[PN: Here is an extensive digest and a number of short videos from All Born Equal Rights on the war without end]
13-Dec-2015 Tariq Ali on Jeremy Corbyn and Stop the War Coalition (in the UK)
13-Dec-2015 George Galloway on Jeremy Corbyn and Stop the War Coalition (in the UK)
Homs is coming back to life. 12 December 2015
“Traffic lights are blinking again, gleaming cafes are crowded, and Christmas lights twinkle in the corners of stone churches and lobbies of smart hotels.
But there are dark corners, too, in Homs, Syria’s third largest city. Entire neighbourhoods remain a haunting landscape of blackened buildings pockmarked by gunfire or flattened by ferocious bombardment into grey pancakes. Homs is a place where the return of light startles and the darkness still shocks.
Last week the city that witnessed some of the first protests against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule, and some of the fiercest fighting, became the first to return fully into government hands. A local truce in the last rebel-held district of al-Waer saw the departure of the last fighters. Some 300 men, most belonging to the al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front, were bussed, under security escort, to an opposition stronghold in the north-west, where they will live to fight another day.
Their families went with them. Bewildered children clutching teddy bears were hurried to waiting buses by their mothers. “I don’t want to leave my home,” sobbed one woman, carrying with her whatever worldly goods she could manage. “But my son is a fighter, so I want to go with him.”
An official with the UN, which backs this agreement, tried to console her. “You’ll come back some day when there is a ceasefire across Syria.” But the woman was inconsolable.
About a 15-minute drive away and a world apart, in central Homs, a resident whom I have met on visits over the years expresses relief.“Remember when we couldn’t walk across the street because it was too dangerous?”” The Guardian
ISIS seizes UNESCO heritage site of Sabratha in Libya
(Roman treasures in Libya at risk 50 miles from the Libyan capital of Tripoli, which is currently facing threats of ISIS infiltration on both its eastern and western fronts)
By Jpost.com staff, 12-Dec-2015
Islamic State militants have seized control of the Libyan town of Sabratha, a UNESCO world heritage site and home to one of the world’s best-preserved Roman amphitheaters, The Telegraph reported on Friday.
Militants moved into the center of town on Thursday, travelling in a caravan of Toyota pickup trucks. Locals initially believed the terror group was engaging in a retaliatory raid, after two of their men were arrest nearby, however the militants set up checkpoints around the town and claimed the town as their own, said The Telegraph…
Destruction of the Sabratha ruins would be an incredible disaster, rivaling or surpassing the devastation caused by the destruction of Palmyra in Syria.
In October, Islamic State militants blew up the Arch of Triumph, a major monument in the 2,000-year-old Roman city of Palmyra, after they destroyed two ancient temples at the central Syrian site in recent months.
Palmyra was one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world, according to cultural agency UNESCO, which has described it as the crossroads of several civilizations.
Reuters contributed to this report.
12 December 2015 Week Ten of the Russian Intervention in Syria: the “Assad must go” policy leads to war with Russia, Iran and Hezbollah
This column was written by The Saker blogger for the Unz Review:http://www.unz.com/tsaker/week-ten-of-the-russian-intervention-in-syria-the-assad-must-go-policy-leads-to-war-with-russia-iran-and-hezbollah/
The “news” that Israel and Turkey are systematically violating international law is hardly news at all. After all, we all know that Turkey has been regularly bombing the Kurds in Iraq and Syria, that Turkey still illegally occupies northern Cyprus just like the Israelis have been bombing Syria and Lebanon for decades and that they are still illegally occupying Palestine. The interesting development this week is that France, the UK and Germany have all officially decided to join these rogue states and act just like the Turks and Israelis by illegally intervening in Syria – in direct violation of international law – supposedly to fight Daesh. And even though Daesh is the official enemy, it “just so happens” that Syrian army positions were bombed by the USAFwhile the Israelis bombed Hezbollah missile depots. Apparently, the “Assad must go” policy is still the order of the day. In a way, one could argue that the West has now (re-)affirmed the principle that “might makes right” and that threats and violence are still the only “policy” of of the Empire in lieu of a legal, negotiated, policy. The problem with that is that the “other side” strongly feels that surrendering to the Empire’s demands is simply not an option.
The Russian warning:
In reality this has been going on for years. From the decision to bomb Serbia to the recent decision by the IMF to bail out the Ukraine in direct violation of IMF rules (which, apparently, shall now be re-written), the AngloZionist Empire has now been violating its own so-called “rules” and “principles” for decades against the background of a quasi-general indifference to the end of the international world order agreed upon after WWII.The big difference today is that the Empire’s reckless arrogance has now brought it in direct contact with the Russian Armed Forces which, apparently, are not willing to accept that kind of thuggery and who will fight back if attacked: in his annual address to expanded meeting of the Russian Federation Defense Ministry Board Putin has clearly indicated that the fact that Russia chose not to strike back at Turkey was a one time exception saying:
I want to warn those who might again try to organize any kind of provocation against our troops: we have taken additional measures to ensure the security of Russian troops and air base. It is reinforced by new air force squadrons and air defenses. All our strike aircraft are now flying with fighter cover. I order you to act very extreme resolve. Any targets that threaten Russia’s group or our terrestrial infrastructure is to be immediately destroyed.
What Putin is doing here is warning Turkey and, really all of NATO and the Empire that next time Russia will shoot back, immediately. This also shows that the authority shoot back has now been given to the Russian forces in Syria and that no top-level decision will have to be requested to return fire. It is true that this is not a first.The RAF was also given similar order in October already, but since the notion of antiquated Tornados shooting down a SU-30SM is rather far fetched (even if the British press insist that their 1970s-era aircraft are “and are capable of blasting any aircraft out of the sky”), the capability of the SU-30SMs and even the SU-34s to shoot down Western 4th generation aircraft is not in doubt. The Russians have the resolve and the means.
But will the West take the Russian warnings seriously?
The Israeli counter example:
The contrast between the NATO countries and Israel could, in this case, not be bigger. Bibi Netanyahu, by far the most intelligent actor in the AngloZionist Empire, immediately traveled to Moscow to sit down with his Russian counterparts to hammer out some kind of deal which would allow the Russians and Israelis to pursue their objectives without risking a shootout. When the first Russian Air Force incursion into the Israeli airspace occurred the Israelis handled it as a completely harmless event. Israeli Defense Minister Ya’alon declared:
“There was a slight intrusion a mile (1.6 kilometers) deep by a Russian plane from Syria into our airspace, but it was immediately resolved and the Russian plane returned towards Syria. It was apparently an error by the pilot who was flying near the Golan. Russian planes do not intend to attack us, which is why we must not automatically react and shoot them down when an error occurs”.
Later, an Ya’alon aide, General (res.) Amos Gilad, stated at a weekly event in Tel Aviv that Russian planes have occasionally crossed into Israeli airspace – but that the “very close cooperation between Russia and Israel” vis-a-vis operations in and around Syria had prevented any misunderstandings.
The counterpart on Russia side was just as obvious, if not officially admitted: when the Israelis bombed a Hezbollah weapons depot near Damascus the Russians “looked the other way”. Considering that almost at the same time Hezbollah operatives were risking their lives to rescue a downed Russian airman, this kind of deal is of less than exemplary morality, but Hezbollah people are also realists: just look at the way they put up with Assad even while he was torturing people for the CIA (the infamous “rendition” program) or when Imad Mughniyeh was murdered with obvious complicity of high-ranking members of the Assad regime). The leaders of Hezbollah understand what is happening here: like it or not, but Russia and Israel do have a “special relationship” which, while hardly a love fest, does include a unique combination of hard realism, often bordering on cynicism, and a mutual recognition that neither side wants an overt conflict. In this case, the Israelis were told in no uncertain terms that the Russian intervention to save the Syria from Daesh was not negotiable, but that Russia does not intend to protect Hezbollah from Israeli actions as long as these actions do not threaten the Russian objectives in Syria. Being a realist, Netanyahu took the deal.
Though there was some confusion about this, it is my understanding that while the Russians have deployed S-400 in Syria, there is also some evidence that the Syrians were finally given at least some S-300 batteries and that they might have used them against the Israelis on at least one occasion. What is absolutely certain is that under international law the Syrians will have the right to shoot at any US, French, German, Turkish or other aircraft flying in Syrian airspace and that if that happens the countries in violation of international law will not have a legitimate self-defense argument to make. By extension, this also means that Russia does also have the right to shoot down any aircraft or land or sea based weapons system targeting Russian aircraft. Unfortunately, western politicians and propagandists (aka “journalists”) are going to extraordinary lengths to avoid ever even mentioning these facts. And if somebody dares to actually ask the right question, western officials have a fit. This is exactly what happened recently between RT reporter Gayane Chichakyan and State Department spokesman John Kirby. See for yourself:
RT Reporter Gayane Chichakyan shows US reporters how real questioning is conducted and the proof of her effectiveness is shown by US State Department representative John Kirby losing his composure and insulting the reporter and the TV network she works for along with the country of Russia. Note how the State Department spokesperson continually dodges the question while the reporter stays on point. As she reiterates the main point of the question that wasn’t answered John Kirby shows his frustration with the line of questioning and then resorts to insults and demagoguery. This is classic deflection technique. The reporter continues to remain professional and once again reiterates the question at hand. For a third time the question is dodged and the State Department spokesperson embarrasses the United States by exhibiting characteristics that are considered unprofessional in global diplomatic protocol. Simply put, his loss of compose and dodging of the question combined with resorting to insults provide a disservice to the US citizens that he represents. An insufficient answer to the question is given by Kirby at the 5:55 mark in the video and is unsatisfactory due to the fact that the Iraqi government has stated on record that they do not welcome the Turkish troops on their territory.
The reporter’s question highlights the hypocrisy of the US government who have stated previously that sovereign nations have a right to keep other countries’ militaries outside of their territorial boundaries. During recent events in Turkey and Ukraine, the US has stated this position, however, the RT reporter’s question highlights the US State Department hypocrisy when it comes to Iraq. The US is talking out of both sides of its mouth when it comes to Iraq’s sovereignty and also that of Syria and Yemen who are all being illegally invaded by other militaries and militants that have US backing and are killing innocent civilians on their sovereign territory. That is what is at the heart of the reporter’s question. It’s unfortunate that US reporters do not dig as deep as the RT reporter. Where are THEIR hard questions about THEIR own government’s nefarious actions?
It is also worth noting that Kirby states an outright lie when he says that “Turkey and Iraq are working out their differences so everyone else can focus on fighting IS — which, by the way, the Russians aren’t doing.” This is factually incorrect. Russia has provided a 22 minute drone and satellite video presentation showing their massive bombardment of ISIS oil facilities and convoys proving that the US did not target ISIS or their oil facilities for the entire past year and that the US only commenced bombing ISIS’s infrastructure after Russia started effectively destroying them. This exposure has angered the US and highlighted that they know NATO ally Turkey is profiting from ISIS oil sales, thereby highlighting that the US is unwilling to go after the head of the hydra when it comes to ISIS. Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States continue to get a free pass.
See the video at http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=e9c_1449847285 (above)
The Iranian warning:
Russia is not the only country which has been repeatedly warning the West about the dangers of remaining stuck in a “Assad must go” policy: Iran has also repeated such warnings. The latest one came directly from the foreign policy advisor to the leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, Ali Akbar Velayati, who openly stated that Bashar al-Assad is Syria’s lawful president and that “Iran considers him as its redline”. Velayati also said that “only Syrian people, who elected Assad, are entitled to decide the future of their country (…) and no foreign country will be allowed to interfere in Syria’s internal affairs”. Furthermore, another senior Iranian official, Iran’s Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani, said that “Russia does not need prior agreement to use Iranian airspace to bomb sites in Syria” – in other words, such an agreement has already been negotiated. Considering that Larijani and Velayati are amongst the most influential and authoritative officials in Iran, one can only conclude that the Iranians are openly declaring that they are fully backing the Russian efforts in Syria. And that, in turn, means that Iran will send as many “boots on the ground” as needed to prevent Daesh from taking Damascus. This is the other crucial factor which the West is desperately trying not to think about.
The western narrative currently tries to show that it is Russia (and only Russia) which is keeping Assad in power. But this is completely false. The reality is that both Hezbollah and Iran are fully committed to preventing Daesh from overthrowing the Syrian government and their commitment has gone way further than words: Hezbollah has send hundreds of its best fighters to Syria and Iran has committed thousands of soldiers, mostly of the al-Quds Brigade, to the war in Syria. What this level of determination shows is that, just like Russia, Iran and Hezbollah have concluded that their vital, existential, interests are at risk and that they have no choice than to take the fight to Daesh. I believe that this assessment is absolutely correct.
So this is the key question here: do the deep state elites which run the US Empire understand that neither Russia, nor Iran or Hezbollah believe that they can back down and accept a Daesh victory in Syria? Do the western leader realize that Russia, Iran and Hezbollah cannot let the Empire overthrow Assad? Is there anybody out there who does not realize that the “Assad must go policy” implies a war against Russia, Iran and Hezbollah? The only way to avoid a war is to finally give up, even if that is initially denied publicly, on the “Assad must go” policy.
‘Moderate Islamism? Washington, Brussels Playing With Fire in Syria, Iraq
By Ekaterina Blinova, 12-Dec-2015. http://sputniknews.com/politics/20151212/1031656451/daesh-muslim-brotherhood-alqaeda-moderate-islamists-syria-iraq.html
The EU and the US still refuse to see a direct connection between the ideology of Islam and its military Daesh and al-Qaeda wings; neither the US, nor the EU has taken serious steps to prevent new Paris/San Bernardino-style attacks, Ghassan Kadi, The Vineyard of The Saker’s columnist and expert on Middle Eastern affairs, told Sputnik.
A de-classified US Defense Intelligence Agency’s 2012 document stated clearly that ( https://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Pg.-291-Pgs.-287-293-JW-v-DOD-and-State-14-812-DOD-Release-2015-04-10-final-version11.pdf) the Syrian uprising of 2011 was orchestrated by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), the Salafists and al-Qaeda in Iraq. It is not the first time when the Muslim Brotherhood has taken part in a regime change attempt: after the Egyptian revolution of January 2011 the Muslim Brothers had even come to power in Egypt.
Why has the Muslim Brotherhood, a transnational Sunni Islamist organization, become the headliner of the Arab Revolt in North Africa and the Levant?
“It’s hard to give this question enough justice because it encompasses a multitude of areas and topics. Mubarak had been in power for over three decades and there was a huge level of dissatisfaction with his presidency at most levels of society; and not with the MB’s alone. The secular youth, known then as the ’25th of January movement’ played the most substantial role in the initial revolt, and at that time, the MB’s were nowhere to be seen. I continue to believe that up till that point in time, the revolt in Egypt was a genuine popular uprising. All of a sudden the MB’s came in at a later stage and capitalized on an existing unrest and hijacked it to their advantage. They were organized, and they had been preparing for such an opportunity for decades,” Ghassan Kadi, Syrian political analyst and expert on Middle Eastern affairs told Sputnik.
“The precedent that was created in Egypt became later on known as the ‘Arab Spring’ with the intention of using Islamists to destroy Syria,” Kadi continued.
According to the expert, in the 1950s and 60s, Arab youth became very affected by Marxism and Maoism. Many Arab states were adopting socialist agendas and doctrines and going under the Soviet sphere of influence.
“The battle for the hearts and minds of Arab youth in general, and Muslim youth in specific, was first launched between the then secular pro-Soviet Egyptian President Nasser and the Islamist pro-American Saudi King Faisal,” the Syrian expert emphasized.
Up until 1967 Nasser was extremely popular and Islamist ideology had no chance at all. However, Egypt’s defeat in the 1967 June war with Israel was detrimental for Nasser’s popularity.
Kadi pointed out that it was the time when Islamists came onto stage promising a “new direction” to restore the Levant’s “former glory.”
“The rise of the economic power of Saudi Arabia facilitated that process, and the West was very happy to see Arab/Muslim youth diverting away from Communism, until they realized that they can in fact be brethren in arms fighting together against the ‘Infidel’ Soviets in Afghanistan,” the Syrian expert narrated.
Remarkably, the roots of the Muslim Brotherhood go back to the late 1920s, when the Brotherhood was founded by Sheikh Hassan al-Banna in Egypt. Incredible as it may seem, al-Banna and his followers had been enchanted by Western Nazi ideology. Furthermore, the Brotherhood closely collaborated with Nazi Germany during the World War II. Why did Muslim Brothers embrace Western fascism in the 1930s?
“In the 1930s, and for fairness to al-Banna, no one in the Arab and Muslim worlds cared much about finding out about the true nature of Fascism. Hitler presented himself via Nazi propaganda to Arabs as a liberator and an enemy of the traditional British and French usurpers and colonialists. After all, propaganda was running high and the introduction of the radio at that time made it easy for different parties to put their messages across, and there was an Arabic radio station transmitting from Berlin to the Arab World. By then, Arabs had all the reasons not to believe anything the allies told them, after all, it was France and Britain who lied to the Arabs and did not grant them independence as they promised that they would be provided when they joined the fight against the Ottoman Turks,” Kadi elaborated in the interview with Sputnik.
Hitler’s Nazi Germany had not been the only dubious ally of the Muslim Brotherhood. The transnational organization has certain ties with the infamous al-Qaeda terrorist organization. Experts note that the teaching of Sayyid Qutb, the Brotherhood’s leading member and the so-called father of modern Islamist fundamentalism had had an influence on Osama Bin Laden. After Sayyid Qutb was executed in Egypt in 1966, his brother and follower Muhammad, fled to Saudi Arabia and taught as a professor of Islamic Studies at Jeddah’s King Abdel-Aziz University. Reportedly, Osama bin Laden was one of his “star” students. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, one of the architects of 9/11 terrorist attacks was also believed to be one of the Brotherhood’s “pupils.”
Do al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideologies have much in common?
“The ideologies of the MB’s and Al-Qaeda are identical. In this same basket, you can include the Wahhabis, the Salafis, and all other Islamist groups. And even though the Egyptian MB’s did not have a history of violence like their say Syrian counterparts, members walk in and out of these organizations all the time, and in effect, there is no difference between them at all. After all, Ayman Zawahiri himself, the current leader of al-Qaeda, is a former Egyptian MB member,” Kadi emphasized.
“All of those organizations are based on a distorted form of Islam that believes in coercion and enforcing the rule of Sharia over the entire globe. They may hate one another at times, they may fight over loots and political alliances to different sponsors, but ideologically-speaking, they are identical, although disagreeing at times on very insignificant theological and practice issues,” the Syrian expert explained.
Why are European and American policymakers still in denial and refuse to recognize the threat posed by Islamists’ ideology? The Muslim Brotherhood has not yet been designated as a terrorist organization by the US and the EU. Many Muslim Brothers are working in European reputable foundations and lecturing in Europe’s numerous Mosques.
It was US Senator Ted Cruz who has eventually introduced a bill aimed at designating the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization in November 2015. The legislation is currently being considered by American lawmakers.
Interestingly enough, back in 2007 America’s influential Council of Foreign Relations’ media outlet argued that the Muslim Brotherhood was”the world’s oldest, largest, and most influential Islamist organization” had rejected global jihad and embraced “democracy.”
“In the anxious and often fruitless search for Muslim moderates, policymakers should recognize that the Muslim Brotherhood presents a notable opportunity,” Robert S. Leiken and Steven Brooke wrote in their article entitled “The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood” for Foreign Affairs.
“The EU and the US are either refusing to see the ideological link between the religious wing (i.e. the MB’s) and military wing (i.e. the terrorists), or they are trying to distance them from the terrorist organizations in the hope to use the MB’s in the future,” Kadi told Sputnik.
“However, the EU and the US do not see further than their noses and they have proven this time after time. For them to even imagine that they can have another go at harnessing Islamic fundamentalism is a proof of their short-sightedness and lack of ability to learn from previous mistakes,” he added.
While playing with Islamism Europe and the United States make a big mistake. They do not take into consideration the possible outcomes of their socio-engineering experiments.
“Is America foolish enough to forget 9/11, and not clever enough to understand the underlying foundations needed to launch an attack like the San Bernardino attack?” the Syrian expert asked.
“I cannot see that the West has planned its interactions and the outcome of its support of different Islamic organizations and the states that support them in an intelligent manner at all. It has always been known that the state of Saudi Arabia has been right behind the rise of Islamist fundamentalism with the blessing of the United States. Turkey is finally emerging to be another such supporter and irrespective of how much Erdogan rejects the Russian accusations regarding his illegal oil trade with Daesh [IS/ISIL], the satellite photos are here for all to see and people are not stupid,” Kadi told Sputnik.
“Apart from a few outcries from ultra-right wing European politicians, the Europeans have not yet taken any serious steps of preventing repeats of the Paris attacks, and if they continue to opt to play with fire, they will have to be prepared for the fruit of their action,” the expert warned.
Russia Just Suddenly Reemerged as a World Power While the West Wasn’t Looking
How did it happen that all of a sudden Russia started not just actively standing up to the world hegemonic power, but successfully win against it on all fronts?
By Rostislav Ischenko (Originally appeared at The Saker, Translated by Seva)
Kitchen “strategists”, who sincerely believe that massive nuclear strike is the universal solution to any international problem (even the hottest one, close to military confrontation), are unhappy about the moderate position of the Russian leadership in the crisis with Turkey. However, they deem insufficient even direct participation of the Russian military in the Syrian conflict. They are also dissatisfied with the Moscow’s activities on the Ukrainian front.
However, for some reason nobody asks a simple question. How did it happen that all of a sudden Russia started not just actively stand up to the world hegemonic power, but successfully win against it on all fronts?
By the end of 1990s, Russia was a state that economically and financially was at the level of the third world. An anti-oligarch rebellion was brewing in the country. It was fighting an endless and hopeless war with Chechens that spilled over to Dagestan. National security was supported only by nukes, so to conduct any serious operation even within its own borders, the army had neither trained personnel nor modern equipment, its fleet could not sail, and its aviation could not fly.
Sure enough, anybody can tell how the industry, including military, was gradually revived, how growing living standards stabilized the internal situation, how the army was modernized.
But the key question is not who did more to rebuild the Russian military: Shoygu, Serdukov, or the General Staff. The key question is not who is a better economist, Glaziev or Kudrin, and whether it would have been possible to allocate even more resources to social spending.
The key unknown factor in this task is time. How did Russia have it, why did the US give Russia time to prepare resistance, to grow economic and military muscle, to annihilate the State Department-funded pro-American lobby in the politics and the media?
Why did not the open confrontation, in which we are now getting ahead of Washington, begin earlier, 10-15 years ago, when Russia had no chance to withstand sanctions? In reality, the US in the 1990s or 2000s started installing puppet regimes on the post-Soviet space, including Moscow, which was considered as one of several capitals of dismembered Russia.
Healthy conservatism of diplomats
The conditions for today’s military and diplomatic successes were being built for decades on the invisible (diplomatic) front.
It must be said that among central ministries the Foreign Ministry was the first to recover from the administrative mess caused by the breakup of the early 1990s. As early as in 1996, Evgeny Primakov became the Foreign Minister, who, in addition to turning the government plane around over the Atlantic upon learning about the US aggression against Yugoslavia, turned around the Russian foreign policy, which after that never followed the US course.
Two and a half years later, he recommended Igor Ivanov as his successor, who slowly (almost imperceptibly), but surely continued to strengthen the Russian diplomacy. He was succeeded in 2004 by the current foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, under whose leadership diplomacy accumulated enough resources to switch from positional defense to decisive offence.
Among these three ministers only Ivanov received The Hero Star, but I am sure that both his predecessor and successor are just as worthy of this award.
It must be said that traditional caste closeness and healthy conservatism of the diplomatic corps contributed to rapid restoration of the work of the Foreign Ministry. That very unhurriedness and traditionalism the diplomats are accused of helped. “Kozyrevshchina” (the word is derived from the name of Andrei Kozyrev, the Foreign minister in 1990-1996; the word means “acting like Kozyrev”, i.e. in a subservient manner against one’s own interests – translator’s note) never caught on in the Foreign Ministry because it did not fit.
