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.
***
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 –.

US Advising Soldiers to Be ‘Less Masculine’ as Military Tries to Curb Flood of Sexual Harassment Cases

21st Century Wire says…
While military forces are fighting one enemy in the theatre of combat, another multi-front culture war is also being fought within their institutions. According to a recent report in Military.com, US military lawyers have begun speaking about how sexual assault cases are flooding the military courts – threatening to break the back of the military’s legal system, and perhaps radically alter the institutional culture.
After the release of the documentary, ‘The Invisible War,’ the issue of sexual assault in the military has again been thrust into the national spotlight, claiming that 1 in 5 U. S. female veterans have sustained some form of sexual assault.
The issue of sexual assault in the US military first rose to national prominence in 1992 with the emergence of the infamous ‘Tailhook Scandal.’
One likely reason for this new spike in reported cases could be because each military service branch has recently implemented new ‘awareness programs’ as well as ‘sexual assault prevention’ campaigns – which actively encourage female troops to report anything they might feel constitutes sexual harassment or a constitutes a sexual assault.

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

Russian Foreign Minister: US Military Must Leave All Of Syria

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated on Thursday that US forces must leave all of Syria. Speaking to Interfax news agency, Lavrov stated that the UN Security Council has not approved the work of the United States and its coalition in Syria, nor has been invited by the legitimate Syrian government.
Concerning a prior statement by US Defense Secretary James Matisse voicing the intent for US troops to stay in Syria until achieving progress in a political settlement, Lavrov pointed out that such statement is ‘surprising’ because it means that Washington reserves the right to determine such progress and wants to maintain control over parts of Syrian territory in order to achieve the result it wants.
The Russian minister affirmed that according to the UNSC No.2254, which the United States supported, the decision on the future of Syria can only be taken by the Syrian people and this is what Moscow will begin with as a starting point in its contacts with the Americans later.
He also expressed his satisfaction that cooperation with the US in Syria is possible if the Americans’ goal is to fight terrorism.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Thu, 12/28/2017 –.

Dystopian Vietnam Launches 10,000-Strong Cyber-Unit To Combat “Fake News”

Reuters has revealed a rather disturbing Orwellian tale of Communist-ruled Vietnam marching towards a complete censorship of the internet.
Government officials have announced a new, 10,000-strong military cyber warfare unit used to combat ‘fake news’, amid a much larger crackdown on critics of the state.
The announcement came in a speech on Christmas Day given by Lieutenant General Nguyen Trong Nghia, a deputy head of the military’s political department. According to state-run media, Lt Gen Nguyen revealed the 10,000-strong army of state-owned hackers called ‘Force 47’, will be targeting enemies of the Communist party who ‘create chaos’ online.
Lt Gen Nguyen further said, ‘in every hour, minute, and second, we must be ready to fight proactively against the wrong views.’
‘Force 47’ could be compared to the so-called 50-cent army, employed by Communist China, who are paid 50 cents for every website that is censored. Communist-ruled Vietnam has certainly escalated this latest attempt to control the internet, especially the ability to censor political dissidents on social media.
Bloomberg reports, the disclosure of the unit is the government’s effort to put more pressure on YouTube Inc. and Facebook Inc. to remove accounts promoting anti-party views.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Thu, 12/28/2017 –.

Russia Establishes Two Permanent Bases In Syria To Host Nuclear Warships And Warplanes

Russia’s defense ministry has announced it is now in the process of establishing two permanent military bases in war-torn Syria after President Putin authorized prior deals with the Syrian government to move forward. Though Russia maintains merely up to ten military bases on foreign soil, the installations in Tartus and Khmeimim will be the most strategically located, allowing for a growing and permanent Russian presence on the Mediterranean, something which has already raised eyebrows in the West.
Though Putin formally announced the planned withdrawal of Russian forces from active operations in Syria in early December, there were parallel plans going back to at least early summer to maintain a smaller permanent presence based on an agreement with the Damascus government to host Russian forces for at least 49 more years, which includes the option of being prolonged further. Personnel and military hardware will be stationed at permanent Russian bases in Tartus and Khmeimim – both of which are on or near the Mediterranean.
According to Russian media reports, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu stated at a ministry meeting on Tuesday, ‘We have started the process of formation of our permanent forces [in Syria].” Though Tartus has operated as a Russian naval port since 1971 (referred to as a Material-Technical Support Point and not a “base”) and was until recently minimally staffed mostly by civilian contractors, it will reportedly undergo a massive transformation and expansion, which is to include the capability of hosting nuclear-powered ships.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 27, 2017.

