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NATO: From Covert Sponsor to Artillery for Terrorists in Syria — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on February 29, 2020

The top Russian diplomat said the US envoy had previously dropped similar hints about rehabilitating HTS, formerly known as Nusra Front, an offshoot of the al Qaeda terror cartel, related to Islamic State (or ISIS). As Lavrov points out, these chameleonic groups are internationally proscribed terror organizations. They are not exempt from targeting under past de-escalation deals between Russia and Turkey.

It seems astounding that the US – which declares itself to be in a war against terrorism – is flagrantly acting as a mediator to spare these same terrorists from definitive military defeat.

Syria and Russia have previously accused Ankara of covertly supplying the terrorists with arms and cross-border logistics.

Turkey is supplying jihadists in order to eliminate the Kurds who want a piece of Turkey for their homeland.

The US courts jihadists to eliminate Shiites that never attacked US in order to benefit Sunni’s that have attacked US.

Who is the one being played for a sucker?

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/02/28/nato-from-covert-sponsor-to-artillery-for-terrorists-in-syria/

Finian Cunningham

 


NATO member Turkey was recently caught out providing artillery support for terror groups in Syria’s Idlib province; now leader of the NATO alliance, the United States, is hinting at Russia and Syria holding dialogue with the terrorists to curb the upsurge in conflict.

As Syria’s endgame closes, the protagonists and their proxies are coming more clearly into focus. NATO’s covert shadowy connection with the jihadist insurgents it has sponsored for regime change is being flushed out as the Syrian army and its Russian ally home in on the last stand of the terror groups.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov this week ruled out any mediation with Tahrir Hayat al Sham (HTS), the main terrorist network holding out in Idlib in northwest Syria. Lavrov was referring to comments made earlier by US envoy James Jeffrey who suggested that HTS was “not a terrorist organization any more” and therefore might be included in negotiations for de-escalation.

The top Russian diplomat said the US envoy had previously dropped similar hints about rehabilitating HTS, formerly known as Nusra Front, an offshoot of the al Qaeda terror cartel, related to Islamic State (or ISIS). As Lavrov points out, these chameleonic groups are internationally proscribed terror organizations. They are not exempt from targeting under past de-escalation deals between Russia and Turkey.

It seems astounding that the US – which declares itself to be in a war against terrorism – is flagrantly acting as a mediator to spare these same terrorists from definitive military defeat.

The increasing violence in Syria over recent months is a result of jihadist militants continuing their attacks against civilians, as well as against the Syrian armed forces and their Russian allies in spite of several de-escalation attempts. The terrorists have used their areas of control in Idlib and Aleppo countryside to launch rocket attacks on government-controlled areas. Under the September 2018 deescalation agreement between Russia and Turkey, Ankara was obliged to facilitate a ceasefire by the jihadist groups which it is presumed to have influence over. But Turkey failed to implement its obligations.

Hence the Syrian government forces and their Russian ally were entitled to go after the culprits.

Turkey’s protests about the offensive serves to expose Ankara’s association with the terror groups. President Erdogan’s threats of deploying thousands of more troops in Syria’s north is in effect an admission of Turkey providing military support for the terrorists. It gives new meaning for the purpose of Turkish military observation posts along the border; more like command-and-assist posts.

Syria and Russia have previously accused Ankara of covertly supplying the terrorists with arms and cross-border logistics. What is quickly transpiring in the latest conflict phase is how Turkey’s state forces are openly participating with the illegally armed militants, as if the latter were a division of the Turkish army. Given Turkey’s NATO membership, the implication here is daunting: NATO, evidently, is in overt league with the terrorists waging war against Syria.

That collaboration was manifest last week on February 19 when Syrian army positions at Nayrab in Idlib came under attack from jihadist militants, believed to be HTS. The attack was supported by Turkish artillery and tank fire. Russian SU-24s were called in to repel the ground offensive. Two Turk troops were killed in the fighting.

Turkey’s Defense Minister HulusiAkar subsequently made an appeal to the US to supply Patriot air defense batteries. It is not clear if the US will actually take that step which would mark a dangerous escalation against Russian-backed Syrian forces.

The US and NATO envoys have, however, voiced renewed support for Turkey amid growing tensions with Syria and Russia.

It has long been suspected that the US and other NATO members have been arming the anti-government militants in Syria since the war erupted in 2011, including known terror groups, such as HTS and its myriad incarnations.

A recent auditing report by the Pentagon found that thousands of US weapons worth over $700 million have unaccountably gone missing from its military warehouses across the Middle East and in particular from arms depots in Kuwait and near the Jordanian-Syrian border. Militants in Syria have been documented as being armed with US-made shoulder-fired missiles (MANPADs) and anti-tank TOW rockets. The linkage to the Pentagon would therefore seem evident.

But what is emerging is the stark configuration of NATO troops alongside terror cadres on the battlefield.

