Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Today's Links

1---Russian Fighter Jet Posed No Threat to Turkey, So Why Shoot it Down?

2-- Pentagon Not Involved in Downing of Russian Su-24 Aircraft

“Our Turkish Allies informed us that their military aircraft shot down a Russian military aircraft near the Syrian border after it violated Turkish airspace on Tuesday. At this time, we can confirm that US forces were not involved in this incident,” the official said. 

3--Russo-Syrian Forces Close to Cutting Off ISIL's Supply Routes From Turkey

"The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has even begun approaching the Euphrates River east of Aleppo, which would effectively cut off ISIS [ISIL] from its supply lines leading out of Turkish territory," Cartalucci narrates in his latest article for New Eastern Outlook.

He explains that from there, Syrian troops with Russian air support would move north, into the very "safe zone" which Washington and Ankara have planned to carve out of Syria. Cartalucci points out that the "safe zone" includes a northern Syria area stretching from Jarabulus to Afrin and Ad Dana.

If Syrian troops establish their control over this zone, the Western plan of taking and holding the territory (with the prospect of further Balkanization of the region) would fall apart at the seams. In light of this, the regime change project, harbored by the West since the very beginning of the Syrian unrest, would be "indefinitely suspended," Cartalucci underscores.

"The endgame is at hand, and only the most desperate measures can hope to prevent Russia and Syria from finally securing Syria's borders. Turkey's provocation is just such a measure," he emphasizes.
"As in the game of chess, a player often seeks to provoke their opponent into a series of moves," Cartalucci notes.

Russo-Syrian victory would have far-reaching consequences for the region as a whole.
"With Syria secured, an alternative arc of influence will exist within the Middle East, one that will inevitably work against Saudi and other Persian Gulf regimes' efforts in Yemen, and in a wider sense, begin the irreversible eviction of Western hegemony from the region," Cartalucci underscores.

​He believes that it is the beginning of the end of the US-led unipolar global order.
The geopolitical analyst stresses that in a war emotions should be channeled by "superior strategic thinking" into a good plan which serves both short-term and long-term objectives. According to Cartalucci, the Russian leadership has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to take balanced strategic decisions.

4--US-Turkish Military Operation in N Syria Would be de Facto an Invasion

The US and Turkey have announced an operation aimed at maintaining control over the last 98 kilometers of the Turkish-Syrian border, between Jarabulus and Afrin; this area overlaps with the primary corridor through which Islamists, including ISIL and al-Nusra receive weapons and fighters, Tony Cartalucci underscores.

In contrast to its vows to "defeat ISIL," the actions of the US-led anti-ISIL coalition demonstrate a desire to preserve the terrorist group, Bangkok-based geopolitical analyst Tony Cartalucci notes.
"Its [NATO's] feigned 'war on ISIS' helped open the door to the recent Russian military intervention. With Russia's entry into the war, the West can no longer afford to drag out its nonexistent operations against ISIS [ISIL], hoping for an opportunity to finally divide and destroy the country," Cartalucci writes in his recent piece for New Eastern Outlook.

Meanwhile, Russia and the Syrian Arab Army have almost sealed up the corridor themselves. In its turn NATO is at pains to implement a partial occupation of Syria. According to the analyst, the race is nearly over now.

Cartalucci points out that the terrorist attack in Paris has given NATO a "strong hand" and will most likely help the US and Turkey justify their upcoming military operation in northern Syria...

"All of the Paris attackers, likewise, passed through Turkey on their way to train, arm, and fight in Syria, and then through Turkey again on their way back to Europe. The tons of weapons and hundreds of fighters shipped covertly to Syria by the US in the Libyan terrorist capital of Benghazi also arrived first in Turkish ports before proceeding on, apparently with the knowledge and cooperation of the Turkish government," Cartalucci stresses.

According to Cartalucci, Western governments are "clearly responsible" for the rise of the Islamic State. The notorious Islamist group has emerged not just as a mere consequence of the West's action or inaction: the group has been created though the intentional effort of the Western political establishment. Western policymakers plan to use Islamists as a "formidable proxy army" in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond, Cartalucci believes.

"ISIS [ISIL] is not only destined to divide and destroy Syria and Iraq. If the West has its way, the terrorist organization is destined to move into Iran, the Caucasus region of southern Russia, and Central Asia next," he predicts.

The idea to create an Islamist army is not a new one, Cartalucci remarks, referring to the US-Saudi collaboration with Islamic radicals in Afghanistan in the 1980s and British Empire's use of Wahhabi fanatics in its war against the Ottoman Empire over a century ago.
"When the West calls this a 'long war,' they mean it. And it will be longer still until the people of the West realize their governments aren't waging a 'War on Terror,' they are waging a 'War of Terror'," the geopolitical analyst emphasizes.

5---Obama supports Turkey after it shot down Russian jet

6--Financial parasitism and the destruction of democracy

7-First step for the safe zone in N. Syria: opposition groups take two Turkmen towns from DAESH
Syrian opposition groups supported by Turkish and US warplanes took control of two Turkmen towns in Northern Syria early Saturday, Anadolu Agency reported.

According to the security sources, 70 DAESH terrorists were killed in the offensive led by Turkmen opposition force Al-Sultan Murad Brigades. The operation was supported by six Turkish and five US warplanes.

According to the reports, Al-Sultan Murad Brigades cooperating with the Damascus Front advanced to the North of Aleppo, to the ground zero on the Turkey-Syria border. Infiltrating into Harcele and Delha towns, opposition forces defeated DAESH and took control of the two Turkmen-majority villages.

Six Turkish F-16s, four US F-15s and an AC-130 joined the offensive along with three drones.

Security sources added that this success in the fight against DAESH that can be defined as the first step for the creation of a DAESH-free zone in Northern Syria will further encourage opposition forces to fight DAESH terror and help ensure Turkey's border security.

Speaking about Turkey's stance on the recent developments in Northern Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a live broadcast on Wednesday that declaring no-fly and safe zones is crucial to resolve the Syrian Crisis. The president also added that the coalition forces are taking joint action against DAESH.

8---Watch Putin's angry response to Turkey shooting down a Russian plane
Does Turkey want Nato to serve the interests of ISIS?

9---Obama points finger at Russia over jet shoot-down by Turkey

10---NATO envoys urge Turkey to show restraint after Russian warplane downed

NATO ambassadors called on Ankara to show "cool-headedness" on Tuesday following an emergency meeting in Brussels, after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border, diplomats said.Diplomats present at the meeting told Reuters that while none of the 28 NATO envoys defended Russia's actions, many expressed concern that Turkey did not escort the Russian warplane out of its airspace.
"There are other ways of dealing with these kinds of incidents," said one diplomat who declined to be named

Friday, November 20, 2015

Today's Links

1--Clinton backs no-fly zone

2--Syria’s Assad says Paris now “knows what Syria has lived for five years”

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad  “France has now understands what Syria has been going through for the last five years.”

Hundreds of suicide bombings have been carried out in Syria. In February 2013, a series of bombings in the capital Damascus killed more than 80 and injured at least 250 others on February 21. A massive car bomb exploded close to the offices of the Syrian Ba'ath Party, killing 59 and injuring more than 200 others. Among the other most notorious suicide attacks carried out by Islamist forces are included the December 2011 Damascus bombing, killing 44 people and injuring 166, and the May 2012 Damascus attack that killed 55 and injured 400.

The hypocrisy of European politicians who shed crocodile tears for the victims in Paris of terrorist militias they helped create in Syria—but who view similar terrorist attacks in Syria as a legitimate tool of foreign policy—is sickening

“We had warned about what would happen in Europe, three years ago. We had said, 'Do not take what is happening in Syria lightly, it will be like an earthquake that will spread around the world.' Unfortunately, European officials did not listen to what we were saying! They thought that we were threatening them,” the Syrian president said.

3--The US neocon regime change obsession ended up bolstering Daesh’s reach in Syria.

The message comes with extra enticement; the $50 million bounty offered by the FSB for any information leading to the perpetrators of the Sinai tragedy.

