Saturday, September 21, 2019

Trump Deploys More Troops to Middle East After Attack on Saudi Oil Facility


"The president authorized the deployment of additional U.S. forces to strengthen air and missile defenses around Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the Pentagon announced late Friday.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper called the move a first step and said that the deployment would be defensive in nature. He said the deployment comes in response to requests for help from Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called the deployment moderate, but offered no specifics on the number of troops involved. He said the Pentagon would have more to say about the deployment next week.
The announcement appears to signal that President Trump has not yet decided whether to order to a military strike against Iran, which the administration has said was behind the attack on Saudi oil facilities."
 More Troops. Numbers unknown. But a "first step" Which begs the question... What next?

Related:  Cruise Missiles Used in Saudi Oil Facility Attack? US Weapons Did NOT Protect the Facilities Effectively

Saudi Oil Attack: Is this the Big One? If it is, who is it the "big one" for? ARAMACO's Pending Stock Offering?


Thursday, September 19, 2019

Russia AND China VETO UN Security Council Resolution that PROTECTED TERRORISTS

I've been following this latest episode today...
"Russia and China have blocked a UN Security Council resolution on the truce in Syria’s Idlib province as it didn’t provide an exemption for military action against terrorist groups blacklisted by the UN itself. 

The real aim of the resolution, put together by Kuwait, Germany and Belgium, was “saving the international terrorists entrenched in Idlib from complete annihilation and portraying Russia and Syria as the culprits of what is happening there,” Russian envoy to the UN Vassily Nebenzia said."
Using this situation as a tool in a hostile campaign which aims to destabilize Syria’s safety and stability and support terrorism.

"The Russian delegation warned the co-authors that their draft was bound to fail, but they still put it to vote, “deliberately disrupting the unity of the Council,” he pointed out.
The alternative ceasefire resolution, which was drafted by Moscow, also failed to garner enough support, with 12 countries voting against it."

As has been suggested here the Astana Trio had been having success in Idlib. 
It wasn't happening easily or quickly, but it was occurring. 
Hot on the heels of that obvious show of solidarity the three parties made in Ankara including some not so subtle messages towards NATO and the US- Ignored completely by 5 eyes msm and alt media. 
unity and solidarity

Suddenly allies of the US, Saudi Arabia, the PKK, Israel and the global oligarchy class create yet another UN Security Council resolution demanding a total ceasefire to save their "international terrorists" in Idlib.

Today's first report:  UN Security Council Set To Vote On Rival Truce Plans For Northwest Syria- Today
 "Again we see the US protecting their terrorists"
Today's second report  HTS Crumbling In Idlib/ Astana Success in Idlib the Reason for the UN Ceasefire Request?


HTS Crumbling In Idlib/ Astana Success in Idlib the Reason for the UN Ceasefire Request?

 Al Jaafari is definitely pointing out the political machinations behind this latest call for a ceasefire in Idlib:

Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari said that Governments of some permanent members at UNSC continue to abuse the use of UNSC mechanisms to politicize the humanitarian situation in Syria by using this situation as a tool in a hostile campaign which aims to destabilize Syria’s safety and stability and support terrorism.
Al-Jaafari, speaking at a security Council session on Thursday , said that improving the humanitarian situation in Syria and confronting difficulties  faced by Syrians require  full commitment the respect for Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and to support the efforts of the government and its allies in combating the remaining terrorist organizations.
As stated earlier "Again we see the US protecting their terrorists"
There was a whole lot of discord among the varying groups of mercenaries in Idlib- It looked as if the plans made by the Astana trio ( Iran, Russia, Turkey) were bearing fruit

There had been a call for fighter/mercs to turn on Al Golani 

Mustafa Seyjerim, Free Syrian Army spokesman, called HTS fighters to turn on Al Golani.
This came after ABo Abed Ashda , HTS leader, relaesed a video and talked about the mistakes and violations that HTS commits,  which in turn dismissed him saying he exposed "information" that "benefits the enemy"
Due to the video released by HTS regional leader Ashidaa which resulted in his arrest and incarceration

ALEPPO, Syria — A prominent commander of Islamist coalition Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in Syria was arrested Sept. 12 after he posted a video on YouTube criticizing other HTS leaders and alleging corruption. 

In his video, titled “To Prevent the Ship From Sinking," Abu al-Abd Ashidaa raised allegations of financial and administrative corruption within the group's leadership. Some observers described Ashidaa’s criticisms as a coup against HTS. The video went viral among jihadi organizations in the northwestern Syria province of Idlib, where HTS is fighting regime forces.

He also went as far as accusing HTS leadership of focusing on collecting tax and zakat (Islamic charitable contributions) and taking over public property, all while smuggling goods and monopolizing the trade of grains and agricultural crops after forcing farmers to sell their crops at low prices.

HTS denied Ashidaa's allegations and announced Sept. 10, the day after he posted the video, that he was being dismissed from his posts and referred to the military judiciary for punishment.

When he was arrested Sept. 12, HTS said in a statement, “A few days ago, a video by Ashidaa was broadcast, filled with lies and slander, and inciting division within the group. Some information that could benefit our enemy in the battles in the liberated north was revealed.”

The statement continued, “We stress that we will not allow, God willing, any attempt to divide our ranks or create strife, especially as the enemy is trying to infiltrate [our] ranks and seeks to pull them away from their families, waging a psychological war of incitement and spreading rumors.”
Ashidaa remained in custody as of the Sept. 17 deadline for this story, with no news of his release. Until he was arrested, Ashidaa commanded the military bloc of Aleppo city and was administrative commander of Umar ibn al-Khattab Army, a group of HTS special forces. He is seen as part of the most radical HTS current. He opposes the pragmatism of HTS leader Abu Mohammad al-Golani and his moderate current. Ashidaa has also repeatedly condemned the conflicts over power within HTS, and the attempts of some of the group’s leaders to collect money.
HTS fears the video could lead to more defections. Since the beginning of this year, two of the group’s most prominent leaders defected or were dismissed — explanations vary — due to internal disputes: Talha al-Mayssir (also known as Abu Shuaib al-Masri) and Abu al-Yaqdhan al-Masri


UN Security Council Set To Vote On Rival Truce Plans For Northwest Syria- Today

 It should be noted that this vote follows the Ankara meeting of Erdogan, Putin and Rouhani.
The situation in northwest Syria aka Idlib was discussed and addressed by the trio. Still Kuwait, Germany and Belgium felt it necessary to submit a resolution which was countered with a rival draft from China and Russia. Highly suggestive the US and friends don't want a resolution in Idlib. Or at least not the one Iran, Russia and Turkey are working towards.

