China has a changing attitude to the thornier diplomatic and security crises now afflicting the Asian continent. Depending on the amount of national interest at play and the power it can reasonably project in the relevant geopolitical chessboards, Beijing can put on the face of peace facilitator in Syria, peace broker in Afghanistan and would-be boss in the Western Pacific.
While the main driver for the Chinese diplomacy in the Middle East is the protection of economic interests, the assertion of national sovereignty, combined with the aspiration to become the driving force in East Asia, mostly explains China’s moves in the East and South China seas. The rationale for Beijing’s posturing in Central Asia is instead more nuanced. The region is in fact a crossroads for many stakeholders; here China is committed to safeguarding precious economic assets and, at the same time, exerting some form of power.
In an osmotic way, all of these three approaches are conditioned by China’s interaction with the other great powers – the United States and Russia. Continue reading
President-elect Donald Trump has ordered every Obama-appointed diplomat home in the days following his inauguration. Most got their posts after generous political donations.
Past administrations allowed diplomats an extension until a replacement could be found, but the State Department notified all diplomats of a break from that tradition on Dec. 23. Continue reading
- Sharia courts administering Islamic justice in Britain are run by clerics who believe some offenders should have their hands chopped off, according to Muslim scholar Elham Manea. She described the prevailing attitude as “totalitarian” and as more backward than some parts of Pakistan.
- Teaching children fundamental British values is an act of “cultural supremacism,” according to the National Union of Teachers, which wants to replace the concept with one that includes “international rights.”
- More than 100,000 British Muslims sympathize with suicide bombers and people who commit other terrorist acts, according to a 615-page survey. Only one in three British Muslims (34%) would contact the police if they believed that somebody close to them had become involved with radical Islam. In addition, 23% of British Muslims said Islamic Sharia law should replace British law in areas with large Muslim populations.
- Belmarsh maximum-security prison in London has become “like a jihadi training camp,” according to testimony from a former inmate. The government was accused of burying a report on prison extremism. The report warned that staff have been reluctant to tackle Islamist behavior for fear of being labelled “racist.”
- Residents in Manchester received leaflets in their mailboxes, from a Muslim group called “Public Purity,” calling for a public ban on dogs.
- Voter fraud has been deliberately overlooked in Muslim communities because of “political correctness,” according to a government report.
- Police in Telford — dubbed the child sex capital of Britain — were accused of covering up allegations that hundreds of children in the town were sexually exploited by Pakistani sex gangs.
The Muslim population of Britain surpassed 3.5 million in 2016 to become around 5.5% of the overall population of 64 million, according to figures extrapolated from a recent study on the growth of the Muslim population in Europe. In real terms, Britain has the third-largest Muslim population in the European Union, after France, then Germany. Continue reading
Retired. Lt. Col. Ralph Peters appeared Monday on the Fox Business Network to discuss President-elect Donald Trump’s pick of Marine Gen. James Mattis (ret.) for secretary of defense and how he would respond to Iran threatening action against the United States if it extends sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Host Connell McShane asked Peters what he thought of the Iranians threatening the United States government with “strong action.” Continue reading
Syria and its allies came closer than ever to taking Aleppo on Friday, Dec. 2, when they captured the Tariq al-Bab district to gain control of 60 percent of the rebel-held eastern part of the city.
Drawing on the lessons of this success, the winning forces have begun building a military outfit modeled on the format of the victorious coalition. It is designated the “Fifth Corps” of the Syrian army, but debkafile’s military and intelligence sources can identity the new unit as the framework for an international Shiite brigade or foreign legion. Continue reading
Return of the Iranian Empire
- “For the first time since 625 c.e.,” wrote Hussain Abdul-Hussain for now media, “Iran has restored its control over a contiguous territory that extends from the east of Afghanistan to the Mediterranean coast.”
- The Syrian regime recently announced that Hezbollah will play a lead role in the nation’s military.
- On the other hand, the Iraqi government voted to fully legalize Iranian-sponsored Shiite militias, officially making them a part of the Iraqi government forces.
- Abdul-Hussain continued: “[T]hese militias will control—on Tehran’s behalf—their respective armies and, by extension, the governments behind these armies.”
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – President Tayyip Erdogan was quoted on Sunday as saying that Turkey did not need to join the European Union “at all costs” and could instead become part of a security bloc dominated by China, Russia and Central Asian nations.
NATO member Turkey’s prospects of joining the EU look more remote than ever after 11 years of negotiations. European leaders have been critical of its record on democratic freedoms, while Ankara has grown increasingly exasperated by what it sees as Western condescension.
“Turkey must feel at ease. It mustn’t say ‘for me it’s the European Union at all costs’. That’s my view,” Erdogan was quoted by the Hurriyet newspaper as telling reporters on his plane on the way back from a visit to Pakistan and Uzbekistan. Continue reading
Avi Dichter, chair of Israel’s foreign affairs and defense committee, told a visiting Swiss delegation on Nov. 3 that the Iranian-backed force was made mostly of recruits from Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“This is a foreign legion of some 25,000 militants,” Dichter said. “They are fighting in Syria only against the rebels and not against ISIL.” Continue reading
Numan Kurtulmus, the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, warned the the Syrian conflict would spark a full out conflict between Russia and America.
Colonel Richard Kemp dismissed the caution, as he argued World War Three already started on 9/11 when terrorists killed almost 3000 people.
This is a video of Putin explaining the balance of power from the Russian viewpoint. He is absolutely correct in saying that an anti-missile system neutralizes opposition. It would certainly embolden the war hawks into believing that they could defeat Russia and rule the world at the expense of American and Russian citizens.
Montesquieu, who influenced the Founding Fathers in creating the Constitution, met the political leader and soldier known as the Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736). The political discussions between these two men helped Montesquieu understand the evils of government and forged the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution and the right to bear arms. The Prince of Savoy was considered, even by Napoleon, as one of the seven greatest strategists in military history. He fought against the Turks (1683-1688, 1697, 1715-1718) and he fought against the French in the War of the Grand Alliance (1689-1691). He was also the teacher of Frederick the Great of Prussia (b 1712; 1740–1786) who he shaped into a brilliant military strategist. Continue reading
Since the article captures the point of how serious this situation is and is quite well written, it shall remain in full here for archiving purposes.
I wish I could say things were improving between the US and Russia but they aren’t. They’re rapidly worsening.
There’s so much happening right now, I can only provide a summary of a few of the more interesting and worrying developments.
This report builds on those I’ve released over the past two years and begins with a chilling editorial put out by the NY Times on September 29th, 2016, which further demonized Putin specifically, Russia generally, and openly advocates for military confrontation.
Hey, we’ve been down this path before. The deeply conflicted NY Times has never met a war in the Middle East it didn’t support, and has never had any trouble repeating war plan talking points (that always neatly align with those put out by neocon think tanks) or even printing obviously fake “intelligence” from unnamed sources such as that used to justify the illegal US attack and invasion of Iraq. Continue reading
WASHINGTON – There are many reasons people oppose Hillary Clinton’s presidential run, including a history of scandal. Worse, she would lead America into more foolish wars.
Clinton’s beliefs, behavior and promises all demonstrate that she embraces the militaristic status quo. In fact, her proclivity for promiscuous war-making has attracted the support of leading neoconservatives, including some architects of the disastrous Iraq War. Continue reading
Former Cold War advisories Pakistan and Russia are set to hold their first ever joint military exercise.
- During the Cold War, Pakistan helped US funnel arms and fighters into Afghanistan to help insurgent groups fight Soviets.
- Cold War: Communist Soviet Union was closely aligned with Pakistan’s arch-enemy India, US with Pakistan.
- Pakistan’s top military spokesman, Lieutenant General Asim Bajwa: “Contingent of Russian ground forces” arrived in Pakistan for a two-week exercise beginning on Saturday.
- Pakistan’s Tribune Express newspaper: About 200 military personnel from both sides would be involved in the exercises.
- Pakistani media last year: Islamabad bought four Mi-35 attack helicopters from Russia in first ever military deal with Russia.
- Washington previously accused Islamabad of harboring Afghan Taliban fighters.
- Pakistan wary of US improved ties with India.
- Pakistan holds China as a steadfast “all-weather” ally.
- Chinese plan to invest $46 billion in a road and rail energy corridor linking western China with Pakistan’s Arabian Sea coast.
(ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN) Former Cold War-era rivals Pakistan and Russia are due to hold their first ever military exercise this month, Pakistan’s military said on Friday, in another sign of shifting alliances in South Asia.
America’s view of the Middle East today is shaped by our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the rise and reach of ISIS, a grinding conflict in Syria, the region as a source of wider ranging terrorism and staggering outflows of refugees that are changing the political calculus in Europe. The images that characterize and shape American involvement there are of arid landscapes and rubble from wanton destruction, our soldiers and marines in desert camouflage and videos of surgical airstrikes. However, the image of the beginning of our involvement in the Middle East is a rarely viewed February 1945 photo of President Franklin Roosevelt meeting with Saudi King Abdul Aziz aboard the USS Quincy in the Suez Canal. As our strategic role in the Middle East began with a meeting on the water so, too, are consequential changes there taking place at sea – the domain in which the U.S. has enjoyed unfettered access and dominance for over seventy years. Assuming continued uncontested American maritime dominance in that vital region is a grave strategic misstep – key Asian powers have turned to the sea, they understand fully what is at stake, and they have come to play.