Sunday, October 23, 2016

News, views and opinions from the Alternative Media .... week ending Oct 23

Joe Quinn at   Very informative
Russian Actions in Syria Part of Radical Remaking of Global Order: A New World Awaits
While keeping up with the ongoing geopolitical shenanigans between the US and Russia in Syria, I repeatedly note a recurring and glaring omission in every mainstream media report on the situation: a sensible reason why either country is so interested in Syria. There are, of course, narratives, like that both countries are 'fighting terrorism', or that the US is supporting democracy in Syria by trying to overthrow the 'brutal dictator' Assad. But I assume that, at this stage, most people are highly skeptical of those explanations. After all, way back in 2003, in the run-up to the US invasion of Iraq, 15 million ordinary people saw right through the political narrative that the invasion was to protect Western populations from Saddam's (non-existent) WMDs and marched on Europe's streets chanting "no war for oil".

Many people knew the real reason for the scramble for Iraq, but do they know the reason for the scramble for Syria? And what about Russia? Is Putin fighting a purely ideological war against terrorists and helping Russia's long-term ally Assad to stay in power? Is that reason enough to launch modern Russia's first-ever large-scale military deployment abroad?

In an October 2015 essay, I outlined the realpolitik behind the war in Syria at that time. It was then, and still is, all about natural resources, specifically oil and especially natural gas. Intricately linked to the development of these two resources, and to the future configuration of the world economy, is Eurasian integration and the 'new Silk Road', i.e. a network of land links between Asia and Europe (more about that below).

Energy Phase Change

Since its beginnings in the 1930s, the extraction and supply of Saudi and Middle Eastern oil was controlled by the US, which in turn allowed the US to manipulate and control much of the developed and developing world throughout the 20th century. As the dominant natural energy resource for most of the last 100 years, most of the world's oil needs were provided by the Middle East, in particular Saudi Arabia, which is still the world's largest exporter of oil today. Oil accounts for about 75% of Saudi government revenues, with the other 25% coming from "oil tourism". So if any country in the world can be described as a petrol station masquerading as a country, it's Saudi 'head-chopper' Arabia.

Due to its promotion of a culture of personal wealth at home and the need for massive military strength to steal the wealth of other nations, the US became a massive energy hog, and today consumes more gasoline than the next three biggest oil consumers combined - China, India and Japan. These 3 countries have a total population of 2.7 billion, 9 times the population of the USA. While it consumes vast amounts of oil, America is also the world's largest oil producer, pumping out about 10 million barrels per day, slightly ahead of Saudi Arabia and Russia. Yet due to its massive appetite, it consumes all of that and must secure the same amount again from other nations. .....

From PaulCraigRoberts
Rigged Elections Are An American Tradition 

...The current cause celebre against Trump is his conditional statement that he might not accept the election results if they appear to have been rigged. The presstitutes immediately jumped on him for “discrediting American democracy” and for “breaking American tradition of accepting the people’s will.”

What nonsense! Stolen elections are the American tradition. Elections are stolen at every level—state, local, and federal. Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley’s theft of the Chicago and, thereby, Illinois vote for John F. Kennedy is legendary. The Republican US Supreme Court’s theft of the 2000 presidential election from Al Gore by preventing the Florida vote recount is another legendary example. The discrepancies between exit polls and the vote count of the secretly programmed electronic voting machines that have no paper trails are also legendary.

So what’s the big deal about Trump’s suspicion of election rigging?

The black civil rights movement has fought vote rigging for decades. The rigging takes place in a number of ways. Blacks simply can’t get registered to vote. If they do get registered, there are few polling places in their districts. And so on. After decades of struggle it is impossible that there are any blacks who are not aware of how hard it can be for them to vote. Yet, I heard on the presstitute radio network, NPR, Hillary’s Uncle Toms saying how awful it was that Trump had cast aspersion on the credibility of American election results. ....

Joseph Thomas at LandDestroyer
America's Ironic "Two-Faced" War on Terror 

Rarely ever does hypocrisy align so succinctly as it does within the pages of American policy and media coverage. US policy think tank, the Brookings Institution, recently provided an extreme example of this in a paper titled, "A convenient terrorism threat," penned by Daniel Byman.
The paper starts by claiming:

    Not all countries that suffer from terrorism are innocent victims doing their best to fight back. Many governments, including several important U.S. allies, simultaneously fight and encourage the terrorist groups on their soil. President George W. Bush famously asked governments world-wide after 9/11 whether they were with us or with the terrorists; these rulers answer, “Yes.”

    Some governments—including at times Russia, Egypt, Turkey, and Pakistan among others—hope to have it both ways. They use the presence of terrorists to win sympathy abroad and discredit peaceful foes at home, even while fighting back vigorously enough to look plausible but not forcefully enough to solve the problem. This two-faced approach holds considerable appeal for some governments, but it hugely complicates U.S. counterterrorism efforts—and the U.S. shouldn’t just live with it.

Byman then begins labelling various nations; Somalia as a "basket-case," Iran as a "straightforward state sponsors of terrorism" and attempts to frame Russia's struggle against terrorism in Chechnya as somehow disingenuous or politically motivated.....

Shawn Helton at 21stCenturyWire
RESCUE REDUX: Are Syria’s White Helmets ‘Recycling’ its Child Victims?

Since bursting onto the global media scene, the US-UK backed ‘NGO’ known as the White Helmets have produced an unprecedented amount of western-oriented war propaganda. From the New York Times to the BBC, to Time Magazine, everywhere you look, you will see establishment western media outlets promoting the White Helmets. Upon closer examination, however, it seems that the group may be reusing its alleged victims as character subjects in its numerous staged rescue photo opportunities.

Since their inception in late 2013, the White Helmets have been financed to the tune of over $100 million from the UK and US alone, along with millions more from various other NATO, EU and GCC member states – all nations who are deeply invested in arming and backing rebel-terrorists vying for regime change in Syria.

The White Helmets have even pirated the moniker ‘Syria Civil Defence’ from the REAL Syrian Civil Defence.

The group also claims to have “saved 62,000 lives” since they began ‘search and rescue’ activities in early 2014. None of their incredible claims can be independently verified – and yet, these claims are accepted without question by the entirety of the US and European media and political establishment.....

Mark Taliano at GlobalResearch
Canada’s PM Trudeau’s Statement To U.N: 
Tacitly Endorses Illegal “Regime Change” under a Fake Humanitarian Mandate
Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, recently stated at the UN General Assembly plenary meeting on Syria that

“Canada is taking a stand at the United Nations General Assembly today to protect vulnerable Syrians and help find a solution to the conflict engulfing that country.

With the support of 70 other UN countries, Canada is applying as much diplomatic pressure as possible on the UN Security Council to break their impasse on Syria.

On behalf of the government, Minister Dion called today for an immediate cessation of hostilities, the provision of unhindered humanitarian access to the victims of the conflict – including children and women – and the resumption of political talks.

I am very proud that our mission at the United Nations, spearheaded by Ambassador Marc-André Blanchard, is leading the charge to protect the many victims of this tragic conflict.

I encourage other countries to help generate forward momentum on Syria, given UN members have a collective responsibility to protect the world’s vulnerable and weak when others cannot or will not.”

What Trudeau did not say is more important.

He did not say that the illegal regime change operation, sold under the guise of the “Responsibility to Protect’ (R2P) doctrine, completely destroyed Libya and made it into a hotbed for terrorists, including ISIS.

He did not say that Canada necessarily advances the reach and scope of terrorism by publicly supporting illegal regime change, by implementing illegal sanctions, by bombing and/or supporting bombing missions in Syria; by supporting all of the terrorists in Syria; by supporting the Wahhabi ideology and terror financiers, and by supporting all other countries, including NATO, that are trying to destroy Syria.

The list of omissions demonstrates the lie of Trudeau’s statement.........

From RingOfFire
Documentary Filmmaker Faces Up to 45 Years in Prison for Covering Pipeline Protest

In the same week that activist and celebrity Shailene Woodley was arrested while protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, a documentary producer was arrested at yet another pipeline protest and charged with conspiracy.

Deia Schlosberg, producer of the 2016 film “How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change,” was following the actions of activists in North Dakota who were protesting against a pipeline. Both activists and documentarian Schlosberg were arrested by police and charged with conspiracy to commit theft of property and services.

Protesters were attempting to take matters into their own hands and planned to physically stop the flow of crude oil through valve stations at five locations on Tuesday. Schlosberg attended the event in order to document the protest – something a journalist often does.

The filmmaker continues to be held in jail and all three arrested appeared in court on Thursday for a bond hearing. None were bailed and they all remain in police custody.