The suggestion by US envoy James Jeffrey that Syria and Russia should talk terms with the terrorist HTS further demonstrates the allegiance between Washington, its NATO allies and the militants.

Syria, with the full support of Russia, has vowed to take back every inch of its territory from the foreign-backed insurgents who have done their utmost to destroy that state, committing unspeakable atrocities against the nation in the process.

International law mandates the Syrian government to take the battle to the end in order to crush and eradicate its enemies. No other state would tolerate anything less. We can only imagine the response by the US towards insurgents in its territory, and if Russia were to somehow call upon Washington to negotiate a truce.

Cornered in Idlib, the NATO powers are moving to salvage their terror proxies, by either giving them military cover or, as Washington is attempting to do, cut some slack through ceasefire negotiations.

 

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Syria’s Bashar al-Assad Reflects on Civil War, Oil, Terrorism and America in Rare Interview – Sputnik International

Posted by M. C. on November 12, 2019

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201911111077273037-syrias-bashar-al-assad-reflects-on-civil-war-oil-terrorism-and-america-in-rare-interview/

Having endured a deadly, drawn-out civil war which is gradually drawing to a close, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is facing the daunting task of reuniting and reconstructing a devastated nation, filling in the power vacuum in newly-liberated parts of the country and overcoming a Western-imposed economic blockade.

The Presidential Palace in Damascus overlooks the Syrian capital, but the most troubled parts of the war-ravaged country are out of sight.

The future of those lands, as well as the broader question of how to solve the ongoing political imbroglio and rebuild Syria, are on Bashar al-Assad’s mind as he speaks in his first interview to foreign media in over a year.

The president talks to RT’s Afshin Rattansi about the origins of the conflict that engulfed his country and the role of Western governments in it, and gives his take on the recent and future developments in Syria and elsewhere.

On the interview embargo

Bashar al-Assad, who turned 54 in September, last gave an interview to a foreign news outlet in June 2018. He says he had stopped speaking to Western media completely because of their hunt for a “scoop”, but feels now that “public opinion in the world, and especially in the West, has been shifting during the past few years”.

“They know that their officials have told them so many lies about what’s going on in the region, in the Middle East, in Syria, in Yemen,” he says of the Western public. “They know there is a lie, but they don’t know the truth; so, I think, it’s time to talk about this truth.”…

On chemical attacks

As the fighting intensified, a series of alleged chemical attacks occurred in opposition-held areas in 2013. Damascus and Moscow both suggested that the March attack in Khan al-Assal was a false flag operation by the opposition-aligned militias, which blamed the government in turn.

When UN investigators arrived on the ground to investigate the incident, their visit coincided with an even larger-scale sarin attack in Ghouta on 21 August, which reportedly led to hundreds of casualties. The United States was quick to accuse the Syrian government and was on the brink of a military intervention, averted only when Damascus agreed to surrender all of its chemical weapons…

On the US’ role in terrorist insurgence

The president reiterates a widespread assumption that those terror groups emerged as a direct consequence of the CIA arming the mujahedeen in Afghanistan in the 1980s as a counterbalance to the Soviet Union.

He says of the American policy: “They invaded Afghanistan, they got nothing. They invaded Iraq, they got nothing, and they started to invade other countries but in different ways.

“The problem with the Unites States now is that they fight a survival war from their point of view because they are losing their hegemony…

On the ‘looting’ of Syria’s oil

During the war, terrorists have captured large swathes of oil-rich territories in northeast Syria; they have since been ousted from there by US-backed Kurdish militias which apparently continue extracting and smuggling out Syria’s oil.

US President Donald Trump has made it clear in recent weeks that “securing” Syria’s oil (i.e. keeping it in the hands of Kurds and away from the Damascus government) is his major priority in Syria. Moscow has recently exposed Washington’s efforts to keep the oil fields under its military control, describing them as “banditry.”…

On Turkey’s invasion

Fighting is still going on in some parts of the country, particularly in the rebel-held north-west province of Idlib and in the north-east, where Turkey recently launched an offensive against Kurdish fighters who it designates as terrorists.

It drove the Syrian Democratic Forces – a Kurdish-led alliance of militias that includes Arab groups – to seek protection from Damascus, whose forces have moved into the areas vacated by American troops and Kurds.

Al-Assad views the Turkish encroachment as a violation of Syria’s sovereignty but refuses to lay the blame on the Turks altogether.

“The Turkish people are our neighbours, and we have a common history, and we cannot make them the enemy,” he says. “The enemy is Erdogan and his policy and his coteries. So, being against those [terrorist] groups in Turkey and in Syria does not mean that we see eye to eye in another aspect, especially after he invaded Syria, publicly and formally.”

On the Kurdish deal

Al-Assad, now probably in a much stronger military position than ever in the past nine years, has ruled out a power-sharing agreement with Kurds. He says the deal with the SDF is intended for the Syrian government to restore “full sovereignty” over the previously Kurdish-held territories and pull the Kurds from the Turkey border in order to “remove the pretext for the Turks to invade Syria.”

He adds he has also invited Kurds to join the government forces; some heeded the call and some did not…

On attacks by Israel

Tel Aviv, which is at loggerheads with Damascus over the Golan Heights, has on many occasions bombed targets in Syria throughout the war that it believes are signs of Iran’s military presence in the country.

Asked if Israel provides a direct support to terrorists, al-Assad says: “Every time the Syrian army advanced against those Al-Nusra terrorists in the south, Israel used to bombard our troops, and whenever we advance somewhere else in Syria, their airplanes started committing air strikes against our army.”

In his opinion, this indicates that there was a “correlation” between the operations of Israel’s army and Syria-based terrorists.

On Iranian tanker arrest

Al-Assad took a back seat over the summer when headlines from the Middle East were mostly dominated by Iran’s stand-off with the US and the UK.

Syria was indirectly implicated in a spat between Tehran and London over a tanker seized by the Royal Marines off Gibraltar on suspicion of shipping Iranian oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions.

The president strikes a tone similar to that of his allies in Iran, calling Britain’s actions an act of “piracy.” He suggested that the UK “wanted to affect the people in Syria” in “the last-ditch attempt” to turn them against his government…

On rebuilding Syria

Cornered by Syrian troops and Russian airstrikes, the Idlib terrorists are posed to surrender sooner or later. And however preoccupied President al-Assad may be with the restive province, a transition from war to peace will be needed next.

That transition is complicated by international sanctions, but al-Assad is adamant that Syria will be able to overcome it – with a little help from its friends.

“We have the human resources enough to build our country,” the president reassures, “so I would not worry about this embargo, but definitely, the friendly countries like China, Russia and Iran, will have priority in this rebuilding.”

When asked whether the EU member states would be allowed to participate, he answeres flatly: “Every country which stood against Syria will not have a chance to be part of this reconstruction.”

What about Britain?

“Definitely not.”

*Daesh is a terror group banned by Russia, the US, and numerous other states.

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Yah, MORE OIL! That’s what I want, MORE OIL!

 

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What Should We Learn from 40 Years of U.S. Intervention in the Middle East? | The National Interest

Posted by M. C. on November 3, 2019

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/middle-east-watch/what-should-we-learn-40-years-us-intervention-middle-east-41542

The presence of America’s vaunted military cannot necessarily shape the political orientation and structure of societies.

…These criticisms fail to take stock of the lessons that emerge from forty years of U.S. military action in the greater Middle East region. The presence of America’s vaunted military cannot necessarily shape the political orientation and structure of societies. Iraq and Afghanistan are obvious examples. Unrivaled American military power also has failed to contour the decisions of other actors in the theater. The United States failed to sufficiently influence the behavior of sectarian actors in Lebanon during its expedition there. The United States has failed to change Iranian foreign policy even after decades of relative military encirclement. Even after inflicting arguably the most humiliating and decisive military victory in modern history, American soldiers watched from just beyond the border as Saddam defied Washington and violently cracked down on Kurdish and Shia uprisings.

The notion that the United States could use its control on the north to shape the postwar Syrian state and expel Iran has always been a theoretical concept with no clear path to implementation.  In fact, many of the forces that have been deemed Iranian-backed are composed of Syrian citizens. Where would they be expelled too? Most likely, Damascus and its allies will work to secure the rest of the country while waiting America out. The simple fact that has been determinative to much of the conflict is that countries like Iran and Russia have more vital interests in Syria than a faraway superpower.

Others argued that Trump’s “strategy of retreat” from Syria, as the New York Times’ David Sanger called it, will result in chaos and terrorism as the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq did. Mimicking Bush administration talking points, Sanger claimed that “deployed forces are key to stopping terrorists before they reach American shores.” Ilan Goldenberg, a former State Department official and Clinton acolyte, took this line of reasoning to its natural conclusion. He wrote that, “[u]ltimately, the answer in the Middle East is to stay, but in a smaller more sustainable and cheaper way. We may need to have a few thousand troops in some of the various trouble spots in the region such as northeastern Syria for years to come. Their job will not be to ‘win’ but simply to muddle through.” Retired Marine General John Allen, president of the Brookings Institution, argued that “U.S. global leadership and, where necessary, its forces” are needed in ISIS-influenced territory across Asia and Africa “until the idea of the caliphate has been defeated.”

ISIS was quickly defeated because its messianic state building delusion deprived it of strategic flexibility. In having to defend fixed positions, its forces could not focus on the kind of asymmetrical strategies that have been so effective for non-state actors in the region. What’s left of it has already made clear it will not make the same mistake. But indefinite American military occupation of broad swaths of the Middle East is not a simple antidote to anti-U.S. militant action or chaos. In fact, the connective tissue between many of non-state actors is aggressive opposition towards the influence or direct or indirect military presence of the United States or its key allies. A diverse array of non-state actors including Hezbollah, the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Iraq have strengthened or even been established under the noses of American soldiers and marines. In fact, the Sunni Arabs of northern Syria are already chafing under heavy-handed America-enabled Kurdish rule—even “ethnic cleansing”—and the long-term continuation of this trend will invite trouble.

