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CIA Director Pompeo’s latest conspiracy theory: Venezuela crisis because of RUSSIA!

He also falsely accused Iran, Cuba and the Lebanese party Hezbollah of operating in Venezuela.

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For most people, the Venezuela crisis is about the political tensions between the popularly elected socialist President Nicolas Maduro and the legislature which backs him, the Constituent Assembly. The executive and Constituent Assembly are in conflict with the pro-US National Assembly whose powers have been reduced after Venezuela’s Supreme Court discovered voting irregularities in the 2015 election. Because of this protesters who are strongly backed and funded by the United States and US based NGOs have been engaged in violent protests and even a small terrorist operation against the government.

But CIA Director Mike Pompeo feels otherwise. For him it is because of RUSSIA,  CUBA, IRAN and HEZBOLLAH!

In a recent interview, Pompeo stated,

“Venezuela could very much become a risk for the United States of America. The Cubans are there; the Russians are there, the Iranians, Hezbollah are there. This is something that has a risk of getting to a very very bad place, so America needs to take this very seriously”.

Let’s break down this patent absurdity point by point.

1. Russia 

Russia has healthy, normal relations with Venezuela. In October of 2016, the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro awarded President Putin the first ever Hugo Chavez Peace Prize.

Russia and Venezuela are both energy producers, but unlike Venezuela, Russia is not in OPEC. Apart from that, Russia maintains an embassy in Caracas and normal bilateral relations.

2. Cuba 

Although the Marxist-Leninism of the Castros is not identical to the Bolivarian Socialism of Hugo Chavez and his successor Nicolas Maduro, Cuba has tended to give strong political backing to a fellow left-wing country. Cuba no longer has a Russian military base on its soil but it does still have a very controversial US base at Guantanamo Bay.

Cuba maintains good fraternal relations with Venezuela, but Cuba is in no position to assist Venezuela even if it wanted to. Venezuela due to its oil is a far richer country than the small island of Cuba.

3. Iran 

Iran and Venezuela maintain healthy bilateral relations. Both states are members of OPEC and both states have frequently been the target of US military threats.

Iran’s military however limits itself to the Middle East where it is fighting terrorism in Syria at the behest of the Syrian government.

There is no contingent of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Caracas and there probably never will be. The only Iranians in Venezuela are those in the embassy as well as the occasional international businessman.

4. Hezbollah 

The Lebanese political party Hezbollah has literally nothing to do with Venezuela. Hezbollah is not an international organisation but a Lebanese one whose armed resistance wing primarily acts to secure southern Lebanon and has more recently helped Syria in its fight against groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda.

The only remote connection between Venezuela and Lebanon is the fact that Tareck El Aissami, the current Vice President of Venezuela has a Lebanese mother and a Syrian father.

His Druze father was involved in the secular socialist Ba’ath party in the Middle East but not with the primarily Shi’a group Hezbollah.

Apart from this, Venezuela’s connection to the Middle East is limited to the fact that the Venezuelan left strongly supporters Palestine.

Mike Pompeo has yet again shown his penchant for wild conspiracies.

His previous conspiracy theories include stating that Russia rigged the elections in the US where Barack Obama won, that Julian Assange would have been a Nazi in a past life, RT and Sputnik prevent Russia from going to war and this is bad, RT runs Wikileaks.

READ MORE: 5 weird conspiracy theories from CIA Director Mike Pompeo

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VeeNarian (Yerevan)
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VeeNarian (Yerevan)

“He also falsely accused Iran, Cuba and the Lebanese party Hezbollah of operating in Venezuela.” Wott!!! Surely, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah should not disappoint the Pompous CIA a….. hole? As a sovereign country, Venezuela has the right to call for support from any allies, especially after Trump threatened them with military intervention. It will be then up to those allies to see if they can come to its aid. How else will the rampant US military threat be countered? Or does Maduro want to share the fate of Saddam, Gaddafi and what they had planned for Assad? What the Pompous… Read more »

DarkEyes
Guest
DarkEyes

Ah, but we know the “story” behind this moron’s back, don’t we.
What this troublemaker actually means is that it is Venezuela own fault that is in trouble with US because she is not handing over its resources and sovereignty to the private company US Inc.
That is all.

