Friday, December 18, 2015

Today's links

1---Syria's ambassador to the UN has warned that any deployment of foreign troops to his country without the approval of Damascus would amount to a violation of international law.

Bashar al-Jaafari said on Thursday that plans by some countries to dispatch troops to Syria without the consent of the Syrian government and under the so-called pretext of fighting terrorist groups like Daesh would be a gross violation of the UN Charter which gives member states the right of sovereignty.

2---But apart from it being a bad idea to establish a Sunni front in the fight against terrorism, what the Middle East does not need is any new emphasis on the sectarian dimension of the existing turmoil. Why on earth does the U.S. feel obliged to take sides in the sectarian divide within Islam? And why does it praise the leading role of Saudi Arabia, which is currently ISIL’s main human resources pool, and from which many radical movements - from the Wahhabis to al-Qaeda - have emerged?

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has praised a new “Saudi-led Islamic anti-terrorism alliance” as being “in line with U.S. calls for a greater Sunni role” in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). He was speaking during a visit to Turkey’s İncirlik air base on Dec. 15, which came only a day after the Pentagon gave a conceptual briefing about the front to U.S. President Barack Obama. The visit also came just a few days after Carter on Dec. 9 expressed his “wish” that Sunni Arab nations would do more in the fight against ISIL.....

3--Hackers trace ISIS Twitter accounts back to internet addresses linked to Department of Work and Pensions
Hackers have claimed that a number of Islamic State supporters' social media accounts are being run from internet addresses linked to the Department of Work and Pensions.

4--What’s Behind Washington Pulling 12 Fighter Jets From Turkish Base?

5---Saudi Arabia: 92% approve of ISIS representation of Islam and Sharia law – Poll

6---No Islamic military force yet: Turkish Foreign Ministry

“The countries here mentioned have decided on the formation of a military alliance led by Saudi Arabia to fight terrorism, with a joint operations center based in Riyadh to coordinate and support military operations,” the statement said, according to Saudi Arabia’s official news agency SPA.

The Saudi-led alliance does not include the kingdom’s Shiite regional rival Iran, or Syria and Iraq.
States from the Middle East, Africa and Asia will participate in the coalition  Sarin expose

7---Qatar: The terror root??

When it became known that a terrorist act occurred on board of a Russian Airbus A321 over Egypt, the Russian President’s former adviser, Andrei Illarionov expressed a version of this that was apocalyptic and it is that Russia is preparing a strategic operation to strike at military, infrastructure and energy facilities on the territories of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Illarionov states that not only some abstract terrorists from IS or “Al Qaida” will answer for the terrorist act over Egypt, but very specific countries and their authorities, and circumstances command that. There were some versions of the story told by experts that Airbus A321 was blown up through an order that came from Qatar....

Russia has already taken an initiative. A problem needs to be solved at the root, as they say, and the root of evil is a source that is financing Daesh, which is located in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Otherwise, there will be new terrorist acts and provocations

8---US plan to destabilize entire region

The pivot plan is served by toppling assad and transforming Syria into caliphate

If the regime in Syria fails and the country descends into a total chaos, all those jihadists would easily find their way across Turkey to theCaucasus region. This scenario would be a major problem for Russia and also allow other powers, by the proxies or “moderate rebels”, to make a foothold for further operations on Russian soil. This scenario wouldn’t only threaten Russia but Iran as well. If this extremism spreads across Syria and Iraq, Iran would lose its connections to Lebanon and Shia Muslims further west, also the country would find itself surrounded by various jihadists groups from Iraq in the west and Afghanistan in the east.Keep in mind, these groups could find great support in therich Gulf countries. A destabilization of Iran and the Caucasus region would make a great entry point for the famous geostrategic pivot area which includesRussia and Central Asia

Extra:  The Sauds’ “Joint Statement on Formation of Islamic Military Alliance” has been signed by 34 Sunni-led nations, with “more than ten other Islamic countries” that “have expressed their support for this … alliance and will take the necessary measures” to join, “including Indonesia” (the highest-population Islamic-majority nation). All of those “Islamic countries” are specifically Sunni-led, not  Shiite-led.

9---IMF Dithers as Ukraine Defaults on Russia Loan
Contradictory decisions by IMF Executive Board point to a split within the IMF as political crisis in Ukraine deepens

