Category: Psy – Ops

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NATO member Turkey has "temporarily" suspended air strikes against Islamic State targets in Syria, local media report© Provided by AFP NATO member Turkey has “temporarily” suspended air strikes against Islamic State targets in Syria, local media report


Turkey ‘temporarily’ suspends Syria air strikes after Russia spat


NATO member Turkey has “temporarily” suspended air strikes against Islamic State targets in Syria after the downing of a Russian warplane on the Syrian border sparked a major row with Moscow, local media reported on Friday.Turkish F-16 jets on Tuesday shot down a Russian warplane which Ankara said had breached its air space. Russia on Thursday vowed to carry out broad retaliatory measures against Turkey’s economy.Turkey, a member of a US-led coalition fighting IS, has halted air raids against the group in Syria in order to avoid any further crises, the Hurriyet newspaper reported.


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Global Post

Agence France -Presse

Turkey denies suspending Syria air strikes after Russia crisis

Turkey denied Friday it had suspended air strikes against Islamic State targets in Syria after the downing of a Russian warplane on the Syrian border.

Turkish F-16 jets on Tuesday shot down a Russian warplane which Ankara said had breached its air space.

The Hurriyet newspaper said Turkey, a member of a US-led coalition fighting IS, had “temporarily” halted air raids against the group in Syria in order to avoid any further crises.

“Both sides agreed to act cautiously until they re-establish dialogue channels to reduce tensions,” the paper said, citing security sources.

But a government official denied that strikes had been halted.

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25.11.2015 Author: F. William Engdahl

Israeli Colonel Caught with IS Pants Down




This was definitely not supposed to happen. It seems that an Israeli military man with the rank of colonel was “caught with IS pants down.” By that I mean he was captured amid a gaggle of so-called IS–or Islamic State or ISIS or DAESH depending on your preference–terrorists, by soldiers of the Iraqi army. Under interrogation by the Iraqi intelligence he apparently said a lot regarding the role of Netanyahu’s IDF in supporting IS.

In late October an Iranian news agency, quoting a senior Iraqi intelligence officer, reported the capture of an Israeli army colonel, named Yusi Oulen Shahak, reportedly related to the ISIS Golani Battalion operating in Iraq in the Salahuddin front. In a statement to Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency a Commander of the Iraqi Army stated, “The security and popular forces have held captive an Israeli colonel.” He added that the IDF colonel “had participated in the Takfiri ISIL group’s terrorist operations.” He said the colonel was arrested together with a number of ISIL or IS terrorists, giving the details: “The Israeli colonel’s name is Yusi Oulen Shahak and is ranked colonel in Golani Brigade… with the security and military code of Re34356578765az231434.”

Why Israel?

Ever since the beginning of Russia’s very effective IS bombing of select targets in Syria on September 30, details of the very dirty role of not only Washington, but also NATO member Turkey under President Erdogan, Qatar and other states has come into the sunlight for the first time.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that at least a faction in the Obama Administration has played a very dirty behind-the-scenes role in supporting IS in order to advance the removal of Syrian President Bashar al Assad and pave the way for what inevitably would be a Libya-style chaos and destruction which would make the present Syrian refugee crisis in Europe a mere warmup by comparison.

The “pro-IS faction” in Washington includes the so-called neo-conservatives centered around disgraced former CIA head and executioner of the Iraqi “surge” General David Petraeus. It also includes US General John R. Allen, who since September 2014 had served as President Obama’s Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) and, until she resigned in February 2013, it included Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Significantly, General John Allen, an unceasing advocate of a US-led “No Fly Zone” inside Syria along the border to Turkey, something President Obama refused, was relieved of his post on 23 October, 2015. That was shortly after launch of the highly-effective Russian strikes on Syrian IS and Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra Front terrorist sites changed the entire situation in the geopolitical picture of Syria and the entire Middle East.

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New York Post


Hillary Clinton’s plan to fight ISIS is like Obama’s — only more so

Hillary Clinton’s plan to fight ISIS is like Obama’s — only more so

If you like President Obama’s “plan” to fight ISIS, you’ll just love Hillary Clinton’s.

Clinton wants to defeat the jihadis by relying pretty much on the same lame steps Obama has — only more so.

The Democratic presidential front-runner laid out her ideas Thursday at the Council on Foreign Relations in what was billed as a major policy speech. Alas, it offered far more rhetoric than substance.

Even Hillary herself admitted, in a question-and-answer session afterward, that her proposal is but “an intensification, an acceleration” of the failed Obama strategy.

