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Tillerson Tells Russia to Drop Assad as US Arms ‘Rebels’, Expands Airfield in Northern Syria

Commentary — It is very telling that this “gassed his own people” narrative was unveiled within a day or so of the administration making it clear it had no intention of trying to regime change President Assad’s government. This following story from Russia Insider reflects the alarm that is felt in Moscow over the change in tone coming from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and President Trump. It deserves mention that many in the administration, such as Nikki Haley, have been Russia backing neocon shills from the beginning. It also deserves mention that President Trump says whatever he feels like at a given time, and then does not feel constrained by his statements later on. We will just have to see how this transpires.


“Assad must go” is back

Here come the Yanks
Here come the Yanks

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson issued a veiled threat to Moscow on Wednesday after he said that the Russians should “re-think” their support for Assad.

Tillerson’s statement was made hours after US representative to the UN Nikki Haley claimed that Assad, Russia and Iran “have no interest in peace” and that the United States could act unilaterally in Syria if Russia continues to back Assad.

Tillerson’s warning comes just a day after it was reported that the US has expanded a runway at a northern Syria air base to accommodate large C-17 military planes.

The US military claims that the airstrip near the Kurdish town of Kobane will be used in the assault on Raqqa. Well, we’re sure that’s one use for it:

“It’s a very important logistical hub for the Raqqa operation,” Thomas told AFP, in public comments confirming a story that first appeared in the Stars and Stripes military newspaper.The C-17 can carry “all of the small armored technical vehicles and small armored infantry vehicles that are in play and authorized to move into the region,” he added.

Moreover, “rebel” groups have told Al Jazeera that the CIA, which allegedly cut support for “moderate” groups back in February, is once again providing them with backing.

But along with money and guns they have also received new marching orders from the US. They are to join a new operations room that will be backed by US, Turkey, Arab gulf monarchies and Western Europeans. The rebels have said they “do not have much of a choice about joining the new operations room and that not doing so would mean a confrontation with the US”.

This new operations room is being set up explicitly to fight the Syrian army. Earlier reports that it is being set up to fight al-Qaeda have been rebuked by the CIA-backed rebels.

Speaking to press at the White House yesterday, President Trump said that Assad had crossed “many lines”. Responding to questions about what he will do about Assad’s “war crimes”, Trump vowed “I will have that responsibility and carry it very proudly.”