This post was published at Blackstone Intelligence Network
On Monday Syrian President Bashar al-Assad described US-backed forces in eastern Syria as ‘traitors’ during a meeting with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. “When we talk about those referred to as ‘the Kurds’, they are in fact not just Kurds,” Assad said in remarks released through official Syrian government accounts on social media. “All those who work for a foreign country, mainly those under American command… are traitors.”
Washington has given substantial military assistance and various supplies to the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), not to mention direct air power and artillery support, which has enabled the SDF to seize a sizable part of eastern Syria, including the cities of Raqqa and Manbij, and many of country’s valuable oil and gas fields.
Assad received the Russian delegation headed by Rogozin in Damascus, and said further that the victory over terrorists ‘has created conditions for accelerating the process of restoring the Syrian economy.’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 19, 2017.
Trying to figure out what on earth is happening in the Middle East appears to have gotten a lot harder. Perhaps (because) it’s become more dangerous too. There are so many players, and connections between players, involved now that even making one of those schematic representations would never get it right. Too many unknown unknowns.
A short and incomplete list of the actors: Sunni, Shiite, Saudi Arabia, US, Russia, Turkey, ISIS, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Kurds, Lebanon, Hezbollah, Hamas, Qatar, Israel, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Houthis, perhaps even Chechnya, Afghanistan, Pakistan. I know I know, add your favorites.
So what have we got, or what do we know we’ve got?
We seem to have the US lining up with Israel, the UAE and Saudi Arabia against Russia, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah. Broadly. But that’s just a -pun intended- crude start.
Putin has been getting closer to the Saudis because of the OPEC production cuts, trying to jack up the price of oil. Which ironically has now been achieved on the heels of the arrests of 11 princes and scores of other wealthy and powerful in the kingdom. But Putin also recently signed a $30 billion oil -infrastructure- deal with Iran. And he’s been cuddling up to Israel as well.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 8, 2017.
In a move that surprised many observers of the ongoing war for Deir Ezzor province, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) handed over one of Syria’s largest gas fields to Russian forces on Thursday, possibly as the result of unprecedented direct talks between high ranking Russian officials and Kurdish leaders in Qamishli in northeastern Syria.
Conoco gas plant (also locally called Al-Tabiya, which is the plant’s main feeder field) lies on the eastern side of the Euphrates outside of Deir Ezzor city – which was recently liberated from ISIS as the Syrian Army and Russian forces approached from the west of the Euphrates. The Conoco field had been held by ISIS since 2014, and was taken by the SDF on September 23rd as the mainly Kurdish force advanced from the east. The now fast crumbling Islamic State relied on much of its financing through its prior consolidation over many oil and gas sites in the resource rich Deir Ezzor province.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 20, 2017.
Submitted by Elijah Magnier, Middle East based chief international war correspondent for Al Rai Media
The project to divide Iraq was dealt a deathblow by a decision of the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi to send the Army and the security forces to recover all Iraqi territories controlled by the Kurds of Massoud Barzani. The Kurdish leader was riding the horse of Iraqi partition (in fact, a lame horse) to establish a Kurdish state in the northern part of the country. Following the failure of Barzani’s project in taking advantage of the fight against ISIS and therefore declaring his ‘state’, every country in the Middle East is abandoning him because no one likes to be associated with failure.
Barzani sent envoys (I personally met some) around the globe who returned with apparently promising results: ‘over 80 countries promised to recognise the new State of Kurdistan’. These promises turned out to be false (‘no friends but the mountains’), other (existing) political alliances turned out to be stronger and Barzani was left alone with his empty promises and unreliable advisers.
Countries of the region – France, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates to start with – are now establishing a clear and unambiguous relationship with Baghdad’s government. Abadi, following an authorization of parliament, used a fist of iron to fragment the partition project – not only of Iraq – but of the entire region, that was supposed to be sparked off by the Kurds in Iraq and in Syria and via the regime change attempt in the Levant.
In less than 48 hours, the Iraqi army, with all its security services (army, popular mobilization units, Counter-Terrorism, Federal Police), extended its control over Kirkuk, Khanaqin (Diyala), Bashiqa, Makhmour (Nineveh) and Sinjar – the city that leads to the borders with Syria. All territories that were established for Baghdad’s control under the US administrator Paul Bremer in 2003-2004 (with the limits of Kurdistan) are back now in place.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 19, 2017.
You are probably aware that you are incompletely informed about what is brewing in Myanmar, and you probably haven’t heard about the military coalition that is preparing to attack that country. And yet, as Thierry Meyssan reveals here, these current events have been in preparation by Riyadh and Washington since 2013. Don’t take sides before you read this article and digest the information.
Pursuing its Grand Strategy of extending the theatre of war , the Pentagon is at the same time preparing the instrumentation of the Kurds in the Greater Middle East, a civil war in Venezuela and a war of attrition in the Philippines. However, these conflicts will have to wait for the implementation of a fourth theatre of operations – namely Burma, China’s next-door neighbour.
During the meeting of the UN Security Council on 28 September, the US ambassador and several of her allies accused Myanmar’s coalition government of genocide . This loaded word – which, in European law, designates the massacre of a great number of people, but in US law applies to a method of killing, even if the criminal kills only one person – is enough for Washington to justify a war, with or without the backing of the Security Council, as we saw in Yugoslavia . The meeting of the Security Council was held at the request of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
In order to make the facts correspond to their narrative, the United States, the United Kingdom and France, which had celebrated Aung San Suu Kyi and the Buddhist monks for their non-violent resistance to the dictatorship of the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) during the Saffron revolution in 2007 , simply redefined the Burmese army, Nobel Peace Prize-winner Aung San Suu Kyi , and all the Buddhists in the country  as ‘the bad guys’.
This post was published at 21st Century Wire on OCTOBER 8, 2017.
Authored by Zainab Calcuttawala via OilPrice.com,
Iraq, Iran, and Turkey are taking a unified stance against Kurdistan’s oil sector after the region elected to seek independence from Baghdad in a referendum in September, according to a new report by Rudaw.
‘In the case of northern Iraq; Iran, Iraq and Turkey will form a tripartite mechanism and will decide on shutting down the oil,’ Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said after a meeting with leaders from the other two nations on Thursday.
A day before the vote, the Iraqi central government issued a statement calling on ‘neighboring countries and countries of the world’ to stop buying crude oil directly from Kurdistan and only deal with Baghdad.
Turkey’s Ceyhan port provides an outlet for the Kurdish Kirkuk oil to meet international markets without interference from Baghdad. Erdogan, Tehran and other members of the international community had censured Erbil for proceeding with the independence referendum as Iraq recovers from a three-year war against the Islamic State (ISIS). The Turkish leader had previously threatened to cut Kirkuk off from Ceyhan, but did not provide details on how such a measure would be carried out.
Russia’s oil majors side with Kurdistan in its quest for an independent fossil fuel establishment. Rosneft signed off on a $1 billion gas pipeline deal with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) a week prior to the historic vote, signaling Moscow’s approval of a hypothetically separate Kurdistan.
Both Iran and Turkey house sizeable Kurdish populations, so the referendum raises fears that Kurds from other nations may seek similar political solutions.
Kurdistan produces around 600,000 bpd of crude oil, or about 15 percent of Iraq’s total output. After the votes were counted, the KRG said that the ‘Yes’ to independence option won at the polls, with 92.73 percent of voters opting to grant Erbil its own regime.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 6, 2017.
GRI Debate: Will the Independence Referendum in Kurdistan Further Destabilize Iraq and the Region?
Kurdish authorities announced on Wednesday that Iraqi Kurds overwhelmingly voted in favor of a split from Iraq, with 92.7 percent of the electorate casting their vote in support of Kurdistan’s independence. A war of words has already begun between Erbil and Baghdad. GRI asked two of its top experts: will we see an escalation?
The Case for a Real Risk of Armed Conflict
Anas Abdoun argues that geopolitical pressures, centered on the oil resources in Kirkuk, could boil over following the vote.
‘Bringing Kirkuk under full control is vital for the Iraqi central government. Iraq is still a divided and failed state and desperately needs to keep control of the resource-rich area to try and consolidate the country’s unity. On the other hand, Kurdistan also needs Kirkuk, as it cannot achieve real independence without the economic resources to do so. This catch-22 situation could light the spark in a region which is already a powder keg.’
This post was published at FinancialSense on 09/28/2017.
21st Century Wire says…
The article we are republishing, was written in April 2016 and appears particularly prescient in the light of recent events in and surrounding Deir Ezzor and Raqqa in Syria.
‘It’s extremely doubtful to imagine that Arabs of any political disposition would rather live in a Kurdish-dominated statelet as second-class citizens than as equal ones within the Syrian Arab Republic, so the chances of the Kurds peacefully annexing Raqqa into their ‘federation’ via a plebiscite are close to nil. However, if the Arabs were forced out of their homes due to egregious war crimes by the US such as indiscriminate bombing and the widespread use of chemical weapons, then it becomes much easier to ‘hack the vote’ and create a public/international pretense of ‘legitimacy’. ~ Andrew Korybko for Global Village Space
The aforementioned article is by Maram Susli for Global Research:
‘The following points present a few simple reasons why PYD/YPG claims to federal autonomy and attempts to annex Syrian land are illegitimate, undemocratic, and could lead to genocide’
1. Kurds are not a majority in the Area PYD/YPG are attempting to annex
The region of Al Hasakah, which the Kurdish Nationalist Party (PYD) and its military wing YPG have declared a federal Kurdish state, does not have a Kurdish majority. Al Hasakah Governorate is a mosaic of Assyrian Christians, Armenians, Turkmen, Kurds and Bedouin Arabs. Of the 1.5 million population of Al Hasakah, only 40% are ethnically Kurdish. Moreover, parts of Al Hasakah Governorate, such as Al Hasakah district, is less than 15% Kurdish (!). In the other large minorities in the area the Arabs and Assyrian Christians form a majority. Declaring a small area with a wide array of ethnic groups as belonging to a specific ethnic minority is a recipe for oppression.
This post was published at 21st Century Wire on SEPTEMBER 27, 2017.
Recep Tayyip Erdoan (aka the Prez) and his Justice and Development Party (or AKP) have been steering the state founded by Mustafa Kemal [Atatrk] (1881-1938) into distinctly Islamic waters for quite some time now… and as Turkey houses the largest percentage of Kurds in the region (14.7 million according to the CIA), solving Turkey’s Kurdish issue had been part and parcel of the AKP’s policy of Sunnification.
The Prez and his AKP henchmen had namely devised a plan to transform the country into a nation of believers, firmly dedicated to Sunni Islam and moving away from Turkish nationalism.
A Nation of Muslim Immigrants versus an independent Kurdistan
But the Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani now seems to have thrown a spanner in the works, as he told the international press in 2014 that ‘We [referring to the Kurdish population of Iraq living in the north of the country] will hold a referendum in [the KRG or Kurdish Regional Government] and we will respect and be bound by the decision of our people and hope that others will do likewise.’ In this way, one of Turkey’s deepest fears is finally about to become a reality now – the formation of an independent nation state called Kurdistan in the wake of a popular referendum to be held on Monday, 25 September 2017. Somewhat fortunate for Ankara, though, not quite on Turkish soil, but nevertheless directly adjacent to Turkey’s south-eastern region, which many Kurds as well as their sympathisers refer to as Northern Kurdistan these days. And thus, AKP-led Ankara is now up in arms as the rather natural expectation is that a so-called domino effect will take place and that Turkey’s Kurds might very well want to join their southern brethren in an independent nation state possessing underground hydrocarbon reserves or a coveted natural source of income, if you will.
This post was published at 21st Century Wire on SEPTEMBER 26, 2017 BY.
North Korean war-talk has extended early gains for Brent Crude (driven by anxiety over the post-Kurd-referendum fallout), pushing prices to their highest since July 2015.
To the highest since July 2015…
As Bloomberg reports, Kurdish oil supplies may be in jeopardy as Turkey, Iran and the Iraqi central government in Baghdad sought to isolate the semi-autonomous Kurds as balloting began on Monday. Meanwhile, OPEC and its partners implemented more than 100 percent of their agreed cuts last month, OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said Friday in Vienna, providing more fuel to the oil rally.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 25, 2017.
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.
21st Century Wire says…
After seven years of war in Syria, and three years of ISIS marauding through Iraq, one thing is for sure: Iraqi Kurdistan is not what it was five years ago – when its geopolitical chaperone in Washington was still militarily occupying Iraq, and with oil pegged above $100 per barrel and its capital Erbil was a booming economic powerhouse. Back then, unimpeded progress was the order of the day. Not so today.
Politically and economically, Iraqi Kurdistan is fractured, which opens the door for a number of issues yet to unfold after this week’s historic move for independence.
As writer Adam Garrie points out in this piece below, the referendum is only the first step. Afterwards, some very serious problems are likely to follow.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has promised heavy sanctions against parts of northern Iraq, should Kurdish secessionists go through with their threat to hold a referendum for ‘independence’ in two days time.
This post was published at 21st Century Wire on SEPTEMBER 24, 2017.
In less than a week, the largest nation in the world without a state of its own – the Kurds – may finally hold a vote on whether to declare one. The approaching independence referendum, which Iraqi Kurdistan has planned for Sept. 25, marks the culmination of a long-running battle between the Kurdish government in Arbil and the central government in Baghdad. Thanks to the former’s disarray and the latter’s international backing, the vote seems doomed to fail in producing a distinct territory that the Kurds may call home. However, it could set Iraqi Kurdistan on a path toward greater autonomy, shaking the region from its stagnation and threatening further instability in the volatile Middle East.
A Cause That Unites and Divides
Though a familiar (and often futile) refrain throughout Iraq’s history, calls for Kurdish independence have recently reached a crescendo. To most Iraqi Kurds, the referendum is a legitimate attempt to increase their autonomy from a central government that they believe to be unresponsive to their needs. Moreover, many within the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) believe that the promise of a vote – whether or not it is actually held – will help solve the troubled region’s financial and political woes by giving Arbil leverage over Baghdad in the governments’ negotiations over budget battles, the distribution of oil revenue and the status of disputed territories.
This post was published at FinancialSense on 09/21/2017.
21st Century Wire says…
The evidence is mounting, that the US power-multiplied Kurdish factions are colluding with ISIS, as the Syrian Arab Army crosses the Euphrates and threatens to bring an end to international terrorism inside Syria once and for all. It is not the first time that this possibility has been demonstrated by the Kurds’ military strategy on Syrian soil.
In June 2017, Sergey Surovikin, the commander of Russia’s forces in Syria told media:
‘According to available reliable information, in early June ISIL terrorists entered into collusion with the command of the Kurdish armed units, which are part of the Democratic Forces Union, left the populated localities of Tadia and al-Hamam located 19 kilometers southwest of Raqqa offering no resistance and headed toward Palmyra.’
June 2017: Andrew Korybko detailed the ongoing ‘ethnic cleansing’ operation conducted by the US-backed Kurdish factions:
‘Reports have come out that the US is supporting the SDF-YPG through the illegal use of white phosphorus, which is a banned chemical weapon. Combined with the heavy and indiscriminate airstrikes being carried out against the city, 160,000 civilians have been forced to become refugees and flee their homes as internally displaced people. This works out to more than half of the city’s pre-war population of 220,000, and it confirms what independent journalist and associate editor at 21stcenturywire.com Vanessa Beeley told RT just recently about how the US is making no attempt whatsoever to protect civilians. In fact, it can be cynically suggested, the large-scale population exodus taking place in Raqqa is actually a deliberate ethnic cleansing of the majority-Arab population of the city on a much larger scale than any of the similar crimes that the Kurds have been accused of before.’
The #US and #Kurd assets were in a rush to end #Raqqa before #Syria freed DeirEzzor, so murdered 1000s of civilians. — Partisangirl (@Partisangirl) September 20, 2017
This post was published at 21st Century Wire on SEPTEMBER 20, 2017.
Presented in the West as the realization of a friendly utopia, the brand new Rojava is in reality a colonial state, designed and cemented in blood by Washington. This time, the plan is to expel the populations of the North of Syria and replace them with people who were not born there. In order to implement this ethnic cleansing, the Pentagon and the CIA have mobilised combatants from the circles of the European extreme-left. Thierry Meyssan reveals this insane project which has been ongoing for the last eighteen months.
In the ’80’s and ’90’s, Kurdish society was extremely feudal and patriarchal. It was maintained in a severe state of under-development, which pressured the Kurds to rise up against the military dictatorships which succeeded one another in Ankara .
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK was a Marxist-Leninist organisation, supported by the Soviet Union, which fought against the dictatorships of the Kemalist generals, who were members of NATO. It freed women and joined progressist combats. With the aid of Hafez el-Assad, it set up a military training camp in the Lebanese plain of Bekaa, under the protection of the Syrian Peace Force, close to the camp of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (FPLP).
During this period, the PKK could not find words strong enough to denounce American imperialism .
This post was published at 21st Century Wire on SEPTEMBER 18, 2017.
Ever since ISIS became prominent in northeastern Syria in 2014, the United States gradually moved in to back the Kurdish defense forces and militias, including the YPG and a new Kurdish fighting group set up by Pentagon called the ‘Syria Democratic Forces’ (SDF). The US and Israeli objective appears to have been to allow ISIS to gradually depopulate the area, and then once ISIS could be moved out of their stronghold in Raqqa, then Washington would use their Kurdish proxies to occupy strategic towns and cities – including the area around Raqqa. This appears to have been very poor planning by the Pentagon, as it not only ignores the demographics of the area (Arab majority), but it’s also ignorant of the fact that not all Kurds desire an independent state or Rojava canton. The US deep state’s masterplan for a federalized partition of Syria also appears to have ignored another obvious factor – that Syria was not going to hand over any of its territory in a US-led course of action.
This post was published at 21st Century Wire on AUGUST 7, 2017.
The following video was published by X22Report on Jul 25, 2017
Trump wants to know why Sessions is not pursuing the case against Hillary. Brennan and Clapper warn if Mueller is let go they are calling for a coup. The corporate media has put out rumors that Trump might want to pardon himself so Rep Al Greene wants a bill so he can’t do this. Maduro is making his move to fight against the deep state. The reports coming from the corporate media is not telling the entire truth of what is happening in the Philippines. Trump refuses McMaster’s plan of more troops in Afghanistan. US ship fires on an Iranian vessel. Syrian terrorist forces receive drones from the deep state. Russia says if the Kurds want their own land within Syria it should be left up to the Syrian people to vote on a referendum.
Some 150 Syrian rebels supported by Turkey arrived in the Idlib Province on Thursday to back up Islamist group Ahrar al-Sham in its ongoing battle with the official Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate, formerly known as the al-Nusra Front, rebel sources told Reuters.
Tension gave way to open clashes between the two jihadist factions in late June after the al-Qaeda affiliate stormed into rival territory and began arresting militants and non-combatants, accusing them of collaborating with the Turkish Euphrates Shield operation, which sought to use Syrian rebels to secure parts of the Turko-Syrian border.
While Euphrates Shield was officially concluded in May, the Turks and their proxy fighters still have a military presence in Northern Syria, even skirmishing with American-backed Kurds as recently as this week.
The al-Qaeda affiliate’s current form, now known as Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), was established less than a year ago out of several different rebel groups and has quickly become one of the largest, most powerful rebel factions operating in Syria (see the author’s translation of an Arabic language State Department memo on HTS published in March).
This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on JULY 20, 2017.
The following video was published by X22Report on Jul 17, 2017
The interpreter in the Trump Jr. meeting was linked to the Hillary Clinton and her state department. CNN faked news with the Russian hacking of Qatar, actually the Washington Post is now reporting it was UAE. South Korea and North Korea might work together militarily. Finland is preparing for war with Russia. Russia moving troops into Southern Syria, Israel says it will not go along with the ceasefire in Syria. Turkey is preparing to attack the Kurds. Putin is using Turkey to keep the deep state from establishing a Kurd state.