Friday, October 09, 2015

Reuters reported on Thursday that "Western officials say that in strategic terms, Russia's new air strike campaign in Syria appears designed to help reverse rebel gains increasingly endangering Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, protect Russian military assets in the country including its sole Mediterranean port, and reassert Moscow’s place as a big international power competing with the United States." He ends with some remarks of a Bagdad artist: "I have been waiting for Russia to get involved in the fight against Daesh," he says, referring to the Islamic State group that last year declared a 'caliphate' straddling Iraq and Syria. "They get results. The United States and its allies on the other hand have been bombing for a year and achieved nothing,"

NATO Threatens To Send In Troops After Russia Stations Ground "Battalion" In Syria


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.

In short, Moscow is on a roll both militarily (of course that’s not difficult when you’re a superpower playing against a couple of JV militias) and perceptually, which makes it possible to continually ratchet up the pressure on anti-regime forces as the global applause only seems to grow with each incremental escalation much to chagrin of both the Pentagon and Washington’s Mid-East allies and as we said earlier this week, "a very likely course of events is that despite Russia's denials, the Pentagon will use the gambit of a Russian ground campaign, credible or not, to get permission from Congress to send a 'small', at first, then bigger ground force of US troops in Syria to, you guessed it, 'fight ISIS', but really to do everything to prevent Russian troops from taking over key strategic positions."

On Thursday we get the latest set of headlines from Syria, starting with NATO asserting that Russia has a ground battalion at the ready supported by tanks. Here’s Reuters:
Russia's military build-up in Syria includes a "considerable and growing" naval presence, long-range rockets and a battalion of ground troops backed by Moscow's most modern tanks, the U.S. ambassador to NATO said on Wednesday.

Speaking on the eve of a NATO defense ministers meeting to be dominated by Russia's intervention in Syria's civil war, U.S. Ambassador to NATO Douglas Lute said Moscow had managed a "quite impressive" military deployment over the past week to its Syria naval base in Tartous and its army base in Latakia.

"There is a considerable and growing Russia naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean, more than 10 ships now, which is a bit out of the ordinary," he told a news briefing.

"The recent Russian reinforcements over the last week or so feature a battalion-size ground force ... There is artillery, there are long-range rocket capabilities, there are air defense capabilities," Lute said.

A battalion is typically around 1,000 soldiers.

Western officials say that in strategic terms, Russia's new air strike campaign in Syria appears designed to help reverse rebel gains increasingly endangering Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, protect Russian military assets in the country including its sole Mediterranean port, and reassert Moscow’s place as a big international power competing with the United States.

"The force that they have deployed down there is actually quite impressive for a rapid deployment of a week or so," Lute said. "(It is) all arms, combined arms, attack aircraft, it is the attack helicopters and artillery, rocket artillery."
And that means NATO needs to indicate that it too is willing to deploy troops via Turkey, where Ankara will simply acquiesce to anything the West wants to do as long as Washington turns a blind eye to Erdogan’s “war” with the PKK which is far more important domestically than any conflict with ISIS or Russia because Erdogan is effectively fighting to secure the “right” to change the country’s constitution and thereby consolidate his power. Here’s Reuters again:
NATO said it was prepared to send troops to Turkey to defend its ally after violations of Turkish airspace by Russian jets bombing Syria and Britain scolded Moscow for escalating a civil war that has already killed 250,000 people.

Officials at the U.S.-led alliance are still smarting from Russia's weekend incursions into Turkey's airspace near northern Syria and NATO defense ministers are meeting in Brussels with the agenda likely to be dominated by the Syria crisis.

"NATO is ready and able to defend all allies, including Turkey against any threats," NATO's Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters as he arrived for the meeting.

"NATO has already responded by increasing our capacity, our ability, our preparedness to deploy forces including to the south, including in Turkey," he said, noting that Russia's air and cruise missile strikes were "reasons for concern".

As Russian and U.S. planes fly combat missions over the same country for the first time since World War Two, NATO is eager to avoid any international escalation of the Syrian conflict that has unexpectedly turned the alliance's attention away from Ukraine following Russia's annexation of Crimea last year.

The incursions of two Russian fighters in Turkish airspace on Saturday and Sunday has brought the Syria conflict right up to NATO's borders, testing the alliance's ability to deter a newly assertive Russia without seeking direct confrontation.
This, of course, is nothing more than an attempt to create an excuse to counter the Russians. The Russian warplanes that allegedly crossed into Turkey’s airspace obviously were not intending to bomb Ankara, so the only reason the West continues to focus on the story is to build a narrative that justifies sending ground troops in via Turkey.
Meanwhile, the Iran-sponsored ground cleanup crew is apparently on the move and advancing quickly:
Syrian troops and allied militia backed by Russian air strikes and cruise missiles fired from warships attacked rebels forces on Thursday as the government extended a major offensive to recapture territory in the west of the country.

Rebel advances in western Syria earlier this year had threatened the coastal region vital to President Bashar al-Assad's control of the area and prompted Russia's intervention on his side last week.

In a further show of force, the Russian defense ministry said missiles fired from its ships in the Caspian Sea hit weapons factories, arms dumps, command centers and training camps supporting Islamic State forces.

Ground forces loyal to the government targeted insurgents in the Ghab Plain area of western Syria, with heavy barrages of surface-to-surface missiles as Russian warplanes bombed from above, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and a rebel fighting there.

It said rebels had shot down a helicopter in Hama province in western Syria. It was unclear if it was Syrian or Russian.

Syria said a major military operation was under way.
Yes, "ground forces loyal to the government" or, stripping away the facade, "Shiite ground forces loyal to Tehran" who, once the campaign in Syria is over, will cross right back into Iraq and continue the fight against Sunni extremists only now they'll be backed not only by the IRGC, but by the Russian army, and on that note, we close with the following from AFP:
Russian President Vladimir Putin's bullish entry into the Syrian conflict has worked wonders for his popularity in neighbouring Iraq, where some await "Hajji Putin" like a saviour.

