American Resistance To Empire

Saudi War In Middle East Aims To Forcefully Convert Or Kill All Shia Muslims and Christians

[Anyone who can’t see by now that the real “Sunni Caliphate” will be “Greater Saudi Arabia” has not been paying attention to Saudi aggression in the region.  This has been Obama’s goal from the beginning, to hand control over the problematic Middle East to his Saudi patrons. 

(This seems to confirm the normally scoffed-at conspiracy theory, that it has been the Saudis, NOT THE JEWS, who have controlled this so-called “war on terror” from the beginning.)

  War-mongering king Salman has been arrogantly open about his intentions to cleanse the Middle East of Shiites and other religious apostates (this would include Christians, obviously), even whike he pretends to be fighting against the Caliphate of ISIS.  The Saudi royals and their Gulf subordinates have been creating their own Sunni Caliphate, right before our eyes.  The fact that the world’s only hope for humanitarianism, the United Nations, would allow a tribal Arab king to murder thousands of Shia Houthis while conducting its religious ethnic-cleansing operation on the rest of them is proof that human compassion is just another commodity that can be bought and sold like anything else.]

 We will destroy the Houthis if they do not come to reason [i.e., convert to Sunni Islam–ed.].”–Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adel Al-Jubeir

[Such is the human condition, when laid bare before us. 
Where is God in this equation?]

[SEE:UN Capitulation To Saudi Demands Equals Partnership In Ethnic-Cleansing of Middle East]

Religious eugenics


How Saudi Arabia is sponsoring a frightening new movement in the ME

Catherine Shakdam

© Khaled Abdullah
Blanketed by its wealth and protected by political alliances, Saudi Arabia has covertly run and promoted a new movement in the Middle East: religious eugenics, under the false pretense of opposing the rise of Iran. From Syria to Bahrain and Yemen the evidence is overwhelming.

Earlier this August, the Red Cross added its voice to those of other humanitarian and rights groups in its condemnation of Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, lifting the lid on Riyadh’s little house of horrors in southern Arabia.

In no uncertain terms Peter Maurer, the head of the international Red Cross told reporters he had seldom witnessed such degree of devastation. He said: “Yemen after five months looks like Syria after five years … The images I have from Sanaa and Aden remind of what I have seen in Syria.”

He stressed “the firepower with which this war is fought on the ground and in the air is causing more suffering than in other societies, which are stronger and where infrastructures are better off and people are wealthier and have reserves and can escape.”

A country in ruins, Yemen is also a nation in permanent mourning, as every day its people are relentlessly slain – casualties of a violent and murderous colonial war – the latest victims of Riyadh’s expansionist military campaign in the Middle East.

According to official UNICEF tallies, “close to 2,800 people have been killed and almost 13,000 people injured (including 279 children killed and 402 injured, respectively). An estimated 1 million people have been internally displaced (an increase of 122 percent since the crisis began), and some 400,000 people have sought protection in neighboring countries.”

While such figures are horrifying, they fall short of the truth. Agencies on the ground have already said that well over 500 children have been killed in Saudi-led air raids, most specifically in northern Yemen, where the war has been most devastating and aggressive. On average, children account for a quarter of all deaths and casualties.

For those who have managed to find shelter, living conditions are catastrophic. With no water, no electricity, little food and no access to health facilities ten million children are at risk of disease and starvation – again, North Yemen has suffered the brunt of this crisis.

Never in its history has Yemen experienced such a degree of pain and utter despair. But while wars are generally ugly affairs since they require their fill of blood before the canons finally fall silent, Saudi Arabia’s campaign in Yemen is far from ordinary.

But not only that, Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy in the Middle East is betraying a disturbing and rather ominous covert agenda, one which resonates with ethnic engineering and religious eugenics.

And if so far few have connected the dots, their hands tied by Riyadh’s overbearing and overarching control on media outlets and the grand political narrative, it is high time we learn to recognize Al Saud’s campaign for what it really is: a concerted effort to cleanse the region of all religious minorities, beginning with Shia Islam, its self-appointed nemesis.

To put it in simple terms – under Saudi Arabia’ suffocating grip, religious minorities are dying a slow and painful death.

From Syria to Bahrain, the kingdom’s eugenics campaign threatens the region’s religious and ethnic patrimonies, in a fashion reminiscent of Nazi Germany, when Jews and Gypsies were labeled undesirables.

Saudi Arabia is now building 600 mile wall to keep dangerous people out. What a concept!

In an interview this April, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adel Al-Jubeir lifted the veil on Riyadh’s determination to carry through its agenda, no matter the price, no matter the impact. He asserted: “This campaign is having a huge impact in Yemen and it is not over yet. For us failure is not an option. We will destroy the Houthis if they do not come to reason.”

If subtitles were running they would read – the Houthis will be destroyed because they represent a religious challenge to Wahhabism’s hegemony in the region. The Houthis, and the majority of all northerners in Yemen are Zaidis, a branch of Shia Islam.

Is it then a surprise that while South Yemen has benefited from humanitarian aid, North Yemen has witnessed a spike in violence, its seaports targeted to prevent food and medicine to be ferried in? Riyadh is quite simply profiling aid to carry out its religious cleansing, punishing millions for their rejection of Riyadh’s religion.

Saudi Arabia is an absolute theocracy, and as such its very raison d’ être is rooted within its violent and reactionary interpretation of Islam: Wahhabism, the ideology which inspired the likes of Al Qaeda and Islamic State. One of the main tenets of Wahhabism actually calls for the destruction of all religious sects, Islamic or otherwise. For Wahhabis there can be no greater glory than to massacre “apostates.”

And while Riyadh’s neo-eugenics movement has taken on different forms, operating under various denominations depending on the countries it has targeted, the underlying current has been the destruction of religious pluralism.

Let me ask you this: Is there a real difference between Manama’s campaign to strip Shia Bahrainis from their nationality because the House of Al Khalifa seeks to eliminate all political and religious competition, and Islamic State’s murderous rampage against religious minorities in Iraq and Syria? And though Bahrain’s campaign might appear more “elegant” in that it is more covert and pernicious, the intent remains the same.

From the language used to the policies it has carried out in the Middle East, Riyadh has pushed the sectarian card, christening the resistance movement against its eugenics movement, the so-called Shia crescent threat.

The real threat here lies with Riyadh’s twisted crusade and sickening sectarian agenda.

Catherine Shakdam
Catherine Shakdam is a political analyst, writer and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on radical movements and Yemen. Her writings have been published in world-renowned publications such as Foreign Policy Journal, Mintpress News, the Guardian, Your Middle East, Middle East Monitor, Middle East Eye, Open Democracy, Eurasia Review and many more. A regular pundit on RT, she has also contributed her analyses to Etejah TV, IRIB radio, Press TV and NewsMax TV. Director of Programs at the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies and consultant for Anderson Consulting, her research and work on Yemen were used by the UN Security Council in relation to Yemen looted funds in 2015.

US Navy Eager To Pick A Fight With China To Create Mission For Useless Littoral Combat Ship

[The US Navy might as well dream-up its own missions, to justify their place in the war of terror, the Army has been doing it since the beginning of this global disaster.  The Army, Marines and CIA have been training terrorists and posing as terrorists in order to justify their fight against terror, why shouldn’t the Navy do the same in its shift to the Pacific?  Compounding tensions in the shallow S. China Sea to keep Congress from cancelling the LCS program is merely par for the course.  (SEE:  What Price Freedom? Questions Surround LCS-1 US Navy’s First Littoral Combat Ship Enters Dry Dock for Repairs)]

LCS to Boost U.S. Presence in Disputed South China Sea

military dot com

LCS to Boost U.S. Presence in Disputed South China Sea

The speed, maneuverability and shallow draft of the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship makes the platform well suited for the South China Sea, Pentagon leaders said while releasing a new Asia-Pacific maritime strategy document.

“The LCS is ideally suited for a role in the South China Sea. It is fast, light and flexible and it has a fifteen foot draft so it can go places other vessels cannot go. We plan to have four LCS ships in Singapore on a rotational basis by 2018,” David Shear, assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, told reporters on Friday.

The service has long planned to rotate the ships through Singapore as part of the Pentagon’s shift to the Pacific. However, the increasing LCS fleet size underscores the potential value of the platform in the South China Sea region, where there are many shallow ports inaccessible to larger-draft ships.

The Navy is preparing to receive four more of its shallow-water Littoral Combat Ships between now and February, effectively doubling its current fleet and paving the way for more deployments.

On Aug. 11, the Navy formally accepted delivery of LCS 6, the USS Jackson, during a ceremony at the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Ala.

Following this delivery, the service is preparing to accept delivery of LCS 5, the USS Milwaukee, in October of this year and the USS Montgomery, LCS 8, in December of this year, Naval Sea Systems Command spokesman Chris Johnson recently said.

On the heels of these deliveries, the Navy plans to receive the USS Detroit, LCS 7, in February of next year, he added.

“By early next year, the Navy will be operating eight littoral combat ships and we’ll be accepting four more by the end of 2016. The Navy will continue to accept ships at that rate for the next several years making the LCS class the second largest surface combatant class in the fleet and the key to our ability to operate in shallow, coastal waterways around the world,” Johnson recently told Military​.com.

Shear explained that stepping up LCS missions in the South China Sea is part of a broader strategic effort to maintain presence and patrol the area in light of China’s recent efforts to build artificial land structures in the contested Spratly Islands.

China’s island building, referred to by Pentagon officials as land reclamation, has been ongoing effort to further fortify their territorial claims in the region. Pentagon officials have said the China has reclaimed over 2,000 acres of area over the last 18 months, more than all other claimants in the region combined.

