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Independent Kurdistan - A deeper fracture in Turkish-American ties

The U.S.-Turkey visa crisis is simply the rupture point of a fault-line between Ankara and Washington that has accumulated considerable tension in recent years. So even if the parties manage to find a solution to this latest crisis, the problems that brought us here are likely to persist and foment new conflicts.

While the escalation could have been prevented with better crisis management and diplomacy on both sides, the core of the problems between Ankara and Washington stem primarily from the erosion of the institutions upon which their alliance was built.

Military ties have historically constituted the backbone of Turkish-U.S. relations. Because of the asymmetrical power relationship, the two countries have often harbored different threat perceptions and priorities. But nevertheless the bipolar nature of the Cold War suppressed the clash of interests to an extent. Even then, relations were marked by periodic turbulence such as the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962), the Lyndon Johnson letter (1964) and Cyprus (1970s).

After the end of the Cold War, the divergences started to surface. Facing an uncertain international environment in which NATO began seeking a new mission, Turkey opted to side with the U.S. when regional crises erupted.


US plans to end Iranian power in Iraq will be the graveyard for the US hegemony

The US is afraid of fighting Iran on Iranian soil. Thus, the proxy war against Iran which has been fought in Iraq for over a decade, has just been intensified.

The United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia have yet to demonstrate that they have the "courage" to attack Iran directly and it is still conventional wisdom among most observers that none of Iran's self-defined adversaries will ever develop an appetite for a hot war on Iranian soil any time soon.

One of the reasons for this reticence to attack Iran directly, especially where more moderate members of the Pentagon are concerned, is that such an operation would be suicide from a military-strategic point of view. Ultimately, the US would likely lose any war on Iranian soil that was not a nuclear war. The latter option would of course be a cataclysmic disaster for the planet.

This is one of the reasons that the US continues to construct a totally nonfactual narrative about "Iranian terrorism". Because no such thing exists (on the contrary Iran both fights and is a victim of Takrifi jihadism), the US along with Israel continues to peddle the narrative that the Lebanese party Hezbollah is an 'Iranian terrorist group', even though Hezbollah's latest accomplishment has been destroying ISIS and al-Qaeda in Lebanon while continuing to help the secular Syrian government fight jihadists.


Lavrov: US setting up fatal provocations against Russian personnel in Syria

© The Great Middle East
Russian soldiers in Syria.
The United States is staging fatal provocations against Russian servicemen in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.

"The US-led forces' activities in Syria cause many questions. In some cases these forces mounts allegedly accidental strikes against the Syrian Armed Forces, after which the Islamic State [Daesh terrorist group] counterattacks, in other cases they inspire other terrorists to attack strategic locations over which official Damascus has restored its legitimate authority, or stage fatal provocations against our military personnel. I would also mention numerous 'accidental' strikes against civilian infrastructure that have taken hundreds of civilian lives," he told the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

Earlier, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov stated that the recent death of a Russian Lt. Gen. Valery Asapov, who headed a group of Russian military advisers in Syria during a mortar attack by terrorists, is the price that Russia paid for the duplicity of the United States in actions aimed at resolving the crisis in the region.

Russian Defense Ministry earlier published an aerial survey of the areas where Daesh militants were stationed north of the city of Deir ez-Zor, clearly showing US special forces' units at strongholds previously fortified by terrorists.

The US State Department said later that claims of that the United States supported Daesh or was complicit in the death of Russian general have "no basis in fact".

Comment: Either the US military has become extremely plan-foolish, or it doesn't have command of its personnel. Mr. Lavrov is entitled to his accusations, as would an American counterpart should the situation be reversed. Are all the questionable incidents examples of the US staging fatal provocations? Hard to know for sure, but Lavrov doesn't have a reputation of jumping to convenient conclusions.


USAid worker in guise of EU delegate organizes anti-Duterte 'protest' for regime change

© Inquirer Global Nation - INQUIRER.net
Duterte slams EU reps.
The US continues to meddle in the sovereign affairs of the democracy in Philippines.

Yesterday, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte made headlines for slamming an alleged group of EU representatives holding a protest in favour of returning to the old lax drug laws in the country. The EU, both at an official and unofficial level, has threatened to withdraw funds from Philippines over President Duterte's push to eliminate the drug and associated crime problem from his country. Duterte remains highly popular in Philippines as a result of his campaign.

Duterte blasted the so-called EU delegation saying,
"You think that we are a bunch of morons here. Because we can have the diplomatic channel cut tomorrow. You leave my country in 24 hours. All. All of you! We are past colonisation stage. We will be excluded in the UN? You son of a bitch. Go ahead. You are interfering in our affairs because we are poor. You give money and then you start to orchestrate what things should be done".
While the EU was quick to distance itself from the group of rogue delegates who did not represent the Brussels body in anything approaching an official capacity, veteran Philippine diplomat Rigoberto Tiglao has exposed something even more dangerous about the delegation.

While the delegation purported to all be compromised [(sic) comprised] of EU officials, there was one man among the crowd who represented the notorious American organisation USAid, a state-run body which typically falsely characterises itself as an NGO. USAid earned an infamous reputation in Russia during the 1990s, when the group helped funnel millions of Dollars into political and business interests that took a pro-US line. The group was further accused of aiding the CIA in the open meddling conducted by Washington in the 1996 Russian Presidential election.

Comment: Rogue delegates? Wanna bet? It's a layer, as in a duped decoy while the real work is more insidious. Infiltration is like a disease...destroy from the inside out before the symptoms become apparent and often too late to remedy.

More from RT:

The EU has denied being connected with the visit or that the seven-member delegation represents EU policy.

"The European Union was not part of the organization or planning of that visit - neither the Delegation of the European Union in the Philippines nor the European Union institutions in Brussels," the EU office in Manila said in a statement.

"The statements made by the Progressive Alliance during its visit to the Philippines were made solely on behalf of the Progressive Alliance and do not represent the position of the European Union."

The Progressive Alliance warned that the Philippines risks losing an exclusive trade deal with the EU if it did not stop extra-judicial killings, but did not call for country to be expelled from any international bodies. However, in an interview on Saturday Human Rights Watch (HRW) Geneva director John Fisher did say that Manila may lose its position on the UN Human Rights Council if the alleged abuses in the country continue.

"Membership comes with responsibilities," Fisher told Rappler. "But so many states underlining the fact that the Philippines is in violation of its membership obligations is a signal that it is one of the options available to the international community if the government persists in violating the right to life."

A spokesman for the president later accused the Progressive Alliance of misrepresenting itself as an "EU mission".


US House: Bill to end support for Saudi's 'horrifying war in Yemen'

© Agency EFE
Citing human rights concerns, a bipartisan committee in the US House of Representatives has called for the US military to stop lending crucial support to the Saudi Arabian war in Yemen. The widely condemned Saudi intervention into the Yemeni Civil War has led to the deaths of tens of thousands of people, many of them civilians.

The primary way the US has supported the Saudi-led coalition's incursion has been refueling missions flown by the US Air Force that allow their Saudi counterparts to continue a campaign of airstrikes in their southern neighbor. The new bill, House Congressional Resolution 81, would bar the US military from participating in any military action, including support for any side, in the Yemeni Civil War except operations against the powerful Islamic militant group al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
Resolution 81 "in no way restricts our military counter-terrorism efforts in Yemen," Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), who introduced the bill, told Military.com. "All the bill basically does is say we should not be assisting Saudi Arabia in Yemen."
The bill has attracted 30 House co-sponsors, including Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin), as well as prominent Republicans such as Walter Jones (R-North Carolina) and Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky), Khanna's co-sponsor. Congress has not authorized any US military action in Yemen against anyone but AQAP.

Comment: A little late for thousands of Yemeni, the US Congress finds its conscience...or what is left of one. How could it not be aware of the arrangement with Saudi Arabia and its complicity? Or is it just public awareness that brings the inkling of shame?

See also:


Erdogan: Turkish forces have independent 'game plan' in Idlib, Syria

© Osman Orsal / Reuters
Turkish Armed Forces at Syrian border in Reyhanli, Hatay Province, Turkey
Turkish military forces have been deployed to Syria's Idlib province to monitor one of four de-escalations zones in the war-torn country, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. He emphasized however that they are "not bounded by just resistance or defense."

"We implement our own game plan, step by step... We are not bounded by just resistance or defense," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday, stressing that due to a shared border with Syria, Turkey is facing a variety of dangers.

"Turkey shares a border with Idlib. Thus, we should take our own measures," Erdogan told a meeting of his Justice and Development (AK) Party according to Anadolu. "It is us that shares a 911km [566-mile] border with Syria. It is us who are under constant abuse and threat." Erdogan added that Turkey will never forget those states that showed support, as well as those that demonstrated "double standards" and "stood in Turkey's way" in the wake of last year's failed coup attempt.

"Every day Turkey confronts a new game by those who can't make us kneel in the political, diplomatic, military or economic areas," he said. "Those who supported terror groups such as the Fetullah Terrorist Organization and the PKK failed to corner Turkey [and] are taking now direct action."

Comment: Militaries without borders.


Syrian Foreign Ministry says Damascus demands 'immediate & unconditional' pullout of Turkish troops from northwest Syria

© Ilyas Akengin / AFP
Turkish soldiers stand near armoured vehicles during a demonstration in support of the Turkish army's Idlib operation near the Turkey-Syria border near Reyhanli, Hatay, on October 10, 2017
Syria demands an immediate pullout of Turkish troops, whose deployment to Idlib province amounts to "flagrant aggression," the Syrian Foreign Ministry said as quoted by SANA.

"The Syrian Arab Republic condemns in the strongest terms the incursion of Turkish military units in the Idlib Province, which constitutes to blatant aggression against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and flagrant violation of international law," an official source in the foreign ministry told Sana news agency.

"The Syrian Arab Republic demands an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Turkish troops from the Syrian territory," the source stated.

Comment: See also: Turkish special forces, dozen armored vehicles begin setting up observation posts in Syria's Idlib


'Brute force' hacking of British MPs last June blamed on Iran

© nwa
A "brute force" attack on British MPs back in June has allegedly been traced to Iranian hackers, the Times reported citing intelligence sources. The article came as London urged Washington not to derail the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

An unsourced report by the Times claims that a "brute force" hack attack on the Parliament's computers was attributed to Iranian hackers. The cyberattack that occurred on June 23 affected 9,000 email accounts, including those of UK Prime Minister Theresa May and other government members.

Citing "a secret intelligence assessment," the Times wrote the June attack "is believed to be Iran's first significant act of cyberwarfare on Britain and underlines its emergence as one of the world's biggest cyberpowers."

The Times' sources referred to alleged Iranian perpetrators as "highly capable actors in the cyberworld." One source said: "It was not the most sophisticated attack but nor did it need to be. It is possible they were simply testing their capability."

The timing of the publication is particularly noteworthy as it comes only a day after Prime Minister May issued a joint statement on Friday together with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron in support of the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal signed by six world powers plus Iran.

Comment: 'Attributing' the hacking to Iran (by a secret intelligence assessment in an unsourced report) is not 'proving' Iran did the hacking. Also, the timing of the publication was on the heels of May's joint statement supporting the Iran Deal. Was this a veiled warning for the 3Ms: May, Merkel and Macron? If it wasn't Iran, whose 'capability' was really being assessed?


How did Ukraine turn into an arms dealer?

© Newsweek
The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) together with the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network revealed a scheme of weapons supply to the terrorists of ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra.

There is no secret that the U.S. provides the so-called moderate opposition and Kurdish militia in Syria with arms and ammunition most of which are the weapons remained after the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact disbanded.

The U.S. DOD, through U.S. SOCOM, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, as well as Picatinny Arsenal, American military research, and manufacturing facility located in Dover, New Jersey, acquired arms in some Eastern European countries including Ukraine for their further sending to Syria. The procurement volume has already exceeded $700 billion.

Kiev used the logistical scheme elaborated by Washington to export arms and weapons from the Ukrainian armed forces weapons depots. The deal is estimated at $110 billion.

Only between June 5 and September 15, the United States sent 1,421 trucks loaded with weaponry to the "moderate" opposition, including 596 trucks (more than 40 %) from Ukraine. Most of them ended up in ISIS' hands.

Comment: Slick deal for Ukraine...lining its inside-out pockets with unreported billions while weapons are transported to jihadists for use against the Syrians and Russians, and covering its tracks with fake arson reports...from whose playbook? Can we say MIC?


Too close for comfort? IS chiefs create training camp on Israel's border

© MintPressNews/Channel 2
Islamic State training camp.
Several senior commanders from Islamic State who recently fled from Iraq and northern Syria are now based in southern Syria, just across the Golan Heights border with Israel, and are training hundreds of new recruits there, an Israeli television report said.

Israel's Channel 2 said the commanders have made their way to an Islamic State-controlled enclave "close to the border" with Israel. They have set up a training camp to which they have recruited 300 local youths, said the report, which showed footage apparently of the camp and training sessions.

Among the commanders is one of Islamic State's most notorious recruiters, Abu Hamam Jazrawi, the TV report said.

The commanders are also now running Islamic State internet propaganda campaigns from their new base, in place of the former campaign headquarters in Raqqa, the extremists' former de facto capital in northwest Syria where the fight to oust them has entered what appear to be its final stages.

The Israeli government has vowed to prevent IS from setting up operations close to the Israeli border. Israel "won't allow Islamic State figures or other enemy actors, under the cover of the war in Syria, to set up next to our borders," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last November, soon after what was believed to be the first notable clash between IS gunmen and Israeli troops.

Comment: Israel has a mental fallacy about its borders...it thinks it can dictate what is acceptable to itself beyond its legal territory, whether it be who camps there or the absconding of others' land for settlement.