Saturday, November 18, 2017

Pentagon Staying In Syria, As Expected, Even Though ISIS Defeated.

As if  "defeating" ISIS was ever the purpose for the US being in Syria??
The intent of the US to occupy Syria has been mentioned repeatedly here:

Flashback: July 19/2017US Increases Military Posts in Kurd Annexed Syria: Vindicated Again

Flashback:June 29/2017-  US eyes arms for Kurdish YPG fighters in Syria even after Raqqa’s fall
Annexation/Occupation Forces for Syria
Destabilization for Turkey
"US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Tuesday left open the possibility of longer-term assistance to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria, saying the US may need to supply them weapons and equipment even after the capture of Raqqa from ISIS.
Flashback: March 2017:  Double Standards and Lies: Splitting Syria for Greater Kurdistan
Quoting myself from the March post "The Americans fully intend to become occupiers-"

Quite certain I could go back farther still to demonstrate just how long I've been reporting on the US intent to stay on as occupiers in Syria..


National Petroleum/War Making Radio



"But the recapture of ISIS-held territory in Iraq and Syria is only a partial win for U.S. policy. After seven years of civil war, the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad remains in power. The other U.S. objectives — the end of the Assad regime, a new Syrian constitution and democratic elections — remain unfulfilled.

Despite the defeat of ISIS, Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters this week that U.S. forces will remain in Syria.

The intention, he said, is to prevent the appearance of "ISIS 2.0."

There are hundreds of U.S. troops in Syria. Pentagon officials say the U.S. is on solid legal ground to be there because the U.N. Security Council endorsed the anti-ISIS mission. But Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says the U.S. presence is "illegitimate."

"There are a lot of questions to ask about the United States' goals in Syria," Lavrov said, according to the Russian news agency TASS. "U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has told me many times that their only goal is to defeat IS."

A change in regime "runs counter to the Geneva agreements and ... assurances that the U.S.'s only goal in Syria is to fight terrorism," Lavrov said.

Assad and his Russian and Iranian allies are demanding the U.S. leave Syria.

The next meeting of the Geneva peace talks is Nov. 28. The U.S. is pressing for the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Syrian Kurds to be at the negotiating table.

But it's unlikely that Assad and the Russians will agree to that. With Russian and Iranian military assistance, Assad has emerged as the dominant political and military force in Syria with no need to accommodate his opponents.

Pentagon officials say the Russians and Syrians continue to move east toward rebel-held territory. The U.S. is attempting to work with Russia to establish "de-confliction zones," but it's not clear the effort will succeed.

What's more, U.S. ally Israel is increasingly concerned about the presence of Iranian forces in Syria, not far from the Israeli border. Russia has rejected both U.S. and Israeli objections to the Iranian presence"
Israel is so concerned they took shots at SAA in Syria today! 

IDF fires warning shots at Assad army in the Syrian Golan Heights
Yoav Zitun|Published:  18.11.17 , 16:01
The IDF fired warning shots at a Druze village in the northern Syrian Golan Heights on Saturday.

The IDF stated that the move was carried out due to the Syrian army's fortification work at one of its posts in the area.
NPR Continued....
Pentagon officials say the U.S. has one asset to advance its interests in Syria — money. The country needs to be rebuilt, and the belief is that Russia lacks the will or the resources to do it.

The U.S. is spending money now in Raqqa on what it calls "stabilization" and will likely help elsewhere but hopes Saudi Arabia and the other Arab states will finance most of the rebuilding — in exchange for a political settlement of the Syrian conflict.
What ever does the US mean by stabilization? 

Flashback:  Rebuilding Raqqa: Strengthening Terror Armies with "construction" contracts
 Stabilization = Strengthening Terror Armies
NPR: Yet this would seem to run counter to the Trump administration's aversion to "nation building." A strategy acceptable to Damascus may not be accepted in the White House.
Donald Trump has no aversion to nation building/nation busting up. What ever!


