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Russia and Turkey: An end to the rapprochement?

The Turkish incursion into Syria does not wreck the recent Russian – Turkish rapprochement because it is only a limited rapprochement not a realignment. In the meantime Russia is working hard to reconcile the Syrian government with the Kurds.

Alexander Mercouris

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The Turkish incursion into Syria and the Turkish capture of Jarablus have been construed by some to mean that the Turkish – Russian rapprochement is a sham. 

According to this view Erdogan, having secured concessions from Putin at the summit in St. Petersburg, has wasted no time dropping the mask, once again betraying his Russian “friend” by invading Syria.

In my opinion this is the product of the over high expectations many had of the Turkish – Russian rapprochement.  As I have said on many occasions, this is a rapprochement not a realignment.  Turkey may be angry with the US about the coup, a fact made clear by Erdogan’s decision to send only the deputy mayor of Ankara to welcome US Vice President Biden on his recent arrival in Ankara.  It has not ceased to be a US or NATO ally.

Nor is there any reason to think the Russians feel the Turkish incursion into Syria has “betrayed” them.  For a “betrayal” to have happened Erdogan would have had to mislead the Russians as to his intentions in Syria.  On the contrary Erdogan has never at any time said that his policies or intentions in Syria have changed.  Instead he has always said, and continued right up to the eve of the summit in St. Petersburg to say, that his policies in Syria are unchanged.  He still demands that President Assad must go and he still says he wants regime change in Syria.  He has even said that he does not consider Jabhat Al-Nusra – Al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate – to be a terrorist organisation.  See my detailed discussion of all this here.

To repeat: what happened in St. Petersburg was a patching up of relations between Russia and Turkey, bringing them roughly back to where they were before the shooting down of the SU24 in November last year.  A number of economic deals were agreed in outline, but there were no geostrategic shifts, none were promised or demanded or (by the Russians) expected, and it was unreasonable to expect them.

As it happens the Turks say they informed the Russians in advance of their intention to move on Jarablus, and that the Russians gave the green light for it. 

That is completely plausible.  The Russians understand that for Turkey the setting up of an autonomous YPG controlled Kurdish autonomous zone along Turkey’s border with Syria is unacceptable, and that the Turks will act decisively to prevent it.  Short of going to war with Turkey Russia cannot prevent Turkey from acting in this way, and it has no reason to offend the Turks by trying to do so.

The key point to understand about the Turkish incursion is that no part of it involves areas of Syria and under the Syrian government’s actual control.  All this area is controlled either by the YPG or by ISIS. 

Nor is this area critical to the Syrian government’s survival.  That depends on the Syrian government retaining its hold on Damascus and Aleppo, the central towns of Hama and Homs, the key region of Latakia, and ultimately by recapturing the town and province of Idlib.  If the Syrian government achieves all this, then it will have secured its existence, which is the objective the Russians set themselves when they intervened in Syria last year. 

In the meantime the Russians no doubt calculate – as do the Syrians – that the north east of Syria can be left to look after itself, and that what the Turks get up to there – far away from the key battlefields in Damascus and Aleppo provinces and in Idlib province – in the end in military and strategic terms simply does not matter.  Whilst that may sound ruthless, it is the sort of ruthless calculation that sometimes has to be made in war.

That does not mean that the Russians are completely uninterested in what is going on in northeastern Syria.  However the focus of their concern will not be the Turkish incursion.  Rather it is the recent breakdown in relations between the Syrian government and the Kurdish militia the YPG. 

Whilst the YPG does not play a decisive role in the fighting in western Syria, it has been a useful ally of the Syrian army in the fighting in Aleppo and further east in the battle against ISIS.

The already severely overstretched Syrian army hardly needs more enemies in Syria, and the Russians will want to prevent the present tensions between the Syrian army and the YPG escalating into full-fledged fighting at all costs.

That this is for the Russians the key issue in north east Syria at the moment has just been confirmed at the latest Russian Foreign Ministry briefing by Maria Zakharova, Russia’s impressive Foreign Ministry spokeswoman

“As far as the situation in Syria’s Hasakeh is concerned, we are extremely worried over the sharp armed escalation in that city in the northwest of Syria between government troops and Kurdish militias.  Russia has been taking proactive steps along different channels with the aim of preventing fratricidal clashes. We are urging the parties to display restraint.  We are urging the parties to display restraint, wisdom and political conscience and responsibility and to develop the awareness all patriots have only one common enemy – terrorists.  It is obvious that terrorism is a common threat to all Syrians, who share one goal, that of saving Syria, in which all of its citizens irrespective of their ethnicity or religion should feel comfortable.”

The Russians have acted on these pleas by (as Zakharova says) taking positive action on the ground by seeking to broker truces between the Syrian government and the YPG in both Al-Hasakeh and in Aleppo, so far it must be said with only mixed results.

The Russians do possess leverage over both parties.  The Syrian government is now completely dependent on Russia for its survival, whilst Russia is the only remaining power that continues to show some sympathy for the demands for autonomy made by the YPG.  As recently as April – at a time when relations between Russia and Turkey were still very bad – the Russians were demanding that the Kurds be separately represented at the Geneva peace talks.  The Russians have not retreated from this position.  They will doubtless be reminding the YPG that if they want a role in the negotiations – and thus a role in determining the future of Syria – then in a hostile region they will need continued Russian support.

In such a fraught situation it is not beyond reason that the Russians might quietly welcome a Turkish incursion that would (as they might see it) concentrate minds on the part of the YPG – showing to the YPG who their true friends and their true enemies are, and why the US cannot be relied upon as a long term ally.

My colleague Alex Christoforou has recently pointed out how in this region it is the Russians who are increasingly the peacemakers, even as the US constantly acts to spread war there. 

Russian mediation between the Syrian government and the YPG – regardless of whether or not in the end it is successful – coming immediately after US incitement of the YPG to take up arms against the Syrian government, is just one more example of this.

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World War I Homage – A Triumph of Lies and Platitudes

The unilateral, lawless imperialism that engendered World War I and 20 years later World War II is still alive and dangerously vigorous.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via Strategic Culture:


World leaders gathered in Paris on Sunday under the Arc de Triomphe to mark the centennial anniversary ending World War I. In an absurd way, the Napoleon-era arc was a fitting venue – because the ceremony and the rhetoric from President Emmanuel Macron was a “triumph” of lies and platitudes.

Among the estimated 70 international leaders were US President Trump and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, each sitting on either side of Macron and his wife. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was also given pride of place beside the French president.

Macron’s address to the dignitaries was supposed to be a call for international multilateralism. He urged a “brotherhood” for the cause of world peace. He also made a pointed rebuke of “nationalism” as posing a danger to peace – a remark which seemed aimed at Donald Trump who recently boasted of his politics with that very word.

But, ironically, everything about the ceremony and Macron’s speech resonated with jingoistic French nationalism, not his avowed multinationalism. As the politicians sat under the Arc de Triomphe, Macron walked around its circular esplanade in a salute to assembled French military forces bearing assault rifles and bayonets. The French anthem – The Marseillaise – was played twice, once by an army brass band, the second time sung by an army choir. There was also a military plane flyover displaying the blue, red and white tricolor of the French national flag.

In his speech, Macron talked about soldiers coming from all over the world to “die for France” during the 1914-18 Great War. He even said at one point that the war was fought for “the vision of France” and its “universal values”.

This was fluent drivel, French-style. No wonder Russia’s Putin momentarily gave a look of boredom as Macron waxed lyrical.

The speechifying and commemoration was completely detached from current realities of conflict and international tensions.

Among the “brotherhood” whom Macron was appealing to were Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whose military forces continue to bomb and slaughter Palestinian civilians in illegally occupied territory. Also present was Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko whose armed militias continue to terrorize the people of eastern Ukraine with the blatant objective of instigating a war between the US-led NATO alliance and Russia.

Listening to Macron one would think that World War I erupted mysteriously from no specific cause and that an estimated 10 million soldiers were all killed in heroic battles for noble principles.

There was, of course, no mention by Macron of imperialist warmongering and the barbaric sacrifice of humans as slaves in the service of national capitalist power interests.

Grotesquely, as the world leaders donned solemn faces and mouthed pious platitudes for peace, the whole occasion was a triumph in burying reality and the ongoing causes of wars, as well as whitewashing the very culprits responsible for wars. Among the war criminals wearing a mournful black suit was former French President Nicolas Sarkozy who launched the NATO blitzkrieg on Libya in 2011.

While the empty, self-indulgent rhetoric was ringing out, one couldn’t help but recall some of the most glaring contemporary contradictions that were blocked out with awesome Orwellian efficiency.

Just this week, reports emerged of the horrific civilian death toll from the American air force bombing the Syrian city of Raqqa. The city was razed to the ground by US air strikes last year – supposedly to defeat the ISIS terror group. Some 8,000 bodies of civilians, mainly women and children, have now been recovered by Syrian government forces. And that’s only from clearing away a tiny area of rubble for the whole city.

What the Americans did in Raqqa was a monumental war crime, all the more criminal because US forces, along with their NATO partners Britain and France, are illegally present in and assaulting sovereign Syrian territory.

As Macron was telling world leaders about “the vision of France”, hundreds were being killed in Yemen in a battle to strangle the entire population by taking the port city of Hodeida. The genocidal war on that country – which is putting up to 16 million people at risk from starvation – has been fully backed by France, the US and Britain, from their supply of warplanes and bombs to the Saudi and Emirati aggressive forces.

We could mention other specific conflicts where the culprits are clearly identified. For example, the multi-million-dollar support from Washington for the Azov Battalion and other Neo-Nazi militias in Ukraine, which openly emulate the genocidal conduct of Hitler’s Third Reich to exterminate ethnic Russians.

We could mention how US-led NATO forces continue to expand towards Russian territory with outrageous provocation. The mounting earlier this month of the biggest-ever NATO war drills since the Cold War in the Arctic region adjacent to Russia’s northern border was a brazen threat of rehearsing invasion. The announced tearing up of yet another nuclear arms control treaty unilaterally by Washington is a reckless undermining of global security.

Washington threatens China with naval forces marauding near Beijing’s maritime territory in the South China Sea. Washington blockades Iran with illegal economic warfare and openly agitates for regime change. Washington declares Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba a “troika of tyranny” and reserves the right to threaten each of these countries with military invasion at any time.

Meanwhile, this weekend, Russia hosted peace talks in Moscow between the warring parties of Afghanistan. It was seen as a major breakthrough in trying to bring peace to the Central Asia country which has been wracked by 17 years of violence since US forces began their ongoing military occupation – allegedly to defeat terrorism.

Elsewhere, Russia has engaged with Turkey, Germany and France to convene a summit for peaceful reconstruction of Syria. The latest summit held in Ankara at the end of last month follows several other such meetings in Astana and Sochi, largely at the behest of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, to find a political settlement to the nearly eight-year war in Syria – a war that was fomented covertly by Washington and its allies for regime change.

France’s Macron talks about “multilateralism” for world peace, yet the two countries which have arguably supported and implemented multilateralism in practice are Russia and China in their calls and policies for global partnership and economic development.

And yet it is Russia and China that are being harassed with American and European sanctions, and US military provocations.

The unilateral, lawless imperialism that engendered World War I and 20 years later World War II is still alive and dangerously vigorous. We only have to look around the present world to realize that. But when the culprits indulge in a triumph of bullshit then we also know that the world is once again in very grave danger.

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Creepy Porn Lawyers’ disgusting assault on Tucker Carlson and his 19 year old daughter (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 14.

Alex Christoforou

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Days after ANTIFA targeted Fox News’ Tucker Carlson’s home, trying to intimidate and scare the TV host into curbing his free speech against totalitarian mob rule propagated by ANTIFA and their paymasters, it appears that the SJW establishment swamp is going after Tucker with everything they got…sending in the expendable, and always eager to get publicity, Creepy Porn Lawyer, Michael Avenatti, to try and ensnare Carlson in some sort of racist assault scandal.

The entire event appears to be a staged, purposefully hitting upon all the right identity politics buttons…so as to maximize full SJW pressure on Tucker and Fox News.

The Gateway Pundit reports that Tucker Carlson has denied Michael Avenatti’s charges of assault, and explains that his actions were prompted by an unhinged gay man calling his daughter a wh*re and a c**t…

Creepy porn star Michael Avenatti made headlines again this weekend with trumped up charges of assault against FOX News host Tucker Carlson.

On Saturday Avenatti released video of Tucker Carlson in an argument with a crowd of people at a country club in Virginia.

Avenatti claims Tucker assaulted a gay Latino immigrant for no reason.

Avenatti posted this video made the allegations on Saturday.

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a quick look at the SJW swamps’ latest attempt to smear Tucker Carlson, by going after his 19-year old daughter, in a disgusting display of misogyny and hate towards the very women that establishment liberal claims to defend.

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Here’s Carlson’s full statement about the incident:

“On October 13, I had dinner with two of my children and some family friends at the Farmington Country Club in Charlottesville, Virginia. Toward the end of the meal, my 19-year-old daughter went to the bathroom with a friend. On their way back through the bar, a middle aged man stopped my daughter and asked if she was sitting with Tucker Carlson. My daughter had never seen the man before. She answered: ‘That’s my dad,’ and pointed to me. The man responded, ‘Are you Tucker’s whore?’ He then called her a ‘f—— c—.’

“My daughter returned to the table in tears. She soon left the table and the club. My son, who is also a student, went into the bar to confront the man. I followed. My son asked the man if he’d called his sister a ‘whore’ and a ‘cunt.’ The man admitted he had, and again become profane. My son threw a glass of red wine in the man’s face and told him to leave the bar, which he soon did.

“Immediately after the incident, I described these events to the management of the Farmington Country Club. The club spent more than three weeks investigating the incident. Last week, they revoked the man’s membership and threw him out of the club.

“I love my children. It took enormous self-control not to beat the man with a chair, which is what I wanted to do. I think any father can understand the overwhelming rage and shock that I felt seeing my teenage daughter attacked by a stranger. But I restrained myself. I did not assault this man, and neither did my son. That is a lie. Nor did I know the man was gay or Latino, not that it would have mattered. What happened on October 13 has nothing to do with identity politics. It was a grotesque violation of decency. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.”

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Former Hillary Clinton Advisor: She’s Running Again in 2020

Clinton admitted that while she doesn’t want to run again — she would “like to be president.”

The Duran

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Via The Gateway Pundit…


Hillary Clinton’s former adviser Mark Penn is warning the public that we should brace ourselves for another run from the power hungry sore loser in 2020.

Penn co-wrote in a Sunday op-ed for the Wall Street Journal that she “won’t let a little thing like two stunning defeats stand in the way of her claim to the White House.”

“True to her name, Mrs. Clinton will fight this out until the last dog dies,” the op-ed that Penn authored with Andrew Stein claims. “She won’t let a little thing like two stunning defeats stand in the way of her claim to the White House.”

Like a cockroach that just won’t die, or the final boss in a video game that keeps obnoxiously coming back after each defeat — Clinton just won’t go away.

Penn said that by “reinventing herself as a liberal firebrand, Mrs. Clinton will easily capture the 2020 nomination.”

“You can expect her to run for president once again,” he said. “Maybe not at first, when the legions of Senate Democrats make their announcements, but definitely by the time the primaries are in full swing.”

Last month, Clinton admitted that while she doesn’t want to run again — she would “like to be president.”

Even some of her closest allies want her to give it a rest though.

“She’s more likely to win Powerball,” Philippe Reines, Clinton’s longtime adviser, told The Hill.

While nobody really wants to hear that woman’s voice ever again — at least the right can recycle all their best memes from 2016.

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