As the propaganda “war” between East and West intensifies ahead of what might ultimately transform into an actual war in the skies above Syria, the world is transfixed with the scope of Russia’s week-old military campaign in support of the Assad regime.
Thanks to the fact that the West selected Islamic militants as its anti-Assad weapon of choice, Putin gets to pitch the entire effort as a “war on terror” which means The Kremlin effectively has a license to brag and sure enough, slickly-produced ISIS videos of beheadings have now been definitively replaced by slickly-produced videos of Russian warships launching cruise missiles at terrorist targets. Continue reading »
To combat Islamic militants the White House says threaten national interests, the U.S. has spent nearly $100 billion to arm and train foreign militaries across the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, an analysis by Vocativ shows. And nearly all of them are reeling from setbacks that threaten to undermine what’s become a core component of American foreign policy in these regions. As a former military commander and United States ambassador in Afghanistan recently noted, “our track record at building security forces over the past 15 years is miserable.”
As regular readers and foreign policy critics the world over are no doubt acutely aware, the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey have gotten themselves in a bit of a quagmire in Syria and Moscow has been keen on pointing it out. Still, The Kremlin has thus far observed some semblance (and we do emphasize the word “some”) of decorum in criticizing the West’s approach as Moscow has generally confined its scolding to what at least seem like serious foreign policy critiques.
That just went out the window – Russia is now openly mocking Riyadh, Doha, and Washington and as if the following weren’t brazen enough as it stands, note that it emanates from the UAE…
— Russian Embassy, UAE (@RusEmbassyUAE) October 5, 2015
Alexander Zhilin, Colonel in the army and military expert of the Russian Federation, explains in layman’s terms Russia’s national interests in supporting Assad.
A number of Russians, and Westerners as well, have some misunderstandings about Russia’s involvement.
Zhilin explains why this is not an optional fight for Russia. In the event that Syria fell, it would free up ISIS fighters for a renewed campaign in Chechnya, Dagestan and east of the Caspian as well, pushing north from Afghanistan into former Soviet central Asia. Continue reading »
H/t reader squodgy:
“After his UN speech, I guess this response was inevitable. Iraq was invaded and destroyed on dubious excuses which have subsequently been proven false. This has resulted in the gradual realisation by Iraqis that they’ve been truly screwed by the US, and it’s puppet Rothschild allies.
Libya, Afghanistan, Iran and now Syria join the club.
Now, the prospect of Russia being asked to protect Iraq from ISIL says it all.”
The Iraqi military has taken a brutal beating in its battles against ISIL. Even with the support of American and coalition airpower, the Iraqis have lost untold material and territory since ISIL overran much of the country’s Sunni Arab heartland these last months. News now that Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi welcomes Russian airstrikes may not be what the Obama administration foresaw, but it may well spell the end of ISIL in the region. Here’s a look at the situation on the ground. Continue reading »
While the US has certainly made some epic strategic blunders in Syria that raise serious questions about just how “intelligent” US intelligence actually is, there’s little doubt that if one were to look behind all of the media parroting, the Pentagon and Langley understand all too well what’s going on in the Middle East.
That is, the significance of the Russia-Iran “nexus” in Syria isn’t lost on anyone in the US military and you can bet there have been quite a few high level discussions over the past 72 hours about the best way to counter Moscow and Tehran’s powerplay before it spills over into Iraq and ends up degrading Washington’s influence in Baghdad. Continue reading »
One question that’s been asked repeatedly over the past thirteen months is why Washington has been unable to achieve the Pentagon’s stated goal of “degrading and defeating” ISIS despite the fact that the “battle” pits the most advanced air force on the planet against what amounts to a ragtag band of militants running around the desert in basketball shoes.
Those of a skeptical persuasion have been inclined to suggest that perhaps the US isn’t fully committed to the fight. Explanations for that suggestion range from the mainstream (the White House is loathe to get the US into another Mid-East war) to the “conspiratorial” (the CIA created ISIS and thus doesn’t want to destroy the group due to its value as a strategic asset). Continue reading »
H/t reader squodgy:
“Now here we have a classic example of a total arse-hole.”
“A large number of foreign ISIL terrorists have fled Raqqa for Iraq after the Russian warplanes pounded their hideouts,” the Arabic-language El-Nashre news website quoted eyewitnesses as saying on Friday.
The report said that many ISIL militants and their families have escaped form Tal a-Saman villages in the Northern parts of Raqqa.
The Syrian air defense command said that the Russian Air Force struck the ISIL-held Tabaqa airbase in Raqqa governorate’s Western territories, destroying the military barracks after two airstrikes above this large military base. Continue reading »
One narrative that’s parroted constantly when the US moves to bring about regime change in the Mid-East is that it’s necessary for the good of the people.
Typically, the citizenry is characterized as suffering under the brutal oppression of an autocratic regime which is sometimes accused of committing crimes against humanity in order to maintain an iron grip on power and ensure that the seeds of democracy cannot grow.
Of course this narrative is never wholly true and is rarely even partially so.
More often than not, the US has ulterior motives for covertly usurping Mid-East strongmen and the overarching goal is almost always to achieve some narrow geopolitical end. Continue reading »
BEIJING, September 28. /TASS/. China is ready to join the international fight against any forms of terrorism, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei told a regular news conference while commenting on information in some media about Chinese warships near Syria being ready to take part in a mission against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization.
“Terrorism is the enemy of mankind,” he said. “China is against terrorism in all of its forms and is ready to apply efforts for fighting terrorist forces jointly with the international community. This position of China remains unchanged.” Continue reading »
In comments that will raise questions about his suitability to lead the Labour Party, Mr Corbyn appeared to blame George Bush and Tony Blair for using the September 11 attacks in New York to allow them to go to war
As US President Barack Obama welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping to the White House on Friday, Sept. 25, and spoke of the friendship between the two countries, the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning-CV-16 docked at the Syrian port of Tartus, accompanied by a guided missile cruiser. This is revealed exclusively by DEBKAfile.
