Tuesday 13th of April 2021

FUCK! Trump was a better diplomat than joe Biden is!

troops

Despite all his short-comings, his sanctioning of this and that, and slapping tariffs on capers, and being loony, Trump actually was a better diplomat than Joe Bomber Biden... So far the pundits at the "liberal" press have missed the implication of what the Biden crew is doing  — and is about to do... But they love him because he says the right things while reading the autocue...

 

WW3 has never been so close to midnight. And Biden will be leading the final "cruzade" from behind — or under — his desk, like a mad Churchillian character in the worst of Shakespeare's play, "The Tempest", while hugging a Christian cross and praying at high speed (as much as his old legs can muster) on the rosary beads in his pocket... Meanwhile, instead of diplomacy (what is that again?), Old Joe goes for the bombs and Christ, and we all kiss our arse goodbye.

 

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Last Thursday President Biden continued what has sadly become a Washington tradition: bombing Syria. The President ordered a military strike near the Iraqi-Syrian border that killed at least 22 people. The Administration claims it struck an “Iranian-backed” militia in retaliation for recent rocket attacks on US installations in Iraq.

As with Presidents Obama and Trump before him, however, Biden’s justification for the US strike and its targets is not credible. And his claim that the US attack would result in a “de-escalation” in the region is laughable. You cannot bomb your way toward de-escalation.

Biden thus joins a shameful club of US leaders whose interventions in the Middle East, and Syria specifically, have achieved nothing in the US interest but have contributed to the deaths of many thousands of civilians.

President Trump attacked Syria in 2018 in what he claimed was retaliation for the Assad government’s use of chemical weapons against its own citizens. The Trump Administration never proved its claim. Logic itself suggests how ridiculous it would have been for the Syrian president to have used chemical weapons in that situation, where they achieved no military purpose and would almost certainly guarantee further outside attacks against his government.

Trump’s 2018 attack only added to the misery of the Syrian people, who suffered under US sanctions and then suffered President Obama’s “Assad must go” intervention that trained and armed al-Qaeda affiliated groups to overthrow the government.

Trump’s airstrike on Syria did nothing to further real American interests in the region. But sending in 100 Tomahawk missiles to blow up a few empty buildings did a great deal to further the bottom line of missile-maker Raytheon.

Interestingly, Biden’s Secretary of Defense came to the Administration straight from his previous position on the board of, you guessed it, Raytheon. Libertarian educator Tom Woods once quipped that no matter who you vote for you get John McCain. Perhaps it’s also fair to say that no matter who you vote for you get to enrich Raytheon.

The Democrats wasted four years trying to remove Trump from office under the bogus “Russiagate” lie and then the equally ridiculous and discredited claim that Trump led an insurrection against the government on January 6th. Yet when Trump started raining bombs down on Syria with no Congressional declaration of war or even authorization, most Democrats stood up and cheered. Left-wing CNN talking head Fareed Zakaria swooned, “I think Donald Trump became president of the United States last night.”

In fact, initiating a war against a country that did not attack and does not threaten the United States without Congressional authority is an impeachable offense. But both parties – with a few exceptions – are war parties.

President Biden should be impeached for his attack on Syria, as should have Trump and Obama before him. But no one in Washington is going to pursue impeachment charges against a president who recklessly takes the United States to war. War greases Washington’s wheels.

Isn’t it strange how we’ve heard nothing about ISIS for the past couple of years, but suddenly the mainstream media tells us the ISIS is back and on the march? When President Biden says “America is back,” what he really means is “the war party is back.” As if they ever left.

 

Read more:

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2021/march/01/biden-s-syria-attack-an-actual-impeachable-offense/

more more more US sanctions... blah blah blah...

Despite actively implementing sanctions ever since bilateral relations started to deteriorate in 2014, Washington has maintained cooperation with Russia in the space industry, namely continuing to buy heavy boosters for space launches from Moscow.

The US Department of State has announced a new round of sanctions against Russia, introduced in connection with the alleged poisoning of opposition activist Alexei Navalny, which Washington has repeatedly blamed on the Kremlin, despite presenting no solid evidence to substantiate such claims. The new round of sanctions targeted the defence industry, with Russia being added to the list of countries denied exports of defence articles and defence services.

At the same time, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken noted that certain sectors will be exempt from the new round of sanctions for the next six months.

"Exports in support of commercial space cooperation, however, will be restricted following a six-month transition period", Blinken said.

The secretary of state also said certain exceptions will be made "in support of government space cooperation", but gave no indication as to how long they will last.

According to the US Department of State, the new sanctions will remain in effect for at least 12 months.

 

Read more:

https://sputniknews.com/us/202103021082235054-us-bans-defence-related-exports-to-russia-makes-exceptions-in-space-sector/

 

NOTE: The more the US (nd the EU) harp about Navalny, the more you can be sure that "his poisoning" was a CIA false flag...

 

the rumsfeld/cebrowski plan in iraq...

US President Joe Biden recently launched airstrikes in Syria, claiming that they were in response to attacks on US-led occupation forces within Iraq. In a detailed interview, Iraqi sociologist Sami Ramadani explains that if the current trajectory of US policy doesn't change, it may lead to "war with Iran".

Sami Ramadani is an Iraqi-born lecturer in sociology and writes on Middle East current affairs. A political exile from Saddam Hussein's Iraq, Ramadani nonetheless campaigned against US-led sanctions as well as the invasion and occupation of the country. He is a member of the steering committee of Stop the War Coalition.

Ramadani spoke at length with Sputnik about the consequences of the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq and challenged some misconceptions regarding the nature of the resistance to the foreign military presence there. He also explained that an improvement of America's foreign policy towards Iraq will be shaped by whether US President Joe Biden ditches his original plan to carve the country up into three separate ethno-religious statelets, with a weak central government.

Sputnik: Describe the current political, economic and security situation in Iraq.

Sami Ramadani: The current situation in Iraq still relates very strongly to the invasion and occupation of the country in 2003. And [this] month marks the 18th anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. As your readers would know, probably, over a million Iraqis lost their lives in that invasion. Aside from the destruction to life, there was enormous destruction to the economic infrastructure of Iraq.

To make matters even worse, the occupation erected a political edifice supportive of its presence in Iraq. So that political edifice sustained the destruction at all levels: social, economic, security. Everything was done to prolong the presence of the occupation, [rather than rebuild the country]. Therefore, every other aspect of social, economic and political life in Iraq suffered enormously.

 

And this has been more or less a continuing scenario with some very important developments. So, it hasn't been just a straight line of US occupation and destruction. There has been resistance, and the resistance has borne fruit at many different levels. Most of [the US] presence in Iraq was ended by 2011.

So, from 2003 to 2011, you could say Iraq was fully occupied, even though we had a so-called Iraqi government, but really the US armed forces were running the shop. After 2011, things have changed. Most of these forces withdrew from Iraq and this allowed for a space to emerge. They did not withdraw voluntarily, although they signed an agreement to do so, but they were forced to do so because of the rising tide of armed resistance, economic resistance, psychological, social, at every level, Iraqi society was rebelling against the occupation. So, they had to withdraw 90 percent of their forces.

Sputnik: How has this reduction of US forces changed facts on the ground?

Sami Ramadani: Obviously, their presence is still felt today. They still have a direct presence, but their departure opened further space for the anti-occupation, pro-independence forces in Iraq to emerge properly and to get stronger and stronger. This created a new dynamic in Iraq, that the United States started losing its full control over the country.

And that loss of full control further strengthened the emergence of the people resisting their presence in the country. This came to a head by 2014 when the ISIS* forces invaded and occupied Mosul with the support of some local forces, including parts of the Kurdistan leadership. The Iraqi Kurdish leadership led by Barzani, particularly that wing of the Kurdish leadership, actually cooperated with ISIS in the fall of Mosul and occupation of about a third of Iraqi territory.

Sputnik: How did the Barzani government of Iraqi Kurdistan cooperate, briefly?

Sami Ramadani: A lot of the leading figures of the fall of Mosul, apart from the ISIS figures (they were always underground and secretive), but their supporters: former army officers, former Saddam regime functionaries, some of the more extreme sectarian Islamists, were all based in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan regional government.

Sputnik: And these ISIS elements were permitted to function in Erbil?

Sami Ramadani: They were permitted. They functioned in public, they had TV stations, radio stations, all their literature was published in Erbil. So, there was preparation. Remember in that period, 2013- 14, there was an intense conflict over political power in Iraq. And although the United States backed [former Iraqi President] Nouri al-Maliki to come to power, he gradually parted away from them, instituting particular policies that angered the Americans. And the United States’ most loyal ally in Iraq is Masoud Barzani, leader of the Kurdistan region government, he rebelled as well against Maliki.

So, both the United States and Barzani wanted to bring down Maliki. ISIS [was allowed] by the United States and Barzani to take over Mosul and take over areas which were under the control of the Kurdistan regional government, like the famous town of Sinjar where most of the Yazidis lived. [Sinjar] was under the control of Barzani’s forces and they withdrew 48 hours before ISIS’s forces arrived into Sinjar. And there is footage of the Peshmerga (which are the Barzani forces) and ISIS forces having green lines and greeting each other - with the flag of ISIS one side and Kurdish regional government on the other.

 

Now [Barzani had two prizes]. One, to bring down Maliki, which eventually they succeeded in doing. But secondly, to take over [the entirety of] the so-called areas that are under dispute. Should [these areas] belong [under] the direct control of the central government or should they belong to the Kurdistan Regional Government? And these were huge swathes of Northern Iraq, stretching from the most important oil producing city of Kirkuk, which was still under central government control, all the way [through] towns, villages, all the way to Mosul.

Sputnik: Former president Maliki, a Shia, was accused of operating a more sectarian government and there was lots of alienation from segments of the Sunni population. Is that correct? Is that one of the reasons why ISIS was greeted with some degree of support?

Sami Ramadani: It’s certainly one of the reasons. Remember that Maliki’s sectarian policies were not new. They characterised all of the governments, regimes, that the United States established in Iraq since 2003. The sectarian structure of Iraqi politics, constitution, army structures, new security forces, were all based on sectarian lines and divisions. So, it's a system that the United States itself instituted. Maliki was no more sectarian, or less, than previous regimes. Because the system itself, the structure of Iraqi state and government, was founded on sectarian [grounds]...

Sputnik: You mean since the 2003 US/UK invasion or before?

Sami Ramadani: Since the invasion. Saddam had sectarian policies, but [they were limited]. For example, [under Saddam] you are banned, every Iraqi is banned, to stand up and say ‘I'm Sunni or Shia’, or [of] this or that sect. It's actually illegal, especially if you're a state functionary, you'll go to jail. Your ID, your documents, none of it would legally refer to your sect. There were secular traditions that Saddam had to adhere to. He became more sectarian once the uprising started.

Now what Saddam faced was two great uprising, both of which started in the south and spread across. When he retaliated, he necessarily retaliated against Shia towns and villages and state functionaries, armed forces, you name it, ruthless suppression. But he was generally an equal opportunities dictator. [Saddam’s] concern was more political power than establishing a sectarian system as such. So, there is a subtle difference.

Sputnik: To what extent do you expect the foreign policy of the Biden administration to differ from that of Trump's, as far as Iraq is concerned?

Sami Ramadani: US policies in Iraq after the occupation, especially after most of their forces left Iraq, were anchored on applying the so-called Biden Plan, meaning dividing Iraq along ethnic, religious lines of Kurd, Sunni, Shia and keeping tensions going between the various communities, and encouraging even violent ethnic cleansing, and so on. [We should judge Biden by] whether he's going to abandon that anchor of US policy in Iraq. If he's going to abandon it, then Iraq and the United States could have more peaceful relations. If not, it means he is going to continue to keep US bases in Iraq, interfere in Iraq, and make Iraq a base to wage a war on Iran.

This essentially means that because Iraq is so strategic for its oil resources and its position in the region, in terms of its influence in the Arab world or the Middle East in general, the US policy is dictated by a strategic interest in the area. And US alliance with Israel will also be an important factor, in terms of determining Biden’s policies towards Iraq. So, it is a situation which is even above the person who rules in the White House.

 

Considering his history in Iraq, I am not so optimistic that he will disengage. That means continued tensions and the United States creating problems, divisions, encouraging terrorism, et cetera, in Iraq. So, he either goes the radical way or goes along with a version, a different version, of what the United States has been doing in Iraq for a number of years now and in the process, destroying it, or near to destroying it, as a society and a functioning state.

Sputnik: You wanted to mention something about the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Units?

Sami Ramadani: One important factor to stress in Iraqi politics today, is the emergence of a big contradiction between the United States’ presence and influence in Iraq and the rise of the Popular Mobilisation Units, (PMUs or PMFs – Popular Mobalisation Forces). This is now a very big military force inside Iraq that led the fight against ISIS and the defeat of ISIS, and the liberation of the land they occupied in Iraq. These forces are definitely anti-US.

They want the United States out of Iraq. The United States now is accusing them of being just Iranian proxies. This is absolutely false. They have alliances with Iran, but they are rooted in Iraq and Iraqi politics, history. We might disagree with them because of our politics in terms of religion or whatever, but they are a genuine Iraqi force. Some of them are in alliance with Iran, but they are Iraqis that fought tooth and nail to defeat ISIS and they want the United States forces to be out of Iraq. And that is a huge contradiction inside the country. And it's playing a role in shaping Iraqi politics vis a vis US presence and control of aspects of Iraqi society.

 

* Daesh (also known as ISIL/ISIS/IS/Islamic State) a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.

** This article has been edited for clarity and concision

 

 

Read more:

https://sputniknews.com/interviews/202103021082224273-bidens-plan-to-carve-up-iraq-into-three-regions-has-proven-disastrous-iraqi-sociologist-explains/

Read from top.

Note: DAESH was a secret "invention" of the Saudi/US alliance to sow shit in the region... and promote the Saudi supremacy.

 

 

 

 

an illegal airstrike...

The Biden administration is facing intense criticism from U.S. progressives after carrying out airstrikes on eastern Syria said to be targeting Iranian-backed militia groups. The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports at least 22 people died. The Pentagon called the assault a response to recent rocket attacks on U.S. forces in northern Iraq. Those attacks came more than a year after Iraq’s parliament voted to expel U.S. troops — an order ignored by both the Trump and Biden administrations. “Very quickly the Biden administration is falling into the same old patterns of before, of responding to this and that without having a clear strategy that actually would extract us from these various conflicts and actually pave the way for much more productive diplomacy,” says Trita Parsi, executive vice president of the Quincy Institute. We also speak with California Congressmember Ro Khanna, who says President Biden’s recent airstrikes in Syria lacked legal authority. “This is not an ambiguous case. The administration’s actions are clearly illegal under the United States’ law and under international law,” says Khanna.

Transcript


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

 

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The Quarantine Report. I’m Amy Goodman, as we turn now to Syria. The Biden administration is facing intense criticism after U.S. Air Force fighter jets bombed eastern Syria Thursday. The Pentagon claimed the strikes targeted Iranian-backed militant groups. The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports at least 22 people died.

Biden ordered the airstrike on the same day he spoke with the king of Saudi Arabia, Iran’s arch rival in the region. According to the White House, Biden committed on the call to helping Saudi Arabia defend its territory from Iranian-aligned groups.

The Pentagon called the assault a response to recent rocket attacks on U.S. forces in northern Iraq. Those attacks came more than a year after Iraq’s parliament voted to expel U.S. troops — an order that’s been ignored by both Trump and Biden.

On Friday, Biden was asked about the airstrikes.

REPORTER: Mr. President, what message were you sending to Iran with your first military action?

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: You can’t get — you can’t act with impunity. Be careful.

AMY GOODMAN: Still with us is Democratic Congressmember Ro Khanna of California. We’re also joined by Trita Parsi, executive vice president of the new think tank, the Quincy Institute. His most recent book is titled Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran and the Triumph of Diplomacy.

Trita Parsi, can you respond to the attack, the U.S. bombing of Syria?

TRITA PARSI: Yes. The Biden administration, I think President Biden himself specifically, felt strongly that because of the attacks in Iraq earlier, that a response was warranted. But what I think many people are fearing is that very quickly the Biden administration is falling into the same old patterns of before, of responding to this and that without having a clear strategy that actually would extract us from these various conflicts and actually pave the way for much more productive diplomacy.

The idea that this actually would help us with the diplomacy with Iran, for instance, seems really difficult to understand, mindful of the fact that we are now in a situation in which the Iranians have rejected the offer from the Europeans to come to the talks precisely because of these attacks, because of other measures that have been done, which means that these first two months of the Biden administration, that could have been used for really productively laying the groundwork for new talks, seem to instead have been used to just fall into the old patterns. And this is quite concerning, because, at the end of the day, reviving the JCPOA is another promise that the Biden administration gave during the campaign and said that it would pursue diligently.

AMY GOODMAN: Were you surprised by these attacks? And explain exactly where they took place in Syria.

TRITA PARSI: Took place in eastern part of Syria. These are various groups that the Biden administration describes as pro-Iranian, certainly seem to have a degree of support from Iran. Whether they’re under the command of Iran is not as clear.

And at the end of the day, you know, the fact that this was said the same day as the Biden administration decided not to pursue sanctions on MBS, again, seems to suggest that the Biden administration is more concerned at this point of making sure that it doesn’t upset certain allies in the region, doesn’t pay a political cost at home, for pursuing compromise with Iran over the nuclear issue, which I think sends a very, very concerning message, because, at the end of the day, in order for the JCPOA to be revived, both the Iranians and the U.S. side have to give compromises, and they’re going to have to pay a political price at home. The Obama administration did so. The Rouhani government did so. There is no escaping from that. But if at already this stage we’re signaling that we’re not ready to do so and we’re too concerned about those political costs, that really sets a question mark as to whether the political will exists for seeing these negotiations on the nuclear program come to completion.

AMY GOODMAN: Congressmember Ro Khanna, your response to the bombing of Syria?

REP. RO KHANNA: Well, this is not an ambiguous case. The administration’s actions are clearly illegal under the United States’ law and under international law. We do not have any authorization of military force to go into Syria. In fact, President Obama tried and then backed off in getting that authorization. We do not have any authorization of military force to attack Iran. The idea that this was an imminent attack on U.S. self-defense is simply not borne out by the facts. And under international law, for self-defense, we have to go to the United Nations. The administration did not do that. So, my concern is that this president ran on ending endless wars, ran on respecting the United States’ and international law, and these actions clearly violate both.

AMY GOODMAN: So, Trita Parsi, if you could talk about the European Union, Iran rejecting an offer by the EU to hold direct talks with the U.S. on the nuclear deal after the U.S. attack on eastern Syria? The significance of this?

TRITA PARSI: It’s a very unfortunate decision by the Iranians. I mean, I think it would have much better if they accepted this invitation.

But at the same time, it is not a surprising decision. In fact, one of President Biden’s own senior officials, Wendy Sherman, who is now going to be confirmed next week or having hearings to become the deputy secretary, said — she was a lead negotiator under Obama for the nuclear deal — said, in 2019, that the idea that the Iranians would come to the table and talk to the United States without some sanctions relief, meaning that the United States would continue to violate the JCPOA and yet the Iranians would come, was extremely unlikely. It’s not clear to me why the Biden administration has chosen a strategy that some of its own senior officials earlier on had deemed to be extremely unlikely to succeed.

So it’s not surprising. It’s very negative. And now we’re in a worse situation. There’s going to be a fight potentially today at the IAEA Board of Governors about whether to censure Iran for some of its reductions of obligations under the JCPOA, while the United States continues to completely disregard all of its obligations.

So, these are all the type of wrong measures and steps that should be taken at this stage of diplomacy. At this stage, there should be goodwill measures, there should be positive signals of intent, in order to create the best possible circumstances for diplomacy to start. Now we’re having the opposite.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you explain, Trita, Iran’s demand that the U.S. end sanctions before returning to negotiations? Explain what the U.S. sanctions against Iran are and how they’re affecting the people there.

TRITA PARSI: Well, the Iranians have now suffered tremendously under sanctions that President Trump put in place in 2018 and 2019 and onwards. These have been devastating to the Iranian economy. In fact, President Trump intensified those once COVID broke out, seeing the pandemic as a way to further enhance the impact of sanctions. And this means including blocking Iran’s ability to get IMF loans for the purpose of fighting the virus. So, the Iranians have suffered tremendously under these sanctions for the last couple of years.

I think part of the reason why they’re fearful of going to the table without getting some indication — not all sanctions need to be lifted, from their perspective, but some indication that the U.S. is going to lift sanctions, is that, otherwise, they fear that the talks may not succeed, they will get blamed for the breakdown of talks, they will be seen as being at fault, even though the United States, under Biden, has not changed Trump’s position of maximum pressure. So the U.S. doesn’t even come back into the deal but manages to shift the blame onto the Iranians. I think this is part of their fear.

I think, at the same time, demanding that all sanctions be lifted, which they did earlier on, is completely unrealistic. What is happening right now is that the Iranian demand is that the U.S. side promises that once the U.S. is inside of the deal, it will lift sanctions. But it’s also very difficult to see how the U.S. could reject that, mindful of the fact that once it is inside the deal, it has to lift the sanctions; otherwise, it will be in complete violation of the deal.

AMY GOODMAN: Ro Khanna, if you can talk about the timing of this attack? All week, the buildup to the release of the report on the murder of Khashoggi and the clear connection to MBS, Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, so all of that was building. Then President Biden says he’s speaking with the king, and they talk about defending Saudi’s borders. And just before the release of the report, they bomb Syria, and they talk about attacking Iranian-backed militias, the major enemy of Saudi Arabia. Can you respond to this, this idea that they are releasing a report that proves the murder of Khashoggi is the crown — behind it is the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, but then they do Saudi Arabia’s bidding?

REP. RO KHANNA: Well, Amy, this is why the Constitution says that before a president takes these actions, they have to come to Congress, because those issues would have been debated in Congress. Questions would have been asked: Is this in any way in response to conversations with the Saudis? Why do we need to take this action now? Why is it that suddenly we feel that there’s an imminent threat? Is this action going to be escalatory? They’re saying that the action is deescalatory. I haven’t understood how. How is a military strike deescalatory?

And the main point here is that the maximum pressure campaign has not worked. Iran’s enriched uranium was about 102 kilograms when President Trump took office. It is 2.5 tons now. It is 25 times more. So, repeating this continued strategy not only has implications for our staying entangled in the Middle East, it actually has not worked in the objectives. And the challenge is a naive view in the United States that somehow our actions are going to force regime change in Iran. If anything, they’re entrenching the regime. We need a totally different approach. And I actually think the American people want a totally different approach.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you both for being with us. Trita Parsi, thank you for joining us, with the Quincy Institute. I also want to thank Ro Khanna and ask you to stay with us, because a lot has happened in the House, where you’re a member from California. We want to ask you about the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package. The House has included the $15-an-hour minimum wage, but it will be stripped out. Get your response to that and other issues. Stay with us.

 

Read more:

https://www.democracynow.org/2021/3/1/syrian_airstrikes_biden_administration

 

Note: there are two main isotopes of uranium. U-235 (used on power generation/ and bombs when refined at high concentration) and U-238 (depleted uranium use in tank-busting shells — think Yugoslavia and Iraq.)

 

In a nuclear power station, the fissioning of uranium atoms replaces the burning of coal or gas. In a nuclear reactor the uranium fuel is assembled in such a way that a controlled fission chain reaction can be achieved. The heat created by splitting the U-235 atoms is then used to make steam which spins a turbine to drive a generator, producing electricity.

 

The fuel elements are surrounded by a substance called a moderator to slow the speed of the emitted neutrons and thus enable the chain reaction to continue. Water, graphite and heavy water are used as moderators in different types of reactor.

Because of the kind of fuel used ("low" concentration of U-235), if there is a major uncorrected malfunction in a reactor the fuel may overheat and melt, but it cannot explode like a bomb.

A typical 1000 megawatt (MWe) reactor can provide enough electricity for a modern city of up to one million people.

 


Uranium is made weapons-grade through "isotopic enrichment".

Naturally, only about 0.7% of uranium is fissile U-235, while the rest is almost entirely uranium-238 (U-238). They are separated by their differing masses. Highly enriched uranium is considered weapons-grade when it has been enriched to about 90% U-235.  It is highly unlikely that Iran has 2.5 tons of enriched U-235. The Iranian uranium is at best 20 per cent of U-235, 80 per cent U-238 — for use in power stations.

 

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See also: https://therealnews.com/weve-made-this-kind-of-war-invisible

 

 

 

to be noticed, you need to bomb a country...

 

 

By Dr. Binoy Kampmark

 

Every power worth its portion of salt in the Levant these days seems to be doing it. On February 25, President Joe Biden ordered airstrikes against Syria. The premise for the attacks was implausible.

“These strikes were authorized in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq,” claimed Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, “and to ongoing threats to those personnel.”

More specifically, the strikes were in retaliation for rocket attacks in northern Iraq on the airport of Erbil that left a Filipino contractor working for the US military dead and six others injured, including a Louisiana National Guard soldier. The targets in Syria were facilities used by Iranian-backed militia groups, including Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada. According to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the attack left up to 22 people dead.

The Biden administration has resorted to tactics long embraced by US presidents. To be noticed, you need to bomb a country.

The measure, more a sign of raging impotence than stark virility, is always larded with jargon and bureaucratic platitudes.

“We said a number of times that we will respond on our timeline,” explained Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to reporters keeping him company on a flight from California to Washington. “We wanted to be sure of the connectivity and we wanted to be sure about the right targets.” He was convinced “that the target was being used by the same Shia militants that conducted the [February 15] strikes.”

Seven 500-pound bombs were used in the operation, though Stars and Stripes initially reported that “the type of weaponry used” was not disclosed. The Pentagon had been keen to push a larger range of targets, but Biden was being presidential in restraint, approving, as the New York Times puts it, “a less aggressive option”.

Kirby insisted the operation had been the sensible outcome of discussions with coalition partners. “The operation sends an unambiguous message: President Biden will act to protect American and Coalition personnel.”

Defying credulity, the spokesman suggested that the US had “acted in a deliberate manner that aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq.”

Congress, the people’s chamber, was left out in the cold, though not for the first time by this administration. Press outlets such as the Associated Press had ingested the fable that this was “the first military action undertaken by the Biden administration”. But on January 27, the New York Times reported that the US Air Force had killed 10 ISIS members near Kirkuk in Iraq, including Abu Yasser al-Issawi. A spokesman for the US-led coalition against Islamic State, Colonel Wayne Marotto, was satisfied with the bloody result“Yasser’s death is another significant blow to Daesh resurgence efforts in Iraq.”

Such casual non-reporting, even during the incipient stages of a presidential administration, should have received a tongue-lashing. Instead, there were a good number in the press stable who could only see the figure of the previous White House occupant, and feel relief that Biden was being so sensible. 

The Daily Beast suggested, with little substance, that the airstrike lacked the recklessness of the Trump administration. Bobby Ghosh for Bloomberg, also falling into error in claiming this as Biden’s “first military attack”, was convinced that the actions were sound in letting those naughty Iranians “know” that the president “wasn’t bluffing.”:

[Iran and its] proxies were caught completely off guard. They had been lulled into a sense of impunity by the administration’s early reticence in attributing blame for the attacks in Iraq and the White House’s determination not to ‘lash out and risk and escalation’.”

Ghosh even goes so far as to laud the February 25 military strike as a necessary antidote against paralysing and unproductive diplomacy, ignoring accounts suggesting that Iran has encouraged Shiite militias in Iraq to refrain from excessive violence. 

The US, including its allies, Britain, France, and Germany, had initially embraced a posture of “studied calm”. Thankfully, that period of studiousness was over: “Biden has now demonstrated that he can walk and chew gum at the same time.” And so, a vigilante act in violation of a State’s sovereignty comes to be praised. 

Not all have sanitised the act as a necessitous one. Mary Ellen O’Connell of Notre Dame Law School thought that the strike failed to meet the necessary “elements” of a necessary use of force: 

The United Nations Charter makes absolutely clear that the use of military force on the territory of a foreign sovereign state is lawful only in response to an armed attack on the defending state for which the target is responsible.”

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was also troubled by the strike, worried that it put: 

“our country on the path of continuing the Forever War instead of ending it. This is the same path we’ve been on for almost two decades.”

Maine Democrat Senator Tim Kaine turned to the role of Congressional power

“Offensive military action without congressional approval is not constitutional absent extraordinary military circumstances.” 

Minnesota Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar also pointed out that the current White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki had herself criticised President Donald Trump in 2017 for authorising a strike in retaliation of a chemical weapons attack. “Assad is a brutal dictator,” tweeted Psaki at the time. “But Syria is a sovereign country.” Another sentiment forgotten in an increasingly amnesiac administration.

Unfortunately, war apologists tend to find ongoing justifications in the elastic imperial provisions found in the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). The 2001 AUMF was focused on perpetrators of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. The 2002 AUMF was directed to Iraq. 

Their sheer broadness has irked the sole person to vote against them.

“Nearly 20 years after I cast the sole ‘no’ vote on the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF),” stated Californian House Representative Barbara Lee, “both the 2002 and 2002 AUMFs have been employed by three successive Presidents to wage war in ways well beyond the scope that Congress initially intended.”

Biden does not even go so far as to cite such authorities, instead stating that the strikes were

consistent with my responsibility to protect United States citizens both home and abroad and in furtherance of United States national security and foreign policy interests, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct United States foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.” 

Overly stretching his argument, Biden opined that his action was also consistent with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, acknowledging a state’s right to self-defense. Not even Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama or Trump had bothered to push the international law line for such thuggish intervention, confining themselves to domestic sources of power. 

But such virtue signalling did evoke some praise, notably from former legal adviser to the State Department, John B. Bellinger III. The President’s inaugural war powers report was “a model of war powers practice and transparency.”

Congress has made a few efforts in recent years to restrain the Commander-in-Chief for overzealous commitments. The War Powers Resolution sought to end US participation in the Yemen conflict. In 2020, members of Congress resolved to modestly shackle Trump from commencing a full-blown war with Iran. But the February 25 attacks show that the misuse and abuse of US military might by the imperial executive remains a dangerous orthodoxy, and one that continues to have its defenders. 

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

 

Read more:

https://off-guardian.org/2021/03/04/delusions-of-self-defense-biden-bombs-syria/

starting to loose the plot...

 

...

The president then said that he was “happy to take questions” from the lawmakers following his short speech – but the White House suddenly cut the feed.  

"I'd be happy to take questions if that's what I'm supposed to do, Nance," Biden said. "Whatever you want me to do."

Twitter users were left in stitches after Biden's words were pointed out by reporters from The First network.

“‘If that’s what I’m supposed to do’...guy doesn’t even know what he’s doing there,” one user pointed out.

 

Read more:

https://sputniknews.com/viral/202103041082256550-man-has-no-idea-what-hes-doing-biden-says-hes-happy-to-take-question-but-wh-cuts-feed/

 

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pentagon prolongs an unpopular war

How the US military subverted the Afghan peace agreement to prolong an unpopular war

 

GARETH PORTER


MARCH 16, 2021


Appointed in the final days of Trump’s presidency to remove all US troops from Afghanistan, Douglas Macgregor tells The Grayzone how military leadership undermined the withdrawal and pressured Trump to capitulate.

In an exclusive interview with The Grayzone, Col. Douglas Macgregor, a former senior advisor to the acting secretary of defense, revealed that President Donald Trump shocked the US military only days after the election last November by signing a presidential order calling for the withdrawal of all remaining US troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year. 

As Macgregor explained to The Grayzone, the order to withdraw was met with intense pressure from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), Gen. Mark M. Milley, which caused the president to capitulate. Trump agreed to withdraw only half of the 5,000 remaining troops in the country. Neither Trump’s order nor the pressure from the JCS chairman was reported by the national media at the time. 

The president’s surrender represented the Pentagon’s latest victory in a year-long campaign to sabotage the US-Taliban peace agreement signed in February 2020. Military and DOD leaders thus extended the disastrous and unpopular 20-year US war in Afghanistan into the administration of President Joe Biden.

A peace agreement the Pentagon was determined to subvert

The subversion of the peace agreement with the Taliban initiated by the US military leadership in Washington and Afghanistan began almost as soon as Trump’s personal envoy Zalmay Khalilzad negotiated a tentative deal in November 2019. The campaign to undermine presidential authority was actively supported by then-Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.

In February 2020, under heavy pressure to amend the agreement, Trump ordered Khalilzad to deliver the Taliban an ultimatum: agree to a full ceasefire as a prelude to a broader peace deal, including negotiations with the Afghan government, or the deal was off. The Taliban refused the immediate ceasefire with Kabul, however, offering instead a “reduction in violence” for seven days to establish a conducive atmosphere for implementing the peace agreement that had already been fleshed out in detail. It then gave the US its own ultimatum: if the US refused the offer, its negotiators would walk away from the table.  

To salvage the deal, Khalilzad agreed to the Taliban proposal for a one-week “reduction of violence” by both sides. The adversaries reached further understandings on what such a “reduction in violence” would mean: the Taliban agreed there would be no attacks on population centers and Afghan stationary military targets, but reserved the right to attack government convoys if they exploited the reduction to seize control of new areas. 

The US-Taliban peace agreement signed on February 29 called for a withdrawal of US troops from the country in two stages. First, the US agreed to reduce its troop levels to 8600 within 4.5 months and remove forces from five military bases ahead of a final withdrawal that would take place in May 2021. Second, the US and its allies pledged to “refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Afghanistan or intervening in its domestic affairs.”

The Taliban promised in turn that it would “not allow any of its members, other individuals or groups, including al-Qaeda, to use the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies.”  

Those two commitments obliged US and Taliban forces not to attack each other. The agreement also specified that the Taliban would enter into “intra-Afghan negotiations on March 10, 2020, after the two Afghan parties were to have exchanged prisoners.” 

They also required the Taliban to keep al-Qaeda personnel out of Afghanistan – a pledge the Taliban military commission appeared to implement in February when it issued an order to all commanders forbidding them from “bringing foreign nationals into their ranks or giving them shelter.”

But the pact did not provide for the immediate ceasefire between Taliban and Afghan government forces which the U.S. military and Pentagon demanded. Instead “a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire” was to be negotiated between the two Afghan parties.  

With startling swiftness and determination, Pentagon officials and military leadership exploited the open-ended terms of the ceasefire to derail the implementation of the agreement. 

Secretary of Defense Esper claimed the peace deal allowed the US military to defend Afghan forces, blatantly contradicting the agreement’s text. He then pledged to come to the defense of the Afghan government if the Taliban began mounting attacks on its forces, setting the stage for American violations on the ground.

Esper’s promise of continued US military support, made public in Congressional testimony days later, gave the Afghan government a clear incentive to refuse any concessions to the Taliban. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani promptly refused to go ahead with a promised prisoner exchange until formal negotiations with the Taliban had begun.

The Taliban responded by initiating a series of attacks on government troops at checkpoints in contested areas. The US military command in Afghanistan responded with an airstrike against Taliban forces engaged in one of those operations in Helmand province. US officials said privately that the airstrike was “a message to the Taliban” to continue what they described as the “reduction in violence commitment they had agreed…”

The combination of Esper’s assurance to the Afghan government and the US airstrike showed the hand of the Pentagon and military leadership. It was clear they had no intention of passively accepting a deal to withdraw the remaining US personnel from Afghanistan, and would do whatever they could to unravel it.

Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the head of Central Command, further highlighted the Pentagon’s opposition to the deal when he declared in congressional testimony that troop withdrawals would be determined by “conditions on the ground.” In other words, it was up to the judgment of military commanders, rather than the terms of the agreement, to determine when U.S. troops would be withdrawn.

Shaping a false narrative on the agreement

The military’s plan to sabotage the agreement hinged on creating the false impression that the Taliban had reneged on its commitments. This ruse was advanced mostly publicly by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Esper.

In an interview with CBS News, Pompeo mentioned “a detailed set of commitments that the Taliban have made about the levels of violence that can occur…” But that was a deliberate obfuscation. Though the Taliban had agreed to the seven-day “reduction in violence,” it did not apply to the peace agreement signed on February 29, 2020. 

On March 2, Esper told reporters, “This is a conditions-based agreement…. We’re watching the Taliban’s actions closely to assess whether they are upholding their commitments.” That same day, US commander in Afghanistan Gen. Scott Miller stated through a spokesman on Twitter, “The United States has been very clear about our expectations — the violence must remain low.”  

Once again, the Pentagon and the US command were dictating conditions to the Taliban outside the actual written terms of the peace agreement. 

The Pentagon and military command’s ploy was advanced through a story leaked to the New York Times and published on March 8. Below the headline, “A Secret Accord With the Taliban: When and How the U.S. Would Leave Afghanistan,” the story referred to two “secret annexes” to deceptively suggest that the agreements reached with the Taliban were not fully reflected in the publicly available text. 

The Times’ ploy recalled the national hysteria the paper triggered last summer when it legitimized an Afghan intelligence fraud by publishing a series of lengthy articles claiming Russia had paid Taliban fighters bounties for dead American service members. Indeed, the “secret annexes” story was simply the latest political deception deployed by the Pentagon to torpedo plans for a US withdrawal.  

Despite the article’s assertion that the two documents “lay out the specific understandings between the United States and the Taliban,” the only specific reference in the story to any such understanding mentioned “commitments from the Taliban not to attack American forces during a withdrawal.” However, that explicit commitment was missing from the actual terms of the published accord.

As the Times acknowledged in its article, when Esper and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley appeared before the House Armed Services Committee just three days before the agreement was signed, both were asked about any “side deals with the Taliban.” Neither said they were aware of any unpublished agreements. Pompeo, who also denied the existence of any “side deals” with the Taliban, referred to them as “military implementation documents.”

The evidence clearly indicated that the so-called “secret annexes” were, in fact, internal US documents on US policy related to the agreement.

 

In April 2020, the Taliban accused the United States of flagrantly violating the deal, citing 50 attacks by US and Afghan forces between March 9 and April 10, including 33 drone attacks and eight night raids by Special Operations forces. By the summer, as the Taliban stepped up attacks on government checkpoints in areas bordering territory under their control, US forces in Afghanistan and the Defense Departmentinformed the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) that the orders to Afghan government forces allowed them to preemptively strike Taliban positions. 

The war thus returned to the situation that prevailed before the agreement was signed and the peace deal was effectively shattered. 

Meanwhile, the US military continued to accuse the Taliban of failing to adhere to the agreement. In July, the US government-run Voice of America reported that McKenzie had “told VOA the Taliban has not kept up their commitments agreed to in the U.S.-Taliban peace deal, leading to one of the ‘most violent’ periods of the war in Afghanistan.”

Reversing a presidential order for withdrawal

Following Trump’s defeat in the November 2020 presidential election, and after fashioning the strategy to sabotage the Afghan peace agreement, Esper, McKenzie, and Miller agreed on a memorandum from the “chain of command” warning Trump against further withdrawal from Afghanistan until “conditions” had been met. These terms included a “reduction in violence” and “progress at the negotiating table.”  

Trump reacted to the memo with outrage, swiftly firing Esper on November 9. He replaced him with Christopher Miller, the former head of the US counter-terrorism center who agreed with Trump on withdrawal from Afghanistan.

That same day, Trump asked Col. Douglas Macgregor to serve as Miller’s “senior adviser.” Macgregor was an outspoken advocate of withdrawal from Afghanistan and a harsh critic of other US wars in the Middle East, from Iraq to Syria. During a January 2020 interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News, Macgregor blasted Pentagon leadership for its failure to find a path out of Afghanistan.

Once inside the Pentagon, Macgregor immediately took on the task of enabling a rapid and complete withdrawal from Afghanistan. Just how close Trump came to withdrawing all US troops before leaving office had not been reported until now. Macgregor recounted the episode to The Grayzone.

According to Macgregor, he met Miller on November 10 and told him that a pullout from Afghanistan could only be accomplished by a formal presidential order. Later that day, Macgregor dictated the language of such an order to the White House by phone.

The draft order stated that all uniformed military personnel would be withdrawn from Afghanistan no later than December 31, 2020. Macgregor told the staffer to get a National Security Presidential Memorandum from the White House files to ensure that it was published in the correct format.

Macgregor’s White House contact informed him in the morning of November 11 that Trump had read the memorandum and immediately signed it. On November 12, however, he learned that Trump had met with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mark Milley, national security adviser Robert O’Brien, and Acting Secretary Miller. Trump was told that the orders he placed in the memorandum could not be executed, according to Macgregor’s White House contact.

Milley argued that a withdrawal would harm the chances of negotiating a final peace settlement and that continued US presence in Afghanistan had “bipartisan support,” Macgregor was informed. Later that night, Macgregor learned that Trump had agreed to withdraw only half of the total: 2500 troops. Trump had once again given in to military pressure, as he did repeatedly on Syria.

The maneuvering by the Pentagon to obstruct the Trump administration’s initiative to end an extremely unpopular war in Afghanistan was just one example in a long-established pattern of undermining presidential authority over matters of war and peace. 

When he was vice president, Joe Biden witnessed first-hand the pressures the Pentagon brass imposed on Barack Obama to escalate the war in Afghanistan. With the peace agreement’s May 1 deadline for final US withdrawal just weeks away, Biden is certain to face another round of maximum pressure to keep US troops in the quagmire of Afghanistan, supposedly as “leverage” on the Taliban.

 

Read more:

https://thegrayzone.com/2021/03/16/trump-us-military-peace-agreement-war-afghanistan/

 

 

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biden's terrorists...


ISIS [Daesh] expansion and re-emergence under Biden


On 2 March 2021, local sources reported that 25 ISIS terrorists had entered Syria from Iraq on the 28th February, shortly after Biden’s attack on Al Bukamal. The ISIS fighters headed to Al Sahl town in the southern countryside of Hasakah “under the protection of the US military”. The fighters were then transferred by US armoured vehicles to the US Al Bulgar base to the east of Al Shaddadi city, Hasaka countryside. From there, two US helicopters flew the ISIS militia to the US base in Al Shaddadi and then to the countryside of Deir Ezzor.


This US Coalition percolation of ISIS terrorists into Iraq from the holding camps in north-east Syria and back into Syria is not new and has been going on for some time, discussed in this article dated November 2019. The aim appears to be to create a “super ISIS” that can be injected into strategic areas of Syrian territory, in this case the Badia desert between Deir Ezzor and Homs (another oil-rich region) to carry out “swarming”, isolated attacks on Syrian Arab Army positions and installations. The purpose, to maintain military instability and insecurity and to jeopardise the meagre oil supply that is allowed to trickle through to the Syrian people, ensuring they remain in a state of misery and deprivation on all levels.


The coincidental increase in ISIS attacks in the region and their re-emergence as a regional threat just prior to, and after Biden’s inauguration provides some indication of Washington’s neoconservative game-plan. Reignite the ISIS activity in order to justify increased US Coalition military presence.


Not to be outdone, the UK, a powerful partner of the US against Syria, is apparently funding the expansion of ISIS holding camps in Hasakah, doubling their size to hold an estimated 10,000 ISIS fighters of all nationalities, including British and European. A considerable threat to the security of north-east Syria and Iraq and under the control of the US Coalition and SDF contras who are also not averse to exploiting the ISIS camps for their own corrupt gains. Strategic prison break-outs cannot be ruled out akin to “Operation breaking the walls”. This camp will give the US Coalition serious leverage and a means to blackmail the Russians and Damascus and to maintain pressure on Iraq and Iran. Meanwhile, foreign and regional ISIS fighters can be re-grouped, trained and equipped, effectively in secret.

 

Read more:

https://www.ukcolumn.org/article/joe-biden-unlawful-agression-syria-signals-endgame-region

 

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