Sunday, March 11, 2018

Today's Links

1--Israeli-Iran Confrontation?? 

At the annual Israel lobby conference at the National Press Club, sponsored by the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and Institute for Research: Middle East Policy, Wilkerson explained that Israel is headed toward “a massive confrontation with the various powers arrayed against it, a confrontation that will suck America in and perhaps terminate the experiment that is Israel and do irreparable damage to the empire that America has become.”...

“They [the Israelis] ordered the Israel Defense Forces and the intelligence arms to prepare for a huge operation: an all-out air attack in the heart of Iran. Some $2 billion was spent on preparations for the attack and for what the Israelis believed would take place the day after – a counterattack either by Iranian warplanes and missiles or by its proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah. The latter could use either the 50,000 missiles it had stockpiled (by 2018, Israeli intelligence estimated the number had increased to 100,000), or it could activate its terror cells abroad, with the assistance of Iranian intelligence, to strike at Israeli or Jewish targets. This is what it did in 1992 and 1994 when it responded to Israeli attacks in Lebanon by blowing up the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires and the Jewish community center AMIA in that city, with a massive number of casualties in both attacks.”

2--Inside the State Dept's Ministry of Truth

3-- Russia achieves military superiority over US

Putin was referring to the RS-28 Sarmat ballistic missile, which has almost unlimited range and ultra-high speed, enabling it to employ trajectories including strikes coming over the South Pole that can defeat existing American Anti-Ballistic Defense systems. Russia has also produced and deployed a hypersonic glider weapon system Avangard.

But the real game changer is the Russian ability to negate America’s ability to project power through its navy. The already deployed air-launched Kinzhal anti-ship missile has a range of 2000 kilometers and a hyper-sonic speed that makes it nearly impossible to intercept. The development has made America’s thirteen aircraft carrier groups obsolete. President Putin made clear that Russia now has an overwhelming military advantage in cruise and ballistic missiles that are capable of penetrating U.S. defenses....

the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have seen their basic missions change since 2001. An organization that used to pride itself on its ability to conduct classic espionage operations involving recruiting and running spies suddenly heard from policymakers that those skills were no longer in demand. Many officers who were made redundant or forced to retire were precisely those individuals who had cut their teeth on running operations directed against the old Soviet Union. They had the language and cultural skills necessary to collect information on Russia. With their departure, those capabilities also largely vanished.
Instead of spying, American intelligence agencies working mostly against what was broadly described as “terrorism,” used technology to locate potential targets and kill them. The CIA’s Clandestine Services, once the haven of its spies, became under President Barack Obama, a largely paramilitary operation focused on military solutions rather than espionage. This process was accelerated under Obama’s CIA Director John Brennan, who worked assiduously to reduce the influence of the former spies within the Agency. Brennan reportedly had once wanted to become a spy but was kicked out of the training program as “unsuitable.”
So, has America learned that its intelligence agencies are doing all the wrong things and that the national defense strategy is unsustainable because the Russian-American relationship is now on a new footing? Possibly, but it is perhaps more likely that Washington will avoid asking the hard questions.

4--The Implications of Russia's New Weapon Systems

5-- The PKK’s strategic miscalculation

Following the breaking out of the Syrian war in 2011, the Turkish government, led by Erdoğan in 2012, instructed the MİT to contact Öcalan in prison to pursue ending terrorism through a democratic solution to the Kurdish issue.
By that time, the PKK had already established its Syria branch, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which played a positive role in the early stages of the MİT-PKK contacts, with the support of the Kurdish-issue focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in the Turkish Parliament. This was before the emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in 2013, which caught many countries - including Turkey - unprepared, with its unprecedented level of radicalism and violence.
In autumn 2014, ISIL attacked the Syrian border town of Ayn al-Arab - or Kobane as it is referred to by the Kurds – which was held by the PYD’s armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG). At this point the PKK started to see a different opportunity. The Turkish government’s uncertainty regarding the situation also played a role, but the PKK was not alone in seeing a new opportunity in the Kobane situation.
The U.S. administration also saw a chance to enter the Syrian theater without putting boots on the ground. That is how the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) picked the YPG/PKK militants as its ground force, asking them to exchange their terrorism-related name for a more PR-friendly one: The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Now the SDF, or the YPG, or the PKK, is seen as a major tool of U.S. interests in the Middle East by many peoples of the region including Turks, Arabs and Iranians. Following U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s recent speech at Stanford University, they are also now seen as the protectors of the interests of Israel, which is understandably disturbed by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards approaching its borders and the continued expansion of Hezbollah in Syria.
So if the U.S. is able to convince the Syrians, the Russians and the Iraqis to establish a Kurdish state and change Arab borders contrary to Turkey’s wishes, then the PKK will inevitably become seen even more as the stooge of the U.S. and the helper of Israel. Such a PKK state would likely have a lot of difficulty explaining itself to the Arab peoples and governments of the region.

Over the course of the past two years, Google, Facebook, Twitter and other tech companies, in close coordination with the government, have moved extremely rapidly to censor content online through the manipulation of search results and news feeds. Carried out within the CIA-Democratic Party’s campaign over “fake news” and “Russian meddling,” the purpose of these measures is to silence, suppress and criminalize domestic opposition.
Google’s censorship of its search algorithms, first unveiled last April, was followed by alterations in Facebook’s news feed to promote “trusted” news outlets—such as the New York Times—over independent news organizations that advance “alternative viewpoints.” More aggressive measures are being planned and implemented....

The Los Angeles Times warned of “social media’s influence on the labor unrest,” pointing to the fact that teachers throughout the country, from West Virginia to Oklahoma, were using Facebook to coordinate their struggles.
What the ruling elite fears above all is the emergence of a revolutionary socialist movement that will challenge the two-party system and the financial oligarchy that it represents. It is highly cognizant of the role of the WSWS, which is seeing a rapid growth in readership with the escalation of the class struggle. The ruling class already had in 2015 the experience of the rebellion of auto workers against the UAW, with tens of thousands of workers reading and sharing WSWS articles on social media.
Standing upon a social powder keg, the ruling class is desperately seeking to gain control of information. Whatever tools the military develops for use abroad, moreover, will be extended to the “total army” of police and intelligence agencies at home. And capitalist ruling elites throughout the world are taking similar measures.

7--NYTimes promotes Kurdish defacto state

Many Arabs would probably differ about their love of Mr. Ocalan, whose socialist, radically egalitarian philosophy of governance holds sway throughout the autonomous region, known as Rojava, that the Kurds have carved out in Syria, with the help of the American-led international coalition. Their uneasy alliance, held together by the fight against the Islamic State, could be severely tested as the Kurds expand their control.
Kurdish aspirations will also come up against an implacable Turkey, which regards a self-governing Kurdish region across its southern border, and controlled by the P.K.K., as nothing short of an existential threat. Those fears led to the offensive against Afrin, the eastern region of Rojava, and Turkey has even talked about attacking further east, which would put it in conflict with American forces....

For six years they have been establishing local and regional governments, sending foreign affairs representatives abroad, collecting taxes, organizing socialist communes and raising militias. They often describe their revolution as “the project” or “the experiment,” the implementation of local self-governing democracy, freedom and equality for women and a socialist system inspired by anarchist and Marxist philosophies....

Dealing with Arab populations is not the only problem that Mr. Ocalan presents for Kurdish aspirations. The group he leads from prison, the P.K.K., is a designated terrorist organization to Western countries, including the Kurds’ American allies. The Syrian Kurds claim they have nothing to do with the P.K.K., but Mr. Ocalan’s cultlike popularity in Rojava argues otherwise.

Washington does not consider the Peoples Protection Units, or Y.P.G., the Kurdish militia that is the dominant partner in the Syrian Democratic Forces, a terrorist outfit. They fight alongside American Special Operations troops in Syria, and American military leaders praise them for bringing stable government to the areas they control. That includes areas that are largely Arab, as the Kurds have expanded their writ in the north and the Islamic State has been reduced to small pockets mostly near the Iraqi border in the south.
“There’s a lot of people that do equate them with the P.K.K., but I have not seen any indication of that in my dealings with them,” said Maj. Gen. James B. Jarrard, the American Special Operations commander in Syria and Iraq.
The Kurdish forces have set up civilian governments that are often run by Arabs in areas where they predominate, and have successfully turned the S.D.F. into a majority Arab force, General Jarrard said. The result has been stable government, which has helped to turn sympathies away from the extremists, the general said, during a recent visit to the front lines near Manbij....

Many independent observers disagree about the Y.P.G. “Everybody knows with a wink and a nod that it’s the P.K.K.,” said Joost Hilterman, a longtime observer of the Kurds with the International Crisis Group. “The Y.P.G. is an integral part of the P.K.K. command structure. They may be mostly Syrians, though not exclusively, but all are part of the P.K.K.”...

For now, Syria’s Kurds and their American allies are doing their best to manage an awkward situation, and not all signs are bleak for the future of Rojava. Many Arabs say they are happy with the new authority, even in Arab areas. Younger Arab women have eagerly joined gender equality initiatives and even volunteered for the Y.P.J., the Kurdish women’s military force.

“Either Russia is incompetent or in cahoots with Assad,” Mattis said. “There’s an awful lot of reports about chlorine gas use or about symptoms that could be resulting from chlorine gas.”

What is the world community to do about a conflict that has already killed half a million people, that keeps more than ten million people from their homes (about half as refugees in foreign lands), that provides sanctuary for an Al Qaeda splinter group as well as remnants of ISIS, that continues to allow playgrounds for Iranian and Hezbollah adventurism, and that still pits NATO allies Turkey and the United States against each other in their respective strategies towards the country’s Kurdish population?...

In a January speech at Stanford, Secretary of State Tillerson made a start on this task. He outlined several principles for developing a fuller strategy towards Syria. Specifically, he promised:
- to sustain the military campaigns against ISIS and Al Qaeda affiliates,
- to continue the UN-sponsored process in Geneva that aims to produce a new government for the country,
- to diminish Iran’s influence in Syria,
- to help refugees and other displaced go home, and
- to ensure that Syria is free of weapons of mass destruction.
Tillerson also promised a continued U.S. role, through military and diplomatic and economic tools, to help stabilize that half of the country and population that President Assad does not actually control, while also vowing not to help Assad rebuild any of the parts of the country that he still does control....

Some type of informal peacekeeping arrangements may be needed down the road too, to create buffer zones between the autonomous zones and regime-held territory in parts of the north and south of the country. However, such funds should not flow to Assad or the regions he controls until he steps down, except for limited amounts of humanitarian aid once he starts respecting ceasefires.....

Finally, if the United States is to pursue a strategy built largely around helping autonomous zones rule themselves (at least temporarily), then it needs a better answer to the Kurdish question, because Turkey will continue to see any such a strategy as a fundamental threat to its security. A continued, long-term American presence in northern Syria to help monitor the border against possible flows of fighters and weapons between the YPG in Syria and the PKK inside of Turkey must be one element. Another is to declare explicitly that the Kurds will need to have at least two separate autonomous zones, with Turkish forces juxtaposed between them indefinitely, and that they will need to allow non-Kurdish towns within their zones a degree of additional local autonomy. But the United States might go further, articulating a broader pan-Kurdish policy in which it explicitly declares that it will not support Kurdish independence in any part of the broader Middle East. As a practical matter, the United States won’t do it anyway, but to date, Washington has resisted such a strong statement. Now is the time to be more clear...

A 2012 US policy paper admittedly sought to "bleed" the Syrian government, and with it the Syrian people. Today in Syria, the consequences of America's depraved foreign policy is being blamed by Western special interests on the very victims it targeted. 

No comments:

Post a Comment