The Raqqa Exodus: The US Coalition’s “Secret Deal” to Allow ISIS-Daesh Terrorists to Escape…

Global Research, November 27, 2017

Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis confirmed in May Washington’s resolve to annihilate the ISIS-Daesh terrorists:

“Our intention is that the foreign fighters do not survive the fight to return home to north Africa, to Europe, to America, to Asia, to Africa. We are not going to allow them to do so… (emphasis added, quoted in the BBC report entitled Raqqa’s Dirty Secret)

That was the “political narrative” of the Pentagon. The unspoken truth is that Uncle Sam had come to the rescue of the Islamic State. That decision was in all likelihood taken and carried on the orders of the Pentagon rather than the US State Department.

Confirmed by a BBC report entitled “Raqqa’s Dirty Secret, the US-led coalition facilitated the exodus of ISIS terrorists and their family members  out of their stronghold in Raqqa, Northern Syria.

Screen Shot of BBC Report

While the BBC report focussed on the details of the smuggling operation, it nonetheless acknowledges the existence of a “Secret Deal” involving the US and its indefectible British ally to let the terrorists escape from Raqqa.

Screenshot BBC Report

The deal to let IS fighters escape from Raqqa – de facto capital of their self-declared caliphate – had been arranged by local officials. It came after four months of fighting that left the city obliterated and almost devoid of people. It would spare lives and bring fighting to an end. The lives of the Arab, Kurdish and other fighters opposing IS would be spared.

But it also enabled many hundreds of IS fighters to escape from the city. At the time, neither the US and British-led coalition, nor the SDF, which it backs, wanted to admit their part.

Has the pact, which stood as Raqqa’s dirty secret, unleashed a threat to the outside world – one that has enabled militants to spread far and wide across Syria and beyond?

Great pains were taken to hide it from the world. But the BBC has spoken to dozens of people who were either on the convoy, or observed it, and to the men who negotiated the deal. …

This wasn’t so much an evacuation – it was the exodus of [the] so-called Islamic State.

(Quentin Sommerville and Riam Dalati, Raqqa’s Dirty SecretBBC, November 2017, emphasis added)

US-led coalition warplanes had been monitoring the evacuation of the ISIS terrorists, but visibly the convoys of buses and trucks were not the object of coalition bombings.

“The coalition now confirms that while it did not have its personnel on the ground, it monitored the convoy from the air. [but no actual aerial bombardment of the convoys took place] …

In light of the BBC investigation, the coalition now admits the part it played in the deal….” (Ibid)

If they had wanted to undermine the ISIS convoy of buses and trucks, this would have been a simple operation for the US Air Force. On the other hand, they could have chosen to block rather than destroy the convoys of trucks and buses (to minimize the loss of life) and detain and incarcerate the foreign fighters.

US officials casually claimed they did not take part in the negotiations and were therefore unable to prevent the exodus of the terrorists:

“We didn’t want anyone to leave,” says Col Ryan Dillon, spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, the Western coalition against IS.

“It comes down to Syrians – they are the ones fighting and dying, they get to make the decisions regarding operations,” he says.

While a Western officer was present for the negotiations, they didn’t take an “active part” in the discussions. Col Dillon maintains, … (Ibid)

What is revealing is that most of the ISIS fighters were foreign from a large number of countries pointing to a carefully organized recruitment and training program:

“… There was a huge number of foreigners. France, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Yemen, Saudi, China, Tunisia, Egypt…”

“Most were foreign but there were Syrians as well.” …

He now charges $600 (£460) per person and a minimum of $1,500 for a family.

In this business, clients don’t take kindly to inquiries. But Imad says he’s had “French, Europeans, Chechens, Uzbek”.

“Some were talking in French, others in English, others in some foreign language,” he says. (Ibid)

Screenshot of BBC article

The BBC report suggests a carefully formulated plan to ensure the safe evacuation of the terrorists. The official explanation was that the deal has been brokered by the US supported Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The US-led coalition “let it happen”, they did not intervene militarily to prevent the exodus and smuggling of the foreign fighters out of Raqqa.

This should come as no surprise. From the very outset in 2014, ISIS-Daesh was supported by the US-led coalition, with the active support of Saudi Arabia. The US and its allies are the State sponsors of the Islamic State (ISIS-Daesh).

Weapons, training, logistics: the ISIS is a US intelligence construct. The ISIS-Daesh terrorists are the foot-soldiers of US-NATO.

The US-led bombings of Iraq and Syria–under the guise of a phony “war on terrorism”– were not directed at ISIS-Daesh. The terrorists were protected by the US led Coalition. The unspoken objective was to kill civilians and destroy the civilian infrastructure of both Syria and Iraq.

Déjà Vu:  

Exodus of ISIS from Raqqa, Syria (2017) vs. Exodus of Al Qaeda “Enemy Combatants” out of  Kundus, Afghanistan (2001)

Is there a pattern in the evacuation of U.S. sponsored terrorists?

Flashback to another US led war. Afghanistan 2001. The objective for the U.S. is ultimately to protect their “intelligence assets”.

The October 2017 ‘Raqqa exodus” bears a canny resemblance to the November 2001 “Getaway” out of Kunduz, ordered by Donald Rumsfeld. In both cases the objective was for the Pentagon and the CIA to organize the escape (and relocation) of US sponsored foreign jihahist fighters.

In late November 2001, according to Seymour M. Hersh, the Northern Alliance supported by US bombing raids took control of the hill town of Kunduz in Northern Afghanistan:

‘[Eight thousand or more men] had been trapped inside the city in the last days of the siege, roughly half of whom were Pakistanis.  Afghans, Uzbeks, Chechens, and various Arab mercenaries accounted for the rest.” (Seymour M. Hersh, The Getaway, The New Yorker, 28 January 2002.

Also among these fighters were several senior Pakistani military and intelligence officers, who had been sent to the war theater by the Pakistani military. The presence of high-ranking Pakistani military and intelligence advisers in the ranks of Taliban/ Al Qaeda forces was known and approved by Washington.

President Bush had intimated: “We’re smoking them out. They’re running, and now we’re going to bring them to justice.” (see CNN, November 26, 2001). They were never smoked out. They were airlifted to safety.

On the orders of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the exodus (airlifting) of Al Qaeda fighters had been facilitated by US forces in liaison with the Pakistan military:

“The Administration ordered the US Central Command to set up a special air corridor to help insure the safety of the Pakistani rescue flights from Kunduz to the northwest corner of Pakistan”

… According to a former high-level American defense official, the airlift was approved because of representations by the Pakistanis that “there were guys- intelligence agents and underground guys-who needed to get out.” (Seymour Hersh, op cit)

In other words, the official story was: it was not our decision:  “we were tricked into it” by the Pakistani ISI.