Sitting at his easel in his central Baghdad workshop, painter Mohammed Karim Nihaya touches up a portrait of Putin he copied from the Internet.

"I have been waiting for Russia to get involved in the fight against Daesh," he says, referring to the Islamic State group that last year declared a "caliphate" straddling Iraq and Syria.

"They get results. The United States and its allies on the other hand have been bombing for a year and achieved nothing," the bespectacled artist says.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Paul Craig Roberts' introduction: "In his guest column Eric Zuesse reports that Washington’s world exploitation is encountering opposition. An Iraqi parliamentarian tells Washington “to give up its hypocrisy.” France’s Secretary of State for Foreign Trade rejects Washington’s Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership as a device for placing US corporations in control of France and outside of the reach of the laws of France. TTIP, the minister correctly declares, eliminates the sovereignty of the participating countries."

The Western Alliance Is Crumbling: EU Is Abandoning U.S. on Overthrowing Assad

Obama Cannot Defeat Assad without EU’s Help. EU Also Rejects Obama’s TTIP & TISA Demands. Obama’s Presidential ‘Legacy’ Heads to Failure

By Eric Zuesse                                                                            Region: , ,         Global Research, October 03, 2015                                                                        Theme:   

Europe is being overrun by refugees from American bombing campaigns in Libya and Syria, which created a failed state in Libya, and which threaten to do the same in Syria. Europe is thus being forced to separate itself from endorsing the U.S. bombing campaign that focuses against the Syrian government forces of the secular Shiite Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, instead of against his fundamentalist Sunni Islamic opponents, the jihadist groups (all of which are Sunni), such as ISIS, and Al Qaeda in Syria (al-Nusra).

A member of the Iraqi parliament has said:

The pressure on the Syrian regime, which is fighting ISIS, must be lifted. They should not try to strengthen the feeble Free Syrian Army [FSA]. There is no FSA. There is ISIS in Syria and Iraq. You cannot fight ISIS in Iraq, yet support it in Syria. There is one war and one enemy. The U.S. should give up its hypocrisy. People are not brainless.
The European publics oppose America’s bombings, which have poured these refugees from American bombing, into Europe. European leaders are starting to separate from alliance with the United States.

U.S. Senator John McCain, who, as a fanatical Vietnam-war bomber-pilot, has always hated Russia even more than does U.S. President Barack Obama (who got his hatred from other sources), is egging Obama on to war against Russia in Syria; he says, “We need to have a no-fly zone,” where we prohibit Russia’s planes from bombing areas that are controlled by American-supported jihadists (which the U.S. government still euphemistically calls “the Free Syrian Army”). Actually, as Agence France Press had reported on 12 September 2014,“Syrian rebels and jihadists from the Islamic State have agreed a non-aggression pact for the first time in a suburb of the capital Damascus, a monitoring group said on Friday.” ISIS and FSA had already been close; but now they were and are essentially one-and-the-same; it’s just not been reported in the U.S. press. The U.S. Government’s distinctions are thus entirely specious; Obama’s top goal in Syria is clearly to replace Russia’s ally, Assad, not to defeat the Islamic State (and the little that still remains of FSA). McCain just wants Obama to go all the way, to nuclear war against Russia, to overthrow Assad. (Perhaps he thinks Obama will ‘chicken out,’ and McCain will then criticize Obama for ‘abandoning the people of Syria,’ who have benefited so much from America’s bombing that they’ve been fleeing Syria by the millions. McCain and other Republicans are so “pro-life” — for zygotes anyway. When the Iraqi parliamentarian said, “People aren’t brainless,” he wasn’t referring to people like that.)

On October 1st, NPR presented McCain saying, “I can absolutely confirm to you that they [Russian air strikes] were strikes against our Free Syrian Army or groups that have been armed and trained by the CIA because we have communications with people there.” (Oh, a few of them still exist, even after the’ve been absorbed into the Holy-War group? And the CIA is still funding them? Really? Wow!)

Russia announced on October 2nd that their bombing campaign against America’s allies in Syria — ISIS and Al Nusra (the latter being Al Qaeda in Syria) — will intensify and will last “three or four months.” U.S. President Barack Obama is insisting upon excluding Russia from any peace talks on Syria; the U.S. will not move forward with peace talks unless Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad first steps down. But Russia is the only serious military power against the jihadists who are trying to defeat Assad, and Russia is now committing itself also to providing Lebanon with weapons against the jihadists, who are America’s allies in Lebanon too.

U.S. pretends that overthrowing Assad would be for ‘democracy.’ But when the Qatari regime, which funds al-Nusra, hired a polling firm in 2012 to survey Syrians, the finding was that 55% of Syrians wanted him to remain as President. Then, as I reported on 18 September 2015, “Polls Show Syrians Overwhelmingly Blame U.S. for ISIS,” and those recent polls were from a British firm that has ties to Gallup. No question was asked then about whether Assad should stay; but, clearly, support for him had strengthened considerably between 2012 and 2015, as the Syrian people now see with greater clarity than they possibly could have before, that the U.S. regime is an enemy, not a friend, to them. Obama’s, and the Republicans’, pretenses to favor democracy are blatantly fraudulent.

That’s hardly the only ‘legacy’ issue for Obama — his war against Russia, via overthrowing Gaddafi, then Yanukovych, and his still trying to overthrow Assad — which is now forcing the break-up of the Western Alliance, over the resulting refugee-crisis. An even bigger such conflict within the Alliance concerns Obama’s proposed treaty with European states, the TTIP, which would give international corporations rights to sue national governments in non-appealable global private arbitration panels, the dictates from which will stand above any member-nation’s laws. Elected government officials will have no control over them. This supra-national mega-corporate effort by Obama is also part of his similar effort in his proposed TPP treaty with Asian nations, both of which are additionally aimed to isolate from international trade not just Russia, but China, so as to leave America’s large international corporations controlling virtually the entire world.