Russian and Syrian forces stand guard as civilians enter a crossing into Idlib Province.

The council is set to decide between a resolution submitted by Kuwait, Germany, and Belgium and a rival draft put forward by Russia and China.
The United Nations Security Council is set to vote on September 19 on rival draft resolutions calling for a truce in northwest Syria.

The resolution by Kuwait and the European countries calls for the Security Council to demand all sides "immediately cease hostilities" in Syria's Idlib Province.
It calls for a cease-fire to begin at noon local time on September 21 and says it would help "avoid a further deterioration of the already catastrophic humanitarian situation in Idlib."

Diplomats have told Reuters that Moscow wants language included that would exempt from the truce any military actions against armed groups blacklisted by the Security Council.

The United States and others have refused Moscow's demand, diplomats said. The draft instead insists that "member states ensure that all measures taken to counter terrorism, including in Idlib Governorate, comply with their obligations under international law."
Again we see the US protecting their terrorists.
Washington and other Western states have accused Moscow and allied Syrian forces of targeting civilians in Idlib.

Russia and Syria deny the charge, claiming they have targeted militants, including the Nusra Front, an extremist group also known as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham that has been linked to Al-Qaeda.

Russia and China put forward a separate text to the UN that "reaffirms that the cessation of hostilities shall not apply to military operations against individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with terrorist groups, as designated by the Security Council," according to a text seen by Reuters.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Ankara Summit 2019:14 Point Joint Statement Including a NATO like Article 5 Collective Defence Affirmation.

 The trio certainly made an interesting joint statement in Ankara.. Afterwards joining hands in a very obvious and intentional show of strength and solidarity.

"The Presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey, in a joint statement, reaffirmed their firm commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria, rejecting every effort to create new realities in the Syrian field under the pretext of combatting terrorism, including illegitimate self-rule initiatives.

The 14-paragraph statement released after intensive talks by Dr Hassan Rouhani, Mr Vladimir Putin and Mr Rajab Tayyip Erdoğan, welcomed the participation of Iraq and Lebanon as new observers of the Astana Format and called on the international community to take more responsibility in rebuilding Syria and increasing humanitarian aid to the people of the country.
The full text of the joint statement is as follows:

The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mr Hassan Rouhani, the President of the Russian Federation, Mr Vladimir Putin, and the President of the Republic of Turkey, Mr Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, met on September 16, 2019 in Ankara to attend a trilateral summit.

The Presidents:

1- Discussed the current field situation in Syria, reviewed developments since their last meeting in Sochi on February 14, 2019, and reiterated their resolve to strengthen trilateral cooperation in the light of their agreements.

2- Reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic and to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. They reiterated that these principles should be respected by everyone and that no action, whoever its agent(s), should undermine these principles.

3- Reaffirmed in this regard the respect for universally-recognised international legal decisions, including those provisions of the relevant UN resolutions rejecting the occupation of Syrian Golan, first and foremost UN Security Council resolution 497, and condemned the United States Government’s decision regarding the occupied Syrian Golan, which is a clear violation of the international law, endangering regional peace and security. They consider Israeli military strikes in Syria as destabilising and in violation of the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity, leading to heightened tensions in the region.

4- Discussed the situation in the north-east of Syria and emphasised that security and stability in this region can only be achieved on the basis of respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, and agreed to coordinate their efforts in this regard.

5- Rejected in this regard all attempts to create new realities on the ground under the pretext of combatting terrorism, including illegitimate self-rule initiatives, and expressed their determination to stand against separatist agendas aimed at undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria as well as threatening the national security of neighboring countries."
An oped from Yeni Safak makes an interesting point about the fifth article above.
"However, the U.S. must have also turned purple when it read the fifth article. Because it should be suspected that this decision was specifically added to the fifth article; any outside threat to a NATO-member country's national security, sovereignty is prevented by members of the pact.
Now, "which pact" is protecting Turkey?"
 FYI: NATO's article 5 invokes collective defense among NATO nations

 The joint statement made by Iran, Russia and Turkey clearly states that the trio will stand together against separatist agendas and threats intended to undermine the sovereignty of Syria as well as those of neighbouring countries... Which would include Turkey. Also, Iran.
  It is a statement implying collective defense. I'd say that was a clear, intentional swipe at article 5 of the joint NATO's collective "unique and enduring" principal of collective defense. I'm unsure why this summit has garnered so little coverage in the media?
 Other then it's the usual behaviour for 5 eyes alt and msm.
6- Reviewed in detail the situation in the Idlib de-escalation area and highlighted the necessity to establish calm on the ground by fully implementing all agreements on Idlib, first and foremost the Memorandum of 17 September 2018. They warned about the deteriorated humanitarian situation in the region and its surroundings as the result of continued tensions and agreed to take concrete steps to reduce violations. They also expressed serious concern over increased presence of the terrorist organisation “Hayat Tahrir al-Sham” in the area and reaffirmed the determination to continue cooperation in order to ultimately eliminate DAESH/ISIL, Al-Nusra Front and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaeda or DAESH/ISIL, and other terrorist groups, as designated by the UN Security Council. While deploring civilian casualties, they agreed to undertake concrete measures, based on the previous agreements, to ensure the protection of the civilian population in accordance with the international humanitarian law as well as the safety and security of the military personnel of the guarantors present within and outside the Idlib de-escalation area.

7- Reiterated their belief that there could be no military solution to the Syrian conflict and that it can only be ended through a UN-facilitated Syrian-Syrian political process in line with the UN Security Council resolution 2254.

8- Expressed their consent over the successful conclusion of formation and launching of the Constitutional Committee and their support for the efforts of the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria Geir O. Pedersen on the agreement among the Syrian parties with regard to the work of the committee. They reiterated their readiness to facilitate the launching of the Constitutional Committee in Geneva, in accordance with the decisions of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi.

9- Emphasised the need to increase humanitarian assistance to all Syrians throughout the country without preconditions. In order to support the improvement of the humanitarian situation in Syria and the progress in the process of the political settlement, they called upon the international community, the United Nations and its humanitarian agencies, to take more responsibility in this regard and enhance the assistance to Syria, inter alia by developing early recovery projects, including the restoration of basic infrastructure assets - water and power supply facilities, schools and hospitals as well as the humanitarian mine action.

10- Highlighted the need to facilitate safe and voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their original places of residence in Syria, ensuring their right to return and right to be supported. In this regard they called upon the international community to provide appropriate contributions and reaffirmed their readiness to continue interaction with all relevant parties, including the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other specialised international agencies. They agreed to coordinate their initiatives to hold international conferences on humanitarian aid to Syria and the return of Syrian refugees.

11- Welcomed the participation of Iraq and Lebanon as new observers of the Astana format.

12- In addition to the Syrian issue, reviewed the latest regional and international developments and also cooperation in various fields, and emphasised their decision to develop joint economic and commercial cooperation.

Decided to hold the next tripartite summit in the Islamic Republic of Iran
at the invitation of the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Mr Hassan Rouhani.

Expressed their sincere gratitude
to the President of Turkey Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan for hosting the tripartite summit in Ankara.


Does the US have something in mind already employing this man?

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Cruise Missiles Used in Saudi Oil Facility Attack? US Weapons Did NOT Protect the Facilities Effectively

There is stringent security present around these facilities!  How did they not see the drones?
How did the American military miss the drones flying in from more then 1000 kms away? 
The American military is based in Saudi Arabia alongside Saudi forces. Possibly near the oil facilities? How did the drones get past them?

 This story gets more and more interesting. One wonders if the attack could serve to encourage additional arms purchases from Israel or the US? After all Saudi Arabia had considered purchasing the S-400 from Russia. Competition, being competitive and all that.

Previous coverage regarding  Saudi consideration of S-400  purchase from last year
"The S-400
Talks for Saudi Arabia to acquire the Russian S-400 SAM system are continuing..."
Smoke at Saudi Aramco's Abqaiq oil processing site

“Although Saudi Arabia once flirted with the idea of buying the S-400 system, it was probably aware that doing so would have a disastrous effect on its relationship with the Trump administration.”
And if Saudi Arabia wasn't aware or concerned then. They surely are now
"Saturday’s attack would have been exponentially harder to neutralize than the 2017 strike. Both drones and cruise missiles appeared to have been used, with some suggestions that the weapons were launched from multiple locations.

Knight said Saudi Arabia’s missile defense system was developed in the 1990s after watching the Iran-Iraq war and the subsequent Gulf War, where airplanes and ballistic missiles were the main threat and could be spotted with radar easily, to be targeted by defense systems at a distance.

However, cruise missiles and drones fly far closer to the ground, making them harder for radar to detect. Given the low altitude, shooting one down carries greater risk, especially when detected late. “If you are wrong, you just blew up a British Airways flight,” Knight said.

Saudi Arabia has several missile defense systems that can target a low-altitude flight. Thomas Karako, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that in theory the Patriot system could protect against such a threat, although it is primarily designed for ballistic missiles.

However, it would depend where it was placed. “The defended area for a Patriot battery is relatively small,” Karako said. “There are real limits, even if you have a ton of Patriots, on what you can defend.”

It is unclear ( or it won't be stated?) whether the targeted oil facilities, in the districts of Khurais and Abqaiq, were defended by Patriot batteries or other systems.

Becca Wasser, a senior policy analyst at Rand Corp., said responsibility for protecting Saudi Arabia’s critical infrastructure was split between the Interior Ministry and the domestically focused Saudi Arabian National Guard, rather than the military.

“These overlapping structures, rules and responsibilities are really a vestige of coup-proofing practices,” Wasser said, designed to prevent any one wing of power from posing a threat to the ruling family.

Saudi Arabia is planning military reforms to address such problems, she added, part of society-wide changes being pushed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The kingdom, aware of the technical threat posed by Iran to key facilities, may also seek to purchase new weapons that could combat the threat better.

The Iron Dome missile-defense system, co-designed by the Israeli defense firm Rafael and Raytheon, may be one possibility, Karako said. The system is best known for its use in Israel, where it is used to shoot down rockets from Gaza and southern Lebanon. “The Saudis want to get something like Iron Dome, but they probably won’t call it Iron Dome,” Karako said.

Saudi Arabia may also seek to improve its radar capabilities with the use of elevated sensors that can detect threats from farther away.

For the time being, however, Saudi Arabia may have to learn to make better use of what it has already. New purchases from the United States could take years to go through, especially given a Congress increasingly suspicious of Saudi Arabia and export restrictions in place on some of the more advanced U.S. technology.

There may not be any handouts from the White House. Though Trump pushed the Saudi military to make more purchases, he suggested Monday that the United States did not have an obligation to protect the kingdom — and that if there was a conflict, Riyadh would again foot the bill.

“The fact is that the Saudis are going to have a lot of involvement in this if we decide to do something. They’ll be very much involved, and that includes payment,” Trump said."
Good thing for the ARAMACO offering eh?  Lots of money for military purchases.

From earlier:

Bellweather: Ex Premier Ahmet Dovutoglu Resigns From AKP Party


Bellweather: Ex Premier Ahmet Dovutoglu Resigns From AKP Party

The word bellweather comes to mind:  an indicator or predictor of something.

 I've long, long had serious doubts about  Mr Dovutoglu. And have expressed those thoughts here. Dovutoglu was the power in Turkey at the time the Syrian destabilization began.  And the man in charge when the Russian plane was shot down.. by a heavily NATO infiltrated military.
Nor do I believe the song he's singing about not wanting to disagree or divide.

Under the old system of government. The Prime Minister, not the President, held the power.

Saying he'll start a new movement
"It is both a historical responsibility and a necessity to build a new political movement and take a new path," Davutoğlu said, speaking at a press conference in the capital Ankara. He resigned alongside several other AKP lawmakers.
This guy is a wolf in sheep's clothing in my opinion. Hope the Turks think two or three times before offering him support
His resignation may have been a preemptive move, as the AKP had been widely expected to dismiss Davutoğlu, having launched disciplinary action against him.
Davutoglu was foreign minister in 2009-2014 before becoming AKP chair and prime minister. In May 2016, Davutoğlu stepped down from both posts and was succeeded by Binali Yıldırım.

Former Prime Minister and then-chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Ahmet Davutoglu resigned his party on Sept. 13 after the AKP had launched disciplinary action against him and three other dissidents.
“Referring the chair, deputy chairmen, deputies and provincial leaders who have led the resistance of the 15 July night to the discipline with the demand of expulsion is a very grave decision which does not coincide with the founding principles of the AK Party, and with our democratic experiences and political traditions,” Davutoglu said, speaking at a press conference where he declared his resignation.
This goes back to the coup.
Six other AKP members also declared their resignation along with Davutoglu.
Elaborating on his recent criticisms of the AKP’s policies, Davutoglu said: “We aimed to invite the current AKP administration, which departs from its founding principles and political mission, to make an accounting.”
All “consultation channels” within the in the party are closed, and there was no room left for “well-intentioned criticism and advice” in the party, he stated.    
“Our intention and goal is not to disagree, divide and weaken; our aim was to put forward the possibilities of renewing our party within the framework of founding principles as an interpreter for the discomfort seen in our party cadres and grassroots,” he stated.
The AKP’s central executive committee last week decided to take action to expel Davutoglu, along with former MPs Selçuk Özdağ, Ayhan Sefer Üstün and Abdullah Başcı on the grounds that they acted in contradiction to the AKP’s rules of procedure. The AKP’s Disciplinary Board asked them for a verbal and written defense. The move of their resignation came before the deadline of the disciplinary defense period.
 Globe and Mail

Monday, September 16, 2019

Putin, Erdogan and Rohani: Upbeat Press Conference. Lots of Agreement

Following Up On...  Trilateral Summit on In Ankara- Is Everyone on the Same Page? Damascus labels SDF as "separatist terrorist militia", again. 


I'm getting the impression that this has been a productive meeting, undertaken to finalize that which was likely discussed in advance of this latest get together- Indicates the "why" of the letter sent by Damascus to the UN. Covered in today's earlier post.

Link : About 58 minutes


Additional reports below:

And yes the trio stated Israel's attacks on Syria are destabilizing. As they are intended to be...

"The presidents consider Israeli military attacks in Syria as destabilizing, violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, as well as leading to increased tensions in the region," the Russian-language version of document, published on the Kremlin’s website, reads.

"The leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey announced Monday that they agreed to form a committee tasked with rewriting Syria’s constitution as part of a political solution to the country’s civil war, now in its ninth year"

Trilateral Summit on In Ankara- Is Everyone on the Same Page? Damascus labels SDF as "separatist terrorist militia", again.

1- Syrian government labels SDF ‘separatist terrorist militias’ ahead of Ankara talks
SDF/PKK fighters. Could you tell them apart from ISIS if they wore the ISIS costume?
The Syrian government has previously labeled the SDF as separatist militia’s- So this is nothing new. Wondering why the 5 eyes media is giving attention to this fact, at this time? Might it be the fact that Russia, Iran and Turkey are meeting today? And perhaps they’ve got a solution, a final deal,  in the works?

“Kurdish-led SDF calls for dialogue one day before Putin, Erdogan and Rouhani are set to meet in Ankara”

Recall a month ago the US stood alongside their Kurdish proxies, the PKK, and demanded to meet with Damascus?
Have they become more desperate?

Defense post continues:
In a rare (not so rare) shift of rhetoric, Syria’s foreign ministry labeled the Syrian Democratic Forces as “separatist terrorist militias” in a letter to United Nations Secretary-General.

The letter accuses the SDF of operating in line with “schemes” by the United States and Israel and says the Syrian government will “liberate” territories captured by the militias, state news agency SANA reported on Sunday, September 15, ahead of a Monday meeting of the presidents of Russia, Iran and Turkey to discuss Syria.

According to SANA, the letter claims the SDF has moved on from taking part in “committing crimes of the “International Coalition” against the Syrian people,” accusing the SDF of now “kidnapping, torturing, killing and displacing civilians.”
“The SDF’s push into the oil-rich majority-Arab province of Deir Ezzor in Syria’s east in 2017 drew scorn from the Syrian government, which has repeatedly vowed to take back all Syrian territory the government lost during the war.”

The SDF on Sunday again ( as I’ve said, it’s been more then once the PKK made demands on Damascus) called on the government to end “hostilities against our forces” and renewed its call for “dialogue with the forces representing the Kurds, Arabs and all components of the north and east of Syria to search for real solutions” to secure peace and stability “on the basis of constitutional recognition of self-administrations” and acceptance of the SDF.

The Syrian government has rebuffed the Autonomous Administration’s demands before, (and more then once the Damascus government has called the SDF/PKK separatists and terrorists) calling them “separatist” and saying it will never accept the partitioning of the country. Northeast Syrian leaders say they are not seeking partition, but rather a form of negotiated integrated autonomy that would include incorporation of the SDF into Syria’s armed forces.
As was written well over a year at the blog - Incorporating the terrorist, separatist PKK into Syria’s armed forces would be catastrophic for Syria. Same as it had been for Iraq.   
"Turkey, Russia and Iran set to discuss Syria

The Syrian government’s rare public rebuke came one day before Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are set to meet President Hassan Rouhani of Iran in Ankara for their fifth summit on the Syrian conflict since 2017."
Foreign and Expatriates Ministry on Sunday stressed that the criminal and repressive acts being exercised by the separatist terrorist militias of the so-called “QASAD” against Syrian citizens match up with the schemes implemented by states agents to the USA and prepared by authorities of the Israeli occupation for the region, stressing Syria’s determination to restore every inch of the Syrian territories and liberate them from terrorism.

The Ministry said in a letter directed to Secretary-General of the United Nations and the President of the Security Council that separatist terrorist militias of the so-called “QASAD” continue their terrorist and criminal exercises against the Syrians in the provinces in Hasaka, Raqqa, Deir Ezzor and Aleppo –backed by the USA and forces of “International Coalition”, which provide them with military, logistic, financial and political support.

“That goes in line with schemes being implemented by some states agents to the USA and plotted by authorities of the Israeli occupation, neglecting UNSC resolutions that stress sovereignty and territorial unity of Syria and unity of its people,” it added.

The Ministry continued to say that “QASAD” militias not only took part in committing crimes of the “International Coalition” against the Syrian people but also moved to another stage,i.e. kidnapping torturing, killing and displacing civilians. They also illegitimately recruit the youth with the aim of imposing a new status quo that serves the US and Israeli schemes in the region and prolongs the war of terror in Syria.
It clarified that the exercises of the terrorist militias come in a time when the Syrian Arab Army is fighting “Jabhat al-Nusra” terrorists and terrorist organizations affiliated to Daesh and Qaeda in Idleb province.

The Ministry said that the Syrian government is resolved, with the help of the friendly countries and allies, to restore each inch of the Syrian territories and liberate them from terrorism, in addition to reconstructing what has been destroyed due to terrorism.

It is also resolved to liberate areas controlled by the separatist terrorist militias of the so-called “QASAD”, as the Syrian people will not allow them to harm the country’s unity and sovereignty.

It added that Syria’s declaration of opening humanitarian corridors such as Abu al-Dohour in Idleb for civilians to leave areas controlled by Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists /Qaeda/ is clear evidence of the Syrian state’s respect of the international humanitarian law on contrary to what some parties are trying to promote in front of the UNSC.
3-Putin has arrived in Ankara

Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Ankara to take part in a trilateral summit on Syria.

Putin’s aide Yuri Ushakov said earlier the three presidents, Vladimir Putin of Russia, Hassan Rouhani of Iran and Recep Tayyip Erdigan of Turkey, would discuss the situation in Idlib and in northeastern Syria, the humanitarian situation, restoration of vital infrastructure facilities, and the pace of political process in that country. The summit will be preceded by Putin’s bilateral meetings with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts.

Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov did not rule out that the topic of the recent attacks on Saudi Aramco’s facilities would also be raised at the summit.

The talks are expected to yield a joint statement.
4-Erdogan and Rouhani met in advance of the summit
Rouhani was met by Erdogan

The Turkish president on Monday met his Iranian counterpart in the capital Ankara, ahead of the trilateral summit on Syria later in the day.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan received his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani at the presidential mansion and held a closed-door meeting that lasted almost two hours.

Erdogan is expected to meet Russia’s President Vladimir Putin later in the day. The leaders of Turkey, Russia and Iran will hold the fifth trilateral summit on Syria in Astana format, in which they will discuss regional and global developments with a special focus on Syrian crisis.
5-‘Iran, Russia, Turkey on Verge of Reaching Final Deal on Syria’

"Speaking in a press briefing in Tehran on Monday, Mousavi expressed the hope that the Monday talks between President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, Vladimir Putin of Russia, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey would yield a result that serves the Syrian people’s interests.

“We are on the verge of reaching a good deal on restoration of peace to Syria,” he said, adding that the fight against terrorism will continue until full eradication of the phenomenon.

While moving towards de-escalation and easing of tensions in the region, Iran, Russia, and Turkey will respect the sovereignty of Syria, Mousavi noted”

I’d expect and have stated for a long time now that Iran, Russia and Turkey will respect Syrian sovereignty much more then Usrael/Kurds have

From yesterday evening (updated with a new map and additional information): 

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Saudi Oil Attack: Is this the Big One? If it is, who is it the "big one" for? ARAMACO's Pending Stock Offering?

Considering multiple scenarios about the Saudi attack while not discounting the possibility the Houthi fighters may have pulled this off.  Maybe? However, Saudi Arabia employs some very stringent security around it’s facilities. So questions have to be asked.

"After the smoke clears and markets calm down, the technological sophistication and audacity of Saturday’s attack will linger over the energy market"     
This bothers me a bit...  Technological sophistication and audacity.

Ottawa Citizen 
“The Houthis’ military spokesman, without providing evidence, said drones hit refineries at both Saudi sites, which are more than 1,000 km (621 miles) from the Yemeni capital Sanaa, and pledged a widening of assaults against Saudi Arabia.”
  More then 1000 km’s and no one noticed? Did the drones originate somewhere closer? Possibly and we'll cover that information in short order. Briefly,  speaking "preliminary reporting" indicates the attacks originated  much closer to these oil facilities in Saudi Arabia..
 If that is the case how did these attacks go unnoticed from the suspected closer location? Russia doesn’t miss when drones attack their base in Syria. How could Saudi Arabia? 
 There is stringent security present around these facilities!  How did they not see the drones?
How did the American military miss the drones flying in from more then 1000 kms away? 
The American military is based in Saudi Arabia alongside Saudi forces. Possibly near the oil facilities? How did the drones get past them? 
 Thinking, also, about the fact that the US provides Saudi Arabia with intelligence for the attacks on Yemen... how did they miss the  drones? With their eyes in the skies? And everywhere else?
 Just putting it out there as a possibility.. ARAMACO”s long awaited IPO is set to launch. In as little as 6 weeks. And oil prices are set to rise based on this attack taking place, despite the fact that Saudi Arabia got the situation under control very quickly.
 About the attacks originating closer to the facilities.... “preliminary reporting” says the drones originated from Iraq.

"Preliminary indications are that the attacks likely originated from Iraq, a source with knowledge of the incident told CNN. Iran wields significant influence in southern Iraq, which is situated much closer than Yemen to the affected Saudi sites."
Reports have the drones coming from Iraq. Not from Yemen. Looking at the map and distance these drones would have to cross over vast swathes of Saudi Territory it's seems less likely the drones did originate in Yemen. Iraq is interesting  to consider as the launching location for these drone attacks, but, again, how would the US have missed these launches taking place in Iraq?  Since the US pretty much rules Iraq?
Drones not likely launched in Yemen
Hilal Khashan, who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut, told VOA that he suspects the drones may not have been launched from inside Yemen because the Houthis don’t have drones capable of flying as far as Saudi Arabia’s eastern province.
Iraq as the launch point for the drones is surely being pushed to blame Iran and justify the continued occupation by the US in that area, yet,  the US already has an out sized influential role in Iraq... Again, how would these drones have gone unnoticed?

Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company, had in 2017 liquids reserves of 260.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent, which are larger than the combined reserves of Exxon Mobil Corp, Chevron Corp, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, BP Plc and Total SA, and which have an estimated reserve life of 54 years."
“Saudi Aramco is preparing for what Saudi Arabia hopes will be the world’s largest-ever public listing and the fuel for crown prince Mohammad bin Salman’s ambitious plan to transform the Saudi economy by 2030.

But achieving the $2tn evaluation it hopes for will require the market to shrug off concerns about weakening long-term demand for the fossil fuel, as well as the ongoing US-China trade war and the prospect of a global economic slowdown.”
Keeping in mind: Saudi Arabia largely supplies Asia. China and India are two of their biggest markets

"It’s been at least three years in the making, but it’s just dawned on investors what a share sale by Saudi Aramco would do to the Arab world’s biggest stock exchange.

The Tadawul All Share Index almost wiped out this year’s gains after the kingdom picked banks for the sale, spurring market players to realize the initial public offering really is happening. The energy giant could list as soon as November, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

“All local index constituencies should suffer outflows,” said Slava Breusov, a senior analyst with the emerging and frontier equities team at AllianceBernstein in New York.

The IPO is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s efforts to modernize the economy and diversify the nation’s revenue from oil, including turning the bourse into a gateway for foreign investment. The kingdom spent years relaxing rules for foreign traders and aligning its market with global peers, culminating in its inclusion in MSCI Inc. and FTSE Russell’s developing-nations equity benchmarks."

The world’s most profitable company is planning a listing in Riyadh, and potentially another internationally. The energy giant is considering first selling around a 1% stake through a listing on the Saudi stock exchange, with the possibility of offering another 1% on the local bourse at a later date, one person with knowledge of the matter said.

“Barring some sort of liquidity injection by the Saudi government, I would expect an Aramco local listing to be a drain on the rest of the market as Aramco’s behemoth size crowds out other local investments,” said Adam Choppin, an investment officer at FIS Group in Philadelphia.
What It’s Worth

Prince Mohammed in 2016 valued Aramco at about $2 trillion, which means floating 1% would be valued at about $20 billion. That would account for about 4% of the market. To be sure, Bloomberg Intelligence values Aramco at $1.1 trillion because of the likelihood that Saudi Arabia will need to limit its output, and other analysts have said about $1.5 trillion. Brent crude at about $60 a barrel isn’t enough to fund the the kingdom’s budget, which needs prices at $80 a barrel or more.

But even if Aramco’s worth is lower than the kingdom’s estimates, it would still dwarf other equities. Its profit in the first half of the year was more than four times the combined earnings of 170 Saudi publicly traded companies that reported earnings, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
More Than Four Times Bigger
Aramco's profit dwarfs combined figure for listed Saudi companies in 1H
*Includes 170 Saudi companies that reported earnings for the fiscal first half of 2019, excludes REITs
And assuming the company’s valuation is about $1.5 trillion, a 1% listing would put Aramco at 5.2% of the main stock index, according to Mohamad Al Hajj, an equities strategist at EFG-Hermes in Dubai. That would dilute the dominance of other market heavyweights, such as Al Rajhi Bank, which currently accounts for 15% of the index. The equity would receive roughly $1.9 billion in inflows from MSCI and FTSE passive trackers alone, almost a tenth of total foreign inflows into the Saudi bourse so far this year.
Considering the size of Aramco’s IPO and its expected weight in indexes, the company will have a significant effect not only on the local gauge, but also on global indexes,” said Alliance Bernstein’s Breusov.

Friday, September 13, 2019

News Affecting Syria and The Region: Astana Trio Meet Monday, Force Posture Remains the Same?, Anti-Turkey Propaganda Run Amok

1- Iran, Russia and Turkey to Meet in Ankara Monday September 16/19
The leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran will discuss the difficult situation in Syria’s Idlib province when they meet in Ankara early next week for a summit, Yuri Ushakov, a senior Kremlin aide, said on Friday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani are due to hold talks on Syria in Ankara on Monday.
2- To discuss Syria, Idlib and other matters

President Hassan Rouhani will leave for Ankara on Sunday to attend a meeting with Russian and Turkish leaders to exchange views about a range of international and mutual issues, including the Syrian peace process, a senior official at the presidential office announced on Friday.

“President Rouhani will travel to Ankara at the invitation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to address the fifth three-way summit of the presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey on Monday as part of continued consultations among the guarantor states of Astana process on the resolution of the Syrian crisis,” Parviz Esmaeili, deputy presidential chief of staff for communications, was quoted as saying by IRNA.

“In addition to consultations between the three sides [on Syria], the presidents will discuss ways of developing trilateral collaborations in various economic fields and hold talks on regional relations,” he added.
3- US force posture in Syria unchanged: Pentagon

So no troop withdrawal... obviously.
The U.S. force posture in Syria remains unchanged, Pentagon spokesman Sean Robertson told Anadolu Agency on Thursday.

"While we are working to implement the President's direction to withdraw troops from Syria in a deliberate an coordinated manner, Force levels will be dictated by conditions on the ground," Robertson said.

Details regarding the numbers or timelines would not be discussed "for security reasons," he said.
4- Though there are reports the US will send an additional 150 troops to Syria. But not to patrol alongside Turkey.

"US to send 150 more troops to NE Syria"

 The increase in troop levels, rather then that claimed decrease, is not occurring as part of the US/Turkish joint patrols
"The U.S. military will not increase troop levels in Syria to carry out joint patrols with Turkish forces, a top general said Friday"

So no reduction in troops. A possible increase of another 150 troops,  but not to enable cooperative patrols with NATO ally (ahem) Turkey. Wonder what the extra personnel will be used for?

5- Meanwhile America’s allies in the SDF aka PKK shelled a school
SNHR: Syrian Democratic forces artillery fired two shells near al Urouba School in the middle of Afrin city in the northern suburbs of Aleppo governorate, partially damaging its building and furniture, on September 13, 2019.
6- The propaganda demonizing Turkey is getting so very obvious- Turkey betrays Idlib and the Opposition AND THE WEST.... Blah, blah, blah...

Kindergarten level imagery
"A year ago Turkey and Russia have entered into an agreement to establish a demilitarized zone in Idlib province, an area considered to be the last bastion of the Syrian opposition. Under the agreement, Ankara and Moscow should seek from their allies (rebels and Bashar al Assad) the withdrawal of heavy weapons, restoring peaceful life, and starting a political process"

That’s the whole issue. The Turkish/Russian agreement/cooperation over Idlib. This is the “betrayal” of the west and the opposition.  Of course there is much more to this meme of betraying the West.  However "western" aka 5 eyes alt and msm doesn't cover the betrayal of Turkey. And the many forms it has taken. Arming the PKK. Financial warfare. Sanctions. And more.  Instead Turkey's turn towards Russia, Iran, Venezuela and a nation acting in it's OWN interests is focused on and demonized. Purchasing the s-400s, pipeline deals, trade deals etc., etc., It’s been  all written about for a long time here. So while ignoring all the spin contained in the article, cause bottom line you can get that spin from so many people, in so many’s a bore. It’s dishonest. It’s manipulative. Go over to any number of alt or msm sites if you want the mind control. We'll focus on just a few paragraphs
"The Turkey’s Euphrates shield and the Olive branch military operations were conducted in the territory historically inhabited by the Kurds and actually eliminated their self-governance”
Yes, the Kurds and many, many others lived in those areas including the many areas that are still and were Arab majority areas. The “PKK   had no right to ‘”self governance”in the annexed Syrian territory. The territory the US assisted them in taking from it’s lawful residents while detaching vast swathes of resources and territory from the central government in Damascus.        
"Thus, the Turks continue to implement their genocide policy oriented towards Syrian refugees and the Kurds. It will result in distancing from the West and betraying the basis of human rights which excludes the possibility of democratic changes in Syria"
Genocidal policy towards the refugees? Laughable. They’ve housed, fed and sheltered them for years now.  Millions and millions of them. And they’ve made efforts alongside Russia and Lebanon for their return to Syria. Which the Syrians have a right to do. They have a right to return.  But the US and Israel do not want this to take place while  absurdly calling a destabilization, ethnic cleansing and balkanization of a nation “democratic changes.                    
“However, Turkish tyrant regime does its best to drive its country back to past and to prevent the Turks’ flourishing.”

Reread : Ally’s Amazing Turkish Adventure

Including the two additional comments Ally left.

Well dressed. Educated.  Vibrant. New construction. Transportation etc.,       

--I came back from Turkey early this morning and all I can say is: wow. Turks are certainly not how they are portrayed at all. I met the loveliest people on holiday and even saw some family and they took drove me to Ankara and we passed by many small towns.

---Transport in Istanbul was very good. They have newly built trains, underground metro, trams, buses and ferry and to use all of those you just have to put some money on 1 card and you can access all transportation with that 1 card

---So travelling through Turkey felt very safe. The people have a very warm and hospitable nature. They are so peaceful. The people also seem to be thriving. Nice luxurious apartments, sooo many BMWs, Mercedes and other fancy cars.

--One girl that I met in Bodrum is studying construction engineering in Ankara and she wants to come to Canada or England for a few months to improve her English. I was sat alone in the hotel bar once and she came over to me and asked me to join her and her bro. Her brother is a petroleum engineer/geophysicist and he is away for five weeks and then comes home for five weeks.

--My cousin will go into her last year of dentistry this yr and she has a younger bro who is studying engineering.....

--I found Turkey to be a very diverse country with a wide range of people. They are all united behind their flag whatever their ethnicity. ....
Last but not least:

7Turkish beekeepers win world's best honey award in Canada
Turkish Producer of Best Honey in the World

I looooove honey on toast and would like to try this best honey in the world!
"Turkish firm was awarded for producing the best honey in the world in an international beekeeping gathering held in Montreal, Canada for its polyflora honey.
The 46th Apimondia International Apicultural Congress brought together more than 6,000 participants from 80 countries between Sept. 8 and 12.
An award ceremony was held to wrap up the international organization on Thursday.
"Our family's beekeeping tradition dates back to more than 300 years, we work hard to produce fine quality honey," Celal Çay, the owner of Eğriçayır Bal, told Anadolu Agency after receiving the award"

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Theory of Mind

"You may not be a telepathic superhero, but you can read minds. Your ability to infer other people’s thoughts, desires, and beliefs — and understand that they can be different from your own — is called theory of mind. It develops between the ages of three and six and is important for social interaction and imagination."

From earlier:

Ally’s Amazing Turkish Adventure

 As promised Ally, who lives in the UK, shared news of her visit to Turkey. In a series of three comments. Excerpts from each comment below.
Hey Penny! How are you doing? :)
I came back from Turkey early this morning and all I can say is: wow. Turks are certainly not how they are portrayed at all. I met the loveliest people on holiday and even saw some family and they took drove me to Ankara and we passed by many small towns.
Walking into Turkey, it doesn't really feel like you are in the Middle East or an Islamic country. However, they do have a lot of Syrians and many people are bothered that so many have flooded into the country and there is more crime but they have tried not to be hostile.
One thing I notice is that Turkey certainly is a very colourful country with a very colourful people. They really are an extremely attractive people who dress very smartly/elegantly and I have seen a variety of fashions. Lots of very European looking people-very white, blue eyes, green eyes, grey eyes. and they have many ethnicities including Greek, Armenian, Zaza, Laz, Kurd, Circassian, Balkan. Men always in fancy shirts/polo shirts and nice trousers/jeans and even many in full suits. Women dress very feminine and colourfully and have a sweet attitude. Mini dresses, mini skirts, shorts, fancy blouses, shorts and nice top, nice blouse and skinny jeans, lots of nice jewellery, nice handbags, variety of hair colours (even blue, purple). Women with tattoos, piercings, dreadlocks. I personally was going around in mini dresses most of the time and had no problems. Even the women who wear hijab dress so elegantly; colourful/floral headscarf, nice colourful dress/long top with trousers underneath or slim-fitting jeans and a cool blouse. They certainly look and dress better than English people and most Europeans in my opinion. Very natural women too-little make-up as their skin is so good. Walking around the country, you do not see any tracksuits and scruffy clothes like we are so used to seeing in England!
Transport in Istanbul was very good. They have newly built trains, underground metro, trams, buses and ferry and to use all of those you just have to put some money on 1 card and you can access all transportation with that 1 card instead of having to buy different tickets for buses, trains, etc. When I went to stay with my cousin in Kucukcekmece, Istanbul, we 2 underground and a bus.
Wandering around Istanbul and Ankara it certainly looks extremely developed. Lots of tall buildings, stunning architecture, especially all the apartment blocks who are each unique and so colourful.
Bodrum was very nice. It's no different than being on a little Greek island. People sat outside till late drinking, playing games. Some pretty Westerm looking people. Families coming to the beach to play with their kids in their bikinis, young couples chilling out. in the hotel that I stayed in in Bodrum, there were several Kurdish waiters/cleaners and all seem to be getting along with the Turks. Many speaking Kurdish between them with no problem. A few tried to flirt but I was not interested. They say that Bodrum is a very nice place. One young man was from Cizre and I asked him what the situation there is like and he said that it is good and that the media exaggerates everything. Turkey has some pretty impressive nightclubs. I met this girl and her brother from Ankara at the hotel and we went out some evenings and the clubs are so good. Everyone gets so dressed up, dancing all night, drinking. They look more lively than the ones here in the UK.
So travelling through Turkey felt very safe. The people have a very warm and hospitable nature. They are so peaceful. The people also seem to be thriving. Nice luxurious apartments, sooo many BMWs, Mercedes and other fancy cars. Often you see young couples out enjoying themselves, men/women going out with their friends, having a drink, eating dinner/desserts (great food!), going shopping, going to the gym. Lots of women walking by themselves during the night. Lots of sports too, including female volleyball/netball teams. The portrayal of Turkey as this hostile, barbaric, Islamist country is very untrue. People in Turkey were very nice and they went out of their way to ensure that I had a good time. They also have a huge love for animals and do what they can to feed/protect them. Everything from the dinner service to transport seemed to be very efficient and quick. The majority of people in Turkey have a university degree, including women and there are many engineers and doctors.
The people that I met there were very interested in Western countries and wanted to know more about them. Talking to Turks, they seem to have this perception that Western countries are so perfect but looking at Turkey, it seems to be doing better than most European countries, particularly Eastern Europe. People in Turkey were shocked to hear about homelessness in Manchester. One girl that I met in Bodrum is studying construction engineering in Ankara and she wants to come to Canada or England for a few months to improve her English. I was sat alone in the hotel bar once and she came over to me and asked me to join her and her bro. Her brother is a petroleum engineer/geophysicist and he is away for five weeks and then comes home for five weeks. He tells me that on his ship, there are some English people and he has become friends with them. The boy was 27 and he owned a BMW. The girl and her bro told me that the western media exaggerates a lot of stuff. One bad thing happens and they make it look like it's everyone.
Next, I went to Istanbul. I arrived during the night and a taxi came to pick me up. It took 45 minutes to drive me to my hotel and driving through Istanbul was very nice. Just seeing the lights on the bridge, the huge, tall, almost skyscrapers everywhere. Newly built roads. I was not expecting this. It was my first time in Istanbul. Istanbul has over 4 million Kurds and all seem to be living peacefully.
They are mostly a conservative Muslim people and Turks that I spoke to had no problem with them. But they do say that the southeastern parts are more conservative/religious. Many honour killings happen in Kurd families.
Another thing that I noticed in Istanbul were flags of opposition parties. Twice I saw CHP flags hung almost like washings. When I met up with my cousin on the 2nd day in Istanbul, she took me to Istiklal Caddesi and as we were walking down the street which was very busy, she was saying that Istiklal used to have more trees but they got chopped down because the gov was bulding more roads. She also mentioned that near there, the government was planning to build a new shopping centre but decided not to as people protested that it would destroy more nature. So definitely not a dictatorship. The same also happened in a small town called Artvin where the government was planning to build a shopping centre but environmental activists did protested as it would destroy so much nature so in the end, the gov decided not to.
 Ally returned home, safe and sound, to the UK. Which surely made her mom very happy :) 
Mom's worry like that. I know.