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Trump – Israel – Putin – Middle East

Trump – Israel – Putin – Middle East 

The interesting aspect of our war models has been that this cycle turned up in 2014 and we really do not reach the point of a major peak before 2022/2023. Back in 2015, we published a segment on the rising tensions that would emerge in the Middle East – the War Cycle. We warned about the division along the lines of religion in the Middle East which has pitted Saudi Arabia against Iran would become the major issue. As far as Israel was concerned, this would tend to turn up from January 10th, 2019, which is the conclusion of a 51.6-year wave from the 1967 6-Day war. Now the pieces are beginning to line up.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s statement that “it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights” received an enthusiastic welcome in Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was boosted in his position in the upcoming April 9th elections. He said he welcomed this “Purim miracle.” His rival Benny Gantz, whose party’s leading lights helped push for American recognition of the Golan’s annexation, said in a statement that Trump was cementing his place in history as a true friend of Israel.

That Netanyahu and Gantz were both delighted no doubt. The annexation of the Golan and the settlements established there enjoy widespread support in Israel. Ever since the Yom Kippur War of 1973, Syria has refrained from any attempt to recover the Golan by force. After 51.6 years, even the Druze residents of the northern Golan had accepted Israeli rule without rebelling. Naturally, Syria slammed Trump’s statement that it was time to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights as “irresponsible” remarking that it confirms “the blind bias of the United States to the Zionist entity.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Moving Forward, Iran Outflanks the U.S. in Iraq and Beyond

Moving Forward, Iran Outflanks the U.S. in Iraq and Beyond

Iran has successfully navigated the first phase of its resistance to U.S. sanctions pressure. The U.S. State Department has admitted it’s goal of reducing Iran’s oil exports to zero is not feasible.

The goal now is a 25% drop to 800,000 barrel per day. And that is no joke. It’s a big drop from where Iran was looking to produce in the coming years under the auspice of the JCPOA. 

The U.S. will not stop until all avenues have been exhausted or Trump fires his current cabinet. 

Iran’s total non-oil exports have suffered as well, since gas condensate exports have also dropped along with the crude oil numbers. 

But Iran is finding friends in other places. They are currently finalizing a free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) with Belarus leading the talks at the 15th meeting between their Joint Economic Committee. 

Iran’s non-oil exports, however, are still just one-fifth of their peak exports. Like Russia it is working quickly with regional partners to change that dynamic. 

It won’t be enough to overcome the U.S.’s economic pressure in the short term.

But as I always say if it survives the initial onslaught then market forces open up opportunities for change. Things like INSTEX, the EU special purpose vehicle for getting around U.S. sanctions, is a perfect example.

Bilateral trade outside of the U.S. dollar is another.

North-South Trade Routes

The completion of the North South Transport Corridor (NSTC) is also helping. For example, trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Iran rose more than 70% last year. 

Speaking in the event, [Azeri Trade Minister] Mustafayev mentioned the 12 meetings between the two countries’ presidents during the past five years and said “that is an indication of how good the relations between the two countries are.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Saudi Arabia Is the World’s Top Arms Buyer

Saudi Arabia Is the World’s Top Arms Buyer

Saudis increased purchases 192% over five years Jason Ditz Posted on March 10, 2019Categories NewsTags Saudi Arabia

Most reports on international arms sales focus on the biggest sellers. That inevitably means the United States, the largest exporter by far in the growing market. You can’t have sales without buyers, however, and that side of the equation centers heavily on the Middle East. 

Middle Eastern countries now buy more than a third of all global arms. The biggest customer not just in the Middle East but in the world, is Saudi Arabia,whose purchases have soared 192% over a five year period. 

Locked in an endless war in Yemen, and always looking toward a war with Iran, Saudi Arabia has seen its military spending soar in recent years. Recent estimates have put Saudi Arabia at the third costliest military on Earth, behind on the US and China, and ahead of Russia. 

Unlike the US, China, or Russia, however, Saudi Arabia lacks a huge decades-old military-industrial complex to make all their weapons of war. Instead, the Saudis are pouring into overseas contracts, buying vast amounts of arms from the US and Britain. 

The Saudis show no sign of slowing down on this, but it isn’t clear how sustainable this is either. Already, Saudi war crimes are fueling a lot of calls to rethink arms sales to them. On top of that, the Saudis are spending 10% of their annual GDP on a mostly-imported military, which is a heavy burden for their economy to bear.

