Shaaban: Syria Adherent to the Unity of the Arab Stance

MAY 16, 2022

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° 

Damascus, SANA

Special Adviser at the Presidency of the Republic, Buthaina Shaaban, stressed the importance of strengthening and developing Syrian-Mauritanian relations and activating the agreements and memoranda of understanding signed between the two brotherly countries.

During her meeting with Chairman of the Syro-Mauritanian Parliamentary Friendship Committee Mustafa Aldah Souhaib and the accompanying delegation and the head and members of the Syro-Mauritanian Brotherhood Committee in the People’s Assembly of Syria earlier today, Dr. Shaaban hailed the honorable Mauritanian popular and official attitude towards the terrorist war that Syria was subject to during the past years despite pressures exerted and temptations presented what gives hope for the revival of Arab Nation.
Shaaban noted that Syria is committed to the Arab identity and adherent to the unity of Arab stance and have been always ready to cooperate with any Arab country or party in order to achieve the joint Arab solidarity.

Dr. Shaaban pointed out that the main goal of the war on Syria is to confiscate its independent decision, which it has known for decades, and to make it subservient to the West, when terrorism failed to undermine the Syrian state and Syrian armies, the of conspiring countries such as Turkey and the US moved to occupy parts of Syrian territory.

In his turn, Aldah Souhaib said that “Syria lives in the conscience of all the Mauritanian people though Mauritania is geographically distant from Syria, the mutual official and popular relations have always been at their best and at all levels”. Noting that all black propaganda campaign could not have change the view and attitude of the Mauritanian people towards the reality of the situation in Syria.

Souhaib and members of the delegation called for reformulating the concept of solidarity, Arab discourse and coordination between Arab countries and direct it to Arab youth to raise their awareness of the dangers that threaten the Arab nation and to unify the Arab attitude.

The head and members of the delegation affirmed that they came to Syria carrying a message of thanks and appreciation from the Mauritanian political, cultural and popular activities to Syria for its steadfastness and victories in the terrorist war waged against it.

For his part, the head of the Syrian-Mauritanian Brotherhood Committee in the People’s Assembly off Syria, Mohamed Bakhit, valued the support of the Mauritanian leadership and people, pointing out to the importance of exchanging parliamentary visits and experiences between the two brotherly countries.

Nisreen Othman / Amer Dawaa

The Middle Corridor Will Help China Hedge Against Uncertainty In Russia & Pakistan

17 MAY 2022

The Middle Corridor Will Help China Hedge Against Uncertainty In Russia & Pakistan

It’s unrealistic that China would ever abandon its investments in Russia or Pakistan, but those two’s connectivity roles for it vis-à-vis the EU and West Asia/Africa respectively can be complemented by Turkey and Iran via the Middle Corridor.

American political analyst

By Andrew Korybko

Up until the beginning of this year, China’s grand strategy was to rely on a network of connectivity corridors across its Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) to integrate Eurasia and thus advance its non-Western model of globalization, which Beijing believes to be more equal, just, and multipolar than the declining Western-centric one. This ambitious plan was abruptly disrupted by two black swan events that created sudden uncertainty about the viability of BRI’s Russian and Pakistani routes: Moscow’s ongoing special military operation in Ukraine and Islamabad’s scandalous change of government.

The first-mentioned prompted the US-led West to impose unprecedented sanctions that resulted in the forced decoupling of Russia and the EU while the second led to the global pivot state’s worst-ever political crisis since independence that’s also been exploited by BLA terrorists. Regarding Russia, it’s no longer a realistic transit route for overland trade between Eastern and Western Eurasia. As for Pakistan, there are suspicions that its new authorities’ speculative proUS pivot will occur at China’s expense. The BLA’s recent terrorist attack also led to all Confucius Institution teachers returning home for their safety.

China still considers Russia and Pakistan to be among its top strategic partners anywhere in the world, especially since both veritably play indispensable roles in Eurasia’s irreversible multipolar integration due to BRI’s Eurasian Land Bridge and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) respectively. Nevertheless, their reliability in the present is less than it was at the start of the year, which is why China might understandably begin hedging against their uncertainties that could last for an indeterminate length of time by focusing more on the Middle Corridor.

This project refers to the connectivity route between Turkey and China via the South Caucasus, Caspian Sea, and Central Asia. In the current conditions, it represents the most viable trans-Eurasian corridor. There are undoubtedly some risks associated with it as evidenced by the sudden attempted terrorist takeover of Kazakhstan in January, which had previously been considered to be Central Asia’s most stable state. That said, compared to the connectivity risks connected to Russia and Pakistan nowadays, the Middle Corridor is much more reliable and safer in all respects.

The implications of the People’s Republic pressing through with this pragmatic back-up plan could be enormous since it would throw a spanner in Russia and Pakistan’s geo-economic strategies, even though it’s not Beijing’s fault that they’re no longer viable connectivity partners, but their own due to the decisions they made. That’s not to cast judgement on them, but just to point out that China would simply be responding to events beyond its control or influence in order to advance its interests that it considers to be to the greater benefit of mankind due to its envisioned community of common destiny.

Russia and Pakistan are obviously part of mankind just like everyone else is but China cannot keep a disproportionate amount of its BRI eggs in their basket, so to speak, which is why it’ll likely be compelled by circumstances to focus more on the Middle Corridor in the coming years. Despite occasional troubles in its ties with Turkey stemming from the sympathy that some in that West Asian country have for Uyghur separatists that China considers to be terrorists, relations are generally solid and actually stand to become much more strategic the longer that uncertainty prevails in Russia and Pakistan.

To explain, Europe hasn’t yet been pressured by its American overlord to curtail ties with China exactly like it recently curtailed those with Russia. For the time being, they’re still in a relationship of complex economic interdependence with the People’s Republic, yet the Eurasian Land Bridge through Russia is no longer a viable means for conducting their future overland trade. For that reason, the Middle Corridor anchored in Turkey is much more attractive since goods can transit through this route between the EU and China instead of remaining dependent on the Suez Canal.

President Erdogan could leverage his civilization-state’s unexpectedly disproportionate geo-economic role in Eurasian integration to reduce the US-led West’s pressure upon Turkey exactly as he could do the same in the event that he succeeds in clinching an EU-Israeli pipeline deal in the coming future. His isn’t the only Muslim Great Power that would benefit from the Middle Corridor though since neighboring Iran can prospectively do as well. It can connect to that BRI route via Turkmenistan or perhaps by pioneering its own “Persian Corridor” to China through Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

Whichever way it happens, there’s no doubt that there’s mutual interest between Iran and China to strengthen their connectivity with one another after last year’s 25-year strategic partnership pact. They could have possibly done so by expanding CPEC in the western direction (W-CPEC+) but the newfound political and security uncertainty in Pakistan has made that unviable for the foreseeable future, hence why China might simply go ahead with expanding the Middle Corridor to Iran and/or cooperating on the Persian Corridor proposal.

China’s ties with the Gulf Kingdoms are also very strong, especially since the People’s Republic plans to invest in their systemic reform programs for diversifying their economies from their hitherto disproportionate dependence on resource exports. While their relations with Iran remain complex, there’s been visible progress over the past year or so in taking baby steps towards a rapprochement, particularly in terms of Tehran’s ties with Abu Dhabi and Riyadh. In the event that this continues, Iran could serve as the transit state for facilitating real-sector Chinese-Gulf trade.

Iran also abuts the Indian Ocean just like neighboring Pakistan does, but unlike the latter, Iran isn’t mired in political and security uncertainty so it could complement – though importantly never replace – the envisioned role that Pakistan was supposed to play with respect to facilitating Chinese-African trade. Nobody should misunderstand what’s being written in this analysis: it’s unrealistic that China would ever abandon its investments in Russia or Pakistan, but those two’s connectivity roles for it vis-à-vis the EU and West Asia/Africa respectively can be complemented by Turkey and Iran via the Middle Corridor.

What all of this means is that the uncertainty in Russia and Pakistan, while detrimental for their own interests as well as their role in Eurasia’s multipolar integration, provides unexpected opportunities for China to diversify BRI by focusing more on the Central Asian-Caspian Sea-South Caucasus-Gulf direction through the comparatively much more reliable and safer Middle Corridor. Turkey and Iran are the two Great Powers that stand to benefit the most from this, not to mention the medium- and smaller-sized countries between them and China. All told, the comprehensive gains might outweigh the setbacks.

Turkey swings west: the Ukraine war and domestic elections

Ankara’s rapprochement with the US has been accelerated by events in Ukraine. These ties will also shape Turkey domestically, with or without a 2023 Erdogan electoral win.

May 17 2022

While Ankara has always sought to maintain a careful balance between east and west, Turkey’s 2023 election candidates believe they need US support to win.Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Erman Çete

On 7 April, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chaired a videoconference meeting with his counterparts from five other states to discuss, among other things, the pressing issue of naval mines drifting into the Black Sea.

According to Akar, the origin of the mines could not be identified, but an investigation is ongoing.

The meeting’s agenda was ultimately less notable than its curious participant list. Five of the attending countries – Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine – have borders with the Black Sea, but Russia, a major littoral state, was not invited, while Poland, which has no borders with the waterway, was present.

The mines threat has emerged amid the escalating armed conflict in Ukraine. Russia’s principal intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service (FSB), warned on 21 March that several hundred mines had drifted into the Black Sea after breaking off from cables near Ukrainian ports. The claim was dismissed by Kiev which accused Moscow of disinformation and trying to close off parts of the strategic waterway.

Nevertheless, since the onset of the conflict in February, four mines have ‘drifted’ into the Black Sea, including one discovered off Romania’s coastline, and three stray mines found in Turkish waters which were safely neutralized.

Turkey’s balancing act

Throughout the crisis, Ankara has had to navigate between Russia and Ukraine and balance its diplomatic ties with both states carefully. As an important NATO member, this has not been a straightforward task for Turkey.

Between 19 to 22 April, NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) organized  Exercise Locked Shields 2022, the largest cyber defense exercise in Tallinn, Estonia. The Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) attended this drill with TAF-affiliated defense company HAVELSAN.

The following day, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced that Turkey would close its airspace for a three-month period to Russian planes flying to Syria. But the Turkish minister also announced the cancellation of a pre-planned NATO drill to avoid provoking Russia.

Concurrent with this precarious balancing act, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has worked overtime to thaw relations between Ankara and Persian Gulf states and Israel. There are also plans afoot to add Egypt to Turkey’s various regional diplomatic forays.

Resetting relations with the US

At the same time, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has tried to exploit any opportunity to present itself as an indispensable ally to Washington. Talks hosted in Istanbul between Russia and Ukraine may have failed to lead to a breakthrough in negotiations, but US President Joe Biden endorsed Turkey’s role as mediator, while State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said that Turkey was “in full coordination and consultation with the US” during the process.

Ankara’s role as a mediator has also been encouraged by US think-tanks such as the United States Institute of Peace, which has called on the US and Europe to support Turkey as the only mediation channel between Russia and the west.

Undoubtedly, the Ukraine conflict has enabled Turkey to reposition itself with Washington as a valuable NATO ally. This has become evident with reports that US military F-16 sales to Turkey are now back on the table again after a period of doubt.

Naturally, pro-AKP media has been praising Erdogan’s role as ‘peacemaker’ and are keen to parlay his accomplishments into a domestic political bonanza. But according to Turkish journalist and commentator Murat Yetkin, AKP’s initial prognosis on the Ukraine conflict was that it would cool down around June and Turkey could shortly thereafter reverse its economic losses arising from the crisis.

It has become apparent, however, that the AKP may have been too rash with that timeframe. Ankara’s leading NATO allies appear less concerned about the destruction of Ukraine and its fallout across Europe than about ‘weakening’ Russia via proxy, with a prolonged war of attrition in mind. For the AKP brass, if the conflict continues into next year, Erdogan’s chances of eking out a victory in Turkey’s 2023 elections could be seriously jeopardized.

Ukraine, a foreign policy tool

Rear Admiral Turker Erturk, Turkey’s former Black Sea commander, believes that the US government gave Turkish military operations in northern Iraq (Operation Claw Lock) the green-light, mainly because of the war in Ukraine. Washington, according to Erturk, will need Turkey in the upcoming stages of the conflict, and has thus become more flexible and transactional with Ankara.

For Erturk, this is a major reason why Erdogan’s government is seeking a balanced approach – in order to negotiate with the US and win the upcoming elections. “Promises made to the US regarding the Ukraine War will be implemented after the election,” he predicts.

Erturk also claims that Washington favors former chief of staff and current Defense Minister Hulusi Akar as the next president of Turkey. The retired rear admiral interprets the Black Sea mines meeting led by Akar – which included the Poles and excluded the Russians – as an message of support to the US. It should be noted that even at the height of US-Turkish tensions and its accompanying leverage contest, Akar stuck his neck out by guaranteeing that Ankara would never break with the western world.

The role of the Turkish Army, post-Erdogan

Akar is not the only military man with a shot at the presidency. Erdogan’s son-in-law Selcuk Bayraktar, who masterminded the famous Turkish armed drone Bayraktar could also be a political successor. He has also openly voiced support for Ukraine, a gesture likely not intended for domestic audiences.

Bayraktar’s now deceased father, Özdemir Bayraktar, threw his support behind the jailed army officers during the highly politicized Ergenekon (2008-2019) and Balyoz (Sledgehammer, 2010-2015) ‘coup d’etat’ trials. That makes the Bayraktars respected even amongst Kemalist circles – not just for their game-changing armed drones, but also for placing their political clout against the trials.

Foreign Affairs piece earlier this year by Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, provides an insight into a hypothetical scenario involving an Erdogan-opposition deal for a transition. If a deal cannot be reached, Cagaptay says, Turkish democracy will crumble.

A possible solution to ease this transition, Cagaptay argues, is for the two sides to accept the Turkish Army’s mediation as a “non-partisan” institution, with backing from the US and the EU. The opposition ensures that Erdogan and his family will not be tried, while Erdogan transfers power to the opposition’s candidate and the TAF acts as a guarantor.

Intact foreign policy

Turkey’s opposition alliance, Millet (Nation), which consists of six parties for now, has not decided on its presidential candidate yet. The governing coalition, Cumhur (People), has accused Millet of being agents of the west.

Although both the government and opposition are pro-NATO, some parties in Millet, such as the pro-west Turkish nationalist IYI (Good) Party, want to play a more proactive role in Ukraine against Russia. Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, who belongs to the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), sparked a debate when he was spotted out with the British Ambassador amidst a heavy fall of snow last winter.

Imamoglu once was a leading opposition figure against Erdogan. He defeated the Turkish president twice in local 2019 elections, and his right-wing/moderate political stance was influential even among Erdogan supporters. However, his recent tour in the Black Sea region where his hometown is located, unleashed angry reactions amongst Millet supporters for including pro-Erdogan journalists to cover his visit. Even his own party, CHP, criticized Imamoglu for “breaking the party discipline.”

Now an underdog, Ankara’s Mayor Mansur Yavas, also a CHP member, is leading in Turkey’s election polls. He is a former member of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and popular amongst Cumhur’s voter base. Yavas gives the impression that he could be a bipartisan president, a statesman who would oversee a smooth Turkish transition to the post-Erdogan era.

But will the upcoming 2023 elections signify a sharp geopolitical shift in the country’s bearings? A close look at Turkey’s economic situation, and its government’s overtures to the west, suggests not.

Turkey’s relations with Russia, even as a bargaining chip against the west, will likely continue independently of election results, as Ankara has historically sought to maintain its east-west equilibrium. Today, however, both wings of Turkish politics seem set on soliciting western support – to different degrees and in various arenas – to secure an electoral win.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

After the NATO War is Over

May 17, 2022

Source

By Batiushka

Make no mistake about it: The tragic war that is currently taking place on Ukrainian battlefields is not between the Russian Federation and the Ukraine, but between the Russian Federation and the US-controlled NATO. The latter, also called ‘the collective West’, promotes an aggressive ideology of organised violence, a politically- economically- and militarily-enforced doctrine euphemistically known as ‘Globalism’. This means hegemony by the Western world, which arrogantly calls itself ‘the international community’, over the whole planet. NATO is losing that war, which uses NATO-trained Ukrainians as its proxy cannon fodder, in three spheres, political, economic and military.

Firstly, politically, the West has finally understood that it cannot execute regime change in Moscow. Its pipedream of replacing the highly popular President Putin with is CIA stooge Navalny is not going to happen. As for the West’s puppet-president in Kiev, he is only a creature of Washington and its oligarchs. A professional actor, he is unable to speak for himself, but is a spokesman for the NATO which he loves.

Secondly, economically, the West faces serious resistance to the 6,000 sanctions it has imposed on Russia and Russians. Those sanctions have backfired. In the West, we can testify to this every time we buy fuel or food. The combination of high inflation (10% +) and even higher energy prices, caused almost solely by these illegal anti-Russian sanctions, are threatening the collapse of Western economies, much more than threatening Russia or China. As a result of this reverse effect of sanctions against Russia, the rouble is at a three-year high, standing at about 64 to the US dollar and rising, though immediately after the sanctions it had briefly gone down to 150 to the dollar.

After strenuously denying that they would do it, already most countries in Europe (at least 17 for now), including Germany and Italy, have agreed to open accounts with Gazprombank, as Russia advised them to do and to pay for oil and gas in roubles. And this number is growing by the week. The problems will be even greater with food shortages, as the world food chain is highly integrated and the agricultural production of Russia and the Ukraine (now controlled by Russia) is at least 40% of the world’s grain production.  Just days ago it was announced that Russia expects record grain production this year (130 million tonnes). Russia may yet demand payment in roubles for all this as well.

The sanctions against Russia have divided Europe and are threatening to divide NATO. President Erdogan of Turkey, a NATO member, has announced that he would veto the entry to NATO of Finland and Sweden into NATO. At the same time, Russia has announced that it will cut off Finland’s natural gas supply. Swedish leaders are re-thinking their entry to NATO.

Thirdly, militarily, it is clear that the Ukraine, with huge numbers of desertions and surrenders, has no chance of winning the war against Russia. Most of its military equipment has already been wiped out and newly-delivered and often antiquated Western equipment will make little difference, even if it is not destroyed by Russian missiles as soon as it reaches the Ukraine. The conflict could now be over within weeks, rather than months. The US ‘Defense Secretary’ (= Minister for Offense), Lloyd Austin, has desperately called the Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu to beg for a ceasefire. Would you agree to a ceasefire when in less than three months and with only 10% of your military forces you have already occupied an area greater than England inside the Ukraine, an area that produces 75% of Ukrainian GDP?

The panic of financial disaster in the West has begun to set in. As a result, the French President Macron has told President Zelensky (that is, told Washington) to give up part of Ukraine’s sovereignty and at last start serious negotiations with Russia. Macron is also trying to free French mercenaries from Azovstal in Mariupol, but the problem is much bigger than this, as the whole of Europe is facing economic meltdown. And the Italian Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, has asked President Biden to contact President Putin and ‘give peace a chance’. Note that Mario Draghi is a former president of the European Central Bank and a Goldman Sachs puppet – just as Macron is a Rothschild puppet.

There have always been empires and invasions throughout history. However, they have always been local and not been justified as the only possible global ideology, a ‘New World Order’, to be imposed by violence all over the planet. After the NATO war is over, lost by ‘the collective West’, NATO Centralism, the ideology of a ‘Unipolar World’, controlled from Washington, must end. However, Centralism must also come to an end everywhere else, like that under Soviet-period Moscow (1).

However, Nationalism must also come to an end. Here we should remember that the very word ‘Nazism’ comes from the German words for ‘National Socialism’. (Nationalism entails hatred for others, whereas Patriotism means the ability not only to love your own country, but also love the countries of others, not hate their countries). And the Ukraine has a history of Nazism, stretching back over eighty years. Moreover, today’s leading Kiev soldiery are Nazi nationalists and represent the tribalism so typical of Western Europe, responsible in the twentieth century for two huge wars which it spread worldwide. The Nazi Ukrainian cries of ‘Glory to the Ukraine’ and their slogan of ‘Ukraine above Everything’ are slogans of Nazism.

Let us move to a world that is multipolar and multicentric, which has unity in diversity and diversity in unity. If we do not move towards this, we will probably be lost. For a multipolar, multicivilisational and multicultural world, the world of seven billion human beings already, is the only civilized world, the only true international community.

Note:

1. Here anti-Semites will tell you that the Centralism of Soviet-period Moscow was founded by the Bolsheviks, of whom over 80% were Jews. Firstly, it should be pointed out that they were atheist Jews, internationalists like Bronstein/Trotsky, who supported the ‘Third International’. In other words, they were political Zionists (not religious Zionists, indeed, they were anti-religious). And let us recall that a huge number of Jews were and are anti-Zionists and a huge number of Zionists were and are not at all Jews. This is why the Saker rightly uses the term ‘Anglo-Zionism’ for these unipolar centralisers.

Turkey, Israel, Al Qaeda, Kurdish SDF Coordinated Attacks against Syria

ARABI SOURI

Turkey, led by the madman sultan wannabe Erdogan, Israel’s most loyal servant, Israel itself, a host of Al Qaeda and its affiliated terrorist groups, the US-sponsored Kurdish SDF separatist terrorists, with the guidance of the USA and all the help they could receive from other NATO members have escalated their coordinated attacks against the Syrian people, the Syrian army, and the local defense units in central and northern Syria.

Israel carries out its heaviest bombing in months against four Syrian provinces, Hama, Homs, Tartous, and Latakia, the Kurdish SDF separatist terrorists besiege the Syrians in cities and towns in the northeastern Syrian provinces of Raqqa, Deir Ezzor, and Hasakah, and Turkey with its sponsored Al Qaeda terrorist groups join their efforts to attack and bomb local Syrian defense units, towns, and villages in Aleppo countryside.

The past 24 hours are considered the most violent in the US-led war on Syria in the past two years as this video report by Reda Al-Basha for the Lebanese Al Mayadeen news channel adds:

The video is also available on BitChuteRumble, and TikTok.

Transcript

This explosion took the escalation in the northern countryside of Aleppo to levels where the drums of war are beating again, eleven martyrs from the local defense west of Aleppo; Turkey’s militants targeted their bus with a guided missile.

Turkey entered the line of engagement, its artillery bombed villages and towns in the northern countryside of Aleppo, which reflects Ankara’s efforts to expand its geographical escalation from northeastern Syria to its northwest.

Rizan Haddou – Political Analyst: It is a Turkish message, the Syrian opposition factions are just a postman. The message is addressed first to Iran in response to the tension that has marred Turkish-Iranian relations recently. It is also a message to Russia for Turkey to announce that it is the guarantor and is able to control the Syrian opposition factions, which demand to exploit the Russian-Ukrainian war and Russia’s preoccupation, in order to open fronts inside Syria.

The Turkish messages of fire received a violent response from the Syrian army. The Syrian warplanes returned to the skies of the de-escalation zones, destroyed a camp for the Olive Branch militants, and the raids targeted the 111th Regiment of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS aka Al-Qaeda in the Levant) west of Aleppo.

An air raid on its side and artillery shelling did not exclude the Turkish military bases.

Sohaib Masri – Syrian journalist: These fronts witnessed a cautious calm more than a year ago when Putin and Erdogan signed a ceasefire and agreed that these fronts would remain calm. There were minor skirmishes through shooting or shelling targeting empty places where there is no military presence, but yesterday there was a new escalation.

24 hours ranks the most violent on the Aleppo fronts for two years, a reality that brings Turkish plans to establish a buffer zone in northern Syria to the forefront of events again, and puts the region at the gates of battles whose fire is looming on the horizon.

Turkey’s transfer of its military escalation from northeastern Syria to its northwest, at a depth of 30 km, reminds us of Turkish efforts to establish a buffer zone along the border with Syria. Ankara wants it as an area to ensure the preservation of its tools from armed groups that can be employed according to the requirements of Turkish needs and interests.

Reda Al-Basha, Aleppo – Al-Mayadin.

End of the transcript

The coordinated attacks are all carried out under the supervision and sponsorship of the Biden junta, led by a demented old man whose hysteric madness against Russia is leading him to burn the world to save his family’s and his cult’s investments in Ukraine, and elsewhere. Distracting Russia in Syria after the Turkish madman Erdogan blocked the Russian navy fleet from moving out of the Black Sea to reach its naval base on the Syrian coast near Tartous sounds like a good strategy presented by some of his non-bright aides.

The main problem with the USA and its satellite states, entities, and terrorist groups is when they put a plan they put it only from their perspective and how they see the world, they do not take into consideration their adversaries counter plans and capabilities, hence the endless failures of the US foreign policies around the globe despite the unspoken level of criminality ever since it took over the empire of evil title from the British somewhere during WWII.

The USA might be at a better advantage than its stooges, it mainly fights from a distance and nobody is interested in waging a war against a wounded beast, the world is watching it licking its wounds and howl through its final days until it implodes from within; the US stooges, however, are either within the battlefronts or directly on its borders, the blowback of the failures will have very harsher repercussions against them.

Make no mistake, the response is coming, sooner than earlier anticipated after the latest escalations, it will come to Israel, its loyal Turkish servant the regime of the Turkish madman Erdogan and his plethora of Al Qaeda terrorist groups, and the ones who will pay the highest price are, as usual, the Kurdish separatists, their only consolation is they’ll join the temporary entity of European and other Zionist settlers in Palestine in paying the price, history repeats itself because it produces lunatics in abundance, lunatics who refuse to learn from history’s lessons and refuse to learn from their own mistakes.

The World’s Future Hangs In The Balance: Erdogan Will Decide

15 MAY 2022

The World

On the one side, the U.S.-and-allied side, stands Davos, the Bilderbergers, the Trilateralists, and the rest of the “Washington Consensus,” the view of the U.S.-and-allied side, that America should control the world; and, on the other side stands the United Nations side, the view that neutral and internationally democratically based and neutrally applied international laws should instead control the world, without favoring America’s, or any other country’s, billionaires.

By Eric Zuesse

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse’s next book (soon to be published) will be AMERICA’S EMPIRE OF EVIL: Hitler’s Posthumous Victory, and Why the Social Sciences Need to Change. It’s about how America took over the world after World War II in order to enslave it to U.S.-and-allied billionaires. Their cartels extract the world’s wealth by control of not only their ‘news’ media but the social ‘sciences’ — duping the public.

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan will decide the future of the world; and, on Friday the 13th day of May in 2022, he gave his first indication of what that decision will be — that it will be for a global future of hope for international freedom and democracy, and against a global future of ever-increasing concentration of wealth and power into fewer and fewer hands. In this, his first statement on the subject, he spoke actually in favor of the world’s public, against the world’s aristocrats (or ‘oligarchs’, as The West’s billionaires refer to billionaires who are not in the richer Western countries).

This key decision, upon which the world’s future now depends, will be between a continuing erosion of the significance of international law (which laws come from the U.N. and its agencies) and a proportionate increase in what the U.S. Government calls “the rules-based international order,” in which America’s Government increasingly controls (and even sets) those “rules” that will replace international laws; versus a future in which what erodes will instead be the U.S. Government’s international power to control the world in its own (billionaires’) favor, and, so a future that correspondingly benefits the global public (the very people who suffer from the aristocracies’ — especially America’s aristocracy’s — increasing control over the entire world). On the one side, the U.S.-and-allied side, stands Davos, the Bilderbergers, the Trilateralists, and the rest of the “Washington Consensus,” the view of the U.S.-and-allied side, that America should control the world; and, on the other side stands the United Nations side, the view that neutral and internationally democratically based and neutrally applied international laws should instead control the world, without favoring America’s, or any other country’s, billionaires. 

Here is how the Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning U.S. President Barack Obama, in a speech that he delivered to America’s future generals, at West Point Military Academy, on 28 May 2014, stated the U.S. Government’s position on this matter, which is the key issue concerning international relations, and the global future: 

The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. That has been true for the century passed and it will be true for the century to come. … Russia’s aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us, and governments seek a greater say in global forums. … It will be your generation’s task to respond to this new world.

He was telling his military that America’s economic competition, against the BRICS nations, is a key matter for America’s military, and not only for America’s international corporations; he was saying that U.S. taxpayers fund America’s military at least partially in order to impose the wills and extend the wealth of the stockholders in America’s corporations abroad; and he was saying that the countries against which America is in economic competition are “dispensable,” but that America “is and remains the one indispensable nation.” So, ONLY America is “indispensable”; all OTHER nations are not, in that view. Not even America’s ‘allies’ — such as Germany, France, Japan, etc. — are. All of them are “dispensable. This, supposedly, also (and most especially) authorizes America’s weapons and troops to fight against countries whose “governments seek a greater say in global forums.” In other words, Obama was saying: Stop the growing economies from growing faster than America’s. 

There is a word for the American Government’s supremacist ideology: it is called “neoconservatism.” The general phrase that describes it is “imperialist fascism.” (Neoconservatism is purely America’s imperialist fascism.) Imperialist fascism (of ANY sort) is exactly what America’s President FDR had invented and intended the U.N. to terminate permanently by creating the United Nations to be an international democracy of nations outlawing any and all imperialisms, but FDR’s immediate successor, Truman, instead chose to continue imperialist fascism, but this time for America itself to become the all-encompassing global power. (He was the original neoconservative.) America quickly became the imperialist-fascist power; and, it has remained so even after the Soviet Union ended in 1991 — in fact, that event super-charged America’s fascist imperialism. And Obama super-super-charged it, by his February 2014 coup that grabbed Ukraine on Russia’s border, as a launching-pad from which Russia will ultimately be attacked.

Like another neoconservative, though of the opposite political Party, John Bolton, famously said: if the U.N. headquarters building “lost ten stories, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.” America’s Presidents and Congresses are bipartisanly neoconservative, almost 100% in favor of ceaseless increases in the control that America’s Government has over the world. They are happy that the U.N. has become little more than a talking-forum.

That brings us to the present.

On 13 May 2022, Reuters headlined “Erdogan says Turkey not supportive of Finland, Sweden joining NATO”, and reported that

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday it was not possible for NATO-member Turkey to support plans by Sweden and Finland to join the pact, saying the Nordic countries were “home to many terrorist organisations”.

Finland’s plan to apply for NATO membership, announced Thursday, and the expectation that Sweden will follow, would bring about the expansion of the Western military alliance that Russian President Vladimir Putin aimed to prevent by launching the Ukraine invasion.

“We are following the developments regarding Sweden and Finland, but we don’t hold positive views,” Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul.

Irrespective of how he might define “terrorist organizations,” what he really was saying there is that Turkey, as a member of America’s NATO military alliance against Russia, will veto the proposed addition to NATO (i.e., to its Article 5, which obligates every NATO member-nation to attack and join in conquering any nation that attacks ANY nation that is a member of America’s NATO military alliance) of Finland, which has the second-nearest border to Moscow (only a 7-minute missile-flying-time away), which is second ONLY to Ukraine (which is just a 5-minute missile-flying-time away from Moscow), as being the Russia-bordering nation that would pose the biggest danger to Russia if added to NATO. 

By Erdogan’s siding with Putin, not Biden, on this, the most crucial decision in international relations in our time, Erdogan would be standing firmly WITH the nations that the super-imperialist fascist Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama derisively referred to as being not merely “dispensable” but also as being the “rising middle classes [who] compete with us, and governments [who] seek a greater say in global forums” — Erdogan was siding there AGAINST the mono-polar U.S. global empire, and FOR the multi-polar global community of independent nations under international law (NOT “the rules-based international order” in which America’s Government increasingly controls, and even sets, those “rules” that would replace international law). 

NATO’s Article 10 states that:

The Parties may, by unanimous agreement, invite any other European State in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area to accede to this Treaty. Any State so invited may become a Party to the Treaty by depositing its instrument of accession with the Government of the United States of America. The Government of the United States of America will inform each of the Parties of the deposit of each such instrument of accession.

Turkey, according to Erdogan on May 13th, will veto not only Finland but also Sweden.

NATO’s Article 5 states that:

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.

If the United States Government succeeds in its (ever since 25 July 1945) ceaseless drive ultimately to replace the U.N. by itself (America) as being the ultimate source of “the international order,” then ONLY America’s billionaires will possess real seats at the international tables where the fates of nations and of their respective publics are being determined. Perhaps Erdogan is finally throwing in his lot with Russia, China, Iran, and the other nations that are standing opposed to imperialistic fascism, and in favor of the international democracy of nations that FDR had hoped would follow in World War II’s immediate wake (but which Truman made neutered and devoid of any real power). No other NATO-member-nation’s leader has, thus far, been so bold as to have announced that his nation will vote in NATO against Finland’s bid to join NATO.

Erdogan’s rationale for his statement, and the extent of his commitment to it, weren’t made entirely clear in that statement, but, in any case, his statement on the matter, at that time, was strong enough to cause America’s international propaganda-agency, RFE/RL, to headline “Turkey’s Erdogan Says He Opposes NATO Membership for Sweden, Finland”, and to allege that “Ankara risks a backlash from its NATO partners over its opposition to Sweden’s and Finland’s membership.” Certainly, there would be a “backlash” from Biden, who, after all, heads the only ‘indispensable’ country.

However, on May 14th, Reuters headlined “Exclusive: Turkey ‘not closing door’ to Sweden, Finland NATO entry, Erdogan advisor says”, and revealed that this matter was merely a negotiating ploy by Erdogan, to get the Kurdish separatist organization, PKK, which is called “terrorist” by Turkey, outlawed in Europe too. Erdogan has no principled position regarding the U.S. Government’s taking over the entire world, but instead is using the issue of Finland and Sweden being allowed into NATO as a lever to force those two countries, and all of the EU, to outlaw the PKK. This internal Turkish matter, not the world’s future, is what motivates him; and he is using the NATO-expansion question in order to force other countries to assist Turkey’s Government to crush the PKK, against which Turkey has been fighting for decades.  

IGNORING THE MIDDLE EAST AT ONE’S PERIL: TURKEY PLAYS GAMES IN NATO

15.05.2022

Written by James M. Dorsey

Amid speculation about a reduced US military commitment to security in the Middle East, Turkey has spotlighted the region’s ability to act as a disruptive force if its interests are neglected.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan set off alarm bells this week, declaring that he was not “positive” about possible Finnish and Swedish applications for membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

NATO membership is contingent on a unanimous vote in favour by the organisation’s 30 members. Turkey has NATO’s second-largest standing army.

The vast majority of NATO members appear to endorse Finnish and Swedish membership. NATO members hope to approve the applications at a summit next month.

A potential Turkish veto would complicate efforts to maintain trans-Atlantic unity in the face of the Russian invasion.

Mr. Erdogan’s pressure tactics mirror the maneuvers of his fellow strongman, Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban. Mr. Orban threatens European Union unity by resisting a bloc-wide boycott of Russian energy.

Earlier, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia rejected US requests to raise oil production in an effort to lower prices and help Europe reduce its dependence on Russian energy.

The two Gulf states appear to have since sought to quietly backtrack on their refusal. In late April, France’s TotalEnergies chartered a tanker to load Abu Dhabi crude in early May for Europe, the first such shipment in two years.

Saudi Arabia has quietly used its regional pricing mechanisms to redirect from Asia to Europe Arab “medium,” the Saudi crude that is the closest substitute for the main Russian export blend, Urals, for which European refineries are configured.

Mr. Erdogan linked his NATO objection to alleged Finnish and Swedish support for the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), which has been designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States, and the EU.

The PKK has waged a decades-long insurgency in southeast Turkey in support of Kurds’ national, ethnic, and cultural rights. Kurds account for up to 20 per cent of the country’s 84 million population.

Turkey has recently pounded PKK positions in northern Iraq in a military operation named Operation Claw Lock.

Turkey is at odds with the United States over American support for Syrian Kurds in the fight against the Islamic State. Turkey asserts that America’s Syrian Kurdish allies are aligned with the PKK.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned that Turkey opposes a US decision this week to exempt from sanctions against Syria regions controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

“This is a selective and discriminatory move,” Mr. Cavusoglu said, noting that the exemption did not include Kurdish areas of Syria controlled by Turkey and its Syrian proxies.

Referring to the NATO membership applications, Mr. Erdogan charged that “Scandinavian countries are like some kind of guest house for terrorist organisations. They’re even in parliament.”

Mr. Erdogan’s objections relate primarily to Sweden, with Finland risking becoming collateral damage.

Sweden is home to a significant Kurdish community and hosts Europe’s top Kurdish soccer team that empathises with the PKK and Turkish Kurdish aspirations. In addition, six Swedish members of parliament are ethnic Kurds.

Turkey scholar Howard Eissenstat suggested that Turkey’s NATO objection may be a turning point. “Much of Turkey’s strategic flexibility has come from the fact that its priorities are seen as peripheral issues for its most important Western allies. Finnish and Swedish entry into NATO, in the current context, absolutely not peripheral,” Mr. Eissenstat tweeted.

The Turkish objection demonstrates the Middle East’s potential to derail US and European policy in other parts of the world.

Middle Eastern states walk a fine line when using their potential to disrupt to achieve political goals of their own. The cautious backtracking on Ukraine-related oil supplies demonstrates the limits and/or risks of Middle Eastern brinkmanship.

So does the fact that Ukraine has moved NATO’s center of gravity to northern Europe and away from its southern flank, which Turkey anchors.

Moreover, Turkey risks endangering significant improvements in its long-strained relations with the United States.

Turkish mediation in the Ukraine crisis and military support for Ukraine prompted US President Joe Biden to move ahead with plans to upgrade Turkey’s fleet of F-16 fighter planes and discuss selling it newer, advanced F-16 models even though Turkey has neither condemned Russia nor imposed sanctions.

Some analysts suggest Turkey may use its objection to regain access to the United States’ F-35 fighter jet program. The US cancelled in 2019 a sale of the jet to Turkey after the NATO member acquired Russia’s S-400 anti-missile defence system.

Mr. Erdogan has “done this kind of tactic before. He will use it as leverage to get a good deal for Turkey,” said retired US Navy Admiral James Foggo, dean of the Center for Maritime Strategy.

A top aide to Mr. Erdogan, Ibrahim Kalin, appeared to confirm Mr. Foggo’s analysis. “We are not closing the door. But we are basically raising this issue as a matter of national security for Turkey,” Mr. Kalin said, referring to the Turkish leader’s NATO remarks. “Of course, we want to have a discussion, a negotiation with Swedish counterparts.”

Spelling out Turkish demands, Mr. Kalin went on to say that “what needs to be done is clear: they have to stop allowing PKK outlets, activities, organisations, individuals and other types of presence to…exist in those countries.”

Mr. Erdogan’s brinkmanship may have its limits, but it illustrates that one ignores the Middle East at one’s peril.

However, engaging Middle Eastern autocrats does not necessarily mean ignoring their rampant violations of human rights and repression of freedoms.

For the United States and Europe, the trick will be developing a policy that balances accommodating autocrats’, at times, disruptive demands, often aimed at ensuring regime survival, with the need to remain loyal to democratic values amid a struggle over whose values will underwrite a 21st-century world order.

However, that would require a degree of creative policymaking and diplomacy that seems to be a rare commodity.

Dr. James M. Dorsey is an award-winning journalist and scholar, a Senior Fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute and Adjunct Senior Fellow at Nanyang Technological University’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, and the author of the syndicated column and blog, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer.

A podcast version is available on Soundcloud, Itunes, SpotifySpreaker, and Podbean.

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Interpreting Turkey’s Opposition To Finland & Sweden’s Planned NATO Membership

14 MAY 2022

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

The more that President Erdogan exposes the manipulative means through which countries like those two NATO aspirants support terrorism against the Turkish people, the more that their international reputations will be damaged, which will in turn harm their influence seeing as how Finland and Sweden’s are disproportionately derived from their soft power.

Turkish President Erdogan said on Friday that his country isn’t supportive of Finland and Sweden’s planned NATO membership because of their governments’ backing of the terrorist-designated PKK. This Kurdish separatist group is responsible for multiple terrorist attacks across the decades, but its Syrian wing, the YPG, is regarded by the US-led West as a key ally against ISIS. Ankara and Washington’s polar opposite stances towards that branch are the reason why they began falling out in the middle of the last decade. This issue has once again come to the fore in light of two recent events.

The first is of course Finland and Sweden’s planned NATO membership, while the second is the US’ decision to waive its anti-Syrian sanctions in the YPG-controlled northeast of the Arab Republic. President Erdogan also expressed his opposition to that move on the same day that he condemned those two countries’ support of Kurdish terrorists. These developments created the opportunity for the Turkish leader to once again raise awareness of his country’s stance towards that group and its regional branches in the hopes of pressuring the US-led West to distance themselves from it.

The challenge that he’s forced to confront, however, is that his mutual defense ally considers terrorist-designated Kurdish separatists to be more important regional partners than his own country. The reason for this is that its Syrian branch serves as the US’ proxies for continuing its military occupation of the agriculturally and energy-rich northeastern region as well as its means for manipulating its stalled constitutional reform process. From the perspective of the US’ grand strategic interests, these objectives are considered to take precedence over retaining ties with its decades-long Turkish ally.

Although it’ll never be openly admitted, America might also be preparing to employ these same Kurdish groups as anti-Turkish proxies in the scenario that those countries drift further apart and Washington considers it advantageous to utilize them as a means for punishing its wayward ally. It’s this possibility that concerns Turkish strategists the most since it could prove to be extremely destabilizing for their geostrategically positioned civilization-state. That’s why President Erdogan uses every relevant opportunity to pressure the US-led West to cut off its Kurdish proxies.

It’s extremely unlikely that this well-intended campaign against America will ever succeed though, but it at the very least raises maximum global awareness about its unprincipled policy of literally endangering the security of its decades-long mutual defense ally all for the purpose of advancing its interests vis a vis Syria at Turkey’s expense. Furthermore, it should go without saying that the US’ European partners like Finland and Sweden are unlikely to change their governments’ policy of wholeheartedly supporting terrorist-designated Kurdish separatists because Washington exercises hegemonic influence over them.

Even so, Turkey can still hit those two countries where it hurts the most by continuing to talk about their scandalous support of the PKK. That’s because a disproportionate share of their influence is derived from their soft power, particularly the impression that they’re supposedly neutral, principled, and peaceful states that are shining examples in all respects for the entire international community. The dark reality, however, is that their backing of the PKK exposes them as American stooges. Moreover, it also suggests that their so-called “humanitarian policies” are actually anti-humanitarian to the core.

Finland and Sweden essentially consider the Kurds to be a so-called “oppressed minority” in West Asia, including in Turkey. Their unipolar liberal-globalist worldview is such that they believe that those people deserve the US-led West’s full support as a result, to which end they aim to disguise their tacit endorsement of those separatist-terrorist Kurdish groups like the PKK on a so-called “humanitarian basis”. Its Syrian wing’s rebranding as anti-ISIS fighters who saved their people from their terrorist rivals’ planned genocide of them endeared the PKK in the hearts and minds of many Westerners.

This in turn facilitated the US-led West’s efforts to continue supporting them in all respects on a false humanitarian pretext. The more that President Erdogan talks about this and exposes the manipulative means through which countries like those two NATO aspirants support terrorism against the Turkish people, the more that their international reputations will be damaged, which will in turn harm their influence seeing as how Finland and Sweden’s are disproportionately derived from their soft power. In other words, this is an asymmetrical response to the threat that they pose to his country’s security.

That said, it remains unclear whether Turkey will formally block their NATO membership, which could provoke an intensification of the US-led West’s years-long Hybrid War against it that he might not be prepared for fully defending against at this time. If he ultimately supports their applications, then it can be considered that he did so knowing that the alternative could have been an exacerbation of the threats that his formal allies are nowadays posing to Turkey’s national security. In any case, it’s clear that Turkey’s troubled ties with the US-led West won’t improve anytime soon no matter what happens.

Turkey Opposes Sweden and Finland Joining NATO

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° 

Turkey has opposed the alliance intentions of the Scandinavian nations, claiming they are like ‘a guesthouse for terrorists’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared on Friday that Ankara opposes the possibility of Sweden and Finland’s accession to NATO because he believes the two Scandinavian nations harbor ‘terrorists’.

By ‘terrorists’, the Turkish leader meant militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a separatist movement operating in southeastern Turkey, and members of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Front (DHKP/C), an outlawed Turkish communist party.

The statement came after Helsinki and Stockholm demonstrated their intention to join the US-led military alliance.

“We are currently following the developments regarding Sweden and Finland [joining NATO], but we are not favorable towards it. At this point, it is not possible for us to have a positive approach,” the Turkish president told journalists.

“Scandinavian countries are unfortunately almost like guesthouses for terrorist organizations. PKK and DHKP/C are nested in Sweden and the Netherlands. And I’m going even further, in their parliaments,” he added.

In April, concerned with Russia’s military action in Ukraine, Sweden and Finland started to consider dropping their neutral status and joining NATO. Top Finnish officials have already supported the initiative. Sweden is set to decide on its accession to the military bloc on May 15.

Earlier, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reiterated that the US-led organization would be eager to include both nations and would make the accession process move quickly.

Moscow has repeatedly stated that it regards the expansion of NATO as a threat to its national security. The Kremlin has also warned Sweden and Finland that they would compromise their security, rather than improve it, by joining the alliance.

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered Minsk Protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

RT

A New Order in West Asia: The Case of China’s Strategic Presence in Syria

9 May 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen

Mohamad Zreik 

As the world order shifts into a multipolar world, a new balance of power based on economic ties centered in Asia emerges.

A New Order in West Asia: The Case of China’s Strategic Presence in Syria

Unanimity on a new American century had gone unchecked for a decade. The warhawk John Bolton lambasted Xi’s authoritarianism, claiming the new crackdown has made it practically hard for the CIA to keep agents in China.

Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) has evolved enormously since its inception. Today, multipolarity has developed, promising long-term progress for everyone who follows its norms. And Syria is one among them, had lately returned to world prominence after defeating a decade-long military offensive by the traditional unipolar actors.

In spite of this, unlawful US sanctions continue to harm the hungry, impede the rehabilitation of essential infrastructure and access to clean water, and restrict the livelihood of millions in Syria.

“We welcome Syria’s involvement in the Belt and Road Initiative and the Global Development Initiative,” stated Xi Jinping to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad on November 5.

In July 2021, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with the Arab League’s head to discuss Syria’s return to the fold. A four-point plan to end Syria’s multi-faceted crisis was signed by China at the end of the tour, which coincided with Assad’s re-election.

Surrounded by western-backed separatist movements, Syria reiterated its support for China’s territorial integrity. In 2018, China gave Syria $28 million, and in September 2019, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi proposed China-Iraq oil for rebuilding and greater BRI integration.

Events orchestrated by foreign forces halted this progress. Protests swiftly overthrew Abdul Mahdi’s administration and the oil-for-reconstruction scheme. In recent months, Iraq has rekindled this endeavor, but progress has been modest.

These projects are currently mostly channeled through the 25-year Comprehensive Strategic Partnership deal between China and Iran in March 2021. This might open the way for future rail and energy lines connecting Iran with Iraq and Syria.

At the first formal BRI meeting in April 2019, President Assad stated: “The Silk Route (Belt and Road Initiative) crossing through Syria is a foregone conclusion when this infrastructure is constructed, since it is not a road you can merely put on a map.”

China and Syria are now staying quiet on specifics. Assad’s wish list may be deduced from his previous strategic vision for Syria. Assad’s Five Seas Strategy, which he pushed from 2004 to 2011, has gone after the US began attacking Syria.

The “Five Seas Strategy” includes building rail, roads, and energy systems to connect Syria to the Mediterranean, Persian Gulf, Black, Red, and Caspian Seas. The project is a logical link that connects Mackinder’s world island’s states. This initiative was “the most significant thing” Assad has ever done, he claimed in 2009.

Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon were among the countries Assad led delegations to sign agreements with in 2011. President Qaddafi of Libya and a coalition of nations including Sudan, Ethiopia, and Egypt were building the Great Man-Made River at the time.

We can’t comprehend why Qaddafi was killed, why Sudan was partitioned in 2009, or why the US is presently financing a regime change in Ethiopia until we grasp this tremendous, game-changing strategic paradigm. Diplomatic confidentiality between China and West Asia is so essential in the post-regime transition situation.

Over the last decade, BRI-compliant initiatives throughout West Asia and Africa have been sabotaged in various ways. This has been a pattern. Neither Assad nor the Chinese want to go back to that.

The Arab League re-admitted Syria on November 23, revealing the substance of this hidden diplomacy. They have proved that they are prepared to accept their humiliation, acknowledge Assad’s legitimacy, and adjust to the new Middle Eastern powers of China and Russia: the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Unlike decades of US promises that consider Arab participation as disposable short-term interests, the China-Russia cooperation provides genuine, demonstrable advantages for everybody.

The BRI now includes 17 Arab and 46 African countries, while the US has spent the last decade sanctioning and fining those who do not accept its global hegemony. Faced with a possible solution to its current economic problems and currency fluctuations, Turkey has turned to China for help.

Buying ISIS-controlled oil, sending extremist fighters to the region, and receiving arms from Saudi Arabia and Qatar were all known methods of supporting ISIS and Al Qaeda operations in Iraq and Syria. The CIA’s funding has dwindled in recent months, leaving ISIS with little else to work with.

Though US President Joe Biden reiterated US military backing for the Kurdish-led Syrian Defense Forces (SDF), the Kurds’ hand has been overplayed. Many people now realize that the Kurds have been tricked into acting as ISIS’ counter-gang, and that promises of a Kurdish state are as unreal as Assad’s demise. For a long time, it was evident that Syria’s only hope for survival was Russia’s military assistance and China’s BRI, both of which need Turkey to preserve Syria’s sovereignty.

This new reality and the impending collapse of the old unipolar order in West Asia give reason to believe that the region, or at least a significant portion of it, is already locked in and counting on the upcoming development and connectivity boom.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

Erdogan’s Plan to Israelize Northern Syria with a Million Settlers on Track

ARABI SOURI 

Israelize northern Syria is the real plot: reports from Turkey claim that the Turkish madman Erdogan is planning to ‘return’ up to a million Syrian refugees to their country with the help of city councils in Azaz, Jarabulus, and Tal Abyad.

One of the sites, the Saudi regime’s mouthpiece Al Arabiya reported: ‘Erdogan said on Tuesday that Ankara was aiming to encourage one million Syrian refugees to return to their country by building them housing and local infrastructure there.’

Saudi Bin Salman’s propaganda outlet claimed that Turkey is home to more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees,’ adding ‘Erdogan is facing rising public anger over the refugees’ presence and is wary of the issue dominating next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections.’

From my knowledge of this creep flip-flop hypocrite mafia-business partner, and war criminal Erdogan, I believe he’s ‘returning’ the families of his followers, not the Syrians uprooted from those areas infested by the Turkish army and a collection of terrorist groups spanning from the so-called National Army to ISIS (ISIL) all of which follow the same offshoot sect of Islam that Erdogan managed to radicalize the Sufi sect of Turkey into.

The Turkish madman Erdogan is replacing the people of northern Syria with terrorists and their families from other areas and from other countries from China to Latin America who joined the ranks of the ‘foreign legion’ he helped create.

That foreign legion includes his beloved and loyal anti-Islamic Muslim Brotherhood and Wahhabi terrorists including the Chinese Uighur, the Northern Africans, and others from the Central Asian stans of Turkic origins he collected.

We have repeatedly reported that the Turkish neo-Ottoman sultan wannabe wants to Israelize a buffer region in northern Syria to separate secular Syria from the radical Muslim Brotherhood Turkey he and his AKP clan are ruling (see hereherehere, and in other places on our site,) we devised the term ‘Israelize‘ to describe these evil plans.

On the other hand, the NATO-sponsored Kurdish SDF separatist terrorists have been actively working on a similar agenda to Israelize the parts of northern Syria they occupy with the help of the Biden oil thieves regiment of the US Army, also with the help of Israel and all of NATO combined, even Russia had supported them in the past and is yet to declare a new position toward their war crimes against the Syrian people in the provinces of Hasakah, Deir Ezzor, Raqqa, and Aleppo.

Make no mistake, the Saudis are hand-in-hand with the Turks, Qataris, US, Israelis, and the rest of NATO in the plot against Syria, any differences between them do not affect their joint efforts to destroy the Levantine country and slaughter its people, Syria, the last secular nation in the region and way beyond is an existential threat to entities like the temporary settlement dubbed Israel, the Al Saud fiefdom dubbed Saudi Arabia, the Arabia gas station dubbed Qatar (pronounced Gutter), and what Turkey has turned into under the rule of the UK empire-invented Muslim Brotherhood clan.

If Erdogan manages to carry out his agenda, he will be planting the seeds of a never-ending civil war his masters in Tel Aviv and Washington have long sought for the region. There will be no rest in the places where people were forcibly uprooted from their land and their land was gifted by those who do not own it to other people who do not deserve it; more than a century of the Palestinian cause hasn’t taught these fanatics that the real owners of the land will not give away their rights to their land to imported settlers even if all of the world’s superpowers and super-rich countries with all their evilness work toward achieving such war crime.

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Hamas and Turkey: Is the honeymoon over?

Hamas’ rifts with Turkey are not unprecedented, but this time Erdogan risks losing the Palestinian resistance card to Iran, Syria and Lebanon if he continues to overplay his hand.

May 06 2022

The recent Hamas-Turkey crisis illustrates how the Palestinian resistance movement is split from within. Although Hamas has institutionally decided on a strategic alliance with Iran, the revived Meshaal faction still curries favor with an unreliable Turkey.
Photo Credit: The Cradle

By The Cradle’s Palestine Correspondent

Palestinian resistance movement Hamas is no longer able to hide its problem with Turkey. In 2011, Hamas took a hard line on Syria in favor of Turkey and Qatar. But eleven years later, the relationship is witnessing an impasse that Hamas can no longer hide, not only from its members, but also from the public. So what exactly is going on?

The Cradle interviewed a number of Hamas leaders, from the second and third leadership ranks, in Istanbul, Ankara, Beirut and Gaza, to get these details. They stipulated that their names not be mentioned for “organizational reasons,” or for reasons related to their place of residence.

More than a criticism

On the surface, Arab, Western and even Israeli media has tended to view the crisis as a new development, one that transpired after the recent Turkish-Israeli rapprochement – and Hamas’ criticism of it.

The revival of Ankara’s ties with Tel Aviv has been under discussion for a year or more, and culminated in early March with the visit of Israeli President Isaac Herzog to Ankara where he met with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Until then, Hamas was able to juggle its Turkish relations with some difficulty, and contented itself with a short statement criticizing the visit. But the Turkish condemnation of Palestinian guerrilla operations inside occupied Palestine in April placed Hamas in an impossible position, forcing the movement to issue a direct condemnation of the Turkish statements – and more.

Arab and Israeli media outlets then began to spread the news that Turkey was expelling Hamas military members or preventing a number from reentering its territory. Neither parties confirmed or denied those reports, which led to even more questions: Why is Turkey silent? Why didn’t Hamas launch a stinging attack against Ankara, as it did against Damascus 11 years ago? Had Syria expelled Hamas from its territory before 2011, would its war have happened – at least on this magnitude?

“Well-rehearsed game”

Sources we met in Istanbul say that what we are witnessing today is not an isolated incident, and has occurred more than once in the past years. In many cases, the Turkish authorities have requested certain Hamas members to temporarily leave the country, or to reduce their activities for a given period, after which things go back to normal. One source adds: “Everything is monitored in Turkey … what was happening was turning a blind eye to some activities at times, and tightening control at other times.”

These sources are close to Hamas’ external leader, Khaled Meshaal, who is the movement’s closest figure to Doha and Ankara, and its number one enemy in Damascus.

American “Muslim” Brotherhood

To indicate that things are normal between Hamas and Turkey, they point out that Sheikh Saleh al-Arouri, the official in charge of the group’s West Bank file, is still visiting Turkey.

Al-Arouri left Turkey in 2015 at an Israeli request, settled in Beirut, and has moved between Doha and Tehran and even Damascus at times. “But he still comes here (Turkey) from time to time to meet Abu al-Abed (Hamas’ Political Bureau Chief Ismail Haniyeh),” the sources reveal.

The truth is that Turkish authorities have now instructed Hamas that Al-Arouri must now coordinate his visits to Turkey in advance – ostensibly because he uses more than one passport, under different names.

So, this is all a well-rehearsed game. It is true that there is “Turkish tightening” of Hamas movements and activities, but “this took place in coordination with the movement, and upon an understanding on these details before Herzog’s visit. Therefore, there is no media clash between us and the Turks, and there are no statements and responses to them either,” the source continues.

In Gaza, however, there is another side to this story. Sources in the besieged territorial strip deny the existence of an ‘agreement’ between Hamas and Turkish officials. It confirms that the news about preventing the movement from carrying out any military or security activity from Turkish territory is accurate, especially if the action targets the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the 1948 areas.

The Gaza sources also confirm that some Hamas members have been prevented from entering Turkey, others were asked to stop their activities, and worst of all, the residencies of a number of them were not renewed without valid reasons provided, which means that they have to leave Turkey immediately. Although the number “does not exceed 100 with their families, but it is annoying, and it is considered to be in compliance with Israeli conditions.”

The Turks have taken further measures this time, ostensibly for “security purposes:” they have reduced the number of visas granted to Palestinian students and to tourism companies in Gaza. And from December 2021 onward, any Palestinian in Gaza or the West Bank who wishes to obtain a Turkish visa must come to a consulate in person to provide fingerprints and an instant photo, where previously it was sufficient to send their passport in.

But the most punishing measure by Ankara is the almost complete cessation of Turkish relief work in Gaza since the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian war. The reason provided by Turkish authorities to its Hamas counterparts in Gaza was that Ankara is “shifting support to other regions.”

Bear in mind that Turkish relief activities that began in Gaza in the aftermath of Israel’s bombing devastation of the strip in 2009, have been significantly reduced since starting work in Ramallah four years ago (2017-2018).

Hamas vs Hamas

Hamas sources in Istanbul and Ankara say that their counterparts in Gaza “exaggerate” when describing the Turkish measures. They point to the fact that Hamas’ Gaza-based leader Ismail Haniyeh is a “semi-permanent resident” in Turkey as he is unable to hold all his meetings in Doha, and cannot visit Beirut whenever he wants. Therefore, he visits Ankara or Istanbul for a few weeks occasionally to hold these meetings. And since Haniyeh is the “head of the movement,” then “if there was a central Turkish decision to restrict Hamas, it would have been sufficient to prevent him from entering and stop hosting him, which never happened,” they argue.

“The movement’s leadership is holding a lot of meetings in Turkey so far, and it has not been prevented from doing so,” says one source. “According to our experience, everything that is requested now is temporary, regardless of how long it will last.”

“The Turks must give the Israelis what they are satisfied with, even if it is only in the media. But the reality is different. There are specific names under discussion, and it is not a broad and comprehensive process of expulsion or deportation,” he adds.

In late April, however, Israel Hayom newspaper reported that the Israelis handed the Turks a list of Hamas figures, including information about some of them being involved in military activities, in order to deport them.

Hamas sources in Turkey say that Ankara still allows entry to holders of the diplomatic (red) passport issued by the Hamas government in Gaza, while the majority of countries (such as Malaysia, Sudan, Syria and sometimes Lebanon) have responded to the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority’s request to stop doing so.

They also point to Meshaal’s new TV channel venture that will air from Istanbul, as an alternative to Al-Quds channel broadcast from Beirut which was closed down years ago due to “financial crisis.” Sources in Gaza instead say that that the aim of the closure was to “isolate Meshaal.”

The opening of Meshaal’s channel, which announced in October 2021 that it would begin hiring staff, comes on the back of recent Hamas political bureau elections, which resulted in the return of Meshaal and his team back into the game. Meshaal, who is also known as Abu Al-Waleed, is a supporter of strengthening the relationship with Turkey and Qatar at the expense of Hamas’ relationship with Iran, Syria and Hezbollah.

Effectively sidelined by Hamas for the past few years because of his monumental miscalculations during the Syrian war, in the past few months, Meshaal has been “very angry” because of Hezbollah’s refusal to meet during his Beirut visit in December. It is likely also why Meshaal’s name will never appear on an Israeli ‘ban list.’

The Hamas defense in Istanbul is therefore this: “Is it possible to open a new channel for the movement at a time when Turkey is expelling us?” Meshaal’s call not to clash with the Turks is based on his argument that Erdogan is facing difficulties now; that Hamas must understand this temporary situation until the Turkish presidential elections in 2023 pass peacefully; that an Erdogan loss will have repercussions on the movement that cannot be compared to any Turkish measures or restrictions now. This is the same theory of ’empowerment’ (tamkeen) to which the Muslim Brotherhood adheres.

Sources close to Meshaal argue that Turkey treats Israel on an equal footing, and it may respond to some Israeli requests as part of its political maneuvering, but that it will not meet all of these requests. This ‘political maneuvering’ is what prompted Erdogan to improve his relationship with the UAE – even though it contributed to the 2016 coup against him – and with Saudi Arabia – which killed a Saudi dissident with a chainsaw on Turkish soil. It is realpolitik, they argue. All for money, investments, gas – and to retain his presidency.

Secrets revealed for the first time

Hamas sources in Ankara and Istanbul revealed further private details to The Cradle, saying the recent Turkish measures did not include Hamas members who have obtained Turkish citizenship: “These have become Turkish citizens, and Israel cannot ask their state to expel them or prevent them from entering the country… We are talking here about dozens of active people.”

They also reveal that “Turkish intelligence protects Hamas members, not only from killing or kidnapping, but also from espionage.” In this context, the sources point to the arrest last October of a cell of 13 to 15 spies working for the Mossad. They were spying on a full range of Hamas and supporters’ activities in Turkey, especially the Palestinian and Syrian students who submitted projects related to drones or engineering that could serve the movement’s military arm. These students are still studying in Turkish universities today.

The Turkish measures also follow US and Israeli diktats that while Ankara and Doha must “contain Hamas,” they should also not lose control of them. One sources explains: “It is true that there are limits to Hamas’ work in Turkey and there is full control over its activities. But if everyone is expelled from here, this will mean throwing these people into the arms of Iran, Syria and Lebanon, because Qatar or any other country will not be able to bear their presence on its soil… and this is last thing the United States and even Israel would want.”

Indeed, despite some ‘collateral damage’ such as military, security and financial activities, it seems that there is a great benefit to the Israelis and the Americans from Hamas’ presence in Turkey, and it is unlikely that Israel will ever request the complete expulsion of the movement and prevention of all its activities.

During this investigation, The Cradle heard many complaints within Hamas about the behavior of some of its members who live in Turkey. Many of these, after obtaining citizenship or residency, engage in investment and real estate projects, and leave work in the movement, and some of them travel to Europe, Canada and even the United States.

Anger in Gaza

The arguments of the Meshaal camp in favor of ‘tolerating’ Turkey’s new measures do not convince Hamas sources in Gaza, who say that a “comprehensive review” of the relationship with Turkey is underway. This review does not intend to end or sabotage the movement’s relationship with Turkey, but instead to assess its “feasibility” and “benefits.”

‘Turkish normalization’ with Israel has caused great embarrassment within Hamas and its members, as well as among its supporters. Many are seriously demanding to know what Turkey has done over the past decades for Palestinian resistance. Even in the years when the relationship between Hamas and Ankara improved, they note that the relationship between Ankara and Tel Aviv was progressing more quickly, and in more areas.

This anger is what prompted the release of leaks and statements over the past two months criticizing Turkish behavior. But the Meshaal-dominated leadership abroad was able to prevent the ‘deterioration’ of the situation, and pledged to communicate with Turkish officials to clarify their position. So far, the issue has not been resolved. It seems that officials in Ankara are in no hurry to provide an answer.

It may be more important, however, to pay attention to what the leadership in Gaza is planning that may ultimately affect the future of the movement’s relationship with Turkey. Sources in Gaza say that the Hamas leadership has taken a decision to bring the relationship with Iran to the level of a “strategic relationship” and not just an alliance, and that this is a decision that has been adopted by the entire movement.

This is why since the end of the last war in May 2021, the speeches of Hamas’ leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, have focused on the relationship with the “Jerusalem axis.” In his most recent speech on April 30, Sinwar spoke about Hamas’ coordination with the axis  “to open the sea route to and from Gaza.”

This is the same route that the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara tried to take in 2010, before the attempt ended with an Israeli massacre. But Erdogan has quickly forgotten his threats over the incident, and was satisfied with an apology over the phone from former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – after Washington’s mediation – which asked Netanyahu to pay compensation to the Turkish victims. Israel at the time “expressed regret” but did not cough up an apology, and offered to pay what it described as “humanitarian funding” to compensate the families of the victims.

Because Hamas’ relationship with Iran has become strategic, and the Gaza leadership attaches great importance to it – to the point that it believes a “war of liberation” is close – it seems almost certain that its relationship with Turkey will continue to decline.

This does not mean that the Iranians have reservations about the relationship between Hamas and Ankara. But “the past and the present reveal the near and distant future,” as described by those we spoke with in Gaza.

They raise a serious issue that is being exposed for the first time. The leadership in Gaza has learned that the Turks are using members of Hamas to help organize programs for Turkish visits to Jerusalem and to persuade Turkish citizens to participate. This is being done under the heading of “supporting Al-Aqsa Mosque,” but it ultimately aims to improve the relationship with Israel, especially as the Turkish visitors will enter the occupied territories on an Israeli visa.

These visits have been very active since late 2021, and come with the encouragement of both the Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs and the support of Erdogan, who has a number of associations concerned with this matter under his direct administration.

In April, a huge controversy erupted on social media platforms about the visit of the famous Turkish ‘Chef Burak’ Ozdemir to Al-Aqsa. Many believed the visit was “not innocent” in its timing, as it coincided with the Palestinian confrontation with Israeli forces over the holy mosque. However, Burak was better received by the Palestinians than the Gulf ‘visitors.’

Anxiety in Beirut

Those we contacted from Hamas in Beirut were less angry, but more anxious. They also refer to a “restriction in the granting of visas” through the Turkish embassy in Lebanon dating back to around six months ago. The embassy spun this as a natural reduction in Palestinian applications from Syria, after the Palestinian embassy in Damascus made it easier for Palestinians to obtain a passport issued in Ramallah – which could be used to visit Turkey to obtain residency or purchase real estate instead of via asylum documents.

Whatever the real reason for this restriction, it cannot be separated from the latest set of Turkish measures that were recently placed on Hamas. But the biggest concern in Beirut is about the future of the relationship. This concern is not a result of the difference in viewpoints within the movement, because in the end the decision will be issued collectively and institutionally.

The concern is over the fate of the relationship with Ankara, which appears to be adopting a different approach with the Muslim Brotherhood, after taking harsh measures against its members. The last of these measures was the expulsion of the Mkamelin channel and the suspension of its broadcasts from Turkish territory. Will a similar measure affect Hamas institutions soon?

For these reasons, their concerns appear realistic, especially given the acceleration of reconciliation between Ankara and Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv, all of whom are avowed enemies of Hamas – with Doha potentially affected by Turkey’s new behaviors as well.

The answer to this question can perhaps be found back in 2018. This year reveals a lot about events transpiring today.

The 2018 crisis

This was not a good year in the relationship between Hamas and Turkey. Turkish measures against the movement were similar to its actions today: refusal to arrange high-level meetings between the Hamas leadership and Turkish officials, freezing the renewal of residency permits for its members, and poor treatment of the wounded Palestinians from Gaza, among other measures.

That year, Turkey had expressed “disappointment” with the Syrian war, and with Hamas, which had decided in 2017 to improve its relationship with Egypt, start wooing Syria, and strengthen its relationship with Hezbollah and Iran.

The Hamas-Turkish crisis was then based in Ramallah. The President of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Mahmoud Abbas did all he could to sabotage the relationship between the two parties and he succeeded in that well.

At that time, Abbas met Erdogan, and provided him with information about an alleged ‘alliance’ between Hamas and the dismissed leader of Fatah, Muhammad Dahlan, who receives Emirati support, and who is accused of participating in plotting the coup against the Turkish president.

Hamas was unable to alleviate Erdogan’s wrath in this instance, and the latter ordered the transfer of the management of relief works from Gaza to Ramallah, and restricted Turkish aid to the PA in the West Bank. While the relationship gradually improved over time as tensions decreased, ties between Hamas and Ankara did not return to their previous levels.

Erdogan’s supportive statements about Palestine ebb and flow, and he stands accused of exploiting the Palestinian cause in order to gain popularity when facing internal crises. The Palestinian cause is still very popular on the Turkish street, and the president’s outreach to Israel has not been well-received.

Today, since Ankara’s relationships with Ramallah, Amman and Tel Aviv are thriving, and may improve soon enough with Cairo too, why does Turkey even care about the Hamas card and Palestinian resistance? It is a troubling question for the movement that its leaders often ask among themselves.

It seems that the coming months, not years, will hold an answer to that. While Erdogan’s actions are unpopular in Turkey, they serve his geopolitical agenda for now. On the other hand, with an uncertain 2023 election result looming, he will need his ‘Palestinian card’ to appeal to constituents – many of whom have now also turned critical of the US, which Erdogan is ever eager to please. It is an almost impossible balancing game for the Turkish presidency.

In the meantime, any Turkish actions against Hamas will not be surprising, but the movement has been put on notice, and its reactions may surprise Turkey right back.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Why has Turkey Closed its Skies for Russian Aircraft Bound for Syria?

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360°

Valery Kulikov
On April 23, during a tour of Latin America, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu announced that his country was closing its airspace to Russian military and civilian flights bound for Syria. But he added that this decision did not mean that Turkey was joining in the anti-Russian sanctions – it was simply that the agreement on an air corridor concluded between Moscow and Ankara was only valid for three months. That term is expiring at the end of April, and Turkey does not plan to renew it, as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently informed his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. The two nations have agreed that Russia will not use Turkish airspace to transport its troops to Syria, Mr. Çavuşoğlu added.

Clearly, Ankara’s decision is related to a number of situations that have taken a more serious turn in recent months.

One of these is Turkey’s new military operation against the Kurds – not just the Kurdish armed groups in Iraq, but also those in Syria. Clearly Ankara does not wish Moscow to get in the way of its plays in some way.

It should be noted that this operation, Ankara’s third special operation against the Kurds, is clearly not being conducted at Washington’s behest, as it is, in part, directed against Kurdish formations loyal to the US-supported Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Evidently, in an attempt to rein in Turkey’s military zeal, Washington has pressurized it into taking certain anti-Russian steps, and as a result Turkey has closed its airspace to Russian military and civilian aircraft.

The US itself is also concerned to limit Russia’s military operations in Syria, intending as it does to step up its aggressive operations there and, it seems, to open a “second front” in the confrontation with Russia. To this end, on April 23 the US sent a “convoy of 35 vehicles with trucks with munitions and technical supplies” as well as tankers for transporting oil from areas of Syria under Kurdish control. On April 25 another US military convoy arrived at the Kharab al-Jir aerodrome in the al-Malikiya area district of Al-Hasakah Governorate. According to a source from the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reporter it consisted of 36 vehicles loaded with boxes, cement panels and generators, supported by four US military armored vehicles.

In a bid to reinforce its position in its conflict with the Syrian state, Washington appears to have encouraged its ally Israel to launch military attacks on Syrian territory. In the morning of April 27 sites in the suburbs of Damascus were hit by Israeli rockets – the third such attack in less than a month.

Washington is also clearly concerned that Moscow may redeploy Russian forces and Syrian volunteers from its Khmeimim and Tartus bases to its special operation in Ukraine.

In short, it is clear that Turkey’s decision to close its airspace to Russia is entirely consistent with both its own and Washington’s interests.

In recent months Turkey, has been walking a tightrope in an attempt to avoid damaging its own interests by antagonizing either Washington or Moscow. It has made a point of showing Moscow that it is complying with the Montreux Convention, and doing all it can to prevent the clashes between NATO and Russian forces in the Black Sea. On April 26 it even initiated a new round of talks with Moscow on the purchase of a second Russian-made S-400 air defense system. The talks were led by Ismail Demir, head of Turkey’s Presidency of Defense Industries, who declared that “Ankara has no wish to discontinue its cooperation with Russia on arms supply issues because of the situation in Ukraine.”

It should also be noted that Ankara has urged all concerned to resolve the crisis in the Azovstal steel plant, and in particular to evacuate “the civilians and military personnel who are trapped there.” These initiatives are clearly not just spontaneous gestures or motivated by humanitarian considerations. After all, Turkey is continuing, along with other NATO members, to supply the Kiev regime with arms and other military equipment. These include Bayraktar TB2 drones, which have already been used in strikes on Russian territory.

Ankara’s concern is understandable, as it is now known that the fighters trapped in the Azovstal steelworks by Russian, PRD/PRL soldiers include hundreds of mercenaries from Turkey and Europe and high-ranking instructors from NATO countries, who are managing Kiev’s military operation in the Donbass. It would therefore clearly not be in the interests of the “collective West” for them to fall into Russia’s hands or for their presence to be made known to and judged by the international community, thus confirming what is already clear from the documentary evidence received by Moscow – namely the provocative role played by Washington and Brussels in inflaming the war in Ukraine. That is why in the last few days the West has allowed Ankara a much greater role in regulating the current situation.

As for Turkey’s closing of its airspace to Russian aircraft bound for Syria, that decision will certainly have an impact on the development of relations between Moscow and Ankara. Russia’s could potentially retaliate in any number of ways. It could, for example, restrict fruit and vegetable imports from Turkey, or limit the number of Russian tourists visiting the country. After all, 18% of Turkey’s national budget comes from Russian tourists, and given its current economic woes it can ill afford to lose this source of income. Or Moscow could take measures against the Turkish Stream project, promoted by Ankara in a bid to replace Ukraine as the leading gas hub in the region. Russia has many other sources of leverage over Turkey, including in Central Asia, and Ankara is well aware of this fact and has in recent years managed a fine balancing act to avoid losing Russia’s support.

It should also be remembered that Russia would have no problem finding alternative flight routes to Syria. Moscow could transport all the necessary supplies, including military equipment, via the Caspian Sea and Iran, which is happy to allow Russian military and civilian aircraft to use its airspace 24 hours a day for purposes related to the two countries’ joint military operations in Syria.

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Iran makes gains as Israel, Turkey test Moscow’s limits on Ukraine

April 25 2022

Under pressure to side with the west on Ukraine, Israel and Turkey risk falling out with Russia – which will benefit Iran in the long-term.

Winners and losers: West Asian geopolitics are shuffling during the Russia-Ukraine conflict, as states are increasingly forced to take sides.Photo Credit: The Cradle

By MK Bhadrakumar

The closure of Turkey’s air space to all Russian aircraft has not come as a surprise to Moscow, which is aware that Ankara and Washington are involved in a new dalliance and that there is a full spectrum calibration of Turkish regional policies under way.

The best evidence of it is that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan now says that a “reasonable, consistent and balanced relationship” with Israel is the only way to effectively defend the Palestinian cause, while Ankara’s rapprochement with Jerusalem solidifies despite intense tensions over the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

However, the closure of Turkish air space to Russian planes has broader regional implications. Russia has bases in Syria and although the conflict in that country has subsided, it remains “kinetic” with Turkey on the prowl with a large force of Syrian rebels it has trained and equipped over the last few years — at least 20,000 fighters following a unified command structure under what is being called the Syrian National Army.

Syria still matters

Suffice to say that Moscow, which anticipated the non-availability of the Turkish air space sooner or later, would have worked out alternate arrangements. The air route via the Caucasus and Iran is one option. Of course, Moscow and Tehran have congruent interests that the military balance in Syria should not tilt, although some redeployment of Russian forces from Syria to the conflict zones in Ukraine is to be expected.

Collaterally, Iran’s role as a stabilizer in the Syrian situation can only become more prominent. Meanwhile, Erdogan sees a window of opportunity to tiptoe around the presence of US and Russian forces in northern Syria and take control over the Kurdish autonomous regions. Turkey has also moved hundreds of troops, armor, and firepower to boost its presence around Idlib in northwestern Syria, which, if Ankara fails to reach an understanding with Russia, could come under attack.

There was a time until recently when Moscow and Washington stood in the way of any Turkish offensive to take territory from Kurdish forces. But that looks like a bygone era now. Turkey finds itself in a far better position than ever before to cut the Gordian knot that thwarted its ambitions and delayed any large scale offensive to pursue those ambitions in northern Syria.

An opportunity for Iran?

This evolving segment of the Syrian conundrum must be bothering Iran. However, no less significant is the contradiction regarding Russia’s relations with Israel, which provided the latter the space to attack Iranian assets in Syria.

Iran is intensely conscious that Israeli intelligence is ’embedded’ in US bases all across the region, which not only gives cover for intelligence gathering but also grooms Israel, as it were, for future roles as a subaltern of the US Central Command (CENTCOM) — the US military’s command center which covers activities from Egypt and West Asia to Central and South Asia.

Last year in January, the Pentagon reported a change in the Unified Command Plan shifting Israel from US European Command (EUCOM) to CENTCOM in a move envisaging the “strategic upgrade” of that country’s future role in West Asia as Washington pays greater attention to the Indo-Pacific.

All things considered, it must be a welcome development for Iran that there is greater clarity now about the limits to the Russian-Israeli relationship. Israel tried hard initially to remain neutral in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia and even projected an aspirational role as facilitator-cum-mediator. But the Biden Administration would have none of it and has come down on the Naftali Bennett government like a ton of bricks, demanding that it must behave like any subaltern is expected to do.

Israel-Russia relations are being tested

Israelis are realists. Which is why Foreign Minister Yair Lapid went down on his knees to explicitly accuse Russia of war crimes in Ukraine. But in the process, Lapid went somewhat overboard, as he chose a venue in Greece in the presence of his Greek and Cypriot counterparts to lambast Russia:

“A large and powerful country has invaded a smaller neighbour without any justification. Once again, the ground is soaked with the blood of innocent civilians. The images and testimony from Ukraine are horrific. Russian forces committed war crimes against a defenceless civilian population. I strongly condemn these war crimes.”

Lapid, a former general himself who is no stranger to war crimes, probably ingratiated himself personally with the Russophobic “hawks” in Washington, being Israel’s next prime minister. But he twisted the knife deep into the Russian consciousness. And Moscow’s reaction has been swift.

Not only was the Israeli ambassador summoned by the Russian Foreign Ministry but two other things happened in quick succession. First, in a not-too-subtle hint, Admiral Oleg Zhuravlev, the deputy chief of the Russian Centre for Reconciliation of the Opposing Parties in Syria, disclosed that  a Syrian-operated, Russian-made Buk M2E air defense system had recently intercepted a guided missile fired from an Israeli F-16 fighter jet in Syrian airspace.

The disclosure of the Syrian interception was as good a warning as there could be that Russia might no longer tolerate future Israeli strikes against targets in Syria (which are mostly Iranian assets.)

Second, Putin himself appeared on the scene writing a letter to Bennett demanding that Israel should transfer control of Jerusalem’s Church of St. Alexander Nevsky to Russia, as was promised by Netanyahu as part of a deal two years ago to win the release of an Israeli-American national detained in Russia on drug charges.

This latter issue will be a bitter pill for Bennett to swallow — to transfer to Russia the custodianship of the church located in Jerusalem’s Old City. The church is of exceptional importance to the Russian Orthodox Church and is a place of pilgrimage for Orthodox Russians who are inextricably linked with the rising tide of Russian nationalism.

Voice of America report lost no time in noting that “the issue is one of the latest flashpoint in the increasingly contentious relations between the two countries during the Russian war against Ukraine.”

Long-term planning

While Israel has a parochial and time-serving foreign policy, what distinguishes Iran’s compass is its sheer breadth of strategic vision. Iran understands perfectly well that the west is pursuing dangerous intentions in the Ukraine crisis.

Tehran sees through “the west’s strategy of turning Ukraine into a deadly quagmire for Russia to create the conditions for the west to play a more active role on the world stage, especially in the eastern hemisphere, by removing it from the list of major players on the international stage,” as an influential Iranian commentator wrote last week.

Conceivably, Iran’s best hope and interest would lie in Russia’s success in overcoming the crisis which may lead to a reset of the world order in the direction of greater multipolarity away from the prevailing western-led political and financial systems.

Evidently, the Biden administration is taking its own time to reach an agreement with Iran on the lifting of sanctions against Iran. It is baiting Tehran with patently-contrived, fantastic propositions almost on a daily basis: while Washington may remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from the terror list, its elite Quds Force shall remain branded as such; and so forth.

However, the heart of the matter is that the Biden administration’s foreign policies are currently Russia-centric (rather, ‘Putin-centric’) and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Washington is seeking reasonable certainty that Iran is willing to distance itself from Russia. The specter that haunts the Biden administration is the sheer possibility of two energy superpowers — with ideological affinities for a just and equitable world order and multipolar trade and currency regimes — working in tandem, which the US is hard-pressed to counter effectively.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Pepe Escobar and Danny Haiphong; Russia, China, and the Post-Dollar World

April 28, 2022

By restricting Moscow’s moves, Erdogan is playing Russian roulette

April 27 2022

If closing part of Turkish airspace to Russian planes is an indication of Ankara’s new direction, it may prove fatal for Turkey across several fronts.

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Abdel Bari Atwan

Turkey’s decision to close its airspace to Russian military and civilian aircraft bound for northern Syria surprised many observers. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s announcement of this decision to Turkish journalists during his Latin America tour raised many questions about its future implications for Russian-Turkish relations.

It is unlikely that this decision may have been one of the outcomes of a Turkish-American deal following discreet contacts between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his US counterpart Joe Biden to clamp down on Russia. Unlike his predecessor Donald Trump, Biden believes that it is difficult to achieve regional security without Turkey, which is an original member of NATO. And so the deal between the two countries included expanding economic cooperation and meeting Turkey’s defense needs, particularly in the advanced F-35s, Patriot and THAAD missile systems.

There are several explanations for Ankara’s decision. The first is that the US exerted pressure on Turkey after it became evident that the Russians commanded the battle of Mariupol and other southeastern Ukrainian areas from the Russian airbase of Hemeimim in northern Syria – from which strategic strikes were carried out against Ukrainian forces.

A second possible explanation is that Erdogan succeeded in improving his country’s relations with Washington, taking full advantage of the desperate US need for regional allies in NATO’s proxy war in Ukraine.

But where one loses, another gains. On the back of the surprise Turkish decision, Tehran cleverly offered to allow Russian aircraft to use Iranian airspace to reach naval and air bases in northern Syria. While these flight times may be longer, there are instant benefits for the two countries, especially Iran, which has now further enhanced its strategic relations with the Russia-China axis. Iran has not been ambiguous: since the outbreak of the Ukrainian military crisis, it has failed to condemn Moscow’s actions and has stood quietly in the Russian trench.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been generous with his Turkish counterpart. He forgave Erdogan for his 2015 mistake when Turkish air defenses shot down a Russian Sukhoi plane that allegedly penetrated Turkey’s airspace near the Syrian-Turkish border for a few seconds. It took a series of expansive Russian punishments for the Turkish president to apologize in all languages, including Russian, for the mishap.

Putin has showed understanding, and even patience, over the Turkish occupation of areas in northern Syria, contrary to the wishes of his staunch allies in Damascus. However, Ankara’s latest decision to establish a ‘Russian no-fly zone’ will not be so easy to forgive, especially if followed by further measures such as banning the passage of Russian military vessels through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits to the Mediterranean, in accordance with the Montreux Agreement.

This remains an option in light of the rapid – if stealthy – improvement in Turkish-US relations. But choosing to align with Washington on Ukraine also risks racking up Russian-engineered military, political, and economic costs for Turkey, one year out from the country’s pivotal elections.

Further aligning with the US also means Erdogan will not be able to continue playing his carefully crafted role as a “neutral” mediator in this crisis, and host the upcoming summit meeting between the Turkish and Ukrainian presidents.

Turkish aspirations to expand trade cooperation with Russia to $100 billion dollars per annum will also be impacted, and the sale of further Russian S-400 missile defense systems to Turkey will be unlikely. More seriously, Russia may respond by developing or expanding relations with the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and supporting its operations in Turkey.

Politically speaking, the Russian military operation in Ukraine is a matter of life and death for Putin. Therefore his response to Ankara’s belligerent moves are likely to be decisive and could possibly play out on several fronts:

  • The Syrian front: To keep the balance in Russian relations with Turkey, Putin strongly opposed the Syrian leadership’s desire to invade Idlib to eliminate the jihadist terror groups based there and restore territorial control back to Damascus. While Moscow’s position may not yet change, renewed, intensive Russian military operations in Idlib will lead to an increase in Syrians fleeing to Turkish territory, which already hosts over 3 million Syrian refugees.
  • Strengthening Russian-Iranian relations: This will have a negative impact on Erdogan’s regional ambitions – especially in West and Central Asia – taking into account that China, which forms the third and strongest arm of this budding alliance is a full-fledged member of this troika.
  • The Arab Front: Turkey’s desire to improve its relations with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other Persian Gulf and Arab states may be hindered in light of the rapprochement of these countries with Russia and China, which coincides with the breakdown of their relations with their traditional American ally. There is much the Russia-Iran-China (RIC) alliance can do in West Asia to unsettle Ankara’s relations within the region. It is worth noting that Riyadh has not yet responded to Turkish diplomatic outreach, significantly on the closure of the file of the state-sanctioned murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Erdogan’s leadership in recent months has been characterized by confusion and volatility. Recent political developments include Ankara’s unpopular improvement in ties with Israel, its gradual involvement in the Ukraine crisis, and its warming relations with Washington. These come at a critical time, not only amid a nation-wide economic crisis but also a year before presidential and legislative elections that pose a serious threat to Erdogan’s reign.

President Putin may have decided initially to overlook Turkey’s sale of the Bayraktar drones that have arguably contributed in the deaths of some 2,000 Russian soldiers in Ukraine, and reluctantly accepted its role as an intermediary in the crisis. At the strategic level, though, it will be difficult for him to tolerate Turkey’s accelerated bias toward the west.

It is true that Turkey is a regional power, and militarily strong, but it is also true that the US-led camp toward which it is tilting is in decline, torn apart by divisions, and failing dramatically in its economic sanctions regime against Russia. Furthermore, this camp is facing an alliance of two super-powers, a nuclear third (India), and a fourth on the way (Iran), together comprising more than half of the world’s population.

President Erdogan’s gamble with Russia is risky and may backfire, at just the wrong time.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Aux armes, citoyens: dissecting the stage-managed French elections

April 27, 2022

Macron’s second presidency was as calculatingly managed by France’s liberal elite as his first. As the country’s economic and geographic schisms widen further, yesterday’s Yellow Vest protests will seem like a tea party by comparison.

Emmanuel Macron now has a second term, courtesy of France’s urban elites. But the magnitude of the problems he faces, both domestic and external, will ensure indefinite strife in the country. Photo Credit: The Cradle

Macron’s second presidency was as calculatingly managed by France’s liberal elite as his first. As the country’s economic and geographic schisms widen further, yesterday’s Yellow Vest protests will seem like a tea party by comparison.

The Cradle

By Pepe Escobar,  

In the end, it happened exactly like the French establishment designed it. I called it last December in a column here at The Cradle.

These are the essentials: Certified Arabophobe Eric Zemmour, who is of Algerian origin, was manufactured by key establishment players of the Institut Montaigne variety to cut off the populist right-wing candidacy of Marine Le Pen. In the end, Zemmour’s electoral performance was dismal, as expected. Yet another candidate pulled off a miracle intervention and was even more useful: ambitious egomaniac opportunist and so-called progressive Jean-Luc Melenchon.

‘Le Petit Roi’ Emmanuel Macron generates less than zero empathy across France. That explains the huge voter abstention of 28 percent in the second round of votes.

The numbers tell the story: There are 48,803,175 French citizens registered to vote. Macron got 18,779,809 votes. Marine Le Pen got 13,297,728 votes. Yet the most eyebrow-raising performance was by the Abstention/Nullified/Blank candidate: 16,674,963 votes.

