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Trump does a 180 on Syria. War is on the horizon (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 102.

Alex Christoforou

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US President Trump campaigned heavily on a platform committed to ending the endless US wars in the Middle East, stating many times in the past that the United States should  “stay out” of Syria.

Now a vast array of reports from senior State Department officials are claiming that Trump agreed to a new strategy in Syria that indefinitely extends the illegal US military effort there and launches a major diplomatic push to achieve failed American objectives.

Trump’s 180 on Syria has shifted away from defeating ISIS to now include the exit of all Iranian military and proxy forces from Syria, and “the establishment of a stable, nonthreatening government acceptable to all Syrians and the international community.” When was the secular state of Syria ever a threat to the United States, or allies in the region?

Senior officials claim that much of the motivation for Trump’s change of heart stems from growing doubts about whether Russia is able and willing to help eject Iran from Syria.

Senior US State Department officials are also moving way from branding the Al-Qaeda-ISIS jihadists fighting in Syria as “moderate rebels”, opting now to call the contingent of terrorists camped out in Idlib, by the new moniker of “domestic rebels”. 

James Jeffrey, a retired senior Foreign Service officer who last month was named Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s “Representative for Syria engagement” said America’s “new policy is we’re no longer pulling out by the end of the year.”

“U.S. forces are to remain in the country to ensure an Iranian departure and the enduring defeat of the Islamic State.”

“That means we are not in a hurry.”

When asked whether Trump had signed off on what he called “a more active approach,” Jeffrey said, “I am confident the president is on board with this.”

Jeffrey should feel confident of Trump’s capitulation. The Deep State has been working overtime to burden the POTUS with threats of impeachment and criminal prosecution, providing Trump only option for some sense of relief from the never ending assault on his Presidency…to partake in the most bipartisan activity America has ever known, war in the Middle East.

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss the storm cloud of war forming over Syria, and how a domestically boxed in US President Trump may have no other option but to go to war in Syria so as to survive the remainder of his term.

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Via the Jeff Bezos owned, CIA edited Washington Post

Jeffrey declined to describe any new military mission. But he emphasized what he said would be a “major diplomatic initiative” in the United Nations and elsewhere, and the use of economic tools, presumably including more sanctions on Iran and Russia and the stated U.S. refusal to fund reconstruction in Assad-
controlled Syria.

But the more-activist policies he outlined, and only in vague terms, could increase the likelihood of a direct confrontation with Iran, and potentially with Russia.

Jeffrey’s description of a much broader U.S. role follows years of criticism from lawmakers and analysts that neither Trump nor his predecessor, Barack Obama, had a coherent strategy for Syria. Trump, like Obama, insisted that U.S. interests were focused on defeating the Islamic State, and he resisted significant involvement in the civil war against Assad raging in the rest of the country, even as both Iran and Russia increased their influence.

Jeffrey and retired U.S. Army Col. Joel Rayburn, who transferred to the State Department from the National Security Council last month to become “special envoy for Syria,” were brought in to try to create a coherent blueprint that would prevent a repeat of what the administration sees as the mistakes of Iraq — where a precipitous U.S. pullout left the field open for Iran, and for a resurgence of Sunni militants that gave birth to the Islamic State.

Pompeo first listed Iran’s withdrawal from Syria as one of 12 U.S. demands of Tehran in a May speech at the Heritage Foundation.

U.S. policy is not that “Assad must go,” Jeffrey said. “Assad has no future, but it’s not our job to get rid of him.” He said, however, that he found it hard to think of Assad as a leader who could “meet the requirements of not just us but the international community” as someone who “doesn’t threaten his neighbors” or abuse his own citizens, “doesn’t allow chemical weapons or provide a platform for Iran.”

The first test of the administration’s expanded role in Syria may come sooner rather than later in Idlib, in the northwest part of the country.

The province is the last bastion of rebel control after seven years of civil war, during which Assad, with extensive Russian and Iranian assistance, pounded opposition forces into submission. His scorched-earth tactics and, at times, use of chemical weapons have killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and driven millions from their homes.

