ISIS in the Philippines–Christians Taken Hostage

It seems ISIS-affiliated terror groups have launched a major attack in the Philippines, on the southern island of Mindanao. President Rodrigo Duterte has invoked martial law on the entire island and sent in government troops, and reports have been coming out of pitched battles, particularly in the city of Marawi.

“But the government troops were surprised when they encountered a 100-strong Maute force armed with high-powered weapons”–so reports the New York Times today. The Philippine Maute terror group, also known as the Islamic State of Lanao, is affiliated with ISIS. Coincidentally, it seems the group has now acquired high-powered weaponry it didn’t possess before.

The attack comes, coincidentally, as Duterte has moved to align the Philippines toward Russia and China, and even–also coincidentally–as Duterte was on a state visit to Russia, no less! A lot of coincidences there for a coincidence theorist, but if you are among those who still retain normal cognitive abilities, it would appear that the US has launched a regime change operation in the Philippines.

Coincidentally, the mainstream media have been attacking Duterte for his anti-drug campaign, and coincidentally also NGOs like Human Rights Watch have been chiming in, and coincidentally as well, the attack comes mere days after Duterte gave this interview with RT:

The US needs to quit trying to boss the rest of the world around, and above all else it needs to get out of the regime-change business. The National Endowment for Democracy should be de-funded and dismantled. But I don’t see any of this happening until some sort of radical change takes place in the United States–and it doesn’t look like we can expect any radical changes coming out of the Trump administration.

Not-so-coincidentally, the terrorists have reportedly taken a priest and several parishioners hostage. Father Chito Suganob and others were in the Cathedral of Our Lady Help of Christians when members of the Maute fighting group forced their way into the Cathedral, taking with them Father Chito and others as hostages,” a statement on the official website of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said.

Undated photo of Catholic Church in the city of Marawi, Mindanao Island, in the Philippines.

According to a report here:

Marawi Bishop Edwin de la Peña said he received a call last night from one of the militants, who introduced himself as “a member of the ISIS”, and demanded for a “unilateral ceasefire”.

“They want a ceasefire and for the military to give them access out of Marawi. Otherwise, they will kill the hostages,” Marawi Bishop Edwin de la Peña said.

The prelate said the call was made shortly before 8pm on Tuesday using the phone of his secretary who is among the hostages.

Members of the Maute group forced their way into the church and the bishop’s residence yesterday, and took with them Fr. Chito Suganob, some staff of the cathedral and churchgoers.

Dela Peña said the hostages are being used as “human shield” by the militants.

Odd isn’t it–that the US, which once held at least the trappings of being a Christian nation, now supports terrorists who attack Christians.

While the fate of the Christians is unknown, RT is reporting that government troops have rescued 78 hostages from a hospital in Marawi, as well as 42 others from a school:

Government forces managed to rescue 78 civilians from the Amai Pakpak Medical Center where the terrorists tried to use them as human shields as the army moved in, Western Mindanao Command chief, Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., said according to the PhilStar daily.

The troops also secured 42 teachers who had taken refuge and got trapped at Dansalan College after the city was engulfed in violence.

In a report published today, the New York Times calls the battle on the southern island a “test for Duterte.” Not surprisingly, the article includes a quote from Human Rights Watch:

Mr. Duterte’s “casual reference to the late dictator should be especially alarming,” said James Ross of Human Rights Watch, which is based in New York.

And it also gives publicity to opposition politicians:

Already, several lawmakers have voiced concern, with the opposition leader Francis Pangilinan vowing to “vigorously oppose a nationwide martial law declaration.”

“While there may be isolated terrorist acts in these areas, there exists no Visayas-wide nor a Luzon-wide invasion or rebellion to merit a declaration of martial law,” Mr. Pangilinan said, referring to the president’s threat to expand military rule to the central and northern islands to cover the entire country.

It is a familiar playbook, and it seems to be in play now in the Philippines.

RESULTS OF RUSSIAN MILITARY CAMPAIGN IN SYRIA: OCTOBER 21, 2016 – MAY 26, 2017

This video is the continuation of our previous analysis: “Results of Russian Military Campaign in Syria: Sep. 30, 2015 – Oct. 20, 2016

While the war in Syria is far from over, the events of October 2016 through May 2017 will likely be described as its turning point that enabled the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance to assume strategic offensive and dictate the tempo of operations. In turn, various rebel forces, including Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) and Ahrar al-Sham are no longer displaying the ability to launch offensive operations capable of yielding major results.

On October 28 2016, Jabhat Al Nusra, Ahrar Al Sham and Free Syrian Army groups launched a major attack on Aleppo in order to break the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) siege on the rebel-held part of the city. By October 31, the militants captured the Binyamin industrial zone, half of the Binyamin district and most of the Dahyat al Assad district. When the first assault was blunted, Jabhat al-Nusra and its allies launched the second phase of the attack in western Aleppo on November 3.  However, it had failed to break the siege, as the SAA and allied forces continued to keep key roads and intersections leading to the besieged rebel-held areas under observation and fire.

On November 6, 2016, the SAA and its allies launched counter-attack. By November 8, the Binyamin district, al-Hikmah school, and nearly all of Dahyat Al Assad were retaken, while by November 12 the SAA recovered all the territory it lost in the Aleppo area.

The final phase of the Aleppo operation started on November 15, and by December 12, the militants’ defenses in East Aleppo have collapsed. On December 22, the SAA could finally claim complete control of Aleppo city following a militant evacuation from the city.

While the liberation of the city of Aleppo was the greatest success of this period of the war. Furthermore, it had an important implication in both military and diplomatic fields. Jabhat al-Nusra and other militant groups have burned a large number of military equipment and manpower in failed attempts to break the Aleppo siege. They lost a major part of experienced infantry and spent a large amount of weapons, including anti-tank guided missiles and Grad-type rockets, during the battle for Aleppo. This predetermined their defensive posture during next months of the war.