VeeNarian (Yerevan)
Guest
VeeNarian (Yerevan)

Precisely! It is the God-given right of the US to exploit and have access to all resources in their God’s Earth. Why don’t the rest of the world get that message?
Racism, exceptionalism and imperialism. I hope Venezuela calls on allies before they become another Ukraine, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Iraq etc…

tom
Guest
tom

Yes, all the people who refuse to do exactly what they are told by Washington, immediately, must hate America. And they are all in league together because they HATE OUR FREEDOMS.

Psychological projection is being superscaled here.

Constantine
Guest
Constantine

And yet, it was Trump himself who handpicked this moron. The current POTUS should realize that if he wants to show strength then he must go after the powerful vested interests in Washington and within the US in general and not after other countries that have not threatened his. This childish display of international machoism is a failed policy and one that damages his presidency as well.

TecumsehUnfaced
Guest
TecumsehUnfaced

Trump was ordered to pick Pompeo, because this moron was too stupid to get in the way.

my2Cents
Guest
my2Cents

Remember what happened to Kennedy when he wanted to rain in the CIA?

Suzanne Giraud
Guest
Suzanne Giraud

to rein in

my2Cents
Guest
my2Cents

Thanks for the edit :-))

Constantine
Guest
Constantine

I assume you refer to Kennedy’s attempt to ‘rein’ in the CIA. Well, he tried to work on that and other endeavours which would divert the US from its imperialist course and he paid the price. But what is your point? That Trump should simply betray his promises and opt for supposedly easy solutions? He’s already down this road and his opponents still want him out. Meanwhile, his policies are a compete mesh.

my2Cents
Guest
my2Cents

Thanks for the edit :-))
My point is that he is not in charge…Pretending that he is will result in him being stopped one way or the other. This seems to have been pointed out to him already. Trump is entirely unfamiliar with politics and lacks the curiosity to learn. He behaves like a 9-year old tweeting the greatest nonsense that keeps the whole world entertained, but he does NOTHING for this country. Schultz (Germany) considers Trump a danger to this country and a threat to world peace.He is an embarrassment to the office of President….

Constantine
Guest
Constantine

Well, I’m not going to defend Trumps’ current policies or behaviour. My point is that he should have done his best to fight the good fight and he didn’t. In the case of Pompeo, he picked an idiotic ignoramus. In any case, I agree with much of what you said.

An interesting note: plenty of Trump supporters in Breitbart take Pompeo’s statement as some sort of revelation that validates Trump’s threat to use military options against Venezuela. So much about the clearheaded attitude of American ”conservatives” vs the ”liberals”…

Hamletquest
Guest
Hamletquest

Is there something about the Americancas where there is a idiocy quotient? The more important you are the more stupid things you say and the more you think other people are stupid like you?

cap960
Guest
cap960

But of course… it’s Russia’s fault. American sanctions of Venezuela are just there to help the people.

Andrew Orr
Guest
Andrew Orr

If the Russians hadn’t polluted the precious bodily fluids of American politicians they wouldn’t have placed sanctions on Venezuela.

cap960
Guest
cap960

What you are saying Americans are “pussies” need to go after weaker countries. It’s always about Russia with Americans.

GeorgeG
Guest
GeorgeG

Have to hurry, sorry. — Just googled “Pompeo Venezuela.” One hit http://www.breitbart.com/video/2017/08/13/cia-director-mike-pompeo-iran-hezbollah-venezuela/ containing the full interview with Fox. The Company — a.k.a. “the world’s premier intelligence agency” and a.k.a. with the most “exquisite” intelligence and analysts — is cooking up a case for both humanitarian intervention and self-defense. Review the comments: Mike’s Iran- Hezbollah, Russia BS is serious, i.e., he is serious about spicing his dish with this flimsy connecto stuff. And the arms cashes falling into the “wrong hands”, e.g. FARC and the Venezuelan VP a drug dealer….

dave3200
Guest
dave3200

As a member of the deep state and proponent of the military-industrial complex, Pompeo is anxious to promote conflict anywhere he can find it. He’s a liar, just like most of his associates in the U.S. “intelligence” community. As is the case with Nikki Haley, it is hard to imagine Trump selecting Pompeo without undue influence from somewhere. He’s certainly not someone who would support Trump’s stated mission.

