HOW RUSSIA IS LOOKING OUT FOR YOUR SECURITY
Some Americans no doubt wonder why anyone would care about the situation in the Middle East. After all, it is so far away.
However, if they had a broad view of things, they would care a lot. Take Iraq for example. The US Establishment waged a relentless propaganda campaign for months to prepare public sentiment before it finally invaded in 2003, and that war never really ended, even though GW Bush claimed it was over that same year. In fact, we are still seeing the bitter aftermath, with the senseless killing of beloved hero Iranian General Soleimani on Iraqi soil, which culminated in the Iraqi parliament’s decision to demand the exit of US troops, which Trump is now sending to Syria to avoid the embarrassment of sending them home where they belong. Added to this injury is the insult of trillions in costs that can only be defrayed by the risky practice of issuing mountains of unbacked currency. Why risky? Explanation here.
This is why you should be afraid whenever you read daily about supposed internal mischief on the part of any county. China is the target today. I have shown here how the US media and political class use dubious reports to stir up public resentment toward China for the purpose of weakening the country and its economy. A sensible policy would ignore the internal policies of other countries, as China and Russia do and a sensible public would ignore US campaigns to make them hate, resent and fear the targeted countries. Surely they remember how they were snookered into the Iraq War? But the US insists on using dubious excuses such as the unproven allegation that this or that country is a “brutal” dictatorship to invade and kills thousands of innocent non-combatants and impose starvation sanctions on civilians that pose no danger whatsoever to Amerian citizens, and the public falls for these tired old tricks every time. The harm to these foreign civilians and the national infrastructure is hundreds of times more severe than anything done by the alleged “brutal” dictator. This is especially perplexing in view of the US government’s indulgence of a dictatorship in Saudi Arabia that has ordered the grisly murder of a WaPo journalist and of an apartheid government in Israel that routinely shoots unarmed protesters to kill or maim and launches deadly missile attacks on its neighbors in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon to kill Iranians who are there to fight terror (which is ultimately due to intervention of the US and its satellites, as shown here).
Conversely, you should be relieved when Russia uses its military might to discourage the Rambo-style US military from entering conflict zones. In light of the above, Russia is in fact keeping Americans much safer in so doing – protecting citizens from an out-of-control Washington – and from their own foolishness. The two articles below show how Russia accomplieshes this delicate feat without provoking a deadly conflict. Perhaps more importantly, Russia recently sent warplanes from its Khmeimim base in Latakia to Libya in response to the recent military setback of Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army in its fight against Turkish-backed jihadists supporting the Government of National Accord under President Faez Sarraj, who is warm toward ISIS and Al-Qaeda, as explained here.
Russian jets swarm western Idlib as Syrian Army troops strike jihadist positions
By News Desk
BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:30 P.M.) – The Russian Air Force was seen all over the western countryside of the Idlib Governorate on Wednesday, as their jets buzzed areas like Jisr al-Shughour along the Turkish border.
According to a field report from the Idlib Governorate, the Russian Air Force was flying over areas under the control of the hardline militant groups like the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP), Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), and Hurras Al-Deen.
Some opposition activists claimed that the Russian Air Force launched airstrikes; however, a Syrian Arab Army (SAA) source said there were no recorded attacks.
At the same time, the Syrian Arab Army launched their own attack over the Idlib countryside, targeting the movements of the jihadist rebels and Turkish-backed groups.
The Syrian Arab Army reportedly targeted several areas around the southern countryside of Idlib, including the militant gathering points at the town of Al-Bara’a, which is just north of Kafr Nabl.
Tensions in the Idlib Governorate have recently increased after the jihadist rebels of Hurras Al-Deen carried out an ambush that killed over 30 Syrian Arab Army soldiers in the Al-Ghaab Plain.
Russia flexes might to send message to US, NATO that Syria’s coast is a no-fly-zone
By News Desk
BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:00 P.M.) – The Russian military is no longer tolerating U.S flights near the Syrian coast, as they have now intercepted at least three American planes in the eastern Mediterranean over the last 90 days.
According to a Syrian military source in Damascus, the Russian Armed Forces previously tolerated the U.S.’ flights along the boundaries of Syria’s airspace, but given their repeated attempts to test the radar and air defense systems at the Hmeimim Airbase, the Russian Federation believes it is important to remind the Americans that they are not free to operate in these areas.
The source pointed out that prior to the recent interception by the Russian Air Force, the U.S. Navy had conducted several flights near Syrian airspace in the month of May.
When the Russian Air Force’s S-35 jets intercepted two U.S. P-8A Poseidon military aircraft in the eastern Mediterranean, the American planes were not seen in this region for several days.
While interceptions are normal, especially when flying near another country’s airspace, the eastern Mediterranean has long been a NATO zone of influence.
With Turkey and Greece located in the eastern and northern Mediterranean regions, the U.S. and its NATO allies were able to operate freely without any threats to their aircraft.
However, since the Russian military’s intervention in the Syrian Conflict in September 2015, the latter has demonstrated that they maintain a zone of influence in a substantial part of the eastern Mediterranean, which is an area they do not plan on ceding to the U.S. and its NATO partners.
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
WILL THE GNA BECOME A SATELLITE OF ANKARA NOW THAT THEY’VE MADE BIG GAINS AND ARE GOING TO EXTEND THEIR SOVEREIGNTY OVER THE REST OF LIBYA?
Vince Dhimos Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016–present)
It’s not too early to ask this question but it is too early to answer it with much certainty.
One thing we need to remember is that Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s LNA is supported and sponsored by several well-heeled states including the UAE, Saudi, and Russia but also Egypt and some lesser states such as Sudan, and is getting moral and propaganda support from France. The Trump administration is wobbling but originally leaned toward supporting Haftar. The Democrats seem to favour the terror-importing GNA. Perhaps that is not too surprising since it was the Obama-Biden administration that took out Ghadafi – who was keeping terrorism under control – in the first place.
A full listing (somewhat outdated) of supporters on both sides is found here: Libya's war: Who is supporting whom
Those states with an aversion to terror generally support Haftar, while states that warm to Islamism tend to support the US- and UN-recognized GNA of Faez al-Sarraj, whose officials have admitted using ISIS and Al-Qaeda militias to defend the GNA.
As mentioned in the question, Turkey is providing major support including Turkish fighters and pilots.
Those of us who worry about the fate of Libya are on tenterhooks now that a major airbase of Haftar’s LNA has been taken over and its extensive air defence systems, the Russian Pantsir, are destroyed.
It is noteworthy that Egypt’s president Sisi a few days ago warned Turkey that it will not tolerate terrorists at its border.
Keep your eye on Egypt, which has ordered $2 billion worth of the Russian Su-35s, which are the premier fighter, superior to the US F-35. The Su-35 flies significantly faster and has a greater range than the overpriced and overrated F-35 and, unlike the latter, does not need afterburners to reach its top speed. Once the F-35s afterburners come on, the plane is more visible to radar (although the latest radar system in service in Russia and at the Russian Khmeimim base in Syria, can plainly see the F-35 anyway).
My best guess is that Russia and Egypt will not sit idly by as Turkey dines on Libya’s carcass.
Already, since Haftar’s major setback, Russia has sent warplanes from its Hmeimim base in Latakia to Libya.
Let’s not forget that probably none of this would be happening if the Obama-Biden administration had stayed out of the conflict that took out Gadhafi and plunged Libya into chaos. Also note that Democratic senators are now urging Trump to sanction Hafter, the anti-terror side, which would support the terror-importing Sarraj government. https://en.218tv.net/2020/02/13/al-monitor-democrats-urge-trump-to-sanction-haftar/
You must wonder why the Democrats, whose military action destroyed Libya in the first place, now apparently want a terror-supporting regime to rule there. And why show even a hint of support for terror in an election year?
PS: This just in: Libyan Army faces new threat as old foe returns. ISIS is back and they’re fighting shoulder to shoulder with the US-ally Turkey in Libya.
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
What are Russia's interests in sending troops to Ukraine?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
A fair question would also include a second part, to whit: ... and why does the US send lethal aid to Ukraine?
But really, this is not an honest question at all, because Russia did not attempt to send troops to Ukraine. Its parliament authorized the deployment of Russian troops only to Crimea, which is now part of the Russian Federation following the winning of a referendum valid under international law. At the time of that decision the RF rightfully saw Crimea as part of Russian territory because virtually the entire population was Russian-speaking, considered itself Russian and sympathised with the Kremlin. In fact, Ukraine had always recognized it as an autonomous republic. It would have been unthinkable for Russia to stand idly by and watch Crimea be sucked into the lethal trap set by the US and its warmongering partners in Europe after their criminal and sometimes violent intervention in Kiev in 2014.
The war in the Donbass is fostered and sponsored by the US. The Kremlin has not authorized one kopeck for this war. While it is possible that some Russian mercenaries went to Donbass to defend their brothers (who was to stop them?), it was always a war with Kievan Ukraine acting as a proxy for the US.
For those who want to know the truth beyond the Russophobia, all you need to do is Google using two sets of search terms:
1—US sends lethal aid to Ukraine
2—Russia sends lethal aid to Ukraine
My search #1 brought up numerous hits including the headline from US News and World Report: US sends lethal aid to Ukraine:
and many more similar articles. And the opinions expressed in the warmongering US media almost all reflect the notion that the US MUST send arms to kill people in Donbass. Like this one:
How U.S. military aid became a lifeline for Ukraine
The press makes it abundantly clear that the US not only sends lethal aid but also wholeheartedly supports the slaughter of the Russian speaking population in Donbass.
It is interesting that the second article from Politico reflects a widespread complaint from the war-obsessed US military that without the ability to murder its own people, Ukraine is somehow not as well off. Yet the author, while citing these warmongering US psychopaths, gives not a shred of evidence that Kiev’s newfound potential to kill its own people had helped Ukrainians one iota. The officials claim that the people felt less safe without the US instruments of death — to be used against Ukrainians! — before Trump started to resend lethal aid. But no one makes any attempt to show how such murder weapons actually made them safer. Because the very idea is absurd on its face. Imagine if, say, Germany were to send lethal aid to the US for the purpose of killing Amish families in Pennsylvania – on the pretext that the pacifist Amish refuse to go to war. Would you feel safer?
To review what the hate-filled US-backed Kievan government had done before there was this so-called shortage of “lethal aid,” here is an article titled ”Ukraine: Dozens killed in building fire in Odessa, ministry says”. For those who do not follow these lethal events closely (mostly because US news reports on this sort of thing are scarce), this report details how the Kiev-supporting crowd trapped separatists in a public building and then set fire to it and burned them alive. For me it is inconceivable that the US would want to send lethal aid to the people who act out such unrestrained senseless brutality. And on top of this, these US murder accomplices in Congress have the unmitigated gall to blame all this on Russia. That is the part that goes down hardest.
Ok, but to be fair, we need to do a net search #2 substituting the word US in the above terms with Russia — let’s try Russia sends lethal aid to Ukraine, just to see beyond the prejudices and get to the objective facts of this issue.
When I did this search, almost every title that came up referred to the US sending lethal aid. The search engine was ignoring the word Russia in most cases because Russia had never sent lethal aid to its allies in Ukraine. The only article that came up on Russian aid to Ukraine after 4 search pages, was a report on a humanitarian aid convoy, and, as might be expected, this aid convoy was smeared by the horribly biased Western press as supposedly causing “tension” rather than saving these unfortunate people from starvation! With bold-faced propaganda like this, it is no wonder the American public is confused.
Why in God’s name any thinking person would take the US-dominated media seriously is beyond my comprehension.
I couldn’t find any mention of the following item in US Establishment-dominated news sources. Why do Americans tolerate this kind of censorship? Soviet citizens actually complained, but Americans are becoming the perfect lackeys of government.
SYRIAN MILITARY SEIZED MASSIVE STOCKPILE OF US AND ISRAELI MADE MISSILES
Syrian military seizes massive stockpile of US and Israeli missiles: photos
By News Desk 2020-05-19
Syrian military seizes massive stockpile of US and Israeli missiles: photos
By News Desk -2020-05-190
BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:10 P.M.) – The Syrian military seized a large stockpile of U.S. and Israeli-made missiles in the southern region of Syria.
Photos of the haul show over a dozen heavy machine guns, a cache of rocket propelled grenade launchers, some of them still sealed in their protective wrapping, hundreds of boxes of ammo of various calibers, and at least six US-made TOWs, as well as Israeli-sourced M72 LAW bazookas. Other equipment includes automatic rifles, sniper rifles and hand grenades.
The weapons are said to have been seized during recent operations to comb through liberated areas in the provinces of Daraa and As-Suwayda along Syria’s southern border with Jordan.
A government source speaking to SANA said it’s common for authorities to find US and Israeli-made weapons amid stocks of weapons once used by the terrorists, with the military also discovering dozens of tunnels, underground weapons depots, and large quantities of logistical equipment and command and control headquarters once used to attack Syrian Army strongpoints and civilian areas.
In recent years, amid its successful operations to bring areas once held by rebels and jihadist militants back under Damascus’s control, the Syrian Army has discovered tens of thousands of tonnes-worth of weapons, ranging from small arms and rocket launchers to C4 explosives, custom machine-gun armed trucks and even tanks.
Although some of the arms were stolen from Syrian state armouries during the unrest which broke out in 2011-2012, many others were smuggled into the Arab Republic by the US, European countries, Israel, Turkey and Gulf nations in a bid to topple the Assad government.
The US operation, known as ‘Timber Sycamore’, was overseen by the CIA and then-Vice President Joe Biden, and terminated by the Trump administration in 2017. Israel formally admitted to its role in arming and supporting militant groups in Syria in 2018.
Source: SANA, Sputnik
China’s planned retaliatory steps against US crackdown on Huawei may come as ‘nuke bomb’: media
By News Desk
The state-run Chinese newspaper Global Times has cited unnamed analysts as saying that Beijing’s planned retaliatory steps against Washington’s intention to clamp down on shipments of semiconductors to Huawei may be likened to a “nuke bomb” in terms of effectiveness.
“The forceful countermeasures” will reportedly include a crackdown on a number of large US companies, such as Qualcomm, Cisco, and Apple as well as the American plane maker Boeing.
“China will launch rounds of endless investigations on those firms, just like swords hanging over their head. It will dampen investors’ confidence and squeeze their income in the Chinese market”, an unnamed source told the Global Times, adding that “it will also inflict a chain reaction on various upstream and downstream players in US chip production”.
The source was echoed by He Weiwen, a former senior trade official and an executive council member of the China Society for World Trade Organisation Studies, who told the newspaper that Beijing “should implement these countermeasures to the extent that the US dare not ask for a mile after being given an inch”.
He urged the Chinese government to conduct “thorough investigations into relevant US companies” and “let them feel the pain”.
As far as Boeing is concerned, an unnamed insider was cited by the Global Times as saying that China could “possibly scrap all the current Boeing orders if the US steps on China’s bottom line, even if it means some Chinese firms have to pay for the liquidated damages”.
The remarks followed Beijing calling on Washington Saturday to stop the “unreasonable suppression of Huawei and Chinese enterprises” following the US Department of Commerce’s announcement of new export controls to restrict the tech giant’s access to American semiconductor technology.
ALSO READ China unveils 2nd domestically built amphibious assault ship
China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the government “will firmly uphold Chinese firms’ legitimate and legal rights and interests”, adding that the Trump administration’s actions “destroy global manufacturing, supply, and value chains”.
The statement came amid Washington’s ongoing crackdown on Huawei, which kicked off in May 2019, when the US Department of Commerce prohibited internet providers from using the company’s products and American tech companies from selling technologies to the Chinese tech giant without obtaining a special license first.
The White House claims that the company is collaborating with the Chinese government to allow it to spy on those who use the tech titan’s equipment, allegations that have been rejected by both Beijing and Huawei.
Before we get into the answer I posted at Quora, note that I had presented a translation of a detailed report on the GNA’s ties to terror, here:
http://www.newsilkstrategies.com/military-affairs/us-and-un-recognize-terror-sponsoring-government-of-libya. This is very important because the terrorist-linked GNA (Government of National Accord) is actively seeking US support for its mischief and US politicians are anxious to embroil their country in yet another disastrous intrigue.
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
WILL THE [Libyan] GNA BE ABLE TO CAPTURE SIRTE AND THE REST OF THE TRIPOLITNIA REGION?
Under the spell of the sleazy US msm, many Westerners may think that the GNA is the good guys. But this is one of those issues where you need to be careful what you wish for.
It is a little early to say who is winning. But just recently, the Turkey-backed jihadist groups supporting the GNA took back the al-Watiya arbase that had been in the hands of Khalifa Haftar’s LNA. They also destroyed a Russian-supplied Pantsir anti-air defence system that had successfully shot down Turkish drones.
So one might suppose the GNA is starting to get the upper hand.
But we need to remember that, although the West and even the UN supports the GNA, that government has been overly tolerant of the jihadist militias. The GNA’s strong man Fayez al-Sarraj has been suspiciously tolerant of the gangs that engage in slavery and human smuggling.
As usual, there is US sympathy on the side that imports terrorists. According to the Washington Times, a US senator is already stirring up war sentiment, clearly preparing US minds for another US troop engagement in the MENA (Middle East North Africa) region, this time on the side opposite Russia. How much closer do these psychopaths want to bring the world to WW II?
Here is what the Times wrote:
Sen. Christopher Murphy, Connecticut Democrat, has asked whether Mr. Haftar should face U.S. sanctions for working with the Russian mercenary forces.
[See how the US Establishment pretends that all Russian involvement in the Middle East is evil while US involvement always brings peace? Yet, we know that if it had not been for the entry of the Russians in the Syrian conflict in September 2015, ISIS would now own Syria! This senator is kicking off a propaganda campaign aimed at ultimately pulling US troops into Libya, predictably with the same kind of disastrous consequences we saw in Iraq and Syria. The warmongers never sleep]
Mr. Murphy wrote a letter to Mr. Pompeo ahead of the Senate hearing to ask whether ties between Mr. Haftar’s forces and Kremlin-linked Wagner Group mercenaries could trigger mandatory sanctions on Mr. Hafter under the 2017 Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. [Haftar is fighting terrorists, while the GNA – which a US senator supports -- is supporting them. Same scenario as in Iraq and Syria.Will the US public fall for another round of "WMDs in Iraq" narrative leading to full-scale war?]
“Russia’s significant financial and military support for one faction in the Libyan civil war is guaranteed to further destabilize the country, trigger further armed support from Turkey to the other side of the conflict, harm large numbers of civilians and fuel the migrant crisis,” Mr. Murphy said in a recent letter to Mr. Pompeo [So according to this sleazy senator, it will be Russia’s fault if Turkey stays involved by sending ISIS and al-Qaeda to Libya. How do they say these things with a straight face? And without someone slapping them!]
Not much is written in the West about the ties of the the Libyan government, to terror and crime but I consulted the Russian press and managed to come up with an enlightening report. My translation appears below with my clarifying notes [in brackets].
Libyan PNS leadership calls Idlib terrorists "life jacket"
Representatives of the so-called Government of National Accord (PNC) of Libya admitted to cooperation with terrorists from Syria. Ahmad Maityg, a member of the PNS presidential council, said that the decision to attract Syrian militants was made because of the difficult situation in which the "government" sitting in Tripoli found itself.
The head of the Libyan PNS, Fayez Sarraj, realizing that the Libyan National Army (LNA), headed by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, defeats the gangs of terrorists fighting on the side of the PNS, turned to foreign states for help. According to Maytig, the leadership of the Liberal Democratic Party sent a corresponding request to the United States, but Washington refused, deciding not to help the criminal "government" of Sarraj. [The descriptor “criminal” is from the Russian author of this translated report, but it is appropriate. It is not likely that US officials called Sarraj’s government criminal, but they certainly are aware of its criminal activities.]
Meanwhile, Turkey, contrary to promises made at a conference in Berlin, is actively supporting militants of the Libyan Socialist Party. Ankara is engaged in the recruitment of Al Qaeda and Islamic State militants (both terrorist groups are prohibited on the territory of the Russian Federation), after which they are transferred by plane and ships to Libya.
The leadership of the Liberal Democratic Party, realizing that the United States is not going to help them, was in a practically hopeless situation, Maytig said. Therefore, the Syrian terrorists recruited by the Turks became the last reliable chance for the Sarraj regime to retain power. Moreover, according to a member of the PNS presidential council, the “government” in Tripoli does not attach much importance to where the aid comes from. [If the Sarraj government were a carrier of civilized values, you can be sure it would not be importing ISIS and al-Qaeda terrorists]
“When you are drowning and someone hands you a life jacket, what will you do: look at the person who holds it to you or take it,” Maytig explained in an interview with The Washington Post.
[A Washington Times report on the WaPo story is here:
Despite all the attempts by the Libyan GNA to get support from the United States, offering them substantial dividends from the sale of the Libyan GNA gang, which attracts terrorists to its side, writes FAN. [It is to Trump’s credit that he refuses to help these thugs, but it is hard to say how long he will resist the temptation to help them. Remember his flip-flop on Syria]
Further, the regime of Sarraj was not helped by a large-scale information campaign to spread the fake story about the presence of the Russian Wagner mercenaries in Libya, which was cited by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to justify the Turkish intervention in Libya.
May 20, 2020
CALIPHATE IN MINIATURE: RIFT BETWEEN TURKEY AND AL-QAEDA IN IDLIB
In the second half of April and early May, the Syrian province of Idlib became the epicenter of a military political drama developing between Turkish forces and their al-Qaeda-linked allies.
The escalated tensions even led to a military incident on the M4 highway, near the town of Nayrab, when the Turkish Army and militant groups directly controlled by Ankara clashed with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and its supporters. At least 11 members and supporters of the al-Qaeda-linked group were killed by live fire from Turkish troops and strikes by Turkish unmanned combat aerial vehicles.
This incident happened during a failed attempt to remove the camp of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham supporters, which had been established to block the highway and prevent the movement of joint Russian-Turkish patrols in the area. The creation of a security zone along the M4 highway, the withdrawal of radical militant groups from the zone and joint patrols in the area were among the key provisions of the Idlib ceasefire deal reached by the Turkish and Russian presidents in Moscow on March 5. Since the start of the implementation of the deal, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Turkistan Islamic Party and other radical groups have been working to sabotage them. Seven joint Russian-Turkish patrols took place in a small area between Saraqib and Nayrab, as the situation in southeastern Idlib was moving closer to conditions in which the resumption of full-scale open military hostilities there would become inevitable. The number of ceasefire violations increased and both the Syrian Army and Idlib radicals were blaming each other for the apparent collapse of the de-escalation deal.
However, by May 5, the situation had changed. The protest camp near Nayrab disappeared. The Russian Military Police and the Turkish Army held their first extended joint patrol along the M4 highway passing the location of the former camp. On May 7, the sides held their second extended patrol, which became the longest one since the signing of the ceasefire deal in March. For the first time, the Russian Military Police reached the eastern entrance to the town of Ariha. These extended patrols became an important breakthrough in Turkish-Russian cooperation over the situation in southeastern Idlib despite the fact that the security zone agreement was still far from its full implementation.
The interesting fact is that this step forward was not due to Ankara’s anti-terrorist efforts in Greater Idlib, but came as a result of a deal reached by Turkey and the leadership of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. The terrorist group de-blocked the M4 near Nayrab. In turn, Turkey reportedly agreed not to oppose Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s decision to open a commercial crossing between the militant-held part of Idlib in western Aleppo near Maaret Elnaasan. Earlier, Ankara and militant groups directly controlled by it had sabotaged this initiative. Turkey seeks to control all economic and social life in northwestern Syria. Meanwhile, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham sees the commercial activity between Greater Idlib and the rest of Syria as an important source of income through various fees and trafficking of goods.
Neither Turkey nor Hayat Tahrir al-Sham are interested in military operations by Syria, Russia and Iran in Idlib. Therefore, in face of the threat of the new Syrian Army advance and the resumption of the Russian air bombing campaign, they reached a tactical agreement to prevent this scenario. However, this did not annihilate their mid- and long-term contradictions.
Hayat Tahrir al-Sham enjoys the direct protection of the Turkish Armed Forces and indirectly receives financial support from Ankara. But the group is too large and too influential to be an ordinary Turkish puppet. In fact, the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham leadership and its close allies are working to turn Greater Idlib into their own ISIS-style emirate. While publicly they make loud statements about the goals of the so-called Syrian revolution and the need to ‘liberate’ Damascus from the ‘bloody Assad regime’, in fact, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham has long since abandoned any plans of major expansion through direct attacks on the Syrian Army. They have been tightening their military, security and political grip over the militant-held part of Greater Idlib. If the situation develops in this direction, Idlib will have every chance of becoming a foothold for international terrorist groups operating all around the world, primarily in Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East. A network of training camps, weapon trafficking and financial flows for terrorist organizations recruiting new members and planning terrorist operations will all contribute to the growing influence and wealth of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Some global and regional players would be happy to use this opportunity to pursue their own geopolitical goals.
Turkey, which controls the border and is a key regional player keeping ties with Idlib militant groups, may become one of the main beneficiaries of this scenario and the Erdogan government could have agreed on this if the world were the same as it was back in 2011. However it is not.
The weakening of US influence in the Middle East, the shrinking global economy, the fragmentation of global markets and the collapse of the remote chance of Turkey joining the European Union as well as Turkey’s own diplomatic and political pretensions towards regional leadership turned Moscow into its key economic, diplomatic and security partner. Therefore, Ankara is forced to consult the interests of Moscow in its policy because without the military technological, diplomatic and economic cooperation with Russia Turkey has no chances to turn its own geopolitical ambitions into reality.
The current agreement between Turkey and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is rather a result of the tactical convergence of interests rather than a solid alliance. Even if they are able to prevent the resumption of the Syrian Army advance on Idlib, the tensions between Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and Turkey will increase because they have different strategic interests. It is likely that within the next half year, Ankara will increase pressure on Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) and their allies in order to undermine their influence and bring most of the political, administrative and military influence in the Greater Idlib region to ethnic Turks and representatives of groups directly controlled by Ankara.
All of this would be done under the pretext of restoring peace and stability as well as securing democratic elections to form the ‘legitimate’ local authorities. In the event of success, Turkey will consolidate control over northwestern Syria and form a controlled group of persons that will represent the militant-held area in negotiations with the Damascus government. This group must have no links to radicals. The goals of these possible negotiations are to reach a peace agreement and guarantee a wide autonomy for the militant-held part of northwestern Syria in the framework of the comprehensive agreement between Ankara and Damascus. The characteristics of this autonomy will depend on the military political situation in the country at that moment. However there is no doubt that control of the Syrian-Turkish border will be among the key points of contradictions.
On the other hand, Ankara and Damascus may reach no comprehensive agreement because of the complicated military political situation in Syria. This could happen if the security situation deteriorates in the government-controlled part of Syria and Damascus starts losing control over particular regions; for example, due to the increasing activity of ISIS. In these conditions, Ankara will return to the idea of a direct annexation of the northwestern part of Syria. It will justify this move by the need to protect civilians and claiming that Damascus is not able to effectively battle the international terrorism.
Is China the main cause of most of the US woes and problems?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
The US — not China—is by far the biggest bully and trouble maker in the world. It has already killed millions of people in N Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Libya, for example (under pretexts so contrived and flimsy few recall what they were), and has been behind numerous regime changes throughout the world. In fact, the US-led West was responsible for the creation of ISIS, as detailed here: 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
The US unilaterally pulled out of the Iran deal, leading to dangerous tensions in the Gulf region and possibly to a major war in the near future. It refuses to re-negotiate the INF treaty on short and middle range missiles with Russia, leading to the start of a new arms race, and is likely not to renew the START treaty, which was designed to head off a nuclear war.
China has never done anything like this. Its BRI is an initiative designed to bring peace by lifting Third World countries out of poverty and easing the price of internationally traded goods and services and also promoting understanding by linking diverse countries with new roads, railroads and shipping routes. The US is completely opposed to the BRI, claiming falsely that the project “threatens stability,” when in fact, the most stability-threatening country by far has long been the US.
But there may be light at the end of the tunnel because the US economy is now seriously threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ironically, if the US dollar and US economy crash, there will only be one country left in the world to save it, and that country is China.
George Tait Edwards
Thank you Vince Dhimos for writing this and to Patrick Koh for sharing this. This is probably the best, shortest and most well written summary of the major comparison between the productive and progressive policies of mercantile China and the military bully of the USA. The risks of of an atomic world war have now increased due to all the listed events. Particularly because of the POTUS Trump’s refusal to continue the INF Treaty which has prevented nuclear proliferation for decades. The Iran deal was a good one, negotiated mainly by the EU, and the Persian Gulf has become a flashpoint for a potential nuclear war. America will become much weaker due to POTUS Trump’s inept COVID-19 response, and the USN is now a Navy crippled by COVID-19. The 800 US bases throughout the world and the visits by a diseased USN to ports are now all in question due to US economic weakness, the lack of funding to support an overblown US military and the lack of federal funding to support COVID-19-devastated SMEs and industries.
The following is our translation from Arabic of an article from almaalomah.com, the flagship publication of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, with a foreword and notes [in brackets] by Vince Dhimos.
Yes, it is true that the entire Washington insane asylum tells us that this group is affiliated with Iran and therefore evil, but this military group is in fact recognized and sponsored by the Iraqi government and the majority of its membership is not Iranian. In fact, anyone paying attention to events in Iraq shortly after the murder of Iranian General Soleimani will remember that not only did this senseless killing prompt a multi-million strong march in Tehran but also a massive demonstration in Iraq shortly thereafter, which should be sufficient evidence that the Iraqis are not buying into US propaganda desperately trying to convince the public that Iraq wants to get rid of Iranian influence. Think about it: on the one hand you have the US, which killed a quarter-million mostly Iraqi civilians and impoverished the once prosperous nation with sanctions. What's the definition of "enemy"? Then on the other hand you have the Iranian militias who helped fight off the US attack and the terrorists that worked with the US troops. Which do you want to stay and which to leave? In fact, the fact that the Iraqi Council of Representatives voted the week of the murder to oust US troops, and not Iranian troops, was strong evidence that the US is the fly in the ointment there and is certainly not welcomed with open arms after it murdered not only Soleimani but also a respected Iraqi military official.
There have been numerous reports of the US military importing ISIS fighters to various places for example in Syria, and it is known that the US-led West was in fact behind the terrorism that struck Syria, as we had reported here.
The only part of the interview contained in this report that I would quibble with is the explanation that the US’s motive is revenge. Certainly, revenge would be a significant part of the reason for importing the ISIS thugs, but it had occurred to me, following the Council vote to oust the US military, that now the US would encourage ISIS fighters to cause trouble as a pretext for continued US presence in Iraq. Thus, this report seems completely logical to me and fits the Washington MO to a t. After all, the excuse for US troops to be in Iraq in the first place was as a counter-force to ISIS. Meanwhile, Al-Masdar is reporting that there are ISIS sleeper cells in both Syria and Iraq that are now taking advantage of the pandemic to attack government troops – but almost never US troops.
Popular Mobilization Forces: ISIS's recent attacks are a message from the US
Almaalomah / Baghdad ...
On Wednesday, the offcial in charge of relations at the North Axis for the Popular Mobilization Forces, Ali al-Husseini, said that the recent terrorist attacks in the country are an American message, pointing out that the United States wants "revenge" from Iraq as a result of its decision to remove foreign forces.
Al-Husseini told Al-Maalomah that all the military bases from which the American forces withdrew were attacked by terrorists, including Kirkuk,” pointing out that "what is happening is preceded by obvious pre-planning by the Washington administration to stir up the situation and create instability through its criminal tools represented by ISIS."
He added, "The recent terrorist attacks that struck several areas of the country are an American message and the result will come from either the American forces or the ISIS terrorist gangs," stressing that "the activity of sleeper cells was stepped up after they got instructions from the American administration."
Al-Husseini pointed out that "the PMF and the rest of the other security forces recently found, in operations to track ISIS, modern weapons and ammunition in the organization's affiliates," pointing out that "this is further evidence that America wants revenge on Iraq following the decision of the Council of Representatives to remove the US from the country, and it is attempting, through its support for the terrorist organization, to shed the blood of innocent people."
Vince Dhimos answered one of the most lame-brained questions ever asked at Quora.
SHOULD THE US UNLEASH THE PRIVATEERS TO FIGHT CHINA’S AGGRESSION AT SEA?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
I see you got this idea from the US Naval Institute, a think tank that advises US naval authorities on strategy. It writes at its web page:
"Unleash the Privateers!
“The threat of privateers to China’s maritime economy could strengthen deterrence and possibly prevent a war.
NEW YORK TIMES”
“Privateering [high seas piracy], authorized by letters of marque, could offer a low-cost tool to enhance deterrence in peacetime and gain advantage in wartime. It would attack an asymmetric vulnerability of China, which has a much larger merchant fleet than the United States. Indeed, an attack on Chinese global trade would undermine China’s entire economy and threaten the regime’s stability. Finally, despite pervasive myths to the contrary, U.S. privateering is not prohibited by U.S. or international law.”
Low cost tool? Enhance deterrence? Prevent a war? Not prohibited by US or international law? The practice of privateering was abolished in Europe in 1856 by the Declaration of Paris, signed by all major European powers, stating that "Privateering is and remains abolished." How could an institute calling itself the US Naval Institute even think of putting forth such a stupid suicidal and patently illegal idea? And how could the “venerable” NYT imagine in its wildest dreams that US-backed piracy could prevent a war and not start one? Yes, this institute is private but it is a think tank feeding the US Navy with strategic ideas. No doubt about it, this institute is dangerous, made up of dreamers totally detached from reality and indoctrinated by their government with racist hatred of all things Chinese. So the US is trading with China under international law but the idiots who run this institute think it is perfectly fine for pirates (that’s what privateers are, you know) to go rob Chinese vessels and steal their merchandise with the tacit acquiescence of the US government! And nothing bad would happen, right? Remember that most of the merchandise the institute proposes to steal from Chinese merchant ships would be already paid for by US companies and individuals. Great idea, right? Holding up the Chinese to steal US-owned merchandise! Psst. Close this institute now!
The thing is, in the distant past, privateers were authorized by their government under “letters of marque,” which were literally licenses to steal! And this means that the issuing government was responsible for all damage and loss to the country whose ships were raided. The lame-brains at the US Naval Institute apparently think that “privatising” acts of war would keep the US government free of responsibility. Not on your life.
Look, once the Chinese figured out that the US government was tacitly behind this high seas piracy, they would not treat it as an attack by private individuals. They would treat it as an attack by the US armed forces and would deem it an act of war. And China is becoming more and more ready and able to retaliate. Not only that, no international court or agency would side with the US in a case like this.
This whole swashbuckling attitude toward countries not receiving US approval can have their property stolen is supported by Trump’s policy to steal Syrian oil. By engaging in practices that are obviously illegal under international law and practice, the US is inching closer and closer to the loss of its power. Eventually, if it continues acting like the cock of the rock around the globe, it will have no allies left to rush to its aid when it inflicts genocide upon itself.
So ask yourself: Do I REALLY want to start WW III with a nuclear power?
Finally, note that this insane idea underpins China’s growing suspicion that the US is behind the spread of COVID-19 in Wuhan. Most Westerners reject this notion, assuming that the idea of deliberately jeopardizing the health of an entire population and ultimately the entire world would be unacceptable even to the warlike US. But the fact that a supposedly respected US think tank would even think of authorizing outright piracy against a nation with which the US is not at war shows that the intellectual resources of the US Establishment are on life support. The complicity of the supposedly left-wing New York Times in the rabid Sinophobic racism displayed by the US Naval Institute also shows that the trade war and China bashing policies of Donald Trump are not a product of strictly right-wing extremism but that extremism is the new normal in the Exceptional Nation. (Remember that Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer said Trump "hit the nail on the head" with his trade war policy!).
In view of this complicity of both sides of the aisle in this destructive strategy, the entire planet is at risk of chaos and war. There is no way this sick system could be reformed from within. Any meaningful change must come from the outside.
I received the following comment at an answer I wrote at Quora:
The theory [that the US military is behind the introduction of COVID-19 in China] is also supported by the facts that:
1, The US Department of Health and Human Services had the amazing foresight to gave Texas based Greffex to develop a Coronavirus vaccine back in September 2019:
Texas company says it has coronavirus vaccine
“The vaccine was developed as the result of an $18.9 million contract that the National Institute of Health’s National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases gave to Greffex in September 2019 in an effort to fight infectious diseases, the Business Journal reported.”
2, The unusually poor performance of the US team due to mass illness of its athletes at the October 2019 Wuhan game:
“Five of the US troops developed a fever on Oct. 25 and were taken to an infectious-diseases hospital for treatment.”
3, The (US) National Center for Medical Intelligence warned of a Coronavirus crisis in Wuhan back in late November 2019:
Intelligence report warned of coronavirus crisis as early as November: Sources
Which is at least One Full Month before Chinese whistle-blower doctor Li Wenliang initially posted his chat room warning on December 30th, 2019. According to NY Times, at that point the new coronavirus had not yet been identified by Chinese doctors:
Chinese Doctor, Silenced After Warning of Outbreak, Dies From Coronavirus
Somehow US Intelligence already knew about the crisis BEFORE the very first patient with symptom even checked into any hospital in Wuhan! And these are all information from major US media sources.
Turkish-backed Libyan forces capture 2 cities west of Tripoli
By News Desk
BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:45 P.M.) – The Turkish-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) have captured two cities west of Tripoli, today, after launching a powerful offensive in northwestern Libya this morning.
According to the latest reports from this front, the GNA forces, backed by Syrian mercenaries, captured the two cities of Surman and Sabratha after an intense battle with the Libyan National Army (LNA)>
“Our valiant forces have taken control of the cities of Sabratha and Surman,” Colonel Tayyar Muhammad Qanunu, a spokesman for the GNA forces said in a statement released by the media center for the Operation Volcano Anger.
“Our heroic forces took control of a number of Emirati armored vehicles, Grad missile vehicles, 10 tanks and armed vehicles,” he added.
This latest advance by the GNA forces comes after weeks of losing ground to the Libyan National Army around the capital city, Tripoli.
The Washington-controlled OPCW waited a goooood long time to allow the phony report mentined below to surface. Why? Because after the last report of a “chemical weapons attack” in Syrian Douma, the US lost no time in bombing (before an investigation could be done) and shortly thereafter Hassan Diab, a Syrian pre-teen, testified at the OPCW HQ in The Hague that he had been recruited by the White Helmets (a terrroist-linked “rescue” organization widely trusted in the gullible West), to take part in a staged “treatment” in a local hospital administered by White Helmets, to the surprise of real medical staff, who looked on bewildered. Other witnesses also testified, including hospital staff, and a former OPCW member even testified that the “chemical weapons” attack was phony. But let’s get down to earth: Why is there a Wastern agency obsessed with chemical weapons, when the US and its coalition drop bombs and fire volleys of missiles that destroy whole city blocks and kill thusands of uarmed civilians, much more devastation than chemical weapons attacks? It is just an excuse to attack leaders undesired by Washington, like the legitimately elected president of Syria. Thats all!
OPCW accuses Syrian military of using chemical weapons in Hama
By News Desk
BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:40 P.M.) – The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) released a new report on Wednesday that accused the Syrian military of using chemical weapons inside the Hama Governorate in 2017.
“The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) released today the findings of the first report by the OPCW Investigation and Identification Team (IIT). The IIT is responsible for identifying the perpetrators of the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic where the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) has determined that chemical weapons have been used or likely used in Syria,” they reported.
According to the report, the Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) allegedly used the chemical weapons in the town of Al-Latamnah, which is located just south of the administrative border of the Idlib Governorate. The town was a long-time stronghold of the Free Syrian Army’s (FSA) Jaysh Al-Izza faction.
The report reached the following conclusions:
“At approximately 6:00 on 24 March 2017, an Su-22 military airplane belonging to the 50th Brigade of the 22nd Air Division of the Syrian Arab Air Force, departing from Shayrat airbase, dropped an M4000 aerial bomb containing sarin in southern Ltamenah, affecting at least 16 persons.
At approximately 15:00 on 25 March 2017, a helicopter of the Syrian Arab Air Force, departing from Hama airbase, dropped a cylinder on the Ltamenah hospital; the cylinder broke into the hospital through its roof, ruptured, and released chlorine, affecting at least 30 persons.
At approximately 6:00 on 30 March 2017, an Su-22 military airplane belonging to the 50th Brigade of the 22nd Air Division of the Syrian Arab Air Force, departing from Shayrat airbase, dropped an M4000 aerial bomb containing sarin in southern Ltamenah, affecting at least 60 persons.”
The report itself concluded that “there are reasonable grounds to believe that the perpetrators of the use of sarin as a chemical weapon in Ltamenah on 24 and 30 March 2017, and the use of chlorine as a chemical weapon on 25 March 2017 were individuals belonging to the Syrian Arab Air Force. …”
“Attacks of such a strategic nature would have only taken place on the basis of orders from the higher authorities of the Syrian Arab Republic military command. Even if authority can be delegated, responsibility cannot. … In the end, the IIT was unable to identify any other plausible explanation,” they added. [oh, no, of course not, because the SDF terrorists would never stage another hoax chemical attack like they did in Douma. So it had to be the evil Syrians.]
There are lots of little red flags in news like the below report and there is a need for analysis because most Westerners haven’t any idea who is who in Libya. Ok, there are Syrians in Libya and they are fighting Khalifa Haftar’s forces. These Syrians are not the group fighting terrorists in Syria. For the most part, they are the terrorists who have been defeated in various areas by the Syrian Arab Army and the Russians. In the most general terms, Khalifa Haftar is trying to fight the terrorists that are tolerated – even encouraged to some extent – by the US-recognized and UN-recognized Government of National Accord (حكومة الوفاق الوطني hukúmat alwifáqi alwataníi). This is why Russia supports the Haftar army (الجيش الوطني الليبي aljáysh alwataníu alliýbiu). These names can be confusing because they both purport to be “national,” but the national government is not fighting the terrorists, just trying to get along with them and even using them to consolidate its power. US msm will not tell you this – which is why I provided my translation of this comprehensive explanation of the situation in Libya.
Disastrous Syrian-led offensive ends in heavy losses around Tripoli
By News Desk
BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:30 A.M.) – The Libyan National Army, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Hafter, announced on Friday that it had repulsed an attack by “Syrian mercenaries” in the ‘Ain Zara area near the capital city of Tripoli.
A member of the information office, Aqeela Al-Saber, stated that the Libyan National Army’s “Ajdabiya Operations Force repulsed an attack by the Syrian mercenaries in Ain Zara.”
In his statement, Al-Saber said: “The militia supported by Turkey and the Syrian mercenaries tried this morning to attack our advanced positions in order to recover what was lost in the past two days.”
He stressed that “the attacking force today was entirely from the Syrians,” noting that the operation ended with their suffering “significant losses in their ranks and control of other new sites that were theirs.”
He added: “There is neither a martyr nor a prisoner in Safouna. There were only 3 wounded, and they are in very good condition. Now they are with their comrades inside the axis as well, and we have not lost a single inch.”
The Syrian mercenaries were first deployed to Libya in late December 2019; however, since their arrival, they have been unable to turn the tide of the war in favor of the Turkish-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).
Furthermore, there have been reports of discontent among the Syrian mercenaries, who have accused Turkey of not fulfilling their salary and cigarette promises.
Some reports have even indicated that dozens of Syrian mercenaries have abandoned Libya in favor of traveling to Italy for asylum.
US sanctions paralyzed Iran’s efforts to combat coronavirus outbreak: Tehran Mayor
By News Desk -2020-04-04
BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:00 P.M.) – Tehran’s Mayor Pirouz Hanachi said that the U.S. sanctions against Iran have hindered efforts to combat the coronavirus outbreak that has ravaged the country.
In an article published in the British Guardian newspaper, the Mayor of Tehran pointed out that “the lives of many Iranians are lost every day because of the lack of medicines and medical supplies.”
He said that “the time is not right to take revenge policies,” considering that the economic sanctions imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump on Iran paralyzed our efforts in confronting the coronavirus
This comes at the same time Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that the country will continue to implement the social separation plan by turning it into a “smart separation” plan.
He added during a meeting with the National Committee to Combat Coronavirus, “The Ministry of Health will announce today the details of the smart spacing plan … Our priority is the health and safety of society, and the fate of small businesses and the poor class and the future of our children is important to us.”
Today, the Iranian Ministry of Health announced the registration of 2,560 new infections and 158 deaths from the coronavirus in the country, bringing the total number of infections to 55,743 and the number of deaths to 3,452.
Russian military deploys to Qamishli city after Syrian security forces open fire on Kurdish police
By News Desk -2020-04-04
BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:45 P.M.) – A group of [Syrian] National Defense Forces (NDF) personnel opened fire on some officers from the Kurdish-led Asayish forces in the Al-Qamishli Distrit of Al-Hasakah on Saturday. [According to crwflags.com, “The National Defense Force (NDF; Arabic: قوات الدفاع الوطني Quwat ad-Difāe al-Watanī) is branch of Syrian Armed Forces, formed after summer 2012 as a part-time volunteer reserve component of the Syrian military, organized by the Syrian government during the Syrian Civil War.”]
According to preliminary reports, the NDF personnel fired a few shots towards an Asayish vehicle, causing material damage to the car. [Asayish is Kurdish for security. Kurdish is an Iranian language].
The reason for the attack is unknown; however, some reports from the area have said that the Russian military police have intervened to ease tensions between the NDF and Asayish.
No other attacks have been reported at this moment.
In the past, the Asayish and NDF have traded attacks in both Qamishli and Hasakah; this has often led to intervention by the YPG and SAA forces in order to prevent hostilities from escalating.
Russian ventilators given to US were manufactured by sanctioned company: media
By News Desk
BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:10 P.M.) – The ventilators given to the U.S. by the Russian government this week were manufactured by a Russian company that is currently sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury, Daily Beast columnist Julia Davis tweeted on Friday.
“The ventilators provided by Russia, as it happens, were manufactured by a subsidiary of a company that is currently under U.S. sanctions,” the tweet began.
“Concern Radio-Electronic Technologies is a holding company with the Russian state-owned Rostec group,” she added.
Earlier this week, a Russian military plane carrying medical aid for the U.S. arrived at New York City’s JFK airport, as the country continues its fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Russia also sent medical personnel and equipment to Italy last week.
Turkish military strikes Syrian Army troops again in Al-Raqqa
By News Desk
BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:20 P.M.) – For the second time on Saturday, the Turkish military has attacked the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) positions in the northern countryside of the Al-Raqqa Governorate.
According to the latest report from Al-Raqqa, the Turkish military, alongside their allied militant forces, launched several artillery shells towards the Syrian Arab Army’s positions in the ‘Ayn ‘Issa countryside.
No information has been provided about the casualties; however, the earlier attack, resulted in at least two soldiers killed.
Meanwhile, near the town of Tal Abyad, the Turkish military also struck the Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) posts south of the border.
A source from the SAA said that neither the Syrian Democratic Forces or Syrian Arab Army has provoked the Turkish military and their proxies.
The Turkish military has become increasingly aggressive in the Al-Raqqa countryside recently, launching several attacks against both the SAA and SDF troops.
Venezuela mobilizes forces for potential confrontation with US: report
By News Desk -2020-04-05
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro tweeted on Saturday that he had “ordered the mobilisation of artillery [pieces]” in the country’s strategic areas in order to protect the security of ordinary Venezuelans.
“I denounce the existence of groups financed from Colombia and the US, which seek to undermine the stability of [our] homeland with violent actions”, he wrote on his Twitter page.
The remarks came after he said during a ministerial meeting in Caracas earlier on Saturday that these groups believe that “they can take advantage of the [coronavirus] pandemic and the quarantine to carry out terrorist actions and a coup”.
He added that he had announced the mobilisation of “the artillery pieces” within the framework of the ongoing 2020 Bolivarian Shield drills, which kicked off in mid-February, “to be prepared for the fight for peace”.
Trump Announces Anti-Narcotics Operation in the Caribbean
Maduro’s statement comes a few days after President Donald Trump announced that the US military would deploy naval vessels and aircraft to the Caribbean as part of an enhanced counter-narcotics operation.
“We must not let the drug cartels exploit the [COVID-19] pandemic to threaten American lives. In cooperation with the 22 partner nations US Southern Command will increase surveillance, disruption and seizures of drug shipments and provide additional support for eradication efforts which are going on right now at record pace”, Trump said.
He was echoed by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley, who told reporters earlier this week that the US military had managed to obtain intelligence suggesting that “the drug cartels as a result of COIVD-19 were going to try to take advantage of the situation and try to infiltrate additional drugs into our country”.
“We’re at war with COVID-19, we’re at war with terrorists, and we’re at war with drug cartels as well”, he pointed out.
Maduro Pledges to Unleash ‘Bolivarian Fury’ on US
Milley spoke after Maduro asked in a letter on Tuesday for “invaluable support” from the leaders of governments around the world, referring to “this unthinkable and arbitrary persecution [by the US]”, which accuses the Venezuelan president of being involved in drug trafficking – something that has been rejected by him as “false”.
He also condemned the US for continuing to pressure the Venezuelan economy with sanctions, preventing Caracas from obtaining medicine and medical equipment amid the coronavirus outbreak, which has already claimed the lives of at least three people in the Latin American country.
The statement followed Maduro warning in an address last week that the authorities of Colombia and the US will face consequences if they crack down on his country’s political elite.
“If one day the imperialists and Colombian oligarchy dare to touch even a single hair [of those from the elite], they will face the Bolivarian fury of an entire nation that will wipe them all out”, Maduro said.
US Accuses Maduro of ‘Narco-Terrorism’
The Venezuelan president’s remarks were preceded by US Attorney General William Barr announcing that the Department of Justice (DOJ) had brought “narco-terrorism” charges against Maduro and five senior officials in his government, including Venezuela’s defence minister and the supreme court’s chief justice. The DOJ also offered a series of rewards for information on the officials, including $15 million for Maduro himself.
The developments come amid ongoing tensions between the US and Venezuela, which were further exacerbated after Washington recognised opposition leader Juan Guaido as the Latin American country’s president in spite of a vote in 2018 that saw Maduro re-elected to a new term.
While a number of Western states also supported Guaido, Maduro slammed the self-styled president as a “US puppet”. Russia, China, Turkey, and a number of other countries supported Maduro as Venezuela’s only legitimate president.
Libyan Army kills scores of GNA, Syrian fighters near Tripoli
By News Desk
BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:40 P.M.) – The Libyan National Army forces, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, announced on Sunday that their forces had 41 members of the Al-Wefaq forces and their allied Syrian militants at the Wadi Al-Rabi’a and Al-Mashroa fronts south of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, during an attempted counter-offensive by the aforementioned fighters.
The Military Information Division of the Libyan National Army said in a press statement that “A total of 41 people killed from the militia and mercenary crowd groups after an attempt to advance to the armed forces observatories at the Wadi al-Rabi’a axis and part of the project axis.”
In the following is our translation of an article from riafan.ru with commentary and notes [in brackets] by Vince Dhimos.
I found this in a Russian-language web search. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, I was unable to find anything like this in an English-language search. About the closest you can come to the truth in Western media is articles like one in Foreign Affairs declaring that the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) is “failing in its basic functions and confronts an existential challenge from an eastern faction led by General Khalifa Hifter...” This is irresponsible reporting because it only suggests that the GNA is unable to defeat ISIS and is opposed by Gen. Haftar. The Western reader therefore assumes that the GNA is trying to fight terrorists but failing and gthat Haftar is an opponent on a par with ISIS, when just the opposite is true. The GNA has actually cooperated with the terrorists while Haftar’s forces are the only ones fighting terror. Added to this are the foreign Salafist militants, many from Syria, sponsored by Turkey.
Meanwhile, the Europeans and Americans, who wholeheartedly supported the Arab Spring with its extremist Islamists and also the anti-Assad “rebels,” also extremists but never described that way in the West in the first few years of the conflict and only rarely later on, are still not sure whose side they are on. If it were not for the Russians, they would still be playing the same pretend “War on Terror” game.
The tiger has not changes its stripes.
How ISIS militants found themselves in the service of the Libyan GNA and became "defenders of Tripoli"
FBA Economics Today
Cooperation between the illegitimate Government of National Accord (GNA) and terrorists of the Islamic State group (ISIL1; banned in the Russian Federation) threatens to turn Libya into the epicentre of terrorist activity. The Russian Federal News Agency FAN) has figured out how ISIS jihadists colluded with Libyan GNA and became one of the most dangerous forces in North Africa.
Turkey sends help
While the Libyan National Army (LNA) is conducting an anti-terrorist operation, "Al-Karama," against gangs in Tripoli, militants from various regions of the Middle East and Africa are flocking to the GNA. Ankara intends to transfer controlled gangs to Libya to help GNA terrorists against LNA forces.
Sources of the Middle East Eye reported that more than 7,000 militants are preparing for transfer to Libya. These include the Failak al-Sham group, which had previously sent military instructors to Tripoli, and the Liva Sultan Murad, a group of Syrian Turkomaniacs. The Suqour al-Sham terrorists have already accepted Ankara’s plan and have begun to move to North Africa.
Some pro-Turkish units arrived in Libya three days ago – they are being trained in a closed camp in Tripoli under the command of Turkish officers. Each of them received $300 in Syria, and in Libya they were promised up to $2,000 per month.
At the same time, a more formidable force has been fighting for a long time on the side of the Libyan GNA, which can turn the entire region into a hotbed of terrorism. This is the Islamic State [ISIS].
Jihad vs Haftar
When Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar announced the start of the Tripoli liberation operation in April 2019, the LNA became the main target for the ISIS militants. The leaders of ISIS called on all the militants in Syria, Iraq and North Africa to wage jihad against Haftar.
Terrorist attacks on LNA fighters followed one after another: a terrorist attack in Sebha, which was claimed by ISIS and related groups, an attack on the city of Gudva, an attack on the Zallya oil field, where the Zueitina Oil Company works, and battles in Al-Jufra district, attack in Derna, attacks in Samna and Tams, during which 30 LNA fighters were killed.
The leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in a video message urged the militants to focus on Libya. He emphasized that ISIS operations in North Africa were "extremely effective." [It is chilling to see the UN desperately urging Haftar to enter into a ceasefire under these dire circumstances]
In response, ISIS terrorists in Libya re-took the oath of al-Baghdadi. The militants vowed to create a "caliphate" in North Africa and preserve the "Islamic state" after the defeat in Syria and Iraq.
ISIS in cooperation with GNA
The fact that ISIS terrorists are collaborating with the illegitimate government in Tripoli was first announced by LNA spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed al-Mismari. He accused the GNA and Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj of making a deal with terrorists. According to the official representative of the LNA, immediately after the start of the counter-terrorist operation, ISIS terrorists took the side of the gangs in Tripoli.
“There is a coalition between the Government of National Accord and the terrorists,” Al-Mismari announced on Al Arabiya.
Sarraj ceased to be a politician after supporting extremist groups. He will be out of politics and reap the consequences of his blind support for terrorist groups. ”
ISIS returns to Sirte
The main stronghold of ISIS in Libya was the coastal city of Sirte - the birthplace and site of execution of the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. ISIS terrorists captured the city in 2015 and declared it part of their pseudo-caliphate. Subsequently, Sirte became a terrorist base for attacks on other regions of Libya.
The Libyan National Army drove ISIS out of Sirte in December 2016 after a seven-month siege. But thanks to the actions of GNA, ISIS terrorists again began to flock to the city. According to Ahmed al-Mismari, the militants – now under the auspices of the GNA – were preparing an attack on the "oil crescent," the coast of Sirte Bay, where Libya's main export oil terminals are located.
"The terrorists met in Sirte, and the idea of a coordinated attack on the" oil crescent "was put forward here," said the LNA speaker. “But we are ready for this.”
Al Qaeda renegades in Libya
The government in Tripoli successfully established ties with the ISIS thanks to militants who have held high posts in the GNA structures – despite the fact that their names are on the “black lists” of the most dangerous wanted terrorists compiled by the United Nations. In particular, the Ansar al-Sharia jihadist group have joined the GNA structure – it served as the “Islamic political police” and was considered the Libyan branch of the al-Qaida international terrorist network (banned in the Russian Federation).
Established in 2011 during the “Arab Spring” in Libya, Ansar al-Sharia (Sharia’s Defenders) is responsible for terrorist attacks in Benghazi and Sirte. The UN, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Great Britain and the United States recognized it as a radical terrorist group.
In 2012, Ansar al-Sharia militants attacked the US diplomatic complex in Benghazi. The attack killed the US ambassador to Libya, John Christopher Stevens and the head of the information department of the diplomatic service, Sean Smith.
Ansar al-Sharia opposed other rival factions in Libya. For example, militants are suspected of involvement in the July 28, 2011 murder of Abdul Fatah Yunis, the former Libyan Interior Minister who went against Gaddafi and became head of the rebel headquarters. Yunis represented the “secular” wing of Gaddafi’s opponents. After his death, the positions of the Islamists and Al Qaeda in the National Transitional Council of Libya strengthened.
Later, in 2013, Ansar al-Sharia militants stole $55 million from a central bank in Sirte. This money was taken to Tripoli, and the tip for the robbery probably came from the same place.
ISIS militants infiltrated GNA structures
After the death in 2015 of the leader of the group Mohammed al-Zahawi, Ansar al-Sharia swore allegiance to the Islamic State in Libya. At the same time, the leaders of the militants retained their posts in the Tripoli Defence Forces, having received a huge amount of weapons and ammunition from the so-called "Ministry of Defence" and "Ministry of the Interior" of the GNA. Despite their official “disbandment” in 2017, militants continue to receive money and weapons from the government in Tripoli.
In 2019, the names of the Ansar al-Sharia terrorists reappeared in reports of hostilities in Libya. A source in the LNA told Asharq Al-Awsat that terrorists fought alongside GNA fighters on several fronts in Tripoli.
Among them were several members of Ansar al-Sharia, including Qais Abdulkarim al-Abah and his brother Muhammad – both of whom died during the battle for Tripoli. Information about the relations between Sarraj’s GNA of and Ansar al-Sharia was confirmed by Italian correspondents.
From Qatar with love
Since the "Arab Spring" in 2011, Qatar, along with Turkey, has supported in Libya the most radical Islamist groups. Al Qaeda-related terrorists received weapons from Qatar, including a faction associated with the former head of the Tripoli Military Council Abdelhakim Belhadj, who also has contacts with Ansar al-Sharia. Some of the weapons sent by Qatar to Libya were subsequently used by al-Qaeda-linked militants in Mali.
Researchers at the Middle East Institute [headquartered in DC] claim that funding received from Qatar allowed the leaders of Ansar al-Sharia and the Islamic State pay militants $100 a month or more. This has greatly expanded recruitment opportunities – most locals cannot earn that kind of money honestly.
"Inexhaustible well" for the ISIS
At the same time, jihadists in Libya associated with the GNA increased funding through smuggling, kidnapping for ransom, collecting “taxes” from local residents, bank robberies, arms trafficking and drug trafficking. [Note the US hypocrisy, accusing Maduro of drug trafficking and convicting him in absentia while tacitly supporting the drug traffic-linked GNA] ISIS terrorists from the "Interior Ministry" of the GNA have even begun to levy "taxes" on smugglers who were involved in the export of illegal migrants to EU countries. Collaboration with the government of Fayez Sarraj brought huge amounts of money to the Islamic State.
The Libyan "emir" of ISIS, Visam Az-Zubaidi, even declared Libya "a well with an endless supply of water." According to him, when the terrorists manage to take control of all Libyan oil fields, "Europe will come to an end." [It is so ironic that Europe still recognizes the GNA that sponsors these terrorists!]
The Libyan GNA has given an opportunity to the Islamic State terrorists to spread their power throughout North Africa.
At the end of July, UN Special Representative Hassan Salameh made a report on the situation in Libya. For the first time in several years, the regime of GNA Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj was severely criticized at the international level.
In his report, Salameh bluntly stated that in Tripoli and Misrata, under the cover of the GNA, there are terrorists associated with Ansar al-Sharia and the Islamic State. At a private meeting with members of the UN Security Council, he said that thousands of jihadists who were deployed from the Syrian province of Idlib are fighting on the side of the GNA, recognized by the West and having lost legitimacy.
Hassan Salameh pointed out that due to the connivance of the GNA, Libya has become the new stronghold of the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. By receiving funding from the GNA, international terrorist networks have been able to gain a foothold not only in Libya and the Sinai Peninsula, but throughout the world. The authorities in Tripoli are directly responsible for this.
“The security vacuum created by the conflict in and around Tripoli is still being used by ISIS fighters,” the UN Special Representative emphasized.
Salameh called on the Government of National Accord to draw a line between its regular forces and separate them from the gangs that have legalized and received funding by participating in the Libyan conflict on the side of Sarraj.
“The Libyan state cannot be wealthy without a clear monopoly on the use of military force. This will require the seizure of weapons not controlled by the authorities and clear civilian oversight of the activities of the security structures,” Hassan Salameh announced.
A threat to Africa is a threat to the whole world
At the moment, it is obvious that the government of Fayez Sarraj cannot and does not intend to draw a line between his “armed forces” and the gangs that have taken control of various parts of Tripoli. On the contrary, Turkey is stepping up the transfer of loyal militants from Syria to help the GNA.
The situation in Libya threatens stability not only in North Africa, but throughout the world. Unlike Syria, where Russian intervention in 2015 allowed to stop the growth of the Islamic State, and, after destruction of its resource base, in Libya, there is a merger of Western-recognized GNA structures with international terrorist groups. This is facilitated by the allies of the GNA from Turkey and Qatar, which supply militants and modern weapons to counter the LNA. An active information campaign is underway to accuse countries such as Russia and Egypt of interfering in the Libyan conflict and to get decisive action from the West against Khalifa Haftar.
Strengthening ISIS in Libya could lead to the emergence in North Africa of vast territories rich in natural resources and controlled de facto by terrorist groups. In this case, the threat from the radical jihadists of the Islamic State and Al Qaeda to all of humanity will increase many fold.
Author: Valentin Serov
US-Israel Predictably Behind Turkish Aggression in Syria
By Tony Cartalucci
March 10, 2020
Turkey’s ongoing fighting in northern Syria’s Idlib governorate was – from the beginning of recent escalations – clearly a continuation of Washington’s wider now 9 year-long proxy war against Damascus.
Whatever gains Turkey had made in terms of reducing its role in Washington’s proxy war and repairing ties with Syria’s allies Russia and Iran – were clearly less important to Ankara amid these recent weeks of renewed aggression than whatever Washington has either promised Anakara or threatened it with.
And precisely because Turkey’s aggression in Idlib is merely one part of the much wider proxy war Washington continues to wage against Damascus – it was predicted that others involved in the proxy war would coordinate with Turkey elsewhere in Syria.
In recent weeks Israel has continued carrying out attacks in Syrian territory. [
Recent news has covered Israeli attacks on military targets in Homs – right at the edge of where Turkey’s aggression trails off.
Chinese news site Xinhua in its March 5, 2020 article, “Syrian air defenses intercept Israeli missiles in central, southern regions,” would report:
Syrian air defenses intercepted Israeli missiles in the central province of Homs and the southern Quneitra province after midnight Thursday, state news agency SANA reported.
The missiles were fired from Israeli warplanes over the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and from Lebanese airspace, said the report, without providing details on the targets.
The attack is the latest in a string of missile strikes carried out by Israel.
Despite Israel and Turkey often posing as being at odds with one another over political, religious, or ideological issues – both nations have coordinated violence against Syria since 2011 as per US designs aimed at overthrowing the Syrian government – described in detail within US policy papers.
US Designs to Use Turkey and Israel as Proxies Revealed as Early as 1983
Ignoring the West’s ongoing propaganda surrounding the Syrian conflict and simply looking at US policy papers over the years – it is clear that not only has Washington sought to overthrow the Syrian government for decades – it has sought to do so using the same tricks.
A 1983 document– part of a deluge of declassified papers released to the public – signed by former CIA officer Graham Fuller titled, “Bringing Real Muscle to Bear Against Syria”, states (their emphasis):
Syria at present has a hammerlock on US interests both in Lebanon and in the Gulf — through closure of Iraq’s pipeline thereby threatening Iraqi internationalization of the [Iran-Iraq] war. The US should consider sharply escalating the pressures against Assad [Sr.] through covertly orchestrating simultaneous military threats against Syria from three border states hostile to Syria: Iraq, Israel and Turkey.
The report also states:
If Israel were to increase tensions against Syria simultaneously with an Iraqi initiative, the pressures on Assad would escalate rapidly. A Turkish move would psychologically press him further.
In 2012 – illustrating how these plans were never taken off the table and merely updated amid the more recent 2011 US proxy war against Syria – the US corporate-funded policy think tank – the Brookings Institution – would publish a paper titled, “Saving Syria: Assessing Options for Regime Change” (PDF), stating explicitly:
Some voices in Washington and Jerusalem are exploring whether Israel could contribute to coercing Syrian elites to remove Asad.
The report continues by explaining (emphasis added):
Israel could posture forces on or near the Golan Heights and, in so doing, might divert regime forces from suppressing the opposition. This posture may conjure fears in the Asad regime of a multi-front war, particularly if Turkey is willing to do the same on its border and if the Syrian opposition is being fed a steady diet of arms and training. Such a mobilization could perhaps persuade Syria’s military leadership to oust Asad in order to preserve itself.
This attempt to create a “multi-front war” amid the current Syrian conflict is a process that continues openly to this very day with news of Turkey and Israel engaged in now direct military aggression against the Syrian government aimed at dividing Syrian forces and reversing Syrian gains on the battlefield.
Trouble had also briefly erupted along the Syrian-Jordanian border where for years the US had – just as it did along the Syrian-Turkish border – funded, armed, trained, and equipped terrorists before sending them into Syria to fight.
The US Lurks Behind the Scenes
Despite attempt by Washington to portray itself as withdrawing from multiple theaters of military aggression, occupation, and confrontation around the globe there is little actual evidence it is doing so. Instead it appears to merely be attempting to hide its hand by deferring increasingly to proxies.
Its relative quietness regarding Syria was recently broken when US representatives were seen visiting the Turkish-Syrian border and even meeting with Al Qaeda-affiliates – the so-called “White Helmets.”
The Washington Post in its article, “US officials visit Turkey’s border with Syria, emphasize support for NATO ally,” would report:
Three top US officials toured Turkey’s border with Syria on Tuesday, even briefly crossing into Syrian territory, in a concerted effort to underscore one point: The United States is throwing its full support behind its NATO ally in its new fight against the Syrian government and its Russian backers.
As always – the Washington Post spins obvious facts – and in this case – attempts to portray the US as merely backing Turkey in its fighting in northern Syria rather than being the primary sponsor and impetus driving Turkey’s ongoing aggression and the Syrian conflict as a whole.
In addition to this very public display of official support for Turkey and its terrorist proxies – the Western media has collectively renewed its familiar propaganda war against Syria and its allies through the use of its various “humanitarian” rackets including fronts like “Human Rights Watch” and even pushing bias reports through the UN.
Coupled with Turkey’s own use of refugees as a political weapon – once again attempts are underway to cite “humanitarian concerns” to fish for public support and legal justification for even further escalations against Syria.
Washington’s Unwinnable Proxy War
This most recent outburst of aggression from the US and its various proxies comes at a time where nearly all of Syria’s territory has been retaken by the Syrian government. Syria’s allies – Russia and Iran – have established deeply entrenched positions in Syria that all but total war will fail to dislodge.
Israeli airstrikes – however damaging they are on a temporary and tactical level – are futile on a strategic level. Airstrikes alone will not win the proxy war against Syria without a significant ground force able to exploit them. That ground force in the form of terrorists armed and backed by the West have been all but eliminated across Syrian territory.
Likewise – despite Turkey’s large military – it would need to confront and contain Russian airpower to gain the advantage needed to reverse its – and its proxies’ losses – in northern Syria.
The conflict will continue to drag on and perhaps in the process Damascus and its allies may be willing to make concessions to accelerate the conclusion of hostilities – but whether make these concessions or not – hostilities will inevitably conclude – and do so to Damascus and its allies’ advantage.
Israel’s political isolation within the region and around the globe is – at the moment – all but irreversible – thus its apathy toward the damage its ongoing aggression in Syria is having on its international standings leaves few surprised.
Turkey – however – is giving up a potential opportunity to realign itself amid America’s decline and the emergence of multipolarism. While it still seems possible that Turkey can reverse the damage it is doing to its ties with the rest of the world – that window is undoubtedly closing.
Turkey will have to decide if it wants to end the Syrian conflict side-by-side Israel and – in particular – the US – which is in irreversible decline globally – or end it aligned with the conflict’s victors – including Syria’s allies Russia and Iran.
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Tony Cartalucci is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook” where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
From Al Masdar today:
New video shows suspected US warplanes attacking Iraqi and Iranian forces in Syria
Al Masdar reports today that fighter jets suspected to be American have attacked Iraqi and Iranian forces in Syria supposedly in retaliation for attacks on an Iraqi base hosting US personnel. Two US and one British soldier were killed as a result. However, firstly, there is no evidence of who launched these attacks on the Iraqi base, and secondly, the Iraqi and Iranian forces are there at the request of the Iraqi government and are deemed part of Iraqi government forces, so if these warplanes were indeed US planes, this is in fact an attack on the Iraqi military by US forces in Iraq illegally since the Iraqi parliament has asked the US to leave. In the event the planes were Israeli, then the same applies because Israel has been acting as a US proxy ever since the war began in Syria.
“The Pentagon has reportedly blamed the Iran-backed militia for similar shellings.”
Airstrikes on Iraqi base hosting US personnel: