Welcome to Sott.net
Mon, 23 Oct 2017
The World for People who Think

Puppet Masters


CHECKMATE: 5 ways Russia outwitted the US in one day

A powerhouse day of Russian diplomacy left the US with few cogent arguments for war.

Today was the day that the US thought it could break Russia's partnership with Syria and also with Iran. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer laid out the goals clearly yesterday. It was America's 'duty' to break Russia away from countries like Syria, Iran and allegedly North Korea. It didn't happen.

First of all, Russia and Syria are close partners. Secondly, North Korea is not a partner of Russia, but nor does Russia want renewed conflict in the Korean peninsula.

Red Flag

Trump blames Putin for situation in Syria by supporting "very bad man" Assad

© Sputnik/ Mikhail Voskresenskiy

Comment: It appears Donald Trump has dispensed with any nuance in his thinking and instead is falling into line with the rest of the warmongers in Washington by declaring anyone who openly opposes US imperial control as "bad." One wonders if Trump will ever go back to being the counterweight to the psychopathic Deep State in the US, or if all his talk was just that, talk. As it stands right now, it only took him less than a 100 days to buckle under the pressure of keeping the US Empire in full-on warmonger mode.

US President Donald Trump blamed the current situation in Syria on Moscow's support for country's President Bashar Assad, calling the Syrian leader "an animal," in an exclusive interview with Fox Business on Wednesday.

"If Russia didn't go in and back this animal [Assad], you wouldn't have a problem right now," Trump said.

He stressed that Russian President Vladimir Putin was supporting "a very bad man," and believed such an alliance would be bad for Russia and the entire world.

Commenting on recent US strikes on Syrian airfield, Trump stressed that he could not have acted differently.

"But when I see people using horrible, horrible chemical weapons ... and see these beautiful kids that are dead in their father's arms, or you see kids gasping for life ... when you see that, I immediately called General Mattis," Trump said.


China publicly criticizes Syria missile strike by US following "inconclusive" Xi-Trump meeting

US President Donald Trump ordered the missile strike on Syria's Sharyat air base whilst he was actually hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping at his holiday home in Florida.

This fact would have put the Chinese in a difficult position, with the choice being whether to criticise the strike immediately, putting their President in the embarrassing position of appearing to quarrel with his host and of risking the collapse of the entire summit, or of waiting for Xi Jinping's return to Beijing. Wisely the Chinese settled on the second course.

China has come in for some criticism for its failure to speak out strongly against the missile strike immediately after it took place. However it is difficult to see what from a Chinese point of view doing so would have achieved.

Critics of China's reticent stance on Syria need to remember that Syria is not of fundamental importance to China as it is to Russia. Just as the Russians are relatively reticent on issues which are of fundamental importance to China but which are of less concern to Russia - such Tibet, Taiwan, North Korea and the South China Sea - so the Chinese tend to be relatively reticent about issues which are of fundamental importance to Russia - such as Syria, Ukraine or NATO expansion - but which are of less concern to China.


Columnist opines that Sweden should consider adopting Israeli methods against terrorism

© Markus Schreiber/Associated Press
Police officers guard the scene as a truck is pulled away by a service car after it was driven into a department store in Stockholm, Sweden, Saturday, April 8, 2017
The deadly recent truck attack in Stockholm has left Sweden in shock and prompted politicians and pundits to ponder ways of possibly putting an end to such attacks altogether. Several Swedish experts believe that it is high time Sweden learned from Israel's experience in combatting terrorism. According to Anders Persson, a political scientist and Middle East researcher at Lund University, it's crucial that Prime Minister Stefan Löfven sees the truck attack into the context of radical Islamist terrorism rather than simply "violent extremism," which is the preferred nomenclature nowadays. If it's able to do so, Sweden may be able to copy Israel's experience in fighting Islamic terrorism.

Comment: Israel is a violent, apartheid state. Is that what Persson wants Sweden to become?

"Many Western countries, including Sweden, often criticize Israel openly, while they at the same time are secretly eager to learn how the country has fought Islamic terrorism and other security threats" Anders Persson wrote in his opinion piece in the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet. He ventured that Sweden has much to learn from Israel's ability to tackle the latest cycle of violence, which is often called "popular terrorism."


Fake News MSM misrepresents Putin's 'false flag' statement to make him sound crazy

Yesterday Putin claimed that Idlib gas attack was a false flag and that Russia had information that more such "provocations" were in the works. Specifically he feared that one such was imminent in rebel-held southern Damascus.

A number of media outlets took that and reported that Putin was saying that the US was planning more chemical weapons false flags attacks in Syria. In fact Putin said no such thing, nor did he imply it.

As usual British tabloids led the way but crucially other, supposedly "respectable" outlets joined in. Mail, Mirror and Sun all went with one version of "Putin claims US planning fake chemical attacks" -- and the CNBC and The Independent joined in.


Russia could 'neutralize' the F-22 and F-35 before they even hit the production line

© Natalia Seliverstova / Sputnik
Russia’s state-of-the-art Defense Ministry Management Center
In a string of articles for The National Interest, columnist Dave Majumdar commented on the threat of Russian SAM systems to advanced American air power. Asked for comment, military aviation expert Viktor Pryadka told Sputnik that the US developments in stealth technology lag far behind Russia's creation of even more advanced air defense systems.

According to Majumdar, the use of fourth-generation US aircraft such as Super Hornets and F-16s in the areas where modern Russian air defense systems are deployed has long become 'inexpedient,' but the newest US combat planes have no guarantees against the S-400 and upcoming S-500 air defense systems, either.

The biggest threat to the US's new planes, the expert hinted, would be a full-scale echeloned Russian air defense network, focused specifically on the detection of stealth targets.


Trump administration on Syria: Two weeks, six positions, clear as mud

© Andrew Harnik | AP Photo
Six is a tremendous number!
Over the course of two weeks, the Trump administration has defended 6 different positions on Syria:

- Until 30 March, it took the position that the President Bashar Al-Assad had been elected by his fellow citizens and therefore was legitimately in power. On 30 March 2017, his ambassador to the United Nations, confirmed that defeating the Syrian President was no longer a US priority.

- On 5 and 6 April 2017, after the chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun, President Trump and his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson considered that Damascus was responsible; that it had "crossed the red line" and that Bashar al-Assad had to go. By taking these positions, they were reinstating the Neo-Con stance and specifically, the position of Hillary Clinton.

- From 6 to 10 April 2017, the National Adviser of Security, HR McMaster, and the Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, take the position that the United States has no interest in knowing if President al-Assad must stay or go, but how to prevent the use of chemical weapons in Syria and elsewhere.

- On Sunday, 9 April 2017, during several interviews, Rex Tillerson returned to his previous position. For him, the priority was to destroy Daesh. The fate of President Al-Assad will only be envisaged following developments with Russia. This point of view was confirmed by HR McMaster. Nikki Haley declared that as far as she was concerned, the United State had multiple priorities in Syria and that peace cannot be achieved while President al-Assad was in power.

Comment: Well, that about covers most of a brain dump of options, wouldn't ya say? A little something for everyone.


On the way out? Trump kneecaps Bannon

© Pete Marovich/Bloomberg via Getty
Chief Strategist Steve Bannon
Allies of Steve Bannon fear the White House chief strategist is about to be pushed out, following the posting last night of an ominous interview with Trump by Michael Goodwin, a New York Post columnist and someone the president has been comfortable with over many years.

What it means: Axios' Jonathan Swan points out that if Bannon goes, there's no one of similar status in the White House who has the status to push the nationalist agenda to Trump - and more centrist figures are already ascendant (Jivanka, Gary Cohn). Without Bannon's voice, this becomes a much more conventional White House. It would be an acute normalizing of the staff, although no one can normalize Trump.

Comment: See also:


George Galloway: Think about it - Assad's not 'mad enough' to carry out chemical attack

© Andrew Parsons / Global Look Press
Former MP George Galloway
Syrian President Bashar Assad is simply not mad enough to have carried out the recent chemical attack on a rebel-held town in Syria, according to outspoken former MP George Galloway. Writing for the 'Westmonster' website, the former Labour and Respect MP said the idea that Assad was behind the recent suspected chemical attack at Sheikoun Khan was off the mark.

Major Western powers laid the attack at Assad's door and leading figures have said Russia is tacitly responsible as well. Syria maintains that the gas incident occurred after a conventional bomb hit a rebel chemical weapons depot.

"Syrian President Assad is no doubt bad enough to do anything at all to save his regime including the use of any and all weapons," Galloway writes. "But he's not mad enough to launch militarily insignificant chemical weapons attacks on an already beaten enemy and, hey presto, bring America directly into the war against him. Anyone who says otherwise is either a fool or is trying to fool you," Galloway warned.

Galloway urged readers to ask who would gain from such an attack.

"One only has to ask two questions. Why? And who benefits? That there is no conceivable advantage to the Syrian regime is obvious. That there is every conceivable advantage for the ISIS/Al-Qaeda-led rebels is equally obvious," he said.

Comment: As Galloway points out, there was no benefit for Assad, every benefit for the rebels. This was obvious before the missile attack. What then was the real reason behind the decision to bomb Syria?


Which is it: Rue, ruse or rule? Putin's options facing the US military junta

© Newsweek
How to rule a country which is a target of war by the mad figurehead of a military junta in another country? This is not a historical question about Joseph Stalin's options in August 1939, before he and Adolph Hitler decided on the time-buying ruse known as the German - Soviet Non-aggression Pact. Nor is this a current question about Bashar al-Assad and Syria, nor about Kim Jong-un and North Korea.

It's the question President Vladimir Putin is obliged to ask about Russia's options facing a US regime in which, as the Kremlin now acknowledges, a military junta has installed itself behind President Donald Trump. "We have seen this all before", Putin declared yesterday.

The president went on to say that he himself is in two minds on what is to be done, and rues having to make the decision. On the one hand, according to Putin, the US junta is preparing new operations for the purpose of escalating the war in Syria, as well as the war against Russia. "We have information from a variety of sources that such provocations (I cannot find another word for this) are being prepared in other parts of Syria, including in southern suburbs of Damascus, where they are planning to plant certain substances and accuse Syrian authorities of using them."

On the other hand, Putin also said, "we are ready to put up with that for a while in the hope that it will eventually lead us to some positive trend based on interaction. For consumption within America, there are reasons for this. Simply put, political opponents of the incumbent president are still out there, and if anything happens, it will be blamed on him. I have no doubt about that."

Comment: Insight into the inner workings of Putin's political/military system touches on the historical differences between Western process and that of traditional Russian operation. The US administration's military decision to bomb Syria has created a conundrum for Russian response. In some respects, what Mr. Trump inadvertently did was to place Mr. Putin in similar circumstances to his own with those in the Russian government who might advocate for war over patience and compromise. Where there might have been some hope going forward, there is now, at best, doubt.