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Trump’s Syrian withdrawal and other surprises attract interest

President Trump’s announcements of troop withdrawals in Syria and possibly Afghanistan invite surprise and scorn.

Seraphim Hanisch

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As the holiday season builds up to its culmination of Christmas Day, the US President is shaking the ornament-laden trees. Perhaps if nothing else, the shaking is attracting significant attention as, within 48 hours, President Trump gave announcements about the withdrawal of US troops from Syria, the victory of the House passage of a CR that includes $5.7 bn for his border wall project and perhaps even more significantly, a call to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan.

These two military-related measures evidently helped provoke the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis, who noted rather gallantly that he thought that President Trump deserved a Defense Secretary that aligns with the President’s wishes. Implied of course are two possible messages: profound disagreement with Mr. Trump’s decision and an insinuation that it is a bad policy move to do these things.

The Syrian move has invited both praise and condemnation from American commentators: praise for taking American forces off a battlefield which holds no importance to the US but which risks lives of its military men and women, and condemnation for not being tough enough, with a further level of criticism noting that the US may be de-escalating in the Syrian theatre because the Ukrainian one is more important.

This idea is bolstered by the statement from President Trump’s envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, who told a Brussels forum that some $250 million of military equipment was en route to the US-backed (puppet) regíme in Kyiv.

This, added to the highly provocative moves made by Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, are alarming to Russia because the widely held belief is that Poroshenko will instigate some new incident that will result in more sanctions being “justified” against the Russian Federation.

While this is certainly a concern for Russia, it seems that the greater impact of this order is being felt in the United States at the present time, as the Syrian situation, which has almost never been represented honestly by US press, has rightly been ordered to end.

The Syria and Afghanistan moves are predictably being panned by the opposition to President Trump. It does not matter to them whether this decision makes sense; it only matters that President Trump was the one who decided to do these things, and that is enough for the opposition to oppose it. However, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson is made of somewhat more objective stuff, and he had a very different reaction to this news:

The opposition to Trump’s Syria move was from significantly conservative Republicans as well, who narrow the conversation’s scope to only ISIS, even though the real issue in Syria is not ISIS anymore, but Russia.

This video is most instructive because it reveals all the “lines” of American foreign policy:

  • “Syria is ruled by an authoritarian dictator” – to which Tucker replies, simply, “what state in that part of the world isn’t?
  • “This was an organic revolution” – As if the idea of revolution is okay “just because” American interests could be advanced by the disruption of a sovereign nation.
  • “Syria will fall apart without US troops” – As if Russia was a part of the problem, instead of the fact – that Russia is the welcomed force in the region.
  • “ISIS will come back… and strike America” – as if they wouldn’t do so if they were not in Syria. The fact is that ISIS makes its own territory, and that territory respects no sovereign, western-defined, sense of borders.

However, Tucker asked, repeatedly, the single most important question about the whole operation in Syria: “What is happening to the Christians there? Nobody cares!”

This very question is perhaps the prime reason Russia is there. Russia’s president is an Orthodox Christian, who swore an oath to protect Christians in the world, and Syria is the home of one of the Orthodox ancient patriarchates. Syria has long been an ally of the Soviet Union and Russia since then, and so there were very good reasons for President Putin to send forces there.

Those forces, incidentally, are far more instrumental in the repulsion of ISIS than were the US troops, who were ordered to ally themselves with al-Qaeda affiliates in the name of “getting rid of Assad the dictator.”

President Trump alluded to this in a very subtle manner in his declaration that ISIS was defeated; listen again to this clip:

The President mentioned no specifics, which was politically very wise. He also did not mention the Russian forces nor other forces fighting in the area, but only the US forces. This falls in line with his America First policy, but it also is very clever by not throwing attention on the nature of American involvement there.

It appears to be a very good face-save that many Americans will accept at face-value.

This is a good example of when not to tell the whole truth to the American people, perhaps. It would have been much better, of course, if the full nature of the US involvement in Syria had been called out by the President upon the beginning of his term. However, the Deep State managed to outwit him at least once, in April of this year, with what is presumed to be a false-flag attack that led to a three-nation, US led missile strike against empty targets in Syria.

If the American people, who identify mostly as Christian, truly understood that the US allied itself with people who were committed to the destruction of Christians in Syria, they might have never let our forces go there. But those moments came and passed during the Obama Administration, which was also conveniently profoundly anti-Christian in alignment.

There is so much to uncover with Syria that simplicity now seems the better choice.

Some cynicism exists of course, as covered here, that the US really never leaves anywhere, and where will it project its power next? This has a lot of truth in its basis. But here it is probably a little less important that there are residual forces in nearby Iraq; here it really matters that the Americans get out of a place they were never wanted, anyway.

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RegulajmgShaun RameweTheCelotajs Recent comment authors
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TheCelotajs

No they are not because he is replacing them with uncontrollable CIA paid mercenaries just like he is doing in Afghanistan that way the United States is no longer responsible if they commit war crimes. George W. Bush did it in Iraq using “Blackwater Security aka Academi Company now” until Iraq kicked them out for killing incent civilians. In fact, there uncontrollable CIA paid mercenaries will even go as fare as to attach Russian positions as well. That is what they are being paid for. James Jeffrey, the US’s special envoy for Syria, has warned that his country’s mercenaries in… Read more »

Regula
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Regula

Russia and a the SAA will have no obligation not to kill the contractors because there will likely not be any coordination anymore, which makes the contractors in essence militants.

Shaun Ramewe
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Shaun Ramewe

Trust no ZioYank false-flagging terrorist-abetting war-criminal – Swamp-Chump is no different at all.

jmg
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jmg

Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – John Lennon

Regula
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Regula

Thank you for posting this clip. This is intense and the best reason to stop all wars now. Tragic. So immensely tragic.

Regula
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Regula

Trump did the right thing to leave Syris now: Russia, Iran, Turkey and the Syrian government are negotiating a peace agreement and new constitution with as many factions of the opposition as they can convince to participate. By now that is the majority of the opposition. Because even Obama had to concede in time that ousting Assad would turn the entire ME on fire and was therefore not feasible, the big question was for how to extricate the US from Syria without it becoming obvious that any negotiations for peace would by necessity be very similar to those offered by… Read more »

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Is this man the puppet master of Ukraine’s new president or an overhyped bogeyman?

Smiling to himself, Kolomoisky would be within his rights to think that he has never had it so good.

RT

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Via RT…


It doesn’t actually matter if Ukrainian-Israeli billionaire Igor Kolomoisky is the real power behind Volodymyr Zelensky – the president elect has to get rid of the oligarch if he is to make a break with the country’s corrupt past.

The plots, deceits and conflicts of interest in Ukrainian politics are so transparent and hyperbolic, that to say that novice politician Zelensky was a protégé of his long-time employer was not something that required months of local investigative journalism – it was just out there.

Zelensky’s comedy troupe has been on Kolomoisky’s top-rated channel for the past eight years, and his media asset spent every possible resource promoting the contender against incumbent Petro Poroshenko, a personal enemy of the tycoon, who hasn’t even risked entering Ukraine in the past months.

Similarly, the millions and the nous needed to run a presidential campaign in a country of nearly 50 million people had to come from somewhere, and Kolomoisky’s lieutenants were said to be in all key posts. The two issued half-hearted denials that one was a frontman for the other, insisting that they were business partners with a cordial working relationship, but voters had to take their word for it.

Now that the supposed scheme has paid off with Zelensky’s spectacular victory in Sunday’s run-off, Ukrainian voters are asking: what does Kolomoisky want now, and will he be allowed to run the show?

‘One-of-a-kind chancer’

Born in 1963, in a family of two Jewish engineers, Kolomoisky is the type of businessman that was once the staple of the post-Soviet public sphere, but represents a dying breed.

That is, he is not an entrepreneur in the established Western sense at all – he did not go from a Soviet bloc apartment to Lake Geneva villas by inventing a new product, or even setting up an efficient business structure in an existing field.

Rather he is an opportunist who got wealthy by skilfully reading trends as the Soviet economy opened up – selling Western-made computers in the late 1980s – and later when independent Ukraine transitioned to a market economy and Kolomoisky managed to get his hands on a large amount of privatisation vouchers that put many of the juiciest local metals and energy concerns into his hands, which he then modernised.

What he possesses is a chutzpah and unscrupulousness that is rare even among his peers. Vladimir Putin once called him a “one-of-a-kind chancer” who managed to “swindle [Chelsea owner] Roman Abramovich himself.” In the perma-chaos of Ukrainian law and politics, where all moves are always on the table, his tactical acumen has got him ahead.

Kolomoisky’s lifeblood is connections and power rather than any pure profit on the balance sheet, though no one actually knows how that would read, as the Privat Group he part-owns is reported to own over 100 businesses in dozens of Ukrainian spheres through a complex network of offshore companies and obscure intermediaries (“There is no Privat Group, it is a media confection,” the oligarch himself says, straight-faced.)

Unsurprisingly, he has been dabbling in politics for decades, particularly following the first Orange Revolution in 2004. Though the vehicles for his support have not been noted for a particular ideological consistency – in reportedly backing Viktor Yushchenko, then Yulia Tymoshenko, he was merely putting his millions on what he thought would be a winning horse.

Grasp exceeds reach

But at some point in the post-Maidan euphoria, Kolomoisky’s narcissism got the better of him, and he accepted a post as the governor of his home region of Dnepropetrovsk, in 2014.

The qualities that might have made him a tolerable rogue on TV, began to grate in a more official role. From his penchant for using the political arena to settle his business disputes, to creating his own paramilitary force by sponsoring anti-Russian battalions out of his own pocket, to his somewhat charmless habit of grilling and threatening to put in prison those less powerful than him in fits of pique (“You wait for me out here like a wife for a cheating husband,” begins a viral expletive-strewn rant against an overwhelmed Radio Free Europe reporter).

There is a temptation here for a comparison with a Donald Trump given a developing country to play with, but for all of the shenanigans, his ideological views have always been relatively straightforward. Despite his Russia-loathing patriotism, not even his fans know what Kolomoisky stands for.

The oligarch fell out with fellow billionaire Poroshenko in early 2015, following a battle over the control of a large oil transport company between the state and the governor. The following year, his Privat Bank, which at one point handled one in four financial transactions in the country was nationalized, though the government said that Kolomoisky had turned it into a mere shell by giving $5 billion of its savings to Privat Group companies.

Other significant assets were seized, the government took to London to launch a case against his international companies, and though never banished, Kolomoisky himself decided it would be safer if he spent as long as necessary jetting between his adopted homes in Switzerland and Tel Aviv, with the occasional trip to London for the foreseeable future.

But the adventurer falls – and rises again. The London case has been dropped due to lack of jurisdiction, and only last week a ruling came shockingly overturning the three-year-old nationalization of Privat Bank.

Smiling to himself, Kolomoisky would be within his rights to think that he has never had it so good.

Own man

Zelensky must disabuse him of that notion.

It doesn’t matter that they are friends. Or what handshake agreements they made beforehand. Or that he travelled to Geneva and Tel-Aviv 13 times in the past two years. Or what kompromat Kolomoisky may or may not have on him. It doesn’t matter that his head of security is the man who, for years, guarded the oligarch, and that he may quite genuinely fear for his own safety (it’s not like nothing bad has ever happened to Ukrainian presidents).

Volodymyr Zelensky is now the leader of a large country, with the backing of 13.5 million voters. It is to them that he promised a break with past bribery, graft and cronyism. Even by tolerating one man – and one who makes Poroshenko look wholesome – next to him, he discredits all of that. He will have the support of the people if he pits himself against the puppet master – no one would have elected Kolomoisky in his stead.

Whether the oligarch is told to stay away, whether Ukraine enables the financial fraud investigation into him that has been opened by the FBI, or if he is just treated to the letter of the law, all will be good enough. This is the first and main test, and millions who were prepared to accept the legal fiction of the independent candidate two months ago, will now want to see reality to match. Zelensky’s TV president protagonist in Servant of the People – also broadcast by Kolomoisky’s channel, obviously, would never have compromised like that.

What hinges on this is not just the fate of Zelensky’s presidency, but the chance for Ukraine to restore battered faith in its democracy shaken by a succession of compromised failures at the helm.

Igor Ogorodnev

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Roger Waters – The People’s Champion for Freedom

In February 2019, Waters showed his support for the Venezuelan Maduro government and continues to be totally against US regime change plans there.

Richard Galustian

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Submitted by Richard Galustian 

Roger Waters is one of Britain’s most successful and talented musicians and composers but more importantly is an outstanding champion for freedom in the world, beyond compare to any other artist turned political activist.

By way of background, he co-founded the rock band Pink Floyd in 1965.

A landmark turning point of his political activism occurred in 1990, when Waters staged probably the largest rock concert in history, ‘The Wall – Live in Berlin’, with an attendance of nearly half a million people.

In more recent years Waters famously narrated the 2016 documentary ‘The Occupation of the American Mind: Israel’s Public Relations War in the United States’ about the insidious influence of Zionist Israel to shape American public opinion.

Waters has been an outspoken critic of America’s Neocons and particularly Donald Trump and his policies.

In 2017, Waters condemned Trump’s plan to build a wall separating the United States and Mexico, saying that his band’s iconic famous song, ‘The Wall’ is as he put it “very relevant now with Mr. Trump and all of this talk of building walls and creating as much enmity as possible between races and religions.”

In February 2019, Waters showed his support for the Venezuelan Maduro government and continues to be totally against US regime change plans there, or any place else for that matter.

Here below is a must see recent Roger Waters interview, via satellite from New York, where he speaks brilliantly, succinctly and honestly, unlike no other celebrity, about FREEDOM and the related issues of the day.

The only other artist turned activist, but purely for human rights reasons, as she is apolitical, is the incredible Carla Ortiz.

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ISIS Says Behind Sri Lanka Bombings; Was ‘Retaliation’ For New Zealand Mosque Massacre

ISIS’s claim couldn’t be confirmed and the group has been  known to make “opportunistic” claims in the past, according to WaPo. 

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Via Zerohedge…


Shortly after the death toll from Sunday’s Easter bombings in Sri Lanka climbed above the 300 mark, ISIS validated the Sri Lankan government’s suspicions that a domestic jihadi organization had help from an international terror network while planning the bombings were validated when ISIS took credit for the attacks.

The claim was made via a report from ISIS’s Amaq news agency. Though the group has lost almost all of the territory that was once part of its transnational caliphate, ISIS now boasts cells across the Muslim world, including in North Africa and elsewhere. Before ISIS took credit for the attack, a Sri Lankan official revealed that Sunday’s attacks were intended as retaliation for the killing of 50 Muslims during last month’s mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand.

However, the Sri Lankan government didn’t offer any evidence for that claim, or the claim that Sunday’s attacks were planned by two Islamic groups (though that now appears to have been substantiated by ISIS’s claim of responsibility). The group is believed to have worked with the National Tawheed Jamaath, according to the NYT.

“The preliminary investigations have revealed that what happened in Sri Lanka was in retaliation for the attack against Muslims in Christchurch,” State Minister of Defense Ruwan Wijewardene told the Parliament.

Meanwhile, the number of suspects arrested in connection with the attacks had increased to 40 from 24 as of Tuesday. The government had declared a national emergency that allowed it sweeping powers to interrogate and detain suspects.

On Monday, the FBI pledged to send agents to Sri Lanka and provide laboratory support for the investigation.

As the death toll in Sri Lanka climbs, the attack is cementing its position as the deadliest terror attack in the region.

  • 321 (as of now): Sri Lanka bombings, 2019
  • 257 Mumbai attacks, 1993
  • 189 Mumbai train blasts, 2006 166 Mumbai attacks, 2008
  • 151 APS/Peshawar school attack, 2014
  • 149 Mastung/Balochistan election rally attack, 2018

Meanwhile, funeral services for some of the bombing victims began on Tuesday.

Even before ISIS took credit for the attack, analysts told the Washington Post that its unprecedented violence suggested that a well-financed international organization was likely involved.

The bombings on Sunday, however, came with little precedent. Sri Lanka may have endured a ghastly civil war and suicide bombings in the past – some credit the Tamil Tigers with pioneering the tactic – but nothing of this scale. Analysts were stunned by the apparent level of coordination behind the strikes, which occurred around the same time on both sides of the country, and suggested the attacks carried the hallmarks of a more international plot.

“Sri Lanka has never seen this sort of attack – coordinated, multiple, high-casualty – ever before, even with the Tamil Tigers during the course of a brutal civil war,” Alan Keenan, a Sri Lanka expert at the International Crisis Group, told the Financial Times. “I’m not really convinced this is a Sri Lankan thing. I think the dynamics are global, not driven by some indigenous debate. It seems to me to be a different kind of ballgame.”

Hinting at possible ISIS involvement, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a Monday press conference that “radical Islamic terror” remained a threat even after ISIS’s defeats in Syria.

Of course, ISIS’s claim couldn’t be confirmed and the group has been  known to make “opportunistic” claims in the past, according to WaPo. The extremist group said the attacks were targeting Christians and “coalition countries” and were carried out by fighters from its organization.

Speculation that the government had advanced warning of the attacks, but failed to act amid a power struggle between the country’s president and prime minister, unnerved citizens and contributed to a brewing backlash. Following the bombings, schools and mass had been canceled until at least Monday, with masses called off “until further notice.”

 

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