Rebuilding Syria

BERLIN/DAMASCUS (Own report) – German companies are seeking to favorably position themselves for participation in Syria’s post-war reconstruction. Following the Damascus International Fair, which closed yesterday, the director of the Middle East Department of the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) noted, the development in the country is being “closely observed” and “a series of cautious initial inquiries” are already being registered. The Damascus International Fair is one of the most traditional fairs in the region and was held again, for the first time, since the beginning of the war. Particularly companies from Russia, Iran and China have good prospects for participating in Syria’s rebuilding. Since 2012, the German government has been eager to provide emergency aid and reconstruction. However, this aid was restricted to regions under insurgent control. Idlib Province, today controlled by the al-Qaeda offshoot al-Nusra (renamed Tahrir al-Sham) is one of those regions benefiting.

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Iran, Hezbollah Now in Syrian Golan

Iran, Hezbollah Now in Syrian Golan

Russia has moved Iranian and Hezbollah military officials into an administrative center a little more than a mile form the Israeli border in the Golan Heights.

 

As if thumbing his nose at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Russian President Vladimir Putin has moved Iranian and Hezbollah officers into Quneitra, a little more than a mile from Israel’s border in the Syrian Golan. Continue reading

Russia: Who Stole What For North Korea

Over the weekend Russia made a point of revealing another of their post-Cold War EW (electronic warfare) aircraft. This one is called the Il-22PP and described as an airborne electronic jammer that can block all manner of signals but particularly the digital ones (like Link 16) favored by Western warplanes. The Il-22PP was also described as being able to protect itself from anti-radiation missiles, like the American AGM-88. Since late 2015 Russia has revealed (to the public) the existence of other post-Cold War electronic warfare aircraft by using them in Syria or over Ukraine. Not so the Il-22PP, at least not yet. Continue reading

Putin Warns America “Has A False Sense That It Can Do Anything Without Consequences”

 

In the first episode of Stone’s hugely anticipated Showtime series, which aired Monday night, Russian President Vladimir Putin pulled no punches claiming US is to blame for the rise of Al-Qaeda and its late mastermind Osama bin Laden, which it empowered to fight Soviet troops in Afghanistan, adding that there is proof the CIA supported terrorists in Russia’s Chechnya.

 Al-Qaeda is not the result of our activities. This is the result of activities of our US friends. This all started in the times of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, when the US security services supported different movements of Islamic fundamentalism in their struggle against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan,” Putin told Stone, adding that the “US side has nurtured both Al-Qaeda and [Osama] bin Laden.”

“It always happens like this. Our US partners should have been aware of it. It is their fault,” Putin said. Continue reading

Europe: Choosing Suicide?

As UK Justice Secretary in 2015, Chris Grayling said: “We need urgent, wholesale reform of human rights laws in this country to make sure they cannot be twisted to serve the interests of those who would harm our society.” (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

 

  • “We need urgent, wholesale reform of human rights laws in this country to make sure they cannot be twisted to serve the interests of those who would harm our society.” — UK Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, January 2015.
  • Swedish intelligence deemed him too dangerous to stay in Sweden, so the immigration authorities sought to have him deported to Syria. They did not succeed: the law does not permit his deportation to Syria, as he risks being arrested or executed there. Instead, he was released and is freely walking around in Malmö.
  • “It would simply never in a million years have occurred to the authors of the original Convention on Human Rights that it would one day end up in some form being used as a justification to stay here by individuals who are a danger to our country and our way of life…” — UK Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, January 2015.

After the Manchester terrorist attack, it was revealed that there are not “just” 3,000 jihadists on the loose in the UK, as the public had previously been informed, but rather a dismaying 23,000 jihadists. According to The Times:

“About 3,000 people from the total group are judged to pose a threat and are under investigation or active monitoring in 500 operations being run by police and intelligence services. The 20,000 others have featured in previous inquiries and are categorised as posing a ‘residual risk”‘. Continue reading

It’s A “Geopolitical Earthquake”: A Stunned World Responds After Saudi Alliance Cuts All Ties With Qatar

 

Virtually nobody saw it coming.

Late on Sunday night, the Saudi-led alliance of Gulf Arab states, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain including Egypt, shocked the world when they announced they had severed ties and closed borders with one of the Gulf’s wealthiest, if smallest, neighbors Qatar, a (now former) member of the Gulf Cooperation Council in what we called a “geopolitical earthquake” and what Bloomberg dubbed an unprecedented move designed to punish one of the region’s financial superpowers for its ties with Iran and Islamist groups in the region.” Continue reading

Radical Iran-led Axis Confronted with U.S. Deterrence for First Time

The conflict in Syria has long ceased being a civil war, becoming instead a clash between coalitions and blocs that divide the entire Middle East.

The Iranian-led axis is the most dangerous and highly armed bloc fighting in Syria. Bashar al-Assad’s regime is not an independent actor, but rather, a component of this wider axis. In many respects, Assad is a junior member of the Iranian coalition set up to fight for him.

Feeling confident by its growing control of Syria, Iran also uses its regional coalition to arm, finance, and deploy Shi’ite jihadist agents all over the Middle East, and to attack those who stand in the way of Iranian domination.

The Iranian-led axis has been able to spread violence, terrorism, and Islamic militancy without facing repercussions. Continue reading

An Unhinged McCain Calls for More War in Syria, Says Russia is Guilty of War Crimes

 

John McCain was on Face the Nation today, getting his neocon on, discussing the next steps that needed to be taken in Syria — dealing with Assad.

He approved of the President’s strikes — calling it a good ‘first step.’ But, he wants MOAR — accusing both Syria and Russia of war crimes, in addition to blaming Assad for the rise of ISIS. You cannot make this stuff up. Continue reading

China’s First Overseas Military Base Nearing Completion

Chinese military officers bid farewell to members of a Chinese medical contingent as it leaves for West Africa to help in the fight against Ebola from the airport in Beijing, China, Friday, Nov. 14, 2014. China’s first overseas military base should be ready this summer close by the operations hub of U.S. Africa Command in Djibouti. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

 

Marine Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, commander of AfriCom, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he expected the Chinese base on the Horn of Africa to be operational later this summer.

Without getting specific, Waldhauser said he recently met with Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh “and expressed our concerns about some of the things that are important to us about what the Chinese should not do at that location.” Continue reading

Trump: ‘Highly successful’ Yemen raid on group tied to San Bernardino attack produced ‘vital intelligence’

Navy SEAL Ryan Owens

 

The U.S. special operations raid in Yemen in which Navy SEAL Ryan Owens lost his life was highly successful and resulted in “large amounts of vital intelligence,” President Donald Trump said on Feb. 28 in his address to a joint session of Congress.

“Ryan died as he lived: A warrior, and a hero — battling against terrorism and securing our nation,” Trump said.

Owens’ widow, Carryn Owens, was a guest of the president for the speech. Continue reading

Saudi Arabia says it’s ‘Ready to Send Ground Troops’ to Syria

[Mosa’ab Elshamy/AP]

 

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubeir, has said the kingdom is ready to send ground troops to Syria to “fight ISIS” following the meeting between US Senator John McCain and the Saudi King, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

The Saudi foreign minister said Saudi forces could battle ISIS alongside US special forces in Syria, Süddeutsche Zeitung repoted on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia is a long-term supporter of various radical jihadi groups, including Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda), opposing the Syrian government.

Any involvement of Saudi forces in the conflict in Syria will clearly lead to the escalation of the war. Continue reading

A President’s Policy

BERLIN (Own report) – Frank-Walter Steinmeier, President-elect of the Federal Republic of Germany is the epitome of the past two decades of Berlin’s expansionist policy – from the war over Kosovo to intervention in the Syrian war. As State Secretary in the Federal Chancellery, Steinmeier was implicated in the aggression against Yugoslavia in the spring of 1999, with which Germany, in violation of international law, entered its first war of aggression since 1945. As head of the Federal Chancellery, he had participated in the struggle to obtain access to Russia’s vast natural gas reserves. As Foreign Minister, he was massively striving to roll back Russia’s political influence by associating Ukraine with the EU, even condoning a coup – with fascist participation – in Kiev. Steinmeier’s activities had also been influenced by the so-called war on terror. In the Chancellery, he played a leading role in cooperation with the CIA’s torture program. In the fall of 2002, he helped to prevent an innocent native of Bremen from being released to Germany from the US Guantanamo torture camp. He was complicit in the interrogation of German suspects in Syrian and Lebanese torture chambers. Just recently, Steinmeier provided political support to a jihadist militia, classified a terror organization by the German judiciary. Continue reading

Russia, Iran Supporting Taliban to ‘Undermine’ U.S. Mission in Afghanistan

Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan / AP

 

Moscow working to ‘publicly legitimize’ Taliban

The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said Thursday that Russia and Iran are supporting the Taliban in part to undermine the U.S. and NATO mission to attain peace and stability in the nation.

Army Gen. John Nicholson told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Iran is providing the Taliban in western Afghanistan with military and logistical support. Continue reading

Mattis: ISIS ‘couldn’t last 2 minutes in fight with our troops’

Defense secretary nominee Gen. Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis believes ISIS is “al-Qaida on steroids” and must be defeated in head-to-head “battles of annihilation” that leave “no survivors” on the enemy side, according to a recent discussion he participated in with a conservative think tank.

Mattis made the eye-opening remarks in a little-noticed interview with Stanford University’s Hoover Institution in Palo Alto, Calif., where he is a visiting fellow. Continue reading

Why Trump and US intel clash over Russia

 

America’s intelligence chiefs may have been singing their swan’s song Thursday and Friday (Jan. 5-6) when they hurled allegations of election-meddling “ordered at the highest Kremlin level” against Russia at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in Washington. The committee’s chair John McCain picked up the ball and declared that Russian hacking was “an act of war,” after hearing grim testimony from the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and the National Security Agency head Adm. Michael Rogers.

The furious clamor keeping the alleged Russian hacking scandal on the boil is being orchestrated by the outgoing president and his intelligence chiefs to ramp up US-Russian friction to an eve-of-cold war pitch.

DEBKAfile’s Washington and intelligence sources find that the campaign is prompted by five motives:

1. The president-elect not only proposes to put relations with Moscow on a new and different footing, his transition teams are already at work with Putin’s advisers to chart areas of cooperation between the two powers, ready for the Trump administration to go forward when he moves into the White House on Jan. 20. Continue reading