US Is the Source of, Not “Solution” to Syrian War

 

Global Research, November 12, 2019

After the supposed US “withdrawal” from Syria – Western media outlets have causally reported on US troops now preparing to occupy Syria’s oilfields east of the Euphrates River.

Articles include carefully selected “experts” who avoid any mention of how illegal or indefensible the presence of US forces in Syria is to begin with, let alone any mention of “why” US troops are preparing to “claim” Syria’s natural resources.

The Guardian in its piece, “US plans to send tanks to Syria oil fields, reversing Trump troop withdrawal – reports,” illustrates a voluntary dereliction of due diligence in investigating or questioning Western actions in Syria.

One is left to assume what the US would claim as its excuse for remaining in Syria – likely based on a narrative of denying terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda or the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) and their affiliates access to resources to “fund” their return to the region.

The most obvious and sustainable solution would be to transfer control of Syria’s oilfields to Syria itself. Syria has overcome terrorist organizations in all areas Damascus has now restored order to, and with the restoration of its oilfields and related industries, would be in an even better position to both rebuild the nation and defend against the very elements who destroyed it in the first place.

But this assumes that the US is interested in preventing the resurgence of terrorist organizations in the region – ignoring the fact that the US deliberately created them in the first place and deliberately used them to both trigger, then fuel the Syrian war from its very beginning in 2011.

The US is the Source of Syria’s War 

As early as 2007, real journalists warned of US plans to bolster opposition groups linked to terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda in a bid to undermine Iran and its ally Syria.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his 2007 New Yorker article, “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?,” would provide an ominous, but crystal-clear warning of what awaited both Syria and the wider region.

Hersh would warn:

The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

The article would mention the Muslim Brotherhood by name and described specific US support under what was then the Bush administration already being funnelled to the group in Syria.

The Brotherhood is an extremist front with direct ties to Al Qaeda and who were at the epicenter of the supposed “Arab Spring” in 2011. From 2011 onward – then under the Obama administration – US support continued in the form of both financial and military aid.

Articles like the New York Time’s, “Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With Aid From C.I.A.,” would admit to billions of dollars worth of arms from the US flowing into Syria to fuel the destructive war.

Despite Western media claims that the Syrian conflict was being fought between the government and “moderate rebels,” the US State Department itself admitted that within the first year of fighting, Al Qaeda had already established a dominate position on the battlefield.

In an official statement on the State Department’s own website designating Al Qaeda affiliate – al-Nusra – a foreign terrorist organization, it was admitted:

Since November 2011, al-Nusrah Front has claimed nearly 600 attacks – ranging from more than 40 suicide attacks to small arms and improvised explosive device operations – in major city centers including Damascus, Aleppo, Hamah, Dara, Homs, Idlib, and Dayr al-Zawr. During these attacks numerous innocent Syrians have been killed.

If the US and its allies were providing billions of dollars worth of weapons and equipment to “moderate rebels,” who provided al-Nusra with even more weapons and equipment enabling it to dominate the battlefield?

The US – as it has done in virtually all other wars of aggression abroad – simply lied about the nature of those it was arming – having from the beginning and just as journalists like Seymour Hersh warned – deliberately armed and aided extremists to wage a proxy war of regime change against Syria.

Arsonists, Not Firefighters 

Nothing the US has done in regards to Syria has amounted to genuine efforts to end the conflict. Throughout the conflict the US continued to adjust its war propaganda to justify first its invasion and occupation of eastern Syria to “fight ISIS” – then to incrementally move toward justifying a direct US military intervention against the Syrian government itself with troops “serendipitously” already staged inside Syrian territory.

From 2015 onward in the wake of Russia’s intervention – direct US military intervention was taken off the table and the US occupation confined to eastern Syria where its unsustainable narrative regarding a Syrian “Kurdistan” withered.

Today – we find a US still attempting to justify its illegal and indefensible occupation of Syrian territory. Syria and its allies have attempted to provide Washington with a host of face-saving opportunities to withdraw and allow the conflict to finally end – returning peace and stability to the nation of Syria and its people.

The US continues to pose as part of a “solution” to the very Syrian crisis journalists like Seymour Hersh as early as 2007 revealed the US had deliberately engineered.

Just as an unrepentant arsonist would not be involved in efforts to extinguish the fire they started – the US cannot be involved in efforts to resolve a conflict it itself started – nor is the US at this point demonstrating any genuine desire to end the conflict.

Squatting on Syrian oilfields is yet another intentional tactic being used to draw the Syrian war out even longer – impeding the Syrian state’s access to its own resources needed to fuel the country and fund reconstruction.

Far from firefighters, the US is an unrepentant arsonist blocking firefighters from doing their job. US foreign policy has become so overtly malign that the Western media is unable to even address basic questions such as “why” the US is remaining in Syria – and doing so amid Syria’s oilfields.

Just as has been the case throughout the Syrian war, US machinations will be defeated by Syria and its allies patiently creating conditions on the ground in which current US policies are no longer tenable forcing Washington to fall back further still.

In the meantime, continued efforts to expose the truth of this war’s genesis and to prevent those who were responsible for it from attempting to prolong it further by posing as “peacemakers” and “protectors” is essential. If the US wants to pose as “peacemakers” and “protectors,” Syria and its allies may allow them to do so only to save face amid their total and otherwise unconditional departure from Syria.

