How Trump is Accelerating the Decline of US Global Influence

The "Moderate Rebel" terrorists in Syria certainly miss you Barack, you were so generous to all of them.
— Patrick Henningsen (@21WIRE) December 29, 2017

It should also be said that the current US Administration is merely finishing the job which started under three consecutive two-term presidents; Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama – something to bear in mind as Trump enters his first year in office.
This new year, let us not forget who re-ignited the Middle East crisis, with the consecutive sackings of Libya and Syria…
While ‘Make America Great Again’ might be the political campaign de jour at home, these next four years are likely to coincide with an overall decline in US influence in the world.
Mehr News reports…

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on DECEMBER 29, 2017.

Brent Jumps After Explosion At Major Oil Pipeline In Libya

After a quiet overnight session, the price of Brent Crude spiked following news of an explosion at a Libyan crude oil pipeline that feeds the Es Sider sea terminal – home of the largest oil depot in Libya – a source from the Libyan National Army told The Libya Times Tuesday. The blast happened near 30km northwest of Marada, the source said.
#Breaking: #LNA sources accuse islamist militants from ‘the #Benghazi Defense Brigades’ of blast targeting the main pipeline linking the Sidrah terminal and #oil fields belonging to al-Waha company. The attack took place about 30km northwest of Maradah. #Libya pic.twitter.com/DjDqj0qQHk
— The Libya Times (@thelibyatimes) December 26, 2017

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 26, 2017.

26/12/17: U.S. Wars Budgets: More Lessons Never Learned

An interesting report on the official accounts for war-related spending in the U. S. is available here: Which is, of course, a massive under-estimate of the full cost of 2001-2017 wars to the U. S. taxpayers.
It is worth remembering that war-related expenditures are outside discretionary budgetary allocations (follow links here: And you can read more here: The problem, as I repeatedly pointed out, is that no one can tell us what exactly – aside from misery, failed states, collapsed economies, piles of dead bodies etc – did these expenditures achieve, or for that matter what did all the adventurous entanglements the U. S. got into in recent year deliver? In Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen and Syria, in Pakistan and Sudan, in Ukraine, in Somalia and Egypt. The sole bright spot on the U. S. ‘policy horizon’ is Kurdistan. But the problem is, the U. S. has been quietly undermining its main ally in the Syria-Iraq-Turkey sub-region in recent years. In South China Seas, Beijing is fully running the show, as multi-billion U. S. hardware bobbles up and down the waves to no effect. In North Korea, a villain with a bucket of uranium is in charge, and Iran is standing strong. In its historical backyard of Latin America, the U. S. is now confronting growing Chinese influence, while losing allies.

This post was published at True Economics on Tuesday, December 26, 2017.

Libya – Trump Jumps Back In

Authored by Richard Galustian via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity,
For over a year, the United States has been disengaged from Libya’s turmoil, with President Donald Trump declaring America had ‘no interest’ in its interminable civil war. That all changed last Friday December 1st, when the President abruptly announced a rethink in a meeting with the head of Libya’s UN-backed Government National Accord (GNA), Fayez Sarrajto declare his ‘commitment to helping the Libyan people realize a more stable, unified, and prosperous future.’
For some, the engagement of the world’s only hyper-power in Libya’s chaos is just the shot in the arm that the UN’s Libya envoy, Ghassan Salame, needs as he struggles to end the fighting. But the potential for “mission creep” remains high. However noble Trumps intentions toward Libya might be, the UN-chosen Government of National Accord is a dog that don’t hunt.
Its creation was spearheaded by the Obama administration two years ago this month, throwing support behind the Muslim Brotherhood friendly UN-named Prime Minister Fayez Serraj and eight other Libyans — nominated by a UN commission – to run the country and end the civil war.

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

FBI Deputy Director McCabe Told Agents To Lie About Benghazi Investigation, Says GOP Lawmaker

GOP lawmakers have come forward with new allegations of political bias or interference at the FBI – this time involving the 2012 Benghazi attack. John Solomon of The Hill reports tht Rep. Ron Desantis (R-FL) recently interviewed a retired FBI supervisor who told him he was instructed by Deputy Director Andrew McCabe not to call the 2012 Benghazi attack an act of terrorism when distributing the FBI’s findings to the larger intelligence community – despite knowing exactly who conducted the attack.
The agent found the instruction concerning because his unit had gathered incontrovertible evidence showing a major al Qaeda figure had directed the attack and the information had already been briefed to President Obama, the lawmaker said. –The Hill After the September 11, 2012 attack against U. S. government facilities in Benghazi, Libya, the Obama administration peddled a lie, telling the public that the attack was related to Muslims who had become enraged at an anti-Islam YouTube video, and not a planned act of terrorism – despite Hillary Clinton emailing Chelsea Clinton from her unsecure @clintonemail.com server the night of the attack to say exactly that.
Chelsea – using the pseudonym “Diane Reyonds” probably didn’t have the clearance to receive classified intelligence from her mother, the Secretary of State.

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

Saudi Coalition Crumbles In Yemen: Sudanese Mercenaries On Front Lines, Foreign Officers, Proxies In Revolt

Most Americans might be forgiven for having no clue what the war in Yemen actually looks like, especially as Western media has spent at least the first two years of the conflict completely ignoring the mass atrocities taking place while white-washing the Saudi coalition’s crimes. Unlike wars in Iraq, Libya, and Syria, which received near daily coverage as they were at their most intense, and in which many Americans could at least visualize the battlefield and the actors involved through endless photographs and video from on the ground, Yemen’s war has largely been a faceless and nameless conflict as far as major media is concerned.
Aside from mainstream media endlessly demonstrating its collective ignorance of Middle East dynamics, it is also no secret that the oil and gas monarchies allied to the West are rarely subject to media scrutiny or criticism, something lately demonstrated on an obscene and frighteningly absurd level with Thomas Friedman’s fawning and hagiographic interview with Saudi crown prince MBS published in the New York Times.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 26, 2017.

Did The Putin/Assad Meeting Cement The End Of America’s Mid-East Dominance?

Authored by Tom Luongo,
I’m not a terribly religious man. But, I’d like to believe there is a special corner in Hell reserved for those that fomented the Syrian Civil War.
From its beginnings in Libya with gun-funneling through the U. S. embassy in Benghazi to yesterday’s meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, this entire affair will be remembered as one of the most cynical and abusive periods of history.
***
The Syrian ‘Civil War’ was meant to be the crowning achievement of U. S./Israeli/Saudi policy in the Middle East, the apotheosis of neoconservatism.
Had it succeeded it would have transformed the world into a living hell governed by the likes of Hillary Clinton, George Soros, Angela Merkel and the U. S./U. K. banking cartel.

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

History Lesson: America’s Renegade Warfare

Nicolas J S Davies
Consortium News
Seventy-seven million people in North and South Korea find themselves directly in the line of fire from the threat of a Second Korean War. The rest of the world is recoiling in horror from the scale of civilian casualties such a war would cause and the unthinkable prospect that either side might actually use nuclear weapons.
Since the first Korean War killed at least 20 percent of North Korea’s population and left the country in ruins, the U. S. has repeatedly failed to follow through on diplomacy to establish a lasting peace in Korea and has instead kept reverting to illegal and terrifying threats of war. Most significantly, the U. S. has waged a relentless propaganda campaign to discount North Korea’s legitimate defense concerns as it confronts the threat of a U. S. war machine that has only grown more dangerous since the last time it destroyed North Korea.
The North has lived under this threat for 65 years and has watched Iraq and Libya destroyed after they gave up their nuclear weapons programs. When North Korea discovered a U. S. plan for a Second Korean War on South Korea’s military computer network in September 2016, its leaders quite rationally concluded that a viable nuclear deterrent is the only way to guarantee their country’s safety.

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on NOVEMBER 17, 2017.

Road to Damascus: An Irishman’s Journey to Syria

Niall Farrell
Advertiser.ie
The Prophet Mohammad, when asked why he had never visited Damascus, replied that you ‘only enter paradise once’. Thus advised, I joined a group of international peace activists on a tour of Syria.
The trip would take us to Damascus, Maaloula, Homs, and Aleppo. The group included four close associates – Clare Daly TD, Mick Wallace TD, Edward Horgan, and Dave Donnellan; the latter pair established an ambitious peace project to name all children killed since the First Gulf War in 1991.
My interest in Syria grew from 2007 after retired US General Wesley Clarke revealed Pentagon plans to overthrow seven governments in five years – Syria was on the list as was Libya. When President Obama threatened to attack Damascus in September 2013, Margaretta D’Arcy and I blocked Shannon Airport’s runway demanding ‘Hands Off Syria’. We were sure weapons used to directly attack Syria or to be funnelled to so-called ‘rebels’ would be transported via Shannon or Irish airspace.

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on NOVEMBER 16, 2017.

Libya’s Slave Auctions And African Genocide: What Hillary Knew

A new CNN investigation has uncovered a network of slave markets operating in warehouses in various cities across Libya six years after NATO-led intervention in the country toppled the government of Muammar Gaddafi in support of US and UK backed rebels. And not only did CNN confirm the presence of slave auctions where human beings are being sold for as little as $400 in “liberated” Libya, but CNN’s crew was actually able to film a live auction in progress, while also gathering the testimonies of multiple victims.
Though CNN’s footage and accompanying report is shocking, such practices have been quietly documented for years, and clear warnings were issued starting in early 2011 that Libya’s black as well as migrant population would be the first to fall victim at the hands of the Islamist Libyan rebels that NATO’s war empowered. From the outset critics of Western intervention in Libya loudly sounded the alarm of a genocide against black Libyans in progress committed by the very rebels the US, UK, France, and Gulf allies were arming – a fact so well-known that then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was personally briefed and warned on the matter.
The Dangerous Myth of Gaddafi’s “African Mercenaries”
Among the foremost of these early critics at the time, Maximilian Forte, Associate Professor at Montreal’s Concordia University, published a 2012 book which exhaustively documented racially motivated crimes which came early and often during the armed uprising. His book, Slouching Towards Sirte: NATO’s War on Libya and Africa, contains essential summary context laying out the role that international media played in 2011 and after, including CNN itself, in fueling the xenophobic campaign to scapegoat Libya’s over one million strong black population as “pro-Gaddafi mercenaries”.
According to Professor Forte:

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

Dr Bouthaina Shaaban: ‘The Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With One Step’

Dr Bouthaina Shaaban, Political and Media Advisor to Syrian President, Bashar Al Assad.
A hundred years after the Balfour Declaration and all that followed, and 100 years after the Sykes-Picot agreement, and after all the setbacks and pitfalls that marked our Arab history. After watching with bitter feelings the bombing of Baghdad and the destruction of Nimrud, and the barbaric attacks on Aleppo, Palmyra, and Western collusion with some Arabs against Libya and Yemen. After all this, what are we doing?
Would the Arabs continue using the same methods they’ve been using, which proved to be useless, or would they reconsider all the mechanisms that have been followed to date, studying the situation and considering the methods used by their enemies to beat them and trying to use them to respond to these enemies?
After these calamities that plagued our Arab people in their villages and cities, which caused untold pain and unprecedented migration, is it not necessary to reconsider the intellectual system that governed our actions to this day, and the need to replace it with a system that is more useful?
At this stage in the history of our nation, we must have a serious stand, a candid and confident dialogue with history and a re-evaluation of everything we have written and done in the past decades. But before we can do this, the Arab elites must meet and regain their self-esteem and be at the center of the events, and provide the vision makes a difference in the course of events. Hence, regardless of the governmental situation in the various Arab countries, the Arab elites are invited today to communicate and discuss, and find the best ways to hold workshops in more than one place to arrive at the formulation of logical strategies for a better future for all Arabs and to resolve many topics long-debated on the subjects of identity, Arabism, Islam , and citizenship in all our Arab countries, in addition to the issue of youth and migration.

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on NOVEMBER 14, 2017.

Libya: The Forgotten Reason North Korea Desperately Wants Nuclear Weapons

Authored by Ted Galen Carpenter via The National Interest,
The United States and its allies continue to cajole and threaten North Korea to negotiate an agreement that would relinquish its growing nuclear and ballistic-missile programs.
***
The latest verbal prodding came from President Trump during his joint press conference with South Korean president Moon Jae-in. Trump urged Pyongyang to ‘come to the negotiating table,’ and asserted that it ‘makes sense for North Korea to do the right thing.’ The ‘right thing’ Trump and his predecessors have always maintained, is for North Korea to become nonnuclear.

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

How Broke Is The House Of Saud?

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.

From Shadow Wars To Overt War: The Pentagon’s New ‘Scramble For Africa’

When news broke of the October 4 ambush and deaths of four elite Green Beret soldiers in Niger, the immediate reaction voiced among congressional leaders and echoed generally in the media was: we have troops in Niger? But the bigger questions of the US military’s increasingly sizable footprint in Africa (or what has long been called our ‘Shadow War’) quickly disappeared from public debate, instead, in usual fashion the media quickly focused on myopic details of phone calls and whether Trump’s handling of the aftermath was “presidential” enough.
Gone were the larger looming questions the average American might rightly ask: when did Congress authorize or oversee operations in Africa which would put “boots on the ground” in potential live combat zones? What is the ultimate purpose in our being in Africa? Were the tragic deaths, and subsequent sufferings of their families worth whatever nebulous mission they were tasked with? If this was about fighting ISIS in Africa, how did ISIS establish a presence in Africa to begin with? (hint: it could have something to do with US-driven regime change wars in Iraq, Libya, and Syria).
But as has been the case with all administrations going back to 9/11, the moment the White House and congressional leaders invoke those magical letters, AUMF (the 16-year old authorization for use of military force), the media quickly falls in line, in spite of the fact that the War Powers Resolution (WPR) was designed to prevent the president from unilaterally placing US troops in harm’s way (though because it’s Trump, and not Obama, even CNN will publish the occasional and rare anti-war op-ed).

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 26, 2017.

Clinton, Assange, And The War On Truth

Authored by John Pilger via Counterpunch.org,
On 16 October, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation aired an interview with Hillary Clinton: one of many to promote her score-settling book about why she was not elected President of the United States.
Wading through the Clinton book, What Happened, is an unpleasant experience, like a stomach upset. Smears and tears. Threats and enemies. ‘They’ (voters) were brainwashed and herded against her by the odious Donald Trump in cahoots with sinister Slavs sent from the great darkness known as Russia, assisted by an Australian ‘nihilist’, Julian Assange.
In The New York Times, there was a striking photograph of a female reporter consoling Clinton, having just interviewed her. The lost leader was, above all, ‘absolutely a feminist’. The thousands of women’s lives this ‘feminist’ destroyed while in government – Libya, Syria, Honduras – were of no interest.
In New York magazine, Rebecca Traister wrote that Clinton was finally ‘expressing some righteous anger’. It was even hard for her to smile: ‘so hard that the muscles in her face ache’. Surely, she concluded, ‘if we allowed women’s resentments the same bearing we allow men’s grudges, America would be forced to reckon with the fact that all these angry women might just have a point’.
Drivel such as this, trivialising women’s struggles, marks the media hagiographies of Hillary Clinton. Her political extremism and warmongering are of no consequence. Her problem, wrote Traister, was a ‘damaging infatuation with the email story’. The truth, in other words.
The leaked emails of Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, revealed a direct connection between Clinton and the foundation and funding of organised jihadism in the Middle East and Islamic State (IS). The ultimate source of most Islamic terrorism, Saudi Arabia, was central to her career.

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

Italian Migration Crisis: The Big Picture

Via GEFIRA,
Gianandrea Galiani interviewed by Daniel Moscardi
Gianandrea Gaiani is the director of the highly respected online magazine analisidifesa.it and an expert on immigration. He is a regular contributor to a number of Italian newspapers and appears frequently on numerous TV channels as an on immigration and security topics. He’s also the author (together with Giancarlo Blangiardo and Giuseppe Valditara) of the recent book (in Italian) Immigrazione, tutto quello che dovremmo sapere (Immigration. All you need to know about’).
Gefira asked Gianandrea Gaiani in an exclusive interview about his views on the latest developments in the arrivals from Libya and Tunisia and the current approach of the Italian government. Outspoken and anything but politically correct, Gaiani hits the spot about the recent change of policy of the Italian government on the NGO’s code of conduct as well as Italy’s achievements and (so called) ‘partners’ in Libya.
GE: What caused last summer’s change of course by the Italian government and its approach toward the NGOs and the arrivals from Libya in general?
GG: The answer is quite simple. The disaster for the PD (Partito Democratico), leader of the current government, at the June administrative elections, sounded an alarm, showing clearly that when it comes to immigration, many center-left voters steer clearly to the right. A swift change of course was badly needed, with the obvious intent of reassuring disenchanted and alarmed Italians that the government was in charge of the situation.
GE: The numbers show that the arrivals have diminished significantly but that’s just that. We are still very far from the pre-2011 numbers.
GG: That’s because the government, on the other side, has to keep being complacent to the industry of immigration. It’s a network that profits – and thrives – on new arrivals, and this network galaxy is NOT happy if the arrivals complete stop. And their votes are also badly needed by the current government.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 24, 2017.

Germany’s “Open Doors” Are Closing: Merkel Seeks New Limits On Refugees

After German Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted late last year that she had ‘lost control’ of Germany’s refugee crisis after adopting an ‘open door’ policy that fueled an unprecedented spike in crime, her weakened ruling coalition announced Monday that it would seek to impose new restrictions on the number of refugees admitted to the country.
Germany famously admitted nearly one million refugees from Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and other war zones in 2015, a five-fold increase over the previous year.
Migrants repaid Germany for its openness by committing 142,500 crimes during the first six months of 2016, including several high-profile sexual assaults.
And now it seems Merkel has hit a wall and folded…
Merkel announced the policy change on Monday during a joint news conference with Horst Seehofer, leader of the Bavarian Christian Social Union – the more conservative partner to Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union – following discussions in which the two parties sought compromises on a number of issues following poor results in the federal elections two weeks ago, according to CNN.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 9, 2017.

Is This The Geopolitical Shift Of The Century?

The geopolitical reality in the Middle East is changing dramatically.
The impact of the Arab Spring, the retraction of the U. S. military, and diminishing economic influence on the Arab world – as displayed during the Obama Administration – are facts.
The emergence of a Russian-Iranian-Turkish triangle is the new reality. The Western hegemony in the MENA region has ended, and not in a shy way, but with a long list of military conflicts and destabilization.
***
The first visit of a Saudi king to Russia shows the growing power of Russia in the Middle East. It also shows that not only Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but also Egypt and Libya, are more likely to consider Moscow as a strategic ally.
King Salman’s visit to Moscow could herald not only several multibillion business deals, but could be the first real step towards a new regional geopolitical and military alliance between OPEC leader Saudi Arabia and Russia.

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