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Netanyahu meets with Putin. Warns that Iran’s influence in Syria will come with conflict

“Let the Sunni evil prevail,” they say.

Alex Christoforou

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From the onset of the Syrian war, various outside forces have been diligently working to tear the country apart by any means necessary (even it meant raising an ISIS black flag).

Russia’s entrance into the theater of conflict in Syria stabilized the Assad government, and has lead to the now, seemingly inevitable victory that the Syrian people have fought so hard to earn.

Syria’s preservation, safeguarded by Russia, may have alarmed many bad actors in Syria, who were covertly pushing ISIS forward (the United States comes to mind), but it is Iran’s helping hand in Syria that has now moved Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to hold discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the very deep concern that Iranian influence in Syria would be considered by Israel as a security threat, that would be meet with force if necessary.

Zerohedge analyzes the situation in a complicated, post ISIS Syria…a Syria which is inching ever closer to winning the battle against ISIS, but not winning the war against the outside forces who will continue to view Syria as nothing more than a pipeline route, a Wahhabi satellite, or in the case of Israel, a buffer zone against Iranian expansion.

For Netanyahu and other Israeli officials the chief concern was never the black clad death cult which filmed itself beheading Americans and burning people alive.  “Let the Sunni evil prevail,” they say.

Israel is threatening to escalate military action in Syria against perceived Iranian interests. This week Netanyahu declared“we will act when necessary according to our red lines” while hinting he prefers ISIS presence in Syria as opposed to Iran aligned fighters at his border. This comes as ISIS is now crumbling, and at a time when most world leaders of nations driving the external proxy war in Syria have toned down their rhetoric regarding the future fate of the Assad government.

After years of a regular drumbeat of bellicose statements emanating from the West and repeat talk of “Assad must go”, “red lines”, and years of constantly failed predictions that “regime demise is imminent,” there now seems a general acceptance that the Syrian government has emerged victorious in the 6-year long conflict. Not only did Trump this summer order the closure of the CIA’s regime change program which targeted Assad, but it appears even Gulf nations – lately embroiled in their own inter-GCC political civil war and airing of dirty laundry – have been forced to temper their rhetoric. Turkey also has reluctantly shifted its priorities in Syria after its well-known and documented regime change machinations – which included facilitating the transfer of tens of thousands of foreign jihadists (the core of which joined ISIS) across its southern border – have largely backfired. International media too, generally reflecting undeniable geopolitical realities, have bluntly headlined stories with “And the winner is: Assad” and “We have to accept that Assad will win in Syria” and “How Assad is Winning”.

But it appears Benjamin Netanyahu didn’t get the memo. On Wednesday the Israeli Prime Minister told Russian President Putin that Israel would not tolerate an Iranian presence in Syria and further signaled willingness to go to war in Syria to curtail Iranian influence. “Iran is already well on its way to controlling Iraq, Yemen and to a large extent is already in practice in control of Lebanon,” Netanyahu told Putin, adding further that, “We cannot forget for a single minute that Iran threatens every day to annihilate Israel. Israel opposes Iran’s continued entrenchment in Syria. We will be sure to defend ourselves with all means against this and any threat.”

The two leaders met for three hours in the Black Sea resort of Sochi – their sixth such meeting since September 2015. Putin did not respond publicly to the provocative words on Syria during the portion of the meeting open to reporters. Netanyahu later told Israeli reporters covering the meeting that:

Bringing Shi’ites into the Sunni sphere will surely have many serious implications both in regard to refugees and to new terrorist acts. We want to prevent a war and that’s why it’s better to raise the alarm early in order to stop deterioration.

Netanyahu’s reference to “the Sunni sphere” came after he summarized the closed door part of the discussion as dealing with “Iran’s attempt to establish a foothold in Syria in the places where ISIS was defeated and is leaving.” Netanyahu’s comments are a reflection of an extremely disturbing view which has become so prominent within Israeli defense circles as to be considered establishment: that ISIS is ultimately preferable to Iran and Assad. This is to say that continued ISIS presence in Syria and Iraq is a viable option and possibly better than pro-Iranian or even Russian spheres of influence in the Israeli prime minister’s mind. Of course, this “lesser evil is ISIS” view is nothing new. In Israel, for example, there are even “respected” think tanks tied in with major public universities which openly call for allowing ISIS to thrive in Syria.

