What does the ceasefire in Syria mean?

OffGuardian

Pepe Escobar, interviewed by James Corbett, on the meaning and consequences of the US-Russian ceasefire agreement on Syria: you can watch the video here.

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Saudi Arabia’s Dictator Demands Regime-Change in Syria — Otherwise WW III

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by Eric Zuesse

As has been recently reported, many experts on international relations are saying that the danger of a nuclear war between NATO and Russia is greater now than it was during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 — in other words: greater than ever before in history. But it has just ratcheted a bit higher still:

The owner of Saudi Arabia, King Salman al-Saud, speaking through his spokesperson and chosen Foreign Minister, in an interview that was published on February 19th in Germany’s magazine Spiegel, says that he demands the resignation or else the overthrow of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, who is allied with both Iran and Russia. Polls of the Syrian public, by Western polling firms, consistently show Assad to be overwhelmingly approved by the Syrian people to be the leader of Syria, and show that Syrians blame the United States for causing ISIS, which is…

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Analysis: Hillary Clinton and the Syrian bloodbath

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Hillary Clinton speaks to the press following the Friends of Syria conference in Tunis, February 2012. Photograph: Jason Reed/AFP/Getty Images

Jeffrey Sachs writes in The Huffington Post:

[…] Clinton has been much more than a bit player in the Syrian crisis. Her diplomat Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Benghazi was killed as he was running a CIA operation to ship Libyan heavy weapons to Syria. Clinton herself took the lead role in organizing the so-called “Friends of Syria” to back the CIA-led insurgency.

The U.S. policy was a massive, horrific failure. Assad did not go, and was not defeated. Russia came to his support. Iran came to his support. The mercenaries sent in to overthrow him were themselves radical jihadists with their own agendas. The chaos opened the way for the Islamic State, building on disaffected Iraqi Army leaders (deposed by the US in 2003), on captured U.S. weaponry, and…

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UK columnist: In Aleppo, the besiegers are now the besieged

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Syrian Army soldiers loyal to President Bashar al-Assad take aim at rebels during a battle in Aleppo’s al-Liramun neighbourhood. Photo AFP/Getty Images

Peter Oborne writes in The Spectator:

I had been trying to get to Aleppo for ages, but was unable to do so because rebel activity had cut off the city from the outside world. Syrian government military successes at the start of January meant there was at last a safe road. I hired a driver, was allocated a government minder (very handy at checkpoints), and booked into a hotel. Driving north from Damascus, we picked up a 22-year-old Syrian army lieutenant called Ali, returning to his unit after eight days’ leave with his family.

We drove through Homs — miles and miles of utter devastation — and then east on to the Raqqa road. Ali told me that he had been assigned to Kuweires military airport east…

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Analysis: Russia’s triumph in Aleppo

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Syrian army in the Aleppo countryside.

Mike Whitney writes in Global Research:

“This is the beginning of the end of jihadi presence in Aleppo. After 4 years of war and terror, people can finally see the end in sight.”

— Edward Dark, Twitter, Moon of Alabama

A last ditch effort to stop a Russian-led military offensive in northern Syria ended in failure on Wednesday when the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) backed by the National Defense Forces (NDF) and heavy Russian air cover broke a 40-month siege on the villages of Nubl and al-Zahra in northwestern Aleppo province. The Obama administration had hoped that it could forestall the onslaught by cobbling together an eleventh-hour ceasefire agreement at the Geneva peace talks.  But when the news that Syrian armored units had crashed through al Nusra’s defenses and forced the jihadists to retreat, UN envoy Staffan de Mistura suspended the negotiations tacitly acknowledging…

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Freeing Julian Assange: the last chapter

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by John Pilger

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One of the epic miscarriages of justice of our time is unravelling. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention – the international tribunal that adjudicates and decides whether governments comply with their human rights obligations – has ruled that Julian Assange has been detained unlawfully by Britain and Sweden.

After five years of fighting to clear his name – having been smeared relentlessly yet charged with no crime – Assange is closer to justice and vindication, and perhaps freedom, than at any time since he was arrested and held in London under a European Extradition Warrant, itself now discredited by Parliament.

The UN Working Group bases its judgements on the European Convention on Human Rights and three other treaties that are binding on all its signatories. Both Britain and Sweden participated in the 16-month long UN investigation and submitted evidence and defended their position before the…

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