Monday, May 22, 2017

Today's Links

1--Riyadh Pact: US & 55 Muslim-Majority States Pledging 34,000 Troops To Fight ISIS, Cooperation Against Iran

Into the ME meatgrinder

2--Saudi Arabia and US--The special terrorist relationship (video)

3--SAA surges towards al Tanf

As predicted in piece on the incident the Syrian Army continues to move towards al-Tanf despite the U.S. bombing attack. It is now also pushing on a second axis in Suweida along the Syrian-Jordan border. The attacked main movement from the north-west received reinforcements and continues, it is claimed, under air cover. Al-Tanf is a Syrian border station on Syrian grounds and the Syrian government has all rights to take control of it. Norwegian government media reported that Norwegian troops were now occupying al-Tanf. Who cares? Al-Tanf is not a place where a presence of Norwegian or any other U.S. proxy troops has any legitimacy. The Syrian government had stated that it will take control of that station. That's it. There is no need for "de-conflicting" in the area because the U.S. and its proxies have no legitimate reason to be there. "De-confliction" in the area is very simple. Just stay away...

There is another, (the third?), attempt to whitewash al-Qaeda in Idleb. The State Department has refrained from putting the again renamed al-Qaeda organization there onto its foreign terrorist entities list. Supporting it under the new name is thereby arguably still legal. The Arabic version of the Qatari al-Jazeera channel is now defending and promoting al-Qada in Syria leader Jolani who practically rules over Idleb

But the recent TV report by Jenan Mussa (vid) proves without doubt that Idleb is controlled by al-Qaeda in Syria and that it is pushing to implement its brutal version of Islamic law. There were some feeble attempts to debunk it and to sell al-Qaeda under its new name Hayat Tahrir al-Sham as a reasonably moderate local Syrian force. The Saudi/Qatar paid Jihadist promoter Charles Lister fronts the meager efforts.

4--The move east continues

5--US proposal for deconfliction in syria

The U.S. sees that area, from Deir el-Zour down the Euphrates River Valley to al-Qaim on the Iraqi side of the border, as the next major battleground in the evolving coalition campaign to destroy the Islamic State group.
"We have a proposal that we're working on with the Russians right now," Dunford said at a news conference with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. "I won't share the details, but my sense is that the Russians are as enthusiastic as we are to de-conflict operations and ensure that we continue to take the campaign to ISIS and ensure the safety of our personnel."

7--US  rearming the terrorists

Some policymakers the U.S. and Syria believe that a deal to create "de-escalation zones," brokered in Astana, Kazakhstan earlier this month by Russia, Iran and Turkey, was designed to preempt any American plan to unilaterally establish safe zones in Syria.
In March, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Washington would set up "interim zones of stability" to allow refugees to return to Syria.
Officials in the U.S. State Department have told CNN that the terminology used by Russia in Astana deliberately echoed Tillerson's position. Some Middle East analysts have argued that the long-term consequence of such a policy — establishing externally-enforced zones, if not spheres of influence — amounts to the soft partitioning of Syria

According to Reuters, citing Western intelligence sources, American and British Special Forces are building out al-Tanf to encompass a larger role in flushing ISIS out of the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor. So a similar enlargement of the U.S. garrison in the south is indeed likely

9--FBI Probe Into Clinton Emails Prompted Offer of Cash, Citizenship for Confession, Russian Hacker Claims

A Russian citizen accused of being a hacker by both Russia and the U.S. has claimed U.S. officials offered to cut him a deal if he admitted to interfering in the 2016 presidential election.
Yevgeniy Nikulin, 29, has found himself in the middle of an international dispute between Washington and Moscow, at the very center of which lies U.S. allegations that Russia sponsored a series of hacks targeting Democratic Party candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in favor of Republican candidate and current President Donald Trump. On October 5, 2016, days before U.S. intelligence publicly accused Russia of endorsing an infiltration of Democratic Party officials' emails, Nikulin was arrested in Prague at the request of the U.S. on separate hacking charges. Now, Nikulin claims U.S. authorities tried to pin the email scandal on him

10--Seth Rich Murder Case Stirs Russia Doubts  consortium news

11--From Beirut to Tehran?

It is believed that as IS militants are defeated in Mosul and soon in Raqqa, the vast region extending from Deir ez-Zor to Sweida, in eastern and southern Syria, will witness a major power struggle that will include the Syrian army, US-backed Syrian Kurds, New Syrian Army fighters and fleeing IS militants.

From the US perspective, extending the allied presence in that area would serve two major objectives: enable a pincer maneuver to encircle IS militants, and sever the land link between Iraq and Syria that Iranian-backed militias depend on for arms and men. The recent regime push toward the east and south is an attempt to derail such plans....

These assertions do not clarify whether Jordan will come, or is coming, under US pressure to engage in a military operation in southern Syria. Fear of an Iranian land corridor extending from Tehran to Beirut through Iraq and Syria is shared by Amman and Washington, not to mention Riyadh and Tel Aviv. Can Jordan reconcile its own security calculations with those of the United States under President Donald Trump? That remains an open-ended question.

12--State involvement in terror attack--Informant Claude Hermant implicates French state in Charlie Hebdo attacks

Claude Hermant, a police informant arrested in the case of the January 7, 2015 attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris, has implicated the French state in the preparation of the attack. Hermant, who allegedly sold weapons used by Am├ędy Coulibaly and the Kouachi brothers to commit the attacks, is reportedly charging that three gendarme military policemen and two customs officials, as well as organized crime circles, were involved.
The case shatters the official narrative, according to which terror attacks in France, Belgium, and Germany since 2015 have been the work of isolated Islamists

13--Washington Post and New York Times urge pullback on calls for Trump impeachment

The appointment of Mueller, who headed the FBI for 12 years, under both Bush and Obama, puts the Trump administration under the effective receivership of the intelligence agencies, with the constant threat that if he steps too far out of line, he could quickly be faced with criminal charges. References to the formation of some sort of caretaker regime have begun appearing in the press. A Post op-ed column by Dana Millbank devoted to celebrating the anti-Russian campaign as a heroic journalistic exploit, while acknowledging that it was made possible by systematic leaking from the military-intelligence apparatus, concludes by describing Mueller as “a regent, if you will, to protect against future abuses.”

All of this underscores the completely reactionary character of both factions of the ruling class, whatever turn the crisis might take in the days and weeks to come. It demonstrates the political dead end of subordinating the struggle against the Trump administration to the Democrats, whose opposition to Trump is entirely different from and hostile to the concerns and interests of millions of workers. They must intervene on the basis of their own, socialist, program and perspective.

14--Trump Escalates Syrian Proxy War

After the agreement came into effect the Syrian army began operations aimed at reaching the Iraqi border at the al-Tanaf crossing along the Damascus-Baghdad highway and to recapture the ISIS-stronghold of Deir Ezzor further north.
Both the U.S. and Syria have voiced intentions of taking Deir Ezzor, which is home to strategic oil resources, yet now because of the de-escalation agreement it is highly improbable that the U.S. will be able to stop Syria and Russia from taking the city.

The parallel measures by the U.S. and Russia signify a race between the two major powers to capture as much territory as possible from the Islamic State before the other side is able to do so.
Under the guise of “defeating ISIS,” both powers are essentially carving out their own spheres of influence throughout the country, dividing it between U.S.- and Russian-backed regions, leading to an inevitable showdown between the two sides over the fate of the country and its territorial integrity.

15--The Fallacy of Demonizing Russia

16--Harvard Study Reveals Huge Extent of Anti-Trump Media Bias

17--U.S. Household Debt Hit Record in First Quarter

18--Democratic Party Image Dips, GOP Ratings Stable

40% view Democratic Party favorably, down from 45% in November
  • GOP rating basically unchanged at 39%
  • Both parties are below historical average ratings
  • WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans' opinions of the two major political parties are now similar after the Democratic Party's ratings slipped to 40% -- from 45% last November -- while the Republican Party's image is essentially unchanged at 39%.

    19--The ‘Soft Coup’ of Russia-gate

    Notes----  Read more:

    The US is trying to block the attempt of Russia in establishing the de-escalation zones in Syria. These strikes that come in the south-eastern part of Syria prove that the US is intending to escalate the tension in southern Syria as a part of its attempt first to drive a wedge between Damascus and Baghdad and prevent them from having any geographical link on the one hand. On the other hand, this also proves the US intends at imposing its own influence in southern Syria to destabilize the Syrian regime by hitting in the south while it was able to stabilize the situation in the north much to its favor by supporting the Kurds on one hand and the Turks on the other hand. - Dr. Jamal Wakeem, professor of history and international relations at Lebanese University in Beirut.
    Syrian War Report – May 19, 2017: US-Led Forces Fights With Syrian Army For Iraqi Border NB

    There is not a single fact, there is no compelling evidence given to anyone regarding Russia's intervention and that is it," Lavrov said.

    I feel so miserable without you; it’s almost like having you here.”
    Stephen Bishop
    “He is a self-made man and worships his creator.”
    John Bright
    “I’ve just learned about his illness. Let’s hope it’s nothing trivial.”
    Irvin S. Cobb
    “He had delusions of adequacy.”
    Walter Kerr

    “His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.”
    Mae West

    "He loves nature in spite of what it did to him."
    Forrest Tucker
    "He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any one I know."
    Abraham Lincoln
    "He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts — for support rather than illumination."
    Andrew Lang
    "He has Van Gogh's ear for music."
    Billy Wilder
    “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.”

    joe Lieberman to be FBI chief ?

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