US ready to ‘fight for justice’ in Syria without UN approval – Haley

Despite the UN not giving the greenlight for a full-fledged campaign in Syria, US Defense Secretary James Mattis claimed that the organization sanctioned action there, justifying it with the struggle against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists. Damascus has repeatedly blasted the US for operating on Syrian territory without its consent and in violation of international law, and views the US presence as an invasion.

“With the unity of this council, or alone, unrestrained by Russia’s obstructionism, we will continue to fight for justice and accountability in Syria,” Haley said

Grab a barf bag- It's Nikki Haley

Friday, November 17, 2017

People of Tabqa City, Syria, Scared of SDF’s Recruitment of Their Young People

Image accompanying article
Ah, yes... everyone’s favoured fighters. Poor, poor victims of US perfidy. Forcibly recruiting Children 

There cannot be one of my long term readers surprised to read this latest news- I've covered forced child recruitment by YPG/PKK many times.
Enab Baladi interviewed a number of the city’s people, concerning the absence of young people from the streets, most of them refused to speak about the area’s management.

Nevertheless, a few of them expressed fear for their youths, who are being recruited and the penalties imposed on those refusing or escaping from recruitment. Some of them mentioned how they have been stopped at the checkpoints of the military police, spreading in the city.
 ‘A Distant Project’

“We view SDF as a distant project in terms of idea, practice and even leadership,” says Hussein, a 21 years old young man from al-Tabqah, who provides for his family. He justifies his refusal to perform military service saying that, “[I’m not] convinced of the eligibility of those who raise Öcalan and Kurdish leaders’ pictures in the offices and streets.”
Gee, I wish the gullible western dupes would be much more circumspect.. "careful to consider all circumstances and possible consequences"

The young man considered that the strictness of such laws, (like ISIS?) “will push many young people to migrate, stressing, “We do not want to be tools and weapons again in the hands of a new organization.”

Although he stressed the quasi-stable situation created by the administration of the city’s Civil Council, which functions under SDF, he said that “this is not enough.”

The widespread poverty and lack of job opportunities “will put great pressure on young people, which might force some of them to join [SDF], the way it pushed others to go into the arms of extremist groups,” he said.
Some Young People Justify Enrollment
Qassem a 25 years old young man attributes his enrollment in the ranks of SDF to “the poor conditions of living that force us to do many things that we do not want.”

He confirmed the disappearance of many young people who have been informed of the need to perform compulsory military service in the city.

He told Enab Baladi that SDF didn’t force anyone to enroll; “we must protect our homes and cities, which is better than totally counting on the Kurdish forces then criticizing them.”
He said that many youngsters and people work with the civil administration and other parties for different reasons, either for money or for the refusal of going back into the arms of Assad.
A Chasm between the City’s People
There is a clear division between the people who want to live and others who believe in democratic governance. There is a chasm between the people who prefer to stay in their regions and perform military service and those who refuse to abide by the de facto authority which governs the city with laws that might end with poor results.

Abu Abdullah, a 46 years old man displaced from Deir ez-Zor and a resident of al-Tabqah, believes that most of the young people in Raqqa and rural areas reject forced conscription. “All who work for [SDF] voluntarily or unwillingly know that their job is limited to serving its agenda and project, without having a leading or an active role in that agenda.”
Abu Abdullah talks about the rift between SDF and the Arab social incubator in its areas, saying that “SDF is becoming increasingly widespread, and its actions are igniting the fire under the ashes and might lead to a popular movement against them.”
He attributes the law of forced recruitment, issued by SDF, to “its need for more recruits to cover the large areas under its control and to benefit from these young people in consolidating its rule.”

The towns and villages under the rule of the Kurdish Self-management Forces witnessed popular demonstrations and sit-ins from civil and political bodies, which included Arabs and Kurds, refusing to impose the military service on young people.
Abu Abdullah stresses that the demonstrations, due to the law of recruitment and similar decrees, “are expanding against SDF, despite the repression they are facing.”
Defense and Self-protection Authority in Kobanî, in control of Raqqa city and its countryside, has issued a statement through which it demands that civilians in the region should necessarily perform compulsory service and resolve their situation, under the name of self-defense duty.

Each family, according to the sources of Enab Baladi, was forced to take part in the duty, including males between 18 and 30 years old while females were voluntarily enrolled. As for the exempted, they include “families of martyrs, parents with a single child, people with disabilities and patients with chronic diseases.”
SDF is facing the people’s refusal of forced recruitment in its areas of control since the beginning of the imposition of the law on civilians in the Jazira Canton, as it calls it, in late 2014, while the Syrian Democratic Council considers the military service a social and moral duty towards society.
Reminds one so very much of the Israelis... 
Relinking a few previous posts covering our Kurdish heroes & child recruitment - No heroes of mine

Flashback:The forgotten child soldiers recruited by Kurdish militants in Turkey and Syria


Flashback: Syrian Kurd self-immolates after son recruited by PYD/ PKK

Flashback: Lion Cubs of the caliphate? Who is really recruiting children?

From earlier today:

What did South Africa Know About the Zimbabwe Coup?

What did South Africa Know About the Zimbabwe Coup?

 The other day we entertained the idea of China being involved in this post.. Forfended! Did China Influence the Military Take over in Zimbabwe?

But we have have other wielders of influence involved- South Africa and England/UK.. ala the glory of the commonwealth - South Africa Returns to the CommonWealth
 "The Queen and John Major sent congratulatory messages to President Nelson Mandela, who issued a statement declaring himself 'delighted'. He said the Commonwealth's decision was 'a tribute to the momentous changes that have taken place in our country as well as a challenge for South Africa to play its part in the worldwide quest for a peaceful, harmonious and caring world"
Just what did South Africa Know About Zimbabwe's Coup?
Some believe the South African government knew in advance about Zimbabwe's coup d'etat caption

In July 2013, when South African diplomats struggled to persuade Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to delay an election that would terminate five years of a fractious unity government, they sought a number of assurances. A smoothly run election was a primary concern but South Africa also wanted a guarantee that the Zimbabwean army and police would end their open support of Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party.
These concerns were born of experiences in previous elections.

On the eve of presidential elections in 2002 and 2008, Zimbabwean generals said they would not salute a leader who had not fought in the battle for independence.

It was a direct attack on Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the largest opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai, who had not fought in the liberation struggle. Tsvangirai and others in the Zimbabwean opposition have long accused the military commanders of working to ensure that Zanu-PF remains in power.

Now, four years after South Africa sought those assurances, the army has intervened directly in the Zanu-PF battle to succeed Mugabe, coming out in support of ousted deputy president Emmerson Mnangagwa.

President Jacob Zuma has sent Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Minister of State Security Bongani Bongo to Zimbabwe to meet Mugabe and the Zimbabwean Defence Force.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Zuma reiterated a call for calm and restraint and for the defence force to ensure that peace and stability are not undermined. The statement further noted that Zuma had spoken to Mugabe, who indicated that he was confined to his home.

Sithembile Mbete, an international relations lecturer at the University of Pretoria, said, because of the large movement of Zimbabweans between the two countries and the two governments’ close relationship as liberation movements, South Africa has an interest in ensuring peace and stability in Zimbabwe.

“This is something that has been planned and thought out. I don’t think it could be done without the knowledge of the South African government,” Mbete said of this week’s events.

She said Mnangagwa was allowed to enter South Africa after he was fired and was then allowed to return to Zimbabwe after the military made its move on Tuesday, suggesting that South Africa had some knowledge of the developments.

Flashback : Mugabe under "house arrest" Emmerson Mnangawa, Man of the Hour


Although the South African government has often been criticised for its apparent strategy to maintain the status quo in Zimbabwe, Mbete said the Southern African Development Community (SADC) would not have been happy to have Mugabe’s wife, Grace, succeed him.

“It’s unlikely that SADC leaders are behind the Grace faction [in Zanu-PF] more than any other Zanu-PF faction,” she said.

