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

JPEG - 57.5 kb
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.

JPEG - 29.5 kb
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.

JPEG - 34.2 kb
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.

JPEG - 36.4 kb
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

JPEG - 48.2 kb
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.

JPEG - 47.1 kb
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.

JPEG - 34.8 kb
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.

JPEG - 53.6 kb
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.

JPEG - 33.7 kb
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.




Help fleeing Kurds
If Israel can facilitate treatment there, in third countries or in Israel, this would be a place where lives can be saved.
By JPost Editorial
October 22, 2019 20:07

Kurdish civilians have been under attack since the US decided to withdraw from parts of Syria on October 6. The Turks, bolstered by Turkish-backed extremists, have bombed towns and cities along the border and caused more than 200,000 to flee. Some of the Kurdish civilians suffered chemical burns, alleging that banned weapons were used against them by America’s NATO ally.

Several thousand of these Kurds have now sought shelter in northern Iraq’s Kurdistan region. Israel has a track record of helping Syrian civilians who have suffered from the Assad regime’s chemical weapons and its brutal crackdown in southern Syria. Now Israel has a chance to help those fleeing the extremists, who have been murdering civilians, looting homes and terrorizing people in northern Syria.

Kurds and Jews have faced similar enemies in the region over the last century, including Saddam Hussein’s vicious regime and the discriminatory regimes in Damascus and Tehran. In recent years, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan has grown increasingly hostile to Israel and to the Kurds, imprisoning politicians on trumped up “terrorism” charges and invading areas of Syria wherever Kurds live, causing hundreds of thousands to flee.

Tragically, Kurds have also suffered the betrayal of the international community, which has abandoned them too often to the whims of dictators. Jews, too, know this history of betrayal, forced to live under the boot of empires and among regimes that used antisemitic populism in the past.

Today the Jewish state has shown that despite the efforts of some European powers during the Holocaust, and despite attempts to support Arab armies that once ringed Israel with modern weaponry, Jews will defend themselves no matter the cost. Through that fire, the Jewish state has also sought to provide humanitarian aid from time to time using expertise gained here, for instance, to help earthquake victims.

The Kurds who are now suffering in hospitals and camps in northern Iraq deserve our support. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would like to give humanitarian aid. How to do that may be difficult and complex because Israel has no relations with Baghdad or Damascus. But, that doesn’t mean it is impossible. Israel has helped people in the region from states with which the country lacks official relations.

In the wake of the attacks on innocent civilians in Syria, Israel should do more for Kurds fleeing this brutal assault. The Kurds are a vulnerable people who, too often, find themselves surrounded by enemies and being forced from their land by militaristic nationalism, by regimes that use the hatred of minorities as a way to push policies. In Iraq, it is the Iranian-backed militias that have pushed the Kurds out of areas around Kirkuk after the 2017 independence referendum in Kurdistan. Anti-Kurdish voices in Iran and Iraq referred to the Kurds as a “second Israel.” Once again, in October, Turkish media have put out images showing Turkey chopping the head off a Kurdish-Israeli snake, arguing that Turkey’s operation has stopped the creation of a “second Israel.”

This hatred of the Kurds includes the hallmarks of antisemitism. In the absence of Jews to hate in places like Iraq or Turkey, they have tried to transform anti-Kurdish propaganda into anti-Jewish propaganda. It is no surprise that they use terms like “cleansing” to describe their operations, much as Jews were once “cleansed” by the Nazis. This symbolism can be found throughout the Middle East. An Iraqi soldier guarding an Iranian-backed militia leader named Abu Zainab al-Lami was photographed last week with a swastika on his helmet. No one in the crowd seemed to mind the swastika.

One Kurdish chemical-burn victim has already been given assistance in France. If there is a place for Israel to help it is in medical aid and providing the kind of know-how that Israel has in order to address the needs of burn victims or other acute cases.

If Israel can facilitate treatment there, in third countries or in Israel, this would be a place where lives can be saved. We know too well what it means to be abandoned by the international community.

But today we are a strong nation and we can follow our values to help those in need from nations who suffer the horrors once visited on the Jewish people.

ヨルダン、エジプトにも無視された日本 即位の礼 海外援助に効果なし












Ditch the Kurds, grab the oil? Trump says US ‘never committed’ to Syrian allies, but SecDef says Washington still committed to oil
21 Oct, 2019 17:49

President Donald Trump has said that the US never committed to the security of Kurds in northern Syria, ahead of the end of the Turkish ceasefire. His defense secretary meanwhile says the US troops had a job to “secure the oil.”

We never gave a commitment to the Kurds,” Trump told reporters during a cabinet meeting on Monday. While the presence of US troops in northern Syria guaranteed the safety of Kurdish militias operating there, Trump defended his decision to pull the troops out, and even appeared sympathetic to the Turkish argument that these militias are “terrorists.”

“You have to look both ways,” Trump told reporters. “Plenty of Turks have been killed because of conflict on their borders,” he added, repeating his assertion that the Kurds are “no angels.

Turkey’s military operation against the Kurds, dubbed ‘Peace Spring,’ was launched following the withdrawal of a small number of US troops stationed in the region. Amid international backlash, Trump insisted that protecting the Kurds was not the job of the US, but also threatened Turkey with economic sanctions if the operation continued.

The operation was paused last Thursday for five days to give the beleaguered Kurds a chance to withdraw from Turkey’s planned ‘safe zone’ along the border. The peace has been a fragile one, however, with both sides accusing each other of breaking the truce. Nevertheless, Trump told reporters on Monday that “the ceasefire’s holding.”

The initial withdrawal on October 9 was followed by reports that hundreds of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) prisoners had escaped from Kurdish prison camps amid the chaos of the Turkish incursion. Responding to critics on Monday, Trump boasted that it was his administration that oversaw their capture in the first place.

I’m the one who did the capturing. I’m the one who knows more about it than you people or the fake pundits.

The future of the 1,000 or so American troops in Syria has remained unclear since the withdrawal was announced, and conflicting reports have circulated as to whether some will stay in Syria to protect its oil facilities.

Trump said on Monday that they will all be removed and deployed elsewhere in the region before eventually coming home. However, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said earlier that some may remain behind to guard Syrian oil fields from possible seizure by IS fighters.

“We have troops in towns in northeast Syria that are located next to the oil fields, the troops in those towns are not in the present phase of withdrawal,” Esper told reporters in Afghanistan on Monday.

Even if Trump follows through with a complete pullout, some of the troops withdrawn may simply relocate to Iraq.

Meanwhile, as Trump touts his withdrawal as a move towards ending the US’ “endless wars” in the Middle East, thousands of American troops are preparing to deploy to Saudi Arabia, to guard its oil wealth against perceived “Iranian aggression.”

At the cabinet meeting, the president questioned what US troops were doing on Syrian land in the first place. He had no such qualms about the Saudi deployment, however, as he said that “Saudi Arabia has agreed to pay us for everything we’re doing.”

Trump says US 'never agreed' to protect Syria's Kurds
President Trump defends his Syria withdrawal decision as angry Kurds hurl fruit and vegetables at departing American troops.
by Kimberly Halkett
October 22, 2019

A deadline for Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria to leave areas along the border with Turkey expires later on Tuesday.

Turkey said it wants to establish a safe zone and promised to resume its offensive against the Kurdish fighters if they do not leave.

US President Donald Trump has defended his decision to withdraw some troops from northern Syria, where Ankara has been fighting against Kurdish-backed militias.

Trump said the US has a good relationship with the Kurds, but never agreed to protect them forever.

Al Jazeera's Kimberly Halkett reports from the White House.






Assad visits Idlib, says region’s battle is key to ending Syrian war
22 Oct, 2019 10:29

Defeating jihadists in Idlib is the key to ending Syria’s eight-year-old civil war, President Bashar Assad said Tuesday on his first visit to the northwestern region since 2011, AFP reported.

“The battle of Idlib is the basis for resolving chaos and terrorism in all other areas of Syria,” Assad’s office quoted him as telling troops in the frontline town of Al-Hbeit.

His comments came as Syrian troops continued to deploy in parts of the north where they are supporting Kurdish forces to contain a Turkish invasion, according to state news agency SANA.

The Idlib region, which has some three million residents, half of them displaced from other parts of the country, is the last major rebel bastion in Syria.

中国人の富裕層人口が米国を抜く クレディ・スイス調査


China Millionaires Outnumber Rich Americans For First Time: Credit Suisse
by Tyler Durden
Mon, 10/21/2019 - 18:45

As wealth inequalities soar across the world and a trade war rages on between the US and China, a stunning report by Credit Suisse says the number of millionaires in China has, for the first time, surpassed the number of wealthy Americans.

Credit Suisse published the new report in its annual Global Wealth Report on Monday, which is the most "comprehensive and up-to-date source of information on global household wealth. "

The Swiss bank's report found 100 million Chinese were members of the global top 10% club versus 99 million Americans.

"Despite the trade tension between the US and China over the past 12 months, both countries have fared strongly in wealth creation, contributing USD 3.8tn and USD 1.9tn, respectively.

The number of millionaires has also risen globally by 1.1million to 46.8 million in 2019, collectively owning USD 158.3 trillion or 44% of the global total.

China and other emerging markets have contributed significantly to this growing contingent and show signs of progress and opportunity for investors," stated Nannette Hechler-Fayd'herbe, global head of economics and research at Credit Suisse.

A seismic shift is underway, one where the number of wealthy American consumers, who powered the global economy for decades, is starting to fade.

The report offered some insight into the slump of wealthy Americans, as we tend to believe it could be due to demographics issues.

While US population growth hits an 80-year low, unleashing demographic stagnation, leading to a dismal economic recovery, China's population isn't expected to stop growing until 2030, indicating that the Asian economy will continue to be somewhat more robust for the next decade.

It's likely that China's upper-middle-class and wealthy families, currently has more millionaires than the US, will be a crucial driver for global consumption in the 2020s and beyond.

Anthony Shorrocks, a British development economist and author of the report, suggested that after the 2008 financial crisis, China replaced the US as the world's global growth engine of wealth creation, which maybe explains why more millionaires are being produced in the country.

Shorrocks adds that the US has endured more than a decade, since the post-financial crisis, of creating wealth for its adult population.

However, there was little explanation behind the wealth creation in the US and why not enough millionaires were being produced. Perhaps, it could be due to some of the widest wealth inequality in history, where all the wealth gains are flowing to a very limited number of people -- maybe not the case in China, where the wealth is being shared by more, hence, why more millionaires are being produced.

China and the world are entering a new era. The real driver of global growth will likely be upper-middle-class and affluent consumers from China. This new report adds credibility to the trend at play.




Jewish, Kurdish NGOs to launch crowdfunding, PR campaign to help Kurds
"It is very powerful to show solidarity and tell the Kurds there are people who care about them."
By Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman
October 22, 2019 12:21

The International Legal Forum has organized a group of Jewish and Kurdish non-profits to aid the Kurdish people. On Wednesday, the group will launch a crowdfunding campaign to raise a minimum of $100,000 to provide medical supplies, food, water, blankets and other essentials to wounded and displaced Kurds.

In addition, the group plans to work together to send the Kurdish people a message of unity and support.
The International Legal Forum describes itself as a pro-active legal hub dedicated to the global cooperation between lawyers, organizations and activists from all over the world to fight terror and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Yifa Segal, founder of the forum, told The Jerusalem Post that she has been in close contact with Kurds on the ground and that there is likelihood of further escalations in coming days.

“Those displaced from their homes and wounded are surviving in poor living conditions,” she said. “We also feel it is very powerful to show solidarity and tell the Kurds there are people who care about them.

“The Kurds cannot just be abandoned and be collateral damage for whatever political motivations other nations have,” Segal continued. “There are people who care about the Kurds and those people are all over the world and we will not stand by idly.”

She said that 15 organizations have already signed onto the coalition, including UK Lawyers for Israel, Ireland Israel Alliance, Sweden Israel Alliance and Hasbara Fellowships. In addition, a coalition of Kurdish NGOs in Germany are partnering.

According to Segal, Jews and Kurds are historically tied as minorities in the Middle East who have been prosecuted by neighboring Arab-Muslim states.

“What happened with the Jews 70 years ago should have happened for the Kurds 100 years ago,” Segal said, referring to founding of the independent State of Israel in 1948. “It didn’t. And there have not been too many opportunities for the Kurds to gain some form of independence, or at least safety or autonomy - or even living freely in the countries in which they reside.”

She said the Jewish state and the Jewish people have historically been cooperative and helpful to the Kurds and the present situation should be no exception.

Will the coalition’s efforts have any real impact?

Segal said she believes it will. Aside from the money raised, she said she thinks that statements from different NGOs in different countries will make enough noise to stop Turkey before “Kurds are massacred in Syria, Iraq or anywhere else. Our goal is the personal safety of the Kurdish people in those countries.”

Segal added that well-meaning people have been distracted by the shift in US policy - US President Donald Trump’s decision to retreat from Syria - when they should be focused on what she described as “a possible genocide happening against the Kurdish people.

“It’s a numbers game,” Segal continued. “If you are sitting at home and see our campaign like it, share it, contribute even $1. If you make a statement, you are contributing to the bigger picture.”



From Operation Inherent Resolve to Operation “secure the oil” in Syria?
The complex battlefield that now includes not only a Turkish offensive and Turkish-backed Syrian rebels, but also the Syrian regime, the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Russians.
By Seth J. Frantzman
October 22, 2019 12:11

US troops in Syria are trying to execute an orderly withdrawal. It is supposed to take several weeks. They are coming out of places like Manbij and Qamishli where they have been for years. It is a difficult process to extricate 1,000 fighters from a complex battlefield that now includes not only a Turkish offensive and Turkish-backed Syrian rebels, but also the Syrian regime, the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Russians. And, somewhere monitoring it all, are Iranian agents wondering when they can get their piece of the pie.

Operation Inherent Resolve, the Combined Joint Task Force that was set up to defeat ISIS in 2014 is ostensibly an 80-member coalition of countries and other entities. However very few of the members actually were involved in the Syrian side of operations. The French and the UK sent special forces. Others conducted some airstrikes. Mostly the Coalition members have stayed on the Iraqi side of the line. That is now where US troops are repositioning as well. But several hundred may remain in Syria as part of a new plan that envisions them working to protect oil fields near the Euphrates river.
US President Donald Trump claimed on Monday that the US didn’t want to leave troops in a dangerous area, but said that now the US felt it was necessary to “secure the oil” and that the US would leave troops at the Tanf outpost near the Jordanian border because Israel and Jordan had asked the US to. The references to the oil has left some people perplexed in Washington, Syria and elsewhere. But this is the latest US plan, in a world where the US administration and its own military don’t seem to coordinate these plans or fully strategize together. The US wants to deny the oil fields to ISIS or “others.” By others it may be a reference to the Syrian regime. In February 2018 a group of Syrian regime-backed fighters and Russian contractors tried to seize oil facilities near the Euphrates and were fought off by the US and the SDF.

Most observers note that Syria doesn’t have a lot of oil, so it’s not entirely clear what the point of “securing” the oil is. We do know that on October 18 there were rumors the Syrian regime had sought to deploy towards the Omar oil field and Conoco gas facilities. That requires them crossing the river from Deir Ezzor and moving towards areas that US forces are already known to be in. The regime would not risk a battle with the US after the mauling in 2018.

The US mission in Syria was to defeat ISIS. Over time there were discussions about transitioning to “stabilization” and even using eastern Syria as leverage against Iran. The US has jettisoned most of those ideas now, in favor of a tailored mission that envisions holding on to some oil fields. To reduce the US footprint in Syria to operations near the oil fields will require protecting a 125km corridor along the eastern side of the Euphrates river from areas opposite Deir Ezzor to the border across from Albukamal. This is an area the SDF and US forces had defeated ISIS in battles around Baghouz in March 2019. Now it appears this will be the last operations of the US in Syria. The US has a handy border crossing to use to get back into Iraq, but it has one problem on the other side of the river. Iranian-backed elements among the Iraqi Shi’ite militias have influence near Albukamal. These groups, such as Kata’ib Hezbollah, are hostile to the US. In the summer of 2018 a mysterious airstrike ripped apart the Kata’ib base. In the last months other airstrikes have been reported at an alleged Iranian base near Albukamal. The border crossing was recently reopened to great fanfare by the Syrian regime. So US forces hemmed into this area, between ISIS cells in the desert and a lonely road near the river, will be exposed to eavesdropping by the Iranians on the other side, and potential ISIS threats from the sleeper cells in the desert. The US will have to work with local Arab tribes to provide security around the area, tribes such as the Shaitat and others, some of whom are affiliated with the SDF. Whether the officials in Washington who decided to keep an eye on the oil have fully thought this mission through, it is unclear.


Trump’s disgraceful letter to Erdogan
Trump then proceeds by saying, “I have worked hard to solve some of your problems.” What has Trump worked so hard on with Erdogan when the two hardly ever see eye-to-eye?
October 21, 2019 19:49

There is no wonder that every person and news outlet that saw US President Donald Trump’s letter to Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan thought it was a joke. When it was confirmed that the letter was indeed authentic, bewilderment and disbelief struck everyone who read it, as no US president has ever written such a disgraceful letter which will be remembered in infamy.

Trump starts the letter by stating, “Let’s work out a good deal!” Yes, a good deal, just like another shady real-estate transaction based on a wicked quid pro quo. Only a psychopath would forget that he gave Erdogan the green light to invade Syria to kill, destroy and pillage the same Syrian Kurds who were America’s most trusted allies in the fight against ISIS, and who suffered more than 10,000 casualties. Throughout the war they remained steadfast as an ally, believing the US would always watch their backs, but they were crushingly disappointed.

“You don’t want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people,” Trump goes on to say in his infamous letter. Since when has Erdogan ever been concerned about slaughtering anyone who stood in his way, especially the Kurds whom he hates with a vengeance and whose men, women and children he has been planning for more than two years to attack and massacre?

Then Trump stated, “I don’t want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy – and I will. I’ve already given you a little sample with respect to Pastor Brunson.” First Trump tells Erdogan to go ahead and wreak havoc on our allies but then warns Erdogan that he will destroy the Turkish economy if Erdogan does not heed his demand. If this isn’t the nature of a mentally disturbed individual then I don’t know what is.

Trump then proceeds by saying, “I have worked hard to solve some of your problems.” What has Trump worked so hard on with Erdogan when the two hardly ever see eye-to-eye? There is one exception, though.

Trump envies the Turkish dictator who has been ruling his country with an iron fist: subjugating, jailing, pillaging, and purging his own people with absolutely no qualms and no misgivings. Yes, Trump would love to rule over the US and terrorize the Democrats to submission just like Erdogan does to his opponents, if he only had his way.

“Don’t let the world down,” Trump continues. What is that supposed to mean? Erdogan has let down the US, all NATO member states and every institution of which Turkey is a member or with which it has any affiliation. Erdogan is a criminal and has committed crimes against humanity. But then, what is there to say? Erdogan, after all, is a byproduct of the Ottoman Empire, which committed genocide against the Armenians as well as against the Greeks. He conveniently denies that, although the historic records are irrefutable.

Trump goes on to say, “General Mazloum is willing to negotiate with you, and he is willing to make concessions that they would never have made in the past.” What is there to negotiate? Erdogan has been given a free hand all along. He has been killing his own Kurds for decades; he defied Trump previously by buying the Russian S-400 air defense system; he is interfering in the internal affairs of many countries, especially in the Balkans and the Middle East; and he is ignoring his Western allies, showing them his middle finger with a smirk on his face.

Now Trump dispatches Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence to cajole Erdogan and beg him to agree to a ceasefire while granting him everything he wished for. With the green light given by Trump, Turkey invaded northeastern Syria with the purpose of establishing a “safe zone” for displaced Syrians, but more importantly to push out the Kurdish fighters who are viewed by Ankara as a security threat. In the main, however, Ankara’s goal is to prevent the establishment of an independent Kurdish state in Syria that could evoke a renewed drive by Turkey’s Kurdish minority to seek independence.

Just think about what actually happened. Here you have the president of the United States, no less, pleading for cessation of hostilities instead of demanding, in no uncertain terms, that Erdogan pull out his forces immediately from Syria or face dire consequences.

ERDOGAN, HOWEVER, seems to take Trump for granted, feeling assured that the straw man in the White House will not take any punitive action, not only because he lacks strategic thinking but because of his cowardice.

Trump stated that Pence and Pompeo scored a victory, when in fact it was Erdogan who emerged victorious. Erdogan succeeded in outmaneuvering Trump at every turn, with the US caving in to everything Erdogan wanted. Trump ceded ground in Syria, including US military bases, and also agreed to lift economic sanctions. The ceasefire may have stopped the killing of the Kurds, but no ceasefire will erase the US betrayal of them. The price that the US will end up paying will be hard to imagine.

Next Trump goes on to say, “History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way. It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don’t happen.” Will history ever look at Erdogan favorably? The so-called man whose despicable personality supersedes only his ruthlessness and brutality? The man who took pleasure in the ethnic cleansing of the Kurds, personifies the devil itself and is simply incapable of doing anything, as Trump puts it, “the right and humane way”?

Finally, Trump preaches to Erdogan, saying, “Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!” Well, Trump is simply looking at himself in the mirror. He is the one who tries to play the tough guy, and he is the real fool who occupies the White House.

“I will call you later.” This is how Trump ends the letter. Call Erdogan for what? Just to tell him, “Don’t worry, I still believe that my decision to pull out our troops from Syria was the right decision. You, Erdogan, just go ahead and do what you need to; just don’t make too much noise and don’t brag about it. Leave the bragging to me”?

The writer is a professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU who teaches courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies.



U.S. troops cross into Iraq from Syria -witnesses
An Iraqi Kurdish security source also told Reuters that U.S. troops had crossed into the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
October 21, 2019 10:12

DOHUK, Iraq - United States troops have crossed into Iraq from Syria through the Sahela border crossing in the northern province of Dohuk, Reuters witnesses said on Monday.

Reuters video images showed armored vehicles carrying troops into Iraq, part of the U.S. withdrawal from Syria. A Reuters cameraman saw more than 100 vehicles crossing.

An Iraqi Kurdish security source also told Reuters that U.S. troops had crossed into the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

About 30 trailers and Hummers carrying heavier duty equipment crossed, with troops in cars coming through, the source added. A second security source in Mosul also said U.S. troops had crossed into Iraq from Sahela.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Saturday that all of the nearly 1,000 troops withdrawing from northern Syria are expected to move to western Iraq to continue the campaign against Islamic State militants and "to help defend Iraq."

On Thursday, Turkey agreed in talks with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence to a five-day pause in an offensive into northeastern Syria to allow time for the Kurdish fighters to withdraw from a "safe zone" Ankara aims to establish near its border with Syria.

The truce also aimed to ease a crisis triggered by President Donald Trump's abrupt decision this month to withdraw all 1,000 U.S. troops from northern Syria, a move criticized in Washington and elsewhere as a betrayal of loyal Kurdish allies who had fought for years alongside U.S. troops against Islamic State.

Defense Sec. Mark Esper: U.S. troops leaving Syria will go to Iraq
“The quickest way to get them out of danger was to get them into Iraq,” Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told Fox News Sunday.
By Rachel Wolf
October 21, 2019 02:32

Despite US President Donald Trump’s talk of bringing US troops home from “endless wars” in the Middle East, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper says the troops in Syria are not returning to the US, but will be instead sent to Iraq.

The Endless Wars Must End!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2019

When discussing the US withdrawal from northeastern Syria, Esper emphasized that the US is aiming to be “very deliberate” and it is not rushing, saying “we’re talking weeks, not days.”
"The current game plan is for those forces to re-position into western Iraq,” Esper said, adding that this is the current plan and that things could change between now and when the US finishes its withdrawal from Syria.

Esper says that 1,000 US troops will be attempting to accomplish two missions while in Iraq, first to “help defend Iraq” and second “to preform a counter-ISIS mission.”

“The quickest way to get them out of danger was to get them into Iraq,” Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told Fox News Sunday.

Trump first announced his plan to pull US troops out of Syria in early October and Turkey’s military operation in northeastern Syria began days later.

On Thursday, during talks with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, President Tayyip Erdogan agreed to a five-day pause in military operations that would allow Kurdish fighters to withdraw from what Turkey is calling the “safe zone,” near the Turkish-Syrian border.

On Sunday Trump tweeted “The ceasefire is holding up very nicely. There are some minor skirmishes that have ended quickly,” quoting Esper.

“The ceasefire is holding up very nicely. There are some minor skirmishes that have ended quickly. New areas being resettled with Kurds. U.S. soldiers are not in combat or ceasefire zone. We have secured the Oil.” Mark Esper, Secretary of Defense. Ending endless wars!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 20, 2019

Earlier that day, Turkey's Ministry of National Defence claimed that one Turkish soldier was killed and another was wounded during a Kurdish attack on Tel Abyad, Syria.

The Kurdish militia claimed that Turkey broke the ceasefire on Friday by shelling civilian areas near Ras al Ain, but Turkish officials denied this on Saturday.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer issued a joint statement on Sunday regarding the US agreement with Turkey, saying it “seriously undermines the credibility of America’s foreign policy and sends a dangerous message to our allies and adversaries alike that our word cannot be trusted.” They also called the agreement a “sham,” adding that “President Erdogan has given up nothing, and President Trump has given him everything.”

However, not everyone in Washington is as skeptical of Trump’s Syria policy. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who has previously been critical of Trump’s decision to remove US troops from Syria, told Fox News on Sunday that he is “increasingly optimistic that we can have some historic solutions in Syria.”

安全保障で米国に頼らない体制へ移行を イスラエルのシンクタンク提言



Beyond the chorus of indignation
Trump’s Syria decision accords with previous presidential decisions and is not necessarily a disaster for Israel.
Opinion By Efraim Inbar
October 17, 2019 22:27

The decision by US President Donald Trump to withdraw American soldiers stationed in northeastern Syria from the Turkish border has been met across the board by a chorus of moral indignation. It has been termed “a betrayal of the Kurds” or an “abandonment of allies.”

This criticism was partly motivated by the widespread dislike and contempt in liberal circles toward the American president. Partly it was motivated by a genuine moral revulsion about leaving the Kurdish forces that fought together with America against ISIS, to face alone a Turkish powerful army.
Apart from understandable sympathy for the poor Kurds, such criticism betrays a faulty understanding of international relations; about what motivates foreign policy and the dominant currents in American society.

International politics is a self-help system, meaning that each state has to take care of its own security and independence. The existence of small states is particularly precarious. For example, the Baltic states existed for only a short time between the two World Wars because Russian power was limited at that time. In the Middle East, Kuwait and Lebanon have been targets of a politicide campaign by their stronger neighbors, Iraq and Syria, respectively. The Kurdish entity in northeastern Syria was born as the result of a temporary power vacuum, as Syria and Iraq were weakened by domestic problems. The weakness of Syria also invited several Turkish conquests.

In short, reliance on powerful allies is not enough to survive in the Hobbesian world in which we live.

The Kurds should have known better and prepared for a rainy day. After all, the US has several times allied with the Kurds and then changed sides when its perceived interests demanded it. This happened in 1975 when Gerald Ford was president, and in 1992 when George H.W. Bush was president. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter even abrogated a formal agreement approved by the US Senate, a US defense treaty with Taiwan, as a price for improving relations with Beijing.

Thus, what Trump did last week accords with previous presidential decisions. Moreover, his intention to withdraw troops from Syria was announced more than a year ago. It is part of a policy approach initiated his predecessor, President Barack Obama – namely, American withdrawal from the Middle East. This policy makes some sense as the US does not need Middle East oil and its military involvement in this region has been costly.

While Trump is not a reading man, his decision is in line with an old tradition that Thucydides, Machiavelli and Kissinger propagated, namely realpolitik. The expectation that states in the international system will act in accordance with ethical tenets is very naïve. Generally, states pursue their interests in amoral perspective. States are not Mother Theresa. The only moral imperative is survival. Survival, security and prosperity for citizens is the goal. Egoism, not altruism, is the guiding principle.

Therefore, accusations that Trump is conducting an immoral foreign policy are off base. Presidents and statesmen should be judged by the success of achieving their state’s interests at the lowest cost, not by the morality of the measures taken.

It should be further noted that state interests are defined by state leaders. In democracies, such interests usually are in sync with societal preferences. And in fact, Trump’s isolationist approach well reflects the sentiments of American society today. After several decades of sending US troops to the Middle East with little to show for the effort, America is tired of wars. American “exceptionalism” and missionary belief in the cause of democracy, that many admired over the years, seems to be in need of a break.

In any case, Trump never shared such noble instincts, and he clearly senses the negative mood in America about foreign adventures. By ordering the troops home, Trump is responding his public, and this may prove useful to him in next year’s presidential election campaign.

Trump’s decision obviously affects Israel’s interests. The withdrawal of America from the Middle East allows for greater freedom of action of regional powers such as Iran and Turkey, which is bad news. Some Gulf states may gravitate toward Iran – not a good development. Yet, Israel may also now enjoy greater latitude in pursuing its interests and in using force.

Instead of joining the chorus of indignation, Israel should adapt as quickly as possible to the new circumstances and find appropriate responses to a situation that, again, was not a real surprise.

Israel is very fortunate to have the US as an ally and to have a friendly president like Trump. But Israel has never relied on others for its national security. Israeli strategic thinking always has emphasized self-reliance. Today, as always, Israel must be prepared to act independently of Washington.

The writer is president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (jiss.org.il).

