In the following is our translation from the French-language geopolitical and military site opex360.com with commentary and notes [in brackets] by Vince Dhimos.
EXCERPT from my bracketed note:
It is clear from the lenience shown by the US regarding the purchase of Russian military hardware by Ankara that the US prefers to turn a blind eye to Turkey's mischief, considering its NATO membership more important than the need to enforce US policies – which are, after all, irrelevant to peace. This Turkish disregard for international law and agreements is just another example of US toothlessness, and it highlights the utter uselessness of NATO in protecting its partners from real enemies while doing senseless drills at the Russian borders, knowing full well that Russia is not by any means the real enemy. Meanwhile, the real enemy is one that the US has taken to its bosom and nurtured as an “ally,” while Russia may eventually materialize as its only salvation. NATO play acting for the sole purpose of extracting hefty membership dues from gullible European nations and support for a corrupt US arms industry, has come at a high cost. It looks almost as if the stage is being set for war, and now at this critical moment of the COVID pandemic, when the US can afford it least, it is blithely sleepwalking into a trap of its own making. And what is surprising is that the trap has not snapped shut years ago and is only distinguished now in hazy outlines like an iceberg lying dead ahead suddenly emerging into view through a thick fog.
France denounces Turkey's "unacceptable" intervention in Libya and the abuse of its NATO membership
BY LAURENT LAGNEAU JUNE 15, 2020
For several months, relations between France and Turkey have been strained. In October, the Turkish offensive in north-eastern Syria against the Syrian Kurdish militias, the main partners of the anti-jihadist coalition in the Levant, had already given rise to a round of criticism by Paris against Ankara. [But the criticism was misplaced. The US was the real culprit, lacking the spine to protect its Kurdish partners, fearing that it might lose Turkey as an “ally.” But what an ally!]
"It will be important […] to clarify the status of Turkey as a NATO ally", said Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, referring to the NATO summit to be held in London in December 2019.
Turkey’s targets for potential natural gas deposits in the Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ] of the Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union, have also contributed to the tensions between Paris and Ankara. As is the case with migrants, the latter is being used by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Turkish president.
Gas extraction in the eastern Mediterranean is one of the reasons for the military support provided by Turkey to the Libyan Government of National Unity [GNA], with which it signed a memorandum of understanding on its maritime borders allowing it to extend its continental shelf and, thereby assert its territorial claims.
Hence the protests of Greece, the Republic of Cyprus and Egypt, the latter country being a supporter of the Libyan National Army [ANL] of Marshal Khalifa Haftar, and therefore of the government of Tobruk, which seeks to overthrow the GNA installed in Tripoli. [We showed here that the so-called “Government of National Accord” is in bed with terrorists imported by Turkey, and here that US Democrats have sided with this “government,” evoking Russia’s support for the Khalifa-Haftar-led opposition as a pretext to oppose Haftar. To his minimal credit, Trump originally sided with Haftar but then declared neutrality as he lost his nerve]
Despite the help provided to them, notably by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russia, Marshal Haftar's forces have recently suffered a series of setbacks due to the Turkish military intervention, which resulted in the shipment of weapons, advisers and mercenaries recruited from pro-Ankara Syrian rebel groups.
In May, the offensive it had launched a year earlier towards Tripoli proved unsuccessful, and [Haftar’s] Libyan National Army (LNA) received at least 14 combat aircraft [MiG-29s and Su-24s], supplied by Russia. At least, that's what the United States claims.
