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Pro-Assad alliance warns US military to stop attacking Syria or else face retaliation

Pro-Assad alliance threatens to hit American positions in Syria if they continue to attack Syrian forces.

Alex Christoforou

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Russia has condemned yesterday’s US attack on a convoy of Syrian Arab Army and allied forces in southern Syria.

The Duran reported

Russia criticised the United States for claiming that the Syrians encroached on a de-escalation zone when no such thing happened. In reality, the United States unilaterally decided to name one of it’s zones of occupation in southern Syria as a de-escalation   zone without approval of Syria or the Astana group whose responsibility it is to police and oversee the legitimate de-escalation zones in the country.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the attack was,

“…an aggressive act, that violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic and – deliberately or not – targeted the forces which are most effective in fighting terrorists on the ground”.

Now, one day after American warplanes bombed forces in Syria fighting ISIS on the ground, the military alliance in support of Assad said it could hit U.S. positions in Syria, warning that its “self-restraint” over U.S. air strikes on government forces would end if Washington crossed “red lines”, according to Reuters.

The statement was issued in the name of the “commander of the operations room of the forces allied to Syria”, and was circulated by a military news unit run by Hezbollah, one of Assad’s military allies in Lebanon…

“America knows well that the blood of the sons of Syria, the Syrian Arab Army, and its allies is not cheap, and the capacity to strike their positions in Syria, and their surroundings, is available when circumstances will it.”

“Such attacks could be carried out with different missile and military systems, in the light of the deployment of American forces in the region”.

Zerohedge reports

The statement also warned that the silence of “the allies of Syria” thus far was not a sign of weakness but “an exercise in self-restraint” to allow for “other solutions”.

“This will not last if America goes further, and crosses the red lines,” it said.

The stark warning by Syria, the first of its kind, which was struck by a volley of ballistic missiles launched by the Trump administration in early April, marks an escalation of tensions between the United States and Iran-backed forces over control of Syria’s southeastern frontier with Iraq, where the United States has been training Syrian rebels at a base inside Syrian territory.

While Assad’s allies also include Iran and Russia, the statement did not spell out whether Moscow was a signatory to it Reuters added.

The US strike on Syrian forces came on the same day U.S. and coalition aircraft were busy supporting thousands of Syrian Arab and Kurdish forces assaulting the de-facto Islamic State capital of Raqqa, the terrorist group’s last urban stronghold in what is left of its “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria.

The Raqqa assault comes even as U.S. officials acknowledge that most of the Islamic State’s leadership has already fled the city for the more isolated Euphrates River valley running from the city east to the Iraqi border. But military planners have stuck with plans drawn up under the Obama administration and continued under President Donald Trump, predicated on the fall of Mosul and Raqqa before launching an effort to push the terror group out of the valley and Deir Ezzor province.

U.S. officials view the Iranian movement near al Tanf, in the extreme south of Syria, as a probing action to test the U.S.-trained forces there, and possibly act as a blocking force to prevent them from moving north to Deir Ezzor, according to FP. The Syrian regime wants to eventually retake the province, and Iran views the province and the river valley as a vital conduit to maintain influence from Iraq, through Syria and into Lebanon.

 

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Theresa May steers UK towards hardest BREXIT or nullification of referendum (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 35.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at the tragedy that has fallen up May’s disastrous Brexit deal. The UK Prime Minister has now delayed a critical Brexit vote well past the new year, as she runs to Brussels to seek “assurances” from EU oligarchs.

Meanwhile in a stunning decision that is sure to be leveraged by multiple EU member states, the European Court of Justice has ruled that Britain is free to revoke Brexit unilaterally.

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As Zerohedge reports, ‘Meanwhile In Brexit… Total Chaos’:


It has been a furiously chaotic day for Brexit developments, which considering the “organized” nature of the process to date, is saying something.

Just a few hours after the embattled U.K. prime minister announced to the House of Commons she would “unexpectedly” delay the critical Brexit vote – facing certain and humiliating defeat – and return to Brussels to seek “assurances” from European Union leaders, the fate of any upcoming votes to ratify the deal is now in limbo.