Yes, she called for more airstrikes, a no-fly zone over Syria and boots on the ground. But it’s plain she’d have non-US forces do the heavy lifting in many of these areas.



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Democratic Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign rally in Alexandria, Virginia on October 23, 2015

Clinton Plan to Fight ISIL ‘All Rhetoric, No Strategy’ – Ex-US Ambassador

© AFP 2015/ Andrew Caballero-Reynolds


06:27 25.11.2015

US Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s plan to destroy the Islamic State, announced last Thursday, is a reheat of neo-conservative rhetoric and lacking any strategy whatsoever, former US Ambassador Chas Freeman told Sputnik.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On the same day Clinton offered her proposed strategy to fight the Islamic State, her chief challenger for the nomination, US Senator Bernie Sanders, offered a different plan advocating close cooperation between the United States, Russia and major Muslim nations.

“‘Hillary’s plan’ is all rhetoric and no strategy. As such, it is hard to distinguish it from the bellicose pronouncements of our nation’s neo-conservative pundits,” Freeman, former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia and a past president of the Middle East Policy Council, said.

Clinton wanted to repeat over Syria the policies she adopted as secretary of state to topple Libya’s long-time leader Muammar Gadhafi, not realizing that conditions were very different, Freeman argued.

“Ms. Clinton essentially proposes a replay of Libya, an example of the use of force that few, if any other than she, find inspiring. As she did in Libya, she proposes airstrikes and a ‘no-fly zone’ — a purely military approach aimed at regime change with a proven record of producing disasters,” he said.

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Hmmmm,  last I checked the sovereign Nation of Syria had invited only two countries to enter and assist in the eradication of ISIS .  Russia and Iran.

It is curious  that in the short time period that Russia has been involved they have done more to eradicate the scourge infecting Syria than the US had done  in the two years it has been leading this  alleged ‘anti-ISIS’ coalition.

So my question is  what right  does the US have to stipulate any demands  or requirements  of Russia? When they have been invited by a  sovereign Nation.  The  US, however, has basically entered said  sovereign Nation of it’s own accord to tell them who should be in charge.

Not to mention claiming victories  against ISIS  while using videos of  airstrikes that are  essentially  Russian. Making it very clear that the  US  has no footage to backup their claims.  Quite the contrary they have been accused of  not only backing  ISIS  but having created it.

The Russian campaign in Syria has brought to light just how inept the alleged US led  campaign truly is.  As well as the discrepancies in the reports given by US officials.  For the most part fairy tales and fabrication!

Essentially waging war without declaring war on Syria itself! 


What unmitigated audacity!




Russia ‘must change strategy’ in Syria if it wants to join US-led ‘anti-ISIS’ coalition – State Dept

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby. © Alex Wong


Russia is not welcome to join the US-led coalition in Syria, as France has proposed, until it changes its “focus” and stops “propping up” President Assad, the US State Department said. Yet, Washington continues to insist their goal isn’t defeating Assad.

“If other nations not in the coalition [the US-led coalition] want to join it and become part of it and focus on the fight against ISIL [Islamic State/IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL] that’s a conversation we’re certainly willing to have,” US State Department spokesperson John Kirby said.

An appeal to expand the US-led coalition fighting Islamic State came from French President Francois Hollande three days after deadly attacks in Paris a week ago. Stating that “France is at war,” Hollande called for the creation of a “large coalition,” which could unite forces with Russia “to achieve a result that has taken too long.”

READ MORE: ‘For Paris!’ Revenge messages on ISIS-bound Russian bombs

The grand coalition is going to be the focus of separate talks President Hollande will have with his American and Russian counterparts in coming days. The French leader is expected to hold talks in Washington on November 24 and in Moscow on November 26.

However, the US State Department says that Russia’s involvement in the coalition would depend on Moscow’s “commitment.”

“But in order for that to work, every member of the coalition has to have the same focus on defeating ISIL, and thus far we, talking about Russia, haven’t seen that same commitment,” Kirby said, referring to Russia’s support for the Syrian President Bashar Assad. “It’s inconsistent with the goals of the coalition, which is to defeat ISIL, if you’re also propping up the Assad regime.”



