Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Today's Links

1--The Real Reason Democrats Love Bush Now

Democrats are Bush now. Everything they once opposed they have now been manipulated into supporting, and the smiling, blood-soaked face of establishment politics is allowed to lull us all deeper and deeper into insanity

2--The Real Aim of the Secret Memo Is the Mueller Investigation

Republicans are pushing the narrative that a cabal of politically biased law enforcement officials set out to sabotage Mr. Trump. And they are portraying a dossier written by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent, which laid out unverified claims that Russia had compromised Mr. Trump and was conspiring with him, as the fountainhead of the Russia investigation..

Mr. Nunes’s three-and-a-half page memo bolsters conservatives’ story line. According to people who have read it, the memo centers on a fall 2016 application for a wiretap order targeting Carter Page, a onetime Trump campaign official who had visited Moscow that June and was preparing to return there in December. The memo is said to criticize law enforcement officials for including information provided by Mr. Steele in the application without adequately explaining to the judge that Democrats financed Mr. Steele’s research....

Of particular importance, the Republican memo is said to cite the role of Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general appointed by Mr. Trump last year, in signing off on an application to extend the surveillance of Mr. Page — meaning he approved the resubmission of Mr. Steele’s information to the court. Mr. Rosenstein’s role could provide critics of the inquiry ammunition to go after him

3--The problem is US occupation no Kim's nukes

Korea’s history is one of implacable and fairly constant conflict with the violent and aggressive West, as well as resistance to both Japanese and Chinese domination: it is, in short, the history of a fiercely nationalistic people determined to shape their own destiny in the face of avaricious imperialism....

While the communist North and the Western-occupied South certainly developed along far different lines, beneath the thin veneer of official ideology the country retained its nationalistic character. Both fragments of the split apart nation set up ministries devoted to “unification,” and, despite efforts by the Bush II administration to stop it, the “Sunshine Policy” of economic cooperation and closer ties nearly succeeded in bringing the two regimes to the point where unity was at least a possibility.

However, the Bushites were determined to torpedo that effort and they finally succeeded, naming the North as part of the “axis of evil,” and threatening to invade by regularly conducting military “exercises” that limn a full-scale frontal attack. This is a yearly ritual.

Despite all this, Queen Min is still looking out for her subjects: her unabashedly nationalist spirit pervades the new sense of optimism that is preceding the Winter Olympics, to be held in South Korea, with the full participation of the North. In a move that surprised – and horrified – the warmongers in the West (both inside and outside the Trump administration) North and South Korean athletes will march together under a special “unification flag”: the two countries will unite their hockey teams, and the North’s two champion figure skaters, Ryom Tai-Ok and Kim Ju-Sik, described by their South Korean counterparts as "friendly and kind and a little bit shy," will be the stars of the show. The North Korean state orchestra is scheduled to perform.

4--US, UK, France and Saudis Have a Modest Dismember Syria

The five countries also suggested stripping the Syrian government from many of its powers and creating two parliaments that will have limited powers. This will leave most of the state’s establishments under the control of the local authorities in a decentralized political system.
Syrian pro-government activists described the proposed constitution as an attempt to legalize the stateless situation in some parts of Syria in order to end the Syrian state once and for all.

5--US Savings rate hits crisis lows

6--The story of Russian support for Turkish op in Syria

On Jan. 13, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis said they would not repeat the mistakes of Iraq and allow an “ISIL 2.0” to emerge and would continue to support the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as long as they were willing to fight. The SDF is a “renamed version” of the YPG, an initiative realized by the U.S. Special Forces Command. The group includes some Arab tribes, in order to conceal the YPG-PKK linkage.

On Jan. 14, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition against the ISIL said a Border Security Force of 30,000 troops would be formed of the SDF to protect Syria’s borders with Iraq and Turkey. The statement stirred outrage in Ankara. Turkey had previously been an important contributor of the coalition but in this instance the country was not consulted.

On Jan. 16, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu met with the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Vancouver and asked him to stop collaboration with the YPG/PKK, saying that Turkey could help Syrian objectives on the ground if the U.S. did co-operated.

On Jan. 17, Tillerson said the “border army” rhetoric was poorly expressed but that U.S. forces would train such a force.

On Jan. 20, the Turkish air force and artillery started to bomb YPG positions in the northwestern town of Afrin, held by the YPG since the beginning of the Syrian civil war. The air operation would not have been possible without Russia’s consent. It was also coordinated with the Syrian regime through Russia, as revealed by Çavuşoğlu later on.

