Wednesday 22nd of September 2021

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The US has launched air strikes against an Iran-backed militia on the Iraq-Syria border.

Sunday's strikes hit "operational and weapons storage facilities", in response to drone attacks on US forces, the Pentagon said in a statement. 

President Joe Biden "will act to protect US personnel", it added.

The Pentagon did not provide any information on casualties. But a monitoring group said five militant fighters were killed.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights several more militants were wounded in Syria "in an attack by US warplanes".

Syrian state news agency Sana meanwhile reported that a child had died and at least three other people were wounded, AFP said.

 

This is the second round of air strikes President Biden has authorised against Iran-backed militias since taking office in January. 

US forces based in Iraq have been hit several times in recent months by drone attacks. Iran has denied any involvement.

About 2,500 US troops are based in the country as part of an international coalition fighting the jihadist Islamic State (IS) group.

According to the Pentagon, the "defensive precision air strikes" hit two targets in Syria and one in Iraq. It said Iran-backed militia groups including Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada used these facilities.

Since 2009, the US has designated Kataib Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation, accusing them of threatening the peace and stability of Iraq.

The US took "necessary, appropriate, and deliberate action designed to limit the risk of escalation - but also to send a clear and unambiguous deterrent message", the statement said.

 

Read more:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-57633360

 

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feeding terrorists...

 The US is fighting hard to keep the border crossing from Turkey into Syria’s Idlib open because it allows them to supply arms to terrorists under the pretense of delivering aid, Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad told RT.

A diplomatic standoff is underway as the seven-year-long UN mandate to keep the Bab al-Hawa crossing point between Turkey and northern Syria open expires in July. The US and its allies, including Turkey, which has military presence in Idlib and maintains contacts with the local armed groups, are pushing for the crossing to remain operational for at least another year, citing concerns over civilians in the last terrorist stronghold in the country. But Syria’s main ally, Russia, threatens to veto the relevant UN Security Council resolution, insisting that all aid to the population should be channeled through Damascus.

Speaking to RT, Mekdad said Washington’s policy on cross-border aid was “pure hypocrisy.” Their efforts to keep the crossing operational are just “another attempt to help terrorist groups and to provide them with all necessary materials to prolong the terrorist war against Syria,” which has been ongoing since 2011.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/527671-syrian-idlib-humanitarian-aid/

 

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US providing weapons to al qaeda...

 

The Pentagon has ordered $ 2.8 billion worth of weapons for its allies around the world. They mainly consist of military goods under Soviet or Russian license, enabling their delivery to fly under the radar.

Half of these weapons are destined to stoke up the war against Syria.

Perusing the US Federal Procurement Data System, Bulgarian journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva detected eight contracts for a total of $ 200 million earmarked for al-Qaeda in Syria (Hayat Tahrir al-Sham – Levant Liberation Organization).

The contracting companies are TLG Worldwide, LLC, Multinational Defense Services LLC, Greystone CS3 LLC, Global Ordnance LLC, UDC USA, Inc., Culmen International, LLC, Blane International Group, Inc., Sierra Four Industries Corp.

The contracts were signed between March and December 2020 for a period of five years.

 

Read more:

https://www.voltairenet.org/article213500.html

 

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pentagon supply fucups...

 

by   

In 2016, the Pentagon was confident enough in the troubled F-35 program that it extended the fighter’s projected service life from 2064 to 2070. Now, some of the $80-million aircraft may be written off well before then, despite spending 15 years in development and less than a decade in service.

A few weeks ago, a top general indicated that the Air Force is considering retiring older F-35s instead of retrofitting them with the many upgrades and fixes that have piled up throughout the fighter’s short time in service. The Marine Corps may also be forced to retire some of its F-35s in a few years. A recent Pentagon report warned that the aircraft’s many structural problems, some of which are still unresolved, could mean that older aircraft could cease to be airworthy as soon as 2026. Worse, it’s still not clear whether upgrades which were applied to later production models have actually improved their durability. Many of the Marines’ F-35s could end up serving out less than a quarter of their anticipated lifespan.

 

In both cases, “older” is a relative term: F-35 production started in 2006. The Marines’ F-35B model entered limited service in 2015, and the Air Force rolled out its F-35A variant just over a year later. And the F-35 isn’t the only expensive toy—almost $1.2 trillion for the entire program—that’s on the chopping block much earlier than originally planned. In February, the Navy announced that it would be decommissioning four of its Littoral Combat Ships: the USS Freedom, Independence, Coronado, and Fort Worth, the oldest of which only entered service in 2008. Meanwhile, the Navy is having trouble identifying a mission for its $16 billion LCS fleet, which will require another $61 billion to maintain and operate throughout its lifespan, assuming the rest of the ships actually remain in service as long as they’re supposed to.