As things now stand regarding these ‘trade’ deals, Obama will either need to eliminate some of his demands, or else the European Commission won’t be able to muster enough of its members to support Obama’s proposed treaty with the EU, the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). Also, some key European nations might reject Obama’s proposed treaty on regulations regarding financial and other services: TISA (Trade In Services Agreement). All three of Obama’s proposed ‘trade’ deals, including the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) between the U.S. and Asian countries, are the actual culmination of Obama’s Presidency, and they’re all about far more than just trade and economics. The main proposed deal with Europe might now be dead.

On September 27th, France’s newspaper SouthWest featured an exclusive interview with Matthias Fekl, France’s Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, in which he said that “France is considering all options, including outright termination of negotiations” on the TTIP. He explained that, ever since the negotiations began in 2013, “These negotiations have been and are being conducted in a total lack of transparency,” and that France has, as of yet, received “no serious offer from the Americans.”

The reasons for this stunning public rejection had probably already been accurately listed more than a year ago. After all, France has, throughout all of the negotiations, received “no serious offer from the Americans”; not now, and not back at the start of the negotiations in 2013. The U.S. has been steadfast. Jean Arthuis, a member of the European Parliament, and formerly France’s Minister of Economy and Finance, headlined in Le Figaro, on 10 April 2014, “7 good reasons to oppose the transatlantic treaty”. There is no indication that the situation has changed since then, as regards the basic demands that President Obama is making. Arthuis said at that time:
First, I am opposed to private arbitration of disputes between States and businesses. [It would place corporate arbitrators above any nation’s laws and enable them to make unappealable decisions whenever a corporation sues a nation for alleged damages for alleged violations of its rights by that nation of the trade-treaty.] Such a procedure is strictly contrary to the idea that I have of the sovereignty of States. …
Secondly, I am opposed to any questioning of the European system of appellations of origin. Tomorrow, according to the US proposal, there would be a non-binding register, and only for wines and spirits. Such a reform would kill many European local products, whose value is based on their certified origin.
Thirdly, I am opposed to the signing of an agreement with a power that legalizes widespread and systematic spying on my fellow European citizens and European businesses. Edward Snowden’s revelations are instructive in this regard. As long as the agreement does not protect the personal data of European and US citizens, it cannot be signed.
Fourth, the United States proposes a transatlantic common financial space, but they adamantly refuse a common regulation of finance, and they refuse to abolish systematic discrimination by the US financial markets against European financial services. They want to have their cake and eat it too: I object to the idea of a common area without common rules, and I reject commercial discrimination.
Fifth, I object to the questioning of European health protections. Washington must understand once and for all that notwithstanding its insistence, we do not want our plates or animals treated with growth hormones nor products derived from GMOs, or chemical decontamination of meat, or of genetically modified seeds or non-therapeutic antibiotics in animal feed.
Sixth, I object to the signing of an agreement if it does not include the end of the US monetary dumping. Since the abolition of the gold convertibility of the dollar and the transition to the system of floating exchange rates, the dollar is both American national currency and the main unit for exchange reserves in the world. The Federal Reserve then continually practices monetary dumping, by influencing the amount of dollars available to facilitate exports from the United States. China proposes to eliminate this unfair advantage by making “special drawing rights” of the IMF the new global reference currency. But as things now stand, America’s monetary weapon has the same effect as customs duties against every other nation. [And he will not sign unless it’s removed.]
Seventh, beyond the audiovisual sector alone, which is the current standard of government that serves as a loincloth to its cowardice on all other European interests in these negotiations, I want all the cultural exceptions prohibited. In particular, it is unacceptable to allow the emerging digital services in Europe to be swept up by US giants such as Google, Amazon or Netflix. They’re giant absolute masters in tax optimization, which make Europe a “digital colony.”
President Obama’s negotiator is his close personal friend, Michael Froman, a man who is even trying to force Europe to reduce its fuel standards against global warming and whose back-room actions run exactly contrary to Obama’s public rhetoric. Froman and Obama have been buddies since they worked together as editors on Harvard Law Review. He knows what Obama’s real goals are. Also: “Froman introduced Mr. Obama to Robert E. Rubin, the former Treasury secretary,” who had brought into the Clinton Administration Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers, and had championed (along with them) the ending of the regulations on banks that the previous Democratic President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, had put into place. (President Bill Clinton signed that legislation just as he left office, and this enabled the long process to occur with MBS securities and with financial derivatives, which culminated with the 2008 crash, and this same legislation also enabled the mega-banks to get bailed out by U.S. taxpayers for their crash — on exactly the basis that FDR had outlawed.)
Froman has always been a pro-mega-corporate, pro-mega-bank champion, who favors only regulations which benefit America’s super-rich, no regulations which benefit the public. Froman’s introducing the Wall Street king Robert Rubin to the then-Senator Obama was crucial to Obama’s becoming enabled to win the U.S. Presidency; Robert Rubin’s contacts among the super-rich were essential in order for that — Obama’s getting a real chance to win the Presidency — to happen. It enabled Obama to compete effectively against Hillary Clinton. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been able to do that. His winning Robert Rubin’s support was crucial to his becoming President.

The chances, that President Obama will now be able to get the support from any entity but the U.S. Congress for his proposed TTIP treaty with Europe, are reducing by the day. Europe seems to be less corrupt than is the United States, after all.

