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“Control over the production and distribution of oil is the decisive factor in
defining who rules whom in the Middle East.”
― Christopher Hitchens,
“Anthing that can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without
― Windsor Mann,
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia said on Tuesday it had information that the United States planned to bomb the government quarter in Damascus on an invented pretext, and said it would respond militarily if it felt Russian lives were threatened by such an attack.
Valery Gerasimov, head of Russia's General Staff, said Moscow had information that rebels in the enclave of eastern Ghouta were planning to fake a chemical weapons attack against civilians and blame it on the Syrian army.
He said the United States intended to use the fake attack as a pretext to bomb the government quarter in nearby Damascus where he said Russian military advisers, Russian military police and Russian ceasefire monitors were based.
Read more at
Mar 18, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
The Secretary of Defense has written to Congressional leaders to express his opposition to S.J.Res. 54, the resolution that would end U.S. involvement in the war on Yemen:
In a letter sent to congressional leaders Wednesday and obtained by The Washington Post, Mattis wrote that restricting military support the United States is providing to the Saudi-led coalition "could increase civilian casualties, jeopardize cooperation with our partners on counterterrorism, and reduce our influence with the Saudis -- all of which would further exacerbate the situation and humanitarian crisis."
He urged Congress not to impose restrictions on the "noncombat," "limited U.S. military support" being provided to Saudi Arabia, which is "engaging in operations in its legitimate exercise of self-defense."
The Pentagon has been putting forward very weak legal arguments against S.J.Res. 54, and Mattis' statement of the policy arguments against the resolution are not any better. The Saudi-led coalition would have great difficulty continuing their war without U.S. military assistance. U.S. refueling allows coalition planes to carry out more attacks than they otherwise could, so it is extremely unlikely that ending it could possibly result in more civilian casualties than the bombing campaign causes now. Mattis is taking for granted that U.S. military assistance somehow makes coalition bombing more accurate and less likely to result in civilian casualties, but that is hard to credit when coalition forces routinely target civilian structures on purpose and when the military admits that it doesn't keep track of what happens after it refuels coalition planes.
Secretary Mattis says that cutting off support could jeopardize cooperation on counter-terrorism, but the flip side of this is that continuing to enable the Saudi-led war creates the conditions for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the local ISIS affiliate to flourish. The coalition's war has made AQAP stronger than it was before, and AQAP members have sometimes even fought alongside coalition forces on the ground. Instead of worrying about whether the U.S. is jeopardizing cooperation with these states, we should be asking whether that cooperation is worth very much in Yemen.
He claims that the Saudis and their allies are engaged in "a legitimate exercise of self-defense," and this is simply not true. The Saudis and their allies were not attacked and were not threatened with attack prior to their intervention. Saudi territory now comes under attack because the coalition has been bombing Yemen for years, but that doesn't make continuing the war self-defense. If an aggressor launches an attack against a neighboring country, it is the neighbor that is engaged in self-defense against the state(s) attacking them.
Mattis also warns that ending support for the Saudi-led coalition would have other undesirable consequences:
As Mattis put it in his letter to congressional leaders Wednesday, "withdrawing U.S. support would embolden Iran to increase its support to the Houthis, enabling further ballistic missile strikes on Saudi Arabia and threatening vital shipping lanes in the Red Sea, thereby raising the risk of a regional conflict."
These claims also don't hold water. Iranian support for the Houthis remains limited, but it has increased as a direct result of the war. The longer that the war goes on, the greater the incentive the Houthis and Iran will have to cooperate. The absurdity of this intervention is that it was dishonestly sold as a war against Iranian "expansionism" and yet it has done more to aid Iran than anything Iran's government could have done on its own. Missile strikes on Saudi Arabia wouldn't be happening if the Saudis and their allies weren't regularly bombing Yemeni cities. If the coalition halted its bombing, the missile strikes would almost certainly cease as well. Continuing the war is a guarantee that those attacks will continue, and U.S. military assistance ensures that the war will continue. Every reason Mattis gives here for continuing U.S. support for the war is actually a reason to end it.
Shipping lanes weren't threatened before the intervention and won't be threatened after it ends. Yemenis have every incentive to leave shipping lanes alone, since these are their country's lifeline. Meanwhile, the cruel coalition blockade is slowly starving millions of Yemenis to death by keeping out essential commercial goods from the main ports that serve the vast majority of the population. Mattis is warning about potential threats to shipping from Yemen while completely ignoring that the main cause of the humanitarian disaster is the interruption of commercial shipping into Yemen by the Saudi-led blockade. The regional conflict that Mattis warns about is already here. It is called the Saudi-led war on Yemen. If one wants to prevent the region from being destabilized further, one would want to put an end to that war as quickly as possible.
Mattis mentions that the U.S. role in the war is a "noncombat" and "limited" one, but for the purposes of the debate on Sanders-Lee resolution that is irrelevant. It doesn't matter that the military assistance the U.S. is providing doesn't put Americans in combat. That is not the only way that U.S. forces can be introduced into hostilities. According to the War Powers Resolution , the U.S. has introduced its armed forces into hostilities under these circumstances:
For purposes of this joint resolution, the term "introduction of United States Armed Forces" includes the assignment of member of such armed forces to command, coordinate, participate in the movement of, or accompany [bold mine-DL] the regular or irregular military forces of any foreign country or government when such military forces are engaged, or there exists an imminent threat that such forces will become engaged, in hostilities.
Any fair reading of this definition has to apply to the regular U.S. refueling of coalition planes that are engaged in an ongoing bombing campaign. The U.S. is obviously participating in the "movement" of coalition forces when it provides their planes with fuel. Indeed, our forces are making the movement of their forces possible through refueling. U.S. involvement in the war on Yemen clearly counts as introducing U.S. forces into hostilities under the WPR, and neither administration has sought or received authorization to do this. No president is permitted to do this unless there is "(1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces." There has obviously been no action from Congress that authorizes this, and there is certainly no emergency or attack that justifies it. U.S. involvement in the war on Yemen is illegal, and the Senate should pass S.J.Res. 54 to end it.
so it's blackmail March 15, 2018 at 11:00 am"Mattis wrote that restricting military support the United States is providing to the Saudi-led coalition "could increase civilian casualties, jeopardize cooperation with our partners on counterterrorism, and reduce our influence with the Saudis -- all of which would further exacerbate the situation and humanitarian crisis.""SteveM , says: March 15, 2018 at 2:14 pm
Wow. So MBS is blackmailing us. He's threatening to kill more civilians, to stop anti-terror cooperation, and to shut us out of other Saudi regional security decisions if we don't help him starve and wreck Yemen.
Maybe the situation is a little clearer, but how can anyone take Trump seriously after this embarrassing confession by Mattis?
We may assume that Trump has no self-respect, but doesn't he have any respect for his office? Is he really going to let this disgusting little torture freak jerk him around like this? When it implicates all Americans in Saudi war crimes?Re: "Mattis' Weak Case for Supporting the War on Yemen"Alex Ingrum , says: March 15, 2018 at 3:12 pm
Unfortunately, in this day of warped Military Exceptionalism as the civic religion, a 4-Star pedigree fronting weak arguments makes them essentially unassailable. No matter how immoral, idiotic or costly to the taxpayers.
Mad Dog Mattis got a free ride with his logically incoherent, hyper-belligerent pronouncements related to the National Security Strategy. Expect no different response to his perverse rationalizations of the Yemen catastrophe.
Generals and Admirals now pop off stupid and dangerous opinions right and left and are never challenged by an MSM that is bedazzled by anyone wearing stars on their shoulders.
Mattis' case for Yemen is not only weak, it's pathetic. Too bad the co-opted and seduced MSM will never suggest that to the public at large deluded by the omnipresent propaganda of the National Security State.
Nothing will change until the undeserved fawning adoration of the War Machine Elite is substantially attenuated.The neocons will stop at nothing to bring down anyone they suspect of threatening Israel or U.S. military hegemony in the Middle East.b. , says: March 15, 2018 at 3:38 pm
First, they lied about WMDs in Iraq and started a completely illegal war, killing millions and devastating that country for generations. That led directly to the creation of ISIS and the havoc it has wrought on both Iraq and Syria (and increasingly in other countries).
Then under Obama and Sec. Clinton, they allowed the military takeover of Egypt by the murderous and oppressive El-Sisi and launched an aggressive war of regime change in Libya, throwing both North African countries into turmoil.
Then they supported the brutal and savage ongoing Saudi war against Yemen to curb non-existent Iranian influence, followed by politically isolating Qatar for its supposed chumminess with Iran.
The neocons will do absolutely anything to bring down the Iranian regime, no matter how many foreign and American lives and destroyed to achieve that end.The details of Mattis' letter of indulgence do not matter as much as the fact that he is willing to defend the indefensible. Even if his professed concerns were not only genuine, but actually reflected reality, he also has to know better than anybody else within the administration about the consequences of the US-backed Saudi/UAE invasion of Yemen.Uncle Billy , says: March 15, 2018 at 7:54 pm
Mattis has joined Graham and Albright in the "worth it" campaign to sustain and extend perfectly predictable atrocities.
If he wants to make the case that we cannot accept uncertainty with respect to an alleged Iranian aggression towards Saudi Arabia – and with even more unlikely acquiescence by the Houthi to let Iran use them the way the US uses the Kurds – or even assuming that Mattis wants to misrepresent possible Houthi blowback against Saudi Arabia as "Iranian" just for convenience – then it should be clear that he is claimng we can easily accept uncertainty with respect to Yemeni blowback against the US – blowback that he also uses to justify the US campaign inside Yemen, and that fueled Obama's pathological obsession with ideological cleansing in Yemen and other prospective "safe harbors".
Mattis is proving the validity of the actual Powell Doctrine – if you join it, you own it – both with respect to US co-belligerence in Yemen, and with respect to Mattis personally. He is also proving the observation that anybody who is willing to join an administration as criminal as that of Bush, Obama or Trump is unlikely to do any good – by their voluntary association they have irredeemably tainted themselves.We do not want to get in the middle of this Sunni vs. Shiite war. The Saudis want to destroy the Shiites in Yemen and we are fools at best and criminals at worst to help them. The people of Yemen are no threat to the US and for theAmerican Government to cooperate with the Saudis in the murderof Yemeni women and children is revolting.Sisera , says: March 16, 2018 at 6:06 pmAmericans have heard for years that supporting "democracy" and popular uprisings throughout the Middle East are in our national interests, the basis being that oppressed people are more likely to resort to terrorism.
Yet in the cases of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and now Yemen popular revolutions of Shias demanding equal rights are actually deemed a threat to our national security.
The neocons have gotten so deep in the Gulf/Israel v. Iran conflict that they're not even keeping to the ostensible reasons for interventionism.
Mar 17, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Well, it appears that Assad is a relentless glutton for punishment, because not even a year later, the WaPo reported two weeks ago that the US is considering a new military action against Syria for - what else - retaliation against Assad's latest chemical attack, which took place several weeks earlier.
How do we know Assad (and apparently, Russia) was behind the attack? We don't: in fact, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in a moment of bizarre honesty, admitted that he really doesn't know much at all about "whoever conducted the attacks. " But hey: just like it is " highly likely " that Russia poisoned the former Russian double agent in the UK - with no proof yet - so it is "highly likely" that a clearly irrational Assad was once again behind an attack which he knew would provoke violent and aggressive retaliation by the US, and once again destabilize his regime.
And so we now wait for that flashing, red headline saying that US ships in the Mediterranean have launched a missile attack on Syria, just like a year ago. Only this time Russia - which is allied with the Assad regime - is not planning to be on the defensive, and according to Russia's Defense Ministry, "US instructors" are currently training militants to stage false flag chemical attacks in south Syria, i.e., the catalyst that will be used to justify the US attack on Assad. The incidents, the ministry said, will be used a pretext for airstrikes on Syrian government troops and infrastructure.
"We have reliable information at our disposal that US instructors have trained a number of militant groups in the vicinity of the town of At-Tanf, to stage provocations involving chemical warfare agents in southern Syria," Russian General Staff spokesman General Sergey Rudskoy said at a news briefing on Saturday.
According to the Russian, "early in March, the saboteur groups were deployed to the southern de-escalation zone to the city of Deraa, where the units of the so-called Free Syrian Army are stationed."
"They are preparing a series of chemical munitions explosions. This fact will be used to blame the government forces. The components to produce chemical munitions have been already delivered to the southern de-escalation zone under the guise of humanitarian convoys of a number of NGOs."
And, using the exact same worn out narrative as last April, and every prior "chemical attack by the Assad Regime", the "planned provocations will be widely covered in the Western media and will ultimately be used as a pretext by the US-led coalition to launch strikes on Syria", Rudskoy warned.
"The provocations will be used as a pretext by the United States and its allies to launch strikes on military and government infrastructure in Syria."
Confirming the WaPo's report from early March, it now appears that an attack is imminent.
"We're registering the signs of the preparations for the possible strikes. Strike groups of the cruise missile carriers have been formed in the east of the Mediterranean Sea, Persian Gulf and Red Sea."
Rudskoy also warned that another false flag chemical attack is being prepared in the province of Idlib by the "Al-Nusra Front terrorist group, in coordination with the White Helmets." The militants have already received 20 containers of chlorine to stage the incident, he said.
Moscow and Damascus have repeatedly warned about upcoming chemical provocations, and have highlighted that banned warfare agents have been used by the militants. Of course, none of that matters to the Western press which has its marching orders to expose the bloodthirsty killer Assad as an irrational despot who will use the exact same military method month after month and year after year, knowing well the response he will get from the US.
Meanwhile, just a few days ago, Syrian government forces reportedly captured a well-equipped chemical laboratory in Eastern Ghouta. Footage from the facility has been published by the SANA news agency .
The installation contained modern industrial-grade hardware of foreign origins, large amounts of chemical substances as well as crude homemade munitions ad their parts. It was unclear if the chemical lab was capable of synthesizing the novachok nerve gas used in the attempted murder of the Russian agent in the UK that has resulted in the latest diplomatic scandal involving Russia and the west.
Mar 16, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Grieved | Mar 15, 2018 3:46:39 PM | 124
Just read a very interesting supposition by Adam Garrie, which strikes a very true note:Since it seems that Russia's steadfast promise to defend its men and women in Damascus has effectively staved off a US attack, the western alliance did the next best thing to attacking Russia in Syria – it decided to frame Russia for something that happened on English soil. - Let's Talk About Motive in The Skripal Case: Let's Talk About Syria
So, spite. Wounded ego.
And further demonstration of the west's pitiful lack of means to do anything much real in this world except kill people unprepared to fight back. What will it do as more and more prepare to fight back? Ask Kim. Ask Duterte, Maduro, Erdogan.
Mar 16, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org
How the Iraq War Destabilized the Entire Middle East by Mel Goodman
Photo by The U.S. Army | CC BY 2.0
As we approach the fifteenth anniversary of the unwarranted invasion of Iraq, which we are still paying for in so many ways, it is important to remember the misuse of intelligence that provided a false justification for war. It is particularly important to do so at this time because President Donald Trump has talked about a military option against North Korea or Iran (or Venezuela for that matter). Since there is no cause to justify such wars, it is quite likely that politicized intelligence would once again be used to provide a justification for audiences at home and abroad.
In 2002 and 2003, the White House, the Department of Defense, and the Central Intelligence Agency collaborated in an effort to describe the false likelihood of a nuclear weapons program that had to be stopped. In the words of Bush administration officials, the United States was not going to allow the "smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud." On September 8, 2002, Vice President Cheney and national security adviser Condi Rice used that phrase on CNN and NBC's "Meet the Press," respectively, to argue that Saddam Hussein was "using his procurement system to acquire the equipment he needs to enrich uranium to build a nuclear weapon."
In October 2002, the CIA orchestrated a national intelligence estimate to argue falsely that Iraq was acquiring uranium from Niger for use in a nuclear weapon. Senior officials throughout the intelligence community knew that the so-called Niger report was a fabrication produced by members of the Italian military intelligence service, and several intelligence officials informed Congressional and White House officials that they doubted the reports of Iraqi purchases of uranium from Niger. Nevertheless, the national intelligence estimate spun a fictitious tale of a clear and present danger based on false reports of alleged stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons; nuclear weapons; unmanned aerial vehicles; and ties between Iraq and al Qaeda that were nonexistent.
In December 2002, President George W. Bush found the CIA's case for war inadequate and asked for "something that Joe Public would understand or gain a lot of confidence from." Bush turned to CIA director George Tenet and remarked, "I've been given all this intelligence about Iraq having WMD and this is the best we've got?" Instead of being truthful, Tenet replied, "Don't worry, it's a slam dunk!" Several days later, Alan Foley, the chief of the Weapons Intelligence, Proliferation and Arms Control Staff, told his analysts to prepare a briefing for the president. "If the president wants intelligence to support a decision to go to war," Foley said, "then it is up to the agency to provide it." In early January, CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin gave the phony "slam dunk" briefing at the White House.
The Pentagon's Office of Special Plans distributed the unsubstantiated and flawed intelligence that not even the CIA would vouch for. The Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith supplied bogus intelligence to the White House on Iraqi WMD and links to terrorist organizations to make the case for war, and then "leaked" this intelligence to key journalists such as Judith Miller at The New York Times . Miller had a front page article in the Times on September 8, 2002, citing administration officials claiming that Saddam was seeking "specially designed" aluminum tubes to enrich uranium, the so-called "smoking gun." Several days later, President Bush inserted the Times' claim in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly.
The aluminum tube issue was central to Secretary of State Colin Powell's speech to the UN in February 2003, which was based on the phony CIA estimate from October 2002. As Powell's chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson wrote in The New York Times in February 2018, the secretary's "gravitas was a significant part of the Bush administration's two-year-long effort to get Americans on the war wagon. It was CIA Deputy Director McLaughlin who lied to Secretary of State Powell about the reliability of the intelligence in Powell's speech. McLaughlin was the central advocate for the phony intelligence on mobile biological laboratories that ended up in that speech.
President Bush would have gone to war with or without intelligence, and once again we are confronted by a president who might consider going to war with or without intelligence. Fifteen years ago, we had a CIA director from Capitol Hill who was loyal to the president and unwilling to tell truth to power. Once again, we have a CIA director, Gina Haspel, who is a White House loyalist and cannot be counted on to tell truth to power. She was one of the Agency's leading cheerleaders for torture and abuse, and sent the message that order the destruction of the torture tapes. And former CIA director Mike Pompeo, a neoconservative hardliner, is now secretary of state, who earned his new position by being a total loyalist who would never tell truth to power. Is there a voice for moderation left in the White House?
Bush's war destabilized the entire Middle East. Any Trump war could lead to the use of nuclear weapons that would destabilize the entire world.
Mar 16, 2018 | www.thedailybeast.com
If H.R. McMaster is on his way out of the White House, he's going out with two middle fingers raised and pointed in the direction of the Kremlin.
"Russia is also complicit in [Syrian dictator Bashar] Assad's atrocities," McMaster, President Trump's national security adviser, said Thursday during an appearance at a discussion of the Syrian civil war held at the U.S. Holocaust memorial museum.
His voice raised, McMaster used harsher and more moralistic language than his boss does in characterizing Russia's geopolitical influence, and unequivocally blamed the Kremlin for "the abhorrent nerve agent attack" on a former double agent, Sergei Skripal , and proposed "serious political and economic consequences" for Russian aggression.
"We believe that Russia was responsible for this attack, and we call on the Russian government to answer all questions related to this incident, and to provide full information to the OPCW [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons]. No nation -- Russia, China, or anybody else, any other nation -- should be using chemical weapons and nerve agents," McMaster said, following what critics have called a belated Wednesday statement casting blame on Moscow for the attack on Skripal.
McMaster's brief remarks, lasting under 20 minutes, came as the Army three-star general is the subject of furious speculation that Trump will soon fire him and install hardliner ex-ambassador John Bolton atop the National Security Council. His capstone achievement thus far has been a Russia-and-China-centric security strategy that has been conspicuously out of step with Trump's rhetoric and actions toward both countries.
"Russia has done nothing to encourage Assad to ensure delivery of humanitarian aid, to respect ceasefires and de-escalation agreements or to comply with U.N. Security Council Resolution 2254's call for a U.N.-monitored political process," McMaster said.
Those remarks suggested that Trump got suckered during his 2017 rounds of personal diplomacy with Vladimir Putin. In November, Trump and Putin issued a joint statement firmly pledging support for what is known as the 2254 Process -- though critics considered it a cover for Moscow to continue ensuring support for its client, Assad -- that "took note" of Assad's "recent commitment to the Geneva process and constitutional reform and elections as called for under UNSCR 2254."
And that followed July's acquiescence from Trump and just-ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signing onto a Russia-driven process centered around achieving ceasefires that McMaster said Russia was not respecting.
Mar 15, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
ashley albanese , Mar 15, 2018 4:18:50 PM | 129Lying in bed listening to Australian government media propaganda . Endless parroting about the ' rules based order ' , ' the rising power of ( guess) and now Boris Johnson informing us that the world is insensed at Russian aggression . It is funny and absurd , sad and deadly !SteveK9 , Mar 15, 2018 4:23:47 PM | 131It's harder and harder to laugh at this nonsense. Just when you thought it could not get more ridiculous, something like this happens. I keep hearing that our masters are preparing us for war with Russia. All those people who keep saying 'war is coming', 'prepare for World War III', etc., you do realize that your life will be over, along with everyone you know, and ... human civilization?Mister Roboto , Mar 15, 2018 5:58:41 PM | 143When I read this hysterical panegyric on Observer.com (or at least as much of it as I could stomach), I couldn't help but think of the Hate Week speech delivered by an Inner Party member in the movie version of George Orwell's 1984 !Oilman2 , Mar 15, 2018 7:03:54 PM | 150It's sad that people even watch things such as BBC,CBC,NBC,ABC, CNN, etc. when every one of them parrots the same talking points, and they have repeatedly been outed as disinfo and pure propaganda outlets. The only "waking up" that I see anywhere is among those few that are neither progressive or conservative, and they are waking up to a nightmare. I am glad this is all talking - if fur truly starts flying, there isn't anywhere to hide from all this.
It's straight out of Bernays - just keep doubling down and throwing it up all over the media outlets. I get ashamed that critical thinking exists only in a few places like MOA. Yet even here, people seem to divide themselves right along the lines that all this claptrap designates at times.
All you need to sort this out is a simple exercise in "cui bono", same as ever - and Russia had nothing to gain, even in the intel arena.
Most interesting to me is that people can now see where their MP's stand WRT war - because this sure smells like the run-up to Libya. We already knew where the US would stand, same position for nearly a century.
Only bankers benefit from war, and with the current global debt bomb, they are all in for declaration of "force majeure"- rest assured on that.
Mar 15, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
ISL -> Jason ... 14 March 2018 at 11:47 AMJason,
That sounds like a Russian strategy. It seems Russia has managed to get revenge for actions that targeted its assets in Syria (I read an article that suggests the E. Ghouta push is hitting also US SF advisors) but they do not brag about it on twitter.
For example, I assess that the poor performance of the Tomahawk attack was EW (the other explanation being they are crap missiles), but in either case, Putin did not brag on twitter.
Also consistent with the Putin story about the rat per Luke8929.
One might hope that an encrypted channel (that had been cracked) would provide a few minutes warning for our sailors to get overboard - the fact that carrier groups are useless against a peer power is accepted in naval circles since the 80s.
Mar 15, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Valissa said in reply to blue peacock... 14 March 2018 at 12:45 PMblue peacock, Jack
Apparently US policy in the ME is strongly about oil, though I expect basic geopolitics is the twin reason.
I've excerpted some key paragraphs, but suggest reading the whole thing if you want to know how The Borg thinks about the ME.
A Rare Glimpse into the Inner Workings of the American Empire in the Middle East - The U.S. foreign policy elite still wants the Middle East for its oil and its strategic location. http://fpif.org/rare-glimpse-inner-workings-american-empire-middle-east/
In recent testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, four former U.S. diplomats provided remarkably candid commentary on recent U.S. involvement in the Middle East, revealing a number of the most closely guarded secrets of U.S. diplomacy.
The four former diplomats emphasized the importance of the region's oil, spoke critically about the weaknesses of U.S. strategy, made a number of crude comments about U.S. partners, displayed little concern about ongoing violence, and called for more "discipline" throughout the region.
... Currently, all signs indicate the United States is increasing its hold over the Middle East .
The only problem, according to the former diplomats, is that the United States continues to face significant resistance. Although the U.S. has constructed a kind of informal American empire, they believe that U.S. actions and polices are creating blowback that is bringing more conflict and violence to the region.
...Indeed, Jeffrey insisted that it would be necessary to accept more death and violence if the United States was going to achieve its strategic objectives. This kind of trade-off, he believed, was simply how things worked in the area. Citing recent retaliatory actions by the Israeli and Saudi government against missile attacks, Jeffrey said that the high civilians death tolls that resulted from such operations had simply become one of the costs of military engagement in the region.
Mar 15, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
FB Ali , 15 March 2018 at 12:00 AMThis post was about Mattis being the only "grown-up in the room".Bill Herschel , 15 March 2018 at 12:29 AM
I'm not sure that's something to be reassured about. Brian Cloughley is a seasoned military writer and analyst. A few years ago he wrote a piece on Mattis that was not very complimentary. If even half of it is right, we should all be worried.
The article is at: http://tinyurl.com/ycp8yta2Trump's mojo has evaporated. He has no coattails. He has negative coattails. So it is time for war.
The problem is that this would have some semblance of solubility were it not for Israel. Israel desperately, repeat desperately, wants the U.S. to go to war in a very big way in the ME. That could tip the scales.
I hope you are wrong, but Trump sees very clearly what "Wartime President" did for the cipher Bush. It's the only straw left for him to grasp at .
Mar 14, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Bandolero 13 March 2018 at 07:15 PMPL
Do you really think a threat from Nikki Haley to attack is more credible when she repeats it several times?
I doubt it is. What did she threaten? From what I understand it was something like taking action and attack Syria like the US did it in April 2017 after the staged CW attack in Khan Sheikhun. The US fired several dozen uruise missiles worth plenty of Dollars on a military air field. Before the missiles were fired the US told the Russians the coordinates where they will hit, so as to ensure the US won't accidentally harm a Russian soldier. Of course, these missiles then hit nothing what had much worth, because everything of worth was qucikly removed before the missiles hit. So, does Nikki Haley now threaten a replay of that circus?
Anyway, the head of Russia's Gen. Staff V. Gerasimov seems not to be very impressed. He said today Russia will respond with certain measure to both "missiles" & "launchers" which are delivering these projectiles if the US attacks Syria again. So the US hits Syria and Russia hits the US launchers in response. So, and then what?
Will the US then want to start some minutemen to Moscow to get back some Sarmats to Washington? I doubt it. I think the US will just bark a lot then and suck it up.
Mar 14, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Jony Kanuck, 13 March 2018 at 05:09 PMColonel,Kooshy , 13 March 2018 at 04:32 PM
Yes & no to Aug'14. I'd go for July; the 'black swan event' has occurred, now what will the major powers do?
I note that the Russian threat came not from the Pres or the Prime Minister, or the FM. It came from the CDS. I think the orders for Russian air defense staff in Syria have been cut; shoot on launch. The Russians seem sure the attack will be on Damascus, in response to an imagined gas attack in East Ghouta. So probably air launched cruise missiles.
My black swan is Russian air defense knocking down a couple US strike a/c. In 1914, starting with Austro Hungary, everyone (Rus, Ger, Fra) then reacted instead of looking at how bad it could get. The Brits were the last in, reluctantly. Brit FM Grey said "The lights are going out in Europe, I don't know when we shall see them lit again".Colonel. Unfortunately you are perfectly right again with your analysis,for consequences of trending current affairs. My hunch is in this new west east war, Europe (except for UK) and east Asia, none of US main allies will side with US in a meaning full way, and that unwillingness to share will be the final nail in coffin of US centered world order based on UN, NATO and BW dollars.JohnsonR , 13 March 2018 at 04:44 PM"This is an August, 1914 moment."
I've been fearing that Syria is looking more and more like that for some time now.
The unimaginative ridicule the suggestion that open war between the US and Russia could result from events in Syria, because it is just too big a change in the world for them to comprehend it as a real possibility. But there is a clear route for escalation, and now the US regime has suggested how the initiation might occur.
If the US strikes Syria, Russia has to choose whether to let it pass (as it did Trump's previous crime) or to respond. If the US misjudges the scale of its attack and Russia responds with actions that kill US military personnel, then the US regime faces the same choice, and open war is an easy outcome. On each occasion, there is a clear cost to not retaliating, and a psychological inclination not to just turn the other cheek. This is a profoundly dangerous situation, and parallels with 1914 are absolutely not out of place.
I believe we would have been here a year ago if Clinton had won the presidency. Trump gave hope that it could be avoided, but it seems that hope was vain, whether because Trump lied or because he has been putty in the hands of the usual suspects around the US regime.
Fortunately, there will probably be many opportunities for either party to step off the escalation process before it reaches a nuclear exchange, and the prospect of that tends to concentrate even the minds of the powerful.
Let's be absolutely clear here, though - the US is wholly the party at fault here in creating this situation. Syria is a longstanding Russian/Soviet ally and it is the US regime's determination to overthrow the Syrian government that is creating the danger we now face. Granted, after that you can look at other parties involved in "influencing" the US regime towards war in Syria for their own self-serving ulterior motives, but in the end the US government and nation must be held responsible for its own choices and for allowing itself to be "influenced".
Mar 14, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
ISL , 13 March 2018 at 05:58 PMDear Colonel,Barish said in reply to Richard... , 13 March 2018 at 06:02 PM
Stripping away all the claptrap about unicorn rebels and chemical weapons and human rights, the US is publicly and clearly stating that it will directly militarily intervene in defense of its demonstrably failing Syria policy; however, not with a ground invasion - there is no stomach for that. This is moronic (to use Rex's lexicon) - a missile attack on Syria will have no strategic effect on the Syrian conflict.
