‘Mad Dog’ Mattis Going Rabid

‘Mad Dog’ Mattis Going Rabid

‘Mad Dog’ Mattis Going Rabid

On Monday, April 25th, the AP headlined, «US general in Afghanistan suggests Russia arming the Taliban» and reported that U.S. Pentagon chief James «Mad Dog» Mattis was accusing Russia of violating the sovereignty of unnamed nation(s) and was supplying weapons to the Taliban in Afghanistan — the very same group that the U.S. back in 1979 had begun arming in Pakistan so that the Taliban would invade Afghanistan and lure Soviet forces into Afghanistan, so as to make the Soviets «bleed» there, as the U.S. itself had bled in its Vietnam War. The U.S. National Security Advisor at that time went to Pakistan and rallied the Taliban there by saying «Your cause is right, and God is on your side!»

Mattis was also quoted in this news-report as saying, «We’re going to have to confront Russia where what they’re doing is contrary to international law or denying the sovereignty of other countries».

The United States has, in fact, invaded Syria — routinely violating the sovereignty of that country. It’s aggression, in order to overthrow Syria’s President, Bashar al-Assad, who is allied with Russia. The U.S. also has been protecting any jihadist group in Syria that cooperates with Al Qaeda to overthrow Assad(The U.S. never abandoned the Cold War, but Russia did; and, ever since Russia did, in 1991, the U.S. government has secretly had a plan in place to bring every country that was allied with or part of the Soviet Union, except for Russia itself, into NATO or otherwise under control by the American aristocracy, and finally to take over Russia itself.) Syria consequently requested Russia to assist in defending the survival of its internationally-recognized-as-legal government, so as to prevent its downfall and replacement by the jihadist forces that the U.S. and its Saudi, Qatari and Turkish allies have been trying to replace by imposing a fundamentalist-Sunni, Al Qaeda approved, regime. Whereas the presence of Russia’s military in Syria was requested by the legal government and is therefore legal, America’s is not — the U.S. is instead officially an «invader» there — and yet Mattis is saying that the U.S. will impose international law against Russia, for vague allegations by Mattis of Russia’s «denying the sovereignty of other countries» — which the U.S. routinely does, and which it did excruciatingly in Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011, and Syria since 2011, just to mention a few of the nations that the U.S. has recently destroyed. The U.S. government has long been in the regime-change business, especially to replace any ally of Russia, by an enemy of Russia.

However, Mattis, rabid as he is, is less rabid than is U.S. President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster. On April 13th, Eli Lake of Bloomberg News bannered «Trump Said No to Troops in Syria. His Aides Aren’t So Sure». He reported that,

«Trump’s top advisers have failed to reach consensus on the Islamic State strategy. The White House and administration officials say Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford and General Joseph Votel, who is in charge of U.S. Central Command, oppose sending more conventional forces into Syria. Meanwhile, White House senior strategist Stephen Bannon has derided McMaster to his colleagues as trying to start a new Iraq War, according to these sources. … Two sources told me one plan would envision sending up to 50,000 troops. … Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, opposed sending conventional forces into a complicated war zone, where they would be targets of al Qaeda, the Islamic State, Iran and Russia. In Flynn’s brief tenure, he supported a deal with Russia to work together against the Islamic State and al Qaeda’s Syria affiliate, similar to a bargain Obama’s secretary of state, John Kerry’s tried and failed to seal with Moscow».

The reason that Kerry «failed to seal [the deal] with Moscow» is that the deal was reached on 9 September 2016 by Kerry and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, but was destroyed by Obama eight days later by his bombing Syria’s army at Der Zor to allow ISIS to overrun the place.

Trump is taking over where Obama left off.

Russian Television reported (and U.S. ‘news’ media refused to report) U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, on April 6th, two days after the alleged sarin attack, as essentially demanding Putin’s capitulation, regarding the Syrian war:

«’It is very important that the Russian government consider carefully their support for Bashar al-Assad.’ Tillerson added. Asked if the US will lead a regime change effort in Syria, Tillerson said that ‘those steps are underway.’»

Russians got the message, even if Americans did not. In other words, they know that the Trump Administration is continuing what had originally been the Obama Administration’s objective, prior to Russia’s entry into the war on Assad’s side on 30 September 2015: regime-change in Syria. The Trump Administration is apparently willing to go to war against Russia in order to remove Assad and replace him with a leader who is supported by the U.S., Sauds, and America’s other allies in the war to replace Syria’s existing government.

