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US-Russia clash in Syria following Al-Qaeda assault on Russian military police

Russian Special Forces repel US planned attack in Syria, denounce USA, and issue a stark warning

The Saker

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This article, republished with the author’s permission, was first published by The Saker

Something rather unprecedented just happened in Syria: US backed “good terrorist” forces attempted a surprise attack against Syrian government forces stationed to the north and northeast of the city of Hama.

What makes this attack unique is that it took place inside a so-called “de-escalation zone” and that it appears that one of the key goals of the attack was to encircle in a pincer-movement and subsequently capture a platoon of Russian military police officers deployed to monitor and enforce the special status of this zone.

The Russian military police forces, composed mainly of soldiers from the Caucasus region, fought against a much larger enemy force and had to call for assistance.  For the first time, at least officially, Russian special operations forces were deployed to rescue and extract their comrades.

At the same time, the Russians sent in a number of close air support aircraft who reportedly killed several hundred “good” terrorists and beat back the attack (Russian sources speak of the destruction of 850 fighters, 11 tanks, three infantry fighting vehicles, 46 armed pickup trucks, five mortars, 20 freighter trucks and 38 ammo supply points; you can see photos of the destroyed personnel and equipment here).

What also makes this event unique is the official reaction of the Russians to this event.

Head of the Main Operations Department at Russia’s General Staff Colonel General Sergei Rudskoi declared that:

Despite agreements signed in Astana on September 15, gunmen of Jabhat al-Nusra and joining them units that don’t want to comply with the cessation of hostilities terms, launched a large-scale offensive against positions of government troops north and northeast of Hama in Idlib de-escalation zone from 8 am on September 19 (…) According to available data, the offensive was initiated by American intelligence services to stop a successful advance of government troops east of Deir ez-Zor“.

(bold italics added)

Today, other Russian officials have added a not-so-veiled threat to this accusation.  The Russian Defense Ministry’s spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov has declared that:

Russia unequivocally told the commanders of US forces in Al Udeid Airbase (Qatar) that it will not tolerate any shelling from the areas where the SDF are stationed (…)  Fire from positions in regions [controlled by the SDF] will be suppressed by all means necessary.

(bold italics added)

This is unprecedented on many levels.

First, the Russians clearly believe that this attempt to kill or capture a platoon of the Russian military police was planned by the United States.  The fact that they are making this accusation officially shows the degree of irritation felt by the Russians about the duplicity of the Americans.

Second, this is the first time, at least to my knowledge, that Russian Spetsnaz forces had to be sent in to rescue a surrounded Russian subunit.  All Spetsnaz operators survived, but three of them were wounded in the operation (the Russians are not saying how badly).  The close air support by very low flying SU-25 aircraft was obviously coordinated by Spetsnaz forward air controllers and probably saved the day.

In other words, this was a close call and things could have ended much more badly (just imagine what the Takfiri crazies would have done, on video, to any captured Russian serviceman!).

Finally, a US-organized attack on what was supposed to be a “de-confliction” zone combined with an attempt to capture Russian soldiers raises the bar for American duplicity to a totally new level.

The big question now is “do the Russians mean it?” or are they just whining with real determination to hit back if needed.

There are a couple of problems here.  First, objectively, the Russian contingent in Syria is a tiny one if compared to the immense power of CENTCOM, NATO and the ever-present Israelis.  Not only that, but in any US-Russian confrontation, Russia as a country is objectively the weaker side by any measure except a full-out nuclear exchange.  So the Russians are not in a position of force.  Furthermore, for historical and cultural reasons, Russians are much more concerned by the initiation of any incident which could lead to all-out war than the Americans who always fight their wars in somebody else’s country. This might seem paradoxical, but the Russians fear war but they are ready for it.  In contrast to the Russians, the Americans don’t fear war, but neither are they ready for it.  In practical terms this means that an American miscalculation could very well lead to a Russian military response which would stun the Americans and force them to enter an escalatory spiral which nobody would control.

Remember how Hillary promised that she would unilaterally impose a so-called “no-fly” zone over Syria?  She promised not only to deploy US aircraft above Russian forces in Syria, but she also promised that she would force the Russian Aerospace forces out of the Syrian skies.  Thank God, this crazy witch was not elected, but it appears that folks with the same arrogant and,frankly, completely irresponsible point of view are now back in power under Trump.