Will the next UFO disclosure be ‘biological threats from outer space?’ Dec 26

That may sound like a misguided question. But let’s look at Tom DeLonge’s company, currently acting as a conduit for new UFO revelations.
DeLonge, a famous musician (Blink-182, Angels and Airwaves) has surrounded himself with high-level spooks from the CIA and the military, in his new venture, To the Stars Academy.
One of his lead collaborators is Luis Elizondo, who was the Pentagon chief of a secret program (2007-2012) to study and explore UFO activity. Elizondo is now the point man for media, explaining the breaking news about a 2004 US military sighting of a UFO, and subsequent failed attempts to analyze materials from UFOs. He’s also hinting that alien UFOs are a potential threat to our safety, a threat we can’t ignore.
Every major press outlet in the world, starting with the NY Times, is covering this story.

This post was published at Jon Rappoport on December 26, 2017.

Russia’s Military Is Leaner, But Meaner

Authore by Leonid Brershidky via Bloomberg.com,
During Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual press conference on Thursday, a friendly journalist asked Putin whether the escalating tension in relations with the U. S. and the crumbling of arms control treaties would draw Russia into an unsustainable arms race. “We will ensure our security without engaging in an arms race,” the president replied, citing widely diverging dollar numbers for the U. S. and Russian defense budgets.
***
That’s a simplistic answer from a politician starting an election campaign (of sorts: Putin is headed for re-election in March without giving anyone else a chance). The more pointed question that should be asked is this: How, with a relatively small and decreasing military budget — 2.77 trillion rubles ($42.3 billion) for 2018, down from some 3.05 trillion rubles this year — is Russia is still a formidable military rival to the U. S., with its enormous and increasing budget of almost $692.1 billion in 2018, up from $583 billion this year?

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

Palestinian Santas Clash With Israeli Forces On Christmas In Bethlehem

On Christmas Eve, Palestinians, many of them dressed as Santa Claus, staged a rally in the city of Bethlehem in the West Bank protesting against to the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Israeli forces used tear gas and stun grenades against the protesters near an Israeli military tower in Bethlehem – the ancient city widely acknowledged as the traditional birthplace of Jesus Christ.
Throughout Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and the West Bank pilgrimage and tourism was noticeably down over the Christmas holiday season as protests and clashes over President Trump’s December 6th announcement continued, which also included plans to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem in order to reflect the change in status.
via Reuters
The AFP reported that even many locals have stayed away from centrally located Christmas celebrations at traditional gathering places this year due to the clashes:
On Bethlehem’s Manger Square, hundreds of Palestinians and tourists gathered in the cold near a huge nativity scene and Christmas tree to watch the annual scout parade. They took pictures as a marching band made its way through the square towards the Church of the Nativity, built over the spot where tradition says Mary gave birth to Jesus. The square usually throngs with tourists on Christmas Eve, but clashes between Palestinian protesters and the Israeli army in the past weeks have kept people away this year.

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

‘Prepare For a Big Ass Fight’ U.S. General Tells Marines ‘There’s A War Coming’

As much of the world celebrates the Christmas Holiday, it’s business as usual on the geo-political front. And as we have repeatedly warned in recent years, numerous countries including military super powers Russia and China are actively mobilizing their armies for a widespread armed conflict.
With North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowing this weekend to never give up his nuclear ambitions and President Trump having made it clear that the United States will not allow the North to possess nuclear weapons capable of striking America, it appears that confrontation is inevitable.
Further signaling what may come to pass in 2018 is General Robert Neller, who spoke to Marines in Europe during his annual Christmas tour:
Neller emphasized to the Marines that they should remain ready to fight at all times, predicting a ‘big-ass fight’ on the horizon.
‘I hope I’m wrong, but there’s a war coming,’ Neller said. ‘ … You’re in a fight here, an informational fight, a political fight, by your presence.’

This post was published at shtfplan on December 25th, 2017.

Saudi Airstrikes Kill 48 Yemeni Civilians In 24 Hours

At least 48 Yemeni civilians have been killed by the Saudi Coalition in the last 24 hours, the Saba News Agency reported. “A total of 48 civilians, including women and children, were killed and wounded in 51 airstrikes launched by US-backed Saudi-led aggression coalition using internationally banned weapons on several Yemeni provinces over the past few hours, military and security officials told Saba on Sunday,” the news agency reported.
The Saudi airstrikes were primarily concentrated on the northern part of the country, where the Houthis currently control several provinces. In addition to northern Yemen, the Saudi airstrikes were also targeted the western part of the country, including the Hodeidah Port that was finally reopened after being blockaded for several weeks.

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

The Strangelovian Russia-Gate Myth

The Strangelovian palaver of Russia-gate is embraced by many liberals as some totem to ward off the vile Donald Trump, but this dishonest process only furthers the cause of American Empire and risks global destruction…
The effects of humankind created climate chaos are proving to be more devastating than even the grimmest predictions. Today’s wealth inequity is worse than in the Gilded Age. Around the world, the U. S. empire wages perpetual war, hot and cold, overt and covert, including military brinksmanship with the nuclear power, the Russian Federation.
Speaking of the latter, the U. S. media retails a storyline that would be considered risible if it was not so dangerously inflammatory i.e., L’affaire du Russia-gate, wherein, according to the lurid tale, the sinister Vladimir Putin, applying techniques from the Russian handbook for international intrigue, Rasputin Mind Control For Dummies, has wrested control of the U. S. Executive Branch of government and bends its policies to his diabolical will.
Ridiculous, huh? Yet the mainstream press promulgates and a large section of the general public believes what is clearly a reality-bereft tale, as all the while, ignoring circumstances crucial for their own economic well-being; their safety, insofar as a catastrophic nuclear exchange; and the steps required to maintain the ecological criteria crucial for allowing the continued viability of human beings on planet earth.

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

EU Militarizes Africa To Halt Migration

Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation,
Fighting terrorism is now morphing into clamping down on human migration, as far as the European Union is concerned.
France’s President Emmanuel Macron is leading the charge, claiming at a conference in Paris last week that terrorism and human trafficking are part of the same problem, requiring the deployment of a military force spread across Africa.
***
The melding of the two concepts provokes serious legal and moral questions.

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

Trump To Announce Anti-Tank Missile Exports To Ukraine

Earlier this week the Washington Post reported that President Trump has decided to come off the fence regarding his prior reluctance to formally approve lethal arms sales to the US-backed government in Kiev, Ukraine, and has now moved forward with Obama-era legislation to export weapons to the war-torn country.
Though as was noted at the time this commercial license approval was limited to small arms and ammunition as part of an initial $41.5 million deal, and not the heavier anti-tank systems sought by Kiev, it now appears the White House is going to announce inclusion of Javelin antitank missiles and possibly other advanced systems that could change the battlefield calculus of the war between Ukrainian and Russian-aligned forces in the Donbass region along the Russian border.
According to a new report by ABC News, Trump is expected to include the anti-tank missile systems as authorized exports to Ukraine, this based on four unnamed state department sources:
President Donald Trump is expected to announce his approval of a plan to sell anti-tank missiles to the Ukrainian government, a move that would mark a significant escalation in lethal U. S. military support for Ukrainian forces battling Russian-aligned forces in the border region, four state department sources tell ABC News. If the president formally signs off, the plan will be presented to Congress for a 30 day review period where it would need to be approved before the State Department can implement it.

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