Putin’s message instantly turned heavy metal in the form of a massive, impressive Russian barrage over 140 Caliphate targets, delivered via 34 air-launched cutting-edge cruise missiles and furious action by Tu-160, Tu-22, and the Tu-95MC ‘Bear’ strategic bombers. This was the first time the Russian long-range strategic bomber force has been deployed since the 1980s Afghan jihad.
And there’s more coming - to be stationed in Syria; an extra deployment of 25 strategic bombers, eight Su-34 ‘Fullback’ attack aircraft, and four Su-27 ‘Flanker’ fighter jets

Oil tanker mystery solved

The tanker truck riddle

At the G-20 in Antalya, Putin had already, spectacularly, unveiled who contributes to Daesh’s financing – complete with “examples based on our data on the financing of different [Daesh] units by private individuals.”

The bombshell: Daesh’s cash, “as we have established, comes from 40 countries and, there are some of the G20 members among them.” It doesn’t take a Caltech genius to figure out which members. They’d better take the “you can run but you can’t hide” message seriously.
Additionally, Putin debunked - graphically – to the whole G20 the myth of a Washington seriously engaged on the fight against Daesh: “I’ve shown our colleagues photos taken from space and from aircraft which clearly demonstrate the scale of the illegal trade in oil.” He was referring to Daesh’s oil smuggling tanker truck fleet, which numbers over 1,000...

Aacting on Russian satellite intelligence, the Pentagon then miraculously managed to find tanker truck convoys stretching “beyond the horizon,” smuggling out stolen Syrian oil. And duly bombed 116 trucks. For the first time....
ISIS/ISIL/Daesh was born in an American prison. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a.k.a. Caliph Ibrahim did time there, as well as Daesh’s previous number two, Abu Muslim al-Turkmani, and most of all Daesh’s conceptualizer: Haji Bakr, a former colonel in Saddam Hussein’s Air Force.

Hardcore Salafi-jihadist meet former Ba’athist notables and find a common purpose; an offer the Pentagon could not refuse and in fact - willfully - let prosper. GWOT (the Global War on Terror), after all, is a Cheney-Rumsfeld-coined “Endless War”.

4--Obama says Assad must leave to end Syrian crisis

“We’ve been suffering from that (terrorism) for the past five years. We feel for the French as we feel for the Lebanese a few days before that, and for the Russians regarding the airplane that’s been shot down over Sinai. Does the world, especially the West, feel for those people, or only for the French?”...

The Syrian president was referring to the terrorist bombings in Beirut on November 12, when at least 43 people were killed and nearly 240 were injured.

Another bombing aboard a Russian plane on October 31 led to the aircraft’s crash and killed 244 people. Daesh claimed responsibility for both incidents.

US President Barack Obama has turned up his anti-Syrian rhetoric by saying President Bashar al-Assad must leave power in order to end the Arab country’s 5-year conflict.
"I do not foresee a situation in which we can end the civil war in Syria while Assad remains in power," Obama said Thursday on the sidelines of a trade summit in Manila, Phillipines.

5--US Prepared to 'Do More on Ground' Against ISIL - Carter

The United States is ready to change tactics in the fight against the Islamic State terrorists that would include more ground engagement, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said on Thursday.
“We’re prepared to change the rules of engagement,” Carter said in an interview that aired on MSNBC. “The president [Barack Obama] has indicated he's prepared to do more, including on the ground.”...

On Monday, President Obama ruled out putting boots on the ground in Syria as part of an operation against ISIL. He argued that US military intervention would deliver only temporary results.


Syrian President Bashar Assad believes that by being passively supporting the al-Nusra Front and Islamic State terrorist groups, Turkey is playing a most destructive role in the Syrian crisis.

6--Turkey is Playing the Worst Part of Syrian Crisis - Assad

Turkey is playing a most negative role in our crisis. That’s related directly to [President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan himself and [Prime Minister Ahmet] Davutoglu, because they both reflect the real ideology that they carry in their hearts, which is the Muslim Brotherhood ideology,” Assad said in an interview with the French newsmagazine Valeurs Actuelles on Thursday.

The Syrian leader emphasized that, compared to Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Ankara was playing the most dangerous role in general, by giving all possible assistance to the terrorists

“Some countries support al-Nusra Front, which is al-Qaeda, some other countries support ISIL, while Turkey supports both and other groups at the same time. They support them with, human resources. They support them with money, logistics, armaments, surveillance, information, and even the maneuvers of their military through their borders during the fights in Syria."

"Even the money that’s being collected from the rest of the world passes through Turkey, and the oil that ISIL sells is through Turkey, so Turkey is playing the worst part of our crisis,” Assad was quoted as saying by the Syrian news agency SANA

7---If The Economy Is Fine, Why Are So Many Hedge Funds, Energy Companies And Large Retailers Imploding?

The manufacturing numbers say that we are in a recession, the trade numbers say that we are in a recession, and the retail numbers say that we are in a recession

8---ISIS also has tons of U.S. weapons, vehicles and other military gear.

Toyota trucks aren’t all ISIS has managed to buy, capture or scavenge from us. In June, CNBC reported that so far we’ve accidentally furnished the Islamic State with at least $219.7 million worth of weapons, vehicles and other military supplies and gear — and that’s just the stuff we know about.
Based on various reports, CNBC came up with the following laundry list of supplies the U.S. has so kindly provided to ISIS so far.
  • 2,300 Humvee armored vehicles at $70,000 each: $16 million
  • 40 M1A1 Abram tanks at $4.3 million each: $172 million
  • 52 M198 Howitzer mobile gun systems at $527,337 each: $2.7 million
  • 74,000 Army machine guns at $4,000 each: $29 million
TOTAL: $219.7 MILLION in military weapons, vehicles, and other supplies and gear for ISIS.
How does the Islamic State get hold of all these U.S. weapons? We deliver them, either directly or through the tattered remnants of Iraq’s military.

9---Turkey sends in jets as Syria’s agony spills over every border

When US special forces raided the compound of an Islamic State leader in eastern Syria in May, they made sure not to tell the neighbours.
The target of that raid, the first of its kind since US jets returned to the skies over Iraq last August, was an Isis official responsible for oil smuggling, named Abu Sayyaf. He was almost unheard of outside the upper echelons of the terror group, but he was well known to Turkey. From mid-2013, the Tunisian fighter had been responsible for smuggling oil from Syria’s eastern fields, which the group had by then commandeered. Black market oil quickly became the main driver of Isis revenues – and Turkish buyers were its main clients.

As a result, the oil trade between the jihadis and the Turks was held up as evidence of an alliance between the two. It led to protests from Washington and Europe – both already wary of Turkey’s 900-mile border with Syria being used as a gateway by would-be jihadis from around the world

The estimated $1m-$4m per day in oil revenues that was thought to have flowed into Isis coffers over at least six months from late 2013 helped to transform an ambitious force with limited means into a juggernaut that has been steadily drawing western forces back to the region and increasingly testing state borders...

In the wake of the raid that killed Abu Sayyaf, suspicions of an undeclared alliance have hardened. One senior western official familiar with the intelligence gathered at the slain leader’s compound said that direct dealings between Turkish officials and ranking Isis members was now “undeniable”.
“There are hundreds of flash drives and documents that were seized there,” the official told the Observer. “They are being analysed at the moment, but the links are already so clear that they could end up having profound policy implications for the relationship between us and Ankara.”....

10--Putin Outed ISIS’s G20 Financiers — But Not a Single Western Media Outlet Has Reported It
A revealing silence from the “free” western press
complete media blackout

11--Turkey deported jihadist tied to Paris attacks in early 2015

12--More Mexicans leave than enter USA in historic shift
13--Gulf States Slip Out of War on ISIS

more important than the direct material impact is the symbolism of whether the United States does or does not have broad support and joint participation for what it is doing in Syria. The withdrawal of Arab air forces makes the U.S. role all the more lonely and conspicuous.
Participation of other Western powers already was lukewarm, and the U.S. role will get lonelier still with the promise by the new Trudeau government in Ottawa to end Canadian participation in military operations in Syria.

