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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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Putin, Trump meet in Helsinki for first bilateral summit

The Helsinki summit is the first ever full-fledged meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. Their previous encounters were brief talks on the sidelines of the G20 and APEC summits in 2017.

Vladimir Rodzianko

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump are meeting in the Finnish capital of Helsinki for their first bilateral one-on-one meeting.

Trump arrived in the Finland capital a day early, while the jet of Putin, who wrapped up his nation’s hosting of the World Cup Sunday, touched down around 1 p.m. local time and the Russian president’s motorcade whisked him straight to the palace where the two world leaders are meeting.

Trump signed an August 2017 law imposing additional sanctions on Russia. The law bars Trump from easing many sanctions without Congress’ approval, but he can offer some relief without a nod from Congress.

Almost 700 Russian people and companies are under U.S. sanctions. Individuals face limits on their travel and freezes on at least some of their assets, while some top Russian state banks and companies, including oil and gas giants, are effectively barred from getting financing through U.S. banks and markets.

The agenda of the summit hasn’t been officially announced yet, though, the presidents are expected to discuss global crises, such as the Syrian conflict and Ukraine, as well as bilateral relations.

Stay tuned for updates…

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“Foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails (Video)

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx): Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails was hacked by foreign actor, and it was not Russia.

Alex Christoforou

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A stunning revelation that hardly anyone in the mainstream media is covering.

Fox News gave Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) the opportunity to explain what was going on during his questioning of Peter Strzok, when the the Texas Congressman stated that a “foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Aside from this segment on Fox News, this story is not getting any coverage, and we know why. It destroys the entire ‘Russia hacked Hillary’ narrative.

Gohmert states that this evidence is irrefutable and shows that a foreign actor, not connected to Russia in any way, intercepted and distributed Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails.

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Via Zerohedge

As we sift through the ashes of Thursday’s dumpster-fire Congressional hearing with still employed FBI agent Peter Strzok, Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller plucked out a key exchange between Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) and Strzok which revealed a yet-unknown bombshell about the Clinton email case.

Nearly all of Hillary Clinton’s emails on her homebrew server went to a foreign entity that isn’t Russia. When this was discovered by the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG), IG Chuck McCullough sent his investigator Frank Ruckner and an attorney to notify Strzok along with three other people about the “anomaly.”

Four separate attempts were also made to notify DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz to brief him on the massive security breach, however Horowitz “never returned the call.” Recall that Horowitz concluded last month that despite Strzok’s extreme bias towards Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump – none of it translated to Strzok’s work at the FBI.

In other words; Strzok, while investigating Clinton’s email server, completely ignored the fact that most of Clinton’s emails were sent to a foreign entity – while IG Horowitz simply didn’t want to know about it.

Daily Caller reports…

The Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) found an “anomaly on Hillary Clinton’s emails going through their private server, and when they had done the forensic analysis, they found that her emails, every single one except four, over 30,000, were going to an address that was not on the distribution list,” Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas said during a hearing with FBI official Peter Strzok.

Gohmert continued..

“It was going to an unauthorized source that was a foreign entity unrelated to Russia.”

Strzok admitted to meeting with Ruckner but said he couldn’t remember the “specific” content of their discussion.

“The forensic examination was done by the ICIG and they can document that,” Gohmert said, “but you were given that information and you did nothing with it.”

According to Zerohedge “Mr. Horowitz got a call four times from someone wanting to brief him about this, and he never returned the call,” Gohmert said – and Horowitz wouldn’t return the call.

And while Peter Strzok couldn’t remember the specifics of his meeting with the IG about the giant “foreign entity” bombshell, he texted this to his mistress Lisa Page when the IG discovered the “(C)” classification on several of Clinton’s emails – something the FBI overlooked:

“Holy cow … if the FBI missed this, what else was missed? … Remind me to tell you to flag for Andy [redacted] emails we (actually ICIG) found that have portion marks (C) on a couple of paras. DoJ was Very Concerned about this.”

Via Zerohedge

In November of 2017, IG McCullough – an Obama appointee – revealed to Fox News that he received pushback when he tried to tell former DNI James Clapper about the foreign entity which had Clinton’s emails and other anomalies.

Instead of being embraced for trying to expose an illegal act, seven senators including Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca) wrote a letter accusing him of politicizing the issue.

“It’s absolutely irrelevant whether something is marked classified, it is the character of the information,” he said. Fox News reports…

McCullough said that from that point forward, he received only criticism and an “adversarial posture” from Congress when he tried to rectify the situation.

“I expected to be embraced and protected,” he said, adding that a Hill staffer “chided” him for failing to consider the “political consequences” of the information he was blowing the whistle on.

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Donald Trump plays good cop and bad cop with a weak Theresa May (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 55.

Alex Christoforou

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US President Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK was momentous, not for its substance, but rather for its sheer entertainment value.

Trump started his trip to the United Kingdom blasting Theresa May for her inability to negotiate a proper Brexit deal with the EU.  Trump ended his visit holding hands with the UK Prime Minister during a press conference where the most ‘special relationship’ between the two allies was once again reaffirmed.

Protests saw giant Trump “baby balloons” fly over London’s city center, as Trump played was his own good cop and bad cop to the UK PM, outside London at the Chequers…often times leaving May’s head spinning.

Even as Trump has left London, he remains front and center in the mind of Theresa May, who has now stated that Trump advised her to “sue” the European Union to resolve the tense negotiations over Brexit.

Trump had mentioned to reporters on Friday at a joint press conference with Theresa May that he had given the British leader a suggestion that she found too “brutal.”

Asked Sunday on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show what that suggestion was, May: “He told me I should sue the EU. Not go into negotiation, sue them.” May added…

“What the president also said at that press conference was `Don’t walk away. Don’t walk away from the negotiations. Then you’re stuck.”‘

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris summarize what was a state visit like no other, as Trump trolled the UK PM from beginning to end, and left London knowing that he got the better of a weakened British Prime Minister, who may not survive in office past next week.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Via CNBC

It wasn’t exactly clear what Trump meant. The revelation came after explosive and undiplomatic remarks Trump made this week about May’s leadership — especially her handling of the Brexit negotiations — as he made his first official visit to Britain.

In an interview with The Sun newspaper published Thursday — just as May was hosting Trump at a lavish black-tie dinner — Trump said the British leader’s approach likely “killed” chances of a free-trade deal with the United States. He said he had told May how to conduct Brexit negotiations, “but she didn’t listen to me.”

He also praised May’s rival, Boris Johnson, who quit last week as foreign secretary to protest May’s Brexit plans. Trump claimed Johnson would make a “great prime minister.”

The comments shocked many in Britain — even May’s opponents — and threatened to undermine May’s already fragile hold on power. Her Conservative government is deeply split between supporters of a clean break with the EU and those who want to keep close ties with the bloc, Britain’s biggest trading partner.

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