So the president of France was re-elected by 38.5 percent of voters while the real second place, Absention/Nullified/Blank got 34.2 percent.

That implies that roughly 42 percent of registered French voters bothered to hit the polls basically to bar Le Pen: a brand that remains toxic in vast swathes of urban France – yet hardly as much as before – and even with the whole weight of oligarchic mainstream media engaged in Two Minute Hate campaign mode. The five oligarchies who run the so-called ‘audiovisual landscape’ (PAF, according to the French acronym) of campaign messaging are all Macronists.

Madam Guillotine meets the working classes

Who, in fact, is this illusionist Petit Roi that qualifies at best as a messenger of transnational plutocracy?

From the bowels of the system, arguably the sharpest verdict comes from Mathieu Pigasse, informally referred to in Paris as “the punk banker” because of his infatuation with the British punk-rock band The Clash.

When Macron was a mergers & acquisitions banker at Rothschild & Company, Pigasse was working for the opposition, Lazard Freres. It was Macron who convinced Nestlé’s interests to be handled by Rothschild, while Pigasse was representing Danone.

Pigasse also happens to be one of the major shareholders of Le Monde – which used to be a great newspaper up to the 1980s and now is a shallow carbon copy of the New York Times. Le Monde is Macronist to the core.

Pigasse defines Macron as “the purest product of French elitism, in terms of the Parisian microcosm.” Although Macron is a provinciale from Amiens, he perfectly fit into the Parisian beau monde, which is in itself a quite rarefied, and yes, equally provincial universe, like a village where everyone ‘that matters’ knows everyone.

Pigasse also identifies the establishment characters who invented Macron and placed him at the top of the pyramid – ranging from avowed eugenicist Jacques Attali to Serge Weinberg (ex-CEO of Sanofi), Francois Roussely (ex-president of EDF) and Jean-Pierre Jouyet, a former minister under disgraced former President Nicolas Sarkozy and then number two at the Elysée Palace under the supremely incompetent Francois Hollande.

Attali, incidentally, describes Macronism as a “pro-European modernization, engaged, liberal and optimist. That corresponds to a center-right of modern France” – and then Attali himself gives away the game – “which is not necessarily the whole of France.”

“Not necessarily the whole of France” in fact means the majority of France, if one bothers to leave a few tony Paris arrondissements to talk to people in Pas-de-Calais, Bourgogne or the Var. This ‘real’ France identifies the “social market economy” extolled by Attali and promoted by Macron as a gigantic fake.

It would be too easy to paint the current national divide between, on one side, the elderly and the very young carrying a diploma, living in comfort; and on the other side, the 25 to 60 year olds, without higher education and barely making ends meet. That is, the working class masses.

It is more nuanced than that. Still, the two most important factors in this election are that close to one third of voters didn’t even bother to show up – or nullified their vote (even here in Paris). And that the gullible Melenchon horde handed it over to Le Petit Roi, assuming their leader will become a de facto ‘prime minister.’

The working classes will be literally exterminated throughout another five years of hardcore neoliberalism. France’s until recently stellar social welfare system will be decimated. Retirement age will be extended to 65 years old. Smaller pensions will be barely enough to live on. The super-wealthy will pay much lower taxes while the common worker will pay much higher ones. Education and healthcare will be privatized.

France will merrily catch up with the fast decaying casino capitalism of the US and UK. And don’t forget further travel restrictions and food and fuel shortages.

Islamophobia will not dissolve into a mellow woke rainbow. On the contrary: it will be instrumentalized as the perfect scapegoat for serial Macronist incompetence and corruption.

Meanwhile, in Azovstal…

If we add the spectacular performance of the Absention/Nullifed/Blank candidate plus people who didn’t even bother to vote, we have something like a silent majority of 30 million people who instinctively feels the whole system is rigged.

The winners, of course, are the usual suspects: the BlackRock/McKinsey/Great Reset/weapons industry/EuroNazicrat axis. McKinsey virtually run French government policy – bordering on fiscal fraud – a scandal corporate media did everything to bury. For his part, Blackrock CEO Larry Fink, a very close ‘consultant’ of the Elysee Palace, must have popped a few extra bottles of Krug.

And then, there’s France as Great Power. Leader of great swathes of Africa (fresh from receiving a punch in the teeth from Mali); Leader of West Asia (ask the Syrians and Lebanese about it); Leader of the Great Resetting EU; And deeply embedded in the NATO war machine.

Which bring us to the top invisible story before this election, totally buried by corporate media. Yet Turkish intelligence picked it up. The Russians, for their part, have kept themselves deliciously mute, in their trademark ‘strategic ambiguity’ mode.

Denis Pushilin, the head of Donetsk People’s Republic, confirmed once again early this week there are roughly 400 foreign ‘instructors’ cum mercenaries – from NATO – huddling in the bowels of the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, with no way out.

Turkish intel maintains that 50 of them are French, some of them high-ranking. That explains what has been established by several Russian sources – but not acknowledged at all by Paris: Macron has placed a flurry of frantic phone calls to Putin to set up a “humanitarian corridor” to extricate his valuable assets.

The measured Russian response has been – once again – trademark geopolitical judo. No “humanitarian corridor” for anyone in Azovstal, be it Azov neo-Nazis or their foreign NATO handlers, and no bombing them to oblivion. Let them starve – and in the end they will be forced to surrender.

Enter the still unconfirmed yet plausible Macron directive: no surrender by any means.  Because surrendering means giving Moscow on a silver plate a series of confessions and all the facts of an illegal, secret operation conducted by the ‘leader of Europe’ on behalf of neo-Nazis.

All bets are off when – and if – the full story breaks out in France. It might as well happen during the upcoming war crimes tribunal to be set up most probably in Donetsk.

Aux armes, citoyens? Well, they have five years down the road to hit the barricades. It may happen sooner than we think.

Sitrep: Operation Z

April 26, 2022

Source

By Nightvision

Today we start with the largest news. Ukraine continues escalating provocations in the asymmetrical/guerilla/insurgent direction as we’ve outlined in previous sitreps. Last time an oil depot was hit in the Belgorod district, it was reported that Russia moved a new S-400 system near the Kharkov border. So now Ukraine shifted its tactics further north out of range, and we see sabotage of various sorts occurring on the Russian border 250-300km NW of Kharkov.

Not only oil tanks hit in Bryansk (no evidence of air attack this time, possible on the ground sabotage), but various shelling of villages, and attempts to sabotage Russia’s rail systems, as explosives were found: https://i.postimg.cc/Y9qskhtC/FRPzb-S6-Vk-AAcy-U9.jpg

Also in the region it was said two new Bayraktar TB2’s were shotdown. Photos of one of them:

A new Turkish cargo plane landed in Poland yesterday as well, likely carrying a fresh batch of TB2’s, so we expect to see more shotdown in the near future. Over 40 have already been shot down.

Now Ukraine is stirring something up in Transnistria. Multiple sabotage attacks have occurred, including one on a military installation, destroying two radio towers and damaging others.

https://www.rt.com/russia/554556-transnistria-president-terror-attacks-ukraine/

Transnistria now erecting barricades: 

There is a lot of talk and rumor now, like the following: “Now Transnistrian telegram accounts are claiming Ukrainian military massed on their border: “According to subscribers. On the border with Transnistria, a large concentration of Ukrainian troops was noticed, in particular tanks and other armored vehicles”

And much of this rumor could be dismissed if it weren’t for the suspicious attacks that now suddenly occur on Transnistrian land, and the following statements from a prominent Ukrainian journalist and as of last year ex-advisor to the head of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, who reportedly said today:

“Ukraine has the legal right to demilitarize the military facilities of the Russian troops that threaten us,” the editor-in-chief of the odious publication Censor wrote on social networks. no, adviser to the head of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Yuriy Butusov.

He said that this would make it possible to capture Russian prisoners for exchange, “eliminate the threat of a breakthrough by Russian troops”, seize large arsenals of ammunition. Release two Ukrainian brigades that are stationed on the Ukrainian-Moldovan border

There is only one chance left to save Mariupol – a strike on Transnistria” – Advisor to the Minister of Defense of Ukraine.”

https://news.obozrevatel.com/vojna-v-ukraine/putin-vyibral-put-totalnoj-vojnyi-butusov-obyasnil-pochemu-nuzhen-udar-po-pridnestrovyu-i-kak-eto-spaset-mariupol.htm (autotranslate this article)

(Russia, by the way, has over 4000 AFU prisoners, 300 of them officers. More POWs were taken in Illych Steel Plant alone than all of RF and LPR/DPR prisoners in Ukrainian hands combined.)

So, not only is he floating this idea as a way to seize large arsenals of ammo as we’ve already outlined above, but as a final hail-mary shot to save Mariupol by seizing enough Russian prisoners that could be used as leverage in an exchange. Interestingly enough, this comment coincides with yesterday’s demands from Arestovych/Kiev, that:

1. there should be a negotiation with Russia done right at the walls of the Azovstal factory and

2. that Russian POWs should be exchanged for all the Azov militants and 36th Brigade marines currently trapped in the factory.

The problem with this demand is that Ukraine doesn’t have anywhere near the amount of POWs that would match the number of remaining militants in Azovstal. Ukraine “claims” to have around 500 total POWs for Russia/DPR/LPR, and this number is likely greatly inflated by double or more. Azovstal on the other hand has 2000+ trapped militants remaining by some reports. So apparently some in Kiev imagine the capture of Russian peacekeepers in Transnistria could equalize this trade and allow the exchange for the trapped Azovites.

“#Ukraine and #Romania plan joint aggression against #Transnistria (Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic) late April-early May. Romanian military disguised as Moldovan military are training in camps in Romania and arrive in #Moldova in large numbers. Details: https://t.me/ZradaXXII/1959

There’s rumor that a ‘large number of Romanian soldiers and officers’ have been deployed to Moldova under Moldovan uniforms, including officers and commanders replaced by Romanian counterparts.

The objective appears to be a huge military storage site in Kolbasnaya, that people are hyperbolically saying has enough artillery shells to last a 10 year war. Ukraine is understandably foaming at the mouth to acquire this ammunition as they are in dire shortage of same. “Rumors” that an attack on Tiraspol is already being planned for late April to early May.

This is troubling due to the compounding nature of other reports about clandestine buildups from Poland and other countries.

This was a report from around the time of the Moskva hit:

“Two days ago: The NATO Secret Monitoring Service started working in Odessa and tracking the ships of the Russian Navy. This was reported by RIA Novosti with reference to a source in the Russian law enforcement agencies and his Ukrainian informant.

According to the interlocutor of the agency, the NATO monitoring group operates in one of the suburbs of Odessa. Service workers are equipped with equipment that allows determining the exact coordinates of any vessel in the Black Sea within a radius of 200 kilometers.

The main specialists are employees of the Romanian PMC Nordstarsupport Group.
The interlocutor also noted that the tasks of the group are to prevent the landing of Russian troops in the Odessa region and the issuance of the location of Russian ships for targeting Ukrainian anti-ship missiles “Neptune”.”

Russia then announced the investigation of at least two British SAS special ops groups in Lvov: https://www.rt.com/news/554380-ukraine-uk-sas-sabotage

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10746503/Putin-hunts-SAS-Ukraine-Russia-launches-probe-British-elite-specialists-sabotage.html

And one report says that: “French sources report that servicemen of the 13th Parachute Dragoon Regiment, which is part of the Special Operations Forces, were deployed to Ukraine. The group includes instructors on the use of MILAN anti-tank systems and AT-4 grenade launchers”

As for Poland, we hear this rumor:

“❗️Poland is secretly preparing a “liberation campaign” against Ukraine. For this purpose, a set of measures is being carried out – the supply of weapons, equipment and mercenaries across the Polish-Ukrainian border. Several formations of the Polish Army – the 18th motorized rifle division and the 6th airborne brigade – are preparing for a “peacekeeping mission”

The Polish Army stepped up measures to the maximum extent possible to complete the units to wartime states. The recruitment of “volunteers” is carried out through the websites of the Ministry of Defense of Poland.”

Now, much of that is very speculative but they add up to a growing concert of evidence regarding western powers / NATO’s increasing involvement in Ukraine’s western flank. In fact some of these are from a few days ago and I held them back due to their speculative nature, but due to today’s concrete attacks on Transnistria, these things begin to look more and more real.

While some of this could revolve around an effort to free Azov militants, much of it is likely an escalation to thwart Russia’s coming destruction of the JFO grouping in Donbass. More and more reports pour from the Donbass of how badly it’s starting to look for Ukraine. Not only are there dozens of daily surrenders on every front, but huge losses in KIA each day and more and more from both groups are being identified as reservists sent from the far West, with little training.

Here’s one report

#UKRAINE—In preparation for #Russia|n offensive & due to severe lack of personnel & low morale among servicemen, #UA General Staff is preparing the following Territorial Defence Brigades for immediate transfer to #Donbass: —101st #Uzhgorod —102nd #IvanoFrankovsk —103rd #Rovno ½

These are lowly trained territorial defense showing up now on the eastern front. And judging by recent surrenders, they look it – many of them old and haggard. Last sitrep around 20 surrendered near Donetsk, today we have another batch of ~80 captured from Yampil on the northern front.

Video: https://twitter.com/AZmilitary1/status/1519013593324437505

Alt link: https://www.bitchute.com/video/faCuHupYndeO/

And the KIAs coming from the new pushes are more numerous than ever. I’ve refrained in the past from posting too much of it but the recent uptick in Ukrainian/Western propaganda about how Ukraine is ‘winning’ requires me to offset it by showing the stark reality of what’s happening on the ground:

Warning graphic (18+). These are the types of massive losses the AFU is taking just in the past day or two alone:

And for those that keep talking about phantom AFU campaigns in Kherson. Here’s what really happened in Kherson yesterday, Russia stormed AFU positions in Oleksandrivka with huge AFU losses. Complete destruction of their positions:

(18+) https://www.bitchute.com/video/XyhbW1JQ8ORM/

I don’t think we’ll be seeing any ‘offensive’ from them anytime soon.

Russia launched massive attacks on infrastructure last night as well, destroying many key rail lines and bridges.

A map showing all the strategic rail crossings that were hit:

And another map: 

Russian MOD confirmations: 

https://www.rt.com/russia/554519-russia-hits-supply-ukraine/

Western supply lines in Ukraine destroyed – Russia

It is believed that this is the final softening phase before a stronger offensive in Donbass begins. Western weapons will now have a much harder time getting to the frontline, particularly heavy weapons like tanks/artillery which are now said to be provided soon to Ukraine. These require railways to get to the frontline.

