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Tue, 30 May 2017
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'Guided rockets' fired during op targeting ISIS-linked militants in besieged Philippines city

© Erik De Castro / Reuters
Smoke rises in the residential neighbourhood of Marawi City in southern Philippines May 27, 2017.
Philippines military helicopters fired guided rockets at positions of an Islamist rebel group in the besieged southern city of Marawi, apparently marking the first time the government has resorted to heavy firepower, Reuters reports.

The operation comes as the city enters the fifth day of a siege by government forces.

"We are trying to use our maximum force," Reuters quoted Mindanao Command Chief Major General Carlito Galvez as saying.

"The main purpose of the offensive is to suppress the lawlessness and to maintain normalcy in Marawi so that our people here, our countrymen, can return, especially by Ramadan," he said, adding that he hopes the city would be cleared within three days.

War Whore

The British establishment is putting lives at risk: Its leading ally is one of the world's largest sponsors of terrorism

© Bandar Algaloud / Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court / Handout via Reuters
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud welcomes British Prime Minister Theresa May in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, April 5, 2017.
The country is in shock after the worst terrorist attack in 12 years. The deranged extremist who detonated the bomb bears sole responsibility for the outrage and is not a soldier - for Islam or whoever - but a murderer. The Manchester suicide bombing is an act of barbarism inflicted on entirely innocent people.

This wave of terrorism driven by Islamic State, which has claimed responsibility for the attack, derives from a complex infrastructure of forces, working over time. But it springs ultimately from the ideology promoted by the ruling family in Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism, who were at least until recently funding and backing IS: they have done so to support their goal of overthrowing Assad in Syria and championing Sunni Islam in the face of rivalry with Iran. These are Britain's allies. Whitehall has a deep, long-standing special relationship with the extremist Saudis: it is arming them, backing them, apologising for them, and supporting their regional policies. At the same time, the Saudis have been helping to create the monster that now threatens the British public. So, too, have the policies of the British government.

This is terrible, in the true sense of the term: the British establishment is putting our lives at risk in its obsessive obsequiousness in backing the Saudi state. We have to recognise that we are caught between two extremisms - that of IS and that of our own state's priorities.

Stormtrooper

Russian forces help Syrian army ambush ISIS as march on Deir ez-Zor begins (Photos)


Russian advisors keep an eye on the attack
The Syrian Army is advancing against ISIS on all fronts—North, south, and center.

We've previously reported on the SAA's steady advances in eastern Aleppo in northern Syria. And today we reported on the Syrian Arab Army's stunning success in clearing a huge ISIS pocket south of Palmyra.

But perhaps most importantly, we now know the Syrian army has also begun to advance eastwards from Palmyra on the road to Deir ez-Zor.

So far they have reached Arak oil field which puts them almost halfway from Palmyra to Suknah—the first big stop on the way to Deir ez-Zor.

Bad Guys

Saudi Arabia: A rogue state with never ending history of human rights violations

"The country is a monarchy with a legal system based on Islamic law (Shari'a). Islam is the official religion, and the law requires that all citizens be Muslims. The Government does not provide legal protection for freedom of religion, and such protection does not exist in practice. The public practice of non-Muslim religions is prohibited. The Government recognizes the right of non-Muslims to worship in private; however, it does not always respect this right in practice and does not define this right in law."
That is a quote not from a writer opposing Saudi Arabia's horrendous actions against their own people, but rather the first paragraph of an article describing Saudi Arabia in the website of the United States Department of State. No I am not joking.

Saudi Arabia has committed numerous violations of international humanitarian law not only in neighboring countries like Iraq, Yemen and Bahrain but inside its own territories as well. Saudi Arabia continued to repress pro-reform activists and peaceful dissidents. In 2016 over a dozen prominent activists convicted on charges arising from their peaceful activities were serving long prison sentences. Prominent activist Waleed Abu al-Khair continued to serve a 15-year sentence imposed by Saudi Arabia's terrorism court that convicted him in 2014 on charges stemming solely from his peaceful criticism in media interviews and on social media of human rights abuses. Prominent blogger Raif Badawi served the fourth year of his 10-year sentence, but authorities did not flog him in 2016, as they previously did in January 2015. Unfortunately, that would be the highlight of his 10 year sentence.

Red Flag

Trump's foreign policy is scandalous - but the media won't tell you why

During the election campaign Donald Trump argued for better relations with Russia. He wanted to engage in a common fight against the Islamic State and other terrorists. Hillary Clinton argued for a confrontational policy against Russia and a new cold war. The foreign policy establishment, the media and the CIA were solidly on Clinton's side. The people of the United States made their choice. It was Trump and his views of policies that were elected.