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Tony Cartalucci is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook” where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from InfoRos

US Now Admits it is Funding “Occupy Central” in Hong Kong

Global Research, August 22, 2019

This article first published almost five years ago on October 1, 2014 is of particular relevance to an understanding of recent developments in Hong Kong.

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Just as the US admitted shortly after the so-called “Arab Spring” began spreading chaos across the Middle East that it had fully funded, trained, and equipped both mob leaders and heavily armed terrorists years in advance, it is now admitted that the US State Department through a myriad of organizations and NGOs is behind the so-called “Occupy Central” protests in Hong Kong. 

The Washington Post would report in an article titled, “Hong Kong erupts even as China tightens screws on civil society,” that:

Chinese leaders unnerved by protests elsewhere this year have been steadily tightening controls over civic organizations on the mainland suspected of carrying out the work of foreign powers.

The campaign aims to insulate China from subversive Western ideas such as democracy and freedom of expression, and from the influence, specifically, of U.S. groups that may be trying to promote those values here, experts say. That campaign is long-standing, but it has been prosecuted with renewed vigor under President Xi Jinping, especially after the overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych following months of street demonstrations in Kiev that were viewed here as explicitly backed by the West.

The Washington Post would also report (emphasis added):

One foreign policy expert, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive subject, said Putin had called Xi to share his concern about the West’s role in Ukraine. Those concerns appear to have filtered down into conversations held over cups of tea in China, according to civil society group members.

“They are very concerned about Color Revolutions, they are very concerned about what is going on in Ukraine,” said the international NGO manager, whose organization is partly financed by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), blamed here for supporting the protests in Kiev’s central Maidan square. “They say, ‘Your money is coming from the same people. Clearly you want to overthrow China.’ ”

Congressionally funded with the explicit goal of promoting democracy abroad, NED has long been viewed with suspicion or hostility by the authorities here. But the net of suspicion has widened to encompass such U.S. groups as the Ford Foundation, the International Republican Institute, the Carter Center and the Asia Foundation. 

Of course, NED and its many subsidiaries including the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute do no such thing as “promoting democracy,” and instead are in the business of constructing a global network of neo-imperial administration termed “civil society” that interlocks with the West’s many so-called “international institutions” which in turn  are completely controlled by interests in Washington, upon Wall Street, and in the cities of London and Brussels.

Image: While the Washington Post would have readers believe NED is in the business of promoting “freedom of expression” and “democracy” the corporate-financier interests represented on NED’s board of directors are anything but champions of such principles, and are instead notorious for principles precisely the opposite. 

The very concept of the United States “promoting democracy” is scandalous when considering it is embroiled in an invasive global surveillance scandal, guilty of persecuting one unpopular war after another around the planet against the will of its own people and based on verified lies, and brutalizing and abusing its own citizens at home with militarized police cracking down on civilians in towns like Ferguson, Missouri – making China’s police actions against “Occupy Central” protesters pale in comparison. “Promoting democracy” is clearly cover for simply expanding its hegemonic agenda far beyond its borders and at the expense of national sovereignty for all subjected to it, including Americans themselves.

In 2011, similar revelations were made public of the US’ meddling in the so-called “Arab Spring” when the New York Times would report in an article titled, “U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings,” that:

A number of the groups and individuals directly involved in the revolts and reforms sweeping the region, including the April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and grass-roots activists like Entsar Qadhi, a youth leader in Yemen, received training and financing from groups like the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, a nonprofit human rights organization based in Washington.

The article would also add, regarding NED specifically, that:

The Republican and Democratic institutes are loosely affiliated with the Republican and Democratic Parties. They were created by Congress and are financed through the National Endowment for Democracy, which was set up in 1983 to channel grants for promoting democracy in developing nations. The National Endowment receives about $100 million annually from Congress. Freedom House also gets the bulk of its money from the American government, mainly from the State Department.

 

Image: US Senator John McCain on stage in Kiev, Ukraine cheerleading US
funded sedition in Eastern Europe. In 2011, McCain would famously taunt
both Russia and China that US-funded subversion was coming their way.
“Occupy Central” is one of many waves that have hit China’s shores since.

 

Pro-war and interventionist US Senator John McCain had famously taunted both Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and President Xi Jinping’s predecessor in 2011 that the US subversion sweeping the Middle East was soon headed toward Moscow and Beijing. The Atlantic in a 2011 article titled, “The Arab Spring: ‘A Virus That Will Attack Moscow and Beijing’,” would report that:

He [McCain] said, “A year ago, Ben-Ali and Gaddafi were not in power. Assad won’t be in power this time next year. This Arab Spring is a virus that will attack Moscow and Beijing.” McCain then walked off the stage.

Considering the overt foreign-funded nature of not only the “Arab Spring,” but now “Occupy Central,” and considering the chaos, death, destabilization, and collapse suffered by victims of previous US subversion, “Occupy Central” can be painted in a new light – a mob of dupes being used to destroy their own home – all while abusing the principles of “democracy” behind which is couched an insidious, diametrically opposed foreign imposed tyranny driven by immense, global spanning corporate-financier interests that fear and actively destroy competition. In particular, this global hegemon seeks to suppress the reemergence of Russia as a global power, and prevent the rise of China itself upon the world’s stage.