Daisy Adler
Guest
Daisy Adler

What is “Trump’s mission”? He failed to keep his word made to his followers “I’ll never betray you”. He promised to be only the president of the USA, not to pretend to be president of the world. He promised to stop “all the stupid wars”, and in one week he threatened three more countries with military interventions, while far from stopping the stupid war in Afghanistan, he’s sending more thousands troops there. Check out his promises and see how many he renounced, and how many he reversed. About NATO, during the campaign “I said it was obsolete” Trump said. After… Read more »

dave3200
Guest
dave3200

Daisy, Trump has not committed to sending more troops to Afghanistan. You might want to read this: https://morningconsult.com/2017/08/14/voters-pessimistic-afghanistan-trump-weighs-boosting-troops/

Regarding NATO and his threats of military action, I’m in full agreement with you.

As for his accomplishment of campaign promises, this article outlines many of them:
http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2017/07/president-trumps-first-six-months-are-historical-with-stock-market-on-fire-and-americans-hopeful-that-america-will-be-great-again/

Andrew Orr
Guest
Andrew Orr

A policy of loosing the war in Afghanistan is a bad idea. The US needs to convince the Taliban that they will get bombed until they agree not support terrorists. That deal could have been done in the first month of the war. They don’t enjoy getting bombed and were not interested in attacking us before we attacked them. It might be possible now because the Taliban is fighting ISIS.

Daisy Adler
Guest
Daisy Adler

Vladimir Putin was right concerning America, when he said presidents and governments change, but US politics remains the same. Bad administration yesterday=Bad administration today.
Republican presidents continued democrat presidents’ wars and vice-versa. The propaganda transmitted from one to another – intact. I guess it’s genetic by now (or contagious?).

DarkEyes
Guest
DarkEyes

Daisy, IMO it is correct and it is the ‘Deep State running the US Inc.

Daisy Adler
Guest
Daisy Adler

‘Democratic election” is the biggest scam of the establishment to enslave the people, by making them believe they have a choice.

Wayne Blow
Guest
Wayne Blow

Do they have any people with power in the US that aren’t totally NUTS, this idiot tops the whole Washington litter, moron!!!!

Daisy Adler
Guest
Daisy Adler

Some other idiots preceded him , the Bushes, Clintons and Obama.
As Oscar Wilde said “America is the only country who jumped from barbarism to decadence, without civilization in between”.

Herbert Dorsey
Guest
Herbert Dorsey

And this is what passes for intelligence! I say fire them all!

DarkEyes
Guest
DarkEyes

If you like to do this on that bases then the whole lot will be gone.😀

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

Pompeo went on to say Big Foot stole his favorite socks, because of Russia.

Vera Gottlieb
Guest
Vera Gottlieb

These people are so full of it…I feel like puking every time.

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

Mike Pompino – Scaramouche’s older and not much wiser Mafia bruddah.

Wayne Blow
Guest
Wayne Blow

Just another totally out to lunch “nut-bar”, where do they find these idiots???

Daisy Adler
Guest
Daisy Adler

“He has just about enough intelligence to open his mouth when he wants to eat, but certainly no more.”
― P.G. Wodehouse

Daisy Adler
Guest
Daisy Adler

“Venezuela could very much become a risk for the United States of America”

I think that the biggest risk for USA come from … Virgin Islands and Micronesia
“Two things are infinite: the Universe and the human stupidity; and I’m not so sure about the Universe.”― Albert Einstein

DarkEyes
Guest
DarkEyes

Re. Albert E.
IMO it actually was Mrs. Einstein. She was the Brains behind him.

Daisy Adler
Guest
Daisy Adler

Common. Einstein had an IQ of 160.

opereta
Guest
opereta

Pompeo is just a straw man. Now a days, even the position of CIA Director has to be covered by a false entity, nobody in good mental health would accept the risk of being a fall man. Kim Jong-un has more legitimacy than this specimen

my2Cents
Guest
my2Cents

Pompeo, another schizophrenic…
All he has to do is stop funding the opposition in Venezuela which the CIA has done for the past 19 years. It’s not working.

Boris Kazlov
Guest
Boris Kazlov

CIA = Complete Idiocy Agency

Suzanne Giraud
Guest
Suzanne Giraud

hmmm… Is there a Mount Vesuvius in D.C.?

Shahna
Guest

Well, it is – from his pov.
US is trying so hard, so really really HARD, to make another war and it’s failing EVERYWHERE!
But hey – they still had lil Venezuela – “We can go war VENEZUELA!”

Then that spoilsport Sergey (my favourite teddy bear) said ………… NO.
So … no war … not even in Venny!

Andrew Orr
Guest
Andrew Orr

It’s Russia’s fault that Mike Pompeo has piles.

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BREXIT storm deepens, as parliamentary coup may be forming against May and Corbyn

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 166.

Alex Christoforou

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Emboldened by Theresa May’s lack of leadership and will to deliver the Brexit that UK citizens voted for in a democratic referendum, remain MPs are now mobilizing to do the EU’s bidding in forcing Britain to nullify the Brexit process and eventually stay a part of the European Union.

After yesterday’s thumping of May’s Brexit plan in parliament, The Times’ Matthew Parris is now openly floating the idea that “it’s time for parliament to wrest control from the zombies, stating that “Theresa May isn’t any good” and “Jeremy Corbyn is equally useless”…

There exists no leadership in either the government or the opposition capable of taking us through this mess. No hidden strengths, no unexpected qualities; no whizzbang new thinking, no magic. Forget May. Forget Corbyn. Salvation is not coming from these directions.
So it’s up to parliament. MPs are coming to understand that they have to act. It has been stealing on parliamentarians for months now and close contacts between leading members of both parties have been made and have been deepening.
From within the Commons a shadow executive must emerge, and is beginning to. Labour’s Yvette Cooper talks to the Tories’ Dominic Grieve. Around them is a cluster of senior parliamentarians who are getting used to talking.
A common purpose unites them: rescuing the country from a no-deal Brexit that only a small minority actually want. Whether this is to be done by seeking a better deal than May’s or by a new referendum, or both, they need to find a way soon. An “indicative” vote of the House of Commons may help guide them.
And however speedily the House can find its leadership and direction, it’s hard to imagine this can be done without an extension to the Article 50 negotiating period.
Overwhelmingly, the conclusion to be drawn from last night’s vote is that parliament must wrest control from a zombie prime minister, a zombie cabinet and a zombie opposition. I heard in May’s response to the result the hint of the straw at which she may now clutch: a Labour-style Brexit under a Tory nominal prime minister. I would be amazed if her party would accept it.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the turbulent and uncertain road ahead in the Brexit saga as a March deadline looms.

Shifting sands, and betrayal at the highest level is now crystallizing, as hints of a possible parliamentary coup against May and Corbyn is being floated as a possible solution to the impasse that will ultimately steer the UK back under EU control, and cancel the Brexit referendum.

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Via Straits Times

The words “humiliated” and “crushed” featured prominently in British newspaper headlines following Parliament’s massive rejection of a divorce deal with the European Union on Tuesday (Jan 15).

Dailies said Prime Minister Theresa May’s grip on power was waning after the huge vote against the agreement struck between her government and Brussels, as she prepared to fight a no-confidence motion on Wednesday.

“May humiliated by 230 votes,” The Daily Mirror tabloid said.

The Daily Telegraph wrote: “Humiliation for Prime Minister as MPs overwhelmingly reject deal and Labour tables no confidence vote.”

The broadsheet’s parliamentary sketchwriter Michael Deacon said Mrs May had somehow defied the odds by making a historic event an anticlimax.

“Her speech had all the brio of a mouldy gym sock,” he wrote.

“She sounded as winningly persuasive as a mother snapping at her children to eat up their cabbage or go to bed hungry.”

The vote itself “was as if Agatha Christie has allowed Miss Marple to solve the murder half way through and spend the rest of the novel pottering about in the garden”.

‘ZOMBIE PM’

The Times columnist Matthew Parris said it was time for senior MPs to take over the Brexit process.

“There exists no leadership in either the government or the opposition capable of taking us through this mess,” he wrote following the vote.

“Theresa May isn’t any good; she doesn’t have a fiendish, secret strategy; she’s careless with the truth and will say anything to get her through another week. She doesn’t know what to do.

“Overwhelmingly, the conclusion to be drawn… is that Parliament must wrest control from a zombie Prime Minister, a zombie Cabinet and a zombie opposition.”

The Daily Mail said the defeat left Mrs May’s power “hanging by a thread”, calling it a “devastating result, which threatens to plunge the Brexit process into chaos”.

The Sun, Britain’s biggest-selling newspaper, said: “Crushed PM dares MPs to vote for general election after record Brexit defeat.”

“The crushing defeat – which saw 118 Tories turn against the PM – is the worst since the advent of full democracy and suggests Mrs May will never win enough support for her strategy,” said the tabloid.

The Financial Times newspaper ran a headline reading: “May’s defeat spells trouble for the EU’s Brexit approach.”

“Huge loss leaves PM in race against time,” the broadsheet said.

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Ukraine’s Cult of Stepan Bandera: Not a Detail, but a Cornerstone

Unlike Poroshenko with his aerial bombings of the Russian-speaking Donbass in 2014 and 2015, Bandera killed the “wrong” victims, the representatives of those nations that are valued even by the modern Western media.

Dmitry Babich

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Authored by Dmitry Babich via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


During the recent years of the confrontation between Russia and Ukraine, there has been one issue where the Western mainstream press simply cannot fully ignore or reject the Russian arguments. This issue concerns the life and actions of Stepan Bandera (1909-1959) and his followers from what is known as the “Banderite” faction of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN, a far-right organization that took terrorist actions against Polish and Soviet officials from the 1920s to the 1950s and which is now legally protected from any criticism in Ukraine).

THE “WRONG” AND “RIGHT” VICTIMS

Because Bandera was born on January 1, 1909, celebrations of his birthday have become disgusting New Year’s rituals in Ukraine in recent years, with thousands participating in Nazi-style torch-lit marches that include shouted protests against “Putin’s Russia” and rants such as, “Jews out!” which are heard by everyone except the police. This New Year was no exception, since the current Ukrainian government under President Petro Poroshenko (who publicly identified himself as a Banderite after taking office in 2014) officially added Bandera’s 110th birthday to the list of Ukraine’s most important anniversaries. This time, there were several quiet voices of condemnation heard in Poland, Israel, and even the US. Why? In truth, torches, masks, political murders, and mob attacks against “pro-Russian” public figures are nothing new in post-Maidan Ukraine. And these things usually pose no problem for the mainstream press of the US and its allies. So, why is Bandera an exception?

The answer is ethnic, as awful as that may sound. Unlike Poroshenko with his aerial bombings of the Russian-speaking Donbass in 2014 and 2015, Bandera killed the “wrong” victims, the representatives of those nations that are valued even by the modern Western media, with its double and triple standards. In the 1930s Bandera killed Polish officials, in the 1940s his people killed civilian Jews and Polish peasants, and these are groups whose plight even the New York Times cannot ignore today. If Bandera’s infamous slogan “Death to enemies!” had been directed only against “disloyal” Russians and anti-Banderite Ukrainians (the groups currently persecuted by Poroshenko), Bandera would have been no different from his modern admirers in the Ukrainian government. But Bandera’s followers from the OUN decimated the Jewish population of Lvov and Kiev in 1941, trying to curry favor with the advancing Germans. And between 1943 and 1944, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), taking its orders from Bandera’s OUN officers, ethnically cleansed his native Western Ukraine of ethnic Poles, killing from 70,000-100,000 of them (the infamous “slaughter of Volhynia”). The aim was to create an “ethnically pure” Ukraine before the arrival of the Red Army in late 1944. Documents published by the Polish historian Grzegorz Motyka indicate that Bandera and the OUN hoped that the Red Army would soon be replaced by Anglo-American domination. “His strategy was to clean up the house before the arrival of the real master,” Motyka concludes in his book.

THE LADY OF THE RADA VS. ISRAEL’S PRESIDENT

The American domination took another 70 years, but it did come. And now the Banderites’ (and Poroshenko’s) only historic disagreement with the West is over the infamous “ethnic cleansing,” to which Bandera’s “glorious heroes” subjected Ukraine in 1941-1944. When Israeli President Reuven Rivlin dared to raise the issue during his visit to Ukraine in 2016, he got a scolding from the vice speaker of the Ukrainian parliament (Verkhovna Rada), Irina Gerashchenko: “The Israeli president allowed himself some incorrect and undiplomatic words about the OUN’s tragic history,” Gerashchenko said at the time. “It was highly inappropriate, especially now, when Ukraine is fighting for its independence.” Gerashchenko forgot to mention the fact that Babi Yar, the burial site of some 30,000 Jews killed by German and Ukrainian Nazis in Kiev in 1941, was vandalized nine times between 2015 and 2016, according to data provided by the Ukrainian Jewish Committee.

WHY THE WEST WANTS TO FORGET, BUT CANNOT

In the immediate aftermath of the Maidan coup in 2014, the mainstream press was ready to forget even that, since an honest account of Bandera’s activities between 1939 and 1959 could rekindle memories of the undesirable parallels to the “resistance to Russian occupation” by Poroshenko’s army in the Donbass in 2014 and 2015. Between the summer of 2014 and the winter of 2015, about 10,000 people died there, victims of the aircraft and tanks sent by Poroshenko (just months earlier, the US and the EU had been unable to abide the use of truncheons by the police of the ousted president, Viktor Yanukovych). At the time, the NYT called Bandera the “Ukrainian nationalists’ hero.” Obviously, the NYT’s authors were taking their cues from the Washington Post’s Anne Applebaum, with her Banderite headline, “Nationalism is exactly what Ukraine Needs” in the once-glorious New Republic.

But here the mainstream press tried to kill off a memory that will never die — the memory of how Hitler’s East European Nazi allies participated in the destruction of the region’s Jewish population in the early 1940s. This was something not even Anne Applebaum could make people forget.

In his articles in the American press, the director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, Eduard Dolinsky, tried to explain to the American public that Bandera’s cult is not an isolated, unpleasant phenomenon: Stepan Bandera never acted alone, he represented a crudely nationalist ideology. Unfortunately, this ideology reigns triumphant in modern Ukraine behind the “liberal” façade displayed for the West. For example, Dolinsky notes that Poroshenko’s hypocritical speeches memorializing Jewish victims can be heard next to, say, a memorial to OUN activist Ivan Rogach, whose newspaper called Jews “the greatest enemy of the people” in 1941. “The Ukrainian leadership set itself on the course of rehabilitating anti-Semitism and introducing censorship of history,” concludes the official statement of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish human-rights group, famous for its work to bring Nazi criminals to justice.

THE RUSSIAN QUESTION BEHIND THE JEWISH ONE

If the West cannot afford to be completely silent about Bandera’s participation in the Holocaust, it is willingly ignoring another huge injustice that is inseparable from Bandera’s cult in modern Ukraine — the erasure of the Russian and anti-Banderite component of Ukraine’s historic memory. In 2017, Kiev’s Vatutin Avenue was renamed Bandera Avenue, resulting in an outcry in Russia and complete silence in the West. This avenue, a major thoroughfare in the Ukrainian capital, had originally been named in honor of General Nikolai Vatutin, who liberated Kiev from Nazi occupation in 1943 and died in a shootout with the OUN’s guerillas in 1944. At the time, there was no question about where America’s sympathies lay: the fight against Hitler was not yet over, and Vatutin, born in 1901 to a peasant family living immediately adjacent to the future Russian-Ukrainian border, was a useful ally for the United States. Will Bandera and his modern followers be a good replacement? Only someone with Poroshenko’s plans for Ukraine or with Anne Applebaum’s views on history could agree.

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Entering a Major Regional Re-set – The Syria Outcome Will Haunt Those Who Started This War

It should be obvious now that we are entering a major regional re-set.

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Authored by Alastair Crooke via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The Middle East is metamorphosing. New fault-lines are emerging, yet Trump’s foreign policy ‘hawks’ still try to stage ‘old movies’ in a new ‘theatre’.

The ‘old movie’ is for the US to ‘stand up’ Sunni, Arab states, and lead them towards confronting ‘bad actor’ Iran. ‘Team Bolton’ is reverting back to the old 1996 Clean Break script – as if nothing has changed. State Department officials have been briefing that Secretary Pompeo’s address in Cairo on Thursday was “ slated to tell his audience (although he may not name the former president), that Obama misled the people of the Middle East about the true source of terrorism, including what contributed to the rise of the Islamic State. Pompeo will insist that Iran, a country Obama tried to engage, is the real terrorist culprit. The speech’s drafts also have Pompeo suggesting that Iran could learn from the Saudis about human rights, and the rule of law.”

Well, at least that speech should raise a chuckle around the region. In practice however, the regional fault-line has moved on: It is no longer so much Iran. GCC States have a new agenda, and are now far more concerned to contain Turkey, and to put a halt to Turkish influence spreading throughout the Levant. GCC states fear that President Erdogan, given the emotional and psychological wave of antipathy unleashed by the Khashoggi murder, may be mobilising newly re-energised Muslim Brotherhood, Gulf networks. The aim being to leverage present Gulf economic woes, and the general hollowing out of any broader GCC ‘vision’, in order to undercut the rigid Gulf ‘Arab system’ (tribal monarchy). The Brotherhood favours a soft Islamist reform of the Gulf monarchies – along lines, such as that once advocated by Jamal Khashoggi .

Turkey’s leadership in any case is convinced that it was the UAE (MbZ specifically) that was the author behind the Kurdish buffer being constructed, and mini-state ‘plot’ against Turkey – in conjunction with Israel and the US. Understandably, Gulf states now fear possible Turkish retribution for their weaponising of Kurdish aspirations in this way.

And Turkey is seen (by GCC States) as already working in close co-ordination with fellow Muslim Brotherhood patron and GCC member, Qatar, to divide the collapsing Council. This prefigures a new round to the MB versus Saudi Wahhabism spat for the soul of Sunni Islam.

GGC states therefore, are hoping to stand-up a ‘front’ to balance Turkey in the Levant. And to this end, they are trying to recruit President Assad back into the Arab fold (which is to say, into the Arab League), and to have him act, jointly with them, as an Arab counter to Turkey.

The point here is obvious: President Assad is closely allied to Iran – and so is Moscow and Turkey. To be fashionably Iranophobic – as Pompeo might wish the GCC to be – simply would spoil the GCC’s anti-Turkey ‘play’. Syria indeed may be (justly) skeptical of Turkey’s actions and intent in Syria, but from President Assad’s perspective, Iran and Russia are absolutely crucial to the managing of an erratic Turkey. Turkey does represent an existential Syrian concern. And trying to lever President Assad – or Lebanon or Turkey – away from Iran, would be absurd. It won’t happen. And the GCC states have enough nous to understand this now (after their stinging defeat in Syria). The Gulf anti-Iranian stance has had ‘the burner’ turned sharply down, (except when their need is to stroke US feathers).

They can see clearly that the Master of Ceremonies in the Levant – putting together the new regional ‘order’ – is not Mr Bolton, but Moscow, with Tehran (and occasionally Ankara), playing their equal part ‘from behind the curtain’.

Presumably, America’s intelligence services know, (and Gulf states certainly are aware), that in any case, Iranian forces are almost all gone from Syria (though of course Syria’s ‘Iranian connection’ remains as firm, as ever) – even as Pompeo and Israel say the precisely the opposite: that they are pushing-back hard at the ‘threatening’ Iranian military ‘footprint’ in Syria. Few in the region will believe it.

The second notable emerging regional fault line then, evidently is the one that is opening between Turkey and the US and Israel. Turkey ‘gets it’: Erdogan ‘gets it’ very clearly: that Washington now deeply distrusts him, suspects that Turkey is accelerating into Moscow and Beijing’s orbit, and that DC would be happy to see him gone – and a more NATO-friendly leader installed in his stead.

And it must be clear to Washington too ‘why’ Turkey would be heading ‘East’. Erdogan precisely needs Russia and Iran to act as MCs to moderate his difficult relations with Damascus for the future. Erdogan needs Russia and Iran even more, to broker a suitable political solution to the Kurds in Syria. He needs China too, to support his economy.

And Erdogan is fully aware that Israel (more than Gulf States) still hankers after the old Ben Gurion ideal of an ethnic Kurdish state – allied with Israel, and sitting atop major oil resources – to be inserted at the very pivot to south-west and central Asia: And at Turkey’s vulnerable underbelly.

The Israeli’s articulated their support for a Kurdish state quite plainly at the time of Barzani’s failed independence initiative in Iraq. But Erdogan simply, unmistakably, has said to this ‘never’ (to Bolton, this week). Nonetheless, Ankara still needs Russian and Iranian collaboration to allow Bolton to ‘climb down his tree’ of a Kurdish mini-state in Syria. He needs Russia to broker a Syrian-led buffer, vice an American-Kurdish tourniquet, strapped around his southern border.

It is unlikely however, that despite the real threat that America’s arming of the Kurds poses to Turkey, that Erdogan really wants to invade Syria – though he threatens it – and though John Bolton’s ‘conditions’ may end by leaving Turkey no option, but to do it. Since, for sure, Erdogan understands that a messy Turkish invasion of Syria would send the delicately balanced Turkish Lire into free-fall.

Still … Turkey, Syria, Iran and Russia now all want America gone from Syria. And for a moment, it seemed it might proceed smoothly after Trump had acquiesced to Erdogan’s arguments, during their celebrated telephone call. But then – Senator Lindsay Graham demurred (against the backdrop of massed howls of anguish issuing from the Beltway foreign policy think-tanks). Bolton did the walk-back, by making US withdrawal from Syria contingent on conditions (ones seemingly designed not to be met) and not tied any specific timeline. President Erdogan was not amused.

It should be obvious now that we are entering a major regional re-set: The US is leaving Syria. Bolton’s attempted withdrawal-reversal has been rebuffed. And the US, in any event, forfeited the confidence of the Kurds in consequence to the original Trump statement. The Kurds now are orientated toward Damascus and Russia is mediating a settlement.

It may take a while, but the US is going. Kurdish forces (other than those linked with the PKK) are likely to be assimilated into the Syrian army, and the ‘buffer’ will not be directed against Turkey, but will be a mix of Syrian army and Kurdish elements – under Syrian command – but whose overall conduct towards Turkey will be invigilated by Russia. And the Syrian army will, in due time, clear Idlib from a resurgent al-Qaida (HTS).

The Arab states are returning to their embassies in Damascus – partly out of fear that the whipsaw of American policy, its radical polarisation, and its proclivity to be wholly or partially ‘walked-back’ by the Deep State – might leave the Gulf unexpectedly ‘orphaned’ at any time. In effect, the GCC states are ‘hedging’ against this risk by trying to reconnect a bifurcated Arab sphere, and to give it a new ‘purpose’ and credibility – as a balance against Turkey, Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood (Syria’s old nemesis).

And yet – there remains still another layer to this calculus, as described by veteran Middle East journalist, Elijah Magnier:

“Indeed the Levant is returning to the centre of Middle East and world attention in a stronger position than in 2011. Syria has advanced precision missiles that can hit any building in Israel. Assad also has an air defence system he would have never dreamed of before 2011 – thanks to Israel’s continuous violation of its airspace, and its defiance of Russian authority. Hezbollah has constructed bases for its long and medium range precision missiles in the mountains and has created a bond with Syria that it could never have established – if not for the war. Iran has established a strategic brotherhood with Syria, thanks to its role in defeating the regime change plan.

NATO’s support for the growth of ISIS has created a bond between Syria and Iraq that no Muslim or Baathist link could ever have created: Iraq has a “carte blanche” to bomb ISIS locations in Syria without the consent of the Syrian leadership, and the Iraqi security forces can walk into Syria anytime they see fit to fight ISIS. The anti-Israel axis has never been stronger than it is today. That is the result of 2011-2018 war imposed on Syria”.

Yes. This is the third of the newly emergent fault-lines: that of Israel on the one hand, and the emerging reality in the Syrian north, on the other – a shadow that has returned to haunt the original instigators of the ‘war’ to undermine Syria. PM Netanyahu since has put all the Israeli eggs into the Trump family ‘basket’. It was Netanyahu’s relationship with Trump which was presented in Israel as being the true ‘Deal of the Century’ (and not the Palestinian one). Yet when Bibi complained forcefully about US withdrawal from Syria (leaving Syria vulnerable, Netanyahu asserts, to an Iranian insertion of smart missiles), Trump nonchalantly replied that the US gives Israel $ 4.5 billion per year – “You’ll be all right”, Trump riposted.

It was seen in Israel as an extraordinary slap to the PM’s face. But Israelis cannot avoid, but to acknowledge, some responsibility for creating precisely the circumstances of which they now loudly complain.

Bottom line: Things have not gone according to plan: America is not shaping the new Levantine ‘order’ – Moscow is. And Israel’s continual, blatant disregard of Russia’s own interests in the Levant, firstly infuriated, and finally has provoked the Russian high command into declaring the northern Middle East a putative no-fly zone for Israel. This represents a major strategic reversal for Netanyahu (and the US).

And finally, it is this repeating pattern of statements being made by the US President on foreign policy that are then almost casually contradicted, or ‘conditioned’, by some or other part of the US bureaucracy, that poses to the region (and beyond) the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question. The pattern clearly is one of an isolated President, with officials emptying his statements of executive authority (until subsequently endorsed, or denied, by the US bureaucracy). It is making Trump almost irrelevant (in terms of the setting of foreign policy).

Is this then a stealth process – knowingly contrived – incrementally to remove Trump from power? A hollowing out of his Presidential prerogatives (leaving him only as a disruptive Twitterer) – achieved, without all the disruption and mess, of formally removing him from office? We shall see.

And what next? Well, as Simon Henderson observes, no one is sure – everyone is left wondering:

“What’s up with Secretary Pompeo’s extended tour of the Middle East? The short answer is that he is trying to sell/explain President Trump’s “we are leaving Syria” policy to America’s friends … Amman, Jordan; Cairo, Egypt; Manama, Bahrain; Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE); Doha, Qatar; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Muscat, Oman; Kuwait City, Kuwait. Wow, even with his own jet and no immigration hassles, that’s an exhausting itinerary … The fact that there now are eight stops in eight days, probably reflects the amount of explaining that needs to be done.”

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