All of this makes the United States that much more of a salient target for anger over the no-good-solution Syria situation and for related reprisals, including those of the terrorist variety.
The Syrian case and especially adoption of the “Assad must go” standard is one of the latest examples of how the United States, through several presidential administrations, has repeatedly allowed itself to get sucked into other people’s quarrels in the Middle East...

(Pillar goes delusional) The United States does have an interest, from the standpoint of counterterrorism, mitigation of refugee flows, and regional stability, to be deeply involved in multilateral diplomacy aimed at de-escalating and eventually resolving the extremely complicated conflict in Syria. (Uh, yes, and the US also has pretty clear geopolitical ambitions, too, Paul)

14--Those Who Fuelled Extremism in Syria Now Mourn Paris Attack Victims

15---EU’s Deepening Ties With Russia Result of 'Putin’s Sophisticated Diplomacy'

16--Shoigu stressed that the number of aircraft taking part in the operation has been doubled, and now consists of 69 jets conducting 143 sorties on a daily basis.
The minister pointed out that Russia is focused on destroying the terrorists’ economic base, having targeted 15 oil storage and refinery facilities as well as 525 oil trucks.
“We stopped supplies of 60,000 tons of oil per day to the black market and terrorists are losing $1.5 million daily,” Shoigu said.
Russia has also destroyed 23 jihadists training camps, 19 plants producing explosives, 47 ammunition depots, as well as many other targets, according to the minister.

17---PBS NewsHour Uses Russian Airstrike Footage While Claiming U.S. Airstrike Successes

The U.S. military recently claimed to have hit Islamic State oil tankers in Syria. This only after Putin embarrassed Obama at the G-20 meeting in Turkey. Putin showed satellite pictures of ridiculous long tanker lines waiting for days and weeks to load oil from the Islamic State without any U.S. interference.

The U.S. then claimed to have hit 116 oil tankers while the Russian air force claims to have hit 500. But there is an important difference between these claims. The Russians provided videos showing how their airstrikes hit at least two different very large oil tanker assemblies with hundreds of tankers in each. They also provided video of several hits on oil storage sites and refinery infrastructure.
I have found no video of U.S. hits on Islamic State oil tanker assemblies.
The U.S. PBS NewsHour did not find any either.

In their TV report yesterday about Islamic State financing and the claimed U.S. hits on oil trucks they used the videos Russia provided without revealing the source. You can see the Russian videos played within an interview with a U.S. military spokesperson at 2:22 min.

18--Research Paper: Is Turkey supporting ISIS?

19--US says want joint plan to get more arms to Syrian opposition

20--NATO is harbouring the Islamic State, Nafeez ahmed

Why France’s brave new war on ISIS is a sick joke, and an insult to the victims of the Paris attacks

21--Kuwait busts cell working to back, finance ISIS

Kuwaiti security authorities have busted an international cell led by a Lebanese man that was sending air defence systems and funds to ISIS, the interior ministry said Thursday.
The cell’s chief, who was not named, confessed that he raised funds and provided logistical support for the group, which has carried out deadly attacks in Lebanon and France in the past week, the ministry said.

22--Kuwait Disrupts Extremist Cell Supporting ISIS

23--Hitting the Islamic State’s Oil Isn’t Enough

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Today's Links

    In his Ethics, Schopenhauer said, “Man is, at bottom, a dreadful wild animal. We know this wild animal in a tamed state called civilization and therefore are shocked by the occasional outbreaks of his true nature; but if and when the bolts and bars of the legal order fall apart and anarchy intervenes, it reveals itself for what it is.”

1---'To Forgive The Terrorists Is Up To God, But To Send Them To Him Is Up To Me', V Putin
"Nothing wrong with shooting as long as the right people get shot." Clint Eastwood

Russia's air force just used its nuclear bombers to lay waste to a major stronghold of the Islamic State. The details: Russian air force just pulled off one of the biggest and most complex heavy bomber missions in modern history—sending no fewer than 25 Backfire, Bear, and Blackjack bombers on a coordinated, long-range air raid against alleged ISIS forces in Syria.
Ladies and gentlemen: Vladimir Putin

2---Putin: "Retribution is inevitable.”"...Long-Range Bombers to Fly Anti-ISIS Missions from Russia, Putin Orders Navy to Work with France
After the downing of the Russian airliner in Sinai Moscow expands its Syria campaign

“By conducting military missions in Syria, you are protecting Russia and her citizens,” Putin told his military chiefs. “Our air campaign in Syria must not only be continued, it must be boosted, in such a way that the criminals are made aware that retribution is inevitable.”

3---Russia's FM Lavrov: US Not Truly Fighting ISIS
Lavrov slams US policy in Syria.  Claims US trying to play Assad and ISIS off against each other and that US air strikes are not for real

4---Putin Outed ISIS's G20 Financiers — But Not a Single Western Media Outlet Has Reported It
A revealing silence from the “free” western press

We've been very patient. For the last 12 hours we've been constantly refreshing Google News for just one — one — western article about Putin's bombshell comments at the G20 summit in Antalya. You would think that the Russian President stating publicly that ISIS is receiving money from 40 different countries, including G20 members, would be “newsworthy”. Right?
But the western media has defied even our worst expectations: Not a single mainstream western outlet reported on Putin's comments. Typically, at least the Daily Beast has the common courtesy to distort or misrepresent the most recent Putin press conference. But in this instance, there is literally no written western record of Putin saying anything about who finances ISIS during the G20 summit in Turkey. This is insane.

5--Libya better without Gaddafi? Be serious.

Gaddafi came to power in 1967 into what was one of the poorest countries in Africa; however, by the time of his death he had propelled Libya as Africa’s wealthiest nation with the highest GDP per capita, highest life expectancy in Africa, and less people below the poverty line than in the Netherlands.

Although there was virtually no political freedoms in Libya, Gaddafi nationalised the oil wealth to not only fund a free health-care and education system not seen in most Western democracies, but also free electricity and interest-free loans....

in the months leading up to the murder of Gaddafi, he had called for all African nations to create a new currency that would rival the major currencies of the world. He wanted Africa to only sell oil and other resources for gold. It was an idea that would shift the economic balance of the world when you consider that the UK has twice the amount of gold as Libya but 10 times the population....

With oil production down which cannot support the welfare systems enjoyed under Gaddafi’s rule, a non-existent nationwide government, several radical Islamist factions vying for control and committing war crimes, and the arrival of ISIS brutality, is Libya truly better off without Gaddafi?

6---Are France’s assailants the ISIL members Turkey swapped for hostages?

Turkey had negotiated with ISIL and given some 200 ISIL militants to ISIL in exchange for 49 Turkish people who had been taken hostage by ISIL in Turkey's Mosul consulate....

A source of mine from the security forces claims there is a link between the terrorist attack in France and the swap deal Turkey had made with ISIL.
"Some of the assailants in France are from the 200 ISIL militants that ISIL swapped in return for 49 Turkish hostages," my source says. My source has other hair-raising claims, but the current claim is scandalous enough. I note it for the record.
Let me elaborate on this matter for the uninitiated. As you may remember, Turkey had negotiated with ISIL and given some 200 ISIL militants to ISIL in exchange for 49 Turkish people who had been taken hostage by ISIL in Turkey's Mosul consulate.

At that time the Taraf newspaper reported the event as follows: "In return for 49 consulate staff members, 180 ISIL militants were delivered to the organization. The militants, including some senior leaders, were taken to Van before they were taken to Syria in buses."
After President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said, "Yes, a swap deal was made, so what?" the details of the swap deal made with ISIL for the release of 49 consulate staff members became clear. The 180 ISIL militants were delivered to the organization in return for the consulate staff. Some of these people were the organization members who had been detained. The organization members delivered to ISIL included some senior organization leaders.....

Western media outlets covered the matter and maintained that ISIL members delivered to ISIL were citizens of Western countries. According to those reports, the militants delivered to ISIL included terrorists of Belgian, French, US and UK origins.

