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Russia to respond after massive drone attack hits Syrian base

Irrespective of any possible US role, the attack further confirms that the Syrian war is not over and that the Russians still have a fight on their hands

Alexander Mercouris

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At the time of Russian President Putin’s December announcement of the partial withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria, I wrote an article for The Duran saying that the war in Syria was far from over and that the announcement should not be treated as an indication that it is over or even close to being over:

BREAKING: Drones used in attack on Russia’s bases “could only be shipped from US”

The war in Syria is not over and it is not won.  Though ISIS’s back has been broken, it is still a force under arms in rural Deir Ezzor where it has recently taken the offensive against the US’s Kurdish allies.

In addition hundreds of ISIS fighters are still roaming free in the desert regions of central Syria even if they no longer control any important towns there.  These bands of fighters still pose a significant security threat, and will continue to do so for some time.

Further west Syria’s Idlib province remains under Jihadi control.

Worse still, there is now growing evidence that ISIS is trying to redeploy as many of its fighters as it can from central and eastern Syria to Idlib province.

With the Syrian military as always heavily over-stretched and still not in full control of much of the countryside it seems that this apparently planned redeployment of ISIS fighters from central and eastern Syria to Idlib province is not only taking place, but that it is actually meeting with some success.

Recently there have been reports of bitter fighting in Idlib province between Al-Qaeda – previously in undisputed control of the province – and the ISIS fighters who are being redeployed there from central and eastern Syria.  Moreover it seems that with Al-Qaeda severely weakened because of the massive losses it suffered last year in the Great Battle of Aleppo, it is ISIS which is gaining the upper hand in this fighting.

Whilst it is probably still alarmist to say that ISIS’s caliphate which has been driven out of Raqqa, central Syria and Deir Ezzor is now in the process of reconstituting itself in Idlib, the possibility that something like that might happen is certainly there, and the Russians cannot be unaware of it.

Elsewhere there are still significant pockets of Jihadi resistance in south western Syria, especially in the Golan Heights and near Damascus, whilst the Syrian government still faces a serious problem with the US-backed Kurds who currently control around a fifth of Syria’s territory in the north.

Last but not least there are still thousands of US troops in Syria, uninvited and potentially dangerous, with no one outside the Pentagon and CENTCOM knowing exactly how many of them there are.

If it does nothing else the recent drone attack on Russia’s two Syrian bases and an earlier mortar attack on Russia’s Khmeimim air base which killed two Russian soldiers and which caused some damage to some Russian aircraft confirms this (South Front has incidentally provided a detailed and definitive analysis of the mortar attack).

Photos believed to show damage to aircraft following a previous attack on New Year’s Eve

That the Kremlin is embarrassed by these attacks in light of the overly optimistic comments President Putin made at the time of the withdrawal announcement is shown by the unusually defensive language used in a press briefing following the drone attack by President Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov

The remaining contingent and military infrastructure at Hmeymim and Tartus have the necessary capabilities to counter sporadic terrorist hit-and-run raids, which will regrettably continue. This merely emphasizes the need for stepping up political settlement efforts.

[In making the decision to pull out its military personnel from Syria] Russia proceeded from the assumption there are no grounds for conducting major offensive operations.

Everybody, including the president, were aware that terrorists’ attacks would not come to an end overnight, but will continue.

The usually well-informed Al-Masdar news agency is attributing the drone attack to ISIS, and it is possible that ISIS was responsible for the earlier mortar attack also.

If so then ISIS’s attacks on Russia’s two Syrian bases are clearly intended to bring home to the Russians as well as to ISIS’s own supporters that reports of its destruction are premature.

ISIS does indeed remain a significant force in eastern Syria, where groups of its fighters remain under arms in Deir Ezzor province and where ISIS retains a residual structure and command organisation.

ISIS is also an increasing presence in the Jihadi fastness in north west Syrian centred on Idlib province, where it is taking on Al-Qaeda and making a strong come back.

If ISIS was responsible for the attacks on Russia’s Syrian bases then they would indeed show that the organisation is still a force to be reckoned with in Syria, even if the attacks themselves were no more than pinpricks.

Since the Russian withdrawal announcement in December the Syrian army has remained on the offensive, making significant gains against various Jihadi holdouts near Damascus and on the Golan heights, and slowly encroaching on the main remaining area of Jihadi activity in Idlib province.

The attacks on the Russian bases might be a sign that the Jihadis in north west Syria in and around Idlib province are coming under pressure, in which case the attacks might be intended to pressure the Russians to get the Syrians to call their offensive in north west Syria off.

However the overall picture in Syria remains extremely complicated.

The diplomatic process in Geneva and Astana remains deadlocked. Despite the devastating military defeats it has suffered the Syrian opposition continues to insist on the removal of President Assad as a precondition for it agreeing to a peace settlement.  The US is now talking of arming a new Syrian insurgent group in north east Syria whilst the Turkish military – now present in northern Syria in large numbers – has been spotted installing anti-aircraft missiles on Syrian territory (aimed at whose air force?) and is said to be preparing to attack the US backed Kurds.

A successful Turkish offensive against the US backed Kurds should not be seen as a development which is favourable to the Syrian government.

Though it would pit two US allies against each other, any territory the Turks capture from the Kurds will be handed over by Turkey to President Erdogan’s Jihadi allies, not to the Syrian government.  The extent of Syrian territory under Jihadi control would in that case start to increase again.

Adding to this already overly complex Syrian picture are the two ongoing geopolitical conflicts which continue to rage in Syria: the one between Israel and Iran, and the one between the US and Russia.

Part of the purpose of President Putin’s December withdrawal announcement was to reduce military activity in Russia’s Syrian bases so that they could be enlarged and converted to make them fit to be placed on a permanent footing.

Over the last few weeks scattered reports have appeared which suggest that the major building work needed to convert these bases is now finally getting underway.

Given the dramatic shift that completion of the massive planned Russian base complex in western Syria might cause to the military and geopolitical balance of power in the eastern Mediterranean it is entirely understandable that the US might be acutely concerned about this development, and might be taking steps to try to stop it.

If the US was in any way involved in the drone attack on the Russian bases – and despite strong Russian hints that has not been confirmed – then concern about the planned Russian base complex might provide the reason.

The attack would in that case be a warning to the Russians that the US will not stand by and let the base complex be completed, and the Russians will have a fight on their hands in which they must expect to suffer casualties if they press on.

If so then the open use of US technology for the attack, and the Russian reported presence of a US Poseidon surveillance aircraft near the bases during the attack, is presumably intended to tell the Russians that it is the US they are up against and who they will have to face if they disregard the warning they have just been given and press on with their plan to build the base complex.

This complicated mix of players and motives makes it difficult to say with certainty who was behind the two recent attacks on Russia’s Syrian bases and what the reasons for the attacks were.

The Russians will however be seriously concerned.  Already there is information that they are stepping up security around the bases.

Undoubtedly the Russians’ formidable intelligence operation in Syria will be working flat out to establish who was responsible for the attacks and what the reasons for the attacks were, with the Russians obliged to reassess their plans in Syria in light of them.

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The consolidation of power of the global military industrial complex

Do Europeans support the notion that the countries of the EU be the nuclear war playground of the United States?

Richard Galustian

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Humanity faces two imminent existential threats: environmental catastrophe and nuclear war.

America has elected to completely ignore scientists warnings that we have 12 years to reverse an environmental disaster.

As far as nuclear obliteration, Trump announced that the US is withdrawing from the INF treaty, which eliminated short range missiles deployed in Western Europe, on Russia’s doorstep. It’s the equivalent of Russia placing nuclear missiles in Venezuela.

A provocation, which enables US supplied missiles to be launched, only a few minutes flight time to Moscow.

That, of course sharply increases the nuclear danger. Historically on both sides, attack warnings given by automated systems have often proved faulty in the past; that, if enacted upon, would have meant the end of life as we know it.

Anyone familiar with contemporary military history knows that it’s a virtual miracle that we have so far avoided nuclear war.

Politically within Europe, the attack on democracy is very clear. Unchallenged undemocratic institutions in Brussels exist that is, in the main, part of the problem of the UK BREXIT negotiations.

Why does the public readily accept wars, engineered by our morally bankrupt governments to create ‘regime change’ in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, the Ukraine and soon to be Venezuela followed by Nicaragua and Iran, with such a muted outcry?

That preemptive nuclear attacks are even thought of shows the insanity of Western leadership controlled by vested financial interests led by the Military/Security Industrial Complex and bankers. Those same interests created both ‘industrialised’ World Wars in the 20th Century.

Our governments do not listen to the people. When two million hit the streets of London before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, it made not an iota of difference to Tony Blair’s government.

Today, people’s apathy is notably caused by conditioning’, maybe better described as we’ve been ‘disciplined’ by MSM propaganda and family’s economic necessity to focus on their income, have made us so, due to our governments mismanagement of our economies.

Example, our university students are saddled with impossible to repay debt for a reason; to keep future generations ‘disciplined’.

No one has time or dare show any dissent especially given the Orwellian ‘newspeak’ environment that is created by ‘political correctness’.

Back to the subject of Russia phobia. The Western narrative against Russia is, in the main, the below:

* that Russia tried to murder the Skripals. Let the British government, who seem to be holding the Skripals against their will, prove they are not, by letting them be interviewed by the World’s Press.

* Ukraine – For over four years, the governments of NATO and the MSM have been waging the new cold war against Russia. This began with the ‘Maidan’ protests in Kyiv, Ukraine in early 2014 that culminated in the overthrow, universally acknowledged to have been engineered by the CIA, of Ukraine’s elected president and Parliament in February 2014. Putting in power an ultra neo-Nazi government, that in particular voiced hatred against all things Russian…and Jewish. Which MSM, TV news or newspapers, says so?

* That almost 100% of Crimea’s population are glad and grateful to be part of Russia. US, UK and EU says that is untrue, which is nonsense.

The demonisation of Russia is central to the multinational corporate interests that control our governments; the bankers protecting the steeply declining US Dollar, the institutions of the EU that are really controlled by Washington, who are preparing world public opinion to accept what the United States are now gearing up for, the “defence” of Europe.

At this point let us reflect on history by quoting one of America’s most distinguished soldiers, maybe of its entire history, General Smedley D. Butler, from his book ‘War is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America’s Most Decorated Soldier.’

“No one told these American soldiers that they might be shot down by bullets made by their own brothers here. No one told them that the ships on which they were going to cross might be torpedoed by submarines built with US patents.”

It is recommended to read more about General Smedley Butler, as he was the man chosen by US bankers and particularly the Bush family in the 1930s, to be the new fascist leader of the USA by overthrowing, in a coup, the then President Roosevelt during the period of Hitler’s rise to power. A coincidence one wonders. Butler was a true patriot; he bided his time then revealed the plot to both Congress and President Roosevelt. If you doubt this, it is suggested you research the subject.

We can stop the consolidation of power of the global military/security industrial complex, its war party associates, and specifically the US, UK and EU deep state political and financial elite that no doubt exists. We must elect new leaders, it’s that simple.

To quote Noam Chomsky “….power is always illegitimate, unless it proves itself to be legitimate. So the burden of proof is always on those who claim that some authoritarian hierarchic government is legitimate. If they can’t prove it, then it should be dismantled.”

Implicit in this statement is change by either elections or revolutions.

The French people have shown us when enough is enough by their persistent resistance to their government.

Do Europeans support the notion that the countries of the EU be the nuclear war playground of the United States?

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Google flipped seats, shifted millions of votes to Dems in 2018 midterms

Google influenced 2018 midterms, shifted millions of votes to Dems – new research.

RT

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Via RT…


Google’s biased search algorithm actually flipped seats in the 2018 US midterm elections, according to a researcher who found the search engine’s “dramatically biased” results could have shifted over 78 million votes to Democrats.

“Upwards of 25 percent of the national elections in the world are being decided without people’s knowledge by Google’s search algorithm,” senior research psychologist Dr. Robert Epstein of the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology told RT, calling the search engine the “deciding factor” in close races.

Epstein’s study of three 2018 California House races found Google played the deciding role in flipping those Republican-held seats to the Democrats, influencing millions of undecided voters by controlling what they saw when they searched 500 election-related terms. Google’s results showed a “significant liberal bias,” unlike Bing’s or Yahoo’s – and with 90 percent of the search engine’s market share in the US, that bias is enormously influential.

Search results favoring one side of an issue can influence anywhere from 20 to 80 percent of undecided voters, depending on the issue and demographic group, Epstein said. He has spent six years investigating the role of what he calls the Search Engine Manipulation Effect (SEME) in swaying public opinion, more recently focusing on the political ramifications by looking at various countries’ elections.

“People trust algorithmic output. They trust Google. They think because it’s generated by a computer, they don’t see the human hand – they think it’s impartial and objective and, because of that, their opinions change,” Epstein said.

While Google denies it manipulates search rankings to manipulate political sentiment or makes election-specific tweaks, Epstein says their response is disingenuous – he never claimed they re-ranked results, merely that the results they displayed were biased.

We found very consistently that on Google they ended up with search results favoring liberals and favoring liberal news sources, and it was quite a dramatic effect.

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May tells Brexiters in Chequers meeting she’ll quit if they vote for her Brexit deal

May has alienated too many Labour MPs and Tory Remainer ultras to win the vote.

The Duran

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Reported by Robert Peston via iTV…


I am reliably told that Theresa May told Boris Johnson, Iain Duncan Smith, Steve Baker, Jacob Rees Mogg, David Davis et al at Chequers that she will quit if they vote for her deal, including the backstop they hate.

But she gave no specifics. So there is not a lot of trust she would actually quit.

And the problem is that even if she persuades all Tory ERG MPs to vote for her unamended Withdrawal Agreement, which she won’t (because although Mogg and his supporters may succumb to her call for loyalty, Baker and the Brexiter purists will resist her blandishments) and she also successfully woos Northern Ireland’s 10 DUP, she still does not have the numbers.

May has alienated too many Labour MPs and Tory Remainer ultras (Grieve, Greening, Gyamah inter alia) to win the vote. So even with May offering herself for ritual sacrifice on the Brexiter altar, the ERG Brexiters and DUP may well say thank you very much, and vote against her anyway.

Why should they compromise their principles, and alienate their loyal supporters, for May’s doomed project?

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