Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Today's links

1--ISIS ‘Apologized’ To Israel For Attacking Its Soldiers – Ex-Defense Minister

2--Al-Qaeda's Zawahiri calls for 'guerrilla war' in Syria, CIA-invention al-Zawahiri  would rather fight Assad than Netanyahu. Go figure?

Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has called on the armed Syrian opposition to wage guerrilla warfare against the government of Bashar al-Assad and its allies.
In an audio tape titled "Syria will only bow to God", released on the internet on Sunday, Zawahiri urged Syrian rebels to "have patience and prepare themselves for a long war against the Crusaders and their Shia allies".
He urged them to adopt a "guerilla warfare" strategy because it would "weaken and drain the enemy".

3--Whatever it takes--Russia May Deploy Ground Forces To Syria On Assad Government Request – Media Reports

For example, the Iranian state-run media outlet Press TV:

The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, revealed on Monday that the Russian special forces were ready to be deployed in the areas where Syrian troops were engaged in serious battles against the terrorist groups.
They further noted that the technical aspects of the plan had already been drawn up, and that it would be implemented once the Damascus government puts in an official request and Russian President Vladimir Putin issues the order.

4--Lavrov slams US ‘Russia-arms-Taliban’ remarks as ‘red herring’ to divert focus from Syria

5--Israeli Land grab??

As Al Masdar News reported on Sunday, the Israeli Air Force carried out its second attack against Syrian forces this month, targeting forces stationed in the Golan:

Why the Israeli military chooses to target the only force in southern Syria that is fighting both Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIL) is often debated by all parties in this six year long conflict.
However, to the Syrian government, Israel’s actions are clear; they are providing air support to the groups fighting the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and their allies, such as Hezbollah and Harakat Nujaba (Iraqi paramilitary).

6--Theodore Postol: Khan Sheikhoun Victim Videos Can’t Be from the Claimed "Sarin" Munitions Site 

7--Understanding H.R. McMaster – The Mind Of The War-Maker


McMaster’s book, apparently developed from his PhD thesis at UNC. Fair warning: I did not expect a peace manifesto, not from the top National Security (War) Council appointee of Donald Trump. But my, oh my. To call him a fool would be an understatement. He’s not stupid. But he is a moral monster....

In 334 pages, he noodles around in the narrow world of Pentagon-think, never considering or even mentioning the lives and experiences of people on the ground, either Vietnamese or U.S. military. Not the 58,000 Americans thrown into the maws of war, not the three million Vietnamese coolly murdered, not the nearly half million killed in Laos and Cambodia. These American generals move lives around like pawns on a chessboard, coldly slaughtering thousands to advance their careers. They will sentimentally invoke the heroic dead in order to browbeat critics, but they don’t give a flying f*#k about these people, of that there is no doubt. So it takes some getting used to reading all these pages on Vietnam without ever encountering a human death...

McMaster talks a great deal about debates on military strategy in the U.S. government and military leadership. But in this whole assessment of Vietnam he never mentions the use of napalm, the burning of villages, the destruction of rain forests and human bodies with Agent Orange, the CIA’s Phoenix program of assassinating civilians who oppose the Saigon regime, the Tiger Force slaughters of civilians, the My Lai massacre. These facts, crucial facts that explain the horrors of the war, are absent from his “strategic thinking.”...

His basic thesis is that the military leadership was shunted aside, marginalized, in the development of a war plan during the early 1960’s. The military leadership had clashed with President John F. Kennedy in 1962 during the Cuba Missile Crisis. They wanted an all out invasion of Cuba and massive air strikes to crush the revolution and Fidel Castro. Kennedy managed to keep them at bay and negotiate a withdrawal of the missiles by Khrushchev. Thereafter, Kennedy and then Lyndon Johnson sought to keep the generals’ influence at some safer distance—they were regarded as trigger-happy and devoid of strategic thinking....

from the beginning of the U.S. entanglement in Southeast Asia, the generals wanted to go all out. Just as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Lyman Lemnitzer “had taken an unequivocal position on Laos and believed that he United States should be prepared to use its full power before deciding to intervene anywhere,” (p. 22) so Air Force General LeMay insisted that the U.S. should intervene massively in Vietnam to assure “victory.” (p. 65-66) He had cut his teeth during World War II when he coordinated the firebombing of Japanese cities and the mining of Japanese rivers...

