U.S. NPR & OSCE: Russia Bombs Syria to Force Refugees into Europe

Eric Zuesse

The “Morning Edition” program of the U.S. National Public Radio network — which is America’s most-trusted American source of news as measured by “the ratio of people who trust a news outlet to those who distrust it” — included on May 20th a segment, “Russia’s Involvement In Syria Worsens Migration Crisis, Zannier Says”, in which the interviewer, Renee Montagne, opened her interview of Lamberto Zannier, the Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), by saying:

“There is actually a theory out there to do with the migration crisis in Europe, that Russia may have purposely been bombing Syria with an air campaign in order to send more Syrian migrants into Europe, to destabilize Europe. Now, I’m wondering whether you think that’s far-fetched, but, at the same time, it sort of fits the picture of a Cold War?”

He answered:

“Yeah, certainly Russia dealing in Syria had a number of goals, … but then of course, the impact of the bombings on civilian infrastructure, hospitals etcetera, has created an additional wave of refugees. … It is very difficult to tell whether this was intended or not, but certainly it would fit the picture in a way.”

The wikipedia article “Refugees of the Syrian Civil War” said, right after the Russian bombing had started on 30 September 2015, that as of 15 October 2015 there were shown to be “4,052,011 registered by UNHCR (29 August 2015)[1].” As of today, 20 May 2016, that same site says “4,812,993 refugees (registered, March 2016)[1].” The idea that this 19% increase was one of the reasons or goals which had motivated Russia to start its bombing-campaign in Syria is ludicrous. That’s during around a six-month-long period. But at about six months prior to August of 2015, on 25 March 2015, there were shown to be “3,922,860 registered by UNHCR (18 March 2015)[1].” Not many new refugees were generated during the six-month period prior to Russia’s entry (and that wasn’t a Russian invasion, because the government of Syria had requested this assistance from Russia). But then, many refugees were generated during the first six months after Russia’s entry. This could have reflected Russia’s having enabled many Syrians to escape from ISIS, Al Qaeda, etc., but it also could have reflected damages caused by Russia’s bombing, but even if it had been the latter, this wouldn’t likely have been part of Russia’s motivation for its bombing, such as NPR and OSCE were insinuating. However, on 11 March 2014, a year prior to that 25 March 2015 wiki article, there had been shown to be “2,429,146 registered by UNHCR(February 2014).” That’s around 1.5 million new refugees during about a year’s period. None of that was during Russia’s bombing campaign.

America’s bombing campaign in both Syria and Iraq, called “Operation Inherent Resolve,” celebrated its first anniversary on 27 August 2015, and so, based on the above figures, the question arises as to whether America’s invasion of Syria (it wasn’t friendly; it was hostile toward the Syrian government, not requested by Syria; unlike Russia’s bombing, it was an invasion) might have contributed as much or more to the refugee-numbers than did Russia’s assistance to the Syrian government. 

That NATO statement was unusually honest, however, in noting that, “The Defense Intelligence Agency, said that documents conclude that the yearlong campaign has done little to diminish the ranks of IS committed fighters, which has now expanded its reach to North Africa and Central Asia in the past year.” DIA had said this to The New York Times. The statement seemed to be a clear indication that if the American campaign had been about reducing the numbers of ISIS fighters, then it had drastically failed. But maybe that wasn’t necessarily its purpose in Syria, because all of the jihadist groups there were fighting to overthrow Assad, and because that was always the Obama Administration’s stated main goal, in addition to its rhetoric against “terrorists.”

And yet both the U.S. NPR, and the OSCE, are accusing Russia of having intentionally flooded Europe with Syrian refugees, and neither of those is alleging that the U.S. had contributed to that problem, and essentially created the bulk of it, by its invasion of Syria and by its insistence upon overthrowing Assad. Could the reason for the quiescence on that be that both are mouthpieces for the U.S. White House, and for its NATO alliance?

In any case, what NPR and OSCE said there was deception instead of information. This is one of the reasons they didn’t state explicitly “Russia is to blame for Europe’s refugee crisis.” It would have been too easy to nail them on that type of lie; it’s too blatant for professional liars, and therefore innuendo is used by them instead.

Relevant further context here is that “NATO and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) work together to build security and promote stability in the Euro-Atlantic area. They cooperate at both the political and the operational level”, whereas “In Istanbul on 19 November 1999, the OSCE ended a two-day summit by calling for a political settlement in Chechnya and adopting a Charter for European Security. According to then Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov, this summit marked a turning point in Russian perception of the OSCE, from an organization that expressed Europe’s collective will, to an organization that serves as a Western tool.”  For some reason, the U.S. is not charging that the OSCE is a “Russian tool.” Perhaps OSCE officials such as Lamberto Zannier are among the reasons why. After all, NATO is coming out more and more explicitly in favor of war against Russia. Lots of propaganda will need to be part of the buildup toward that. These people (Renee Montagne and Lamberto Zannier) are doing what they are paid to do.

It’s all in service to a broader objective.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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  • Heads up folks on the D.C. War party! Mar 23, 2016 Who is Advising Trump on Foreign Policy?

    During his tenure, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger oversaw several bloody coups and wars while earning the reputation of a war criminal. Republican presumptive presidential candidate Donald Trump met with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger Wednesday, the GOP’s preeminent elder statesman and a controversial figure who orchestrated bloody coups and wars. The meeting was believed to be the real estate billionaire’s attempt to develop his presently unclear foreign policy.


  • Sep 3, 2014 – Retired Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney admits “We Helped Build ISIS”


  • diogenes

    Some people trust NPR. Some people trust the New York Times Some people believe in the Easter Bunny. Some people think Lee Harvey Oswald killed Kennedy. Some people think 19 arabs with boxcutters defeated the US Air Force and made three skyscrapers dissolve in smoke and dust with two jet plane tanks full of kerosene. Some people think the earth is flat. Some people think it’s dark out when their heads are shoved up their *****.

    • cettel

      Don’t insult the victims — the suckers — of the ‘news’ media; insult their owners, insult their publishers.

      • diogenes

        I’m not “insulting” anyone. I’m pointing out varieties of delusion. Wasn’t it apparent, like, 30 years ago, that NPR is propaganda-lite dressed up all nice and “liberal”? I see your point but I also think that people need to take some responsibility for our own sensibilities. If you live a life of delusion and distraction, you are easily deluded and distracted. There’s an element of personal choice involved in the decision to watch TV 5 hours a day rather than, say, read, or take a walk, or cultivate friendships, or … Of course, Big Brother loves the Idiot Box and does everything he can to encourage its use, and Big Brother hates people who can think and does everything he can to dumb down “education” and make it as unappealing, as delusive, and as prisonlike as possible. But still, personal responsibility is the only kind.

        • cettel

          I agree.

        • Baby_Jesus

          Taking responsibility for what we think. A good proverb.

          • cettel

            I agree, but only within the broader framework that we live in a 1984 nation where ‘news’ is propaganda. Blame should be assigned top-down, which means that the suckers (at the bottom) receive the least blame. The aristocracy (who own the ‘news’ media and the government) would then receive the most blame.

      • kimyo
        • cettel

          To trust NPR isn’t the same as to vote for Hillary. The analogy is false.

          • kimyo

            you say today: don’t insult the victims. yet, you’ve previously described them as ‘ignorant, stupid and/or psychopathic’.

            which is it? can we insult the victims or not? or is that a prerogative you reserve for yourself?

  • beeboo34



  • truthtime

    One day I hope the U.S. government is held accountable for its crimes. A collapse is becoming likely in some capacity. I just hope it happens within my lifetime as someone who is fascinated by History. It’s not like I can take a time machine and see a past Empire collapsing, but instead be apart of present history and see it happen.

  • Nexusfast123

    The lies are off the scale. Unfortunately there are enough dumb, deluded and bigoted idiots that will believe it. I read that thousands of Syrians are bravely returning to villages and towns that have had the human cockroaches eliminated. Of course none of this is reported via the Western propaganda channels.

  • Nexusfast123

    The lies are off the scale. Unfortunately there are enough dumb, deluded and bigoted idiots that will believe it. I read that thousands of Syrians are bravely returning to villages and towns that have had the human cockroaches eliminated. Of course none of this is reported via the Western propaganda channels.

