In the following is our translation of an article from riafan.ru with commentary and notes [in brackets] by Vince Dhimos.
At this time, battles between jihadists and the Russian and Syrian forces are raging in Idlib and Aleppo, the last stronghold in Syria of ISIS and Al-Qaeda rebrandings that Trump “completely defeated” months ago. The US and UN argue that some of these jihadists are “moderate opposition” and are urging the Syrians and Russians to lay down their arms. The Turks agree and are sending military personnel and large amounts of materiel to these areas, supposedly for “peace keeping” purposes, although the Turks have already killed a number of Syrian soldiers and destroyed some Syrian materiel. The US Establishment is scamming you as usual.
Many of our readers know by now that the Western msm are simply appendages of the US Establishment – military, Congress, White House (yes, both sides of the aisle support war but some officials pretend they support peace. And some insist that every warlike act by Trump, eg, the murder of Soleimani and his insistence on keeping troops in Syria, is a result of pressure on him by others, including his own cabinet – though he alone chose his cabinet. That is not someone else’s fault).
This Russian article is the most important piece I have seen so far, providing details on all the groups fighting in Idlib. It is long, 2200 words, and I recommend filing it for reference.
In search of a “moderate opposition”: militant forces in Syrian Idlib. Infographics
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the main task in Syrian Idlib is "to separate the normal opposition from terrorists." However, is there, in principle, a “normal opposition” on the territory of the legitimate government of Syria in Damascus? Read the report from the Federal News Agency [FAN] about the terrorist groups that operate in Idlib, and why they cannot be considered "opposition."
Where to look for "normal opposition"?
The defeat of terrorist groups in Syrian Idlib is inevitable, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking on the side-lines of the Munich Security Conference. Northwest Syria has remained the last major hotbed of terrorism on the west bank of the Euphrates, and the agreements that exist between Russia and Turkey do not imply a renunciation of the fight against the terrorist threat, he stressed.
Turkey, which did not fulfil its obligations under the Sochi agreements, allowed the transformation of Idlib into a terrorist enclave that currently threatens not only the Middle East, but also northern Africa. Moreover, Turkey continues to support terrorist groups in Idlib, insisting that they constitute “opposition” to the government in Damascus.
“I’ll note another item that directly relates to Idlib: The inevitability of victory over terrorism,” Sergei Lavrov emphasized in his speech.
Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham - recognized terrorists
The largest group that has actually subjugated Idlib is Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), created by militants of the Jabhat al-Nusra group, banned in Russia, led by Abu Muhammad al-Julani, the former field commander of the Islamic State (IS, ISIS; prohibited in the Russian Federation).
The creation of the HTS and the puppet "government of national salvation" in Idlib was an attempt to whitewash the jihadists of Jabhat al-Nusra and bring the group to the political level as representatives of the "Sunni opposition." This attempt failed and at the end of May 2018, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham was recognized as terrorists by the United States and Turkey.
It is worth noting that the attitude towards Idlib in the statements of politicians and the media in the West varies depending on the success of the Syrian forces: during 2019, Idlib was repeatedly called "the last major refuge of al-Qaeda terrorists (banned in the Russian Federation) in the Middle East," although they began to noisily express concern whenever this den was threatened with a cleansing by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).
At the same time, the report of the UN Security Council on the fight against ISIS of January 20, 2020 explicitly states:
“In the province of Idlib in the north-west of the Syrian Arab Republic, Al Qaeda-related groups continue to dominate. Idlib province, whose population exceeded 3 million during the civil war in the Syrian Arab Republic, is dominated by a fairly large al-Qaida-linked organization, ie, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham. Today’s military-technical school numbers from 12 to 15 thousand militants and is concentrating efforts on fighting the forces of the Syrian government.
Because of HTS’ methods, it cannot be called “moderate opposition.” The Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists have used the old methods of mass executions, hostage-taking, and kidnapping for ransom have been routine situations in Idlib for several years now. The “secret police” of Julani, led by field commander Abu Hattab (real name Abu Jabbar al-Qasim), exterminated in Idlib all those who disagree with HTS policies.
The leaders of the HTS have carried out “purges” in their own ranks: those who accused Julani and his minions of corruption were eliminated. Field commanders such as Abu Abed al-Ashda and Abdullah al-Muhaysini criticized the leader for the fact that the "taxes" that jihadists receive from the local population and the "material assistance" from Turkey, Qatar, the Emirates and other countries are not for purchasing weapons, equipment and supplies, and go to the accounts of Julian and his comrades in Turkey. For this, prominent jihadist commanders ended up in HTS prisons.
During clashes with government forces, the HTS actively used suicide bombers - both Istishhadi troops and suicide bombers.
Here's a video showing all 16 SVBIED attacks carried out out by HTS & filmed by drone in Idlib pocket since May, 2019. This doesn't reflect overall number of SVBIED attacks, as HTS claimed or attempted to carry out a total of 28 SVBIED attacks in the same time frame
Embedded video: https://twitter.com/i/status/1226180729123549185
Militants executed the captured SAA soldiers, often in savage ways - they cut off their heads, crucified them on crosses and shot them.
“Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham” cannot be attributed to the “moderate opposition” – this group was created by terrorists, controlled by terrorists and every day uses terrorist methods against the people of Syria. The HTS actually themselves refused the status of “moderate opposition” when in September 2018 they rejected the Sochi agreements and announced the continuation of the armed struggle against Damascus.
Child Soldiers of the Islamic Party of Turkestan
The strongest allies of the HTS in Idlib are the terrorist "Islamic Party of Turkestan" (TIP), banned in the Russian Federation, a large international group in which Syrian Turkomans and Uighurs play a significant role.
“Turkestans” are included in the list of terrorist groups in China, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Great Britain, the USA and the European Union, as well as in a single list of UN terrorist organizations. The Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) is closely associated with al-Qaeda and has organized attacks throughout China, in the UAE, in Kyrgyzstan and even in Norway. The ideology of the group is radical Salafist jihadism. A characteristic feature of the propaganda of the Islamic Party of Turkestan is the frequent demonstration of child soldiers. The group repeatedly used suicide bombers - in particular, during the terrorist attack on Tiananmen Square on October 28, 2013.
TIP fighters have been active in Syria since 2015 and have constantly collaborated with Jabhat al-Nusra and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham. The field commanders of the "Turkestanis" have repeatedly called for the genocide of the Alawites and Christians in Syria, and the Uyghur militants have called for the destruction and desecration of churches, as well as the killing of Christians. Thus, the Uyghur allies of the HTS, for the most part foreigners, can in no way be considered "moderate" opponents of Damascus.
"Moderate jihadists" and bandits from Chechnya
Another ally of HTS is the Jaish al-Izza group, which planned the genocide of the Christian population in northern Hama province. The leader of the group, Jamil al-Saleh, threatened to slaughter Christians in Mhardeh and Skalbiya [sic] and destroy these cities. The group’s plans were foiled by Russian intervention.
[I need to say something here: the current US regime is backed by almost the entire US “Christian” Zionist population. Now the administration is urging Russia to stop fighting groups like Jaish al-Izza, which intend to slaughter Christians in Syria! The US’s excuse is that the Russians and their Syrian allies are killing civilians.]
The "moderate" jihadists of "Jaish al-Izza" received assistance from the United States - under the "partnership program," militants were given TOW anti-tank missile systems. The most famous field commander and the “media figure” of Jaish al-Izza Abdul Baset Sarout, a former Syrian footballer, who openly sympathized with ISIS, was killed in June 2019. This group, whose leaders openly called for genocide, also cannot be considered “moderate opposition.”
