RUSSIAN ATROCITIES!!!! The Americans attack an MSF hospital in Afghanistan and lie about it. (The lack of response to their demand for an international inquiry is "embarrassing" says MSF. Today's gruesome details.) The Saudis attack an MSF hospital in Yemen and lie about it. Negligible! Russians bombed four hospitals in Syria! no, it's seven! no, it's twelve! Sources? The usual GONGOs, including the ever-compliant Bellingcat, and mumbles from the State Department. Not ours, says MSF, nor ours says Red Cross. Oh well, push a new one out there. The usual tame sources shriek that Russia is killing civilians. That didn't work the last time – the fakery was swiftly exposed.
MORE PROPAGANDA. "This is the first time that Russia has publicly acknowledged that Assad may have to go" or "Changing stance?". Nope – unchanged since June 2012: "This issue has to be settled by the Syrians themselves." It's the West that's changed its line on "Assad must go": UK, USA. In fact, the recent Vienna declaration is everything Russia wanted: another Russian diplomatic victory (or victory for realism and coherence, I prefer to say). Which probably explains the rash of atrocity stories above.
WASHINGTON ON SYRIA. Incoherent. We are somehow supposed to think that US special forces have been put into Kurdish areas and will be supported from Turkey by US aircraft at the same time that Turkey is attacking the Kurds. How does that work? What does NATO do if the Turks bomb Americans? Does that make sense? Is your local MSM outlet asking any questions? No wonder Jordan has signed on to the Russian effort, Iraq is baulking and Afghanistan is interested in Russian help. Meanwhile Canada is pulling out of the US led effort and the UK is wobbly. Watch the video – do you see any plan there that you would want to follow? On the other hand, Washington has been trying to get rid of Assad for years. Why? "Barrel bombs" we're told.
MOSCOW ON SYRIA. Coherent. Assad visited Moscow – the whole thing was announced after he returned home. Contrary to silly claims from the NYT – "chilly reception"! – it's clear it was a series of important meetings with Russia's relevant leadership. Moscow's position is coherent and consistent: 1) to destroy the state structure of Syria will create chaos that only Daesh will profit from (vide Libya); 2) Assad is the legitimate head of the Syrian government; 3) if the Syrian people choose someone else in the future, Moscow will work with him; 4) support the forces on the ground that actually fight Daesh.
PLANE CRASH. The latest theory, based on the "black boxes", is that the crash was caused by an engine explosion. But what caused that?
RUSSIA INC. Has the Russian economy turned the corner? This astute observer argues that it might have.
UKRAINE. Local elections were held and I am amused to see that they have received little coverage in the WMSM. That's of course because they didn't go the way they were supposed to. A rather low turnout, even if you believe the official numbers. Yatsenyuk's party had so little support it didn't even run, Poroshenko's party didn't do that well, the nazis (in this case Svoboda. Don't like "nazi"? well see J8 for the European Parliament's view before fashions changed) did well in the west and the Opposition Bloc did well in the east. Better not have elections in Mariupol at all. The country is every bit as divided as it always has been. Are we in the Night of the Long Knives, or Thermidor? The security police have arrestedthe leader of one of the nazi battalions and there is a story that the leader of another has been taken. Some sort of investigation of the Maidan shootings is happening which could implicate another. Was there an assassination attempt on the Prosecutor General? Stay tuned. But I'm sure you will all be happier now AFP has told us President Poroshenko is richer than before.
GEORGIA. There is a phone recording of Saakashvili plotting a coup in Georgia; Tbilisi has opened a criminal investigation. PM Garibashvili is not amused. The recording is apparently real although Saakashvili blusters that "the Russians" touched it up.
MEANWHILE, PIVOTING TO ASIA. Washington did its sailpast. Watch this short video of the Chinese response; do you think Beijing is joking? I don't. Something to think about: a Chinese attack submarine closely followed a US carrier last month.