Monday, October 16, 2017

US Backed Forces Take Raqqa After ISIS "surrenders"


carrying the flag of annexed Syria
-The Syrian Democratic Forces say they have retaken al-Naim square, where IS once held public executions.
-The official declaration that the city has been recaptured is expected soon, a BBC correspondent reports.
-Earlier, a convoy of local IS fighters and their families left Raqqa as part of a preplanned departure.
-The SDF, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias, has been besieging the city for nearly four months.
As the US carpet bombed, but, hey who's been paying attention to that!
 -An SDF vehicle has been patrolling the ruined streets with a loudspeaker urging people to come out into the open and "eat hot soup", our correspondent says.
A loudspeaker urging people to come 'eat hot soup' claims the BBC correspondent?

-There's been no official declaration of victory, but U.S.-backed fighters in Raqqa aren't waiting for one.
-The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is finished in Raqqa, they said, after hundreds of extremists surrendered over the weekend.  

-They've had some help from U.S. airstrikes, but the Syrian militiamen that did the fighting on the ground are the very definition of a ragtag army. 

The coverage from CBS is pathetic. "some help from US airtrikes"?
Who were the PKK/YPG fighting when ISIS was surrendering all last week?

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

Saturday, October 14, 2017:Razors Edge 2: US Faces Imminent Decision on Race for Syria's East

 My understanding of what is/has been occurring in Raqqa is civilian displacement.- Ethnic cleansing. The US has been bombing, heavily, and those that manage to flee have been"saved” by the PKK/YPG who transport them to squalid refugee camps- with access to filthy water! (That’s what’s been reported) These Syrian residents are not going to go back to their homes. Not if the US backed Kurds have anything to do with it. And, they do!

*Russian Ministry of Defence Accuses US of Bombing Raqqa Residential Areas
Carpet bombing of residential areas accommodated by civilians "have brought about nothing but several thousand victims among the ‘liberated’ population"

Annexed Syria flag

The US Cannot Go It Alone on Iran- Richard Haas

Netanyahu Praises Trump for "Bold Decision" on Iran- Fix it or Nix it

The US Cannot Go It Alone on Iran- Richard Haas

Yes, that would be Richard Haas: President of the Council on Foreign Relations

Flashback : CFR President Richard Haass:Gap Growing Between Allies and Turkey

Flashback: Ground Zero: Meme Spirited/Neural Programming/CFR- w Jay Dyer

Of course the US IS NOT going it alone on Iran- The US already has Israel in it’s pocket (or vise versa)  Making Haas’s argument of going alone not credible. Bibi has also informed us all via his Fox news interview that other Arab states are hunky dory with the Trump announcement. So there is no going it alone.
Yesterday: Netanyahu Praises Trump for "Bold Decision" on Iran- Fix it or Nix it

From the Australian Strategic Policy Institute
US President Donald Trump has announced what was long anticipated: that he will not certify that Iran is complying with the July 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed by the United States, China, Russia, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Iran. Nor will he certify that the suspension of sanctions undertaken by the US as part of the agreement is justified and in the vital national interest of the US.

To be clear, such certifications are not required by the JCPOA. Rather, they are required every 90 days by a law enacted by the US Congress soon after the accord was signed. It is also essential to underscore that Trump did not withdraw from the JCPOA itself. What he chose was a compromise: to make clear his disdain for the agreement without leaving it or reintroducing sanctions that were removed as part of it (a step that would be tantamount to US withdrawal).
 #Fix it or Nix It ?
What happens next is unclear. Congress has 60 days to reintroduce some or all of the suspended sanctions but is unlikely to do so. It might, however, introduce new sanctions tied to Iran’s behavior in Syria or elsewhere in the region. Consistent with this, Trump announced his intention to place extra sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
If the US were to impose new sanctions for any purpose at any time, it would likely find itself alone. The Europeans, China and Russia are highly unlikely to join, not only because of financial self-interest, but also because Iran is in compliance with the JCPOA. This is a point made by international inspectors operating under United Nations auspices, as well as by senior US officials, including Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.
Most of us should recall that Turkey circumvented US sanctions placed against Iran by trading in gold for oil. Which really raised the ire of the Americans.

Flashback 2013: Turkey: Halkbank - Role in Iran Gold Transactions Legal

- Gold Trader arrested charged in US with Violating US Imposed Sanctions Against Iran

To argue, as some in America do, that Iran is not complying with the spirit of the JCPOA is meaningless: ‘spirit’ is a term without legal standing. And while it is fair to argue that much of what Iran is doing in the region is a legitimate cause for concern, it is not grounds for reintroducing sanctions under the accord.
Renegotiating the JCPOA to extend the duration of several of its constraints, make inspections more intrusive, and expand its coverage to missiles is attractive in the abstract. But it is totally unworkable in practice, as Iran and most (or all) of the other signatories of the JCPOA would reject these demands. The threat to terminate US participation in the JCPOA if such changes are not made will thus prove either empty or self-defeating if carried out.
The US is not going to terminate it's participation in the JCPOA- The US is simply going to make this an untenable agreement.
 example- hands in the air- we just can't work with this agreement
None of this is meant to argue that the JCPOA is a good agreement. Still, Trump’s decision not to certify was unwarranted and ill-advised. The agreement was the result of a collective effort. American unilateralism now could make forging a common front against Iran much more difficult in the future.
As stated Trump has all the common front he needs
Trump’s move is also bad for US foreign policy. There must be a presumption of continuity if a great power is to be great. Unpredictability can provide a tactical advantage, but it is also a strategic liability.
Here there is an obvious link with North Korea. At some point, the US may determine that diplomacy has a role in managing the North Korean nuclear and missile challenges. But America’s ability to offer a credible diplomatic path will be seriously undermined if others judge that it cannot be trusted to stand by agreements.
There is also a more immediate problem: if the US sets in motion a dynamic that causes the JCPOA to unravel, and Iran resumes nuclear activities currently precluded by the accord, a crisis will erupt at a time when the US already has its hands full with North Korea.