Out of some 8000 or more men, 3300 surrendered to the Northern Alliance, leaving between 4000 and 5000 men “unaccounted for”. According to Hersh’s investigation, based on Indian intelligence sources, at least 4000 men including two Pakistani Army generals were evacuated. (Ibid)

The same sense of denial prevailed. US officials admitted, however, that

“what was supposed to be a limited evacuation apparently slipped out of control, and, as an unintended consequence, an unknown number of Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters managed to join in the exodus.”  (quoted in Hersh op cit)

“Unintended evacuation” of Al Qaeda fighters?

 “Terrorists”  and “Intelligence Assets” 

Compare Seymour Hersh’s account in the “Getaway” out of Kunduz pertaining to the US sponsored evacuation of  hard core Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters to the “Escape” of ISIS-Daesh fighters out of the besieged city of Raqqa in Northern Syria.

The foreign and Pakistani Al Qaeda fighters were flown to North Pakistan, to the areas which were subsequently the object of US drone attacks. Many of these fighters were also incorporated into the two main Kashmiri terrorist rebel groups, Lashkar-e-Taiba (“Army of the Pure”) and Jaish-e-Muhammad (“Army of Mohammed”).

What is the next destination of the foreign fighters who have been evacuated out of Raqqa, with the support of the US Military?

To read the complete BBC report entitled Raqqa’s Dirty Secret,by Quentin Sommerville and Riam Dalati click here 

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Syria, Russia & Iran shift to Diplomacy, While US and Allies Push for War

By Finian Cunningham

November 21, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – In a big week for Syrian peace talks, President Assad was hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, where the leaders of Iran and Turkey are also to convene. Fittingly, perhaps, the US had no input into the renewed effort for peace in Syria.

Putin said that with the defeat of ISIS (Daesh, Islamic State) and other terror groups in Syria now virtually achieved, the parties to the conflict must underpin the political means to win the peace. Significantly, the talks in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi reinforce the earlier Geneva accord which assents to President Bashar Assad and his government in Damascus as the sovereign authority of Syria.

The demand by Washington and its European allies for Assad to “stand down” has long ago expired. That void is a tacit acknowledgment the nearly seven-year covert war in Syria for regime change has been defeated or at least the covert war in its guise of Western-backed proxy militant groups.

The absence of US and European officials at the peace talks in Sochi this week speaks volumes about their pernicious role in the Syrian war.

While Syria, Russia, Iran, and Turkey endeavor to revamp the peace negotiations, it is significant that Pentagon chief James Mattis was last week saying that US military forces would be digging in further on Syrian territory.

The reluctance of US forces to pack up in Syria despite the demise of the terror groups is perhaps best viewed as part of a regional resurgence of an American military presence. Under President Trump – despite his election campaign promises – the level of US forces has increased substantially in Afghanistan and Iraq. Deployment in Syria fits into this pattern of a regional buildup.

The increasing level of US military strength in the region also underlines the ominous signs of Saudi Arabia and Israel ramping up hostility toward Iran and Lebanon.

Last week, US Defense Secretary James Mattis said American forces would be staying in Syria despite the contradiction of terror groups being routed. Mattis’ claims that US forces have a legal United Nations’ mandate for their presence in Syria were dismissed by Russia and Syria as a flawed understanding of international law.

But even on Mattis’ own faulty reasoning, his claims are dubious. If US forces have a mandate to be in Syria to defeat terrorists, as claimed, then why are they there given the terrorists have been largely defeated?

Mattis said the new purpose of US forces were to “prevent ISIS 2.0” arising. Despite the fact that the Americans hardly ever engaged in fighting against ISIS, and indeed, as the BBC evenreported, gave the militants safe passage, including helicopter airlifting commanders out of harm’s way.

It was the Syrian Arab Army, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah who did all the heavy lifting to roll back the terror groups, which had been covertly armed and financed by the US and its NATO and regional client regimes. ISIS, Nusra, and all the other alphabet-soup terror groups were only ever a pretext for the US to deploy its warplanes and Special Forces in Syria – a presence which actually constitutes foreign aggression, as the Syrian government and Russia have repeatedly pointed out.

And yet here we have Mattis claiming that it was the US which defeated ISIS in Syria, and warning that the specter of this American asset reemerging as ISIS 2.0 is grounds for continuing to occupy Syrian territory. The Americans’ handy phantom-enemy is serving twice over. That is to “legitimize” the US intervening in Syria; and now to justify US forces staying there – just when the real victors against the terrorists, Syria, Russia, and Iran are trying to demilitarize the country.

RT@RT_com

‘There never was ‘revolution’ in #Syria, it was a premeditated war by foreign powers’ (Op-Ed by @EvaKBartletthttps://on.rt.com/8rai 

8:15 AM – Nov 3, 2017

Absurdities of Syrian war propaganda — RT Op-Edge

Сorporate media continues to recycle accusations of starvation, chemical weapons, and more, in the propaganda war on Syria.

rt.com

Far from the public view, US forces are scaling up their presence in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Politico has called it an “official charade.” The Trump administration and the Pentagon are going behind the American people’s backs to deploy thousands more troops across the Middle East.

Much to the displeasure of Washington, Turkey disclosed last week that the US has 13 military bases in Syria. Russia, apparently, has only five bases, even though that country had a much greater military impact on defeating ISIS and other terrorist networks over the past two years.

One of the biggest US bases is near Kobani, about 140 kilometers from the northern city of Raqqa. This is the location no doubt where Mattis was referring to when he said last week that US forces would be digging in.

The US airbase at Kobani has been dramatically upgraded over the past year from what was a rough airfield accommodating only a select few types of aircraft to one now where “every type of air frame” in the Pentagon’s fleet can be landed, including the largest troop-carrying and cargo planes.

The US base at Kobani is also part of a chain of new airfields that connect from Qayarrah West in northern Iraq, to the Taqba Dam, also north of Raqqa.

Officially, there are supposed to be only 500 troops in Syria under the Pentagon’s Force Management Level policy. But as with Afghanistan and Iraq, the real numbers are believed to be much higher than what is officially acknowledged.

A large part of the false accounting arises because the Pentagon doesn’t count units which spend less than 120 days in the country. These units include engineers and troops who are charged with building bridges, roads, and landing strips.

There is a direct analogy here with how US and NATO forces underestimate force levels in the Baltic and Black Sea regions by arbitrarily not counting troops, warplanes and ships described as “rotating presence.” But if you rotate frequently enough, the force levels in effect become permanent and are much larger in practice than is officially admitted.