Is it coincidence that Russia just very clearly signaled that it has the capability and will to counter the US military strategy directly? Whereas one suspects few in the administration believe that history has any relevance, Russia is very history aware. Russia practices, every year, a nationwide, civilian response to a major nuclear attack. One cannot imagine such an exercise in the US (it would interfere with our duty to shop).
I cannot see how the US de-escalates if a US carrier group is sunk. Winds of 1914 indeed. Perhaps after a few metropolitan areas are nuked in each country (and probably someone glasses the chosen people's country, Israel) saner minds in the US will pull back. Or not.
So the US is willing to risk escalation that in gaming always seems to lead to a nuclear weapons exchange for an action with zero strategic benefit!
May God keep Mattis safe.JamesT , 13 March 2018 at 05:50 PM"Will CNN praise Trump for his new appointments, just like they praised the US cruise missile attacks on Syria in April 2017 after the alleged chemical attack on Khan Shaykhun?"
Regarding that, SAA have cleared access now for reporters to a very dodgy looking plant in Shifuniyah, SE of Douma. One of them was Mrs Narwani here who shot a few photos on-site:
and wonders out loud where her colleagues from "Western" agencies are. There's also a video shot by Sama TV, with subtitles added by this Syrian Digital Media account here:
I seem to recall that the usual suspects were hollering about how "chlorine barrel bombs" or whatever was used in Shifuniyah when it had already been taken by SAA at that point...Perhaps a small nuclear exchange against non-civilian targets is just what the world needs to realize this endless warmongering is not rational. If I were Putin, I would nuke the Ghawar field in KSA.
Mar 14, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Richardstevenhack 13 March 2018 at 06:27 PMI predicted Tillerson would be out by end of last year. So I was off by three months...
Rumor has it that Trump is looking for an excuse to launch an attack on Syria which will be "bigger" than the last one, and apparently Ghouta and alleged "chlorine attacks" will be the excuse.
U.S. warns it may act on Syria as onslaught against Ghouta grinds on
Apparently the US also believes Syria violated a de-confliction zone which might be another excuse for a US attack:
U.S. calls urgent meeting in Jordan after Syria strikes reports
As I noted yesterday, some believe Putin explicitly mentioned attacks on Russia's allies as a reason to use nuclear weapons. Whether Putin considers Syria an "ally" justifying the use of nukes is unlikely in my opinion. North Korea and the implicit threat to China if China intervenes probably would qualify.
So hopefully Trump will go to meet Kim. Yesterday's Crosstalk pointed out that there's a lot the Deep State could do to derail that, assuming Trump is even truthful about his intentions. Personally I suspect Kim is using the talks between NK and SK as a means to drive a wedge between SK and the US. This would be to the good. Yesterday's Crosstalk suggested the best outcome would be to get the US "out of the room" and let the two Koreas work it out. The problem with that is that Kim wants US forces out of SK and while SK might agree to that, they'll have to talk it over with the US which will be highly resistant since those forces are there not just for NK but for China. Mark Sleboda suggested Trump might well be going to Korea not to make things better but to reinsert the US into the SK/NK negotiatons to sabotage them. We'll see.
But it seems Trump intends Syria to be the next target. So the question remains how far will he go to attack Syria and how far will Russia go to defend Syria. If I were Putin, I'd be on the phone with Trump today reminding him that Russia has cruise missiles that can sink the entire US Med fleet (not in those terms, of course, but you get the idea.) He might also remind Trump that half the previous cruise missiles never reached their target even without Russian S-300's and Pantsirs being involved. This time, they might be.
The last cruise missile attacks was around 50 missiles. So if Trump wants a "bigger" attack this time, will it be 100 missiles? Airstrikes by US jets against the SAA since the cruise missiles might be ineffective against ground troop positions? What happens if the Syrian air defenses - even without Russian help - shoot down a US jet attacking SAA forces a la the Israeli incident earlier? How does Trump react to that?
Mar 14, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
kooshy, 13 March 2018 at 09:29 PMA very meaningful head line by Izvestia on Potomac, WP. For WP editors, a victory for legal army of Syria in their own country' is defying the INTERNATIONAL order. One wonders who are these International community, are Russians, Chinese, Iran and many others part of this community? Or this so-called community is another of US' international country clubs. Too bad, i think the international community should just STFU and live with it.
"Syrian military pushes for victory in Ghouta, defying international outcry"
Mar 14, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
12:44 PM - 13 Mar 2018
Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!
According to the anti Russian propagandists (vid) Tillerson got the job because Trump loves Russia and Tillerson was in good standing with Putin. The same people now claim that Tillerson was fired from his job because Trump loves Russia and Tillerson was not in good standing with Putin.
Neither is correct. The plan to oust Tillerson and elevate Pompeo to State has been rumored and written about for several month . The plan was "developed by John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff". It had nothing to do with Russia.
Tillerson never got traction as Secretary of State. Congress disliked him for cutting down some State Department programs. Trump overruled him publicly several times.
There is some contradiction in the statements coming from the White House and the State Department. According to the Washington Post:
Trump last Friday asked Tillerson to step aside, and the embattled top diplomat cut short his trip to Africa on Monday to return to Washington.
Last Friday Tillerson suddenly fell ill while traveling in Africa and canceled several scheduled events.
... ... ...
Thus ends the 2018 insurrection at State.
With Tillerson leaving Secretary of Defense Mattis is losing an ally in the cabinet:
[I]t starts with me having breakfast every week with Secretary of State Tillerson. And we talk two, three times a day, sometimes. We settle all of our issues between he and I, and then we walk together into the White House meetings. That way, State and Defense are together.
Mattis sometimes calming influence over Trump on military issues will now become less effective.
CIA head Pompeo, the new Secretary of State, is a neoconservative with a racist anti-Muslim attitude and a special hate for Iran which he compared to ISIS . That he will now become Secretary of State is a bad sign for the nuclear agreement with Iran. The Europeans especially should take note of that and should stop to look for a compromise with Trump on the issue. The deal is now dead. There is no chance that a compromise will happen.
The new CIA director Gina Haspel is well known for actively directing and participating in the torture of prisoners at 'black sites':
Beyond all that, she played a vital role in the destruction of interrogation videotapes that showed the torture of detainees both at the black site she ran and other secret agency locations. The concealment of those interrogation tapes, which violated multiple court orders as well as the demands of the 9/11 commission and the advice of White House lawyers, was condemned as "obstruction" by commission chairs Lee Hamilton and Thomas Keane.
Haspel would be in jail if former president Barack Obama had not decided against prosecuting the CIA torture crimes. Torturing prisoners is a war crime. Obstruction of courts and destruction of evidence are likewise crimes.
Both, Pompeo and Haspel, will need to be confirmed by Congress. Both will receive a significant number of 'yes'-votes from the Democratic side of the aisle.11:01 AM | Comments (41)
sejmon , Mar 13, 2018 12:16:49 PM | 6
I think last straw to fire him been TRex stance toward russians -give up Crimea and we cease sanction(WHAT A JOKE) same toward eastern republics of Ukraine LNR,DPR..good move VSGPDJT !!!!!!!!!!!!!Peter AU 1 , Mar 13, 2018 1:15:53 PM | 15
next Nicky H ?????
This is getting messy for the empire. Trump wants to attack Iran and be friends with Russia. The US neo-cons want to attack both Iran and Russia. UK and France want to be friends with Iran and attack Russia.Red Ryder , Mar 13, 2018 1:31:53 PM | 16
The current anti Russia propaganda ["axis of evil" ] - Haley, Macron, May. Veto wielding members of the UNSC Russia, China vs US, France, UK...?
Poor Syria. At least one more fierce year of war. But more likely, endless 2,3,4 more years of war. Israel and US are getting the rebels in Daraa (DEZ #4) primed to start up fighting again. I think the US, UK and Israel want to battle Russia in Syria. There will be more collateral damage done to Russians.b , Mar 13, 2018 2:28:49 PM | 23
Tillerson just read a statement to the press:b , Mar 13, 2018 2:41:53 PM | 27
- got call today, afternoon from president, also spoke to Kelly (implies that this was the firing)
- hopes for smooth transition
- Deputy Sec State Sullivan will be acting Sec State
- Tillerson job officially terminates March 31
to DoD and State:
- bound by office oath, support constitution, ...
- always stay by oath, (sounds crying)
to people in uniform:
- great relationship State DOD - thanks Mattis and Dunford, all soldiers
- DPRK pressure campaign was success
- Afghanistan commitment also
- Syria, Iraq - work remains
- nothing goes without allies, partner
- work to be done on China and "troubling behavior" of Russia
- predicts more isolation if Russia doesn't knee
- nothing on Iran
Didn't say thank you to Trump. Emphasized oath to constitution, not to president. Nothing on Iran, Saudis or Palestine.
This was a f*** you to the White House and its priorities. The endorsement by name of Mattis and Dunlap makes them targets.
A Professor for political science from the United Arab Emirates just posted this:
"History will record that a GCC country had a role in the sacking of the foreign minister of a great power, and this is only the beginning of more"
Mar 13, 2018 | www.unz.com
Sun Tzu , September 29, 2017 at 12:04 am GMT@AnonymousSergey Krieger , September 29, 2017 at 1:34 am GMT
Russia defends the JCPOA but Israel and USA wants to renege on it. Russia agreed to General Soleiman's request to provide support for Syria. Russia and Iran are under economic sanctions from you know who and barter oil and gas in non dollar trade. Russia nixed Netanyahoo's request to keep Iran and PMUs or Hezbollah out of Quneitra. But according to you Russia is big bad wolf and Iran is sheep.@AnonKenH , September 29, 2017 at 1:56 am GMT
The skin is quite real. Russia is learning lessons and prefer to fight enemies as far as possible before they attack or destabilize Russia proper. This whole article and stand off weapons is about Russia trying to fight enemies from a far and preventing threats from materializing destroying them before too late.All the talk of technical specs and capabilities of the various weapons systems are above my pay grade, but my worst fears have been realized and it seems the U.S. and Israel are trying to provoke Russia into a reaction that will justify wider war for the purpose of "securing the realm". Things in Syria were not to Israel's liking and Syria will not be bifurcated nor does it appear that a puppet leader subservient to America and Israel will supplant Assad.Bayan , September 29, 2017 at 3:06 am GMT
This is probably why Israel attacked a Hezbollah position recently so they could stir things up a bit and try to regain some momentum towards their ultimate objective. Israel knows it can start another military conflagration then quietly exit the scene with little cost to itself while their American vassal will take over and do the rest. And if America doesn't take the bait then Izzy's innumerable agents in the media and Congress will scream anti-semitism and moan about how the president has turned his back on our greatest ally in the region until the desired outcome is achieved.@survey-of-disinfohunor , September 29, 2017 at 3:29 am GMT
Agree. In the long run the best thing for Iran is to stop its military involvement in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon; and limit its relations to culture and economy. Iranian military coming into battle with American forces in these countries is no good for Iran. Furthermore, eventually Iraqis and Syrians will rebel against Iranian domination of their countries despite their religious affinities to Iran. That is the nature of the nation state. Iranians should be smart enough to understand this. It is a question of when to begin the withdrawal.@DESERT FOXKiza , September 29, 2017 at 6:12 am GMT
" the Zionist warmongers are going to destroy America and in case of war with Russia both nations will be destroyed ."
You nailed it that is the plan! Stack up the best and brightest of the Caucasian males against each other, Nato vs. Russia , with modern weapons they will most effectively wipe out each other.They are the only ones who can hinder the plan of NWO. , so they have to be discarded. the remaining goyims will be forcefully crossbred , and microchiped , hence NWO. Nirvana for some lunatics , humanity for none.@Peripatetic commenterunit472 , September 29, 2017 at 7:31 am GMT
Ok, what you say is true -- there has been no proof of S400 capabilities. This may be:
A) because Russia did not want to reveal its capabilities in the heavily monitored Syrian military theater, to avoid giving US and Israel a chance to develop counter measures
B) because they could not find a volunteer, such as you, till now who is willing to verify how poor the performance of S400 is by flying a military plane into its defensive zone.
Perhaps, the Russians also wanted to know how effective S400 would be in detecting F22 Raptors flying from Incirlik. Smaller Radar Cross Section typically means only detection at a reduced distance, not invisibility as the US MIC marketing says. This could have been an even more important task, relevant to the whole of mother Russia, than defending the Russian contingent in Syria.@TalhaSergey Krieger , September 29, 2017 at 11:31 am GMT
It depends on your war scenario. A US carrier hit by Iran might make its way home and be repaired. That was how the US Navy operated in WW2 before armored flight decks. Interestingly the British carriers operating off Okinawa absorbed kamikazi attacks and stayed on station while the wooden flight decks on American carriers were not so robust.
Today in a major war I tend to believe you go to war with what you have on day one and who can hit hardest in the first few days will prevail. There will be no time to move factories beyond the Urals or create an 'Arsenal of Democracy' out of range of enemy attack. In that scenario a carrier becomes, like everything else, an expendable platform.@DingoEugeneGur , September 29, 2017 at 4:02 pm GMT
One of the parties involved gotta be sane to avoid really bad things happening. It is Russia. You have to have similar historical experience and cultural background to understand and appreciate wisdom and restrain. Otherwise we all would have been like chimps throwing crap at each other at smallest cause, except we can throw a lot more dangerous things than doing.@Anonymousjimmyriddle , September 29, 2017 at 10:41 pm GMT
the American brand is just more attractive. Sorry, comrades.
When go for it. You leaders, however, appear to be smarter and understand better what usually happens to the ones choosing such "attractive brand".
A strong and independent Iran is completely unpalatable to Russia. Why do you think Russia is in Syria? Because an Iranian gas pipeline to Europe would undermine Russian energy hegemony over Europe.
Of course. And that is precisely why Russia was instrumental in pushing that Iranian agreement through, the agreement that would lift the Iranian sanctions and allow Iran to sell its oil again. BTW your "attractive brand" people are trying their damnedest to renege on that deal.
Why does nutty yahoo fly to Moscow with meetings with Putin? Because they need to communicate securely.
If you mean Netanyahu, then of course he did want to meet in secret, because he tried to convince Putin to boot Iran out of Syria. Israel is getting positively hysterical about the Iranian presence in Syria. Iran, in case you haven't noticed, has not just the US but also Israel as its enemy. Putin, however, sent Netanyahu on his way. Russia maintains reasonably friendly relations with Israel but not about to let Israel dictate its actions.When Bismarck was asked how he would defend German interests in Africa from French encroachment, he replied: "A sortie from Metz".Anonymous Disclaimer , September 29, 2017 at 10:52 pm GMT
Nato has handily placed its toe in places where the Russians can slam a door on it whenever they need to.@1RWNoseytheDuke , September 30, 2017 at 2:51 am GMT
Not just the islands. Even Chinese ships have anti-missile defenses -- this was several years ago.
Its now standard on the PLAN 052D and coordinated with their versions of AEGIS. The world doesn't stop developing weapons just because the US has gone dumb, you know.@Dingoeirzl , September 30, 2017 at 2:52 am GMT
I believe that an old saying with regards to Russian forces is that they are slow to saddle up but they ride very fast. This is advice to take to heart based on historical events alone.@Ron UnzIain W , September 30, 2017 at 4:47 am GMT
Agree. Don't know for sure, but having operated in that military-legislative influence sphere for a time, I'd almost guarantee that this $700B defense increase was driven by the "surprise" effectiveness of Russian weapons systems. I'd bet that it's almost exclusively an RDTE increase on top of the ongoing O&M war fighting (re: imperial) budget structure of the last 15 years. It's been zero sum between those two categories, but I suspect now that's no longer the case.@ThorfinnssonSergey Krieger , September 30, 2017 at 5:46 am GMT
Tomahawk is a dog slow museum piece. There is strong evidence that the Russians 'splashed' the first batch of Tomahawks fired at the Syrian airbase and that is why they had to fire a second batch. I think Russia 'EW' capabilities are not fully known and understood.
I don't think I would want to be on any US naval assets and have to try and shoot down multiple missiles. As one strategist commented – there are targets and there are subs. The article did not mention that these missiles can be launched in a number of ways – from land, sea, under the sea and from the air and outside the defensive capabilities of the intended targets.@utuBuba Zanetti , September 30, 2017 at 11:05 pm GMT
How ironic. Meanwhile looks like that it has been working just fine for Rusian side which deployed miniscule resources in the region. The thing is that outcome pretty much confirms who is right and who is wrong. There is also no need to make rush moves at the moment. Things are going in right direction. It is not dick swinging contest if you have not noticed.They're both 800 lb gorillas, the only difference is the Russian gorilla is fluent in six languages and reads Tolstoy and Pushkin while the American gorilla has type 2 diabetes, a sixth grade education and spends its day jerking off to internet porn.Sean , October 1, 2017 at 7:46 pm GMThttps://defenceindepth.co/2017/02/17/the-russian-militarys-view-on-the-utility-of-force-the-adoption-of-a-strategy-of-non-violent-asymmetric-warfare/Rabbitnexus , October 2, 2017 at 4:05 am GMT
Russian military thinking seems to have reached the point now where the idea of using force intentionally in conflicts with peer-state adversaries has been almost completely ruled out. This seems a radical move. But there has been a clear recognition within this military that better strategic outcomes for Russia will result from the use of non-violent 'asymmetric warfare' activities rather than those which will or can involve the use of force -- such as conventional war or hybrid warfare.
Asymmetric warfare, of course, and in a nutshell, is a method of warfare employed by the weak against the strong where the former seeks to level the battlefield with the latter. The weaker party, using its own relative advantages, attempts to turn the strengths of its opponent into vulnerabilities, which can then be exploited. The means used are ones which, in essence, cannot be used in return -- reciprocated -- by the target ('asymmetrical' means that which cannot be mirror-imaged). Fundamentally, asymmetric warfare is all about activity that, rather than bludgeoning a target into strategic, operational and tactical defeats, actually manipulates it into them. And it is all done, ideally, with no use of force. As Sun Tzu, the 'father' of asymmetric thinking, told us, the acme of skill in the conduct of warfare is to defeat the adversary without the use of any force. See, for instance my book titled Asymmetric Warfare: Threat and Response in the 21st Century.
Other articles present similar arguments for the use of asymmetric warfare by the Russian military. The overall message for this military, and as the influential military newspaper Red Star (Krasnaya Zvezda) summed up last year, is that when it comes to the conduct of warfare in the current era, 'The main emphasis must be placed on asymmetrical means and methods'.
The principal aim of Russian asymmetric warfare is to create degrees of destabilisation (destabilizatsiya) within targeted states and within collectives of targeted states (e.g. NATO, EU). A target that is destabilised (in whatever sense) is one that, in Russian military thinking, is more susceptible to Russian leverage, i.e. it can be manipulated more easily.[...]
Conventional military assets are still needed, of course. But these days they may be seen to be acting in a supporting role for the asymmetric warfare campaign against NATO interests. Their outwardly sabre-rattling movements, deployments and activities are seen as means of creating 'indirect leverage' that can, in turn, manipulate western actors into making counter moves that actually suit Moscow's purposes.
The Russian military is now also employing asymmetric warfare methods that these western actors find very difficult to retaliate against on a like-for-like basis -- reciprocity is largely denied. Russian democracy has become very much a 'managed' one and this closes down many avenues of retaliation. Russia is also not open to cyber attack in the same way that western states are and defences in the country are more pronounced.
The Russian military can and is using non-violent asymmetric means to considerable strategic advantage against NATO. They are, wherever one looks, destabilising and manipulating to good effect. Given this continuing situation and the strategic results that are patently being produced in NATO countries, why would the Russian military need to consider the conventional use of force? What utility does it have?@Priss FactorAnonymous Disclaimer , October 2, 2017 at 5:38 am GMT
No. You're thinking about the former Soviet Union. Russia is not the same thing. Also no, the USA military exists for no other purpose than profit making. It is the most corrupt on earth by its definition. The pentagon pays thousands of dollars for a bolt which exists with the same part number in a GM catalogue for less than ten dollars. That was years old but typical of the utter joke the US military is. Did we forget the 6 trillion dollars the Pentagon lost the day before 9/11 in 2001? Or the more recent announcement of a similar amount LOST? Nobody else even has a budget the size of the missing money in the US one.@Priss Factor1RW , October 2, 2017 at 3:27 pm GMT
Russia is very corrupt in some ways -- but it has cleaned up on the military side. Remember that the US is only less corrupt because we define lobbying to be legal.@peterAUSThirdeye , October 6, 2017 at 9:01 am GMT
They just produced Время Первых or "Spacewalker"
It's excellent propaganda and a great movie about the early Soviet Program. Actually a better space themed movie since I don't know when, maybe since Appolo 13. Which ironically is the American version.@RandalThirdeye , October 7, 2017 at 12:39 am GMT
There's an understandable post-Soviet tendency in the US sphere to discount Russian capabilities in terms of high tech weapons.
There could be books written about the complete failure of the US to foresee Russia's achievement of parity+ with the West in advanced weaponry. The Donald Cook incident in 2014 gave a shock about Russian EW capabilities on the order of the shock the U2 incident gave about Soviet air defense capabilities. Something quietly queered the TLAM attack on the Syrian airbase earlier this year. The image that the US kept of Russia was left over from the 1980s, that the Soviet Army was a mighty but unwieldy big iron force with plenty of firepower but wanting in capabilities related to advanced technology. During the first Chechen War in 1996, the Russian Army was referred to in US media as a "glorified Third World army." That's an exact quote. The performance of Soviet-designed aerial weaponry, largely during the mideast wars of 1973 to 1982, gave a distinct impression of a disadvantage related to avionics. But that may have been misleading, as the performance of export aircraft could have been inferior to that of the home fleet. Either the US estimate of Soviet technology in the 1980s was way off or post-Soviet Russia developed advanced technology at a remarkable pace, even more so since it occurred during such chaotic times.@peterAUS
There's some speculation, based on the timing and the targeting, that the recent Russian cruise missile attacks in Idlib may have targeted US SOF in retaliation for Deir Ezzor and northern Hama. The US couldn't respond because to do so would be an admission that SOF are working with HTS and HTS-supporting groups.
Mar 13, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Peter AU 1 | Mar 13, 2018 6:39:53 PM | 58
Sharmine Narwani has photographed the CW site in east Ghouta. It leads directly back to Saudi Arabia and the US
Civilians that escaped from east Ghouta interveiwed, including a girl forced to appear in a Bana of Aleppo video. https://twitter.com/walid970721/status/973640510689763328
No doubt much more still hidden in the terrorist enclaves given that the US/UK/France seem willing to attack Russian forces to ensure east Ghouta remains out of the Syrian governments hands
Mar 13, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
At the UN Nikki Haley has now specifically threatened Syria and Russia with attack if the Syrian government does not halt its offensive in East Gouta and the Yarmouk camp. Both are near Damascus. These two places are mainly defended by jihadis, the largest group of which is Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS, the Al-Qa'ida branch in Syria. You remember Al Qa'ida. They were the people who attacked us on 9/11. Her threat is for retaliation for use of chemical weapons (chlorine)or just plain old "inhuman suffering" inflicted on the "Syrian People."
This does not seem an idle threat given the number of times she has repeated it. Someone is telling her to say this. She works for State and it probably is not Tillerson telling her to do this so my guess would be David Satterfield, the Assistant secretary of State for the Near East. He is someone who now runs with the wolves. That is how he got the job.
At the same time Russia has made it clear that they will fight to protect their ally and interests in Syria. They have been quite plain spoken about that and they included both US aircraft and ships in the threat. I note that the Admiral Essen, a Russian missile shooting frigate sortied from Sebastopol today.
I think that Pompeo's nomination and his eventual confirmation brings the world closer to a US-Russia war. If that happens it will be difficult if not impossible to keep the war from escalating toward the use of nuclear weapons. Israel wants war, a wrecking war with Iran. Israel wants the US to win that war for Israel. IMO Israel would be wrecked in such a war whatever the outcome. This is an August, 1914 moment. pl
Kerim , 13 March 2018 at 03:01 PMYes absolutely an August 1914 moment... That was my first thought when I heard the news. I think the tone on the Russian side has also markedly changed recently. They are losing patiencePhodges , 13 March 2018 at 03:15 PMHow long until Mattis is shown the door?John Minnerath , 13 March 2018 at 03:19 PMThe No Ko thing was bluff and bluster against a 3rd rate disfunctional regime at the kiddie end of the statecraft pool.JPB , 13 March 2018 at 03:19 PM
Russia is another ball game altogether and as much as I'd like to see Trump and the US come out on top he's way out of league in this and the heavy pro Israel leaning is going to be trouble.
Hopefully some smarter and cooler headed diplomats will keep things on an even keel.A pox on both Pompeo and Haley I say. I have never trusted Pompeo. How does a Californian run and win a Congressional election in Kansas? Carpetbagger? Plus he got his Doctorate of Law degree from Harvard, which is another strike against him IMO.Willy B , 13 March 2018 at 03:20 PM
How will he get along with Nikki, since in the past he has called a Punjabi-American a 'turban topper'? And I note that Nikki had a brother who served in Desert Storm while Pompeo reportedly sat it out.
I don't know anything about Satterfield. But I thought that Haley's job as United States Ambassador to the United Nations was a Cabinet level post and that she worked directly for the White House and not for the State Department. When did that change?Pompeo's close relationship with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies -- a louder bunch of war mongers you would have a hard time finding -- makes the danger that much more palpable, I think.rkka , 13 March 2018 at 03:41 PMI have noted the smell of gunpowder in the air since the Kiev coup, though it is almost unbearably intense now .Peter AU , 13 March 2018 at 03:44 PMWith what has been occurring recently in Syria, now may make or break time for the US. If it loses to Russia in Syria/Iraq, US would most likely start losing in many places.Richard , 13 March 2018 at 03:51 PMYes I remember Al Qaida. That several consecutive US administrations decided to threaten Russia in order to protect these terrorists was one of the reasons why I lost my trust in the US government and their political appendices here in Europe.A.Pols , 13 March 2018 at 04:13 PM
Will CNN praise Trump for his new appointments, just like they praised the US cruise missile attacks on Syria in April 2017 after the alleged chemical attack on Khan Shaykhun?Reminds me of a murder that happened near Charlottesville some years back. Two middle aged brothers who shared a home in the country got into an argument over the use of the air conditioner and one shot the other. Afterwards he was grief stricken and couldn't believe what he'd done. Alcohol was involved. So the thing was tragic and the more so because it was quite unnecessary.DailyPlanet -> Kerim... , 13 March 2018 at 04:14 PMJust my view on things but something is just so very wrong in this country. Yeah, this has been par for the course for so long that i am used to it but who the hell is in charge and what is the agenda?VietnamVet , 13 March 2018 at 04:18 PM
" In 2005 Satterfield was named as having provided classified information to an official of the powerful pro-Israel lobbying group, AIPAC. According to documents, Satterfield had discussed secret national security matters in at least two meetings with AIPAC official Steven J. Rosen, who was subsequently indicted by the U.S. Justice Department (later quashed over the objections of the FBI ."
https://original.antiwar.com/alison-weir/2011/02/04/critical-connections-egypt-the-us-and-israel%C2%A0/Colonel,Clueless Joe , 13 March 2018 at 04:25 PM
I agree. This is August 1914 being replayed again. The end of the second Gilded Age. Only the true believers and the Generals are left. The VA Secretary has to guard his office suite. EPA Administrator flies first class. Larry Kudlow, the rumored new economic czar, was fired from Bear Stearns for his cocaine habit.
Donald Trump wants the three Generals gone. Anything becomes possible even a Korean Peace Treaty. Correct me if I am wrong. But, without the Generals the President loses military and contractor backing. The 25th Amendment becomes a real possibility. The God of War is chuckling; if not a World War; then, at least, another American Civil War.
Peace, never."Frighteningly, Mattis is now the adult and saner one in the whole administration" was exactly my thought a few hours ago...LondonBob , 13 March 2018 at 04:27 PM
As for Israel, they should be aware that if this ends up in a US vs Russia WW3, they will be wiped out - if not nuked by Russia, others will seize the opportunity offered by such chaos. There's simply no way that they're coming out of this war in a comparatively better situation, compared to the sorry state of other Western countries, than they are now - they'll be hit just as badly, and probably worse than some.I think you are being too pessimistic, still a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing. Trump is instinctively opposed to another war and knows it would be politically disastrous. The Iran deal being further undermined is more likely the middle path that will be trod.Kooshy , 13 March 2018 at 04:32 PM
I was very enthusiastic about Tillerson but he really hasn't looked up to it, the idea was better than the reality. Pompeo I don't know, superficially looks poor but I think he is cleverer than he lets on, and a lot is just rhetoric.Colonel. Unfortunately you are perfectly right again with your analysis, for consequences of trending current affairs. My hunch is in this new west east war, Europe (except for UK) and east Asia, none of US main allies will side with US in a meaning full way, and that unwillingness to share will be the final nail in coffin of US centered world order based on UN, NATO and BW dollars.JohnsonR , 13 March 2018 at 04:44 PM"This is an August, 1914 moment."Oilman2 , 13 March 2018 at 04:48 PM
I've been fearing that Syria is looking more and more like that for some time now.
The unimaginative ridicule the suggestion that open war between the US and Russia could result from events in Syria, because it is just too big a change in the world for them to comprehend it as a real possibility. But there is a clear route for escalation, and now the US regime has suggested how the initiation might occur.
If the US strikes Syria, Russia has to choose whether to let it pass (as it did Trump's previous crime) or to respond. If the US misjudges the scale of its attack and Russia responds with actions that kill US military personnel, then the US regime faces the same choice, and open war is an easy outcome. On each occasion, there is a clear cost to not retaliating, and a psychological inclination not to just turn the other cheek. This is a profoundly dangerous situation, and parallels with 1914 are absolutely not out of place.
I believe we would have been here a year ago if Clinton had won the presidency. Trump gave hope that it could be avoided, but it seems that hope was vain, whether because Trump lied or because he has been putty in the hands of the usual suspects around the US regime.
Fortunately, there will probably be many opportunities for either party to step off the escalation process before it reaches a nuclear exchange, and the prospect of that tends to concentrate even the minds of the powerful.
Let's be absolutely clear here, though - the US is wholly the party at fault here in creating this situation. Syria is a longstanding Russian/Soviet ally and it is the US regime's determination to overthrow the Syrian government that is creating the danger we now face. Granted, after that you can look at other parties involved in "influencing" the US regime towards war in Syria for their own self-serving ulterior motives, but in the end the US government and nation must be held responsible for its own choices and for allowing itself to be "influenced" .With NATO right on their border and Alaska on their other - there isn't anywhere for Russia to retreat to. They have ONE overseas base, and we wish to contest that, per our mouthpieces.Jony Kanuck , 13 March 2018 at 05:09 PM
I think Putin made his point(s) crystal clear on March 1st. Continually poking the bear only ends one way. What might the neocon/Trump reaction be to a carrier being taken out? Or closing of the Straits by air/sea denial?
I do not wish to have either of these questions answered in any reality - simply because our government has come to believe they are invincible, and apparently, our military as well.
Colonel,james , 13 March 2018 at 05:10 PM
Yes & no to Aug'14. I'd go for July; the 'black swan event' has occurred, now what will the major powers do?
I note that the Russian threat came not from the Pres or the Prime Minister, or the FM. It came from the CDS. I think the orders for Russian air defense staff in Syria have been cut; shoot on launch. The Russians seem sure the attack will be on Damascus, in response to an imagined gas attack in East Ghouta. So probably air launched cruise missiles.
My black swan is Russian air defense knocking down a couple US strike a/c. In 1914, starting with Austro Hungary, everyone (Rus, Ger, Fra) then reacted instead of looking at how bad it could get. The Brits were the last in, reluctantly. Brit FM Grey said "The lights are going out in Europe, I don't know when we shall see them lit again".thanks for sharing your perspective pat..i agree things look ominous.. it is a shame it has gotten to this point, but with individuals like nikki haley and etc, doing all the talking points for israel and happily moving along in this relentless path, it is hard not to envision a confrontation that results in a wider war...
the usa is responsible for this is as @ 3 johnsonr points out and yes, in spite of the influences on the usa, it will be the usa that will be held responsible for it too... i wasn't around for 1914, but things don't look very good here..
meanwhile, may and the uk want to frame russia without proof... this is a reoccurring theme, whether it is from the usa, uk or whoever.. it gets very tiring and not very believable or trustworthy..
Mar 13, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
james , 11 March 2018 at 10:11 PMgood question/s harper.. it looks like a positive development.. maybe some american politicians are coming to their senses? wishful thinking, but it is possible!james , 11 March 2018 at 10:13 PM
the fact the usa is in syria, under the pretext of going after isis is laughable.. very recently putin asked that the rubble city now known as raqqa, has many dead bodies still under the rubble.. perhaps aside from leveling raqqa, the usa could consider cleaning up the mess it is responsible for too..i guess that is too much to ask.. at present usa actions look like an attempt at partitioning syria.. so yes - someone in political office in the usa can ask about altering the course and direction of the usa has been on for a good number of years, especially now with this demonizing of russia on so many levels.. that would be really great..i read need to read my posts before posting... oh well.. putin asked the usa to clean up and bury the dead they are responsible for..maybe that falls to the 'free democratic syrian army' that are busy running off to afrin at the moment...falcemartello , 12 March 2018 at 01:36 AMI think some in the deep state or the people who really run pax-amaericana might of just got the message fromPutin's last address to the douma. Fuk with us or any of our allies IE IRAN,SYRIA,CHINA we will screww you six way of SUNDAY Hypersonic style.Harry , 12 March 2018 at 06:57 AMIts lucky so many ex CIA officers are seeking congressional office. Otherwise the peeple might put an end to us always being at war with East Asia.Barbara Ann , 12 March 2018 at 08:49 AM
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/03/07/dems-m07.htmlThanks for the update on the critical topic Harper, I've included links to the letter, The Hill's op-ed and Lee's Facebook video of the hearing below.Phodges , 12 March 2018 at 11:05 AM
https://www.facebook.com/RepBarbaraLee/videos/10155871583927787/It's anti-Trump optics.Bill H , 12 March 2018 at 11:05 AM
Obama starts wars in Libya, Syria, Yemen, etc...give him peace prize!
Trump fights wars in Libya, Syria, Yemen, etc...stop the mad man!
If Trump was ending these wars like he said he would, they would have to attack him for being weak and giving in to PutinI would love to think that this is Congress waking up to its responsibility, but I suspect it is nothing more than a move to take a swipe at President Trump; to reduce his power and/or weaken him politically.catherine , 12 March 2018 at 02:02 PMRichardstevenhack , 12 March 2018 at 08:04 PM
If I remember correctly it was Saudi who set up Syria to begin with and sent Prince Bandar to organize and finance the anti Assad rebels. Pretty sure they were counting on the Israel Lobby to bring the US onboard given Syria was second leg after Iraq in their march to Iran per the Israeli 'Clean Break' plan.
Despite the total FUBAR Iraq turned out to be I don't see the Israelis giving up on their plan for Iran---all their propaganda says..''we are fighting Iran in Syria''. Since our congress is basically Israeli occupied territory I don't have any faith in their war decisions.
Yemen is another story...equally insane.
I welcome Russian involvement in the ME ....it might turn out to be the 'balancing act' the realist like Stephen Walt have talked about for years
except not quite the 'offshore balancing' they recommend. Both Russia and the US are now 'onshore' instead. imo the US should bow out...nothing in the ME is a'threat' to the US and we have zero benefits to gain in Syria or Iran.I'm inclined to believe that this is an anti-Trump project but it may well have elements of concern about war with Russia. After all, most of Trump's detractors assume he is unpredictable and could start WWIII over an incident. Whether true or not, some people think so.
Witness the cruise missile attack on the Syrian airbase over bogus intel which DID result in a confrontation with Russia as Russia downed most of the cruise missiles using ECM according to reports (and despite a Pentagon denial which was clearly bogus given pictures of the airbase not being heavily damaged.)
And then we have the Russian contractors killed.
There was an article over at Russia Insider today that suggests the reason Putin announced the new Russian weapons systems was not just for Russian election PR (since Putin is going to win anyway) but was in reality because Russia feared an American attack in Syria. Putin explicitly said in his March 1st speech:
I should note that our military doctrine says Russia reserves the right to use nuclear weapons solely in response to a nuclear attack, or an attack with other weapons of mass destruction against the country or its allies, or an act of aggression against us with the use of conventional weapons that threaten the very existence of the state. This all is very clear and specific.
As such, I see it is my duty to announce the following. Any use of nuclear weapons against Russia or its allies, weapons of short, medium or any range at all, will be considered as a nuclear attack on this country. Retaliation will be immediate, with all the attendant consequences.
Note the phrase "or its allies" - which at the moment is fairly limited to China, Syria, and maybe Iran (as well as lesser states like Belarus.)
I think it might be possible to include North Korea in the list, if Russia believes a US attack on North Korea - which would quite possibly involve nuclear weapons - might threaten to escalate against China, an ally.
Perhaps this is why someone convinced Trump to talk to North Korea. Did some Pentagon analysts or CIA analysts decide that Putin might be serious about Syria or North Korea based on some intel and then the Pentagon decided to back down on North Korea or some planned action against Syria?
I note Mattis seems to have bowed out on answering questions about North Korea, stating that the State Department is handling that.
Mar 10, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
David Habakkuk -> JohnB... , 04 February 2018 at 10:35 AMJohnB,
In response to comment 2.
If you are interested in Higgins and 'Bellingcat', you might want be interested in a 'Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media' which has recently been set up by a group of British academics.
(See http://syriapropagandamedia.org .)
At the moment, work which has already been done is being prepared for publication on the site. However, some of it has already appeared on the blog of one of the members, Tim Hayward.
This includes a detailed discussion of the report of the 'Joint Investigative Mechanism' on the Khan Sheikhoun attack by Paul McKeigue.
His professorship, at Edinburgh, is in Genetic Epidemiology and Statistical Genetics. This means that, unlike most of us interested in these matters, with the obvious exception of Theodore Postol, he has a grasp of a lot of relevant science.
(See https://timhayward.wordpress.com/2017/12/22/khan-sheikhoun-chemical-attack-guest-blog-featuring-paul-mckeigues-reassessment/ .)
A basic tool of his trade is a technique called 'Bayesian analysis', one of whose many applications is to separate out genetic factors in disease from others. His use of it in the piece may make bits of it somewhat hard going for those of us whose scientific education stopped at school.
But if you are interested in a demonstration of the way that the kind of pure charlatanry propagated by Higgins and Kaszeta has come to be accepted uncritically by supposed impartial international bodies, you should read the piece.
Also on Hayward's blog is an article which was submitted to the Guardian's 'Comment is Free' page, in response to a piece by Olivia Solon smearing those who have had the temerity to suggest that the 'White Helmets' may be something less than a band of disinterested charity workers, and an account of the attempts of the 'Working Group' to get a response from the paper.
(See https://timhayward.wordpress.com/2018/01/12/the-guardian-white-helmets-and-silenced-comment/ .)
This has links to material on that organisation already published. A lot more work will be appearing on the 'Working Group' site.
David Habakkuk -> blowback... , 06 February 2018 at 11:42 AMblowback,David Habakkuk -> Babak Makkinejad... , 07 February 2018 at 09:28 AM
In response to 36.
Thanks for the link. But what Mattis has said relates to the latest accusations, not early ones. Key paragraphs:
'A deadly sarin attack on another rebel-held area in April 2017 prompted President Donald Trump to order a U.S. missile strike on the Shayrat airbase, from which the Syrian operation is said to have been launched.
'"We are on the record and you all have seen how we reacted to that, so they would be ill-advised to go back to violating the chemical (weapons) convention," Mattis said.'
So he is not repudiating the conventional wisdom according to which sarin was used at Khan Sheikhoun, and the possibility of a military response to a fresh 'false flag' is left open. Unless he is basing his accusation on credible evidence, this to be blunt, comes close to inciting jihadists to atrocity.
The extent -- and unscrupulousness -- of the mounting propaganda campaign in relation to the recently claims is well brought out in a piece by Rick Sterling in 'Consortium News' on Sunday. Whether those involved are still hoping to precipitate a serious American military intervention, and whether those hopes might be realistic, I cannot say.
(See https://consortiumnews.com/2018/02/04/wmd-claims-in-syria-raise-concerns-over-u-s-escalation/ .)
This makes the detailed demonstration by Professor McKeigue of the frankly farcical nature of the 'Joint Investigative Mechanism' report into Khan Sheikhoun, to which I linked, all the more important. In addition to exposing the total dependence of its analysis on a completely incredible claim about the aircraft which is supposed to have delivered the chemical weapon, and discussing much other evidence, he brings out a key point about developments in 'chemical forensics' over the past years.
As well as the 1995 sarin attacks, the 2001 anthrax letter attacks led to an enormous investment of money and intellectual energy in the development of analytical techniques making it possible to identify perpetrators of chemical weapons incidents. A fascinating article entitled 'Tracing a Threat' by Bethany Halford in 'Chemistry & Engineering News World' in February 2012 provides a good picture of what the state of play was at that time.
(See https://cen.acs.org/articles/90/i6/Tracing-Threat.html .)
She quotes an expert called Joseph Chipuk, from a consultancy called 'Signature Science' in Austin, explaining how the 'spectra' -- different wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation associated with different 'impurities' in samples, including 'environmental' ones, such as soil, fragments of weapons, and clothing -- can be matched with reconstructions of possible 'synthetic pathways'.
The levels of sophistication of which this kind of analysis was already capable, he made clear, are close to breathtaking:
'To figure out signatures based on various synthetic routes and conditions, Chipuk says that the synthetic chemists on his team will make the same chemical threat agent as many as 2,000 times in an "almost robotic manner," following a database that tells them exactly what conditions to use. They then hand off the product to the analytical chemists, who look at all the tiny impurities that turn up along with the toxic chemical -- "the stuff that's down in the weeds," as Chipuk describes it. From there, the hundreds or, in some cases, thousands of spectra that are collected go to statisticians and computer scientists who work their magic to tease out the unique attribution signatures.'
At the end of the article, Halford quotes Chipuk again making clear that improvement is continuous in a way that is making it quite extraordinarily difficult to fool analysts who are genuinely looking for the truth -- as not only Dan Kaszeta but, very regrettably, key figures at the OPCW and some of its 'Designated Laboratories' do not appear to be:
'"The fact is that technology continues to improve, instrumentation continues to improve, and computers continue to improve. The chances of someone being able to slip by undetected are getting smaller and smaller," says Signature Science's Chipuk. "If you were to choose to do something like this, the science is going to catch up to you."'
In relation to the claims now being made, what is initially at issue is simply the question of whether the 'impurities' identified by the 'spectra' in samples from the incidents at Khan Sheikhoun, Ghouta, Saraqeb, and Khan Al-Asal match.
What characterised the 'hexamine hypothesis' as put forward by Kaszeta was the -- close to surreal -- suggestion that a single substance, hexamine, was a 'smoking gun'. To anyone who had taken the trouble to read easily accessible discussions of the methodology, such as Halford's piece, it would be apparent that it is simply ludicrous to base a claim on a single substance -- particularly given that hexamine is also used in explosives.
In the 'Reuters' report on 30 January, we were told:
'Two compounds in the Ghouta sample matched those also found in Khan Sheikhoun, one formed from sarin and the stabilizer hexamine and another specific fluorophosphate that appears during sarin production, the tests showed.'
(See https://www.reuters.com/article/us-syria-crisis-chemicalweapons-exclusiv/exclusive-tests-link-syrian-government-stockpile-to-largest-sarin-attack-sources-idUSKBN1FJ0MG .)
So we have an -- unidentified -- compound which supposedly establishes that the hexamine did indeed form part of the sarin production process, rather than of the explosive charge. And we are then told of the presence of another compound, which are told is 'another specific fluorophosphate': why not tell us which?
To anyone interested in actually making sense of the evidence, to have a mere two compounds mentioned, and those not adequately identified, suggests an alternative possibility: that people who knew details of the 'synthetic pathway' by which Syrian government sarin had been synthesised leaked them to those who were producing the substance for a 'false flag.' It would have been beyond the capabilities of a relatively primitive operation to produce any kind of close fit -- to get a couple of compounds to match would probably not have been difficult at all.
If this suspicious interpretation if false, there is a very simple way to refute it -- and General Mattis is in a perfect position to do this.
The close links between the American and British 'intelligence communities' have been stressed in comments on this thread. It is clear that in relation to Syrian chemical weapons, there was a division of labour.
Analysis of 'environmental' samples was concentrated at the British OPCW-certified facility, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down in Wiltshire. Meanwhile, preparations for the dismantling of the Syrian chemical arsenal were the made at one of the two American OPCW-certified laboratories, the U.S. Army's Edgewood Chemical Biological Center in Maryland.
The destruction of the 581 tonnes of the sarin precursor methylphosphonyl difluoride, or DF, aboard the specially kitted out vessel 'M.V. Cape Ray' in the Mediterranean was announced in August 2014. In the extensive reporting on the preparations for this, it was made absolutely clear that -- as one would expect -- the vessel was equipped with a proper analytical laboratory, with OPCW scientists involved as well as those from the Edgewood Center.
(See https://www.chemistryworld.com/feature/eliminating-syrias-chemical-weapons/7390.article .)
In a post entitled 'Sentence First -- Verdict Afterwards?' shortly after the Khan Sheikhoun attack, and then in two 'open letters' to the members of our Defence and Foreign Affairs Committees, I pointed to the mass of evidence suggesting that the test results from different incidents did not match each other or those from the stocks destroyed on the 'Cape Ray.'
(See http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/habakkuk/ .)
The publicly available evidence, I argued, provided strong reason to believe that results from Porton Down and the OPCW confirmed the claim made by the Russians, supposedly on the basis of tests from their own OPCW-certified laboratory, that the sarin used at Khan Al-Asal and Ghouta was a 'cottage industry' product. This was also what Seymour Hersh claimed that tests carried out at Porton Down had revealed about the sarin used at Ghouta - he used the term 'kitchen sarin.'
What the Reuters report has -- perhaps inadvertently -- confirmed is that Porton Down had in fact tested 'environmental' samples from the Khan Al-Asal incident on 19 March 2013, the first where sarin was used in Syria, by suggesting that tests from that incident as well as those at Ghouta and Khan Sheikhoun matched the results from the stocks on the 'Cape Ray':
'Laboratories working for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons compared samples taken by a U.N. mission in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta after the Aug. 21, 2013 attack, when hundreds of civilians died of sarin gas poisoning, to chemicals handed over by Damascus for destruction in 2014.
'The tests found "markers" in samples taken at Ghouta and at the sites of two other nerve agent attacks, in the towns of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib governorate on April 4, 2017 and Khan al-Assal, Aleppo, in March 2013, two people involved in the process said.
'"We compared Khan Sheikhoun, Khan al-Assal, Ghouta," said one source who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the findings. "There were signatures in all three of them that matched."'
Can anyone seriously believe that if the tests we know to have been done on at Porton Down had established what this 'source' who does not have the guts to the identify himself claims, this fact would not have been trumpeted to the skies -- first when the results from Ghouta matched those from Khan Al-Asal, and then when both matched those from the 'Cape Ray'?
Allright -- sometimes the practically incredible turns out to be true. But if he has any evidence on which to base his claims, General Mattis should have the courage of his convictions, and order the disclosure of the relevant 'spectra.'Babak Makkinejad,blowback , 04 February 2018 at 03:20 PM
You are wrong about this. That the 'chain of custody' principle has been flagrantly violated in the reports of the 'Fact-Finding Mission' and the 'Joint Investigative Mechanism' is patently the case, and in itself reason why the almost unanimous acceptance of these in the MSM is scandalous. But that is a separate issue.
(See http://russiaun.ru/en/news/opcwun -- the whole document is well worth reading.)
The reasons why the test results from the various laboratories were critical were set out last April in my '"Sentence First -- Verdict Afterwards"?' piece, and the two 'open letters' to the members of the Defence and Foreign Affairs Committees pointing out the need for clarification as to what was being claimed about the test results.
Let me recap, and update.
An example of the kind of 'chemical forensics' one needs in incidents like this was provided by the analysis of test results on 'shell and soil' samples purporting to derive from the Khan Al-Asal incident on 19 March 2013 which formed part of the document from the Russian OPCW-certified laboratory which was submitted to the UN Secretary-General on 9 July that year.
On 4 September, as part of the attempt to stop the visible attempt to use Ghouta to create an unstoppable momentum towards the destruction of the Syrian government, more details of what looks like an expanded version of the original document were made public by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In it they claimed that:
'shell and soil samples contained nerve agents -- sarin gas and diisopropylfluorophosphate -- not synthesized in an industrial environment, which was used by Western states for producing chemical weapons during World War II.'
It was also made clear that the conclusions rested upon precisely the kind of very complex analysis Bethany Halford is describing:
'We highlight that the Russian report is extremely specific. It is a scientific and technical document containing about 100 pages with many tables and diagrams of spectral analysis of the samples. We expect that it will significantly assist in the investigation into this incident by the UN. Unfortunately, it has in fact not started yet.'
(See https://www.rusemb.org.uk/fnapr/3169 .)
Unfortunately, the detailed 'spectra' have not been released, but they have certainly been analysed by experts at the OPCW and that organisation's 'Designated Laboratories' in the West, including Porton Down. We know that the results from the materials tested on the 'Cape Ray' will show a sarin precursor 'manufactured in an industrial environment.'
To prove what Mattis and others want to claim it is necessary that the 'spectra' from none of the other tests match those in the Russian report, and the 'markers' from the 'Cape Ray' materials are the same as those from Khan Sheikhoun, Ghouta, and Khan Al-Asal. If there are serious 'chain of custody' problems, the 'markers' from the four sets of tests might not be sufficient to establish Syrian government culpability -- a lack of a match would be quite sufficient to establish that the indictment cannot be accepted as it stands.
As I brought out in my post last April, the publicly available evidence -- of which Hersh's 'Red Line and Rat Line' article and subsequent interviews form an important part -- strongly suggests the Russian claims that the toxin used in both Khan Al-Asal and also Ghouta was 'cottage industry', as they put it, or 'kitchen sarin', as he put it, are correct.
It is simply not a refutation of these claims to treat one compound supposed to validate the 'hexamine hypothesis', and an unspecified fluorophosphate, which could be the diisopropylfluorophosphate reported by the Russians, or hexafluorophosphate, as conclusive evidence. (The implications, or lack of them, would be quite different, depending on which compound it was.)
And all this hush-hush whisper-whisper from 'diplomats and scientists' who are not prepared to be identified, as well as assurances from that supposedly 'independent' expert Colonel Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, only add to the grounds for scepticism. As I brought out in my post, he is under the strongest possible suspicion of having been involved in covering up, and quite possibly colluding in, the 'false flags.'
If they have evidence to support the case, then let Western governments produce the 'spectra' -- as also should the Russians. We do not need complete reports, which may need to be kept secret for perfectly good reasons -- simply the 'many tables and diagrams' which must exist. Once these were out in the open, then it would be much easier to have an informed argument.
Most of this ground I covered last April. However, there is some crucial new context. Part of this is provided by a report in 'The Intercept' last October, entitled 'NSA Document Says Saudi Prince Directly Ordered Coordinated Attack By Syrian Rebels On Damascus.' As it explains:
'According to a top-secret National Security Agency document provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the March 2013 rocket attacks were directly ordered by a member of the Saudi royal family, Prince Salman bin Sultan, to help mark the second anniversary of the Syrian revolution. Salman had provided 120 tons of explosives and other weaponry to opposition forces, giving them instructions to "light up Damascus" and "flatten" the airport, the document, produced by U.S. government surveillance on Syrian opposition factions, shows.'
(See https://theintercept.com/2017/10/24/syria-rebels-nsa-saudi-prince-assad/ .)
This was on 18 March -- the day before Khan Al-Asal. Further relevant context is provided by a piece in February 2017 on the 'Monitor on Massacre Marketing' site by Adam Larson, entitled 'What happened on March 19, 2013?' which is subtitled 'The First Bodies Tossed Across Obama's "Red Line" in Syria.'
(See http://libyancivilwar.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/what-happened-on-march-19-2013.html .)
This starts by reviewing the -- ample -- evidence that the Khan Al-Asal attack came at a point where there was very visible enthusiasm on the part of a lot of people in the United States and Western Europe for intervention in support of the 'Assad must go' agenda, so that he had every incentive to avoid chemical weapons use, and the insurgents every incentive to produce a 'false flag.'
And Larson goes on to note that 'Ironically, the first solid news of the feared chemical attack came in the form of a Syrian government announcement on March 19 that their forces had been gassed by "terrorists" in a town just west of Aleppo" -- that is, the Shi'ite town of Khan Al-Asal.
There follow detailed reviews of the evidence of another incident on the same day, in which the victims appeared to be insurgents, at the Damascus suburb variously transliterated as Otaybah and Uteibah, and more fragmentary and puzzling evidence about events at Homs.
And Larson goes on to suggest that a three-pronged 'false flag' was planned for 19 March, in Aleppo, Damascus and Homs -- the country's three largest cities. This would obviously fit very well with the NSA intercept, in that it would suggest that the intent was to portray these as Assad's savage response to the attacks in Damascus, thus, hopefully, generating unstoppable momentum for American military intervention.
This seems to me eminently plausible, but it leaves open two possible interpretations of Khan Al-Asal. When insurgents who are difficult to control are given access to weapons like sarin, there is an obvious possibility of matters developing in unexpected directions, either as the result of their bungling an attack, or succumbing to the temptation to use it against government forces.
However, a different set of unintended consequences is also possible. It could be that Syrian intelligence, perhaps with the assistance of Russian and/or Iranian, and with a combination of 'SIGINT' and 'HUMINT' methods quite possibly being deployed, knew precisely what was going on -- and had double agents inside the groups preparing the 'false flags.'
Rather than wait until the inevitable chorus calling for all-out air strikes began, it could well have made sense to turn one of the incidents into a 'false flag' within a 'false flag.'
The anti-Assad camp would then have been effectively 'snookered.' They would have faced a situation where they would know that, if they acceded to the calls from the Syrians and Russians for a proper UN/OPCW investigation, making a rigorous use of 'chemical forensics', these would implicate the insurgents. And if the evidence suggested that it was these who had crossed Obama's 'red line', it would have been game and set, and probably match, to the Syrian and Russian governments.
Irrespective of people's views on what interpretation is plausible in relation to Khan Al-Asal, the important point is that strategies which rely strongly on convert action -- as the 'régime change' projects I outlined in the current post do -- are inherently liable to run out of control. The uncontrollability of their instruments, and the possibility of covert action meeting covert action in return, are always liable to generate unintended consequences which can escalate.
As soon as the possible that an impartial investigation would implicate the insurgents was real, in relation to Khan Al-Asal, irrespective of whether the imputation would have been justified, the alternative to facing a complete collapse of their projects in Syria, for Western governments, was inherently likely to be at best covering up, at worst colluding in, further 'false flags.' Moreover, intense pressure had to be mounted, to ensure that what were supposed to be sources of independent expertise supported their cover-ups.
This pattern, I am suggesting is common both to history of the 'StratCom' in which Christopher Steele has been involved, and that relating to chemical weapons use in Syria. Particularly when the 'Fourth Estate' ceases to do its job, a likely result is the progressive systematic corruption of institutions.David,
You have read one of the articles on what James Mattis said on Friday about sarin? He quite clearly states that the United States has no evidence that the Syrian government has used sarin. Given the way, the French, British, German, etc. intelligence services share information, that suggests that if James Mattis is speaking the truth then no one in NATO, except perhaps for Turkey given Erdogan's recent behavior, has any evidence either. This means that both incidents, East Ghouta and Khan Shaykhoun, and any other incidents that are alleged by the terrorists to have involved sarin are not what they are claimed to be in western msm and most western politicians. Bellingcat and all the other NGOs who have made similar claims about sarin are all wrong.
Mattis does claim that Syria has used chlorine.
Mar 09, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Don Bacon | Mar 9, 2018 10:24:50 PM | 39
Dickerson: "What keeps you awake at night?"
Mattis: "Nothing, I keep other people awake at night."
and. . .
MATTIS: A conflict in North Korea, John, would be probably the worst kind of fighting in most people's lifetimes.
Why do I say this? The North Korean regime has hundreds of artillery cannons and rocket launchers within range of one of the most densely populated cities on earth, which is the capital of South Korea.
We are working with the international community to deal with this issue. This regime is a threat to the region, to Japan, to South Korea, and in the event of war, they would bring danger to China and to Russia as well.
But the bottom line is, it would be a catastrophic war if this turns into combat, if we are not able to resolve this situation through diplomatic means. here
Don Bacon , Mar 9, 2018 10:56:44 PM | 41We shouldn't expect that any meeting and talks would actually solve anything, because the DPRK and US positions are basically irreconcilable. DPRK wants the US out of Korea, US wants DPRK to denuke (disarm).
The DPRK strategy, probably, is to spawn endless meetings for a long time. The Vietnam peace talks serve as a model, first with the parties discussing the shape of the table, etc. I look for DPRK to play this game.
It's a basic east vs. west gambit, where the east has the patience to endure years whereas the west expects quick results.
Mar 09, 2018 | ronpaulinstitute.org
The US is considering the option of military action against Syria. The alleged use of chemical weapons (CW) by the Syrian government, which is not backed by any solid evidence, is to serve as the pretext. Syrian President Assad is going to be "punished." On March 6, US President Trump and Israeli PM Netanyahu discussed the threat posed by Iran's presence in Syria and ways to counter it.
Chemical weapons? But why should Syria's President Assad use them if he has had no trouble winning with conventional weapons wherever he goes? Couldn't the rebels be using CW? Instances of that have been uncovered and confirmed. But no, US officials don't even bother to give a passing thought to such "unimportant and irrelevant" considerations. They know better who to blame and who deserves to be made to pay for the wrongdoings they believe have taken place. In April, 2017, the US delivered a missile strike against a Syrian military facility, in flagrant violation of international law.
It's worth noting that a group of US senators visited Israel in late February. According to them, a conflict between Israel and the pro-Iranian forces in southern Lebanon was imminent and that fighting would likely encompass Syria as well. Israel has been increasing its support of proxy groups in Syria recently.
Senator Lindsey Graham believes that Tehran is "testing" the US and Israel and that the administration is not doing enough to push back against Iran in Syria and throughout the Middle East.
Mar 01, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Grieved , Feb 28, 2018 9:53:13 PM | 50
Ziad Fadel is best known for his insider news and perspective on Syria and status on the ground - but in his latest piece today he seems to tap the root cause of all the western media nonsense happening right now, at least with regard to Syria and the Zionist dream - which we must remember, drives the western press: Tangled Web In The East Ghouta; Ghouta Has Got The Neocon Goat
It's a short piece, only 9 paragraphs, but here's a slice:Zionists are united in pursuing a policy of complete hopelessness in order to assuage their own hurt feelings. They simply will not accept their own failures and are determined to bully the CIA into another miserable foreign adventure.
Unable to stir the passions of the American public into supporting another foreign war, they have resolved to use the media as a substitute for the noisy demonstrations of which they fantasized in order to urge military action to stop the inevitable rise of the new alliance.
The key here is that the US public is not being roused into caring about the Middle East. So this war must continue to take place in the media.
It's the only place there will be a win of any kind for the Zionists. But this will not manifest tangible facts.
And it will have nothing to do with reality on the ground.
