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People Are So Afraid of Google Now

Here’s Why

by Tyler Durden

Zero Hedge (August 30 2017)

Google (pardon Alphabet’s) efforts to influence the American political discourse, not to mention presidential election outcome {1}, stretch far beyond the company’s penchant for subtly disadvantaging independent and conservative thinkers on platforms like YouTube. By financially supporting left-leaning policy shops, Google’s parent company has helped raise a liberal army intent on hashing out policy minutiae to help bend US policy to their benefactors’ advantage.

But what happens when these supposedly “independent” think tanks publish something that displeases their corporate master? As one researcher at the left-leaning New America think tank learned, the punishment is swift and severe.

Barry Lynn, formerly a top researcher at New America, learned that lesson the hard way after publishing a paper praising European Union antitrust regulators for fining Google nearly $3 billion for purportedly rigging its search algorithm to favor its own services over its rivals.

According to The New York Times {2}, the New America Foundation has received more than $21 million in funding from Google, Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt and his family’s foundation since the think tank was first established in 1999. The money helped establish New America as an “elite voice” in policy debates on the American left.

But not long after one of New America’s scholars posted a statement on the think tank’s website praising the European Union’s penalty against Google, Mr Schmidt, who had been chairman of New America until 2016, communicated his displeasure with the statement to the group’s president, Anne-Marie Slaughter, according to the scholar.

 

Slaughter, a close ally of the Clintons who’s best known for her 2012 Atlantic┬ácover story “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All”, quickly caved.

The statement disappeared from new America’s website, only to be reposted without explanation a few hours later. But word of Mr Schmidt’s displeasure quickly rippled through New America, which employs more than 200 people, including dozens of researchers, writers, and scholars, most of whom work in sleek Washington officers where the main conference room is called the “Eric Schmidt Ideas Lab. The episode left some people concerned that Google intended to discontinue funding, while others worried whether the think tank could truly be independent if it had to worry about offending its donors.”

The answer to that last question, as employees of New America quickly learned, is, obviously, no, it can’t. A few days after the incident Slaughter summoned to Lynn to her office, where she summarily dismissed him – along with ten of his underlings.

Those worries seemed to be substantiated a couple of days later, when Ms Slaughter summoned the scholar who wrote the critical statement, Barry Lynn, to her office. He ran a New America initiative called Open Markets that has led a growing chorus of liberal criticism of the market dominance of telecom and tech giants, including Google, which is now part of a large corporate entity known as Alphabet, for which Mr Schmidt serves as executive charman.

Ms Slaughter told Mr Lynn that “the time has come for Open Markets and New America to part ways”, according to emails from Ms Slaughter to Mr Lynn. The email suggested that the entire Open Markets team – nearly ten full-time employees and unpaid fellows – would be exiled from New America.

 

While she asserted in the email, which was reviewed by The New York Times, that the decision was “in no way based on the content of your work”, Ms Slaughter accused Mr Lynn of “imperiling the institution as a whole”.

Lynn, who eventually shared his story with The New York Times {2} blasted Google’s aggressive tactics, which the company has denied through its communications machine.

And the punchline, which also serves as the title for this post: “Google is very aggressive in throwing its money around Washington and Brussels, and then pulling the strings”, said Lynn. “People are so afraid of Google now”.

In a series of statements published on Twitter, Slaughter and New America slammed The New York Times story as “absolutely false”.

In a separate email sent last year, Slaughter castigated Lynn for organizing a conference where he intended to criticize tech companies’ hegemonic influence.

“We are in the process of trying to expand our relationship with Google on some absolutely key points”, Ms Slaughter wrote in an email to Mr Lynn, urging him to “just THINK about how you are imperiling funding for others”.

Slaughter is now reportedly helping the Open Markets team secure financing for a new, separate nonprofit entity. However, no money will be forthcoming from Google.

Google spent more than $9.5 million on lobbying during the first half of 2017, more than almost any other company. It has helped organize conferences at which key regulators overseeing investigations into the company were presented with pro-Google arguments, sometimes without disclosure of Google’s role in funding New America, according to The New York Times. {2}

The company has also donated to more than 170 groups from across the political spectrum, according to voluntary disclosures {3} on its website.

What was that about “don’t be evil”?

Links:

{1} http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-11-01/wikileaks-reveals-googles-strategic-plan-help-democrats-win-election

{2} https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/30/us/politics/eric-schmidt-google-new-america.html?mcubz=3

{3} https://www.google.com/publicpolicy/transparency.html

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-30/people-are-so-afraid-google-now-heres-why

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A Failing Empire

Russia and China’s Military Strategy to Contain the US

by Federico Pieraccini

Strategic Culture Foundation (September 25 2017)

Looking at the global political landscape over the last month, two trends are becoming more apparent. The infamous military and economic power at America’s disposal is declining, whereas, in the multipolar field, an acceleration has occurred in the creation of a series of infrastructures, mechanisms, and procedures to contain and limit the negative effects of America’s declining unipolar moment. This series of three articles will focus first on the military aspect of these ongoing changes, then the economics at play, and finally, how and why smaller countries are transitioning from the unipolar camp to the multipolar field.