Period of internal consolidation
Let’s return to the 1996. Russia is at the bottom of the pit economically, but the default of 1998 is still ahead. The USA totally disregards the international law replacing it with its arbitrary actions. NATO and the EU are getting ready to move to the Russian borders.
Russia has nothing to respond with. Russia (as USSR before it) can annihilate any aggressor in 20 minutes, but nobody plans to fight it. Any deviation from the Washington-approved line, any attempt to pursue an independent foreign policy would lead to economic strangulation and subsequent internal destabilization – at that time the country lives on Western credits.
The situation is further complicated by the fact that until 1999 the power is in the hands of the comprador elite beholden to the US (like the current Ukrainian one), and until 2004-2005 compradors are still fighting for power with patriotic Putin’s bureaucracy. The last rearguard battle given by the loosing compradors was an attempt at a revolution in 2011 at Bolotnaya square. What would have happened if they had made their move in 2000, when they had an overwhelming advantage?
The Russian leaders needed time for internal consolidation, restoration of the economic and financial systems, ensuring their self-reliance and independence from the West, and rebuilding the modern army. Finally, Russia needed allies.
Diplomats had an almost impossible mission. It was necessary, without retreating on key issues, to consolidate the influence of Russia in post-Soviet states, ally itself with other governments resisting the US, strengthen them, if possible, all the while creating an illusion in Washington that Russia is weak and ready for strategic concessions.
The illusion of Russia’s weakness
One demonstration of the fact that this task was successfully achieved are the myths that are still alive among some Western analysts and pro-American Russian “opposition”. For example, if Russia opposes another instance of Western adventurism, it is “bluffing to save face”, the Russian elites are totally dependent on the West because “their money is there”, “Russia sells out its allies”.
However, the myths of “rusty rockets that do not fly”, “hungry solders building dachas for generals”, and about “economy in tatters” are essentially gone. Only marginals believe in them, who are not really incapable, but are too afraid to acknowledge the reality.
These very illusions of weakness and readiness to back off that fooled the West into belief that the Russian question is solved and prevented it from rapid political and economic attacks on Moscow, gave the Russian leadership the precious time for reforms.
Naturally, there is never too much time, and Russia would have preferred to postpone the direct confrontation with the US, which started in 2012-13, by another 3-5 years, or even avoid it altogether, but the diplomacy won 12-15 years for the country – a huge period of time in today’s rapidly changing world…
Neither in 2000, nor in 2004 was Russia ready to openly confront the US. Even when (not by Moscow’s choice) this happened 2013, Russia needed almost two years to mobilize its resources in order to give a strong response in Syria. The Syrian elite, in contrast to the Ukrainian one, from the very beginning (in 2011-2012) rejected the option of compromising with the West.
That is why during 12 years (from “Ukraine without Kuchma” action, which was the first unsuccessful attempt of pro-American coup in Ukraine) the Russian diplomacy worked on two key tasks.
First, it was keeping the situation in Ukraine in unstable equilibrium; second, convincing the Ukrainian elite that the West was a danger to their wellbeing, whereas reorientation towards Russia was the only way to stabilize the situation and save the country as well as the position of the elite itself.
The first task was successfully achieved. The US has managed to switch Ukraine from the multi-directional mode into the mode of anti-Russian battering ram only by 2013, having spent enormous amount of time and resources and having acquired a regime with huge internal contradictions incapable of existing independently (without growing American support). Instead of using Ukrainian resources for their benefit, the US is forced to spend their own resources to prolong the agony of the Ukrainian statehood destroyed by the coup.
The second task has not been accomplished due to objective (independent of Russian efforts) reasons. The Ukrainian elite turned out to be totally inadequate, incapable of strategic thinking, of evaluating real risks and advantages, but living and acting under the influence of two myths.
First – the West will easily win in any confrontation with Russia and share the spoils with Ukraine. Second – no effort, except the unwavering anti-Russian position, is necessary for comfortable existence (at the expense of Western financing). In the situation of choice between orientation on Russia and survival, or siding with the West and dying, the Ukrainian elite chose death.
However, even out of negative choice of the Ukrainian elite the Russian diplomacy managed to get maximum advantage. Russia did not let itself be sucked into a confrontation with Ukrainian regime, instead forcing Kiev and the West into the grueling negotiation process in the background of a low-key civil war and excluding the USA from the Minsk format. By focusing on contradictions between Washington and the EU, Russia managed to burden the West with Ukraine financially.
As a result, the initially consolidated position of Washington and Brussels disintegrated. Counting on a politico-diplomatic blitzkrieg, the European politicians were not prepared for a prolonged confrontation. The EU economy simply could not support it. In its turn, The US was not ready to accept Kiev exclusively on its own payroll.
Today, after a year and a half of efforts, the “old Europe”, which determines the position of the EU, such as Germany and France, has abandoned Ukraine completely and is looking for a way to extend a hand to Russia over the heads of the pro-American Eastern European neighbouring territories (Poland and Baltics). Even Warsaw, which used to be the main “advocate” of Kiev in the EU, openly (although semi-officially) hints at the possibility of dividing Ukraine, having lost the faith in the ability of the Kiev authorities to keep the country together.
In the Ukrainian political and expert community hysterics about “the treason of Europe” is growing. Former governor of the Donetsk region (appointed by the Nazi regime) and oligarch Sergey Taruta states that his country has eight months to exist. Oligarch Dmitry Firtash (who had a reputation of the Ukrainian “king maker”) predicts disintegration as early as in the spring.
All this, quietly and imperceptibly, without using tanks and strategic aviation, was achieved by the Russian diplomacy. Achieved in a tough confrontation with the block of most powerful, militarily and economically, countries, while starting from a much weaker position and with the most peculiar allies, not all of which were or are happy about growing Russian power.
Breakthrough in the Middle East
In parallel, Russia managed to return to the Middle East, retain and develop integration within the post-Soviet space (Eurasian Economic Union), together with China roll out a Eurasian integration project (Shanghai Cooperation Organization), and initiate via BRICS a global integration project.
Unfortunately, limited space does not allow us to discuss in detail all strategic actions of the Russian diplomacy for the past 20 years (from Primakov until today). A comprehensive study would take many volumes.
However, anyone who would try to answer honestly how Russia managed within 20 years, without wars or upheavals, to rise from the state of a semi-colony to the state of a recognized world leader, would have to acknowledge the contributions of many people on Smolenskaya Square (where the Foreign Ministry is located – translator’s note). Their efforts do not tolerate fuss or publicity, but without blood and victims yield results comparable to those achieved by multi-million armies in many years.
“Do it yourself” realities in the policy world. 11 December 2015
“… divisions and obstacles remain. Islamist delegates objected to using the word “democracy” in the final statement, so the term “democratic mechanism” was used instead, according to a member of one such group who attended the meeting. And one powerful Islamist rebel brigade, Ahrar al-Sham, announced that it was withdrawing from the conference, accusing other delegates of being too close to the Syrian government and saying that conference failed to “confirm the Muslim identity of our people.” But Abdulaziz Sager, the Saudi academic who moderated the meetings, said afterward that the representative of the group had not known about the statement and had signed the final agreement anyway — suggesting a split between the group’s political officials and its hard-line base.” NY Times
The minions of the foreign policy sector of the US branch of the Borg are hard at work seeking to sculpt a reality in which the current R+6 offensives in Syria are said to be ineffective, bogged down and doomed to failure because no military solution to the Syrian Civil War is possible according to Obama and the Harpies. The Russians are said have been taught a severe lesson by the death of two soldiers and are supposedly having a bad case of “buyer’s remorse” over their intervention in Syria. This is an amusing idea if you know anything about Russian national character as displayed at places like Stalingrad and Leningrad in WW2. It is also said that the Iranians are withdrawing from the war having been disheartened by the death of several senior leaders of the IRGC in combat. This, too, is amusing if you were around during the Iran-Iraq War when IRGC and Baseej men lay down their lives by the tens of thousands in massed frontal attacks against the Iraqis.
The rebels have recently evacuated what they held of Homs. They are the people who left, not the government. In the end the rebels were defeated at Homs but you would never know that from the BS flowing in Washington and New York where the surrender agreement (truce) is said to be a sign of crumbling of resolve on the R+6 side. R+6 troops are steadily chewing up rebel forces in Lattakia and Aleppo Provinces in the process of preparing the battlefield for a great action soon to come. Numerous airfields have been re-captured and Syrian/Russian air assets are being moved forward onto these airfields. Russian sortie rates continue to rise, but the Borg insists that Russia will soon withdraw from Syria in exhaustion.
This thematic IO campaign in the think-tanks and media may well have some effect on Western populations but the Russians, Syrians, Iranians, Hizbullah and associated militias are unlikely to be impressed.
John Kerry said today that there are “kinks” in the Riyadh agreement stitched together by Adil (the Chihuahua) al-Jubair. Well, yes, the obvious intention of the Saudis and the jihadis among the rebels to make Syria a Sunni sharia law state might be considered a “kink.”
Does Obama really not care about that? Does he not care? Does he not care about his brothers and sisters in Christ who would be reduced to dhimmitude by a “kinky” Islamist government in Syria? And what of the others; the non-Islamist Sunni Arabs, the Yazidis, the Alawis, the Shia, etc? Does he not notice that these people are all sheltering behind R+6?
Daniel Patrick Moynihan is reputed to have remarked that while “you are entitled to your opinion, you are not entitled to your own facts.”
Evidently Obama and the Harpies do not agree with Moynihan. pl (Colonel W. Patrick Lang)
Sistani Orders Turkey Out Of Iraq – Syria Oppo-Conference Fails
http://www.moonofalabama.org/, 11 December 2015
After the U.S. invasion of Iraq the U.S vice consul Paul Bremer tried to install a handpicked Iraqi government. The top Shia religious authority in Iraq, Grand Ajatollah Sistani, demanded a democratic vote. The issue was thereby decided. There was no way the U.S could have circumvented Sisitani’s edict without a massive revolt by the 65% of Iraqis who are Shia and mostly follow his advice. Bremer had to fold.
Now Ajatollah Sistani takes position against the Turkish invasion of Iraq:
Iraq’s top Shi’ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, called on the government on Friday to show “no tolerance” of any infringement of the country’s sovereignty, after Turkey deployed heavily armed troops to northern Iraq.
Sistani’s spokesman, Sheikh Abdul Mehdi Karbala’i, did not explicitly name Turkey, but a row over the deployment has badly soured relations between Ankara and Baghdad, which denies having agreed to it.
“The Iraqi government is responsible for protecting Iraq’s sovereignty and must not tolerate and side that infringes upon on it, whatever the justifications and necessities,” Karbalai’i said in a weekly sermon…
Following the lead by successful businessman Donald Trump, a number of Native American groups have asked whether Christians should be banned from entering the US on account of the long history of genocide following destabilization of many nations and cultures by warlike groups claiming an allegiance to Christianity.
But Abbott’s raving trumps Trump’s trumped-up Islamophobia!
Emeritus Professor of Law Hal Wootten:
“Mr Abbott is ready to patronise Muslims by offering to help reform their religion.
Any religion that is based on the authority of a holy book written many centuries ago will face problems as values change. Many Christians today are embarrassed by what the New Testament says about homosexuality, and if they followed Old Testament exhortations about what should be done to enemies of the Lord, the world would be bloody indeed.
The great majority of Muslims, like the great majority of Christians and Jews have, often with the aid of religious scholars, found ways to interpret or disregard texts that conflict with the central teachings of their religions, which for them are about leading a good life in harmony with other human beings.
Of course, there are always a deviant few who reject the majority wisdom and thrive on opportunities for violence or self-aggrandisement, insisting on literal interpretations or misinterpretations. Their views gain traction in troubled times, when social norms are disturbed, or when a religion is treated with contempt. The existence of recondite texts does not cause social disruption – they become weapons in the hands of those who are already disposed to violence.
It is hard to imagine greater cruelties than those inflicted on unbelievers by official Christianity during the Inquisition, and well within living memory there have been examples of mass suicide or slaughter by extremist Christian sects.
Right on the doorstep of Islamic State, a fanatical Jewish minority has hijacked Israeli policy towards Palestine on the basis of ancient texts claiming a gift of land from God thousands of years ago. The resulting intensive Jewish settlement of the West Bank has probably made impossible the obvious two-state solution to the difficulties
created when the Christian West exported its Jewish problem to Arab land.
The tiny scale of violent reaction from Muslims, compared to the enormous slaughter of Jews in Christian Europe, and the violence of Israel against Muslims in Gaza and the West Bank, mocks Mr Abbott’s assumption of the moral high ground against Islam.
The values of Western civilisation might have have been preached, but were not practised. Virtually the whole Muslim world was colonised and exploited by the West. In most of Asia and Africa Muslims were under the colonial rule or domination of Christian imperial powers – Britain, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Russia – until after World War II. In the Middle East and adjacent areas Muslim populations were pawns in the power plays of Christian empires that prevented natural development and bred anything from scepticism to hatred of Western values.
In the Middle East after World War I Britain and France divided their spheres of influence into nominally independent states and either appointed their rulers or identified themselves with autocratic regimes. As oil came to dominate the world economy, the United States became a big player and Russia (aka the Soviet Union) looked for opportunities, again not to civilise but to exploit.
In the early 1950s Mohammad Mosaddegh, a democratically elected Prime Minister, aspired to make Iran into the kind of secular democracy Mr Abbott commends. He was promptly removed in 1953 in a coup organised by British and US intelligence. Governing with US support, the autocratic Shah became so unpopular that he fled the country in the face of a popular uprising, paving the way for Iran to become an Islamic republic in 1979.
US and other Western intelligence agencies must also bear responsibility for the emergence of Islamic State 50 years later, when trumped-up intelligence was used to justify the destabilisation of Iraq. What is now IS began as a resistance movement against the invasion of Iraq, and morphed into its present form in the chaos the West left behind.
Clearly the West is in no position to patronise Islam.”
Islamic Fundamentalism: US Hawks Stirred Hornet’s Nest in Middle East
By Ekaterina Blinova http://sputniknews.com/politics/20151210/1031533947/us-hawks-using-islamic-fundamentalism-as-tool-in-syria-iraq-afghanistan.html#ixzz3u4xQkWfE
History shows that Muslims, Christians, and Jews, alongside members of other minority religions and sects, have lived in the Levant ‘at an acceptable level of peace’ for centuries; by meddling into Middle Eastern affairs Washington has opened a Pandora’s box, Australian activist and political scientist of Lebanese descent Iman Safi told Sputnik.
Back in the 1970s it was US President Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski who began to use Islamic fundamentalism as a political tool in the very volatile regions of Central Asia and the Middle East, according to Iman Safi, a Lebanese political scientist, who has had an extensive and personal experience of civil war and currently lives in Australia.
“[Zbigniew] Brzezinski, [Ronald] Reagan and [George W.]Bush were the fools who stirred the hornets’ nest, probably not knowing, more accurately perhaps not caring what the final outcome was going to be. In saying this, we must open up our eyes and see that America has not yet learnt from its previous mistakes, and even now, it still believes that it can use Daesh [IS/ISIL] if Daesh fights Assad, without giving much thought at all at the fact that even if Daesh helps the US get rid of Assad, then the US will find itself having to contend with an Islamic state and a center of exporting global terror,” Safi told Sputnik commenting on the US-led coalition’s maneuvers in the Middle East.
Washington is making the same mistake again, believing that Islamic fundamentalists would help it to achieve the US’ geopolitical goals in the region. Brzezinski had repeatedly boasted that America’s proxy Mujahedeen warriors helped Washington to expel the Soviets from Afghanistan. At the same time, American hawks remain mute about the fact that their “marriage” with fundamentalists had resulted in longer term failures and disasters, Safi emphasized.
“Once religion became an agenda item, fundamentalists were able to capitalize on ancient issues, biased interpretations, dormant grudges and unsettled scores, and those passions grew, and grew and grew, and recruited thousands upon thousands of well-intentioned-yet-deluded youth along the way,” he noted.
Remarkably, a de-classified US Defense Intelligence Agency’s document shows clearly that in 2012, almost two years before the dramatic rise of Daesh, American officials and strategists knew exactly who was the major driving force of the Syrian insurgency. And it was not a so-called “moderate opposition” but the Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood and AQI (al-Qaeda in Iraq also known as ISIL/Daesh). Furthermore, the document says that AQI was assisting the Syrian opposition “since the very beginning, both ideologically and through media.”
But that is not all. After shedding light on the fact that the Syrian opposition was supported by “Western countries, the Gulf States and Turkey” the document continues:
“If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in Eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime…”
According to Safi, the West is playing with fire: Islamic fundamentalists simply cannot be considered tame allies of the West and its Middle Eastern partners.
“If the West is trying to redraw the map of the Middle East by creating a state for Daesh [“Salafist Principality”], I cannot see how this can serve Western long-term interests,” the Lebanese political scientist underscored.
But what is Daesh and does it deserve the name “Islamic State”?
“There is Daesh the organization and Daesh the ideology. The ideology stems from fundamentalist Islamic interpretations, or should one say misinterpretations, of the Holy Quran. It is this same ideology that feeds all fundamentalist Islamic organizations; not only Daesh. Daesh therefore is one of those organizations, and to defeat it militarily does not mean that it cannot resurface again, in another name, for as long as the ideology that created it is still in existence,” Safi told Sputnik.
Then the question arises what is the role of Turkey in the ongoing conflict. The shooting down of the Su-24, the incursion into Iraq and the embarrassing role of the Turkish leader in the oil smuggling business have prompted a heated debate regarding Recep Erdogan’s purported backers. He could not act alone and his irrational political moves could have been supported by major Western powers and NATO, some experts say.
“I believe Erdogan is acting alone,” Safi underscored.
“America and NATO cannot fully support him without risking a huge confrontation with Russia and cannot been seen not supporting him as a NATO member. That said, there are definitely many visible cracks in the alliance which became obvious even before the Russian intervention and when NATO refused to grant Erdogan a safety zone in Northern Syria,” he explained.
The Lebanese political scientist recalled that “Turkish incursions into Iraq are not new.”
“They used to happen even during the days of Saddam’s might. Historically, Turks have always made those incursions targeting specific Kurdish areas and redrawing when the mission was accomplished,” Safi elaborated.
Given the fact that the Middle Eastern region is a “volatile” one, what is the remedy for the current crisis?
Responding to the question Safi noted laconically: “[The remedy is] states in which all citizens are equal before the law of the land.”
“Despite the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Levant lived in peace within itself for quite some time; albeit a precarious and unstable peace. History clearly proves that Muslims, Christians, and Jews, alongside members of other minority religions and sects have lived together at an acceptable level of peace for centuries,” Safi emphasized.
The pivotal point, at which events went wrong, culminating into the situation the world is suffering now, was the decision of Washington’s geostrategists to use religion as a tool in Afghanistan of the late 1970s, according to Safi.
“Islam is a great religion of peace, but its spokespersons are either fanatic zealots or leaders who do not know what their religion is all about. They are the opposite side of the same coin that portrays Islam as a religion of violence,” the Lebanese political scientist remarked with a touch of bitterness.
Lessons Unlearnt: US Hawks Dragging America Into Syrian Quagmire
Obama’s senior strategic advisors, Susan Rice and Samantha Power, have been steadily providing wrong-headed, even calamitous advice,” Margolis writes in his piece for Information Clearing House…
“Arrogance and ignorance led the US to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. Heedless of past mistakes, Washington is again rushing in where wise men fear to tread,” Margolis concludes bitterly.
Daesh Godfathers? Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar Spotted Funding Terrorists
We should not underestimate Saudi Arabia’s role in creating and funding Daesh, F. William Engdahl notes, referring to the fact that King Salman, then Governor of Riyadh, was involved in funding al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Bosnia back in the late 1970s.
Citing Germany BND intelligence sources, American-German researcher, historian and strategic risk consultant F. William Engdahl notes that Saudi Arabia is about to become a serious destabilizing force in the Middle East, adding that it is likely that Riyadh’s current cautious foreign policy could soon be replaced by an interventionist approach.
The researcher underscores that he has to reconsider his previous stance regarding the possible Russo-Saudi alliance: Russia’s involvement in Syria is now viewed as a serious obstacle to the Saudi royal family’s plans.
“Prince Salman is Defense Minister and led the Kingdom, beginning last March, into a mad war, code-named by Salman as ‘Operation Decisive Storm,’ in neighboring Yemen. Saudis headed a coalition of Arab states that includes Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain. The Prince is also head of the Saudi Economic Council which he created. The new King, Salman, is not the benign sweet guy his PR staff try to paint him,” Engdahl notes in his recent piece for New Eastern Outlook.
Endgahl writes that in the early 1950s CIA Cairo Station Chief Miles Copeland organized the transfer of the Muslim Brotherhood, banned in Egypt, to Saudi Arabia. Citing former US Justice Department official John Loftus, the researcher explains how the Muslim Brotherhood nationalist ideas were thus combined with the Saudi Wahhabism.
“The CIA planned to use the Saudi Muslim Brothers to wield a weapon across the entire Muslim world against feared Soviet incursions. A fanatical young terrorist named Osama Bin Laden was later to arise out of this marriage in Hell between the Brotherhood and Wahhabi Saudi Islam,” Engdahl emphasizes.
According to the researcher, King Salman had certain ties with al-Qaeda. His involvement originates from the late 1970s when he was a Governor of Riyadh. It was he who headed major Saudi charities which were later discovered financing al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Bosnia.
“Salman worked intimately as the financial funding conduit for what became al-Qaeda together with Bin Laden’s Saudi intelligence ‘handler,’ then-head of Saudi Intelligence, Prince Turki Al-Faisal and the Saudi-financed Muslim World League,” Engdahl continues.
The expert calls attention to the fact that during the US invasion of Iraq in 2003-2004, al-Qaeda penetrated into the country. A Moroccan-born terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi formed an al-Qaeda affiliate known as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). Later, this entity dubbed itself as the Islamic State (IS) also known as ISIL, or Daesh.
Engdahl stresses that a declassified US Defense Intelligence Agency’s (DIA) document indicated in 2012 that since the very beginning the major driving forces of US-backed Syrian insurgency were the Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood and AQI.
“If we look at the emergence of al-Qaeda in Iraq and its transformation into the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria/ISIS [Daesh], it all traces back to the Saudi operations going back to the late 1970’s involving now-King Salman, Saudi Osama bin Laden, together with Saudi intelligence head, Prince Turki Al-Faisal,” Engdahl points out.
Quoting an unnamed Turkish source, Engdahl remarks that Turkish President Erdogan’s first presidential campaign in 2014 was supported by a “gift” of ten billion US dollars from the Saudis. He also adds that Turkey’s training centers for Syrian Islamists have been funded by Erdogan’s close friend Yasin al-Qadi, a Saudi banker close to the Saudi royalties, member of the Muslim Brotherhood and financier of Osama bin Laden since the 1980s.
“What we have, then, is not an isolated Russian war against ISIS [Daesh] in Syria. What lies behind ISIS is not just Erdogan’s criminal regime, but far more significant, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and her Wahhabi allies Kuwait, UAE, Qatar,” Engdahl suggests.
Interestingly enough, independent researcher and writer Timothy Alexander Guzman noted in his November article that there is an influential “triangle” of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in the Middle East. Guzman insisted that Turkey is the main coordinator of this clandestine alliance.
Remarkably, while the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) comprises about 640,000 military, civilian and paramilitary personnel, Saudi Arabia boasts just a 175,000-strong army, and Qatar has a very modest military force of around 11,800 servicemen. Furthermore, the TSK is the second largest standing military force in NATO.
Whoever the “mastermind” of the Turkish-Saudi-Qatari alliance is, it would have been unable to conduct its covert activity in the Middle East, including funding of terrorists or oil smuggling from Syria and Iraq without some tacit agreement with major Western powers. Remarkably, Washington and its European NATO allies are still turning a blind eye to illicit activities of their partners and allies in the Middle East.
09-Dec-2015 Syrian Army Liberates More of Latakia After Fierce Clashes With Terrorists
Read more: http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20151209/1031497423/syria-lattakia-army-liberate.html#ixzz3tyC18whN
“The Syrian Arab Army’s 103rd Brigade of the Republican Guard has gotten off to a fast start this week, capturing several key regions from the Al-Nusra Front, the Free Syrian Army’s ‘Liwaa Suqour Al-Ghaab,’ and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham terrorist groups in northeast regions of Latakia province.”
Syria’s National Defense Forces, the Syrian Social Nationalist Party and Syrian Resistance also took part in the offensives against terrorists in the northern countryside areas of Latakia.
“In a matter of four days, the Syrian Armed Forces have seized over 100 square kilometers from terrorists in Northeastern Latakia; this is likely to increase in the coming days as the pro-government forces eye the rebel stronghold of Salma,” reported Fars.”
“Syrian government forces backed by Iranian troops edged closer to a major rebel-controlled highway south of Aleppo on Tuesday, pushing further into insurgent-held areas supported by heavy Russian air strikes.
After seizing a series of villages including Zitan, Humaira and Qalaajiya, the army said it had thrust to the outskirts of Zirba and encircled the town of Khan Touman, an advance rebels said had left them outgunned from the air and ground.
The aim of government forces appeared to be to cut the main Aleppo-Damascus highway that fighters use to transport supplies from rebel-held Idlib province to the north.” Reuters
Colonel W. Patrick Lang, retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces (The Green Berets) at http://turcopolier.typepad.com/ makes the following comment about the above two articles:
You can see from this reporting that the kesselschlacht battle to be fought in Idlib is shaping up nicely. The rebels (of various persuasions) will have to fight hard to try to hold the M5 highway open to the south from Aleppo and that will make them superb targets out in that open country. IMO the expectation of large numbers of surrenders/defections from the rebel forces grows greater by the day. Faced with all the Russian fire power and in the face of a reinvigorated SAA and their allies the temptation to experience a “come to Bashar” moment will be very strong. pl
Posted 09 Dec 2015 at 11:59 AM in Current Affairs, Iran, Middle East, Russia, Syria | Permalink | Comments (18)
3 pertinent Comments A, B, C and D at http://www.moonofalabama.org/2015/12/turkeys-imperial-motives-in-attacking-syria-and-iraq.html#comments
John McCain and the Caliph 2014
In January of 2014, the Congress of the United States held a secret meeting at which it voted, in violation of international law,to approve funding for the Al-Nosra Front (Al-Qaeda) and the Islamic emirate in Iraq and the Levant until September 2014.  Although it is unclear precisely what was really agreed to during this meeting revealed by the British Reuters news agency , and no media US media dared bypass censorship, it is highly probable that the law includes a section on arming and training jihadists.
The Islamic Emirate represents a new step in the world of mercenaries. Unlike jihadi groups who fought in Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Chechnya around Osama bin Laden, it does not constitute a residual force but actually an army in itself.
The Islamic Emirate is comparable to the mercenary armies of the European sixteenth century. They were conducting religious wars on behalf of the lords who paid them, sometimes in one camp, sometimes in another.
Posted by: shadyl | Dec 9, 2015 5:49:08 PM | 79
This looks promising:
Brett McGurk, Washington’s special envoy for the US-led anti-IS coalition, said on Twitter, “The U.S. does not support military deployments inside Iraq absent the consent of the Iraqi government.” He added, for good measure, “This includes deployment of U.S. military personnel.” Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis reiterated this position.
Posted by: Penelope | Dec 9, 2015 9:58:15 PM | 98
Erdogan’s latest moves in Iraq and b’s observation on Turkey’s “imperial motives” reminded me of Napoleon’s famous quote on strategy, “The policies of all powers are inherent in their geography,” or “to know a nation’s geography is to know its foreign policy. Looking at a map of the ME, makes it easier to visualize the empire’s strategic aims in the region.
Using Turkey/Israel/Jordan/Saudi Arabia geographical location, the empire’s intention was to squeeze Iraq/Syria/Lebanon by subverting them from inside (“Arab Spring”), supplying the not-so indigenous insurgency from the surrounding, “Assad must go” powers. The tactics used differed in each of the assailed countries, the objectives and the tools to achieve them were taken from the CIA’s classic CI book.
1) Color or season revolution.
2) Penetration of a legit popular movement by a fifth column, hijacking it.
3) Short evolution from a purely political movement to a military insurgency.
4) Attacks on security forces provoking counter-attacks and casualties.
5) Magnification of the casualties by the MSM stenographers, turning ruling government into “butchers.” False flags.
6) Massive support from surrounding countries for “regime change” or R2P, or a combination of both.
Turkey went from a policy of “zero conflicts” with their neighbors to a sub-imperialist policy with most of their neighbors, same with Saudi Arabia, whose intervention in Yemen aimed at subjugation, is on a par with Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people. The geographical location and the geopolitical positioning of Turkey/Israel/Jordan/ KSA creates a natural pincer on Syria/Iraq/Lebanon, which combined with a not-so native insurgency, aimed at breaking those countries into pieces.
Turkey’s latest move invading Iraq, with the tacit complicity of the US/NATO, adds more evidence to the geopolitical pincer strategy being applied to Iraq/Syria/Lebanon. Obviously, these targets are just a jumping ground, the real target is Iran, followed by the main target, Russia, beginning with Russia’s soft underbelly, the Kavkaz (self-proclaimed separatist Islamic state and territorial formation in Northern Caucasus, recognized as a terrorist organization in the United States and Russia. The full name is the “Islamic State Imarat Kavkaz” http://eng.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/30497/). They cannot break Iran without first breaking Syria/Iraq/Lebanon, and cannot break Russia without first breaking Iran.
That’s the geography of war the empire is applying in the ME, one the Russians are countering defining the territorial integrity of these countries under assault as a red line. Iraq needs to roll-back Turkey’s army out of Mosul, exacting a tactical defeat to the empire’s plan B after Syria became a no-go for the US/UK/NATO/Erdogan’s original plans. If that is not achieved, Iraq is in danger of becoming the Achilles’ heel to the 4+1.
Posted by: Lone Wolf | Dec 9, 2015 11:16:25 PM | 99
At this point in the “arc of civilization” what does it say about us as a species that Turkey has imperial motives, is supported to have those thoughts by other, higher in the food chain nations and all of this sick activity is perpetrated effectively by the world of private finance and those that own it. We face extinction now because of the control exerted by a few, kind of like a virus we can sense but can’t raise the social will to cure.
Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 9, 2015 9:11:03 PM | 95
Recall the other day my mentioning claims of annexing Mosul as rubbish? And offering up alternative possibilities? PKK Occupy 3 Assyrian Iraqi Villages- Turks to Mosul and more
Simply reading the NATO MSM & alternative media, I would not have been aware of these statements of fact from Baghdad’s representative- I had to go and search for actual statements of fact from persons close to the situation. Which is my preferred method anyway…
Baghdad plays down Turkey’s troops deployment in Iraq
Iraq’s ambassador to the United Nations on Tuesday, December 8 appeared to play down a dispute between Baghdad and Ankara over the deployment of Turkish troops in northern Iraq, saying bilateral talks between the neighboring states to end the row were proceeding favorably, Reuters reports.
“We are solving it between Baghdad and Ankara bilaterally,” Iraqi Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim told reporters after Russia raised the issue of Turkey’s deployment during a closed-door meeting of the United Nations Security Council. “We have not yet escalated it to the Security Council or to the United Nations.”
“For us, what is helpful is the bilateral discussion going on right now between Baghdad and Ankara, and it’s going extremely well,” he said,adding that Moscow had not consulted with Baghdad before raising the issue in the council.
But Alhakim reiterated that Iraq wanted the Turkish troops withdrawn from its territory immediately, saying the deployment was “illegal,” and a violation of the United Nations charter.
Turkey has said the deployment was previously agreed with Iraq, a position U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power told reporters was also her understanding. Ankara says its troops are training Iraqi soldiers to fight Islamic State militants, who have seized territory in Iraq and Syria.
Playing the Kurdish card against Turkey
By Pietro Shakarian, 09 December 2015
A brief history of the Russians and the Kurds
Any understanding of the Kurds is incomplete without an understanding of their diversity. Although united by common aspirations for basic civil rights and self-determination, the Kurds do not form a single monolithic bloc. 28 million strong, they straddle the mountainous frontier territories of Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran. They comprise various tribes and speak an array of different dialects and languages, including Kurmanji, Sorani, Pehlewani, Zazaki, and Gorani, although Kurmanji is the most widely spoken. There are also Muslim Kurds (both Sunni and Shia) as well as Yazidi Kurds.
The Russians and the Kurds have a long relationship that dates back centuries. In the 19th century, Kurdish tribes in the Ottoman Empire were used by the government against Russian troops in Russian-Turkish conflicts. They were also used by the Ottomans to persecute Christian minorities, especially the Armenians and Assyrians. Today, the Kurds, especially the Kurds in Turkey, have come to terms with this tragic past, and have been at the forefront of reconciliation efforts with Armenians and Assyrians.
“Those shaped by the Kurdish movement in Turkey have acknowledged the role of their ancestors in the genocide of Armenians and Assyrians,” said Ara Sarafian, the director of the London-based Gomidas Institute, which promotes Armenian-Kurdish dialogue. “They have apologized for it with no qualifications and have done much to rehabilitate the name of Armenians and Assyrians, and to some extent what remains of their communities. In Diyarbakir, they have supported the renovation of the Sourp Giragos church and have compensated the church for the loss of its former properties with land outside of the city.”
The Russian Empire had better relations with the Kurds within its own borders. These Kurds were primarily concentrated in Russian Transcaucasia and were both of the Muslim and Yazidi faith. A distinct religious community, the Yazidis were (and unfortunately still are) often wrongly accused of being “devil-worshippers,” a label found to be totally erroneous by the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin.
After the Sovietization of Transcaucasia, the Kurds of the region were accorded significant cultural and political rights as part of the Soviet korenizatsiya (indigenization) policy for nationalities. During the era of the Leninist New Economic Policy (NEP), Kurdish language, literature, and publishing were promoted, especially in Soviet Armenia and Georgia. This provided a marked contrast to the treatment of Kurds in neighboring countries, especially Turkey. The famed Soviet Armenian filmmaker, Amo Bek-Nazaryan, even directed a film about the Yazidi Kurds, Zare (1927), now regarded as a classic of early Caucasus cinema (available for viewing at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0184075/).
An autonomous Kurdistan District (“Red Kurdistan”) was also created in Soviet Azerbaijan, in an area sandwiched between Soviet Armenia and the now-disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Unfortunately, with the rise of Stalin, this autonomous Red Kurdistan was abolished. Kurdish newspapers were abolished and many Soviet Kurds were deported from Transcaucasia to Soviet Central Asia in 1937 and 1944.
Stalin cynically manipulated the Kurdish issue for his own geopolitical purposes. During World War II, the Soviets and the British invaded Iran and deposed Reza Shah in order to secure Allied supply lines. The two Great Powers were concerned about the Shah’s pro-Axis sympathies. For the duration of the war, the Soviets occupied the northern portion of the country and the British occupied the southern portion. After the war, the Soviets remained in occupation of Northern Iran. A pro-Soviet Kurdish Republic was established at Mahabad in Iranian Kurdistan. Qazi Mohammad served as its President. Its commander was Mullah Mustafa Barzani, father of the President of Iraqi Kurdistan Masoud Barzani, who had fled Iraq.
However, the experience of the nascent Mahabad Republic would prove short-lived. After securing important oil concessions, the Soviets withdrew support. Tehran swiftly moved to regain control of the region and executed the republic’s leaders. For their part, Barzani and his associates fled north, across the Araks River, into the Soviet Union where they were granted asylum and hosted until their departure in 1958. After the death of Stalin, Barzani met with Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev who was reportedly impressed with the Kurdish leader. In turn, the Barzanis were grateful for Soviet assistance.
During the era of the Khrushchev Thaw, Soviet Kurds saw a significant, albeit limited, cultural revival. The Soviet Kurdish newspaper Riya Taze [New Path] reappeared and Kurdish cultural institutions were revived in Yerevan as well as in Tbilisi, Moscow, and Leningrad. Most importantly, Soviet Kurdish-language radio broadcasts began in Yerevan. These broadcasts could be picked up in Kurdish communities in neighboring countries such as Turkey where the Kurdish language was heavily repressed. Many Turkish Kurds believed that broadcasting in Kurdish was impossible until they heard the Soviet broadcasts. As such, these radio transmissions had a major impact on the ethnic self-awareness of the Kurds in the broader region.
