would “defend itself.”
That needs to be broken down to even be believed.
The Syrian military is fighting an armed uprising on its own soil. The US government is training and equipping several factions of that armed insurgency, in this case the Kurdish YPG militia. The US military is also operating on Syrian soil alongside and in support of the YPG militia. Members of the YPG militia have, over the past several days, been firing on Syrian government forces. The Syrian air force returns fire on its own soil and the US military that is illegally operating on Syrian soil issues a warning to the Syrian government to stop firing on insurgents on Syrian soil!