The temporary loss of Palmyra was the biggest setback of the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance.  Taking advantage of the heavy commitment of the SAA and its allies on reducing the Aleppo pocket, ISIS launched an attack on the city of Palmyra on December 8, capturing it by December 11, with the high point of their advance being the attack on the T-4 airbase that began on December 22—not coincidentally, the same day that the complete liberation of the city of Aleppo permitted the SAA to reallocate resources toward other pressing operational problems. These newly freed up forces, as well as formations of the 5th Assault Corps (also known as the 5th Legion), with the help of the Russian Aerospace Forces, were able to repel the attack on T-4 and ultimately liberate Palmyra for the second time on March 1, 2017. In order to prevent the reoccurrence of the Palmyra disaster, the SAA continued to clear territory adjacent to the ancient city, capturing Al Shaer gas field in its northwest, and reaching Arak gas field in its east and Huwaysis village south of it.

In order to step up pressure against ISIS and compel it to divert forces from other fronts, SAA and the Tiger Forces launched a large-scale military operation against ISIS in the eastern countryside of Aleppo on January 17.  Another aim of the operation was to limit Turkish Army’s foray into Syrian territory as part of the Euphrates Shield operation, which led to Al-Bab from ISIS.

The SAA continued its advance in eastern Aleppo countryside, where it captured the town of Tadif south of Al-Bab town on 26 February and reached SDF positions south of Manbij the following day after the jointly capturing several villages. On March 2, Syrian border guards deployed in 15 villages west of Manbij to separating Euphrates Shield forces from SDF. By May 24, the SAA succeeded in liberating over 90 villages in eastern Aleppo countryside, rapidly pushing to the ISIS-held town of Maskanah that remained the last terrorist group stronghold in the province. It liberation will open for the Tiger Force the way to the province of Raqqah and the central Syria from Aleppo and allow to secure the strategic Ithriyah-Aleppo road.

Possibly sensing that the collapse of rebel forces in Aleppo meant that the SAA’s attention would soon turn to the Hama Province, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Jaish al-Izza and Ahrar al-Sham launched a new attack to reach the city of Hama on 21 March 2017, and managed to capture a large area, including the villages of Souran, Khatab, Rahba, Kawkab and Muardes within three days, before SAA reinforcements deprived the offensive of its momentum. Subsequent rebel attacks failed with heavy losses. The March 21 SAA counterattack was able to retake Khattab. The SAA liberated Muardes on April 11 after prolonged fighting within the city, and continued on to Souran, Taibat al-Imam on April 17, Halfaya on April 22 before its own offensive lost momentum. Thus, government forces reversed all militant gains and even liberated additional areas.

The SAA also fought two swift battles in the vicinity of Damascus that forced evacuation agreements in Khan Al-Shieh on November 30 and the Barada Valley north of Damascus on January 29. On May 13, the SAA took control of important areas of Qaboun and Tishreen in eastern Damascus because of a swift military operation and an evacuation agreement that followed it. During the same month, militants evacuated from the al-Waer neighborhood of Homs and the SAA got a full control over this city.

This phase of the war brought to an end with the May 5, 2017, agreement on safe zones that encompasses Idlib, Daraa, Northern Homs countryside, Damascus, and Eastern Ghouta. The combined effect of the victories and safe-zones will likely be to finally enable the SAA to press eastward to lift the ISIS siege of Deir Ezzor. What has been dubbed by some pro-government sources as Operation Lavender will begin with the liberation of Al-Sukhnah 50km east of the city of Palmyra before proceeding toward Deir Ezzor.

Thus in some ways the current military situation is vastly better than it was in October of last year, thanks to the liberation of Aleppo, the reduction of several rebel-held enclaves, and the heavy losses inflicted on ISIS on several fronts. The operations of the next six months will potentially have to contend with a factor that hitherto was absent, namely the growing presence of US-led coalition troops on Syrian territory.

The US-led coalition has responded to the SAA victories with intensification of operations in southeastern Syria with a goal to build a buffer zone between Syrian government forces and the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units that are rapidly growing to the most influential force in Iraq. The Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance realized the thereat and intensified operations in the area. At the same time, the Syrian Democratic Forces with a large support of the US-led coalition’s airpower, artillery and special forces troops are preparing to storm the ISIS self-proclaimed capital of Raqqah. The competition for the Syrian-Iraqi border and for the oil-reach Deir Ezzor province has officially started.

Syrian government forces resume military operation in rural Damascus (VIDEO)

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (3:20 A.M.) – Syrian Arab Army (SAA) restarted its military operations in East Ghouta region in Damascus countryside after a brief hiatus.

On Friday afternoon, units of 105th brigade of the Republican Guard alongside with Palestine Liberation Army (PLA) and National Defense Forces (NDF) launched a powerful attack on islamist-held positions in Beit Nayem town and its surroundings.

As a result of intense clashes with jihadist militants, government forces were able to advance capturing a string of positions and reaching outskirts of the town.

Below is the video footage of SAA’s operations in the area:

Beit Nayem is located on the southern edge of militant-held East Ghouta enclave (see map). Ten days ago it already became a target of Syrian Army’s attack; however, government troops were not able to capture the town back then as they had faced fierce resistance of the militants.

Multiple violations of the de-escalation agreement by islamists in the area made this town a legal aim for an assault. Besides, Beit Nayem is partially controlled by Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS, Syrian Al-Qaeda branch) jihadist group which is not a part of the agreement and is a legal target by all means.

Click here for a complete interactive map of Syria.

 

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ترامب يؤكد الثوابت الاستراتيجية الأميركية ويتّجه لتجرّع كأس السمّ الأكبر

محمد صادق الحسيني

مايو 27, 2017

عندما ينظر المرء الى الضجيج الإعلامي وما يرافقه من تصريحات للمسؤولين الأميركيين، تبدو متناقضة وعصية على الفهم، يتهيّأ للمرء أن إدارة ترامب الجديدة تعاني من تخبّط في خطابها السياسي ورؤيتها الاستراتيجية عموماً، وتلك المتعلقة بالشرق الاوسط وبمنطق الأزمات الأخرى في العالم، ابتداء بأزمة القرن وأوكرانيا، مروراً بموضوع الاتفاق النووي مع إيران، وصولاً إلى الغطرسة التي يمارسها الوحش الإمبريالي الأميركي في منطقة شبه الجزيرة الكورية وبحر الصين الجنوبي.

