Sunday, December 6, 2015

Today's Links

1--Saker: Week Nine of the Russian Intervention in Syria: The Empire Strikes Back


NATO will create a de-facto safe heaven for its “moderate terrorists” in northern Syria and use it as a base to direct an attack on Raqqa. Since any such intervention will be completely illegal, the argument of the need to defend the Turkmen minority will be used, R2P and all. The creation of a NATO-protected safe heaven for “moderate terrorists” could provide the first step for breaking up Syria into several smaller statelets.
If that is really the plan, then the shooting down of the SU-24 sends a powerful message to Russia: we are ready to risk a war to push you back – are you ready to go to war? The painful answer will be No, Russia is not prepared to wage a war against the entire Empire over Syria, simply because she does not have the capabilities to do so.....


What the imperial deep state is missing is the fact that Russia might not have a choice but to confront the Empire. Yes, the Russians do not want war, but the problem here is that, considering the absolutely reckless arrogance and imperial hubris of the western elites, every Russian effort to avoid war is interpreted by the western deep state as a sign of weakness. In other words, by acting responsibly the Russians are now providing an incentive for the West to act even more irresponsibly. This is a very, very, dangerous dynamic which the Kremlin will have to deal with.


2--US Building Military Airbase in Northeastern Syria
http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940914000257
TEHRAN (FNA)- US experts are reconstructing and equipping a desolate airport special to carrying agricultural products in the region controlled by the Kurdish forces in Hasaka region, Northeastern Syria, to turn it into a military base.

The Lebanese al-Akhbar newspaper reported on Saturday that a number of US experts have entered the region since 50 days ago to develop and prepare the runways with 2,500m length and 250m width to be used by fighter jets.
Abu Hajar airport which has not been used since 2010 is located in Tal al-Hajar region in the Eastern countryside of Hasaka which is controlled by the Kurdish People's Defense Units (YPG)[...]


3--Iraq calls in Turkish ambassador over troops deployment
http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/05/440464/Iraq-Turkey-ambassador-Mosul


The Iraqi Foreign Ministry said in a Saturday statement that the forces have entered the Iraqi territory without informing the central government in Baghdad. It said Iraq considers their presence "a hostile act."

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry also demanded the immediate withdrawal of the Turkish forces.
The soldiers, who are reportedly armed with tanks and artillery, are positioned in a camp in Iraq’s Nineveh Province, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the border, where Ankara has been training forces in an attempt to retake the provincial capital of Mosul from Daesh.


4--Straits could be closed to Russian ships if Turkey’s security threatened


Turkey could still possibly perceive Russia's military buildup along the Turkish-Syrian border as a major threat to its national security and may decide to close the Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmara and the Bosporus to the passage of Russian warships, according to the report.
Turkey has full control over the straits under the Montreux Convention signed in 1936. Turkey also has the authority to prevent military vessels from passing through its straits if they are those of a country it is at war with or in imminent danger of war with.
If Turkey invokes its trump card by closing its straits to Russian ships, this would deal a serious blow to Russia's military campaign in Syria, according to Cem Devrim Yaylalı, a Turkish naval analyst


5---Saudis convene anti terror convention in Riyadh
http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/06/440540/Syria-Assad-Daesh-UK-France-airstrikes-USled-coalition


Saudi Arabia that has issued invitations to 65 Syrian opposition figures to attend a conference in Riyadh later this month. The so-called Syrian National Coalition has reportedly accepted an invitation to join the talks.
“With regards to the meeting in Saudi Arabia, the Saudis have been supporting terrorism directly, publicly and explicitly. That meeting will not change anything on the ground. Before the meeting and after the meeting Saudi Arabia has been supporting terrorists and will continue to do so. It is not a benchmark or a critical juncture to discuss. It will not change anything,” he said.


6---Iraq Could Ask Russia for Help After 'Invasion' by Turkish Forces
7---How Russia is Smashing the Turkish Game in Syria


Daesh stolen oil can’t flow through Damascus-controlled territory. Can’t flow though Shi’ite-dominated Iraq. Can’t go east to Iran. It’s Turkey or nothing. Turkey is the easternmost arm of NATO. The US and NATO “support” Turkey. So a case can be made that the US and NATO ultimately support Daesh.
What’s certain is that illegal Daesh oil and illegal KRG oil fit the same pattern; energy interests by the usual suspects playing a very long game.
What these interests are focused on is to control every possible oil asset in Iraqi Kurdistan and then in “liberated” Syria. It’s crucial to know that Tony “Deepwater Horizon” Hayward is running Ug Genel, whose top priority is to control oil fields that were first stolen from Baghdad, and will eventually be stolen from Iraqi Kurds.


8---Yes, There is an Imperialist Ruling Class
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The full extent of US co-operation with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in assisting the rebel opposition in Syria has yet to come to light. The Obama administration has never publicly admitted to its role in creating what the CIA calls a ‘rat line’, a back channel highway into Syria. The rat line, authorised in early 2012, was used to funnel weapons and ammunition from Libya via southern Turkey and across the Syrian border to the opposition. Many of those in Syria who ultimately received the weapons were jihadists, some of them affiliated with al-Qaida.....

In January, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the assault by a local militia in September 2012 on the American consulate and a nearby undercover CIA facility in Benghazi....A highly classified annex to the report, not made public, described a secret agreement reached in early 2012 between the Obama and Erdoğan administrations. It pertained to the rat line. By the terms of the agreement, funding came from Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the CIA, with the support of MI6, was responsible for getting arms from Gaddafi’s arsenals into Syria. A number of front companies were set up in Libya, some under the cover of Australian entities. Retired American soldiers, who didn’t always know who was really employing them, were hired to manage procurement and shipping. The operation was run by David Petraeus, the CIA director who would soon resign when it became known he was having an affair with his biographer.....

The annex didn’t tell the whole story of what happened in Benghazi before the attack, nor did it explain why the American consulate was attacked. ‘The consulate’s only mission was to provide cover for the moving of arms,’ the former intelligence official, who has read the annex, said. ‘It had no real political role.’
Washington abruptly ended the CIA’s role in the transfer of arms from Libya after the attack on the consulate, but the rat line kept going. ‘The United States was no longer in control of what the Turks were relaying to the jihadists,’ the former intelligence official said. Within weeks, as many as forty portable surface-to-air missile launchers, commonly known as manpads, were in the hands of Syrian rebels....


the rebels’ possession of manpads was likely the unintended consequence of a covert US programme that was no longer under US control.....


In spring 2013 US intelligence learned that the Turkish government – through elements of the MIT, its national intelligence agency, and the Gendarmerie, a militarised law-enforcement organisation – was working directly with al-Nusra and its allies to develop a chemical warfare capability. ‘The MIT was running the political liaison with the rebels... Erdoğan knew that if he stopped his support of the jihadists it would be all over. The Saudis could not support the war because of logistics – the distances involved and the difficulty of moving weapons and supplies. Erdoğan’s hope was to instigate an event that would force the US to cross the red line. But Obama didn’t respond in March and April.’
For months there had been acute concern among senior military leaders and the intelligence community about the role in the war of Syria’s neighbours, especially Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan was known to be supporting the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist faction among the rebel opposition, as well as other Islamist rebel groups. ‘We knew there were some in the Turkish government,’ a former senior US intelligence official, who has access to current intelligence, told me, ‘who believed they could get Assad’s nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria – and forcing Obama to make good on his red line threat.’


The joint chiefs also knew that the Obama administration’s public claims that only the Syrian army had access to sarin were wrong. The American and British intelligence communities had been aware since the spring of 2013 that some rebel units in Syria were developing chemical weapons. On 20 June analysts for the US Defense Intelligence Agency issued a highly classified five-page ‘talking points’ briefing for the DIA’s deputy director, David Shedd, which stated that al-Nusra maintained a sarin production cell: its programme, the paper said, was ‘the most advanced sarin plot since al-Qaida’s pre-9/11 effort’. (According to a Defense Department consultant, US intelligence has long known that al-Qaida experimented with chemical weapons, and has a video of one of its gas experiments with dogs.) The DIA paper went on: ‘Previous IC [intelligence community] focus had been almost entirely on Syrian CW [chemical weapons] stockpiles; now we see ANF attempting to make its own CW … Al-Nusrah Front’s relative freedom of operation within Syria leads us to assess the group’s CW aspirations will be difficult to disrupt in the future.’


11-- From the neocons:  John Bolton: To Defeat ISIS, Create a Sunni State
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/25/opinion/john-bolton-to-defeat-isis-create-a-sunni-state.html
 Islamic State's Achilles' heel: Its Sunni identity max boot
http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-boot-islamic-state-sunni-arabs-20151122-story.html
Partition Syria to crush the Islamic State: James Dobbins
http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2015/10/30/partition-syria-crush-islamic-state-column/74864126/


12--Beyond ISIS The Folly of World War IV
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article43625.htm


In that regard, the glibly bellicose editor of the Weekly Standard, William Kristol, is surely correct in suggesting that a well-armed contingent of 50,000 U.S. troops, supported by ample quantities of air power, would make mincemeat of ISIS in a toe-to-toe contest. Liberation of the various ISIS strongholds like Fallujah and Mosul in Iraq and Palmyra and Raqqa, its “capital,” in Syria would undoubtedly follow in short order.


In the wake of the recent attacks in Paris, the American mood is strongly trending in favor of this sort of escalation. Just about anyone who is anyone -- the current occupant of the Oval Office partially excepted -- favors intensifying the U.S. military campaign against ISIS. And why not? What could possibly go wrong? As Kristol puts it, "I don’t think there’s much in the way of unanticipated side effects that are going to be bad there."


It’s an alluring prospect. In the face of a sustained assault by the greatest military the world has ever seen, ISIS foolishly (and therefore improbably) chooses to make an Alamo-like stand. Whammo! We win. They lose. Mission accomplished.

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