Thursday, September 24, 2015

Today's Links

“Our main goal is to defend the Syrian state." Russian President Vladimir Putin

“I am convinced that we have reached that decisive moment when we must seriously think about the architecture of global security. And we must proceed by searching for a reasonable balance between the interests of all participants in the international dialogue.” V Putin

1--The Obama Two-Step on Syria

clearly the most damaging information that revealed the extent of the Obama’s administration moral complicity with the carnage that it unleased in Syria was the report from the Defense Intelligence Agency ( DIA) written in 2012 that clearly documented that “the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [Al- Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria,” being supported by “the West, Gulf countries and Turkey.” And like the report that exposed that white terrorist organizations represented a major threat to domestic security in the U.S., this report was also ignored by the administration.

When retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), was asked why the Obama administration didn’t act on his agency’s concerns, his response was that the administration apparently decided to ignore the findings, “I think it was a willful decision.”...

The geo-strategic objective for the Obama Administration was regime change, therefore, the plan implemented for that objective had nothing to do with wanting to liberate Syrians. In their cynical calculations, eliminating al-Assad outweighed any considerations for the longer term interests of the Syrian people. For the cold-hearted strategists of the Obama Administration, the talk of a people’s revolution was only a ploy to obscure their real intentions and confuse liberals and even some leftists...

by early 2013 when it became clear that the al-Assad government would not surrender, the destruction and dismemberment of the Syria State became the goal of U.S. policy. The impact that this decision would have on the people of Syria was of no concern for U.S. planners

2--Yemen as Laboratory: Why is the West So Silent About This Savage War?

In early June at a Council on Foreign Relations event, retired Major General Anwar Eshki of Saudi Arabia laid out the package. He was joined at the event by Ambassador Dore Gold of Israel. What Eshki said is not news in Saudi Arabia. But it is not often spoken out aloud, and certainly not reported with any measure of diligence in the West. Here is Eshki’s package:

“In the Arabian Peninsula, there is a promising oil field in the Empty Quarter [Rub’al-Khali] that will obligate the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council and Yemen to cooperate to protect it and its gains. This unity will be modeled—or rather, must be modeled—on the U.S. constitution that united America and granted it its democracy. As for the promising Ogaden [oil] field in Ethiopia, it will unite the Horn of Africa under Ethiopia’s leadership. And a bridge shall be built between the African continent and the Arabian Peninsula: The Al-Noor Bridge that shall connect the city of Al-Noor in Djibouti and the city of Al-Noor in Yemen.
All this demands a number of things:

1 Achieving peace between Arabs and Israel.
2 Changing the political system in Iran.
3 Unity of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
4 Achieving peace in Yemen and revitalizing the port of Aden because this will rebalance the demographics of employment in the Gulf.
5 Establishing an Arab force with American and European blessing to protect the countries of the Gulf as well as the Arab countries and to safeguard stability.

6 The speedy establishment of the foundations of democracy with Islamic principles in the Arab world.
7 Working toward the creation of a greater Kurdistan in peaceful ways as this will weaken Iranian, Turkish, and Iraqi ambitions and would split up a third of each of these countries in favor of Kurdistan.”
Why is the West so silent about Yemen? Perhaps these seven points provide the elements of an answer.”

3--A coup in the making? Saudi royal said to be calling to family members to replace king

4--Meet The Real Carly Fiorina

Corporate suicide....Skip ahead a few years and the Republican establishment appears to have decided that Carly Fiorina, disgraced HP CEO, “debate winner,” maker-up of stuff, will save them from Donald Trump. So the corporate media outlets are pushing Fiorina hard. Blogger Atrios, in “I Guess Jeff Sent A Memo” (referring to Amazon CEO and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos), included this picture of a list of Washington Post columns, which is representative of what is going on across the media right now:

By the end of her term at HP, Fiorina had laid off up to 30,000 people. In the five months after she left in 2005 HP had to lay off another 15,000. In “Why I Still Think Fiorina Was a Terrible CEO,” Jeffrey Sonnenfeld (Lester Crown Professor in the Practice of Management at Yale School of Management) writes at Politico:
“In the five years that Fiorina was at Hewlett-Packard, the company lost over half its value. … During those years, stocks in companies like Apple and Dell rose. Google went public, and Facebook was launched.
… And I have to point out the obvious: If the board was wrong, the employees wrong, and the shareholders wrong—as Fiorina maintains—why in 10 years has she never been offered another public company to run?” 