ولكن حقيقة الأمر، أي جوهر السياسة الأميركية المتعلقة بمناطق التوتر المشار إليها أعلاه. هي أن الاستراتيجية الأميركية لم يطرأ عليها أي تغيّر على الإطلاق. إذ إن ثوابت السياسة الخارجية الأميركية التي كانت متّبعة من الإدارات الأميركية السابقة لا زالت على حالها تماماً. علماً أن هذه الثوابت او الأهداف الاستراتيجية معنى الهدف الاستراتيجي هو: الهدف النهائي لكامل مسرح العمليات في كل أنحاء ميدان الصراع أو الحرب، والذي هو في هذه الحالة في العالم بأسره… أي الهدف الذي يؤدي تحقيقه الى السيطرة الكاملة على مسرح العمليات… أي النصر على العدو . نقول إن تلك الأهداف تتمثل في ما يلي:

أولاً: الحفاظ على أمن القاعدة العسكرية الإمبريالية المقامة على أرض فلسطين والمسماة «اسرائيل»، لكونها إحدى اهم ادوات الاستعمار القديم والجديد في تفتيت العالم العربي والإسلامي وهدر إمكانياته ومنعه من التطور والتنمية، وبالتالي منعه من التحوّل كتلة دولية ولاعباً أساسياً اقتصادياً وسياسياً وعسكرياً.

ثانياً: السيطرة على منابع النفط والغاز في المنطقة الممتدة من سواحل البحر الأبيض المتوسط الشرقية وصولاً لحدود الصين الغربية. وذلك ليس لضمان تدفق النفط الى الدول الغربية واستمرار نهب ثروات الدول المنتجة لهاتين المادتين الهامتين استراتيجياً أي على صعيد كامل مسرح العمليات الدولي وإنما لاستعمال مصادر الطاقة المذكورة في الصراع الدولي الحالي وفي صراع الولايات المتحدة المقبل مع الصين. إذ إن الولايات المتحدة بشكل خاص والدول الغربية بشكل عام تخشى من التطور الاقتصادي الهائل الذي تحققه الصين خاصة بِعد ان وصل حجم اقتصادها الى حجم الاقتصاد الأميركي مما يجعل من الصين القوة الاقتصادية الاولى على صعيد العالم، والتي لا تمكن منافستها على المستوى التجاري، وذلك للعديد من الأسباب التي لا مجال لمعالجتها هنا.

ثالثاً: المحافظة على التحالف السياسي والعسكري مع الدول العربية الرجعية والعميلة للاستعمار، وذلك للحفاظ على القواعد الأميركية والغربية الأخرى الموجودة في تلك الدول منذ خمسينيات القرن الماضي… وخاصة في السعودية وجنوب اليمن قبل التحرير، وكذلك في ما أصبح يُعرف بدولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة قبل أن «تستقل» عن التاج البريطاني سنة ١٩٧١. تلك القواعد التي عادت إلى مستوى نشاطها في فترة الخمسينيات والستينيات من القرن الماضي لا بل إنها وسعت كثيراً من هذا النشاط، بحيث أصبحت تستعمل للعدوان المباشر وشن الهجمات البرية والبحرية وأجواء على العديد من الدول العربية كما حصل في غزو العراق وفي حرب تموز ٢٠٠٦ ضد لبنان، حيث قامت قيادة المنطقة الوسطى في الجيش الأميركي المسؤولة عن منطقة الشرق الأوسط بتزويد الجيش «الإسرائيلي» بكميات كبيرة من الأسلحة والذخائر، خاصة صواريخ جو أرض، المخزنة في قواعد الجيش الأميركي في العراق قبل الانسحاب الأميركي من العراق طبعاً والسعودية وقطر وصولاً الى الهجمات الاميركية الجوية والبحرية المستمرة ضد اليمن حتى قبل بدء العدوان الأميركي السعودي الواسع على هذا البلد العربي الصامد والمنتصر بإذن الله.

وليس آخراً العدوان الأميركي على الشعب الليبي ومقدراته جواً وبحراً، انطلاقاً من القواعد الاميركية إياها والتي تواصل عدوانها على سيادة الدولة السورية براً وجواً وبحراً وتمعن تقتيلاً في مواطني قلعة العروبة الصامدة سورية.

كل هذا خدمة لمصالح الولايات المتحدة والدول الغربية الاستعمارية الآنية وكذلك كحلقة في عمليات التطويق الاستراتيجي للصين من خلال تثبيت قواعدهم العسكرية في عموم منطقة غرب آسيا وصولاً إلى حدود الصين الغربية والشمالية الغربية وذلك في إطار الاستعدادات للمواجهة مع الصين مستقبلاً. فمن المعروف أن الطبيعة الامبريالية العدوانية للولايات المتحدة والدول الغربية الأخرى لا يمكنها أن تبحث وسائل للتعاون المشترك في حل المعضلات الدولية عن طريق الحوار والتفاهم وإنما تبحث دائماً عن حجج وأعذار لشنّ مزيد من الحروب التي تخدم طبيعتهم الجامحة نحو السيطرة على الشعوب وإخضاعها…

اذاً، هذه هي الاستراتيجية الأميركية الجديدة القديمة ذات الثوابت غير القابلة للتغيير، بينما أدوات تحقيق هذه الاستراتيجية هي التي تتغيّر ويتم تطويعها كي تلائم كل مرحلة من مراحل الصراع سواء في «الشرق الاوسط» او على صعيد العالم. أي أن التغيير الذي طرأ على السياسات الأميركية قد اقتصر على تعديلات على الأساليب والأدوات المستخدمة في تحقيق الأهداف الاستراتيجية الأميركية. وقد شملت هذه التعديلات المناحي التالية:

١ التحول من الدخول في حروب واسعة ومكلفة جدا، على الصعيدين البشري والمالي، وغير مضمونة النجاح كما حصل في حربي أفغانستان والعراق، الى ضربات عسكرية محدودة جوية او بحرية او باستخدام القوات الخاصة والقوات المحمولة جوا للقيام بعمليات خاطفة في ارض العدو او خلف خطوط العدو.

