How the Syrian Democratic Forces Were Suddenly Transformed into “Kurdish Forces”
by Robert Fisk
November 11, 2019

That wars end very differently to our own expectations – or our plans – was established long ago. That “we” won the Second World War did not mean the Americans would win the Vietnam war, or that France would vanquish its enemies in Algeria. Yet the moment we decide who the good guys are, and who the evil monsters whom we must destroy, we relapse again into our old mistakes.

Because we hate, loathe and demonise Saddam or Gaddafi or Assad, we are sure – we are absolutely convinced – that they will be dethroned and that the blue skies of freedom will shine down upon their broken lands. This is childish, immature, infantile (although, given the trash we are prepared to consume over Brexit, it’s not, I suppose, very surprising).

Well, Saddam’s demise brought upon Iraq the most unimaginable suffering. So too Gaddafi’s assassination beside the most famous sewer in Libya. As for Bashar al-Assad, far from being overthrown, he has emerged as the biggest winner of the Syrian war. Still we insist that he must go. Still we intend to try Syrian war criminals – and rightly so – but the Syrian regime has emerged above the blood-tide of war intact, alive, and with the most reliable superpower ally any Middle East state could have: the Kremlin.

I despise the word “curate”. Everyone seems to be curating scenarios, curating political conversations or curating business portfolios. We seem to be addicted to these awful curio words. But for once I’m going to use it in real form: those who curated the story – the narrative – of the Syrian war, got it all wrong from the start.

Bashar would go. The Free Syrian Army, supposedly made up of tens of thousands of Syrian army deserters and the unarmed demonstrators of Darayya, Damascus and Homs, would force the Assad family from power. And, of course, western-style democracy would break out, and secularism – which was in fact supposed to be the foundation of the Baath party – would become the basis of a new and liberal Arab state. We shall leave aside for now one of the real reasons for the west’s support of the rebellion: to destroy Iran’s only Arab ally.

We didn’t predict the arrival of al-Qaeda, now purified with the name of Nusrah. We did not imagine that the Isis nightmare would emerge like a genie from the eastern deserts. Nor did we understand – nor were we told – how these Islamist cults could consume the people’s revolution in which we believed.

Still today, I am only beginning to learn how Syria’s “moderate” rebellion turned into the apocalyptic killing machine of the Islamic State. Some Islamist groups (not all, by any means, and it was not a simple transition) were there from the start. They were in Homs as early as 2012.

This does not mean that Syrian rebels were not brave, democratically minded figures. But they were mightily exaggerated in the west. While David Cameron was fantasising about the 70,000 Free Syrian Army (FSA) “moderates” fighting the Assad regime – there were never more than perhaps 7,000, at the most – the Syrian army was already talking to them, sometimes directly by mobile phone, to persuade them to return to their original government army units or to abandon a town without fighting or to swap the bodies of government soldiers for food. Syrian officers would say that they always preferred to fight the FSA because they ran away; Nusrah and Isis did not.

Yet now, today, as we report the results of the Turkish invasion of northern Syria, we are using a weird expression for Turkey’s Arab militia allies. They are called the “Syrian National Army” – as opposed to the Assad government’s original and still very extant Syrian Arab Army. Vincent Durac, a professor in Middle East politics in Dublin, even wrote last week that these Arab militia allies were “a creation of Turkey”.

This is nonsense. They are the wreckage of the original and now utterly discredited Free Syrian Army – David Cameron’s mythical legions whose mysterious composition, I recall, was once explained to British MPs by the gloriously named General Messenger. Very few reporters (with the honourable exception of those reporting for Channel 4 News) have explained this all-important fact of the war, even though some footage clearly showed the Turkish-paid militiamen brandishing the old Free Syrian Army green, white and black flag.

It was this same ex-FSA rabble who entered the Kurdish enclave of Afrin last year and helped their Nusrah colleagues loot Kurdish homes and businesses. The Turks called this violent act of occupation “Operation Olive Branch”. Even more preposterous, its latest invasion is named “Operation Peace Spring”.

There was a time when this would have provoked ribaldry and contempt. No longer. Today, the media have largely treated this ridiculous nomenclature with something approaching respect.

We have been playing the same tricks with the so-called “American-backed” Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). As I’ve said before, almost all the SDF are Kurds, and they have never been elected, chosen, or joined the SDF democratically. Indeed there was nothing at all democratic about the militia, and its “force” existed only so long as it was supported by US air power. Yet the Syrian Democratic Forces kept their title unscathed and largely unquestioned by the media.

But when the Turks invaded Syria, to drive them from the Syrian-Turkish border, they were suddenly transformed by us into “Kurdish forces” – which they largely were – who had been betrayed by the Americans – which they very definitely were.

An irony, which is either forgotten or simply unknown, is that when fighting began in Aleppo in 2012, the Kurds helped the FSA grab several areas of the city. The two were fighting each other seven years later when the Turks invaded the “free” Kurdish borderland of Rojava. Even less advertised was the fact that the Turkish-FSA advance into Syria allowed thousands of Arab Syrian villagers to return to homes taken over by the Kurds when they set up their doomed statelet after the war began.

But the narrative of this war is now being further skewed by our suspension of any critical understanding of Saudi Arabia’s new role in the Syrian debacle.

Deny and deny and deny is the Saudi policy, when asked what assistance it gave to the anti-Assad Islamist rebels in Syria. Even when I found Bosnian weapons documents in a Nusrah base in Aleppo, signed off by an arms manufacturer near Sarajevo called Ifet Krnjic – and even when I tracked down Krnjic himself, who explained how the weapons had been sent to Saudi Arabia (he even described the Saudi officials whom he spoke to in his factory) – the Saudis denied the facts.

Yet today, almost incredibly, it seems the Saudis themselves are now contemplating an entirely new approach to Syria. Already their United Arab Emirates allies in the Yemeni war (another Saudi catastrophe) have reopened their embassy in Damascus: a highly significant decision by the Gulf state, although largely ignored in the west. Now, it seems, the Saudis are thinking of strengthening their cooperation with Russia by financing, along with the Emiratis and perhaps also Kuwait, the reconstruction of Syria.

Thus the Saudis would become more important to the Syrian regime than sanctions-cracked Iran, and would perhaps forestall Qatar’s own increasingly warm – if very discreet – relations with Bashar al-Assad. The Qataris, despite their Al-Jazeera worldwide empire, want to expand their power over real, physical land; and Syria is an obvious target for their generosity and wealth. But if the Saudis decided to take on this onerous role, the kingdom would at one and the same time muscle both Iran and Qatar aside. Or so it believes. The Syrians – whose principle policy in such times is to wait, and wait, and wait – will, of course, decide how to play with their neighbours’ ambitions.

But Saudi interest in Syria is not merely conjecture. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman remarked to Time magazine in August last year that “Bashar is going to stay. But I believe that Bashar’s interest is not to let the Iranians do whatever they want to do.” The Syrians and the Bahrainis are talking regularly about the post-war Levant. The Emirates might even negotiate between the Saudis and the Syrians. The Gulf states are now saying that it was a mistake to suspend Syria’s membership of the Arab League.

In other words, Syria – with Russian encouragement – is steadily resuming the role it maintained before the 2011 revolt.

This wasn’t what we in the west imagined then, when our ambassadors in Damascus were encouraging the Syrian street demonstrators to keep up their struggle against the regime; indeed, when they specifically told the protestors not even to talk or negotiate with the Assad government.

But those were in the days before two crazed elements emerged to smash all our assumptions, sowing fear and distrust across the Middle East: Donald Trump and Isis.

「イスラエル産」の表記不可、「占領地産」と明記せよ 欧州司法裁判所




All Products From Israeli Settlements Must Be Labelled: EU Court In Landmark Ruling
Wed, 11/13/2019 - 09:00

In a controversial new landmark ruling that has enraged and frustrated Israeli leaders, Europe's top court has ordered that all goods produced by Israeli settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights be labeled as such.

Specifically the European Court of Justice decision on Tuesday forbids any products from settlements to be labeled simply as "made in Israel"; instead, they must have a “clear and non-misleading indication of origin” in line with the EU's consumer policy, as stated by an EU official communicating the ruling to Tel Aviv.

Activists who have for years campaigned against illegal Israeli settlement expansion into the West Bank have hailed it as a victory, and as taking the European public a step closer to recognizing Israel as an 'apartheid state' akin to South Africa's recent history.
West Bank settlement file image.

The EU's highest court said in a press release:

“Foodstuffs originating in the territories occupied by the State of Israel must bear the indication of their territory of origin, accompanied, where those foodstuffs come from an Israeli settlement within that territory, by the indication of that provenance.”

The court ruled further that "Israel is present in the territories concerned as an occupying power and not as a sovereign entity."

The ruling follows prior 2015 guidelines mandated by the EU for member states to require specially labeling goods from settlements, but which not all followed. This also led to lawsuits where it was enacted, such as in France, brought by Israeli businessmen who sought to get the policy thrown out.

This week's ruling was in response to these legal actions and lack of uniformity across the EU in implementing and enforcing prior policy.
Pro-BDS sign painted on a wall in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, via AFP/Getty.

A spokeswoman at the EU embassy in Tel Aviv said, “The EU has a longstanding and well-known position that it will not recognize any changes to pre-1967 Israeli borders other than those agreed by the parties to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

But she also emphasized this wasn't an attempt at endorsing “any form of boycott or sanctions against Israel” — in reference to the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Israeli leaders have sought to fiercely push back, given it will have a big impact on Israeli trade with the EU, and could also negatively effect US trade with Europe.
Israeli winemaker Psagot, based in the West Bank, will have to carry a special label in EU countries. Image via the Jewish Chronicle.

They've urged the White House and Congress to pressure the EU not to implement the label ruling, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally urging Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to put the issue front and center.

Several US Senators have also reportedly gotten involved, according to Axios, sending letters to the EU's ambassador in Washington and US trade representative Robert Lighthizer, pressuring them to ignore the ruling.

ボリビアがドイツ社とのリチウム鉱山開発契約キャンセル →大統領亡命





Bolivian Coup Comes Less Than a Week After Morales Stopped Multinational Firm's Lithium Deal
"Bolivia's lithium belongs to the Bolivian people. Not to multinational corporate cabals."
Eoin Higgins, staff writer
November 11, 2019

The Sunday military coup in Bolivia has put in place a government which appears likely to reverse a decision by just-resigned President Evo Morales to cancel an agreement with a German company for developing lithium deposits in the Latin American country for batteries like those in electric cars.

"Bolivia's lithium belongs to the Bolivian people," tweeted Washington Monthly contributor David Atkins. "Not to multinational corporate cabals."

The coup, which on Sunday resulted in Morales resigning and going into hiding, was the result of days of protests from right-wing elements angry at the leftist Morales government. Sen. Jeanine Añez, of the center-right party Democratic Unity, is currently the interim president in the unstable post-coup government in advance of elections.

Investment analyst publisher Argus urged investors to keep an eye on the developing situation and noted that gas and oil production from foreign companies in Bolivia had remained steady.

The Morales move on Nov. 4 to cancel the December 2018 agreement with Germany's ACI Systems Alemania (ACISA) came after weeks of protests from residents of the Potosí area. The region has 50% to 70% of the world's lithium reserves in the Salar de Uyuni salt flats.

Among other clients, ACISA provides batteries to Tesla; Tesla's stock rose Monday after the weekend.

As Bloomberg News noted in 2018, that has set the country up to be incredibly important in the next decade:

Demand for lithium is expected to more than double by 2025. The soft, light mineral is mined mainly in Australia, Chile, and Argentina. Bolivia has plenty—9 million tons that have never been mined commercially, the second-largest amount in the world—but until now there's been no practical way to mine and sell it.

Morales' cancellation of the ACISA deal opened the door to either a renegotiation of the agreement with terms delivering more of the profits to the area's population or the outright nationalization of the Bolivian lithium extraction industry.

As Telesur reported in June, the Morales government announced at the time it was "determined to industrialize Bolivia and has invested huge amounts to ensure that lithium is processed within the country to export it only in value-added form, such as in batteries."

It's unclear what the next steps are for the industry in a post-coup Bolivia, according to global intelligence analysis firm Stratfor:

In the longer term, continued political uncertainty will make it more difficult for Bolivia to increase its production of strategic metals like lithium or develop a value-added sector in the battery market. The poor investment climate comes at a time of expanding global opportunities in lithium-ion battery production to meet rising demand from electric vehicle manufacturing.

ACISA told German broadcaster DW last week that the company was "confident that our lithium project will be resumed after a phase of political calmness and clarification."

On Sunday, Morales resigned.

After Evo, the Lithium Question Looms Large in Bolivia
by Vijay Prashad
November 13, 2019

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales was overthrown in a military coup on November 10. He is now in Mexico. Before he left office, Morales had been involved in a long project to bring economic and social democracy to his long-exploited country. It is important to recall that Bolivia has suffered a series of coups, often conducted by the military and the oligarchy on behalf of transnational mining companies. Initially, these were tin firms, but tin is no longer the main target in Bolivia. The main target is its massive deposits of lithium, crucial for the electric car.

Over the past 13 years, Morales has tried to build a different relationship between his country and its resources. He has not wanted the resources to benefit the transnational mining firms, but rather to benefit his own population. Part of that promise was met as Bolivia’s poverty rate has declined, and as Bolivia’s population was able to improve its social indicators. Nationalization of resources combined with the use of its income to fund social development has played a role. The attitude of the Morales government toward the transnational firms produced a harsh response from them, many of them taking Bolivia to court.

Over the course of the past few years, Bolivia has struggled to raise investment to develop the lithium reserves in a way that brings the wealth back into the country for its people. Morales’ Vice President Álvaro García Linera had said that lithium is the “fuel that will feed the world.” Bolivia was unable to make deals with Western transnational firms; it decided to partner with Chinese firms. This made the Morales government vulnerable. It had walked into the new Cold War between the West and China. The coup against Morales cannot be understood without a glance at this clash.

Clash With the Transnational Firms

When Evo Morales and the Movement for Socialism took power in 2006, the government immediately sought to undo decades of theft by transnational mining firms. Morales’ government seized several of the mining operations of the most powerful firms, such as Glencore, Jindal Steel & Power, Anglo-Argentine Pan American Energy, and South American Silver (now TriMetals Mining). It sent a message that business as usual was not going to continue.

Nonetheless, these large firms continued their operations—based on older contracts—in some areas of the country. For example, the Canadian transnational firm South American Silver had created a company in 2003—before Morales came to power—to mine the Malku Khota for silver and indium (a rare earth metal used in flat-screen televisions). South American Silver then began to extend its reach into its concessions. The land that it claimed was inhabited by indigenous Bolivians, who argued that the company was destroying its sacred spaces as well as promoting an atmosphere of violence.

On August 1, 2012, the Morales government—by Supreme Decree no. 1308—annulled the contract with South American Silver (TriMetals Mining), which then sought international arbitration and compensation. Canada’s government of Justin Trudeau—as part of a broader pushon behalf of Canadian mining companies in South America—put an immense amount of pressure on Bolivia. In August 2019, TriMetals struck a deal with the Bolivian government for $25.8 million, about a tenth of what it had earlier demanded as compensation.

Jindal Steel, an Indian transnational corporation, had an old contract to mine iron ore from Bolivia’s El Mutún, a contract that was put on hold by the Morales government in 2007. In July 2012, Jindal Steel terminated the contract and sought international arbitration and compensation for its investment. In 2014, it won $22.5 million from Bolivia in a ruling from Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce. For another case against Bolivia, Jindal Steel demanded $100 million in compensation.

The Morales government seized three facilities from the Swiss-based transnational mining firm Glencore; these included a tin and zinc mine as well as two smelters. The mine’s expropriation took place after Glencore’s subsidiary clashed violently with miners.

Most aggressively, Pan American sued the Bolivian government for $1.5 billion for the expropriation of the Anglo-Argentinian company’s stake in natural gas producer Chaco by the state. Bolivia settled for $357 million in 2014.

The scale of these payouts is enormous. It was estimated in 2014 that the public and private payments made for nationalization of these key sectors amounted to at least $1.9 billion (Bolivia’s GDP was at that time $28 billion).

In 2014, even the Financial Times agreed that Morales’ strategy was not entirely inappropriate. “Proof of the success of Morales’s economic model is that since coming to power he has tripled the size of the economy while ramping up record foreign reserves.”


Bolivia’s key reserves are in lithium, which is essential for the electric car. Bolivia claims to have 70 percent of the world’s lithium reserves, mostly in the Salar de Uyuni salt flats. The complexity of the mining and processing has meant that Bolivia has not been able to develop the lithium industry on its own. It requires capital, and it requires expertise.

The salt flat is about 12,000 feet (3,600 meters) above sea level, and it receives high rainfall. This makes it difficult to use sun-based evaporation. Such simpler solutions are available to Chile’s Atacama Desert and in Argentina’s Hombre Muerto. More technical solutions are needed for Bolivia, which means that more investment is needed.

The nationalization policy of the Morales government and the geographical complexity of Salar de Uyuni chased away several transnational mining firms. Eramet (France), FMC (United States) and Posco (South Korea) could not make deals with Bolivia, so they now operate in Argentina.

Morales made it clear that any development of the lithium had to be done with Bolivia’s Comibol—its national mining company—and Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos (YLB)—its national lithium company—as equal partners.

Last year, Germany’s ACI Systems agreed to a deal with Bolivia. After protests from residents in the Salar de Uyuni region, Morales canceled that deal on November 4, 2019.

Chinese firms—such as TBEA Group and China Machinery Engineering—made a deal with YLB. It was being said that China’s Tianqi Lithium Group, which operates in Argentina, was going to make a deal with YLB. Both Chinese investment and the Bolivian lithium company were experimenting with new ways to both mine the lithium and to share the profits of the lithium. The idea that there might be a new social compact for the lithium was unacceptable to the main transnational mining companies.

Tesla (United States) and Pure Energy Minerals (Canada) both showed great interest in having a direct stake in Bolivian lithium. But they could not make a deal that would take into consideration the parameters set by the Morales government. Morales himself was a direct impediment to the takeover of the lithium fields by the non-Chinese transnational firms. He had to go.

After the coup, Tesla’s stock rose astronomically.



これは、2000年にセルビアで起きた光景(colour revolution)の再現である。

Events in Bolivia follow script of ‘color revolution’ – the antithesis of democracy
12 Nov, 2019 21:52
Nebojsa Malic, senior writer at RT

From the claim of a ‘stolen’ election to the opposition burning ballots and the forced resignation of President Evo Morales, the events in Bolivia have followed the script of the original “color revolution” in Serbia.

A politician critical of Washington seeks re-election, and wins the vote in the first round under the existing rules. Opposition parties cry foul and demand a runoff, only to attack the polling stations and burn the ballots, making an accurate count impossible. Then their demands escalate: the “dictator” must resign without a new vote, the “people power” in the streets demands it.

Yes, this is Bolivia in early November 2019. But I remember it also being Serbia, in early October 2000 – back when it was still known as Yugoslavia. One or two similarities would be a coincidence; this kind of eerie overlap points to something more. Especially when what happened in Serbia would later be identified as the very first case of “color revolution.”
Also on rt.com One step closer to democratic, prosperous, free Western Hemisphere? Trump hails ouster of Bolivia's Evo Morales

There are two competing narratives when it comes to the ouster of Morales. The one embraced by the mainstream media calls it a democratic triumph of the Bolivian people against a selfish politician who refused to leave power after 14 years. Interestingly enough, this is something US President Donald Trump and CNN – normally at odds with each other – seem to agree on completely.

Meanwhile, non-mainstream voices, mainly from the political left, have denounced it as a “right wing coup,” either organized or abetted by the US, probably in order to seize Bolivia’s vast mineral resources and solidify Washington’s hold over Latin America.

There's literally not a single thing about the violence and military rule taking place in Bolivia that is about restoration of democracy.

Everything that's happening is about an end to democracy there: a classic coup.

It's astonishing US media outlets won't call it that: https://t.co/7Lcii1HEzC
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 11, 2019

“Restoring democracy” was also the narrative accompanying the US attempts – so far, unsuccessful – to install in power in Venezuela an unelected opposition politician polling in single digits. Those of you with longer memories may also remember that the October 2000 events in Serbia also involved an unpopular opposition leader of a coalition forced together by US diplomats. They were also painted as a spontaneous, grassroots protests – until it was over, and the media felt free to reveal the role of CIA and National Endowment for Democracy (NED) operatives and their “suitcases of cash.”

Four years later, the Guardian was confident enough to declare in a headline that it was a “US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev,” describing the ‘Orange Revolution’ in Ukraine.

“The operation – engineering democracy through the ballot box and civil disobedience – is now so slick that the methods have matured into a template for winning other people's elections,” wrote Ian Traynor, even noting that it was developed and pioneered four years prior in Belgrade.
Also on rt.com October 5, 2000: Flashback to Yugoslavia, West's first color revolution victim

One of the names mentioned by Traynor is Michael Kozak, a US diplomat who had tried to replicate the “color revolution” recipe in Belarus. Today, Kozak is acting Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs – the State Department’s portfolio that includes Bolivia.

Here’s Kozak on October 21, accusing Bolivia of lacking “credibility and transparency” in the vote-counting process, and demanding that the “will of the Bolivian people is respected.” What a remarkable coincidence, indeed!

The U.S. is closely watching 1st round of elections in #Bolivia, especially the sudden interruption of the electronic vote tabulation.

Electoral authorities should immediately restore credibility & transparency to the process so that the will of the Bolivian people is respected. https://t.co/vDc1L4ffX3
— Michael G. Kozak (@WHAAsstSecty) October 21, 2019

Then there is Jhanisse Vaca Daza, a prominent Bolivian opposition activist who has been trained in the US by an outfit called the Center for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS). Despite the innocuous-sounding name, this is a shadowy organization led by the former members of Otpor – a group crucial to the 2000 revolution in Serbia – turned professional revolutionaries working with the US Deep State around the globe.

It is worth noting that, while this racket has been extremely profitable for the CANVAS crew, most of their Otpor compatriots were less fortunate. The movement folded into a political party, and most of its members ended up disillusioned cogs in the political machine. Several even committed suicide, according to local media reports I have seen.

The “revolution” ended up delivering everything except democracy to Serbia, you see. Instead, it was saddled with a corrupt oligarchy and utterly meaningless elections, where votes are bought and sold and the dead vote with alarming regularity. Both the government and the opposition became agents of foreign powers, making the elections meaningless – what’s the use, when the US embassy ultimately decide who will be in charge? That’s no “democracy,” obviously.

If the coup in Bolivia is “democracy” then no wonder so many people in the global south hate that word. They associate it with empire and destruction. The term “democracy” as its used by the US and its media mouthpieces has no meaning.
— Rania Khalek (@RaniaKhalek) November 11, 2019

Is this what’s in store for Bolivia? It’s hard to tell, but for me the Serbian experience certainly makes it seem so. Color revolutions are astroturfed at their core, a malicious manipulation of genuine discontent, a big lie that poisons the well of the entire political system – perhaps permanently. Any country that has had to deal with one, whether successful or merely attempted, has emerged damaged in some way.

Media narratives play a decisive role in color revolutions. They are “a conflict between PR specialists of the government on one hand and the protest movement, or some foreign powers engaged on the other,” political scientist Mateusz Piskorski told RT in 2012.

There are layers of irony in that, given that Trump himself is engaged in a war of media narratives at home, against critics who are using the very same language of democracy and human rights to challenge his own legitimacy. They go so far as to call for the military to oust him from power – much as the Bolivian army just did Morales – all in the name of “our democracy,” of course.

That conversation, while worth having, is for another time. It is a cold comfort to the Bolivians, who now teeter on the precipice of a civil war.




White Helmets 'MI-6 Co-Founder' Found Dead In Turkey
by Tyler Durden
Tue, 11/12/2019 - 05:30

A former British army officer and military contractor who founded the shadowy 'White Helmets' has been found dead near his home in Istanbul, days after he was accused by Russia of being a spy with "connections to terrorist groups."

The body of 43-year-old James Le Mesurier was found Monday in the Beyoglu district of the city, with state-run Anadolu news agency reporting that he may have fallen to his death.

The Syrian Civil Defense family extends its deepest condolences to the James family, and we express our deepest sorrow and solidarity with his family. As we also must commend his humanitarian efforts which Syrians will always remember. pic.twitter.com/t8IvpIhyFV
— The White Helmets (@SyriaCivilDef) November 11, 2019

The White Helmets, a roughly 3,000 member NGO formally known as the Syrian Civil Defense, was established in Turkey in "late 2012 - early 2013" Le Mesurier trained an initial group of 20 Syrians. The group then received funding from Le Mesurier's Netherlands-based non-profit group, Mayday Rescue - which is in turn funded by grants from the Dutch, British, Danish and German governments.

According to reporter and author Max Blumenthal, the White Helmets received at least $55 million from the British Foreign Office and $23 million from the Agency for International Development. They have also received millions from Qatar, which has backed several extremist groups in Syria including Al Qaeda.

The US has provided at least $32 million to the group - around 1/3 of their total funding - through a USAID scheme orchestrated by the Obama State Department and routed overseas using a Washington D.C. contractor participating in USAID's Syria regional program, Chemonics.

According to their website, the White Helmets have been directly funded by Mayday Rescue, and a company called Chemonics, since 2014.

Yet there’s evidence that both of those organizations started supporting the White Helmets back in early 2013, right around the time the White Helmets claim to have formed as self-organized groups.

Mayday Rescue, as we said, is funded by the Dutch, British, Danish and German governments. And Chemonics?

They are a Washington, D.C. based contractor that was awarded $128.5 million in January 2013 to support “a peaceful transition to a democratic and stable Syria” as part of USAID’s Syria regional program. At least $32 million has been given directly to the White Helmets as of February 2018. -TruthInMedia

Notably, the Trump administration cut US funding to the White Helmets last May, placing them under "active review."

While the White Helmets tout themselves as 'first responders', the group has been accused of staging multiple chemical attacks - including an April 7 incident in Duma, Syria which the White House used as a pretext to bomb Syrian government facilities and bases.

Blumenthal writes, "When Defense Secretary James Mattis cited ‘social media’ in place of scientific evidence of a chemical attack in Duma, he was referring to video shot by members of the White Helmets. Similarly, when State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert sought to explain why the US bombed Syria before inspectors from the OPCW could produce a report from the ground, she claimed, ‘We have our own intelligence.’ With little else to offer, she was likely referring to social media material published by members of the White Helmets."

Days before Mesurier's death, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova claimed he was a "former agent of Britain's MI6, who had been spotted all around the world."

#Zakharova: The White Helmets’ co-founder, James Le Mesurier, is a former agent of Britain’s MI6, who has been spotted all around the world, including in the #Balkans and the #MiddleEast. His connections to terrorist groups were reported back during his mission in #Kosovo. pic.twitter.com/Fa7JTuP39Z
— MFA Russia 🇷🇺 (@mfa_russia) November 8, 2019

#Zakharova: The White Helmets stage provocations, help most dangerous terrorist groups and resist the counterterrorist efforts of the Syrian government assisted by other countries. They have planned and carried out a series of ruthless fake chemical attacks. #Syria #Russia pic.twitter.com/ePuiEsb558
— MFA Russia 🇷🇺 (@mfa_russia) November 8, 2019

Weeks after the Douma incident, Russian officials brought fifteen people to The Hague said to have been present, including 11-year-old Hassan Diab who was seen in a widely-distributed White Helmets video receiving "emergency treatment" in a local hospital after the alleged incident.

"We were at the basement and we heard people shouting that we needed to go to a hospital. We went through a tunnel. At the hospital they started pouring cold water on me," said Diab, who was featured in the video which Russia's ambassador to the Netherlands says was staged.

Others present during the filming of Diab's hospital "cleanup" by the White Helmets include hospital administrator Ahmad Kashoi, who runs the emergency ward.

“There were people unknown to us who were filming the emergency care, they were filming the chaos taking place inside, and were filming people being doused with water. The instruments they used to douse them with water were originally used to clean the floors actually,” Ahmad Kashoi, an administrator of the emergency ward, recalled. “That happened for about an hour, we provided help to them and sent them home. No one has died. No one suffered from chemical exposure.” -RT

Also speaking at The Hague was Halil al-Jaish, an emergency worker who treated people at the Douma hospital the day of the attack - who said that while some patients did come in for respiratory problems, they were attributed to heavy dust, present in the air after recent airstrikes, but that nobody showed signs of chemical warfare poisoning.

According to the governor's office in Istanbul, "comprehensive administrative and judicial investigations" have been initiated into Le Mesurier's death.

Perhaps he fell after an Assad operative spiked his tea with polonium, affecting his equilibrium. Whatever the case, it wouldn't surprise us if this becomes a pretext to 'liberate' Syria.

Narrative Managers In Overdrive After Death Of White Helmets Founder
Nov. 12, 2019
Caitlin Johnstone

James Le Mesurier, the founder of the White Helmets, has died. He was found to have plummeted from a height to the street outside his home, and authorities are reportedly calling it a suicide.

Le Mesurier has a history with British military intelligence and was fundamentally involved with an extremely shady narrative management operation geared toward manufacturing support for yet another imperialist military intervention in yet another Middle Eastern nation, so obviously any claims of suicide should be taken with a grain of salt no smaller than a Buick. But it is worth noting that according to Middle East Eye, Le Mesurier’s wife told police that he’d been struggling with psychological issues for which he was taking medications and had previously been hospitalized. Le Mesurier’s home was reportedly only accessible by fingerprint and no video footage of anyone besides Le Mesurier and his wife entering or leaving has been found.

Establishment narrative managers, for their part, have been floating the possibility that the White Helmets founder was murdered by the Russian government. The Washington Examiner has published an article titled “Did Russia kill White Helmets founder James Le Mesurier?”, calling to mind Betteridge’s law of headlines which states that “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.” The BBC’s Mark Urban tweeted out and then deleted a thread (screenshots here) in which he cites an anonymous source who claims to have known Le Mesurier’s flat well enough to be sure that it’s not possible to “fall” from his balcony, then meaningfully pointing to a “black propaganda campaign by Russia and Assad media” against Le Mesurier. He apparently didn’t consider the possibility of suicide until later, saying he deleted his thread due to “new information”.

For more info on Le Mesurier and his White Helmet mates, I highly recommend watching this excellent half-hour video by James Corbett. It’s full of primary-source video footage indisputably confirming the organization’s ties to western governments and to violent extremist factions in Syria, and explaining how an allegedly “neutral” organization on the ground has been used to control the narrative about what’s been happening in Syria.

Pundits who’ve built their name on Syria narrative management have been expressing grief over Le Mesurier’s death, including Eliot Higgins, Charles Lister, Julian Röpke and Oz Katerji. Katerji, an especially aggressive imperialism proponent, was particularly stricken, acknowledging that this pervasively corrupt operative was actually a dear friend of his.

“It is with a deeply heavy heart that I do this, but I can confirm my friend James Le Mesurier, founder of Mayday Rescue of White Helmets fame, died at his home in Istanbul last night,” Katerji tweeted.

“I am profoundly saddened by this, Jakes was a brave and decent man who saved countless lives. I will miss him. I am at a loss for words.”

Janine di Giovanni, who in 2016 authored a fawning puff piece on Le Mesurier and the White Helmets for Newsweek, tweeted,

“Terrible news. James was funny, smart, brave,committed. He stood up to bullies. On the right side of history. Believed in the White Helmets, their mission, their drive for good. A loss to humanity.”

Journalist Jonathan Cook criticized di Giovanni’s gushing hagiography, tweeting,

“This is what access journalism looks like: prize-winning war correspondents like Janine di Giovanni hanging out with ‘funny’ spooks like James Le Mesurier who’ve been responsible for stoking the very wars they report on — wars that have destroyed whole societies.”

On the death of James Le Mesurier, western governments' organiser of logistics support and propaganda for the fanatical jihadists in Syria, it is no surprise that today "Philip Cross" makes 48 edits to his Wikipedia page.https://t.co/qei9MnbgRC
— Craig Murray (@CraigMurrayOrg) November 11, 2019

Former UK ambassador Craig Murray has flagged the fact that Wikipedia’s imperialist narrative manager “Philip Cross” has made dozens of edits to Le Mesurier’s Wiki page since his death. Cross, who I’ve reported on previously, has made a more-than-full-time job of constantly managing the Wikipedia pages of both pro-establishment and anti-establishment media figures in a very pro-establishment slant; an article by Five Filters which you can read by clicking here documents how the “Philip Cross” account has been working morning to night with precisely zero days off toward this endeavor.

An article published by Murray last year documents the curious fact that although the serial Wikipedia editor had only about 200 followers on Twitter, he was followed by many high-profile narrative managers from huge British news media outlets like The Guardian, The Times and the BBC, as well as none other than James Le Mesurier himself.

Murray wrote at the time:

“Why then does James LeMesurier, founder of the ‘White Helmets’, follow Philip Cross on twitter? Why does ex-minister Tristram Hunt follow Philip Cross on Twitter? Why does Sarah Brown, wife of Gordon, follow Philip Cross on twitter? Why then do so the following corporate and state journalists follow ‘Philip Cross’ on twitter?”