悪意を持った社員にはめられたユニクロ韓国 慰安婦CM事件



ユニクロCM、韓国で取り下げ 慰安婦暗示・歴史修正と猛反発受け
10/21(月) 18:26配信


 ユニクロのフリースを宣伝するこのコマーシャルでは、ファッション通として知られる米国人女性アイリス・アプフェル(Iris Apfel)さん(98)が、85歳年下のデザイナー、ケリス・ロジャース(Kheris Rogers)さんと共演。会話の最後にロジャースさんが、自分と同年齢の頃はどんな服を着ていたか、アプフェルさんに尋ねる。








 韓国の元外相で、高麗大学(Korea University)で教える金聖翰(キム・ソンハン、Kim Sung-han)教授は、「ユニクロの行い全てに日本企業として政治的な意味がある」とみなす「論理の飛躍」がみられるなど、コマーシャルへの反発は過剰反応だったと指摘。アプフェルさんのコメントを「どうすれば慰安婦と関連付けられるのか分からない」と述べ、「神経質すぎる」との見方を示した。

10/17(木) 9:08配信













Winners and Losers in the Turkish attack on the Kurds in Syria (part 3 of 3)
Posted on 17/10/2019
By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

The United States of America emerged victorious from the Second World War, and came out stronger than any other country in the world. The allies- notably the Soviet Union- won the war but emerged much weaker. They needed to reconstruct their countries and rebuild their economies, with the US demanding huge retrospective payments for its support. The US became a superpower with nuclear bomb capability and an imposing power of dominance. Industrial countries rebuilt in what the Germans called their Wirtschaftswunder and the French les Trentes Glorieuses, the thirty years of post-war prosperity. Meanwhile the US leveraged its prosperity to spread its hegemony around the world. US power was enhanced with the beginning of Perestroika and after the fall of the Soviet Union. In the new millennium the US establishment declared the “War on Terror” as justification to occupy Afghanistan and Iraq, while attempting to subdue Hezbollah in Lebanon, changing the régime in Libya and attempting to destroy Syria, all with the goal of reshuffling and forming a “New Middle East”.

In the Levant, the US has dramatically failed to reach its objectives, but it has succeeded in waking Russia from its long hibernation, to challenge the US unilateral hegemony of the world and to develop new forms of alliance. Iran has also challenged the US hegemony incrementally since the 1979 “Islamic Revolution”. Iran has planned meticulously, and patiently built a chain of allies connecting different parts of the Middle East. Now, after 37 years, Iran can boast a necklace of robust allies in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan- who are all ready, if necessary, to take up arms to defend Iran. Iran, in fact, has greatly benefited from US mistakes. Through its lack of understanding of populations and leaders around the world, it has universally failed to win “hearts and minds” in every Middle Eastern country where it imposed itself as a potential ally.

The arrival of President Donald Trump to power helped US allies and the anti-US camp to discover, together, the limits and reach of US sanctions. Russia and China took the lead in offering a new, softer model of an alliance, which apparently does not aim to impose another kind of hegemony. The offer of an economic alliance and partnership is especially attractive to those who have tasted US hegemony and wish to liberate themselves from it by means of a more balanced alternative.

During this period of Trump’s ruling, the Middle East became a huge warehouse of advanced weapons from varied sources. Every single country (and some non-state actors) has armed drones- and some even have precision and cruise missiles. But superiority in armaments by itself counts for very little, and its very balance is not enough to shift the weight to one side or another. Even the poorest country, Yemen, has done significant damage to oil-rich Saudi Arabia, a country highly equipped, militarily, and with the most modern US hardware in the Middle East.

US President Trump was informed about the evident failure to change the régime in Syria and the equal impossibility of dislodging Iran from the Levant. He most probably aimed to avoid the loss of lives and therefore decided to abandon the country that his forces have occupied for the past few years. Nonetheless, his sudden withdrawal, even if so far it is partial (because he says, a small unit will remain behind at al-Tanf, to no strategic benefit since al-Qaem border crossing is now operational) – came as a shock to his Kurdish and Israeli allies. Trump proved his readiness to abandon his closest friends & enemies overnight.

Trump’s move offered an unexpected victory to Damascus. The Syrian government is now slowly recovering its most important source of food, agriculture and energy. North-East Syria represents a quarter of the country’s geography. The northern provinces have exceptional wealth in water, electricity dams, oil, gas and food. President Trump has restored it to President Bashar al-Assad. This will also serve Trump’s forthcoming election campaign.

Assad trusts that Russia will succeed in halting the Turkish advance and reduce its consequences, perhaps by asking the Kurds to pull back to a 30 km distance from the Turkish borders to satisfy President Erdogan’s anxiety. That could also fit the Turkish-Syrian 1998 Adana agreement (5 km buffer zone rather than 30 km) and offer tranquillity to all parties involved. Turkey wants to make sure the Kurdish YPG, the PKK Syrian branch, is disarmed and contained. Nothing seems difficult for Russia to manage, particularly when the most difficult objective has already been graciously offered: the US forces’ withdrawal.

President Assad will be delighted to trim the Kurds’ nails. The Kurds offered Afrin to Turkey to prevent the Syrian government forces controlling it. The Kurds, in exchange for the State of their dreams (Rojava), supported US occupation and Syria’s enemy, Israel. Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu bombed hundreds of targets in Syria, preferring ISIS to dominate the country and pushing Trump to give him the Syrian-occupied Golan Heights as a gift- although the US has no authority over this Syrian territory.

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians were killed, millions of refugees were driven from their homes and hundreds of billions of dollars were spent on destroying Syria. Nonetheless, the Syrian state and President Assad have prevailed. Notwithstanding the consequences of the war, Arab and Gulf countries are eager to return to Syria and participate in reconstruction. Whoever rules Syria, the attempt to destroy the Syrian state and change the existing régime has failed.

Russia is one of the most successful players here, on numerous fronts, and is now in a position President Putin could only have dreamed about before 2015. Numerous analysts and think tanks predicted Moscow would sink into the Syrian quagmire, and they mocked its arsenal. They were all wrong. Russia learned its lesson from the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan. It offered air and missile coverage and brilliantly cooperated with Iran and its allies as ground forces.

President Putin skillfully managed the Syrian war, striking a balance and creating good ties with Turkey, a NATO ally- even after the downing of his jet by Ankara in 2015. Russia wanted to collaborate with the US but was faced with an administration with persistent “Red-Soviet” phobia. Moscow proceeded without Washington to solve the Syrian war and defeat the jihadists who had flocked to the country with support from the West (via Turkey and Jordan) from all over the world.

Russia showed off its new arsenal and managed to sell a lot of its weapons. It has trained its Air Force using real battle scenarios, fought alongside the Syrian and Iranian armies, and a non-state actor (Hezbollah). It defeated ISIS and al-Qaeda 40 years after its defeat in Afghanistan. President Putin has distinguished himself as a trustworthy partner and ally, unlike Trump- who abandoned the Kurds, and who blackmails even his closest ally (Saudi Arabia).

Russia imposed the Astana process instead of Geneva for peace talks, it offered countries to use their local currencies for commerce rather than the dollar, and it is dealing pragmatically with Iran and Saudi Arabia, and with Assad and Erdogan. The Americans, by their recklessness, showed themselves incapable of diplomacy.

Moscow mediated between the Syrian Kurds and the central government in Damascus even when these had been under US control for years. Putin behaved wisely with Israel even when he accused Tel Aviv of provoking the killing of his officers, and stayed relatively neutral in relation to the Iran-Israel struggle.

On the other hand, Tel Aviv never thought Syria would be reunited. Today Damascus has armed drones, precision and cruise missiles from Iran, supersonic anti-ship Russian missiles- and has survived the destruction of its infrastructure and so many years of war.

Israel has lost the prospect of a Kurdish state (Rojava) as an ally. This dream has gone now for many decades to come and with it the partition of Syria and Iraq. The “Deal of the Century” makes no sense anymore and the non-aggression deal with the Arab states is a mirage. Everything that Trump’s close advisor, Prime Minister Netanyahu, wanted has lost its meaning, and Israel now has to deal with the Russian presence in the Middle East and bear the consequences of the victory achieved by Assad, the Russians, and the Iranians.

After the Kurds, Israel is the second biggest loser- even if it has suffered no financial damage and no Israeli lives have been lost in combat. Netanyahu’s ambitions can no longer be used in his election scenario. Israel needs to prepare for living next door to Assad, who will certainly want back Syria’s Golan- a priority for Damascus to tackle once domestic reconstruction is on its way. He has been preparing the local resistance for years, for the day when Syria will recover this territory.



Winners and Losers in the Turkish attack on Kurds in Syria? Part 2 of 3
Posted on 16/10/2019
By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

Turkish forces invaded north-east Syria (NES) only when it had coordinated with the US to define the red line of the invasion. Moreover, both superpowers, the US and Russia, protected Turkey by blocking an EU-drafted UN resolution to halt the Turkish advance. Turkey refused to allow the US to arm, train and give an independent state to the Syrian Kurds on the Turkish borders and simultaneously keep Turkey as an ally. President Donald Trump had no choice but to accept Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s position over that of the Kurdish separatists. Russia considered the Turkish presence in NES much easier to deal with than the US forces and the disillusionment of the Kurds with their US mentor worth allowing President Erdogan’s operation. So, who is the winner and who is the loser among these players?


Ankara has played one of the most disastrous roles in the Syrian war since the beginning, allowing jihadists to flock into Syria from all over the world. The Turkish position was in harmony with the US-EU directives calling for regime change in Syria or a failed State so that each player could take a chunk of the country and leave it in total chaos. Moreover, Turkey supported the jihadists to attack and successfully occupy the city of Idlib starting from the Turkish borders. It did the same when jihadists attacked Kesseb and threatened the province of Latakia.

However, President Erdogan did pull out his proxies from Aleppo, allowing the Syrian Army to free the northern city with fewer human losses. It also played an effective role in the fall of al-Ghouta, in the suburb of Damascus, to the benefit of the Syrian Army.

President Erdogan also pushed his forces into Jarablus in NES and, two years later, occupied Afrin, disturbing the Syrian Kurds’ dream of a “Rojava” state. His invasion of NES caused the end of Northern Kurdistan and, indirectly, pushed the US forces out of NES, with the exception of a “small footprint” at al-Tanaf.

The Turkish President is today an essential partner in the Astana peace process due to his control over 10% of the Syrian territory and his influence over militants and jihadists. He has also managed to play his cards well by creating a balance between the US and Russia, buying weapons from both despite the discontent and disapproval of the US administration.

Although Turkey failed to deliver on its promise to paralyse, contain and dismantle the jihadist groups in Idlib, it allowed a military expedition against them when the jihadists refused to stop sending armed drones against the Russian military base in Hmaymeem.

Today, President Erdogan will be negotiating a new constitutional framework in Astana, holding Idlib and aiming (hoping) to control almost 14,000 sq km (440×32) of NES. His country is hosting 3.6 million refugees and would like to relocate a few million to Syria. He also needs to satisfy his Syrian proxies, who will accuse him of treachery if he doesn’t offer to these at least the minimum of their required objectives: a reintegration into the Syrian system without persecution for their previous acts, and an approved change in the constitution.

Although President Erdogan was thoroughly in the US-NATO camp at the beginning of the Syrian war and went as far as to shoot down a Russia jet on November 2015, he has managed to strike a balance with Moscow. He is becoming a strategic partner of Russia, not only buying the S-400 but also part of the Gazprom-sponsored pipeline Turkish Stream that is expected to supply Europe with Russian gas. President Erdogan may find himself threatening to leave NATO – to the jubilation of Russia – if the US imposes sanctions on his country and on Turkish personalities.

The Syrian war is not yet over. The role of President Erdogan is still to be played out in its last phase. Is the Turkish presence in Syria to last as long as the occupation of north-east Cyprus? That will definitely indicate a military confrontation with Damascus in the long term and the disapproval of his Russian and Iranian allies.

The Syrian Kurds and the Arab tribes loyal to Damascus will not stand idle in the face of a long Turkish occupation. That will no doubt disturb the relationship between the allies, who need to look for the development of commercial and business relationships at a time when the US is fighting for its hegemony and freely imposing sanctions on so many countries. It all depends on the latest Turkish moves in the Levant, and Turkey will have to choose what to become: a partner or an enemy, and of whom?


Winners and Losers in the Turkish attack on Kurds in Syria (part 1of 3)
Posted on 15/10/2019
By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

President Donald Trump has given the orders to begin a “deliberate withdrawal” of his troops and end the occupation of north-east Syria (NES). This is accelerating the race between the Turkish and the Syrian forces to control NES.

Turkey is in a rush to establish its 30-35km wide safe zone on the borders with Syria in the US-occupied north-east territory, currently under the control of the Syrian Kurdish separatists. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is aware of the pressure his US ally, President Donald Trump is under for approving this operation, an operation which has made Trump even more unpopular among the US and western élites.

Trump took it upon himself to unilaterally take control of an area in Syria bigger than Switzerland. Uninvited by the central government, he had established over a dozen military and air bases in the country and kept them there notwithstanding the defeat of ISIS. Trump has now agreed to pull back some US troops, allowing Turkey and its Syrian proxies to move into this part of Syrian territory. The US President and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin blocked an EU-drafted resolution condemning the Turkish offensive. Now, the winners in this operation are much more numerous than the losers and it would be a mistake to suppose that only Turkey is gaining from this operation. All winners have their own objectives and perspectives to assess how they can benefit from the Turkish invasion.

By deciding to pull out 1,000 men from NES, Trump is reshuffling the cards, moving the burden away from his administration and dropping it into the hands of Russia, Turkey and Syria (and their allies). There is a serious need for Russia to move fast and bring concerned players around the table to organise a situation that could turn more chaotic and lead to even more confrontation.

The biggest losers are the Kurds: the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the armed wing of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)- which were classified as terrorist organisations by the US (since 1997), by the European Union (since 2002), and by NATO, Turkey, and some other countries.

The Kurds in the Levant:

The Kurds are now in south-east Turkey, north-east Syria, the north of Iraq, north-west Iran, and south-west Armenia. With an estimated population of 30 million, they may be the largest stateless minority in the world (after the Tamil). More than half of the Kurds live in Turkey; it is thus less than accurate to call the Turkish attack on Syrian Kurds “ethnic cleansing”.

The 1923 Lausanne Peace treaty with the Republic of Turkey denied the Kurds the realisation of their dream for an independent “Kurdistan” state of their own. The Kurds staged many rebellions but all failed to achieve their aspirations for a state. These include the Sheikh Said rebellion (1925), the Ararat (1930) revolution led by the Armenian Ziylan Bey, one of the most famous rebels of the mountains (the Iraqi Mustafa Barzani crossed the borders to join the rebellion), and the Sayid Riza 1937-1938 Kurdish-Alevi Dersim genocide (known today as Tenceli). The latter operation was carried out under the orders of Turkish President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and is recognised by President Erdogan as a “massacre”.

In 1974, Abdullah Ocalan formed a Maoist proletarian movement, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and focussed on Turkish targets within the country. Thus far at least 40,000 people have been killed in this conflict without the Kurds achieving their goal of a state. Ocalan and some 3,000 PKK militants are festering in jail. The US, the EU and many other countries categorize the PKK as a terrorist group. “The PKK is on the terror list of the EU and delisting it is not on the cards,” said EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini last March.

When the war in Syria began in 2011, the Syrian Kurds were neutral but provided many besieged Syrian cities with much-needed supplies. But everything changed on September 2014 when the “Islamic State” (IS, ISIS, ISIL or Daesh) attacked the Kurdish town of Ayn al-Arab, known to the Kurds as Kobane.

Although Turkey refused (in order to avoid a domestic uprising) to allow Turkish Kurds to cross the borders to help their Syrian brothers, it opened the borders for Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga to walk in just when the city was about to fall. The Peshmerga had the task of providing laser designators to guide US jets against ISIS targets. The town was destroyed but ISIS failed to occupy it and withdrew in January 2015.

In October 2015 the US-led coalition formed, trained and armed the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) under Kurdish command and alongside local Arab militias. The Kurds hoped their dream would finally materialise since the prospect of dividing Iraq and Syria now seemed realistic. A Kurdish state seemed attainable, and the name of “Rojava” (Rojavayê Kurdistanê‎), one of the four parts of Greater Kurdistan, was chosen. This territory extends from the city of Afrin in the north-west to al-Hasaka in the north-east.

In August 2016, Turkey inserted its own troops into Syria with the help of Syrian proxies and captured the border town of Jarablus. This disturbed the Kurds’ plans. Almost two years later, Turkey conquered the Kurdish city of Afrin, curtailing the map of Rojava and displacing tens of thousands of Kurds.

The Kurds preferred to hand Afrin to Turkey rather than allow the Syrian army to defend the city. Intensive negotiations were held between Kurdish leaders and the Syrian government in Damascus, the Russian military base of Hmaymeem, and other locations. The Kurds refused to hand over the billions of dollars they had accumulated from Syrian agriculture and refused to join Syria’s National Defence Forces. They wanted both full autonomy and at the same time, they wanted the Syrian Army to serve as their border guards. They preferred to fight and lose the battle rather than handing Syrian territory back to Syrian government control. The Kurds opted for Turkish occupation. This has proved to be their first major mistake.

In September 2015, when Russia was persuaded to move its air force into Syria, coordination with the US was necessary to avoid clashes. Any area east of the Euphrates River was considered subject to US operations and control. The west of the river was controlled by Russian forces. After defeating ISIS, the Syrian army tried, with its allies, to cross the Euphrates in order to eliminate ISIS from the oil and gas-rich wells north of Deir-ezzour before the arrival of US-backed forces. The Syrian troops were decimated by US forces. Over 200 men were killed, showing that the US was not ready to give up what it considered its “zone of influence,” with its considerable accompanying material advantages.

Clearly, the US had the intention of staying and occupying an area that represents slightly less than the third of Syria, an area particularly rich in agriculture and in energy resources.

Then Kurdish Iraqi leader Masoud Barzani’s hasty and failed attempt to declare his independent state in Iraq finally put an end to the Kurdish dream of uniting Rojava with Iraqi Kurdistan.

With the arrival of Donald Trump, the newly appointed President came a promise to bring the US forces home from the Middle East. Trump described north-east Syria as “a land of death and sand ”. He intended to pull out unless the area could bring him revenues. Arab states who were heavily involved in the war in Syria, financing jihadists and rebels, had lost their appetite to supply monies and arms. They were no longer ready to pay Trump for keeping his troops there.

Trump stated that the Syrian Kurds “were not great fighters” and needed his jets to clear the way before attacking ISIS. Thus he minimised their role and their losses in defeating ISIS in the capital of the “Caliphate” in Raqqah.

The Kurds never imagined the US would betray them, despite their previous experience in 1975. That was their second big mistake. Kurdish military leaders tried, to no avail, to convince Kurdish political leaders to open a serious dialogue with Damascus. But in fact the Kurds suspended negotiations and once again seemed to prefer facing a Turkish attack rather than working with the Syrian government. They put their hopes in the support of the international community and the mainstream media. The media and public personalities have indeed offered the Kurds abundant verbal support. But that will certainly not be enough to stop the Turkish attack that is now advancing rapidly in the designated area.

Trump looks on the Kurds as mercenaries he has bought and paid for. Since their services are no longer required, he is now ready to withdraw US forces to win favour with Turkey. The Kurds are expendable now that their manpower is not needed by Trump.

The Kurds, however, insisted for years on acting as human shields for Trump’s soldiers in al-Hasaka and Qamishli. And they believe that social media together with a media campaign can reverse Trump’s decision. But they are now left with no allies on the ground, and not even the mountains will protect them. Their wrong choices – in surrendering territory that did not belong to them- have made them today’s biggest losers. The US short notice announcement of a sudden withdrawal gave a cold shower to the Kurds who have now asked Damascus to move in to protect them from the Turkish advance. It was certainly high time to wake up to what is, at this stage, the only available option.





Turkey uses white phosphorus in the alleged ‘safe zone’ in Syria – Report
In the last 24 hours British expert sees more evidence of civilians and children with chemical burns then in any stage of the Syrian civil war.
October 19, 2019 10:52

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said that it was "collecting information with regard to possible use of chemical weapons" following reports white phosphorus was used by Turkish forces against civilians earlier this week, the Guardian reported on Friday.

Despite the US-brokered 120-hour ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces announced by US Vice President Mike Pence, media sources reported the fighting continues, with disturbing images showing severely burned children that were allegedly wounded during Turkish attacks on northern Syria.

One of the images shows 13-year-old Mohammed Hamid Mohammed, who was wounded in Tal Tamir in what Turkey claims is the "safe zone."
Mohammed suffered severe burns to his upper body, losing most of the skin on his torso, neck and arms.[Readers who click on the following link should know the image is explicit and hard to watch].

The boy's father, Hamid Mohammed, told the London Times that the boy was wounded in a Turkish airstrike in Ras al-Ain at midnight on Wednesday.

"I heard the Turkish jet overhead just before the explosion," he said.

The boy reportedly endured 12 hours of agony before arriving at the hospital, where it took the nurses 20 minutes to manage to inject morphine into the child's severely burnt body.

According to Hamish de-Bretton Gordon, a British chemical weapons expert and a former commander of the UK's chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear regiment, the burns appeared consistent with white phosphorus, the use of which in urban areas and against civilians is deemed a war crime. The Daily Mail reported similar wounds suffered by Kurdish children in Hasakeh,

"The most likely culprit is white phosphorus," Gordon said. "It is a horrific weapon, and has been used repeatedly during the Syrian civil war; unfortunately, its use has become increasingly normalized." According to the NY Post, Gordon said that in the last 24 hours he has seen more photographs of the kind of chemical burn seen on Mohammed that in any stage of the Syrian civil war.

According to the Kurdish Red Crescent, six patients – both civilian and military – were hospitalized in the Syrian-Kurdish hospital in Hasakeh, a city controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces that is now under joint control of the SDF and the Syrian army.

The patients reportedly arrived at the hospital with burns from "unknown weapons." According to the NY Post, the Red Crescent has said it was "working together with [its] international partners to investigate the subject."

According to the Guardian, Turkey rejected the accusations regarding its armed forces using white phosphorus or other non-conventional weapons, saying "it is a fact known by everyone that there are no chemical weapons in the inventory of the Turkish armed forces."

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the claims "speculations" and "disinformation."

White phosphorus is a substance used in combat to mark territory, as a smokescreen during the day and to light-up an area in the dark.

It is illegal to use in urban areas or in proximity to civilians as it lights up on contact with water – in the air or in the skin – being virtually impossible to put out as long as water is present, causing severe 3rd degree burns. Copper salt solutions must be used to end such fires.

In 2009, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International published reports claiming the IDF had used of white phosphorus in Operation Cast Lead, accusing Israel of war crimes. According to France24, Israel acknowledged using white phosphorus in the operation, but denied charges that white phosphorus shells killed Palestinian civilians.

The IDF announced in 2013 that shells containing "minimal amounts" of white phosphorus would be "removed from active duty soon."

In 2009 NATO declined to release its findings after it looked into the death of an 8-year-old girl who allegedly burned to death by white phosphorus munitions, Human Rights Watch reported.





Lindsey Graham reverses Syria stance, says Trump's policy could succeed
In an interview with Fox News Channel, Graham said a conversation he had with Trump over the weekend had fueled his optimism.
October 20, 2019 19:02

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who has been one of the most vocal critics of President Donald Trump's decision to move US troops out of northeastern Syria, said on Sunday he now believed "historic solutions" were possible.

In an interview with Fox News Channel, Graham said a conversation he had with Trump over the weekend had fueled his optimism that a solution could be reached where the security of Turkey and the Kurds was guaranteed and fighters from Islamic State contained.
"I am increasingly optimistic that we can have some historic solutions in Syria that have eluded us for years if we play our cards right," Graham said.

Graham said Trump was prepared to use US air power over a demilitarized zone occupied by international forces, adding that the use of air power could help ensure Islamic State fighters who had been held in the area did not "break out."

Senator Jim Inhofe, a Republican who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on Saturday that Trump understood the need for the United States to maintain air power in the region.

"The US must retain air power to keep the pressure on ISIS, prevent our adversaries Russia and Iran from exploiting this situation and protect our partners on the ground," he said in a statement. ISIS is an acronym for Islamic State.

Graham also said he believed the United States and Kurdish forces long allied with Washington could establish a venture to modernize Syrian oil fields, with the revenue flowing to the Kurds. "President Trump is thinking outside the box," Graham said of Trump's thinking on oil.

"The president appreciates what the Kurds have done," Graham added. "He wants to make sure ISIS does not come back. I expect we will continue to partner with the Kurds in Eastern Syria to make sure ISIS does not re-emerge."

Graham, referring to the Kurdish fighters in the region, had previously warned that Trump's decision to pull out US troops would lead to their "destruction."

Tulsi Gabbardがテレビで本当のことを言ってしまう シリア戦


Tulsi Nails it on National TV… US Regime-Change Wars
Finian Cunningham
October 18, 2019

No wonder Democratic Party bosses and mainstream media are trying to bury presidential contender Tulsi Gabbard. She is the only candidate, perhaps the only politician in the US, who is telling the American public exactly what they need to know about what their government and military are really up to: fighting illegal regime-change wars, and to boot, sponsoring terrorists for that purpose.

It didn’t come much clearer nor more explicit than when Gabbard fired up the Democratic TV debate this week. It was billed as the biggest televised presidential debate ever, and the Hawaii Representative told some prime-time home-truths to the nation:

“Donald Trump has blood of the Kurds on his hands, but so do many of the politicians in our country from both parties who have supported this ongoing regime-change war in Syria that started in 2011… along with many in the mainstream media who have been championing and cheer-leading this regime-change war.”

The 38-year-old military veteran went on to denounce how the US has sponsored Al Qaeda terrorists for its objective of overthrowing the government in Damascus.

It was a remarkably damning assessment of US policy in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. And it was by no means the first time that Gabbard has leveled with the American people on the brutality and criminality of Washington’s so-called “interventions”.

The other 11 Democratic candidates on the stage during the TV debate looked agog after Gabbard’s devastating and calmly delivered statement. All the others have proffered the false narrative that US forces are in Syria to “fight terrorism”. They deplore Trump’s announcement last week to pull back US troops from northeast Syria because, they say, it will undermine the fight against Islamic State (IS or ISIS) and other Al Qaeda affiliates. They also condemn Trump for “betraying Kurdish allies” by his partial troop withdrawal.

President Donald Trump talks about “ending endless wars” and “bringing our troops home”. But he still premises his views on a credulous belief that the US under his watch “defeated ISIS 100 per cent”. In that way, he essentially shares the same corny view as the Democrats and media that America is a force for good, that it is the “good guys wearing white hats riding into the sunset”.

On the other hand, Gabbard stands alone in telling the American people the plain and awful truth. US policy is the fundamental problem. Ending its regime-change war in Syria and elsewhere and ending its diabolical collusion with terror groups is the way to bring peace to the Middle East and to spare ordinary Americans from the economic disaster of spiraling war debts. American citizens need to know the truth about the horror their government, military, media and politicians have inflicted not just on countries in the Middle East, but also from the horrendous boomerang consequences of this criminal policy on the lives and livelihoods of ordinary Americans, including millions of veterans destroyed by injuries, trauma, suicide, and drug abuse.

Following the TV debate this week, it seems that Gabbard won the popular vote with her truth-telling. A major online poll by the Drudge Report found that she stole a march on all the other candidates, winning approval from nearly 40 per cent of voters. Top ticket candidates Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden were trailing behind with 7 per cent or less.

Gabbard has clearly struck a deep chord with the US public in her honest depiction of American wars.

Despite her shattering exposé and seeming appreciation by the public, most mainstream media tried to bury her after the TV debate. Outlets like Vox and CNN declared that Warren was the winner of the debate, whose talking points were mainly about domestic policy issues. Like the other candidates, Warren plies the propaganda narrative of US forces “fighting terrorism”. Vox even slated Gabbard as “a loser” in the debate and claimed she had made “blatantly false” statements about the US’ role in Syria.

Other mainstream news outlets chose to ignore reporting on Gabbard’s demolishing of the official propaganda about American wars. Earlier this week, CNN and the New York Times smeared her as a “Russian asset” and an “apologist for Assad”, referencing a visit she made to Syria in 2017 when she held talks with President Assad.

The Democratic National Committee is claiming that Gabbard does not have sufficient support in polls it deems worthy for her to qualify for appearing in the next TV debate in November.

International events, however, are proving the Hawaii Representative right. US troops, as with other NATO forces, have been occupying Syrian territory illegally. They have no mandate from the United Nations Security Council. The pullback of US troops by Trump has created a vacuum in northeast Syria into which the Syrian Arab Army is quickly moving to reclaim the territory which US-backed Kurdish fighters had de facto annexed for the past five years. Several reports show the local people are joyfully welcoming the arrival of the Syrian army. The scenes are reminiscent of when Syrian and Russian forces liberated Aleppo and other cities previously besieged by terror groups.

America’s war machine must get out of Syria for the sake of restoring peace to that war-torn country. Not because “they have defeated ISIS 100 per cent”, as Trump would conceitedly claim, nor because “we are betraying Kurds in the fight against terrorism”, as most Democrats and US media preposterously claim.

Peace will come to Syria and the Middle East when Washington finally ends its criminal regime-change wars and its support for terrorist proxies. Tulsi Gabbard seems to be the only politician with the intelligence and integrity to tell Americans the truth.
Finian Cunningham
October 18, 2019 | World
Tulsi Nails it on National TV… US Regime-Change Wars

No wonder Democratic Party bosses and mainstream media are trying to bury presidential contender Tulsi Gabbard. She is the only candidate, perhaps the only politician in the US, who is telling the American public exactly what they need to know about what their government and military are really up to: fighting illegal regime-change wars, and to boot, sponsoring terrorists for that purpose.

It didn’t come much clearer nor more explicit than when Gabbard fired up the Democratic TV debate this week. It was billed as the biggest televised presidential debate ever, and the Hawaii Representative told some prime-time home-truths to the nation:

“Donald Trump has blood of the Kurds on his hands, but so do many of the politicians in our country from both parties who have supported this ongoing regime-change war in Syria that started in 2011… along with many in the mainstream media who have been championing and cheer-leading this regime-change war.”

The 38-year-old military veteran went on to denounce how the US has sponsored Al Qaeda terrorists for its objective of overthrowing the government in Damascus.

It was a remarkably damning assessment of US policy in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. And it was by no means the first time that Gabbard has leveled with the American people on the brutality and criminality of Washington’s so-called “interventions”.

The other 11 Democratic candidates on the stage during the TV debate looked agog after Gabbard’s devastating and calmly delivered statement. All the others have proffered the false narrative that US forces are in Syria to “fight terrorism”. They deplore Trump’s announcement last week to pull back US troops from northeast Syria because, they say, it will undermine the fight against Islamic State (IS or ISIS) and other Al Qaeda affiliates. They also condemn Trump for “betraying Kurdish allies” by his partial troop withdrawal.

President Donald Trump talks about “ending endless wars” and “bringing our troops home”. But he still premises his views on a credulous belief that the US under his watch “defeated ISIS 100 per cent”. In that way, he essentially shares the same corny view as the Democrats and media that America is a force for good, that it is the “good guys wearing white hats riding into the sunset”.

On the other hand, Gabbard stands alone in telling the American people the plain and awful truth. US policy is the fundamental problem. Ending its regime-change war in Syria and elsewhere and ending its diabolical collusion with terror groups is the way to bring peace to the Middle East and to spare ordinary Americans from the economic disaster of spiraling war debts. American citizens need to know the truth about the horror their government, military, media and politicians have inflicted not just on countries in the Middle East, but also from the horrendous boomerang consequences of this criminal policy on the lives and livelihoods of ordinary Americans, including millions of veterans destroyed by injuries, trauma, suicide, and drug abuse.

Following the TV debate this week, it seems that Gabbard won the popular vote with her truth-telling. A major online poll by the Drudge Report found that she stole a march on all the other candidates, winning approval from nearly 40 per cent of voters. Top ticket candidates Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden were trailing behind with 7 per cent or less.

Gabbard has clearly struck a deep chord with the US public in her honest depiction of American wars.

Despite her shattering exposé and seeming appreciation by the public, most mainstream media tried to bury her after the TV debate. Outlets like Vox and CNN declared that Warren was the winner of the debate, whose talking points were mainly about domestic policy issues. Like the other candidates, Warren plies the propaganda narrative of US forces “fighting terrorism”. Vox even slated Gabbard as “a loser” in the debate and claimed she had made “blatantly false” statements about the US’ role in Syria.

Other mainstream news outlets chose to ignore reporting on Gabbard’s demolishing of the official propaganda about American wars. Earlier this week, CNN and the New York Times smeared her as a “Russian asset” and an “apologist for Assad”, referencing a visit she made to Syria in 2017 when she held talks with President Assad.

The Democratic National Committee is claiming that Gabbard does not have sufficient support in polls it deems worthy for her to qualify for appearing in the next TV debate in November.

International events, however, are proving the Hawaii Representative right. US troops, as with other NATO forces, have been occupying Syrian territory illegally. They have no mandate from the United Nations Security Council. The pullback of US troops by Trump has created a vacuum in northeast Syria into which the Syrian Arab Army is quickly moving to reclaim the territory which US-backed Kurdish fighters had de facto annexed for the past five years. Several reports show the local people are joyfully welcoming the arrival of the Syrian army. The scenes are reminiscent of when Syrian and Russian forces liberated Aleppo and other cities previously besieged by terror groups.

America’s war machine must get out of Syria for the sake of restoring peace to that war-torn country. Not because “they have defeated ISIS 100 per cent”, as Trump would conceitedly claim, nor because “we are betraying Kurds in the fight against terrorism”, as most Democrats and US media preposterously claim.

Peace will come to Syria and the Middle East when Washington finally ends its criminal regime-change wars and its support for terrorist proxies. Tulsi Gabbard seems to be the only politician with the intelligence and integrity to tell Americans the truth.

© 2010 - 2019 | Strategic Culture Foundation | Republishing is welcomed with reference to Strategic Culture online journal www.strategic-culture.org.
The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

No wonder Democratic Party bosses and mainstream media are trying to bury presidential contender Tulsi Gabbard. She is the only candidate, perhaps the only politician in the US, who is telling the American public exactly what they need to know about what their government and military are really up to: fighting illegal regime-change wars, and to boot, sponsoring terrorists for that purpose.

It didn’t come much clearer nor more explicit than when Gabbard fired up the Democratic TV debate this week. It was billed as the biggest televised presidential debate ever, and the Hawaii Representative told some prime-time home-truths to the nation:

“Donald Trump has blood of the Kurds on his hands, but so do many of the politicians in our country from both parties who have supported this ongoing regime-change war in Syria that started in 2011… along with many in the mainstream media who have been championing and cheer-leading this regime-change war.”

The 38-year-old military veteran went on to denounce how the US has sponsored Al Qaeda terrorists for its objective of overthrowing the government in Damascus.

It was a remarkably damning assessment of US policy in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. And it was by no means the first time that Gabbard has leveled with the American people on the brutality and criminality of Washington’s so-called “interventions”.

The other 11 Democratic candidates on the stage during the TV debate looked agog after Gabbard’s devastating and calmly delivered statement. All the others have proffered the false narrative that US forces are in Syria to “fight terrorism”. They deplore Trump’s announcement last week to pull back US troops from northeast Syria because, they say, it will undermine the fight against Islamic State (IS or ISIS) and other Al Qaeda affiliates. They also condemn Trump for “betraying Kurdish allies” by his partial troop withdrawal.

President Donald Trump talks about “ending endless wars” and “bringing our troops home”. But he still premises his views on a credulous belief that the US under his watch “defeated ISIS 100 per cent”. In that way, he essentially shares the same corny view as the Democrats and media that America is a force for good, that it is the “good guys wearing white hats riding into the sunset”.

On the other hand, Gabbard stands alone in telling the American people the plain and awful truth. US policy is the fundamental problem. Ending its regime-change war in Syria and elsewhere and ending its diabolical collusion with terror groups is the way to bring peace to the Middle East and to spare ordinary Americans from the economic disaster of spiraling war debts. American citizens need to know the truth about the horror their government, military, media and politicians have inflicted not just on countries in the Middle East, but also from the horrendous boomerang consequences of this criminal policy on the lives and livelihoods of ordinary Americans, including millions of veterans destroyed by injuries, trauma, suicide, and drug abuse.

Following the TV debate this week, it seems that Gabbard won the popular vote with her truth-telling. A major online poll by the Drudge Report found that she stole a march on all the other candidates, winning approval from nearly 40 per cent of voters. Top ticket candidates Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden were trailing behind with 7 per cent or less.

Gabbard has clearly struck a deep chord with the US public in her honest depiction of American wars.

Despite her shattering exposé and seeming appreciation by the public, most mainstream media tried to bury her after the TV debate. Outlets like Vox and CNN declared that Warren was the winner of the debate, whose talking points were mainly about domestic policy issues. Like the other candidates, Warren plies the propaganda narrative of US forces “fighting terrorism”. Vox even slated Gabbard as “a loser” in the debate and claimed she had made “blatantly false” statements about the US’ role in Syria.

Other mainstream news outlets chose to ignore reporting on Gabbard’s demolishing of the official propaganda about American wars. Earlier this week, CNN and the New York Times smeared her as a “Russian asset” and an “apologist for Assad”, referencing a visit she made to Syria in 2017 when she held talks with President Assad.

The Democratic National Committee is claiming that Gabbard does not have sufficient support in polls it deems worthy for her to qualify for appearing in the next TV debate in November.

International events, however, are proving the Hawaii Representative right. US troops, as with other NATO forces, have been occupying Syrian territory illegally. They have no mandate from the United Nations Security Council. The pullback of US troops by Trump has created a vacuum in northeast Syria into which the Syrian Arab Army is quickly moving to reclaim the territory which US-backed Kurdish fighters had de facto annexed for the past five years. Several reports show the local people are joyfully welcoming the arrival of the Syrian army. The scenes are reminiscent of when Syrian and Russian forces liberated Aleppo and other cities previously besieged by terror groups.

America’s war machine must get out of Syria for the sake of restoring peace to that war-torn country. Not because “they have defeated ISIS 100 per cent”, as Trump would conceitedly claim, nor because “we are betraying Kurds in the fight against terrorism”, as most Democrats and US media preposterously claim.

Peace will come to Syria and the Middle East when Washington finally ends its criminal regime-change wars and its support for terrorist proxies. Tulsi Gabbard seems to be the only politician with the intelligence and integrity to tell Americans the truth.



The Road to Damascus: How the Syria War was Won
October 19, 2019

Following the Damascus-Kurdish alliance, Syria may become the biggest defeat for the Central Intelligence Agency since Vietnam, says Pepe Escobar.


What is happening in Syria, following yet another Russia-brokered deal, is a massive geopolitical game-changer. I’ve tried to summarize it in a single paragraph this way:

“It’s a quadruple win. The U.S. performs a face saving withdrawal, which Trump can sell as avoiding a conflict with NATO ally Turkey. Turkey has the guarantee – by the Russians – that the Syrian Army will be in control of the Turkish-Syrian border. Russia prevents a war escalation and keeps the Russia-Iran-Turkey peace process alive. And Syria will eventually regain control of the entire northeast.”

Syria may be the biggest defeat for the CIA since Vietnam.

Yet that hardly begins to tell the whole story.

Allow me to briefly sketch in broad historical strokes how we got here.

It began with an intuition I felt last month at the tri-border point of Lebanon, Syria and Occupied Palestine; followed by a subsequent series of conversations in Beirut with first-class Lebanese, Syrian, Iranian, Russian, French and Italian analysts; all resting on my travels in Syria since the 1990s; with a mix of selected bibliography in French available at Antoine’s in Beirut thrown in.

The Vilayets

Let’s start in the 19thcentury when Syria consisted of six vilayets — Ottoman provinces — without counting Mount Lebanon, which had a special status since 1861 to the benefit of Maronite Christians and Jerusalem, which was a sanjak (administrative division) of Istanbul.

The vilayets did not define the extremely complex Syrian identity: for instance, Armenians were the majority in the vilayet of Maras, Kurds in Diyarbakir – both now part of Turkey in southern Anatolia – and the vilayets of Aleppo and Damascus were both Sunni Arab.

Nineteenth century Ottoman Syria was the epitome of cosmopolitanism. There were no interior borders or walls. Everything was inter-dependent.

Ethnic groups in the Balkans and Asia Minor, early 20th Century, Historical Atlas, 1911.

Then the Europeans, profiting from World War I, intervened. France got the Syrian-Lebanese littoral, and later the vilayets of Maras and Mosul (today in Iraq). Palestine was separated from Cham (the “Levant”), to be internationalized. The vilayet of Damascus was cut in half: France got the north, the Brits got the south. Separation between Syria and the mostly Christian Lebanese lands came later.

There was always the complex question of the Syria-Iraq border. Since antiquity, the Euphrates acted as a barrier, for instance between the Cham of the Umayyads and their fierce competitors on the other side of the river, the Mesopotamian Abbasids.

James Barr, in his splendid “A Line in the Sand,” notes, correctly, that the Sykes-Picot agreement imposed on the Middle East the European conception of territory: their “line in the sand” codified a delimited separation between nation-states. The problem is, there were no nation-states in region in the early 20thcentury.

The birth of Syria as we know it was a work in progress, involving the Europeans, the Hashemite dynasty, nationalist Syrians invested in building a Greater Syria including Lebanon, and the Maronites of Mount Lebanon. An important factor is that few in the region lamented losing dependence on Hashemite Medina, and except the Turks, the loss of the vilayet of Mosul in what became Iraq after World War I.

In 1925, Sunnis became the de facto prominent power in Syria, as the French unified Aleppo and Damascus. During the 1920s France also established the borders of eastern Syria. And the Treaty of Lausanne, in 1923, forced the Turks to give up all Ottoman holdings but didn’t keep them out of the game.

Turkish borders according to the Treaty of Lausanne, 1923.

The Turks soon started to encroach on the French mandate, and began blocking the dream of Kurdish autonomy. France in the end gave in: the Turkish-Syrian border would parallel the route of the fabledBagdadbahn — the Berlin-Baghdad railway.

In the 1930s France gave in even more: the sanjak of Alexandretta (today’s Iskenderun, in Hatay province, Turkey), was finally annexed by Turkey in 1939 when only 40 percent of the population was Turkish.

The annexation led to the exile of tens of thousands of Armenians. It was a tremendous blow for Syrian nationalists. And it was a disaster for Aleppo, which lost its corridor to the Eastern Mediterranean.

Turkish forces under entered Alexandretta on July 5, 1938.

This emergent Syria — out of conflicting Turkish, French, British and myriad local interests —obviously could not, and did not, please any community. Still, the heart of the nation configured what was described as “useful Syria.” No less than 60 percent of the nation was — and remains — practically void.Yet, geopolitically, that translates into “strategic depth” — the heart of the matter in the current war.To the eastern steppes, Syria was all about Bedouin tribes. To the north, it was all about the Turkish-Kurdish clash. And to the south, the border was a mirage in the desert, only drawn with the advent of Transjordan. Only the western front, with Lebanon, was established, and consolidated after WWII.

From Hafez to Bashar

Starting in 1963, the Baath party, secular and nationalist, took over Syria, finally consolidating its power in 1970 with Hafez al-Assad, who instead of just relying on his Alawite minority, built a humongous, hyper-centralized state machinery mixed with a police state. The key actors who refused to play the game were the Muslim Brotherhood, all the way to being massacred during the hardcore 1982 Hama repression.

Secularism and a police state: that’s how the fragile Syrian mosaic was preserved. But already in the 1970s major fractures were emerging: between major cities and a very poor periphery; between the “useful” west and the Bedouin east; between Arabs and Kurds. But the urban elites never repudiated the iron will of Damascus: cronyism, after all, was quite profitable.

Damascus interfered heavily with the Lebanese civil war since 1976 at the invitation of the Arab League as a “peacekeeping force.” In Hafez al-Assad’s logic, stressing the Arab identity of Lebanon was essential to recover Greater Syria. But Syrian control over Lebanon started to unravel in 2005, after the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, very close to Saudi Arabia, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) eventually left.

Bashar al-Assad had taken power in 2000. Unlike his father, he bet on the Alawites to run the state machinery, preventing the possibility of a coup but completely alienating himself from the poor, Syrian on the street.

What the West defined as the Arab Spring, began in Syria in March 2011; it was a revolt against the Alawites as much as a revolt against Damascus. Totally instrumentalized by the foreign interests, the revolt sprang up in extremely poor, dejected Sunni peripheries: Deraa in the south, the deserted east, and the suburbs of Damascus and Aleppo.

Protest in Damascus, April 24, 2011. (syriana2011/Flickr)

What was not understood in the West is that this “beggars banquet” was not against the Syrian nation, but against a “regime.” Jabhat al-Nusra, in a P.R. exercise, even broke its official link with al-Qaeda and changed its denomination to Fatah al-Cham and then Hayat Tahrir al-Cham (“Organization for the Liberation of the Levant”). Only ISIS/Daesh said they were fighting for the end of Sykes-Picot.

By 2014, the perpetually moving battlefield was more or less established: Damascus against both Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS/Daesh, with a wobbly role for the Kurds in the northeast, obsessed in preserving the cantons of Afrin, Kobane and Qamichli.

But the key point is that each katiba (“combat group”), each neighborhood, each village, and in fact each combatant was in-and-out of allegiances non-stop. That yielded a dizzying nebulae of jihadis, criminals, mercenaries, some linked to al-Qaeda, some to Daesh, some trained by the Americans, some just making a quick buck.

For instance Salafis — lavishly financed by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait — especially Jaish al-Islam, even struck alliances with the PYD Kurds in Syria and the jihadis of Hayat Tahrir al-Cham (the remixed, 30,000-strong al-Qaeda in Syria). Meanwhile, the PYD Kurds (an emanation of the Turkish Kurds’ PKK, which Ankara consider “terrorists”) profited from this unholy mess — plus a deliberate ambiguity by Damascus – to try to create their autonomous Rojava.

A demonstration in the city of Afrin in support of the YPG against the Turkish invasion of Afrin, Jan. 19, 2018. (Voice of America Kurdish, Wikimedia Commons)

That Turkish Strategic Depth

Turkey was all in. Turbo-charged by the neo-Ottoman politics of former Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, the logic was to reconquer parts of the Ottoman empire, and get rid of Assad because he had helped PKK Kurdish rebels in Turkey.

Davutoglu’s Strategik Derinlik (“Strategic Depth’), published in 2001, had been a smash hit in Turkey, reclaiming the glory of eight centuries of an sprawling empire, compared to puny 911 kilometers of borders fixed by the French and the Kemalists. Bilad al Cham, the Ottoman province congregating Lebanon, historical Palestine, Jordan and Syria, remained a powerful magnet in both the Syrian and Turkish unconscious.

No wonder Turkey’s Recep Erdogan was fired up: in 2012 he even boasted he was getting ready to pray in the Umayyad mosque in Damascus, post-regime change, of course. He has been gunning for a safe zone inside the Syrian border — actually a Turkish enclave — since 2014. To get it, he has used a whole bag of nasty players — from militias close to the Muslim Brotherhood to hardcore Turkmen gangs.

With the establishment of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), for the first time Turkey allowed foreign weaponized groups to operate on its own territory. A training camp was set up in 2011 in the sanjakof Alexandretta. The Syrian National Council was also created in Istanbul – a bunch of non-entities from the diaspora who had not been in Syria for decades.

Ankara enabled a de facto Jihad Highway — with people from Central Asia, Caucasus, Maghreb, Pakistan, Xinjiang, all points north in Europe being smuggled back and forth at will. In 2015, Ankara, Riyadh and Doha set up the dreaded Jaish al-Fath (“Army of Conquest”), which included Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Qaeda).

At the same time, Ankara maintained an extremely ambiguous relationship with ISIS/Daesh, buying its smuggled oil, treating jihadis in Turkish hospitals, and paying zero attention to jihad intel collected and developed on Turkish territory. For at least five years, the MIT — Turkish intelligence – provided political and logistic background to the Syrian opposition while weaponizing a galaxy of Salafis. After all, Ankara believed that ISIS/Daesh only existed because of the “evil” deployed by the Assad regime.

The Russian Factor

Russian President Vladiimir Putin meeting with President of Turkey Recep Erdogan; Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov standing in background, Ankara, Dec. 1, 2014 Ankara. (Kremlin)

The first major game-changer was the spectacular Russian entrance in the summer of 2015. Vladimir Putin had asked the U.S. to join in the fight against the Islamic State as the Soviet Union allied against Hitler, negating the American idea that this was Russia’s bid to restore its imperial glory. But the American plan instead, under Barack Obama, was single-minded: betting on a rag-tag Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a mix of Kurds and Sunni Arabs, supported by air power and U.S. Special Forces, north of the Euphrates, to smash ISIS/Daesh all the way to Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor.

Raqqa, bombed to rubble by the Pentagon, may have been taken by the SDF, but Deir ez-Zor was taken by Damascus’s Syrian Arab Army. The ultimate American aim was to consistently keep the north of the Euphrates under U.S. power, via their proxies, the SDF and the Kurdish PYD/YPG. That American dream is now over, lamented by imperial Democrats and Republicans alike.

The CIA will be after Trump’s scalp till Kingdom Come.

Kurdish Dream Over

Talk about a cultural misunderstanding. As much as the Syrian Kurds believed U.S. protection amounted to an endorsement of their independence dreams, Americans never seemed to understand that throughout the “Greater Middle East” you cannot buy a tribe. At best, you can rent them. And they use you according to their interests. I’ve seen it from Afghanistan to Iraq’s Anbar province.

The Kurdish dream of a contiguous, autonomous territory from Qamichli to Manbij is over. Sunni Arabs living in this perimeter will resist any Kurdish attempt at dominance.

The Syrian PYD was founded in 2005 by PKK militants. In 2011, Syrians from the PKK came from Qandil – the PKK base in northern Iraq – to build the YPG militia for the PYD. In predominantly Arab zones, Syrian Kurds are in charge of governing because for them Arabs are seen as a bunch of barbarians, incapable of building their “democratic, socialist, ecological and multi-communitarian” society.

Kurdish PKK guerillas In Kirkuk, Iraq. (Kurdishstruggle via Flickr)

One can imagine how conservative Sunni Arab tribal leaders hate their guts. There’s no way these tribal leaders will ever support the Kurds against the SAA or the Turkish army; after all these Arab tribal leaders spent a lot of time in Damascus seeking support from Bashar al-Assad. And now the Kurds themselves have accepted that support in the face of the Trukish incursion, greenlighted by Trump.

East of Deir ez-Zor, the PYD/YPG already had to say goodbye to the region that is responsible for 50 percent of Syria’s oil production. Damascus and the SAA now have the upper hand. What’s left for the PYD/YPG is to resign themselves to Damascus’s and Russian protection against Turkey, and the chance of exercising sovereignty in exclusively Kurdish territories.

Ignorance of the West

The West, with typical Orientalist haughtiness, never understood that Alawites, Christians, Ismailis and Druze in Syria would always privilege Damascus for protection compared to an “opposition” monopolized by hardcore Islamists, if not jihadis. The West also did not understand that the government in Damascus, for survival, could always count on formidable Baath party networks plus the dreaded mukhabarat — the intel services.

Rebuilding Syria

The reconstruction of Syria may cost as much as $200 billion. Damascus has already made it very clear that the U.S. and the EU are not welcome. China will be in the forefront, along with Russia and Iran; this will be a project strictly following the Eurasia integration playbook — with the Chinese aiming to revive Syria’s strategic positioning in the Ancient Silk Road.

As for Erdogan, distrusted by virtually everyone, and a tad less neo-Ottoman than in the recent past, he now seems to have finally understood that Bashar al-Assad “won’t go,” and he must live with it. Ankara is bound to remain imvolved with Tehran and Moscow, in finding a comprehensive, constitutional solution for the Syrian tragedy through the former “Astana process”, later developed in Ankara.

The war may not have been totally won, of course. But against all odds, it’s clear a unified, sovereign Syrian nation is bound to prevail over every perverted strand of geopolitical molotov cocktails concocted in sinister NATO/GCC labs. History will eventually tell us that, as an example to the whole Global South, this will remain the ultimate game-changer.


‘Poor Little Israel’ Isn’t So Poor, Financially or Diplomatically
Wayne Madsen
October 19, 2019

One of the tropes Israel and its international phalanx of lobbyists has used since the state’s inception in 1948 is that “Poor Little Israel” requires Western money and diplomatic support because the small country is surrounded by hostile Arab countries. Neither of these contentions have ever been true.

On August 7, 2019, the US Congressional Research Service (CRS) reported that Israel has been the largest recipient of cumulative assistance since World War II. In current non-inflation-adjusted dollars, Israel has received a total of $142.3 billion in US bilateral assistance and defense funding. Most of the US government assistance has been military in nature.

In addition to US assistance, Israel Bonds, sold through the Development Corporation for Israel (DCI), which is headquartered in New York, have seen $40 billion in sales, with $1.2 billion in annual sales being reached in 2013, a record for annual sales. The $1 billion mark was also reached in 2014 and 2015. One of the reasons behind the global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) program to disinvest in Israel in retaliation for their treatment of the Palestinian people, is the fact that 90 US states and municipalities, in addition to labor unions, corporations, universities, and foundations, have invested their pension and treasury funds in the DCI.

Israel has also received billions of dollars in loan guarantees from the United States. The CRS report states that these guarantees have boosted the country’s “fiscal standing among international creditors in capital markets.” The US Congress is set to pass a bill that authorized $3.8 billion in US loan guarantees to Israel through Fiscal Year 2023.

Between 1973 and 1991, the US State Department’s Migration and Refugee Assistance account (MRA) provided $460 million to the private foundation, United Jewish Appeal (UPA) to resettle Jewish refugees in Israel. Many of these so-called “refugees” were from the Soviet Union and their “stay” in Israel was rather short. Many of them re-emigrated from Israel to the United States, where they enjoyed the freedom to engage in criminal enterprises centered mainly in Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, New York (nicknamed “Little Odessa”); Miami and Palm Beach; Florida; Newark and Atlantic City, New Jersey; Los Angeles, California; and Las Vegas, Nevada. A number of these refugees-turned-gangsters invested heavily in the Trump Organization’s residential properties in Manhattan; Sunny Isles Beach, north of Miami; Las Vegas; Phoenix, Arizona; Panama City, Panama; Toronto, Canada; Punta del Este, Uruguay; as well as Trump casinos in Atlantic City. The effects of these investments by what is alternately called by the US Federal Bureau of Information the “Organizatsiya,” “Eurasian Mafia,” and “Red Mafiya,” and, more informally and in very hushed tones, the “Kosher Nostra,” has plagued the Trump administration and contributed to its many scandals.

The recent arrest at Dulles International Airport of Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two Miami-based Organizatsiya players, on federal election law violations is merely the latest in a string of such law enforcement actions. The latest arrest involves Trump’s personal attorney, Rudolph Giuliani, who, as the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), brought criminal charges against and convictions of the leaders of the five Italian Mafia crime families in New York (Genovese, Gambino, Lucchese, Colombo, and Bonanno). Giuliani, as mayor of New York City, permitted the Organizatsiya crime families of Brooklyn to flourish in the absence of the Italian mob. Today, these crime figures travel freely between the United States and Israel, the latter having become a central cog in global black market, money laundering, and smuggling operations. It is Israel’s sanctioning of criminal activities that has directly led to it being one of the world’s wealthiest countries.

Critics of taxpayer-funded US military assistance to Israel point out that the Israelis are currently a major exporter of military systems to other countries, which include some of the so-called “hostile Arab nations” that surround Israel. Israel’s sizable domestic military industry has netted sales of missile defense systems, unmanned aerial vehicles, cyber security products, radar, and electronic communications systems to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, in addition to India, Azerbaijan, Vietnam, Thailand, South Korea, Singapore, Philippines, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Brazil, and the United States.

The CRS report also includes information on increasing military ties between Israel and China. These growing ties have alarmed the US Navy, which has previously made port calls at the Israeli naval base in Ashdod on the Mediterranean coast. According to the report: “. . . a state-owned Chinese company (the Shanghai International Port Group) has secured the contract to operate a new terminal at Haifa’s seaport for 25 years (beginning in 2021), and another state-owned Chinese company (a subsidiary of China Harbor Engineering Company) is developing Ashdod’s new port. Both Haifa and Ashdod host Israeli naval bases. Due to the Chinese contract for Haifa, the US Navy is reportedly reconsidering its practice of periodically docking at the base there.” Considering the close ties between Donald Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, it is likely that the US Navy’s objections to sharing port facilities with Chinese construction crews with be vetoed by the White House.

Israel’s status of a small country fending off hostile moves by surrounding Arab and Muslim nations beggars belief. Israel maintains close relations with Egypt, with which it has maintained diplomatic ties since 1979. Israel and Egypt jointly engage in military operations directed against jihadist groups in the Sinai Peninsula, as well as restricting access to the Gaza Strip. Israel also maintains diplomatic relations with Jordan. Low level non-diplomatic relations also exist between Israel and Bahrain (with which Israel has an intelligence-sharing relationship), Iraqi Kurdistan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia (with which Israel has an agreement to stockpile military supplies in forward operating locations in the event of a joint Israeli-Saudi-UAE attack on Iran), Oman; Djibouti; the United Arab Emirates (where Israel maintains a non-diplomatic office in Abu Dhabi), the Tobruk-based government of Libyan warlord General Khalifa Haftar; and the exiled government of Yemen, which is based in Riyadh. Previous non-diplomatic relations between Israel and Lebanon, Turkey, Mauritania, Maldives, Qatar and Tunisia were frozen as a result of Israeli military actions against the Palestinians and other issues. Full diplomatic relations exist between Israel and such Muslim nations as Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan. Israel also maintains low-level non-diplomatic and trade relations with non-Arab Muslim nations, including Afghanistan, Indonesia, and Malaysia. There are various reports of Israeli diplomats having paid covert visits to Somalia and the self-declared Somaliland.

Israel’s closer relationship with Saudi Arabia should put to rest the notion of Israel being surrounded by hostile countries. There are credible news reports that Israel has been selling the Saudis advanced military drones via South Africa. It has also been credibly reported that Israel’s Mossad and the Saudi General Intelligence Directorate (GID) maintain direct links and that Mossad facilitated the provision of the Pegasus mobile phone tracking software, manufactured by the Herzliya-based NSO Group, to the GID. Pegasus was allegedly used by GID in its murder of US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in October 2018. Israel and the UAE and Bahrain also apparently pooled their intelligence resources to ensure a Trump administration withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – the nuclear agreement with Iran – and a multinational embargo instituted against Qatar.

Today, “Poor Little Israel” exercises de facto superpower influence over its own region and long-reach diplomatic power over nations as far away as the Marshall Islands, Vanuatu, and Nauru in the South Pacific.

米軍はシリアの油田を確保しているのだから批判するな トランプ



余計なことを言われては困る人が、早速「それはどういう意味ですか?」とチェックを入れた。質問をぶつけたSteve Hermanはユダヤ人。


Trump Boasts The US "Has Secured The Oil" In Syria
by Tyler Durden
Fri, 10/18/2019 - 15:05

From nearly the start of the now eight-year long war in Syria, analysts and commentators polarized into two camps, with some calling the conflict a "popular uprising" in cause of democracy against a brutal dictator, and with others seeing it as a 'regime change war' fueled largely by US imperialist interests.

While there's many layers to what most can now acknowledge long ago became a complex international proxy war, America's commander-in-chief just issued an astounding admission that has a number of pundits scratching their heads.

Following a Friday morning phone call with Turkey's Erdogan over Thursday's newly inked ceasefire deal with the Kurds, President Trump tweeted "The U.S. has secured the Oil, & the ISIS Fighters are double secured by Kurds & Turkey..."

.....this thinking years ago. Instead, it was always held together with very weak bandaids, & in an artificial manner. There is good will on both sides & a really good chance for success. The U.S. has secured the Oil, & the ISIS Fighters are double secured by Kurds & Turkey....
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2019

Amid Trump's 'mission accomplished' moment where he also said "The Kurds are very happy, Turkey is very happy, the U.S. is very happy" (though we seriously doubt the Kurds are happy) — came these further statements in front of reporters:

"We've taken control of the oil in the Middle East," the president said.

