US hypocrisy: Different standards for Russia and Saudi Arabia
On September 10 the US and Russia reached a ceasefire agreement pertaining to the Syrian Civil War, an agreement which opened up the possibility of the two superpowers coordinating airstrikes against ISIL and Al-Nusra in Syria.1 At the time, many were cautiously hopeful that the agreement would mitigate the intensity of the conflict, and maybe even lead to some type of lasting resolution to it. The subsequent unfolding of events has shown such hope to be unfounded, and even naive, as the agreement has fallen apart, the conflict in Syria is still raging and tensions between the US and Russia are now at all time highs.
Increased fighting between regime and rebel forces2 and Russian allegations that the US “is not fulfilling its part of the [ceasefire] obligations”3 and that Syrian terrorist groups were using to the ceasefire to regroup4 all helped to undermine the ceasefire. But the incident that broke the agreement’s back was the, supposedly mistaken, bombing by US and coalition warplanes of Syrian regime forces at Deir ez-Zor which occurred on September 17. The ‘mishap’ killed at least 80 Syrian soldiers and enabled ISIL forces to overrun weakened Syrian defensive positions.5 To the Russians the only explanation for the incident was either American “criminal negligence” or their “direct connivance” with ISIL.6 Then on September 19 the Assad regime declared the ceasefire to be over due to numerous violations made by rebel groups.7
On the same day as the ceasefire came to an end, an UN convoy of 31 trucks delivering aid to Western Aleppo was attacked near Urm al-Kubra.8 As a result 18 trucks were destroyed and at least 20 were killed. It is unclear what exactly happened. The US claimed that either Russian or Syrian warplanes purposefully targeted and bombed the aid convoy. Russia rejected such accusations and instead implied that rebels forces are responsible for the attack.9 Based on Russia’s possible involvement in the attacking the aid convoy and its general participation in the bombardment of Aleppo, which is greatly effecting the civilian population, the US has suspended bilateral ceasefire talks.10
It is difficult to determine what occurred during the attack on UN aid convoy. On one hand it is possible that Russia, antagonized by the US airstrikes at Deir ez-Zor, decided to exact retribution by striking the convoy. On the other hand the US may be attempting to demonize Russia via false accusation. Regardless of the reality of the situation, we are more concerned with the highly hypocritical reaction American reaction to the uncertain events in question.
The vilification of Russia, which has been occurring for a while, stepped into high gear when U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Powers told the UN Security Council “What Russia is sponsoring and doing [in Syria] is not counter-terrorism, it is barbarism.”11 US Secretary of State John Kerry characterized Russia’s and Syria’s targeting of hospitals as “beyond the accidental now – way beyond. Years beyond the accidental. This is a targeted strategy to terrorize civilians and to kill anybody and everybody who is in the way of their military objectives.”12
Attempting to bluntly clarify his boss’ remarks State Department spokesman John Kirby stated “I’m not trying to parse here. I’m not trying to be – to dance around this thing, but the Secretary believes that what’s happening is an abomination, is – obviously violates international law.” Kirby also warned the Russians, a warning they and others considered to be a veiled threat, “Extremist groups will continue to exploit the vacuums that are there in Syria to expand their operations, which could include attacks against Russian interests, perhaps even Russian cities. Russia will continue to send troops home in body bags, and will continue to lose resources, perhaps even aircraft.”13
While not as denouncing and not addressing the attack on the UN aid convoy, President Obama chimed in with his own two cents on Russia’s role in Syria. In his usual condescending tone he said, “We reject Russia’s theory that everybody opposed to Assad is a terrorist. We think that is self-defeating; it will get them into a quagmire; it will be used as a further recruitment tool for foreign fighters. And they will be there for a while if they don’t take a different course.”14
Basically the US reaction towards Russia is twofold. Firstly, that Russia’s targeting of rebel groups in Syria is counter-productive, will further draw them into the conflict and will increase terrorism within Russia. Secondly that Russia’s behavior in Syria is barbaric and abominable, and constitutes war crimes. Such language is rather harsh, and oddly enough the US seems to not even speak as stridently towards ISIL, a truly odious and evil group. Taken in isolation and not thoroughly examined, US statements against Russia may appear to be reasonable. But when one compares them to how the US is reacting against Saudi Arabia’s behavior in Yemen then US hypocrisy becomes fully manifested.
Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in Yemen
Russia is not the only nation embroiled in a foreign civil war, Saudi Arabia is also militarily involved in the Yemeni Civil War, primarily conducting air strikes in support of pro-Hadi government forces. The Saudi aerial campaign has been marred by numerous collateral damage incidents, on par or even greater than anything Russia has been accused of doing in Syria.
Possibly the most egregious such example, which coincidentally occurred one year ago on the same day as the UN aid convoy attack, was the Saudi bombing of a wedding in Sanaa which killed at least 131 civilians.15 Of course the Saudi’s denied involvement in the incident alleging that a Yemeni rebel missile attack was to blame for the carnage. But only two weeks later another wedding was struck in Sanabani, presumably by Saudi warplanes, killing at least 30 civilians.16 Once again the Saudi’s denied involvement with a military spokesman countering “Not every explosion that takes place in Yemen is an airstrike — it could be a missile, car bomb or weapons cache.” I guess it is possible that in Yemen wedding just spontaneously explode.
Not only do the Saudis have a supposed penchant for blasting weddings they have also been accused of bombing funerals. On October 8, 2016 airstrike in Sanaa killed at least 82 and injured over 500.17 It was also reported that the Saudis launched successive airstrikes, with the second and third waves occurring as rescue crews were on the scene. The Saudi’s have also struck hospitals in Yemen, something the US is always accusing and condemning the Russians and Syrians of doing. For instance in Saada a Doctors without Borders (MSF) hospital was destroyed by Saudi airstrikes.18 Another MSF facility, the Abs Rural Hospital, was struck by the Saudis killing 11.19 In this instance Amnesty International reported that some of the munitions used by the Saudi’s were US made “precision-guided Paveway-series aerial bombs.”
Now maybe all of these reports can be dismissed as unfounded allegations against the Saudis by the pro-Iran Houthi rebels. However, a UN panel of experts found that “the [Saudi] coalition had conducted airstrikes targeting civilians and civilian objects, in violation of international humanitarian law” and that there were 119 documented “coalition sorties relating to violations of international humanitarian law.”20 So it should be clear that the Saudis have targeted civilians in Yemen.
The muted and hypocritical US reaction to Saudi airstrikes in Yemen
How has the US has reacted to the Saudi aerial campaign and its frequent killing of Yemeni civilians? Has Power’s derided it as “barbarism”? Has Kerry demanded a war crimes investigation?21 Did Kirby denounce it as “an abomination”? No such statements have been made against Saudi Arabia, in fact US officials have been rather mum about what is going on in Yemen, which is probably a smart move as their munitions are being used in many of the collateral damage incidences and they do not want to draw to much attention to that fact.
Based on how the US is disparately treating Russia and Saudi Arabia it should be obvious that US criticism against Russia is hollow and hypocritical. Even if Russia is guilty of what the US is accusing them of, such crimes are essentially no different than those committed by Saudi Arabia in Yemen, crimes which the US are rather silent on. If the US actually cared about innocent lives and wanted to protect them from undue suffering and death, then they should be equally outraged about what the Saudis are doing. But they are not, because in fact they do not actually care about civilian populations.
The moral sanctimony of the US is highly selective. They only care about civilians when it suits their geopolitical agenda. Since they are against Russia, they make a big stink about what is going on in Syria, yet since they are supportive of Saudi Arabia, they are conspicuously silent about what is going on in Yemen. Sadly the US could care less whether Syrian civilians are being killed by Russians, all they care about is that they can use these deaths to attempt to discredit Russia. This is the height of hypocrisy.
The entrenched hypocrisy of the US political establishment
Not only is the US political and foreign policy establishment hypocritical in its comparative treatments of Russia and Saudi Arabia but the hypocrisy goes deeper than that. For instance, while campaigning for the Presidency in 2008 Obama gave a speech in which he said:22
“Strong countries and strong presidents talk to their adversaries. That’s what Kennedy did with Kruschev, that’s what Reagan did with Gorbachev, that’s what Nixon did with Mao. I mean think about it, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don’t pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us, and yet we were willing to talk to the Soviet Union at the time they were saying ‘we were going to wipe you off the planet.’ And ultimately that direct engagement led to a series of measures that help prevent nuclear war, and over time allowed the kind of opening that brought down the Berlin Wall. Now that has to be the kind of approach that we take.”