Meanwhile, the chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, urged everyone involved to deal with the situation in accordance with the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the instruments of the AU.

The head of the AU, Alpha Condé, said in an interview with French journalists in Paris: “We demand respect for the Constitution, a return to the constitutional order and we will never accept the military coup d’etat.

“We know there are internal problems. They need to be resolved politically by the Zanu-PF party and not with an intervention by the army,” added Condé, who is also Guinea’s president.

Speaking in the House of Lords on Wednesday, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson suggested that the fall of the Mugabe regime may open the door for Zimbabwe to rejoin the Commonwealth. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see Zimbabwe become part of the Commonwealth again? It would be an absolutely wonderful thing and that’s what we should work for.”

But he insisted it would be up to Zimbabweans themselves to determine their fate.

“All Britain has ever wanted for Zimbabweans is to be able to decide their own future in free and fair elections,” he said.

The United States embassy in Harare has also called on Zimbabweans to resolve their differences through peaceful means.

“The US government does not take sides in matters of internal Zimbabwean politics and calls for an expedient transition to democratic, civilian order,” a public statement said.

The situation is still confused and misinformation is rife. The only thing that is clear is that there is considerably more political turmoil to come.
 Hmmmmmmmm.......... 
From Tuesday:  Zimbabwe Coup in Process?

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Saad Hariri Accepts Exile in France? Or Not?

Link
"Lebanon's Saad Hariri is seeking exile in France after being detained in Saudi Arabia. Hariri resigned from his post as prime minister unexpectedly last week. Lebanon's President Michel Aoun accused Saudi of detaining Hariri against his will. Saudi denied keeping Hariri captive or forcing him to resign"

Free to Leave Saudi Arabia “when he pleases”
Not a prisoner?

"But Al-Jubeir told reporters in Riyadh that Hariri was free to leave "when he pleases".

“Al-Hariri lives in the Kingdom by his own will and he resigned; regarding his return to Lebanon, it is up to him and his assessment to the security situation (in Lebanon)", Jubeir told a joint news conference with French Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian"

 Hariri Meeting Macron in France
Hariri and Lebanon's Former Colonial Leadership...

"The Elysée Palace says Lebanon’s recently-resigned prime minister will meet French President Emmanuel Macron during his scheduled trip to Paris this weekend (November 18).

Saad Hariri accepted the invitation after meeting French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Saudi Arabia, where he has remained since announcing he was stepping down.

French officials say they don’t know how long Hariri will stay, but he is said to be returning to Beirut after the trip. Once back, Hariri is expected to hand in his resignation in person – President Michel Aoun has otherwise refused to accept it."

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Forfended! Did China Influence the Military Take over in Zimbabwe?

Forfended: To fend, ward off or avert
Instead of using preemptive.

There was information that I’d come across that made me ponder the influence of China in Zimbabwe... Was there a concern that this influence might be challenged?

ZIMBABWE’S military chief behind the coup may have sought China’s approval during a trip to Beiing last week, it has been revealed.

China’s Foreign Ministry tried to dismiss the visit as a “normal military exchange” on Wednesday, after the army seized power in the African country.

Zimbabwe's military took control targeting "criminals" around president Robert Mugabe but gave assurances on national television that the 93-year-old leader and his family were "safe and sound".

Mr Mugabe remains under house arrest but is, for the moment, still President of Zimbabwe while the army’s generals now hold power.

General Constantino Chiwenga met Chinese Defence Minister Chang Wanquan in Beijing on Friday, where Chang expressed a willingness to promote relations with Zimbabwe, China's Defence Ministry said in a short statement last week, which has sparked concerns over the influence China may have over the former British colony.
The ministry showed a picture of the two men, both wearing military uniforms, shaking hands, and an officer from both countries sitting opposite each other holding a meeting at the People's Liberation Army headquarters in Beijing.

Asked whether Chiwenga had briefed China on plans to seize power, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the Defence Ministry had already released information about his trip and that he didn't have an understanding about the specifics of his reception in China.
Mr Geng said: ”I can only tell you that his visit to China this time was a normal military exchange mutually agreed upon by China and Zimbabwe, referring other questions to the Defence Ministry, which has yet to respond to a request for comment.

He added: ”As a country that is friendly with Zimbabwe, we are paying close attention to developments of the situation in Zimbabwe"
"Maintaining peaceful and stable development accords with the fundamental interests of Zimbabwe and regional countries, and is the common desire of the international community. We hope the relevant parties in Zimbabwe appropriately handle their internal matters."
China and Zimbabwe have a close diplomatic and economic relationship and Beijing has stood with Mr Mugabe's government in the face of Western economic sanctions.

In August, Zimbabwe's government said a Chinese company planned to invest up to $2billion to revive operations at Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO), which ceased production in 2008 at the height of Zimbabwe's economic meltdown.
That same year, China vetoed a proposed Western-backed UN resolution which would have imposed an arms embargo on Zimbabwe and financial and travel restrictions on Mugabe and 13 other officials, saying it would "complicate", rather than ease, conflict.

China, which has displaced Western rivals to become Africa’s largest trading partner and is a major investor in Zimbabwe, notably declined to call for Mr Mugabe’s restoration yesterday, despite his long ties to Beijing dating back to the Cold War.
Also interesting when thinking about the coup in Zimbabwe:
hattip anonymous commenter! Two specific links are included below anon's comments for you to read
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/22/zimbabwe-to-make-chinese-yuan-legal-currency-after-beijing-cancels-debts
The Gupta scandal reaches British banks

https://www.ft.com/content/074ef562-bfea-11e7-b8a3-38a6e068f464

South Africa Jacob Zuma survives no-confidence vote

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-40869269


https://www.reuters.com/article/zimbabwe-russia-platinum/update-1-russian-firms-to-develop-3-bln-zimbabwe-platinum-mine-idUSL6N0RH4RL20140916

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-09-15/russia-zimbabwe-to-jointly-operate-platinum-mine-in-darwendale

http://www.sajr.co.za/news-and-articles/2014/05/14/who-is-yaron-yamin-meet-r.-berland%27s-funder-

Gold, Diamonds and Platinum

 Reuters

HARARE, Sept 16 (Reuters) - A Russian consortium including arms conglomerate Rostec have partnered to develop a $3 billion platinum mining project in Zimbabwe, the single biggest investment in the country since independence in 1980.
The government of President Robert Mugabe has been shunned by the West for over a decade over alleged human rights abuses and it has turned to China, Russia and other emerging powers for aid, trade and investment.
Aside from the mining deal in the country with the world’s second-largest platinum reserves, there was talk of weapons.
Who is Yaron Yamin

Tracking Yaron Yamin’s career

Yamin remained under the media radar for many years, going about his business of making his billions and growing his mining empire and influence in Zimbabwean business and government circles without making too much noise about it.
Last October, however, the elusive Mr Yamin came out of the shadows and was widely reported on in the Zimbabwean media.

Israeli investors forge partnerships was the headline on a SOUTHERNEYE.co.zw story last October: “A group of Israeli investors have forged a consortium — Yaron Goldstone Mine — with local entrepreneurs to develop two gold mining and processing projects in Bulawayo and the Midlands valued at $5 million,” wrote the website.
 Breslov - Yaron ex Chronicle
On 23 October, the CHRONICLE published a similar story, headlined: “Israeli investors keen on Zim” which included this picture. The caption read: “Israeli investors watch Qubani Ndlovu and John Moyo demonstrating how they sieve gold during a tour of Goldenstone company in Shangani. Among them are from left the company chairman Mr Yaron Yamin and chief executive officer Ms Henrietta Rushwaya (third from left)”
Then Yaron Yamim branched out into diamond mining, bringing other Israeli investors to the party. On 2 December 2013, ROUGH & POLISHED, an international diamond industry news website published “Israeli miner eyes Marange diamonds.”
Quoting the linked article from the Daily news, among other sources, Rough&Polished said: The Israeli mining investor Yaron Yamin and his local partners are on the verge of tying a deal with the Zimbabwean government to mine diamonds in Marange. The state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) was required by law to control at least half of shareholding in any operation in Marange. Daily News reports that Yamin… currently engaged in gold mining, had lined up two of Jerusalem’s ‘largest’ diamond miners to invest in the venture.”

