US Slouches Toward Syria, Again…

The Americans have a habit of first naming their imminent war before the troops march out and it will be interesting to see how this one is going to be christened. There seems some ambiguity about the war ahead in Iraq and Syria – what it is really going to be as it gathers momentum. That probably explains the shyness in naming it. What began as “humanitarian intervention” in Iraq has since spread from Kurdistan to Baghdad to Anbar and in the past forty-eight hours or so reached Syria with the US president having given approval for sustained air reconnaissance missions in its airspace. So far, the US’s intervention in Iraq has been episodic but it produced some gains. These gains have been far from consolidated or irreversible, but are important enough. Humanitarian aid has apparently reached the beleaguered Yazidi community on Mount Sinjar and some areas lost to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Lebanon [ISIL] in northern Iraq – Gwer, Makhmour and the Mosul Dam – have been retaken by the Kurdish forces with the help of US air strikes. An ISIL advance toward the Kurdish capital of Erbil has been stalled for the present. However, there are widely-shared misgivings too that the ISIL might have been bruised but is far from defeated and the spectre of a quasi-state run by a terrorist entity with worldwide networking is presented as the challenge facing the US. The American pundits are quibbling over the efficacy of a ‘containment’ strategy toward the ISIL, but most experts agree that there is no alternative to defeating the network by eliminating its sanctuaries.

This post was published at Ron Paul Institute on September 1, 2014.

ISIS Is Internet Savvy.

A Los Angeles Times story reports on how well organized ISIS is with respect to the Internet. It gets it story to its target audiences.
Today, media-savvy militants in Iraq and Syria post graphic photos and slick recruitment videos on Facebook and Twitter, and even developed a now-defunct Android smartphone app that would automatically tweet from users’ accounts. Fighters in the field answer questions from supporters on websites and chat rooms that allow users to remain anonymous.
‘Back in the old days, jihadists would be depicted in recruiting photos with a rifle or a bomb,’ said Steven Stalinsky, executive director of the Middle East Media Research Institute, a nonprofit group based in Washington. ‘Now the laptop and hand-held device are just as important.’

This post was published at Tea Party Economist on September 1, 2014.

Saudi King Warns ISIS “Will Reach Europe In One Month, US In Two”

As if the fearmongery and vitriol of UK, Europe and the US were not enough, the Middle-East’s ‘allied’ leaders are now opining on the threat of ISIS. As FOX News reports, The king of Saudi Arabia has warned that jihadists could target the United States and Europe if leaders across the globe do not react to growing terrorist threats as Islamic State militants make advances across Iraq and Syria. “If neglected, I am certain that after a month they will reach Europe and, after another month, America,” blasted King Abdullah, adding Cameron-esquely, “they know no humanity.” Of course, this is quote ironic given the Saudi’s funding of various terror groups throughout the region.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 09/01/2014.

American Intelligence Officers Who Battled the Soviet Union for Decades Warn Germany Not to Fall for Anti-Russian Propaganda

Senior U. S. Intelligence Officers: Beware Flimsy ‘Intelligence’ MEMORANDUM FOR: Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
SUBJECT: Ukraine and NATO
We the undersigned are long-time veterans of U. S. intelligence. We take the unusual step of writing this open letter to you to ensure that you have an opportunity to be briefed on our views prior to the NATO summit on Sept. 4-5.
You need to know, for example, that accusations of a major Russian ‘invasion’ of Ukraine appear not to be supported by reliable intelligence. Rather, the ‘intelligence’ seems to be of the same dubious, politically ‘fixed’ kind used 12 years ago to ‘justify’ the U. S.-led attack on Iraq.
We saw no credible evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq then; we see no credible evidence of a Russian invasion now. Twelve years ago, former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, mindful of the flimsiness of the evidence on Iraqi WMD, refused to join in the attack on Iraq. In our view, you should be appropriately suspicious of charges made by the U. S. State Department and NATO officials alleging a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
President Barack Obama tried on Aug. 29 to cool the rhetoric of his own senior diplomats and the corporate media, when he publicly described recent activity in the Ukraine, as ‘a continuation of what’s been taking place for months now … it’s not really a shift.’
Obama, however, has only tenuous control over the policymakers in his administration – who, sadly, lack much sense of history, know little of war, and substitute anti-Russian invective for a policy. One year ago, hawkish State Department officials and their friends in the media very nearly got Mr. Obama to launch a major attack on Syria based, once again, on ‘intelligence’ that was dubious, at best.
Largely because of the growing prominence of, and apparent reliance on, intelligence we believe to be spurious, we think the possibility of hostilities escalating beyond the borders of Ukraine has increased significantly over the past several days. More important, we believe that this likelihood can be avoided, depending on the degree of judicious skepticism you and other European leaders bring to the NATO summit next week.

This post was published at Washingtons Blog on September 1, 2014.

Germany delivers 16,000 assault rifles, 10,000 grenades to Kurds in Iraq

10,000 hand grenades, 16,000 rifles, 240 rocket-propelled grenades: Germany sends military equipment for 4000 Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq. This was decided by the Federal Government on Sunday evening.
Berlin – The fight against the jihadists of the ‘ Islamic State ‘(IS) will theKurds in northern Iraq, among other anti-tank missiles ‘Milan’ and bazookas from Germany. The’ve Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said. It previously with a ministerial meeting headed by Chancellor had Merkel in Berlin agreed.
Germany sends 16,000 assault rifles, 40 machine guns, 240 rocket-propelled grenades, 500 anti-tank missiles and 10,000 hand grenades to the Kurds, as is evident from a statement by the Ministry of Defence. In addition, to SUVs and five armored patrol vehicles of the type ‘Dingo 1′ supplied (a complete list can be found below this article). The Federal Government had, moreover, because of the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Iraq ‘started with the provision of auxiliary services at an altitude of 50 million euros so far.’

This post was published at Investment WatchBlog on September 1st, 2014.

Putin to Barroso: ‘If I want, I’ll take Kiev in two weeks’

Ukraine, Putin’s blackmail on the European summit: ‘If I want to take Kiev in two weeks ‘
He says that when he asked about the military boundless in Ukraine, the Russian leader went to the threats: ‘The problem is this – it’s the answer told by Tsar Barroso – but what if I want to take Kiev in two weeks.’ As if to say, do not provoke me to anger with new sanctions. Even the British Cameron – that in view of the NATO summit Thursday in Cardiff is working in a multinational force of 10 thousand men to send a signal to the Kremlin – is drastic: ‘This time we can not meet the demands of Putin, has already taken the Crimea and we can not allow that to take over the country, we risk repeating the mistakes made ??in Monaco in ’38, do not know what will happen next. ‘ Prophetic since yesterday Putin has suggested negotiations to crystallize the situation in Crimea and other areas controlled by the separatists. Several delegations confirm the dialogue between the leaders, but in many invite you to weigh carefully since during an exchange ‘frank’ behind closed doors often the concepts are forced to support their position. Renzi invites colleagues to calm, said to understand the but concerns that Russia remains a strategic from the point of view of economic, energy and theaters of crisis in Syria and Iraq

This post was published at Investment WatchBlog on September 1st, 2014.

Middle-East ‘Frenemies’

The enemy of your enemy is your… frenemy; and so it is across the Middle East as the WSJ notes the spread of The Islamic State has united many parties once at odds with each other to become ‘strange bedfellows‘.
Strange Bedfellows Parties that display friction or outright aggression toward one another are finding themselves aligned in a desire to counter Islamic State.
Groups of colored lines between parties represent shared interests.

U. S. and Iran The U. S. and Iran share an interest in fostering an Iraqi government strong enough to fend off Islamic State.
U. S. and Syria The U. S. and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad share an interest in quashing Islamic State in Syria, even if the regime appears to put a higher priority on fighting other rebel groups.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 08/31/2014.

Obama Has No Middle East Strategy? Good!

Last week President Obama admitted that his administration has not worked out a strategy on how to deal with the emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as a dominant force in the Middle East. However, as ISIS continues its march through Syria and Iraq, many in the US administration believe it is, in the words of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, a threat ‘beyond anything we have ever seen.’ Predictably, the neocons attacked the president’s speech. They believe the solution to any problem is more bombs and troops on the ground, so they cannot understand the president’s hesitation. Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Buck McKeon made it clear that fighting ISIS is going to cost a lot more money and will bring US forces back to Iraq for the third time. The post-Iraq, post-Afghanistan peace dividend disintegrates. Mr. McKeon said last week:
ISIS is an urgent threat and a minimalist approach, that depends solely on FY15 funding or pinprick strikes that leave fragile forces in Iraq and Syria to do the hard fighting, is insufficient to protect our interests and guarantee our safety in time.
What does this mean in practice? If the neocons have their way, the Federal Reserve will ‘print’ more money to finance another massive US intervention in the Middle East. In reality this means further devaluation of the US dollar, which is a tax on all Americans that will hit the poorest hardest.

This post was published at Ron Paul Institute on sunday august 31, 201.

A Big Summer Story You Missed: Soaring Oil Debt

Over 100 of the world’s largest energy companies are running out of cash
Some of the summer’s biggest news stories took place in the bombed schools of Gaza, the abandoned hospitals of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the wheat fields of eastern Ukraine and the bloody mountains of northern Iraq.
But one of the most important made virtually no headlines at all, and seemed to only appear on the website of the U. S. Energy Information Administration.
Last July the government agency, which has collected mundane statistics on energy matters for decades, quietly revealed that 127 of the world’s largest oil and gas companies are running out of cash.
They are now spending more than they are earning. Profits have lagged as expenditures have risen. Overburdened by debt, these firms are selling assets.
The math is simple. The 127 firms generated $568 billion in cash from their operations during 2013-2014 while their expenses totalled $677 billion. To cover the difference of $110 billion, the energy giants increased their debt load or sold off assets.
Given that the gap between earned cash and spending stood at a modest $10 billion in 2010, that’s a significant change for the industry as well as the global economy it fuels.

This post was published at Silver Bear Cafe on August 30, 2014.

Has Hillary Ever Been Right?

en. Rand Paul raises an interesting question:
When has Hillary Clinton ever been right on foreign policy?
The valkyrie of the Democratic Party says she urged President Obama to do more to aid Syrian rebels years ago. And last summer, she supported air strikes on Bashar Assad’s regime.
Had we followed her advice and crippled Assad’s army, ISIS might be in Damascus today, butchering Christians and Alawites and aiding the Islamic State in Iraq in overrunning Baghdad.
But if the folly of attacking Assad’s army and weakening its resistance to ISIS terrorists is apparent to everyone this summer, why were Clinton, Obama and Secretary of State Kerry oblivious to this reality just a year ago?
Consider the rest of Hillary’s record. Her most crucial decision as Senator came in 2002 when she voted to invade Iraq. She now concedes it was the greatest mistake of her Senate career.

This post was published at Lew Rockwell on August 30, 2014.

Henry Kissinger on the Assembly of a New World Order

The concept that has underpinned the modern geopolitical era is in crisis.
Libya is in civil war, fundamentalist armies are building a self-declared caliphate across Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan's young democracy is on the verge of paralysis. To these troubles are added a resurgence of tensions with Russia and a relationship with China divided between pledges of cooperation and public recrimination. The concept of order that has underpinned the modern era is in crisis.
The search for world order has long been defined almost exclusively by the concepts of Western societies. In the decades following World War II, the U.S.—strengthened in its economy and national confidence—began to take up the torch of international leadership and added a new dimension. A nation founded explicitly on an idea of free and representative governance, the U.S. identified its own rise with the spread of liberty and democracy and credited these forces with an ability to achieve just and lasting peace. The traditional European approach to order had viewed peoples and states as inherently competitive; to constrain the effects of their clashing ambitions, it relied on a balance of power and a concert of enlightened statesmen. The prevalent American view considered people inherently reasonable and inclined toward peaceful compromise and common sense; the spread of democracy was therefore the overarching goal for international order. Free markets would uplift individuals, enrich societies and substitute economic interdependence for traditional international rivalries.
This effort to establish world order has in many ways come to fruition. A plethora of independent sovereign states govern most of the world's territory. The spread of democracy and participatory governance has become a shared aspiration if not a universal reality; global communications and financial networks operate in real time.

This post was published at Wall Street Journal

Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast

An oil tanker loaded with $100 million of disputed Iraqi Kurdish crude has disappeared of the coast of Texas in the latest development in a high stakes game of cat-and-mouse between Baghdad and the Kurds.
The AIS ship tracking system used by the U.S. Coast Guard and Reuters on Thursday showed no known position for the United Kalavrvta, which was carrying 1 million barrels of crude and 95 percent full when it went dark.
Several other tankers carrying disputed crude from Iran or Iraqi Kurdistan have unloaded cargoes after switching off their transponders, which makes their movements hard to track.
Days ago, the partially full Kamari tanker carrying Kurdish crude disappeared from satellite tracking north of Egypt's Sinai. It reappeared empty two days later near Israel.

This post was published at The Independent

This Is How ISIS Is Building An Airforce

The Islamic State is nothing if not ambitious. Despite no record of current ‘airplane’ assets in their annual reports, ISIS has begun detaining and forcing Syrian pilots to train militant fighters to fly stolen aircraft. According to CNN Arabic, the pilots (and their planes and helicopters) were abducted when the terrorist group gained control of Tabqa military base. It appears that if beheadings, executions, and whippings are not enough to strike fear into the hearts of the locals, then (just as America is tryiung to do), an air assault will greatly demoralize. We can only imagine how this changes Obama’s strategy (and just where are all the rest of Syria and Iraq’s airplanes stored?)

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 08/30/2014.

The Mother of All Blowback

President Barack Obama is being lambasted by US Republicans for admitting that ‘we don’t have a strategy yet’ for dealing with the rise of the militant group, ISIS, or Islamic State, as it’s now known.
Given that the US had made an unbelievable mess of its Mideast policies, the president is right to pause and think, something his shoot -from- the- lip Republican critics rarely do. They are demanding the US attack both Iraq and Syria without asking ‘what then oh brave Washington warriors?’ These are the Republicans who ardently supported George Bush’s catastrophic invasion and destruction of Iraq.
The problem is that too many cooks in Washington are spoiling its Mideast soup. In his magnificent new book, ‘The Sleepwalkers,’ Prof. Christopher Clark of Cambridge describes how World War I was in part ignited by small numbers of anti-German officials in France, Russia, Serbia and Britain who often undermined their own government’s moderate policies.
The same process occurred under President George W. Bush when cabals of neocon officials in the Pentagon, State Department, CIA and media drove the US into a calamitous war whose negative effects are still being felt.

This post was published at Lew Rockwell on August 30, 2014.

Has the U.S. Targeted Nuclear-Armed Russia with Regime Change?

America Has Undertaken Regime Change In Many Countries Before In 1957, the U. S. and British governments planned regime change in Syria … because it was drifting too close to the Soviet Union.
20 years ago, influential U. S. government officials decided to effect regime change throughout the Middle East and North Africa. The countries targeted were ‘old Soviet regimes’.
The U. S. has, of course, already carried out regime change in Guatemala, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Chile, Haiti and many other countries. The U. S. was also instrumental in the recent regime change inUkraine.
Soviet leader Gorbachev allowed the Soviet Union broken up only after the U. S. and NATO promisedthey would not encircle Russia militarily. Ever since 1991, they have broken their promise and encircledRussia.

This post was published at Washingtons Blog on August 30, 2014.

Islamic State tortured James Foley, other Westerners with harsh CIA tactics

The American photojournalist who was beheaded by Islamic State militants was also tortured using some of the same methods employed by the CIA in its controversial, post-9/11 interrogation program.
James Foley was subjected to waterboarding multiple times while being imprisoned by the Islamic State, as were three other kidnapped Westerners. According to the Washington Post, several unnamed American officials confirmed the news, with one adding that Foley ‘suffered a lot of physical abuse’ before his death.
A French journalist who was held by the Islamic State along with Foley said, in addition to waterboarding, the American was punished even more than others after militants discovered his brother was a member of the US Air Force.
In a video released last week, Foley was beheaded by a masked, English-speaking Islamic State militant. The actions of the hardline Islamist group, which has brutally torn through parts of Iraq and Syria, have triggered a military response from the United States, and they described Foley’s murder as ‘a message to America’ for its use of airstrikes in Iraq.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on August 29th, 2014.

Rand Paul Slams US Interventionists’ “Unhinged Foreign Policy” For Abetting The Rise Of ISIS

As the murderous, terrorist Islamic State continues to threaten Iraq, the region and potentially the United States, it is vitally important that we examine how this problem arose. Any actions we take today must be informed by what we’ve already done in the past, and how effective our actions have been.
Shooting first and asking questions later has never been a good foreign policy. The past year has been a perfect example.
In September President Obama and many in Washington were eager for a U. S. intervention in Syria to assist the rebel groups fighting President Bashar Assad’s government. Arguing against military strikes, I wrote that “Bashar Assad is clearly not an American ally. But does his ouster encourage stability in the Middle East, or would his ouster actually encourage instability?”
The administration’s goal has been to degrade Assad’s power, forcing him to negotiate with the rebels. But degrading Assad’s military capacity also degrades his ability to fend off the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. Assad’s government recently bombed the self-proclaimed capital of ISIS in Raqqa, Syria.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 08/29/2014.

Is this what General McInerney was talking about last week on Fox News? Henry Kissinger Plugs His New Book on WSJ – The Assembly of a New World Order

Adapted from his book “World Order,” to be published Sept. 9 by the Penguin Press.
Libya is in civil war, fundamentalist armies are building a self-declared caliphate across Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan’s young democracy is on the verge of paralysis. To these troubles are added a resurgence of tensions with Russia and a relationship with China divided between pledges of cooperation and public recrimination. The concept of order that has underpinned the modern era is in crisis.
The search for world order has long been defined almost exclusively by the concepts of Western societies. In the decades following World War II, the U. S. – strengthened in its economy and national confidence – began to take up the torch of international leadership and added a new dimension. A nation founded explicitly on an idea of free and representative governance, the U. S. identified its own rise with the spread of liberty and democracy and credited these forces with an ability to achieve just and lasting peace. The traditional European approach to order had viewed peoples and states as inherently competitive; to constrain the effects of their clashing ambitions, it relied on a balance of power and a concert of enlightened statesmen. The prevalent American view considered people inherently reasonable and inclined toward peaceful compromise and common sense; the spread of democracy was therefore the overarching goal for international order. Free markets would uplift individuals, enrich societies and substitute economic interdependence for traditional international rivalries.
This effort to establish world order has in many ways come to fruition. A plethora of independent sovereign states govern most of the world’s territory. The spread of democracy and participatory governance has become a shared aspiration if not a universal reality; global communications and financial networks operate in real time.
The years from perhaps 1948 to the turn of the century marked a brief moment in human history when one could speak of an incipient global world order composed of an amalgam of American idealism and traditional European concepts of statehood and balance of power. But vast regions of the world have never shared and only acquiesced in the Western concept of order. These reservations are now becoming explicit, for example, in the Ukraine crisis and the South China Sea. The order established and proclaimed by the West stands at a turning point.

This post was published at Wall Street Journal on Aug. 29, 2014.

ISIS Sends 2nd Beheading “Message In Blood” Video; Warns Kurds “Huge Mistake Joining Hands With America”

Just hours after hours after another video purporting to show the mass execution of up to 250 Syrian soldiers in the desert, The Independent reports ISIS has released a video apparently showing the beheading of a Kurdish man in Iraq as a warning to Kurds fighting the group in the country. The video, entitled “A Message in Blood” ends with the victim beheaded and the fighters warn others will face the same fate should Kurdish leaders choose to continue an alliance with the US.
Image from the latest beheading clip:

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 08/29/2014.