    • cettel

      Sounds like you’re reading Ziad Fadel.

      • jo6pac

        I do;) and his son

        • cettel

          Yes, Leith Fadel — and so do I.

  • hyperbola

    Curious how boring, self-centered, provincial, corrupt, racist sects always attribute their own behaviour to others.

    How Neocons Destabilized Europe

    The refugee chaos that is now pushing deep into Europe dramatized by gut-wrenching photos of Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi whose body washed up on a beach in Turkey started with the cavalier ambitions of American neocons and their liberal-interventionist sidekicks who planned to remake the Middle East and other parts of the world through “regime change.”

    Instead of the promised wonders of “democracy promotion” and “human rights,” what these “anti-realists” have accomplished is to spread death, destruction and destabilization across the Middle East and parts of Africa and now into Ukraine and the heart of Europe. Yet, since these neocon forces still control the Official Narrative, their explanations get top billing such as that there hasn’t been enough “regime change.”

    When I first encountered the neocons in the 1980s, they had been given Central America to play with. President Ronald Reagan had credentialed many of them, bringing into the U.S. government neocon luminaries such as Elliott Abrams and Robert Kagan. …

    The result not surprisingly was a flood of refugees, especially from El Salvador and Guatemala, northward to the United States. The neocon “success” in the 1980s, crushing progressive social movements and reinforcing the oligarchic controls, left most countries of Central America in the grip of corrupt regimes and crime syndicates, periodically driving more waves of what Reagan called “feet people” through Mexico to the southern U.S. border…..

    The Weaponisation of the Refugee
    Coercive Engineered Migration: Zionism’s War on Europe (Part 2 of an 11 Part Series)

    Artificial mass migration as imperial policy has a long history. To illustrate this, we will cite a few historical examples. …. A more recent example of migration used as a tool of imperialism is Eritrea. Since the country’s independence from Ethiopia in 1993, Eritrea has chartered a unique independent path to national liberation and socio-economic development. The results have been astounding, with economic growth rates surpassing most other developing countries. However, the socially-oriented policies of the Eritrean government have brought it into conflict with neo-colonial interests. As a consequence, sanctions were imposed by the United States in 2009 on the only country in the Horn of Africa that has never failed to feed, clothe and educate its children. Meanwhile, millions flee hunger and poverty in the US client state of Ethiopia, which is currently occupying part of Eritrea since the US backed Ethiopian invasion of that country in 1998…..

    Rothschild’s “Slaughter Ships”
    Coercive Engineered Migration: Zionism’s War on Europe (Part 4 of an 11 Part Series)

    Austrian intelligence officials have reportedly revealed that US government agencies are paying for the transport of migrants to Europe. On August 5th, 2015 Austrian magazine Infodirekt reported:

    It has come to our knowledge that US organisations are paying for the boats taking thousands of refugees to Europe. US organisations have created a co-financing scheme which provides for a considerable portion of the transportation costs. Not every refugee from North Africa has 11,000 Euro cash. Nobody is asking, where is the money coming from? ……

  • cityspeak

    Any “news organization” that discusses ISIS without revealing there funding sources is nothing but pure propaganda, plain and simple.

    I heard Dan Rather give an interview last night. He warned the interviewer and the audience that Russia, China and Iran are working together, not officially but in many subtle ways, to counter and hem in America’s power throughout the world. Adding that that should make the interviewer and his audience very afraid.
    It was a given that the world is ours to do what we want to it and any push back against it is to be perceived as a very grave threat.
    He said this after previously stating that he is highly critical of the Iraq war and the unmitigated disaster it was for the USA, Iraq and the world. Yet his warnings of a “new axis of evil” was completely lost on him as the nonsense was spilling out of his mouth.

  • jo6pac
  • justquitnow

    Behold the MIC…the firestorm that will consume the world. It makes it’s own wars and sells its enemies the weapons they destroy with their weapons. In another couple of decades, the only entity that will need oil will be the military…so it will have to fight oil wars just to keep itself running.

  • Jim G

    NPR are run by Melinda and William Gates, the same folks who run MSNBC, NBC,CNBC and the rest. They want to rule the world through responsible narratives.