Louisiana Republican Sen. John Kennedy recently travelled with Senate colleagues to Russia for high-level talks with counterparts in the Kremlin.
From what Kennedy told CNN about his own remarks, it is clear that no one could accuse him of engaging in meaningful dialogue. The senator went to bawl out the highest-ranking Russians who would meet with him and was not listening to a thing they said. His mission was strictly political and did not target peace and harmony. (The fact that the US government operates on politics alone and no longer addresses solutions to problems is a topic of frequent discussion at NSS, eg, as shown here).
After all, he represents the exceptional country that is entitled to school all countries that disagree with America’s beautiful system of democracy and freedom. No one but no one is his peer outside the US Senate. He is a demi-god and if the Russians do not bow down to him they will pay the price.
First off, he told Russian government officials to "stop screwing with our elections.”
He was referring to the “election meddling” that was reported by the US intel agencies just after the 2016 election, at which time each intel agency presented as proof the fact that the others all agreed they had proof – which was, of course, classified until such time as they might dig it up or invent it.
Ultimately they came up with this long-sought proof, namely, the fact that a private firm in Russia had hosted a forum on politics in which US politics was mentioned. Now since the US is exceptional, it matters not that private US firms likewise host such sites, which also discuss Russian politics around Russian election time, and one might contend that this puts the US on a par with Russia and has no right to blame Russia for allowing free speech on their sites. Because the US is exceptional and is entitled to make the rule, don’t you see?
"Kennedy said he warned Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that Congress will "double down on sanctions ... if you screw with the elections this fall."
How courageous to go up against Russia with the full backing of the US Senate, the State Department and the Pentagon, all fearless opponents of Russia who routinely slapped sanctions on Russia at the slightest provocation. Talk about a fearless stand-up guy!
Kennedy also said Lavrov struck him as a "bully" and "belligerent," while other media outlets such as the Washington Examiner, reported that Kennedy had referred to foreign minister Sergey Lavrov as a “smart-ass.”
Now I have heard Lavrov speak in English and in Russian debunking official US lies and absurd accusations and am impressed by his ability to hold his temper and speak coldly and objectively. I admire him and Putin for their uncanny ability not to react angrily against the unwarranted insults and accusations that make my skin crawl and my blood boil. Of course, in defence of Kennedy, let’s admit that a smart man may well appear to be a smart ass to a person who lacks smarts.
Kennedy went on to say to CNN:
“The message was ‘stop screwing with American elections ... get out of eastern Ukraine and let them self-determine ...... stop screwing around in Syria and help us settle the mess. And ... do not allow Iran to get a foothold in southern Syria, because if you do that, there's going to be another war that Israel's not going to stand for.’ "
Kennedy went on the say some further incoherent platitudes about Russia and Putin, but let us analyse what he said as cited above (and let us also consider why his utterances are all meaningless and most likely harmless – as we shall see).
Let’s take these demands one by one:
“Get out of eastern Ukraine and let them self-determine.” Need I remind anyone that it was Western leaders, USAID and NGOs like the foundations of busy-body George Soros, and high officials like then-German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, who – according to a leaked phone call with US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffry Pyatt, actually picked the new Ukrainian leader – who publicly and ham handedly meddled in the internal affairs of Ukraine. How is that for “letting Ukraine self-determine”? Further, if it had not been for the false implied intent to admit Ukraine as an associate member of the EU, it is doubtful that the Maidan coup would have happened at all.
“Get out of Crimea and let Crimea self-determine.” Crimea self-determined by taking a referendum that found over 90% of its population wanting to accede to Russia. In contrast, the US government that Kennedy represents, did not allow Kosovo or Serbia to self-determine. Without holding a referendum and without consulting with the Serbian people, the US and NATO, after illegally bombing Serbia, determined that Kosovo should be an independent state and no longer part of Serbia. Does Sen. Kennedy not remember that ignominious move on the part of the country he represents?
“Stop screwing around in Syria and help us settle the mess.” This is Kennedy’s most outrageous demand of all. It was America’s illegal war in Iraq that led to the creation of ISIS, which in turn created the “mess” in Syria. It was then Obama’s inaction that allowed ISIS fighters to invade Syria unimpeded in their shiny new white Toyotas – during an alleged “war on terror” that our government simply refused to fight, thereby enabling the ISIS terrorists to mix with the civilian populations throughout the country. This inaction – dereliction of duty to call it by its name – was the cause of hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths in Syria, all of them blamed by the US on Assad, whose only role was in fact that of defender of his people. The second part of this outrageous demand “help us settle this mess” is even more outrageous. Firstly, the US is the uninvited invader in Syria, so it has no role to play. So “help us” is deceitful to say the least. If this were stated honestly, it would read “help the Syrians settle the mess that was initiated by the US.” Does Kennedy not realize any of this?
“Do not allow Iran to get a foothold in southern Syria, because if you do that, there's going to be another war that Israel's not going to stand for.” Firstly, Syria is a sovereign state and has every right to allow Iran to be the boots on the ground fighting Al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria and Iraq. In fact, without these valuable boots on the ground, it is questionable whether these terrorists could have been defeated to the extent they were. Then Kennedy incongruously mentions Israel, which never offered to help fight ISIS and which cultivated the presence of ISIS around its borders as a buffer against Syria and a potential bulwark against Assad (details here, here and here). He implies that Israel is entitled not to have Iranians at its borders and that this is a matter of relevance to the US. In fact, the US never once publicly denounced Israel's over 100 missile attacks against Syrian forces and their allies since the beginning of the war. Kennedy’s country not only has no right to set foot in Syria but also has no moral justification to defend Israel from the consequences of its own unprovoked belligerent actions. Further, it is not up to Russia to tell Iran to stay out of the sovereign state Syria. Only Syria is entitled to do that.
Thus the brazen Sen. Kennedy has made unjustified demands on Russia, implying that Russia is to blame for the situations in Ukraine, Crimea and Syria, all of which are the result of irresponsible US actions!
So is Kennedy completely uninformed about what is going on in these regions? In other words, is he that naïve? Or is he playing a game?
There are two possible reasons for his strange behaviour that do not imply a lack of knowledge or intelligence on his part:
1. Trump’s upcoming tête-à-tête with Putin, and
2. The upcoming midterm elections in November
The midterm results are expected to be close and will offer the Democrats a chance to seize the majority in the Senate. They are close because, for one thing, as polls show, the majority of Americans disagree with Trump’s immigration policies and are liable to vote for Democrats who offer an alternative to them.
The upcoming meeting with Putin is a bone of contention for Democrats, who are trying to cast Trump as a traitor for meeting with Putin. This is nonsense since all presidents meet with powerful leaders, even those they disagree with. But the Democrats control the media and will try their best to support the narrative of Trump as a “Kremlin stooge.” Now, instead of boldly countering this patently false and silly narrative, the Republicans are trying desperately to show that they agree with the Democrats and also think of Putin as a mortal enemy. If they were intelligent and articulate, they could no doubt control the narrative and realistically cast the Democrats as a bunch of warmongers. But there are some obstacles to that approach. Firstly, they are not very articulate, having become accustomed to the use of deceit and lies in lieu of honest discourse. Secondly, the public is so heavily brainwashed that many voters, especially Democrats, think Putin is a commie and KGB agent who wants to take over the West or even nuke us all. Their underlying, unspoken bone to pick is his frank defence of traditional Christian values (this could, of course, be Kennedy’s hidden agenda as well) but they pretend they think he will try to take over the West. Thus the enemy is both in deceitful Washington and on naive Main Street.
The US has never been in tighter straits and that is reflected in Sen. Kennedy’s seemingly witless statements about Russia. Perhaps Kennedy is right in his assessment of his constituents as brainless sheep. But more likely, if the Republican political class, including Trump, were sufficiently intelligent and articulate, they could address the voters like sentient beings and make them understand that not only are the Russians not about to take over the world but they are indispensable allies in the confrontation with the threats that face us all.
We are at a crossroads with an ironic twist.
Merkel is being scourged in Germany and the EU for her insane immigration policy and may lose her job as Europe’s strongwoman.
That could spell a big relief for Europeans sick of unlimited immigration for hordes of Middle East “refugees” unwilling to assimilate, but it could also mean that Germany would get a new chancellor who, while being an immigration hawk, is also a US puppet willing to go along with Trump’s demands for a European economic suicide. Ironically, the far-right anti-immigration parties in Europe generally like Trump. The question is: would they be foolish enough to let the US write economic policy for them or would they be perspicacious enough to see that Trump is sensible on immigration but disastrously predatory on economics.
So far it appears that Trump wants his legacy to be a deal that would smash Europe and inflict serious harm on Russia but somehow make America rich by trading with partners who can scarcely afford its products any longer.
Trump is adamant that Europe must stop buying Russian gas because, as he says, Russia is a threat and buying its gas leaves Europe open to extortion. Yet in fact, the extortion attempts are all coming from the US. Oddly, this is the same Trump who said in his campaign that he could “get along with Putin.” Even then, anyone who carefully studied Trump’s behaviour had to know that for him, “getting along” meant dictating terms to Putin, but anyone familiar with Putin’s behaviour knew that Putin would never be cowed by any Western politician. Russia had seen that movie many times before and knew how it invariably ends. (Here is our reminder of how the US interfered in Russian politics in a way that ruined Russia in the 90s).
Buying extravagantly expensive US LNG would quickly impoverish Europe, especially Germany, which has maintained its position as the world’s 2nd biggest exporter thanks largely to cheap Russian gas. There is no way LNG (liquefied Natural Gas) can be sold at anywhere near the low price of gas straight from the pipeline. LNG requires expensive compression, storage and decompression equipment, and in the case of US gas, it is now mostly extracted by the expensive (and environmentally harmful) “fracking” process. If Trump can actually accomplish this evil deed, it will ruin Europe. But the question is: is there any profit in wrecking your customers’ economy and reducing him to poverty? Poor customers can’t afford nearly as much of anything as rich ones. Trump, however, has a peculiar character trait that makes him decidedly a salesman and politician, and not a problem solver, as we described here. (According to an investigative report in USA Today, he stiffed hundreds of contractors in his construction business.) The outcome of all this deal-making will depend on whether his America first policy seems reasonable or extortionary to the European partners, and that in turn depends on whether they see Trump as an honest broker or a shyster.
What Europeans, whether pro-Trump or not, need to remember is that it was the US’s wars on Middle East leaders and its “war on terror,” that brought the waves of immigration to Europe in the first place. And it was America’s chumminess with Israel and Saudi that makes the West stubbornly support takfiri Wahhabists, the most violent of the Muslims, while opposing the Muslim leaders (like Assad) who encourage citizens of all religions – Shiites, Sunnis, Christians, Yazidis, etc. – to get along that perpetuates these disastrous immigration policies and their disastrous side effects. This absurd attitude of government, supported unquestioningly by most Westerners, is why the “immigrants” in Europe have a high rate of anti-Western attitudes among them, which manifest in violent crimes like rape, and occasional terrorist acts.
Trump is at the forefront of this encouragement of bad Muslims (eg, Saudis) and opposition to the non-violent Muslims. His “Muslim travel ban” is a perfect illustration of this hypocrisy, as described here.
Merkel on way out fast.
Trump adamant that Germany stop buying Russian gas
Trump’s sales job in rabidly Russophobic Warsaw
USA Today: Trump stiffed hundreds of contractors
Trump tariffs killing the dollar
The Supreme Court just made a bizarre pronouncement on Trump’s controversial travel ban. The gist of their decision is that, ok, maybe the ban is a swipe at the Muslim world, but so what? Trump can brazenly state that it is anti-Muslim, but that doesn’t mean it’s anti-Muslim.
But you know what? The constitutionality is not the key issue. As usual, the media and the political class are creating issues that are beside the point. Most of the public falls for this ruse every time.
Let’s look at the countries that are subject to travel restrictions based on the claim that their citizens pose a heightened security risk to the US. And let’s also look at some that are not on the list that are arguably much more of a risk than some on the list. On the basis of this cursory analysis, it will be clear that the new legislation is pure politics and has nothing whatsoever to do with the security of Americans or anyone else.
Americans will recall that 15 of the 9-11 terrorists were Saudis. So of course, the Saudis are welcomed with open arms under this “ban.” After all, they only killed 3000 Americans. Anyone paying attention here?
Al Jazeera reports:
The ban…“prohibits entry into the US by most people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
It also affects two non-Muslim majority countries, blocking travellers from North Korea and some Venezuelan government officials and their families.”
During his campaign, Trump kept saying Iran was the “biggest state sponsor of terror.” He also said at one point that the Saudis were spreading terror. Yet after his inauguration, he ran to Saudi Arabia to do the sword dance with his pals and agreed, on the spot, to sell these cut throats $billions in arms, the better to kill Houthi civilians with. Did I mention that there were 15 Saudis among the nineteen 9-11 terrorists who killed 3000 Americans and that Saudi Arabia is the biggest contributor to terrorism?
Let me quote from the New York Times (yes, NYT is anti-Trump, but they quote a government source here):
“American government reports say financial support for terrorism from Saudis “remains a threat to the kingdom and the international community.” And while this has been ignored by Mr. Trump, Saudi Arabia undermines whatever good work it does by continuing to spend billions of dollars spreading Wahhabism, its ultraconservative brand of Islam — which in turn inspires ISIS, Al Qaeda and other Sunni extremists — through a network of imams and mosques in countries like Kosovo, Indonesia and Pakistan.” (We detailed the Saudi influence on Kosovo here).
The CFR reported in 2002:
“For years, individuals and charities based in Saudi Arabia have been the most important source of funds for al-Qaeda. And for years, Saudi officials have turned a blind eye to this problem.”
Huffington Post reports:
“According to a U.S. government cable, ‘financial support estimated at nearly 100 million USD anually was making its way to Deobandi and Ahl-e-Hadith clerics in the region from ‘missionary’ and ‘Islamic charitable’ organizations in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates ostensibly with the direct support of those governments.’ “
I keep stressing the Saudi role in terror because I see Americans on both sides of the left-right divide absolutely euphoric over the fact that a travel ban has been imposed mainly on countries that pose little threat to Americans (with a few exceptions like Libya and Somalia) but exempts the Saudis, who everyone knows support ISIS and Al-Qaeda. Even the report by CNN was unusually Trump-friendly, saying he was “vindicated” by the Supreme Court. The Democrats opposed the travel ban but not for sensible reasons. Their opposition was based on the ban’s supposed discrimination against Muslims. However, both sides are missing the fact that the no-travel list exempts the most dangerous Muslim countries of the Persian Gulf and, while it does indeed prohibit travel by a minority of the listed countries that can reasonably be considered dangerous, it also prohibits the least dangerous, ie, Iran, and a country, Syria, that is full of terrorists thanks in large part to weapons supplied indirectly by the US, and many of these terrorists are not of Syrian nationality or ethnicity. The fact is, any Syrians who might cause harm to Westerners are most likely going to be the US-backed anti-Assad terrorists (euphemistically called “moderates” or “rebels” in Western msm) who were forced out of the country by the Syrian army with Russian support. People calling themselves “Syrians” may also include terrorists from 80+ countries shipped to Syria thanks to generous funding from the US and allies. We can reasonably assume that these misfits are among the “refugees” the majority of which have opted to migrate to Germany, France or Sweden and are now committing acts of terror or crimes like rape in those countries. To complicate things more, officials admit they are not always sure if a person identifying as a Syrian is really a Syrian, and some non-Syrians may be slipping through. There are numerous French and German new “citizens” who are in fact relatively recent refugees from the Middle East. Thus, a case could be made for banning travel from those 3 countries with high refugee proportions, but this will never happen.
But if the US is to ban Syrians because their country is full of terrorists, then what about Jordan, where ISIS and al-Qaeda are conspiring to radicalize residents of the large refugee camps, as reported here. But of course, the US can’t keep their people safe from these people because Jordan is a close ally of the US. Yes, politics drives the ban.
Libya was also on Trump’s list. Like Somalia, this choice is one of the few that makes sense. The Libyan government itself has warned that some of its citizens are likely to commit acts of terror abroad. I will refrain from mentioning that before the US had Ghadaffi murdered, this likelihood was much less and US citizens were safer.
Now, think really really hard, dear reader. When was the last time you read or heard about an Iranian launching a terror attack anywhere in the Western world? Iran is majority Shiite and the terrorists bombing or shooting up Western crowds are all Sunni Wahhabists or other Sunni takfiris. Yes, some Iranians have uttered violent words about the US, calling it the Great Satan, but only after the CIA contributed mightily to the ouster of their duly elected and highly popular president Mossadegh and then this same CIA saw to it that the highly unpopular Shah got elected and terrorized Iranians who dared to oppose him. And after the US shot down a civilian Iranian airliner. And after the US helped gas Iranians with Sarin and other deadly gasses (in attacks such as it now hypocritically uses as an excuse to bomb countries it claims – with no actual proof – use chemical weapons). So the US actually did aid and abet the killing of Iranians, while Iranians, full of righteous ire, only shouted angry words, but they are supposedly terrorists while the Americans are righteous and holy?
All in all, we can conclude that Trump’s list is as much political theatre as it is a security measure. Nonetheless, it has apparently had the effect of making many Americans feel safer, just as Trump makes Americans feel great again.
US war minister James Mattis has finally explained why the US has been at war for the last 65 years to the tune of untold trillions and hundreds of thousands of victims, mostly civilians. It is official. According to the military chief, Washington was shedding blood and treasure for the sake of “Western values.” Never mind that these elusive values have never been officially defined and that there is heated debate as to what they are. These unicorns are the cause of incalculable human misery worldwide.
The Washington Post quotes Mattis as saying to his European partners:
“No longer can the American taxpayer carry a disproportionate share of the defense of Western values.” Unfortunately, Mattis forgot to define these values for us.
Over the years, observers have taken numerous shots in the dark as to what Western values may be:
Here, for instance, is an attempted definition by the Westminster Institute:
“The great ideas of the West—rationalism, self-criticism, the disinterested search for truth, the separation of church and state, the rule of law, equality before the law, freedom of conscience and expression, human rights, liberal democracy—together constitute quite an achievement, surely, for any civilization.”
And the site Abagond takes its own stab:
“Western values (fl. 1946- ) are those moral ideas that many in the West say they value most, like freedom and democracy.”
But none of the sites describing Western values mentions one of the cornerstones of that concept, namely, oil. Yes, oil is a value for which Mattis’ US is risking capital, lives and, particularly, the last vestige of US prestige.
Clues that oil is indeed a value Mattis is willing to risk the planet for are coming in thick and fast for those willing to search them out.
Here is a bombshell from the on-site investigative war reporter E.J. Magnier:
“Russia has bigger plans in the Levant: during my visit to the city of Palmyra and its surroundings, the presence of thousands of Russian troops is striking, indicating that Moscow is sending new infantry and special forces in very large numbers. This large presence has not been announced.”
There have been sporadic attacks by Israel and the US on the Syrian forces – yes, the ones the US and Israel insist they are not at war with – over the last few years, especially since Russia joined the fray in September 2015. In fact, the Israeli defence minister admitted Israel has attacked Syria over a hundred times since the Russians got involved, and a few days ago, unknown aircraft attacked Syrian troops. Israel was blamed by the US itself, a very rare occurrence.
We know that just before the famous Trump shiny new Tomahawk attack on Syria, Russia had warned that, while they would not get involved, there had better not be any collateral damage to Russian facilities or personnel because in that case, Russia reserves to right to retaliate against not only the missiles fired but also the platforms whence they came. The Pentagon rightly calculated they were talking about sinking major naval assets – an unthinkable scenario – and they wisely and assiduously avoided hitting anything Russian on the ground. But missing in this East-West exchange was any reference to what the US coalition might undertake in retaliation for such a counter-attack. It was clear that the US had not contemplated such a scenario and would be at a loss for a response. This speaks volumes about US war preparedness and intentions. There simply are vague threats and absurd Russophobic pronouncements, but no one would dare suggest to the public that the defence department would endanger the lives of every one of its citizens plus planet earth by actually touching a hair on the head of an official Russian military asset. Ok, there had been Russian mercenaries targeted and allegedly killed, but none were official defence ministry personnel. Thus while talking a good fight for the sake of its constituents, America – Trump included – very well knows its place and is keenly aware of who is boss in the Middle East. One might assume it is all just a political show staged for Western public consumption, as we outlined here. Are Trump and Putin perhaps orchestrating it all behind the scenes?
Recently, the Russian defence ministry has been issuing statements about another false flag chemical attack like the previous one which it correctly forecast in Dhouma. The new attack is reportedly to be staged at Deir Ezzor this time, and just in time for this event, the US has resumed payments to the terror-supporting White Helmets, who staged the last attack. According to the defence ministry, the chlorine canisters have already been delivered to the “rebels.” Regular readers of NSS will recall that the US has “accidentally” killed 80 pro-Syrian fighters under Obama, followed by several more killings by the US of Syrians and Russian mercenaries under Trump in this same area, on the pretext that the US air base there felt “threatened” by the Syria-friendly troops. You will no doubt have noticed that we refuse to play the msm’s game of calling these troops “regime friendly” or “Assad-supporting.” Assad was duly elected by the Syrian people so his troops and their allies are simply supporters of the Syrian people. The same hypocrites who routinely call the legitimate Assad government a “regime” also assiduously avoid reminding their readers that the Saudis are a bona fide dictatorship, and one that sponsors terror to boot. Our readers also know that Deir Ezzor is home to the al-Omar oil fields, the richest in Syria. Again, we remind you that the US is in Syria illegally, having never been invited by the Syrian people, and that it has no legitimate right to warn anyone to stay away from “its” base near here. Further, while the US is using the Kurdish army SDF as a proxy and has pretended to be protecting these Kurds, Deir Ezzor is not within the territory of Kurdistan and has no more excuse to be there than the US military. They are both squatters and very much unwelcome to the Syrian people. Therefore, the US warning to Syrian troops in no way excuses the attack on the Syrians and Russians fighting ISIS there. Their presence has so far been tolerated by an incredibly tolerant President Putin, whose patience could be wearing thin.
All of the above could explain the presence of thousands of Russian troops in Syria. Because Russia knows that the US is wary of actually attacking Russian assets and therefore it has sent additional ones in a kind of calculated risk, gambling that neither the US nor Israel would dare to attack these Russians. The US can also reasonably assume that these troops – unlike the mercenaries murdered by the USAF back in February – are protected by Russian air defence systems such as the S-400 and the Pantsir. Just the very presence of such deadly systems could be expected to keep away enemy aircraft.
But that leaves precious few options for the other side. What’s a Western invader to do?
