Putin is Beating Obama in Syria (and beyond)

The attempt to reduce the level of discourse to trivial matters in this year’s presidential campaign continues to divert attention (as intended) away from any in-depth debate over the real challenges facing the United States going forward. This is most notable, and dangerous, on issues of defense and foreign policy. For example, the question of semantics over whether Russian President Vladimir Putin should be called a “leader” or a “dictator” risks overshadowing the question of whether Putin’s policies have been more effective in the Middle East than have been the policies of President Barack Obama. The two terms are not mutually exclusive. As the duly elected president, Putin can properly be called the leader of his country, especially as he continues to enjoy very high public approval ratings. He has, however, used his strength to amass more political power, including placing all major media under state control. But the real issue is how he is advancing Russian interests on the world stage in competition with the U.S. and its allies in key hotspots. Continue reading

MOSCOW ON THE OFFENSIVE: Russian state newspapers predict ‘direct military conflict’ with US as it compares Syria stalemate to Cuban missile crisis

 

‘Third World War’ fears have been voiced by the newspapers over the growing tensions between the USA and Syria

A RUSSIAN newspaper fears a Third World War with the US over Syria.

Tabloid Moskovsky Komsomolets predicts a “direct military confrontation” on par with the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The US  suspended contact with Russia over Syria on Monday. Continue reading

Minutes to midnight: US cuts bilateral contact with Russia

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Following Russia’s decree to end their joint nuclear deweaponization program with the US, the US State Department announced Monday that Washington has suspended bilateral contact with Moscow.

(VERO BEACH, FL) America has “suspended” bilateral contacts with Russia over the Syrian crisis, the US State Department said.

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Washington is letting the Russians win in Syria

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Just days after the deadline set by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for President Bashar Assad to begin a political transition in Syria, fighting is raging in Aleppo, the last urban stronghold of the rebels opposed to the regime. The United States, however, is not coming to their rescue, because the wrong kind of rebels are involved in the battle. In terms of helping to end the war, the U.S. inaction may be worse than the scenario touted by Donald Trump — an alliance with Russia to defeat Islamic State — but it’s more politically acceptable. Continue reading

Erdogan’s purge may give Nato no choice but to expel Turkey from the alliance

Ironically, as written about two days before the ‘coup’, this could be the icing on the cake for Turkey’s swing towards America’s enemies. It wants out of NATO and is engineering crisis as a means to an end. It’s not to say that the coup was an ‘inside job’, because we don’t know 100% for sure, but what it’s doing in the aftermath brings us to the logical conclusion that it has very little (if none) respect for any Western nations. It wants to align itself with the Russian-Chinese-Iranian axis.

Turkey is also kissing up to the Assad regime in Syria, which has a mutual defense pact with Iran. If you befriend one, you get both. And as we now know, Iran is supporting everything Turkey’s megalomaniac leader is doing to consolidate power in the ‘coup’ aftermath.

 

Ever since Turkey joined Nato in 1952, its membership has been viewed as a vital bulwark in the defence of Europe against threats emanating from Russia and the Arab world.

During the Cold War, the fact that American bombers could be flying over the former Soviet Union within an hour of take-off from their Turkish bases meant the other alliance members were unswerving in the commitment to keep Turkey in Nato.

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U.S. Legitimizes Iranian Presence And Activity In Iraq

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Armed Iranian and Iraqi soldiers in Iraq (Facebook.com/Iran.Military, June 27, 2016)

 

In June 28, 2016 remarks at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was asked whether Iran’s influence in Iraq was “more helpful or more harmful.” He replied: “Look, we have challenges with Iran as everybody knows, and we’re working on those challenges. But I can tell you that Iran in Iraq has been, in certain ways, helpful, and they clearly are focused on ISIL-Daesh, and so we have a common interest, actually.”[1]

This statement grants U.S. legitimacy to Iran’s military presence and activity on Iraqi soil, based on the claim that Iran and the U.S. have shared interests in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) and that “Iran is a helpful” element. Additionally, Kerry claims that Iran’s focus in Iraq is the war against ISIS. Continue reading

Russia is harassing U.S. diplomats all over Europe

And what has the Obama administration done? Absolutely nothing. They are aware of it, the mafia style intimidation by Russia is now public, and a decision was purposely made to refuse to do anything to help protect Americans.

 

Russian intelligence and security services have been waging a campaign of harassment and intimidation against U.S. diplomats, embassy staff and their families in Moscow and several other European capitals that has rattled ambassadors and prompted Secretary of State John F. Kerry to ask Vladimir Putin to put a stop to it.

At a recent meeting of U.S. ambassadors from Russia and Europe in Washington, U.S. ambassadors to several European countries complained that Russian intelligence officials were constantly perpetrating acts of harassment against their diplomatic staff that ranged from the weird to the downright scary. Some of the intimidation has been routine: following diplomats or their family members, showing up at their social events uninvited or paying reporters to write negative stories about them.

But many of the recent acts of intimidation by Russian security services have crossed the line into apparent criminality. In a series of secret memos sent back to Washington, described to me by several current and former U.S. officials who have written or read them, diplomats reported that Russian intruders had broken into their homes late at night, only to rearrange the furniture or turn on all the lights and televisions, and then leave. One diplomat reported that an intruder had defecated on his living room carpet.

In Moscow, where the harassment is most pervasive, diplomats reported slashed tires and regular harassment by traffic police. Former ambassador Michael McFaul was hounded by government-paid protesters, and intelligence personnel followed his children to school. The harassment is not new; in the first term of the Obama administration, Russian intelligence personnel broke into the house of the U.S. defense attache in Moscow and killed his dog, according to multiple former officials who read the intelligence reports. Continue reading

Behind Saudi prince’s U.S. visit: Reports of royal health crises back home

Saudi Arabia may havae [sic] sent its 30-year-old deputy crown prince to visit the United States due to the deteriorating health of King Salman and amid rumors that Prince Mohammed bin Nayef is ailing as well.

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with U.S. President Barack Obama on June 24 to “reaffirm the strategic partnership between Riyadh and Washington,” Bruce Riedel, a former national intelligence officer, told NBC News. Continue reading

Iran’s nuke program confirmed

The Obama administration is now admitting that Iran did nuclear weapons work at its military facility at Parchin, based on a December IAEA report that described two “chemically man-modified particles of natural uranium” at the site. But the evidence is too sparse to figure out what kind of work the Iranians were doing, just that they were doing some kind of nuclear weapons work:

Current and former U.S. officials asked about the uranium finding said the working assumption now is that it is tied to nuclear weapons development… “The existence of two particles of uranium there would be consistent with our understanding of the involvement of Parchin in a past weapons program, but by themselves don’t definitively prove anything,” said a senior administration official briefed on the evidence. Continue reading

Tensions Between US/NATO & Russia Are Flaring Dangerously

As if there weren’t enough crises to worry about in the world already, from shooting rampages to accelerating species loss, the US and NATO continue to ‘poke the bear’ and risk an outbreak of war with Russia.

I wish this were idle speculation. But if you haven’t been paying close attention, you’ll probably be shocked at just how much direct military and diplomatic provocation has been going on between NATO/US and Russia over the past several years — and in recent weeks, in particular.

Even more shocking is that no one in power can provide us with a compelling reason for exactly why these tensions are flaring. It seems that Russia’s main sin is in not entirely, completely and immediately giving the US/NATO anything and everything they request.

In other words, it’s imperial hubris and petulance that seems to be driving the ship of state. That’s a dangerous thing. Continue reading

Iran shifts on Syria

WASHINGTON — Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, at meetings in Oslo, Norway, this week, signaled that he has more authority on the Syria file than he has had until now, and that Iran may be prepared to show more flexibility to advance a political solution, sources who met with him there told Al-Monitor.

The apparent shift in Iran’s Syria policymaking comes as the Obama administration is facing internal criticism of its Syria policy, in the form of a dissent cable signed by some 50 State Department officers urging the United States to conduct airstrikes against the Assad regime in order to pressure it to make serious concessions at stalled political transition talks with the opposition in Geneva. The memo, first reported by The New York Times June 16, calls for “a judicious use of stand-off and air weapons, which would undergird and drive a more focused and hard-nosed US-led diplomatic process.” Continue reading

51 US diplomats: it’s time for strikes against Syria’s Bashar al-Assad

An attack on Syria means an attack on Iran, as they have a mutual defense pact.

An attack on either also means awakening the thousands of sleeper cells within the United States that have been there for decades or longer. If you thought the Orlando massacre was bad enough, imagine 50 to 100 of those of equal or greater intensity in a single day — maybe for a straight week or more.

 

Washington: More than 50 State Department diplomats have signed an internal memo sharply critical of the Obama administration’s policy in Syria, urging the United States to carry out military strikes against the government of President Bashar Assad to stop its persistent violations of a cease-fire in the country’s five-year-old civil war.

The memo, a draft of which was provided to The New York Times by a State Department official, says US policy has been “overwhelmed” by the unrelenting violence in Syria. It calls for “a judicious use of stand-off and air weapons, which would undergird and drive a more focused and hard-nosed US-led diplomatic process.”

Such a step would represent a radical shift in the administration’s approach to the civil war in Syria, and there is little evidence that President Barack Obama has plans to change course. Obama has emphasised the military campaign against the Islamic State over efforts to dislodge Assad. Diplomatic efforts to end the conflict, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, have all but collapsed. Continue reading

China says it doesn’t fear ‘trouble’ in S. China Sea

An Asian security summit ended in discord Sunday after China denounced US “provocations” in the South China Sea and declared it does not fear trouble in the contested waters.

“The South China Sea issue has become overheated because of the provocations of certain countries for their own selfish interests,” Admiral Sun Jianguo told an annual forum in Singapore.

Sun, who stressed China’s desire for a peaceful solution, spoke one day after US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said any Chinese construction on an islet near the Philippines would prompt unspecified “actions” by the United States and other nations. Continue reading

Revealed: How President Carter supported the Iranian Revolution

From 1941 to 1979, Iran was ruled by Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, better known as the Shah (meaning “king”). Pahlavi’s modernization and anti-Communist policies won the backing of many Western countries, which saw oil-rich Iran as a valuable ally in a tumultuous region. At the same time, though, his secularism and suppression of political opponents left him strongly disliked domestically.Pahlavi’s regime was ultimately overthrown in the 1979 revolution, led by Ayatollah Sayyid Ruhollah Mūsavi Khomeini. Continue reading

Iran ‘Blackmailing’ U.S. for Greater Nuke Concessions

Experts: Obama admin going above and beyond nuke deal to aid Iran

The Obama administration is taking steps to aid and please Iran far beyond U.S. commitments under last summer’s nuclear accord, according to experts, who warned Tuesday during testimony on Capitol Hill that the White House is becoming “dangerously close to becoming Iran’s trade promotion and business development authority.”

The Obama administration’s efforts to boost Iran’s economy and resurrect its financial sector are not required under the comprehensive nuclear agreement, yet the White House is undertaking this role to soothe relations with the Islamic Republic, nuclear experts told the Senate Banking Committee. Continue reading