According to fellow filmmaker Josh Fox, Schlosberg has been charged with three felony charges, carrying some serious penalties.....

From SouthFront
Russian Defense Ministry: Russian & Syrian Radars Prove Belgian Jets Struck Syrian Village
According to the spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, Igor Konashenkov, Russian and Syrian radars can prove the fact that Belgian fighter jets struck the Syrian village of Hassajek in Aleppo province.
Russian and Syrian radars are able to prove the fact that Belgian fighter jets struck the Syrian village of Hassajek, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Details of the flight path of the Belgian Air Force fighter jets at the time of the deadly strike on a village, located near Aleppo in Syria, would be unveiled by the Russian Defense Ministry, spokesman for the Ministry, Major General Igor Konashenkov said on October 20....

Robert Parry at ConsortiumNews
The Democrats’ Joe McCarthy Moment
My first book, Fooling America, examined Washington’s excited “conventional wisdom” around the Persian Gulf War of 1990-91 when nearly the entire political-punditry elite was thrilled about bombing the heck out of Iraq, inflicting heavy civilian casualties in Baghdad and slaughtering tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers as they fled from Kuwait.

Ironically, one of the few dissenters from this war lust was right-wing commentator Robert Novak, who actually did some quality reporting on how President George H.W. Bush rejected repeated peace overtures because he wanted a successful ground war as a way to instill a new joy of war among the American people.

Bush recognized that a brief, victorious ground war would – in his words – “kick the Vietnam Syndrome once and for all,” i.e. get Americans to forget their revulsion about foreign wars, a hangover from the bloody defeat in Vietnam.

So Novak, the anti-communist hardliner who often had baited other pundits for their “softness” toward “commies,” became on this occasion a naysayer who wanted to give peace a chance. But that meant Novak was baited on “The Capital Gang” chat show for his war doubts.

To my surprise, one of the most aggressive enforcers of the pro-war “group think” was Wall Street Journal Washington bureau chief Al Hunt, who had often been one of the more thoughtful, less warmongering voices on the program. Hunt dubbed Novak “Neville Novak,” suggesting that Novak’s interest in avoiding war in the Middle East was on par with British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement of Adolf Hitler before World War II.

Months later when I interviewed Hunt about his mocking of Novak’s anti-war softness, Hunt justified his “Neville Novak” line as a fitting rejoinder for all the times Novak had baited opponents ........

From EkurdNet
  Syrian army accuses U.S.-led coalition 
of creating safe route for IS in Mosul to Syria
The Syrian army accused “backers of international terrorism” of plotting to secure “safe routes” for Islamic State (IS) militants in Mosul to flee Iraq for the war-torn neighboring country during military operations by Iraqi forces to evict the terrorist group from the northern Iraqi city.

A statement from the General Command of the Army and the Armed Force on Tuesday read that the US and its allied countries, above all Saudi Arabia, are carrying out a “malicious scheme” to provide “safe routes for the groupings of IS terrorists who are reeling under the Iraqi army’s strikes in Mosul – Iraq’s second largest city – to cross the border into the Syrian territory.”

The army warned that any attempt to transgress Syria by the militants would be deemed as “an attack on the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic.”
“The aim of providing such corridors, is to provide protection to the terrorists on the one hand and boost the terrorist presence inside the Syrian territory on the other hand in a bid to impose a new military reality in the eastern region in the direction of Deir Ezzor, Raqqa and Palmyra,” the statement added, as quoted by Syria’s official SANA news agency.....

Declan Hayes at Katehon
West Follows Hitler's Plan

....What is the overall plan?

The overall plan is to break all of these communities in Syria, In Southern Russia, in the Caucasus and everywhere else and turn them into markets, vassals and slaves of the West.

How do we jump to that conclusion?

Look – the whole talk is about the refugees, but not about what causes the refugees. What causes the refugee is not Assad or Putin. It is America going in and fighting and destroying countries like Syria. Look at all countries that have gone before – Palestine, Libya, Iraq, and Yemen. What is going on in Yemen today is disgraceful, it is as bad as everything that happened  in 20th century. And we are supposed to say nothing and cheer these people as they test their new weapons against Yemen – the poorest Arab country.

Therefore, the overall plan of the West is to create a world, that the leaders of the United States and their allies want. Is this crazy? Yes it is, but so were the plans of Hitler.