In June, Pentagon officials publicly acknowledged that China was placing weapons on the reclaimed islands.

“Our approach to the South China Sea has been robust. We have engaged China repeatedly at the highest levels to implement a permanent halt to reclamation. We of course have a very strong and persistent military presence designed to maintain peace and stability,” he said.

The Spratly Islands includes an area of more than 750 reefs, small islands and atolls in the South China Sea off the coasts of the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam. Highly disputed for centuries, the area is rich in oil and natural gas. Countries claiming rights to territory in the Spratly Islands include China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, Taiwan, and Brunei.

Shear referenced an ongoing congressional effort to add funds to the 2016 defense bill slated for arming and training U.S. allies in the Pacific.

The South China Sea includes strategically vital waterways, important to international trade. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has criticized China’s artificial island-building and said the U.S. would not be deterred by China’s moves.

“China has said it has stopped reclamation but it is not clear to us if they have stopped or are just finishing up. There is the potential for militarization of these features. We call for a permanent halt to all of these activities. The U.S. does not recognize the sovereignty claims of these artificial islands,” Shear said.

Under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, negotiated in the 1980s and updated in the 1990s, an island is defined as a “naturally formed area of land above the water at high tide.” Also, article 60 of the U.N. Convention says “artificial islands are not entitled to territorial seas.”

Shear added that the U.S. would continue to step up its military presence in the area and work closely with allies in the region. He cited the deployment of V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and two new missile-defense capable destroyers to Japan. Furthermore, the Navy’s new high-tech DDG 1000 Zumalt-class destroyer is slated for the Pacific.

“US forces currently present in the South China Sea conduct a variety of presence operations. We are in the South China Sea on a regular basis,” Shear said.

Shear also added the Navy’s new P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane will also continue to help military efforts in the Pacific. “We have a vested interest in ensuring that territorial claims are resolved peacefully,” he explained.

State Terrorism Is State Terrorism, Even When It Is Made By America

[This is a blast from the past, one of the first articles posted on No Sunglasses, 8-19-2008.  The message remains the same,

war criminals
even though Barack Obama has since replaced the Bush dictatorship and multiplied US state terrorism exponentially. 

When read in tandem with the following piece, the message seems highly relevant today (SEE: Escaping The Age Of Mass Delusion—Humanity’s Only Hope).]

If We Could Speak to the People, What Would We Say?

Peter Chamberlin

If we could reach beyond the news filter that keeps real news from the
American people, what would we say? If we figured-out how to get one message
out to the people, what could we say that would actually motivate them to
take a stand for themselves, for their families, for their country and their

The same studies that power the social planners claim that barely 10% of any
group of people follow reason, meaning they cannot be reasoned with. The
same studies also predict that a clear majority of any targeted population
will respond to fear in a shock scenario. We might try reasoning with the
sleeping sheeple, but we would have better odds if we tried to scare them
awake. If we can convey a true image of the evil being done with our
consent, then we might shock the people into the harsh light of reality.

Our leaders are about to allow the economic collapse of the United States,
without telling you beforehand, or helping American citizens to make
emergency preparations.

Their solution to the problem is to seize control of the post-collapse world
militarily, eliminating everyone who gets in the way. This military solution
accepts a very large loss of human lives as necessary “collateral damage” to
the brave plan to take control of the world. When the American people are
overwhelmed by the economic catastrophe, they will hardly notice large
planned population reductions.

All of this is an acceptable solution to our government. For those who try
to protest after the “hammer goes down,” there are hundreds of detention
camps, capable of holding thousands of dissidents, waiting to accept your
silent screams.

But until we get to that point of no return, steps are being taken to reduce
and eventually eliminate all protests to governmental violence.
The Constitution is being reduced piecemeal to a powerless piece of paper.
The courts are bowing down to executive decrees.

Mankind is being kept in check by his own fear. In the face of fear we react
like herd animals, bunching together in search of elusive safety, making us
easily manipulated by those who have mastered the psychology of fear.

Terror is a key element of American politics. Votes are obtained by
frightening the people into your corner, or away from your “unsafe”
opponent. Candidacies are won and lost by negative campaigns of lies and
half-truths that paint your opponent as an unreasonable madmen and yourself
as a heroic messianic figure. US leaders depend upon political terrorism to
get their way in the world, from the local level of “Homeland Insecurity,”
to the international arena, where acts of bloody terrorism are routinely
committed to frighten the locals into political compliance.

“Terrorism–n. The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a
person or an organized group against people or property with the intention
of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological
or political reasons.”

State terrorism has been an integral part of American government for many
decades. Beginning with the terror campaign of carpet-bombing and
fire-bombing of civilian centers in Germany at the end of World War II (and
the a-bombs), American and British scientists have studied the psychology of
mass fear. This wholesale terror campaign was a new type of warfare,
targeting civilians, instead of concentrating on government centers. The aim
was political terrorism, to turn the citizens of Germany into political
tools to be used to force the German government into submission. By studying
the socio-economic repercussions of the fire-bombing, the American and
British psychologists and sociologists learned how to herd entire
populations through the tactics of fear.

Acts of violent terrorism for political and economic gains have continued
since “the Great War,” against both friend and foe.
Historically, American terror operations like “Operation Gladio” have been
aimed at our allies in Europe even more than against our enemies.
In “Gladio,” (as in all American terror campaigns committed under the banner
of “democracy”), public figures and officials are assassinated, attacks are
carried-out upon police and military forces of sympathetic governments,
trains are bombed with great loss of life, and “madmen”
go on public shooting sprees, all for the sake of scaring European national
opinion into America’s corner.

As always, American terror is hidden by the use of proxies and mercenary
forces, who are blamed for attacks committed covertly by our military and
intelligence agencies. The “war on terror” itself is probably the world’s
longest-running terrorist operation, intended to create the impression that
American-sponsored terror attacks are really the work of a new non-existent,
highly-organized global terrorist adversary. In simpler terms, the United
States government
is the center of world terrorism. Our own government, our
against terrorism, is responsible for most terrorist attacks upon innocent
people in the world, that thousands of American troops are defending
against. American-trained forces are killing American soldiers who then
retaliate further against innocent civilian populations where the terrorists
choose to hide.

“Our government” is not really ours at all, having long ago surrendered our
national sovereignty to a consortium of global financiers through the
Federal Reserve System that controls the US.

“Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes her laws.”
Mayer Amschel Rothschild

In the process of bringing the US under the control of the international
financiers, represented by the Rothschild interests centered in Europe,
American industry has been destroyed (except for the military-industrial
, needed to pound the recalcitrant world into submission), while the
sham called “democracy” was constructed to create the impression amongst the
unruly people that they actually have power. When the self-appointed
American aristocracy allowed the common man the “right” to vote, it was done
to stave-off more violent opposition and to deceive with the impression of
shared power. Today, decent folk, believing in the illusion of “fair
elections,” remain a real obstacle to saving American freedom from the
hidden dictatorship, which owns all the candidates produced in the
“two-party” system. As long as the majority believes in the system and
continues to empower its candidates, the dictatorship can remain hidden. In
order to expose the hidden machinations of the secret dictators we have to
burst the bubble of illusory democratic power.

At the same time, the fact that the dictatorship wishes to remain hidden,
playing the game of democracy, pretending to seek the counsel of the people,
then they are vulnerable. If they choose to continue the charade of
democratic government, then they have to limit their actions to those which
appear to be “freely” granted by the people through their “representatives.”
As long as those representatives hold the seats of power given them by the
overlords, they will answer only to them. But if enough people call the
representatives to task for failing American democracy they can at least be
forced to publicly answer the charges of failure. If the masses put the fear
of democracy and righteous retribution into the minds of the Congressional
slaves of the money-powers, then they too will begin to retreat from their
open support for measures calling for more war and less freedom. If the
people fully use the First Amendment powers to make democracy work then we
can turn the tide against the center.

They cannot openly carry-out the violent measures required for creating a
world dictatorship and a permanent state of war, taking the brazen violent
steps that have been planned, such as launching nuclear first strikes, or
using biologic attacks to “cull the herd.” As long as the real terrorists
are pretending to be democrats they must act accordingly. Until the world
rises-up against the American imperialist forces in sufficient numbers to
frighten the American people into becoming willing participants in the
genocide of half the earth, other lesser, though equally as threatening,
provocations will continue to be found to frighten us into authorizing the

By placing the will of the people into their formula, they have created a
time lag between cause and effect, where the planned actions must be
preceded by a provocation that motivates the people into consenting to their
own destruction. By incorporating a basically moral people into a completely
immoral plan for world domination, the master controllers have constructed a
flawed plan that depends upon a scientific effort to change good people into
bad. In a country as religious-natured as this one, the great leaders may
have falsely calculated that they can make a nation fear so much for its
life that it would sell its soul for a little peace of mind.

American state terrorism has also been directed against the citizens of the
United States themselves, through more subtle “silent weapons.”
For the entire duration of American terrorist operations against the world,
our government has waged war upon the minds of its loyal citizens through an
arsenal of psychological, economic, and legislative weaponry. The purpose of
these attacks has always been to destroy the American economy and the minds
of the people, while using the economic destruction to justify the full use
of the American military power against the rest of the world.

American leaders consistently work against American interests, while
enriching themselves and their wealthy sponsors who reap opportunity from
our Nation’s demise. In order for these anti-American power-brokers to force
the world into a global dictatorship with them at the helm, they have to
play the “democracy” card, while simultaneously undermining it. Our leaders
have to persuade us into allowing them to destroy democracy in the name of
preserving it. We the People have to be persuaded to peacefully allow the
planned destruction to take place before it can take place. We have to
accept our bleak fates, before it can become our fates.

But the scary truth about the American state terrorist acts that have been
committed so far is that they have provided the needed practice for the
despicable acts that are yet to come. The American war upon the human race
will utilize every weapon in our arsenal, once the way for their use has
been cleared. Weapons of mass destruction come in many forms. In a war for
control of the earth’s resources it would seem more logical to use the
weapons that kill, such as biological weapons, as opposed to those which
merely destroy everything. Instant Death is about to enter the world through
American hands.

The tragedy of our time, perhaps the ultimate tragedy of all time, is
roaring down the highway of life right at us, or is the greater tragedy the
weakness of the mind of man which is allowing this to happen? If we have the
power of change within us and we do nothing, inaction is an act of suicide.

We have to overcome this innate human weakness to prepare our fellow man for
the things that are about to befall this battered planet. So many things are
avoidable in this existence through the use of foresight; if only it was a
common human trait. Any sane person who sees oncoming danger will
automatically step out of its way. As a rule, we humans rarely choose to
step out of the way. Mankind has never been called “sane,” by anyone’s
definition. We must secretly harbor a deep desire to become “road kill” on
the cruel highway of life.

Obama’s “Shock and Awe”—Skeletonized Human Beings Line the Beach Near Tripoli, Libya

EXCLUSIVE: The Mediterranean’s grim tide – shocking never before seen pictures of migrants’ bodies washed up on beach in Libya

daily mail

  • Bodies of hundreds of migrants who drowned trying to reach Europe by sea are washing up on Libyan beaches
  • Volunteers from the Libyan Red Crescent Society collect the remains every day along a 100-mile coastline stretch 
  • Remains, some just piles of bones, handed to authorities who record the deaths and bury them in unmarked graves

The dead bodies of desperate migrants who were bundled onto overcrowded boats destined for Europe, which capsized killing those on board, are washing up on Libya’s beaches.

Their bones, half submerged in the sand, will be buried in unmarked graves, their relatives unaware their loved ones have perished.


Volunteers from Libyan Red Crescent Society collect the bodies which were swallowed and spat out by the Mediterranean Sea as they risked their lives on the perilous journey from Libya bound for the island of Lampedusa off the Italian coast.

Meanwhile, more than 1,000 men, women and children who were able to survive treacherous journeys to Europe continued to be rescued off the coasts of Italy and Greece each day.

Remains: Some of the bodies have been reduced to just piles of bones after they were swallowed and spat out by the Mediterranean sea

Bodies: Migrants desperate to reach Europe take on the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean but hundreds of their bodies have washed up on the beaches of Libya

Heartbreaking: Many migrants are forced to board dilapidated boats with their children, knowing that they may not reach their destination

Buried: The migrants’ bones poke out from under the sand after they drowned while desperately trying to flee their war-torn homelands

Shocking new photographs taken in Zuwara, on the west coast of Libya close to the Tunisian border, show the true extent of the migrant crisis.

Bodies, some of which are barely more than a pile of bones, are being picked up on a 100-mile stretch of the war-torn country from Garaboli to Zuwara.

One heartbreaking picture is of a skeleton, which has been washed up on the beach with the still wearing the pair of yellow trousers and black leather belt they set off in.

Taha Sultan, head of health at Libyan Red Crescent Society, an organisation working on the ground to help the country’s vulnerable population, said hundreds of bodies had been washing up over the past year.

Speaking to MailOnline from Benghazi in the east of the country, he said: ‘We have been dealing with this for more than a year along the west coast.

‘It happens every day. These kind of things happen all the time in Libya.’

Desperate: More than 1,000 people are rescued off the coasts of Italy and Greece every day, but many don’t manage to finish their journeys

Unidentified: Bodies of the migrants are collected by volunteers along the Libyan coastline and are buried by authorities in the country

Record highs: The number of migrants who have successfully arrived in Europe by sea so far this year is already approaching 250,000

Explaining the mindset of the people who board the boats, sometimes with their young families, Mr Sultan said: ‘People are desperate to leave because it’s dangerous, or they fear for their lives.

‘We have war – people get killed and there is no help coming. We also have ISIS here now. It’s very dangerous to live here.’

Libya is split between two governments backed by armed factions fighting each other but which control limited territory.

Islamic State and other armed groups have exploited a growing security vacuum on the ground to expand.

Libya Dawn, an alliance of armed groups, drove the internationally recognised government out of the capital, Tripoli, and declared its own government a year ago, leaving the oil-rich country on the verge of anarchy.

Libya: Bodies are washing up on a 100-mile stretch of the west of the war-torn country from Garaboli to Zuwara, near the Tunisian border

Volunteers: Workers from the Libyan Red Crescent Society, an organisation working on the ground, are collecting more bodies every day

Tragedy: Many of the migrants attempting to gain access to Europe are fleeing violence, natural disasters and poverty in their homelands

Mr Sultan said that those who try to leave the country by legal means are unable to get visas, so opt for dangerous trips across the sea on rickety ships.

Migrants who have arrived in Italy say human traffickers based in lawless Libya charge them between £770 and £1,150 for a place on the deck of boats. Those crammed in the hold pay about half as much as those above.

On Saturday, more than 40 migrants died in the Mediterranean off the Libyan coast after suffocating below the deck of an overcrowded boat.

The vessel was carrying around 400 people when it was intercepted south of the Italian island of Lampedusa.

Footage of the rescue showed two navy vessels helping men, women and children off the dangerously overcrowded ship.

The boat was ‘starting to sink’ when it was spotted by an Italian navy helicopter, around 21 miles off the Libyan coast.

Rescuers discovered the dead migrants when the boarded the boat.

Collected: The bodies are removed from the beaches and are handed over to the authorities in the country to be buried in unmarked graves

Deaths: On Saturday, 40 migrants died off the Libyan coast after suffocating below the deck of an overcrowded boat, carrying 400 people

Frequent loss: Hundreds of bodies of migrants have washed up on the beaches of the western coast of Libya over the past year

Survivors of such hazardous journeys have told of how traffickers lock migrants who paid less for the journey in the hold underneath.

These people endure extreme heat in the ship’s hold and there is a high risk of death if it capsizes.

And around 200 migrants were presumed killed earlier this month off the coast of Libya when their boat capsized.

According to the International Organization for Migration, the number of migrants and asylum seekers who have arrived in Europe by sea so far this year is approaching 250,000.

The death toll has risen to at least 2,300, but the figure is likely to be higher because some of the dead are never recovered.

Mr Sultan explained that the bodies are handed over to authorities, which photograph them and document the deaths before burying them.

More than 100,000 migrants have crossed the Channel of Sicily from Libya to reach safety in Italy so far this year.

Death toll: At least 2,300 migrants are known to have died this year while trying to reach Europe by sea, but the real figure will be higher

Frequent fatalities: About 200 migrants were presumed killed earlier this month off the Libyan coastline when their boat capsized

Route: An estimated 102,000 migrants have successfully crossed the Channel of Sicily from Libya to reach safety in Italy this year

The Dismemberment of Syria

Syria’s new diplomacy

jerusalem p

Iran and Saudi Arabia have put forward rival peace plans for Syria, but their aims are irreconcilable and no end to the conflict is in sight.

assadSyrian President Bashar Assad waves to supporters in Damascus. (photo credit:REUTERS)

As the civil war over the ruins of Syria grinds on into its sixth year, the fighting seems nowhere near an end.

Indeed, there is no longer a single war taking place in the country. Rather, as Syria physically divides into separate entities, so the conflict, too, further subdivides, spawning new conflicts.

There are today no less than five conflicts taking place within the borders of the country: the contests between the Sunni Arab rebels and the Assad regime/Hezbollah/Iran (the original war which brought about the others); the Kurdish YPG’s fight against Islamic State; intermittent clashes between the Sunni Arab rebels and Islamic State; Islamic State’s own war against the Assad regime; and now the renewed war between Turkey and the PKK, which is being played out partly on Syrian soil.

The presence of these five interlocking conflicts notwithstanding, efforts to make diplomatic progress toward some form of settlement, or at least freezing of the conflict, are under way.

Recent days have seen details emerge of two rival “peace plans” for Syria. One of these is sponsored by the Iranians, the main supporters of the Assad regime, the other is the handiwork of Saudi Arabia, which wants the removal of the regime and supports elements among the Sunni Arab rebellion against it.

Neither plan stands much chance of implementation. But the content of the plans and their very existence demonstrate that the Syrian situation is not static. They also indicate the extent to which the aims of the backers of the combatant sides are currently irreconcilable.

The Iranian proposal, according to a report in the Araby al-Jadid newspaper on Monday, constitutes a plan for the freezing of the conflict in place and the subsequent de facto partition of Syria. According to the newspaper, the plan is being promoted by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif during his current round of meetings with regional officials.

The plan proposes that each side would hold on to its current areas of control, except for the city of Aleppo, which would come under international supervision.

The regime and the rebels would then cooperate with the international coalition in the fight against Islamic State. Negotiations between the sides would continue, with the intention of forming a “national government, writing a new constitution and holding nationally monitored elections.”

The regime, according to the plan, would keep control of “Damascus, the Syrian-Lebanese border, Qalamoun, western Ghouta, Zabadani, Homs and the area to its west all the way to the Syrian coast, and Tartus Port.”

This is in essence the area controlled by the regime today. The apparent willingness of the regime’s backers to “settle” for this area rather than to continue to hold out for the eventual reconquest of the entire country (Syrian President Bashar Assad’s aim throughout the war) reflects the declining military fortunes of the Assad regime.

The regime now controls only just over 20 percent of the area of Syria.

In the north, it is reeling from the hammer blows inflicted by the Jaysh al-Fatah (Army of Conquest) rebel coalition.

This coalition includes some of the strongest Islamist rebel forces in Syria. Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian franchise of al-Qaida, is a component part of it, as is Ahrar al-Sham, the most powerful of the homegrown Salafi groups on the Syrian battlefield.

It is supported by Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The Saudi provision of US Tow antitank missiles, transported across the border from Turkey, is playing a telling role in the fighting, reducing the regime’s advantage in heavy weaponry.

As of now, Jaysh al-Fatah is attempting to destroy the final regime positions on the Al-Ghab plain. Loss of these positions raises the frightening prospect for the regime of the front line moving into the populated parts of Latakia province, the heartland of its support.

Already, the Alawi villages in Latakia are within range of the rebels’ missiles. Entry into Latakia would effectively end Assad’s hopes of preserving intact a safe area of the country for the members of his sect and other supporters of the regime.

Should the pivotal Joureen base in Ghab fall to the rebels, the regime would then face the possibility of its supply lines to the city of Hama further south being cut off.

The regime is therefore fighting desperately to hold its positions on the flat, barren Sahel al-Ghab. Hezbollah fighters are there, fighting alongside Shi’ite “volunteers” from as far afield as Afghanistan.

The motley collection of regime defenders in Ghab reflect the key difficulty which Assad has faced since the commencement of the war. The narrow base of support of his regime has meant that he has faced severe challenges in mustering sufficient manpower to defend the areas under his control.

The solution until now has been to reduce these areas. At a certain point, of course, the shrinking size of the regime’s domain raises the question of its continued viability.

This point may now be approaching.

The Saudis, however, have made clear that the current Iranian proposals are unacceptable. The sticking point, as Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir outlined in a statement this week, is that Riyadh wants Assad’s immediate departure from power rather than a continued role for him in any transitional phase.

“There is no place for Assad in the future of Syria,” Jubeir said, speaking in Moscow after meeting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

“Assad is part of the problem, not part of the solution.”

Saudi counterproposals, as reported in the Al-Hayat newspaper this week, envisage the immediate cessation of Iranian and other outside support for the regime and the departure of Hezbollah fighters from Syria, followed by new, UN-supervised presidential and parliamentary elections, after the stepping down of Assad.

The differences are familiar and not yet close to being bridged. The diplomacy, as ever, mirrors the military situation on the ground.

Assad’s fortunes have declined.

This is leading to reduced ambitions and consequently increased flexibility on the part of his backers.

But there are no signs yet that his allies are about to desert him, nor that their reduced demands are anywhere close to being acceptable to the forces behind the rebels. So the fight goes on.

More important, it should be remembered that the war between Assad and the Sunni rebels is now only one of the several conflict systems that have torn Syria apart. So even if Assad’s declining fortunes were to lead to his departing the scene, the war for Syria’s succession, and the suffering of its inhabitants, would almost certainly not be at an end.

Turkish Civil War?

[SEE:  “We Have A Civil War”: Inside Turkey’s Descent Into Political, Social, And Economic Chaos ]

Huge explosion as police safely detonate bomb-laden vehicle in eastern Turkey

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Huge explosion as police safely detonate bomb-laden vehicle in eastern Turkey

Turkish police department safely detonated a bomb-laden vehicle parked along the Diyarbakır-Batman highway on Friday. (Photo: DHA)

Turkish bomb disposal experts were taken aback on Friday when the controlled explosion of a car bomb in the Kurdish-dominated southeast caused a massive blast that scattered debris and caused panic amongst bystanders.

After sealing off the area in the southeastern region of Batman, experts transported the abandoned car to an open space and set off a controlled detonation, the private Dogan news agency reported.

But the blast unleashed a huge ball of fire and smoke, with video footage by Dogan showing bystanders running in panic.

The powerful explosion shattered the windows of nearby buildings and one person was wounded by broken glass, Dogan said.

There was no immediate claim for who set the bomb but the incident comes amid a spate of daily attacks in Turkey carried out by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Police were alerted after a car rental company’s owner called to report a suspicious person who had hired a vehicle.

The suspect said he was renting the car to travel to Hasankeyf, a major historic site on the Tigris River now partially flooded by dam waters.

Police were still searching for the suspect.

Ankara is waging a two-pronged offensive to bomb Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria and PKK rebels in northern Iraq and southeast Turkey following a series of deadly attacks.

So far, the operation has focused largely on the Kurdish rebels, who have responded by tearing up a 2013 ceasefire and waging a bloody campaign against the security forces.

Obama Now Erdogan’s “Bitch” Over ISIS/KURD Deception

“A Turkish officer entered the allied headquarters in the air war against ISIS and announced that the strike would begin in 10 minutes and he needed all allied jets flying above Iraq to move south of Mosul immediately,” the source said. “We were outraged.”

Senior US military official: Turkey ‘needed a hook’ and tricked us on ISIS

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turkey pkkREUTERS/Umit BektasA woman after having her nails painted with the colors of the flag of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), during a gathering celebrating Newroz, which marks the arrival of spring and the new year, in the border town of Suruc, Sanliurfa province, on March 17.

A senior US official has accused Turkey of pulling a bait-and-switch by using a recent anti-Islamic State agreement with the US as a “hook” to attack the Kurdish PKK in northern Iraq, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“It’s clear that ISIL was a hook,” the senior military official told The Journal, referring to the Islamic State (aka ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh).

“Turkey wanted to move against the PKK, but it needed a hook.”

On Tuesday, an American military source told Fox News that US military leaders were “outraged” when Turkey began its bombing campaign, giving US special forces stationed in northern Iraq virtually no warning before Turkish jets started striking the mountains.

“A Turkish officer entered the allied headquarters in the air war against ISIS and announced that the strike would begin in 10 minutes and he needed all allied jets flying above Iraq to move south of Mosul immediately,” the source said. “We were outraged.”

The confrontation highlights the tension growing between the US and Turkey, which became a reluctant ally in the fight against ISIS after years of turning a blind eye to the militants’ illicit activity on its southern border during the Syrian civil war.

Ankara officially joined the coalition fight against ISIS on July 24, striking ISIS (and the PKK) on the same day. It also recently began allowing the US to use the Incirlik airbase in Turkey to carry out strikes against ISIS.

But Turkey has conducted 300 strikes against the PKK and three against ISIS since July 24, according to data compiled by IRIN news. All three ISIS strikes occurred on the first day of the campaign.

Nearly 400 Kurdish militants have been killed, IRIN reports, compared with nine ISIS militants.

When asked about Turkey’s commitment to fighting ISIS, a senior defense official said “there are still question marks out there. Our folks are very eager to put it to the test.”

And if Turkey keeps going after the PKK while trying not to provoke ISIS, “it will leave the US without a Syria strategy,” geopolitical expert Ian Bremmer told Business Insider by email.

“Access to Incirlik airbase matters, but the additional bombing it enables will only help contain ISIS, not roll it back,” Bremmer added. “And it will leave Washington without the improved relations with Ankara that the Obama administration is hoping for.”

ISIS map as of July 27 2015Reuters

The ongoing bombing campaign against PKK strongholds in northern Iraq came as a surprise, but it probably shouldn’t have: Turkey has long seen the PKK — a designated terrorist organization that waged a three-decade insurgency inside Turkey — as more of an existential threat than ISIS, which refrained from launching attacks inside Turkey even as its militants lived and operated along the border.

“The PKK is a bigger threat to us, as it is active within the country,” a Turkish official told The Wall Street Journal. “They stage attacks on our security forces on a daily basis, in many cities. ISIS is more active in Syria, and is therefore less urgent now.”

kurds kurdish populationREUTERS

Moreover, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bombing campaign — capitalizing on the nationalist, anti-Kurd sentiment that has been steadily growing inside Turkey — could help him regain his AKP party’s absolute majority in parliament now that coalition talks have failed and snap elections are likely.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, also a member of the AKP, said on Thursday he would prefer an election to be held “as soon as possible”, Reuters reported.

“The AKP needed the Kurdish angle to sell the war to ultranationalists inside Turkey,” whose main priority is to curb Kurdish territorial gains along its southern border, Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Business Insider last month.

But Erdogan’s gamble has come at a price: Nearly 40 Turkish police officers and military officials have been attacked and killed by PKK militants since the war began, and that number is increasing every day.


Erdogan has also complicated his party’s relationship with Washington further: While the White House was relieved when Turkey announced it would allow the US to launch airstrikes against ISIS from Incirlik airbase in its southeast, the PKK is a politically contentious target.

The militia was working with US-backed Kurdish fighters to repel ISIS from northern Iraq and is also closely linked to the Kurdish YPG militia, which, backed by US airstrikes, has proved to be the most effective force fighting ISIS on the ground in northern Syria.

Now the US is reportedly embracing an all-out partnership with the YPG to make up for the failures of its $500 million Syrian train-and-equip program — a move that is sure to anger Ankara and inflame tensions even further.

“To fully embrace a Kurdish force would complicate an already fragile strategy, two [US] defense officials concluded,” Nancy Youseff of The Daily Beast reports.

“The Turks … would not welcome an emboldened Kurdish force on its southern border. Neither would many of America’s Arab allies, who are also threatened by Kurdish sovereignty movements.”

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