One oft-cited criticism was that it was a betrayal of the very Kurdish group in question. “The West owes them a debt for the price they’ve paid,” argues an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal. The Kurdish groups in northern Syria, the YPG, decried the original decision as a “blatant betrayal.” But the sponsor-client relationship is inherently bidirectional; they form due to convergences of interests. The Kurds fought ISIS because it posed an existential threat to their communities, not as an expression of loyalty to America. ISIS had once pushed the Syrian Kurds all the way to the Turkish border at many points, and in Iraq, they came close to sacking Erbil.

The overzealous alliance reinforcement ethos that permeates Washington and demands every strategic cooperation be treated as a treaty alliance (or an emotional commitment) demanding America’s unrestricted moral fidelity to the demands and ambitions of the client, is neither necessary for alliance management nor in keeping with U.S. interests…

Moreover, why shouldn’t public opinion be a factor in American military decisionmaking? Due to a series of reasons, such as its military prowess and providential location, America faces little in the way of existential threats and, therefore, can entertain a spectrum of options on how to address interests and security challenges. A de facto occupation of one-third of Syrian territory was never the only or the obvious course of action…

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Imperial Capital But America-First Nation – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on October 29, 2019

Three are anti-interventionist and anti-war, which may help explain why Democrats are taking a second look at Hillary Clinton.

Mr. B is optimistic. If Trump loses in 2020 the war machine will go full steam ahead.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/10/patrick-j-buchanan/imperial-capital-but-america-first-nation/

By

“Let someone else fight over this long blood-stained sand,” said President Donald Trump in an impassioned defense of his decision to cut ties to the Syrian Kurds, withdraw and end these “endless wars.”

Are our troops in Syria, then, on their way home? Well, not exactly.

Those leaving northern Syria went into Iraq. Other U.S. soldiers will stay in Syria to guard oil wells that we and the Kurds captured in the war with ISIS. Another 150 U.S. troops will remain in al-Tanf to guard Syria’s border with Iraq, at the request of Jordan and Israel.

And 2,000 more U.S. troops are being sent to Saudi Arabia to help defend the kingdom from Iran, which raises a question: Are we coming or going?…

But in this imperial capital, the voice of the interventionist yet prevails. The media, the foreign policy elite, the think tanks, the ethnic lobbies, the Pentagon, the State Department, Capitol Hill, are almost all interventionist, opposed to Trump’s abandonment of the Kurds. Rand Paul may echo Middle America, but Lindsey Graham speaks for the Republican establishment.

Yet the evidence seems compelling that anti-interventionism is where the country is at, and the Congress knows it.

For though the denunciations of Trump’s pullout from Syria have not ceased, one detects no campaign on Capitol Hill to authorize sending U.S. troops back to Syria, in whatever numbers are needed, to enable the Kurds to keep control of their occupied quadrant of that country.

Love of the Kurds, so audible on the Hill, does not go that far…

In 1940-41, the anti-interventionists of “America First” succeeded in keeping us out of the world war (after Hitler and Stalin invaded Poland in September of 1939 and Britain and France went to war). Pearl Harbor united the nation, but not until Dec. 7, 1941, two years later — when America First folded its tents and enlisted.

Today, because both sides of our foreign policy quarrel have powerful constituencies, we have paralysis anew, reflected in policy.

We have enough troops in Afghanistan to prevent the Taliban from overrunning Kabul and the big cities, but not enough to win the war.

In Iraq, which we invaded in 2003 to oust Saddam Hussein and install a democracy, we brought to power the Shia and their Iranian sponsors. Now we battle Iran for political influence in Baghdad.

Across the Middle East, we have enough troops, planes and ships to prevent our expulsion, but not enough to win the wars from Syria to Yemen to Afghanistan…

To the question, “Are we going deeper into the Middle East or coming out?” the answer is almost surely the latter.

Among the candidates who could be president in 2021 — Trump, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders — none is an interventionist of the Lindsey Graham school. Three are anti-interventionist and anti-war, which may help explain why Democrats are taking a second look at Hillary Clinton.

According to polls, Iran is first among the nations that Americans regard as an enemy. Still, there is no stomach for war with Iran. When Trump declined to order a strike on Iran — after an air and cruise missile attack shut down half of Saudi oil production — Americans, by their silent acquiescence, seemed to support our staying out.

Yet if there is no stomach in Middle America for war with Iran and a manifest desire to pull the troops out and come home, there is ferocious establishment resistance to any withdrawal of U.S. forces. This has bedeviled Trump through the three years of his presidency.

Again, it seems a stalemate is in the cards — until there is some new explosion in the Mideast, after which the final withdrawal for America will begin, as it did for the exhausted British and French empires after World War II.

That we are leaving the Middle East seems certain. Only the departure date is as yet undetermined.

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Washington Is Wrong Once Again – Kurds Join Assad To Defend Syria – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on October 15, 2019

It was a colossally dumb idea to train and arm the Kurds in Syria in the first place, but after spending billions backing what turned out to be al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria to overthrow the Assad government, Washington found that the Kurds were the only willing boots remaining on the ground.

Now “our Kurdish allies” are fighting alongside the army of Syrian President Assad – who we are still told by US officials “must go.” Washington doesn’t understand that our intervention only makes matters worse. The best way to help the Kurds and everyone else in the region is to just come home.

https://original.antiwar.com/paul/2019/10/14/washington-is-wrong-once-again-kurds-join-assad-to-defend-syria/

When President Trump Tweeted last week that “it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous endless wars,” adding that the US would be withdrawing from Syria, Washington went into a panic. Suddenly Republicans, Democrats, the media, the think tanks, and the war industry all discovered and quickly became experts on “the Kurds,” who we were told were an “ally” being sent to their slaughter by an ignorant President Trump.

But it was all just another bipartisan ploy to keep the “forever war” gravy train rolling through the Beltway.

Interventionists will do anything to prevent US troops from ever coming home, and their favorite tactic is promoting “mission creep.” As President Trump Tweeted, we were told in 2014 by President Obama that the US military would go into Syria for just 30 days to save the Yazidi minority that they claimed were threatened. Then that mission crept into “we must fight ISIS” and so the US military continued to illegally occupy and bomb Syria for five more years.

Even though it was the Syrian army with its Russian and Iranian allies that did the bulk of the fighting against al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria, President Trump took credit and called for the troops to come home. But when the military comes home, the military-industrial-Congressional-media complex loses its cash cow, so a new rationale had to be invented.

The latest “mission creep” was that we had to stay in Syria to save our “allies” the Kurds. All of a sudden our military presence in Syria was not about fighting terrorism but rather about putting US troops between our NATO ally Turkey and our proxy fighting force, the Kurds. Do they really want us to believe that it is “pro-American” for our troops to fight and die refereeing a long-standing dispute between the Turks and Kurds?

It was a colossally dumb idea to train and arm the Kurds in Syria in the first place, but after spending billions backing what turned out to be al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria to overthrow the Assad government, Washington found that the Kurds were the only willing boots remaining on the ground. While their interest in fighting ISIS was limited, they were happy to use Washington’s muscle in pursuit of their long-term goal of carving out a part of Syria (and eventually Turkey) for themselves.

We can never leave because there will be a slaughter, Washington claimed (and the media faithfully repeated). But once again, the politicians, the mainstream media, and the Beltway “experts” have been proven wrong. They never understand that sending US troops into another country without the proper authority is not a stabilizing factor, but a destabilizing factor. I have argued that were the US to leave Syria (and the rest of the Middle East) the countries of the region would find a way to solve their own problems.

Now that the US is pulling back from northern Syria, that is just what is happening.

On Sunday the Kurds and the Syrian government signed an agreement, brokered by the Russians, to put aside their differences and join together to defend against Turkey’s incursion into Syrian territory.

Now “our Kurdish allies” are fighting alongside the army of Syrian President Assad – who we are still told by US officials “must go.” Washington doesn’t understand that our intervention only makes matters worse. The best way to help the Kurds and everyone else in the region is to just come home.

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

 

 

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Is the Interventionists’ Era Over for Good? – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on October 15, 2019

Today, the Middle East and world have been awakened to the reality that when Trump said he was ending everlasting commitments and bringing U.S. troops home from “endless wars,” he was not bluffing.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/10/patrick-j-buchanan/is-the-interventionists-era-over-for-good/

By

President Donald Trump could have been more deft and diplomatic in how he engineered that immediate pullout from northeastern Syria.

Yet that withdrawal was as inevitable as were its consequences.

A thousand U.S. troops and their Kurdish allies were not going to dominate indefinitely the entire northeast quadrant of a country the size of Syria against the will of the Damascus regime and army.

Had the U.S. refused to vacate Syrian lands on Turkey’s demand, a fight would be inevitable, whether with Turkey, Damascus or both. And this nation would neither support nor sustain a new war with Turks or Syrians.

And whenever the Americans did leave, the Kurds, facing a far more powerful Turkey, were going to have to negotiate the best deal they could with Syria’s Bashar Assad.

Nor was President Recep Erdogan of Turkey going to allow Syrian Kurds to roost indefinitely just across his southern border, cheek by jowl with the Turkish Kurds of the PKK that Erdogan regards as a terrorist threat to the unity and survival of his country.

It was Russia that stepped in to broker the deal whereby the Kurds stood down and let the Syrian army take over their positions and defend Syria’s border regions against the Turks.

Some ISIS prisoners under Kurdish control have escaped.

But if the Syrian army takes custody of these prisoners from their Kurdish guards, those ISIS fighters and their families will suffer fates that these terrorists have invited.

Denunciation of Erdogan for invading Syria is almost universal. Congress is clamoring for sanctions. NATO allies are cutting off weapons sales. But before we act, some history should be revisited.

Turkey has been a NATO ally, a treaty ally, for almost seven decades. The Kurds are not. Turkish troops fought alongside us in Korea. Turkey hosted Jupiter missiles targeted on Russia in the Cold War, nuclear missiles we withdrew as our concession in the secret JFK-Khrushchev deal that ended the Cuban missile crisis.

The Turks accepted the U.S. weapons, and then accepted their removal.

The Turks have the second-largest army in NATO. They are a nation of 80 million, a bridge between Europe and the Middle East. They dominate the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus, the entrance to and exit from the Black Sea for all U.S. and Russian warships.

U.S. warplanes are based at Turkey’s Incirlik air base, as are 50 U.S. nuclear weapons. And Turkey harbors millions of refugees from the Syrian civil war, whom Erdogan keeps from crossing into Europe.

Moreover, Erdogan’s concern over the Syrian Kurdish combat veterans on his border should be understood by us. When Pancho Villa launched his murderous 1916 raid into Columbus, New Mexico, we sent General “Black Jack” Pershing with an army deep into Mexico to run him down.

With no allies left fighting on our side in Syria, the small U.S. military force there is likely to be withdrawn swiftly and fully…

Hence, it was stunning that the administration, at the end of last week, under fire from both parties in the House and Senate for “abandoning” the Kurds, announced the deployment of 1,500 to 3,000 troops to Saudi Arabia to bolster the kingdom’s defense against missile attacks.

The only explanation for the contradiction is Sen. Henry Ashurst’s maxim: “The clammy hand of consistency should never rest for long upon the shoulder of a statesman.”

Yet, this latest U.S. deployment notwithstanding, Saudi Arabia has got the message: Trump will sell them all the weapons they can buy, but no Saudi purchase ensures that the Yanks will come and fight their wars…

Undeniably, the decisions — not to retaliate against Iran for the attack on Riyadh’s oil facilities, and the decision to terminate abruptly the alliance with Syria’s Kurds — sent shock waves to the world.

Where the Americans spent much of the Cold War ruminating about an “agonizing reappraisal” of commitments to malingering allies, this time the Yanks may be deadly serious.

This time, the Americans may really be going home.

Every nation that today believes it has an implied or a treaty guarantee that the U.S. will fight on its behalf should probably recheck its hole card.

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The Plague of Western Adventurism in Syria

Posted by M. C. on October 12, 2019

https://theduran.com/the-plague-of-western-adventurism-in-syria/

The Russian and Turkish leadership attended a summit in Ankara on September 16th, 2019, where the two leaders agreed to cooperate in Syria. Besides such cooperation, Mr Erdogan and Mr Putin also committed to the future of the Turkstream pipeline. And at the MAKs air show, Mr Erdogan expressed his great interest in the potential purchase of SU-35 fighter jets, and perhaps the SU-57 when it becomes operational. Consider too, the additional element of NATO member Turkey’s S400 defensive missile purchase from Russia, despite warnings sanctions imposed by the United States.

In light of the above, a picture emerges where this important NATO member has either defacto withdrawn from NATO, or is threatening to do so. So what is any US leader to do? The answer is that the US must initiate new cooperation with Turkey, and respect Turkey’s security concerns as a NATO ally.

Turkey’s security concern relates to forty years of operation by the PKK inside the country. Even the United States – supposedly an ally of the Kurds – has listed the PKK as a terror group. While such labels are largely meaningless, that designation by the US of the PKK highlights the great element of hypocrisy present in US foreign relations, and its alliances.

Thus Trump has made his move, removing US troops from Manbij, to allow Turkey to subdue the PKK/YPG in northeastern Syria. Simply put, Trump is attempting to appease Turkey and bring Turkey back into the NATO fold, while Erdogan plays both sides. It’s called geo-politics. Simple. And unreported by the major media.

Also unreported by the major media is the US destabilization of Syria since 2011. US State provided the funding and backing for that insurgency. And US State provided the weaponry. Now Neocons and Neoliberals cry about the tragedy in Syria, a debacle that the US created beginning in 2011.

The United States has no right to be in Syria. The United States was, and still is in Syria illegally, according to international law. Obama relied on the unconstitutional AUMF to destabilize Syria in 2011, and then to invade and occupy Manbij and al Tanf, where the US still protects terrorists today. The AUMF is also illegal under international law, and even according to the US Constitution.

Likewise, Russia does not welcome the US withdrawal, since Turkey’s attempt to establish a 20 km ‘safe zone’ along the northeast border may potentially destabilize much of the northeast, and could place Russian forces in harm’s way. But the greater point is that the legitimate government of Syria has objected to all forms of international adventurism there since 2011, as it attempts to craft a new Constitution that will likely favour Kurdish measures for autonomy….

If Turkey were to attack the SDF to the north while the Syrian SNA attacks from the west, Kurdish forces would be hard pressed to defend the oil fields, thus depriving the PKK/YPG of much needed resources. Complicating this however, is Iran’s interest in pushing the US out of eastern Syria, where the US still has an air base in al Tanf.

In the end, it will be necessary for the Kurds to strike some sort of agreement with Turkey, Iran, and Syria, to provide the northeast region some form of autonomy and security, without the participation of the United States or Israel.

Speaking their own language and a proud and resourceful people, the Kurds may find that their best interests are served now by a political realignment, refraining from their association with Israel and the United States in an ever-changing geopolitical climate. Such a development will represent a major shift in Western Hegemony, highlighted by the fact that the former United States and Israel are incapable of granting the Kurds their own state.

To paraphrase (with great license) Mr Trump:

“The US was supposed to be in Syria for thirty days, that was in 2011 when the Clinton’s and Victoria Kagan-Nuland controlled US State. The United States stayed in Syria and got deeper and deeper into battle with no true goal in sight. The Kurds cooperated with the US, but were paid massive amounts of money and given billions in US military equipment to do so. They have been fighting vs Turkey decades. It is time for the United States to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal.”

Be seeing you

Kurds in Toronto are protesting Turkey's attack on the Syrian Defence Force

Kurds in Toronto

 

 

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Pompeo Can’t Blame Iran For Attacking Itself – Gold Goats ‘n Guns

Posted by M. C. on October 12, 2019

They jumped the gun on impeachment. They didn’t neuter Trump, they unleashed him. Because he simply has nothing left to lose…

https://tomluongo.me/2019/10/11/pompeo-cant-blame-iran-for-attacking-itself/

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat”

–Jaws

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water someone poked a couple of holes in an oil tanker belonging to Iran. This sent oil prices up briefly in the vain hope of stabilizing them. But, strangely, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was silent.

This was a warning to Iran from someone on the Saudi/Israeli/U.S. side, “You won’t win without costs.”

Well, of course, that’s true. The big question everyone is asking is, of course, “Who did this?”

Details are sketchy with a lot of back and forth. Iran initially reported missile strikes.

But Iran’s national tanker company, the owner of the boat, is now ruling out missiles.

But who did this is honestly not even relevant at this point. It could be Israel, the Saudis, rogue U.S. or British agents, etc.

Once we started down this path of sanctions, attacks on oil assets, and the like, it opened up the possibility of anyone with an axe to grind creating an incident for their purposes and blaming someone else for it…

The people squawking the loudest about the President’s recent policy decisions in the Middle East are the ones most likely behind this. They are the ones with the most to lose if Saudi Arabia falls and the U.S. pulls much of its force out of the Middle East.

The most likely candidate is the one actor who has consistently overstepped its bounds in attacking neighbors it considers hostile for any reason. Israel…

But the reality is that the partitioning of Syria has been a U.S. neoconservative project from the beginning of the civil war. Israel has given aid and comfort to ISIS fighters along the Golan Heights. This is not news, folks.

And the use of the Kurds to destabilize not only Syria but Iraq, Iran and Turkey by outside actors, like the U.S., Saudi Arabia and YES, Israel, is well established.

Pompeo has helped preside over sending the Kurds more than 30,000 truckloads of weapons. Who paid for those weapons, by the way?

We did.

How many of these SDF fighters are nothing more than foreign mercenaries paid by us to hold strategic areas of Syria– the oil fields and the border crossings –to starve Assad out of power?

It’s been long established that the U.S. presence in Syria is unsustainable. But who keeps the pressure on Trump politically to maintain the situation?

Israel.

There comes a point where the evidence of influence is overwhelming and the state of the game board so degraded that it’s time for someone to make a bold call and change tactics.

If the neocons and Israeli Firsters in Congress (and formerly in his cabinet) have turned on Trump to the point of starting impeachment proceedings against him for not going to war with Iran, then Trump is free to finally just blow it all wide open.

Which is exactly what he is doing. The Kurds were simply mercenaries to help us defeat ISIS. Job’s done, your beef with Turkey is your problem.

Remember that Russia’s intervention in Syria outed who was really behind the coalition to overthrow President Assad and when Turkey’s Erdogan was framed into a fight with Russia, shooting down an SU-24 in November 2015, Erdogan realized he would be the scapegoat for the entire operation and swiftly began changing his tune.

Don’t you think Trump can see the same setup happening here now with the Kurds?

They jumped the gun on impeachment. They didn’t neuter Trump, they unleashed him. Because he simply has nothing left to lose…

So, to me, it makes perfect sense to see rogue elements around the region acting independently to try and revive the war footing while cynically supporting a collapsing oil price.

It’s clear that no one in the U.S. or Saudi Arabian power circles wants oil collapsing below $50 per barrel. The Russians and the Iranians don’t care, they trade oil now mostly outside the dollar and their currencies immunize them to the fluctuations.

Trump watches the stock market like a hawk and the Saudis watch the price of Brent like their lives depend on it, because they do.

So, some noises that talks are good and an attack on Iran’s tankers are good for oil prices. An end to the trade war (very unlikely) and Iran bowing to U.S. demands to stop exporting oi (even less likely) is doing nothing more than creating yet another opportunity to short oil.

That’s the legacy of the chaos created by making terrible decisions intervening in other people’s affairs. That’s why it really doesn’t matter who attacked the Iranian tanker. It was a bad move. All it does it convince Trump further that it’s time to get out of the way and cut bait.

The Saudis and the Israelis are harboring huge and ancient grudges against Iran that can no longer be tolerated in U.S. political circles. This is crippling U.S. politics.

Regardless of who actually attacked this tanker their collective grudge and control over the corridors of power in the U.S. is the fuel that keeps these conflicts ongoing.

Trump, to his credit, is now finally voicing and acting on his long-held beliefs that the Iraq War was a mistake, that Syria is an Obama/Clinton quagmire and that Russia has a strong role to play in cleaning up their messes.

And the less we listen to the cries of anguish from “the usual suspects” the quicker we can back away from war.

Be seeing you

?u=http2.bp.blogspot.com-qrBofyYyI84VGuGQWcvWsIAAAAAAAAV1Y9nOh7i099SEs1600endless_war.jpg&f=1&nofb=1

 

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Time to Pull US Nuclear Weapons Out of Turkey – Defense One

Posted by M. C. on May 21, 2019

The same Turkey that staged a false flag gas attack to get US to kill Kurds.

https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2019/05/get-us-nuclear-weapons-out-turkey/157101/

Storing nuclear weapons close to trouble is a bad idea, and giving Ankara a shared finger on the nuclear trigger is rapidly losing its charm.

Amid the recent self-congratulatory celebrations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s 70th anniversary, there was no mention one of its strangest policies: the nuclear sharing program that keeps American nuclear bombs in five NATO countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Turkey) and trains host air forces to use them. Thus at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, about 100 miles from the Syrian border, the United States stores some 20 to 80 B61 nuclear weapons for delivery by Turkish or American aircraft. There is not much comfort in knowing that these weapons are under direct American control in heavily guarded bunkers and are designed to be unusable without the proper codes. It is time to bring them home.

American-Turkish relations are not good and are likely to turn worse. Kurds populate parts of Turkey’s border with Syria and Iraq and have been our close ally in the struggle with the Islamic State, but are regarded by the Turks as secessionists and terrorists. The United States has promised not to abandon the Kurds as it has in the past, but that promise puts the United States’ hopes to stabilize the region on a collision path with Turkey…

The presence of American tactical nuclear systems like the B61 bombs would tie American forces to the fate of their hosts. The sharing of the weapons’ delivery would give these countries a direct role in the nuclear enterprise without requiring them to actually build weapons…

Be seeing you

Breaking : North Korea Threatens To Nuke Turkey ...

 

 

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Trump’s Decision to Leave Syria Was No ‘Surprise’ | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on December 21, 2018

Good news. The possible downside is these troops may end up dying in Africa “defending America”.

According to recent articles there are more US ops in Africa than in the ME.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/trumps-decision-to-leave-syria-was-no-surprise/

In 1966, in the midst of the Vietnam War, Vermont Senator George Aiken recommended that President Lyndon Johnson simply “declare victory and get out.” While what Aiken actually said was more complex (because the U.S. couldn’t win militarily, he implied, it should stop deploying troops and start deploying diplomats), his statement is commonly cited as an example of foreign policy wisdom—then, as now, a much depleted currency in Washington.

While it’s doubtful that President Donald Trump has studied Aiken’s views (or even heard of him), his decision on Wednesday to order the unilateral withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria is one of the few “Aiken moments” in American history. Not surprisingly, given Trump’s inclinations, the news came in a tweet posted by the president on Wednesday morning: “We have defeated ISIS on Syria,” Trump announced, “my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.” U.S. officials later said that all U.S. troops would be removed from Syria over the next 60 to 100 days.

While the announcement took much of official Washington by surprise, The American Conservative has learned that a select group of administration officials, as well as a handful of senior military officers, knew of Trump’s decision as early as Saturday morning. According to these officials, all of whom required anonymity in exchange for the information, Trump’s decision came as a result of a lengthy telephone exchange he had had with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday. Everything that Trump announced today, we have been told, was decided in that call… Read the rest of this entry »

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