And on that topic of heavy arms to Ukraine, something important to note: many countries are now cobbling together a Frankenstein list of “high end” heavy arms to contribute. T-72’s and M-84’s from Poland and Slovenia, Marders, Leopards, and PzH2000’s from Germany, Cesar Howitzers from France, Mastiffs, Wolfhound, and Husky vehicles from UK, Archer artillery systems from Sweden, Humvees, M113 APC’s from U.S., and M777’s from Canada, and on and on and on.

For anyone versed in military matters, this is absolutely ridiculous. There is no way in hell the Ukraine will be able to utilize any of this stuff in any productive capacity for long. Firstly, the vast majority of it will never reach the frontlines and will be destroyed in transit. But just to play devil’s advocate, even if it were to actually reach the frontlines, any military analyst worth their salt knows that it’s a huge detriment to operate many non-interoperable systems on the frontlines due to the complete nightmare it creates in lack of parts and ability to properly maintain or repair this equipment.

In fact at the start of the SMO, Russia was heavily criticized by some military blogs because Russia uses so many different variants of each system concurrently, and this creates problems for maintenance and logistics – for instance T-72, T-72a, T-72b, T-72b3, T-72b3m, etc, etc. But of course Russia has the military infrastructure to deal with this, Ukraine doesn’t.

In a previous sitrep I already reported how Ukraine no longer even has an ability to repair its tanks and they have to be shipped out to Czech Republic who will now be handling the repair outsourcing because Russia has destroyed the AFU’s maintenance infrastructure. War is all about logistics, and to have this gigantic Frankenstein mess of dozens of different systems all utilizing different types of ammunition and parts that can’t be sourced adequately on the frontlines is a complete joke. It will never work and would quickly bog down into an intractable mess of quickly abandoned equipment.

In short, all this equipment is not much worry as the logistics problems it creates are simply insurmountable in the long run, even if it makes it to the frontlines in the first place. I would worry more about the supply of legacy soviet ammunition for the artillery systems Ukraine still operates.

There are signs of desperation from Ukrainian commanders in that regard:

“First Lt. Ivan Skuratovsky, serving in Ukraine’s 25th Airborne Brigade: “the situation is very bad, [Russians] simply destroy everything with artillery, shelling day and night.”

“Grenade launchers are good, but against airstrikes and heavy artillery we won’t be able to hold out for long.” Ukrainian troops told me they need Western military aid, particularly drones & artillery, ASAP. They fear if they don’t get it they could end up like those in Mariupol.”

-On the frontlines, Izyum continues to get reinforced by the 1st Tank Army and elements of the 20th Guards Combined Arms Army.

Some advances have been noted. The west flank of Izyum is being secured:

And since the mentioned prisoners were taken in Yampil, that town is likely to fall in the near future, opening up the way for Lyman.

Here’s a good map of the current: https://twitter.com/Denyo666/status/1519023312722137088/photo/1

Note that Zavody on the western end of Izyum is still disputed but RF is actively attacking it as we speak. And south of Kurul’ka (the salient south of Izyum), forward scout units of the RF are advancing on and have been attacking around Pashkove, which is only a few kilometers from an all-important railway that runs through Barvinkove. This railway has supplied Slavyansk from the west and whether Russia has hit its junctures with strikes or not, the goal here is clearly to advance south a few more kilometers and capture the railway and Barvinkove as well, cutting Slavyansk agglomeration off.

The only other thing of note is reports that Russian forces are now fighting at Gulyaipole which is a major stronghold town of the AFU on the west Donetsk line which Russia has been creeping towards for weeks. Once Gulyaipole and its eastern stronghold neighbor of Velyka Novosilka are captured, it creates an almost free pathway towards the main highway artery that supplies the Donetsk grouping from Zaporizhzhia.

As for Mariupol, there are more images of the Azov wounded:

DPR head also announced that Azovstal factory will not be rebuilt, while Azovmash and Illych factories to the north of it will be. This could be an ominous warning for Azov remnants as it would mean Russia would have no qualms in destroying the Azovstal completely. The only thing that appears to be stopping them is the apparent confirmation that Azov is in fact holding many civilians (they claim 1000) hostage in the basement, including many children, of which videos have now been released.

They are clearly using the civilians as their last bargaining chip and it’s a difficult situation for Russia to navigate as it does not want to create a massacre of women and children by bombing the positions nor be responsible for their starving by besieging the factory indefinitely. This is the chief reason that negotiations continue.

There were some reports that Azov doesn’t trust Kiev and in fact now wants to be released to a “3rd country”, which is reportedly Turkey. If true, this would make sense as there were reports weeks ago that Kiev in fact even launched Tochka missiles at Azov in Mariupol, showing a clear secret friction of some sort between the nationalist battalion and Ukrainian authorities.

https://tass.com/world/1416593

Here’s a current map of Mariupol, with a confirmed location of where the civilians are being held in the bomb shelter:

A few other random bits of news:

Governor Kim of Nikolayev has admitted to the creation of death squads to root out and kill “traitors” extra-judicially

https://www.rt.com/russia/554475-ukraine-governor-traitors-extrajudicial-executions/

This is further proof of what was done elsewhere in Ukraine, notably in Bucha where it’s now proven that the SBU hit squads liquidated ‘traitors’ on the heels of the Russian troop pullback.

Also, a commander of the DPR named Eduard Pelishenko, with the call sign “Crimea”, was said to be ‘seriously wounded’ near Donetsk by a “loitering munition”. This could potentially be the first sign of Switchblade-300 usage on the battlefield. Though he is expected to survive but it shows what we’ve discussed long ago, that the Switchblade-300 in particular will be used for covert assassinations of VIP targets.

Ukraine wants $2 billion per month from the Biden admin. https://www.rt.com/news/554520-ukraine-wants-2bn-dollars-month-from-us/

And lastly, Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of the Russian Security Council, has stated what’s been on all of our minds:

Ukraine May Collapse Into Several Independent Countries, Russia’s Security Council Secretary Says

https://sputniknews.com/20220426/ukraine-may-collapse-into-several-independent-countries-russias-security-council-secretary-says–1095073511.html

This appears to be the first such verbalized confirmation from the Kremlin side of the likely direction Ukraine is headed in.

1788. China to Make Electric Tumbrils

April 23, 2022

Source

By Fred Reed

We—I, and my spousal unit, Violeta—pulled into DC after a conventionally miserable flight from Guadalajara in seats apparently designed for dwarves with our feet almost in our pockets and Delta trying to sell us beer at seven dollars a can. I didn’t get it. If you can sell watery brew at seven balloonishly inflating greenbacks a can, why do you need an airline?

The occasion was a visit to a woman with whom I immediately became involved, though with Violeta’s permission. She weighs seven and a half pounds and has a smile that would make a dead man weep. This may have little geopolitical importance, though.

Anyway, the proud father celebrated having produced, or coproduced, a baby who probably deserves a world run by psychiatrically less fascinating adults, by taking about a dozen of us to Fogo da Something, a Brazilian restaurant on Pennsylvania across from the Trump Hotel. This costs $64 a head for all the meat and salad bar you could eat, desserts and drinks extra, so with tip you can crawl out, stuffed and economically depleted, for about $90. Salad bar good, desserts swell, meat tasteless. You can do better for a sixth the price at La Carreta, down the lake from us in Mexico.

The meal was a pre-guillotine experience, especially the restaurant. Or I hope so. The waiter says, “Hi! I’m Bruce and I am going to be your waitperson and do everything I can to make sure you have a wonderful, wonderful dining experience. We are orgasmically delighted to see you and….” When a waiter oozes like that, sure, he’s looking for tips, but I wonder, tips of what?

In Mexico waiters are courteous but you can tell they don’t want to sit in your lap or have a long-term relationship. In New York a waiter says, “What’ll it be?” and you say, “Eggs over medium, bacon on the side, cuppa mud,” and he says, “You got it.” Human. It gets the job done. You couldn’t write a Proust novel about it.

Anyway, the place was big, I’d guess between seventy-five and a hundred people doing the squat-and-gobble, likely disgorging on average a C-note per. This is DC, with the five richest counties in America, Montgomery, Loudoun, Fairfax, that kind of place, a city where the graft never stops, recession proof, where bribes run in freshets. Out there in Flyover Land, in Appalachia and the Rust Belt and the rural Deep South, families think going to Mickey D’s is a treat. And the swarming derelicts in the warm states increase in their medieval Ly diseased hordes.

Guillotine stocks. It’s the way to invest.

Washington is a rerun. In Paris in 1788 , creeping toward the Terror, the aristocracy was, like Washington’s upper crust, wealthy and schooled and cultured and cared not a withered farthing about the peasantry, as neither does Washington. Marie Antoinette didn’t really say, “Let them eat cake,” but they all thought it, and Hillary Antoinette, with her contempt for the Basket of Deplorables, expresses the same sentiment. There will be a price. Maybe anyway.

I spent two weeks in this diseased city wondering, “What are they thinking? The country is disintegrating internally, inflation growing like kudzu on a Georgia roadcut, living standards falling, the schools going to hell, and Washington is worried about…the Ukraine? Things crumble, resources are desperately needed domestically, and Washington buys the B-21, which Aviation Week prices at $640 million a copy of which, by design, you have probably never heard.”

It’s nuts. The racial situation is an intensifying disaster with continent-wide rioting, burning cities, ghetto kids graduating illiterate, desperate white people offing themselves with opioids, the rabble storming the Bastille—wait, this time I think it was the Capitol–but we need to raise prices by tariffs on China and Russia.

One night we went to eat with old friends from an earlier life. Like so many in DC, they were ninety-ninth percentile in intelligence, well educated, and decent people. We pondered, “Thai? Chinese? There’s a new Turkish place that’s supposed to be good.” Again, good people, though living in million-dollar houses, but…but…for much of the country Turkish, in some spiffy joint on Cap Hill or upper Connecticut Ave, would be the adventure of a lifetime. Washington has an ampleness of evil people, the Bidens, Blinkens, Victoria Newlands, Trump at one remove, but so many are just out of touch. There’s a new Turkish place in the city, and when was the last time they dined in Flint?

The media, a salt mine in which I once labored, are an embarrassment, utterly partisan, ranting and howling about Russia. OK, in war it is usual to cut the public off from information and to keep them stirred up with accounts of rape, human shield, “genocide,” chemical war, massacres, torture, a rule of television being to get a woman to cry and fill the frame. In Vietnam the media ran all over the country and actually reported what was happening, which eventually ended the war. This error is not being repeated.

{what bothers me is the apparent lack of curiosity, of doubt of official sources. Contrary to belief in some quarters, reporters are not given orders to adopt a particular point of view, though they know better than to contradict the publication’s line. No scribbler at the Washington Post will discuss racial differences in intelligence. But they are herd animals.}

Violeta, whose cynicism toward government—anybody’s government—would peel paint from a wall, watched a video clip purportedly of a Russian tank crushing a car occupied by Ukrainians. She noticed after research that the Russian tank was black without markings, like Ukrainian tanks, instead of green with markings, like all other Russian tanks. OK, maybe it was an undercover Russian tank. She also noticed in some of the Russian-destruction video, street signs are blurred out. Uh…, why dat? Anyone want to guess?

Why do reporters not pay attention? First, again, they are creatures of the pack. They live in the Beltway Terrarium, talk to each other, read each other, and so know they are right. Don’t their colleagues all say so? Second, they are painfully ignorant of matters military, knowing chiefly the bureaucracies involved in policy, contracting, and so on. This includes those for the WaPo, whom I knew—Gerge Wilson, Molly Moore, etc. As a comparison with the coverage of the Washington media, here is a piece by Scott Ritter, a former American intelligence officer stationed in, among other places, Moscow. It is long but contains the kind of knowledge that not one of the Beltways reporters, squalling, screeching, preening and yodeling has an earthworm’s grasp.

Why did Russia attack? Anyone who can read a map can see that since 1991 the US has been trying, with considerable success, to encircle Russia militarily. Russia has said over and over that it was not going to have American missiles on its border in the Ukraine any more than America would allow Chinese missiles in Tijuana. I encountered no one in DC who had even heard of this, though it has been going on for years. This is journalism?

Yes.

All things end, except those that don’t. On a cold rainy predawn morning we caught an Uber to Reagan National, returning to a country that has just left the Third World to one energetically returning to it. A stewardess aboard read the boilerplate about have a wonderful flight. She didn’t explain just how that laudable goal might be achieved. Remember, cometh the guillotine. Kachunk. Kachunk. Kachun.

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Russian Air Force Bombs Al Qaeda Posts in Idlib and Hama Countryside

ARABI SOURI

The Russian air force carried out several airstrikes against the dens of the Turkey-sponsored Al Qaeda terrorists near towns in the countryside of Idlib and Hama today, Friday 22 April 2022.

Local sources confirmed the targeting of Al Qaeda posts in the village of Al Ruweiha in the southern countryside of Idlib, the propaganda outlets of Al Qaeda and their Turkish sponsors have imposed a media blackout on the casualties among the terrorists and the material loss in the targeted dens.

Simultaneously, local sources in the town of Maarrat Dibsah (Maardibsa) in Jabal Al-Zawiya (Mount Al-Zawiya), to the south of the city of Idlib, reported at least three airstrikes attributed to the Russian air forces in the outskirts of the town, media outlet of Al Qaeda reporting from the site filmed one of the strikes without elaborating on the casualties among the terrorists.

The video is also available on Bitchute, and Rumble.

No civilians were harmed in any of the above-mentioned airstrikes as per local sources and as per the Al Qaeda propaganda outlets as well, which is not in line with their usual narrative immediately reporting ‘women and children’ and ‘hospitals‘ were destroyed in every single airstrike or bombing by the Syrian or Russian military, later on, members of these terrorist groups will start showing their ‘fallen brethren’ in such attacks to mourn their losses, the first part about fake civilian casualties usually gets the western media hysteric reporting, the second part showing the real targets are totally ignored by the same NATO-aligned media.

The entirety of Idlib province should have been cleared from all sorts of terrorists of Al Qaeda and its affiliated armed groups including ISIS by the Turkish army in late 2019 when the Turkish madman Erdogan pleaded to the Russian and Iranian leaders to halt the Syrian military advance toward Idlib and that he would eliminate the presence of the terrorists within 6 months, he cried that this would push the ‘dangerous terrorists’ into Turkey and would cause him large harm, the Russian and Iranian leaders trusted the words of the ever flip flop hypocrite Erdogan who had to be reminded several times by the Russian leadership of his commitments which he fails to meet until this very day, on the contrary, he beefed up the terrorists in northern Syria in members and in weapons and sent battalions of the Turkish army, NATO’s second-largest army, to protect these terrorists.

In none of the agreements between Russian and Iranian leaders with the Turkish madman Erdogan was there any exception or halt to targeting the terrorists should they pose any threat or should any opportunity arise, a point that the US regimes of Trump and demented Biden used to kill the previous two ISIS leaders who were living under the protection of the Turkish army and its proxies in Idlib itself.

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