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.

Will War Cancel Trump’s Triumphs?

Asked what he did during the French Revolution, Abbe Sieyes replied, ‘I survived.’
Donald Trump can make the same boast.
No other political figure has so dominated our discourse. And none, not Joe McCarthy in his heyday in the early ’50s, nor Richard Nixon in Watergate, received such intensive and intemperate coverage and commentary as has our 45th president.
Whatever one may think of Trump, he is a leader and a fighter, not a quitter. How many politicians could have sustained the beatings Trump has taken, and remained as cocky and confident?
And looking back on what may fairly be called The Year of Trump, his achievements have surprised even some of his enemies.
With the U. S. military given a freer hand by Trump, a U. S.-led coalition helped expel ISIS from its twin capitals of Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq, driving it back into a desert enclave on the Iraq-Syria border. The caliphate is dead, and the caliph nowhere to be found.
The economy, with the boot of Barack Obama off its neck, has been growing at 3 percent. The stock market has soared to record highs. Unemployment is down to 4 percent. And Trump and Congress just passed the largest tax cut since Ronald Reagan.
With deregulation, which conservative Republicans preached to deaf ears in the Bush I and Bush II eras, Trump and those he has put into positions of power have exceeded expectations.
Pipelines Obama blocked have been approved. Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuge has been opened to exploratory drilling. We have exited a Paris climate accord that favored China over the U. S.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Fri, 12/29/2017 –.

Mission Accomplished Redux: Theresa May’s Claim of ‘Victory Over ISIS’ Doesn’t Square with Reality

As the new year approaches, some will look back on 2017 as the year the Islamic State in Iraq and Sham (ISIS) was finally defeated on the battlefield. Unfortunately, certain western political leaders have been quick to try and claim credit for a ‘win’ which is not really theirs. This recent attempt to put on airs by the British PM is certainly reminiscent of one of the most grievous political flops in living memory.
From an ‘optics’ perspective, nothing could be more regrettable than US President George W. Bush’s anti-climatic ‘Mission Accomplished’ speech on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincolnon May 1, 2003. As turns out, his celebration was about seven years premature. But the opportunity for grand-standing was there and it’s hard to find a politician today that wouldn’t balk at a chance for an iconic photo-op, especially in the run-up to an election year. Like so many stage-managed public relations stunts performed by Washington in those days, it must have seemed like a good idea at the time.
That didn’t stop British Prime Minister Theresa May from trying out her own rendition of the Bush classic.
Last week, May spoke to her troops at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, which was the staging ground for ‘Operation Shader’ (the operational code name given to the UK contribution in the fight against ISIS), which is said to have successfully targeted ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The UK was one of 68 nations which formed the lofty ‘Global Coalition to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria,’ as part of the Combined Joint Task Force assembled in ‘Operation Inherent Resolve.’
Prime Minister May stated:

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on DECEMBER 27, 2017.

Iraqi Christmas Bells Ring Again in Liberated Mosul, Iraq

For many years now, Christians in Iraq have been living in constant fear of bomb attacks, murder and abduction – at the hands of both ISIS and al Qaeda, exacting brutal attacks on Christians, Yazidis, Shias and other religious minorities in Iraq. ISIS and al Qaeda have declared all Christians in the Middle East as ‘legitimate targets’ for violent attacks and execution. In addition to this, AP reported that since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, at least half of Iraq’s Christian population had fled the country to escape attacks by militants. For a long time now, there’s been little to feel hopeful about, until now.

One factor that has sustained terrorists enclaves in the region has been the fact that Saudi Arabian and GCC-backed Sunni wahhabi terrorists of ISIS and al Qaeda have managed to procure US weapons, as well as acquiring Israeli weapons in order to carry out organized criminal and terrorists activity.
Thanks to the hard-fought victories against ISIS on the ground by Iraqi Security Forces and the People’s Mobilization Units (PMU) aka the Hash’d Al-Shaabi, this Christmas has seen one of the first periods of respite in many years, whereby churches are being repaired and are opening again.

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on DECEMBER 25, 2017.