ISIS Fighters’ Thirst For Iraqi Blood Is Stronger Than Iraqi Will To Live

US Defense Chief: Iraqis ‘Showed No Will to Fight’ ISIS in Ramadi


“We have an issue with the will of the Iraqis to fight [ISIS] and defend themselves,” Carter said in an interview on CNN. “We can give them training, we can give them equipment; we obviously can’t give them the will to fight.”

The unusual public rebuke of the Iraqi military, which the U.S. has been training and equipping for years, comes after a week of significant ISIS victories. The jihadist group took control of the key provincial capital of Ramadi and the ancient city of Palmyra. ISIS is now estimated to control half of Syria and broad swaths of Iraq.

In Ramadi, the Iraqi forces “were not out numbered, but in fact they vastly outnumbered the opposing force, and yet they failed to fight,” Carter said.

PHOTO: Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the Pentagon during a news conference, Friday, May 1, 2015, to discuss the Defense Departments annual report on sexual assault in the military.

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo
PHOTO: Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the Pentagon during a news conference, Friday, May 1, 2015, to discuss the Defense Department’s annual report on sexual assault in the military.

The Pentagon has said the decision to withdraw from Ramadi was made by a local Iraqi commander for reasons that are not entirely clear.

“I don’t believe anybody felt that Ramadi would fall, and I think it’s of great concern to everyone,” retired Gen. Peter Chiarelli, former Army vice chief of staff, said on ABC News “This Week.”

The White House called the episode a “tactical setback” and vowed that there will be a counteroffensive. Republican critics of the administration say the ISIS gains reflect as much a lack of coherent U.S. strategy in Iraq as alleged weakness of the country’s security forces.

One Iraqi lawmaker said Sunday that Carter’s characterization of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) was “unrealistic and baseless,” according to The Associated Press.

PHOTO: An Islamic State car bomb explodes at the gate of a government building near the provincial governors compound in Ramadi, Iraq, on Saturday, May 16, 2015, during heavy fighting that saw most of the city fall to the militants.

McClatchy DC/TNS via Getty Images
PHOTO: An Islamic State car bomb explodes at the gate of a government building near the provincial governor’s compound in Ramadi, Iraq, on Saturday, May 16, 2015, during heavy fighting that saw most of the city fall to the militants.

The “will to fight” issue among ISF is at the heart of President Obama’s approach to Iraq, and one key reason why he’s resisted calls for more aggressive U.S. military intervention to confront ISIS.

“I know that there are some in Republican quarters who have suggested that I’ve overlearned the mistake of Iraq, and that, in fact, just because the 2003 invasion did not go well doesn’t argue that we shouldn’t go back in,” Obama told The Atlantic this week.

“I will continue to order our military to provide the Iraqi security forces all assistance that they need in order to secure their country, and I’ll provide diplomatic and economic assistance that’s necessary for them to stabilize. But we can’t do it for them,” Obama said.

A majority of Americans support U.S. airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, but fewer back deployment of more boots on the ground, according to the most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll.

Greece Squeezed By EU/US, Opens-Up To Moscow and Gazprom

[SEE:  Putin Offers Greece Pipeline Financing Help]

The role of Greece in the geostrategic chessboard of natural gas

Firstly, Greece’s role in the international chessboard of pipelines becomes critical. The selection of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) as the avenue for EU’s Southern Energy Corridor, as well as the pending project for the Greece-Italy Poseidon (IGI) pipeline with the participation of DEPA, is decisive; not only will it support local economies during the construction phase, but also ‘locks’ this particular route through Greece as the main entrance hub of Azeri gas to Europe.Analysts have pointed out often that the initial capacity of 10 bcm is scant compared to EU’s gas imports of ca. 280 bcma (out of 460 bcm of total consumption). However, a quantity of 10 bcm covers to a large extent the import needs of the transit countries and their neighbours, taken into account that Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Albania import ca. 12 bcm cumulatively – with the numbers for Turkey and Italy being 45 bcm and 66 bcm respectively.

This capacity can therefore have a substantial impact on the diversification of supply sources for the aforementioned states, especially if the potential plan for doubling the pipeline’s capacity in the future is considered. Moreover, the construction of the interconnecting pipeline Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) as developed by DEPA and its associates, will offer another potential source for diversification, as it will connect Bulgaria with TAP. The pipeline’s capability of reverse flow will allow Greece to use current or future regasification infrastructure to supply Bulgaria and the whole region with liquefied natural gas. The further development of an interconnecting pipeline network, such as the proposed Bulgaria-Romania (IBR) and Bulgaria-Serbia (IBS) could help in this direction.

