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Iraq’s new war: The Battle of Kirkuk intensifies as Iraqi troops make new gains

Iraqi forces continue to push further into Kirkuk in spite of Kurdish opposition.

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According to local reports, Iraqi troops and Iraq’s volunteer Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) have been engaged in fierce clashes with Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in the northern city of Kirkuk. Iraqi troops have been driving deep into Kirkuk for just over a week, where they have successfully re-established control over key parts of the city.

Kirkuk has been largely controlled and occupied by Kurdish forces since 2014 as part of the ongoing northern Iraqi battle against ISIS terrorists. However, in March of 2017, the Kurds provocatively raised their flag over Kirkuk’s city hall, as well as nearby oil fields. In another provocative move, Kirkuk was included in the unapproved 25 September secession referendum, in spite of Kirkuk never being part of northern Iraq’s Kurdish autonomous region.

Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the troop movements into Kirkuk as a security operation to re-assert Iraq’s legal sovereignty over a key oil rich city. He stated that the move is simply about securing Kirkuk and went out of his way to say that Iraqi troops and PMFs have been ordered not to engage in clashes with Kurdish Peshmerga, but should instead try and secure their cooperation.

However, things have become heated over the last 24 hours. Iraqi social media uses have posted scenes of Peshmerga retreating as Iraqi forces and PMFs advance.

Meanwhile, official Iraqi state media has played down the extent of the clashes, while Kurdish outlets have already begun referring to the movement of Iraqi troops into Kirkuk o a “war”. The powerful Kurdish propaganda machine is firmly in anti-Iraqi overdrive.

In spite of this, the biggest story is that which is not being reported from the ground. Iraq’s advance to re-claim Kirkuk has seen local Sunni Arabs rally to a common cause with Shi’a volunteer units who are bolstering the regular Iraqi Army (which itself is majority Shi’a). Furthermore, many local Turkomen who are ardently opposed to Kurdish secession in northern Iraq, have also largely rallied behind the Iraqi flag.

In an Iraq where even the battle against ISIS took on an internal sectarian character, the unity behind a common Iraqi flag among Sunni and Shi’a Arabs as well as Turkomen, is quite remarkable. It is an undeniably positive development in an otherwise dangerous situation.

While for the moment, the operation is being conducted purely by Iraqis, a report that there are PKK fighters in Kurdish regions of northern Iraq, will not go unnoticed in Turkey. While the Syrian Kurd YPG and Iranian Kurd PJAK, are known to have strong ties to the Turkish Kurd PKK, Iraq’s Peshmerga are traditionally unfriendly to the PKK, which is proscribed as a terrorist group both in Turkey and internationally.

However, as Kurds in northern Iraq continue to provoke both the majority of Arab Iraqis and local Iraqi Turkomen, many have feared that Iraq’s Kurds could form alliances with rival Kurdish groups from other states. While the Kurdish regime in northern Iraq denies this charge, there is mounting evidence that a Peshmerga-PKK alliance is emerging.

Iraq has been conducting joint drills with both Turkey and Iran ever since the illegal Kurdish secession referendum was held. Each country has vowed not to allow the establishment of a Kurdish statelet in the region, with Turkey being the most outspoken about resisting such a development.

From the perspective of a wider regional and even global conflict, two things are immediately clear.

1. In spite of Iraq’s more than generous overtures aimed at de-escalating the situation, continued Kurdish aggression aimed at Baghdad, is symptomatic either of Kurds being prideful to the point of foolishness or more likely, they have some guarantee of protection/forthcoming aid from a non-bordering power. As US troops maintain many bases in Iraq, this ‘foreign’ aid could actually be delivered quite easily. However, if the US came out in favour of Kurdish secessionists or worse yet, aided the Kurds against Iraqi troops in Kirkuk, what little confidence Baghdad has in the US would ultimately be shattered.

Iraqi Kurds’ unwillingness to negotiate with Baghdad, indicates they are banking on foreign support

2. Following on from the previous point, it is becoming equally clear that just as the sectarian wars in Iraq were proxy battles between pro-Iranian Shi’a volunteers and Iraq’s Shi’a dominated army versus Takfiri terrorist groups like ISIS who are funded by Washington’s Gulfi Arab allies, so too would an Iraq versus Kurdish war, constitute an American attempt at dragging Iran into a new conflict on Iraqi soil.

While it is still conventional wisdom that the US is aware that an invasion of Iran would be a suicide mission for Washington, the US has for years, provoked Iran on Iraqi soil. A new Kurdish conflict would simply be a new phase of an ongoing phenomenon.

The proxy-war against Iran is under way in Iraq and has just entered a new phase

While Iran has every right to aid Iraq, especially in light of  the recent singing of a military and security pact with Baghdad, the country that ought to take the lead in such a battle is Turkey.

Turkey has already positioned itself on the Iraqi border, with President Erdogan saying in no uncertain terms that military action against Kurdish secessionists could begin at any moment. Because Ankara and Baghdad have been cooperating in respect of Kurdish provocations, it is likely that Turkish intervention would be welcomed by Iraq, given the severity of the circumstances.

A Turkish intervention has several distinct advantages over an Iranian one. The United States has its sights set on Iran, as Donald Trump make perfectly clear in his recent speech wherein he announced the US will de-certify the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal). Anything, that Iran does in Iraq could trigger the US to attempt a proxy war inside Iran’s borders, possibly one which could see the arming of Iranian Kurdish terrorists with US supplies coming from Iraq. This would be made all the more easy for the US, if Iraq’s Kurdish regions which border Iran, were fully occupied by US troops. This is certainly a headache that Iran does not need.

By contrast, Turkey is a NATO member, albeit one engaged in increasingly tense disputes with the United States. Still, Turkey is not America and Israel’s primary boogie-man, that remains Iran. Because the US is struggling to redefine its narrative on Turkey, as Ankara pivots its policy to a more Eurasian and less western position, Ankara is well placed to come to Iraq’s aid should such a thing be requested.

Furthermore, while the US would almost certainly not hesitate to fire on Iranian troops or volunteers in Iraq (or anywhere else for that matter), it would be very difficult for US troops to engage NATO Turkey’s troops on the battlefield. Such a thing could spell the beginning of the end of NATO as we know it.

Of course, any foreign intervention would only be necessary if Iraq felt that this was the case. With reports just coming in of Iraq re-establishing control over Kirkuk’s main airbase  in addition to re-establishing control over other vital positions in the region, the idea of foreign intervention may become redundant. Iraq’s troops may be desperate for peace, but they are equally battle hardened.

As one look at Iraqi social media will indicate, Iraq is not about to kowtow to pro-Israel Kurds after years of struggling against Takrifi terrorism. If this remains the case, the US will have found itself clandestinely on the side of yet another losing battle in the Middle East.

UPDATE I: Iraqi forces are no in control of the North Oil Company of Kirkuk.

UPDATE II: Iraqi forces have now retaken control of Kirkuk’s main airport.

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Russia’s economy continues to outperform as gold takes center stage (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 118.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine how US and EU sanctions have continued to provide a huge boost to Russia’s economy. Russia’s food sovereignty has practically been achieved, as the Russian central bank continues to buy gold and lower its exposure to western financial markets.

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Via TASS…

Outside pressure in the form of sanctions has become an incentive to resolve various issues of Russia’s economy, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev stated in an interview with the Izvestiya daily.

He noted that through introducing sanctions against Russia, “the West aims to destabilize Russia’s economy and to create social and political tensions in society.”

“But during the difficult times, Russians have always stuck together and mobilized their resources in order to ensure the country’s sovereignty. This is what is happening now – the outside pressure has become an incentive to resolve many problems in Russia’s economy,” he said.

“Before the sanctions, it seemed that we would never be able to feed ourselves and that we are doomed to be dependent on Western import. However, right now, Russia’s food sovereignty in crucial sectors has practically been achieved, and in some areas, Russia has become the leading exporter,” Patrushev noted.

Those who apply the sanctions “can see that they (the sanctions – TASS) are ineffective and often achieve the opposite goal,” the Russian security chief concluded.

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US Neocon Foreign Policy and the War Waged Against Serbia

The Serbian assault began first by a ‘financial war’; by sanctions and finished off by an aggressive unprovoked incessant NATO bombing campaign.

Richard Galustian

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The ‘witch-hunt’ against President Trump over Russian collusion has officially ended, following the submission of the Mueller Report, enabling us to now focus on the real problems of America that effects the whole world.

In the hope of a waining of the Russophobia in America, let’s look at the US’s recent war history by starting with the 20th anniversary this month of the NATO war on Serbia in 1999 which amounted to almost 100 days of bombing of historic cities and infrastructure.

Firstly, these problems are, in the main caused by the Neocons, or Deep State, whatever you wish to call them, and the continuing promotion, by the US Military-Security Industrial Complex, of wars and regime change and secondly, Trump’s unreserved support for Israel, regardless of war crimes they may continue to commit against the Palestinians.

Incredibly after that one sided unjust and illegal war that NATO executed, NATO has the audacity to invite Serbia to join it! Something that will never happen. What do they smoke in DC, in the Pentagon and Brussels based NATO?

To compound these overall problems, the US Military and Israeli Defence Forces collaborate on these US regime change policies on all continents evidenced most recently by the arrival of crack Israeli troops last month in Brazil, prepared to support an attack potentially by Brazil and Columbia on Venezuela.

As, has now come to be expected, America pursues its Venezuelan regime change with full main stream media (MSM) cooperation, using well proven sophisticated propaganda techniques along with a variety of pretexts.

From Serbia to Iraq to Libya, where does it end? Observe that Trump is now seeking a ‘NATO alliance’ offering NATO status, to President Bolsonaro of Brazil to back the invasion of Venezuela.

So it is important to remember, as an example, that after a long war of economic and financial destabilization ended with the bombing of Serbia.

Serbia was previously a part of Yugoslavia, a country which had successfully evolved after 1945 to solve the old rivalries of the 19th and early 20th Century Balkan ethnic animosities which was, prior to the advent of power of President Tito, its past history.

The United Nations, instead of supporting, in effect, so called ‘humanitarian wars’ and ‘regime change wars’ by the US, using NATO, helped and relentlessly driven home by MSM outlets like CNN and FOX NEWS into people’s heads, must finally take a stand.

So too, Yugoslavia, once the envy of many in the world, given its then ‘non-aligned’ status under President Tito, was destroyed and broken up; ‘Balkanized’ in the early 1990s.

The Serbian assault began first by a ‘financial war’; by sanctions and finished off by an aggressive unprovoked incessant NATO bombing campaign. That’s what we can expect in Venezuela next.

This ‘Balkanization’ strategy similarly applies to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria et al. It serves US Neocon interests to dismember States in the world and create smaller more ‘manageable’ countries.

‘Regime change’ runs against the intent, the very words contained in the US Constitution. No one in MSM ever reminds us of that fact. Nevertheless America’s ambition to overthrow other States continues, which they arrogantly now make no secret of. The next States will probably be Nicaragua then Iran to name but two.

A very noteworthy most recent outrageous unilateral declaration was made by President Trump, not yet formally agreed by US institutions, ‘giving’ something he has no authority to give; Syrian territory, the Golan Heights to be precise, to Israel. Something that one day could trigger a full scale Arab-Israeli War.

This is of extreme importance yet no real outcry comes from world leaders; well not so far.

The main reason for that decision given by senior US Administration figures is that “God anointed Trump to save the Jews”.

Not forgetting Trump’s need (which we the people don’t understand exactly why) to support Prime Minister Netanyahu in his difficult upcoming elections in Israel – in part because both countries failed to ‘regime change’ Syria – but more importantly to help the ‘financial terrorists’ who formed a company jointly that has already started drilling for oil in the Golan Heights. You might like to know who owns such oil drilling company which should answer a plethora of questions in one go that you must be asking yourselves.

The shareholder’s names tells us everything; Dick Cheney; Baron Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch. The titular heads of neocons, bankers and media on the planet.

In ending there is no more evidence required for us, the people of the world, to rise up against the globalist dark forces wherever they exist, be it in Brussels, London, France or Washington. We must demand democratic elections or start revolutions, the latter has already begun in France in the form of ‘the yellow vests’. And Brexit, by definition, is a rejection by the British people of globalism and American Hegemony.

The pattern of US destabilization and destruction of States to loot them of their sovereign resources is the unseen history of the last 100 years, not taught in any university, anywhere in the West.

As far as Ukraine is concerned, its government was taken down by the CIA and replaced by an ultra fascist regime that has full backing from America. This is no secret. But the MSM simple don’t report it.

US led NATO is ‘the transnational war machine’ of the world, devouring almost all free countries wealth. It can extort to terrorize all into conformity to the global ‘carcinogenic’ US Neocon imperialistic strategy.

A total estimated 20m people around the world have died since the end of WW11 at the hands of US Forces. Think about that for a moment.

One of the most famous sayings attributed to America’s great President Abraham Lincoln is about deception: “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

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‘Dark day for internet freedom’: EU approves controversial copyright reform

Julia Reda, a German MEP with the Pirate Party, described it as a “dark day for internet freedom.”

RT

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The European Parliament has voted to adopt the highly controversial Article 13 provision which would govern the production and distribution of content online under the auspices of increasing copyright protections.

Tuesday’s move will update the EU’s 20-year-old copyright rules and will govern everything from audiovisual content to memes, much to the dismay of many social media users who have already begun outpouring their grief online.

MEPs passed the legislation by 348 votes to 274 Tuesday. Opponents had hoped for last-minute amendments to be made but their efforts were in vain.

Julia Reda, a German MEP with the Pirate Party, described it as a “dark day for internet freedom.”

Article 13 or ‘The Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market’ makes all platforms legally responsible for the content hosted and shared on their platforms.

The process of updating the bloc’s copyright laws began in the European Commission two years ago, ostensibly to protect Europe’s publishers, broadcasters and artists and guarantee fair compensation from big tech companies.

By essentially forcing companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter to pay artists and publishers for the reproduction of their work online, include in meme format, the EU is effectively clamping down on online memery.

The onus will now be on tech companies to clamp down on content-sharing on their platforms, which will likely ensure yet more draconian policing of speech and content.

EU member states now have two years to pass their own laws putting Article 13 into effect.

Tens of thousands marched in protest across Germany ahead of the vote, decrying what they viewed as severe online censorship.

Tech giant Google said that while the directive is “improved” it will still lead to legal uncertainty and will damage Europe’s creative and digital economies.

Critics have argued that the only way for Article 13 to be effectively enforced would be through the use of upload filters which automatically check content to see if it’s copyrighted or not, at least in theory. However, the exact mechanics of such a system have yet to be fully debated and the potential for abuse is immediately clear.

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