The Western media outrage that usually follows any step Moscow and Damascus take in the fight against designated terrorist organizations in Syria suddenly subsided when Belgian warplanes attacked the Kurdish village of Hassager in the province of Aleppo on October 18.
For over a week Brussels has been trying to deny the fact that two F-16s bearing Belgium paint schemes committed a war crime in Syria, despite the fact that Moscow provided the Belgian military and the nation’s political leaders with documented evidence that two Belgian planes were operating in this area after taking off from the Muwaffaq Salti Air Base in Jordan. These jets flew over Iraq, and then at 2:37 AM they crossed the Syrian border about 70 miles northeast of the mountains of Deir ez-Zor, then they refueled in the air via a US Stratotanker KC-135, and at 03:35 AM they began bombing Hassager. At 4:19 AM, after refueling yet again, they carried on patrolling the airspace to the north of Aleppo.
By refusing to acknowledge the involvement of its F-16 aircraft in the October 18 attack, Brussels exhibits its inability to control the actions of its own military.
There could be no error in the identification of these two planes, since after entering the detection zone of radar, any aircraft is identified by its unique attributes and then the data about it is stored in a database. That is how a profile of every aircraft operating over Syria is created, and confusion is unlikely. Therefore, upon entering the detection zone any aircraft in Syria is immediately identified. And since these two planes have repeatedly entered Syria’s airspace, as Russian officials claim, they were capable of establishing immediately that those jets were flown by the Belgium Air Force.
Belgian politicians have repeatedly questioned the reasoning behind the Belgian Armed Force’s participation in illegal US operations in Syria. Therefore, it is possible that the White House and the Pentagon have decided to “tie with innocent blood” those Belgian politicians to their cause, Sending Belgian pilots on such a mission is a particularly significant step from the point of view of Washington, since it’s becoming increasingly apparent that ISIS militants surrounded in eastern Aleppo by Syrian troops won’t be able to carry on fighting for much longer. But the US is still trying to save them – since the liberation of Aleppo will be a major victory for the Syrian government and Bashar al-Assad himself. That is why in Washington, Paris, Brussels and other capitals of NATO countries have threatened Russia and Syria by declaring the ongoing airstrikes in Aleppo “war crimes”, while the head of EU foreign ministries at the EU Council meeting on Syria on October 17, urged the West to bring charges of “war crimes in Syria” to the International Criminal Court.
Therefore, one can only stand in awe at the lack of any adequate assessment of the Belgian Air Force attacks that occurred on October 18, not just from Washington, but also from the EU.
Maybe EU politicians have assumed that the attack was committed by Britain and not Belgium, and the EU will not be compelled to bear any responsibility for these actions? Or is it possible that Brussels hasn’t received instructions from Washington yet, since they are clearly unaccustomed to making any official statements on their own.
It’s also possible that by remaining silent about war crimes in and around Aleppo, Washington and Brussels want to show the world that they can still act with impunity, as it was in Libya, Iraq and a number of other countries. Then, it seems that this continues, since on the night of October 18, the United States Air Force attacked a densely populated part of the Iraqi city of Mosul, at the very same moment when the city was being shelled by cluster munitions and incendiary shells launched by US allies. We already have video footage of a bombed kindergarten in the town of Tal Afar, west of Mosul. In addition, social networks are filled with pictures of the atrocities that the militants supported by the US are committing.
So who will pay for the civilian deaths in Hassager?
- Washington, that has already paid compensation to the family of an Italian citizen Giovanni Lo Porto who was murdered by a US drone.
- Or the Belgian authorities and the EU?
What do you think?
And will there finally be any objectivity in the actions of European and American politicians? Or to achieve this, does one have to replace the entire ruling political establishment in the West?
Martin Berger is a freelance journalist and geopolitical analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”