These arms deliveries for the benefit of both sides contravene United Nations resolutions. Already having difficult relations with Turkey [drilling in the Cypriot EEZ, blackmailing migrants], the European Union launched the naval operation EUNAVFOR Irini, whose mandate authorizes it to inspect any vessel on the high seas with a view to "ensure strict compliance' with the arms embargo imposed on Libya since 2011. [Let’s not forget that it was such an arms embargo plus a no-fly zone that led to the capture and murder of Muammar Ghaddafi, plunging Libya into chaos, civil war and anarchy, from which it has never recovered since. This is why many countries, including France, UAE, Egypt, Russia, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Greece and Jordan, support Haftar. The US has waffled between support for Haftar and neutrality. It is clear from the lenience shown by the US regarding the purchase of Russian military hardware by Ankara that the US prefers to turn a blind eye to Turkey’s mischief, considering its NATO membership more important than the need to enforce US policies – which are, after all, irrelevant to peace. This Turkish disregard for international law and agreements is just another example of US toothlessness, and it highlights the utter uselessness of NATO in protecting its partners from real enemies while doing senseless drills at the Russian borders, knowing full well that Russia is not by any means the real enemy. The real enemy is one that the US has taken to its bosom and nurtured as an “ally.” Duplicitous NATO play acting for the sole purpose of extracting hefty membership dues from gullible European nations and support for a corrupt US arms industry, has exacted a high price. It looks almost as if the stage is being set for war, and now at this critical moment of the COVID pandemic, when the US can afford it least, it is blithely sleepwalking into a trap of its own making. And what is surprising is that the trap has not snapped shut years ago and is only distinguished now in hazy outlines like an iceberg lying dead ahead suddenly emerging through a fog].
Only last week, the Greek frigate HS Spetsai, involved in Operation Irini, had to give up inspecting the cargo of the Cirkin cargo ship, the latter being protected by the Turkish navy. And so it continued on its way to the port of Misrata, where, moreover, Ankara would consider establishing a permanent naval base. This episode led the EU to ask for help from NATO. On June 12, a senior European official told AFP that it is a matter of seeing "how we could find arrangements" with the operation "Sea Guardian" led by the Alliance [NATO] in the eastern Mediterranean. [Sea Guardian is a drill to be held off the coast of Syria, obviously to “counter Russian influence” there. The last time a US navy jet approached the Russian Hmeimim base on the Mediterranean, a Russian fighter jet intercepted it and escorted it away.]
However, this is not the first time that Turkey has done this. In January, President Macron denounced its "duplicity" when he received Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Greek Prime Minister, at the Elysee Palace to discuss a strategic security partnership between Paris and Athens.
"We have seen in recent days Turkish ships accompanying Syrian mercenaries arriving on Libyan soil, this is in explicit and very serious contravention of what President Erdoğan was committed to do at the Berlin conference, it is non-compliance with a promise,” Macron accused, citing a diplomatic initiative that brought together the belligerents of the Libyan conflict [with their "godfathers"] in the German capital.
On June 14, the French president delivered a new charge against Ankara, denouncing its “increasingly aggressive and assertive policy […], with seven Turkish ships positioned off the coast of Libya and a violation of the arms embargo.” And he added: “The Turks are behaving in an unacceptable manner by abusing their NATO membership, and France cannot let this happen."
In addition, the Elysee Palace said that "exchanges will take place in the coming weeks on this subject with NATO partners engaged on the spot."
In the meantime, Turkey’s role in the Mediterranean should be mentioned during the meeting of Mr. Le Drian with Nikos Dendias, his Greek counterpart, this June 15 in Paris.
In an interview with the daily Le Figaro, Dendias set the tone. "In its vast illegal attempt to extend its sovereignty and sovereign rights in the eastern Mediterranean, it [Turkey] is preparing, with illegal methods, to send exploration ships to the area of the Greek continental shelf, while striving to challenge it and plunder our underwater resources. Our government will not let this pass.” And he added: “Greece particularly appreciates the consistent position of our ally and friend France. Paris understood from the start that Turkish provocations affect not only Greece and Cyprus, but all of Europe and the Mediterranean region."
The death of George Floyd raised the important issue of police brutality and institutionalized racism, and Democrat politicians eager to highlight the contrast between themselves and the Republicans, especially Trump, in this campaign season, seized the opportunity to take up the BLM banner.
The Democrats had always positioned themselves as defenders of minorities. Minority rights is an important issue and politicians on both sides should be doing this, just as they should be defending the defenceless of all races. Some observers have already pointed out that the real issue here is the rich and powerful vs the poor and middle class, with the income gap growing wildly and with over half of Americans unable to get health care or insurance. I have shown here that US "democracy," which denies people their basic needs, is completely dominated by a list of privileged people and if are a working stiff, you are not on the list.
Given the Democrats’ caring attitude toward minorities, I was shocked to read that Democrat politicians such as Senators Bob Menendez, Tim Kaine and Chris Murphy are demanding that the Trump administration enforce the CAATSA law to punish the Libyan opposition leader Khalifa Haftar for teaming up with Russia to fight the US-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), although that group is known to cooperate with militias that are not only terrorists but also slave traders!
Would these Democrats support a US leader who works with slave traders in their country? Of course not! But Libya is far away and no one (except readers of a blog like New Silk Strategies) has pointed out to US news consumers the glaring hypocrisy between the GNA’s cooperation with literal 21st Century slave traders and the Democrats’ insistence on punishing the Russians for helping to overcome this scourge by supporting Haftar. But the fact is, the Democrats are clearly only interested in “human rights” and “minority rights” when the affected groups are US voters. It’s absolutely disgusting. Of course, knowledgeable Americans – an unsung few – know that Russia has been fighting against terror in Syria since 2015 and has been beaten up in the media for supporting the supposedly “thuggish” Assad, even though the evidence against Assad is inconclusive at best but essentially non-existent and never explained by those who malign him. It is clear to thinking people that the US Establishment is firmly on the side of terror in the Middle East. In fact, we showed in minute detail that it was the US and its satellites in Europe who created ISIS in the first place.
An article in Time from 2019 shows that the Government of National Accord (GNA) is teaming up with Turkish-backed armed terrorist militias that empower it.
I had written an article showing that the US-recognized GNA has admitted to using ISIS and Al-Qaeda militias imported by Turkey from Syria to fight their opponent Khalifa Haftar. So why does the US recognize this inhumane government?
The Time article reports:
“When Joy, a 23-year-old Cameroonian university student, arrived in the coastal Libyan city of Sabratha in August 2017, she thought she was well on her way to France to pursue her dream of becoming a fashion model. But a government-backed militia, emboldened by the E.U. deal to crack down on migrant smuggling hubs, raided the compound where she was staying. She was picked up by a rival group and locked in a room with scores of other women for several months. The women were expected to work as prostitutes, and some were sold to buyers looking to staff their own brothels. Joy, several months pregnant at that time, was largely left alone, she says, but the conditions were “inhumane.”
“Joy, who speaks the polished French of an educated woman, says the E.U. directive to curb migrant arrivals not only emboldens corrupt Libyans but also amplifies their deep-seated prejudice against black Africans. ‘The Libyans understood that if the E.U. doesn’t want blacks to come, it means we are not valuable as humans,’ she tells TIME, cradling her newborn, in a shelter for trafficked women in Lagos, Nigeria. “The E.U. is essentially rewarding these militias for abusing us, for raping us, for killing us and for selling us.’ “
If you are outraged that the people who claim to care for US blacks have taken sides in Libya with a government that cooperates with slave traders, you can write to them via the Democrat web site:
Fill out the contact form and tell Democrat candidates to stop supporting the GNA in Libya, whose militias capture and enslave black immigrants.
This is not intended as an endorsement to Trump, who has not stood up against racism in the US in the wake of the Floyd George murder. But on the other hand, nor has he tried to intervene on behalf of the terrorists and slave traders in Libya.
Conclusion: Both political parties care about votes but neither one seems to genuinely care about human rights.
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
RUSSIA ENTERED SYRIA AND THE SITUATION IS GETTING BETTER NOW. IF RUSSIA IS ENTERING LIBYA, WHY IS THE US MILITARY TAKING IT AS A THREAT TO EUROPE?
The first part of your question, which is a statement and not a question, is true. The situation will be better with Russian involvement because Russia, along with Egypt, UAE, France and — surprisingly — Saudi Arabia, supports Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar against the Government of National Accord (GNA), which is strangely tolerant of terrorists and has even allowed Turkey to import ISIS and Al-Qaeda militias from Syria to fight Haftar. This is not speculation. The Libyan GNA admitted this to WaPo (https://www.quora.com/Will-the-Libyan-GNA-be-able-to-capture-Sirte-and-the-rest-of-the-Tripolitania-region/answer/Vince-Dhimos). The situation is critical, with Haftar having ceded ground to Turkey, the imported terrorists and the GNA. If the bad guys win in Libya, that will be a huge victory for Islamist terror in this large oil-rich country.
The US allegation is a piece of propaganda aimed at Europe, which the US would like to scare into establishing a no-fly zone there. The US has concocted the story that this war could cause more waves of immigration to Europe, which is technically correct but after all, letting terrorists overrun Libya is not an option under any circumstance. Of course, the US’s position is not surprising. The raison d'être of NATO is the fable that Russia is the enemy against which Europe and the “free world” must be defended, as explained here: https://www.quora.com/Why-hasn-t-NATO-evaluated-its-peacekeeping-experience-to-identify-and-implement-best-practices-for-transitioning-failed-states-into-functional-democracy/answer/Vince-Dhimos. This is why the US can’t admit that Russian involvement in any conflict could possibly be beneficial. And yet, the last pertinent poll https://wamda-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/resource-url/665bf7c4c81c1dd.pdf taken among the Middle Eastern youth shows that this demographic overwhelmingly distrusts the US and trusts Russia most out of all non-Arab countries. This creates an untenable position for the US but yet, Washington makes no effort to change the situation by adopting a more peaceable and reasonable position, just keeps spinning and lying via its press and political class to keep up the tension. Significantly, the Syrians were left out of this poll. If we added them, the anti-US pro-Russia percentage would be significantly higher.
Worse, the US not only uses Russia as a scapegoat to beef up its military spending and war rhetoric, but in fact it was the US-led West that created ISIS and Al-Qaeda in the first place, as explained 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. And of course, the terrorists in Syria just kept gaining ground until the Russians joined the fight in September 2015.
With all of these facts militating against US power, it is clear that Washington has been standing on shaky ground, and now with COVID threatening the dominance of the US dollar, we can only imagine that a sea change is coming that will sweep away much of the overwhelming financial power that the US had been weaponising to starve millions of hapless civilians with economic sanctions, and will tip the scales against war, sanctions and world opinion against China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba and all the nations gullible Westerners thought it was right and proper to hate and fear.
Note, however, that the Russian position in Libya is even more tenuous than in Syria because the main opponent there is Turkey, which is a sometimes-partner of Russia with which Russia has teamed up to perform certain tasks such as keeping highways open for travel in northern Syria and joining Iran and Russia in Astana to forge agreements regarding the Syrian settlement.
My suspicion is that Russian partner Egypt will possibly join the fight in Libya to oppose the Turks and the GNA, and I believe the Russians are counting heavily on Egypt to turn the tide of that war. Some reasons for this suspicion:
—It was current president Al-Sisi who staged a military coup that in 2013 ousted President Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who was friendly to terrorists and allowed persecution of the Coptic Christians. It was clear then that Sisi was not going to tolerate Islamist militias. He has already warned the Libyan GNA that he will not tolerate terrorists at Egypt’s border. This suggests that when the time is right, Egypt will fight the Libyan jihadists.
—Relations between Sisi and Putin are very close. I read at an Arabic language site a while back about a meeting in Cairo between Putin, Sisi and a few close confidants of Sisi. At that meeting, Putin mentioned that he had just visited with Bashar al-Assad in Damascus and promised Sisi to share details of that meeting with him later. This suggests that Sisi is in full agreement with the Russian involvement in Syria and friendly toward Assad.
—Russia is in the process of building a Russian industrial zone along the Suez canal and has signed an agreement with Egypt to build the first nuclear power plant in that country at El Dabaa. Every year, trade increases between the two countries.
—Most significantly of all, Egypt recently ordered 20 Su-35s from Russia. This stealth fighter has superior performance characteristics to the much-ballyhooed and overpriced US F-35, which flies considerably slower, has a shorter operational range and relies on its afterburner to reach top speed, making the plane visible to radar at that point. The Su-35 does not need an afterburner to reach its top speed and can retain low detectability at all speeds.
These Su-35s would give Egypt the edge over any plane that the Libyan GNA could field against it.
