Monday, December 11, 2017

Putin/Erdogan Hold Talks: Discuss Syria & Jerusalem

 Thought I read in another article this is the 3rd meeting this month between the two leaders...
Can't say for sure, though.

Putin and Erdogan
Putin & Erdogan Hold Talks: Discuss Middle East & Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday his talks with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, focused primarily on the situation in the Middle East that has deteriorated dramatically and on the Syrian settlement.

"Naturally, the focus was made on the situation in the Middle East settlement that has deteriorated dramatically and on the Syrian affairs where our countries are closely cooperating," he told journalists after the talks.

Putin said he had discussed possible convening of a Syrian National Dialogue Congress in early 2018 with Syrian President Bashar Assad earlier in the day.

"We are conducting joint work to prepare and convene the Syrian National Dialogue Congress at the beginning of the next year," he said after talks with Erdogan. "It is a secret to no one that I spoke about it with President Assad during my today’s visit to Syria."

Putin said that Russia and Turkey agree that the United States’ decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has a destabilizing effect on the situation in the region.

"Both Russia and Turkey believe that the decision of the United States’ administration to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move its embassy to that city in no way promotes the settlement of the situation in the Middle East. On the contrary, it destabilizes the situation in the region which is already tense," he said.

According to the Russian leader, this decision may frustrate prospects for the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. "Russia insists that this settlement be implemented exclusively and fully on the resolutions passed earlier within the United Nations," Putin stressed. "Concrete parameters of an agreement of Jerusalem’s status are a subject for direct Palestinian-Israeli talks."

The Russian president said that his Turkish counterpart has informed him about preparations for a summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation due to be held in Istanbul on Wednesday. "Naturally, as an observer country in this organization, Russia will be represented at this forum," Putin noted.

He thanked the Turkish leader for an open and constructive dialogue. "We are determined to continue develop cooperation between our countries on the basis of principles of good neighborly relations and respect of each other’s interests," the Russian president added.

Zarrab Trial & Magnitsky 2.0 Readied for Turkey

 From earlier: 

French ISIS Fighters Relocate to Afghanistan from Syria

The Times/UK: Talal Silo: The Defector Embarrasing America



French ISIS Fighters Relocate to Afghanistan from Syria

French Foreign Legion?

"Foreigners by birth, the legionnaires have become Frenchmen by the blood they have spilled"
In plain sight.

Several foreign militants affiliated with the Islamic State terror group including French and Algerian nationals have moved to Afghanistan after they were suppress during the operations in Syria and Iraq, it has been reported.

Sources privy of the development have told AFP that several French and Algerian IS fighters were seen in nothern Jawzjan province of Afghanistan.

Darzab district administrative chief Mohammad Dawar has told the paper that “A number” of Algerian and French nationals entered the largely IS-controlled district of Darzab in northern Jowzjan province in November.

He said at least two women were among the arrivals, who were travelling with a translator from Tajikistan as well as Chechens and Uzbeks, Dawar added.

European and Afghan security sources in Kabul confirmed Dawar’s claim that French citizens were among the fighters — though, one cautioned, “we do not know how many there are”, according to AFP.

In the meantime, the provincial governor’s spokesman Mohammad Reza Ghafoori has said the terror group has so far recruited around 50 children in their ranks in this province, including some children who are as young as 10-year-old.

This comes as earlier reports emerged from Jawzjan province suggesting that the terror group is training almost 300 children to be recruited in their ranks in Jawzjan province.

Jawzjan Province:

SHIBERGHAN (PAN): The northern Jawzjan province has immense gas reserves but stringent measures are needed to exploit the natural resources of the province in larger national interests, locals said.
Bordering Turkmenistan, the province has five known areas rich in gas reservoirs. The natural gas is one of the valuable resources of Afghanistan but the country could not be able to exploit it judiciously.
The gas resources were discovered and extracted by the exploration directorate while the Afghan Gas Enterprise Directorate had the responsibility for its further distribution and sale.
Around 4,000 employees were working on the gas reservoirs sites.
The reservoirs of gas in Khaja Gogordak, Yatim Taq and Jerqoduq areas of Shiberghan city are being exploited currently. Dasht-e-Laili area of Qushtepa and Khaja Dukoh districts are another two areas rich in gas mines.
The mines were discovered in 1960 and exported to Soviet Union until 1988 but after a considerable time period, the Russians had to close that gas mine facility.
According to geological studies, around 40 billiards gas had been extracted from a total of 140 billiards cubic meters gas.
Totally 300 gas wells was certified by Russian and Afghan experts in 1960. And 36 of them are being exploited currently.
  1.      Khaja Gogordak, Yatim Taq and Jerqoduq mines:
This time, 4,000 families and hundreds of shops and brick and lime kilns in Shiberghan and Mazar-i-Sharif Kod wa Barq Factory in Balkh province utilize the 36 gas wells on subsidized prices.
The total amount of gas reserves being used in Shiberghan is estimated at 50,000 cubic meters.

  1.  Jerqoduq mine:
This mine is located 15 kilometres southeast of Shiberghan city where 33 wells with 2,200 metres in depth have been dug. The total reserves of gas have been estimated 26 billiard cubic meters. Among these, 15,362 cubic metres gas has been extracted.
  1. Khaja Gogordak mine:
This mine is located 23 kilometres northwest of Shiberghan city with total reserves of 468 billiard cubic metres. A total of 44 cubic metres gas has been extracted. There are around 52 gas wells.
  1. Yatim Taq mine:
This mine is located 18 kilometres east of Shiberghan city with the reserves of 208 billiard cubic metres. In addition, 350,000 cubic meters gas is being provided daily to Mazar-i-Sharif’s Kod wa Barq factory. The pipeline from Shiberghan city to Mazar-i-Sharif Kod wa Barq Factory is 55 kilometres in length and 12 inches in diameter with gas supply capacity of 500 million cubic meters per year.
Mobile police and other security forces are active to maintain security in the area of gas mines.
  1. Gas mine in Qoshtepah district:
This mine is located in Dasht-i-Laila area 60 kilometers north of Qoshtepah district. In 1960, Russian and Afghan experts started extraction of gas which used to be exported to Russia at that time.
  1. Khaja Dukoh district gas mine:
This mine is located in Bashikor, Juma Bazaar and Majid Qoduq areas of Dasht-i-Laila and Qushtepa district. Russian and Afghan expert started to work on its extraction in 1960 and then had to export to the former Soviet Union.
Similarly, the work of big gas supply project worth $ 57 million was started in April 2013.
The project contains extension of 94 kilometers new pipeline between Mazar-i-Sharif and Shiberghan along with installation of one sulfur-separation machine and excavation of eight new gas wells in Shiberghan.
The pipeline is extended at the cost of $32 million and similarly eight wells are rebuilt at the cost of $25 million which funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The work of two projects has been contracted among ministry of mine and American and Turkish representatives and will be completed by the mid 2014.
The Ministry of Mine said the US is committed to renew the pipeline from Khaja Gogorda of Jawzjan province to Mazar-i-Sharif Kod wa Barq Factory.
The existing pipeline, 89 kilometres, has been in use for the last 30 years and has been partially damaged.
Similarly, eight gas wells had been reconstructed in the outskirts of Jerqoduq and Yatim Taq areas of Shiberghan city and distributed gas to Shiberghan and Mazar-i-Sharif residents. This part of the project is donated by the ADB.
According to the ministry, each well produces 260,000 cubic meters gas in a day. Also a sulfur separation machine planted at Jerqoduq area, purifying gas, which then becomes ready for further distribution.
Other mines in Jawzjan:
In addition, other small mineral reserves such as sand, lime and gypsum are abundant in Jawzjan which are mostly used in construction work.
These mines are located in Jerqoduq and Yatimtaq areas while gypsum was discovered 60 years ago and is being utilized up till now.
The government has imposed a tax of 1500 afghanis per loaded truck of the mines.
Provincial gas discovery directorate said south and southeast fields of Jawzjan are consisted of hills, which are rich in gas.
 From earlier:

The Times/UK: Talal Silo: The Defector Embarrasing America

The Times/UK: Talal Silo: The Defector Embarrasing America

It's behind a pay wall- so I'll post what I can read and relink the three previous posts covering the whistle blower that most of the so called alt media is ignoring- Hattip Northerntruthseeker for giving this information more attention. Al Masdar covered the news December 4th, the same day I did post #3

Talal Silo, the defector embarrassing America

Talal Silo a member of Syria’s Turkmen minority, had been the official spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the militia picked by America to spearhead the battle against Islamic State in Syria.
The Kurd-dominated SDF was the acceptable face of anti-Isis forces, purportedly having no ethnic or religious bias and comprising Kurds and Arabs, Muslims and Christians.
When Raqqa, Isis’s de facto headquarters, fell in October, it was Mr Silo who announced it. The SDF’s victory was meant to prove that the West could assist a trustworthy local militia against Isis  and justify the 100's of millions of dollars of US arms shipped to......

