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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

Canada to Pay Heavy Price for Trudeau’s Groupie Role in US Banditry Against China

Trudeau would had to have known about the impending plot to snatch Huawei CFO Wanzhou and moreover that he personally signed off on it.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


You do have to wonder about the political savvy of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government. The furious fallout from China over the arrest of a senior telecoms executive is going to do severe damage to Canadian national interests.

Trudeau’s fawning over American demands is already rebounding very badly for Canada’s economy and its international image.

The Canadian arrest – on behalf of Washington – of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, seems a blatant case of the Americans acting politically and vindictively. If the Americans are seen to be acting like bandits, then the Canadians are their flunkies.

Wanzhou was detained on December 1 by Canadian federal police as she was boarding a commercial airliner in Vancouver. She was reportedly handcuffed and led away in a humiliating manner which has shocked the Chinese government, media and public.

The business executive has since been released on a $7.4 million bail bond, pending further legal proceedings. She is effectively being kept under house arrest in Canada with electronic ankle tagging.

To add insult to injury, it is not even clear what Wanzhou is being prosecuted for. The US authorities have claimed that she is guilty of breaching American sanctions against Iran by conducting telecoms business with Tehran. It is presumed that the Canadians arrested Wanzhou at the request of the Americans. But so far a US extradition warrant has not been filed. That could take months. In the meantime, the Chinese businesswoman will be living under curfew, her freedom denied.

Canadian legal expert Christopher Black says there is no juridical case for Wanzhou’s detention. The issue of US sanctions on Iran is irrelevant and has no grounds in international law. It is simply the Americans applying their questionable national laws on a third party. Black contends that Canada has therefore no obligation whatsoever to impose those US laws regarding Iran in its territory, especially given that Ottawa and Beijing have their own separate bilateral diplomatic relations.

In any case, what the real issue is about is the Americans using legal mechanisms to intimidate and beat up commercial rivals. For months now, Washington has made it clear that it is targeting Chinese telecoms rivals as commercial competitors in a strategic sector. US claims about China using telecoms for “spying” and “infiltrating” American national security are bogus propaganda ruses to undermine these commercial rivals through foul means.

It also seems clear from US President Donald Trump’s unsubtle comments this week to Reuters, saying he would “personally intervene” in the Meng case “if it helped trade talks with China”, that the Huawei executive is being dangled like a bargaining chip. It was a tacit admission by Trump that the Americans really don’t have a legal case against her.

Canada’s foreign minister Chrystia Freeland bounced into damage limitation mode following Trump’s thuggish comments. She said that the case should not be “politicized” and that the legal proceedings should not be tampered with. How ironic is that?

The whole affair has been politicized from the very beginning. Meng’s arrest, or as Christopher Black calls it “hostage-taking”, is driven by Washington’s agenda of harassment against China for commercial reasons, under a legal pretext purportedly about Iranian sanctions.

When Trump revealed the cynical expediency of him “helping to free Wanzhou”, then the Canadians realized they were also being exposed for the flunkies that they are for American banditry. That’s why Freeland was obliged to quickly adopt the fastidious pretense of legal probity.

Canadian premier Justin Trudeau has claimed that he wasn’t aware of the American request for Wanzhou’s detention. Trudeau is being pseudo. For such a high-profile infringement against a senior Chinese business leader, Ottawa must have been fully briefed by the Americans. Christopher Black, the legal expert, believes that Trudeau would had to have known about the impending plot to snatch Wanzhou and moreover that he personally signed off on it.

What Trudeau and his government intended to get out of performing this sordid role for American thuggery is far from clear. Maybe after being verbally mauled by Trump as “weak and dishonest” at the G7 summit earlier this year, in June, Trudeau decided it was best to roll over and be a good little puppy for the Americans in their dirty deed against China.

But already it has since emerged that Canada is going to pay a very heavy price indeed for such dubious service to Washington. Beijing has warned that it will take retaliation against both Washington and Ottawa. And it is Ottawa that is more vulnerable to severe repercussions.

This week saw two Canadian citizens, one a former diplomat, detained in China on spying charges.

Canadian business analysts are also warning that Beijing can inflict harsh economic penalties on Ottawa. An incensed Chinese public have begun boycotting Canadian exports and sensitive Canadian investments in China are now at risk from being blocked by Beijing. A proposed free trade deal that was being negotiated between Ottawa and Beijing now looks dead in the water.

And if Trudeau’s government caves in to the excruciating economic pressure brought to bear by Beijing and then abides by China’s demand to immediately release Meng Wanzhou, Ottawa will look like a pathetic, gutless lackey to Washington. Canada’s reputation of being a liberal, independent state will be shredded. Even then the Chinese are unlikely to forget Trudeau’s treachery.

With comic irony, there’s a cringemaking personal dimension to this unseemly saga.

During the 197os when Trudeau’s mother Margaret was a thirty-something socialite heading for divorce from his father, then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, she was often in the gossip media for indiscretions at nightclubs. Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards claims in his autobiography that Margaret Trudeau was a groupie for the band, having flings with Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood. Her racy escapades and louche lifestyle brought shame to many Canadians.

Poor Margaret Trudeau later wound up divorced, disgraced, financially broke and scraping a living from scribbling tell-all books.

Justin, her eldest son, is finding out that being a groupie for Washington’s banditry is also bringing disrepute for him and his country.

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US Commits To “Indefinite” Occupation Of Syria; Controls Region The Size Of Croatia

Raqqa is beginning to look more and more like Baghdad circa 2005.

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Via Zerohedge


“We don’t want the Americans. It’s occupation” — a Syrian resident in US-controlled Raqqa told Stars and Stripes military newspaper. This as the Washington Post noted this week that “U.S. troops will now stay in Syria indefinitely, controlling a third of the country and facing peril on many fronts.”

Like the “forever war” in Afghanistan, will we be having the same discussion over the indefinite occupation of Syria stretching two decades from now? A new unusually frank assessment in Stars and Stripes bluntly lays out the basic facts concerning the White House decision to “stay the course” until the war’s close:

That decision puts U.S. troops in overall control, perhaps indefinitely, of an area comprising nearly a third of Syria, a vast expanse of mostly desert terrain roughly the size of Louisiana.

The Pentagon does not say how many troops are there. Officially, they number 503, but earlier this year an official let slip that the true number may be closer to 4,000

A prior New Yorker piece described the US-occupied area east of the Euphrates as “an area about the size of Croatia.” With no Congressional vote, no public debate, and not even so much as an official presidential address to the nation, the United States is settling in for another endless occupation of sovereign foreign soil while relying on the now very familiar post-911 AUMF fig leaf of “legality”.

Like the American public and even some Pentagon officials of late have been pointing out for years regarding Afghanistan, do US forces on the ground even know what the mission is? The mission may be undefined and remain ambiguously to “counter Iran”, yet the dangers and potential for major loss in blood and treasure loom larger than ever.

According to Stars and Stripes the dangerous cross-section of powder keg conflicts and geopolitical players means “a new war” is on the horizon:

The new mission raises new questions, about the role they will play and whether their presence will risk becoming a magnet for regional conflict and insurgency.

The area is surrounded by powers hostile both to the U.S. presence and the aspirations of the Kurds, who are governing the majority-Arab area in pursuit of a leftist ideology formulated by an imprisoned Turkish Kurdish leader. Signs that the Islamic State is starting to regroup and rumblings of discontent within the Arab community point to the threat of an insurgency.

Without the presence of U.S. troops, these dangers would almost certainly ignite a new war right away, said Ilham Ahmed, a senior official with the Self-Administration of North and East Syria, as the self-styled government of the area is called.

“They have to stay. If they leave and there isn’t a solution for Syria, it will be catastrophic,” she said.

But staying also heralds risk, and already the challenges are starting to mount.
So a US-backed local politician says the US can’t leave or there will be war, while American defense officials simultaneously recognize they are occupying the very center of an impending insurgency from hell — all of which fits the textbook definition of quagmire perfectly.

The New Yorker: “The United States has built a dozen or more bases from Manbij to Al-Hasakah, including four airfields, and American-backed forces now control all of Syria east of the Euphrates, an area about the size of Croatia.”

But in September the White House announced a realignment of its official priorities in Syria, namely to act “as a bulwark against Iran’s expanding influence.” This means the continued potential and likelihood of war with Syria, Iran, and Russia in the region is ever present, per Stripes:

Syrian government troops and Iranian proxy fighters are to the south and west. They have threatened to take the area back by force, in pursuit of President Bashar Assad’s pledge to bring all of Syria under government control.

Already signs of an Iraq-style insurgency targeting US forces in eastern Syria are beginning to emerge.

In Raqqa, the largest Syrian city at the heart of US occupation and reconstruction efforts, the Stripes report finds the following:

The anger on the streets is palpable. Some residents are openly hostile to foreign visitors, which is rare in other towns and cities freed from Islamic State control in Syria and Iraq. Even those who support the presence of the U.S. military and the SDF say they are resentful that the United States and its partners in the anti-ISIS coalition that bombed the city aren’t helping to rebuild.

And many appear not to support their new rulers.

We don’t want the Americans. It’s occupation,” said one man, a tailor, who didn’t want to give his name because he feared the consequences of speaking his mind. “I don’t know why they had to use such a huge number of weapons and destroy the city. Yes, ISIS was here, but we paid the price. They have a responsibility.”

Recent reports out of the Pentagon suggests defense officials simply want to throw more money into US efforts in Syria, which are further focused on training and supplying the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (or Kurdish/YPG-dominated SDF), which threatens confrontation with Turkey as its forces continue making preparations for a planned attack on Kurdish enclaves in Syria this week.

Meanwhile, Raqqa is beginning to look more and more like Baghdad circa 2005:

Everyone says the streets are not safe now. Recent months have seen an uptick in assassinations and kidnappings, mostly targeting members of the security forces or people who work with the local council. But some critics of the authorities have been gunned down, too, and at night there are abductions and robberies.

As America settles in for yet another endless and “indefinite” occupation of a Middle East country, perhaps all that remains is for the president to land on an aircraft carrier with “Mission Accomplished” banners flying overhead?

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The real reason Western media & CIA turned against Saudi MBS

The problem with MBS isn’t that he is a mass murdering war criminal, it is that he is too “independent” for the United States’ liking.

RT

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By

Via RT…


Forces are aligning against Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, lead by elements within the CIA and strong players in the mainstream media. But what is really behind this deterioration in relationship, and what are its implications?

Following the brutal murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, western media and various entities, including the CIA, appear to have turned their back on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS). In response to the scandal, the Guardian released a video which its celebutante, Owen Jones, captioned“Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest threats on Earth. Time to stop propping up its repulsive regime.”

The Guardian was not alone in its condemnation. “It’s high time to end Saudi impunity,” wrote Hana Al-Khamri in Al-Jazeera. “It’s time for Saudi Arabia to tell the truth on Jamal Khashoggi,” the Washington Post’s Editorial Board argued. Politico called it “the tragedy of Jamal Khashoggi.”

Even shadowy think-tanks like the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Atlantic Council released articles criticising Saudi Arabia in the wake of Khashoggi’s death.

A number of companies began backing away from Saudi money after the journalist’s death, including the world’s largest media companies such as the New York Times, the Economist’s editor-in-chief Zanny Minton Beddoes, Arianna Huffington, CNN, CNBC, the Financial Times, Bloomberg, Google Cloud CEO, just to name a few.

The CIA concluded that MBS personally ordered Khashoggi’s death, and was reportedly quite open in its provision of this assessment. Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the UN, also took time out of his schedule to express concern over Saudi Arabia’s confirmation of the killing.

At the time of the scandal, former CIA director John Brennan went on MSNBC to state that the Khashoggi’s death would be the downfall of MBS. Furthermore, the US Senate just voted in favour of ending American involvement in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen (a somewhat symbolic victory, though this is a topic for another article), but nonetheless was a clear stab at MBS personally.

The only person who appeared to continue to uphold America’s unfaltering support for MBS, even after all the publicly made evidence against MBS, was the US president himself. So after years of bombarding Yemen, sponsoring terror groups across the Middle East, Asia, the Pacific and beyond, why is it only now that there has been mounting opposition to Saudi Arabia’s leadership? Let’s just bear in mind that western media had spent years investing in a heavy PR campaign to paint MBS as a “reformer.”

Former national security adviser under Barack Obama’s second term, Susan Rice, wrote an article in the New York Times, in which she called MBS a “partner we can’t depend on.” Rice concludes that MBS is “not and can no longer be viewed as a reliable partner of the United States and our allies.” But why is this? Is it because MBS is responsible for some of the most egregious human rights abuses inside his own kingdom as well as in Yemen? Is it because of MBS’ support for groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda? No, according to Rice, we “should not rupture our important relationship with the kingdom, but we must make it clear it cannot be business as usual so long as Prince Mohammad continues to wield unlimited power.”

One will observe that the latter segment of Rice’s article almost mirrors former CIA director Brennan’s word on MSNBC word for word who stated that:

“I think ultimately this is going to come out. And it’s very important for us to maintain the relations with Saudi Arabia. And if it’s Mohammed bin Salman who’s the cancer here, well, we need to be able to find ways to eliminate the cancer and to move forward with this relationship that is critical to regional stability and our national interests.”

In reality, this is probably the issue that western media and government advisors have taken up with MBS. Aside from the fact he allegedly held a huge hand in the brutal murder of one of their own establishment journalists (Saudi Arabia reportedly tortured and killed another journalist not long after Khashoggi, but western media was eerily silent on this incident) MBS is not opposed for his reckless disregard for human rights. With insight into Rice’s mindset, we actually learn that if the US were to punish MBS, he would be likely to “behave more irresponsibly to demonstrate his independence and exact retribution against his erstwhile Western partners.”

You see, the problem with MBS isn’t that he is a mass murdering war criminal, it is that he is too “independent” for the United States’ liking.

Last week, Saudi Arabia and the other major oil producers met in Vienna at the year’s final big OPEC meeting of the year. As Foreign Policy notes, Saudi Arabia remains the largest oil producer inside OPEC but has to contend with the US and Russia who are “pumping oil at record levels.” Together, the three countries are the world’s biggest oil producers, meaning any coordinated decision made between these three nations can be somewhat monumental.

However, it appears that one of these three nations will end up drawing the short end of the stick as the other two begin forming a closer alliance. As Foreign Policy explains:

“But Saudi Arabia has bigger game in mind at Vienna than just stabilizing oil prices. Recognizing that it can’t shape the global oil market by itself anymore but rather needs the cooperation of Russia, Saudi Arabia is hoping to formalize an ad hoc agreement between OPEC and Moscow that began in 2016, a time when dirt-cheap oil also posed a threat to oil-dependent regimes. That informal agreement expires at the end of the year, but the Saudis would like to make Russia’s participation with the cartel more permanent.”

Russian officials have been signalling their intention to formalise this agreement for quite some time now. Given the hysteria in western media about any and all things Russian, it is not too much of a stretch to suggest that this is the kind of news that is not sitting too well with the powers-that-be.

Earlier this year, Russia and Saudi Arabia announced that it would “institutionalize” the two-year-old bilateral agreement to coordinate oil production targets in order to maintain an edge on the global market.

While US president Trump has been supportive and incredibly defensive of MBS during this “crisis”, the truth is that the US only has itself to blame. It was not all too long ago that Trump announced that he had told Saudi King Salman that his kingdom would not last two weeks without US support.

Saudi Arabia is learning for themselves quite quickly that, ultimately, it may pay not to have all its eggs in one geopolitical superpower basket.

Saudi Arabia has been increasingly interested in Moscow since King Salman made a historic visit to Moscow in October 2017. While Trump has openly bragged about his record-breaking arms deals with the Saudis, the blunt truth is that the $110 billion arms agreements were reportedly only ever letters of interest or intent, but not actual contracts. As such, the US-Saudi arms deal is still yet to be locked in, all the while Saudi Arabia is negotiating with Russia for its S-400 air defence system. This is, as the Washington Post notes, despite repeated US requests to Saudi Arabia for it disavow its interest in Russia’s arms.

The economic threat that an “independent” Saudi Arabia under MBS’ leadership poses to Washington runs deeper than meets the eye and may indeed have a domino effect. According to CNN, Russia and Saudi Arabia “are engaged in an intense battle over who will be the top supplier to China, a major energy importer with an insatiable appetite for crude.”

The unveiling of China’s petro-yuan poses a major headache for Washington and its control over Saudi Arabia as well.According to Carl Weinberg, chief economist and managing director at High-Frequency Economics, China will “compel”Saudi Arabia to trade oil in Chinese yuan instead of US dollars. One must bear in mind that China has now surpassed the US as the “biggest oil importer on the planet,” these direct attacks on the US dollar will have huge implications for its current world reserve status.

If Saudi Arabia jumps on board China’s petro-yuan, the rest of OPEC will eventually follow, and the US might be left with no choice but to declare all of these countries in need of some vital freedom and democracy.

Therefore, ousting MBS and replacing him with a Crown Prince who doesn’t stray too far from the tree that is US imperialism may put a dent in pending relationships with Saudi Arabia and Washington’s adversaries, Russia and China.

Once we get over the certainty that the US media and the CIA are not against MBS for his long-list of human rights abuses, the question then becomes: why – why now, and in this manner, have they decided to put the spotlight on MBS and expose him exactly for what he is.

Clearly, the driving force behind this media outrage is a bit more complex than first meets the eye.

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