Saturday, May 25, 2019

Friday, May 24, 2019

Why is Carbon the Key to Life? On Earth. Where Lives Live.

Because it is. 
It's everything. 
It is the key to life entirely on this planet.
Which is why, it's regularly stated here the anti-carbon cult is, indeed, an anti- life cult.

US deploys 1,500 troops to Middle East

 The  National
The United States announced on Friday the deployment of 1,500 troops to the Middle East, describing it as an effort to bolster defences against Iran as it accused the country's Revolutionary Guards of direct responsibility for this month's tanker attacks.
US President Donald Trump publicly announced the 1,500 figure and described it as a defensive measure. The troops include personnel manning missile defence systems, aerial surveillance to spot threats and engineers to fortify defences.
"We want to have protection in the Middle East. We're going to be sending a relatively small number of troops, mostly protective," Mr Trump said as he left the White House for a trip to Japan.
The deployment marks a reversal of sorts for Mr Trump, who only on Thursday said he thought more troops were unnecessary. Mr Trump has sought to untangle the US military from open-ended conflicts in places like Syria and Afghanistan.
The deployment is relatively small, compared with the approximately 70,000 American troops now stationed across the region. In addition, some 600 of the 1,500 troops are already in the Middle East manning Patriot missiles, and will see their deployments extended.
The Trump administration this month ordered the deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group, bombers and additional Patriot missiles to the Middle East, citing intelligence about possible Iranian preparations to attack US forces or interests.
Rear Admiral Michael Gilday, the director of the Joint Staff, on Friday described US intelligence portraying a new Iranian "campaign" that used old tactics, and stretched from Iraq to Yemen to the waters in the Strait of Hormuz, a vital maritime choke-point for the global oil trade.

Additional Reading: Here 

“Right now, I don’t think Iran wants to fight. And I certainly don’t think they want to fight with us,” Trump said.
“But they cannot have nuclear weapons,” he continued. “They can’t have nuclear weapons. And they understand that.”

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Who's Stoking War Tensions Between Turkey and Russia?

Think about how disturbed the US is with Turkey's purchase of the s-400. The pipeline deals. Banking/trade deals. All made between Turkey and Russia. The threat to NATO's stability... since Turkey and Russia have been working together. This subject was broached in today's earlier post:

The Day After the S-400: Turkish American Relations Worsen

Then consider what party/ies wants.... needs, Turkey and Russia to be at odds with one another...

"it appears that HTS is seeking to provoke the Syrian regime and Russia into a larger attack with the hopes that Russia and Turkey might end up in a conflict. This is a complex and dangerous game. Turkey has announced numerous times recently that it is acquiring the S-400 air defense system from Russia. Most recently, Turkish personnel were supposed to begin training. At the same time, the US is seeking to keep Turkey as an ally through various threats and rewards, but angry that Ankara is buying the S-400 from Russia. There are hints that US President Donald Trump will speak with Turkey’s president soon. Idlib rebel groups and extremists would like to spoil the Turkey-Russia deal. It’s not clear what they think of the Turkey-US relationship.
 
Russian media may also be playing this up to send a message to Turkey that it needs to rein in the rebels and stop the rockets. In that case, Russia is also making it clear that the Idlib tensions need to be reduced. It is incumbent on Turkey to do more to prevent the groups in Idlib from targeting Russian forces. However, Russia also has a key role to play to prevent the Syrian regime from its recent attacks on Idlib. The Syrian regime’s agenda is also to prevent Turkey from entrenching itself forever in northern Syria. With Russia-Turkey ties increasing over the S-400 deal and energy deals, both Ankara and Moscow do not want war in Syria.
Which begs the questions.. who does want war in Syria?
What party/ies have always wanted Syria balkanized?
Who wants Russia and Turkey at odds with one another?
Who stands to lose large if Russian and Turkish ties grow stronger and deeper?


The Day After the S-400: Turkish American Relations Worsen

The Day After S-400: The Turkish-American Relationship Will Get Worse



For the geo political minded. Excerpts from a large, but interesting article.
"For the 500 or so days since Turkey and Russia signed an agreement for the acquisition and eventual deployment of the Russian S-400 air and missile system, the United States has sought to convince Turkey to back out. The United States is concerned that the Russian-made S-400 will collect valuable electronic intelligence about F-35, the American-made fighter jet Turkey is slated to receive in November. Talks between Washington and Ankara have taken place at the presidential level, amongst different elements of the civilian bureaucracy, between the two militaries, and at the parliamentary level — with no success. At this point, the United States needs to start planning for the day after the first S-400 is delivered. This exercise should inform U.S. thinking about how to plan around an increasingly recalcitrant Turkey and prepare for a future in which Ankara remains a NATO member, but one that operates an advanced Russian system that could help Russia glean useful data about the alliance’s air operations. Turkey risks legacy and current U.S.-Turkish defense co-production and development programs if it continues to deepen defense cooperation with Russia. For the United States, the situation is less bleak — in fact, searching for alternatives to Turkish military assets provide some strategic opportunities in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Still, working around Turkey will be financially and politically costly for NATO. The deepest, most intractable problem is what the dustup reveals about Turkey’s lack of commitment to the core NATO tenets of interoperability, burden-sharing and collective defense — an outcome that weakens the entirety of the alliance, including the United States......
Deepening Turkish-Russian Defense Ties
Since the late 1970s, in procurement negotiations with Western aerospace firms, the Turkish government has prioritized co-producing and developing defense equipment in Turkey. In the case of S-400, Ankara departed from this historical norm and agreed to weaker co-production terms than it had previously demanded of firms in the United States and Europe. This is disconcerting, but could actually help shield legacy U.S.-Turkish defense cooperation from being negatively impacted by the deal with Russia. However, if Ankara were to actually reach agreement for the co-production of combat aircraft, like the Russian Su-57, as the foreign and defense ministers have hinted is being discussed, things could get worse. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has underscored a willingness to explore deeper ties with Russia. In an interview with Turkey’s NTV that “if the F-35s don’t work out, I will again have to procure the jets I need from elsewhere … There are [Russian] SU-34, SU-57 and others. I will absolutely meet my needs from somewhere until I can produce it myself.”

Sergei Chemezov, the CEO of Russia’s Rostec Corporation, has suggested that his firm would consider a request from Turkey “about the production localization or technology transfer” for the Su-57 jet. Chemezov also added that Moscow would consider working with Turkey on S-500, a surface to air missile still under development in Russia, and which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has cited as missile Turkey intends to “co-produce with Russia.” Moscow has an incentive to hold key technology back, owing to Turkey’s membership in NATO and legitimate concerns that the United States could exploit Russian-origin technology in Turkey.....

 ....if the two sides were to reach an arrangement similar to the now-defunct Russian-Indian partnership for the production of an Su-57 variant that involves Turkish aerospace firms, the risk to U.S.-Turkish defense programs will grow more acute. Specifically, If Ankara were to reach agreement with Russia to co-produce components of either of these systems, the United States could decide that Russia could gain access to U.S. origin defense equipment, resulting in the revocation of licenses for U.S.-controlled technology.

All of this matters for the United States. Independent of the bilateral tensions, Washington has a very strong interest in each NATO member having a strong military, capable of working closely with the United States. But a weakened Turkey, faced with American sanctions, could choose to deepen its reliance on Russia. This outcome will benefit Russia, but at this point, Moscow is playing with house money because of Ankara’s initial decision to purchase the S-400.
America’s Options: NATO’s New Eastern Flank
Beyond the risk to legacy defense cooperation, the United States will soon have to contend with how to plan NATO training exercises if it can’t trust Turkey to protect the F-35. The first and most tangible outcome may require moving the F-35 engine maintenance facility from Eskisehir, Turkey, to the Netherlands. As part of Turkey’s participation in the F-35 consortium, it is currently slated to serve as Europe’s primary engine maintenance hub. This is certain to change, given the concerns about flying allied F-35s in and out of S-400-patrolled Turkish airspace. Second, in any future NATO air exercise in Turkey, NATO countries could simply choose not to send F-35 for joint training.

It would be imprudent not to expect Ankara to take some retaliatory measures, most likely aimed at aspects of the U.S.-Turkish defense relationship. Retaliating in this fashion is complicated because of Turkey’s NATO membership and the terms in the Defense and Economic Cooperation Agreement (DECA). The agreement limits U.S. military activities in and from Turkish military bases to NATO-related missions, meaning the Turkish government must approve any so-called “out of area” missions. In theory, Turkey could retaliate against the withholding of F-35 by preventing the United States from using Turkish territory for combat operations in the Middle East. This reaction would ensure that Turkey’s role within NATO remains intact, but also that the United States feels some pain for the forthcoming sanctions.
This would mean Turkey would still host an American operated TPY/2 radar because it supports NATO’s effort to field ballistic missile defense to protect European populations from missile attack. The radar provides early warning and discrimination data for the two Aegis ashore missile defense sites at Romania’s Deveselu Air Force Base and Poland’s Redzikowo Air Force Base. These two bases also provide the United States with options to work around Turkey. Romania and Poland are two countries that would welcome an increased U.S. presence. The United States should consider increasing funding to support American and NATO air operations from the Polish and Romanian air bases."
NATO's eastern flank has been discussed here previously- It has the convenient aspect of working to keep Russia in check


Going back to 2014: US Paratroopers go to Poland & Poland Largest Nation on NATO Frontline

 "Both Poland and Turkey are frontier NATO states, with Poland being described as “the largest and most important NATO frontline state in terms of military, political and economic power.” These two geostrategic states also have an overwhelming population when compared to their neighbors, as well as national inferiority complexes stemming from their lost imperial legacies (the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Ottoman Empire). They share a significant land border with the states targeted for a ‘democratic transition’, as well as important cultural and political connections with those societies (as a result of the aforementioned imperial legacies)"
 2018: NATO Needs a Strategy for Countering Russia in the Arctic and the Black Sea
Eastern Flank con't:
"This move would increase U.S. basing options in Europe, while using the Russian entente with Turkey as an opportunity to increase NATO presence along the alliance’s eastern periphery. In essence, Washington could flip the script and use Russia’s outreach to Turkey to its advantage, deepening its presence in eastern Europe and reminding Moscow of American capabilities at the edges of Russian territory....."
Greece- An alternative to Turkey
Readers have certainly been informed of this possibility!

Recently: One and Two  reports on the topic
"Greece could emerge as another attractive candidate. One option is Andravida Air Force Base, which hosts the INIOHOS multinational exercise involving aircraft from Cyprus, Italy, Israel, and the United Arab Emirate, alongside the Hellenic and American Air Forces. A second option is increasing the U.S. footprint at Larissa Air Base. The Air Base currently hosts U.S. drones, as their permanent base in Africa undergoes repairs. Moreover, according to the local Greek Daily, Kathimerini, there are talks to base KC-135 tankers at Larissa. A U.S. presence at either Air Base would offer increased protection from long-range Russian missiles, while also increasing the U.S. footprint in the Mediterranean NATO member."

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

U.S. Says Signs Syria May Be Using Chemical Weapons- Response Will Be Quick

Reuters UK
The United States sees signs the Syrian government may be using chemical weapons, including an alleged chlorine attack on Sunday in northwest Syria, the State Department said on Tuesday, warning that Washington and its allies would respond “quickly and appropriately” if this were proven.
“Unfortunately, we continue to see signs that the Assad regime may be renewing its use of chemical weapons, including an alleged chlorine attack in northwest Syria on the morning of May 19,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.
“We are still gathering information on this incident, but we repeat our warning that if the Assad regime uses chemical weapons, the United States and our allies will respond quickly and appropriately,” she said.
The State Department statement accused Russia and Assad’s forces of “a continuing disinformation campaign ... to create the false narrative that others are to blame for chemical weapons attacks.” 

This claim is certainly making the rounds:
  1. Daily Mail: Trump Admin Warns Assad Gov 
  2.  CNN
The US State Department issued a warning to the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria on Tuesday, saying the US is closely watching the regime's military operations against a rebel enclave in northwest Syria and is looking into allegations that Assad's troops have used chemical weapons in recent days.
"Watching the regime's military operations" that is an interesting claim. 
Since I noticed there was little to no western media coverage reporting on the fact that a ceasefire had been declared. Days ago.

 Sputnik

Terrorists in Syria are planning chemical attacks in the Idlib deescalation zone, as well as in the west of the Aleppo province, the head of the Russian center for Syrian reconciliation said on Tuesday.

"The militants plan to stage such provocations in the village of Jarjanaz, as well as in the town of Saraqib, where a group of children and adults — refugees from the southern provinces of Syria — have already been gathered.
Similar preparations are underway in the west of Aleppo province", Maj. Gen. Viktor Kupchishin said at a daily briefing.

Two shells are  reported to have landed in Aleppo

 Two shells fall in the centre of the Syrian city of Aleppo, Reuters reported citing Syria’s Ikhbariya television.

 Gotta say I'm getting that feeling the US and friends are looking for an excuse. Any excuse.
What will tomorrow bring?

Monday, May 20, 2019

Russian Ceasefire Likely Affords Temporary Delay in Idlib

   Agreed that this ceasefire is temporary- It looks, from where I'm sitting on the other side of the world, that SAA got done what it needed to do for now. Meanwhile Turkey and Russia negotiate..
See the earlier post from today.
 Janes

I'm underlining and have placed an * beside the points that seem valid:
 Janes-*The Russian Ministry of Defence unilaterally announced a ceasefire in the opposition-held Idlib pocket on 19 May.
Previously- Syria: Army Declares Unilateral Ceasefire- Israel attacks. Again
 Previously- Turkey and Russia Negotiate to Reach a Ceasefire: Idlib/Syria
Janes: *This followed a limited advance by government forces into northern Hama province in recent weeks, in which the government captured the town of Kafr Nabouda and neighbouring villages, reportedly displacing around 150,000 civilians.

   *The Syrian government's military objective in Idlib is most likely to recapture the M4 and M5 highways and the Sahl al-Ghab valley.
*The Syrian government does not have the military capacity to retake and hold all remaining opposition-held territories in northwestern Syria in a conventional operation.
It is instead likely to rely on the indiscriminate use of airstrikes, artillery, and potentially chlorine, to drive out the civilian population and stoke up a catastrophic humanitarian crisis that will make it increasingly difficult for the opposition to hold ground and ultimately force the opposition and its sponsor  (I do think that) Turkey (is) into negotiating a political settlement on the Syrian government's (and Russia's) terms. (Terms that all three parties will agree to and comply with)
*Offensive ground operations by the Syrian government will most likely focus on capturing areas of strategic value, such as the M4 and M5 highways, which connect Syria's economic capital of Aleppo to Latakia and Homs, and the fertile agricultural land of the Sahl al-Ghab valley.

   * The progress of military action in Idlib is partially dependent on ongoing negotiations between Turkey and Russia over other regional issues.
As critical military sponsors of the Syrian government and armed opposition, respectively, *Russia and Turkey are likely to use their influence over the conflict in Idlib to strengthen their respective negotiating positions on other regional issues, such as the fate of Kurdish-held northeastern Syria, and Turkey's acquisition of Russia's S-400 surface-to-air missile system.
*The success of any Syrian government offensive into Idlib relies on Russian approval and air support. Russia is likely to enable and, if necessary, halt the progress of the government's offensive in line with Turkey's willingness or ability to accede to Russian demands on other issues.
 There's been a whole lot of coverage here on Hama/Idlib, recently. Syria and all that it entails have been a core topic at this blog since 2011.

Related:

  1. Syria: Blow by Blow 4- Hama to Idlib

  2. US Backed Kurds Kill Protestors- Idlib/Hama Update

  3. "Russia and Turkey landgrab 'behind fresh Syria bombardment' "

  4. Syria: Blow by Blow 3- Idlib, Opening Highways/Taking Higher Ground?
  5. Syria: Blow by Blow Updated

  6. Syria: Blow by Blow