 Middle East Monitor covered it a few days ago also

 As did Al Masdar, finally!

Talal Silo's whistleblowing has been repeatedly covered here, starting December 02/2017

Talal Silo Spills the Beans " SDF created as cover to arm PKK"

 December 03/2017: SDF Defector Spills Still More Beans! Kurds & ISIS Exploiting Syria's Oil Resources

December 04/2017: A Whistle Blows & No One Hears: Where Is The Alternative Media?

 Talal Silo has been whistle blowing so vigorously lately- I'm surprised he's not short of breath. I'm a bit dismayed at how little coverage the so called "alternative media" has been giving his reports. Where are all you "truth tellers"? Challengers of the authority? And questioners of 'official narratives"?
Talal Silo has been verifying a whole lot of what I've written about for years here and it just keeps coming! I don't require his verification, however, it strengthens all that's been researched and written about- From KurdIShIS. To US colluding against Syria. Her leadership. Her people. And her sovereign territory.  Where are all the Syrian supporters our there in alt media land?

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Zarrab Trial & Magnitsky 2.0 Readied for Turkey

Forbes contributor Melik Kaylan has written a two part expose of the Zarrab Trial.
The headline of his first article should hint as to why I've mentioned Magnitsky.

 Minimal background: The arrest of Zarrab was first covered back in 2013 here at the blog
Reeza Zarrab
 Turkish police apprehended CEO Suleyman Aslan, the sons of three cabinet ministers and scores of others in three overlapping probes targeting corruption in government tenders, money laundering and gold smuggling. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government purged at least 60 police chiefs in response, sparking concerns of an escalating confrontation with former political ally, U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, who has a wide following in the police and judiciary.
 Aslan was formally arrested two days ago after authorities found $4.5 million inside shoeboxes at his house, Hurriyet newspaper said last week. The money was to be donated to building Islamic schools in Turkey and Macedonia, he said, according to the newspaper.
Suleyman Aslan
 Reza Zarrab, an Iranian-Azeri businessman, was among those arrested alongside Aslan on Dec. 21. Zarrab traded a ton of gold a day, Haberturk newspaper reported two days ago citing a statement he made to prosecutors.
In a speech in the Black Sea city of Samsun yesterday, Erdogan said the corruption probe had an “international dimension” and threatened to expel diplomats who “exceed the limits of their duty.” 

That was 2013- What's going on now? 

The Zarrab Court Case: What it means for Flynn, Trump, Erdogan, Even Putin

I'll link the second part a bit further down in the post. The Forbes excerpts are featured in blue bold. I encourage you all to read both parts for yourself though I'll include some excerpts below.
 "The arrest was in March last year. He (Zarrab) ultimately turned states-evidence and is now the star witness in a case whose gasp-inducing revelations may yet bring the Trump and Erdogan regimes to their knees – with a few other notables in between. Such as General Flynn who allegedly promised to free Zarrab in return for $15 million from Erdogan. Or Rudolph Guiliani who, it's believed, met with Turkish officials in order to free Zarrab with a prisoner-exchange deal as Zarrab's lawyer for some months."
 The author of the Forbes piece, , is incorrect, or spreading fake news, when he states the arrest took place last year- It took place 4 years ago. He should know that! Why lie? Because he doesn't want it commonly know how long Zarrab has been in US custody. 

  "In fact, there's a far larger story beneath the hole-in-corner pocket stuffing tale of corrupt officials, a wider story that no one is telling as yet. One that has strategic implications, regionally and globally. Russia, the Middle East, Qatar, Saudi et al."
This trial does indeed have global implications.
 "You need to know that the Turkish President is directly fingered in the trial papers – they name his family explicitly. Zarrab donated massively to Erdogan's wife's charity and did business with his son. And above all, the trial judge has admitted as evidence the splendidly histrionic recordings leaked in 2013 of Erdogan telling his son Bilal to get rid of tens of millions of dollars in the house because of a corruption investigation. Erdogan was then merely Prime Minister and the Turkish state could launch quasi-honest probes that might incriminate him. In one recording he asks his son if it's all been cleaned out and the son replies whining 'all but 30 million euros.. we havent managed to deal with that' – much to his father's disgust. Hard to hide so many euros. An outraged Erdogan, at the time, dismissed the recordings as fake, as attempts to blackmail him and harm Turkey. He got away with it. The point is, the presiding trial judge in New York sent the recordings for expert examination and has deemed them genuine."
 Why would the trial judge allow the 2013 recordings as evidence at all in this trial?
The recordings may well have been faked, because if you read the words used in this article there were not verified or validated. They were simply "deemed" genuine. 
Who "deemed" them genuine? How did they come to that conclusion?
Deemed simply means to have an opinion To regard or consider.
It's really anyone's guess how this determination was made. It seems most likely that some "authority" held  or expressed an opinion, deeming the recordings genuine. Which still does not make them recordings real or genuine!

The Forbes piece goes on to talk about the arrest warrant issued for  Graham Fuller. Covered here December 01/2017.

frames the move as "anti-americanism" And then goes on to blame and demonize Russia.
  "Much of the information about CIA involvement, it turns out, came from the Russians. Alexander Dugin ('Putin's Rasputin') appeared in person on Turkish state television asserting the conspiracy and claiming that Russian officials gave the details to Turkish authorities.What you need to grasp crucially is the recurring pattern because we have seen it now in several countries, in Russia, in Georgia, in Venezuela, in Turkey and increasingly in the US. Once the Kremlin dirty tricks machine gets a foothold the process falls into grooves: designated bogeys, waves of conspiracies, timed distractions, confused citizens, politicized state institutions, pyramidized economies run by oligarchs and so on. This one was timed, no doubt, to pre-empt the Zarrab revelations"
Since the coup happened in 2016- I'm not sure why the Forbes piece is written as if the Zarrab revelations and the CIA involvement in the coup are connected. Allegations of CIA involvement in coup go back to 2016-  Zarrab's arrest was in 2013.  Muddying the waters, perhaps?

"Erdogan's crackdown on hard currency expatriation is also very Putinesque. Remember when Putin went through a phase of insisting that people bring their money back home?"
 Guilt by association- More of that ad Hominem type stuff:
When the source is viewed negatively because of its association with another person or group who is already viewed negatively.
As I write this, the Zarrab trial has gifted Erdogan a kind of EZ Pass – Zarrab himself was taped on the phone from jail telling a Turkish contact that in the US you had to 'lie to get out of jail – even if you're innocent'.
 I would've liked more context to this statement. Who was the contact? Was it a family member? It seems very probable after 4 years of incarceration Zarrab may have agreed to lie in order to get out of jail. Even if innocent.

 So begins Part 2: The Zarrab Trial In New York Gives Up Its Secrets About Flynn, Giuliani, Erdogan

Excerpts below
 "Since Zarrab no longer stood in the defendant's dock, who did? Several Turks including a former economy minister were accused but only Mehmet Hakan Attila actually came from Turkey and gave up to US authorities. Attila scarcely counts as a bigwig, a onetime sub-CEO at the main bank that did all the money-laundering, Halkbank. He was, in effect, the lone symbolic defendant. Why would Attila voluntarily travel to America knowing the likely outcome: a prison sentence? The ambient gossip surmises two things. Attila came as a loyalist for Erdogan and hoped to damage Zarrab's testimony. Or he came because he felt unsafe in Turkey as someone who knew too much."
Why did Attila, a nobody at Halkbank (scarcely counts as a bigwig) come to the US and "give himself up"? Did he feel unsafe in Turkey as someone who knew too much? Or did he just see an opportunity and take it?  A golden opportunity?

 "during the cross-examination, Zarrab said he was scared in Turkey, that he'd been threatened to keep silent, before coming to America where he got arrested last year"

As I've stated Zarrab was arrested in 2013. 4 years ago. My post from 2013 was dated December 23/2013- Just two days after Mr Zarrab's arrest!  Why the Forbes author keeps this false time line going? I simply don't know!  From my 2013 post " Reza Zarrab, an Iranian-Azeri businessman, was among those arrested alongside Aslan on Dec. 21."

 Now's the time to wrap this up- What's really going on? What is this trial all about? It seems to me the narrative that is emerging from this trial is creating a justification, via managed perception, necessary for sanctioning of Turkey. Magnitsky style. Magnitsky 2.0.

"To take the first question – why would US prosecutors officially include Zarrab's testimony that he lied to Turkish officials in 2013? A matter totally beyond the trial's jurisdiction. That was the year when Erdogan was investigated while still Prime Minister for taking bribes – and exonerated. Illicit recordings revealed him angrily telling his (rather slow-witted) son over the phone to stash the millions somewhere. He denied it and claimed the recordings were fake. Zarrab backed him up at the time. But the New York court, prior to the trial, got the recordings to experts and accepted them as real. Zarrab has likely told US authorities that he no longer backs Erdogan's denials. Which means that Erdogan or someone in his family might yet find himself somehow in the cross-hairs of US justice in further trials. Which also means that a kind of Magnitsky-like sanctions regime might be levelled at top people around Erdogan.
As I explained the recordings were not verified, validated or authenticated- Someone just deemed them acceptable- Exactly what would be expected if one is creating a false narrative aka fake news. And is starting a witch hunt
The Fethullah Gulen detail too seems fecund. (fertile, prolific, inventive) Remember it was Attila's defense lawyers in Turkey's pay who asked Zarrab about it. The prosecution didn't object. Insiders that I've consulted say this: there could be a battle down the line with the Trump administration trying to send Gulen to Turkey. These are the early skirmishes. If Turkey's ruling elite comes under US sanctions that certainly won't happen. But sanctions will equally certainly put Erdogan under enormous pressure - with his cronies unable to go abroad and possibly his family members too. From there on, anyone in Turkey seen to be aiding and abetting Erdogan's regime, from bankers to media mouthpieces to businessmen, will feel globally stigmatized. And voters won't like their country isolated and shamed. They may even unseat Erdogan.
In plain talk... The Fethullah Gulen details is ripe for the picking. If this trial goes as it appears to be going. And let's not mince words here - this is a show trial. It's intended to create the conditions to promote a specific agenda. Pressure the Erdogan government. Ostracize them globally. Make life miserable for  Turkish citizens. Encourge regime change.

What happened to Aslan? The man who was arrested with Zarrab?

If you are at all unfamiliar with the whole Magnitsky affair- Greencrow has recently covered the topic, including a relink back to a post yours truly, worked on years ago, at the Suspicious Deaths Blog with AP, previously of Twelfth Bough & the blogger formerly from Thirteenth Monkey- Miss you ladies!
Magnitsky/Browder was a topic AP had covered prior to the three of us doing the 2011 post.
There is likely more information at Twelfth Bough

From 2011-  Magnitsky Report

Recently GreenCrow has started giving more attention to this act: The Browder Hoax: Dangerous Deception...a book about how the Magnitsky Act got passed in Canada and elsewhere

GC: If you want to leave the links to your other posts on the subject- I'll add them into the post.

Concluding: Wash, rinse, repeat. The US concocted a narrative that created the justification for the Magnitsky act. They are doing the same with the Zarrab trial as the basis for a Magnitsky 2.0 , which will quite likely including a sanctions regime to try and take down the Turkish government. And Gulen will stay safely ensconced in his giant retreat/25 acre compound in the Keystone state.

Gulen's compound
Final thoughts... Turkey is going to be a tougher nut to crack then had been anticipated. The failed coup, with the US sitting on Zarrab, prepping their kangaroo court case... taking their destabilization campaign to the next level.

From earlier:

Rare Snow Storm Hits Deep South: Travel Warnings

Rare Snow Storm Hits Deep South: Travel Warnings

USA Today: Original Headline- Rare Snow Storm Hits Deep South: Travel Warnings

Must be all that human forced global warming at work? AKA AGW.  Because of all that carbon heating things upOr so the official fake news narrative goes?
 Wonder why it is this unusual snowstorm with unusually cold temperatures hasn’t set off a round of global headlines?
 Doesn’t fit the agenda seems the most obvious answer.

A winter storm shrouded the Deep South in snow and threatened more overnight as it advanced eastward.

With temperatures expected to sink below freezing across much of the region, forecasters warned that black ice could make roads treacherous. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for northern Georgia, including metro Atlanta, until Saturday morning and forecast up to 3 inches (8 centimeters) of additional snow.

Snowfall and icy roads in North Carolina closed government offices and schools, sent cars sliding off the road and altered the governor’s travel plans.

Forecasters said heavy snow was falling in the mountainous western part of the state with up to 6 inches likely in areas including Asheville. A winter storm warning was in effect through Saturday morning for western counties.

Accumulations of 6 inches (15 centimeters) were reported in Mississippi and northern Georgia, while at least 5 inches (13 centimeters) fell in Alabama. Rare snow flurries were spotted in New Orleans. Motorists were urged to stay off the road in Louisiana for fear of ice.
The weather band also brought a rare snowfall to parts of South Texas.
Highway department officials were monitoring the elevated roadways and bridges that stretch across much of south Louisiana, warning that motorists to stay home if possible. Some highways were shut down Friday, as snow fell in cities and towns that have little experience with it. Truckers were urged to stay off of Interstate 10 in Mississippi.
Short, squat snowmen — some already melting by Friday afternoon — dotted yards and parks around Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Josh Black, a 30-year-old LSU graduate student, took photos of one tiny snowman outside the State Capitol building near the gravesite of former Louisiana Gov. Huey Long.
Snow in Georgia- Obviously the child is delighted!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Kurdish & Syrian Regime Forces Take Different Routes to Control Deir Ez-Zor

Yes, this is from Chatham house- So you will notice that Chatham House is recognizing the Kurdish Regime Forces right in it's headline.

Following parallel (not necessarily cooperative) offensives against ISIS, eastern Syria’s Deir Ez-Zor province has been split between the Syrian regime, which controls large swathes of the province mainly south of the Euphrates river, and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are moving to impose their control over the area east of the river.

These two authorities are following different policies: the regime is relying on local forces, in particular local tribes, to strengthen its power, while the SDF is trying to fragment those forces to strip them of any transitional or future role in the area, seeing them as rivals for power.

The regime: appealing to tribes to strengthen its rule

The regime is well aware that, given the wide area it has captured, it needs armed forces capable of enforcing security and preventing the emergence of a security vacuum that could allow for rebellion against it to re-emerge.

Therefore, the regime has decided to support tribal groups and the National Defence Forces (NDF) militia which fought alongside it, with the aim of handing them control of areas seized from ISIS. Once in place, these militias would represent the Syrian state and, in effect, become part of the state’s military apparatus.

The forces that the regime is creating are intended to be distributed on the basis of tribe and district. Damascus aims to recruit men from each area, provide them with sufficient weapons then charge them with protecting that area. The regime will assign the task of protecting the western Deir Ez-Zor countryside to men from the local al-Busaraya tribe, who currently belong to the NDF or tribal militias. A similar arrangement will apply to the eastern Deir Ez-Zor villages lying south of the Euphrates river, while the city of Deir Ez-Zor itself will be jointly patrolled by local NDF fighters and regime forces.

Efforts to create a tribal force to control the areas seized by regime forces coincide with the arrival of prominent tribal figures in the al-Joura and al-Qusur districts of Deir Ez-Zor city, including the head of the al-Baqarah tribe, Nawaf al-Bashir, and the head of the al-Busaraya, Muhanna al-Fayyad, as well as representatives of the al-Uqaydat and al-Shuaytat tribes and other tribal leaders from the city.

The task of these figures, in coordination with the Syrian and Russian governments, is not only to create and command protective forces, but also to attempt to reach ‘reconciliation deals’ in areas seized by the regime, which could house people wanted in connection with the revolution, in exchange for guarantees that there will be no opposition to the government and that people overdue for military service will be forcibly conscripted.
 SDF/PYD/PKK tactics to divide to conquer take us right back to the whistle blower the media is hell bent on ignoring. 5 eyes alt and msm.

The SDF and PYD: monopolizing power

Nonetheless, despite the SDF’s slogans of liberation and partnership with local forces, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military wing, the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) – which form the backbone of the force – are seeking to monopolize power by fragmenting the Arab forces fighting alongside them. They fear that, unless they seize it beforehand, the US will give those forces the task of protecting and administering these areas in the future. This fear has been increased by those forces’ ability to make territorial advances and attract local fighters from areas seized from ISIS.

The PYG and the YPG are working to break up the Deir Ez-Zor military council, which operates under the SDF umbrella and is the only force made up of local fighters who took part in the ‘Jazira Storm’ offensive that ousted ISIS from the area east of the Euphrates. They are making efforts to spread discord among different factions, especially between its commander Ahmad al-Khabil and Yasser Dahleh, chief of the council’s al-Baqarah Brigade, which fights under the council’s auspices

In early October, the SDF military police released Dahleh after detaining him for several days on accusations that he had ignored or failed to respond to the council's orders. The SDF’s reasons for detaining Dahleh were unconvincing, and the dispute between him and the council’s commander appears to have been simply a pretext for the YPG to rein in his growing power after he fought in the battle against ISIS in the northern Badia region of Deir Ez-Zor province, the al-Maamil district, the industrial zone and the base of the 113th Brigade, as well as villages in both the east and west of the province.

This strategy is not new. The SDF and YPG have previously made similar efforts to fragment Arab forces in Raqqa, notably the Raqqa Revolutionaries’ Brigade, in order to keep them away from the battle against ISIS. It adopted a similar policy against the ‘Elite Force’ and local Deir Ez-Zor factions, insisting that they should play no role in the battle unless they agreed to be integrated into and commanded by the SDF. The PYD rejects the emergence of any cohesive Arab force and is working to ensure that if an Arab force must emerge then it should be fragmented and dominated by the SDF in every aspect.

From earlier today:

Yemen: Houthi's Self Inflicted Wound by Killing Saleh?

Yemen: Houthi's Self Inflicted Wound by Killing Saleh?

From the Atlantic Council:
It's an interesting read. Tell me what you think?
The death of Yemen’s former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, at the hands of his former Houthi allies will weaken the Iranian-backed rebels, according to Nabeel Khoury, a nonresident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.

“The demise of Saleh now actually weakens the Houthis' military and makes them less acceptable politically inside Yemen,” said Khoury, adding, “it was not a very wise move on [the Houthis’] part.” Khoury served as deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Yemen from 2004 to 2007.

Saleh served as Yemen’s president for more than three decades until his ouster in an Arab Spring uprising in 2011. He was killed on December 4 by Houthi rebels who accused the ex-president of staging a “coup” against “an alliance he never believed in.”

 “It is not strange or surprising that Saleh turns back on a partnership he never believed in,” the group’s political bureau said in a statement. “The priority has been and still is to confront the forces of aggression.”
These accusations underscored the rift that emerged between Saleh and the Houthis and led the ex-president to reach out to Saudi Arabia, which has been conducting airstrikes against the Houthis in Yemen since 2015.

Saleh’s supporters had, until last month, been fighting alongside the Houthis against Yemen’s current president, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, who is backed by Saudi Arabia.

On December 2, Saleh said he was ready to turn a “new page” with a Saudi-led coalition if it stopped attacking Yemen and ended its crippling blockade that has pushed the country into a humanitarian crisis.

Saleh’s overture to Saudi Arabia two years ago had been rebuffed by Riyadh. “What was different about [his latest overture] was that this time it wasn’t just a peace offer, but was coupled with a military move against the Houthis,” said Khoury. “So, the Saudis and Emiratis were more willing to take him at his word this time.”

Nevertheless, Khoury said the prospects of a favorable outcome were not good “partly because the Saudis and Emiratis were not willing to stop the war and encourage full reconciliation.”

“They merely wanted to use Saleh and the forces under his control to weaken the Houthis,” he added.

While an alignment of Saleh’s forces with the Saudis would be a significant development in the war and could in principle hasten an end to the conflict, Khoury said the prospects for such a development have now dimmed.

With Saleh’s death, his General People’s Congress [GPC] is weakened and lacks strong leadership. Khoury predicted Saleh loyalists will be bent on avenging the death of their late leader. “In terms of peace overtures, the Saudis will probably not put much faith in the remaining leaders of the GPC,” he added.

The Saudi-led coalition stepped into the conflict in Yemen in 2015 with the goal of reinstating Hadi. It has since become mired in the war that has, according to the United Nations, claimed close to 10,000 lives, injured 50,000 others and made more than half the population food insecure.

Besides the war, the Saudi-led blockade of Yemen has created a crisis that has left more than twenty million people in need of humanitarian aid and sparked a cholera outbreak that has killed more than 2,000 people since April.

Khoury described the Saleh-Houthi partnership as an alliance of convenience. While a rupture was inevitable, the timing was unexpected, he said.

The Houthis led a series of rebellions against Saleh between 2004 and 2010; the rebels also backed an uprising that led to Saleh’s ouster in the Arab Spring in 2011. Three years later, in 2014, the two former foes formed a surprise alliance and seized the Yemeni capital, Sana‘a, forcing Hadi to flee first to Aden and then to Saudi Arabia.

Over the past week, the Houthis have clashed with Saleh’s supporters. The fighting has left more than 100 people dead. The rebels even bombed Saleh’s home in Sana‘a.

Meanwhile, the Houthi rebels claimed on December 3 to have fired a cruise missile at a nuclear facility that is under construction in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is part of the Saudi-led coalition. A state-run news agency in the UAE denied the claim.

While the Houthis did fire a ballistic missile at Riyadh in November, Khoury said the rebels lack the military capacity to expand the war beyond Yemen’s borders. “Widening the war is not really in their interests,” he said.

As for the war raging in Yemen, Khoury said: “I am afraid the prospects for ending the war are not very good at the moment.”

Nabeel Khoury spoke in a phone interview with the New Atlanticist’s Ashish Kumar Sen. Here are excerpts from our interview.

Q: Before his death, ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh had said he was ready to turn “a new page” in his relationship with the Saudi forces. What does his death mean for the prospects of ending the war in Yemen?

Khoury: President Saleh was always ready to reconcile with the Saudis. In fact, early on in the war in 2015 he sent emissaries to Riyadh, but he was turned down. His recent call for reconciliation was not in itself new.

What was different about it was that this time it wasn’t just a peace offer, but was coupled with a military move against the Houthis. So, the Saudis and Emiratis were more willing to take him at his word this time.

I don’t think the prospects for that working out were very good, partly because the Saudis and Emiratis were not willing to stop the war and encourage full reconciliation. They merely wanted to use Saleh and the forces under his control to weaken the Houthis.

The demise of Saleh now actually weakens the Houthis' military and makes them less acceptable politically inside Yemen. It was not a very wise move on [the Houthis’] part.

Q: What was the reason for the split between Saleh and the Houthis?

Khoury: The relationship from 2014 on was more a marriage of convenience than a real secure alliance. Both sides saw a common interest in working together, but there was always going to be a split initiated either by Saleh or the Houthis whenever the opportunity arose. It wasn’t totally unexpected.

The timing, however, was unexpected to some extent. The Houthis had noticed that Saleh was beginning to take an independent line from them more and more. His speeches were not totally in line with their thinking. They actually made a move against him before he moved against them. They raided the Saleh mosque in Sana‘a and took weapons from its basement, and they also surrounded Saleh’s house and the houses of his nephews.

Saleh felt that the Houthis were probably going to move against him, so he moved against them in a bigger way first.

Q: What does Saleh’s death mean for the potential alignment between his movement and the Saudi-led coalition?

Khoury: The GPC [General People’s Congress] party, which Saleh headed, is now unfortunately much weaker with his demise. There isn’t any strong leadership. We are still not certain about the fate of Saleh’s top aide, Yasser al-Awadi, who managed the GPC.

At any rate, the party is weaker for it. I am afraid there is not a strong direction for it other than the immediate one which is trying to avenge the death of Saleh and fighting the Houthis who are almost back in complete control in Sana‘a and will surely go after Saleh’s family. In the immediate sense, there will be more infighting in and around Sana‘a.

In terms of peace overtures, the Saudis will probably not put much faith in the remaining leaders of the GPC. It would be up to President Hadi to take a serious peace initiative, but he is a weak leader as well. I am afraid the prospects for ending the war are not very good at the moment.

Q: What does the split in Saleh and Houthi alliance mean for the Saudis?

Khoury: This rupture does weaken the Houthis to some extent, but strategically it doesn’t change too much on the ground. The fact that Saleh was not aided in any way by the Arab coalition tells you where the strategic weakness lies. If they encouraged him to rebel against the Houthis they did not have the means on the ground to assist him. Assisting with aerial action does not change anything on the ground.

The forces that more or less are loyal to the Saudis, Emiratis, and Hadi are south of Sana‘a. They are not in any shape to assault the capital. In terms of holding on to Sana‘a, the Houthis still have the upper hand and I still don’t put much faith in a military conclusion to this war.

Q: What are the Houthis objectives?

Khoury: They just want to hold on to Sana‘a at this point. They do have fighters south of Sana‘a, but they are there mainly to prevent an assault on the capital. Their main goal strategically, realistically, is to hold on to Sana‘a and everything north of Sana‘a up to the Saudi border.

Q: The Houthis claimed to have fired a missile at a nuclear facility under construction in the United Arab Emirates. Are the Houthis expanding the war beyond Yemen?

Khoury: I don’t think those reports were credible. The Houthis do not have rocketry in enough numbers to make a strategic difference. Widening the war is not really in their interests. The rocket that they fired at Riyadh, a single rocket, was a message to the Saudis that if they continue bombing Sana‘a, Riyadh will be bombed. But they simply don’t have that kind of capacity.