Today in NATO we have these very dangerous people like Hillary Clinton, like Obama, following these insane policies and many sane people following them, just as they followed Hitler.

We see Tony Blair massacred millions of Iraqis and he got away with that. We see David Cameron massacred the Libyans – they get away with that.  Anywhere they go they destroy everything with the use of any weapon they like in a hot war and in a soft war. All they can do is to shout that Assad and Putin are to blame.

I don’t blame a crocodile for being a crocodile. I don’t blame NATO, because it's just a crocodile. I blame the media and the other people, who know what is going on, we all know. Everybody in Russia knows. But the media tells the lies that allow these people to get away with their massive war crimes.....

Ari Khalidi at Kurdistan24
Erdogan: Turkey did not 'willingly' accept its borders

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared on Saturday that his country's current borders were not redrawn of Turkish people's own accord.
Speaking to a public gathering in the western city of Bursa, Erdogan pointed out that Turkey's borders diminished from 20 million square kilometers to 780 thousand, reported private-owned Dogan news agency.

Erdogan was referring to Ottoman Empire's territorial evolution that is marked with losses particularly after the 17th century.

"Young people, look. The Republic [of Turkey] is not our first, but last state. Let me say that we have not accepted these borders willingly. Lest be forgotten, even some of the territories the founding cadres of the Republic were born in were left out of the borders of our new state," said the Turkish President.

Turkey's founder and first President Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was born in the Greek city of Thessaloniki which was then still under Ottoman rule.

"We might have had to say 'yes' to [the news borders] so as to compose ourselves and breath a little with the influence of long-lived wars and continuous losses, but we are against the design of the state and society based on the sacrifice given in the controversial circumstances of the time. It is time to leave this behind," continued Erdogan....

Darius Shahtahmasebi at AntiMedia
What You Aren’t Being Told About The Iraqi ISIS Offensive

Iraq has officially begun a U.S.-backed offensive to drive ISIS from the Iraqi city of Mosul, the terror group’s last major stronghold in the country. The operation will be likely be assisted and supported by Iranian-backed militias. Turkey has also expressed a strong interest in joining the fight despite the fact Iraq told Turkey directly they do not want their assistance.

In 2014, ISIS claimed Mosul, a city with a population of 1.5 million people, and has since used it to expand their caliphate. When the terror group seized this territory two years ago, the U.S. air force was nowhere to be seen, even when ISIS stole American-made military vehicles and flaunted their advances on social media.
This latest offensive is expected to spell a major defeat for ISIS in Iraq, and the implications of this could spell the end of the terror group’s reign, which would undoubtedly be of great benefit to the rest of the world.

However, as it transpires, the U.S. has no immediate plans whatsoever to end ISIS. The U.S., together with Saudi Arabia, is reported to have agreed to grant free passage to thousands of Islamic State militants before the Iraqi city is overrun by Iraqi militia. According to an anonymous “military-diplomatic source,” the ISIS militants will reportedly be re-deployed to Syria to fight against the Syrian government instead.

“More than 9,000 Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS, ISIL) militants will be redeployed from Mosul to the eastern regions of Syria to carry out a major offensive operation, which involves capturing Deir ez-Zor and Palmyra,” the source told .........

From MoonOfAlabama
Assad Says The "Boy In The Ambulance" Is Fake - This Proves It

From an interview with the Syrian President Bashar Assad by the Swiss SRF 1 TV Channel published October 19 2016:

    Journalist: This young boy has become the symbol of the war. I think that you know this picture.

    President Assad: Of course I saw it.

    Journalist: His name is Omran. Five years old.

    President Assad: Yeah.

    Journalist: Covered with blood, scared, traumatized. Is there anything you would like to say to Omran and his family?

    President Assad: There’s something I would like to say to you first of all, because I want you to go back after my interview, and go to the internet to see the same picture of the same child, with his sister, both were rescued by what they call them in the West “White Helmets” which is a facelift of al-Nusra in Aleppo. They were rescued twice, each one in a different incident, and just as part of the publicity of those White Helmets. None of these incidents were true. You can have it manipulated, and it is manipulated. I’m going to send you those two pictures, and they are on the internet, just to see that this is a forged picture, not a real one. We have real pictures of children being harmed, but this one in specific is a forged one.