As one observer recently pointed out, the Defense Department’s convoluted and wasteful acquisitions process is a symptom of a more fundamental problem, which is that the United States lacks a coherent global strategy and is blind to the limitations of its power. So it’s worth taking a look at what research, development, and fielding of new weapons looked like when America had a clear mission—and when the American defense sector championed merit over politics. In order for future developments such as the Air Force’s promising Next Generation Air Dominance program to succeed, the defense industry must learn some important lessons, not just from the failures of the F-35, the LCS, and other projects, but also from a time when the American technology sector was at its peak ingenuity and drive.

 

The Lockheed Corporation, predecessor to the F-35’s embattled designer Lockheed Martin, was responsible for building some of the most impressive aircraft in history. Lockheed’s Advanced Development Projects, nicknamed “Skunk Works” as a reference to a 1940s comic strip, built aircraft that played a pivotal role in countering the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The F-80 Shooting Star was the first jet fighter to shoot down another jet, a Soviet MiG-15 fighter over Korea. The ultra-lightweight U-2 reconnaissance aircraft flew high over Soviet territory, taking photographs of military installations from up to 80,000 feet and evading early surface-to-air missiles. The A-12 and SR-71 spy planes added extreme speed to extreme altitude, blazing past Soviet air defenses at up to three times the speed of sound. Skunk Works was effective because its top-notch engineers were allowed to operate with relative freedom from Lockheed’s bureaucracy and management constraints, and even encouraged to bypass standard procedures when necessary.

Today, you’d be hard-pressed to find that same can-do American spirit at Lockheed Martin. According to a former employee, the F-35 project has become as much a jobs program as a national defense priority. And the Project On Government Oversight has extensively reported on Lockheed Martin’s incompetence and corruption throughout the two-decade-long program. If Lockheed Martin were a serious organization as it was during the Cold War, it wouldn’t operate like this. And if the Department of Defense were run by serious people, it wouldn’t allow defense contractors to engage in fraud, waste, and abuse on this scale. Lockheed Martin might be drawing the most fire right now over the F-35, but the company’s behavior is emblematic of a defense establishment with severely distorted priorities.

 

So it’s time to put it all on the chopping block. No more handouts to companies like Lockheed Martin, which already earn billions selling weapons to the American military. No more dysfunctional acquisitions programs with unattainable goals. And no more ever-shifting, ever-expanding global ambitions which inspire those unrealistic objectives. American taxpayers and service members deserve better.

 

Chris Nagavonski is a writer and translator specializing in defense policy and Eastern European affairs. His writing has been featured by The American Conservative, Real Clear Policy, American Greatness, and the Acton Institute.

 

Read more:

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/americas-defense-industry-is-a-corrupt-incompetent-mess/

 

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defensive precision bullshit airstrikes...

 

By Glenn Greenwald

 

For the second time in the five months since he was inaugurated, President Joe Biden on Sunday ordered a U.S. bombing raid on Syria, and for the first time, he also bombed Iraq. The rationale offered was the same as Biden's first air attack in February: the U.S., in the words of Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, “conducted defensive precision airstrikes against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region.” He added that “the United States acted pursuant to its right of self-defense.”

Embedded in this formulaic Pentagon statement is so much propaganda and so many euphemisms that, by itself, it reveals the fraudulent nature of what was done. To begin with, how can U.S. airstrikes carried out in Iraq and Syria be "defensive” in nature? How can they be an act of “self-defense"? Nobody suggests that the targets of the bombing campaign have the intent or the capability to strike the U.S. "homeland” itself. Neither Syria nor Iraq is a U.S. colony or American property, nor does the U.S. have any legal right to be fighting wars in either country, rendering the claim that its airstrikes were "defensive” and an “act of self-defense” to be inherently deceitful.

The Pentagon's description of the people bombed by the U.S. — “Iran-backed militias groups” — is intended to obscure the reality. Biden did not bomb Iran or order Iranians to be bombed or killed. The targets of U.S. aggression were Iraqis in their own country, and Syrians in their own country. Only the U.S. war machine and its subservient media could possibly take seriously the Biden administration's claim that the bombs they dropped on people in their own countries were "defensive” in nature. Invocation of Iran has no purpose other than to stimulate the emotional opposition to the government of that country among many Americans in the hope that visceral dislike of Iranian leaders will override the rational faculties that would immediately recognize the deceit and illegality embedded in the Pentagon's arguments.

Beyond the propagandistic justification is the question of legality, though even to call it a question dignifies it beyond what it merits. There is no conceivable Congressional authorization — none, zero — to Biden's dropping of bombs in Syria. Obama's deployment of CIA operatives to Syria and years of the use of force to overthrow Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad never had any Congressional approval of any kind, nor did Trump's bombing of Assad's forces (urged by Hillary Clintonwho wanted more), nor does Biden's bombing campaign in Syria now. It was and is purely lawless, illegal. And the same is true of bombing Iraq. The 2002 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) in Iraq, which the House just last week voted to repeal, has long since ceased to provide any legal justification for ongoing U.S. troop presence and bombing campaigns in that country.

In its statement justifying the bombing raids, Biden's Pentagon barely even bothered to pretend any of this is legal. It did not cite either the 2002 AUMF for Iraq or the 2001 AUMF authorizing the use of force against those responsible for 9/11 (a category which, manifestly, did not include Iran, Iraq or Syria). Instead, harkening back to the days of John Yoo and Dick Cheney, the Biden Defense Department claimed that “as a matter of international law, the United States acted pursuant to its right of self-defense,” and casually asserted that “as a matter of domestic law, the President took this action pursuant to his Article II authority to protect U.S. personnel in Iraq."

Those claims are nothing short of a joke. Nobody seriously believes that Joe Biden has congressional authority to bomb Syria and Iraq, nor to bomb “Iranian-backed” forces of any kind. As The Daily Beast's long-time War on Terror reporter Spencer Ackerman put it on Sunday night, discussions of legality at this point are "parody” because when it comes to the U.S.'s Endless Wars in the name of the War on Terror, “we passed Lawful behind many many years ago. Authorization citations are just pretexts written by lawyers who need to pantomime at lawfulness. The U.S. presence in Syria is blatantly illegal. Such things never stop the U.S.”

That is exactly right. The U.S. government is a lawless entity. It violates the law, including its own Constitution, whenever it wants. The requirement that no wars be fought absent congressional authority is not some ancillary bureaucratic annoyance but was completely central to the design of the country. Article I, Section 8 could not be clearer: “The Congress shall have Power . . . to declare war.” Two months after I began writing about politics — back in December, 2005 — I wrote a long article compiling the arguments in the Federalist Papers which insisted that permitting the president unchecked powers to wage war without the approval of the public — through their representatives in Congress — was uniquely dangerous for ushering in the kind of tyranny from which they had just liberated themselves, and another article in 2007 which did the same:

The Constitution -- while making the President the top General in directing how citizen-approved wars are fought -- ties the use of military force to the approval of the American citizenry in multiple ways, not only by prohibiting wars in the absence of a Congressional declaration (though it does impose that much-ignored requirement), but also by requiring Congressional approval every two years merely to have an army. In Federalist 26, this is what Alexander Hamilton said in explaining the rationale behind the latter requirement (emphasis in original):

The legislature of the United States will be obliged by this provision, once at least in every two years, to deliberate upon the propriety of keeping a military force on foot; to come to a new resolution on the point; and to declare their sense of the matter by a formal vote in the face of their constituents. They are not at liberty to vest in the executive department permanent funds for the support of an army, if they were even incautious enough to be willing to repose in it so improper a confidence.

Public opposition is the key check on the ill-advised use of military force. In Federalist 24, Hamilton explained that the requirement of constant democratic deliberation over the American military is "a great and real security against military establishments without evident necessity". . . . 

Finding a way to impose checks on the President's war-making abilities was a key objective of the Founders. In Federalist 4, John Jay identified as a principal threat to the Republic the fact that insufficiently restrained leaders "will often make war when their nations are to get nothing by it, but for purposes and objects merely personal, such as a thirst for military glory, revenge for personal affronts, ambition, or private compacts to aggrandize or support their particular families or partisans. These and a variety of other motives, which affect only the mind of the sovereign, often lead him to engage in wars not sanctified by justice or the voice and interests of his people."

But as Ackerman says, even discussing legality at this point is meaningless, an empty gesture, a joke. It gives far too much credit to the U.S. ruling class, as it implies that they care at all about whether their posture of endless war is legal. They know that it is illegal and do not care at all. Many have forgotten that President Obama not only involved the U.S. in a devastating regime-change war in Libya without congressional approval, but so much worse, continued to do so even after the House of Representatives voted against providing him authorization to use force in Libya. Obama ignored the House vote and kept troops in Libya anyways as part of a NATO mission, claiming that NATO and U.N. authorization somehow entitled him to do this despite his own country's Congress voting against it, reflecting overwhelming opposition among the citizenry. (The U.N. authorization — even if it could somehow supplant the U.S. Constitution — only allowed the use of force to protect civilians, not to overthrow the Libyan government, which quickly and predictably became the NATO mission, making it clearly illegal).

 

Read more:

https://greenwald.substack.com/p/bidens-lawless-bombing-of-iraq-and

 

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