Saudi Arabia and its allies have issued a threatening 13-point ultimatum to Qatar as the price for lifting a two-week trade and diplomatic embargo of the country, in a marked escalation of the Gulf’s worst diplomatic dispute in decades. The onerous list of demands includes stipulations that Doha close the broadcaster al-Jazeera, drastically scale back cooperation with Iran, remove Turkish troops from Qatar’s soil, end contact with groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and submit to monthly external compliance checks. Qatar has been given 10 days to comply with the demands or face unspecified consequences. Saudi Arabia and the other nations leading the blockade – the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt – launched an economic and diplomatic blockade on the energy-rich country a fortnight ago, initially claiming the Qatari royal family had licensed the funding of terrorism across the Middle East for decades. Since then, the allies appear to be pushing for the isolation of Iran and the suppression of dissenting media in the region. The list of demands, relayed to Qatar via mediators from Kuwait, represents the first time Saudi Arabia has been prepared to put the bloc’s previously amorphous grievances in writing. Their sweeping nature would, if accepted, represent an effective end to Qatar’s independent foreign policy. According to one of the points, Qatar would have to ‘align itself with other Arabs and the Gulf, militarily, politically, socially and economically, as well as in financial matters’.
By now most of you have heard the latest bad news of out Syria: on June 18 a US F/A-18E Super Hornet (1999) used a AIM-120 AMRAAM (1991) to shoot down a Syrian Air Force Su-22 (1970). Two days later, June 20th, a US F-15E Strike Eagle shot down an Iranian IRGC Shahed 129 drone. The excuse used each time was that there was a threat to U.S. and U.S. supported forces. The reality is, of course, that the U.S. are simply trying to stop the advance of the Syrian army. This was thus a typical American ‘show of force’. Except that, of course, shooting a 47 year old Soviet era Su-22 fighter-bomber is hardly an impressive feat. Neither is shooting a unmanned drone. There is a pattern here, however, and that pattern is that all U.S. actions so far have been solely for show: the basically failed bombing of the Syria military airbase, the bombing of the Syrian army column, the shooting down of the Syrian fighter-bomber and of the Iranian drone – all these actions have no real military value. They do, however, have a provocative value as each time all the eyes turn to Russia to see if the Russians will respond or not.
Update: It appears that Trump has been handed a ‘partial’ victory on his travel ban by the Supreme Court. While SCOTUS revived a “narrowed” ban, they found that it can not be applied to people with a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” SUPREME COURT TEMPORARILY NARROWS TRAVEL BAN SUPREME COURT LIFTS MOST OF INJUNCTION THAT BLOCKED TRUMP’S TRAVEL BAN ON SIX MUSLIM-MAJORITY NATIONS COURT SAYS BAN CAN APPLY TO PEOPLE WITHOUT U. S. RELATIONSHIP U. S. SUPREME COURT AGREES TO HEAR TRUMP APPEALS OF RULINGS BLOCKING TRAVEL BAN ON SIX MUSLIM-MAJORITY NATIONS The ban will exclude people visiting a close family member, students who have been admitted to a university or workers who have accepted an employment offer, the court said. But the court said people can’t avoid the travel ban by entering into a relationship solely to enter the U. S. The policy will suspend entry into the U. S. by people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for a period of 90 days and it will take effect in 72 hours. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch said they would have let the entire ban take effect immediately. THOMAS, ALITO, GORSUCH ISSUE PARTIAL DISSENT ON TRAVEL BAN
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 26, 2017.
Episode #191 of SUNDAY WIRE SHOW resumes this June 25th, 2017 as guest host Patrick Henningsen brings you this week’s LIVE broadcast on the Alternate Current Radio Network… LISTEN LIVE ON THIS PAGE AT THE FOLLOWING SCHEDULED SHOW TIMES: 5pm-8pm UK Time | 12pm-3pm ET (US) | 9am-12am PT (US)
This week we deliver another LIVE broadcast, this time from Britain’s former naval stronghold in Plymouth, as SUNDAY WIRE host Patrick Henningsen breaks down the biggest stories in the west and internationally, including a follow-up on the recent disaster in West London where we’ll speak to local resident Emma about the Grenfell Tower fire – the social and political fallout as well as questions about how many residents actually died in the fatal blaze. In the second hour, we’ll connect with geopolitical analyst Daniel Faraci from Grassroots Political Consulting in Washington DC to discuss how the recent fracture between Qatar and Turkey (and Iran) on one side – and the US, Saudi Arabia, UAE and the rest of Gulf, on the other. What will this mean for the region for Syria and for Yemen? In the final hour, we’ll try to connect with political pundit Basil Valentine to discuss the Queen’s top priority as Britain’s monarch; not government or Parliament – but horses, as well as a report from Glastonbury festival and the Corbynmania going on there. We’ll also get Basil’s thoughts on the Grenfell situation and how its thwarted the Tory plans to consolidate power. VOTE IN OUR NEWS POLL: What’s more important in modern warfare – a strong military, or a strong media?
SUPPORT 21WIRE – SUBSCRIBE & BECOME A MEMBER @21WIRE. TV Strap yourselves in and lower the blast shield – this is your brave new world… *NOTE: THIS EPISODE MAY CONTAIN STRONG LANGUAGE AND MATURE THEMES* PLEASE CLICK HERE TO LISTEN
This post was published at Spreaker on JUNE 25, 2017.
The following video was published by X22Report on Jun 25, 2017 CNN puts out fake news then deletes it because they had nothing backing the story. Nicaragua, Cuba and other nations are backing Venezuela. Iraq troops free more civilians in Mosul. US is now being blamed for torturing civilians in Yemen. Qatar sends a message and moves closer to Russia. US deep state is now in the process of breaking Syria apart, the Russian’s realize this is the plan. The Pentagon says it would work with Assad and Iran to fight terrorism in Syria. The deep state has one more trick up their sleeve, the big event. There are reports that Obama had cyber bombs inserted into Russian infrastructure.
In the past week, the situation in Syria has not only continued to become increasingly dangerous, but thanks to the US and its allies on the ground in Syria, the threat of all-out war is actually accelerating towards us. Just one week ago, 21WIRE warned that the presence of American and British troops on Syrian territory near al-Tanf was extremely dangerous, and that the actions they were taking against Syrian and pro-Syrian forces – which they laughably call ‘defensive’ – were highly provocative, including moving in HIMARS rocket systems with a range of up to 300km. Since then, the situation has taken a very serious turn for the worse. Not only did an American fighter jet shoot down a Syrian plane in Raqqa province – the first time such an event has happened during the conflict – but Iran also made its presence felt by firing missiles into Deir Az Zor province in Syria, in retaliation against ISIS for terrorist attacks carried out in Tehran. Moreover, Iranian drones are being shot down, Russia is taking less of a diplomatic stance and more of a war footing, and the US is digging in its heels. It would appear that the US is being deliberately provacative, hoping that the Syrian (or worse, Russian) government will respond and give the Pentagon the excuse it is looking for to escalate the war even further. The cards that Russia and Syria (and Iran) decide to play from here on will be of the utmost importance in deciding how this conflict progresses. More on this story from The Unz Review…
One year after Brexit: Forget euro zone breakup, sterling now deemed riskier (Reuters) Senate Holdouts Seek Upper Hand in Perilous Health Bill Talks (BBG) Senate Bill Poses Risks to Health-Care Companies (WSJ) Trump’s Tape Ruse Risks Fresh Legal Jeopardy in Russia Probe (BBG) Arab states demand Qatar closes Jazeera, cuts back ties to Iran (Reuters) Qatar Seen Rejecting List of Severe Demands to End Gulf Crisis (BBG) Turkey rejects call to shut military base in Qatar (Reuters) From Music to Maps, How Apple’s iPhone Changed Business (WSJ) How Killing Obamacare Might Save Obamacare, For a While (BBG) Baghdadi death near 100 percent certain: Interfax quotes Russian senator (Reuters) Japanese warship takes Asian guests on cruise in defiance of China (Reuters) FBI Director Nominee’s Client List Could Hinder Oversight of Investigations (WSJ) Buffett’s Home Capital Bet Backs Turbulent Canada Housing Market (BBG) China’s authorities tighten noose around online video content (Reuters) Deadly London apartment blaze began in Hotpoint fridge freezer, police say (Reuters)
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 23, 2017.
Batchelor and Cohen take a reprieve (perhaps welcomed) from the Washington/Trump civil war and shift their attention to troop movements in the Baltic States (NATO) as Canada sends in a rotation contingent, a Ukraine that continues to fester quietly with Poroshenko’s visit to Washington, and more serious, the U.S. shooting down of the Su 22 Syrian jet and an Iranian drone in Syria. The overview is that under Trump, there is no change in the NATO stance in Europe, but vastly deteriorating conditions in Syria even as ISIS is clearly defeated there. The new problems evolving in Syria are about potential problems between the numerous allies on opposite sides that represent a poisonous mix of conflicting agendas over and above what is represented by ISIS. Both pundits are in agreement over this assessment. Cohen begins with his interpretation of the American shoot down of the Syrian jet and quite simply labels it as illegal and an act of war against a sovereign state. But he also notes that the Russians did something interesting. They did not react for two days and then on Monday came out with a statement that Russia would target (radar paint) any non-legitimate aircraft in the region, and should it prove hostile or in non-compliance to orders to leave it would be shot down. The ‘deconfliction’ agreement has therefore died. For Cohen this is yet another incidence of sabotage by the Pentagon/CIA to prevent Trump and Putin negotiating. Cohen assumes this is correct by ‘the pattern of events’ shown for decades between Russia and the USA during cold war events . For this writer we are very close to Russia declaring a ‘no fly zone’ in Syria, and it is very clear that some Americans were caught with surprise and fear at this reaction. The other pattern is that the Russian reaction to these transgressions has always been a degradation of cooperation in Syria. Whether Trump can function with this kind of interference by his opposition without that opposition starting a shooting war is a very real worry. More about this later. The discussion then shifts to Europe and the Ukrainian Crisis. Batchelor maintains that European leadership, the new leaders in the U.K. France, and Germany’s Merkel are two weak to carry on effectively with the Minsk2 Agreement. Enter US Sec. State Tillerson, who advocates dissolving the agreement and having the combatants negotiate a solution for themselves. Cohen then brings up the new American sanctions and discusses how destructively stupid they are. Three European foreign ministers have now threatened to put sanctions on the U.S. if these new U.S. sanctions were passed into law. This is an amazing development and shows the real direction of Europe and Russia – and Washington. Cohen elaborately details these political changes with European leaders.
The Wall Street Journal today announced that it is sacking its chief foreign affairs correspondent, Jay Solomon, related to ‘ethical lapses’ that were revealed in a Tuesday AP expose that revealed Solomon’s substantial ties to an arms dealer and smuggler for the CIA. *** The AP investigation focused on Farhad Azima, an Iran-born magnate who had ferried weapons for the CIA, and founded a company, Denx LLC, that was trying to make a deal with the United Arab Emirates on a surveillance scheme intended to spy on Iran. Solomon had been using Azima as a key source in his reporting for years, and the AP story found Azima offered Solomon a 10% stake in Denx LLC.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 22, 2017.
Declassified documents released last week shed light on the Central Intelligence Agency’s central role in the 1953 coup that brought down Iranian Prime Minister Muhammad Mossadegh, fueling a surge of nationalism which culminated in the 1979 Iranian Revolution and poisoning U. S.-Iran relations into the 21st century. The approximately 1,000 pages of documents also reveal for the first time the details of how the CIA attempted to call off the failing coup – only to be salvaged at the last minute by an insubordinate spy on the ground. Known as Operation Ajax, the CIA plot was ultimately about oil. Western firms had for decades controlled the region’s oil wealth, whether Arabian-American Oil Company in Saudi Arabia, or the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in Iran. When the U. S. firm in Saudi Arabia bowed to pressure in late 1950 and agreed to share oil revenues evenly with Riyadh, the British concession in Iran came under intense pressure to follow suit. But London adamantly refused.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 21, 2017.
Two days ago, when reporting on the surprising “terrorist attempt” by Iran’s National Guard on a major Saudi offshore oilfiled (at least according to Saudi media), we said that “if the Saudi account of events is accurate, and if Iran is indeed preparing to take out Saudi oil infrastructure in retaliation or otherwise, the simmering cold war between Saudi Arabia and Iran is about to get very hot.” This in turn followed an earlier analysis on the ongoing Syrian war in which we said that “the next major regional conflict appears set to be between Saudi Arabia and Iran. All it needs is a catalyst.” That catalyst, according to energy consultancy Petromatrix, may have been revealed overnight with the stunning Saudi royal shakeup in which the King announced he was stripping the current Crown Prince, his nephew Mohamed bin Nayef (MBF), of all titles and obligations, and replacing him with his son Mohamed bin Salman (MBS). Summarizing the event, Petromatrix analyst Olivier Jakob wrote that “the day starts with the Saudi Crown Prince sent to retirement and replaced by the deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS). MBS was already the strong hand in Saudi Arabia, this latest development, and the purge that goes with it, confirms that he is the de-facto king of Saudi Arabia. Under his watch, Saudi Arabia has developed aggressive foreign policies (Yemen, Qatar…) and he has not been shy about making strong statements against Iran.” The punchline: “with MBS now having greater control of Saudi Arabia and with Jared Kushner having a large control of the White House it is not really a question of if but rather of when a new escalation with Iran starts.” Jakob wasn’t the only one to react strongly to the Saudi royal shakeup. Below, courtsy of Bloomberg, are several other notable reactions:
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 21, 2017.
If at first you don’t succeed, try again… and if that fails, start jawboning about more production cuts again. Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh says on state radio that “we are consulting with OPEC member states to have them prepared to make a decision to make further cuts [to production].”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 21, 2017.
Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org, Sunday, a Navy F-18 Hornet shot down a Syrian air force jet, an act of war against a nation with which Congress has never declared or authorized a war. Washington says the Syrian plane was bombing U. S.-backed rebels. Damascus says its plane was attacking ISIS. Vladimir Putin’s defense ministry was direct and blunt: ‘Repeated combat actions by U. S. aviation under the cover of counterterrorism against lawful armed forces of a country that is a member of the U. N. are a massive violation of international law and de facto a military aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic.’ An ABC report appears to back up Moscow’s claims: ‘Over the last four weeks, the U. S. has conducted three air strikes on pro-regime forces backed by Iran that have moved into a deconfliction zone around the town of Tanf in southwestern Syria, where there is a coalition training base for local forces fighting ISIS.’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 20, 2017.
Every day brings another scary headline from the Middle East – which makes it easy to treat them as background noise rather than a clear and present danger. But the latest batch is reminiscent of the Balkans circa 1914, which means it may be time to tune back in. Some examples: A US Navy jet shot down a Syrian warplane. Syria is a Russian client state, so this puts the US and Russia on opposite sides in a shooting war. Russia warned the US that it takes the destruction of its client’s military assets seriously. It suspended the hot line Washington and Moscow have used to avoid collisions in Syrian airspace and threatened to target US aircraft. Iran has begun launching missiles into Syria targeting ISIS. This is new in at least two ways: 1) Iran hasn’t used those particular missiles in decades, and 2) it was not previously active in Syria. This escalation from advising the Assad regime to actually killing people and blowing things up adds another player on Russia’s side against the US.
The political standoff in the Middle East between Qatar and other powers in the Middle East enters its third week, and the conflict shows no signs of abating. On June 5, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and also tried to close off entry to Qatar by land, sea, and air. They argued that Qatar is a major funder of terrorism. US President Donald Trump backed the move. ‘The nation of Qatar, unfortunately, has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level, and in the wake of that conference, nations came together and spoke to me about confronting Qatar over its behavior,’ Trump said on June 9. ‘I decided, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, our great generals, and military people, the time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding — they have to end that funding — and its extremist ideology in terms of funding.’ Of course, there is much more to the spat than Qatar’s terrorism links – the tension between Qatar and Saudi Arabia goes much deeper. Qatar supported the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011, sparking the intense ire of the various monarchies and authoritarians in the region. Qatar has a friendly relationship with Iran, a major rival of Saudi Arabia. There is also just a plain old competition for power in the region. Needless to say, it’s complex.
Yesterday, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard announced that it had fired several missiles at ISIS positions in the Deir Az Zor province in Syria. The reason given for this unprecedented military strike was retaliation for a double terrorist attacks which struck Tehran two weeks ago. Readers should not underestimate the significance of this event. According to a statement issued by the news agency for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Sepahnews, ‘Multiple medium-range missiles were fired from the Iranian provinces of Kermanshah and Kurdestan, and a large number of terrorists were killed and their weapons were destroyed.’ Regarding the alleged ISIS attack which killed 13 people and wounded 50 others, the Revolutionary Guard added, ‘The spilling of any pure blood will not go unanswered.’ Make no mistake about it – this was a major media event. It’s been 30 years since Iran has fired missiles at targets outside of its own borders.
This is your site. Support it. An idiot American pilot shot down a Syrian fighter that was attacking ISIS, thus confirming that Washington is not fighting ISIS, as Washington claims, but is protecting ISIS, its agent sent to Syria by Obama and Hillary to overthrow the Syrian government. General Michael Flynn revealed on a TV interview that Obama and Hillary had, over his objection as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, made the ‘willful decision’ to send ISIS to Syria. Washington’s pretense that Washington is fighting ISIS, rather than supporting it, is the excuse for Washington’s illegal presence in the Syrian conflict. Russia and Iran are in Syria legally, invited there by an elected government. The Americans are there uninvited as war criminals. Under international law established by the Americans themselves, it is a war crime to initiate aggression against a country that has not raised a fist against you. So, to be in Syria, Washington has to pretend to be ‘fighting terrorism’ rather than supporting it. The lie has been given to this claim many times, but now that an American pilot has proven that the US is in Syria to support its agent, ISIS, not even a Megyn Kelly presstitute can honestly claim to believe that Washington is fighting ISIS. The Russians, Syrians, and Iranians have known this from the beginning. However, these official sources are all suspect in the presstitute Western media. So with the presstitutes’ complicity, Washington’s lie has stood until the idiot American pilot blew the lie out of the sky along with the Syrian fighter and its pilot.
The ongoing Qatar crisis has had an unexpectedly adverse outcome among the Syrian “rebels”, in many cases formerly known as al-Qaeda, who expect the crisis between two of their biggest state backers – Saudi Arabia and Qatar – to deepen divisions in the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad. Together with Turkey and the United States, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been major sponsors of the insurgency, arming an array of groups that have been fighting to topple Syria’s Iran-backed president. However, in recent weeks the Gulf support has been far from harmonious, fuelling splits that have set back the revolt. Quoted by Reuters, Mustafa Sejari of the Liwa al Mutasem rebel group in northern Syria said “god forbid if this crisis is not contained I predict … the situation in Syria will become tragic because the factions that are supported by (different) countries will be forced to take hostile positions towards each other.” “We urge our brothers in Saudi Arabia and Qatar not to burden the Syrian people more than they can bear” he said magnanimously, when what he really meant is that he needs Saudis and Qatar on the same page so that the supply of weapons and cash can resume. To be sure, for the terrorists rebels the Qatar crisis comes at the worst possible time: the opposition to Assad has been losing ground to Damascus ever since the Russian military deployed to Syria in support of Assad’s war effort in 2015. As Reuters adds Assad now appears “militarily unassailable”, although rebels still have footholds near Damascus, in the northwest, and the southwest. These are unlikely to hold without a continued infusion of support from the feuding Gulf states.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 19, 2017.