My source claims that the perpetrators of the attack in France included the terrorists Turkey delivered to ISIL

7--The cannibalized economy: As stock buybacks reach historic levels, signs that corporate America is undermining itself

8--Russia Dramatically Increases Her Anti-Daesh Operations, saker

9--Ex-Prison Guard Reveals US Detention Camp Spawned Senior ISIL Leaders

Soon after the US invasion of Iraq began, military leaders set up a detention center known as Camp Bucca to house thousands of men believed – rightly or wrongly – to be militant threats....

In addition to housing a number of top lieutenants of the self-proclaimed Islamic State terrorist group, one of those detainees, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, would go on to found the militant organization after he was deemed to not be a threat.
"That’s what happened to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is he was deemed not a threat and released back into the community," Gray said. "In fact, he had been viewed, really, as somebody that was a mediator and a moderating influence."
"When I first got to Bucca they gave us a big pep talk and said 'treat these guys great because the next Nelson Mandela might be in the facility,'" he added. "And I thought later, well not only was the next Nelson Mandela not at Bucca, but the first Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was and they simply didn’t pick up on it

10--Russia's Lavrov: U.S. Is Not Seriously Fighting Against The Islamic State

Today President Putin announced that the destruction of a Russian airliner with 224 people on board over the Sinai peninsula had indeed been an Islamic State terror attack. Traces of explosives were found on parts of the debris.
The Russian mission in Syria is no longer just to help the Syrian government but is now a matter of Russian national self-defense. The Russian parliament was not shy in assigning guilt:
"The recent tragic developments confirm the topicality of Russia’s continuous warnings that permanent destabilization in the Middle East by those who claim global dominance, primarily the United States, could lead to the expansion of the zone of bloody chaos and entail numerous human tragedies," the document says. "France and other European states are, as a matter of fact, reaping the consequences of Washington’s nearsighted and selfish policy."
There will now be no backing out for Russia and no time limit

At the same time as Putin spoke Russian ships in the Caspian sea, submarines in the Mediterranean and long range strategic strike bombers flying from Russia launched 34 cruise missiles against Islamic State targets in Syria.
The Russian defense ministry announced that it would double its strikes in Syria using 5 TU-160, 6 TU-95MS, 14 TU-22m3. 8 SU-34 and 4 SU-27sm in addition to the 34 airplanes already in Syria. The new assets are long-range and will mostly fly directly from Russia. They will attack the static targets which the Russian and Syrian intelligence will designate. The planes in Syria will now take a more tactical role in direct combat air support for the Syrian army and the allied forces on the ground. The strike capacity will immediately double and it is planned to further increase it....

analysis of the strikes delivered by the United States and its coalition at terrorist positions over the past year drives us to a conclusion that these were selective, I would say sparing, strikes and in the majority of cases spared those Islamic State groups that were capable of pressing the Syrian army," he said.
"It looks like a cat that wants to eat a fish but doesn’t want to wet its feet. They want the Islamic State to weaken Assad as soon as possible to force him to step down this or that way but they don’t want to see Islamic State strong enough to take power."

11--Putin Names And Shames Obama Into Bombing IS Oil Smugglers

12--Experiencing the Nemesis of hubric exceptionalism‑Who are we now?

The intellectual heart of the project to the establish The New World Order and the strategy of achieving it is Brzezinski’s key idea, of a Balkanized Crescent.  This concept is built on Halford John Mackinder’s concept of the Asian Heartland as the Pivot of History https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Geographical_Pivot_of_History.  The fundamental principle of Balkanizing-the-Crescent is that in a nuclear world where it is too dangerous to take direct action against Russia, Russia can be weakened by the creation of chaos in its near neighbors.  By creating chaos in its neighborhood (Russia’s “Rimland” using Mackinder’s name) in a Balkanized Crescent,

Russia is forced to act to protect its interests in its Rimland and is weakened thereby. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rimland The necessity of Russia (né the Soviets) tamping out the nearby fires thereby weakens Russia’s power and freedom of action to the benefit of the U.S. and the global power of its Cabal leaders.  Moreover, given the centrality in the Crescent of competing proto-regional hegemons centered around Arabia and Iran, in Kissinger’s words, a pair of Sunni and Shiite Crescents, chaos in those sub-Crescents can prevent the development of either Arabia or Iran from obtaining hegemony in the region. As an added benefit, Israel is contained by being caught in the middle

JL: I believe so, yes. The West falsely believes that it can separate the regime from the state. It argues that it can pursue regime-change while simultaneously preserving the state and its institutions. Washington believes it can avoid the chaos it sewed in Iraq. I don’t believe it can. It wasn’t only Bremer that criminalized the Baath Party and disbanded the army. The Shiite politicians he empowered insisted on it. In most Middle Eastern countries, the regimes, for better or worse, have transformed the states into reflections of themselves. They have cannibalized the state. They have crammed their loyalists into every nook and cranny of the national institutions. They had to in order to coup-proof their regimes. They justified it in the name of bringing stability. State institutions are not autonomous.  Westerners believe that because their own state institutions are run by professional civil servants, Middle Eastern states are too. But they aren’t. Political appointees make up the entire edifice. They cannot simply be swapped out. Regime-change for an Arab country is not like administration change in a Western country. Destroying the regime means destroying the state. The price of regime-change is chaos. That is the situation in Syria today. It is the situation almost everywhere in the Middle East. Think of Saudi Arabia without the Saudi family. What would be left of the state?

14---US Warplanes Destroy 116 ISIS Fuel Trucks in Syria

15--Bin Laden warning

The following quotations are taken from the edict, as translated by the Federation of American Scientists. (FAS). The edict's full text is available on their web site.
"For over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples.""Despite the great devastation inflicted on the Iraqi people by the crusader-Zionist alliance, and despite the huge number of those killed, which has exceeded 1 million... despite all this, the Americans are once again trying to repeat the horrific massacres, as though they are not content with the protracted blockade imposed after the ferocious war or the fragmentation and devastation." ....

Any thief or criminal or robber who enters another country in order to steal should expect to be exposed to murder at any time. For the American forces to expect anything from me personally reflects a very narrow perception. Thousands of millions of Muslims are angry. The Americans should expect reactions from the Muslim world that are proportionate to the injustice they inflict
Bin Laden Edicts and Statements, Frontline, PBS

16--The Paris terror attacks, wsws

17--Richard Haass (CFR) with Fareed Zakaria Syria Analysis GPS --you tube
splintering syria   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TR2eUrar15g
"if this succeeds you'll have 5 or 6 enclaves That's the definition of success." Richard Haass

18---Turkey Claims It Warned France Twice About Paris Attacker


From beginning to end, Sanders accepts and defends the basic lie of American foreign policy, that the US military is waging a “war on terror” in the Middle East. In fact, ISIS and Al Qaeda are themselves the creation of American imperialism, the most reactionary and destructive force on the planet. Al Qaeda was created by the US intervention in Afghanistan in the 1980s, ISIS by the US intervention in Iraq and Syria over the past dozen years.

These organizations are not merely byproducts of misbegotten military adventures, but were directly organized and utilized at critical junctures by Washington. It was the CIA that brought Saudi Islamists like Osama bin Laden to Afghanistan in the 1980s. It was the CIA that recruited similar forces to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi in Libya and then attempt to overthrow Bashar al-Assad in Syria, giving rise to ISIS in both countries

20--Kerry’s counterproductive Syria strategy (with addendum) O Hanlon

Syria, a country of 23 million before the war (and perhaps 18 million now), would in theory require up to a half million peacekeepers if one applies the famous David Petraeus/James Mattis/James Amos force-sizing algorithm from the U.S. military’s counterinsurgency manual. But if a confederal model were pursued, the number of troops could be cut at least in half and perhaps more, since the force would only need to patrol along the borders of autonomous zones and within the central cities. This would still be a daunting proposition, and might have to include 20,000 American troops to be credible. Yet it would be far more practicable than a force that had to deploy in every town, city, and village throughout the country. At present, however, no one is talking about such a political model—because everyone is trying to pretend that the Vienna talks have a chance, and lend them moral support.