The development of this pipeline network will undoubtedly enhance the energy security for the whole region of South-East Europe, rendering Greece as an integral link of this process. The plan by the Greek natural gas system operator DESFA to construct a third gas storage facility in Revythousa could add an extra 95.000 cm, raising the system’s overall storage capacity by 73%. The storage capacity could be further boosted with the proposed project by the Greek oil company Energean SA to turn a depleted oil field in the area of Kavala in Northern Greece into an underground storage facility with an estimated capacity of 1 bcm.

Furthermore, the import of gas from alternative supply sources could be increased substantially from the DEPA-planned Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) in the area of Kavala, which can bring in the equation another 150.000 cm of storage capacity, as well as the potential of pumping up to 5 bcma into the system. This project, in a potential synergy with a similar project proposed by the Greek company Gastrade SA in the region of Alexandroupolis, is critical in turning Greece in an emergent gas trade hub in the region.

Another factor to be considered is the important synergies with the maritime industry for the import and export of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Interestingly, natural gas could be also used as fuel for the ships, especially in the light of the recent EU proposals on fighting pollution caused by ships, including the Mediterranean Sea.

A special mention is in order with regards to the prospect of the transportation of Cypriot natural gas through the Eastern Mediterranean Pipeline proposed by DEPA. This pipeline, which is put forward in cooperation with the Ministry of Energy, Commerce Industry and Tourism of the Republic of Cyprus, could transfer initially 8 bcma of Cypriot and potentially Israeli gas. Furthermore, the existence of a pipeline network in the area could facilitate the Greek government’s planning for the exploitation of its domestic hydrocarbon resources, as these could find more easily their way to the regional markets.

Also noteworthy is the fact that all of the aforementioned projects have been included as Projects of Common Interest (PCI) by the European Commission, which raises their significance but most importantly enhances their prospects of realization. The completion of all these investments would find Greece with an overcapacity of natural gas exceeding by far its annual consumption of ca. 4bcma, which apart from contributing to the energy security of the region, could also open the way for a further commercial use of the exceeding quantities. These developments would also support the aspiration of the Greek government to establish a virtual trading hub for natural gas based (possibly) in Thessaloniki.

The orientation of the Greek government to implement structural reforms and open up the energy market and thus enhance competition across the value chain, from energy generation to supply, as well as the attraction of foreign investments directed to energy infrastructure, could lay the foundation for the emergence of Greece as a strategic entrance and trade hub of natural gas in South-East Europe.

Dr. Kostas Andriosopoulos, Ass. Professor and Director of the Research Centre for Energy Management (RCEM) at ESCP Europe Business School, London; Vice Chairman BoD of DEPA (Public Gas Corporation of Greece).

Dimitris Arvanitis, Lawyer, LL.M, Ph.D cand. in Energy Law (City University London).

Finland Notifies 900,000 Reservists of Impending Activation

Finland writes to 900,000 military reservists amid heightened tensions with Russia

the independent

Finnish Defence Forces deny ‘crisis situation’ warning is related to security situation


The Finnish military has sent letters to the country’s 900,000 reservists and given them information about what their responsibilities would be in a “crisis situation”.

Finland has an 833 mile long border with Russia, which also makes the bulk of the European Union’s border with the state.

The move comes amid escalated air exercises between Nato and Russian warplanes with reports that the two blocs are routinely testing each other’s borders in the Baltic and English channel.

A television announcement was also broadcast on Finnish channels reminding reservists that “conscription if the cornerstone of Finland’s defence capability”.

Finland’s defence minister, Carl Haglund of the liberal minority language Swedish People’s Party, denied the communications campaign was related to the security situation with Russia.

“The aim of this isn’t to give out sort of message at all [to Russia],” he said, according to Finnish public broadcaster YLE.

A spokesperson for the Finnish Defence Forces told the news channel the campaign had been two years in the making and that is had nothing to do with the security situation in the country.

“The reservist letter is associated with our intention to develop communications with our reservists, and not the prevailing security situation,” a spokesperson told the channel.

Finland is not a member of Nato.

The country has a small professional peacetime army but can call on a large reserve of conscripts in the event of a mobilization.

According to Andrej Illarionov, the Vladimir Putin’s chief economic adviser from 2000 to 2005, the Russian president believes that parts of Finland should rightfully be under Russian control. The Russian government itself has not repeated such claims.

Bulgaria Rushes Troops To Macedonian Border, For Conquest Or Defense?

People are evacuated with an armored vehicle near a police checkpoint in Kumanovo, Macedonia, May 9, 2015

Bulgaria Sends Troops to Border With Macedonia Amid Deadly Clashes


© REUTERS/ Ognen Teofilovski

Suspicions about Bulgaria’s intentions were raised from the get-go, but now other developments and statements coming from the country appear to confirm what’s really behind their seemingly mystifying move.

Bulgaria, implicitly supported by the US and EU, is possibly attempting to reassert its de-facto claims over the territory and people of the Republic of Macedonia as a means of further destabilizing the country, sidelining Russia’s Balkan Stream project, and distracting from its own domestic malaise.

Latest Developments

Annexation Talk:

The sending of more troops to the Bulgarian-Macedonian border didn’t occur in a vacuum, as certain domestic forces have been pressing for Sofia to involve itself in its neighbor’s domestic and sovereign affairs. Take for example the Director of the National History Museum, Bozhidar Dimitrov, who provocatively hinted that Bulgaria might be confronted with the choice to re-annex its former Fascist-era conquest if asked to do so by the country’s dual Bulgarian citizens.

It should be noted that his call was made half a week prior to the buildup of Bulgaria’s military presence along the Macedonian border, so it’s feasible that this influential and well-connected academic and cultural personality may have had an impact on that decision.

Additionally, Dimitrov is widely known for his radical anti-Macedonian views, having even gone as far as publishing a book in which he asserts that his country’s internationally recognized neighbor is really part of Greater Bulgaria and that there’s no such thing as Macedonia, Macedonians, or the Macedonian language.

Direct Political Interference:

Concern about Bulgaria’s influence over Macedonia’s domestic crisis hit an alarm bell on Sunday when former Bulgarian Prime Minister and current President of the Party of European Socialists Sergey Stanishev attended the Color Revolution inauguration and revved up the anti-government crowd by speaking in both English and Bulgarian.

During his speech, he neglected to even mention the word “Macedonians”, thereby committing a common racial slight by Bulgarians who refuse to recognize the existence of the ethnicity.  It was all the more startling, however, that he had the gall to do so center-stage as a distinguished guest of the Color Revolutionary ‘opposition’, showing that neither he nor his hosts have the slightest care about the issue that forms the core of the country’s identity.

Lead From Behind:

Finally, it’s also telling that it was Bulgarian Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov who was chosen as the individual to announce the EU’s plans in crafting a unified approach to the Macedonian Crisis. This indicates that Brussels has made a conscientious decision to capitalize off of Bulgaria’s historically nationalist attitude to Macedonia in crowning it as the West’s Lead From Behind proxy.

IDF Offers “Iron Dome” To Zionist Saudi Brethren In Yemen

[SEE: “We, the Saudi family are cousins of the Jews.” ]

Rocket defense system was offered for Saudis to secure its border with Yemen.

jerusalem post

IRON DOMESoldiers stand near the Iron Dome missile defense system outside Tel Aviv.. (photo credit:MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)


Arabic-language newspaper Rai al-Youm reported on Saturday that Israel has offered Saudi Arabia to use its Iron Dome anti-rocket technology.

The offer was made to the Kingdom to defend its border with Yemen that has come under numerous rocket attacks.

According to the report, the offer was made last week during meetings in Amman between the Saudis and the US ambassador to Jordan. A spokesman for the Jordanian government said that he was not aware of a meeting between the Saudis and the Israelis in Amman, the news outlet reported.

Saudi Arabia reportedly rejected the offer, according to the London based newspaper.

On Thursday and Friday cross border rocket attacks launched from inside Yemen killed two people in southern Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia’s state news agency SPA reported on Friday.

SPA quoted a Civil Defense official in the southwestern province of Jizan as saying that a child was killed and three other children were wounded on Friday in the al-Tawal region.

A rocket attack on Thursday killed one citizen and wounded two others in al Hosn village, the agency reported earlier.

On Friday, Saudi-led coalition warplanes pounded Houthi-held military outposts on the hills overlooking the Yemeni capital Sanaa, as the eight-week military offensive aimed at ousting the rebels intensified over the weekend.

The airstrikes came as two Shi’ite mosques, one in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia and the other in Sanaa, were targeted by explosive devices and suicide bombers during Friday prayers.

Coalition fighter jets also targeted the presidential compound in the capital on Friday, where the Shi’ite rebels seized control in September.

The Saudi-led coalition of Sunni Arab nations intervened in Yemen’s civil war on March 26 with an all out air assault to force the Iran-allied Houthis to retreat from territories they have seized since last year, and restore the power of exiled Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Friday’s violence followed overnight airstrikes that targeted Houthi controlled military outposts of the notorious Republican Guard troops in the capital.

At least four missiles hit one of the Guard’s training camps in Sanaa late Thursday (May 21) night.

The latest spike in violence comes ahead of UN sponsored Yemen peace talks to be held in Geneva on May 28.