One of the most tangible consequences of the decline of US military power can be observed in the Syrian conflict. Over the past few weeks, the Syrian Arab Army (“SAA”) and its allies have completed the historic and strategic liberation of Deir ez-Zor, a city besieged for more than five years by Islamists belonging to Al Qaeda and Daesh. The focus has now shifted to the oilfields south of the liberated city, with a frantic rush by both the US-supported Syrian Democratic Forces (“SDF”) and the SAA to free territories still held by Daesh. The final goal is to claim Syria’s resources and strengthen a weak US position (the US is not even part of the Astana peace talks) in future negotiations concerning the country’s future. To understand how much the US dream of partitioning Syria is failing, one only need note repeated US failures as seen in the liberation of Aleppo and then Deir Ez-Zor, and now the crossing of the Euphrates river. In spite of American intimidation, threats, and sometimes even direct aggression, the Syrian army continued to work against Daesh in the province of Deir Ez-Zor, advancing on oil-rich sites. Thanks to the protection given by the Russian Federation Air Force during the conflict, Damascus has obtained a protective umbrella necessary to withstand attempts by the US to┬ábalkanize the country.

Further confirmation of Washington’s failed strategy to divide the country a la Yugoslavia appears evident from the strategic realignment of the most loyal allies of Washington in the region and beyond. In the course of the last few weeks, several meetings have taken place in Astana and Moscow between the likes of Putin and Lavrov with their Turkish, Saudi, and Israeli counterparts. These meetings outlined the guidelines for Syria’s future thanks to Moscow’s red lines, especially regarding Israel’s desire to pursue regime change in Syria and an aggressive attitude towards Iran. Even the most loyal allies of the United States are beginning to plan a future in Syria with Assad as president. US allies have started showing a pragmatic shift towards a reconciliation with the factions that are clearly winning the war and are going to call the shots in the future. The long-held dreams and desires of sheiks (Saudi-Qatar) and sultans (Erdogan) to reshape Syria and the Middle East in their image are over, and they know it. Washington’s allies have been let down, with the US incapable of keeping its promises of fulfilling a regime change in Damascus. The consequences for the US have just begun. Without a military posture capable of bending adversaries and friends to her will, the US will have to start dealing with a new reality that involves compromise and negotiation, something the US is not accustomed to.

An example of what can happen if Washington decides to go against a former friend can be seen with the Gulf Crisis involving Qatar. Since the beginning of the aggression against Syria, the small emirate has been at the center of plots and schemes aimed at arming and financing jihadists in the Middle East and Syria. Five years later, after billions of dollars spent and nothing to hold onto in Syria, the Gulf Cooperation Council, as expected, has plunged into a fratricidal struggle between Qatar and other countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, and Egypt. The latter accuse Doha of funding terrorism, an undeniable truth. But they omit to acknowledge their own ties to the jihadists (Egypt in this framework is excluded, fighting continually with terrorists inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood in the Sinai), showing a hypocrisy that only the mainstream media can rival.

The consequences of Riyad’s actions against Doha, backed up by a large part of the American establishment, seems, almost six months later, to have finally pushed Qatar and Iran together, reopening diplomatic ties. These are two countries that have for years been on opposite sides of many conflicts in the Middle East, reflecting contrasts and divisions dictated by the respective positions of Tehran and Riyadh. This seems to be no more, with Doha and Tehran coming closer and circumnavigating sanctions and blockades, overcoming common difficulties. This shift can only be described as a strategic failure by Riyadh.

Looking back six years, one of the reasons for the eruption of the conflict in Syria has everything to do with the famous pipeline that Iran intended to build connecting Iraq and Syria. Incredibly, the end of the conflict will see a new transport line emerging between countries that for years have had opposing and diverging strategic goals. Iran and Qatar are currently engaging in trade agreements, and rumors have it that a joint effort to build a new pipeline that should cross Iraq and Syria, to end in the Mediterranean, is in the making. The idea is to jointly exploit the world’s largest gas field, and in so doing become a new supplier for a Europe that is looking to diversify its energy imports. Riyadh and Washington will have to take full responsibility for this failure of epic proportions.

A clear sign of how fast things are changing in the region and beyond comes from Israel. Even the Jewish State has had to abandon any dream of territorial expansion into Syria, despite several attempts by Netanyahu to persuade Putin of the existential danger that Israel faces with Iran’s presence in Syria. A smart and pragmatic Putin is able to let Israel know that any request to impose conditions on Russian or its allies in Syria will be firmly refused. But at the same time, Moscow and Tel Aviv will continue to pursue good relations with each other. Russian political figures are far too smart to play double games with their long-standing allies in Syria or to underestimate the capacity that Israel has to disrupt the region and plunge it into chaos. Furthermore, Assad has invited Russia into Syria as well as Iran and Hezbollah. Even if Putin were willing to help Netanyahu, which is doubtful, international law prohibits this. If anything is clear, it is that Moscow respects international law as few nations do. All other foreign nations operating in Syria, or flying over Syrian skies, have no right to be there in the first place, let alone to impose decisions over a sovereign territory.