19 US operated terrorist camps in Syria
The world’s most dangerous cult:
Throughout his campaign, Trump kept saying that Obama was responsible for America’s economic and military woes. Yet neither Obama nor Trump address(ed) the real underlying causes of these woes. Both pursued or pursue essentially the same policies, which ignore these causes. To put it bluntly, both pursue almost exclusively political, not economic and military policies. In Trump’s case, his policy is to appear to represent a contrast with Obama, where appear is the operative term. He is focused on what his voters think they want, not on solving their problems.
If you were playing chess against a master, and you knew little about strategy, it might occur to you to make moves based on those of your opponent. That is, since he is trying to defeat you, it might make sense to make only moves that were the “opposite” of his moves. For example, if he advanced his bishop 2 spaces to the right, then you would advance your bishop 2 spaces to your right on your side of the board to oppose him. Geometrically, your moves would be diametrically opposite to his. Clever, eh?
But since he is a chess master, the game played on this basis on your side would not last even a half-dozen moves before he put you in check.
No reasonable player would even try such a reckless strategy, and yet, we are seeing otherwise intelligent players in government doing essentially this with the US economy. The only difference is that we have had no economic chess masters in decades, nothing but amateurs with less than average common sense. The point is, however, that doing the opposite of one’s opponent is of no value and is a signal that you are not competent to play the game.
Traditional economic strategies are based on methods that are at least ostensibly designed to yield a positive economic result. The strategies used thus far are mostly based on crackpot theories and lies to the public regarding inflation, unemployment and the like indices, and are, predictably, leading to interminable growth of debt in the countries where they are tried. It is no wonder that old strategies are being ditched in favour of new ones. Thus far, no economist has dared to publicly postulate that a state can achieve prosperity simply by making its trading partners poor. After all, intuitively, one would expect a rich trading partner to offer benefits that a poor one could not. Nonetheless, we are seeing signs that impoverishment is an integral part of US economic policy. (Compare this with the official Chinese policy of lifting Third World countries out of poverty, as we described here).
Yet, in the wretched state of affairs that the US faces today, with debt growing like a cancer throughout the Western world (and with actual unemployment and inflation figures bearing little resemblance to the government’s optimistic politically motivated calculations, as clearly illustrated here for unemployment and here for inflation), political pied pipers and their constituents are proposing and trying Rube Goldberg schemes in a desperate effort to pull out of the havoc that government, the defence industry and central bankers have wrought against the hapless citizen. No successful candidate has ever gone up against these three all-powerful chief culprits and all have blamed lesser actors, many of them with no role at all in the largely self-inflicted disaster facing the US economy.
Such desperate moves are understandable to some extent. Yet no politician has arisen with a plan to oppose spendthrift government, the bankers who keep printing money like counterfeiters and the defence industry that foists unwarranted and unlimited spending on the citizens by means of lobbies and propaganda, ie, the never-ending story that the US, with a defence spending level several times higher than the second biggest defence spender, China, is under-gunned and needs more arms to defeat an enemy that has never even suggested that it wishes to do the West physical harm (and in fact, the most formidable “enemy” that the US has conjured up keeps urging Washington to come to the negotiating table and stop the arms race). This chart shows that the US spends more than the top 7 defence spenders in the world. Yet scare tactics by politicians and unscrupulous journos are designed to boost spending even more.
We should point out here that even under “weak” Obama, defence spending was several times higher than in No. 2 defence spending champion China. The US was vastly overextended even then and the sensible thing to do would be cutting to a level of no more than, say, twice the Chinese level.
But the US strategy is to fill the pockets of arms manufacturers in exchange for various favours from its lobbies, not defend against any enemies.
By contrast, in Russia, the military strategy is long-term and focused on a constant development of innovations in all fields. A quick look at a few descriptions of innovative Russian arms, as narrated by Putin himself, will convince you that the Russian strategy is a winner. However, Russian news sites keep reporting on even more-recent arms developments that the US news either ignores or simply can’t keep up with (see our Military Affairs section for frequent updates).
Economically, Russia has a sovereign debt that is only a fraction of GDP, vs the US debt which far exceeds GDP and never stops growing. Russia regularly pays down this debt. This is the key to its independence and also the reason for much of the anti-Russian sentiment in the US government and msm. The West is reduced to jeering.
We now live in an era where the dominant economic strategy is based on examining the moves of earlier administrations and simply doing the opposite of what they did. The most egregious offender of these past administrations was identified as Barack Obama, who of course, made mistakes, although not everything he did was a mistake and none of these mistakes had much bearing on the current dismal state of affairs.
The new strategy consists essentially of “undoing” every part of his strategy. Since Obama focused on negotiating and compromising with his trading partners and refrained from bullying them, the new rationale demands that this post-Obama era be characterized by a total lack of compromise or even protocol in economic intercourse (for instance, for unknown reasons, Trump recently called EC Commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker a “brutal killer”). This has led in the Trump era to a series of tariffs imposed on goods that America used to manufacture but was undersold by China, Europe, Japan and other countries with superior strategies and more fortunate situations.
Thus, without considering the underlying reasons why the US was undercut pricewise and then taking measures on the domestic side to correct the imbalance, and without considering the well-known pitfalls of protectionism, Trump went about imposing tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium, for example. Since this was done without looking at the entire chessboard of possibilities, the “opponent” countries, now treated as enemies, have started contemplating their own counter-tariffs. While the Trump tariffs were initially thought to affect at least $34 billion in imports from China, the Chinese have also drawn up a list of retaliatory tariffs in approximately that amount. The figures will certainly change and the Chinese stand to lose the most if the retaliation is only in terms of manufactured and farm goods. But we need to recall that China is the biggest holder of US Treasuries, and these are also imports—securities imports. The US relies on these security sales to foreign countries. Both China and Japan had already pared back their Treasuries holdings from historic highs prior to the US tariffs, and Russia recently sold off half of its holdings, and since all are targets of US tariffs, they now hold a mighty ace card, with China and Japan each holding over a trillion dollars in US debt. It is to their advantage to hold the Treasuries, but if angered, China and Japan could start jettisoning this debt. The amounts could offset the losses from the US tariffs and effectively counter the Trump tariffs. In that event, the US would have gained nothing by imposing the protective tariffs – except enemies, that is.
One consequence of the new tariffs is that Europe has moved closer to Russia. Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the European Union Commission, is now making overtures toward Russia, which could go so far as to affect the EU’s relationship with NATO. Thus what started out as a trade war may very well cause the US to lose the trust of valuable military allies. German and Austrian politicians are now acknowledging that Russia is not an enemy and something resembling friendship is developing with Russia.
If we consider that the US is only as strong as its alliances, it is hard to see how Trump is making America great.
Donald is spinning again
Donald Trump has said that he wished Putin had been invited to the G7 so that he could tell him to get out of Syria and Ukraine.
The story of this Trump tweet was so under-reported we could hardly find it. But here it is at Newsweek:
Why would it be under-reported? Perhaps because it casts Trump in a light suggesting he is anti-Putin, which theoretically would please the Democ and other rats, though many doubt he is sincere.
Even Trump’s tweet in April warning Russia that his shiny new missiles would be headed to Syria in retaliation for the alleged chemical attack that no one has ever found either before or since, was 100% politically motivated. Trump needs friends and pretends to agree with people with diametrically opposing views. But no one has so far been able to find an underlying principle on which his erratic tweets and actions are based.
Clearly, when Trump unleashed his 58 shiny missiles from the last century on Syria, it was clear the Pentagon had cleared the attack with Putin who had warned that the ships launching the attack would be sunk if any Russian installations were hit.
Thus it must be said that when Trump talks about Putin, he is making politics, not war and that his tweets on the subject are mostly bluffs. Of course, such bluffs are how wars can start, with a president pretending to be tough and then being forced into a corner to prove he really is tough. It’s not the way sane adults run a sane country, but then, this is the West after all.
But the point sane adults understand is that neither Trump nor any other US official has a moral leg to stand on when it comes to Syria and Ukraine.
What is happening now is Just what happened before the Tomahawks were fired at Syria, and before the false flag chemical attack occurred, namely, Russia had predicted that the rebels in E. Ghouta were preparing a false chemical attack that could be preposterously blamed on Assad – preposterous because Assad was winning the conflict with terror in E. Ghouta and had no reason whatsoever to attack his own people with toxic gasses. The Russians had intel that such an attack was being prepared by the rebels and were hoping that if they told the world it was in the works, people would know that the US had no reason to attack Syria. In fact, judging by reader responses on news sites in different Western countries, that was indeed the case. People generally did not believe the US scam. Now they seem poised to try the same propaganda stunt and fail again.
The Russians are now predicting a false flag attack in the Deir Ezzor region, home of the Omar oil fields, the richest in Syria, which the US is salivating over and will steal if given the slightest opportunity.
Three times earlier, once under Obama and twice under Trump, the US military attacked Syrian and Syrian-allied troops at or near Deir Ezzor. The first 2 times, they called it a mistake, the last time they said the Syrians were threatening US troops, which, we are duty-bound to remind the reader, had no moral or legal authority to be there. How many times can they cry wolf before their story implodes?
Thus, Russia is an invited and very popular guest in Syria, while the US is there very much against the will of the Syrians. Of course, Trump keeps saying the US should get all the credit for eliminating ISIS in those areas where it has been eradicated, even though the hard work and casualties can be credited to the Russians and Syrian boots on the ground. But why be surprised? Trump also claimed all 58 missiles hit their targets, even though several that fell unexploded are now being studied in Moscow.
But now, for purely political purposes, Trump is insisting that Russia needs to leave. For anyone familiar with the facts on the ground, this is really hard to stomach.
Likewise, those familiar with the Ukraine story know that the US-backed Nazi-sympathizing troops and out-of-control militias there have been busy shelling civilian areas since day one and have destroyed infrastructure and killed civilians in the border region with Donbas. Yet the US has seen fit to send the Ukraine military antitank missiles so that they – and militias that President Poroshenko cannot control, can continue their deadly work.
But all the noise about “Russian aggression,” whether from Trump or whoever else, is just that, noise, and it is strictly political. Perhaps Trump is once again just bluffing, but a strong and articulate president would stand up to the philistines and tell the public the truth. The problem is, Trump may not be sure which side he is on, and that is why America doesn’t know either.
At least he has the “Deep State” to blame.
The author’s views are not necessarily those of New Silk Strategies.
The following is our translation of an op-ed from mainnews.ru.
“After Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election in November 2016, many experts cherished hopes for an early bilateral "thaw" and the end of the conflict in Ukraine with more or less favourable results for Russia. Another round of the massacre, in which people are still dying and infrastructure is being destroyed, eloquently tells us that some were clearly too quick to cheer the arrival of the eccentric Republican in the White House.”
Jumping the rails: Trump raises his hand against Putin
The situation in the world continues to grow hotter. The fierce fighting in Donbas, an extremely tense situation in south-western Syria - all this threatens a new escalation in relations between Russia and the United States.
Washington occasionally issues virtual ultimatums to Moscow, demanding a review of its foreign policy. The chances for a warming of relations between the two countries with the arrival of Donald Trump in the White House are rapidly melting away. The American leader raised his hand again, threatening a new blow to Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. Whether it is inflicted will become clear in the near future.
The last couple of weeks the messages from Donbas again acquired the character of full-fledged military reports. The shooting, attacks, occupation of settlements - all this testifies to the next serious military crisis in the region, and therefore, to a complete failure of the notorious Minsk agreements. After Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election in November 2016, many experts cherished hopes for an early two-sided "thaw" and the end of the conflict in Ukraine with more or less favourable results for Russia. Another round of the massacre, in which people are still dying and infrastructure is being destroyed, eloquently tells us that some were clearly too quick to cheer the arrival of the eccentric Republican in the White House.
Now after one and a half years of Trump's tenure as head of state, it is safe to say that those who operated on such assessments seriously miscalculated. Well, at least, they conducted an inadequate analysis of the situation. A clear marker that allows one to judge the commitment of the Republican administration to escalating with Russia is the supply of Javelin missile anti-tank complexes to Ukraine. The fact that they are already in Independent Ukraine [this is intended sarcastically since Ukraine is hardly independent now that the US has meddled there—NSS] was reported by local media at the end of April. The conflict in Donbas arose at the outset from internal contradictions and became the fault line of the rift in relations between Russia and the United States. The administration of former President Barack Obama unconditionally supported the current Ukrainian leadership. A small hitch occurred during the change of power in the White House. Some seriously predicted that the days of the Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko are numbered: they said the new American leader will reconsider his attitude towards Kiev and will stop supporting him to the same extent.
Soon after this, another round of military confrontations began. The main arena of combat clashes was the Gorlovka district, which is located to the north-east of Donetsk. The Ukrainian media, citing a high-ranking source in the armed forces of the country, said that the army intends to occupy the heights dominating the city and gain a foothold on them, making defence of the settlement pointless.
To this end, the Ukrainian troops seriously increased their reserves in the direction of the strike and in the first half of May began to test the defences of the divisions of the self-proclaimed Donetsk republic. The main goal of the Ukrainian armed forces is to occupy the city and create a springboard for attacks on Debaltsevo and Enakievo. If this is successful, the situation in Donetsk will be greatly complicated. Further strikes by Ukrainian forces from Gorlovka south-east towards Shakhtersk, supported by an attack from the western direction along the Dokuchaevsk-Starobeshevo-Amvrosievka line, could lead to a complete encirclement of the capital of the Donetsk republic, destruction of the armed forces of the DNR in the cauldron and capture of the city that four years was one of the symbols of the resistance of the Donbas people to Ukrainian aggression.
Kiev's actions are fully supported by Washington. Trump's special representative for Ukraine, Kurt Volker, the other day again put the responsibility on what is happening on Moscow. "Russia must make a fundamental decision to establish peace in the east of Ukraine, to withdraw its troops and allow the peacekeeping force with the UN mandate to replace them," he said. At the same time, everyone knows that we do not have armed forces in the Donbas, as confirmed by the International Court of Justice last July, rejecting the Ukrainian party's claim to recognize Russia as an aggressor.
But the American leader does not care. The tactics of dashing "cowboy swag," which he displays (remember the crisis around the DPRK in April last year), is designed to intimidate the opponent into further accepting the conditions put forward by the White House. In addition, in a few weeks, the World Cup starts. Under such conditions armed conflict is absolutely the last thing Russia needs, so Trump is clearly hoping to pressure Putin at this "delicate" moment.
And to make the attack more effective, Syria must be added on top of Ukraine. The situation there is developing favourably for Moscow as a whole. The army of the Arab Republic, with the help of our military advisers and aerospace forces, cleaned up the terrorist enclaves around Damascus - Yarmouk and East Ghouta - that existed for many years and also forced the so-called Rastan cauldron, which blocked one of the country’s main transport highways, to surrender.
Next in line is one of the last strongholds of militants is the south-western province of Daraa. The Syrian army has already begun to transfer to that province units that have been freed up following the storming of Yarmouk, including the elite Tiger Force unit. The military has already thrown down leaflets to the militants with an appeal to lay down their arms. But the terrorists are not willing to do so.
And it is understandable why. The other day, US State Department spokesman Heather Nauert said the US will take "decisive action" in response to the activity of Syrian military and Russian advisors supporting them in the province of Daraa. In parallel, in this province there is an accumulation of forces of the so-called Syrian Free Army militants, to which the United States supply arms and ammunition through its channels in neighbouring Jordan.
In the event of an attempt to clean out this terrorist rat-hole, militants can undertake a large-scale attack on the government army. Against this background, the news in the media in April of this year is very interesting, namely, the so-called "moderate opposition," supported by the United States, plans to create some kind of "autonomous state" in the south-west of Syria.
Will there be a new escalation? All the facts indicate that the Americans will continue to raise the stakes in the geopolitical confrontation with Moscow. However, over the past four years, Russia has clearly demonstrated that it is firmly committed to protecting national interests in both Ukraine and Syria. And dashing "cowboy swag" does not intimidate it. In any case, the summer of 2018 will not be boring.
[While negotiations are still ongoing, the threat to Syrian troops in the southwest may have passed thanks to an agreement reached between Russia and US and allies: https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5276197,00.html]
Following is our translation of an article from Svobodnaya Pressa, which has been carried in other Russian state-owned media as well. We recommend you supplement this information with an article from TheDuran which states:
“Katehon, a think-tank dedicated to the protection of nations’ sovereignty against invasions and coups from abroad, headlined, on May 15th, “Special Services Agent: Attack on Russia Is Being Prepared”, and reported that [with editorial clarifications and links supplied by me in brackets]:
According to Russian and Chinese law enforcement agencies, militants fleeing by sea from Syria and Iraq follow a route from the Qasim port in the Pakistani city of Karachi to Peshawar, and are then distributed along the Nangarhar province in the east of the country…”
Remember that the CIA originally supported terrorists in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets, leading to the creation of the Taliban. Analysts believe this interference in a sovereign country may have ultimately supported Osama bin Laden and led indirectly to the 9-11 attacks. Clearly, no matter the immediate goal, US support for terror is always a dangerous idea in the long run.
Quotes in this translation are from the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) Antiterrorist Centre. Reference is made to the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization), a UN observer organization, which includes as members Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikstan, Azerbaijan and Georgria.
ISIS 2.0 digs into Russia’s underbelly
Svobodnaya Pressa February 21, 2018
The remnants of the "Islamic State" group that were routed in Syria and Iraq* moved to neighbouring countries, the head of the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States] Antiterrorist Centre, Andrei Novikov, said at a meeting of the heads of national centres in Odintsovo.
"After the bulk of the combat core of ISIS was dismantled, its ‘fragments’ were evacuated to other regions. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, a new base for the deployment of ISIS* is being formed, replacing what was lost in Syria and Iraq,” Novikov said.
He noted that ISIS actually "conducts rebranding", remaining "both as a global religious and political project, and as a military-political model."
According to Novikov, the transit of militants to Afghanistan is being conducted according to the same pattern as in Iraq and Syria.
"In view of the information coming from our partners, we see a possible scenario for the activity of ISIS in Afghanistan in the near future. There are reasons to believe that ISIS will strive to gain control over heroin traffic,” the head of the centre added.
In October last year, the head of the FSB, Alexander Bortnikov, noted that the militants routed in Syria are moving to Afghanistan, where they are attempting to launch attacks against Russia.
- Yes, now there are all the signs that the Americans are contributing to the strengthening of ISIS* on the territory of Afghanistan with the goal that then Islamists can expand therefrom, including to the territory of Central Asia, - says the head of the department of Central Asia and Kazakhstan of the Institute of CIS countries Andrey Grozin. - In Kabul from the bazaar and to the parliament, people have been talking about some unidentified helicopters that are dropping "bearded men" into the countryside. A peculiarity of Afghanistan is that it is problematic to transport people there over long distances, because there is simply no road network. Ever since the Americans came to Afghanistan, work has been ongoing to build a ring road linking the main cities of the country. But it has not been completed yet, and besides, it is quite problematic to carry a large number of armed bearded men - obviously not citizens of Afghanistan. Especially through territories that are controlled by tribal militias and other armed groups.
Svobonaya Pressa: In other words, the Americans want to build another Syria next to the underbelly of Russia?
- We can’t yet say with one hundred percent certainty that the main goal of ISIS in Afghanistan will be precisely expansion to the post-Soviet space. Yes, there are already militant camps, entire counties in the provinces are controlled by ISIS detachments. Of course, the Taliban** is still immensely more influential in Afghanistan. But the ISIS militants are conserving their forces, and in two years everything could radically change. That is why we can’t rule out that we will receive Islamic State 2.0. In Afghanistan. And statements about this kind of danger from both Russian officials and officials of Central Asian countries have become significantly more frequent in the past year. This is also a symptom.
Again, I will make a reservation that ISIS fighters from Syria are fleeing not only to Afghanistan and Pakistan, but also to Libya and Indonesia. Therefore, no one can say for now exactly where they will try to arrange the main "hornets' nest.”
SP: - Is it possible that the Taliban and ISIS will merge into a new Islamist organization?
- You cannot completely rule out this option, although it is unlikely. So far they are in fact competitors. It is no coincidence that the leaders of the Taliban spoke out against the appearance of ISIS in the territory of Afghanistan. Thus far it is clear that they are fighting for control of the provinces where they grow specific agricultural crops. Simply put, ISIS is trying to win over some of the proceeds from the drug business. Since otherwise the Islamists simply will lose their subsistence. In Syria and Iraq, the Islamists quickly seized significant financial resources. And besides, they had income from captured oil wells. But in Afghanistan, apart from drugs, they have no source of income. And if the Taliban and ISIS fighters can’t come to terms, the next couple of years we will just watch the struggle between these factions for control over the Afghan drug business.
I do not rule out, however, that because of the growing danger of ISIS expanding, the Taliban will try to come to an agreement with the central Kabul government. Sluggish talks on this topic have been going on before. Part of the moderate Taliban can enter power.
It must also be understood that ISIS, having lost its previous sources of income, has become much less attractive for Islamists, including in Afghanistan. ISIS and its revenues almost dried up, and the sponsors from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia became much less generous. All this does not exclude the possibility of creating on the territory of Afghanistan several rather durable and battle-worthy enclaves with training camps for terrorists.
SP: - Probably, the terrorists trained in these camps can threaten terrorist attacks and post-Soviet states. Do the CSTO countries have leverage to influence the situation?
- In recent years the CSTO [Collective Security Treaty Organization] has been actively preparing to repel various forms of military aggression. As for the territory of Afghanistan, we can act there only with diplomatic and political tools. I have already mentioned the forthcoming dialogue between the Karzai Government and the Taliban. Yes, this organization is still banned in Russia. But based on geopolitical considerations, we should be involved in this negotiation process in order to influence it in our interests. The Taliban in general, in my opinion, is rather a nationalist than a terrorist organization. They are primarily interested in power in their country. Expansionary intentions on their part have not been particularly prominent. And precisely in this sense they are interesting to us - as opponents of ISIS.
Again, we need to use changes in the mood of Afghan politicians. The same Karzai, who was originally a one-hundred percent US protégé, now often talks about friendship with Russia and about how badly Americans behave. Everything is changing. [NSS highlighting]
By the way, the recent fake report about the supply of Russian weapons to the Taliban just shows that the Americans are afraid we will begin to motivate some armed groups in Afghanistan to test the strength of US military bases in this country. No one has done this in any serious manner so far.
SP: - And how popular are the ideas of radical Islamists in Central Asia. Will the ISIS fighters blow up the situation from within them?
- Yes, the ideas are popular. On the territory of Afghanistan, there are already groups, consisting largely of immigrants from the post-Soviet republics. And in Central Asia itself, in weak states there are so many internal problems that Afghanistan could become a veritable detonator. Of course, it is unlikely that terrorists will use columns from Afghanistan to storm cities in Kyrgyzstan or Uzbekistan. They understand that in this case they will easily be crushed by Russian air forces and other CSTO troops. But the same ISIS militants can easily raise the level of terrorist activity.
In Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, intelligence agencies are already uncovering new under-ground cells of ISIS. By the way, Uzbekistan is undergoing complicated processes related to the reform of security agencies. And, the situation in Central Asia as a whole also largely depends on how this situation is resolved. Local special services can successfully fight against home-grown extremists. But they can’t cope with international terrorism. Therefore, Russia is vitally interested in helping the special services of all the republics of Central Asia. Otherwise, if the situation is triggered, terrorism will inevitably spread to our territory.
And the visa regime is of little help, since tens of thousands of people from Central Asia have already obtained Russian citizenship. And providing protective systems for the longest border of Russia with Kazakhstan is an extremely complex and expensive task.
*The "Islamic State" (ISIS) by decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of December 29, 2014 was recognized as a terrorist organization; its activities are prohibited on the territory of Russia.
**By decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of February 14, 2003, the Taliban movement was recognized as a terrorist organization and banned in Russia
Below is our translation of an article from the Russian-language edition of EADaily preceded by our commentary.
“For the sake of energy, the Caliphate [ISIS] clings for dear life to a tiny enclave along the left bank of the Euphrates. Because it is located on the territory of the oil deposit Mayadin-Abu-Kemal, the richest Syrian oil field. That is, oil (fuel) can be either extracted there, or taken away from the enemy.”
This richest oil field is in Deir Ezzor Province where the above-mentioned place is located, though the author did not name the province. Syrian troops, assigned to fight ISIS, were first attacked by the USAF here in the Obama administration and then later under Trump. Just a few days ago, a rumour was circulated that Syrian troops in this oil-rich territory – who were there to fight ISIS – were again attacked by coalition jets.
Any sentient person must know that this ISIS enclave would not be here if the US, touting its “war on terror,” did not will it to be here. Clearly, the US has a use for these terrorists, and that is to protect the oil field from (not for) its rightful owner, the Syrian people. This is no doubt one of the main reasons for the US invasion of Syria – the oil.
Israel is also only too glad to be able to help the US protect ISIS. The Syrian war provides Israel with a pretext to attack Iranian boots on the ground fighting ISIS. Their excuse has always been that Iran is supposedly scheming to attack Israel. Unfortunately, most Americans are clueless about the Middle East and anything outside their borders for that matter. Therefore, it is child’s play to convince them that the US absolutely must invade countries. Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria… and next in line is Iran. After all, Israel must be protected. But the story about a planned attack by Iran is absolutely absurd and Middle East experts know it is a fairy tale. After all, Iran spent over a decade groaning under sanctions unable to trade with the West, desperately trying to convince the West that it did not have nukes and was not developing them. The Iranian government knew that if it attacked Israel, it would lose all rights to trade with anyone. Once the sanctions were lifted, Iran inked contracts – mostly for energy – with numerous European countries and even US allies in Asia and elsewhere. There is no way Iran would have thrown away this economic windfall just to attack Israel and bring down the world’s wrath on themselves. Of course, Rouhani’s government did warn that if Israel attacked Iran, it would retaliate. What else would you expect? The accusation that Iran was about to attack Israel was therefore a total lie. So why does Israel still insist on this old wives’ tale? Simply because Iran refuses to cow down and recognize Israel’s right to continue seizing territory in the West Bank and Gaza and slaughtering civilians there, in violation of UN resolutions supported by most countries – other than the US. Israel fears a well-deserved loss of prestige nothing else. Thus the rogue nation came up with the ingenious idea of blaming another country for being a rogue.
And the US goes along with the charade. Unfortunately then-president Ahmadinejad fell into the trap and foolishly said reckless things about Israel. Although the current moderate president, Rouhani, is expressing himself more diplomatically, the damage is done and now the US, Israel, and also Saudi Arabia can continue pretending that nothing has changed since Ahmadinejad left power, and Israel is therefore entitled to attack Iran. Hundreds of thousands of people would lose their lives, with the blessing of the US, of course.
The world is being set up for World War III and only Russia can defuse the situation – if anyone can, that is.
Don’t be too quick to write off the head choppers: the prospects of ISIS in Syria
Andrey Ganzha (Kiev)
Last weeks the world news feeds were again abuzz with the topic of military operations of the world-recognized terrorist organization Islamic State (ISIS, Daesh) in Syria:
ISIS continues to defend itself in southern Damascus, although the remaining opponents of Assad have long since fled ...
ISIS attacks pumping stations of gas-oil pipelines in the provinces of Homs and Deir Ezzor ...
ISIS attacks (on the Kurds, on government troops) on both banks of the Euphrates in the Mayadin-Abu-Kemal area ...
And so on.
What's going on, ladies and gentlemen? After all, recently the Iraqi, Russian and American presidents, as well as the British Prime Minister, declared the “final victory” over the Caliphate! And the Frenchman Macron even held a "Victory Parade" on this occasion, and observed it on the same balcony from which Charles de Gaulle announced victory over Nazi Germany.
Well what happened was that after "a kinda sorta victory" over ISIS, the "victorious countries" arranged a speculative get together, including a missile exchange and a cheap lie to the esteemed public about the results of this badminton. And they completely "forgot" that in the territory of Syria there are still four enclaves completely controlled by the "Caliphate":
- on the left bank of the Euphrates River, along the border with Iraq (the remainder of the ISIS- Province "Al-Furat");
- on the same left bank, along the river (the remainder of the Wilayat Al-Khair); [the Arabic word wilayat means “state” and is often used by ISIS to denote regions they control. Names with “wilayat” in them are not officially recognized—NSS]
- on the right bank, in the center of the Syrian desert (the remainder of the Wilayat "Homs");
- near Damascus, in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp (the remainder of the Province of Damascus).
In addition, in the south of the country, on the border with Jordan, there is a small region controlled by the "Army of Al-Walid" (Jaysh Khalid ibn al-Walid), which has sworn allegiance to the Caliphate.
Obviously, in the near future ISIS will lose the "Damascus" enclave. Already too many Syrian troops have been siphoned off there during the operation in East Ghouta, and the Bashar Assad government simply does not have a "political right" to tolerate the existence of a radical group in the vicinity of the capital. Moreover, this group unceremoniously shells the centre of the capital with mortar fire.
The Syrians will not touch the “Jordanian" enclave. Why? ISIS militants there are busy fighting with the surrounding territories of the "opposition," destroying themselves and opponents of Bashar Assad. By the hundreds…
But the three eastern enclaves, plus the ISIS enclave in the Anbar desert on the territory of Iraq, may represent a more-serious danger. They are located side by side, and in case of a merger they could constitute a completely self-sufficient territory. After all, for autarchy (self-sufficiency), you need three components: weapons, energy and food.
ISIS has had sufficient weapons since 2014 when in June alone they seized "means of transportation, weapons and ammunition" sufficient to equip three high-grade divisions. This is stated in a UN report.
For the sake of energy, the Caliphate clings for dear life to a tiny enclave along the left bank of the Euphrates. Because it is located on the territory of the oil deposit Mayadin-Abu-Kemal, the richest Syrian oil field. That is, oil (fuel) can be either extracted there, or taken away from the enemy.
There is also food there, too, although it is the Badia, considered since ancient times as a "deadly" Syrian desert. But on the eve of the Civil War, a project to restore degraded lands in the Syrian Badia was completed. Only a natural forage shrub was planted there on a hundred thousand hectares. And in 2010, some shepherds reported a tenfold increase in the productivity of their livestock. So for a person, especially with weapons, food there is not a particular problem.
The support and the human resource of ISIS are far from exhausted. Igor Dimitriyev, my good friend who, by the will of Fate has spent more time in Syria in recent years than in his native land, came to a conclusion worthy of attention: "By rejecting the cannibalistic ideology, the "caliphate" is global, technological and has a huge volunteer resource. Any supporter of the Islamic state, after reading the sermons, can study the instructions and make a forceful impact. To do this, you don’t even need combat experience. I believe that from many standpoints, such an army is, on the one hand, the reincarnation of the medieval war, when states were weak, and informal unions, supported by ideology or commercial interest, waged war. Yet on the other hand, ISIS is an army of the 21st century, as in futuristic cinema."
However, much more dangerous for the future is the high motivation in ISIS. Those who learned will remember: the first defeats of the Caliphate fighter were inflicted by the Kurds. And they note the high qualities of ISIS fighters. Not so long ago Kurdish Minister of Agriculture Abdulsattar Majid told me: "They also have their own ideas, and they believe in them. They have their own Sharia world, and they want the rest of the world to do likewise. They also fight "from the heart," and those who fight "from the heart" are always good fighters ... Therefore, I will say that they are good, ideological and well-armed soldiers." And don’t think that Majid is a "rural minister." For many years he served in the "Peshmerga" (the Kurdish army).
And there are plenty of professional mercenary soldiers there. According to US data of 2017 (a joint study of The Soufan Center and The Global Strategy Network), the number of foreigners in the forces of the Caliphate was at least 29,000. In general, whatever defeats ISIS may have experienced in 2018, its Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi remains among the top 75 "most powerful people of the planet" according to FORBES (74th place).
In the first ten days of May, opponents of ISIS, thank God, "woke up." The US-Kurdish coalition is fiercely attacking its Euphrates enclave. And, it seems, they have already broken through to the Euphrates, cutting off ISIS from the Syrian-Iraqi border. And this means that the remnants of the Caliphate are deprived of both access to oil and cross-border communication with like-minded people in the Iraqi Anbar.
The forces of Bashar Assad, with the support of the Russian Federation Military Aerospace Agency, launched a pre-emptive attack on the "western pocket" in the desert and "reported" on the establishment of control over the territory of 1,500 km2 (about 30% of the region controlled by ISIS). But we must face the truth: even if "control" is established over the entire territory, the war will not end.
Because something that today is called the "combat group ISIS" was born 15 years ago in the desert of the Iraqi province of Anbar. And from their earliest days, these insurgents learned to survive in a virtually faceless and barren landscapes. Even places where the most powerful and experienced "civilized" armies will most likely be powerless. I repeat, the military actions are taking place in the Badia, or as it is called, the "Syrian steppe." Although in fact it is rocky (known and sandstone) desert / semi-desert (serir). Low in moisture and sparsely populated. It is completely criss-crossed by canyons, caves created over thousands of years, and artificial tunnels. Several-kilometre long tunnels recently captured by Syrian government troops in Southern Damascus illustrate how ISIS is able to provide for refuge.
And this all means that even if the Syrians or Kurds capture some hilltop or an isolated town, this does not affect the ability of ISIS to mobilize in the area if necessary. Moreover, this makes government forces vulnerable in that they can be attacked from any direction: after all, a group of ISIS fighters can advance to determine the movement of government forces, attack them, and then simply slip away (most likely through tunnels) to another location.
The Syrians themselves believe that "the key to victory, or at least to a significant suppression of such a system of operations that is used by ISIS in the Syrian desert, is a wider presence of troops, regular patrols and constant observation." However, the Syrians do not propose how to do this under the conditions of the growing Iranian-Israeli-American-Russian conflict.
Therefore, do not rush to write off the head choppers and luxuriate in rays of glory on the balcony of Charles de Gaulle. ISIS is a headache that can turn into a migraine.
Andrey Ganzha (Kiev), specially for EADaily
Yakov Kedmi, the analyst quoted in the article translated below is called by the unnamed author a representative of Israel. It is true that Kedmi had worked, since emigrating from the Soviet Union to Israel in 1969 and later worked as an agent in Israeli intel agency “Nativ.” However, he is at loggerheads with Netanyahu over the latter’s anti-Russian stance and is obviously pro-Russia.
It must be noted that the Russian press seems to be banned from commenting negatively on Israel. Even Saudi Arabia is off-limits for the most part. Yet these 2 states are the underlying causes of most US-waged wars in the Muslim World, as we have explained earlier (see references at the end of this translation).
"The US has 10 years left and will do whatever it takes"
The United States is working out a plan for Iran against Russia, since they have only 10 years left before their loss of world supremacy. This was stated by Israeli expert Yacov Kedmi.
According to the expert, the US has dramatically changed its practical international policy, because it feels it is losing its hegemon status.
"They have only 10 years left to try to keep their power in the world using the last of their forces." In 10 years it will be too late, based on what is happening in China and Russia, and the US is well aware of this," explained Kedmi.
The new approach of the United States started to be manifested in its pressure on Iran, with which Washington pursues several goals at once. The first is to "break the hands" of non-sanctioned countries, primarily Europe, which the States are seeking to bring back to their sphere of influence. Kedmi expressed the conviction that the EU would not be able to resist and would choose the American option, but the US is taking a risk in jumping to sanctions, because [the resulting] economic problems in Europe could lead to the collapse of pro-American governments and hence to the final departure of the Old World from America.
In addition, US pressure on Iran could increase China's influence on Tehran.
"The Chinese will gladly go there. They need Iranian oil, and one of the reasons for the attack on Iran is not the nuclear program, but the fact that a quarter of Chinese oil came from Iran, and it was beyond the control of the Americans." [NSS comment: Kedmi, as an Israeli citizen commenting on Russian TV, cannot mention that Israel and Saudi Arabia are just as much behind the anti-Iran policies as the Iranian oil flowing to China, because Iran is a threat to Saudi domination of the ME and because Israel realizes Iran has never accepted Israel's invasion of Arab lands. Israel knows there is no military threat from Iran but finds it intolerable that Iran would suggest that Israel does not have the right to dominate the Arab world] Today they are fighting for the oil market, and they [feel] It is necessary to subordinate Iran. But what will they do with China? "The representative of Israel said. [Kedmi is speaking on his own, not as a representative of Israel, though he was once an Israeli intel agent—NSS]
Kedmi is convinced that Russia, unlike China, is the next target of US sanctions, and Iran is developing a model that will be applied to Russia in the coming years.
"The same principles, the same threats, the same thing awaits you [referring to Russia] in a year, two, three, when they can pull it off." The complete economic, financial blockade of Russia and the punishment of those who trade with Russia. Today it is an Iranian model, but the main goal is Russia. How will you react to this and will you?" The war is on, and more-aggressive methods are being used with every step. "What happened with RUSAL [Russia’s biggest aluminium company that is being hit by US sanctions and tariffs—NSS] is children's games," the expert said.
The US remains true to its policy, that it is possible to defend its rights in the world only by force, and negotiations should be conducted only when the enemy has already surrendered.
"The US Secretary of Defence, six months ago, said that America's foreign policy is based on the Pentagon's power, and the State Department then transforms it into international agreements, and it can be countered only by using the same principle [i.e., use of force against force—NSS]. It is impossible to counter this believing that international agreements can solve the threat of force or the use of force against the country. If you understand this, you can resist. If you do not understand, watch what happens to Iran,” warned Kedmi.
Original Russian-language text:
Saudi role in US wars:
Israel’s role in US wars: