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Post-Brexit EU: Between Regional Breakdown and Full-Blown Dictatorship

If the US cannot prevent EU disintegration it will aim to control Europe by dividing it into various micro blocs.

Andrew Korybko

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The people of the UK took the world by surprise when the majority of them democratically voted to ask their government to leave the EU. In the aftermath, a plethora of forecasts have been thrown around about the future of the CIA’s continental integrative project, with most analysts agreeing with one of two polar opposite predictions, namely that the EU must either enact wide-scale “democratic” reform or fully collapse.  Interestingly, the same assessment can also be levelled against the UK itself, thereby suggesting that two dissolution processes might be simultaneously underway.

The future state of affairs gets even more suspenseful when the views of international conspirator George Soros are taken into account. According to the multibillion-dollar financier of worldwide Colour Revolutions and close public asset of the US’ “deep state” apparatus (the permanent military-diplomatic-intelligence bureaucracies), “the disintegration of the EU (is) practically irreversible” unless “all of us who believe in the values and principles that the EU was designed to uphold…band together to save it by thoroughly reconstructing it”, with Soros being “convinced” that “more and more people” will support the latter scenario.

Doubling Down On The Dictatorship

Taking into consideration his eponymous foundation’s history of financing and organising serious domestic disturbances in targeted states, it can’t be discounted that Soros and his “deep state” backers will try to repeat this blueprint in Germany, France, and perhaps even the UK as well in a last-ditch effort to salvage their decades-long investment. The Eurocratic elites have already announced a plan to create an “EU Army”, which would serve the effect of fully trampling on the remnants of “national sovereignty” still present in the continental bloc, and it can be expected that any resistance that this plan comes up against from the patriotic citizenry will be confronted by pro-Brussels Colour Revolutions in whatever the given state(s) may be.

The resultant outcome would be the immediate creation of low-intensity Hybrid War tension within the most important EU states, a goal that the US has been working towards ever since it manufactured the Immigrant Crisis as a means of indefinitely perpetuating the viability of this post-modern asymmetrical regime change model. The practical effect of American-directed disorder in key EU countries would be to pressure any recalcitrant governments and/or influential politicians that are still remotely accountable to their electorate into submitting to the US’ anti-democratic will in pushing through a full-blown dictatorship to safeguard Washington’s treasured geopolitical construction.

From Dictatorship To Breakdown

The only structure-saving “reform” that the EU could realistically undertake at the moment is the doubling down of its authoritarian model in order to stamp out any remaining internal dissent that could one day (soon) transform into a series of member-wide exit referenda that emulate the Brexit results. While this appears to be the US’ preferred plan, it can’t be discounted that it will fail and that the EU’s dissolution in one way or another is inevitable with time. Should that come to pass, it’s unlikely that the consequences will be as geopolitically dramatic as some are saying they could be, such as a return to 28 separate and equally sovereign states. Instead, it’s much more probable that the US will adapt its strategy to hijack the disintegrative processes within the EU after it’s convinced that they’re irreversible, thus repeating the characteristic and regularly evidenced pattern of the American intelligence community attempting to exploit creatively every setback that it comes across.

Regionally Regrouping The Broken Bloc

Proceeding along the scenario branch that the EU is irrevocably broken and in the process of internal collapse, it’s foreseeable that it could fracture along very geographically distinct lines that partially overlap with what the author has previously identified to be some of NATO’s regional groupings. To modify the previous research for the present circumstances and to link emerging military configurations with ‘natural’ economic spaces, the following post-decentralization/dissolution EU regions are proposed:

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 6.44.04 PM

* Blue – The Viking Bloc: Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia

* Red – The Neo-Commonwealth: Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine

* Pink – The Central Core: Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Czech Republic

* Yellow – Western/Southern Europe; France, Spain, Portugal, Italy

* Brown – (Disorganized) Balkan Space: Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Serbia, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Bulgaria

Furthermore, the following countries have the potential to fall into one or another grouping:

* Hungary/Slovakia – It’s uncertain at this time whether these two states would be aligned with the Central Core or Neo-Commonwealth, though there’s also the chance that Budapest could become its own regional leadership pole in attempting to geostrategically reconfigure the Imperial Hungarian lands from the Dual Monarchy period.