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New Eastern Outlook

Why Qatar Wants “to Make Friends” With Russia



As it has been reported, the leaders of the International Union of Muslim Scholars drafted an open letter, stating that they “share a positive attitude towards the Russian Federation, which supports the Arabs and Muslims today.” Moreover, the letter states that if any any decision is to be made in relation to the Russian Federation, those making the decision must first consult Russia’s Islamic theologians. The letter is truly unique, in fact, it says that the International Union of Muslim Scholars supports the actions of the Russian authorities in Syria. If there is at least a couple of sincere words in this letter, then means a lot, especially if one is to remember that the headquarters of this organization are located in Doha – the capital of Qatar, a Wahhabi state. Moreover, the letter states that the fate of Bashar al-Assad should be decided by the Syrian people themselves.

It would be an understatement to say that it’s an unusual step, since this International Union is one of the most influential and authoritative Muslim organization in the world that brings together Sunni Muslims, Shia Muslims, and even Ibadi Muslim, that are generally residing in Oman. There’s at least 90 thousands of prominent Muslim scholars to be found in the ranks of this Union, including more than 40 of the most authoritative Russian theologians – those are muftis and rectors of the Islamic institutions of the North Caucasus and Volga regions. So, it’s a truly influential organization.

But one thing should be remembered all along – the president of the International Union of Muslim Scholars is Yusuf al-Qaradawi, and he’s the spiritual and ideological leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, which remain the largest association of radical Islamists in the whole world. In 1963 the then president of Egypt Gamal Abdel Nasser expelled Yusuf al-Qaradawi from Egypt for attempts to undermine the ruling regime. But the radical scholar wasn’t wondering the world for long, since he found refuge in Qatar – the Wahhabi emirate. Yusuf al-Qaradawi was the spiritual leader and the ideological mastermind of all the Arab “revolutions” –  Egyptian, Libyan, Syrian and Yemeni. It was he, together with the former Prime Minister of Qatar Hamad bin Jassim, to organize in 2011 an assault on the Russian ambassador to Doha, since Russia’s envoy exposed his vicious policies of encouraging the Arab revolutions.

Largely due Qaradawi’s influence on the former emir of Qatar, that now has been surpassed by the influence he has on the sitting Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Doha has been fomenting and financing the wave of the Arab “Springs” and, despite all the recent changes in the situation in Syria, it continues supporting the terrorist group that goes under the name Jabhat al-Nusra. What is curious is that after Russian intervenion in Syria Sheikh Yusuf urged Muslims around the world to wage a “jihad” against Russia, and now we witness a complete reversal of his policies.

Many analysts have immediately noted that we are witnessing an incredibly positive phenomenon, almost a complete change Qaradawi’s mentality. But is there any change at all? It’s obvious that a leopard cannot change its spots.

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Moon of Alabama


November 20, 2015

U.S. media can not agree with itself if Russia is giving ISIS an airforce or if Russia pounds ISIS with the biggest bomber raid in decades. Such confusion occurs when propaganda fantasies collide with the observable reality.

To bridge such divide requires some fudging.

So when the U.S. claims to act against the finances of the Islamic State while not doing much, the U.S Public Broadcasting Service has to use footage of Russian airstrikes against the Islamic State while reporting claimed U.S. airstrike successes.

The U.S. military recently claimed to have hit Islamic State oil tankers in Syria. This only after Putin embarrassed Obama at the G-20 meeting in Turkey. Putin showed satellite pictures of ridiculous long tanker lines waiting for days and weeks to load oil from the Islamic State without any U.S. interference.

The U.S. then claimed to have hit 116 oil tankers while the Russian air force claims to have hit 500. But there is an important difference between these claims. The Russians provided videos showing how their airstrikes hit at least two different very large oil tanker assemblies with hundreds of tankers in each. They also provided video of several hits on oil storage sites and refinery infrastructure.

I have found no video of U.S. hits on Islamic State oil tanker assemblies.

The U.S. PBS NewsHour did not find any either.


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What’s made IS one of the richest terrorist armies ever?




Published on Nov 19, 2015

How does the Islamic State militant group make money to fund its operations? A key source is oil extraction, which has helped make the group one of the richest terrorist armies in history. Economics correspondent Paul Solman takes a look at the Islamic State’s revenue sources, while William Brangham learns more from Cam Simpson of Bloomberg Businessweek.



Just check out and compare the time line recorded on the top right hand side of the  airstrike footage and you will see that  at  14:03:55 at 0:57 on the RT video and  at 2:36 on the PBS video  both show the bombing of the same  exact  tankers at exactly the same time.  And again 13:49:07 can be seen at 0:45 on the PBS video and at1:43 on the RT video. Not to  mention the Cyrillic characters on the targeting screen (green letters down sides).  Really ?

Now what are the chances  that these were being  filmed at the same exact  time on the same exact day, with the same exact interface markers?

So if the US did indeed bomb 116 tankers where is the American footage?



Combat Cam: Russian jets destroy ISIS oil refinery & tanker trucks in Syria





Published on Nov 18, 2015

Russian Air Force jets carried out airstrikes against an oil refinery controlled by Islamic State in Syria on Wednesday and destroyed around 500 fuel tanker vehicles transporting illegal oil from Syria to Iraq. READ MORE:




 And no one can say that RT was using American footage because in the  following video they credit the  US  with the  alleged 116 tankers  that they claim to have blown up.


Oil on Fire: Russian jets destroy ISIS refineries, trucks and wells





Published on Nov 19, 2015

Russia has stepped up its air strikes on Islamic state over the last few days. It’s now targeting the transport of the oil which brings in much of ISIS funding . Let’s get more from RT’s Lizzie Phelan in Damascus. Moscow is currently hosting an international energy forum. Economist Constantin Gurdgiev is there at the moment – let’s cross live to him.




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Some governors say they won't accept Syrian refugees
Some governors say they won’t accept Syrian refugees 02:34

Story highlights

  • “The certification requirement … is untenable and would provide no meaningful additional security for the American people,” the White House said
  • The refugee issue has emerged as a key political issue in the wake of last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris

Washington (CNN)President Barack Obama on Wednesday vowed to veto a GOP-drafted bill that would suspend the program allowing Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the U.S. until key national security agencies certify they don’t pose a security risk.

“The certification requirement at the core of H.R. 4038 is untenable and would provide no meaningful additional security for the American people, instead serving only to create significant delays and obstacles in the fulfillment of a vital program that satisfies both humanitarian and national security objectives,” the White House said in a statement.

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Could the government shut down over refugees?

Story highlights

  • President Barack Obama and House Democrats said they would oppose a GOP-drafted bill to suspend the program allowing Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the U.S. until key national security agencies certify they don’t pose a security risk
  • The deadline to reach a spending deal is December 11, and the refugee issue could make it more difficult to reach an accord

Washington (CNN)The “je suis Paris” mood didn’t last long in Washington.

House Speaker Paul Ryan called for a bipartisan response to the ISIS terrorist attacks in France, but President Barack Obama and House Democrats said they would oppose a GOP-drafted bill to suspend the program allowing Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the U.S. until key national security agencies certify they don’t pose a security risk.

The White House Wednesday afternoon said Obama would veto the bill, saying the certification requirement is “untenable and would provide no meaningful additional security for the American people, instead serving only to create significant delays and obstacles in the fulfillment of a vital program that satisfies both humanitarian and national security objectives.”

White House issues veto threat over refugee bill

The battle over what to do about the program, and whether it should continue receiving federal money, could trigger what Ryan was hoping to avoid — another government shutdown.

Ryan made a rare floor speech on Wednesday arguing that the legislation the House would take up on Thursday was a reasonable response to concerns about new attacks. He distanced himself from some Republican presidential candidates who have urged that the U.S. refuse asylum for Muslim refugees.

“We will not have a religious test, only a security test,” Ryan said.

The House Republican proposal would halt the program permitting refugees fleeing war in Iraq and Syria to enter the United States until the Secretary of Homeland Security signs off that those applying to come in do not have ties to terrorism. The proposal also requires that the FBI certify that those applying to enter the U.S. have had background checks, and that federal agencies regularly report to Congress about those who were vetted.

Obama’s vocal criticism of Republicans pushing for restrictions in the refugee program seemed to deepen the divide on Capitol Hill, and even take some Democrats aback.

While traveling through Turkey and the Philippines, the President called some GOP suggestions about the program “offensive” and ripped those warning that allowing those refugees fleeing the war posed a threat.

“Apparently, they are scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America,” Obama said, responding to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who said he would refuse entry of a 5-year-old Syrian orphan into the United States. “At first, they were too scared of the press being too tough on them in the debates. Now they are scared of 3-year-old orphans. That doesn’t seem so tough to me.”

Obama slams Republicans over refugee stance

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, said the President’s partisan rhetoric “went over the line.”

“I haven’t called for a halt or a moratorium. So I’m sympathetic to the administration’s position here,” Flake said. “But instead of blaming people or assuming people are bigots, come out and explain what the vetting process is and I think people will feel more comfortable.”

House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul of Texas pointed out it was concerns raised by officials from the FBI and Homeland Security that prompted the legislation he drafted with Rep. Richard Hudson, R-North Carolina.

“It’s not me making this up,” McCaul said.

In its veto threat, the White House added, “No refugee is approved for travel to the United States under the current system until the full array of required security vetting measures have been completed. Thus, the substantive result sought through this draft legislation is already embedded into the program.”

Read More and Watch Video  Here


Obama threatens to veto House Republican bill on Syrian refugees

November 19, 2015, 2:29 am 3

Syrian refugee children look from their tent during a visit by UN humanitarian chief Stephen O'Brien to the Zaatari Refugee Camp, near Mafraq, Jordan, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh)

Syrian refugee children look from their tent during a visit by UN humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien to the Zaatari Refugee Camp, near Mafraq, Jordan, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House on Wednesday threatened a presidential veto of House Republican legislation aimed at increasing screenings for Syrian and Iraqi refugees before they enter the United States, calling new requirements in the bill “untenable.”

The legislation, which sets high hurdles for refugee admissions, including FBI background checks and individual sign-offs by top federal officials, “would provide no meaningful additional security for the American people, instead serving only to create significant delays and obstacles in the fulfillment of a vital program that satisfies both humanitarian and national security objectives,” the White House said.

President Barack Obama would veto the legislation if it reaches his desk, the statement concluded.

Republican leaders, eager to respond quickly to Friday’s terror attacks in Paris, had described the bill as a middle-ground approach. It institutes tough new screening requirements, but steers clear of demands from some Republicans, including presidential candidates, for religious questioning or a complete end to the US refugee program.

“This is common sense. And it’s our obligation,” Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin said on the House floor ahead of the veto threat. “If the intelligence and law-enforcement community cannot certify that a person presents no threat, then they should not be allowed in.”

In the Senate, lawmakers emerging from a closed-door briefing with administration officials Wednesday night said Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Republican Sen. Jeff Flake planned to introduce a bill that would restrict visas for any individual who had been in Iraq or Syria in the past five years.


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Strategic Culture
                      ONLINE JOURNAL


Uprising against Assad was Engineered in Washington

Eric ZUESSE | 10.11.2015 | 00:02








A terrific news report by Jonathan Marshall at Consortium News provides the first-ever presentation in the West of the event that sparked the demonstrations that sparked the Syrian civil war, and of the entire origin of that war.

Unlike so many online ‘news’ reports that are merely authoritarian trash because they don’t link to any of their sources (they rely instead upon dumb readers’ faith or trust in the ‘reporter’ or in the publisher, such as The New York Times or Fox News), this one from Marshall is top-notch: not only does it provide intelligently skeptical readers with instantaneous access to documentation for each one of its key points, but those sources are credible ones. Taken all together, the sources, and Marshall’s presentation of them, constitute a solid historical account of how the war to bring down Syria’s leader, Bashar al-Assad, actually started. It didn’t start by Assad’s dumping (as U.S. President Barack Obama loves to claim) “barrel bombs,” upon merely peaceful protesters in Syria. It started actually in Washington, years before that. The Obama Administration itself was taking advantage of not only the “Arab Spring” protests throughout much of the Arab world, but, specifically, of an ongoing economic catastrophe in Syria that had started five years before the anti-Assad demonstrations did: an extended drought. Here is how the source that Marshall linked to describes it, two years before the “Arab Spring” even began:

In the past three years, 160 Syrian farming villages have been abandoned near Aleppo as crop failures have forced over 200,000 rural Syrians to leave for the cities. This news is distressing enough, but when put into a long-term perspective, its implications are staggering: many of these villages have been continuously farmed for 8000 years.

That source had been published on 16 January 2010. The drought continued on; the situation only got even worse right into 2011 and up through the public demonstrations in Aleppo that started the war. There were no “barrel bombs” then. There was instead surging economic dislocation. Obama merely took advantage of it. He knew that it was coming, and he planned so as to exploit it.

In fact, a wikileaked confidential 26 November 2008 cable from the U.S. Embassy in Damascus to the CIA and other associated agencies referred to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization by saying:



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Hidden Origins of Syria’s Civil War

Exclusive: In the early months of the Syrian civil war, the West’s mainstream media presented the conflict as a simple case of good-guy protesters vs. bad-guy government, but the conflict was more complicated than that and the one-sided version only made matters worse, writes Jonathan Marshall.

By Jonathan Marshall

Since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, nearly a quarter million people have perished and fully half of the country’s inhabitants have been forced from their homes, creating the worst refugee crisis in the past quarter century. Meanwhile, the continuing advance of brutal Islamist factions — which a leading CIA officer in 2013 termed the “top current threat to U.S. national security” — makes the chances of restoring peace and human rights seem more remote than ever.

Many parties are to blame, but certainly among them are interventionists in the United States and its allies who rationalized supporting the Islamist opposition — and refusing to embrace serious peace negotiations — on the grounds that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a uniquely evil dictator. That image of Assad grew directly out of his regime’s brutal response to civilian protests that began in early 2011, soon after the start of the Arab Spring.

A scene of destruction after an aerial bombing in Azaz, Syria, Aug. 16, 2012. (U.S. government photo)

A scene of destruction after an aerial bombing in Azaz, Syria, Aug. 16, 2012. (U.S. government photo)

Summarizing the conventional wisdom, the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect notes that “The crisis in Syria was prompted by protests in mid-March 2011 calling for the release of political prisoners. National security forces responded to widespread, initially peaceful demonstrations with brutal violence. From summer 2011 onwards, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad refused to halt attacks and implement the meaningful reforms demanded by protestors. In July 2011, accounts emerged from witnesses, victims, the media, and civil society that government forces had subjected civilians to arbitrary detention, torture, and the deployment and use of heavy artillery.”

That August, following critical reports about the regime’s crimes, President Barack Obama joined European leaders in demanding that Assad “face the reality of the complete rejection of his regime by the Syrian people” and “step aside.” Washington imposed new economic sanctions, prompting Syria’s U.N. Ambassador Bashar al-Jaafari to assert that the United States “is launching a humanitarian and diplomatic war against us.”


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U.S. bombers flew near Chinese-built island in South China Sea – Pentagon

By Yeganeh Torbati and David Alexander

Subi reef, located in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, is shown in this handout Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative satellite image taken August 8, 2012, and released to Reuters October 27, 2015.
© Reuters/CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/DigitalGlobe/Handout via Reuters Subi reef, located in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, is shown in this handout Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Asia Maritime Transparency…

WASHINGTON, Nov 12 (Reuters) – Two U.S. B-52 strategic bombers flew near artificial Chinese-built islands in the South China Sea this week and were contacted by Chinese ground controllers but continued their mission undeterred, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

The latest U.S. patrol in the disputed South China Sea occurred in advance of President Barack Obama’s visit to the region next week to attend Asia-Pacific summits where he is expected the reassert Washington’s commitment to freedom of navigation and overflight in the area.

China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion in global trade passes every year, and the United States has said it will continue conducting patrols to assure unimpeded passage. Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan have rival claims in the region.

In the latest mission, which occurred overnight on Nov. 8-9, the bombers flew “in the area” of the Spratly Islands but did not come within the 12-nautical-mile zones that China claims as territory around islands it has built in the chain, said Commander Bill Urban, a Pentagon spokesman.

“The B-52s were on a routine mission in the SCS (South China Sea),” taking off from and returning to Guam, Urban said.

Chinese ground controllers contacted the bombers but the aircraft continued their mission unabated, Urban said.


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Putin: US missile defense aimed at neutralizing Russia nukes, N. Korea & Iran just a cover

Russian President Vladimir Putin. © Alexei Druzhinin
Vladimir Putin said the US is trying to “neutralize Russia’s nuclear potential” with its on-going deployment of a missile defense shield in Europe. The Russian president has promised a response.

“References to Iran and North Korea nuclear threats are just a cover for the true purpose [of NATO missile defense]. That is to neutralize the potential of other nuclear states not the US or its allies – primarily Russia,” Putin said during a meeting in Sochi dedicated to national military development. “The US is attempting to achieve strategic military superiority, with all the consequences that entails.”

Vladimir Putin has reminded that Iran reached a landmark nuclear deal with world powers in July. The agreement would remove sanctions that have crippled its economy, in exchange for severe restrictions on Tehran’s nuclear program.

Russia has been repeatedly told Iran is the main threat.

“Now, the Iranian problem is off the table – treaties have been signed and ratified. Yet, the work on missile defense continues, as before,” Putin said.

The Russian leader promised Russia would take the “necessary measures to respond by strengthening its own missile defense.”

“And at the first stage we are also going to develop strike weapons that can penetrate any missile defense shield.”


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