So here we had the clash of two clueless factions: the measured response by Ivy League guys like McNamara and the bombs away posse with LeMay and General Westmoreland—graduated pressure vs. the sharp blow; bombers vs. stranglers McMaster essentially argues that the generals were marginalized, lied to, and disempowered. In the end, we must remember, all the horrendous ideas the generals had were implemented. Perhaps McMaster thought they would work better if tried earlier. Well, let me take that back. Two ideas of the Pentagon that were not implemented were nuclear weapons and the total destruction of the complex and necessary dike system in North Vietnam. The former would have slaughtered hundreds of thousands; the latter would have drowned as many and starved as many more. McMaster never says it but perhaps he believes that was the one way we could have “won.” Again, the mad calculations of people devoid of ethics or even the most fundamental human feelings.

In a decidedly weak bit of historical speculation, McMaster suggests that Johnson was unable to decide on military action because of a tragic flaw in his personality – he was psychologically insecure, he “desired unity and feared dissent” (87) – ominously arguing that LBJ was naïve and subjective, he was not tough enough to buck public opinion and debate. He would not blow the Vietnamese into the Stone Age and he would not pull out. Like Hamlet, he dithered....

McMaster considers the “errors” in Vietnam to be worrying about public opinion and placing any restrictions on the air campaign. Even as he recognizes that the U.S. was losing more and more popular support among Vietnamese civilians (p. 287), he argues that the military needed the freedom to escalate attacks as they saw fit. But even in 1965, when the body count of U.S. troops was only 400 (there would be 57,600 more), Lyndon Johnson had the chutzpah to invoke the honored dead to browbeat Congress into approving more funds for the war. The cynical use of dead bodies to enshrine some kind of patriotic meaning is one of the most disgusting aspects of war-making propaganda. The military leaders – those strutting officers with inflated egos and personal cowardice (they never get down in the muck of battle) – first kill their own soldiers then intimidate those who would not honor the war....

Dereliction of duty is not just a mistake. It is a crime and one severely punished in the military. He is saying that the generals and civilian leadership should have been tried for not going all the way to “win” in Vietnam. Many of us, of course, feel something different: that they should have been tried before international courts for war crimes.

the U.S. intensified bombing throughout the 1960s. They relentlessly bombed North Vietnam as well as areas in the south where resistance was strong. They also bombed nearby countries where local resistance as well as supply routes had been organized and built. By the end of the war, the U.S. had dropped seven million tons of bombs on Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia - more than twice the amount of bombs dropped on Europe and Asia in World War II – and remember that Vietnam itself is only about 80% the size of California. So keep in mind: no military effort was spared, no horror was ruled out, in an attempt to break the resistance.

8--Hillary reveals real Korea policy--Keep them divided

We don’t want a unified Korean peninsula, because if there were one, an already-strong South Korea would be dominant for obvious economic reasons.

MS. CLINTON: Well, I think [Chinese] traditional policy has been close to what you’ve described. We don’t want a unified Korean peninsula, because if there were one South Korea would be dominant for the obvious economic and political reasons.


We [also] don’t want the North Koreans to cause more trouble than the system can absorb. So we’ve got a pretty good thing going with the previous North Korean leaders [Kim Il-sung and Kim Jung-il]. And then along comes the new young leader [Kim Jung-un], and he proceeds to insult the Chinese. He refuses to accept delegations coming from them. He engages in all kinds of both public and private rhetoric, which seems to suggest that he is preparing himself to stand against not only the South Koreans and the Japanese and the Americans, but also the Chinese.

Translation — three points:

  • The U.S. prefers that Korea stay divided. If Korea were to unite, South Korea would be in charge, and we don’t want South Korea to become any more powerful than it already is.
  • We also don’t want the trouble North Korea causes South Korea to extend beyond the region. We want it to stay within previously defined bounds.
  • Our arrangement with the two previous North Korean leaders met both of those objectives. North Korea’s new leader, ,Kim Jung-un, is threatening that arrangement.

9--US defense secretary makes crisis trip to Afghanistan

On April 14, the day after the US military dropped the massive bomb on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, Russia hosted a conference to that end in Moscow that was attended by all the countries of the region, including Pakistan, India and China, but boycotted by the US. There is every reason to believe that the use of the MOAB was directed at Russia as much as it was at ISIS.

Launched nearly 16 years ago in the name of fighting terrorism and avenging the attacks of September 11, 2001, the war in Afghanistan had as its strategic aim to further US hegemony over the region of Central Asia, which boasts the second largest proven reserves of oil and gas in the world, in the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Just as the war, waged at an estimated cost of $800 billion, has failed to secure the US-backed puppet regime in Kabul, it has also done nothing to further US imperialism’s broader aims. Russia continues to dominate energy exploitation in the region, while China is steadily increasing its own role, with the building of pipelines directing these vital resources to the east, rather than the west.

Under these conditions, an escalation of the US intervention in Afghanistan will be carried out as part of a broader buildup toward military confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia and China, from eastern Europe, to Syria, the South China Sea, the Korean peninsula and beyond.....

The “barbaric” character of the US military operation was spelled out barely a week and a half before Mattis’s arrival in Kabul with the dropping on Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar Province of the Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB), the most destructive weapon used anywhere since the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Mattis’s unannounced trip to Afghanistan comes less than a week and a half after President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, Gen. H.R. McMaster, made his own visit to Kabul. The stepped-up attention to Washington’s longest-ever war appears to be bound up with plans for another escalation of the US troop deployment there.

Currently close to 9,000 US soldiers are deployed in Afghanistan, including both those described as trainers and advisers of the Afghan National Army and Special Operations units that are involved in search and destroy missions both unilaterally and alongside Afghan puppet forces

10--Mad Dog rallies allies for fight in Syria

Over the past week, Mr. Mattis visited leaders in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel bearing the message that the Trump administration wants to realign with those nations and stressing that Washington and capitals in the region have shared interests, such as fighting terrorism.
But an animating feature of Mr. Mattis’s effort is to counter what he repeatedly has described as the malign influence of Iran.

“Everywhere you look, if there’s trouble in the region, you find Iran,” Mr. Mattis said on a stop in Riyadh, adding that nations in the region are working to “checkmate Iran and the amount of disruption, the amount of instability they cause.”

11--Putin: Missile defense upsets global balance of power you tube

"The US is developing an anti-missile defense system....when it is operational.." there will be a moment in time when our entire nuclear capability will be neutralized, which means that the entire global balance of power will be overturned.. This means one of the powers will have absolute security and be able to do whatever it likes in regional conflicts. We're talking about unrivaled power in global conflicts. ..This syetm forces us to create weapons that can nullify the system asymmetrically.

12--Ramzon Kadyrov: US intel agencies trained terrorists to fight in Chechnya you tube

Over the years, US and EU intelligence agencies have done everything possible to destroy the Russian state.  The Chechen Republic was chosen as the area to carry out their plan. The previous decade saw the most horrific fighting there. And it wasn't a small bunch of rebels, but a specially trained warriors by the US and EU intelligence agencies. Our sources show these militants came from over 50 countries. Russia won that war...but they continue to look for any opportunity to defeat Putin."

13--Wesley Clark spills the beans: Washington's war plan

"I just got this down from upstairs-- from the Secretary of Defense's office--I just got this memo today that describes how we're going to take out seven countries in five years. starting with Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran. I said, "Is it classified"?  He said, "Yes, sir"!

14--Putin: The US does not want allies. The US wants vassals."

"Mr McCain is a Vietnam war veteran. I would assume he is up to his elbows in civilian blood. It appears he cannot get by without repeating scenes that are atrocious to us, like the murder of Gadhafi. On TV screens around the world, we were shown Gadhafi's murder where he was drenched in blood. Is this what you call democracy?  They brought a camera crew as well as opposition rebels, and they murdered him without charge or trial. Mr McCain was a prisoner of war in Vietnam. When they captured him they didn't put him in a prison, they put him in a hole in the ground. And that is where he left his mind."

15--Putin: "We are in grave danger"

"Whether you believe me or not, we offered real remedies to stop this arms race. But they rejected everything we had to offer. So here we are today, and they have placed their missile defense system to Romania. ...So they built this system and now it is being loaded with missiles...These missiles are put into capsules which are utilized from sea-based, mid-range Tomahawk rocket launchers.  ...eventually the missiles will be able to penetrate a distance of 1,000km or more ..at which point they will be a threat to Russia's nuclear capability. ..You don't seem to grasp how serious this is, how the world is being pulled in an irreversible direction.

The US says this is a defensive system, but that is absolutely not true. A missile defense system is one part of a whole system of offensive nuclear capability. One complex blocks,while the other launches a high-precision weapon, the third blocks a potential nuclear strike, and the forth sends out its own nuclear missile in response. It's all part of one system....From what I can see, we are in grave danger. ...I do not know how all this is going to end, but I know we must defend ourselves.

It was precisely the balance of power that guaranteed the safety of the humanity from major global conflict for the last 70 years. ...How they could tear it down so carelessly, I can't understand."

16--Putin, Valdai 2016...

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