As ITV’s Richard Peston reported, “it appears that UK PM May could keep the current talks with EU going well past January 21st “perhaps right up to Brexit day 29 March, and avoid any parliamentary Brexit vote,” effectively eliminating a popular vote of disapproval for her process.

That, as Bloomberg notes, raises the prospect that May will be back in Parliament in January with virtually the same deal, relying on tanking markets, a crashing pound and frightening no-deal preparations – including even more doomsday rhetoric from the Bank of England – to convince lawmakers to back her. Sadly for May, the parliamentary arithmetic won’t have changed, as only an election can do that. And an election is out of the question as May will almost certainly lose her job, potentially resetting the Brexit process back to square one (or perhaps minus one).

Meanwhile, with the Brexit vote in parliament indefinitely postponed, the UK Parliament will debate the vote delay for three hours on Tuesday according to House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, assuring even more drama and chaos.

The debate was demanded by opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who said May has shown “disregard for Parliament and the rights of this house” by making a “unilateral” decision to delay vote on her Brexit deal. While the debate won’t be binding on May’s government, contributions “will reflect anger” at May avoiding what was predicted to be a heavy defeat of her deal in House of Commons, according to Bloomberg.

Even so, Corbyn won’t table a “no confidence” motion against Theresa May’s government until there’s been a formal vote on the withdrawal agreement, effectively trapping May in a no way out situation.

And while the domestic chaos hit previously unseen levels, in Brussels European Council President Donald Tusk called a leaders’ meeting on Brexit for Thursday, but made it clear that the EU “will not renegotiate the deal” even as he tweeted that “we are ready to discuss how to facilitate ratification.”

Amusingly, it’s not just Europe that refuses to renegotiate the deal: Irish PM Leo Varadkar was also on the tape re-iterating that the deal cannot be renegotiated.

All this is happening as May’s critics hate the agreement she negotiated because, as BBG notes, they think she’s allowing the U.K. to be trapped in the EU’s orbit indefinitely – a situation they consider even worse than current membership.

To that end, the Daily Mail’s tweeted that Brexiteers claim to have heard of “a couple more” letters of no confidence in Theresa May going in tonight, which means that should the total surpass 48, May’s cabinet may fall even before a vote in Parliament is held… if one is held to begin with.

If that wasn’t enough, juggling a seemingly infinite number of variables, May said the government will step up preparations in case Britain does crash out of the bloc on March 29, which is less than 4 months from now. She once again brought up the threat of no-deal – the worse-case scenario for business – as a weapon to try and bring rebellious Conservatives on both sides of the Brexit debate into line.

To be sure, as the Brexit chaos hits previously unimaginable levels, traders no longer are able to follow every twist and turn in this melodramatic tragicomedy, and appears to be resigned to just sell the pound as it now appears that the only thing that can get the pound to surge – i.e., get a Brexit deal – is if the pound first crash. It did so today, with sterling hit the lowest since April as the market either judged that the risk of no-deal Brexit has increased, or realized that the only way to get a deal is to scare parliament into voting for May’s deal.

So what happens next? Nobody knows.

As Bloomberg reports when pressed by members of Parliament to tell them when she would bring the deal back, May refused to answer, saying only that Jan. 21 served as a deadline because it’s the date in the law when the government has to report back to Parliament on what it’s doing if there’s no deal.

“The worst case is no vote until January 21,” according to Societe Generale SA strategist Kenneth Broux, adding that the longer it takes, the lower the pound is likely to fall.

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European Court of Justice rules Britain free to revoke Brexit unilaterally

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that Britain can reverse Article 50.

RT

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Via RT…


The UK is free to unilaterally revoke a notification to depart from the EU, the European Court has ruled. The judicial body said this could be done without changing the terms of London’s membership in the bloc.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) opined in a document issued on Monday that Britain can reverse Article 50, which stipulates the way a member state leaves the bloc. The potentially important ruling comes only one day before the House of Commons votes on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal with the EU.

“When a Member State has notified the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the European Union, as the UK has done, that Member State is free to revoke unilaterally that notification,” the court’s decision reads.

By doing so, the respective state “reflects a sovereign decision to retain its status as a Member State of the European Union.”

That said, this possibility remains in place “as long as a withdrawal agreement concluded between the EU and that Member State has not entered into force.” Another condition is: “If no such agreement has been concluded, for as long as the two-year period from the date of the notification of the intention to withdraw from the EU.”

The case was opened when a cross-party group of British politicians asked the court whether an EU member such as the UK can decide on its own to revoke the withdrawal process. It included Labour MEPs Catherine Stihler and David Martin, Scottish MPs Joanna Cherry Alyn Smith, along with Green MSPs Andy Wightman and Ross Greer.

They argued that unilateral revocation is possible and believe it could provide an opening to an alternative to Brexit, namely holding another popular vote to allow the UK to remain in the EU.

“If the UK chooses to change their minds on Brexit, then revoking Article 50 is an option and the European side should make every effort to welcome the UK back with open arms,” Smith, the SNP member, was quoted by Reuters.

However, May’s environment minister, Michael Gove, a staunch Brexit supporter, denounced the ECJ ruling, insisting the cabinet will not reverse its decision to leave. “We will leave on March 29, [2019]” he said, referring to the date set out in the UK-EU Brexit deal.

In the wake of the landmark vote on the Brexit deal, a group of senior ministers threatened to step down en masse if May does not try to negotiate a better deal in Brussels, according to the Telegraph. The ministers demanded that an alternative deal does not leave the UK trapped within the EU customs union indefinitely.

On Sunday, Will Quince resigned as parliamentary private secretary in the Ministry of Defense, saying in a Telegraph editorial that “I do not want to be explaining to my constituents why Brexit is still not over and we are still obeying EU rules in the early 2020s or beyond.”

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Seven Days of Failures for the American Empire

The American-led world system is experiencing setbacks at every turn.

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


On November 25, two artillery boats of the Gyurza-M class, the Berdiansk and Nikopol, one tugboat, the Yany Kapu, as well as 24 crew members of the Ukrainian Navy, including two SBU counterintelligence officers, were detained by Russian border forces. In the incident, the Russian Federation employed Sobol-class patrol boats Izumrud and Don, as  well as two Ka-52, two Su-25 and one Su-30 aircraft.

Ukraine’s provocation follows the advice of several American think-tanks like the Atlantic Council, which have been calling for NATO involvement in the Sea of Azov for months. The area is strategically important for Moscow, which views its southern borders, above all the Sea of Azov, as a potential flash point for conflict due to the Kiev’s NATO-backed provocations.

To deter such adventurism, Moscow has deployed to the Kerch Strait and the surrounding coastal area S-400 batteries, modernized S-300s, anti-ship Bal missile systems, as well as numerous electronic-warfare systems, not to mention the Russian assets and personnel arrayed in the military districts abutting Ukraine. Such provocations, egged on by NATO and American policy makers, are meant to provide a pretext for further sanctions against Moscow and further sabotage Russia’s relations with European countries like Germany, France and Italy, as well as, quite naturally, to frustrate any personal interaction between Trump and Putin.

This last objective seems to have been achieved, with the planned meeting between Trump and Putin at the G20 in Buenos Aires being cancelled. As to the the other objectives, they seem to have failed miserably, with Berlin, Paris and Rome showing no intention of imposing additional sanctions against Russia, recognizing the Ukrainian provocation fow what it is. The intention to further isolate Moscow by the neocons, neoliberals and most of the Anglo-Saxon establishment seems to have failed, demonstrated in Buenos Aires with the meeting between the BRICS countries on the sidelines and the bilateral meetings between Putin and Merkel.

On November 30, following almost two-and-a-half months of silence, the Israeli air force bombed Syria with three waves of cruise missiles. The first and second waves were repulsed over southern Syria, and the third, composed of surface-to-surface missiles, were also downed. At the same time, a loud explosion was heard in al-Kiswah, resulting in the blackout of Israeli positions in the area.

The Israeli attack was fully repulsed, with possibly two IDF drones being downed as well. This effectiveness of Syria’s air defenses corresponds with Russia’s integration of Syria’s air defenses with its own systems, manifestly improving the Syrians’ kill ratios even without employing the new S-300 systems delivered to Damascus, let alone Russia’s own S-400s. The Pantsirs and S-200s are enough for the moment, confirming my hypothesis more than two months ago that the modernized S-300 in the hands of the Syrian army is a potentially lethal weapon even for the F-35, forbidding the Israelis from employing their F-35s.

With the failed Israeli attack testifying to effectiveness of Russian air-defense measures recently deployed to the country, even the United States is finding it difficult to operate in the country. As the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War confirms:

“Russia has finished an advanced anti-access/area denial (A2AD) network in Syria that combines its own air defense and electronic warfare systems with modernized equipment. Russia can use these capabilities to mount the long-term strategic challenge of the US and NATO in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and the Middle East, significantly widen the geographic reach of Russia’s air defense network. Russia stands to gain a long-term strategic advantage over NATO through its new capabilities in Syria. The US and NATO must now account for the risk of a dangerous escalation in the Middle East amidst any confrontation with Russia in Eastern Europe.”

The final blow in a decidedly negative week for Washington’s ambitions came in Buenos Aires during the G20, where Xi Jinping was clearly the most awaited guest, bringing in his wake investments and opportunities for cooperation and mutual benefit, as opposed to Washington’s sanctions and tariffs for its own benefit to the detriment of others. The key event of the summit was the dinner between Xi Jinping and Donald Trump that signalled Washington’s defeat in the trade war with Beijing. Donald Trump fired the first shot of the economic war, only to succumb just 12 months later with GM closing five plants and leaving 14,000 unemployed at home as Trump tweeted about his economic achievements.

Trump was forced to suspend any new tariffs for a period of ninety days, with his Chinese counterpart intent on demonstrating how an economic war between the two greatest commercial powers had always been a pointless propagandistic exercise. Trump’s backtracking highlights Washington’s vulnerability to de-dollarization, the Achilles’ heel of US hegemony.

The American-led world system is experiencing setbacks at every turn. The struggle between the Western elites seems to be reaching a boil, with Frau Merkel ever more isolated and seeing her 14-year political dominance as chancellor petering out. Macron seems to be vying for the honor of being the most unpopular French leader in history, provoking violent protests that have lasted now for weeks, involving every sector of the population. Macron will probably be able to survive this political storm, but his political future looks dire.

The neocons/neoliberals have played one of the last cards available to them using the Ukrainian provocation, with Kiev only useful as the West’s cannon fodder against Russia. In Syria, with the conflict coming to a close and Turkey only able to look on even as it maintains a strong foothold in Idlib, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States are similarly unable to affect the course of the conflict. The latest Israeli aggression proved to be a humiliation for Tel Aviv and may have signalled a clear, possibly definitive warning from Moscow, Tehran and Damascus to all the forces in the region. The message seems to be that there is no longer any possibility of changing the course of the conflict in Syria, and every provocation from here on will be decisively slapped down. Idlib is going to be liberated and America’s illegal presence in the north of Syria will have to be dealt with at the right time.

Ukraine’s provocation has only strengthened Russia’s military footprint in Crimea and reinforced Russia’s sovereign control over the region. Israel’s recent failure in Syria only highlights how the various interventions of the US, the UK, France and Turkey over the years have only obliged the imposition of an almost unparalleled A2AD space that severely limits the range of options available to Damascus’s opponents.

The G20 also served to confirm Washington’s economic diminution commensurate with its military one in the face of an encroaching multipolar environment. The constant attempts to delegitimize the Trump administration by America’s elites, also declared an enemy by the European establishment, creates a picture of confusion in the West that benefits capitals like New Delhi, Moscow, Beijing and Tehran who offer instead stability, cooperation and dialogue.

As stated in previous articles, the confusion reigning amongst the Western elites only accelerates the transition to a multipolar world, progressively eroding the military and economic power of the US.

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