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Confirmed: America attacks Syrian Arab Army and its allies–a crime and blunder

This is the second time America has attacked Syrian forces since Donald Trump became POTUS.

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The United States Air Force has struck a contingent of the Syrian Arab Army and allied fighters near At Tanf in southern Syria. The US has a military outpost in At Tanf which is close to both the Iraqi and Jordanian border.

This is the second time that the US has bombed elements of the Syrian Arab Army since Donald Trump became President.

According to Syria, the casualties of the attack are as follows:

  • A convoy of five T-62 tanks were hit by the U.S. Coalition
  • Two tanks were destroyed
  • A Shilka was damaged
  • Six military personnel were killed and another three were wounded
  • Convoy consisted of soldiers from the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), National Defence Forces (NDF), Hezbollah, and Imam Al-‘Ali Battalions

Previously under the Obama administration, the US Air Force killed 62 Syrian Arab Army soldiers near Deir ez-Zor airport in a horrific war crime.

Making this event even more scandalous than the war crime which it all ready objectively is, is the fact that the attack occurred inside one of the ‘de-escalation zones’ (aka safe zones) established in Syria according to the Astana Memorandum. Russia, Turkey and Iran are guarantors of the agreement which has the backing of the United Nations, Syrian government and the apparent tacit approval of the United States.

According to a US official,

“The strike did happen. It was against a pro-regime force operating in the vicinity of At Tanf. This regime force was operating within a well-established de-confliction (de-escalation) zone.

The commander on the ground perceived this force to be a threat to coalition forces”.

According to Fox News, a further military official said that the attack does not represent an escalation nor a change in US policy. This indicates that America is in damage control mode rather than attack mode. This fact should not be misunderstood simply because America’s style of damage control is equally arrogant to its overtly aggressive statements.

According to a statement from the US coalition,

“This action was taken after apparent Russian attempts to dissuade Syrian pro-regime movement south towards At Tanf were unsuccessful, a coalition aircraft show of force, and the firing of warning shot”.

This is indicative of the fact that Russia does not exceed its mandate in the conflict which is merely to aid Syria in fighting terrorism. Russia has no mandate to mediate between let alone controls parties in Syria. Russia can and will advise but will not impose.

Many will be quick to say that this incident means the de-escalation zones are a failure. The United States has indeed violated both the letter and spirit of the Astana Memorandum. However, the United States was not a signatory to the agreement and therefore is not technically bound by it. Furthermore, the de-escalation zones should have always been seen as a political move to attempt to isolate Turkey and the United States from having a leading hand in shaping the peace process. In this sense, the Astana Memorandum creating these zones has all ready been partly successful.

The UN Security Council did ratify the Astana Memorandum, therefore Russia has the absolute right and indeed duty to question America’s attack and force America to justify their criminal action. However, Russia is clearly not going to risk shooting down American jets for violating the sanctity of the de-escalation zones. Anyone who ever thought otherwise was never being realistic.

While not directly bound by the letter of the Astana Memorandum, America is  bound by international law and under international law the very presence of US military forces in any part of Syria is totally illegal. This is why today’s event is a war crime.

If it hasn’t all ready been suggested, it almost certainly will be suggested that Donald Trump ordered the strike in an attempt to distract the media from the scandals surrounding the firing of FBI director James Comey as well as the separate issue of the leaks from Donald Trump’s private meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

In reality, this appears to be a decision which was made by commanders on the ground. It was clearly an incorrect decision. However, it had none of the political fanfare which surrounded the Trump ordered missile attack on Syria from the 6th of April this year. Instead, the attack was relatively low key in terms of both symbolism and public premeditation.

Also, while many in Washington spoke openly of regime change surrounding the April 6 attack, today’s statements seem to  be playing down the significance of the attack. This gives the impression that the American side is telling the truth when saying that it does not reflect a change in policy.

Furthermore, the mainstream media are not even giving the story much publicity. As of 21.14 Moscow time on the 18th of May, 2017, the story doesn’t even feature in the top stories on CNN’s website.

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Even if Trump ordered the strike in order to change the headlines from Russiagate, it hasn’t worked.

Most importantly, this does not necessarily demonstrate that the US is thoroughly disinterested in easing tensions with Russia over Syria. What it does mean is that US commanders acting unilaterally with the authority Donald Trump has given them, will continue to commit crimes and blunders.

This incident was both.

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U.S. May Impose Sanctions Against Turkey Over S-400 “Threat” To F-35

The United States continues to consider the S-400 air defense system a threat to its F-35 fifth generation stealth fighter platform.

The Duran

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Authored by Al Masdar News:


Turkish officials have repeatedly insisted that Ankara’s purchase of the advanced Russian air defense system poses no threat whatsoever to the NATO alliance. Last month, the Turkish defense ministry announced that delivery of S-400s to Turkey would begin in October 2019.

The United States continues to consider the S-400 air defense system a threat to its F-35 fifth generation stealth fighter platform, and may impose sanctions against Ankara, Turkey’s Anadolu news agency has reported, citing a high-ranking source in Washington.

“I can’t say for certain whether sanctions will be imposed on Ankara over the S-400 contract, but the possibility is there. The US administration is not optimistic about this issue,” the source said.

While admitting that Turkey was a sovereign state and therefore had the right to make decisions on whom it buys its weapons from, the source stressed that from the perspective of these weapons’ integration with NATO systems, the S-400 was “problematic.”

The source also characterized the deployment of S-400s in areas where US F-35 fifth-generation stealth fighters are set to fly as “a threat,” without elaborating.

Emphasizing that negotiations between Washington and Ankara on the issue were “continuing,” the source said that there were also “positive tendencies” in negotiations between the two countries on the procurement of the Patriot system, Washington’s closest analogue to the S-400 in terms of capabilities.

Designed to stop enemy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles at ranges of up to 400 km and altitudes of up to 30 km, the S-400 is currently the most advanced mobile air defense system in Russia’s arsenal. Russia and India signed a ruble-denominated contract on the delivery of five regiments of S-400s worth $5 billion late last month.

Last week, the Saudi Ambassador to Russia said that talks on the sale of the system to his country were ongoing. In addition to Russia, S-400s are presently operated by Belarus and China, with Beijing expecting another delivery of S-400s by 2020.

Washington has already slapped China with sanctions over its purchase of S-400s and Su-35 combat aircraft in September. India, however, has voiced confidence that it would not be hit with similar restrictions, which the US Treasury has pursued under the 2017 Counter America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

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OPEC Plus: Putin’s move to control energy market with Saudi partnership (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 150.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss OPEC Plus and the growing partnership between Russia and Saudi Arabia, which aims to reshape the energy market, and cement Russia’s leadership role in global oil and gas supply.

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Russia and Saudi Arabia’s ‘long-term relationship’ WILL survive

The Express UK reports that Russia and Saudi Arabia’s ‘long-term relationship’ will not only survive, but grow, regardless of geopolitical turmoil and internal Saudi scandal…as the energy interests between both nations bind them together.

Ties between Saudi Arabia and Vladimir Putin’s Russia have a “long-term relationship” which is strategically beneficial to both of them, and which underlines their position as the world’s most influential oil producers, alongside the United States, an industry expert has said.

Following concerns about too much oil flooding the market, Saudi Arabia on Sunday performed an abrupt u-turn by deciding to reduce production by half a million barrels a day from December.

This put the Middle Eastern country at odds with Russia, which said it was no clear whether the market would be oversupplied next year, with market analysts predicting the country’s oil producing companies likely to BOOST proaction by 300,000 barrels per day.

But IHS Markit vice chairman Daniel Yergin said the decision was unlikely to jeopardise the relationship between the two allies.

The Saudis have faced significant international criticism in the wake of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Turkey.

Speaking to CNBC, Mr Yergin made it clear that Moscow and Riyadh would continue to be closely aligned irrespective of external factors.

He explained: “I think it’s intended to be a long-term relationship and it started off about oil prices but you see it taking on other dimensions, for instance, Saudi investment in Russian LNG (liquefied natural gas) and Russian investment in Saudi Arabia.

“I think this is a strategic relationship because it’s useful to both countries.”

Saudi Arabia and Russia are close, especially as a result of their pact in late 2016, along with other OPEC and non-OPEC producers, to curb output by 1.8 million barrels per day in order to prevent prices dropping too far – but oil markets have changed since then, largely as a result.

The US criticised OPEC, which Saudi Arabia is the nominal leader of, after prices rose.

Markets have fluctuated in recent weeks as a result of fears over a possible drop in supply, as a result of US sanctions on Iran, and an oversupply, as a result of increased production by Saudi Arabia, Russia and the US, which have seen prices fall by about 20 percent since early October.

Saudi Arabia has pumped 10.7 million barrels per day in October, while the figure for Russiaand the US was 11.4 million barrels in each case.

Mr Yergin said: “It’s the big three, it’s Saudi Arabia, Russia and the US, this is a different configuration in the oil market than the traditional OPEC-non-OPEC one and so the world is having to adjust.”

BP Group Chief Executive Bob Dudley told CNBC: “The OPEC-plus agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC producers including Russia and coalition is a lot stronger than people speculate.

“I think Russia doesn’t have the ability to turn on and off big fields which can happen in the Middle East.

“But I fully expect there to be coordination to try to keep the oil price within a certain fairway.”

Markets rallied by two percent on Monday off the back of the , which it justified by citing uncertain global oil growth and associated oil demand next year.

It also suggested  granted on US sanctions imposed on Iran which have been granted to several countries including China and Japan was a reason not to fear a decline in supply.

Also talking to CNBC, Russia’s Oil Minister Alexander Novak indicated a difference of opinion between Russia and the Saudis, saying it was too soon to cut production, highlighting a lot of volatility in the oil market.

He added: “If such a decision is necessary for the market and all the countries are in agreement, I think that Russia will undoubtedly play a part in this.

“But it’s early to talk about this now, we need to look at this question very carefully.”

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Nigel Farage lashes out at Angela Merkel, as Chancellor attends EU Parliament debate (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 17.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at Nigel Farage’s blistering speech, aimed squarely at Angela Merkel, calling out the German Chancellor’s disastrous migrant policy, wish to build an EU army, and Brussels’ Cold War rhetoric with Russia to the East and now the United States to the West.

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