Category Archives: War

US CENTCOM Chief Makes “Secret And Unprecedented” Visit To Israel As Russia Mulls Arming Syria, by Tyler Durden

In response to the most recent American missile-shoot on Syria, Russia may upgrade Syrian missile defenses, to the consternation of both the US and Israel. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Increasingly it appears that the recent US coalition missile strikes on Syria have utterly backfired: instead of weakening Syria or degrading its military capabilities, the attack may have actually served to strengthen Syria’s defenses. 

Since the massive strike which involved the US, UK, and France launching over 100 cruise missiles, Russia is rumored to be moving forward on delivery of its advanced S-300 missile defense system, which would be a monumental upgrade allowing Syrian defenses to far surpass current capabilities which utilize the Soviet-made S-125 and S-200 air defense systems.

Crucially, S-300s have a range of up to 150-200 kilometers (or 120 miles), bringing Syrian deterrent reach easily to within Lebanese airspace (as Israel has routinely struck targets inside Syria while firing over “neutral” Lebanese airspace in recent years), and could even extend airspace coverage into Israel itself.

Could this be the reason for some major behind-the-scenes diplomatic scrambling?

On Monday VOA News chief White House correspondent Steve Herman announced that US CENTCOM commander General Joseph Votel is in the midst of “a secret and unprecedented visit to Israel.”

Knowledge of the “secret” visit was based on exclusive footage broadcast by Israel’s Kann News, which first reported, “the commander of the American Central Command arrived for the first time to Israel, and met with senior security officials, including the Chief of Staff.”

No doubt the potential for what weapons experts have commonly described as the “exceptionally advanced” Russian-supplied S-300 in Israel’s backyard is making Tel Aviv and its allies nervous. Israel has repeatedly called delivery of the S-300s a “red line” for which it would act, however, plans for just such a scenario could be hastening.

To continue reading: US CENTCOM Chief Makes “Secret And Unprecedented” Visit To Israel As Russia Mulls Arming Syria

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The Great Game Comes to Syria, by Conn Hallinan

An alliance between Russia, Turkey, and Iran may emerge from the Syrian war. Such an alliance would be inimical to US interests, but the US would have only itself to blame. From Conn Hallinan at counterpunch.org:

Photo by Freedom House | CC BY 2.0

An unusual triple alliance is emerging from the Syrian war, one that could alter the balance of power in the Middle East, unhinge the NATO alliance, and complicate the Trump administration’s designs on Iran. It might also lead to yet another double cross of one of the region’s largest ethnic groups, the Kurds.

However, the “troika alliance”—Turkey, Russia and Iran—consists of three countries that don’t much like one another, have different goals, and whose policies are driven by a combination of geo-global goals and internal politics.  In short, “fragile and complicated” doesn’t even begin to describe it.

How the triad might be affected by the joint U.S., French and British attack on Syria is unclear, but in the long run the alliance will likely survive the uptick of hostilities.

But common ground was what came out of the April 4 meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Meeting in Ankara, the parties pledged to support the “territorial integrity” of Syria, find a diplomatic end to the war, and to begin a reconstruction of a Syria devastated by seven years of war. While Russia and Turkey explicitly backed the UN-sponsored talks in Geneva, Iran was quiet on that issue, preferring a regional solution without “foreign plans.”

“Common ground,” however, doesn’t mean the members of the “troika” are on the same page.

Turkey’s interests are both internal and external. The Turkish Army is currently conducting two military operations in northern Syria, Olive Branch and Euphrates Shield, aimed at driving the mainly Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) out of land that borders Turkey. But those operations are also deeply entwined with Turkish politics.

Erdogan’s internal support has been eroded by a number of factors:  exhaustion with the ongoing state of emergency imposed following the 2016 attempted coup, a shaky economy, and a precipitous fall in the value of the Turkish pound. Rather than waiting for 2019, Erdogan called for snap elections this past week and beating up on the Kurds is always popular with right-wing Turkish nationalists. Erdogan needs all the votes he can get to imlement his newly minted executive presidency that will give him virtually one-man rule.

To continue reading: The Great Game Comes to Syria

What Will Weapons Inspectors Find in Syria…And Does it Matter? by Ron Paul

The US will bomb when and where it wants, regardless of whether there is or is not conclusive evidence that “justifies” the bombing. From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:

Inspectors from the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have finally arrived in Douma, Syria, to assess whether a gas attack took place earlier this month. It has taken a week for the inspectors to begin their work, as charges were thrown back and forth about who was causing the delay.