In addition to ensuring its proxies don’t come back as “ISIS 2.0” (how’s that for chutzpah!), Mattis also said that the expanded US forces were there to ensure the future peace talks in Geneva, resuming on November 28, would gain “traction.”

“We’re not just going to walk away right now before the Geneva process has traction,” said Mattis last week while in London meeting his British counterparts.

What this suggests is that Washington is using its illegitimate military occupation of Syrian territory as a way to leverage the political process. By forcibly holding on to Syrian territory, Washington is perhaps calculating that the Assad government might cede to its demands on standing down or allowing a defeated opposition more say in drawing up a new constitution.

If the US were genuinely committed to a political process in Syria, then why aren’t its diplomats giving momentum to the Russian-brokered talks in Sochi this week in preparation for the subsequent Geneva summit?

But even more sinister is the region-wide context of US force buildup – largely in secret unknown to the American public. With Washington’s client regimes, Saudi Arabia and Israel,pushing for a confrontation with Iran, directly or via Lebanon and Yemen, the expanding military presence in Syria indicates war in that country is far from over. Instead, it could be but a prelude to a more devastating regional conflagration.

Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent.

This article was originally published by RT –

Syria Summary: The Idlib Battle Comes Into Sight

Source

There have been few significant movements during the last weeks. The war on Syria slowly grinds towards its end. The political tussle continues as ever. U.S. Secretary of Defense Mattis made a curious announcement of plans he can not fulfill.


General Situation on November 3 – bigger

Our last Syria summary looked at the situation around the last refuge area of the Islamic State near the Syrian-Iraqi border:

The twin-cities of Abu Kamal (al-Bukamal) in Syria and al-Qaim in Iraq are ISIS’ last urban refuge. The cities are on the south site of the Euphrates with the important border crossing between them. Coming from the east Iraqi government troops retook the al-Qaim crossing today. They now control the border and are breaking into the city proper. Syrian government forces approach Abu Kamal from the north-west and from south-east.

The U.S. proxy forces north of the Euphrates announced that they had taken several oil-fields north of the river and were also progressing towards Abu Kamal. The Syrian government and its allies fear that the U.S. [is trying to take] Abu Kamal itself. It could then claim to have control over the border crossing towards Iraq and severe that important line of communication. A race is on to prevent that.


Situation on November 10 – Abu Kamal is at the bottom right of the map – bigger

For a few days it seemed that Syrian government forces were easily winning the race. Coming through Iraq, troops moved deep into Abu Kamal and found it empty. They prematurely declared victory but had been deceived. ISIS used tunnels to move undetected into well prepared positions and attacked them from the rear. The Syrian forces were badly mauled and had to retreat.

Since then more troops have arrived and are now ready to launch an all out attack. Coming from Russia long range bombers hit ISIS positions. The U.S. is trying to make such support more difficult by claiming an “air corridor” over the city:

Russia on Tuesday accused the United States of providing de-facto cover for Islamic State units in Syria
..
Specifically, the Russian Defence Ministry said the U.S. air force had tried to hinder Russian strikes on Islamic State militants around Albu Kamal.

In October, after the U.S. made a deal with ISIS fighters to evacuate Raqqa, it had escorted foreign ISIS fighters towards Abu Kamal:

He says the convoy went to the countryside of eastern Syria, not far from the border with Iraq.

From the cab of his truck, Abu Fawzi watched as a coalition warplane flew overhead, dropping illumination flares, which lit up the convoy and the road ahead.

Abu Kamal is now well defended with the most ferocious ISIS troops inside. They have nowhere to go. It will be difficult to dig them out of their positions. Meanwhile the U.S. SDF proxy forces north of the Euphrates move further towards the area.

But the whole SDF concept is in trouble. The U.S. proxy forces are led by Kurds. They need local Arabs to take the remaining areas north of the Euphrates but the Arabs do not want to fight under Kurdish command. Talal Silo, the SDF spokesperson, just defected to Turkey. With such allies any semi-permanent U.S. position in Syria is further in doubt.

East of Damascus a mix of militant groups, including Al-Qaeda, are still holding the area of East Ghouta. Last month a propaganda campaign (implausibly) claimed that people in the surrounded area were starving. On October 30 a large Red Cross convoy was dispatched from Damascus and delivered supplies to East Ghouta. Twelve days later the militants in East Ghouta launched an attack on the surrounding Syrian army positions. At the same time they fired salvos of missiles and mortars into the capital and killed several civilians there. People there are wondering how the militants managed to acquire fresh ammunition.

The aim of the terrorists (green) is to cut off and capture a Syrian army base (red) that protrudes into the area. A Syrian general was killed during their attack, the militants capture some positions (blue) and vicious fighting is ongoing. It may take a week or two to defeat these attacks and to regain the lost positions.

bigger

The U.S. and Russia agreed on a deconflicting area in the south-west of Syria, next to the Golan heights and the Jordan border. There is a significant ISIS contingent near the Golan height which is protected by Israeli artillery. Israel claimed that the new deconflicting agreement will forbid Iranian led groups or Lebanese Hizbullah forces to come near to the area. Russia denied that any such restrictions are part of the deal. When the right time comes ISIS and other militants in the area will be fought down by whatever group in the Syrian government alliance is available. It does not matter how much Netanyahoo is howling about “Iran”. Israel is not in a position to launch any significant attack and will not be allowed to have any say on the issue.

In the north-east of Syria Al-Qaeda and its allies are still holding Idleb governate and Idleb city. As soon as the Syrian army operations at Abu Kamal are finished, Idelb will become the main battlefield. Already troops were put into position for an all out attack. Probing moves on several axes were launched to disperse the al-Qaeda fighters over a wide area. Several townswere liberated in a move towards the Ad Duhur area.


biggerOver the next six month Idelb governate will be at the center of the war. Al-Qaeda, which rules the area, is not willing to give up without a fight. They are Takfiri terrorists. There is nothing to negotiate with them.

The Syrian government position is now better than at any other point of the war. It can concentrate experienced forces and it has the full support of significant allies. Syria’s external enemies have mostly given up. It is unlikely that al-Qaeda will have and significant new supplies or support. I expect the fighting for Idleb province to be intense but relatively short.

 

U.S. Secretary of Defense General Mattis has announced that he wants to stay in Syria:

The U.S. military will fight Islamic State in Syria “as long as they want to fight,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Monday, describing a longer-term role for U.S. troops long after the insurgents lose all of the territory they control.

He also stressed the importance of longer-term peace efforts, suggesting U.S. forces aimed to help set the conditions of a diplomatic solution in Syria, now in its seventh year of civil war.

