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US State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner made an interesting and very significant statement today. He told Russia to “put up or shut up”. Here is what he said exactly:
“I don’t know how to put it any better than saying: ‘It’s put up or shut up time,'” (…) “It is time for them to show through action rather than words that they are serious about what they profess to be serious about, which is a ceasefire, a cessation of hostilities and a political process that leads to a transition.”
The Russian reply came from Maria Zakharova, the Director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She replied:
“We are generally surprised that the rhetoric and statements which are made by officials from the White House and State Department spokesman: every day are becoming sharper and sharper, but not in terms of facts or any argument, but in the use of some strange idioms. What do these rude statements illustrate? Of course, the absence of intelligence or of a decent education, but this is not even the most important thing. The most important thing is that this is a symptom of a total lack of arguments.”
February 28th, 2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the end of Operation Desert Storm, the combat phase of the Gulf War, the first war with Iraq. This conflict was a turning point in US and world history, but the ensuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq turned these war theaters into toxic waste lands. Desert Storm ushered in the widespread use of depleted uranium (DU) ammunition, a topic that few official spokespersons want to talk on the record. Now Syria is fast becoming the latest toxic battlefield where the “real weapons” of mass destruction are being deployed.