Though not elaborating on his provocative statement further, it remains that though a general US troop draw down in Syria has been ordered, American special forces and Kurdish-led SDF forces remain in control of the key oil and gas infrastructure in the Deir Ezzor region, east of the Euphrates. Thus presumably the president was talking specifically about "securing" Syria's oil, which over the past two years has been an accomplished fact.

"We've taken control of the oil in the Middle East," says @POTUS (who didn't respond to subsequent questions from me and other pool reporters to elaborate on what he means by that).
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) October 18, 2019

On Thursday, we asked the question: will US forces withdraw even from occupying Syria's largest oil fields, like the massive al-Omar field? Will the Pentagon hand back another major energy resource, Conoco gas field, to Damascus?

Over two years ago, as the Syrian Army was racing toward its oil and gas heartland in Deir Ezzor just as the Islamic State was in retreat, the US-backed SDF took over the region, with support of American fighter jets.

Above: overhead view Conoco/Tabiya plant. ConocoPhillips founded it, yet is not currently associated with the company. After 2005 the facility was entirely state-owned and operated.

Since then, Damascus has demanded the giant oil and gas fields be turned back over to their legitimate owner, the Syrian state.

The US in turn maintained a tight blockade against Damascus on these vital energy supplies, combined with more recent crippling sanctions on Syria's ability to import oil (which it must now get primarily from Iran).

But with the war now clearly winding down, and Trump's stated desire to exit the theater altogether, is he ready to finally hand back Syria's crucial energy heartland?

Though it's not the first time Trump has briefly pulled back the curtain to reveal naked US imperial self-interest in Syria at work (instead of Washington's usual "humanitarian" war rhetoric), explicitly connecting the Pentagon's presence in the region with oil and MidEast energy, Friday's comments are deeply revealing in terms of what may keep the Pentagon there, even if there's a "light footprint," as US pundits like to say.

But if Syria's oil and gas fields are finally handed back, this will be the surest sign every US soldier is set to come home from Syria.

Donald Trump thanks Pentagon chief Mark ‘Esperanto’ for ‘securing oil’ in Syria, whatever that might mean
20 Oct, 2019 14:43

Donald Trump has fired off another typo-laden tweet, this time sharing a quote from his defense secretary, Mark “Esperanto.” The US president also doubled down on his belief that the US has “secured” Syria’s oil.

Trump wrote that the situation in Syria has stabilized, citing a statement from Defense Secretary Mark Esper in regards to the status of the fragile ceasefire between Turkish forces and Kurdish militias.

The Tweeter in Chief, however, had difficulty spelling Esper’s name. Another possibility: He fell victim to auto-correct.

As an added bonus, the message included another boast about how the United States had successfully “secured the oil” in Syria. Trump made a similar comment earlier this week, causing considerable confusion among pundits and journalists.

I’m not sure who Trump is referring to, but I’m travelling with Defense Secretary Esper and cant recall the quote Trump is using. While speaking with us Enroute to Afghanistan, Esper also made no mention of new areas being resettled with Kurds or oil. pic.twitter.com/VAN9IQ13At
— Idrees Ali (@idreesali114) 20 октября 2019 г.

The US leader, not particularly known for his eloquence, has a history of botching names. In a tweet from last year, he referred to his wife Melania as “Melanie.”

中国がまたトルコに金融支援 米国と綱引き



China's $3.6 Billion Bailout Insulates Turkey From US
The Asia Times
October 17, 2019

Beijing’s biggest support package ever for President Erdogan arrives at a critical time...

Despite the US threat to “obliterate and destroy” Turkey’s economy, the Turkish lira and Turkish interest rates barely have budged in the past week (Turkish stocks, especially banks, are down sharply, in part due to the US criminal charges against Halkbank for aiding Iran sanctions violations). That is remarkable given the fragility of Turkey’s currency earlier in 2019. Between February and May, the Turkish lira fell from 5.2 to the US dollar to 6.2 in response to US sanctions, before recovering to 5.88 to the dollar today. The Turkish central bank leaned on Turkish banks to refrain from offering liquidity to short-sellers, but Turkish money markets remained orderly.

What changed is China. Turkish President Erdogan’s insolence in the face of American threats brings to mind B’rer Rabbit’s imprecation to B’rer Fox: “Please don’t throw me in the briar patch.” The relevant foliage in this case is bamboo.

“Please don’t throw me in the briar patch.”

Bloomberg News reported Aug. 9, “China’s central bank transferred $1 billion worth of funds to Turkey in June, Beijing’s biggest support package ever for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivered at a critical time in an election month. The inflow marks the first time Turkey received such a substantial amount under the lira-yuan swap agreement with Beijing that dates back to 2012, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter who asked not to be named because the information isn’t public.”

China’s direct investment in Turkey also has surged this year, as Nikkei reported Aug. 22:

China is coming to Turkey’s aid during its economic crisis with $3.6 billion in funding for infrastructure projects, leveraging Ankara’s conflict with Washington to expand its Belt and Road Initiative in the key country that links Asia with Europe.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Aug. 11 that his country was preparing to trade through national currencies with partners like China, bypassing the US dollar. The US placed additional tariffs on Turkey the next day as a feud simmered over the imprisonment of a US pastor accused of being involved in the 2016 coup attempt against the Turkish leader.

The lira then hit about 7 per dollar, a drop of more than 40% since the beginning of the year. Spurned by one of the world’s economic giants, Erdogan naturally turned to another, China, for much-needed financial backup.

American policymakers should have their eyes checked for cataracts; they appear unable to keep the whole of the world map in view. This was eminently predictable. In August 2018 I warned in Asia Times that “China will buy Turkey on the cheap.”

China has had its issues with Turkey’s volatile and ambitious leader, to be sure. Turkey in the past styled itself the protector of China’s Uyghur minority, some 15 million Muslims who speak a dialect of Turkish and live mainly in China’s Xinjiang Province. China reportedly has incarcerated between 1 and 2 million Uyghurs in “re-education camps” where they are forced to learn Chinese culture to the detriment of their Islamic identity. Erdogan in the past had accused China of “genocide” against the Uyghurs. After the Chinese bailout, however, Erdogan declared that the Uyghurs are “living happily” in China.

Turkey has changed from Ataturk to Rent-A-Turk. China likes to keep its friends close and its enemies closer. China built the Great Wall to repel Turkic invasions, among others, and warred with nomadic peoples on its borders for centuries. Now Beijing believes that its $2 trillion Belt and Road Initiative will assimilate the Turkic peoples of Central Asia into its sphere of economic influence. The Turkic countries seem eager to sign up.

The Azerbaijan news site Trend reported Oct. 15:

The Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States (CCTS-Turkic Council) will strengthen in the coming period and will become an important center of power in the world, Professor Naciye Selin Senocak, the head of the cultural diplomacy department at the Institute for European Studies in Brussels and head of the center for Diplomatic and Strategic Studies (CEDS) in Paris, told Trend.

Senocak said that the 7th CCTS Summit in Baku is a significant event and undoubtedly will go down in history. The Turkish professor noted that the Turkic World covers a vast territory, from the Adriatic Sea to China, where about 300 million Turks live. Senocak said that the decision made by Uzbekistan to join the CCTS, as well as opening a representative office of the Council in the center of Europe-Hungary, indicate the importance and the growing role of this structure.

“In the new world order, where the control axis is shifting to Asia, CCTS will play an important role,” the Turkish professor noted. The representative of the Institute for European Studies added that CCTS will continue to develop and strengthen economically, politically and socially with the help of the One Belt One Road initiative, which will include other Eurasian countries.

Erdogan’s long-term problem is that there aren’t enough Turks in Turkey. Turkey’s Kurdish citizens continue to have three or four children while ethnic Turks have fewer than two. By the early 2040s, most of Turkey’s young people will come from Kurdish-speaking homes. The Kurdish-majority Southeast threatens to break away.

In 2016, I reviewed Turkey’s 2015 census data in Asia Times. It shows that the demographic scissors between Kurds and Turks continue to widen. Despite Erdogan’s exhortations on behalf of Turkish fertility, the baby bust in Turkish-majority provinces continues while Kurds sustain one of the world’s highest birth rates. Even worse, the marriage rate outside of the Kurdish Southeast of the country has collapsed, portending even lower fertility in the future.

According to Turkstat, the official statistics agencies, the Turkish provinces with the lowest fertility rates all cluster in the north and northwest of the country, where women on average have only 1.5 children. The southeastern provinces show fertility rates ranging between 3.2 and 4.2 children per female.


Even more alarming are Turkey’s marriage statistics as reported by Turkstat. Between 2001 and 2015, the number of marriages in Istanbul, the country’s largest city, fell by more than 30%, and by more than 40% in the capital Ankara. Most of the northern and northwestern provinces report a decline of more than half in the number of marriages. Not only are Turkish women refusing to have children; they are refusing to get married. The plunge in the marriage rate among ethnic Turks makes a further sharp decline in fertility inevitable.


Erdogan fears the Kurdish role in Turkey’s Northeast as a magnet for Turkey’s own restive Kurds, and wants to pre-empt the expansion of Turkish self-rule from its base in neighboring Iraq. That is the object of his ethnic cleansing campaign against Syria’s Kurds. In the long run, Erdogan hopes to lead a coalition of Turkic countries within the greater Chinese sphere of influence.

That doesn’t mean that Erdogan is a strong horse. He’s a draught horse, hitched to a Chinese wagon.

イスラエル 軍事圧迫路線を止め、外交的解決を図るべき トランプ米国が信用できないから

イスラエルが「米国に見捨てられた」と認識し、観念した!! これはトランプ大統領が誇るべき偉大な外交的成果なのではないか。



The country needs to rethink its policy regarding Gaza
Changing Israel’s mind-set
October 18, 2019 13:15

The best strategic achievement for Israel in the outgoing Jewish New Year (5779) is that it ended without a war. There were numerous incidents on five fronts in the past 12 months that could have led to an escalation with the potential of a major war, which the government didn’t and still doesn’t want.

The war could have broken out as a result of Israel Air Force strikes against Iranian, pro-Iranian militias and Lebanese Hezbollah targets in Syria, for which Israel has claimed only partial responsibility.

Tension rose too on the Lebanese border, when the IDF exposed and destroyed Hezbollah’s attack tunnels on the Israeli side, which had been dug to be used as launching pads to infiltrate into Israel. The attacks attributed to Israel against Iranian bases in Iraq in the last four months could also have resulted in a major regional confrontation.

But above all, the most fragile front was and still remains Gaza. For the last year and a half, thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of stubborn protesters with a tailwind and organization provided by Hamas and Islamic Jihad have gathered every Friday along the border fence.

The technologically advanced fence will be completed by the end of 2019 after a one-year delay. It has three components. One is a heavy cement wall penetrating underground to a depth of dozens of meters, with sensors to detect attempts to dig tunnels. The second component is a six-meter electronic fence above ground equipped with cameras and sensors. The third part comprises sophisticated control and command posts that integrates all the systems.

The fence-wall-barrier was constructed to prevent Hamas from having its most lethal weapon against Israel: attack tunnels. Indeed, soon after Israel began construction, Hamas understood the ramifications – the fence would deprive its combatants of executing its underground strategy.

But Hamas sought to compensate this loss by redoubling its efforts above ground: unleashing the demonstrators to damage the fence, to clash with Israeli troops along the border, and from time to time fly arson kites and armed mini copters over Israeli skies. In parallel, Islamic Jihad has launched rockets at southern Israel as well, hoping that the IDF would retaliate with a massive military response that could trigger an all-out war.

Islamic Jihad provocations almost made such a scenario come true several weeks ago. During an election rally in Ashdod, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was hurriedly ushered to a shelter by his security detail, after Islamic Jihad launched a few rockets in the direction of the city.

Furious, feeling humiliated in the midst of his election campaign, and fearing it may affect his public ratings, Netanyahu convened an urgent meeting with his security chiefs in which he ordered them – in his twin capacities as prime minister and defense minister – to take action against Gaza.

Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, the closest to Netanyahu among his security advisers, wholeheartedly supported the idea. Cohen is considered to be the most politicized Mossad head since the early days of the state. He doesn’t hide his admiration for his boss. In an unprecedented barrage of “off-the-record” interviews with journalists, he also doesn’t conceal his ambition to go into politics when he retires from his post, probably within a year.

However, Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi – who in the past was either passive or even caved in to Netanyahu’s manipulation of security issues to advance political goals – this time stood his ground. He was joined by Nadav Argaman, chief of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency). Both warned that such action would most likely lead to a strong Hamas response of hundreds of rockets fired at Israeli cities, including Tel Aviv, which in turn would require another Israeli round of air strikes and eventually lead to a war and the invasion of Gaza by the IDF.

They told Netanyahu that he can’t single-handedly order military action without consulting and informing the cabinet. The prime minister virtually convened the cabinet via phone conference call, and it approved his request to authorize the IAF to strike Gaza. But Netanyahu once again was challenged, this time by the attorney general.

Dr. Avichai Mandelblit, who will soon announce his decision whether to bring corruption charges against Netanyahu, told the prime minister that the phone conference was not sufficient since the security chiefs did not participate in it. Hours later Netanyahu calmed down, and not for the first time, changed his mind. A war was avoided. But the threat didn’t go away.

WHAT CHARACTERIZED all fronts in the last year was uncertainty and fragility. Every minor incident could have gotten out of hand and turned into a major confrontation. If Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas or Islamic Jihad would have fiercely retaliated with rockets and missiles, or if a single rocket would have killed dozens of civilians or troops, Israel would have no choice but to opt for all-out war.

At the tactical level too, Israel has had important achievements. Most if not all Hamas and Islamic Jihad attack tunnels have been exposed and demolished. The same happened to Hezbollah tunnels on the Lebanese border.

Iran continues to swallow its pride and suffer blows at the hands of the IAF in both Syria, and as reported in the foreign media, in Iraq, with no serious effort so far to retaliate.

Israel also succeeded in preventing escalation on its fifth front: the occupied West Bank. The relative calm there is maintained despite many attempts and plots by Hamas from its command posts in Gaza, Turkey and Lebanon to stir up trouble – to build terror networks, and to carry out attacks against Jewish settlers, Jerusalem and inside Israel itself.

Tranquility has been achieved for several reasons. Shin Bet and Military Intelligence managed to collect information on Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror plans and plots. The security services of the Palestinian Authority to some extent share a common goal with Israel to weaken the radical Islamist movements. Unlike in Gaza, the Israeli administration allows hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to work and to support their families. Being less socio-economically frustrated, their incentive to resort to terror has been reduced.

On all fronts, Israel has shown determination, stubbornness and sometimes brinkmanship, sending clear messages that it does not intend to give up what it perceives as its vital security interests. But as Israel and the Jewish world enter the new Jewish year 5780, it is also evident that all the problems and challenges that Israel faced last year have remained.

On all five fronts and on each front itself, Israel has shown that it has no clear vision and no comprehensive strategy. Its approach and policies solely rely on exerting military force with no parallel or complementary diplomatic moves.

In recent years, certainly since Donald Trump entered the White House, Israel has sanctioned the status quo. At the same time, it is absolutely clear that Netanyahu has miscalculated by fully siding with Trump and the Republican Party, and abandoning Israel’s traditional bipartisan approach.

Trump can’t be trusted as an iron-clad pillar of support for the Jewish state. He is capricious and unstable. His foreign policy is full of zigzags in all international arenas, including the Middle East. Trump’s effort to reconcile with Iran is a slap in Netanyahu’s face, and a blatant example that when it comes to his personal or America’s national interests, Trump can easily throw Israel under the bus.

Israel’s rivals on all fronts – Iran in Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, and the PA in the West Bank – have also signaled that despite their losses and inferiority, they are not going to cave in to the mighty Israeli military machine. They match Israeli determination with their own, and continue to pursue and consolidate their own interests. Iran continues to build bases in Syria, including near the Israel border on the Golan Heights. Hezbollah is amassing huge arsenal of rockets and missiles. And the rulers of Gaza have not been deterred.

Israel needs to change its state of mind. It has to realize that in dealing with its enemies and rivals, it can’t rely only on the sword. Nothing lasts forever. It needs to launch diplomatic initiatives in order to seek long-term solutions to its regional problems.

One can only wish that in the coming year, the next government – led by someone other than Netanyahu – will change the course of Israeli politics, as well as its foreign and security policies.



HSBC Considers Slashing Equity Desks In London, New York, Germany
Fri, 10/18/2019 - 04:15




シリアal-Ikhbaria TVのニュース。最初の01:18で、シリア政府軍とテレビ局クルーがアイヌル・アラブに入っている。24:27で町の中心部から中継。



Redrawing Europe’s energy map will fuel multifaceted benefits for Israel’s future
The $7 billion Israeli-Greek-Cypriot EastMed pipeline has the potential to forge Israel’s presence as an energy provider to Europe.
By Jesse Bogner
October 5, 2019 19:17

As the recent drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities as well as ongoing US-Iran tensions threaten the stability of energy markets worldwide, the opposite trend is taking hold in Israel, a nation that has long grappled with the challenges of being surrounded by hostile oil-rich neighbors.

The once-unthinkable notion of Israeli gas exports to Egypt is on the verge of becoming a reality following an agreement reached this month that enables the East Mediterranean Gas Company to operate Europe Asia Pipeline Co.’s coastal terminal in Ashkelon. At the same time, the $7 billion Israeli-Greek-Cypriot EastMed pipeline has the potential to forge Israel’s presence as an energy provider to Europe.
Yet a different pipeline project which is rarely mentioned in the same breath as Israel carries a dual promise – propping up the Israeli economy while bolstering the Jewish state’s long-term security, with or without Israel’s direct participation in the initiative.

Though Israel has yet to sign onto the project, the Azerbaijan-led Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) should be squarely on the nation’s radar as it looks to expand its influence economically. SGC’s scope is staggering. Spanning 2,200 miles (3,540 km.) across seven countries and connecting three linked pipelines, the $41.5b. project will reshape the geopolitical landscape of European energy consumption.

Continuing the geopolitical revolution ignited by the so-called “Contract of the Century” signed 25 years ago this month between 11 international oil companies representing seven countries, SGC seeks to diversify Europe’s energy supply by diminishing dependence on Russia. The Azerbaijani-Turkish component of SGC was completed in July, making both nations ready to export gas to Europe.

Questions remain about whether Israel has a direct role to play in SGC. Some have argued that the possibility of Israeli participation in the gas corridor is something of a “distant hope” given the inherent economic complications, while others have emphasized the immense potential of Israel amplifying its gas ties with Turkey and by extension, Europe.

“The option of [Israel] exporting gas to Turkey seems to me still the most viable, as it not only gives access to a growing market but also will be an option to bring it to Europe,” said Cyril Widdershoven, a Middle East geopolitical specialist and energy analyst with the Dutch risk consultancy VEROCY. “The main issues here still to be solved will be the costs and technical challenges of a deep-water subsea gas pipeline, which will be staggering.”

THERE APPEARS to be a natural foundation for Israeli collaboration with SGC, given that Israel already imports 40% of its natural gas from Azerbaijan. Experts like Widdershoven have floated the possibility of Israel’s potential gas sales to the thirsty European energy market flowing through SGC, despite the financial and logistical hurdles.

With the source of Israel’s gas lying deep under water, energy exports will always be rife with challenges. Nevertheless, the benefits of Israel exporting gas to Europe are too large to ignore. Capitalizing on Israel’s limited natural resources is a worthy challenge for the ever-ambitious Start-Up Nation and its partners.

The importance of Europe not being beholden to Russian energy resources also cannot be understated. Although the mainstream media has spilled much ink on castigating US President Donald Trump’s supposed “bromance” with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump recently championed SGC in two separate letters to Azerbaijan’s president. While Trump did not mention Russia by name, the letters indicate his administration’s nuanced understanding that European energy dependence on Russia is not in the best interest of America, Israel and their allies.

Commerce associated with Russian energy trade will continue to buttress Bashar Assad’s dictatorial rule and war efforts in Syria. The fact that Trump has been aggressively trying to weaken Assad in the Syrian Civil War further illustrates the absurdity of how the mainstream media and the Mueller Report have painted Trump as a Russian stooge. In reality, Trump is fighting an under-the-radar proxy war with Russia in Syria.

For Israel, the chief concern that continually hovers over Russia’s military presence in Syria is that Moscow maintains relationships with Israel’s enemies in the region – Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran.

In fact, some experts have suggested that Iran’s regional aggression has been inspired by Russia’s own “hybrid warfare” tactics. While Israel coordinates security mechanisms with Moscow to avoid tension over the Russian military presence in Syria, the Jewish state must continue to be wary of Russia’s regional behavior. A potential end to Russian energy dominance serves to keep the Kremlin in check – including by decreasing its capability to scatter funds across the Middle East and into the hands of America’s and Israel’s mortal enemies.

Therefore, regardless of the prospects for Israel’s direct or indirect involvement in SGC, redrawing Europe’s energy map is naturally beneficial for the Jewish state’s future.

The writer is an author and journalist. His memoir and social critique, The Egotist, has been translated into five languages. His work has been featured in The Daily Caller, MSN and The Huffington Post. His book of articles, Tikkunim (Corrections), was released in January 2018.

米国IRS 金持ちの税務調査は大変だから貧乏人から徴税する


The IRS Admits it is Targeting the Poor Because it is “Easier and Cheaper” Than Auditing the Wealthy
By Jenny Jayne
October 15, 2019

The IRS has announced that it’s “too expensive” to audit the rich. Affluent taxpayers, the 1%, are too well protected from government intrusion. Their tax returns are complex and take more time and more experienced auditors to review them. The IRS then has to pay these more experienced auditors a higher price to audit those larger accounts. It’s become an expensive hassle for them. They encounter resistance from the teams that the affluent have behind them to defend them from the IRS. So, what is their solution?

Target the poor.

It is easier and cheaper for the IRS to go after the working class.

As if the struggling working class in this country doesn’t have enough to deal with, watch out for Big Brother! Because lower-income families have fewer resources to guard their finances, the IRS finds it a “better use of their resources” to target the poor instead of the wealthy. Because the wealthy have the means to fight back against government intrusion aka well-paid attorneys and accountants, the IRS has decided that any effort to monitor the “haves” is not worth their time. They will instead focus on the “have nots,” or the poor working and middle class.

It’s easier and cheaper to go after the poor and audit them. Those who make less money have fewer defenses to combat the IRS and their returns are simpler. It requires less expense and effort from the IRS to go after a much more fragile portion of our economy – the working poor.

It’s no surprise that the middle class in this country is disappearing at a rapid rate. One contributor is the mountainous debt that many Americans have saddled themselves with, especially when it comes to predatory student loan lenders. Some people are paying exorbitant interest on student loans when they didn’t even achieve a degree. This compounds the problem for the lower-income American that already exists: a country bordering on financial collapse.

What this doesn’t address is a hidden target in the sights of the IRS. Whom this really means the IRS is targeting: The Shadow Economy.

The IRS is targeting people who supplement their income with side hustles.

The Shadow Economy is made up mostly of the poorest in our economy, those struggling to get by even if it’s a two-income household. The industrious working poor who struggle to pay their bills, even on two incomes, turn to the side-hustle to make it.

Over 50% of Americans have a side-hustle. What was once the oddity of the entrepreneur is now mainstream. There are a lot of factors that may have contributed to this, including stagnant income growth nationwide and the rising cost of living. But the fact is, most Americans are now using a side hustle to cover household bills because their day job is just not enough.

The side hustle has exploded in the American economy over the last decade, and the IRS has taken note and put us in their sights. Because apparently hard-working people are “bad” for the economy.

Not all side-hustles are part of the Shadow Economy, but many are. A side-hustle becomes part of The Shadow Economy when it’s paid for in cash under the table. The side-hustle is the growing movement in the United States of the freelance worker and gig economy. Sometimes it’s on the books, but oftentimes, it is not. And here is where the “side hustle” meets “The Shadow Economy” and becomes a means for those who are pinched in our struggling economy to get by.

The government is targeting those who need to keep every penny.

The Wall Street Journal spouts doom and gloom with its definition of The Shadow Economy saying that because those who operate their business under the table with cash-only can potentially hurt the overall economy. But it’s also a larger issue of governmental control.

Think for second who would be driven to this kind of enterprise. If you can’t find a job or you’ve already got one, but it doesn’t pay the bills, what are you going to do? Get a side-hustle.

Anything I do personally, I keep above board. I pay taxes. But people who are desperate are often driven to operate outside of the law. Desperate people who are already working two jobs and still falling behind probably aren’t going to be thinking about Uncle Sam looking over their shoulder.

And the US government, instead of addressing the growing desperation of the American workforce that’s behind the boom of the “side hustle,” has put them in its sights.

The IRS is targeting the most desperate in our failing economy rather than going after “the big guys” and fighting their many well-paid attorneys and CPAs. It’s the equivalent of the police going after a kid selling lemonade on the sidewalk instead of the home break-in down the block.

It’s an easier target with far less resistance.

Does the government want to keep us broke and powerless?

Consider this. It’s in the government’s best interest to keep people from bettering their lives if they don’t want to relinquish control. If citizens are self-sufficient and financially stable, they might have the time and energy to fight back or question motives. But no, if the populous is off balance and hungry they focus on surviving day to day and don’t ask questions.

So, those who want control send the IRS after the poor just struggling to get by. They ignore the elite because they are too time-consuming and expensive to go after.

Instead, the IRS has decided to double down on the most desperate and vulnerable in our society.

I know you might be thinking, what about illegal workers or drug dealers who may be paid under the table?

If that’s the case, that still leaves the IRS going after desperate workers instead of the corrupt employers and drug lords…who would take too much “time” and “money” to go after. Instead, they are really targeting drug addicts and those who are being preyed upon by the demand for cheap labor.

Of course, paying taxes is a law. It’s not a law that I’m going to break. But for some people getting paid under the table is the only way to make ends meet. Consider those on disability. If they “make too much” they will lose their check. But many times, those on disability can only work sporadically and on bad months they cannot work. Without their check they can’t make ends meet. They aren’t allowed to work, but they don’t want to starve either, so they work, but don’t declare their income so they can keep their disability checks.

Of course, we should follow the law. Of course, we should pay taxes. But with this kind of discrimination by the IRS against the poor, where is “all men are created equal?” And who among us should be considered above the law?

マンビジュ米軍基地にロシア記者が潜入 酒を飲み散らかした痕を発見(笑)

トランプが発したシリア撤退命令が急だったことを示すかのように、ホワイトボードの落書き、食べかけの動物型クラッカー、飲み散らかした酒のビンの数々がそのままの状態で放置されていた。(Manbij, Munbij)



Full Video Inside 'Secretive' US Special Forces Base In Syria Released By Russian Media







Turkey using Israeli-upgraded tanks in anti-Kurd offensive in Syria
Between 2003-2010 around 170 M60-A1 tanks were upgraded by IMI at a cost of $687 million.
By Anna Ahronheim
October 16, 2019 16:57

Turkey is using M60-A1 tanks upgraded by Israel during the height of diplomatic relations between the two countries in their offensive against the Kurds in northern Syria.

Pictures of M-60 tanks upgraded by Israeli Military Industries (IMI) near the Turkish border town of Akcakale during Operation Peace Spring have circulated on social media. In the week since Turkey’s offensive began in northern Syria, hundreds of Kurds have been killed and 160,000 people, including 70,000 children, have been displaced from their homes.

All the main systems of M60-A1 tank, which were originally manufactured in the United States in the 1960s, were replaced with more advanced and modern systems already integrated into the main battle tanks of the IDF at a cost of $687 million.

Between 2003 and 2010, around 170 M60-A1 tanks were fitted with a 120 mm. cannon as well as advanced fire and turret control systems, and a new power unit with a 1000HP engine and transmission. The tanks were also fitted with hybrid armor (both active and passive) over its frontal arc.

Dozens of other subcontractors were involved in the project, with Israel’s Elbit systems as the primary subcontractor and smaller defense companies Urdan and Orlite also taking part.

“In order to continue with the positive contribution to peace and stability in the region that Turkey is located, it makes it compulsory for our armed forces to possess strong as well as deterrent capabilities,” Turkey’s then national defense minister Vecdi Gönül was quoted by the Defense Turkey news website as saying.

Turkey and Israel had been close allies in the defense industry, security cooperation, intelligence sharing and military training since the 1960s and peaking in the 1990s with the 1994 Defense Cooperation Agreement and 1996 Military Training Cooperation Agreement.

With those two agreements, the military-security ties became one of the closest in the Middle East, with Israel even providing intelligence to Turkey in its ongoing fight against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Ankara cooperated with Israel on Iran by providing intelligence it had gathered.

In addition, Turkey used to be one of Israel’s primary arms customers with Israeli firms upgrading F-4E planes for an estimated $1 billion as well as supplying Turkey with armed Heron drones for $200 million, electronic reconnaissance and surveillance systems at $200m. and advanced missile systems and smart ammunition for $150m.

The upgrades to the M60-A1 tanks were done as part of a larger defense pact between Israel and Turkey that spoke of the possible Israeli sale of a spy satellite, the Arrow missile defense system and Merkava tanks.

The Turks have in the past lost tanks in Syria, but in April 2016 an M60-A1 tank that had been upgraded by Israel was only slightly damaged in an attack by ISIS, which fired a Kornet anti-tank missile at Bashiqah in Iraq.

Israel's defense ties with Turkey came to an end in 2010 as relations broke down between the countries following the Turkish flotilla's attempt to reach the Gaza Strip.



Germany to Open Its 5G Market to Huawei Despite US Pressure – Report
20:05 14.10.2019
by Tim Korso

Previously, the US threatened to cut its allies off from intelligence-sharing programmes if they allow Chinese tech giant Huawei to participate in the construction of their high-speed 5G networks. Despite this, many countries have ignored these threats.

A draft version of a new set of security requirements for telecommunications networks in Germany does not contain a controversial clause that would effectively ban China’s Huawei from taking part in the construction of 5G networks, Handelsblatt newspaper reports, citing an obtained document.

According to the outlet, the previously discussed provision, which required 5G network components to be acquired from "trusted suppliers" only, disappeared from the new regulation's text after pressure from the Ministry for Economic Affairs and the office of Chancellor Angela Merkel. This means that Huawei, whose products’ security standards have been questioned by the US, will still be able to participate in the construction of the high-speed information network for the EU’s largest economy.
FILE - In this Jan. 29, 2019, file photo, the logos of Huawei are displayed at its retail shop window reflecting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in Beijing
© AP Photo / Andy Wong
FILE - In this Jan. 29, 2019, file photo, the logos of Huawei are displayed at its retail shop window reflecting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in Beijing

Handelsblatt further indicates that the draft document, which could be published at the end of this or at the beginning of the next year, delegates the right to determine what constitutes critical infrastructure to the network operators themselves. Critical or core infrastructure of 5G networks will, however, be subject to inspections by Germany's Office for Information Security, which will check if the components are fully manageable and able to pass safety tests.

Huawei's access to 5G markets around the world was endangered by US actions in 2019, after Washington threatened to cut its allies' access to intelligence-sharing programmes if they don't ban the Chinese giant from their high-speed networks. The US claims that Huawei is cooperating with the Chinese government and is helping it spy on its clients by installing backdoors in its equipment.
In this July 30, 2019, file photo a woman walks by a Huawei retail store in Beijing.
© AP Photo / Andy Wong
In this July 30, 2019, file photo a woman walks by a Huawei retail store in Beijing.

Both Huawei and Beijing deny the allegations and have slammed the US for what they consider to be false accusations. Most countries have ignored Washington's threats, with the UK reportedly mulling over granting the Chinese company access to non-critical infrastructure and France giving its operators a carte-blanche on whether or not to use Huawei's equipment. However, several countries, namely Japan, New Zealand, and Australia, have listened to the US exhortations and banned the tech giant from their 5G networks.





US imposes sanctions on Turkey over Syria operation
WASHINGTON-Anadolu Agency
October 15 2019 10:19:10

The U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions on Oct. 14 on two Turkish ministries and three senior government officials over Turkey’s anti-terror operation in northeastern Syria.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Oct. 14 said he would authorize sanctions against Turkish officials, stop negotiating with Turkey on a $100 billion trade deal, and boost tariffs on the country's steel to 50 percent over Ankara's military operation.

"The United States of America simply is not going to tolerate Turkey's invasion in Syria any further. We are calling on Turkey to stand down, end the violence and come to the negotiating table," Vice President Mike Pence told reporters.

Washington imposed sanctions on Turkey’s Ministry of National Defense and Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources and also on Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Dönmez and Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu.

"We are prepared to impose additional sanctions on Government of Turkey officials and entities, as necessary," the department said in a statement.

According to U.S. law, those mentioned on the sanctions list face blocking of their properties (if any) and are prevented from having trade relations with the U.S.

Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham said on Oct. 14 that he "strongly" supports U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to sanction Turkey.

"The President's team has a plan and I intend to support them as strongly as possible, and to give them reasonable time and space to achieve our mutual goals," Graham said in a statement.

The move was quickly criticized as too little, too late by the top Democrat in Congress.

"His announcement of a package of sanctions against Turkey falls very short of reversing that humanitarian disaster," said U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring on Oct. 9 to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.

Ankara wants to clear northern Syria east of the Euphrates of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD/YPG.

The U.S.-backed SDF, a group dominated by the YPG, has been controlling some 28 percent of the Syrian territories, including the most of the 911-kilometer-long Syria-Turkey border.

Turkey deems the YPG the Syrian offshoot of the illegal PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization also by the United States and the EU.

The announcement came shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump said his administration "will soon" be issuing an executive order authorizing the possible imposition of sanctions on Turkey, including on current and former government officials.

In a statement posted on Twitter, he added that steel tariffs will again be raised to 50% and negotiations for a $100 billion trade deal will be stopped "immediately" by the U.S. Commerce Department.

In a press briefing with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Vice President Mike Pence said Trump asked Turkey to halt its operation and to enact an immediate ceasefire and begin negotiations with the PYD/YPG.

"The president has directed me to lead a delegation to Turkey to begin these talks," said Pence.

Turkey’s leaders have repeatedly said the operation does not target Kurds, contrary to rhetoric from anti-Turkey circles, which allege that the Turkish military is harming civilians and the fight against the remnants of the ISIL terror group.

On Oct. 12, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey would assume responsibility for ISIL elements held in detention centers in northern Syria.



US, Turkey Cooperate ‘Carving Up’ Syria, Blocking Damascus from Wheat, Oil Regions
Murad Sezer
04:01 12.10.2019

While US President Donald Trump continues spouting claims of bringing troops home from Syria and exchanges threats of sanctions with Turkey, the mainstream narrative is neglecting to acknowledge the two nations’ history of carving up Syria and the dozen US bases actively blocking Damascus from its own resources.

Friday marked the third day of Turkey’s "Operation Peace Spring" along the Syrian border, and despite Washington’s decision to shift some 50 soldiers out of the way, US Special Forces near Aleppo’s Kobani still ended up on the receiving end of the offensive.

Though a Friday evening Pentagon release noted that no Americans were injured by Turkish artillery fire, the Trump administration and the Turkish Foreign Ministry are still trading threats on an economic front.

In response to US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s Friday announcement of possible US sanctions to curtail Turkey’s offensive, the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a response that explained Washington was well-informed concerning “the target and scope of the operation” and that Ankara is prepared to “respond in full” against any actions from the Trump administration.

These higher-level exchanges, along with French President Emmanuel Macron’s talks with Trump, have dominated corporate media headlines and stories while simultaneously neglecting Turkey’s main objective and the US’ overwhelming presence in the region the Kurds call Rojava.

Ben Norton, a journalist with the Grayzone Project and co-host of the Moderate Rebels podcast, joined Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear on Friday to discuss the reality of US troops in Syria following Trump’s call to pull out and explain how Operation Peace Spring is business as usual in the country for Washington and Ankara.

“The US has constructed more than a dozen US military bases in illegally occupied, sovereign Syrian territory,” Norton told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou. He pointed out that despite this fact, none of the articles talking about the Turkish invasion, which received an “American green light,” touch on the subject.

In addition to corporate media outlets neglecting to mention that the oil-rich region of Rojava is “protected” by US troops, coverage of the so-called American pullout does not reveal that Damascus is still unable to get access to “major roads that are being occupied by the US military,” he said.

Not only that, but Norton noted that Rojava is the “bread basket region of the country [and] represents a quarter of Syria’s sovereign territory that is militarily occupied by the United States, and it’s extremely fertile land where there’s a lot of wheat production and [other] food production.” Frankly put, “Syria has not had access to its own oil and wheat thanks to this US military occupation.”

The journalist explained that people should be skeptical of Trump and the US government’s claims of withdrawing troops from Syria, as the orders have only specified that servicemembers be moved from the border to other parts of the region. Even if Trump is genuine in his desire to bring American troops home, Norton said he believes that the US commander-in-chief is probably not even in control of his own foreign policy.

Turkey’s intentions, on the other hand, are obvious, in Norton’s opinion.

“It’s the dictionary definition of ethnic cleansing,” Norton argued. “Turkey wants to repopulate these Kurdish-majority areas with some of the 3.7 million Syrian refugees.”

He went on to suggest that history is repeating itself, as the Pentagon and other intelligence services assisted Turkey in conducting a very similar “carving up” of Syria’s Afrin, al-Bab and Jarabulus.

“This is a continuation of a policy that Turkey has already carried out with Washington’s approval. Washington doesn’t care about the Kurds, and it certainly doesn’t care about Syria. It’s perfectly happy seeing other allies like Turkey - which is a member of NATO - carve up the country,” he asserted.

Washington’s failure to let Operation Spring Peace occur would open the door for Damascus to possibly reclaim control of its own country.

Russia to Salvage US Mess
20:32 14.10.2019
by Finian Cunningham

It’s going to be a precarious balancing act, but only one nation can possibly help bring stability to the chaos unleashed in Syria by US President Donald Trump. That’s Russia.

Reports of a deal brokered over the weekend by Russia between Syrian government forces and Kurdish militia are a prelude to a wider effort by Moscow to achieve full peace in the war-torn country. That constructive role played by Russia is no doubt due to the mutual respect it holds among warring sides.

The deal brokered by Russia will allow the Syrian Arab Army to take over control of northern border areas with Turkey which were formerly under the control of the Kurds. Since Trump threw the Kurds under the bus last week and effectively green-lighted the incursion into Syria by Turkish forces, the Kurds have had to subsequently align with the Syrian government. Russia was crucial to facilitating the new alliance.

With the Kurdish areas returning to the control of the central government in Damascus – after five years of US-backed Kurdish occupation – that arrangement of a fully integrated Syrian territory is not just legally proper. It also could placate Turkey’s long-held demands for security regarding Kurdish militants, whom Ankara accuses of being “terrorists” trying to destabilise Turkey.

Russia and Iran have in recent days both warned Turkey to respect Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. With the Russian-backed Syrian army on the border facing Turk forces, it is a fair bet that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will think twice about escalating the incursion. Having had the Kurdish autonomous area dismantled and under control of Damascus again, the Turkish leader should feel assured to back off from further military action. Again, we may reasonably surmise that Russian President Vladimir Putin has quietly, but firmly, told Erdogan to calm down. Perhaps Putin is the only person whom the bullish Erdogan will heed at this point.

One thing is apparent though. The US and its European allies are a more than ever exposed as a hopeless bunch of losers whose criminal meddling and mischief in Syria, and more widely across the Middle East, leave them without a shred of credibility to resolve conflict.

“This is a monumental failure on behalf of the United States”, commented Aaron Stein of the US-based Foreign Policy Research Institute think-tank, as quoted by Reuters.

Stein added that “it would be the Syrian government or Russia, not American sanctions, that could stop the Turkish operation… The only thing that will stop them is if the [Syrian] regime or the Russians move in significant numbers to where they stop”.

Washington and its European allies have created the entire bloody mess in Syria with their criminal, covert war for regime change against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since the war on that country erupted in March 2011 – with as many as 600,000 dead. The Americans and other NATO powers have secretly weaponised jihadist terror gangs for their regime-change plot – an intrigue which failed because of Russia’s military intervention from the end of 2015 in order to defend the Syrian nation.
American soldiers walk together during a joint U.S.-Turkey patrol, near Tel Abyad, Syria September 8, 2019
© REUTERS / Rodi Said
American soldiers walk together during a joint U.S.-Turkey patrol, near Tel Abyad, Syria September 8, 2019

The US and its NATO cronies also used Kurdish militants as proxies to break up Syria’s territorial unity. Officially, Western governments and media claim that the Kurds fought a war against jihadist terrorism. That may be partly true in the murky world of running anti-government insurgents. But, primarily, the Kurds were used by Washington to annex Syrian territory, especially the oil-rich and water-abundant northeastern regions. In doing that, however, the Americans antagonised Turkey by mobilising the Kurds and affording them a de facto state within the Syrian state.

Trump’s sell-out of the Kurds last week by withdrawing American special forces in the region aligned with them has unleashed the mayhem and violence seen over several days. Trying to claw back some credibility, the Trump administration is now moving to heap tough economic sanctions on Ankara to “wreck the Turkish economy”.

European states have also clamoured with condemnation of Turkey for its military operations against the Kurds, which have resulted in many civilian deaths and tens of thousands of terror-stricken refugees fleeing from the violence.

Germany, France, Netherlands, Norway and others have announced suspension of arms exports to Turkey.

This is an incredible debacle. NATO members are bickering with and sanctioning fellow NATO member Turkey. There are even reports of Turkish artillery shelling positions near American special forces to cut them off from their former Kurdish ally.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s Erdogan has basically told Washington and the Europeans to shove their sermonising and hypocrisy. Erdogan knows that the Americans and Europeans have blood on their hands from sponsoring Syria’s covert war, just as he does too.

Washington has no moral authority whatsoever to unravel the mess it has engendered in Syria.

Russia can salvage the disastrous situation because it has earned respect from all sides due to its principled and powerful military deployment in Syria. Moscow will want to avoid delving in too deeply whereby it ends up in a war with Turkey on Syria’s border. Somehow, however, Russia has the right balance between respect, diplomatic intelligence and power to salvage the morass made by America and its NATO cronies.

If peace can be settled between Syria and Turkey and Syria’s territorial integrity restored, then Russia stands to emerge with newfound status in the Middle East as an honest broker and neighbour – unlike the scoundrels barking in Washington and European capitals.

'Equation of Power Changed': Top Iranian Official Says Middle East Is 'Safer Place' Without US
21:57 14.10.2019
by Tim Korso

Following the start of the Turkish military operation in northern Syria, the US announced that it would pull out some of its troops from the area, with President Donald Trump criticising the efforts of previous administrations that dragged Washington into wars in the Middle East.

Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani has stated that the Middle East would be "a safer place without the US", stating that Washington should withdraw its troops from the region entirely and not just from Syria. He argued that even US officials have acknowledged that getting involved in the region's wars was a mistake, apparently referring to US President Donald Trump's recent criticism of past US administrations' Middle East policies.

Commenting on the recent statement by the POTUS, Shamkhani alleged that his administration has realised that "the equation of power and politics in the Middle East has changed" and that the US can no longer claim the leading position in the region.

"Washington has now two options: either to pretend to be a superpower by incurring huge expenses, or to adopt a realistic policy, accept the realities and save itself from the costs of the exposed plot", he said.

'Iran is Defeating Its Enemies' - IRGC Commander

Major General Hossein Salami, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), has stated that judging by the current state of affairs, the Islamic Republic is "moving forward" and "defeating" its enemies. He added that Iran's "will" can't be changed by outside forces and therefore the victorious "trend" will continue.

Salami's statements come months after Iran's domestically made Khordad-3 air defence system downed an American RQ-4 drone that violated Iranian airspace and failed to respond to multiple warnings. Tehran later stated that it also had a manned P-8 Poseidon spy plane in its crosshairs, but opted to spare it.





Saudi Arabia up in Flames: Riyadh Is Headed for a Major Disaster
Federico Pieraccini
September 19, 2019

On Saturday September 14th, Yemen’s Houthi rebels announced that they had conducted a massive attack on several Aramco plants in Saudi Arabia, including the largest oil refinery in the world in Abqaiq, using 10 drones. On Twitter, dozens of videos and photos showed explosions, flames and the resulting damage.

The move is part of a retaliatory campaign by the Houthis in response to the indiscriminate bombings conducted by the Saudi air force over more than four years. UN estimates speak of more than 100,000 deaths and the largest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War.

The Saudi kingdom finds itself in an increasingly dangerous situation as a result of the retaliatory capacity of the Houthis, able to inflict severe military and economic damage on Riyadh with their missile forces. Estimates suggest that Riyadh is losing something in the region of $300 million a day from the Houthi attacks. On Sunday September 15, a spokesman for the Saudi oil ministry spoke of damage that is yet to be calculated, possibly requiring weeks of repair. Meanwhile, Saudi oil production has halved following the Saturday attack. With a military budget of $200,000, the Houthis managed to inflict damage numbering in the billions of dollars.

House of Saud Isolated

The withdrawal of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates from the conflict in Yemen, driven by their desire to improve relations with Tehran, and the impossibility of the United States intervening directly in the conflict, has created significant problems for the House of Saud. The conflict is considered by the UN to be the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, and Trump has no intention of giving the Democratic presidential contenders any ammunition with which to attack him. Bolton’s dismissal could be one of those Trump signals to the deep state stating that he does not intend to sabotage his re-election hopes in 2020 by starting a new war.

This reluctance by Washington to directly support Israel and Saudi Arabia has aggravated the situation for Riyadh, which now risks seeing the conflict move to its own territory in the south of the country. The Houthi incursions into Saudi Arabia are now a daily event, and as long as Riyadh continues to commit war crimes against innocent Yemeni civilians, the situation will only worsen, with increasingly grave consequences for the internal stability of the Saudi system.

Saturday’s retaliation is the real demonstration of what could happen to the Saudi economy if Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) refuses to sit down and negotiate a way out of one of the worst military disasters of the contemporary era.

The invincibility of US weapons systems is only in Hollywood movies

The Houthis have in recent months managed to strike their targets in Saudi Arabia dozens of times using different aerial means. This highlights once again the total failure of American air-defense systems in the country.

In contrast, the multiple Russian anti-aircraft systems in Syria have achieved a 100% success rate with regard to interceptions, managing to disable (through electronic warfare) all the drones, mortars and missiles launched by jihadists against Russia’s bases in Tartus bases and Latakia.

Blame Iran!

Mike Pompeo blames Tehran for the Yemeni attack on Saudi Arabia, of course without offering any proof. Riyadh and Tel Aviv are increasingly isolated in the Middle East. Washington is only able to offer tweets and paranoia about Iran to help its allies, given that a direct intervention is seen as being too risky for the global economy, not to mention the possibility of the conflict becoming a wider regional conflagration that would sink any chance of reelection in 2020 for the present administration.

Trump, Netanyahu and MBS are concocting a witches’ brew that will bring about a disaster of unprecedented proportions to the region. It is only a matter of time before we see the baleful consequences of their handiwork.

A hypothesis to be discarded

There is some talk doing the rounds that the Saudis conducted a false-flag attack on their own oil refineries, a hypothesis that enjoys a superficial plausibility. The resulting increase in the price of oil could be seen as having a positive effect on Aramco’s share price, it is true. But for the reasons given below, this hypothesis is actually not plausible.

The Houthis develop their own weapons, assisted by the Yemeni army. Used drones would cost less than $20,000 a piece. The military embargo on Yemen (enforced by the US and UK) has created a humanitarian disaster, limiting food and medicine. The delivery of weapons by sea therefore seems unlikely. As repeatedly stated by Mohammad Javad Zarif, the foreign minister of Iran, as well as representatives of Ansarullah, Tehran has no influence on the Houthis.

The Yemeni response is part of an increasing asymmetric logic, which has as its primary objectives the halt to Riyadh’s bombings of Yemen by increasing the costs of doing so such that they become unsustainable. The obvious pressure point is the 20 billion barrels in strategic reserves.

There is no need for a false flag to blame Iran for the work of the Houthis. The corporate media is enough to have the false accusations repeated without the help of the Israelis or US-based neocons.

The Saudis are more cautious, even if unable to decide how to proceed. In Yemen, they have no more cards to play: they do not want to sit down and deal with Ansarullah, Tehran is unassailable, while Tel Aviv is pushing for a conflict, with Riyadh offered to be sacrificed.

I have been writing for months that, sooner or later, an event will occur that will change the regional balance in a possible conflict with Iran. This happened on Saturday, when half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production was brought to a halt by an attack.


There could not be any worse news for the neocons, Wahhabis and Zionists. If the Houthis could inflict such damage using 10 drones, then Tel Aviv, Riyadh and Washington must be having conniptions at the thought of what the Iranians would be capable of doing in the event that they themselves were attacked.

Any power (in this case the US and their air-defense systems) and its close ally would do everything to avoid suffering such a humiliation that would only serve to reveal their military vulnerabilities.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow is seen by many in Israel as a failure. It is confirmed in Tel Aviv that the Zionist state’s recent attacks in Syria have been quashed by Russian intervention, sending an unambiguous message to Netanyahu.

Netanyahu and MBS, I reiterate, are heading towards the political abyss. And given their inability to handle the situation, they will do everything in their power to draw Washington into their plans against Iran.

It is all certainly vain. But in the coming weeks, I expect further provocations and tensions in the Middle East.

Three Saudi Brigades Annihilated in Devastating Houthi Offensive in Saudi Arabia
Federico Pieraccini
September 30, 2019

Many may have hitherto been led to believe that the Houthis were a ragtag armed force lacking in sophistication. Many, seeing the drone and missile attacks on Saudi oil plants, may have declared it to be a false-flag attack carried out by Riyadh to boost Aramco’s market value; either that or it was an operation carried out by Iran or even Israel. On Saturday September 28, the Houthis put paid to such speculation by confirming what many, like myself, have been writing for months; that is, that the asymmetrical tactics of the Houthis, combined with the conventional capabilities of the Yemeni army, are capable of bringing the Saudi kingdom of Mohammed Bin Salman to its knees.

The Yemeni army’s missile forces are able to carry out highly complex attacks, no doubt as a result of reconnaissance provided by the local Shia population within the Kingdom that is against the House of Saud’s dictatorship. These Houthi sympathisers within Saudi Arabia helped in target identification, carried out reconnaissance within the plants, found the most vulnerable and impactful points, and passed this intelligence on to the Houthis and Yemeni army. These Yemeni forces employed locally produced means to severely degrade Saudi Arabia’s crude-oil-extraction and processing plants. The deadly strikes halved oil production and threatened to continue with other targets if the Saudi-conducted genocide in Yemen did not stop.

On Saturday 29 the Houthis and the Yemeni army conducted an incredible conventional attack lasting three days that began from within Yemen’s borders. The operation would have involved months of intelligence gathering and operational planning. It was a far more complex attack than that conducted against Aramco’s oil facilities. Initial reports indicate that the forces of the Saudi-led coalition were lured into vulnerable positions and then, through a pincer movement conducted quickly within Saudi territory, the Houthis surrounded the town of Najran and its outskirts and got the better of three Saudi brigades numbering in the thousands and including dozens of senior officers as well as numerous combat vehicles. This event is a game changer, leaving the US, Mike Pompeo and the Israelis and Saudis unable to lay the blame on Iran as all this took place a long way from Iran.

The large-scale operation was preceded by Yemeni rocket artillery targeting Jizan airport, with 10 missiles paralyzing any movements to and from the airport, including denying the possibility of air support for the encircled troops. The Houthis also hit the King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh in a key operation that targeted Apache helicopters, forcing them to leave the area. Nearby military bases were also targeted so as to cut off any reinforcements and disrupt the chain of command. This led to the Saudi forces fleeing in disorganization. Images shown by the Houthis show a road in the middle of a valley on the outskirts of Najran with dozens of Saudi armored vehicles trying to flee while being attacked from both sides by Houthi RPGs together with heavy and light weapons. Visual confirmation of the debacle can be seen in the number of casualties as well as in the number of prisoners taken. Images show lines of Saudi prisoners walking under Yemeni guard towards prison camps. This is something extraordinary to behold: the Saudi army, the third largest purchaser of weapons in the world, getting comprehensively walloped by one of the poorest countries in the world. The numbers say it all: the Houthis were able to control more than 350 kilometers of Saudi territory. Given that the Saudi military budget is almost 90 billion dollars a year, this achievement is made all the more extraordinary.

Houthi forces employed drones, missiles, anti-aircraft systems, as well as electronic warfare to prevent the Saudis from supporting their troops with aviation or other means to assist their trapped men. Testimony from Saudi soldiers suggest that efforts to rescue them were half-hearted and of little effect. Saudi prisoners of war accuse their military leaders of having left them prey to their opponents.

The Yemeni army and the Houthis were within less than 10 days able to inflict a devastating blow to both the credibility of US defense systems and the Saudi military. They did this by employing creative methods suitable for the objective at hand.

They initially revealed the internal vulnerability of the Kingdom through such a level of penetration into Saudi Arabia that they were able to conduct internal reconnaissance through the assistance of infiltrators or local collaborators so as to know exactly where to hit the oil installations for maximum effect and damage.

They subsequently demonstrated their technical and cyber capabilities through an asymmetrical operation employing drones of various types as well as electronic warfare to blind the US Patriot system’s radars, in the process halving Saudi Arabia’s oil production for a period of time Aramco is yet to determine.

Finally, the most surprising and astounding aspect of these recent events is this most recent Yemeni ground operation that was carried out in hostile territory and succeeded in surrounding three brigades consisting of thousands of men and their equipment. Thousands of Yemeni soldiers loyal to Ansarullah (Houthis) took part in this successful operation, supported by drones, ground-attack aircraft and air-defense batteries. Such capabilities are ordinarily better associated with well-trained and well-equipped militaries rather than militaries coming from the Third World.

The Houthis issued a clear message to Riyadh when they hit its oil installations. They effectively let it be known that they had the means and capability to damage the Kingdom irreparably, leading ultimately to the overthrow of the House of Saud.

The Yemeni army spokesman announced, after hitting the Saudi oil facilities, that they would stop all offensive actions using drones and missiles, leaving it up to Riyadh to decide whether things stopped there and they sat down at the negotiating table to end the conflict, or whether Saudi Arabia was in the mood for more of the same treatment.

Mohammed bin Salman would no doubt have received manifold reassurances from the Americans, explaining away the failure of the Patriot systems and assuring him that more American assistance was on the way; and that it would, moreover, be impossible to come to an agreement with the Houthis, especially given that they are considered to be a proxy of the Iranians (a debunked lie); not to mention, of course, the huge loss of prestige that would befall the Saudis, Israelis and Americans were such a capitulation to occur.

There is already talk in Riyadh of receiving new supplies of the THAAD system (similarly useless against Houthi asymmetrical warfare) and other very expensive American air-defense systems. It is too bad for the Saudis that the US has nothing like the Pantsir and the Russian BUK systems, which allow for a multi-layered air defense, ideal for defending against small, low-flying drones and missiles that are difficult to intercept with such systems as the Patriot and THAAD.

Instead of starting peace talks to stop the ongoing genocide in Yemen and being hit again by the Houthis in response, Mohammed bin Salman and his advisors seem to have seen it fit to commit further war crimes in Yemen.

Faced with such intransigence, the Houthis went ahead with a new attack even more devastating for Saudi morale and discombobulating for Western policy-makers. Thousands of men and their equipment were either killed, wounded, or taken captive in a pincer movement reminiscent of the DPR and LNR’s actions in Ukraine in 2015 where Kiev’s forces was similarly surrounded and destroyed.

Usually such pincer movements require thorough reconnaissance to determine where best to surround the enemy. Furthermore, air support and air-defense systems would be necessary to ward off American and Saudi responses. In addition to all this, troops and their equipment are needed together with the necessary training for such assaults that require coordination as well as quick and effective execution of orders. All these requirements were met as a result of the excellent preparation and knowledge of the terrain by the Yemeni army and the Houthis.

If the attack on Saudi oil facilities had such an impact, then the even more dramatic attack of this last Saturday will have forced Mohammed bin Salman and his American allies to face a very harsh reality. Saudi Arabia, it will now need to be recognized, does not have the capacity to defend its borders from Yemen, leaving the Houthis and the Yemeni army free to enter Saudi territory at will while showing little regard for the opinion and feelings of the Saudis and Americans.

This is a triple checkmate for the Houthis against Riyadh. Firstly, they showed that they had enough local support within Saudi Arabia to have ready internal saboteurs in the event of an all-out war with Iran or Yemen. Then they showed they have the capacity to cripple Saudi Arabia’s oil production. Ultimately, Yemen’s conventional forces could redraw the boundaries between Saudi Arabia and Yemen in the latter’s favor should Yemeni leaders decide to invade and occupy a strip of Saudi territory to secure a buffer zone, given that Saudi forces have been violating Yemen’s sovereignty and massacring civilians willy nilly for the last five years.

It bears reflecting on the significance of these events. The third-biggest arms spender in the world is incapable of defeating the poorest Arab country in the world. It is, moreover, incapable of protecting its national interest and borders from this impoverished Arab country. The Houthis are showing to the world what a poor but organized and motivated armed force can do using asymmetrical methods to bring one of the best-equipped militaries in the world to its knees. This conflict will be studied all over the world as an example of how a new means of warfare is possible when technological and cyber capabilities are democratized and available to those who know how to use them appropriately, as the Houthis have shown with their use of drones and electronic warfare.

With the Houthis enjoying a high level of leverage, through a combination of missile capabilities, the holding of many prisoners of war, and saboteurs spread throughout Saudi Arabia (apropos, a strange fire occurred in Jeddah on Sunday at the Al-Haramain railway station), it may be time for Riyadh to accept the tragic consequences of this useless war and sit down at the negotiating table with Ansarullah.

Washington and Tel Aviv will try in every way to prevent such negotiations. But if Mohammed bin Salman and his family wish to save their kingdom, it is better to start talking to the Houthis immediately. Otherwise it is only a matter of time before another attack by Ansarullah leads to the complete collapse and ruin of the House of Saud and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

「トランプのクルド切り捨てで米政界大混乱」は茶番 事前に調整済み クルドへの通告はツイッター(笑)






Arab League Urges Turkey to Immediately Withdraw Troops From Syria
15:52 12.10.2019

CAIRO (Sputnik) - The secretary-general of the League of Arab States (LAS), Ahmed Aboul Gheit, on Saturday called upon Turkey to immediately halt the military operation in Syria's north and withdraw troops from the territory of the war-torn Arab republic.

"We condemn this aggression. We call upon Turkey to immediately and completely stop all military action and withdraw troops, which have entered the Syrian territory," Aboul Gheit said during the opening address to the emergency LAS session amid the Turkish military operation in Syria.

'What Is This Sh*t?': Syrian Kurds Learnt About US Pull-Out From Twitter – Report
20:04 13.10.2019
by Tim Korso

Two days ahead of the start of the Turkish military operation against Syrian Kurds, the US announced that it would be withdrawing its troops from the area in order to avoid getting caught in the cross-fire between the warring parties. Some, however, including the Kurds, saw this as a "betrayal" of groups that had helped the US fight Daesh*.

Washington’s decision to withdraw from northern Syria came as a surprise both to US officials and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, whom the US has long supported in their fight against terrorist groups in Syria, Newsweek reported, citing its own sources on the ground.

"No one in the US government told us. When we heard the news of American withdrawals, well, it was over Twitter, we had no idea, we were like, 'What is this sh*t?'", an anonymous Kurdish intelligence official told the media outlet.

The same official noted that prior to this news, the militant group was planning a strategy to wipe out the remnants of both Daesh* and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (a group believed to be led by the leaders of Jabhat al-Nusra*) on Syrian territory with the help of American forces.

Now the Kurds are busy trying to repel the Turkish offensive and, in order to succeed, they might "cut a deal" with Russia, Newsweek reported, citing an anonymous senior Pentagon official. According to the source, the SDF could ask Russia to help negotiate with Damascus in order to gain its support in their fight against Turkey.