21--How would a no-fly zone work?
In 2013, Anthony Cordesman, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, suggested in an article that the U.S. could use long-range U.S. surface-to-air missiles to carve out a space in Jordan to train Syrian rebels or create humanitarian zones in Turkey and Jordan. But he warned those smaller steps might not prove effective to change the course of the war.
"For a no-fly zone to work, it has to be at least serious enough that Assad cannot fly fighters or helicopters without losing them and without losing his air bases if he persists," Cordesman wrote, saying it would require fighters, aircraft, drones and other intelligence and reconnaissance assets to enforce. It would, he warned, also possibly entail U.S. combat losses

22--Bill Kristol called for 50,000 US troops to seize Raqqa, the so called "Capital of ISIS".

"If it takes 50,000 troops going in there and cleaning out Raqqa, the capital of the Islamic State, do it," he said on ABC's "This Week."

As it happens, Kristol's remedy seemingly has widespread support among the pundit class. A similar analysis was offered by Brookings Michael O, Hanlon whose blueprint for splintering Syria appears to be the administration's operational roadmap. Here's what O' Hanlon says in his latest piece which he wrote just days ago:

I have written elsewhere, and in the blog post below, about my own recommendations for how to ramp up our role in both Syria and Iraq, in alliance with indigenous forces, NATO allies, and Middle East partners as well. That ramped-up involvement should include more U.S., NATO, and Gulf Cooperation Council special forces on the ground in both countries, to conduct raids and better orchestrate aerial attacks, but especially to accelerate training of Syrian moderate fighters and the Iraqi army .... It should include creative use of no-fly zones to hasten creation of conditions for a confederal settlement in Syria--targeting not airplanes in the air, but Syrian (not Russian) airfields and aircraft on the ground that have previously ignored our demands to stop bombing innocent Syrian populations. .....(NOTE: In other words, a war against Syria without UN approval.)

...In my eyes, the most realistic approach would establish a confederal state with several autonomous regions—one for Alawites, one for Kurds, perhaps one for the Druze, perhaps a couple for Sunni Muslim regions, and one or two for the central intermixed cities from Aleppo to Damascus. 
Putting Humpty Dumpty back together again in its original form has become a dream.
Syria, a country of 23 million before the war (and perhaps 18 million now), would in theory require up to a half million peacekeepers....But if a confederal model were pursued, the number of troops could be cut at least in half and perhaps more, since the force would only need to patrol along the borders of autonomous zones and within the central cities. This would still be a daunting proposition, and might have to include 20,000 American troops to be credible. Yet it would be far more practicable than a force that had to deploy in every town, city, and village throughout the country. At present, however, no one is talking about such a political model—because everyone is trying to pretend that the Vienna talks have a chance, and lend them moral support."
 call for Syrian surge

23--Putin puts his finger where it hurts most: Many states have financed the Islamists

24---The media and the Paris terror attacks
18 November 2015
Last Friday’s terror attacks in Paris have triggered an international media campaign aimed at inspiring panic and justifying an escalation of the wars in the Middle East and the assault on democratic rights within the US and Europe.
The establishment media accepts uncritically all of the claims of government officials, as well as their cynical statements of sympathy for the victims and their self-serving denunciations of the killers as evil incarnate. It works to use the latest attack to legitimize the wars and repressive measures that produced it and previous terrorist atrocities, while setting the stage for wider wars and outright dictatorship.
The calls for more troops and bombs in Syria and even more pervasive government spying, harsher policies against immigrants and other undemocratic measures have nothing to do with protecting anybody. They are about implementing pre-existing plans to seize the oil resources of the Middle East and clamp down on restive populations within the imperialist countries

It is widely reported that the ISIS operative alleged to have masterminded the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, had been linked to a series of abortive terror attacks in Europe over the past two years and had been put on a kill list. Yet in an ISIS video, Abaaoud boasts of being able to move back and forth between Syria and Europe without interference...

25--After Paris attacks, NATO powers press for military escalation in Syria

US-led wars lead to terror attacks in the imperialist countries by forces set in motion by the imperialists themselves. It turns out that the perpetrators were known to the state and in many cases were being tracked. Yet, somehow, the intelligence and police agencies had no foreknowledge.
The media swings into action to exploit popular shock and foment an atmosphere of insecurity and fear in order to justify further military aggression abroad and the abrogation of democratic rights at home.

This historical pattern is never raised, the better to impede any critical appraisal or political understanding of such events within the general population. Nevertheless, there is a vast chasm between the media image of popular support for war and anti-democratic measures and the real sentiments of the broad masses of people. They are aware that events such as the Paris killings are completely bound up with the wars in Central Asia and the Middle East—which they do not support.
The entire establishment media is complicit in war crimes abroad and a criminal attack on democratic rights at home. The lavishly paid pseudo-journalists and news anchors who transmit state propaganda in the guise of “news” should be held accountable by the international working class, along with their corporate paymasters.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Today's Links

1---US attacks on Syrian oil fields on the rise: White House
What took so long?

2--Oil Market Supply Imbalance Getting Worse, Not Better
One word: Manipulation

3--Turkey to be offered €3bn to help curb influx of refugees to EU
No money for Greece, but plenty to stop refugees

4--ISIS Jihadi John targeted in US airstrike – Pentagon
Putin kills hundreds of Isis in a week. US kills Jihadi John.. No one in media notices.

5--Kurds enter Iraqi Sinjar, raise flag, ISIS ‘defeated & running’ – reports
Well, that was easy

6-- Russia deploys S-400 in Syria
Just in time for the F-15 fly-overs

7--Real -life Red October missile system

The presentation slide titled “Ocean Multipurpose System: Status-6” showed some drawings of a new nuclear submarine weapons system. It is apparently designed to bypass NATO radars and any existing missile defense systems, while also causing heavy damage to “important economic facilities” along the enemy’s coastal regions. The footnote to the slide stated that Status-6 is intended to cause “assured unacceptable damage” to an adversary force. Its detonation “in the area of the enemy coast” would result in “extensive zones of radioactive contamination” that would ensure that the region would not be used for “military, economic, business or other activity” for a “long time.” According to the blurred information provided in the slide, the system represents a massive torpedo, designated as “self-propelled underwater vehicle,” with a range of up to 10 thousand kilometers and capable of operating at a depth of up to 1,000 meters.

8--Kurds’ Operation Underway in Sinjar, Blocks Key ISIL Supply Line

In a rare admission, the Pentagon said US troops advising the Kurds on their offensive were close enough to the front to identify ISIL targets and call in air strikes.
Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook told reporters most of the US-led coalition troops are behind the front lines working with Kurdish commanders, but that “there are some advisers who are on Sinjar mountain, assisting in the selection of air strike targets

9--Russian Warplanes Hit 289 Terrorist Targets in Syria in Two Days

Russian aviation destroyed a column of fuel tankers with crude oil, which was heading toward Iraq, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
"As a result of the aerial reconnaissance near Al Mayadin in the province of Deir ez-Zor, a convoy of fuel tankers heading toward the Syrian-Iraqi border was uncovered. According to data, the vehicles transported crude produced in the ISIL-controlled oil fields to refineries of terrorists located in Iraq."

A strike carried out by a Su-34 bomber completely destroyed the convoy of fuel tankers, Igor Konashenkov said.

10--Russia Acting in Sync With Moderate Opposition in Syria Putin

11--Turkey's path to dictatorship

Under the AKP’s proposed presidential system, the head of state would have the power to issue executive and legislative decrees, which effectively would mean that both the executive and legislative powers would be concentrated in the president’s hands. Parliament would retain its legislative function, but the president would have veto power over the laws it passes. Moreover, parliament would need a three-fifths majority to override a veto and pass it for a second time. The president would appoint the ministers and half of the members of higher courts, and would have the power to dissolve parliament. Unlike other presidential systems, the one proposed by the AKP stipulates that presidential and parliamentary elections be held simultaneously.

