AOur thanks to Vesti News for this video report on the war in Syria.
You will recall that Trump started tweeting in 2018 that he had defeated ISIS. This was misleading and false in two ways. He was suggesting that ISIS was the only terrorist organization in Syria that threatened peace. In fact, al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda offshoot, later rebranded as Hayat Tahrir as-Sham, was and is doing the same damage and killing innocents just as effectively and prolifically as ISIS, and further, ISIS itself was and is nowhere near defeated.
Briefly a tenuous peace was maintained in Idlib Province, where Russia, Turkey, Syria and Iran had negotiated a de-escalation zone. But the terrorists began violating the zone almost immediately.
Perhaps the biggest assemblage of terrorists in the world, of all stripes and from numerous countries, is now caught in a cauldron in Idlib Province in Syria. See our translation below from RIA Novosti. These terrorists are essentially doomed. They have no way out of the cauldron and those who continue fighting are being destroyed.
So why are we telling you this? Because the news on this latest stage of the war is not fully covered in the West. After all, it is embarrassing since Western msm have been leading their readers to think the Syrian conflict was over. In fact, the reports are mostly biased to lead their audiences to think the Syrians and Russians are nothing but bloodthirsty animals who love to destroy schools and hospitals. However, if you watch the above-linked video and read the subtitles, you will see that in Idlib, schools have been commandeered by terrorists and used as bases. So yes, some of them have been destroyed since they were no longer schools at all.
Idlib cauldron. What will give Assad’s army control over Khan Sheikhun?
Aug 22, 2019
MOSCOW, Aug 22 - RIA Novosti, Andrey Kots. The Syrian Arab Army, with the support of Russian aviation, surrounded the city of Khan Sheikhoun, the largest stronghold of militants in the south of Idlib province. This is the result of a large-scale military operation by Damascus in response to a violation of the ceasefire. The Syrian army took control of the Damascus-Aleppo highway, cutting off terrorists from supplies. RIA Novosti reports on what happened and how events will develop further.
A ceasefire in the province of Idlib was announced on August 2. However, the militants of the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham [a rebranding of Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra] coalition ignored this. By August 4, the Russian military recorded 20 shelling settlements in the Idlib de-escalation zone. In response, on August 5, the command of the Syrian Armed Forces resumed operations against the terrorists.
On August 7, the Syrian army regained control of the city of Arbain in the northwest bordering the Idlib province of Hama and eliminated 45 militants. Major General Alexei Bakin, head of the Russian Center for the Reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria, noted a sharp aggravation in the Idlib de-escalation zone, reporting 42 shellings per day by illegal armed groups. The next day, two Syrian troops were killed and 13 were injured from gunfire.
On August 9, terrorists launched a counterattack in Idlib province, attacking positions of government forces in the area of Abu Dali. Ten Syrian soldiers were killed, and more than 20 people were injured. After retreating, the militants fired on the outskirts of the city with multiple launch rocket systems. On August 10, the Syrian army liberated several villages from the militants on the border of the provinces of Hama and Idlib, knocking out Jabhat-an-Nusra terrorists. The military encircled Al-Hubayt, which occupies a strategic position in the south of Idlib.
Major General Bakin reported that the militants had continued to build up forces in the southern part of the Idlib de-escalation zone. The terrorists deployed about 470 fighters and military equipment there. The al-Watan newspaper reported on August 11 that the Syrian army had liberated the city of al-Hubayt, inflicting significant damage to Jabhat al-Nusra militants in terms of equipment and manpower. The remnants of the terrorists retreated to Khan Sheikhoun. In two days of fighting, 23 Syrian troops were killed.
SAA continued its movement towards Khan Sheikhun. On August 14, the army took control of the villages of Kafr Ain and Aas, as well as Tell Aas [Aas hill] in the south of Idlib province east of the city of al-Hubayt. That day, the militants managed to bring down a Syrian Air Force fighter-bomber in Idlib. The pilot catapulted and was captured. On August 16, the army liberated four more villages in the south of the province.
Soon, the SAA completed the encirclement of Khan Sheikhun. On August 19, a convoy of Turkish armoured vehicles crossed the Syrian border and advanced towards the besieged city – probably to help Ankara-controlled groups in the province. A military convoy attacked the Syrian Air Force. The column stopped.
“Turkey has its own interests in the Syrian conflict, in particular in the Idlib zone,” Boris Dolgov, senior researcher at the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, explained to RIA Novosti. “Turkey is still not fully complying with the Sochi memorandum. The Turks continue to operate in "their own interests in the Idlib zone. And their interests are the preservation of armed Islamist groups, which Ankara considers moderate and which rely on the support of Turkey."
The successes of the Syrian Arab army have already elicited a nervous reaction of the United States. Morgan Ortagus, a State Department spokeswoman, said Tuesday that Bashar al-Assad’s government and its allies should return to a ceasefire in Idlib.
"Today's unacceptable air strike on the Turkish convoy followed ongoing brutal attacks on civilians, humanitarian workers and infrastructure. [the Turks entered Syria illegally, in fact. As for attacks on civilians, the worst such attack was conducted in the bombing of Raqqa by the US, so the US authorities are just being their hypocritical selves] We condemn this violence and it must be stopped," Ortagus emphasized. [Statements like this are displays of US impotence. They can do nothing]
Victory coming soon?
The capture of Khan Sheikhun will seriously strengthen the position of the Syrian Arab army in the south of Idlib province. This will allow the militants to be locked in a cauldron in the neighbouring settlements of Latamna, Murek and Kafr Zeit and will create the prerequisites for a further offensive into the last governorate in Syria, which remains under the control of terrorists.
“Today, Syria is building its future with hope, but terrorist organizations that are banned in many countries of the world continue not only to exist there, but also to resist,” Andrei Koshkin, head of the Plekhanov Russian Political Science and Sociology department, said on the air of Sputnik radio. Government forces of the SAR [Syrian Arab Republic] are quite successfully clearing the territory, and by now they are blocking many groups, cutting off their supply routes for ammunition, depriving them of means of subsistence. I think this is an omen of victory for the time when government troops can completely clear the territory of Syria from terrorists."
It is worth noting that in the province of Idlib, many immigrants from the former republics of the USSR and some Russian regions are fighting on the side of the militants. To prevent them from returning home after the victory of the SAA is an important task for Russia.
President Vladimir Putin, in anticipation of a meeting with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, called the possibility of their transfer to other regions of the world a great danger.
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora. Bracketed items were added after posting at Quora.
Question: What would happen if Iran and Russia formed a military alliance?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
What do you mean “would happen”?
The alliance is already in place.
Title: Asia Times | Attack on Iran would be an attack on Russia | Article
“What Russian National Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said at the recent, historic trilateral alongside White House national security adviser John Bolton and Israeli National Security Council Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat in Jerusalem should be unmistakable:
“Iran has always been and remains our ally and partner, with which we are consistently developing relations both on a bilateral basis and within multilateral formats.” [Vince’s highlighting]
This lays to rest endless, baseless speculation that Moscow is “betraying” Tehran on multiple fronts, from the all-out economic war unleashed by the Donald Trump administration to the resolution of the Syrian tragedy.”
[Shortly after Russia entered the fray in Syria, US and aligned media started alleging that Putin was about to betray Assad. The reasons for this presumption were silly – the fact that there had been no meetings between the 2 leaders for some time, Putin’s posture during one of their meetings, etc. It was nothing but the usual Western lies. Then Putin was supposedly about to betray Rouhani. No solid evidence, just wishful thinking on the part of the mentally unbalanced fiction writers in US media. And are you ready for this? Russia and Iran are planning joint military drills in various waterways, including the Srait of Hormuz, as reported in the US publication The National Interest and Newsweek! Still reading only US and European media? I have friends who tell me they think they are getting balanced news because they read both Democrat and Republican newspapers. OMG! Sorry, folks, both parties constitute the War Party. Did you really think you could achieve balance by absorbing pro-war news from the Democrats and pro-war news from the Republicans? At least supplement your news feeds with non-US-aligned media like Southfront, Asia Times, Fars News, Tehran Times, SANA, Al-Masdar, Russian sites like RT and Sputnik and others, including, of course, New Silk Strategies. Southfront and Al-Masdar will keep you up to date on the progress made by the Russians and Syrians in the fight against ISIS and the many rebrandings of al-Qaeda, ie, the terrorists that Trump had bragged many months ago that he had defeated all by himself – Vince.]
The following is our translation of an article from riafan.ru with commentary by Vince Dhimos.
The US is trying to have it both ways and, as a result, is getting nothing. The Turks originally asked to purchase the Patriot missile system from the US but the US refused to sell it to them. But now that the Turks have signed on for the Russian S-400, the US is trying to force the Turks to buy the now-outdated system but Turkey has said no thanks. The same may happen with India.
How’s this for the art of the deal?
Kedmi explains how Russian weapons make the US screw up
Moscow, July 16. The situation concerning the supply of Russian anti-aircraft missile systems S-400 to Turkey has demonstrated that the United States is continuing to attack the world arms market, says Israeli expert Yakov Kedmi.
Kedmi noted that the US is continuing to repeat its mistakes in the arms export segment. Moreover, these errors have become systematic.
The expert recalled the actions of Washington with respect to India and Egypt. The American side imposed an embargo on arms sales under various pretexts, and now, realizing its loss, is trying to get back in the game. Apparently, the US is concerned that Russia has become a leader in the Indian and Egyptian markets for military-industrial products.
The same situation is observed with Turkey, to which the Americans first refused to supply the Patriot anti-missile system. Ankara has found a way out of this situation and now Turkey is receiving the S-400 from Russia. According to political scientist Kedmi, Russian armaments are inducing the United States to make mistakes.
“Two years after the refusal, the Americans returned and offered a Patriot at the price of the S-400. The Turks said they wouldn’t buy this old stuff. And now the United States is trying to blame its stupidity on Russia,” Kedmi told Ekonomika Segodnya (Economy Today).
The political analyst believes that only Russia and the United States can satisfy Turkey’s demand, which is aimed at creating a reliable air defence system according to modern standards. Moreover, if the S-400 were, for example, in France, Paris would not hesitate to begin selling the complexes to Ankara, disregarding the position of Washington, the newspaper noted.
“Now it (the USA) does not want to sell the F-35 to Turkey - and they shouldn’t! There is an aircraft like it, the Su-57. The Turks have already said: we’ll buy it. Do not ask the Americans to refrain from selling something else to the Turks. They themselves do stupid things more successfully than any of their opponents could think of doing,” added Kedmi.
In July, it became known that Russia began to supply Turkey with components for the S-400. We emphasize that the Turkish authorities, despite pressure from Washington, have repeatedly stated that they will not give up the Russian complexes.
Our thanks to Movie Clips for the above-linked video of Major Kong riding the bomb to the ground.
Below is our translation of an article from planet-today.ru with commentary and notes [in brackets] by Vince Dhimos.
You know, I can’t think of anything more downright stupid than antagonizing the two military, diplomatic and economic powers Russia and China even as their star rises and the West’s sets. You do realize -- do you not? -- that two separate US “experts,” writing for Bloomberg, both recommended preparing for war with not only one of these powers but both!
Further, according to The Nation, the Pentagon is also bracing for a conflict that would pit the US against China and Russia. Its brainless calculations completely ignore the possibility of what such a conflict would inevitably turn into – ie, a nuclear war that would kill most of us. So far, none of the big boys has stumbled across that notion of just stopping the provocation.
The EU can no longer keep itself together, as none less than EU admirer George Soros himself admitted, and the US, well, it still labours under that unwieldy national debt that was $22 trillion when I started writing this sentence but God knows what astronomical heights it will have reached before I finish this article. And this deeply indebted US just can’t keep its hands off the war button. It’s an addiction. And many Americans believe God will protect it from its stupidity because that is in fact its only hope. The image of Major Kong in the film "Dr. Strangelove" comes to mind (click on link above).
I keep getting this sneaking feeling that the guys in Washington and Wall Street who hold the strings of power are actually intentionally doing everything in their power to bring down the American house of cards. Yet, how could that be?