Proponents of the US and UK position that Assad used gas in Douma have argued that the Syrian and Russian governments are preventing the OPCW inspectors from doing their work. That, they claim, is all the evidence needed to demonstrate that Assad and Putin have something to hide. But it seems strange that if Syria and Russia wanted to prevent an OPCW inspection of the alleged sites they would have been the ones to request the inspection in the first place.

The dispute was solved just days ago, as the OPCW Director-General released a statement explaining that the delay was due to UN security office concerns for the safety of the inspectors.

We are told that even after the OPCW inspectors collect samples from the alleged attack sites, it will take weeks to determine whether there was any gas or other chemicals released. That means there is very little chance President Trump had “slam dunk” evidence that Assad used gas in Douma earlier this month when he decided to launch a military attack on Syria. To date, the US has presented no evidence of who was responsible or even whether an attack took place at all. Even right up to the US missile strike, Defense Secretary Mattis said he was still looking for evidence.

In a Tweet just days ago, Rep. Thomas Massie expressed frustration that in a briefing to Congress last week the Director of National Intelligence, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Defense “provided zero real evidence” that Assad carried out the attack. Either they have it and won’t share it with Congress, he wrote, or they have nothing. Either way, he added, it’s not good.

We should share Rep. Massie’s concerns.

To continue reading: What Will Weapons Inspectors Find in Syria…And Does it Matter?

The Real War

https://www.theburningplatform.com/2018/04/23/the-real-war/

Lies and Deception in the Failed US Strike on Syria, by Federico Pieraccini

There are all sorts of holes in the US government’s official account of its most recent Syria bombing. From Federico Pieraccini at strategic-culture.org:

At 4am on April 14, the United States, France and the United Kingdom executed a strike on Syria. The Syrian Free Press reported:

US Navy warships in the Red Sea and Air Force B-1B bombers and F-15 and F-16 aircraft rained dozens of ship- and air-launched cruise missiles down on the Syrian capital of Damascus, an airbase outside the city, a so-called chemical weapons storage facility near Homs, and an equipment-storage facility and command post, also near Homs. B1-Bs are typically armed with JASSM cruise missiles, which have a 450 kg warhead and a range of 370 kms. US Navy warships launched Tomahawks, which have 450 kg warheads and an operational range of between 1,300 and 2,500 kms. The British Royal Air Force’s contingent for the assault consisted of four Tornado GR4 ground-attack aircraft armed with the Storm Shadow long-range air-to-ground missile, which the UK’s Defense Ministry said targeted ‘chemical weapons sites’ in Homs. These weapons have a range of 400 kms. Finally, France sent its Aquitaine frigate, armed with SCALP naval land-attack cruise missiles (SCALP is the French military’s name for the Storm Shadow), as well as several Dassault Rafale fighters, also typically armed with SCALP or Apache cruise missiles. According to the Russian defense ministry, the B-1Bs also fired GBU-38 guided air bombs. Undoubtedly weary of the prospect of having their aircraft shot down after Israel lost one of its F-16s over Syria in February, the Western powers presumably launched their weapons from well outside the range of Syrian air defenses, with all the targets located just 70-90 kms from the Mediterranean Sea, and having to fly through Lebanon first.

Recapping the information on the strike, the US and its allies used the following assets:

● 2 destroyers (USS Laboon, USS Higgins)

● 1 US cruiser (USS Monterey)

● 1 French frigate (Georges Leygues)

● 5 Rafale jets

● 4 Mirage 2000-5F

● 4 British Tornado fighter-bombers

● Virginia-class submarine USS John Warner

● 2 US B-1B bombers

Their ordnance brought to bear consisted of the following:

● The cruiser Monterey launched 30 Tomahawk missiles

● The destroyer Higgins 23 Tomahawks

● The destroyer Laboon 7 Tomahawks

● The submarine John Warner 6 Tomahawks

● 2 B-1 bombers 21 JASSM missiles

● 4 British Tornado GR4 fighter bombers 16 Storm-shadow missiles.

● The French Languedoc fired 3 MdCN land-attack missiles.

