Iraq Uses Old Trick To Get US Involved In Major Gas Hub

“Iraq under the auspices of Moqtada al-Sadr – the real power behind the [Adil] Abdul-Mahdi government is very good at playing the U.S. with the Iran card, so every time there is a hint that Iraq will continue with its historically close relationship with Iran, the U.S. comes in to offer the services of one of its companies at beneficial terms to Iraq.” 


“The U.S. government is holding a gun to our head”–Iraqi Govt. SpokesmanDonald Trump Strong-Armed Baghdad To Give Contract To Rebuild Iraqi Electric System To Bankrupt General Electric over Siemens

Iraq Uses Old Trick To Get US Involved In Major Gas Hub

Kirkuk oil field

Last week saw two apparently independent major events occur in Iraq centred on its gas sector but a senior oil and gas industry source who works closely with Iraq’s Oil Ministry told they were a lot more connected than they seemed. The first was a statement by the Secretary General of the Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber, Seyed Hamid Hosseini, that Iran’s gas and electricity exports to Iraq are expected to reach US$5 billion by the end of the current Iranian calendar year, ending on 21 March 2020. The second was an announcement by Iraq’s Oil Minister, Thamir Ghadhban, that a U.S. consortium led by Honeywell has signed a memorandum of understanding for a huge deal that would reduce the country’s current level of gas flaring by nearly 20%.

“Iraq under the auspices of Moqtada al-Sadr – the real power behind the [Adil] Abdul-Mahdi government is very good at playing the U.S. with the Iran card, so every time there is a hint that Iraq will continue with its historically close relationship with Iran, the U.S. comes in to offer the services of one of its companies at beneficial terms to Iraq,” the source said.

The deal itself involves U.S. giant, Honeywell, partnering with another U.S. heavyweight, Bechtel, and Iraq’s state-owned South Gas to build the Ratawi gas hub In the first stage that is expected to last for three years this project will process up to 300 million standard cubic feet per day (scf/d) of ‘associated gas’ (generated as a by-product of crude production) at five southern Iraqi oil fields: Majnoon, Gharib al-Qurna, al-lhiss, al-Tubba, and al-Siba. It comes shortly after the granting of a new waiver from the U.S. for Iraq to import electricity from Iran, first awarded last November and subsequently renewed in December, March, and June, each time for 90 days. At the same time, Iraq has been steadily importing around one third of its total energy supplies from Iran, which equates to around 28 million cubic feet (mcf) of gas to feed its power stations.

With peak summer power demand in Iraq perennially exceeding domestic generation, Iraq’s dependence on Iran is acute – a highly troubling situation for the U.S. in all circumstances, let alone the current impasse – and made worse still for its capacity to cause major civilian unrest in the country. Last summer’s widespread protests across Iraq – including in the major oil hub of Basra – were widely seen as being prompted in part by chronic electricity outages. The situation also promises to become much worse as, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), Iraq’s population is growing at a rate of over one million per year, with electricity demand set to double by 2030, reaching about 17.5 gigawatts (GW) average throughout the year.Related: Did Trump’s ‘Plan B’ For Iran Just Fail?

In addition to the ongoing dependence on Iran that this energy imbalance necessitates, Iraq is losing billions of dollars in two streams of revenue. The first is the oil that it is forced to burn burns crude oil directly at power plants in order to attempt to address the shortfall in power supplies accrued from other raw materials, such as gas. Although the average volume of crude oil used for power generation has fallen in the past two years from a peak of 223,000 barrels per day (bpd) in July and September 2015, it still averages around 110,000 bpd, or around US$2.5 billion per year in value.

The second reason is that the associated gas is largely flared rather than captured and either sold on as raw gas or used as feedstock for the production of value-added petrochemicals products. On the first point, according to the IEA, Iraq has around 3.5 trillion cubic metres (tcm) of proven reserves of gas, mainly associated with oil that is produced from the supergiant fields in the South hydrocarbon region. These reserves would be enough to supply nearly 200 years of Iraq’s current consumption of gas, as long as flaring is minimised. It added, though, that proven reserves do not provide an accurate picture of Iraq’s long-term production potential and that the underlying resource base – ultimately recoverable resources – is significantly larger, at 8 tcm.

On the second point, was told recently by the managing director of a major foreign oil company operating in Iraq that the failure to capture this gas – more than half of the gas that is extracted in Iraq today is flared and it is the world’s second worst offender in this regard – is a key reason holding back the development of a viable petrochemicals sector in the country.

“Iraq needs to put into action its plans to develop a second gas hub away from Basra that would get the gas volumes up to an average of 800 million to 1 billion standard cubic feet per day so that the ethane can be extracted on a sustainable and reliable basis that would give sufficient volume for a major petchems plant to be viable,” he said. “Ethane should be the initial feedstock for Iraq’s first few plants in the same way that it was in the development of Saudi Arabia’s master gas system that captured associated gas, which was then fractionated and supplied as primary feedstock to the flagship Jubail Industrial City,” he underlined.

This latest project would build on the previous plans to address Iraq’s power shortfall and to monetise its oil and gas assets better, as was the original intention of Iraq last year stating that it was joining the United Nations and World Bank ‘Zero Routine Flaring’ initiative aimed at ending this type of routine flaring by 2030. Shortly after this, the Oil Ministry announced that it had signed a gas capture deal with U.S. oil services provider Baker Hughes to harness 200 million cubic feet (mmcf) per day from the Gharraf oil field – being developed by Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. (JAPEX), Malaysia’s Petronas, and Iraq’s North Oil Co. (NOC) – and the neighbouring Dhi Qar site, Nassiriyah, plus other oilfields north of Basra. At that time, Baker Hughes stated that addressing the flared gas from these two fields would allow for the provision of 400 MW of power to the Iraqi grid.Related: Growing Fear Of Global Economic Slowdown Caps Oil Price Gains

The then- Oil Minister, Jabbar al-Luaibi, added at that point that Iraq was also currently negotiating a similar gas capture deal for the state-run Nahr Bin Umar field with Houston-based Orion Gas Processors and that there were similar plans to construct gas-processing facilities in the Missan and Halfaya fields that would have a combined capacity of 600 mmcf per day of gas when completed. This, in turn, was in line with an ambitious statement last January from al-Luaibi that Iraq would have ceased all gas flaring from its southern producing oilfields by the end of 2021, so additionally freeing up some of this gas capacity for export.

“By the end of last year, there had been some progress, with the Basrah Gas Company (BGC) processing and producing the equivalent of around 10 bcm of gas per year and earlier this year the shareholders in BGC [Iraq’s South Gas Company with 51%, Shell with 44% and Mitsubishi with 5%] stated that they’d increase the volume to around 14 bcm by 2021, with a target of 20 bcm of gas per year focussed on Rumaila, Zubair and West Qurna,” the Iraq source told last week. “Unfortunately, with Iraq there is often a big gap between what is said and what is done, with the space between filled by people looking to line their own pockets [] so it is difficult to be optimistic,” the Iraq source added. “Ironically it may be the man that the U.S. hates – and vice-versa – Moqtada al-Sadr, who forces these projects through, as he is a genuine nationalist and is clever enough to see that by monetising all of these resources properly, Iraq will be able to free itself of all foreign interference, which is exactly the message he ran on in the last election and which keeps him as the major power in Iraq,” he concluded.

By Simon Watkins for

Covert Israeli Naval Unit Receives IDF Citation For Unnamed Deeds, During Ongoing Tanker War

Elite, secretive Israeli naval commando unit to receive big honor

–By World Israel News Staff 

The Shayetet 13 marine commando unit is to receive the Citation of Excellence from IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, according to media reports.

The elite and secretive Shayetet 13 operates “in the sea, on land, and in the air in a variety of daring and special activities,” says the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

“The fleet engages in various operational activities, including strategic damage to enemy maritime infrastructures, as well as gathering high-quality intelligence on enemy operations,” according to the IDF.

The commandos are cited for their “long and comprehensive infantry training with specialization in marine warfare, diving, and the operation of special vessels,” says the Israeli military.

The IDF points out that the unit “has won the Chief of Staff’s award several times for its contribution to fighting terror, for developing innovative operational capabilities, and for instilling high norms of behavior of excellence and striving for victory.”

The Shayetet 13 “combat teams are required to acquire a variety of abilities and training to carry out their missions, and therefore their training is long and comprehensive. Among other things, the fighters specialize in infantry fighting, counter-terrorism, and guerrilla warfare, operational parachuting, and naval assault methods,” according to the Israeli military.

“I salute you for receiving the Chief of Staff’s citation,” wrote MK Benny Gantz, who served as IDF chief of staff from 2011 to 2015.

“As one who participated and commanded soldiers on missions beyond enemy lines, I know how hard you work and how much effort you invest for Israel’s security,” wrote the former military chief turned politician.

World terrorism ends when we stop Israel’s injustice against Palestinians, says Dr M

“We are not against Jews but we cannot recognize Israel because of [its] occupation of Palestinian land,” Mahathir said during a three-day visit to Pakistan.

He stressed that his country enjoys friendly relations with every country in the world except Israel. “You cannot seize others’ lands and form a state. It is like a state of robbers,” he said.–Malaysia–Israel a ‘state of robbers’


At a Tuesday forum in London with the theme The Gaza Genocide: The World Community Must Act, Malaysian Foreign Minister Rais Yatim suggested Israeli military aggression against Palestinians to be worthy of prosecution.

“We drag a person to court to be prosecuted for his act of having killed someone. We use the maxim mens rea in determining his murderous intent,” noted the Malaysian diplomat.

“But we simply allow a neighboring state to marauder thousands with guns, air strikes, chemicals and tanks,” continued Rais, questioning the impunity Israel has enjoyed for sixty years.–Malaysia wants Israel dragged to court


World terrorism ends when we stop Israel’s injustice against Palestinians, says Dr M

Tun Dr Mahahir Mohamad had on many occasions defended his views against the Israeli State. — Bernama pic
Tun Dr Mahahir Mohamad had on many occasions defended his views against the Israeli State. — Bernama pic 

KUALA LUMPUR, July 27 — The seizure of Palestanian land to form the illegal State of Israel has been the main cause of terrorism in the world, Tun Dr Mahahir Mohamad told Turkish news agency, Anadolu Agency, in a report today.

The prime minister said if the causes of terrorism is not dealt with, then it would be difficult to put a stop to it.

“The main thing that we think we should always stress is the causes of terrorism. Today, there is already a consensus almost to blame terrorism on Muslims.

“But the fact you said, after the seizure of Palestine, and the disregard of international law by Israel, this has led to so-called acts of terrorism. But in order to get rid of terrorism, we need to know the reason why they terrorise unless you treat the causes of terrorism, you are not going to be able to stop terrorism,” he was quoted in the report.

Dr Mahathir suggested that the State of Israel should allow the previous Palestinian people to return back to reclaim their property, or at least agree on the two-state solution and stop the Israelis from building settlements in the Palestinian territory.

“And if we know, beside this, the causes for terrorism, and we treat them, we take action to stop this injustice perpetrated on the Palestinians, I think there will be less terrorism or no terrorism all over the world,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said though there has not been enough news coverage and accurate reporting on the actual situation of the Palestinian problem, he said Malaysia and Turkey can continue to keep the issue alive in order for it to be addressed at the global stage.

“There is an attempt to just kill the issue completely as if nothing has happened. But the fact is that there is a great deal of injustice perpetrated against the Palestinians and we intend, I think both Turkey and Malaysia intend, to keep this problem alive, so that the world will appreciate the injustice that has been done to the Palestinians.

“With regard to the Palestinian problem, the clear truth about it is that it has not been given enough airing either in the media or on TV. That seems to be an agreement on the part of the media not to highlight the problems of Palestine,” said Dr Mahathir, citing the Israeli act against international law to have been omitted from news reports.

Dr Mahathir had on many occasions defended his views against the Israeli State and still held firm in calling Jews ‘hooked nosed’, an act that caused him to be previously accused of anti-Semitism.

The new Pakatan Harapan government has doubled down on its condemnations against Israel and Zionists while backing Palestinians amid the long-standing Middle East conflict.

Putrajaya was also firm in prohibiting Israeli athletes from participating in the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships to be held in Kuching later this year.

US Political Convulsions Followed the Govt Legalization of American-Focused Propaganda

How The U.S. Redoubled Its Propaganda Power, Overthrew Ukraine’s Government, & Restarted The Cold War

The American ruling class decided that it would be necessary to start a 21st century cold war with Russia and China when it became apparent that U.S. global hegemony was being replaced by a multipolar world. And even before this new level of warfare became the priority, it was apparent that a long-term era of tensions between great powers would require much greater government control over information than was previously the case.

This was the reasoning that the U.S. used when it carried out the early-to-mid 2010s policies which have since led to a new cold war. The story of how the current cold war started follows in the same pattern from the runup to the last one during the 1940s: the emergence of a threat to U.S. hegemony, a campaign to demonize Russia and its allies, and a period of escalating tensions that correlates with the creation of a new propaganda apparatus by the U.S. government.

Expanding the state’s propaganda power to get ready for upcoming geopolitical maneuvers

To assemble the propaganda arsenal that it would need throughout the first cold war, the U.S. created the CIA, an unaccountable institution that began covertly influencing world politics since its founding in 1947. In 1948 the CIA created a covert action wing, called the Office of Policy Coordination, which was led by Wall Street lawyer Frank Wisner. The office’s secret charter described its purposes as “propaganda, economic warfare, preventive direct action, including sabotage, antisabotage, demolition and evacuation procedures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance groups, and support of indigenous anti-communist elements in threatened countries of the free world.” Through these tools, CIA has since been spreading psyops within American foreign propaganda outlets like Radio Free Europe and Radio Free Asia, as well as assimilating much of the American press through projects like Operation Mockingbird.
With 2013’s amendment of key parts of the Smith-Mundt Act, the government freed this propaganda network to covertly broadcast messages to the American people with official legal impunity. Prior to then, the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 had banned the domestic dissemination of U.S. government-produced propaganda. But when representatives Mac Thornberry and Adam Smith passed the “The Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012” by putting it into the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, that restriction was lifted, and on July 2nd of 2013 the government finally began spreading its messages under the new rules.
The change was immediately visible. In July of 2013, John Hudson of Foreign Policy reported that the U.S. had begun the “unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic U.S. consumption.” Since then, the repeal of the propaganda ban has created many strange and troubling trends for the American media, such as the emergence of a revolving door between intelligence officials and cable news stations, the government assimilation of formerly independent outlets like Vice News, and the enablement of Silicon Valley oligarchs like Jeff Bezos to partner with the military/intelligence complex while exerting control over the media outlets they own.
“Since 2013, newsrooms across the country, of both the mainstream and ‘alternative’ variety, have been notably skewed towards the official government narrative, with few outside a handful of independently-funded media outlets bothering to question those narratives’ veracity” Whitney Webb Of MintPress News wrote last year about the propaganda ban repeal. “While this has long been a reality for the Western media (see John Pilger’s 2011 documentary ‘The War You Don’t See’), the use of government-approved narratives and sources from government-funded groups have become much more overt than in years past.”
It’s clear that the motivation behind the repeal of the ban was at least partly to get the U.S. government ready to manage a society which would soon be in an escalating state of great power conflict. In his initial press release on the bill, Thornberry said: “We continue to face a multitude of threats and we need to be able to counter them in a multitude of ways. Communication is among the most important. This outdated law ties the hands of America’s diplomatic officials, military, and others by inhibiting our ability to effectively communicate in a credible and transparent way. Congress has a responsibility to fix the situation.”
At a moment when the U.S. empire was already in a state of rapid decline, and when Russia and China were subsequently turning into perceived adversaries, this statement from a House neocon must have reflected a larger plan among the ruling class to create a propaganda apparatus for the coming new era of warfare.
Indeed, in the last six years it’s been very much necessary for the U.S. empire to expand its efforts to control the sentiments of its own citizens. This recent escalation of government-engineered mass persuasion has involved not just propaganda, but censorship as well. And its emergence six years ago correlated with the U.S.-created proxy wars that started the new cold war.
The ramifications of Washington’s coup in Ukraine and regime change war in Syria
The fact that another cold war between the U.S. and Russia was imminent became clear when Washington began its latest attempt at regime change in Syria. In 2011, the terrorist groups that the U.S. had been arming and training started an ongoing campaign to destabilize Syria, having provoked armed conflict with the Syrian government in an unnecessary attempt at violent revolt. Washington’s war on Syria was motivated both by a desire to advance Israel’s interests, and by its larger-scale need to maintain control over Eurasia amid China’s rise. So naturally Russia’s interests in Syria clashed with those of the U.S, and naturally this wouldn’t be the end of Washington’s provocations.
2013’s propaganda ban repeal, which served the U.S. well in its efforts that year to manufacture popular belief in a supposed chemical attack from Assad, then provided Washington with great help with its February 2014 coup in Ukraine. As Strategic Culture’s Eric Zuesse has written about coup’s origins:
The network behind this coup had actually started planning for the coup back in 2011. That’s when Eric Schmidt of Google, and Jared Cohen, also now of Google but still continuing though unofficially as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s chief person tasked to plan ‘popular movements’ to overthrow both Yanukovych in Ukraine, and Assad in Syria.
These and the other pieces of evidence that Ukraine’s regime change was U.S.-engineered were hidden from Western media consumers, who only heard about a Ukrainian “democratic revolution” that prompted a heinous act of aggression in Ukraine by Vladimir Putin.
In reality, it was the U.S. that had caused the crisis in Ukraine, and it’s the U.S. that had consequently initiated a new cold war. After the Ukraine coup, Russia had reason to fear NATO nuclear missiles not just near, but on, Russia’s border. And Victoria Nuland, Barack Obama’s central agent behind the coup, had made sure that the new person to head Ukraine’s government would be the far-right and rabidly anti-Russian Arseniy Yatsenyuk. As a result, Ukraine’s government has since been a fascistic and agressive antagonist towards Russia, with the Nazi-tied regime carrying out anti-Russian war provocations, inflaming armed conflict with pro-Russian separatists at the behest of the Trump administration, and engaging in ethnic cleansing against Ukraine’s Russian-speaking communities.
The return of the cold war tensions is not Russia’s fault. Putin’s 2008 intervention in Georgia and 2014 intervention in Ukraine were done in response to NATO’s aggressive expansionism, and Russia’s efforts to militarily protect Syria and Venezuela are of course also the result of the U.S. empire’s belligerence. The new cold war is the result of America’s operations to strong-arm China and its allies Russia, SyriaVenezuelaIranCuba, and north Korea into submission. And the catalyst for this potential runup to nuclear annihilation was the 2014 regime change project in Ukraine, whose surrounding atmosphere of intensive state-manufactured propaganda has reflected the nature of the years since then.
An empire of illusion
Talking from my experiences as an American, the onset of the cold war has produced a dystopian new era, one where reality is constantly being twisted by powerful actors who seek to perpetuate a war that has no end in sight. This is a more extreme version of the War on Terror, whose dozen years of existence prior to the start of the new cold war had already primed the American people for a scenario where they would be told to fear not just terrorists, but also the world’s other major superpowers.
The messaging campaigns used to manufacture consent for all of these war campaigns have been carried out both through the dissemination of state propaganda itself, and through the suppression of information that contradicts this propaganda. The onslaught of online censorship throughout the last several years was begun with a statement from the U.S. government whose purpose was to declare war on voices which challenge the official narratives; in January 2017, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence published a report on Russia that devoted seven of its 25 pages to RT America, the television hub for America’s antiwar and socialist commentators. The report said that:
RT’s reports often characterize the United States as a ‘surveillance state’ and allege widespread infringements of civil liberties, police brutality, and drone use.
RT has also focused on criticism of the US economic system, US currency policy, alleged Wall Street greed, and the US national debt. Some of RT’s hosts have compared the United States to Imperial Rome and have predicted that government corruption and “corporate greed” will lead to US financial collapse.
This McCarthyist view of the critics of capitalism and imperialism is one that U.S. intelligence agencies, as well as the online companies that they hold influence over, have been applying to how they treat journalists who object to the war effort. Since the media sensation around supposed Russian interference began in 2016, the world has experienced the biggest wave of Internet censorship in history. The algorithm manipulations and content purges from the online companies have accompanied ambitious new projects from the U.S.and E.U. to police the Internet, which threaten to constrain Internet freedom all around the globe.
After Facebook’s big purge of alternative media accounts last October, a top neocon insider promised that the shutdown of the open Internet will go much further. Jamie Fly, director of the Asia program at the influential U.S. and NATO-funded think tank the German Marshall Fund, stated that “Russia, China, and other foreign states take advantage of our open political system. They can invent stories that get repeated and spread through different sites. So we are just starting to push back. Just this last week Facebook began starting to take down sites. So this is just the beginning.”
Fly and the other power players within the empire are playing the game of influencing world events by controlling the flow of information. It’s crucial to them that the Western public views the current geopolitical developments through the America-centric, pro-imperialist lens that the government presents everything within. Having fully expanded their propaganda operations, they’re now in the process of deplatforming the opposition press, which is their only obstacle to total control over the narrative.
The empire may try to insulate those within its sphere of control from reality, but reality will still catch up with it. The CIA’s propaganda, sophisticated as it is, can’t reverse the trend of imperial collapse that the United States has been set upon. No matter how much the think tanks, intelligence agencies, and corporations work to shut down dissenting voices, climate change and other threats to the system will continue to progress. The coming years and decades will be a period of great instability, where the collapse of global capitalism and the accelerating ecological crisis upends civilization as we know it.
We can’t let society’s collective mind during this upheaval be controlled by a circle of oligarchs who intend to deceive us into remaining docile in the face of an emerging dystopia. We must seize control of the narrative and take society in a different direction.

US private military companies plunder Syrian oil facilities — Russia’s General Staff

The Unholy Union Between US Energy Giants and US Govt. Comes Out In the Open

Captured ISIS Fighter Confesses Subordination To US Orders

In Syria, The Devil Is In the Gas

US private military companies plunder Syrian oil facilities — Russia’s General Staff

The US has been training up to 2,700 militants near al-Tanf base in Syria, the Russian General Staff stated

The Russian Defense Ministry Valery Sharifulin/TASS

The Russian Defense Ministry  © Valery Sharifulin/TASS

TASS/. US private military companies numbering over 3,500 personnel are plundering Syrian oil facilities under the cover of the international anti-terror coalition’s aircraft, Head of the Russian General Staff’s Main Operational Department Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoi told a Defense Ministry press briefing on Monday.

“Aside from training militants, the US structures in Syria are involved in plundering oil facilities and deposits in the area across the Euphrates that belong to the legitimate Syrian government. Lately, US private military companies have been observed to actively beef up their personnel. Today, the mercenaries of the private military companies in Syria exceed 3,500 people,” the Russian general stressed.

Specifically, the US military structures have organized the production and sale of Syrian oil from the Conaco, al-Omar and Tanak oilfields located east of the Euphrates River, the Russian general pointed out.

“A criminal scheme of Syrian crude cross-border deliveries is in effect. Actually, Syrian national wealth is being plundered,” Rudskoi stated.

A considerable part of revenues from the hydrocarbon smuggling is spent on maintaining illegal armed formations, bribing sheikhs of tribal unions and instigating anti-government sentiments, according to the Russian general’s data.

“All this activity by US private military companies is conducted under the cover of the international anti-terror coalition’s aviation. In actual fact, this is smuggling business seized by the Americans from the IS [the former name of the Islamic State terrorist organization outlawed in Russia],” Rudskoi explained.

The US incessant deliveries of armament and military hardware to the area across the Euphrates also cause concern, the Russian general added.

“In exchange for assistance in oil smuggling, the United States is beefing up both Kurdish and Arab formations with arms and they subsequently use them against each other,” Rudskoi said, adding that “all these factors are only exacerbating the situation in the war-torn region.”

Training of militants

The US military are training up to 2,700 militants from different groups at the al-Tanf base in Syria, according to Rudskoi.

“Within the 55-km zone around al-Tanf, US instructors are training a large armed formation, Magavir al-Saura, and some small militant groups for the so-called Army of Arab Tribes. The militants’ total numerical strength is 2,700 men,” the Russian general reported, providing footage obtained from drones.

A part of the militants trained at the al-Tanf base is being airlifted by US combat helicopters beyond the Euphrates, the Russian general added.

“The most trained saboteurs are being delivered to the territories controlled by the government troops to destabilize the situation and prevent the strengthening of the Syrian government’s positions there,” Rudskoi commented.

The basic goals of the militants trained by the US military instructors are to carry out subversive operations, destroy Syrian oil and gas infrastructure facilities and conduct terrorist attacks against government troops, he pointed out.

“Such groups have been spotted in the areas of the communities of al-Suwayda, Palmyra and Abu Kamal,” the Russian general specified.

The US military base near the settlement of al-Tanf is located at the junction of the borders of Syria, Iraq and Jordan. It also embraces the 55-km zone around the town.