"Russia's purpose for being in Syria is quite simply to prevent Syria from being destroyed by FUKUS (France, UK, and US) and their head chopping mercenaries. Over the last three years they have been very successful and Syria has recaptured most of its lost territory. This would not have happened if Putin was selling out to Israel or to other FUKUS countries, and anyone claiming that Putin is selling out is an idiot. Moreover, Putin has remained focused on the task of restoring Syria and will not be goaded into giving FUKUS an excuse to start a war with Russia. The response to FUKUS attacks would be different if Russian territory was at risk, so ignoring these provocations gives Russia the time to complete its mission in Syria." comments line, MOA
Anger may in time change to gladness; vexation may be succeeded by content.
But a kingdom that has once been destroyed can never come again into being; nor can the dead ever be brought back to life. Hence the enlightened ruler is heedful, and the good general full
of caution. This is the way to keep a country at peace and an army
intact. Sun Tzu
It is not to Russia’s advantage to sink French frigates or expose the full capabilities of its air defense systems to shoot down a handful of Israeli warplanes to satisfy public desires for immediate revenge or to protect nonexistent notions of Russian invincibility.
Instead, it is to Russia’s advantage to simply win the proxy war in Syria. Just as in 2015 when calls for immediate revenge were made regarding a Turkish-downed Russian warplane, Syria, Russia, and Iran will continue moving forward – slowly and methodically – to secure Syrian territory from foreign proxies seeking to divide and destroy the country, springboard into Iran, and eventually work their way into southern Russia.
Avenging serial provocations is infinitesimally less important than overall victory in Syria. The fate of Syria as a nation, Iran’s security and stability as a result, and even Russia’s own self-preservation is on the line. The awesome responsibility of those who have planned and executed Syria’s incremental victory over proxy forces backed by the largest, most powerful economies and military forces on Earth could greatly benefit from a public able to understand the difference between short-term gratification and long-term success and how the former almost certainly and recklessly endangers the latter.
The greatest possible “revenge” to exact upon those who inflicted this war upon the Syrian people, is their absolute and total defeat.
The US favourite candidate for the [Iraqi] prime ministership, Haidar Abadi, lost his last chance to renew his mandate for a second term when riots caused arson around the southern city of Basra and burned down the walls of the Iranian consulate in the city....
The leader of this broad coalition of Shi’a and Sunni parties is likely to be Faleh al-Fayyadi, the head of Hashd al-Shaabi (the PMU). In political terms, therefore, Iraq now, is prone for inclusion in the Russian-Iranian-Syrian led, northern partnership (though divisions within the Iraqi Shi’a camp remain a source of potential conflict). And if, as is likely, Iraq is embargoed by the US for failing to abide by US sanctions on Iran, then Iraq will be pushed – by exigency of circumstance – into the evolving economic sphere that was the subject of major discussion at last Friday’s Tehran summit. That is to say, into an evolving series of economic frameworks for de-dollarising and US sanctions busting.
The import of this miscalculation (instigating the violent protests) in Basra (a Saudi hand is widely suspected) has wider implications for the US. Firstly, it is likely to lead to American forces being told to quit Iraq. Secondly, it will complicate the ability of the Pentagon to sustain its military presence in Syria. The logistics for American deployments in north-east Syria, which traverse through Iraq, may no longer be available – and the US forces there, in Syria, inevitably will become isolated, and hence, more vulnerable.
But a turnaround in Iraq also puts a spike into the balloon of President Trump’s aspiration to reassert US energy dominance over the Mideast. Iran – it was hoped – would ultimately capitulate and fall to economic and political pressures, and as the Iranian domino capsized, it would take with it, crashing down into political acquiescence, the Iraqi domino.
This scenario would leave the US with the main sources of ‘low production cost’ Middle East energy in its hands (i.e. Gulf, Iran and Iraqi oil and gas). On the face of this week’s events however, it looks more likely that these resources - or at least, the greater energy resources of Iran and Iraq - will end up in the Russian sphere (together with Syria’s unexplored Levant Basin prospects). And this Russian ‘heartland’, energy-producing sphere, may, in the end, prove to be a more than substantive rival to US (newly emerged as ‘the world’s top oil producer’) aspirations for restoring its Mideast energy dominance.
3--Iraqi Voters Undermine Trump’s Iran strategy---Iran rising in Iraq and Syria
Worse still, two staunchly anti-American alliances – led by Muqtadar al-Sadr and Hadi al-Amiri – secured first and second places respectively.
Coalition making will be a long drawn out process, but what is clear is that the next government in Baghdad will have a pronouncedly anti-American tilt and the probability is high that it could evict US troops and contractors totaling 100,000 in Iraq.
While Amiri leads the powerful Iran-aligned militia groups known as the Popular Mobilization Force, Sadr’s surge is really bad news for the Americans. Sadr’s Mahdi Army has the blood of hundreds of Americans and Brits on its hands.
It is entirely conceivable that Tehran might even choose to settle for another government led by Abadi as the figurehead of a staunchly pro-Iranian power structure. Ever since the regime change in Baghdad following the US invasion in 2003, Tehran has made sustained and intense efforts to cultivate wide-ranging political partnerships with Iraqi groups across the religious, ethnic and political spectrum.