The regressive agenda of “Occupy Central’s” US-backed leadership, and their shameless exploitation of the good intentions of the many young people ensnared by their gimmicks, poses a threat in reality every bit as dangerous as the “threat” they claim Beijing poses to the island of Hong Kong and its people. Hopefully the people of China, and the many people around the world looking on as “Occupy Central” unfolds, will realize this foreign-driven gambit and stop it before it exacts the heavy toll it has on nations that have fallen victim to it before – Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Egypt, and many others.

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Destabilizing Pakistan: Bookending Washington’s China Policy

Global Research, July 26, 2019

Much is being said of US activities aimed at China. Recent protests in Hong Kong together with a US-led propaganda campaign aimed at Beijing’s attempts to quell a growing terrorist threat in Xinjiang are aimed at pressuring the nation to fall back into line within Washington’s enduring unipolar international order.

The latter of these two campaigns in particular – claims of Chinese authoritarianism as Beijing attempts to neutralize US-backed separatists and terrorists in Xinjiang – has also been spun as China “targeting Muslims.”

This ignores the fact that one of China’s closest and oldest allies in Eurasia is Pakistan – a Muslim-majority nation. It also ignores the fact that in Pakistan, the US is playing the same game aimed at cultivating violent extremism, separatism, violence, division, and even the dissolution of Pakistan’s current borders.

Balochistan – the other Xinjiang 

While all the focus has been directed by the Western media on Xinjiang and a supposed “anti-Muslim crackdown” in the region, Pakistan faces the same problem in its southwestern province of Balochistan. In Pakistan – attempts by the government to root out violent separatists surely is not “anti-Muslim.” 

In Balochistan, the US agencies involved in fanning the flames of separatism and violence instead portray Islamabad and the Pakistani military’s efforts to restore order as simply trampling “human rights.” 

US interference in Balochistan is just as extensive as it is in China’s Xinjiang.

Despite the recent move by Washington to list the armed Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) as a terrorist organization – Islamabad has long accused Washington of funding and arming it along with segments of the Indian government aligned with US interests.

The fact that otherwise ignored activities by Balochistan separatists are covered by certain Indian newspapers even as recently as this year seems to give credence to these accusations. NDTV’s article, “Pro-Balochistan Slogans Raised During Imran Khan’s Address In US,” and India Today’s article, “16 EU Members of Parliament write letter to Trump to intervene in Balochistan,” are just two such examples.

US support is much easier to track down.

US-based Stanford University’s Mapping Militant Organizations project admits that the BLA receives much of its financial aid from the Balochi diaspora. The project’s profile on the Balochistan Liberation Army notes:

Due to high community support for autonomy and independence from people of the Balochistan, many analysts suspect that a large amount of the BLA’s income and weapons supply come from donations from the Balochi people. Balochi leaders have also claimed that financial contributions from the Balochi diaspora make it possible to procure arms and ammunition through the black market.

Thus, even if the US is not directly arming and funding the BLA, it is openly supporting pro-separatists among the Balochi diaspora who even Stanford University experts admit are – in turn – funding the BLA’s terrorism.

The US move to designate the BLA as a foreign terrorist organization holds little meaning. The BLA will find itself beside organizations like Jabhat Al Nusra in Syria which is all but openly funded and armed by the United States and a large cross-section of Washington’s closest European and Arab allies.

Arming militants is only half of the overall strategy seeking to destabilize Pakistan. Subverting national institutions and replacing them with those interlocking with US special interests is the other half.

US NED Working Hard in – and Against – Pakistan  

The US State Department-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its various subsidiaries are busy at work in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province as well as China’s Xinjiang.

NED has been directly funding and supporting the work of the “Balochistan Institute for Development” (BIFD) which claims to be:

“…the leading resource on democracy, development and human rights in Balochistan, Pakistan.”

In addition to organizing the annual NED-BFID “Workshop on Media, Democracy & Human Rights” BFID reports that USAID had provided funding for a “media-center” for the Baluchistan Assembly to “provide better facilities to reporters who cover the proceedings of the Balochistan Assembly.” It can be assumed that BFID meant reporters are “trained” at NED-BFID workshops and at its USAID-funded center.

There is also Voice of Balochistan whose every top-story is US-funded propaganda, including op-eds by US representatives promoting Balochi separatism, foundation-funded Reporters Without Borders, Soros-funded Human Rights Watch, and a direct message from the US State Department.

Like other US State Department funded propaganda outfits around the world – such as Thailand’s Prachatai – funding is generally obfuscated in order to main “credibility” even when the front’s constant torrent of obvious propaganda more than exposes the game.

The “Free Baluchistan” movement is a US and London-based organizations. The “Baloch Society of North America” serves as a useful aggregate and bellwether regarding US meddling in Pakistan’s Balochistan province. The group’s founder, Dr. Wahid Baloch, openly admits he has met with US politicians in regards to Balochistan independence. This includes Neo-Conservative corporate-lobbyist and National Endowment for Democracy board member, Zalmay Khalilzad.

Dr. Wahid Baloch considers Balochistan province “occupied” by both the Iranian and Pakistani governments – he and his movement’s humanitarian hand-wringing gives Washington the perfect pretext to create an armed conflagration against either Iran or Pakistan, or both, as planned in detail by various US policy think-tanks.

There is also the Baloch Students Organisation-Azad, or BSO. While it maintains a presence in Pakistan, it has coordinators based in London. London-based BSO members include “information secretaries” that propagate their message via social media, just as US and British-funded youth organizations did during the West’s operations against other targeted nations during the US-engineered “Arab Spring” in 2011.

And just as US-funded agitators in China’s Xinjiang region coordinate their activities with other US-backed groups across the rest of China – such as in Hong Kong and Tibet – other US NED-funded fronts in Pakistan also contribute to a wider campaign of dividing and undermining Pakistan.The US State Department funds Voice of America Deewa focused on Pakistan’s Pashtuns who inhabit Pakistan’s northwest region along its border with Afghanistan.

Despite VOA Deewa’s supposed area of focus, it is actually based in Washington DC. While many of the organizations it provides support for do not admit their US funding, organizations like “AdvoPak” are regularly promoted by VOA Deewa. US NED’s online publication, “Democracy Digest,” also promotes, interviews, and defends groups who appear to be funded by Washington and undoubtedly serve US interests in Pakistan.

This includes the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) which was featured by the Digest earlier this year in an article titled, “Pakistan’s military targets protest movement, stifles dissent.” While PTM doesn’t disclose its funding, it is regularly accused of receiving support from and working for both India and the US.The Democracy Digest article featured a video interview with a PTM member – Gulalai Ismail – who is in fact an NED Fellow. There is also NED’s “Tribute to Gulalai Ismail at the 2013 Democracy Award.”And all of this is just scratching the surface of US meddling in Pakistan’s internal politics and of organizations committed to creating synergies with US-backed separatists in Balochistan.

What Does Pakistan’s Balochistan and China’s Xinjiang Have in Common? 

Balochistan and Xinjiang both appear to be suffering from separatist movements, terrorism, and political destabilization. The common factor is clearly US backing behind both separatist movements – but what is the common denominator that has attracted US attention in the first place?Both Xinjiang and Balochistan are settings for massive Chinese-led infrastructure and trade initiatives. Western publications like the Business Insider note the importance Xinjiang holds in terms of China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative.

Many of the routes that lead out of China, across Central Asia, and eventually into the Middle East and Western Europe pass through Xinjiang. US attempts to destabilize the region in turn directly impact the viability of Beijing’s OBOR initiative and the economic wealth and influence it stands to grant Beijing.

Likewise, a significant leg of the OBOR initiative extends from China and across Pakistan from north to south, through Balochistan until reaching Gwadar Port. Thus, by destabilizing Balochistan, this essential corridor’s full potential is inhibited.

This is a truth US special interests and the media interests they own will never admit to. This is why – instead – diverse tales of China’s “anti-Muslim” crackdown and Pakistan’s “distain for human rights” in Balochistan are used to sell two different US-backed conflicts fuelled for a singular agenda – impeding China’s rise and that of its allies – including Pakistan.

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Tony Cartalucci is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook” where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from NEO

US “Boots” Turkey from F-35 Program

July 19, 2019 (Gunnar Ulson – NEO) – Turkey has been officially “booted” from the F-35 multirole combat aircraft program.
The F-35 multirole combat aircraft, produced by US-based arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin, is part of a massive weapons program exceeding $1 trillion. A single aircraft can cost over $100 million, or over twice the cost of Russia’s new Su-57 and many times more expensive than other Russian, Chinese and European-made aircraft already in operation.

The record-breaking costs however don’t translate into record-breaking performance. The F-35 has already seen its fair share of development hiccups and even when they are all ironed out, nothing the F-35 is even advertised as being able to do justifies its growing price tag.

It is amazing then that anyone has lined up to buy it at all let alone the large number of nations that have lined up.

Reuters in an older article titled, “The 11 countries expected to buy F-35 fighter jet,” would report:

Lockheed is developing three models of the plane for the U.S. military and eight partner countries that helped fund the plane’s development – Britain, Australia, Italy, Turkey, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Canada. 

South Korea, Japan and Israel have also placed orders for the jet.

Since then, however, there has been public backlash in nations like Canada which are shouldering development costs even if they end up buying no F-35s at all, CBC would explain.

Despite headlines like the BBC’s, “US removes Turkey from F-35 fighter jet programme,” Turkey itself has probably benefited most from being “removed.” Other headlines across the corporate media have been using the term “booted,” “kicked out,” or “expelled,” but a more apt term would be “dodged.”

What would nations like Britain, Australia, Italy, Turkey, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Canada, South Korea, Japan and Israel do with F-35s anyway?

Israel already reportedly has the new aircraft. They’ve even reportedly used them in their attacks on neighboring Syria. However Israel has used the aircraft for mostly standoff attacks, fearing Syrian air defenses despite the F-35s supposedly stealthy profile.

While Britain is likewise prone to acts of illegal military aggression like its Israeli friends, the remaining nations hardly have any role for the F-35 their existing aircraft, or newer, cheaper aircraft could not easily fulfill.

So why did any of these nations line up to buy the F-35 in the first place? Is there any historical precedent that can help explain why Lockheed Martin’s extraordinary expensive, but less-than-extraordinary performing combat aircraft has been so financially successful?

Yes, there is.

Lockheed’s F-104 Starfighter: Flying on a Wing and a Bribe 

This historical precedent is exceptionally relevant. Not only is it about an astronomically expensive, underperforming and essentially unnecessary combat aircraft, it was also made by Lockheed and pushed on America’s allies at the time, just like the F-35 is now.

It turns out that policymakers who chose the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter despite its many shortcomings were simply bought off, literally with crate fulls of money as was the case in Japan.

A very old 1976 article by the New York Times titled, “Japan’s Watergate: Made in U.S.A.,” illustrated Lockheed’s business practice of simply buying off policymakers to chose their aircraft over competitors even after official decisions were made. While Lockheed’s commercial airliners were mentioned in the article, the F-104 Starfighter was also involved in what was later exposed as a massive multinational multi-million dollar (billions in today’s dollars) bribery racket.

Bribery might explain why Canada has tried to back off from the F-35 today but still has stubborn holdouts demanding the aircraft be given a chance.

The Daily Kos in a more recent article would report on Lockheed’s massive bribery racket during the F-104’s days, that:

Lockheed executives admitted paying millions in bribes over more than a decade to the Dutch, to key Japanese and West German politicians, to Italian officials and generals, and to other highly placed figures from Hong Kong to Saudi Arabia, in order to get them to buy our airplanes. Kelly Johnson was so sickened by these revelations that he had almost quit, even though the top Lockheed management implicated in the scandal resigned in disgrace.

Despite the obvious reasons not to buy the Lockheed Starfighter, nations ended up with them in abundance. All in all, over 2,500 were built. Over the course of their operational history, they succeeded in shooting down 3 aircraft and allegedly forcing another to land. Conversely, hundreds crashed with West Germany alone losing 116 pilots between 1962 and 1984.

If US arms manufacturers like Lockheed could get away with bribing officials to buy hundreds of what were essentially “flying coffins” to allied nations back in the 1950s and 60s, killing far more allied pilots than the enemy ever did, how hard would it be to sell something slightly less deadly, semi-functional but simply overpriced?

Pretty easy apparently.

Between collective public amnesia regarding Lockheed’s past abuses, a corporate media that works for arms manufacturers and policymakers receiving millions in bribes, the collective defense of the West never stood a chance of getting affordable and effective defense capabilities.

Turkey Wasn’t “Booted From” the F-35 Program, It Dodged It

Turkey has undoubtedly played accomplice to Western machinations over the past half century. It has been a member of NATO since 1952 and has played a role in destabilizing the Middle East and even parts of Eurasia for decades on behalf of Anglo-American interests.

More recently it served as a springboard into neighboring Syria for tens of thousands of terrorists backed by a US-led coalition aimed at overthrowing the government in Damascus. Much of the current violence in China’s Xinjiang region is owed to Turkish meddling alongside US efforts to divide and destabilize the political order in Beijing.

Turkish forces have even partially invaded Syria, finding themselves mired in fighting with terrorists they themselves at one point supported and of course Kurdish militants, many of whom are supported by their own Western allies.

Ankara has also watched as US, European and even Israeli combat aircraft including F-35s have tip-toed around Syrian and Russian air defenses.

There is clearly much more going on behind the scenes as Western influence around the globe fades and Eurasian powers like Russia and China emerge upon the global stage. Turkish interests in the long-term will likely tip toward greater cooperation with the East rather than the West.

But the inability of Western forces to establish uncontested air superiority over Syria as they have done in virtually every other war in the past century including World War 2 surely isn’t being lost on anyone seriously interested in national defense, bribed or not.

Ankara knew by buying Russian S-400 air defense systems they would likely be “booted from” the F-35 program, so in reality, Ankara itself made the decision to leave it. It will acquire a premier air defense system that it itself has watched complicate US military intervention in Syria next-door.

Turkey has freed itself from a complicated and costly weapons program that would leave its coffers lighter and its borders no more or less safe than they are at the moment. Deepening its military relationship with the West removes rather than enhances any leverage Ankara has when dealing with Washington, London or Brussels.

Other analysts have made convincing arguments that Russian-made systems transferred to Turkey and used by Turkish forces gives Ankara more autonomy from the US and NATO who insist US-made weapons systems be manned by US troops and ultimately directed by US and NATO commanders. The US, for example, has refused to transfer technology associated with their S-400 alternative, the Patriot missile system. Russia, as part of its deal with Turkey, will transfer technology.

While some may be overstating the significance of Turkey’s latest decision, this is undoubtedly one of many steps Ankara is taking to move from West to East. The US, in “booting” Turkey from a program Turkey would not benefit from, is merely attempting to conceal the full extent of its waning influence.

Turkey will continue to be a nation straddling both East and West. But it is hard to recall another point in recent history where Turkey’s balance between the two has been more equitable.

We can recall several extremely risky moments during the Syrian conflict, including the downing and ambush of Russian pilots and rescuers and calls from many in the public for swift retaliation from Moscow. Moscow didn’t. Instead, it has patiently bided its time, and for doing so it has avoided what would likely have been a costly confrontation and instead reaped this recent success.

How significant or minor this success actually is, only time will tell. A major NATO partner buying Russian air defense systems while spurring an unprecedented US arms program certainly seems significant.

Gunnar Ulson, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

US “Downs” Legitimacy After Claims of Downing Iranian Drone

July 20, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – The US boasted of downing an Iranian drone over the Strait of Hormuz, admittedly in international waters, just miles off Iran’s coast, and thousands of miles from Washington.

It claims the drone was “threatening” a US amphibious assault ship, the USS Boxer.

The Washington Post in its article, “Trump says the U.S. Navy downed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz,” would claim:

A U.S. naval ship downed an Iranian drone that flew too close and ignored multiple calls to turn away, President Trump said Thursday, as tensions between the United States and Iran appeared to be rising once again in the Persian Gulf region. 

Speaking at the White House, Trump said the drone came within 1,000 yards of the USS Boxer in the Strait of Hormuz before the crew “took defensive action” and “immediately destroyed” it.

An AP article titled, “US warship downs Iranian drone in Hormuz Strait,” noted that (emphasis added):

The Pentagon said the incident happened at 10 am local time on Thursday in international waters while the Boxer was transiting the waterway to enter the Persian Gulf. The Boxer is one of several US naval ships in the area, including the USS Abraham Lincoln, an aircraft carrier that has been operating in the nearby North Arabian Sea for weeks.

The claims come nearly a month after Iran shot down a US drone – an RQ-4A Global Hawk – operating near Iranian shores, also in the Strait of Hormuz.

At the time, the US condemned Iran’s move claiming it had downed the drone over international waters. Now – the US openly claims it has shot down an Iranian drone over international waters. The overt hypocrisy is intentional. The US has been attempting to goad Tehran into an armed conflict for years with US policy papers openly admitting as much.

A 2009 Brookings Institution paper titled, “Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy toward Iran,” would openly admit (emphasis added):

…it would be far more preferable if the United States could cite an Iranian provocation as justification for the airstrikes before launching them. Clearly, the more outrageous, the more deadly, and the more unprovoked the Iranian action, the better off the United States would be. Of course, it would be very difficult for the United States to goad Iran into such a provocation without the rest of the world recognizing this game, which would then undermine it. 

Apparently, the US is no longer concerned about whether or not the world recognizes this game and is doing everything in its power to goad Iran into miscalculating and granting the US justification for a long-desired and much larger conflict with Tehran.

Did the Iranian Drone Really Threaten the USS Boxer? Was it Even an Iranian Drone? 

As with most deliberate provocations – the recent US claims of downing an Iranian drone came with minimum details and no evidence at all. Not even the type of drone was mentioned by the Washington Post or AP.

Claims that the drone came within 1,000 yards of the ship and was disabled through electronic jamming indicates it was most likely an off-the-shelf drone used for photography and in no way posed a threat to the USS Boxer.

Iranian media – for its part – claims the US most likely shot down their own drone, and denies Iran was operating any of its own drones in the area at the time. Iran’s PressTV in an article titled, “US may have shot down own drone in Persian Gulf, Iran says of Trump’s claim,” would claim:

Iran has rejected US President Donald Trump’s claim that a US warship had shot down an Iranian Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) in the Strait of Hormuz. 

“We have not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz nor anywhere else,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyyed Abbas Araqchi said in a tweet on Friday. 

“I am worried that USS Boxer has shot down their own UAS by mistake!”

What is certain is that even if it were an Iranian drone, it couldn’t have posed more of a threat to the USS Boxer than America’s military presence in the Middle East poses to its inhabitants – a region where the US has repeatedly bombed, invaded, currently occupies or is waging war by proxy against multiple nations including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and indeed – Iran itself.

Beyond the Middle East the US has left Libya desolate and is currently occupying the Central Asian nation of Afghanistan – a military campaign that has lasted now nearly 2 decades and is unfolding along Iran’s eastern border while the US continues to maintain a military presence in Iraq on Iran’s western border.

The US currently maintains crippling sanctions against Iran, admittedly sponsors terrorist groups operating within Iran, and has repeatedly threatened to overthrow the Iranian government through open military intervention, US-sponsored “color revolutions,” as well as economic and covert military means.

The UK – equally committed to Washington’s desire to overthrow the Iranian government – has even recently hijacked an Iranian tanker in the Strait of Gibraltar.

Under ordinary circumstances, a military drone approaching a ship of any kind from any nation in international waters – allegedly as close as 1,000 yards – would be considered a provocation. But Iranian drones – if this was indeed the case – approaching a US warship plying the waters of a region utterly ravaged by US military aggression can at best be considered scrutiny the US has earned itself through its own destructive foreign policy – a foreign policy that fully intends to visit the same destruction brought upon nations like Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Afghanistan – upon Iran as well.

Iran surely has the right to defend itself – to track US warships as they pass just miles from its own shores – whether in “international waters” or not. And if Iran is not allowed to fire on US drones over these same “international waters,” what gave the US the right to do so?

There is a much easier solution for the US if its goal really is to ensure the safety of its vessels travelling the globe – stop provoking conflict, thus eliminating the chances of its vessels becoming targets during such conflict.

Of course, the US will not do this. It will continue pursuing hegemonic foreign policy until it is economically and militarily no longer able to do so. For Iran – the trick will be avoiding provocations designed to trigger a war the US still believes it can win until global dynamics change enough to ensure whatever war the US triggers it will have no chance of winning.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

British Hijack Iranian Ship: Another Day, Another Provocation

British Hijack Iranian Ship: Another Day, Another Provocation

July 17, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – Had Iran openly hijacked a vessel of any nation, for any reason, plying through waters anywhere on Earth, the US and its allies would immediately cite it as a provocation toward war.