Despite these considerations, it would also be a mistake to focus just on the US announcement and not also on Iranian behavior. In the short run, the world needs to contend with an Iran that is an imperial power, one that seeks to remake large swaths of the Middle East in its image. What is needed is a policy of containment of Iran across the region—including support for the Kurds in northern Iraq and Syria, as well as of other groups (?) and countries that are pushing back against Iran.
As I'd mentioned in this previous post Trumps move to decertify this agreement fit into the pattern of ongoing, for years, destabilizing to remake the region

Flashback: Razors Edge 2: US Faces Imminent Decision on Race for Syria's East

 That the Trump administration has been gunning for Iran is undeniable.  Hell, that even Obama's administration targeted Iran is undeniable. Who has forgotten Stuxnet? Flashback to 2010  & Flashback to 2011  The killing of Iranian nuclear scientists? Flashback to 2010 Arming and training Kurdish proxies to attack Iran? 2017- How about the fact that Kurds aka ISIS attacked Tehran The US training Iranian Kurds for destabilization of Iran? Iranian faction among Kurds trained by US against militants - "Sep. 08 2016: KHARABRUD, Iraq (AP) — An Iranian Kurdish rebel group received military training in weapons and explosives from U.S. and European advisers Decertifying the Iran nuclear deal is part of that ongoing targeting
Richard Haas continues:
In the longer run, the challenge is to deal with the JCPOA’s flaws, above all with its sunset provisions. The agreement ‘parked’ the nuclear problem, rather than resolving it. Important provisions of the accord will expire in either eight or 13 years. At that time, inspections will not prevent Iran from putting in place many of the prerequisites of a nuclear weapons program that could be made operational with little warning.
JCPOA's flaws- Bibi channels Haas or Haas channels Bibi?
It cannot be assumed, as some do, that Iran’s intentions and behaviour will moderate over the next decade or 15 years. On the contrary, Iran is more likely to remain a hybrid regime in which a government coexists with a permanent religious authority and with powerful military forces and intelligence units that exercise considerable political influence and largely operate outside the government’s control.

Dealing with an ambitious and powerful Iran thus entails a broad range of other open-ended challenges that define the ever-turbulent Middle East. Without the JCPOA, however, those challenges would become even more daunting.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Razors Edge 2: US Faces Imminent Decision on Race for Syria's East

The Cipher Brief & loads more Flashbacks and external links throughout the post

Related from earlier today:  Turkish Army’s Multi-Faceted Security Mission in Idlib

"Turkey’s announcement of what Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called “a serious operation in Idlib” last Saturday has injected uncertainty into the Syrian civil war, but one thing is clear: militarily, the Syrian government of President Bashar al Assad is winning. The question(s) now becomes:(a) to what extent will the U.S. be willing support the advance of its local allies in eastern Syria? And, (b) will it maintain support for the group after ISIS is defeated in Raqqa?"
Assad’s forces now control the majority of Syria’s population and major urban centers, while remaining opposition forces are scattered in unsustainable enclaves across the country and have begun to fight amongst themselves. Meanwhile, the Astana Process – a ceasefire negotiation platform guaranteed by Russia, Iran, and Turkey – has allowed Assad to pacify certain fronts of the war as he escalates the fight against ISIS in the east near Deir al Zour.
For the moment, it seems the battle to capture ISIS’ last remaining territories in the east is Assad’s main focus. And, this has direct ramifications for U.S. policy in the country as Assad’s eastern operations quickly become a race against Syria’s second most powerful landholder: the Kurdish-led and U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Syria's Second Most Powerful Landholder. All stolen Syrian territory. This is a point that is very, very rarely broached. And most often obfuscated. The US backed YPG/PKK /SDF rebranded (to hide the reality of what is actually occurring) has annexed a vast portion of Syrian territory with the assistance of their co- occupiers, partners in crime and ethnic cleansing pals the US. I reported on this "landholder" status way back in July. Landholders is an obfuscation for annexation- territory theft, ethnic cleansing etc., "Landholder" does that make you feel better? Doesn't make me feel better. It's like when the term "pacify" is used to obfuscate whole scale slaughter- 

Flashback:  KurdIShIS Redux- YPG/PKK 2nd Geographical Power in Syria

Which makes the Syria Democratic Forces (YPG/PKK) the 2nd largest power in Syrian after the regime forces and militiamen loyal to them, where the Syria Democratic Forces control (YPG/PKK) 22.51% of the size of the Syrian territory, (and they are aiming for 30 percent!)
Back to the Cipher
"The SDF is closing in on the last 300-400 ISIS fighters holed up in a small 1.5 square mile slice of the caliphate’s self-proclaimed capital in Raqqa. Meanwhile, alongside U.S.-led coalition forces, the Kurdish-led SDF has turned its eyes to as-yet unclaimed ISIS territory near Deir al Zour and advancing Syrian government forces"

Flashback October 7/17:  US Commander:Final Assault to Take Raqqa From ISIS Begins Sunday

My understanding of what is/has been occurring in Raqqa is civilian displacement.- Ethnic cleansing. The US has been bombing, heavily, and those that manage to flee have been"saved” by the PKK/YPG who transport them to squalid refugee camps- with access to filthy water! (That’s what’s been reported) These Syrian residents are not going to go back to their homes. Not if the US backed Kurds have anything to do with it. And, they do!
*Russian Ministry of Defence Accuses US of Bombing Raqqa Residential Areas
Carpet bombing of residential areas accommodated by civilians "have brought about nothing but several thousand victims among the ‘liberated’ population"

Image from TASS
Cipher con't:
"The Assad regime’s battle against rebel forces in the west, especially in the largest opposition-controlled holdout around in Idlib, does continue. However, barring a major offensive or new action spurred by Turkish intervention in the Idlib region, the prize of the day is in the east.
“At the end of the day,” says Syria expert and Fellow at the Washington Institute, Fabrice Balanche, “Damascus’ top priority remains the province of Deir al-Zour. The Syrian rebellion in western Syria is no longer powerful enough to constitute an existential threat.” This means that the regime has a relatively free hand to snap up ISIS territory – effectively the only neutral area for expansion left in a country where local forces backed by major outside powers are hardening their zones of influence.
This race in the east is important to U.S. interests for two reasons. First, as the battle to liberate Raqqa nears its end, a large number of ISIS forces have retreated into Deir al Zour region, and high level targets may be hiding out in this last refuge"
 ISIS fleeing from Raqqa to Deir ez Zor.. Didn't I mention that? I had expected & stated  “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.” This is what has occured and is being reported by the Cipher. That was easy enough to predict.
More "ISIS" are expected to leave today- Wonder where it is their headed?