If Tel Aviv’s goal was to expand the illegal border in the Golan Heights and proceed with regime change, the situation has ended up totally different six years later. Iran has expanded its influence in Syria thanks to aid provided to Damascus in combating terrorism. Hezbollah has increased its battle experience and arsenal, as well as expanded its network of contacts and sympathizers throughout the Middle East. Hezbollah and Iran are seen as Middle Eastern peacemakers, playing positive roles in fighting the plague of jihadist terrorism as well as against Israel and Saudi Arabia, states that have tried in every way to assist terrorist organizations with weapons and money. Washington, Riyadh, and Tel Aviv six years later find themselves in a totally different environment, with hostile neighbors, less collaborative friends, and in general, a Middle East increasingly orbiting around the Iranian and Russian spheres of influence.

Another indicator of American decline in military terms can be clearly seen on the Korean peninsula. The DPRK has obtained a full nuclear capability through a development program that has paid scant attention to American, South Korean, and Japanese threats. The imperative for Pyongyang was to create a nuclear deterrent capable of dissuading the desire of many US policymakers to enact regime change in North Korea. The strategic importance of a regime change in the DPRK follows the strategy of containment and encirclement of the People’s Republic of China, a failed doctrine well known as the Asian pivot.

Besides its nuclear deterrent, the US is unable to attack the DPRK because of the conventional deterrent that Pyongyang has patiently put in place. Trump and his generals continue the rhetoric of fire and flames, dragging Seoul and Tokyo into a dangerous game of chicken between two nuclear powers. Not surprisingly, Trump’s words worry everyone in the region, especially the Republic of South Korea, which would pay the heaviest price were war ever to break out. In light of this assessment, it is worth pointing out that the military option is simply unthinkable, with Seoul and perhaps even Tokyo ready to break with its American ally in case of disastrous unilateral action against Pyongyang.

Kim Jong-un, as well as Assad and other world leaders facing pressure from Washington, have fully understood and taken advantage of America’s declining military power. Trump and his close circle of generals are full of empty threats, unable to change the course of events in different regions around the world, from the Middle East to the Korean peninsula. Whether it is through direct action or through proxies, little changes and the results remain the same, showing a continuous failure of goals and intents.

The underlying rule guiding US policymakers is that if a country cannot be controlled, such as with a Saudi-style regime serving only American interests through something like the petrodollar, then that country is useless and ought to be destroyed in order to stop other peer competitors from expanding their ties with that country. The Libyan example is still fresh in everyone’s minds. Luckily for the world, Russia has stepped in militarily, and on more than one occasion has, together with her allies, sabotaged or deterred the US military from taking reckless actions (Ukraine, Syria, and the DPRK).

In this sense, Hillary Clinton’s defeat, more than Trump’s victory, seems to have instilled some sense into this declining empire, if one ignores the persisting strong rhetoric. One can only shudder on imagining a Clinton presidency in the current environment, with her predictably careening at full speed towards a conflict with Russia in Ukraine and Syria or a nuclear standoff with the DPRK in Asia.

Trump and his generals are slowly adapting to a new reality where it is not only impossible to control countries, but where it is increasingly difficult to destroy them. The old doctrine of wreaking chaos on the world, with a view to emerging once the dust settles down as the world’s hegemonic power, now seems like a distant memory. Just looking at the Middle East, even Syria, in spite of the unprecedented destruction, is on the road to reconstruction and pacification.

Russian military power and Chinese economic might have thus played an invaluable role in restricting the US war machine. The DPRK even took a further step by attaining a formidable nuclear and conventional deterrent, effectively blocking the United States from influencing domestic events by bringing about destruction and chaos.

While this reality is difficult for Washington to take, it must come to accept it. After almost seventy years of imperialistic chaos and destruction wrought all over the globe, America’s friends and enemies are starting to react to this situation. Washington is left with a president full of sound and fury, but a credible militarily posture is now but a thing of the past.

The financial mechanisms that have allowed for this indiscriminate military spending are based on an intrinsic bond between the dollar, oil, and the role of American money as the world reserve currency. The transition of the world order from a unipolar reality to a multipolar one is deeply tied to the economic and diplomatic strategies of Russia and China. The next article will explore the role of gold, investment, diplomacy, and the petroyuan, which are all decisive factors that have accelerated the transformation and division of power on a global scale.

(c) 2010 – 2016 | Strategic Culture Foundation | Republishing is welcomed with reference to Strategic Culture on-line journal http://www.strategic-culture.org.