One wonders if Mattis has cleared the issue with his president. It is wishful thinking. Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Russia are against any residual U.S. troops in Syria. The U.S. has absolutely no right to be in the country. That its troops were so far allowed to operated there, was conditioned on the fight against ISIS. When ISIS has lost the last area it still holds, that fight will be over and the U.S. will have to leave. The rest of ISIS will be nothing more than a defeated guerilla movement on the run which the Syria government can easily hold down and eventually destroy.

Preparations have already been made to fight the U.S. troops in Syria should they not move out on their own. Local cells have been prepared in the north-east to attack U.S. forces wherever they move. The U.S. public does not support the hostile occupation of another Arab state. With all surrounding countries against a U.S. stay, Mattis’ announcement is clearly of an unsustainable endeavor. Sec Def Mattis will have to climb down from his position. He is another example for the inability of military men to grasp a bigger political situation.

 

Large parts of Syria and its cities were damaged or destroyed by the war against its sovereignty. But destroyed cities can and will be rebuild. The wounds will heal. This picture of some devastated street in east-Aleppo exemplifies the hope and will of its people. Ahmed is back and reopened his shop. Five years on these streets will again be full of life.


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Posted by b on November 16, 2017 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

It’s not just U.S. politicians, it seems the majority of Americans are frigging mad

Survey: Most Americans Accept Preemptive Nuclear Strike Against Iranian Civilians

As the survey notes, a clear majority of Americans “would approve of using nuclear weapons first against the civilian population of a nonnuclear-armed adversary, killing 2 million Iranian civilians, if they believed that such use would save the lives of 20,000 U.S. soldiers.”

new survey published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) suggests Americans are willing to make a first nuclear strike against Iran and kill millions of civilians in the process.

According to the report, entitled “Revisiting Hiroshima in Iran,” although the majority of Americans initially approved of President Harry S. Truman’s decision to drop the nuclear bomb in 1945 on two civilian populations in Japan, a poll conducted in 1998 showed the number of Americans who approved of the decision had dropped since the 1970s and 1980s. This trend carried on even until the early 2000s and arguably to the present day.

However, the new survey shows that many Americans continue to support nuclear warfare when posed with a hypothetical (albeit currently nonexistent) threat. As the survey notes, a clear majority of Americans “would approve of using nuclear weapons first against the civilian population of a nonnuclear-armed adversary, killing 2 million Iranian civilians, if they believed that such use would save the lives of 20,000 U.S. soldiers.”<img src=”http://www.mintpressnews.com/wp-content/themes/core/images/ads/ad-mp-squigl.jpg” class=”no-thickbox”/>

 

Source: MIT's What Americans Really Think About Using Nuclear Weapons And Killing<img class=”size-full wp-image-231502″ src=”http://www.mintpressnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Capture-1.jpg” alt=”Source: MIT’s What Americans Really Think About Using Nuclear Weapons And Killing” width=”588″ height=”505″ srcset=”http://www.mintpressnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Capture-1.jpg 588w, http://www.mintpressnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Capture-1-300×258.jpg 300w” sizes=”(max-width: 588px) 100vw, 588px” />

Source: MIT’s What Americans Really Think About Using Nuclear Weapons And Killing
Noncombatants

Around 60 percent of respondents polled said they would approve of the decision to kill two million Iranians.

As Bloomberg explained:

The survey casts doubt on the power of what experts call the ‘nuclear taboo,’ said Stanford University historian David Holloway, author of ‘Stalin and the Bomb.’ The idea, or hope, behind the concept is that it’s not just luck that humans haven’t dropped any nuclear weapons for 70 years — that there’s a stigma that makes the use of nuclear weapons unthinkable.”

One would have to wonder if most Americans are even aware that the Trump administration is spending billions of dollars developing its nuclear technology far beyond what America’s rivals can match. Recognizing the nuclear threat America poses to Russia and its interests, particularly by having NATO members surround Russia with its anti-missile defense system, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a warning last year that Russia was modernizing its missile systems in preparation for what’s to come.

Russia has also warned multiple times about attacking Iran and views Iran as a strategic ally. This is just one of the factors Americans should take into account when considering the use of nuclear weapons.


Related | Demand Grows To Strip Trump Of Nuclear Authority


As Bloomberg noted, there are a number of other factors that should also be examined:

That just means they haven’t thought about it,’ said Brian Toon, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Colorado. They think nuclear weapons are just big bombs that blow up lots of people, he said, without considering the way a nuclear conflict -– even a ‘small’ one involving some 10 percent of the U.S. arsenal — might poison millions of men, women and children and change the climate enough to starve hundreds of millions.”

What it ultimately shows is that Americans want to fight (and instigate) wars but no longer want to expend their own people commissioning such conflicts. Polls have also demonstrated that the majority of Americans approve of the use of drone warfare against suspected terrorists, another example of Americans approving of killing people without realistically endangering personnel.

In Libya, an American drone flown out of Sicily by an American pilot based in Nevada directly struck Muammar Gaddafi’s motorcade. Little thought is paid to the fact that the U.S. helped assassinate a foreign leader in direct contravention of international law, arguably because no American personnel were killed or even endangered (in contrast, when many Americans think of Libya, they focus on the handful of American lives lost in Benghazi).

This paradigm, identified as one of three schools of thought by the MIT study, is solely concerned with “winning wars and the desire to minimize the loss of lives of their nation’s soldiers.”

This view appeared to hold even when the scenario presented to the respondents was one in which the U.S. aggravated Iran via sanctions and Iran responded with a direct attack on a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 was also provoked via U.S.-led crippling economic restrictions on Japan, and even the number of military personnel killed in the hypothetical scenario MIT presented to subjects was the same as the number of U.S. personnel who died at Pearl Harbor (though this was not mentioned to respondents).

As we all know, this particular story ended with the complete destruction of Japan’s major cities through conventional bombing, as well as the nuclear decimation of two civilian populations. Also bear in mind that America’s modern day nukes are far more dangerous than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, meaning any future nuclear strike would have an even worse impact on the civilian population.

In addition to a majority of Americans’ willingness to use nuclear weapons on civilians, the survey found “an even larger percentage of Americans would approve of a conventional bombing attack designed to kill 100,000 Iranian civilians in the effort to intimidate Iran into surrendering.”

Read the full report What Americans Really Think About Using Nuclear Weapons And Killing below:

Top photo: Frank Gaffney, founder and CEO of the Center for Security Policy, speaks during a rally organized by Tea Party Patriots in on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015, to oppose the Iran nuclear agreement. (AP/Carolyn Kaster)

Voice of Sanity Missing in Korean Showdown

Posted on August 9, 2017

[ Ed. note – If you’re looking for a leader of enlightened wisdom, or even one who simply manages to display prudence and sanity on a somewhat regular basis, Donald Trump doesn’t seem to fit the bill. For all the foolhardy, misguided decisions he made in choosing his cabinet and staff, Trump’s threat to unleash “fire and fury” upon North Korea may be the stupidest move we’ve seen from him yet. In addition to Trump, Mattis, the Secretary of Defense, is threatening the “destruction” of the North Korean people, and if all that isn’t bad enough, the North Korean government is threatening to attack Guam. ]

***

Relations Between US and North Korea Deteriorate to New Low

Izvestia — translated by Inessa Sinchougova — Aug. 9, 2017

A meeting of the UN Security Council on the situation on the Korean peninsula has taken place in New York. A new cause for concern – the words of Donald Trump: they say, the US will respond to the dangers of the North Korea “by force, fury and fire,” which “the world has not yet seen.” In response, on North Korea’s Central Television, it was said: Pyongyang is ready to strike a missile at the US military base on Guam. How will this clattering with weapons end?

Angry rhetoric between the North Korea and the US has reached a new level. Now Pyongyang has announced to the States not just new missile tests, but a blow, the goal of which is quite specific.

“North Korea is developing a plan for a preemptive missile strike against US military facilities on the Pacific island of Guam, including the Andersen airbase, where strategic bombers are deployed,” Korean television reported.

The North Korean military said that they would use medium-range ballistic missiles Hwasong-12 for their purposes. Theoretically, the rocket can reach the island of Guam.

“The missile, Hwasong-12, is theoretically capable of flying to the island of Guam,” said military expert Ivan Konovalov. “It was already tested in May of this year, it flew only 700 kilometers. But it had a very steep trajectory. Experts say that the missile can “strike” at 4,500 kilometers. This missile – if it will be launched – will still be intercepted by the US missile defense THAAD, which is in South Korea. But this complex is precisely designed to intercept such missiles.”

However, even if the missile is intercepted, the consequences can be disastrous for both sides. The crisis will shift to a new level – from rhetoric to concrete actions.

Perhaps, it is precisely the continuation of a verbal skirmish, and not the development of the conflict, that is expected in Washington. Governor of Guam Edward Calvo said “I want to reassure people that there is currently no threat to our island. I remind you that there are several levels of protection that are strategically located to protect our island and our nation. An attack or threat on Guam is a threat or an attack on the United States. ”

The Secretary of State of the United States, Rex Tillerson, was quick to introduce clarity in the dialogue. His statement sounded much more gentle than the emotional statement of Trump. “The harsh statements by US President Donald Trump about North Korea do not mean that Washington will abandon attempts to settle the problem peacefully,” the US Secretary of State explained. “What the president is doing is a message to North Korea in a language that Kim Jong-un can understand, because he does not seem to understand the diplomatic language. ”

The possible development of the conflict on the Korean peninsula has already affected the Asian market. The Korean stock index, which includes more than 700 companies, fell by 0.8 percent. Outside military threat, the deterioration of the situation in the region can affect the profits of companies and reduce business activity in the region.

***

Breaking: North Korea Developing Final Plan to Hit Guam in Mid-August

By Adam Garrie – The Duran

North Korean media has announced that the leadership is finalising plans for hitting Guam with intermediate range missiles which are apparently to be launched in mid-August.

Sputnik quotes General Kim Rak Gyom who said the following to North Korean media,

“The Hwasong-12 rockets to be launched by the KPA (Korean People’s Army) will cross the sky above Shimane, Hiroshima and Koichi Prefectures of Japan.

They will fly 3,356.7 km (2,085.8 miles) for 1,065 seconds and hit the waters 30 to 40 km away from Guam”.

Several things are curious about this statement.

First of all, by stating that the preparations for the attack to apparently take place in mid-August are being made now, North Korea seems to be validating the Russian statement that it takes a significant amount of time for North Korea to launch missiles that countries like Russia, China and the US can generally launch in a matter of seconds or at the very most, a matter of hours, depending on the kind of warhead payload attacked to the missile in question.

Secondly, by telling the United States that it plans to launch an attack in the direction of Guam, the crucial element of surprise is totally lost.

North Korea further stated that Trump’s remarks threatening to hit north Korea with “fire and fury” the likes the world “has never seen before”, amount to “A load of nonsense”.

North Korea further stated that Donald Trump is only capable of understanding force, because he is “bereft of reason”. Such statements far from being classic North Korean rhetoric soudn a great deal like commentators on CNN and op-ed pieces in the Washington Post, New York Times and Guardian.

Sputnik reports,

“Pyongyang also said that America’s “frantic moves” on the Korean Peninsula will be reined by the action the North’s military “is about to take.”

First the communist nation will develop a plan for the historic “enveloping fire at Guam,” communicate the nuclear force of the attack to Kim, then, “wait for is order.”
The DPRK has said it will “keep closely watching the speech and behavior of the US.”

Earlier today, US Secretary of State James Mattis warned the North in a statement that they should “cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.”

He added, “While our State Department is making every effort to resolve this global threat through diplomatic means, it must be noted that the combined allied militaries now possess the most precise, rehearsed and robust defensive and offensive capabilities on Earth.  The DPRK regime’s actions will continue to be grossly overmatched by ours and would lose any arms race or conflict it initiates.”

Either this is the ultimate test of brinkmanship on both sides, or the world’s most dangerous game of chicken. This comes as Russia, China and Philippines repeat calls for dialogue as the only safe and sensible way forward.

The Syrian Test of Trump-Putin Accord

The U.S. mainstream media remains obsessed over Russia’s alleged “meddling” in last fall’s election, but the real test of bilateral cooperation may come on the cease-fire in Syria, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern

July 09, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – The immediate prospect for significant improvement in U.S.-Russia relations now depends on something tangible: Will the forces that sabotaged previous ceasefire agreements in Syria succeed in doing so again, all the better to keep alive the “regime change” dreams of the neoconservatives and liberal interventionists?

Or will President Trump succeed where President Obama failed by bringing the U.S. military and intelligence bureaucracies into line behind a cease-fire rather than allowing insubordination to win out?

These are truly life-or-death questions for the Syrian people and could have profound repercussions across Europe, which has been destabilized by the flood of refugees fleeing the horrific violence in the six-year proxy war that has ripped Syria apart.

But you would have little inkling of this important priority from the large page-one headlines Saturday morning in the U.S. mainstream media, which continued its long obsession with the more ephemeral question of whether Russian President Vladimir Putin would confess to the sin of “interference” in the 2016 U.S. election and promise to repent.

Thus, the headlines: “Trump, Putin talk election interference” (Washington Post) and “Trump asks Putin About Meddling During Election” (New York Times). There was also the expected harrumphing from commentators on CNN and MSNBC when Putin dared to deny that Russia had interfered.

In both the big newspapers and on cable news shows, the potential for a ceasefire in southern Syria – set to go into effect on Sunday – got decidedly second billing.

Yet, the key to Putin’s assessment of Donald Trump is whether the U.S. President is strong enough to make the mutually agreed-upon ceasefire stick. As Putin is well aware, to do so Trump will have to take on the same “deep-state” forces that cheerily scuttled similar agreements in the past. In other words, the actuarial tables for this cease-fire are not good; long life for the agreement will take something just short of a miracle.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will have to face down hardliners in both the Pentagon and CIA. Tillerson probably expects that Defense Secretary James “Mad-Dog” Mattis and CIA Director Mike Pompeo will cooperate by ordering their troops and operatives inside Syria to restrain the U.S.-backed “moderate rebels.”

But it remains to be seen if Mattis and Pompeo can control the forces their agencies have unleashed in Syria. If recent history is any guide, it would be folly to rule out another “accidental” U.S. bombing of Syrian government troops or a well-publicized “chemical attack” or some other senseless “war crime” that social media and mainstream media will immediately blame on President Bashar al-Assad.

Bitter Experience

Last fall’s limited ceasefire in Syria, painstakingly worked out over 11 months by Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and approved personally by Presidents Obama and Putin, lasted only five days (from Sept. 12-17) before it was scuttled by “coalition” air strikes on well-known, fixed Syrian army positions, which killed between 64 and 84 Syrian troops and wounded about 100 others.

In public remarks bordering on the insubordinate, senior Pentagon officials a few days before the air attack on Sept. 17, showed unusually open skepticism regarding key aspects of the Kerry-Lavrov agreement – like sharing intelligence with the Russians (an important provision of the deal approved by both Obama and Putin).

The Pentagon’s resistance and the “accidental” bombing of Syrian troops brought these uncharacteristically blunt words from Foreign Minister Lavrov on Russian TV on Sept. 26:

“My good friend John Kerry … is under fierce criticism from the U.S. military machine. Despite the fact that, as always, [they] made assurances that the U.S. Commander in Chief, President Barack Obama, supported him in his contacts with Russia … apparently the military does not really listen to the Commander in Chief.”

Lavrov specifically criticized Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, Gen. Joseph Dunford for telling Congress that he opposed sharing intelligence with Russia despite the fact, as Lavrov put it, “the agreements concluded on direct orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama [who] stipulated that they would share intelligence.” Noting this resistance inside the U.S. military bureaucracy, Lavrov added, “It is difficult to work with such partners.”

Putin picked up on the theme of insubordination in an Oct. 27 speech at the Valdai International Discussion Club, in which he openly lamented:

“My personal agreements with the President of the United States have not produced results. … people in Washington are ready to do everything possible to prevent these agreements from being implemented in practice.”

On Syria, Putin decried the lack of a “common front against terrorism after such lengthy negotiations, enormous effort, and difficult compromises.”

Lavrov’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, meanwhile, even expressed sympathy for Kerry’s quixotic effort, giving him an “A” for effort.after then-Defense Secretary Ashton Carter dispatched U.S. warplanes to provide an early death to the cease-fire so painstakingly worked out by Kerry and Lavrov for almost a year.

For his part, Kerry expressed regret – in words reflecting the hapless hubris befitting the chief envoy of the world’s “only indispensible” country – conceding that he had been unable to “align” all the forces in play.

With the ceasefire in tatters, Kerry publicly complained on Sept. 29, 2016: “Syria is as complicated as anything I’ve ever seen in public life, in the sense that there are probably about six wars or so going on at the same time – Kurd against Kurd, Kurd against Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sunni, Shia, everybody against ISIL, people against Assad, Nusra [Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate]. This is as mixed-up sectarian and civil war and strategic and proxies, so it’s very, very difficult to be able to align forces.”

Admitting Deep-State Pre-eminence

Only in December 2016, in an interview with Matt Viser of the Boston Globe, did Kerry admit that his efforts to deal with the Russians had been thwarted by then-Defense Secretary Ashton Carter – as well as all those forces he found so difficult to align.

“Unfortunately we had divisions within our own ranks that made the implementation [of the ceasefire agreement] extremely hard to accomplish,” Kerry said. “But it … could have worked. … The fact is we had an agreement with Russia … a joint cooperative effort.

“Now we had people in our government who were bitterly opposed to doing that,” he said. “I regret that. I think that was a mistake. I think you’d have a different situation there conceivably now if we’d been able to do that.”

The Globe’s Viser described Kerry as frustrated. Indeed, it was a tough way for Kerry to end nearly 34 years in public office.

After Friday’s discussions with President Trump, Kremlin eyes will be focused on Secretary of State Tillerson, watching to see if he has better luck than Kerry did in getting Ashton Carter’s successor, James “Mad Dog” Mattis and CIA’s latest captive-director Pompeo into line behind what President Trump wants to do.

As the new U.S.-Russia agreed-upon ceasefire goes into effect on Sunday, Putin will be eager to see if this time Trump, unlike Obama, can make a ceasefire in Syria stick; or whether, like Obama, Trump will be unable to prevent it from being sabotaged by Washington’s deep-state actors.

The proof will be in the pudding and, clearly, much depends on what happens in the next few weeks. At this point, it will take a leap of faith on Putin’s part to have much confidence that the ceasefire will hold. 

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington.  As a CIA analyst for 27 years, he led the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and, during President Ronald Reagan’s first term, conducted the early morning briefings with the President’s Daily Brief.  He now serves on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

This article was first published by Consortium News 

See also – New study shows Clinton lost election because of growing working class opposition to war

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

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TheSaker: I sure hope that I am wrong, but…

TheSaker: I sure hope that I am wrong, but…

03.07.2017

Written by TheSaker; Originally appeared at The Unz Review

The talk of the week is the upcoming meeting between Presidents Trump and Putin on the sidelines of the G20 conference this Friday.  There have been some very good articles already written on this topic, I particularly recommend Adam Garrie’s “5 obstacles Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin will have to address in their meeting” for The Duran and Israel Shamir’s “What Would Putin Tell Trump?” for The Unz Review.  It is undeniable that the fact that these two men will finally meet is an event of immense significance and importance for the future not only of US-Russian relations, but even for the future or mankind.

Or is it?