Beijing is not finding it hard to dance at two weddings, wooing the US for better relations, while at the same time backing Russia in its military intervention in Syria. Coupled with the warm smiles and handshakes exchanged at the lavish reception on the White House lawn, Beijing was clearly bent on showing muscle – not just in the South China Sea, but by allying itself with the Russian-Iranian political and military buildup in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad and his regime. Continue reading »
Back in July we learned that the Pentagon’s effort to train and equip properly “vetted” Syrian rebels to combat ISIS had suffered an embarrassing setback when the group’s commander and deputy commander were captured by al-Nusra.
“We, and the Sunni people in Syria, will not allow their sacrifices to be offered on a golden platter to the American side,” the group said, on the way to advising the US to give up on the program. Continue reading »
So … suitcase nuke or dirty bomb?
Ask him …
… because he knows.
When Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi walked away from a U.S. detention camp in 2009, the future leader of ISIS issued some chilling final words to reservists from Long Island.
The Islamist extremist some are now calling the most dangerous man in the world had a few parting words to his captors as he was released from the biggest U.S. detention camp in Iraq in 2009.“He said, ‘I’ll see you guys in New York,’” recalls Army Col. Kenneth King, then the commanding officer of Camp Bucca. Continue reading »
According to a U.N. report published last week, U.S. drone strikes have killed roughly 40 Yemeni civilians in the past year. The figure is 60% greater than the number of civilians killed by al Qaeda in that same period. al Qaeda is reportedly responsible for 24 civilian deaths.
The government’s ongoing drone strikes in Yemen are little-known to the general American public. Many Americans still believe the U.S. military is only involved in Iraq and Afghanistan. In reality, the military is running offensive operations in Libya, Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries in the region. Continue reading »
London (AFP) – A growing number of “disillusioned” Islamic State fighters are defecting from the jihadist group and could be used by governments to deter potential recruits, a report published Monday said.
At least 58 people have left the group and publicly spoken about their defection since January 2014, according to the report by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ISCR) at King’s College London.
The study said that 17 fighters were reported to have defected in June, July and August alone, adding that they represent only a “small fraction” of former fighters, with many too scared to come forward. Continue reading »
Now that Europe’s worsening refugee crisis and Russia’s stepped up support for the regime of Bashar al-Assad have (finally) focused the world’s attention on Syria’s four-year, bloody civil war, inquiring minds want to know: how did it happen that the country, which is now at risk of becoming a failed state, descend into chaos?
Of course when we speak of “inquiring minds” we mean those of the general public which, to this point, has remained largely ignorant of the fact that hundreds of thousands of people are dying in a place that shares a border with the country the US supposedly just got done “liberating.” Continue reading »
Aside from ISIS’ ‘caliph’ Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Georgian ex-commando Omar al-Shishani might be the most recognizable and popular of the powerful militant group’s leaders.
Sporting a recognizable red beard and happy to pose for photos, Shishani has acted as a very public face for some of ISIS’ most notorious successes.
Earlier this week, Bashar al-Assad served notice to ISIS that the tide may have just turned in the battle for Syria. The Kremlin’s move to increase its “logistical” and “technical” support for government forces at Latakia appears to have breathed new life into the regime which carried out a series of air raids in the de facto ISIS capital Raqqa on Thursday.
This came amid reports that Assad’s forces were using new “highly effective and very accurate” weaponry. “There are modern weapons that the regime didn’t previously have, be they rocket launchers or air to ground to missiles,” The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told Reuters. Continue reading »
81 percent of Syrians believe the U.S. and its allies are behind the creation of the ISIS, according to a recent survey from research firm ORB International.
“The advance of ISIL In Iraq has many seeking reasons for their presence in Iraq. 81% Syria/85% Iraq believe that ISIL is a foreign/American made group, while in Iraq with the larger split in sunni/shia population 75% also agree that it is a result of sectarian problems across the region. Continue reading »
Earlier today, US Central Command Gen. Lloyd Austin III seemed to suggest that US SpecOps were fighting alongside YPG in Syria. As we noted when the news hit, if true that won’t go over well with Turkey’s Erdogan, Washington’s brand new coalition partner against ISIS who has made no secret of his distrust for the YPG.
Four hours later, the Pentagon claimed that Austin’s words were taken out of context and that in fact, US forces had not (yet) played a combat role. But just in case Washington does finally decide to admit that US boots are indeed on the ground along with Russian boots, it can always simply point to its own miserable operational failure as justification for why the previous arrangement just wasn’t going to cut it when it comes to “degrading” militant capabilities. Read on.
As you may recall, earlier this year the Pentagon decided to try its hand at training an “appropriately vetted [group] of Syrian opposition recruits” whose mission would be to “degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL.” Continue reading »
– British SAS Special Forces ‘Dressed Up As ISIS Rebels’ Fighting Assad in Syria
With the Russians on the ground at Latakia shoring up the Assad regime and with tensions between Washington and Moscow at a fever pitch over the Kremlin’s involvement, the Pentagon now says US boots are officially on the ground in Syria – you know, to help fight ISIS…
BREAKING: Defense officials tell NBC News that US special ops. forces are on ground in Syria assisting Kurdish forces in fight against ISIS
— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) September 16, 2015
Of course, if true, the whole “assisting Kurdish forces” won’t go over well with Turkey’s Erdogan, the US’s brand new coalition partner against ISIS who has made no secret of his distrust for the YPG. Continue reading »