Views of the authors do not necessarily reflect one’s of the SCF Editorial.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/09/25/failing-empire-russia-and-chinas-military-strategy-contain-us.html

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Very Dangerous Escalation in Syria

by The Saker

The Unz Review (September 25 2017)

By now many of you must have heard the news: a Russian Lieutenant-General, Valery Asapov, and two Colonels have been killed in what appears to be a very precisely targeted mortar attack {1}. Just as in the case of the Russian military police unit recently attacked near Deir ez-Zor {2}, the Russians are accusing the Americans of being behind this attack. To make things even worse, the Russians are now also officially accusing the Americans of actively collaborating with ISIS:

US Special Operations Forces units enable US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (“SDF”) units to smoothly advance through the ISIS formations. Facing no resistance of the ISIS militants, the SDF units are advancing along the left shore of the Euphrates towards Deir-ez-Zor. The aerial photos made on September 8~12 over the ISIS locations recorded a large number of American Hummer vehicles, which are in service with the America’s Special Operations Forces (“SOF”). The shots clearly show the US SOF units located at strongholds that had been equipped by the ISIS terrorists. Though there is no evidence of assault, struggle, or any US-led coalition airstrikes to drive out the militants. Despite that the US strongholds being located in the ISIS areas, no screening patrol has been organized at them. This suggests that the US troops feel safe in terrorist controlled regions. {3}

 

These are the maps and aerial photos provided by the Russians – for higher resolution, click {4}:

What this all seems to point to is that the Pentagon has now apparently decided to attack Russian forces directly, albeit unofficially. From the Pentagon’s point of view, this (almost) makes sense.

First, by now it is pretty darn clear that the “good terrorists” and the “bad terrorists” have lost the civil war in Syria. Simply put, the USA has been defeated, Syria, Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah have won and the Israelis are now freaking out.

Second, the American plan to use the Kurds as foot-soldiers/canon-fodder has failed. The Kurds are clearly too smart to be pulled in such a losing proposition.

Third, the American Plan-B option, the partition of Syria, is now itself directly threatened by the Syrian military successes.

Last and not least, the Americans by now are deeply humiliated and enraged at the Russian success in Syria.


Lieutenant-General Valery Asapov

Hence they have now apparently taken the decision to directly target Russian military personnel and they are using their considerable reconnaissance capabilities combined with US Special Forces on the ground, working side by side with “good” and “bad” terrorists, to target and attack Russian military personnel.

This is not the first time, by the way. There is pretty good evidence that a Russian hospital near Aleppo was targeted using means not available to the local Daesh franchise. This time, however, the Americans are not even trying to hide. The message seems to be this all-time American favorite “watcha gonna do about it?”.

There is a lot the Russians could do about it, in fact. I wrote about this in my article “Using plausible deniability against a systematically lying adversary” {5}. If the folks at CENTCOM really believe that their generals are all safe and out of reach they are deeply mistaken. Unlike the Russians and, even more so, the Iranians, US Generals are mostly risk-averse and hard to get to in Syria. But who said that Russia would have to retaliate in Syria? Or, for that matter, that Russia would have to use Russian forces to retaliate. Yes, Russia does have special units trained in the assassination of high-value targets in hostile countries, but that does not at all mean that they would decide to use them. Accidents can happen anywhere and the roads are notoriously dangerous in the Middle-East. Why do I mention that? To illustrate that Russia does have options short of overtly going to war.

Of course, the Russians could simply fire a volley of Kalibr cruise missile at any of the ISIS positions shown in the photos above and then go “oops, you had personnel embedded with these al-Qaeda types? Really? We had no idea, no idea at all.” Syria also has a pretty solid arsenal of tactical ballistic missiles {6}. The Syrians could mistakenly hit any such ISIS+US positions and express consternation at the presence of US military personnel in the midst of terrorists. There is also Hezbollah who, in the past, has even seized Israelis soldiers in raids across the border and who could decide to capture themselves some US SOF types. And let’s not forget the Iranians who have not had such a golden opportunity to finally get their hands on US military personnel for many years.

The three key weakness of the US force posture in Syria are: first, their own force in Syria is too small to make a difference, but big enough to represent a lucrative target and, second, all the boots on the ground which matter are against them (Syrians, Iran, Turkey, Hezbollah, and the Russians). Finally, the only two real US allies in the region are too afraid to put boots on the ground: Israel and the Saudis.

The bottom line is that if the Americans think that the Russians and their allies don’t have options they are deeply mistaken. They also should seriously consider the consequence of having US SOF operating in forward positions. The Syrians are closing the distance fast and this might not be the best time to hunt Russian military personnel.

So far the Russians have only limited themselves to protests and expressions of disgust. This has clearly not been an effective strategy. The Russians apparently don’t realize that very few people care and that the more they complain, the less credible their warnings sound. This is not a sustainable approach and the Russians will so “have to do something about it”, to use the American expression.

Things might become very dangerous, very fast and very soon.

