even before Tillerson exited his plane in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin told a news conference that the Kremlin has “information” that provocateurs are planning to plant chemical substances in suburban Damascus and blame it on Syrian authorities. He gave no further details on the claim.
“We’ve seen all this before,” Putin said...
And the Russian general staff has put the United States on notice, saying that another missile strike would be “unacceptable...
Claiming that Assad’s rule “is coming to an end,” Tillerson previewed his message to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
In what was in effect an ultimatum, he said Moscow must calculate the costs of remaining an ally of Assad, the Iranians and Lebanon’s Shiite militia Hezbollah.
“Is that a long-term alliance that serves Russia’s interests?” he told reporters. “Or would Russia prefer to realign with the United States, with other Western countries and Middle East countries that are seeking to resolve the Syrian crisis?”...
We want to relieve the suffering of the Syrian people,” he said, and issued an ultimatum: “Russia can be a part of that future and play an important role. Or Russia can maintain its alliance with this group, which we believe is not going to serve Russia’s interests longer term.”
3-- There was no Syrian “chemical weapons attack.”, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)*
Our U.S. Army contacts in the area have told us this is not what happened. There was no Syrian “chemical weapons attack.” Instead, a Syrian aircraft bombed an al-Qaeda-in-Syria ammunition depot that turned out to be full of noxious chemicals and a strong wind blew the chemical-laden cloud over a nearby village where many consequently died.
3 – This is what the Russians and Syrians have been saying and – more important –what they appear to believe happened
Question: Mr Putin, if I may, I have a question about Syria. What is your take on what is happening in Syria? Is there a danger of another US military strike against Syrian targets?
Vladimir Putin: We discussed this with the President. I said that this reminds me very much of the events of 2003, when US representatives in the Security Council showed alleged chemical weapons discovered in Iraq. A military campaign in Iraq ensued, which ended with the destruction of the country, an increased terrorist threat and the emergence of ISIS on the international scene – no more, no less.
The exact same thing is happening now, and their partners are nodding approvingly. In this connection, our remarkable writers, Ilf and Petrov, come to mind, with their famous line, “It’s boring, ladies.“ We have seen this all before.
Why is this happening? Everyone wants to restore relations in the Western community after – thanks to the former US administration – many European countries adopted an anti-Trump position during the election campaign. Syria and Russia, as a common enemy, provide a wonderful platform for consolidation. We are ready to put up with that for a while in the hope that it will eventually lead us to some positive trend based on interaction.
For consumption within America, there are reasons for this. Simply put, political opponents of the incumbent president are still out there, and if anything happens, it will be blamed on him. I have no doubt about that.
Now about whether new attacks are possible or not. We have information from a variety of sources that such provocations (I cannot find another word for this) are being prepared in other parts of Syria, including in southern suburbs of Damascus, where they are planning to plant certain substances and accuse Syrian authorities of using them.
However, we believe that things like this should be thoroughly investigated. We plan to officially address the appropriate UN institution in The Hague and call on the international community to thoroughly investigate these matters. A weighted decision can then be taken depending on the findings of the investigation