I'm no Syria expert, far from it, but the propaganda out of Syria especially over Aleppo, is grating to say the least.
We are constantly informed ("") that Russia (read Putin) and Syria (read Assad) are "destroying" Aleppo and that the city might "fall" to these Evil Ones as they kill and maim innocent women and children (the children seen on heartrending video practically every day) and repeatedly blow up the "last remaining hospital" in Aleppo... etc. The horror show just never ends, and obviously Putin-Assad-Satan are guilty of War Crimes worse than those that led to the Nuremberg Trials. Oh, much worse.
Except b over at Moon of Alabama has been explaining in exhaustive detail that this narrative is false from top to bottom. It's not just propaganda, it is the definition of The Big Lie.
"Aleppo" is a very large city in northern Syria, and most of its population has always been under official Syrian government control. The eastern part of the city is under the control of a hodgepodge of "rebel" groups (b insists they're fraudulent and mostly jihadist/terrorist groups -- al Qaida, ISIS and the like -- paid by the USA/CIA to oppose Assad). The eastern part of the city is far less residential than the western part, and not surprisingly most of Aleppo's population lives in the western city, not the eastern.
We never hear this in our "news" about what's going on in Syria. "Aleppo" is always presented as one city united and valiantly fighting for its life against the cruel aggression of Assad and Putin, never is it even hinted that there has always been a large population -- a majority -- living more or less normal lives (as much as anyone can be said to be living "normally" under the circumstances) in West Aleppo. That part of the city and its residents don't exist in the propaganda narrative. They've been erased.
There is a struggle going on for control of East Aleppo, and that struggle is ugly and violent. The Syrian army and Russian air power are involved in that struggle as they jointly attempt to retake East Aleppo and drive out the jihadists/terrorists. They are making some progress. But it is not without cost. There is much destruction to be sure, but it's nothing like the claims of the "rebels." False reports out of East Aleppo are routine, and everything we hear, see and read about it must be taken skeptically, because most of it is a lie.
One part of the Big Lie is that "Aleppo" -- that is to say East Aleppo -- has a civilian population of several hundred thousand under siege and bombardment by the Evil Ones. b assures us that's false.
He insists there are no more than about 20-30,000 civilians in that part of the city -- and there may be far fewer. There were never as many in East Aleppo -- which is mostly an industrial and quasi-rural part of the city -- as there were in the Western city, which is mostly residential and commercial.
He insists that most of the civilian population of East Aleppo left long ago and those that remain are mostly the families of the jihadists and terrorists -- paid by the USA to fight Assad.
So if I'm understanding this story correctly -- and I can't say I do understand it fully -- most of the population of Aleppo has always been under Syrian government authority. A jihadist/terrorist faction supported and paid by the USA took control of the eastern part of the city some years ago, and now the Syrian government and their Russian allies have launched a campaign to take it back.
This almost exactly parallels the just launched effort of Iraqi armed forces together with their American allies to "retake" Mosul from jihadist/terrorist ISIS control, just as previously similar campaigns were launched against Fallujah (for what, the fourth time?) and Tikrit, among other cities in Iraq.
And during these campaigns, the cities are essentially flattened, and the civilian population that can't escape are exterminated. That's the pattern set years ago during the American occupation. It's happened over and over again. And that's the pattern being followed by the Syrian government in East Aleppo and other cities under jihadist/terrorist control in Syria.
Everything that our propagandists claim Putin/Assad are doing in Aleppo is being done or has been done in Mosul, Fallujah and other cities in Iraq by combined American/Iraqi armed forces, and for essentially the same reasons, with approximately the same result. Ruined cities and dead civilians -- and escaped jihadi/terrorists.
It beggars belief.
Accusations of War Crimes are flying thick and fast, and calls for a No Fly Zone over northern Syria -- to protect "Aleppo" -- are intensifying. Of course such an action would mean War With Russia. Which must be approached gingerly, as Russia is a heavily armed nuclear power, and one doesn't want to mess with that unnecessarily. Does one?
You would think not, but according to many observers, our NeoCon rulers are actually spoiling for a nuclear confrontation with the Soviet Union -- er, Putin's Russia -- and would welcome the chance to go nuclear on Putin's ass.
How much of this is brinksmanship and posturing I have no idea, but the thought is understandably troubling to more than a few Americans. Are Our Rulers crazy?
Well, I think we've long understood that they are. They are out of their freaking minds.
On the other hand, the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin in particular, appear to be among the sanest of international rulers. They are not going to start a nuclear war with the United States.
There's a widespread assumption among Hag-Haters that Hillary is bound and determined to engage the US with Russia in a nuclear exchange. I think that's ridiculous. Just as ridiculous as the notion that Trump won't start a nuclear war.
We're in realms of pure fantasy and projection when we believe that one or the other will or won't start a war with Russia. There is no way for us to know one way or the other. There is always a risk of nuclear annihilation no matter who sits in the Big Chair, simply because there are so many nuclear weapons on both sides (and others, it's not just two nuclear powers after all) and we can't predict how our rulers or other rulers will behave. We can hope, but we can't know.
Brinkmanship is a long known and practiced form of international "diplomacy," and I think that's what's going on with the current round of nuclear threats. Those of us who lived through the Cold War ought to be thoroughly familiar with the tactic. It's frightening and potentially deadly, though the point of it is intimidate the other side sufficiently to gain one's objectives without resort to the Ultimate Weapons. A side advantage of Brinkmanship is that it so frightens the domestic population that they are kept in line. Patriotism and all that.
Meanwhile the meatgrinders continue without let up.
Proxy wars without end.
That would be true no matter who sat in the Big Chair, and unless we're willing and able to rise up as one, we the Rabble have no control over it.
I wish it weren't so, but it is.