10---Historic New Harpers Article Exposes Who Controls America

“Without the money of the — of the Saudi you will have nothing”; but, even Hillary Clinton, in a much quoted 2009 wikileaked cable telling America’s Ambassadors what to say to the Islamic-nation rulers (quoted from also by Cockburn), mentioned this Saudi problem, when she addressed the issue indirectly to the Sauds, via the U.S. Saudi Ambassador:
While the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) takes seriously the threat of terrorism within Saudi Arabia, it has been an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority.  Due in part to intense focus by the USG over the last several years, Saudi Arabia has begun to make important progress on this front and has responded to terrorist financing concerns raised by the United States through proactively investigating and detaining financial facilitators of concern.  Still, donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide. … In contrast to its increasingly aggressive efforts to disrupt al-Qa'ida's access to funding from Saudi sources, Riyadh has taken only limited action to disrupt fundraising for the UN 1267-listed Taliban and LeT-groups that are also aligned with al-Qa'ida and focused on undermining stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
To boil it all down (which he sadly doesn’t): The fundamentalist-Sunni royal family of the Sauds have bought the highest levels of the U.S. government in order to control U.S. foreign policies, especially the ongoing wars to take down the governments of Iraq, Libya, Syria, and ultimately (they hope) of Russia itself, which latter nation has allied itself instead with Shiia countries. The controlling entities behind American foreign policies since at least the late 1970s have been the Saud family and the Sauds’ subordinate Arabic aristocracies, which are the ones in Qatar (the al-Thanis), Kuwait (the al-Sabahs), Turkey (the Tuktic Erdoğans, a new royalty), and UAE (its six royal families: the main one, the al-Nahyans in Abu Dhabi; the other five: the al-Maktoums in Dubai, al-Qasimis in Sharjah, al-Nuaimis in Ajman, al-Mualla Ums in Quwain, and al-Sharqis in Fujairah). Other Saudi-dominated nations — though they’re not oil-rich (more like Turkey in this regard) — are Pakistan and Afghanistan.

11---A Special Relationship, Andrew Cockburn, Harpers
The United States is teaming up with Al Qaeda, again

12--According to NC: “…there is a great deal of research that shows that highly stratified societies score worse on social indicators like crime rates, average educational attainment, suicides, and teen pregnancies. The US hews to this pattern...Stratified societies have people at every level having low community engagement, thin social network, and for those who are well or very well off, pressure to maintain their economic status, since if they lose that, they lose their social network. They can no longer afford to engage in many of the same activities, they might even have to move into cheaper housing, and the result is that they lose most if not all of their current “friends”. And it’s hard to see how Pew can claim there has been “more progress” when labor force participation is low by historical standards.”

13--Hezbollah undefeated--From Qusayr to Aleppo: the Syrian Army’s 4th Division and Hezbollah remain undefeated

Yes, the west’s nightmare comes to reality: Shi’i, Sunni, and Alawi Muslims fighting together with the Druze, Ismaeli, and Christians against Gulf-backed Islamists.
If you were to say that this heterogeneous force was only made up of Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, and Iranians, you would be surprised to see the hundreds of Palestinians from Liwaa al-Quds (Jerusalem Brigade) fighting side-by-side with them.
Regardless of their religious affiliation or ethnic group, these men all share one common goal: victory....

Hezbollah’s infantry is arguably one of the best military units operating inside Syria; and when you amalgamate them with the experienced tank battalions from the Syrian Arab Army’s 4th Mechanized Division, they become an omnipotent force on the ground.
In fact, there has not been a battle in this war that the Syrian Arab Army’s 4th Mechanized Division and Hezbollah have failed to win together.
From the al-Qusayr battle (May 2013) to the massive Qalamoun Mountain offensive (December 2013 and June 2015), these two forces have proven extremely effective when fighting next to one another.
When Hezbollah was transferred to the southern Aleppo front after their victory at the strategic border-city of al-Zabadani, they were joined by the same soldiers from the Syrian Arab Army’s 4th Mechanized Division that fought side-by-side with them.

14--30 Iraqi soldiers killed by US airstrikes
15--Breaking: Russian Su-24 black box data to be revealed on Monday

16---US military in Syria violate sovereignty, not fighting terror – Damascus
17--Putin's no-fly zone in Syria

18--Ukraine defaults on $3bn Eurobond to Russia
19---Deployment fail: US special ops forces arrive in Libya, immediately told to leave

20--UK troops in yemen?
21--US building airbase in Syria

Abu Hajar airport is located in Hasakah province in northeastern Syria, which is under the control of Kurdish People's Defense Units (YPG). The Syrian government has not given the US permission to have a base in Syria or carry out airstrikes there.
According to media reports, for around two months US experts have been in the region developing the airfield, which hasn't been used since 2010. It has a 2.5 km runway which can be used by fighter jets to carry out airstrikes, and to bring in military supplies

22---What's Up With Turkey's New Military Base in Qatar

Both countries, it's worth noting, are known to be pushing for the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Both are also keen supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, and, moreover, both have been accused of directly or indirectly supporting the Daesh (ISIL/ISIL) terrorists in Syria and Iraq. Qatar has allegedly provided the terrorist group with financial support, while Turkey has been implicated in the trafficking of smuggled Daesh 'blood oil'.
Commenting on the news, as well as on Saudi Arabia's announcement, made earlier this week, that it would be creating a 34-member 'Muslim anti-terror coalition', Svobodyana Pressa journalist Anton Mardasov suggested that together, the moves "could be a signal that the main sponsors of international terrorism seriously intend to start a ground operation in Syria and Iraq...

We know perfectly well," Balmasov told Svobodnaya Pressa, "that Russia's relations with Turkey and Qatar are quite difficult – I would say unfriendly. Doha is a serious competitor for us in terms of natural gas, and Qatar is also one of the main sponsors of jihadist terrorism in Syria and beyond. It's also worth remembering that it was on Qatari territory that prominent representatives of Chechen separatists often hid. However, it's clear that the strengthening of military cooperation between Qatar and Turkey is not a message aimed only at Russia."...

"In October, the Americans began actively insisting that Russia had allied itself with the Shiites, in particular, as a partner of the Shiite coalition in Syria (involving the Syrian Alawites, the Iranians, and Hezbollah). Now, we see that through their Saudi and Qatari allies, the Americans are attempting to create some semblance of a Sunni coalition to counterbalance Russian and Iranian influence in the Middle East – in other words, a counter-bloc."
"It's clear," Fenenko suggests, "that the first test of the so-called Sunni bloc's strength was the war in Yemen…Now, this coalition is beginning to take on a more tangible form. I do not believe that the [Saudi-led] coalition will agree to a deployment of troops to Iraq and Syria any time in the near future. Rather, its formation, like the creation of the Turkish base in Qatar, is a card for a game which hasn't started yet. Along with it will be the following steps: attempting to create a cohesive anti-Assad government, the further reduction of oil prices, and the supply of arms to the insurgents (which will allow the Americans to say 'it was the Saudis and Qataris, not us. Take it up with them')."

23---Saudi Arabia and the “war on terror”--US sacrifices all credibility by joining Saudis 

Washington’s real objectives are purely predatory, directed at utilizing military might to offset the economic decline of American capitalism by asserting hegemony over the world’s markets and resources.
That it relies on the ultra-reactionary and bankrupt Saudi regime as a key pillar of this policy only demonstrates that US imperialism is headed for a catastrophe. It is destined to reap all that it has sown in the massive crimes carried out against the peoples of the region, even as the immense contradictions building up within US society create the conditions for a revolutionary explosion....
Speaking to the media during a visit to the giant Incirlik Air Base in Turkey Tuesday, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter praised the Saudi monarchy for proclaiming a new “Islamic alliance” against terrorism.
“We are happy with the alliance formed by Saudi Arabia and looking forward for the steps being taken by them against terrorism,” Carter declared.
No sooner was the Saudi announcement made, however, than a number of countries raised questions about their inclusion, without their knowledge, in the so-called alliance. Three predominantly Muslim countries—Iraq, Syria and Iran—were excluded, leading to charges that the Saudi monarchy is really only patching together a Sunni Muslim alliance to prosecute its sectarian crusade against the region’s Shia population.
A more fundamental question is what does the Saudi regime mean by “terrorism”? Clearly, it is not referring to the various Al Qaeda-linked groups fighting in Syria, all of which get substantial funding as well as large numbers of fighters and their religious-ideological inspiration from the Wahhabist Saudi kingdom

23--Thanks, but no thanks: Iraq Declines Offer of U.S. Helicopters for Fight Against ISIS, Pentagon Chief Says

“The United States is prepared to assist the Iraqi Army with additional unique capabilities to help them finish the job, including attack helicopters and accompanying advisers, if circumstances dictate and if requested by Prime Minister Abadi,” Mr. Carter told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The meeting between the American defense secretary and the Iraqi prime minister underscored two factors shaping the American-led campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq: the Obama administration’s reluctance to significantly expand the role of American troops in Iraq, and the reluctance of Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government to accept highly visible forms of American military support in the face of pressure from hard-line Shiite politicians and the Iranians.

It also raised questions about the Obama administration’s plans to intensify its campaign against the Islamic State militants. In recent weeks, the Pentagon has spoken of the “accelerants” it is planning to introduce to hasten the demise of the Islamic State. The Iraqi government, however, has yet to embrace two of the important “accelerants” — the Apaches and the deployment of American advisers in the field.

On December 15th, the Sauds formed their own Sunni-Islamic version of the American aristocracy’s NATO; and, though it shares one existing member with the 28-member NATO military alliance, which is Turkey, the other 34+ nations in it are, like the Sauds’ Kingdom itself, ruled by Wahhabist-Salafist leaders, and are likewise vigorously against both Russia and Shiite-led countries — just as NATO itself also is.

We see Syria fundamentally very similarly”
  • “The U.S. stands ready to work with Russia”
  • “Despite our countries’ differences, we demonstrated that when the United States and Russia pull together in the same direction, progress can be made”
  • “We don’t seek to isolate Russia as a matter of policy”
  • Moreover, Moscow and Washington have found “common ground” on which Syrian opposition groups have the right to participate in peace talks leading to a political transition, Kerry revealed.

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