American Resistance To Empire

Putin’s Plan For International Anti-ISIS Coalition Includes Syria and Kurds

“Putin's plan” to deal with ISIS
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (C) walks with others before a trilateral meeting in Doha, Qatar August 3, 2015. Source: Reuters


Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov disclosed details of the Russian plan to combat the ISIS at a meeting in Qatar’s capital on August 3. The plan was first suggested by Russian President Vladimir Putin in June. The proposal aims to combine efforts of the Syrian and Iraqi armies, Kurdish militias and other regional forces against ISIS. However, the major hurdle here is the question of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, which the United States and several Gulf States want to have removed from power.

In Doha, Lavrov said Moscow feels that “only air strikes (conducted against ISIS by US-led coalition forces) is insufficient”, and “it is necessary to form a coalition of like-minded people”, including from those who are “on the ground with weapons in hand fighting against this terrorist threat”. “And that includes the Syrian and Iraqi armies and the Kurds,” said Lavrov. According to a Russian Foreign Ministry statement, the coalition against ISIS must be formed on “a coherent international legal basis”, which means only with a UN Security Council mandate.

The minister said the question of Russia’s support for Assad is irrelevant to now, as not too long ago, during meetings held in Geneva on the Syrian crisis, “the international community, including members of the UN Security Council, Turkey, the EU, and the Arab countries, agreed to a transitional political period, and not to a regime change in Syria…”.

No reaction

It is unclear how US Secretary of State John Kerry and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir reacted to the Russian proposal. According to Yevgeny Satanovsky, president of the Institute of the Middle East, an independent research center, this was something that everyone expected from such a meeting – given the current international environment. The Americans are on a course that refuses to change the USA’s attitude towards the Assad regime, making it extremely difficult to implement the Russian plan. He said Washington “received an order to overthrow Assad” and “one of these ‘customers’ is Saudi Arabia”. According to Satanovsky, given this background, a breakthrough in the Syrian direction is unlikely.

The analyst believes that even a growing threat from ISIS will not impact the USA’s approach to the ruling regime in Syria, since activities of ISIS do not directly threaten US interests.

Help to “moderate” Syrian opposition

Despite appeals from Moscow on August 3, Washington is apparently toughening its position against the Assad regime. The United States now plans to militarily defend the “moderate” Syrian opposition, which the USA has trained, in the event of attacks on them not only by ISIS militants, but also by the Syrian Army.

As the Pentagon announced, “defensive fire support” was provided on Friday. The targets of this “support” were militants linked to the Al Qaeda extremist organization – the Jabhat al-Nusra Front. The Pentagon said this “fire support” from the air would be provided “regardless of who attacks them, (militants of the “moderate” Syrian opposition) or who they attack”.

In Doha, Lavrov called this approach illegal, from the point of view of international law, stressing that it constitutes an obstacle to the formation of a united front to counter ISIS. He also noted that “the most important thing here is that, so far, as events have proven, the vast majority of the so-called ‘moderate’ opposition militants, trained in neighboring countries by American military instructors, have ended up fighting on the side of the extremists”. “I do not think I was able to shake the US position, but we clearly disagree on this issue,” the Russian minister concluded.

Refugee Crisis Result of Western Chaos in Middle East

Czech President: Refugee Crisis Result of Western Chaos in Middle East


The flow of immigrants to Europe stems from the Western states’ military interventions in Iraq, Libya and Syria, which have contributed to the emergence of terrorist groups in the Middle East, Czech President Milosh Zeman told local media.

“The current wave of migration [to Europe] is rooted in the crazy [US] idea to launch an intervention in Iraq, which allegedly had weapons of mass destruction, but nothing was found,” Zeman said in a video interview  with the Czech Repubic’s Blesk newspaper published on Sunday.

On top of this, the US’ desire to “restore order” in Libya and Syria only resulted in the escalation of conflicts in both countries and the emergence of terrorist organizations, prompting people to flee the area, Zeman said.

He added that not only the US was to blame for the migrant chaos, but its Western allies that helped to “coordinate operations in Libya” as well.

He announced his intention to speak at the regular session of the UN General Assembly later this year and propose that the UN create military units to destroy terrorist training camps.

Zeman also lashed out at immigrants on Sunday after tensions at a refugee detention center in the Czech Republic’s northeast prompted police to use tear gas. About 100 illegal immigrants waiting for deportation staged a demonstration on Friday, damaging the building of the center, according to local authorities.

“No one invited you here. But now you are here, you must respect our rules, as we respect the rules when we go to your country,” the president said.

According to police, 3,018 illegal migrants have been intercepted by Czech law enforcement so far in 2015. The figure is almost 50% higher than in the first half of 2014.

Meanwhile, late on Saturday, about two hundred migrants, according to AP estimates, once again stormed the Eurotunnel terminal near the French port town of Calais in a bid to reach the UK. Police reportedly stopped the crowd by using a chemical irritant. More than a hundred attempts to enter the tunnel have been documented by security forces in this week alone. A man was fatally hit by a truck during one of attempts.

The chaos in Calais, where thousands of migrants have been making nightly attempts to access the Eurotunnel terminal, has shown “a system that is breaking down,” Morgan Johansson, the Swedish justice and migration minister, told BBC Radio 4’s World This Weekend.

He accused Britain of failing to “take the responsibility that they should,” and criticized Prime Minister David Cameron for the wording he uses with regard to migrants.

“I hear what he is saying about ‘illegal immigrants’ and ‘swarms’ and I think he is trying to divide people, that that is not a constructive way.”

The refugee camp set up near Calais, dubbed the “Jungle,” houses up to 10,000 immigrants. Xavier Bertrand, French MP and mayor of the northern city of Saint-Quentin, who is familiar with the situation, told RT the conditions at the camp “are severe.”

Royal Yemen War Destroys Saudi Drug Market, Fueling Unrest and Antiwar Sentiment

[SEE:  CAPTAGON—Saudi Mind Control Drug of Choice]

72 kilos of hashish seized by Saudi border police. (Photo from Althawra newspaper’s website)

Hash Highway to Saudi Arabia Dries Up as Coalition Bombs Yemen

Bloomberg Business

Saudi Arabia’s four-month-old bombing campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen has been widely supported in the kingdom, but it’s had an unintended consequence: It has almost choked off the supply of amphetamines and hashish smuggled from across the border.

Saudi guards peering from concrete towers along the Yemeni border say the war has shut down trafficking, while 530 miles (850 kilometers) away in Riyadh residents have seen their supplies dry up.

“Smuggling has stopped,” Adel al-Aroosi, a major in the border guard in the southern province of Najran, said as he watched for rebel movements across a wide expanse of desert ringed by arid mountains.

Heavy drug consumption is surprisingly common in this austere kingdom with ample cash, high unemployment and harsh punishment for offenders. A United Nations report said amphetamines seized by Saudi authorities in 2011 accounted for more than a third of all global seizures.

Since the war began in March, seizures along the southern border have plummeted, down 75 percent for hashish and 95 percent for amphetamines, according to the interior ministry.

A Riyadh psychotherapist, who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect her patients’ privacy, said drug abuse is spurred by a lack of physical activity as well as increased self medication and boredom. Hashish is consumed like cigarettes, she said, with little awareness about addiction.

Last year, Saudi authorities nabbed a record 100 million tablets of an amphetamine called Captagon, according to Nizar Alsalih, a consultant for Saudi Arabia’s National Narcotics Control Commission. Most Captagon is smuggled from Jordan and Iraq, he said.

No Syringes Needed

Captagon, known on the streets of Riyadh as “roush,” is widely used in the Gulf but negligible in the rest of the world. It is popular because it doesn’t “require the paraphernalia of real narcotics — no need for smoking or syringes or rolled up 50 riyal notes,” said Justin Thomas, a U.A.E.-based psychologist.

The 1,100-mile border between Yemen and Saudi Arabia — similar to that between Mexico and the U.S. — is described by Western security officials as the hash highway. The region’s poorest country, Yemen has a weak central government and poorly trained police, so traffickers move with near impunity. Saudi Arabia has long struggled with its drug trade and the thousands of East Africans and Yemenis who work as smugglers.

A Saudi-led coalition started bombing the Iranian-backed Houthis in March to stop them from seizing the southern port city of Aden. Recently, the coalition was able to push the group out of most of the city, the first significant gain for the government forces.

Maritime Blockade

As part of the Yemen war, Saudi Arabia has not only bolstered its troops on the border but also imposed a maritime blockade around Yemen’s ports, cutting illegal drug routes.

But smugglers are inventive. Authorities recently broke up a gang using a drone to supply hashish and Captagon to prison inmates in Jeddah, Arab News reported last month.

Saudi Arabia’s Wahabbi interpretation of Islam prohibits single men and women from mixing in public and bans cinemas and other forms of entertainment common throughout the Middle East. It is also unforgiving of violators. This year, 47 people were executed for non-violent drug offenses, according to Human Rights Watch.

The restrictions help fuel drug addiction, according to James Dorsey, a senior fellow in international studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. “It is a reflection of a society that fails to meet expectations and aspirations of important segments of the population,” he said.

Raising Awareness

Years of ignoring the issue and a conservative culture reluctant to discuss addiction have made facts about drug abuse hard to pin down. Now, the kingdom’s National Commission for Drug Control is trying to raise awareness through a public campaign.

The government is using social media and reaching out to universities to do so, said Alsalih, the consultant who is also a psychology professor at King Saud University. Young adults, he said, don’t think of using Captagon as “abuse.” They take tablets for “energy to stay awake” and aren’t aware that they are altering their brain chemistry.