After Trump had won the election, he advised his staff to set up a confidential track-2 communication channel with the Russian government. He rightfully did not trust the established official channels through the State Department and the CIA. His incoming National Security Advisor Flynn and his foreign policy advisor Kushner worked on his behalf when they soughed contacts with Russian officials. Such diplomacy is by nature not acted out in public.

Telephone

Putin and Erdogan talk strategic partnership, lifting sanctions and 'de-escalation zones' in Syria

Today, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed the implementation of agreements on lifting sanctions in the trade-economic sphere and questions of implementing large joint projects over the phone, the Kremlin's press service has reported.

"The course of realizing agreements on mutually abolishing sanctions in the trade-economic sphere and issues of realizing large joint energy projects, such as the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant and Turkish Stream, were touched on," the press release reads.

The Russian and Turkish presidents also agreed to continue regular, personal contact. The two confirmed their mutual desire to further deepen strategic partnership between the two countries. In addition, the two countries' leaders exchanged congratulations regarding the 25th anniversary of the signing of the treaty that established relations between the Russian Federation and Turkey.

In turn, Putin wished Erdogan success in his election to the post of General Chairman of the Party of Justice and Development of Turkey.

Sherlock

Texas congressman: DNC staffer killing needs federal investigation

© Blake Farenthold
Republican Congressman Blake Farenthold
Corpus Christi Republican Congressman Blake Farenthold considers the source behind the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee's email server an unanswered question and believes a federal investigation is warranted.

Speaking on CNN Wednesday, the fourth-term congressman refuted a widely believed conclusion that the Russian government interfered with the U.S. presidential election to aid President Donald Trump's campaign and instead indicated a conspiracy theory about a slain Democratic National Committee staffer could be true.

"My fear is our constant focusing on the Russians is deflecting away for some other things that we need to be investigating," Farenthold said on the network. "There's still some question as to whether the intrusion of the DNC server was an insider job or whether or not it was the Russians."

Later Wednesday, Farenthold elaborated on his opinion of how the investigation should be handled in a phone interview with the Caller-Times. The death should be investigated in the same manner Russian interference has been reviewed, he said.

"That should be a part of the ongoing investigation into alleged Russian interference in the election, because that's an alternative theory that deserves being looked at," Farenthold said.

Eagle

Death of a master anti-Russian terrorist: The welcomed passing of Zbigniew Brzezinski


Zbigniew Brzezinski: One of the grand architect's of Deep State paranoia, Russophobia, and the US-propagated geopolitical mayhem and chaos that we've seen for decades - and that has continued to worsen until today.
Zbigniew Brzezinski is dead at the age of 89. The former US National Security Advisor put the feuds of his homeland above the interests of his adopted United States.

Richard Nixon had more foreign policy achievements that just about any modern American President. These achievements however, have generally been overshadowed by Nixon's scandal plagued White House.

Among his most important achievements was engaging in detente with the Soviet Union. Nixon's de-escalation of tensions with Moscow penultimately led to the signing of the Helsinki Accords in 1975, wherein America and its allies and also non-aligned states of Europe agreed to respect the borders and sovereignty of existing states, including that of the Soviet Union and her allies. The Helsinki Accords affirmed a renunciation of violence as a means of settling disputes and forced signatories to respect the right of self-determination among peoples.

This was a rare moment when the US admitted that the Cold War could not be won and that engagement and peaceful dialogue was preferable to threats against the Soviet superpower.

Comment: Brzezinski may be dead in body but his ideas and pathological legacy live on in the dark recesses of the US Deep State. More than most, he has seen his sick ideas about US world hegemony read, assimilated and put into ghastly effect. He was the perfect example of the erudite, articulate psychopath whose 'talents' served to make the world a far worse place for him having lived in it. We can probably look forward to the puppets, idiots and war-hungry psychopaths in Washington to honor Brzezinski with a bust or sculpture in the coming months.

See also:



Bomb

Egypt bombs failed Libyan state

Egypt has bombed terrorist training camps in eastern Libya in retribution for the terrorist massacre on Christian pilgrims travelling to the Anba Samuel near the city of Minya.

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said that the terrorists who committed the atrocity were trained in Libya.

President Sisi vowed, "Egypt will not hesitate in striking any camps that harbour or train terrorist elements whether inside Egypt or outside Egypt".

Cards

Art of the Deal in the Middle East: Trump's selling wars and terrorism

© Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
It would be funny if it were not so sickening. US President Donald Trump's whirlwind tour through the Middle East was a "triumph" of make-believe rhetoric over reality. Donald "the peace-maker" is sowing decades of further violence in the war-torn region.

The horrific repercussions of American foreign policy are all around us, from the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories to the ongoing wars in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, to the latest terror attack in Britain where 22 people were killed in a suicide bombing at a concert in Manchester.

With a typical inane understanding of the web of international terrorism that American foreign policy has generated over many years, Trump glibly condemned the bombing atrocity in Manchester as the work of "losers."