 

Links:

{1} https://www.rt.com/news/404410-russian-general-killed-syria/

{2} http://thesaker.is/russian-special-forces-repel-a-us-commanded-attack-in-syria-denounce-the-usa-and-issue-a-stark-warning/

{3} https://www.facebook.com/mod.mil.rus/

{4} https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/3701634.html

{5} https://thesaker.is/using-plausible-deniability-against-a-systematically-lying-adversary/

{6} https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equipment_of_the_Syrian_Army#Tactical_ballistic_missiles

(Republished from The Vineyard of the Saker by permission of author or representative)

http://www.unz.com/tsaker/very-dangerous-escalation-in-syria/

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What Can Be Done?

Dear Readers: This is your website. It needs your support.

by Paul Craig Roberts

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org (September 27 2017)

Despite clear evidence that Washington has chosen the path to conflict with Russia and China, European governments have not objected. Poland, Ukraine, and the Baltics even seem to demand more conflict or a quicker path to conflict. The European peoples themselves have not elected leadership that is willing to repudiate vassalage to Washington and conduct a rational foreign policy toward Russia.

Last Sunday’s German election was an opportunity for the German electorate to repudiate Washington vassal Angela Merkel and the Christian Democratic Union (“CDU”), and to some extent they did. But you would never know it from the news reporting.

The headlines were Merkel wins fourth term. In the US Hillary’s folks emphasize that Trump lost the popular vote, but Merkel lost it by seventy percent. Only three Germans out of ten voted for her. Her party’s vote fell from 41.6% in the previous election to just under 33%.

Merkel’s coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (“SDU”) also suffered a vote decline that resulted in the SDU refusing to enter into another coalition government with Merkel. This means that Merkel has to go to the Free Democratic party (“FDP”) which got 10.7 percent of the vote and to the Greens which got 8.9 percent of the vote. That coalition produces 52.6 percent from which a government can be formed. Merkel’s “win” was such a defeat that she is perhaps on the way out.

Where did the votes lost by Merkel’s party and coalition partner (“SDU”) go?

They went to a new party that stands for Germany, and not for Washington, not for the refugees from Washington’s wars, and not for conflict with Russia. This party is Alternative for Germany (“AfD”). It is now Germany’s third largest political party with 12.6% of the vote and 94 seats in the German legislature.

As the party is against the massive Muslim immigration supported by Merkel and against Washington’s policy toward Russia, the AfD was promptly branded “far-right”, a term that is saddled with Nazi connotations.

In other words, if you stick up for Germany and the German people, you are a Nazi.

The German people have been so brainwashed by Washington since World War Two that Germans have no positive conception of themselves, only guilt and fear of anything said to be “far right”. Yet, the third largest vote went to the “far right” party.

Jewish organizations have gone berserk over the AfD vote. Hitler is being resurrected, and so on. It is difficult to believe that Jews are really this paranoid. One sometimes wonders if Jewish watchdog organizations have some other agenda.

Clearly, in Germany a political party, which does not want to be in conflict with Russia or to be the dumping ground for the human residue of Washington’s wars in the Middle East and Africa, is defined by presstitutes in the US, Europe, Canada, UK, Australia, and even in English language Russian news services such as Sputnik, as “far right”.

Although it is encouraging to see 12.6% of the German people wake up, the vote seems to be based less on avoiding the looming conflict with Russia and more on not being the dumping ground for the human debris of Washington’s wars. How does one judge these two threats to Germany?

Germany does not exist, nor does Europe if Washington brings nuclear conflict to the world. Germany does not exist if the country is overrun by other peoples fleeing from Washington’s atrocities in the Middle East and Africa.

In the first case, there is nothing left of Germany. In the second case, there is a country that is no longer German.

As far as we have evidence, Western Europe is captive by Washington and will go to its destruction rather than dissociate from Washington’s foreign policy. But there are signs of hope in parts of Eastern Europe.

Unlike Germany, some of the Eastern European countries have refused to accept their quota of refugees from Washington’s wars. The EU Commission itself accepts its vassalage function as a dumping ground for Washington’s “collateral damage”, the euphemism Washington applies to the casualties of its wars for profits and hegemony and is suing the EU members who refuse their quotas of refugees. The former president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, responded to the EU’s determination to impose immigrant quotas on the Czech nation by declaring: “The time has come to start preparing the exit of our country from the European Union” {1}.

The dictatorial character of the EU is a good reason for every member to leave it. Countries already subjected to looting by American global corporations and financial entities have no spare money with which to support the victims of Washington’s illegal wars. For the EU to try to force Washington’s external war costs upon its members proves how much of a tool of Washington the EU is.

The more important reason for Eastern Europe, or that part of it that still has the capability of independent thought, is to avoid nuclear Armageddon. Washington’s quest for world hegemony is driving the world to the third, and final, World War. Eastern European governments could prevent this looming war by breaking from their vassalage to Washington and forming a neutral buffer between Nato and Russia.

Such realistic behavior on the part of Eastern Europe could possibly even wake up Germany, France, and Great Britain to the extreme danger that they face as Washington’s vassals.

