Sunday, August 16, 2015

Today's Links

Today's quote:  "The Times is up to its old tricks, working in tandem with the most rabidly militaristic factions of the US ruling elite to condition the American people for even more bloody and destructive wars in the Middle East and beyond

1---'Middle Eastern Union': West Redrawing Map of Middle East at Will

The strategy of balkanization can be traced back to at least the early 1990's, when British-American historian Bernard Lewis wrote an article published in the 1992 issue of the CFR's publication, 'Foreign Affairs', titled: Rethinking the Middle East. He envisages the potential of the region disintegrating "into a chaos of squabbling, feuding, fighting sects, tribes, regions and parties," the Scottish analyst emphasized.

Curiously enough, the scenario depicted by Lewis in the 1990s is strikingly similar to what we see today, he stressed.

Referring to former US secretary of state and CFR member Henry Kissinger, the researcher stressed that Kissinger has repeatedly called for the fragmentation of Syria into the "more or less autonomous regions."
At the same time, some of the Pentagon's formerly classified documents, particularly a 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report, released in May 2015, indicated that "Western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey" — who have long been supporting the so-called "Syrian opposition" — were considering the creation of a "Salafist principality in Eastern Syria in order to isolate the Syrian regime."

2--Obama says Assad must go, 2011

After a month of interagency emails, intelligence assessments and legal reviews, the White House settled on a written statement that President Barack Obama would issue on Aug. 18, 2011. There was a preamble hailing the peaceful demonstrators who stood up to the regime’s “ferocious brutality,” and then the money line:
“For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.”

3--British SAS forces dress up as ISIS

4--Interview 1075 – Sibel Edmonds Examines Turkey, Syria and the Kurdish Question

5--NATO Members Involved in ISIL’s Oil-Smuggling Activities - German Media

6--Iran-authored Syria plan en route to UN

senior Iranian Foreign Ministry official told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that his country has a four-step plan for Syria. The plan was presented to Turkey, Qatar and Egypt, then other member states of the UN, and has seen some amendments. “It’s still feasible,” the official said.
When it was presented, the proposal’s four steps were: Secure an immediate cease-fire, create a national unity government, rewrite Syria’s constitution to include the majority of Syrian ethnic groups and hold national elections under international supervision....

To Iran today, the priority in the region is fighting IS. That goal has been expressed on several occasions by many Iranian officials, not to mention the YouTube message Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif recorded in July during the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna. At that time Zarif said, “Our common threat today is the growing menace of violent extremism and outright barbarism. Iran was first to rise to the challenge and propose to make confronting this threat a global priority, when it launched WAVE, World Against Violence and Extremism.”...

Iran believes the major powers have committed strategic mistakes in their war on terror since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. According to the senior Iranian official, “The only real way to suppress IS and other extremist groups is stopping the flow of money, weapons and jihadists to the region.”
The counter-terrorism committee set up under the UN Security Council’s auspices should take a more active role in convincing countries supporting terrorism to stop the flow of arms and fighters to the extremist groups in Syria and Iraq, he said, noting, “Combining these mechanisms with initiatives such as WAVE” presented by Iran and approved last year in the UN General Assembly, could increase the chance of restoring stability in the region.

Since the announcement of the Iran deal with the major world powers, Iran has been trying to approach the Arab world in a temperate manner. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has taken several phone calls with different regional leaders, while Zarif visited Kuwait, Iraq and Qatar

7--Operation Condor: Cross-Border Disappearance and Death

8---Syria crisis: What's behind the fresh diplomatic push?

Some of the meetings have been rare or unprecedented:
  • In Doha, three-way talks on Syria between the US, Russian and Saudi foreign ministers
  • A rare trip to Oman by the Syrian foreign minister, who also shuttled to Tehran to meet top Iranian and Russian officials
  • In Riyadh, reports of a low-key but groundbreaking meeting between top Syrian and Saudi intelligence officials
  • To Moscow, a stream of rather more high-profile visitors, from the Saudi foreign minister to various Syrian opposition members
  • A tour by the Iranian foreign minister through Middle Eastern and South Asian capitals to promote a new peace plan which Tehran says it will take to the United Nations....
Russia continues to insist that its support is not for President Assad himself, but for Syria's legitimate government.
The US and other Western partners no longer declaim that "Assad must go" before there is a political settlement.
But any viable "grand bargain" looks to be a long way off. And meanwhile those fighting to seize territory on the ground are not party to any of this diplomacy.
So the big question is: can slow diplomacy move fast enough to prevent Syria from imploding into total anarchy - over which the outside world would have no influence?

9--Americans Are Finally Waking Up To "False Flag" Terror
Joel Veldkamp lays out and analyses that strategy:
Why does the U.S. only have sixty fighters to show for its $500 million, year-old training program? Because it reinforces the narrative – nurtured by a raft of previous hopelessly inadequate, publicly-announced and -debated programs to support the opposition – of the U.S. as a helpless bystander to the killing in Syria, and of President Obama as a prudent statesman reluctant to get involved. While the Senate berates the Pentagon chief over the program’s poor results, the U.S. is meanwhile outsourcing the real fight in Syria to allies with no qualms about supporting al Qaeda against their geopolitical opponents – unless the U.S. is, as before, cooperating directly or indirectly in that support. Once it is recognized that the “helpless bystander” narrative is false, and that the U.S. has been deeply involved in the armed conflict almost from the start, it becomes both possible and necessary to question that involvement
11--AKP plans to hold election in October after party congress

12--We really can’t succeed against ISIL without Turkey: US(How to conduct an undeclared war in full view of the world community without drawing the unwanted publicity of the Iraq war)

Here is the full text of the interview:

We really can’t succeed against Daesh without Turkey.

Following the recent “İncirlik agreement” between Turkey and United States, Turkey started a massive air campaign against outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) targets in northern Iraq. U.S. officials have stated several times that these attacks are not part of the İncirlik deal. Does this mean that the U.S. government was not informed in advance of these airstrikes? And if it was, has it conveyed its consent to this air campaign? 

Our two presidents, President [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan and President [Barack] Obama, then spoke a few days later and agreed that these principles were the basis on which to proceed and at that moment, there was an agreement between the two heads of states to open up İncirlik airbase and to begin strike operations against Daesh [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant].
So the notion that Turkey is attacking PKK and not Daesh is more an issue about working out the arrangements by which Turkey will be striking Daesh than anything having to do with our agreement with them.

So it’s not because Turkey is prioritizing PKK attacks rather than Daesh targets?
Well, again, let’s be straight. The PKK is a threat to Turkey. The PKK is launching attacks now inside Turkey almost every day. Those attacks have to stop. Daesh is also a threat to Turkey. [ISIL] is a threat to us, and we have a mission from the president to do everything we can through a coalition to degrade and ultimately defeat Daesh.  We are going to do that.
Can I repeat my question. Has the Turkish government informed the US government in advance of these airstrikes against the PKK? And if it has, has the US conveyed its consent to this air campaign?....

Was the U.S. surprised by the scope of the air campaign against the PKK?
No, I don’t think we were surprised...
The air campaign has been going on for a year and actually started about a year ago just last week. We have done now more than 6,000 airstrikes. We have a way of doing things. And it is one of the most precise air campaigns in history. ...

Turkey has made very clear that it is fully committed to the campaign against Daesh and it has opened up its air facilities for coalition aircraft to fly to strike against Daesh. That happened last night. That’s a real game-changer. The flight from İncirlik airbase to Syria is about 15 minutes. The flight for an aircraft from the Gulf, from Bahrain to Syria is about 3 hours. That’s a significant difference. And that has now begun.

Turkey has also cracked down on a number of foreign fighter facilitation networks here inside Turkey and we share a lot of information and cooperating fully on that.....

There is a big discrepancy between the public statements of U.S. and Turkish officials on the question of a safe zone and no-fly zone and this causes confusion among many Turkish people. While Turkish officials call for a safe zone or no-fly zone, U.S. officials insistently oppose this idea. An “ISIL-free zone” seems to be the term which they agreed on. Would you agree with that? And could you please explain why the U.S. stands against the formation of a safe zone? Is it because it carries the risk of a clash with the regime’s forces...

We agreed that we have to focus and concentrate efforts on this particular area, and we’re working out now how to do it. And then afterwards, once we clear Daesh out of this area, of course, we want to have the conditions that allow for refugees to voluntarily return to their homes. But that’s going to take some time, and so we’re not at that point yet.

So we’re not really focused on what we call it. What’s really important is we want to get Daesh out of this area. We want to restore life to this very important area of Syria, and we’re going to be working with Turkey together for how to do that....

You said there are a number of reasons why the U.S. doesn’t support a safe zone. What are those reasons? Is it related to the international community’s approval? Or is it linked to the risk of a clash with the Syrian regime’s forces?
I think the word “safe zone” harkens back to the debate we had about a no-fly zone, and again, we just don’t think it’s a very useful debate. It doesn’t really matter what you call it. The objective is to get Daesh out of this critical area of the border, as we have worked with other groups across Syria and also in Iraq to get Daesh out of critical terrain and critical towns in Iraq and also in northern Syria. So that is the objective. So if you want to call it an ISIL-free zone, that’s fine. We’re going to defeat ISIL in this critical area, and we want to establish the conditions for life to return....

And there are a number of other things going on in the campaign, how this all fits together, but it’s a really critical piece of terrain. It has to do with how they supply their foreign fighters, and there are a whole host of reasons it’s very important. So we’ve been talking to Turkey about how can we work together to do this. We want Syrians on the ground to do this. This is not going to involve U.S. troops; it’s not going to involve Turkish troops. So we’re looking to work together to organize Syrian forces on the ground in Syria - Syrian moderate opposition forces - to be able to operate effectively against Daesh in this very critical and strategic area.....

(Incirlik is the key to win war against assad)  flying out of İncirlik, and Turkey flying with us out of İncirlik, the possibility of other coalition partners flying out of İncirlik, will really change the whole game in this critical area of the northern border. And we just don’t want to get focused on the terminology and what it’s called. We really want to get focused on “how do you get Daesh out of this area?”

(after talking for 20 min that the whole conflict was aimed at ISIS, he now admits the real goal is assad)  I think everybody recognizes that there’s no stable future in Syria with Bashar al-Assad as the head of the regime in Damascus. So therefore the only way to end this terrible conflict is with a political transition that leads to the ouster of Bashar al-Assad. I think there’s an emerging, very broad consensus on this point, and there’s a lot of diplomatic activity, as you’ve said. Secretary Kerry was recently in Doha meeting with Adel al-Jubeir, the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia, and with Foreign Minister Lavrov of Russia to talk about – specifically about Syria. So there is a lot of diplomatic activity. There are a lot of new ideas emerging.

But what is really emerging as a consensus is that the only way to stabilize Syria and bring an end to this terrible conflict is through a political transition process that leads to the departure of Bashar al-Assad...

Look, our mission against Daesh is to defeat Daesh, and we’re going to do all we can for as long as it takes to defeat Daesh. We have outlined a general principle that we think it will take across Iraq and Syria. I think we have to be very realistic. This is very difficult. The fighting on the ground is being done by partners on the ground. It’s not being done by U.S. soldiers. It’s not being done by Turkish soldiers. So everybody has to have a little bit of strategic patience....

(territorial claims make it possible to fight fake terrorists as one would a conventional army)  it wants to control territory. It wants to snuff the life out of these areas. And it also wants to remain a cellular terrorist organization. We want to try to defeat it in all facets. We want to take away its territory. We want to take away its financing. We want to take away its recruiting tools. We want to dry up the foreign fighter networks not only in Syria and Iraq but across the entire globe. That is going to take time. But we have built an international coalition to do it. Turkey is a key partner of that coalition, and we’re going to keep pressing at it.

You think Iraq and Syria will remain as unitary states?
(admission that maliki was replaced because abadi supports partitioned Iraq) Well, the vision for Iraq, which is the Iraqi vision as outlined in their constitution, is for a united federal and democratic Iraq. And one of the key words is federal. That’s a principle of decentralization of powers, and that’s a key principle of Prime Minister al-Abadi. This makes al-Abadi very different from the former prime minister, who was really a believer in greatly centralized power. Prime Minister al-Abadi believes in decentralizing power and a more federal nature of governance. We call it a “functioning federalism.” We believe that is the model that’s outlined in Iraq’s constitution. It’s their vision, the vision of the Iraqi government. We do believe that’s a model for a stabilized Iraq – a functioning federalism.

In Syria, given the state of the conflict right now – I know it’s very difficult to foresee how Syria can be stabilized – but our principles are very clear. We believe in the territorial integrity of Syria, and it’s ultimately up for Syrians to determine what the post-Assad future in Syria will look like.
(in other words, Syria will be broken up too, like Iraq)...

Just last night (aug 12) our first U.S. F-16s began airstrikes against Daesh from İncirlik. The next step is to get Turkey fully integrated into our air campaign, and that should happen soon. Then we will address the question of additional coalition partners. But that will ultimately be a decision for the government of Turkey and for the capitals of the coalition partners

13--Erdogan declares himself king for life

14--New York Times uses rape allegations to promote a wider war in the Middle East

The Times is up to its old tricks, working in tandem with the most rabidly militaristic factions of the US ruling elite to condition the American people for even more bloody and destructive wars in the Middle East and beyond....

It is impossible to know the extent to which women and girls are being subjected to rape by the various Islamist militias, including those armed and funded by Washington and its allies, which are contending for territory and power in Iraq and Syria. That such crimes are taking place is hardly in doubt. They are a common feature of war.
But even if the practice is as widespread and systematic as the Times contends, the ultimate responsibility rests with United States imperialism. It has carried out wars in Iraq, Libya and Syria that have devastated those countries (something, of course, the Times fails to mention).

Three societies that were among the most secular and advanced in the Middle East and North Africa have been destroyed and turned into killing fields. Rape was not a serious problem before Washington intervened to occupy Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein, overthrow and murder Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, and ignite a sectarian civil war for regime-change against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Moreover, the forces that comprise ISIS emerged as proxies of the US and offshoots of its principal regional allies—Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey—in these wars. Even as it wages war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the US continues to collaborate with Al Qaeda-linked terrorists such as the al-Nusra Front in Syria.
There is a huge element of cynicism in the Times’ newfound concern for the fate of the Yazidis. They and other minorities are picked up and dropped as “human rights” causes in accordance with the immediate requirements of American imperialism.

15--UN aid chief in first Syria trip to assess needs
he was ready to work with the Syrian government to alleviate humanitarian suffering in the country

And with an additional 7.6 million Syrians displaced internally, around half of the country's overall population has been uprooted by the war.
UN agencies estimate some 12.2 million Syrians are in need of aid, among them more than 5.6 million children

16--Erdogan declares himself king. Media yawns

This is mainly why the world media is full of stories about diplomats from Russia, the United States and several Middle Eastern powers engaged in a burst of diplomatic activity. Among other objectives, they seem to be trying to head off a catastrophic collapse of Syria that could further strengthen ISIL. The most interesting development came when Moscow responded favorably to Saudi openings about the growing power of Iran. It is important to note that the Russians were also very much willing to talk to the Saudis, primarily about their growing concerns about ISIL and other Jihadist groups' infiltration in the North Caucasus.

18--Dismantling military's transgender ban to begin Monday

19--Cost of treating transgender troops called negligible

Treating the military's estimated 12,800 transgender troops with hormone therapy and surgery will cost about $5.6 million a year, a tiny amount compared with overall spending on military health care, according to an article published Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine.
The cost of medical care will be a key factor as the Pentagon develops a plan to integrate transgender troops, which it announced last month. Defense Secretary Ash Carter gave his staff six months to work out details to allow them to serve openly, which current policy does not allow.

20--Pentagon Weighs Allowing Transgender Troops to Serve Openly

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