SDF General Mazloum Kobani openly indicated in an interview with CNN that this scenario is an option if the US fails to protect the Kurds from Turkey.

"I need to know if you are capable of protecting my people, of stopping these bombs falling on us or not. I need to know, because if you're not, I need to make a deal with Russia and the regime now and invite their planes to protect this region", Kobani said.

US Defence Secretary Mark Esper also expressed an opinion in an interview with CBS on 13 October that the Kurds may ask for Damascus' and Russia's help. He said that if this were to be case, then the US would end up caught between two military forces and to avoid this, Washington decided to pull out some 1,000 soldiers from northern Syria.

Newsweek's report that the withdrawal came as a total surprise to US officials contradicts an earlier one by Yahoo News, which cited an unnamed senior Trump administration official as saying that the decision had been "discussed among senior leadership at the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon".

....down, watching over a quagmire, & spending big dollars to do so. When I took over, our Military was totally depleted. Now it is stronger than ever before. The endless and ridiculous wars are ENDING! We will be focused on the big picture, knowing we can always go back & BLAST!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2019

US to Pull About 1,000 Troops From Syria's North Due to Turkish Offensive - Pentagon
16:00 13.10.2019
by Tim Korso

The Pentagon earlier confirmed that some Turkish shelling near the city of Kobani in northern Syria was in close proximity to American troops stationed at an observation post there. Washington insists that Ankara was aware of where its troops were located, while Turkey insists that it never intended to attack American forces.

Trump Says to Issue Executive Order Authorising Sanctions Against Turkish Officials
23:01 14.10.2019

The US president also said that the steel tariffs will be increased up to 50 per cent and Washington will stop negotiations with Turkey on a $100 billion trade deal.

Trump Says Syria’s Assad Should Protect Kurds After US Troops Pullout
22:58 14.10.2019

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - US President Donald Trump said Monday he hoped that Syrian President Bashar Assad would do a great job protecting Syrian Kurds from Turkey after most of US troops were withdrawn.

Democrats, Republicans Draft Bipartisan Bills To Reverse Trump Policy on Syria, Turkey – Reports
05:40 14.10.2019

The Syria pullout by the Trump administration has angered both parties in both chambers of the US Congress, and now lawmakers are preparing to bury the president under bills and resolutions condemning the move, while slapping sanctions on Ankara over its invasion of Kurdish-controlled northern Syria.

After Syria debacle, Congress must act for Kurdish region of Iraq
After training almost 100,000 members of the Syrian Democratic Forces in eastern Syria the US suddenly announced a withdrawal, without a road map to stability
By Seth J. Frantzman, ERIC R MANDEL
October 14, 2019 23:07

In 2016, Donald Trump excoriated the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq in 2011 after the successful American surge in Iraq under President George W. Bush had stabilized the country. He blamed the US withdrawal for the rise of Islamic State (ISIS). His analysis was correct, that the American withdrawal led to the rise of sectarian violence, particularly at the hands of Iraqi Shi’ite strongman Nouri al-Maliki. ISIS was able to gain a greater foothold as a result.

The October 6 decision by the White House to abandon and betray America’s partners in northern Syria, our best fighting partner against ISIS, is inappropriate on so many levels. When was it ever in American interests to empower Iran, Russia, Syria’s regime, or Turkish-backed extremists, leaving America looking like a paper tiger, and an unreliable ally? After training almost 100,000 members of the Syrian Democratic Forces in eastern Syria the US suddenly announced a withdrawal, without a road map to stability or even acknowledgement of the important the SDF played in the defeat of ISIS. The SDF, being bombed by Turkey which accused them of being linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and suffering attacks from extremists, signed a deal with the Syrian regime on October 13.

Now, while Syrian Kurds fear ethnic cleansing and the loss of their freedom, pushed through no fault of their own into the arms of the Syrians, Russians and Iranian militias, Congress has to act now to protect our even more important Kurdish allies in norther Iraq, or Iran will sense weakness and seek to exploit America’s perceived retreat.

The Kurdistan Region of Iraq is an autonomous region under Iraq’s 2005 constitution that the US supported after the 2003 defeat of Saddam Hussein. For decades the Kurdish leadership in the Kurdistan Regional Government capital of Erbil has been close to the US and has created a region that is stable and prosperous. They were key allies against ISIS and the US has supported their armed forces, called Peshmerga, through training and budgetary assistance.

However in recent years the Kurdistan region has been sandwiched between a rising Iran and questions about US policy in Iraq and Syria. When the US decided to leave Syria it became clear that the Kurdistan region of Iraq could also be threatened. Unlike the US partnership with the SDF, the US relationship with the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is one of two governments, because the KRG is an autonomous region under the Iraqi constitution, akin to Scotland or Quebec. While there were critics of the US partnership with the SDF, critically Turkey, there is no criticism of the US work with the KRG. That is why it is essential now to shore up support for Kurdish allies in Iraq and make sure they understand that the US is standing behind them. Uncertainty in the Middle East leads to US enemies trying exploit division and pry away US allies.

Washington cannot allow another retreat from the region after the collapse of eastern Syria. Northern Iraq is now the hinge, a strategic key, to the border areas of Iran, Turkey, Syria and Iraq. Iran must not be allowed to consume Iraq and Syria like an octopus. It is time for Congress to move fast and make clear the Kurdistan region is a key ally. That means support for security and the economy of the region. It means supporting the Kurdish region which hosts Yazidis and has large numbers of Christians. It means support for reconstruction and enabling the region to spread its wings at this key moment when US allies and interests appear under siege. An invite to the Kurdistan Regional president Nechirvan Barzani would be a good message from the US that the region is important. Listening to Erbil’s concerns is also important.

In other areas of Iraq protesters are being shot down by Iranian-backed militias. Not so in the Kurdistan region, an island of stability. But as we saw with eastern Syria, an island of stability can be threatened. The US needs to do the right thing and Congress has the tools to make that happen.

Seth J. Frantzman is the author of ‘After ISIS: America, Iran and the Struggle for the Middle East,’ and Oped Editor of The Jerusalem Post. Eric R Mandel is the director of MEPIN, the Middle East Political Information Network, and regularly briefs members of the Senate, House and their foreign policy advisers.

Pentagon Says Turkey’s Operation in Syria ‘Growing Threat’, US Continues Troop Withdrawal
01:08 15.10.2019

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The Pentagon considers Turkey’s operation in Syria an "impulsive" move that undermines efforts to defeat the Daesh* terror group, US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper said in a statement, stressing that the United States continues its troop withdrawal from northern Syria.

Turkey Launched Operation in Syria Because US Failed to Observe Commitments - Minister
04:38 15.10.2019

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Turkey has launched the military operation in Kurd-populated north of Syria because the United States failed to observe its commitments on establishing a jointly controlled demilitarized zone in the area, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday.

America must protect the Kurds from the Turkish tyrant
President Trump’s decision to fire missiles at Syria following a chemical weapons attack early in his term showed a moral conviction that president Obama – for all his talk – lacked.
By Shmuley Boteach
October 15, 2019 00:50

KURDS LIVING in Greece shout slogans while burning a poster depicting Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan during a demonstration against Turkey’s military action in northeastern Syria, in Athens, Friday. (photo credit: ALKIS KONSTANTINIDIS / REUTERS)

There are three unpardonable sins in modern society. I’m not talking about sins from the Bible, although these are indeed violations of universal Jewish values. I am referring specifically to a phenomenon that goes beyond the fundamental commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.”

The first and most abominable sin is to commit genocide, defined in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide as the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” Mass murder has become all too familiar in the last century:
• In 1915, the Turks slaughtered perhaps 1.5 million people.
• Six million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.
• From 1975-1979, Pol Pot killed as many as three million Cambodians.
• More than 800,000 Tutsi were massacred in Rwanda in 1994.
• The ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims by Serbs in 1995.
The second sin is to be a bystander as these slaughters take place. Genocide would not be possible if world leaders acted to prevent mass murder and acted against those who ignore their warnings. Ethnic cleansing does not occur in secret. Despite the lengths to which they went to conceal their crimes, the world knew the Nazis were exterminating the Jews. The pope, Franklin Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill all were aware of the Holocaust and failed to stop it before nearly all European Jewry was destroyed.

The third sin is to in any way facilitate or give even the impression of approval of genocide. Knowingly allowing someone who has threatened genocide to carry out their plan is unforgivable. Failing to speak out when leaders threaten to exterminate a people or act against them is equally indefensible. Worst of all is to allow them to acquire the means to fulfill their threats. When the Iranians repeatedly vowed to wipe Israel off the map, it was unforgivable for then-president Barack Obama to reward them with a $150 billion windfall and sign a nuclear agreement that did not prevent them from engaging in terrorism, developing ballistic missiles or pursuing their goal of building a nuclear weapon. It was his support for this deal and his failure to speak out against Iran’s plans to annihilate the Jewish people over which Sen. Cory Booker – once my closest friend – and I suffered a serious rupture in our relationship.

President Donald Trump reversed Obama’s catastrophic Iran policy and has been a staunch defender of Israel. He has also defended Arab life by firing cruise missiles at the arch-butcher Bashar Assad after the President of Syria gassed innocent Muslims in Aleppo and other parts of the country, something President Obama refused to do, which is why the president must commit to protecting our Kurdish allies from the Muslim extremist tyrant of Turkey.

The Syrian government, with the help of Russia and Iran, has been engaged in what meets the definition of genocide against the people of Syria since 2011. The massacres have included the use of chemical weapons by Assad on his own people, sparing no one, including women and children. The entire Western world is guilty of the second sin of standing by and allowing this to go on for the last eight years.

President Obama gave his own green light to these mass atrocities when he said that the use of chemical weapons was a red line, and then did nothing when the Syrian government crossed it and continued to gas its own people. The rest of the world never bothered establishing any red lines, giving the murderers the freedom to kill tens of thousands of innocent civilians and create a massive refugee problem.

President Trump’s decision to fire missiles at Syria following a chemical weapons attack early in his term showed a moral conviction that president Obama – for all his talk – lacked. But we must now do more as the use of chemical weapons has continued.

Obama’s failure to enforce his red line emboldened Assad to continue his genocidal campaign. Now it’s Erdogan of Turkey who wants to take it further, using the withdrawal from Syria of US troops – who, though only fifty in number, served as a tripwire against Turkish aggression – to decimate our Kurdish allies who are unprotected from the Turkish Army. We cannot betray our ally and acquiesce to the wishes of the Turkish autocrat. President Trump was right to threaten Erdogan with the most severe sanctions if his aggression continues, but Erdogan took the president’s withdrawal of US troops as a signal, in the first place, that his aggression would go unchallenged.

The removal of these troops has been criticized by the president’s staunchest Republican allies as well as military leaders and Middle East experts. The president may wish to extricate America from endless Middle East wars. But as many of these critics noted, this action has several negative consequences. Besides potentially rejuvenating ISIS, the most serious is to make our allies not only in the Middle East but around the world question whether the United States will stand by them.

One of those allies is Israel. This president has been the most pro-Israel US president in history. But Israel is rightly alarmed by unchecked Turkish aggression.

ERDOGAN IS an antisemite. His hatred of the Jewish people and Israel is not transactional but ideological. He has accused Israelis of being Nazis and has repeatedly and falsely accused Israel of genocide. He has also destroyed Turkey’s democracy. He must be stopped from destroying the Kurds.

Turkey’s aggression also harms Israel by hurting one of its allies – the Kurds – and giving new confidence to the Iranians that the United States will not take military action to prevent their hegemonic activities and consolidation of forces inside Syria. It was Obama’s withdrawal of US troops from Iraq that first emboldened the Iranians. That mistake should not be repeated by a president who has proven himself to be Israel’s staunchest ally.

While the American withdrawal of troops has been the focus of critics, let us not ignore the continued complicity of the Europeans who have stood on the sidelines throughout the mass slaughter in Syria. They are doing nothing now to prevent Turkey from conducting its own campaign of ethnic cleansing.

Perhaps the only silver lining is the betrayal of the Kurds is a validation of Zionism. I agree with Yossi Alpher, who wrote in the Forward, “For anyone who has entertained doubts about the need for a state for the Jewish people, the Kurds represent a tragic reminder. They are consistently being abandoned to an ugly fate because they don’t have a country.”

Mr. President, you have shown your commitment to protecting innocent Arab life with your attack on Assad when he gassed his people. Now the United States must show the same commitment in making it clear to Erdogan that slaughtering the Kurds is a red line that he dare not cross lest he incur American wrath. Set up a no-fly zone and tell Erdogan in no uncertain terms that his atrocities against the Kurds will be punished. Europe is feckless, Mr. President. Only the United States can stand for morality and serve as the defender of all people against the threat of genocide.

You did it with Assad. Now do it with Erdogan and Turkey.

The writer, ‘America’s Rabbi,’ whom The Washington Post calls ‘the most famous Rabbi in America,’ is the author of Judaism for Everyone and Renewal: The Seven Vital Values of the Jewish Faith. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @RabbiShmuley.

For Kurds, Trump’s era was a complete betrayal
The great human sacrifices that the Kurds have given in the battle against ISIS were not enough for Trump to side with them in many fundamental issues
October 15, 2019 04:03

Two years ago ,when Trump took office, Kurds wondered, like the rest of the world who will be the new president of the United States .The Kurds, who have given great human sacrifices in their fight against Islamic State (ISIS), were observing anxiously the positions and new policies of the new administration.

The Kurdish issue at that time was in a critical stage in light of the huge changes that hit the Middle East region because of the fight against ISIS and the Arab spring .The Kurds always remember how the super powers were unfair to them in the 1920s, when Kurdistan was divided and Kurdish demands were abandoned to satisfy Turkey's desire. And since then, with almost a century of oppression and injustice ,the Kurdish uprisings did not stop to achieve the aspirations of the Kurdish nation in all parts of Kurdistan .
Kurdish hopes

In the early months of Trump presidency, there were Kurdish hopes ,and a sense of optimism in the Kurdish street with the arrival of the new administration. The Kurdish people hoped that President Trump will correct the historical mistake made by the West which prevented the formation of a Kurdish state in the twentieth century and to recognize the map of the Kurdish state. They hoped that the Trump administration will put an end to a chapter of abandonments and disappointments in the history of relations between the Kurds and Americans ,wishing that these bitter memories will be vanished forever, so eventually they will be able to determine their future.

As a sign of their love to the new president, new Kurdish babies and restaurants were named Trump .

I was among those people who were optimistic about Trump and argued that he might be the godfather of the Kurdish state in an article I wrote two years ago.

Kurdish disappointments

After Two years of Trump presidency ,the Kurds are disappointed again and facing a complete betrayal in all parts of Kurdistan .The great human sacrifices that the Kurds have given in the battle against ISIS were not enough for Trump to side with them in many fundamental issues. Most recently, The Kurdish areas in Syria are under attacks of the forces of darkness, where there is a war of ethnic cleansing and demographic changes by the Turkish army and its proxies. The Syrian Kurds have been sidelined in any plans for Syria’s future.

Under Trump administration ,the Kurds lost control of two key Kurdish cities in Kirkuk and Afrin .Civilians suffer from demographic changes and displacement after they living in stability and peacefulness under the Kurdish administration .

Trump did not support the biggest Kurdish dream of independence, the referendum of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, which was very successful with a very high percentage of Kurdish votes.

In Kurdish regions of Turkey, Kurdish leaders, politicians and parliamentarians are in the jails of the tyrant Erdogan .

Kurdish citizens in Iran are still subject to executions and arrests and do not have any national and cultural rights .

It worth to mention that despite of all these disappointments ,there have been no single cases of retaliation and assault on the U.S forces not even by throwing a stone on American soldiers ,and the American flag has not been burned anywhere in the Kurdish areas .

The Kurdish people are peaceful and respect the honor of friendship ,but they are victims of Geography which put them among wolves and bloody thirst vampires ,and the broken American promises.

To the Kurdish civilians who are the target of Turkish invasion due to president Trump wrong decisions and policies, they will remember Trump as a man who left them to be slaughtered, and his era was a complete betrayal , for them Trump is a traitor.

The best Kurdish message that he can receive are the words of the Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani “The blood of the Kurds is far more valuable than money and weapons”

The author is a Syrian Kurd journalist and Kurdish affairs analyst based in Erbil ,Iraqi Kurdistan.

Six years of work destroyed in six days: The collapse of eastern Syria
Turkish media, all supporting the invasion, would call the murder of Khalaf a “neutralization” of a “terrorist."
By Seth J. Frantzman
October 15, 2019 01:01

The US decision on October 6 threw the future of eastern Syria up in the air, leaving whoever captures it the winner of America’s withdrawal.

The withdrawal comes after years of American involvement in helping the mostly Kurdish fighters defeat ISIS, and years in which the Kurds had fended for themselves amid the Syrian civil war, a Turkish invasion, brutal atrocities by Turkish-backed Syrian rebel groups, and a deal with Moscow and Damascus sealed the fate of eastern Syria. Some 200,000 people have fled their homes, a well-known Kurdish female politician, Hevrin Khalaf, her driver and several others were killed by fighters supposedly allied with Ankara on a road outside Tel Abyad in northern Syria, and uncertainty remains as thousands of ISIS supporters appear ready to flee their detention facilities.

The cynical decision by the US to leave parts of eastern Syria left many questions about what US President Donald Trump had decided in his conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The US said Turkey would move forward with a long-planned operation and US forces would not be in the area. Turkey had threatened for more than a year to attack the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in eastern Syria, which Turkey claims is linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and is a terrorist organization. Turkey expanded its rhetoric in the spring of 2019 to demand a “safe zone” along the border. Then Turkey said it wanted a zone 32 km. deep into Syria, and to resettle millions of Arab refugees in Kurdish areas by building 200,000 homes in 140 new towns, thus changing the area’s demography.

The US military, which was left out of the loop of White House decision-making, tried to deal with Turkey’s threats and concerns, by establishing a “security mechanism” and getting the SDF to destroy forts and obstacles to Turkey’s upcoming attack. The US thought it was building trust, but Turkey was merely getting the US to do its work for it. The US military had been training 110,000 SDF fighters and had no idea that in Washington they were about to be thrown into chaos, watching those they trained be killed and ordered to leave.

The US decision also said “Turkey will now be responsible for all ISIS fighters” in eastern Syria. Turkey hadn’t agreed to this, but Trump wanted to force European countries or others to deal with the ISIS detainees. Except for renditioning several of them, the US walked away as the ISIS fighters tried to flee their facilities. The SDF was told it was all alone, the skies would be opened to Turkish airstrikes, and the SDF was told to keep holding ISIS detainees while Turkey, a NATO member, attacked it. The US had trained the SDF, only to then allow it to be destroyed.

Turkey sought to invade parts of northeast Syria near Tel Abyad and other border cities such as Ras al-Ayn. But Turkey would do it in a unique way. While Turkish artillery and planes hammered the SDF, Turkey would inject the recently formed Syrian National Army into the border towns, using them as cannon fodder. The concept in Ankara was to get a plethora of Syrian Arab rebel groups to die fighting the PKK, so that hopefully they could cancel each other out while Turkey watched. The rebel groups chanted jihadist slogans and vowed that they would kill the “kuffar” (infidels), some of them even chanted the same slogans ISIS had chanted in 2014 when ISIS attacked Kobane.

Now, in 2019, it would be with Turkish support that extremists would be unleashed against US-trained SDF. Covered by air, these groups, such as Jaysh al-Sharyiqa, would be videoed carrying out atrocities. They would capture the MF 4 highway junction, trying to stop traffic reaching toward Kobane, Ayn Isa and other border areas. At checkpoints, the Turkish-backed groups would harass and murder civilians, including Khalaf, who ran the local Future Syria Party. Turkish media, all supporting the invasion, would call the murder of Khalaf a “neutralization” of a “terrorist.” At least some US officials saw the videos of the atrocities and thought they were likely war crimes.

From October 6 to 9, Turkey prepared its operation. Its forces were in place and the Syrian rebel groups, formed into the “National Army” just days before, were being moved to position. The SDF seemed hapless to oppose the attack. Until the last minute, they hoped Trump’s October 6 decision would be like his December 2018 decision to leave Syria. The EU expressed concern to Turkey on October 9 and the heads of NATO and the UN said that Turkey should show “restraint.” NATO and the UN both gave tacit approval for the attack. Turkey presented no evidence that the SDF was involved with “terrorism” or that it posed an “existential threat,” but Ankara mobilized supporters to argue that the US had mistakenly allied with the YPG in 2015, which formed part of the SDF, and the US had “used terrorists to fight terrorists.” US officials who helped create and train the SDF saw it differently, arguing that the US had sought to work with other Syrian rebel groups but they had failed.

With the airspace open, the green light was given to Turkey to begin the operation on October 9. US Special Forces in eastern Syria briefly tweeted what seemed like support for the SDF. Others would later say they felt ashamed at the attack on their SDF partners. But they had no say. Turkey had coordinated its offensive with Russia, even though the SDF was already putting out feelers to Damascus and Moscow that it might need to negotiate. Putin had returned from a vacation to the Siberian taiga for his birthday. He monitored the developments closely.

Further to the east of Syria in northern Iraq’s Kurdistan region, former president Masoud Barzani and the KRG President Nechirvan Barzani both expressed concern, asking the US to stop the ensuing chaos. Washington wasn’t listening.

As Turkish bombs began to fall, Kurds in Kobane, the city that had resisted ISIS in 2014, fled toward the US base, demanding support and protection. There would be no protection. Instead, Turkey shelled areas near the base, causing concern for US forces. In Washington, US Senator Lindsey Graham was saying that the US would need to sanction Turkey over its attack on America’s Kurdish allies. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US had not given Ankara a “green light” to attack.

In response to criticism, Erdogan warned Europe to remain silent or Turkey would send millions of refugees to Europe in a replay of 2015. European leaders took it in stride. Germany’s leader would eventually critique the operation and France would end arms shipments. Harsher condemnation came from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said Israel could extend humanitarian aid. Trump disagreed, arguing that the US had to leave or force war with Turkey. He wanted the US out of the “endless wars.” He argued that Kurds and Turks were ancient enemies, and that Kurds had not helped the US in the World War II. By October 11, more than 70,000 people had fled their homes in eastern Syria. Within days, that number swelled to 150,000.

The SDF suffered withering attacks from October 9 to 12, in which Turkey said around 500 “terrorists” were killed in more than 200 airstrikes. SDF Gen. Mazloum Kobani told the Americans that they had abandoned his fighters to be slaughtered. He was angry with William Roebuck, the deputy US envoy for the anti-ISIS campaign. On October 12, he told the Americans that if they couldn’t protect his people, then the SDF would have to speak to Moscow and Damascus. “Either you stop this bombing or move aside,” he said. He would not allow another Afrin, where Kurds were ethnically cleansed from their peaceful villages in northwest Syria in 2018 by a similar Turkish operation.

The Americans, who knew that Turkey had impunity to bomb eastern Syria, were coy, telling Mazloum to wait. Later, on the evening of October 12, videos emerged of Turkish-backed rebels executing Kurdish prisoners. It was now clear to the SDF leadership that this is what awaited them: their families would be bombed and driven from their homes and they would be killed, either in battle or executed after. Civilian politicians would also be hunted down and murdered, like Khalaf. Their executions would be filmed, like ISIS had done, with jihadists chanting religious slogans and kicking and beheading Kurdish bodies.

Understanding that the US had abandoned them to be ethnically cleansed and murdered, the Kurdish leadership knew they had to find a way to stop the attacks via Damascus. A video of a Kurdish woman cradling her dead child shocked locals as they saw more evidence of what was in store. After noon on October 13, after just four days of fighting, the Syrian regime media announced its forces would move to oppose the invasion. But it would take hours for Syrian regime vehicles, some from Hasakah and Qamishli, where regime elements had small bases, to do much. Meanwhile, almost 1,000 ISIS detainees fled a camp near Ayn Issa. US vehicles fled Kobane but remained in Manbij across the Euphrates River. American soldiers indicated they feared the deteriorating situation and being isolated. US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper indicated the US was withdrawing. Orders for the soldiers on the ground were unclear.

They had been unclear the whole time as the US opened the airspace to Turkey but remained in some areas. Clearly the US had agreed to Turkey’s attack in the area of the “security mechanism” near Tel Abyad. But it was not clear what US forces knew in other areas.

Abroad, there were protests against the attack on Kurdish areas, such as Rojava. But fears for the fall of Rojava were too late. It was already falling. Chris Scurfield, whose son had fought and died alongside the YPG against ISIS, wrote on Twitter how tragic it all had ended. “What a waste of time five years, thousands of lives, including my son, for what?” Former CIA head David Petraeus was also shocked and “deeply concerned” about the American withdrawal.

A local Kurdish official named Ismet Sheikh explained the logic that drove his people to sign a deal with Damascus. They had asked the UN to stop the attack, and appealed to the Arab League, but there was no solution. To save people, they reached an agreement, he said.

By 10 p.m. of October 13, there were mixed celebrations in Hasaka and Qamishli to the idea that the Syrian regime would return and stop the bloodshed. The Internet was cut in Qamishli and journalists began to pack their bags. They would now be hunted by the Syrian regime if they stayed, they feared. They headed for the bridge that connected the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to Syria. Mazloum was circumspect: “If we have to choose between compromises and the genocide of our people, we will surely choose life.”

Amid rumors that Russia would impose a no-fly zone, images circulated of Syrian forces moving toward Manbij, Tabqa, Tel Tamer and other areas. The Syrian regime was returning after seven years. The whole area that the YPG and SDF had helped build for six years had been destroyed in six days, at the whim of the American president. The 110,000 SDF fighters trained would likely be incorporated into the Syrian regime forces, bolstering Bashar Assad’s manpower. Turkey’s invasion had accelerated the regime’s success.

Retired US Marine general John Allen spared no words of outrage: “There is blood on Trump’s hands for abandoning our Kurdish allies.”

トルコ軍のクルド攻撃にネタンヤフが激おこ 対米非難はせず



Netanyahu condemns Turkish invasion into Syria

PM warns against 'ethnic cleansing of the Kurds' by Turkey and its allies and says Israel is ready to provide humanitarian aid to the 'gallant Kurdish people'; Turkey launched a large-scale offensive against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria on Wednesday

Associated Press,Ynet
Published: 10.10.19 , 16:26

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is condemning the Turkish invasion of Kurdish areas in Syria and warning of an "ethnic cleansing" against them.


Turkey launched airstrikes, fired artillery and began a ground offensive against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria on Wednesday.

"Israel strongly condemns the Turkish invasion of the Kurdish areas in Syria and warns against the ethnic cleansing of the Kurds by Turkey and its proxies," Netanyahu said Thursday at a memorial ceremony for the fallen soldiers of the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Israel's leader added that Israel is prepared to extend humanitarian assistance to the "gallant Kurdish people."

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the campaign following President Donald Trump's abrupt decision to withdraw forces from the region. It essentially abandoned Syrian Kurdish fighters and left the U.S. ally vulnerable to a Turkish offensive that was widely condemned around the world.

The prime minister, however, refrained from criticizing the United States, opting instead to thank the Americans for providing aid to Israel toward the tail end of the Yom Kippur War.

"Like in 1973, today we very much appreciate the important support of the US, which has greatly increased in recent years, as well as the major economic pressure that the US is using on Iran," Netanyahu said.

“The current focus of aggression in the Middle East is the Iranian regime in Tehran. Iran is striving to tighten its grip in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and the Gaza Strip," he added.

Trump's decision was a major shift in U.S. policy, raising fears in Israel that the unpredictable Trump could just as easily renege of his traditional support of Israel.

人権弾圧したければイスラエル製スパイウェアにお任せ! モロッコで成果を上げました



NSO Spyware Used to Target Moroccan Human Rights Activists, Says Amnesty

According to Amnesty’s report, the two activists received SMS messages with malicious links that would have installed NSO’s Pegasus spyware on their devices if clicked. Both previously faced harassment from the Moroccan regime over their activism
Omer Kabir

The Pegasus spyware developed by Israeli surveillance company NSO Group was used to target two Moroccan human rights activists since at least October 2017, according to a new report published Thursday by Amnesty International. Both activists previously faced harassment from the Moroccan regime over their activism.

According to the report, the activists received SMS messages with malicious links that would have installed the Pegasus spyware on their devices if clicked. As previously reported, the spyware gives operators complete access to a person’s calls and messages and remote control of the mobile device on which it is installed. Alongside the SMS attack, Amnesty said it had identified likely successful network injection attacks against one of the activist’s mobile network, also intended to install malware, which the organization suspects used NSO tools as well.


イスラエルが政策挫折に焦り トランプのクルド切り捨て


Yom Kippur for the Kurdish people

Analysis: Turkey's geopolitical machinations and American abandonment spell the end of any hopes for Kurdish autonomy; this alone is tragic enough, but the realignment of the region could mean trouble for Israel too

Tsur Shezaf
Published: 10.11.19 , 13:35

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan began on Wednesday to deliver on his promise to take over a 40-kilometer strip of Syria, near the Turkish border - an area inhabited and administered for the most part by Kurds.

This plan, now possible thanks to the inexplicable decision of U.S. President Donald Trump to step back and allow it, will bring about a humanitarian and geo-political disaster.

Turkey had been providing almost public support for the Islamic State throughout the years of fighting, beginning with the Syrian civil war.

According to testimony provided by Kurdish fighters combating IS, Turkish officers were working within Islamic State, with the expressed intent to take control of the north-eastern provinces of Syria, an area the Kurds call Rojava.

In the initial stages of the quick Islamic State expansion late in 2004, the organization seemed unstoppable. Still Turkish troops across the border refrained from providing any assistance to the Kurdish city of Kobani fighting for its life.

But Kurdish bravery, with help from the PKK, a Kurdish militia based in Iraq (with a political presence in Turkey), and the YPG, a component of the anti-Assad Syrian Democratic forces, along with aerial cover from U.S. bombers and a critical weapons supply line, enabled the Kurds to block IS from taking Kobani - at a cost of 2,500 fighters.

That victory became the turning point in the fight against the Islamic State.

Next the Kurds turned their attention to Sinjar, which had fallen to Islamic State in 2014 and where the predominately Yazidi population that was unable to escape was killed or enslaved.

Kurdish forces began an offensive early in 2015, with American help, to retake the city and ultimately unite Kurdish territory creating a land bridge to the sea.

Turkey viewed that American–Kurdish cooperation with discontent, prompting a 2016 Turkish incursion into the area that continued until the 2018 Turkish occupation of the city of Afrin, using local pro-Turkish militias and pushing out the Kurdish forces.

The local Kurdish Autonomy government in the city of Qamishli has been under bombardment by Turkish forces in the last few days, as a prelude to the expected land incursion.

Ankara's goal is to finally put an end to the Kurds' aspirations for autonomy and independence. Erdogan's government has not tried to hide that intent or their plan to imprison or kill all YPG or PKK fighters.

The Turkish plan is also to settle some 3 million Syrian refugees currently seeking refuge in Turkey, in the 6,000 kms strip it plans to secure.

In order to make sure the message was well received in Europe, Turkish officials dispatched thousands of refugees towards the Greek islands as a warning of what may follow if they were to be blocked from their resettlement plans in Syria, regardless of the cost to the Kurds.

Kurdish refugees, for the most part have chosen to remain in the de facto independent territory in Syria rather than travel to Europe, protected by their own fighters and financed by the oil reserves of the area.

But the Turks hope to install a pro-Turkish population of Arabs and others to ensure that an independent Kurdish region is not a viable option.

Tens of thousands of Islamic State fighters and family members have been interned in camps set up and guarded by the Kurds after the fall of the Islamic State.

Erdogan's forces plan to release these people into the area at an obvious cost of Kurdish lives. This is a plan that was foiled when it was first introduced five years ago, thanks to the Kurds' close cooperation with U.S. forces.

The demise of a Kurdish independent democracy is tragic, and its annihilation will deal a fatal blow to the already battered American reputation.

After the failure of the U.S. administration to act against Iranian aggression in the Gulf, this latest policy u-turn must be seen as a dire warning to anyone who may still believe the United States can be trusted as an ally.

The Iranians view the current state of affairs as a threat to Shi'ite dominance in Syria while the Russians expect Kurdish forces to call on them to prevent a massacre by the hands of Turkey.

And Israel? Israel should worry about the Turkish military, second only to the Russians in Europe, as it creeps closer to its borders and threatens its ability to act independently against the range of threats it is facing.







眞子さまと小室圭さんの「婚約内定」 宮内庁が公式見解
2019年10月11日 7時0分
























国家公務員の給与増決定 人事院勧告受け入れ6年連続
10/11(金) 8:39配信



クルド人はノルマンディーで米国を助けなかった。しかし我々はクルド人が好きだ トランプが反論(笑)




10/10(木) 20:00配信

















中でも、ISISとの戦いでかつてトランプ大統領の特使を務めたブレット・マクガーク(Brett McGurk)氏は大統領に批判的だ。


同様に、トランプ大統領に近く、上院外交委員会のメンバーでもある共和党のリンゼー・グラム(Lindsey Graham)上院議員も7日、「クルド人を見捨てることで、我々はこれ以上ないほど危険なシグナルを送った ── アメリカは頼りにならない同盟相手で、中国やロシア、イラン、北朝鮮が危険な方法でそれを行動に示すのは時間の問題だ」とツイートした。

グラム上院議員は9日、クルド人に対するオペレーションを考慮し、トルコに対し「厳しい制裁」を課すことで、民主党のクリス・バン・ホーレン(Chris Van Hollen)上院議員と党を超えた合意に達したと発表した。「政権はトルコに対して行動することを拒否したが、わたしは超党派の強い支持が得られると見ている」と、グラム上院議員はツイートした。





[原文:Trump defends abandoning the Kurds by saying they didn't help the US in WWII]








10/12(土) 10:34配信




玉本英子 | アジアプレス・映像ジャーナリスト
10/11(金) 23:59











米、サウジに3000人増派 石油施設攻撃受け大規模配備も



米、サウジに3000人増派 石油施設攻撃受け大規模配備も
10/12(土) 2:22配信

[ワシントン 11日 ロイター] - 米国防総省は11日、サウジアラビアへの新たな大規模軍事配備を発表した。前月のサウジ石油施設への攻撃を受け、同国の防衛能力を強化する。




「生まれつきの白人男はお黙りなさい!」 シカゴの町議会で白人委員を罵倒



Watch City Diversity Meeting Erupt In Chaos As White Males Banned From Speaking
by Tyler Durden
Thu, 10/10/2019 - 18:05

A recent local city government meeting in Oak Park — which lies just outside of Chicago, Illinois — devolved into an angry board member silencing her opponents because they have "been white from birth!" The only thing is that trustee Susan Buchanan, who refused to let anyone else speak on the question of rewriting the town's diversity statement, is herself white.

Buchanan yelled for others to "shut up" concerning the resolution, and wouldn't let any other town government leader so much as utter a word: “Why are you arguing what is a system of oppression? You’ve never experienced one, so shut up! I don’t want to hear from you!”

Clip of the Day: Oak Park, Ill. town trustee Susan Buchanan lambastes her colleagues for discussing updating the town’s diversity statement while being white. pic.twitter.com/CzBG2HqpYi
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) October 10, 2019

"You stop it, you are a white male! You stop it! You are a white male! Your skin is light enough!" she shouted while pointing her finger at a fellow council member trying to speak.

A local Chicago news report described the chaotic scene where it appeared Buchanan had a melt-down attempting to silence any "white male" who might offer an opinion on the new resolution before the council:

“Oak Park has a place for everybody,” said Trustee Susan Buchanan.

But a Monday night a discussion on rewriting the village’s diversity statement got heated over some specific words. Those words were: “We work to break down systems of oppression.”

“I hesitate to send the message to our police department that they are a system of oppression,” Moroney said in the meeting.

Moroney clearly frustrated Buchanan.

“You have been white from birth! Why are you arguing, what is a system of oppression? You have never experienced one!” Buchanan said.

As columnist for The American Conservative, Rod Dreher, pointed out, "Oak Park is 68 percent white, and has no minority people on its board of trustees. But it’s got a diversity statement! A super-woke one!"

The heated exchange began after another dissenting trustee, Dan Moroney, said, “I hesitate to send the message to our police department that they are a system of oppression.”

A clip of some of the rest of the "discussion"...

Buchanan then began shouting at the all-white board members (which again, includes herself) for daring to weigh in. At one point she even stuck her finger in the face of Oak Park's mayor, a person of color sitting beside her and said, "Your skin is light enough!" — meaning he wasn't allowed to speak either, apparently.

“You have not spent a day with dark brown skin and tried to walk through this society!” she asserted.

"I am so tired of hearing two white men tell us what systems of oppression are!" said Buchanan to applause from the audience. "For Christ's sake, no! You don't know what systems of oppression are; you haven't been oppressed," she said. "This is like if you guys wanted to tell us what it's like to have a menstrual cycle. You don't know what you're talking about."

However, Moroney had acknowledged “Oak Park buys into diversity, equity, and inclusion,” but was concerned over language that would define the city's own police force and institutions, sworn to protect citizens, as "systems of oppression".

Notably, none of the political opponents of the visibly enraged Buchanan themselves responded with anger.

Instead, one of the trustees is seen at the end of the clip calmly explaining, "I think if we reduce these conversations to 'nobody cares what you have to say because you're a white male' - I don't think we're doing this right."

But ultimately, the new diversity statement passed in a unanimous vote on Monday night, following the spectacle of the board's 'wokest' white woman shouting down the white males.

中国が米国から豚肉を大量調達 イラン・ガス田開発から撤退


Chinese Imports Of US Pork Soar To The Highest Ever As Beijing Faces Food Crisis
by Tyler Durden
Thu, 10/10/2019 - 11:25

In a time when China is losing between a third and half of its pig herds as a result of the unprecedented decimation unleashed by African swine fever - less affectionately known as pig ebola - which has sent wholesale pork prices in China soaring to all time highs...

In Huge Blow, Iran Confirms China Has Exited Crucial $5 Billlion Gas Project
by Tyler Durden
Sun, 10/06/2019 - 15:20

In a huge blow to Iran's prospects for weathering the tightening economic noose of US sanctions, and as the White House seeks to take's Iran's crude exports down to 'zero', China National Petroleum Corp - the state-owned parent company of China's second-largest oil producer, PetroChina, and one of the largest integrated energy groups in the world - has pulled out of a $5 billion natural-gas project in Iran, the WSJ reports.

This also just following last month's US sanctions on six entities, including a unit of China's COSCO Shipping Corp., which stood accused of deliberately purchasing and covertly attempting to transport Iranian oil.


Putin Planning "Deal Of The Century" Between Syria & Turkey As US Exits
by Tyler Durden
Thu, 10/10/2019 - 12:30

Lebanese Arabic news broadcaster Al-Mayadeen is reporting that Russia has begun organizing "reconciliation talks" between Syria and Turkey, in what would be an unprecedented development, given President Erdogan's position has long been that Turkey won't negotiate with Damascus so long as Assad is in power.

The Middle East broadcaster cited Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who said, "Moscow will ask for start of talks between Damascus and Ankara".

Russia's TASS has also confirmed the initiative, making it the first significant attempt to bring the two sides to the table, given Ankara severed diplomatic ties with Damascus in 2012. Turkey could indeed be ready given it has finally gotten its way in Syria — with a long planned attack on Syrian Kurds along the border in northern Syria, which began Wednesday with an air and ground offensive.

トルコ軍が作戦開始する直前に、米仏軍はManbij (Munbij)から撤退し終えている。




After Trump abandons Kurds, Israel knows it can’t rely on anyone

Trump's decision must also be seen within the context of the Iranian-backed attacks last month on the Saudi oil facilities, and the deafening lack of an American response.
By Herb Keinon
October 7, 2019 22:24

U.S. and Turkish military forces conduct a joint ground patrol inside the security mechanism area in northeast, Syria, October 4, 2019. Picture taken October 4, 2019. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Don’t let the lack of any formal Israeli response to US President Donald Trump’s dramatic reversal of policy and decision to remove US troops from northern Syria fool you: Jerusalem is deeply, deeply concerned about this step.

Not because it will suddenly impact Israel’s ability to take action in Syria when it desires to halt Iranian attempts to entrench itself there – though it could make that marginally more difficult – but because it drives home the idea that Israel really can only rely on itself.

Trump’s decision – a reversal of last year’s reversal of an announcement to withdraw US troops from Syria – cannot be seen as an isolated decision. It must also be seen within the context of the Iranian-backed attacks last month on the Saudi oil facilities, and the deafening lack of an American response.

Both these incidents show that the present administration is little different from the previous Obama administration in its unwillingness to stand up and confront where necessary the negative forces in the Middle East – and this is something that has enormous significance for Israel.

What this is driving home to the country’s strategic planners is that while the US under a very friendly administration will support Israel at the United Nations; while it will offer assistance with aid for weapons; and while it will give it moral backing and defend it against international pressure – when it comes to the use of force, Israel must be willing and ready to defend itself, by itself.
Ironically, Trump’s abandonment of the Kurds comes just a month after he mentioned the possibility of signing some kind of a mutual defense pact with Israel.

While many of the country’s strategic thinkers did not take that too seriously, debating whether indeed such a pact would have merit, Trump’s actions – abandoning the Kurds to the “tender mercies” of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as former National Security Council head Eran Lerman put it – will be taken very seriously.

The security pact is words; the withdrawal of the US troops are actions. In this region, decisions are taken based on how various key players act, not what they say.

For instance, not long ago there was a significant school of thought here that argued that Israel need not take any action against the Iranian nuclear threat, because – when push comes to shove – Jerusalem could count on the US to do the work.

US actions in the region by the last two administrations – both Democrat and Republican – have shown that this worldview is not based on reality. There has not been any US action over the last few years to support this theory.

This school of thought based itself on the long-held idea that in the Middle East, there were things that the Americans would simply take care of.

That may have been true once, but not lately. The Saudi and now Kurdish experience shouts: “Maybe yes, maybe no, but Israel cannot rely on this.”

Lerman, now the vice president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS), said that no one “in their right mind in the region” today would rely on the Americans, and this is something that could very well push various actors into the waiting arms of the Iranians.

Calling Trump’s step a “moral outrage,” Lerman said that one possible consequence of the move might be to chase the Kurds – in their battle with the Turks – over to the side of the Assad regime and its Iranian backers.

This would have serious consequences for Israel, he said, because it would remove the last barrier in northern Syria preventing a land bridge – a contiguous supply route – running from Iran through Iraq and Syria into Lebanon and ports on the Mediterranean Sea.

Kurds are the Evangelicals of the Muslim world
Why can’t we just listen to the Kurds?
Opinion By Mike Evans
October 10, 2019 02:52

Turkey is preparing to launch an assault on northeast Syria in the same area where the US military has been working with Kurdish troops to curtail ISIS insurgents. The White House has declared that the US will now disengage, permitting Turkish forces to drive the Kurds out of Syria. This is a heartbreaking announcement. The Kurds are the Evangelicals of the Muslim world.

America never had stronger supporters in the region. This is not the first time the US has turned its back on this ally. The Kurds stood with America against Saddam Hussein and were gassed by the dictator’s military with a combination of mustard gas and various nerve agents. As many as 5,000 civilians were killed and 10,000 injured. Many more succumbed to the after-effects of the attacks from birth defects and other diseases caused by the chemicals.
Now, hundreds of US troops will be removed, opening the door for yet another all-out assault against the Kurds. According to Fox News, the Pentagon was “completely blindsided” by the announcement. President Donald Trump feels justified in his decision to withdraw US military because, as he stated: “The United States was supposed to be in Syria for 30 days, that was many years ago. We stayed and got deeper and deeper into battle with no aim in sight. When I arrived in Washington, ISIS was running rampant in the area. We quickly defeated 100% of the ISIS Caliphate.”

In his statement, he added, regarding captured ISIS fighters: “The United States will not hold them for what could be many years and great cost to the United States taxpayer….Turkey will now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years…”

Turkey’s leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, sees this move as a major swing in the US approach. Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), supported by the US and of which the Kurds are a part, has lost more than 11,000 men while battling ISIS in Syria. Its leaders have avowed their commitment to help both Turkey and the U.S. to maintain solidarity in the region.

US representative and Democrat Ruben Gallego of Arizona, a veteran of the Iraq war, tweeted: “Allowing Turkey to move into northern Syria is one of the most destabilizing moves we can do in the Middle East. The Kurds will never trust America again. They will look for new alliances or independence to protect themselves.”

In May of 2007, I was invited by President Massoud Barzani for a state visit to Kurdistan. While there, I interviewed Prime Minister Nechervan Barzani, as well as many of the then-members of government. It was an enlightening visit as I heard the terrifying stories of those who survived the chemical weapons onslaught. During that time, I also released The Final Move Beyond Iraq, a New York Times #1 bestseller that predicted what became known as ISIS.

During that state visit, I met with virtually every major leader in the country and saw firsthand their love and admiration for America and their amazing moderation. People have referred to Trump as Cyrus. Cyrus the Great was a Mede, as were the wise men that came to Bethlehem to see Jesus. The Kurds are descendants of the ancient Medes. It was the Kurdish leaders who told me that ISIS was coming two years before it was formed and that Iran was going to take over Iraq and would wreak havoc in the region.

Why can’t we just listen to the Kurds?

Mike Evans is a #1 New York Times bestselling author with 96 published books. He is the founder of Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem of which the late President Shimon Peres, Israel’s ninth president, was the chair. He also serves on the Trump Evangelical Faith Initiative.

Kurdish Militia in Syria Likely to Join with Assad, Putin
US plans to depart as Ankara is seen preparing to clear border area of ‘terrorist’ forces
October 8, 2019 03:09

Kurdish forces in Syria will likely seek an alliance with Moscow and Damascus after the United States announced a looming Turkish incursion into Syria, analysts have told The Media Line.

A statement from the White House after President Donald Trump spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday night revealed that Turkey “will soon be moving forward.”
Ankara sees the Kurdish YPG militia in Syria as connected to the PKK, a Turkey-based Kurdish militia it has declared a terrorist organization. Both Washington and the European Union have also classified the PKK as a terrorist group.

Turkey has long complained about Washington’s alliance with Kurdish forces in northern Syria who have been integral in fighting against Islamic State. The Turks view them as a security threat and want them removed from the area close to the frontier. The YPG, already weakened after the US got it to remove its defensive positions along the Syrian border, will be in search of an ally to replace the US in order to support its logistical needs. There are fears that with Kurdish forces now having to face an attack by Turkey without American help, ISIS could remerge.

Brett McGurk, the former US special envoy to the global coalition to defeat ISIS, tweeted after the US announcement that Turkey cannot and does not want to deal with tens of thousands of people detained in camps in Syria, where people are at risk of radicalization, something that would lead to a resurgent ISIS.

“Believing otherwise is a reckless gamble with our national security,” McGurk wrote.

Nicholas Danforth, a visiting fellow at the German Marshall Fund in Turkey, told The Media Line that the most likely result of the announcement is that the Kurdish forces will cut a deal with Syria's Bashar al-Assad and his ally, Russia. This means, he said, that Kurdish forces will give up some autonomy to Assad, and territory to Turkey.

The White House statement added that the US would not support the Turkish operation and its forces would “no longer be in the immediate area.”

The Reuters news agency cited a US official who said the initial withdrawal would be limited to an area close to the Turkish border.

“Russia and Iran will be excited to see the United States leave. They will be less excited about seeing Turkey come in,” Danforth stated.

Muzaffer Senel, an assistant professor of political science and international relations at Istanbul’s Şehir University, agreed that Kurdish forces would try to find a new alliance by going to Moscow and Tehran following a withdrawal of the US and an incursion by Turkey.

“The policy shift of Washington will most probably be welcomed by Russia and Iran,” Senel told The Media Line. “It’s a chance for them to take all of Syria under their control.”

Analysts state that Ankara’s most pressing fear is further attempts at self-rule for Kurdish groups within Turkey if Kurdish groups are allowed to develop an independent state within Syria.

“[It’s] a historical fear of disintegration… still very much alive in the minds of Turkish policy-makers,” Senel stated.

Danforth added that Assad, keen on regaining control over all of Syria, will likely put greater pressure on Turkey if it gains ground in the country. This could mean more Russian-backed attacks on northwestern Syria, including in Idlib province, where millions of displaced Syrians live and Turkey maintains observation posts.

A Turkish report of the Trump-Erdogan phone call issued before the White House released its statement said a safe zone was needed for “neutralizing the threat stemming from PKK-YPG terrorists.”

The report also stated that Turkey “will take all necessary precautions” to fight terrorism and that Erdogan “shared with President Trump his frustration over the US military and security bureaucracy’s failure to implement the agreement between their two nations.”

In August, Ankara and Washington came to a limited agreement over the establishment of a safe zone in northeastern Syria, but Turkey began to complain that the US was stalling over its implementation and threatened to go into Syria on its own.

Erdogan’s spokesperson, Ibrahim Kalin, tweeted on Monday that the safe zone would enable Syrians to return home.

A major defeat for Erdogan’s party in a June election for mayor of Istanbul was partly blamed on residents’ resentment toward the 3.6 million Syrian refugees living in Turkey.

The report on the phone conversation also stated that Turkey would be responsible for captured ISIS fighters that Kurdish forces in Syria are currently holding. Kalin tweeted that Turkey would not allow ISIS “to return in any shape or form.”

Senel, the Şehir University assistant professor, stated that Turkey would face major obstacles in unilaterally setting up a safe zone and dealing with ISIS fighters. The obstacles would include the financial costs, as Turkey is currently mired in an economic crisis.

“It will be difficult times for Turkey,” he said.

Danforth stated that Turkey would need to take steps to deal with captured ISIS fighters, although no one knows what those would need to be.

“For the United States, ISIS was the number one priority. For Turkey, ISIS is clearly not the number one priority,” he told The Media Line. “Inevitably, that’s going to be reflected in how consciously Turkey… carries out whatever responsibilities it undertakes for dealing with ISIS fighters in the region.”

米国土安全保障省が傷、タトゥー、音声などもデータベース化し人物特定 データはアマゾンのクラウドに保存

個人を特定するための情報として従来の指紋、虹彩、顔認識に加え、米国の国家安全保障省(DHS)は、その他の身体的特徴(傷、タトゥー、掌紋、音声など)も含めたデータベースを構築している。音声データはAmazonのAlexaが集めている。DHSはこの一連の作業を法に基づかずに行っているだけでなく、構築したデータベースを国防省、法務省、国務省など様々な機関と共有している。これら官庁のデータは、Amazon Web Service(AWS)のサーバーに保存されている。


Forget Facial Recognition: DHS’s New Database, HART, Also Uses Scars, Tattoos, and Your VOICE to ID You. And Amazon Is Storing All the Data.
October 6, 2019
by Daisy Luther

These days, you can’t really go anywhere without encountering cameras. Going into a store? Chances are there are security cameras. Getting money at an ATM? More cameras. Driving through the streets of a city? More cameras still. Your neighbors may have those doorbells from Amazon that are surveilling the entire neighborhood.

And many of these cameras are tied into facial recognition databases, or the footage can be quite easily compared there if “authorities” are looking for somebody.

But as it turns out, it isn’t just facial recognition we have to worry about.
DHS has a new recognition system called HART.

Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology system is the alarming new identity system being put in place by the Department of Homeland Security.

DHS is retiring its old system that was based on facial recognition. It’s being replaced with HART, a cloud-based system that holds information about the identities of hundreds of millions of people.

The new cloud-based platform, called the Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology System, or HART, is expected to bring more processing power, new analytics capabilities and increased accuracy to the department’s biometrics operations. It will also allow the agency to look beyond the three types of biometric data it uses today—face, iris and fingerprint—to identify people through a variety of other characteristics, like palm prints, scars, tattoos, physical markings and even their voices. (source)

Incidentally, the cloud hosting for HART is being done by none other than Amazon – you know, the ones with surveillance devices like the Ring doorbell and the Alexa home assistant and the Nest home security system. Does anyone see a pattern here?

Also note that Amazon Web Services also hosts data for the CIA, the DoD, and NASA.
More about HART

As HART becomes more established, that old saying “you can run but you can’t hide” is going to seem ever more true. The DHS is delighted at how much further the new system can take them into surveilling Americans.

And by freeing the agency from the limitations of its legacy system, HART could also let officials grow the network of external partners with whom they share biometric data and analytics capabilities, according to Patrick Nemeth, director of identity operations within Homeland Security’s Office of Biometric Identity Management.

“When we get to HART, we will be better, faster, stronger,” Nemeth said in an interview with Nextgov. “We’ll be relieved of a lot of the capacity issues that we have now … and then going forward from there we’ll be able to add [capabilities].” (source)

The DHS wants to break free of the limitations of the old system with their new and “improved” system. HART will use multiple pieces of biometric data to increase identification accuracy.

Today, when an official runs a person’s face, fingerprint or iris scans through IDENT’s massive database, the system doesn’t return a single result. Rather, it assembles a list of dozens of potential candidates with different levels of confidence, which a human analyst must then look through to make a final match. The system can only handle one modality at a time, so if agent is hypothetically trying to identify someone using two different datapoints, they need to assess two lists of candidates to find a single match. This isn’t a problem if the system identifies the same person as the most likely match for both fingerprint and face, for example, but because biometric identification is still an imperfect science, the results are rarely so clear cut.

However, the HART platform can include multiple datapoints in a single query, meaning it will rank potential matches based on all the information that’s available. That will not only make it easier for agents to analyze potential matches, but it will also help the agency overcome data quality issues that often plague biometric scans, Nemeth said. If the face image is pristine but the fingerprint is fuzzy, for example, the system will give the higher-quality datapoint more weight.

“We’re very hopeful that it will provide better identification surety than we can provide with any single modality today,” Nemeth said. And palm prints, scars, tattoos and other modalities are added in the years ahead, the system will be able to integrate those into its matching process. (source)

HART will also use DNA.

Remember a while back when we reported that DNA sites were teaming up with facial recognition software? Well, HART will take that unholy alliance even further.

The phase-two solicitation also lists DNA-matching as a potential application of the HART system. While the department doesn’t currently analyze DNA, officials on Wednesday announced they would start adding DNA collected from hundreds of thousands of detained migrants to the FBI’s criminal database. During the interview, Nemeth said the agency is still working through the legal implications of storing and sharing such sensitive data. It’s also unclear whether DNA information would be housed in the HART system or a separate database, he said. (source)

The DHS is operating without any type of regulation.

Currently, there’s no regulation or oversight of government agencies collecting and using this kind of data. Civil liberty activists and some lawmakers are alarmed by this, citing concerns about privacy and discrimination. This hasn’t slowed down the DHS one iota, however.

Critics have taken particular issue with the government’s tangled web of information sharing agreements, which allow data to spread far beyond the borders of the agency that collected it. The Homeland Security Department currently shares its biometric data and capabilities with numerous groups, including but not limited to the Justice, Defense and State departments.

In the years ahead, HART promises to strengthen those partnerships and allow others to flourish, according to Nemeth. While today the department limits other agencies’ access to IDENT to ensure they don’t consume too much of its limited computing power, HART will do away with those constraints. (source)

Mana Azarmi, the policy counsel for the Freedom, Security and Technology Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology is one of those people voicing concern.

A person might give information to a single agency thinking it would be used for one specific purpose, but depending on how that information is shared, they could potentially find themselves subjected to unforeseen negative consequences, Azarmi said in a conversation with Nextgov.

“The government gets a lot of leeway to share information,” she said. “In this age of incredible data collection, I think we need to rethink some of the rules that are in place and some of the practices that we’ve allowed to flourish post-9/11. We may have overcorrected.” (source)

You think?
Many people voluntarily provide biometric data.

Many folks provide biometric data without giving it a second thought. They cheerfully swab a cheek and send it into sites like Ancestry.com, providing not only their DNA, but matches to many relatives who never gave permission for their DNA to be in a database.

Then there are cell phones. If you have a newer phone, it’s entirely possible that it has asked you to set up fingerprint login, facial recognition, and even voice recognition. It isn’t a stretch of the imagination to believe that those samples are shared with folks beyond the device in your hand. Add to this that your device is tracking you every place you go through a wide variety of seemingly innocuous apps, and you start to get the picture.
You can’t opt-out.

Back in 2013, I wrote an article called The Great American Dragnet. At that time, facial recognition was something that sounded like science fiction or some kind of joke. Our drivers’ licenses were the first foray into creating a database but even in 2013, it far exceeded that.

Another, even larger, database exists. The US State Department has a database with 230 million searchable images. Anyone with a passport or an immigration visa may find themselves an unwilling participant in this database. Here’s the breakdown of who has a photo database:

The State Department has about 15 million photos of passport or visa holders
The FBI has about15 million photos of people who have been arrested or convicted of crimes
The Department of Defense has about 6 million photos, mainly of Iraqis and Afghans
Various police agencies and states have at least 210 million driver’s license photos

This invasion of privacy is just another facet of the surveillance state, and should be no surprise considering the information Edward Snowden just shared about the over-reaching tentacles of the NSA into all of our communications. We are filing our identities with the government and they can identify us at will, without any requirement for probable cause. (source)

Some people don’t even seem to mind that their identities have been tagged and filed by the US government. And even those of us who do mind have no option. If you wish to drive a car or travel outside of the country or have any kind of government ID, like it or not, you’re in the database. Six years ago, I wrote:

The authorities that use this technology claim that the purpose of it is to make us safer, by helping to prevent identity fraud and to identify criminals. However, what freedom are we giving up for this “safety” cloaked in benevolence? We are giving up the freedom of having the most elemental form of privacy – that of being able to go about our daily business without being watched and identified. And once you’re identified, this connects to all sorts of other personal information that has been compiled: your address, your driving and criminal records, and potentially, whatever else that has been neatly filed away at your friendly neighborhood fusion center.

Think about it: You’re walking the dog and you fail to scoop the poop – if there’s a surveillance camera in the area, it would be a simple matter, given the technology, for you to be identified. If you are attending a protest that might be considered “anti-government”, don’t expect to be anonymous. A photo of the crowd could easily result in the identification of most of the participants.

Are you purchasing ammo, preparedness items, or books about a controversial topic? Paying cash won’t buy you much in the way of privacy – your purchase will most likely be captured on the CCTV camera at the checkout stand, making you easily identifiable to anyone who might wish to track these kinds of things. What if a person with access to this technology uses it for personal, less than ethical reasons, like stalking an attractive women he saw on the street? The potential for abuse is mind-boggling.

If you can’t leave your house without being identified, do you have any real freedom left, or are you just a resident in a very large cage? (source)

When I wrote that, it still seemed far-fetched but remotely possible, even to me. This was before we were really aware of anything like the social credit program in China or how crazy the censorship was going to become or how social media would change the very fabric of our society.

Now, it’s here and it looks like there’s no stopping it.


Turkey Joins Russia's Ruble-Based Alternative To SWIFT
by Tyler Durden
Wed, 10/09/2019 - 04:15

After repeated warnings over the past couple of years, Turkey and Russia have signed a pact to increase use of the ruble and lira in cross-border payments, with Turkey signing on to Russia's alternative to SWIFT, the international telecommunications protocol used by banks and central banks the world over.


多文化共生、多様性は相互信頼を侵食し、社会を破壊する デンマークの研究

New Peer-Reviewed Danish Academic Study Finds Diversity Is Not A Strength
7 October, 2019
Paul Joseph Watson

A new peer reviewed study by Danish academics has found that ethnic diversity has a negative impact on communities because it erodes trust.

It turns out that diversity is not a strength after all.

The study, entitled ‘Ethnic Diversity and Social Trust: A Narrative and Meta-Analytical Review’, was conducted by Peter Thisted Dinesen and Merlin Schaeffer from the University of Copenhagen and Kim Mannemar Sønderskov from Aarhus University.

Seeking to answer whether “continued immigration and corresponding growing ethnic diversity” was having a positive impact on community cohesion, the study found the opposite to be the case.

Studying existing literature and also carrying out a meta-analysis of 1,001 estimates from 87 studies, the researchers concluded, “We find a statistically significant negative relationship between ethnic diversity and social trust across all studies.”

Eric Kaufmann, Professor of Politics at the Birkbeck University of London, also tweeted about the study, commenting, “Higher diversity *is* significantly associated with lower trust in communities, even when controlling for deprivation.”

Higher diversity *is* significantly associated with lower trust in communities, even when controlling for deprivation. A definitive meta analysis of the diversity-trust literature (pub date 2020): https://t.co/IU6v24LaFs
— Eric Kaufmann (@epkaufm) October 7, 2019

In other words, mass immigration is eroding community trust and harming society.

“Diversity is a strength” is a glib, onerous, empty aphorism that is shoved down our throats as a piece of received wisdom that only racists would deny.

It may be politically correct, but has no basis in actual reality.

* * *

My voice is being silenced by free speech-hating Silicon Valley behemoths who want me disappeared forever. It is CRUCIAL that you support me. Please sign up for the free newsletter here. Donate to me on SubscribeStar here. Support my sponsor – Turbo Force – a supercharged boost of clean energy without the comedown.

韓国大統領、即位礼見送りへ 李首相の参列で最終調整





韓国大統領、即位礼見送りへ 李首相の参列で最終調整
10/7(月) 19:31配信


即位パレードのリハーサル 東京都心の本番コースで


トランプがクルドと欧州を切り捨て発言(笑) シリア戦について


Trump Defends Syria Withdrawal: "Time For Us To Get Out Of These Endless Wars"
by Tyler Durden
Mon, 10/07/2019 - 07:57

Update: In a lengthy twitter thread where President Trump tried to explain his decision for allowing Turkey to essentially take over the US security role in northeastern Syria, Trump said on Monday that the US had lingered in Syria far longer than the Obama administration had promised.

He also offered some insight into his thoughts about abandoning the US's chief regional allies, the Kurds, to face the possibility of massacre by the Turkish military. While the Kurds "fought with us" they were also "paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so." Trump said he held off their conflict with Turkey for three years, but "it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home."


The United States was supposed to be in Syria for 30 days, that was many years ago. We stayed and got deeper and deeper into battle with no aim in sight. When I arrived in Washington, ISIS was running rampant in the area. We quickly defeated 100% of the ISIS Caliphate,.....
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2019

....including capturing thousands of ISIS fighters, mostly from Europe. But Europe did not want them back, they said you keep them USA! I said “NO, we did you a great favor and now you want us to hold them in U.S. prisons at tremendous cost. They are yours for trials.” They.....
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2019

.....again said “NO,” thinking, as usual, that the U.S. is always the “sucker,” on NATO, on Trade, on everything. The Kurds fought with us, but were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so. They have been fighting Turkey for decades. I held off this fight for....
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2019

....almost 3 years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home. WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN. Turkey, Europe, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia and the Kurds will now have to.....
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2019

...figure the situation out, and what they want to do with the captured ISIS fighters in their “neighborhood.” They all hate ISIS, have been enemies for years. We are 7000 miles away and will crush ISIS again if they come anywhere near us!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2019

That's the administration's most comprehensive statement on the decision so far, though we expect many other senior officials will weigh in over the next day.

* * *

In a major policy shift that abandons nearly a decade of American policy in Syria, the White House announced late Sunday night that US forces in northern Syria would step aside to allow a planned Turkish offensive. The decision follows late-night haggling between President Trump and President Erdogan, who had threatened a "land and air" offensive "as soon as today or tomorrow."

In a last-minute phone call yesterday, Erdogan and Trump agreed to meet in Washington next month to discuss Turkey's uneasiness with Washington and its ability to do what is required according to an agreement between the two countries about security in northeastern Syria.

Instead, a few hours later, the Trump administration released the following statement shortly before midnight. The administration reportedly refused to clarify whether the remaining US troops left in Syria would be withdrawn.

Washington said it would also turn over all captured ISIS fighters to Turkey after their home countries refused to take them back.

"Today, President Donald J. Trump spoke with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey by telephone. Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria. The United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in the operation, and United States forces, having defeated the ISIS territorial "Caliphate," will no longer be in the immediate area.

"The United States Government has pressed France, Germany, and other European nations, from which many captured ISIS fighters came, to take them back, but they did not want them and refused. The United States will not hold them for what could be many years and great cost to the United States taxpayer. Turkey will now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured ove the past two years in the wake of the defeat of the territorial "Caliphate" by the United States."

As of last month, the US still had 1,000 US troops in northeastern Syria, CNN reports.

Turkey already has substantial military assets positioned along the boarder with Syria, and more troops were seen heading toward the border over the weekend, according to reports in Turkish media.

Unfortunately, Turkey's No. 1 target in the region isn't the remnants of ISIS (which Ankara tacitly enabled by turning a blind eye to foreign soldiers crossing into Syria). Instead, the Turkish operation is intended to destroy the Kurdish militia, the People's Protection Units - or YPG - or at least move them away from the border with Turkey, where Ankara fears they are offering support to domestic Kurdish groups that Erdogan has labeled "terrorists."

This represents a major foreign-policy win for Erdogan. Washington's support for the Kurds as their closest ally on the ground in Syria was the only thing stopping Turkey from moving against the Kurds. Now, Washington has effectively abandoned its long-time ally.

Turkey's primary justification for moving into the region is that Washington hasn't done enough to establish "safe zones" along the Turkey-Syria border. These were intended to be areas jointly patrolled by the US and Turkey. Now, Washington is apparently leaving the project to Ankara.

For a long time, Washington believed that allowing Turkey to attack the Kurds in the region would undermine the battle against ISIS. But now that the caliphate has been stripped of its territorial possessions, the Trump Administration apparently feels like the Kurds have outlived their usefulness.

Never mind that by abandoning the Kurds, Washington is sending a clear message to North Korea, Iran and anyone else hoping to bargain with the US that Washington cannot be trusted to hold up its end of the bargain.

Remember, former Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned late last year over President Trump's plans to pull troops out of Syria (at Erdogan's behest) partly because he felt it would be tantamount to selling out the Kurds.




UK Dodges US Sanctions to Settle Iranian Bank's $1.6bn Damage Claim – Reports
01:45 06.10.2019

Britain reportedly used a third country to avoid US sanctions as it settled a £1.25 billion damages claim with Iran’s Bank Mellat.

Bank Mellat, where the Iranian government owns a 17% stake, sued the government over British sanctions imposed in 2009 that prevented it from doing business with the UK’s financial sector, with the settlement reached only in June 2019 after ten years of negotiations. Bank Mellat argued that the UK’s actions “substantially damaged the bank's reputation” and led to the loss of profits, customers and access to international banking services. The bank originally sought £3.2 billion ($3.9 billion) but this fell to £1.25 billion ($1.6 billion) with interest.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that the sanctions were illegal and the government’s response was irrational and disproportionate.

The payment was made through a third country to evade US sanctions, which have in effect cut Iran off from the global financial system. The US reimposed sanctions on Bank Mellat along with other Iranian entities in October last year.

Iran's Ambassador to London Hamid Baeidinejad confirmed on Friday that the UK government has made the payment to the Iranian side, describing the procedure as an important legal success for the Islamic Republic of Iran.


Financial services industry slowly abandons Britain ahead of Brexit
October 4, 2019

The EU is London’s biggest customer when it comes to financial services with exports worth £26 billion in profits. As the EU and Britain failed to agree a deal, the industry’s hopes of largely unfettered access to the bloc, banks began moving around a trillion pounds of assets from London to new EU hubs, while trading worth around €240bn a day in eurozone government bonds has moved to Milan and Amsterdam.

The EU’s markets watchdog has ruled that under a no-deal Brexit, euro shares must be traded inside the bloc, a signal that Brussels may want to deepen its own capital markets union by being tougher in granting equivalence (whereby the EU deems Britain’s financial markets rules to be aligned closely enough to its own). The result – three UK-based pan-European platforms in London, Aquis, Turquoise and Cboe have already opened hubs in Amsterdam and Paris for EU customers to trade shares listed on other exchanges.

A report by a London based think tank that focuses on capital markets has published the most comprehensive analysis yet of the impact of Brexit on the banking and finance industry in London. It has determined that more than 250 firms in banking and finance have moved or are moving business, staff, assets or legal entities away from the UK to the EU – and these numbers are likely to increase significantly in the near future. In total, it also agrees that approximately £1 trillion of assets have already been relocated – with more expected.

The list below is not exhaustive by any means and probably only represents about a quarter of 2018 and early 2019 reports of financial services businesses moving their operations out of the UK ahead of Brexit. Banks, insurers, brokers, gold traders, investors, advisors and asset managers have lost faith and made their move as a no-deal Brexit could cause chaos for trading conditions or client defections.

London Stock Exchange is moving its European government bond trading platform (MTS Cash) from London to Italy, effective 1 March 2019. 20% of its 13.4 billion euros worth of daily trade will shift to Milan. (source – Reuters)

Aviva, the huge insurance company, is moving £9 billion in client assets from the UK to Ireland. It gained legal approval for the transfer on 19 February and expects it to be effective on 29 March 2019 (source)

M&G Investments is transferring a number of its investment funds totalling over £30 billion in assets from the UK to Luxembourg, including its £19.4 billion M&G Optimal Income fund (formerly the largest fund in the UK) (source)

Marshall Wace, one of the biggest hedge funds in the UK, has obtained a license to run management companies in Ireland & plans to grow its Dublin presence as a protective measure against Brexit. (source – CityAM)

Legal and General Investment Management has received regulatory approval for a new Dublin-based business unit in readiness for Brexit to manage euro-clients (source)

XL Insurance Company SE (a company writing over £2 billion/year in insurance premiums) is moved from the UK to Ireland in January 2019 due to Brexit (source – companies house)

A major financial firm, CME Group’s BrokerTec, is leaving London for Amsterdam because of Brexit, taking its $240 billion/day repo market with it. (source – Bloomberg)

Nomura is moving about 100 staff to a new Frankfurt office to use as a new trading hub servicing EU clients post-Brexit. They expect the move to be completed in early 2019 (source)

GoldCore opened Ireland’s first institutional-grade gold storage vault in October 2018, anticipating investors will want to move gold bars from London to Dublin. $300 billion of gold bars held in London (source – IrishTimes)

Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group has obtained approval from the ECB to establish a banking subsidiary in Frankfurt as part of its preparations for a no-deal Brexit. It intends the subsidiary to commence operations in 2019 (source)

Prior to 2016, fewer than 50 solicitors from England and Wales were also registered in the Republic of Ireland. Since the Brexit referendum, the number registered in Ireland has risen to over 2,000 (11% of named solicitors) (source)

Independent insurance firm Robus Group opened a new office in San Gwann in Malta to be able to offer British clients access to the EU27 after Brexit (source)

A.M. Best, the specialist insurance sector rating agency, established a new office in Amsterdam to be able to continue to provide ratings to be used for regulatory purposes post-Brexit (source)

TP ICAP, the world’s biggest interdealer broker, said its full-year earnings would be hurt by additional costs of about £10 million related to Brexit. It has chosen Paris as its EU headquarters post-Brexit (source)

Ferrovial (largest shareholder in Heathrow, owns Aberdeen, Glasgow & Southampton airports) is moving HQ from Oxford to Amsterdam due to Brexit (source – BBC)

Steris PLC, a company with $2.6 billion in annual revenue, has redomiciled its HQ from the UK to Ireland due to Brexit (source)

France’s top banks move 500 jobs out of London due to Brexit. (source – financemagnates)

Liberty Specialty Markets is moves its insurance company from the UK to Luxembourg (source – libertymarkets)

STM Life moves part of its business from Gibraltar to Malta to guard against the effects of Brexit (source – international investment)

AIG operates in Europe through a single legal entity established in the UK (with branches across Europe). They are restructuring their business because of Brexit, and moving all non-UK business to a Luxembourg entity (source)

Credit Suisse is moving 250 jobs to Germany, Madrid and elsewhere in the EU27, including Luxembourg (source)

JPMorgan has secured additional office space in Paris to accommodate up to 200 staff from London due to no-deal Brexit (source – Reuters)

Barclays has moved €190bn (£166bn) of assets to Dublin because it “cannot wait any longer” to implement its Brexit contingency plan (source BBC)

Columbia Threadneedle has transferred the assets of European clients currently in its range of UK domiciled funds into the equivalent Sicav products domiciled in Luxembourg (source –FT)

Lloyd’s, the insurance and reinsurance market, officially opened Lloyd’s Brussels, its post-Brexit headquarters in the European Union (source – Insurancejournal)

Swissquote abandons plans to buy a bank in London and moves to Luxembourg due to Brexit (Source – Reuters)

Bank of America spends £400 million setting up Paris and Dublin units ahead of Brexit (source – RTE -Ireland)

HSBC has – has shifted ownership of its Polish and Irish subsidiaries from its London-based entity to its French unit, and will do so for seven more European branches (source – Reuters)

Deutsche Bank moved about half its new euro swaps business away from LCH (UK-based clearing house) and onto Eurex (based in Germany) (source – risk.net)

Daiwa Capital Markets established a new subsidiary in Frankfurt on 3rd September 2018 “so that Daiwa can continue to provide a full service to its EU-based clients post-Brexit. (source – UKDaiwa)

Tokio Marine Group is using a “Part VII transfer” to redomicile business from two UK-based subsidiaries (Tokio Marine Kiln Insurance Limited, and HCC International Insurance Company Plc) to a Luxembourg entity (source)



International Criminal Court To Mull MbS Probe For "Crimes Against Humanity"

Saudi Elites Question MbS' Ability To Lead World's Largest Oil Exporter After Aramco Attack
by Tyler Durden
Thu, 10/03/2019 - 04:15

Sources told Reuters that members within Saudi Arabia's ruling family and business elites are increasingly becoming frustrated with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) after the largest-ever attack on Saudi oil facilities on September 14, reported Reuters.

Distinguished members within the ruling Al Saud family have expressed deep concern about MbS' ability to defend and lead the world's largest oil exporter, according to a senior foreign diplomat and five sources with ties to the Al Saud family, all spoke on condition of anonymity to Reuters.

Some of the sources said the September 14 attacks fueled unwanted tensions in the Middle East, especially the threat of imminent war with Iran.

"There is a lot of resentment" about the crown prince's ability to lead, said one of the sources, a member of the Saudi elite with royal connections. "How were they not able to detect the attack?"

The source told Reuters that elite circles are now indicating "no confidence" in MbS. Four other sources and a senior diplomat have also confirmed that "no confidence" with the crown prince is building in the kingdom.

Another Saudi source said: "The latest events won't affect him personally as a potential ruler because he is trying to stop the Iranian expansion in the region. This is a patriotic issue, and so he won't be in danger, at least as long as the father lives."

Neil Quilliam, a senior research fellow at Chatham House, told Reuters that, "There's diminishing confidence in his [MbS] ability to secure the country – and that's a consequence of his policies."

The September 14 missile and drone attack set two Saudi Aramco's oil facilities ablaze, paralyzing half of the kingdom's oil production, but has since restored oil output to pre-attack levels.

Asked what #SaudiCrownPrince #MohammedbinSalman thought would motivate Iran to strike the Saudi Aramco plants in the Sept. 14 attack he replied “stupidity” https://t.co/xVvMSGzvYP pic.twitter.com/RRuYcjaY3d
— Arab News (@arabnews) September 30, 2019

"The magnitude of these attacks is not lost on the population, nor is the fact that he [the crown prince] is the minister of defense and his brother is deputy defense minister, and yet arguably the country has suffered its largest attack ever and on the crown jewels," Quilliam said.

The attack has fueled resentment towards the crown prince who obtained power two years ago, arresting rivals to the throne on corruption charges.

Sources said MbS had spread the kingdom's defenses too thin with an aggressive foreign policy towards Iran and the war in Yemen. They were also disappointed that MbS spent hundreds of billions of dollars on defenses that didn't prevent the attack.

Another source said MbS' efforts to centralize power had put the prince's closest allies into government positions that they weren't qualified for.

For instance, MbS removed Mohammed bin Nayef as crown prince and interior minister several years ago, who had more than two decades of experience in senior roles in the ministry. MbS replaced Nayef with his 33-year-old cousin, who had no experience whatsoever.

It remains to be seen how frustrated Saudi elites will handle MbS. Indeed, there's a lot of anger about the crown prince's leadership, and if another attack on the kingdom occurs, it's likely that internal turmoil within the House of Saud could mean MbS' days are numbered.



Mysterious Israeli gas attack injures Lebanese soldiers
Unknown gas leaked from Israeli border camera when Lebanese soldiers tried to move it
October 2, 2019

The Lebanese army is investigating the poisoning of eight soldiers last week by an unknown gas from a newly installed Israeli security camera on the disputed border, a Lebanese source told The National.

“The army collected samples of the gas and is conducting an investigation into the incident,” the source said.

The soldiers had been trying to turn the camera away from its view of their country because they believed Israel had breached sovereignty by installing it on Lebanese territory.

Eight troops were briefly in hospital after suffering symptoms including vomiting. Israel then removed the camera.

The source said this was the first incident of its kind. It is common for Israel to install cameras to monitor Lebanese territory, but the cameras are usually on its side of the border.

Israeli also monitors Lebanon with surveillance drones that routinely breach Lebanese airspace.

Lebanon, which has no radar system to detect aircraft and no air defence system, can do little apart from complain to the UN.

In late August, a Lebanese soldier opened fire with an M16 assault rifle at three Israeli drones flying over South Lebanon a few days after an Israeli drone exploded in Hezbollah’s stronghold in South Beirut.

The border between Lebanon and Israel, which are still technically at war since the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, remains disputed in many areas.

In the absence of an official border, they respect the “Blue Line”, or line of withdrawal of the Israeli army in 2000, when it left South Lebanon after 22 years of occupation.

A spokesman for the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, which patrols the border region alongside the Lebanese army to monitor the ceasefire, said an incident occurred involving a camera installed by Israel but did not confirm the gas leak.

The UN force received information on September 25 that the Israeli army had installed a camera at the northern entrance of an unused railway tunnel in Ras Al Naqoura, a Southern Lebanese town near the Blue Line.
Read More

Why Moody's put Lebanon on notice

Lebanon silent on reports prime minister Saad Hariri sent $16m to South African model

“Unifil immediately activated its liaison channels with both the parties in an effort to mitigate tensions and resolve the issue in a co-ordinated manner,” UN force spokesman Andrea Tenenti told The National.

“The next morning, on September 26, due to Unifil’s urgent intervention, the Israeli Defence Force informed us that the camera would be removed soon. This was done later the same day."

Local daily Al Akhbar reported on Wednesday that “after numerous demands from the Lebanese army for the UN forces to remove the camera', soldiers tried to block its view.

“Pipes near the camera produced smoke of low toxicity that caused eight soldiers to choke and faint,” the paper said.

The incident lead to “tension on both sides of the border”, which lessened after Israel removed the camera.

Weapons’ experts doubted that the camera was booby-trapped but may have contained chemicals to keep away animals.



10/3(木) 7:08配信





関電が恐怖した 高浜町助役は 地元同和の ドンだった!

関電が恐怖した 高浜町助役は 地元同和の ドンだった!



森山栄治が 福井県から受け取ったのは “同和年金”!?

学術・研究:部落探訪(154) 福井県高浜町西三松


埼玉の民家で飛翔弾発見 武器庫利用か 中核派拠点を爆取法違反で捜索


埼玉の民家で飛翔弾発見 武器庫利用か 中核派拠点を爆取法違反で捜索
10/2(水) 8:57配信











US Blacklist Backfires as Huawei Starts Building 5G Base Stations Without American-Made Parts
15:44 30.09.2019

The Chinese tech giant has made strides to replace American-made hardware, software and technology in its 5G internet and smartphone divisions after being placed on a US Commerce Department blacklist earlier this year.

Huawei has begun manufacturing 5G base stations – the towers facilitating wireless communication between mobile devices and internet networks, without the use of parts made in the USA, company founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei has announced.

“We carried out the testing in August and September, and from October on we will start scale production,” Ren said, speaking at a forum late last week.

According to the company chief, the initial plan is to build 5,000 ‘US part-free’ 5G base stations per month, with more capacity being introduced as it becomes possible to do so.

5G is a major element of Huawei’s business, with the company expecting its 5G base station production to hit some 1.5 million units by next year, more than doubling the 600,000 units expected to be manufactured in 2019.

Huawei president of corporate strategy Will Zhang told Reuters that the Chinese-made components in the base stations would be “no worse” than their US-made analogues, and said that the company has enjoyed “positive surprises” from its efforts.

Huawei's domestically-manufactured 5G base stations are the latest technological breakthrough announced by the company following the introduction of US restrictions meant to limit US companies’ ability to do business with Huawei this past May. Earlier this month, the company suggested that its newest smartphone, shipped without popular Google apps, would be able to compete directly with the latest Apple iPhone, which also launched this month (and doesn't feature 5G).

Huawei unveiled its very own operating system – the HarmonyOS, in August, rolling out the new domestically-developed firmware package after spending years working on the project as a contingency.

Last week, Chinese media reported that every component of its new Mate 30 series of phones could be sourced from two Chinese-based suppliers if necessary.

Earlier this month, Ren Zhengfei boasted that the US Department of Commerce blacklisting of Huawei has not only failed to pay off, but prompted the company to trim the fat and focus resources on its most important divisions, which will leave the company better off in the long run.

“When the entity list came out, they hoped Huawei would die,” Ren said. “Not only did Huawei not die, it is doing even better,” he noted. According to Ren, Huawei has invested some $4 billion into research and development on 5G technologies over the past decade.

Founded in 1987, Huawei has grown over the past decade to become the world’s second-largest smartphone brand, while close to 90 percent of the world’s major phone carriers now use the Chinese company’s telecommunications equipment for their networks. Recently, the US has attempted to pressure its European allies to break their contracts with the company to develop 5G infrastructure, but has enjoyed limited success to date.

After placing Huawei on its entity list in May, the Department of Commerce was forced to give the company two 90-day extensions, exempting US tech companies from the ban after major companies including Intel and Microsoft warned that they would stand to lose billions of dollars if their right to sell processors, software and other equipment to Huawei was cut. Earlier this month, Reuters reported that US companies could face between $14-$56 billion in financial losses and 18,000-74,000 lost tech jobs as Huawei works to grow its ecosystem of compatible technologies.




Eight More Countries Decide to Join INSTEX Mechanism for Trade with Iran – Mogherini Aide
16:45 30.09.2019

The INSTEX trade mechanism was set up by France, Germany and the UK in January to continue trade with Iran, bypassing US sanctions. It became operational and available to all EU member states in June.

Eight more countries have decided to join the Instex mechanism for trade with Iran, in addition to the states that have been part of the mechanism, said Nathalie Tocci, an aide to EU High Representative Federica Mogherini.

"Apart from the three countries that initiated the creation of the mechanism - France, Germany and Great Britain - eight more EU member states have decided to join. Two more countries are expected to follow in their footsteps", Tocci said on the sidelines of the XVI annual Valdai club meeting.

She did not specify what countries she was talking about. Earlier, it was reported that Sweden and Belgium were going to join the INSTEX mechanism.

Earlier this month, a senior Iranian lawmaker said that the EU had agreed to allocate $15 billion to the INSTEX trade mechanism.

The INSTEX mechanism was set up in January by France, Germany and the UK in an attempt to continue trade relations with Iran, bypassing the US sanctions. After a meeting of the Joint Commission of the Iranian nuclear deal took place in June, INSTEX became operational and available to all EU members.

The US unilaterally quit the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as JCPOA, in 2018 and reimposed economic sanctions on Iran. The move was not supported by other signatories to the deal, and the EU announced that it would do everything possible to save the JCPOA. A year after the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, Tehran said it would begin partially suspending its commitments under the agreement unless Europe provides guarantees that Iran's interests are protected under the JCPOA.



"It’s Almost Impossible To Buy": Japanese Bond Crash, Margin Call Send Shockwaves Around The Globe
by Tyler Durden
Tue, 10/01/2019 - 07:33


英エジンバラ大学で人種差別反対の集会 白人に質問権なし 白人禁止の休憩室



UK school under fire for hosting ‘Resisting Whiteness’ event with rules discriminating against white people
30 Sep, 2019 04:13

The University of Edinburgh has allowed a ‘Resisting Whiteness 2019’ event to proceed at its venue, even though there was outrage over organizers' rules, which limited white people's access to a microphone and to certain rooms.

The conference, aimed at raising awareness about “the importance of anti-racist action in the UK” took place at Pleasance Theater, owned by the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, on Saturday.

It was organized by a group tellingly named ‘The Resisting Whiteness Collective,’ which describes itself as a “not-for-profit grassroots organization of QTPOC [Queer and Trans People of Color] activists.” While touting the event, the group said that it wants to make it “as accessible as possible and therefore have free tickets available for those who would like to attend.”

However, it seems not everybody was welcome. The rules published on the conference’s official website state that if an attendee is white, they will have no right to ask questions, at least publicly. The rule, introduced to “amplify the voices of people of color” said that “priority will be given to questions from people of color in the audience.”

“If you are a white person in the audience and you still have a question after the panel has ended, please feel free to share your questions with a member of the committee or our speakers then”

While some argued that the attempt to muffle voices of a particular group, in this case white people, is tantamount to the racism that the "collective" so fervently opposes, another controversial rule sparked comparisons with segregation practices.

The "safe spaces" rule states that one of the two rooms “available to anyone who needs to remove themselves from the conference” due to anxiety issues or just to take a break is off-limits to white people.
Also on rt.com Social justice warrior Megan Rapinoe under fire for saying Virgil van Dijk should win player of the year ‘just for how cute he is’

“The Braid room is a safe space for only people of color, and the Cheviot room is available for anyone who needs it,” the rule states.

The controversial event was thrust into the national media spotlight earlier this week after outspoken media personality Katie Hopkins denounced the university’s decision to host the gathering on Twitter.

University of Edinburgh @EdinburghUni hosting / supporting event “Resisting whiteness” where white people wil not be permitted to speak and segregated from certain rooms.

Try exchanging the word white for blank. pic.twitter.com/4uablyfh4F
— Katie Hopkins (@KTHopkins) September 28, 2019

Her tweet has opened the floodgates to similar accusations against the university, with many arguing that by throwing its weight behind the event, the school is endorsing racism.

“You're hosting 'Resisting Whiteness,' is that not similar to 'resisting blackness?'" one commenter asked.

@EdinburghUni I’d like to object to the racist, anti white,, so-called anti racism conference yesterday. Resisting whiteness? Seriously? You guys think that’s okay in a majority white country? Is allowing hatred of and racism against whites going to work out well for anyone?
— RussianBot.exe (@daFrogDude) September 29, 2019

@EdinburghUni has given a group named 'Resisting Whiteness' a platform in their university. They have blocked white people from entering one of the events and from asking questions.

Peak clown world? Not yet.
— Left-wing Hatewatch (@LWhatewatch) September 28, 2019

@EdinburghUni why do you think it’s acceptable to host an event called “resisting whiteness”? This is blatantly a racist event and you wouldn’t do one called “resisting blackness” that banned POC speakers #racist
— siholden96 (@siholden96) September 28, 2019

Another Twitter user suggested that the group has “a hidden agenda... [to] stoke race wars.”

The worst thing about this. I believe there is a hidden agenda here and it not about Resisting Whiteness. It’s about causing divisions to stoke up race wars. It’s an excuse for them.
— Jane Ginger (@JaneGinger50) September 29, 2019

Responding to the backlash, the university said that the organizers had agreed to revise the “safe spaces” policy to “ensure [the] event is compliant with our values.”

They did appear to have watered-down the wording of the mic-access rule that had originally stated: "We will not be giving the microphone to white people during the Q&As.” However, if there were changes to the "safe spaces" rule, they are not reflected on the event's official webpage.

While many chided the organizers, others sided with the "collective," arguing that “reverse racism” does not exist.

Perhaps the saddest thing about folks crying over #Resistingwhiteness2019 is how many of them are unable to grasp that they themselves are simultaneously beneficiaries and victims of whiteness as a construct. They're barking at folks fighting their corner.
— Thomas D (@VideoPheasant) September 29, 2019

A bookshop that helped to arrange the event took a swipe at the critics, saying that they had “willfully misunderstood” the group’s intentions.

“Resisting whiteness is not about white individuals, it is about whiteness as a pervasive system of oppression – both social & political – a system that needs resisting & dismantling,” it wrote.



Twitter editorial executive is British Army ‘psyops’ soldier – report
30 Sep, 2019 11:45

A high-level Twitter executive with editorial responsibility for the Middle East is also a part-time British Army officer in their psychological warfare unit, according to a report.

The Middle East Eye (MEE) claim that Gordon MacMillan, head of editorial for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), also serves with the 77th Brigade, a unit set up in 2015 in order to find “non-lethal” ways of waging war.

The 77th Brigade is an ‘information warfare’ operation that utilizes social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to develop “behavioral change” projects in regions such as the Middle East.

It brings together a variety of military units such as Media Operations and the 15 Psychological Operations Group. The group, before it was absorbed into the 77th Brigade, deployed commanders in the provision of psychological operations in operational and tactical environments.

Detailing his army background on LinkedIn, MacMillan wrote that he had trained at Sandhurst, the prestigious British military academy and that he is “a reserve officer in the British Army serving in 77th Brigade, which specializes in non-lethal engagement.”

The MEE report that his page has recently been edited and that all references to MacMillan’s service with the 77th Brigade have been deleted.

At its launch in front of the UK media four years ago, the new Brigade was billed as a unit of 1,500 “Facebook warriors,” consisting of both regular soldiers and reservists. According to the Middle East Eye, in recent months the army has approached British journalists to join the unit as reservists.

Twitter has responded by insisting that they “encourage all our employees to pursue external interests.” The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) claim that the 77th Brigade has no relationship with Twitter, other than using it for communication, according to the MEE.