The only independent economic analysis that has been done of the proposed TTIP finds that the only beneficiaries from it will be large international corporations, especially ones that are based in the United States. Workers, consumers, and everybody else, will lose from it, if it passes into law. Apparently, enough European officials care about that, so as to be able to block the deal. Or else: Obama will cede on all seven of the grounds for Europe’s saying no. At this late date, that seems extremely unlikely.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Paul Craig Roberts: "By telling the truth at a time of universal deceit, Putin committed a revolutionary act. Referring to the slaughter, destruction, and chaos that Washington has brought to the Middle East, North Africa, and Ukraine, and the extreme jihadist forces that have been unleashed, Putin asked Washington: 'Do you realize what you have done?'"

Putin Calls Out Washington — Paul Craig Roberts

October 2, 2015 | Original Here                                            Go here to sign up to receive email notice of this news letter

Putin Calls Out Washington

Paul Craig Roberts

“We can no longer tolerate the state of affairs in the world.” President Vladimir Putin

Last Wednesday (28 Sept 2015) the world saw the difference between Russia and Washington. Putin’s approach is truth-based; Obama’s is vain boasts and lies, and Obama is running out of lies.

By telling the truth at a time of universal deceit, Putin committed a revolutionary act. Referring to the slaughter, destruction, and chaos that Washington has brought to the Middle East, North Africa, and Ukraine, and the extreme jihadist forces that have been unleashed, Putin asked Washington: “Do you realize what you have done?”

Putin’s question reminds me of the question Joseph Welch asked witch-hunting Senator Joseph McCarthy: “Have you no sense of decency?” Welch’s question is attributed with initiating the decline of McCarthy’s career.

Perhaps Putin’s question will have the same impact and bring the reign of “American Exceptionalism” to an end.

If so, Putin has launched a revolution that will overthrow the world’s subservience to Washington.

Putin stresses the legality of Russia’s intervention in Syria, which is at the request of the Syrian government. He contrasts Russia’s respect for international law with the intervention in Syria of Washington and France, governments that are violating Syria’s sovereignty with unrequested and illegal military action.

The world sees that it is Washington and its vassals who “violate international norms” and not Russia.

The sanctimonious self-righteousness, behind which hides Washington’s self-serving unilateral actions, is revealed for all to see.

Washington relies on its arsenal of lies. Washington’s media-based disinformation apparatus was too hot to trot. Just as the BBC’s TV reporter announced the premature destruction of World Trade Center Building 7 with the building clearly still standing in the background, Washington’s lie service announced the first civilian casualties of Russian air strikes “even before our planes got in the air,” noted President Putin in his comments on Washington’s disinformation warfare.

As a consequence of their subservience to Washington, the puppet states of Europe are being overrun by refugees from Washington’s wars that Europe so mindlessly enabled. As the cost of being Washington’s vassals comes home to Europeans, the standings of European political parties will be affected. New parties and ruling coalitions are likely to follow more independent paths in order to protect themselves from the costs of the enormous mistakes that flow from Washington’s arrogance and hubris.

The breakup of the Empire is on the horizon.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Yet another Pepe Escobar make on the Syria story: "Russian President Vladimir Putin's message at the UN General Assembly was stark; either sovereign states get together in a broad coalition against all forms of terror, and the principle of statehood is respected as enshrined in the UN charter -- or there will be chaos.

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Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin
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Russian President Vladimir Putin's message at the UN General Assembly was stark; either sovereign states get together in a broad coalition against all forms of terror, and the principle of statehood is respected as enshrined in the UN charter -- or there will be chaos.

This UN General Assembly revealed that the Obama administration's perpetual newspeak does not cut it anymore. A review of UN speeches by both Putin and Obama is almost painful to watch. Putin acted like a serious global statesman. Obama acted like a poseur flunking a screen test.

Putin's key talking points could not but be easily accessible to the Global South -- his prime audience, much more than the industrialized West.

1) The export of color -- or monochromatic -- revolutions is doomed.

2) The alternative to the primacy of statehood is chaos. This implies that the Assad system in Syria may be immensely problematic, but it's the only game in town. The alternative is ISIS/ISIL/Daesh barbarism. There's no credible "moderate opposition" -- as there was not in NATO-"liberated" Libya.

Gotta slay those myths

Washington believed its own Arab Spring myth in 2011, betting that after Tunis and Cairo, Damascus would fall in a flash.

The Beltway believed its own myth of "moderate rebels" taking power.

The Beltway did not listen to Syrian minorities warning about the danger of an extremist Sunni/Salafi-jihadi take over.

Thus the current Syrian tragedy; the end result of a formidably complex power play, political and religious, Syrian, regional and global.

ISIS/ISIL/Daesh -- for all its barbarism -- may eventually win a few battles, but it won't control the whole of "Syraq."

To defeat the cancer, there's only one possibility: a real military campaign conducted by a real coalition including the US, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia.

Washington though never joins a coalition that it cannot control at will.

Thus a possible road map of what may lie ahead -- as debated by Obama and Putin, face to face, for 90 minutes in New York; a two-headed coalition, one led by the US, the other led by Russia, but "coordinating" on the ground. 

Still, Moscow will be struggling to form a wide-ranging coalition duly approved by the UN.
The task is immense. "Syraq" will have to be reconstituted

That implies an Iraq acceptable for all Iraqis -- and that's impossible to accomplish without Iran. And a Syria acceptable to all Syrians -- and that's impossible without Iran and Russia.

Washington after all would have never been able to accomplish both in the first place. The Empire of Chaos specializes in nation breaking, not nation building.

Gotta slay that dragon

Gorbachev wanted to integrate the USSR in the European family -- aiming for a Europe from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Post-Soviet Russia though was not even invited to enter the house. What happened was NATO colonization of the former Soviet space.

Under Putin, Russia tried once again a strategic partnership with the EU. Does anyone remember Sergey Lavrov as late as 2011 swearing that modernization of Russia was ready to go as a pan-European project, just as in the time of Peter the Great?

Yet by 2007, Putin had changed the game, and was ready to openly contest the unipolar "order" -- and slowly but surely project Russia back to the geopolitical limelight.

