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American Resistance To Empire

Iran’s top leader says U.S. relocates IS Assets to Afghanistan

Iran’s top leader says U.S. relocates IS to Afghanistan

Editor: pengying

TEHRAN, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) — Iran‘s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tuesday that the United States has been relocating the so-called Islamic State (IS) to Afghanistan to justify its military presence in the region.

By transferring the IS terror group from Iraq and Syria to Afghanistan, the United States seeks “to justify the continuation of its presence in the region and to create security for the Zionist regime (of Israel),” Khamenei said according to the state TV.

“The same hands that created Daesh (IS) as a tool to oppress people in Syria and Iraq and carry out crimes against them are today seeking to transfer Daesh to Afghanistan after its defeats there,” he was quoted as saying.

The United States “is the main source of insecurity in Afghanistan,” he said, adding that the recent killings in Afghanistan represent an early stage in the scheme of relocating IS to the country.

Khamenei said Washington’s proxies have been directly or indirectly involved in the killings perpetrated in Afghanistan over the past 20 years in the name of religion. “To the U.S.-backed terrorists, Shiite and Sunni (Muslims) are no different, and civilians, including Shiites and Sunnis, are their target,” he stressed.

Washington wants to advance their own political and economic agendas through destabilizing Afghanistan, he added.

Gigantic Qatari Al Udeid Air Base To Expand and Become Permanent

Qatar CRISIS: Trump’s ‘BIG PLAN’ for ‘PERMANENT’ military presence in Middle East deal

THOUSANDS of US troops could be sent to Qatar by the Trump administration as the two countries execute a “big plan” aimed at increasing an American military presence in the Middle East, the Qatari Defence Minister has announced.

Qatar is already home to the US Air Force Central Command but the countries are said to be keen on expanding the Al Udeid military base to house more military personnel.

Al Udeid is currently home to 11,000 people employed by the US armed forces and plays a crucial role in giving the US air power in the Middle East.

Announcing the decision Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah said: “We have a big plan to expand Al Udeid to make it permanent.

“Colleagues in the US Department of Defence are reluctant to mention the word permanent, but we are working from our side to make it permanent.

“We are planning for a 2040 Vision in the military-to-military cooperation with the United States in all aspects whether it is in the Air Force, Navy or the land force.”

The US and Qatar are long term allies in the region and have been working together since the 1990s in a bid to crack down on the financing of terrorism.

Last year American military and Qatari armed forces carried out military exercises in a show of co-operation between the two countries’ armed forces.

Donald Trump is keen on increasing the presence of US military in the region as fears of a Gulf War rage on and is working with Qatar to improve their defence facilities in the Middle East.

Since he became President last year, Trump has increased the number of US troops and civilians working for the Department of Defence in the Middle East by more than 30 per cent from 40,517 to 54,180.

Trump Qatar

GETTY

Donald Trump has agreed a deal with Qatar to increase their military presence in the Middle East

The international power is keen on being well placed in case its allies are targeted by an attack.

The conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran has been building over the past 12 months.

The US agreement to expand Al Udeid comes in spite of an increase in relations between Qatar and Russia.

Qatar Foreign Minister

GETTY

The Middle East state is considering purchasing S-400 air defence missile systems from Putin.

However, dismissing queries that the sale could cause tension between the US and Qatar Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah said: “You know we have a rooted, historical relationship, whether military-to-military or education or energy with the United States.

“So I don’t think such a thing will affect the historical, solid relationship with the United States.”

Pentagon Orders STOP To Afghan Progress Reports To American Public

[SEE: Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction SIGAR–JAN 30, 2018]

Inspector general accuses Pentagon of censoring Afghanistan data

The federal watchdog overseeing U.S. efforts in Afghanistan slammed the Defense Department on Monday night for blocking the release of unclassified data on U.S. progress there, calling the order unprecedented and “troubling for a number of reasons.”

In a letter accompanying its regular quarterly report, the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR, said the Defense Department blocked publication of data on “the number of districts, and the population living in them, controlled or influenced by the Afghan government or by the insurgents, or contested by both.”

Those data aren’t classified, but the Defense Department determined that “they are not releasable to the public,” said the letter, which gave no indication that the Defense Department provided a reason for the decision.

Why Americans should expect to see casualties rise in Afghanistan

The letter, which is signed by Inspector General John Sopko, called the order distressing because “the number of districts controlled or influenced by the Afghan government had been one of the last remaining publicly available indicators for members of Congress — many of whose staff do not have access to the classified annexes to SIGAR reports — and for the American public of how the 16-year-long U.S. effort to secure Afghanistan is faring.”

On a broader scale, the directive is troubling because “this is the first time SIGAR has been specifically instructed not to release information marked ‘unclassified’ to the American taxpayer,” the letter said.

In its last report, in October (PDF), SIGAR said the Taliban controlled or was contesting 43 percent of Afghanistan’s districts, up from 40 percent in July.

Image: Kabul attack

Afghan soldiers stand guard at Marshal Fahim military academy after an attack Sunday in Kabul, Afghanistan. Omar Sobhani / Reuters

“Historically, the number of districts controlled or influenced by the government has been falling since SIGAR began reporting on it, while the number controlled or influenced by the insurgents has been rising — a fact that should cause even more concern about its disappearance from public disclosure and discussion,” SIGAR said Monday night.

In a statement to Reuters, the Defense Department said it wasn’t responsible for the order, saying it had been issued by Operation Resolute Support, the NATO-led coalition in Afghanistan.

Related: U.S. has thousands more troops in Afghanistan than the Pentagon admits

The commander of Operation Resolute Support, however, is a U.S. Army general, John Nicholson Jr. In November, Nicholson told NBC News that the war in Afghanistan remains in a “stalemate” but that “we’ve set all the conditions to win.”

August 2017: What Afghan strategy may signal to Afghan government

The SIGAR complaint comes as Taliban and Islamic State fighters have increased their attacks in Afghanistan, especially in Kabul, the capital. Hundreds of people have been killed in a wave of attacks in the last few months.

On Jan. 20, at least 14 foreigners and four Afghans were killed when gunmen stormed the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, and at least five people were killed and two dozen injured when four gunmen stormed an office of the Save the Children aid agency in Jalalabad on Jan. 24.

On Saturday, a Taliban attacker drove an ambulance filled with explosives into the heart of Kabul, killing at least 103 people. Then, on Sunday, 11 Afghan troops were killed when ISIS militants attacked a military academy in Kabul.

Old Conservative, Pro-Reagan Press, Pitts. Post Gaz., Calls For Afghan Withdrawal

The Afghan morass: Three brutal attacks underscore futility of U.S. role

 

Three recent attacks in Afghanistan, waged by the Islamic State, a new player there, and the Taliban, a very old element in the interplay of forces in the country, should make something plain to Americans: It is time for us to conclude that we have done as much useful there as we can, and that it is time for us to go.

The fact that some Americans are making money and gaining career advancement from U.S. involvement in Afghanistan is far from sufficient reason for us to stay.

The three attacks were all different, but equally negative in both their impact and their implications. The first was on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, the capital. At least 43 were killed, including some Americans. The Taliban claimed that one. A second assault was on a Save the Children office in Jalalabad, claimed by the Islamic State. The third, which occurred Saturday, was carried out by an ambulance filled with bombs, in Kabul. It killed more than 100 and was claimed by the Taliban.

The United States has more than 14,000 troops in Afghanistan, accompanied by at least an equivalent number of employees of American contractor firms. The U.S. plan is to try to train and equip a sufficient number of Afghan armed forces not only to maintain security in the country, but also to find and kill the Taliban and Islamic State forces that contest control of the country with the Afghan government.

President Ashraf Ghani’s government is divided, weak and corrupt. It does not even hold authority over its own appointed officials. The most prominent among them have their own tribal or family militias which enable them easily to maintain their independence from the Kabul government’s control.

In the meantime, the position of the Afghan government is that everything that is going wrong in Afghanistan in the security area is the fault of Pakistan. Pakistan disagrees. Its government too is a mass of competing elements. It does see Afghanistan as a neighboring territory that it doesn’t want to fall under the influence of India, its principal rival, and it does play games by giving aid and shelter to Taliban elements. But blaming all of Afghanistan’s ills on Pakistan is too simple.

American media are full of accounts of the Vietnam War, including the movie “The Post” and Ken Burns’ series on PBS. We are reminded, first, of the endless character of the Vietnam War, expensive in lives, cash and national unity. Second, and more to the point, we are reminded of the lack of courage on the part of successive American presidents, even when it was clear that all we could do in Vietnam wasn’t going to work, to withdraw the U.S. forces and involvement in that losing venture. U.S. entanglement there went on for decades, until 1975. America has been engaged in Afghanistan since 2001, coming up to 17 years now.

Don’t Fuck with the Charleston Police!

Imperial Plan To Use Civil War As Gas and Oil Valve–PART II

Imperial Plan To Use Civil War As Gas and Oil Valve–PART II

[American foreign policy has proven to be a formula for using “civil war” as a weapon.  As repugnant as it seems, it is true, that our leaders have chosen a policy of fighting our wars by getting other nations and other cultures to go to war upon themselves, within their own societies, and upon their own people, to advance American goals.  Quite a trick, if you can manage it, obtaining policy through the sowing of chaos.  Money and covert coercion proved to be sufficient motivation to accomplish US goals, of blocking the flow of oil and gas which was not under Western control.  There is no more obvious example of this blatantly aggressive war policy than this report of US moving Poland to attempt the blocking of Russian gas, bound for Germany.  An act of passive-aggressive warfare, which does not quite fit the definition of “Agressive War,” as defined in the Nuremburg Trials.]
[“The pattern displayed so far is too consistent to be the result of chance, or a blundering foreign policy….
All of the wars started within the greater war (which used to be called ‘war on terror’) have blocked oil and gas which was about to be brought onto the market.”–
Imperial Plan To Use Civil War As Gas and Oil Valve]

[U.S. says planned Russian pipeline would threaten European energy security US forcing Europe to abandon Russian gas & buy more expensive American LNG – Lavrov]

[Are LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) and Shale Gas Cooling European Ardor for Gas Pipelines?Oct 25, 2012 ;

US Creating Conflict To Sell Expensive Fracked GasOct 12, 2014 ;

Without War To Inflate the Price, Many Anticipated Gas “Bonanzas” May Go BustJun 6, 2014]

Poland hopes for US support in counteracting Nord Stream-2 – foreign minister

Poland has criticized Nord Stream-2 as an instrument of political pressure, said Poland’s Foreign Minister Yacek Czaputowicz

© EPA/STEFAN SAUER

WARSAW, January 27. /TASS/. Poland hopes the U.S. will offer political support for the republic in counteracting the Nord Stream-2 project, Poland’s Foreign Minister Yacek Czaputowicz told a joint news conference following a meeting between the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Saturday.

“Poland has criticized Nord Stream-2 as an instrument of political pressure,” he said.

“We shall ask the U.S. partners to support our politics in this sphere.”.

Besides, the Polish foreign minister stressed important of the U.S. participation in improvement of the republic’s energy security. “We share the view about necessary diversification of energy sources, including by importing the U.S. liquefied natural gas,” he said.

In late November, 2017, Poland’s energy company PGNiG (Polskie G·rnictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo) signed a contract on LNG supplies from the U.S. This contract will be an alternative for buying gas from Russia, the Polish company said. The deal’s term is five years, its cost is not announced.

In December, Russia’s Natural Resources Ministry said that it had officially notified the environmental authorities of all Baltic countries that Russia had completed international procedures envisaged by the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment within a transboundary context for the construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is expected to come into service at the end of 2019. The pipeline is set to run from the Russian coast along the Baltic Sea bed to the German shore. Each of the pipeline’s two stretches will have a capacity of 27.5 bln cubic meters. The new pipeline that is expected to connect the Russian resource base with European customers, will double the capacity of the first line and will basically follow its route. The cost of construction of the Nord Stream-2 is estimated at 9.5 bln euros.

Chaos As Policy…US Foreign Policy In the Middle East

U.S. spreads chaos in the Middle East

U.S. special forces in Syria.

U.S. imperialism’s deteriorating position in the Middle East was confirmed on Jan. 16 by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s bold assertion for U.S. plans in Syria. The arrogant statement was followed, within hours, by almost immediate backpedaling.

Tillerson’s talk at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University confirmed that the only hope of maintaining U.S. domination is another desperate attempt to close all borders and dismember the entire region. But the latest plan has also created a rupture in NATO, the oldest and largest U.S.-commanded military alliance.

Meanwhile, Turkish planes bombed 100 positions in Syria of U.S.-backed Kurdish YPG forces (the Kurdish acronym for People’s Protection Units) on Jan. 21.

As the war in Syria stretches into the seventh year, Tillerson grandly announced the U.S. military will remain in Syria indefinitely. The newest U.S. plan is to create and train a military border force of 30,000 soldiers. The secretary of state also arrogantly restated the U.S. demand that has met with failure for seven years: the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the overthrow of the Syrian Arab Republic government.

This was not the first mention of new U.S. plans there. General Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command, said on Dec. 24 that a training program was being established for Kurdish and Arab fighters to become a permanent U.S. occupying force in Syria. Votel declared, “What we don’t want to do is leave a mess.” (us.pressfrom.com, Dec. 24)

In fact, U.S. long-term plans are to permanently divide Syria and Iraq and expand their imperialist “mess” into Iran.

Since Jan. 14, news reports around the world reported U.S. plans to create a new “border force” in Syria on the borders of Turkey and Iraq. This U.S. plan would separate the oil-rich northern region from the rest of Syria, create a mini-state and close the borders.

Washington said it would help Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of militias in northern and eastern Syria led by Kurdish YPG militias, to set up a new 30,000-strong border force.

A flurry of other U.S. statements drew out this plan more explicitly.

The coalition’s Public Affairs Office said: “The base of the new force is essentially a realignment of approximately 15,000 members of the SDF to a new mission in the Border Security Force as their actions against ISIS [the Islamic State group, IS] draw to a close.” (Reuters, Jan. 14)

Before the announcement of a new U.S. plan to occupy and divide the region, numerous commentators described an unprecedented development with the defeat of IS – open borders among Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey. The whole region has been divided since the 1991 U.S. war to recolonize and divide Iraq.

Turkey immediately slammed this new plan of a permanent U.S. occupation through an alliance with YPG Kurdish forces in Syria. Turkey warned of military action against the U.S.-armed and -protected YPG forces.

In the face of Turkey’s fierce opposition, Tillerson claimed, “That entire situation has been misportrayed, misdescribed, some people misspoke. We are not creating a border security force at all.” (aljazeera, Jan. 18)

The Kurdish Nation

Turkey’s great fear is that a “border force” of U.S.-armed Kurdish militias will siphon off advanced U.S.-supplied weapons, including anti-aircraft missiles, to Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) forces in Turkey.

Although there are 1.5 to 2 million Kurds in Syria, there are almost 20 million nationally oppressed Kurds in Turkey. Making up 20 percent of population, they are the majority population in southern Turkey, bordering northern Syria, Iraq and Iran.

For decades the Pentagon has armed Turkey and aided in the brutal repression of the Kurds, who resisted under the leadership of the PKK.

But imperialism sees an opportunity to use the smaller Kurdish population in Syria, where they are 5 percent to 8 percent of the Syrian population, as a way to divide Syria. The Kurds in Syria are under the leadership of the Democratic Union Party (PYD); their armed units are the YPG. These are the main units of the U.S.-armed Syrian Democratic Forces.

U.S. imperialism used a similar scenario to impose a division on Iraq. This is imperialism’s divide-and-rule strategy for the entire region. Using the Kurds’ national aspirations for a temporary U.S. military or political advantage, and then cynically dropping them, dates back to Henry Kissinger.

The Kurds are a historically oppressed nation with a distinct language and culture, numbering over 30 million people. They are the largest nation without a state. They live in the underdeveloped, mountainous region spanning four countries: southern Turkey and northern Iraq, Iran and Syria.

Some 72 Turkish jets bombed U.S.-backed Kurdish militias in Syria on Jan. 21. The Turkish news agency Anadolu reported that jets bombed more than 100 targets, including an air base, in the first day of air operations against YPG militias. The operation targeted YPG barracks, shelters, positions, weapons, vehicles and equipment.

Each U.S. maneuver has created greater destruction, but the U.S. has been unable to consolidate its position in the region or gain stable allies.

U.S. divide-and-destroy tactics

Since 2011 the U.S. has covertly armed a whole series of conflicting militias and mercenaries.

With a wink and a nod from U.S. forces in the region, which were arming numerous extremist militias, Saudi Arabia and Turkey armed the fanatical IS army. This became an excuse for open U.S. bombing of Syrian infrastructure.

The U.S. military command pulled 19 other NATO and Gulf countries into the war in Syria. This military onslaught was totally uninvited by the Syrian government.

The Syrian government appealed to Iran, Russia and Hezbollah forces in Lebanon to aid them in defeating IS and the Pentagon-funded militias and mercenaries. This forced Washington to change tactics, but not its objective — the recolonization of the region.

U.S.-imposed sanctions against Iraq and then Syria were an effort to destroy all forms of normal economic exchange and to shut down all commercial and social life. The U.S. occupation of Iraq divided the country into walled-off mini-states with checkpoints and inspections. All borders were closed. U.S. intervention in Syria was designed to do the same thing.

U.S. wars in the region have displaced more than 10 million people and decimated the region. They have created animosity and suspicion on every side, divided the corrupt and brutal feudal Gulf state regime aligned with imperialism, and are now dividing the oldest U.S. military alliance — NATO.

But after seven years of war and 15 years of sanctions, U.S. imperialism has still not succeeded in destroying the sovereign government of the Syrian Arab Republic.

Forget About Hollywood Endings For Movies About Our Neverending Wars

Entertaining or not, movies like ’12 Strong’ show the difficulty in trying to understand the Afghanistan War from within.

Another January, another film that plays off American fear of foreign invaders. Hot on the heels of 2017’s Patriots Day and 2016’s 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, comes 12 Strong, a film about the early days of the Afghanistan War. And it will come as a shock to nobody that critics aren’t exactly impressed with the movie’s historiography. The AP’s Lindsey Bahr, in an otherwise favorable review, notes that “politics and consequences, both before and after this mission, are of little interest to the filmmakers.” Entertainment Weekly‘s Chris Nashawaty more openly dings the movie for its disinterest in anything other than “unfiltered American heroism,” noting that 12 Strong has zero interest in the “decade and a half of frustration, casualties, and ultimate stalemate that lay ahead.” Read what critics have to say, and a common theme occurs: perhaps 12 Strong is an appropriate vehicle for star Chris Hemsworth, but it is painfully ahistorical, a movie without any sense of the endless road ahead for American soldiers.

This raises a difficult question. As many critics have also pointed out, we are now in the 16th year of the Afghanistan War with no end in sight. This is a war that has persisted nearly three-times as long as World War II and a whopping five times longer than the Korean War. How, then, can Hollywood expect to make sense of a war without the necessary distance to evaluate it? Is it possible to make the definitive film about the Afghanistan War even as the conflict rages on in another country? History suggests not.

No American war has escaped revisionist histories or reevaluations of wartime themes. In 2014, The Guardian‘s Andrew Pulver offered an overview of how our culture’s perception of World War II had changed over time. During the war, he argues, the movies had erred on the side of being “patriotic flagwavers and somewhat hazy accounts of derring-do.” It wasn’t until the war had ended that the narrative began to take on a more introspective bent. Pulver points to movies such as Bridge on the River Kwai as examples that “began to undermine the sense of moral certainty around the war,” and a second wave of World War II movies began to treat the war’s veterans with more nuance and clarity. Films about post-traumatic stress, for example — like John Huston’s Let There Be a Light, a documentary about PTSD that so frightened the military they confiscated the print shortly before its world premiere — eventually became commonplace, and a generation of  moviegoers were presented with a more nuanced version of the conflict than ever before.

But some gaps persist to this day. While recent films have explored the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder in greater detail, many contemporary World War II movies were keen to wallpaper over the cracks in the facade of the All-American Man. “Through the 1950s, the troubled vet routinely surfaced as a character in film noir, often as the villain,” wrote Star-Telegram‘s Tim Madigan in an essay on the unwritten history of World War II PTSD, “[but] the lingering horrors of war otherwise retreated from the public conversation, often overshadowed by communism.” And then there are the countless films that focus on the whiteness of American soldiers, despite the many men and women of color who served. Steve Rose recently wrote about this in The Guardian, pointing out the complaints many had at the “whitewashed” history present in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk and using Dee Rees’s Mudbound as an example of a more intersectional war film.

More recently we’ve seen this play out with the Vietnam War, a war whose cinema evolved quickly and violently to outgrow the jingoistic narrative present in many war films. John Wayne famously attempted to create a pro-war Vietnam movie with his 1968 feature The Green Berets, but contemporary reviews weren’t kind — the New York Times called it “vile and insane” — and history has been less kind still to Wayne’s government-sanctioned retelling of the war. Over time, films capturing the events of the Vietnam War focused less on the chaos of the overarching narratives and more on the concept of solidarity with the men around you. Film historian Steve Neale has described the country’s withdrawal from Vietnam as undermining the American “victory culture,” creating a void that made it difficult for Hollywood to process the meaning of the war. Many Vietnam War films became about the person standing next to you, the bonds of brotherhood that formed in combat, even when the combat itself failed to adhere to any morality or reason.

Still. As the saying goes, those who forget history are doomed to repeat it, and even some of our most recent wars can lose their meaning without diligence. In college, I had the privilege of studying under Dr. Harry Haines, a Vietnam veteran who has worked tirelessly to resurface the experience of gay soldiers during the war. In 2014, Dr. Haines wrote about an alarming trend he saw in the current generation of would-be soldiers, describing how the “public memory of the Vietnam War has been hijacked to rationalize a new phase of aggression” against countries like Iraq and Afghanistan. “We don’t live in times that are simply dangerous,” he concludes, “we live in times that are seemingly absurd.” How can you write a history that continues to exist in present tense, that demands continued public support and good publicity from the home crowd? If even the Vietnam War can fade into obsolescence before our very eyes — if our own histories, written in ink, are twisted and reshaped — then what hope do we have of making sense of something as murky and confusing as the war in Afghanistan?

Perhaps we already know the answer. In his review of 12 StrongThe Hollywood Reporter‘s Todd McCarthy notes that the film most closely resembles that Vietnam “classic” The Green Berets. Calling out the movie’s “simplistic, one-dimensional politics and lack of of historical perspective,” McCarthy ends his review with a delightfully back-handed piece of praise: “What they’ve made is, from the American perspective, a feel-good movie about Afghanistan, something it took Jerry Bruckheimer to figure out how to do.” There’s the only history of the movie that needs be written.

US Defense Secretary Paints a Misleading Global Picture

US Defense Secretary Paints a Misleading Global Picture

 

US Defense Secretary Paints a Misleading Global Picture

PARIS — U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis made a remarkable admission last week while introducing the new National Defense Strategy.

“We will continue to prosecute the campaign against terrorists that we’re engaged in today,” Mattis said, “but great power competition, not terrorism, is now the primary focus of U.S. national security.”

Using the term “competition” instead of “war” implies an economic component, since there are currently no direct military competitions between the U.S. and either Russia or China. Governments almost never frame military conflict in economic terms, presumably since the idea of spilling blood for any reason other than an imminent threat to people’s lives is a hard sell to the public.

Yet it’s clear that economic competition is an underlying cause of every conflict in the world today, including the battle against the Islamic State. As former French intelligence chief Alain Juillet has noted, the terrorist troubles in Syria just happened to arise three weeks after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s 2011 selection of an Iranian-Iraqi pipeline through Syria rather than a Saudi-Qatari pipeline. The competing pipeline plans would provide a way for either Iran or Qatar to ship natural gas to Europe from the vast Iranian-Qatari South Pars/North Dome gas field, thus eliminating the high cost of transporting the gas by tankers.

Given the public aversion to military conflict based on economics, it’s understandable that Mattis didn’t go a step further by saying “great power economic competition” is now the primary focus of national security policy. He could have, although stating the obvious would have made the justification of any military-spending increase virtually impossible. If you’re in the business of weapons-building and soldier-deploying, what are you going to do when global competition is no longer won by military intervention and might, but rather by deal-making?

Since Mattis certainly wasn’t going to accompany his statement with a downsizing announcement, or a restructuring of the military to shift resources to economic intelligence, one had to wonder how long it would take for the other shoe to drop. In other words, how would Mattis combine an admission that global conflicts are economic in nature with a continuing need for U.S. military might?

It didn’t take long. In the same speech, Mattis singled out Russia and China as “revisionist powers” seeking to “create a world consistent with their authoritarian models, pursuing veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic and security decisions.”

Those are some impressive rhetorical gymnastics. Mattis managed to shove economic competition into the military/defense box by suggesting that Russia and China are trying to take over the world by making other countries more like them. Basically, Mattis blended the new “economic competition” model with the old “Red Scare” communist threat.

Nice try. No one with a foothold in reality believes that Russia and China are attempting to impose any kind of ideology on other countries. Does anyone in the U.S. really think that Russia and China are breathing down their necks on a daily basis? The secretary of defense has just said that this should be your primary security concern as an American. Seriously. Does this actually match your day-to-day reality?

If anything, China and Russia are playing a capitalist “away game” on the world stage that puts some of the original proponents of capitalism to shame. That’s on us. Trash-talking the opponent isn’t the best recipe for victory.

Mattis laments Russia and China’s “veto authority” over other nations. It’s hard to imagine which veto powers Mattis is referring to. With the exception of Security Council resolutions, U.N. resolutions are non-binding. Mattis seems to be pretending that the United Nations has dictated to America what it can and cannot do, which has never been the case.

Where Mattis has a valid point is in pinpointing detrimental aspects of the current globalist system. Institutions of global governance were initially created by Western nations in an attempt to avoid war and to draw countries such as China and Russia into the global fold. But China and Russia have adopted a measured multilateral approach without sacrificing their own self-interest or national borders — unlike in Europe, where countries are struggling with the effects of ceding national sovereignty to supranational European Union governance.

The Donald Trump administration has more in common with China and Russia than Mattis cared to publicly admit. All are looking out for their own interests in an era where the failures of globalization have become all too evident. All are playing the exact same game. So let’s not pretend that there are “good” and “bad” players here — it’s just “our side” and “their side.” And “our side” really needs to get real and stop blaming others.

Iran Disrupts Saudi Bomb Plot, Seizes 23 Bombs and Bomb-Making Materials

Iranian security forces (file photo)
Iranian security forces (file photo)

Iran has captured two large caches of explosives and powerful bombs that were supposed to be detonated in populated areas as part of two terrorist plots, one of them directly designed and led by Saudi Arabia.

The Iranian Intelligence Ministry said in a Wednesday statement that in one operation, security forces discovered no less than 23 remote controlled bombs that terrorists were going to use in order to wreak havoc in the eastern parts of the country.

Terrorists had managed to carry the bombs over Iran’s eastern borders and sneak them into the country using help from Saudi intelligence agencies, according to the statement.

The ministry said another shipment of explosives complete with bomb-making equipment were seized from a terrorist group in the western province of Kordestan.

The materials, captured from a “separatist” militant group in the border town of Mariwan, included military-grade material such as TNT, C4, explosive kits and electronic charges.

The statement did not reveal further details about the identities of the terrorists or their possible targets.

Saudi officials have on several occasions made open calls for instability in Iran.

Read More:

Hours before a series of terrorist acts that killed and injured several people in Tehran last June, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said, “Iran must be punished for its interference in the region.”

The Daesh Takfiri terrorist group claimed responsibility for the near-simultaneous assaults at Iran’s Parliament (Majlis) and the Mausoleum of the late Founder of the Islamic Republic Imam Khomeini.

A month before that, then-Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman said in a televised interview with Arabic-language Al-Manar TV, “We will work to have the battle in Iran rather than in Saudi Arabia.”

This is while Takfirism, a trademark of terrorist groups such as Daesh, is largely influenced by Wahhabism, the radical ideology that dominates Saudi Arabia and is freely preached by Saudi clerics.

Pakistan Calls For “Credible Probe” into Taliban-Claimed Kabul Hotel Attack

Pakistan’s foreign ministry rejected claims by some circles that Pakistan militants had been involved in the attack.

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The Pakistani government has called for a credible investigation into Saturday’s deadly Taliban attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul that left at least 43 people dead and many more wounded.  

Reacting to the attack, the Pakistani ministry of foreign affairs rejected allegations by some Afghan circles that Pakistan-based militants were behind the attack.

“We reject the knee jerk allegations by some Afghan circles that point the finger at Pakistan for the terrorist attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul. There is a need for a credible investigation into the attack, including into reported security lapses,” said Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokesperson Mohammad Faisal.

Widespread condemnation poured in on Sunday after at least 43 people were killed when six Taliban attackers went on an overnight rampage through the Intercontinental Hotel in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Saturday.

Widespread condemnation poured in on Sunday after at least 43 people were killed when six Taliban attackers went on an overnight

India, US  and the UN were quick to condemn the attack, which was “one of the biggest” attacks to hit Kabul in recent months.

“I condemn in the strongest terms last night’s heinous attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul.  Such violence has no place here or anywhere in the world.  I extend my heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims.  I also commend the bravery and quick response of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.

The US Embassy is in close contact with Afghan authorities, who are continuing to investigate the incident,” the US embassy in Kabul said in a statement.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) strongly condemned the attack on the Intercontinental Hotel that left dozens of people dead and wounded.

“The Intercontinental Hotel was scheduled to hold a technology conference on Sunday, organized by Afghanistan’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. Also at the hotel, guests had gathered for a wedding ceremony,” said UNAMA in a statement.

“There is simply no justification for this egregious attack, which is specifically prohibited by International Humanitarian Law and may amount to a war crime,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.

Indian foreign ministry has also condemned the attack.

“We express our sincere condolences to the families of those killed in this heinous attack and wish speedy recovery to the injured,” the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), said, in a statement.

“Reports about attack having being carried out by terrorists of internationally proscribed Haqqani Network are a matter of serious concern and bring to fore once again the need to effectively deal with safe havens and sanctuaries that these terrorists find in our shared neighbourhood,” the statement added.

This comes at a time that Pakistan has been under mounting pressure by the international community over its controversial role in the fight against terrorism.

On January 1, US President Donald Trump also criticized Pakistan over its support to terrorism.

“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!,” Trump said via twitter.

On January 15, a high level delegation from the UN Security Council arrived in Kabul where it held discussions with the Afghan political leadership on the situation in the country.

Ghani shared evidence with the UN Security Council members over training, financing and activities of terrorist groups, including Daesh, outside Afghanistan, according to a statement by the Presidential Palace.

At the meeting Ghani said he wants more pressure put on Pakistan to ensure stability in Afghanistan. He said joint efforts are required to move forward with the Afghan peace process.

The president said efforts are underway to improve relations with Pakistan but “there has been no sign of cooperation from Pakistan’s side”, the statement read.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attack on the hotel.

The Intercontinental Hotel was attacked once before by the Taliban, in June 2011, when a suicide bomber killed 21 people, including 10 civilians.

The raid on Intercontinental Hotel was the latest in a long series of attacks by Taliban insurgents which have underlined the city’s precarious security situation and the ability of militants to mount high profile operations in the capital.

US General Threatens To Punish Non-Reconciling Afghan Taliban

[‘Work with our diplomats or deal with US military’ Mattis warns, unveiling new defense strategy]

Commander of US air forces in Afghanistan said they would no longer sit back and allow the Taliban to kill women and children.

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Maj. Gen. James B. Hecker, commander of US air forces in Afghanistan, warned on Wednesday that stern action would have to be taken against Taliban militants if they did not cooperate in efforts to stabilize the country and pursue peace. 

He said that the group will face repercussions never before seen through airstrikes if they fail to join the peace process.

In an interview with TOLOnews, Hecker said the forces under his command were not interested in killing the Taliban, but warned the group that US forces will not remain a spectator when it comes to the killing of innocent people by the Taliban.

“Well the short message (message to the Taliban is) to reconcile, that’s what we are after, we don’t want to kill the Taliban, but we are not going to sit idly by if the Taliban are killing innocent women and children; so if they don’t reconcile, then we will be forced to fight them and that’s what we are doing right now. So the message to the Taliban is to reconcile,” said Hecker.

According to him, the US plans to shift its military equipment from Iraq and Syria to Afghanistan in a move to speed up efforts against the terrorist groups in Afghanistan.

Afghan officials have widely welcomed the transfer of US military equipment to Afghanistan.

E-10 aircrafts have for example returned to the battlefields after seven years.

“We don’t want Afghanistan to be a safe haven for terrorists, that’s why we are here and help the Afghan air force, they are doing a great job. They are really building up their inventory by this UH-60 we have here. As we know the Afghan forces are getting much more capable. So they are going to get more UH-60s and we bringing in more coalition aircraft ,” said Hecker.

In a question about civilian casualties sustained in battles, Hecker said the Afghan forces are doing their best to decrease the number of civilian deaths.

“Afghan air forces are doing extremely well when it comes to civilian casualties. I can tell you how many pilots and films that I watch of Afghan air force not dropping a bomb because there is a child, because there is a female there and of course we are the same way and the coalition air force,” he said.

This comes a day after the Afghanistan Air Force (AAF) took delivery of another four Black Hawk helicopters from the US forces on Tuesday at Kandahar airport.

The new helicopters added to the four others handed over to AAF by the US a few months ago.

US forces are training Afghan pilots to fly the Black Hawks.

“Right now every class has six student pilots, in the first days, they go through qualification training to go to know the basic system of the aircraft and that is six weeks long; after that they go through an eight week course in mission training and that will involve each student, and crew member, to land outside of the wire in a different location,” said Afghan trainer Colonel Almas.

According to US officials, the US forces dropped over 4,000 bombs on Taliban and Daesh facilities in Afghanistan in 2017.

The US has committed to providing 160 Black Hawk helicopters to Afghanistan in the next few years.

Saudi Royals Finally Finagle Total Control Over TAPI Pipeline Project

Making AF/PAK Strategic Corridor Unsafe for TAPIJun 6, 2011

Imperial Plan To Use Civil War As Gas and Oil ValveMay 20, 2014

“All of the wars started within the greater war (which used to be called “war on terror”) have blocked oil and gas which was about to be brought onto the market…, the Saudis and all Western governments have been following a foreign policy of exporting wars wherever they cannot control the harvesting of oil and gas.” 

“The Pentagon plans to defend the resources of the world (as if they were all our own) by bottling those resources up, to be tapped in the future, whenever doing so would become profitable.  No one has the power to challenge this Imperial arrangement.”

Saudi Arabia to invest in TAPI gas pipeline project

KABUL (Pajhwok): Saudi Arabia would make considerable investments in the construction of the Turkmenistan-AfghanistanPakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, Turkmenistan Deputy Prime Minister Maksat Babayev says.

Babayev, in charge of the fuel and energy sector, said told a cabinet meeting the investments would be made in line with agreements reached during the Turkmen president’s visit to the Kingdom in May 2016.

A Baku-based newspaper reported the funds were allocated by the Saudi Development Bank for the TAPI project. The deputy PM, however, did not put a figure on the amount of investments.

Last week, the state-controlled information agency TDH reported President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov had sent a message to Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, expressing gratitude for the investments provided.

It added the United Arab Emirates was also interested in TAPI investments. A week ago, Turkmen Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Berdyniyaz Myatiyev and UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan met in the United Arab Emirates.

On December 20, President Berdymukhammedov also met the Sheikh in Ashgabat. Arab investors have reportedly evinced an interest in the implementation of the TAPI gas pipeline.

Construction work on the gas pipeline is expected to begin in Afghanistan in February. The Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP) says necessary steps have been taken to implement the project.

The project will transport 33 billion cubic meters of gas from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India via a 1,814km pipeline.

For the construction of the TAPI gas pipeline, a consortium – TAPI Pipeline Company Limited – was established and the state concern Turkmengaz was elected as the leader.

The main hurdles to the project’s implementation are financing and security issues. The Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Japanese government have expressed their interest in funding TAPI.

The Islamic Development Bank has already allocated a loan worth $700 million for Turkmenistan to construct its section.

Erdogan Moves Against Pentagon’s Kurd Allies, Deflating Plans For 30,000 Man Border Protection Force

[SEE: US Announces Plans For 30,000 Man Terrorist Army In N. Syria, Turkey Declares Intention To Destroy Same Force]

Tillerson to media: “That entire situation has been mis-portrayed, mis-described, some people misspoke. We are not creating a Border Security Force at all.”

Pentagon spokesman Adrian Rankine-Galloway says of the 8,000-10,000 YPG militiamen in Afrin: “We don’t consider them as part of our ‘Defeat ISIS’ operations, which is what we are doing there and we do not support them. We are not involved with them at all.”

How US went from supporting Syrian Kurds, to backing Turkey against them – in just 9 days

How US went from supporting Syrian Kurds, to backing Turkey against them – in just 9 days
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been left flailing as Washington desperately struggles to avoid being shut out of Syria by its own allies – following a crisis it helped provoke just days ago.

For all the backpedaling and reframing the US officials are now doing, the chronology of the volte-face from Afrin to Ankara is startlingly straightforward.

READ MORE: ‘No stepping back’ from Afrin campaign: Turkish Army takes offensive to Azaz district

January 13

US announces a 30,000-strong Kurdish YPG-led Border Security Force (BSF) to stave off a Islamic State “resurgence,” operating out of the quarter of Syria’s territory that the Kurdish minority now controls.

January 15

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls BSF an “army of terror” and promises to “strangle it before it is born,” saying it will imminently invade the north-western enclave of Afrin. Ankara says the US did not consult it over BSF, and insists Washington broke its promise to no longer arm YPG, whom Turkey views as separatist terrorists.

January 17

Tillerson to media: “That entire situation has been mis-portrayed, mis-described, some people misspoke. We are not creating a Border Security Force at all.”

READ MORE: US backtracks on ‘Kurdish border force’, Turkey cites record of broken promises

Meanwhile, Pentagon spokesman Adrian Rankine-Galloway says of the 8,000-10,000 YPG militiamen in Afrin: “We don’t consider them as part of our ‘Defeat ISIS’ operations, which is what we are doing there and we do not support them. We are not involved with them at all.”

January 20

Turkey attacks Afrin. If there wasn’t enough disingenuousness here already, the airstrike-backed ground attack is called Operation Olive Branch. Turkey says that it will create a 30-km deep “security zone” inside the Syrian border, and announces plans to push the offensive further east.

January 21

“Turkey is a NATO ally. It’s the only NATO country with an active insurgency inside its borders. And Turkey has legitimate security concerns,” says US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. “We’ll sort this out.”

January 22

Tillerson to Turkey: “Let us see if we can work with you to create the kind of security zone you might need.” The kind of security zone that will operate on the same territory as the BSF? That force that was purportedly essential to the ‘Defeat Isis’ operations? Never mind all that.

Now, Tillerson deserves some sympathy. If Al-Qaeda turned into ISIS the last time US forces abandoned the region, what will ISIS turn into? Turkish and Kurdish tensions also predate the conflict, and it’s not Washington’s fault that Ankara is its NATO ally, while YPG provided America’s most motivated force against ISIS. All in all, Washington is now trying to make the best of a bad hand.

But the entire episode is emblematic of the incoherent and doomed-to-fail strategy the US has pursued in Syria for the past seven years. What did the US think was going to happen after its BSF announcement? Like the teenager who unexpectedly comes home with a tattoo, it didn’t tell Ankara in advance because it must have realized what the reaction would be, or perhaps underestimated Erdogan’s fury – yet again – before trotting out a series of implausible denials.

The bigger problem is that Washington supports actors who have few aims in common beyond their mission to destroy Islamic State – which for most of them is no longer a priority, and for some never was. And apart from a by-now almost mythical 2011 pro-democracy movement, none of them share American aims anyway.

In fact, most are probably questioning why the US is even there. For Syrians, this is their own conflict, Turkey borders it, Kurds have long coveted their own state, even Russia is here at the official behest of Assad. America’s desire to pin its colors to Kurds or Turkey or anyone else in Syria shows that is raring to remain a part of the post-conflict stage, but everyone else has either greater motivation, more legitimacy, or both. So at its current level of engagement – where it can’t even back its horses for a week – Washington is probably best-off helping quietly, and not lighting matches and then inching away in embarrassment while others wage real wars.

Igor Ogorodnev for RT

Another Bloody American Century

Another Bloody American Century

by

The Violent American Century: War and Terror since World War II by John W. Dower (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2017; 184 pages)Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) was livid. “In the dead of night,” the California Democrat wrote on Twitter in July, House Speaker Paul Ryan did something “underhanded and undemocratic.” He stripped out her bipartisan amendment to repeal the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force against al-Qaeda from the Defense Appropriations bill. Congress passed the AUMF three days after 9/11 to give the president the authority to go after al-Qaeda, which had attacked America on that crystal-clear morning in September. There was only one member of Congress to cast a lonely vote against the resolution: Barbara Lee.In what can only be described as prophetic, Lee warned at the time of the AUMF vote that “we must be careful not to embark on an open-ended war with neither an exit strategy nor a focused target.” She likened the authorization to the Gulf of Tonkin resolution that got America bogged down in Vietnam. But she wasn’t worried only about a new war’s impact on the United States and its military. “If we rush to launch a counterattack,” she said, “we run too great a risk that women, children, and other noncombatants will be caught in the crossfire.” Lee closed her speech with a line that should haunt the consciences of all Americans: “As we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore.”

In the past 16 years, the AUMF has allowed the unleashing of America’s signature high-tech violence across the Greater Middle East, with no end in sight. Since 9/11, the United States has bombed at least seven countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya, and Syria. Each and every time George W. Bush or Barack Obama authorized the use of force in another country outside of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, they claimed the AUMF as their authority, even though one of the targets of its strikes, the Islamic State, couldn’t have attacked America on 9/11, since the group didn’t exist then.

While events have proven Lee correct, she was too kind to her fellow Americans and their representatives in Congress. Americans have always engaged in the evil they say they deplore. As Pulitzer Prize-winning historian John W. Dower documents in his terse volume The Violent American Century: War and Terror since World War II, the American capacity for bloodletting is bottomless and its appetite for destruction insatiable.

Dower’s slim volume takes aim at the notion that we should take heart from the indication that human violence is on the decline since World War II. The most influential of the “declinists,” as Dower calls them, is Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker. In his 2011 book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, Pinker goes as far as to call the Cold War “the Long Peace” and the years after the Berlin War fell down “the New Peace.” Dower will have none of that. “This so-called postwar peace was, and still is, saturated in blood and wracked with suffering,” he writes.

But what really rankles Dower is the conventional wisdom behind why the world has experienced such “peace” since the end of World War II: the absence of war between great powers, principally the United States and the Soviet Union. Dower’s irritation stems from two related reasons. In America, the belief remains solid that the world didn’t end in a thermonuclear ball of fire because of the “wisdom, virtue, and firepower of U.S. ‘peacekeeping.’’’ And such belief, writes Dower, “obscures the degree to which the United States bears responsibility for contributing to, rather than impeding, militarization and mayhem after 1945.”

The rest of the Dower’s book is a concise history of how a nation that emerged from World War II largely unscathed became “essentially bipolar — hubristic and overwhelmingly powerful by all material measures, yet fearful and insecure.” Military planners, according to Dower, exploited this paradox as a way to ensure the national-security state became a permanent fixture in American life while convincing the general population that empire equaled safety. There’s nothing really new here in Dower’s postwar history that leftists such as Noam Chomsky, conservatives such as Andrew Bacevich, and libertarians such as Robert Higgs haven’t explored in greater detail. But the value of Dower’s book is its length — it’s a perfect introduction to the dark heart of American foreign and military policy since 1945 — and what he chooses to emphasize, namely the imperial mindset that pursues U.S. hegemony at the risk of wiping out humanity.

With nuclear diplomacy now in the hands of the Trump administration, Dower offers a necessary reminder that U.S. nuclear policy almost destroyed the world more than once and continues to fuel nuclear-arms races across the world. During the mid 1980s, the nuclear stockpile of warheads between the United States and the Soviet Union exceeded 60,000, more than enough to wipe out humanity multiple times over. As the American nuclear strategist Albert Wohlstetter wrote in 1959, the United States and the Soviet Union were locked in a “delicate balance of terror.” Three years later, that balance was almost upended as the nuclear enemies almost pushed their respective buttons over the Cuban Missile Crisis.

And the close calls didn’t end there, Dower reminds us. It’s nothing sort of a miracle that an accident or human mistake didn’t end in nuclear oblivion. “In a jittery world of massive-retaliation groupthink,” writes Dower, “major alarms about a possible Soviet attack were triggered by a flock of birds, sunlight reflected off clouds, the rising moon, a training tape mistakenly inserted in the warning system, and a faulty computer chip costing forty-six cents.”

In behavior that can only be described as shocking the conscience, American nuclear planners after the close call in Cuba wanted adversaries to believe U.S. leaders were crazy enough to use nuclear weapons tactically. In October 1969, the Nixon White House developed a short-lived plan named Operation Duck Hook, whereby Washington would lead Hanoi to believe the unbelievable — that Richard Nixon would nuke North Vietnam to end the war. “They’ll believe any threat of force that Nixon makes because it’s Nixon…. I call it the Madman Theory, Bob,” one of Nixon’s top cronies, H.R. Haldeman, recalled the president telling him. “I want the North Vietnamese to believe I’ve reached the point where I might do anything to stop the war.”

Such irresponsibility in strategy led some of the nuclear priesthood to confess their sins and renounce their immoral beliefs and actions. Dower focuses on two men, Gen. Lee Butler, the last commander of Strategic Air Command, and William Perry, the secretary of Defense under George H.W. Bush. Both of them looked back on their careers with regret. Butler noted how the nuclear doctrine of mutually assured destruction evolved into the use of nuclear weapons as conventional weapons, including nuclear land and sea mines as well as “warheads on artillery shells that could be launched from jeeps.”

Perry, similarly, looked back on the conception of nukes as conventional weapons in dismay, “as though they were simply organic evolutions of prenuclear arms,” and decried it as “extraordinarily reckless.” According to Perry, “We acted as if the world had not changed with the emergence of the nuclear age, the age in which the world had changed as never before.” Butler, for his part, wrote that “mankind escaped the Cold War without a nuclear holocaust by some combination of diplomatic skill, blind luck and divine intervention, probably the latter in great proportion.”

Unfortunately, nuclear planners haven’t learned the lessons of Butler and Perry. In the unending irony of Obama’s presidency, the commander in chief who was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, mainly for his work on nuclear disarmament, committed an estimated $1 trillion over the next 30 years to modernize America’s nuclear capability. As Dower wisely observes, “The ceaseless U.S. quest to maintain massive ‘technological asymmetry’ militarily is guaranteed to keep arms races of every sort going.” Washington continues to pursue this course, even though the risk of nuclear war has only increased as more countries join the nuclear club, which now stands at nine, and the bellicose rhetoric between Pyongyang and Washington intensifies.

It’s partly because of continued American interventionism and aggression, especially under the 2001 AUMF, that nuclear proliferation continues. One of the lessons that North Korea learned from the Iraq War and America’s intervention in Libya was that nuclear warheads are the only defense against U.S.-led efforts at regime change. The Libya case study is the most instructive: dictator Muammar Qaddafi gave up his nuclear weapons program in 2003 and ended up sodomized by a stick and with a bullet through his head after U.S. bombing helped rebels overthrow his regime in 2011. As one North Korean official put it before the U.S.-NATO bombing of Libya began, “It is now being fully exposed before the world that Libya’s ‘nuclear dismantlement,’ much touted by the U.S. in the past, turned out to be a mode of aggression, a way of coaxing the victim with sweet words to disarm itself and then to swallow it up by force.”

No one in the U.S. national-security apparatus, or among the populace, should be surprised that Kim Jong-un is intent on perfecting an intercontinental ballistic missile that could threaten the United States with a nuclear warhead. He made the only rational move to protect his dictatorship from U.S.-led regime change. Or as Donald Trump said, correctly, Kim is “a pretty smart cookie.”

In a world suddenly concerned about nuclear catastrophe, Dower’s emphasis on America’s responsibility for nuclear proliferation and recklessness feels prescient and worth remembering. And for all the data marshalled by the declinists to show a decrease in global violence — no matter how often that bloodshed can be traced back to U.S. shores since the end of World War II — it takes only one frenzied decision to trigger the extinction of the species. So as we watch helplessly on cable news as one megalomaniac stares down another, Dower wants Americans to know this: This is an existential nightmare of our own making.

UAE Leader Boasts of Advancing Human Rights In Middle East Despite Record of Militant Sponsorship

[UAE officials under investigation for torture]

UAE strategy will advance human rights in Middle East, Gargash tells UN council

Country’s progressive policies have been a ‘powerful antidote’ to pernicious forces in the region

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash presented a report on the UAE’s progress at the UN Human Rights Council’s periodic review in Geneva on January 22, 2018. Giuseppe Cacace / AFP

Advancing human rights is a critical factor in ensuring stable societies and promoting development, Dr Anwar Gargash told the third UN Human Rights Council periodic review in Geneva on Monday.

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said that as a model nation for youth in the region, the UAE had sought to strengthen human rights and legal safeguards within the review framework overseen by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The report on the third cycle of the universal review will be completed tomorrow.

Dr Gargash said the mechanism had played a helpful role in developing new laws and regulatory practices.

In the context of a region where extremism creates division and polarisation, Mr Gargash said advancing human rights was a “powerful antidote” to pernicious forces.

“The promotion of tolerance and the rejection of extremism is fundamental to the advancement of human rights in the UAE and the wider region,” he told a packed chamber at the Palais des Nations.

“Piece by piece, we have developed a comprehensive strategy to advance the cause of human rights in the UAE.”

The UAE will establish a national human rights institution in line with the Paris Principles and guidance of the reporting process before the end of the year, he said.

In responses to contributions from the floor, Dr Gargash said the country would also study joining additional protocols and extending invitations to special rapporteurs.

Other members of the UAE delegation gave information on labour issues and violence against women.

In response to allegations based on reporting about pre-trial detention, Dr Gargash said there was no detention without an arrest warrant.

“The UAE does not detain or arrest any person arbitrarily,” he said. “Any person who is arrested is dealt with in line with legal proceedings in the UAE. The person is dealt with in line with the law.

“The UAE is a bastion of stability where people from about 200 nationalities live peacefully in social and religious harmony. We are committed to finding the right balance between protecting our legitimate need for security and preserving our reputation as an open society.”

Since the second review was completed in 2013, the federal Government has made significant progress in tackling human trafficking issues, raising labour and workforce rights and in the area of female empowerment. In all, the Government has adopted, in whole or in part, 107 recommendations.

“The empowerment of women is key to the promotion of human rights, in the UAE and across the region,” Dr Gargash said.

He also pointed to the UAE’s role as the world’s largest donor of official development assistance as a proportion of its national income.

Humanitarian challenges cannot be resolved outside the context of politics and for that reason a resolution of crisis conditions in Syria, Yemen and Libya was imperative.

Alarmed by recent statements on the status of Jerusalem, Dr Gargash urged progress on establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

The formal UAE submission said the country’s Vision 2021 establishes six national priority objectives for the Government that guide improvements in human rights.

“These include a cohesive society that preserves its identity, a safe society and a fair judiciary, a competitive knowledge-based economy, a first-rate education system, and a sustainable environment and integrated infrastructure,” it said.

Among other highlights was the “Wadeema” Act of 2016 granting children the right to life, survival and development.

“The Act also offers safeguards children from all forms of neglect, exploitation and ill-treatment, as well as all forms of physical violence and psychological abuse,” the report said.

There was rapid progress on the inclusion of women on the governing boards of all Government bodies, institutions and companies.

“There were nine female members of the Federal National Council during its 16th legislative session, constituting 22.5 per cent of the Council,” the report said.

“Emirati women comprise 43 per cent of the workforce and hold 66 per cent of government sector positions, including 30 per cent of senior decision-making posts. They also hold 15 per cent of professional posts,” the national report said.

In its submission, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights recognised considerable developments in the UAE in the past four years.

“UAE’s efforts in combating trafficking are marked as a good example,” the office said. “This included the Adoption of Federal Act Law No 1 of 2015, which provides protection for victims of trafficking, and the 2012 and 2015 Amendments of Federal Law No 51 of 2006 on combating trafficking.”

It also hailed the progress in raising the status of women.

“The National Strategy for Empowerment of Emirati Women in the UAE for 2015-2021 … provides a framework for government, private sector and civil society organisations to establish work plans to increase women’s presence and empowerment mainly in the economic sector in the UAE.”

Body Autopsied By Las Vegas Med. Examiner NOT Steven Paddock…Now Cremated

[Stephen Paddock’s brother Eric is furious at the coroner’s decision to cremate, not deliver, alleged shooter’s body]

Body autopsied by doctor likely not Steven Paddock’s, official LVMPD report reveals

Upon further investigation, Intellihub has determined that the body autopsied by a doctor in early October was likely not the body of the alleged gunman Stephen Paddock

LAS VEGAS (INTELLIHUB) — Information listed in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s preliminary report on the 1 Oct. massacre, reveals that the body autopsied by Dr. Lisa Gavin may not be Steven Paddock at all.

According to Section VIII of the report titled Suspect Autopsy: “On 10-06-17, at approximately 1625 hours,under CCOCME case 17-10064 and FBI incident number 4-LV-2215061 an autopsy was performed on the body of Paddock at the CCOCME
by Doctor Lisa Gavin.”

However, the report lists the decedent Stephen Paddock as being only “73 inches” tall (6′-1″) despite the fact that it is well know Paddock was 6′-4″ in height and had a much larger frame than the dead guy pictured in the leaked crime scene photographs.

LVMPD

In 2010, Paddock’s height was listed as 6′-4″ on a Sport Fishing, Trapping, Hunting License registered with the State of Alaska. The information was verified with Paddock’s California driver’s license by a duly authorized fish and game vendor in the State of Alaska.

Additionally, the eye color listed on the official state document says Paddock’s eyes were “BL” (blue), while the autopsy report says the decedent’s eyes are “brown.” Again, the document is based off of Paddock’s California driver’s license.

Moreover, as Intellihub reported on Wednesday, Stephen Paddock was not the man pictured in the leaked crime scene photos.

Why are officials lying to the general public?

Why did the coroner order the body autopsied to be cremated?

#LasVegasShooting

#DemandAnswersFromLVMPDandFBI

US/Russian Forces Open the Door In N. Syria To Turkish Bombers

[SEE: Turkey Begins Invasion of N. Syria, Bombs Kurds On Syrian Airbased Used By Both US and Russia]

NEWS ANALYSIS: Syria’s Afrin becoming less significant for Russia, US

Serkan Demirtaş – BAGHDAD

 

Turkey’s long-expected military operation into Afrin has not created much opposition from the international community, especially from big powers, senior diplomatic sources have said, drawing on the fact that both Russia and the U.S. have long ago abandoned their mandate in that particular region.

According to assessments by diplomatic sources, Turkey’s operation was not regarded as shocking news by the big international powers for three main reasons.

First, Turkey had made it clear that an operation into Afrin was in the pipeline after the completion of the Euphrates Shield Operation and even before the start of the Idlib operation in mid-2017. Senior Turkish officials, particularly President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, have long been voicing Turkey’s plans to provide security to its borders in the Afrin region. Therefore, this offensive has already been anticipated by the international community, particularly the big powers.

Second, Turkey has been in constant dialogue with all the big powers over the last few weeks in order to inform them and ask their political and practical support for the operation. Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and National Intelligence Organization head Hakan Fidan’s visit to Moscow played a crucial role in making this operation possible. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu’s in-person meetings with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis last week in Vancouver sought to garner Washington’s support for the TSK’s operation.

These talks resulted in the opening of the Syrian air space for the Turkish air forces as well as the removal of Russian military observers from Afrin thanks to coordination provided between Ankara and Moscow. From the U.S. perspective, American military officials made it clear that Afrin was not part of their mandate and thus signaled a crucial green light to the Turkish offensive.

Third point is the fact that the Afrin region no longer plays a significant and strategic role in both Russian and American perspectives and priorities in the Syrian theater. In a sense, both powers have abandoned the region to Turkey’s domain given the presumption that this operation would preoccupy Turkey for more than six months.

For Russia, it is important that the Turkish operation does not endanger efforts to reach a political settlement through the Sochi process. And for the U.S., greater concerns would be raised if the TSK’s military planning included an operation into Manbij and east of Euphrates, areas under the U.S. mandate in the fight against the jihadists.

Two risks cited

According to the same sources, the ongoing operation carries two main risks.The first concerns unwanted military and civilian casualties as the YPG uses locals as human shields, particularly in and around the Afrin region.

The second is that the Syrian regime may advance its military operations in the northern parts of Idlib in retaliation to the TSK’s Afrin move.

Syria had recently launched a massive military campaign in the Idlib region at the expense of violating a three-way agreement between Turkey, Russia and Iran, which aims to establish a de-escalation zone in this rebel-held region. Ankara’s concern is that the Syrian regime may intensify its operation in the north of the Idlib region, leading to an unwanted military engagement between Damascus and the armed opposition groups. Turkey’s troops are also in the same theater with the task of establishing military observation spots in the field, sources have said.

Turkey Begins Invasion of N. Syria, Bombs Kurds On Syrian Airbased Used By Both US and Russia

 

Turkey launches ‘Olive Branch Operation’ against ‘PKK threat in Syria’

HATAY / ANKARA / ISTANBUL

Turkey launches ‘Olive Branch Operation’ against ‘PKK threat in Syria’

Turkey has begun a land operation against the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which it sees as a terrorist group for its links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), with troops crossing the border in cooperation with Syrian rebel groups.

“Our units have entered Afrin from two branches at 11:05 a.m. with the Free Syrian Army [FSA]. This means the land operation has begun,” Yıldırım told the editors of news outlets in a meeting in Istanbul.

The “Olive Branch Operation,” which came hours after a major air strike on the YPG on Jan. 20, will consist of four phases to create a safe zone with a depth of 30 kilometers, he added.

Turkey is also supporting the FSA advance with tanks and cross-border artillery fire.

The operation, which came hours after a major air strike on the YPG on Jan. 20, will consist of four phases to create a safe zone with a 30-kilometer depth, he said.

The first phase will be aimed at forming a secure zone on the Turkish borders between Azaz and Afrin, Yıldırım said, adding that following the first phase the “cleaning” would require an even more thorough work and “there was no need to rush.”

The Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing YPG are not the only groups in the operation area, Yıldırım claimed, pointing to the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) militants who were allowed to leave Raqqa under U.S. watch, referring to a BBC report.

“There are around 8,000 to 10,000 terrorists in Afrin,” Yıldırım said.

“The PKK, the YPG, the PYD are all the same. Changing their names does not change fact they are terror organizations,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also said at a public rally in the northwestern province of Bursa on Jan. 21.

Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar, who commanded the air operation from the General Staff headquarters in Ankara, went to the southern border province of Hatay on Jan. 21 to inspect units taking part in the Afrin operation.

Eight F-16 fighter jets took off from the Diyarbakır 8th Main Jet Base within 20 minutes at around 12:42 p.m. local time, Doğan News Agency reported. Fighter jets also took off from Konya’s 3rd Main Jet Base. Military sources told daily Hürriyet that FSA units backed by Turkish tanks are advancing on the field and YPG militants are withdrawing to villages and towns without putting up serious resistance.

Three missile attacks hit Reyhanlı on the Syria border in Turkey’s southeast on Jan. 21, Doğan News Agency reported.

“In the recent period our borders have been exposed to harassment more than 700 times. Last night six rockets were fired into Kilis. No one has lost their lives, the location of the rockets was determined and they were destroyed,” PM Yıldırım said before the latest attack.

By the evening of Jan. 20, the military said it had struck almost all of its targets in the area, adding that the 72 fighter jets that took part in the operation had safely returned to their bases.

“Out of the 113 PYD targets, 108 have been destroyed as of 18:30 [15:30 GMT]. All the killed and wounded people, who have been sent to hospitals, are members of terrorist groups,” read the statement from the Turkish General Staff.

The next day, on Jan. 21, the Turkish General Staff said 153 targets were hit in an operation carried out “with respect for Syria’s territorial integrity” and stemming from Turkey’s rights under international law.

The Air Forces also hit the Menagh Military Airbase in northwestern Syria, which the U.S. used for supplying weapons to the YPG.–[VIDEO: Russian forces raise their flag above major Kurdish base in north Aleppo–ED.]

The Turkish Red Crescent has built up a tent camp in Azez in the east of Afrin as a precautionary measure in advance of a possible human flow.

The Turkish military stated that the YPG is “using civilians in Afrin as a human shield,” while the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) has also reportedly confirmed that the YPG is “trying to depict the militants hit by military operations as civilians.”

“Thousands of pro-Turkey civilians have escaped the PKK/YPG-controlled areas in an attempt to reach Aleppo. Our assessment is that the PKK/YPG would like to use civilians as a human shield and blame potential civilian casualties on Turkey,” one official told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Chinese Navy Freaks-Out When US Guided Missile Destroyer Sails Within 12 Miles of Scarborough Shoal

NATO missile defence system - WikipediaUSS Hopper

Beijing insists on its claim over the islets as USS Hopper enters area, foreign ministry says

China says it warned off a US Navy destroyer near a group of disputed islets in the South China Sea last week.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Saturday that the USS Hopper missile destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles of the Scarborough Shoal, called Huangyan Island in China, on Wednesday night.

“The Chinese navy carried out identification and verification procedures in accordance with the law and warned the US vessel to leave,” Lu said.

“China is strongly dissatisfied with the [US action] and will take necessary measures to firmly safeguard its sovereignty.”

Duterte’s defence chief signals Scarborough Shoal is off-limits for Chinese rigs

The encounter between the two navies adds to long-standing tension between the United States and China in waters contested by at least six nations.

Just over a year ago, a US Navy plane and a Chinese surveillance aircraft flew within 300 metres (1,000 feet) of each other near the Scarborough Shoal.

The shoal off the western coast of the Philippines is seen as a strategic point among the claimants because it is within easy striking distance of US forces stationed in the Philippines. A military outpost there could also stop other navies from using a northeast gateway to the area.

Beijing and Manila have tussled over the shoal on and off since 2013, when Manila took its case to an international tribunal in The Hague. The tribunal ruled in 2016 that the “nine-dash line” which underpins Beijing’s claim to most of the South China Sea had no legal basis.

Nevertheless, China has built artificial islands and facilities on other disputed parts of the waters, according to satellite images.

The US does not claim sovereignty of the waters but says it has the right to conduct freedom-of-navigation operations in the area.

Manila expects China to build on Scarborough Shoal

Zhang Jie, a Southeast Asian affairs specialist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the incident on Wednesday would have been the first time a US Navy destroyer had gone so close the islets, which she described as a “very sensitive region”. Beijing considers any US patrols within 12 nautical miles of the islands as an intrusion into its territorial waters.

In June 2016, the US sent a total of three destroyers to conduct patrols within 14 to 20 nautical miles of the shoal and the Spratly Islands.

Zhang said the shoal was the Philippines’ unspoken bottom line in its quiet diplomacy with China on the South China Sea.

“The current diplomatic approach of the Philippines is to make the sovereignty [over the shoal] ambiguous,” she said.

“It has asked China not to build on the shoal, which China has not. The mutual preference of both the Philippines and China over this particular [shoal] is stability.”

Zhang said she expected to see more frequent confrontations between the US and Chinese militaries in the South China Sea, with Washington putting China and Russia at the centre of its new national defence strategy.

“The South China Sea will be the ground on which the two powers will wrestle for military power. It has become a long-term conflict,” she said.

US Diplomatic Sabotage of Russian Peace Efforts Produces Dual, Simultaneous “Peace Conferences”

[US/UN fronting parallel “peace conference” occuring simultaneously with Putin’s Sochi conference, with the clear intention of derailing Putin’s efforts and sabotaging any real chance for peace in Syria ( U.N. mediator invites Syrian negotiators to Vienna talks next week).]

Preparations for Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi reviewed

Moscow, SANA_ Russian President, Vladimir Putin, discussed with members of the Russian Security Council the preparations for the Syrian National Dialogue Congress scheduled to be held in Sochi on January 29-30 .

 

Russia Today website on Friday quoted the Kremlin Spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, as saying that the meeting between Putin and the permanent members of the Council reviewed the efforts of the political settlement of crisis in Syria and a number of issues related to preparation for the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi.

Maya Dayoub/Ghossoun

US SECDEF Issues Blunt Warning…”Work with our diplomats or deal with US Military.”

‘Work with our diplomats or deal with US military’ Mattis warns, unveiling new defense strategy

‘Work with our diplomats or deal with US military’ Mattis warns, unveiling new defense strategy
The US will counter any “threat to America’s democracy experiment” in the world, if necessary with military force, the Pentagon chief threatened. Jim Mattis said Russia and China are potential adversaries for the US.

Unveiling the Trump administration’s new National Defense Strategy, Mattis said the main focus for US defense was competition with resurgent powers Russia and China which, he said, want to impose an authoritarian model of government on other nations.

“We are facing increased global disorder, characterized by decline in the long-standing rules-based international order—creating a security environment more complex and volatile than any we have experienced in recent memory. Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in US national security,” says the summary of the new NDS published simultaneously.

The strategy says that the combination of “a robust constellation of allies and partners” and “a more lethal, resilient, and rapidly innovating Joint Force” will help sustain American influence.

He said that ISIS has been defeated, but “violent extremist organizations” including Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda continue to be a threat to America and a matter of concern for the Department of Defense.

But the most damage was done to the US military over the past 16 years not by an adversary but by the defense spending cuts and lack of predictability of the defense budget. He called on US lawmakers to address that problem

Latest Pope Got Beaned In the Head During Santiago Protest, After Accusing Sex Abuse Victims of “Slander”

SOURCE

Pope Francis accuses sex abuse victims of slander

 

Pope Francis on Thursday accused clerical sex abuse victims in Chile of slander — just days after meeting with survivors and asking for forgiveness, according to reports.

The shocking assertion came while he was speaking to reporters in Iquique about Bishop Juan Barros, who has been accused of covering up sex crimes committed by Rev. Fernando Karadima, the nation’s most notorious pedophile.

“There is not one shred of proof against him. It’s all calumny,” Francis said in defense of Barros.

“The day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros, I’ll speak,” he added.

The comments left reporters and residents stunned, especially since the pope’s trip to Chile was meant to help change local opinions on the Catholic church following the Karadima scandal and other abuse cases involving church officials.

“In the typical Chilean family, parents (now) think twice before sending their kids to Catholic school because you never know what is going to happen,” explained Patricio Navia, political science professor at Diego Portales University in Santiago.

She told the Associated Press that up until Thursday, the pope had been making headway in his fight to change the public’s opinion on the church.

“Then right before leaving, Francis turns around and says: ‘By the way, I don’t think Barros is guilty. Show me some proof,’” Navia griped.

On Tuesday, Francis sat down with victims of clerical sex abuse and openly wept with them — asking forgiveness for the “irreparable damage” they suffered over the years, according to reports.

It’s unclear if any of the people he met with were abused by Father Karadima.

The Chilean priest was found guilty of sexually abusing minors and sentenced to a “life of prayer and penitence” away from the church in 2011. Criminal charges could not be brought, though, due to the statute of limitations.

While Karadima’s victims were deemed credible by the Vatican, Francis apparently felt the need to change course on Thursday.

“He has just turned back the clock to the darkest days of this crisis,” said Anne Barrett Doyle, of the website BishopAccountability.org, which documents abuses in the Catholic Church.

“Who knows how many victims now will decide to stay hidden, for fear they will not be believed?”

With Post Wires

Pope Francis was hit by an object from the crowds Pope Francis The Pope hit by a projectile in Chile

The object thrown at the Pope appeared to be a hat

 

Trump’s Zionist-Sikh, Turned Christian, U.N. Rep Nimrata Randhawa, a.k.a., Nikki Haley

[Born into a Sikh expatriate family in Canada, she allegedly converted to Christianity (SEE: From Sikh to Christian: “Why I Don’t Believe In Nikki Haley’s ‘Conversion'”).]

Haley takes her orders from Adelson, Kushner, and pro-Israeli Sikh clerics

U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is taking her cues on U.S. Middle East policy from casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and pro-Israeli Sikhs clerics. Haley, an Indian-American whose Sikh parents were born in India, considers herself a Christian, but practices a hybrid religion, one in which she also attends Sikh religious services.

Revelations from Michael Wolff’s tell-all book about the Trump administration, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” describe the influence Adelson, Kushner, as well as Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, have over Trump’s Middle East policy. This has resulted in the United States casting aside 70 years of policy on the status of Jerusalem by recognizing the city, holy to three religions, as the capital of the Zionist state, and moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

America’s Israeli-controlled policy has also resulted in increased economic sanctions on Iran, an unsuccessful and rejected attempt by Haley to have the UN Security Council intervene on anti-government demonstrations in Iran, cutting U.S. contributions to the Palestinian Authority and the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Palestine, continued support for jihadist rebel elements in Syria, severing security assistance to Pakistan, backing a joint Saudi-Israeli genocidal campaign against the people of Yemen and draconian sanctions against Qatar, and an Israeli visa ban on American Quakers/Friends.

Haley and her Zionist puppet masters have also tried to upend the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—or “P5+1″—nuclear agreement with Iran.

Trump, who we now know pays little attention to affairs of state, is glad to support Haley’s pro-Israeli line. In “Fire and Fury,” Wolff, who himself is Jewish, painted a picture of Trump that can only be described as one befitting a Jewish gangster:

” . . . Trump had grown up and built his business in New York, the world’s largest Jewish city. He had made his reputation in the media, that most Jewish of industries, with some keen understanding of media tribal dynamics. His mentor, Roy Cohn, was a demimonde, semiunderworld, tough-guy Jew. He courted other figures he considered “tough-guy Jews” (one of his accolades): Carl Icahn, the billionaire hedge funder; Ike Perlmutter, the billionaire investor who had bought and sold Marvel Comics; Ronald Perelman, the billionaire Revlon chairman; Steven Roth, the New York billionaire real estate tycoon; and Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate. Trump had adopted a sort of 1950s Jewish uncle (tough-guy variety) delivery, with assorted Yiddishisms—Hillary Clinton, he declared, had been “shlonged” in the 2008 primary—helping to give an inarticulate man an unexpected expressiveness. Now his daughter, a de facto First Lady, was, through her conversion, the first Jew in the White House.”

Wolff’s characterization of Trump is accurate when Trump’s links to Kosher Nostra mob elements in New York, Israel, Russia, Ukraine, and elsewhere—all illustrated in WMR’s Trump-Kushner, et. al “Road Map”—are considered. Wolff’s book describes an early competition in the Trump White House between Jewish factions. One surrounding Jared Kushner and which included his chief lieutenants—Avi Berkowitz and Josh Raffel—all three Orthodox Jews and arch-Zionists plus former Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn. The Kushner faction also now includes Trump strategist Stephen Miller, escorted by building security from CNN’s studios in Washington following a cantankerous January 7 interview with Jake Tapper. Miller, reportedly became Adelson’s new favorite in the White House, after chief strategist Steve Bannon’s departure. Miller, who is Jewish, sidled up quickly to the Kushner faction after Bannon’s firing in 2017.

The other White House faction, which no longer effectively exists, included Bannon and his fellow White House staffer, Sam Nunberg, who considered themselves tight with Adelson. Nunberg, who like Bannon is no longer at the White House, recently admitted having called Trump an “an effing fool.”

Although Haley’s links to fundamentalist Christians in her home state of South Carolina and Zionists in the Kushner faction in the White House, most notably Ivanka Trump, have helped color her anti-Muslim and anti-Arab views, it is Haley’s continued dalliance with anti-Muslim Sikh clerics that should be of primary concern to professional diplomats at the U.S. State Department. According to Wolff’s book, one Trump White House staffer referred to Haley as “ambitious as Lucifer,” a reference to her desire to replace Trump as president. Haley, who was known as a “bed hopper” during her meteoric rise in South Carolina Republican politics, from Lexington County Republican Women chairman to South Carolina General Assembly to the governor’s mansion, spent “a notable amount of private time” with Trump aboard Air Force One, according to Wolff.

Haley has never been open about her parents’ immigration to the United States via Vancouver in British Columbia. Vancouver has, for decades, been a hot spot for Sikh terrorist organizations, including Khalistan independence movements, who were responsible for some of the most heinous terrorist acts in Indian history. These include the 1981 assassination of Lala Jagat Narain, the Hindu owner of the Hind Samachar group of newspapers; the 1984 assassination of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her two Sikh bodyguards; the killing of 80 train passengers in Ludhiana, India in 1991; a 1991 assassination attempt against Indian Ambassador to Romania Julio Ribeiro in Bucharest and a planned assassination of Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi during a 1985 visit to New York to celebrate the UN’s 40th anniversary; and the 1995 assassination of the chief minister of Punjab, Beant Singh.

The most egregious example of Sikh terrorism was the 1985 bombing of Air India Flight 182 over the North Atlantic of the Irish coast, while it was on the London-Delhi leg of its Montreal-London-Delhi-Bombay route. The attack, which killed all 329 aboard, including 280 Canadian citizens, was tied directly to Sikh militants in Vancouver. Another Sikh terrorist luggage bomb was placed on Canadian Pacific flight 003 from Vancouver to Narita, Japan. However, it exploded prematurely before being placed on Air India flight 301, which was destined for Bangkok from Narita. Two Japanese baggage handlers were killed in the explosion. The mid-air explosions of Air India flights 182 and 301 were to have been simultaneous.

Haley’s anti-Muslim attitudes, which stem from her Sikh religion, mesh nicely with the Zionist view. Sikhs and Sunni Muslims have been at loggerheads since 1675, when Guru Tegh Bahadur, the 9th Sikh guru, was executed by Muslim authorities in India for opposing the forced conversion of Hindu priests to Islam. Bahadur’s son, Gobind Singh, the 10th Sikh guru, decreed that Sikhs should always be prepared to defend themselves and the Sikh “sword” has been a Sikh religious symbol ever since. Haley’s stance toward radical Sunnis appears to be at odds with traditional Sikh beliefs that the Shi’as (who dominate Iran) and the Sufis, a moderate and peaceful Islamic sect, are the natural allies of the Sikhs. Sikh terrorists have made common cause with the Afghan and Kashmiri mujaheddin, since they all consider Hindu-dominated India to be their common foe. Nevertheless, Haley’s Zionist friends have found allies among Sikh clerics, including militants, around the world. In 2008, Britain’s Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, said: “Sikhs and Jews share a lot in common. They tried to kill us.” Sacks was clearly referring to Muslims. Haley has apparently bought into this Zionist rhetoric concerning Jewish-Sikh commonality.

The Sikhs have maintained a long association with the Mossad. This has mainly been facilitated by Syrian Aleppo Sephardic Jewish families, most notably, the Dweks. In 2006, prominent Syrian Jewish businessman Solomon Dwek was arrested by the FBI in New Jersey for a $50 million bank fraud scheme involving PNC Bank. The Dweks of New Jersey, who are Orthodox Jews, are linked to the shady business and real estate dealings of the Kushner family. Haley should be at home in the milieu of Sikhs, Syrian Orthodox Jews, and the Kushners.

The Mossad, using Winnipeg, Manitoba, as a base, arranged for a weapons supply line to Sikh terrorists in India and elsewhere that involved shipments from Detroit to either Winnipeg or Windsor, Ontario, with an onward route through Toronto, Montreal, and then, on to ships in Sydney, Nova Scotia, and Glace Bay, Cape Breton Island. The arrangement was overseen by a retired Israeli Defense Force colonel using a security and intelligence firm front in Winnipeg and a retired Indian Army commando in Nova Scotia, who represented the interests of the militant World Sikh Organization, Dal Khalsa, and the National Council of Khalistan. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of B’nai B’rith was also involved in Jewish support for Sikh terrorists in the 1980s and 90s. The ADL helped arrange for a Khalistan Government-in-Exile to be established in Quito, Ecuador, where its interests were protected by the large Mossad station.

It is clear that the Israeli government has taken out an insurance policy to protect its continued dominance over U.S. foreign policy. With either Vice President Mike Pence or Haley waiting in the wings to succeed Trump, Israel now only has to ensure the Democratic candidate in 2020 genuflects to Israel’s interests.

Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.

Copyright © 2018 WayneMadenReport.com

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).

Jordanian King Bows Before Saudi Monarch, Arresting Brothers and Cousin On Saudi Orders

[SEE: Pentagon To Make Huge Investment In Future Syrian Troublemaking w/$143 Million Buildup of Jordanian Air Base]

Jordan’s King arrests brothers and cousin in suspected Saudi-led coup

 

King Abdullah II of Jordan
King Abdullah II of Jordan

King Abdullah spared no time in arresting both his brothers and cousin; Prince Faisal bin Hussein, Prince Ali bin Hussein and Prince Talal bin Muhammad after Jordanian intelligence services alerted the King that there was communication between the brothers and cousin and Saudi and Emirati leaders; Mohammad bin Salman and Mohammed bin Zayed. The shock house arrest of the King’s siblings comes as the Middle East faces a renewed ‘revolutionary’ movement in several countries. Leadership among the MENA states has looked towards Saudi Arabia for explanations for it’s belligerency towards the governments despite showing good working relations otherwise. Long standing allegiances with Qatar were seemingly thrown aside in moments when Saudi Arabia launched an economic blockade against long time ally Qatar. Many blame Saudi Arabia’s young Mohammad bin Salman for these poor choices in relations.

Jordan has had a long standing image of being a neutral and well regarding state within a region prone to conflict. The Saudi Arabian stances towards even allies has concerned many in leadership positions to put up their guard. Trust has reached all time lows and strategists have blamed Saudi Arabia’s poorly planned actions for the shift of regional influence from the Saudi state and to Turkey, Iran and Egypt. Gulf Arab nations in particular have been very critical of often at times, unilateral actions by Saudi Arabia which they must comply with. Qatar most recently stated they were not against Iran in many aspects and sought good business ties with the neighboring state but due to Saudi Arabian influence were not allowed to pursue such relations.

The Jordanian military has maintained that the brothers and cousin were retired early as part of the military changes to the Jordanian Army and have refused to comment further on the news that they have communications with Saudi and Emirati leaders. The brothers and cousin have not been seen since the house arrest.

Saad Hariri Follows Saudi Orders and Lifts Ban On Zionist Movie, “The Post”

SPIEGEL Interview with Steven Spielberg “I Would Die For Israel”

–January 26, 2006

Lebanese Prime Minister Steps In to Overrule Ban on ‘The Post

ROME – A ban in Lebanon on Steven Spielberg’s “The Post” was overruled Wednesday by Prime Minister Saad Hariri in what appears to be the first time a film has surmounted a negative recommendation by Lebanese censors.Distributor Italia Film, which is handling “The Post” in Lebanon, called the reversal “a big victory” and said they expect to release the Spielberg real-life newspaper drama Thursday as planned.

The Lebanese censorship board had recommended that “The Post” be banned, citing a “boycott Israel” list that includes Spielberg because his Oscar-winning 1993 Holocaust film “Schindler’s List” shot some scenes in Jerusalem. The ban recommendation is also believed to have been made because Spielberg is blacklisted by the Arab League for reportedly donating $1 million to relief efforts in Israel in 2016 during its war with Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement.

Lebanon is officially at war with Israel and has a boycott again Israel in place.

Hariri asked Interior Minister Nohad Mashnouk to ignore the recommendation from the General Security Directorate’s censorship committee to ban the film, according to an Italia Film spokesman.

“We are glad and pleased that justice, reason, and love of cinema has prevailed,” the spokesman said, adding that he wanted to “thank everyone involved in the strong, united large popular support movement,” including press, bloggers, and other opinion-makers who rallied in support of “The Post” after news of the ban broke.

The failed attempt to ban “The Post” comes after Lebanese censors earlier this month forced Daniel Radcliffe-starrer “The Jungle,” about Israeli adventurer Yossi Ghinsberg, to be pulled from local cinemas after it had been screening for two weeks. Last May, “Wonder Woman” was banned only about two hours before the film was scheduled to screen in the country’s movie theaters; the film’s lead actress, Gal Gadot, is Israeli.

And last September, French-Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri was detained at Beirut airport and subsequently questioned by a military tribunal in an apparent attempt to suppress his film “The Insult,” which is on this year’s  foreign-language Oscar shortlist. Doueiri was questioned about his previous film, “The Attack,” which was partly shot in Israel. “The Insult” was released in Lebanon by Italia Film.

UAE Is New American Puppet-Master In Middle East

[SEE: The UAE Is Helping America By Propagating A Warped Form Of Arab Nationalism]

[Once again, Qatar and Al-Jazeera are condemned by either Saudi or UAE (or both) actions for unbiased reporting, which causes the uptight Arabs to react publicly to the report, in a similar manner to their feud over Al-Jazeera daring to say that  Iran was an “Islamic power.”  This time, the UAE Air Force kept breeching Qatari airspace, until the caused a reaction in the form of a condemnation of Qatari interception of “civilian aircraft,” which never happened (SEE: Saudi condemns Qatari interception of UAE civilian planes).   After that point, Doha squealed like the “Fat Pig of Qatar” and denied the report not the charges filed at the UN, hoping to further piss-off Riyadh without being in the wrong.  The next day, AlJazeera issues the following disclaimer (Qatar denies intercepting Emirati civilian aircraft ), enabling Qatari face-saving, by denying an obviously false Saudi charge.]

2277 United Arab Emirates Air Force De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter photographed at Malta Luqa (MLA / LMML) by Brendon Attard2277 United Arab Emirates Air Force De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter–PLANESPOTTERS.NET

Qatar Informs UN About Second Emirates Military Airliner Violating Its Airspace

Qatar Informs UN About Second Emirates Military Airliner Violating Its Airspace

New York / Information Office / January 12

The State of Qatar has sent two messages to the United Nations Secretary-General and to the President of the Security Council on a UAE military airliner flying from the airspace of the United Arab Emirates to the Kingdom of Bahrain, violating the airspace of the State of Qatar at 10:10 am, Wednesday, January 3 2018.

In a letter sent by the Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to the United Nations, HE Ambassador Sheikha Alia Ahmed bin Saif Al-Thani, Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations, drew the attention of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the President of the Security Council to a UAE military airlift carrying induction code (DHC-6) coming from the UAE airspace bound for the Kingdom of Bahrain to enter the airspace of the State of Qatar, at 10:10 am, on Wednesday, January 3 2018 , flying over the Special Economic Zone of the State of Qatar, without prior authorization of the competent Qatari authorities.

HE Sheikha Alia noted that an emergency flight order had been given to a Qatari fighter jet for periodic patrols. It was later discovered that the UAE aircraft was flying between the Air corridor UL-768 and the Air corridor UM-600 and then landed in the Kingdom of Bahrain at 11:27 am.

HE Sheikha Alia Ahmed bin Saif Al Thani stressed that the repetition of this terrible incident and the continuation of the United Arab Emirates in violation of the sovereignty of the State of Qatar and its threat to the safety of its borders and territories is evidence of the UAE authorities continuing their approach to violating international law, conventions, charters and international norms.

On Thursday, the State of Qatar also sent two identical message to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the President of the United Nations Security Council regarding an Emirati fighter aircraft coming from the airspace of the United Arab Emirates violating the airspace of the State of Qatar on 21 December, 2017.

In a letter presented by the Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to the United Nations, HE Ambassador Sheikha Alia Ahmed bin Saif Al -Thani, the Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations, said that the aircraft carrying the Induction code (0403) flew over the exclusive economic zone of Qatar at a height of 33,400 feet, at 460 knots speed , for one minute.

HE Sheikha Alia confirmed that the UAE plane entered the airspace of the State of Qatar without prior knowledge or approval of the competent Qatari authorities.

S.C. Gov. Ramming Through Legislation Criminalizing Criticism of Zionist “Shit Hole”

Pro-Israel Bill: South Carolina Leaders Assault Free Speech

Bill would criminalize opposition to Jewish State, criticism of Israeli policy …

South Carolina has the worst government-run school system in America.  It has some of the worst roads in America.  It has one of the nation’s lowest labor participation rates, as well as some of its lowest incomes.  Most of its government agencies are unmitigated disasters.

Oh, and it’s corrupt as hell …

Naturally, though, state lawmakers have decided to put all of that on the back burner to do the bidding of the state of Israel.

Wait … what? 

That’s right …

In a shameless election year sop to Jewish voters, governor Henry McMaster is clamoring for the South Carolina Senate to pass H. 3643 – which would adopt “the definition of anti-Semitism set forth by the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism of the Department of State in the fact sheet issued on June 8, 2010.”

More on that mouthful in a moment …

The law goes on to say that “in reviewing, investigating, or deciding whether there has been a violation of a college or university policy prohibiting discriminatory practices on the basis of religion, South Carolina public colleges and universities shall take into consideration the definition of anti-Semitism for purposes of determining whether the alleged practice was motivated by anti-Semitic intent.”

McMaster wants this legislation passed within the next ten days.

(Click to view)

(Via: S.C. Governor)

“Anti-Semitism has no place in South Carolina, and the passage of this bill would go a long way towards ensuring that our state and its college campuses provide a welcoming environment for those from all walks of life,” the governor said in a statement. “I’m proud that South Carolina continues to lead the fight against anti-Semitic discrimination and would ask that the Senate immediately bring the bill to the floor for a final vote, so that we may send the strongest possible message to the world this January 27th on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.”

Not surprisingly, this bill is sponsored by state representative Alan Clemmons – a devout Mormon who is literally obsessed with the Jewish State.

“Governor McMaster has rightly asked the state senate to pass the bill before Holocaust Memorial Day in honor of over six million souls who were murdered because of their Jewish ethnicity and faith,” Clemmons said. “Never again means passing the bill now!”

It all sounds so vanilla, right?  So reasonable.  So appropriate.

It’s anything but, though.  A quick look at the 2010 “fact sheet” (.pdf) – which was conveniently omitted from the text of Clemmons’ bill – reveals a glaringly anti-American assault on the First Amendment.

According to the “Special Envoy’s” definition, for example, anti-semitism includes blaming Israel for “inter-religious or political tensions” or applying “double standards” to the Jewish State.  One is also apparently anti-semitic if they oppose the existence of the Jewish State or the “right of the Jewish people to self-determination.”

Really? 

There are also a host of statements (i.e. speech) that the bill seeks to establish as anti-semitic, including “accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.”

Take a look ..

(Click to view)

(Via: Provided)

Sadly, this is not a joke.  In fact, similar bills have been pushed at the federal level related to the 1964 Civil Rights Act.  South Carolina’s own Senator Tim Scott was a sponsor of one of those bills.

We wonder … do any of these politicians have any idea what they are endorsing?

Our guess is they do not.  For far too long, it has long been the reflexive view of most American elected officials to do whatever Israel demands – a policy which has resulted in hundreds of billions of tax dollars being drained from our government to the Israeli military.

This news site has categorically opposed such outlays just as we categorically oppose similar payments to other nations.

To be clear: We have no problem with the Jewish State.  We believe Israel has every right to defend itself/ wage aggressive wars as it pleases.  All we ask is its leaders stop asking American taxpayers to pick up the tab for their wars of aggression.

Whatever you think of Israel, the United States simply cannot afford to keep subsidizing such actions …

This legislation is far worse than an assault on our wallets and pocketbooks, though.  It is an assault on one of our most essential liberties – a prima facie violation of one of our most basic constitutional rights.

Whether you like Israel … or whether you like Jewish people … in America you have the right to believe as you see fit.  And to speak your mind as to what you believe.

We encourage the South Carolina Senate to reject this legislation.  Passing it would not only be wrong, it would subject the state of South Carolina and its institutions of higher learning to a flood of costly lawsuits that taxpayers cannot afford to defend.

As for McMaster and Clemmons, if they wish to represent the interests of the Israeli people then they should renounce their American citizenship, relocate to Jerusalem and stand for election there.

They sure as hell aren’t helping to solve South Carolina’s problems …

Bomb Under Seat of Hamas Official In Sidon 1st. Military Action By Dahlan’s Terrorist Forces?

[SEE: Dahlan’s terror camp]

Lebanese Forces Investigate Explosion Targeting Hamas Official

Lebanese security forces check a damaged vehicle following a car bomb blast in the southern Lebanese port city of Sidon on Jan. 14, 2018 (Mahmoud ZAYYAT / AFP)
Lebanese security forces check a damaged vehicle following a car bomb blast in the southern Lebanese port city of Sidon on Jan. 14, 2018 (Mahmoud ZAYYAT / AFP)

 

  • A Hamas official was the target of a planted bomb in Sidon
  • It was placed under the seat of his car
  • Lebanese investigators are analyzing surveillance footage
  • Some believed the official was involved in the shooting of a Rabbi in the West Bank

 

Investigators Tuesday analyzed footage from surveillance cameras in south Lebanon’s Sidon as the investigation into an explosion targeting Hamas Movement official Mohammad Hamdan entered its second day.

Lebanese security forces continued with their investigation into Sunday’s attempt to kill Hamdan, in which a bomb planted under the seat of his BMW, outside his Abu Sido building in Sidon’s Bustan al-Kabir, exploded. Hamdan was injured in the incident and is undergoing treatment at a Sidon hospital.

The Army removed a security cordon erected around the site, while the car was transferred to a military center for further forensic investigations.

The security forces have been looking at surveillance footage taken by cameras mounted on nearby buildings, shops and schools to help ascertain the events leading up to the explosion. Although no arrests have yet been made in the case, security agencies are also looking at who was living in the nearby buildings and who owned the shops in the area.

Sources said the investigators are also looking to access the telecoms data of some of the area’s residents.

Sunday’s incident broke the calm in the southern city of Sidon, and the questions of who targeted Hamdan, and why, remain.

Hamdan was not widely known as a Hamas figure in Lebanon prior to the incident, but sources in Sidon said he is believed to be in the group’s inner circle.

Palestinian sources said that Hamdan was involved in planning several actions in Israel and some believed he had been involved in the decision to green-light the recent shooting of Rabbi Raziel Shevach at the illegal West Bank settlement of Havat Gilad on Jan. 9.

His apparent connection to actions in Israel and his relative obscurity even among Hamas political officials led some Palestinian sources to question whether the Jewish state had been behind the attack.

“Israel wanted to send two messages from the incident: The first is for Hamas, saying that although Hamdan isn’t widely known among the movement’s leaders, he is known to Israel,” a source said.

“The other message is that there is an attempt to move the fight from Israel into Lebanon in an attempt to cause tension between Palestinians and Lebanon.”

Hamdan was lightly wounded in the attack and nearby buildings incurred material damage.

Sidon Mayor Mohammad Saudi headed to the site to survey the damage and announced that a municipal committee would be established to assess the damage caused by the attack and the steps that could be taken to compensate those affected.

Saudi was among those who contended that Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad was most likely behind the incident.

“The explosion destroyed the window glass, but everything can be fixed. Thank God my family is good,” Mohammad Ghaddar, a resident of one of the buildings affected, said.

Director of the nearby Al-Iman school, Kamel Kozbar, said that the roof of one of the school’s halls had collapsed after the explosion.

“We thank God that school was closed or else [students] would have been hurt,” Kozbar said. “We handed over the surveillance camera footage to the security agencies.”

The UAE Is Helping America By Propagating A Warped Form Of Arab Nationalism

The UAE Is Helping America By Propagating A Warped Form Of Arab Nationalism

The UAE’s use of a warped form of Arab Nationalism for countering Turkey and Iran’s perceived leadership of the global Muslim community works in favor of America’s grand strategic interests by creating a trilateral Dubai-Riyadh-Cairo axis for Washington to rely upon in “Leading From Behind” to break the post-Jerusalem trend of multipolar unity spreading throughout the Ummah.

Twitter Taunting

Emirati officials have recently become embroiled in a Twitter feud with Turkish President Erdogan that strongly resembles a preplanned infowar operation against the most vocal opponent of President Trump’s unilateral recognition of the entirety of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahayan started the spat last week by accusing “Erdogan’s ancestors” of pillaging the holy city of Medina during World War I, sharing photos that he claimed was proof of “their history with Arabs and Muslims”.

Turkish President Erdogan speaks during a news conference following the extraordinary meeting of the OIC in Istanbul

Erdogan, wisely sensing that this was a provocation designed to enflame anti-Turkish sentiment in the Mideast, deflected the attack by reassuring his wider audience that “…Arab people are our brothers. That said, the enmity of some leaders in Arab countries is meant to hide their own incompetence and even treason.” This was a clear inference to the reports that the UAE, among several other Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, is secretly coordinating a lopsided Palestinian “peace deal” with Israel and the US that might purportedly see the native people’s capital dishonorably relocated from its pre-1967 location in East Jerusalem to a suburb of that city while the entirety of it is planned to remain in Israeli hands.

Ratcheting up the rhetoric and keen to reverse the narrative dynamic after Erdogan’s powerful counterpunch, one of the UAE’s chief diplomatic figures, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Anwar Gargash, jumped into the brawl by tweeting that “…The Arab world will not be led by Tehran or Ankara. The geostrategic competition taking place in the region calls for strengthened Arab [unity] with Riyadh and Cairo as its pillar.” This statement is designed to bolster the Arab Nationalist credentials of his country’s Foreign Minister and imply that non-Arab Muslim states are abusing religion for neo-colonial purposes. Furthermore, Gargash’s comments lay out the plan for countering this supposed threat, which is for the Arab World to unite around Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the UAE’s two allies.

Regional Realignments

It may seem surprising for a Gulf Monarchy to invoke the cry of Arab Nationalism when considering that this very same ideology was at one time believed to be the most dangerous threat to their rule during a period of the Cold War, one which saw Egypt leading the charge for democratizing the Arab World under the leadership of its world-renowned President Nasser. The times have changed, however, because nowadays Egypt is a client state of Saudi Arabia due to the billions that the Kingdom has provided it ever since President Sisi’s 2013 coup against Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi, while Riyadh itself is under Abu Dhabi’s influence due to the mentorship that Mohammed Bin Zayed (MBZ) provides to Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS).Arab World

The chain of command is thus that the two Emirati officials’ tweets about reviving Arab Nationalism can be seen as orders for Saudi Arabia and Egypt to implement in breaking the cross-sectarian example that Turkey and Iran’s perceived joint leadership of the Palestinian cause and subsequently the Ummah as a whole has created. The “weak link” in the Turkish-Iranian Strategic Partnership is that it doesn’t involve an Arab anchor, notwithstanding the irrelevancy of this to the Muslim-majority areas of sub-Saharan Africa, and Central (the former Soviet “‘stans”), South (Pakistan and Bangladesh) and Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei). The Hybrid War battlefield in this case is in the Mideast, the core of which is populated by Arabs, and that’s why the UAE is attempting to employ Arab Nationalism in order to weaken Turkish-Iranian influence here following the defeat of Daesh and Trump’s Jerusalem decision.

Abu Dhabi: Chief Decision Maker

The superficial OIC unity of just a few weeks prior has been completely dispelled and proven to be just as illusory as most objective individuals always realized that it was. The current geopolitical situation makes it impossible for this dream to ever be achieved in real life, and now the UAE is taking the helm in actively trying to divide the region into Arab and non-Arab halves. The Emirates, despite their small size, is actually in many ways more powerful than their much larger and wealthier Saudi neighbor, not least because of the rapid expansion of its military influence since the beginning of the War on Yemen. Abu Dhabi now boasts military facilities in Eritrea, the breakaway region of Somaliland, and the South Yemeni port city of Aden and its offshore Socotra Islands. In addition, MBZ brilliantly leveraged his influence over MBS to compel the “Red Prince” into provoking the Qatar Crisis, all to the UAE and its American partner’s benefit.

In fact, just like with the artificially manufactured Qatar Crisis, the UAE’s zombie revival of Arab Nationalism is also in America’s interests as well. It should be clarified at this point that Arab Nationalism is ordinarily organic and has a proud history in the region, though the new iteration that Abu Dhabi is trying to popularize through Saudi Arabia and Egypt is predicated on insincere ideological reasons and thus being exploited for weaponized geopolitical purposes. The whole point is to counter Turkey’s Muslim Brotherhood influence and the Resistance one wielded by its Iranian partner, both of which are seen as much more “expansionist” and “threatening” than war-torn Syria’s constitutionally secular one at the moment.

Old School vs. New School

The UAE hopes that it and its Saudi underling’s enormous wealth can work infowar wonders in convincing Arabs that the historical memory that many of them still hold dearly about Egypt’s Cold War-era leadership of this cause is about to be relived in the present day, despite the fact that the current Cairo government offers nothing substantial at all to this ideology nowadays and is only relying on geopolitical nostalgia and the presumption that the most populous Arab country is the only state that deserves to publicly lead this cause. In addition, the Arab Nationalism being espoused by the UAE significantly differs from the Arab Nationalism of the Nasser period.Ummah

Back then, this ideology focused more on uniting the broader cultural-linguistic space and incorporating non-Arab ethnicities such as Kurds and Berbers, like how Syria and Algeria have done, not in obsessing over the racial exclusion of others such as Turks and Persians like the Emiratis want to have happen. This makes the ideology’s Eastern Mediterranean-originating predecessor more “left-wing” and “progressive” than its Gulf-proposed “right-wing” and “conservative” iteration. Not only that, but Nasser’s Arab Nationalism was about multipolarity, embodied in the Cold War as the Non-Aligned Movement of which Egypt was a founding member, while the UAE’s version of this ideology is unipolar in the sense that it seeks to divide the emerging Multipolar World Order in the region along strictly ethnic lines in support of American grand strategic interests to roll back Turkish and Iranian soft power gains in this space.

Arabs Selling Out Other Arabs While Distracting Them With Arab Nationalism

Returning back to President Erdogan’s hints about the UAE and other Arab State’s “treason”, his words now take on an even more loaded meaning when bearing in mind Abu Dhabi’s recruitment of Saudi Arabia and Egypt as pillars for a new Arab Nationalism. This revised ideology will be used as an ethnic nationalist smokescreen for distracting the Arab masses from what can be argued is the quintessentially anti-Arab plan to force the Palestinian Authority to accept the de-facto settlement borders and infamous wall in the West Bank as the formal territorial delineation between their proposed state and Israel, as well as to surrender East Jerusalem and Al Aqsa Mosque (the third-holiest site in Islam) while pitifully “being allowed” to relocate their new capital to a nearby suburb as “compensation”.

This makes it fundamentally different from the traditional/classical Arab Nationalism of the Nasser era that preaches an empowering message and demands at the very least the return to the pre-1967 borders, to say nothing of its Syrian manifestation by the ruling Baath Party which calls for the pre-1948 return of the entire region to its original mostly Muslim Arab Palestinian inhabitants prior to the territory’s post-World War II colonization by European-originating “Weapons of Mass Migration”. It’s precisely because of how disadvantageous the original Egyptian and current Syrian forms of Arab Nationalism are that both states were targeted by Hybrid Wars, first with Sadat being encouraged by the CIA to “flip” his country from the Soviet to the Western camp in the run-up to officially recognizing Israel and then decades later with the War of Terror on Syria that began after the 2011 theater-wide “Arab Spring” Color Revolutions spread to the Arab Republic.

Pertaining to those destabilizing events that first kicked off at the beginning of the decade, they were initially intended to form a transnational Arab superstate run by Muslim Brotherhood governments that would behave as satellites of Turkey, their chief ideological patron at the time, all with the purpose of forming a new geopolitical bloc that could simultaneously “contain” Iran while putting pressure on the US’ Gulf allies. The strategic situation has since shifted dramatically so that’s no longer the US’ “Lead From Behind” blueprint. The new revision of this plan seeks to reverse the dynamic by having the UAE replace Turkey in a more complex formation that sees Abu Dhabi promote Saudi Arabia’s symbolic stewardship of Islam by virtue of its Custodianship of the Two Holy Mosques together with the most populous Arab state Egypt’s historical legacy of traditional/classic Arab Nationalism to craft a warped version of this ideology adapted to modern-day geopolitical imperatives.

Concluding Thoughts

The US-backed Emirati reiteration of Arab Nationalism is therefore clearly distinguishable in form from its original Egyptian one and is intended to replace the last remnants of the latter in order to make the “patriotic” case for essentially selling out the Palestinians on the basis of “resisting Turkish and Persian/Iranian imperialism”, an utterly weaponized narrative that’s nonetheless expected to become a key storyline in 2018. Washington’s unipolar geostrategic position in the Mideast is threatened by the cross-sectarian Muslim cooperation between the multipolar Great Powers of Sunni Turkey and Shiite Iran, and with the sectarian myth visibly busted as a result, the American fallback plan for dividing and ruling the Mideast via a US-led version of Israel’s infamous Yinon Plan is to ironically foster a new, albeit perverted, sense of Arab Nationalism spearheaded by its rising UAE ally.

President Donald Trump welcomes Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh
President Donald Trump welcomes Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to the White House in Washington, Monday, May 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.

Reposts are welcomed with the reference to ORIENTAL REVIEW.

U.A.E., Mohammed Dahlan and Zionist Terrorist Conspiracies Called “DAESH”

[Mohammed Dahlan, George Bush’s “Whore,” Now He’s Selling His Ass To the Saudis]

Dahlan’s terror camp

Mohammed Dahlan, Israel, Egypt and the UAE’s assassin, established a camp of eight thousand terrorists who are trained to launch provocative attacks in Turkey, Libya, Sudan and Qatar.

Mohammed Dahlan, who is known as the “the assassin of the Middle East”, established a terror camp composed of eight thousand people in Egypt. The camp, built in Sinai’s peninsula one-and-a-half year ago, is backed by the United Arab Emirates. The terrorists in the camp are trained for immense attacks in the Middle East, particularly in Turkey, Sudan, Libya and Qatar. The camps first objective, where assault teams are trained by terrorist Abu Hafs, who formed the Libyan structure of Daesh, is to occupy Gaza.

GAZA, DAHLAN’S FIRST TARGET

Mohammed Dahlan, according to his plan, would create the perception that the “Daesh terror organization occupied Gaza”, by striking Israel-held regions with missiles after deploying Daesh teams in Gaza, and organizing a set of terror attacks. Simultaneously assassinating a number of high level persons in Egypt and Gaza is also a part of the plan. Dahlan aimed to lay the foundation for Egypt’s occupation of Gaza with suicide attacks which would cause great destruction.

TERROR CELL UNITS ESTABLISHED

Mohammed Dahlan’s project to occupy the region by defeating Hamas is supported by Fatah Spymaster Teyfik al-Turavi. Some of the people who were involved in crime by Fatah with so-called Daesh operation teams and dismissed from Egypt’s Sinai camp were also involved in the plan. The provocation team of 700 people formed terror cell units of eight across Gaza.

ISRAEL TO OCCUPY UNDER THE COVER OF DAESH

After Gaza’s occupation, Israel’s harassment and occupation will gather pace in some regions, such as Quds, Hebron and Bethlehem. The operations which are planned to be launched in Gaza, and target countries such as Turkey and Qatar by the terrorists trained with the partnership of Mohammed Dahlan, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will be supported by SKY News and Gad TV channel. It was reported that around 900 terrorists were sent to the target countries from the camp in Sinai.

UAE SPENDS $700 MILLION

Terrorists were deported to Turkey, Qatar, the Philippines and Libya from the terror camp which was established by the UAE’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. He had spent $700 million in the establishment of the camp. Given special operation training, terrorists were raised to organize so-called Daesh attacks.

Interrogation, confession

Visiting Gaza five times during the last six months from the West Bank, Merve al-Misri was tracked by the Hamas intelligence unit. Al-Misri, who was arrested in an operation while visiting a cell structure, was taken into custody with $650 thousand in her possession. The female journalist confessed the plan against Gaza during her interrogation.

Turkey Declares 30 Acre Area of Kurdish N. Syria As “Military Zone”

Turkey declares 30 areas in Kurdish province military zones

 

Turkey declares 30 areas in Kurdish province military zones

Turkish military vehicles seen in a rural area of the Kurdish region in this file photo, Turkey. (Photo: DHA)

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Turkish authorities in the Kurdish province of Dersim on Monday announced a fortnight-long curfew and entry ban on 30 mostly rural areas, declaring them as “special security zones” on the grounds of fighting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

A statement by Dersim’s Ankara-appointed governor’s office said the curfew, starting from Tuesday, covers parts of five districts, among them the central one, Ovacik, Pulumur, Hozat, and Nazimiye.

The online statement read that a geographically wide-ranging military operation was underway and its objective was “to neutralize terrorist elements.”

People could not enter the locations whose coordinates were specified without an official permit from authorities.

Dersim, officially named “Tunceli (Iron Hand)” after the 1938 Turkish offensive and genocide of the local population, serves as a mountainous sanctuary for the Kurdish guerrillas fighting for self-rule.

Ankara repeatedly imposes round-the-clock curfews in dozens of Kurdish provinces since August 2015 when a two years-held peace talks and ceasefire with the PKK collapsed.

Over 2,000 people—among them Kurdish fighters, Turkish soldiers, and hundreds of civilians—have been killed in the renewed phase of the decades-long conflict, also initially fought in dozens of urban population centers for months.

Turkey is already under a nation-wide state of emergency, a measure President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s administration last week extended for the sixth time to counter what he labels as collaborators of the attempted coup against his rule in 2016.

Meanwhile, to Turkey’s south, the army continued to reinforce troops and tanks in the Hatay Province on the border with Syria, as Erdogan promised an imminent invasion of the Kurdish-ruled region there.

Howitzers staged constant mortar attacks on the US-backed People’s Protection Units (YPG) positions in the self-administered Afrin canton.

Turkey alleges the YPG is a mere offshoot of the PKK in Syria—a view US officials refuse to share.

Erdogan vowed to crush the YPG in response to Washington’s continued support to the Kurds there and a new force the US is helping build tasked with protecting the border.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany

 

US Transfers SAMs To Kurdish Terrorists To Defend Against Nonexistent ISIS Air Force

[Turkish military counters PYD attack in Northern Syria with artillery fire, Afrin strongholds targetted]

U.S. transfers anti-aircraft missiles to Kurdish fighters in Afrin 

U.S. transfers anti-aircraft missiles to Kurdish fighters in Afrin

SULAIMANI – Syrian Kurdish fighters have been provided with anti-aircraft missiles known as MANPADS by United States in the canton of Afrin in northern Syria, local sources said on Sunday (January 14).

Man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS or MPADS) are shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles (SLSAMs).

The shipment of anti-aircraft missiles to Afrin, a Kurdish-held canton and repeated target of the Turkish army, show an easing of restrictions on arming the Kurdish forces by the U.S.

Afrin is controlled by the YPG considered by Ankara to be a terror group linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) waging an insurgency inside Turkey.

Neither the U.S. nor SDF clarified why Kurdish fighters want shoulder-fired anti-aircraft system, as the Islamic State (ISIS) does not have warplanes.

However, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to attack the canton “in the days ahead” to clear it of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters.

“The slightest disturbance on the border would be the signal for us to take a step,” Erdogan said in a televised speech on Sunday (January 14).

“We will continue our operations begun with Operation Euphrates Shield to clean our southern borders of terror in Afrin [northern Syria] in the days ahead God willing.”

Late last year, Turkish troops were deployed to rebel-held northern Idlib province, south of Afrin, as part of an agreement with Iran and Russia to implement four so-called de-escalation zones in flashpoint areas around Syria.

Erdogan has repeatedly said that Afrin should be cleared of “terrorists” and in November 2016, he said Turkish troops needed to be deployed there.

The issue is among many causing tense relations between Ankara and Washington. Turkish officials said in November that U.S. President Donald Trump told them Washington would no longer supply weapons to the YPG.

The U.S. Administration later denied they would halt weapons supply, but limit them to maintaining security now that ISIS had been expelled from Syria.

“I hope that during an Afrin operation, these powers will not make the mistake of appearing to be on the same side as a terror organization,” Erdogan said in an apparent reference to the U.S. during the rally in the northern Turkish city of Tokat.

He added he hoped Turkey “would take action together” with its allies.

Since December, Ankara has reinforced the southern border of Turkey through the Hatay district sending armored vehicles, tanks and howitzers into Syria, sources told Hurriyet Daily news.

(NRT)

US Announces Plans For 30,000 Man Terrorist Army In N. Syria, Turkey Declares Intention To Destroy Same Force

[Turkey vows imminent strike on Kurdish enclave in Syria ; US coalition to build 30000-strong Syrian border force; Turkey cries foul ; Syria war: Turkey denounces US ‘terror army’ plan for border US plans for PKK/PYD-led army in Syria ‘playing with fire’: Deputy PM ]

 

Turkey condemns US’ YPG army plan in Syria

ANKARA

 

Turkey condemns US’ YPG army plan in Syria

Turkey has strongly reacted against the United States decision to build a new force with the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in order to secure Turkish and Iraqi borders with Syria.

The Foreign Ministry slammed media reports that the U.S.-led international coalition against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) would establish a 30,000-strong new border security force with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)—the U.S.-backed group that is largely controlled and manned by the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria.

The Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Jan. 14 saying Turkey had reiterated on numerous occasions that it was “wrong and objectionable” to cooperate with the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) “terrorist organization” on the ground in Syria in order to fight ISIL and stabilize the areas liberated from it.

“On the other hand, the establishment of the so-called ‘Syria Border Protection Force’ was not consulted with Turkey, which is a member of the coalition,” the statement said.

It was also unknown which coalition members approved this decision, the ministry said. “To attribute such a unilateral step to the whole coalition is an extremely wrong move that could harm the fight against Daesh,” it said, referring to ISIL in an Arabic acronym.

“Such initiatives, through cooperation with the PYD/YPG in contradiction with U.S. commitments and statements, endanger Turkey’s national security and the territorial integrity of Syria, and are totally unacceptable,” it said.

“We condemn insistence on this wrong approach and once again remind that Turkey is determined to and capable of eliminating any threats against the country,” it added.

The coalition had issued a written statement to some media outlets earlier on Jan. 14, wherein it said the coalition was working with the SDF to set up and train a Syria Border Protection Force.

Turkey has long protested U.S. support for the PKK/PYD, as Ankara sees it an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), while Washington sees it as a “reliable ally” in its fight against ISIL in Syria.

Turkey has ‘right’ to fight terrorism ‘in any way’: Presidential spokesman

Turkey has the right to fight all terrorist groups in any manner it deems fit and will continue to take necessary measures to ensure its security in line with national interests, Turkish presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın said on Jan. 14.

“Within this framework, Turkey reserves its right to respond to the legitimate target of terrorist organizations in any way, time and place,” Kalın said in a written statement.

“The United States of America takes worrisome steps towards legitimizing the PKK terrorist group’s Syrian offshoot, PYD-YPG under the pretense of ‘fight against Daesh,’” Kalın said, adding the steps also aimed to provide a permanent place for the terrorist group in the region.

Turkey hosts Afghan talks with Rebel Taliban faction, Loyal To Mullah Rasoul

[Hekmatyar has facilitated this new avenue leading towards real peace, we hope.  This new peace outlet in Turkey brings the anti-Taliban militants, under Mullah Rasoul, together with Hekmatyar’s Hezb-i-Islami (HIA) and the Afghan High Peace Council, without interference from  the US, Pakistan or Iran.  It is time to close the fake “Taliban Office” in Doha and put an end to that US deception, which was intended to prevent real peace talks from taking place outside of US control.]

Turkey hosts Afghan talks with Taliban factions

KABUL (Pajhwok): A quadrilateral intra-Afghan peace dialogue began on Saturday in the Turkish capital Istanbul, to find a negotiated end to the decades-long conflict in Afghanistan, a reliable source said.

A participant of the meeting confided to Pajhwok Afghan News the gathering initiated on Saturday would last three days (until Monday).

The source, wishing anonymity, also shared a few photos of the gathering with Pajhwok, saying the peace dialogue was arranged in cooperation with the Turkish government.

He said Taliban’s Qatar Office members, Mullah Mohammad Rassoul splinter faction members, the Afghan government representatives and Hezb-i-IslamiAfghanistan (HIA) members were attending the huddle.

Rahmatullah Wardak is representing the Taliban, Mullah Rauf and Abdul Halim the Rassoul group, Haji Dawajan Ahmadzai and Homayoon Jarir the HIA and Dr. Basir, envoy of High Peace Council (HPC) head Karim Khalili is speaking on behalf of the government in the session.

The source said similar meetings had taken place in Turkey between the sides last year, but media was kept in the dark about them.

The meeting comes as reports suggest the Turkish government has proposed the Taliban to open a political office in the country.

A spokesman for the HIA, Mohammad Nadar Afghan, confirmed the gathering to Pajhwok. However, he said, Homayoon Jarir and Dawajan Ahmadzai had not participated in the gathering on behalf of the HIA.

He said Jarir was a presidential advisor and both might be privately invited to the gathering.

Also an official of the HPC confirmed to Pajhwok the gathering in Turkey; however, he didn’t go into details.

A source close to Taliban admitted the peace negotiations but said no one from their supreme leader Mullah Haibatullah group was participating in the gathering.

He said a Taliban member named Rahmatullah Wardak was attending the gathering. Wardak, a former Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) employee had served as an intelligence operative in the Tailban regime. Wardak has been running a bee honey business in Dubai over the past few years.

According to the Taliban source, this was a third meeting of the kind taking placing between the Afghan government and Taliban representatives in Turkey. “But the recent (this meeting) is organized as a result of HIA leader Gulbuddin Hekmtyar’s visit to the country.”

Pentagon To Make Huge Investment In Future Syrian Troublemaking w/$143 Million Buildup of Jordanian Air Base

By JOHN VANDIVER | STARS AND STRIPES

The Pentagon wants to pump $143 million into upgrades at a strategic air base in Jordan, more than any other overseas Air Force operational site, as the military moves to expand drone and fighter flights in the region.

The funding, included in the Pentagon budget passed by Congress last week, highlights the growing importance of Jordan as the U.S. military makes plans in a neighborhood of unpredictable partners.

Muwaffaq Salti Air Base, positioned near Jordan’s border with Syria and Iraq, has played a key role for the U.S. in its battle against the Islamic State group. But the base, according to the Air Force, has been overwhelmed by the pace of operations. Fighter-bombers from other nations involved in the conflict, such as Belgium and the Netherlands, also have operated from its twin runways.

Air Force budget documents say the facility has limited ramp space to launch combat sorties, has “zero dedicated space to support cargo and personnel recovery operations” and is operating at “four to five times what the space was originally intended to support.”

Troops operating at the Azraq base now face “extreme life, health, and safety risk” because living areas are within range of explosives from operational areas.

“To alleviate these risks, to support the influx of personnel, and to provide adequate facilities for a contingency operations population, a new LSA (Life Support Area) to include supporting facilities and infrastructure are required,” Air Force documents said.

Since the Air Force’s initial budget request, combat operations in Iraq and Syria have slowed dramatically, with fewer air strikes as ISIS-held territory evaporates.

However, Congress’ inclusion of the Jordan project in the $700 billion National Defense Authorization Act highlights the Pentagon’s long-term needs in the region. The $700 billion defense act is expected to be signed into law by President Donald Trump.

During the past year, tensions among Gulf states have flared and longtime U.S. bases have been caught in the middle.

In June, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states cut ties with Qatar, home to the Al Udeid Air Base, out of which the U.S. has run much of its war against ISIS.

Trump, who at the time backed the Saudi campaign to pressure Qatar over accusations of ties to terrorist groups, said the U.S. would find alternatives to Al Udeid if necessary.

“If we ever have to leave (Al Udeid) we would have 10 countries willing to build us another one, believe me, and they will pay for it,” Trump said in a radio interview at the time.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis later clarified that the U.S. has no intention to replace Al Udeid.

Of the roughly $500 million Congress has approved for overseas Air Force operational sites, $143 million is slated for the Jordan base, compared to $15 million for a consolidated squadron facility at Al Udeid.

Muwaffaq Salti Air Base is 80 kilometers east of Amman, where Lawrence of Arabia had his headquarters during World War I. The base, in the desert oasis of Azraq, opened in 1981 and was named after Lt. Muwaffaq Salti, a fighter pilot killed in a dogfight with the Israelis in 1966.

Several European sites also will get funds if the NDAA is signed into law. A base in Luxembourg would get the second largest chunk, with $67.4 million planned for prepositioned Air Force equipment.

Incirlik Air Base in Turkey is slated to receive $48.6 million, which will fund a new dormitory and various security measures on base. The U.S. also has been increasingly at odds with NATO ally Turkey, which has sought out closer ties with Russia.

Former top U.S. commanders in Europe, including retired Adm. James Stavridis and Charles Wald, the former four-star deputy at European Command, have said the U.S. should start to consider alternatives to Incirlik.

“I think we can go to other places,” Wald said in a July interview with Stars and Stripes. “I think Jordan is a fantastic ally and partner. I think it is time for the United States to start thinking in those terms.”

vandiver.john@stripes.com
Twitter: @john_vandiver
 

Air Force Staff Sgt. Nicholas Anderson from the 388th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, awaits the start of an exercise at Muwaffaq Salti Air Base, Jordan, in 2011. The Pentagon wants to pump $143 million into upgrades at the base, more than at any other overseas Air Force operational site.
ASHA KIN/U.S. AIR FORCE

Russia knows who staged attacks on Syrian base and it’s not Turkey – Putin

[SEE: Russian Army Repels Drone Swarm “of foreign manufacture,” On Two Syrian Bases]

Russia knows who staged attacks on Syrian base & it’s not Turkey – Putin

 

Russia knows who staged attacks on Syrian base & it’s not Turkey – Putin

Recent attacks on Russia’s Khmeimim Airbase in Syria were a provocation aimed at undermining the country’s relations with its partners Turkey and Iran and the peaceful settlement of the Syrian crisis, Vladimir Putin said.

“Those were provocations aimed at disrupting the earlier agreements, in the first place. Secondly, it was about our relations with our partners – Turkey and Iran. It was also an attempt to destroy those relations,” the Russian President said during a meeting with the editors-in-chief of Russian papers and news agencies in Moscow. “We have a perfect understanding of that and will act in solidarity.”

“There were provocateurs there, but they were not Turks,” Putin said, refuting earlier reports saying the attacks on the Russian airbase were carried out by Turkoman units backed by Ankara. “We know who they are. We know whom and how much they paid for these provocations,” Putin said, without naming the organizers of the attacks.

Russian military sites in Syria were targeted in two major attacks in the past two weeks, one on New Year’s Eve and another on January 6. The first assault, reportedly carried out by an infiltration squad armed with mortars, resulted in two Russian servicemen being killed and damage to warplanes at Khmeimim Airbase. The second involved 13 drones armed with bomblets, which were all either shot down or forced to land via means of electronic warfare by Russian forces.

According to the head of state, the attacks on Khmeimim Airbase were “well-prepared.”
“We know when and where those unmanned aerial vehicles were handed over and how many there were,” he said.

“Those aircraft were only camouflaged – I want to emphasize this – to look like handicraft production. In fact, it is quite obvious that there were elements of high-tech nature there,” Putin said.

Before his Thursday meeting with Russian media chiefs, Putin held a phone conversation with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during which the Khmeimim attacks were discussed. During the conversation, Putin and Erdogan agreed to “intensify the coordination of efforts by the military and special services of the two countries in order to effectively combat terrorist groups in Syria.”

Relations between Moscow and Ankara have gone through a rough patch after the Turkish Air Force downed a Russian Su-24 bomber, which was involved in anti-terrorist operations in Syria, in November 2014. One Russian pilot was killed in the incident. Turkey said the jet had violated its airspace, but Russia denies the claim.

READ MORE: 2 Russian military personnel killed in shelling of Khmeimim air base in Syria

Russia and Turkey were able to restore ties since then and, together with Iran, are currently the guarantors of the peace process in Syria in accordance with the so-called Astana format. The talks in the Kazakh capital in May led to the creation of four de-escalation zones in Syria, which led to a major in reduction in violence in the war-torn country.

“There is NO EVIDENCE that Afghanistan’s Daesh has links with Daesh in Iraq and Syria”

In Kabul, IS operates under the noses of US, Afghanistan forces
This file photo taken on October 21, 2017 shows an Afghan resident carrying Qurans in Imam Zaman Shia mosque the day after a suicide attack claimed the Islamic State in Kabul. Analysts say recent attacks in Kabul show that IS has established a strong foothold in the city. – AFP pic, January 10, 2018.
MIDDLE-class Afghans turned jihadists have assisted the Islamic State’s (IS) expansion from its stronghold in Afghanistan’s restive east to Kabul, analysts say, helping to make the capital one of the deadliest places in the country.IS has claimed nearly 20 attacks across Kabul in 18 months, with cells including students, professors and shopkeepers evading Afghan and US security forces to bring carnage to the highly fortified city.

It is an alarming development for Kabul’s war-weary civilians and beleaguered security forces, who are already struggling to beat back the resurgent Taliban, as well as the US counter-terrorism mission in Afghanistan.

“This is not just a group that has a rural bastion in eastern Afghanistan – it is staging high casualty, high visibility attacks in the nation’s capital and I think that’s something to be worried about,” said analyst Michael Kugelman of the Wilson Center in Washington.

The Islamic State-Khorasan Province (IS-K), the Middle East group’s affiliate in Afghanistan and Pakistan, emerged in the region in 2014, largely made up of disaffected fighters from the Taliban and other jihadist groups in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia.

It claimed its first attack in Kabul in the summer of 2016. Since then the Sunni group has struck at security forces and Shias with increasing frequency, helped by its growing network in the capital.

There is no shortage of recruits, analysts say. IS has successfully tapped a rich vein of extremism in Afghanistan that has existed for decades and crosses socio-economic groups – fanned by growing internet access among urban youth.

“We are talking about a generation which has been desensitised to different types of violence and violent extremism,” said Borhan Osman, a senior analyst with the International Crisis Group.

“It should not come as a surprise that some of the youth inculcated in the ideology of jihadism embrace the next version of jihadism, the most violent one.”

Members and supporters of IS cells in Kabul hide in the open, living with their families and going to classes or work every day, Osman said.

The militants meet at night to discuss jihad, or holy war, and plot attacks on targets in the city they know well – well enough to adapt to changes, such as tightened security in the wake of a massive truck bomb in May that killed around 150 people.

“It’s an adaptive structure reacting to the counter measures,” a Western diplomat told AFP.

“From May to December what we have seen is different types of attacks, smaller attacks that are getting through.”

An Afghan security source previously told AFP that “20 or more” IS-K cells were operating in the city.

‘Hunt them down’

Osman, an expert on militant networks in Afghanistan, said it was difficult to know how many IS-K fighters were in Kabul but their ranks were constantly being replenished by the group’s recruitment efforts on social media as well as in universities, schools and mosques.

“You can’t say they are all poor – a number of them come from middle-class Kabuli families. Some are university educated. Some have a high school education,” he said, adding that most have some religious education as well.

An Afghan security source agreed. “The new wave of extremists is not an uneducated farmer. It is mainly people with a good level of education,” he told AFP on condition of anonymity.

While the Taliban remains by far the biggest threat to Afghanistan’s security forces and government, IS-K has dominated headlines in recent months with attacks in Kabul, including three last month alone which killed dozens of people.

Some have come within metres of embassies and NATO’s Resolute Support mission, a disconcerting reply to vows by the head of US Forces-Afghanistan General John Nicholson to “hunt them down” until they are “annihilated”.

Last year the US dropped the so-called Mother of All Bombs, the largest non-nuclear weapon ever used in combat, on IS strongholds in Nangarhar. That has been followed by intense aerial bombing by Afghan and US forces.

But analysts point out that the strategy has failed to destroy IS – and may have even pushed more militants into Kabul, where using that sort of overwhelming firepower is not an option.

New IS base?

The group’s resilience has raised fears that Afghanistan could become a new base for IS fighters fleeing the battlefields of Syria and Iraq, where the group has lost swathes of territory.

But the exact nature of links between IS in Afghanistan and the Middle East remains unclear.

The Afghan government claims there is no connection. Analysts told AFP there is communication, and AFP reported last month that French and Algerian fighters, some arriving from Syria, had joined IS in northern Afghanistan where the group has established new bases.

Regardless of links, the goals of IS in the Middle East and in Afghanistan appear to be aligned: stirring up sectarian violence.

“The real game is to provoke a lot of Sunni hatred towards Shias,” Vanda Felbab-Brown, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told AFP.

She said she was “waiting” for an attack on a major Sunni mosque, whether by a frustrated Shia or by IS pretending to be Shias in order to inflame Sunni anger.

But, its success in the capital aside, IS will struggle to turn Afghanistan into a new sectarian front, predicts Kugelman, who points out that most cleavages in Afghanistan are ethnic, not sectarian.

At any rate, he says, “why would you want your new front to be in a place where you have some of the most relentless levels of firepower being used against you?” – AFP, January 10, 2018.

Trump Opens All US Coastal Waters For Drilling, Except Florida, Thanks To Michael Moore

[Michael Moore vows to drill for oil offshore Trump’s Mar-a-lago resort]

In stark reversal, Trump administration removes Florida from offshore drilling targets

WASHINGTON — In a sudden about-face, the Trump administration has decided to exclude Florida from its plan to expand offshore oil and gas drilling.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the decision Tuesday evening after meeting with Florida Gov. Rick Scott at Tallahassee International Airport.

Scott had joined with a bipartisan group of state officials in blasting the administration’s plan unveiled last week to open up Florida waters — a part of the largest single expansion of off-shore drilling activity ever proposed.

“President Trump has directed me to rebuild our offshore oil and gas program in a manner that supports our national energy policy and also takes into consideration the local and state voice,” Zinke said in a statement released by his office. “I support the governor’s position that Florida is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver. As a result of discussion with Governor Scott and his leadership, I am removing Florida from consideration for any new oil and gas platforms.”

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said the decision to remove Florida so quickly after it had been included in an energy-development plan that was months in the making smacked of political gamesmanship. Scott is expected to challenge Sen. Bill Nelson, a long-time drilling foe, later this year in what would be one of the nation’s most hotly contested Senate races.

“I have spent my entire life fighting to keep oil rigs away from our coasts. But now, suddenly, Secretary Zinke announces plans to drill off Florida’s coast and four days later agrees to ‘take Florida off the table’? I don’t believe it,” Nelson said in a statement. “This is a political stunt orchestrated by the Trump administration to help Rick Scott, who has wanted to drill off Florida’s coast his entire career. We shouldn’t be playing politics with the future of Florida.”

The drilling proposal, announced last week, includes 47 potential lease sales in 25 of the 26 planning areas — 19 sales off the coast of Alaska, seven in the Pacific region, 12 in the Gulf of Mexico, and nine in the Atlantic region.

The five-year plan, covering 2019 to 2024, was initiated by the America First Offshore Energy Strategy directive Trump signed in April that could eventually open up Arctic waters and millions of coastal acres off U.S. shores to oil and gas drilling.

“Our country is blessed with incredible natural resources including abundant offshore oil and natural gas resources, but the federal government has kept 94% of these offshore areas closed for exploration and production,” Trump said at the time. “This deprives our country of potentially thousands and thousands of jobs and billions in wealth.”

When he announced the five-year plan last week, Zinke said his agency would work with states and members of Congress who represent potential drilling areas to allay concerns. But the move already was getting pushback from a number of Florida officials, including Scott, a Trump confidante, who said he would oppose drilling off Florida’s coasts where tourism and coastal military installations are important to the state’s economy.

Syrian Air Defenses Down Multiple Israeli Missiles, Hit One Attacking IDF F-16

The air defense media in the army deal with three attacks by the enemy of the Israeli enemy,

and several missiles hit it and hit one of its planes

Damascus-Sana

The General Command of the army and the armed forces announced that the air defense media in the Syrian Arab army confronted today three consecutive attacks by the Israeli occupation forces and dropped a number of missiles and hit one of its planes.

In a statement received by SANA, the IDF’s General Command said that at 2:40 am Israeli enemy aircraft fired several missiles from Lebanese territory towards the Qatifah area of ​​the Syrian countryside, where our air defenses intercepted and hit an aircraft.

The General Command of the Army added: At 0440 hours, the Israeli enemy repeated its aggression by firing two missiles from the occupied Golan Heights, which were intercepted and dropped by our air defenses.

The Israeli army’s air force resumed its aggression by firing four missiles from the area of ​​Tiberias in the occupied territories, where the air defense media intercepted and destroyed a missile. The rest fell near one of the military positions, resulting in material damage.

The General Command of the army pointed out that this blatant aggression reaffirms Israel’s support for armed terrorist groups and its desperate attempts to lift its morale after the painful blows it receives in the Eastern Province of Harasta and the overwhelming victories achieved by the Syrian Arab Army in Idlib.

Dozens of field and intelligence reports confirm the close connection between the Israeli enemy entity and the Takfiri terrorist organizations in Syria, where in many areas in the countryside of Damascus, Homs and Deir al-Zour, Israeli-made weapons have been found inside their dens, in addition to their direct intervention more than once to support them after heavy losses suffered by the army Syrian Arab.

The General Command renewed its warning of the serious repercussions of such acts of aggression and carried the “Israel” full responsibility for its consequences, stressing its permanent readiness to address these attacks and continue the war against terrorist organizations and the dismemberment of the arms of “Israel” terrorist and the restoration of security and stability to all the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic.

On the second of last December, the air defense media in the Israeli army attacked the Israeli occupation entity with surface-to-surface missiles at a military site in the countryside of Damascus and destroyed two missiles

Russian Army Repels Drone Swarm “of foreign manufacture,” On Two Syrian Bases

[SEE: Watch Perdix, the secretive Pentagon program dropping tiny drones from jets ]

Russian army repels attack by 13 militant drones on its Syrian compounds – MoD

Russian army repels attack by 13 militant drones on its Syrian compounds - MoD
Russian military have repelled a massive drone attack on its bases in Syria, which was carried out by militants, Moscow said.  The extremists may have been aided by a “technologically advanced state,” it added.

The militants launched their assault during the night on Saturday, the ministry said in a statement. The Russian Kheimim Airbase in the Syrian Latakia province was attacked by 10 unmanned combat aerial vehicles, while three more attempted a strike against the Russian maritime logistics base located in the city of Tartus.

All of the drones were detected by anti-aircraft defense systems “at a considerable distance from the Russian military objects,” the ministry said. Seven of them were then successfully shot down by the Russian Panzir-S air-defense system.

The Russian radio electronic warfare specialists also managed to override the operating systems of six more drones, and eventually gained control over the UAVs. Three of them were destroyed when they hit the ground, while another three were landed intact outside the base controlled by Russian forces.

The ministry also confirmed that the attack had resulted in no casualties among Russian military personnel, and the two bases “continue to operate as normal.”

It was the “first time that terrorists massively used unmanned combat aerial vehicles of an aircraft type that were launched from a distance of more than 50 kilometers, and operated using GPS satellite navigation coordinates,” the ministry said in a statement.

The country’s specialists are now examining the seized unmanned aircraft and the recovered data has already allowed the specialists to pinpoint the exact location from which the drones were launched. The examination also showed that advanced technologies were used in the drones’ construction. They “could have been obtained only from a country possessing state-of-the-art technologies, including satellite navigation and remote control of … explosive devices [for] release at certain coordinates.”

 

It further added that detonators used in the militants’ Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) were “of foreign manufacture.” These facts indicate that the extremists were supplied with technologies allowing them to carry out terrorist attacks using UAVs in any country, the ministry warned.

The ministry also said that the attack caused no casualties among the Russian military personnel and that the two bases “continue to operate as normal.” The incident comes about a week after the Kheimim air base was subjected to mortar shelling on December 31, 2017, an attack that claimed lives of two military personnel.

Russia has been flying sorties from Khmeimim since 2015, when its Syria anti-terrorist campaign began. The site in Tartus has been operating since the 1970s, as a small facility meant for resupplying Soviet and later Russian ships.

In 2017, Russia and Syria finalized an agreement regulating the presence of Russian troops in Syria. Khmeimim Airbase, located near Latakia, and the naval site in the port city of Tartus have both been handed over, lease-free, to Russia for 49 years, and with an option of automatic extension unless either country chooses to terminate the deal. The Russian parliament ratified the Khmeimim deal in July and the Tartus deal on Tuesday.

Last month, the Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria, adding that a smaller presence of the Russian forces would be required in the area following the defeat of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).

An Arrogant Nation and the Death of Shame Produces Leaders Like Trump

Former Democratic representative Anthony Wiener consults his Blackberry after the 2011 State of the Union address. Photo by Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty

Shame on you

Unburdening ourselves online can feel radical and liberating. But is baring and sharing all as emancipatory as it seems?

Firmin deBrabander is a professor of philosophy at the Maryland Institute College of Art and the author of Do Guns Make Us Free? (2015).

Edited by Sally Davies

Does a sense of shame affect the way you behave online?

There’s a well-known contradiction in the way many of us behave online, which is this: we know we’re being watched all the time, and pay lip service to the evils of surveillance by Google and the government. But the bounds of what’s considered too personal, revealing or banal to be uploaded to an app or shared with a circle of social media ‘followers’ seems to shrink by the day. When faced with an abundance of digital toys that offer magical levels of connectivity and convenience, many of us succumb to a ‘giddy sense that privacy is kind of stupid’, as the writer Gary Shteyngart wrote in The New Yorker in 2013.

That’s not to say that social media curbs our self-awareness, or that our internet selves aren’t highly artificial and curated. Nor that people living in oppressive regimes, or as minorities in societies where they know they will be targeted, aren’t justifiably anxious about what they say online. But the point remains that digital media have radically transformed our conceptions of intimacy and shame, and they’ve done so in ways that are unpredictable and paradoxical.

I moan about the lack of privacy, for example, and yet I willingly and routinely trade it for convenience. I am no longer forced to take my chances on a restaurant and guess which one is best; Yelp will tell me and then escort me to its front door. I no longer run the risk of unforeseen delays on public transport; Google Maps will inform me of the fastest route to my destination, and, in a pinch, an Uber can get me there via any number of hidden by-roads. I no longer need to remember my friend’s birthdays; Facebook will nudge me, and invariably lure me to post an update to remind people I exist. To avail myself of these applications, all I have to do is make my location, habits and beliefs transparent to their parent companies whenever they choose to check in on me.

So what’s going on? ‘Visibility is a trap,’ wrote the French philosopher Michel Foucault in Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (1975). What he meant was that allowing oneself to be watched, and learning to watch others, is both seductive and dangerous. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/11/Panopticon.jpg
He drew upon Jeremy Bentham’s 18th-century plans for a ‘Panopticon’, a prison in which inmates are observed from a central tower manned by an invisible occupant, his watchful eye seeing but unseen. The idea was that the prisoners would internalise the presence of the spectral watchman, whether or not anyone was actually inside, and behave of their own accord. ‘Morals reformed – health preserved – industry invigorated – instruction diffused – public burthens lightened,’ Bentham enthused.

According to Foucault, the dynamics of the Panopticon bore an uncanny resemblance to how people self-monitor in society at large. In the presence of ever-watchful witnesses, he said, physical coercion is no longer necessary. People police themselves. They do not know what the observers are registering at any given moment, what they are looking for, exactly, or what the punishments are for disobedience. But the imagination keeps them pliant. In these circumstances, Foucault claimed, the architecture of surveillances become perniciously subtle and seamless, so ‘light’ as to be scarcely noticeable.

Individuals not only accept this form of discipline, but it soon becomes invisible to them, and they willingly perpetuate it. Put people in a situation where they are the agents of their own censorship, and they still fancy themselves to be free and self-determining. Surveillance makes power ‘multiple, automatic, and anonymous’, Foucault writes – less about the top-down threat of violence, and more about ‘a network of relations’ that induces acquiescence. Foucault’s conception of power resembles Sigmund Freud’s description in Civilisation and its Discontents (1930) of the role of the ‘super-ego’ in the human psyche: a restraining, moralising agency installed by civilisation in each individual, ‘like a garrison in a conquered city’.

So what would Foucault make of the current digital media landscape? In many ways, the modern surveillance state – enabled and expanded thanks to new technologies – is a shining example of the Panopticon. The American theorist Bernard Harcourt points out in Exposed: Desire and Disobedience in the Digital Age (2015) that ‘surveillance state’ hardly fits the bill any more. He prefers to talk of a ‘tentacular oligarchy’, to include corporations now spying on us from numerous vantage points. To this we must add our audience followers, from colleagues and acquaintances to the public at large.

Foucault’s central claim is that such monitoring is worrisome, not just because of what corporations and states might do with our data, but because the act of watching is itself a devastating exercise of power. It has the capacity to influence behaviour and compel conformity and complicity, without our fully realising it.

But something’s not right here. The internet has no centre; we don’t need hard evidence of a conspiracy between companies and governments to know that we are seen online. We seem to be surveilled from everywhere and nowhere, and yet the self-display continues. Have we been so thoroughly disciplined that the guards have taken away the watchtower, or is some other dynamic at work?

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There was a time not so long ago when it seemed like the internet might be capable of fashioning a new public space for the 21st century – a robust digital polis to replace run-down physical venues and fragmented urban environments. Yes, social media might spell the end of bourgeois respectability; but doesn’t it also embolden people to be frank and open, to free themselves of inhibitions and say what they mean, without shame? Foucault suggested mass surveillance could squash free speech and thought, and enlist the cooperation of those surveilled. But perhaps social media inoculates people against such compulsion. We might be the democratic citizens that philosophers have longed for since the time of Socrates: people willing to lay bare their lives for the sake of discussion and debate, people for whom nothing is hidden or out of bounds.

By now, of course, it’s banal to point to the election of Donald Trump, with the support of the hateful meme-generating machines on the alt-right, as proof of the limitations of this dream. Social media provides a public space that often operates more like a private venue, where many people express themselves knowing that those watching will agree – or, particularly for internet trolls, in the belief that there they won’t suffer the consequences of what they say online, as if protected by the mediation of technology. Having a smartphone and access to the internet does not automatically equip us with the tools necessary for effective and respectful collaboration, negotiation and speech, such as democracy requires.

Plato would be alarmed by the lack of shame online. He thought that shame was a crucial emotion, indispensable for doing philosophy and acting morally. In Plato’s famed dialogues, the character of Socrates is always being pestered by people who complain that his wisdom makes them feel ashamed, as soon as his arguments start to sink in. At one point in the section known as the Symposium, the drunken Alcibiades declares his disgruntled love for the philosopher, saying: ‘I know that I cannot answer him or say that I ought not to do as he bids, but when I leave his presence the love of popularity gets the better of me.’

Shame presupposes that we ought to know better but flout the rules regardless. This is precisely Plato’s point about moral knowledge: we already possess it, we already know the right way to live a just and fulfilling life, but are constantly diverted from that noble aim. For Plato, then, shame is a force that helps us resist the urge to conform when we know it’s wrong to do so. Shame helps us be true to ourselves, to endure Socrates’ needling, and to heed the moral knowledge within. A man without shame, Plato says, is a slave to desire – for material goods, power, fame, respect. Such desire is tyrannical because, by its nature, it cannot be satisfied.

The approbation of the digital crowd has come to fill in for the authority of the confessor

Foucault, however, cast shame in a rather less emancipatory light in The History of Sexuality (1976). He argued that sex, in particular, was mediated in Western civilisation via the tool of confession, which involved the dispensation of approval and shame. ‘Man has become a confessing animal,’ he says. Starting with the Catholic sacrament, supplicants were urged to bare their souls, dig deep within themselves and let the truth, in all its ugliness, surge forth. This was the only way to be cleansed by one’s confessor, to avail oneself of the grace of God. In doing so, the priest relieved you of your guilt, and passed down sanction or authorisation for your behaviour.

Later, according to Foucault, the institution of confession shifted from religion to a host of secular traditions, such as confessional literature, medical examinations and psychoanalysis. But they all operated on the same principle, which was to patrol the boundary between what was normal and acceptable, and what was shameful and deviant. ‘The obligation to confess is now relayed through so many different points, is so deeply ingrained in us, that we no longer perceive it as the effect of a power that constrains us,’ Foucault wrote. ‘On the contrary, it seems to us that truth, lodged in our most secret nature, demands only to surface.’

Confession can feel like liberation, because it seems to unburden us of our shame. It can also be a forum for the display of democratic virtues, including the honesty, bravery and humility evident in St Augustine’s Confessions. But if one believes Foucault, it is always a ruse. We always confess to someone – in the presence of an authority, real or imagined. When people post online, it is always for a supposed audience; it is never purely gratuitous.

What manifests itself as a certain shamelessness, then, might in fact be precisely the opposite. The approbation of the digital crowd has come to fill in for the authority of the confessor – or, to put it another way, it acts as a substitute for Socrates’ inner voice of moral conscience. People unburden themselves to their followers in the hope that their needs will be validated, their opinions affirmed, their quirks delightfully accepted. The result is a growing conformity within camps, as well as a narrowing of the shared space for understanding and dialogue between them.

Those in positions of power have always craved a mechanism with which to expose the inner beings of citizens, to reveal ‘the fragment of darkness that we each carry within us’, as Foucault described it. There are, or seem to be, rather dangerous and wild expanses within each individual. If we are to be controlled, that must be made known, and tamed. There is no better way to divide and subdue a people, and seduce them into self-regulation, than to expose their perversions but promise absolution.

‘From our bases, you attacked Afghanistan 57,800 times’, says Pak foreign minister to US

‘From our bases, you attacked Afghanistan 57,800 times’, says Pak foreign minister to US

Shailaja Neelakantan

  • Pakistan’s foreign minister wrote a series of emotional tweets in response to the US accusing his country of ‘lies and deceit’
  • ‘We helped you fill Guantanamo Bay,’ said Khawaja Asif in one tweet, about the US prison created during ‘the war on terror’
  • ‘We went through the worst bloodbath’, said Asif in another tweet

'From our bases, you attacked Afghanistan 57,800 times', says Pak foreign minister to US

NEW DELHI: “You ask what we’ve done?… From our bases you carried out 57,800 attacks on Afghanistan…thousands of our civilians and soldiers became victims of the war initiated by you,” said Pakistan’s foreign minister Khawaja Asif+ , in a series of emotional tweets that were a response to Donald Trump accusing his country of “lies and deceit”.

Pakistan’s foreign minister repeatedly talked of Pakistanis’ sacrifices. And directly in response to Trump’s words+ , said his own version of the US President’s “No more!”

“Our forces are fighting an unusual war, there is an unending saga of sacrifices. Now, history teaches us not to blindly trust the US. We are feeling sorry they are not happy, but we will not compromise on our dignity anymore,” said Asif.

Asif began his series of tweets by taking a shot at former dictator Pervez Musharraf, the man in charge of Pakistan when the 9/11 terror attacks occurred in New York.

“A ruler surrendered in a single phone call, our country, we went through the worst bloodbath,” said Asif, about the military dictator Musharraf.

Asif implied that if anyone was a fool it was Pakistan for getting involved in the US’s war. He was talking about Trump saying in his first tweet of 2018 that Islamabad plays Americans for fools.

“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!,” tweeted Trump, bright and early on January 1, 2018.

Trump’s blistering words didn’t go down well with anyone in Pakistan. Asif, in fact, responded almost immediately to Trump’s tweet, also on Twitter.

“Will let the world know the truth…(the) difference between facts & fiction,” said Asif on Monday.

Then, a day and half later, he expanded on what he believes is the truth.

“We stood by you, considered your enemy our own. We filled Guantanamo Bay,” said Asif, talking about the detention camp which was opened on January 11, 2002.

Pakistan’s foreign minister is referring to his country’s cooperation in helping the US find terrorists and war criminals and dispatching them to the prison established by then US President George W. Bush’s administration during its ‘war on terror’, an international military campaign to hunt down “a radical network of terrorists and every government that supports them.”

As per a February 2017 report in The New York Times, Afghans were the largest group (29 percent) in Guantanamo, followed by Saudi Arabians (17 percent), Yemenis (15 percent) and Pakistanis (9 percent).

Asif said not only did Pakistan find terrorists for the US, it also opened itself up for operatives of the now disgraced Blackwater, a firm of private military contractors.

“We issued tens of thousands of visas as a result of which the networks of Black Water spread across our country. And for the past four years, we have been cleaning up (their) rubbish,” said Asif.

The comfort of our illusions

The comfort of our illusions

 

the comfort of our illusions

I OFTEN look back and consider the insanity of endless wars. Then I realise that by being in denial we simply prefer the comfort of our illusions to the truth.

There are many people who actually like war. Winston Churchill’s hand must have trembled when in 1916 he penned his letter to Lord Asquith’s daughter.

“I love this war. I know it’s smashing and shattering the lives of thousands every moment and yet, I can’t help it, I enjoy every second of it.”

The many anti-war movements have only their consciences in their arsenals. In the last 10 years alone US arms manufacturers placed $6 trillion in their loot, shoot and scoot coffers. It is hardly an even playing field is it.

As long as media can convince us of a threat then the arms industries and their shareholder’s, many of whom are politicians, are assured of vast profits from arms paid for from the taxpayers’ purse. A pity they don’t pay for their own wars; it would make a difference.

“A people who keep electing corrupt politicians are not victims, they are accomplices,” said journalist George Orwell.

Mainstream news editor Finian Cunningham comes straight to the point: “War is a profitable business: It seems that the US has placed it at the heart of its economy. This is why US politicians and military officials have claimed that Russia poses a threat to their nation and its allies. Washington’s only enemy is peace.”

Stephen Donovan was laconic; “The US has as much interest in peace as does a condom maker in abstinence.”

The truth sank in for U.S. General Smedley Butler: “War is a racket. It is conducted for the benefit of a very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.”

These pundits and others are right: companies under the direction of US Vice-President, Dick Cheney, made $39 billion from the Iraq war alone.

Vampires of war have always infested parliaments and still do so.  Senators who voted to attack Syria received 83 per cent more campaign money from military contractors than lawmakers voting no.”

The situation is the same in Britain where the British parliament in effect voted for perpetual war. Again George Orwell: “War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed class think they are going to profit from it.”

The remarkable writer’s only failing was a passage in his novel, 1984: “If there is hope, Winston, it lies in the proles,” the proletariat being us.

Sorry George, we the people are as helpless as we ever were. This is why we prefer the comforts of our illusions.

Lebanese Judge indicts Israeli agents for MP Hariri assassination plan

[SEE: Judge indicts Israeli agents for MP Hariri assassination plan; Hariri’s Resignation–The Opening Shot Of The Latest Saudi/Zio War On Lebanon ]

MP Bahia Hariri, aunt of Premier Saad Hariri

Lebanon: two indicted for ‘Israeli plot’ Charged for alleged plan to kill premier’s MP aunt 

(ANSAmed) – BEIRANUARY 5 – Two Lebanese nationals, including a main residing in Israel, have been indicted in Beirut on charges of attempting to organize the murder of MP Bahia Hariri, aunt of Premier Saad Hariri, at the order of Is(ANSAmed)

BEIRUT, JANUARY 5 – Two Lebanese nationals, including a main residing in Israel, have been indicted in Beirut on charges of attempting to organize the murder of MP Bahia Hariri, aunt of Premier Saad Hariri, at the order of Israeli secret services. The murder was allegedly intended to spark a crisis in Lebanon after the premier stepped down last November.raeli secret services. The murder was allegedly intended to spark a crisis in Lebanon after the premier stepped down last November.

The Lebanese newspaper Daily Star reported on Friday that military judge Riad Abu Ghayda indicted Mohammad Mustafa al Dabet on charges that he was working for the Mossad and operated at the orders of another Lebanese national, Walid al Naqouzi, who lives in Israel and was indicted in absentia.

Israel “wanted to take advantage of Hariri’s resignation and asked Dabet to prepare a plot to kill MP Hariri to shake the country”, according to the prosecution. The magistrate believes Dabet then was supposed to flee to Turkey.

In a surprise announcement last November 4 from Riyadh, Saad Hariri announced he was stepping down as premier. He remained in the Saudi capital for about two weeks before returning home via Paris and revoking his resignation. (ANSAmed).

 

Turkish Lust For Syrian Territory and American Lust For War

Spotlight: Pushing for Sunni territory in Syria means trouble for Turkey: analysts

Source: XinEditor: Mengjie

ISTANBUL, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) — As recent news reports suggest that Turkey may be seeking to create a Sunni-ruled area in Syria near its border, analysts warned against such a move on the grounds that it would invite trouble and lead to a confrontation with both Russia and the United States.

 

Should Turkey attempt such a thing, it would be forcefully driven out of Syria, cautioned Haldun Solmazturk, a former general with the Turkish military. “Russia would not accept a Sunni state-like entity under heavy Turkish sway,” he told Xinhua.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported last Saturday that around 30 sub-groups of the Ankara-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebel group had united under the name of Syria’s “national army,” which has 22,000 soldiers in three corps and includes three brigades composed of Syrian Turkmens.

Jawad Abu Hatab, head of the so-called Syria’s interim government, was quoted as saying that their main objective was to keep the areas captured by Turkish troops in Syria and defend people there against the Syrian government and terrorist organizations.

The Turkish military, backed by FSA rebels, launched a so-called Operation Euphrates Shield in northern Syria from August 2016 to March 2017, seizing several towns in its efforts to drive the Islamic State away and prevent the Kurdish cantons from uniting along the Turkish border.

“Turkey has neither the military nor economic or political power to keep part of Syrian territory in hand,” argued Solmazturk, who chairs the Incek debates at the Ankara-based 21st Century Turkey Institute.

The indications suggest that Turkey intends to carve out a Sunni-held area in Syria and exercise control over it through the FSA, he said.

Numan Kurtulmus, then Turkish government spokesman, said about a year ago that Ankara would not hand over the territory seized by Turkish military to the Syrian government.

Roughly until the end of 2015, Turkey and the U.S. not only supported rebels in Syria, but also trained and equipped FSA militants in Turkey to topple the Syrian government.

Haitham Ofeisi, chief of General Staff of the so-called “national army,” said the decision to establish the armed group was made with Ankara’s support.

Syrian troops and terrorist groups would be cleared from the area and more “national army” troops would be formed in the areas to be liberated in the future, Ofeisi was quoted as saying by Anadolu.

The pro-government Yeni Safak daily said on Monday that the “national army” would also help Turkish troops drive Kurdish militia forces out of Afrin in northwestern Syria.

Top Turkish officials have repeatedly expressed Ankara’s determination to cleanse the Kurdish militia, known as the People’s Protection Units and seen by Turkey as terrorists, from Afrin and other areas along the Turkish border.

Turkey’s move against Afrin and other cantons held by Syrian militia would face opposition not only from the Syrian government but also from both Russia and the U.S. as well, Faruk Logoglu, a former senior Turkish diplomat, told Xinhua.

For Solmazturk, a Turkish operation against Afrin with the support of the “national army” would amount to madness. “Both the U.S. and Russia would surely oppose that and clashes would break out,” he said.

Until the summer of 2016, when Ankara started to mend ties with Moscow, a staunch supporter of Damascus in the Syrian civil war, Turkey supported Sunni rebel groups fighting to topple the Syrian government headed by President Bashar al-Assad.

Joining hands with Russia and Iran to broker a Syrian peace deal since last summer, Ankara has given up trying to oust al-Assad but kept saying he must leave.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suddenly raised his voice against al-Assad last week, calling him a terrorist. Accusing al-Assad of carrying out state terrorism in the war, Erdogan said the Syrian leader should not be allowed to remain in power.

“The deeper problem is that the Turkish government still lacks a consistent, steady Syria policy of its own,” said Logoglu. “It vacillates between Russia and the U.S., between its commitment to Syria’s territorial integrity and its wish to exercise long-term control through proxies over parts of Syria.”

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem accused Ankara last month of having designs on Syria’s territory, while Damascus sees the presence of Turkish troops on Syrian soil as occupation.

The “al-Assad must go” attitude assumed by the ruling Justice and Development Party in Turkey is in line with the U.S. position, though Ankara says “no” to Washington’s military support to the Kurdish militia in Syria.

Arguing Turkey’s vacillating policy in Syria has worked to its detriment, Logoglu said, “Turkey’s policy should be to support a single Syria, with one flag, one army. Otherwise, Turkey is likely to face further isolation regarding Syria.”