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Palmyra was saved from ISIS, ancient wonders of Iraq were not (VIDEO)

The ancient Assyrian cities of Nimrud and Nineveh have been almost completely destroyed by ISIS in Northern Iraq. Thanks to join Syrian and Russian efforts, Syria’s Palmyra was largely spared such devastation. Meanwhile the Battle of Mosul has ground to a stalemate.

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The Battle of Mosul is officially a stalemate. It is clear that the Iraqi forces, the Americans, and the deceptive Turks, all summarily underestimated the strength of ISIS forces in the region. This was folly, as northern Iraq is where the group now known as ISIS first coalesced. A would be ‘Battle of Berlin’, at least where Iraq is concerned, shouldn’t have been organised so poorly.

What’s worse, the battle which was supposed to be over in weeks, was in many respects designed to be an election stunt. Had the US allied forces secured something that could be remotely twisted by the press as a victory, there is little doubt that Obama would have used that to vindicate his and Hillary Clinton’s Middle East policy.

The patent irresponsibility of using war as a tool for political gain has been predictably ignored by the western mainstream media.

Other reports which are consistent with the US policy aim of destabilising Syria in order to procure an easy ‘regime change’, say that many of the ISIS top-brass have been allowed by the US and Turkey, to receive safe passage out of Mosul and into Syria where they will undoubtedly regroup in Raqqa.

In spite of this, the ISIS forces that remain in Mosul are not going down without a fight. Meanwhile, civilians in the city are suffering, and not just because of increased violence from ISIS but also because of ‘collateral damage’ from coalition bombings.

But there have been other victims of the battle too. It appears that the ancient Assyrian cities of Nimrud and Nineveh have been utterly decimated by ISIS. What’s more is that the coalition forces seem to have all but abandoned any hope of saving what remains of these Mesopotamian wonders.

Unlike Saddam, who took a keen interest in preserving the monuments to the ancient cultures in Iraq, and did so under the guise that Ba’athist Iraq was a kind of Arab reincarnation of those past civilisations, the current government has neither the will nor expertise to save what’s left after the destruction left behind by the barbaric hands of ISIS.

The only Iraqi monument which will not be touched, is the monument to the wickedness of George Bush and Tony Blair, whose destruction of a prosperous and united country continues to kill civilians and destroy cultural heritage to this day.

This contrasts sharply with the Ba’athist government in Syria, who continue to preserve the beautiful ancient monuments which dot the country. The ancient city of Palmyra has been demined, and archaeologists have returned to survey the treasures saved from ISIS.

After the Syrian Arab Army with the aid of Russian forces liberated Palmyra,  world renowned Russian conductor Valery Gergiev led a poignant musical concert in the ancient amphitheater of Palmyra. The scenes which unfolded were surreal, beautiful and deeply moving. The bombs had gone quiet, the mines removed, the air strikes over.

The same stage upon which ISIS fighters executed their captives was now home to a Russian orchestra playing for the Syrian and Russian troops as well as the press and civilians. In the sweltering heat, the ancient communed with the modern as the evil evaporated. It remains a moment that shall not be lost on future generations.

If ever there was a symbol of the legitimate leaders of two great civilizations, Syria and Russia, coming together to reclaim the beauty of mankind from the savage Satanism of ISIS, this was one such moment. The fact that such a profoundly moving historic event was disregarded or blacked-out by the western media, is demonstrative of the fact that not only do those in charge of western media have dysfunctional heads, but that they also have no heart.

Iraq is bleeding and losing its identity because of weak leadership and poor international planning. By contrast, Syrian and Russian forces, together with other allies, are moving forward in Syria, where the war against Islamic terrorism will be won.

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Trump Has Gifted “No More Wars” Policy Position To Bernie Sanders (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 148.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss how US President Donald Tump appears to have ceded his popular 2016 ‘no more wars’ campaign message and policy position to Bernie Sanders and any other US 2020 candidate willing to grad onto a non-interventionist approach to the upcoming Democrat primaries.

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“Is Bernie Stealing Trump’s ‘No More Wars’ Issue?” by Patrick J. Buchanan…


The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016.

“The president has said that he does not want to see this country involved in endless wars… I agree with that,” Bernie Sanders told the Fox News audience at Monday’s town hall meeting in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Then turning and staring straight into the camera, Bernie added:

“Mr. President, tonight you have the opportunity to do something extraordinary: Sign that resolution. Saudi Arabia should not be determining the military or foreign policy of this country.”

Sanders was talking about a War Powers Act resolution that would have ended U.S. involvement in the five-year civil war in Yemen that has created one of the great humanitarian crises of our time, with thousands of dead children amidst an epidemic of cholera and a famine.

Supported by a united Democratic Party on the Hill, and an anti-interventionist faction of the GOP led by Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee of Utah, the War Powers resolution had passed both houses of Congress.

But 24 hours after Sanders urged him to sign it, Trump, heeding the hawks in his Cabinet and National Security Council, vetoed S.J.Res.7, calling it a “dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities.”

With sufficient Republican votes in both houses to sustain Trump’s veto, that should be the end of the matter.

It is not: Trump may have just ceded the peace issue in 2020 to the Democrats. If Sanders emerges as the nominee, we will have an election with a Democrat running on the “no-more-wars” theme Trump touted in 2016. And Trump will be left defending the bombing of Yemeni rebels and civilians by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.

Does Trump really want to go into 2020 as a war party president?

Does he want to go into 2020 with Democrats denouncing “Trump’s endless wars” in the Middle East? Because that is where he is headed.

In 2008, John McCain, leading hawk in the Senate, was routed by a left-wing first-term senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, who had won his nomination by defeating the more hawkish Hillary Clinton, who had voted to authorize the war in Iraq.

In 2012, the Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who was far more hawkish than Obama on Russia, lost.

Yet, in 2016, Trump ran as a different kind of Republican, an opponent of the Iraq War and an anti-interventionist who wanted to get along with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and get out of these Middle East wars.

Looking closely at the front-running candidates for the Democratic nomination of 2020 — Joe Biden, Sanders, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker — not one appears to be as hawkish as Trump has become.

Trump pulled us out of the nuclear deal with Iran negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry and reimposed severe sanctions.

He declared Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, to which Iran has responded by declaring U.S. Central Command a terrorist organization. Ominously, the IRGC and its trained Shiite militias in Iraq are in close proximity to U.S. troops.

Trump has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moved the U.S. Embassy there, closed the consulate that dealt with Palestinian affairs, cut off aid to the Palestinians, recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights seized from Syria in 1967, and gone silent on Bibi Netanyahu’s threat to annex Jewish settlements on the West Bank.

Sanders, however, though he stands by Israel, is supporting a two-state solution and castigating the “right-wing” Netanyahu regime.

Trump has talked of pulling all U.S. troops out of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet the troops are still there.

Though Trump came into office promising to get along with the Russians, he sent Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine and announced a pullout from Ronald Reagan’s 1987 INF treaty that outlawed all land-based intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

When Putin provocatively sent 100 Russian troops to Caracas — ostensibly to repair the S-400 anti-aircraft and anti-missile system that was damaged in recent blackouts — Trump, drawing a red line, ordered the Russians to “get out.”

Biden is expected to announce next week. If the stands he takes on Russia, China, Israel and the Middle East are more hawkish than the rest of the field, he will be challenged by the left wing of his party, and by Sanders, who voted “no” on the Iraq War that Biden supported.

The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016. And the anti-interventionist wing of the GOP is growing.

And when added to the anti-interventionist and anti-war wing of the Democratic Party on the Hill, together, they are able, as on the Yemen War Powers resolution, to produce a new bipartisan majority.

Prediction: By the primaries of 2020, foreign policy will be front and center, and the Democratic Party will have captured the “no-more-wars” political high ground that Candidate Donald Trump occupied in 2016.

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Over 200 killed, hundreds injured in series of blasts at Sri Lankan hotels & churches

A series of bombings hit churches and hotels across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing more than 200 people.

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Via RT…


A series of eight explosions rocked Catholic churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka as Christians began Easter Sunday celebrations, with over 200 killed and hundreds injured, media reported, citing police.

The blasts started at around 8:45am local time at St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo and St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, a Catholic-majority town outside of the capital. The Zion Church in Batticaloa on the eastern coast was also targeted. At around the same time, the Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury five-star hotels were also hit, police confirmed.

Two more explosions happened later in the day, targeting two more locations in Colombo. All attacks appear to have been coordinated.

At least 207 people were killed, Reuters reported, citing police. More than 450 were injured in the attacks.

Alleged footage of the aftermath, shared on social media, showed chaos and large-scale destruction inside at least one of the churches.

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Mike Pompeo reveals true motto of CIA: ‘We lied, we cheated, we stole’ (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 147.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at a Texas A&M University speech, and subsequent interview, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The former CIA Director admitted, ‘as an aside’ to the question asked, that the Intelligence agency he headed up before being appointed as the top US Diplomat had a motto “we lied, we cheated, we stole”…which, according to Pompeo, contained entire CIA training courses based on ‘lying, cheating and stealing.’

Pompeo finally speaks some truth.

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