It is extraordinary, as I reported {2}, that Washington has twice directed attacks against Russian military forces in Syria. This insanity can come to no good end. Americans are so out to lunch that they have no idea of the terrible war that Washington’s madness is brewing. Apparently, neither do the Europeans or the British.

Dear Europeans, yes, non-European immigration is a threat. So is conflict with Russia. Currently, due to your lack of leadership and any significant awareness on your own part, you are incapable of doing anything to save yourselves and the rest of us.

Exhausted, indoctrinated, brainwashed, can Europe do anything except submit to its and the world’s demise?

Links:

{1} http://gatesofvienna.net/2017/06/vaclav-klaus-the-time-has-come-to-start-preparing-the-exit-of-our-country-from-the-european-union/

{2} http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/09/25/washington-initiated-military-conflict-russia/:
Copyright (c) 2016 PaulCraigRoberts.org. All rights reserved.

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/09/27/what-can-be-done/

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Washington Has Initiated Military Conflict with Russia

by Paul Craig Roberts

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org (September 25 2017)

Russia has provided evidence that Washington is collaborating with ISIS in attacks on Russian forces {1}.

In one Washington-directed attack, ISIS tried to capture 29 Russian military policemen. However, Russian special forces entered the fray, and the result was spectacular losses for ISIS. {2}

In another attack Washington-directed attack, Russian General Valery Asapov and two Russian colonels were killed in an attack that violated agreements {3}.

Sooner or later it will dawn on the Russian government that Washington is not a rational government with which diplomacy can be practiced, peace pursued, and agreements reached. Sooner or later it will dawn on the Russian government that far from being rational, Washington is a criminally insane collection of psychopaths in thrall to the military/security complex which, in turn, is in thrall to its massive profits.

In other words, for the powerful interest groups that control the US government, war is a profit center. No amount of Russian diplomacy can do anything about this fact.

It is unfortunate that the Russian government did not realize what it was dealing with. If the Russian government had not projected its own rationality on Washington, the war in Syria would have been over a couple of years ago. Instead, hoping for a settlement, the Russians were stop-go/stop-go, which gave Washington time to recover from the shock of Russian intervention and put in place plans to partition Syria in order to keep the conflict alive forever. Having dallied in hopes of a settlement, the danger of which The Saker warns us is real. {4}

The protests by black pro-football players by refusing to stand for the national anthem has come at an unfortunate time. It is playing into the hands of the military/security complex which is using President Trump’s loud voice challenging the “anti-Americanism” to whip up patriotic fervor. It is amazing how people fall for it every time. The military/security complex and their presstitutes are creating public anger at those “attacking our country”. This anger will be turned from black football players to Russia.

With the public in its pocket, the military/security complex will increase its reckless provocations of Russia until we are all dead.

Links:

{1} http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/breaking-russia-presents-satellite-proof-us-troops-collaborating-isis-syria/ri21030

{2} http://russia-insider.com/en/military/us-secret-services-tried-nab-29-russian-troops-syria-and-got-their-butts-kicked-russian

{3} http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/09/syria-us-centcom-declares-war-on-russia.html#more

{4} http://thesaker.is/very-dangerous-escalation-in-syria/

Copyright (c) 2016 PaulCraigRoberts.org. All rights reserved.

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/09/25/washington-initiated-military-conflict-russia/

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Washington’s Iron Curtain on the Euphrates

by Mike Whitney

CounterPunch (September 27 2017)

For more than six years, Syrians have made great sacrifices to defend their country in the face of a terrorist war of unprecedented brutality … The Syrian people have stood their ground, against all odds, because they knew that this was a war that sought to eliminate their country, and with it, their own existence. They are an example to follow by any people who might face, now or in the future, similar attempts to break their will and deny them their freedom and sovereignty.

– Walid Al-Moualem, Syria’s Deputy Prime Minister, Statement at the UN General Assembly

 

Washington has delayed its project to throw up an iron curtain along the eastern banks of the Euphrates River in order to deploy its Kurdish shock troops deep into Deir Ezzor province. The Syrian Defense Forces (“SDF”) have been blitzing southward for nearly a week to head off the steady advance of the Syrian Arab Army (“SAA”) and their elite Tiger Forces. The SAA’s stunning triumph in Deir Ezzor has knocked Washington for a loop triggering all manner of erratic behavior including rocket and mortar attacks on SAA troop positions, a US-coordinated stealth attack in Idlib province, and numerous other provocations meant to divert attention from the main strategic objective, the lucrative Euphrates Valley oil fields.

At present, the SDF is in the best position to liberate the oil fields from ISIS’s control. One must ask, however, why the SDF has suddenly diverted its attention from the siege of Raqqa and hastily send its troops south to the oil fields if their intention was not to claim ownership of those fields and to prevent the regime’s forces from retaking them? That, in fact, is the only logical explanation for their behavior.

Clearly, the SDF is not acting on its own behalf, but merely following Washington’s orders putting itself at great risk (of direct aerial bombardment by the Russian Airforce) simply to placate Washington’s insatiable lust for oil. Here’s more from South Front:

Tensions are rapidly growing between the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (“SDF”) and Syrian government forces in the province of Deir Ezzor, north of the provincial capital.

Last week, the SDF used the intense fighting between the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and ISIS and seized Isba and Tabiyeh oil and gas fields located north of Khusham village on the east bank of the Euphrates. {1}

 

The actions of the SDF confirm that the US-backed militia can no longer be seen as a Syrian ally assisting in the fight against ISIS. The SDF is yet another hostile, insurgent group that is implementing Washington’s imperial agenda. The only question is whether the Syrian Army and their allies will deal with the group as harshly as they have with ISIS. But, of course, the SAA has no choice in the matter since the SDF is trying to seize vital resources that are crucial to the Syria’s survival. In short, US-backed proxies and Russian-backed coalition members are going to clash militarily because Washington has eliminated any other option. Here’s more from South Front:

On Monday, the (mainly Kurdish) SDF media wing directly accused the Russian Aerospace Forces of bombing its positions near the Conico gas factroy … The SDF Command released a statement accusing Russia of supporting ISIS against the SDF:

The Russian and regime forces launched an attack on our fighters in Conico Factory … with cannons and warplanes. The bombardment resulted in martyring and wounding a number of the fighters. It is worth noting that we are advancing in coordination with the Global Coalition Forces …

We strongly condemn the Russian aggressive attacks and their allies that serve terrorism, and we assure that we would not stand idly by, and we would use our right in the lawful defense. {1}

 

The so-called “Global Coalition Forces” is a Washington invention that was never invited to fight in Syria and which violates Syria’s sovereignty. Also, the claim that the SDF will “lawfully defend” itself against the forces of the sovereign government is not worthy of a comment. The SDF has no legal right to conduct military operations on Syrian territory.

Also, by its own admission, the SDF is trying to seize the Conico Gas Factory. And, on Monday, they continued their surge southward capturing Ibsah and Taibah oil fields and pushing further towards Jafra fields.

Does Washington think that Assad and Putin are too blind to see what’s going on?

Of course, not. Washington is focused on oil, and its proxies are doing its handiwork. It’s as plain as the nose on your face. But, there’s one glitch: If Washington wants Syria’s oil, it’s going to have to fight for it.

On Sunday, The Russian Ministry of Defense released aerial images showing that US Army special forces are either collaborating or have reached some kind of accommodation with ISIS units in the Deir Ezzor area. It’s an interesting story, but it is hard to draw any clear conclusions based on the photos. What is undeniable, however, is that the US-backed forces seem much more focused on oil than they are on ISIS. Not surprisingly, ISIS has taken full advantage of the situation by launching a lethal decapitation attack on the Russian high-command. This is from Moon of Alabama:

Last night a Russian three-star general and two colonels were killed in a mortar attack while they visited a Syrian army headquarters in Deir Ezzor:

Lieutenant-General Valery Asapov, of the Russian armed forces, has been killed after coming under shelling from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants near Deir ez-Zor, the Russian Defense Ministry has announced. In its statement, the ministry said that Asapov was at a command outpost manned by Syrian troops, assisting commanders in the liberation of the city of Deir ez-Zor.

Lieutenant-General Valery Asapov is the highest-ranking Russian officer to be killed in the Syrian campaign. He was a commander of the 5th Army in Russia’s Eastern Military District.

For three years ISIS had besieged Syrian troops in Deir Ezzor city and its airport. It had not once managed to successfully attack the Syrian headquarter or to kill high-ranking officers. Now, as US proxy forces “advised” by US special forces, have taken position north of Deir Ezzor, “ISIS” suddenly has the intelligence data and precision mortar capabilities to kill a bunch of visiting Russian officers?

That is not plausible. No one in Damascus, Baghdad, Tehran or Moscow will believe that …{2}

 

Moscow has already drawn its own conclusions about Washington’s roll in the General’s death. There will be retaliation, that much is certain. More important, the mask of US involvement has been stripped away leaving the two adversaries standing face to face. Lines of communication remain open, but they’re useless when both parties are determined to capture the same scrap of land. Disputes like this, are typically settled on the battlefield which is where this one is headed.

Links:

{1} https://maps.southfront.org/overview-of-battle-for-deir-ezzor-on-september-25-2017-maps-video/

{2} http://www.moonofalabama.org/.m/2017/09/syria-us-centcom-declares-war-on-russia.html

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/09/27/washingtons-iron-curtain-on-the-euphrates/

Categories: Uncategorized

Uncle Sam vs Russia in Eastern Syria

The Nightmare Scenario

by Mike Whitney

CounterPunch (September 22 2017)

The impending collapse of ISIS has touched off a race for territory in the oil-rich eastern part of Syria pitting US-backed forces against the Russian-led coalition of Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah. This is the nightmare scenario that everyone wanted to avoid. Washington and Moscow’s armies are now converging on the same area at the same time greatly increasing the probability of a conflagration between the two nuclear-armed superpowers. The only way a clash can be avoided is if one party backs down, which seems increasingly unlikely.