The lesser allies of the HTS are the mercenaries of Ajnad Kavkaz, who are associated with Imarat Kavkaz, banned in the Russian Federation, and are a large Chechen organized crime group, whose members profess jihadist ideology. In Idlib, the Ajnad Kavkaz militants are notorious for numerous abductions, contract killings and terrorist attacks. In some cases, even the “security service” of the HTS had to intervene – for example, when a British citizen who provided services to terrorists was kidnapped in Idlib.
“They demanded $4 million for his release - the HTS exposed the most dangerous group of kidnappers in Idlib,” wrote media sources related to the incident.
Obviously, a foreign organized crime group, whose members share a jihadist ideology, cannot be considered a “moderate opposition” either.
Jihadists "on Turkey’s payroll"
Created with the direct participation of Turkey, the Syrian National Army (SNA) is an attempt to whitewash groups belonging to the Free Syrian Army (SSA). The largest gangs that entered the SNA were Ahrar al-Sham, Jaish al-Ahrar, Jaish al-Islam, Idlib’s Free Army, Sukur al-Sham, Failak al-Sham, and "Liva Sultan Murad." The total number of coalitions reaches 40-45 thousand people.
[The Syrian National Army, initially funded by the US and receiving weapons such as TOW missiles, was accused by Human Rights Watch of committing crimes such as kidnappings, Forced Confessions, and Executions. It apparently never dawned on anyone in the US government that it was sponsoring terrorists.]
SNA groups have long received funding and supplies from the United States, Qatar, the UAE and other Gulf countries, but in 2017 Turkey took them “under its wing.” To distinguish between jihadists who enjoy US support and other jihadists, the Western media invented the designation “moderate opposition” – but in terms of composition and methods, “moderate” gangs are no different from “radical” ones.
"Moderate" killers and terrorists
Most of the large groups belonging to the SNA are closely related to each other - since 2011, terrorist groups in Syria have merged, split up and entered into internecine conflicts. Some of the field commanders, such as the leader of Ahrar al-Sham, Abu Ammar, managed to fight abroad, participating in conflicts in Iraq and Yemen.
In addition to Ahrar al-Sham, the largest groups of the SNA include Ahrar al-Sharqiya and Liva Sultan Murad, which are widely known for banditry in northern Syria, in areas occupied by Turkey during operations Olive Branch and Euphrates Shield." A large group, the Idlib Free Army, was included in the SNA, but in fact, according to the Turkish SETA Research Centre, it remains under the control of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham.
“Across Africa, groups such as Ahrar al-Sharqiya and Liva Sultan Murad enact so-called Sharia law and participate in robbery, kidnapping, murder, torture and rape,” said the Rojava Information Center.
ISIS insignia as "a keepsake"
Syrian National Army militants use the same methods as their ISIS counterparts and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham - for example, Ingimashi suicide bombers, whose militants learned from Jabhat al-Nusra. In addition, there were a large number of “former” ISIS fighters in the SNA units who fled north after the defeat in Deir ez-Zor. The Rojava [Kurdistan] Information Center published dozens of names of field commanders and rank and file militants who effortlessly “migrated” from ISIS to Turkey-controlled groupings. Many of them managed to fight for the SSA, ISIS, and Jabhat al-Nusra, and then transferred to the Syrian National Army.
These militants can easily be distinguished in numerous videos and photographs from Idlib and Aleppo - having joined the SNA and becoming "moderate" terrorists, they continue to wear ISIS chevrons, obviously leaving themselves such a distinction "as keepsakes" of the past.
All groups that have joined the SNA are terrorist gangs. They are not and were not the "Syrian opposition," and must be liquidated to restore sovereignty and security in Syria.
“Wa Harid al-Muminin” is “Al-Qaeda” in Idlib
The most radical jihadist groups in Idlib were included in the so-called "operational headquarters" Wa-Harid al-Muminin” ("And encourage the faithful "). These groups are directly affiliated with al-Qaeda and under the control of Julani, who, in their opinion, “played into politics” and stopped following the path of jihad.
The largest of them is Taznim Hurras ad-Din (Organization of Guardians of the Law, HAD), which includes up to 5,000 militants, many of whom come from Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia. The HAD largely controls the Wa-Harid al-Muminin coalition, directing the actions of the radicals from Ansar al-Tawhid (Defenders of Monotheism) and Ansar al-Islam (Defenders of Islam). In the report of the UN Security Council mentioned above, Hurras ad-Din [transl: Guardians of Religion] is called an extremely serious threat.
Hurras ad-Din pursues rather global goals, not limited to local tasks in Syrian territory. Its leader, Syrian citizen Samir Hijazi, also known as Abu Hamam al-Shami, received the blessing (of the leader of al-Qaeda) Ayman al-Zawahiri to act on behalf and under the wing of al-Qaeda, in the report. HAD, given its size, ideology and experience as “veterans of jihad,” is a growing threat to peace and security at the regional and global levels. Its management plans to resume, whenever possible, external operations against the West and the United States. ”
HAD broke away from Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham in 2018 due to a disagreement with the actions and policies of Mohammad al-Julani. To strengthen the group, the leadership of al-Qaeda sent personnel from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq to Syria. Despite disagreements with the HTS and the accusations against Julani, whom jihadists consider “ideologically stable” as corrupt and sold out to Turkey, the HAD leaders repeatedly called for an end to internal strife in the HTS for joint operations against the Syrian Arab army.
Ansar al-Islam (recognized as a terrorist group by the United Nations, Australia, Canada, Israel, the United Kingdom, and the United States) is a small group that is also part of the Al Qaeda network. The group includes less than 350 militants who refused to join ISIS in 2014. At Wa-Harid al-Muminin, Ansar al-Islam terrorists continue to impede de-escalation in Idlib, rejecting any options for peace negotiations and surrender.
Ansar al-Tawhid does not exceed a thousand people in number. The group, led by Abu Diyab Sarin, is also part of the al-Qaeda network, and included immigrants from the Jund al-Aqsa after the defeat of the former group. The terrorists of Ansar al-Tawhid also rejected any format for reconciliation and de-escalation of relations with the Syrian government and entered into a coalition with other groups associated with al-Qaeda.
All groups in Idlib are terrorists
All terrorist groups operating in Idlib are part of the single operational headquarters Al-Fatah al-Mubin (“Manifest Victory”) and act against the government forces on a united front. In fact, there is no way to divide these groups into "moderate" and "radical" jihadists – they all use the same methods to fight against the SAA and subjugate the population in Idlib.
Abu Muhammad al-Jiulani himself says in a recent interview that pro-Turkish formations operate as part of Al-Fatah al-Mubin in conjunction with jihadists.
Hothead Erdoğan could start war in Syria
Latest Russian statement at UN regarding Russian position on “opposition” in Syria.
Vince Dhimos answered a hugely biased, semi-literate question at Quora.
I normally would not bother to answer such a question written by a horribly biased person unable to express himself properly. However, this question reflects the mind set of many Westerners who vote and it needs to be addressed.
HOW DOES A COUNTRY LIKE RUSSIA, WITH A GDP BASED ON TOTALLY NATURAL RESERVES, LOW TECHNOLOGY, SCREW[ED] UP POPULATION, MEDDLING IN THE AFFAIR[S] OF OTHER COUNTRIES (MOLDOVA, AZERBAIJAN, GEORGIA, SYRIA OR SAY OTHER[S])? SHOULDN’T WESTERN POWERS ACCEPT THEIR DEFEAT? [no idea what he meant by that last question]
Your question is mostly an answer and it is incorrect. By that I mean, factually incorrect, though its political correctness is evident. What you say is right in line with the narrative spun by the US Establishment and NATO, which rely on low-information Western news consumers to keep up the pretences on which their aggressive behaviour is based. Without low-information citizens, the US Establishment would collapse.
Firstly, Russian GDP is not based totally on natural reserves. Russia is self-sufficient, manufacturing almost everything its population needs, and growing its own food. In fact,. Russia has held the record of the top wheat exporter for several years (the report does not come from a Russian news outlet, but from Reuters: Russia eyes 2035 grain crop boom with $70 billion investment plan).
Russia is also the second biggest arms exporter, after the US, and the US is so fearful that it could become no. 1 that it is sanctioning countries who buy its arms — which are reputed to be better and cheaper. This report is from National Interest (https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/russia-now-number-2-military-sales-any-guess-who-number-1-38767), a serious think tank that advises Pentagon officials and other Washington officials. In this context, Russia has hypersonic missiles so advanced that even arch Neocon John Hyten, a high ranking US commander, has admitted the US will not catch up before 2023. So much for your “low technology.”
Russia also manufactures autos, including autos made in factories financed by European brands https://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-russia/auto-makers-flock-to-russia-in-search-of-growth-id USBRE87S0RZ20120829. That was from Reuters. Reuters is not a Russian source.
Russia also makes machines of all kinds https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JSC_Russian_Machines
And an airliner https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/08/28/russia-aims-high-with-new-passenger-plane.html. That report was from Jakarta Post. Jakarta is not in Russia. The report originated in Agence France Presse.
Now getting to the Russian “meddling” you mention.
Firstly, let’s get Azerbaijan out of the way. There is no unwanted Russian meddling in Azerbaijan, although Russia has a deal with the country that is being upheld. The country trades in hydrocarbons with Europe, and Russia does not object. I suppose you may have been confused with the military incursions in the Soviet era. Today’s Russia is no longer part of the Soviet Union, which has ceased to exist. It is now called the Russian Federation and is no longer communist or atheist.
Now let’s look at Moldova, which like Ukraine, has a large Russian language speaking population. And this means, in all cases, that the Russian speakers identify with Russia culturally and are loyal to it. Generally speaking, the Russian speakers in Ukraine (which for some reason you did not mention) and Moldova are of special interest to Russia. The situation in these regions is perfectly analogous to that which existed in Texas around the time of the US war with Mexico. There was a large English-speaking population there that wanted to be part of the US. Now if you think it was wrong for the US to annex Texas at that time, then my argument is not as strong. But generally speaking, most Americans think the Mexicans were abusing the American population there and deserved to lose that territory. The same principle holds true in Moldava, where a region now known as Transnistria is populated largely by Russian speakers who absolutely refuse to be ruled by the Romanian speakers of Moldova, partly because these people want to ban the Russian language in a region that has spoken Russian for decades. In fact, Romania today is one of the most anti-Russian countries in Europe, thanks to US incitement.
The Russian side supported the Russian speaking Transnistrian side and fought off an invasion in that breakaway region. This gave the West an excuse to label Russia an aggressor, but in fact, the Russians were seen as liberators by the Transnistrians, whose lives and property were threatened by the warlike Moldovan government.
The problem with many Americans, and with the entire US and NATO establishment, is that their thinking is not based on reason and logic but on an “us vs them” attitude. Thus the principles applicable in the Western-dominated sphere do not necessarily apply in the rest of the world. Therefore, the principle applied to Texas supposedly does not apply to regions in which Russian culture prevails. This makes for inconsistent foreign policy that only the US and its clones understands and accepts. This is why many Americans are not bothered by Trump’s claim to Syria’s oil because instead of applying the universally accepted principle that stealing is illegal and unacceptable, they apply the “Exceptional Nation” concept whereby the US is the final arbiter in everything and no one else’s interests count.
As for Georgia, in 2008, https://www.history.com/news/russia-georgia-war-military-nato the Russians were provoked by Georgian president Saakashvili when he ordered the arrest of some Russians on unconfirmed espionage charges. Then when S. Ossetia and Abkhazia decided to declare their independence shortly thereafter, Georgia tried to crush the rebels with a military incursion that killed many civilians, but Russia came to their aid and overwhelmed the Georgian forces. This was not by any means a cases of Russian aggression because Russia made no attempt to take over the 2 breakaway republics or Georgia. What most Westerners and the whole Western Establishment fail to grasp is that Russia never tries to occupy a country that is hostile to it or has not asked for permanent protection. Even the Russian-speaking breakaway republics of Donbass that were once part of Ukraine have been hoping to accede to Russia but so far, to no avail because Russia is not ready to annex this territory. Therefore, it is silly to speak of Russian aggression.
The problem with Americans and their government is that if they did a little research or studied history, they would easily understand that the things they accuse Russia of are not within the MO (modus operandi, or habitual behaviour) of the Russians. In other words, if the Russians were aggressive toward their neighbours, they would not be Russian!
On the other hand, like the Americans, who like the phrase “don’t tread on me,” they do not take kindly to invasion and provocation and will always maintain a well-stocked and updated arsenal just in case.
As for Syria, anyone who thinks the Russians are the aggressors has simply got the shoe on the wrong foot. It was the US-led West that created the terrorist groups that all but destroyed Syria (as detailed here on the basis of thorough research: https://www.quora.com/Are-there-any-sources-for-American-involvement-in-the-Middle-East-since-9-11-It-s-for-a-paper/answer/Vince-Dhimos), and it was Russia that turned the tide of the war in September of 2015. Thus Russia saved Syria from Western aggression, and did so at the invitation of the Syrian people. The US, however, illegally entered Syria without an invitation, and that is what is properly called aggression.
Below is our translation of an article from zen.yandex.ru with commentary and notes [in brackets] by Vince Dhimos.
As you read this, recall how the US sent an aircraft carrier group to Iran last summer with a promise by the psychopathic John Bolton to use unrelenting force on them if they should attack US or allied assets.
Also recall that the US sent an aircraft carrier group to the South China Sea in response to Chinese naval drills.
Finally, recall that the US has sent aircraft carriers to the Black Sea, Russia’s back yard, in a “message to Moscow,” and to the Mediterranean to “counter Russia” (counter them from doing what I wonder?)
Now the Onyx has been around for at least 2 decades, although it has undergone major upgrades and is now hypersonic, so if it decides to kill a ship, then it kills a ship.
The story of NATO and US deterrence of Russia reminds me of an old Steven Seagal movie where Seagal meets up with a badass bigger and taller than he is, who threatens Seagal. And Seagal says “gettin’ scared, gettin’ scared,” just before knocking the badass on his bad ass.
The missile in its earlier form was shown at an air show in Zhukovskiy in 1997 so the West has long known about it, and its later modifications were also soon known as they came on line. Therefore, Western arms makers, presidents and strategic planners knew early on this missile was a serious threat to aircraft carriers. Yet, the US still has aircraft carriers on order and really ought to know that they are floating coffins, not means of deterrence by any means. However, US defence, in contradistinction to Russian defence, is not for defending the nation. Back in March 2018, New Silk Strategies re-posted an article which we translated from the German ContraMagazin, featuring an interview with former Defence Department program organizer Pierre Sprey, who helped develop the Fairchild A10 the F-15 and F-16 – an obvious expert on aircraft. Sprey responded to a question on the F-35 fighter jet, the most expensive defence project ever, saying “The point is to spend money. This is the mission of the airplane. It is for Congress to send money to Lockheed. This is the true mission of the aircraft."
If you doubt that US defence projects are to throw money at manufacturers (who send generous donations to politicians and candidates), just keep in mind that for over a decade, high-ranking defence officials have known that the aircraft carrier is essentially obsolete, as explained in the article below, and yet the Pentagon keeps commissioning new ones.
By contrast, Vladimir Putin joined the KGB at a time when that organization was nicknamed Shchit i Mech, Sword and Shield, and young recruits like Vladimir were proud of that designation because – at variance with the Western stereotypes – they actually saw their mission in keeping the Russian people safe. After all, Vladimir’s father and mother had survived the horrendous siege of Leningrad and he knew well the importance of national security and keeping the bad guys away from Russian shores. That’s the main reason Putin keeps getting re-elected year after year. Naive Westerners who believe the malicious msm may think Russia is just as corrupt as the West. But the average Russian knows that today's Kremlin is their friend. The Russians don’t care about politics. But they are used to being secure and they want to keep it that way. It needs to be said that tourists returning from Russia generally say they felt safe there. I was personally amazed to find I could roam the streets of Leningrad even late at night in the early 70s and I felt totally safe.
The US agrees that carrier groups won’t stand a chance if ambushed by new Russian missiles.
I have already written on the channel more than once that the situation has changed a lot lately and in these realities aircraft carrier groups, which were previously considered almost invincible and were the pride of the USA, lost all their main advantages at a certain point.
First of all, this is due to the development of missile technologies, especially in Russia, which is the unconditional leader in this area. And it seems people have also begun to understand this in the US.
For example, the popular American military publication The National Interest wrote in an article that the new Russian tactics to counter aircraft carriers will neutralize all the latters’ advantages.
By new tactics we mean that Russia has decided to combine ships with ground-based missile systems.
We can say that one of the most basic and effective anti-ship missiles in Russia today is the P-800 Onyx. Its main advantage is that it can hit targets at a distance of up to 600 km.
It is also important to note that these missiles are based not only on ships [including subs], but also on coastal missile systems. For example, in the Bastion complex.
The essence of this new tactic is that surface patrol ships, such as the new ship project 22160 Vasily Bykov, can quickly find the necessary target and transmit the corresponding data to the coastal complex.
And this complex in turn immediately strikes the target.
The advantage of such tactics is that the “Bastion” can change its location, because it is a mobile complex. And due to the fact that the transfer can be carried out with the radars turned off, it will be practically impossible to track it.
And if the ship from which a missile strike can be launched by an aircraft carrier group is closely monitored, then the coastal complex is a game changer.
The "Bastion" will be in a place unknown to the aircraft carrier, which means the strike will be unexpected. This is the main point, because successful interception of cruise missiles requires detecting their launch in time.
Therefore, all the bravado of the Americans who defiantly enter the Black Sea, so as to “deter” someone is absolutely useless. They are simply making their ships easy targets for our missiles.
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora. In the text of my answer further below, items [in brackets] were added after the posting at Quora.
First, let’s talk about the news from Defense One that has hit major outlets today. It seems Trump was not telling the whole truth when he tweeted “all is well” the day after the Jan. 8 Iranian ballistic missile strike on US.
According to Defense One, it turns out that 11 troops were wounded in the attack. Let’s analyse this. The attack was over a week ago, and finally, the news comes out that there were wounded.
Now the patriotic US msm and pols keep screaming that the Russian government manages its news and is therefore a dictatorship. But what is the US government waiting over a week to finally divulge that Americans were wounded in a strike that – no matter how you spin it – was triggered by the president issuing an order to murder a high foreign official and thereby taking the whole world to the brink of war? It’s called managing the news. And it’s not just Trump doing this. When the US Establishment wants war, the last thing they want you to know is the truth.
GW Bush did it with the phony WMD story. Clinton murdered 13,500 Serbs based on the lie that they were committing genocide, but after the war, UN prosecutor Carla del Ponte found that it was the Albanians (Kosovars) – the ones Clinton swore he was “protecting” – who were committing crimes against humanity (like murdering Serbs and selling their organs. And we’re supposed to believe that the Russians are the ones “managing the news”?
And there’s more. First the State Department’s Mike Pompeo told the House and Senate the reason behind the attack was to prevent Soleimani from carrying out a planned attack on 4 US embassies. But when pressed for details on which embassies they were and how he knew this, he backed off, indicating to thinking people that it was another US lie to fool Americans into accepting another in an endless string of military risks imposed from above on US kids in uniform. A few days later, Pompeo ratcheted the narrative down, simply saying the murder was for “deterrence.”
Here is what Defense One wrote about this deterrence:
ICYMI: “re-establishing deterrence” has been U.S. officials’ latest and possibly final justification (AP) for the strike on Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr gave voice to the broader rationale on Monday, saying deterrence was a key component of the strike,” AP writes. “Trump himself implicitly acknowledged the deterrence aim, telling reporters Monday that the strike against Soleimani ‘should have been done 20 years ago.’”
On the other hand: “If firing missiles into bases housing U.S. soldiers is ‘restoring deterrence,’ I don’t know what the word means anymore,” said Ali Vaez to the NYTs.
The question I answered at Quora has direct bearing on this because it shows that the grassroots is very much complicit in the skullduggery that we often attribute solely to the Establishment, or as some call it, the Deep State.
Q: What would it take to get the American public to finally turn against the massive amounts of military spending every year that contributes so deeply to our deficit?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
This is an excellent question because many analysts consider only the US government or Establishment as the cause of eternal wars and debt, but without the support of the grassroots, the Establishment would not be able to continue the deficit spending and the totally unjustified eternal wars. In fact, warmongering politicians would no longer get elected.
There is an aspect to this that no one ever discusses, though it is the most important reason why Americans accept the wars, and that is the cult-like religious belief in war.
After all, if you believed with all your heart that God wanted you to fight, or send your sons to fight, to save Israel from a deadly enemy, wouldn’t you do as God bids you?
The region that sends more young men to fight abroad is in the South, ie, the Bible Belt, where war and the Bible are often synonymous. This is due in large part to the fact that 80% of Evangelicals believe their government should support Israel because they think that Israel’s military leaders (who have committed genocide since day one) are led by the Almighty. They base this belief on the dry bones prophecy of Ezekiel 37. Incredibly, virtually no pastor ever mentions verse 24 of this chapter, but this verse is the key, declaring that the resurrected Israel “will be obedient to God’s decrees.” The problem with this is that the most recent WIN/Gallup poll shows that a full 65% of Israelis have no religion at all (due in part to the migration of millions of Soviet Jews to Israel). This makes it impossible to interpret this chapter as it is interpreted by most US churches. To put it bluntly, modern Israel is not Ezekiel’s Israel! Further, Jesus never once even hinted that his followers must defend a secular state calling itself Israel in the latter days. Quite to the contrary, he railed against the leaders of Israel calling them hypocrites and murderers of the prophets, and saying that they would not see Him again until they had said “blessed is the one [Jesus] who comes in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 23:39). Thus the name "Christian" Zionism is pure blasphemy if you let Jesus' teachings be your guide.
[Megachurch Preacher John Hagee has mesmerized his home and TV audience to believe in the twisted Bible message that “Christian” America has a duty to attack Iran to save Israel, even though Israel has been doing nothing but antagonizing and provoking Iran for years by bombing its troops in Syria, which – unlike the US – was invited by the Syrians to fight terror in that county. Iran has taken it on the chin all this time and only occasionally warned Israel to back off or else. But many brainwashed Americans believe that, while Israel has a “right to defend itself,” Iran does not enjoy this same right to defend itself, citing the warnings by Iran to back off as “threats.” Hagee, who is friends with Netanyahu, has repeatedly urged the US to conduct a pre-emptive strike against Iran, claiming, inaccurately, since 2006, that the country would "soon" have a nuke. Likewise, “Christian” Zionists Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo both urged Trump to kill Soleimani, claiming this would make the US safer. Question: If God wants the US to invade Iran, supposedly based on the Bible, why do "Christian" leaders have to lie to make it happen?]
The only way to straighten out government war mongers is to change the minds of the public, and the only way to do that is to show them that the Bible does not support eternal wars against Shia (the milder Muslims—which is absurd in itself) to “save Israel.” All wars in the Middle East are instigated by the US under pressure from both Israel and Saudi Arabia (as I showed here https://www.quora.com/Which-of-the-USAs-global-interventions-were-purely-well-motivated/answer/Vince-Dhimos). And the blind support of Israeli war policies is rooted in the cult-like beliefs of “Christian” Zionists as described above, which are not biblical — though most US pastors believe they are. And of course, no politician would want to set them straight because their support for war is what got most of the misfits elected in the first place.
If this message goes to enough grassroots Americans, the wars will eventually stop. But today, contradicting the church's popular warlike view is considered blasphemy. In fact, criticising "Christian" Zionism can get you kicked off of social media platforms (I speak from experience). But since the popular view is not biblical, as we have shown, which view is really blasphemy?
Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.
ISRAEL CONTINUES TO ATTACK SYRIA WITH IMPUNITY THANKS TO THE US. BUT THE US’ TIME IS RUNNING OUT IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Below is a verbatim text from france24 that provides background needed to understand the second text below it, ie, our translation of an article from Ekonomika Segodnya, all with commentary and notes [in brackets] by Vince Dhimos. Americans are kept pretty much in the dark about events in the Middle East and that is by design.
The US-Israeli narrative is essentially that Iran and its proxies in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq are a threat to Israel, which US pastors claim is holy land that God gave to the Jews millennia ago. These pious pastors never seem to mention that this was the same God who dispersed these folks for disobedience and that Jesus never once commanded his followers to support a secular country calling itself Israel by sending it weapons and scads of cash stripped from Christian taxpayers. Yet they cheekily call themselves “Christian” Zionists, and that deeply held belief is precisely why we have seen the US swoop into Iraq and Syria and bomb mostly unarmed civilians, and threatening Russia and Iran by holding massive military drills at their borders. All of which has cost the US astronomical amounts of cash and blood and plunged the country into an unpayable debt that threatens it with economic collapse. (We reported here on the latest phase of the slow-movement crash).
It is all reminiscent of the Peasants’ War in Germany of centuries past, where fast talking preachers convinced uneducated gullible farmers that they must rise up against the established Church and fight battles with farm implements and that the Bible promised them invincibility if they had faith – though the Bible never promised them anything of the kind. Indeed the first battles ended favourably for the peasants, who had the advantage of surprise. But once the adversary managed to organize an army of its own, it all wound up with these hordes of peasants being cut down and their leaders being burned at the stake. Centuries passed without a recurrence of such a war motivated by a skewed interpretation of the Bible. Until a new war cult emerged. “Christian” Zionism. This movement thrust the Middle East into chaos that lasted for decades and threatened to tear it apart. But when Russia entered the fray in September of 2015, things started to turn around. But still emboldened by the faith of the deceived grassroots, the peasant leader brashly killed the top general of the adversary, and now we are down to a point where the US is no longer welcomed in a single one of the Shiite countries that once hosted it. Indeed, the Sunni countries of the Gulf that had once provided the Wahhabist US terrorist proxies in Iraq and Syria saw the US-made Patriot system fail to defend their oil fields against a devastating Shiite attack. And recall that US protection was the whole point of the 1974 petrodollar agreement between Nixon and King Faisal, in circumvention of the Constitution, which mandated an army to “provide for the common defence,” not to protect a foreign country in exchange for their propping up an unbacked dollar.
Thanks to the peasant king’s reckless action, essentially no country in the region except Israel now welcomes US troops with open arms. This is the final stage, the stage where the cultists catch a glimpse of what is about to come. Some are beginning to understand that their pitch forks will not save them. That God had nothing to do with their foolish support of war and destruction.
Like the German peasants before them, they once thought that a hocus-pocus perception of the Bible as a talisman, rather than a book of instruction, would make them invulnerable. What they missed is that the Bible does not promise invincibility simply through evoking God’s protection in war, but only through obedience, and that means obedience of Christians and Jews alike, who must humbly go to God embracing the teaching of love. He does not come to them on command.
Syrian army says Israeli jets struck military air base in Homs
Jan 14, 2020
Text by: NEWS WIRES
The Syrian army has said that on Tuesday Israeli jets attacked the main T4 air base in Homs province, saying its air defences downed several missiles in strikes that caused only material damage. [Later reports claimed at least 3 people had died.]
An army spokesman told state media that four Israeli missiles did reach the base, but said air defences intercepted several others.
State television earlier did not say who was behind the attack on the major air base, which Israel accuses of hosting an Iranian military presence and has attacked several times in recent years. [The US has, with clever propaganda via the corporate media, convinced many Americans that Iran – not Israel or the US – is an aggressor and threat to the world community. Recent events show that the Middle East no longer buys this narrative]
"The Israeli air force conducted new aerial aggression and immediately our [Syrian] air defences confronted the enemy missiles," an army statement said.
The Syrian army statement said the Israeli war jets flew from al-Tanf, to the southeast, where the United States has set up a base near the Iraqi-Jordanian border. [So it was definitely a joint Israeli-US operation]
Al-Tanf lies on the strategic Damascus-Baghdad highway, a major supply route for Iranian weapons into Syria. This makes the base a bulwark against Iran and part of a larger U.S. campaign against Iranian influence in Iraq and Syria.
Israel has repeatedly bombed Iranian backed militia targets in Syria, saying its goal was to end Tehran's military presence which Western intelligence sources say has expanded in recent years in the war-torn country.
The Israel Defence Force did not immediately comment on the attack.
Tuesday's strikes are the first ones that Syria has accused Israel of undertaking since the United States killed Iran's most powerful military commander in a drone strike on Jan. 3, sparking one of the biggest escalations between Tehran and Washington since 1979.
Iran's proxy militias led by Lebanon's Hezbollah now hold sway in vast areas in eastern, southern and northwest Syria as well as several suburbs around the capital.
They have also entrenched themselves in the strategically located border town of Abu Kamal on the Euphrates river in the Deir Ez-Zor district in eastern Syria near the border with Iraq where Iraqi Shi'ite paramilitary groups have a strong foothold. [Keep in mind that Deir Ez-Zor is the site of the Oman oil fields, the richest in Syria, which the US guards as if it were their property]
Western intelligence sources say Israel has been behind several strikes against Iranian assets in the border area in recent weeks.
The Iraqi side of the border had seen the deployment in large numbers of Iran-allied Iraqi Shi’ite militias who now de facto control large stretches of the frontier, with posts not far from military bases housing U.S. troops.
The U.S. military struck Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia group in areas in Iraq and Syria along the border area at the end of last month in what U.S. officials said was a response to escalating provocations from Iran.
Israel in the past has said Iran uses the T4 base to transfer weapons to Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shi'ite militia group with which it fought a deadly month-long war in 2006 [Western sources invariably spare Western readers the truth, namely, that it was Israel that attacked first, on the flimsy pretext that Hezbollah had kidnapped Israeli personnel. It forgot to mention that this in turn was in response to the Israeli kidnapping of Hezbollah members]. Western intelligence sources say it has also been used as a base for Iran's Revolutionary Guards [which the US has branded a “terrorist organization,” though the rest of the world is sceptical].
Israel, which previously has rarely acknowledged strikes in Syria, has become more vocal in pledging it will do what is needed to thwart the entrenchment of Iranian forces or arms transfers to Hezbollah. [But let’s not forget that Hezbollah was the only thing standing in the way of Lebanon’s total destruction in 2006. Why would Lebanon not accept its help?]
The strike on the Syrian airfield revealed Israel's fears of a war with Iran
January 15, 2020
The Israeli air attack on the Syrian air base in the province of Homs is directed against Iran, and, of course, supported by political support from the United States. FBA "Economics Today" cites a military expert, retired colonel Viktor Litovkin, in this regard.
The night before, the Syrian government forces of the T4 airport in Homs province was attacked by Israeli aircraft, according to other sources - drones. Most of the missiles launched were intercepted by the air defence forces - the Russian S-300s, only four shells reached their targets. They caused only material damage - people were not injured [this is contradicted by later reports of casualties]. The strike was launched from the U.S. military-controlled At-Tanf area. Damascus called the incident "Israeli aggression."
"Israel does not actually strike at Syrian targets, but generally at Iran’s targets in the Middle East," the expert notes. It attacks the Iranian military where it sees fit, but Tehran in the future is not leaving Israel behind in the Middle East and insists that the state should leave the region or be destroyed. [I was unable to confirm that Iran had said this. It is usually quoted as saying that Israel will be destroyed if it attacks Iran]
Because Tel Aviv launched a permanent war to destroy the Iranian military in nearby countries, of course, it would not have had the audacity to carry out such attacks without the open military and political support of the USA, which operate in the region in a similar gangster fashion. Israel senses cover and complete impunity - the world community condemns it for attacks purely formally, since no one wants to quarrel with Washington."
With the support of the USA
In June 2019, Israel attacked a military airfield in Homs using drones and missiles. As a result, two soldiers were killed, and the strikes destroyed one of the depots and damaged military equipment. Damascus sent a complaint to the UN Security Council, where the US, as expected, blocked its consideration. Tel Aviv as a result again felt invulnerable to punishment – and orientalists predicted the inevitability of new attacks on Iranian targets in Syria and Iraq.
At the same time, the Israeli authorities, while openly demonstrating hostility to Iran, are still in no hurry to declare open war on it. They have limited themselves to attacks with varying success in different parts of the Middle East. Since 2011, Israel has inflicted hundreds of attacks on Syria, most of which were directed against Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah forces. In recent months, Israeli aviation has stepped up attacks directly against the Iranian military presence in Syria.
“Israel, for obvious reasons, is afraid of openly fighting with Iran - it’s too far away to attack with military aircraft; it needs a jumping-off airfield. And Tel Aviv’s chances of acquiring it in Syria, Iraq or Saudi Arabia are slim to none. In addition, direct attacks on Tehran’s territory is fraught with a response by Iranian medium-range missiles on Israeli territory - as they say, that’s not enough, so the tactics of bold but indirect attacks are used.
In general, US actions in the Middle East in recent months have only made the Israeli authorities more brazen. After all, the US military without the verdict of an international court simply killed Iranian General Kassem Suleimani at the airport in Baghdad, thereby violating all possible norms of international law. Being under the "umbrella" of the States, Israel believes that it can also use the principle of might makes right and act as it sees fit,” the expert points out.
The American factor
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps leader General Kassem Suleimani was assassinated by the United States on January 3. This act of aggression instantly raised the degree of anti-American sentiment in the region to an unprecedented level. If previously only Syria demanded the withdrawal of US troops from its territory, now two more countries of the Middle East have joined it [refers to Iraq and Iran]. Further, Iran is a serious regional player. Tehran has announced that US forces must leave the Middle East.
Echoing this, the Iraqi authorities tore up the agreement allowing the US military presence on its territory for counter-terrorism. Parliament officially launched the Yankee go Home scenario, and the government [of PM Adel Abdul Mahdi] fully supported the decision. Washington in response threatened Baghdad with economic sanctions, but Middle East authorities soon confirmed: US troops must leave sovereign Iraq.
"If we manage to withdraw American troops from the Middle East, it will weaken Washington’s influence in the region and radically change the balance of power. Israel will either immediately abandon the tactics of impudent attacks on Iranian targets in the Middle East, or deliver another blow for which it will receive a response from Tehran’s missiles. And it will finally understand that it will no longer be able to attack with impunity.
But the United States will do everything not to leave the Middle East for as long as possible - ideally never. They need to control this region in order to plunder the oil resources of Syria and Iraq, unleash wars and threaten a number of states. Leaving will be a geopolitical loss - including to Iran’s benefit, which Washington officially calls the main threat to the United States along with Russia and China,” concludes Viktor Litovkin.
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
WHY DON'T SUPER POWER PRETENDERS UNDERSTAND THAT SUCH GAMES PLAYED BY IRAN, PAKISTAN, ETC, ARE ONLY FOR AMERICA AND RUSSIA?
Why don't super power pretenders understand that such games played by Iran, Pakistan, etc. are only for America and Russia?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
Power is not only in the size and number of weapons that you possess. A lot depends on how you play the game. You might have underestimated N Korea or Vietnam too, but you’d have been wrong. The US was unable to defeat those two. In fact, it is really hard to say that the US defeated Iraq because shortly after the war started, ISIS emerged and this group kept the US from being able to control the country.
The US is actually at a disadvantage in a ground war in Iran because, for one thing, Iran has all its weapons on hand, while the US would have to transfer its tanks and other vehicles from afar, and for another thing, Iran has the capability of mustering 11 million soldiers under arms, while the US could not call up even a fraction of that. The US might succeed in destroying half the country and still not be able to subdue Iran.
And then there are the several thousand missiles hidden in mountain tunnels in Iran. These could almost completely stop shipping traffic in the Gulf for a long enough time to weaken the entire world economy.
Further, Iran is not alone. China and Russia recently held 3 way drills with Iran in the Gulf and warned the world not to get in the way. They said any ship or plane that entered the drill zone would be hit. The US prudently stayed away. (The cowardly hit on Soleimani was the best response the US could come up with, and it further weakened the US by prompting Iraq to evict US troops).
Finally, there is the political aspect. Iran knows that Trump’s freedom is hampered by the upcoming elections. Trump can only go so far in provoking or attacking Iran and its assets. If it goes too far and triggers a war, Trump knows he could easily lose the election if enough voters woke up and realized how reckless he is.
In fact, the US is now in a severe liquidity crisis requiring the Fed to inject billions of dollars into the economy every day. It would not take much to upset the apple cart and plunge the country into a recession.
Iran’s position is similar to that of a champion kungfu fighter pitted against a much larger but less skilled opponent. This was illustrated in the latest Ip Man movie starring Donny Yen, who took on a US boxer played by Mike Tyson and managed to hold him off for 3 minutes.
Let’s not underestimate Iran.
The US didn’t.
In the following you will find our translation of part of a report from the Russian site polit.info with commentary and notes [in brackets] by Vince Dhimos. If this had been posted at RIA Novosti, I would be less skeptical, but polit.info is a bit further down the food chain and I am sceptical for several reasons. Firstly, no other site is reporting the words of the political expert quoted in this report. Secondly, there is no confirmation at the two top Iranian sites, Tehran Times and Mehr News. Thirdly, if there were over ten US killer drones near the airport as averred by the quoted expert, why would the Iranians have hit only the airliner and not at least one of those?
On the other hand, I can think of a reason why the Iranians might hesitate to announce that there were US drones all over the sky at the time of the shoot-down, and that is, Iran is not keen on admitting that its air defence are not adequate to defend the national airport, whereas the Russians would have a motive for letting the cat out of the bag, namely, to make it clear to the US that Iran needs the S-400 air defences, and to remind Iran that it is time to negotiate the sale of this Russian system, which could have downed the drones. If the vulnerability of the Iranian airport is bruited to the world, no one would blame Iran for wanting to buy the Russian air defence system.
We will need to await confirmation in an independent report, which could pop up later.
So why did I rush to post the translation of a dubious report? Because the US issues dubious reports all the time but unlike me, they don’t issue dislcaimers. The State Department’s report that Soleimani was supposedly plotting terror acts against US personnel sounded so phony that several senators complained that they did not find it quite believable. In fact, one Republican senator Mike Lee said he found it “insulting and demeaning” when Pompeo ducked questions on Iran and Republican Senator Rand Paul said the briefing was “absurd” and “an insult.” For our part, before the senators critiqued the report, we wrote a commentary saying the report "smelled funny" and enumerating the reasons why.
This Russian report has a ring of truth to it in that callously hiding behind civilian or other aircraft for the purpose of inducing national air defences to fire on them would be nothing new. This is exactly what the Israeli defence forces did on September 17, 2018, with its fighter jets firing on Syria while hiding behind a Russian Il-20, prompting the Syrians to return fire and accidentally hitting the Russian plane, killing 15 Russian crew members.
And here is the thing. If the US government can issue a smelly report that senators thought was dubious at best, and can cold-bloodedly murder a dozen people on the strength of this report, we can certainly also post a translation of a Russian report that, while not fully confirmed, is at least written by a political expert in a country with friendly ties to Iran where the report would have originated, and include caveats expressing our doubts. The bottom line is that no reports can be confirmed 100%. We should therefore be ever vigilant. Giving credence to a government that has a history of lying to start and promote wars is by far a worse mistake than at least listening to what people are saying in parts of the world where no one routinely lies to induce gullible citizens to support a war effort with zero justification.
One thing is undeniable. If the US had not murdered General Soleimani, the most popular military figure in Iran, the air defence personnel at the Tehran airport would not have been on high alert and therefore quick on the trigger. And all 176 passengers on board flight 752 would be safely at home now.
Over 10 US killer drones were hiding behind civilian aircraft at the time of the Boeing tragedy in Iran
Military expert and head of the Bureau of Military-Political Analysis, Alexander Mikhailov, in an interview with Nation News, agreed that the crash of the Boeing is a result of provocations from the United States.
“Personally, I believe that there was an American provocation, because at that moment there were more than ten drones in the air. And the movements of these airborne vehicles themselves provoked the Iranian Air Force, all the more so as it was attack drones that could always start shelling. Regarding the Americans, they will milk this situation to their advantage and, obviously, will begin to set conditions and beat on this catastrophe,” the expert said.
Mikhailov noted that Iran in a conflict with the United States demonstrated decent missile weapons and showed "its resolve."
“We saw photographs of American bases, and there was severe damage – all the missiles hit the target [It is in fact reported that some missed]. So Iran has demonstrated its resolve, not everyone will make such a decision,” Mikhailov said.
In this situation, Iran has made it clear to the whole world that US escalation can be put to an end. Experts believe that all Middle Eastern countries should declare that they do not want to see the American contingent on their territory.
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
Q: IS IRAN A SERIOUS THREAT TO THE UNITED STATES?
Let’s look at what just happened. The US on Friday launched a massive missile attack on Iranian personnel in Iraq, killing beloved Quds leader Qassem Soleimani, who, unlike the US personnel, were there at the invitation of the Iraqi government. The targeted Iranians were part of the Popular Mobilization Forces, which, though including some Iranians, are widely seen as part of the legitimate official Iraqi forces – though the US pretends they are somehow interfering and that the Iraqis want them out (in fact, the Iraqis by and large want US troops out, now). These personnel were tasked with fighting ISIS, a group that the US occasionally seemed to be fighting but which were originally Western backed (as explained here at Quora: https://www.quora.com/Are-there-any-sources-for-American-involvement-in-the-Middle-East-since-9-11-It-s-for-a-paper/answer/Vince-Dhimos).
Here is why this attack was deemed necessary by the US administration:
Firstly, Russia, China and Iran held joint naval drills in the Gulf of Oman last week and warned that any ships or aircraft not belonging to the 3-way coalition would be hit. Naturally, that made the US military look weak, because it had no response. The Israelis have been pressuring Trump since his assumption of office to attack Iran or help them do so. Worst of all, almost the entire Evangelical community voted for Trump based on his promise to support Israel in the Middle East. They believed, and Trump supported their view, that Iran was an enemy of Israel and therefore he should attack Iran. But since he did not, and particularly in view of the aforementioned 3-way naval drill involving Iran, he was pressured politically to “do something.” Killing the Quds commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani was this “something.”
The fact that it is seen as equivalent to “throwing a stick of dynamite into a powder keg,” as it was described by one observer, is of no concern to Trump and his followers. The entire Middle East can erupt in flames and he will be delighted if this wins him votes this year.
The problem for the Republicans is that this "stick of dynamite in the powder keg" will elicit a response from Iran, and that response could trigger a war that Trump does not want even though he must appear to be unafraid of such a war (to please Israel and his constituents). It is a tightrope act, fraught with risks for him. The Democrat leaders have already denounced this act of “terrorism,” as the Iranians have labelled it, as very dangerous (not that they would have done something less dangerous). If it leads to a conflagration in the region that draws US troops into deadly action, it could hurt Trump’s chances in the upcoming elections, particularly since Trump, in his campaign, took aim at former president GW Bush for his reckless war adventures. Presidents routinely start wars or military confrontations just at the end of their first year in office in a bid for re-election. The voters seem not to notice that people on both sides then die for the specific purpose of garnering votes rather than for protection of the American people. If enough of them woke up, the political system would be at risk.
Westerners live, grow up and, for the most part, die in a kind of labyrinth similar to the matrix in the movie by that name. The labyrinth is designed and tended by the US war-banking Establishment and the genius of it is that it doesn't just herd the people like sheep, but makes them want to do the Establishment’s bidding because they are gently indoctrinated through media sleight of hand, using selected cultural linguistic triggers, and through powerful undercurrents of their own culture, particularly “Christian” Zionism, to think they want the things the Establishment wants. Every word out of every politician’s mouth, and every word written or spoken by “journalists” of the corporate media (both R and D) reinforces this induced desire for the very things they would ordinarily abhor if it were not for this combination of propaganda and cultural triggers. They routinely wake up from their induced trance after the damage is done (as they did following the Iraq War).
Their entrapment in this labyrinth is labelled “freedom.” It has led to a ballooning debt and endless wars.
The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; and My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
Q: IS CHINA OR RUSSIA THE MORE SIGNIFICANT THREAT TO US INTERESTS?
First let me address a common misconception about Russia, namely, that it is a “declining power.” [one of the respondents had stated this].
I had written before that the Russian economy is the most stable among developed nations. Compared to the US with its ballooning $23 trillion debt, Russia has almost no debt, and the little debt it has is offset completely by its cash and gold reserves, as I showed at Quora:
Declining? Last year, two gas pipelines, Power of Siberia to China, and Turkish Stream, started operation. Another pipeline to Europe, ie, Nord Stream 2, is on track for completion despite the US’s furious attempt to stop the project with sanctions.
These 3 pipelines will add billions of dollars to the Russian economy every year.
Now let’s talk about arms sales. Russia is the second largest exporter of arms behind the US.
Russia also sells cars, farm machines, trucks and just about anything imaginable, and produces almost all commodities domestically. The US does not, as you know, and this means the US – unlike Russia – is far from being self-sufficient. And course, self-sufficiency is a major factor in security, arguably more important than powerful weapons.
Russia is also the second biggest exporter of wheat in the world.
Let’s look at military capability.
Recently, Commander John Hyten of the US nuclear command stated that Russia has hypersonic missiles that cannot be intercepted and the US has no response at this time.
So should we be worried that Russia will take over the world? No, as all sentient Westerners know. And as I showed at Quora, each accusation of “Russian aggression,” from Georgia to Ukraine, was a contrivance of Western politicians and media:
As for China, unlike the “Russian aggression” allegation, the narrative of Chinese aggression is a bit more than just US hype.
One of the main worries does not so much affect the US, but rather China’s neighbours, who complain, justifiably, that China is encroaching on their territorial waters in various ways.
Economically speaking, China is being impacted somewhat by the current trade war with the US, but not as much as the US, which is shooting itself in the foot.
So how should the US react? With patience and intelligence. For a change. The more the US rails against these two powers and plays political games with sanctions and import duties, and the more the US threatens their partners and allies, the closer they come together. As a result of US threats and hostility, the two countries have been holding joint military drills on land, at sea and in the air.
The latest such event shows how impotent the US has become vis-à-vis Russia and China. This past week, Russia, China and Iran held joint naval drills in the Gulf of Oman where tensions have been high amidst a US-inspired “freedom of shipping” effort involving Western warships and aircraft carriers. The three-country group warned that if any outside ships or aircraft entered the drill zone, they would be hit.
This is perhaps the first time the US has faced this powerful a challenge, and – echoing General Hyten’s statement about the Russian hypersonic missiles – there has been no response. Nor has there been any military response to the costly attack on Saudi Aramco, which the US blamed on Iran without evidence and despite the Yemeni Houthis’ claiming responsibility. China and Russia (along with much of Europe) do not buy the US narrative that Iran, essentially by its mere existence, poses a threat to Israel. It insists that, while Israel has the “right to defend itself” even with nuclear arms, Iran somehow does not enjoy this right. This narrative has been contrived as a means of preparing US minds for a possible military invasion of Iran by Israel and/or the US. The new 3-country military partnership (not yet an official alliance, but it might as well be called that) challenges this narrative in the most effective possible way, with Russia and China essentially throwing down the gauntlet: you want to attack our friend, then you’ll be attacking us. As I pointed out at Quora (https://www.quora.com/Is-the-US-just-weakening-Iran-with-more-sanctions-to-make-them-easier-to-war-with/answer/Vince-Dhimos), as the US faces challenges from major powers – instead of just small countries that can’t fight back – it has been steadily declining in terms of effective means and methods of confronting adversaries, or more accurately, perceived adversaries, and is now essentially reduced to mere bluffing and economic measures. I think that the latest US sanctions on companies involved in the execution of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project from Russia to Germany is the best example of how actual military confrontation has given way to mere economic warfare – showcasing US impotence.
Indeed, these sanctions against the Russian pipeline are included in a defence bill, an inadvertent confession by the US that it no longer dares use military means to do what it once would have done by deployment of ships, aircraft, boots one the ground and materiel.
Politically, there is simply very little to be done with the trillions of dollars’ worth of military equipment that has burdened the US with a ballooning unpayable debt. By declaring Russia an enemy, it has created a political duty to match that country bullet for bullet, so to speak, when all it would have to do is admit to itself and its populace that Russia would best be treated as a potential friend and ally. That would enable the US to cope more effectively with China. But NATO needs this fictitious enemy to maintain its high budget and put more cash into the accounts of US arms makers (https://www.quora.com/Why-hasn-t-NATO-evaluated-its-peacekeeping-experience-to-identify-and-implement-best-practices-for-transitioning-failed-states-into-functional-democracy/answer/Vince-Dhimos), and politicians need the “Russian aggressor” narrative to garner votes. They’ve painted themselves into a corner.
By wanton spending on needless arms, the US has meted out to itself the punishment it had hoped to inflict on Russia – ie, forcing it to overspend on arms. Yet, with its already superior arms, Russia has much less need than the US to strain its military budget. And that in the midst of a financial crisis that sees the Fed printing billions of unbacked dollars every day to cope with a repo market crisis of its own making.
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
Q: IS THE US JUST WEAKENING IRAN WITH MORE SANCTIONS TO MAKE IT EASIER TO WAGE WAR WITH?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
Ironically, despite its admirable efforts to weaken its perceived (and mostly fictitious) adversaries, the US has been more adept at weakening itself than at weakening others.
The US has gotten progressively weaker with each war because of its own foolish actions. The progression was reflected in the retreat from former positions and strategies, ie, from the draft, to volunteer army to proxies to mere bluffing.
The Korean war was lost despite the genocidal slaughter of roughly 3 million mostly unarmed non-combatants, but this defeat left the US smarting in its pride and eager to save face in another conflict. Vietnam.
Vietnam made the American people war weary and sick of the killing, in part because of shocking atrocities like Song My and the use of a false narrative regarding the Gulf of Tonkin, and consequently, the US found it politically impossible to draft young people to fight, and was forced to rely on volunteers thenceforth.
After the shameful tactics in Iraq, based on a false WMD story and thousands of lives lost, and in part because the conflict unleashed by the US indirectly gave rise to ISIS, the US found it politically difficult to put American boots on the ground and was forced pretty much to use proxies from then on.
Now that the Syrian conflict is winding down and Americans are seeing that there was no rhyme nor reason to the war, Americans have started to sense that US wars are becoming essentially obsolete and it is now virtually impossible to actually prosecute a war at all by conventional means. The result is that the US is reduced to bluffing, as when Trump threatened to destroy N Korea, then Venezuela, and now Iran, but did absolutely nothing in the end, even despite the successful missile strike that destroyed much of the Saudi Aramco facility, gouging deeply into US prestige, and despite Israel’s constant haranguing the US to either strike Iran or provide cover allowing the IDF to do so.
Thus it turns out that Trump is not divinely inspired after all. The Bible didn’t say he was anyway.
This helplessness is primarily because an uexpected factor emerged, ie, Russia. It was Russia that backed Trump down in Syria when it said it would not interfere with the US missile attack but would reserve the right to destroy any platform (naval vessel) from which a missile would come that might hit a Russian asset; then in Venezuela, when Russia sent a nuclear-capable Tu-160 bomber to that country, and then in Iran, when a missile destroyed the aforementioned Saudi Aramco oil refining plant and the US was powerless to retaliate after a Russia envoy casually mentioned to Israeli officials that Iran is a Russian ally. Oops!
Now, Russia, China and Iran are conducting joint naval drills in the Gulf of Oman, warning foreign ships to stay out of their way. In the back of the minds of Pentagon, NATO and Israeli leaders there lurks the spectre of Russian hypersonic missiles that no known defence can intercept. Military leaders are walking around in a daze, confused and helpless and spouting machista warnings that emphasize their impotence.
Neither the US nor any Western ally has dared to raise a finger against the aforementioned naval triumvirate in the Gulf of Oman. The US and its satellites know that if they should try to interfere with these drills, they would have hell to pay. And the West knows that it is down to bluffing — nothing more than huffing and puffing targeting the voting faithful. This military impotence is mirrored by the financial impotence of the Fed, which, following a repo market crisis, is down to money printing, having lost the ability to sell Treasury bonds – that is, having lost the trust of its former clients and the ability to raise prime rates for fear of a collapse. The entire US Establishment is on its knees, held up only by empty jaw flapping, which perhaps enough of the gullible public still half believe. Or perhaps not.
Thus, both militarily and economically, and in terms of trust, the West is going bankrupt before our very eyes, and only God can save us now – from our wretched selves.