* Estonia/Latvia – While predicted to be part of the Viking Bloc (“Greater Scandinavia”), they might eventually come under Polish-led influence if the Neo-Commonwealth is ambitious enough and succeeds in besting the Swedes.

* Czech Republic – A similar situation also holds true for Prague, which while more structurally integrated with Germany (aside from the Visegrad Group), could also possibly come under Warsaw’s sway if Poland plays its cards right.

* Moldova/Romania – There’s no telling whether Chisinau will end up with the Neo-Commonwealth or if Romania (which could also join the grouping, but at the expense of Warsaw weakening its centralized grip on it) integrates with or outright annexes its culturally affiliated neighbor, thereby placing it under the (disorganized) Balkan Space or an expanded Polish-led zone.

* Greece – The final relevant state that has yet to be categorised is Greece, which is pretty much a wild card between Western/Southern Europe and the (disorganised) Balkan Space.

Lead From Behind

Each of the geographically distinct European groupings can operate with relative strategic autonomy in their political, economic, and military affairs, all of which are expected to be influenced to a large extent by a Brexit-adapted US intelligence community. The age-old maxim of “divide and rule” is veritably appropriate in this prospective construction, where each of the regional blocs still retains a loosely decentralised link with one another, though their members primarily gravitate around the indisputable core states that glue their neighbours together (with the exception being a massively expanded Neo-Commonwealth that sub-divides leadership between Poland-Romania-Hungary).

To put it in more actionable terms, the five post-Brexit regional blocs that could develop in a non-reformed, decentralized EU would likely remain connected by economic and political links (whether their members formally remain part of the EU or not), but their military relations will be more attuned to their local situations and less focused on the continent as a whole. American-controlled NATO would manage each of these relatively disconnected military formations and serve as the coordinating mechanism between them.

The US can then offset whatever grand strategic losses it theoretically stands to incur from an EU “collapse” by reformatting its continental control scheme from managing the super-regional EU to multitasking between a handful of sub-regional successors. As per the US’ recent reliance on regional leaders to “outsource” its unipolar ‘responsibilities’, the post-Brexit “Lead From Behind” stratagem in these examined circumstances will utilise Washington’s close relations with each of the following states:

* Sweden (Viking Bloc)

* Poland (Neo-Commonwealth)

* Germany (Central Core)

* France (Western-Southern Europe)

The Balkan Black Hole

The only discussed region without any clear leader, let alone one capable of exercising hegemony over the entire given space on behalf of the US’ Lead From Behind interests, is the Balkans. There’s a chance that Romania might exclude itself from this broad regional construction through a disinterested policy of “self-isolation” in favour of focusing more strongly on looking eastward by integrating with or outright annexing Moldova and/or being the US’ chief naval proxy in the Western Black Sea region. Greece, for its part, has never been too involved in Balkan affairs, and aside from its shared Orthodox heritage with most of the region, stands out as somewhat of a cultural-historical anomaly that’s linked to its northern neighbours mostly through its shared peninsular geography.

Having addressed these two Balkan “outliers”, it’s now time to critically turn the research’s attention to the remaining regional states. Serbia is the only one with the most recent history of leadership, but for a variety of reasons that include its American-pressured ‘voluntary’ de-militarisation after the Bulldozer Revolution to the sub-optimal relations that it has with most of its neighbours, Belgrade is no longer capable of exercising its historical role. In a sense, without a regional leader such as the US’ other proxy counterparts elsewhere throughout Europe, one could say that the Balkans would remain a “disorganised space” in the event of a continental-wide decentralisation along the lines of the prospective one that’s being presently discussed, though that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any other countries that aspire for regional leadership, however partial it may be.

Three of the US’ closest European allies salivate at the chance of restoring their fascist-era fiefdoms, and it’s forecast that they’ll use one means or another (whether military tactics, strategic subversion, and/or economic enticement) to recreate the zones of control that they had last occupied under the Nazis’ blessing. These disruptor states and their targets of focus are:

* Croatia in the Muslim-Croat portion of Bosnia and perhaps even one day in Vojvodina;

* Bulgaria in the eastern half of the Republic of Macedonia;

* and Albania in a sliver of Montenegro, the Serbian civilisational cradle of Kosovo, and the western half of the Republic of Macedonia.

The specific scenarios that could be advanced in any of these cases are thoroughly explored in the Balkan series of the author’s “Law Of Hybrid War” research at Oriental Review, and the reader is warmly welcomed to familiarise themselves with this work if they’re interested in the means by which the US could disrupt this region. At this time, however, it’s more topical to move on to the final part of the present analysis in examining the interests that the unipolar and multipolar worlds have in the EU’s internal reorganisation or collapse.

Back-To-Back: Unipolar vs Multipolar Interests

Contrary to the prevailing assessment offered by many commentators, the US is not guaranteed to find itself in a strategically impossible situation if the EU regionally decentralizes or dissolves, nor are Russia and China automatically bound to reap a host of strategic dividends from this scenario, either. Let’s take a look at what each side stands to both gain and lose if this development transpires:

US:

Washington’s chief interest in Europe is to keep the continent under its control, with the US employing NATO as a military occupation force and the TTIP as its economic equivalent. The latter is particularly important nowadays since its successful conclusion would wed Washington and Brussels at the hip, making it impossible for one or the other to independently negotiate any future free trade agreements without its partner. This is strategically pertinent in preventing the EU from signing such a deal with Russia and/or China (perhaps as part of the Grand Eurasian Free Trade Area, GEFTA) and thereby one day replacing unipolar Atlanticist economic influence with its multipolar Continentalist counterpart.

It’s infinitely easier for the US to use a single piece of trade legislation to control its subservient bloc as opposed to reaching upwards of 28 separate agreements for the same purpose, and such an integrated multilateral entity as the EU is much easier to incorporate into NATO in constructing a full-spectrum military-political-economic Lead From Behind superstructure. On the other hand, if a unified Europe was successful in casting off its unipolar chains of hegemony (perhaps through the unprecedented historical opportunity that Russia and China’s Balkan Megaprojects could provide), then it would rapidly transform into one of the US’ chief economic competitors and present an unparalleled threat to the unipolar world order.

For reasons of “strategic insurance”, the US establishment might gradually become comfortable with accepting a decentralised or outright disbanded EU if it felt that this was either inevitable or preferable to a multipolar-leaning transatlantic “partner”. While the US would have difficulty retaining the continental-wide “unity” of its NATO pet project and integrating its military proxy into its economic-political one, it might find it circumstantially suitable to just abandon this ambitious project and focus instead on optimising the regional blocs that (it helps) sprout up in the EU’s wake instead. If managed properly, they could provide a much leaner, adaptable, and locally focused point of unipolar power projection for the US than the clumsily large and notoriously inefficient EU-NATO hybrid proxy.

Moreover, as was predicted by the author in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote, the UK has a chance to return to its historical divide-and-rule “balancing” role vis-à-vis Continental Europe, but this time on the US’ behalf. It could synergise its geostrategic and prospectively pro-EuroCautionary approaches with the US’ Fifth Generational Warfare weaponization of historical memory, the latter of which could be used to masterfully exploit the historical tensions/rivalries between some of the regional blocs and their respective cores in order to disrupt potential multipolar strategic advances in some of them and preempt the reconsolidation of a newly pro-Eurasian EU.

Russia and China:

Looking at everything from the other perspective, Russia and China’s interests in a unified Europe are similar to the US’, albeit for different reasons. While the US favours an integrated EU in order to facilitate reaching the restrictive TTIP “trade” agreement as a means of ‘locking out’ Russia and China, these two multipolar leaders similarly find it preferable to deal with one single negotiating partner instead of 28 separate ones but as a way of advancing GEFTA. The only circumstance in which either of them would strategically stand to gain from the EU’s regional decentralisation or outright dissolution in this regard would be if the entity was on the brink of clinching TTIP, and this was the only alternative to safeguarding their market access to the bloc and retaining hope of reaching GEFTA-like agreements with its quasi-independent regional remnants.

Likewise, a disunited EU is much more difficult to comprehensively integrate into NATO in forming the US’ envisioned Lead From Behind superstructure, but it also makes it more challenging for Russia to capitalise off of its diplomatic-economic advances with the Central Core and Western-Southern European states and leaders (Germany, France, Italy) in exercising an advantage over the rest of the bloc. The same obstacle can also be identified when it comes to China doing the same with the Neo-Commonwealth and Balkan Space states that it has recently upped its multilateral engagement with via the CEE framework. Without an integrated EU, it’s hard for the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership to apply its members’ advantages in the Western and Eastern reaches of the continent, respectively, in promoting a comprehensive multipolar policy towards Europe.

That’s not to say that there aren’t any benefits in seeing the EU fall apart, however, since to return to what was mentioned at the beginning of the preceding paragraph, there’s a lot that can be gained in delinking NATO from any economic-political (governance) organisations, though only so long as the two (NATO and the regional leadership blocs) can be kept apart as long as possible. It might be impossible in the near-term to completely delink the two, but the best that can happen is that their relations do not intensify so as to reproduce several “mini-superstructures” (as in integrated Lead From Behind military-economic-political units) that optimise the US’ hostile unipolar agenda against Russia and China’s peaceful multipolar interests.

If NATO and the regional blocs don’t succeed in fully consolidating into a patchwork of highly efficient pro-American proxies, then it’ll be comparatively easier for these multipolar anchors to use their own “Lead From Behind” partners for streamlining constructive multilateral cooperation between themselves and the regional blocs, with Russia and China covering one another’s situational disadvantages (Russia in the Eastern Europe, China with Western Europe) with their respective strengths (the inverse of the aforementioned). This optimistic vision isn’t entirely certain, though, since it’s wholly contingent on whether or not the US instigates a significantly destabilising conflict in the Balkans, which in that case would totally offset the two multipolar mega-projects in the region and severely inhibit Russia and China’s engagement with the continent.

Concluding Thoughts

The Brexit sent shockwaves throughout the world and will likely go down in history as one of the most globally influential democratic votes ever held in modern times. In a single stroke, and proving that the pen is more powerful than the pencil, patriotic and pragmatic-minded citizens changed the course of European history by catalysing the long-overdue fundamental revision of the EU. With its first-ever ‘defection’, and having occurred amidst what persuasively looks to be a series of existential crises, the EU is venturing into uncharted territory and is bound to undergo massive changes in the near future.

As of now, and most clearly signalled by George Soros’ intimations about a “thorough reconstructing” of the EU that the Colour Revolution puppeteer is “convinced” that “more and more people” will support, it looks like the Eurocratic elite and their American “deep state” backers’ “Plan A” is to press for a full-blown dictatorship that permanently eliminates the possibility of any forthcoming exit referenda. Failing that, and faced with the otherwise imminent decentralisation or dissolution of the EU, it’s expected that the US will find a way to adapt to these processes by taking partial or full control of them for its own benefit, realistically leading to the formation of a network of regional Lead From Behind blocs that could function as the US’ “Plan B” in a post-Brexit European strategic environment.

It’s far too early to say which of these two scenarios will eventually transpire, or whether whatever happens will end up being to the ultimate benefit of the unipolar or multipolar worlds, but it can be confidently analysed that the EU is undergoing a series of major changes that will redefine its essence for the coming decades. Amidst each of these developments, and no matter which way they proceed, it can also be just as confidently stated that the US will feverishly try to find a way to maximise its own self-interests. This in turn means that while the decentralisation and/or collapse of the EU might be popularly applauded by all of those who genuinely favour democracy and the multipolar world, one mustn’t let their strategic guard down in believing this.

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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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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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