And somehow I just can’t get Paul’s words out of my head:
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
I will always believe that Satan has his headquarters in Washington, DC. What other explanation can there be?
The Russia-China alliance: made in the West
June 14, 2019
The Western press is horrified: China is moving away from the US toward Russia. The leaders of the United States and the EU are so accustomed to singing their own praises and poking at Russia, that they did not immediately notice how Beijing was offended by them. The process of "divorcing" China from the United States accelerated in 2014 - just when the Crimean Curtain fell between Moscow and the Western world.
The rapprochement of Russia and China: most recently no one believed that an alliance between these countries was possible. After the economic forum in St. Petersburg, Bloomberg and the National Interest began to write about it as a fait accompli.
There is an alliance in the economy: the trade turnover of Russia and China has reached 108 billion dollars, exceeding the once targeted mark of 100 billion.
There is an alliance in politics: the Russian and Chinese military conduct joint exercises not only in Asia, but also in the Baltic Sea and in the Arctic Ocean.
Xi Jinping guaranteed unity of power in China under his leadership for many years to come. He declared President Putin the closest friend. The process of this rapprochement was not simultaneous. At first, Xi wanted to be friends with the United States. But in 2014, during the Crimean events, the then American president started a quarrel between his country and China, and prior to Putin’s trip to Beijing, staged a trip to ASEAN countries that are China’s neighbours, and greatly fear its power. And Trump, with his rudeness and trade wars, only completed the long-running process [note to those who think Putin is pro-Trump: read that sentence, by a Russian commentator, once more]. And since the US and the EU are dealing with even less “grace” with Russia, the rapprochement between Beijing and Moscow was the result of Western actions. In this context, many are calling for the restoration of Western relations not only with China, but also with Russia.
As a result, Obama and Trump have achieved the opposite of President Nixon’s achievement in the early 1970s. Nixon was able to normalize relations with the Stalin-like politician Mao Zedong - for the sake of isolating the USSR. Obama and Trump, having in their hands huge trading advantages, have managed to antagonize China. Now Russia is close to repeating Nixon's success: making friends with China and refocusing on its economic activity, leaving the United States isolated.
Vince Dhimos answered a question in the German language sector of Quora. Our translation of the question and the answer follows.
Would any other country helpf Iran if there were a war between Iran and the US?
Vince Dhimos, editor-in-chief and geopolitical analyst at www.newsilkstrategies.com (2015-present)
It is always hard to predict the future. All we can do is look at the evidence.
So here is a clue.
The web site Al-Masdar News Al-Masdar News reported today that Israel has experienced a disruption of its GPS signal. According to the report, this disruption extends into Syria, Iraq and Iran. There is only one country on the planet that is capable of disrupting the electronic controls and communications of aircraft and ground controls and that country is Russia -- although Russia denies that it is involved in this disruption.
Of course, Russia has not committed itself to joining Iran in a war against Israel or the US in the event Iran is attacked, although we know that Russia is strongly opposed to the efforts to stir up war sentiment against Iran, and Russia does not want any country to attack Iran. We also know that, at the same time, Russia wants to maintain good relations with Israel.
Therefore, we cannot expect Russia to actively fight the US or Israel if these countries choose to attack Iran.
But what if Russia used its electronic warfare equipment to prevent the Israeli or US fighter jets and bombers and the cruise missiles from flying?
The world has already seen that a US drone was downed in Iranian waters (yes, Iranian waters, shallow enough for the wreckage to be located by a fisherman). Is it not possible that this drone "lost its way"? The US insists that the drone was flying over international waters, and perhaps it was supposed to do that. But perhaps it was unable to follow the GPS signal correctly -- for some reason.
The US will not admit this if it is true because it does not want to lose face or appear to have been bested by Russia. And because it has no solution to the problem.
And Russia will never admit that it is disrupting the controls of aircraft, because it needs to work incognito as long as possible so that the US does not have time to seek a solution to these disruptions.
Could this be the real reason why Trump called off an attack on Iran?
Over a year ago, we learned that something was disrupting communications and navigation controls of US recon planes over Syria. We read back in April 2018 reports like this:
“General Raymond Thomas, the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), revealed that Syria has become the frontline of electronic warfare and U.S. planes are being disabled.
"’Right now in Syria we are operating in the most aggressive EW environment on the planet from our adversaries," Thomas told a crowd of some 2,000 "intelligence professionals" at the GEOINT Symposium on Tuesday, according to Breaking Defense.
"’They are testing us every day, knocking our communications down, disabling our EC-130s, etcetera," he added.
“While Thomas did not say which country is responsible for the attacks, Russian jamming and electronic warfare capabilities in Syria have long been noticed. Earlier this month, reports surfaced that Russian jamming was affecting small U.S. surveillance drones.
“Those efforts were, according to NBC News, not affecting larger armed drones like the MQ-1 Predator or the MQ-9 Reaper. A Defense Department official told NBC News that the jamming was having an operational impact on operations in Syria.” [This sounds fishy. If the GPS signal is disrupted for small aircraft, then it would be disrupted for large ones as well. Sounds like the Defence Department is trying to appear comptetent].
After this report surfaced, the media fell silent on this topic.
Then in September 2018, Israel used a Russian Il-20 as a shield in an operation to destroy Syrian infrastructure with missiles and as a result, the plane and is crew were shot down. Russia responded by reneging on an old promise and sending Syria its powerful S-300 air defence systems that would be tied into its bigger S-400, radar and electronic warfare systems at the Khmeimim Russian air base at Latakia.
At that time, Russian Defence minister Sergey Shoigu made a startling statement:
"In parts of the Mediterranean adjacent to Syria, there will be radio-electronic jamming of satellite navigation, onboard radars and communications systems used by military aircraft attacking targets in Syrian territory."
However, I noticed no further news reports on any attacks thwarted by this system and since then saw multiple reports of Israel attacking facilities in Syria that it alleged to be Iranian. I had to wonder if the Russian jamming system was failing or if the Israelis had found a work-around.
But today’s report from Al-Masdar News suggests that the Russians had simply not been using this jamming system much or at all these past few months, but that now, with an attack on Iran imminent, it appeared that Russia had seen fit to put this electronic warfare system into active duty.
My guess is that Russia was holding off on using their EW systems because they feared the US and Israel would start developing ways to circumvent it. In other words, they were saving it for a critical situation. Like the threat of an attack on Iran, for example.
Since I wrote this, Al-Masdar News has reported that Russia is prepared to sell Iran its S-400 air defence system. It was previously reported that Russia had refused to sell this system to Iran to avoid exacerbating tensions, but this was later said to be a fake report (although the Russians are not above making such a claim in an effort to save lives).
At any rate, if this sale and delivery go through, then it will be as big a game changer as the use of Russian EW described above. First, during and just after the delivery of the system, Russian military technical workers will be in Iran for assembly and start-up and for training their Iranian counterparts. The same rules will apply as were set for Trump when he fired those Tomahawks into Syria in Abril 2018. You will recall that the Russians said they would not try to engage with the American military doing the firing, but that if one hair on the head of Russian assets or one Russian facility were harmed, Russia retained the right to destroy the platforms – naval assets in this case – whence they came. You will recall that this was the last time the US dared to fire missiles at Syrian assets, ever. I am fairly confident that, once the Iranian S-400 deal is inked, the Russians will apply the same ground rules to the US and Israel.
At the same time, they will continue to beam their jammers at Iran to protect its air space. And once the S-400s are installed and the Iranian military is trained in their use, there is not likely to be any further talk of war on Iran.
In the following is our translation of an article from topcor.ru with commentary and notes [in brackets] by Vince Dhimos.
The blockade of Hormuz: has Tehran prepared a "nuclear surprise" for the US?
June 20, 2019
The situation in the Middle East is quickly heating up. Unidentified persons, "who looked like IRGC fighters," were spotted by US intelligence removing mines mounted on a ship after a series of attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman. The Pentagon decided to send additional forces to the region. Then Washington significantly threatened a military strike on Iran if at least one American soldier who was that far from home suffered as a result of Tehran’s actions. Now it is reported that the Iranian air defence hit the RQ-4 Global Hawk UAV or the MQ-4C Triton UAV.
The air clearly smells of impending war. Will the Islamic Republic withstand a massive strike by the United States and its allies?
We need to salute the Iranians, who are undaunted by a very serious threat. The Chief of the General Staff of the Republic said that in case of aggression Tehran would close off the oil transit through the Strait of Hormuz:
If we decide to block the passage through the straits, we are strong enough to do it, firstly, publicly, and secondly, to block it altogether.
The potential to block the strait is a weighty trump card for Iran. Most of the hydrocarbons produced by Middle Eastern monarchies go through Hormuz. The cessation of oil exports could lead to a global energy crisis. However, this would be the trigger for the start of a full-scale military operation by the United States and its allies against Iran.
Will Tehran hold out?
Technically, the blockade of the Strait can be carried out in several ways. In the narrowest part of Hormuz, Iranians are capable of sinking several large-capacity vessels. To prevent them from being raised, all approaches will be mined, and fire control will be established with the help of artillery and missile forces.
However, the United States has the most powerful army and navy in the world. Thanks to total air superiority, the US Air Force will smash the Iranian positions, the Navy will trawl the fairway and blow up the flooded ships. On the side of the US military will also act, most likely, Israel and the UK. Together, they are able to quickly "squeeze" Iran’s part of the coast.
So why is everything so calm in Tehran? Russian military expert Mikhail Khodarenok expresses an interesting proposition:
The situation, however, may look different if we imagine at least for a minute that Iran has at least tactical nuclear weapons.
Indeed, if Iran had tactical nuclear weapons, it could have aimed not only at the fairway of the Strait of Hormuz, having established a controlled nuclear minefield in advance, but also the US military infrastructure in the region. This is an extremely serious argument against armed aggression.
The key question is whether Tehran has its nuclear arsenal? Officially, no, and Washington is doing everything to keep it from being developed. Some time ago wesaid that there is a theory that Iran may already actually possess nuclear weapons. The fact is that Tehran worked extremely closely with Pyongyang on the missile program. Experts point out that the Iranian and North Korean missile programs complement each other in a surprising way: the DPRK relied on the ICBMs, and Iran - on medium and short-range missiles.
It can be assumed that this cooperation between the two “rogue states” was not limited, and Tehran may have received its own nuclear warheads developed for them within the framework of cooperation in North Korea. Otherwise it is quite difficult to explain the Iranian leadership’s confidence.
Author: Sergey Marzhetsky
Our thanks to CNN for the above-linked video
Vince Dhimos answered a question in the Spanish language sector of Quora. Translations of the question and Vince’s answer are shown below.
First let me say that the statements of the Trump administration have already painted the US into a corner, making it tough to wriggle out of a military confrontation. On the other hand, Trump made statements about Venezuela that almost made a military confrontation there inevitable. Yet the whole invasion idea just sort of dissipated. Remember when Trump interviewed the interim first lady of Venezuela at the White House and she asked what he would do about the Russian presence in her country and he said “Russia has to get out.” But Russia did not get out (although the msm kindly made up the story that the Russian military was leaving), and the story just died.
Just now Trump said he was calling off a planned attack on Iran. Unfortunately, that does not mean there will not be an attack.
You will recall our report on the op-ed of a high-ranking Israeli general who pleaded for US military involvement in Iran. The fact that Trump backed off of the planned attack could mark a turning point in US wars or in US-Israel relations.
WILL ISRAEL PREVENTIVELY ATTACK IRAN OR WILL THE US REACH AN AGREEMENT WITH IRAN AT THE LAST MINUTE?
This question indirectly makes a statement by implication, which is not accurate. The implication is that there are only two choices:
1) Israel attacks Iran, or
2) The US reaches an agreement with Iran.
If Israel decides not to attack Iran, regardless of whether or not the United States and Iran reach a new agreement, then that would be
3) a third choice, ie, multilateral negotiations including Iran and Israel.
Let’s consider these three choices:
1) Israel attacks Iran. If this happens, Iran would have the option to strike back. Iran once said it had 120,000 missiles hidden in tunnels in different mountains in Iran.
Of course, Israel has its famous air defence system known as the Iron Dome. However, it is known that all air defence systems can be overwhelmed by large numbers of missiles flying simultaneously into their effective area of defence. Indeed, the Iron Dome was once overwhelmed by machine gun fire. Thus, like all air defence systems, the Israeli system is not invulnerable to attack.
Further, if Israel decides to attack Iran with bombs dropped from aircraft, Iran has the option to use its Russian-made S-300 systems, which can shoot down planes over long distances and are very accurate.
Further, the Iranian high military command recently stated that it has highly accurate guided missiles that can destroy a US aircraft carrier. Therefore, the United States will no doubt warn Israel against attacking Iran because it does not want to lose any of its aircraft carriers. If that happened, it would be more difficult for Donald Trump to be re-elected in 2020.
2) The United States reaches an agreement with Iran. Unfortunately, this is probably impossible because the United States already had an agreement with Iran, signed by several interested countries, and Donald Trump illegally and unilaterally abandoned this agreement without cause – because Iran had not violated the agreement. In so doing, Trump communicated to the whole world that the US is not a reliable partner and that no agreement concluded with the US is worthwhile because any president can invalidate it it at any time even without just cause. Iran has already stated this and has said that there is no point in negotiating with the US again.
3) Israel refrains from attacking Iran. Since options 1) and 2) above entail serious risks to Israel, this option is the only one that seems safe for the time being. But in this scenario, Israel has the option to negotiate with Iran in conjunction with other nations. Perhaps the best option would be to enlist the aid of the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Europe to negotiate between Israel and Iran. Iran has in the past offered to negotiate with Saudi Arabia but the latter refused to talk. But under the current circumstances, perhaps if the US and Russia initiated the negotiations, the Saudis would be willing to try. After all, Iran is a Muslim country, like Saudi Arabia, and its pilgrims try to make the hajj to Mecca once in their lifetime. It is also a friend of Russia. The US is deeply involved in this issue too.
The main problem in the Middle East is not the Muslim countries, and it is not Russia. Russia has friendly relations with both Israel and Iran. 20% of Israelis were born in Russia and Putin is concerned for their well-being. And Putin also meets with OPEC even though Russia is not an official member. Therefore, Russia is a very good candidate to lead negotiations between Israel and Iran.
As for Europe, it has very friendly relations with Israel but also wants to trade with Iran. Therefore, Europe is also also a good candidate to participate in these negotiations.
The United States is the only major world power that always sides with Israel against the interests of the countries that do not recognize the existence of Israel. This is a major disadvantage for America as an arbitrator because many Middle Eastern countries cannot trust it and realize that it is not impartial. The only way the impasse can be broken is through the intermediary of Europe and Russia. Given the threat of war, it is in the best interest of America to finally make some concessions to Iran. However, since it has already turned out to be an unreliable negotiator, unfortunately, the US may have to rely on the other countries to do the majority of the negotiating. It is also unclear whether Iran would go to a bargaining table with the US at this point. At any rate, it has refused to renegotiate the already-signed Iran deal. Indeed, in a civil court, it would win the case against the reneging US.
We can see from this example that by trying to achieve its goals by force alone and without diplomacy, the US has lost some of its power.
However, if other countries are still willing to cooperate with the United States, perhaps it can salvage some of its former power and become an integral part of the world community again and contribute to the restoration of world peace that is threatened by the abandonment of the Iran deal.
We’ve been reporting on the progress in the apparent lead-up to a potentially disastrous war with Iran. Various outlets are in agreement that such a war would be insane. In the following you will find our translation of the article entitled “A War with Iran Would be Insanity” from the popular German newspaper Die Welt, with commentary and notes [in brackets] by Vince Dhimos.
BTW, here’s a really solid reason not to believe that Iran is responsible for the different attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf region:
While it is being stated by the US government that these attacks are done in defiance of the US-imposed sanctions and embargoes, and while some seem to think they are being deliberately open about their schemes, we need to recall that Iran has been denying any involvement. Now if Iran wants to openly defy the US, it is not going to hide its tracks or deny its involvement. Yet it does, quite vehemently, and I’d say, convincingly.
Besides, Javad Zarif said exactly what I was thinking when I heard that a Japanese tanker was attacked while Shinzo Abe was in talks with Ayatollah Khamenei, namely, “suspicious does not begin to describe what likely transpired this morning.” Yes, and I also read just this morning that the fact that one ship was Japanese (attacked to drag Japan into the war) would have required deep research because the vessel was not flagged Japanese).
And Pompeo insists that Iran perpetrated the attack to raise oil prices. But excuse me, Iran is under sanctions and can hardly sell its oil at any price, so that is pretty much nonsense.
Of course, you probably have read at this site the confession of Major General Yaakov Amidror, who bluntly said:
“Israel’s opposition to Iranian entrenchment in Syria and Lebanon is twofold: To prevent Iran from building a beachhead against Israel through its proxies on Israel’s borders, and to impede development of Iran’s nuclear and long-range missile capabilities. Israel is absolutely determined and prepared to act forcefully against Iran, which could lead to a full-scale war. Israel must win this struggle against Iran, one way or another.”
Now that in itself was a bombshell. Israel wants to go to war against Iran one way or another. So that means it would not shrink from a false-flag attack if that were the only way to win. But as blunt as that was, it was not the most shocking part of Amidror’s rant. He went for full disclosure, providing Pompeo, Bolton and Trump with a solid motive to attack Iran but also for normal people to suspect a false flag:
“Israel must enlist a reluctant US to take an active part in operations alongside it, and not only as a supportive observer from the sidelines.”
BTW, Israel has a history of "enlisting a reluctant US" to support its wars based on false flags, and I daresay the attacks on Saudi oil vessels have all the earmarks of such a false flag.
Some people complain of Russian influence on US elections. But they are ignoring the elephant in the room. America will never be free until AIPAC is banned completely or until it becomes illegal for them to influence US elections. They are the main reason for the threat of war against Iran and the pull-out from the Iran deal. They were also a very important reason why the US fought the disastrous and costly war on Iraq, which spawned ISIS.
A war with Iran would be insanity
By Hannes Stein
Washington is convinced that the attack in the Gulf of Oman was under instruction from Teheran. The US Central Command has made it clear that in the case of an attack "will fight back", says WELT reporter Steffen Schwarzkopf.
If the United States resorts to a war with Iran, this could lead to an even greater disaster than in 2003 in Iraq. Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo knows that too - but the situation may nevertheless escalate.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has quite clearly named a culprit: "It is the United States' assessment that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that have taken place in the Gulf of Oman today," he said in a press conference. [yesterday]
"This assessment is based on intelligence reports, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to perform this operation, and the fact that no other group operating in that region has the resources or knowledge to act with such a high degree of sophistication.” But what does that mean? Will the United States now go to war against the "Islamic Republic of Iran"?
Everything is possible, but probably not yet. Let's start with the Iraq war of 2003. In that war, the United States did not have a UN mandate, but they had allies: Britain, Poland, Denmark, South Korea. The assumption that Saddam Hussein was working on new weapons of mass destruction, at least, was not insane. [The author does not mention it – because Europeans know it – that no country in Europe wants war with Iran. They are kindly disposed toward the country and are hoping for lucrative trading arrangements with it. Therefore, unlike in the Iraq war, the US will have fewer allies and may lose some that it had before. And the false flag attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf will not change their minds. General Amidror already kindly informed us they were coming.]
At first, that war seemed to be going well from an American point of view: Iraq had a population of just over 23 million, Saddam's regime was hated by everyone - Kurds, Shiites, and many Sunnis - and the Iraqi army was a ridiculous opponent that laid down its arms after a few weeks.
Iran is (as a glance at the map shows) about three times the size of Iraq. It has more than 81 million inhabitants. Its army is professional, highly motivated and has gained much combat experience in Yemen and Syria in recent years. In addition, terrorist organizations like Hezbollah [Hezbollah was once called a terrorist organization only by the US but under pressure from the US, Europe is now using the term] would assist the Iranian regime and not only carry out attacks in the Middle East. America has exactly two allies in this war: Israel and the Arab Gulf States. Domestically, a war with Iran would immediately lead to furious mass protests in all American cities; Congress - which according to the US Constitution has the sole right to declare war - would oppose the President.
Besides, it would be impossible to win a war on Iranian territory only with air strikes. So ground forces would have to invade. After the famous "surge" - the troop increase under General David Petraeus - 107,000 soldiers were stationed in Iraq. They managed with great difficulty to quell the civil war-like chaos in Iraq. But Iran, as I said, has four times as many inhabitants. And although the fundamentalist mullah regime is hated by the Iranian people, there is little to suggest that the Iranians would respond cheerfully to an American bombardment of their cities and their soldiers.
In other words, a war with Iran would be insanity. It would probably end up an even greater disaster than the ill-prepared Iraq war. It would probably mean the end of the Western alliance.
This morning we learn that 2 ships were attacked, apparently with torpedoes, in the Gulf of Oman and the US military immediately stated that this was “highly likely” the work of the Iranians. Remember back when Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found poisoned on a part bench in Salisbury, England, that the immediate verdict of all Western intel services was that it was “highly likely” that Russia had poisoned these victims even though there was no evidence of Russian involvement. And recall that on the strength of this “highly likely” verdict, both the US and the EU slapped sanctions on Russia. So the moral of this story is, if you want to avoid punishment in the West, make sure your evil deed is absolutely provable and not just “highly likely” because otherwise you will pay the price.
By extension, then, Iran can expect to be targeted for a major war.
I had reported on May 18 that a high-ranking Israeli official had urged in March 2019 that the US needs to be enlisted to take part in a military operation against Iran alongside Israel. Major General Yaakov Amidror had written:
"Israel must enlist a reluctant US to take an active part in operations alongside it, and not only as a supportive observer from the sidelines.”
Now note the word “reluctant” because it is pregnant with meaning. After all, the sly Major General knows that the US people will not go quietly into another war on shaky pretexts. They are still stinging from the Gulf of Tonkin incident and the WMDs that no one could ever find. I am convinced that even back in March, Amidror knew that there were officials, like John Bolton, in the Trump administration who were anything but reluctant to go to war against Iran and were prepared to do whatever it took. He sneaked in the word “reluctant” to let everyone concerned know that the US absolutely does not want war but that it might just become absolutely necessary. This was cover for the news consumer who might read his article and think John Bolton was a war monger or something silly like that.
And that is precisely what Amidror has in mind:
“Israel is absolutely determined and prepared to act forcefully against Iran, which could lead to a full-scale war. Israel must win this struggle against Iran, one way or another.”
Oh, ok, American readers, a full-scale war led by the US but not to worry, they will engage only reluctantly and not because of an Israeli false flag attack on oil tankers in the Oman Gulf or anything like that. They’ll start the conflict based on a verdict of “highly likely” Iran did it and it is not at all likely it was a false flag to give Bolton and Israel cover for a war they wanted “one way or the other.” No, no. Perish the thought.
I was not the only one who had suspicions.
My partner at the German-language site Contra-Magazin wrote (my translation):
“Given that the neo-conservative hawks in Washington and Israel have long been waiting to finally launch a war against Iran, one may well ask themselves questions:
Why should Iran attack these two oil tankers and risk a military operation against them? Why not expect a "False Flag Attack" from CIA, Mossad & Co behind it? Who benefits most from such an attack? Will the Americans (as in Syria) bombard Iran with missiles without first waiting for an independent investigation? We have to wonder ...”
Award-winning journalist Stephen Lendman wrote:
“The Trump regime no doubt will blame Iran for what it surely had nothing to do with — likely increasing its “maximum pressure” on the country in the wake of the Gulf of Oman incident [sure enough, shortly after Lendman posted this, the regime did indeed blame Iran--Vince].
“It ups the stakes for possible war in a part of the world already devastated by US aggression.
“Is Iran next on its target list for greater greater war than? Do Trump regime hardliners intend making the region boil more than already?
“Given their rage to transform Iran into a US vassal state, anything is possible, even war on a nation able to hit back hard against US and Israeli targets if attacked.”
Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif said “suspicious doesn’t even begin to describe what likely transpired this morning.”