I have to be honest here and say that my expectations are pretty close to zero.  Oh sure, they will smile, probably a lot, and some minor issues, such as the seizure of the Russian diplomatic residence in the USA, will be resolved.  Probably.  There might even be some kind of positive sounding sounds about “reaffirming the Minsk Agreement” or “fighting ISIS in Syria”, but compared to long list of truly vital issues which need to be urgently discussed and resolved, this will, I am afraid, be as close to nothing as it can get.  Why do I say that?

First, we should all stop kidding ourselves, Russia and the USA do not have “disagreements”.  The sad and frightening reality is that we are now closer to war than during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Not only are Russian and US servicemen now deployed in the same war zone (the Americans totally illegally), but unlike what happened during the Cuban Missile Crisis we have a US President who terminally lacks the willpower to deal with the crazies on the US side, I am talking about the Neocons, of course.  In fact, under Kennedy there were no real Neocons to tackle to begin with.  Now they are running the White House while Trump serves them coffee or watches TV in another room (I am jocking of course, but just barely).  In this context, to meet on the “sidelines” of a G20 conference is bordering on the criminally irresponsible.  What the world would need is for Trump and Putin to meet in a “Camp David” like format for at least 3-5 days with all their key advisors and officials.  Even if we assume a 100% of good will on both sides, meeting on the “sidelines” of an already big conference just won’t make it possible to get anything done.  In the very best of cases Lavrov and Tillerson could have done most of the hard work away from the public eye, but the truth is that the Russians say that so far the two sides have not even agreed upon an agenda.

Second, it is absolutely clear that the US Ziomedia and Congress will declare any, any, positive outcome from the meeting as “Trump caved in to Putin” and try to get a pound of political flesh out of Trump for it.  So for Trump any external success will mean an internal disaster.  And we already know that the man does not have what it takes to deal with such attacks.  Frankly, his only “tactic”, so to speak, to deal with the Neocons has been to try to appease them.  So short of Trump asking for political asylum in Russia and joining Snowden somewhere in Russia, I don’t see him ever taking any independent action.

Third, if we look at the people around Trump it is pretty clear that the only intelligent and rational person in the White House is Rex Tillerson.  The rest of them are lunatics, maniacs and imbeciles – the current US, what shall I call it, “actions” (can’t call it a “policy”) towards Syria clearly prove that the Executive Branch is completely out of control.  We now can clearly see that Mattis and McMaster are not these military geniuses presented to us by the Ziomedia but that, in fact, they are both phenomenally incompetent and that their views of the conflicts in Syria and even Afghanistan can only be characterized as totally lacking anything remotely resembling any kind of vision. Yet these two “geniuses” seem to be in charge.  For all his intelligence, Tillerson can’t even reign in this Nikki idiot at the United Nations.  We should stop kidding ourselves and stop pretending like there is anybody to talk to for the Russians.  At best, they are dealing with a Kindergarten.  At worst, they are dealing with an evil Kindergarten.  But either way, there is nobody to talk to on the US side, much less so somebody to begin solving the many issues which need solving.

I will admit that I did have high hopes for Trump and his apparent willingness to sit down and have an adult conversation with Russians.  I was especially inspired by Trump’s repeated rejection of the Ziomedia’s narrative about Russia and by what appeared to me as his “no nonsense” approach towards getting things done.  I wrote many articles for this blog saying that having hopes (not expectations!) for Trump was the right thing to do.  And, frankly, I think that at the time it was.  Last Fall I even wrote an entire chapter on this topic in the book “If I were King: Advice for President Trump“.   The big difference is that before his election we could only judge Trump by his words.  Now, however, we can judge him by his words and his actions and the latter show us a consistent pattern of supine subservience to the Neocons and their demands, from the betrayal of his friend and key advisor Flynn, to the recent threats to bomb Syria for, allegedly, “preparing” to use chemical munitions against civilians.

This might be his, shall we call it, “Las Vegas culture” – but Trump is all about form over substance and appearance over facts.  Just look at his frankly pathetic threats (with no less than 3 aircraft carrier strike groups!) against the DPRK or his half-assed missile strike on the Syrian airbase: it’s all a big show, nothing more.  No wonder the man likes “tweeting” – he seems to think in 140 character long “thought clusters”…

None of that would be too bad if the USA, and the West generally, had a halfway decent media and a Legislative Branch worthy of its name.  In theory, these could raise hell and demand that the President either resign or begin doing his job.  But, of course, they don’t and they won’t.  They hate Trump, of course, but they also own him.  He can make fun of them in “tweets” on his free time, but in terms of his policies he does exactly what they want.  And the very last thing they want is any kind of “detente” with Russia.  At most, they will impeach Trump just to humiliate him, but that’s about it.  They don’t even need to play their “Pence” card – Trump is what is colloquially known in US ghettos as their “punk-ass bitch”.

Ever since the ill-fated “GWOT” more or less petered out, Russia has become the indispensable bogeyman to terrify the public and justify multi-billion dollar corruption schemes.  Not only that, but a “resurgent Russia” is the cornerstone justification of the AngloZionist paranoia about a need to spend more on the war state, the police state and, of course, on corporate greed.  The powers that be are even re-heating old, Cold War era, scaring techniques:

The Defense Intelligence Agency has recently released a “Russian Military Power 2017” report. Since it is pretty well written, I actually recommend that you download and read it: it is a mix of pretty good information about the Russian Armed Forces and the garden variety nonsense about Russian hackers and their cyber-threat to US and its allies.  Just set aside the clearly politically-induced nonsense and you are left with a rather well made summary of what the Russian Armed Forces are up to these days.

I have to thank the DIA for this report: it made me feel young again, like I was in the 1980s when all the student of warfare and of the Soviet military were reading these annual “Soviet Military Power” reports with great interest.  But other than making some of us feel young, the real purpose of this document is clear and it is the very same one behind the Cold War era “Soviet Military Power” series: to justify an increase in “defense” (i.e. “aggression”) spending by showing how scary these evil Commies/Russikies were/are.

This would all be rather funny, and nostalgic in a way, if it did not show the total lack of imagination of the folks at the Pentagon.  Far from coming up with anything novel or interesting, they are bringing back into service stuff which for years had been collecting dust in the memories of now mostly retired Cold Warriors.  It is rather pathetic, really.

Over the past 30 years or so, Russia went from being the Soviet Union, to being a Somalia-like “democratic hell” during the 1990s, to becoming a completely new entity – a “New Russia” which is dramatically different from the Soviet Union of the 1980s. 

In contrast, the USA got completely stuck in its old patterns, except for this time they are “the same, but even worse”.  If the USA did not have nukes that would almost be okay (after all, the world can let “Uncle Sam” slowly lose his sclerotic brain, who cares?) but when a nuclear superpower is acting like an out-of-control rogue state, this is very, very, scary.

So back to our G20 meeting again.  The first thing which needs to be said is that Trump is weak, extremely weak: he goes in with the Ziomedia and Congress hating him and with a basically treacherous White House team clearly controlled by Pence, Kushner and the rest of the Neocon crazies.  To make things worse, Trump can offer the Russians absolutely nothing they would want or need.

Please don’t buy this sanctions canard.  The damage these sanctions could do they have already done.  The simple truth is that Russia has already survived the sanctions and come out even stronger, this is confirmed by international organizations and by the private sector. In fact, removing the sanctions right now would hurt the Russian economy far more, especially the agricultural sector, which has greatly benefited from the de-facto protectionist protection provided to the Russian economy by these sanctions.  Likewise, the Russian defense industry has successfully adapted to the total severance by the Ukronazi regime of all the defense contracts with Russia and now 100% Russian military systems and parts are being produced in Russia at a cheaper price and of a higher quality.  Besides, since Congress and UN Nikki have made it pretty darn clear that sanctions will remain in place until Russia agrees to return Crimea to the Ukraine, nothing will change until the current Ukraine finally breaks into three of four parts.

Trump could, in theory, offer the Russians to stop sabotaging the peace process in Syria and the Russians would surely welcome that.  But since the US policy of illegal air and missile strikes combined with a deployment of US forces on the ground in Syria is failing anyway, see here and here, the Russians are going to get what they want whether the US wants it or not.

As for the Ukraine, the situation there is so bad that an increasing number of specialists are saying that even the US has lost control of Banderastan and that now it’s going to be all about intra-Ukie power plays: the social, political, military, cultural and economic disaster has reach what I would call an “escape velocity” when the various processes taking place are basically chaotic, unpredictable and unmanageable.  I am personally very dubious that the Americans would have anything to offer the Russians.

How about the other way around?  What could the Russians offer Trump?

Again, I am afraid that nothing much either.

Russian foreign policies are all centered around the development of a multi-polar world and Putin is now extremely busy dealing with some seriously important matters.  So what can Putin offer Trump?  A promise not to invade Lithuania?  Trump knows that there never was any such threat to begin with.  It’s not like Putin can agree to pretend not to see the constant inflow of NATO forces and equipment into eastern Europe as the latter constitute a serious threat to the Russian national security.  Could the Russian promise that they won’t fly over the Baltic without their transponders on?  Hardly, since the first ones to switch off their transponders were the Americans.  What about a Russian promise not to intercept Secretary of Defense Mattis’ civilian transport aircraft over international waters?  But wait – that was the other way around, it’s NATO (a Polish F-16 actually) which intercepted Shoigu’s aircraft over the Baltic Sea during a long announced and official trip from mainland Russia to Kaliningrad (and who then ran away as soon as a Russian SU-27 showed the missiles it was carrying under it’s wings which by convention means “get the hell out of here or I shoot you down“), so its not the Russians, but the American who need to reign in their yapping poodle.

[Sidebar: I have never been a big admirer of Polish politicians, but now Poland is reaching truly historical lows in terms of cowardice, dishonor and plain stupidity; from their “war on statues“, to their idiotic accusation that the Russian ATC deliverately crashed an official Polish aircraft ( resulting form their categorical inability to accept that their own politicians gave a stupid order to their pilots) to Prime Minister Kazinsky’s war on “cyclists and vegetarians“, to the resurrection of the extremely dangerous “Three Seas” plan – Poland is constantly up to the no good and self-deafeningly stupid.  But then, what are we to expect from a country which considers a character like Pilsudksi as a national hero?  Sadly, Poland is repeating its worst historical mistake: the one of constantly trying to trigger a conflict between the West and Russia (apparently, history has taught them nothing).  So now, the tiny Polish poodle is barking at the Russian Bear convinced that Uncle Sam and the West will protect him if the bear comes down charging.  Truly, human stupidity is limitless].

I think I can guess what the Americans want: a partition of Syria, if not de jure then de factoI don’t think that this will work.  For one thing, the Americans are (yet again) overlooking the fact that the main actor in Syria is not Russia but Iran and Iran has no reason whatsoever to agree to any such partition.  Neither do the Russians, of course.  The only ones truly interested in a partition of Syria are,who else, the Israelis and since they are now back in charge of the White House, they are the ones pushing for this “solution”.  But that is something Turkey and Iran cannot accept as this would not only create a “Wahabistan” in eastern Syria, but also some kind of Kurdistan in the north – hardly a recipe for peace.  And, finally, let’s not forget the Syrians themselves.  They perfectly understand that any partition of their homeland would leave them squeezed between Israel in the southwest and some kind of crazy Daesh pretend-caliphate in the northeast – why would they ever accept such a rotten and, not to mention, unsustainable deal?

For the Americans, of course, it’s the other way around: since they could not get the black flag of Daesh to fly over Damascus they see the partition of Syria as the only acceptable outcome.  They will therefore oppose any peace process, especially one crafted by Russia, Iran and Turkey, with every ugly trick in their bag.

So, will the upcoming meeting yield nothing, nothing at all?

It will yield the fact that the two leaders spoke to each other, face to face.  That is not unimportant.  I also have some hopes for some type of ‘deconfliction’ agreements between Russia and the US/NATO (switch they bloody transponders on again!).  If we can get resumption of some kind of talks between NATO and Russia it would also be a good thing, even if nothing much concrete is achieved by this.  I suspect that Trump would love the ditch the Ukraine, but he can’t do that on political reasons.  If the Russians can con the Americans to endorse, even just verbally, the Astana talks on Syria that would be good because it would make it marginally harder for the Pentagon and/or the CIA to engage in false flag chemical attacks or any other such nonsense.  Am I missing something?  Yeah, probably some kind of  “cultural exchanges” (that’s when diplomats are truly desperate and have nothing else to offer) or a common plan to protect polar bears (thank God for small things all the same!).

The Russians will probably try to get Trump into agreeing to some kind of new UN Resolution on Syria, but since we all know that the USA disregards UN resolutions anyway, it won’t be much of a victory, even if it will feel good for a while.

I hope I am wrong, really wrong, totally wrong even.  I will be watching the (hopefully joint) press conference of Trump and Putin on Friday with a tiny leftover and paradoxical spark of hope that maybe, just maybe, Trump has something good left inside him.  But I won’t be holding my breath.  They say that hope dies last.  Maybe.  I will find out on Friday.

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