Israeli Fighter Jets Launch Air Strike On Syrian Air Defense Battery Near Damascus

After years of undermining the regime of Syrian leader Bashar al Assad, an effort that has seen Israel countenance ISIS training camps near its borders and launch recurring missile strikes on Syrian territory and its army bases while threatening to bomb Assad’s palace, the simmering conflict between the two nations broke out into the open once again overnight.
The Israeli Defense Forces confirmed that Israeli Air Force fighters conducted a missile strike against a Syrian base after a missile was fired at Israeli jets on a routine aerial reconnaissance mission in Lebanese airspace, Russia’s news agency Sputnik reports. No people were in injured, and the Israeli jets returned safely, but not before attacking an anti-aircraft battery east of the Syrian capital of Damascus. As usual, The IDF blamed the Syrian government for the incident, however, presenting no proof to support the claim. Damascus has yet to comment on the situation.
Earlier today, an anti-aircraft missile was launched from Syria towards IDF aircraft during a routine flight over Lebanon. No hits confirmed
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) October 16, 2017

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 16, 2017.

The U.S. Owes UNESCO Half A Billion Dollars

This week, the U. S. and Israel announced that they would be withdrawing from UNESCO, citing ‘continuing anti-Israel bias’.
As Statista’s Niall McCarthy notes, the move comes as a major blow to the organization which is known for designating cultural sites around the world such as the Grand Canyon or ancient Palmyra in Syria.
The U. S. has been expected to pay the bulk of UNESCO’s budget for years and it cancelled its financial contributions back in 2011 in protest of Palestine’s admission as a full member.
In the years since, it has amassed significant arrears of over $500 million…

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 15, 2017.

Israeli TV Shows Footage Of ISIS Training Camp On Israel’s Border

Last November Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country ‘won’t allow Islamic State figures or other enemy actors, under the cover of the war in Syria, to set up next to our borders,’ but it appears this has already happened, to the point that a sizable ISIS training camp has been set up just across the Golan Heights border with Israel. Though Syrian al-Qaeda has long been a mainstay in southern Syria along Israel’s border, this constitutes the first widespread public acknowledgement and confirmation of a significant ISIS base of operations in the Golan region.
Israeli media this week is reporting news of the base camp after Israel’s Channel 2 aired an extensive report with video and photographic evidence of what’s being described as a training and recruitment center which has already attracted hundreds of new terror recruits. Channel 2 is one of Israel’s most visible and established news broadcast channels and operates under “The Second Authority for Television and Radio” licensed by the Knesset and the Ministry of Communications. According to the Times of Israel:
Israel’s Channel 2 said the commanders have made their way to an Islamic State-controlled enclave ‘close to the border’ with Israel. They have set up a training camp to which they have recruited 300 local youths, said the report, which showed footage apparently of the camp and training sessions.
Among the commanders is one of Islamic State’s most notorious recruiters, Abu Hamam Jazrawi, the TV report said.
The commanders are also now running Islamic State internet propaganda campaigns from their new base, in place of the former campaign headquarters in Raqqa, the extremists’ former de facto capital in northwest Syria where the fight to oust them has entered what appear to be its final stages.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 13, 2017.

Iran ‘Will Respond’ if US Moves to Designate Revolutionary Guard as ‘Terrorist Group’

Fresh off its humiliating six-year-long debacle in Syria, and with very few viable wars within its grasp, the Pentagon, along with the Israeli Lobby-led US Congress and Senate – are now trying to tighten to noose on Iran.
For the last 3 weeks, hawkish Republican Senators have been pressuring President Donald Trump to ‘decertify’ the Iran nuclear deal in October, and to reimpose harsh sanctions – despite the fact that Iran is in full compliance with the international P5+1 brokered nuclear containment agreement.
According to the terms of the deal as recognized by Congress, the President must re-certify the deal every 90 days.

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on OCTOBER 10, 2017.