اي ان الولايات المتحدة لن تقوم بإرسال عشرات آلاف الجنود الأميركيين الى اي مكان في العالم بعد اليوم بل ستعتمد الأسلوب الموضح أعلاه.

٢ الاعتماد على القوى المحلية العميلة للإمساك بالأرض تحت قيادة أميركية، وبغض النظر عما إذا كانت هذه القوى العميلة «دولاً» كالسعودية ومشيخات الخليج والأردن، أو ميليشيات محلية كداعش والنصرة ومسمياتها الأخرى الى جانب ما يطلق عليه جيش سورية الجديد وجيش الجنوب وغيره من التسميات المشبوهة السائرة في مشاريع فرض السيطرة على الوطن العربي.

٣ فتنة الحرب، أي زيادة استعار الحرب بين مكونات المجتمعات العربية، كما فعلت الولايات المتحدة في فيتنام، أي تسليح فئات لتحارب فئات أخرى في مختلف الدول العربية. وهذا ما بدأته الولايات المتحدة عندما أوجدت داعش والنصرة في العراق ثم في سورية وبقية الدول العربية. وهذا هو هدفها الحالي من وراء عمليات التسليح والتدريب لقوى عشائرية بعينها في سورية والعراق وبالتعاون مع الاردن ومن دون التنسيق لا مع الحكومة السورية ولا مع الحكومة العراقية…

ولكن على الرغم من كل المؤامرات التي تقوم بها الولايات المتحدة بالتعاون مع أذنابها المحليين من صهاينة وعثمانيين جدد ورجعية عربية، إلا أن كل مشاريعهم هذه محكومة بالفشل المحتوم وذلك للأسباب التالية:

– تماسك وصمود محور المقاومة الأسطوري، وكذلك ثبات الموقف الروسي الداعم لسورية والعراق في مواجهة مشاريع الهيمنة والإخضاع القسري.

– محدودية المقدرة العسكرية الأميركية في ميادين القتال ما يؤدي الى محدودية الدور الأميركي في عملية الصراع السياسي. إذ إن الهزيمة او الهزائم المتلاحقة التي لحقت بعصابات الاٍرهاب التابعة للولايات المتحدة وأذنابها الإقليميين من داعش الى النصرة إلى آخر قائمة مسمّيات تنظيمات الجريمة والتخريب قد وصلت إلى حد أن الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة قد وجدت نفسها مضطرة للتدخل الصاروخي في الميدان السوري، على أمل ان تحافظ على دور لها في العملية السياسية السورية التي لا بد أن تتم بعد إلحاق الهزيمة الكاملة بقوى الإرهاب العميلة والدول والقوى العميلة للإرهاب في الوطن العربي.

– الوجود العسكري الروسي الكثيف والفاعل في الميدان السوري.

– وكذلك الدعم الإيراني المتعدد الوجوه للدولة والجيش السوري وما لإيران من وجود فاعل على الارض، وما لتضحيات القيادة الايرانية والعسكريين الإيرانيين وشهدائهم.

– أي أن الأميركي ورغم عنترياته وألعابه النارية من توماهوك الى غيره، والتي لا تخيف الأسود وإنما تعبر عن ارتفاع الياس والقنوط الذي يصيبه نتيجة قناعته بفشل مشاريعة الشرق أوسطية الأخرى، نقول إنه رغم ذلك مضطر للحوار ليس مع روسيا فقط وإنما مع إيران أيضاً ولو بشكل غير مباشر عندما يحين الوقت وتأزف الساعة لإسدال الستار على حقبة العصابات المسلحة في كل من سورية والعراق. وهذا يعني أن سورية وحلفاءها، وعلى عكس الوحش الرأسمالي الامبريالي الأميركي، لن يكون لديهم مانع من التوصل الى تفاهم مع العالم الجديد ينظم علاقات الحلفاء معه على أساس احترام أنظمة القانون الدولي احتراماً كاملاً.

من هنا فإن الادارة الاميركية ليست في وضع تفرض فيه شروطاً لتحقيق تسويات تخدم مصالحها، لا في «الشرق الأوسط «ولا في أي من ميادين الصراع على المستوى الكوني، لأسباب عديدة لا مجال لمعالجتها في هذا الإطار.

لذلك فإن خياراتها محدودة وتنحصر في الاحتمالات التالية:

أ الإقرار بالهزيمة النهائية ورفع يدها عن منطقتنا العربية والإسلامية التي تسميها الشرق الاوسط، وذلك تمشياً مع الحقائق التي تحكم ميادين الصراع والتي تقول بوضوح إن من يمسك الأرض هم ليسوا الولايات المتحدة وعملاءها وأذنابها وإنما ابطال محور المقاومة من جيش سورية الى الوحدات العسكرية الإيرانية الى جانب ابطال حزب الله والقوى الرديفة الأخرى ومساعدة الحليف الروسي اللامحدودة وعلى الصعد كلها.

ب استمرار التذرّع بمحاربة داعش والمضي قدماً في عمليات التمشيط المذهبي والتعبئة المقيتة ضد ايران الشقيقة، والتي تواصل دعمها للقضايا العربية، وعلى رأسها القضية الفلسطينية، ومنذ انتصار الثورة الإسلامية في ايران في العام ١٩٧٩.

– وفي ظل موازين القوى المحلية والإقليمية والدولية الحاليّة في كافة ميادين الصراع وفي ظل عجز المحور الأميركي عن حسم أي من الصراعات الدائرة منذ سنين نتيجة عجز أدواته عن إلحاق الهزيمة بمعسكر المقاومة ونتيجة مراكمة امكانيات محور المقاومة من علمية الى عسكرية الى غير ذلك، وبشكل يصعب تخيّله، فان إدارة ترامب لن تكون قادرة على إلغاء الاتفاق النووي مع ايران ولا على تعليق العمل به، خاصة أن ترامب يؤمن بنظرية الصفقة بمعنى انه سيواصل العمل بنظام الاتفاق النووي مع بعض التعديلات، اذا كان رفع العقوبات كنتيجة للالتزام الولايات المتحدة بالاتفاق أو تعليق العمل بها كلياً او جزئياً سيعود بالفائدة على الولايات المتحدة. وما صفقة البوينغ التي وقعت حديثاً مع ايران إلا مثال على حجم الفائدة التي ستجنيها الولايات المتحدة من وراء الاتفاق.

– وعليه فلا مفر لإدارة ترامب الجديدة من العودة الى سياسة الإدارات الاميركية القديمة، والأكثر حنكة في إدارة الصراعات الدولية، والتي مؤداها أن من الضروري التعاون مع العدو لتحقيق الانتصار على العدو الأكثر خطورة. فاذا أراد ترامب القضاء على العدو الأكثر خطورة على مصالح الولايات المتحدة، ألا وهو داعش، فعليه ان يتخذ العبرة من تحالف الادارة الأميركية في أربعينيات القرن الماضي مع الاتحاد السوفياتي في سبيل تحقيق النصر على المانيا النازية .اي انه لا بد من تحالفه مع روسيا وإيران وسورية في سبيل القضاء على داعش والتفاهم مع القوى المنتصرة حلف المقاومة على ضمان مصالح معينة للولايات المتحدة في الوطن العربي.

وكما يقول المثل: ما الذي يُجبرك على تجرُّع المرّ…

إلا الأمرّ منه؟

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله.

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Trump: dancing with wolves on the Titanic

Dancing with wolves

May 26, 2017

This article was written for the Unz Review.

Robert Fisk put it best: “Trump Is About To Really Mess Up In The Middle East”. Following his fantastically stupid decision to attack the Syrian military with cruise missiles Trump or, should I say, the people who take decisions for him, probably realized that it was “game over” for any US policy in the Middle-East so they did the only thing they could do: they ran towards those few who actually were happy with this aggression on Syria: the Saudis and the Israelis. Needless to say, with these two “allies” what currently passes for some type of “US foreign policy” in the Middle-East will only go from bad to worse.

There are many ways in which Saudi Arabia and Israel are truly unique: they are both prime sponsors of terrorism, they are both nations deeply steeped in ideologies which can only be described as uncivilized (Wahabism and Jewish supremacism) and they are both armed to the teeth. But they also have one other thing in common: in spite, or maybe because of, their immense military budgets, these two nations are also militarily very weak. Oh sure, they have lots of fancy military hardware and they like to throw their weight around and beat up some defenseless “enemy”, but once you set aside all the propaganda you realize that the Saudis can’t even deal with the Houtis in Yemen while the Israelis got comprehensively defeated by 2nd rate Hezbollah forces in 2006 (top of the line Hezbollah forces were concentrated along the Litani river and never saw direct combat): the entire Golani Brigade could not even take Bint Jbeil under control even thought that small town was only 1,5 miles away from the Israeli border. This is also the reason why the Saudis and the Israelis try to limit themselves to airstrikes: because on the ground they simply suck. Here again the similarity is striking:

the Saudis have become “experts” at terrorizing defenseless Shia (in the KSA or in Bahrain) while the Israelis are the experts on how to terrorize Palestinian civilians.

With Trump now officially joining this ugly alliance, the USA will contribute the military “expertise” of a country which can’t even take Mosul, mostly because its forces are hiding, literally, behind the backs of Kurdish and Arab Iraqis. To think that these three want to take on Hezbollah, Iran and Russia would be almost comical if it wasn’t for the kind of appalling bloodshed that this will result in.

Alas, just look at what the Saudis are doing to Yemen, what the Israelis did to Gaza or Lebanon or what the USA did to Iraq and you will immediately get a sense of what the formation of this nefarious alliance will means for the people of Syria and the rest of the region. The record shows that a military does not need to be skilled at real warfare to be skilled at murdering people: even though the US occupation of Iraq was, in military terms, a total disaster, it did result in almost one and a half million dead people.

What is also clear is who the main target of this evil alliance will be: the only real democracy in the Middle-East, Iran. The pretext? Why – weapons of mass destruction, of course: the (non-existing) chemical weapons of the Syrians and the (non-existing) nuclear weapons of the Iranians. In Trump’s own words: “no civilized nation can tolerate the massacre of innocents with chemical weapons” and “The United States is firmly committed to keeping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and halting their support of terrorists and militias that are causing so much suffering and chaos throughout the Middle East”. Nothing new here. As for how this evil alliance will fight when it does not have any boots worth putting on the ground? Here, again, the solution as simple as it is old: to use the ISIS/al-Qaeda takfiri crazies as cannon fodder for the USA, Israel and the KSA. This is just a re-heated version of the “brilliant” Brzezinski plan on how to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. Back to the future indeed. And should the “good terrorists” win, by some kind of miracle, in Syria, then turn them loose against against Hezbollah in Lebanon and against the Shias in Iraq and Iran. Who knows, with some (a lot) of luck, the Empire might even be able to re-kindle the “Caucasus Emirate” somewhere on the southern borders of Russia, right?

Wrong.

For one thing, the locals are not impressed. Here is what the Secretary General of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, had to say about this:

The Israelis, are betting on Isis and all this takfiri project in the region… but in any case they know, the Israelis, the Americans, and all those who use the takfiris, that this is a project without any future. I tell you, and I also reassure everyone through this interview. This project has no future.”

He is right, of course. And the newly re-elected President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, openly says that the Americans are clueless:

The problem is that the Americans do not know our region and those who advise US officials are misleading them

It is pretty clear who these ‘advisors’ are: the Saudis and the Israelis. Their intentions are also clear: to let the Americans to do their dirty work for them while remaining as far back as possible. You could say that the Saudis and Israelis are trying to get the Americans to do for them what the Americans are trying to get the Kurds to do for them in Iraq: be their cannon fodder. The big difference is that the Kurds at least clearly understand what is going on whereas the Americans are, indeed, clueless.

Not all Americans, of course. Many fully understand what is happening. A good example of this acute awareness is what b had to say on Moon of Alabama after reading the transcript of the press briefing of Secretary of Defense Mattis, General Dunford and Special Envoy McGurk on the Campaign to Defeat ISIS:

My first thought after reading its was: “These people live in a different world. They have no idea how the real word works on the ground. What real people think, say, and are likely to do.” There was no strategic thought visible. Presented were only some misguided tactical ideas.

A senior British reporter, the Secretary General of Hezbollah, the President of Iran and a US blogger all see to agree on one thing: there is no real US “policy” at work here, what we are seeing is a dangerous exercise in pretend-strategy which cannot result in anything but chaos and defeat.

So why is the Trump administration plowing ahead with this nonsense?

The reasons are most likely a combination of internal US politics and a case of “if all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail”. The anti-Trump color revolution cum coup d’état which the Neocons and the US deep state started even before Trump actually got into the White House has never stopped and all the signs are that the anti-Trump forces will only rest once Trump is impeached and, possibly, removed from office. In response to this onslaught, all that Trump initially could come up with was to sacrifice his closest allies and friends (Flynn, Bannon) in the vain hope that this would appease the Neocons. Then he began to mindlessly endorse their “policies”. Predictably this has not worked either. Then Trump even tried floating the idea of having Joe Lieberman for FBI director before getting ‘cold feet’ and chaning his position yet again. And all the while while Trump is desperately trying to appease them, the Neocons are doubling-down, doubling-down again and then doubling-down some more. It is pretty clear by now that Trump does not have what it takes in terms of allies or even personal courage to tackle the swamp he promised to drain. As a result what we are seeing now looks like a repeat of the last couple of years of the Obama administration: a total lack of vision or even a general policy, chaos in the Executive Branch and a foreign policy characterized by a multiple personality disorder which see the Pentagon, Foggy Bottom, the CIA and the White House all pursuing completley different policies in pursuit of completely different goals. In turn, each of these actors engages in what (they think) they do best: the Pentagon bombs, the State Department pretends to negotiate, the CIA engages in more or less covert operation in support of more or less “good terrorists” while the White House focuses its efforts on trying to make the President look good or, at least, in control of something.

Truth be told, Trump has nothing at all to show so far:

Russia: according to rumors spread by the US corporate Rex Tillerson was suppose to go to Moscow to deliver some kind of ultimatum. Thank God that did not happen. Instead Tillerson spent several hours talking to Lavrov and then a couple more talking to Putin. More recently, Lavrov was received by Tillerson in the USA and, following that meeting, he also met with Trump. Following all these meetings no tangible results were announced. What does that mean? Does that mean that nothing was achieved? Not at all, what was achieved is that the Russians clearly conveyed to the Americans two basic thing: first, that there were not impressed by their sabre-rattling and, second, that as long as the USA was acting as a braindead elephant in a porcelain store there was no point for Russian to work with the USA. To his credit, Trump apparently backed down and even tried to make a few conciliatory statements. Needless to say, the US Ziomedia crucified him for being “too friendly” with The Enemy. The outcome now is, of course, better than war with Russia, but neither is it some major breakthrough as Trump had promised (and, I believe, sincerely hoped for) during his campaign.

DPRK/PRC: what had to happen did, of course happen: all the sabre-rattling with three aircraft carriers strike groups ended up being a gigantic flop as neither the North Koreans nor the Chinese were very impressed. If anything, this big display of Cold War era hardware was correctly interpreted not as a sign of strength, but a sign of weakness. Trump wasted a lot of money and a lot of time, but he has absolutely nothing to show for it. The DPRK tested yet another intermediate range missile yesterday. Successfully, they say.

The Ukraine: apparently Trump simply does not care about the Ukraine and, frankly, I can’t blame him. Right now the situation there is so bad that no outside power can meaningfully influence the events there any more. I would argue that in this case, considering the objective circumstances, Trump did the right when he essentially “passed the baby” to Merkel and the EU: let them try to sort out this bloody mess as it is primarily their problem. Karma, you know.

So, all in all, Trump has nothing to show in the foreign policy realm. He made a lot of loud statements, followed by many threats, but at the end of the day somebody apparently told him “we can’t do that, Mr President” (and thank God for that anonymous hero!). Once this reality began to sink in all which was left is to create an illusion of foreign policy, a make-believe reality in which the USA is still a superpower which can determine the outcome of any conflict. Considering that the AngloZionst Empire is, first and foremost, what Chris Hedges calls an “Empire of Illusions” it only makes sense for its President to focus on creating spectacles and photo opportunities. Alas, the White House is so clueless that it manages to commit major blunders even when trying to ingratiate itself with a close ally. We saw that during the recent Trump trip to Saudi Arabia when both Melania and Ivanka Trump refused to cover their heads while in Rhiyad but did so when they visited the Pope in the Vatican. As the French say, this was “worse than a crime, it was a blunder” which speaks a million words about the contempt in which the American elites hold the Muslim world.

There is another sign that the USA is really scraping the bottom of the barrel: Rex Tillerson has now declared that “NATO should formally join the anti-Daesh coalition”. In military terms, NATO is worse than useless for the USA: the Americans are much better off fighting by themselves than involving a large number of “pretend armies” who could barely protect themselves in a real battlefield. Oh sure, you can probably scrape a halfway decent battalion here, maybe even a regiment there, but all in all NATO forces are useless, especially for ground operations. They, just like the Saudis and Israelis, prefer to strike from the air, preferably protected by USAF AWACS, and never to get involved in the kind of ugly infantry fighting which is taking place in Syria. For all their very real faults and problems, at least the Americans do have a number of truly combat capable units, such as the Marines and some Army units, which are experienced and capable of giving the Takfiris a run for their money. But the Europeans? Forget it!

It is really pathetic to observe the desperate efforts of the Trump Administration to create some kind of halfway credible anti-Daesh coalition while strenuously avoiding to look at the simple fact that the only parties which can field a large number of combat capable units to fight Daesh are the Iranians, Hezbollah and, potentially, the Russians. This is why Iranian Presiden Rouhani recently declared that

“Who fought against the terrorists? It was Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Russia. But who funded the terrorists? Those who fund terrorists cannot claim they are fighting against them” and “Who can say regional stability can be restored without Iran? Who can say the region will experience total stability without Iran?”

In truth, even the Turks and the Kurds don’t really have what it would take to defeat Daesh in Syria. But the worst mistake of the US generals is that they are still pretending as if a large and experienced infantry force like Daesh/ISIS/al-Qaeda/etc could be defeated without a major ground offensive. That won’t happen.

So Trump can dance with the Wahabis and stand in prayer at the wailing wall, but all his efforts to determine the outcome of the war in Syria are bound to fail: far from being a superpower, the USA has basically become irrelevant, especially in the Middle-East. This is why Russia, Iran and Turkey are now attempting to create a trilateral “USA free” framework to try to change the conditions on the ground. The very best the USA are still capable of is to sabotage those efforts and needlessly prolong the carnage in Syria and Iraq. That is both pathetic and deeply immoral.

*******

When I saw Trump dancing with his Saudi pals I immediately thought of the movies “Dances with Wolves” and “Titanic”.

Empires often end in violence and chaos, but Trump has apparently decided to add a good measure of ridicule to the mix. The tragedy is that neither the United States nor the rest of the planet can afford that kind of ridicule right now, especially not the kind of ridicule which can very rapidly escalate in an orgy of violence. With the European politicians paralyzed in a state subservient stupor to the Rothschild gang, Latin America ravaged by (mostly US-instigated) crises and the rest of the planet trying to stay clear from the stumbling ex-superpower, the burden to try to contain this slow-motion train wreck falls upon Russia and China.

As for Trump, he made a short speech before NATO leaders today. He spoke about the “threats from Russia and on NATO’s eastern and southern borders”. QED.

Truth Has Become Un-American

By Paul Craig Roberts

May 25, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – Those of us who have exited The Matrix are concerned that there are no checks on Washington’s use of nuclear weapons in the interest of US hegemony over the world.

Washington and Israel are the threats to peace. Washington demands world hegemony, and Israel demands hegemony in the Middle East.

There are two countries that stand in the way of Washington’s world hegemony—Russia and China. Consequently, Washington has plans for preemptive nuclear strikes against both countries. It is difficult to imagine a more serious threat to mankind, and there is no awareness or acknowledgment of this threat among the Congress, the presstitute media, and the general public in the United States and Washington’s European vassal populations.

Two countries and a part of a third stand in the way of Greater Israel. Israel wants the water resources of southern Lebanon, but cannot get them, despite twice sending in the Israeli Army, because of the Lebanese Hezbollah militia, which is supplied by Syria and Iran. This is why Syria and Iran are on Washington’s hit list. Washington serves the military/security complex, Wall Street and the over-sized US banks, and Israel.

It is unclear if the Russians and Chinese understand that Washington’s hostility toward them is not just some sort of misunderstanding that diplomacy can work out.

Clearly, Russia hasn’t interfered in the US presidential election or invaded Ukraine, and does not intend to invade Poland or the Baltics. Russia let go the Soviet empire and is glad to see it gone, as the empire was expensive and of little benefit. The Soviet Eastern European empire comprised Stalin’s buffer against another Western invasion. The Warsaw Pact had no offensive meaning. It was not the beginning, as misrepresented in Washington, of Soviet world domination.

I see a lack of clarity about the threat that Russia faces in Russian media reports and articles posted on Russian English language websites. I see a lack of clarity in Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov’s continued efforts to work out an accommodation with Washington. How can Lavrov work out an accommodation with Washington when Washington intends to dominate or isolate Russia?

Lavrov and Russian media organizations do not always show awareness that it is not Washington’s intention to accommodate other national interests.

It cannot be otherwise for these three reasons:

  1. The budget for the US military/security complex is the largest in the world. It is larger than the Gross Domestic Product of many countries. It includes not only the Pentagon’s budget but also the budgets of 16 US intelligence agencies and the Department of Energy, which is the location of the Oak Ridge nuclear weapons plant and 16 other national laboratories. When all the elements are added together, the military/security complex has annually the power and profit from $1,000 billion. An empire of this sort just doesn’t give up and go away because some president or some part of the electorate want peace. The “Russian Threat” is essential to the power and profit of the military/security complex, about which President Eisenhower warned Americans 56 years ago. Just imagine how entrenched this power is now.
  2. The neoconservatives, who control both US foreign policy and the Western media’s explanation of it, are mainly Jews of Zionist persuasion. Some are dual Israeli-US citizens. The neoconservatives believe that the collapse of Soviet communism means that History has chosen the United States as the socio-politico-economic system, and that the US government has the responsibility to assert the hegemony of America over the earth. Just read the neocon documents. They assert this over and over. This is what it means that America is the exceptional and indispensable nation. If you are the indispensable nation, every other nation is dispensable. If you are exceptional, everyone else is unexceptional. The claim that the neoconservatives make for the US is similar to the claim that Hitler made for Germany.
  3. As Israel controls US Middle East policy, Israel uses its control to have Washington eliminate obstacles to Israel’s expansion. So far Israel has achieved the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s government and chaos in Iraq, Washington’s war on Syria, and Washington’s demonization of Iran in the hope that sufficient demonization will justify war.

For the Russian Foreign Minister to believe that it is possible to reach an accommodation with Washington, other than a Russian surrender, is nonsense. Perhaps this is Lavrov’s use of diplomacy to delay the US attack while Russia prepares. Or perhaps Lavrov is just a diplomat who sticks to his last, despite the facts.

Much of the Russian media, both in Russian and foreign language broadcasts and websites, thinks that the Western misrepresentation of Russia is just a mistake and that that facts, once they are established, can rectify the mistake. These Russian journalists don’t understand that Washington could not care less about facts. Washington desperately needs an enemy, and Russia is the enemy of choice.

The Chinese government seems to think that Wall Street and US corporations are too dependent on the cheap Chinese manufacturing labor, which keeps the US system fueled with profits, to jeopardize these profits by going to war.

By underplaying the risk of war, Russia and China fail to mobilize world opposition to Washington’s recklessness and, thereby, enable Washington’s move toward war.

The presstitutes serving the National Security State continue to drive toward conflict. Consider Newsweek’s May 26, 2017, cover story with Putin on the cover and the caption: “The Plot Against America: Inside Putin’s Campaign to Destroy Democracy in the U.S.”

It is difficult to imagine such ignorant nonsense from a mainstream news magazine. Democracy in America has been destroyed by special interest groups, by a US Supreme Court decision that gave the reins of power to special interest groups, and by a hoax war on terror that has destroyed the US Constitution. And here we have the presstitutes saying that Putin is destroying American democracy. Clearly, there is no extant intelligence anywhere in the Western media. The Western presstitutes are either corrupt beyond belief or ignorant beyond belief. Nothing else can be said for them.

Consider Time magazine’s cover. It depicts Trump turning the White House into the foundation for the Kremlin and St. Basil’s Cathedral, which rise above the White House, symbolizing America’s subservience to Russia under President Trump. This extraordinary propaganda seems to be readily accepted by the bulk of the Western populations, peoples who will die as a result of their insouciance.

Even writers critical of Washington, such as Paul Street’s recent article on CounterPunch and the English language Russian website, Strategic Culture Foundation, cannot bring themselves to state the truth that the US military/security complex needs a major enemy, has elected Russia for that role, and intends to defend this orchestration to the end of humanity on earth.

Street writes about “How Russia Became ‘Our Adversary’ Again.” According to Street, Russia became the enemy of choice because Russia protected part of the world’s population and resources from being exploited by global capital. Russia became the number one enemy of the US also because Putin stopped the American exploitation of Russia economically. Putin is in the way of Washington’s exploitation of the world.

Much of what Street says is correct, but he is hesitant to state it in a straightforward manner. He has to dilute his message by repeating the obligatory propaganda. Street calls Trump, who originally wanted normal relations with Russia, an “orange-haired brute . . . [who admires] Putin’s authoritarian manliness.”

Trump’s problems originated in his goal of normalizing relations with Russia. Hillary is the brute who intended to worsen the relations.

Putin is a democrat, not an authoritarian. The authoritarians are in Washington. Surely Paul Street and CounterPunch know this. But Street has to protect himself from speaking some politically incorrect truths about the US and Russia by throwing in some anti-Putin propaganda and denigrating President Trump.

That peace with Russia and China would undermine the justification of the $1,000 billion military/security budget, and that the military/security complex is the American government, is too much truth for most writers to state.

Truth is the most rare element in the Western world, and we will not be permitted to have much of it much longer. Increasingly, truth is difficult to find. Soak it up while it is still available.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West, How America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

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

Click for Spanish, German, Dutch, Danish, French, translation- Note- Translation may take a moment to load.

Iran and Turkey vow to boost bilateral trade and deepen cooperation

BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:17 P.M.) – The Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the Turkish President Tayip Erdogan, agreed on a plan to deepen the bilateral cooperation and boost their trade volume. The two Presidents held a conversation via phone in which the ambitious goal of reaching a 30 billion USD annual trade volume was proposed by Rouhani.

He told Erdogan, that “over the past four years big steps have been taken to deepen Iran-Turkey ties, but a leap must be made […] toward reaching an annual trade volume of $30 billion”. Furthermore he called for more cooperation in the banking sector.

Erdogan agreed with these goals, mentioning that he saw no obstacles for the deepening of bilateral ties. This is not the first time for the trade partners set out this target. In June 2016 the Turkish trade Minister Bulent Tufenkci stated, “my country has serious plans to triple trade with Iran to 30 billion.”

Despite Iran already being sanctioned, the trade volume with Turkey reached 20 billion in 2012, but drastically dropped, after harsher sanctions were implemented the same year. The sanctions excluded, financial institutions and banks implicated in Iran’s oil trade from the SWIFT bankig system, which was the only system to enable transactions between banks until 2015.

As big parts of the sanctions were gradually lifted due to the nuclear agreement reached in 2015, the bilateral trade volume had already halved to only 10 billion, but was set to rise fast again. But despite an additional trade agreement with a wide array of 300 tariff cuts, the trade volume diminished furher by 100 million the next year, as can be seen in the graphic below:

Henri Feyerabend | Al-Masdar News

Nevertheless a lot seems to have changed recently and the Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci could announce March this year, that the trade volume is now increasing by 30% each month.

This development reflects improved relations between the two countries, which despite supporting opposite warring parties in the Syrian conflict, have recently agreed together with Russia on plans to implement de-escalation zones in Syria, which could prove as a first step, for ending the now 6 year long conflict.

In the talk with Rouhani Erdogan emphasized the importance of this political agreement, reached May 4 this year in the Astana talks. Further details and steps for the concrete implementation of the de-escalation zones in Syria are to be set out in a new round of talks early in June.

The conflicts in Iraq and Syria, threaten state control in the region. Both Turkey and Iran had securtiy issues in their border regions, close to these two conflict zones, especially with kurdish groups. Territorial control by the various groups in Iraq and Syria is shown in the map below:

Henri Feyerabend | Al-Masdar News
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