It’s not only Mattis who is «rabid». So is his President, Trump; and, if the even more rabid H.R. McMaster gets his way, so too will be the entire world.

Pleasing America’s «military-industrial complex» is hard to do, but Trump’s Administration is trying hard to out-do its predecessors, at that task

الأسد يتّهم الأردن بتسهيل الغزو الأميركي في الجنوب … وعقود النفط والغاز مع روسيا في «خطواتها الأخيرة»

الأسد يتّهم الأردن بتسهيل الغزو الأميركي في الجنوب … وعقود النفط والغاز مع روسيا في «خطواتها الأخيرة»

أطفال من بلدتَي كفريا والفوعة وصلوا أمس إلى مدينة حلب (أ ف ب)

قد تشير التصريحات الحادة اللهجة، الصادرة من دمشق تجاه الأردن، إلى أن الجنوب السوري سيشهد تصعيداً واسعاً، من الممكن أن تنخرط فيه عمّان بدفع أميركي باتجاه موقع مشابه للأتراك في الشمال، بحجة حماية الحدود من «الإرهاب». الهجوم السوري تجاه الجارة الجنوبية جاء على لسان الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد، الذي أكد أن الدور الأردني لم يخرج عن الأجندة الأميركية من بداية الحرب

ي ضوء التصعيد المتواصل لهجمات المجموعات المسلحة في مدينة درعا، بالتوازي مع المعلومات التي تحدثت عن مشاريع أميركية ــ أردنية مشتركة على طول الحدود السورية الجنوبية، أكد الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد علم دمشق بتلك المعلومات من مصادر مختلفة، مهاجماً الدور الأردني خلال الحرب السورية، الذي كان «جزءاً من المخطط الأميركي منذ بداية الحرب».

التأكيد الرسمي من دمشق قد يشير إلى أن الجنوب السوري سيكون بدوره كما الشمال مسرحاً لعمليات عسكرية مدعومة أميركياً، سوف تحاول ضمنه واشنطن بمشاركة حلفائها الإقليميين، وعلى رأسهم الأردن وإسرائيل، إضعاف نفوذ دمشق وحلفائها، وإبعاد «خطرهم» عن إسرائيل. وهو ما انعكس في تصريحات وزير الدفاع الأميركي جايمس ماتيس، من إسرائيل، التي قال فيها إن «تحالفنا مع إسرائيل هو الحجر الأساس لتعاون أمني أوسع يشمل التعاون مع مصر والأردن والسعودية وشركائنا في دول الخليج». وأكد أن سوريا «لا تزال تحتفظ ببعض أسلحتها الكيميائية»، محذراً الرئيس الأسد من استخدامها.

واعتبر الرئيس الأسد في مقابلة مع وكالتي «ريا نوفوستي» و«سبوتنيك» الروسيتين، أن «الأردن ليس بلداً مستقلاً، وكل ما يريده الأميركيون سوف يحدث، فإذا أرادوا استخدام الجزء الشمالي من الأردن ضد سوريا، فإنهم سيستخدمونه». وفي المقابل، استفز كلام الرئيس السوري الحكومة الأردنية. فبعد ساعات على نشر المقابلة، أعرب المتحدث باسم الحكومة محمد المومني، عن «أسفه لحديث الأسد عن موقف الأردن وهو لا يسيطر على غالبية أراضي سوريا». ورأى أن «حديث الأسد منسلخ تماماً عن الواقع».

هجوم الأسد ضد الدور الأردني لم يأتِ وحيداً، إذ أكد أنه «عندما تتحدث عن الغزو التركي، وعندما نتحدث عن القوات الأميركية التي نعتبرها غزواً، وعندما تتحدث عن الإرهابيين على الأرض، فكلهم كيان واحد… وعندما تهزم الإرهابيين، عندها تستطيع أن تذهب وتحارب الآخرين الذين يحتلون الأرض»، معتبراً أن «الأميركيين كالأتراك، كأي محتل آخر عليهم الخروج بإرادتهم أو بالقوة».
وأشار إلى أن التصدي للهجمات الصاروخية الأميركية «بحاجة إلى نظام مكثف يغطي كل زاوية كي يتمكن من إسقاط الصواريخ»، مشيراً إلى أن «الإرهابيين لجأوا منذ بداية الهجمات إلى تدمير الدفاعات الجوية التي لا علاقة لها بما كانوا يسمونه حينذاك المظاهرات السلمية». ولفت إلى أن القوات السورية «فقدت أكثر من خمسين في المئة» من قوات دفاعها الجوي خلال سنوات الحرب، مضيفاً أن «الروس من خلال دعمهم عوّضوا جزءاً من تلك الخسارة بأسلحة وأنظمة دفاع جوي نوعية».

وجدد التأكيد على أن حادث خان شيخون «مفبرك»، وعلى أن الغرب والولايات المتحدة منعوا أي وفد من القدوم للتحقيق لأنه لو أتى «سيجد أن كل رواياتهم كانت فبركة وكذباً». وحول التفجير الذي استهدف الحافلات في منطقة الراشدين السبت الماضي، قال الأسد: «نحن نتحدث عن فصائل مختلفة وجميعها مرتبط بالقاعدة أو (جبهة النصرة)، قام أحد تلك الفصائل بمهاجمة الحافلات التي كانت مخصصة لنقل نفس المدنيين».

وعن تحرك القوات السورية باتجاه الرقة، أشار إلى أنه «قبل شهر فقط كان جيشنا يتقدم من حلب نحو الشرق، باتجاه الرقة، ولم يكن بعيداً عن الوصول إلى هناك، عندها شن الإرهابيون هجومهم على وسط سوريا… وتم إبطاء تقدمنا لأننا غيّرنا أولويتنا».

في سياق آخر، رأى الأسد أن «معظم الفصائل التي انضمت ظاهرياً إلى المفاوضات في أستانا وبعض تلك التي شاركت في جنيف، لا تقبل بدولة علمانية. إنهم يريدون دولة دينية إسلامية، وهو الجزء الأكثر أهمية في الخلاف المتعلق بالدستور».

على صعيد آخر، أعلن الرئيس السوري أن «السوق المحلي مفتوح الآن للشركات الروسية كي تأتي وتنضم إلينا وتلعب دوراً مهماً في إعادة بناء سوريا والاستثمار فيها»، مضيفاً أنّ «الجزء الأكثر أهمية بالنسبة إلينا، وأعتقد بالنسبة إليهم أيضاً، هو مجال النفط والغاز، وقد انضمت أخيراً بعض الشركات الروسية إلى القطاع خلال الأشهر القليلة الماضية، وتجرى الآن الخطوات الأخيرة في عملية توقيع العقود».
وبالتوازي مع التصعيد الدبلوماسي الأخير، استهدفت القوات الإسرائيلية أمس مواقع للجيش السوري في القنيطرة. وأوضح مصدر عسكري أن «طيران العدو الإسرائيلي عمد الى إطلاق صاروخين من داخل الأراضي المحتلة على أحد مواقعنا العسكرية في محيط بلدة خان أرنبة، ما أدى إلى وقوع خسائر مادية».

وفي موازاة الاتهامات الأميركية لدمشق، رأى وزير الخارجية الروسي سيرغي لافروف، أن رفض الدول الغربية مقترح إجراء تحقيق حول خان شيخون «أمر غير مقبول». وقال إن «المعلومات الكاذبة حول استخدام السلاح الكيميائي تستغل للتراجع عن القرار الدولي (2254) الذي ينص على تسوية سياسية، والعودة إلى فكرة تغيير النظام، ويجب ألا نسمح بحدوث ذلك». ولفت إلى أنه يجب التركيز على عملية أستانا لضمان الوصول إلى وقف لإطلاق النار، مشيراً إلى أنه يجري العمل على «توسيع عدد المشاركين في هذا الاتفاق».

وبالتوازي، قالت وزارة الخارجية الروسية إن لافروف، ونظيره الأميركي ريكس تيلرسون، اتفقا في اتصال هاتفي أمس، على ضرورة البحث في إمكانية تشكيل لجنة تحقيق تحت رعاية «منظمة حظر الأسلحة الكيميائية». وأضافت في بيان أن لافروف أعرب «عن أسفه لمعارضة واشنطن مبادرة روسيا» في «منظمة حظر الأسلحة الكيميائية»، لافتة إلى أنه جرى الاتفاق على «إطلاق نشاط مجموعة العمل الروسية ــ الأميركية المشتركة، على مستوى نواب وزيري الخارجية للبلدين».
(الأخبار)

 

Is Mad Dog Planning to Invade East Syria?

The Pentagon’s plan for seizing and occupying territory in east Syria is beginning to take shape. According to a Fox News exclusive:

“The Islamic State has essentially moved its so-called capital in Syria… ISIS is now centered in Deir ez-Zur, roughly 90 miles southeast of Raqqa, the officials said.”
(“ISIS moves its capital in Syria”, FOX News )

The move by ISIS corresponds to the secretive massing of US troops and military equipment on the Syria-Jordan border. It creates the perfect pretext for a ground invasion followed by a long-term military occupation in an area that Washington has sought to control for the last 18 months.  Here’s more on the topic from South Front:

“The US military is reportedly concentrating troops and military equipment at the Syrian-Jordanian border. Local sources said that about 20 US Army armoured vehicles (including battle tanks and artillery pieces) carried on trucks were spotted in Al-Mafraq. US troops were allegedly accompanied with the Jordanian Army’s 3rd Division.

The US Special Operation Forces, the UK Special Operation Forces and units from some other countries -have been conducting operations across the Syrian-Jordanian border for a long time. They even had a secret military facility inside Syria where members the so-called New Syrian Army militant group were deployed. However, it was the first time when a notable number of US armoured vehicles was reported there. The US Ro-Ro ship Liberty Passion, loaded with vehicles, had arrived to the Jordanian port of Al-Aqapa few days ago. These moves followed a meeting between the Jordanian King and the US president.

Thus, the US-led coalition could prepare a large-scale military operation in southern Syria. The goal of the operation will likely be to get control over the Syrian-Iraqi border and to reach Deir Ezzor. It will involve militants trained in camps in Jordan and the US-led coalition’s forces.” (“US Military Deployment at Syrian-Jordanian Border, Military Escalation”, Global Research)

Deir Ezzor is a strategically-located city along the Euphrates that the Pentagon needs in order to tighten its grip on the eastern quadrant of the country. Once Deir Ezzor is taken, the US can launch its CIA-backed jihadist militias back into Syria at will putting more pressure on Damascus and eventually forcing regime change. That is the plan at least, whether it works or not is anyone’s guess. The deployment of troops on the Jordanian border suggests that Washington’s proxy-army, the mainly-Kurdish militia or SDF, is either unwilling to conduct operations as far south as Deir Ezzor or doesn’t have the military strength to beat ISIS on its own. In any event, the Pentagon needs fresh troops and equipment to succeed. Here’s more from South Front:

“US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis presented a preliminary version of the new plan to defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq, a Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, said on February 28th. ….The plan submitted by Mattis also includes a proposal to increase the size of the US military contingent to ISIS in Syria… (Note–There are already 400 Special Forces operating alongside the SDF) Without significant US presence on the ground, the SDF will hardly be able to retake Raqqah from ISIS without incurring unacceptable losses….

As to Deir Ezzor, the US can try to use militants trained in Jordan to launch an attack on Deir Ezzor from the southern direction. However, the total failure of this US-backed group in 2016 leaves little chance that it’s able to combat ISIS successfully in 2017. So, the US and its allies will be pushed to deploy special forces units or even ground troops to support the advance there.

The Polish Special Forces have already deployed to Jordan where they will operate alongside their French and British counterparts.  According to reports, the US-led block created a joint command center to coordinate efforts of all sides, which will support the advance against ISIS in the area.”  (“New US Strategy Against ISIS And War In Syria. What To Expect?”, South Front)

Here’s more from Fox News:

“U.S. military drones have watched hundreds of ISIS “bureaucrats,” or administrators, leaving Raqqa in the past two months for the city of al-Mayadin located further down the Euphrates River from Deir el-Zour.”

Let me get this straight:  US military drones located hundreds of ISIS terrorists traveling across the open dessert, but did nothing to stop them. Why?

Is it because the Pentagon needs ISIS in Deir Ezzor to justify a ground invasion?  That’s certainly the most plausible explanation.

More from Fox:  “Questions remain about the hold force necessary to keep the peace after ISIS is uprooted from Raqqa.”

In other words,  readers are supposed to believe that the Pentagon doesn’t already have a plan in place for occupying the cities when the siege ends.  That’s baloney. Check out this excerpt from an article by Whitney Webb:

“The Syrian city of Raqqa – the “stronghold” of terror group ISIS – will be governed by a “civilian council” with the support of U.S. troops following its “liberation” from terrorists….

On Tuesday, the U.S.-allied militias …announced that they had formed a “civilian council” to govern Raqqa after its capture from Daesh militants. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)… claim to have spent six months setting up the council, with a preparatory committee having met “with the people and important tribal figures of Raqqa city to find out their opinions on how to govern it,” Middle East Eye reported.

SDF spokesman Talal Selo stated that some towns near Raqqa had already been turned over to the council following a successful operation to drive out Daesh forces.

The U.S. military had previously hinted that power would be given to rebel groups following Raqqa’s “liberation”…(“After ‘Liberation,’ U.S. To Give Control Of Raqqa To Rebels, Not Syrian Government”, Information Clearinghouse)

Washington has already chosen a group of puppets who will follow their directives when the fighting finally ends.  The leaders will be selected from rebel groups and tribal elders that pledge their allegiance to Washington. The new arrangement will prevent the Syrian government from reclaiming a sizable portion of its sovereign territory or reestablishing control over its borders. A splintered Syria will strengthen US-Israeli regional hegemony and provide the land needed for future US military bases.

But why would Washington opt to occupy another country when previous occupations (like Iraq) have gone so badly?

There’s a two word answer to that question: Nadia Schadlow.  President Trump’s National Security Advisor H R McMaster recently hired Schadlow to join his staff as a deputy assistant to the president for national security strategy.  Schadlow recently published a book that “examined 15 cases in which the United States Army intervened abroad, and the service’s role in political and economic reconstruction.” According to the Wall Street Journal:

(Schadlow’s) “War and the Art of Governance” consists of a collection of case studies, beginning with the Mexican-American War and ending in Iraq. Each examines how the U.S. attempted…to translate battlefield victory into a lasting and beneficial political outcome.
Ms. Schadlow’s case studies tell an often doleful story of America allowing victories to fall apart, leaving behind a suffering populace that should have been rewarded with a better peace. She asserts convincingly that postconflict governance can only be done well by soldiers….

The Army’s Civil Affairs units are the only government entities capable of administering conquered territories, yet Civil Affairs units remain the Army’s neglected stepchildren. … the nation must never go to war again until it can definitively answer Gen. Petraeus’s question about “how this ends.” It ends only when the U.S. Army assumes the mantle of leadership and commits itself to remaining on the field until the lives of the population can be protected, the damage repaired and a political future guaranteed.” (“What Happens After Victory”, Wall Street Journal)

Get it? The woman is an expert on military occupation!

Now answer this one question for me: Why would McMaster hire an expert on military occupation unless he was planning to militarily occupy another country?

The facts speak for themselves.

Notes.

1.  http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/04/21/isis-moves-its-capital-in-syria.html

2. http://www.globalresearch.ca/breaking-video-us-military-deployment-at-syrian-jordanian-border-military-escalation/5584435

3. https://southfront.org/new-us-strategy-against-isis-and-war-in-syria-what-to-expect/

4. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/46907.htm

5. https://www.wsj.com/articles/what-happens-after-victory-1491520385

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

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Trump’s Endgame in Syria and its Implications for the Middle East Region

Trump-Syria-Endgame-e81f0304ca6e2d14e29a97880408f6268527827a

This post was originally published on this site

 The false flag Syrian chemical attack and the subsequent “frightening” (that turned out to be rather harmless) missile attack against the Shayrat air base in the Homs Governorate launched by the US Navy could remind an impartial analyst a chess game on Trump’s part that was thought over in advance. It’s clear that Trump aims at trampling Syria’s sovereignty in bid to show that Bashar al-Assad is no more than a pawn on the Syrian chess table.

Any outright hostile steps that the White House takes against Damascus are designed to serve as an indication of the absence of any need to seek a reason or a permission from Bashar al-Assad for the US to take any steps on the Syrian soil. The international community is also being purposefully disregarded by the Trump administration as if an attack against the sovereign Syrian state doesn’t constitute a violation of international law. We are being shown that Washington will be taking into consideration nothing but its own plans and interests while deploying its military forces in the region, which doesn’t necessarily mean that it will continue pretending that it was going to fight pursue the declared fight against the terrorists of ISIS. Hence, American bases that are being built in Syria as if the soil that they occupy is up for the tacking of anybody reckless enough to claim it, thus emphasizing once again that the West couldn’t care less about Assad’s opinion on that matter.

In recent years, Russia acquired two military bases in Syria – the Khmeimim air base and the naval Tartus base. The United States has had no foothold in Syria to speak of. In this regard, the Pentagon and the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) of the US Armed Forces have been particularly active in pursuing the goals that were considered unimportant before Trump came to power. It is quite obvious America’s bases that are being erected to the east of the Euphrates are built with long-term goals in mind, so they are there to stay, no matter what turn the so-called War on Terror will take.

United States Secretary of Defense, James Mattis has already presented to Donald Trump the plan of military seizure of Syrian lands last February that was to be achieved by building a network of military facilities under the pretext of having an urgent need to fight the so-called Islamic State simultaneously in Iraq and Syria. According to this official, there’s no victory to achieve against ISIS without US military installations being installed no more that 35 miles from major Syrian cities that are being occupied by radical militants.

In this regard, in addition to enhancing the engineering and logistic capabilities of the recently acquired Syrian bases of Rmeilan and Kobani, construction works were urgently launched at the former Syrian armed forces base of Al-Tabqa in the Raqqa Governorate, with American engineers working at that base around the clock. In particular, a lot of work has been invested in reconstructing and expanding the runway so that the base will be able to host tactical aviation and air transport units. It is expected that the Al-Tabqa base will soon be playing a pivotal part of US plans.

It is noteworthy that the three above mentioned bases were constructed in the de facto regions of “Syrian Kurdistan”. Thus, the Trump administration tries to show that Damascus can forget about returning the Kurdish areas under its control. A somewhat similar scenario has already been used in Iraq, where “Iraqi Kurdistan” since 2003, in fact, was transformed into a sort of an autonomous region, with Baghdad having no real authority in those lands.

It won’t be an exaggeration to state that he northeastern part of Syria is of exceptional value to Washington these days, not so much as a way of promoting Kurdish forces, but because of the need to keep an eye on Russia, Iran, and also Turkey. Ankara has repeatedly shown its intent of cooperating with Russia in various areas, thus blackmailing certain NATO countries with the possible closure of Incirlik air base.

In addition, Washington’s tries to prevent any steps that Turkey could take against Syrian Kurds east of the Euphrates, thus using the Kurdish factor to push Ankara against the wall. After all, according to the business logics Trump Professes there’s no friends for Washington to be made anywhere, since Washington’s interests are the basis of this new American policy.

So both regional and global players, including Turkey, should carefully monitor Trump’s chess game in Syria, in order not to get deceived by his “pacifying” smile, in a bid to avoid losing before the game even starts.

Martin Berger is a freelance journalist and geopolitical analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.” 

Why Washington is Terrified of Russia, China

By Pepe Escobar

April 22, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –  “Sputnik” – The Russia-China strategic partnership, uniting the Pentagon’s avowed top two “existential” threats to America, does not come with a formal treaty signed with pomp, circumstance – and a military parade.

Enveloped in layers of subtle sophistication, there’s no way to know the deeper terms Beijing and Moscow have agreed upon behind those innumerable Putin-Xi Jinping high-level meetings.

Diplomats, off the record, occasionally let it slip there may have been a coded message delivered to NATO to the effect that if one of the strategic members is seriously harassed — be it in Ukraine or in the South China Sea – NATO will have to deal with both.

For now, let’s concentrate on two instances of how the partnership works in practice, and why Washington is clueless on how to deal with it.

Exhibit A is the imminent visit to Moscow by the Director of the General Office of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Li Zhanshu, invited by the head of the Presidential Administration in the Kremlin, Anton Vaino. Beijing stressed the talks will revolve around – what else — the Russia-China strategic partnership, “as previously agreed on by the countries’ leaders.”

This happens just after China’s First Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli, one of the top seven in the Politburo and one of the drivers of China’s economic policies, was received in Moscow by President Putin. They discussed Chinese investments in Russia and the key energy angle of the partnership.

But most of all they prepared Putin’s next visit to Beijing, which will be particularly momentous, in the cadre of the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) summit on May 14-15, steered by Xi Jinping.

The General Office of the CCP – directly subordinated to Xi — only holds this kind of ultra-high-level annual consultations with Moscow, and no other player. Needless to add, Li Zhanshu reports directly to Xi as much as Vaino reports directly to Putin. That is as highly strategic as it gets.

That also happens to tie directly to one of the latest episodes featuring The Hollow (Trump) Men, in this case Trump’s bumbling/bombastic National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. HR McMaster.

In a nutshell, McMaster’s spin, jolly regurgitated by US corporate media, is that Trump has developed such a “special chemistry” with Xi after their Tomahawks-with-chocolate cake summit in Mar-a-Lago that Trump has managed to split the Russia-China entente on Syria and isolate Russia in the UN Security Council.

It would have taken only a few minutes for McMaster to read the BRICS joint communiqué on Syria for him to learn that the BRICS are behind Russia.

No wonder a vastly experienced Indian geopolitical observer felt compelled to note that, “Trump and McMaster look somewhat like two country bumpkins who lost their way in the metropolis.”

Follow the money

Exhibit B centers on Russia and China quietly advancing their agreement to progressively replace the US dollar’s reserve status with a gold-backed system.

That also involves the key participation of Kazakhstan – very much interested in using gold as currency along OBOR. Kazakhstan could not be more strategically positioned; a key hub of OBOR; a key member of the Eurasia Economic Union (EEU); member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO); and not by accident the smelter of most of Russia’s gold.

In parallel, Russia and China are advancing their own payment systems. With the yuan now enjoying the status of a global currency, China has been swiftly promoting their payment system, CIPS, careful not to frontally antagonize the internationally accepted SWIFT, controlled by the US.

Russia, on the other hand, has stressed the creation of “an alternative,” in the words of Russian Central Bank’s Elvira Nabiullina, in the form of the Mir payment system — a Russian version of Visa/ MasterCard. What’s implied is that were Washington feel inclined to somehow exclude Russia from SWIFT, even temporarily, at least 90 percent of ATMs in Russia would be able to operate on Mir.

China’s UnionPay cards are already an established fixture all across Asia – enthusiastically adopted by HSBC, among others. Combine “alternative” payment systems with a developing gold-backed system – and “toxic” does not even begin to spell out the reaction of the US Federal Reserve.

And it’s not just about Russia and China; it’s about the BRICS.

What First Deputy Governor of Russia’s Central Bank Sergey Shvetsov has outlined is just the beginning: “BRICS countries are large economies with large reserves of gold and an impressive volume of production and consumption of this precious metal. In China, the gold trade is conducted in Shanghai, in Russia it is in Moscow. Our idea is to create a link between the two cities in order to increase trade between the two markets.”

Russia and China already have established systems to do global trade bypassing the US dollar. What Washington did to Iran — cutting their banks off SWIFT – is now unthinkable against Russia and China.

So we’re already on our way, slowly but surely, towards a BRICS “gold marketplace.” A “new financial architecture” is being built. That will imply the eventual inability of the US Fed to export inflation to other nations – especially those included in BRICS, EEU and SCO.

The Hollow Men

Trump’s Generals, led by “Mad Dog” Mattis, may spin all they want about their need to dominate the planet with their sophisticated AirSeaLandSpaceCyber commands. Yet that may be not enough to counter the myriad ways the Russia-China strategic partnership is developing.

So more on than off, we will have Hollow Men like Vice-President Mike Pence, with empurpled solemnity, threatening North Korea; “The shield stands guard and the sword stands ready.” Forget this does not even qualify as a lousy line in a cheap remake of a Hollywood B-movie; what we have here is Aspiring Commander-in-Chief Pence warning Russia and China there may be some nuclear nitty-gritty very close to their borders between the US and North Korea.

Not gonna happen. So here’s to the great T. S. Eliot, who saw it all decades in advance: “We are the hollow men / We are the stuffed men/ Leaning together
 / Headpiece filled with straw. Alas! / Our dried voices, when
 / We whisper together 
/ Are quiet and meaningless
 / As wind in dry grass / 
Or rats’ feet over broken glass / 
In our dry cellar.”

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

N.Korea threatens to ‘reduce US to ashes’

(Agencies) – North Korean state media has warned Washington of a “super-mighty pre-emptive strike” which would “reduce the US to ashes.”
It comes after US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson said that Washington is looking to pressure Pyongyang over its nuclear program.

The Rodong Sinmun, Official newspaper for North Korea’s ruling Worker’s Party, wrote, “In the case of our super-mighty preemptive strike being launched, it will completely and immediately wipe out not only U.S. imperialists invasion forces in South Korea and its surrounding areas but the U.S. mainland and reduce them to ashes,” according to Reuters. The rogue nation also claimed the U.S. and its allies “should not mess with us.”

It comes just one day after Tillerson, as part of President Donald Trump’s hard line stance against North Korea, said that US is exploring ways to put pressure on Pyongyang.

“We’re reviewing all the status of North Korea, both in terms of state sponsorship of terrorism as well as the other ways in which we can bring pressure on the regime in Pyongyang to re-engage with us, but re-engage with us on a different footing than past talks have been held,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

Tillerson wasn’t the only Trump-appointed US official making remarks about North Korea on Wednesday.

Speaking from the ‘USS Ronald Reagan’ in Japan, Vice President Mike Pence vowed an “overwhelming and effective” response to any potential attacks from Pyongyang, stressing that the “sword stands ready.”

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis simultaneously denounced Pyongyang’s latest missile launch attempt during his Middle East tour, telling reporters in Saudi Arabia that “the leader of North Korea again recklessly tried to provoke something by launching a missile.”

Meanwhile, South Korea’s acting president, Hwang Kyo-ahn, called for his country’s military and security ministries to remain vigilant on Thursday.

South Korea’s Defense Ministry also confirmed on Thursday that the US and South Korean Air Forces are conducting an annual training exercise – code named Max Thunder – until April 28.

“We are conducting a practical and more intensive exercise than ever,” South Korean pilot Colonel Lee Bum-chul told reporters. “Through this exercise, I am sure we can deter war and remove our enemy’s intention to provoke us.”

The Thursday threat by North Korean state media came after Pyongyang performed a music show to mark the birth of former leader Kim Il-sung, which included a video that appeared to show North Korea striking the US with a devastating missile launch.

Vice President Mike Pence touched down in South Korea on Sunday for his 10-day tour of Asia, where he said  “the era of strategic patience” with North Korea was over.

Trump delegates warmaking to hawkish generals. Mathis & McMaster, in charge of defense and national security

The Pentagon Unleashed

by Stephen Lendman

Trump delegated warmaking to hawkish generals in charge of defense and national security – James Mattis and HR McMaster respectively.
The Clintons, Bush/Cheney and Obama militarized US foreign policy, a disastrous agenda pursued by Trump – in some war theaters escalating conflicts, not resolving and ending them.
Generals and admirals pursue wars, not peace, why defense policy should be run by civilians, not longtime warriors.
So far, Secretary of State Tillerson is more marginalized on foreign policymaking than in-the-loop, generals running things.
Trump wants more funding budgeted for militarism and warmaking, less for diplomacy – good news for the military/industrial/scoundrel media complex, bad news for world peace, stability and security.
Mattis and HR McMaster were key figures in Bush/Cheney/Obama’s disastrous war on Iraq and aftermath – endless devastation and loss of life, continuing under Trump, pursuing war without mercy in Mosul, massacring thousands of civilians indiscriminately.
As CENTCOM commander, Mattis lied, calling Iran America’s main threat. He’s now shaping US policy on the Islamic Republic. Does he have another war in mind?
If launched, it would be far more regionally devastating than any US aggression so far.
Russia could intervene if requested by Tehran, risking possible nuclear war. Earlier, Iran expert Ali Vaez warned against attacking the country, saying it “would make the Afghan and Iraqi conflicts look like a walk in the park.”
Generals in charge of US warmaking know the risks. It doesn’t mean they’re shy about taking them.
On April 1, AP News headlined “With Trump approval, Pentagon expands warfighting authority,” saying:
“Week by week, country by country, the Pentagon is quietly seizing more control over warfighting decisions, sending hundreds more troops to war with little public debate and seeking greater authority to battle extremists across the Middle East and Africa.”
Earlier, it was Iraq and Syria with more US troops likely coming. Thousands more may be heading for Afghanistan, perhaps more special forces for Yemen.
Trump authorized escalated drone war and terror-bombing in Somalia.
AP said his agenda “underscore(s) his willingness to let the Pentagon manage” warmaking. Escalated terror-bombing assures greater carnage, civilians harmed most.
Military operations “divorced from overall foreign policy” could result in “(p)olitical leaders…los(ing) control” of things in war theaters, according to Center for Strategic and International Studies senior fellow Alice Friend.
Decisions are being made with no public awareness, outside the White House. Endless wars in multiple theaters are escalating instead of prioritizing world peace and stability.
Intense Russia bashing risks direct confrontation if hawkish generals in charge of warmaking and congressional neocons want things pushed in this direction.
Humanity’s fate hangs in the balance.
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