Meanwhile, Russia reportedly sent a batch of MiG-29s to Libya, and then sent another batch to Syria supposedly to be deployed in the fight against terrorists there, but the US military suspects these will be dispatched to Libya to support Haftar’s forces. Their suspicion is probably correct, although Russia has denied this but that is normal considering that the US is itching to slap sanctions on Russia for its cooperation with Haftar. Since the first batch went, Haftar has scored a few minor victories over the Turkish-GNA-terrorist forces.
The fact that the two well-heeled Gulf States Saudi and UAE are on the same side as Russia in the Libyan conflict stokes hopes that the terror-supporting side will not prevail, and it also reflects a sea change that happened a while back. Saudi’s stance may be explained by the rift between Turkey and Saudi when Turkey accused MBS of ordering the grisly murder of Jamal Kashoggi in 2018. The Saudis and Egypt would also share a common disdain for the Muslim Brotherhood. Kashoggi advocated for that group in his WaPo columns, infuriating Saudi. Sisi had ousted Morsi for his support of the group. Meanwhile, with its anti-Russian stance in the conflict, the US is odd man out again, leaning more toward the terror-friendly GNA but without the support of Saudi Arabia that it could once have counted on. After the revelation of the Kashoggi killing, the US Congress condemned MBS for his alleged role in it and at that point, Saudi began to rebel against US control.
And another US ally slips out of Washington’s grasp.
2Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
CAN THE US NAVY WIN AGAINST CHINA AND RUSSIA WITH ONLY F-35s IN ITS FLEET?
What we often forget is that the F-35 is only hard to detect when it is flying in the air at medium-high speeds. If it flies too fast, then it must use its afterburner and that makes is easy for the radar to detect. Worse, Russia has developed a radar system that can detect the F-35 at any speed. BTW, the Russian Su-35 flies faster and farther than the F-35, which is way overpriced.
When the F-35 is resting on the carrier deck, it — along with the carrier itself -- is a sitting duck.
The US has 20 aircraft carriers according to the site Global Firepower.
Here is what the US is up against in the way of offensive weaponry:
1--Hypersonic missiles in both the Russian and the Chinese arsenals; their numbers are not well known. Russia has the Zircon anti-ship missile with a top speed of 8-9 Mach and a range of 1,000 km, while China has the DF-21D, with a reported top speed of 10 Mach (though the US claims it could actually be as low as 5 Mach) and a range of 1,450 km. None of these can be intercepted by any known air defence system. If the missile is aimed at your aircraft carrier, it is all over.
2--Subs armed with torpedoes, and in the case of Russia, the super-cavitating Shkval, which comes in at 370 km/hr, leaving no time for evasion. The US has tried to duplicate this torpedo but to no avail. Russia had 50 subs at last count vs 66 for China, theoretically enough to knock out all 20 of the US carriers even without deploying the hypersonic missiles.
I won’t list fighter planes because neither the Russians nor the Chinese would be dumb enough to send in manned aircraft when a missile or torpedo will do the job better and no pilots will be at risk.
Each country has been assigned a global firepower index, where the lower the index, the higher the power.
The US is neck and neck with Russia and China, with 0.062 for the US, 0.064 for Russia and 0.067 for China, and since there are 2 of them and only one US, it is not a fight that the US will be itching for (regardless of what politicians may tell the voters).
And then, in the outside chance that the US is still standing after the battle, there are the nukes. Russia has its hypersonic Avangard ICBM with a reported speed of up to 27 Mach, while China has the hypersonic DF-ZF, which can both evade interception because of their speed and random evasive manoeuvers. The ranges are up to 12,000 km. All US cities are targets. Meanwhile the US is scrambling to catch up.
It is a matter of MAD, ie, Mutually Assured Destruction. Again, not a fight that a sane person on either side would intentionally start.
Enlightened people are looking to Egypt to oppose the terror-tolerating Government of National Accord in Libya, and also the terrorists themselves, imported by US-ally Turkey with the blessings of said government. Egypt has already said it will not tolerate terrorists at its borders and it has already signed a deal to buy a batch of Russian Su-35s, which will outperform anything the Libyan government has. Some US senators are already crying out desperately, apparently afraid that Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and Russia may succeed in defeating the terrorists! They are claiming that Russia must be opposed as – if it were itself a terrorist. It should not surprise anyone that the US would be on the side of terror, after the many years of opposition to Russia and the Syrian Arab Army whose mission is simply to rid Syria of terrorists. The Western excuses are lame. They are still claiming that Assad is an evil enemy of freedom and democracy even though he was democratically elected and is very popular. Clearly, if you pull back the curtain, you will simply see the US working feverishly on the side of Al-Qaeda and its rebrandings, as well as ISIS – for the purpose of fomenting chaos in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) pursuant to the Yinon Plan.
Egyptian Army reveals truth about moving forces to Libyan border
By News Desk
BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:00 P.M.) – The Egyptian Army has been accused of moving its forces to the Libyan border to assist the Libyan National Army (LNA) against the Turkish-backed forces.
Citing Egyptian Army sources, RT Arabic revealed that the forces of the northern military zone of the Egyptian army stationed in Alexandria, moved towards the Egyptian-Libyan border to tighten security measures there.
The sources confirmed that the 3rd Army is not responsible for securing this area, as it is located in the Suez region and it is its responsibility to secure the borders there, as some of the forces of the northern region were sent to tighten the procedures there, especially after the Cairo initiative to reach a solution in the Libyan crisis.
The Northern Military Region is one of the four military regions of the Egyptian Armed Forces and its headquarters are located in Alexandria, where it has carried out a number of training activities with the navy and elements of the Special Forces within the framework of the massive “Qader 2020” maneuvers previously launched by Egypt.
On Sunday, social media in Egypt circulated videos said to be of the “3rd Army in Egypt as they were moving west towards the Libyan border.”
It is hard to fathom that the US continues to cause the kind of harm to the war-ravaged Syrian people and infrastructure described in the article blow. Do they think the world will not notice? Is this why they spread horror stories about China, to divert attention from their inhumane, merciless killing and starving of helpless innocent civilians? And from the theft of oil resources belonging to the Syrian people?
US-made gas-filled balloon found in southern Syria: photo
By News Desk
BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:45 P.M.) – The U.S. allegedly attempted to set fire to the agricultural lands of Al-Sweida in southern Syria on Monday after it was revealed that an American-made gas balloon was seen entering this region.
According to the pro-government Sham FM channel, the balloon was found between the villages of Sahwa Balata and Rasas in rural Al-Sweida.
“A balloon was discovered within the agricultural lands between the villages of Sahwa Balata and Rasas in the southern countryside of Sweida, and it turned out to be American-made and contained gas used to ignite fires where it warned of exposure to sunlight or its approach to power lines,” Sham FM reported.
It is noteworthy to mention that a number of fires in the agricultural lands of Syria’s Al-Jazeera region have spread in the past few days, without any entity claiming responsibility.
The Syrian government has accused the U.S. military of burning farms in the Al-Hasakah Governorate.
The U.S. Coalition has not responded to this accusation from the Syrian government.
Calling in the troops is ONLY ok when the rioters are in the US. In Hong Kong, Washington’s view is that the Chinese central government has no business intervening even when the rioters are fire bombing and burning people to death.
US prevents Lebanon from acquiring air defense systems so Israel can attack Syria: expert
By News Desk
BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:45 P.M.) – In an interview with Sputnik Radio (Arabic-language version), the military expert Dr. Amin Ahteit, stated that last night’s attack by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) was not the first time that they have used Lebanese airspace to bomb Syria.
“Since Syria was able to restore its air defense platforms, Israel used Lebanese airspace to launch its aggression against Syria. It has taken four air routes from the south and north, and two in the center targeting the Damascus region and its surroundings, the Homs region and its surroundings, as well as Hama and its surroundings,” the military expert said.
“They (Israel) also targeted Aleppo, and this time there is a link in the series of successive Israeli aggressions against Syria, using Lebanon as a passageway for its aircraft,” he said, pointing out that the Lebanese Armed Forces do not have air defense systems to control its airspace.
According to Dr. Ahteit, the Lebanese Army is prevented from acquiring air defenses for two reasons: first, is due to financial capabilities and second, is due to the U.S.’ interference.
