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A year of Russia fighting against Western imperialism: 5 key milestones of the Russian air campaign in Syria

Precisely a year ago Moscow joined the campaign in Syria at the request of Damascus. While killing thousands of jihadists, Russia suffered military losses, but became one of the driving forces behind attempts at the national reconciliation process.

On September 30, 2015 Russian jets conducted their first strikes against terrorist targets in Syria, hitting Islamic State (IS, formerly known as ISIS/ISIL) positions near the cities of Homs and Hama.

By that time the US-led coalition had been already active in Syria for over a year. Yet Russia became the only state which received an official request from Syrian President Bashar Assad to conduct air strikes in the country. The Russian jets operated from the Khmeimim air base located in Syria's Latakia Governorate.

Liberation of Palmyra

During its mission, the Russian Air Force aided the Syrian army in liberating one of the country's key cities and a world heritage site - Palmyra. The ancient city had been under the control of IS since May 2015 before it was retaken by government forces backed by Russian airstrikes in March this year.

Jihadists destroyed numerous historical landmarks during the occupation, while leaving roads, houses and monuments booby trapped. Russian and Syrian sappers defused thousands of mines left by the terrorists after their retreat. Following the liberation of the ravaged city, the world-famous Russian conductor Valery Gergiev led a concert in Palmyra to support its restoration and honor the victims of the war.


Bad Guys

'Best gift to terrorists': Samantha Power's claim versus reality

The US' refusal to cooperate with Russia would be a real "gift" to terrorists in Syria, on a par with its failure to separate "moderates" from jihadists and the recent airstrike against Syrian army, Moscow said in response to a barrage of criticism from Washington.

US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power accused the Syrian and Russian governments of carrying out a "soul-shattering" air campaign in Aleppo, saying that their anti-terror efforts would only lead to more "radicalization" and a greater refugee flow out of Syria.


Comment: The flow of refugees will be 'moderate rebels' leaving.


"What they are doing is a gift to [Islamic State] and [al-Nusra Front], the groups that they claim that they want to stop," Power said Thursday.


Comment: The gift would be from the US-led coalition supplying more weapons and aid to the head-choppers so that sounds like a veiled threat.


Cow Skull

UN rejects resolution demanding independent probe into Saudi war crimes in Yemen, adopts a milder form to appease Saudis


An EU-backed resolution demanding an independent inquiry into human rights violations during the Yemeni war has been withdrawn at the UN Human Rights Council. Instead, to activists' discontent, a weakened "reasonable compromise" text has been adopted.

A "strong" resolution submitted by Slovenia and backed by 21 other EU states failed at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Tuesday, September 27. EU members had requested an "independent" international inquiry "to monitor and report on the situation of human rights in Yemen, on violations and abuses thereof since September 2014."


As a result of days of behind-the-scenes talks, an updated and far milder "compromise" version of the resolution drawn up by Sudan on behalf of African Group was adopted without a vote on Thursday.

The resolution now calls for the allocation of "additional international human rights experts to its Yemen programme in coordination with the Government of Yemen" and the assurance that "the National Commission investigates allegations of violation and abuse committed by all parties to the conflict."

Comment: The UN is a worthless organization meant to give the appearance a world run by benevolent people so that psychopaths can continue to wreak havoc with impunity.


Info

Three Chinese fishermen killed in clash with South Korea coastguard

© South Korean Mokpo Coast Guard via AP
Three Chinese fishermen were killed on Thursday in a fire that broke out on their boat when South Korean coastguard men trying to apprehend them for illegal fishing threw flash grenades into a room they were hiding in, a South Korean official said.

Disputes over illegal fishing are an irritant in relations between China and U.S. ally South Korea, even as their economic relations grow close. They also share concern about North Korea's nuclear weapon and missile programs.

The three men were believed to have suffocated, a coastguard official in the South Korean port city of Mokpo said, adding that the incident was being investigated.

The fire broke out in the boat's steering room, the official, who is not authorized to speak with media and declined to be identified, told Reuters by telephone.

Stock Down

Why there is Trump: It's the Roman empire all over again

© SHORPY
Dorothea Lange Family of rural rehabilitation client, Tulare County, CA 1938
It's over! The entire model our societies have been based on for at least as long as we ourselves have lived, is over! That's why there's Trump.

There is no growth. There hasn't been any real growth for years. All there is left are empty hollow sunshiny S&P stock market numbers propped up with ultra cheap debt and buybacks, and employment figures that hide untold millions hiding from the labor force. And most of all there's debt, public as well as private, that has served to keep an illusion of growth alive and now increasingly no longer can.

These false growth numbers have one purpose only: for the public to keep the incumbent powers that be in their plush seats. But they could always ever only pull the curtain of Oz over people's eyes for so long, and it's no longer so long.

That's what the ascent of Trump means, and Brexit, Le Pen, and all the others. It's over. What has driven us for all our lives has lost both its direction and its energy.

Chess

The best gift to terrorists would be Washington's refusal to cooperate with Russia on Syria's settlement- Zakharova

© Alexander Scherbak/TASS
According to US Secretary of State John Kerry, the US is on the brink of calling off the talks with Russia on the efforts to implement a ceasefire agreement in Syria.


Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on her page in Facebook on Thursday that Washington would make a great gift to terrorists if it carried out its threats to end interaction with Russia on Syria.

"US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power has described the actions of Syrian and Russian forces in Syria as a 'gift' to the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist groups (both outlawed in Russia)," Zakharova recalling what Power had told journalists at a news conference held at the United Nations.

Comment: See also: Zakharova slams US State Department for threat to 'send Russians home in body bags'


Quenelle

Zakharova slams US State Department for threat to 'send Russians home in body bags'

US State Department Spokesman, John Kirby says, 'Russia will continue to send troops home [from Syria] in body bags.'

John Kirby warned Russia that terrorist attacks may take place in Russia if the war in Syria continues.

Maria Zakharova responded to Kirby's veiled threat by turning to her Facebook page to note that the statement sounds like a call to "get 'em".

US State Department spokesperson John Kirby told reporters at Wednesday's press briefing...
"Extremist groups will continue to exploit the vacuums that are there in Syria to expand their operations, which could include attacks against Russian interests, perhaps even Russian cities. Russia will continue to send troops home in body bags, and will continue to lose resources, perhaps even aircraft."

Comment: Further reading: US condemnation against phantom Syria and Russian "humanitarian crimes" - prelude to NATO-style invasion?


Attention

Erdogan reviving expansionist vision? Targets Greek islands, says "we gave away the islands that you could shout across to"


Alexander Tsipris and Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Erdogan openly expressed his regret for the border decisions stipulated in the Treaty of Lausanne.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is exhuming some very uncomfortable and painful ghosts from Greece's past sufferings under the Ottoman empire.

We are all well aware that Erdogan says a lot of ridiculous things, but his latest comments that reference the Dodecanese Islands, and the Treaty of Lausanne, should warrant concern for an EU weakened and hollowed out Greek state.

In a speech to regional officials in Ankara, Erdogan openly expressed his regret for the border decisions stipulated in the Treaty of Lausanne.

Erdogan lamented, and issued this veiled warning towards Greece...
"Some tried to deceive us by presenting Lausanne as victory."

"In Lausanne, we gave away the islands that you could shout across to."
The Treaty of Lausanne delimited the boundaries of Greece, Bulgaria, and Turkey. It formally ceded all Turkish claims on the Dodecanese Islands, Cyprus, Egypt and Sudan, Syria and Iraq, and (along with the Treaty of Ankara) settled the boundaries of the latter two nations.

Turkey already illegally occupies 37% of Cyprus, and is currently embroiled in a jihadist invasion to topple Syria.

Apple Green

The Debate: Three points on Trump's foreign policy

© David Goldman/AP
For all Hillary Clinton's reputation as a policy wonk, her debate performance consisted almost entirely of personal attacks. And while our media is out there proclaiming a Clinton "victory," their evaluation merely shows how distanced they are from ordinary Americans, who don't revel in nastiness.

Trump, on the other hand, although he allowed himself to be distracted by her cattiness, was focused on the issues, and in the course of the evening he made three important points of interest to my readers.

1) The most important issue of our time, or any time - nuclear weapons and the looming possibility of nuclear war:
The single greatest problem the world has is nuclear armament, nuclear weapons, not global warming, like you think and your — your president thinks. Nuclear is the single greatest threat....

I would like everybody to end it, just get rid of it. But I would certainly not do first strike. I think that once the nuclear alternative happens, it's over.

Dollar

Outrageous!: Israel scams US out of $38 billion dollars

Bibi wants more and Congress might deliver

As an American it is difficult to imagine a more unseemly bit of political theater playing out than Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's appearance before his cabinet to claim that he had gotten every last dollar of military assistance out of the Obama Administration. Netanyahu argued that he had obtained all that was on the table, adding that his bad blood with President Barack Obama had not proven to be detrimental in the bilateral negotiations that had been ongoing for more than a year. The Prime Minister was on the defensive because some of his critics claimed that he might have gotten $100 million more per annum, admittedly chump change on top of the $38 billion over ten years that the Memorandum of Understand will provide Netanyahu from the U.S. Treasury.

The critics also argued that the "real money" obtained from Washington was less than it seemed because of inflation, but the gift of $38 billion to Israel was nevertheless a considerable increase over the roughly $3.3 billion per year that Israel is currently receiving. The protracted negotiations over the exact sum to be handed over were reportedly due to Netanyahu's demanding much more money, possibly as much as $5 billion per year. The deal did come with a minor problem for the Israeli defense industries, which had become accustomed to skimming 26% off the top of the annual U.S. grant to build and market their own weapons. Someone in Washington finally figured out that the U.S. taxpayer was directly funding foreign competition for its own defense industries, costing thousands of American jobs. But not to worry, the Israeli companies are now setting up U.S. subsidiaries, so the gravy train will almost certainly continue to deliver.