The Soviet Kurdish broadcasts also had an impact on Kurdish ideological self-awareness. Messages of “Leninist internationalism” and “equality of peoples” found great appeal among the Kurdish communities, particularly in Turkey. “Socialism, or anti-imperialism,” noted Sarafian, “was a ready ideology that addressed the class-based concerns of ordinary Kurds against conservative Kurdish aghas, or landowners, as well as against the Turkish state, a member of NATO, supported by Western powers.”
Russia and the Kurds today
Today, Russia cooperates with the Kurds in its operations against ISIS and other Islamic extremist groups in Syria. ISIS is the main enemy of the Syrian and Iraqi Kurds. The Syrian Kurds have also both clashed and cooperated with the so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels and maintain an ambiguous relationship with the Assad government.
The Syrian Kurds have praised Russia’s airstrikes in Syria. In turn, Russia, in particular President Putin, acknowledged the crucial role of the Kurds in the fight against ISIS. “The YPG [Syrian Kurdish forces] initially welcomed the Russian airstrikes,” said Alexander Titov, lecturer in Modern European History at the Queen’s University in Belfast. “They can hope for more support from the Russians if the current breakdown in Russia’s relations with Turkey continues.”
However, Titov noted, the Syrian Kurds’ ambiguous relationship with Assad and their close cooperation with Washington “puts limits on possible cooperation with Russia and the YPG.” At the same time, the Kurds could also potentially play a role in bringing Russia and the U.S. together in a common front against ISIS.
“The Kurds are acceptable allies against ISIS to both U.S. and Russia and this certainly gives them an advantage,” said Titov. “The Turkish attitude is the complicating factor here; but, as far as U.S. and Russia are concerned, boosting the capacity of the Kurds to fight ISIS is certainly one of the few things Russia and U.S. can agree upon in Syria.
In light of the tension in Russian-Turkish relations, there have also been calls from some politicians and commentators in Russia to support the Turkish Kurds. For instance, Sergey Markov, a political analyst close to the Kremlin, expressed such a position in an interview with the radio station Echo of Moscow. However, actual support from the Kremlin to the Turkish Kurds is unlikely to happen anytime soon.
“There have been calls in Russia to actively use the Kurdish question as a pressure point and even revenge against Turkey,” said Titov. “However, this would lead to a considerable escalation of the conflict with Turkey without any apparent gain. It will likely fan anti-Russian feelings instead of promoting a rapprochement, which Moscow and Ankara will ultimately want in the long term.”
Additionally, there is also concern that Russian support for the Turkish Kurds may lead to Turkish support for the Crimean Tatars and the various Muslim nationalities of Russia’s politically volatile North Caucasus. “We remember that the militants who operated in the North Caucasus in the 1990s and 2000s found refuge and received moral and material assistance in Turkey,” said Putin in his Address to the Federal Assembly. “We still find them there.”
“Given these factors,” said Titov. “I think it’s reasonable to assume that the Kremlin won’t play the Kurdish card unless there is a complete breakdown in relations with Turkey, from which we are very far and hopefully will never reach.”
http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2015/12/httpwwwbbccomnewsworld-middle-east-35048404.html 09 DECEMBER 2015
R+6 now controls Homs
“Syrian rebels have begun evacuating the last district they control in the city of Homs under a ceasefire deal reached with the government. Those leaving al-Wair, under siege for almost three years, will travel to rebel-held areas of Idlib province. Homs was once dubbed the “capital of the revolution” and saw some of the first protests of the 2011 uprising.
But the truce means the entire city returns to government control, in a boost for President Bashar al-Assad. Buses arrived on Wednesday to transport fighters and their families out of the Homs suburb of al-Wair. About 700 people, including rebel fighters and civilians, are due to depart throughout Wednesday, Homs governor Talal Barazi said. Fighters linked to al-Qaeda are among those due to leave, but moderate groups who have accepted the ceasefire are expected to remain.” BBC
R+6 holds Homs, once considered the “capital” of the rebellion. The hard line jihadi elements leaving the city are being evacuated by bus north to Idlib where they will be nicely positioned for R+6 when the force being assembled in Lattakia Province moves NE into Idlib where it will meet R+6 forces working on severing jihadi LOCs south of Aleppo City. This all follows the generally expected line of future history anticipated in SST’s recent “Jihadi Apocalypse” war game and Patrick Bahzad’s latest Syria SITREP. R+6 keeps grinding away, shaping the battlefield to come and effectively re-positioning SNC forces so that they will be suitably placed as objectives for a decisive kesselsclacht in Idlib.
Illustration above. pl http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-35048404
Posted 9 December 2015 in Syria | Permalink | Comments (43)
Turkey and Mosul (FB Ali) 09 DECEMBER 2015
In an earlier post (highlighted by CP in his latest thread) I had said that Turkey’s move of a troop contingent to Iraq, near Mosul, was a part of the West’s plan with regard to that country.
On further reflection, I think that is incorrect. While I still think that the West’s ultimate aim is to have Iraq end up in three entities ‒ Kurdish, Sunni and Shia ‒ I believe this move was made by Turkey on its own, to serve its own purposes. Turkey’s ultimate aim in Iraq is to have its Sunni areas come under its own control, or at least influence. This move is designed to ensure the furtherance of that aim.
It is based on the expectation that, with the further weakening of the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq, and thus on its control of Mosul, at some stage an attack on the city by the anti-IS forces will become possible. This may well occur along with an uprising in the city. Best placed to carry out such an operation are the Iraqi army plus Shia militias and the Kurds.
Mosul’s population is currently almost entirely Sunni, and Turkey will pose as its protector. It will not let the Iraqis attack the city, ostensibly to avoid the inevitable casualties among the Sunni civilian inhabitants. Its preferred course would be to have Mosul taken ostensibly by the Iraqi Sunni militias (which it is organizing under Atheel Nujaifi, former governor of Mosul) aided by Turkish troops (it would rapidly reinforce its present relatively small contingent).
If the situation is fluid, Barzani may take the opportunity to send in the Kurdish Peshmerga to seize Mosul for the Kurds. Turkey is now well-placed to stop such an attack, and (should the Sunni option not be practicable) force the Kurds to conduct a joint operation with the Sunni militia, supported by Turkish troops, to take Mosul. The Kurdish reward would be retention of the formerly Kurdish portions of the city. But the fate of the city and its surrounding region would remain firmly in Turkish hands.
Posted at 11:18 AM in FB Ali, Iraq, Turkey | Permalink | Comments (14)
Solajic Slobodan wrote at the Balkan Defense News Network Facebook page: 09 DECEMBER 2015
I am not sure if we are already crossed the red line of no return, but having in mind the global economic situation with slow but inevitable collapse which could be foreseen, particularly in the US, and artificially generated Mid-East crisis with huge (pre-planned) refugee crisis it seems to me that the war is inevitable.
Hordes of evil are already marching, sharping their swords, knives and teeth, war flags are bending on wind high above, scouts and spies are all out igniting fire here and there, we are for a long time in the World War III, now it’s final battlefield scenes and ultimate battles are preparing.
When the civil war and collapse of Yugoslavia started in 1991, I knew that the WW III started with that day. Yugoslavia was destroyed by the will of mighty untouchables. That was the first war on the European ground after the WW II, and for anyone with a little brain it was clear what is going to happen in the future.
When the NATO coalition started to bomb Yugoslavia and Serbia, without the UNSC permit and without the formal declaration of war- in a pure terrorist act, I knew that the post WWII World order collapsed and that the WW III is actually rolling out. Serbia was the first European victim of the NWO and messenger of the new War which is approaching.
Once when European vassal countries stepped brutally over their own principles, own and international laws, obeying only their overseas master, the fundamentals of the European and World security were irreversibly destroyed. There is nothing standing between Hordes of Evil and inevitable Armageddon of humankind. Masters of death and suffer who are controlling the West simply do not care for their own countries, own nations, own people. They are “aliens” to his planet. They are only worried about own power, wealth, money, profit. Who cars if one, two billions or even more die in the final battleground on this planet? There will be just more depopulated areas and space for their expansion and plunder.
09 December 2015 http://www.moonofalabama.org/
Turkey’s Imperial Motive In Attacking Syria And Iraq
Turkey’s attack on Syria and Iraq and its support fur Islamists in those countries and elsewhere is often described as religiously motivated. But that is only a part of the story. The real-political side is an imperialist effort to expand Turkey into the space of the former Ottoman empire.
A former head of Israel’s National Security Council Giora Eiland writes in The Guardian:
About a year before that meeting with the Russian, I met a senior Turkish official. That was at a time when relations between Jerusalem and Ankara were excellent. At that meeting, the Turkish official spoke openly about his country’s world view. “We know that we cannot get back the lands that were under the control of the Ottoman empire before 1917,” he said, “but do not make the mistake of thinking that the borders that were dictated to us at the end of the first world war by the victorious countries – mainly the UK and France – are acceptable to us. Turkey will find a way to return to its natural borders in the south – the line between Mosul in Iraq and Homs in Syria. That is our natural aspiration and it is justified because of the large Turkmen presence in that region.”
A U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency assessment in 2012 provided:
OPPOSITION FORCES ARE TRYING TO CONTROL THE EASTERN AREAS (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), ADJACENT TO THE WESTERN IRAQI PROVINCES (MOSUL AND ANBAR), IN ADDITION TO NEIGHBORING TURKISH BORDERS. WESTERN COUNTRIES, THE GULF STATES AND TURKEY ARE SUPPORTING THESE EFFORTS. … THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT … ISI COULD ALSO DECLARE AN ISLAMIC STATE THROUGH ITS UNION WITH OTHER TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS IN IRAQ AND SYRIA, WHICH WILL CREATE GRAVE DANGER IN REGARDS TO UNIFYING IRAQ AND THE PROTECTION OF ITS TERRITORY.
The former Turkish military adviser Metin Gurcan in AL-Monitor analyzes the aims of the Turkish invasion of Iraq:
Ankara — which realizes each player in Syria and Iraq is setting up its own “boutique power base” — feels a best-case scenario for Turkey will be:
To allow emergence of the Mosul-based “Sunnistan Autonomous Administration,”which is loosely linked to Baghdad, as Baghdad’s central authority is waning by the day.
To enable cooperation between the KRG and the Sunni bodies in Syria, and the “Iraqi Sunnistan” under the security umbrella of the Turkish military.
For Turkey to become the regional sponsor of this new three-entity structure.
I posted a link to the above piece with the “Sunnistan Autonomous Administration” line on Twitter and added:
Moon of Alabama @MoonofA
@MoonofA #pt Turkey IMHO wants even more: “Annex Mosul and seize the northern Iraqi oil fields”.
There followed this little exchange:
Erdal Ϝ ϓ ſ Ϟ – F16 @CccErdal
@MoonofA Mosul has always been Turkish land until the beginning of the 20th century. They are just taking what is theirs.
Moon of Alabama @MoonofA
@CccErdal Mosul is as much “Turkish land” as India is “British land”.
Erdal Ϝ ϓ ſ Ϟ – F16 @CccErdal
@MoonofA Turks will bring peace and prosperity to the Middle East after British/French destroyed/colonized it in ww1.
All the above is just to show that Turkey under Erdogan has a neo-Ottoman expansionist view. It wants parts of Iraq and Syria incorporated into Turkey. This view is popular in the ethnic Turk parts of Turkey. Erdogan is getting some support – or at least little resistance – from his NATO allies in pursuing this aim.
The overall Turkish plan is to re-establish the Ottoman administrative units or vilayets of Aleppo, Diyarbekir in its southern extend to the Euphrates and Mosul. These areas include large oil and gas fields in Syria and north Iraq. The Russian intervention in Syria frustrates the Aleppo plan. The temporary U.S. alliance with the YPK Kurds in Syria hinders the southern extension of Diyarbekir to the Euphrates. A serious move on Mosul started last weekend and has not yet been challenged by force. If diplomatic pressure fails to dislodge the Turks from the area Iraqi militia will attack the new Turkish positions near Mosul.
Turkey’s plans are illegal under international law and under the charter of the United Nations. Moreover they do not respect the will of the people living in those areas. Are we to believe that Christians, Alawites and Yezidis, Kurds and Arabs in Syria and Iraq crave for being again ruled by ethnocentric Turks? The “Turkmen brethren” in Iraq and Syria which Ankara provides as justification for its moves are after all just a tiny minority.
But the Turkish expansion plans are serious and have wide support in Turkey’s nationalist and Islamist circles. Turks, like other people, can be ruthless and brutal in such endeavors:
One of the two [Russian] pilots was captured by the pro-Turkish forces, killed and mutilated by the rebels. Pieces of the body, extremities and face, were taken away.
Erdogan is willing to risk a lot, including a wider war, to pursue his neo-Ottoman dreams. Blackmailing Europe andIraq and challenging Russia in Crimea and Chechnya through insertion of Turkish “Grey Wolf” fascist and “Tatar” are only minor measures. We can expect a lot more fool play and carnage before the Turks finally have to acknowledge that their expansionist plans will fail.
Posted by b 09 December 2015 at 04:24 AM | Comments (24)
Turkey Suspends Deploying Forces to Northern Iraq
Turkey says it has currently stopped the deployment of troops to northern Iraq, warning, however, that it will not withdraw those soldiers already stationed in the Arab country.
Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic announced the development at a press conference in the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Tuesday.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reiterated Ankara’s respect for Iraq’s territorial integrity during a Monday phone conversation with his Iraqi counterpart, Hoshyar Zebari, Bilgic stated.
On December 4, Turkey deployed some 150 soldiers, equipped with heavy weapons and backed by 20 to 25 tanks, to the outskirts of the city of Mosul, the capital of Iraq’s Nineveh Province.
Ankara claimed the deployment was part of a mission to train and equip Iraqi forces in the fight against the ISIL terrorist group. Baghdad, however, strongly condemned the deployment of the Turkish battalion on the Iraqi territory, branding the uncoordinated act a violation of Iraq’s national sovereignty.
Separately, in a speech to his party in the Turkish parliament, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said he was determined to visit Iraq as soon as possible to try to calm the latest Ankara-Baghdad tensions over the troops deployment.
Hungary Strikes Back at the EU Parliament: https://www.facebook.com/zibimanwithvan/videos/473756162832116/?theater
War Is On The Horizon: Is It Too Late To Stop It?
By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, 8-Dec-2015
One lesson from military history is that once mobilization for war begins, it takes on a momentum of its own and is uncontrollable…
As George Abert notes, the American, French, and British aircraft that have been deployed are jet fighters whose purpose is air-to-air combat, not ground attack. The jet fighters are not deployed to attack ISIS on the ground, but to threaten the Russian fighter-bombers that are attacking ISIS ground targets.
There is no doubt that Washington is driving the world toward Armageddon, and Europe is the enabler. Washington’s bought-and-paid-for-puppets in Germany, France, and UK are either stupid, unconcerned, or powerless to escape from Washington’s grip. Unless Russia can wake up Europe, war is inevitable.
Have the totally evil, moronic neocon warmongers who control the US government taught Putin that war is inevitable?
INTERNATIONAL MILITARY REVIEW – SYRIA-IRAQ BATTLESPACE, DEC. 8, 2015
ISIS militants launched a full-scale offensive on the villages of Ayyash and Bgelia after the US-led ‘anti-ISIS’ coalition’s airstrikes against the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in this area. On Sunday, the US-led ‘anti-ISIS’ coalition poundend the Syrian Arab Army’s positions in the province of Deir Ezzor. 1 soldier was killed and half dozen others were wounded. According to the reports, the military camp belongs to the SAA’s 137th Artillery Brigade in the village of ‘Ayyash was a main target of the US warplanes.
On Monday, the SAA launched an offensive in Jabal Al-Akrad and took control of Burj Al-Qasab. several It allowed the pro-government forces to capture several key locations earlier controlled by Al-Nusra, the Free Syrian Army and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham in the Latakia province. They are the village of ‘Ikko located near the town of Kabani, and the villages of Bouz Al-Khirbat, Beit Fares, and Al-Mughayriyah. It allows the SAA and its allies to advance on Kabani.
On December 7, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi reiterated the withdrawl of Turkish troops from northern Iraq within 24 hours. Turkey were invited by the Kurdish Regional Government, with no coordination or communication with Baghdad. It has since said it will replace existing troops in Iraq that number a few hundred, with as many as 2000 soldiers. The Iraqi security forces and the Shi’ite militias are overstretched with their fight against ISIS and they have little presence in this Peshmerga controlled area. It can only be speculated that how Iraq will respond to the Turkish invasion once the 24 hour ultimatum expires.
The Kuwaiti al-Rai news website quoted an informed diplomat as saying that the US is attempting to gather the forces called by Washington as moderate opposition in one region to create a foothold for the militants’ further expansion in Syria. According to the report, US-supported militants have entered Southwestern Syria which shares borders with Jordan. The reports were rejected by Amman.
SouthFront: Analysis & Intelligence remembers when Russia started air raids on terrorists in Syria over two months ago, some 3,000 terrorists escaped through the border with Jordan. Earlier in May, US defense officials said that at least 400 US military military advicers were ready in Turkey and Jordan to start training of over 3,000 anti-Syria militants to join fight against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Paris and London are multiplying their categorical declarations against Daesh, its programme of ethnic cleansing and its terrorist attacks. And yet they are preparing in secret for the ethnic cleansing of Northern Syria with a view to creating a pseudo-Kurdistan, and the re-localisation of Daesh to Al-Anbar in order to create a « Sunnistan » there. Thierry Meyssan analyses this plan, and underlines the numerous contradictions in the official discourse.
The unavowable project for a pseudo-Kurdistan
by Thierry Meyssan 7 DECEMBER 2015
Is the military intervention by France, Israël and the United Kingdom in Syria legal ?
On the 20th November, in order to launch their new war in Iraq and Syria, France, Israël and the United Kingdom forced the Security Council to adopt resolution 2249 . In the opinion of the French representative at the UNO, who is the author of the text, the resolution authorises collective action in accordance with article 51 of the United Nations Charter, in other words, as a means of « legitimate defence ». For the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, it supports « any action against this murderous and diabolical sect, both in Iraq and Syria » .
However, according to the experts of the Research Service of the Library of the House of Commons, this is entirely false. After a careful study of the legislation concerned, Arabella Lang states that the resolution in no way authorises the use of force, but enjoins everyone who has the legal possibility to do so to redouble their efforts . This means that the resolution only applies to states which have been requested to intervene by Iraq and Syria.
For the purposes of the cause, Iraq therefore addressed a letter to the General Secretary and the Security Council confirming that they were under attack by Daesh from Syrian territory, even though the Islamic Emirate was founded in Iraq. Since France and the United Kingdom had been solicited by Iraq, the two states – excluding Israël – pretend that they are exercising their right to « legitimate collective defence ». Besides this, each of them pretend that they have been attacked by Daesh from Syria, and therefore claim they also have an individual right to legitimate defence. Unfortunately, these arguments are only valid if Paris and London can provide proof that Daesh is preparing imminent attacks from Syria, which is not the case .
Consequently, military intervention in Syria by France, Israël and the United Kingdom remains illegal in the absence of prior agreement from the governement of the Syrian Arab Republic.
Let us remember that the United Nations Charter and the pertinent resolutions of the General Assembly formally prohibit military support for non-state groups seeking to overthrow members of the UNO. This is why France and the United Kingdom have long been pretending that they were sending only defensive equipment to the armed groups in Syria. Unfortunately, these groups also receive large quantitites of offensive weaponry – notably rifles, mortars, anti-tank and ground-to-air missiles, explosives, and even combat gases. In August 2014, French President Hollande admitted, in an interview with Le Monde, that he had delivered offensive weapons to the Syrian « rebels » . He later specified, in interviews with journalist Xavier Panon, that he has been delivering  20 mm cannons, machine guns, rocket-launchers, and anti-tank missiles since 2012, which unambiguously violates international law, and drags France down to the level of a « gangster state » .
The unavowable project of France, Israel and the United Kingdom
Since the 20th November, France has been attempting to form a coalition – yet another – to fight Daesh, and more specifically, to take Rakka. This rhetoric, which is all it takes to convince the French population of their government’s determination to respond to the 13th November attacks in Paris, is nonetheless a poor disguise for the colonial intentions of President Hollande. Indeed, chasing Daesh out of Rakka is all well and good, but with which ground troops and to whose profit ?
The Russian aerial campaign is lending support on the ground to the Syrian Arab Army, while according to the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, Laurent Fabius, the Franco-British campaign could support the Free Syrian Army (organised by the members of Al-Qaïda in Libya), the Sunni Arab Forces (in other terms, the Turkmen mililias supported by the Turkish Army), and the Kurds (both the Syrian YPG and the Peshmergas of the Regional Kurdish Government of Iraq).
In case these forces should manage to take Rakka, the city would be handed over to the Regional Kurdish Government of Iraq, who would annex it. The goal is to proclaim a « Kurdistan » straddling the border between Iraq and Syria, and then expel the Syrian populations who live there, followed by the transfer of 10 million Turkish Kurds to this new state.
The Juppé plan
In 2011, Alain Juppé, then French Minister for Foreign Affairs, and his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoğlu, signed a secret treaty. We know that it included several reciprocal engagements, including that of « resolving the Kurdish question » without « damaging the integrity of Turkish territory », in other words, the creation of a pseudo-Kurdistan in Syria.
Still convinced that he is a Gaullist, the French have apparently not noticed his about-turn in 2005. At that time, he had been condemned to a suspended 14-month sentence and one year of ineligibility for having financed his political party by the misappropriation of public funds. He left France and went to teach in Montreal. However, he was present in Canada only infrequently, and followed a training course in a third country. Today, although he is a member of the opposition, he is one of the main inspirers of France’s Near-Eastern policies, which President Hollande continues to implement in comtempt of History and the interests of France.
Kurdistan and Syria
The Kurds are a people who for several centuries have lived in a territory which is shared today between Turkey, Iraq and Iran. The 1962 census revealed that there were only 169,000 Kurds in Syria, which is an infinitesimal portion of the general population. But during the Turkish civil war of 1980-90, 2 million Turkish Kurds took refuge in Syria. The idea of France, Israël and the United Kingdom is to carve them out a state, not in their true home in Turkey, but by colonising the country which has generously sheltered them.
Syria had already been divided by France and the United Kingdom during the San Remo Conference (1920) according to the terms of the Sykes-Picot Agreement (1916). Historically, it included not only the present Syria, but also Palestine, Israël, Lebanon, Jordan, Sanjak of Alexandretta (Turkish Antioch), and part of Iraq. The current project thus aims to continue this dismemberment.
Who are the Kurds ?
The Kurds form a single culture, but speak different dialects – Kurmanji (northern Syria), Sorani (Iraq and Iran) and Pehlwani, (eastern Iran and western Iraq), to which we must add a fourth and totally different language from the former three, the Zaza-Gorani dialects (north-western Iran).
During the Cold War, the Kurds divided into two distinct groups, the first of which was supported by Israël and the United States, while the second was supported by Syria and the USSR.
During the Turkish civil war, the PKK, the main Kurdish party (of Marxist-Leninist obedience) and its chief Abdullah Öcallan, were militantly in favour of the creation of an independent Kurdistan in Turkey. They specified that they had no territorial ambition in Syria. Öcallan was welcomed as a political refugee in Damascus, from where he directed military operations in Turkey. Fleeing the repression, 2 million Kurds found refuge in Syria. But in 1998, Ankara threatened Damascus with war if it continued to shelter the PKK. President Hafez el-Assad finally asked Abdullah Öcallan to find another refuge, and continued to protect the Kurdish refugees.
At the start of the war against Syria, President Bachar el-Assad gave Syrian nationality to many of the Kurdish refugees from Turkey. He encouraged them to create local militias, and to participate in the defence of the territory. During the first two years of the war, their co-operation with the Syrian Security Forces was total, but in 2014, the situation began to deteriorate.
On the 31st October 2014, Salih Muslim, the director of the Kurdish Democratic Union of Syria, was received by François Hollande in annex to an interview with the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, just after the battle of Kobani. The two heads of state, who until then had refused to help the Syrian Kurds, managed to convince Salih Muslim that he would have a personal interest in betraying the engagements of the PKK and joining their project.