5--U.S. Special Ops Forces Deployed in 135 Nations: 2015 Proves to Be Record-Breaking Year for the Military’s Secret Military

6--Putin Said to Plan Islamic State Strikes With or Without U.S

President Vladimir Putin, determined to strengthen Russia’s only military outpost in the Middle East, is preparing to launch unilateral airstrikes against Islamic State from inside Syria if the U.S. rejects his proposal to join forces, two people familiar with the matter said.
Putin’s preferred course of action, though, is for America and its allies to agree to coordinate their campaign against the terrorist group with Russia, Iran and the Syrian army, which the Obama administration has so far resisted, according to a person close to the Kremlin and an adviser to the Defense Ministry in Moscow...

Russia has sent two dozen fighter jets to a new airfield near Assad’s ancestral home of Latakia and deployed hundreds of servicemen to the airbase and a nearby port, according to satellite images and media reports in Moscow. The Kremlin said last week that Russia may enter combat operations if the government in Damascus requests help.
Any armed intervention by Russia will be coordinated with Iran, Syria’s main ally, and Assad’s government, the Defense Ministry adviser said....

Putin, who came to power fighting Islamist separatists in the Caucasus in 1999, has reason to fear the rise of jihadists in Syria. Their numbers include about 2,000 Russian-speakers, according to the Foreign Ministry in Moscow, raising the threat of attacks inside Russia.

Russia’s involvement in Syria will help bring stability to the region and bolster the chances of defeating Islamic State, Eshki said by phone. The Syrian opposition should “put its hand in Russia’s hand,” he said..

7--Putin the Great

Well, at least the White House and the State Department seem to have finally understood that those Sukhois and surface-to-air missiles now in Syria are there to protect the Latakia air base. It was up to the Pentagon to elucidate a clueless John Kerry; these are for “force protection”.
The new batch includes 4 Su-30SM multirole combat jets; 12 Su-25 ground attack jets; 12 Su-24M attack fighters; and six possible Ka-52 attack helicopters. According to IHS Jane’s, these provide “a significant capability to target rebels opposed to the Syrian government and to secure the Latakia homeland of President Bashar al-Assad.”

8---Putin's motives in Syria are clear: protecting Assad

The agreement in July between Turkey and the United States, allowing the U.S. to use the Turkish air base at Incirlik to launch strikes against ISIS, also likely influenced Mr. Putin. The development greatly facilitated the U.S. military effort because the U.S. would no longer have to exclusively depend on long-range sorties from aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean. And while the U.S. said it planned to use Incirlik only to launch attacks on ISIS, Moscow could not be sure of this. Turkish President Recep Erdogan has made no secret of his desire to oust Mr. Assad, and Mr. Putin may have felt that Mr. Erdogan, together with other anti-Assad forces in the world, could convince President Obama to take a more aggressive position toward Syria, especially because Mr. Assad has killed far more Syrians than ISIS has and because the existing administration policy toward Syria had been an abject failure....

Under these circumstances, Mr. Putin evidently decided to put Russian aircraft and helicopters into Syria, after first fortifying (with tanks, armored personnel carriers, air-defense missiles and troops) and enlarging an air base south of Latakia. With Russian aircraft flying in the skies of Syria, the threshold for any possible U.S. attack on the Assad regime would be raised considerably. To reinforce this point Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for the resumption of military-to-military talks between Russia and the United States, previously broken off because of the Russian seizure of the Crimean Peninsula. The U.S., perhaps fearing a clash with Russian aircraft, has agreed to the request.

Through his actions, Mr. Putin has demonstrated that Moscow stands by its ally. He has thrust Russia into the heart of Middle East politics, thus achieving another of his goals, which is to demonstrate Russia is again a great power. The danger for Russia, however, is "mission creep." Should ISIS threaten the Russian-controlled air base, Mr. Putin might be tempted to send in more troops to protect it. Nonetheless, Mr. Putin has evidently decided that the risk is worth it.

9--ISIS War Czar Gen. Allen to Resign, Citing Opposition to Policies
           Had Been Pushing White House to Escalate War Even Further

10--EU adopts plan to keep out refugees

11--China, emerging economies and commodities roil financial markets

The very economies that were hailed as the engines of global growth following the Wall Street crash of September 2008—China and “emerging” markets such as Brazil, Russia, Turkey, South Africa, etc.—are now at the forefront of a deflationary crisis that threatens to plunge the world into a full-scale depression....

Commodity markets are experiencing their sharpest downturn since the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009. David Hufton of PVM, an oil brokerage, told the Financial Times: “The Fed decision is alarming because of the implications. It implies that Fed policymakers are so concerned about events in China and emerging markets that they are prepared to risk… the US economy financially overheating yet again.”...

12--Assad may take part in Syria transition, Erdoğan says

“Either a transition process without al-Assad, or with al-Assad, is possible. But what is the required is the opposition … Nobody can foresee Syria’s future with al-Assad. It’s not possible to accept a person responsible for killing 300,000 to 350,000 people, a dictator,” Erdoğan said after performing his Eid al-Adha prayer early on Sept. 24 in Istanbul.

Elaborating his discussion with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sept. 23, Erdoğan said he “could not see a clear [perspective] in Russia’s approach to Syria.”

But he also said that the Turkish and Russian foreign ministers would launch a new working group on the Syrian crisis, according to an agreement reached in talks with Putin.

“We have decided to work on this issue at the U.N. General Assembly as a group of three foreign ministers from the U.S., Turkey and Russia,” Erdoğan said, adding that Iran and Saudi Arabia could also be involved in the process. With the participation of the EU, Jordan and Qatar, efforts for Syria could be extended, the president also said.

Erdoğan added that he told Putin that al-Assad’s current aim is to declare a “boutique Syria” of 15 percent of the country from Damascus to Latakia, including Homs.

The Turkish president also reiterated Ankara’s wish to create a “safe haven” in Syria, which it hopes will be cleared of “terrorist organizations

13--Erdogan softens approach to Assad

The comments represent a softening of Turkey’s position towards Assad, whose four-year war against rebel groups and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters has claimed more than 200,000 lives.
The United States and Britain have already made similar shifts to their stances on Syria, as Russia bolsters its support for Assad with a military buildup in the country. US Secretary of State John Kerry recently said that the timing of Assad's exit following a peace deal would be negotiable.
That had prompted a swift rebuke from Turkey as Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioğlu rejected any solution that does not exclude Assad from the start. Last Saturday, he clung to Ankara's firm position, stating that, after committing brutal atrocities against his own people, Assad cannot be part of any solution.
Backing armed opposition groups fighting the regime, Ankara places most of blame on the Assad regime for carnage and devastation in Syria, clinging to the view that the regime's brutal methods to crush upheaval has been the chief reason that fed extremism

14--Russia’s game plan in Syria

The Financial Times, citing Oxford Economics, reported Wednesday that emerging market gross domestic product growth rates are set to fall to 3.6 percent this year on average, their lowest level since the 2008–2009 financial crisis. The newspaper cited analysts at Commerzbank as saying: “The majority of market participants are concerned that China could see a hard landing which would drag the global economy—or at least the emerging economies—down with it.”
These fears were compounded Wednesday when a new report on manufacturing in China showed the biggest contraction since March of 2009. The preliminary Caixin/Markit China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) dropped to 47.0 for September, falling below market expectations of 47.5 and declining from August’s final 47.3. Levels below 50 signify a contraction.

15-- Game changer in Syria

Read more:

Read more:
President Putin has effectively declared to the world that Russia intends to fight a war directly against ISIS and similar groups in Syria, while keeping the Syrian regime as a key ally in this war.

"Satellite imagery provided by AllSourceAnalysis confirms the recent arrival of Russian main battle tanks, armored personnel carriers, helicopters, and other military equipment at an airbase in Syria’s coastal Latakia province, indicating that Russia has deployed troops inside Syria. Concurrent military exercises inside Russia with the stated mission of training for long-range deployments of airborne troops suggest that Russia may intend to deploy additional forces, possibly further inside Syria..... The Russian deployment to Syria is game-changing. It will alter the nature of international negotiations, compromise and weaken the cohesion and efforts of the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition, strengthen the Assad regime, and initiate direct Russo-Iranian military operations ....The U.S. and its partners must fundamentally reassess their approach to the Syrian conflict in light of this critical inflection."  ISW study linked below

“Today we are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper use of force in international relations — military force. The United States has overstepped its national borders in every area.  And this hasn't helped to resolve matters at all...

The US has brought us to the abyss of one conflict after another....making  political solutions impossible....As a result, no one feels safe. Let me repeat that: No one feels safe."

The Obama administration's original plan was to remove Bashar al Assad form power and replace him with a US puppet. Having failed on the account, Washington has moved on to Plan B, support the many disparate armed militias and al Qaida-linked groups in order to effectively destroy the country transforming it into a chaotic, ungovernable failed state that poses no threat to Israel's regional hegemony or US imperial ambitions.

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