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Turkey’s twisting the truth: There won’t be a joint anti-Kurdish op with Russia

Turkey is engaging in a cunning display of perception management techniques in hinting that it might coordinate a joint anti-Kurdish operation with Russia because it wants to put maximum pressure on the PYD-YPG Syrian Kurds in the run-up to next year’s “Syrian National Dialogue Congress”

Andrew Korybko

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Smashing “Political Correctness” In The War On Syria

The international media was hit with a bombshell earlier today when Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu declared that his government no longer considers Damascus as a “threat”, thereby opening the door for a possible rapprochement between these once-close partners. The announcement comes less than 24 hours after President Putin traveled to Turkey to meet with President Erdogan, implying that Moscow had some role in convincing Ankara over the necessity in making this statement. After all, President Putin’s whirlwind three-country tour of the Mideast yesterday was largely designed to pave the way for next year’s “Syrian National Dialogue Congress”, the Russian leader’s personal initiative to bring about a “political solution” to the War on Syria.

Keeping in line with President Putin’s active diplomacy in laying the groundwork for this landmark event next year, it’s reasonable to presume that he did indeed convince his Turkish counterpart to publicly announce what keen observers were already well aware of ever since the failed pro-American coup attempt last summer and especially following the January commencement of the Astana peace process, namely that Ankara no longer has any real issues with Damascus. Of course, it was difficult for Turkey to openly admit this over the past 18 months due to domestic and international political reasons, but all the same, this “open secret” is now officially public knowledge. By making such an overture towards Syria, Turkey – likely in coordination with Russia – is now implicitly pressuring Damascus to reciprocate in taking the next step by legally accepting the presence of Turkish military forces in the “de-escalation zones” (DEZs).

The Chain Of “Compromises”

In accordance with Russia’s presumed plans for promoting a “political solution”, Syria absolutely has to “compromise” in accepting the Turkish troops that are active on its territory because they were deployed there as part of the Astana peace process. It’s possible that Damascus already held this position in secret, but just like Turkey, it was reluctant to express itself publicly for domestic and international political reasons, as well as to “save face” before both audiences just like Turkey was trying to do. Now, however, it will be increasingly difficult for Syria to keep this a secret because Turkey’s announcement pressures it to go public in return and therefore advance President Putin’s peacemaking vision. If successful, then there’s a chance that the same model could be applied to the US forces in northeastern Syria if Washington ever officially accepts that President Assad can remain in office until the country’s next presidential elections in 2021, which is what unconfirmed sources are reporting that Trump is ready to “compromise” on.

It shouldn’t be seen as a coincidence that these reports are only now just emerging one day after President Putin’s Mideast tour, since not only are they a reaction to this move, but they could have even been secretly coordinated with Russia per a “gentlemen’s agreement” that the Russian and American leaders may have clinched during their last personal meeting on the sidelines of the APEC Summit in Vietnam. One should keep in mind that Russia is the most active and efficient mediating (or “balancing”) partner in Syria and the Greater Mideast right now, and in line with President Putin’s previous statement during the Sochi Summit with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts last month that all sides must “compromise”, it’s possible that he may have convinced the US of the need to accept the obvious fact that President Assad still solidly remains in office. In exchange for this superficial volte-face (as it was long ago presumed to be part of American calculations since the Russian intervention began), Syria could “compromise” by accepting the presence of American troops in the northeast.

The diplomatic deal-making spree that Russia convincingly seems to be on was catalyzed by its own decision to “compromise” in ordering the withdrawal of most of its Aerospace Forces from Syria, as it was this move which kicked into motion the preplanned statement given by the Turkish Foreign Minister a day afterwards and the news reports about the Trump Administration’s “compromise” (which could be interpreted as being in response to Russia’s). All of this is fine and dandy, so to speak, except that one actor is attempting to exploit the situation for its own advantage and inadvertently jeopardize this very delicate dance that Russia has begun with all parties, and the problem comes down to what the Turkish Foreign Minister misleadingly implied in his bombshell statement about Syria.

Kurdish Confusion

Overlooked by most commentators, Sputnik importantly reported that Turkey’s chief diplomat “has clarified that [his] country will coordinate an operation against Syria’s Kurds with Russia if it is necessary (and that) the minister explained that Turkey does not oppose the Kurds’ participation in the Syrian peace settlement, adding that the country has handed Russia a list of Kurdish forces it was ready to work with.” There are two parts to this passage that need to be analyzed separately before they can be understood together. About the first one, it’s unclear if President Putin did indeed consider a joint anti-Kurdish operation with Turkey, but the Foreign Minister is suggesting as much because of the presumption that his speech was prompted by the Russian leader’s meeting with President Erdogan yesterday evening. Turkey is masterfully attempting to utilize perception management techniques in order to put maximum pressure on its PYD-YPG Syrian Kurdish enemies by making it seem as though Russia is read to “backstab” them.

Nothing of the sort seems to be in the cards, however, as the author explained in his analysis last week about the evolving relations between Russia and the Syrian Kurds, but Turkey wants to sow distrust between these two parties in order to weaken the position of his foes and therefore allow them to be replaced by their Kurdish National Council (KNC) rivals. This group is originally from northeastern Syria but was driven out by the PYD-YPG Syrian Kurds and is now thought to be based in southern Turkey. The author wrote back in March how Ankara is training this pro-Turkish militia to take over the self-proclaimed region of “Rojava” in the event that an anti-“federalist” successor mission to “Operation Euphrates Shield” is ever launched. Though the speculative military campaign never transpired (at least not yet), it now appears as though Turkey is trying to win Russia’s ear in having Moscow host the KNC instead of the PYD in the forthcoming “Syrian National Dialogue Congress”.

Foreign Minister Cavusoglu’s twisting of the truth in hinting that Russia is planning an anti-Kurdish operation alongside Turkey is designed to get the PYD to concede into allowing the KNC to return to their homeland and enter into a political coalition with it, which could be the “face-saving” “compromise” that Turkey needs to have happen in order to accept the “decentralization” of northeastern Syria. There doesn’t seem to be any other way that Turkey would allow the PYD to remain in power there except if they reconciled with the KNC and had their new “partners” go to Astana and Sochi on their behalf. Anything less than that would be understood as an egregious affront to President Erdogan and a violation of the red line that he had sworn to his countrymen that he would protect, but at the same time, Ankara probably isn’t going to risk becoming the “global bad guy” by invading northeastern Syria, expelling the PYD-YPG, and being responsible for destroying President Putin’s personal peacemaking initiative there.

The Law Of Unintended Consequences

That being said, the unintended consequence of Cavusoglu including his provocative statement about allegedly coordinating an anti-Kurdish operation with Russia in northeastern Syria in the same context as announcing his government’s change of policy towards Damascus, which itself came less than a full day after President Putin’s visit and is widely assumed to have been brought about by his personal diplomatic intervention, is that Moscow’s Mideast mediation efforts might fail if Ankara succeeds in driving a wedge between the Syrian Kurds and Russia. Moscow needs this group to behave constructively during this very sensitive time in transitioning the War on Syria from its fading military phase to the future political one, and if they or their US patrons come to believe that Russia isn’t “trustworthy” due to the Turkish Foreign Minister’s twisting of the truth, then they might get “cold feet” and refuse to continue with this process.

Russian Reassurances

To that end, it’s necessary for Russia to reassure its two partners behind closed doors and convey to them the self-interested reasons why Ankara alleged that such an operation is supposedly being considered. Some points in favor of Russia’s position is that it has already demonstrated that it has no desire whatsoever to directly confront the US in Syria and risk entering into a dangerous spiral that could lead to a nuclear standoff, which could inevitably happen if the 2000 US troops in the region and their 10 or so bases there come under threat in the course of a joint Russian-Turkish anti-Kurdish operation. In addition, Russia’s large-scale withdrawal of its Aerospace Forces signifies that it doesn’t intend to provide any significant in-field support to its allies anytime soon, further negating the Foreign Minister’s words to the contrary.

Finally, the most reassuring move that Russia could make right now to its American and Kurdish partners is for it to convince President Assad to reciprocate Turkey’s outreach but also extend it to the aforementioned two actors in order to strengthen the chain of “compromises” and make the upcoming “Syrian National Dialogue Congress” a success. That, however, might not be possible except under the condition of enormous pressure being put on President Assad, as he would essentially be backtracking on his government’s previous statements on the topics of uninvited foreign military forces in his country and “decentralization”, possibly representing a “bridge too far” for even for Russia to attempt to cross and potentially setting into motion the very same “law of unintended consequences” that it so desperately seeks to avoid.

DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution. 

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May Forces Brexit Betrayal to its Crisis Point

We’re 29 months later and the U.K. is no closer to being out of the EU than the day of the vote. 

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Authored by Tom Luongo:


The only words that were left out of Theresa May’s announcement of achieving Cabinet approval over her Brexit deal were Mission Accomplished.

Theresa May was put in charge of the U.K. to betray Brexit from the beginning.  She always represented the interests of the European Union and those in British Parliament that backed remaining in the EU.

No one in British ‘high society’ wanted Brexit to pass.   No. One.

No one in Europe’s power elite wanted Brexit to pass.  No. One.

No one in the U.S.’s power elite wanted Brexit to pass.  No. One.

When it did pass The Davos Crowd began the process of sabotaging it.  The fear mongering has done nothing but intensify.  And May has done nothing but waffle back and forth, walking the political tight rope to remain in power while trying to sell EU slavery to the both sides in British Parliament.

We’re 29 months later and the U.K. is no closer to being out of the EU than the day of the vote.  Why?

Because Theresa May’s 585 page ‘deal’ is the worst of all possible outcomes.  If it passes it will leave the EU with near full control over British trade and tax policy while the British people and government have no say or vote in the matter.

It’s punishment for the people getting uppity about their future and wanting something different than what had been planned for them.

Mr. Juncker and his replacement will never have to suffer another one of Nigel Farage’s vicious farragoes detailing their venality ever again.  YouTube will get a whole lot less interesting.

It’s almost like this whole charade was designed this way.

Because it was.

May has tried to run out the clock and scare everyone into accepting a deal that is worse than the situation pre-Brexit because somehow a terrible deal is better than no deal.  But, that’s the opposite of the truth.

And she knows it.  She’s always known it but she’s gone into these negotiations like the fragile wisp of a thing she truly is.

There’s a reason I call her “The Gypsum Lady.” She’s simply the opposite of Margaret Thatcher who always knew what the EU was about and fought to her last political breath to avoid the trap the U.K. is now caught in.

The U.K. has had all of the leverage in Brexit talks but May has gone out of her way to not use any of it while the feckless and evil vampires in Europe purposefully complicate issues which are the height of irrelevancy.

She has caved on every issue to the point of further eroding what’s left of British sovereignty.  This deal leaves the U.K. at the mercy of Latvia or Greece in negotiating any trade agreement with Canada.  Because for a deal between member states to be approved, all members have to approve of it.

So, yeah, great job Mrs. May.  Mission Accomplished.  They are popping champagne corks in Brussels now.

But, this is a Brexit people can be proud of.

Orwell would be proud of Theresa May for this one.

You people are leaving.  Let the EU worry about controlling their borders.  And if Ireland doesn’t like the diktats coming from Brussels than they can decide for themselves if staying in the EU is worth the trouble.

The entire Irish border issue is simply not May’s problem to solve.  Neither is the customs union or any of the other stuff.  These are the EU’s problems.   They are the ones who don’t want the Brits to leave.

Let them figure out how they are going to trade with the U.K.  It is so obvious that this entire Brexit ‘negotiation’ is about protecting the European project as a proxy for the right of German automakers to export their cars at advantageous exchange rates to the U.K. at everyone’s expense.

Same as it was in the days of The Iron Lady.

If all of this wasn’t so predictable it would be comical.

Because the only people more useless than Theresa May are the Tories who care only about keeping their current level of the perks of office.

The biggest takeaway from this Brexit fiasco is that even more people will check out of the political system. They will see it even more clearly for what it is, an irredeemable miasma of pelf and privilege that has zero interest in protecting the rights of its citizens or the value of their labor.

It doesn’t matter if it’s voter fraud in the U.S. or a drawn out betrayal of a binding referendum. There comes a point where those not at the political fringes look behind the veil and realize changing the nameplate above the door doesn’t change the policy.

And once they realize that confidence fails and systems collapse.

Brexit was the last gasp of a dying empire to assert its national relevancy.  Even if this deal is rejected by parliament the process has sown deep divisions which will lead to the next trap and the next and the next and the next.

By then Theresa May will be a distant memory, being properly rewarded by her masters for a job very well done.


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The DOJ Is Preparing To Indict Julian Assange

Ecuador’s relationship with Assange has deteriorated considerably with the election of President Lenin Moreno.

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Via Zerohedge…


The US Justice Department is preparing to indict WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange which, after sensitive international negotiations, would likely trigger his extradition to the United States to stand trial, according to the Wall Street Journalciting people in Washington familiar with the matter.

Over the past year, U.S. prosecutors have discussed several types of charges they could potentially bring against Mr. Assange, the people said. Mr. Assange has lived in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since receiving political asylum from the South American country in 2012.

The people familiar with the case wouldn’t describe whether discussions were under way with the U.K. or Ecuador about Mr. Assange, but said they were encouraged by recent developments.

The exact charges Justice Department might pursue remain unclear, but they may involve the Espionage Act, which criminalizes the disclosure of national defense-related information. –WSJ

In short, the DOJ doesn’t appear to have a clear charge against Assange yet. Then there’s the optics of dragging Assange out of Ecuador’s London Embassy and into the United States, then prosecuting him, and if successful – jailing him.

Prosecuting someone for publishing truthful information would set a terrible and dangerous precedent,” said Assange lawyer Barry Pollack – who says he hasn’t heard anything about a US prosecution.

“We have heard nothing from authorities suggesting that a criminal case against Mr. Assange is imminent,” he added.

Moreover, assuming that even if the DOJ could mount a case, they would be required to prove that Russia was the source of a trove of emails damaging to Hillary Clinton that WikiLeaks released in the last few months of the 2016 election.

An indictment from special counsel Robert Mueller that portrayed WikiLeaks as a tool of Russian intelligence for releasing thousands of hacked Democratic emails during the 2016 presidential campaign has made it more difficult for Mr. Assange to mount a defense as a journalist. Public opinion of Mr. Assange in the U.S. has dropped since the campaign.

Prosecutors have considered publicly indicting Mr. Assange to try to trigger his removal from the embassy, the people said, because a detailed explanation of the evidence against Mr. Assange could give Ecuadorean authorities a reason to turn him over. –WSJ

It’s no secret that Assange and Hillary Clinton aren’t exactly exchanging Christmas cards, however would WikiLeaks’ release of damaging information that was hacked (or copied locally on a thumb drive by a well-meaning American), be illegal for Assange as a publisher?

Despite scant clues as to how the DOJ will prosecute Assange aside from rumors that it has to do with the Espionage Act, the US Government is cooking on something. John Demers – head of the DOJ’s national security division, said last week regarding an Assange case: “On that, I’ll just say, we’ll see.”

The U.S. hasn’t publicly commented on whether it has made, or plans to make, any extradition request. Any extradition request from the U.S. would likely go to British authorities, who have an outstanding arrest warrant for Mr. Assange related to a Swedish sexual assault case. Sweden has since dropped the probe, but the arrest warrant stands.

Any extradition and prosecution would involve multiple sensitive negotiations within the U.S. government and with other countries. –WSJ

Beginning in 2010, the Department of Justice beginning under the Obama administration has drawn a distinction between WikiLeaks and other news organizations – with former Attorney General Eric Holder insisting that Assange’s organization does not deserve the same first amendment protections during the Chelsea Manning case in which the former Army intelligence analyst was found guilty at a court-martial of leaking thousands of classified Afghan War Reports.

US officials have given mixed messages over Assange, with President Trump having said during the 2016 election “I love WikiLeaks,” only to have his former CIA Director, Mike Pompeo label WikiLeaks akin to a foreign “hostile intelligence service” and a US adversary. Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said that Assange’s arrest is a “priority.”

Ecuador’s relationship with Assange, meanwhile, has deteriorated considerably with the election of President Lenin Moreno – who called the WikiLeaks founder a “stone in our shoe,” adding that Assange’s stay at the London embassy is unsustainable.

Ecuador has been looking to improve relations with the U.S., hosting Vice President Mike Pence in 2018 amid interest in increasing trade.

Ecuador’s Foreign Relations Ministry declined to comment. This month, Foreign Relations Minister José Valencia told a radio station the government hadn’t received an extradition request for Mr. Assange.

Mr. Assange has clashed with his Ecuadorean hosts in over internet access, visitors, his cat and other issues. Last month, he sued Ecuador over the conditions of his confinement. At a hearing last month, at which a judge rejected Mr. Assange’s claims, Mr. Assange said he expected to be forced out of the embassy soon.  –WSJ

Assange and Ecuador seem to have worked things out for the time being; with his months-long communication blackout mostly lifted (with strict rules against Assange participating in political activities that would affect Ecuador’s international relations). Assange is now allowed Wi-Fi, but has to foot the bill for his own phone calls and other communication.

In October, a judge threw out a lawsuit Assange filed against Ecuador from implementing the stricter rules,.

“Ecuador hasn’t violated the rights of anyone,” Attorney General Íñigo Salvador said after the court ruling. “It has provided asylum to Mr. Assange, and he should comply with the rules to live harmoniously inside Ecuador’s public installations in London.”Assange’s attorneys say he will appeal the ruling – however it may be a moot point if he’s dragged into a US courtroom sooner than later.

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Trump Understands The Important Difference Between Nationalism And Globalism

President Trump’s nationalism heralds a return to the old U.S. doctrine of non-intervention.

The Duran

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Authored by Raheem Kassam, op-ed via The Daily Caller:


President Macron’s protests against nationalism this weekend stand in stark contrast with the words of France’s WWII resistance leader and the man who would then become president: General Charles de Gaulle.

Speaking to his men in 1913, de Gaulle reminded them:

“He who does not love his mother more than other mothers, and his fatherland more than other fatherlands, loves neither his mother nor his fatherland.”

This unquestionable invocation of nationalism reveals how far France has come in its pursuit of globalist goals, which de Gaulle described later in that same speech as the “appetite of vice.”

While this weekend the media have been sharpening their knives on Macron’s words, for use against President Trump, very few have taken the time to understand what really created the conditions for the wars of the 20th century. It was globalism’s grandfather: imperialism, not nationalism.

This appears to have been understood at least until the 1980s, though forgotten now. With historical revisionism applied to nationalism and the great wars, it is much harder to understand what President Trump means when he calls himself a “nationalist.” Though the fault is with us, not him.

Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism: nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism … By pursuing our own interests first, with no regard to others,’ we erase the very thing that a nation holds most precious, that which gives it life and makes it great: its moral values,” President Macron declared from the pulpit of the Armistice 100 commemorations.

Had this been in reverse, there would no doubt have been shrieks of disgust aimed at Mr. Trump for “politicizing” such a somber occasion. No such shrieks for Mr. Macron, however, who languishes below 20 percent in national approval ratings in France.

With some context applied, it is remarkably easy to see how President Macron was being disingenuous.

Nationalism and patriotism are indeed distinct. But they are not opposites.

Nationalism is a philosophy of governance, or how human beings organize their affairs. Patriotism isn’t a governing philosophy. Sometimes viewed as subsidiary to the philosophy of nationalism, patriotism is better described as a form of devotion.

For all the grandstanding, Mr. Macron may as well have asserted that chicken is the opposite of hot sauce,so meaningless was the comparison.

Imperialism, we so quickly forget, was the order of the day heading into the 20th century. Humanity has known little else but empire since 2400 B.C. The advent of globalism, replete with its foreign power capitals and multi-national institutions is scarcely distinct.

Imperialism — as opposed to nationalism — seeks to impose a nation’s way of life, its currency, its traditions, its flags, its anthems, its demographics, and its rules and laws upon others wherever they may be.

Truly, President Trump’s nationalism heralds a return to the old U.S. doctrine of non-intervention, expounded by President George Washington in his farewell address of 1796:

” … It must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of [Europe’s] politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.”

It should not have to be pointed out that the great wars of the 20th century could not be considered “ordinary vicissitudes”, but rather, that imperialism had begun to run amok on the continent.

It was an imperialism rooted in nihilism, putting the totality of the state at its heart. Often using nationalism as nothing more than a method of appeal, socialism as a doctrine of governance, and Jews as a subject of derision and scapegoating.

Today’s imperialism is known as globalism.

It is what drives nations to project outward their will, usually with force; causes armies to cross borders in the hope of subjugating other human beings or the invaded nation’s natural resources; and defines a world, or region, or continent by its use of central authority and foreign capital control.

Instead of armies of soldiers, imperialists seek to dominate using armies of economists and bureaucrats. Instead of forced payments to a foreign capital, globalism figured out how to create economic reliance: first on sterling, then on the dollar, now for many on the Euro. This will soon be leapfrogged by China’s designs.

And while imperialism has served some good purposes throughout human history, it is only when grounded in something larger than man; whether that be natural law, God, or otherwise. But such things are scarcely long-lived.

While benevolent imperialism can create better conditions over a period of time, humanity’s instincts will always lean towards freedom and self-governance.

It is this fundamental distinction between the United States’ founding and that of the modern Republic of France that defines the two nations.

The people of France are “granted” their freedoms by the government, and the government creates the conditions and dictates the terms upon which those freedoms are exercised.

As Charles Kesler wrote for the Claremont Review of Books in May, “As a result, there are fewer and fewer levers by which the governed can make its consent count”.

France is the archetypal administrative state, while the United States was founded on natural law, a topic that scarcely gets enough attention anymore.

Nationalism – or nationism, if you will – therefore represents a break from the war-hungry norm of human history. Its presence in the 20th century has been rewritten and bastardized.

A nationalist has no intention of invading your country or changing your society. A nationalist cares just as much as anyone else about the plights of others around the world but believes putting one’s own country first is the way to progress. A nationalist would never seek to divide by race, gender, ethnicity, or sexual preference, or otherwise. This runs contrary to the idea of a united, contiguous nation at ease with itself.

Certainly nationalism’s could-be bastard child of chauvinism can give root to imperialistic tendencies. But if the nation can and indeed does look after its own, and says to the world around it, “these are our affairs, you may learn from them, you may seek advice, we may even assist if you so desperately need it and our affairs are in order,” then nationalism can be a great gift to the 21st century and beyond.

This is what President Trump understands.

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