According to prominent law professor and lecturer Levent Koker, the idea of holding both elections on the same day is designed to ensure that the president and the dominant party in parliament are of the same political stripe. Professor Ergun Ozbudun, one of Turkey’s top constitutional scholars, is also seriously concerned about the AKP’s intentions. He said the AKP proposal amounts to “one-man rule with no mechanism of checks and balances.”

But analyzing the AKP’s presidential system hypothetically on paper may not be the best way. One has to take into account also the state of affairs on the ground. In a country where press freedom has hit a deplorable low and judicial independence is constantly on the wane, the question looms: Who can check and balance a strongman sitting at the heart of the system

12---For Iran, Syria outcome is critical

It is well known that there are Afghan, Iraqi, Iranian and Lebanese forces present in Syria. However, Salami has made it clear that Iran has based Pakistani forces in Syria as well. The armed forces that fight against Assad’s army have one thing in common: Their members come from a variety of nationalities. Because of the fatwas issued by the Sunni ulama (religious authorities), Muslims from Indonesia to the United States have gone to Syria to take part in what is referred to as a holy war, or jihad. It appears that the Islamic Republic is now also operating based on a similar fatwa and is organizing Shiite forces from the region and sending them to Syria to take part in a jihad, too. Such a scenario, if public opinion accepts it, can make up for the lack of human resources in the Syrian army and also lend religious legitimacy to Assad’s side.

Iran views the United States, Europe, NATO, most Gulf Cooperation Council states, Egypt and Jordan as direct threats. On the other hand, Iran also considers the cooperation of its neighbors such as Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Turkey with the United States and the West as a potential threat. Bearing in mind the UN Security Council sanctions on Iran and the stalled delivery of Russian S-300 air defense missiles, it is evident that Russia does not have a good record when it comes to Iran, either.

Therefore, looking at the situation from Tehran’s point of view, the only reliable allies of Iran in the region are the Iraqi and Syrian governments, as well as Hezbollah. Geopolitically, the survival of this “Shiite Crescent” is dependent on the survival of Assad’s Alawite regime. While willing to sit down and negotiate with the world powers over its nuclear program, Iran is not willing to endanger its vital and strategic interests in the region. Therefore, just as Salami noted, Iran is capable of participating in direct, and proxy, wars in the future.

13--Turks say No to dictatorship

Adil Gür, the owner of the A&G research company, declared that according to its survey in December 2014 and January 2015, 70 percent of respondents said no. He concludes that the Turkish public is against the presidential system.

A report by another polling company, Konsensus, says the same thing in different words: “We have been asking this question since 2010. Turkish people do not want a presidential system. In September 2014, 67 percent of respondents said they are against a presidential system. Also, 55 percent of Justice and Development (AK Party) voters are against this system.”

14--who backs al-Nusra? Even though it is officially denied, rumors that it is backed by MİT are being tossed around. It is further claimed that this support is given with the help of the organization that arranged the Mavi Marmara campaign.

“Now let us proceed by asking questions: Is there any link between the organization that arranged the Mavi Marmara incident and Syria's al-Nusra Front? Does MİT support it, knowing this connection? Are finance and arms provided to them via this organization?
“As is known, there are a number of humanitarian organizations operating in Syria. Most of these organizations rely on donations from people. Are funds transferred from the Turkish Treasury to some of these organizations? Which units transfer funds to the organization that arranged the Mavi Marmara incident? It is alleged that the Humanitarian Aid Foundation (İHH) uses funds from the government for its humanitarian campaigns in the region. Is this true? Does any public institution audit these fund transfers from the Treasury?

15--US behind effort to weaken Turkish military

Turkey's former top military official, who was convicted in the Ergenekon coup-plot case, has accused the US administration under then-President George Bush of being part of a plot against the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), which resulted in his and other TSK members' conviction.
“The George W. Bush administration supported the plot carried out against the TSK,” İlker Başbuğ, a former chief of general staff, said in his statement during the appeal hearing of the Ergenekon case at the Supreme Court of Appeals on Wednesday.

Maintaining that the Bush administration saw the TSK as the core of a deep state in the Turkish political system, a roadblock before its projects regarding Turkey and the Middle East, Başbuğ said: “This deep state posed an obstacle before the restructuring of the Middle East, the implementation [in Turkey] of the concept of moderate Islam, the production of a ‘political solution' to the terrorism problem in Turkey.”

He said in the hearing held at the court's 16th. Penal Chamber: “It can be said that this administration was sympathetic to what the TSK was subjected to [in the years that followed], that some state institutions and officials in these institutions took part in this plot or offered their support to it.”

16--A meaningful pose for photos by top Turkish commander

Turkey, perhaps for the first time, allowed its soil to be used for combat operations by both NATO allies and non-NATO countries when it struck a deal with the US in late July to open İncirlik Air Base in southern Turkey to the US-led coalition forces of about 60 nations in their fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Now, US F-16s, A-10s and KC-135 tanker aircraft, in addition to MQ-1 armed unmanned aircraft, are largely based at İncirlik, while some are situated at the Diyarbakır base in the Southeast. The deployment of various types of aircraft at Turkish bases has been followed by the arrival into Turkey of six F-15C Eagle fighters, famed for their air superiority. However, the deployment of the F-15s has been made upon the Turkish government's request, to help protect its airspace, which has lately been frequently violated by the Russian forces in Syria

The first six of 12 US F-15C Eagle jet fighters, which arrived in İncirlik Air Base on Nov. 6, were sent by the US government to conduct combat air patrols in Turkish airspace at the request of Ankara, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told reporters on Nov. 10.....

The approved use of İncirlik thus marks a major shift in Turkey's position towards its allies operating from Turkey, with US F-16s and A-10s also now having been deployed to the base since July.
As a matter of fact, Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar recently posed for photographs with foreign officers deployed to İncirlik, indicating the Turkish Armed Forces' (TSK) openness to hosting foreign forces for combat missions. Moreover, photographs of him with foreign officers can also be interpreted as preparing the generally ultranationalist Turkish citizens for the fact that foreign forces can use Turkish soil for the purposes of attacking a target -- i.e., ISIL -- now deemed a threat to Turkey. Turkey's perception of ISIL as a threat only came recently when ISIL started to direct its attacks on Turkish soil with the October suicide bombing outside Ankara's main train station, which killed more than 100 people, and with a similar incident taking place in Suruç, Turkey, in July.

17---The so called "moderate opposition"...What a farce: U.N. envoy meets with representatives of more than 230 Syrian groups

Secretary of State John Kerry assured members of the Syrian opposition on Thursday that they will play a key role in charting the future of their country, insisting diplomatic efforts to end the conflict in the Arab state are “not about imposing anything on anyone.”...

There are numerous Syrian opposition and other groups, many of them not moderate by U.S. standards but acceptable to other countries. Kerry himself noted that a U.N. envoy has met with representatives of more than 230 Syrian groups, including the Syrian government of Bashar Assad.
“I want to be clear: the Syrian people will be the validators of this whole effort,” Kerry said during a speech at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. “Our own special envoy, Michael Ratney, has also been in constant communication with Syrian representatives, and I have met with opposition leaders myself. So this is not about imposing anything on anyone.”

18--Strange days: Corporate bond inventories below zero
Where's the liquidity?

Market moves that aren't supposed to happen keep happening

Barnaby Martin, a credit strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, made this point earlier this year. The number of assets registering large moves—four or more standard deviations away from their normal trading range—has been increasing. Such moves would normally be expected to happen once every 62 years.

While Martin blamed much of the confusion on unexpected decisions by central banks—such as the Swiss National Bank's surprise decision to scrap its long-standing currency cap—there have been sharp market moves with seemingly little reasons behind them. Perhaps the best-known example is Oct. 15, 2014, when the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury briefly plunged 33 basis points—a seven standard-deviation move that should happen once every 1.6 billion years, based on a normal distribution of probabilities.
Some market participants have also blamed lower market liquidity for the wild moves. At TD Securities, analysts Priya Misra and Gennadiy Goldberg argued that similar liquidity issues to the ones related to corporate bonds could also be extending into the $12.8 trillion U.S. Treasury market

Volatility is itself more volatile

19---Moody’s Warns about Credit Crunch, Unnerves with Parallels to 2008!

The US bond market has swollen to $40 trillion. Over $8 trillion are corporate bonds, up a mind-boggling 50% from when the Fed unleashed its zero-interest-rate policy and QE seven years ago.
So far this year, $1.34 trillion in new corporate bonds have been issued, up 6.8% from last year at this time, which had already been a record year, according to the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA). Bond issuance in 2012, 2013, and 2014 set ever crazier records; 2015 is on track to set an even crazier one: close to $1.5 trillion.

That’s a lot of newly borrowed moolah. Much of it is being used to pay for dividends, stock buybacks, M&A, and other worthy financial engineering projects designed to inflate stock prices, though that strategy has turned into a sorry dud this year.

Junk bonds now make up $1.8 trillion of this pile of corporate debt, nearly double the $944 billion in junk bonds outstanding at the end of 2008 before the Fed saved the economy, so to speak.
But what happens when this flood of cheaply borrowed money begins to dry up as an ever larger percentage of that $1.8 trillion in junk bonds begins to default, while ever more high-grade bonds get downgraded to junk?
That’s the end of the credit cycle – and the beginning of financial nightmares. It’s the phase the bond market has already entered, according to a report by John Lonski, Chief Economist at Moody’s Capital Markets Research.

And these “projected and actual default rates” are already taking off. The Expected Default Frequency (EDF) of US and Canadian junk-rated companies, a metric of future defaults, hit 5.6%, the highest since the 6.4% of August 2009.
Moody’s unnerving parallels to 2008, 2009!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Today's Links

1---Syrian opposition provided intel to target terrorists around besieged key airbase - Russia

2---Again, instead of brokering peace in the region, Washington decided to add some more fuel to the fire to escalate the crisis.
"Unmarked NATO warplanes are arriving at Turkish military bases close to Iskenderum on the Syrian border, delivering weapons from the late Muammar Gaddafi's arsenals as well as volunteers from the Libyan Transitional National Council who are experienced in pitting local volunteers against trained soldiers, a skill they acquired confronting Gaddafi's army," former CIA intelligence analyst Philip Giraldi reported in December 2011

US fighter jets have been deployed in Turkey to protect slower American warplanes from potential Russian or Syrian attacks, a Pentagon official says.
Six F-15C warplanes are tasked with providing cover for bomber, attack and cargo aircraft from threats posed by Syrian and Russian fighters, an unnamed US defense official told USA Today on Tuesday.

The US Air Force B-1 bombers, A-10 and AC-130 attack planes, which are reportedly used in US-led strikes on Daesh (ISIL) positions in Syria, all fly at slow speeds and are vulnerable to attacks from enemy pilots, the official added.

3--Hidden Origins of Syria’s Civil War

4--FSA: Fact or Fiction? Media Maskirovka: Russia and the Free Syrian Army
by Aron Lund, editor of Syria in Crisis

We are ready to support from the air the patriotic opposition, including the so-called Free Syrian Army,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recently told Russian state television. But, he said, Moscow is currently unable to do so, since it cannot figure out who leads the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the United States won’t help identify them. Lavrov’s comments were met with derision and scorn by Syrian rebels, including many self-declared FSA members, who complain that the Russian Air Force has been bombing them since September 30....

These reports come as Russian officials are trying to manage the political fallout of President Vladimir Putin’s intervention in Syria

if you’re not a die-hard partisan of either Vladimir Putin or of the late and unlamented presidency of George W. Bush, you will by now have noticed that the Kremlin’s “anti-terrorist” discourse is essentially indistinguishable from the bullshit shoveled into the media by the American White House ten years ago, and equally self-serving, misleading, and destructive. And it, too, works beautifully

On November 3, we were told that the Russian military is now in touch with a large number of opposition groups, which have begun feeding the Russians battlefield coordinates to help them take out “terrorists.” Then, finally, on November 5, Sputnik News brought on one Mahmoud al-Effendi to announce that officials from the Russian foreign and defense ministries will meet with the FSA leaders in Abu Dhabi next week.
Is this the long-expected Syrian game changer? Is the Free Syrian Army, Syria’s much-vaunted moderate mainstream opposition, now defecting from its Western and Gulf allies to instead hook up with Russia and Bashar al-Assad?
No, not quite....

Reuters, for example:
Almost 80 percent of Russia’s declared targets in Syria have been in areas not held by Islamic State, a Reuters analysis of Russian Defence Ministry data shows, undermining Moscow’s assertions that its aim is to defeat the group

A Brief History of the Free Syrian Armies
The Syrian insurgent movement has always been composed of many different factions. Today, there is about ten or twenty larger organizations, but most of them remain regionally focused and they are continually fragmenting on the fringes, with additional hundreds of smaller rebel bands drifting and out of local alliances.

Many of these groups refer to themselves as part of the FSA, and when the United States and other Western governments provide support to the rebels, they also talk about aiding the FSA. Much of the media has thrown the FSA term around for years, only rarely trying to clarify what’s meant by it except to say that the FSA is a “moderate rebel group” or a “loosely aligned movement” or some such. The confusion stems from the fact that there is no straightforward definition and that many different people, groups, and countries use the word “FSA” to apply to many different things.
The concept of a “Free Syrian Army” first emerged in July 2011, when a “Supreme Command for the Free Syrian Army” was launched by Syrian military defectors in Turkey...

Yet, the FSA was wildly successful as a branding operation. ...

In December 2012, several countries pooled their efforts to set up something called the General Staff, which had an appended Supreme Military Council. This evolved into the “new FSA,” under the leadership of Brigadier General Salim Idriss. While Idriss’s FSA command would become far more successful than previous unification attempts, it remained a virtual army at best—a kind of political superstructure resting on top of a Gulf Arab-Western-Turkish funding stream for selected Syrian factions, which lacked any central control over them. After limping along for a year and a half, this version of the FSA finally imploded in 2014....

Behind the Scenes: MOM and MOC
The failure to produce an official FSA leadership does not mean that there are no material structures connecting these segments of the insurgency. Thousands of rebel fighters have by now been vetted, trained, and approved for material support via two Military Operations Centers, which feed the insurgency from across the Turkish and Jordanian borders. The one in Turkey is colloquially known as the MOM, for Müşterek Operasyon Merkezi, while its Jordanian counterpart is called the MOC, after its English initials.....

Apart from Turkey and Jordan, these centers gather representatives of the United States, Saudi Arabia, France, and a bunch of other governments. Their role is to coordinate and supervise the flow of arms and ammunition to a select number of rebel groups. Foreign intelligence services, chief among them the CIA, collaborate through these centers to pick which groups should be eligible for support. They will not receive a stamp of approval until their members have been vetted for suspicious contacts, declared that they will stay away from alliances with al-Qaeda, and showed some interest in a negotiated solution to the conflict. The groups involved enjoy different levels of trust and approval, but many also receive “unofficial” support on the side from, for example, Turkey, Qatar, or Saudi Arabia, or various private funders.

So far, this arrangement has been accepted by something like a hundred rebel factions all in all, although a head count is complicated by the fact that they are often folded into overlapping regional umbrellas. While each faction is typically quite small and few of them enjoy national name recognition, they collectively make up a fairly significant segment of the armed opposition. In southern Syria, MOC-funded groups seem to account for a majority of the insurgency. The northern MOM-backed factions enjoy less influence than their southern counterparts, but they are still a considerable force around Aleppo, and some have used U.S.-manufactured missiles to establish themselves in an important niche role as anti-tank units in the Idleb-Hama region.....

These groups are what the U.S. government typically refers to when it talks about “the FSA” and there is indeed a very considerable overlap between MOM/MOC-backed factions and factions that self-designate as “FSA.” This crude definition (MOM + MOC = FSA) is also increasingly used by the Syrian exile opposition, the rebels themselves, and others who follow this conflict....

Who Is Using Whom?
At this point, it should be obvious that someone is being conned, but I’m still not quite sure about who is is using whom. The deeper you dig into the connections between Russia and fringe figures in the Syrian diaspora, the more bizarre it gets; a world halfway between Joseph Conrad and Thomas Pynchon, only without the redeeming qualities of style and credible characters.
So what is actually going on here? I see two options...


Russia’s rivals cannot protest Moscow’s fraudulent claims without engaging in a debate about who actually should represent the FSA in talks with Assad, if it shouldn’t be Masri, Effendi, or the other candidates suggested by Moscow. Since there is no central FSA leadership and no consensus on which groups should be labeled “FSA,” that’s like trying to nail jelly to a wall.

It is a problem partly of the Americans’ own making. Indeed, one could say that the opposition’s backers are now falling victim to their own propaganda. For years, officials in the US, Europe, Turkey, and the Arab World have been promoting ”the moderate FSA” or even “the secular FSA” as Syria’s great hope for the future, without ever arriving at a better explanation of what that means than ”any damned armed group in Syria that we can work with.” It is undoubtedly a definition, of a kind, but how do you sell it to the general public? What do you do when journalists, voters, or even congressmen start to ask questions about who, exactly, is at the receiving end of all this taxpayers’ money?

The Russian government has now started to exploit this deliberately engineered ambiguity for its own purposes. By rebranding their own allies and all kinds of random exiles as “FSA representatives,” they are trying to wring a very useful fiction out of the hands of their enemies or, failing that, to destroy it by adding to the confusion.

As a poker-faced Bogdanov recently put it when discussing whether the FSA should be part of hypothetical future peace talks:
In general, we support their participation as a structure. We do not yet understand who will represent it. We are waiting for them to manifest more clearly or for our partners who maintain relations with the Free Syrian Army to tell us.
Some might call this diplomacy. I call it elite-level trolling

The location of the Kuweires Airbase provides a potential staging ground for regime forces to conduct further operations that challenge ISIS’s presence in the eastern part of the Aleppo province. to contest ISIS-held terrain on the eastern outskirts of Aleppo City as well as critical ISIS supply lines connecting ar-Raqqa City to the Turkish border.

 This success will definitely provide a powerful morale boost to the military forces loyal to the Syrian government. The operation constitutes a much-needed symbolic victory for the Syrian regime following major territorial losses in the first half of 2015.

5---Erdoğan offers 'friendly warning' against fueling conflict in Syria

The return of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) to single-party government in an election this month gives Turkey the opportunity to take stronger steps on regional issues, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Wednesday.

In an apparent reference to Russia's involvement in neighbouring Syria, he also offered a "friendly warning" that those adding fuel to the conflict would find themselves in the same fire.
Speaking at a business meeting of the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) in Ankara, Erdoğan said the result of the Nov. 1 election, which saw the AK Party garner nearly 50 percent of the vote on Nov. 1, would bring an end to political uncertainty in the country.

Erdoğan's remarks came as Turkey once again floats the idea of a safe zone in Syria and amid talk of Turkish involvement in a ground operation in its southern neighbor. In remarks on Tuesday, Erdoğan said Turkey's allies in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are getting closer to the idea of forming a safe zone in Syria and that he saw positive developments on a no-fly zone and the carrying out of air operations.

Erdoğan also said in comments broadcast live by CNN Türk that Turkey would not tolerate Kurdish militants advancing to the west of the Euphrates, which Ankara fears will lead to the formation of a Kurdish corridor near its southern border.....

The Turkish military, however, gives two conditions for the intervention in Syria. According to a news report that appeared in the Hürriyet daily, the military is against any sort of intervention in Syria that does not have UN support or the participation of NATO, of which Turkey is a member. The Turkish military seeks a legitimate grounding for any operation and looks for international platforms to justify its possible action in the future.
The other scenario under consideration that may legitimize action, according to the military, is a direct attack from the Syrian side which would immediately lay grounds for retaliation and a possible intervention under the UN's relevant chapters regulating a member-state's right for self-defense. Only in that case, the military says, Turkey may intervene in Syria within the scope of self-defense

6--Syria: The Opposition

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has compiled a list of Syrian opposition leaders suitable to sit at the negotiating table opposite of Bashar al-Assad. The list includes both former and current leaders of the National Coalition of Opposition and Revolutionary Forces (NCORF), the leaders of the so-called National Coordination Committee (NCC), leaders of several movements and parties as well as ethnic and religious communities, (including the Muslim Brotherhood), north-eastern tribes, influential businessmen, and cultural figures....

The all-national assembly would continue the process which was begun in Geneva, Moscow, Cairo, and Astana and culminate with the formation of a national unity government which would include the most distinguished members of key opposition and loyalist factions. The transition government would be headed by an authoritative opposition figure whose candidacy would be acceptable to all the members of the assembly. The transition government would rule for two years, following which parliamentary and presidential elections would be held.

7--Hurriyet headline: Turkey: Land op possible but not alone

8--Erdogan pushes for no fly zone

“Let’s make the train equip [program]. Declare a terror free zone. Declare a no-fly zone and resolve this issue. Therefore, those from Syria will not travel to Europe or other places. We’ll place those [Syrian refugees] here in housing that will be set up in that region,” he stated.

He implied that the area would be cleared of both the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and Syrian Kurdish fighters, whom Ankara accuses of being a Syrian offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is involved in heavy fighting with Turkish security forces in Turkey’s southeast.

Turkey has repeatedly pressed for a safe zone inside Syria stretching down from Azaz and Jarablus in the north, which could house some of the 2.2 million Syrian refugees currently hosted by Turkey and act as a buffer to protect Turkish territory.

The idea has met with only a lukewarm response from world powers but there have been indications from Ankara in the last few days that the West is coming closer to its point of view.

9--We’re in the Early Stages of Largest Debt Default in US History

10--US fighter jets sent to help protect Turkish airspace: Pentagon

11--Turkey: Syria land operation possible but not alone
12---OECD cuts estimate for global growth

13---The UK military, Jeremy Corbyn and the threat of dictatorship

The “impartiality” of the armed forces that Corbyn insists must be preserved has always been a fiction. They are the “special bodies of armed men” identified by Friedrich Engels as the essential instrument for preserving the rule of capital—not only against external threats, but against the internal threat posed by any serious social and political opposition that emerges in the working class.
Under today’s conditions, this fiction can no longer be maintained.

For decades, all the major powers have waged an unending series of wars of colonial conquest—in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now Syria. Beginning with the putsch organised by Washington in Ukraine, NATO has been placed on a collision course with Russia, while in the East the US is attempting to forge a military alliance including Japan and Australia against China.
This explosion of imperialist violence demands a frontal assault on democratic rights in the form of a raft of “anti-terror” legislation undermining civil liberties and the intense surveillance of virtually every man, woman and child in the world. In every major capitalist country, the power and political influence of the military grow by leaps and bounds.

These developments are driven by a systemic crisis of the profit system, which has only deepened since the crash of 2008, and the determination of a global financial oligarchy to utilise the crisis to further its self-enrichment. To this end, governments everywhere, whatever their formal designation, are charged by their paymasters with imposing ever more savage attacks on the jobs, living standards and social rights of the working class.

As social opposition grows, so do the preparations for dictatorial measures by military and intelligence figures, without any significant opposition from elected officials or the media.
The turn to austerity, militarism and war is incompatible with the preservation of democracy.

14---US escalates air and ground operations in Iraq and Syria

Appearing on ABC’s “This Week” program on Sunday, Carter affirmed that the US is “absolutely” committed to new ground operations. Although technically deployed as “advisers,” US ground troops “may find themselves in combat,” he said.

One day prior to Carter’s speech in California, reports confirmed that the US had begun deploying F-15C dogfighting jets to the Turkish-Syrian border. The F-15s are designed for air-to-air combat and have never previously been deployed to the US war zones in Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan. Under the present circumstances, their arrival is clearly intended as a threat against Moscow, whose MiG jet fighters the F-15 was designed to counter