So in 2008 Obama is extolling the virtues of a leader able of talking to a foreign adversary, yet in 2016, as President, he and his officials, whom he presumably has control of, are treating a foreign adversary, Russia, in a strident and belligerent way. Is Obama’s current treatment of Russia in accordance with such “strong” leadership he spoke of during his speech? As he said, Nixon dealt with Mao, a man responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of Chinese people, and yet now Obama will not deal with Putin, except with having his minions heap scorn on him, when Putin, no matter how low one’s opinion is of him, is nowhere near the depths of depravity that Mao or Stalin were. Maybe Obama forgot about his 2008 speech, after all 8 years is a long time.
Hillary Clinton is also guilty of saying one thing in the past and now doing something quite antithetical. For example, in 2014 she said the following during a speech at Georgetown University:23
“This is what we call smart power using every possible tool and partner to advance peace and security leaving no one on the sidelines. Showing respect, even for one’s enemies. Trying to understand, and insofar as psychologically possible, empathize with their perspective and point of view. Helping to define the problems, determine the solutions, that is what we believe in the 21st century will change, change the prospects for peace.”
Hillary advocates showing respect for one’s enemies and even empathizing with them, yet was it respectful when she likened Putin to Hitler?24 How about when she constantly and unsubstantiatedly blames Russia for attempting to interfere in the US election? Of course such behavior is not respectful or empathic. The hypocrisy doesn’t stop here, as the current Presidential campaign between Hillary and Trump is replete with even more examples.
For instance, Hillary denounces Trump for taking advantage of a tax deduction, a deduction which Hillary herself made use of and which many of her billionaire supporters also used.25 Trump is attacked for being in cahoots with Putin, yet it was Hillary who approved Russians to take control of Uranium One, a company that owns 20% of US Uranium stocks, in exchange for $135 million donation by Uranium One shareholders to the Clinton Foundation.26 Trump is accused of being divisive while Hillary labels half of Trump supporters as “irredeemable” and “deplorable” which amounts to about 20% of the total US population. We are told that Trump incites violence through his fiery speeches, yet we now have evidence that members of Hillary’s campaign actually sent agent provocateur to Trump rallies to incite violence, violence which led to bystanders and police being injured.27 Michelle Obama is outraged by Trump’s lewd and sexist “locker-room” talk, yet it was her and her husband Barack who just hosted a group of rappers to the White House, performers who specialize in the objectification of women.28 I could go on and on but I hope by now you get the point.
The US political establishment is putridly rotten to its core. They no longer have any moral legitimacy, if they ever had much to begin with. They say one thing and then do the opposite. They lament the deaths of civilians only when it suits them, and when it doesn’t suit them they remain stone cold silent or come up with some asinine rationalization for their double-mindedness. Even when they say something that sounds reasonable and agreeable, just wait a couple years, it may take eight years or as little as two, for them to repudiate their words with their actions. What people need to realize, and I suspect that more and more people are coming to this realization, is that Hillary, Obama and their ilk are full of shit.
 http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/09/17/Russia-Truce-in-Syria-was-violated-199-times-.html , http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-09-17/syria-accuses-us-airstrike-killing-62-soldiers-serious-and-blatant-aggression , http://gatesofvienna.net/2016/09/russian-military-briefing-on-the-us-air-strike-against-syrian-forces/
 http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/09/syria-deadly-aid-convoy-bombing-ceasefire-ends-160919194433498.html , http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/09/suspends-syria-aid-convoy-bombed-160920080213025.html
 http://www.infowars.com/state-dept-threatens-terror-attacks-in-russia-if-moscow-keeps-fighting-isis/ , http://presstv.ir/Detail/2016/09/29/486890/Russia-condemnation-US-statement-Syria-support-terrorism-Ryabkov
 Here is good old Gerald Celente ripping into the Obamas over the subject. In the first video he comes on around the 6:30 mark and in the second around the 5:50 mark. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6umSlnPS670 , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgOfhleMtQ4