Hardship as Leverage

 

BERLIN/DAMASCUS (Own report) – Berlin and the EU are seeking to use Syria’s hardships for leverage to gain influence on that country’s political development. Berlin will provide humanitarian aid for the Syrian population, German Foreign Minster Heiko Maas announced at yesterday’s Syria conference in Brussels – aid that is also seen as helpful in preventing a new wave of mass migration to the EU. However, aid for the country’s reconstruction will only be granted, if Damascus makes political concessions, Maas declared. Berlin considers reconstruction aid a promising lever, because Syria, most likely, will not be able to raise the more than €200 billion necessary, and its closest partners, Russia and Iran are low on funds due to the western economic sanctions. Experts warn that, for example, in Raqqa, under the control of Syrian opposition forces and the USA, another insurgency could develop should reconstruction continue to be delayed. A US journalist calls Raqqa’s level of destruction the worst he has ever seen in the Middle East.

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U.S. ‘Plan B’ for the Middle East. The Occupation of One Third of Syria’s Territory

Map from Anadolu Agency, published in Orient Net [18]

 

The television network RT asked me for a comment around the recent visit to Raqqa done by the USAID program chief together with the CENTCOM Commander. [1]

Before addressing the humanitarian situation in Raqqa associated with the reconstruction issue (80 percent of Raqqa dwellings remain “inhabitable”, according to the UN), I will focus on the current U.S. geopolitics in the area, against the backdrop of the U.S. emerging ‘Plan B’ on Syria. So far, the implementation of this new design has signified the virtual occupation of nearly a third of Syria’s territory. A hallmark of the situation consisting in the illegal occupation of Syrian territory by U.S. troops.

The first project of the US on Syria aimed to obtain a regime change. It was pretty much a “default” policy applied by the US in the Middle East at the times of the Obama / Hillary Clinton administration. Partly of its mechanism has been described by Senator Dick Clark (an excerpt of Senator Clark’s declarations is found in the video here below. Click on the image for the excerpt-footage).

The strategy of “regime change”, which can we call “U.S. Plan A on Syria”, failed.

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Putin lands in Syria on announced visit to create false impression war is over

 

The Russian President Vladimir Putin’s airplane made a surprise landing Monday. Dec. 11, at the Russian Hmeimim air base in Latakia and announced he had ordered Russian troops to start withdrawing from Syria. Continue reading

Russia Releases Photos Showing US Special Ops At ISIS Positions In Syria

 

 

The Russian Defense Ministry has released aerial images allegedly showing ISIS, the SDF, and US special forces working side-by-side on the battlefield against Syrian and Russian forces in Dier ez-Zor, Syria.

As Adam Garrie reports, via The Duran, it has long been thought that the US proxy militia SDF is operating in collusion with ISIS in various parts of Syria. This has especially been the case in respect of Deir ez-Zor. In Deir ez-Zor, the Russian Defense Ministry has previously stated that the Syrian Arab Army and their allies are fired on most intensely from positions known to be held by the SDF.

Furthermore, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov recently stated,

“SDF militants work to the same objectives as Daesh terrorists. Russian drones and intelligence have not recorded any confrontations between Daesh and the ‘third force’, SDF”.

He added that Russia will not hesitate to target SDF forces that threaten the battle field progress and personal safety of Russia’s allies, namely the Syrian Arab Army. Continue reading

Pentagon Furious After Turkey Leaks U.S. Base Locations In Syria: “Hard Not To See This As A F-You”

 

So much for NATO-alliance members working for the common good.

In a move that has angered the U.S. for obvious reason, Turkey’s state-run news agency Anadolu Agency has leaked the precise locations of U.S. bases in northern Syria. The move – which exposes the exact locations of American soldiers on the front lines in the war-torn nation – has sent the ongoing feud between the two NATO allies to new lows. As Bloomberg details, in reports published in both Turkish and English on Tuesday, Anadolu provided detailed information about 10 U.S. bases in northern Syria, including troop counts and a map of the U.S. force presence in the Turkish version. Continue reading

The IRGC—Terrorism’s Goliath

ISIS has captivated Western attention for so long with its gruesome beheadings, stabbings, vehicular homicides, shootings and bombings in Europe and the United States, the horrific aftermaths deservedly the focus of television news, that virtually forgotten is the world’s biggest terror threat – Iran’s IRGC, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The IRGC, often misidentified in Western press as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps dwarfs ISIS by any measure.

ISIS never had more than about 30,000 fighters, equipped mostly with small arms, with very little access to high-tech weaponry.

In contrast, the IRGC has about 125,000 fighters. It is the only terror organization in the world with an army, navy, and special forces.

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Britain prepared to use air strikes or send in troops as retaliation against future cyber attack

A strike on UK systems “could invite a response from any domain – air, land, sea or cyberspace”, said the Defence Secretary

 

Britain could launch military retaliation such as air strikes against a future cyber attack, the Defence Secretary has suggested.

Sir Michael Fallon warned potential attackers that a strike on UK systems “could invite a response from any domain – air, land, sea or cyberspace”.

The Defence Secretary said the UK’s ability to carry out its own cyber attacks against Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (Isil), also known as Daesh, had saved lives during the battle for Mosul in Iraq and the capability was also being used in the fight for Raqqa in Syria. Continue reading

Russia to treat US jets in Syria as ‘targets’ after America guns down first regime warplane

A Syrian jet (similar to the one pictured on 23 March 2017) was shot down by US forces on Sunday [Getty]

 

Russia has said it will treat US warplanes operating in parts of Syria where its air forces are also present as “targets” amid a diplomatic row caused by the downing of a Syrian jet.

The country’s defence ministry said it would track US-led coalition aircraft with missile systems and military aircraft, but stopped short of saying it would shoot them down.

A hotline set up between Russia and the US to prevent mid-air collisions will also be suspended. Continue reading

Pentagon: US shoots down Syrian aircraft for first time

(AP) — The U.S. military on Sunday shot down a Syrian Air Force fighter jet that bombed local forces aligned with the Americans in the fight against Islamic State militants, an action that appeared to mark a new escalation of the conflict.

The U.S. had not shot down a Syrian regime aircraft before Sunday’s confrontation, said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. While the U.S. has said since it began recruiting, training and advising what it calls moderate Syrian opposition forces to fight IS that it would protect them from potential Syrian government retribution, this was the first time it resorted to engaging in air-to-air combat to make good on that promise.

The U.S.-led coalition headquarters in Iraq said in a written statement that a U.S. F-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian government SU-22 after it dropped bombs near the U.S. partner forces, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces.

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VIDEO: Humongous ISIS convoy allowed to escape Raqqa to fight the Syrian Army instead

Please see the source for the video.

 

 

AMASCUS, SYRIA (3:40 A.M.) – Al-Masdar News has obtained jaw-dropping footage from northern Syria suggesting the US-led coalition has allowed hundreds of ISIS vehicles to leave Raqqa city for areas controlled by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).

Despite Kurdish and American drones hovering above Raqqa on all flanks, the Islamic State convoy remained completely untouched by coalition airstrikes, thus suggesting an under-the-table deal may have been struck between the warring parties: Continue reading

U.S. lawmakers say Iran eyes military base near Syria-Israel border

Iran military leaders. Teheran wants to establish a military base in Syria near the Jordan or Israel border, U.S. lawmakers said. / Fars via AFP

 

Iran is looking to establish a permanent military presence in Syria and is eyeing a potential base near the Syrian border with Israel or Jordan, two U.S. lawmakers said.

