Yemeni Army, Popular Committees Advance in Abyan & Strike Saudi Border Sites

Local Editor

YemenThe Yemeni army and the popular committees continued their anti-Qaeda operations in various provinces, expelling the terrorist group’s militants from different positions in Lodr in Abyan.

The Yemeni army and the popular committees also managed to kill 4 Saudi soldiers and injure 8 others after targeting their sites and patrols in Assir and Jizan.

Saudi Arabia has been bombing Yemen since March 26 to bring fugitive president Abed-Rabbu Mansour Hadi back to power.

The airstrikes have so far claimed the lives of more than 5,302 civilians, mostly women and children.

Source: Al-Manar Website

31-07-2015 – 20:59 Last updated 31-07-2015 – 20:59


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’Israel’ Installs Iron Dome near Lebanon Border

Local Editor

“Israel” deployed its Iron Dome Defense System near Lebanon’s southern border, Col. Yoni Saada Marom, commander of Israel’s Air Force declared reflecting heightened “Israeli” concerns following the Iranian nuclear deal.

Marom said that Hizbullah and other organizations close to the occupied Palestine’s border pose a potentially heightened threat against the Zionist entity though he refrained from linking this to the recent nuclear deal with Iran.

Critics of the deal had warned that lifting sanctions on Iran would give it access to over $100 billion in frozen assets, with concerns that Hizbullah could receive an injection of cash and weaponry as a result.

“Now we are dealing with the challenges and scenarios that we think the enemies from the north will bring. One of the scenarios could be that, like Hamas, they [Hizbullah] will try and challenge us with a variety of threats simultaneously – which is a great challenge – but we are developing our concepts of operation,” the colonel said.

Marom revealed that more batteries are now operational near Lebanon’s border and additional soldiers had been trained to operate to the sophisticated systems.

“As a military commander I cannot deal with their [Hizbullah’s] intentions,” Marom said adding that the “Israeli” forces should be ready for whatever Hizbullah chose to do.

While not making details public, Hizbullah had declared that its military capabilities had been significantly boosted since 2006.

The 2006 war with “Israel” martyred 1,200 civilians by “Israeli” strikes on Lebanon.

Hizbullah will never bow to pressure to normalize ties with “Israel”, party Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said Tuesday.

“We are certain that “Israel” will fade away and Palestinians will reclaim their land despite all the tragedies… the “Israeli” terrorism remains above all.”

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team


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Nasser Kandil : 60 Minutes on Iran and the Region

ستون دقيقة مع ناصر قنديل | توب نيوز 27 07 2015

60 دقيقة مع ناصر قنديل 

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Syrian army retakes areas in Hama countryside, kills over 100 terrorists in Daraa

 Friday, 31 July 2015 16:52

PROVINCES,(ST)_Syrian army has regained control over areas in the western countryside of Hama and has foiled terrorists’ infiltration bid into Tha’aleh airbase in Sweida countryside.

According to the Beirut-based al-Mayadeen TV channel, Syrian army regained control over al-Zyadeyeh town and Zaizoun thermal station in the western countryside of Hama in the wake of clashes with terrorists.

Today’s achievement synchronized with foiling terrorist group’s infiltration attempt into Tha’aleh airbase in Sweida countryside and killing over 100 terrorists in and outside Daraa.

The official news agency (SANA) reported that army units pounded several hideouts of al-Nusra Front and the so-called that ‘al-Mothanna’ Movement in the southeastern edge of al-Maliha town in the northeastern countryside of Daraa.

Many terrorists were killed in the said area and on the outskirts of Zemrin town in the northwestern countryside of Daraa .

Further terrorists were eliminated in towns of al-Kabir, al-Helweh and al-Derra in the northern countryside of Lattakia, according to a military source.

Basma Qaddour

SYRIAN ARMY TRAP KILLS JORDANIAN RAT LEADER; SAA TAKES INITIATIVE IN HAMA AND IDLIB

Ziad Fadel 

HAMA: And just when the rats thought they were in like Flynn in Hama, the Syrian Army began a massive counterattack. In the Ghaab Valley, Syria’s Bekaa, the SAA-SF laid down an ambush for a group of rodents belonging to both Nusra and Jaysh Al-Fath. The SAA killed:

Anas Qabalaan (a/k/a “Abu Jalmood Al-Maqdisi”. JORDANTEEZIAN LEADER OF A “DEEP IMMERSION” UNIT for Nusra)

Muhammad Ghubn (Leader in Jaysh Al-Fath)

Another 11 were counted dead. All foreigners.

The Syrian Army has begun opening supply routes to the government’s forces after losing some positions east of Jisr Al-Shughoor to the Jaysh Al-Fath which opened up with a ferocious artillery attack with mostly American-provided weapons. The purpose of the SAA action was to cleanse the area of Tal Waasit, Khirbat Al-Naaqoos, Al-Mansoora and Al-Ziyaara.

From there, the plan is known to include an assault on Furayka and all hills around it.

It has been announced that the SAA has routed the rodents at Al-Mansoora, Tal Waasit and Khirbat Al-Naaqoos in the area of Suqaylabiyya.

In the meantime, the SAAF has been harrying the rodents around Khirbat Al-Naqoos, Qastoon, Khattaab Hills, Himka, Al-Mintaar, Al-Mushayrifa, Al-A’war, all east of Jisr Al-Shughoor, to prevent the rats from establishing fortifications and revetments.

The SAA is continuing its assault on Tal Al-Dayr and Tal Bakri which are the main supply routes to the rats from the Al-Zaawiya Mountains.

SYRIAN PERSPECTIVE IS DELIGHTED TO REPORT THE DEATH OF THE AMERICAN RODENT: “ABU USAAMAA AL-AMREEKI” after some agents of the Syrian Intelligence service placed an inconvenient explosive device in his Volvo while he was traveling in Kafr Takhaareem in Idlib Province.


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Israeli Diplomat: Maintaining German Guilt About The Holocaust Helps Israel

July 31, 2015  /  Gilad Atzmon

Reported by Gilad Atzmon

Haaretz reported recently that a spokeswoman for the Israeli embassy in Berlin told Israeli journalists it was ‘in the country’s interest to maintain German guilt about the Holocaust, and that it isn’t seeking full normalization of relations between the governments.’

Embassy spokeswoman Adi Farjon made the comments in a closed briefing session with Israeli journalists at the embassy.

The Israeli ambassador, Yakov Hadas-Handelsman, was present for some of the briefing, as were other embassy workers who don’t speak Hebrew. One journalist commented, “It was so awkward. We couldn’t believe our ears. We’re sitting there eating peanuts, and behind the spokeswoman there are two German women sitting there who don’t understand a word of Hebrew – and the embassy staff is telling us they’re working to preserve the German guilt feelings and that Israel has no interest in normalization of relations between the two countries.”

Talking to Haaretz, Farjon made the usual distinction between Jews and ‘goyim.’  “It was an off-the-record conversation, a briefing talk. The way I speak with Israeli journalists is a little different. These things aren’t intended to get out.”

A spokesperson for the Israeli Foreign Ministry defended Farjon’s comments throwing a new light on the notion of ‘Journalistic ethics’. “It’s regrettable that someone decided to violate the rules of journalistic ethics and take selected statements out of their broader context and distort them in a way that alters their meaning.”

It was Abba Eban who back in the 1950s coined the priceless phrase ‘there is no business like shoah business.’ Six decades later, Israel’s attitude to Germany and Germans is fully consistent with Eban’s ‘business plan.’

Israeli Navy Prepares for Hezbollah Strikes during Any Upcoming War

Local Editor

Zionist EntityThe Zionist navy will face major challenges during any upcoming war with Hezbollah as the Israeli estimation notes that the oil refineries will be the most targeted.

During the upcoming war between Israel and Hezbollah, the marine confrontation will be fundamental, the Zionist newspaper Maariv reported.

The paper reflected the Zionist navy preparations to face Hezbollah rocketry attacks that will target the marine oil platforms.

According to the Zionist newspaper, the oil platforms will be a main target of Hezbollah will impose a marine blockade on Israel, which will lead to seriously negative effects on the entity.

A Zionist military source mentioned that the targeted area is two times larger than that of the entity, demanding an iron dome strategy to face the rocketry challenge.

Maariv added that Israel is trying to anticipate the threat by getting more warships and by intensifying the human and materialistic resources of its navy.

Source: Al Manar TV

31-07-2015 – 18:59 Last updated 31-07-2015 – 18:59

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How China and Russia are running rings around Washington

A geopolitical “big bang” just happened in Eurasia, and it’s not good for United States

How China and Russia are running rings around Washington Russian President Vladimir Putin (Credit: AP/Ivan Sekretarev)
This piece originally appeared on TomDispatch

Let’s start with the geopolitical Big Bang you know nothing about, the one that occurred just two weeks ago. Here are its results: from now on, any possible future attack on Iran threatened by the Pentagon (in conjunction with NATO) would essentially be an assault on the planning of an interlocking set of organizations — the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization), the EEU (Eurasian Economic Union), the AIIB (the new Chinese-founded Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank), and the NDB (the BRICS’ New Development Bank) — whose acronyms you’re unlikely to recognize either.  Still, they represent an emerging new order in Eurasia.

Tehran, Beijing, Moscow, Islamabad, and New Delhi have been actively establishing interlocking security guarantees. They have been simultaneously calling the Atlanticist bluff when it comes to the endless drumbeat of attention given to the flimsy meme of Iran’s “nuclear weapons program.”  And a few days before the Vienna nuclear negotiations finally culminated in an agreement, all of this came together at a twin BRICS/SCO summit in Ufa, Russia — a place you’ve undoubtedly never heard of and a meeting that got next to no attention in the U.S.  And yet sooner or later, these developments will ensure that the War Party in Washington and assorted neocons (as well as neoliberalcons) already breathing hard over the Iran deal will sweat bullets as their narratives about how the world works crumble.

The Eurasian Silk Road

With the Vienna deal, whose interminable build-up I had the dubious pleasure of following closely, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and his diplomatic team have pulled the near-impossible out of an extremely crumpled magician’s hat: an agreement that might actually end sanctions against their country from an asymmetric, largely manufactured conflict.

Think of that meeting in Ufa, the capital of Russia’s Bashkortostan, as a preamble to the long-delayed agreement in Vienna. It caught the new dynamics of the Eurasian continent and signaled the future geopolitical Big Bangness of it all. At Ufa, from July 8th to 10th, the 7th BRICS summit and the 15th Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit overlapped just as a possible Vienna deal was devouring one deadline after another.