Idlib has now become a crowded holding pen for up to 70,000 opposition fighters, along with about 2 million Syrian civilians displaced from other battle zones, and activists and aid workers trying to assist them.

Turkish military forces are also in Idlib, where they have pushed back Syrian Kurds from the Syria-Turkey border. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who fears a new exodus of Syrian refugees, is due to attend a summit in Tehran on Friday with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Assad has said he is preparing a final offensive in Idlib, and Russian warplanes this week began bombing the region. Humanitarian organizations have warned of an unprecedented level of civilian bloodshed, and Trump himself has threatened U.S. retaliation if an all-out offensive is launched, especially with the use of chemical weapons.

“If it’s a slaughter, the world is going to get very, very angry. And the United States is going to get very angry, too,” Trump said Wednesday. Pompeo, Jeffrey said, has delivered the same message by telephone to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, as did White House national security adviser John Bolton in a recent meeting with his Russian counterpart.

Russia, which has beefed up its naval and other forces in the region in recent weeks, has charged that the United States is preparing to manufacture a chemical weapons attack to justify military intervention. It says its operations in Idlib are aimed at up to 14,000 fighters linked to al-Qaeda.

While the United States agrees that those forces must be wiped out, it rejects “the idea that we have to go in there . . . to clean out the terrorists, most of the people fighting . . . they’re not terrorists, but people fighting a civil war against a brutal dictator,” as well as millions of civilians, Jeffrey said. Instead, the United States has called for a cooperative approach with other outside actors.

“We’ve started using new language,” Jeffrey said, referring to previous warnings against the use of chemical weapons. Now, he said, the United States will not tolerate “an attack. Period.”

“Any offensive is to us objectionable as a reckless escalation” he said. “You add to that, if you use chemical weapons, or create refu­gee flows or attack innocent civilians,” and “the consequences of that are that we will shift our positions and use all of our tools to make it clear that we’ll have to find ways to achieve our goals that are less reliant on the goodwill of the Russians.”

Trump has twice authorized U.S. air and missile attacks on Syrian government targets as punishment for chemical weapons use.

Asked whether the United States would consider its own airstrikes against terrorist forces who are interspersed with Syrian rebel fighters in Idlib, Jeffrey said, “We have asked repeatedly for permission to operate” there, and “that would be one way” to respond.

“In some respects, we are potentially entering a new phase, where you have forces from the different countries facing each other,” rather than pursuing their separate goals, he said, listing Russia, the United States, Iran, Turkey and Israel, which has conducted its own airstrikes against Iran-linked forces inside Syria.

“Now all of them have accomplished their primary jobs” there. “But nobody is happy with the situation in Syria.”

Clarification: An earlier version of this article mischaracterized State Department official James Jeffrey’s comment regarding possible U.S. airstrikes in Syria as a response to a Syrian-Russian offensive in Idlib. The remark — “We have asked repeatedly for permission to operate”— referred to potential ways of attacking terrorist forces there interspersed with Syrian rebel fighters.

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Shlichimjohn vieiraJohn NolanbatavianIsabella Recent comment authors
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veth
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veth

IN MARCH TRUMP ORDERED THE GREAT ATTACK ON THE WAGNER GRUPPE IN SYRIA.300 RUSSIAN SOLDIERS WERE KILLED AS REPORTED. TIME FOR A REHEARSAL!

batavian
Guest
batavian

Let’s set the record straight:
“American troops may have killed hundreds of Syrian forces backed by Russian mercenaries, a US army general has said”. These are the words of American Brigadier General Jonathan Braga, March 2018. You’ll note there’s no reference to Russian soldiers.

Shlichim
Guest
Shlichim

The turnabout in Trump’s position came immediately after the NYT OpEd which was a zionist shot across the bow vis a vis US troops in M.E. It was authored by zionists, published by zionists and conceived by zionists as a message to Trump that if didnt keep with the Eretz Israel project (troops stay in Syria till partition)? Then he’d get coup’ed out of office.

veth
Guest
veth

US starts military exercises in Syria on the first day of summit between Russia, Turkey and Iran

batavian
Guest
batavian

Would these be the same exercises they’ve been conducting in al-Tanf ever since they established an illegal base there? You can call them exercises if you like. I’ll continue to refer to it as training of terrorists.

Wayne Blow
Guest
Wayne Blow

For Christ’s sake Russia try out a couple of your “hyper-sonics” sink 2 US ships and issue a real threat to USA and Israel, no more of their hypocritical “bull-shit !!! no more trouble !!!!

Bob Valdez
Guest
Bob Valdez

Trump was ALWAYS going to start a war in Syria on behalf of Isra-hell. Starting to think this might not be a bad idea, as it will hasten the fall of the sewer empire.

voza0db
Guest

It’s still funny to see people that believes that mutTrump would do anything different from the other runner when it comes to the favorite pastime of the United States of Terrorism…

A.F.Veth
Guest
A.F.Veth
batavian
Guest
batavian

Let’s talk about Detroit and San Francisco for starters. Even Americans don’t want to holiday, attend conventions, or just visit SanFran anymore. Apparently the stench of human excrement piled up on the sidewalks keeps them away.

Isabella
Guest
Isabella

Troll. I’ve seen you trolling on Russia Insider Why dont you shove off, else go someplace?

batavian
Guest
batavian

On Russian Insider he gets to use his little Ukie flag avatar.

john vieira
Guest

Aye he is! And stupid too. Think a sceptic tank resides betwixt his eardrums…

ANDRE DE KONING
Guest
ANDRE DE KONING

The Saker has a good nuanced view of what is happening now: see his article here: http://thesaker.is/russias-asymmetric-response-to-the-us-in-syria/

Vince Dhimos
Guest

The fool probably is now convinced that Assad is a thug and that the US can survive a war with Russia.
The most accurate analyses will not come from any msm outlet or blog in the US. They are coming from Russia. Like this one by Middle East expert Yevgeny Satanovsky: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Vince Dhimos
Guest

I note that the article quoted is from 3 days ago. By now Russia and Syria have already started to decimate the jihadists they were warned not to touch. So much for that. Same old story as Aleppo and E- ghouta, which they were not to touch either. The 26 Russian warships of Syria and the new Russian policy approved by the Duma, to allow use of tactical nukes even against conventional attacks on Russian interests have changed the game, bringing the whole chess board much closer to nuclear war and no prez wants to be the one to drag… Read more »

john vieira
Guest

Maybe “no prez wants to be the one…” Since when does that matter…the puppeteers will call the plays and their puppet will do their bidding. They set up an insurance policy against Trump called a Shadow Government (5th Column) led by his predecessor and championed by his predecessor’s predecessors…of course the entire mainstream media whom they control are willingly complicit in the entire charade…Oh! As I type they are assuming full control of social media also…We westerners will have but ONE narrative to ponder…Happy “glow in the dark” times to us all!!!

John Nolan
Guest
John Nolan

Where are the balls, the integrity, the original America displayed when kicking the Englandia tyrants out, but now have willfully, gutlessly acquiesced to their fake jew, fake religious tyrants?
Amazia desperately needs another revolution, closing down the FED, nationalizing the entire banking system, terminating all their pretend, Judas politicians and realizing that their nation, Amazia, is now the most hated, dis-trusted,violent, dictatorial nation on our earth.
Don’t blame Chump, he is only doing what he is told, by fake Israel, and it is time the Amazian citizens realized how their hierarchy has bought our world to the brink of self-destruction.

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FBI recommended Michael Flynn not have lawyer present during interview, did not warn of false statement consequences

Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 18.

Washington Examiner

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Via The Washington Examiner…


Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who arranged the bureau’s interview with then-national security adviser Michael Flynn at the White House on Jan. 24, 2017 — the interview that ultimately led to Flynn’s guilty plea on one count of making false statements — suggested Flynn not have a lawyer present at the session, according to newly-filed court documents. In addition, FBI officials, along with the two agents who interviewed Flynn, decided specifically not to warn him that there would be penalties for making false statements because the agents wanted to ensure that Flynn was “relaxed” during the session.

The new information, drawn from McCabe’s account of events plus the FBI agents’ writeup of the interview — the so-called 302 report — is contained in a sentencing memo filed Tuesday by Flynn’s defense team.

Citing McCabe’s account, the sentencing memo says that shortly after noon on Jan. 24 — the fourth day of the new Trump administration — McCabe called Flynn on a secure phone in Flynn’s West Wing office. The two men discussed business briefly and then McCabe said that he “felt that we needed to have two of our agents sit down” with Flynn to discuss Flynn’s talks with Russian officials during the presidential transition.

McCabe, by his own account, urged Flynn to talk to the agents alone, without a lawyer present. “I explained that I thought the quickest way to get this done was to have a conversation between [Flynn] and the agents only,” McCabe wrote. “I further stated that if LTG Flynn wished to include anyone else in the meeting, like the White House counsel for instance, that I would need to involve the Department of Justice. [Flynn] stated that this would not be necessary and agreed to meet with the agents without any additional participants.”

Within two hours, the agents were in Flynn’s office. According to the 302 report quoted in the Flynn sentencing document, the agents said Flynn was “relaxed and jocular” and offered the agents “a little tour” of his part of the White House.

“The agents did not provide Gen. Flynn with a warning of the penalties for making a false statement under 18 U.S.C. 1001 before, during, or after the interview,” the Flynn memo says. According to the 302, before the interview, McCabe and other FBI officials “decided the agents would not warn Flynn that it was a crime to lie during an FBI interview because they wanted Flynn to be relaxed, and they were concerned that giving the warnings might adversely affect the rapport.”

The agents had, of course, seen transcripts of Flynn’s wiretapped conversations with Russian then-ambassador Sergey Kislyak. “Before the interview, FBI officials had also decided that if ‘Flynn said he did not remember something they knew he said, they would use the exact words Flynn used … to try to refresh his recollection. If Flynn still would not confirm what he said … they would not confront him or talk him through it,'” the Flynn memo says, citing the FBI 302.

“One of the agents reported that Gen. Flynn was ‘unguarded’ during the interview and ‘clearly saw the FBI agents as allies,'” the Flynn memo says, again citing the 302.

Later in the memo, Flynn’s lawyers argue that the FBI treated Flynn differently from two other Trump-Russia figures who have pleaded guilty to and been sentenced for making false statements. One of them, Alexander Van der Zwaan, “was represented by counsel during the interview; he was interviewed at a time when there was a publicly disclosed, full-bore investigation regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election; and he was given a warning that it is a federal crime to lie during the interview,” according to the memo. The other, George Papadopoulos, “was specifically notified of the seriousness of the investigation…was warned that lying to investigators was a ‘federal offense’…had time to reflect on his answers…and met with the FBI the following month for a further set of interviews, accompanied by his counsel, and did not correct his false statements.”

The message of the sentencing memo is clear: Flynn, his lawyers suggest, was surprised, rushed, not warned of the context or seriousness of the questioning, and discouraged from having a lawyer present.

That is all the sentencing document contains about the interview itself. In a footnote, Flynn’s lawyers noted that the government did not object to the quotations from the FBI 302 report.

In one striking detail, footnotes in the Flynn memo say the 302 report cited was dated Aug. 22, 2017 — nearly seven months after the Flynn interview. It is not clear why the report would be written so long after the interview itself.

The brief excerpts from the 302 used in the Flynn defense memo will likely spur more requests from Congress to see the original FBI documents. Both House and Senate investigating committees have demanded that the Justice Department allow them to see the Flynn 302, but have so far been refused.

In the memo, Flynn’s lawyers say that he made a “serious error in judgment” in the interview. Citing Flynn’s distinguished 30-plus year record of service in the U.S. Army, they ask the judge to go along with special counsel Robert Mueller’s recommendation that Flynn be spared any time in prison.

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Macron offers crumbs to protestors in bid to save his globalist agenda (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 36.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at French President Macron’s pathetic display of leadership as he offers protestors little in the way of concessions while at the same time promising to crack down hard on any and all citizens who resort to violence.

Meanwhile France’s economy is set for a deep recession as French output and production grinds to a halt.

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Via Zerohedge


As if Brussels didn’t have its hands full already with Italy and the UK, the European Union will soon be forced to rationalize why one of its favorite core members is allowed to pursue populist measures to blow out its budget deficit to ease domestic unrest while another is threatened with fines potentially amounting to billions of euros.

When blaming Russia failed to quell the widespread anger elicited by his policies, French President Emmanuel Macron tried to appease the increasingly violent “yellow vests” protesters who have sacked his capital city by offering massive tax cuts that could blow the French budget out beyond the 3% budget threshold outlined in the bloc’s fiscal rules.

Given the concessions recently offered by Italy’s populists, Macron’s couldn’t have picked a worse time to challenge the bloc’s fiscal conventions. As Bloomberg pointed out, these rules will almost certainly set the Continent’s second largest economy on a collision course with Brussels. To be clear, Macron’s offered cuts come with a price tag of about €11 billion according to Les Echos, and will leave the country with a budget gap of 3.5% of GDP in 2019, with one government official said the deficit may be higher than 3.6%.

By comparison, Italy’s initial projections put its deficit target at 2.4%, a number which Europe has repeatedly refused to consider.

Macron’s promises of fiscal stimulus – which come on top of his government’s decision to delay the planned gas-tax hikes that helped inspire the protests – were part of a broader ‘mea culpa’ offered by Macron in a speech Monday night, where he also planned to hike France’s minimum wage.

Of course, when Brussels inevitably objects, perhaps Macron could just show them this video of French police tossing a wheelchair-bound protester to the ground.

Already, the Italians are complaining.  Speaking on Tuesday, Italian cabinet undersecretary Giancarlo Giorgetti said Italy hasn’t breached the EU deficit limit. “I repeat that from the Italian government there is a reasonable approach, if there is one also from the EU a solution will be found.”

“France has several times breached the 3% deficit. Italy hasn’t done it. They are different situations. There are many indicators to assess.”

Still, as one Guardian columnist pointed out in an op-ed published Tuesday morning, the fact that the gilets jaunes (yellow vest) organizers managed to pressure Macron to cave and grant concessions after just 4 weeks of protests will only embolden them to push for even more radical demands: The collapse of the government of the supremely unpopular Macron.

Then again, with Brussels now facing certain accusations of hypocrisy, the fact that Macron was pressured into the exact same populist measures for which Italy has been slammed, the French fiasco raises the odds that Rome can pass any deficit measure it wants with the EU now forced to quietly look away even as it jawbones all the way from the bank (i.e., the German taxpayers).

“Macron’s spending will encourage Salvini and Di Maio,” said Giovanni Orsina, head of the School of Government at Rome’s Luiss-Guido Carli University. “Macron was supposed to be the spearhead of pro-European forces, if he himself is forced to challenge EU rules, Salvini and Di Maio will jump on that to push their contention that those rules are wrong.”

While we look forward to how Brussels will square this circle, markets are less excited.

Exhausted from lurching from one extreme to another following conflicting headlines, traders are already asking if “France is the new Italy.” The reason: the French OAT curve has bear steepened this morning with 10Y yields rising as much as ~6bp, with the Bund/OAT spread reaching the widest since May 2017 and the French presidential election. Though well below the peaks of last year, further widening would push the gap into levels reserved for heightened political risk.

As Bloomberg macro analyst Michael Read notes this morning, it’s hard to see a specific near-term trigger blowing out the Bund/OAT spread but the trend looks likely to slowly drift higher.

While Macron has to fight on both domestic and European fronts, he’ll need to keep peace at home to stay on top. Remember that we saw the 10Y spread widen to ~80bps around the May ’17 elections as concerns of a move toward the political fringe played out in the markets, and the French President’s popularity ratings already look far from rosy.

And just like that France may have solved the Italian crisis.

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Watch: Democrat Chuck Schumer shows his East Coast elitism on live TV

Amazing moment in which the President exhibits “transparency in government” and shows the world who the Democrat leaders really are.

Seraphim Hanisch

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One of the reasons Donald Trump was elected to the Presidency was because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – against Democrat policy decisions and “stupid government” in general.

One of the reasons President Donald Trump is reviled is because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – in the American political scene.

In other words, there are two reactions to the same characteristic. On Tuesday, the President did something that probably cheered and delighted a great many Americans who witnessed this.

The Democrats have been unanimous in taking any chance to roast the President, or to call for his impeachment, or to incite violence against him. But Tuesday was President Trump’s turn. He invited the two Democrat leaders, presumptive incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and then, he turned the cameras on:

As Tucker Carlson notes, the body language from Schumer was fury. The old (something)-eating grin covered up humiliation, embarrassment and probably no small amount of fear, as this whole incident was filmed and broadcast openly and transparently to the American public. Nancy Pelosi was similarly agitated, and she expressed it later after this humiliation on camera, saying, “It’s like a manhood thing for him… As if manhood could ever be associated with him.”

She didn’t stop there. According to a report from the New York Daily News, the Queen Bee took the rhetoric a step below even her sense of dignity:

Pelosi stressed she made clear to Trump there isn’t enough support in Congress for a wall and speculated the President is refusing to back down because he’s scared to run away with his tail between his legs.

“I was trying to be the mom. I can’t explain it to you. It was so wild,” Pelosi said of the Oval Office meet, which was also attended by Vice President Pence and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “It goes to show you: you get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.”

This represented the first salvo in a major spin-job for the ultra-liberal San Francisco Democrat. The rhetoric spun by Mrs. Pelosi and Chuck Schumer was desperate as they tried to deflect their humiliation and place it back on the President:

With reporters still present, Trump boasted during the Oval meeting he would be “proud” to shutdown the government if Congress doesn’t earmark cash for his wall before a Dec. 21 spending deadline.

Pelosi told Democrats that Trump’s boisterousness will be beneficial for them.

“The fact is we did get him to say, to fully own that the shutdown was his,” Pelosi said. “That was an accomplishment.”

The press tried to characterize this as a “Trump Tantrum”, saying things like this lede:

While “discussing” a budgetary agreement for the government, President Donald Trump crossed his arms and declared: “we will shut down the government if there is no wall.”

While the Democrats and the mainstream media in the US are sure to largely buy these interpretations of the event, the fact that this matter was televised live shows that the matter was entirely different, and this will be discomfiting to all but those Democrats and Trump-dislikers that will not look at reality.

There appears to be a twofold accomplishment for the President in this confrontation:

  1. The President revealed to his support base the real nature of the conversation with the Democrat leadership, because anyone watching this broadcast (and later, video clip) saw it unedited with their own eyes. They witnessed the pettiness of both Democrats and they witnessed a President completely comfortable and confident about the situation.
  2. President Trump probably made many of his supporters cheer with the commitment to shut down the government if he doesn’t get his border wall funding. This cheering is for both the strength shown about getting the wall finished and the promise to shut the government down, and further, Mr. Trump’s assertion that he would be “proud” to shut the government down, taking complete ownership willingly, reflects a sentiment that many of his supporters share.

The usual pattern is for the media, Democrats and even some Republicans to create a “scare” narrative about government shutdowns, about how doing this is a sure-fire path to chaos and suffering for the United States.

But the educated understanding of how shutdowns work reveals something completely different. Vital services never close. However, National Parks can close partly or completely, and some non-essential government agencies are shuttered. While this is an inconvenience for the employees furloughed during the shutdown, they eventually are re-compensated for the time lost, and are likely to receive help during the shutdown period if they need it. The impact on the nation is minimal, aside from the fact that the government stops spending money at the same frenetic pace as usual.

President Trump’s expression of willingness to do this action and his singling out of the Dem leadership gives the Democrats a real problem. Now the entire country sees their nature. As President Trump is a populist, this visceral display of Democrat opposition and pettiness will make at least some impact on the population, even that group of people who are not Trump fans.

The media reaction and that of the Democrats here show, amazingly, that after three years-plus of Donald Trump being a thorn in their side, they still do not understand how he works, and they also cannot match it against their expected “norms” of establishment behavior.

This may be a brilliant masterstroke, and it also may be followed up by more. The President relishes head-to-head conflict. The reactions of these congress members showed who they really are.

Let the games begin.

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