“A permanent Iranian military base in Syria … would increase Iran’s operational capacity to inflict serious damage against two of our closest allies in the region,” Rep. Peter Roskam, Illinois Republican, and Rep. Ted Deutch, Florida Democrat, wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The lawmakers’ warning comes as a Senate panel on May 25 approved new U.S. sanctions targeting Iran’s support for international terrorism and its ballistic missile program, the first move to punish Teheran since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear accord went into effect. Continue reading

US Marines in Syria to defend Kurds against Turkey

The US has sent a group of US Marines armed with eight-wheeled Stryker armored carriers to northern Syria as a buffer between Syrian Kurds and Turkish forces, after Turkish air strikes killed 20 members of the US-backed Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units) militia, injured 18 and destroyed the local Kurdish command headquarters. Clashes broke out between Turkish and Kurdish forces after the air strikes.

It was the second time American armored troops had stepped in to separate Turkish and the Kurdish YPG militia that leads the Syrian Democratic Force (SDF), to which the Americans assign a major role in the offensive to capture Raqqa from ISIS. On March 17, US Marines advanced towards the northern Syrian town of Manbij when the Turkish army was on the point of fighting the Kurdish militia for control of the town. Continue reading

US Air Force to quit Incirlik, move to Syria base

After seeing what transpired in Turkey last year, it’s definitely believable that America wants out of it. However, this story adds a twist to the plot. Not only is moving one USAF airbase into Syria odd, but five in total is a tell-tale sign of something possibly larger around the corner.

For this to happen Assad would have to be gone. Either by peaceful means or force. Syria would then be split up among three or four powers — likely American, Russian and Chinese/European forces. The Chinese have mobilized 150,000 PLA troops not only for a possible North Korean fallout.

It’s also interesting to note that the Bundeswehr (German army) is also on the move and positioning itself. Perhaps this is part of its military ‘golden triangle‘ (see also HERE) strategy.

It’s a bit of a mystery now, so this story is something to keep an eye on.

 

 

Several US engineering teams are working round the clock to build a big new air base in northern Syria after completing the expansion of another four. They are all situated in the Syrian borderland with Iraq, DEBKAfile’s military forces report.

This was going on over the weekend as senators, news correspondents and commentators were outguessing each other over whether the US missile attack on the Syrian Shayrat air base Friday, in retaliation for the Assad regime’s chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun, was a one-off or the start of a new series. Continue reading

CIA Veteran: Europe a ‘Launching Pad’ for ISIS to Attack the U.S.

ISIS fighters / Screenshot from YouTube

Calls for more information sharing across Western nations

Europe serves as a “launching pad” for ISIS jihadists to initiate attacks against the United States due to the absence of a cohesive information-sharing strategy among Western nations, former acting CIA director John McLaughlin said Wednesday.

McLaughlin, a 30-year CIA employee who served as acting director under the George W. Bush administration, warned that the absence of effective coordination between European intelligence agencies exposes the United States to greater risk of attack. Continue reading

Claim: Iran sealed ISIS-Mosul escape route

Claim: Iran sealed ISIS-Mosul escape route

Iraqi army members ride in a military vehicle in Bartila, Iraq December 7, 2016. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

 

Reports claim Iran is responsible for sealing an escape route left by US-led coalition in Western Mosul, forcing ISIS to now fight to the death.

  • Original campaign called for Iraqi forces to close Mosul in a horseshoe formation, leaving an opening for ISIS forces to flee.
  • Tehran lobbied for Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization fighters to be sent to the western front to seal off Mosul.
  • Several thousand militants have little choice but to now fight to the death in Mosul.
  • Kurdish official: “If you corner your enemy and don’t leave an escape, he will fight till the end.”
  • Battle planner: “In the west, the initial idea was to have a corridor … but the Hashid (Popular Mobilization) insisted on closing this loophole to prevent them going to Syria.”
  • Humanitarian worker on ‘kill box’: “Iran didn’t agree and insisted that no safe corridor be allowed to Syria. They wanted the whole region west of Mosul to be a kill box.” Continue reading