It is preposterous to fantasize that Baghdad is about to move out of Iranian orbit.
The bottom line is that a new coalition government in Baghdad over which Iran enjoys political leverage may well set a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops. The Trump administration must prepare for such an eventuality since it has left Tehran in no doubt that continued US military presence in Iraq poses an existential threat of “regime change.” Trust Tehran to pull out all the stops – short of directly targeting US troops – to undermine the American influence in Iraq.
it’s impacting mortgage rates – which move roughly in parallel with the 10-year Treasury yield. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported this morning that the average interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($453,100 or less) and a 20% down-payment rose to 4.88% for the week ending September 14, 2018, the highest since April 2011.
the market now sees an 81% chance that the Fed will announced a 4th rate hike for 2018 after the FOMC meeting in December
in 2019, short-term yields will be heading for 3% or higher – the 3-month yield is already at 2.16% — that the 10-year yield will be going past 4%, and that the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage will be flirting with a 6% rate.
5--Israeli F-16s Scrambled to Cover Behind the Russian Il-20 Because They Had Been Painted by Syrian Air Defense Radars
I do have reasons to believe that under a huge pressure of the situation unfolding in what used to be a calm sector of approaches to Khmeimim Air Base, which was agreed between Israel and Russia, and where IAF's aircraft were not supposed to be, the Syrian crew simply went for the target which was clearly visible and shaded smaller RCS Israeli planes.
Israel violated in this case not just an ethical norm by hiding behind IL-20, it violated much more—it flew it planes into the area which was specifically designated as "out of reach" for IAF. As former Israel's Service Nativ' Yakov Kedmi stated after the events, all this tragedy became a result of Israeli recklessness and unprofessionalism, he called this mistake by Israeli generals a doom-spelling one.
Reaction of Israel following the events is telling—she went into the full damage control mode with Netanyahu urgently calling Vladimir Putin. He offered the Commander of Israeli Air Force to be immediately on his way to Moscow, all diplomatic, informational, government channels between Israel and Russia got immediately engaged....
There will, however, be some form of no-fly zone and as Vladimir Putin stated Russia will take “the steps that everyone will notice.” Obviously this important statement by the head of Russian State got drowned in the ocean of rage and speculations, and confusion I may add, but this has become a familiar pattern by now.
3. Issue of ROE and interaction—the most important one. Specialists must review protocols and tactical procedures. Engagement caveats must be strictly enforced. ..
Training of Syrian personnel and, obvious now, necessity, once advanced S-300s (PMU) are additionally delivered to Syria, to have Russian advisers full time in any Syrian Air Defense crew dealing with much more advanced technology than old S-200s.
In the end, this tragedy, should serve as a real serious lesson and, in a military sense a warning that one better stick to the agreements or things may spiral out of control very fast. Israel decided that it is allowed to break agreements. Israel should ask Turkey what happens when one does Russia wrong—
From the NAR: Existing-Home Sales Remain Flat Nationally, Mixed Results Regionally
Existing-home sales remained steady in August after four straight months of decline, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Sales gains in the Northeast and Midwest canceled out downturns in the South and West. Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, did not change from July and remained at a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.34 million in August. Sales are now down 1.5 percent from a year ago (5.42 million in August 2017).
Total housing inventory at the end of August also remained unchanged from July at 1.92 million existing homes available for sale, and is up from 1.87 million a year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 4.3-month supply at the current sales pace, consistent from last month and up from 4.1 months a year ago. Properties typically stayed on the market for 29 days in August, up from 27 days in July but down from 30 days a year ago. Fifty-two percent of homes sold in August were on the market for less than a month.
the classification system in the US exists solely by Executive Order. It does not exist by law. All classifications of information are derivative from the sitting president's Executive Orders on the subject. These are generally re-issued by each new president. Classification is administrative in nature and not based in law although disclosures that are not authorized ultimately by POTUS' authority ARE subject to criminal penalties. No cabinet secretary, Congressional body or other official has any legal authority to block a declassification order from the president.
9--China has welcomed the outcome of the inter-Korean summit and will continue supporting both sides in further talks on reducing tensions.
“Kim Jong Un has agreed to allow Nuclear inspections, subject to final negotiations, and to permanently dismantle a test site and launch pad in the presence of international experts. In the meantime there will be no Rocket or Nuclear testing,” Trump said in a pair of tweets. “Hero remains to continue being returned home to the United States. Also, North and South Korea will file a joint bid to host the 2032 Olympics. Very exciting!...
South Korean President Moon Jae-in says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has agreed to permanently dismantle a missile engine test site and a launch pad in the presence of international experts in what he described as a specific step toward denuclearization.
Moon also said on Wednesday that the North agreed to take further steps such as permanently dismantling its main Nyongbyon nuclear complex if the United States takes corresponding measures
Kim Jong-un agrees to inspections
11--The deep state, the bureaucrats and policy minions who staff the White House and the government agencies, are actively subverting the elected president. They publicly brag about it.