Additionally - Al masdar had reported that an “arrangement” had been worked out between the Kurds and ISIS- The Kurds were to let ISIS leave with no knowledge of where they were heading- Suuurrreeeeee.....

"Second, if Syrian regime forces capture the town of Abu Kamal and the border crossing at al Qa’im, Assad’s most important regional ally, Iran, will have a clear and secure route to supply its proxy forces across the region from Iraq to Assad in Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
The stakes are high, and the situation appears to be stalemated. SDF forces are closely supported by the U.S.; Assad’s troops are supported by Russia. So for now, neither side is likely to attack the other, which makes this a game of strategic positioning through the capture of ISIS territory. Assad has quickly drawn troops away from the city of Deir al Zour, which is not yet cleared, to push further east and surround the town of Mayadin. Moving these forces so fast delays the operation to crush ISIS’ remaining forces in Deir al Zour city, but it effectively blocks the SDF from approaching Mayadin"
 Reports from today state SAA and allies have (re)taken Mayadeen
If SAA and allies are able to hold Mayadeen what will be the American/Kurdish/Israeli response? SAA and allies have now blocked the SDF out of Mayadeen. Can that be left as is?

"What’s raised even more concern in Washington is the threat of an Iranian “land bridge” to the Mediterranean"

Flashback Trump Will "Decertify" the Iran Nuclear Deal. 


 & a comment I 'd posted at Greencrow's blog, transferred to the comment section of the above linked post. It was a response to this statement "The result is a bungled policy which will have either catastrophic, or no consequences at all."

This is a comment I left at Green crows- I'm putting it here because I do not see Trump as bungling anything!
It's probably going to form the basics for a new post

"I hate the 'bungled policy' meme
Along with the incompetence meme...
It's a limited hangout

Trump didn't bungle anything- he is doing exactly that which he is supposed to do.
In 2015 I wrote the nuclear deal was a distraction because the US was already, at that time, involved in destabilizing Iran- The deal was created to make the peace president look good, with the idea of using the deal in the future- in whatever manner deemed necessary- to make Iran look bad, perception management-
to increase sanctions- (by claiming that Iran was non compliant) whatever!
We've seen the US do this time and time again- It's not bungled policy, it's just policy!"
Greencrow was not the blogger who had made the bungled policy comment- that statement belongs to another individual. In my opinion this is not bungled policy. This is policy. Period.
It fits the ongoing situation. It makes sense in the context of all that is occuring  in the region.
That the Trump administration has been gunning for Iran is undeniable.  Hell, that even Obama's administration targeted Iran is undeniable. Who has forgotten Stuxnet?
Flashback to 2010  & Flashback to 2011  The killing of Iranian nuclear scientists? Flashback to 2010 Arming and training Kurdish proxies to attack Iran? 2017- How about the fact that Kurds aka ISIS attacked Tehran The US training Iranian Kurds for destabilization of Iran? Iranian faction among Kurds trained by US against militants - "Sep. 08 2016: KHARABRUD, Iraq (AP) — An Iranian Kurdish rebel group received military training in weapons and explosives from U.S. and European advisers

Decertifying the Iran nuclear deal is part of that ongoing targeting- It cannot be considered bungling. It should not be considered bungling. It should be understood as a tactic.  
Part of a strategy. One more move that has been preceded by others and a preparatory move for what is yet to follow

 Back to the Cipher

If the Trump Administration decides to play a greater role in the Syrian conflict after Raqqa falls, it could block such a land bridge by maintaining the U.S. base at al Tanf – near the southwest border crossing with Iraq – and pushing SDF troops to reach al Qa’im before Assad or allied Iran-backed militias.
However, says Fellow at the Century Foundation and Syria expert, Aron Lund, if that happens, Iran “will just pave a new road through the desert.” In his view, “Iran will have land access” no matter what. “You’re not going to deprive them of that unless Trump decides to go all in and own the whole Syrian-Iraqi border for years or decades to come,” he writes.
This is the do or die scenario I had broached last week

Flashback Syria: Walkin' the Razor's Edge? US Shells SAA/Casualties

 - when it was reported the US had stated, nearly two weeks ago, that they wanted their Kurdish thugs to take this location
"Last week the US-led military coalition said its Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) allies would attempt to seize Mayadeen before the army."
Of course Al Tanf was mentioned, has been mentioned, again and again as the vipers den of terrorists

That kind of investment would likely mean thousands of U.S. troops on the ground in Syria, which is a concept that President Trump has shown little interest in. Accordingly, if the Trump Administration does decide to continue a post-ISIS presence in Syria, it will be more limited in scope, focused on delaying and harassing the extension of Iranian influence and hardening captured ISIS territory against future insurgency.
Yet this strategy also comes at a cost. Continued U.S. military presence in Syria means continued U.S. support for the Kurdish YPG, which forms the military backbone of the SDF. Turkey views the YPG as an extension of its own militant Kurdish organization, the PKK, and U.S. support for the group one of the key factors driving a stake through the heart of U.S. –Turkish relations. With the suspension of visa services between the two countries last Sunday, relations with Turkey – an indispensable NATO ally and ally in the war on terror – have hit their lowest point in 40 years.
There is no easy solution to any of these problems, but the United States is fast approaching a key decision point in the Syrian conflict. Until now, the Trump Administration has limited its Syria policy almost solely to the eradication of ISIS-controlled territory in the country. That territory will soon be gone, but that may only the beginning of the story in this conflict. ISIS and other groups will almost certainly continue to fight as insurgents in the liberated territory, Iran’s influence will continue to spread, and the al Qaeda-affiliated opposition group, Hayat Tahrir al Sham, has become one of the most powerful players in Idlib and other rebel-held areas of Syria. Washington will soon need a clear strategy to either deal with these long term threats – or be prepared to leave.