One year later, Salih Muslim launched an operation consisting of the forced « Kurdisation » of Northen Syria, which provoked the uprising of the local populations, mainly Assyrian Christians and Sunni Arabs .
However, when France, Israël and the United Kingdom launched the operation of the creation of a Kurdistan in Syria, Salih Muslim encountered great dificulty in mobilising combatants. The young Kurds who had found refuge in Iraq refused en masse to participate in the colonial project .
Salih Muslim was once again in Paris on Friday the 27th November.
The destruction of the Russian Soukhoï 24 by Turkey
The Russian military intervention, on the 1st October 2015, upset the plans of the colonial powers. For President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, it once again pushed back the implementation of the Juppé Plan and his dream of the purification of Turkey. Consequently he gave orders to his army to prepare an incident with a Russian plane, as the whistle-blower Fuat Avni noted at the time.
On the 16th November, Russia extended its military operation against the terrrorist groups in Syria by attacking, politically, their sources of finance. President Vladimir Putin provoked astonishment at the G20 meeting in Antalya by accusing, without naming him, the President of the session, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He showed the diplomats present satellite photographs of convoys of tanker-trucks travelling from locations in Syria to Turkish ports, and denounced the laxism of those who allowed Daesh to accumulate billions of dollars by this trafficking .
Over-estimating the support that he expected from Washington, or under-estimating the power of Russia, on the 24 th November, President Erdoğan ordered the detruction of a Russian Soukhoï which had entered Turkish air-space for 17 seconds . Without hesitation, Moscow reacted by imposing heavy economic sanctions against Ankara, broadcasting the radar recordings of the incident , deploying S-400 missiles, and finally, on the 2nd December, by broadcasting, during a Press conference with their Chief of Staff, the satellite photo-based proof of the responsibility of Turkey in the financing of Daesh .
Immediately, the international Press, which had been denying the truth for a year, was suddenly swamped with reproaches against the autocrat of Ankara and his family.
The Franco-British intervention
However, on the 29th November, the European Union organised a special summit with Turkey. Ignoring the declarations of Vladimir Putin at the G20 and the unpublished reports of High Representative Federica Mogherini attesting to the fact that the petrol stolen by Daesh is sold throughout the EU by Cyprus, Italy and France, the participants concluded – « In the context of the final declaration of the last G20 summit, held in Antalya, as well as resolution (2015) 2249 of the Security Council of the United Nations, Turkey and the European Union re-affirm that the fight against terrorism remains a priority » (sic) .
In application of the Juppé Plan of 2011, the negotiations for the adhesion of Turkey to the EU were re-activated, the visa régime is in the process of being repealed, and, as icing on the cake, the Union agreed to transfer 3 billion Euros to Turkey, allegedly to help manage the Syrian refugee crisis.
The French Parliament  and the British House of Commons , convinced that resolution 2249 authorises them to intervene in Syria without the agreement of Damascus, gave their Executives the go-ahead for military intervention in Syria. These interventions, which are exclusively aerial, have been presented as targeting Daesh. During the debates, none of the Chambers concerned évoked the question of a pseudo-Kurdistan.
Contrary to the declarations made to the Press, no-one has changed their policy regarding Daesh. The terrorist organisation is still supported by its creators – US personalities close to David Petraeus and John Negroponte, and the governments of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. Only the Iraqi Shias, the Lebanese Hezbollah, the Syrian Arab Army and Russia are fighting Daesh. The operations of the US Coalition have never had any other objective than « containing » Daesh, never to eradicate it. The game today consists of « liberating » Northern Syria in order to implement its immediate occupation by the Iraqi Kurds, and to push push back Daesh in Iraq to the district of Al-Anbar which has been reserved for it. The only difference since the Russian intervention is that the Western Alliance has given up the idea of forcing Daesh to occupy the Syrian desert.
Keep in mind :
France and the United Kingdom have managed to make their public opinion believe that Resolution 2249 authorises them to intervene in Syria against Daesh. On this basis, they have obtained the authorisation of their parliaments to begin bombing, but without the authorisation of Syria.
On the ground, they believe they can count on the Turkmen militias (supported by the Turkish army) and the Kurdish YPG (supported by Israël and the Regional Kurdish Government of Iraq).
The aim of these intervention is not to eradicate Daesh because of its programme of ethnic cleansing, but to displace them to Al-Anbar, and to continue the ethnic cleansing, this time in Northern Syria, to create a pseudo-Kurdistan.
 “Resolution 2249 on combating ISIS”, Voltaire Network, 20 November 2015.
 “PM statement on the United Nations Security Council Resolution”,
10 Downing Street, November 20, 2015.
 “Legal basis for UK military action in Syria”, by Arabella Lang,
Voltaire Network, 26 November 2015.
 « La Résolution 2249 n’autorise pas à bombarder en Syrie », par
Nicolas Boeglin, Réseau Voltaire, 1er décembre 2015.
 «François Hollande confirme avoir livré des armes aux rebelles en
Syrie», Le Monde, 20 août 2014.
 Let us remember that President Sarkozy had also delivered heavy
weapons in 2011, notably Milan missile systems, although he has never
admitted so in public.
 Dans les coulisses de la diplomatie française, par Xavier Panon,
L’Archipel, 13 mai 2015.
 “The United States and Israël begin the colonisation of Northern
Syria”, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 2 November 2015.
 « Le YPG proclame la conscription obligatoire des réfugiés kurdes
syriens », Réseau Voltaire, 24 novembre 2015.
 “Vladimir Putin’s Responses to journalists’ questions following
the G20 summit”, by Vladimir Putin, Voltaire Network, 16 November
 “Why did Turkey shoot down the Russian Soukhoï 24 ?”, by Thierry
Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 30 November
 “The radar recordings of the Turkish attack on the Russian
Su-24”, by Valentin Vasilescu, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire
Network, 5 December 2015.
 “Russia shows proof of petrol trafficking by Daesh via Turkey”,
by Valentin Vasilescu, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 3
 “EU-Turkey statement”, Voltaire Network, 29 November 2015.
 « Débat à l’Assemblée nationale française sur l’engagement
militaire en Syrie », « Débat au Sénat français sur l’engagement
militaire en Syrie », Réseau Voltaire, 25 novembre 2015.
 “UK House of Commmons Motion on ISIL in Syria”, Voltaire Network,
2 December 2015.
7 DECEMBER 2015 Infowars.com has compiled an embarassing mass of news broadcasts linking the Obama administration with support of terrorists that appear to be violent extremists rather than being ‘moderates’ responding to violence as claimed.
A Hybrid War to break the Balkans?
By Andrew Korybko, 27 Nov 2015
Given how obvious it was that energy cooperation would be one of the casualties of simmering Russian-Turkish tensions, it stands to reason that the US purposely egged Turkey on in order to provoke this domino reaction and scuttle Balkan Stream. Be that as it may (and it surely looks convincing enough to be the case), it doesn’t mean that the project is truly canceled, as it’s more strategically accurate to describe it as temporarily shelved. Russia understandably doesn’t want to enhance the position of a state that’s proven itself to be so blatantly aggressive against it, but this feeling extends only towards the present government and in the current context. It’s certainly conceivable that a fundamental shift in Turkey’s position (however unlikely that may appear in the short-term) could lead to a détente of sorts that resurrects the Balkan Stream, but a more probable scenario would be if the disaffected masses and/or distraught military representatives overthrew the government…
Beijing Is The Balkans’ Last Hope
It’s thus far been established that the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership intended to revolutionize the European continent with an infusion of multipolar influence along the Balkan Corridor, which was supposed to support Balkan Stream and the Balkan Silk Road. Regretfully, however, the US has temporarily succeeded in putting the brakes on Balkan Stream, thus meaning that the Balkan Silk Road is the only presently viable multipolar megaproject envisioned to run through the region. On that account, it’s China, not Russia, which is carrying the torch of multipolarity through the Balkans, although Beijing is of course partially depending on Russia’s established influence there to help secure their shared geostrategic objective and assist in making it a reality. At any rate, the Balkan Silk Road is arguably more important than the Balkan Stream for the time being, and as such, it’s worthy to pay extra attention to its strategic details in order to better grasp why it represents the Balkans’ last multipolar hope.
The concept for the Balkan Silk Road was a couple of years in the making, and it owes its genesis to China’s One Belt One Road (“New Silk Road”) policy of constructing worldwide connective infrastructure. This endeavor was thought up in order to solve the dual problems of creating opportunities for Chinese outbound investment and complementarily assisting geostrategic regions in their liberating quest to achieve multipolarity. Relating to the area under study, the Balkan Silk Road is the regional manifestation of this ideal, and it’s actually part of China’s broader engagement with the Central and Eastern European countries.
The format for their multilateral interaction was formalized in 2012 under the first-ever China and Central and Eastern European Countries (China-CEEC) Summit in Warsaw, and the event two years later in Belgrade produced the idea for a Budapest-Belgrade-Skopje-Athens high-speed rail project (the author’s colloquial description of which is the Balkan Silk Road) aimed at deepening both sides’ economic interconnection. The 2015 Summit in Suzhou produced a medium-term agenda for 2015-2020, which among other things, proposes the creation of a joint financing firm to supply credit and investment funds for this and other projects. It also officially described the Balkan Silk Road as being the “China-Eurasia Land-Sea Express Line” and suggested that it be integrated into the New Eurasian Land Bridge Economic Corridor sometime in the future, implying that Beijing would like to see the countries cooperative more pragmatically with Russia (first and foremost in this case, Poland). Importantly, Xinhua reported that the participants agreed to complete the Budapest-Belgrade stage of the project by 2017.
What all of this means is that China has accelerated its diplomatic, economic, and institutional relations with Central and Eastern Europe in the space of only a couple of years, astoundingly becoming a premier player in a region located almost half the world away from it and partially a formal component of the unipolar bloc. This can be explained solely by China’s attractive economic appeal to the CEEC that transcends all sorts of political boundaries, as well as to the complementary ambition that the East Asian supergiant has in deepening its presence worldwide. Together, these two factors combine into a formidable component of China’s grand strategy, which strives to use inescapable economic lures in leading its partners (especially those representing the unipolar world) along the path of tangible geopolitical change over a generational period. To refer back to the Balkan Silk Road, this represents Beijing’s primary vehicle in achieving its long-term strategy, and the geo-economic rationale for how this is anticipated to function will be explained in the below section. Before proceeding however, it’s relevant to recall what was referenced earlier about the US’ hegemonic imperatives, since this explains why the US is so fearful of China’s economic engagement with Europe that it plans to go as far as concocting destructive Hybrid Wars to stop it…
Geo-Economic Underpinnings: …
The US fears losing its position as the EU’s top trading partner, knowing that the slippery strategic slope that could soon follow might lead to the rapid unraveling of its hegemonic control. Viewed from the reverse perspective, the Balkan Silk Road is the EU’s last hope for ever having a multipolar future independent of total American control, which is why it’s so geopolitically necessary for Russia and China to see the project completed. The inevitable New Cold War clash that this represents and the extraordinarily high stakes that are involved mean that the Balkans will remain one of the main flashpoints in this dangerous proxy struggle, despite the hierarchical switch of its multipolar protagonists.
Read the full article at http://orientalreview.org/2015/11/27/a-hybrid-war-to-break-the-balkans/
3 Oct 2015 JOHN SIMPSON of the BBC asks Putin: Western countries almost universally now believe that there’s a new Cold War and that you, frankly, have decided to create that. We see, almost daily, Russian aircraft taking sometimes quite dangerous manoeuvres towards western airspace. That must be done on your orders; you’re the Commander-in-Chief. It must have been your orders that sent Russian troops into the territory of a sovereign country – Crimea first, and then whatever it is that’s going on in Eastern Ukraine. Now you’ve got a big problem with the currency of Russia, and you’re going to need help and support and understanding from outside countries, particularly from the West. So can I say to you, can I ask you now, would you care to take this opportunity to say to people from the West that you have no desire to carry on with the new Cold War, and that you will do whatever you can to sort out the problems in Ukraine?
Putin makes a devastating and revealing reply:
Putin answering questions from a US journalist at the Valdai International Discussion Club in late 2014 regarding support from the US government and its allies for ISIS.