In fact, even without evidence, suspiciously timed attacks carried out last month on tankers passing through the Persian Gulf were cited by Washington and London as a pretext for increased pressure on Tehran despite the attacks appearing staged by the West itself.

Now in a display once again illustrating just who the actual menace is to global peace and stability, the British have openly – even proudly – hijacked a ship carrying Iranian oil allegedly bound for Syria.

The Guardian’s article, “Iran fury as Royal Marines seize tanker suspected of carrying oil to Syria,” would report:

Royal Marines have helped seize an Iranian supertanker suspected of carrying oil to Syria off the coast of Gibraltar, escalating tensions between the UK and Tehran as the agreement aimed at halting Iran’s nuclear programme unravels.

A detachment of nearly 30 British troops working with the Gibraltarian police intercepted the vessel, believed to be carrying 2m barrels of oil, in a dramatic manoeuvre Spain said had been conducted at the request of the US.

The article would quote the British ambassador to Iran who claimed:

[The UK] welcomes this firm action by the Gibraltarian authorities.

As to why the UK believed it was justified to hijack the Iranian tanker – the article would cite “sanctions against the regime of Bashar al-Assad” the UK and EU placed on Syria – which are in themselves illegal and an act of war.

Stealing Ships from Stolen Land to Enforce Illegal Sanctions 

The UK’s presence in Gibraltar itself is a point of contention between London and Madrid.

Spain does not recognize British claims over the tiny piece of land located at the furthest tip of the Iberian Peninsula. The British presence is one of its many holdovers from its imperialist past. The British presence gives the UK a choke point over the Strait of Gibraltar and all shipping passing through it.

The fact that the British are using the disputed territory of Gibraltar to hijack ships or that the London Guardian is trying to depict it as an operation undertaken while “working with the Gibraltarian police” – when the “Gibraltarian police” are nothing more than functionaries representing London itself – provide a clear illustration of how foreign policy, media, and crimes against international law are being coordinated, justified, and sold to the public by Washington and London.

While Iran has regularly threatened to impede shipping through the Stait of Hormuz in retaliation to Western military aggression – it has never acted upon these threats – reserving them as a means of last resort.

The British and Americans – on the other hand – have literally implicated themselves in disrupting “freedom of navigation.” 

The US and UK both pose as international arbiters and underwriters of what they call “the freedom of navigation” of the world’s seas. They regularly accuse nations like China of impeding such “freedom” in the South China Sea – using these accusations as an excuse to build up a military presence off China’s shores – thousands of miles from their own shores.

They have also regularly cited Iran’s “threats” to shipping through the Strait of Hormuz as another reason Iran should be further pressured, sanctioned, and its government ultimately removed from power.

Yet by hijacking Iranian ships, or likewise intercepting North Korean vessels, or the ships of any nation based on sanctions unilaterally and illegally imposed by Washington, London, and Brussels implicates the West themselves as the primary threat to the very “freedom of navigation” of the world’s seas they claim to uphold.

Provoking War 

From Western policy think tanks to policymakers and politicians themselves – the West has all but admitted it is trying to goad Iran into war.

Sanctions, Western-sponsored terrorism aimed at Iranian territory itself, and provocations – like the recent hijacking of an Iranian tanker – all aimed at Tehran – are moves seeking to trigger a response from Iran that will justify even wider Western economic sanctions and military aggression.

And if Iran fails to provide such a provocation, one might be staged and blamed on Iran anyway.

These are the actions of outlaw nations presiding over a fading international order – one fading specifically because it is so transparently unjust, lopsided, and disruptive toward global stability. It has persisted for so long solely through the maxim of “might makes right.”

The British stealing ships from stolen land to enforce illegal sanctions is a vulgar display of “might makes right,” but one that may possibility be reaching its expiration.

The countervailing multipolar order emerging across Eurasia has an opportunity to oppose this flagrant provocation – not merely on Iran’s behalf – but to erode the impunity that will allow the US and UK to target the ships of other nations in a similar fashion if afforded impunity to do so to Iran now.

For Tehran, it will need to continue exhibiting “maximum patience” while enduring Washington and London’s “maximum pressure” campaign – avoiding the traps both have laid out for Tehran as they attempt to bait the nation into war and change their failing fortunes in the Middle East and around the globe.

The British – still a thorn in the side of global peace and stability despite losing most of its empire – presents us with a preview of what to expect from America even long after it fades as sole global hegemon. Learning to put the UK’s recent provocations in check now will help develop the tools necessary to put in check its future provocations – and those the US will find itself also depending on more and more often in the future.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

BBC Says China Building Schools is “Bad”

BBC Says China Building Schools is “Bad”

July 14, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – China’s recent building-spree of schools in its underdeveloped and remote region of Xinjiang – in a saner world – would be good news. But for editors at the BBC it is being depicted as sinister and dystopian.

The BBC’s article, “China Muslims: Xinjiang schools used to separate children from families,” attempts to depict boarding schools – a concept popular in the UK itself – as a “form of interment” and “cultural re-engineering.”

The BBC’s article claims:

China is deliberately separating Muslim children from their families, faith and language in its far western region of Xinjiang, according to new research. At the same time as hundreds of thousands of adults are being detained in giant camps, a rapid, large-scale campaign to build boarding schools is under way.

The “new research” conducted by the BBC is admittedly not even being done in China itself. The BBC admits:

China’s tight surveillance and control in Xinjiang, where foreign journalists are followed 24 hours a day, make it impossible to gather testimony there. But it can be found in Turkey.

“Testimony” gathered in Turkey – one of the nations abetting US efforts to fuel radicalism and separatism in Xinjiang in the first place – is accompanied by satellite photos taken from outer space of vacant lots in Xinjiang being transformed into newly built schools complete with football pitches and jogging tracks.

The images are only proof that China is building schools in Xinjiang. Not of any of the claims being made by the BBC of “internment” or “cultural re-engineering.” The inclusion of the images is meant to serve as convincing stand-ins where actual evidence of the BBC’s otherwise baseless accusations should be.

The BBC Omits the Real “Cultural Re-Engineering” in China’s Xinjiang 

The BBC has been one of the leading voices promoting claims of Xinjiang “concentration camps,” “one million Muslims” being detained, and now the “internment” of children in schools.

The BBC – however – has been relatively quiet for years over genuine cultural re-engineering taking place in Xinjiang – funded by the United States, Saudi Arabia, and abetted by nations like Turkey and even the UK itself through its propaganda and political support of such efforts.

The LA Times in a 2016 article titled, “In China, rise of Salafism fosters suspicion and division among Muslims,” would reveal:

Salafism is an ultra-conservative school of thought within Sunni Islam, espousing a way of life and prayer that harks back to the 6th century, when Muhammad was alive. Islamic State militants are Salafi, many Saudi Arabian clerics are Salafi, and so are many Chinese Muslims living in Linxia. They pray at their own mosques and wear Saudi-style kaffiyehs.

The article also noted (emphasis added):

Experts say that in recent years, Chinese authorities have put Salafis under constant surveillance, closed several Salafi religious schools and detained a prominent Salafi cleric. A once close-knit relationship between Chinese Salafis and Saudi patrons has grown thorny and complex.

And that:

…Saudi preachers and organizations began traveling to China. Some of them bore gifts: training programs for clerics, Korans for distribution, funding for new “Islamic institutes” and mosques.

This pervasive radicalism has translated directly into real violence – another fact omitted completely from the BBC and other Western media coverage of events in Xinjiang.

China’s efforts to reverse the growing influence of Salafism – such as collecting deliberately mistranslated copies of the Koran published and distributed by Saudi Arabia to promote radicalism – have been depicted by the Western media as religious oppression with all context intentionally omitted.

That the BBC claims China building schools teaching Mandarin and Chinese culture in China is “cultural re-engineering” while overlooking Saudi Arabia building Salafist networks thousands of miles away from its borders fuelling very real extremism in western China to begin with – helps fully reveal recent BBC reports on Xinjiang and China’s Muslim community as pure propaganda.

Salafism as a Geopolitical Tool 

Not only does the BBC intentionally omit mention of extremism and violence in regions like Xinjiang or how it came to be, the BBC is also omitting the fact that Salafism itself was admittedly spread worldwide by Saudi Arabia as a geopolitical tool.

In the pages of the Washington Post, the Saudi Crown Prince would recently admit:

Asked about the Saudi-funded spread of Wahhabism, the austere faith that is dominant in the kingdom and that some have accused of being a source of global terrorism, Mohammed said that investments in mosques and madrassas overseas were rooted in the Cold War, when allies asked Saudi Arabia to use its resources to prevent inroads in Muslim countries by the Soviet Union.

Wahhabism is closely related to Salafism and the terms are often used interchangeably. The Crown Prince’s admission refers specifically to the Cold War and the Soviet Union, but it is abundantly clear that these networks didn’t simply vanish with the collapse of the Soviet Union, they evolved.

They are now used to help feed extremists into Washington’s many proxy wars around the globe including in Libya and Syria. They are also being used to pressure nations across Asia and to create a pretext for a continued US military presence in Asia-Pacific.

And clearly they are being used to fuel US-backed separatism inside China.

Just as the Western media deliberately misrepresented terrorists waging proxy war on the West’s behalf against Libya and Syria – the Western media is deliberately misrepresenting China’s Uyghur minority, the extremists within that minority, who funds and encourages them, and why.

We’re left with articles like the BBC’s – attempting to undermine China’s global standings by depicting very real efforts to confront very real extremism as “oppressive” and “authoritarian.” It is partly to help provide cover for ongoing efforts to divide China from within, but also to demonize China among global Muslim communities.

Never mentioned by the BBC in its efforts to depict China as persecuting all Muslims – rather than a minority of extremists who just so happen to be Muslims – is the fact that China’s oldest and most important ally in Eurasia is Pakistan – a Muslim-majority nation. Also omitted is the fact that China has many other Muslim minority groups within its borders who live without conflict.

These facts – along with ham-handed attempts by the BBC and others to depict newly constructed schools in a previously underdeveloped and remote region as “oppressive” – help one understand the true obstacles impeding global stability and progress. It is not Beijing – it is those claiming Beijing building schools and confronting real radicalism through reform rather than perpetual war are “villains.”

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

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