Consider it a diplomatic masterstroke of Vladmir Putin’s Russia to have merged those two summits with an informal meeting of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Call it a soft power declaration of war against Washington’s imperial logic, one that would highlight the breadth and depth of an evolving Sino-Russian strategic partnership. Putting all those heads of state attending each of the meetings under one roof, Moscow offered a vision of an emerging, coordinated geopolitical structure anchored in Eurasian integration. Thus, the importance of Iran: no matter what happens post-Vienna, Iran will be a vital hub/node/crossroads in Eurasia for this new structure.

If you read the declaration that came out of the BRICS summit, one detail should strike you: the austerity-ridden European Union (EU) is barely mentioned. And that’s not an oversight. From the point of view of the leaders of key BRICS nations, they are offering a new approach to Eurasia, the very opposite of the language of sanctions.

Here are just a few examples of the dizzying activity that took place at Ufa, all of it ignored by the American mainstream media. In their meetings, President Putin, China’s President Xi Jinping, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi worked in a practical way to advance what is essentially a Chinese vision of a future Eurasia knit together by a series of interlocking “new Silk Roads.” Modi approved more Chinese investment in his country, while Xi and Modi together pledged to work to solve the joint border issues that have dogged their countries and, in at least one case, led to war.

The NDB, the BRICS’ response to the World Bank, was officially launched with $50 billion in start-up capital. Focused on funding major infrastructure projects in the BRICS nations, it is capable of accumulating as much as $400 billion in capital, according to its president, Kundapur Vaman Kamath. Later, it plans to focus on funding such ventures in other developing nations across the Global South — all in their own currencies, which means bypassing the U.S. dollar.  Given its membership, the NDB’s money will clearly be closely linked to the new Silk Roads. As Brazilian Development Bank President Luciano Coutinho stressed, in the near future it may also assist European non-EU member states like Serbia and Macedonia. Think of this as the NDB’s attempt to break a Brussels monopoly on Greater Europe. Kamath even advanced the possibility of someday aidingin the reconstruction of Syria.

You won’t be surprised to learn that both the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the NDB are headquartered in China and will work to complement each other’s efforts. At the same time, Russia’s foreign investment arm, the Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), signed a memorandum of understanding with funds from other BRICS countries and so launched an informal investment consortium in which China’s Silk Road Fund and India’s Infrastructure Development Finance Company will be key partners.

Full Spectrum Transportation Dominance

On the ground level, this should be thought of as part of the New Great Game in Eurasia. Its flip side is the Trans-Pacific Partnership in the Pacific and the Atlantic version of the same, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, both of which Washington is trying to advance to maintain U.S. global economic dominance. The question these conflicting plans raise is how to integrate trade and commerce across that vast region. From the Chinese and Russian perspectives, Eurasia is to be integrated via a complex network of superhighways, high-speed rail lines, ports, airports, pipelines, and fiber optic cables. By land, sea, and air, the resulting New Silk Roads are meant to create an economic version of the Pentagon’s doctrine of “Full Spectrum Dominance” — a vision that already has Chinese corporate executives crisscrossing Eurasia sealing infrastructure deals.

For Beijing — back to a 7% growth rate in the second quarter of 2015 despite a recent near-panic on the country’s stock markets — it makes perfect economic sense: as labor costs rise, production will be relocated from the country’s Eastern seaboard to its cheaper Western reaches, while the natural outlets for the production of just about everything will be those parallel and interlocking “belts” of the new Silk Roads.

Meanwhile, Russia is pushing to modernize and diversify its energy-exploitation-dependent economy. Among other things, its leaders hope that the mix of those developing Silk Roads and the tying together of the Eurasian Economic Union — Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan — will translate into myriad transportation and construction projects for which the country’s industrial and engineering know-how will prove crucial.

As the EEU has begun establishing free trade zones with India, Iran, Vietnam, Egypt, and Latin America’s Mercosur bloc (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela), the initial stages of this integration process already reach beyond Eurasia. Meanwhile, the SCO, which began as little more than a security forum, is expanding and moving into the field of economic cooperation.  Its countries, especially four Central Asian “stans” (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan) will rely ever more on the Chinese-driven Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the NDB. At Ufa, India and Pakistan finalized an upgrading process in which they have moved from observers to members of the SCO. This makes it an alternative G8.

In the meantime, when it comes to embattled Afghanistan, the BRICS nations and the SCO have now called upon “the armed opposition to disarm, accept the Constitution of Afghanistan, and cut ties with Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other terrorist organizations.” Translation: within the framework of Afghan national unity, the organization would accept the Taliban as part of a future government. Their hopes, with the integration of the region in mind, would be for a future stable Afghanistan able to absorb more Chinese, Russian, Indian, and Iranian investment, and the construction — finally! — of a long-planned, $10 billion, 1,420-kilometer-long Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline that would benefit those energy-hungry new SCO members, Pakistan and India. (They would each receive 42% of the gas, the remaining 16% going to Afghanistan.)

Central Asia is, at the moment, geographic ground zero for the convergence of the economic urges of China, Russia, and India. It was no happenstance that, on his way to Ufa, Prime Minister Modi stopped off in Central Asia.  Like the Chinese leadership in Beijing, Moscow looks forward (as a recent document puts it) to the “interpenetration and integration of the EEU and the Silk Road Economic Belt” into a “Greater Eurasia” and a “steady, developing, safe common neighborhood” for both Russia and China.

And don’t forget Iran. In early 2016, once economic sanctions are fully lifted, it is expected to join the SCO, turning it into a G9. As its foreign minister, Javad Zarif, made clear recently to Russia’s Channel 1 television, Tehran considers the two countries strategic partners. “Russia,” he said, “has been the most important participant in Iran’s nuclear program and it will continue under the current agreement to be Iran’s major nuclear partner.” The same will, he added, be true when it comes to “oil and gas cooperation,” given the shared interest of those two energy-rich nations in “maintaining stability in global market prices.”

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They are getting crazier, Cruz says Iran could set off Electro Magnetic Pulse over east coast

Cruz says Iran could set off Electro Magnetic Pulse over east coast, killing 10s of millions
   

Ted Cruz hosted a roundtable on the Iran deal yesterday. Video below. He says the Iranian deal is “catastrophic” because it will fund terrorism and allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon. He must be auditioning for Sheldon Adelson’s money. Cruz said: I agree with Prime Minister Netanyahu that the threat of a nuclear Iran is an existential threat to the state of Israel… The odds are unacceptably high they would use those nuclear weapons in the skies of Tel Aviv or New York or Los Angeles. But the threat that is posed to the United States of America is even qualitatively greater.

The single greatest threat if Iran acquired even a single nuclear weapon would be that they would place that weapon on a rocket on a ship anywhere up and down the Atlantic and they would fire that rocket straight into the air into the atmosphere and if it got high enough and they could detonate a nuclear war head, it would set off what’s called an Electro Magnetic Pulse, an EMP. An EMP would take down the electrical grid of the entire eastern seaboard. The EMP would shut down the stock market and all financial systems, shut down delivery of food, water, heat, air, and basic transportation, Cruz said. The projections are that an EMP over the eastern seaboard would cost the lives of tens of millions of Americans. And they don’t need targeting equipment… They need to fire straight in the air.

Austria shows the way, marking gun-toting G.I. Joe with return to sender

Armed US Soldiers Arrested in Vienna Airport on Their Way to Ukraine

The soldiers carried assault rifles in their luggage, but had no approval, Kurier reported.

A few days ago, a group of American soldiers caused a security alert at Vienna’s Schwechat airport. The men were stopped while trying to travel with army weapons to Ukraine without any necessary permits, the newspaper wrote.

The Austrian police had to intervene and remove the weapons. An investigation into the case was launched.

The nine US soldiers were on their way from Washington to Ukraine, where they were to be deployed.

“However, since there were problems with their connecting flight after a stopover in Schwechat, they had to rebook their flight and, therefore, leave the transit area,” Colonel Michael Bauer, Defense Ministry spokesman said.

M16 assault rifles and pistols were discovered in the luggage of the American soldiers at a security checkpoint. The incident caused huge shock, because the weapons were not declared and registered and, thus, carried illegally.The soldiers had not obtained the required transit approval by Austria. In special cases, the stay or transit of foreign military forces may be officially allowed after completing the application procedure, but the US soldiers did not send any required requests.

The attempt by the American embassy to obtain the approval after the incident was rejected for legal reasons. Instead of going to Ukraine, the soldiers had to fly back home to Washington and were allowed to take the weapons with them, the newspaper reported.

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/europe/20150730/1025209858.html#ixzz3hSUNLfoc

Killing of three Palestinians in a week shouldn’t be business as usual, imagine if they had been self proclaimed “chosen ones”

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Israeli forces injure 14 after funeral of Palestinian teen

Jerusalem: Child injured after police assaulted him at home, police station

Settlers assault the elderly Sarah Nabali

Settlers attack Palestinian bus driver in East Jerusalem

The occupation arrests 10 children and one young man from Esawyeh

Killing of three Palestinians in a week shouldn’t be business as usual

If it had been Palestinians who killed three Israelis, we would be having a very different conversation about a ‘worrying escalation’ or ‘wave of violence.’

An aunt of Muhammad Abu Latifa cries at his funeral in Qalandia Refugee Camp in between Ramallah and Jerusalem, July 27, 2015. Abu Latifa was killed while fleeing Israeli special police commandos during an arrest raid on his home early that morning. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israeli military forces shot and killed three Palestinians in the last week. All three killings took place during raids in the middle of the night to detain suspects in crimes we know nothing about, sometimes crimes the suspects know nothing about. Although it appears there was some level of resistance in the three attempted arrests, there is no evidence at all that any of the three were armed or posed a mortal threat when they were killed.

In the early hours of Monday morning, soldiers and police commandos entered the Qalandiya Refugee Camp looking for 18-year-old Muhammad Abu Latifa on suspicion of weapons trafficking, though some reports say simply, “terror activities.” According to the IDF, Latifa was shot in the leg while trying to escape to a nearby roof, from which he fell to his death. His family claims he was simply shot to death, and a report published on +972 on Monday shows evidence that challenges the IDF account.

Some reports in Israeli outlets, like Haaretz, didn’t even bother to speak to anyone from the family and only provided the IDF account. Ynet’s English site reported the story with an appalling headline that left many dumbfounded: “Parkour in Palestine: Fleeing suspect falls to his death,” playing on the acrobatic sport that has become popular among young Palestinians, who use their bodies to jump on and between buildings and urban obstacles. It was the top story on their homepage for several hours before being changed. Ynet declined to comment when I approached them asking them what they were thinking.

Ynetnews.com homepage screengrab

The previous Thursday, Falah Abu Maria, 52, died after being shot twice in the chest by Israeli soldiers who tried to enter his family home in the West Bank village of Beit Omar, near Hebron, at 3:30 a.m. Again, Israeli media primarily adopted the IDF version that the fully armed combat soldiers “encountered resistance,” which was enough to justify his death, at least as far as Israeli mainstream media goes.

A report in The Telegraph, which consisted primarily of an interview with family members who witnessed the shooting, contradicts IDF Spokesperson’s claims that the forces were confronted by a “violent mob” throwing stones at them. According to Abu Maria’s daughter-in-law, not a single stone was thrown, but Abu Maria did throw a plastic potted plant at the soldiers after watching soldiers shoot his son Mohammed, 24, in both of his legs at point black range. According to the family, Abu Maria thought his son had been killed, and in the rage of the moment threw a small plant at the soldiers, for which he got two bullets straight in the chest.

In the third incident, just 24 hours earlier, 21-year-old Muhammad Ahmad Alawneh was shot and killed by IDF soldiers in the West Bank village of Burkin near Jenin. The IDF and Border Police claimed firebombs were hurled at them, though there are no reports that Alauna threw one. In some reports, he threw a stone.

Illustrative photo of Israeli soldiers raiding a Palestinian home and making an arrest in 2012 (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Three unarmed Palestinians killed in one week is alarming. If it were three Israelis, the news of the “escalation” or “wave of violence” would surely be much more widespread in both local and international media. But it is not only the frequency of these events; it is the fact that they are accepted as routine — and legitimate — operations in Israel.

Israeli soldiers force their way into a home in the dead of night, fully armed, masked and protected. They don’t need a warrant, and the suspects don’t have any rights. Israeli army claims that soldiers’ lives were at risk is what justifies the killing of unarmed Palestinians. Sound familiar? That is because it has happened over and over again for nearly 50 years.

The very nature of the relationship between occupier and occupied, between the soldier and the enemy, to which Israelis have become so accustomed and desensitized, somehow makes the killing of three Palestinians into a non-event that mainstream Israeli journalists don’t bother to question.

NATO plans to bolster Turkey’s “security”, in other words to assist in the Kurdish genocide

NATO Winds Up Emergency Meeting on Plans to Bolster Turkey’s Security

Amid rising tensions following the air strikes launched by Ankara against Kurdish fighters as well as the Islamic State (IS), and warnings of a civil war breaking out in Turkey, an emergency NATO’s Council meeting took place on July 28 in Brussels under Article 4 of the alliance’s founding treaty to gauge the threat the Islamic State extremist group poses to Turkey, and the actions Turkish authorities are taking in response. 

The clause allows members to request a summit if their territorial integrity or security is threatened. The session is only the fifth Article 4 meeting since the alliance was formed in 1949. The first three sessions were all called for by Turkey; once in 2003 over the invasion of Iraq, and twice in 2012 because of incidents on the 900 km long Syrian border.

The Alliance gave Turkey full support in fighting militants beyond its borders in Syria and Iraq and stepping up its role in the US-led fight against the Islamic State. The final North Atlantic Council’s statement says «The security of the Alliance is indivisible, and we stand in strong solidarity with Turkey. We will continue to follow the developments on the South-Eastern border of NATO very closely».

«We all stand united in condemning terrorism, in solidarity with Turkey, «NATO Secretary General Yens Stoltenberg told a news conference.

There was no request for help from the country that has the second largest military in the alliance. Yens Stoltenberg defended NATO’s limited role in the fight against the Islamic State, arguing the alliance was already active in combating terrorism across the Mediterranean, in Afghanistan, in Jordan and Iraq as part of a US-led coalition.

Ankara: game-changing about face

For a long time Turkey had been reluctant to join the US-led coalition against the IS. It had been often accused of turning a blind eye to extremists, including foreign recruits, who crossed into Syria from Turkey to fight against Syrian government forces. Last week it made an about-face to grant NATO an access to its air facilities. In a series of cross-border strikes since July 24, Turkey has not only targeted the IS but also Kurdish fighters affiliated with forces battling the extremists in Syria and Iraq. With more than 1.8 million Syrian refugees on its soil, Turkey has long campaigned for a «no-fly zone» in northern Syria to keep Islamic State and Kurdish militants from its border and help stem the tide of displaced civilians trying get to the country. The plan is likely to involve the establishment of a de facto no-fly zone 88km (55 miles) wide and 40km (25 miles) deep in northern Syria.

Ankara and Washington agreed to drive Islamic State fighters from northern Syria. Discussions were ongoing about the size and scope of the planned zone. Attacks on Kurds have also become a headache for the US, which works with troops from the Kurdish People’s Protection Unit fighting the IS on the ground. For almost a year, Kurdish rebels – the People’s Protection Units (YPG) closely allied with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – have represented Washington’s best hope for confronting the IS on the ground in Syria.

Turkey and the US agreed on a plan to rout the IS from a strip of Syrian land close to the Turkish border. The rest of the frontier is controlled by Kurdish fighters or Syrian rebels. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said both Turkey and the US wanted to see Syria’s what he called «moderate opposition» forces replace IS fighters near the Turkish border.

Under the plans, the militants would be removed from a 68-mile (109km) stretch west of the Euphrates River. Such a deal would significantly increase the scope of the US-led air war against the Islamists in northern Syria. Last week Turkey agreed to allow the US to use its air base in Incirlik to launch air strikes against the IS. The NATO air facility lies in Turkey’s Adana province. Its proximity to Syria would put US fighter jets closer to IS positions and allow a wider range of aircraft to take part in combat missions.

Turkey’s long-awaited involvement in the international coalition against the IS, flying combat missions and making its vital airbases available to US jets, has been described as a possible «game changer».

NATO – questioned unanimity

European allies, who need Turkey‘s help to combat jihadi fighters returning to Europe, said Turkey’s decision to hit PKK camps in Iraq at the weekend was justified. But they made it clear at the same time they do not want Turkish President Erdogan to abandon several years of a domestic peace process which they supported. German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Dovutoglu in a telephone call on July 26 to respect the principle of proportionality and not to give up on the Kurdish peace process.

While the NATO meeting was in session, Turkish President Erdogan told a news conference it was impossible to continue the peace process with Kurdish militants who claimed responsibility for the killing of two Turkish police officers after the students massacre.

NATO ambassadors were said not to have been aware of Mr. Erdogan’s remarks, and they did not feature in the discussion.

NATO members have different points of view on the matter. The US supports Turkey against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, while Germany stands for talks saying Kurds are not the Islamic State and it would be wrong to lump them all together.

NATO allies have many times told Turkey to strengthen the Syria border, but it had other priorities – toppling the Syrian regime and countering the alleged threat coming from Syrian Kurds. The armed conflict with Kurds has been lasting for 30 years with the death toll of 40 thousand. There have been increasing claims from Ankara that the Kurdish ambitions to create an independent homeland, part of it from Turkish territory, are being rekindled.

The European Commission on July 28 also repeated its concern to keep the peace process alive. Turkey is a candidate negotiating for EU membership.

On July 24, EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini spoke with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and HDP head Selahattin Demirtas, stressing the «fundamental importance» of keeping the peace process with the Kurdish people «alive and on track». This is a signal that the EU has a very strong commitment to the peace process.

There are further concerns over security. Both the US and Turkey have stated that they would not put troops on the ground in the «safety zone». The Western-backed Free Syrian Army remains relatively powerless and a Pentagon scheme to train fighters has yielded only around 50 so far. Another American plan to create a «Sunni awakening» using tribal fighters modelled on a force in Iraq during US occupation is more of a pipe dream.

The fears are strong, and rightfully so, that a security vacuum could be filled by radical groups.

Turkey: alleged motives behind stated security concerns

Turkey’s bombing campaign has sparked nightly protests in Istanbul and other Turkish cities. A peace process, although very fragile, was reached with them during the last two years. The full-size attack on the PKK may look disproportionate putting the peace process into question.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) headed by President Erdogan is looking for a partner for a new coalition government as it lost the parliamentary majority in last month’s election for the first time since 2002.

It’s natural to surmise that the rising tensions serve the interests of the ruling party. With the election lost it has to form a coalition in a limited period of time. If it fails, a new election will be scheduled. Focusing public attention on outside threats is the way to win votes. It’s also obvious that now Turkey has to face at least four enemies: Islamists, Syrian Kurds, Kurds living in Turkey and the Syrian government forces. True, an escalation may be dangerous but it may frustrate the talks on forming a coalition to provide the ruling party with wide public support before a snap election.

In a comment on Erdogan’s words about Kurds who «threaten our national unity and brotherhood», the leader of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition party – the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) – dismissed the claim. HDP chairman Selahattin Demirtas insisted his party’s only crime was winning 13% of the vote in June elections.

Implications of having buffer zone in place

With political support from NATO Turkey can launch the process of creating a buffer zone inside Syria that it has long sought while the U.S. is able to clamp down on a section of the border that serves as the Islamic State’s main lifeline to the outside world.

The both sides hope that Syrian rebels being trained and equipped in Turkey and Jordan by the United States and its allies would be able to play a key role linking up with other militants already fighting Islamic State. If the plans go through, the Syrian «moderate» forces will get US air support – a factor that allowed Kurdish forces gradually seize parts of northern Syria along the border.

The US has secured a kind of tacit agreement with the Syria government of Bashar Assad not to challenge coalition planes carrying out daily airstrikes in his country. Turkey joining the air campaign may complicate that arrangement. Turkey and Syria have a history of shooting down each other’s aircraft with aggressive rules of engagement put in place.

With the focus of the campaign on Islamic State, America and Turkey are expecting this new phase of the campaign to put pressure on the Syrian President Assad.

There is something the NATO meeting omitted. Turkey and the U.S. are basing their action on Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, a collective or unilateral self-defense clause, and two Security Council resolutions that also form the basis of the 60-member international coalition against the Islamic State.

But the buffer zone in question is to be established on the territory of another state and only the UN Security Council can take the decision to establish it. Declaring buffer and «no-fly» zones NATO would be in violation of international law. Once established, the zone would sooner or later certainly involve the deployment of foreign forces on Syrian soil. It’s the first step to putting boots on the ground – something nobody wants. But this development of events is very much likely as history shows. There is another important aspect to mention here – a no-fly zone could set a precedent of similar zones hampering the use of air power by Syrian military, which relies heavily on it combatting rebels including the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army. And it’s a tall order to distinguish Muslim radicals from what is called «moderate» opposition. NATO has just approved a very dangerous step to escalation in the volatile region.

Another terrorists group looking for USA & Turkey’s sponsorship in Syria

Meet Syria`s Fake Moderates

In the midst of debate over how (or whether) to counter Iranian influence in the Middle East, a Salafi-jihadist group in northern Syria has presented a means to do just this. In a set of op-eds in the Washington Post and the Telegraph, the Ahrar al-Sham movement has made an appeal to Western governments: Recognize us as being part of the moderate rebel forces and support our fight against Bashar al-Assad, the Iranian-backed forces in Syria, and ISIS.

This may be a tempting option, particularly to those who criticize how few rebels Washington currently supports and lament the weakness of the forces it does support. Ahrar al-Sham claims to be a moderate movement that represents the Syrian majority—a natural force that is palatable to both Syrians and the West. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey would welcome the move from Washington as it would assure them that despite engagement with Iran, the United States remains solidly committed to countering its influence in the Middle East. The United States has already indicated it will help Turkey establish a safe zone—a move that will indirectly support Ahrar al-Sham and others.

Extending further support would be a grave mistake, however. Not only could it mean providing U.S. aid, training, and money for a jihadist group with unpredictable shifting alliances and membership, it would also further exacerbate the already heightened sectarian tensions in Syria—despite the group’s claims to the contrary.

In March 2015, Ahrar al-Sham joined with the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front along with a handful of other militias in the “Army of Conquest” alliance. Though Ahrar al-Sham had previously received most of its support from Qatar and Kuwait, under the new umbrella group, it received a great deal more support, principally from Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

This was prompted by an important, yet somewhat overlooked, shift in Saudi policy. As the United States and the rest of the P5+1 were making progress in negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program, the Saudi government doubled down on countering Iran’s regional influence. Not only did it begin its air campaign against the Iranian-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen, it also abandoned its anti-Islamist policy of only supporting anti-al-Qaeda fighters in Syria. In May, after Saudi Arabia came together with its former rivals Qatar and Turkey, the three provided direct logistical and material support to the Army of Conquest, leading to important victories against the Assad regime in northern Syria.

To reinforce the recent victories and protect the Army of Conquest and other militias, Turkey and Saudi Arabia called for the United States to establish a no-fly zone and a safe zone protecting northeastern Syria from ISIS and the Assad regime. The United States has long been reluctant, but last week, after Turkey agreed to let U.S. fighters conduct bombing runs on ISIS from its Incirlik airbase—part of its new, more aggressive anti-ISIS stance following the Suruç bombing this month—Washington agreed to closer cooperation with Turkey in forming a de-facto safe zone. The move will inevitably benefit Ahrar al-Sham, Nusra, and others giving them a secure space to resupply and stage operations.

To further assuage the United States, it would certainly be convenient for these groups to portray themselves as moderates—especially as Washington and Turkey may soon be contemplating the composition of Syrian forces that will protect the safe zone. Qatar tried and failed to encourage Nusra to sever ties with al-Qaeda. Subsequent reports of Nusra fighters in the Army of Conquest killing Druze villagers certainly didn’t help support the notion that the group was becoming moderate.

Ahrar al-Sham’s leadership however, has been far more successful than its Nusra counterparts in presenting a friendly face to the West. Earlier this month, in his Washington Post and Telegraph op-eds, the movement’s head of political relations Labib al-Nahhas asked Washington and the West to “open [their] eyes” to Ahrar al-Sham as an option. He presented a polished image of the organization: They believe in countering ISIS with a “homegrown Sunni alternative” and bringing an end to the Assad regime that is responsible for Syria’s sectarianism. They believe in a “national unifying project” for the country—not only representing the majority Sunni population but also protecting minority groups and their aspirations.

This all sounds well and good, and the pieces were well crafted for a Western audience, but this rhetoric doesn’t match with the actions of group it purports to represent.

Since its founding in 2011, Ahrar al-Sham has been a group with many faces. The organization has continually denied its connections to al-Qaeda, and yet many of its senior leaders have had links to it—including one who was simultaneously serving in Ahrar al-Sham and as al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri’s representative in the Levant.

The group proclaims to be a domestic Syrian force that has not invited foreign influence as the Assad regime has, and yet it operates predominantly on Gulf money and has allied itself with organizations such as Nusra, ISIS, and others that rely heavily on foreign fighters. At times Ahrar al-Sham has presented itself as merely a conservative Islamist movement, not an extremist one, calling for a Syria that while based on Islamic principles is built on unity and protection of its minorities. At other times its leadership has used divisive rhetoric, particularly targeting Shiites. Human Rights Watch, moreover, has documented Ahrar al-Sham, alongside other Salafi groups, engaging in mass killings of Alawite villagers in the Latakia countryside. Ahrar al-Sham says it will stand against and fight ISIS, and yet just last week Arabic media reported that dozens of its members fought alongside ISIS in the Yarmouk refugee camp. The group is the embodiment of double-speak.

Make no mistake; al-Nahhas is correct on one account. For Syria to ever see some kind of stability—something that seems quite distant—and to meaningfully counter ISIS, Syria’s Sunni majority needs to have a voice in Damascus. It was indeed the exclusion of this community by Assad in Syria (and Iraqi Sunnis by Nouri al-Maliki) that stoked the sectarianism that facilitated ISIS’s rise in the first place. Even so, supporting Ahrar al-Sham or similar groups is not the answer. Such action would intensify, not alleviate, the sectarian tensions in the country.

Russian “Threat” Proves American Ignorance, Arrogance and Hypocrisy

The Russian Threat

Russian “Threat” Proves American Ignorance, Arrogance and Hypocrisy

A recent story headlined on CNN.com asked the question, “Why is Russia sending bombers close to U.S. airspace?”, after several Russian military aircraft flew near U.S. airspace along the coasts of Alaska and California. Perhaps a better question would be why has Russia waited so long to do so?

The story includes a smattering of ominous, juvenile-level rhetoric from Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Republican Congressman from Illinois, who describes what Russia is doing as an “act of aggression.” He compares Vladimir Putin to a diminutive school bully who acts overly tough, no doubt an allusion to Russia’s reduced influence in world affairs since the end of the Cold War.

Kinzinger’s quotes make him sound more like the loveable, rotund idiot Tommy Callahan portrayed by Chris Farley in “Tommy Boy” – ‘Like, you’re not even gonna believe what those Russians are doing. It’s not really cool.’ But, I guess since Kinzinger “served” in the Air Force and “sat” on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, he’s a reliable source to judge the behavior of Vlad Putin and the Russian military.

Americans should not be surprised that the Russians are sending aircraft close to American airspace. Considering what the U.S. government and military has been doing for twenty-five years, Russia’s sorties should be an expected minimum response by Moscow. Be thankful they aren’t like the U.S. government and overact to threats that don’t exist.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union the United States has proceeded to encircle Russia by expanding NATO and the number of military bases ever-closer to Russian soil. Go to Google images and type “United States encircling Russia” and a number of maps pop up showing the extent of this policy. One image jokingly makes the statement: “Russia Wants War: Look how close they put their country to our military bases.”

The United States regularly conducts military “exercises” with allies in areas of Eastern Europe formerly controlled by the Soviet Union. In the post-Cold War era, NATO has become nothing more than a collection of vassal states under the overbearing and near-tyrannical control of the U.S. government and military, much like the Warsaw Pact used to be under the Soviets.

Adding more countries to NATO does nothing for the security needs of member states. They serve as sacrificial pawns in a giant game of geopolitical chess played by the U.S. government and its crazies who run the military. Military bases allow the United States proximity to Russian territory. Most Americans remain ignorant of all this. For many of those who are aware, too many drink the government/media Kool-Aid that says this is necessary for U.S. “security”.

The current situation in Ukraine was instigated by the United States. The collapse of the government, the civil war and the installation of a pro-American government, all the consequence of American meddling in the affairs of a country bordering Russia. As usual, the American media played its usual role, selling the government’s version of reality, thus making it easy to cast Putin and the Russians as the bad guys.

The Russian response, the annexation of the Crimea, moving troops near the border, whatever, would all seem reasonable to Americans if a similar crisis was happening in Mexico. Imagine the Russians deciding they didn’t like a Mexican government they claimed was too pro-American and took measures to cause its collapse, then taking an active part to ensure a government friendly to Moscow took its place. That’s what the United States has effectively done in Ukraine.

Too many Americans just don’t understand how the world works and how their own government is the instigator of so much strife in the world. If they can think they sure don’t demonstrate an ability or willingness to do so. If they did they would honestly and rationally conclude that their own government is provoking Russian near intrusions into U.S. airspace.

But since coming to that conclusion would require reading (sorry, no pictures, no tracing your finger slowly across the page, and absolutely no mouthing the words as you read them) and thinking about information more than a few minutes into the past, that’s not gonna happen. So when Americans read about Russian military aircraft flying near U.S. airspace they’re outraged because that’s the easiest reaction.

Maybe that’s exactly what the U.S. government wants. As the article points out, U.S. military surveillance can track Russian military aircraft before they leave Russian airspace. Let them get close and then intercept. Feign outrage and foster fears of Russian aggression. The terrorist bogeyman is getting old so why not return to an old favorite. All governments need a bad guy; if one’s not readily available then fabricate one. As history has demonstrated, the U.S. government is hands down, best at that.

Reaction to these Russian flights just proves what critics of American policy have been saying since the Bush administration cherry-picked “intelligence” to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, taking the United States down a permanent path of financial destruction through stupid, unnecessary and unwinnable military operations.

If another country acted similarly the American government would be ablaze with self-righteous outrage. The media would perform like the trained seal that it is and toot the government’s propaganda horn, riling the American people into an irrational, frothing patriotic fervor.  Among the political class there would be calls for economic sanctions and, if the country was small and weak, threats of imminent military action.

And we do that for non-existent threats. General Joseph Dunford, nominee for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called Russia an “existential threat” to the United States. No doubt many Americans would, like zombies, nod in agreement, all because of what the media told them about outdated Russian aircraft flying close to U.S. airspace.

Ignoring tangible and ongoing threats to Russian security instigated by the United States over the last quarter century demonstrates that when it comes to American foreign policy and assessing its real consequences, ignorance, arrogance and hypocrisy remains the order of the day.

Turkey’s Erdogan primarily responsible for destroying the region by backing terrorists, including Syria

Erdogan primarily responsible for destroying the region, including Syria

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Most Turkish cities witness mass demonstrations denouncing Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s crimes and his terrorism supporting- policies and demanding to hold him accountable, as opposition leaders hold him responsible for backing terrorist crimes in the country and its neighbors.