“The United States and its allies, especially Israel, prevent Lebanon from entering the world arms market, to purchase an air defense system, as well as American pressure on Lebanon, to prevent it from accepting Russian, Chinese and Iranian offers to provide it with an air defense system in order to keep the Lebanese airspace open to Israeli aggression,” he said.
Israel has repeatedly used Lebanese airspace to bomb Syria, but they have also shown their ability to travel undetected through the latter’s airspace by using their stealth fighters (i.e. F-35A) and drones.
While Syria has made significant improvements to its air defenses over the last few years, mostly due to assistance from Iran and Russian, they have been unable to match Israel’s technological advances in the aviation and military industries.
Some analysts believe, however, that if Lebanon possessed their own air defense systems, they would be able to limit the frequency of the Israeli attacks on the Syrian Arab Republic.
Another major factor that wasn’t mentioned by Dr. Ahteit is the U.S’ fear that supplying Lebanon with an air defense system result in Hezbollah having access to the equipment.
Hezbollah has shown in the past that they do possess air defense missiles; however, they are rarely used.
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
Why is the USA withdrawing 1/3rd of the US troops from Germany? Has American imperialism started to collapse from the day Snowden exposed it?
US imperialism is like a wounded bull that will continue to do horrendous harm and injury to anyone who refuses to bow before it, even its allies, before it finally gasps its last.
While the official reason given for the pull-out is that Germany has not paid “its fair share” of NATO contributions, the real bone of contention is that Germany insists on continuing its cooperation with the Nord Stream 2 project. Trump is “punishing” Germany by pulling out many of the troops (though many Germans are relieved to see the US troops go). Merkel’s refusal to participate in the US-hosted G7 was a corollary reason.
Germany has been a US ally in the past but Trump now sees it as an enemy because it wants to buy Russian gas and has cooperated with Russia in laying the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany. There is nothing illegal or irregular about this deal, though US politicians and msm would like you to believe there is something sinister about it. It is purely a business transaction and is extremely important because it implies cheaper energy to Europe for many years to come. Without this cheap gas it is unlikely that Germany could retain its position as the world’s second largest exporter after China.
But Trump, the old scammer, is hell bent on selling Europe US LNG, which is about 40% more expensive than Russian gas and not a reliable source. It requires fracking, which is environmentally harmful and risks being banned, and US gas companies are going bankrupt right and left because the fracking process is too costly and the wells are too short-lived. The investors were sold – by Trump, who else? –that producing this gas would make America the no. 1 energy producer in the world. He didn’t mention that it would bankrupt the investors.
So Trump, who has always relied on dirty tricks to get his way, concocted the cock-and-bull story that buying gas from Russia would somehow threaten Europe’s “energy security” because Russia could somehow use this business relationship to pressure Europe (as if the US were not the main source of political pressure on Europe!). German officials quickly responded alleging, quite correctly, that the US is using the “energy security” excuse as a red herring to sell its gas to Europe. Of course, almost the entire Congress and Senate went right along with the crooked scheme, imposing sanctions on the companies that were involved in Nord Stream 2. The pipe laying company, Dutch-Swiss joint venture Allseas, was forced to quit the project, costing this company millions in lost revenues. Most Americans once thought of free competition as a sacred principle, but in recent years that principle has fallen by the wayside and now any sleazy trick to eliminate competition will do – like pretending China deliberately unleashed a virus on the world, for example, just to have an excuse to suppress that country’s competition. This is the Trump era. The downside is that the new economic principle of prohibiting competition is threatening the world economy. And, of course, the sleaze is costing the US allies and is not working very well as a means of killing competition.
For those enlightened few, including residents of both the US and Germany, who understand that US “defence” including NATO, is a scam, this move on Trump’s part is a boon.
I have explained the US “defence” scam here (it is not defence at all, but 100% offense): http://www.newsilkstrategies.com/military-affairs/march-26th-2018
I have written previously on the NATO scam: http://www.newsilkstrategies.com/news--analysis/eurexit-from-nato-needed
I have shown that Russia is not the aggressor it is depicted as in the US-indoctrinated West: http://www.newsilkstrategies.com/military-affairs/the-real-aggressor-is-not-russia-its-the-us
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.