"Washington will soon need a clear strategy to either deal with these long term threats – or be prepared to leave"

Obviously, I'm of the mind that Washington should leave. That's my opinion. 
However, it's not very likely they will. In closing the map of all the US bases dotting northern Syria is included, again. Those bases  undoubtedly connect to more US bases in Iraq- All those assuredly occupied by US/Israeli/British special forces and yet more Sunni Muslim Kurds generally sheltered by that big PKK umbrella. And of course some useful idiots of all sorts.



Turkish Army’s Multi-Faceted Security Mission in Idlib

Link- Erdogan announces beginning of mission

Link- Multi faceted Mission in Idlib

Turkey and Russia, by all reports, are working together on this deployment
“Multifaceted cooperation with Russia is one of the key elements of our foreign policy. We are in close coordination on Syria as well,” Ismail Kahraman told a news conference in St. Petersburg after a meeting with his Russian counterpart Vyaceslav Volodin.
It's being reported Syria is "demanding" the Turks exit Syria- This is for domestic consumption, in my opinion. Syrian leadership has demonstrated repeatedly it's ok with the Russian role- so it seems sensible that they are fully aware of what is unfolding as this mission proceeds- What does this cooperative endeavour between Turkey and Russia tell us about the future? If anything at all?

"Turkey has continued to deploy troops to Syria's Idlib province in order to set up observation posts to monitor the cease-fire, following up on an international agreement to establish de-escalation zones in the war-torn country.

Military convoys, which departed from the Reyhanli district in Turkey's southern Hatay province, arrived in northern Idlib late Thursday.

The troops have initially been deployed near Afrin, an Aleppo district near the Turkish border held by the PKK/PYD terrorist organization.
The deployment will continue along the border of Idlib and Afrin, under rules of engagement agreed to in May among guarantor countries Turkey, Iran and Russia. Ankara backs groups opposed to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, while Russia and Iran support Assad’s regime.

Turkish armed forces will eventually set up observation posts in more than 10 areas, beginning in northern Idlib and gradually extending to the southern part of the province.

The mission, which is being carried out in cooperation with the Free Syrian Army, aims to monitor the cease-fire in Idlib, while Russia will set up observation posts outside the province for the same purpose"

Halting refugee influx
"The Turkish troop deployment also aims to create the necessary conditions to maintain the cease-fire between the Syrian regime and opposition groups, end conflicts, allow humanitarian aid to reach those who need it, and ensure the return of displaced persons to their homes.

It also aims to prevent a fresh influx of Syrian refugees into Turkey.

There were concerns that the Assad regime, backed by Iran and Russia, would launch more attacks in Idlib if the cease-fire failed to hold. In such a case, it was feared that millions of people might flood across the border into Turkey.

More than 1 million people are already living in camps near the border between Turkey and Syria"

"Idlib, which is located in northwestern Syria on the Turkish border, faced intense attacks by the Assad regime after a vicious civil war broke out in 2011.

After March 2015, Idlib was no longer under the control of the Assad regime and was dominated by military opposition groups and anti-regime armed organizations.

With a previous population of around 2.5 million, the city is now crammed with about 4 million people, following the arrival of civilians who fled violence in central Syria.

The most effective military opposition groups in Idlib, Ahrar al-Sham and Tahrir al-Sham, both withdrew from the city nearly three months ago. Idlib is currently governed by a local council headed by civilians"

Friday, October 13, 2017

Trump Will "Decertify" the Iran Nuclear Deal.

Trumps speech regarding this topic has just ended- I'll likely add it in later.
Reports suggest that Israel's Netanyahu has suddenly gone quiet. What more is there for him to say? - He got what he/Israel had wanted. The results he/Israel desired. 
I'm certainly he, and Israel's political class/military are all smuggly satisfied!

Consider the bias in the article- As of now there isn't a lot of coverage regarding this 'decertification'
On Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to announce that he is “decertifying” the nuclear deal with Iran. In what is already a diplomatic process overloaded with obscure jargon – the agreement's full title is the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which can mean anything – decertification is a relatively obscure feature. It was a requirement originally imposed by the Republican Congress that every 90 days, the administration certify that the JCPOA is in the United States' national interest and it is therefore still committed to it.

Since his inauguration, Trump has already certified the deal twice, but this time he is expected to act otherwise and announce that Iran has acted against the spirit of the deal and that the U.S. no longer sees it in its interest to honor it.
Will decertification kill the Iran deal?
The short answer is no. By U.S. law the Iran deal is neither a formal treaty nor an executive agreement but a “non-binding political commitment.” It would take actual action to break the deal. The agreement will not be invalidated if the Trump administration says it is no longer in favor or committed to it. 
Trump is not expected to announce concrete new steps against Iran on Thursday so for now, decertification is no more than an expression of intent. Furthermore, the U.S. is just one of eight signatories of the deal – along with Russia, China, Britain, Germany, France, the European Union and of course Iran. The remaining seven signatories who are still in favor of the deal could continue without the U.S.
Can Trump kill the deal?
Essentially, the Iran deal was an agreement through which the international community dropped the sanctions on Iran that were specifically related to its nuclear development in return for Iran's agreement to impose certain limits on its nuclear research and development, most crucially the level to which it enriches uranium. If the U.S. decided to reimpose nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, it would be in breach of the JCPOA. That wouldn’t necessarily mean the end of the deal.
Iran and the other signatories could decide to continue with the agreement, though Iran may demand to be compensated for the financial damage incurred by the U.S. sanctions. Trump signed the waiver on the Iranian sanctions last month. These waivers have to be extended every 120 days, so thus far, his administration is not taking action to kill the deal. Decertification, however, is a signal to Congress that it can now go ahead and impose the sanctions itself. Given the fractious relations between the White House and most Democrats and Republicans, along with the lack of any clear bipartisan consensus, it is still unclear whether this will happen before January, when Trump will have to sign the waivers once again – or else the sanctions will be reapplied automatically.
What will Trump’s decertification do to the Iran deal and the region?
Since the deal is still very much in Iran’s benefit and the diplomatic community adheres to it as an article of belief, the decertification almost certainly won’t kill the deal. It will, however, put its long-term future in doubt and may create additional pressure on Iran to both stick to the limitations of its nuclear program and perhaps even force it to curb its more overt actions in the region.
 Is that a bad thing?