To these questions I would add, why was Le Mesurier seen defending “Philip Cross” from someone voicing suspicion of him on Twitter after George Galloway offered a reward for information about the account? These questions have never been satisfactorily answered. And now this same account is frantically editing the Wikipedia page of his late fan James Le Mesurier. Some excerpts from the editing notes Cross has made to the page (note: according to Wikipedia, “RS” is short for Reliable Source):

not WH alone: “Unfounded conspiracy theories latched onto the White Helmets’ foreign funding and ties to Mr. Le Mesurier” and (earlier in the article) “who has been the target of repeated online disinformation campaigns”

Alternet is not considered RS, the article is by Max Blumenthal

this is the Assadist line which has no usable sources & should not be given undue credibility

rumour/conspiracy theory spread by non-RS

The article also has an editorial discussion section about whether or not it’s appropriate to have a “criticisms” section on the page, and how much any criticisms should be limited. Cross is of course intimately involved in this discussion as well.

There is an immense narrative management campaign dedicated to controlling what people think about what’s happening in Syria, aimed not solely at advancing the longstanding regime change agenda of the US-centralized empire but at protecting the credibility of the warmongering government and media institutions who the public is growing increasingly skeptical of in a post-Iraq invasion information age.

If people become doubtful in the propaganda machine which greases the gears of war, then warmongering itself will become impossible to carry out without waking the masses up from the narrative control matrix they’ve worked so hard to lull us into. Without endless war, the empire will crumble.

Whoever controls the narrative controls the world. Narrative control comes before any other priority the empire might have; before resources, before land, before even war itself. Our rulers and their goons will protect their ability to control the story of what’s happening tooth and claw. It’s up to us to see through their lies and bring an end to the lie factory.







Northern Syrian Oil Field Revenue Goes to SDF, Not US, Pentagon Claims
19:29 07.11.2019
by Tim Korso

Earlier, a report by the AP suggested that Washington could leave up to 800 troops to guard Syrian oil wells in Deir ez-Zor governorate, despite Russia slamming the US actions as "illegitimate".

Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Rath Hoffman has assured that the proceeds from the Syrian oil fields under its control would not go to the US, but to its Kurdish allies, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). He added that despite the US withdrawal from the country's north, announced in October, Washington continues to work with the SDF, providing them with the "ability and support" to fight Daesh*.

The Pentagon spokesman also stated that American commanders stationed near the oil fields in northern Syria have the right to defend themselves against other forces if these come under threat.
"Keeping the Oil" in Syria

Previously, AP reported, citing anonymous US officials, that the White House and Pentagon had decided to leave approximately 800 soldiers to protect the oil fields in the Arab Republic in an area stretching nearly 150 kilometres from Deir ez-Zor to al-Hasakah. According to earlier statements by Defence Secretary Mark Esper, the US will be "defending" them from Daesh* remnants, while US President Donald Trump was more ambiguous, simply saying that the US would be "keeping the oil".

The sources, speaking to the AP, stressed that it was still unclear to what extent US servicemen would go to fend off Russian or Syrian forces if they decide to return control over the oil wells to their rightful owner, Damascus. Moscow previously condemned the US move to establish a military presence near Syria’s oil fields as "illegitimate" and called for them to be turned over to the Syrian government.

At the same time, the Syrian Army reclaimed one of the oil fields in the country's northeast, near the city of Qamishli, on 5 November, after losing control over it several years ago, according to a SANA news agency report.

US doesn’t hide it’s in Syria for oil, uses revenues to fund terrorism – Turkish FM
9 Nov, 2019 13:34

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has accused the United States of breaking international law by taking control of oil fields in eastern Syria. “They openly admit that they are there for the oil reserves,” the diplomat said as cited by Anadolu news agency.

Cavusoglu said it was outrageous that the US was using revenues from the oil, which belongs to the Syrian people, to fund Kurdish militias. Ankara considers the YPG forces a terrorist group. The remarks were made during a joint press conference with Hadi Soleimanpour, the Secretary General of the Economic Cooperation Organization, a regional intergovernmental organization.

NATOは脳死 マクロン・フランス大統領



NATO’s ‘free-rider problem’: Macron wants independent Europe, but ‘it’s not something he can change JUST LIKE THAT’
7 Nov, 2019 13:53

By calling NATO brain-dead and criticizing the US’ role in the alliance, Emmanuel Macron has shown a desire for European military independence but the political reality works against his will, analyst John Laughland told RT.

“Macron is very confused, like many European leaders. He wants things which are incompatible,” Laughland told RT.

He is naturally disposed to be pro-American. He comes from the Atlanticist elite of France. But he is horrified of Trump.

The French leader earlier told the Economist that NATO is experiencing “brain death,” as member states cannot fully rely on the US to follow the bloc’s collective interests, and Europe needs to regain military sovereignty to fix that.

“The words Macron is using are interesting but I don’t understand how he expects to implement them,” Laughland said, noting that Macron has to deal with too many obstacles in order to achieve tangible military independence from Washington.

“NATO is a legal and political reality. There are American bases all over Germany, Britain and Italy. What is Macron going to do about them? The physical presence of the bases is itself an expression of Europe’s lack of independence. It’s not something you can change just like that.”

Another hurdle standing in the way of the French president’s ideas is the fact that the diminished state of the armies of Europe is “completely inadequate” for independent posturing, the analyst argued.

Talking to the Economist, Macron lamented US President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to pull American troops from Kurdish-populated areas in northern Syria in the wake of a Turkish invasion last month. Trump ostensibly did this without consulting with other NATO countries.

Laughland believes the way the bloc was built may have prompted Turkey to act so forcefully in Syria in the first place.

Like all permanent alliances, NATO creates the ‘problem of the free rider,’ or ‘the problem of the free lunch.’

“When you have a permanent alliance, it can create irresponsibility among its members because they think they can act with the unconditional backing of NATO. Turkey thinks it can do what it likes because it thinks it has NATO behind it.”


トルコ・イラク国境に近いハサケ県北西奥にあるアル・ジャワーディーイェal-Jawadiyah郊外ダイル・グスンDair Ghusn (Darna Agha)を通過しているトルコ軍の車列に、地元住民の子供たちが集団で投石。おばちゃんも負けじと参戦。




ASEAN首脳がことごとく米国要人との会談をキャンセル 相手にせず



Washington ‘Extremely Concerned’ as Majority of ASEAN Leaders Skip US Summit Over Trump’s No-Show
13:20 04.11.2019

President Trump did not attend this year’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Bangkok, Thailand, with the US represented instead by his national security advisor, Robert O’Brien.

A US diplomat has voiced Washington's 'extreme' concern over the move by the majority of ASEAN's leaders not to personally attend a special ASEAN-US summit on Monday.

“We are extremely concerned by the apparent decision,” the diplomat said, commenting on the snub, his remarks quoted by Kyodo News.

“A full or partial boycott by ASEAN leaders will be seen as an intentional effort to embarrass the President of the United States of America and this will be very damaging to the substance of the ASEAN-US relations,” the diplomat added.

The heads of state and government of seven of ASEAN’s ten members moved to skip the ASEAN-US Summit slated to take place on Monday.

The leaders of Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Cambodia, Myanmar and the Philippines downgraded their representation at Monday’s summit with the US by sending only their foreign ministers, with only a ‘troika’ comprising the prime ministers of Thailand, Vietnam and Laos showing up to the meeting with O’Brien.

The demonstrative decision was made on Friday, according to diplomatic sources cited by Kyodo News.

#AseanSummit : Today’s agenda includes the plenary of 35th ASEAN Summit, and meetings of the ASEAN Political Security Community Council and ASEAN Coordinating Council, among others. Check the meeting schedule on: https://t.co/sLVReZHQIw pic.twitter.com/yPsBABuha1
— ASEAN (@ASEAN) 2 ноября 2019 г.

The downgraded presence appeared to be tied to President Trump’s decision not to personally attend the ASEAN Leaders Summit and East Asian Summit in Bangkok on November 2-4, and not to send the vice president or the secretary of state in his place.

An ASEAN source confirmed to Kyodo News that the bloc of nations was “upset with US President Trump who decided to skip the meeting,” adding that the view was that Trump “should at least send a representative who is in the cabinet. Such a gesture may set a bad example for other dialogue partners in the future.”

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross did travel to Bangkok along with O’Brien, where he said that the Trump administration was “extremely engaged in and fully committed to this region.”

This was the second year in a row that Trump has failed to show up at the annual gathering of Southeast Asian nations. Last year, Vice President Mike Pence attended the 33rd ASEAN Summit in Singapore. Trump attended the summit in Manila, the Philippines in 2017.

Late last week, following reports that Trump would not attend the Bangkok Summit, Panitan Wattanayagorn, chairman of the security advisory committee for Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, told the Bangkok Post that there were a number of possible reasons for Trump to skip summits.

“President Trump’s participation [in summits] is complicated, and have many times in the past ended in a confrontation,” Panitan explained.




10/31(木) 11:00配信






国連、ウイグル問題で攻防 欧米日本など23カ国「拘束停止を」 中国支持派は54カ国


国連、ウイグル問題で攻防 欧米日本など23カ国「拘束停止を」 中国支持派は54カ国
10/30(水) 14:29配信










Orthodox priests from Western Europe rejoin Russian Church after breaking from Constantinople
3 Nov, 2019 07:42

The Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox churches in Western Europe has officially returned to the Moscow Patriarchate’s domain after defying an order from its rival Constantinople to dissolve.

Russia’s Patriarch Kirill presented the unity charter to Archbishop John (Renneteau) during a ceremony at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the Moscow’s Patriarchate’s largest church. John, who shall remain in charge of the Western European parishes, was previously given the title ‘Archbishop of Dubna’.

The exarchate, known as the Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox churches in Western Europe (AROCWE), was first formed by Russian emigrants – priests and faithful – who fled their homeland during the bloody civil war and chaos, which erupted shortly after the 1917 Revolution.

The Western European parishes that fell under the control of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople were united into a single entity back in 1931. At the very end of the 20th century, it was given vast autonomy by Constantinople which it enjoyed until recently.

Late in 2018, Constantinople abruptly reversed its own decision, revoking the autonomy and dissolving the AROCWE altogether. They argued that the reorganization would strengthen the archdiocese’s loyalty and ties to its “mother church.” The move backfired almost immediately when the AROCWE flatly ignored the orders from Constantinople, deciding to remain a united entity and ultimately seeking to rejoin the Moscow Patriarchate.

Back in September, the majority of parishes, governed by Archbishop John, voted for joining the Moscow Patriarchate. Still, they fell short of getting the two thirds of votes required to win – but Archbishop John decided to go for it anyway, calling upon the parishes to follow his lead. Those who are staunchly opposed to re-establishing a canonical link with Moscow are expected to fall under the governance of several metropolitans subordinate to Constantinople.

The decision was welcomed by Patriarch Kirill, who accepted Archbishop John’s offer. It came amid strained ties between the Russian Orthodox Church and Constantinople.
Also on rt.com Orthodox schism: Priests in Western Europe reject Constantinople, side with Moscow

Last year, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew decided to recognize a new self-styled schismatic Ukrainian Church, granting it “independence” – that turned out to be full dependence on Constantinople instead.

This decision interfered with the traditional sphere of influence of the Russian Patriarchate, violating the centuries-old principle of non-involvement in each others’ affairs, observed by different Orthodox Churches. After having re-joined Moscow’s realm, the Western European parishes – now under the newly formed Archdiocese of Western European parishes of Moscow Patriarchate – will retain their broad autonomy, as well as local liturgical and pastoral traditions.

デンマークがNord Stream 2の工事を許可 また米国が敗北 天然ガス輸出


Trump Loses More Than Just The Battle Over Nordstream 2
Date: October 30, 2019
Author: Tom Luongo

For the past three years the U.S. has fought the construction of the Nordstream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany every inch of the way.

The battle came down to the last few miles, literally, as Denmark has been withholding the final environmental permit on Nordstream 2 for months.

The U.S., especially under Trump, have committed themselves to a ‘whole of government approach‘ to stop the 55 bcm natural gas pipeline from making landfall in Germany.

I’ve literally documented every twist and turn of Nordstream 2 over the past few years here (check the archives), at Seeking Alpha and my former Newsletter at Newsmax.

Never once did I think the day wouldn’t come where the U.S. would eventually shut the pipeline down. The reason is simple. Europe, and specifically Germany, need the gas and there is no compelling reason for Germany to cave in the end if it wants to survive the 21st century a first world economy.

Russian piped gas is simply too cheap for any LNG to compete with.

In a sense, this pipeline is Germany’s declaration of independence from seventy-plus years of U.S. policy setting. Never forget that Germany is occupied territory with more than 50,000 U.S. troops stationed there.

So it is supremely rich of President Trump to call Nordstream 2 something that could make Germany a “hostage of Russia” when it’s been a hostage of the U.S. since 1945.

Then again, history isn’t one of Trump’s strong suits.

Poland had been the tip of the U.S. spear in this battle, first declaring the joint venture between Russian gas giant Gazprom and five European oil and gas majors — Wintershall, Uniper, Royal Dutch Shell, ENGIE and OMV — illegal and then forcing through changes to the European gas transit rules.

Today Nordstream 2 is wholly-owned by Gazprom where the five companies listed above are investors as creditors in the pipeline, having put up €9.4 billion as loans versus as partners, thanks to Polish intransigence.

And even if they had backed out, Russian President Vladimir Putin was always clear that the money for Nordstream 2 was available. You have to realize that this pipeline cost roughly three weeks of Russia’s trade surplus.

Poland wants to virtue signal about buying gas from the U.S. to spite Russia. That’s their business. They have other reasons for opposing Nordstream 2, their names are Angela and Merkel.

Because Merkel will be happy to replace gas going through Ukraine with gas coming through Germany to keep the Poles in line on EU integration policy. Germany will control the quotas from Nordstream 2. This is part of the reason why the Poles are so adamantly against it and why they are so set on having their own supplies.

So, they worked with Trump and others to secure their energy future, paying higher prices for the leverage to keep Merkel out of their domestic policy. It’s smart. I get that angle. But they could have gotten a better deal from Putin if they’d been willing to bury the hatchet.

In the end, the Trump administration likely spent more money opposing this project than it cost Gazprom to build it, when you factor in all the other moves made to counter Russia in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Syria and across Europe.

And the goal here was always to stop Nordstream 2 to retain some leverage over Russia by Ukraine in their negotiations of a new gas transit contract which expires at the end of 2019.

The same time that Nordstream 2 was supposed to be completed. U.S. pressure delayed this by a couple of months here as the pipeline won’t be ready on January 1st, but now that the permit has been granted there is no real leverage to play against Russia in Ukraine talks.

The gambit was to stop Nordstream 2 and then lambaste publicly, if not sue, Gazprom for not meeting its contracted volumes for delivery. This would bind the company down for years in more frivolous lawsuits within the EU while the U.S. stepped in, like the white knight, to keep Europeans from freezing to death.

Fortunately, for the world, that plan failed.

Because starving Russia of gas revenues and sending them to the U.S. is not the only goal of opposing Nordstream 2. Europe’s gas needs are so acute that there is plenty of market share to go around.

Bulgaria and other eastern European states are negotiating with Gazprom right now for new trains following path of the Turkstream pipeline across the Black Sea. Serbia is already getting theirs because they are an important bulwark against NATO for Putin.

Putin is in Hungary today talking with Prime Minister Viktor Orban who is also keenly interested in gas from Turkstream.

By the time Gazprom and Putin are done not only will Nordstream 2 be bringing in 55bcm, but Turkstream will have all four projected trains operating bringing in another 68 bcm.

So, which one of these is the real prize?

In the end the story of Nordstream 2 has a happy ending. Because despite the ridiculous rhetoric about European energy security, nothing secures the long-term peace in Europe than stitching the continent together with Asia with energy pipelines.

If Nordstream 2 wasn’t the optimal solution to Europe’s needs blame the U.S. and the EU itself for forcing Russia to scuttle South Stream in 2014 and fomenting a coup and the subsequent failed state known today as Ukraine then as well.

We broke what didn’t need fixing. But the U.S./U.K. obsessions with blunting the rise of China and enacting revenge on Russia for not becoming a vassal state to Wall St. and City of London under Putin wouldn’t be appeased.

There had to be one last major push for central Asian chaos and Nordstream 2 was only of those major offensives, like Syria, the war against the Donbass, the invasion of Yemen and the isolation of Iran.

All of those projects are coming to their very rapid conclusion now. And the geopolitical map will be forever changed.

Nordstream 2 going forward means now that Ukrainian President Zelensky will come to a quick decision on a transit contract with Gazprom. He’s already accepted the ‘Steinmeyer Formula’ for settling the conflict in the Donbass.

He’ll meet with Putin and risk a coup by the Banderists to get this done. He has to or Ukraine will not survive.

After four plus years of stalemate on these issues, like Brexit, when crunch time happens, everyone folds their hands and cuts a deal.

Had somehow Poroshenko remained in power Ukraine would continue to sink into irrelevance as the U.S. would keep them on the same ruinous path out of spite and the vain hope of success in the future.

So the future of Nordstream 2 was written in stone years ago, as Poroshenko’s approval sank into the abyss.

Moreover, Trump has lost the whip hand over Merkel on energy which means a quick reversal of foreign policy positions with respect to Russia. Once the Donbass is solved and a gas transit contract signed/extended and Nordstream 2 completed, expect the EU to lift sanctions on Russia and resume normal trade relations.

The first two things will likely happen now before the end of the year. Sanctions will be lifted in 2020.

Had Nordstream 2 failed, none of these outstanding issues would resolve themselves in the next five years.

This is how important Nordstream 2 was to the future of Europe and it proves that a pipeline and mutually beneficial trade, more so any political union, is a more powerful weapon than all the tanks in the world.

This is one fight I’m glad Trump lost.


'Very Disturbing': Courage Foundation's Douma Probe Casts Doubt on OPCW's Integrity
by Kit Klarenberg

WikiLeaks has published the findings of a panel that listened to testimony and reviewed evidence provided by a Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) whistleblower, which casts major doubt on the body’s integrity and independence.

The evidence related to the OPCW’s investigation of the alleged 7th April 2018 chemical weapons attack in Syria. Jihadist forces claimed the Syrian Arab Army was responsible, a charge taken up by the US, UK and France – Damascus in turn contended the strike had been staged by local extremist elements.

Seven days after the contested strike, before an independent investigation into the incident could be conducted by any international body - and whether the attack had even taken place or not was concretely established - Washington, London and Paris carried out a series of airstrikes against multiple Syrian government sites.

WikiLeks release: A statement from the panel tasked with investigating evidence from a OPCW whistleblower regarding the Douma alleged chemical attack in Syria, April 7, 2018. casts doubts on the accuracy of the OPCW final report. https://t.co/0y1MRStibG
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 23, 2019

​On 6th July that year, the OPCW issued an interim report based on the evidence it had so-far gathered – the document stated emphatically “no organophosphorus nerve agents or their degradation products were detected, either in the environmental samples or in plasma samples from the alleged casualties”. However, in March 2019, a final report was published, its conclusions totally contradicting those of its forebear.

“The evaluation and analysis of all the information gathered by the [Fact Finding Mission] —witnesses’ testimonies, environmental and biomedical samples analysis results, toxicological and ballistic analyses from experts, additional digital information from witnesses—provide reasonable grounds that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon took place. This toxic chemical contained reactive chlorine. The toxic chemical was likely molecular chlorine,” it stated.

While the investigation didn’t specifically assign blame for the attacks, fundamental to the attack's narrative was the notion cylinders containing the chemical had been dropped from government helicopters.

In May, this key tenet would be critically undermined when a report compiled by the OPCW’s Douma Fact Finding Mission’s engineering team in April 2018 was leaked by the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media (WGSPM). Its conclusions were stark – “observations at the scene of the two locations, together with subsequent analysis, suggest there is a higher probability both cylinders were manually placed at those two locations rather than being delivered from aircraft”.

For some background on the leaked OPCW report on the alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria, please read the article I published on Diplomat Magazine in July this year: https://t.co/rM7Lt0VuvW
— Eric van de Beek (@beek38) October 23, 2019

​The engineering team’s investigation, and resultant report, had hitherto been unmentioned by the OPCW – indeed, its final report on the Douma incident referred only to assessments sought from unidentified “engineering experts” commissioned in October 2018 and obtained in December 2018, suggesting the original engineering appraisal had been ignored, and suppressed, by the OPCW.

‘Unacceptable Practices’

While the bombshell document went almost entirely ignored by the mainstream media, The Courage Foundation – an international organisation “that supports those who risk life or liberty to make significant contributions to the historical record” - convened a panel of concerned individuals from the fields of disarmament, international law, journalism, military operations, medicine and intelligence in Brussels 15th October in an attempt to establish why the engineering report had been surreptitiously buried.

The panel met with a member of the OPCW investigation team, who provided an “extensive presentation, including internal emails, text exchanges and suppressed draft reports”. As a result, the panel is unanimous in expressing alarm “over unacceptable practices in the investigation of the alleged chemical attack in Douma”.

"A critical analysis of the final report of the Douma investigation left the panel in little doubt that conclusions drawn from each of the key evidentiary pillars of the investigation...are flawed and bear little relation to the facts."https://t.co/BNgxUfm2SZ
— Courage Foundation (@couragefound) October 23, 2019

​“We became convinced key information about chemical analyses, toxicology consultations, ballistics studies, and witness testimonies was suppressed, ostensibly to favour a preordained conclusion. We’ve learned of disquieting efforts to exclude some inspectors from the investigation whilst thwarting their attempts to raise legitimate concerns, highlight irregular practices or even to express their differing observations and assessments —a right explicitly conferred on inspectors in the Chemical Weapons Convention, evidently with the intention of ensuring the independence and authoritativeness of inspection reports,” the panel said in an official statement.

Indeed, critical analysis of the final report of the Douma investigation left the panel in little doubt conclusions drawn from each of the key evidentiary pillars of the investigation - including chemical analysis, toxicology, ballistics and witness testimonies – “are flawed and bear little relation to the facts”.

Theodore postol professor at mit and former scientist for the pentagon. https://t.co/pzYfsViZBp
— james burmester (@jamesburmester) October 19, 2019

​For instance, while biomedical analyses supposedly contributed to the report’s conclusions, the same report clearly states “no relevant chemicals were found” in biological samples taken by OPCW investigators – and moreover, “many, if not all” of the so-called chlorinated organic chemicals claimed by the OPCW to be “not naturally present in the environment” are in fact ubiquitous in the background, either naturally or anthropogenically.

“Although the report stresses the ‘levels’ of the chlorinated organic chemicals as a basis for its conclusions, it never mentions what those levels were —high, low, trace, sub-trace? Without providing data on the levels of these chemicals either for background or test samples, it is impossible to know if they were not simply due to background presence. In this regard, the panel is disturbed to learn quantitative results for the levels of ‘smoking gun’ chemicals in specific samples were available to investigators but this decisive information was withheld from the report,” the panel’s analysis states.

Toxicological studies provided in the OPCW’s final report also revealed “inconsistencies, incoherence and possible scientific irregularities”. While consultations with toxicologists are reported to have taken place in September and October 2018, no mention is made of what those same experts opined or concluded. Furthermore, the final toxicological assessment of the authors states clearly “it’s not possible to precisely link the cause of the signs and symptoms to a specific chemical”, but the report nonetheless concludes there were reasonable grounds to believe chlorine gas was the chemical used as a weapon.

Amazing, both cylinders in Douma did not squash their heads.
IMO, other cylinders from prev. "attacks" were shot from Hell cannons (or dropped from high objects) either at un-occupied areas and left there, or moved later to the areas where the staging took place.
— Elena Evdokimova (@elenaevdokimov7) March 15, 2019

​Even more worryingly, the panel viewed documented evidence showing other toxicologists had been consulted in June 2018 prior to the release of the OPCW interim report – these experts stated on record the signs and symptoms observed in videos and witness accounts from the incident were not consistent with exposure to molecular chlorine or any reactivechlorine-containing chemical.

“Why no mention of this critical assessment, which contradicts that implied in the final report, was made is unclear and of concern,” the panel caution.

Highlighting the partiality of the OPCW’s findings yet further, the panel found clearly conflicting witness statements had been gathered by OPCW investigators, describing “distinct and opposing” narratives of the incident - but only testimony supportive of claimed chemical weapon use contributed to the report’s conclusions. There was also a significant imbalance between numbers of persons interviewed by the respective FFM teams in Damascus and “Country X” (which WGSPM believe to be Turkey) – with twice as many interviewed in the latter.

Chillingly, the panel also concluded many inspectors in the Douma investigation weren’t involved or consulted in the post-deployment phase or had any contribution to, or knowledge of the content of the final report until it was made public – obstruction the panel feels amounts to a concerted attempt by the organisation to “obfuscate and prevent inspectors from raising legitimate concerns about possible malpractices surrounding the Douma investigation”.

No Integrity?

WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson, who sat on the panel, says the evidence provided by the whistleblower “casts doubt on the integrity of the OPCW” and as a result believes it to be “of utmost interest for the public to see everything collected by the Fact Finding Mission on Douma and all scientific reports written in relation to the investigation” - OPCW staff can leak any relevant documents securely to WikiLeaks via its website.

The panel is also calling upon all inspectors who took part in the Douma investigation to come forward and report their differing observations in an appropriate forum of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

José Bustani, First Director General OPCW:
“The convincing evidence of irregular behaviour in the OPCW investigation of
the alleged Douma chemical attack confirms doubts and suspicions I already
had”. https://t.co/ndK4sRikNk
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 23, 2019

​Dr Jose Bustani, first OPCW Director-General, was also a member of the panel. He contends the whistleblower’s testimony amounts to “convincing evidence of irregular behaviour” in the OPCW investigation of the alleged Douma chemical attack.

“I could make no sense of what I was reading in the international press. Even official reports of investigations seemed incoherent at best. The picture is certainly clearer now, although very disturbing. I’ve always expected the OPCW to be a true paradigm of multilateralism. My hope is the concerns expressed publicly by the panel, in its joint consensus statement, will catalyse a process by which the Organisation can be resurrected to become the independent and non-discriminatory body it used to be,” he added.

Veteran Journalist Goes Off Script, Exposes OPCW's Douma Evidence Suppression on BBC
21:39 28.10.2019
by Kit Klarenberg

On 23rd October, The Courage Foundation released the landmark findings of its investigation into the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ (OPCW) suppression of vital evidence in its investigation of the alleged 7th April 2018 chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria.

The Foundation’s expert panel met with a member of the OPCW’s Douma fact-finding mission, who provided the an “extensive presentation, including internal emails, text exchanges and suppressed draft reports” – in its resultant report, the team were unanimous in expressing alarm “over unacceptable practices in the investigation of the alleged chemical attack in Douma”, and concluded each of the key evidentiary pillars of the investigation (including chemical analysis, toxicology, ballistics and witness testimonies) were flawed and bear little relation to the facts”.

Here's British journalist Jonathan Steele on the BBC saying he was in attendance at the OPCW/Douma panel and witnessed a new OPCW whistleblower say his findings were suppressed on the absence of evidence for chlorine gas use on the scene in Syria. pic.twitter.com/JRdGAEnlVf
— Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) October 27, 2019

“We became convinced key information about chemical analyses, toxicology consultations, ballistics studies, and witness testimonies was suppressed, ostensibly to favour a preordained conclusion. We’ve learned of disquieting efforts to exclude some inspectors from the investigation whilst thwarting their attempts to raise legitimate concerns, highlight irregular practices or even to express their differing observations and assessments —a right explicitly conferred on inspectors in the Chemical Weapons Convention, evidently with the intention of ensuring the independence and authoritativeness of inspection reports,” the panel said in an official statement.

The bombshell findings went entirely unreported in the mainstream media, however – until award-winning veteran journalist Jonathan Steele managed to slip a reference past the BBC censors five days later.

Steele was invited onto the World Service’s Weekend programme to discuss the elimination of Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – but partway through, he made a startling intervention, noting he’d attended the briefing given to the Foundation by the OPCW whistleblower, one of the inspectors sent to Douma in April 2018 “to check into the allegations by the rebels that Syrian aeroplanes had dropped two canisters of chlorine gas, killing up to 43 people”, who “claims he was in charge of picking up the samples in the affected areas, and in neutral areas, to check whether there were chlorine derivatives there”.

Amazingly, host Paul Henley didn’t change the subject or terminate the conversation, instead asking Steele for more information.

“[The investigator] found there was no difference. So it rather suggested there was no chemical gas attack, because in the buildings where the people allegedly died there was no extra chlorinated organic chemicals than in the normal streets elsewhere. And I put this to the OPCW for comment, and they haven’t yet replied. But it rather suggests a lot of this was propaganda,” Steele said.

“Propaganda led by?” Henley probed.

“By the rebel side to try and bring in American planes, which did happen. American, British and French planes bombed Damascus a few days after these reports. This is the second whistleblower to come forward. A few months ago there was a leaked report by the person who looked into the ballistics, as to whether these cylinders had been dropped by planes, looking at the damage of the building and the damage on the side of the cylinders. And he concluded the higher probability was these cylinders were placed on the ground, rather than from planes,” Steele explained.

“This would be a major revelation…Given the number of people rubbishing the idea these could have been fake videos at the time,” Henley noted.

“Well, these two scientists, I think they’re non-political — they wouldn’t have been sent to Douma if they’d had strong political views by the OPCW. They want to speak to the Conference of the Member States in November, next month, and give their views, and be allowed to come forward publicly with their concerns. Because they’ve tried to raise them internally and been — they say they’ve been — suppressed, their views have been suppressed,” Steele concluded.

It would be wrongheaded to assign too much significance to the broadcast – after all, Steele’s comments were made unbidden over the course of a minute or so on an hour-long programme listened to by an unknown number of people (although BBC World Service does boast an audience of 319 million globally overall).

Time now for people with power and influence to support the brave people who are speaking out about @OPCW corruption and Western war propaganda. @alextomo @bbclysedoucet @CraigMurrayOrg @ClarkeMicah @2ndNewMoon @rogerwaters @SusanSarandon https://t.co/JpHD6JfItF
— Piers Robinson (@PiersRobinson1) October 28, 2019

​However, it notably marks the first time the whistleblowing of internally-silenced OPCW investigators has ever been mentioned in the mainstream media - and a small but growing number of journalists, including the British Mail on Sunday’s Peter Hitchens, and Italian La Repubblica’s Stefania Maurizi, have begun questioning the organisation on how and why these dissenting views came to be suppressed, albeit to little avail as yet. With more people enquiring, the OPCW will become ever-more unble be to avoid commenting on the scandalous suppression of evidence contrary to what was increasingly clearly a preordained conclusion of the Assad government’s culpability for the apparent chemical weapons attack.

America's History Of Controlling The OPCW To Promote Regime Change
Caitlin Johnstone
Oct 29, 2019

You wouldn’t know it from today’s news headlines, but there’s a major scandal unfolding with potentially far-reaching consequences for the entire international community.

The political/media class has been dead silent about the fact that there are now two whistleblowers whose revelations have cast serious doubts on a chemical weapons watchdog group that is widely regarded as authoritative, despite the fact that this same political/media class has been crowing all month about how important whistleblowers are and how they need to be protected ever since a CIA spook exposed some dirt on the Trump administration.

When the Courage Foundation and WikiLeaks published the findings of an interdisciplinary panel which received an extensive presentation from a whistleblower from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) investigation of an alleged 2018 chlorine gas attack in Douma, Syria, it was left unclear (perhaps intentionally) whether this was the same whistleblower who leaked a dissenting Engineering Assessment to the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media this past May or a different one. Subsequent comments from British journalist Jonathan Steele assert that there are indeed two separate whistleblowers from within the OPCW’s Douma investigation, both of whom claim that their investigative findings differed widely from the final OPCW Douma report and were suppressed from the public by the organization.

The official final report aligned with the mainstream narrative promulgated by America’s political/media class that the Syrian government killed dozens of civilians in Douma using cylinders of chlorine gas dropped from the air, while the two whistleblowers found that this is unlikely to have been the case. The official report did not explicitly assign blame to Assad, but it said its findings were in alignment with a chlorine gas attack and included a ballistics report which strongly implied an air strike (opposition fighters in Syria have no air force). The whistleblowers dispute both of these conclusions.

The drip-drip of revelations continues. Now a *second* whistleblower has come forward to say the OPCW concealed their findings clearing the Assad government of responsibility for an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma last year https://t.co/HqnlvFYdBh
— Jonathan Cook (@Jonathan_K_Cook) October 28, 2019

At the very least we can conclude from these revelations that the OPCW hid information from the public that an international watchdog organization has no business hiding about an event which led to an act of war in the form of an airstrike by the US, UK and France. We may also conclude that skepticism of their entire body of work around the world is perfectly legitimate until some very serious questions are answered. Right now no attempt is being made by the organization to bring about the kind of transparency which would help restore trust, with multiple journalists now reporting that the OPCW is refusing to answer their questions.

It is also not at all unreasonable to question whether the OPCW could have been influenced in some way by the United States behind the scenes, given how its now-dubious final report aligns so nicely with the narratives promoted by the CIA and US State Department, and given how we know for a fact that the US has aggressively manipulated the OPCW before in order to advance its regime change agendas.