Mar 07, 2018 | www.unz.com
annamaria , March 6, 2018 at 3:06 am GMT@peterAUS
Gloating about Syrian tragedy, peterAUS -- in an openly pro-Israel manner? Are you able to see the difference between opportunists (presstitutes and profiteers) and decent (principled and courageous) individuals? Here are some samples for you:
"Vanessa Beeley Presents Exposé on White Helmets at Swiss Press Club in Geneva:"
"Is the UK FCO Financing Terrorism in Syria with Taxpayer Funds?" http://21stcenturywire.com/2017/12/02/white-helmets-local-councils-uk-fco-financing-terrorism-syria-taxpayer-funds/
"Journalist Interrogated, Fired For Linking CIA Weapons Shipments To Syrian Jihadists:" https://www.mintpressnews.com/journalist-interrogated-fired-linking-cia-weapons-shipments-syrian-jihadists/231348/
Mar 07, 2018 | www.unz.com
annamaria , March 5, 2018 at 7:34 pm GMT@Carlton Meyer
The "free market" corruption begins on a level of personal dignity (morals). Both morality and patriotism are sorely lacking by the current US/UK power elite that has become a chimera composed of Cheney and the Lobby. We are dealing not so much with a "fraudulent" program as with deeply immoral bloody opportunists.
From comment section. David Habakkuk said: " In relation to the 'White Helmets', the 'case for the prosecution' was set out in detail in a presentation by the journalist Vanessa Beeley to the Swiss Press Club in Geneva back in November, with Richard Labévière also involved – available, together with links to a range of supporting material, at
The first appearance of the 'Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media' was in a letter submitted to the 'Comment is Free' section of the 'Guardian', and not published by them, in response to an article by Olivia Solon which attacked Beeley among others.
It claimed that critical discussion of the White Helmets in Syria has been 'propagated online by a network of anti-imperialist activists, conspiracy theorists and trolls with the support of the Russian government'.
The article rejected by the 'CiF' was reproduced, together with an account of the failure of the 'Guardian' either to publish it or to defend their decision not to, on Tim Hayward's blog in January. It contains links to material which calls into question the role of the 'White Helmets.'
(See https://timhayward.wordpress.com/2018/01/12/the-guardian-white-helmets-and-silenced-comment/ )
Concluding his demolition of the 'Joint Intelligence Mechanism' report into Khan Sheikhoun, also published on Hayward's blog, Paul McKeigue writes: 'The weight of evidence favouring the hypothesis of a managed massacre over a chemical attack has obvious implications also for the role of the White Helmets in this incident.'
(See https://timhayward.wordpress.com/2017/12/22/khan-sheikhoun-chemical-attack-guest-blog-featuring-paul-mckeigues-reassessment/ .)
This brings us back to a critical question about the 'false flag' chemical attacks in Syria, and in particular Khan Sheikhoun – that of whether the involvement of elements in Western élites is purely a matter of 'ex post facto' involvement in cover-ups, or whether 'ex ante' involvement in planning these operations may also be at issue.
And, of course, in relation to Benjamin Norman and other FCO people, prominent among them Matthew Rycroft and Boris Johnson, a question really does arise as to: 'What did they know and when did they know it?' "
- Olivia Solon -- a presstitute for Guardian
- Benjamin Norman -- a "diplomat" at the British Embassy in DC
- Matthew Rycroft -- a British "diplomat" at UN
- Boris Johnston -- a person of easy morals and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, UK
Mar 06, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
ConfusedPundit | Mar 5, 2018 3:23:34 AM | 44
@ Jackrabbit, PavewayIV
Turkish TVs accused Genie Energy (pointing out the shady guys on it's board) last night. The Turkish analysts base their claims on a network of foreign analysts which apparently think Genie Energy is 'solely' responsible for all the problems in Syria in that they planned the war and have been administering it to this day.
The analysts are drawing attention to the risk of AQ, ISIS, Nusra etc. or whatever people call them, let's say the head-choppers, going in to Turkey because they fear radical islamists are about to declare jihad against Turkey sometime in the near future. Erdogan's defense is this 'Assad is a mass murderer!' to keep the islamic fighters at bay. Actually there is almost a consensus in the country that TR govt. should openly talk to Assad to prevent SR from breaking into pieces (4?). It was Obama admin's idea to support the Islamists, Erdogan agreed to the plan and now he is stuck.
There are so many different groups in Syria especially in Idlib. I think instead of using names we need Pantone codes to identify these entities.
The OpOlive has been a success so far but the Turks suspect there will be a massive resistance in Afrin town center.
Erdogan's govt. maybe planning to use the potentiallly successful Afrin op to their benefit in the upcoming elections but the general public will not be satisfied because the real problem area is the East of Euphrates. Erdogan's guys seem to think that they need US support to stay in power. All sugar beet factories are being sold and the public think this has something to do with the Zarrab case in NY which is really undermining the Erdogan govt. No beet root factories means more Cargill domination in Turkey so people think Erdogan is bribing the Americans to stay in power.
Today the US embassy to Ankara is closed due to security risk according to the USembassy statement. Coincidentally the TR security forces detained 30 ISIS guys today. It's been 6 months and the US ambassador to Turkey has still not been appointed. In 3 days TR-US talks will begin as planned after Tillerson's visit.
So everybody is waiting for Erdogan, who was on a tour of Africa, to find out what's govt's plan for the next weeks because right now people don't know to which direction they are heading.
Mar 06, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Peter AU 1 | Mar 5, 2018 4:59:30 PM | 78
oldenyoung "Does Syria have an Answer for their problem?"
Depends on what you consider is their 'problem'. I see Syria's main problem as divide and conquer attacks by foreign forces and Syria's vulnerability to these attacks.
I would look to Putin's strategy in the second Chechen war though Syria is far more complicated and many more groups than Chechnya. First Chechen war was Chechen's fighting for independence on the breakup of the Soviet Union. Wahabbis and Cia then moved in and second Chen war started or quickly devolved into a three way war. All Chechen vs Russia but also traditional Chechen vs wahabbi/CIA converts. Putin's deal with Kadyrov senior was along the lines that Russian Federation would protect the traditional Chechens from foreign attacks and Chechens would have a good deal of autonomy for their traditional culture, and in return Chechnya would give its loyalty to the Russian federation. A strength in numbers type deal from what I can make out. Also, it seems kadyrov junior as leader of Chechnya is only answerable to the president of the Russian and only deals direct one on one with the RF president.
I would guess that something along these lines is what Russia is looking for if there are any changes to the Syrian constitution.
Mar 06, 2018 | www.zerohedge.comAssociated Press
"I am not a person who has sought the spotlight. First in my business and now in public service, I have worked on achieving goals, and have left it to others to work on media and public perception," Kushner told congressional investigators last July.
But it is not immediately obvious what he's achieved. There has been little progress on Mideast peace and relations with Mexico, another top Kushner priority, remain contentious over Trump's proposed border wall. Kushner's much ballyhooed project to reinvent the federal government has gained little traction. And questions persist about his family business's global hunt for cash just a year before a $1.2 billion mortgage on a Manhattan skyscraper must be paid off by the company . -AP
Kushner has come under fire of late, as Special Counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly probing his family's Real Estate dealings - including whether foreign nationals sought to manipulate him over his family's financial position.
The Kushner Co. says it is financially sound, however skeptics point to the company scrambling to raise funds from investors whose country of origin may present a conflict of interest. The Intercept reported that Kushner supported a blockade against Qatar after his father, Charles Kushner, sought and failed to obtain financial support from the Qatari financial minister for the family's troublesome 666 Fifth Avenue property.
"If it's true it's damning, " Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told ABC on "This Week" Sunday. " If it's true he's got to go."
Kushner also lost his ability to access top-secret intelligence last week, as President Trump - who could have granted Jared a permanent clearance - left the decision to Chief of Staff John Kelly.
"I will let General Kelly make that decision," Trump told reporters. "I have no doubt he'll make the right decision."
The couple perceives Kelly's crackdown on security clearances as a direct shot at them, according to White House aides and outside advisers. But one White House official disputed that account, suggesting that Kushner welcomed Kelly's efforts to organize the West Wing, allowing him to more singularly focus on his portfolio.
Kelly, in turn, has been angered by what he views as the couple's freelancing. He blames them for changing Trump's mind at the last minute and questions what exactly they do all day , according to one White House official and an outside ally. - AP
Kushner's clearance was downgraded from "Top Secret/SCI-level" to "secret" - walling them off from the most sensitive information. The decision was the first major shakeup since the dismissal of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who was exposed for abusing both of his ex-wives. The FBI insinuated that it had informed the White House of Porter's conduct, appearing to contradict a timeline of events initially offered by Kelly.
"Only a son-in-law could withstand this sort of exposure and not be fired," said former Obama communications director, Jennifer Palmieri " Kushner's vulnerable and in an accelerated fall from grace . Even though his departure would leave Trump even more isolated, a decision could be made that it's just not worth it for him to stay."
That said, Trump has reportedly grown frustrated with both Kelly and over negative press surrounding Jared and Ivanka, according to the New York Times - and has been quietly seeking a solution to remove them from the White House.
Trump denied reports that he was displeased. "As I told Jared days ago, I have full confidence in his ability to continue performing his duties in his foreign policy portfolio including overseeing our Israeli–Palestinian peace effort and serving as an integral part of our relationship with Mexico," said Trump. "Everyone in the White House is grateful for these valuable contributions to furthering the president's agenda. There is no truth to any suggestion otherwise."
The AP reports that Jared and Ivanka have no plans on leaving Washington anytime soon.
Slippery Slope -> SH_Resurrected Mon, 03/05/2018 - 22:42 PermalinkPandelis -> ACP Mon, 03/05/2018 - 22:46 Permalink
I thought Kushner was solving the Middle East problem by giving Israel everything it wants.IridiumRebel -> Pandelis Mon, 03/05/2018 - 22:47 Permalink
it is on a need to know basis my friend. you just go and look after the paperwork and clearance bs.
Kushner is there for some very good reasons ... trump cannot remove him even if his life depend on it ...booboo Mon, 03/05/2018 - 22:42 Permalink
Probably fake news, but then again, I don't know what they do. There are droves of useless fucks in government.Juggernaut x2 -> booboo Mon, 03/05/2018 - 22:57 Permalink
can't be any worse than the Clinton Foundations pay to play scheme ... By the way, I don't know what general Kelly does all day either but I will put money he will go to work for the MIC industry capitalizing on his position so fuck that pot says the kettle.Freddie -> Juggernaut x2 Mon, 03/05/2018 - 23:28 Permalink
Trump will do nothing to the Clintons or their Foundation so you don't need to worry about it.Mzhen Mon, 03/05/2018 - 23:06 Permalink
Jared and Ivanka are good friends with Soros and the Clintons. So much for draining the swamp.Mustafa Kemal -> Mzhen Mon, 03/05/2018 - 23:12 Permalink
Since Jared and Ivanka aren't getting paid, maybe General Kelly can find something else to worry about.
"Since Jared and Ivanka aren't getting paid, maybe General Kelly can find something else to worry about."
Or maybe since they aren't doing anything they could get out of the way.
Mar 04, 2018 | www.unz.com
The two F16 were cruising with all active electronics off, on the Turkish side of the border, below the mountain range on the border, thus preventing the Russian ground radar in Syria from noticing them.
But, a Saudi AWACS was constantly observing the Su-24 position from a distance and feeding data into two F16.
When the situation was optimal, F16 jumped up launched A2A missiles and dived down below the mountains and flew back without waiting to see the outcome.
Even though this was clearly a US operation using two proxies (a Turkish/CIA Airforce General without Erdogan's knowledge and a Saudi AWACS probably flown by a US crew), Putin did nothing.
One of many, many unanswered US provocations to suck Russia in deeper.
utu , March 3, 2018 at 7:17 am GMT@Kiza
One of many, many unanswered US provocations to suck Russia in deeper.
One possibility is that the event was to send France back in line within NATO as an ally of Turkey now in conflict with Russia instead of France getting cozy with Putin after Bataclan 11 days earlier. There was a great support in France for Putin then and for a common action with him against ISIS.
Russia was the greatest PR beneficiary of the Bataclan operation. The shooting down of Su-24 by Turks extinguished the Bataclan effect and the French sobered up.
Mar 04, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
J Swift | Mar 4, 2018 3:23:22 PM | 4
Afrin, and the games being played there, are a tough one to figure. I suspect that is partly because it's like a four-sided triangle, with each potential alliance carrying diametrically opposing pros and cons. Why would Russia tacitly green-light Turkish intervention?
Some thoughts: (1) The Kurds have been coddled and supported by the US and Israel for many years as a long-term Israel 2.0 project. They would of course be used, marginalized, and ultimately cast out once the Zionists had their new and improved homeland, but the Kurdish dream of "Kurdistan" blinds them.
(2) Every power in the ME (except Israel) is against the Kurds becoming too powerful, for precisely this reason, and the number one reason Russia agreed to loose the Turks on Afrin was because it was the showcase of Syrian Kurdish pomposity and refusal to submit to Syrian sovereignty, while simultaneously demonstrating what the Russians had been telling the Kurds in back channels for ages -- the US is just using you and will not help when you call.
(3) Russia or the SAA could not really directly attack the Kurds, both because they are the sympathetic darlings of western press, and it would drive them further into the arms of the US. Let the Turks be the bad guys, especially since that has the added bonus of increasing the split between the US and Turkey.
(4) The attack would serve to draw Kurds away from other areas in NE Syria they had expanded into as the military spearhead of the US. It will be much easier for Assad to turn or defeat the remaining Arab tribes, even though temporarily the US is doing everything it can to stave off this inevitable result. But at least you won't have the SAA directly fighting Kurds, which the US could use much more effectively to attempt to garner support for its actions.
(5) While the Russians had some historic pull with the Kurds, the US had effectively enticed them away with goodies and promises. For Russia to get the Kurds to back down in Afrin (and other areas) would be very difficult -- just not much direct leverage short of openly hitting them. But once the operation has achieved the (Russian) goals of suitably weakening and humbling the Kurds, Russia does have significant leverage against the Turks.
Russia already demonstrated once how much economic pain they could inflict on Turkey after the first plane shootdown, but also wisely not only reversed the sanctions but rewarded the apologies with even bigger rewards (meaning the pain of return to sanctions would be even more painful and embarrassing to Ergodan -- effectively probably guaranteeing the end of his rule).
So while not ideal to have Turkey inside Syria, Russia probably feels they can ultimately force a withdrawal, especially if Turkey's somewhat justified fear of a Kurdish stronghold is neutralized.
(6) Lastly, Russia could have a long term concept for how the Kurds -- suitably humbled and servient but still relatively strong and cohesive -- could be useful to Damascus. Russia had her own troublesome nomadic warriors roaming its south. It never could really completely subdue the Cossacks, until Catherine the Great (or perhaps it was Peter) had the bright idea to put them on the payroll, arm them and give them some autonomy, on the condition THEY be the shield against the constant attempts of encroachment by, you guessed it, the Turks. It worked brilliantly.
I would not bet much money on any of this, but those were some thoughts I thought I'd share on a dreary Sunday.
Laguerre , Mar 4, 2018 4:12:29 PM | 6J Swift@4Lochearn , Mar 4, 2018 5:21:30 PM | 8
You're presuming that Russia really did greenlight the Turkish attack on Afrin. I would be surprised. You suggest that the Syrians want to attack the Kurds. Nothing could be further from the truth. Syria prefers to entice the Kurds into preferring a future association, when the US has left. That's probably the main misdirection of your analysis - the Russians go firstly with Syrian interests, so were unlikely to encourage the Turks.Putin's revelations show that the Russians feel the situation is becoming increasingly dangerous. There is just no way to talk sense into the Americans, just as it would have been futile to advise Britain against stopping their 20-year planning for a war with Germany in the years leading up to WWI, even if proceeding meant impoverishing their aristocracy and their country and sacrificing their young men. 31 per cent of Oxford's 1913 graduates were killed on French fields. I used to think self-preservation was stronger than greed but now I am not so sure.PavewayIV , Mar 4, 2018 5:26:04 PM | 9J Swift@4 - interesting observations, but I think you are assigning a single-minded nationalist sentiment to all Kurds when, in fact, it was mostly a construct of the US-usurped PYD political party and a result of US arms supply extortion. Yes to the US/Israeli schemes, but I have difficulty with believing "...the Kurdish dream of "Kurdistan" blinds them."Col. B. Bunny , Mar 4, 2018 5:32:20 PM | 10
Nobody ever polled the Syrian Kurds about this. Indeed, the MSM has always tossed out this assertion without ANY backing and conflated Barzani's vision for 'his' Iraq with Syrian Kurds' initial desire for nothing more than survival. They were simply offered no other choice than a PYD-indoctrinated and controlled YPG/YPJ if they wanted to get a rifle and kill the ISIS invaders. The US has carefully molded PYD ideology (via arms supply/bribes) to serve US interests, and THOSE interests are served by an independent Syrian Kurdistan - with their PYD lapdogs in charge, of course.
The motivations of the YPG/YPJ are blurred today. A significant amount of their 'training' now consists of PYD indoctrination. The main purpose of the YPG/YPJ today in Syria seems to be the preservation of the PYD's power and control, not 'fighting ISIS'. I seriously doubt that statements from the current YPG/YPJ leadership represent 'the will of the average Syrian Kurd'. Militia leaders mostly just parrot the PYD party line - I would expect nothing less than that.
I believe it is the PYD that mostly demands and independent Kurdistan/SDFistan in Syria to further consolidate their power and control, not the average Kurd. Nobody asks the average Kurd what it's like to live under the PYD's oppressive control today. In fact, about the only bit of information that makes it out of there is that every committee at all layers seems to tax everything there while providing nothing of value besides a forum to complain about how nothing is getting done. That, and Arabs in majority Kurdish areas have found that some people are more equal than others under the PYD.
Now imagine that the PYD is probably as corrupt as EVERY other US-supported (= bribed, CIA-moled) political party in CENTCOMistan proper. Sorry, but no amount of useless committees are going to vote corruption out of any future Syrian Kurd leadership. Why would anyone think otherwise?
Kind of a toss-up, isn't it? A broken, corrupt, useless Baathist government in Damascus, or a broken, corrupt, useless Kurdish government in Qamlishi. I fail to see the desire of the little people Kurds to die for the latter - they're not getting a damn thing either way. And for whatever Kurdish nationalism they have, they were probably hoping for an independent, healthy Kurdistan, not a welfare-queen Kurdistan forever wrapped in the tentacles of US/Israeli interests and beholden to them for survival."Russia appears to have won at least a partial victory in Syria" because it actually took to the field and systematically attacked ISIS. This cannot be said of the U.S. "effort." Read this quote from a BBC story about how the U.S. cooperated with ISIS to allow it to escape destruction in Raqqah:oldenyoung , Mar 4, 2018 6:20:24 PM | 11"Along the route, many people we spoke to said they heard coalition aircraft, sometimes drones, following the convoy.
From the cab of his truck, Abu Fawzi watched as a coalition warplane flew overhead, dropping illumination flares, which lit up the convoy and the road ahead.
When the last of the convoy were about to cross, a US jet flew very low and deployed flares to light up the area. IS fighters [were very scared]."
Thomas Friedman in the New York Times , describes the U.S. "pretend" war against ISIS:"America's goal in Syria is to create enough pressure on Assad, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah so they will negotiate a power-sharing accord that would also ease Assad out of power."
Therefore, since the Islamic States' "goal is to defeat Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria -- plus its Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah allies we could simply back off fighting territorial ISIS in Syria and make it entirely a problem for Iran, Russia, Hezbollah and Assad."I have been wondering today about the future of syria... It would appear that Assad's government will eventually hold enough territory to be sovereign again... Will elections be held at that time? Are there any viable candidates to run against assad? will the elections be allowed to be fair and "unmolested"? Will any new government be tolerated by anyone?Peter AU 1 , Mar 4, 2018 6:21:32 PM | 12
I am not knowledgeable on internal Syrian politics and any help would be welcome..
The military Review article is hard going with the obligatory propaganda lines that contradict themselves, But one thing the author did pick up on is that Russia runs a number of strategies concurrently to get to a given goal.Peter AU 1 , Mar 4, 2018 6:28:28 PM | 13
Saker who's area of professional expertise was analyzing Soviet military, has often pointed this out. This is contrasted to US military thinking that has one strategy to get to a given goal and all resources are put into that strategy or line of advance. Very noticeable among the US military indoctrinated types at SST.oldenyoung 11Lochearn , Mar 4, 2018 6:45:20 PM | 14
It is only western culture that puts a limit on presidential terms and calls anything else a dictatorship. Assad never left his country, apart from a couple of very short trips for meetings with Russian executive leadership, and has has held his country together in the toughest times. He seems popular, and the majority of Syrians may well wish to keep him as the leader of their country into the future.@ paveway "A broken, corrupt, useless Baathist government in Damascus." You could say the opposite. Syrian Government re-made. Re-focused with one of the world's best armies. Reoriented with regard to neoliberalism. How has a useless government resisted the combined strength of the Empire, Israel, Saudi and Gulf, UK and France to name just a few?Lochearn , Mar 4, 2018 7:05:01 PM | 15@ pavewayGhost Ship , Mar 4, 2018 7:11:20 PM | 16
I thought the YPG/YPJ follow PKK ideology not PYD ie. Murray Bookchin.>>>> English Outsider | Mar 4, 2018 5:02:19 PM | 7ben , Mar 4, 2018 7:21:32 PM | 17Has the man holding the two children appeared in other photographs? The face seems familiar.
He looks similar to Mr Alhamdo , a.k.a Abdulkafi , but I don't think they're the same person.February 28, 2018Jackrabbit , Mar 4, 2018 7:40:27 PM | 18
Western Media Distorts Escalating Syrian War From TRNN: http://therealnews.com/t2/story:21207:Western-Media-Distorts-Escalating-Syrian-War
Good link @ 2..ThanksJ Swift, PavewayIV
You are forgetting that what triggered Erdogan was Mattis' assertion that US was training a 30,000 strong 'border force'.
J Swift should add option #8: Erdogan insisted on attacking Afrin. If Russia denied Erdogan's wishes she risked a possible break with Turkey. Erdogan might have also pointed to the drone attack on a Russian base - conducted from Turkish-controlled territory, saying that than attack on the Kurds would help avenge this attempted 'false flag'. I bet that such an argument would've appealed to the Russians.
Was it coincidence that the reaction to Mattis' remarks would result in an attack on Afrin only weeks before the Sochi talks? Talks that had already been delayed twice before to ensure that they went well. Well, we now have a report that the strategy of the "small group" included sabotaging the Sochi talks.
Even before that report came out I thought that sabotaging Sochi was what the attack on Afrin was all about so I predicted that after Sochi Erdogan would stop his attack on Afrin with some excuse. Later, I realized that the 'Assad must go!' Coalition needs to move refuges back. And taking Afrin might also be 'payment' for Erdogan to act more favorably toward USA. Northeastern Syria needs supply lines, after all. In that context "Olive Branch" makes sense as rapprochement with USA. (in line with the rouse that Gulen-CIA were responsible for the 2016 apparent coup attempt).
Mar 04, 2018 | armyupress.army.mil
In sum, Russia appears to have won at least a partial victory in Syria, and done so with impressive efficiency, flexibility, and coordination between military and political action. ... Russia's "lean" strategy, adaptable tactics, and coordination of military and diplomatic initiatives offer important lessons for the conduct of any military intervention in as complex and volatile an environment as the Middle East.Ghost Ship | Mar 4, 2018 11:35:34 AM | 1
Started reading that article from Military Review and while the authors are forced to state the obvious because of events on the ground, they also stick very close to the political views of the Washington foreign policy establishment (SST's Borg rather than the "Deep State") and its garbage narrative.
For example:...the bloody-handed Assad regime...No, it's Obama and Clinton who have the really bloody hands by interfering and allowing others such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, etc. to interfere in the internal affairs of another country. Certain commentators in the western msm have taken to comparing the alleged Russian hacking of 2016 election as equivalent to Pearl Harbor which is absolute BS, but what the United States and others have to done Syria is equivalent to if not worse than Pear Harbor.
I gave up reading the article after a few pages worth because it's just not worth my time to read so much crap.
Mar 03, 2018 | www.theguardian.com
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner in 2017. The couple appears to be facing an uncertain future in the White House. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo
Life at the White House for Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, may be rapidly losing its appeal as conflict of interest claims against the couple mount and the president himself is said to be cooling on continuing their roles in the administration.
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Kushner, who this week was stripped of his top-level security clearance, faces intensifying scrutiny on a number of fronts, including loans on his family's real estate assets agreed with creditors who stand to gain from White House economic policy, and from special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.
Meanwhile, the FBI has reportedly been examining Ivanka Trump's negotiations over the financing of Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver.
Like many Trump-badged properties, the company receives licensing and marketing fees from the developer, in this case the wealthy Malaysian Joo Kim Tiah. Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Ivanka Trump's ethics counsel, told CNN that no "hurdle, obstacle, concern, red flag or problem has been raised with respect to Ms Trump or her clearance application".
In both cases law enforcement officials are concerned that the couple's foreign dealings leave them vulnerable to pressure from foreign agents.
Seemingly, Kushner's inability to receive security clearance stems from his family's real estate dealings and the business' pressing need for investment, often from foreign lenders.
Kushner had to make more than 100 revisions to his security-clearance application; his financial filings had to be amended 39 times in four months after he "inadvertently omitted" millions of dollars in assets.
According to the Washington Post, US intelligence agencies have learned that numerous foreign government officials discussed how to exploit his business interests. These include four countries: Israel, China, Mexico and the UAE.
The paper also reports that the president has told aides it might be preferable if the couple returned to civilian life in New York.
These are some of the business problems plaguing Kushner. 666 Fifth Avenue
The flagship of the Kushner empire, Jared Kushner's first big deal is looking increasingly like a potentially ruinous burden. The $1.8bn property was purchased at the top of the market in 2007 before prices for commercial real estate crumbled.
The property is facing $1.2bn refinancing at the end of this year and the search for lenders has reportedly , at various times, led to contacts with Putin ally and head of Russian state investment bank Vnesheconombank (VEB) Sergei Gorkov, as well as Anbang , the Chinese insurance giant, and members of the Qatari Investment Authority .Chicago skyscraper
The company has reportedly taken out loans totaling $509m from lenders with whom Kushner has held White House meetings. These are reported to include a $184m loan on a Chicago skyscraper – the midwest headquarters for AT&T – from private equity firm Apollo Global, a company that stands to benefit from the Trump administration's infrastructure spending as well as the decision to leave carried-interest provisions so beloved of private equity investors in place.Brooklyn development
The $509m also reportedly includes a $325m Citigroup loan on a Brooklyn development, soon after the Citigroup CEO, Michael Corbat, met with Kushner at the White House.
Spokespeople for Apollo and Citigroup denied that the meetings had anything to do with the loans. "Stories like these attempt to make insinuating connections that do not exist to disparage the financial institutions and companies involved," a Kushner Companies spokeswoman, Christine Taylor, told the New York Times.Deutsche bank loan
A $285m Deutsche bank loan to Kushner Companies is reportedly the focus of New York banking regulators. According to Reuters last week, the New York state department of financial services (DFS) made the requests to Deutsche Bank, Signature Bank and New York Community Bank for information on loans and other financial arrangements including lines of credit and loan guarantees.
Taylor said the company had not received a copy of any letter from regulators. "Prior to our CEO voluntarily resigning to serve our country, we never had any type of inquiries," Taylor said in an email. "These types of inquiries appear to be harassment solely for political reasons."EB-5 visas
In addition, the Securities and Exchange Commission is reportedly looking into Kushner company's promotion of White House ties to pitch EB-5 visas to Chinese investors. Kushner's use of EB-5, a congressionally approved visa-for-investment system, came under renewed scrutiny last year after the Kushner family members conducted sales pitches in Shanghai and Beijing seeking investment in a New Jersey project One Journal Square.
According to reports in the Washington Post and the New York Times , the pitch included a photograph of the president in a slideshow that described him as a key decision-maker on the fate of the EB-5 program. A Kushner spokesman said the photograph was included by the Chinese organizer of the event.
Feb 01, 2028 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Leaky Ranger , 28 February 2018 at 09:20 PMplantman , 01 March 2018 at 10:00 AM
Maybe there is a clear and present danger in the White House? Kushner's Business Got Loans From Companies After White House Meetings
Apollo, the private equity firm, and Citigroup made large loans last year to the family real estate business of Jared Kushner, President Trump's senior adviser.https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/28/business/jared-kushner-apollo-citigroup-loans.html The Twisted Genius , 28 February 2018 at 10:14 PM
... ... ...
For Kushner's vulnerability to foreign manipulation, there seems to be a lot out there beyond this one WAPO story. This month old article lays out the problems existence over the last year with China. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/01/29/jared-kushner-is-chinas-trump-cardI think the attacks on Kushner are particularly evil and calculating.... And they could pose a real danger to the country! Look: The reason Trump's enemies want Kushner gone is because Trump does not have a wide circle of friends he can trust, so his enemies want to further isolate him so he can be controlled BY THEM.Green Zone Café , 01 March 2018 at 10:35 AM
The danger is that he will get increasingly embattled, erratic and paranoid.
Then what?? Maybe they think that's a reliable way to control someone like Bill Clinton or Richard Nixon, but Trump??? No way. Trump has shown time and again that he does not respond to situations like other people. I think that creates a potentially grave situation for the country, the country these deep-state vermin never think about. They only think about themselves.I think what TTG is alluding to is that the source may be from another SIGINT establishment, not the USA. Correct me if I'm wrong. Given the vague nature of the allegations against Kushner, for all we know, it's Turkey, Brazil, or the UK leaking.egl , 01 March 2018 at 11:25 AM
The reason why Jeff Sessions isn't prosecuting anyone is because he has no evidence against an American who is leaking.The leaks could have come from inside the White House. There's no shortage of insiders and wanna-be insiders who don't like Javanka's access to Trump.Sid Finster , 01 March 2018 at 11:36 AMI do hope that this is a rhetorical question - nothing will be done because the Deep State, the Borg, whatever you want to call it, does not particularly want Kushner involved in policy.
I do not want Kushner involved in policy either, but I am not leaking anything to get him forced to the side.