Come, You Masters of War

[America’s War for the Greater Middle East by Andrew J. Bacevich (New York: Random House, 2016; 480 pages]
America’s military involvement in the Middle East began in classic imperial fashion, according to military historian and retired Army colonel Andrew J. Bacevich. They had something we needed, and we made sure we had access to it. ‘Oil has always defined the raison d’tre of the War for the Greater Middle East,’ he writes in the first paragraph of his magisterial work, America’s War for the Greater Middle East. ‘Over time, other considerations intruded and complicated the war’s conduct, but oil as a prerequisite of freedom was from day one an abiding consideration.’
By 1969, oil imports already made up 20 percent of the daily oil consumption in the United States. Four years later, Arab oil exporters suspended oil shipments to the United States to punish America for supporting Israel in the October War. The American economy screeched to a halt, seemingly held hostage by foreigners – a big no-no for a country accustomed to getting what it wants. Predictably the U. S. response was regional domination to keep the oil flowing to America, especially to the Pentagon and its vast, permanent war machine.
The Middle East was now a U. S. military priority, and the pursuit of direct American domination of the region came from none other than the supposed peacenik, Jimmy Carter. Before him, Richard Nixon was content to have the Middle East managed by proxies after the bloodletting America experienced in Vietnam. His arch-proxy was the despised shah of Iran, whom the United States had installed into power and then armed to the teeth. When his regime collapsed in 1979, felled by Islamic revolutionaries who would eventually capture the American embassy and initiate the Iranian hostage crisis, so too did the Nixon Doctrine. That same year, the Soviet Union rolled into Afghanistan. The world was a mess, and Carter was under extreme pressure to do something about it, lest he lose his bid for a second term. (He suffered a crushing defeat anyway.)

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Oct 7, 2017.

The FT Defends Soros Against Conspiracy-Theory-Peddling Propagandists

For a new generation of nationalists (by which they clearly imply tin-foil-hat wearing, nazi-sympathizing, probably-drug-taking, conspiracy-theory-loving wonks), The FT’s Gideon Rachman explains – for those not willing to think for themselves, or follow the money, that the billionaire investor has become the perfect villain…
George Soros, the billionaire investor and philanthropist, has had a busy year.
Since the beginning of 2017, he has faked a chemical attack in Syria, funded anti-Trump marches in Washington, come up with the ‘Soros plan’ to flood Hungary with refugees, forced a change of government in Macedonia, undermined the Israeli prime minister and got several key White House aides sacked.
Not bad for a man of 87.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 2, 2017.

Are You Ready to Die?

Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept exposes the fake news put out by the US Department of Homeland Security (an euphemistic name for a Big Brother operation that spies on US citizens) that Russia hacked 21 US state elections, news that was instantly spread around the world by the presstitute media. The propagandists running Homeland Security were contradicted by the state governments, forcing Homeland Security to retract its fake news claims. The unasked/unanswered question is why did Homeland Security put out a FAKE NEWS story?
Greenwald explains that the US media is so conditioned by the National Security State to see Russian President Putin lurking behind and masterminding attacks on America that it is ‘now religious dogma’ – a requirement – to find Russian perfidy everywhere. The result Greenwald correctly says is that ‘an incredibly reckless, anything-goes climate prevails when it comes to claims about Russia. Media outlets will publish literally any official assertion as Truth without the slightest regard for evidentiary standards.’
In other words, the United States no longer has a media. It has a propaganda ministry for the military/security complex, the neoconservatives, and the Israel Lobby. And the idiot Americans sit in front of the TV and absorb the propaganda, and they read the New York Times and think that they are sophisticated and in the know.

This post was published at Paul Craig Roberts on October 2, 2017.

‘KURDISTAN’- Redrawing the Middle East or the ‘New Middle East’ Project

21st Century Wire says…
In the light of the recent, hotly contested Kurdish referendum in Iraq, we have decided to republish a series of articles that have been written previously, concerning the history and evolution of the bid for independence by the Kurdish factions seeking to carve Kurdistan from territory belonging to Iran, Turkey, Iraq and Syria.
The first of these articles was written by eminent specialist in Middle East affairs, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, for Global Research back in 2006:
Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a ‘New Middle East’
‘Hegemony is as old as Mankind…’ -Zbigniew Brzezinski, former U. S. National Security Advisor
The term ‘New Middle East’ was introduced to the world in June 2006 in Tel Aviv by U. S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (who was credited by the Western media for coining the term) in replacement of the older and more imposing term, the ‘Greater Middle East.’
This shift in foreign policy phraseology coincided with the inauguration of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Oil Terminal in the Eastern Mediterranean. The term and conceptualization of the ‘New Middle East,’ was subsequently heralded by the U. S. Secretary of State and the Israeli Prime Minister at the height of the Anglo-American sponsored Israeli siege of Lebanon. Prime Minister Olmert and Secretary Rice had informed the international media that a project for a ‘New Middle East’ was being launched from Lebanon.
This announcement was a confirmation of an Anglo-American-Israeli ‘military roadmap’ in the Middle East. This project, which has been in the planning stages for several years, consists in creating an arc of instability, chaos, and violence extending from Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria to Iraq, the Persian Gulf, Iran, and the borders of NATO-garrisoned Afghanistan.

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

Turkey, Iraq Threaten “Military Intervention” As Iraqi Kurds Hold Independence Referendum

One day after a “Nightmare Victory” for Angela Merkel in the German elections, which has unleashed a nationalist “earthquake” in the Bundestag, on Monday in another closely watched election, polls opened in Iraq’s Kurdish-run provinces and disputed territories as Iraqi Kurds cast ballots in support for independence from Baghdad in a historic but non-binding and furiously challenged vote.
Millions are expected to vote on Monday across the three provinces that make up the Kurdish autonomous region, as well as residents in disputed territories – areas claimed by both Baghdad and the Kurds, including the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.
The vote is being carried out despite mounting regional opposition to the move, including virtually every neighboring nation, except the odd stance by Israel whose Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stunned the region when he commented specifically of the referendum on Sept 13 saying, “Israel supports the legitimate efforts of the Kurdish people to achieve their own state.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 25, 2017.

Iran Releases Video Showing Off Brand New Ballistic Missile

On Friday, we reported that in the latest snub by President Hassan Rouhani to the Trump administration, on Friday the Iranian president said Tehran would continue its missile program in defiance of US sanctions, and to underscore the determination, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard unveiled its newest long-range ballistic missile during a military parade in Tehran. The newly unveiled missile is capable of reaching most of the Middle East, including Israel, with a range of 1,200 miles. It’s also capable of carrying several warheads.
Rouhani addressed the parade in Tehran, saying that Iran would not halt its missile program but continue to boost military capabilities, despite U. S. demands. ‘We will increase our military power as a deterrent. We will strengthen our missile capabilities … We will not seek permission from anyone to defend our country.”
And to demonstrate just that, a few hours later Iran media released footage of the successful test-firing of the ballistic missile that was unveiled just hours earlier,.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 23, 2017.

The Syrian ‘Opposition’, Who Are They and What Motivates Them?

Camille Otrakji
Creative Syria – 2015
[Editor’s note: this article was written in 2015] ‘America and France should broaden their outreach to Syrian dissidents, human rights groups, artists, professors – indeed, almost anyone who’s willing to talk with outsiders. They should convey the message that the West is standing with the Syrian people as they move into the future. When Syria is truly ripe for change, these helping hands can ensure a safe passage.’ ~ David Ignatius, a 2005 article titled ‘Careful with Syria’
The ‘America and France’ that Mr. Ignatius called on to motivate Syrians to rebel against their government was actually a group of westerners residing in Damascus: Diplomats, NGO management and staff, resident journalists and professional photographers, students studying Arabic in Damascus. Not all of course, but many.
There are three different headings under which countries in the Middle East are classified as far as the United States is concerned;
Most valuable allies; Israel and Saudi Arabia Well-behaved allies; Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt (and many more) Pressure/destabilization targets; Syria, and Iran. If Syria’s authoritarian leadership (‘regime’) had an inherent propensity to distrust the intentions of resident foreigners eager to befriend Syrians, their extensive experience with the consequences of such contacts turned their caution into paranoia. They would question or detain anyone who travels to attend private meetings, workshops or conferences without prior arrangements with the Syrian security services. Syrians who frequently visited foreign embassies in Damascus (4thof July events, dinners at Ambassador’s house …etc.) were never trusted again.

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on SEPTEMBER 23, 2017.

“We Will Not Seek Permission”: Defiant Iran Unveils New Ballistic Missile

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivered another snub to the Trump administration on Friday when he said that Iran would continue its missile program in defiance of US sanctions, and to underscore the determination, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard unveiled its newest long-range ballistic missile during a military parade in Tehran.
The new missile that was introduced at the parade is capable of reaching much of the Middle East, including Israel, with a range of 1,200 miles. It’s also capable of carrying several warheads. The parade in Tehran commemorated the 1980s Iraq-Iran war. Though Iran has long boasted of having missiles in the same range in its arsenal, it was the first time that the new Khoramshahr missile was displayed in public, the AP reported adding that in February, Iran test-fired the same medium-range type of missile, prompting Trump to say that the United States is “putting Iran on notice.”
Friday’s parade also showcased various Iranian army units and Revolutionary Guard forces, as well as the police, according to the Associated Press. Similar parades were held in other Iranian cities.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 22, 2017.

Is The US State Department Waging “Open War” On The White House?

“It’s not clear to me why the Secretary of State wishes to at once usurp the powers of the Congress and then to derail his boss’s rapprochement with the Israeli government.” – Foreign policy operative, quoted in the Washington Free Beacon. Since he was sworn in as Secretary of State on February 1, Rex Tillerson and his advisors at the State Department have made a number of statements and policy decisions that contradict President Trump’s key campaign promises on foreign policy, especially regarding Israel and Iran. “Tillerson was supposed to clean house, but he left half of them in place and he hid the other half in powerful positions all over the building. These are career staffers committed to preventing Trump from reversing what they created.” – Veteran foreign policy analyst, quoted in the Free Beacon. The U. S. State Department has backed away from a demand that Israel return $75 million in military aid which was allocated to it by the U. S. Congress.
The repayment demand, championed by U. S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, was described as an underhanded attempt by the State Department to derail a campaign pledge by U. S. President Donald J. Trump to improve relations with the Jewish state.
The dispute is the just the latest example of what appears to be a growing power struggle between the State Department and the White House over the future direction of American foreign policy.
The controversy goes back to the Obama administration’s September 2016 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Israel, which pledged $38 billion in military assistance to Jerusalem over the next decade. The MOU expressly prohibits Israel from requesting additional financial aid from Congress.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 18, 2017.

Breaking News of Saudi Crown Prince’s “Secret” Visit To Israel Brings Embassy Scramble

Clearly the war in Syria and the international push for regime change against Assad has created strange alliances in the Middle East over the past few years. Among the strangest bedfellows are the Israelis and Saudis. It’s no secret that common cause in Syria of late has led the historic bitter enemies down a pragmatic path of unspoken cooperation as both seem to have placed the break up of the so-called “Shia crescent” as their primary policy goal in the region. But that’s perhaps why few pundits seemed overly shocked when Israeli media late last week began reporting that a Saudi prince made a secret visit to Israel, in spite of the fact that the kingdom does not recognize the Jewish state, and the two sides do not have diplomatic relations.
Last Wednesday (9/6) Israel’s state funded Kol Yisrael radio service made cryptic reference to the “secret” yet historic visit while withholding names and specifics. “An emir of the Saudi royal court visited the country secretly in recent days and discussed with senior Israeli officials the idea of advancing regional peace,” the station reported. It added further that, “Both the Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry refused to comment on the issue.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 11, 2017.

The Future of the Global Economy

Just Get the Direction Right
The Future of the Global Economy
The Bubble of Government Promises
It’s All About Supply, Not Demand
Boston, Chicago, Lisbon, Denver, and Lugano
If you establish a democracy, you must in due time reap the fruits of a democracy. You will in due season have great impatience of public burdens, combined in due season with great increase of public expenditure. You will in due season have wars entered into from passion and not from reason…
– Benjamin Disraeli, prime minister of England, novelist
In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control, and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely…. In any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself. Examples in education would be teachers who work and sacrifice to teach children, vs. union representatives who work to protect any teacher including the most incompetent. The Iron Law states that in all cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions. [Pournelle’s law of Bureaucracy]
– Jerry Pournelle, prolific science-fiction writer, August 7, 1933 – September 8, 2017
This letter will be the first of a series in which I outline my vision for the next 5 – 10 – 15 – 20 years of global economics. I understand that there is a substantial amount of hubris involved in such an undertaking, so I will approach the topic gingerly.

This post was published at Mauldin Economics on SEPTEMBER 10, 2017.

Israel Launches Air Strikes On Syria And Assad’s “Waiting Game”

Immediately after Israel’s latest unprovoked strike on Syria we posed the question, did Benjamin Netanyahu just panic? The answer is yes, Israel is now acting from a position of desperation as it has failed in its goal of regime change in Syria. Overnight (Wed. evening/Thursday early morning), Israel attacked a Syrian military base near the town of Masyaf at about 3:00 a.m. which Syria has now confirmed in a statement that warns of “serious repercussions”. Syria reported two troop deaths in the attack. It appears to have been a massive strike – grainy photos show a large fireball lighting up the night sky outside of Masyaf.
Israel appears to have timed its attack to occur on the very night a controversial U. N. report was released earlier in the day (Wednesday) which blames the Assad government for using chemical weapons against civilians at Khan Sheikhoun in April. A number of Israeli analysts and media reports purport the Masyaf base to be a site for chemical and non-conventional weapons storage (such as “barrel bombs”) while claiming the attack was motivated by “humanitarian” concern for Syrian civilians.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 8, 2017.

Laughing on the Way to Armageddon – Paul Craig Roberts

The United States shows the world such a ridiculous face that the world laughs at us.
The latest spin on ‘Russia stole the election’ is that Russia used Facebook to influence the election. The NPR women yesterday were breathless about it.
We have been subjected to ten months of propaganda about Trump/Putin election interference and still not a scrap of evidence. It is past time to ask an unasked question: If there were evidence, what is the big deal? All sorts of interest groups try to influence election outcomes including foreign governments. Why is it OK for Israel to influence US elections but not for Russia to do so? Why do you think the armament industry, the energy industry, agribusiness, Wall Street and the banks, pharmaceutical companies, etc., etc., supply the huge sum of money to finance election campaigns if their intent is not to influence the election? Why do editorial boards write editorials endorsing one candidate and damning another if they are not influencing the election?
What is the difference between influencing the election and influencing the government? Washington is full of lobbyists of all descriptions, including lobbyists for foreign governments, working round the clock to influence the US government. It is safe to say that the least represented in the government are the citizens themselves who don’t have any lobbyists working for them.
The orchestrated hysteria over ‘Russian influence’ is even more absurd considering the reason Russia allegedly interfered in the election. Russia favored Trump because he was the peace candidate who promised to reduce the high tensions with Russia created by the Obama regime and its neocon nazis – Hillary Clinton, Victoria Nuland, Susan Rice, and Samantha Power. What’s wrong with Russia preferring a peace candidate over a war candidate? The American people themselves preferred the peace candidate. So Russia agreed with the electorate.

This post was published at Paul Craig Roberts on September 8, 2017.

Did Benjamin Netanyahu Just Panic?

Authored by Alistair Crooke via ConsortiumNews.com,
Is Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu pushing the panic button over the collapse of the Saudi-Israeli jihadist proxies in Syriaand now threatening to launch a major air war…
A very senior Israeli intelligence delegation, a week ago, visited Washington. Then, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu broke into President Putin’s summer holiday to meet him in Sochi, where, according to a senior Israeli government official (as cited in the Jerusalem Post), Netanyahu threatened to bomb the Presidential Palace in Damascus, and to disrupt and nullify the Astana cease-fire process, should Iran continue to ‘extend its reach in Syria.’
Russia’s Pravda wrote, ‘according to eyewitnesses of the open part of the talks, the Israeli prime minister was too emotional and at times even close to panic. He described a picture of the apocalypse to the Russian president that the world may see, if no efforts are taken to contain Iran, which, as Netanyahu believes, is determined to destroy Israel.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 7, 2017.

Gas Games In The Eastern Mediterranean Are Threatening Europe

The European Commission is offering European consumers the so-called Southern Gas Corridor, which provides for the supply, in particular, of Azerbaijani and Central Asian gas along the Turkey – Greece – Italy route. The project’s potential participants have their own interests, however, and are divided by long-standing antagonisms that are turning the corridor into a military and political delayed-action mine.
***
Turkey, which is traditionally reluctant to play by the European Union’s rules, is playing a particular role here. Ankara’s plans to build an Israel – Turkey pipeline are being superimposed on the desire of the Turkish elite to occupy key positions in the development of offshore natural gas fields in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, primarily around Cyprus. These plans are unleashing a whole host of problems between Cyprus, Greece and Turkey, while, at the same time, affecting the interests of Israel, as well as Egypt and Libya, which are claiming their rights to the continental shelf. The world’s leading oil and gas companies are also pursuing their own economic objectives in the region, the most active of which are the French company Total and the Italian company ENI.
The current focus of contention is the offshore Block 11, situated in the territorial waters of Cyprus. Turkey, which is also speaking on behalf of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, has already sent a frigate, TCG Gkeada, to the region. The frigate’s commander has been ordered to use whatever measures necessary to counteract ‘undesirable’ activity around the continental shelf. But any actions by Nicosia and Athens in support could be deemed ‘undesirable’, since Turkey’s official position is that all the gas resources on Cyprus’ continental shelf belong not only to the Greek Cypriots, but also to the Turkish Cypriots. And by the latter is meant the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 28, 2017.

Conspiracy Theory

In the United States ‘conspiracy theory’ is the name given to explanations that differ from those that serve the ruling oligarchy, the establishment or whatever we want to call those who set and control the agendas and the explanations that support the agendas.
The explanations imposed on us by the ruling class are themselves conspiracy theories. Moreover, they are conspiracy theories designed to hide the real conspiracy that our rulers are operating.
For example, the official explanation of 9/11 is a conspiracy theory. Some Muslims, mainly Saudi Arabians, delivered the greatest humiliation to a superpower since David slew Goliath. They outsmarted all 17 US intelligence agencies and those of NATO and Israel, the National Security Council, the Transportation Safety Administration, Air Traffic Control, and Dick Cheney, hijacked four US airliners on one morning, brought down three World Trade Center skyscrapers, destroyed that part of the Pentagon where research was underway into the missing $2.3 trillion, and caused the morons in Washington to blame Afghanistan instead of Saudi Arabia.
Clearly, the Saudia Arabians who humiliated Ameria were involved in a conspiracy to do so.

This post was published at Paul Craig Roberts on August 25, 2017.