The situation can be easily explained. The vast swath of territory captured by ISIS is steadily shrinking due to the dogged perseverance of the Syrian Arab Army (“SAA”) which has liberated most of the countryside west of the Euphrates River including the former ISIS stronghold at Deir Ezzor, a critical garrison at the center of the fighting. ISIS is also getting pressure from the north where the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (“SDF”) is pounding their capital at Raqqa while deploying troops and tanks southward to the oil fields in Deir Ezzor province.

Washington has made it clear that it wants its proxy-army to control the area east of the Euphrates establishing a soft partition between east and west. The US also wants to control Deir Ezzor’s vast oil resources in order to provide a reliable revenue stream for the emergent Kurdish statelet.

Syrian President Bashar al Assad has said many times that he will never agree to the partitioning of the country. But the decision will not be made by Assad alone. His coalition partners in Moscow, Beirut, and Tehran will also help shape the final settlement. As far as Putin is concerned, it seems extremely unlikely that he’d risk a protracted and bloody war with the United States simply to recapture every square inch of Syrian territory. The Russian president will probably allow the US to keep its bases in the northeast provided that critical areas are conceded to the regime. But where will the line be drawn, that’s the question?

The US wants to control the area east of the Euphrates including the lucrative oil fields. This is why they deployed troops from the SDF southward even though they’re still needed in Raqqa. Earlier in the week, it looked like the Syrian Army had a leg up on the SDF as troops and armored vehicles crossed the Euphrates headed east to the oil fields. But reports that appeared late Thursday indicate that the SDF has beaten them to the punch. This is from South Front:
 

On Thursday, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) … captured Tabiyeh and al-Isba oil fields in the northwestern Deir Ezzor countryside, according to pro-Kurdish sources … If these reports are confirmed, the SDF will be in control over a half of Syria’s oil reserves. Moreover, that will mean that the SDF at least partly blocked the SAA way on the eastern bank of the Euphrates river. https://southfront.org/syrian-democratic-forces-capture-key-oil-fields-in-deir-ezzor-reports/

 

This is a major setback for the Russian coalition. It means that the SAA backed by the Russian Airforce will have to fight a group which, up to this point, has been an ally in the war against ISIS. Now it’s clear that the mainly-Kurdish SDF is no ally, it’s an enemy that wants to steal Syria’s resources and carve a state out of its eastern flank.

The news about the SDF’s arrival at the oil fields came just hours after the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov issued a terse warning to the US and SDF that Russia would retaliate if SAA positions were attacked again by SDF mortar or rocket fire.

Quote: “Russia unequivocally told the commanders of US forces in Al Udeid Airbase (Qatar) that it will not tolerate any shelling from the areas where the SDF are stationed ( … ) Fire from positions in regions [controlled by the SDF] will be suppressed by all means necessary.”

In retrospect, it looks like the SDF had already decided to make a clean break with the government leaving no doubt of where they stood. Washington is using the SDF to seize the oil fields and to claim to the entire east side of the Euphrates for its own. There’s no doubt that these combat units of the SDF are accompanied by US Special Forces who are providing critical communications, logistic, and tactical support. This operation has Washington’s fingerprints all over it.

On Friday morning, loyalist forces led by the 5th Assault Corps ISIS Hunters, established full control over Khusham village on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River near Deir Ezzor city. The strategically-located village blocks a key road linking the area held by the SDF to the Omar oil fields.

Get the picture? US-backed forces and Russian coalition members are now operating cheek-to-jowl in the same theatre trying to seize the same oil-rich scrap of land. This has all the makings of a major head-on collision.

Putin is a cautious and reasonable man, but he’s not going to hand over Syria’s oil fields without a fight. Besides, Assad needs the oil receipts to finance the rebuilding of his decimated country. Equally important, he needs the territory east of Deir Ezzor for an overland route connecting Beirut to Damascus to Baghdad to Tehran, the so-called Arab Superhighway. Putin’s job is to glue as much of the country together as needed to create a viable state. So while he may allow the SDF and US military to occupy parts of the northeast, he’s not going to surrender crucial resources or strategically-located territory.

So what does it all mean? Does it mean that Russia will support Assad’s attempts to liberate the oil fields even if it could trigger a broader war with the United States?

Yes, that’s exactly what it means.

Putin doesn’t want a slugfest with Uncle Sam, but he’s not going to abandon an ally either. So there’s going to be a confrontation because neither party is willing to give up what they feel they need to achieve success.

So there you have it. As the standoff begins to take shape in eastern Syria, the two rival superpowers are preparing themselves for the worst. Clearly, we have reached the most dangerous moment in the six-year-long war.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/09/22/uncle-sam-vs-russia-in-eastern-syria-the-nightmare-scenario/

Categories: Uncategorized