I can think of a whole list of reasons why Iran did not perpetrate the attack:
1—Japanese president Shinzo Abe was in Teheran at the time of the attacks, discussing with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei the possibility of talks mediated by Abe between Iran and other Gulf countries to ease tensions.
2—Iran is trying to keep a low profile with a view to getting out from under the sanctions. It very much wants to continue trading with the West. This would not be a good time to be causing trouble and provoking the West by torpedoing oil tankers.
3—A UK commentator reminded that the Iranian government is sometimes at loggerheads with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard and that the Guard could have perpetrated the attack unbeknownst to the government. However, that is highly unlikely because if the Guard were so reckless as to attack an oil tanker, it would almost certainly long ago have fired long-range missiles in its possession at Tel-Aviv in response to the frequent Israeli attacks on Iranian forces in Syria.
4—In another analysis I posted on the subject of false accusations against Iran, I quoted several sources showing that Israel is an old hand at the false-flag game and why the earlier attacks on oil tankers had all the earmarks of such attacks.
Now it is true that Iran has subs and torpedoes, including super-cavitating torpedoes capable of travelling several times the speed of ordinary torpedoes. The only thing Iran lacks in this current scenario is a motive.
But then Israel has even bigger subs with torpedoes that can take out an oil tanker. And Israel has a motive, generously disclosed to the world by Major General Yaakov Amidror as described above. In fact, Israel has been salivating over the possibility of making Iran look like an oil tanker killer, and John Bolton and pals has been salivating right along with them.
One of those pals is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who now says he is holding Iran accountable. Hurry and start that war, Mike, before they start investigating and find out Iran had nothing to do with the attacks! Better hurry and kill those babies before they grow up and pose a threat to Israel.
In the following is our translation of an article from RIA FAN about the Great Russian Scare in America and the scare mongers in Congress who have spent billions to root out Russian “troll factories” that supposedly have stolen US “democracy,” which I have shown here does not even exist. The article below shows that the Pentagon has a division devoted to fighting Russian trolls, which as far as we know, do not carry guns. So how did opinion influencers come to be considered tantamount to a military threat worthy of a Pentagon division?
What many Americans fail to keep in mind is that any Russian propaganda or other efforts to influence elections in the US pale before the efforts of AIPAC, a foreign agent that not only influences US elections but in fact literally controls them, pushing them very hard, for example, into military conflicts not in the US interest, in two very important ways:
1—AIPAC, the foreign lobby that promotes the interests of Israel, donates millions to the campaigns of pro-Israel candidates, including presidential candidates. Thus if a candidate had ever constructively criticized an Israeli policy – such as the policy of allowing Israeli settlers to build in Palestine or the commonly implemented policy of shooting unarmed protesters in Gaza – AIPAC will not donate to that candidate but will donate to the opponent.
2—AIPAC issues press releases severely criticizing candidates who are less than wholeheartedly enthusiastic about the unjust policies of Israel toward the Palestinians – policies that the UN has condemned repeatedly. Thus if a candidate had constructively criticized an Israeli policy – such as the policy of allowing Israeli settlers to build in Palestine or the commonly implemented policy of shooting unarmed protesters in Gaza – AIPAC will issue press releases implying or stating that such a candidate is anti-Semitic.
Here is a must-view video that summarizes the untoward influence of AIPAC on American political life.
As a result, AIPAC not only influences opinion but actually forges US foreign policy and some internal policies relating to press freedom. For example, this lobby has already induced some states – and is attempting to induce the federal government – to adopt a blatantly unconstitutional law outlawing any boycott of products made in Israel or even in illegal Israeli settlements in Palestine! I have written about this outrage here.
Yet we are supposed to believe that this kind of coercive and heavy-handed foreign influence on the part of AIPAC is just fine and dandy while a Russian company disseminating news slanted in favour of Russia – but with no coercion – is a grave violation of Americans’ rights and democracy! Are Americans that gullible? It would seem that a significant percentage of them are.
Sadly, many Evangelical Trump voters believe that any criticism of the secular apartheid homicidal state of Israel is a sin because of a verse in Genesis that says those who curse Israel will be cursed. But firstly, honest criticism is not cursing someone (in fact, constructive criticism is a blessing—which Genesis promises will be rewarded with a blessing), and secondly, there is no evidence at all that today’s Israel is the reincarnation of ancient Israel prophesied in Ezekiel, which Evangelicals take as the basis of their “Christian” Zionism. Indeed it does not meet the criteria spelled out in Ezekiel 37, which prophesies that the resurrected Israel will be “obedient to God’s decrees,” whereas a WIN/Gallup poll shows that a full 65% of Israelis profess no religion at all! Be sure to read what I wrote about “Christian” Zionism if you have not done so already. It is the only critique I have seen that is based on the Bible. America is facing the most massive intellectual deficit of its national life and it is way past time to start reducing that deficit. The only way to do that is to stop lying to ourselves and stop letting other people do our thinking for us.
Further, the accusations against Russian “propaganda” are, in the case of media aimed at the West, such as RT Sputnik, completely unfounded because most of the news they disseminate comes from Western sources. Nor is there any mention in such accusations of what reports from these agencies are false. I have been reading these publications for years and cannot think of a single such false or suspicious report. But their viewpoint is Eastern rather than stereotypically US-centred Western and therein lies the problem for the Establishment, which would ban all non-Western thought in a heartbeat if it could.
Influencing vs coercing
But the main problem here is the hypocrisy. The Establishment accusation is that these Russian news sources are aimed at influencing the minds of Americans regarding politics, and specifically, at tilting their thinking toward a more Russia-friendly mind set.
However, influencing, by use of cogent arguments and reasoning, is a far cry from coercing. And the hypocrisy lies in the fact that the American government goes much farther than merely influencing the attitudes and mind sets of the citizens of foreign countries. When a foreign leader, be it Maduro or Ghadaffi or whoever, refuses to be cowed into accepting the “American way,” notably, the US banking and monetary system, the US is very quick to invade, bomb, and massacre thousands of innocent civilians from the air, as they did in Iraq and Serbia, or support regime change as they did in Ukraine and Syria, or resort to killer sanctions that starve populations and deny needed medical care and medicines, to get a US-friendly regime in the country in question – Venezuela for instance. In this same vein, when internet publishers like Julian Assange or Bradley/Chelsea Manning dare to publish the true facts about the US Establishment that expose its crimes and misdeeds, they are in danger of being tried on phony charges and locked away. Coercion is the American way.
So are we supposed to believe that disseminating published materials in the US that merely influence opinion – but without coercion – in ways that conflict with the viewpoints accepted by the US Establishment is a danger to American liberties more grave than coercing people and governments to accept the US way of life?
As absurd as that proposition seems, it is precisely the premise on which the US Cyber Command operations to defend against “Russian trolls” is based.
Who will get the billions that Trump earmarks for fighting "Russian trolls"
12 March 2019
US President Donald Trump presented the draft budget for fiscal year 2020, which in the United States begins October 1, 2019. The document bears the pretentious title “Budget for a Better America” and, compared to 2019, provides for an increase of almost 5% of the total amount of all expenses.
There are many interesting articles, including those aimed at "deterring" Russia and China, primarily militarily. Among the significant amounts with which Trump plans to "contain" Russia, there is a very interesting expense item, including that of the Federal News Agency [ie, RIA FAN, the source of this article], which is in itself a great honour.
The US president is asking for $ 9.6 billion in US Cyber Command operations (the US Cyber Command of the Pentagon), according to BBC News. Yes, the money is intended for the Pentagon’s cyber command, which recently trumpeted that it would conduct, during the mid-term American elections in 2018, an operation against the Russian Internet Research Agency which the United States refers to only as a “troll factory.”
However, as previously reported by the Federal News Agency [FAN], even in the United States, this operation was recognized as a failure, which led to the resignation of the deputy head of the US cyber command. Recall, after losing the war with “foreign hackers” and having suffered a defeat in a campaign concerning a fictitious “Russian interference in the elections,” US Deputy Cyber Command Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart left his post.
According to Politico, this resignation was the result of the failure of a number of operations that the United States has been conducting in cyberspace. According to a FAN source, Stewart, in particular, suffered due to the total failure of a cyber attack on the Federal News Agency and the USA Really edition last November.
Pentagon baby talk
Politico reports that the reason for Stewart’s departure was the criticism of the activities of his department after the failed attack on FAN and USA Really. The US Cyber Command, with great fanfare, reported blocking FAN and USA Really on November 6, 2018. However, in the publications themselves, which were quietly working that day, they did not notice any “blocking” - the resources worked normally and fully.
The failure of the attack was recognized even by American experts: for example, the publication ZDNet, part of CBS Corporation, called the operation a “failure” and “a waste of American taxpayers' money.” In addition, both FAN and USA Really were well aware of the impending attack, so the possible damage was reduced to zero from the outset.
As FAN previously reported, the entire “attack” was carried out on an absolutely unprofessional level. In addition, Stuart’s bosses were unpleasantly struck by another example of his "know-how": last October, the Pentagon’s digital division, like a bewildered schoolgirl, began to overwhelm FAN employees with strange SMS messages and meaningless threats.
In the opinion of FAN Director General Evgeny Zubarev, for this childish prattle of the Pentagon, on which billions of US taxpayer dollars were spent, ideally, all the leaders and so-called specialists of this division of the US military should have been dismissed.
“The attack of the Pentagon’s cyber division on FAN and USA Really was to end with the resignations of its leadership,” Zubarev said. - Sending ridiculous SMS messages and letters to the personal mail accounts of journalists - this, according to their plan, was supposed to have intimidated us! It made us laugh, yes, but it didn’t scare anyone. ”
The very same attack represented the distribution of viruses, for which the IT security services of FAN and USA Really were ready and with which they successfully coped, Zubarev stressed.
“But the very fact of the Pentagon’s billion-dollar expenditures on such criminal actions is surprising,” Zubarev stressed.
The “disconnect,” according to the Pentagon, allegedly took place on November 6, when the US held congressional elections.
“Of course, we did not interfere in the course of elections in the United States. But not because we were attacked by the Pentagon, but because we don’t have and never had such a mission,” said Yevgeny Zubarev.
To see how the so-called “attack” was organized minute by minute and what a resounding failure it was, read the article by the Federal News Agency: “6,200 mediocrities on officers’ payroll: the failed cyber attack on the Russian Federation cost the US millions of dollars.”
Despite the comic situation, Trump is asking Congress for well-defined goals, Professor of Moscow State University, Doctor of Political Sciences Andrei Manoilo said in a comment to the Federal News Agency.
“Yes, this is an absolutely meaningless waste of American taxpayers’ money, but once Trump asks to allocate these 9.6 billion, then he definitely has recipients for this money,” the expert said.” Trump is making this request for specific people.”
He is deliberately scaring the congress with the “Russian threat” in order to make sure he gets what he needs, the political analyst believes.
“Talking about ‘Russian trolls,’ who allegedly “travel in herds and poison everyone’s life” is only an excuse, and the upper limit of this amount is limited only by the tolerance of Congress, says Manoilo. “Trump perfectly understands how much can be squeezed out of Congress for this particular issue. And he will squeeze out this money.”
The operator will be the Pentagon, and this suits Trump. He willingly uses the Pentagon’s budget, considering it the most reliable. And then the money will go to the agency to counter foreign propaganda and disinformation, which is fighting with Russia and ISIS (organization banned in the Russian Federation. - FAN), and for which [former US Secretary of State Rex] Tillerson allocated 300 million shortly before his resignation. This money went to the effort to oppose so-called "Russian propaganda."
The expert doubts that the allocated funds will be effectively used.
“Apparently, those 300 million have been spent - now we need more. So there, these additional 9.6 billion will be gladly split and divided, and at the same time they will allocate about one and a half million to fight the trolls. So hold on, stock up with motherwort and valerian. You will not need anything stronger to survive their childish “cyber attacks,” Andrei Manoilo summarized with a laugh.
This is a financial scam, and this intra-American financial scam, like all actions conducted under the pretext of the mythical "Russian threat," is used to squeeze American taxpayers’ money out of Congress, the expert believes. In fact, this money goes to failed operations performed at an infantile level and to Pentagon PR, the FAN source pointed out.