Saturday, August 31, 2019

US Forces Launch Missile Strike/s Into Idlib Area, Immediately After Russian/Syrian Ceasefire Begins: B-2 Spirit Bomber?

No information on how these missile strikes were carried out. No details on weapons used. 

TASS: US forces conduct strike against al-Qaeda near Idlib

"This operation targeted AQ-S leaders responsible for attacks threatening US citizens, our partners, and innocent civilians"

Why this strike at this time?  Was the ceasefire a factor? It had to have been. 

Was the taking back of Syrian territory a concern? 

Was this a way to get rid of evidence that could have been stumbled across? Evidence that might have given the US and company a black eye? Metaphorically speaking that is.

Yes, I'm wondering aloud if they struck their own assets?

"This operation targeted AQ-S leaders responsible for attacks threatening US citizens, our partners, and innocent civilians," Lieutenant Colonel Earl Brown, a US Central Command (CENTCOM) spokesman, told TASS.
According to Brown, the strike targeted a facility located north of Idlib.
"Additionally, the removal of this facility will further degrade their ability to conduct future attacks and destabilize the region," he said.
"With our allies and partners, we will continue to target violent extremists to prevent them from using Syria as a safe haven," he added.
Earlier in the day, Al Mayadeen television channel reported that the US-led coalition fired missiles at the Horas al-Din extremist group’s headquarters located outside Idlib. The channel said that more than 40 militants and field commanders were killed in the strike.
A ceasefire came into force in Idlib at six in the morning. The Syrian army’s command warned on Saturday that having agreed to a ceasefire, they retained the right to retaliate to any ceasefire violation by terrorists"
BBC
"US Central Command said the operation had targeted those "responsible for attacks threatening US citizens, our partners and innocent civilians".
No details were given but other reports say some 40 people died in a missile strike on a jihadist training camp.
It was hit just after Syrian government forces began a truce in Idlib."
 Details on the what and how of this strike are definitely lacking.

Israeli Media
The US Department of Defense acknowledged an American attack, and said it had targeted Al-Qaeda leaders in northern Idlib. It did not, however, state which weapons were used.

CENTCOM declined to say what kind of weaponry was used, AFP added.

 UPDATE 6:30 pm EST:

CentCom Statement


“U.S. Forces conducted a strike against al-Qaida in Syria (AQ-S) leadership at a facility north of Idlib, Syria, Aug. 31, 2019. This operation targeted AQ-S leaders responsible for attacks threatening U.S. citizens, our partners, and innocent civilians. Additionally, the removal of this facility will further degrade their ability to conduct future attacks and destabilize the region. Northwest Syria remains a safe haven where AQ-S leaders actively coordinate terrorist activities throughout the region and in the West. With our allies and partners, we will continue to target violent extremists to prevent them from using Syria as a safe haven.”

– Lt. Col. Earl Brown, CENTCOM Chief of Media Operations.


Marie left some information they other day regarding the arrival of 3 B-2 Spirit bombers in the UK-  Could/would the US use something like  B-2 Spirit for this strike? Possibly to evade Russian technology. S-300 or S-400? I don't know? Anyone? It could explain the noticeable silence on how this strike was made?

Just saw a fabulous news story about how a few of the USs B2 Stealth Bombers are now stationed in RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, UK...not so far away from Somerset. I may get a glimpse as they fly over the area on 'top secret missions'... It's handy that having them stationed in the UK allows for closer co-operation (and proximity to theatres near Europe) between the two airforces (US and UK) - especially went it comes to 'operations'...

Interesting dontcha think?! :-)
I thought it interesting and told Marie so.
https://www.airlive.net/three-b-2-bombers-arrived-during-the-night-at-raf-fairford-for-a-secret-mission-video/

Three arrived at night using the code DEATH

Three Northrop-Grumman B2 Spirits landed at RAF Fairford in the early hours of this morning.

RAF Fairford airbase, which is run by the US Air Force, is one of a select few places where the top secret planes can land due to its long runway and specially built climate-controlled B2 hangers.


The current visitors arrived in the night using the call-sign DEATH. A pair arrived shortly before 1am with the third landing a short time afterwards much to the delight of a small crowd who gathered at the Kempsford end of the runway.
Ominous enough?
Oh and Marie, yes, that's interesting.

Overview
B2- Spirit

The B-2 Spirit was developed to take over the USAF's vital penetration missions, able to travel deep into enemy territory to deploy ordnance which could include nuclear weapons.[62] The B-2 is a flying wing aircraft, meaning that it has no fuselage or tail.[62] It has significant advantages over previous bombers due to its blend of low-observable technologies with high aerodynamic efficiency and large payload. Low observability provides a greater freedom of action at high altitudes, thus increasing both range and field of view for onboard sensors. The U.S. Air Force reports its range as approximately 6,000 nautical miles (6,900 mi; 11,000 km).[7][63] At cruising altitude, the B-2 refuels every six hours, taking on up to 50 short tons (45,000 kg) of fuel at a time.[64]

Perhaps they launched something from a ship? If you've seen any information on how the US made this strike- leave a comment- thanks in advance.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Russia Announces Syrian Army To Unilaterally Ceasefire in de-escalation zone in Idlib

Following up on:
Which had just been updated today:
"The Syrian army will unilaterally cease fire in the de-escalation zone Idlib starting from 06:00 hours of August 31, the Russian center for the reconciliation of conflicting parties said on Friday.
"For the purpose of stabilization the Russian center for the reconciliation of conflicting parties has achieved an agreement the Syrian government troops will unilaterally cease fire in the de-escalation zone Idlib starting from 06:00 hours of August 31, 2019," the statement runs.
The reconciliation center is urging the commanders of armed groups in the zone Idlib to refrain from armed provocations and join the process of peace settlement in the areas under their control, the news release says"
SAA in Murak


Link:
The Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria says Syrian government forces would cease fire in the de-escalation zone of Syria’s embattled northwestern province of Idlib from Saturday morning.
An agreement was reached on “a unilateral ceasefire by Syrian government forces in the Idlib de-escalation zone from 6:00 a.m. (0300 GMT) on August 31,” the center said in a statement released on Friday.
The statement said the ceasefire aimed “to stabilize the situation” in Idlib, urging foreign-sponsored Takfiri militant groups in the region to “abandon armed provocations and join the peace process.”

From earlier:

Oxycontin Maker Purdue Will Declare Chapter 11 Bankruptcy As Part of Settlement Process in Opiod Death Lawsuits


Link
Many of the thousands of lawsuits have been grouped into larger, combined suits. Most claim that Purdue and the Sacklers used deceptive marketing practices to downplay the potential harms from opioid painkillers such as OxyContin, a Purdue product. The result, states say, is more than 400,000 American opioid-related deaths occurring between 1999 and 2017.
"The Sackler family built a multibillion-dollar drug empire based on addiction," New Jersey state Attorney General Gurbir Gerwal said in May as his state announced their lawsuit.
But Purdue and the Sackler family have consistently denied those accusations, and they framed the proposed settlement as simply a quicker way to help those impacted by the opioid crisis.
"While Purdue Pharma is prepared to defend itself vigorously in the opioid litigation, the company has made clear that it sees little good coming from years of wasteful litigation and appeals," the company said in a statement released to NBC News. "The people and communities affected by the opioid crisis need help now. Purdue believes a constructive global resolution is the best path forward, and the company is actively working with the state attorneys general and other plaintiffs to achieve this outcome."
The new settlement would include a plan for Purdue to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy and then re-form as a for-profit "public benefit trust," according to the purported deal, NBC News said.
Still trying to control the narrative- the people and communities dealing with the opioid crisis they created, need help now? Now?
Included in the deal would be $4 billion in drugs, including medicines used to help people fight overdose and addiction. In addition, all future profits from OxyContin and a soon-to-be-approved overdose rescue drug, Nalmefene, would go to the cities and states should they approve the deal, NBC News said.
The new trust would be overseen by independent, court-appointed "well-recognized experts" as trustees, who would in turn appoint a board of directors. The trust would exist for at least 10 years.
The Sacklers would give up ownership of Purdue, two people familiar with the deal told NBC News. The Sacklers themselves as a family would put another $3 billion into the settlement fund.
According to Forbes magazine, the Sacklers are the 19th richest family in the United States, with a combined wealth of $13 billion shared among 20 family members. Purdue earned more than $35 billion from sales of OxyContin alone, NBC News said.
If the assembled plaintiffs in the case decide not to take the deal offered by Purdue, the company will go ahead and declare bankruptcy anyway, NBC's sources said. But a liquidated Purdue may have much less money to offer plaintiffs.
Trying to control, not just the narrative, but the entire way in which this crime is handled.  How would the law be applied to a drug dealer at the street level? Aren't the Sackler's simply drug dealers? Of course they are. Fully aware of the harm their product is doing. 

A pharmaceutical fortune, dispersed in a global labyrinth

A gate protects the entrance of the Rooksnest estate near Lambourn, England, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019. The manor is the domain of Theresa Sackler, widow of one of Purdue Pharma’s founders and, until 2018, a member of the company’s board of directors. A complex web of companies and trusts are controlled by the family, and an examination reveals links between far-flung holdings, far removed from the opioid manufacturer’s headquarters in Stamford, Conn. 

 The haziness surrounding the estate hints at one of the challenges for government lawyers as they eye a potential settlement with Purdue Pharma L.P. and its owners, the Sackler family, for their alleged role in flooding communities with prescription painkillers.

But where, exactly, did the money withdrawn from Purdue over the years end up? And how much might the family be holding that state and local governments should consider fair game?
Answers are complicated by the way the Sacklers have shielded their wealth in a web of companies and trusts, a review by The Associated Press has found. Some are registered in offshore tax havens far from Purdue’s Connecticut headquarters.

The web’s complexity and offshore reach could affect the calculus for government lawyers as they weigh how to go after Purdue, including how to calibrate demands in settlement talks.

“The Sacklers allegedly (undoubtedly in my opinion) moved significant money offshore, which potentially would make it harder for any judgment creditor to reach,” said Mark Chalos, a lawyer representing counties and cities including Nashville, Tennessee, in suits against opioids makers.

“This is the real question and you’re seeing it playing out in a lot of different states in different ways,” said Elizabeth Chamblee Burch, a professor of law at the University of Georgia. “How do you make sure that they (the Sacklers) are not siphoning off those assets and hiding them away?”
Read the entire Washington Post article at the link provided.

Related:

Yaya: Knees Up Mother Brown - Surgery not the Answer

 Greencrow: Johnson & Johnson found guilty of "nuisance", fined million$ over opioid crisis in Oklahoma 

The Sackler off shore trusts reminded me of Jeffrey Epstein and his timely will and trust. 

Red Wine Boosts Gut Health and Reduces Bad Cholesterol

 That glass of wine with dinner does the body good. Cheers!

Link
In a recent study by the Kings College London, scientists investigated the effect of beer, cider, red wine, white wine and spirits on the gut microbiome (GM) and subsequent health in a group of 916 UK female twins.
They found that consuming red wine is related to greater diversity and more beneficial gut microbiota. The discovery clarifies its long-debated beneficial effects on health.

When tested, scientists noticed that the gut microbiota of red wine consumers contained a higher number of different bacterial species compared to than non-consumers.

During the study, scientists also considered participants’ other factors such as age, weight, the regular diet and socioeconomic status of the participants and continued to see the association.
According to scientists, the main reason for the association is due to the many polyphenols in red wine. Polyphenols are defense chemicals naturally present in many fruits and vegetables. They have many beneficial properties (including antioxidants) and mainly act as a fuel for the microbes present in our system.

The study also found that red wine consumption was associated with lower levels of obesity and ‘bad’ cholesterol, which was in part due to the gut microbiota.

Lead author Professor Tim Spector said: “This is one of the largest ever studies to explore the effects of red wine in the guts of nearly three thousand people in three different countries and provides insights that the high levels of polyphenols in the grape skin could be responsible for much of the controversial health benefits when used in moderation.”

The first author of the study, Dr. Caroline Le Roy said, “Although we observed an association between red wine consumption and the gut microbiota diversity, drinking red wine rarely, such as once every two weeks, seems to be enough to observe an effect. If you must choose one alcoholic drink today, red wine is the one to pick as it seems to potentially exert a beneficial effect on you and your gut microbes, which in turn may also help weight and risk of heart disease. However, it is still advised to consume alcohol with moderation.”

The National Institute of Health-funded the TwinsUK microbiota project. TwinsUK is funded by the Wellcome Trust, Medical Research Council, European Union, The CDRF, The Denise Coates Foundation and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) through the NIHR BioResource and the NIHR Guy’s and St Thomas’ Biomedical Research Centre.
The study is published in the journal Gastroenterology.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Kuwait, Germany and Belgium UN Resolution For Ceasefire in Idlib- Russia likely to Veto?

Interesting... Kuwait, Germany and Belgium

Link
- The United Nations Security Council is considering a draft resolution that would call for a truce in northwestern Syria “to avoid a further deterioration of the already catastrophic humanitarian situation,” though diplomats said on Thursday that such a move is likely to face opposition from veto-power Russia.  

Kuwait, Germany and Belgium circulated a draft resolution, seen by Reuters, to the 15-member U.N. Security Council late on Wednesday that would express “outrage at the unacceptable levels of violence escalating in and around Idlib.” It was not immediately clear when they aimed to put it to a vote. 

A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by Russia, China, the United States, France or Britain to pass. 
Voice of America:
"Over the last four months the ongoing military campaign, using continuous airstrikes, shelling and reportedly barrel bombs, has caused immense human suffering and took an enormous toll on the population," Belgium Ambassador Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve said Thursday. He and the ambassadors of Germany and Kuwait oversee the council's work on humanitarian efforts in Syria and jointly called for the council to act. 
"Today we call for the council to urgently take a unified stance with us against this violence that has caused so much human suffering," he said. "This situation cannot continue."
Several council members, including the United States, declared they would support the draft resolution. But its adoption is not assured, as the Russian delegate questioned who was responsible for the humanitarian crisis in the country. 
Wondering how much the latest Russian/Turkish interaction played in this resolution coming to fruition?  Were the statements made by Putin with regard to Turkey's southern border a factor?
"To our mind, the creation of a security zone on the southern border of the Republic of Turkey will serve as a good precondition for maintaining territorial integrity of Syria itself," the Russian president stressed

Keeping in mind that Turkey and Russia had agreed just the other day to take additional steps , together, to "normalize" the situation in Idlib...........

 Putin said the two leaders had agreed "additional joint steps" to "normalise" the situation in Idlib, including measures aimed at rooting out "terrorists" there.
Don't Kuwait, Germany and Belgium want terrorists rooted out? 

UPDATED August 30/2019: The news below answers the question above.

Belgian ISIS beheader, who received  British Housing Benefits  'captured' and "reportedly" held by SDF
An ISIS butcher who beheaded more than 100 people while still claiming benefits in Britain has been captured in Syria.
Anouar Haddouchi, 35, dubbed ‘the executioner of Raqqa', is from Belgium but moved to Birmingham in 2009.
He received thousands of pounds in housing benefit while fighting for ISIS and is reportedly now being held in a prison run by the Syrian Democratic Forces.
The Birmingham home Haddouchi lived in.  The couple received almost £10,000 in housing benefit after authorities failed to realise they had left to fight in Syria
 Authorities "failed" to realize they had left to fight in Syria? Really? That just doesn't seem credible to me.
"The couple received almost £10,000 in taxpayers’ money which is thought to have all gone to IS.
£3,000 was taken out of his account by accomplices in July 2015 and was handed to the man responsible for planning the November 2015 Paris attacks and 2016 Brussels bombings, Mohamed Abrini."
Which means the British taxpayers, through their government, funded the Paris and Brussels attack.  Mistakenly, of course ;)

Security Zone on Turkish Southern Border To Benefit Syria, says Putin - Eastern Syria Back To Damscus

I've been following this most recent interaction between Russia and Turkey. 
It seemed there had to be more to some of the statements issued from that meeting then had been initially reported in the above post. Specifically this statement:
"He (Putin)  sympathised with Turkey, saying: "We understand Turkey's concern regarding the security of its southern border. We believe that these are legitimate interests."
Contrary to where the earlier articles had led the reader, Idlib,  the entire statement appears to take the reader in an entirely different direction, geographically speaking. Is this a reference to the security zone Turkey would like to see in eastern Syria? 
A move which could force the Usrael Kurds to negotiate with Damascus.  
Which might explain why the US made such a show nearly a week ago demanding that Damascus negotiate with the Kurds?

If Turkey moves the Usrael Kurds may have to accept very unfavourable terms? 
The outcome depends what the USrael appetite for war is with Turkey?

Recall MKB? : 
"Despite the US threat to take action against Turkey if it invaded the Kurdish regions of northern Syria, Turkey estimates that Trump cannot afford a shooting war with it in Syria.
Russia says again that northeast Syria should return to Damascus

 Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson for Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told reporters on Thursday that areas in northeastern Syria now under control of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) should return to Damascus. 

She claimed the situation is “aggravated by continuing clashes between Kurdish units and the Sunni Arabs that traditionally lived in these areas.”
Therefore, she said in a statement that Russia “supports restoring Syria’s territorial integrity and sovereignty as a guarantee of ensuring the national security of its neighbours and achieving regional stability.”

Security zone on Turkish southern border to benefit Syria, says Putin 

Putin and Erdogan
Creation of a security zone on the Turkish-Syrian border will help to maintain Syria’s territorial integrity, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a press conference on the outcomes of the talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Putin noted that Turkey is under considerable strain, having received over 3 mln Syrian refugees
"We understand Turkey’s concern related to ensuring the security of its southern borders, and we think that these are lawful interests of the Republic of Turkey," Putin said.
"To our mind, the creation of a security zone on the southern border of the Republic of Turkey will serve as a good precondition for maintaining territorial integrity of Syria itself," the Russian president stressed
Thoughts?
Recalling a Jerusalem Post oped featured here 
" the end of the conflict may come at a price of fighting in eastern Syria for land that will merely be turned over to the Damascus in the long term."

Keeping in mind that Kurdish outlets were calling for Turkey to be "punished" by NATO.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Russia, Turkey in talks on delivery of electronic warfare systems, fighter jets

Following up on two previous reports:

The Latest:

Su-57
Russia, Turkey in talks on delivery of electronic warfare systems, fighter jets
Moscow and Ankara are in talks on the delivery of Russian electronic warfare systems, as well as the Sukhoi Su-35 and Su-57 fighter jets to Turkey, head of Russia’s Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation Dmitry Shugayev told reporters on the sidelines of the MAKS 2019 International Aviation and Space Salon.

"Today’s talks with my Turkish counterpart, head of Turkey’s Defense Industry Directorate Ismail Demir, will definitely be important. We will continue to discuss issues on our agenda, which concern the S-400 systems, we will also move forward in relation to the Su-35 and the possible delivery of the Su-57," he said.

According to Shugayev, Ankara is interested in purchasing Russian aircraft in light of Turkey’s suspension from the F-35 program. "We know that Turkey and the US have arrived at an impasse as far as the F-35 planes are concerned, so there is a great interest in our aircraft. It is too early to speak about talks on specific contracts, there have been no requests. As usual, we need to hold consultations first," he pointed out.

"In addition, possible deliveries and cooperation in the electronic warfare field are also on the agenda," Shugayev added.

Shugayev also said that Russia and Turkey are ready to discuss a project for creating Turkey’s fifth generation fighter plane TFX.

"You know well enough they have the TFX project. We are prepared to discuss this project with them within the framework of industrial cooperation as such. The more so, since the two leaders said yesterday that industrial and technological cooperation is possible and desirable. Our country and our industry are ready in principle," Shugayev said.

On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan inspected Russia’s fifth generation fighter jet Sukhoi Su-57 at the MAKS air show.

The MAKS 2019 International Aviation and Space Salon is being held in Zhukovsky, outside Moscow, between August 27 and September 1. Russia’s Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Rostec State Corporation are the event’s organizers. The salon has brought together 827 companies from 33 countries, including 184 foreign companies.
Will talks lead to concrete contracts?

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Updated: Prosecutors Move To Drop Charges Against Jeffrey Epstein- Sweetheart Deal # 2

Pretty sure I'd mentioned the silence of the "#me too movement" in this sordid affair.....
A curious silence.  A silence that speaks volumes.

Prosecutors ask for charges to be dropped

Before Tuesday’s hearing in New York got underway, Mr Berman explained why he had called the session to allow the women to speak, as prosecutors asked that charges against Epstein be dropped now that he was dead.

“The victims have been included in the proceeding today both because of their relevant experiences and because they should always be involved before, rather than after, the fact,” he said.

He also dismissed a claim made in a legal journal that by holding the hearing, he was creating unwarranted drama. “The news on August 10 that Jeffrey Epstein had been found dead in his cell, was certainly shocking,” said Mr Berman. “It is a rather stunning turn of events.”

He added: “What little drama might happen today, I don’t think, would be very significant. Public hearings promote transparency and provide the court with insights and information that the court might otherwise not be aware of.”
Mr Berman was going for drama.

Brad Edwards, a lawyer who represents a number of women who say they were sexually abused by Epstein, said: “I have in the courtroom today 15 victims I represent and have represented over the years. There are at least 20 more who didn’t make this hearing today.”

He said Epstein’s “untimely death” was “curious”. He added: “More so, it makes it absolutely impossible for the victims to ever get the day in court that they wanted, and to get full justice. That now can never happen.

Yah, his "death" sure was "curious". And we still don't know what he "died" from?  

Another unsurprising aspect of Epstein's curious death is covered by Scott @ Nomadiceveryman: Video Surveillance Footage from Outside Epstein Cell Now Deemed "Unusable"

 Yup, that's right- Surveillance Footage deemed unusable.

"The Post reported that one of the cameras in the hallway outside of Epstein's cell captured unusable footage, though it is unclear what about the footage made investigators deem it unusable."

Could see that coming a mile away...........

Additional reading: Link

 From earlier today:

Putin Says Russia, Turkey Agree on Additional Steps In Idlib: Kurdish Media "The Turkish Threat To NATO"

Putin Says Russia, Turkey Agree on Additional Steps In Idlib: Kurdish Media "The Turkish Threat To NATO"

As mentioned in yesterday's post:
The meeting took place today and the newest reports are below:

France24:   

Erdogan & Putin Met At MAKS Airshow
After meeting for talks near Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan said they hoped to work together to ease tensions in Idlib province.
"The situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone is of serious concern to us and our Turkish partners," Putin said at a joint press conference with Erdogan.
He sympathised with Turkey, saying: "We understand Turkey's concern regarding the security of its southern border. We believe that these are legitimate interests."
Putin said the two leaders had agreed "additional joint steps" to "normalise" the situation in Idlib, including measures aimed at rooting out "terrorists" there.
Paragraph below from Reuters UK
Together with Turkey’s president we have outlined additional joint steps to neutralise the terrorists’ nests in Idlib and normalise the situation there and in the whole of Syria as a result,” Putin told a joint briefing with Erdogan. 
France 24: "The situation (in Idlib) has become so complicated that at this moment our troops are in danger," Erdogan said.
"We do not want this to continue. All necessary steps will be taken here as needed."
Putin, speaking after talks with Erdogan, also said he and the Turkish leader had emphasised that Syria should remain a unified country.
 Moscow Times
Erdogan and Putin hold frequent talks and — despite the differences over Syria — have forged close ties focused on energy and defense cooperation.
In July, Turkey began taking delivery of Russian S-400 missile defense systems, a move that strained ties with Ankara's NATO ally the United States.
As the two leaders were meeting in Moscow, deliveries of the second battery of the S-400 system began.
Kurdish Media comes out with an extremely timely report below:

The Turkish Threat To NATO? 
"While it is quite reasonable to acknowledge Turkey’s security concerns, playing both sides of the fence and buying Russian weapons is tantamount to aiding Russia which has been a clear adversary to the US and the NATO alliance since the Cold War. According to Senior Fellow Fedriga Bindi at the School of Advanced International Studies at John Hopkins University, Erdogan “has essentially been given the all-clear to do what he wants, and this is not only damaging NATO, but also the whole Western community—and its values system.” In other words, while not the only one, Turkey’s actions under Erdogan threatens the strategic interests of NATO in the Middle East as well as the democratic values and principles that underlie it as an institution."
To my mind it is NATO that damaged their alliance with Turkey. The began this long ago.
And now through their proxies feign injury.
Some argue Turkey has a right to seek military technology outside of NATO if it feels it has not been provided with enough support to address its security concerns, and this may be valid to an extent. Nonetheless, purchasing weapons from Russia opens the door for other NATO members to start to exploit the rivalry between Russia and NATO for their national benefit.  (Other nations working for their own national benefit? Why I'm aghast at this idea. OH my.) This will allow Russia to significantly weaken or divide the NATO alliance and advance its interests in the Middle East and Eastern Europe at the cost of NATO and the US. Furthermore, being a NATO member and enjoying all the benefits of membership comes with responsibilities and commitments that cannot be ignored whenever it is convenient for Turkey. 
The purchase of the Russian missile defense system and other dealings with Moscow is yet another example of the dangerous anti-western direction that Erdogan has taken his country since becoming president a decade ago. Unless something is done to significantly deter or make Erdogan rethink this new-Ottoman foreign and domestic policy where he rules like an Ottoman Sultan, (blah, blah, blah)  Turkey could continue on this path with serious consequences for itself and the NATO alliance.
NATO should, therefore, punish Turkey......
It seems to me NATO has been "punishing" Turkey for quite some time already. 

Related:


Monday, August 26, 2019

World Council Of Arameans- YPG Use Christian Proxies to Fear Monger Against Turkey

 Ally’s comment from the other day gives me a perfect intro for this article I’d saved over the week end

Hello Penny,
It saddens me to see what Syria has been turned into. Before the war, 10% of the Syrian population were Christian and a good majority of those Christians (Arameans, Armenians and Assyrians) were living in Northern Syria since they are indigenous to that region and are the world's first Chrisrians. Kurdishis are not only uprooting these people from their homes but also trying to erase their history in order to claim it as their own. What is the West doing to protect these people? Nothing. Once again, they will allow the Jews/Kurd extremists to massacre the Christians and then accuse Turkey of doing it a 100 years later! You have covered all of this in detail already.
Here's a perspective I guarantee you will not get from the 5/6 eyes media. As the Aramean speak for themselves:

World Council of Arameans:

A few Syriac organizations claiming to represent the Christians of Northeast Syria while basically being front organizations of the YPG, have recently been causing quite a stir online. Being aligned with Kurdish communist separatists from Syria, their fearmongering messages deliberately portray an aggressive Turkish invasion that will exterminate the last Christians in this region. Certain news agencies have picked up and further spread this perceived fear. However, what does the majority of Aramean (Syriac) Christians in Northeast Syria believe?
Two days ago marked the International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism. Such a memorial day provides a fitting moment to differentiate the victims from the perpetrators in Northeast Syria. This statement may sound like a surprise to many people, since the mainstream media rarely reports on this subject, but arguably the biggest threat to the Christians of Northeast Syria in the past years up to the present has actually come from the Kurdish nationalists.
Let us allow the following cold hard facts sink in to fathom the harsh realities on the ground in the self-proclaimed and idealized autonomous region of Rojava (“Western” Kurdistan). The military arm, the security forces or the proxies of the Kurdish PYD/YPG/Asayesh have murdered young Arameans, while beating up elderly teachers almost to the point of death. They have intimidated, threatened and fired warning shots at the residences of the region’s Syriac Orthodox (in 2016) and Syriac Catholic Bishops. They have frequently kidnapped, tortured and exploited Christian youths. They have illegally seized lands, properties and villages of defenseless Arameans and Armenians. And more than once, they have attempted to close down, seize and Kurdify Christian schools.
These and other acts of terror are all carried out to tacitly cleanse the area of its native populations and to transform Northeast Syria into a Kurdish region, inspired by the example of North Iraq. Against this background, many local Aramean Christians are of the belief that the armed Kurdish nationalists were also behind the failed assassination attempt of the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch and the recent car bomb explosion in front of the Syriac Orthodox St. Mary Church in Qamishli (Kurdish secessionists have proclaimed it as the capital of their self-declared autonomous region). Last year, the local Syriac Catholic Archbishop, being a voice in the desert, was recorded saying: “For years I have been saying that the Kurds are trying to eliminate the Christian presence in this part of Syria. … Kurds make up only 20 percent of the population, but, thanks to Western support, [they] are disproportionately represented in the local government. … The West cannot keep silent.”
Clearly, the portrayal of this ‘Rojava’ as a model of governance and a safe haven for the persecuted Christians in the Middle East is highly misleading. This begs the question as to the motives of those Syriacs promoting this deceptive narrative.
Initially, the masters and their puppets promoted an autonomous Kurdish region. Owing to military interventions by Turkey, which disconnected their envisioned independent cantons of Afrin, Kobani and Jazira, they changed their strategy and language, while still covertly pursuing their unchanged nationalist aspirations to achieve their “Rojava Revolution” or “project” of an independent Western Kurdistan. Heeding the advice of one of America’s most senior generals in 2015, the YPG Kurds transfigured themselves the next day into the “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF). “I thought it was a stroke of brilliance to put democracy in there somewhere,” U.S. Army General Raymond Thomas, the head of Special Operations Command, recalled, because “it gave them a little bit of credibility.”
Indeed, the Kurds and their Arab and Syriac comrades are prone to use and promote catchy words such as democracy, pluralism, equality, religious freedom, gender equality and similar terms. They are well-aware that these words sound like music in the ears of Western nations. That is also why, seeing that the Kurdish nationalist and expansionist agenda in Syria might be threatened either soon by Turkey or later by the Syrian government, they began a deceptive campaign of instilling fear in the hearts and minds of those who are genuinely concerned about the wellbeing and fate of Syria’s already halved Christians. “Turkey aims to kill and destroy us and to finish the genocide against our people” in Northeast Syria, these Syriac proxies of the PYD/YPG recently claimed, adding that “more than 100,000 Syriac Christians…will be killed or driven away if Turkey invades.”
Reading such spine-chilling statements and terrifying headlines makes the shocking reactions of the readers understandable. This ‘Christian’ group further emphasized that an additional cross-border operation by Turkey may lead to another mass slaughter against Christians, just like last year “when the churches of Afrin were burned and the Christians and Yazidis there were hunted down.”
However, there was no Syriac church in Afrin and Syria’s Arameans also doubt the veracity of the “500 Kurdish Christian families” there and wonder about these timely converts to Christianity. If there indeed had been Christian victims in Afrin, it could have been Aramean teens snatched from the streets in the Hasakah province by the YPG/Asayesh and sent against their will to Afrin as human shields into a fight against Turkey. The call for ‘prayers’ to ‘fellow Christians’ in the West is also noteworthy, considering that the core ideology of this Syriac group is communist, anti-religion and violent (even against their fellow people). More significantly, they never speak about the fact that numerous Arameans (Syriacs) have already left Syria because of the YPG tyranny and that many others who are not able to or who do not wish to leave their ancient homeland continue to flee from the YPG’s oppression to find shelter and safety in places outside the Hasakah governorate.
Therefore, the vast majority of (Aramean) Christians in Northeast Syria have been complaining for years about the authoritarianism of the YPG and its separatist agenda, which runs against the spirit of national unity in the country and against UN charters. They are still eagerly hoping and waiting for Damascus to restore order and stability in their province. However, when Ankara threatened to clear its borders from these armed nationalists, who are ideologically and militarily in unison with the PKK, the YPG panicked and their pawns expressed this fear. Many of the region’s Aramean Christians, who typically are against foreign interventions, rather unexpectedly entertained a latent hope that Turkey will cross the border to finally halt the nationalist Kurdistan “project” (as the YPG leaders call it), teach the Kurdish separatists lessons of humility and give them a reality check, even hoping that governance will be returned to the local populations including the Arabs (the majority), the non-YPG allied Kurds and the non-YPG affiliated Aramean (Syriac) Christians.
One may acknowledge the Kurdish nationalists for joining in the fight against ISIS, but they were not the only ones combating this menace. However, this can no longer be the reason to arm and empower them as a distinct entity while speaking of ensuring Syria’s peace, security and territorial integrity, nor should it ever justify their dictatorial conduct against the local vulnerable groups.
In this region, the Kurds are betting high stakes involving serious perils for their own people if they lose. They may be willing and ready to pay the price for risking a strong Turkish or Syrian reaction. However, a grave concern, which America, France and the UK have not recognized yet, is that the Kurdish players are also throwing in priceless stakes which they do not own. Namely, non-Kurdish lives such as those of the Arameans (Syriacs), who are the only people in Syria having a continuous and well-documented presence of more than 3,000 years in Northeast Syria and Southeast Turkey. Those who are not able to distinguish between the victims and the perpetrators in this volatile region, are weakening those who already suffer and are strengthening the villains.
The PYD/YPG/PKK and their Aramean (Syriac) proxies 
The YPG is the military branch of the PYD, a political party of Syria’s Kurds that is an offshoot of the PKK. Just like the PKK in the 1990s had enticed, funded and organized some Arameans in Southeast Turkey, the PYD/YPG has applied the same divide-and-rule tactics among the Arameans in Northeast Syria, employing the dissenters as their mouthpiece. Out of the protection unit called “Sootoro,” which, like virtually all of Syria’s Christians, remained with the Syrian government, the PYD/YPG was able to lure a tiny group of dissidents with attractive salaries. They put them under their direct command and maintained the same name, but spelled this counterpart of the Kurdish Asayesh/security forces slightly differently in Latin as “Sutoro” (in Aramaic the name is spelled identically). Due to this intentional confusion, they were able to mislead Arameans in the West to support the wrong ‘Sootoro’. The “Syriac Military Council” (MFS), being the counterpart of the Kurdish YPG, seems to have been invented for symbolic, propagandistic and fundraising purposes.
According to local Arameans, this MFS is under the full control of the Kurds and more than 80% consists of non-Christian Arabs and former ISIS fighters! In addition, the tiny group of Aramean pawns of the YPG has set up paper organizations such as the Syriac National Council of Syria (again with the aim to confuse and deceive; note that its logo resembles our logo and that the SNCS has all but a ‘national’ representation), the Syriac Union Party (the equivalent of the Kurdish PYD) and the American Syriac Union (set up to romanticize Rojava in Washington). This group lacks the support from its own people simply because it serves Kurdish rather than Aramean (Syriac) interests.

Press conference in Northeast Syria. Flags representing various groups, including the YPG and its counterpart the "Syriac" Military Council.
Source photo: Nadie Harbieh.

 Lots of info has been placed here the last couple of days. Avail yourself of it all and spread the reality- Read the words of the Aramean Council. I've reported on much of the activity perpetrated against these people and others- still the 5/6 eyes media portrays the Kurdish militia's as exemplary and egalitarian. This is false.

Putin and Erdogan to Hold Bilateral Talks At MAKS airshow- Featuring 5th Generation Su-57

TASS
MOSCOW, August 26. /TASS/. The Presidents of Russia and Turkey - Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan - will attend the MAKS air show on August 27 and hold bilateral negotiations, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday.

"The [Russian] president will have a busy day tomorrow. Turkish President Erdogan will be in [the town of] Zhukovsky as part of his working visit. The two presidents will watch the exposition of [the MAKS air show] and hold bilateral talks,"
the Kremlin spokesman said.
The MAKS airshow will be featuring..5th-generation Su-57 fighter
Su-57

MOSCOW, August 16. /TASS/. Russia will demonstrate the export versions of the fifth-generation Su-57 fighter jet and the Il-112V military transport aircraft at the MAKS-2019 international air show, the state arms seller Rosoboronexport said in a statement on Friday.

"The Su-57E fighter (the Gagarin Aircraft Plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur) and the Il-112VE military transport plane (the Voronezh Aircraft Enterprise) will be the main exhibits of the Russian exposition’s military segment at the MAKS-2019 air show," the statement says.

Rosoboronexport CEO Alexander Mikheyev has said he is confident that both planes will evoke huge interest at the MAKS air show
Syrian soldier waves flag

Bilateral talks between Putin and Erdogan.
3 points of discussion mentioned in no particular order:

1- Surely Syria, Including the latest in Idlib.
 will be discussed?


"Speaking about the situation in the de-escalation zone in Idlib, particularly in Khan Sheikhoun and in the surrounding areas, the Syrian armed forces, as supported by us, are not violating any agreement," Lavrov said.”


Not violating any agreement then? - No black eye? No bloody nose?

Just a few older posts regarding the Idlib agreement and the eventual return to Syrian governance. There is much more information here at the blog on the topic of Idlib and the agreement between the Astana partners.

     
2- Is Erdogan going to  check out the capabilities of the Su-57, while holding bilateral talks at the airshow, since the US has removed Turkey from the F-35 program?

US Officially Removes Turkey from the F-35 Program

3- Will the situation in eastern Syria be discussed as well? Including the latest move by the US?

Don't Miss...

 

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Jerusalem Post: Indian-occupied Kashmir: A new American dilemma

 What an interesting oped JP published... I'm going to share most of the piece with a link back to original source, including the author's name and credentials. The use of the word occupied is somewhat of a stretch and you will note the author contradicts herself a couple of times in the following piece- Interesting that she's a "fellow" at the Independent Women's Forum.  Being a fellow on a women's forum is  some sort of cognitive dissonance all of it 's own.
As well as a Council on Foreign Relations member

Indian occupied Kashmir- A new American dilemma - The author is QANTA AHMED- A fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and author of In the Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor’s Journey in the Saudi Kingdom
 "With the recent dismantling of Article 370, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s actions are more consistent with imperial dictatorship than with democracy. This is a shameful tragedy for the world’s most diverse and biggest democracy.
The United Nations Security Council met recently in an emergency closed session to discuss Indian-occupied Kashmir for the first time since 1965.
Dismantling Article 370 upends long agreed-upon UN resolutions. The UN Security Council Resolution 47 adopted on April 21, 1948, asked India and Pakistan to resolve the contested Kashmiri territory in a stepwise approach."
The UN encouraged India and Pakistan to work this out diplomatically.  Keeping in mind that this area has been administered or overseen by India for decades now.

History:
"The freely elected popular socialist Sheikh Abdullah, as a Muslim Kashmiri, championed Kashmir’s accession to India, choosing to align with what was in 1951 a secular democracy over what he saw in Pakistan as a nascent theocratic state.
Pakistan was asked to withdraw its nationals from the territory under its control. India was asked to reduce its forces in its part of the territory with an independent plebiscite to follow. Instead, India committed to respecting absolute autonomy for Kashmir with its own regional government, parliament and elections.
Jammu and Kashmir are unique among Indian states as an amalgam of three cultural regions. Jammu apparently backed closer integration with secular India, and Kashmir advocated for greater autonomy by seeking freedom from theocratic oppression.
Both were seeking to safeguard statehood. Article 370 sought to defuse and find compromise among these competing and conflicting tensions. Yet today it is one of the most heavily militarized regions in the world"
Acknowledging Jammu and Kashmir unique among Indian states... but saying they aren't?
Sadly, these differences have all too readily communalized and exploited regions. Tragically, on this altar Jammu and Kashmir are to be sacrificed by the rest of India, which itself is at best a quasi-union or a federation of states.
India is at best a quasi union or federation of states? Interesting and highly, highly suggestive that India can be broken up. Balkanized.  Slights can turn into festering open sores. Divide to conquer can be employed. 

Go back to this post: Kashmir: Article 370, Regional Developments, Crimean Similarities & Washington’s Intervention Desired? You'll notice this is the 3rd time that American intervention is being mentioned- Right in the headline of the Jerusalem Post oped.
"The outcome of Modi’s occupation of Kashmir will have grave ramifications for the rest of the nation. If occupation can happen here, it can happen in any other state in the union."
That's a not so subtle threat. If occupation can happen in Jammu and Kashmir, which is not really correct- then other parts of India can be occupied. Who would do that?
"Back in New Delhi, in parliament, there are only a few representatives from Jammu and Kashmir. Most of them were not present and only one spoke during the dismantling of Article 370"
But some reps were present- Why didn't they speak? Perhaps they were on board with the decision?
"Modi feigned legitimacy asserting that the majority of parliamentarians voted to dissolve Article 370, even as that majority came from only six of India’s 29 federated states and seven union territories.

Certainly, a handful of states may form a voting majority. But astute critics correctly expose this as not democracy but majoritarianism, or the tyranny of a brute majority quashing the rights of vulnerable minorities"
Colourful Spin
 Wow, that's some serious perception management directly above! Not democracy but majoritarianism??? Wow- I'm giving that the Spin claim of the day award!

Democracy, as we know it, is rule by the majority. Majority Rule
Majority rule is a decision rule that selects alternatives which have a majority, that is, more than half the votes. It is the binary decision rule used most often in influential decision-making bodies, including all the legislatures of democratic nations.
"In the background is China, watching the affairs astutely and supporting Pakistan at the UN Security Council emergency consultation recently in New York.

Over recent decades, China has heavily invested in Pakistan, building both the warm water port of Gwadar on the Indian Ocean and engaging Pakistan in the Belt Road Initiative. Both bring Pakistan economic opportunity and stabilization.

Note that not even authoritarian China has dared do this in Hong Kong, nor has Israel, despite almost 70 years of lethal regional conflict which threatened her existence."
Israel hasn't annexed territory? And by that I mean outright annex and ethnically cleanse vast swathes of land?
"THE US needs Pakistan for an exit strategy from Afghanistan, where Afghanis are realizing that the troops will be leaving, even as violence has escalated to intense levels recently. Perhaps this is a prelude of what is to come.

This is particularly worrying as the little recognized Islamic State-Khorasan (ISIS Central Asian offshoot) begins to unfold its ambitions in the Central Asian region."
Khorasan was written about long ago here at PFYT's- I knew that name would come back to haunt us all. And there it is.
"It is conceivable that India is emboldened by witnessing Israeli settlement efforts on disputed territories. Though deeply criticized – including by Israelis and counter to international law – Israel has been able to pursue that without significant sanction."
Wait just a minute, didn't the author of this oped tell us all just a few sentences back that Israel has never done anything like India has done? "nor has Israel, despite almost 70 years of lethal regional conflict which threatened her existence."" Only to contradict herself in her own oped?
"Looking ahead there is no doubt this crisis will draw in regional powers into an international geopolitical crisis. India has taken a grave risk. While Pakistan’s military may be smaller than India’s, its capabilities are far greater.
Pakistan is battle-hardened from decades of jihadist guerrilla warfare, first with the Afghani Taliban, later with its own Pakistani Taliban, and since then with countless numerous violent Islamist groups domestically. Perhaps only the Israeli military has had as much experience combating radical fundamentalism.
Pakistan demonstrated its military prowess and readiness for battle by retaliating at India in February after India struck Pakistan in reprisals for a jihadist attack that claimed the lives of 40 Indian soldiers.

In swift response, Pakistan shot down two Indian Air Force jets, capturing one pilot and humanely releasing him back to Indian custody shortly thereafter. The incident shook India, whose military has not been engaged in widespread warfare of any scale for decades.
Pakistan also has assessed the sober reality. It has few allies in the world. The Americans have long proven exploitative and fair-weather friends. Pakistan has been looking beyond an American allegiance since the Bin Laden raid revealed America’s profound distress of Pakistan.
A friendless nation with a deeply martial spirit, a highly trained and enormously powerful military and a deep sense of pride, Pakistan will not allow Kashmir to be extinguished by Modi’s ambition"
Pakistan is not without friends or funds, that's just rubbish.
SCO Members as Despots? (Globe & Mail)
"India may be unprepared for what will follow. While Western commentators fear Pakistan’s nuclear capability, neither Pakistan nor India is ready to trigger a nuclear apocalypse that will enshroud millions in South East Asia. India has poked an enormous tiger, and she is ill-equipped for the consequences"
 This is an oped that is aggressive in it's tone, while selling  or promoting aggression on the part of Pakistan. It's interesting also that it was published by Jerusalem Post.

 My conclusion remains the same "... all is not as it seems to be. Or as it is presented"
 Readers were warned about the possibility that Khan was selected to up the ante against India in a 2018 report
"Imran Khan has not been empowered to unify the country or to have friendly relations with India. "