In June of 2002, as the United States was preparing to invade Iraq, Mother Jones published an article titled “A Coup in The Hague” about the US government’s campaign to oust the OPCW’s very first Director General, José Bustani. If you’ve been following the recent OPCW revelations you will recall that Bustani was one of the panelists at the Courage Foundation whistleblower presentation in Brussels on October 15, after which he wrote the following:

“The convincing evidence of irregular behavior in the OPCW investigation of the alleged Douma chemical attack confirms doubts and suspicions I already had. I could make no sense of what I was reading in the international press. Even official reports of investigations seemed incoherent at best. The picture is certainly clearer now, although very disturbing.”

Mother Jones (which used to be a decent outlet for the record) breaks down how the US government was able to successfully bully the OPCW into ousting the very popular Bustani from his position as Director General in April 2002 by threatening to withdraw funding from the organization. This was done because Bustani was having an uncomfortable amount of success bringing the Saddam Hussein government to the negotiating table, and his efforts were perceived as a threat to the war agenda.

Friendly reminder that we know the USA has threatened to kill OPCW funding as leverage to achieve strategic goals. During the Bush administration it was to remove OPCW Director General Jose Bustani because he was interfering with the Iraq war agenda.https://t.co/757YaCLBZG pic.twitter.com/9rt3wXkA4e
— Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) October 28, 2019

“Indeed, US officials have offered little reason for its opposition to Bustani, saying only that they questioned his ‘management style’ and differed with several of Bustani’s decisions,” Mother Jones reports.

“Despite this, Washington waged an unusually public and vocal campaign to unseat Bustani, who had been unanimously reelected to lead the 145-nation body in May, 2000. Finally, at a ‘special session’ called after the US had threatened to cut off all funding for the organization, Bustani was sent packing.”

This happened despite broad international support for Bustani, including from then-Secretary of State Colin Powell who’d written to the renowned Brazilian diplomat praising his work in February 2001. According to the report’s author Hannah Wallace, the US was able to oust a unanimously re-elected Director General due to the disproportionate amount of financial influence America had over the OPCW.

“[I]n March of 2002, Bustani survived a US-led motion calling for a vote of no confidence in his leadership,” Wallace writes. “Having failed in that effort, Washington increased the pressure, threatening to cut off funding for the organization — a significant threat given that the US underwrites 22 percent of the total budget. A little more than a month later, Bustani was out.”

“Bustani suggests US officials were particularly displeased with his attempts to persuade Iraq to sign the chemical weapons treaty, which would have provided for routine and unannounced inspections of Iraqi weapons plants,” Wallace reported. “Of course, the Bush White House has recently cited Iraq’s refusal to allow such inspections as one justification for a new attack on Saddam Hussein’s regime.”

“Of course, had Iraq [joined the OPCW], a door would be opened towards the return of inspectors to Bagdad and consequently a viable, peaceful solution to the impasse,” Bustani told Mother Jones. “Is that what Washington wants these days?”

Panel Finds Gaping Holes in OPCW Report on Alleged Syrian Chemical Attack https://t.co/BIMiz4J3eH
— Consortium News (@Consortiumnews) October 29, 2019

Bustani told Mother Jones that he was already seeing a shift in the OPCW into alignment with US interests. Again, this was back in 2002.

“The new OPCW, after my ousting, is already undergoing radical structural changes, along the lines of the US recipe, which will strike a definitive blow to the post of the Director General, making it once and for all a mere figurehead of a sham international regime,” he said.

“Bustani traces the shift to the influence of several hawkish officials in the Bush State Department, particularly Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, John Bolton,” Wallace wrote.

Indeed, we’ve learned since that Bolton took it much further than that. Bustani reported to The Intercept last year that Bolton literally threatened to harm his children if he didn’t resign from his position as Director General.

“You have 24 hours to leave the organization, and if you don’t comply with this decision by Washington, we have ways to retaliate against you,” Bolton reportedly told him, adding after a pause, “We know where your kids live. You have two sons in New York.”

The Intercept reports that Bolton’s office did not deny Bustani’s claim when asked for comment.

It is worth noting here that John Bolton was serving in the Trump administration as National Security Advisor throughout the entire time of the OPCW’s Douma investigation. Bolton held that position from April 9, 2018 to September 10, 2019. The OPCW’s Fact-Finding mission didn’t arrive in Syria until April 14 2018 and didn’t begin its investigation in Douma until several days after that, with its final report being released in March of 2019.

“We Know Where Your Kids Live” John Bolton threatened head of chemical weapons commission as part of effort launch war against Iraq https://t.co/p8uluxbWGH
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 2, 2018

It is perfectly reasonable, given all this, to suspect that the US government may have exerted some influence over the OPCW’s Douma investigation. If they were depraved enough to not only threaten to withdraw funding from a chemical weapons watchdog in order to attain their warmongering agendas but actually threaten a diplomat’s family, they’re certainly depraved enough to manipulate an investigation into an alleged chemical weapons attack. This would explain the highly suspicious omissions and discrepancies in its report.

It is a well-established fact that the US government has long sought regime change in Syria, not just in 2012 with Timber Sycamore and the official position of “Assad must go”, but even before the violence began in 2011. I’ve compiled multiple primary source pieces of evidence in an article you can read by clicking here that the US government and its allies have been planning to orchestrate an uprising in Syria exactly as it occurred with the goal of toppling Assad, and a former Qatari Prime Minister revealed on television in 2017 that the US and its allies were involved in that conflict from the very moment it first started.

So to recap, we know that the US government has manipulated the OPCW in order to advance regime change agendas in the past, and we know that the US government has long had a regime change agenda against Syria. Many questions will need to be answered before we can rule out the possibility that these two facts converged in an ugly way upon the OPCW’s Douma investigation.

幼稚園で移民の子が60%、自国民ゼロのクラスも イタリア




Italy: Mass Legalization Of Migrants Is Suicidal
by Tyler Durden
Tue, 10/29/2019 - 02:00

Authored by Giulio Meotti via The Gatestone Institute,

Describing Italy, Gerard Baker, former editor in chief of the Wall Street Journal, recently wrote:

"In much of the country... depopulation is advancing. Moving into the empty spaces have been waves of immigrants, many from North Africa and the Middle East. The migrants have filled vital gaps in the labor force, but the transformation of Italian towns has left increasing numbers of citizens resentful, fearful for their identity."

He went on to call this transformation, "a kind of pioneer of Western decline". Already, the effects of mass migration are becoming dramatically visible in many of Italy's elementary schools. In just the last few days, examples from two large cities have surfaced.

The first was in Turin, Italy's fourth largest city, where there are now elementary school classes with not even one Italian child:

"In all classes, school principal Aurelia Provenza explained, the percentage of foreigners is very high, equal to 60% of the total number of pupils".

The second example comes from Bologna. "In my son's kindergarten there is a serious integration problem, I have to take him away," says Mohamed, a 34-year-old of Moroccan origin who arrived in Italy when he was 4 years old.

"I don't want to be seen as a racist myself as I am Moroccan, but the municipality must know that there is no integration by putting more than 20 foreign children into classes".

At the time of enrollment, Mohamed explained, they had seen drawings with flags of all nationalities in the school, but, "when we arrived at school the first day, we found ourselves in a class with all foreign children. The teachers are even struggling to pronounce the children's names."

We have now reached a paradox: immigrants are taking their children out from classes where, under multiculturalism, segregation is surging. "School performance falls when classes exceed 30% foreigners; it is a crucial threshold that should be avoided or otherwise monitored", said Costanzo Ranci, professor of Economic Sociology, and author of a recent report.

Both of the above cases have been the subject of much public debate. In Italy, last month, the number of migrants arriving from Africa surged, after having declined for most of the last two years. The migrant reception center on the island of Lampedusa, the front line of Italy's migration crisis, is now in a state of "collapse" due to the rapidly rising number of arrivals. The entire south of Italy is now trying to deal with migrants.

According to projections from the UN Population Division, the population of sub-Saharan Africa will double in 30 years, adding an additional 1 billion people and accounting for more than half the global population growth between now and 2050. Italy, which already has the third-largest population of migrants in Europe, is undergoing an "unbearable" crisis, and now faces the real risk of an "Africanisation", as Stephen Smith called it in his book, The Scramble for Europe.

There are many voices of concern. Cardinal Robert Sarah, author of a new book, The Day Is Now Far Spent, about the crisis of the West, compares the current influx of migrants to the invasions of barbarians that brought down the Roman Empire. If Europe's policies toward migrants do not change, Sarah warns, Europe will be "invaded by foreigners, just as Rome was invaded by barbarians."

"If Europe disappears, and with it the priceless values of the Old Continent, Islam will invade the world and we will completely change our culture, anthropology and moral vision".

An Italian think-tank, Fondazione Fare Futuro, also just predicted that due to mass migration and the different birthrates of Christians and Muslims, by the end of the century half of the population of Italy could be Muslim. In just ten years, the number of migrants in Italy has surged by 419%.

The native Italian population is already shrinking rapidly. Without the foreigners, every year native Italians would die (615,000) at twice the rate of births (380,000). Eurostat, the European official statistics office, calculates that by 2080, one-fifth of Italians will come from migration background (11 million of Italy's 53 million).

A recent report by the Italian national statistics office noted that the country is in a "demographic recession" not seen since the World War I, and 250,000 young Italians have fled the country. "Italy exports young graduates and imports migrants", wrote Il Giornale. Italy is expected to lose 17% of its population by 2050, and -- even without immigration -- half by the end of the century.

A Caritas-Migrantes report recently documented that since 2014, the decrease in the number of Italians is equivalent to the population of a large Italian city, say, Palermo (677,000). The dramatic decrease, however, has so far been offset by migrants.

Immigration is once again becoming a political question. Just weeks after forming a government with the Five Star Movement, the Democratic Party is advancing the so-called "birthright citizenship" -- a pledge to reverse the stringent migration policy of former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. In Latin this right to citizenship is called ius culturae. The new law would allow foreign minors under the age of 12 to become citizens after just five years at school in Italy. The bill is being advanced by Laura Boldrini, a former president of Italy's Parliament, who famously said:

"The lifestyle of the migrants will be ours".

Will Italians, as in those elementary schools, integrate into the new culture of the migrants?

The current government knows perfectly well what is at stake. "From now to 2050 and 2060, we will have to face an epochal question from 50 to 60 million people who will arrive in the Mediterranean world", MP Nicola Morra, MP in the governmental majority, recently said.

The government is literally gambling with Italy's future.

Italy is the European country most exposed to migration pressure from Africa. With a native population already shrinking, if Italy is open to the mass legalization of migrants, we should be at least be aware that it will be culturally suicidal.

米軍がシリア原油密輸出で毎月3000万ドルの不法収入 納税せず




Russian Defense Minister Publishes Evidence Of US Oil Smuggling From Syria
by Tyler Durden
Tue, 10/29/2019 - 00:00

Via The Saker blog,
Translated by Leo, bold and italics added for emphasis.
Source: https://ria.ru/20191026/1560247607.html

MOSCOW, October 26, 2019 – RIA Novosti – The Russian Ministry of Defense has published satellite intelligence images, showing American oil smuggling from Syria.

Image 1: Situation in the Syrian Arab Republic as of October 26, 2019.

According to the ministry, the photos confirm that “Syrian oil, both before and after the routing defeat of the Islamic State terrorists in land beyond the Euphrates river, under the reliable protection by US military servicemen, oil was actively being extracted and then the fuel trucks were massively being sent for processing outside of Syria.”

Image 2: Daman oil gathering station, Syria, Deir ez-Zor province, 42 km east of Deir ez-Zor, August 23, 2019.

Here, in a picture of the Daman oil gathering station (42 kilometers east of the Deir-ez-Zor province), taken on August 23, a large amount of trucks were spotted. “There were 90 automotive vehicles, including 23 fuel trucks,” the caption to the image said.

In addition, on September 5, there were 25 vehicles in the Al-Hasakah province, including 22 fuel trucks. Three days later, on September 8, in the vicinity of Der Ez-Zor, 36 more vehicles were recorded (32 of them were fuel trucks). On the same day, 41 vehicles, including 34 fuel trucks, were in the Mayadin onshore area.

Image 3: Gathering of vehicles in Syria, Al-Hasakah province, 8 km west of Al-Shaddadi, September 5, 2019.

As the official representative of the Defense Ministry Igor Konashenkov noted, the Americans are extracting oil in Syria with the help of equipment, bypassing their own sanctions.

Igor Konashenkov:

“Under the protection of American military servicemen and employees of American PMCs, fuel trucks from the oil fields of Eastern Syria are smuggling to other states. In the event of any attack on such a caravan, special operations forces and US military aircraft are immediately called in to protect it,” he said.

According to Konashenkov, the US-controlled company Sadcab, established under the so-called Autonomous Administration of Eastern Syria, is engaged in the export of oil, and the income of smuggling goes to the personal accounts of US PMCs and special forces.

The Major General added that as of right now, a barrel of smuggled Syrian oil is valued at $38, therefore the monthly revenue of US governmental agencies exceeds $30 million.

Image 4: Gathering of vehicles in Syria, Deir ez-Zor province, 10 km east of Mayadin, September 8, 2019.

“For such a continuous financial flow, free from control and taxes of the American government, the leadership of the Pentagon and Langley will be ready to guard and defend oil fields in Syria from the mythical ‘hidden IS cells’ endlessly,” he said.

According to Konashenkov, Washington, by holding oil fields in eastern Syria, is engaged in international state banditry.

Image 5: Gathering of vehicles in Syria, Deir ez-Zor province, 14 km east of Mayadin, September 8, 2019.
The reason for this activity, he believes, “lies far from the ideals of freedom proclaimed by Washington and their slogans on the fight against terrorism.”

Igor Konashenkov:

“Neither in international law, nor in American legislation itself – there is not and cannot be a single legal task for the American troops to protect and defend the hydrocarbon deposits of Syria from Syria itself and its own people,” the representative of the Defense Ministry concluded.

A day earlier, the Pentagon’s head, Mark Esper declared that the United States is studying the situation in the Deir ez-Zor region and intends to strengthen its positions there in the near future “to ensure the safety of oil fields.”


「日本人のための芸術祭」催しを続行 反差別団体は抗議
10/27(日) 22:56配信



 催しは「日本人のための芸術祭 あいちトリカエナハーレ2019『表現の自由展』」として、各地で差別街宣を繰り返してきた「在日特権を許さない市民の会」(在特会)の元会長が「党首」を務める政治団体が開いた。県は施設の使用を許可していた。


10/28(月) 9:16配信


 この芸術祭は、ある政治団体が企画した「芸術祭 あいちトリカエナハーレ2019『表現の自由展』」。タイトルは愛知県で開催された国際芸術祭「あいちトリエンナーレ2019」を意識したもの。同展では講演のほか、ベトナム戦争時の韓国軍兵士の蛮行を表現する「ライダイハン像」、不自由と大きく書かれたバッグ、「ルンルン楽しい日韓断交」「犯罪者はいつも朝鮮人」と書かれた「かるた100連発」などを展示した。

 あいちトリエンナーレの企画展「表現の不自由展・その後」では慰安婦問題を象徴する「平和の少女像」、昭和天皇とみられる人物を含む肖像軍が燃える映像「遠近を抱えて」などを展示。芸術なのか? 芸術作品なら許されるのか? 公金投入の是非など大きな議論を巻き起こった。









Here's Why Trump's "Secure Syria's Oil" Plan Will Prove Practically Impossible
by Tyler Durden
Sat, 10/26/2019 - 23:30

The below analysis is provided by "Ehsani" — a Middle East expert, Syrian-American banker and financial analyst who visits the region frequently and writes for the influential geopolitical analysis blog, Syria Comment.

Much has been debated since President Trump tweeted that “The U.S has secured the oil” in Syria. Is this feasible? Does it make any sense? The below will explain how and why the answer is a resounding NO.

Al-Omar and Conoco fields are already secured by Kurdish-led SDF and U.S forces. Some of the oil from these fields was being sold through third parties to Syria's government by giving it in crude form and taking back half the quantity as refined product (the government owns the refineries).

Syria's government now has access to oil fields inside the 32km zone (established by the Turkish military incursion and subsequent withdrawal of Kurdish forces). Such fields can produce up to 100K barrels a day and will already go a long way in terms of meeting the country’s immediate demand. So the importance of accessing oil in SDF/U.S hands is not as pressing any longer.

SDF/U.S forces can of course decide to sell the oil to Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) but Syria's government now has control over the border area connecting Syria to KRG territory through both Yaaroubia and Al-Mallkiya.

The Syrian government also now has control over supply of electricity. This was made possible by taking control of the Tishreen and Furat dams. Operating those fields needs electric power supply and the state is now the provider.

5-#Syria ‘a Govt also now has control over supply of electricity. This was made possible but taking control of the Tishreen and Furat dams. Operating those fields needs electric power supply and the State is now the provider pic.twitter.com/8eeSVTBVLA
— EHSANI2 (@EHSANI22) October 23, 2019

Securing and operating these fields also entails paying salaries to those operating the fields. International companies would be very reluctant to get involved without legal backing to operate the fields.

“Securing the oil” therefore can only mean preventing the Syrian state from accessing al-Omar/Conoco only (not oil in the north). It’s unlikely anything can be sold or transported.

And let’s not forget “securing” this oil would need ready air cover, and all for what?

The argument about oil was flimflam, but generals Graham and Keane just wanted Trump to walk back his policy of getting out of Syria. “While the emphasis on oil in Syria was intended to convince Trump that the U.S. military is valuable, securing the oil fields was not the purpose https://t.co/DJ3OaR5VRG
— Joshua Landis (@joshua_landis) October 26, 2019

SDF composition included Arab fighters and tribes who accepted Kurds in leadership since they had American support and key cities in north. Many of those Arabs are already switching and joining the Syrian Army. “Securing” oil for benefit of the Kurds is likely to antagonize the Arab fighters and tribes in the region.

Preventing rise of ISIS is likely to entail securing support of the region's Arabs and tribes more than that of the Kurds. This Kurd/Arab issue is yet another reason why President Trump's idea of “securing” the oil for the benefit of the Kurds just doesn’t make sense nearly on every level.

米軍がISのバグダーディー師を暗殺 シリア・イドリブ県で


私はこの日が来ることを3年前の2016年12月16日に気付いていた(↓2本目)。国際関係をやっている人だったら、例外なく全員が鮮明に覚えているだろう。黒地に白抜き文字の葬式印刷で、一面全面の上から4分の1ほどの位置にデカデカと印刷された「Pax Americana is Over.」の強烈なメッセージを。この周囲にちりばめられたコラムも全て、米国の時代が終焉したことを嘆く作文で埋められていた。覚えていないやつはモグリだ。明日、職場に辞表を提出すべきだ。




Daesh Leader Baghdadi Reportedly Killed by US Special Forces in Raid Approved by Trump
06:24 27.10.2019

Earlier Saturday, US President Trump cryptically tweeted that "something very big has just happened." Later that day, an undisclosed "major statement" by the president was announced for Sunday morning.

The US military has conducted a special operations raid targeting Daesh* leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, a Newsweek report says.

The raid, which took place Saturday, was approved by the president a week prior, the report says.

Iraqi intelligence agencies helped to locate Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the infamous former leader of daesh, Iraqi state TV cited a terror group expert as saying.

A high-ranking source in Iraqi intelligence confirmed that Baghdadi had been liquidated in Syria’s Idlib province, INA news agency reported.

Iraqi state TV said that it will air footage of the raid that killed Baghdadi.

A senior Pentagon official and a US Army official told Newsweek that Baghdadi was the target of a top-secret operation in Syria's Idlib province.

The US Army official said that Baghdadi was killed during the raid. The Pentagon source added that the department has "high confidence" that a high-value target killed during the raid was Baghdadi, but that further verification is underway.

The report notes that the raid took place in the Idlib province, currently controlled by Syrian Islamist militias, including Hayat Tahrir al-Sham - the former Nusra Front - which clashed with Daesh in recent years.

The raid was authorized after the Joint Special Operations Command received "actionable intelligence," as the target location had been under surveillance for some time, the report says.

Earlier on Saturday, Trump posted a cryptic tweet, saying that "something very big has just happened," gathering more than 45,000 comments.

Something very big has just happened!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 27, 2019

​Later that day, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley announced that Trump would make a "major statement" Sunday morning at 9 a.m. EST (1300 GMT), without providing further details.

Pax Americana Is Over
Opinion By Roger Cohen
Dec. 16, 2016

The thing about “The Apprentice” is you could turn it off. Now we get to watch Donald Trump all the time. There’s nowhere to hide. I was in Papua New Guinea recently. His name kept coming up.

The appointments cascade at reality-show speed. Rick Perry to head the Energy Department whose name he couldn’t remember when he wanted to dismantle it! Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency he’s spent the last several years suing! A fierce critic of worker protections to be secretary of labor! An oil executive, Rex Tillerson, whose company owns drilling rights on 63.7 million acres in Russia to handle dealings with Vladimir Putin when Moscow just infiltrated the American election process!

Next up: Kim Jong-un as press secretary, Cruella de Vil to head the Humane Society, and Mata Hari to lead the Cybersecurity National Action Plan.

All this is further evidence of Trump’s genius. He is master of the Art of Disorientation. He’s turned Americans into cartoon characters whose heads are always spinning. How the president-elect must laugh at all the fact-based journalism (ghastly tautological phrase) dedicated to disproving things he never believed and can’t remember anyway.

The disoriented are more inclined to seek saviors. Trump knows that. He’s been right up to now. Before anyone else, he was onto the way that direct democracy through social media has buried representative democracy.

One minute it’s “millions” of illegal votes for Hillary Clinton; then dangling little Mitt Romney; then being too smart for intelligence briefings. Let’s face it, folks. We have no idea what is about to happen in the White House or at White House North in Midtown Manhattan. We are in whatever territory lies beyond unknown unknowns.

But some things may be emerging from the fog. Trump is not interested in the rules-based international order the United States has spent the last seven decades building and defending. His foreign policy will be transactional. If it profits America, fine. If not, forget about it. Trump’s United States will be agnostic on human rights, freedom and democracy. America, suspending moral judgment, will behave a lot more like China on the world stage.

Except that’s a little unfair to China. The Chinese do understand the benefits of free trade (and they certainly understand that when Trump rips up the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a strategic plan to offset Chinese power couched in an economic arrangement, Beijing grows stronger). Because they often can’t breathe, the Chinese also understand, in a way Trump does not, the importance of fighting climate change.

As an exercise, I’ve been trying to imagine Trump saying something — anything — about the heinous destruction of Aleppo by the forces of Putin and Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. I’ve been trying to imagine what Trump might say about the brutal crimes against Syrian civilians in the beleaguered eastern sector of that once glorious city. I came up blank.

He did say it was “sad.” He said he’d ask Persian Gulf nations to put up money for “safe zones.” Good luck with that as the war nears its sixth year.

I guess that’s one advantage of the amorality in which Trump traffics: You may as well refrain from any moral stand because nobody will believe you anyway. (To be fair, Syria is a huge stain on the Obama presidency.) It would be obscene for Trump to speak of principles. That is a problem.

America is an idea. Strip freedom, human rights, democracy and the rule of law from what the United States represents to the world and America itself is gutted. Of course, realpolitik driven by interests is integral to American foreign policy, but a valueless approach of the kind Trump proposes leaves the world rudderless.

Pax Americana is over. It had a good run. A Putin-Trump alliance at the service of the butcher Assad — combined with the undoing of the military alliances, trade pacts, political integration and legal framework of the postwar order — constitutes its death knell.

Maybe everything will work out fine with a nuclear South Korea, a nuclear Japan, Baltic States exposed to the whims of Putin, the United States Embassy moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a flimsy NATO abjured by America, and swaggering Texan oil men running things while Trump takes time off in New York.

I doubt it. The embassy move alone could ignite widespread violence. David Friedman, the man Trump has nominated as ambassador to Israel, seems certain to stoke the fires.

Trump’s plans are full of contradictions he hasn’t begun to address. He’s against the Iran nuclear deal although of course he’s never read it. But Putin is for it. Trump wants to eliminate the Islamic State. So does Russia, whose ally in Syria is Iran. Trump wants an America-first, business-driven policy. Boeing just signed a big deal with Iran. So maybe Trump ends up doing the only sane thing: preserving a nuclear deal that’s in everyone’s interest.

Who knows? Markets think they do. They love Trump. That’s because Trump believes big guys should take everything and little guys should take nothing.

But wasn’t it the little guys who voted for Trump? That’s funny, really it is. Or as he would put it, “Sad.”

"No Proof": Russia Dismisses Trump's Baghdadi Victory Lap As ‘Propaganda’
by Tyler Durden
Sun, 10/27/2019 - 17:20

Moscow is dismissing President Trump's celebratory statements on the US special forces raid which allegedly killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as but premature 'propaganda'.

Detailing some of the dismissive statements to come out of Russia hours following the major White House announcement of the terror's leader's death — or what's become the Trump administration's own "bin Laden moment" — The Daily Beast cites Russian state TV correspondent in the United States Denis Davydov as saying “Trump has elections coming up in a year and this announcement of al-Baghdadi’s liquidation will add some points for the Commander-in-Chief.”





The World's Best And Worst Pension Funds
by Tyler Durden
Fri, 10/25/2019 - 23:00

With the global population aging at a rapid pace (research has determined that the percentage of the population over the retirement age will grow to 20% by 2070, up from 9% today), understanding the durability of the world's pension funds is of growing importance.

Hence, the Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index, a study of 37 retirement income systems covering more than 63% of the world's population, has been created to reflect the "great diversity between the systems around the world with scores ranging from 39.4 for Thailand to 81.0 for the Netherlands."

ロシア石油会社Rosneftが輸出決済をユーロに ドル排除


One Of The World’s Largest Oil Companies Just Ditched The Dollar
By Tsvetana Paraskova
Oct 24, 2019, 10:00 AM CDT

Russia’s largest oil company Rosneft has already completed the switch away from the U.S. dollar to euros in its export contracts to minimize risks from potential new U.S. sanctions, Rosneft’s chief executive Igor Sechin said on Thursday.

Rosneft has already fully switched to euros as the base currency for all its export contracts, and sees big potential in working in euros, Sechin said at the Eurasian Economic Forum in Verona, Italy, on Thursday.

According to Rosneft’s top executive, the Chinese yuan could become a much more important global currency in the future, because of Chinese economic growth.

The share of the U.S. dollar in the global oil and oil products trade is around 90 percent currently, Sechin said but noted that in ten years’ time, due to the Chinese economy, the yuan could raise its share from the current 2 to 5 percent.

Russia is looking at ways to settle its energy transactions in euros and/or rubles in order to avoid dealing with dollars, Russian Economy Minister Maxim Oreshkin told the Financial Times in an interview earlier this month.

At the beginning of October, reports emerged that Rosneft set the euro as the default currency for all new exports of crude oil and refined products, as the state-controlled giant looks to switch as many sales as possible from U.S. dollars to euros.
Related: How Much Oil Is Up For Grabs In Syria?

As of September, Rosneft was seeking euros as the default option of payment for its crude oil and products.

Rosneft is the biggest oil exporter from Russia, selling around 2.4 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil, according to Reuters estimates.

The United States has not ruled out imposing sanctions on Rosneft over its involvement in trading oil from Venezuela. Rosneft has been reselling the oil from the Latin American country to buyers in China and India and thus helping buyers hesitant to approach Venezuela and its state oil firm PDVSA because of the U.S. sanctions on Caracas, and, at the same time, helping Venezuela to continue selling its oil despite stricter U.S. sanctions.

教師たちが反日スローガンを生徒に強要、反対したらイルベかと非難 韓国





2019/10/24 10:21




 仁憲高校の学生連合によると、10月17日に同校の校庭で「仁憲高校走って歩いて触れ合いフェスティバル」という行事が行われた。年に1度開かれる年例行事で、全校生徒500人のうち1、2年の生徒約300人が参加した。生徒たちは反日および不売運動のスローガンが書かれた横50センチ、縦15センチの白のポスターを1枚ずつ持って参加した。行事の1週間前から各クラスの担任たちが自分の授業時間に反日不売スローガンが盛り込まれたポスターを制作させたという。「49したくても45するのはやめよう」(買いたくても買うのはやめようの意)「NO 安倍」「日本は謝罪せよ」などのスローガンが制作された。「これに同意しないある生徒が抗議する意味で『対北送金従北左派』と書いたところ、教師と個別面談をさせられた」という生徒たちの証言もあった。

2019/10/24 10:41









Russia transfers Raptor patrol ship to Syrian Navy after attack on oil pipeline: photo

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:15 A.M.) – The Russian military has transferred one of their patrol ships to the Syrian Navy after a bizarre attack on the country’s oil pipeline in the Mediterranean caused serious issues for the government.

According to reports, the Russian Armed Forces transferred one of their Raptor patrol ships (Project 03160) to the Syrian Navy after the attack on the oil pipeline near the Baniyas Refinery in the eastern Mediterranean in August.

Russia has transferred a Raptor patrol vessel (Project 03160) to the Syrian Navy pic.twitter.com/uoZzWkjoYN

— Y.N.M.S (@ynms79797979) October 16, 2019

According to the YouTube channel La Magra:

“The Raptor (Project 03160) high-speed patrol boats are designed and being built by Open JSC Pella Shipyard based in Leningrad, Russia. The boat can be deployed in a wide range of missions, including patrolling, search-and-rescue, anti-sabotage and anti-terrorism. It can transport up to 20 crew members of distressed ships or aircraft and has the ability to intercept and arrest light ships.

The Russian Navy plans to procure a series of eight boats by 2015. Four of them were rolled-out in 2014, while the remaining four are scheduled to be launched in 2015. The boats will be operated by the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet and will be based at the Leningrad Naval Base.”

The Syrian Navy has been seen using this ship on several occasions in the last month.

トルコ軍事作戦の背景(3) 米国、ロシア、シリアとの合意事項







All that is hidden from you about the Turkish operation "Source of Peace" (3/3)
The Turkish invasion of Rojava
by Thierry Meyssan

While the international community publicly fears the brutality of the Turkish intervention in northern Syria, it unofficially welcomes this intervention as the one and only solution to bring peace to the region. The war against Syria ends with one more crime. The fate of Idleb’s foreign mercenaries, the rabid jihadists during eight years of a particularly savage and cruel war, has yet to be determined.
Voltaire Network | Damascus (Syria) | 21 October 2019

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On October 15, 2016, President Erdoğan solemnly announced that his country would carry out the national oath of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Turkey, which already militarily occupies part of Cyprus and Iraq, claims part of Syria and Greece. Its army is preparing.

In 2011, Turkey organized, as requested, the migration of 3 million Syrians in order to weaken the country. Subsequently, it supported the Muslim Brotherhood and their jihadist groups, including Daesh. It looted Aleppo’s machine tools and set up counterfeit factories in the Islamic Emirate.

Intoxicated by its victories in Libya and Syria, Turkey has become the Protector of the Muslim Brotherhood, has moved closer to Iran and has challenged Saudi Arabia. It deployed military bases all around the Wahhabi Kingdom in Qatar, Kuwait and Sudan, then hired Western public relations firms and destroyed the image of Prince Mohamed Ben Salmane, particularly with the Kashoggi case[1]. Gradually, it considered expanding its power and aspired to become the 14th Mongolian empire. Misinterpreting this development as being the work of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan alone, the CIA made several attempts to assassinate him, even provoking the failed coup d’état in July 2016. Three years of uncertainty followed, ending in July 2019 when President Erdoğan decided to favour nationalism over Islamism[2]. Today, Turkey, although still a member of NATO, transports Russian gas into the European Union and buys S-400s in Moscow[3]. It watches over its minorities, including Kurds, and no longer demands they be Sunni Muslim, but only loyal to its homeland.

- During the summer, President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw his troops from all of Syria, starting with the Rojava (already formulated on December 17, 2018), on the express condition of cutting the line of communication between Iran and Lebanon (which is new). Turkey entered into this commitment in exchange for a military occupation of the Syrian border strip from which terrorist artillery could bombard it.
- Russia has indicated that it does not support YPG criminals against humanity and would accept Turkish intervention if the Christian population were allowed to return to its land. This is what Turkey has committed itself to.
- Syria has indicated that it would not repel a Turkish invasion in the immediate future if it could liberate an equivalent territory in the Idleb governorate. Turkey has accepted this.
- Iran has indicated that, although it disapproves of Turkish intervention, it will intervene only for the benefit of the Shiites and is not interested in the fate of the Rojava. Turkey has taken note of this.

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The principle of the end of the Rojava was endorsed at the US/Russia summits held in Tel Aviv and Geneva in June and August 2019.

Several international summits have been held to examine the consequences of these positions and identify subordinate points (for example, oil from the Syrian border strip will not be exploited by the Turkish army, but by a US company). The first summits brought together American and Russian security advisors. The second, the Russian, Turkish and Iranian heads of state.

- On July 22, 2019, Turkey announced the suspension of its migration agreement with the European Union[4].
- On August 3, President Erdoğan appointed new senior officers, including Kurds, and ordered the preparation of the invasion of Rojava[5].
- He also ordered the Turkish army to withdraw before the Syrian Arab army in the governorate of Idleb, so that it could liberate a territory equivalent to the one that would be invaded in the East.
- On August 23, the Pentagon ordered the dismantling of the YPG fortifications so that the Turkish army could conduct a lightning offensive[6].
- On August 31, in support of the Syrian Arab army, the Pentagon bombed a meeting of Al Qaeda leaders in Idleb with Turkish intelligence[7].
- On September 18, President Trump changed his security advisor and appointed Robert O’Brien. This discreet man knows President Erdoğan well with whom he settled the consequences of the failed coup d’état of July 2016[8].
- On October 1, President Erdoğan announced the imminent relocation of 2 million Syrian refugees to the Rojava territory[9].
- On October 5, the United States asked members of the International Coalition to recover their jihadist nationals from Rojava. The United Kingdom requested their transfer to Iraq, while France and Germany refused[10].
- On October 6, the United States declared that it was no longer responsible for the jihadists held prisoner in Rojava, which was to be transferred to Turkish custody.
- On October 7, US Special Forces began their withdrawal from Rojava.
- On October 9, the Turkish army - led by Kurdish officers in particular - and Turkmen militiamen who had recovered the flag of the Free Syrian Army invaded the 32-kilometre deep strip of Syrian territory occupied by the YPG.

Operation "Source of Peace" is perfectly legal under international law if it is limited to the 32-kilometre border strip and does not give rise to an indefinite Turkish occupation[11]. That is why the Turkish army uses Syrian Turkmen militias to hunt down the YPG in the rest of Rojava.

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Operation Source of Peace coordination meeting in the White Palace Command Bunker in Ankara.

The international press, which has not followed the events on the ground and has been satisfied with the contradictory official statements of recent months, is astounded. All states in unison denounce the Turkish operation, including the United States, Russia, Israel, Iran and Syria, although they have all negotiated and validated it. Those who threaten Turkey must consider the possible migration of their experienced Idleb jihadist nationals.

The Security Council is meeting urgently at the request of President Macron and Chancellor Merkel. To avoid showing that no one really opposes Turkish intervention, not even France, the meeting is held in camera and is not the subject of a statement by the President of the Council.

It is unlikely that Syria, bloodless, can immediately recover this strip of territory, while Iraq has failed to liberate Baachiqa (110 km deep) and the European Union itself has failed to liberate a third of Cyprus, occupied since 1974.

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On October 11, Jens Stoltenberg came to Turkey to bring NATO’s blessing.

Despite requests from France and Germany, the Atlantic Council did not meet. On October 11, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg came to Ankara to ensure that the operation was working. He celebrated the greatness of Turkey, thus shutting the beaks of the Germans and the French[12].

On October 13, in the midst of a debacle, the management of the YPG was changed. On Russian advice, the Kurdish leaders, who have always been in negotiations with the Syrian Arab Republic, came to express their allegiance to it on the Russian base of Hmeimim[13]. However, some members of the YPG management contest the renunciation of Rojava.

On October 14, President Donald Trump imposed sanctions against Turkey. They are purely symbolic and allow Ankara to continue its attack without paying attention to criticism[14].

President Donald Trump has thus succeeded in putting an end to the Rojava issue. The Russian army has invaded the US bases, abandoned by the GIs, demonstrating the place that Moscow now occupies in the region as a replacement for Washington. Syria, while denouncing the Turkish intervention, has liberated a quarter of its territory. Turkey is resolving the issue of Kurdish terrorism and is considering resolving the issue of Syrian refugees. The temptation will be great for her not to stop there.

トルコ軍事作戦の背景(2) 長期にわたるフランスの破壊活動 シリア、クルド

All that is hidden from you about the Turkish Operation "Source of Peace" (2/3)
Kurdistan, imagined by French colonialism
by Thierry Meyssan

Contrary to popular belief, Rojava is not a state for the Kurdish people, but a French fantasy of the interwar period. The aim was to create a rump state with Kurds equivalent to Greater Israel, which was being considered with Jews. This colonial objective was reactivated by Presidents Sarkozy, Hollande and Macron including the ethnic cleansing of the region intended to host it.
Voltaire Network | Damascus (Syria) | 19 October 2019

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A Kurdish delegation was received at the Elysée by President François Hollande and his then Minister of Defence, Jean-Yves Le Drian, in the presence of Bernard-Henri Lévy, authorising officer of the Tunisian, Egyptian and Libyan disasters.

The French High Commissioner in the Levant, General Henri Gouraud, with the help of the Turks, recruited 900 men from the Millis Kurdish clan to suppress the Arab nationalist rebellion in Aleppo and Raqqa. These mercenaries would fight as French gendarmes under what would become the flag of the current Syrian Free Army (Telegram of 5 January 1921).
Source: Archives of the French Army.

The Kurdish people have never had a dream of unification, with the exception of the project of the Prince of Rewanduz. In the 19th century, it was inspired by the German conception of the Nation and therefore intended to unify the language as a priority. Even today, there are still several languages, leading to a very pronounced separation between the Kurmanjis, Sorani, Zazakis, and Gurani clans.

According to documents hitherto untapped and about which the Lebanese intellectual Hassan Hamadé is currently writing an astounding book, the President of the French Council of Ministers, Léon Blum, negotiated in 1936 with the head of the Jewish Agency, Chaim Wiezmann, and the British, the creation of a Great State of Israel from Palestine to the Euphrates, thus including Lebanon and Syria until then under French mandate. This project failed due to the furious opposition of the French High Commissioner to the Levant, Count Damien de Martel. France - and probably the United Kingdom - were considering at the time the creation of a Kurdish state in Syria east of the Euphrates.

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On 4 February 1994, President Mitterrand received a Kurdish delegation of members of the Turkish PKK.

The Kurdish question became a priority again with President François Mitterrand. In the middle of the Cold War, his wife, Danielle, became the "mother of the Kurds[of the Barzani clan]". On 14 and 15 October 1989, it organized a symposium in Paris: "The Kurds: cultural identity, respect for human rights". It played a role in the false attribution of the death of the Kurds in the village of Halabja during the Iraq-Iran war to the cruelty of President Saddam Hussein, while US Army reports attest that, on the contrary, the wind displaced Iranian gases during a terrible battle [1]. In 1992, she participated in the creation of a Kurdish puppet government in the Anglo-Saxon-occupied Iraqi area.

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On 31 October 2014, François Hollande escorted Recep Tayyip Erdoğan back to the Elysée staircase. Another guest has just discreetly stepped out the back door, the pro-Turkish Kurdish Salih Muslim.

During Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidency in 2011, Alain Juppé concluded a secret protocol with Turkey for the creation of a pseudo-Kurdistan. Syria did not respond. Then, on October 31, 2014, President François Hollande officially received Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the Elysée Palace with the unofficial co-president of the YPG, Salih Muslim, to finalize the dismemberment of Syria. The Kurdish fighters stopped recognizing themselves as Syrians and began their struggle for their own country. Syria immediately stopped paying their salaries.

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At the end of the Battle of Kobane, François Hollande changed sides and expressed his support for the Kurds by receiving a pro-US delegation from the YPG at the Elysée on February 8, 2015.

However, a few months later, President Barack Obama called France to order. It was not up to Paris to negotiate a pseudo-Kurdistan based on its old colonial dreams, but only up to the Pentagon, according to the Rumsfeld/Cebrowski ethnic plan. François Hollande withdrew and received a pro-US Kurdish delegation of female fighters from Ain al-Arab ("Kobané" in German and not in Kurdish). Turkey refused to submit to Washington. This was the beginning of a long divergence between the members of the Atlantic Alliance. Considering that the French reversal violated the agreement of October 31, 2014, the Turkish secret services organised with Daesh the attacks of November 13, 2015 against France and March 22, 2016 against Belgium, which had just aligned itself with Washington [2]. President Erdoğan unequivocally announced the attacks against Belgium and his press claimed them. Finally, Salih Muslim organized the compulsory conscription of young Kurds and built his dictatorship, while Ankara issued an arrest warrant against him.

Decree of the forced kurdisation of northern Syria. This document, made public by the Assyrian Christian victims, attests to the ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), under US military supervision.

In October 2015, the Pentagon created the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a unit of Turkish and Syrian Kurdish mercenaries, including some Arabs and Christians, in order to carry out ethnic cleansing without having to take public responsibility for it. The SDF expelled Arab and Assyrian Christian families. Fighters from Iraq and Turkey settled in their homes and took possession of their lands. The Syrian Catholic Archbishop of Hassaké-Nisibi, Bishop Jacques Behnan Hindo, attested several times that Kurdish leaders alluded in his presence to a plan to expel Christians from "Rojava". French special forces witnessed this crime against humanity without flinching. On March 17, 2016, the autonomy of "Rojava" (pseudo-Kurdistan in Syria) was declared [3]. Fearing the junction between the Turkish PKK and the Iraqi Barzani clan would pave the way for the creation of a Greater Kurdistan, the Iraqi government sent weapons to the PKK in order to overthrow the Barzanis. This was followed by a series of murders of Kurdish leaders by opposing clans.

At the end of 2016, the partial withdrawal of the Russian army followed by the liberation of Aleppo by the Syrian Arab Army marked the definitive turnaround of the war. They coincided, in January, 2017, with the arrival in the White House of President Donald Trump, whose election platform included the end of the Rumsfeld/Cebrowski strategy, the end of massive support for jihadists and the withdrawal of NATO and US troops from Syria. France facilitated the departure in Rojava of young anarchist fighters persuaded to defend the Kurdish cause while they were fighting for the Atlantic Alliance [4]. Returned to France, they would prove to be as uncontrollable as the young French jihadists. Thus, according to DGSI (Internal Intelligence), it was one of these fighters who would attempt to shoot down a gendarmerie helicopter during the evacuation of Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport [5].

In June of 2017, President Trump authorized a joint operation by the Syrian Arab Army (commanded by President Bashar al-Assad) and the SDF (i.e. pro-US Kurdish mercenaries) to free Raqqa, the capital of Daesh [6]. The war is over, but neither France nor Germany understands it that way.

Gradually, the United States lost control of the YPG and lost interest in it. The terrorist organization then became a French plaything, just as the Muslim Brotherhood is a British puppet.

This map was published by Anadolu Agency in January 2019. It shows 9 French military bases, 8 of which were deployed by President Emmanuel Macron.

Turkey then published through its official agency, Anadolu Agency, the map of the French military bases in Rojava, the number of which had been extended to nine under Emmanuel Macron’s presidency. Until then, we only knew the one of the Lafarge group’s cement plant. Ankara wished to point out that, contrary to its official statements and unlike the United States, France remained in favour of the partition of Syria.

We can also reveal that, asked by the Syrian intelligence services to recover its jihadists taken prisoner, France refused to repatriate them for trial. She asked that they be handed over to the Kurdish forces who would take care of them.

In February 2018, the Russian Federation’s Ambassador to the UN, Vasily Nebenzia, revealed that Syrian Kurds had just pardoned 120 Daesh leaders and had incorporated them into the YPG.

As early as September 2018, President Trump was preparing to withdraw US troops from all of Syria [7]. The abandonment of "Rojava" was conditional upon the cutting of the Iranian road that could cross this territory to reach Lebanon. This would be committed to by President Erdoğan in August. The GIs then oversaw the destruction of the Kurds’ defensive works. An agreement was validated on September 16 by Russia, Turkey and Iran. Therefore, the end of this pseudo-Kurdistan is imminent. Understanding absolutely nothing that is going on, France is shocked when Turkish troops brutally invade this pseudo-autonomous state from which the illegally occupying population flees.

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Infatuated with himself and totally disconnected from reality, Jean-Yves le Drian assures on the France 2 plateau that France is safely pursuing its objectives in Syria.

Guest of the French TV news2, on September 10, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves le Drian, tries to reassure the French people about the consequences of this fiasco. He assures that France is in control of the situation: jihadists detained in Rojava will not be released, whereas there are no longer any institutions on the ground, but tried in this territory. He goes on to say that president Erdoğan is threatening France in a vacuum. Finally, he refused to answer a question about the mission of the French army on the spot, in the midst of a debacle.

If we ignore the fate of the jihadists who are prisoners as well as that of the civilian populations who stole this land, we have no news of the fate of the soldiers at the nine French military bases. They are caught in the crossfire, between the Turkish army that President Holland betrayed and the Kurds that President Macron abandoned and who once again pledged allegiance to the Syrian Arab Republic.

トルコ軍事作戦の背景(1) シリア、クルド


All that is Hidden from you About Turkish operation "Source of Peace" (1/3)
The genealogy of the Kurdish question
by Thierry Meyssan

The unanimous international community multiplies its condemnation of the military offensive in Rojava and watches helplessly as tens of thousands of Kurds flee, pursued by the Turkish army. However, no one intervenes, considering that a massacre may be the only possible way to restore peace, given the inextricable situation created by France and the crimes against humanity committed by Kurdish combatants and civilians.
Voltaire Network | Damascus (Syria) | 18 October 2019

All wars involve a process of simplification: there are only two sides on a battlefield and everyone has to choose their own. In the Middle East, where there are an incredible number of communities and ideologies, this process is particularly terrifying because none of the particularities of these groups can be expressed and each must ally itself with others of which it disapproves.

When a war is coming to an end, everyone tries to erase the crimes they have committed, voluntarily or not, and sometimes to remove cumbersome allies they want to forget. Many then try to rebuild the past to give themselves the beautiful role. That is exactly what we are witnessing today with the Turkish operation "Source of Peace" on the Syrian border and the unlikely reactions it provokes.

To understand what is happening, it is not enough to know that everyone is lying. We must also discover what everyone is hiding and accept it, even when we see that those we admired until then are really despicable.
Genealogy of the Problem

If we believe European communications, we might think that the evil Turks will exterminate the kind Kurds that the wise Europeans are trying to save despite the cowardly United States. However, none of these four powers plays the role assigned to it.

First, the current event must be seen in the context of the "War against Syria", of which it is only a battle, and in the context of the "Remodelling of the Broader Middle East", of which the Syrian conflict is only one stage. On the occasion of the attacks of 11 September 2001, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his new Director of "Force Transformation", Admiral Arthur Cebrowski, adapted the Pentagon’s strategy to financial capitalism. They decided to divide the world into two zones: one that would be the one of economic globalization and the other that would be seen as a simple reserve of raw materials. The US armies would be responsible for removing state structures in this second region of the world so that no one could resist this new division of labour [1]. They began with the "Broader Middle East".

The Syrian Accountability Act (2003), following Afghanistan and Iraq, had been planned to destroy the Syrian Arab Republic, but various contingencies have postponed this operation to 2011. The plan of attack was reorganized in the light of the British colonial experience in this region. London advised not to completely destroy states, to restore a minimal state in Iraq and to keep puppet governments capable of administering the daily lives of peoples. Based on the "Great Arab Revolt" of Lawrence of Arabia, which they organized in 1915, it was a question of organizing an "Arab Spring" which placed the Brotherhood of the Muslim Brotherhood in power and no longer that of the Wahhabites [2]. The pro-Western regimes of Tunisia and Egypt were overthrown first, then Libya and Syria were attacked.

At first, NATO member Turkey refused to participate in the war against Libya, its first customer, and Syria, with which it had created a common market. The French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alain Juppé, then had the idea of killing two birds with one stone. He proposed to his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoğlu, to resolve the Kurdish question together in exchange for Turkey’s entry into the war against Libya and Syria. The two men signed a Secret Protocol which provided for the creation of a Kurdistan not in the Kurdish territories of Turkey, but in the Aramaic and Arab territories of Syria [3]. Turkey, which has excellent relations with the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government, wanted a second Kurdistan to be created, thus putting an end to Kurdish independence on its own soil. France, which had recruited Kurdish tribes in 1911 to repress Arab nationalists, intended to finally create a rump Kurdistan in the region as the British had succeeded in creating a Jewish colony in Palestine. The French and Turks obtained the support of the Israelis who already controlled Iraqi Kurdistan with the clan of Barzani , officially a member of Mossad.

In brown: Kurdistan designed by the King-Crane Commission, validated by US President Woodrow Wilson and adopted in 1920 by the Sèvres Conference.

The Kurds are a nomadic people (that is the exact meaning of the word "Kurdish") who used to travel in the Euphrates Valley, in Iraq, Syria and Turkey today. Organized not in a tribal manner, but in a clan-based manner, and renowned for their courage, they created many dynasties that ruled in the Arab world (including that of Saladin the Magnificent) and Persia, and provided auxiliaries to various armies. At the beginning of the 20th century, some of them were recruited by the Ottomans to massacre the non-Muslim populations of Turkey, particularly the Armenians. On this occasion, they settled in Anatolia, while the others remained nomads. At the end of the First World War, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, pursuant to paragraph 12 of his 14 points (goals of war), created a Kurdistan on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire. To delimit its territory, he sent the King Crane Commission to the area, while the Kurds continued the massacre of the Armenians. The experts identified an area in Anatolia and warned Wilson of the devastating consequences of an extension or displacement of this territory. But the Ottoman Empire was overthrown from the inside by Mustafa Kemal who proclaimed the Republic and refused the territorial loss imposed by the Wilsonian project. In the end, Kurdistan did not see the light of day.

For a century, the Turkish Kurds tried to secede from Turkey. In the 1980s, the PKK Marxist-Leninists opened a real civil war against Ankara, which was very severely repressed. Many fled to northern Syria, under the protection of President Hafez el-Assad. When their leader Abdullah Öcallan was arrested by the Israelis and handed over to the Turks, they abandoned the armed struggle. At the end of the Cold War, the PKK, no longer funded by the Soviet Union, was penetrated by the CIA and mutated. It abandoned Marxist doctrine and became anarchistic, renounced the struggle against imperialism and placed itself in the service of NATO. The Atlantic Alliance made extensive use of its terrorist operations to contain the impulsiveness of its Turkish member.

In 1991, the international community waged a war against Iraq, which had just invaded Kuwait. At the end of the war, Westerners encouraged the Shia and Kurdish oppositions to revolt against President Saddam Hussein’s Sunni regime. The United States and the United Kingdom allowed 200,000 people to be massacred, but occupied an area of the country from which they excluded the Iraqi army. They drove out the inhabitants and gathered the Iraqi Kurds there. It is this area that was reintegrated into Iraq after the 2003 war and became Iraqi Kurdistan around the Barzani clan.

The staff map of the Rumsfeld/Cebrowski plan for "Remodelling the Broader Middle East".
Source: "Blood borders - How a better Middle East would look", Colonel Ralph Peters, Armed Forces Journal, June 2006.

At the beginning of the war against Syria, President Bashar al-Assad granted Syrian nationality to Kurdish political refugees and their children. They immediately went to Damascus to defend the north of the country against foreign jihadists. But NATO woke up the Turkish PKK and sent it to mobilize the Kurds of Syria and Iraq to create a very large Kurdistan, as planned by the Pentagon since 2001 and recorded by the staff map released by Colonel Ralph Peters in 2005.

The map of the "Remodeling of the Broader Middle East", modified after the failure of the first war against Syria.
Source: "Imagining a Remapped Middle East", Robin Wright, The New York Times Sunday Review, September 28, 2013.

This project (aimed at dividing the region on ethnic grounds) did not correspond at all to that of President Wilson in 1919 (aimed at recognising the rights of the Kurdish people), nor to that of the French (aimed at rewarding mercenaries). It was far too large for them and they could not hope to control it. On the other hand, it enchanted the Israelis who saw it as a way to contain Syria from behind. However, it proved impossible to achieve. The USIP, a "Five Eyes" institute linked to the Pentagon, proposed to modify it. Greater Kurdistan would be reduced in favour of an extension of Iraqi Sunnistan [4] that would be entrusted to a jihadist organization: the future Daesh.

The Kurds of the YPG, the Syrian branch of the PKK, tried to create a new state, Rojava, with the help of US forces. The Pentagon used them to confine the jihadists to the area they had been assigned. There was never a theological or ideological struggle between the YPG and Daesh, it was just a rivalry for a territory to be shared on the rubble of Iraq and Syria. And when the Emirate of Daesh collapsed, the YPG helped the jihadists join al-Qaeda forces in Idleb by crossing their "Kurdistan".

The Iraqi Kurds of the Barzani clan were directly involved in Daesh’s conquest of Iraq. According to the PKK, the son of the President and Head of Intelligence of the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government, Masrour "Jomaaa" Barzani, attended the secret CIA meeting in Amman on 1 June 2014, which planned this operation [5]. The Barzani did not fight any battle against Daesh. They simply enforced their territory and sent them to face the Sunnis. Worse still, they allowed Daesh to enslave non-Muslim Kurds, the Yezidis, during the Battle of Sinjar. Those who were rescued were saved by Turkish PKK and Syrian YPG fighters dispatched to the area.

On November 27, 2017, the Barzanis organised - with solely Israel’s support - a referendum on self-determination in Iraqi Kurdistan, which they lost despite obvious trickery. The Arab world discovered with amazement, on election night, a tide of Israeli flags in Erbil. According to Israel-Kurd magazine, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had pledged to transfer 200,000 Israeli Kurds in the event of a referendum victory in order to protect the new state.

To enjoy the right to self-determination, a people must first be united, which has never been the case for the Kurds. It must then live in a territory where it is in the majority, which was only the case in Anatolia since the Armenian genocide, then also in northern Iraq since the ethnic cleansing of the no-flying area in the aftermath of the "Desert Storm", and finally in north-eastern Syria since the expulsion of Christian Assyrians and Arabs. To recognize this right today is to validate crimes against humanity.




10/24(木) 0:55配信




Pentagon chief visits Iraq amid U.S. pullout from Syria
The Iraq military said on Tuesday that U.S. forces crossing into Iraq as part of a pull-out from Syria do not have permission to stay and can only be there in transit.
October 23, 2019 09:17

BAGHDAD - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper arrived in Baghdad on Wednesday, where he is likely to face questions about how long U.S. troops withdrawing from northeast Syria will stay in Iraq.

The Iraq military said on Tuesday that U.S. forces crossing into Iraq as part of a pull-out from Syria do not have permission to stay and can only be there in transit.

While Esper initially told reporters the troops withdrawing from Syria would go to western Iraq to fight Islamic State and "help defend Iraq," he said on Tuesday that Washington aimed to eventually bring the troops back to the United States.

Esper is expected to meet his Iraqi counterpart as well as Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and discuss the U.S. troop drawdown from Syria and the role Iraq will play in it.

"Our key priority with Iraq is encouraging the continued secure, stable, independent Iraq," a senior U.S. defense official said.

Esper's trip also follows an agreement on Tuesday between Ankara and Moscow that Syrian and Russian forces will deploy in northeast Syria to remove Kurdish fighters and their weapons from the border with Turkey.

Hours after that deal was announced, the Turkish defense ministry said the United States had told Turkey the withdrawal of Kurdish militants was complete from the "safe zone" Ankara demands in northern Syria.

The Russia-Turkey agreement struck in the Black Sea resort of Sochi endorses the return of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces to the border alongside Russian troops, replacing the Americans who had patrolled the region for years with their Kurdish allies.

President Donald Trump decided earlier this month to withdraw all 1,000 U.S. troops from the region, a move widely criticized as a betrayal of Kurdish allies who had fought for years alongside U.S. forces against Islamic State.

Since then, the Pentagon has said the Trump administration is considering keeping some troops in northeastern Syria to help ensure Islamic State and others do not profit from oil fields in the region.

Any decision to keep additional U.S. troops in Iraq is likely to be heavily scrutinized in a country where Iran has been steadily amassing influence.

Iraq is in the midst of a political crisis.

Protests over high unemployment, poor public services and corruption erupted on Oct. 1, prompting a violent security crackdown.

Protesters blame graft and infighting among political leaders for failing to improve their lives even in peacetime, two years after Islamic State was declared defeated in Iraq.

"Iraqi politics are in a delicate state. There’s no Iraqi support for the country becoming a principal U.S. garrison in the Middle East," said Jon Alterman, Middle East expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

However, Baghdad did not want to alienate Washington, which has been a key ally in fighting back Islamic State militants over the past five years, Alterman added.

The additional U.S. troops would add to the roughly 5,000 publicly acknowledged American troops already based in the country, training Iraqi forces and helping to ensure Islamic State militants do not make a comeback.



Arab leadership disputes claims of YPG oppression of locals
This account is now being called into dispute by local Arab leaders. The original affidavit has been translated from Arabic to English.
October 21, 2019 19:56

"The Kurds are very happy, Turkey is very happy, the United States is very happy. And you know what? Civilization is very happy,” stated US President Donald Trump, thanking Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan on what he (but not Erdogan) termed a “ceasefire agreement,” a five-day cessation of hostilities with the ultimate goal of evicting Kurds within 120 days from the areas in northeastern Syria pursued by the Turkish military, and allowing Erdogan to repopulate these areas with Sunni Arab refugees and Turkish-backed militias.

In reality, the Kurds are far from happy – all of them. Iranian, and Iraqi Kurds and Kurds in Europe all stand in solidarity with their Syrian brethren. The autonomous enclaves built up by the Kurds over the last six years are coming to an end. Despite Erdogan’s claims that Kurdish autonomy presents a security threat to Turkey, no material evidence of such a threat has been presented. Turkey’s own stated goals defy these claims. Rather than merely demand the reorganization of the Kurdish security apparatus, the building of a security fence, and the disarmament of the YPG, and perhaps additional international peacekeeping apparatus in the area that would monitor against any potential illicit activity, Erdogan appears to have shelled indiscriminately both YPG and civilian populations. This has led to many civilian deaths and injuries. He, furthermore, is pushing for the eviction of the civilian population, which even under Erdogan’s own interpretation of events would present no danger to Turkey.

However, Erdogan, since the breaking of the peace talks with PKK inside Turkey, has worked hard to systematically portray all Kurds residing in Turkey as “PKK,” and label all harsh and oppressive measures against civilian populations as “operations against PKK.” Allegations of gross human rights abuses against Kurdish civilians and alleged fighters alike have not been thoroughly investigated by European or international human rights organizations, courts or the UN. For instance, in 2016, in the course of an alleged counterterrorism operation in Cizre, Erdogan’s army was allegedly responsible for the burning alive of 150 Kurds, including civilians. Those claims were never investigated and no one was held accountable for any violations.

Part of the reason is that international observers and journalists have been made decidedly unwelcome in Turkey, whereas many of the local journalists critical of the government have found themselves fired, behind bars, or in many cases, assassinated. Operations in Syria appear to advance Erdogan’s unstated goals in creating fear among the Turkish Kurdish population and promoting social divisions that will prevent them from rising up as a block. The Kurdish-backed HDP Party, for instance, is alleged to have been infiltrated with government officials; many of its leaders have been disempowered, stripped of immunity, and even thrown into prisons across the country.

EPISODES OF Kurdish civilians accused of being affiliated with PKK being tortured, including teenagers, have disseminated over social media networks, but no major media outlet has shown interest in investigating these stories. Erdogan’s party line has been to equate the Syrian Democratic Forces in Syria backed by the United States with the Turkish political organization PKK, which is listed as terrorist in Turkey and, by request, from Turkish government, has not been removed from the US terrorist list. Backers of a strong alliance with Turkey have adopted this line uncritically without differentiating between the political leadership of the two organizations, no less the roles the YPG element of the SDF has played in Syria. Part of the fear-mongering on the account of these organization has been to discredit them by accusing them of Marxism-Leninism, without evidence.

Interestingly enough, “Kurds” as a society and the YPG, the military organization, have been largely equated in the latest discussion about the future of Syria. Adding to the seeming confusion is the turnaround by non-YPG Kurdish parties in Syria, such as the National Democratic Congress, and the Iraqi KRG-affiliated Peshmerga forces, which have had longstanding tensions and political differences with both the YPG and PKK. However, all of these different groups recognized that Erdogan’s “Operation Peace Spring” has affected Kurdish civilians just as much as it has affected the fighters. The claims that the YPG is a terrorist organization that is a threat to Turkey or that is planning terrorist attacks have been unsubstantiated, whatever the political differences among the various Kurdish groups, parties and organizations.

Widespread Kurdish support for SDF in light of the current developments shows that contrary to the claims by Erdogan apologists and isolationists, whatever the radical leftist past of the PKK elements in the regions, and whatever past affiliations with Hezbollah and other terrorist groups, the organizations have moved away from their origins and became a wide umbrella organization for all Kurds concerned about defending their rights against undemocratic and lawless actions by Erdogan’s government. While there is crossover and intermingling between the YPG and PKK, these are not identical organizations, and equating them is done with the deliberate purpose of further obfuscation rather than clarity.

Even more interesting is that Erdogan is making these claims about “YPG” (referencing, in fact, all Kurds) while there is a body of evidence pointing to his trade relationship with ISIS, his willingness to hire ex-ISIS fighters and other former members of violent organizations, and substantiated accounts of ISIS members finding cover in hotels in Turkey. Erdogan has plainly invited the heads of the Muslim Brotherhood, listed as a terrorist organization in a number of Middle Eastern and North African states, to reside in Turkey. None of that, however, has been thoroughly investigated or reported upon, and certainly not within the latest context.

ERDOGAN HAS had a relationship with ISIS. He has been known to back or fund extreme ideological Islamist campaigns. He has supported organizations like the violent Sunni “Hezbollah” group (no relations to the Lebanon-based Iranian proxy). He has operated mosques in Europe as recruitment drives for Turkish intelligence, and has armed Turkish and Islamist Kurdish gangs in Germany and other European countries. In light of these actions, Erdogan’s concerns for Turkey’s national security appear dubious at best.

It is increasingly dubious that the current agreement has been spontaneous rather than pre-planned. Erdogan’s approach to eliminate effective Kurdish autonomy in Syria has been marked by careful incrementalism, a two-steps-forward, one-step-back approach. Before invading and taking over Afrin and purging the local Kurdish and minority residents, Erdogan made claims about incursions into Manbij. When he settled for a relatively limited, albeit strategic area, having tested waters of the Western commitment to the status quo, the foreign policy establishment largely dismissed his goals.

With the new operation, seemingly limited in goals and duration, Erdogan, in fact got what he wanted in terms of territorial reclamation and public legitimacy. He has further erased the US red line concerning the Middle East and acceptable human rights violations. Ethnic cleansing of Kurds and minorities at the time was largely ignored by the media, although Amnesty International did publish a report claiming that YPG allegedly oppressed and abused Arab locals. The report was based on anonymous accounts that claimed ethnic cleansing, however, these accounts were likewise never fully investigated by major media or by Amnesty itself. Rather, they were used by critics of the US strategy in Syria to demonize Kurds as a whole and to delegitimize the US alliance with the SDF.

That strategy has worked brilliantly in subverting the narrative regarding any US obligations to the SDF in light of Trump’s seemingly sudden and uncoordinated withdrawal of US troops from the area. But was it uncoordinated with Erdogan, Assad and Putin, all of whom would have had to have been coordinating together given that Erdogan’s entrance into Afrin was essentially green-lighted by the other two, and given that the pushback against Operation Peace Spring has been largely absent from Russia? Russia, along with the US, sank the initial UN Security Council resolution condemning the invasion.

The so-called ceasefire is already a matter of dispute between the US and Turkey. Trump referred to the agreement as a “ceasefire.” Turkey explicitly denied it. In substance, this agreement amounts to little more than a set of conditions of surrender for the Kurds who were given 120 days to leave their homes, without ever being consulted or offered anything exchange. There has not been any no-fly-zone established in northeastern Syria that would protect anyone remaining behind from potential future shelling by the Turkish military. That Erdogan will use this opportunity to push for further concessions from the United States concerning Syria and the Middle East is likely only a matter of time. Sanctions against Turkish officials associated with the human rights abuse allegations by the Kurds have been lifted without any quid pro quo.

Abuses by Turkish-backed forces and more recent allegations of the use of napalm and phosphorus against the Kurdish population have likewise not been even mentioned during the conclusion of this agreement, much less investigated or sanctioned. However, what’s at least as bad is that pro-Erdogan propaganda managed to attack the image and character of Kurds equating them with terrorists and violent oppressors of the locals, without ever substantiating these allegations.

This attack on public sympathy was a calculated move to divide an already polarized Western electorate and to ensure the rallying of the troops around Trump in a heated election year under the pretense of moral equivalency between supposedly equally reprehensible and treacherous parties in the region.

This account is now being called into dispute by local Arab leaders. The original affidavit has been translated from Arabic to English:

“To everyone who is interested:

In recent days, there have been allegations attributed to Syrian Kurds that they are pursuing terrorism against the Arabs in Syria, and that they are killing and abandoning the Sunnis in Syria.

In view of the voice of truth and conscience, as conscious leaders of Syria, far from being biased by any party to the conflict, we affirm that these accusations are false and are nothing but a slander against the people of the Kurdish fabric [sic] in Syria.

We witness that our Kurdish brothers fought valiantly next to the Sunni, Christian and Druze for freedom and democracy in Syria, and achieved great victories in the face of ISIS terrorism that threatened Syrian cohesion....

Long may you and our people be united.


The signers asked for their names to be left out of the publication for fear of reprisals by Erdogan and others. However, the original statement and the translation with all the names has been submitted to the US State Department and to relevant members of Congress. It represents credible sources with the authority to speak on behalf of the relevant Arab populations in question.

The American public, its media and officials, should investigate gross human rights violations and understand the reality on the ground in formulating a coherent US foreign policy. This should be done before going along with self-serving authoritarian leaders with a long record of ignoring democratic processes, associating with international terrorist organizations, and mistreating their own citizens with impunity.