Another War for Oil on the Agenda? Thank Ted Cruz

Another War for Oil on the Agenda? Thank Ted Cruz

Very important identical bills were introduced in the U.S. Senate and House in late February, but you’ve likely not heard of them – even though they could literally blow up the Middle East and take the world much closer to World War III.

On February 26, Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Tom Cotton (R-AK) introduced a bill asserting U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights in Syria – thereby attempting to change long-standing U.S. policy and to defy international law, which considers the Golan as “occupied territory” that Israel must surrender. The bill was co-sponsored by Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fl), Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). An identical bill was filed in the House by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI).

In one of the very few articles written about these bills to date, MintPress News (Feb. 27) noted that U.S. recognition of Israel’s claim to the Golan Heights “could result in an all-out war between Israel and Syria as well as with Syrian allies such as Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Given that Israel has been preparing for such a war for well over a year and that Israel has been given the authority to bring U.S. troops into that conflict if and when it occurs, the likely consequences of the passage of this bill should be treated with the gravity they deserve.” [1]

So why has there been so little press coverage of these companion bills? Presstv.com (Feb. 28) suggested two reasons: 1) the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has “kept mum” about the bills; and 2) “Concerned about a possible international backlash, Trump administration officials have privately asked Israel to quiet the lobbying campaign” for this legislation. [2] Without AIPAC lobbying about the issue, the mainstream media apparently acquiesce in the silence.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Dollar Hegemony, Again

Dollar Hegemony, Again

The United States Entity lost the war in Iraq. That fact determines the Entity’s position in the Middle East today. After having destroyed Saddam’s army and dispossessing the Sunnis in favor of the Shi’ites, after Abu Ghraib and it’s indelible pictures, after the total destruction of Fallujah, in short after a victory achieved with the utmost brutality, contempt and humiliation of Iraq and Iraqis, the Entity was in charge. Then the “insurgents” appeared. They put improvised explosive devices along the roads so, with a phone call, they could destroy patrols of the Entity. They made car bombs so that every vehicle approaching a check-point might spell doom. They donned suicide vests to blow themselves and any nearby Entity soldiers up. Entity soldiers couldn’t go into the streets. Every move they made could be their last. The enemy was everywhere and nowhere. These people would rather die then be ruled by these idiotic mechanized barbarians. Everything seemed peaceful, but at any moment, out of nowhere, they could be blown to pieces. That kind of thing wears on you. Their patrols, pointless bouts of Russian roulette, ended up as parked “search and avoid” missions. Life went on without the clanking monsters. Entity bases were like Kaposi sarcoma in AIDS patients. The Entity’s attempts at reconstruction were comically inept – roads to nowhere and chicken processing plants for chickens no one wanted. In short the Entity’s occupation of Iraq after the victory, other than being a disaster of comical incompetence, was non-existent. Muqtada Al-Sadr, the Shi’ite cleric, had much more power than the Entity. Eventually Iraq rejected the Entity’s status of forces agreement (SOFA). In other words the Iraqi puppets the Entity had installed unceremoniously kicked the Entity out of the country.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What If They Started a War and No One Showed Up?

What If They Started a War and No One Showed Up?

What If They Started a War and No One Showed Up?

The humiliation of United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Warsaw last week was a good thing. The ancient Greeks, exercising their demonstrated ability to synthesize defining characteristics, had a word for it: hubris. Hubris is when one develops an extreme and unreasonable feeling of confidence in a certain course of action that inevitably leads to one’s downfall when that conceit proves to be based on false principles.

Pompeo was in Warsaw for a “summit” arranged by the US State Department in partnership with the Polish government to discuss with representatives of sixty nations what to do about the fractious situation in the Middle East. In advance, he promised that the meeting would “deliver really good outcomes.” The gathering was initially conceived as a “war against Iran” precursor, intended to pull together a coalition against the Persians, but when it became clear that many of the potential participants would balk at such a designation, it assumed a broader agenda concerning “Peace and Security in the Middle East.”

Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria were not, not surprisingly, invited as some of them were the expected targets of whatever remedial action the conference might recommend. Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu was, of course, present, tweeting in advance of the gathering that it would be all about “war against Iran.” He also characteristically delivered a warning that Iran was planning a “second holocaust” for his country.

Many countries, including regional power Turkey, and global powers Russia and China refused to participate at all. The European Union, the French and the Germans all sent career diplomats to the meeting rather than their Foreign Ministers while Britain’s Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt only agreed to attend at the last minute after he was granted his wish to head a discussion session on Yemen.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Netanyanu Tweets Then Quickly Deletes He Is Seeking “War With Iran”

Netanyanu Tweets Then Quickly Deletes He Is Seeking “War With Iran”

During the middle of the day Wednesday the official verified twitter account for the Prime Minister of Israel stated that PM Benjamin Netanyahu was in Warsaw attending the US-led Middle East summit with an aim to “advance the common interest of war with Iran.”

Image source: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

It was tweeted in a thread focused on Netanyahu’s meetings with Arab delegates at the US initiated conference which was originally touted as focused on the “Iran threat”. The AP also confirmed the Netanyahu tweet, which quickly generated multiple headlines focused on what appeared essentially a declaration of war.

The AP noted the statement was published just after the Israeli PM’s meeting with Oman’s foreign minister:

Israel’s prime minister says he plans on working with Arab countries at a U.S.-backed Mideast conference in Warsaw to focus on the “common interest of war with Iran.”

The full deleted tweet read as follows: “What is important about this meeting. and it is not in secret, because there are many of those – is that this is an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran.”

After being up for about an hour the tweet was hastily deleted, and replaced with the same statement, but instead of “war with Iran” the new tweet was switched to “combating Iran”.

Replying to @IsraeliPM

What is important about this meeting – and it is not in secret, because there are many of those – is that this is an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of combating Iran.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran

Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran

The United States’ international windbag, Secretary of Defense (read: War) Mike Pompeo has been acting the imperial blowhard throughout the Middle East. With his boss busy denying that he’s a Russian agent, watching advisors and cabinet members come and go with dizzying alacrity, and dodging porn-star accusations, Pompeo is trotting through the Middle East, sounding war drums.

It seems that Iran, which has long been in the crosshairs of U.S. gunboat ‘diplomacy’, remains firmly targeted. In Cairo, Pompeo promised a “…campaign to stop Iran’s malevolent influence and actions against this region and the world”.

It is with a firm shake of the head that this writer reads such statements, wondering how anyone with even a modicum of intelligence can take such pronouncements seriously. If one is to discuss ‘malevolent influence and actions against this region and the world’, shouldn’t one look, first and foremost, at the United States?

The U.S. currently gives unqualified support to Saudi Arabia, which is decimating the nation of Yemen. Currently, at least 10,000,000 Yemenis, most of them children, are at risk of death by starvation due to the U.S.-supported Saudi onslaught. Several weeks ago, the Saudis dropped a U.S.-made bomb on what they must have thought was a horrifying terrorist group: a school bus full of 10-year-old children. U.S. spokespeople had hardly a word to say about this. Not surprising: if 10,000,000 people at risk of starvation brings no halt to U.S. support of Saudi Arabia, what is one school bus full of little boys? Does none of this qualify as ‘malevolent influence and actions’?

When discussing the U.S.’s ‘malevolent influence and actions’, it is impossible not to mention  its support of apartheid Israel’s brutal, inhumane and totally illegal (under international law: remember that old thing?) treatment of the Palestinians.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Turkey Dismisses Trump’s Threat To Devastate Economy Over Kurds

Turkey has brushed off a Sunday threat by President Trump to “devastate” them economically if they attack the Kurdish militia (YPG) in northern Syria, which US forces have fought alongside against the Islamic State (IS).

Turkey regards the YPG as terrorists.


Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining ISIS territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions. Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms. Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds. Create 20 mile safe zone….


You cannot get anywhere by threatening Turkey economically,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

Trump announced in December that the US would withdraw all troops from Syria as the Islamic State had been “defeated,” a move which shocked allies and resulted in the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Concerns remain that Kurds from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are are under YPG leadership, would fall under attack by Turkey once the US withdraws.

Last week Turkey’s leaders, including the defense minister, described preparations underway for another major Turkish assault on US-backed Kurdish positions east of the Euphrates, following the exit of American advisers based on Trump’s previously announced pullout. That said, Trump said on Sunday that he would thwart any Turkish invasion plans with a “20 mile safe zone,”

Presumably this “safe zone” will be towards protecting American forces while precise exit logistics take shape, and will occur simultaneously to the US pounding remnant ISIS positions; however the details remain uncertain.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Embarrassing Speeches: Signs of a Dying Empire

Embarrassing Speeches: Signs of a Dying Empire

“What are you reading my lord?” — Polonius

“Words.” — Hamlet

Something has changed in U.S. politics. And it may finally signal something changing for the better. Since the announcement (but no real follow through) to end our military involvement in Syria what passes for our statesmen — John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — have been ignored, mocked or both.

Bolton attempted to box Trump in on not leaving Syria while Israel chest-thumped about how they will not yield an inch to Iran. Turkish President Erdogan publicly lambasted him with no response from President Trump.

Or anyone else for that matter.

When was the last time you heard of a major U.S. political figure go overseas and be refused a meeting with a foreign head of state, publicly upbraided and sent home like an irrelevant flunkie?

I can’t think of one.

Bolton came into the Middle East and made demands like he was the President which Bolton knew were clearly red lines for Erdogan — guaranteeing the safety of the Syrian Kurds.

And he did this from Jerusalem.

The insult couldn’t be plainer. The lack of Bolton’s self-awareness and understanding of the situation was embarrassing. And it left Erdogan the perfect opportunity to call out the Trump Administration’s policies as beholden to a foreign power, Israel.

Pompeo’s Pomp

Next up we have His Rotundity, Mike Pompeo. He goes into Cairo and gives a speech which again shows a stunning lack of specific knowledge of history. Pompeo spent most of the speech doing what he does best.

Misrepresenting history of U.S. involvement in the Middle East so ardently one really thought he should have done it in his private man place.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trump Walks Back Syria Pullout As Noose Tightens

Trump Walks Back Syria Pullout As Noose Tightens

If anyone still thinks that Donald Trump has some master plan to kill off his Deep State adversaries they should check themselves into therapy. I know withdrawal is hard, but admitting you have a problem is the first step to curing it.

He doesn’t have a plan. He may fight them but it won’t be with any kind of master plan to trap them in some beautiful bit of political judo.

Frankly, Vladimir Putin he is not.

No, Trump is winging things at this point. While he still has the office he’s trying to do some of the things he promised. Doing that may keep him in power for a few more months.

But with his walking back the timetable for pulling troops out of Syria after a visit from Lindsay Graham (R-MIC/AIPAC) should tell you all you need to know about Trump’s willingness to stand up to the pressure he’s under.

Add to that the opening salvo from Mitt Romney (R-Wall St.) and it becomes pretty clear that Trump was told what the score really is. When, not if, the Democrats push for impeachment or a 25th Amendment proceeding against him Graham and Romney will lead a GOP revolt against him, siding with Senate Democrats to get rid of him.

That’s been the point of this from the beginning. Pat Buchanan and I both talked about this from the moment he was elected. Pat reminding us of what happened to Nixon who was hounded out of office because he did the unthinkable — ending the Vietnam War.

I’ve been simply looking at this from the standard libertarian perspective that “War is the health of the state” and Trump’s opposition to our Middle East follies would net him nothing but contempt.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

‘War on Terror’ Has Left Millions Dead Across the Middle East

‘War on Terror’ Has Left Millions Dead Across the Middle East

Critical issues are generally overlooked or ignored.

As research reveals of late, “counter-terrorism” operations led by the United States over many years have wrought increasing devastation. Not to mention, continuing and worsening repercussions.

A rough estimate of four million Muslims have died as a result of US-led wars in the Middle East – dating to the early 1990s Gulf War against Iraq. The Gulf War was waged by the US, with France, Britain and Saudi Arabia providing welcome support.

It was in response to Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in early August 1990 – the Iraqi dictator having unwisely disobeyed orders from his Western masters. However, it was the Iraqi civilian population who would pay the real price, and not for the last time.

For 42 successive days and nights, US-led coalition forces subjected Iraq to one of the most destructive aerial assaults in military history. Over 88,000 tons of bombs were unloaded on Iraqi soil from mid-January 1991 to the end of February. Much of the bombing fell upon civilian areas.

Hussein’s attack on Kuwait the previous year had drawn “international condemnation”. The above bombardments, infinitely greater in destruction, were met with approval in some quarters and silence in others. By this point, Western governments had already placed “genocidal” sanctions on Iraq – an immediate response to Hussein’s occupation of Kuwait.

The sanctions lasted a staggering 13 years (1990-2003) and brought unaccountable suffering. The lack of basic needs particularly affected Iraqi children, with those aged under 14 comprising 45% of Iraq’s population. Such measures were still “worth it”, as declared infamously in 1996 by Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The West Is in Disarray, and It Will Only Get Worse

The West Is in Disarray, and It Will Only Get Worse

The West Is in Disarray, and It Will Only Get Worse

We are witnessing the withdrawal from Syria of the American military contingent, protests in France, the prospect of a British hard Brexit, the political decline of Angela Merkel in Germany, Netanyahu in crisis, and Mohammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia suddenly becoming an international pariah. The contemporary crisis of leadership in Europe, the United States and among their main allies has thrown the West into chaos, leading it to one of its most critical junctures in recent decades. It is a situation brought on by the United States and its contradictory politics, which results in diminishing the sovereignty and decision-making power of Washington’s allies.

Well before the election of Donald Trump, European Union leaders Merkel, Cameron and Hollande were already faltering and evidencing signs of failure.

Hollande fell in the polls because of policies favoring the interests of the elites at the expense of the increasingly poor and indebted French population. Cameron, to stave off a Labour victory under Jeremy Corbyn, promised a vote on Brexit, a decision that would eventually end up costing him his political career. Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, the undisputed master of the German political scene, suffered for the first time in fifteen years heavy electoral defeats stemming from recent migration policies. The Chancellor, harshly criticized for these results, resigned from the position of president of the party, leaving the CDU split into two factions. The situation worsened in the UK and France over the next twelve months, with Cameron resigning following the Brexit vote and Hollande forced to give up on the the idea of ​​running for reelection given his unpopularity.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Establishment Will Never Say No to a War

A U.S. Army convoy in northern Syria. Photo: Sebastian Backhaus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The question before us is a relatively simple one: What would be the criteria for removing our remaining troops from the Iraqi, Syrian, and more general Middle Eastern conflicts? Or, for that matter, from Afghanistan, where we have been trapped for more than 17 long years of still open-ended occupation?

If the answer to that question is that only when each of these countries is a healthy pro-American democracy, and Islamist terrorism has ceased to be an “enduring” threat to the West, then the answer, as the old Bob Mankoff joke has it, is “How about never — is never good for you?”

Or consider what a shocked Lieutenant General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. of the Marines, the incoming commander of Central Command opined after hearing the news of Trump’s withdrawal of 7,000 troops from Afghanistan yesterday: “If we left precipitously right now, I do not believe [the Afghan forces] would be able to successfully defend their country. I don’t know how long it’s going to take. I think that one of the things that would actually provide the most damage to them would be if we put a timeline on it and we said we were going out at a certain point in time.”

Get that? After 17 years, we’ve gotten nowhere, like every single occupier before us. But for that reason, we have to stay. These commanders have been singing this tune year after year for 17 years of occupation, and secretaries of Defense have kept agreeing with them. Trump gave them one last surge of troops — violating his own campaign promise — and we got nowhere one more time. It is getting close to insane.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Commanders In Syria Recommend Leaving US Weapons With Kurds

It has been little over a week since President Trump upended US foreign policy in the Middle East by abruptly recalling the few thousand US troops fighting alongside Kurdish fighters in Syria, and the administration is still figuring out exactly how to manage the withdrawal in a way that won’t leave an opening for ISIS to make a comeback. Perhaps the biggest sticking point so far has been how much support to allow the Kurds, who – in addition to trying to take back the few slivers of ISIS territory remaining in northeastern Syria, are also at risk of being decimated by Turkish forces in a cross-border attack.

And though the DoD hasn’t finished hammering out the final details of a plan to be presented to President Trump, one of the more controversial strategies under discussion is the possibility that the US might allow Kurdish forces to hang on to the weapons that were initially supplied by the US back in the spring of 2017 ahead of a bloody offensive against the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa (the self-declared caliphate’s de facto capital), according to an anonymously sourced Reuters report.

Kurds

The report could create some tension next week when National Security Advisor John Bolton is expected to visit Turkey, which vehemently opposed the US’s decision to arm the Kurds, and would likely view the decision to allow Kurdish forces to hold on to the arms as an affront, arguing that US arms could wind up in the hands of Kurdish separatists in Turkey, which have been subject to a brutal crackdown by President Erdogan and his regime.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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