Saturday, May 27, 2017

Today's Links

"Southfront reports that “the Iraqi government has officially confirmed a cooperation with Syria, Iran and Russia to secure the Syrian-Iraqi border. According to the Iraqi Interior Ministry, there is a cooperation between the four countries on this issue. The Iraqi media also [quoted] Iraqi officials [saying] that Iraq and its allies will not allow establishing of any ‘buffer zone’ between the two countries.”"  Alastair Crooke

Brennan said Russia used WikiLeaks as a "cut-out," or go-between, and that protests by WikiLeaks that it is not working with Russia and Russia's claims it is not working with WikiLeaks are "disingenuous." NPR (Who are you going to believe: Brennan or Assange?)

1--Russiagate Timeline

2--CIA director warned Russian security service chief about interference in election

3--CIA was original source of Trump-Russia investigation

How did the FBI's investigation into the Trump-Russia connection get started, anyway? Former CIA director John Brennan says he was the one who got the ball rolling:

“I encountered . . . intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign,” Brennan said, adding that he did not see conclusive evidence of collusion but feared that Trump associates were wittingly or unwittingly being used to advance the interests of Moscow.

4--New Cracks in Russia-gate ‘Assessment’

5--Over 60% of US voters say Russia is enemy – poll

6--Former CIA Director Tells Lawmakers About 'Very Aggressive' Russian Election Meddling

While Brennan would not specifically identify any individuals associated with the Trump campaign who had contacts with Russian officials and would not opine as to whether there was any collusion or collaboration, he did tell lawmakers why he was concerned about the contacts occurring against the general background of Russian efforts to meddle in the election...

Brennan told the committee he believed that Russia anticipated that Clinton would be the likely winner of the presidential race, and that Russia tried to "damage and bloody" her before Election Day. Had she won, Brennan said, Russia would have continued to attempt to "denigrate her and hurt her" during her presidency

7--Battle of Aleppo

8--Some ISIS Commanders Joined US-backed ‘Moderate Opposition’ In Southeastern Syria

It is believed that “Ghassan al-Sanki” was one of ISIS most prominent commanders in the town of Al-Bukamal located near the Syrian-Iraqi border. Many ISIS fighters in Deir Ezzor are believed to be ex-FSA fighters who joined ISIS when it captured the oil fields in the area. Now they are leaving ISIS that is losing a major part of its financial resources.

The FSA in Deir Ezzor was known for its strong relationship with ISIS in Iraq and Syria and its work on smuggling fighters and arms into Iraqi territory, where it played a key role in strengthening the presence of the terrorist group. The FSA in Deir Ezzor was the first to establish illegal oil trade with Turkey

9--The Turning Point?

While the war in Syria is far from over, the events of October 2016 through May 2017 will likely be described as its turning point that enabled the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance to assume strategic offensive and dictate the tempo of operations. In turn, various rebel forces, including Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) and Ahrar al-Sham are no longer displaying the ability to launch offensive operations capable of yielding major results....

While the liberation of the city of Aleppo was the greatest success of this period of the war. Furthermore, it had an important implication in both military and diplomatic fields. Jabhat al-Nusra and other militant groups have burned a large number of military equipment and manpower in failed attempts to break the Aleppo siege. They lost a major part of experienced infantry and spent a large amount of weapons, including anti-tank guided missiles and Grad-type rockets, during the battle for Aleppo. This predetermined their defensive posture during next months of the war....

Thus in some ways the current military situation is vastly better than it was in October of last year, thanks to the liberation of Aleppo, the reduction of several rebel-held enclaves, and the heavy losses inflicted on ISIS on several fronts. The operations of the next six months will potentially have to contend with a factor that hitherto was absent, namely the growing presence of US-led coalition troops on Syrian territory.
The US-led coalition has responded to the SAA victories with intensification of operations in southeastern Syria with a goal to build a buffer zone between Syrian government forces and the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units that are rapidly growing to the most influential force in Iraq. The Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance realized the thereat and intensified operations in the area. At the same time, the Syrian Democratic Forces with a large support of the US-led coalition’s airpower, artillery and special forces troops are preparing to storm the ISIS self-proclaimed capital of Raqqah. The competition for the Syrian-Iraqi border and for the oil-reach Deir Ezzor province has officially started

10--Putin's Eurasia policy

11--Operation Grand Dawn

"On Thursday, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies announced start of the Operation “Grand Dawn in eastern Syria. The aim of the operation is to expel militants from the eastern desert and to set a foothold for a push to Deir Ezzor. The declaration followed a major success of government forces in southeastern Homs where they had liberated about 5,000 km2 and got a full control over the Damascus-Palmyra highway.

ISIS deployed a force for a counter-attack but its formidable military convoy was fully destroyed by the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Syrian Air Force en route to the Zaza triangle area. Thus, the terrorist group defense lines just collapsed.

The government advance south of the Homs-Palmyra highway also allowed government forces to isolate Jaish al-Islam militants in eastern Qalamoun and to prevent their attempt to unite efforts with US-backed militant groups operating near the Syrian-Jordanian border"  southfront

12--"Jared Kushner and Russia’s ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, according to U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports.

More links--

Iraqi Government Confirms Cooperation With Syria, Iran And Russia To Secure Syrian-Iraqi Border (Video)
secure the border with Syria

the US-led coalition has two strategic objectives:
  • To not allow the SAA and its allies to reach the border with Iraq;
  • To set a foothold for a rapid and successfull storm of Raqqah, forcing civilians to flee the city with an intense bombing campaign.
  • Trump said on Thursday, speaking in Brussels at a ceremonial unveiling of a memorial to the victims of the September 2001 terrorist attacks.The NATO of the future must include a great focus on terrorism and immigration, as well as threats from Russia, and on NATO's eastern and southern borders,"

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