But is it really better to let these unaccountable policy operators override his choices? Should we trust certified hawks like Bolton, Pompeo or Mattis any more that him? Is war with Russia or North Korea preferable to peaceful relations?
[We] are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t. The result is a two-track presidency.
Take foreign policy: In public and in private, President Trump shows a preference for autocrats and dictators, such as President Vladimir Putin of Russia and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and displays little genuine appreciation for the ties that bind us to allied, like-minded nations.
Astute observers have noted, though, that the rest of the administration is operating on another track, one where countries like Russia are called out for meddling and punished accordingly, and where allies around the world are engaged as peers rather than ridiculed as rivals.
On Russia, for instance, the president was reluctant to expel so many of Mr. Putin’s spies as punishment for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. He complained for weeks about senior staff members letting him get boxed into further confrontation with Russia, and he expressed frustration that the United States continued to impose sanctions on the country for its malign behavior. But his national security team knew better — such actions had to be taken, to hold Moscow accountable.
This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of the steady state.
Violent death of journalists has fallen from about 6 per year to 2 per year. Novaya Gazeta editors do not blame V.V. Putin for their colleague. V.V. Putin was deeply angered by the murder when it was reported to him at a party. In the kleptocracy that the Harvard Group nourished through their proxies Boris Yelstin and Anatoli Chubais, business oligarchs became the rule. Men like Boris Berezhovsky, Vladimir Gusinski and Mikhail Khodorovksy had private armies. In particular, Berezhovsky did not hesitate to use lethal force to take care of both business and PR "problems".
Vladimir Putin has always stood for the rule of law and for stability of the state. He's the last man to want to use murder to quiet the press. Those who would use such methods in the Yeltsin period hesitate to use them now as they know there's a good chance of an honest investigation and substantial punishment. A strong disincentive to employ such methods. Hence the fall in violent deaths of journalists in Russia. V.V. Putin is more likely to use soft pressure - as in the West - to sweeten critics. Journalists die in the West as well. Usually their murders are "car accidents" or suicide.
Journalist Sara Carter told Sean Hannity during his Wednesday radio show that the FBI has two sets of records in the Russia investigation, and that "certain people above Peter Strzok and above Lisa Page" were aware of it - implicating former FBI Director James Comey and his #2, Andrew McCabe.
Hannity: Sara, I’m hearing it gets worse than this–that there is potentially out there–if you will, two sets of record among the upper echelon of the FBI–one that was real one that was made for appearances. Is there any truth to this?
Carter: Absolutely, Sean. With the number of sources that I have been speaking with as well as some others that there is evidence indicating that the FBI had separate sets of books.
I will not name names until all of the evidence is out there, but there were certain people above Peter Strzok and above Lisa Page that were aware of this. I also believe that there are people within the FBI that have actually turned on their former employers and are possibly even testifying and reporting what happened inside the FBI to both the Inspector General and possibly even a Grand Jury
James Comey’s FBI violated department guidelines in launching its investigation in July 2016. There was never “an articulable factual basis for the investigation,” as regulations demand. There was no probable cause, no credible evidence of crimes, and no plausible intelligence to justify a counterintelligence probe. Facts were invented or exaggerated based almost entirely on a fabricated “dossier.”
Nine months later, the FBI still had no evidence of “collusion” between Trump and Russia, according to a transcript of FBI lawyer Lisa Page’s recent closed-door deposition before Congress. This is corroborated by text messages she exchanged with her paramour, Peter Strzok, who served as the FBI’s lead investigator. Nevertheless, Robert Mueller was named special counsel despite a dearth of evidence.
Under federal regulations governing his appointment, evidence of a suspected crime is a necessary predicate. It never happened. Instead, Mueller was granted broad authority to investigate matters that are not necessarily criminal at all. A special counsel is not authorized to search for a crime; there must be evidence of a crime first. This did not exist, rendering Mueller’s appointment illegitimate and invalid. The authorization order itself was defective inasmuch as it did not set forth the required “specific factual statement” of a defined crime.
Despite their own admission that “collusion” was an unproven fiction, Strzok and Page traded text messages bragging about their “media leak strategy” with the DOJ designed to plant stories with reporters to damage Trump.
They even congratulated themselves on their success: “The article is out! Well done, Page.”
Leaking classified information to the media is a crime. This is some of the most incriminating evidence yet that Obama’s Justice Department and Comey’s FBI were engaged in a deliberate scheme to use their government positions for illicit and illegal purposes to frame Trump....
Rosenstein has every reason to suppress the records. They may incriminate him. He affixed his signature to the final renewal of the FISA warrant application to continue spying on Carter Page. He vouched for the authenticity and veracity of the information contained therein. But if it was largely based on a “dossier” that was unverified and uncorroborated, Rosenstein may have been complicit in misusing his position of power in pursuit of a president who was wrongfully targeted by the FBI and DOJ.
Either way, the future does not bode well for Rod Rosenstein. He appointed a special counsel without proper authority.
He then refused to recuse himself as a key witness in the very case he oversees.
All along the way, he has been obstructing Congress by withholding records they are entitled to have.
He surely knows what the declassified documents portend for himself