Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Turkish Attacks Against US Kurdish Proxy Annexers of Syria Result in Halt of ISIS Fight

Since, I don't and haven't ever believed that the Kurdish proxies were fighting ISIS the claim in the Reuter's article, which will be reported on don't mean much to me.

 EXCEPTION? Well there is one. 

As has been long, long, long mentioned here. Turkey and the US are at odds over the goings on in Syria's north.

Let's go back about 20 months ago. Or close to two years back.....

NATO Fracturing at Manbij? US Reinforces Manbij to Defend From Turkish Attack??

We can go back further if you like? But it's not necessary 

"Necessary background since most people still believe Turkey & the US are lovers. They aren't. Turkey is the betrayed party in the tryst the US is having with Kurdish terrorists. Though Turkey has tried to win back US affection. The US has repelled Turkey in favour of it's new love... (simplistic breakdown) "

There have been reports that Turkey has been firing on the USrael backed proxies. Which has resulted in this reaction. Or so it's claimed

Turkish attacks in Syria prompt halt to fight against Islamic State: SDF

As I've already stated. On many occasions. The fight between SDF and ISIS has been more like... carefully crafted theatre fed through the lens of the 5 eyes media, alt and msm, projected onto the masses. Considering that reality? Leaves one wondering what this most recent news might suggest to us? What may really be occurring or set to occur?

"Turkish attacks in Kurdish-controlled territory in northern Syria have led to a temporary halt in an offensive by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) against Islamic State in eastern Syria, the SDF said on Wednesday.
The SDF general command said the Turkish attacks had “led to the temporary halt” of the campaign it is waging against Islamic State in the Deir al-Zor region.
“The continuation of these attacks will cause a long halt in our military campaign against (Islamic State),” it said in a statement.
The SDF is spearheaded by Kurdish YPG militia.
Oh bad Turkey! 
And that's how the masses have been programmed to react to the glorious US backed Kurdish proxies and their heroics.... If only it was ever that simple!

Are these attack reports accurate? Or is a specific narrative to advance a specific agenda being put forth?
Will the US HAVE to move more overtly into northern Syria- In order to save their proxy forces? 
 There have been reports the US has been recruiting heavily at Tanf- What for? 

Will the Kurdish claims of Turkey's provide the pretext for the US to move against multiple parties at the same time?
Syrian forces, perhaps?

➨UPDATE: Link

“The continuation of these attacks will cause a long halt in our military campaign against (ISIS),” it said.

“We call on the international coalition to show a firm position to deter Turkey from these attacks,” the SDF said.

➽Will the US openly fight Turkey? As opposed to the skirmishes that have gone on for some time now?

How will this affect the Idlib ceasefire agreement? The US and company have been no fan of that! (As was clear by the news reports I did manage to read over the week end)

And yes, Idlib, was on my mind, but no time to write something sufficient up. sigh..

From earlier today: The newest IPCC manipulation

IPCC Moves Goal Post on Climate Definition- Secretly



IPCC Moves Goal Post on Climate Definition- Secretly

  While reading  about this latest fixing of policy to sell an agenda I was reminded of the WHO "redefining" epidemic in order to sell the desired epidemic agenda...

Dial back to 2009: WHO's pandemic definition change kickstarts the H1N1 fear show

Clearly 'redefining' anything to fit the desired goal is nothing new under the sun

Let's apply the rejigging of reality to the scam of AGW:

Wattsupwiththat

The definition of ‘climate’ adopted by the World Meteorological Organisation is the average of a particular weather parameter over 30 years. It was introduced at the 1934 Wiesbaden conference of the International Meteorological Organisation (WMO’s precursor) because data sets were only held to be reliable after 1900, so 1901 – 1930 was used as an initial basis for assessing climate. It has a certain arbitrariness, it could have been 25 years.
For its recent 1.5°C report the IPCC has changed the definition of climate to what has been loosely called “the climate we are in.” It still uses 30 years for its estimate of global warming and hence climate – but now it is the 30 years centred on the present.
Rather then 30 years of weather that has already occurred the IPCC is going to use the same 30 years as it's parameter for measure - but include a projection 15 years into the future.

There are some obvious problems with this hidden change of goalposts. We have observational temperature data for the past 15 years but, of course, none for the next 15 years. However, never let it be said that the absence of data is a problem for inventive climate scientists.
This proposition was put before the recent IPCC meeting at Incheon, in the Republic of Korea and agreed as a reasonable thing to do to better communicate climate trends. Astonishingly, this new IPCC definition mixes real and empirical data with non-exiting and speculative data and simply assumes that a short-term 15-year trend won’t change for another 15 years in the future.
This new definition of climate and global warming is not only philosophically unsound, it is also open to speculation and manipulation. It is one thing to speculate what the future climate might be; but for the IPCC to define climate based on data that doesn’t yet exist and is based on expectations of what might happen in the future is fraught with danger.
To see the future temperature and climate the IPCC envisage in their report consider their Summary for Policy Makers figure 1, (click on image to enlarge.)


The IPCC’s attempt to move the goalposts is highly questionable. Non-existing data extrapolated for assumed temperature trends over the next 15 years should not be part of a formal definition of what constitutes climate.

UPDATE: From the IPCC Summary for Policymakers report, page 4, there is this footnote that defines the IPCC’s erroneous thinking. – Anthony

 And yes, I checked the IPCC Summary report myself- what you see above is included in the report.


It's all perception management (mass manipulation) all the time.

Monday, October 29, 2018

With Russia in its crosshairs, Canada moves to buy sub hunters

Canada Moves to Buy a Sub Hunter..... Russia in Canada’s Crosshairs?
5 Eyes? Of course! It’s even mentioned in the article.
Is this a costly item? Of course it is!
And prone to cost over runs as well....


Defense News

A rendering of the Canadian Type 26, on track to win Canada's frigate competition. (Courtesy of Lockheed Martin)


PARIS — The Royal Canadian Navy is moving toward Britain’s Type 26 frigate design, a multimission ship designed to cut through the water quietly, hunt submarines, and defend against hostile missiles and aircraft.

The Canadian government announced mid-October that a team led by Lockheed Martin Canada had been selected as the “preferred designer.” That team was offering up British defense firm BAE Systems’ Type 26 design.
On the watch of the Trudeau government- Mr Peace, Love and Understanding...

To some, the selection of the Type 26 design was a surprise given that Britain only just began cutting steel for the first one last summer, and as with any new ship and design, there is a high potential for cost overruns and delays.

But the Arctic nation’s selection of a ship that is a purpose-built sub hunter could be a sign that it is willing to accept those risks because of the strategic threat Russia poses to Canada’s interests at the rapidly thawing top of the world.
“For the Canadians, anti-submarine warfare is a big deal,” said Bryan Clark, a retired U.S. submarine officer and analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. “If you are worried about the Russian sub threat and the air threat, then, yeah, the Type 26 makes sense.”

Indeed, BAE executives here said a big part of Type 26 is its anti-submarine warfare-friendly design elements.
" Anti- Submarine Warfare- friendly design elements"
“That was a huge discriminator for us,” Anne Healey, a vice president with BAE Systems, told a roundtable of reporters at the Euronaval conference. “We are extremely quiet and we are probably the world’s most advanced frigate … and that’s a key element of what sets us apart and what’s valued by the Canadian Navy.”

The ASW features were also a big factor for Australia, which is locked in a standoff with China over its actions in the South and East China seas, vital sea lanes for the Pacific nation.

The shift toward ASW is part of an industry trend, said Gary Fudge, a vice president with Lockheed Martin Canada.
“For the last 15 years, most allied navies have put their efforts into anti-air warfare, whereas the threat that has emerged in the last 15 years is largely in submarine technologies,” Fudge said. "So we wake up 15 years later finding that the focus has gone into anti-air, but the real threat is in submarines.

“The number of submarines produced in the 15 years is phenomenal, and now the world has woken up and it doesn’t have the same ASW capability anymore and it hasn’t kept pace with the anti-air warfare technology. So Canada is very interested in getting back on track.”
All told, Canada wants to buy up to 15 frigates with a notional total program cost of $60 billion all in. And while the selection of Lockheed and BAE is a big win for the companies, the project could still fall through as the program enters an evaluation phase where Lockheed’s bid will be examined, and Canada’s requirements will be reviewed to ensure that Type 26 is the best bet.
Yes, that is 60 BILLION Dollars with the potential for  cost over runs
The final decision should come some time over the winter, according to a report by the Canadian Broadcast Corporation.

But assuming the contract moves forward, it would mean three of the “Five Eyes” countries — the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada — will operate Type 26 frigates. (The United States — which passed on the Type 26 design during its frigate competition — and New Zealand are the other two counties in the intelligence sharing pact.)
Risk

Clark, the CSBA analyst, said the selection of Type 26 was in some ways surprising because of the potential for cost overruns.

Must be what we need the carbon tax for, right? I mean, 60 Billion dollars!
Can't forget the legalization of marijuana- that should be another windfall
Surely these submarine hunters are 'clean and green' or Trudeau wouldn't bother with them. (I'm being snarky)

Kumbaya


“It’s not yet a proven ship, and you are taking a ship that is not even built yet and making it the basis of your frigate program,” Clark said. “It is a little surprising, especially for a country that might lack the wherewithal and the funding for potential cost and schedule overruns.”

But BAE thinks Canada will be in good shape because the British and Australian programs are underway, meaning Canada should be able to avoid early mistakes through shared lessons learned. Furthermore, not much in the way of design changes were needed to meet the Canadian requirement.
“The amount of design change that we are doing is only 10 percent, so it’s going to represent a very low risk in terms of the alterations that are being made,” Healey said.

By way of comparison, the U.S. Navy had to change about 40 percent of the design of its DDG Flight IIA to incorporate the new SPY-6 radar in Flight III.
It's been a busy day:

 


Record Payout to "Big Wind" for Producing Nothing. Nothing at all


Wind Turbines... Detestable. 
Over payed to produce electricity then paid to not produce electricity
Mass murdering birds, always.
Unsightly monstrosities

At least while these turbines were down they weren't killing our feathered friends!


 The Times UK
A record £4.8m was paid to wind farm operators in the space of one day, for switching off turbines when it became too windy.
More than 60 farms — most in Scotland — were compensated after electricity supply outstripped demand on October 8. The bonanza far exceeded the previous reported record of £3.1m, sparking fresh criticism of the Scottish government’s headlong rush towards green energy.
 

In exceptionally windy conditions, the National Grid cannot cope with the extra energy turbines produce, so firms receive “constraint payments” to shut down.

Spain
This type of energy production cannot be considered "green" unless one is referencing the green implied by the excessive profiteering?

 Flashback:

Wind Energy Takes a Toll On Bird Population- Now There’s Help? 

 As mentioned I love birds... and ask again why when the carbon cult pushes the meme of "human forced" global warming reducing bird populations do they never, ever, ever mention their huge bird slaughtering turbines as an issue....

It's a subject that's never broached. Swept under the rug. Same way as Toronto sweeps up all the dead birds that fly into their sky scrapers.

As an actual environmentally friendly person- this cover up bothers me. Quite a lot!

From earlier today: 

Brazil Elects A Leader Who Threatens Their Democracy: Military Dictatorship on the Horizon?

 

Brazil Elects A Leader Who Threatens Their Democracy: Military Dictatorship on the Horizon?

 Since, Brazil has chosen a leader, as stated by the Economist, that will threaten their democracy it seems time to post the information below. This will also be a blow to the BRICS. 

 Cause for  concern? In my opinion? His military connections and intent to install retired generals right into the government - Which suggest strongly that the military will play a very large role in the running of Brazil. Military dictatorship style. With Bolsonaro as the 'front man' for that military dictatorship 
First Country He'll Visit is Israel


REUTERS UK
Bolsonaro won 55.2 percent of votes in a run-off election against left-wing hopeful Fernando Haddad of the Workers Party (PT), who garnered 44.8 percent, according to electoral authority TSE.
His victory brings Brazil’s military back into the political limelight after it spent three decades in the barracks following the country’s 1964-1985 dictatorship. Several retired generals will serve as ministers and close advisers. 
Military Dictatorhip. I'm getting a real Pakistani vibe here..  Except the leader there is perceived as a leftist...

The Economist

PERSONALITIES USUALLY matter more in Brazilian politics than parties do. But if Jair Bolsonaro, a right-wing populist, wins the presidential election on October 28th, it will be largely because voters despise the left-wing Workers’ Party (PT) of his run-off rival, Fernando Haddad (pictured). Dislike of the PT, or antipetismo, “seems to be the biggest party in the country”, wrote Maria Cristina Fernandes, a columnist, in Valor, a business newspaper. Mr Bolsonaro is way ahead in the polls.
 
Disgust with the PT, which governed Brazil from 2003 to 2016, is justified. In the early years, under President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the economy grew and poverty fell. The presidency of his successor, Dilma Rousseff, which began in 2011, was a disaster. Her mismanagement of the economy helped cause Brazil’s worst-ever recession. Corruption on a massive scale came to light through the Lava Jato (“Car Wash”) investigations. She was impeached on unrelated charges. Lula is now serving a jail sentence for corruption.

But antipetismo predates Lava Jato, which tainted other big parties, too. Rejection of its leftist ideology, which is legitimate, is sometimes tinged with snobbery. Tereza Ruiz, a teacher, says her father regarded Lula, who never attended university, as a “semi-literate”. Such voters are receptive to Mr Bolsonaro’s message that the PT is uniquely dangerous. It did not merely govern badly and corruptly, Mr Bolsonaro says. Given a second chance in power, it would turn Brazil into another Venezuela, an impoverished dictatorship.

That is a misreading of the party and its candidate. “The PT doesn’t have impeccable democratic credentials,” but it has “always played by the rules of the democratic system,” says Sergio Fausto, a director of the Fundação FHC, a think-tank founded by Fernando Henrique Cardoso, a former Brazilian president (and a political foe of the PT). Although voters have strong reason to doubt that a future PT government would be good for the economy, “a disastrous economic policy is not the same thing as extremism,” points out Claudio Couto, a political scientist at the Fundação Getulio Vargas, a university.

Compared with Mr Bolsonaro, who insults minority groups and likes dictators as long as they are right-wing, Mr Haddad is a reassuring figure. Though his party leans left, he is a moderate. A former professor with degrees in economics, law and philosophy, he was education minister in Lula’s government. Mr Haddad appointed university rectors on merit rather than political connections, a novel policy, and designed ways to increase enrolment of poor and non-white students.

As mayor of São Paulo from 2013 to 2016 he reduced a budget deficit and secured for the city an investment-grade credit rating. But he angered drivers by making more room for cyclists and pedestrians. To poor voters, he came across as aloof and professorial. In his bid for re-election in 2016 he was thrashed.

For much of this year’s campaign the PT has talked mainly to its base, poor people with fond memories of Lula’s presidency. That made some sense. It was with their votes that Mr Haddad entered the second round. But it reminded other voters of what they most dislike about the party.

Rather than showing contrition, the PT expressed self-pity. The impeachment of Ms Rousseff was a “coup”. Left-wingers like Gleisi Hoffmann, the party’s president, have talked of pardoning Lula. Many Brazilians fear that the PT would put a stop to the Lava Jato investigation if it regained power.

Its campaign manifesto, written while Lula was still the PT’s candidate (he was disqualified on September 1st), bears the stamp of the party’s left. It suggests that overspending on pensions, the biggest threat to economic stability, will be solved by economic growth and cutting benefits for public servants (it won’t). The plan calls for a reversal of a labour-market reform carried out by the current president, Michel Temer, and more lending by state-owned banks. It would require the central bank to target employment as well as inflation. It proposes, ominously, a constituent assembly to revise the constitution.

After entering the run-off Mr Haddad moved towards the centre. He has begun speaking about the PT’s “errors”; replaced PT red in posters with Brazilian green and yellow; and disavowed parts of the manifesto, including the plan to summon a constituent assembly. He promises to curb spending and resists the idea of pumping up growth with subsidised lending. He avoids talk of pardoning Lula, to whom he has stopped paying prison visits. Ms Rousseff’s administration did not impede the Lava Jato investigations, he points out.

But Mr Haddad and the PT have probably left it too late to convince Brazilians that they have learned from their mistakes. As a result, Brazil is poised to elect a president who poses a real threat to the country’s young democracy.

Friday, October 26, 2018

How a post-Khashoggi US 'correction' on Saudi relations could unfold: Transactional VS Soft Power

Christian Science Monitor

Why We Wrote This
President Trump's foreign policy has been emphatically transactional.
Transactional: Based on business interests

Could the Khashoggi affair reintroduce an element of soft power on behalf of human rights?

Vs the illusion of a foreign policy based on the perception management idea of “human rights”?
"The murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi will have far-reaching repercussions in the coming months – from the viability of the US-Saudi strategy to counter Iran, to the price of oil, and on to prospects for President Trump’s Middle East “deal of the century” peace plan.

What is less certain is whether the horrific violation of one Saudi regime critic’s human rights will do much to stem the rise and free rein of rights-violating regimes across the Middle East and indeed around the world, many regional experts say.

The Saudis may have believed they had a “blank check from the Trump administration” to pursue actions like the silencing of regime critics such as Mr. Khashoggi, says Steven Cook, senior fellow for Middle East Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in Washington. If they did, it is at least in part because they saw other authoritarian leaders – from regional players Turkey and Egypt to global powers Russia and China – silencing their critics and stamping out dissent with impunity, he adds.
“None of those leaders have been held accountable for their acts” – by the US, the West, or the international community, Mr. Cook says – “so why should the Saudis in this environment think they should have to act any differently?”

A blank check from the Trump administration? How to interpret that statement?
Should we take it as presented? Or realize that the presentation is intended to obfuscate the possibility that the Saudi’s or MBS really did have a blank check from the US administration?

Can it be mere coincidence that the West is gunning for MBS today? All attention is on what happened to Jamal Khashoggi. But what really happened in the run-up to his ghastly murder in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul we may never get to know. Can it be comparable to the mistaken impression Saddam Hussein received that Washington would condone his occupation of Kuwait?
A mistaken impression. The precedent is there. Being set up for the take down.  As has been discussed here
"In these three news items we see that Saudi Arabia was, by all appearances, moving in an independent direction. This had to have been a problem for the US and it's military industrial complex!"
CSM: "That sobering assessment of unchecked impunity could very well play out in the Saudi case, including with respect to its disastrous war in neighboring Yemen, considered the world’s worst humanitarian disaster by the UN, despite the intense global attention the Khashoggi case is garnering, regional analysts say."

Will the Khashoggi affair change the course of US-Saudi relations?

But, some add, the US is uniquely placed to alter this course if a transactional White House that has been single-mindedly focused on American economic and military interests adjusts to make values like human rights and the rule of law part of its equation. A course correction could also occur if another influential power – for example, the US Congress – asserts itself and demands consequences strong enough to alter regime behavior.
The US presenting itself as concerned with human rights is not new. Should we expect a revamping of Trump's presentation via the media? Like we did for a brief moment when the US attacked Syria because of the children?

“Under this White House, the US-Saudi relationship has been overwhelmingly focused on military-to-military relations … and left to the relationship between [Trump son-in-law] Jared Kushner and [Saudi Crown Prince] Mohammed bin Salman, but we’re going to see some correction,” says Elizabeth Prodromou, a professor of conflict resolution at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Medford, Mass.

“This event will push the Trump White House to make some adjustments, and the question will be whether the White House takes the lead in that correction or Congress pushes the White House to take action,” she says. “But either way, we’re going to go in the same direction.”

Among the concrete steps Professor Prodromou and others expect to see in the coming weeks:

    -The nominating finally of a US ambassador to Riyadh to “professionalize” the relationship and take it out of Mr. Kushner’s inexperienced hands.
    -Renewed congressional efforts to stop arming the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
    -Perhaps sanctions aimed at putting on notice Saudi Arabia – and for that matter other US partners in the region – that America is going to act in defense of its values and count human rights among its vital interests.
America is going to count 'human rights' among it's vital interests?

“The Saudi relationship will become perhaps the key metric for how seriously the world takes us for our exercise of soft power and our commitment to universal human rights,” says Prodromou, an expert in the intersection of religion, democracy, and security. “It’s going to provide a measure of how we’re perceived in the world, of our ability to lead on human rights – and whether our moral authority holds any longer.”

Clearly the US is not going to sever or even seriously downgrade relations with Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi affair. Mr. Trump has consistently stated – since shortly after Khashoggi, a resident of Virginia and columnist for the Washington Post, disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul – that no matter what he would not jeopardize US arms sales to the kingdom, and the “American jobs” he says those sales create.
New leverage for US?
This week Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin visited Riyadh and met with the crown prince, though he tried to give the stop on a six-country trip a low profile (until the Saudis issued a photo of Mr. Mnuchin with the prince).
The Treasury Secretary tries to keep his visit quiet but the Saudi's publish a picture of MBS and Mnuchin together? The 5 eyes media appears to have done a good job keeping this visit off the radar.
Image was originally at CNBC but it's gone now


But CIA Director Gina Haspel was also dispatched this week to the region – in her case to Turkey, where she is reported to have listened to tapes Turkish officials have claimed to have of Khashoggi’s murder. Some unnamed US officials with knowledge of Ms. Haspel’s meetings described the tapes as “compelling.”
Ms Haspel did not state she found the tapes compelling, despite what is being claimed via the misleading media
And Congress has made it clear that it intends to hold the administration’s feet to the fire over the Khashoggi scandal. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has already invoked the Magnitsky Act, which directs the president to report back to the committee on a country’s grave human rights breach within 120 days and determine whether sanctions will be imposed.

Thursday, October 11, 2018: US to Apply the Magnitsky Act Regarding the Khashoggi Incident?

After an initiative by Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky to stop arming Saudi Arabia’s Yemen war lost by only four votes in June, many observers now expect the Khashoggi case to prompt Senator Paul to try again – and very possibly with a different result this time.

What all of this tells some diplomats and foreign policy analysts is that the US post-Khashoggi will have unprecedented leverage over Saudi Arabia and in particular Crown Prince Salman, also known as MBS – if the Trump White House decides to use it.

Noting that US-Saudi relations have been “bouncing from one problem to another under MBS’s leadership,” Middle East expert and former US ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk says the Khashoggi case adds fresh urgency to an already needed reassessment.
“We have an opportunity to sit down with MBS … and say, ‘We cannot go on like this, we need a reliable partner,’ ” he says. “We need to restructure our relationship with MBS if we decide we can’t get rid of him and have to work with him.”
Impact on Yemen war
Indyk says the Khashoggi debacle only reinforces the already growing sentiment that the White House strategy of relying on Saudi Arabia to deliver the Palestinians to accept a grand peace accord with Israel is in tatters. But he says the new leverage the US has with the Saudis could salvage some aspects of the strategy to counter Iran.

Noting that new US sanctions targeting Iran’s oil production will go into effect shortly, Mr. Indyk says Trump could pressure the Saudis to make up for the estimated 1 million barrels a day of Iranian oil that will no longer reach the global market. The worrisome aspect of such a scenario is that Trump might “soft-pedal” the US response to Khashoggi in order to get the Saudis to boost oil production.

But perhaps the most significant impact Indyk and others see from a post-Khashoggi recalibration of US-Saudi relations will be on the disastrous war in Yemen, where Saudi bombing campaigns (using US-supplied bombs) continue to hit civilians, and where millions of people face starvation.