Daniel McAdams at RonPaulInstitute
Former Hungarian Communist Party Paper Goes Bankrupt, Washington Panics

.....Yesterday the State Department took time out of its busy schedule condemning the Russians for fighting al-Qaeda in Syria to condemn the Hungarian government for the market failure of a newspaper opposed to it. It is up to the Hungarian government, according to the US State Department, to make sure that opposition newspapers and other publications opposed to it remain in business.

According to the US State Department:

    The United States shares the concerns of global press freedom advocates, international organizations, and Hungarian citizens, over the steady decline of media freedom in Hungary.

    We are following closely the reported ban of an independent website from the parliament building on October 19 and the sudden closure of Hungary’s largest independent newspaper, Nepszabadsag, on October 8. The loss of this paper – regardless of the reason – is a blow to media pluralism in Hungary.

    As a friend and ally, we encourage the Hungarian government to ensure an open media environment that exposes citizens to a diversity of viewpoints and opinions, a key component of our shared democratic values. We urge Hungary to work closely with the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and other experts towards this end.

Yes, the Hungarian government according to Washington has an obligation to make sure private enterprises that happen to oppose it are flush with money and remain in operation.....

Jason Ditz at AntiWar
Pentagon Still Not Sure About Claim Ship Attacked Off Yemen Coast

Spokesman Insists Retaliatory Strikes Still 'Appropriate'
Reports on Saturday night that the USS Mason came under attack for the third time in less than a week off the coast of Yemen were quietly rolled back by the Pentagon, who have since noted they aren’t really sure about that, and reiterated today that they are still “assessing” the claim.

Reports following the “attack” and the warship’s “retaliation” indicated that the Pentagon believed there was a strong possibility that no missiles were fired at the ship at all, and the detection of the missiles was the result of a radar malfunction....

Interesting read.
Gary Galles  at Mises
Learning from the British Election of 1722

It has become commonplace to note that the 2016 election campaign is unlike any America has seen before. Whether it is the issues brought to the fore, the number of scandals, or the intensity of the personal invective, it is hard to believe we are now within the bounds of what our founders had in mind.

In fact, we can make that statement going back more than half a century before our founding. The reason is that one of the greatest influences on colonial American political thought was Cato’s Letters, in which John Trenchard and Robert Gordon echoed John Locke in the early 1720s....

Mark St.Cyr at his blog
Tinfoil: It’s Getting Harder To Leave Home Without It

It used to be when someone mentioned the term “tinfoil cap wearing,” “conspiracy theorist,” “lunatic fringe,” etc, etc. It was usually in reference to a subset of individuals or groups that resided in some dark corners or basements believing “mind control” went far beyond just propaganda. i.e., It was actually the government (or aliens!) sending out undetectable frequencies directly into the minds of the masses. And, the only protection was: tinfoil. With it’s best use fashioned and adorned as a cap. It’s been a running joke (as it should be) longer than most can remember....
......Back in May of this year I penned an article titled: “Was The Fed Just Given The Launch Codes?” In it I made some observations as it pertained to “the elites” or “Ivory Tower” type thinking. It was a follow-up from a previous in October where I hypothesized another perilous possibility: “Weaponizing The Fed.”

With all that was happening at that time, along with what has happened since, it’s getting harder to push these ideas away, more than it is to embrace the possibilities. And that, in-and-of itself, is causing me more concern with each passing day. Especially when combined with the realities taking place in real-time today.

So what type of “conspiracy” laden scenario can I hypothesize using what we know to be factual, and, what we can conceptualize happening based on what has happened previous? Warning: it might be time to check for any possible tears, or cracks in your metallic helmet, and repair or reapply as much “tinfoil” as one feels appropriate. With that said, let’s continue.

Have you noticed as of late that the more “serious” the Fed. is intoning hawkish tones – the more its Chair Janet Yellen is suggesting monetary lunacy? e.g., “Yellen Says Fed Buying Stocks Is “A Good Thing To Think About”............

1000s of jihadis out of Mosul and into EU and after that into North America within a few years.

Tony Cartalucci at TheNewAtlas
Why is the Passing of Thailand's King a Big Deal?

The passing of Thailand's head of state, the 88 year old King Bhumibol Adulyadej, marks a historically significant event in Thailand's history. For most Thais, they have known only one king their entire life - King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The significance of Thailand's monarchy to Thai people is difficult for Westerners to understand. Unlike Western monarchies who rule from above, Thailand's monarchy has historically ruled through service to the people. It is in recognition of this service that drives hundreds of thousands of Thais into the streets of Bangkok to participate in the beginning of funeral rites this week.

The depth and scope of this service includes not only the political boundaries and stability the monarchy provided when politicians and political parties clashed within the nation, but also service in driving long-term infrastructure projects regarding irrigation, energy, and agriculture shortsighted politicians refused to pursue.....

Justin Raimondo at RonPaulInstitute
Assange's Fate

The saga of Julian Assange seems to be drawing to a climax – one that will decide the fate of this historic whistleblower who, for years, has been a giant thorn in the side of governments everywhere.

His role in exposing the machinations of the US government over the years earned him the plaudits of liberals – until the Bush era ended, and he started exposing the crimes of the Obama administration and – most pointedly – the hypocrisy and venality of Hillary Clinton and her journalistic camarilla. Now we see right-wing figures like Sean Hannity and – yes! – Donald Trump praising and defending him, while the ostensible liberals take up the cry of the Clinton campaign that he’s a “pawn of the Kremlin” and a “rapist.” Even Glenn Greenwald, formerly a comrade-in-arms, who together with Assange helped Edward Snowden evade the not-so-loving arms of Uncle Sam, has lately sought to distance himself from the founder of WikiLeaks (over the value of “curation”). Nice timing, Glenn!

Funny how that works.

Now we see that the Ecuadorian government, which has provided sanctuary for Assange ever since the frame-up “rape” charges by the Swedes were brought, is succumbing to pressure from Washington to silence him. As Assange released the now famous Podesta emails, that – among other things – exposed the collusion of the media and the Clinton campaign in delicious detail, John Kerry demanded that the Ecuadorians cut off Assange’s Internet access – and they meekly complied. Of course, since leftist Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has openly endorsed Mrs. Clinton, and openly abhors Trump, this is hardly surprising: this is how the left operates internationally, as well as in this country – if you stray from the party line it doesn’t take long before the knives come out, aimed directly at one’s back.

In any case, Correa’s betrayal seems to have been short-circuited by the ever-resourceful Assange, who is still releasing incriminating emails. This is someone with a Plan!...

from TeleSUR
Media Deliberately Omits Critical Info to Demonize Venezuela 
The announcement from Venezuela's electoral authority that it would not proceed with a recall referendum has unleashed yet another wave of critical articles and opinion pieces throughout the English-speaking media, labeling the socialist government in Venezuela as “authoritarian” or even a “dictatorship.”
It is a tired tune that people who follow political developments in the South American country have heard consistently throughout the 16-year process known as the Bolivarian Revolution.

Despite the fact that the Venezuelan government's democratic credentials have been affirmed repeatedly—including by groups that cannot be considered to be partial to the government, such as the Carter Center—private media outlets insist on labeling the Maduro administration “undemocratic.”

Media outlets are fully aware that if they were to be honest in their reporting about Venezuela, the narrative that the country is not a democracy would collapse under the weight of its own insincerity.

Thus private outlets have consistently and deliberately omitted critical information about recent developments in Venezuela.

Many outlets, such as ABC News, have completely failed to mention that the opposition-controlled national assembly is currently in noncompliance with a ruling from the country's supreme court, therefore its actions have no legal standing. ...

From ZeroHedge
Putin Cancels Trip To France After Hollande Accuses Russia Of War Crimes

In the latest confirmation of deteriorating relations between Moscow and the West, Russian President Vladimir Putin canceled a visit to Paris next week after President Francois Hollande said he would see him only for talks on Syria.

Over the weekend, tensions emerged between Moscow and Paris after the Russian UN delegation vetoed a French-drafted United Nations Security Council resolution on Syria. French officials' growing anger over a Russian-backed Syrian offensive against rebel-held areas of the city of Aleppo had led them to reconsider whether to host Putin on Oct. 19, Reuters reports.

"I made it known to Mr Putin that if he came to Paris, I would not accompany him to any ceremonies, but that I was ready to continue the dialogue on Syria. He decided to postpone the visit," a questuionably hospitable Francois Hollande said earlier at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.

The Russian president had been scheduled to inaugurate a new Russian Orthodox cathedral and visit a Russian art exhibition in the French capital on Oct. 19, however that now will not happen as after the US and Russia broke off diplomatic relations regarding Syria, it now appears that France, or at least Hollande, has also joined.

The Kremlin confirmed Putin's decision, but made no mention of Syria and said he was ready to come to Paris at Hollande's convenience. ...

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