My fear now is that the incompetent, arrogant, not too bright and generally ignorant commanders at the Pentagon and the CIA will simply ignore clear warning signs coming from the Russians, including the public announcement that the Kremlin has given the authority to use force to protect Russian personnel to the local Russian commanders in Syria.  In plain English, this means that if they are attacked the Russians in Syria do not need to consult with Moscow before using force to protect themselves.  By the way, such rules of engagement are pretty common, there is nothing earth shattering here, but the fact that they were made public is, again, a message to the AngloZionist and the “good” terrorist they use to try to conquer Syria.

This time around we (the world) were lucky.  The Syrians fought hard and the “good” terrorists were probably surprised by the ruthless determination of the Russian military police forces (in reality, mostly Chechen special forces) and of the Spetsnaz operators.  It is one thing to fight Syrian conscripts, quite another to deal with these hardened warriors.  But the next time around the outcome could be different.

The bigger picture is also one which gives me a great deal of concern.  The Syrians, with Iranian, Hezbollah and Russian help, have freed Deir ez-Zor and have crossed the Euphrates river and are moving further East.  In plain English this means that the US and Daesh have lost the war and that the last region of Syrian from which the AngloZionists can hope to partition the country (their current “plan B”) and establish a permanent US military presence is now threatened by the Syrian advance.

The distance between the US forces currently deployed in northeastern Syria and Syrian, Iranian, Hezbollah and Russian forces is becoming shorter and shorter each day.  I can just imagine how, say, Iranian or Hezbollah forces which are already “smelling” the nearby presence of US forces are drooling with hunger for the moment they will finally be able to get their hands on their old and most hated foe.  I feel sincerely sorry for the first US unit to make contact with the Iranians or Hezbollah forces.

Right now the Americans are hiding behind the Kurds, but sooner or later the Iranians or Hezbollah will find them.  As for the Kurds, their situation in Syria is precarious, to put it mildly: they are surrounded on all sides by the Turks, the Syrians and the Iranians and their only more or less stable zone of control is in Iraq.  The Americans understand that perfectly, hence their desperate attempts to stop the Syrians.

This is a very dangerous situation: even though CENTCOM and NATO are by far the “biggest guys on the block”, in Syria the Americans are cornered, their corner is shrinking fast and it remains entirely unclear how this process can be stopped.  Hence the attack on the de-confliction zone we just witnessed.

I hope that eventually the Americans will do what they did in al-Taif and simply pack, declare victory and leave.  That would be the only rational thing to do.  But after listening to Trump at the UN I don’t get the feeling that being rational is at the top of the US priority list.  That’s all rather frightening.

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christianblood
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christianblood

No turning back. Russia, SAA, Iran and Hezbollah should stand their ground and fight the terrorists and their U$ neocon allies even if it is going to lead to WW3.

Rastislav Veľká Morava
Member
Rastislav Veľká Morava

A little late, but an excellent analysis.

Tommy Jensen
Guest
Tommy Jensen

We have been under way on a long road.
The day will come where PNAC either will break USA or PNAC will smash the world. Whether its this time or later doesnt matter, everybody should just be prepared.

No normal human can live with this grotesque comedy in Washington whoever pull the strings.

tapatio
Guest
tapatio

It’s far past time that the idiots controlling Washington are STOPPED by whatever means are necessary before they destroy our world.

Wayne Blow
Guest
Wayne Blow

Time to shoot !!!

tapatio
Guest
tapatio

So long as it doesn’t go nuclear.

André De Koning
Guest
André De Koning

Very good report and time indeed that it is made public how duplicitous the USA is and how right it is for the Russians to go ahead and act. Lavrov spoke good words about Trump’s intention not to attack sovereign countries, but obviously Trump is not in charge and does not even know about what is happening on the ground in Syria.

dago dingo
Guest
dago dingo

Well done Russia! The pathetic Americans have simply lost their collective minds. Please just collapse & die in a corner somewhere, the world is sick to death of the wars & misery you bring to our planet.

Pointing&Laughing
Guest
Pointing&Laughing

You misunderstand who controls America. It’s not the citizens; not anymore. It’s the arms merchants and manufacturers, backed by the banks, with the media as propagandists. U.S. citizens go out to vote, and the elite in charge pretend to pay attention, then go on about their imperialistic business. I love my country, and will fight for it; however, I hate my government, and will resist as much as my old bones will allow. Please don’t confuse the U.S. government with America. If anything, pray for us.