The problem with the Iran deal is not that it’s a bad deal, as Trump says. It creates a mechanism that keeps Iran from developing sufficient fissile material for a nuclear weapon. That’s a good thing.  (notable bias alert)> The real problem is that the Obama administration and other cheerleaders for the agreement tried to sell it to the world as a major breakthrough for the Middle East, when in reality it solved only one problem – while emboldening Iran, together with Russia, to double down on its support for the mass-murdering regime of Bashar Assad in Syria as well as increasing its support for other murderous militias in Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon. If decertifying leads eventually to the collapse of the Iran deal, that would indeed be a bad thing. But Iran needs the deal more than any other nation and it won’t rush to abandon it. If the jeopardy that decertification brings increases pressure to curb Iran’s malignant influence in the region, it could turn out to be a positive development.< (notable bias alert)
As of ending this, I see there is more news forthcoming so there will be updates!

Flashback to 2015:  P5+1 is a distraction. Early Seeds of Iranian destabilization cross the Turkish border

From earlier

NATO Chief Warns Russia Over Libya

NATO Chief Warns Russia Over Libya

Libya Herald
Jens Stoltenberg. We may fondly recall Jens as the man at the helm in Norway at the time of the Brevik incident?  Shortly thereafter he became the head of NATO- Rewarded? I think so. 
Paying attention to Syria has made me realize just how entrenched the PKK is in Norway- And what a pivotal role Norway has played in this entire Syrian destabilization. (Alongside their role in encircling Russia)Including this passage to and fro of terrorists-

Keeping that in mind let’s read what Mr. Stoltenberg, as head of NATO, has to say about Libya and Russia
"Russia should avoid intervening in Libya in the same way that it has in Syria", NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg has warned.
Asked by a reporter after a NATO meeting in Bucharest if Russia might be seeking a second Mediterranean naval base as the price for its apparent support for Khalifa Hafter,  Stoltenberg said: “We have seen the effects of Russian presence in Syria, how that has created an even more difficult situation in Syria, and of course we have to avoid anything similar happening in Libya”.
What does Stoltenberg mean when he says:"We have seen the effects of Russian presence in Syria, how that has created an even more difficult situation in Syria, and of course we have to avoid anything similar happening in Libya”
He called on all actors, including Russia to get behind UN-led peace efforts and the UN-recognised Presidency Council (PC) to ensure that there was a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Stoltenberg said he had met PC head Faiez Serraj many times, most recently during the UN General Assembly in New York where they had discussed NATO’s support. Libya needed to build strong defence and security institutions with well-trained forces. Stoltenberg said the country should not end up with new militia groups undermining its stability.

“So we are planning to help them with building a modern ministry of defence” he said.
I'll bet NATO is helping Libya build a "modern ministry of defence"

 Flashback: Kurdish Mullah who started Ansar al Islam

He completed a master’s degree in Islamic studies in Pakistan and moved to Norway in 1991, where he established the Salafist jihadi group Ansar al-Islam in 1994.
We all know how brutal the salafists have been in Syria- 

Flashback 2014: NATO False Flag: Norway  mercs in Syria? Think- Arctic Resources & Circling Russia!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Israeli Spies Spotted Russian Hackers Spying on US Hackers

The title for this post is the original Skynews headline. 

Original url for the report

 Spy vs Spy vs Spy?

"Israeli intelligence officers were behind a tip-off to US agencies that the Kremlin was using Kaspersky Lab's anti-virus software to steal American hacking tools, US media has reported.
Kaspersky, which is a Russian business, had been held in high regards by the cybersecurity community until this year when US officials began to call for its software to be prohibited from government departments.
Criticism of the software was first raised following accusations of Russian interference in the US presidential election, although did not present any arguments regarding its safety.
The Wall Street Journal reported this month that Kremlin-sponsored hackers had used Kaspersky's software to steal National Security Agency information from the computer of a contractor who had taken the classified material home.
On Wednesday, The New York Times cited "multiple people who have been briefed on the matter" in a report claiming that it was Israeli hackers who discovered Russian hackers using the anti-virus software to steal American hacking tools.
The Israeli hackers are described as having spotted Russian hackers searching for NSA hacking tools after they themselves breached Kaspersky's internal systems."
Israeli hackers claim, only after they themselves hacked Kaspersky's internal systems, that Russian hackers had done the same? Well, that's interesting.
"Kaspersky's complicity in the Kremlin's cyber-burglary has not been attested by reports, although the company and its founder Eugene Kaspersky have consistently denied wrongdoing"
Attested :  1. certify; declare to be correct, true, or genuine; declare the truth of, in words or writing, especially affirm in an official capacity:to attest the truth of a statement. 
2. to give proof or evidence of
In other words there is no proof or evidence of Kaspersky's complicity in these allegation. Which could mean no Russian hackers, since, Kaspersky and Russian hackers are suppposed to be working hand in glove.

However we do have Israeli hackers claiming they hacked Kaspersky's internal systems
"Anti-virus software requires access to all of a computer's files in order to function, but it is not known whether hackers could access the central repository comparing virus signatures to "search" files on computers with the software installed"
It is not know whether hackers could access the central repository....

Reading this report it sure seems to me that it was the Israeli's that were up to no good!

Don't Miss:

Smart Phone Dystopia: “Our Minds Can Be Hijacked”

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Smart Phone Dystopia: “Our Minds Can Be Hijacked”

Google, Twitter and Facebook workers who helped make technology so addictive are disconnecting themselves from the internet. Paul Lewis reports on the Silicon Valley refuseniks alarmed by a race for human attention”
Justin Rosenstein had tweaked his laptop’s operating system to block Reddit, banned himself from Snapchat, which he compares to heroin, and imposed limits on his use of Facebook. But even that wasn’t enough. In August, the 34-year-old tech executive took a more radical step to restrict his use of social media and other addictive technologies.

Rosenstein purchased a new iPhone and instructed his assistant to set up a parental-control feature to prevent him from downloading any apps.

He was particularly aware of the allure of Facebook “likes”, which he describes as “bright dings of pseudo-pleasure” that can be as hollow as they are seductive. And Rosenstein should know: he was the Facebook engineer who created the “like” button in the first place.
A decade after he stayed up all night coding a prototype of what was then called an “awesome” button, Rosenstein belongs to a small but growing band of Silicon Valley heretics who complain about the rise of the so-called “attention economy”: an internet shaped around the demands of an advertising economy.

These refuseniks are rarely founders or chief executives, who have little incentive to deviate from the mantra that their companies are making the world a better place. Instead, they tend to have worked a rung or two down the corporate ladder: designers, engineers and product managers who, like Rosenstein, several years ago put in place the building blocks of a digital world from which they are now trying to disentangle themselves. “It is very common,” Rosenstein says, “for humans to develop things with the best of intentions and for them to have unintended, negative consequences.”

Rosenstein, who also helped create Gchat during a stint at Google, and now leads a San Francisco-based company that improves office productivity, appears most concerned about the psychological effects on people who, research shows, touch, swipe or tap their phone 2,617 times a day.
2,617 times a day!!
For this study, we recruited a demographically diverse sample of 94 Android users from our pool of more than 100,000 participants. Then we built a supplementary smartphone tool to track every user’s interaction across 5 days, 24 hours a day.
And by every interaction, we mean every tap, type, swipe and click. We’re calling them touches.
Like a Greek tragedy, what we learned was simultaneously expected and astonishing—and a little bit sad. What follows are insights to help you better understand the intensity of the mobile life your users live, so your brand, products and strategies can become part of it.
For more on how this study was conducted, you can download a PDF of the report.
A little bit sad? I would say that's a whole lot of sad! Even if exaggerated, thinking about half of 2, 617 touches on a smartphone is bizarre.

 There is growing concern that as well as addicting users, technology is contributing toward so-called “continuous partial attention”, severely limiting people’s ability to focus, and possibly lowering IQ. One recent study showed that the mere presence of smartphones damages cognitive capacity – even when the device is turned off. “Everyone is distracted,” Rosenstein says. “All of the time.”
 So, please parents, put that phone in front of your baby so you can really ruin them! Ruin their ability to develop an attention span, so very vital to their basic survival. Because providing your child with every electronic gadget imaginable makes you a “good parent” NOT. Providing your child with survival skills unique to humans is your job and that's what makes you a great parent!

I’m going to ignore the nonsense about Donald Trump- And interject with the fact that anti social media has been used to wage war against other nations- It’s a tool. It draws gullible fools into this idea of social justice that is neither social or just!
In 2007, Rosenstein was one of a small group of Facebook employees who decided to create a path of least resistance – a single click – to “send little bits of positivity” across the platform. Facebook’s “like” feature was, Rosenstein says, “wildly” successful: engagement soared as people enjoyed the short-term boost they got from giving or receiving social affirmation, while Facebook harvested valuable data about the preferences of users that could be sold to advertisers. The idea was soon copied by Twitter, with its heart-shaped “likes” (previously star-shaped “favourites”), Instagram, and countless other apps and websites.
It was Rosenstein’s colleague, Leah Pearlman, then a product manager at Facebook and on the team that created the Facebook “like”, who announced the feature in a 2009 blogpost. Now 35 and an illustrator, Pearlman confirmed via email that she, too, has grown disaffected with Facebook “likes” and other addictive feedback loops. She has installed a web browser plug-in to eradicate her Facebook news feed, and hired a social media manager to monitor her Facebook page so that she doesn’t have to.

Since neither my readers or myself can afford to hire a social media manger, can I suggest some some real face time? Face to face. In the real world.  That's my best socializing. Interacting with my real world environment is my positive social affirmation! A “like” on Facebook is meaningless-  It is not social affirmation- it's a simulacrum (imitation of a person or thing) That's all it is.  It doesn’t make your life better. Doesn’t improve your world. A like on face book accomplishes nothing. Nothing at all.

“One reason I think it is particularly important for us to talk about this now is that we may be the last generation that can remember life before,” Rosenstein says. It may or may not be relevant that Rosenstein, Pearlman and most of the tech insiders questioning today’s attention economy are in their 30s, members of the last generation that can remember a world in which telephones were plugged into walls.
It is revealing that many of these younger technologists are weaning themselves off their own products, sending their children to elite Silicon Valley schools where iPhones, iPads and even laptops are banned. They appear to be abiding by a Biggie Smalls lyric from their own youth about the perils of dealing crack cocaine: never get high on your own supply.
Why do you all suppose these people who KNOW fully well how this technology works, how it manipulates your mind, are the ones who don't fully partake and refuse to immerse their children in this pseudo world?
Of course there is much more to this article so be sure to read the rest at the opening link.

it really is a soul sucking smartphone

From the heart:

As a wanna be Grandmother I cannot tell you how often I see young mothers, whose children are looking at them with such adoration and yearning for interaction as those mothers are looking at their phones- It breaks my heart. It really does.
Then there are the other parents who are on their phone and have another phone propped up in front of their child or the toddler is actually holding the dam phone- It’s monstrous.

The first seven years are absolutely crucial to your child’s development, particularly of their identity, their place in this world and a whole pile of other qualities. Parents on smart phones are not providing the necessary interaction for this absolutely, unquestioningly, undoubtedly can’t thrive with out this vital time of growth and learning. That passes all to quickly. And when it's gone, it's gone.

Parenting from Scratch

Children need their parents- they don’t need institutions- They need their parents and extended family- In fact- the less institutions the better in my opinion, but, that’s a story for another day
What children definitely don’t need is smartphones of their own and parents who insist on spending more time with a phone then with their own beautiful children. The ones they decided to bring into this big beautiful world, we all share.


Monday, October 9, 2017

Turkish Army Enters Idlib to Establish Deconfliction Zone: BHL Accuses Erdogan!

First reported here: Turkey To Deploy Troops to Idlib Per Astana Agreement
The latest:

"Turkish reconnaissance units entered the Syrian province of Idlib on Sunday, eyeing locations for surveillance posts needed for the implementation of the de-escalation zone in the region, Turkey’s Army said in a statement Monday. The northern de-escalation zone in Idlib was agreed upon by the guarantor countries – Russia, Iran and Turkey – and approved by the Syrian government within the framework of the peace negotiations in Astana. Turkish troops are operating strictly within the rules of engagement drawn up by the guarantor countries, the army stressed."
 Head of Turkish Red Crescent visits Syria’s Idlib
"The head of the Turkish Red Crescent has visited Syria’s northwestern Idlib province as Ankara continues to send humanitarian aid to the region.
“Nearly 700,000 people are living in Idlib in around 400 camps. They are in need of aid,” Kerem Kinik told reporters at the Cilvegozu border crossing in Turkey after visiting the region on Sunday.
“The main work we have done is to take measures to keep the flow of humanitarian aid in place,” Kinik said: “We went to the region with our friends [and] reviewed our stores and distribution systems.”
 Turkey's Idlib move aimed at Kurds' Mediterranean ambitions
"By deploying its army into Syria’s Idlib Province on Sunday, Ankara effectively aims to block Kurdish ambitions of reaching the Mediterranean Sea.
Gaining access to the sea is a goal long-sought by the Kurds to break their homeland’s landlocked condition."
It's a given that the Turkish move into Idlib will block the Kurdish ambition to reach the Mediterranean Sea. Certainly Russia, Iran and Syria are fully aware of this!

 "The prospects of Kurdish aspirations mean a geopolitical ploy whose ramifications for Ankara indicate the path to the creation of a Greater Kurdistan that would encompass about 20 Kurdish-majority provinces in the east and southeast of Turkey"
And just for a laugh.. as in theatre of the absurd
- Bernard Henri Levy sees antisemitism everywhere..
And of course he is it's intended victim- 

Bernard-Henri Lévy (seated right) and Bernard Kouchner (seated left) in conversation with Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani (seated center). Photo: Bernard-Henri Lévy.
Leading French-Jewish intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy on Monday accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of orchestrating “the crudest, the worst” antisemitic campaign against him over his support for the September 25 independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan
 Lévy was responding to a report published last Friday in Güneş — a muckraking Turkish tabloid that is solidly loyal to Erdogan — in which the Turkish president pointed to a photograph of Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani flanked by Bernard Kouchner, who served as a minister in successive French governments, and Lévy, who is arguably the best-known advocate for Kurdish national rights in the West.
Of course he is! Because "Kurdistan" aka Israel 2.0 is part of the expansion of Israel in the region.
Lévy expressed his solidarity with the Turkish people, who he said were “subjected to a dictatorship under this paranoid despot.”
“Turkey deserves better,” he said.
Levy expressed his solidarity with the Libyans, before their leader was murdered & brutally so.

Levy expressed his solidarity with the Ukrainians before their elected leader was overthrown.

Levy expressed solidarity with Syrians, as the US and Israel, tore their nation apart

I shudder at the thought of what BHL thinks is the "better" deserved by Turkey in light of his previous expressions of solidarity and their results.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Crisis between Turkey & US Deepens: Visa Freeze/Lira Drops

 From Earlier:

*US Commander: Final Assault to Take Raqqa From ISIS Begins Sunday

 About the US & Turkey

 IBNA Balkan news

"The United States have stopped issuing visas to Turkish citizens The US Embassy in Ankara announced the freezing of visas to Turkish citizens. The Turkish capital is believed to be a strong diplomatic move by Washington against Turkey.
In the announcement it is stated that the decision was taken due to "latest developments".
On Thursday, Turkish authorities had captured a US consulate official in Istanbul, being accused of being an agent and having affiliations with the Islamic Order of Hizmet - led by Imam Fethullah Gulen - whom the turkish the government considers to be the mastermind behind the 2016 coup attempt.
What's more, Turkey has announced it has paid a down payment on the purchase of Russian S400 anti-aircraft system. At the same time, in cooperation with Russia and Iran, it is preparing to create a security zone inside Syria."/IBNA

"The U.S. suspended visa services for visitors from Turkey in a sharp escalation of tensions between the countries, sending the lira down as much as 1 percent against the U.S. dollar.
“Recent events have forced the United States Government to reassess the commitment of the Government of Turkey to the security of U.S. Mission facilities and personnel,” the U.S. Mission to Turkey said Sunday in a statement posted on the embassy’s official Twitter account in English and Turkish.
Claims the country that was a behind the scenes participant in the 2016 coup, while refusing Turkey's request for the extradition of Fettulah Gulen

“In order to minimize the number of visitors to our Embassy and Consulates while this assessment proceeds, effective immediately we have suspended all non-immigrant visa services at all U.S. diplomatic facilities in Turkey.”

Daily Sabah:

"The U.S. embassy in Ankara said Sunday that all non-immigrant visa services in its diplomatic facilities in Turkey were suspended after the arrest of one of its employees over the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) ties.
A statement released by the embassy said: "Recent events have forced the U.S. government to reassess the commitment of the Government of Turkey to the security of the U.S. Mission facilities and personnel."
 The US embassy would be the ideal place of employment for an individual involved in nefarious activities linked to an attempted overthrow- Sure wouldn't be a first!
"The statement said the suspension, effective immediately, is intended to minimize the number of visitors to the consulate and embassy buildings.
Metin Topuz, a Turkish employee working in the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul was arrested on charges of espionage and links to FETÖ, the group blamed for the July 15, 2016 coup attempt that killed 249 people in Turkey.
According to the indictment, the suspect was in contact with a number of former police chiefs in Istanbul where he worked, and all those police chiefs involved in the 2013 coup attempts were FETÖ members in the judiciary and law enforcement.
He was also in touch with Oktay Akkaya, a former lieutenant colonel who was among the main actors in the 2016 coup attempt.
"The suspect acted as a liaison between members of FETÖ and its leader, Fetullah Gülen, who lives in Pennsylvania," the indictment adds, claiming there is strong evidence to justify Topuz's arrest."

US Commander:Final Assault to Take Raqqa From ISIS Begins Sunday

Updated: please scroll down

Jerusalem Post

Today. Because ISIS has massed in a “sports stadium” to either fight like a gladiator to their death or .... be massacred. Seriously, that’s what’s being reported
ISIS is massing in a sports stadium- massing there to resist or die.
You need to imagine me rolling my eyes at this claim.

What I think is much more likely!   

"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)
Hopefully there will be some eyes in the skies watching...

Amassing in a stadium to fight to the death is simply bizarre

“The assault on militants in the center of the northern city will focus on surrounding the sports stadium there, said a field commander in the Syrian
Democratic Forces (SDF) in western Raqqa, who gave his name as Ardal Raqqa. (PKK/YPG)

"Daesh is massing there because this is the last stage. They will resist, or they will surrender or die," he said. "This their last stand to the death."

Reuters. Com and Reuters UK are reporting the same stadium location news as the final assault on ISIS
The assault on militants in the center of the northern city will focus on surrounding the sports stadium there, said a field commander in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in western Raqqa, who gave his name as Ardal Raqqa.

“Daesh is massing there because this is the last stage. They will resist, or they will surrender or die,” he said. “This their last stand to the death.”
 "Last stand to the death"? Like Custer and his last stand?  How very dramatic!
Sorry,  I'm not buying this rubbish.  After the great ISIS "surrenders", the US and friends will load'em up, under cover of darkness and move them to a new fighting location. Which as I've suggested will be Deir ez Zor, where we've seen SAA make advances the US did not want them to make!

Friday: SAA Fights Way Into "ISIS Stronghold" Blow to US backed PKK/YPG/SDF

 "Last week the US-led military coalition said its Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) allies would attempt to seize Mayadeen before the army"

SDF didn't seize Mayadeen

Saturday: Syria: Walkin' the Razor's Edge? US Shells SAA/Casualties

Widely ignored that the US bombed SAA and allies. 
I mentioned this could escalate- This sudden move on Raqqa might just be the impetus for that escalation in Deir ez Zor. 

UPDATE BEGINS: 3:17 EST- 10:17 PM Syria

ISIS has managed to force SAA out of Mayadeen- Syrian and Russian Airforces are bombing

Link : Islamic State expels Syrian forces from key bastion Mayadeen

Town now target of intensive air strikes by both government and Russian aircraft
Islamic State (IS) group fighters succeeded on Sunday in expelling Syrian government forces from the eastern town of Mayadeen, days after they entered the key remaining militant stronghold, a monitor said.
Backed by Russian air power, Syrian forces had managed to fight their way into western Mayadeen on Friday.
As reported here on Friday: SAA Fights Way Into "ISIS Stronghold" Blow to US backed PKK/YPG/SDF
"Counter-offensives by IS managed to force the regime fighters away from the western outskirts of Mayadeen," the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Syrian forces were now 6km from the town, which was being targeted by "intensive air strikes carried out by both regime and Russian aircraft".

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Syria: Walkin' the Razor's Edge? US Shells SAA/Casualties

Razor's Edge: in a very uncertain and dangerous situation
 Yesterday, I’d posted news that SAA had made advances in Mayadeen- SAA Fights Way Into "ISIS Stronghold" Blow to US backed PKK/YPG/SDF   Any action that is a blow to ISIS is also blow to the US remake the region agenda. 

Bearing that in mind, I’ll share some of the latest news on this situation

The linked article presents the assistance offered to SAA, by Russia, to enable the take back of Mayadeen, as an escalation against the US.
 "Moscow strongly escalated on Friday its campaign against the US-led al-Tanf military base in eastern Syria and near the Iraqi border at a time when Russian warplanes supported regime forces that infiltrated in the city of Mayadeen, one of the ISIS strongholds in the east of Deir Ezzor.
That is quite possibly how the US sees this recent advance. As reported, quoting from yesterday's post  :
 "Last week the US-led military coalition said its Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) allies would attempt to seize Mayadeen before the army."
However, Mayadeen is in Syria. It's a Syrian location. And has Syrian's resident there. 
Certainly the Syrians have the right to take back the area, their territory, from terrorists...
Despite whatever vile moves the US had planned. As of yesterday's news it looks as if SAA has made definite advancements!
This frame grab provided on Thursday, October 5, 2017, by the Russian defense ministry press service, shows what they say is a long-range Kalibr cruise missile launched by the a Russian submarine in the Mediterranean

From Thursday- Breaking: Russian Kalibrs Fired From Mediterranean- Supporting Syrian Army

"Spokesperson of the Russian Defense Ministry, Major General Igor Konashenkov said in a statement on Friday: “In reality, al-Tanf has turned into a 100-kilometer ‘black hole’ on the Syrian-Jordanian state border. And, instead of the Free Syrian Army, it is spewing ISIS mobile groups who make inroads to launch subversive terrorist operations against Syrian troops and civilians.”
How many times has Russia stated the US is fully supporting ISIS? 
I've lost count. Though it's certain to have not been said as often by them as by myself.
Mr Fisk didn't have the courage to say it straight out-  Fisk on the US sanctioned Killing of Russian Lieutenant Asparov So kudos to the Russia Major General for his straightforwardness!
"The spokesperson said that every time the Syrian regime forces, supported by Russian warplanes, advance towards the east of the ISIS stronghold in Deir Ezzor, the US presence in the background lines at al-Tanf base becomes a bigger problem.

In a surprising development that could further escalate tensions between US and Russian forces in Syria, coalition jets shelled on Friday a convoy of the Syrian regime and its allied foreign militias in the al-Tanf area"
 Did read this news yesterday evening:
“Sources in the Syrian opposition told the news agency that a coalition aircraft fired warning shots when a regime convoy attempted to advance from the west of Al-Tanf, which is controlled by the Free Syrian Army. When the convoy ignored the warning, it was targeted directly. A number of Syrian soldiers and other fighters travelling in the convoy were killed or wounded"

This could escalate. Dangerously.