This just keeps getting more and more interesting............

Mugabe under "house arrest" Emmerson Mnangawa, Man of the Hour

 Following up from last night- Zimbabwe Coup in Process?

From earlier today: BBC Tells "Raqqa's Dirty Secret"

Related to..

US-backed “SDF” aka PKK/YPG seize Syria’s second largest oil field al-Tanak


BBC Tells "Raqqa's Dirty Secret"

BBC Tells “Raqqa’s Dirty Secret”

Oh wow, did you know that the US, Britain and their Kurdish lackies conspired to transport "ISIS" safely out of Raqqa!?!? The BBC presents their report as if it's something shocking, but, necessary. The entire article stinks of damage control!
I read the so called report, but really didn’t need to-


As my readers had been duly informed- 

October 08/2017: US Commander:Final Assault to Take Raqqa From ISIS Begins Sunday

"ISIS"(PKK/YPG/Assorted special ops and a veneer of Arabs) is converging in one convenient location where they will be loaded up covertly and transported to Deir ez Zor. To fight SAA and allies.
 After all a stadium is convenient location for an irregular army to converge for ease of transport. This move can easily be obscured by darkness. The presence of other troops. Distracting/frightening gunfire sure to keep the curious away. What a great way to hide from civilians and other prying eyes while covertly moving fighters from one place (Raqqa) to another (Deir ez Zor)
Prior to ISIS being shipped out of Raqqa

Following up with this post just after: US Backed Forces Take Raqqa After ISIS "surrenders"


What was set to occur was as obvious, as obvious, could be!  I certainly did not need the BBC to “ tell dirty secrets” that were totally apparent nearly 6 weeks ago.  If this is journalism??
 I can see why journalism is in such a sorry state. Sorry BBC, had you told me two months ago, I might have thought “wow that is journalism”, but a whole month after the fact and nearly 6 weeks after the obvious was stated here, all that can be seen is damage control!

Notice the dramatic narration?:




From earlier:

Mugabe under "house arrest" Emmerson Mnangawa, Man of the Hour

 Following up from last night- Zimbabwe Coup in Process?

Yesterday:

US-backed “SDF” aka PKK/YPG seize Syria’s second largest oil field al-Tanak

Mugabe under "house arrest" Emmerson Mnangawa, Man of the Hour

 Following up from last night- Zimbabwe Coup in Process?

Wondering how this overthrow fits into the grander scheme of things?

 Mugabe confined to his house:

Robert Mugabe
 Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is confined to his home in Harare but is otherwise fine, said President Jacob Zuma
Zuma, who is also chairperson of the Southern African Development Community, spoke to Mugabe earlier on Wednesday after the country’s armed forces seized power in a move it says is needed to stave off a violent conflict.

Perhaps his wife isn't?

Grace Mugabe, the wife of Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe, has fled the country for Namibia, according to reports.
Mrs Mugabe is said to have left Zimbabwe following a night of unrest which saw her and her husband seized by troops.

Robert and Grace Mugabe

 Link
An ambassador to SA from the official opposition political party in Zimbabwe says all indications are that Zimbabwe is heading to military rule.
In the past week the country’s war veterans and its white farmers have come together as unlikely allies in a new battle: to unseat President Robert Mugabe (93) and curb the ambitions of his wife, Grace.
Together with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) — led by the recently sacked vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa — and with what is thought to be the backing of the armed forces, the farmers and war vets have vowed to form a transitional government whose aim will be to return Zimbabwe to its past glory.
Emmerson Mnangagwa seemed to be the benefactor of the coup, that was discernible just browsing through a dozen or so news articles last night
Man of the moment: Emmerson Mnangagwa is being touted to lead the country