Wayne Blow
Guest
Wayne Blow

You sir are a breath of fresh air, thank you !!!

dago dingo
Guest
dago dingo

Unfortunately for the good American people, which I believe are plenty, your country has been hijacked by the Zionist Israeli scum sucking leeches & it gets you to send American soldiers to fight it’s illegal wars. Your congress is a den of Zionist controlled filth that continually inflicts death & starvation to countries which won’t bow to it’s hegemonic rule. America is the point of the new axis of evil and unless the good American people start waking from their television induced coma & marching on Washington, then I truly feel sorry for the gross embarrassment your filthy, disgusting politicians… Read more »

Rex drabble
Guest
Rex drabble

All of which the American people have allowed and enjoyed the spoils of these wars.They deserve the corrupt govt they have.ZERO sympathy for the americans,murderous fuckers they are!

Pointing&Laughing
Guest
Pointing&Laughing

I’m not murderous. I can be, if myself, my family, etc. are attacked, as I would expect from any peace loving human. You seem to have a tiny worldview, when you blame the crowd for the few.

Rex drabble
Guest
Rex drabble

When was American soil attacked.Dont tell me about the fake 911 which your OWN govt did!

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal

“Please don’t confuse the U.S. government with America.”

The day that CITIZENS of America actually get off their derrieres, stop playing their Xbox and put down their cell phone babble and actually make it known to their elites that they WILL NOT STAND for what their government is doing in their name, I MIGHT be willing to accept your statement. I doubt it though, as polling done there indicates that the majority of Americans are pro-war, even if they cannot find the country their regime is conducting wars in or threatening to, on a world map.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/47344.htm
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-04-17/war-works-trump-favorability-hits-50-highest-2-months
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-08/us-has-been-war-over-220-241-years
https://mondediplo.com/openpage/america-at-war-since-9-11
http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/04/15/americans-no-different-than-germans-were-and-are.html

Putin's baby
Guest
Putin's baby

The rest of the world can see their vile duplicity. Well done Syrian and Russian forces, I hope you killed a few yank “advisors”.

lickeyleaks
Guest
lickeyleaks

“Yank advisors”? Makes me laugh to imagine this, who would trust advisors from a country that have not won a war since 1945, and that was with assistance..

Seán Murphy
Guest
Seán Murphy

Which war did they win in 1945?

tiredofthemedialies
Guest
tiredofthemedialies

The one that Henry Ford was decorated for by Adolph Hitler. Keeping the Wehrmach firing on all cylinders.

my2Cents
Guest
my2Cents

The Soviets entirely destroyed the Wehrmacht and the Luftwaffe.
If the “Yanks” had entered Europe at the beginning of WW2 the Germans would have wiped them into the North Sea. And they knew that.
Henry Ford had nothing to do with the Wehrmacht.

lickeyleaks
Guest
lickeyleaks

As i said,with assistance from UK Commomwealth,and they were invited which makes a change!!

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

Given that it was US corporate and Elite money that armed and funded the Third Reich, I am not sure how the USA can be said to have won?

my2Cents
Guest
my2Cents

NONE of the allies won the war…..The Soviets (ally in name only) did!!
What happened to the British at Dunkirk in May 1940?…Wat where they doing there? Seems like German intelligence was right…i.e that Britain would invade Germany either via Holland/Belgium/France which is why the Netherlands who was not involved in WW1 was invaded….

lickeyleaks
Guest
lickeyleaks

My dad could tell you about Dunkirk,he was there before going to N Africa and Italy for the duration, he always swore about the yanks in italy,swaning off into cities with chocolate & stockings for girlies when they should be chasing the jerries..
I put what i did because that is the general western verdict that without the yanks,UK would have lost..

my2Cents
Guest
my2Cents

Well the UK/France with indirect encouragement from Washington started this war and, we learn that German intelligence was right in that Britain intended to invade Germany via Holland/Belgium or France.
The Canadians weren’t much better than the Yanks. Churchill singlehandedly lost the empire and destroyed Europe. The RAF flew their bombers nightly over my house, accompanied by sirens, search lights and anti aircraft batteries popping as they flew to Germany and carpet bombed it. The Soviets destroyed the Wehrmacht and the Luftwaffe at the cost of 27 million Russian lives. Nothing what we are made to believe is in fact so.

ruca
Guest
ruca

They didn’t really win in 1945.

my2Cents
Guest
my2Cents

The Yanks did not win WW2….the Soviets did…2.5 years later Normandy landing took place for the mop up action and to make sure the Soviets would not overrun Europe.

gbardizbanian
Guest
gbardizbanian

Russia should launch a vast PR campaign in the US to show the average American what his leaders are up to in Syria.

David Schultz
Guest
David Schultz

They have. It is called RT. It is up against a bigger opposing one called CNN.

Wayne Blow
Guest
Wayne Blow

They are trying, via RT, Sputnik, the Duran etc. !!!

samo war
Guest
samo war

route 666 ??

louis robert
Guest
louis robert

“Finally, a US-organized attack on what was supposed to be a “de-confliction” zone combined with an attempt to capture Russian soldiers raises the bar for American duplicity to a totally new level.” —– Please, Saker. Let’s stop moaning and groaning. Nothing here is frightening. Duplicity I s only business as usual. The Empire and its accomplices need be confronted head on. For the nth time, this is total war in the making by said Empire begging for it. It will NOT simply go away… It cannot be avoided. Russia must stand its ground against the treacherous Empire. Empire WILL back… Read more »

junktex
Guest
junktex

DC is infested with neocons

Wayne Blow
Guest
Wayne Blow

You know it’s time to stop the “bull shit”, no more warnings to US and coalition, time to start shooting down aircraft (Israeli, US and others} no more warnings shoot first !!!!

Stavros Hadjiyiannis
Guest
Stavros Hadjiyiannis

The fact that US & co. have far more military capabilities and firepower in the broader ME region, does not necessarily give them the advantage when it comes to specific theaters such as those in Syria. Whatever the US has parked all over its CENTCOM area of operations, the Russians can negate under extreme scenarios of escalation. Even though I am no military expert, I can reason that any craziness on the part of the Americans can be retaliated against by using Russia’s missile systems in and around Syria. Things like the Kalibr cruise missile or the Iskander ballistic missile… Read more »

Ron Rushburg
Guest
Ron Rushburg

Russia has the Caspian Sea fleet which is insulated, remote, and untouchable; no other navy there, excepting Iran of course. They have already proven the capability of missiles sent from there.
This alone should make the Zionists think twice.

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal

“no other navy there, excepting Iran of course”

China’s navy is also in the Mediterranean.

Ron Rushburg
Guest
Ron Rushburg

gonzo, you missed the gist of my post; I referred to the Caspian Sea, not the Med.

Russia has the Caspian Sea fleet which is insulated, remote, and untouchable; no other navy there, excepting Iran of course.

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal

Understood

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal

“Iraq and Turkey are another 2 major powers in the region that the US cannot count on and will either stay neutral or even take Russia’s side ”

Iraq has ALREADY taken its side and it is SYRIA and RUSSIA!
http://www.rt.com/news/316592-russia-syria-islamic-state/
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article43239.htm
http://russia-insider.com/en/how-fuel-endless-war-us-allies-now-fighting-cia-backed-rebels-syria/ri12832
http://theduran.com/sectarian-iraq-has-helped-save-tolerant-secular-syria/
http://theduran.com/syria-iraq-now-allies-isis-us/

As for Turkey, it seems to most that it has taken the decision to support Syria/Russia in its war and has turned its back on the US….the coming weeks will offer proof one way or another.

Kubrickian
Guest
Kubrickian

Blame Hilary Clinton for her ‘it’s the Russians’ smokescreen to hide the John Podesta Pedogate. That prevented Trump from being able to work with Putin.

Lord Snooty
Guest
Lord Snooty

They killed a Russian Lt.-General yesterday by means of a mortar attack.

Now who done gone and told told them all that Russian Lt.-General was in the vicinity?

BobValdez
Guest
BobValdez

Link?

Lord Snooty
Guest
Lord Snooty
BobValdez
Guest
BobValdez

Thank you.

Latest

Russia and China Are Containing the US to Reshape the World Order

China and Russia are leading this historic transition while being careful to avoid direct war with the United States.

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Fortunately the world today is very different from that of 2003, Washington’s decrees are less effective in determining the world order. But in spite of this new, more balanced division of power amongst several powers, Washington appears ever more aggressive towards allies and enemies alike, regardless of which US president is in office.

China and Russia are leading this historic transition while being careful to avoid direct war with the United States. To succeed in this endeavor, they use a hybrid strategy involving diplomacy, military support to allies, and economic guarantees to countries under Washington’s attack.

The United States considers the whole planet its playground. Its military and political doctrine is based on the concept of liberal hegemony, as explained by political scientist John Mearsheimer. This imperialistic attitude has, over time, created a coordinated and semi-official front of countries resisting this liberal hegemony. The recent events in Venezuela indicate why cooperation between these counter-hegemonic countries is essential to accelerating the transition from a unipolar to a multipolar reality, where the damage US imperialism is able to bring about is diminished.

Moscow and Beijing lead the world by hindering Washington

Moscow and Beijing, following a complex relationship from the period of the Cold War, have managed to achieve a confluence of interests in their grand objectives over the coming years. The understanding they have come to mainly revolves around stemming the chaos Washington has unleashed on the world.

The guiding principle of the US military-intelligence apparatus is that if a country cannot be controlled (such as Iraq following the 2003 invasion), then it has to be destroyed in order to save it from falling into Sino-Russian camp. This is what the United States has attempted to do with Syria, and what it intends to do with Venezuela.

The Middle East is an area that has drawn global attention for some time, with Washington clearly interested in supporting its Israeli and Saudi allies in the region. Israel pursues a foreign policy aimed at dismantling the Iranian and Syrian states. Saudi Arabia also pursues a similar strategy against Iran and Syria, in addition to fueling a rift within the Arab world stemming from its differences with Qatar.

The foreign-policy decisions of Israel and Saudi Arabia have been supported by Washington for decades, for two very specific reasons: the influence of the Israel lobby in the US, and the need to ensure that Saudi Arabia and the OPEC countries sell oil in US dollars, thereby preserving the role of the US dollar as the global reserve currency.

The US dollar remaining the global reserve currency is essential to Washington being able to maintain her role as superpower and is crucial to her hybrid strategy against her geopolitical rivals. Sanctions are a good example of how Washington uses the global financial and economic system, based on the US dollar, as a weapon against her enemies. In the case of the Middle East, Iran is the main target, with sanctions aimed at preventing the Islamic Republic from trading on foreign banking systems. Washington has vetoed Syria’s ability to procure contracts to reconstruct the country, with European companies being threatened that they risk no longer being able to work in the US if they accept to work in Syria.

Beijing and Moscow have a clear diplomatic strategy, jointly rejecting countless motions advanced by the US, the UK and France at the United Nations Security Council condemning Iran and Syria. On the military front, Russia continues her presence in Syria. China’s economic efforts, although not yet fully visible in Syria and Iran, will be the essential part of reviving these countries destroyed by years of war inflicted by Washington and her allies.

China and Russia’s containment strategy in the Middle East aims to defend Syria and Iran diplomatically using international law, something that is continuously ridden roughshod over by the US and her regional allies. Russia’s military action has been crucial to curbing and defeating the inhuman aggression launched against Syria, and has also drawn a red line that Israel cannot cross in its efforts to attack Iran. The defeat of the United States in Syria has created an encouraging precedent for the rest of the world. Washington has been forced to abandon the original plans to getting rid of Assad.

Syria will be remembered in the future as the beginning of the multipolar revolution, whereby the United States was contained in military-conventional terms as a result of the coordinated actions of China and Russia.

China’s economic contribution provides for such urgent needs as the supply of food, government loans, and medicines to countries under Washington’s economic siege. So long as the global financial system remains anchored to the US dollar, Washington remains able to cause a lot of pain to countries refusing to obey her diktats.

The effectiveness of economic sanctions varies from country to country. The Russian Federation used sanctions imposed by the West as an impetus to obtain a complete, or almost autonomous, refinancing of its main foreign debt, as well as to producing at home what had previously been imported from abroad. Russia’s long-term strategy is to open up to China and other Asian countries as the main market for imports and exports, reducing contacts with the Europeans if countries like France and Germany continue in their hostility towards the Russian Federation.

Thanks to Chinese investments, together with planned projects like the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the hegemony of the US dollar is under threat in the medium to long term. The Chinese initiatives in the fields of infrastructure, energy, rail, road and technology connections among dozens of countries, added to the continuing need for oil, will drive ever-increasing consumption of oil in Asia that is currently paid for in US dollars.

Moscow is in a privileged position, enjoying good relations with all the major producers of oil and LNG, from Qatar to Saudi Arabia, and including Iran, Venezuela and Nigeria. Moscow’s good relations with Riyadh are ultimately aimed at the creation of an OPEC+ arrangement that includes Russia.

Particular attention should be given to the situation in Venezuela, one of the most important countries in OPEC. Riyadh sent to Caracas in recent weeks a tanker carrying two million barrels of oil, and Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has taken a neutral stance regarding Venezuela, maintaining a predictable balance between Washington and Caracas.

These joint initiatives, led by Moscow and Beijing, are aimed at reducing the use of the US dollar by countries that are involved in the BRI and adhere to the OPEC+ format. This diversification away from the US dollar, to cover financial transactions between countries involving investment, oil and LNG, will see the progressive abandonment of the US dollar as a result of agreements that increasingly do away with the dollar.

For the moment, Riyadh does not seem intent on losing US military protection. But recent events to do with Khashoggi, as well as the failure to list Saudi Aramco on the New York or London stock exchanges, have severely undermined the confidence of the Saudi royal family in her American allies. The meeting between Putin and MBS at the G20 in Bueno Aires seemed to signal a clear message to Washington as well as the future of the US dollar.

Moscow and Beijing’s military, economic and diplomatic efforts see their culmination in the Astana process. Turkey is one of the principle countries behind the aggression against Syria; but Moscow and Tehran have incorporated it into the process of containing the regional chaos spawned by the United States. Thanks to timely agreements in Syria known as “deconfliction zones”, Damascus has advanced, city by city, to clear the country of the terrorists financed by Washington, Riyadh and Ankara.

Qatar, an economic guarantor of Turkey, which in return offers military protection to Doha, is also moving away from the Israeli-Saudi camp as a result of Sino-Russian efforts in the energy, diplomatic and military fields. Doha’s move has also been because of the fratricidal diplomatic-economic war launched by Riyadh against Doha, being yet another example of the contagious effect of the chaos created by Washington, especially on US allies Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Washington loses military influence in the region thanks to the presence of Moscow, and this leads traditional US allies like Turkey and Qatar to gravitate towards a field composed essentially of the countries opposed to Washington.

Washington’s military and diplomatic defeat in the region will in the long run make it possible to change the economic structure of the Middle East. A multipolar reality will prevail, where regional powers like Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran will feel compelled to interact economically with the whole Eurasian continent as part of the Belt and Road Initiative.

The basic principle for Moscow and Beijing is the use of military, economic and diplomatic means to contain the United States in its unceasing drive to kill, steal and destroy.

From the Middle East to Asia

Beijing has focussed in Asia on the diplomatic field, facilitating talks between North and South Korea, accelerating the internal dialogue on the peninsula, thereby excluding external actors like the United States (who only have the intention of sabotaging the talks). Beijing’s military component has also played an important role, although never used directly as the Russian Federation did in Syria. Washington’s options vis-a-vis the Korean peninsular were strongly limited by the fact that bordering the DPRK were huge nuclear and conventional forces, that is to say, the deterrence offered by Russia and China. The combined military power of the DPRK, Russia and China made any hypothetical invasion and bombing of Pyongyang an impractical option for the United States.

As in the past, the economic lifeline extended to Pyongyang by Moscow and Beijing proved to be decisive in limiting the effects of the embargo and the complete financial war that Washington had declared on North Korea. Beijing and Moscow’s skilled diplomatic work with Seoul produced an effect similar to that of Turkey in the Middle East, with South Korea slowly seeming to drift towards the multipolar world offered by Russia and China, with important economic implications and prospects for unification of the peninsula.

Russia and China – through a combination of playing a clever game of diplomacy, military deterrence, and offering to the Korean peninsula the prospect of economic investment through the BRI – have managed to frustrate Washington’s efforts to unleash chaos on their borders via the Korean peninsula.

The United States seems to be losing its imperialistic mojo most significantly in Asia and the Middle East, not only militarily but also diplomatically and economically.

The situation is different in Europe and Venezuela, two geographical areas where Washington still enjoys greater geopolitical weight than in Asia and the Middle East. In both cases, the effectiveness of the two Sino-Russian resistance – in military, economic and diplomatic terms – is more limited, for different reasons. This situation, in line with the principle of America First and the return to the Monroe doctrine, will be the subject of the next article.

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Nearly assassinated by his own fighters, al-Baghdadi and his caliphate on its last legs (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 178.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss how the Islamic State has been rapidly losing territory over the last two years in Syria and Iraq, due to efforts by Russian and Syrian forces, as well as the US and their Kurdish allies.

The jihadist caliphate has lost most of its forces and resources, leading it to go into hiding.

Al-Masdar News is reporting that Daesh* leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was reportedly attacked in a village near Hajin by some of the terrorist organisation’s foreign fighters in an apparent coup attempt, The Guardian reported, citing anonymous intelligence sources. Baghdadi reportedly survived the alleged coup attempt, with his bodyguards taking him into hiding in the nearby desert.

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Meanwhile European leaders are shocked at US President Trump’s ISIS ultimatum. Via Zerohedge

After President Trump’s provocative tweets on Sunday wherein he urged European countries to “take back” and prosecute some 800 ISIS foreign fighters as US forces withdraw from Syria, or else “we will be forced to release them,” the message has been met with shock, confusion and indifference in Europe. Trump had warned the terrorists could subsequently “permeate Europe”.

Possibly the most pathetic and somewhat ironic response came from Denmark, where a spokesperson for Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said Copenhagen won’t take back Danish Islamic State foreign fighters to stand trial in the country, according to the German Press Agency DPA“We are talking about the most dangerous people in the world. We should not take them back,” the spokesperson stressed, and added that the war in Syria is ongoing, making the US president’s statement premature.

Germany’s response was also interesting, given a government official framed ISIS fighters’ ability to return as a “right”.  A spokeswoman for Germany’s interior ministry said, “In principle, all German citizens and those suspected of having fought for so-called Islamic State have the right to return.” She even added that German ISIS fighters have “consular access” — as if the terrorists would walk right up to some embassy window in Turkey or Beirut!

Noting that the Iraqi government has also of late contacted Germany to transport foreign fighters to their home country for trial, she added, “But in Syria, the German government cannot guarantee legal and consular duties for jailed German citizens due to the armed conflict there.”

France, for its part, has already agreed to repatriate over 130 French Islamic State members as part of a deal reached in January with US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) who are holding them, after which they will go through the French legal system. However, French Secretary of State Laurent Nuñez still insisted that the west’s Kurdish allies would never merely let ISIS terrorists walk out their battlefield prisons free.

“It’s the Kurds who hold them and we have every confidence in their ability to keep them,” Nuñez told French broadcaster BFMTV on Sunday. “Anyway, if these individuals return to the national territory, they all have ongoing judicial proceedings, they will all be put on trial, and incarcerated,” he said, in comments which appeared to leave it up to others to make happen.

And representing the Belgian government, Justice Minister Koen Geens charged Trump with blindsiding his European allies with the demand, which included Trump underscoring that it is “time for others to step up and do the job” before it’s too late. “It would have been nice for friendly nations to have these kinds of questions raised through the usual diplomatic channels rather than a tweet in the middle of the night,” Geens said during a broadcast interview on Sunday, according to the AFP.

Meanwhile in the UK the issue has recently become politically explosive as debate over so-called British jihadist bride Shamima Begum continues. The now 19-year old joined Islamic State in 2015 after fleeing the UK when she was just 15. She’s now given birth in a Syrian refugee camp and is demanding safe return to Britain for fear that she and her child could die in the camp, so near the war zone.

Conservatives in Britain, such as Interior Minister Sajid Javid have argued that “dangerous individuals” coming back to the UK from battlefields in the Middle East should be stripped of their British citizenship. He said this option has already been “so far exercises more than 100 times,” otherwise he also advocates prosecution of apprehended returning suspects “regardless of their age and gender.”

Identified as French nationals fighting within ISIS’ ranks, via Khaama press news agency

The UN has estimated that in total up to 42,000 foreign fighters traveled to Iraq and Syria to join IS — which appears a very conservative estimate — and which includes about 900 from Germany and 850 from Britain.

SDF leaders have previously complained about the “lack the capacity” for mass incarceration of ISIS terrorists and the inability to have proper battlefield trials for them. Recent estimates have put the number of ISIS militants in US-SDF battlefield jails at over 1000, though Trump put the number at 800 in his tweet.

However, even once they do return to Europe it’s unclear the extent to which they’ll be properly prosecuted and locked in prison by European authorities.

For example, another fresh controversy that lately erupted in Britain involved a 29-year old UK woman who traveled to join ISIS, and was convicted for membership in a terrorist group upon her return to Britain. She was jailed on a six year sentence in 2016, but is now already walking free a mere less than three years after her conviction.

 

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‘End of free speech’: Maffick CEO, host slam Facebook’s unprovoked ‘censorship’ after CNN report

This is because of the political content that challenges the US wars. It is absolutely an act of censorship.

RT

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Via RT…


Facebook blocking several pages operated by Maffick Media is nothing short of outright censorship, the company’s CEO Anissa Naouai said, after a US-funded think tank pointed them out to CNN for a ‘hit-piece’.

The actions of the social media giant, which suspended the accounts of In the Now, Soapbox, Back Then and Waste-Ed last Friday without providing any explanation or even contacting the company that ran the pages, is nothing but a simple attempt to get rid of dissenting voices critical of Washington’s policies, Naouai told RT.

It is blatant censorship. What else can you call it?

Unexplained ban

The ban came literally out of the blue even though Maffick did not violate any existing Facebook regulations. “There is no rule that you have to post anything about your funding or personal funding. No one does it, not any of the US-sponsored outlets,” Naouai said. However, that was apparently the stated reason for the blocking as a Facebook spokesperson said the social media giant wanted the pages to become more transparent by disclosing their funding and “Russian affiliations.”

Facebook never contacted Maffick Media directly, though. In fact, it did not even answer the company’s emails and stayed conspicuously silent about the ways that would allow the accounts to be reinstated. “We have not heard a word from Facebook and it has been over three days now,” Naouai said.

The whole situation makes one think that the suspension is in fact connected to the pages’ popularity as well as their critical stance towards US policies, the Maffick CEO said. “We have hosts that talk about things that are not allowed to talk about on other networks like CNN,” she explained.

“If a video that says that gets hundreds of thousands of views on a page that has millions of views, people [in Washington] start to notice that and they get upset. I believe that is why we were targeted: because of our success and because of, as CNN said, high quality of our videos,” Naouai added.

The Maffick CEO also assumed that a recent piece on the US-sponsored coup attempt in Venezuela might have become a trigger for this drastic measure taken by Facebook. “There is a very … divisive and obnoxious policy taking place right now against Venezuela,” she said, “we do not know if this was the segment that triggered [the suspension] but the timing is convenient.”

“When someone calls out what is happening in Venezuela as a blatant coup it ruffles the feathers of think tanks that spent millions if not billions of dollars to persuade [the audience otherwise] and lobby their interests.”

‘Interrogation’ by CNN

Some details of this whole case may indeed seem odd. Just about an hour after the pages were blocked, CNN published a report on the issue as if they broke the news. “CNN knew that we were going to be blocked before we did,” Naouai said, explaining that, when she found out her company’s pages were suspended, CNN had already published its piece.

Weeks before the blocking, CNN sought to interview some freelancers working with Maffick in an apparent attempt to “dig up some dirt,” Rania Khalek, the American host of Soapbox – one of the video shows Maffick ran on Facebook – recalled.

When the company’s leadership “got wind of it” and offered CNN an interview, it all ended up with a 45-minute “interrogation” loaded with “unethical” questions that “almost any other media organization would even think to answer.”

It felt like a police interrogation: very invasive questions about Maffick and our editorial policies. It was clear that they were doing a hit-piece.

“A CNN journalist repeatedly asked me about my political viewpoints. He was in complete disbelief that I have editorial control over my scripts. He could not understand how it was possible,” Khalek, who was one of those, who gave the interview to CNN, said.

Maffick Media assumed that CNN might in fact pressure Facebook into blocking the accounts. “It is a very competitive market existing in a very political atmosphere that is toxic right now in the US,” Naouai said.

Loophole for state censorship?

CNN itself admits in its piece that it did not just stumble upon the Facebook pages in question independently. Instead, this issue was brought to its attention by the Alliance for Securing Democracy – a part of the German Marshall Fund. This fund is a think tank, which is financed by the US and German governments and has such people as Michael Morell, the former CIA deputy head, and Jacob Sullivan, former Vice President Joe Biden’s top security aide, on its advisory board.

Now, CNN, which stepped on a slippery slope by scrutinizing other media outlets’ funding, had to go to some extraordinary lengths to persuade its audience that the Alliance for Securing Democracy “does not receive any funding” from the German Marshall Fund, while still being a part of it at the same time. However, all these facts just added a new layer to the story.

“You have this US-funded think tank prompting CNN to pressure Facebook to ban our pages. That is an act of censorship,”Khalek said. She thinks the whole scheme was used to circumvent the First Amendment banning the US authorities from directly censoring free speech. “So, they use a middleman to pressure private companies to censor us,” she added, calling it a “legal loophole.”

‘Beginning of an end’

Regardless of who is really behind the ploy, Facebook banning some media pages without any explanation sets a tremendously dangerous precedent, Maffick Media believes. “We had a verified page, which had billions of views, just disappear from online without any kind of comment, any kind of requirement, without breaking any rules. That is unprecedented,” Naouai said.

You have Facebook dictating what people can and cannot see and judging what is good content and bad content. And it is all based on the accusations and criticism coming from a government-funded outlet. If Facebook does it to us, it can do it to anyone,” Khalek warned.

This is because of the political content that challenges the US wars. It is absolutely an act of censorship.

The US establishment apparently seeks to suppress the outlets that “offer a platform to alternative voices that can speak out against US wars and the corporate control over our government in a way that you just do not hear in our corporate media,” the Soapbox host believes.

However, if the social media giant and the likes of it will just continue to randomly block media resources while having “no grounds” to do so, it could create very serious problems for society, Naouai believes.

That would be the beginning of an end of free speech.

 

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