Military & Political Trends Of 2017 That Will Shape 2018

Via Southfront.org,
2017 presented the world with a number of crises, among which were the continued wars in the Middle Ease and the spread of terrorism, the humanitarian crises in Africa and Asia, the rising military tensions over North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs, and the militarization of both the South China Sea and eastern Europe. Throughout the past year regional and global powers have repeatedly been on the verge of open military conflict, any of which may yet still lead to large regional wars.
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In the Middle East the war on ISIS, the Iran nuclear deal, the crisis in Lebanon, and Israeli-Arab tensions took center stage.
By the end of the year, the self-proclaimed caliphate of ISIS had fully collapsed in both Syria and Iraq. Thanks to the efforts of the alliance between Syria, Iran, Russia, and Hezbollah, along with the Iraqi forces and the US-led coalition, this group was driven out from almost all of the areas it had held in the two countries. ISIS has lost control of such strategic locations as Mosul, al-Qaim, Raqqah, al-Tabqah, Deir Ezzor, al-Mayadin, al-Bukamal, as-Sukhna, Deir Hafer, Maskanah, and al-Resafa.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 12/30/2017.

Russia Establishes Two Permanent Bases In Syria To Host Nuclear Warships And Warplanes

Russia’s defense ministry has announced it is now in the process of establishing two permanent military bases in war-torn Syria after President Putin authorized prior deals with the Syrian government to move forward. Though Russia maintains merely up to ten military bases on foreign soil, the installations in Tartus and Khmeimim will be the most strategically located, allowing for a growing and permanent Russian presence on the Mediterranean, something which has already raised eyebrows in the West.
Though Putin formally announced the planned withdrawal of Russian forces from active operations in Syria in early December, there were parallel plans going back to at least early summer to maintain a smaller permanent presence based on an agreement with the Damascus government to host Russian forces for at least 49 more years, which includes the option of being prolonged further. Personnel and military hardware will be stationed at permanent Russian bases in Tartus and Khmeimim – both of which are on or near the Mediterranean.
According to Russian media reports, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu stated at a ministry meeting on Tuesday, ‘We have started the process of formation of our permanent forces [in Syria].” Though Tartus has operated as a Russian naval port since 1971 (referred to as a Material-Technical Support Point and not a “base”) and was until recently minimally staffed mostly by civilian contractors, it will reportedly undergo a massive transformation and expansion, which is to include the capability of hosting nuclear-powered ships.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 27, 2017.

The Obama-Hezbollah Conspiracy Could Shake The “Deep State” And Latin America

Authored by Andrew Korybko via Oriental Review,
Politico published an explosive investigative report which alleges that the Obama Administration politically interfered to obstruct a far-reaching criminal justice operation against Hezbollah in order to facilitate the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
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The expos is extensive and covers a wide array of purported activities over a ten-year period all across the US, Latin America, West Africa, Europe, and the Mideast, though the point of this analysis isn’t to summarize what’s contained in the report or to judge its veracity, but to interpret the significance of it being made public at this point in time. The codename given to the investigation into Hezbollah’s global economic network was ‘Operation Cassandra’, and it alleges to have discovered the mechanics behind the group’s self-sustaining financial ecosystem, some of which supposedly dealt with organized criminal activities such as drug trafficking and money laundering.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 26, 2017.

Brent Jumps After Explosion At Major Oil Pipeline In Libya

After a quiet overnight session, the price of Brent Crude spiked following news of an explosion at a Libyan crude oil pipeline that feeds the Es Sider sea terminal – home of the largest oil depot in Libya – a source from the Libyan National Army told The Libya Times Tuesday. The blast happened near 30km northwest of Marada, the source said.
#Breaking: #LNA sources accuse islamist militants from ‘the #Benghazi Defense Brigades’ of blast targeting the main pipeline linking the Sidrah terminal and #oil fields belonging to al-Waha company. The attack took place about 30km northwest of Maradah. #Libya pic.twitter.com/DjDqj0qQHk
— The Libya Times (@thelibyatimes) December 26, 2017

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 26, 2017.

‘Prepare For a Big Ass Fight’ U.S. General Tells Marines ‘There’s A War Coming’

As much of the world celebrates the Christmas Holiday, it’s business as usual on the geo-political front. And as we have repeatedly warned in recent years, numerous countries including military super powers Russia and China are actively mobilizing their armies for a widespread armed conflict.
With North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowing this weekend to never give up his nuclear ambitions and President Trump having made it clear that the United States will not allow the North to possess nuclear weapons capable of striking America, it appears that confrontation is inevitable.
Further signaling what may come to pass in 2018 is General Robert Neller, who spoke to Marines in Europe during his annual Christmas tour:
Neller emphasized to the Marines that they should remain ready to fight at all times, predicting a ‘big-ass fight’ on the horizon.
‘I hope I’m wrong, but there’s a war coming,’ Neller said. ‘ … You’re in a fight here, an informational fight, a political fight, by your presence.’

This post was published at shtfplan on December 25th, 2017.