Post-Ukraine, still under sanctions, but armed with a strategic partnership with China, the time for a checkmate is now.

In New York, Putin even proposed the lineaments of a New World Order. The genuine article, not that "vision thing" concocted by Daddy Bush post-collapse of the USSR.

It would be an equitable, fair world order -- where state sovereignty is respected, sanctions are meaningless, NATO ceases to expand ad infinitum and exceptionalism does not apply.

The devil will be in the (many) details, of course. For instance, if a coalition to fight ISIS/ISIL/Daesh is forged and blessed by the UN, it will need the -- virtually impossible -- cohabitation of Sunnis and Shi'ites.

And in the near future, Brussels will have to tame visceral internal antagonism to have the European Union interacting with the Russia-led Eurasia Economic Union (EEU), which by that time will be totally integrated with the China-led New Silk Roads.

What's certain -- for the overwhelming majority of the Global South -- is that the Empire of Chaos made a mess everywhere, from Northern Africa and Southwest Asia to Russia's western borderlands.

Putin now rides into the hellish mess ready to slay the dragon of chaos -- and the machinations of the Empire of Chaos. His sword? The UN. No wonder checkmated neocons, neoliberalcons and "humanitarian" imperialists can barely conceal their apoplexy.


Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times. His regular column, "The Roving Eye," is widely read. He is an analyst for the online news channel Real News, the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He argues that the world has become fragmented into "stans" -- we are now living an intestinal war, an undeclared global civil war. He has published three books on geopolitics, including the spectacularly-titled "Globalistan: How the Globalised World Is Dissolving Into Liquid War".  His latest book is "Obama Does Globalistan."

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

At the UN yesterday all speakers were allowed 15 minutes, but Obama took 30 in order work in the US government lies that Russia attacked Ukraine and took Crimea by force and to insist that in order to stop the slaughter of innocents Assad must first be removed as the Syrian head of state. The latter position is strongly desputed by the Chair of South Asian History and Professor of International Studies at Trinity College. His reading of the Russians is that after protecting the civilians they would follow an alturnative course, not directly confronting ISIS, but rather being more concerned with the borders where ISIS has been given weapons and training by nations standing to profit from the destruction of Syria.

Obama verses Putin at the UN
President Obama and President Putin address the UN on their strategies for fighting the Islamic State. - September 28, 2015

Bio                                                                                                          .

Vijay Prashad is the George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian History and Professor of International Studies at Trinity College. He is the author of sixteen books, including The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South (Verso, 2013), Arab Spring, Libyan Winter (AK, 2012), (co-edited with Paul Amar) Dispatches from the Arab Spring (2013), and No Free Left: The Futures of Indian Communism (Leftward Press, 2015). Vijay's latest book is Letters to Palestine: Writers Respond to War and Occupation. Vijay is the chief editor at Leftward Press, and writes regularly for The Hindu, Frontline, Jadaliyya, Counterpunch, Himal and Bol.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Yet another view of the war crimes of the U.S. and its NATO puppets: "The NATO alliance has been conducting a war of aggression against Syria since 2011 when it succeeded in destroying Libya and it was responsible for the waves of humanity who fled the NATO bombing and who now flee the Takfiri militants NATO used as their auxiliaries." Recently the U.S. asked both Greece and Bulgaria to block Russian flights over their air space headed for Syria. Only Russia now stands between the the Syrian People and the NATO-Saudi, Israeli auxiliaries who are fighting in Syria under the acronyms ISIS or ISIL or Al Qaeda. "One has to ask, where are the American and European relief supplies for the Syrian people?" "The attempt to blockade the delivery of humanitarian assistance amounts to a war crime under international law, including the the Geneva Conventions, the Nuremburg Principles and the Statute of Rome that sets out the definitions of war crimes under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court."

US Blockade of Syria: A War Crime

By Christopher Black                 Region: , ,
Global Research, September 25, 2015
New Eastern Outlook 24 September 2015                 Theme: ,

The news that the United States asked both Greece and Bulgaria to block Russian flights over their air space headed for Syria is a logical extension of the criminality of the aggression against Syria being conducted by the NATO powers and their allies in the region. The NATO alliance has been conducting a war of aggression against Syria since 2011 when it succeeded in destroying Libya and it was responsible for the waves of humanity who fled the NATO bombing and who now flee the Takfiri militants NATO used as their auxiliaries.

These actions are clearly war crimes of the highest order, contemptuous violations of the UN Charter, international law and of all morality. The resulting misery of the peoples of the countries under attack, who are forced to flee and become refugees in the heart of the very alliance that is attacking them, is beyond words. The images bombard us daily. But the images are not placed in the western media to create a call for peace in the region. Instead, as we see from the recent statements of the British, French and American leaders, they are used to manipulate the emotions of the citizens of the NATO countries to justify a call for more military aggression against Syria which will create more misery, more death and more refugees.

That the flood of stories in the western press about the Syrian refugees is being used as a propaganda tool to is easy to see when we compare the situation regarding refugees from Libya and Ukraine. The Libyan people have been fleeing the hell that NATO created for four years now, with thousands of people arriving in Europe, mostly on the shores of Italy. But there has been no call to attack the vicious thugs that NATO installed in place of the progressive socialist Libyan Republic, no call to bring back the civilized society that existed before Gaddafi was brutally murdered by the same forces, no call for regime change in Tripoli. Instead, chaos and gangsterism prevail, and all is well.

In Ukraine over a million people have fled the Kiev junta’s massive armed attacks on its own people, the type of attacks that NATO countries alleged Gaddafi had used on his own people to justify their attack on Libya. The US puppets in Kiev have used bombing raids on civilians, white phosphorus shells, cluster bombs and other banned weapons and they have used them not on military targets of the peoples resistance forces but on civilian houses, shops, schools, hospitals, power stations and other civilian infrastructure. Food and medical supplies are blockaded. The people of the Donbas are under siege. All these actions are war crimes and crimes against humanity. Yet the western media says not a single word about them. There is no call from Washington or London or Paris or Ottawa to bomb Kiev and remove Poroshenko. Instead they supply him and his Nazi friends with weapons, supplies and money and send in their own forces to assist in these criminal attacks. The double standards applied and the deep hypocrisy and cynicism displayed by the NATO governments and the western news media that provide the information flow to the people, must shake anyone’s belief in the viability of western civilization.

In stark contrast, Russia has taken in over a million refugees so far from Ukraine without complaint while the EU countries argue bitterly amongst themselves as to who should take the refugees they have created and while they fan the flames of xenophobia among their own populations. But then the motivations are completely different. The Russians want to help the people being attacked by NATO and its puppet regime in Kiev. The Europeans only want to use the refugees as a means of creating hysteria in Europe so that their people will support a combined NATO attack on Syria.

Since these EU countries in one way or another support the forces attacking Syria they are responsible under international law for receiving and caring for the refugees they have created. They must follow certain humane standards in the treatment of them, but instead we see images of them being fed like animals or being kicked and tripped up by the very media sent to report on the crisis.

But now the situation has escalated further with the United States demanding that Greece and Bulgaria block relief supplies from Russia from using their air space, an attempt to completely block these supplies. Greece has found the courage to refuse the request. Bulgaria to its shame has decided to lick their boots.

The Americans try to justify their demand by claiming that some of those flights are used to deliver military supplies to Syria. Yes, and so what? Russia has every right to support the Syrian government in its fight against the Nato-Saudi, Israeli auxiliaries who are fighting in Syria under the acronyms ISIS or ISIL or Al Qaeda and has been openly doing so since the beginning. There is no UN approved arms embargo against Syria and the United States and its allies are daily dropping supplies to these same groups and have let it be known that their special forces are operating on the ground alongside those forces. Just the other day another story broke of the Israeli Army airlifting wounded from these groups for treatment in Israeli occupied zones and one must wonder if those selectively helped are not indeed Israeli special forces themselves. The Americans and Bulgarians are not just worried about more Russian military supplies from being delivered. They also want the Syrian people to experience the maximum state of misery and despair to punish them for their support of their government and to try to force them to turn against it.

Indeed, the Russian and Syrian governments affirm that many of those flights are delivering much needed humanitarian relief including medical supplies, generators for hospitals, food, tents for internal refugees, and related supplies to relieve the distress of the Syrian people in the face of the American provoked attacks on them. One has to ask, where are the American and European relief supplies for the Syrian people? Where are the ships and planes that should be carrying the same supplies the Russians are delivering? If they had delivered them and if they had insisted that the attacks on Syria stop there would not be any refugees. But they want the refugees to generate war propaganda and so they do not want relief supplies to get through.

The attempt to blockade the delivery of humanitarian assistance amounts to a war crime under international law, including the the Geneva Conventions, the Nuremburg Principles and the Statute of Rome that sets out the definitions of war crimes under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. The attempted blockade of humanitarian assistance constitutes murder, inhuman treatment, collective punishment, an action designed to bring about the physical destruction of the population and the nation, and other related crimes committed against the Syrian civilian population. Every European leader who takes part in this criminal conspiracy should be charged with war crimes. The American president should be Number One in the dock. But international criminal law continues to be administered by criminals and we watch with disbelief the complete silence of the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court who sits in her office in The Hague and twiddles her thumbs while Damascus, Aleppo and Donetsk burn.

The cartloads of the dead overflow the cemeteries. The misery of the living mounts. The hope that is left for peace and security, even for a little kindness in this life, drips out of our veins with every drop of blood shed by the victims of these NATO wars. It is very easy to despair. I despair. But we must resist. We must demand these wars stop, We must stop sitting around face booking and surfing the internet, get out of these artificial worlds they have built to turn us into zombies of the living and get back on the streets where we still count, where they still fear us and where we can shout our demands so loud they will shake the walls of the state itself.

Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto, he is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and he is known for a number of high-profile cases involving human rights and war crimes, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Friday, September 25, 2015

This post constructively lays out one of the overarching events of our time presented by this blogger’s all-time favorite Asia correspondent, Pepe Escobar, who may look like a hippy but has the smarts of a modern Sherlock Holms. The subjects of this essay in order of their taking place are (1) the continued slaughtering of innocents in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East by the murderous ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, resulting in hundreds of thousands dispossessed individuals and families looking for salvation in Europe, (2) the neocons in Washington have been arming, aiding, and abetting this slaughter in order to bring down the government of Bashar al-Assad, in order to make Syria another U.S. vassal, (3) Pepe’s question is whether or not Obama will finally decide to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, either this Friday or during the UN General Assembly in New York next week, (4) Russia's game changer in Syria includes not only weapons delivery but also actual intervention by the Russian Air Force to fight ISIS/ISIL/Daesh and the Jabhat al-Nusra, a.k.a. Al-Qaeda in Syria. (5) There is a growing European appreciation of such a Russian initiative, and (6) finally, for what it is worth, some of the blogger’s best friends are Russians. (Be sure to play the video near the bottom.)

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Vladimir Putin
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It's the ultimate geopolitical cliffhanger of the season: will US President Barack Obama finally decide to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, either this Friday or during the UN General Assembly next week in New York?

Russia's game changer in Syria -- not only weapons delivery but also the prospect of actual intervention by the Russian Air Force -- has left the Beltway reeling.

Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Walled Muallem has made it clear to RT that direct Russian involvement in the fight against ISIS/ISIL/Daesh and those "moderates" (US neocon designation) of Jabhat al-Nusra, a.k.a. Al-Qaeda in Syria, is even more important than the arms delivery.

Washington, meanwhile, remains mired in a geopolitical black hole as far as Putin's strategy is concerned. The Obama administration's response will hinge on how Putin's speech at the UN will be received across the world, and how the frantic diplomacy related to the Syrian theatre of war will fare.

It's naive to interpret the Russian military build-up as a mere show of force, an invitation to the Americans to finally sit down and discuss everything from southwest Asia to Ukraine.

It's also naive to interpret the move as Moscow's desperation for some kind of dialogue, any dialogue. There are no illusions at the Kremlin. Obama and Putin exchanged a few words in Beijing late last year -- and that's it; no official visits, no detailed meetings.

What's certain is that Putin's latest chess move carries the potential to smash to pieces the Obama administration's post-Maidan "strategy" of isolating Russia. Thus the predictable fear, loathing and paranoia permeating the Beltway.

Old Cold War 2.0 habits die hard -- if at all. Washington may extend the proverbial "financial support" to failed state, bankrupt Ukraine, and the pressure over the EU to keep sanctions throughout 2016 will remain. US "Think Tankland" keeps frantically spinning that the Obama administration is "not ready" to deal with Russia.

Well, at least the White House and the State Department seem to have finally understood that those Sukhois and surface-to-air missiles now in Syria are there to protect the Latakia air base. It was up to the Pentagon to elucidate a clueless John Kerry; these are for "force protection."

The new batch includes 4 Su-30SM multirole combat jets; 12 Su-25 ground attack jets; 12 Su-24M attack fighters; and six possible Ka-52 attack helicopters. According to IHS Jane's, these provide "a significant capability to target rebels opposed to the Syrian government and to secure the Latakia homeland of President Bashar al-Assad."

The elucidation came after Pentagon supremo Ash Carter and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu held a 50-minute phone talk. The fact that this was their first phoner in more than a year tells everything one needs to know about the Obama administration's "diplomatic" skills.

Inevitably, Kerry had to change his tune; the weapons do not raise "serious questions" anymore. Now Kerry is essentially saying Moscow has the right to turbo-charge its peace-for-Syria drive, and the White House is not fussy about Assad's departure date anymore, as long as there is a "transition."

Watch the chessboard

Putin is bound to deliver a showstopper at the UN. Spare a thought for the Obama administration's foreign policy "muppets," including the neocon cell at the State Department. Putin, under the glare of global public opinion, will frame the absolute defeat of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh as the key geopolitical issue of these times; he will commit Russia to it; and he will propose for the "West" to join in.

Scenario 1: Washington and its EU minions decide to support the Russian drive, or at least have the US-led coalition of dodgy opportunists work side-by-side with Russia -- and Iran. This means helping Damascus to win a real war against ("Caliphate") terror. "Assad must go" may even go afterwards. But he'll go as a winner. The Obama administration -- as well as Sultan Erdogan, Qatar, the House of Saud -- will be held responsible all across the world for prolonging a tragedy that could have been resolved in 2012. And Russia will be recognized as the ultimate defender of civilization against barbarism.

Scenario 2: Washington and the EU minions refuse to act side-by-side with Russia, and continue relying on the appalling performance of the coalition of the dodgy opportunists -- for instance, as in Erdogan bombing Kurds and not ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, and the French staging puny airstrikes invoking "self-defense" (I'm not making this up; it's the official Elysee Palace version.) The whole world will interpret it for what it is; the NATO-GCC combo is not really interested in smashing the Salafi-jihadis. Imagine the cataclysmic diplomatic/geopolitical fallout of five years of NATO-GCC enabling hardcore jihadis.

And there's of course the coda; if the Syrian Arab Army/Russian military push against ISIS/ISIL/Daesh works, guess who'll take the credit.

So Putin wins on both scenarios. Forget about the relentless demonization, the new Hitler-Stalin memes. "Putin The Great" will be no less than a Slavic Perseus -- the slayer of the jihadi Medusa.

The great power is back

But there's more, much more. Whatever the scenario -- 1 or 2 -- Putin is simultaneously masterminding a Ukraine endgame, which involves the end of sanctions, probably by 2017. The nations that really count in the EU want to scrap them. And scrap them they will if Putin does what they can't possibly do; smash the "Caliphate" that is sending wave after wave of refugees towards Fortress Europe.

Here I examined how any possible peace in Syria will be Putin's fault. Now imagine the consequences. Russia back as the real indispensable nation -- in the Middle East and beyond. And Russia back as a great power -- period.

Some signs of intelligent life in the EU can see it coming. Enter Helene Carrere d'Encausse, Russia-expert historian and member of the venerable Academie Francaise since 1990, of which she's the perpetual secretary. Madame d'Encausse clearly understands how Putin sees himself as the heir of Peter The Great; a great modernizer.

And even as he recognizes Europe is not the center of the world anymore, Putin is not an adversary of Europe. Nevertheless, he firmly believes that for the Americans and Europeans, Russia is a country that can be treated with disdain. That must be imperatively reversed.

"Putin The Great's" project is to make Russia regain its status of a great power. When he was elected to the presidency in 2000 -- I remember it well, I was in Moscow covering it -- Russia was in total chaos, perpetrated by unbridled neoliberalism. Putin got Russia back on track.

What he wants most of all -- contrary to superficial drivel reigning in US "Think Tankland" -- is not to remake the Russian or Soviet empire; but to get rid for good the humiliation of the 1990s -- the decade of plundering -- and make the nation proud again. Just check his popularity level; 85 percent of Russians -- and counting -- agree.

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to : Syrian army too busy saving country to threaten Israel    11:24 AM - 21 Sep 2015

Madame d'Encausse refers back historically to Count Sergey Uvarov, the imperial statesman behind Tsar Nicholas I, who defined the doxa in Russia in the mid 19th century as "orthodoxy, autocracy and national genius." She emphasizes this is the heart of Putin's ideology.

National genius, in this context, refers to a sense of social justice and a very Russian spirit of solidarity. Putin always emphasizes this spirit, which is an essential component of what it means to be Russian. And it is all tied up with nationalism. We just need to re-read Dostoevsky, for whom "the Russian nation is an extraordinary phenomenon in the history of human genius."

And then, of course, there's Islam -- an immensely complicating factor.
There are over 20 million Muslims in Russia. Putin recognizes that Russia is also a Muslim state; it's in fact multi-confessional, and most Russian Muslims are Sunnis. Putin clearly identifies ISIS/ISIL/Daesh as a Sunni crusade against Shi'ites. At the same time he maintains very good relations with Shi'ite Iran and the Allawites in Syria. And he realizes that Sunni republics, former Russian and Soviet possessions, are at the gates of Russia.
Published on Sep 11, 2015

So Putin has to continue analyzing Islam by taking into account both internal and foreign policy. What he clearly identified is that a Salafi-jihadi "Sunnistan" in "Syraq" is a very serious threat to Russia's national security. Aleppo is virtually next door to Grozny. Sure, "Putin The Great" harbors great ambition.

But first things first; he cannot possibly allow the resurgent great power to be infiltrated and corroded by Western-enabled barbarians at the gate.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Do you think that America is a Democracy? If so, think again. The people ruling us have torn up the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in favor of the super rich and to the detriment of the poor. And if that were not bad enough, the insane neocons running our country are pushing for a nuclear war with Russia.

Democracy Has Departed The West — Paul Craig Roberts

September 22, 2015 | Original Here                                            Go here to sign up to receive email notice of this news letter

Democracy Has Departed The West

Paul Craig Roberts

Before the West spreads democracy abroad maybe it could get some for itself. The US is an oligarchy in which government is answerable to six powerful private interest groups. In Europe governments are answerable to the EU, Washington, and private bankers and not to their peoples. In the UK the military brass has declared its hold on the reins of power.

Jeremy Corbyn is the first Labourite to lead the Labour Party in a long time. Considering the stupidity and immorality of the Tories, Corbyn could become prime minister of Britain. Should this occur, Corbyn would shift the budget priorities away from supporting Washington’s wars toward refurbishing the social welfare state that made life for ordinary Britishers more secure and less stressful.

A senior serving general of the British army said that the army would not allow the people to “put a maverick in charge of the country’s security. The Army just wouldn’t stand for it and would use whatever means possible, fair or foul, to prevent that.”

In other words, a democratic outcome unacceptable to the English military will be overthrown. Just like in Egypt.

Here we have the incongruity of Washington and London bringing democracy to others through what Vladimir Putin calls “airstrike democracy,” while tolerating a democracy deficit themselves. The safest conclusion is that democracy is a cloak for an aggressive agenda, not a value in itself to the US and UK elites, who rule and who intend to continue to rule these countries for their personal benefit.

Jonathan Cook reports that the use of “whatever means possible, fair or foul,” against Labour prime ministers who actually stood for the people rather than for the elites is not unique to Corbyn. Labour Prime Minister Harald Wilson faced similar pressure and resigned.

As far as I can tell, not only has democracy departed the Western world, but also compassion, empathy for others, morality, integrity, respect for truth, justice, faithfulness, and self-respect. Western civilization has become a hollow shell. There is nothing left but greed and coercion and the threat of coercion. When I read—hopefully incorrect reports—that Russia’s President Putin desires to be a partner of the West, I wonder why such a powerful country, which has emerged into light out of darkness, wants to be Satan’s partner. I assume that the reports are untrue or that Putin is acting in the interest of humankind to defuse the dangerous situation created by Washington and its NATO sock puppets.

Russia should not forget the courageous speech that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gave to the UN on September 20, 2006. Standing at the podium, Chavez said that on the previous day George W. Bush stood here, “Satan himself, speaking as if he owned the world. You can still smell the sulfur.” The purpose of America, Chavez said, is “to preserve the pattern of domination, exploitation and pillage of the peoples of the world.”

Chavez’s words were too much truth for US politicians. Nancy Pelosi, the multimillionaire Speaker of the US House of Representatives, said that such a speech was to be expected from an “everyday thug.”

Elsewhere the response was different. Rafael Correa, currently President of Ecuador, said that Chavez had insulted Satan, because although Satan is evil like Washington, he is al least intelligent, and Washington is completely stupid.

The Western World is on its last legs. Unemployment is horrendous for European and American youth—primarily for the educated. Young American women, driven by student debt, advertise on Internet sites for “sugar daddies” to whom they will supply sex for financial support. The easy answer—“education is the solution”— is a lie. Ph.Ds cannot get jobs, because university budgets are cut in order to save money for wars and bank bailouts and 75% of the remaining budget is used by administrations to pay themselves large salaries and perks. NYU, for example, provides its higher administrative personnel with expensive summer homes. University presidents in America have multimillion dollar incomes, while the students drown in debt.

The Wall Street Mentality—unlimited Greed—has taken over American life, and this greed has been exported to Europe, which had achieved a sharing relationship between labor and capital. Today Europe, like the US, is an opportunity wasteland for the young. Greece has been sacrificed for the private bankers, and Italy, Spain, and Portugal are waiting in the wings. In the place of independent European countries, a fascist centralized authority is rising.

As millions of refugees from Washington and its NATO enablers’ wars seek refuge in Europe, budgets for social welfare are further pressed.

In recent years we have witnessed that private bankers acting through the EU were able to appoint the governments of the allegedly democratic governments of Greece and Italy.

In the Western World the aristocracy of wealth is being re-established. If Russia and China join this “partnership,” then billions of peoples will be ruled by a handful of mega-rich elites.

The world is on the knife edge. The West is lost. Russia and China could go down with the West, because both Russia and China suffered tyranny and look to the West for the paths to freedom and liberty. But Western paths lead to “domination, exploitation and pillage of the peoples of the world.”

Will Russia and China participate in the pillage, or will they resist it, standing firm for humanity?