Turkey’s former Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener criticized the policy practiced by Erdoğan which aims at destroying the whole region through coordinating and cooperating with Kings and Emirs of Gulf States.

“Erdogan bears primary responsibility for destroying Syria, Iraq, Libya and the region and he will not hesitate in drawing Turkey into a civil war while holding authority and ruling Turkey alone,” Sener said in an interview with Turkish Halk TV Channel aired Tuesday.

He described Erdogan regime’s alleged military campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria “ISIS” terrorist organization as “false”, asserting that policies of Erdogan and his regime’s Premier Ahmad Dawood Oglu have no relation with humanity and Islam because they caused killing thousands of innocents .

Sener called on the Turkish people, with all their democratic and peaceful powers, to confront Erdogan’s dictatorship and authoritarian policies.

In the same context, Joint-President of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey Selahattin Demirtas affirmed that the “Special Gladio” organization, affiliated to Turkish presidential Palace, is behind the terrorist bomb  that hit Suruc town last week and left scores of Turkish youths killed and injured.

The ruling Justice and Development Party runs a dirty war at the hand of Gladio organization, Demirtas said in a HDP meeting, adding that Suruc terrorist attack was carried out by this organization through an agent acting on behalf of it and has relations with ISIS terrorists.

Erdogan, Demirtas stated, is plotting a conspiracy aiming to shed the blood of Turkish people and accusing HDP party of such practices, calling for stopping  this dirty game.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) asserted Monday that ISIS terrorist organization has been receiving the utmost logistic support through un-controlled Syrian Turkish borders since 2011.

On another hand, the Turkish blogger Fouad Awni asserted that Erdogan’s regime is willing to implement a plan for spreading havoc in Turkey which includes assassinating a senior Turkish officer.

Palestinian toddler burned to death in an arson attack by Jewish terrorists

Palestinian toddler killed in ‘Jewish settler’ arson attack

A Palestinian toddler has been burned to death in an arson attack by suspected Jewish settlers in a West Bank village, Israeli police say.

The 18-month-old boy was killed at the family home in Duma in the nighttime attack. His parents and four-year-old brother were injured.

The attackers apparently sprayed the word “revenge” in Hebrew on one of two homes which were firebombed.

Israel’s prime minister called the attack “reprehensible and horrific”.

“This is an act of terrorism in every respect. The State of Israel takes a strong line against terrorism regardless of the perpetrators,” Benjamin Netanyahu said in a tweet.

However the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), which dominates the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, said it held the Israeli government “fully responsible for the brutal assassination” of the child, Ali Saad Dawabsha.

“This is a direct consequence of decades of impunity given by the Israeli government to settler terrorism,” it said.

Ali Saad Dawabsha died at the scene. His mother, Reham, father, Saad, and brother, Ahmad, were taken to a hospital in Nablus.

In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said: “The preliminary investigation suggests that suspects entered the village in the early hours of the morning, set the homes ablaze and sprayed graffiti in Hebrew on the homes.

“IDF forces are currently operating in order to locate the suspects of this attack.”

Map

Police said the attack appeared to have nationalist motives.

The type of incident resembles what have become known as “price tag” attacks – acts of vandalism or arson by Jewish extremists as a form of revenge for actions or attacks against Jewish settlements or unauthorised outposts in the West Bank.

About 500,000 Jews live in more than 100 settlements built since Israel’s 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

Arson damage to house in West Bank

End game now clear, USA & Turkey actually wants Syria to be controlled by ISIS terrorists

A US-Turkey Sponsored “Islamic State Free Zone” within Syria

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An article in the New York Times was published recently discussing that the US and Turkey had agreed to create a ‘safe zone’ in Syria. Specifically the article stated that the plan was to have “an Islamic State-free zone controlled by relatively moderate Syrian insurgents, which the Turks say could also be a ‘safe zone’ for displaced Syrians.”

Now, ignoring the fact that this is obviously a massive infringement upon the sovereignty of the Syrian state, there are some problems with this, as well as larger implications.

For starters, Turkey has actively been aiding ISIS. In November 2014, Newsweek ran an interview with a former ISIS member in which he stated that he “travelled in a convoy of trucks as part of an ISIS unit from their stronghold in Raqqa, across Turkish border, through Turkey and then back across the border to attack Syrian Kurds in the city of Serekaniye in northern Syria in February” and that commanders told him and other fighters that they nothing to fear “because there was full cooperation with the Turks.” The very next month,Claudia Roth, then-deputy speaker of the German Parliament, noted that the Turkish government was aiding ISIS.

In addition to this, information just came to light from a US Special Forces raid in May, which shows “undeniable” evidence that “Turkish officials directly dealt with ranking ISIS members.”

The second problem is the hope that “relatively moderate Syrian insurgents” will take over the area. This assumes that there are moderates, which doesn’t seem to be true, given the fact that the US essentially gave up on the Free Syrian Army when it decided to create an entirely new force of fighters. Before then, the US had been touting the FSA as moderates. (This, of course, doesn’t get into the fact that, for example, an FSA brigade commander admitted to working with Al Nusra and ISI or that a major beneficiary of this war on ISIS is AL Qaeda.)

A third problem is that while Turkey has essentially declared war on ISIS, they are bombing Kurdish positions as well, due to the fear that they have always had of Kurdish independence.

The US had been backing the Kurds, however it seems to now have sold them out, at least on the Syrian front, in order to further its own goals in the region and calms the Turks’ nerves.

The Times article also reported that “American officials said they would need to arrange the same kind of system for calling in airstrikes that American Special Operations forces have worked out successfully with Kurdish fighters to the east in Syria,” which sounds like Libya, where US forces were on the ground, aiding the Libyan rebels.

Furthermore, the article later reports that “Insurgents, as well as their supporters in the Syrian opposition and the Turkish government, are already envisioning the plan as a step toward establishing an area where alternative governance could be set up without fear of attack by Islamic State or government forces.” Thus implying that this entire idea of a ‘safe zone’ could really just be used as a staging ground to consolidate anti-Syrian government forces and allow them to coordinate attacks.

What this does for the US is it allows for them to continue to put even more pressure on the Syrian government, it gives the Turks free reign for the most part and lets them know that Washington will turn a blind eye to the bombing of the Kurds, and gives the US the option of turning the situation into another Libya, all while the US doesn’t have to truly directly engage in any actions aside from Special Forces and air strikes.

This entire scenario could allow for another Libya-type situation to unfold where the goal posts are constantly shifted until they are at the outcome the US and its allies want: the fall of the Assad government.

Irresponsibly Bashing Russia Veto Against Establishing Kangaroo MH17 Tribunal

Irresponsibly Bashing Russia Veto Against Establishing Kangaroo MH17 Tribunal

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Neither Russia nor Donbass freedom fighters had anything to do with downing MH17. Not a shred of evidence suggests it. 

Plenty points to Washington and Ukraine culpability. They had clear means, motive and opportunity – the key determinants for initiating a criminal proceeding. They and partnered nations want Moscow and rebels blamed for their crime.

The Obama administration conspired with Malaysia, the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia and Ukraine for unprecedented Security Council authorization for a tribunal to absolve culpable parties responsible for the incident and declare innocent ones guilty by accusation – a kangaroo process to be US manipulated and controlled to assure the outcome Washington wants.

Eleven nations voted “yes” (America, Britain, France, Chad, Chile, Jordan, Lithuania, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nigeria and Spain). Three abstained (China, Venezuela and Angola).

Russia’s veto defeated the draft resolution. Envoy Vitaly Churkin criticized its backers for submitting a measure with no chance for passage – rejecting compromise language Moscow proposed.

(P)olitical purposes were more important for them than practical objectives,” Churkin said. Russia rejected the proposal because “UNSC resolution 2166 didn’t qualify the Boeing tragedy as a threat to international peace and security.

How can it “now suddenly become one.” No precedent exists for establishing an international tribunal to hold culpable parties accountable for a transportation catastrophe”, he stressed. Nor should the Security Council be involved in these type matters.

Common sense, logic and precedent didn’t deter Russia bashing by other SC members. Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said Moscow’s veto sends a “dangerous message of impunity to the perpetrator of this heinous crime.”

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop bashed Moscow saying “the anticipated excuses and obfuscation by the Russian Federation should be treated with the utmost disdain.”

The exercise of the veto today is an affront to the memory of the 298 victims of MH17 and their families and friends.

Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said “I find it incomprehensible that a member of the Security Council obstructs justice.”

Kiev’s illegitimate foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin ludicrously said “(t)here is no reason to oppose (the proposal) unless you are a perpetrator.”

Neocon UN envoy Samantha Power’s comments didn’t surprise, saying:

By vetoing this resolution, Russia has tried to deny justice to the 298 victims on that plane, and deny their families a chance to hold accountable those responsible.

Russia has callously disregarded the public outcry in the grieving nations, the appeals of the families affected. It is tragic that Russia has used the privilege entrusted to it in order to advance international peace and security in order to frustrate international peace and security.

She promised continued Washington efforts to blame Russia for US/Kiev criminality. She ignored how often America vetoes SC resolutions to hold Israel responsible for the highest of high crimes.

Media scoundrels bashed Russia irresponsibly. The New York Times said Moscow “(i)nfuriated nations that lost citizens…”

The Washington Post ran an AP article full of Russia bashing quotes. A Russian Foreign Ministry statement said:

“Russia will continue making the most energetic efforts on rendering all possible assistance to investigating the air crash.” It rejects politicizing the MH17 incident supported by Washington and 10 other SC members.

It urged adopting a constructive framework for determining culpable parties and holding them responsible.

“This is exactly what (unanimously adopted Resolution 2166) proposed by Russia…was aimed at – to broadly employ UN mechanisms for soonest completion of full, transparent and trustworthy international investigation of the crash and subsequently search for the most appropriate format of legal proceedings,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said.

Only the full implementation of Resolution 2166 will (enable) finding those guilty and bring them to justice.

Russia condemns the destruction of Malaysian plane MH17 by unidentified persons and once again expresses deepest condolences to the relatives of all passengers and crew members that became victims of this horrible tragedy.

Ten SC members ignored Russia’s responsible proposal. “Instead of that, they preferred to hastily submit for voting in the Security Council their own version with establishing an international tribunal without discussing any other options.”

Our persistent explanations about inexpedience and counter-productiveness of such step, that had no precedents in the past, before the ongoing investigation into circumstances of the air crash is complete, were not taken into account.

Washington and complicit partners intend exploiting Russia’s veto irresponsibly – another stick to justify maintaining lawless sanctions, US-led NATO troop deployments near its borders and continued vilification for baseless reasons. Imperialism works this way.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net

israel’s Counterinsurgency Apologist: Colonel Richard Kemp

Israel’s Counterinsurgency Apologist: Colonel Richard Kemp

Richard Kemp starts with the premise that Israel doesn’t commit war crimes and misinterprets international law accordingly.

Richard Kemp speaks at a rally in defense of Israel’s war crimes during Operation Protective Edge (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)


Retired British colonel, Richard Kemp, has been an ardent supporter of Israel’s three major military operations in Gaza conducted over the last six years. He has collaborated on several occasions with the two notoriously pro-Israeli NGOs, UN Watch and NGO Monitor, serving on the Advisory Board of the latter and appearing as star witness under such auspices at the UN, most recently at a two-day side event at UN Headquarters in Geneva devoted to condemning the UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) Report on the Gaza War of 2014.

There is no doubt that Col. Kemp has the credentials to speak as a counterinsurgency specialist, having served as commander of British forces in Afghanistan and elsewhere, where he acknowledges close cooperation with Mossad and the influence of Israeli tactics. In fairness, Kemp writes from such a militarist view with little effort to assess the relevance of international humanitarian law, treating ‘military effectiveness’ as determined by military commanders as the defining criterion of legality for a challenged battlefield practice. In his own words, “It’s the dispassionate military perspective that I bring.” Of course, such an outlook ignores the relevance of international criminal law, which is to superimpose accountability as a constraining framework on this ‘military perspective.’ Actually, Kemp doesn’t so much ignore international criminal law as to (mis)interpret its rules so as to vindicate the tactics of the counterinsurgent side while condemning those of the insurgent.

On June 25, 2015 the New York Times published an opinion piece by Kemp assessing the UN Report. What I find scandalous and perverse on the part of this self-claiming authoritative media source is to have published such a harsh and partisan dismissal of a prudent and overly balanced report without any kind of offsetting piece. I can only imagine the furor that would have been provoked if the Times had published a piece by an expert in international criminal law, say William Schabas or John Dugard, calling for the indictment and prosecution of Israel’s political and military leaders on the basis of the Report. At least, if such a piece had been published alongside the Kemp article, Times readers could have been exposed to the realities of controversy flowing from these UN allegations that Israel (and to a far lesser extent, Hamas) was guilty of war crimes.

Kemp begins his article with the claim that “it pains me greatly to see words and actions from the UN that can only provoke further violence and loss of life.” As if ‘law’ imposed on the powerful—and not their weaponry—is responsible for violence and the loss of life in Gaza. We are not told exactly how he reaches this perverse conclusion, but presumably Kemp believes that the condemnation of Israel’s use of indiscriminate and disproportionate force would embolden Hamas, and Palestinians generally, to continue to claim a right of resistance. What Kemp (and Israel) obviously seek is a circumstance in which whatever the dominant military forces do is validated by its effectiveness, and what a population under domination does in opposition is condemned with the implication that resistance to Israel’s prolonged occupation is inherently unlawful.

Kemp’s puff piece is filled with bland endorsements of Israel’s most blatant propaganda. For instance, Kemp asserts, in complete disregard of the evidence, that Israel imposed the blockade on Gaza “only in response to attacks by Hamas.” Yet it is common knowledge, even in Israel, that the blockade has been maintained since 2007 as a ‘collective punishment’ imposed on the civilian population of Gaza, having little to do with security, and mainly sustained by way of rigorous monitoring of all crossings to and from Gaza and with Egypt’s cooperation at Rafah during the Mubarak era and since Sisi’s ascent.

Kemp has nothing to say about Israel’s frequent lethal incursions into Gaza that have accompanied the occupation since it started in 1967, and he uncritically supports Israel’s distorted one-sided timeline that claims Israel only attacks in retaliation for missiles and mortar fire from Hamas, and never initiates violent interactions by on its own. Kemp also never refers to the ceasefires broken by Israel, as in the lead-up to Operation Cast Lead at the end of 2008. Instead, as Kemp has written elsewhere of this earlier brutal attack on a vulnerable, caged population, “I can only say this: during Operation Cast Lead, the IDF did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in the combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.”

Most disturbingly, Kemp writes in a condescending manner as follows: “The report is characterized by a lack of understanding of warfare,” as revealed by its failure to compare what Israel is doing with what the U.S. and Britain have done in Afghanistan, Iraq. In Kemp’s words, “Israeli tactics are no different than those used extensively by American and British forces in similar circumstances.” What is most dangerous about this counterinsurgency worldview is its implicit reasoning that allows such conclusions to be set forth in good faith by professional soldiers. To begin with, Kemp is essentially correct that the counterinsurgency wars waged by the U.S. and Britain have relied on similar tactics, but does that make Israel’s pattern consistent with international law and morality? Most international law assessments of these uses of modern weaponry against densely populated civilian areas consider such tactics to be severe war crimes, not models to be invoked as validation.

Kemp’s state of play is revealed here: converting past crimes into authoritative precedents to justify present crimes, or to transform crimes into legitimate counterinsurgency tactics.

Beyond this, Israel’s tactics are worse in some instances than those of its predecessors. Whereas in Vietnam, the United States used its far less precise air power to inflict heavy casualties on the Vietnamese civilian population, it refrained from attacking urban population centers as Israel did in the Gaza attack of 2014, as well as the earlier ones. Even in Falluja, the worst instance of American firepower directed at a city believed to be a center of insurgent opposition in Iraq to American occupation, the population was given ample time to vacate the city after warnings of impending attack. In contrast, except for the 800 Palestinians that held foreign passports who were allowed to leave Gaza, the remainder of the civilian population in Gaza was locked into the combat zone, losing even the desperate option of fleeing to safety by becoming a refugee. Col. Kemp, invoking his counterinsurgency experience and knowledge, never sees fit to mention such a damning ‘detail.’

Nor does he bother to point out that the whole of Gaza was a combat zone, and that civilians, including women and children, had no place of sanctuary and safety, other than to seek refuge in UN facilities and mosques, which then were turned into targets because of Israeli claims that weapons were stored in these places.

Parroting the worst elements of Israeli hasbara, Kemp sets forth this grotesque characterization of Hamas tactics: “Unable to inflict existential harm on Israel by military means, Hamas sought to cause large numbers of casualties among its own people in order to bring condemnation and unbearable diplomatic pressure against Israel.” To make such an extreme allegation without bothering to cite evidence is to portray Hamas as seeking the genocidal annihilation of its own people. This is an odd accusation in view of the evidence that Hamas gained more popular support from the Gazan population after this Israeli attack than before, presumably because of its steadfastness under the most severe of pressures. Also, Kemp withholds comments on the repeated and strenuous efforts of Hamas to seek the renewal of the ceasefire prior to the initiation of the Israel onslaught in early July of 2014.

In effect, Kemp is appraising Israel’s behavior on the basis of the ‘new normal’ prevailing among counterinsurgency hawks that have led the West into war after war in its futile effort to defer the death of European colonialism, and its American sequel. What is done by the West is justified by military effectiveness (although without noticing that these wars have all been eventually lost), what is done by the forces of national resistance is criminalized if not demonized as ‘barbarism.’

It is not surprising that UN Watch and NGO Monitor organized an elaborate side event at the Palais des Nations in Geneva last week that featured Richard Kemp as its lead speakers, but included an array of other counterinsurgency specialists, with no attempt whatsoever to bring to bear the perspectives of international humanitarian law except in the spirit of Israeli apologetics. It is notable that, unlike the response to the Goldstone Report in 2009 that featured denunciations of bias and personal attacks, the orchestrated reaction to the COI report is more sophisticated, relying on a variety of substantive reports that set forth Israel’s claims of justification, a media blitz, along with major advocacy efforts by Israel’s well-trained NGO poodles.

A welcome contrasting vision, closer to law, morality, and reality is offered by Max Blumenthal in his new book, The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza (2015). David Swanson, the noted anti-war activist, titles his review of Blumenthal’s book, “the 51-day Genocide”. As Swanson puts it, “I can think of a few other words that characterized the 2014 assault on Gaza in addition to ‘war,’ among them, occupation, murder-spree, and genocide. Each serves a valuable purpose. Each is correct.”

Richard Falk is an international law and international relations scholar who taught at Princeton University for forty years. Since 2002 he has lived in Santa Barbara, California, and taught at the local campus of the University of California in Global and International Studies and since 2005 chaired the Board of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. From 2008 until May 2014, he was the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.

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Fascist Monsters of Ukraine: Made in the USA

Monsters of Ukraine: Made in the USA

Fascists proliferate as the country slides into a sinkhole

We’re in the summer doldrums of the news cycle, a perfect time for our government and the media – or do I repeat myself? – to drop certain inconvenient stories down the Memory Hole. My job, of course, is to retrieve them….

Remember Ukraine? I seem to recall blaring headlines about a supposedly “imminent” and “massive” Russian invasion of that country: the Anglo-Saxon media was ablaze with a veritable countdown to D-Day and we were treated to ominous sightings of Russian troops and tanks gathering at the border, allegedly just awaiting the order from Putin to take Kiev. And it turns out there has been an invasion, of sorts – although it isn’t a Russian one. It’s the Kiev regime’s own foot-soldiers returning from the front and turning on their masters.

The war is going badly for the government of oligarch Petro Poroshenko. The east Ukrainians, who rose in revolt after the US-sponsored coup threw out democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych, show no signs of giving up: they’ve repulsed the “anti-terrorist” campaign launched by Kiev, withstanding relentless bombardment of their cities and enduring many thousands of casualties, not to mention widespread destruction. Indeed, the brutal protracted war waged by Kiev against its own “citizens” has arguably steeled the rebels’ resolve and made any thought of reconciliation unthinkable.

As is usual with violent fanatics, the war aims of the Kiev coup leaders – to bring the eastern provinces back into the fold – have been rendered impossible by their methods and conduct. The de facto blockade imposed on the east has bound the separatists all the more tightly to Russia, and so economics as well as searing hatred of a government the easterners regard as “fascist” has sealed the country’s fate.

Unable to crack the rebels’ resolve, the “revolutionaries” who once gathered in the Maiden have begun to turn on each other. Poroshenko, fearful of the rising power of the far-right militias who make up the backbone of his makeshift army, has ordered their dissolution – and the rightists are resisting.

A standoff between the Right Sector militia and Ukrainian police the other day culminated in a pitched battle as the rightists attacked police positions in Mukachevo, in western Ukraine, and took a six-year-old boy hostage. A dispute over control of the local cigarette smuggling operation had ended with two Right Sector thugs killed and seven others – it’s not clear which side they belonged to – injured. The rightists used grenade launchers to pulverize two police cars. Oh well, no worries, Washington will send replacements…. for both the cars and the launchers.

The big problem for the Kiev regime is that Right Sector and allied far-rightist militias are the core of their military operation against the east. Right Sector provided the muscle of the Maiden revolution, standing in the front lines against the widely feared Berkut special forces loyal to Yanukovych. If these thugs must be reined in, then the success of the “anti-terrorist” campaign is doubtful: yet Kiev is increasingly unwilling to pay the high price of appeasing their increasingly troublesome Praetorians.

The aftermath of the Mukachevo stand off was a clear victory for the rightists, who saw their leader, Dmytro Yarosh, a member of parliament, negotiating with the Interior Ministry – and Right Sector militia blocking the road from Kiev to the scene of the fighting. The result was an announcement from the Interior Ministry that the police chief of Mukachevo has been suspended, pending an “investigation” of the charges of aiding and abetting smuggling.

In short, Right Sector emerged victorious. Following up their victory, the group declared that a national referendum will be held – without gathering the required signatures, and under their sponsorship – on multiple questions, essentially demanding that their entire program for the nation be adopted. They call for a formal declaration of war against Russia, a complete blockade of the eastern provinces, martial law, and the legalization of their militias. Oh yes, and they also want the present government, up to and including Poroshenko, to be impeached.

Mired in debt, and rapidly sinking into an economic abyss, Ukraine is literally coming apart at the seams – and the ugly underside of the Maiden “revolution” is being exposed to the light of day. The most recent atrocity is the uncovering of a torture chamber used by members of the “Tornado” Battalion, another far-right grouping, in which militia members kidnapped, tortured, raped, and robbed citizens in the eastern Luhansk region, where the government is fighting to retain some modicum of control. Eight members of the Tornado militia were recently arrested and are being held by military prosecutors in Kiev: the Tornado “volunteers,” who mostly consist of ex-convicts, defend their actions by claiming that this is just retaliation because they uncovered a smuggling operation run by local officials – who, they say, are collaborating with the rebels. They initially refused to lay down their arms and barricaded themselves into their camp.

The Aidar Battalion, also operating in eastern Ukraine, has been accused by Amnesty International of committing war crimes: that was in 2014, but the charges were largely ignored until the local governor began to complain. Aidar’s leader, member of parliament Serhiy Melnychuk, of the ultra-nationalist Radical Party, has been stripped of immunity from prosecution and charged with kidnapping, issuing threats, and operating a criminal gang.  Melnychuk, while admitting there was “some looting,” attributed the dissolution of the Aidar Battalion by authorities to “Russian propaganda” and revealed that some members are still operating independently in Luhansk.

Then there’s the openly neo-Nazi Azov Brigade, whose members sport fascist symbols from the World War II era, and whose leader, Andriy Biletsky, declares that the goal of his group is to “lead the White Races of the world in a struggle for their survival.” There was so much bad publicity surrounding the Azov Battalion that the US Congress unanimously passed legislation forbidding any aid to the group – a provision, as this piece by Joseph Epstein in the Daily Beast points out, that is essentially unenforceable:

“In an interview with The Daily Beast, Sgt. Ivan Kharkiv of the Azov battalion talks about his battalion’s experience with U.S. trainers and US volunteers quite fondly, even mentioning US volunteers engineers and medics that are still currently assisting them. He also talks about the significant and active support from the Ukrainian diaspora in the US As for the training they have and continue to receive from numerous foreign armed forces. Kharkiv says ‘We must take knowledge from all armies… We pay for our mistakes with our lives.’

“Those US officials involved in the vetting process obviously have instructions to say that US forces are not training the Azov Battalion as such. They also say that Azov members are screened out, yet no one seems to know precisely how that’s done. In fact, given the way the Ukrainian government operates, it’s almost impossible.”

Yes, your tax dollars are going to arm, train, and feed neo-Nazis in Ukraine. That’s what we bought into when Washington decided to launch a regime change operation in that bedraggled corner of southeastern Europe. Your money is also going to prop up the country’s war-stricken economy – albeit not before corrupt government officials rake their cut off the top.

Dmytro Korchynsky, who heads a group of several far-right “volunteers” gathered together in “St. Mary’s Battalion,” declares his goal of organizing a “Christian Taliban” that will put Ukraine in the forefront of an effort to “lead the crusades,” adding: “ Our mission is not only to kick out the occupiers, but also revenge. Moscow must burn.”

That’s a goal American neocons and their liberal enablers can get behind, but Korchynsky’s invocation of the Taliban ought to make the rest of us step back from that precipice. For it was the US, in the throes of the last cold war, that coalesced, funded, trained, and armed what later became the Afghan Taliban – and we all know where that road led.

Once again, in our endless search for foreign monsters to destroy, we’re creating yet more foreign monsters who will provide the next excuse for future crusades. It’s a perpetual motion machine of foreign policy madness – and the War Party likes it that way.

Turkey devoting all their military might to attack Kurds rather than ISIS terrorists

The Politics of Betrayal Obama Backstabs Kurds to Appease Turkey

The Kurdish militias (YPG, PKK) have been Washington’s most effective weapon in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. But the Obama administration has sold out the Kurds in order to strengthen ties with Turkey and gain access to Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base. The agreement to switch sides was made in phone call between President Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan less than 48 hours after a terrorist incident in the Turkish town of Suruc killed 32 people and wounded more than 100 others.

The bombing provided Obama with the cover he needed to throw the Kurds under the bus, cave in to Turkey’s demands, and look the other way while Turkish bombers and tanks pounded Kurdish positions in Syria and Iraq. The media has characterized this shocking reversal of US policy as a “game-changer” that will improve US prospects for victory over ISIS. But what the about-face really shows is Washington’s inability to conduct a principled foreign policy as well as Obama’s eagerness to betray a trusted friend and ally if he sees some advantage in doing so.

Turkish President Erdogan has launched a war against the Kurds; that is what’s really happening in Syria at present. The media’s view of events–that Turkey has joined the fight against ISIS–is mostly spin and propaganda. The fact that the Kurds had been gaining ground against ISIS in areas along the Turkish border, worried political leaders in Ankara that an independent Kurdish state could be emerging. Determined to stop that possibility,  they decided to use the bombing in Suruc as an excuse to round up more than 1,000 of Erdogans political enemies (only a small percentage of who are connected to ISIS) while bombing the holy hell out of Kurdish positions in Syria and Iraq. All the while, the media has been portraying this ruthless assault on a de facto US ally, as a war on ISIS. It is not a war on ISIS. It is the manipulation of a terrorist attack to advance the belligerent geopolitical agenda of Turkish and US elites. Just take a look at these two tweets from CNN Turkey on Saturday and you’ll see what’s going on under the radar:

@CNNTURK_ENG:
#BREAKING Sources tell CNN Türk last night Turkish jets made 159 sorties against #PKK camps in N.Iraq & hit 400 targets pic.twitter.com/oGVJmKsGbs

@CNNTURK_ENG:
#BREAKING Sources tell CNN Türk last night there was no air strike against #ISIS, targets were hit by tank fire near #Kilis.
(The tweets first appeared at Moon of Alabama)

Repeat: 159 air attacks on Kurdish positions and ZERO on ISIS targets. And the media wants us to believe that Turkey has joined Obama’s war on ISIS?

The Turks know who they’re bombing. They are bombing their 30-year long enemy, the Kurds.  Here’s more on the topic from Telesur:

“A decades-old conflict between Turkey and the Kurdish PKK has been reignited. Turkey vowed Saturday to continue attacks against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), along with strikes against the Islamic State group.

“The operations will continue for as long as threats against Turkey continue,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said, according to Turkey’s Anadolu Agency.

Ankara also confirmed it carried out airstrikes against PKK sites in Iraq. While Davutoglu said any organizations that “threaten” Turkey would be targeted in a crackdown on militants, on Friday President Tayyip Erdogan said the PKK would be the main focus of attacks.”  (“Turkey Says More Anti-PKK Strikes to Come“, Telesur)

Repeat: “Erdogan said the PKK would be the main focus of attacks.”

For Washington, it’s all a question of priorities. While the Kurds have been good friends and steadfast allies,  they don’t have a spanking-new air base for launching attacks on Syria. Turkey, on the other hand, has a great base (Incirlik ) that’s much closer to the frontlines and just perfect for launching multiple sorties, drone attacks or routine surveillance fly-overs.  The only glitch, of course, is that Washington will have to bite its tongue while a former ally is beaten to a pulp. That’s a price that Obama is more than willing to pay provided he can use the airfield to prosecute his war.

It’s worth noting, that Turkey’s relationship with jihadi groups in Syria is a matter of great concern, mainly because Turkey appears to be the terrorists biggest benefactor.  Check this out from Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News:

“Naturally, one has to ask who fathered, breastfed and nourished these Islamist terrorists in hopes and aspirations of creating a Sunni Muslim Brotherhood Khalifat state? Even when Kobane and many Turkish cities were on fire, did not the Turkish prime minister talk in his interview with CNN about his readiness to order land troops into the Syrian quagmire if Washington agreed to also target al-Assad?
This is a dirty game….” (Editorial, “Kobane and Turkey are Burning“, Hurriyet Daily News)

And here’s more from author Nafeez Ahmed:

“With their command and control centre based in Istanbul, Turkey, military supplies from Saudi Arabia and Qatar in particular were transported by Turkish intelligence to the border for rebel acquisition. CIA operatives along with Israeli and Jordanian commandos were also training FSA rebels on the Jordanian-Syrian border with anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. In addition, other reports show that British and French military were also involved in these secret training programmes. It appears that the same FSA rebels receiving this elite training went straight into ISIS – last month one ISIS commander, Abu Yusaf, said, “Many of the FSA people who the west has trained are actually joining us.”  (“How the West Created the Islamic State“, Nafeez Ahmed, CounterPunch)

Then there’s this from USA Today:

“Militants have funneled weapons and fighters through Turkey into Syria. The Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, have networks in Turkey….

Turkish security and intelligence services may have ties to Islamic State militants. The group released 46 Turkish diplomats it had abducted the day before the United States launched airstrikes against it. Turkey, a NATO member, may have known the airstrikes were about to begin and pressured its contacts in the Islamic State to release its diplomats.

“This implies Turkey has more influence or stronger ties to ISIS than people would think,” Tanir said.” (“5 reasons Turkey isn’t attacking Islamic State in Syria”, USA Today)

The media would like people to believe that the bombing in Suruc changed everything; that Erdogan and his fellows suddenly saw the light and decided that, well, maybe we shouldn’t be supporting these ISIS thugs after all. But that’s just baloney. The only one who’s changed his mind about anything is Obama who seems to have realized that his takfiri proxy-warriors aren’t ruthless enough to remove Assad, so he’s decided to team up with Sultan Erdogan instead.  That means Erdogan gets a green light to butcher as many Kurds as he wants in exchange for boots on the ground to topple Assad. That’s the deal, although, at present, the politicians are denying it. Now check out this blurb from Foreign Policy “Situation Report”:

“The nominee to be the next commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert Neller, didn’t really get off to a great start in his relationship with Senate Armed Services Committee chief Sen. John McCain. The general drew the ire of the Arizona lawmaker by telling the panel on Thursday that the Islamic State is essentially fighting to a draw in Iraq and Syria. McCain took the opportunity and ran with it, telling the Iraq vet that “I’m very disappointed in a number of your answers,” on the Islamic State, promising to send along more questions to push the general on his views. It was an unexpected ending to what had been a hum-drum confirmation hearing, and if McCain wants to press the issue, it could hold up a vote on Neller’s confirmation until after the August congressional recess.” (Situation Report“, ForeignPolicy.com)

The point is, the Big Brass is telling US policymakers that ISIS  is not going to win the war, which means that Assad is going to stay in power.  That’s why Obama has moved on to Plan B and thrown his lot with Erdogan, because the Pentagon bigshots finally realize they’re going to need boots on the ground if they want regime change in Syria. But “whose boots”, that’s the question?

Not U.S. boots, that’s for sure. Americans have had it up to here with war and are not likely to support another bloody fiasco in the Middle East. That’s where Erdogan comes into the picture. Washington wants Turkey to do the heavy lifting while the US provides logistical support and air cover. That’s the basic gameplan. Naturally, the media can’t explain what’s really going on or it would blow Obama’s cover. But who doesn’t know that this whole campaign is aimed at removing Assad? You’d have to be living in a cave for the last three years not to know that.

The bottom line is that Erdogan has three demands. He wants a buffer zone on the Syrian side of the border to protect Turkey from ISIS and Kurdish attacks.  He wants a no-fly zone over all or parts of Syria. And he wants Syrian President Bashar al-Assad removed from power.  That’s what he wants and that’s what Obama has agreed to (as part of the Incirlik deal ) although the media is refuting the claim.   To help explain what’s going on, take a look at this article in  Reuters that was written back in October, 2014. Here’s an excerpt:

“Turkey will fight against Islamic State and other “terrorist” groups in the region but will stick to its aim of seeing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad removed from power, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday…

“We will (also) continue to prioritise our aim to remove the Syrian regime, to help protect the territorial integrity of Syria and to encourage a constitutional, parliamentary government system which embraces all (of its) citizens.”…

But it (Turkey) fears that U.S.-led air strikes, if not accompanied by a broader political strategy, could strengthen Assad and bolster Kurdish militants allied to Kurds in Turkey who have fought for three decades for greater autonomy.

“Tons of air bombs will only delay the threat and danger,” Erdogan said…..

We are open and ready for any cooperation in the fight against terrorism. However, it should be understood by everybody that Turkey is not a country in pursuit of temporary solutions nor will Turkey allow others to take advantage of it.” (“Turkey will fight Islamic State, wants Assad gone: President Erdogan“, Reuters)

That’s pretty clear, isn’t it?  Either the US helps Turkey get rid of Assad or there’s no deal. The Turkish president’s right-hand man, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, said the same thing  in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in February, 2015. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“Turkey would be willing to put its troops on the ground in Syria “if others do their part,” Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview that aired Monday.

“We are ready to do everything if there is a clear strategy that after ISIS, we can be sure that our border will be protected. We don’t want the regime anymore on our border pushing people against — towards Turkey. We don’t want other terrorist organizations to be active there.”…

He said that American airstrikes in Syria were necessary but not enough for a victory.
“If ISIS goes, another radical organization may come in,” he said. “So our approach should be comprehensive, inclusive, strategic and combined …  to eliminate all brutal crimes against humanity committed by the regime.”

“We want to have a no-fly zone. We want to have a safe haven on our border. Otherwise, all these burdens will continue to go on the shoulder of Turkey and other neighboring countries.”…

Turkey is trying to dispel the idea that the United States can become involved in Syria by going after ISIS but not al-Assad.” (“Turkey willing to put troops in Syria ‘if others do their part,’ Prime Minister says“, CNN)

Repeat: “Turkey would be willing to put its troops on the ground in Syria”, but Assad’s got to go. That’s the trade-off. Davutoglu has since backed off on this demand, but the basic deal hasn’t changed.  Leaders in the US and Turkey have just decided to be more discreet about what they tell the press. But the plan is moving forward.  For example, officials from the Obama administration have denied that they will provide a no-fly zone over Syria.  According to the New York Times, however, the US has agreed to create an “Islamic State-free zone” or “safe zone… controlled by relatively moderate Syrian insurgents.”   (“Turkey and U.S. Plan to Create Syria ‘Safe Zone’ Free of ISIS“, New York Times)

So the question is: Will the US provide air cover over this “Islamic State-free zone”?

Yes, it will.

Will Assad send his warplanes into this zone?

No, he won’t. He’d be crazy to do so.

Okay. Then what the US has created is a no-fly zone, right?  And this actually applies to all of Syria as well, now that US warplanes and drones are less than 500 miles from Damascus. The Incirlik deal means that the US will control the skies over Syria. Period. Here’s more from the Times trying to occlude the obvious details:

“American officials say that this plan is not directed against Mr. Assad. They also say that while a de facto safe zone could indeed be a byproduct of the plan, a formal no-fly zone is not part of the deal. They said it was not included in the surprise agreement reached last week to let American warplanes take off from Turkish air bases to attack Islamic State fighters in Syria, even though Turkey had long said it would give that permission only in exchange for a no-fly zone…..” (“Turkey and U.S. Plan to Create Syria ‘Safe Zone’ Free of ISIS”, New York Times)

What does this gibberish mean in English?  It means that, yes, the US has created a no-fly zone over Syria, but, no,  the administration’s public relations doesn’t want to talk about it because then they’d have to admit that Obama caved in to Turkish demands. Got that?

And just to show that the NYT hasn’t lost its sense of humor, here’s more in the same vein:

“American officials in recent months have argued to Turkish counterparts that a formal no-fly zone is not necessary, noting that during hundreds of American-led strike missions against Islamic State in Syria, forces loyal to Mr. Assad have steered clear of areas under concerted allied attack….” (NYT)

In other words, “American officials” are telling Erdogan that  ‘We don’t need to call this a no-fly zone, because once the F-16s start circling the skies over Damascus, Assad will get the message pretty quick.’

Can you believe that they would publish such circular palavering in the nation’s top newspaper?

And the same is true with the massive expropriation of Syrian sovereign territory, which the US and Turkey breezily refer to as  an “Islamic State-free zone”.  This just proves that Obama caved in to another one of Erdogan’s three demands, the demand for a buffer zone on the Syrian side of the border. Not surprisingly, this blatant violation of Syrian sovereignty hasn’t even raised an eyebrow at the United Nations where delegates have gotten so used to Washington’s erratic behavior that they don’t even pay attention anymore.

By the way, this issue of setting up buffer zones, shouldn’t be taken lightly. As State Department spokesman Mark Toner opined just weeks ago, “We’d essentially be opening the door to the dissolution of the Syrian nation-state.”

Indeed, isn’t that the point? Aside from the fact, that these “protected areas” will be used as launching grounds for attacks on the central government, they’ll also become autonomous regions consistent with the US strategy to redraw the map of the Middle East by breaking Iraq and Syria into smaller, tribal-governed cantons incapable of challenging regional hegemon, Israel, or global superpower, the US.  Author Thomas Gaist provides a little background on this phenom in a post at the World Socialist Web Site:

“In a brief published Tuesday, “Deconstructing Syria: A new strategy for America’s most hopeless war,” the Brookings Institution detailed the application of this neocolonial strategy in Syria….The Brookings report argued that a “comprehensive, national-level solution” is no longer possible, and called for the carving out of “autonomous zones.”

“The only realistic path forward may be a plan that in effect deconstructs Syria,” the report argued. The US and its allies should seek “to create pockets with more viable security and governance within Syria.”

This “confederal Syria” would be composed of “highly autonomous zones,” the report said, and would be supported militarily by the deployment of US-NATO forces into the newly carved-out occupation areas, including deployment of “multilateral support teams, grounded in special forces detachments and air-defense capabilities.”

“Past collaboration with extremist elements of the insurgency would not itself be viewed as a scarlet letter,” the Brookings report argued, making clear the extremist militant groups which have served as US proxy forces against the Assad government will not be excluded from the new partition of Syria.” (“Turkey, Jordan discuss moves to seize territory in Syria“, Thomas Gaist, World Socialist Web Site)

Isn’t this precisely the strategy that is unfolding in Syria and Iraq today?

Of course, it is. Everything you’ve been reading about “Islamic State-free zones”, “safety zones”, or “no-fly zones”  is lies. I won’t even dignify it by calling it propaganda. It’s not. It’s 100 percent, unalloyed bullshit. Just like the idea that this new buffer zone (carved out of Syrian territory) is going to be administered by “relatively moderate Syrian insurgents”. (which is the NYT’s new innocuous-sounding sobriquet for al-Qaida terrorists.)  That’s another lie that’s intended to divert attention from the real plan, which is the Turkish occupation of Syrian territory consistent with Erdogan’s and Davutoglu’s commitment to put boots on the ground if the US agrees to their demands. Which Obama has, although the media denies it.

The US is not going to entrust this captured territory to “relatively moderate Syrian insurgents”, because as Gen. Robert Neller already admitted to McCain, the jihadis aren’t winning.  In other words, the jihadi plan is a flop. That’s what this whole Turkey-US alliance-thing is all about. It is a major shift in the fundamental policy. There’s going to be a ground invasion, and the Turks are going to supply the troops. It’s only a matter of time. Here’s how analyst Gaist sums it up:

“Having failed to remove Assad using proxy militia forces alone, Washington is now contemplating the direct invasion of Syria by outside military forces for the purpose of carving out a large area of the country to be subsequently occupied by US and NATO troops. Plans for a new imperialist division of Syria and the broader Middle East have been brewing within the US ruling elite for decades.”  (“Turkey, Jordan discuss moves to seize territory in Syria“, Thomas Gaist, World Socialist Web Site)

Naturally, Obama’s not going to tell the media what he’s up to. But that’s the plan.

 

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). 

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