Mar 02, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
The Beaver , 01 March 2018 at 05:21 PMAccording to MSNBC, H.R.McMaster may be on his way out , orchestrated by CoS Kelly and Sec Def. Mattis
A former employee of Jared Kushner has claimed the senior adviser doesn't read and calls his father "daddy." Kyle Pope, who worked as an editor for the New York Observer while Kushner was publisher, described his time working for Kushner in a tell-all article for the Columbia Journalism Review , where he is currently editor-in-chief and publisher.
Despite Kushner being responsible for the publication, Pope said he did not take much interest in actually reading the paper -- or any other publication. "Most weeks, Kushner not only didn't read the Observer , he didn't appear to read anything else, either. I never knew him to discuss a book, a play, or anything else that was in the Observer 's cultural wheelhouse," Pope wrote, also stating he could see where the first strains of anti-media sentiment began.
Read more at http://www.newsweek.com/jared-kushner-doesnt-read-calls-his-father-daddy-former-employee-says-695795?utm_source=internal&utm_campaign=most_read&utm_medium=most_read1
Mar 01, 2018 | www.defenddemocracy.press
Jared Kushner's Security Clearance Downgraded
By MICHAEL D. SHEAR and KATIE ROGERS
FEB. 27, 2018
WASHINGTON -- Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, has been stripped of his top-secret security clearance after months of delays in completing his background check, and will now be limited in his ability to view highly classified information, a White House official and another person familiar with Mr. Kushner's situation said on Tuesday.
Mr. Kushner's clearance was reduced to the level of secret and his official portfolio inside the West Wing, especially with regard to his globe-trotting conduct of foreign affairs on behalf of President Trump, is expected to be sharply reduced as well, the people said.
Read more at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/27/us/politics/jared-kushner-security-clearance-trump.html?emc=edit_na_20180227&nl=breaking-news&nlid=60114417&ref=cta&mtrref=undefined&gwh=7D15D084599A082540D291ECEC79573C&gwt=pay
Feb 28, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
The knives are out for Jared Kushner.
After losing his top secret security clearance and reportedly falling under intense scrutiny by Robert Mueller's probe, the New York Department of Financial Services has asked Deutsche Bank two local lenders for information about their dealings with Jared Kushner, the Kushner companies and his family , according to Bloomberg .
Letters were sent by department superintendent Maria Vullo to Deutsche Bank, Signature Bank and New York Community Bank last week, said a person who had seen the letter which seeks a response by March 5. Vullo was appointed by New York's Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo.
The requested information is broad, and include the banks' processes for approving loans.
Vullo requested copies of emails and other communications between the Kushners and the banks related to financing requests that have been denied or are pending. She also asked whether the banks have conducted any internal reviews of the Kushners and their companies and the results of any such inquiries revealed.
The most detailed information about the Kushners' finances can be found in their government disclosures. The couple had unsecured lines of credit of $5 million to $25 million each from Deutsche Bank, Signature Bank and New York Community Bank according to a late December filing.
Deutsche Bank's line of credit was extended to Kushner and his mother; lines from the other two banks were extended to Kushner and his father. Signature Bank also extended a secured line of credit to the couple of $1 million to $5 million, according to the disclosure. - Bloomberg
A spokeswoman for the Kushner Cos, Christine Taylor, said "We have not received a copy of any letter from the New York State Department of Financial Services," adding "Our company is a multi-billion enterprise that is extremely financially strong. Prior to our CEO voluntarily resigning to serve our country, we never had any type of inquiries. These type of inquiries appear to be harassment solely for political reasons. "
Kushner's family business, the Kushner Companies, has had longstanding financial troubles related to 666 Fifth Avenue, "the most expensive building ever purchased", in New York City.
After Kushner bought the Fifth Avenue property in late 2006 for $1.8 billion - with zero skin in the game coming from Kushner, the building came under intense pressure during the financial crisis. Vornado Realty Trust stepped in with financing in exchange for a 49.5% stake in the building, which is now carrying over $1.4 billion in debt according to a March release by Vornado.
The Kushner companies are also reportedly negotiating with Vornado to buy their stake back.
While Jared has separated himself from his family's business and placed assets in a trust, he has fallen into the crosshairs of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Of interest are discussions between Kushner and Chinese investors during the transition, according to sources familiar with the investigation. Kushner met with executives of troubled Chinese conglomerate Anbang Insurance which was recently taken over by China's insurance regulator. Talks between Kushner and Anbang's chairman, Wu Xiaohui, broke down in March 2017, according to the New York Times .
Also of interest to Mueller are Kushner's dealings with a Qatari investor over the 666 property, for which Kusher reportedly sought financing from former Prime Minister Jassim Al Thani, according to The Intercept. The discussion apparently went nowhere , similar to the Anbang deal.
Kushner in the crosshairs
Dovetailing off of the reports of Kushner's meetings to shore up his finances, the Washington Post reported this week that officials from at least four countries - China, Israel, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates have explored ways to manipulate Kushner by taking advantage of his "complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience." The story cited current and former US intelligence officials - and noted that it is unclear on whether the cited countries took any action.
Meanwhile, the presidential son-in-law's security clearance was downgraded from "Top Secret/SCI-level" to "secret" this week, walling him off from the most sensitive information.
Many had expected that Trump would grant Kushner a waiver, even though Trump himself said Friday that he would let Chief of Staff John Kelly decide if such an exception should be granted. In a statement issued last week, Kelly said that any changes to Kushner's security clearance wouldn't impact his ability to do his job:
"As I told Jared days ago, I have full confidence in his ability to continue performing his duties in his foreign policy portfolio including overseeing our Israeli-Palestinian peace effort and serving as an integral part of our relationship with Mexico," Kelly said in the statement.
At the end of the day, unless Kushner or his company broke the law, it appears that this entire exercise is meant to embarrass the president's son-in-law over his troubled 666 property.
gatorengineer Wed, 02/28/2018 - 17:26 PermalinkNumbersUsa -> giovanni_f Wed, 02/28/2018 - 18:08 Permalink
Kushner is absolute scum, but how come he gets the treatment and not the Clinton foundation..... .yeah I know but how in your face are they going to get... wait dont answer thatnew game -> Consuelo Wed, 02/28/2018 - 17:52 Permalink
Trump's Jewish Agenda
January 7, 2018
Trump, the first US President with two Jewish children , beholden to the money power of the US establishment (i.e., Jewish money ) that supported his presidential bid (or bought the presidency for him), is making the Israeli dream of stealing Jerusalem and the whole of Palestine a reality; especially since he owes Jewish investment banks hundreds of millions of dollars, which can be easily written off the books if certain conditions are met.
"I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," Trump said .
In one fell swoop, Donald Trump overturned decades of international consensus and laws. He also ignored recorded history: Jerusalem was NEVER the capital of even ancient Israel.
Furthermore, he constantly and nonchalantly overlooks the fact that Israel today is an inhumane, apartheid country that uses its carte blanche from the US to do as it pleases in the Middle East. It oppresses the Palestinians, treats them like caged animals , and spreads chaos in the region regardless of how it affects the peace of the world.
The reason is because the Jews control the Federal Reserve , the real center of power in the United States or the money power of the establishment (i.e., Jewish money ). In turn, the Fed wags every other financial institution in America, and consequently ends up being the root cause of all of America's economic ills.
Trump's Jewish Entourage
Not even Trump , who supposedly wants to "make America great again," dares mention the need to dismantle the Fed. Worse, he drools every time he talks about Apartheid Israel , not unlike every other American politician.
The anti-Christ spirit of hate thy neighbor , which revs up the engine of the state of Israel and that of its Prime Minister, seems to fire up Trump's motor as well with his loathing of immigrants , especially of his Mexican neighbors. He and Netanyahu are two peas in a pod – both arrogant, haughty, and supercilious narcissists.
"Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." Proverbs 16:18Rex Andrus -> new game Wed, 02/28/2018 - 17:59 Permalink
Back door attack. The inlaws, the sacred family structure. Eventually trump is going down.
They will stop at nothing. They already committed treasonous crimes. All the righteous types just don't get it, they are being played to heighten the drama and division.. they don't give a shit.
They are the majority within gov.org. top to bottom -- Trump is fighting a completely stacked deck of swamp cards. They have no fear of the law. Look at every step they have taken. Look at the reactions. deflection, non-action. Behind the scenes the deals have been made-they will take down Trump.EndOfDayExit -> new game Wed, 02/28/2018 - 20:35 Permalink
Drain the Beltway start at your state capitol
If any dirt is found it wasn't an issue worthy of the integrity of the FBI before Kushner gained political office. So the FBI is only discrediting their felonious selves, past and politicized, craven present.
Remember WACO. Remember Ruby Ridge. Remember 911. Remember Lynch. Remember DACA. Remember Obama stealing from Freddie and Fannie. Remember all the government assistance programs you are paying for, that you are not eligible for because of the color of your skin, that you had no say in. Nice work, FBI.GoingBig -> aliens is here Wed, 02/28/2018 - 17:50 Permalink
Trump's example proved that it is pointless trying to go there and fight them alone. There needs to be a (new) party behind the individual, otherwise one does not stand a chance.Rex Andrus Wed, 02/28/2018 - 17:52 Permalink
Kushner has been systematically targeted by allies and foes alike because he has no foreign diplomacy expertise and they know he can be manipulated. Manipulated due to ignorance and arrogance. The worst kind of manipulation!california chrome Wed, 02/28/2018 - 18:04 Permalink
How much of the loot from the US taxpayer did Deutche get from the "bailout"? The credibility of their organized bankster cartel is lower than that of a belarus hooker in jail in Thailand, because they practice fraud professionally. The FBI is an active enemy of the United States. The masks are coming off.LaugherNYC Wed, 02/28/2018 - 19:21 Permalink
"The Knives Are Out For Kushner: Loans With Deutsche Under Scrutiny By Regulator"
Will this be the catalyst for Trump to fire Muler's sorry-ass or does he just become more defensive every day about taking action and hope the issue will just sort itself out?
I too would continue unabated like a crazy man until stopped, if I were Muler.onlooker Wed, 02/28/2018 - 21:21 Permalink
Kushner wants a security clearance? They get to ream, steam and dry clean his ass. This is no game. Now, it just so happens I ran one of the biggest commercial real estate shops on the Street. I have been in the market recently for a major developer. 5-10X the size of Kushner. You don't get unsecured lines from banks anymore unless you are GOD. Not personally. It may be that the company got one, but if Jared got one something funky is going on.
You see, on a secured credit line, the bank only has to reserve about 4-8% of the limit as a capital charge. That allows them to operate at about 12X leverage. If they are charging LIBOR + 300 for the line, and they fund art LIBOR-50, and the line is fully drawn (no bank wants a line that isn't utilized, that's why they charge non-utilization fees), their 350BP spread translates into a nice ~35% ROE. That's good business. On an unsecured line, there is a 100 % capital charge. That's a 3.5% ROE. That sucks balls.
I have literally had a major bank walk away from an unsecured $50mm line when it would have given them the inside track for a $800 million loan they could securitize and make a quick and easy $25 million on. The regulatory headache and capital charges just made it a non-starter.
NYCB is a garbage bank. They are essentially a 1980s S&L running a book of long maturity multi family loans and funding with purchased CD's in the overnight - 90 day market. (DISCLOSURE: I have been and will be short this stock). As the Fed tightens and the curve flattens, their margins go to shit. They did well in the free money QE world, but their game has been over for a while. They rely on credit underwriting to avoid adding defaults to the litany of woes this environment brings. In fact, taking no credit risk has been their hallmark for years. They generally don't do office or mixed use lending. That they would be making an unsecured line to Kushner is BIZARRE.
If I were working for Mueller, I would be very curious about this stuff, too. If they called me, I would give them a list of things to look for. Something sounds screwy. Either the reporter has the details wrong, or something IS wrong.
I would be surprised if DJT is involved in anything illegal in his business. The guy knows how to bend the rules, but risking his great life to launder money for a bunch of Russians?? Just don't see it. Running for the Presidency with skeletons would be suicide, and he knows that. You don't want the antiseptic light of justice shining on the roaches if you've done something not nice.
It may be Kushner is as dirty as they come. God knows his Dad is a piece of detritus. I know DJT as a crass vulgarian, with a genius for the common weal and leveraging off OPM. But stupid felon? Not buying it.
Thank goodness the FBI and Justice have all the Democrat/Clinton crimes solved so they can dispense equal Justice to the Republicans.
Feb 28, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
" Officials in at least four countries have privately discussed ways they can manipulate Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with intelligence reports on the matter.
Among those nations discussing ways to influence Kushner to their advantage were the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and Mexico, the current and former officials said.
It is unclear if any of those countries acted on the discussions, but Kushner's contacts with certain foreign government officials have raised concerns inside the White House and are a reason he has been unable to obtain a permanent security clearance, the officials said.
Kushner's interim security clearance was downgraded last week from the top-secret to the secret level, which should restrict the regular access he has had to highly classified information, according to administration officials. Washpost
Most people will probably be struck by the fall from grace of Kushner and other WH staff dilettantes. I am not terribly interested in that. What strikes me is that this is the third major compromise of US SIGINT products in the last year. The first was the felonious disclosure to the press of US intelligence penetration of Russian diplomatic communications. the second was the disclosure to the press of penetration of GRU communications. In this one the oral or written discussions among the officials of several foreign countries are revealed. These conversations were probably encrypted.
Is Jeff Sessions still alive? Why are there no prosecutions for these felonies? pl
Feb 27, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
turcopolier , 25 February 2018 at 11:06 PMTTG et alYeah, Right said in reply to turcopolier ... , 26 February 2018 at 12:30 AM
You don't understand what I mean. IMO the emerging partition is likely to last a long time. Syria is only 80 years old as a state and a prolonged de facto partition as opposed to wartime occupation can easily become more or less permanent as was the case with Turkey's acquisition of Hatay. plI certainly don't dispute that Turkey is invading Afrin. And I agree with you that if things continue to stand as they are now then that invasion will continue until all of Afrin has been overrun.
But to simply extrapolate from what has happened into the future suggests that circumstances won't change or - if they do - that Erdogan will continue on like some wind-up automaton.
If the Kurds of Afrin throw themselves on the mercy of the Syrian government in Damascus then Kurdish autonomy is squashed in that enclave. And, when it is all said and done, isn't that what Erdogan really wants?
If the Kurds are too stupid or too proud to play that card then, yeah, sure, you and I both agree that they will be ground into the dirt.
But if they do supplicate to Assad then the situation changes.
You (I assume) believe that in that circumstance Erdogan will continue to grind on with this invasion regardless.
I believe he will beat his chest and then go home.
One of us will be wrong, and one of us will be right.
Feb 26, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Editoria commnetIt seems to me that what is coming is a de facto partition of Syria. I doubt if there is an actual understanding or agreement on the subject but the actions of the players indicate that they comprehend what the outcome will be if present trends and actions continue.
IMO the SAG should have re-captured Idlib Province in the period immediately following their victory at Aleppo. The jihadist enemy was then on the run, disorganized and demoralized by defeat. The correlation of forces was very much in the government's favor. This did not happen.
Instead the SAG went east from Aleppo City to secure water and electric energy supplies for the re-construction of Aleppo. Success led to further and further exploitation to the east and the opportunity was lost to re-take the province. Whether or not the government still has the means or the will, or enough Russian support to re-capture the province is debatable. The Turks are busy conquering the Afrin district. Can anyone seriously doubt that they will succeed in the end? When that happens we will see an effective barrier against government control established farther south by Turkish forces closing up on their "observation posts" in Idlib Province. These OPs are IMO positioned to impede the SAA.
On the line of the Euphrates River a de facto frontier has already emerged between government control to the south and US/SDF to the north and east of the stream. Evidently the US intends to discourage a SAG/SDF reconciliation in the hope of maintaining the dream of eventual destruction of the Damascus government. The enclave around al-Tanf on the Jordanian border is yet further indication of American desire to impeded and embarrass SAG efforts to re-consolidate power. I think the US will cling to that enclave "until the last dog dies." (American modismo). What will be the administrative center of the US protectorate on the other side of the Euphrates? Will it be the former IS capital in the damaged city of Raqqa? Will the denizens of that be-deviled place see a proliferation of KFC and McDonald's. If so, will the franchisees be Chinese? The US is leaving Iraq, diverting forces to the unwinnable war in Afghanistan. Iraqi politics will encourage that departure. When that happens the US will be in possession of a landlocked territory in eastern Syria that is inhabited by people who don't like us very much even if necessity has made them our allies.
The SAG has massed a significant percentage of its mobile forces to capture the jihadi stronghold of East Ghouta. The preparatory fires have naturally excited the jihadis who hold the area and their media allies in the US and Europe. I expect that this size force will do an adequate job of jihadi cleansing in the near future and then move on to browner pastures. With the prospect of having to govern a rump Syria under Russian, Iranian and Chinese tutelage, the SAG will probably move to clean up the several rebel held pockets aligned north to south from the Jordanian border to north of Hama City.
Will the Syrian government acknowledge the loss of its territories? They will not. pl
b , 25 February 2018 at 12:56 PMI doubt that the U.S. will be able to cling to the north-east. The Arabs there are already infuriated about the Kurds and their protectors.Jony Kanuck , 25 February 2018 at 02:43 PM
Balanche, who just returned from a three-week research trip to northern Syria, told Al-Monitor in a wide-ranging interview, "America's current policies will lead to America's defeat in Syria. At some point they will be forced to pull out because US soldiers will get blown up." Balanche said he had reached this conclusion after talking to scores of Arabs living under effective Kurdish control in the mainly Arab towns of Raqqa, Tell Abyad and Manbij.
A story in today's NYT is supposed to show that the YPG is progressive and feminist. But what it describes as YPG success in Manbij is a push by force of anarcho-marxist and "liberal" values onto a conservative Sunni landscape. It's not going to end well.
Turkey will likewise have trouble holding onto the land it captures. It is using the worst goons one can find as front troops. They plunder, rape and kill for nothing without remorse. Resistance to them will build and express itself.
Russia and Syria currently allow Turkish bombing of Afrin. They will continue to do so until the Kurds come to their senses and submit to Damascus. Then the Turkish air superiority will end and without that its troops will be in trouble.
Last week Russia upped its fighter contingent in Syria by 12 machines and also added another AWACS type. It is at every turn emphasizing Syrian unity and sovereignty over its land. It will not stop its support and neither will Iran.Colonel,different clue , 25 February 2018 at 03:35 PM
I am not going to be surprised when I hear of roadside bombs going off east of the Euphrates. The Syrian govt has probably been planning this for a while. Politically this has a few effects to recommend it; the US occupation will become more costly, painfully. The Kurds & US forces will have to react, thus pissing off the Arab population. Improvised explosive devices; Oh it's probably Islamic State remnants. I think the Russians will be behind this now too; I make Russian nationals casualties in the air attack on the Syrian probe(?) as five killed (names are out) & 11 wounded admitted to Moscow & St Petersburg hospitals (my Russian friends). The Presidential election in Russia is next month, so there needs to be plausible deniability.
I have not got the story straight about the air attack on the Syrian column; the Syrians & Russians are not really saying anything. Bernard's (Moon of Alabama) analysis is probably the most likely at this time: Wagner gets 25% of the proceeds from any oilfield liberated. I looked at pictures of the many funerals on the Syrian side after that incident. Syrians, particularly the ISIS Hunters, blame the Kurds for enabling the attack. More ethnic hatred stored up. When will Syria find peace?b,Peter AU , 25 February 2018 at 03:40 PM
(reply to comment 1)
If/when the Sunni Arab resistance you predict for the Kurd-controlled zone and the Turk-controlled zone arises, it will be a Cannibal Liver Eating Jihadi resistance. Probably an al qaeda type resistance.
The DC FedRegime would be well pleased with that, though it would never say so. The DC FedRegime would view that as an opportunity to help the CLEJ forces to establish 2 little jihadi emirates. The reason the DC FedRegime would want to help that happen would be an eventual hope of toppling Assad's successors sooner or later and finally someday turning Syria into a Jihadi Emirate.
One hopes that in the meantime, Russia/Iran/China/etc. fund up, rebuild, etc. the SAR zone of control to make it unconquerable and to give it its own fighting chance of retaking the Kurdish and Turkish zones someday maybe. One also hopes that the SARgov practices "extreme vetting" when deciding which refugees to allow back into its own zone of control. CLEJ sympathisers should never ever be allowed to return to SAR territory. Let them all go to the Kurdish and Turkish zones of control so they can all be kept on two concentrated places in case something can be done about them at some future time.The Idlib civilian population or what remain of them seem generally hostile to the Syrian government. If Syrian forces had retaken that territory early on, either the civilian population would have to be pushed back along with the jihadi's or many troops tied up controlling the hostile population. As time goes by, many seem to turn away from the jihadists and back towards the Syrian government.ISL , 25 February 2018 at 03:51 PMDear Colonel,Barbara Ann -> b ... , 25 February 2018 at 04:16 PM
I would argue that there has been a defacto partition of Syria for many years now; however, it is coalescing to four areas (There is an Israeli rebel controlled area, too), Your post raises the important question, will it stand?
I think the US partition will not stand because it will be costly, and I do not think President Trump will pay the price (President Hillary would have).
Just recently, Trump contradicted the meme by Tillerson and generals that the US is in Syria to stay until the SAG falls or the cows come home. I predict once the issues you raise become reality (landlocked territory surrounded by hostile locals), at some point Trump will inform the deep strategic, neocon thinkers around him "Out!" - our president clearly has no strategic instincts, and when his out will not be a request.
Meanwhile, the slowness of the Turkish progress suggests the purge did significant harm to their military capabilities.. I guess the question is would Turkey be willing to grind on in Northern Syria? If the grind is strong enough (certainly encouraged by Syria), then Kurds in Turkey will look towards seizing the opportunity, and then Turkey would have to pull back. IMO, Turkey can either support Idlib as an uncontrollable terrorist territory, or try (emphasis on try) to control the border Kurdish lands, but if they try both then they likely will fail at both.I am not so sure the Afrin Kurds coming to their senses will save them now. Turkey has made it clear by attacking SAG forces entering Afrin that it considers them hostile. Erdogan wants his Lebensraum so Turks can "go everywhere our forefathers went on horse-back" .catherine , 25 February 2018 at 05:10 PM
Russia seems to be faced with the choice of risking outright war with Turkey (& maybe US) if it goes as far as shooting TAF planes down, or accepting the loss of Afrin & probably Idlib to bring an end to its involvement in the war. Purely in terms of its strategic assets in Syria why would the latter option be unacceptable to it? It is 4 weeks to the Russian Presidential elections, by that time there may not be much left of Afrin to save.Yeah, Right , 25 February 2018 at 06:42 PM
The US might not inhabit anything in Syria.
"We're there for one reason: to get ISIS and get rid of ISIS, and to go home," Trump said on Friday, during a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the White House. "We're not there for any other reason and we've largely accomplished our goal."
That was this week, next week might be different."The Turks are busy conquering the Afrin district. Can anyone seriously doubt that they will succeed in the end?"The Twisted Genius , 25 February 2018 at 09:09 PM
If the YPD insists on fighting to the bitter end then, yes, that is the assured outcome.
But if the Kurds in Afrin bend the knee towards Damascus in a humiliating and without-any-strings fashion then I think that Erdogan will proclaim that he has what he wants and then turn around and go home.
After all, his aim is to extinguish Kurdish independence of action. I don't think that he much cares about the details of how those aspirations are extinguished, just that they are.
An end-result where the Kurds in Afrin become supplicants to the Syrian central government should satisfy Erdogan, and he will be able to claim (rightly) that it was his actions that caused the Kurds to humiliate themselves in this manner.
Don't get me wrong: it's not enough that the YPG allow the Syrian Arab Army to fight alongside them; they have to hand their weapons over to the SAA and step aside (or, more likely, they have to agree to don SAA uniforms and take orders from SAA commanders).
Because I suspect that Russia is busy telling the YPG that they really, really, really need to roll over and show the belly to Assad.
And that the Russians have already asked Erdogan if this will satisfy him, and he has said "Yes".pl,EEngineer , 25 February 2018 at 10:12 PM
The SAG has been enduring a de facto partition of Syria for years. I think it will take another several years for most, if not all, Syrian territory to once again come under SAG control. The Idlib area is seeing a new round of jihadi on jihadi violence. The more of this, the better. That may have been part of the SAG plan all along. The game with the Turks, FSA and Kurds is high risk. I do think the Kurds will eventually turn back to Damascus, but I don't know if the Turks will ever leave voluntarily. I do think we're playing a losing hand. Our presence there will only please Tel Aviv.Rather than permanent partition, could this just be the phase where the frog (Kurds) is slowly boiled? The Turks seem to be making slow work of Afrin. Perhaps this is a sign that the point isn't capturing of territory per se, but to just keep the heat on with an economy of force. After all, isn't the Turkish army big enough to swarm in and take the place easily? That's my tell that everyone seems to be playing for time. Once the Kurds throw in the towel, it's over. The real question is: just how stubborn are they? My guess: very...LondonBob , 26 February 2018 at 05:00 AM
Could Trump's recent declaration that the US is going to leave once ISIS is defeated setting the stage to declare victory and pull out? If the Kurds make a deal with Assad that would leave the US without even a fig leaf of legitimacy to be in Syria anymore.Turkey has an enormous current account deficit, their companies are heavily indebted, much of it in foreign currencies. They are reliant on Russian and Iranian gas. Erdogan would be a problem best handled in concert with the Russians, but I think Erdogan is smart enough to realise the US elites are more interested in their contrived new cold war. Hopefully the rumours are true and McMaster is off, but then I am not hopeful his replacement will be up to much either.ISL , 26 February 2018 at 11:38 AM
I think the Kurds will come to their senses sooner rather than later. I think you are right that the Turkish military is not up to much, and someone needs to call Erdogan's bluff.Dear Colonel,JohnsonR said in reply to Yeah, Right... , 26 February 2018 at 02:45 PM
Could not Syria simply treat east Syria as the Turks treat east Turkey? Its population is quite small, and concentrated by water (or the lack of water) resources? I.e., sustain a low grade guerilla war for a decade-ish until it tamps down, while making deals with some of the tribes to switch loyalty? Given the politics of US casualties, I cant see the US staying, particularly given that our friends would also be happy to cut our throats.
Your assessment that Idlib is another question as it can be kept permanently out of the Syria's control by shifting weapons and jihadis across the Turkish border ad infinitum. Turkey will never allow the same to Syrian Kurds, nor Iraq.As you suggest, the disagreement is based upon differing assessments of what Turkish objectives in Syria are. You think their only important goal is suppressing Kurdish independence, and that having achieved that they will go home.Wunduk , 26 February 2018 at 03:52 PM
You might be right, but personally, I'm with the gaffer here on this one. Erdogan has made enough noise about Assad to make it difficult for him to be in cooperation with him at all, and certainly gives the impression of having irredentist goals. Taking long term control of a slice of northern Syria seems like it would be a winning proposition for Erdogan. Certainly initial Turkish responses to so far limited Syrian moves in Afrin have the whiff of burned bridges about them, as far as both rhetoric and actual attacks are concerned.
Imo, Turkey will only leave Afrin if it is made to do so, and Syria alone probably cannot do that. But we shall see.The Kurdish areas maintained and still maintain Arabic-speaking bureaucracies, land registers, etc. While to some starry-eyed Westerners the story is told differently, on the ground the Syrian administrative tradition continues. I don't see this as a partition as long as the cadastre is still a unified system.
Could this in any way be compared to the Syrian involvement in Lebanon? I happened to be there when the Syrians had just crushed Michel Aoun, and I think this intervention was borne out of a Syrian desire to react to events, and led to the Syrian occupation as a result of backing their local clients, the desire to profit from the relative wealth of Lebanon. thanks to the Kuwait war, the opportunity was there, too.
With the added advantage that it is the Syrian indigenous structures that dominate life in East Syria. And I see no attempts to change this.
The difference to what we see now is that the Syrians in Lebanon respected the internal structures, and tried simply to make them work in their favor. The structures of Idlib (international and Islamist NGOs under the umbrella of an unstable coalition of AQ- and IS-inspired, enabled and directed groups) is different. Building went on without any regard for the cadastre, and I don't know if anyone has been kept around to run the whole thing. So it is chaos. Seems the Turks have something like that in mind for the are they now conquer in Afrin, too.
it will be good for Erdogan to be able to point out that he too, like Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, added territory in this case enlarged hinterland of Antioch (Hatay). With this he can fend off criticism by the nationalist military sympathizers. The violence is good for him, too, as everyone is now a patriot.
Feb 25, 2018 | www.strategic-culture.org
US Aggression in Syria – an Imperialist Blueprint
Syria's prolonged conflict and misery going into its eighth year is no accident. It is by design. American imperialist design.
First though, we note the increasing reprehensible absurdity in this conflict.
Turkey, which invaded Syria nearly a month ago in violation of Syria's sovereignty, this week accused Damascus of "terrorism" after the Syrian government sent forces to defend the northern area near Afrin under assault from Turkey.
Meanwhile, US forces, again illegally occupying Syria in violation of international law, claim to be fighting terrorist militia. Yet more often than not, the Americans are affording protection to various terrorist groups. Then when Syrian state forces advance to clear the terror groups, the US claims it is acting in "self-defense" by massacring whole units of the Syrian army.
Further absurdity is due to France, which has been bombing Syria illegally along with the US and Britain, warning Iranian militia, who are legally present in Syria owing to Damascus' approval, that they have to withdraw from the country.
As if the situation couldn't get any more bizarre, Israel has carried out more than 100 air strikes on Syria, claiming that the aggression are "acts of self-defense".
The Syrian government of President Assad is the sovereign authority of the country, as recognized by UN resolutions. It has the right to defend its nation and to reclaim areas which have been usurped by illegally armed groups. Virtually all of these insurgents are foreign-backed proxies who have been waging a war for regime change according to the designs of their foreign sponsors.
The only armed forces legally present in Syria are those of Russia, Iran and associated militia who have been requested legally by the Syrian government to assist in defending the state from a foreign-backed war.
It is within the sovereign right of the Syrian government to take back all areas, including the suburb of East Ghouta near the capital Damascus. The district has been held under siege by foreign-backed extremists going by the name of Jaysh al Islam who are affiliated with internationally proscribed terror groups Al Nusra Front and Islamic State.
The impetus to liberate East Ghouta has come about because the militants have been firing mortars at nearby Damascus with deadly results.
Not only are Western states violating international law by militarily hampering the Syrian army and its allies in rescuing the country from foreign insurgents, the Western governments and media are mounting a propaganda campaign in an attempt to tie the Syrian state forces' hands behind their backs by distorting their legal duty as "barbarism".
Out of the half million people who have died in the past seven years of war in Syria, it is estimated that nearly half of that total were members of the Syrian army.
Added to the Western calumnies over Syria are claims that Syrian state forces have been using chemical weapons on civilian populations. The evidence points in fact to the Western-backed so-called jihadists who have been stealthily using these weapons for false-flag propaganda stunts.
To understand the chaotic conflict in Syria, we must refer to the decades-old imperial designs that the US and its allies have had towards the country. The Americans and the British governments going back to Eisenhower and Churchill in the 1950s wanted to destabilize and subjugate the Arab republic – a former French colony.
In 1996, a new generation of imperialists in Washington led by Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, David Wurmser and other neoconservatives formulated the "Clean Break" strategy. The strategy in conjunction with Israel sought to destabilize and "roll back" Syria because of its alliance with Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.
More widely, the neoconservatives in Washington openly declared their aim of balkanizing the entire region in order to, in their calculation, make Israel more secure. Syria and Iraq were top priorities for US-imposed chaos.
Significantly, the Clean Break strategy designated Turkey as a key partner to the US and Israel for implementing this plan.
The same American neoconservative planners went on to occupy key positions at the Pentagon and State Department during President George W Bush administrations. There is every reason to believe their stratagem of organized chaos – as a way of exerting hegemony over the oil-rich Middle East – continues to be the guiding, albeit tacit, policy of the US government under President Trump.
Russia, Iran and Hezbollah largely helped Syria bring the war to a close at the end of last year with the widespread routing of foreign-backed insurgents. However, a subsequent peace process
brokered by Russia, Iran and Turkey has lost momentum. The violence in Syria appears to be re-igniting.
The increasingly overt military presence of US and Turkish forces, as well as Israeli incursions, is the clearest factor in the resurgence of conflict. More than ever, the US and its allies are operating on a brazen imperial design to dismember Syria and its territorial integrity.
This is nothing short of criminal aggression by Washington following a deliberate plan for regional domination. This imperialist intrigue should be called out for what it is by the United Nations. But rather than upholding the UN Charter, the body's senior figures are joining
in the Western chorus of condemning Syria for defending its national rights.
The UN is appearing like the ineffectual League of Nations in the 1930s when it pandered to Nazi and fascist aggression. What the US and its allies are doing now in Syria is a repeat – fanning the flames of wider war in the Middle East.
Laws and sovereignty are being smashed at will and yet the Western media and UN are blind to the aggression. Indeed, they are turning reality on its head, by blaming victim-states for the aggression.
The straightforward bottom line is that the US, Turkey, Israel and other NATO powers must withdraw from Syria. Respect Syria's sovereignty and desist from criminal intrigues for regime change. This is a minimum of abiding by international law.
If these protagonists persist in their criminal schemes, the region is heading for a conflagration sparing no-one.
Feb 25, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Via SputnikNews.com,We can't continue to run the world... sentiment toward the US has started to shift too; there was a time when we were welcome... We often have a foreign policy, especially in the last several decades, of being the dominant power. We pressure people; if they do what we tell 'em, we send them more money, since we can print the world currency. And if they don't do what we tell 'em, then we have to participate in a little aggression by bombing and doing these kinds of things.
Former Texas Congressman and leading libertarian thinker Dr. Ron Paul has shared his views on President Trump's job as president after his first year in office, the situation in Syria and the renewed debate on gun control in the wake of the Florida school shooting.Trump's Year in Office
Sputnik: Donald Trump has been in office for over a year. What is your general assessment of his job as president?
Ron Paul: Mediocre; probably not worse than the other options. But I don't think presidents really have much control. I think the deep state – the people behind the scenes and the shadow government, who control the monetary system, who control our foreign policy and the welfare state, and are connected to the media and the military-industrial complex. – I don't think the presidency is as important as it's made out to be. But everybody talks about it; it's a political thing, and they keep churning the issue and directing everybody to ask 'is Trump a good guy or a bad guy, and are we going to impeach him or what's going to happen', rather than [asking] what kind of philosophy do we have: why do we have this philosophy of welfare-warfare, spend money, run up debt and let the central bank print all that money.
They don't even talk about it; the major parties, including Trump, they sign even more controls on us when it comes to FISA courts and spying on us. In spite of the fact that government officials like the FBI and others actually spy on our own president, he supports this; he passes and signs bills on that. So that really raises questions about 'does the president really have much to say', and I think he has much less to say than a lot of people believe. I believe that if he had stuck to his guns and had a different relationship with Russia and started bringing troops home and not aggravating things, he wouldn't have been tolerated. Something would have happened.Syria and America's Place in the World
Sputnik: Moving on to the Middle East, in your reports you've stated that with so many countries controlling territory in Syria, there's very little left for the Syrians. Do you think there's a good chance that government forces can regain control of the country?
Ron Paul: I do. I think there will always be a Syria. What it's going to look like is the big problem. At the moment, it's hard to predict and say that the people who have invaded -- the Turks, the Israelis, the United States will leave. They're going to have to suffer a defeat somewhere along the way. That may occur soon –another defeat like Aleppo. That might make them think differently, but it's still a hotbed
Sputnik: There's an ongoing campaign in the east of Demascus in Eastern Ghouta, with media portrayals of it in the West comparing the ongoing campaign to Srebrenica and what happened in Bosnia. Why do you think this is, and how is the situation being portrayed in the West? Do Americans know what's actually going on?
Ron Paul: I think this, indirectly, may be a subtle bit of good news You know Aleppo was seen as a return of Syrian territory, and a lot of people moved back! Everybody said that 'it's Assad who wants to kill his people and gas his people,' and yet they all moved back after the fighting stopped. So maybe this is one of the last desperate stands [for the anti-Damascus forces], at least for the part of Syria where Assad is stronger
Sputnik: The UN has been commenting on this to emphasize how bad things are in Syria, and particularly in Eastern Ghouta. But the situation was also really bad in Mosul in Iraq, with recent video footage showing the results of US airstrikes. Where do you think the UN was then?
Ron Paul: Probably cheering them on. We often have a foreign policy, especially in the last several decades, of being the dominant power. We pressure people; if they do what we tell 'em, we send them more money, since we can print the world currency. And if they don't do what we tell 'em, then we have to participate in a little aggression by bombing and doing these kinds of things. My argument from the day they started, back to 1998 – I argued don't mess around with sanctions on Iraq, it'll lead to war.
Someday, we'll go broke. I don't think that we all of a sudden will have a reasonable foreign policy. I think it's going to be financial. I believe it was the financing of the Soviet system that brought it down as much as anything; that's the way most authoritarian empires end, and I think that's the way our system is going to end. Who knows when that's going to happen, but we can't continue to do what we're doing.
We can't continue to run the world. Our deficit's exploding. I think the sentiment toward the United States has started to shift too; there was a time when we were welcome, and were on the side of trying to help people, but right now it's on the side of expanding our controls around the world.
... ... ...
You can find the complete audio from Dr. Paul's full interview with Sputnik below
Feb 25, 2018 | www.usatoday.com
, Opinion columnist Published 3:15 a.m. ET June 26, 2017
Trump said Obama's 'horrendous leadership' on Syria could start World War III. He's made things even worse. CONNECT TWEET 2 LINKEDIN 25 COMMENT EMAIL MORE
Last year on the campaign trail, crowds roared when Donald Trump denounced his opponent as " trigger-happy " Hillary. But President Trump is rapidly incarnating the vice he condemned. Nowhere is this more evident than in Syria, where Trump's recklessness risks dragging America into a major war.
U.S. policy toward Syria has been a tangle of absurdities since 2012. President Obama promised 16 times that he would never put U.S. "boots on the ground" in the four-sided Syrian civil war. He quietly abandoned that pledge and, starting in 2014, launched more more than 5,000 airstrikes that dropped more than 15,000 bombs on terrorist groups in Syria.
Four years ago, Trump warned in a tweet : "If the U.S. attacks Syria and hits the wrong targets, killing civilians, there will be worldwide hell to pay." But the Trump administration has sharply increased U.S. bombing while curtailing restrictions that sought to protect innocents. A British-based human rights monitoring group estimated Friday that U.S.-led coalition strikes had killed almost 500 civilians in the past month -- more than any month since U.S. bombing began. A United Nations commission of inquiry concluded that coalition airstrikes have caused a "staggering loss of civilian life."
The carnage is sufficiently embarrassing that "the Pentagon will no longer acknowledge when its own aircraft are responsible for civilian casualty incidents," Micah Zenko of the Council of Foreign Relations recently noted.
U.S.-led forces are reportedly bombarding the besieged city of Raqqa with white phosphorous, a munition that burns intensely and is prohibited by international law from use against civilians. Deploying white phosphorous to attack Raqqa could be a war crime, Amnesty International warns.
Trump's most dangerous innovation involves direct attacks on Syrian government forces, including last week's shootdown of a Syrian jet fighter. The Russian government, which is backing Syrian President Bashar Assad, responded by threatening to shoot down any aircraft over much of Syria.
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After the Syrian government was accused of killing at least 70 civilians with sarin gas in April, Trump speedily ordered the launch of 59 cruise missiles against a Syrian military airfield. Much of the American news media hailed the Syrian missile attack as Trump's finest hour. When he gave the commencement address at Liberty University in May, the audience cheered when Trump was introduced as the man who "bombed those in the Middle East who were persecuting and killing Christians." But America could pay a harsh price for Trump's "virtue signalling" with bombs and missiles.
The biggest delusion driving U.S. policy is the quest for viable "moderate rebels" -- which apparently means groups who oppose Assad but refrain from making grisly videos of beheadings. America has spent billions aiding and training Syrian forces who either quickly collapsed on the battlefield or teamed up with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria , or al-Qaeda-linked forces. Policy is so muddled that Pentagon-backed Syrian rebels have openly battled CIA-backed rebels.
The United States has armed and aided al-Qaeda-linked groups in Syria despite federal law prohibiting providing material support to terrorist groups. A prominent Assad opponent who organized a conference of anti-Assad groups financed by the CIA was recently denied political asylum . The Department of Homeland Security notified Radwan Ziadeh that because he provided "material support" to the Free Syrian Army, he has "engaged in terrorist activity."
By the same standard, thousands of CIA, State Department, Pentagon and White House officials should be jailed. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, has introduced The Stop Arming Terrorists Act to prohibit any funding, support or weapons for al-Qaeda, ISIS and allied terrorist groups.
Republicans created a health care monster by lying to their base. They need to come clean.
POLICING THE USA: A look at race, justice, media
Every side in the Syrian conflict has committed atrocities, often with approval of their foreign patrons. Former CIA officer Phil Giraldi observed, "The Saudis, Qataris, Turks and Israelis are all currently (or have been recently) in bed with terrorist groups (in Syria) that the United States is pledged to destroy." The Wall Street Journal reported this month that "Israel has been regularly supplying Syrian rebels near its border with cash as well as food, fuel and medical supplies for years."
The Syrian government has never threatened the United States, and Congress has not approved attacking it. White House spokesman Sean Spicer justified Trump's cruise missile attack because "when it's in the national interest of the country, the president has the full authority to act." But this is a recipe for unlimited power -- warring limited solely by self-serving presidential proclamations.
Sen. Tim Kaine , D-Va., condemned Trump's attacks on Syrian government forces as "unconstitutional" and a " completely unlawful use of power ." Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., concurs: "This is illegal war at this point."
Killing vast numbers of innocent civilians sows the seeds of future terrorist attacks on America. There are no good options for continuing U.S. intervention in Syria. The only question is whether Trump's blundering will turn that war into a catastrophe for Americans as well as Syrians. As Trump tweeted about Obama's Syria policy in 2013: "Be prepared, there is a small chance that our horrendous leadership could unknowingly lead us into World War III."
James Bovard, author of Public Policy Hooligan , is a member of USA TODAY's Board of Contributors . Follow him on Twitter @JimBovard
You can read diverse opinions from our Board of Contributors and other writers on the Opinion front page , on Twitter @USATOpinion and in our daily Opinion newsletter . To submit a letter, comment or column, check our submission guidelines .
Feb 24, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Richardstevenhack 24 February 2018 at 02:38 PMJust watched this and highly recommend it to everyone here:
Syria's shifting sands: RT's Peter Lavelle interviews Alastair Crooke
Crooke makes a number of interesting points about the sea change in Syria's military relations with Israel after the shoot down of the Israeli jet, whether Turkey will indeed try to take Manbij, and US relations with Iran.
Feb 24, 2018 | therealnews.com
... ... ...
Thomas Hedges: In the 2007 book he published, Positively American, in the midst of his campaign against the war, Schumer admitted that his opposition that year and the year before, was as much about ending a failed policy as it was about getting votes. In reality Schumer had been one of the war's most ardent supporters, beyond his public display against the war carefully timed for the 2006 Congressional elections, Schumer in fact pitted much of the blame on Iraqis themselves, arguing that Sunis, Shiites and Kurds seemed more interested in starting a civil war in Iraq than in receiving help from the Americans and constructing any democratic central government.
He even said, that in a similar future situation, he might vote again to authorize the use of force against a country like Iraq. "Today," he wrote in his book, "I still believe that when our country is under attack the chief executive deserves a degree of latitude, if God forbid, we were attacked again, I could well vote to give it to a future President, Democrat or Republican." And when a Real News correspondent pressed Schumer in 2007 on US reparations to the Iraqi people, this is what he had to say.
Sam Husseini: Do we owe something to the Iraqi people other than just getting out? Do we owe them reparations for having brought about this war?
Chuck Schumer: I don't believe that.
Ben Norton: It's hard to find a Democrat that's more gung-ho about war than Chuck Schumer. Not only did he support the Iraq war, and fearmonger about weapons of mass destruction, he tepidly criticized the Bush administration for how it carried out the war.
Thomas Hedges: In fact, tepid criticism seems to be Schumer at his most radical. In general, he is someone who supports hard-line policy decisions, atoning for mistakes only years down the line, and usually because it's politically expedient to do so, as in an election is about to take place.
Chuck Schumer: If you don't give up and you keep fighting and you're right, you win!
Thomas Hedges: In his early days, Schumer wasn't as focused on foreign policy, in the years before 911 would shift America's attention to the Middle East, Congressman Schumer, along with the new Democrats like Bill Clinton among others, would exploit the crime scare of the 1990's in order to gain more votes and more power. During those years, Schumer supported the Omnibus Crime Bill of 1994, which spiked the prison population. And in 1995 he sponsored the Omnibus Counterterrorism Act, which became the foundation from which the Patriot Act six years later, was built.
Ben Norton: When it comes to the war on terror he was a very enthusiastic supporter and remains so. He voted for the Patriot Act, and again this is a supposed Democratic leader, who voted for the Bush administration to take away Americans civil liberties.
Thomas Hedges: In the years straddling 911, he supported many of the same policies Republicans supported. From his tough on crime approach to supporting war in the Middle East, to defending the surveillance of Muslim groups in New York after 911. Schumer and the GOP had very few differences, in fact despite shedding tears at a press conference earlier this year after the Muslim ban that Trump implemented, Schumer himself had proposed something eerily similar.
Ben Norton: In November of 2015, not that long ago, less than two years ago, Schumer also said that the US government should consider a so called pause on the re-settlement of Syrian refugees. He also, in one of the most egregious yet under reported aspects of Schumer, previously said that torture should be considered in some places, and he said that, "Oh well if you oppose torture, you say this now, but you need to put yourself in the shoes of people in these particular situations etc." So he really left torture on the table.
Before Trump was President, he had actually donated money to Schumer, that of course, represents something, this is not a progressive Democrat. Schumer actually represents the segment, the influential powerful segment of the Democratic Party, that has helped pave the way for Donald Trump to carry out many of the policies he's already implementing.
Thomas Hedges: But for voters who have paid attention to Schumer for a long time, the Senator's policy choices are anything but surprising.
Kevin Zeese: He basically is a Senator for Israel. He totally supports the Israeli foreign policy viewpoint, which is a very hawkish, if you were a Republican you would call him a neocon.
Ariel Gold: He has come out in strong opposition to the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement and was very supportive of New York Governor Cuomo's order to ban BDS in New York state, and Schumer made a direct statement in support of that.
Thomas Hedges: Schumer's staunch support for Israel has prompted him for example, to criticize the Obama administration, when in 2016, the United States abstained from a UN Security Council resolution re-affirming something the Council had almost unanimously upheld since 1979. Namely, that Israel's settlement building projects on Palestinian land violated international law.
Ben Norton: Schumer criticized the Obama administration for abstaining on this very basic resolution, which every other country voted for. So the US was still a pariah, because the US didn't vote for it, it just abstained on it. But to Schumer that was not enough, he wanted it to be completely vetoed, because anything that Israel does is sacrosanct, and anyone who criticizes it, in Schumer's eyes, is not someone he wants to ally with politically, so he'd rather affectively ally with Trump.
Thomas Hedges: The most recent showing of that allegiance was last month, when Schumer supported Trump's decision to launch an air strike on an Air Force base in Syria, something Israel also strongly supported.
Chuck Schumer: On Syria, I salute the professionalism and skill of our armed forces, who took action last night. The people of Syria have suffered untold horrors and violence at the hands of Bashar al-Assad and his supporters in Tehran and in Putin's Russia, making sure that Assad knows when he commits such despicable atrocities he will pay a price, is the right thing to do.
Thomas Hedges: But perhaps Schumer's greatest show of allegiance to Israel, was his decision to oppose the Iran nuclear deal, without which experts have warned, would put the United States and Iran on a collision course.
Ben Norton: Under President Obama, Schumer was one of the most prominent Democrats to oppose the Iran nuclear deal, and he was of course fearmongering about Iran, which to him is the devil incarnate, and he actually made factually false statements about the nuclear agreement, and claimed that it would allow Iran in 10 years to produce nuclear weapons etc.
Thomas Hedges: Leading up to his decision, Schumer reassured Zionists that he was consulting the most credentialed men in Washington, including Henry Kissinger, an opponent of the deal, and the man who orchestrated the violent coup in Chile that toppled its democratically elected leader, as well as the architect of the very bloody Vietnam war.
Chuck Schumer: I spent some time with Dr. Kissinger, I'm spending time with excellence.
Ariel Gold: So it threatened to pull us into another war, and we're back in that threat again with Trump winning the election we hear a lot about undoing the Iran nuclear deal, and it's one of the things that Israel has been saying they would like to see come out of the Trump administration.
Thomas Hedges: Schumer's willingness to oppose the deal early on, which created an opening for other undecided Democrats to do the same, is a strong display of support for Israel.
News Anchor: Schumer's support here really would have been key for the White House, but coming out overnight against this deal saying in a statement quote, "I will vote to disapprove the agreement, not because I believe war is a viable or desirable option, not to challenge the path of dis-plomacy it is because, I believe Iran will not change."
Thomas Hedges: It also put him in yet the same camp as current President Donald Trump in terms of pursuing a Middle East policy that is in line with Washington's most hawkish advocates. In the end, Schumer's a friend of the neo conservative foreign policy agenda. While he may cry over Trump's Muslim ban and purport to have the same inclinations as America's most progressive members of the Senate, he's fundamentally in agreement with the United States forceful efforts abroad.
Kevin Zeese: The criticism of the Democratic Party is it is the Wall Street and war party. That is Chuck Schumer, and so for him to have this kind of pretend progressive image, it's just so obviously fraudulent.
Thomas Hedges: As the United States nears yet another arms deal with Middle East ally Saudi Arabia, this time for a hundred billion dollars, and coupled with its four billion dollar annual aid to Israel, we can expect Schumer not only to support an even more militarized Middle East, but to continue to rail against countries like Iran that pose a threat to US and Israel's hegemony in the region.
0040 • 3 days ago ,raquel • 9 months ago ,
Chuck Schumer has replaced Joe Lieberman as the Senator representing Israeli interests in the Senate. US interests are usually secondary to his machinationskofi123 • 9 months ago ,
Great development and exposure of this hillary-look-alike. Love the phrase 'pretend progressive,' as it describes Schumer to a T. Great piece.potshot Stretch • 9 months ago ,
Schumer and Clinton must be understood in relation to Israel. Israel to both of them are sacrosant. Israel can do no wrong. Both these two war hawks for Israel takes their orders from Netanyahu. He is like a vice president for Israel in the United States.Seer • 9 months ago ,
"I only take up causes in which I know I'll find no allies. And often I wait for a cause to become successful before attacking it."
Schumer (sic) is a scum bucket who ought to be trounced out of the Senate, through the revolving door to his sinecure on Wall Street. Schumer's ultimately loyalties are to his corporate benefactors on Wall Street. Which too is his constituency. Anything in the way of progressiveness that you suggest will be only, like Obama's eloquent blackness, to run cover for favors for the war party. Which at this late date ought also be christened the "hastening to collective extinction" party.Jsharp • 9 months ago ,
Schumer is a puppet for the deep state and the deep state may have some "dirt" on him in order to keep him in line...and his famous quote about the security state: "they have 6 ways to Sunday to get back at you" or something to this effect...makes me wonder what he knows?sisterlauren Jsharp • 9 months ago ,
Israel is the driving force behind disruption of the middle east...the more the middle east is neutralized, the better for Israel...Chuck is one of their best foot soldiersv. jabotinsky • 9 months ago ,
I think we can call him an Israel firster.p.munkey • 9 months ago ,
Schumer is a Zionist. He's said he sees himself as the protector of Israel.
Of the likes of Chuck Schumer, the bard sang:
♪ Generals gathered in their masses,
just like witches at black masses.
Evil minds that plot destruction,
sorcerer of death's construction.
In the fields the bodies burning,
as the war machine keeps turning.
Death and hatred to mankind,
poisoning their brainwashed minds...Oh lord yeah!
Politicians hide themselves away
They only started the war
Why should they go out to fight?
They leave that role to the poor
Time will tell on their power minds
Making war just for fun
Treating people just like pawns in chess
Wait `till their judgement day comes, yeah! ♪
Feb 24, 2018 | www.unz.com
The US has spent several trillion dollars over the past two decades in the Middle East , North Africa and West Asia. US Intervention from Libya and Southern Sudan, Somalia, across to Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan has resulted in enormous costs and dubious advances. The results are meagre except in terms of suffering. The US has spread chaos and destruction throughout Libya and Syria, but failed to incorporate either into an enlarged empire. The Middle East wars, initiated at the behest of Israel, have rewarded Tel Aviv with a sense of invulnerability and a thirst for more, while multiplying and unifying US adversaries.
Empires are not effectively enlarged through alliances with with armed tribal, sectarian and separatist organizations. Empires, allied with disparate, fractured and self-aggrandizing entities do not expand or strengthen their global powers.
The US has waged war against Libya and lost the political leverage and economic resources it enjoyed during the Gaddafi regime. It intervened in Somalia, South Sudan and Syria, and has gained enclaves of warring self-serving 'separatists' and subsidized mercenaries. Afghanistan, the US's longest war in history, is an unmitigated military disaster. After seventeen years of warfare and occupation, the US is holed up in the walled enclaves of the capital, Kabul. Meanwhile, the puppet regime feeds on multi-billion dollar monthly subsidies.
Iraq is a 'shared' imperial outpost -- the result of fifteen years of military intervention. Kurdish clients, Sunni-Saudi warlords, Shia militia, Baghdad kleptocrats and US contractor-mercenaries all compete for control and a larger piece of the pillage. Every square meter of contested 'terrain has cost the US five hundred million dollars and scores of casualties.
Iran remains forever under threat, but retains its independence outside of the US-Saudi-Israeli orbit. The US geo-political map has been reduced to dubious alliance with Saudi Arabia and its micro-clients among the Emirate statelets – which are constantly fighting among themselves – as well as Israel, the 'client' that openly revels in leading its patron by the nose!
Compared to the period before the turn of the millennium, the US imperial map has shrunk and faces further retrenchment.
Feb 24, 2018 | nationalinterest.org
Vic Jorge Martinho , February 22, 2018 2:59 PMAlex Robeson Vic , February 22, 2018 6:18 PM
Is there anyone on internet who doesn't know that USA basically is the global main founder of terrorism and militant islamofascist groups?
"According to the newly declassified US document, the Pentagon foresaw the likely rise of the 'Islamic State' as a direct consequence of the strategy, but described this outcome as a strategic opportunity to "isolate the Syrian regime.""
"Operation Cyclone was the code name for the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) program to arm and finance the Jihadi warriors, mujahideen, in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989, prior to and during the military intervention by the USSR in support of its client, the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. The program leaned heavily towards supporting militant Islamic groups"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wi...Vic Alex Robeson , February 23, 2018 4:13 AM
In regards to the Defense Intelligence Agency report (your first reference about ISIS), I'll just point you to this article.
If you use your brain, you'll realize the report is saying that Gulf States and Turkey would be OK with a salafist principality, because it would isolate the Syrian regime. It's obviously not talking about what the US wants - remember Joe Biden's speech to Harvard?
As for Afghanistan, you seem to forget that it was the Soviets who helped the Afghan communists seize power in the 1978 coup. That's what initially led to war, and yes, the US supported those fighting the communist Afghan government, including the mujahideen, and that eventually backfired.
Neither of those are examples of the US being the "global main founder of terrorism."Alex Robeson Vic , February 23, 2018 7:56 AM
You seem to lack an ability to read, the report clearly states the USA government was informed that arming terrorists would lead to the creation of ISIS, but that the USA government when ahead with arming terrorist anyway. The mujahideen in Afghanistan became the Taliban and al-qaeda btw.
"As for Afghanistan, you seem to forget that it was the Soviets who
helped the Afghan communists seize power in the 1978 coup. That's what
initially led to war,"
-Both purely irrelevant and a lie, USA funded terrorists in Afghanistan BEFORE Soviet sent troops in, not that, that is relevant at all but you are trying a trolling tactic know as a red herring where you are saying irrelevant things hoping it will distract from the topic.Duendao Alex Robeson , February 22, 2018 7:16 PM
You literally already admitted that Operation Cyclone began in 1979. Nice try. You should read up on the "Saur Revolution".Alex Robeson Duendao , February 22, 2018 9:00 PM
Do you know that Osama was a direct consequence of the US funding rebels in Afghanistan? watch out, may the US is Training the next Osama in syria.
When you bomb countries and kill people's relatives , dont expect the people to love you. Remember Abu gharib?
Both of this examples are the US promoting terrorismVic Alex Robeson , February 23, 2018 4:15 AM
There's some truth to what you say. I do remember Abu Ghraib - it is a source of deep shame for Americans. I hope the Iraqi people can forgive us for that. I also hope there will not be another bin Laden.
As for Syria, there are some rebels who are worth supporting - al Assad and his family ruled Syria with iron fists for 50+ years.
"There's some truth to what you say."
-Everything he says is true.
"den. As for Syria, there are some rebels who are worth
supporting - al Assad and his family ruled Syria with iron fists for 50+
-Actually it is illegal in accordance with international law to support rebels in other countries. Especially the kind that USA supports that kids the heads of children and eats peoples organs.
May 09, 2017 | foreignpolicy.com
The Afghanistan strategy McMaster is pushing, with the support of Defense Secretary James Mattis, would send roughly 3,000-5,000 U.S. and NATO troops to Afghanistan, according to a separate source familiar with the internal deliberations. These troops would be sent to help bulk up the Afghan National Security Forces, which, after years of U.S. assistance, are still struggling against the Taliban, al Qaeda, and a small Islamic State presence in the country.
According to the Washington Post , the new strategy "would authorize the Pentagon, not the White House, to set troop numbers in Afghanistan and give the military far broader authority to use airstrikes to target Taliban militants." The hope is that by increasing pressure on the Taliban, it will force them to the negotiating table with more favorable terms for Kabul and Washington. Sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan follows a decision made last year by then-President Barack Obama, who announced in July that 8,400 U.S. troops would remain in Afghanistan through January 2017 because of the "precarious" security situation there, undoing his previous plan to draw down to 5,500 by the time he left office.
The Post reported that "those opposed to the plan have begun to refer derisively to the strategy as 'McMaster's War,'" and this particular criticism is repeated in a handful of negative stories about McMaster that have already cropped up this week. For those plugged into the dicey world of Trump administration power plays, this slur has the hallmarks of a hit job by Bannon's team. (It's worth noting that the same people who oppose McMaster are no fans of Mattis's moderating influence on the president, but he's seen as politically untouchable for now.)
Feb 22, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
In January, McMaster quashed rumors of his departure, telling reporters "I have a job and it is my intention to go as long and hard as I can in service of the President of the nation," adding that it was "a tremendous honor to do this job every day."
Trump's first National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, resigned shortly after taking office amid a controversy over whether he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.
On Thursday, the Pentagon directed all inquiries about McMaster to the White House. "General McMaster works for President Trump. Any decision with regards to staff, the White House will make those determinations," said chief spokesperson Dana White. Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters on Tuesday that Trump "still has confidence in General McMaster."
A Source within the White House, leaking to CNN, reports that Trump can't stand McMaster's demeanor during briefings - and that the President considers his National Security Advisor to be "gruff and condescending."
He prefers the briefing style of someone like CIA Director Mike Pompeo or Defense Secretary James Mattis, who patiently answer his questions, regardless of the premise. McMaster, meanwhile, is the person who delivers the news that Trump doesn't want to hear on a daily basis, according to the senior Republican source.
The issue is not political but mostly stylistic, as McMaster and Mattis tend to discuss information before it is presented to the President, the same source added. - CNN
Kelly and McMaster both declined to comment, however Reuters' sources were quick to add that "tensions could blow over, at least for now, as have previous episodes of discord between the president and other top officials who have fallen out of favor."4
LetThemEatRand Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:18 PermalinkSir Edge -> LetThemEatRand Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:18 Permalink
So much for the "military is behind Trump" meme. Kudos to Trump for telling this guy where he can shove it after repeating Deep State propaganda.J S Bach -> Sir Edge Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:21 Permalink
Finally... 'Dereliction Of Duty' comes home to roost...
Edgey...GUS100CORRINA -> Normalcy Bias Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:57 Permalink
McSinister is the essence of Goldfinger in the old James Bond fiction. One couldn't envision a more stereotypical "worm-tonguesque" villain in charge of our armed forces and acting presidential "advisor".Chupacabra-322 -> Luc X. Ifer Thu, 02/22/2018 - 21:21 Permalink
McMaster Finally Out? Pentagon Paving Way For Return To Military: Report
My response: Looks like the POTUS is prepping for the Return of General Flynn.
McMaster has some very suspicious associations and has been referenced in Q-ANON posts. He was an "OBOZO" plant.
Also, it appears that "OBOZO's" LEGAL problems are growing by the day.
"OBOZO" maybe the first POTUS in US history to be charged with TREASON. Also, KERRY is in a DEEP PILE OF SHIT as well. He directed the US State Department to provide 9 million dollars to her charity. This is ladies and gentlemen of ZH is BULLSHIT!!!!!!
CORRUPTION and CRIME as far as the EYE can see for the last four POTUS office holders. It make me ashamed of my nation at times.
May GOD bless, guide and protect President TRUMP and the TRUMP administration as they "DRAIN THE SWAMP".gatorengineer -> J S Bach Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:52 Permalink
Flynn blew the whistle on Pure Evil War Criminal Treasonous Seditious Psychopath Obama, the CIA & State Dept. arming, funding & training terror organizations.
The Criminal Deep State has had it for him ever since.directaction -> gatorengineer Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:54 Permalink
Member of the council on foreign relations... Nough said? Trump sure likes Obama stooges for some reasongatorengineer -> directaction Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:58 Permalink
Trump is refusing to start new wars.
That's annoying the deep state rats inside the military.
I sure wish Trump would stop all of Obama's wars, too.loveyajimbo -> LetThemEatRand Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:30 Permalink
Boy you sure get a different news feed than I do.... Mine says we have heavy ground presence in Syria (didnt under Obowel), are on the verge of war with the NORKs after the Olympics, and our CIA has been stirring the shit pot in Iran....
Does your news coverage come before of after the episodes of My little pony?
The only difference between Trump and Hillary is Hillary has better hair. Follow what Trump actually does and not what he Tweets, HUGE difference. WE ARENT WINNING.Navymugsy -> LetThemEatRand Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:40 Permalink
McMaster is a Deep State maggot... but who on Trump's team is not??? Too many MIC Generals all begging for moar war for profit...
Sessions is the biggest maggot... he has overseen the total breakdown of the rule of law in America and should be tarred and feathered.squilmi -> LetThemEatRand Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:51 Permalink
The military is an arm of the deep state. Congratulations West Point, Annapolis, etc.New_Meat -> nmewn Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:31 Permalink
McMaster was NEVER with Trump. The military in general is.lurker since 2012 Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:26 Permalink
SecDef knows him (from in the sandbox) and might want/need him to fill a CinC slot. The pussified O crowd cut off the balls of many of the flag ranks and they need to be purged (Regan did that and brought in/up Starry and Papa Bear and Vuono and Art C-ski and the other knuckle draggers).
POTUS might be getting his foreign policy situation sorted out. McMaster hasn't ever been a smooth team player within the Army structure--that would also endear him to Jim, but not suit him to a staff/advisor role.
We can always blame it on Global Climate Change and the Rooskies--cover all the bases.Brazen Heist Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:37 Permalink
Fuck yea put him in Nork country. Fat boy and Monster McMaster can face off in the octagon.
Previous post regarding McMaster...
lurker since 2012 Tue, 02/20/2018 - 17:27 Permalink
Monster McMaster opening greeting to the Munich security conference, "I know OUR good friend John McCain can't be here, as unfortunately he can't, but he brings you good wishes"....Then he proceeded to outline Russian Election bullshit. Cyber bot farm meddling invading Georgia BLA BLA BLA. This is why war is plausible, McMaster is Military SWAMP.Dickguzinya Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:50 Permalink
Oh boy, some oversized ego tripping....the sheer hubris of it all....fuckers cannot see or admit to the gross amount of meddling they have done to the world, and yet react like little bitches when allegations are merely cooked up.
I cannot believe that this is the lowly state of American political discourse in 2018 AD.
Just another Rome, only with a much bigger budget for bullshit and weaponry.Green2Delta Thu, 02/22/2018 - 21:06 Permalink
Fire him. Forget the fourth star. He is undeserving. Another scumbag trying to upend President Trump's agenda/objectives. The scumbag conveniently doesn't mention that the Russian Hacking didn't have an impact on the election. This untrustworthy piece of shit never should have been brought into the fold. And don't even think about allowing him back into the military. Fuck off you turncoat.NoWayJose Thu, 02/22/2018 - 22:35 Permalink
This guy was the commanding officer of 3rd ACR while I was in. Only time I saw him in Iraq was when he flew down to tell us how sorry he was, or something like that, after we lost 1/3 of our platoon. The rest of the time he was in northern Iraq where it was safe. While those of us unlucky enough to be in 3rd Squadron were stuck down on the south side of Baghdad. If you read his bio they make it out like he personally did all kinds of Rambo shit. I guess that's they way it is for officers. Those guys will slit your throat for the next shiny thing to stick on their uniform.
Even back then my buddy SSG Judy, just talked to him an hour ago, told me McMaster was being groomed for bigger roles. He definitely nailed that one.
These two and Mad Dog keep whispering "Evil Russia" at Trump and demanding US troops keep poking a stick at the bear - meanwhile Trump knows there is no collusion. How does that square up?
Feb 20, 2018 | www.rt.com
Russophobia - "blame it all on Russia" - is a short-term, futile ploy to stave off the day of reckoning when furious and informed Western citizens will demand democratic restitution for their legitimate grievances
It is an age-old statecraft technique to seek unity within a state by depicting an external enemy or threat. Russia is the bête noire again, as it was during the Cold War years as part of the Soviet Union.
But the truth is Western states are challenged by internal problems. Ironically, by denying their own internal democratic challenges, Western authorities are only hastening their institutional demise.
Russophobia -- "blame it all on Russia" -- is a short-term, futile ploy to stave off the day of reckoning when furious and informed Western citizens will demand democratic restitution for their legitimate grievances.
The dominant "official" narrative, from the US to Europe, is that "malicious" Russia is "sowing division;""eroding democratic institutions;" and "undermining public trust" in systems of governance, credibility of established political parties, and the news media.
This narrative has shifted up a gear since the election of Donald Trump to the White House in 2016, with accusations that the Kremlin somehow ran "influence operations" to help get him into office. This outlandish yarn defies common sense. It is also running out of thread to keep spinning.
Paradoxically, even though President Trump has rightly rebuffed such dubious claims of "Russiagate" interference as "fake news", he has at other times undermined himself by subscribing to the notion that Moscow is projecting a campaign of "subversion against the US and its European allies." See for example the National Security Strategy he signed off in December.
Pathetically, it's become indoctrinated belief among the Western political class that "devious Russians" are out to "collapse" Western democracies by "weaponizing disinformation" and spreading "fake news" through Russia-based news outlets like RT and Sputnik.
Totalitarian-like, there seems no room for intelligent dissent among political or media figures.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has chimed in to accuse Moscow of "sowing division;" Dutch state intelligence claim Russia destabilized the US presidential election; the European Union commissioner for security, Sir Julian King, casually lampoons Russian news media as "Kremlin-orchestrated disinformation" to destabilize the 28-nation bloc; CIA chief Mike Pompeo recently warned that Russia is stepping up its efforts to tarnish the Congressional mid-term elections later this year.
On and on goes the narrative that Western states are essentially victims of a nefarious Russian assault to bring about collapse.
A particularly instructive presentation of this trope was given in a recent commentary by Texan Republican Representative Will Hurd. In his piece headlined, "Russia is our adversary" , he claims: "Russia is eroding our democracy by exploiting the nation's divisions. To save it, Americans need to begin working together."
Congressman Hurd asserts: "Russia has one simple goal: to erode trust in our democratic institutions It has weaponized disinformation to achieve this goal for decades in Eastern and Central Europe; in 2016, Western Europe and America were aggressively targeted as well."
Lamentably, all these claims above are made with scant, or no, verifiable evidence. It is simply a Big Lie technique of relentless repetition transforming itself into "fact" .
It's instructive to follow Congressman Hurd's thought-process a bit further.
He contends: "When the public loses trust in the media, the Russians are winning. When the press is hyper-critical of Congress the Russians are winning. When Congress and the general public disagree the Russians are winning. When there is friction between Congress and the executive branch [the president] resulting in further erosion of trust in our democratic institutions, the Russians are winning."
As a putative solution, Representative Hurd calls for "a national counter-disinformation strategy" against Russian "influence operations" , adding, "Americans must stop contributing to a corrosive political environment".
The latter is a chilling advocacy of uniformity tantamount to a police state whereby any dissent or criticism is a "thought-crime."
It is, however, such anti-democratic and paranoid thinking by Western politicians -- aided and abetted by dutiful media -- that is killing democracy from within, not some supposed foreign enemy.
There is evidently a foreboding sense of demise in authority and legitimacy among Western states, even if the real cause for the demise is ignored or denied. Systems of governance, politicians of all stripes, and institutions like the established media and intelligence services are increasingly held in contempt and distrust by the public.
Whose fault is that loss of political and moral authority? Western governments and institutions need to take a look in the mirror.
The endless, criminal wars that the US and its European NATO allies have been waging across the planet over the past two decades is one cogent reason why the public has lost faith in grandiose official claims about respecting democracy and international law.
The US and European media have shown reprehensible dereliction of duty to inform the public accurately about their governments' warmongering intrigues. Take the example of Syria. When does the average Western citizen ever read in the corporate Western media about how the US and its NATO allies have covertly ransacked that country through weaponizing terrorist proxies?
How then can properly informed citizens be expected to have respect for such criminal government policies and the complicit news media covering up for their crimes?
Western public disaffection with governments, politicians and media surely stems also from the grotesque gulf in social inequality and poverty among citizens from slavish adherence to economic policies that enrich the wealthy while consigning the vast majority to unrelenting austerity.
The destabilizing impact on societies from oppressive economic conditions is a far more plausible cause for grievance than outlandish claims made by the political class about alleged "Russian interference".
Yet the Western media indulge this fantastical "Russiagate" escapism instead of campaigning on real social problems facing ordinary citizens. No wonder such media are then viewed with disdain and distrust. Adding insult to injury, these media want the public to believe Russia is the enemy?
Instead of acknowledging and addressing real threats to citizens: economic insecurity, eroding education and health services, lost career opportunities for future generations, the looming dangers of ecological adversity, wars prompted by Western governments trashing international and diplomacy, and so on -- the Western public is insultingly plied with corny tales of Russia's "malign influence" and "assault on democracy."
Just think of the disproportionate amount of media attention and public resources wasted on the Russiagate scandal over the past year. And now gradually emerging is the real scandal that the American FBI probably colluded with the Obama administration to corrupt the democratic process against Trump.
Again, is there any wonder the public has sheer contempt and distrust for "authorities" that have been lying through their teeth and playing them for fools?
The collapsing state of Western democracies has got nothing to do with Russia. The Russophobia of blaming Russia for the demise of Western institutions is an attempt at scapegoating for the very real problems facing governments and institutions like the news media. Those problems are inherent and wholly owned by these governments owing to chronic anti-democratic functioning, as well as systematic violation of international law in their pursuit of criminal wars and other subterfuges for regime-change objectives.
Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.
Feb 19, 2018 | www.defenddemocracy.press
19 Feb, 2018
US troops must immediately shut down their zone of control in southern Syria in the area of Al-Tanf, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov suggested when asked what should be done to help the Syrian peace settlement.
Lavrov was referring to an area on Syria's border with Jordan and Iraq, which the US declared to be under its protection last year. Among other things, it contains the Rukban refugee camp.
The facility is apparently used by radical militants, including members of UN-designated terrorist group best known by its former name Al-Nusra Front, to recover and raid other parts of Syria, Lavrov said at the Valdai Club conference on the Middle East in Moscow.
The US is turning a blind eye to such abuses of its protection, he added.
Feb 19, 2018 | www.atimes.com
Will Erdogan again turn towards the US? Feb 8, 2018 | 5,604 96 Two things differentiate the downing of a Russian Su-25 ground-attack jet in the western province of Idlib on February 3 from the drone attacks on the Russian air base at Hmeimim a month earlier.
One, Russia could thwart the attack on January 5 by a wave of drone aircraft but singularly failed to anticipate the use of man-portable air defense systems by extremists operating in Idlib under Turkish watch. Russia lost an ace fighter pilot in the latter attack.
Two, Moscow sensed an American hand in the drone attack on January 5, but this time around Russia's Tass news agency promptly highlighted an American denial on record. The Kremlin's Dmitry Peskov made a point of cautioning against speculations "before one gets precise information as to how terrorists in Syria got that particular man-portable air defense system and other weapons that they have."
Notably, however, an influential lawmaker – Dmitry Sablin, coordinator of the Russia-Syria parliamentary friendship group – went ahead to "speculate," saying: "We have information that the MANPADS used to bring down our jet was brought into Syria from a neighboring country several days ago. Countries from whose territory weapons arrive, that are then used against Russian servicemen, must understand that this will not go unpunished."
Curiously, the day after Sablin spoke, Turkey came out with a counter-allegation of its own, attributed to "security sources," to the effect that the weaponry used in the attack against a Turkish army tank on February 3 by Kurds in Afrin "might have been a Russian-made 9M113 Konkurs" and that the "claim is being evaluated." Five Turkish soldiers were killed in that attack.
Suffice to say, the air is thick with innuendos and dark hints that Russia and Turkey may have drawn each other's blood on February 3, despite notionally being allies in Syria's hybrid war.
In January, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reached out to President Vladimir Putin to clarify the situation. But over the latest incident, no such exchange has so far taken place, even though Erdogan is under obligation to initiate one – according to the understanding reached in talks in Astana last year following the Syrian ceasefire, Turkey is entrusted with setting up "observation posts" in Idlib to monitor the activities of extremist groups.
Meanwhile, on February 5, Putin sent an effusive message to Nicos Anastasiades congratulating him on his re-election as the President of the Republic of Cyprus. Putin's message expressed confidence that the "constructive dialogue" and "joint work" by the two countries are in the mutual interests of both and "in keeping with efforts to improve stability and security in Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean." Cyprus' relations with Turkey have been unfriendly ever since the Turkish invasion and occupation of the northern part of the country in 1974.
Typically, therefore, Erdogan will now seek a modus vivendi with the US. Of course, it will be a dream come true for the US if the hairline crack in the Russian-Turkish axis in Syria widens and becomes a rift in the coming weeks. In their opposition to the establishment of Russian bases in Syria, Washington and Ankara are on the same page.
On the other hand, the Pentagon will expect Erdogan to give up his plans to launch any military operation to attack the Kurds in Manbij. The US simply cannot accede to the Turkish demand that it break its alliance with Syria's Kurds. US Defence Secretary James Mattis hinted on Friday that talks are going on with Turkey to dissuade Erdogan from ordering an operation on Manbij.
For his part, Erdogan will seek a tradeoff with the Trump administration to create conditions for a broader rapprochement with the US. He is well aware that the US will see advantages in the developing situation to push its containment strategy against Iran more effectively in Syria and to isolate the Assad regime. Indeed, a rift in the Russian-Turkish axis in Syria opens an entirely new ball game in the country, one that enables the US to create new facts on the ground and negotiate harder on the terms of a future Syrian settlement. Israel is also a stakeholder here.
Erdogan all along hankered for an enhanced role for Turkey as the flag carrier in the West's strategies in Syria, fancying himself to be the role model for the Muslim Middle East. But President Barack Obama was disinterested in any such dalliance with the mercurial Sultan in Ankara.Things are very much in flux, though. Erdogan met Pope Francis on Monday. It was the first time in 59 years that a Turkish President had visited the Vatican.
Feb 18, 2018 | www.defenddemocracy.press
Syrian government army units have discovered warehouses with weapons and ammunition, including those produced in Israel while patrolling areas in Deir Ez-Zor liberated from Daesh terrorist group (outlawed in Russia), the SANA news agency reported. The warehouses with a huge amount of rockets, mortars, tank shells and other ammunition were discovered in Al Boukamal and Al Mayadin areas, according to the Syrian state-run news agency. The weapons reportedly were produced in Israel.
A source told the media outlet that in one of the tunnels in the al-Sbikhan village to the east of al-Mayadin, the army units found a factory for manufacturing shells and explosives as well as barrels with a strange essence that could be used for manufacturing toxic substances.
Israel and Syria, which have a very embittered relations recently, and have a long history of troublesome controversies over the Golan Heights, have repeatedly exchanged fire, with the latest incident taking place in February.
In December 2017, Syrian Army units discovered a huge pile of the US and European-made weapons inside Daesh dens in Deir ez-Zor's countryside.
In October, local media reported that Syrian troops had found weapons in the city of Mayadin, which had been the largest Daesh stronghold in the region, with weapons from Belgium, Great Britain, and Israel. As the Syrian military noted, the jihadists supposedly received these weapons, which were allegedly bought under Pentagon programs, in order to help the allies.
Published at sputniknews.com
Feb 18, 2018 | www.defenddemocracy.press
What makes the current situation alarming is that anti-Western hostility, which extends far beyond Erdogan's base, now appears to be driving policy independent of pragmatic or specifically Islamist concerns. Erdogan, for example, is now courting U.S. sanctions by purchasing S-400 air defense systems from Moscow . His decision appears motivated in part by a genuine belief that he needs them for self-protection following a 2016 coup attempt that he, like a majority of his citizens, believes was orchestrated by the United States. By comparison, Ankara's anger over U.S. support for the YPG makes much more sense. But it has been dangerously inflamed by a climate of rampant nationalism . Most recently, Meral Aksener, a nationalist politician who has emerged as a potential challenger to Erdogan, called for Turkish forces to move east and attack territories where American soldiers are present.
Only against this backdrop is it possible to imagine a worst-case scenario where, say, direct fighting between U.S. and Turkish troops pushes both sides toward a decisive rupture that each hopes to avoid. Were this to happen, Ankara would face hard decisions about whether to try to pragmatically patch things up or embrace an unequal and unrewarding relationship with an unsympathetic power like Russia. It remains to be seen whether Ankara's lack of other options will be enough to save the U.S.-Turkish alliance. But Washington would do well not to count on it.
* Nick Danforth is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Bipartisan Policy Center. He completed a PhD in Turkish history at Georgetown University and has written widely on Middle Eastern politics.
Published at https://warontherocks.com/2018/02/turkey/
Feb 18, 2018 | thesaker.is
... US goals in Syria include:
- The imposition of a de-facto partition of Syria by taking under control the Syrian territory east of the Euphrates river (we could call that "plan C version 3.0")
- The theft of the gas fields located in northeastern Syria
- The creation of a US-controlled staging area from which Kurdish, good terrorist and bad terrorist operations can be planned and executed
- The sabotaging of any Russian-backed peace negotiations T
- he support for Israeli operations against Iranian and Hezbollah forces in Lebanon and Syria Engaging in regular attacks against Syrian forces attempting to liberate their country from foreign invaders Presenting the invasion and occupation of Syria as one of the "victories" promised by Trump to the MIC and the Israel lobby
So far the Russian response to this developing strategy has been a rather a passive one and the current escalation strongly suggests that a new approach might be needed. The shooting down of the Israeli F-16 is a good first step, but much more needs to be done to dramatically increase the costs the Empire will have to pay for is policies towards Syria. The increase in the number of Russian commentators and analysts demanding a stronger reaction to the current provocations might be a sign that something is in the making.
Tom Welsh on February 16, 2018 , · at 10:51 am UTC'Killing Russians "on the margins", so to speak, either with plausible deniability or, alternatively, killing Russians private contractors is much safer and thus far more tempting option'.Tom Welsh on February 16, 2018 , · at 10:53 am UTC
Remind anyone of this?
'Former CIA deputy director Michael Morell, who supports Hillary Clinton and insists that Donald Trump is being manipulated by Russian President Vladimir Putin, said that Russians and Iranians in Syria should be killed covertly to "pay the price."'
https://www.rt.com/usa/355291-morrell-kill-russians-clinton/'The bottom line is this: since the US Americans have declared that they will (illegally) stay in Syria until the situation "stabilizes" they now must do everything their power to destabilize Syria'.proper gander on February 17, 2018 , · at 3:42 pm UTC
Reminds me of the notorious Imperial Japanese Navy order of the day. Perhaps we might say that Washington's policy is: "The bombings will continue until stability improves".The 4 principle objectives of the Israeli's and their American dog in Syria:vot tak on February 16, 2018 , · at 11:01 am UTC
- Removing a government that was resistant to globalist debt-death finance.
- In concert with the 'pipe cutting' operation in Ukraine, to push through a Axis of Evil controlled gas pipe line from Qatar to the EU to strangle Russia.
- Partition of Syria, creating US military controlled Kurdistan to the North (with oil fields) to control Syria between two fronts, plus annexation of Golan heights as part of 'greater Israel'.
- Sinking Russia into another Afghanistan.
1 & 2 have failed.
3 & 4 are still in play.
It is as simple as that.A related analysis in RT on the situation in Syria that exposes the Israeli role there behind the terrorists. Syria strikes back as Israel discovers its warplanes aren't invincible (Op-ed)A123 on February 16, 2018 , · at 11:22 am UTC
"Israel has long been the unchallenged bully in the Middle East, but now Tel Aviv will face consequences for its temper tantrums. That was the message from Damascus last weekend when the Syrian army shot down an Israeli F-16.
As usual, Israel painted itself as a victim of irrational Arab aggression. However, in fact, Syria was clearly acting in self-defence against repeated Israeli violations of its sovereignty.
Even the head of the Israeli Air Force Air Division confessed that his country has carried out "thousands of operations in Syria" in the last year alone. This fact was missing from most mainstream news accounts, which portrayed Israel as a non-interventionist bystander in the Syrian conflict. That couldn't be further from the truth. Not only has Israel repeatedly bombed Syrian government installations, it has also armed Jihadist rebel groups in the Golan Heights, coordinated with Al-Qaeda's Syria affiliate against government forces and provided medical treatment to Al-Qaeda and Islamic State-linked rebels before sending them back into battle."Two key issues with this as an operational concept:B.F. on February 16, 2018 , · at 11:30 am UTC
1) Regardless of the original manufacturing point of the MANPAD, it downed a Russian plane from the hands of a Turkish/SDF combatant. Also, Erdogan is still the #1 advocate of regime change in Syria.*
A unitary state structure would have a legal framework that ensures an eventual regime change in Syria produces an opposition government that exercises political power over the entire country. This outcome would be highly beneficial for Turkey's geopolitical interests, as it would allow Syria to potentially become a Turkish ally if Assad were to fall from power.
Encouraging Erdogan to expand operations in Syria is incredibly risky as his forces could attack South towards Damascus instead of West. It seems unlikely that Assad or Putin would be willing to gamble on their ability to predict/control Erdogan's behaviour.
2) Assuming that Turkey-NATO relations are destroyed in the manner suggested, where will freed up NATO forces reposition?
While the idea of reducing NATO activity in Syria sounds good on paper it could readily lead to increased NATO activity in areas of much deeper concern to Russia, such as the Baltics or Ukraine. Keeping NATO focused on Syria serves Putin's interest by tying up resources. It seems unlike that he would risk these other more critical locations for potential gains in Syria.
(*) http://nationalinterest.org/feature/how-turkeys-geopolitical-ambitions-could-change-the-middle-24207Neither the Russians nor the Americans can trust Turkey to any great degree, because politics in Turkey has traditionally been based on treachery and deceit. The Turks would like nothing better than to play Russians against Americans and visa versa, but even they know this would be going too far, as there are limits.Cyril on February 16, 2018 , · at 12:09 pm UTC
When it comes to Turkey, the Russians have the advantage, in the short term certainly, and probably in the long term. Erdogan cannot forget that the US instigated that coup d'etat against him, and that Russia saved his life, literally, warning him of the approaching coup and sending combat planes to prevent his own plane being shot down. Even Russian AA missile systems in Syria protected Erdogans life, the plotters receiving warnings from Russian ground crews. Erdogan knows the EU will never accept him, and Turkeys membership of NATO is more than a liability, becoming dangerous. The last thing Erdogan wants is for Turkey to be involved in a possible US war against Iran, let alone in a war against Russia, for which Turkey would pay a price.
Some analysts have speculated that Turkey and the US could make a deal at the expense of Russia. Not impossible, but unlikely, as neither side could trust the other. As far as I can see, Erdogan is playing the waiting game, waiting for the right moment to leave NATO and prevent Turkey being dragged into a potential US led war, from which Turkey has nothing to gain but plenty to lose. I think even the US knows this, which is the reason it will try another coup against Erdogan, and Erdogan knows it. Turkey is now playing a balancing act, waiting for the right moment to turn to Russia and China and their economic alliances.
One well known analyst has stated that it's only a matter of time before both the EU and NATO implode. NATO's implosion could well start with Turkey exiting.
As for Russia, it will stay in Syria for a long time. I don't see the US staying too long, as it's tactical position in northern Syria is dangerous, the supply lines being easily cut. Yes, the US could, in conjunction with Saudi Arabia and Israel, attack Iran. However, the repercussions would be tremendous. The US would not get any European backing, while such a move could well speed up Turkey's exit from NATO.I don't see the US staying too long, as it's tactical position in northern Syria is dangerous, the supply lines being easily cut.stephen on February 16, 2018 , · at 12:00 pm UTC
If Syria's enhanced air defenses can routinely knock out the U.S.'s cargo planes, the U.S. position in Syria will be seriously damaged.For our part, we must tell commentators on this issue to stop claiming the US has changed its position on Assad and Syria because tillerson/kerry/whoever said something that seemed like a ray of light (anyone Orthodox, by the way, should be immune to the idea of humans producing rays of light).Chad on February 16, 2018 , · at 4:10 pm UTC
The goal has remained the same and will never change – to take out Assad and create a Northern vassal state. Anyone suggesting otherwise is doing disinfo for the Empire.
mod-to note: last line removed as unnecessary to the comment and inflammatory.Thanks, everyone, for your insights on these issues. In light of Mr. Trump's recent statement about a big military parade he would like to see staged later this year (at a cost of at least thirty million dollars) , I can't help but wonder what kind of "victory" or Make America Great Again big win he wants to pull out of the hat that would make the parade even more appropriate "victory" over North Korea? ? ? "victory" in Syria? ?JJ on February 17, 2018 , · at 5:16 am UTC
I am very concerned about the whole timetable. Hopefully these wars aren't being waged with glowing visions of rapid effortless victories. The flip side to that is that these wars are being waged with the intent of dragging on for half of forever, consuming as many human lives as possible, and above all, destroying as much human hope and love as possible.RT carrying news that the USA is to increase its stockpile of miltary shells be 800%Dr. NG Maroudas on February 16, 2018 , · at 1:00 pm UTCA positive note from analyst 6 1/2hr ago. [Basically the enemy continues in retreat]:Anonymous on February 16, 2018 , · at 2:44 pm UTC
" the deal between the Syrian Government and Afrin Canton is begin to take shape and has the best shot to be signed today or tomorrow. This is as close to a deal as it has ever, so this time all sides are determined to get it done.
"It is early to celebrated, as I mentioned yesterday, there are other players that may influence in the last minute, but it is encouraging.
When I say celebrate, it means this deal (assuming the Syrian Government takes full control of State business and the SAA is fully present in all Canton with minimum possibility of setbacks with armed militias), will influence the years to come in Syria, Sheikh Maksud (which is slowly being absorbed into normal life in Aleppo) will be the first to join the deal completely.
We will see impact in Hasaka city and Province, where many inhabitants (Arabs and Kurds doe support the Syrian Government). This deal could be a message to the US that it is time to get out with some dignity or it will get uglier as time goes by .."watch the old footage of helicopters flying from the rooftops in Saigon. "Ugly" doesn't worry the US elites that control policy. They'll gladly trade 'ugly' for any small benefit, and the same elites have no problems putting the lives of the people who are foolishly loyal to them into great danger.Anonius on February 17, 2018 , · at 8:24 am UTC
The great philosopher George Carlin famously once said, "its a small club. And you ain't in it." They only care about the members of their club, and will sacrifice a few of them when forced to. But they don't care about 'ugly' and they make sure that no members of the club are among the last to flee Saigon and beyond that they don't care about anyone or anything else if it gets into the way of their grabs for power and wealth.You could always count on George with his spot on critique of the establishment and other subjects. May he rest in peace.Edward on February 16, 2018 , · at 1:03 pm UTCGiven its precarious situation, maybe Turkey will eventually try to patch its relations with Syria, although I see no sign of this so far.sea on February 17, 2018 , · at 12:31 am UTCVery difficult , one week ( may ten days) ago all Turkish newspapers published a photo of Erdogan : at his right side the prime minister, and at the left side the previous prime minister Davutoglu.Blue on February 17, 2018 , · at 3:33 am UTC
Davutoglu has been the most important planner of the Syrian war, big ally of the USA. He was obliged to resign and practically disappear from the political scene when Erdogan went to Putin excusing himself for the shooting down of a Russian plane. Now he ( and his policies ) seem to have made a full scale coming back .The US is still trying to use the Kurds to manipulate Turkey into a direct conflict with Syria. Erdoğan still wants to overthrow Assad as does the US.Gastarbeiter on February 16, 2018 , · at 1:49 pm UTC
Erdoğan's blocking Syria in Idlib and the possible movement of SA into Afrin sets up this potential confrontation.
The question is will Turkey take the bit if its observation forces are challenged or attecked in Idlib, and send in the Turkish army, or will they back off and leave the fighting to their Takfiri? The US hopes that the former will occur.RF will stay passive till end of World Cup (where US did not "qualify"). Afterwards all bets are off (all fronts).Richard Steven Hack on February 16, 2018 , · at 2:03 pm UTC
TK can at best act as party spoiler and taking attention away from other areas. Can't be trusted. One can just win time.
RF could also retaliate with caliber hits at still ISIS areas, where for sure critical resources are embedded, just like was done last year at Aleppo."The support for Israeli operations against Iranian and Hezbollah forces in Lebanon and Syria"Larchmonter445 on February 16, 2018 , · at 3:02 pm UTC
I believe this is where US and Israeli intentions are. With the defeat of the US/Israel/Saudi plan to degrade Syria's military preparatory to an Israel attack on Lebanon, Israel now wants to up the ante by getting the US to join it in an attack on Hizballah in Lebanon and then the US will find a way to justify extending that war into Syria.
Tillerson just attacked Hizballah again today as part of the ramp-up"
Tillerson says Hezbollah a danger to Lebanon: https://www.thenational.ae/world/tillerson-says-hezbollah-a-danger-to-lebanon-1.705030Tillerson w/Hariri. Says it all.Sun Tzu on February 17, 2018 , · at 1:36 pm UTC
President Aoun decides about Hezbollah, and he already has decided he wants them, he wants Russia and he wants no relationship with Hegemon. Tillerson is a traveling carnival show. Sad to see a man used as a puppet.Lebanon is being presented with two diametrically opposite choices: a) attempt to disarm Hezbollah so that it stops threatening Israeli off-shore claims or water access wishes in southern Lebanon. b) provide access to Russian navy assets on all your ports. The first choice is just political suicide. The second choice will infuriate the Hegemon.Auslander on February 16, 2018 , · at 3:07 pm UTC
The last shooting skirmish between Syria and Israel caused much more than a downed F16I. It caused consternation because the Air Space at Ben Gurion was officially closed during the hostilities. Elijah Magnier ejmagnier.com asserts that his Syrian sources confirm a decision to rain down a couple of dozen Surface to Surface missiles over Israeli towns in the Golan Heights or anywhere in Israel if IAF violates Syrian air space sovereignty. The fact that Israel immediately after mobilized to strengthened its Air Defense batteries to the Northern border speaks to that threat.
Hezbollah also confirmed that an Israeli vs Syria + Hezbollah war will include the resistance striking targets in Israel's off shore Gas and Oil interests. The war front will be wider including Israel occupied Golan Heights, Shebaa farms, Off Shore gas rigs operated by Israel.
In Syria's East the Hegemon is in an untenable situation. Weaponizing the Kurds against Turkey will result in an accelerated Turkey-exit from NATO on the least and an inter NATO clash on the worst case.
It is with this in mind that I am convinced that this is the beginning of the war called Armageddon in the Bible. The Tel Megiddo is a man made mound in Northern Israel that dominates this famous battlefield.
The next Front is now in Northern Israel as proven by the location of the downed F16 and by Israeli fortification of its Northern Air Defense.In my opinion any reactions by Russia to the escalating provocations in Syria and elsewhere will be muted, and this includes if serving Russian Military are killed again. There are a number of reasons for this but again in my opinion this muted response has nothing to do with the upcoming election and/or the football champion ships which, by the way, will probably be withdrawn at the last minute as yet another calculated insult to Russia.Anonymous on February 16, 2018 , · at 7:18 pm UTC
Muted response has been the norm from Russia for quite some years but on the other hand this in no way means there was no and/or will not be a response. Take for instance the pinpoint accuracy mortar attack on the field hospital last year that killed our doctors and nurses who were in place to treat Syrian civilians. I will not go in to the mechanics of this attack but I know exactly how it was done and I am willing to guaranty you that the highly trained and expert foreign team that did the attack is not alive today nor were they alive 3 days after the attack. It is the same with the team that shot down our Dry 25. They are dead. Period. However, killing these teams after they do their deed does not negate the damage they do in the first place and therein is the problem.
There are two ways to stop these ongoing and guaranteed to escalate attacks. One, Russia surrenders and pulls everyone and everything back to within her borders. Not going to happen. Period. Two, Russia continues on her implacable course of steady pressure on the Empire to not so much as defeat her but to preserve Russian interests and world interests, world interests meaning peace on this war wracked planet we call home.
In the near future, read a good part of this year, you can expect escalating attacks and provocations against any Russian interests and this will include both Syria and Ukraine plus southern and western Russia, proposed or in process gas supply lines and various business and industrial projects and agreements between Russia and other countries. I have few doubts that the orcs will be ordered to attack Novorossiya within a week of the Russian elections and at the same time the well known coming false flag chemical attack in Syria will take place. Both attacks will result in increasingly serious sanctions against Russia in attempts to turn the Russian populace against President Putin and foment a revolution against the government. This will not happen, that is a given, but the sanctions will hurt an ever widening part of the populace. Russians are a pretty tough bunch and additional sanctions will do nothing but make the Russians more resolved to support their government and culture.
In the end, Russia will persevere and while we will have more and more of our servicemen and women coming home dead, we will win in the end. The Empire is dying, that is obvious, but a dying animal is if anything more dangerous than when young and healthy. Therein is the real problem, will the empire in it's death throes pull down the entire world with it.
One more little detail. The number of Russian citizens under contract to Syria killed in the now world famous attack is three, two dead and one wounded who died. End of story, except for the grieving widows and families in Russia and Syria.
Sevastopol, The Third Defense. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079KRPLS4 Book 1, A Premonition, The Move South
An Incident On Simonka https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01ERKH3IU NATO Is Invited To Leave Sevastopol, One Way Or The Other.Ngoyo on February 17, 2018 , · at 4:00 am UTC"This will not happen, that is a given, but the sanctions will hurt an ever widening part of the populace."
I hope sanctions will not hurt many Russian citizens. Since neither the Russian government, nor the Russian citizens live in a make-believe world, they could suspect that the West will not give up with its efforts at destabilizing the Russian Federation. Russia, in corporation with China can produce pretty neat hich-tech gadgets. The Chines are able to produce excellent quality (if they want to). Who needs many Western products (often produced to fail – planned obsolescence) if the Russians have learned to develop / produce quality stuff themselves?True and I believe this is the correct policy. Dramatic confrontations with the US are not in Russia's interest. There is also the issue that Trump is looking increasingly like a winner, in the Russian collusion fight. If the republicans do well in the up coming elections, he will be able to put that vicious battle behind him. This will open up possibilities for the US to cooperate with Russia, if only tacitly, in Syria and Ukraine.Makedonia on February 16, 2018 , · at 5:40 pm UTC
I think Saker is way too hard on Trump, his zig-zagging on Russia is due to his domestic issues. The possibilities for friendship between Russia and the US remain. Edgar Cayce the US's "Sleeping Prophet" predicted in 1932 and 1944 that:
1944: " What then of nations? In Russia there comes the hope of the world, not as that sometimes termed of the Communistic, of the Bolshevistic; no. But freedom, freedom! that each man will live for his fellow man! The principle has been born. It will take years for it to be crystallized, but out of Russia comes again the hope of the world. Guided by what? That friendship with the nation that hath even set on its present monetary unit "In God We Trust." "
1932:"On Russia's religious development will come the greater hope of the world. Then that one, or group, that is the closer in its relationships, may fare the better in the gradual changes and final settlement of conditions as to the rule of the world. "Can someone please explain why China has not provided real assistance in Syria in terms of sending their defense forces namely their air force and navy? If anything it would provide them with real combat experience which they may more than possibly need to rely on in any potential conflicts with Taiwan and the South China Sea. I really don't understand their "neutrality" with this situation. Russia really needs their help right now or the consequences of this whole Syrian situation will just be unimaginable.JackJC on February 16, 2018 , · at 6:30 pm UTCChina has been supplying material and trainers to the Syrians – this is documented.дулебг on February 16, 2018 , · at 6:03 pm UTC
What is not known is how far that level of support has gone. As I mentioned in another post a few weeks ago, supplying Chinese military personnel to Syria – overtly – is not in China's strategic interest. If they actually supply 'unattached' Chinese troops it will be covert and very quiet.@ main purpose of the entire US deployment in northern Syria:mijj on February 16, 2018 , · at 6:08 pm UTC
I think main purpose for the US in northern Syria is:
– to establish Kurdish state, from which Americans would control the whole Middle East,
– to build pipelines from the Gulf to Turkey and Europe, and to dictate the prices of oil and petrol,
– to exploit local gas and oil fields.Surely Russia must have anticipated that the powers-that-be in the US would never admit defeat and cease interfereing. This will always be the case. It's a consequence of the US ubermensch mentality. As ever, to anticipate US behavior one must ask oneself 'what would the Mafia do?'HDan on February 17, 2018 , · at 4:01 am UTCNo it's much more simple. If one wants to anticipate what they will do as a next step just ask yourself what would the lowest scum do, and your bet will hit better than 50% absolutly certain..Where-Wolf on February 16, 2018 , · at 6:28 pm UTCRead carefully because everything is coming into view. At the begining of WW1 the British, in an incident involving the battlecruiser Goeben, placed under a Turkish flag but still operated by a German crew, shelled Odessa pushing the Ottomans into the war on the side of the Central Powers.James Speaks on February 16, 2018 , · at 7:03 pm UTC
The Young Turks had wanted very badly to be on the side of the Entente, but this did not matter because the British plan was to carve up the Ottoman Empire, ultimately aiming to control all of it's oil (imagine how much oil it would control if it were around today), and so after the war it was dismantled and the British-made stooge Attaturk was installed.
The same strategy is being enacted today vis a vis Turkey and Russia. Erdogan is the direct inheritor of the Young Turk political tradition and he is also a stooge of the British.
What is the proof that the Turks are controlled by the British?
There are many but one obvious link concerns the Anglo-Zionist propaganda and the chemical weapons 'management' organization known as White Helmets, which are imbedded with Turkish controlled HTS in Northern Syria, thus dilineating a crystal clear link to support what I am describing. There was also the recent drone attack on the Russian Khmeimim made from Turkish controlled Syrian territory, an attack which the Russians expalined was not 'Turkish' without further elaborating.
The Russians understood the attack on Khmeimim was perpetrated by British Intelligence, and so they gave Turkey a pass.
Now, imagine you are the Russians and your best bets for a military ally in Syria are Turkey and perhaps Iran.
What would you think?
Under no circumstances would you even consider exposing your armies to dependence on Turkish support or supply lines to Syria which could easily be blocked. To do so would be suicide.
Therefore the Russian strategy is delay delay delay, because they understand there are no good options for them in a war against the Perfidious Ones in Syria, who are effectively allied to China despite mountains of (scarcely believable) propaganda suggesting China supports Russia, which is in itself an absolute load of Dung Xiaoping.
But the Anglo-Zionists, like the Russians, all together understand these surface calculations and so the Perfidious Ones are going one better, to entice the Russians into overestimating their strength and becoming more deeply involved in Syria especially.
This involves convincing the Russians that the Pentagon junta which controls the Whitehouse of Donald Trump is also on their side and would effectively (as it sometimes appears) support Russia in a wider war, thus changing the Kremlin calculation, however, despite close cooperation in Syria between the Russians and Pentagon, and in alternative media which is generally pro Russian and pro-Pentagon , it seems the Russians are not fooled and will do their best to keep options for withdrawal from Syria open.
This is why Putin has twice declared a Russian withdrawal from Syria. The Russians understand they have no good options in a direct confrontation with the West and further their greatest potential ally in the region, the Iranians, are themselves playing a double game, also secretly alligned to the Peridious Ones, as has been highlighted repeatedly by Thierry Meyssan.
Should the Iranians wish it they could sweep the US and SDF Kurds out of eastern Syria and northern Iraq in no time flat. It is the secret cooperation of the Iranians and Pentagon in Iraq and eastern Syria which gives the game away concerning the role of the Pentagon. By threatening to tear up the nuclear agreement, which in any case gives the Iranians nothing and relinquishes over 100 billion dollars of Iranian assets held since the Iranian revolution, the Trump administration is creating a pretext which appears to be holding the Iranians back from full cooperation with Russia and ultimately, from victory in this war.I don't think the question, "What will be the Russian response to further provocation?" is the right question. Although Russia is doing the right thing, assisting Syria at its request to fight terrorism and launching a legitimate peace process, from the twisted viewpoint of Rogue State and Hegemon, these actions are provocation. Any action that prevents Rogue State and Hegemon from destroying other nations is viewed as a provocation.Andrew on February 16, 2018 , · at 9:54 pm UTC
I think the right question is, "Based on the success of the past two years, how will Russia tweak its policies going forth?"
My guess is that the obvious rules. Syrian lands belong to Syria. Russia has affirmed its support for Syrian territorial integrity. Neither party has earned a reputation for hyperbole. There are locations where ISIS/Acronym have been identified, namely the pocket west of Deir Ezzor, The pocket along the border with Iraq east of the Euphrates, Al-Tanf, spots south of Damascus, Daara, and just across the Euphrates from Deir Ezzor where ISIS et all attacked SAA and government aligned troops as they attempted to cross the Euphrates and approach the Conoco oil fields.
Now that Syria has established their prerogative to shoot down opposition warplanes, and I hope Russia is providing massive ordnance in this regard, I suspect we will see a war of attrition that plays into Syrian strengths and Hegemon's weaknesses; Rather than asymmetric warfare waged on Syrian and Russian forces, wouldn't it be a hoot if the good guys waged a guerrilla operation on Hegemon. And what can Hegemon do, launch airplanes? They can be shot down, and over Syrian territory.We should go back to Libya, it's the big why we need an answer to. Hillary Clinton said' we came, we saw, he died'. Thats a lot of spite from someone raised in the South and living in comfort a long way away.vot tak on February 16, 2018 , · at 11:08 pm UTC
Something tipped someone over the edge, the Brits went for Gaddafi, even with NATO help they needed the USA to finish the job, they must have known it would erupt in internecine warfare, unless their intelligence is very basic, it's not like it hasn't happened everywhere else they have been. It left the EU very short of light crude for diesel, so there was some sacrifice from the EU.
Israel got a hammering in Lebanon, any idea of their invincibility was well and truly vanquished, they still have great intelligence capacity and nukes but not seen as invincible in a traditional scrap.
Something is missing from the story, I keep thinking it's still about oil, lots of powerful people in the States made it in the oil industry. Why is the USA going so hard out with it's fracking? Energy isn't that expensive, why not use other countries reserves first?
China is most dependent on energy imports, he who controls energy controls it all, and that was the house of Saud with its dependence on the USA and Aramco, a company that could be worth 10 trillion in the right market. A China/Russia alliance is going to be very powerful, China is being driven into trade deals with Russia to protect its energy supplies. China wasn't happy with the old TPP deal.
Today the energy market is more fragmented, taking control is harder and Russia looks likely to be the big player and they won't be pushed around or influenced like those in the middle east.
Syria is a mix match of cultures but it sort of works. Why was Syria so important, Ok they side with Iran and Iran is a red flag to the States. Still it shouldn't be enough to warrant this treatment, unless someone thought they could get to Iran via Syria. Either that or the Jewish lobby in the States is more powerful than I thought and it's all about Israel
The Assads have very close ties to the UK, she was born and went to school there, it's makes more sense they would be pro British than anything else. Just me thinking aloud."Either that or the Jewish lobby in the States is more powerful than I thought and it's all about Israel"one minion on February 17, 2018 , · at 7:49 am UTC
That it is.He got his eye doctor training here and her parents still live here, but it doesn't necessarily follow that they are particularly pro-British. Pro-Syrian and cosmopolitan is far more likely.Rob from Canada on February 16, 2018 , · at 10:42 pm UTCRussia made an offer for the Saudi Aramco IPO. http://www.atimes.com/article/putin-prefers-aramco-trumps-sword-dance/Keith McClary on February 17, 2018 , · at 12:50 am UTCWhatever happened to the turkey israel water/gas pipeline ?Ngoyo on February 17, 2018 , · at 3:34 am UTCThe Russians should encourage the US to go for its mini Kurdistan project and hope they achieve it. The benefits of such a policy far outweigh the costs of trying to prevent it:Oscar on February 17, 2018 , · at 5:34 am UTC
- A mini Kurdistan in the interior of Syria is completely unsustainable in the face of Syrian, Turkish and Iraqi opposition.
- It will make the perfect quagmire for the US/Israel combo. It will tie up vast AngloZionist resources in establishing and defending it. All for nothing in the medium to long term.
- It will drive a major wedge between Turkey and the US. This would likely lead to the US being driven from Turkey and Iraq.
- It will allow Syria to mop up the rest of the country and begin reconstruction. This rebuilding is Syria's best defense against the AngloZionist imperialists. Syria must build itself into a fortress like Iran if it is to survive.
Sometimes people want something to happen, just out of spite for someone else, without thinking of the consequences for themselves. This is the case with the US Kurdistan project. The US wants to spite Russia and Syria by establishing Kurdistan. But such a state would be landlocked between very hostile neighbors. It has absolutely no viability. At the same time it will destroy the US geopolitical position in the middle east. Kurdistan is poisoned fruit and if the US wants it, why should Russia stand in its way?
By the way, I do not see Trump falling for this trap, I believe he is sincere in his wish to disengage the US from such foreign adventures. But there is not much he can do presently against the neocon establishment. But he has already made real progress, ISIS would not have been defeated and the Syrians won the war, if Trump had not been president. Try and imagine a Hillary presidency, with McCain making Syria policy."Step two: saturating Syria with mobile modern short/middle range air defenses" It is the only possible way to go forward (in my humble opinion) this to try avoid risking Russian lives. The best and most advanced weapons should be provided to the Syrian, Hezbollah and Iran militias. Israel will be mad about that but is the only way to put pressure on them to stop their aggression against Syria.Simon Chow on February 17, 2018 , · at 12:13 pm UTC
"One objection to this plan would be that two can play this game and that there is nothing preventing the USA from sending even more advanced MANPADs to their "good terrorist" allies". Whatever Russia does will not prevent the US from providing these weapons, on the contrary they are probably doing that already through their "secret" channels like the CIA, Mossad, etc.Counter escalation is too logical. Syria is a quagmire. The 'mud' weighing down Russia is Daesh and the pro-US 'moderates', mainly those Kurds backed by the US. But there more potential 'mud' that can suck in the US.Larry Galearis on February 17, 2018 , · at 12:38 pm UTC
Turkey is already bogged down by the Kurds in what can be identified as the beginning of protracted warfare with Turkish cargo 200 being steadily produced for Erdogan. Israel feels threatened and so does the US.
But the Israelis are too astute to put boots on the ground in Syria in substantial numbers. Besides Hezbollah has 100,000 rockets pointed like a gun to Israel's head. But the US? There is now a window of opportunity to suck in the US in a protracted guerrilla war in Syria.
Hezbollah, Iranians and the Iraqi Shi'ites would be only too glad to scalp the Yankees in Syria and elsewhere. Now what can be done or rather what can Russia do or don't do, to suck in the ZioYanks into a Vietnam-like protracted scrap in Syria? If the ZioYanks are sucked into Syria in a big way, the fighting will likely spread to Iraq and Afghanistan. If this happen, it will also doom the already badly managed US economy! I think the solution is staring us in the eyes! Just speculatin'.As usual, a well thought out and presented essay for an escalation in Syria.Dimitar on February 17, 2018 , · at 3:16 pm UTC
Additional thought: If the Russians are concerned about a "deniability context" in supplying more competent anti-air capacity against US/Israeli air attacks I wonder if announcing a sale of S-300 or better units to Syria would be preferable to letting this escalate gradually with Russian upgrades of what already exists in Syria.
If such a purchase was undertaken, these would be Syrian owned missile systems and therefore deniable as aggressive on the part of Russia. After all the Turks are buying them, and the Iranians and the Saudis are also in line for them. But for the Syrians it would be tantamount to them declaring a no fly zone; the air losses to Israel and US planes would be very serious – serious enough to discourage this kind of escalation completely.
P.S. Typos are the pepper in a Saker meal, maybe it doesn't add much, but given the positives I tolerate them very well.How far can the Russians be pushed? The important thing is their responses are always the response of an intelligent, self-assured player who understands that power is not to be thrown around like some schoolyard bully. To quote Shakespeare in "Cymbelline", the game is up. And Uncle Scam knows it.Tit for tat on February 17, 2018 , · at 6:27 pm UTCAmerican contractors can now come under similar pressure, after march election the command and control of the US proxies may be missiled. Even if there are US advisors on site.
Feb 15, 2018 | nationalinterest.org
Now the administration assures us that it has an even better idea, an extended occupation by combat troops amid multiple contending armed forces, highlighted by forcing Assad from office, fixing war-ravaged areas, building up Kurdish forces, satisfying the Turkish government, banishing Tehran's influence, and avoiding confrontation with Russia. There is no risk of overreach or mission creep. And certainly no need for Congress to vote on the issue.
- Procivic , February 14, 2018 10:16 PMWillDippel , February 14, 2018 9:13 PM
Excellent analysis. However, "odious" is what the U.S. and its oil-rich Arab toadies did to spark a far more destructive intervention than in Libya. Now, uinvited, Washington is intent on upping the ante while antagonizing Syria's committed neighbors and acting as spoiler of a peaceful outcome.
As shown in this article, actions taken by Washington in Syria have broken an international agreement from 2003:
The breaking of this agreement has led to much greater risks for the flying public.
Feb 15, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
harrylaw , Feb 14, 2018 12:13:16 PM | 22CarlD@14 The partition of Syria according to the US is a fait accompli, presumably the Kurds/SDF will be invited to govern almost one third of the oil rich and fertile parts of Syria, without them being asked. Syria, Iraq, Iran,Turkey or Russia will not like this arrangement, but as you know, when the US occupy a state, they never leave until militarily forced to do so. At this time it is not wise for the five states to fight the US directly even Turkey who have potentially just as much to lose as Syria and have promised to strangle this new state at birth, must do so by at least..Willy2 , Feb 14, 2018 12:17:01 PM | 24
- Not letting any trade [particularly oil] cross the border.
- Stop any arms shipments to the Kurds.
- Since Incirlik air base is essential to the setting up of this state, US forces should be persona non grata there.
If this fails they should do what the coalition have done, us proxies, unattributed of course and ensure they have the weapons to do the job...IED's,EFP's mortars, rockets and manpads. The only langauge the US understands.- Peter Lee had one other interesting story: Harry Truman fired surpreme commander Douglas McArthur in 1950 because McArthur wanted to provoke an incident with China and start a war with China.
Feb 15, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Speaking of fireworks in NYC:
Obama More Concerned About Manhattan Nuke Than Russia
Also interesting news:
Seymour Hersh Says Hillary Approved Sending Libya's Sarin to Syrian Rebels
Posted by: PeacefulProsperity | Feb 13, 2018 6:29:54 PM | 67
Feb 15, 2018 | www.theatlantic.com
Turkey, for example, isn't willing to accept the entrenchment of a U.S.-supported Kurdish militia , which the Turkish government associates with Kurdish insurgents in Turkey, right across its border. The United States seems determined to hold ground in Syria to prevent the resurgence of terrorist groups and frustrate Iran's plans to extend its power across the Eastern Mediterranean. Israel shares America's goal of countering Iran, particularly at its border with Syria.
Russia, meanwhile, is bent on preserving a friendly government in Damascus and a military presence on the Mediterranean, while casting itself as a global power player on par with America. The Iranians -- currently "the single-most influential player" in Syria -- are "trying to establish a long-term strategic military infrastructure in [Syria], build missile-production facilities, move precision-guided munitions," Itani said. Both nations " are upset that the United States is not departing the country," Tabler said.
Feb 15, 2018 | nationalinterest.org
In Iraq, U.S. advisors and air power in some cases ironically helped Iranian-backed militias succeed on the ground, strengthening Teheran's hand in Iraq. Their influence remains strong today . Less than two months into his presidency, Trump ordered hundreds more troops into Syria to assist the SDF in its battle against ISIS, especially in Raqqa. Almost immediately U.S.-NATO ally Turkey protested the effort, Syria condemned the intrusion into their country, and Russia cautioned against it.
The U.S.-backed SDF did indeed eventually liberate Raqqa , but again it must be pointed out that ISIS would have eventually lost Raqqa even without U.S. involvement. The cost to our country at having supported the Kurds, however, has been growing.
Making good on his early threats, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan crossed into Syrian territory to engage in what he called Operation Olive Branch on January 20. Turkish troops began attacking the SDF, whom Ankara views as a terror threat to its country. Though both Secretary of State Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis mildly protested, Erdogan ignored U.S. pleas with cavalier disdain.
"We don't care what they say," the Turkish president said of America's reaction. "They will learn how wrong it is to trust a terror organization." Adding that Turkey would only remain on Syrian territory until they had accomplished their objectives, Erdogan sarcastically added , "I ask the United States: Did you have any specific time duration in Afghanistan?" Adding insult to injury, Russia owned the airspace above the location in Syria where Turkey attacked: Ankara got Moscow to support its move against the SDF in opposition to U.S. preferences. That a NATO ally can so easily and publicly rebuke the United States, literally killing soldiers that America supported and cooperating with its biggest competitor, is a troubling indicator how much influence Washington has lost. Russia is only too happy to drive a wedge between NATO countries, especially if it pokes a stick in America's eye.
All of these developments are unequivocally antithetical to American interests––and all of them could have been avoided if Obama had not committed the United States to the operations in Iraq and Syria, and if Trump hadn't doubled-down on the missions. As it is, the trouble is still not over. Recent events have raised the potential for unintentional military clashes between the United States and Turkey.On Wednesday the White House said that Trump told Erdogan in a phone conversation that Trump "urged Turkey to deescalate, limit its military actions, and avoid civilian casualties." On the same day in Ankara, Erdogan announced his forces would expand the assault "[s]tarting in Manbij," where "we will continue to thwart (SDF's) game." In response, U.S. military spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon said the U.S. Forces in the Manbij area "have an inherent right to defend themselves and will do so if necessary."
Moreover, though Washington helped liberate Mosul and Raqqa, the terror threat to the United States ISIS poses is virtually unchanged, as the group's leaders simply moved underground to continue operating. In other words, the United States has expended enormous resources and sacrificed many of its service members to a mission that has resulted in a net loss to America.
Instead of trying desperately to remain in Iraq and Syria to perpetuate these failures, it is time for the interests of America to be considered first. Washington must wind down its combat missions in the Middle East, redeploy its troops to their home bases, and begin the process of rebuilding the ability of America's Armed Forces to face potentially existential fights in the future.
Daniel L. Davis is a Senior Fellow for Defense Priorities and a former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army who retired in 2015 after twenty-one years, including four combat deployments . Follow him @DanielLDavis1 .
- il duce , February 14, 2018 10:38 PM
LOL another agent of democracy believing that America actually cares about its citizen or the well being of anyone else.
The US military is the armed wing of a gangster regime, their task is to protect the petrodollar, how can you protect your number one exported goods when you dont control the middle east?
7 nation in 5 years, come on US military you can do it.
Feb 15, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Mattis is probably mentally ill. He'll gleefully kill millions more.
The terrorists are mentally ill. They would kill millions if they could.
Thus, the reason for the rise of Russia and the influence and respect for Putin. Russians will kill terrorists but embrace Islamic people who want peaceful cooperation.
Peace is a long way off. The Hegemon abhors Peace and has the means and ideology to create chaos, death and destruction anywhere on the globe.
The American economic system depends on MIC expenditures, debt, waste, corruption, and fiscal abuse.
Nothing much will change until multi-polar economic forces come into dominance and coerce the American changes. Those are a long way off, also, though a few of those forces are coming into view.
Posted by: Red Ryder | Feb 12, 2018 12:21:31 PM | 2
ConfusedPundit , Feb 12, 2018 1:33:01 PM | 4Mattis is coming to Turkey soon.jsn , Feb 12, 2018 1:55:10 PM | 7
Pentagon statement today: 550 million dolar, 2018 budget, for PKK.
(Meaning: You can defeat terrorism, but you can't you beat our purse!)
There is a massive propaganda campaing targeting Turkey in the past 2-3 days. It's coming from international sources. BBC, AFP etc.
This is the main theme
"Turks, beware of Russia, Syria and Iran! They are your enemy. Israel is your friend! The USA is a superpower, obey!"
I believe nobody, no muslim targets America or ordinary American people for that mater! So any incident should be received as provocation.
Those who pull the strings in the USA, behind the doors, maybe under risk though.
IMHOMattis/Pentagon just doing business development for the MICnonsense factory , Feb 12, 2018 11:39:44 PM | 32@colin 3, Yes, I used to try to update the wikipedia page on the TAPI pipeline and while some things remained on the site, most of it was edited away. Anything to do with Exxon, Chevron, US military actions along the pipeline route, Hillary Clinton's cheerleading for the project during the Obama era, actions taken by the US State Department in summer 2001 (pre 9-11) aimed at pressuring the Taliban into signing off on the deal (in exchange for handing over bin Laden, etc.) all gone. Not worth the bother; you're up against PR firms with full-time staff devoted to sanitizing everything.xaderp , Feb 13, 2018 3:47:05 AM | 35
@4 CP, the corporate media PR stream, it's something I can't even watch anymore (I follow it with Google News search just to see what the headlines are, but it's basically predictable content so that's enough). Here and there across the web there are some honest discussions though:
I really can't see what Tillerson and Mattis have to offer Turkey other than threats.I think you are reading Mattis's comments wrong.john , Feb 13, 2018 6:07:37 AM | 43
The moment the USA pulls its troops out of the middle east, a bomb will go off at Times Square .Yeah, Right says:Co
"If America Wasn't America, The United States Would Be Bombing It".
Damn, that's funny
yeah, i just read the article , and while the title is indeed humorous, the content is decidedly not. but it's a good synopsis of the unprecedented amount of death and destruction wrought on this undeserving planet by the US of Argh.