7--Erdogan will clear the Syrian border

8--US to protect Manbij

9--The United States and the Kurds: A Brief History

in the mid-1970s, in conjunction with the dictatorial Shah of Iran, the United States goaded Iraqi Kurds into launching an armed uprising against the then left-leaning Iraqi government with the promise of continued military support. However, the United States abandoned them precipitously as part of an agreement with the Baghdad regime for a territorial compromise favorable to Iran regarding the Shatt al-Arab waterway. Suddenly without supply lines to obtain the necessary equipment to defend themselves, the Iraqi army marched into Kurdish areas and thousands were slaughtered. Then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger dismissed concerns about the humanitarian consequences of this betrayal by saying that "Covert action should not be confused with missionary work.

10--Where Is Public Opinion On The Russia Investigation?

11--Syria's Kurds: from the margins to de facto autonomy

“Turkey knows where our forces are in Manbij, and what they are doing there, and why they are there –to prevent any kind of escalation between the groups who are in that area,” Dillon told Rudaw TV. “The Coalition will continue to support our Syrian Democratic Forces in the fight against ISIS. We have said this all along, and we have said this with the Kurdish elements of the SDF. We will provide them equipment as necessary to defeat ISIS.”

12-- The US and Turkey inch closer to war in Syria

13-- Turkey’s attack on Syrian Kurds could overturn the entire region

Furthermore, the Kurds of Turkey could exploit an upsurge in Kurdish militancy and intensify their insurgency. Such a ramping up of Kurdish nationalism would also be evident in Iraq and Iran. With a rising insurgency beginning with the success – or even noble failure – of the defence of Afrin, a broader Kurdish revolt against their host states and allies is not beyond the realms of possibility....

For Russia, involvement in Syria offered an opportunity to undermine the integrity of Nato, to further Russian interests in eastern Europe, the Baltic, and perhaps beyond into other theatres. With Russia seemingly helping Turkish operations in Afrin – by granting permission to use the airspace and openly condemning the US for its “unilateral”actions in strengthening the YPG – Moscow could claim to have at least part-orchestrated a beautifully conceived plan. Two Nato members – the US and Turkey or at least their proxies – could end up pitched into a very bloody and protracted conflict.
Turkey has another, important bargaining chip against Russia: the Turkish Stream gas pipeline. Moscow has pinned high hopes on the project and it does not want anything to hinder its construction.

14-- support for Kurdish gov in Iraq  US

Moscow's consent to a Turkish operation in Afrin coincided with a statement from Gazprom CEO Aleksei Miller, confirming a long-awaited agreement on the construction of a second gas line passing through the territorial waters of Turkey.

This makes it unlikely for Ankara to suspend the project in the near future, as it did in 2015. If the construction continues without hindrance, the Turkish Stream can be completed in 2019 as planned.
US troops will not withdraw from Syria’s Manbij: CENTCOM Gen Votel

15--Foreign Fighters Back Kurdish Militia in Syria in Fight Against Turkey

• The aim of the operation: Yıldırım said the operation, launched on Jan. 20 and named “Operation Olive Branch,” did not aim at Syria’s territorial integrity. On the contrary, he said, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) Syria branch, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), and its armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), as well as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) - all of which Turkey is fighting against - were trying to carve out parts of Syria. Turkey would pull out as soon as the terror threat on its borders with Syria is eliminated and the people of Syria win. ...•

The row with the U.S. over the YPG: “What the Americans keep telling us is that their cooperation with the PKK/YPG against ISIL was ‘not a choice, but a necessity,’” Yıldırım said. “And they are telling us that they would collect the weapons given to them when they are done. Does that sound convincing to you? They are not selling arms to us, a NATO ally, but are delivering weapons to terrorists for free. On top of this, they announce the formation of an army of 30,000 members on our borders, which are also NATO borders. I don’t understand this. This is enmity. Turkey cannot allow this, no matter who is behind it, what its name is and how powerful it is.  Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım

S. troops will not withdraw from Manbij, a strategically important city in northern Syria, Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of the United States Central Command, told CNN International on Jan. 28.
Votel said withdrawing U.S. forces from Manbij is “not something we are looking into,” the broadcaster reported.

Manbij is a key flashpoint in northern Syria - located northeast of Aleppo and around 40 kilometers south of Jarabulus, which sits on the Syrian-Turkish border.
Turkey on Jan. 20 launched a massive military operation against the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria’s northwestern district of Afrin and vowed that it will expand it to the Manbij area of Syria where YPG troops are located along with U.S. forces.

This means that U.S. troops risk being caught up in Turkey’s military push into northern Syria should Ankara follow through with a pledge to advance into the area.
The confirmation of U.S. commitment to Manbij comes as parties involved in the conflict prepare to meet in Russia-hosted peace talks in the Black Sea resort of Sochi

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