The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies, for example, which is one of Israel’s most internationally visible and influential think tanks (and located on the campus of Israel’s second largest university), published a policy paper last year which made a direct appeal to Israel’s Western partners with the unambiguous message contained in the essay’s title: “The Destruction of Islamic State is a Strategic Mistake.” Author and Director of the Begin-Sadat Centre, Efraim Inbar, argued against a Western military campaign to destroy ISIS while envisioning the group as an effective tool in sowing terror and chaos in Iran and Syria, with the added benefit of keeping Russia bogged down in defense of the Assad government. Inbar spelled this out clearly:

The continuing existence of IS [Islamic State] serves a strategic purpose. The American administration does not appear capable of recognizing the fact that IS can be a useful tool in undermining Tehran’s ambitious plan for domination of the Middle East.

While acknowledging the Islamic State’s utter genocidal brutality, the paper concluded:

The Western distaste for IS brutality and immorality should not obfuscate strategic clarity.

policy paper published by an influential Israeli think tank which contracts with NATO argues that ISIS is a “useful tool” for Israel’s strategic defense. 

Various current and former Israeli defense officials have echoed this point of view over the years, including former Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren, who in 2014 surprised the audience at Colorado’s Aspen Ideas Festival when he said in comments related to ISIS that, “the lesser evil is the Sunnis over the Shias.” Oren, while articulating Israeli defense policy, fully acknowledged he thought ISIS was “the lesser evil”. Likewise, for Netanyahu and other Israeli officials the chief concern was never the black clad death cult which filmed itself beheading Americans and burning people alive, but the possibility of, in the words of Henry Kissinger, “a Shia and pro-Iran territorial belt reaching from Tehran to Beirut” and establishment of “an Iranian radical empire.”

Of course, such a perspective also tends to assume that Syrian and Iraqi sovereignty is non-existent (but instead seen as a mere extension of Iran and Russia), even as both countries now stand in better position in terms of operational sovereignty with Syria having liberated Aleppo and Iraq having regained Mosul. And that’s perhaps why there’s increasingly uninhibited truth-telling in Israel, the Gulf, and D.C. these days: the party is over in terms of the hoped for regime change in Syria. Perhaps now there’s simply more blunt and open talk wherein assumptions are laid bare as introspective strategists realign their talking points while still eyeing the ultimate neocon prize of regime change in Iran.

Though still rarely acknowledged in international reports, Israel has engaged in overt acts of war in Syria since at least 2012 and 2013, when it launched a massive missile attack against a Syrian defense technology facility in Jamraya outside of Damascus. In 2016 Israel went so far as to target Damascus International Airport, killing a well-known Hezbollah commander. In a significant admission last week, the head of Israel’s air force acknowledged nearly one hundred IDF attacks on convoys inside Syria over the course of the past 5 years. Earlier this summer Netanyahu himself was caught on a hot mic bragging that Israel had struck Syrian targets at least “a dozen times”. And this is to say nothing of Israel’s covert support to al-Qaeda linked groups in Syria’s south, which has reportedly involved weapons transfers and treatment of wounded jihadists in Israeli hospitals, the latter which was widely promoted in photo ops involving Netanyahu himself. As even former Acting Director of the CIA Michael Morell once directly told the Israeli public, Israel’s “dangerous game” in Syria consists in getting in bed with al-Qaeda in order to fight Shia Iran.

Perhaps the biggest blow to Israeli plans for rolling back Iranian presence in Syria came mid-summer of this year, when Trump agreed to a southwest Syria ‘de-escalation zone’ with Russia, which would necessarily involve Iranian cooperation. The agreement implicitly acknowledges Iran’s troop presence in Syria as legitimate, and as reported at the time further “ignored Israel’s positions almost completely.” But analysts are in general agreement that the US-Russia brokered deal has been relatively successful and a step in the right direction. Even the Reuters report on this week’s Netanyahu-Putin meeting seemed to acknowledge the deal’s effectiveness:

Russia has so far shown forbearance toward Israel, setting up a military hotline to prevent their warplanes or anti-aircraft units clashing accidentally over Syria.

But given that Israel has already invested itself so heavily in the push to remove Assad while routinely launching attacks on Hezbollah with impunity, it is unlikely to disengage from Syria anytime soon, even as close Western allies publicly change their tune. Netanyahu’s brazen words to Putin that ‘preventative’ escalation in Syria to destroy what Israeli defense officials commonly call the “Iranian land bridge” (or the so-called ‘Shia crescent’) may in reality be empty diplomatic posturing, yet it does reveal increased Israeli desperation as even the West is seeming to ignore Netanyahu’s repeatedly declared “red lines”.

Regardless, Netanyahu remains the Syria regime change lobby’s best hope. Already, within less than 24 hours of Netanyahu’s Russia visit, neocon columnists are calling for him to unilaterally “take action”:

If he really expects others , especially Putin, that he means business this time, he will have to go beyond words and into actions, as clearly Israel could not and should not allow Iran to turn South Syria into another South Lebanon.

With ISIS foldingrefugees returning to their homes, stability taking root over large swathes of Syria, and successful de-escalation zones holding over parts of the country, it appears that only Netanyahu (along with terror groups like ISIS) is left unhappy in the region. Yet Syria continues on its current hopeful trajectory and path to recovery.


Former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren: “Let the Sunni evil prevail.”

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Avramijevdan
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Avramijevdan

All of the meetings have purpose and somebody’s plotting behind it, but 6 times in 2 years?!? It looks to me someone is delivering messages.

Mr. Evil-Eye forgot what Russians are saying all along about Golan Heights that have to be returned to Syria. So beyond delivering messages Mr. Evil-Eye probably thinks by “escalating words” he might gain on Golan heights. He should have thought twice.

Kentus
Guest
Kentus

“Mr. Evil-Eye”
I prefer to called him “Dead-Eyes”.

See why??
comment imagecomment image

Take Care
Kent

tapatio
Guest
tapatio

I see the eyes of a shark – dead/predatory/sociopathic.

TecumsehUnfaced
Guest
TecumsehUnfaced

He’s like Allen Dulles in that he’s a psychopath faking an avuncular veneer.

tapatio
Guest
tapatio

Now, Dulles did appear avuncular. Bibi’s visage might be compared to the uncle who’s waiting for the pretty niece’s parents to leave so he can rape the child.

To me, he always appears treacherous and predatory.

thnkfryrslf
Guest
thnkfryrslf

Creepy!

TecumsehUnfaced
Guest
TecumsehUnfaced

Look up the YouTube videos where this evil thug is all sweetness and light to the young British Jews he is trying to seduce into coming to Israel. See how so many of them look very wary and suspicious. They’ve seen con jobs before, and Nutty is oozing con job.

stevek9
Guest
stevek9

Can we go back to 1948 and not do this?

tapatio
Guest
tapatio

Go back another year, to 1947, when the UN gave legitimacy to the Khazarian plague infesting Palestine.

Guy
Member
Guy

It would be better to go back to when the Balfour declaration was signed , which led to the creation of the zionist state.

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

We could keep going back – how about preventing Rhodes, Milner, Grey, Salisbury, Balfour, Rothschild just to name a few, from ruthlessly engineering, their murderous WW1 and Bolshevik revolution to murder the Russian royal family and enslave the Russian people? It goes on and on. The problem is, how to inform enough people, because this knowledge of the few is powerless.

tapatio
Guest
tapatio

Best, of course, would be if George III had hanged Mayer Rothschild and expelled the Talmudic/future-ZionistFascist cult, instead of selling England to Satan just to win a war – which he lost anyway. That would have saved how many hundreds of millions of lives and how much horror?

TecumsehUnfaced
Guest
TecumsehUnfaced

George was probably getting a kickback into the Royal estates. That’s customary Rothschild business.

tapatio
Guest
tapatio

George got the funds he needed to fight against the American colonies and deal with some other issues. Mayer Rothschild got the British economy.

TecumsehUnfaced
Guest
TecumsehUnfaced

And yet after 1776 George never got enough to finish the job, while the other George got enough through Gouverneur Morris and Hayim Solomon to keep him going, until the French won it for him.

tapatio
Guest
tapatio

Once the Rothschilds get their claws into a country, the cash flow is in ONE direction – from the country to the Rothschilds. Who do you think is the vampire sucking everyone from here to Greece dry? They don’t call them vampires for nothing.

you’re right about Washington. But, numerous statements of his indicate that he despised the Jews as blood-sucking parasites.

TecumsehUnfaced
Guest
TecumsehUnfaced

Maybe a year before that when the British turned down the German offer of peace, because the Khazar banksters offered to bring America into the war on the British side in return for Palestine, which the British didn’t own.

Isabella Jones
Guest
Isabella Jones

Netanyahoo can say what he likes, throw whatever tantrum he wants – President Putin will do whatever he deems is essential for Syrian integrity and security, and with it – Russian. Period.

samo war
Guest
samo war

putin is mosad agent ?

Anja Boettcher
Guest
Anja Boettcher

I know what I think of altrgihtist platforms like zerohedge. The same I think about bloody neocons: It’s just the other bunch of genocidal USAdists who fight each other solely about how to distribute profit from US global exploitation among them. To quote another article, voicing a loud pathetic hymn on Mr Dumb’s presidency, making use of USAmerican abuse of misinterpretig other people’s culture. Starting with Trump’s press record, they interpret his idiocies and inaccountability as sign of secret superiority: “But what if I were to tell you that the Donald is, in actuality, the most capable man to lead… Read more »

Guy
Member
Guy

“Trump will soon call all-in holding a royal straight flush.”
You must be the eternal optimist .I wish I could feel the same but after seeing him cave in to the military generals who now run foreign policy for the US , I am afraid that anyone that thinks he will come out on top and surprise everyone is just ,well , pi$$ing in the wind.
Sorry if I sound pessimistic , as a rule I do like to think positive , but you know that old saying ,fool me once ,shame on me…………………

Cheers.

Anja Boettcher
Guest
Anja Boettcher

This line was a quotation of a zerohedge article. Appriciation of Trump was definitely not mine, but that of an altrightist journalist I have characterised as foolish.

Gio Con
Guest
Gio Con

Iran wouldn’t have any interest or influence in the region if it weren’t for the US and Israel’s regime change wars in the first place. Israel and the US created the conditions for Russia and Iran to step in. Furthermore, Iran has never shown any interest in expanding its borders, so the “Shia Crescent” excuse is just that — an excuse for Israel to continue hostilities. Israel is the only country in the region who has been on a land theft and imperialist rampage for over 70 years.

tapatio
Guest
tapatio

Iran and Russia have very valid reason for interest in Syria. The Khazar colonists in Palestine and Americans, on the other side of the world, have no right or reason…………..other than their incessant lust for power and money.

Larchmonter445
Guest
Larchmonter445

The Israelis were in Sochi to ask for permission to continue to strike. If they thought it was safe for them, they wouldn’t be there in Putin’s house, asking. The reality is tough for them. They are used to flying and killing anyone they want to. The day of local hegemony for Tel Aviv is over. Most importantly, Israeli has shown in the last two months, along the Lebanon border and along the Jordanian border and the US-Russian de-escalation zone in the SW corner, they have zero influence with any outcome. The US could not help them influence Russia, and… Read more »

Guy
Member
Guy

Iran needs a few of the best deterrents that Russia has to offer and I do believe that it is in the offing .

spoint
Guest
spoint

When Russia got the safe zone in Syria, Israel (america) initially went along and then said, “Uh-Oh.” Then a unanimous (less 5 votes) jew controlled congress voted new sanctions on Russia. So what can the jews do to Russia to top that? And what can Russia do back?

Freethinking Влади́мир
Guest
Freethinking Влади́мир

So far Israel has engaged Syria 100 times media says. Russia can’t do much and the reason is that Israel and the Russian Jewry has quite a hold on Russia. It’s probably nothing compared to the west especially the USA, but it’s not kosher either.

The above statement got me banned from Fort Russ by the way. The proof is in the pudding. You can complain about the US being influenced by the Zio-sphere which happens daily, but not about Russia.

Guy
Member
Guy

You could be right but I question the motives of the Russian Jewry .You see it is not necessarily , a Jewish issue ,but a zionist issue IMHO and so if you could elaborate please.

Freethinking Влади́мир
Guest
Freethinking Влади́мир

Well, one is colluded with the other. It’s not different from the USA. There’s Jewish interests and there’s Zionist interests, and often they are lumped together though not always in line with each other.

Bente Petersen
Guest
Bente Petersen

and who is behind Israel but UK and USA… !!!! all insane !!!!

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

Can I just add, UK and USA elite, global mafia? Please remember, they have already subjugated us, with their filthy wars and robbery through taxation; and now, the destruction of our culture through organised illegal immigration. From the UK. I haven’t yet ceased to be amazed and horrified, the more I learn about real history.

TecumsehUnfaced
Guest
TecumsehUnfaced

You can get big, repeated doses of that from Howard Zinn’s, A People’s History of the United States.

Also, Hidden History: The Secret Origns of the First World War. Here’s an overview.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/hidden-history-the-secret-origins-of-the-first-world-war/5600090

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

I’ve been loudly promoting Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War since last Christmas, on here! Some of the old regulars must be sick of reading about it, but have been patient and polite enough not to say so. Seriously, I’ve felt like The Ancient Mariner, pinning the unsuspecting wedding guest to the wall, while I tell my tale. Yes, Docherty and Mcgregor’s book is a stunning revelation and so well researched and cited – I even bought several of the widely cited books to thoroughly double-check them and they were spot on.

TecumsehUnfaced
Guest
TecumsehUnfaced

Great!

How about Carroll Quigley?

Quigley’s book as a pdf

http://www.wanttoknow.info/war/tragedy_and_hope_quigley_full1090pg.pdf

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

You’re kidding! That’s the other book I bang on about. It was the main one I bought to check all the references used by Docherty and Mcgregor.

I happened across the late Professor Antony C Sutton on You Tube the other day and will order some of his books. The Best Enemy Money Can Buy looks like a good start. Interestingly, he seemed to cover both geopolitical history and global economics, which is rare.

It’s unbelievable how almost everything we have all been taught and told is a lie. Truly shocking. And so difficult to dig out the truth.

TecumsehUnfaced
Guest
TecumsehUnfaced

Here’s something else that frightening… the sayanim. Israeli Operatives in the U.S. By Jeff Gates July 20, 2010 “Veterans Today” — Americans know that something fundamental is amiss. They sense—rightly—that they are being misled no matter which political party does the leading. A long misinformed public lacks the tools to grasp how they are being deceived. Without those tools, Americans will continue to be frustrated at being played for the fool. When the “con” is clearly seen, “the mark” (that’s us) will see that all roads lead to the same duplicitous source: Israel and its operatives. The secret to Israel’s… Read more »

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

Yes, Israel is somewhere deep in the mix but I understood that Rothschild and co owns Israel and that’s the real puppet master. Israel serves the purpose of the Anglo American elite. They don’t care about the Israeli population anymore than they do any other population. Israel seems to be useful as the means to achieve the Rothschild’s third World War, in the middle east. There wouldn’t be much left of Israel after that, I shouldn’t think. Netanyahu thinks he’s so clever but I suspect he’s just another useful tool to these people. Unfortunately, Rothschild and co use American men… Read more »

permopin
Guest
permopin

Putin paying tribute to the Zionist thug for the Russian successes in Syria? Send the “rat off” with the middle finger gesture.

Guy
Member
Guy

I don’t think that Netanyahoo’s visit should be interpreted as “Putin paying tribute”.Putin will talk to anyone that wants to talk and that is the Putin style .Probably what makes him the man he is ,very well respected and obviously sought after given the visits that he receives from heads of state from all over the world.

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

It’s more likely that Putin is being his usual, diplomatic self. His diplomacy and patience are his winning cards. No wonder he is popular in his own country. Can we have one like that?

Guy
Member
Guy

Netanyahoo never gets the memo or he always refuses to read it.Always playing the victim is his forte and invading the Palestinians for trumped up reasons , reasons that he is guilty of formulating and fooling the world or so he thinks.
Israel will continue on this path until the US cuts it’s support for this oppressive nation .BDS is the only solution .Non violent but hits where it hurts the most , in the pocket book.

Vera Gottlieb
Guest
Vera Gottlieb

And one more who doesn’t pass up a chance to stir up trouble.

Norman
Guest
Norman

Netanyahu, you’re not dealing with stupid American dopeheads here. What can you put on the table for Russia to consider listening to you and don’t think for a minute you can use the Golan Heights as a bargaining chip since you really don’t have a leg to stand on. You assume a lot making threats against others but piss your pants when they glance your way? You’re worse than your best buddy that’s deaf and dumb even on your way to defeat. Get out of Syria moron.

Ithamer
Guest
Ithamer

Until the Palestinian Jews realize their conduct in Palestine is unacceptable therefore their existence will remain in peril.

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Skripal and Khashoggi: A Tale of Two Disappearances

Two disappearances, and two different responses.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Two disappearances, and two very different responses from Western governments, which illustrates their rank hypocrisy.

When former Russian spy Sergei Skripal went missing in England earlier this year, there was almost immediate punitive action by the British government and its NATO allies against Moscow. By contrast, Western governments are straining with restraint towards Saudi Arabia over the more shocking and provable case of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The outcry by Western governments and media over the Skripal affair was deafening and resulted in Britain, the US and some 28 other countries expelling dozens of Russian diplomats on the back of unsubstantiated British allegations that the Kremlin tried to assassinate an exiled spy with a deadly nerve agent. The Trump administration has further tightened sanctions citing the Skripal incident.

London’s case against Moscow has been marked by wild speculation and ropey innuendo. No verifiable evidence of what actually happened to Sergei Skripal (67) and his daughter Yulia has been presented by the British authorities. Their claim that President Vladimir Putin sanctioned a hit squad armed with nerve poison relies on sheer conjecture.

All we know for sure is that the Skripals have been disappeared from public contact by the British authorities for more than seven months, since the mysterious incident of alleged poisoning in Salisbury on March 4.

Russian authorities and family relatives have been steadfastly refused any contact by London with the Skripal pair, despite more than 60 official requests from Moscow in accordance with international law and in spite of the fact that Yulia is a citizen of the Russian Federation with consular rights.

It is an outrage that based on such thin ice of “evidence”, the British have built an edifice of censure against Moscow, rallying an international campaign of further sanctions and diplomatic expulsions.

Now contrast that strenuous reaction, indeed hyper over-reaction, with how Britain, the US, France, Canada and other Western governments are ever-so slowly responding to Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi case.

After nearly two weeks since Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, the Saudi regime is this week finally admitting he was killed on their premises – albeit, they claim, in a “botched interrogation”.

Turkish and American intelligence had earlier claimed that Khashoggi was tortured and murdered on the Saudi premises by a 15-member hit squad sent from Riyadh.

Even more grisly, it is claimed that Khashoggi’s body was hacked up with a bone saw by the killers, his remains secreted out of the consulate building in boxes, and flown back to Saudi Arabia on board two private jets connected to the Saudi royal family.

What’s more, the Turks and Americans claim that the whole barbaric plot to murder Khashoggi was on the orders of senior Saudi rulers, implicating Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The latest twist out of Riyadh, is an attempt to scapegoat “rogue killers” and whitewash the House of Saudi from culpability.

The fact that 59-year-old Khashoggi was a legal US resident and a columnist for the Washington Post has no doubt given his case such prominent coverage in Western news media. Thousands of other victims of Saudi vengeance are routinely ignored in the West.

Nevertheless, despite the horrific and damning case against the Saudi monarchy, the response from the Trump administration, Britain and others has been abject.

President Trump has blustered that there “will be severe consequences” for the Saudi regime if it is proven culpable in the murder of Khashoggi. Trump quickly qualified, however, saying that billion-dollar arms deals with the oil-rich kingdom will not be cancelled. Now Trump appears to be joining in a cover-up by spinning the story that the Khashoggi killing was done by “rogue killers”.

Britain, France and Germany this week issued a joint statement calling for “a credible investigation” into the disappearance. But other than “tough-sounding” rhetoric, none of the European states have indicated any specific sanctions, such as weapons contracts being revoked or diplomatic expulsions.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “concerned” by the gruesome claims about Khashoggi’s killing, but he reiterated that Ottawa would not be scrapping a $15 billion sale of combat vehicles to Riyadh.

The Saudi rulers have even threatened retaliatory measures if sanctions are imposed by Western governments.

Saudi denials of official culpability seem to be a brazen flouting of all reason and circumstantial evidence that Khashoggi was indeed murdered in the consulate building on senior Saudi orders.

This week a glitzy international investor conference in Saudi Arabia is being boycotted by top business figures, including the World Bank chief, Jim Yong Kim, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Britain’s venture capitalist Richard Branson. Global firms like Ford and Uber have pulled out, as have various media sponsors, such as CNN, the New York Times and Financial Times. Withdrawal from the event was in response to the Khashoggi affair.

A growing bipartisan chorus of US Senators, including Bob Corker, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham and Chris Murphy, have called for the cancellation of American arms sales to Saudi Arabia, as well as for an overhaul of the strategic partnership between the two countries.

Still, Trump has rebuffed calls for punitive response. He has said that American jobs and profits depend on the Saudi weapons market. Some 20 per cent of all US arms sales are estimated to go to the House of Saud.

The New York Times this week headlined: “In Trump’s Saudi Bargain, the Bottom Line Proudly Stands Out”.

The Trump White House will be represented at the investment conference in Saudi Arabia this week – dubbed “Davos in the Desert” by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. He said he was attending in spite of the grave allegations against the Saudi rulers.

Surely the point here is the unseemly indulgence by Western governments of Saudi Arabia and its so-called “reforming” Crown Prince. It is remarkable how much credulity Washington, London, Paris, Ottawa and others are affording the Saudi despots who, most likely, have been caught redhanded in a barbarous murder.

Yet, when it comes to Russia and outlandish, unproven claims that the Kremlin carried out a bizarre poison-assassination plot, all these same Western governments abandon all reason and decorum to pile sanctions on Russia based on lurid, hollow speculation. The blatant hypocrisy demolishes any pretense of integrity or principle.

Here is another connection between the Skripal and Khashoggi affairs. The Saudis no doubt took note of the way Britain’s rulers have shown absolute disregard and contempt for international law in their de facto abduction of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. If the British can get away with that gross violation, then the Saudis probably thought that nobody would care too much if they disappeared Jamal Khashoggi.

Grotesquely, the way things are shaping up in terms of hypocritical lack of action by the Americans, British and others towards the Saudi despots, the latter might just get away with murder. Not so Russia. The Russians are not allowed to get away with even an absurd fantasy.

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US-China trade war heats up as surplus hits record $34 Billion (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 136.

Alex Christoforou

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According to a report by the AFP, China’s trade surplus with the United States ballooned to a record $34.1 billion in September, despite a raft of US tariffs, official data showed Friday, adding fuel to the fire of a worsening trade war.

Relations between the world’s two largest economies have soured sharply this year, with US President Donald Trump vowing on Thursday to inflict economic pain on China if it does not blink.
The two countries imposed new tariffs on a massive amount of each other’s goods mid-September, with the US targeting $200 billion in Chinese imports and Beijing firing back at $60 billion worth of US goods.

“China-US trade friction has caused trouble and pounded our foreign trade development,” customs spokesman Li Kuiwen told reporters Friday.

But China’s trade surplus with the US grew 10 percent in September from a record $31 billion in August, according to China’s customs administration. It was a 22 percent jump from the same month last year.

China’s exports to the US rose to $46.7 billion while imports slumped to $12.6 billion.

China’s overall trade — what it buys and sells with all countries including the US — logged a $31.7 billion surplus, as exports rose faster than imports.

Exports jumped 14.5 percent for September on-year, beating forecasts from analysts polled by Bloomberg News, while imports rose 14.3 percent on-year.

While the data showed China’s trade remained strong for the month, analysts forecast the trade war will start to hurt in coming months.

China’s export jump for the month suggests exporters were shipping goods early to beat the latest tariffs, said ANZ’s China economist Betty Wang, citing the bounce in electrical machinery exports, much of which faced the looming duties.

“We will watch for downside risks to China’s exports” in the fourth quarter, Wang said.

Analysts say a sharp depreciation of the yuan has also helped China weather the tariffs by making its exports cheaper.

“The big picture is the Chinese exports have so far held up well in the face of escalating trade tensions and cooling global growth, most likely thanks to the competitiveness boost provided by a weaker renminbi (yuan),” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics.

“With global growth likely to cool further in the coming quarters and US tariffs set to become more punishing, the recent resilience of exports is unlikely to be sustained,” he said.

According to Bloomberg US President Donald Trump’s new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement isn’t that different from the North American Free Trade Agreement that it replaced. But hidden in the bowels of the new trade deal is a clause, Article 32.10, that could have a far-reaching impact. The new agreement requires member states to get approval from the other members if they initiate trade negotiations with a so-called non-market economy. In practice, “non-market” almost certainly means China. If, for example, Canada begins trade talks with China, it has to show the full text of the proposed agreement to the U.S. and Mexico — and if either the U.S. or Mexico doesn’t like what it sees, it can unilaterally kick Canada out of the USMCA.

Although it seems unlikely that the clause would be invoked, it will almost certainly exert a chilling effect on Canada and Mexico’s trade relations with China. Forced to choose between a gargantuan economy across the Pacific and another one next door, both of the U.S.’s neighbors are almost certain to pick the latter.

This is just another part of Trump’s general trade waragainst China. It’s a good sign that Trump realizes that unilateral U.S. efforts alone won’t be enough to force China to make concessions on issues like currency valuation, intellectual-property protection and industrial subsidies. China’s export markets are much too diverse:

If Trump cuts the U.S. off from trade with China, the likeliest outcome is that China simply steps up its exports to other markets. That would bind the rest of the world more closely to China and weaken the global influence of the U.S. China’s economy would take a small but temporary hit, while the U.S. would see its position as the economic center of the world slip into memory.

Instead, to take on China, Trump needs a gang. And that gang has to be much bigger than just North America. But most countries in Europe and East Asia probably can’t be bullied into choosing between the U.S. and China. — their ties to the U.S. are not as strong as those of Mexico and Canada. Countries such as South Korea, Germany, India and Japan will need carrots as well as sticks if they’re going to join a U.S.-led united trade front against China.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the escalating trade war between the United States and China, and the record trade surplus that positions China with a bit more leverage than Trump anticipated.

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Via Zerohedge Trump Threatens China With More Tariffs, Does Not Seek Economic “Depression”

US equity futures dipped in the red after President Trump threatened to impose a third round of tariffs on China and warned that Chinese meddling in U.S. politics was a “bigger problem” than Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

During the same interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes”, in which Trump threatened to impose sanctions against Saudi Arabia if the Saudis are found to have killed WaPo reported Khashoggi, and which sent Saudi stock plunging, Trump said he “might,” impose a new round of tariffs on China, adding that while he has “great chemistry” with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and noting that Xi “wants to negotiate”, he doesn’t “know that that’s necessarily going to continue.” Asked if American products have become more expensive due to tariffs on China, Trump said that “so far, that hasn’t turned out to be the case.”

“They can retaliate, but they can’t, they don’t have enough ammunition to retaliate,” Trump says, “We do $100 billion with them. They do $531 billion with us.”

Trump was also asked if he wants to push China’s economy into a depression to which the US president said “no” before comparing the country’s stock-market losses since the tariffs first launched to those in 1929, the start of the Great Depression in the U.S.

“I want them to negotiate a fair deal with us. I want them to open their markets like our markets are open,” Trump said in the interview that aired Sunday. So far, the U.S. has imposed three rounds of tariffs on Chinese imports totaling $250 billion, prompting China to retaliate against U.S. products. The president previously has threatened to hit virtually all Chinese imports with duties.

Asked about his relationship with Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin’s alleged efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, Trump quickly turned back to China. “They meddled,” he said of Russia, “but I think China meddled too.”

“I think China meddled also. And I think, frankly, China … is a bigger problem,” Trump said, as interviewer Lesley Stahl interrupted him for “diverting” from a discussion of Russia.

Shortly before an audacious speech by Mike Pence last weekend, in which the US vice president effectively declared a new cold war on Beijing (see “Russell Napier: Mike Pence Announces Cold War II”), Trump made similar accusations during a speech at the United Nations last month, which his aides substantiated by pointing to long-term Chinese influence campaigns and an advertising section in the Des Moines Register warning farmers about the potential effects of Trump’s tariffs.

Meanwhile, in a rare U.S. television appearance, China’s ambassador to the U.S. said Beijing has no choice but to respond to what he described as a trade war started by the U.S.

“We never wanted a trade war, but if somebody started a trade war against us, we have to respond and defend our own interests,” said China’s Ambassador Cui Tiankai.

Cui also dismissed as “groundless” the abovementioned suggestion by Vice President Mike Pence that China has orchestrated an effort to meddle in U.S. domestic affairs. Pence escalated the rhetoric in a speech Oct. 4, saying Beijing has created a “a whole-of-government approach” to sway American public opinion, including spies, tariffs, coercive measures and a propaganda campaign.

Pence’s comments were some of the most critical about China by a high-ranking U.S. official in recent memory. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo got a lecture when he visited Beijing days later, about U.S. actions that were termed “completely out of line.” The tough words followed months of increases tit-for-tat tariffs imposed by Washington and Beijing that have ballooned to cover hundreds of billions of dollars in bilateral trade.

During a recent interview with National Public Radio, Cui said the U.S. has “not sufficiently” dealt in good faith with the Chinese on trade matters, saying “the U.S. position keeps changing all the time so we don’t know exactly what the U.S. would want as priorities.”

Meanwhile, White House economic director Larry Kudlow said on “Fox News Sunday” that President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will “probably meet” at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires in late November. “There’s plans and discussions and agendas” being discussed, he said. So far, talks with China on trade have been “unsatisfactory,” Kudlow said. “We’ve made our asks” on allegations of intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers, he added. “We have to have reciprocity.”

Addressing the upcoming meeting, Cui said he was present at two previous meetings of Xi and Trump, and that top-level communication “played a key role, an irreplaceable role, in guiding the relationship forward.” Despite current tensions the two have a “good working relationship,” he said.

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BREAKING: Explosion in Crimea, Russia kills many, injuring dozens, terrorism suspected

According to preliminary information, the incident was caused by a gas explosion at a college facility in Kerch, Crimea.

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“We are clarifying the information at the moment. Preliminary figures are 50 injured and 10 dead. Eight ambulance crews are working at the site and air medical services are involved,” the press-service for the Crimean Ministry of Health stated.

Medics announced that at least 50 people were injured in the explosion in Kerch and 25 have already been taken to local hospital with moderate wounds, according to Sputnik.

Local news outlets reported that earlier in the day, students at the college heard a blast and windows of the building were shattered.

Putin Orders that Assistance Be Provided to Victims of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The president has instructed the Ministry of Health and the rescue services to take emergency measures to assist victims of this explosion, if necessary, to ensure the urgent transportation of seriously wounded patients to leading medical institutions of Russia, whether in Moscow or other cities,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov said.

The president also expressed his condolences to all those affected by the tragic incident.

Manhunt Underway in Kerch as FSB Specialists Investigate Site of Explosion – National Anti-Terrorist Committee

The site of the blast that rocked a city college in Kerch is being examined by FSB bomb disposal experts and law enforcement agencies are searching for clues that might lead to the arrest of the perpetrators, the National Anti Terrorism Committee said in a statement.

“Acting on orders from the head of the NAC’s local headquarters, FSB, Interior Ministry, Russian Guards and Emergency Ministry units have arrived at the site. The territory around the college has been cordoned off and the people inside the building evacuated… Mine-disposal experts are working at the site and law enforcement specialists are investigating,” the statement said.

Terrorist Act Considered as Possible Cause of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The tragic news that comes from Kerch. Explosion. The president was informed … The data on those killed and the number of injured is constantly updated,” Peskov told reporters.

“[The version of a terrorist attack] is being considered,” he said.

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