By Bob Bennett
During the third debate, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called for a no-fly zone over Syria. Chris Wallace, the moderator, cited fears of escalation expressed by both President Obama and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joseph Dunford; fears that our pilots will wind up nose to nose with Russian or Syrian pilots over Syrian airspace, leading to a war.
Wallace asked, “If you impose a no-fly zone and a Russian plane violates that, does President Clinton shoot that plane down?”
Clinton answered: “I think a no-fly zone could save lives and could hasten the end of the conflict. I’m well aware of the really legitimate concerns that you have expressed from both the president and the general.
“This would not be done just on the first day. This would take a lot of negotiation. And it would also take making it clear to the Russians and the Syrians that our purpose here was to provide safe zones on the ground.”
Her huffing and puffing, pre-designed to make her sound qualified for the presidency, certainly didn’t answer the question, and in fact demonstrates that she is not qualified at all.
The viewers were no doubt unaware that this was a replay of Hillary Clinton’s unauthorized and disastrous 2011 war on Libya’s Gadhafi, which started with a no-fly zone she pushed. But Russia apparently was well aware.
Hillary’s War on Libya
In March of 2011, it only took 45 minutes for Mahmoud Jibril, a Libyan rebel leader, to sell Hillary Clinton on the absolute necessity for a NATO intervention. According to Jibril, this was the only way to stop Gadhafi from conducting a widespread massacre of civilians. A few months later Jibril OK’d the wiping out of Tawergha, an entire village of black Libyans.
But Clinton evidently was very impressed by Mr. Jibril. She took his advice and ignored the advice of the Pentagon, which had determined that there was no impending massacre of citizens. The Washington Times reported that Human Rights Watch did not see imminent genocide, either:
“At that point, we did not see the imminence of massacres that would rise to genocidelike levels,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of the Middle East and North Africa division for Human Rights Watch.”
The Pentagon was desperate to prevent an unnecessary war, which would leave a “power vacuum” after Gadhafi’s fall. It took the unprecedented step of opening its own channel of negotiation with the Gadhafi camp.
On March 17, 2011 the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 1973, calling for a no-fly zone over Libya to protect civilians. The Times wrote that five countries on the U.N. Security Council “had abstained from voting on the decision in Libya because they had concerns that the NATO intervention would make things worse. Mrs. Clinton personally called their representatives to avoid having them exercise their veto.”
According to the Times, that same day, “Mrs. Clinton ordered a general within the Pentagon to refuse to take a call with Gadhafi’s son Seif and other high-level members within the regime, to help negotiate a resolution, the secret recordings reveal.”
The next day, Gadhafi ordered a ceasefire, which was also ignored by the White House.
On March 19th, “the U.S. military, supported by France and Britain, fired more than 110 Tomahawk missiles” into Libya. Sergey Ivanovich Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., later told The Times that “the … resolution on Libya was meant to create a no-fly zone to prevent bombing of civilians. NATO countries that participated in this intervention were supposed to patrol the area. However,… the NATO flights … went far beyond the scope of the … task and created even more violence in Libya.”
“Even after the conflict began,” wrote the Washington Times, Army Gen. Carter Ham, the head of the U.S. African Command continued to negotiate with the Gadhafi camp, and was able to secure a promise from Gadhafi to step down, under fair conditions.
“Gen. Ham was ordered to stand down two days after the negotiation began, [Retired Navy Rear Adm. Charles] Kubic, who acted as an intermediary, told the Times. The orders were given at the behest of the State Department, according to those familiar with the plan in the Pentagon.” The war went on and cost the lives of tens of thousands.
Plans for a no-fly zone in September 2015 were thwarted by Russian intervention
The Financial Times reported on October 4, 2015 that, just weeks earlier, “officials were close to an agreement on enforcing aerial safe-zones to end the Assad regime’s bombing of civilians in northern and southern Syria, according to diplomats and military officials in the US-led coalition.”
Their hopes were dashed by the announcement on October 2, 2015 that Russia planned to deploy its navy cruiser the Moskva to Syrian waters off Latakia, where Russia maintains a deployment of four SU-30 “flanker jets” at the Bassel al-Assad air base, described as “highly maneuverable aircraft designed to shoot down other aircraft,” plus six SU34’s, a highly proficient air to air fighter.
The Moskva, however, was a game-changer: it’s equipped with 64 S-300 ship-to-air missiles, “Russia’s most powerful anti-aircraft weapon,” said FT. [The Moskva was replaced this year by the guided missile cruiser Varyag.]
Deployment of S-300s, or triple-digit Sams, in the Middle East was a development the Pentagon had been fearing, because they have a range of 150km, and are “capable of striking down all but the most sophisticated stealth aircraft,” wrote the Times.
That made missions flown by US allies, using F-16s, highly vulnerable. Justin Bronk, research analyst at the Royal United Services Institute was quoted:
“The Russian forces now in place make it very, very obvious that any kind of no-fly zone on the Libyan model imposed by the US and allies is now impossible, unless the coalition is actually willing to shoot down Russian aircraft.”
The Financial Times added:
“Alex Kokcharov, Russia analyst at IHS Janes, the defense consultancy said: For Mr Putin, US and NATO ‘no-fly zones’ have additional resonance too. ‘Putin was deeply shaken by the overthrow of Gaddafi in Libya,’ Mr. Kokcharov notes. ‘There is something at a personal level that is motivating this.’
“For Russia military planners, no-fly zones — seen in the West as a measure of humanitarian mercy — are often seen as tools of regime change.”
And, it seems, regime change has been the Obama/Clinton plan for the Middle East since 2011: depose the secular dictators, who had been suppressing the Islamists, and allow the Muslim Brotherhood to replace them. That was the pattern in Egypt, in Libya, and is clearly the plan in Syria.
Hillary’s notion of establishing a no-fly zone by negotiation with Russia is highly unlikely: Putin has dispatched Russia’s sole aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov to Syria. Although this carrier is hardly combat ready, it’s fighter jets are, and this signals, in no uncertain terms, that Russia is determined to hold onto the air supremacy it has gained over Syria.
Western media deceives us about what is being done in our name
Certainly, we cannot believe the narrative peddled by the media, that Assad is a bloodthirsty dictator who massacres his own people. As in Libya, the rebels are Islamists, seeking to replace the Syrian government—which tolerates all religions living side by side—with a shariah-compliant government.
The “Syrian rebels” are no more worthy than were the Libyan rebels; both are linked to terror groups and have committed atrocities. In 2013, the US-backed Free Syrian Army fought alongside al-Qa’eda to attack Maaloula, a Christian-majority town so ancient that its people speak Aramaic—the language of Jesus. Many villagers were killed by burning them alive in bakery ovens. The Syrian Army drove out the attackers and helped to rebuild the town, after months of fighting.
Saidnaya, another ancient Christian town, was also attacked by the Free-Syrian Army in 2013, and also defended by Assad’s forces. In both cases, townspeople report the attackers were not Syrian, but had come from France, Chechnya, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan. This link includes videos of villagers voicing their support for the Syrian government army, and one showing Syrians at an outdoor concert by famous Syrian singer Najwa Karam. She would surely be killed for being uncovered, if she held such a concert under the auspices of the Islamists who seek to take over Syria, with our support.
We have to question just what was the strategic interest in these two towns, for US-backed rebels to assault them? Apparently the object was to murder the inhabitants and destroy as many Christian artifacts as possible. Thirty-two ancient churches in Maaloula were destroyed, for example.
It’s time for America to end its 5-year proxy war in Syria, which has resulted in 500,000 deaths, millions displaced and Europe overrun with Migrants. It was pushed by Hillary Clinton, who now wants to double down. Putin is supporting his ally Assad; Who are we supporting? Islamists who seek to take away the freedoms of the Syrian people. Is this what America has come to?