“Part of the positive side” of something as horrendous as the Khashoggi killing could be “getting the Saudis out of Yemen,” says CFR’s Cook. The White House has shown little interest in the war, he says, “but the Congress is in a completely different place on this,” he adds. He expects to see Congress “using this brutal murder to hold MBS accountable on Yemen.”
Indeed some experts see a congressional effort to stop the Saudis’ use of US arms in Yemen spilling over into heightened attention to the state of rights and the rule of law inside Saudi Arabia. “We see in Congress a growing preoccupation with the gross human rights violations in the Saudis’ prosecution of the war in Yemen,” says the Fletcher School’s Prodromou, “but what I think generally is that there’s going to be more rather than less concern over the human rights part of this relationship.”

Prodromou says she believes there’s a “50-50 chance” of some sanctions on Saudi officials being triggered by the Magnitsky Act. “And if that happens it will be a sea change in the relationship.”

‘Windfall for Iran’
What worries Prodromou is that while the Khashoggi affair may end up prompting the US to assert its values and other aspects of its soft power in its relations with Saudi Arabia, the scandal will only empower and embolden others in the region with as bad or worse human rights records – including Turkey and Iran.
Ya getting the feeling yet that the US is hoping to take down more then just Saudi Arabia with this incident?

“Turkey has more journalists in prison than China, and that’s been true for a decade, and yet Turkey is going to come out of this a big winner,” she says, arguing that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has played the Khashoggi affair adroitly – even using it to make that case that Turkey and not Saudi Arabia should be the center of Sunni Islam.
Beyond Turkey, the shambles of the Trump White House MBS strategy can only be seen “as a windfall for Iran,” says Indyk, who notes that the region will now see the US strategy for countering Iran as a failure.

“In the end,” he says, “MBS has really helped the Iranians instead of helping us.”
 If you don't already, you may as well warm up to this idea as being what the US is striving for.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Drone attack on Russia’s Syrian airbase was elaborate Pentagon operation

TASS
A drones’ attack on Russia’s Hmeymim airbase in Syria in January this year was the Pentagon’s comprehensive multi-purpose operation, Editor-in-Chief of National Defense journal Igor Korotchenko told TASS on Thursday.
The United States pursued specific military, reconnaissance and political goals, believing that Russia wouldn’t find it out, the chief editor stressed.

As Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin said at a plenary session of the Beijing Xiangshan Forum on security earlier on Thursday, the drones that attacked Russia’s Hmeymim airbase in Syria were operated from the US Boeing P-8 Poseidon-8 reconnaissance plane.
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin

When the drones met with electronic countermeasures of the Russian systems, they switched to the mode of manual guidance from the Poseidon-8 plane, he said.

"This was the Pentagon’s comprehensive operation," Korotchenko said.

"They pursued several goals. Naturally, they proceeded from the fact that we would not find it out," the National Defense chief editor noted.

"There were three such goals: uncovering the Russian air defense system in Syria, carrying out radio-electronic reconnaissance and inflicting real damage on our servicemen in Syria," Korotchenko said.

"The first goal was to see how well our bases in Syria are protected from such threats as a massive attack by light drones. Correspondingly, this was aimed at revealing strong and weak points in our air defense system in Syria," the expert pointed out.

In the expert’s opinion, the second goal was to carry out electronic reconnaissance.

"At the moment when our air defense systems and electronic warfare measures were activated, the goal was to uncover this grouping and try to understand the parameters of irradiation and the combat modes of operation. An electronic warfare plane was in the air and US ground-based radio-electronic reconnaissance systems in the nearby Middle East countries were involved," the chief editor noted.

Read also
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander FominUS reconnaissance plane operated drones that attacked Hmeymim — defense official

The Americans could have also derived political advantages, if the operation had been successful, the expert said.

"Another task was to try to cause real damage to us. If the attack had crowned with success, the Americans could have expected political consequences, such as the costs of our image. This could have been used for weakening our geo-political positions," the expert noted. 

Consequences and counter-measures

Russia is not engaged in "whipping up tension," the expert said. The facts announced by the Russian deputy defense minister have been confirmed, he added.

"It is obvious that the statement was made after the Russian reconnaissance and the Defense Ministry received a 100% proof of what was announced by [Deputy Defense Minister] Fomin. As soon as all this was confirmed, this was immediately announced and that is why this does not mean ‘instigating tension,’" Korotchenko said.

According to the expert, Russia is well aware of what the Americans are doing.

"This means that they are controlling some terrorist groupings that are operating in their interests… Such things are not announced groundlessly. These are very serious issues and therefore, if such accusations were announced, this means that they were absolutely confirmed," the expert pointed out.

Now Russia is expecting "the Pentagon’s reaction, the expert said.

As for counter-measures, they have already been taken in military terms, he added.

"The drones’ flights have ended in nothing," he said.

Drones’ attack on Hmeymim

Terrorists carried out the first massive drones’ attack on Russia’s Hmeymim airbase and its Tartus logistics support facility in Syria on January 6. The attack was successfully repelled. Seven drones were shot down and the Russian forces managed to gain control of six other unmanned aerial vehicles with the help of electronic warfare measures.
Russian Defense Ministry specialists carried out a detailed analysis of the drones’ design and capabilities. Head of the Russian General Staff’s Office for UAV Development Major-General Alexander Novikov said that the drones launched by terrorists to attack Russian facilities in Syria overnight to January 6 were used for the first time.

According to the general, the Defense Ministry experts have been able to decipher the data from the drones seized by the Russian forces in Syria and get data on their programed and real flight routes and the points of dropping munitions. The drones’ study showed that they could not be developed and made in an improvised manner.

Lieutenant-General Kenneth McKenzie from the US Joint Chiefs of Staff claimed at a news briefing for journalists at the time that the United States had no relation to the drones’ attack on the Russian bases in Syria.
We're going to flashback to the January attack- When for some reason there was an alternative media push on to blame Turkey for this incident? Even though Putin stated specifically Turkey was not involved. Which left me questioning what party had the motivation to blame Turkey??

Putin: Drone Provocateurs Known, Turkey Uninvolved. Intercepted Ship Update

 I'd noticed a couple of days ago- there was an alternative media push suggesting Turkey had been behind the drone attack. The claim was the impetus for my use of translate for the Kommersant article.. which was linked to an alt site claiming Turkey was behind the attack. Except when I read the kommersant article ,'cause that's the way I do things here, there was nothing to substantiate this claim.
 Putin laid it all out so specifically. That spreading disinfo seemed to be the only objective the alt media had to be striving for. (Mockingbird media/Israel influence) Sowing distrust was what the attackers were going for!

Putin's own words at that time:

 "There were provocateurs there but they were not Turks, we know who was that… We know, how much and whom they have paid for this provocation," Putin said.
 "Firstly, these are provocations aimed at the collapse of the earlier reached agreements. Secondly, that is also an attempt to destroy our relations with partners — Turkey and Iran. We clearly understand that and therefore we will show solidarity," Putin said.

RT: US Spy Plane Controlling Drone Attack on Russian Airbase
 The Kremlin has said it is concerned about the report by Russia’s Defense Ministry say that a US spy plane was actually in control of a drone attack on Russia's Khmeimim air base in Syria back in January.

“This is undoubtedly a very alarming report,” Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said.

He made clear that the military have analyzed all available data and have drawn necessary conclusions before saying that the drone attack on the Russian air base was directed from a US P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane.

All further details will be provided by the Defence Ministry.

But President Vladimir Putin may raise the issue with the US counterpart Donald Trump when such possibility arises.

Kremlin's response comes after Colonel General Alexander Fomin, the deputy Defense Minister, had reportedly addressed the January drone attack during the Beijing Xiangshan Forum, a high profile conference on defense and security.

According to the top defense military official, thirteen unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) had approached Russia’s Khmeimim base at the time the Poseidon plane was traversing skies over the Mediterranean. When Russian electronic countermeasures were turned on at Khmeimim, the drones continued their flying mission in manual mode.

He said the drones were not manned “by some peasant,” they were flown from “a standard, well-equipped P-8 Poseidon” which had manual control over the UAVs in question.
 Recent related news:

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Syria: The Idlib Agreement & What is the Future of HTS in Idlib?

HTS fighters
What is the Future of HTS in Idlib? From the Atlantic Council...

In mid-September, Russia and Turkey signed an agreement regarding Idlib province in northern Syria. The agreement establishes a nine to twelve mile demilitarized zone (DMZ) between the Syrian regime and opposition forces along Idlib’s border. 
As part of the deal, Turkey pledged to find a solution to extremist groups in the province, withdraw heavy weapons from the region, and evacuate any presence of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS)—an independent Salafi-jihadi group—fighters or moderate elements of the Syrian opposition by mid-October. Russia, in exchange, pledged not to launch any military operations in northern Syria. The deadline has since passed without any accountability for following up on its conditions, namely the removal of HTS, but there are few indications of a large scale offensive at the moment. However, the conditions of the agreement are likely to have far reaching consequences on extremist and opposition groups in the area, should it succeed.
I'm going to relink a slew of post on Idlib, in case anyone who stops buy is not up to speed on previous coverage - They'll be at the bottom of this report

Among the armed opposition groups, only the National Front for the Liberation of Syria (NFL)—which includes moderate opposition factions in Idlib—early on welcomed the agreement
NFL controls only a small portion of Idlib- These are the Turkish backed rebels- which is why they welcomed the agreement, immediately.
Other jihadist factions—such as Hurras al-Din and the al-Qaeda-affiliated Turkistan Islamic Party—refused to recognize the agreement. By the end of September, HTS still seemed to not have an official position regarding the Russian-Turkish agreement. However, by October 10 reports confirmed that Hurras al-Din and HTS withdrew heavy weapons from the demilitarized zone as specified in the agreement. And an HTS announcement grudgingly supported the agreement right before the Oct 15 deadline passed.

HTS is in a difficult position with limited and complex options. In an exclusive interview with SyriaSource, an anonymous senior military commander in the Syrian opposition—who is not authorized to speak publicly—said that after meetings between Turkey and HTS officials, HTS had “to choose between dissolving itself and allow fighters to merge with opposition factions of their choice, or accept a military confrontation launched by the regime, Russia, and Iran, which may have significant consequences for civilians in the region.”
And Turkey will confront them as well. Read on.

Idlib now hosts hundreds of thousands of internally-displaced Syrians in camps who refuse to remain under the authority of the Assad regime. In the event of an offensive by the regime, the sheer number of citizens packed into Idlib’s small geographic area would compound the devastation of a regime offensive. HTS integrating with moderate factions would prevent this and an open confrontation with Turkey.

However, HTS could also face internal problems accepting these conditions because of its history fighting these same moderate forces and because this solution runs counter to its founding principles and approach. Over the years, HTS was known to criticize moderate opposition factions over their acceptance of political agreements and negotiations with the regime. Therefore, attempting to merge HTS fighters into those groups would re-ignite hostilities and pose an additional challenge. Integration with moderate forces would also run counter to HTS’s fundamental mission such as refusing negotiations with the regime and its allies and rejecting any cessation of hostilities or even de-escalation.

Infighting

There are two conflicting viewpoints within HTS regarding the Idlib agreement. The first rejects any dialogue or coordination with Turkey and demands the opening of new fronts with the regime—a group led by foreign fighters such as Abu Yazzan al-Masri. The other is to coordinate with Turkey for the protection of civilians; a viewpoint held by local fighters. Either way, any definitive statement issued by the HTS will deepen already-existing internal divisions.

In fact, it already has. A handful of groups affiliated announced their split with HTS on August 26 and joined Hurras al-Din—a group that rejects Turkey and Russia’s agreement on Idlib. Al-Qaeda linked groups unwilling to accept the agreement, later formed operation rooms intent on smaller escalations and seem to have already conducted several attacks since the agreement was signed. Last week, Ansar al-Din, Ansar al-Tawhid, and Ansar al-Islam joined Hurras al-Din and claimed an attack on the Syrian army in Hama. Faced with this reality, HTS risks pushing more fighters away if it follows through on conditions of the agreement as well as causing major internal schisms.

However, fully accepting the agreement and integrating with the opposition could bode well for HTS. It could help HTS demonstrate a willingness to negotiate with international players and thus carve out a space for its participation in a political process for Idlib that could lead to a local, civil, autonomous government but ultimately lead to HTS’s dissolution. In order to survive, HTS may need to rethink its global jihadist brand and refocus on its Syria agenda.

If hardliners in HTS dismiss the approach of accepting the agreement, the scenario of entering an open confrontation with Turkey and its allied military factions is likely. No matter which path HTS chooses, it will be weakened by internal divisions. This plays well into Turkey’s objectives which could help avoid military intervention if it succeeds in splitting HTS and bolstering the moderate opposition.

The agreement seems stable for now and so far has prevented an attack by the regime and its allies. Russia and Turkey seem more intent on the eventual outcomes of the agreement and not the deadline.
The best way to deal with the situation is to look to the goal. And do all that can be done to ensure the goal is achieved. Russia and Turkey both understand this. Hence Turkey's willingness to confront HTS, though it's certain neither Turkey or Russia want this confrontation to occur.

Ankara, Moscow say Idlib deal still on course despite missed deadline

 Russia and Turkey said Tuesday their deal to set up a buffer zone for the last major Syrian rebel bastion of Idlib was still on course, despite jihadists missing a deadline to withdraw, AFP reported. Neither Turkey nor Russia seemed fazed by the apparent breach of the plan aimed at averting an assault by Moscow-backed Syrian regime troops.
The memorandum is being implemented and the military are satisfied with the way the Turkish side is working in this regard,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.
Of course one cannot expect everything to go smoothly with absolutely no glitches, but the work is being carried out.”
 Back to the Atlantic Council

 Both agreed to allow for more time for implementation. However, the identity crisis of HTS, yet again, will define the fate of Idlib: either it will continue its strategy to oppose the conditions of the Turkish-Russian agreement to remain intact, or bow to pressure by fully accepting the agreement, and remove itself from the region to redefine its mission.

From earlier

Monday's Idlib coverage

 Earlier posts regarding Idlib:

 Please read:

Saudi Arabia gets a friend in need – Russia

Coalition Troops and Turkish Backed Rebels Exchange Fire near Manbij

Getting back to that which I've neglected.
US military has delivered new weaponry to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that stationed in ‘Manbij’ city, during the past few days
https://en.muraselon.com/2018/10/us-military-sdf-weaponry-syria/

I saw the news on the deliver of weapons to Manbij- along with heavy equipment for the Kurds to dig in..

They can only be doing that as a means to keep Turkey from moving east- so much going on.

I see what Lavrov said- I'm not surprised at all by his statement

and in fact will be posting it

My reference to Lavrov's statement became this post:

Lavrov: Easier for the US to Fish in Troubled Waters- Unifying Kurdish Held Territories

 It's being reported that coalition troops and Turkish backed rebels exchanged fire on the 15 of October...........
Kurdistan24

"A US official confirmed coalition forces exchanged fire with armed groups on October 15 near Manbij as suspicions rise that they were Turkish-backed rebel factions.
“They [coalitions forces] received gunfire from undisclosed persons and returned fire, and it ended quickly, skirmish at best,” Army Colonel Sean Ryan, Spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), told Kurdistan 24.
“But we don’t know who fired and it was during a US-MMC [Manbij Military Council] patrol,” he added.
Syrian Kurdish journalist Hosheng Hesen posted a video on his Twitter account that reportedly showed the clashes between US troops in Manbij and armed rebel factions backed by Turkey.
“US troops stationed in Manbij clash with the Turkish-backed armed factions. On the 15th of this month, the armed Turkish-backed factions targeted the village of Bughaz in Manbij,” he wrote on Twitter.
Prompting the US troops there to respond to the fire sources and enter into clashes with the attacking factions,” he added"
 Turkish backed rebels and the coalition troops, alongside their proxy forces have been eyeballing one another for months now.  The additional weapons and heavy equipment deliveries sure spoke to me of fighting to come...

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Saudi Arabia gets a friend in need – Russia

Hattippin J for leaving the link to a video which will be embedded at the end of this post
 AnonymousOctober 23, 2018 at 7:00 AM
Hi Penny!
There is a video with Bhadrakumar (from 5 days ago), who talks about the political and strategic consequences of the Khashoggi case:
https://youtu.be/kfgsYUiUEIg .

Absolutely worth viewing- about 20 minutes in length

But first an oped from MK Bhadrakumar- Very insightful. It included an interesting little video clip as well. It’s all here for your convenience. My suggestion, should you care to heed it, is read the piece entirely and watch both videos.

1- It appears MBS survived the reported assassination attempt. 


2- It seems possible Russia is going to be a friend in need to Saudi Arabia. 

3-Turkey’s role in all this? Yes, Turkey had plenty of reasons to apply pressure to Saudi Arabia.

a) Their role in supporting the PKK in Syria in partner ship with the US. Which led to destabilized Turkish borders.
b) The Saudi role in the Turkish coup attempt ( I knew Egypt was involved, but MKB's mention of Saudi Arabian involvement was a first for me, not shocking, but the first I'd heard of it)
c) Ensuring they didn’t get caught up in the fall out of the Khashoggi incident.

Now, I’m wondering if Turkey and Russia worked in tandem to pressure Saudi Arabia for other reasons as well?



Read on my friends, read on...........

Indian Punchline :Saudi Arabia gets a friend in need – Russia


It goes without saying that oil has been central to military power and economic life in modern history. Control of oil has been a key source of power and policy in the Cold War. There was even a top-secret US government plan to ravage the Middle East oil industry in the event of the former Soviet Union gaining control of it. The CIA called it the “denial policy”. It was hatched in 1948 during the Berlin Blockade – whereby, oil wells would be plugged, equipment and fuel stockpiles destroyed, refineries and pipelines disabled to ensure that the USSR never got hold of the Middle East’s oil resources.
An analyst has written, “The history of this top secret U.S. government plot is a tumultuous mix of Arab nationalism, Big Oil and the CIA on the most oil-rich chunk of real estate on earth. Fundamentally, it is a tale of the growing importance of Middle Eastern oil and the West’s early thirst to control it.”
Therefore, much dramatic irony laces the interview given by the Saudi Minister of Energy Khalid Al-Falih to the Russian news agency TASS at the present critical juncture when on the issue of the Jamal Khashoggi affair, the United States’ 70-year old alliance with Saudi Arabia hangs on the abyss.
When Russian President Vladimir Putin’s legacy is recorded in his country’s history, the breakthrough in the relations with Saudi Arabia will stand out as a personal achievement. Prompted by a gloomy backdrop of precipitous crash in oil prices to $20-30 per barrel in 2014 (compared to $100 just three years ago), Russia began tentative outreach to Saudi Arabia as to how to retrieve a seemingly hopeless situation that sharply reduced the income of the two energy superpowers from their oil exports. The game changer was a meeting in September 2016 in Hangzhou, China, when on the sidelines of the G20 Summit, Putin met the Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman (MBS, as is commonly known.)
MBS & Putin
That was in the final phase of the Barack Obama era. For Russia, 2016 was an extremely difficult year, coping with the western sanctions and a steep fall in income from oil exports.
Saudis also for the first time were feeling a “cash crunch”.
Putin worked on that congruence to rapidly build up a strategic partnership between Russia and Saudi Arabia, which has enabled the two superpowers to keep market prices stable. (The price of oil estimated in the Russian budget for the current year is around $53 per barrel, whereas oil is presently hovering around $80 per barrel.)
Meanwhile, the Russian-Saudi axis took the nature of an institutional forum known as OPEC+, which is expected to have a full-fledged secretariat soon alongside the OPEC secretariat in Vienna, to be headed by Russia. The two countries began by tentatively marking production level for oil producing countries at a six-month interval, but the Russian-Saudi axis has since acquired such traction already that they are contemplating a long-term, open-ended agreement to continuously, permanently finesse the supply and demand for oil to keep the prices stable and provide underpinning for growth of the world economy.
The Putin-MBS personal equation played a big part in al this. MBS has been a frequent visitor to Moscow and his last visit for the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup 2018 was the occasion when he met Putin and the Saudi and Russian thinking veered round to search for a framework for the long-term coordination in the oil market.


In effect, Saudi Arabia and Russia are assuming the leadership of the oil producing countries and helping them take consensus decisions. At the same time, Russian-Saudi bilateral energy cooperation has also made a solid beginning. The two countries have investment plans within the ambit of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF). Saudi Arabia is expected to take a big stake in the LNG project Yamal Phase 2 in the Russian Arctic with equity next only to Novatek. They are discussing swap deals in countries such as India. (Interestingly, Al-Falih sees good prospects for Russian companies’ involvement in Aramco’s ambitious downstream strategy.)
Without doubt, the TASS interview with Al-Falih has been timed to remind the international community that it will be catastrophic to isolate Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi affair. (Incidentally, RDIF issued a statement on October 20 welcoming the “decisive actions” taken by the Saudi authorities on the Khashoggi case and pointedly affirming support for the Crown Prince’s flagship project known as Vision 2030.) The signals from Moscow so far have scrupulously avoided any criticism or censuring of Saudi Arabia, unlike the US and European countries.
The TASS interview and the publication of the full transcript obviously has the Kremlin’s approval. It conveys as explicitly as possible under the circumstances that Russia has no intentions whatsoever to turn its back on Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi affair. One may say, Russia could even be a stakeholder in the preservation of the present Saudi leadership hierarchy. As I said in the beginning, “black gold” plays a big part in geopolitics – and history has not ended in Russia’s relations with the West.
I wrote in the context of the historic agreement between Putin and MBS at Hangzhou two years back (Pay heed to the butterfly effect of Putin-Salman oil deal in Hangzhou, September 7, 2016, Asia Times): 
An understanding between Russia and OPEC holds the potential to completely transform the geopolitical alignments in the Middle East. First and foremost, Russia aspires to replace the US from its 70-year old pivotal status as Saudi Arabia’s number one partner in energy. This shift cannot but impact petrodollar recycling, which has been historically a robust pillar of the western financial system… Washington faces the unpleasant prospect of a strategic retreat in the Middle East unless it can mobilize a determined comeback. But then, doubling down in the Middle East means taking the eye off the re-balance in Asia, which, in turn, will be fraught with long-term consequences.”
Just an afterthought: Can it be mere coincidence that the West is gunning for MBS today? All attention is on what happened to Jamal Khashoggi. But what really happened in the run-up to his ghastly murder in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul we may never get to know. Can it be comparable to the mistaken impression Saddam Hussein received that Washington would condone his occupation of Kuwait? There are no easy answers.
Recall me writing that the West was "gunning for MBS"?
For being a bit too independent.
"In these three news items we see that Saudi Arabia was, by all appearances, moving in an independent direction. This had to have been a problem for the US and it's military industrial complex!"
I hadn't even considered all of what MKB is discussing in his oped

  MKB continues:

The fact of the matter is that the Putin-MBS understanding has blossomed into a veritable alliance and it has great potential to redraw the battle lines between the West and Russia. Putin has made no bones that Russia is moving out of transactions in dollar currency. If Russia and Saudi Arabia at some point begin to trade in non-dollar currencies, it will be a fatal blow to the western banking system. (China has also been pressing Saudi Arabia for trading in yuan currency.)
On top of it all, Saudi Aramco’s IPO is pending. (Saudi Arabia believes that the capital market will value Aramco at some $2 trillion, making it the world’s most valuable publicly traded company.) The Saudi Minister disclosed in the TASS interview that the listing is expected in 2021 and hinted that New York Stock Exchange may not be in the Saudi consideration zone. He flagged that the listing has to be in a “friendly safe jurisdiction” – alluding to the likely claims in US courts for Saudi compensation to the families of victims in the 9/11 attacks.
Reports have appeared that preparations are under way for a visit by Putin to Saudi Arabia. All in all, what emerges is that Russia is standing up to be counted as a friend when Saudi Arabia needs it most. Surely, the Russian support provides much “strategic depth” to the Saudi regime at this juncture when it faces an existential crisis – especially MBS.

  Finally: