Sunday 31st of May 2020

a bloody mess for the price of oil so you can cheaply drive your car from A to B while costing the earth...

fall of nineveh

The new battle for Nineveh

RT France: The golden division, the Iraqi special forces fighting directly against Daesh in Mosul, has been at the heart of the fight since 17 October 2016 and have already suffered many casualties. Can they go all the way? How could the other countries involved in the offensive support them?

There is a weird historical resonnance between the past Nineveh/Babylon wars and the present Mosul/Baghdad war. But whatever this means thousands of years hence, the capture of Mosul is going to take a long time with a lot of civilian casualties. This is the prediction by many people in the know, but who knows? There are still about 750,000 people under Daesh control in Mosul. At this stage we need to look at the combatants. Who is fighting who? 

After the Invasion in 2003, Iraqi forces were made redundant by the Invasion forces and because of this, the current Iraqi commando force had to be recruited from scratch, mostly from Shia Arabs, Kurds and few Sunni. After training in Jordan with Jordanian Special Forces and US Army Special Forces, the Iraqi Special Operations Force has now about 3,000 men trained, composed of several combat battalions, considered equal in training and combat effectiveness to an average US Army Infantry battalion.

Daesh is mostly manned by disaffected Sunni army personnel from the said Golden division which was disbanded by the 2003 illegal US/UK/Australian invasion. The officers are from the old Saddam Hussein anti-terror brigades who used to fight and humiliate the Shia. They know how to fight dirty. They have brushed up on religious extremism to forge fanatical troops and, after having been dumped by the West and the Iraqi government, they have nothing to loose. 

Being mostly a Sunni “religious” revolution, in accordance with ultra-Wahhabism and Salafism, in opposition to the Shia, Daesh gets some secret support from the Gulf States. Saudi Arabia is Sunni territory. These Gulf States of course “deplore” the extremism of Daesh and give supportive lip service to the West in fighting Daesh (also know as ISIS, IS, ISIL). The main purposes of Daesh have been to unseat Assad from Syria and create a Sunni caliphate, a beach-head for the Saudis, in Shia dominated Iraq. And Mosul is basically a Sunni City.

Because Daesh has shown to be religiously too cruel for the West to swallow its existence, some “rebellious” variants were created and supported by the Gulf States, with shifting names, including pseudo-Al Qaeda, as they became declared “terror organisations” by the US and the Russians. Meanwhile the West, led by the Americans, adopted to support some of the “moderate rebels” to please their friends the Saudis, without going the full hog to support Daesh.

Here, all the battles are waged in honour of oil and its value in US dollars. For example Saddam was selling Iraqi oil in Roubles. Libya’s Gaddafi wanted to create a Pan-African bank with its own currency to trade oil and Assad refused to let a Saudi gas pipeline through Syria. All this meant war. Here, Daesh sells its oil on the black market to countries such as Turkey, in a double game which annoys both the Russians and the West. Egg shell diplomacy is an understatement.

On the “same” side as the West against Daesh stand the Russians who support the Shia, including Iran and Hezbollah, which the West does not like at all. The West relationships are a bit muddled because the West also supports the Iraqi Shia against Daesh but not the Syrian Shia/Allawite against Daesh. This is why the diplomatic solution to the Muddle East is impossible.

So the battle of Mosul is against a very strong outfit which stole a lot of US mothballed but very useable armament, including tanks, Humvees, big guns and small arms, from the Shia Iraqi government. If history repeats itself, Mosul will be razed and Babylon shall live forever until…

Meanwhile this dangerous Mosul battle is only an intermediate stage in the “cold war” between Russia and the US, though they are “on the same side” to defeat Daesh… The Democrat and Republican Hawks desperately want to “punish” Russia while the Donald is trying to avoid any such conflict but works on increasing armament, including the US nuclear arsenal to please the sabre-rattlers.

So far, the most consistent in their purpose have been the Russians who wish to retain Assad as an ally and the US who wish everyone a rotten time as long as the price of oil is in dollars and cheap enough to sink the Russian economy without destroying their friends the Saudis. 

Meanwhile the Saudis, the Iranians and the Russians are part of OPEC, while the Russians are part of BRIC as well…

They all have one hand in each other’s pocket and a gun in the other, including the USA which tries to cheat in this poker game. Meanwhile the Europeans are still in nappies trying to work out why they have been double-crossed by everyone, including by the Brits who have been working for the Yanks to undermine Europe. 

So if you live in Mosul and do not know why your family is being killed with blood splats on the walls of your house in ruins, don’t worry. Now you know. 

And I haven’t the faintest idea of what I’ve just said…

Gus Leonisky
Atheist and tiring…

meanwhile in syria...

The Iraqi prime minister said he had directed the military to conduct airstrikes against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) targets in Syrian territory. The strikes come in response to recent bombings in Baghdad, he added.

"We are determined to chase terrorism that tries to kill our sons and citizens wherever it is found, so we gave orders to the air force command to strike Islamic State positions in Hosaiba and Albu Kamal inside Syrian territory as they were responsible for recent bombings in Baghdad," Haider al-Abbadi said in a statement

"The heroes of the sky executed the operation and responded to the terrorists with amazing success."

IS claimed responsibility for a deadly attack that took place on February 16 in southern Baghdad, when a car bomb blast ripped through the area, killing at least 45 and injuring dozens.

Albu Kamal was targeted by the US-led coalition earlier this week. On Thursday, three strikes engaged an IS unit and also destroyed four oil refinement stills and a vehicle.

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meanwhile in iran...

Washington's attempts to create an anti-Iran Arab alliance in the Middle East won't undermine the Russo-Iranian strategic partnership, Iranian political analyst and former director of Mehr News Agency Reza Moghaddasi emphasized in his interview with Sputnik Persian.


It was reported last week that the Trump administration has allegedly considered the idea of forming an Israel-friendly anti-Iran Arab defense pact on the basis of the Saudi-led coalition intervening in Yemen.

Citing Middle Eastern officials, the Wall Street Journal reported on February 15 that the alliance would include such countries as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan.

Previously, US President Donald Trump dubbed Iran "the number one terrorist state."

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...And Saudi Arabia is "number one paradise" despite Saudis having been involved in 95 per cent of terrorism on the planet, including 9/11... and Egyptians being involved in the other 5 per cent of terror...

meanwhile in saudi arabia...

Ryad needs to increase its revenues but its room for maneuver is narrow. At $ 50, the price of a barrel does not allow it to balance its budget and beyond 60, production of shale oil in North America would be relaunched.

While the price of a barrel of oil is just over 50 dollars, Saudi Arabia would intend to raise it by 10 dollars, reports Reuters. This increase in crude oil prices would enable it to mechanically reduce its budget deficit. 90% of the kingdom's revenues come from its oil sales.

But the margin of maneuver of the Gulf monarchy is tenuous, given the competition of American shale oil. With a barrel price at $ 60, its production could be revived.

But faced with an alarming budget deficit, which in September 2016 reached nearly 15% of the gross domestic product (GDP) and threatened to jeopardize the kingdom’s generous social policy in favor of Saudi nationals, Ryad must act.

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On the negative side is the second trend. With the oil price now consistently above $50 a barrel, much of the US shale production that was driven offline over the past two years is profitable again.

In recent weeks, US production has risen back above nine million barrels per day for the first time in 10 months – and the number of active drilling rigs has been on the up for months.

"Oil is well and truly stuck and the falling futures volumes does not indicate that we have much of a bull-bear fight either," says Hansen.

"Having failed on a couple of occasions to break higher it is only natural to see it correct lower. I'm looking for a retracement to $55 on Brent and $52.70 on WTI."

Oil futures trading volumes indicate the level of trading in bets on oil prices being higher or lower in the future. This year, hedge funds and other institutional investors built up a record bet on prices being higher, but experts say that opens up the risk of a sharp fall.

“Increasingly, the high degree of speculative interest is hanging over oil prices like the sword of Damocles," Commerzbank said in a note to clients.


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financing daesh...

For the political scientist Bassam Tahhan, the Islamic state could not hold if the Westerners really wanted its disappearance. Here is why.

Bassam Tahhan is a Franco-Syrian political scientist, specialist in international affairs, an Islamologist and a professor of Arabic letters.

RT France: According to the latest report by the Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence (ICSR), Daesh's finances are in decline. Do you think that is the case?

Bassam Tahhan (BT): Yes, that is certainly the case given that certain oil wells have been bombed. On the other hand, one thing that is not mentioned in the report, and which is very important, is that Daesh takes a lot of money from the inhabitants, about ten million people on a surface equal to about half that of France. Obviously, these people tend to flee and they are moving more and more towards Syria, Iraq, Jordan ... because in addition to being overtaxed, they are robbed, raped. So one of the weak points of the fall for the Islamic state is the disappearance of the inhabitants, some of the people who are supposed to be governed by Daesh. One can notice that even those who supported Daesh at the beginning, bite their fingers. It is also true that, as the report says, at first, museums were looted. They practically looted everything that could be taken away, dismantled, sold, but there is an end to everything.

However, it was not only the bombardment of the oil wells which damaged the economy but also the bombardment of all means of transport. A bombing that was carried out mainly by the Russians rather than by the Americans.

If Daesh still holds, it is because he has business relations.

RT France: But where is all the money Daesh earns?

B. T.: Daesh manages to get his money from transactions with the West. This goes back to the days when Turkey bought Daesh oil, resold it and served as a financial hub for the Islamic state and extremist groups to send money abroad, to families of jihadists, for example. The banking or financial system is very complex to dismantle and monitor. Having said that, I believe that Turkey remains an accomplice.

RT France: Where do we get all this information about Daesh's finances?

B. T.: We have a great deal of very precise information about the fortune and expenditure of the Islamic State. Allow me to accuse Turkey and the United States without hesitation. I do not see how we could have known what the state was, what it was spending and what it earned every day without this (information from Turkey and the US). In addition, there are still gaps in this report, which remains somewhat vague. One wonders how Daesh continues to exploit the oil. Daesh lost a few oil wells in Syria and Iraq. All this in the report is not very clear.

RT France: Despite all these reports, it is difficult to know what is happening inside the Islamic state. What does Daesh do to keep economically viable?

B. T.: If Daesh still holds, it is because it has commercial relations. We learned that through intermediaries, Daesh bought shares on the stock market. And there, I think it is necessary to wish good luck to the secret services to discover the entirety of this financial network of Daesh abroad.




Bassam Tahhan is a Syrian-born French professor of Arabic literature and expert on the Quran. As of 2006 he taught at the Henri IV secondary school in Paris. Tahhan advocates a Protestant reformation in Islam. He defines a "Protestant Islam," as "Islam that allows freedom of thought and permits questioning the Sunna, abrogating hadiths not grounded in the Koran, and reinterpreting the Koran in light of modern values."[1]

Tahhan believes in a rationalist approach to the Quran, which he believes means accepting "that each era, with its [particular] methods and discoveries, presents its own reading of the Koran, and this is the way it will be until the end of days." In doing so he came into conflict with what he calls the "orthodox approach" to the Quran. He believes that over time in the Muslim community the Sunna has "become an indispensable supplement to the Koran, to the point that it superseded the Koran." He finds this "tendency to supplement the Koran with the Sunna ... questionable."[1]

He has been described as "one of a handful of experts around the world on the different versions of the Koran."[1]

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the next battle...

The next major battle will most likely be Raqqa, Syria. But here things are VERY complicated. The Americans do not want the Syrians and Russians to take over the city nor to bring it back rightfully under the Syrian government control. This is why the US want the Free Syria Army (Sunni "moderate" terrorists, an outfit sponsored by the US AND opposed to the Syrian government) to take Raqqa from Daesh (Sunni "extremist" terrorists). But the Free Syria Army does not have enough firepower to take Raqqa on its own, so the US are also sponsoring the Kurds, a move which is a great NO-NO with the Turks who consider the Kurds as a terrrorist organisation.

The Turks do not like the Free Syrian Army either, nor do they like the Syrian government but the Turks have made an uneasy pact with the Russians, though the Turks have bought Daesh oil in the past. So, who will get into Raqqa first? It does not really matter because no matter who "liberates" the city of Raqqa, they eventually will have to place it under the Syrian government control, no matter what, even after possibly having to fight the Syrian government forces and the Russians. This is why some of the Free Syrian Army is trying to impede the progress of the Syrian government Forces moving against Raqqa, while the Kurds could help the Syrian government defeat the Free Syria Army and Daesh for 40 pieces of silver. By this I mean gain some "autonomy" from Damascus, which Damascus may or may not give.

We can guess what will be Raqqa in a year of so, ruins, except if Daesh decided to leave and go into the desert never to come back ever. 

Raqqa is likely to suffer the fate of Mosul, except this time, the complication noted here above can confuse the outcome for a few months. 

Meanwhile the Russians COULD have a simple plan in mind that would surgically remove Daesh, arrest the progess of the Free Syrian Army, and manage the Turks and the Kurds to be busy trying to sort their differences.

BUT we also know that some US generals have made noises about preparing US troops to go into into Syria to prevent the Syrian Government take over of Raqqa. This is one for Putin and Trump to sort out.

Meanwhile a lot more innocent people will die.


See also:

within rifle range...

WASHINGTON — The United States has increased its forces near the northern Syrian town of Manbij as concerns have grown that fighting could erupt among the complex array of militias and Syrian and Turkish troops who are operating on the crowded battlefield near there.

Photographs of American troops in Stryker vehicles and armored Humvees flying American flags circulated on Saturday on social media. The American-led command that is fighting the Islamic State, a militant group also known as ISIS or ISIL, acknowledged the buildup around the town, but did not provide details.

“The coalition has increased its force presence in and around Manbij to deter any hostile action against the city and its civilians, to enhance local governance and to ensure there is no persistent Y.P.G. presence,” an American military spokesman said, using the acronym for the People’s Protection Units, Kurdish militia groups that have been trained by United States military advisers.

The Turks have repeatedly complained that the Y.P.G., which played a critical role in taking Manbij, has yet to vacate the city, despite American assurances that it has done so.

The spokesman added, “This is a deliberate action to reassure our coalition members and partner forces, deter aggression, and ensure all parties remain focused on defeating our common enemy, ISIS.”

American military officials said the total number of United States forces in Syria had not increased. But the new deployment of American troops around Manbij has been done in a visible manner.

A combustible mix of forces are crowding the battlefield in northern Syria, including Turkish-backed Syrian militias, Syrian government forces, and Kurdish and Arab fighters trained by the United States.

Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, who commands the American-led task force that is fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, told reporters on Wednesday that Syrian government troops had advanced near Manbij to the point where they were within “rifle range” of Syrian Arab fighters backed by American forces.

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WASHINGTON — Russian aircraft mistakenly bombed Syrian Arab fighters who were being trained by the United States, the commander of the American-led operation in Iraq and Syria said Wednesday. American advisers were about three miles away when the Russian strike occurred.

The episode pointed to the risk of unintended clashes among the myriad forces operating on a fluid battlefield in Syria, as the American command looks toward the fight to retake Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital in the country.

Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, who commands the American-led task force that is fighting the militants in Iraq and Syria, said the strike by Russian and Syrian government planes led to casualties among the Syrian fighters, but he declined to say how many were hurt or if any were killed.

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inherent bias of the western media...

RT:  How different is the situation in Aleppo from what is happening in Mosul?

Rick Sterling: Well, in both cases the governments in Syria and in Iraq are trying to retake parts of the city from terrorists. In Mosul, it is ISIS; in Aleppo, it is primarily the Al-Qaeda branch in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra. However, in the case of Aleppo, the Western media refer to it as “Aleppo falling,” whereas in Mosul they call it “being liberated.”

RT:  Would it be fair to say that media coverage of Aleppo focused on civilian suffering, while reports about Mosul have focused on military success against ISIS? If so, why's that?

RS: It is because of the inherent bias of the media. The Western media, unfortunately, has entirely left Aleppo, where the situation is dramatically improving now the terrorists have been defeated. Right now civilians are returning to the neighborhoods that were occupied by the terrorists. They are starting the cleanup process. The Syrian Arab Red Crescent is installing electric generators and water tanks. There are a lot of positive developments going on, but when the terrorists left, the White Helmets left, and unfortunately the Western media left also.

RT:  We spoke to Mosul residents, who told us they fear both the terrorists and the coalition. In your view, is the so-called 'collateral damage' in Mosul being given enough attention? Why is the media turning a blind eye?

RS: They definitely focused on that with Aleppo. I think there is some coverage of that in Mosul. As to why, it is because the US air coalition is supporting the Iraqi government in recapturing Mosul, whereas the Western media basically in support of the Western governments has been more sympathetic to the armed opposition in Syria.

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meanwhile in qatar

Battle for Raqqa: 'Difficult and complicated' 


Al Jazeera speaks with Ahrar Al Sham's spokesperson about rebel infighting, the negotiations and Syria's future.


Al Jazeera: What do you think about the Russian intervention in Syria?

Qara Ali: It is an oppressive intervention. It is supporting a criminal regime and a dictator that has been killing the Syrian people for six years. It has killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, of women and children. We consider it an occupying power.


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Of course. Al Jazeera is the voice of Qatar which is a Sunni country opposed to Assad. Qatar is part of the west's inflitration of Syria, is supporting "rebels" (read Al Qaeda) and Qatar wants a gas pipeline to pass through Syria in the same manner as the saudis. So, Qatar will see any force trying to retain Assad as an enemy — Russia included. Russia does not want any pipelines from Saudi Arabia nor Qatar to supply gas to Europe. This would impact its own gas supply to Europe. 

Assad is also a multi-religious supporter while the Sunnis are in favour of strict Sunni Sharia law and of one religion for Syria despite their recent "concillatory" utterances. With so many different groups with so many different interest, it is easy to sow confusion as to who believes what. The present regime and the Russians are clear on what they want don't want. Meanwhile the map presented by the article is already out of date since Palmyra, its surrounding and Deir Az Zor have been retaken by Assad forces.


Syria as viewed by Al JazeeraSyria as viewed by Al Jazeera

all about the glorious empire...

The deployment of hundreds of US troops in Syria is a “huge development.” The motive is that the US wants to ensure its forces get the honor of capturing Raqqa but not the Syrian Army and its allies, experts told RT.

A spokesperson for the US-led coalition against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) has confirmed additional American forces have been deployed in Syria. 

The deployment of around 400 US Marines is in addition to the existing 500 US troops already in Syria and is aimed at accelerating the defeat of IS in its Syrian stronghold of Raqqa, according to the coalition spokesman US Air Force Colonel John Dorrian.

The US troops are said to be equipped with heavy artillery commonly used by marine and infantry units in combat missions. The weapons have a range of up to 30 kilometers and were widely employed in the Iraq and Afghan wars.

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a warning to those being presently "saved" by the US...


Half a century after United States B-52 bombers dropped more than 500,000 tonnes of explosives on Cambodia's countryside Washington wants the country to repay a $US500 million ($662 million) war debt.

The demand has prompted expressions of indignation and outrage from Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh.


Over 200 nights in 1973 alone, 257,456 tons of explosives fell in secret carpet-bombing sweeps – half as many as were dropped on Japan during the Second World War.

The pilots flew at such great heights they were incapable of discriminating between a Cambodian village and their targets, North Vietnamese supply lines – nicknamed the "Ho Chi Minh Trail."


The bombs were of such massive tonnage they blew out eardrums of anyone standing within a 1-kilometre radius.

War correspondent James Pringle was two kilometres away from a B-52 strike near Cambodia's border.

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not invited...

Syrian President Bashar Assad does not consider presence of the US military in Syria as helpful in fight against terrorism.

Moreover, Damascus did not consent to the US military presence in the area of Manbij city, President Assad added.

"No, no, we didn't. Any foreign troops coming to Syria without our invitation or consultation or permission, they are invaders, whether they are American, Turkish, or any other one. And we don't think this is going to help," Assad said in an interview with Chinese Phoenix Television, published by the SANA news agency, in response to a question on where the Syrian government gave a green light to the deployment.The United States has deployed a small number of additional troops to Syria's Manbij on a new mission focused on reassurance and deterrence, US Department of Defense spokesperson Capt. Jeff Davis said in a briefing on March 6.


"We have made visible actions in deploying US forces as part of the coalition in and around Manbij to reassure and deter, and that is to deter parties from attacking any other parties other than ISIS [Daesh] itself," Davis told reporters.

There is no room yet for cooperation between the United States and Syria, despite common task in fighting terrorism, Syrian President Bashar Assad emphasized.

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not invited either...


Commenting on the news that neither Russia, nor Iran, two key countries in the fight against Daesh, have been invited to the anti-Daesh meeting of 68 countries to be hosted by the US, Russian political analysts suggested that the coalition wants to downgrade their roles and is reluctant to share any success with the two states.

Washington is set to host a ministerial meeting of 68 US-led coalition nations fighting against Daesh (Islamic State/ ISIS) on March 22-23.
However two key players in the region actively fighting against the jihadists, Russia and Iran, have not been invited to the gathering because, according to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, "they’re not part of the global coalition."


Russian Senator Alexei Pushkov commented that it is quite possible to discuss the fight against Daesh without Russia's participation, but it is impossible to defeat them without Russia.

Meanwhile, Semyon Bagdasarov, Head of the Center for Middle Eastern and Central Asian Studies suggested that Russia has not been invited in order to show that it does not play any role in the fight against the terrorists, however this is far from true, to put it mildly.

In his interview with Russia's online newspaper Vzglyad he suggested that this is part of the information against Russia, and it is set to continue in the future.

The political analyst also said that there are military operations currently being planned to liberate Mosul and Raqqa. If these offensives are successful, he suggested, the members of the coalition will claim all the success to themselves and will blame Russia for not doing enough in the fight.

The real aim, he then said, is not to "share the victory." Trump, he said, is a tougher leader than Barack Obama hence he won't make any concessions in the sharing of the victory.

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The point is that the US DOES NOT WANT ASSAD TO WIN and stay in power. The Americans are thinking that should they be the ones (with their Al Qaeda mates) who defeat Daesh in Raqqa, they will be able to negotiate Assad's exit or removal... It's dumb, but you cannot convince a bully that what he is doing is wrong. Usually when trying to reason with bullies, the only thing they understand is a kick up the arse.


rearranging the deck chairs...

Here in the Middle East, however, where every peep and creak out of Washington is scrutinized to death, interested parties haven’t stopped speculating about a U.S. confrontation with Iran. Fifty days into his term, Trump’s foreign-policy course remains an enigma. He swears “all options” remain on the table with Iran—but do they?

There are already some early actions that hint at Trump’s policy directions—and limitations—in the Middle East. In three key military theaters where U.S. forces are currently engaged, some important corners have been turned:

  • In northern Syria, America’s Kurdish allies just voluntarily relinquished territory to the Syrian army and Russian forces in order to avoid a direct confrontation with another U.S. ally and NATO member, Turkey. Washington has rejected a Turkish role in the liberation of Raqqa, knowing that Ankara will not tolerate the ISIS capital falling into Kurdish hands either. It’s becoming increasingly likely that the winning formula will see the city and its environs ceded to an authority friendly to the Syrian government, under a Russian umbrella.
  • In northern Iraq, the fight to regain Mosul has accelerated, with Iraqi forces liberating half of western Mosul in just twenty days. Under command of the central Baghdad government, these fighters consist heavily of Shia militias, many of whom have received training and equipment from Iranian forces.
  • In Yemen, where alarming western headlines warn of U.S. military blunders and overkill, the media is missing a bigger story. The U.S. bombing blitz is actually—not hypothetically, as once was the case—hitting Al Qaeda terrorists, working alongside UAE forces to target Islamist militias who everybody knows are de facto Saudi allies on the ground. Just last week, the UAE reportedly upped the ante by demanding the Saudis abandon their puppet president Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi—ostensibly the “legitimate” Yemeni authority the western-backed Saudi coalition was fighting to reinstate.

In a few short weeks, Trump has taken an axe to Obama-style dawdling in Mideast hotspots—whether by taking direct action or by no longer impeding the actions of others.

What’s notable is that all of these developments, at face value, serve Iran’s interests in the region and undermine those of U.S. allies Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

But don’t be fooled. This is merely Trump’s opening salvo. He has larger, unknown ambitions, and these recent moves do not necessarily remove Iran from his sights.

The Islamic Republic, its allies, and its detractors will remain part of Trump’s larger geopolitical game. He can use them to engage or punish more vital targets like Russia and China, two major powers that have carved out strategic relationships with Tehran. Iran will also be a useful tool to provoke or cajole traditional U.S. allies like Israel, Turkey, and various Arab monarchies into taking positions favored by Trump.


the US messing in other people's business...

On Friday, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that a military operation to recapture the Syrian city of Raqqa is due to kick off in the coming days.


For his part, Sipan Hemo, head of the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia told Reuters in an exclusive interview that the operation would start in early April, and that the YPG forces are due to take part in the face of Turkey's opposition.   

Even so, the final lineup of those who will participate in the Raqqa operation is still hard to define, RIA Novosti political analyst Andrey Veselov said, adding that the joint assault may turn into fighting between the storming sides.

Autonomy for Bravery?

A number of Kurdish publications claim that the US has already agreed with Kurdish leaders on the establishment of an autonomous Kurdistan in Syria in case of the capture of Raqqa.  Subsequently, this allegedly should add to creating an independent Kurdish state in Syria and Iraq.

Muslim Mukhemmed, member of the Politburo of the Syrian Democratic Party of Kurdistan (PDK-S), and one of the leaders of the National Council of Syrian Kurds (ENKS), Muslim Muhammad, told Sputnik Turkey that "the Americans have this project."


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misplaced optimism...

"France has always said that [liberating] Raqqa is the main aim. Today, we can say that Raqqa is surrounded and the battle will begin in the coming days," he told France's CNEWS television.

Moscow does not share the "optimism" of the French official, Russia's Defense Ministry said Saturday. Having questioned Le Drian's sources for such a prognosis, the Russian ministry's spokesman, Igor Konashenkov, said it had "nothing to do with reality and the situation on the ground."

"Similar rosy forecasts on encircling and the quick victory of the coalition in Iraq's Mosul have already turned into considerable losses in the Iraqi forces and a growing humanitarian catastrophe," the Russian military official warned.

"It is clear to any military specialist that liberating Raqqa will not be easy for the international coalition. The real success and timescale of the operation will directly depend on [the coalition's] understanding the need to and readiness to coordinate its actions with all forces fighting international terrorism in Syria," Konashenkov told the media.

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the last battle for mosul...


Maj. Gen. Najim al-Jabouri, the head of Nineveh Operations Command, said the Islamic State fighters in the city include about 300 to 400 foreigners and about the same number of locals.

Dillon put the total number at “less than 1,000.” 

Federal police forces reached the outskirts of the Old City months ago but stalled as they hit the dense neighborhoods and have suffered persistent counterattacks. With the offensive from the south stuttering, Iraqi troops repositioned to begin a new attack from the north in May, moving in to choke off the Old City.

“They are the hammer, and we are the anvil — be a strong anvil,” Lt. Col. John Hawbaker, who heads the advise and assist mission for federal police forces, told U.S. paratroopers on lookout at a base less than two miles from the mosque, as forces began their new offensive to surround the Old City. 

But the anvil was shaken this week when dozens of Islamic State fighters penetrated police lines in a well-planned counterattack, briefly taking ground.

Still, the final push for Mosul’s Old City is expected soon, Iraqi commanders say. A small area around the Jumhuiya hospital is the only territory outside of the Old City still to be recaptured.

“Tell the security forces to reach us quickly,” the Old City resident pleaded. “If this lasts until the end of the month, many people will die.”

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destruction not liberation...

According to UN estimates made public Wednesday, around 25,000 civilians are still trapped in Raqqa, and are being slaughtered in the crossfire between the sides in the ongoing battle. The UN estimates that some 27 civilians are killed in Raqqa daily.

However and despite the presence of the around 1,000-strong ISIS (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) force in the city, it is the US-led bombing campaign which is mostly responsible for the civilian death toll there, local media activist Musa al Khalafa told RT.

“What is happening now in Raqqa is destruction not liberation at all,” Khalafa noted. “More than 2,000 people have been killed as results of the US led coalition bombing and the SDF shelling of civilians in Raqqa.”

While the numbers are hard to verify, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said his office had managed to confirm reports of 151 civilian deaths from just six aerial or ground operations during August alone.

“Given the extremely high number of reports of civilian casualties this month and the intensity of the air strikes on Raqqa, coupled with ISIL’s use of civilians as human shields, I am deeply concerned that civilians – who should be protected at all times – are paying an unacceptable price and that forces involved in battling ISIL are losing sight of the ultimate goal of this battle,” Zeid said in a statement Thursday.

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Of course this news where our side is doing the damage barely rates a comment in the Western MMMM...

the west and turkey are using ISIS to wage war...

Turkey is recruiting and retraining Isis fighters to lead its invasion of the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northern Syria, according to an ex-Isis source.

“Most of those who are fighting in Afrin against the YPG [People’s Protection Units] are Isis, though Turkey has trained them to change their assault tactics,” said Faraj, a former Isis fighter from north-east Syria who remains in close touch with the jihadi movement.

In a phone interview with The Independent, he added: “Turkey at the beginning of its operation tried to delude people by saying that it is fighting Isis, but actually they are training Isis members and sending them to Afrin.”


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France is also using former ISIS fighters

For Pierre Berthelot, researcher at the Institute for Prospective and Security in Europe (IPSE), the article in The Independent, in which a former jihadist accused Turkey of relying on Daesh fighters to fight Kurdish militias in the country. north of Syria, is to be taken seriously. Describing the British newspaper as "reliable", particularly on information relating to the Middle East, the director of Orients Strategic magazine recalled that this hypothesis was not new.

To justify his remarks, he referred in particular to the use by France and other NATO members intervening in Libya in 2011 of former Al-Qaeda fighters. "Abdelhakim Belhadj, who later became military governor of Tripoli, was the head of the Libyan subsidiary of Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda entity," he said.


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the dirty white helmets...


A breaking piece was published via CBS news recently that the U.S. frozen funding for Syria’s “White Helmets”.

Why did it happen, probably you would like to ask us…

First, the delay in approving the financing may be connected with the revision of the strategy of using White Helmets as East Ghouta had been lost for the opposition. It [is] impossible now to use the pretext of ‘regime crimes in Ghouta’ using Civil Defense. The militants have lost both an enclave and the resources invested (chemical laboratories, chemicals, studios, staff, weapons, money etc).

Second, some activities in Idlib are hampered by the growing influence of Turkey, which gradually gains control over terrorist groups previously backed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. That is why there are numerous reports of a possible transfer of White Helmets activities from Ghouta to Deir Ezzor province where US-controlled terrorists operate and there are a lot of room to work for White Helmets.

The more so, State Dept. support is only a visible part of the funding. The participation of White Helmets in various provocations has been funded with equity of special services (closed funds of the CIA and others). As a rule, they do not report on this item of expenditure publicly as well as on weapons supply to Syria through the Balkans.

Besides, White Helmets are financed not only by the U.S. through the State Department structures but also by various European funds, as well as by the monarchies of the Persian Gulf. So, the possible reduction of funding from Washington does not mean a complete halt to the project. The war hasn’t been over yet and this ‘importing peace’ organization can be used from time to time.

Thus, the opportunities for the White Helmets’ activities are being reduced and the project is gradually losing its significance, which may be the reason for the revision/delay of financing issues, plus in recent months it has become too ‘toxic’ even in the West. Even the founder of Pink Floyd accused White Helmets of having links with terrorists.

You shouldn’t be surprised if the U.S. tried to put White Helmets’ funding on satellites’ shoulders within the overall strategy of shifting military spending to other countries.

Probably we will see not the disappearance of White Helmets but the modification of their work to solve more narrow problems. It means the probability of provocations with their participation will only increase. They will be disappeared completely when the entire territory of Syria will be liberated from the radicals. It is also highly likely that we will see its new rescue operations in Idlib when a new phase of SAA’s offensive starts.

Yet another option is a scheme in which the United States really plans to leave Syria in the long-term. So the State Dept. begin the process of getting rid of all the useless non-performing assets.

Briefly, the so-called White Helmets is the media wing of the jihadist-terrorist organizations that exists for informational support of the activities of opposition on U.S. and Gulf monarchies dime. In fact, U.S. tool to fight Assad, White Helmets, is part of the terrorist infrastructure that is weakening along with other terrorist groups in Syria.


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the civilians of mosul...

RT’s special reports about the humanitarian crisis in the Iraqi city of Mosul has netted the network its sixth International Emmy Awards nomination, earning recognition for a story that went largely ignored in western media.

The finalists for the Emmy in the News category, announced on Monday, included RT’s #MosulSOS, a series of reports and a social media campaign aimed at highlighting the plight of civilians fleeing the Iraqi city as US-backed forces laid siege to the former Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS) stronghold. In order to raise awareness about the humanitarian disaster occurring, RT launched the campaign #MosulSOS on social media in March 2017.

RT’s Murad Gazdiev reported on the ground from Mosul, where he spoke with locals whose tragic stories about the destruction of their city never seemed to make western headlines. Those who managed to flee the carnage provided Murad with stories that often contradicted the US-led coalition’s narrative of a precise, targeted bombing campaign.

“Very often the jets would miss. Seven entire families near us were killed this way,” one woman told RT’s correspondent. “Perhaps their weapons were faulty, as they regularly missed targets.”

“There are so many people hurt by airstrikes. Four children were wounded yesterday while they were playing in the garden. We couldn’t leave the house or let the children out, as the airstrikes and army artillery bombed us nonstop,” another Iraqi told RT.


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the syrian army to defend the kurds...

Tensions are mounting in northern Syria as Damascus started moving its forces to face the Turkish troops that are carrying out an operation against the Kurds in the area, state news agency Sana reports.

The Kurdish-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have reached an agreement with Damascus, which will see the Syrian government troops arriving in the northern Kobani region, Mohammed Shaheen, deputy chairman of Euphrates Region, said earlier.

The Syrians will deploy to Kobani within 48 hours, Lebanese broadcaster al-Mayadeen reported. RT’s sources in the region also confirmed the reports.

The Syrian army already entered the city of Manbij in the northern province of Aleppo late on Sunday, al-Mayadeen reported. The Kurd militiamen let the government troops pass through their checkpoints unhampered.The distance between Manbij and Kobani is around 60 milometers, a one-hour car drive.

Turkey is going to come under intense pressure now that Syrian troops are heading to the north, believes Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

“The Syrian government is going to try to go across and get the oilfields, the gas fields that are so crucial for Syria’s economic well-being. Also, this is prime agricultural land as the Euphrates River flows down here. The Tabqa Dam that the Americans and the Kurds held, the Syrian government is going to want to take that back as well,” he listed.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Syrian counterpart, Bashar Assad, would have to show off their best diplomatic skills to avoid an all-out war between their countries, Landis believes.

Earlier this week, the Turkish military entered northern Syria without consent from Damascus in order to fight the Kurdish militia in the Kobani region, whom Ankara regards as terrorists.

Turkey says the aim of the operation is to create a “safe zone” near its border to prevent the Kurdish fighters from making incursions into the country.

Before the start the Turkish operation, the US called back several dozen of its servicemen, who were embedded with the Kurdish forces. On Saturday, Donald Trump authorized a withdrawal of the remaining 1,000 US troops from Kobani so that they don’t get caught up between the warring sides.

The Kurds, who had been Washington’s main allies in fighting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) before, called the US move a betrayal.


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trump's war by proxies...

by Stephen Lendman

Most EU countries are allied with US-dominated NATO - a killing machine involved in smashing one sovereign state after another.

It's responsible for vast destruction, millions of casualties, and appalling human misery from the rape of Yugoslavia and post-9/11 US-led wars of aggression - based on Big Lies and deception.

The EU supports Trump regime economic terrorist against nonbelligerent Iran and Venezuela - war by other means, intended to crush their economies and try starving their people into submission.

The horror of Turkish aggression in northern Syria and devastation to affected people is relatively minor compared to endless US-led hot wars, economic terrorism, sanctions and tariffs wars, along with other hostile actions against targeted nations threatening no one. 

World community outrage over naked aggression should be directed against all its perpetrators - first and foremost at main offenders USA and its key partners against peace, stability, equity and justice.

France, Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and Norway suspended arms sales to Turkey over its aggression in Syria.

A German Foreign Ministry statement said: "Against the backdrop of the Turkish military offensive, (Berlin) will not issue any new permits for all military equipment that could be used by Turkey in Syria."

A joint French foreign and war ministries statement said the Macron regime "decided to suspend all plans to export to Turkey weapons that could be used in this offensive. This decision is with immediate effect."

On Monday, EU foreign ministers will meet in Luxembourg, French state secretary for European affairs Amelie de Montchalin, saying the following:

"We will discuss (possible EU sanctions on Turkey) at the (upcoming) European Council meeting" on October 17 and 18.

EU foreign affairs spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said block foreign ministers will discuss the issue on Monday.

On Saturday in Cairo, Arab League members condemned Turkish aggression, a statement saying "it contradicts international norms and international law, no matter what pretext the invader uses."

The same block supports US-led aggression against multiple countries, notably endless war in Syria and Yemen - NATO countries, the Saudis, UAE, Jordan and Israel allied with what's going on.

There's no resolution in prospect because bipartisan US hardliners reject restoration of peace and stability to these and other countries.

Suspension of weapons sales to Turkey by EU countries ignores their deliveries to and support for Saudi aggression in Yemen, along with all US wars of aggression against nations threatening no one.

Suspensions aren't bans, the embargo likely to be short-term, to be lifted ahead once Turkey's offensive ends or no longer gets world headlines.

US European allies support endless US-led aggression, notably post-9/11 wars and decades of Israeli persecution and attacks on defenseless Palestinians, along with IDF terror-bombing of Syrian targets.

Turkey is a NATO member. As part of the bloc, actions against it most likely will be short-term, dirty business as usual with Ankara to resume ahead.

The US wants normal relations with Turkey because of its strategic location and military force strength, second largest to the Pentagon among alliance countries.

Germany values relations with Turkey. In 2018, nearly one-third of its arms exports went to its military.

So far, US and UK arms sales to Ankara continue, the Trump regime, House and Senate considering imposition of sanctions on Turkey, including an arms sales embargo - clearly not intended to be longterm if imposed.

Key questions are unanswered. Who'll act against US aggression? Who'll cease partnering in its endless wars? 

Who'll no longer remain silent about its mass slaughter, vast destruction and other atrocities, including use of chemical, biological, radiological, and other banned weapons, civilians treated like combatants?

Who'll demand long ignored accountability for its highest of high crimes, ongoing for decades with no prospect for halting them?

Who'll act first and foremost against the world's leading aggressor and human rights abuser - instead of blaming victims of its high crimes of war and against humanity?

VISIT MY NEW WEBSITE: (Home - Stephen Lendman). Contact at

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

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Gus thinks that Trump is deviously smarter than the idiot he appears to be... Letting Turkey invade Syria is a many folds action in US favour, though Trump is getting the "flak" (He could not care less). This Turkish op is resulting in killing a few Kurds, in releasing ISIS (Daesh) fighters from prison camps and forcing the Syrian Army to defend Syria AGAINST TURKEY and having to fight once again the threat of Daesh. At what point are the Russians going to help the Syrian army is to be seen. As a "friend" of Turkey and Syria, the Russians will be in a bind and may not be able to take side. Trump is playing a snooker game... by proxy...


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Note: as far as Gus knows, not a single US troop has left Syria, just changed position... with the possible intent to stiffle the Syrian Army by "accident"... Who knows what goes on in this deadly game.