The US Pentagon reports the strike group targeted:

– 76 missiles at the Barzah research center in Damascus:

(Source)

– 22 missiles at an undefined “chemical” structure:

(Source)

– 7 missiles against an undefined “chemical bunker”:

(Source)

To continue reading: Lies and Deception in the Failed US Strike on Syria

Trump’s Deal With the Deep State, by Bill Bonner

Fake wars are everywhere. From Bill Bonner at bonnerandpartners.com:

A cigarette that bears a lipstick’s traces

An airline ticket to romantic places

– Billie Holiday, “These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You)”

BALTIMORE – South Beach…

Last week, we were sitting in the hotel restaurant in Miami Beach having breakfast…

A man – about 30 – was leaning on the counter. His dirty pants were falling down. He wore a black t-shirt with a skeleton on it. He put his head down on the counter… and said something incomprehensible.

He got a cup of coffee… and staggered over to a chair and flopped down, talking to himself.

After a few minutes, he got up. He clutched his pants, which were almost around his knees. He wobbled. He lurched. He headed for the door and disappeared out through it.

Then, a woman… voluptuous… pretty… dressed in white jeans, with a very low-cut t-shirt came in the same door.

She looked in our direction. She said something. We couldn’t make it out… Was she asking the time of day? Directions? We smiled.

She came towards us and sat down next to us on the couch.

She whispered…

“Would you like a massage?”

Two young men came in. Shorts. T-shirts. Almost identical outfits. But one wore his baseball cap backwards. They held hands. Smiled at each other. They got cappuccinos.

They left.

South Beach.

Deceit and Delusion

But now, we are back in Baltimore, visiting our new granddaughter. Then, we’ll be off again, back to Ireland.

There was a time when we looked forward to traveling. Buying an airline ticket to a romantic place promised a thrill, an adventure… and a learning experience.

Now, we’d rather stay home. But now, the cost of not traveling is higher than the benefit of staying home. We’re taking care of business, in other words. And as business has grown, so has the need to take care of it.

But let’s turn to our familiar beat – the world of money. Or, more particularly, the world of deceit and delusion known as “economics.” Unromantic. Tawdry. But fascinating.

Staged Revenge

When we left off last week, we were looking at fake wars. As you know, these are wars that no one wants to win, since their real purpose is to shift wealth from the public to the war-fighting industries.

Our point was that even fake wars sometimes spin out of control – when people forget what kind of war they’re fighting, for example.

Early in the week, U.S. president Donald J. Trump was taking the trade war far too seriously. Then, his Deep State handlers must have straightened him out on that; before the week was over, he declared that he wanted to get back into the Trans-Pacific Partnership!

To continue reading: Trump’s Deal With the Deep State

Did the West Just Lose World War III by Forfeit? by James George Jatras

The declare-victory-and-go-home option is looking better and better in Syria. From James George Jatras at strategic-culture.org:

In the fall of the year 1480, at a point not far from Moscow, two armies faced each other on the opposite banks of the Ugra River.

On the one side were the forces of the Grand Duchy of Moscow, whose ruler, Grand Prince Ivan III (known as “the Great” and the “gatherer of the Russian lands”), had recently rejected further payment of tribute to the Great Horde.

On the other were the forces of Grand Khan Ahmed bin Küchük, who had come to lay waste to Moscow and instruct the impudent Prince Ivan to mend his ways.

For weeks the two assembled hosts glared at one another, each wary of crossing the water and becoming vulnerable to attack by the other. In the end, as though heeding the same inaudible signal, both withdrew and hastily returned home.

Thus ended more than two centuries of the Tatar-Mongol yoke upon the land of the Rus’.

Was this event, which came to be known as “the great standing on the Ugra River,” a model of what happened in Syria last week?

Almost immediately upon reports of the staged chemical attack in Douma on April 7, speculation began as to the likely response from the west – which in reality meant from the United States, in turn meaning from President Donald J. Trump. Would Trump, who had repeatedly spoken harshly of his predecessors’ destructive and pointless misadventures in the Middle East, and who just days earlier had signaled his determination to withdraw the several thousand Americans (illegally) stationed in Syria, see through the obvious deception?

Or, whether or not he really believed the patently untrue accusations of Syrian (and Russian) culpability, would Trump take punitive action against Syria? And if so, would it be a demonstrative pinprick of the sort inflicted almost exactly a year earlier in punishment for an obvious false flag chemical attack in Idlib? Or would we see something more “robust” (a word much beloved of laptop bombardiers in Washington) aimed at teaching a lesson to both Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his ally, Prince Ivan III’s obstreperous heir Russian President Vladimir Putin?

To continue reading: Did the West Just Lose World War III by Forfeit?